Woohoo! The 100th FlaxFlower book review
has been posted on the flaxflower page.
I started FlaxFlower in 2014 as a free service to fellow Kiwi authors, who often find it difficult to have their books reviewed. At the time I committed to do it for the year. Then thought, maybe another year… and that became a third.
The process – When I get a request to have a book reviewed, I find a reviewer appropriate to each book. I have a stable of lovely people who have volunteered their time and expertise, and their work is much appreciated by me. My rule is that reviewer and author do not know each other – essential for an unbiased opinion.
When the review comes in I let the author see it first and decide whether or not they want it published – a yes or no decision, with no negotiation or rewriting. FlaxFlower might be unique in this. My reason for giving them the choice is I want to help promote good books, and not to pull down any writer.
Please see the 100th, and past reviews of New Zealand books on the flaxflower page.
It seemed I’d hardly pushed the publish button on my previous blog, below, when news popped up online that one of the members of the group mentioned in it had died – suddenly, unexpectedly.
I never met Rich in person, never expected to – he lives in USA. I knew him only through his contributions to member discussions – astute, informed, helpful, and often very funny. Bringing the comic relief to the list of comments is a role he took seriously – mrrwaah, as he might say. Or something similar, given we have different accents.
Despite the fact we never met, I’ve felt his loss.
It’s also made me think further about the global nature of society now.
I learned about this within an hour or two of it happening. When my great-grandparents came to this country, such news would have taken six months to work its way across the world.
Now, within a few hours not only had the information spread but another friend had set up an online site for donations towards funeral expenses. What a great world, I thought, as I sat down at my keyboard.
As Rich would have said – “I done dood it.”
I try to keep a good balance of my time between getting exercise and being at my desk and computer – it’s easier when the weather warms from winter into spring as it is here now. Daylight saving time coming up – great, I’m a fan.
As I am for the way one can so easily access information and keep in touch with the world through the internet – another reason for spending time at my desk each day.
Even social media, the side of the internet people so often love to hate, has its big plus side. I now count among my friends many people I have never met in person, probably will never meet face to face, but whom I feel I know well.
Many of them are fellow authors who are located all over the globe. Among them is Jackie Weger who founded eNovel Authors at Work, of which I’m happy to be one of the select group of members – all very supportive. Jackie lives in Texas, USA, some 12,000 kms away from Auckland but recently we met for a neighbourly cyber chat on her porch. Why don't you join us - you'll find us here –
We’re in ELUFFANT mode again – Election Lead-Up Free-For-All Nuisance Time. Even though voting papers for the local-body elections have not yet arrived the vote-for-me frenzy is underway.
With a fight for mayoralty, city council, and the local licensing trust, squads of candidates are lining up to do battle, all fervent in their belief that they’re the best for the job. And since they’re all ardent about giving me advice on how to cast my vote, it seems only fair to let them know how I decide between them. So here, for their consideration, is my system, outlined via this non-polluting, cost-free, environmentally-friendly, opt-in method.
I’ve got this spread-sheet pinned up, the ELUFFANT in my office, with your name, and columns and cells to enter numbers. When I learn anything about you, I give you a score 1-10 on how it rates with me. These are positive points.
They’re balanced by a section for negative points, which you should particularly know about as they put most candidates seriously in deficit.
• BIN points: Brochure In No-circulars marked letterbox – minus 10 for each infringement. Okay, so you didn’t deliver it personally, but if you failed to instruct your minions not to ignore my wishes, you won’t represent me well. And, anyway, how does your glossy, full-colour pamphlet align with your stated concern for the environment?
• BINEX points: an extreme extension of the above – minus 20-50 points for brochures found littering the street or multiple copies stuffed behind fences.
• PIMBY points: Pollution In My Backyard – minus 20 points for each billboard erected and despoiling my local area. Warning: signs blocking a pleasant view, or adding to the danger of any street corner may incur increased penalty.
