When the story is just a story

Why do we write stories anyway?

To entertain… To share our imaginations for fun… To elucidate a message about the weighty issues afflicting humanity?

Writers are frequently expected to answer with that last option. Science fiction, in particular, often uses analogies to explore current and historical human issues. On the flip side, writers may get themselves into trouble when they attempt to explore these issues (through analogy or overtly) and get things wrong.

Your kink is not my kink

Writing can be a lonely endeavor, but once the results are shared the text takes on a life of its own – it is read, absorbed, analyzed, and interpreted by readers, each one filtering the story through their own experiences and interests.

So what happens when a text is misinterpreted? What happens when the misinterpretation leads to a conclusion that the writer is perpetuating harmful stereotypes?

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Wynter Wild book 1 & 2 available now for review

If you haven’t yet started reading the Wynter Wild series, or you’d just like a nice ebook version to own, I’ve organized a couple of giveaways for the first two books. Please, if you do take advantage of the freebies, consider writing an honest review at Goodreads or Amazon to help others discover the series (or just drop a rating). I truly appreciate every review and rating, and this is the best way to support indie authors like me.

Click on the cover for the ebook you’d like to read (available free until 31 August 2021 ):

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Wynter Wild Series: Post Script

A few days ago, after four years, I completed the ten-book Wynter Wild series, uploading the final chapter of the final book (The Beat Goes On) to Wattpad. The book will be published on Amazon in a few weeks with its current YA cover, before I relaunch the entire series with new covers.

If you’ve been following along – thank you for reading! Newsletter subscribers get access to a second epilogue to the final book. If you haven’t yet subscribed you can do so here, and I’ll send you the link to that epilogue. Subscribers will also get exclusive stories and sneak peeks of my future work, much of which is set in the same “universe” including prequels and sequels.

If you’ve read the entire series, that’s 1,288,103 words (approximately) of Wynter’s story. A staggering figure that I can hardly believe, especially considering I wrote many thousands more words that never made it into the books. So many subplots I had to cut, especially as the final book grew longer and longer. I may include some of that material in later sequels (most likely short stories).

My first priority is a set of prequel short stories or novellas about the Fairn brothers growing up with their mother, and then their father, showing how these three boys developed into the characters we first met in Little Sister Song. I (or rather, they) referred to many incidents from their childhood, so I’m looking through those now for story ideas.

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This is the non-spoilery (or only slightly spoilery) version of the Q&A from Wattpad.

First up…

If you enjoyed the series, please consider writing honest reviews, or just leave ratings, on Amazon or Goodreads. It’s the best way to support me as an indie writer. For the past four years I’ve written the words you’ve read, and now you have the power to encourage new readers to take the plunge and give the books a try!

Thank you so much to those of you who have already done this, and don’t forget the later books in the series also need some love. 🙂

To keep up with what I’m writing next, including spin-offs in this world (which I talk about below), sign up to my newsletter. Subscribers will get Epilogue #2 this month, ahead of the book’s publication. It launches the family in a new direction.

Thanks for sending questions! I had some similar questions come in via Wattpad and email, so I’ve amalgamated those to avoid repeating myself.

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Lockdown Eleven

Actually it’s only our fourth lockdown. But it was my daughter’s eleventh birthday recently and the promised trip to the mall (to see if she could figure out what she wanted, since she has no ideas) never happened.

What she needs is a hoodie, and she only likes the zip-through ones. For older girls these are very hard to find! She’s outgrown cutesie stuff made for little girls and while she’s tall enough for age 14 clothes she doesn’t like the ubiquitous logo black and grey stuff made for teenagers.

What on earth are tweens supposed to wear?

And guess what her birthday present was? An executive chair for her desk. She spends a lot of time at her computer because of remote learning, and because she’s writing spreadsheets with her dad for a card game about dragons. Until now she’s been sitting crunched up on a dining room chair, often sharing with a cat.

I also gave her these…

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Family Fun for Real

What are your go-to family favorite games? As a child, we were a Scrabble-or-Canasta family. Friends in America introduced us to Euro boardgames 15 years ago, and we’ve been crazy about them ever since.

My state is currenly on lockdown for a week – no leaving the house except for essential shopping, work, medical, and exercise, as well as remote learning for school kids.

I’d like to achieve something concrete during this time, so as mentioned in my last post I’m clearing up my front room. We have one games cabinet and I need to cull our boardgames to fit in there. My daughter and I piled every single board game we own on the tables and… well, we have 87. That’s just ridiculous. Some are decades old, belonging to my husband – he hasn’t played them since before we met. We have 10 or so that we regularly play, and another 20 we enjoy a lot, but surely the rest can be thrown out, resold, or at least stored away until they’re forgotten about? To that end, I’ve ordered three huge heavy-duty storage crates!

I’ll take you on a tour of some of the games we enjoy as a family. None of these are the classic “roll the dice and move” games such as Monopoly. Euro games, if you haven’t tried them, well, you’re missing out! They’re often not particularly competitive, which makes them less stressful for kids, and for me. You build your own worlds rather than fretting too much about what other people are doing, so the experience is fun even if you don’t win.

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My Lockdown Project

You know how there’s that one space in your home that becomes a junk space? A drawer in the kitchen, a closet in the hall, a basket on the countertop, a corner in the bedroom… or sometimes, an entire room!

My state of Victoria just went into lockdown after a new outbreak of COVID-19. I have lots of writing to get through, but I also have a mess of a front room to deal with, a year’s worth of junk piling up as I clear out other spaces in the house… and I think it needs to become my lockdown project.

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Xay in San Francisco

I just uploaded one of the final chapters of The Beat Goes On (Wynter Wild Book 10), where Xay plays a concert in San Francisco. He’s supporting Destructex, a band of “aging rockers” whose heyday was the 80s although they retain a massive fan base, which of course can’t hurt Xay’s fledgling career when he opens for them.

Here are a few more details about the venue and the concert that essentially launches Xay’s career into the stratosphere.

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Why My Books are Not YA

What happens when young adults read your book that’s not YA?

I love all my readers, so I don’t mind at all! But here’s the thing – young adults weren’t the audience I intended to attract when I wrote the Wynter Wild books, and I don’t believe I’ve written a YA story.

Wattpad tells me that readers of Little Sister Song (Wynter Wild book 1) are one quarter aged 13-18, and one half aged 18-25. Of the rest, about half are over 25 and half don’t give their age. (In addition, four-fifths are female and the rest don’t say.) This age spread is similar to Wattpad’s overall age demographic, which skews young, and my feeling from reading comments over the past two years is that my readers largely read young adult books.

However… I didn’t know this when I started uploading chapters to Wattpad. The series is not YA, although clearly young adults enjoy it. Older women across all age groups are also enjoying it, and that’s the audience I aim to reach when I relaunch the books – even though the series isn’t typical women’s fic either.

Let’s look at what young adult literature is, and why Wynter Wild doesn’t qualify.

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My Spreadsheets

Ah, my spreadsheets…

I have a lot of them, and I’m very attached to them.

Once I realized my little contemporary drama was going to be not-so-little, I started a spreadsheet to track a few things, and in retrospect I’m so glad I did. It’s far easier to work on timelines and lists as you go than piecing things together later or trawling through previous books to find out when something happened.

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