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  • Books, Fantasy, GLBT, New, Sci Fi, Simon, Writing

    New Books

    19.02.10 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    Only a few new books this week.

    The Splendour Falls, by Rosemary Clement-Moore (220 pages) – Sylvie is a ballerina. She broke a leg, her father died, and her mother remarried! Also, she might be losing her mind (or it might be ghosts). To cheer her up her mother moves her from an Manhattan apartment to a haunted Alabama mansion, where she meets the mysterious yet attractive Rhys.

    First line: ‘For months, I relived the pas de deux in my dreams, in that multisensory Technicolor of a memory I’d much rather forget.

    The Polar Bear Ward, edited by Tessa Duder and James Norcliffe (118 pages) -This is the seventh Re-Draft anthology, which we finally have (it came out in 2008!) It collects works by young NZ writers and poets.

    The 13 Curses, by Michelle Harrison (454 pages) – This is the sequel to 13 Treasures. Rowan Fox makes a deal with the fairy court; she will find the cursed charms from a bracelet in exchange for her brother, who was stolen by the fairies. And there’s no guarantee the fairies will keep their side of the bargain – they have a secret up their little fairy sleeves.

    First line: ‘As midnight approached in Hangman’s Wood two girls fled through the forest, desperately searching for a way out.

    The Phoenix Files : Contact, by Chris Morphew (309 pages) – This is the second book in a series. It is part sci-fi, part thiller, part conspiracy theory paranioa, and it’s all leading up to the end of the world. Great stuff! There’s a website here.

    First line: ‘Someone’s phone was ringing.

    The Medusa Project : The Hostage, by Sophie McKenzie (244 pages) – This is also the second book in a series. It also has a website! This series is about four teens, who all exhibit psychic abilities. They are brought together to secretly fight crime – with their minds.

    First line: ‘Like I didn’t have enough problems?

    Winter’s End, by Jean-Claude Mourlevat (trans. Anthea Bell) (415 page) – This is originally French, and it’s also been released as Winter Song. It made one of our Top 10 lists (Books in Which Winter Stars) under that title, and you can read about it there.

    First line: ‘At a sign from the supervisor, a girl in the front row rose to her feet and went over to press the metal switch.

    About a Girl, by Joanne Horniman (188 pages)
    Raven Summer, by David Almond (198 pages)

  • Competition, Simon, Writing

    2009 Short short story comp PRIZES

    18.11.09 | Permalink | Comments Off on 2009 Short short story comp PRIZES

    We announced this year’s Short Short Story Competition (maybe it will be an annual thing!) yesterday. There are some great prizes and here are some photos of them.
    These are the books:

    And inside them is … Darren Shan’s signature! I want them but I can’t as one of you guys will get to win them.

    Only authors are allowed to write in books! And sometimes librarians.

    And as well as the books there is a t-shirt and a bunch of movie passes to see Cirque Du Freak : The Vampire’s Assistant when it opens on January 7th 2010.

    ssscprizes2Here’s a photo of the lot! Thanks, Paramount!

    All this could be yours! Only if you enter the competition. All the details are here.


    [Ed: some of the bunch of movie passes will go to excellent short stories that weren’t the winner but were fabulous anyway]

  • Movies, Simon, Writing

    A Comprehensive History of Film Dialogue from the past 30 years

    06.11.09 | Permalink | Comments Off on A Comprehensive History of Film Dialogue from the past 30 years

    It is what the title says it is!

    So when you write your first (?) film be sure to mention the title in the script.

  • Books, Horror, New, Sci Fi, Selector, Writing

    New Books

    10.09.09 | Permalink | Comments Off on New Books

    Here are this week’s new books. Further to the First Sentence idea we have added an arbitrary rating of hooks (based on how well the first sentence hooks you in (you see)). The hook looks like this – fishhook. So there’s one fishhook for a pretty meh first line, and fishhookfishhookfishhookfishhookfishhook for the sentence that makes you want to keep reading.

