The Cover Story

Everything is a bit secret squirrel when you’re preparing to have your novel published. The title. The story. The launch plans. How the author managed to write the bloody thing in the first place. (If someone can tell me the answer to that one I’d be much obliged.) One of the most exciting (and terrifying) […]

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Wordgasms: Show Up and They’ll Come

I’ve just had a wordgasm. TMI? Hear me out. I’ve just had the kind of half hour that writers across the world dream of: complete focus, ideas flowing, fingers tapping, two “punch the air” moments, one scream of excitement, a few tears, and 500 pretty good words on the page at the end of it. […]

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The Stories Within Us

My daughter turns 14 next week. As is always the case at this time of year, I’m reflecting on the difference she has made to my life, what joy she has brought, and what lessons she has taught me. And as I prepare for the publication of my first novel next year, my thoughts inevitably […]

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A Novel Contract

Yesterday I signed a publishing contract with New Zealand Publisher Cloud Ink Press. My debut novel will be launched in February 2022. A friend asked me how I felt (which I thought was rather lovely – most people offered their congratulations, which was fantastic and expected, but this friend, perhaps aware that signing a publishing […]

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I Have a New Name

Not me, personally. Just this site. Goodbye, thebellbirdblog. Welcome to Patricia Bell, Author. There was nothing wrong with the former…in fact, I loved it. But it’s time to ensure my online presence (including my website address) is consistent across the board and more accurately reflects who I am and what I do. I’m not going […]

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Ten Years Today

Ten years ago today, at 12.51 pm, a massive earthquake struck the Canterbury region of New Zealand. It was centred only 6.7 kilometres from the centre of the city of Christchurch, which suffered severe damage. 185 people died. Countless more were left homeless, terrified, psychologically scarred. They were now the reluctant custodians of a ruined city. […]

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My Mother has Dementia

My mother was diagnosed with dementia almost two years ago. My father found her spooning marmalade into a wine glass. That, along with her slurred words, her frustrated struggle to form coherent sentences, and her propensity to sleep most of the day were early clues. After a puzzling few months during which none of us […]

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The Memory of Place

For the last 21 years I have holidayed at the same beach on the Coromandel (a peninsula in New Zealand’s upper North Island, beloved by Kiwis for its beaches and holiday homes and summer activities). Eighteen of those summers were spent with my ex-partner and his family, with my daughter added to the mix when […]

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The Joy of Sadness

“Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.” -W.B. Yeats I want to say a brief word today about the importance of making space for sadness. I’m not going to give a lecture about being brave enough to face our sad feelings in order to work […]

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Look at the World

I named my blog after the New Zealand bellbird (in Māori, korimako) – and not just because my last name is Bell. I have always loved birds: for their beauty and intense fragility, the sense of freedom they represent, and for their song. The bellbird is particularly gorgeous. The explorer Captain Cook wrote of its […]

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