Interviews Kiwi Writers SpecFicNZ 

SpecFic Spotlight: Rainer Süss

I loved creative writing in school and always tried to push the boundary with violence, horror and particularly plot twists at the end. I loved to try and cram as much as I could into the 200-300 words we were allotted during exams. The word limits were a challenge then; now I’m just too happy to be able to write something much, much longer.

Although I read plenty Stephen King and Dean Koontz in my high school days, I was mostly into action/spy thrillers then. In terms of plotting and action, Robert Ludlum and Tom Clancy probably influenced me the most, right up to today. I think some of the content in PAWNS OF HEAVEN proves it, and it’s quite remarkable, considering I’ve only recently taken up writing again after almost 20 years. My reading tastes have, however, changed significantly over the years. Raymond E. Feist got me into fantasy when I was in university mid-to-late 90’s, and I think it’s just fantastic how his RIFTWAR CYCLE has evolved and expanded over two decades. Currently, however, I’m probably inspired most by the galactic sprawl of Peter F. Hamilton’s writing. His NIGHT’S DAWN trilogy is just so epic in scope, and such a fine example of speculative fiction. Ultimately, my reading experiences resulted in me writing PAWNS OF HEAVEN (now available as an omnibus of a trilogy I self-published in 2013), which is a thriller at heart, but set in a speculative universe with secret agents, mutants, Dyson Spheres, distant worlds, mental constructs – all in one story! | Read More...

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Submission opportunity: Interstellar Award for Speculative Poetry

A tip from member Tim Jones:

The international Interstellar Award for Speculative Poetry is open to all forms of poetry, from contemporary/free verse to traditional verse. ‘Speculative’ is here defined as science fiction and fantasy, all sub-genres such as space opera, hard SF, soft SF, paranormal, steampunk, new gothic, supernatural, metaphysical fantasy, magical realism, and all hybrid genres, including new ones of your own making. The only proviso is that entries contain at least an element of the speculative. | Read More...

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Ebook Cover Competition

cover comp

We’re back with another competition, and this time we’re thrilled to once again be working with Dunedin-based cover designer Kura Carpenter to give you an opportunity to win a beautiful (or scary, or exciting, depending on your preferences) new cover for your work. As her testimonials from clients around the world show, Kura has a keen sense for attracting readers with her design.

So if you have published, or will be publishing, a longer work (novelette, novella or novel) this competition is for you! | Read More...

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Your invitation to our birthday lunch at NatCon

Are you coming to Reconnaissance, this year’s national science fiction and fantasy convention (NatCon), in Rotorua this Easter? If so, please join us for lunch and to celebrate SpecFicNZ’s fifth birthday on Saturday 4 April from noon to 2pm in the Summit room at the Sudima Hotel (the NatCon venue), 1000 Eruera St, Rotorua.

This will be a chance to meet / catch up with your fellow SpecFicNZ members from around the country – and, if you’re quick, to get a slice of Jean Gilbert’s famous chocolate cake! Lunch will be provided. You are also very welcome to bring guests (as long as they are also attending NatCon). Please let us know numbers and any dietary requirements by Monday 30 March, either in the comments below or via email to | Read More...

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Featured Work 

Currents of Change

Currents of Change by Darian Smith

Haunted house, haunted heart.  When Sara O’Neill goes on the run, she believes the tiny town of Kowhiowhio is just the sanctuary she needs. Her family’s old colonial house needs repair, but it’s safe from the abusive husband she left behind. However, a hostile local holds a grudge and a dangerous presence haunting her new home threatens Sara’s chance at peace. How can she create a new life while dealing with ghosts from the old?

For local electrician, Nate Adams, parenting his young daughter alone has not been easy – particularly in a town where he is still seen as an outsider. When he meets his new neighbour, he sees a chance at a new start for them both. Even with his help, can the house – or Sara’s heart – be repaired? | Read More...

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SpecFicNZ Publishing Grant Open for Applications

The 2015 SpecFicNZ Publishing Grant is open for applications.

Complete information about the grant is here and the application form is here.

Applications must be received by 11:59 pm NZT, 17 May 2015.

This year’s grant amount is $1500 NZD, to be split amongst one or more applicants. We will be accepting applications for publishing projects from SpecFicNZ members who are publishers or self-publishers. A previous publication history is not required, but a successful track record in publishing may help your application. | Read More...

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We need a copy of your book please

Reconnaissance, this year’s national science fiction and fantasy convention, is fast approaching, and they’d like copies of some excellent Kiwi spec fic to give away as prizes. Obviously this means you! If you’d like a copy of your book (or books) to be given to some lucky person at Reconnaissance this Easter, please ask your publisher to send a copy gratis to: Reconnaissance 4/115 Mill Rd Otaki Kapiti 5512 by 28 March 2015. NB: If you are a Paper Road Press author, please note no action is necessary, as your… | Read More...

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Interviews Kiwi Writers SpecFicNZ Spotlight 

SpecFic Spotlight: Mike Reeves-McMillan

I recently released Beastheads, a prequel novel in my Gryphon Clerks series of lightly steampunked secondary-world fantasy (with an SF feel).

I’m taking a break from that series now to write a contemporary urban fantasy (more Jim Butcher than Charles de Lint) set in present-day Auckland. It’s called Blokes in Black, and features some underpowered magical practitioners who find themselves targeted by mysterious goons. I’ve lived in Auckland all my life, and know a bit about it, having worked for a travel guide and for the Council, so it seems like a good fit. It’s great fun setting action scenes in places that I walk past every day. | Read More...

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SpecFicNZ Publishing Grant Scheme Opens for Applications 16 March 2015

SpecFicNZ is thrilled to announce that our first annual Publishing Grant will open for applications on 16 March 2015.

This year’s grant amount is $1500 NZD, to be split amongst one or more applicants. We will be accepting applications for publishing projects from SpecFicNZ members who are publishers or self-publishers. A previous publication history is not required, but a successful track record in publishing may help your application.

New members are welcome to apply; to become a member, join here. | Read More...

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Call for submissions: Flash Frontier

Flash Frontier, a New Zealand flash fiction challenge and competition site, is calling for submissions to its April issue, which will be guest edited by SpecFicNZ member Tim Jones.

Submissions must be 250 words or fewer, and connected to the issue’s theme of ‘iron’ (to be interpreted as you wish!). Works published at Flash Frontier are eligible for bi-annual prizes for excellence.

Submission guidelines can be found here.

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In the News 

Pawns of Heaven

Pawns of Heaven by Rainer Süss

When the Premier of Zanix is murdered by Pantoja’andese mercenaries, Zanixese Agent Surat is ordered to Pantoja’and to investigate. He crosses paths with Agent Kainaka – the estranged daughter of a local crime lord tasked to investigate a potential family connection to an ancient prophecy. But Kainaka has her own secrets to contend with as they start unraveling a diabolical plot spanning centuries and distant worlds, and they are yet to realize that more than just the fate of their respective nations rests upon their shoulders. | Read More...

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