Angela Oliver's Blog

March 13, 2015

Today I am in mourning, for today one of my favourite authors stepped out of this world and into the next (if you believe in that kind of thing). That author is Sir Terry Pratchett. He had struggled for eight years with alzheimers and finally it got the better of him.

I first discovered the Discworld close to 30 years ago, when desperately seeking something new to read in our tiny local library. I had already exhausted the books considered appropriate for my age and the bright, cartoonish covers (buxom ladies not withstanding) attracted me. Since then I have been a dedicated fan and have read almost all of his books.

As far as humourous writers go, there is none that can compare and few that can reach just that right balance of comedy, social satire and humanity. There are few characters that come alive in your imagination as Nanny Ogg, Captain Vimes, Moist Von Lipwick and all the others conceptualised by Sir Pterry.

It has been over a year now since we saw the last Discworld novel, and the world seems somewhat paler for losing such a bright light. But authors never truly die, their ideas, their passion, their legacy, that lives on long after in the hearts and minds of those that read them. And what better legacy can there be, then to create a world so rich that so many dare to dream in it? Characters so strong that you wish that you could meet them, maybe even buy them a drink? Words that have inspired and enthralled complete strangers for almost 30 years?

That is something that we, as authors, can all strive for. Immortality, not through our genes (although Sir Pterry has that too) but through our brain-seeds.

So whilst his death is sad, and his affliction was tragic, we should celebrate his life - a life well lived.
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Published on March 13, 2015 04:49 • 104 views • Tags: obituary, terrypratchett

December 18, 2014

"Traditionally" Published

Night of Cake & Puppets (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #2.5) by Laini Taylor Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy, #1) by Danielle L. Jensen Singing Home the Whale by Mandy Hager Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell The Way of Kings, Part 1 (The Stormlight Archive #1, Part 1 of 2) by Brandon Sanderson

Indie Published

Dream Caster (Dream Cycle, #1) by Najeev Raj Nadarajah White Hart (White Hart, #1) by Sarah Dalton FANGIRL_15 by Aimee RoselandBeyond the Briar A Collection of Romantic Fairy Tales by Shelley Chappell

Most Disappointing
(not necessarily bad books, but ones that I was expecting more from)

The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian KeyesFractured Dream (The Dreamer Saga, #1) by K.M. RandallDeep Blue (Waterfire Saga, #1) by Jennifer DonnellyShield of Winter (Psy-Changeling, #13) by Nalini SinghThe Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1) by James Dashner

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Published on December 18, 2014 22:59 • 59 views

November 2, 2014

I am proud to say, I started writing properly due to NaNoWriMo*. I entered for the first time in 2003, then again in 2004, before giving it a break for a few years, a failed attempt in 2007, then more succesful ones from 2010-2013.

My 2010 Nano novel is now published as Aroha's Grand Adventure: A Little Bird on a Big Adventure.

This year, due to other commitments (my unfinished second-novel-in-my-series/my animal-a-day project/work and general RL stuff), I have decided not to participate this year, but YOU should!

Now, for those of you trying NaNo for the first time - it is scary, but exciting! - if you have ever dreamed of writing a novel, but always considered you have never had the time, well, find the time! When I was writing "Aroha" I got up an hour earlier every morning, intending to write 1000 words before breakfast. If you're more of a night owl, well, make a time to shut off the book of face and the interweb and write for an hour or two (or three or four) before you go to bed.

You only have to write 1,667 words per day - and they don't even have to be GOOD words! Shut down the internal editor, put a lid on your inner critic and write, write, WRITE!

You can do it - because, I can tell you, that when you have caught the wave (and believe me, a certain amount of writing is hard work, but when the characters take over, your fingers cannot keep up with your brain), there is no more awesome feeling. You are like a god! These characters, they are your puppets, your toys, your pawns or queens or knights. You can point them in the direction you want them to go - then delight as they take on a life of their own and send the plot spiraling in directions you have never imagined!

Don't write for the market, don't write for your mother, your life partner - write for yourself, write the story that you want to read, and if the passion is there, then any future readers will sense it too.

So go forth and write!

* NaNoWriMo is "National Novel Writing Month" - the idea is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Find out more at:
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Published on November 02, 2014 01:11 • 43 views • Tags: inspiration, nanowrimo, pep-talk, writing-tips

September 4, 2014

My debut novel, "Aroha's Grand Adventure" is now available on Kindle for FREE.

