Radio host Sherri Rabinowitz interviewed me on Blog Talk Radio about winning a Sir Julius Vogel Award, my books, dragons, and my real passion in life.
We also had fun discussing interactive fiction, strategies for dealing with bullying, kids’ literacy and literary festivals. It was blast. Please download the podcast here. I hope you enjoy listening to the show!
I’m thrilled to announce that a week ago I was selected as a finalist in the New Zealand Flash Frontier Micromadness literary contest. All entries had to be under 100 words! My flash fiction story of 76 words was selected by judges and will be featured on their Micromadness blog here at Flash Frontier, one of New Zealand leading venues for literary flash fiction.
From June 1 – June 22 the top 22 selected entries will be published. On 22 June, New Zealand Flash Fiction Day, we will read our flash fiction and Micromadness at venues across the country. I’ll be reading at the Thistle Inn Mulgrave St, near the Wellington Railway Station, on National Flash Fiction day, Wednesday, 22 June, along with other authors from 6pm to 8pm.
Enjoy reading Micromadness in Flash Frontier. I’ll send you a link when my story is up.
I was gobsmacked. Speechless. And in tears. Quietly (my friends can vouch that’s not usual for me), I thanked the many people who have shaped my writing – a long list – while tears tracked down my cheeks.
But, wait, roll back. What’s this show of emotion about?
On Sunday night, my book, Dragons’ Realm, received the 2016 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Youth Novel.
Internationally acclaimed fantasy author, Juliet Marillier, and New Zealand fantasy author, Anna McKenzie, had both been teaching us over weekend. Juliet was presenting the writers’ awards. I was sitting at the back of the room, tucked out of sight, when the results were announced.
A tear leaked from my eye. Then another…
Faced with such tough competition, it was such a shock to win.
Kevin Berry nudged me. “You have to walk up the front,” he whispered. “Off you go.”
Usually fast on my feet, I was so stunned that I hadn’t moved! Once I got to the front of the room, you could’ve heard a mouse squeak.
Then my ‘thank yous‘ started. And here they are again.
Thank you to every reader who nominated my book Dragons Realm for Best Youth Novel. Thanks to you, my novel got on the shortlist. And thank you to fans who voted for my shortlisted book in the secret ballot.
My amazing publishers, Deb Potter and Blair Polly of the Fairytale Factory, have been imaginative and worked hard to make Dragons Realm the best book it could be. Thank you to Monkey Lab and Clarke’s critique group – my fantastic peers who review my work: Alicia Ponder, Peter Friend, Lee Murray, Simon Fogarty, Charlotte Kieft and Michelle Child. You guys are my tribe and I love your insight, brainstorming sessions and sense of humor!
Thank you to Grace Bridges of Splashdown Press and Chila of Port Yonder Press for awarding me first place in the SpecFicNZ Going Global Award which opened many doors for me. Dan Rabarts and Lee Murray were my first editors on the Baby Teeth project which saw Marie Hodgkinson of Paper Road Press publish my first short story.
Thanks to Alicia Ponder who found me and introduced me to Phoenix Writers, who got Lost in The Museum with me. Geoff Popham deserves a big thank you for his award-winning art. Then there are all the Phantom Feather Press authors who helped make the Best of Twisty Christmas Tales a success. Paul Mannering’s crazy ideas always spark more of my own. Vicki Cunningham is always positive and cheerful. My family is very cool and support my books – Kurt and the kids love riding dragons and cracking jokes. My friends at home, and loyal readers, friends and writers around the world have been amazingly supportive – especially Holly Lisle’s online forum – all my Write a Book with Me buddies. (I can hear you cheering!)
And thanks to Kyle Mewburn, who mentored me and strengthened my voice!!! (Yes, they can hear me in Switzerland now when I sing!) To the many writers whose workshops I’ve attended (Juliet Marillier, Anna McKenzie, David Hill, Fleur Beale, Ruth Paul to name a few). To Joy Cowley, Dave Freer and David Hill for their contributions to The Best Twisty Christmas Tales.
It’s also great to be part of the SSFANZ, SpeciFicNZ, NZSA, Storylines and the Wellington Children’s Book Association.
Is there anyone I haven’t mentioned? If so, thank you too. We all need a tribe, a village, a city… a circle of supporters, friends and mentors.
