Welcome to 'features'. This page showcases news items from the world of writing and includes interviews with authors.
- 'Paper Prison' is recipient of a completeMS manuscript assessment from the New Zealand Society of authors. The assessor has yet to be selected. Thanks NZSA, Creative New Zealand and all the people who helped, especially Finn Justice Ghosh. Here is a feature showing the profiles of all the recipients. (26.6.18, updated 6.7.18)
- Thanks to Ingrid Jendrzejewsky for a little mention in this interesting interview, as she acts as judge for the TSS Flash 400 summer competition. (10.6.18).
- Thanks to Matt Potter at Truth Serum Press, who is putting together my novella-in-flash, "The Crazed Wind". It should be available around August. Appreciate the feedback coming through from the various readers who are contributing "blurbs" to go in the book.
Here's what the book's about:
The Crazed Wind
When monsoon rains arrive, many people experience a temporary madness. Released from the oppressive heat and humidity that precede the reversal of the winds, they dance in the streets.
After being ostracised for many years, a woman who has lived amongst Europeans most of her life travels to India to be reunited with her father.
In The Crazed Wind, the narrator unravels the cultural incongruities that lead to exile. Father and daughter adjust to the reversal in attitudes, while the rain pounds down around them.
We step into the world of a proud old man and discover how his outlook is shaped by one of history's forgotten tragedies, the Partition of India in 1947.
In a series of linked stories we encounter a young bride who embroiders a flower but leaves one petal blank, sisters who can conjure silver and gold from thin air, cannibalistic fish, a woman who soaks her dentures in sherry, a bohemian uncle, medicine that tastes like fish, an embrocation for successful marriage, people who are really fruits and birds who are really people.
- I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of Celia Coyne's mantra book at the weekend:
Celia Coyne is known for her short stories and flash fiction that have appeared in anthologies and on-line publications. She has also written or contributed chapters to non-fiction books in her specialist areas of natural history and health.
In "Essential Mantras for Everyone", Coyne branches out and creates a book designed to fill a gap in the market.
I came across this publication while searching for a gift for someone, and treated myself to a copy at the same time.
The tiny book achieves what it sets out to do, i.e.: to serve as a concise introduction to the use of mantras. It is accessible. Coyne's succinct descriptions allow the reader to be transported to a calming zone, where the mind is soothed and healed.
The author's stunning photography completes the package.
A perfect gift for someone whose life you want to enhance. (22.5.18)
- I'm about a quarter of the way through a new novel called 'Echo Valley', which I began on holiday in Rarotonga at the end of last month. Based in present day Christchurch, with flashbacks to the earlier part of the century, 'Echo Valley' examines the dysfunctional relationship between two brothers. Currently at that stage where the flawed protagonist is running around in my head and demanding a little compassion. (20.5.18).
- Been working with Matt Potter at 'Truth Serum Press', hoping to put together something that weaves angst, rain, personified fruits and vegetables against a backdrop of the Partition of India in 1947. Oh, and more rain. Lots of it. (May 2018)
- Thanks to 'North and South' Magazine for placing 'Different Fathers' as one of the runners up in their short short story competition. Writer friends Sue Kingham (1st) and Zoë Meager (runner up) were also placed in this competition. Also 'Alternative Bindings for placing 'Way Out West' equal first in their short story competition. (11.2.18).
- 2nd February 2018: Excited to discover my story 'Different Fathers' has been shortlisted (short-shortlisted?) in the 'North and South Magazine' short short story competition. If you like Barry Manilow, you may or may not identify with this piece. Find out, if they decide the publish all the short listed flash fictions.
- 9th January 2018: Thanks to Jude Higgins for the mention in this interview about flash fiction in Smokelong Quarterly.
- 18th December 2017: I have reached that point where I'm two chapters away from finishing the first draft of 'Paper Prison'. It's quite debilitating, as all I want to do is stay at home and write, while all the timelines and threads and loose ends are floating about in my head. I have booked a day off work tomorrow, and hope I haven't forgotten vital facts like how old the various generations of the family of characters are in the different time lines. Hopefully, it contributes to the plasticity of my neurones, rather than making me into a neurotic wreck.
- Thanks to Jude Higgins at Bath Flash Fiction Award for this interview about writing, hoarding and other stuff. (4.12.17)
- Many thanks to Fictive Dream and Bath Flash Fiction Award for Pushcart Prize nominations. Feeling honoured. 'Rabbit' and 'The Cool Box' in the 'Writing' section. (22.11.17).
- Honoured to have been given the chance to judge a poetry competition for the South Island Writers' Association last night. Not quite sure how the rumour about my knowing anything about poetry arose.
- Just over halfway through the novel 'Paper Prison'. (10.11.17).
- Enjoyed reading at the Canterbury Poets' Collective on 18th October.
