25 April 2015

Flash of Iron

I'm happy to say that the April issue of Flash Frontier, which I edited, is now online. The theme I chose was "Iron", which as I'd hoped pulled in stories with many different takes on the subject.

In addition to the fiction, which I selected, there are two other aspects of this issue I can't take credit for. One is the excellent illustrations by Canadian artist Allen Forrest and other talented folks; another is the feature article this issue, which has news on flash fiction developments in Aotearoa followed by an excellent collection of tips on writing flash from authors and editors.

And if that inspires you, then you have until 30 April to enter the NZ National Flash Fiction Day competition!

Thanks as always to Michelle Elvy for giving the opportunity to guest-edit this issue.

14 April 2015

Tuesday Poem: Two Creek Beach

It's past Fortrose
where the Mataura River
subsides to the sea in oxbow bends

past the golf course
(nine holes, fairways cropped and obstacled by sheep)
east of the headlands

and the perfect place for us.
We've been coming here for years
Dad and I, and now my sister too

past low, flat, flax-rimmed Lake George
to the end of the gravel road
to Two Creek Beach and the sea.

Two creeks — well, they're streams
brown-stained with Southland peat

that cross the sandy beach
then a narrow lip of rock
before giving their all to the waves.

Here's what we do: Dad skims stones
I dam and divert the streams
and Sarah —

who knows what younger sisters do
while a dam is being made?
She plays. I'm busy working.

The afternoon slides westward
till Dad says it's time to go.
We crawl towards the sunset

on the lonely south coast roads
sunburned, tired, heading for the comfort
of our tideless inland home.

Credit note: Published in  North & South, December 2005, p. 127, and included in my second collection, All Blacks' Kitchen Gardens.

Tim says: This poem pretty much describes itself. It's one of my Dad's favourites, which makes me more fond of it in retrospect too :-)

The Tuesday Poem: is Aotearoa Runaway by Leilani Tamu.

09 April 2015

Lost In the Museum Has A Good Night At The Sir Julius Vogel Awards

The Sir Julius Vogel Awards are New Zealand's equivalent of the Hugo Awards, awarded for both professional and fan achievement in the field of science fiction and fantasy.*

The full list of winners, including the citation for the posthumous award to Hugh Cook, is here:


Congratulations to all the winners!

From a personal perspective, it was great to see two awards (Best Collected Work and Best Cover) go to Lost in the Museum, the 2014 anthology which includes my story "The Big Baby". Here's more about the anthology:

I mentioned in a previous post that I have a story, "The Big Baby", in the recently published anthology Lost in the Museum, which has just received an excellent review by Lee Murray in the widely-read Beattie's Book Blog.

Lost in the Museum is now available in bookshops, including The Children’s Bookstore in Kilbirnie, Unity Books, and Marsden Books in Karori (Wellington) and Retrospace (Auckland). The ISBN is 978-0-473-28320-9, which will help you to order it from other bookshops.

Lost in the Museum is also available from Amazon as a Kindle ebook: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KTV5K0U

* The awards look cool, too:

01 April 2015

UPDATED: A Novella Approach To Publishing; or, The New Charles Dickens

See below for update!

My novella"Landfall" is one of six being published this year by Paper Road Press in their first "Shortcuts" series - Shortcuts Track 1. And, rather than having to buy the six novellas individually, you can subscribe to the series for NZ $3.33 per month.

Here is the lineup of authors and novellas:

Mika Lee Murray and Piper Mejia
Bree’s Dinosaur AC Buchanan
The Last Grant Stone
Pocket Wife IK Paterson-Harkness
Landfall Tim Jones
The Ghost of Matter Octavia Cade

This is an innovative approach to publishing - and yet it also reminds me of the 19th century, of Charles Dickens and his serialised novels, with tens of thousands of readers eager to get their hands on each new instalment. I wouldn't be averse to "Shortcuts" having a similar level of success!


From Paper Road Press' latest newsletter, here's some further information, plus cover images for the first three novellas in the series:

All SHORTCUTS novellas will be released as ebooks, one per month, available to purchase from all major ebook vendors. However, you can also subscribe to the series for a discounted price of NZ $3.33 per story, and receive the books direct to your inbox a few days before the official publication date.

31 March 2015

Tuesday Poem: Folds, by Jo Mills

infidels of the sun     we watch folds

in this restless land     bake our beliefs

do we enter the new dry     or last ice age

of our imaginings     bright technology

whispers down invisible lines     turns our gaze

to wormholes     sucks our dusty imagery

into temporal twists     spatial vortices

the thrill of discovery   minute gyroscopes

most perfectly sphered     measure dimples

our Earth’s plump rump     sitting in a pillow

time/space sags     beneath her weight

opens new dimensions     in our minds

Saturn grows a storm     or is it humanity

at play     at war with its shadows

breaking its fronts     in bombs and blood

we flee to these folds     in a restless land

while solar flares grow     bright alignments

underscore the shudders     of tectonic plates

we watch folds pucker     oceans drag and pound

ah, the memory of water     bittersoft chaos as if

Shiva’s hand falls     echoes our flight we dance

on moving carpets     while polar caps melt

on Mars     droplets dissolve into the mirror

of our desire for migrancy     beyond borders

of a world grown small     fragile to human touch

infidels of the sun     set longer sights

unlock fantasy’s rim     fear and hope

sand shifts beneath our feet     we watch folds

Credit note: "Folds" was published in The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry, which I co-edited with P. S. Cottier (IP, 2014), and is reproduced by permission of the poet. The Stars Like Sand is available from the publisher and from amazon.com.au. If you're ordering through a bookshop that doesn't stock it, let them know the ISBN: 978-1-922120-78-6