    Fire on High, by David Hill (127 pages) – Jonno wins a trip to South America to watch a solar eclipse. While there he becomes alarmed at the increasing civil unrest, and is keen to return home. His return flight, however, is hijacked …

    First line: ‘At exactly 10.43 a.m., the sun started to turn black.’

    Deathwatch, by Nicola Morgan (279 pages) – Cat McPherson’s revealed a little too much information about herself online, and now someone’s watching her. Does she realise she’s being stalked? A psychological thriller!

    First line: ‘In the hooded darkness, he watches from a high window.’

    Flygirl, by Sherri L. Smith (275 pages) – 1940s Louisiana, and Ida Mae Jones wants to fly. She’s black, so it’s going to be tough. The opportunity to fly presents itself, but she has to pass herself off as a white girl to join the Women Airforce Service Pilots – and she soon realises that it’s difficult to escape who she really is.

    First line: ‘It’s Sunday afternoon, and the phonograph player is jumping like a clown in a parade the way Jolene and I are dancing.

    Secret Keeper, by Mitali Perkins (225 pages) – In 1974 when her father leaves New Delhi, India, to seek a job in New York, Asha, a tomboy at the advanced age of sixteen, feels thwarted in the home of her extended family in Calcutta where she, her mother, and sister must stay, and when her father dies before he can send for them, they must remain with their relatives and observe the old-fashioned traditions that Asha hates. [Catalogue description]

    First line: ‘Asha and Reet held their father’s hands through the open window.

    L. A. Candy : A Novel, by Lauren  Conrad (326 pages) – This book is a semi-autobiographical account of a girl whose internship in L. A. leads to a role in a major reality show. Fame and fortune follow! And perhaps some soul-searching. The book’s author was in The Hills.

    First line: ‘Jane Roberts leaned against her dresser, studying the way her white silk nightie looked against her sun-kissed skin.

    Shiver, by Maggie Stiefvater (392 pages) – A supernatural romance with (I think) a werewolf. A possible Twilight substitute, Grimm reckons. A sequel, Linger, is due out in 2010. Also, the entire book is printed in blue ink.

    First line: ‘I remember lying in the snow, a small red spot of warm going cold, surrounded by wolves.

    Andromeda Klein : A Novel, by Frank Portman (424 pages) – High school sophomore Andromeda, an outcast because she studies the occult and has a hearing impairment and other disabilities, overcomes grief over terrible losses by enlisting others’ help in her plan to save library books–and finds a kindred spirit along the way. [Library catalogue]. Saving library books is something we can all get behind, I say.

    First line: ‘The Universe is huge.

    Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins (391 pages) – This is the second book of The Hunger Games trilogy. It’s incredibly popular, so you’d better reserve it now if you haven’t. It‘s set in a post-apocalyptic future where a new, authoritarian government pits teens against one another on television. The third book is due out next year, and a film is in the works.

    First line: ‘I clasp the flask between my hands even though the warmth from the tea has long since leached into the frozen air.

    Watch The Skies : Daniel X, by James Patterson and Ned Rust (251 pages) – Daniel’s parents were killed by an alien, and he now hunts alien monsters using his uber-powers, which include super-speed and the ability to create anything out of nothing (handy in a pinch).

    First line: ‘It was a pretty regular early-summer night at 72 Little Lane.

    Dull Boy, by Sarah Cross (308 pages) – Avery has superpowers, but in an attempt to remain anonymous he’ll pretend to be as dull and normal as possible. Of course, every superhero has a villain to deal with …

    First line: ‘It’s Friday – another afternoon spent pounding the pavement in search of crimes to stop and people to help.

    Blue Moon, by Alyson Noel (289 pages) – This is the second book in the Immortals series (the first one was Evermore). Ever travels to another dimension in an effort to save Damen; she soon must choose between his life, and going back into the past and saving her parents’ lives. Quite a toss-up.