Yes, my babies have flown home to roost, but not for long. I’m taking my wee fosterlings to Au Contraire to find them new homes. If you fancy a wee dragon for your little one, or a majestic beast for your growing kids, I have just the pets for you! They’d love new owners! I’ll be at the New Zealand National Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention (Au Contraire 2016) in Wellington this weekend. Hopefully my wee babies won’t follow me home…
… after all I’d love to have more dragonets come to visit soon and there won’t be space if this lot don’t find happy readers to love them.
It’s going to be a busy weekend. I’m in a team, teaching a young writers all day on Friday, then we’ll be at the floating market fostering my babies (sniff sniff), workshop-ing with Anna MacKenzie on Saturday, listening to Juliet Marillier on Saturday, discussing forensics with police, community with fans and writers, and interviewing panelists about independent publishing until 10pm at night.
It’s going to be fun. Come along if you’re keen and you just may get to take a dragon home! If you can’t get there, but would love a dragon anyway, contact me and I can send you one. (I’ll answer when I get back!)
Au Contraire is a not-for-profit event which supports New Zealand Sci-fi and Fantasy. All proceeds go to charity. The timetable is here.
Talking dragons is one of my favourite past-times. Okay, and reading, writing and flying on dragons too… Whatever, dragons are cool. My middle-grade dragon fiction caught the attention of Lee Murray who has won five Sir Julius Vogel Awards and an Australasian Shadows Award for writing and editing.
The short list for the 2016 Sir Julius Vogel Awards has been out for a while. Although I’ve been very busy writing and have neglected to post this earlier, I’m very excited to be a finalist in two categories!
To be eligible for Best New Talent, writers must have had their first story or book published less than four years ago. MIne was my short story Dad’s Wisdom, in the Baby Teeth anthology in 2013. A writer may only ever be shortlisted twice for this category.
Check out all the finalists here. The winners will be revealed on June 5th at Au Contraire, the New Zealand National Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention, in Wellington this coming weekend.
Thirteen years ago today, my son died. He was half of fraternal twins – the healthy half. His twin sister had been chronically ill for two years, and I had been housebound caring for her. Tough times for an extrovert.
After her recovery, we had a normal life for three months, out & about with the twins and their older brother. Having fun.
Then Tommy died, overnight of strep A.
Plunged into an abyss, I had to keep mothering, keep going for my kids. I’m so thankful I had them to wake up to. My husband and I clung to each other in an ocean of grief. Our family was our life raft. The community rallied around us, keeping us afloat. It was fourteen months before I laughed again. Two years before I felt anywhere near normal. Our family would never be the same again.
We now have four healthy kids and one somewhere ‘on the other side.’
My story, Call of the Sea, in the At the Edge anthology, explores how easily people lose their sense of identity when they lose a child. In order to survive, we need to be nurtured. Kendra, estranged from her cheating ex-husband, doesn’t get this support. As her life disintegrates, she journeys to the edge of insanity. Or is she sane? Maybe the rest of the world just can’t see what she does.
Tiny excerpts from Call of the Sea:
From the first scene…
“Wind moans through the tunnel on the deserted playground. The ropes on the massive climbing frame jerk. Grey waves thrash the shore, flinging spray over the naked sand. The Pōhutukawa dance, the silver underskirts of their dark green leaves flashing, like shy debutantes ‒ as if to tempt an unsuspecting fool into loving them.
My hands itch for a brush and canvas.
Breathing deeply, I shove the swing harder than I need to.
“Higher, Mum,” Aihe calls, swinging her legs for momentum. But she doesn’t get far. The gale is against us.”
… and from the second scene…
“Is that Mr Lenton?” a woman’s gravelly voice asks. “Mr Terry Lenton?” Mr? Definitely not work. “Speaking.” “This is Inspector Turner of Wellington Central Police.” Terry clears his throat. “Yes?” “Sir, we have your children in custody.” “What? My kids!” Terry’s pulse bounds, fork clanking onto his plate. “Could you come down to the station right away, please?” “What’s happened? Where’s Kendra?” “We were hoping you could tell us.”
…to a place at the edge of sanity, where cicadas scritch across balmy summer nights,
at the edge of town, where the cell phone coverage is decidedly dodgy,
at the edge of space, where a Mimbinus argut bounds among snowy rocks,
at the edge of the page, where demon princes prance in the shadows,
at the edge of despair, where 10 darushas will get you a vodka lime and a ring-side seat,
at the edge of the universe, where time stops but space goes on…
From the brink of civilisation, the fringe of reason, and the border of reality, come 22 stories infused with the bloody-minded spirit of the Antipodes, tales told by the children of warriors and whalers, convicts and miners: people unafraid to strike out for new territories and find meaning in the expanses at the edge of the world.
