Archive for October, 2014

Sweet As

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

I am very pleased to say that one of my short stories is appearing in Sweet As, a collection of stories by New Zealand writers.sweet as I’m not sure either how I managed to slip in as a Kiwi but I’m glad I did. The editors indicate that “These short stories speak to us of the diverse world we live in. They take us on a journey, or offer a glimpse into another’s life. Some show the struggles, tough questions and challenging situations people face. Some stories are sweet or humorous, while others are quirky or just plain entertaining. They provide us with a snapshot of life in New Zealand and how New Zealanders experience life overseas.” Book launch is November 4th, where you can get your hardcopy for a mere $20 (details in pic – it’d be great to see you there) or email the editors at for a stockist near you. Electronic copies available that same day at

Short Again

Monday, October 13th, 2014

I’ve blogged before that I generally (with the exception of Alice Munro) prefer novels to short stories. The market bears me

Google "too short" and this guy's image comes up.

Google “too short” and this guy’s image comes up.

out on this. With the exception of Alice Munro (and probably only in Canada), short stories are nowhere to be found on the best sellers lists. This should surely put short story writers at a disadvantage. And certainly it does in terms of income potential, but it most definitely doesn’t when it comes to publishing and contest opportunities. The market (such as it is) abounds with these. For the obvious reason, I imagine. No one would agree to judge – and so have to read – all those unpublished and (more importantly) lengthy submissions. But the lesson here is, if you want to get an agent or publisher to take note of your novel, brush up on your short story writing skills. Although I for one am sympathetic here to Joan Barfoot’s comment on why she doesn’t blog – with only about one good idea every few years, she doesn’t want to waste it on a posting. Ditto for me on a short story.

I’ve Been Told

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

The old writing adage is “show, don’t tell” but occasionally I like to be told. Eleanor Catton’s The Rehearsal is rife with thinkingtelling and the book is richer for it. It’s splendidly observant but the characters are unreal, distant for the frankness, tactlessness with which they speak. I have no sympathy for them and so wouldn’t have any patience for a young protagonist slowly realizing that an older woman’s beauty may be accentuated rather than marred by a laugh line. In fact, I would be sure to find it trite and rather annoying. But tell me that “He had supposed (though never truly consciously) that a woman was only attractive insofar as she resembled a girl; that her attractiveness fell away, by degrees, through her twenties and thirties until it was buried by middle age; that the qualities that women sought were always the qualities they once had..” and you have me. All of us can observe, however inaccurately, but sometimes I want to do away with ambiguity, with interpretation, and just be told what you think.