    First lines: ‘“Close your eyes and picture it. Can you see it?

    Also in!

    A Student Writing Guide : How to Plan and Write Successful Essays, by Gordon Taylor (266 pages) – This book would be ideal for anyone at any level who wishes to write a cracking good essay. I recommend it!

  • Adrienne, Competition, Writing


    03.09.09 | Permalink | Comments Off on Re-Draft

    If you’re 13 to 19 and a bit of a writer, we have the perfect competition for you : “Re-Draft” – which is run by the Christchurch School for Young Writers.  The best entries each year are published in the school’s annual publication ‘Re-Draft’, and your work might be chosen as the title of the book. That’s right your words, in bright bold colours on the front of the book…

    This competition is open to all, and you can enter up to three pieces of work on any subject matter, poems or stories. Jump onto their website for info on the competition and details on how to enter.

  • Grimm, Interview, Writing

    Markus Zusak from his Deck Chair

    02.06.09 | Permalink | Comments Off on Markus Zusak from his Deck Chair

    Markus Zusak, who wrote The Book Thief (one of our Most Wanted books for, like, ages), was recently at the Hay Festival in the United Kingdom (which seems to be a celebration of books and chairs, from what I can tell), where he was interviewed while relaxing in a comfortable-looking deck chair. He talks about how he works, what inspired him to write The Book Thief, what it means to have death as a narrator, and a few other bits and pieces. The interview is here (from the Guardian website).

    Incidentally, if you’re interested in strange narrators and you liked How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff make sure you read Just In Case, which is narrated by fate – it would make a very interesting point of comparison.

  • Library Serf, Writing

    Creative Writing Workshop

    20.04.09 | Permalink | Comments Off on Creative Writing Workshop

    If you’re into creative writing you might be interested in this:

    There are two special school holiday creative writing workshops happening next Wednesday 22 April at Katherine Mansfield Birthplace (25 Tinakori Road, Thorndon).

    Run by award-winning author Janice Marriott, the workshops are a great chance for secondary school students aged 13–15 to develop their skills and ideas in creative writing.

    Workshop 1: 9.30–12.30am
    Workshop 2 (repeat): 1.30–4.30pm
    Cost: $25 per student

    Spaces are limited so bookings are essential. To book, call 473 7268 or email kmbirthplace@xtra.co.nz.

  • Reviews, Simon, Writing

    Write our content for us

    14.04.09 | Permalink | Comments Off on Write our content for us

    Have you read a book lately that you think other people should read? Or maybe you’ve read a book that you don’t think anyone would want to read? You can review them here, on our newly created and simple-to-use review form.

    We will publish all the good reviews (and good bad reviews) that we get.

  • Edna Welthorpe, Internet, Writing

    Patrick Ness

    11.03.09 | Permalink | Comments Off on Patrick Ness

    Patrick Ness is the author of the recent award-winning YA book, The Knife of Never Letting Go (his latest book, The Ask and the Answer, is on order). He is also the first ‘online writer in residence’ for the British charity, Booktrust. Normally a writer in residence gets a house in a nice part of the world to live in and write for a year, a la the Katherine Mansfield prize. An online writer in residence doesn’t get all that, sadly, but Patrick Ness has a very nice blog going. You may also want to check out his tips for new writers.

  • Simon, Writing

    Just write right

    03.02.09 | Permalink | Comments Off on Just write right

    Just Write is a writing programme with a difference. Each year Just Write supports ten young writers around the country to develop their writing and media literacy skills and increase their understanding of global issues, such as poverty, human rights and sustainability. We offer a programme of training and support, including writing workshops and one to one mentoring from a local media professional.

    There are lots of benefits to being in this programme. To be eligible you must be between 14 and 18, and live in New Zealand. You can download the application form here (.pdf) by 5pm, Monday, the 16th of February. Which is, oh, only two weeks away.

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