Check out this excellent review of The Stars Like Sand in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Tim says: This is another of the fine poems we selected for The Stars Like Sand, and that would be quite enough reason to post it here, but there's another one: partly inspired by her inclusion in The Stars Like Sand and the quality of the anthology, Jo Mills decided to set up an international speculative poetry competition with very generous prizes. It's open for submissions now, and closes on 1 May. Check out the guidelines here:


About Jo Mills: Jo Mills is a speculative poet, short story writer and fantasy author (under the pen-name Joanna Fay). She recently founded Interstellar to host two annual awards for speculative poetry and fiction respectively, and to publish themed speculative fiction and poetry anthologies from 2016.

Jo lives in the Perth Hills, Western Australia, with her teenage son, two dwarf rabbits and a quail who thinks she's an eagle. She keeps an eye on the sky for starships and patiently awaits the arrival of her galactic family. Jo's author website can be found at http://joannafay.me/

The Hub Tuesday Poem: is Nest by Linda France, chosen by Helen McKinlay.

24 March 2015

Tuesday Poem: Jim

Between jobs, Jim
drifts through signings,
conventions. His agent calls.
There's a thing with werewolves,
a guest slot on "The Walking Dead",
but no sign of the fifty million
he needs to film Macbeth.

Playing the old Bill
has kept him in threads, in fags,
but Macbeth will take serious wedge.
It's enough to grey his hair,
drag his cheekbones down.
He smiles and signs. His agent calls
about a thing with ghouls.

Tim says: I'm writing a batch of new poems at the moment, but am not posting them here yet as I'm looking to submit them to magazines - and my published books have been mined for Tuesday Poems to the brink of severe resource depletion! So, when looking for something unpublished to post, I was glad to stumble over Jim, the actor always waiting for a callback, for a call. For the record, the reference to "The Walking Dead" was once a reference to "Smallville". Jim's been waiting for a while.

The Tuesday Poem: This week's Tuesday Poem is New Margins by Joan Fleming, selected by Helen Rickerby.

18 March 2015

My January "Book Watch" Column For The NZ Herald

Tracey Thorn, Bedsit Disco Queen: How I grew up and tried to be a pop star. (2014): http://www.amazon.com/Bedsit-Disco-Queen-grew-tried-ebook/dp/B0091LLMXI/ - print and ebook 

In reviews and interviews, my favourite book of 2014, Viv Albertine’s Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys., was often compared to Tracey Thorn's Bedsit Disco Queen, so I was keen to read that as well.

And though it is a much less dramatic book than Albertine’s, I enjoyed it. Tracey Thorn is the best part of a decade younger, grew up in musical genres less vivid than punk, and comes across as a much more reserved and contained character. But she writes very well about her life, her stubborn determination to pursue her music, and the career somewhere just south of fame she has maintained.

Bernard Sumner, Chapter and Verse: New Order, Joy Division and Me (2014): http://www.amazon.com/Chapter-Verse-New-Order-Division-ebook/dp/B00LI5598Y/ - print and ebook

Though Bernard Sumner does not write as well as Viv Albertine or Tracey Thorn, I still found his memoir fascinating - both because I love the music of Joy Division and New Order, and because his origins in Salford in the 1950s have many parallels with my own in Grimsby a few years later.

New Order were famous for their hedonism, but I was pleased that in this memoir he dials that down to focus more on music and personalities. If you are interested in the music of the post-punk and acid house eras, or if you are keen to read an English perspective that is distinctly Northern, I think you'll enjoy this book.

Martin Edmond, Winged Sandals (2014): http://rosamirabooks.com/books/index.html#ws  - ebook

This essay, part of Rosa Mira Books' 10K series, likens taxi drivers to Hermes, the wing-footed messenger of the Gods - hence the title. Winged Sandals may be only 10,000 words long, but it's a fascinating meditation on taxi driving, writing, the ways they are alike, and the complex relationship between the work writers do to make a living and the effect doing such work has on their writing and on their self-image as a writer.

Artists will identify with Martin Edmond’s struggle to balance his passion with his finances. Whether you’re facing the same struggle, or would like to know what it feels like for people who are, this is recommended.

Julie Hill, ShameJoy (2014): http://www.giantsparrowpress.com/bookshop.html - print

I read ShameJoy on a recent trip from Wellington to Auckland. Reading on planes isn't usually my thing - I get bored and distracted easily - but that wasn't the case with ShameJoy - I very much enjoyed both the style and the substance of this book. These deftly constructed, sardonic stories often edge from the real into the surreal and back again, but Julie Hill’s humour is a constant to be relied upon. A fine debut for both the author and for Giant Sparrow Press, another impressive new New Zealand publisher.

Tim Jones is a Wellington author, poet and editor. His latest book is anthology The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry (2014), which he co-edited with P.S. Cottier. Find out more at http://timjonesbooks.blogspot.co.nz/