Then we went a long way south with my husband's uncle, all the way to Waimate (a less well-known holiday spot, but the wallabies and the junk shops there are rather striking). And I took my first dip in the freezing cold waters of the South Island of New Zealand at Kakanui.
After all that holidaying around, I thought I would get back to work. I'm afraid that my book distributor here in New Zealand has been very unwell. I was working with the intrepid Paul Greenburg, who was going to help me get my books in the bookstores of my home country. Owner of Greene Phoenix Marketing, Paul became ill after we signed our agreement together. He notified me in July that he had terminal cancer. By November, he was very sick yet insisted that he would carry on doing our work. I dropped off contact with him deliberately after this time, aware he had gone into hospice. When I phoned his partner in January, I found out that he passed away in early December. She is in the heartbreaking process of tying up all the loose ends relating to his work now. I'm sure every book in the house must remind her of the literary adventure she shared with him. I'm sure it must hurt terribly. And he will be missed by many authors - I'm sure of that too.
Greene Phoenix Marketing was probably the only book distributor in New Zealand that would take on a fantasy fiction project like mine. New Zealand is a very small book market - so small its two biggest publishers (Penguin and Random House) had to combine so that they did not collapse entirely. The last I heard, they release between eight to ten books a year. My previous publisher used to release that many in two months or under. That should give you an idea of how few books are selling over here.
Fantasy is not a big seller in New Zealand. Cook books, the odd thriller, adult colouring books, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid books are probably the biggest sellers in our biggest stores. Hence, while my publishing journey continues, my journey getting my physical books into stores in my home country seems to have come to a close - I hope temporarily, but cannot tell.
Though this saddens me, my loss is not as great as the loss Paul's partner is suffering. I will always keep writing and keep working on my books. But it does seem that I must now embrace the online world a little more where my books are available from several platforms.
And who knows what a new year will bring?