• SAPP points: Stated Affiliation with a Political Party – minus 10 points. SAPPEX – deduction can be doubled in extreme cases.
• SOOC points: Slagging Off Other Contestants – minus 15. Deduction made for each instance.
• UnPC points – Unsolicited Phone Call – minus 25. Deduction made for each instance.
So there it is. Please note, come polling day it’s often the hopeful with neutral points who wins the tick.
Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, South Auckland, Auckland, Kaitaia
Meet your favourite children’s authors, illustrators, storytellers and performers.
All in one place, all for free.
This national festival celebrating children’s literature is one of the biggest of its kind in the world, and is a highlight of the New Zealand literary calendar. Over 100,000 children and their families have attended The Storylines Family Days since it began 23 years ago.
2016 STORYLINES FESTIVAL FAMILY DAYS
20-28 August 2016
The six free Family Days are this year being held in Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, Kaitaia, South Auckland and Auckland, between 20-28 August.
The Storylines events are designed to:
• celebrate NZ children's literature with children and their families across socio-economic boundaries
• spark children's imaginations and offer them the chance to meet emerging and established New Zealand authors and illustrators in the flesh
• showcase NZ children's authors and illustrators' work, along with that of international guests who join us
• nurture the authors and illustrators of tomorrow, giving them the opportunity to tell their own tales, draw their own dreams
• provide authors and illustrators with the opportunity to share their craft, develop new collaborations
• open up opportunities to increase sales of NZ literature.
All the Storylines Festival Family Days are free, enabling young people and their families access to high quality New Zealand literature.
Further details here - http://www.storylines.org.nz
I mentioned this back a bit – see blogpost Writer’s Plot Readers Read on 10/1/2015. Now I’ve seen it for myself.
Recently I popped into new bookshop Writers Plot Readers Read in Upper Hutt and met owners Cat & Caro - that's them in the pic.
WPRR is a tiny shop, but it’s one that will surely grow much bigger in reputation.
It’s great to browse the shelves, because they’re filled with New Zealand books only, and there’s further stock arriving each week.
Caro told me they’re getting more and more enquiries from people wanting to source hard-to-find and out-of-print Kiwi books. They’ll try to help track it down if there’s something you’re looking for – as long as it’s NZ. More good news: you don’t have to be in Upper Hutt – they run a postal service.
Sad tale – unfortunately they couldn’t help a young man who ran in excitedly, looking for a copy of Lord of the Rings. Why not? This is Middle Earth, isn’t it? He knew all the movies were set here!
In case you're wondering - no, I have no financial interest in the business. They do stock three of my books though, along with those of many other Kiwi writers. I'm mentioning them again because such an initiative deserves applause.
Writer’s Plot Readers Read is at 893 Fergusson Drive, Upper Hutt (across from the train station) firstname.lastname@example.org
For those who have been waiting, here it is. Backwards Into the Future
is now available on kindle.
Who’d have believed that 38 years after the first one we’d still be as hooked and wanting more. That's what I call a best-seller.
The countdown – months… days… hours… clicked over to zero today and of course I took off to see Episode 7: The Force Awakens.
I don’t write SciFi myself, but I do like reading it, and fantasy. Well, there was a radio play way back, and one of my books, Every Five Minutes, does include a mention of Star Wars, and other films, because the main character, Gina, goes to a lot of movies.
Unlike me. This is just the fourth movie I’ve been to this year. It will probably also be the fifth and last.
No spoilers here.
Okay, just one. The Force Awakens has huge parallels with the original, Star Wars – A New Hope.
The countdown came and went, and
Backwards Into the Future
was launched successfully on Saturday.
My very sincere thanks to all involved in the launch - particularly Joanne Crummer, Community Library Manager whose enthusiasm and support are much appreciated.
Below: I was so grateful to have assistance with the waiata from Paul Bennett and three of my whanau.
We sang a song that's included in the book - its premiere performance.
Photos thanks to Joanne Crummer
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