Sunday, 29 November 2015

Nightingale releases

It's a testament to how far I'm behind with everything that I only manage to update the blog now. It meant overcoming the jetlag and finding a moment to organise my thoughts.

So, as subscribers to my newsletter already know, Nightingale is out now on Amazon.

If you don't want to buy it from Amazon, send me an email to vashtan at gmail dot com - I'm happy to send you the file for a small donation to a LGBTQ charity or a charity that helps the refugees. Both causes are close to my heart.

I'll be updating this blog post with links to interviews and blog posts about Nightingale. I'm not really doing a tour, but in case you're interested, the links are below:

Inglorious Bitches: And A Nightingale Sang 

(More to follow)  

Monday, 16 November 2015

Back from New Zealand

Last week's trip to New Zealand was really a family visit to Palmerston North, so we didn't "do" much there - it was very much about family bonds with Dude's family (he has a stepmother and two step siblings there). 

Still, we managed to go on a day trip to Wellington (completely booked out, so finding a place where to rest our weary heads was a mini adventure in itself). And here's an impression from the Wellingtom Tourist Information Centre: 

The hotel where we ended up staying (Room 101 - you can't make this up) was down just a few doors from a tattoo parlour, so Dude got his long-awaited "armband" tattoo. 

On top of that, we visited (again) Te Papa, and enjoyed it very much  - especially the Gallipoli exhibition  which was very well done. 

And since I love the local jade (pounamu), I got myself a koru (spiral) piece and two whalebone carvings - the whale stranded at Gisborne, just down the coast, and the Maori have the traditional right to stranded whales in New Zealand, so that's where my two pieces came in. I've never seen whalebone carvings before (outside Te Papa, that is), and considering I'm working on a book about whalers, that seems like a nice little "coincidence". I do like surrounding myself with physical reminders of the book I'm working on - it keeps me focused and on task.

The first is a fairly traditional "hook" (supposed to bring prosperity and protect during journeys over water). You can see the typical whalebone structure - unlike most bone carvings that are mostly cow bone, shiny, white and polished, whale book is greyer and porous. It's also oddly light, and the slight roughness is actually nice to touch. 

The second is more "modern" in design  and clearly an unfurling fern (koru - the spiral, which signifies growth, strength, beauty and new beginnings).

I'm currently mostly wearing the hook, but I predict I'll switch back and forth between these two. 

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Update (Nightingale, Riptide et al)

Thanks all for your support over the last week or so – I’m grateful to have such great friends and so many passionate supporters. I’m humbled by you all and your generosity.

I’m happy to report that I’m working constructively with Riptide and assorted lawyers on finalising my exit from the business. Lawyers are doing their thing, editing agreements and such, but as I’m watching, it’s taking a shape everybody can live with. I want to stress that my interpretation of that first agreement was faulty – what I saw as “lopsided and unfair” was merely a draft missing my input. I’m optimistic we’ll reach an equitable, fair agreement that takes into account all concerns of all parties. Once the agreement is signed, I’m assured that the rights for Nightingale will return to me, and I can’t wait to share that book with you.

My primary focus in all of this was my readers – and to explain why the long-anticipated book wasn’t coming out on the day as promised. Making the promise was the big mistake that started it all—and it was not fair of me to blame Riptide for getting out ahead of myself and our negotiations.

I want to make absolutely sure it is understood that a boycott is the last thing I could possibly want for Riptide. I didn’t endorse a boycott, either. For two years, I was very involved at Riptide (I wrote the original author contract, I funded the first months of the company, I named the venture, I acquired lots of authors personally, edited, proof-read and a hundred other small things) and have stepped back since 2014 as Riptide hired staff who are more specialised and obviously do a much better job than my “jack-of-all-trades” approach.

The house has launched/re-launched plenty of careers, which pleases me greatly, because every author who makes a living or grows their career is a little triumph. I know Riptide has changed lives.  I’ve met plenty of amazing people in that time. The last thing I’d want to do is damage their incomes, livelihoods or even their joy in writing and publishing. Many of them are my friends, both online and offline.

But regardless of all that, I understand I’ve caused a great deal of consternation, and for that, I take full responsibility. It’s pointless to retrace exactly where the misunderstandings or faults were – I’m taking full responsibility for the miscommunication and misunderstandings, and I understand that my “in the heat of the moment” statements have led to even more misunderstandings from that.

With this, I want to wholeheartedly and unreservedly offer my apologies to everybody who was negatively impacted by my actions – I hope to learn from it.