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Pocket Wife

28 Mar

When you’ve worked really hard on a piece of writing for a very long time, it’s an amazing feeling knowing it’ll be published some time in the near future. And why not celebrate early?

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My piece ‘Pocket Wife’ will be part of Paper Road Press‘s Shortcuts Series, a collection of six stand-alone e-book novellas, launched in 2015. Written by New Zealand authors, the somewhat twisted and unusual stories all link back to New Zealand in some way…

The full series will be available to purchase for only $20, or individual titles at $3.50 a piece. Watch this space – as they say – for more info in the months to come.

Kiwi Diary 2015

15 Feb

Today being the 46th day of 2015, I realise this post is a little late in coming. But hey, by the time I was actually sent this sweet little piece of New Zealand culture it was already 2015, and I figure y’all had your diaries already. Okay? Okay.

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Full of local art, poetry, prose, recipes, historical and environmental tidbits, this is more than just a book to keep your year’s worth of ‘to do’ lists in. And once again I’m privileged to have a couple of pieces of mine included, including my poem Home (written about my home town Dunedin) and a very short story titled ‘Time to Get Up’.

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And for those who don’t have microscopic eyes to read the text above (err… I mean eyes that act like microscopes, not eyes the size of pinpoints) I’ve pasted this fit-on-one-small-page story below:

TIME TO GET UP

“It’s time to get up Jo,” the voice said beside her head.

Jo’s eyes opened, her heart racing.

“It’s time to get up,” it repeated.

Oh crap, the alarm! Jo reached over, feeling its sides for a switch. Her mother had bought it for her yesterday as an early birthday present, told her it would “revolutionise” her pre-9AMs.

She gave up and rolled over.

“Jo, you must get up.”

“I don’t need to.” Apparently these things were intelligent, like the new microwaves that stopped when the food was perfectly cooked.

“Don’t lie to me.” The voice was soothing, female.

“Oh god, seriously?” Jo mumbled, wrapping her pillow around her head.

“WAKE UP!” It shouted.

“Stop it!” Jo’s head ached. What was it, 3am when she got home last night? “I’m not working today, okay? Just let me sleep.”

“You set me to high priority.”

“What?” Jo reached out again, fumbling for the switch that wasn’t there. “I didn’t know that.”

“You must get up Jo.”

Jo seized the clock. She tapped the screen. “What command turns you off?”

“When you get up I stop.”

“This is stupid!” Grumbling, Jo staggered to the kitchen, placed the clock on the bench, then collapsed back into bed.

There was a clatter.

A moment later something bumped against her door.

“GET UP! GET UP! GET UP!”

Jo leaped from bed, hands over her ears. The clock had turned a vivid red. It rolled towards her on nonperceivable wheels.

Jo screamed. Grabbing the nearest solid thing, a steel-capped Doc Martin boot, she struck the clock, cracking it straight down the middle. Colour seeped out and the screen went blank.

Breathing rapidly, Jo dropped the boot.

Just as she finally lay back down she heard a fizzing. From the broken clock came a line of smoke, immediately followed by flames.

It’s time to get up,” it said.

Oh ho ho?

8 Dec

Last May, I think it was, I attended the book launch of a local museum themed anthology, and learned that the publisher was now looking for New Zealand Christmas themed stories. For children.

“For kids, huh?” I thought, rubbing my hands confidently (nearly gloatingly, I have to admit). Never mind the fact that (a) I’m not particularly fond of Christmas stories – I generally find them pretty naff, or (b) I’d never attempted to write for kids before. So I sat down, full of self-assuredness, and wrote….

Well, I tried to write. Mostly I did a lot deleting and a lot of despairing. I did actually come up with two Christmas themed stories, but whether they were suitable for kids was another matter entirely. I sent them off, not at all hopeful, and was soon sent the polite rejection letter.

However, I like to think that a good story will never be wasted. You can always go back, refine, re-do, re-think. I ditched the whole “this is a kids’ story” and wrote the better of the two as I’d like to read it. It’s called A Christmas Letter. (The other failed story will never leave its folder again, and hopefully not be read by anyone ever, and let’s not mention it okay?).

And walla! Here is A Christmas Letter, in Splickety Prime’s 3.4 Issue. Digital copies are purchasable for $2.99, or buy the print version!

Prime 3.4 Cover

And yes… mine is the one that involves present eating piranhas. It’s a lesson about what happens when you piss off the elves.

