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Character Spotlight: Wahanui Huatare

There are actually two characters with this name in my historical adventure novel, Chains of Freedom, so we’ll talk about both of them.

They both belong to the same tribe in New Zealand which is where they get their surname. Huatare is the name of the tribe and would have been the second name of every tribe member, although to them it was less like a surname and more like a tribal identifier.

Wahanui Huatare Sr. Is Kaihaitu’s father and the father of Wahanui Huatare Jr. Sr is already dead before the beginning of the book and forms the backstory but that doesn’t make him less important. The consequences of this man’s actions, teachings and death are felt throughout this story.

He’s a patient man with a thirst for knowledge that he tries to pass onto both his children. He spends a lot of time with Kaihaitu when she’s younger trying to teach her the many responsibilities of his role as tribal leader. He also hopes that by teaching her to learn and think that she’ll carry the tribe through to success in the future. On top of this he spends time teaching his son as well, although this isn’t really mentioned in the book.

There’s plenty of love between Wahanui and his partner in life so his kids grow up in a loving atmosphere and this gives both children a confidence as adults. He obviously dotes on his children, acquiring the two capuchin monkeys for Kai as her coming of age present and making an effort to spend time with them despite how busy he’d have been.

And this brings me to Wahanui Jr. He’s much more like his father than Kai is but with her being the eldest and the only one fully trained when her father dies Kai is allowed to take over the leadership if the tribe. Through her mistakes and the things she learns her younger brother goes on to be a great leader. With her as an advocate of the peace that can exist between the English and Maori cultures.

This is one of those moments where I get to point out some of the research I did. Wahanui Jr is based upon a real person of the same name (pictured to the left), who led a great tribe of Maori and helped bring peace between the natives and the Red coat soldiers that flooded the land. He even sailed to England and spoke to Queen Victoria about the matter.

We don’t really see much of this character in the book as it’s his younger years but it does make it easier to get an idea of what happens next. It melds nicely into the history of the time, where more and more English settlers came and the Maori culture had to suddenly share their land.

The Plan: May 2013

And another month bites the dust! April felt like it flew by for me and March too (I know it’s been two months since I did one of these)

I got up to all sorts in the last two months, most notably I finished the first draft of Sherdan’s Legacy so that has now entered the editing stage. I also wrote two short stories in that time. One is a fantasy short which will also be published sometime this year and the other is a very short short set in Sherdan’s world about 5-6 years into the future from the end of Sherdan’s Legacy. This will feature in an anthology with a whole bunch of other authors shortly.

I’ve also received a huge number of new reviews of several of my published works over the last two months. Most of them really good, especially of Chains of Freedom. I’ve also now got an email list for new releases, so if anyone wants to make sure they hear about my latest books then just head here and sign up.

In March I managed to write 21.5k and this month I’ve hit 14k, bringing me up to a total of over 80k words this year, which is way ahead of where I was last year.

This Month I’m hoping to get the edits for Sherdan’s Legacy all done so I can send it off to my proofers, as well as do the last fixes on For Such a Time as This to get it ready to publish in June. I’m also in a month long May thing with competitions and prizes etc. I should be able to post detail soon. It should be fun and a Kindle fire is up for grabs.

Hopefully on top of all that I will manage to get some writing done but I’m not expecting a lot. 10k would be nice 15k would be awesome. Either way I have a feeling I’m going to be aiming to finish the Fire of Winter in June using Camp NaNoWriMo as a motivation tool to write the 40-50k I’m going to need to do by then.

Book launch results

As many of you are probably aware, yesterday I celebrated the release of my new book Chains of Freedom.

I’ve posted about it recently but you can check out my book page by clicking on the cover on the right if you want to find out more about it.

The launch went better than I expected and I shot up the charts pretty quickly and stayed there for most of the day and part of the next. Here’s a screenie of my best position:

Considering that the historical fiction top 100 is actually very hard to get into due to the number of very popular historical fiction authors with a large number of books (I think there were 8 Bernard cornwell books in the top 100 and a similar number of Ken Follet ones) which doesn’t tend to leave much space for newer authors trying to work their way up.

I also managed to achieve two great 5 star reviews from readers as you can see in the screenie as well. I couldn’t really have asked for a better start to the books journey.

Now that the book launch is done the price has been raised to it’s normal price and it now sits at $2.99/£1.99 so hopefully sales will continue at a reasonable rate at what’s still a fairly cheap price but a bit less of an impulse purchase.

So thank you everyone who helped promote and bought the book so far.

