An Irish family history

It’s now just over two weeks until I get on a plane to Ireland. In preparation for my trip back to my birthplace, I’ve been talking at length to my father about our life in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. Around two weeks ago I asked him to give me directions to our old house, my old […]

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Insta Bellbird

Who knew Instagram could be such a useful platform for a writer/editor? For a long time I discounted it, thinking that I was a words and ideas person, not a pictures person. But eventually, with the help of my daughter, I succumbed. And I’ve been surprised at how useful and interesting it has been. I […]

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Inaugural NZ National Writers’ Forum

Stuck in a room full of writers for an entire weekend? It would be some people’s idea of a nightmare. It was my idea of Heaven at the inaugural National Writers’ Forum in Auckland. The forum was the brainchild of the New Zealand Society of Authors (of which I’m a member). Sometimes inaugural events have […]

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Me and my big mouth

It’s interesting what you do if you just have to. I’ve been having some ongoing shoulder issues, so I’ve been learning some hard lessons about slowing down and adjusting my work habits. I won’t bore you with the details, but I had a steroid injection in my right shoulder on Monday and I’m having to rest it […]

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A Writers Festival Field Guide

The 2016 Auckland Writers Festival kicked off in earnest today, so I thought I’d dust off this Festival-Goer Field Guide (posted a few years ago) and re-publish it. It still holds true. I’ve made just one addition: Number Three. This is because I encountered approximately a zillion of them this afternoon as I queued for AN HOUR to […]

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Ten tips to beat writer’s block

This is an extension of my last post (Writing tips: come and get ’em). It repeats some of the tips, but I’ve added five more, and some other new stuff. Keep reading. “Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” – […]

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Show, don’t tell

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” This quote by Chekhov may be familiar to some of you. It encapsulates perfectly one of the rules of good fiction writing: Show, don’t tell. Even my eight-year-old daughter knows what it means – they’re taught it at school. […]

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The Book Exchange

I’ve achieved some rather major literary goals this year, and last night I celebrated with two lovely women. There’s me in the middle. (Those holes in my top are a design feature, not a result of drunken undressing in the dark. I wish.) On the right is Joanna, and to the left is Sara: the […]

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How to Avoid Huge Ships

I want to share with you a marvellous book I was gifted earlier this year. I’m the first to admit I am a little anally retentive. That’s one of the reasons being a proofreader is the perfect profession for me – I love finding mistakes and correcting them. (Friends and acquaintances reading this: you may now scrape […]

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10 things I learned from writing a novel

After six years, I have a manuscript. It’s not perfect. I have no doubt that a professional assessment will highlight a number of areas I still need to work on. But I’ve got a complete story, and I love it. The last few years have been quite a ride. Here are ten things I have […]

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