Monday, October 9, 2017

Aloe Veritas: Fortnight 18 of the Burns

LBNC - Long Beach, not California

18 is a scarily high number. I mean, there are only 26 fortnights in a year (or as I’ve begun to visualise it, carriages on a gravy train). With late December and most of January’s writing time severely compromised by family time / the dreaded return to Wellington, the last few carriages are about to leave the station!

(We’re going on the Taieri Gorge Railway trip on Labour Weekend, which might explain the trainish bent to my metaphors).


Fortnight 18 total words: 11,429 
(novel: 72%, blog, 14%, non-fiction: 10%, short stories %4)
1st week: 7,051
2nd week: 4,378


I went up to Wellington last Tuesday to meet with my boss (and my boss’s boss, quite by chance) to talk about what I do, and how many days/hours I work next year. 

I put forward my first and best offer, which should provide an okay balance on income and output (both for my employer and my own writing).

It has yet to be shot down (or accepted). 

We shall see.


The publication date for the US version of THE MANNEQUIN MAKERS has been pushed back to 12/12/17, which is trickily close to Christmas (not that I’m expecting it to go Danielle Steele) but avoids any confusion between NZ and US readings of the date.

On the positive side, the old battler received a starred review in Publishers Weekly last week. Abridged version:

New Zealander Cliff makes a stunning American debut with a story about obsession gone horribly wrong… [plot description] This is a spellbinding and original tale, rife with perilous journeys, fascinating historical detail, and memorable characters.

As I am in the midst of another novel, it’s hard not to read in some ambiguity in that first sentence (it’s the novelists obsessions that go horribly wrong).

Together with a similarly positive Kirkus review (“A grim and glorious meditation on the cruelty of fate”), I’ve at least got decent US pull-quotes for my website (when I get around to updating her).

I was approached by an agent in the US who’d read the PW review and wondered if I was working on anything else. So nice to be a cold contactee for once (!) but very early days on that front. Like, maybe I should finish this new fricken novel, eh?

I also carved out time to write an essay about writing THE MANNEQUIN MAKERS (as if I wasn’t self-concerned enough) for my US publishers to pitch to various online outlets. 

We shall see what becomes of it.

We. Shall. See.


Tourism in Brief

In the middle weekend of Fortnight 18 I took the family (including in-laws) to the Port Chalmers Seafood Festival (worth it) and Long Beach (crib me!).


In addition to keeping the novel moving, I’m working on a piece ('essay' seems too hifalutin) about NBA 2k18 (as mentioned in my September consumption diary); I entered the Sunday Times short story comp in the UK with one of the stories I wrote in February; and I’m giving a reading tonight (Monday – technically Fortnight 19’s achievement) at the University Book Store as part of the NZSA’s regular salon.

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