The Plan: June 12

Last Month

Been a busy month, as is more common for me so here’s the bullet list:

  • Hand wrote approx 5k of Shattered
  • Typed approx 20k (Including emails and blogs)
  • Spent 10 hours working for red feather
  • Spent 5 hours working for Flight
  • Spent approx 20 hours doing marketing and promotion
  • Read for about 50 hours
  • Sent 49 emails

I’ve not communicated much with other people this month via emails but have done a heck of a lot via social networks so the email count is deceptively low. I guess that may be the way things are heading as I get more and more of my promotion from the social networks as well.

Sales are still reasonably strong and beat last month but unfortunately didn’t double May’s sales last year. I did have an extroardinarily good May last year though and did a lot less promoting this month than I’d normally try and do.

My time ended up being focused on the edits for Chains of Freedom. As you can see from my progress bars to the right, the edit is now finished and my lovely proofers are just taking a quick look at that for me. I am expecting to go for a release date around June 20th so really not long now for that book but I’ll post more about that in a few days.

I also got stuck into my research for novel 4 which I’m calling Shattered for now and even managed to get started on the writing side of things.

This Month I’m hoping to, obviously get Chains published, and also focus a little more on promotion again. I slacked off last month a bit and my sales began to feel the affect so I’d like to reverse that a little. A new book should help with that, however. New books always build a little hype and remind people I’m still here.

Other then that I just really want to get writing the next book. I originally set myself the target of 100k words by the end of June this year but I’ve only written approximately 60k this year so 40k is what I’ve got left to try and chip away at. I don’t think I’ll manage quite that much but I’d like to write about 25k and then write a fair bit in July too to catch up and with the 50k minimum I write in November I should hopefully get close to the 200k I’d like by the end of the year.

This month I’ve also got a fair bit of time off planned. I’ve got the jubilee weekend camping in dartmoor, which is my kind of fun. I think I should totally get up to something Sherlock related while there. I also have the last week of June and the first week of July off in the two week holiday I am meant to take each summer. This is usually the only time of year I actually take time off from everything so I’m camping in Cornwall to watch the j class boat regatta in falmouth for the first week and then exploring some of the south coast in the second week.

While I say I’m going to be taking time off if it’s anything like last years holiday I’m sure I’ll find some old tall ship or something else that I can snoop around for research purposes and I’ll be doing a lot of reading I’m sure. I’ve already begun stocking my kindle with lovely things to read.

Chains Of Freedom: Excerpt

Here’s the opening approx 1k of book 2, Chains Of Freedom, enjoy.

 

Kaihaitu Huatare lay on her back in the long grass, staring up at the star filled sky. It would not be long until dawn and another day but she had not slept yet. She had so much to think about that even when she closed her eyes her brain carried on as if she was wide awake.

Eventually Kaihaitu stood up. She could not sleep now. Her village would arise soon and as their leader she could not let them see her troubled.

“Hehu, Matiu,” she called into the surroundings. Two small rustles in the grass came towards her and then two capuchin monkeys bounded out and chattered excitedly at her as they clambered up onto her shoulders. She straightened her clothes where their hands and feet had pulled them about in their scurry to their current positions.

Kai dressed simply, in clothes made from animal pelts. The brown leather complemented the creamy colour of her skin and was all that she wore except for a belt with a knife and small pouch.

Standing for a moment, she looked towards the brightening sky to the east, reluctant to head back to the village and her responsibilities. With a sigh she picked up the bow and arrows on the ground near where she had been laying. Hehu and Matiu chattered indignantly at this as they had to hang onto her shoulders tightly so they did not fall off. She ignored them, knowing they were perfectly fine and started the trek back home from her refuge.

The sun had just started to show her face when she arrived back to the huts of mud, stone and grass that made up the tribes home. Several of the people were already up and fetched her some fruit from a basket sitting out in the open.

After saying thank you to the older woman and asking her how she was, Kai handed both monkeys one of the small fruits. They stopped their excited speech to eat breakfast. The silence was a relief to her and she thoughtfully munched on some more of the fruits as she walked through the rest of the village.

No one else talked to her until she reached a small wooden outpost, built overlooking the east side of the village and the valley stretching to the nearest beach. She relieved the night sentry of duty and climbed the rope to the wooden platform.

For a few minutes the young male that she had replaced stayed with her. He filled her in on the happenings of his watch. He was new to this as was almost the entire tribe.

They had only needed to place people on guard duty since they had fought with the redcoats. Before then their village had been peaceful.

The male villager due to take his watch after her, Henare, disturbed her from her thoughts. She frowned when she saw him. He was early, he was also annoying.