Compiled by award-winning editing team Dan Rabarts and Lee Murray, and including a story by Arthur C. Clarke finalist Phillip Mann and introduction by World Fantasy Award winner Angela Slatter, At the Edge is a dark and dystopic collection from some of Australia and New Zealand’s best speculative writers.
At the Edge will be launched next weekend at Au Contraire 2106, the National New Zealand Convention of Science Fiction and Fantasy.
Phantom Feather Press have put my latest e-book on 99 cent pre-order – so family and friends can grab a copy before the real price kicks in. But be quick, the offer ends soon.
Attack on Dragons Realm – Blurb
Drums pound the danger signal. Tharuks, monsters from another world, are attacking Dragons’ Realm. Three friends must separate – Jerrick must train as a dragon rider, Benno as a warrior and Reina as a wizard. War grows closer every day. To save their families, they must endure tough training and overcome their darkest fears. Only the upcoming battle will prove their worth.
An interactive book, where you choose how you read the story. One beginning, one end and three middles – you choose which order you read them in.
Other Dragons Realm novels
Attack on Dragons Realm is the prequel to Dragons Realm – A You Say Which Way Adventure. In Dragons Realm, you are running from the school bullies when you stumble through a world gate, into a world of dragons. monsters and magic. You make decisions as you read, changing the shape of your reading experience. With 22 possible endings, you can read and re-read, experiencing a different stories.
I originally wroteEzaara, the first book in Riders of Fire, seven years ago. Despite fifteen revisions, winning an award for the first three chapters, and an offer of publication in 2013, I wasn’t happy with version fifteen! Over the years, my beta readers for Ezaara have begged me to publish the book, wanting to know what happens in books 2 & 3!! (And yes, book two is already written, but no one has seen it! I wasn’t sure how to fix these books.)
After more years writing and honing my craft, I’m now in a position to revise these books. I’m excited. Dragons Realm is a fun, intriguing world I love to explore. It’s exhilarating – riding dragons, mind-melding and falling in love on dragon-back. I can’t wait to work on these books.
In the meantime, Attack on Dragons Realm, suitable for 10-13 year-olds, or Dragons Realm (8-12 yrs olds) are available on Amazon.
Attack on Dragons Realm is a fun adventure with exciting action and twists. Attack on Dragons Realm is available in paperback and e-book. Get your copy here now! 99c kindle offer ends soon.
I’m absolutely thrilled to announce that I’ve had a story accepted for At The Edge, a dark speculative fiction anthology being released in the middle of 2016.
My story Call of the Sea explores some dark themes, indeed – abandonment, rejection, grief and insanity, but be warned, I like happy endings.
There were a truckload of submissions. The award-winning editors, Lee Murray and Dan Rabarts, said they had enough quality stories to make two great collections, but are only making one at this stage. The anthology will be published by Paper Road Press and launched at Au Contraire, the NZ science fiction fantasy convention, in Wellington this June.
Here is the table of contents for At the Edge, alphabetically by author surname:
Joanne Anderton, “Street Furniture”
Richard Barnes, “The Great and True Journey”
Carlington Black, “The Urge”
A.C. Buchanan, “And Still the Forests Grow though We are Gone”
Octavia Cade, “Responsibility”
Shell Child, “Narco”
Jodi Cleghorn , “The Leaves No Longer Fall”
Debbie Cowens, “Hood of Bone”
Tom Dullemond, “One Life, No Respawns”
A.J. Fitzwater, “Splintr”
Jan Goldie, “Little Thunder”
J.C. Hart, “Hope Lies North”
Martin Livings, “Boxing Day”
Phillip Mann, “The Architect”
Paul Mannering, “The Island at the End of the World”
Keira McKenzie, “In Sacrifice We Hope”
Eileen Mueller, “Call of the Sea”
Anthony Panegyres, “Crossing”
A.J. Ponder, “BlindSight”
David Stevens, “Crop Rotation”
David Versace, “Seven Excerpts from Season One”
Summer Wigmore, “Back when the River had No Name”
E.G. Wilson, “12-36”
The cover artist for At the Edge is Kapiti-based Emma Weakley. It should be a great volume. I’ll keep you posted.