Blood Crystal Blog Tour

How exciting to be a part of the blog tour for new release Blood Crystal by Jeanette O’Hagan. I trust you’ve been following along and collecting your scavenger hunt clues (check below for details and today’s clue), along with prizes offered by host authors along the way.

Following on from David Rawling’s tour blog, today I have the privilege of interviewing secondary character from Blood Crystal, Lady Zara. Let’s make her feel welcome.

Lady Zara, thank you for agreeing to speak about the recent events below the mountain. It must be difficult living under the rule of Overseer Havilah, as the daughter of the conquered former leader, Uzza. If you don’t mind, I’d like to ask some questions. I’ll take your haughty nod as permission. No need to glare.

Question one. Overseer Havilah seems to have some ‘interesting’ family dynamics to manage with her sons. What do you think of her as a leader? Does she have the best intentions for the Earthbiter people, or is she swayed too much by the opinions of her boys, especially Putarn?

What do you mean ‘Earthbiter’? Such a strange and rude term. And don’t talk to me about Havilah, a common toolwun with ideas above her station and capabilities. Though you are right about those sons of hers, especially that Putarn – such an unimpressive fellow with a scrappy beard and unpleasant manner, always with an angry scowl. His ideas are simply ludicrous.

Apologies for seeming rude. I’d heard the Forest Folk use this term and thought … well … perhaps we’d best move onto question two. Scrybe Barekia, who repaired the Crystal Heart during your father’s … ah … strategic retreat, seems to have doubts about the crystal’s continued function. Now there are rumours of a sacrifice being required of the ‘true seed’. What do you make of this?

Well! I have no idea what this nonsense is about the ‘true seed’, but both my honoured father and grandfather made it clear that sacrifices are needed to appease the Dark Ones and keep the Crystal Heart functioning. Unpleasant as the thought is, it is surely better than the whole realm dying? I’m not at all surprised these upstarts are having difficulties. When my father puts them in their place, he’ll get the Heart working again.

Oooookay … that seems somewhat … alarming, I mean … Question three. The Prentice twins, Delvina and Retza, often seem to find themselves in the middle of trouble. In fact, I understand Retza’s been quite the hero as far as you’re concerned. What do you think of the twins and their quest to find answers from the Forest Folk?

So they are twins are they? They do seem common and rather blunt, but Retza did defend me and my little brother Jesson against that horrid Javot’s treachery. Excuse me a moment. It was rather distressing incident. Yes, a sip of water would be welcome. Mind you, I was getting the best of Javot. I am quite capable of defending myself and my brother. Still, Retza’s intervention was timely. Some might find him nice-looking and strong for a common prentice.

That wasn’t quite the version I heard from—

As for seeking help from the Forest Folk, going outside the mountain tunnels is unheard of. Even if it’s possible, it seems foolish and perilous. My grandfather warned of the dangers of the outsiders and their covetous eyes on our wealth, which is why he closed off our realm many years ago and forbade all talk of the outside.

I see. Question four. You might remember Forest dweller, Zadeki, from his brief time under the mountain when he was brought there by the twins after being injured. How do you feel about Zadeki and his capacity to shape-shift? Do you think his people will be able to offer answers to help repair the heart? Is this something that worries you?

Is that what that freakish, silver-skinned stranger was called? Zadeki? An outlandish name and so tall, but no chin hairs to speak of. I do remember him transforming into a horrid, big, furry creature with giant paws and great big teeth in the Sunken Temple. Jaguar, my father called it. It gives me nightmares to think of it.

Frankly, I am a little worried. I doubt such savage people could help us and what if they decide to come back to eat us all and steal our treasures? But then, such a foolhardy mission to the outside will surely fail. And, any day now, my father will come back and restore everything to how it should be.

I see. Well, thanks for your time, Lady Zara. I’ll let you get back to … whatever it is you do now you’re a guarded prisoner of the new order.

You are welcome, I suppose. I look after my poor injured brother and think of ways we can escape to my father. I’m not at all concerned with these petty people, certainly not young prentices like Retza.

Blood Crystal Scavenger Hunt (clue #7 below!) will run throughout the Blood Crystal Blog Tour. Each blog will have a reflection or memory related to themes within Blood Crystal – and a related question. The first person to answer all NINE questions correctly will win a $50 Amazon voucher. The runner up will receive copies of both Heart of the Mountain and the sequel Blood Crystal. Follow each post on the blog tour to find the questions & list your answers in the comments on the final blog post of the tour on 28 July.