To be fair to Henare, Kai did like him and he was a very respected member of her tribe but he kept following her around and fussing over her. Now she was the leader of the tribe she was considered to be ready for marriage by the majority of the village. Although she had several winters more than the fifteen that they normally expected, she did not agree.

He, however, seemed to think that not only was she ready to be married but that he was the perfect match for her. If she wanted a man who could build her a sturdy house with good furniture and keep her well fed, she would have been pleased. She wished for someone different entirely, even if she did not know who she wanted yet, he was definitely not it.

Henare was everything her mother thought a good husband should be, strong, yet protective and caring to Kai, and although what he lacked in intelligence he made up for by working hard. He also had a certain rugged appeal to his looks. There was something missing she could not define, however.

She pretended she had not noticed him until his head appeared above the level of the wooden platform she stood on.

“Good morning Kai, your mother said you had only had some fruit for breakfast this morning so I thought I would bring you some food and drink and keep you company until my watch,” he told her.

“Thank you Henare,” she replied as Hehu and Matiu scampered off her shoulders and up into the tree nearby. They did not seem to like Henare and always ran off when he turned up. This alone would be enough to stop her from entertaining the thought of having him as her husband. Hehu and Matiu were always with her and were much more important to her than having a partner was.

“You look tired, you did not sleep again last night?” Henare asked.

“No, I was busy.”

“Busy doing what?”

“Just busy… I had some things to think about,” she replied, not wanting to explain.

“Anything I can help with?”

“Not really… Actually there is something you could do for me,” Kai smiled, thinking of a way to get him to go away, “my mother needed help with her roof, it’s leaking in one corner.”

“Oh that, I fixed it already,” he said, looking very pleased with himself.

“Thank you.”

“You are welcome. I am sure it was not that which kept you awake all night, however.”

“No it was not.”

Kai lifted her hand up, stopping him from replying. She had heard something in the distance, away from the village and listened and looked intently up ahead. He knew better than to say anything.

For a few minutes they only sound that could be heard was the rustling in the nearby tree as Hehu and Matiu moved about. She then saw two redcoat men slowly creeping through the undergrowth. They had not noticed Kai and Henare watching them as they were obviously hunting something.

Suddenly one of them raised his gun and fired, narrowly missing Hehu. Kai instantly yelled out. Hehu and Matiu both ran down the tree towards her as she climbed down from the look-out post.

Another shot rang out and Hehu squealed and then stopped moving. She called out again as the two redcoats started to jog over. She picked up the motionless monkey as Matiu ran up onto her shoulder and tried to burrow into her neck, scared.

The Plan: August 11

Last Month

July was one very full on month. I got lots done but also turned 25 and celebrated my 5th wedding anniversary. Junk did launch, though not quite in the manner expected, and I pretty much did everything I wanted to. Pretty much anyway. Here’s some of the stuff I did.

  • Modeled our first t-shirt prototype and ordered a second.
  • Hand wrote approx 10k of book 2
  • Typed approx 35k (Including emails and blogs)
  • Spent about 25 hours reading
  • Spent about 40 hours working for Junk
  • Spent about 10 hours working for Flight
  • Spent about 20 hours promoting book 1
  • Spent approx 10 hours formatting and sorting out book 1 for print.
  • Sent 80 emails
  • Spent 10 hours on Skype doing business.

Promoting of book 1 yielded me two very lovely book reviews. The first one got me 4 butterflies out of 5 and you can read the review here. The second was by The Romance Reviews website and was one of the loveliest reviews I’ve had despite only being 3 out of 5 stars, you can read that one here.

On top of all the reviewing goodness I got picked for the facebook group Book Junkies August group discussion book along with two others. The participants are reading the book currently to discuss it on August 15th-18th and there is still plenty of time for anyone else to join in if they want to. Just head over to the facebook event here and click attending (worth doing even if you’re not 100% sure so you can get updates). I’m going to be giving out an advanced copy of book 2 to some lucky peeps that turn up to discuss. It will be a little delayed after the discussion as it’s got some editing stages to go through but the winners will get it before it goes on sale.

Junk is also on facebook as I’ve recently said and taking orders so I’d really like to encourage you to head over to Jnk Clothing and click the like button. There will be facebook fanpage only events and chances to win prizes over the future weeks and months.

Finally I finished book 2’s first draft and have come up with the working title of Chains Of Freedom for it to go through editing.

This month I don’t plan on doing huge amounts. I’m on holiday for the last two weeks and I expect will still be very caught up in business related things over the first few. If everything goes well I might get second draft of Chains Of Freedom done and potentially final draft of the two shorts for the collaboration in works. Either way it shouldn’t be too long before I can announce a release date for something new.