Bad House

23 Nov

Although traditionally we don’t celebrate Halloween in New Zealand (though try telling that to the kids), it’s hard to deny that the decorations are oh so much cooler than the ones we bring out each Christmas. So in our house we’ve decided to hang on to them a wee bit longer.

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And in celebration of Halloween, I wrote a short but spooky story called ‘Bad House’, which I’ve just learned has won third place in SpecFicNZ’s Spooky Story Competition. You can read it here.

I also have a Christmas story coming out next month (a slightly spooky Christmas story at that) with Splickety Prime. But more on that later!

Bite

8 Sep

The theme was ‘blue’, but every theme is ‘death’ to me. (Actually, that’s not true, but it sounded poetic).

My drabble, titled ‘Bite’, was published in Fiction 101‘s September issue. For those not quite sure what a drabble is, see earlier post. Suffice to say, this story will not take you very long to read at all. (It’s important to know these things, no?)

To read bite, just open your mouth and suck on this.

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Sir Julius Vogel award nomination, and more!

16 Mar

I’m excited to say that my story ‘In a World Full of Birds’ has been nominated for a Sir Julius Vogel Award this year (‘Best Novella of 2013’), which will be voted on at Conclave 2, NZ’s 35th Sci Fi and Fantasy Convention. I’m not just happy because my story was nominated, but because it now gives me a good excuse to be involved in the convention – held this year in Grey Lynn, Auckland, on ANZAC weekend. I’ve already signed up for the one-day writing workshop. Thank you to whomever nominated me.

2014-03-16-212906(Note the Au Contraire certificate behind me, awarded at last year’s convention!)

In other news, you can check out my story ‘Awake’, recently published in Liquid Imagination’s February 2014 issue. Liquid Imagination are an on-line literary journal, and you can read my story here. Some of the line breaks are a bit screwy, but meh, never mind.

Here are some photos taken of our Tiritiri Matangi performance. What a beautiful place to be playing music.

tiritiri gigtiritiri gig 2It’s always good when someone dances. You can see more photos here.

In 29 words

19 Jan

Each week I have emails coming in, telling me of upcoming publication deadlines. I peruse them, trying to decide whether any of my current stories or poems fit the themes, or whether I have the motivation or time to write a new one. Recently I noticed an upcoming deadline that intrigued me. The publication was asking for stories about journeys. And the stories had to be less than 30 words in length.

I was struck by the difficulty of this task. The word ‘journey’ itself brings to mind length – long roads, experiences gained over time, a non-fleeting duration between one location/instance and another. For if the moment were fleeting, could it really be described as a ‘journey’?

I set about trying to write such a story, and in fact wrote four. Not long after submitting them (feeling slightly foolish sending a publisher stories so short) I received the reply that one of them had been accepted.

And it can be read here! (Click on the picture)

journeyscoverFlick through these beautifully illustrated pages until page 19. Mine is at the bottom, right. (Alternatively, check out my Writing page to see where you can buy the print version.)

journey

And here are the three stories that did NOT make the mark:

Through the clouds, falling, the world is laid grey and flat. Spinning, tossing, blown slant and sucked earthwards, he has seconds to reflect on uniqueness, then splash! He merges.

~*~

Stepping from the flat boat, she waded to the shore: her new home. A large grey bird peered at her then stalked away. She had no name for it.

~*~

Mario, the man who cleans our streets. Gone. The pregnant woman who runs the store, waves, gone. Traffic lights, green. Gone. Our open gate, bike thrown down. Your arms.

Runner Up!

1 Nov

Recently I submitted a drabble* to a SpecFicNZ** Halloween drabble competition.

* For those who aren’t familiar with the term ‘drabble’ it refers to a very short story (a piece of ‘flash fiction’ even – there’s another term for you) of exactly 100 words.

** For those who aren’t familiar with SpecFicNZ you can check them out here: http://www.specficnz.org/

Yesterday the winners were announced, and I learned I was runner up. I feel quite chuffed.

My story is called Old Trick, are here it is:

Hallow knelt by the grate and watched the paper burn, the words written in careful cursive script turning to ash. As the kindling caught he heard a knock at the door. Damn kids always came too early. He waved a hand and the front door swung inwards.

“Give us the trick, mist -” the smallest began, words freezing solid.

Hallow unfurled himself – thankfully his peers were too dead to see how slow he’d gotten  – and held up a bony hand. Flame leaped towards his body in a fiery arc, then fizzled out. Hallow sighed.

“TRICK!” he shouted, and the kids scampered.