Next tour blog stop is Adam Collings (Adam does cool stuff like video interviews). Don’t forget there’s also opportunity to win prizes at each blogspot, including this one!

Scavenger Hunt Clue #7: My current work in progress is a YA slipstream sci-fi fantasy novel, parallelling the lives of two young people from different centuries through a peculiar connection. A significant portion of the historical story revolves around mining in Queensland. Mining ventures must entail management of toxic by-products, which historically has not always been done well. An Australian example of an undesirable mining legacy is the pollution of Dee River. What is the name of the mine associated with this environmental disaster?

Blog Post Prize Opportunity: Comment on this post for your chance to receive a copy of one of my YA techno-thriller Blaine Colton trilogy novels, either Integrate, Replicate or Activate – winner (one person who comments who will be randomly selected) gets to choose which novel they receive.

Bio: Jeanette O’Hagan has published fantasy novellas, including Heart of the Mountain and Blood Crystal, short stories and poems published in various Anthologies, including Tied in Pink Romance Anthology (profits from the anthology go towards Breast Cancer research); Poetica Christi’s Inner Child; Brio anthology, Another Time Another Place, Let the Sea Roar, Glimpses of Light and Plan Australia’s Like a Girl. She has practiced medicine, studied communication, history and theology and has taught theology. She cares for her Family, has a Masters of Arts (Writing) from Swinburne University and is writing her Akrad’s fantasy fiction series. You can read some of her short fiction here
connect with her on Facebook or Twitter or Goodreads or amazon or at JennysThread.com or Jeanette O’Hagan Writes.

Write Time – A Case of Extremes

I am so excited to be hosting another guest blog series. This time last year, guest bloggers shared inspiring and humorous reflections on their ‘Write Life’ . This year the theme is ‘Write Time’.

As I’ve discovered in life, timing is everything. Time is also one of our most precious commodities. Writing in season, and finding time to make it happen, is a constant juggle. Over the coming weeks we’ll hear from a diverse group of authors as they reflect on this theme. And like me, I’m sure you can’t wait.

JeanetteOHaganWrites250My first guest blogger is one you might know. Jeanette O’Hagan is a gifted author who writes across a diverse range of genres, and she’s had a full-to-overflowing writing year. (While still managing to be superwoman without the cape!)  I could say more, but I think it’s time to hand over to our guest. Thanks Jeanette!

From one extreme to another.

This year my ‘write times’ have seesawed from intense focus to being swallowed up in other tasks. In some ways, it’s the equivalent of kangaroo-hopping down the road (for those of you who remember their first lessons in a car with manual gears).

Five months – just five months of this year did my writing get the my highest priority – in January with the Month of Poetry (over thirty poems written some of which have since been short-listed or achieved an award), in March and April I wrote three short stories for a couple of anthologies, in July it was Camp NaNoWriMo as I dusted off novel 3 and wrote 30,000 words, coming within cooee of finishing my first draft, and November was NaNaWriMo, with another 50,000 words on novel 5.

As the words began to flow during NaNo, I remembered once again why I love writing— it’s fun, exhilarating, entertaining, inspiring.

Let the sea roarSo what about those other months? Family, friends, faith, community— yes all these things take time—but what has really eaten up the hours is other writing related activities. I finished off my writing course (MA) and started another (Year of the Edit). I have been involved in editing, proofing and/or publishing anthologies (to different degrees of involvement)—Another Time Another Place, Let the Sea Roar, Glimpses of Light and Like a Girl. I’ve needed to edit my own stories and follow the suggestions of my crit friends and editors. I’ve attended conferences, festivals and retreats. I’ve taken time to set up my writing as a business and make plans for next year.

Reflecting on 2015 I’ve come to a greater understanding of my writing process:
I work well to deadlines – especially those where I’m accountable to others.
I feel alive when I write and I want this to stay a vital part of my life.

Yet writing a first draft of a story, poem or novel is just the first step in a complex process. If I want to be serious about writing, if I want to write for others as well as for myself— I have to take it to another level and that means learning my craft, networking with other writers, giving back to the community, editing my work, working out how to publish and promote it. I need to factor those times in as well as regular writing times.GOLCover

Family, friends, faith, health, community matter too. If I steal from these areas in my life for too long or too often, I’m likely to crash and burn rather than be in this for the long term.