Aroha's Grand Adventure A Little Bird on a Big Adventure by Angela Oliver

Follow the adventures of flightless bird, Aroha, as she walks, hitch-hikes and thieves her way home.

(From the 3-8th September)
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Published on September 04, 2014 00:35 • 32 views • Tags: free

August 23, 2014

As a local writer, and admin of the Christchurch Writers' Guild, it is both my duty (and my pleasure) to attend as many local writing festivals and what-not as possible. And it is awesome to see so many are put on locally, many of which are free to attend.

Today was the third Storylines Family Free day I have attended, and it felt somewhat lowkey compared to previous years. I made my way through the doors at the stroke of 10am, dutifully paid my gold coin donation, collected my program and made my way through the crowds of small children. Now, technically this is an event for children to attend - with face painting, story telling and I believe some other fun activites, but I shirked all of those in favour of the section aimed more at the adults - the discussion panels.

The first panel was the "evolution of the YA novel". At 10:30 on a sunday morning, it was perhaps not as well attended as it should have been.

Nest of Lies by Heather McQuillan I arrived too early, as is my wont, and fell into discussion with the lovely Heather McQuillan, whose book "Nest of Lies" I have previously purchased and enjoyed.

Cattra's Legacy by Anna Mackenzie A Necklace of Souls by R.L. Stedman My Brother's War by David Hill Then it was time for the speakers to arrive: David Hill whose books are well renowed (I've read one, "See Ya Simon") and set in our world, both past and present; Rachael Stedman who wrote a fantasy novel and won two awards: the Tessa Duder Storylines award and Best New Author in the NZ Post Children's Book Awards, and Anna Mackenzie who has written dystopia, fantasy and others beside. Due to the smaller audience, it was more a candid discussion than a straight-forward presentation, with plenty of audience questions scattered throughout.

Piano Rock A 1950s Childhood by Gavin Bishop The Red Poppy by David Hill After that discussion, we got to meet a couple of illustrators, the quirky Fifi Colston and local author/illustrator, Gavin Bishop, both of which are extremely talented as well as being both entertaining and offering insight into the world of illustration (along with some amusing anecdotes).
Alas, it is always the author that seems to get credit when picture books are added to sites such as these, but it is the synergy of author + illustrator that makes story book magic.

The Song of Kauri by Melinda Szymanik Two Little Bugs by Mark Sommerset Finally, a couple of picture book authors stepped in to discuss their craft and the nature of picture books, the writing and who they are really written for - since it is the adults that must buy them, and read them again, and again, and again. These authors were the Melinda Szymanik and Mark Sommerset who were both absolutely charming.

After that there were two more discussions, which I declined to attend (my belly was rumbling and BurgerFuel was calling).

Overall, I love the small, almost informal nature of these events and the candid nature of the authors and illustrators, who are more than willing to share their ideas and just discuss their craft with an amateur like myself.

Next week is the WORD Christchurch Writers' Festival, during which I get to meet my favourite author and idol, Laini Taylor, so expect another blog then!
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Published on August 23, 2014 17:07 • 67 views • Tags: book, festival, storylines

June 20, 2014

You may have heard me mention that our Writers' Guild have been working on a collection of our works, well, the good news is, it is finally (more-or-less) complete. Although we are still "sourcing" (ie: drawing) some interior illustrations for the physical version, which will hopefully lead to us collaborating somewhat with the Drawfest Christchurch art group.

Here is the book:

Reflections by Angela Oliver

I have tag-lined it as "an eclectic collection" and it most certainly is, although with a tendency towards the speculative genres.

You can read more about it by clicking the cover and reading my review, or visiting my friend Shelley's blog here: http://christchurchwritersguild.wordp...
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Published on June 20, 2014 23:23 • 64 views • Tags: anthology

April 1, 2014

To celebrate the release of Imax movie Madagascar: Island of Lemurs the week running from March 30th through until April 5th, has been dubbed "Lemur Week".

Therefore, I thought I would share a little about Madagascar and why I am writing my "Lemur Saga".

