Happy New Year!

DebE —  January 3, 2013 — 3 Comments

… and I believe it really will be!

Anyway, without further ado, here is my New Year gift to you… the eBook Cover for Healer’s Touch!

Cover art for Healer's Touch

Healer’s Touch is growing up into a REAL book

So, now seems to be the time to think back on 2012 and look forward to 2013. I think it’s pretty obvious what 2013 will bring for me. The release of my first novel (that I have have spent many years working to shape into something I hope appeals to some) will bring some excitement (although, I’m well aware I can’t go expecting it to sell millions in its first month, one can dream, right up until that first month is over!) and work to give it the best chance of being discovered by those who might enjoy it. All the while, I shall continue on with work on Warrior’s Touch. I’m very excited at the prospect of getting that one to this stage. I have some confidence that readers will enjoy the direction the story is taking.

Now, 2012. What a year that was. I wrote a newsletter item for a group I’m a member of on writing.com, which I think I will paraphrase here… What can I say, I love writing, but I don’t love writing the same stuff over and over!

2012 was a pretty wild ride for me. I started the year feeling very much the amateur and, while I may not have finished it an expert, I have come a long way since then. My latest writing journey began back in 2009 when I started penning a story to entertain myself during quiet times at work. The story slowly evolved into something I thought I might share, and through feedback from friends and WDC members it became something not-too-shabby, but still far from awesome. And then 2012 rocked around…

2012 started with me signed up and eager to go with a small group of WDC members with the sole purpose of helping each other shape the first three chapters of a work-in-progress into something that might grab the attention of an agent or publisher. This was a wonderful exercise, and I went on to add a new opening to my story.Now, technically, it’s not a good idea to put so much effort into a story’s opening before you’ve even finished a first draft (I will forever advocate FINISHING!), but it was still a good exercise for me because I was working with a wonderful group that helped me think past the first three chapters, as well as letting me know what readers would be looking for in those early pages.

Along with this wonderful WDC group, I also joined a local Writers’ Workshop. What an amazing experience! None of my friends or family are writers, so until this year my only experience with other writers had been right here: online. Now I get to count writers among my friends, and it feels great, like I’m truly finding myself.

At the start of winter (summer for you Northerners), I learned that there was going to be a manuscript contest run by our (New Zealand’s) national Speculative Fiction group: SpecFicNZ with a closing date at the end of July and the prize (for the top 3) a FREE critique! How could I not give that a go?!

So, at the end of June through July, I suddenly found myself writing at NaNoWriMo rates to get my novel finished (I turned into a real dragon-lady for the month, protecting my writing time fiercely). I was very lucky to have found a supportive writing friend online who helped proof-read and guide a little structural editing as I went. So, although I did rush my novel finished, it wasn’t a total wreck when I submitted it to the contest.

Well, I told you how that went…

But, by then I was already in contact with Kristell Ink, so the results of the contest were no longer an issue for me. However, I have to credit the contest deadline with giving me a deadline to finish my novel! I’m not giving myself a deadline for Warrior’s Touch, yet, just because as a mother I can’t afford to be dragon-lady all the time. I come close even without the deadline, but last July… woo… I’ll set something when I get to around 50-75% done, I think.

I know I haven’t paid my dues in rejection slips. Basically, I played a numbers game and the odds were in my favour (so long as my story was good enough, I wasn’t up against similar stories already signed to the publisher, or whatever else might stand in the way of a writer getting published). I also know the true test won’t come until the book is available to the public. I got very lucky and managed to get myself the perfect balance between self-publilshing (a little more control, and a swift timetable) and traditional publishing (greater reach, someone else to do some of the work for me…). For you other writers out there, I wish you every success in following the best publishing path for you. We’re all different. Self-pubbing is exactly what some need to do, hooking a Big Five publisher is what others need to do, and a small imprint is perfect for others. Go with your gut.

Since September, it’s been a pretty wild ride. There were minor scene re-writes and line-edits. They were heart-wrenching and fun all at once. I got to see my story really emerge, awaken. But I had to kill a lot of darlings to get there…

And now release date is looming… and not the bad kind of looming. The kind of looming done by Ludo from Labrynth… cute looming…  comforting looming (so long as you’re his friend).

The biggest lesson I learned from 2012 was the value of FINISHING! I won’t condemn you for editing as you go – I still do it – but try to keep forward momentum going and reach that end! Editing takes on a new dimension when you have a real ending in place.

Anyway, this post is as long as my efforts on Warrior’s Touch should be today (but won’t be)… I wish you all the very best for 2013. May you read and write some excellent books!




Deb E was born in New Zealand’s North Island, but her parents corrected that within months, moving south to Dunedin and staying there. Childhood nights were spent falling asleep to cover versions of Cliff Richard and the Shadows and other Rock ’n Roll classics played by her father’s band, and days were spent dancing to 45 LPs. Many of her first writing experiences were copying down song lyrics. She graduated to scientific reports when she studied a nematophagus fungus in the Zoology department of the University of Otago, trading all traces of popularity for usefulness… then traded both for fiction. Mum of one human & four fur-babies.

3 responses to Happy New Year!


    Lovely! Though the guy on the right has his hat sitting too high on his head. Unless he has twice the braincase size of the average human. Congrats on your looming release date!


    Reblogged this on NewsLetter and commented:
    Debbie Howell is a Kristell Ink author whose fantasy novel Healer’s Touch will be launching 31st January 2013 – more soon!

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