I need balance.

In hindsight, I don’t think I’ll try to publish two anthologies (plus involvement in three others) in one year again.

Maybe moving forward in kangaroo hops is not a bad thing (especially if you are a kangaroo ‘grin’) but I’d like to smooth out the curves a little. Those other things—learning, networking, editing, publishing—are part of the journey which I also enjoy doing.

As a wise person once said ‘There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.’ Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV)

Tied in Pink_JennyJeanette O’Hagan has short stories and poems published (or about to be published) in various anthologies, including Tied in Pink Romance Anthology (profits from the anthology go towards Breast Cancer research); Poetica Christi’s Inner Child; Brio anthology, Another Time Another Place, Let the Sea Roar, Glimpses of Light and Plan Australia’s Like a Girl. She has practiced medicine, studied communication, history and theology and has taught theology. She cares for her school-aged children, has a Masters of Arts (Writing) at Swinburne University and is writing her Akrad’s fantasy fiction series. You can read some of her short fiction here.
You can find her at her Facebook Page or at Goodreads or at JennysThread.com or Jeanette O’Hagan Writes or Twitter.

Herding Cats

JeanetteOHaganWrites250This week’s ‘Write Life’ guest blogger is emerging author, Jeanette O’Hagan. Jeanette’s approach to writing is remarkably intellectual and detail focussed, yet incredibly imaginative. Make sure you’ve got your pre-orders in the day her novels spin off the press – that is, once she’s done wrangling felines into order. Thanks, Jeanette. 🙂

 

A random thought. Writing is a bit like herding cats.

Well, at the moment it seems a lot like it to me. Over the last six weeks I feel like I’ve been skating from one urgent task to another – from kitchen renovations gone AWOL, family responsibilities and visits, study commitments, conferences, camps, retreats, birthday celebrations (a 5th and a 94th) and NaNoWriMo. Not to mention doing final edits and proofs on my first published story (a short story in the Tied in Pink anthology), follow-up on editorial appointments, hot weather and storms. It hasn’t been all bad – in fact, a lot of it has been wonderful: like being cheered on as I finished NaNo at the Writers Retreat, looking forward to my first publishing credit, or spending time with my family. Even so, it has been frenetic, a tad chaotic and draining.

So as I sit down to write this post, my thoughts are scattering all over the place, heading off in a thousand and one different directions and tipping their feline noses in the air at the very thought of cohering into anything rational – let alone brilliant, scintillating or inspirational. And sometimes, being a writer is just like that – juggling the demands of life with the need to find the head-space to write or juggling different ideas and images that pull away in different directions.

And so I reflect that writing at times is about forgetting about herding and just letting go. Maybe letting go of some of those riotous ideas for now – and allowing space for others. Or maybe, letting go of the need to arrange the cats – ahem, ideas – into neat, orderly and perfect rows. Or letting go of the need to impress or to control and allowing the ideas to lead. After all, in the beginning of all this, I didn’t choose to be a writer. Rather, the stories chose me. They were my invisible companions through most of my childhood – a way of sublimating angst and uncertainties into fantastical adventures; a way of growing in understanding of the Great Storyteller who calls me to be a part of His story.

And then it occurs to me, that maybe ‘herding cats’ could apply to groups of writers as well. Writing is so often by its very nature a solitary pursuit. And while some writers are social loving extroverts, many of us are introverts. Perhaps we like doing things by and for ourselves. Yet one thing I have learnt over the last few years is that we are stronger as writers and go further and last longer if we are willing to boost up each other. Even cats can team up to achieve a goal worth pursuing.

Then again, maybe it’s just that life’s like that. However much we plan it, it has a tendency to take turns we never anticipated and sometimes we have to let go of our plans and trust that God knows what He’s doing.

Tied in Pink_JennyJeanette’s short story ‘The Herbalist Daughter’ is about to be published as part of the Tied in Pink anthology this month (profits from the anthology go towards Breast Cancer research). Jeanette has practiced medicine, studied communication, history and theology and has taught theology. She is currently caring for her children, enjoying post-graduate studies in writing at Swinburne University and writing her Akrad’s fantasy fiction series. You can read some of her short fiction here.
You can find her at her Facebook Page or websites JennysThread.com or Jeanette O’Hagan Writes.