I believe my fascination with lemurs began sometime in High School, when we learnt about prosimians. At first, I fell in love with the tarsier (which isn't a lemur) but then I began doing volunteer work at Orana Park, a local zoo park. There was something about these furry little mammals - not quite a monkey, with their bright, round eyes, pixie faces and beautiful scarf-like tails. One day they let me on the island to hand feed them. I was instantly besotted. And it's been lemurs ever since. They're fun, they're playful, they're smarter than your average bear, but not what one might call intellectually minded. And face it, they're beautiful.

My lemur obsession led me to making the long journey to Madagascar in 2007, accompanied by my husband. It was truly the trip of a lifetime. For someone who had never been further abroad than Australia, the culture shock was almost overwhelming. So many people, so much poverty. It was enough to break one's heart. Especially when you journey out of the cities and into the countryside – a mostly barren wasteland of dry grasslands and rice paddies, an island that was once a real jewel, a real lost eden and is now around 90% deforested. Once we were in the forests, however, I found the true beauty. There is nothing quite as amazing as staring into the face of the smallest primate in the world, the tiny mouse lemur, or standing beneath an indri (the largest lemur) as she sings her mournful dirge. I was entranced.

The Malagasy culture fascinated me and the people with their colourful clothing, big smiles and calls of “Salama vazaha” enchanted me and thus “Lemurs: A Saga” was born. The Lemur culture is loosely based on that of the Malagasy people – the reverence of their ancestors (called here Lemures), their Famadihana (the turning of the bones); their clothing and general zest for life. But I have also given back Madagascar her forests, given the farmers antelope instead of zebu cattle and goats and taken a great many liberties. Whilst some of the places – Morombe, Morondova, Belo-sur-Tsiribihana, the Tsiribihina river, and (Antana)Narivo actually exist, they bear little resemblance to their Madigaska counterparts.

Lastly, Queen Ranavalona IS real. Of course, in our world she wasn't a lemur, but other than that, most of her deeds in this novel are not entirely imagined.

For more information on how YOU can help the people, and lemurs, of Madagascar, plus further information on “Lemurs: A Saga” visit:
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Published on April 01, 2014 02:18 • 66 views • Tags: inspiration, lemurs, madagascar

March 8, 2014

Thanks to my (currently) small, but enthusiastic, fan base, I have secured a nomination for "Best New Talent" in the SFFANZ Sir Julius Vogel Awards.

Firstly, I would like to give a special big THANK YOU to those that nominated me.

Secondly, I would like anyone who is planning to attend the ConclaveII event in Auckland, over ANZAC weekend, or who is a member of SFFANZ to get in touch with me. I would like to give out free copies of my ebooks NOT to secure a vote, but so that those who are voting can have the opportunity to familiarise themselves with my stories and style before the day of voting begins.

Here are my three titles, from which any interested party can select:

A Midsummer Knight's Quest by Angela Oliver Aroha's Grand Adventure A Little Bird on a Big Adventure by Angela Oliver Fellowship of the Ringtails (Lemurs Saga, #1) by Angela Oliver

Please send me a message with your email address if you are interested in reading and (potentially) reviewing.

And to keep things entirely unbiased, here are my fellow contenders for the title:

Sharon Hannaford
- vampire/romance/action

Dan Rabarts
- sci-fi/horror/steampunk/shorter stories

R.L. Stedman
- epic fantasy/winner of Tessa Duder Award 2012.

and lastly,
Robert Wainright
- who has no internet presence that I have managed to locate
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Published on March 08, 2014 22:39 • 102 views • Tags: awards, new-zealand, sffanz, sir-julius-vogel, sjv

January 2, 2014

I've listed my favourite Indie books, now for my favourite "big house" reads from 2013:

The Humans by Matt Haig Alveridgea The Legend of the Lonely Dog by Ivan Clarke Dodger by Terry Pratchett Dear Vincent by Mandy Hager The Nature of Ash by Mandy Hager
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Published on January 02, 2014 11:46 • 62 views • Tags: lists
As an Indie author myself, I find myself drawn to other independent authors and publishing houses. Here are my top#5 picks from 2013:

Stim by Kevin Berry Under These Restless Skies by Lissa Bryan Azrael's Twins Book One of the Nearworld Tales by V J Mortimer Arabelle's Shadows by Fleur Gaskin Telesa The Covenant Keeper (Telesa, #1) by Lani Wendt Young

With any luck, at least one of my titles will appear on somebody's list for 2014.
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Published on January 02, 2014 11:40 • 64 views • Tags: lists