A Festival-Goer Field Guide #2

It’s that time again. The leaves are turning to flame and falling. Darkness is suddenly flicking the switch at 5.30pm like a grumpy boarding school matron. Beaches sigh, wistful but resigned, as we pack up our picnics and head indoors. And across New Zealand, book lovers are dusting off their lanyards and jotter pads and […]

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The Story Thief

My six-year-old daughter made up a story for me before going to bed tonight. Here it is, as close to her exact words as I can remember: The Story Thief [NB – not to be confused with Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief – although possibly just as riveting.] Once upon a time, before the dinosaurs […]

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Commas, can be useful

If you read the title of this post without cringing and sucking in a mortified gasp of air, you may want to stop reading. If, on the other hand, the above photo makes you want to scream and immediately scramble for your red correction pen (and a shotgun), please read on. As part of the Proofreading and […]

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The Luminaries: Art or Heart?

*Don’t worry, this review contains no spoilers. Yes, I have actually read it. I ploughed my way through during a  two-week break at the beach over Christmas / New Year. For those of you who have been leading a hermit-like existence recently (and the hermit reference, as those of you who have read the book will know, […]

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Back to School

This arrived by courier this morning: It’s my “So you Want to be a Student Again Starter Pack”. (Where’s the scarf and cheap booze?) Actually, it’s my textbooks and first two tutorials for the year-long correspondence course I have enrolled in – Proofreading and Editing. The massive grey folder at the bottom will gradually fill […]

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God Rest Ye Merry Bloggers

As I scrolled through the WordPress Reader this morning I felt a mixture of admiration and despair. So many bloggers are sharing beautifully polished posts about Christmas literature and legends and other festive wonderments. I imagine them tucked away in their little Dickens-like hamlets, snow softly falling on their windows which are beautifully lit by a dancing fire […]

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Books That Have Touched Me

Here’s one that’s been doing the rounds on Facebook: “In your status line, list 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take more than a few minutes and don’t think too hard – they don’t have to be the “right” or “great” works, just the ones that have touched you.” Here […]

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That “Aha!” Moment

I’ve just had an “Aha!” moment. It was one of those moments we writers live for, when a sudden flash of elucidation sets your writing morning on fire, reminding you why you’re sitting at your desk sweating blood, struggling to get your story down on the page. This particularly sweet “Aha!” moment came as a […]

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The Paperback Collective

A few months ago a very enterprising young woman called Jayde-Ashe (you can visit her lovely blog right here) had an idea. She wanted to establish a monthly online magazine of creative talent, showcasing stories, essays, poems, articles and photographs from contributors around the world. So she did it. And I’m in Issue Four, which you […]

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Music to Write By

If I’m lucky, every week I spend a number of happy hours by myself, writing. Music is often my only companion. If I’m really concentrating – trying to craft a particularly tricky sentence, or juggling a complicated plot sequence, I turn it off, but most of the time it is the perfect accompaniment. I’m like Pavlov’s dogs: the minute […]

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