- Truth Serum Volume II 'Wiser' available now. Includes my story 'Miss Palmerston'S Ring'. (13.9.17)
- Thanks to David Wing t ZeroFlash for posting this chat about writing on your site.
- Excited to have a piece in the Bath Flash Fiction Long list and forthcoming anthology.
- As solstice approaches, it's time to enjoy brief stories to go with the short hours of (Southern) light or (Northern) darkness. My story 'Umnath' will be up on Flash Flood at 14.40 (BST) on 24th June 2017.
- So pleased to see Eileen Merriman's novel 'Pieces of You' taking off into the world of Young Adult classics. 'Flash Frontier' interviews Eileen about the novel and the writing process here.
- Also, read Dionne Cristian's article on issues covered in 'Pieces of You' in the 'New Zealand Herald'. 10.6.17
- Jake Bailey's book, 'What Cancer Taught Me' was released today. Here is my review. (15.5.17)
- Here's more about the new Flash Fiction on Helen Lowe's site.
- Here's a link outlining details for Hysteria's flash fiction competition. Writer in residence Alex Reece Abbott invited people in the flash field to provide some suggestions to help authors submitting entries. (9.4.17)
- There is a small rodent in my stomach doing backflips. I think it is called excitement. Never thought I'd have work on a long list of a Bath Flash Fiction competition. Their inaugural novella in flash competition long list was announced 21.3.17. I can't tell you which title is mine yet, but check out some of the cool titles in the list. Makes me want to read them all. :)
- An odd week for creativity. The Port Hills fires have been raging, and then smouldering. Hard to critique, proofread or write when helicopters trailing monsoon buckets are flying past the window. (18.2.17)
- Thanks to 'FewerThan500' magazine for this interview (1.2.17).
- Many thanks to judge Dr. Abigail Favale, Aurore Lebas and the team at 'Brilliant Flash Fiction' for including 'The In-Tray, Five Thousand and Nine' in the shortlist for their 'Aftermath' flash competition. (27.1.17)
- Congratulations to Sam Averis, web-maestro from 'Flash Frontier' on winning the Margaret Mahy award at the Hagley Writers' Institute.
- Looking forward to the December 16 issue of Flash Frontier, featuring micro fiction up to 100 words, and a roundtable discussion with authors of the top three stories from June's micro features at 'National Flash Fiction Day'.
- Early in the twentieth century, a young woman called Prativa embroidered a lotus, but deliberately left it unfinished. You can read the story about Prativa, my grandmother, in 'Long Exposure' magazine.
- Seen the latest Flash Frontier?
- Thanks to Patrick Pink for this interview at Flash Frontier.
- Read the inaugural on-line issue of Takahē arts magazine here. I was honoured to be asked to submit for the guest fiction spot. Some contributors will be reading at the 'Twisted Hop' tonight. (10.8.16).
- Congratulations to Eileen Merriman (see interview below), on signing a contract with Penguin Random House for her young adult novel "Pieces of You". (12.7.16)
- New Zealand National Flash Fiction Day events are underway. Various celebrations across the country on 22nd June. Click here for the competition shortlist. Have a look at the "Micro Madness" entries too whilst you're on the site.
- Shelby Allan is a student at Christchurch's School for Young Writers. She talks about her craft.
Vivienne Plumb was my supervisor at the Hagley Writers' Institute in 2014, and has kindly agreed to to be interviewed.
- Tākahe magazine will be launching its first on-line issue in August. Meanwhile, I've been enjoying the April issue.
- 'LEAVING THE RED ZONE' earthquake anthology launched tonight, 29.2.16. Listen to editors Joanna Preston and James Norcliffe interviewed on RNZ at the weekend here.
- Frankie McMillan, author, poet, teacher, speaks about her writing.
- Flash Frontier open for submissions: the theme is "Dance".
- Thanks to ad hoc fiction for posting some art pieces to illustrate stories by Jan Kaneen and Eileen Merriman.
- Norman Bilbrough award winning author who has been published over many years talks about his craft.
- Heather McQuillan talks about her project with migrant kids, and the importance of liaising with other writers in the latest interview. Click on the link below:
- Here is the second interview, with PATRICK PINK. Patrick's work has frequently appeared in Flash Frontier, and several other literary sites. Click below for further details.
POEM IN THE PRESS
- A decision has been made to stop publishing a poem in "The Press" in Christchurch. How do you feel poetry figures in everyday life for the general public
- Click on the link below for more thoughts, and send a message via 'contacts' with your comments.
- How do you feel poetry figures in the everyday lives of ordinary people? Dec 15.
- Here is the first interview with EILEEN MERRIMAN. Eileen has been my critique partner for nearly three years. She is a talented writer and has enjoyed a great deal of success in recent competitions in New Zealand and beyond 30.11.15.
- Click on the link below: