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M.J. Stevens – Author and Creative Spirit

A young woman trying to make sense of the world

Happy Australia Day

162569_home_heroAnother year, another Australia Day!

I know a lot of people who follow my blog are actually outside of Australia, so no doubt are curious about what the heck this “day” even is.

Australia Day has a couple of meanings. The first and most important is the traditional meaning. It marks the anniversary of white settlers in Australia in 1788 who founded our nation. Of course, the country was already founded by Australian Aboriginals who have lived across Aus since the dawn of time (or The Dreamtime to be exact – you can look it up if you want! Take a moment to learn a traditional story, they’re so creative!)

In a modern sense, it’s a day where we celebrate diversity, and for me it’s a day where I reflect on my family’s long history in Australia, what it means to be a woman in this nation and how lucky I am to have such great opportunities without so much as a second thought about my safety or other global issues.

It can also be a time of unrest for our nation as some unfortunate individuals take this time to protest their vision of our nation, which can sometimes lead to violence and hate. However, we always try and focus on the best things… like cooking lamb on the barbie!

So whether you are in Aus, or outside, Happy Australia Day, mate.

Why ‘mate’? Because we’re all mates ‘ere. Too right! Catch ya later!

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I didn’t make a NYE resolution to be successful – for good reason.

Ahhh… so it’s the new year. 2016 is gone and we shall never speak of it again. Ever.

Ok, maybe just briefly.

While 2016 was a moderately ok year, to be extremely fair, it was still lacking all the fundamental things that make years a success – in my eyes. This includes writing anything of substance, making money, taking any worthwhile holidays, having clarity, finding love, being yourself, finding love, having more space and time, love, love… LOVE.

So, as I head into 2017 another year single, with no new books published, (a tub of coconut ice-cream in one hand, and a box of tissues in the other) I ask myself this: why do we put so many expectations on ourselves, and is that why years finish, more or less, like poop? Is it because we force ourselves to be someone we aren’t or perhaps see ourselves as unworthy? Probably.

The other day I was chilling on my couch with headphones on, a frequent state for me. And I was thinking about my job and dreaded Monday. I was thinking about the pile of work on my desk, the stress that Monday will bring because Thursday is a public holiday in Australia and so all my deadlines for this week are ridiculously tight, and then about how I’m going to be able to handle it. I even thought, should I start at 7am to help get a jump start on the day? Maybe 7am starts are the way to go all week!

And then it came to me: who cares?

For me, my “professional life” is currently a means to an end. It’s the place I go to exchange my time for funds to live. But then again, it all comes back to that expectation that this year, I will have achieved enough to earn myself a place in society slightly higher than the one I have now. To finally have in my head that career goal, that ultimate path.

That may be a negative thought to the MAX, but for someone who is creative-born, doing things that aren’t making the world a better, brighter, happier and more fruitful place is the same as digging a hole to China. It’s a good way to spend your day doing something, but is anyone really benefiting from this giant yard hole?

The truth is, I don’t know what I want to do with my life. I have absolutely no real idea what I’m doing. And I think we would all be a lot happier if we could just take a breath *inhales and exhales* and admit we are all terrified. We are all simply faking it until we’re making it.

Doesn’t that feel better? I do, knowing not everyone has a plan. We are all just trying to put together pieces of things we like and going, “does that look right?” Like a weird puzzle where pieces change every day.

So my 2017 “resolutions” are things that are more important than being successful. Here they are:

  • Laugh 1000x more than I did last year
  • Remember to publish blogs, and don’t be a slacker (carry over from 2016)
  • Keep up with shaving my legs on time
  • Don’t sit inside too much or burn when I’m outside
  • Change my bedding more frequently
  • Throw out underwear once it has holes (you’d think this would be obvious)
  • Take car maintenance more seriously
  • Tell certain people in my life to F**k off, because they really need to F**k off
  • Attempt Yoga again
  • Take more trips on my own
  • Wear more kooky shirts
  • Purchase said kooky shirts
  • Find happiness, not love

I hope your 2017 is off to a smashing start and you are in full-blown recovery mode from 2016.

Happy Writing x

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December Update! Have a Safe Holiday Season from MJ!

Part of me can’t believe that it is December already… and yet another part feels like it’s about right! I’m exhausted!

Brisbane Supanova came and went for another year. It was a successful selling and sharing weekend and I was delighted to see so many of you there again, chatting and wasting my time freeloading around my table (HAHA JOKING!)

What a year it has been! For the first time since 2014, I didn’t produce a book, however, Stories of the Past is coming together nicely. On a whole 2016 has been just an emotionally big year for me. I’ve had several big life changes from gaining friends, to losing friends and love, seeing friends get married, moving into my first place, changing jobs, trying a few hundred new things and trying to just be happy which is a challenge in and of itself!

This year I will be closing up by continuing to work hard on SOTP and a few other projects.

In 2017 I have no idea what I am doing – at this stage, I might not be at Gold Coast Supanova, but I might attend as a guest and relax! (Some of you think that I’m from the Gold Coast. I’m not, I’m in Brisbane just FYI haha)

I would love to do more interstate cons but we will just have to see how it goes! As always if you are interested in seeing me at a local school or library just let me know which one, or ask them and send them my details! The school talk that I did this year was a great success and I hope I can do more in the future!

I know a lot of you have been asking about SOTP and for more information. Not to worry my children! More info will be coming your way soon including a cover reveal. For now, I will share a few videos to this blog in case you haven’t seen them yet!

If I don’t get a chance to check in again, I hope that everyone has a safe and happy Christmas and New Year!

Brisbane Supanova is 2 Weeks Away!!

My fave event of the year, Supanova Brisbane is just two weeks away! I’m so excited!

If you want to come and see me, I will have all of my guardians series books available with the usual $5 discount for multiple buys. I will have cash and PayPal card reader options (for debit and credit cards – sadly not EFTPOS) and of course bookmarks and smiles!!

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Stories of the Past: Release Date Changed

Hello everyone!

For the busy peeps, I’ve summed this blog up:

As I’m sure you can well imagine from the title, I have taken a lot of time and hours of thought and decided that I cannot release Stories of the Past at the expected deadline. Currently, I have no official release, I’m content in just saying 2017 for now.

For those who are happy to hear me go on:

This last month has been quite challenging for me personally and professionally. I’ve had a lot of people mention that I haven’t been promoting my books as much and that I’ve sort of lost the light. I haven’t lost the light, I just … put it somewhere and can’t find it right now.

It’s what I do.

The year is counting down and 2016 has been a great year… but a completely stressful and hair-ripping year as well. Due to the days left coming to a close, I would like to continue working on my book at my own pace. I am a huge fan of late November – February (aka Christmas, New  Year’s, Birthday… Summer) and always allow myself these hot months to chill, swim, lay around, think about what the future holds and take all the pressure off. I can work endless hours from Feb-November again, and that’s more than enough. So needless to say, the end of the year isn’t a good time for me to be trying to start a huge project.

I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on myself to make sure this book is the best one yet, which comes with heaps of stress that I frankly am struggling to handle.

Your mental health is something you should never take for granted. Some people eye-roll me when I talk about this subject (oddly … you can talk about gay marriage but not being depressed and anxious? Weird!) but it’s an important one. If you lose yourself down the path of mental health it can be days, weeks, months and even years before you find the light again. And it’s not as easy as “cheering up” or I’m sorry to say it, but “Are U Ok?”

So to avoid all that, I’m cutting myself a break. Yes, I will 100% still be working on SOTP in the background when inspiration hits, but I won’t feel the pressure to have an entire book finished, edited, cover designed, text designed, legally verified, ebook’d, promoted, printed, shipped and delivered in…. less that a few months? Plus two conventions and a possible book signing? AND REGULAR WORK TO PAY FOR FOOD? GAH!!

Thanks for your understanding on this and I hope everyone is doing well!

Happy writing and reading!

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Book Expo Australia has been CANCELLED

Hello everyone!

It’s with great sadness I write that BEA has been cancelled as of 1pm yesterday. I’m so sorry to all those who were looking forward to this and gosh – I was too! I have my bag packed and flights booked… but I guess life does things sometimes!

I will try to get to Sydney another time for an alternative event so I can meet everyone.

All the best!

MJ

Book Expo Australia – Just 6 Sleeps Away!

Hi Everyone!

Can you believe it? Book Expo Australia in Sydney is just a few short days away. I’m so excited and super nervous as this is my first out of state con. I hope NSW peeps like my books!! (I was born and spent the first 7 years of my life in NSW… please be kind?!)

If you want to make sure you have your tickets secure, they’re available online for purchase NOW! Here is the LINK.

I’m looking forward to recruiting some new Sentry officers (haha) and making some new friends!

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September Update! Book Expo Countdown!

Well, September is here, I know… how?

It’s going to be a big and busy month for me. There is plenty happening right now between work and writing, I am still trying hard to get words down for Stories of the Past!

Right now it is literally all over the place. I write a scene and turn the words a different colour so I don’t forget that it isn’t part of the same chapter, and this has happened so much lately the whole document is basically a rainbow. It amazed me at my recent author talk how many people (and kids) think you have to write from page one, word one. Write what comes to you and then worry about what comes next. Sometimes, if I develop a great scene (or one I think is great) I write backwards. And not weird backwards, just “okay what came before that? Then what did he say before THAT? Then who walked in BEFORE THAT…” you get my point.

If that isn’t enough October has a my first ever interstate event!

My fellow author Jason Kendrick and I are preparing for Book Expo Australia which is happening in Sydney! If you’re Sydney-based and keen on going, you can check out the details on their website HERE.

I will have plenty of copies of my Guardians Series and I will be selling Bound with $10 going to the ALNF (as I’m doing everywhere until December 31st 2016) so make sure you come see us! You can learn more about Jason HERE.

Then before you know it, it will November and Supanova Brisbane will be upon us! Supanova is one of my big events and takes a lot of time and energy with three days of hardcore exhibiting and trying to dazzle strangers with my wits. Huuhhhhhhh~

I will have more on this event as it gets closer.

Finally, if you missed it the prologue for SOTP has gone live for you to enjoy! Video below!

Thanks for supporting & happy writing!

Listen to Stories of the Past’s prologue!!

Hello all!
 
I have a gift for you, SOTP’s prologue as read out by a very lifelike sounding internet based program woman. Haha. The book itself is told from Frieda’s point of view, but this little bit is different.
 
Please keep in mind this is a work in progress and will more than likely change in the coming months as edits are done and so forth.

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