Wish Upon A Southern Star – a review

Wish Upon a Southern Star, edited by Shelley Chappell

Reviewed by Lee Murray

“Stories change, but fairy tales never go out of fashion. Like a basic item of clothing, they may be reshaped, trimmed, decorated with frills or remodelled altogether,” writes editor Shelley Chappell in the introduction to Wish Upon a Southern Star, a stunning new collection of fairy tales, freshly re-imagined by new and established writers from Australian and New Zealand. Chappell says, “the authors in this collection have run the traditional tales through the mill and come out with new cloth.” Indeed, some are barely recognisable, like Philippa Werry’s evocative and beautifully-crafted Snow from the South, a contemporary version of the Snow Queen, appropriately set in Antarctica at a time when ‘melt pools were forming in the sea ice”. New Zealand might have guardianship of only a small part of the frozen land, yet Kiwi readers will find a familiarity in this haunting retelling of the classic tale. | Read More...

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Author Events: E.G. Wilson

E.G. Wilson at the launch of her second book, Expression (Voiceless Duology #2).

It’s been a busy few months. My debut novel Voiceless (publisher: Atthis Arts, USA) launched back in July. The sequel and second half of the duology, Expression, released in October. The paperbacks only arrived the day before the launch — cutting it tight! But we made it. Had a great turn out and some fabulous weather, and sold a fair few books, too.

Among other projects and besides the day job, I’ve started writing a new series. Using Camp NaNo and November NaNoWriMo for extra momentum, I’ve written the drafts of two 100k+ books and a novella since July, and I’m on track to finish the third book by mid-December. I have twelve books minimum planned in the series, so we’ll see where that ends up. I’ve never written this much this fast, it’s amazing. And a bit scary. Mostly amazing. | Read More...

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SpecFicNewZ for November 2017

Members, if you have news you’d like to share, please let us know a specficnz@gmail.com

Debut Release!

Congratulations to member Jenn Rackham, whose debut book A Dash of Belladonna was released on 31 October. Mike Johnson says, “Here is a book full of magic and awe, humour and excitement, brought to us through Lottie’s exuberant prose. A zany book, full of narrative zest and high adventure.” A Dash of Belladonna is available in ebook and print versions here. | Read More...

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SpecFicNooZ for October, 2017

SpecFicNooZ for October, 2017

Members, if you have news to share, please email us at specficnz@gmail.com. We’d love to hear about it.

New Signing! IFWG Publishing Australia has bought Wicked by Blood: The Kingfisher’s Debt by member Kura Carpenter. The novel is an urban fantasy set in Dunedin, and is a mix of fantasy, mystery, murder and satanic rituals. It’s scheduled for release in the second half of 2018. Read more about it here. Congratulations, Kura!

Core member Darian Smith is heading to Australia next month to share his expertise with Aussie writers. Please share this with your colleagues in Brisbane and Adelaide. Darian’s latest book, Starlight’s Children, the long-awaited sequel to Kalanon’s Rising was released on 8 October. Congratulations Darian, and don’t keep us waiting so long next time, please! | Read More...

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In the News 

Amazon Secrets from 2 Bestselling USA Authors

Amazon Secrets from 2 Bestselling USA Authors

Sunday 24 September at 2pm


Benefit from the international publishing experience of two bestselling American science fiction authors, Chris Kennedy and Mark Wandrey.

Rising Above the Noise: Maximizing Your Profits with Amazon is a free seminar (gold coin donation for venue hire) at Wellington Central City Library, seminar room, mezzanine floor.

  • Understanding the Amazon algorithm
  • Best practices for pre-launch
  • Amazon tricks for launching a book.
  • Six strategies for selling more books on Amazon

A bestselling Science Fiction/Fantasy author, speaker, and publisher, Chris Kennedy is the author of the award-winning #1 bestseller, Self-Publishing for Profit: How to Get Your Book Out of Your Head and Into the Stores.  Chris has coached hundreds of authors on how to self-publish, published nine authors under his own small press, sold over 100,000 books and had two #1 Amazon bestsellers. | Read More...

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In the News 

The Book Club, by Alan Baxter – review

Review by Piper Mejia

The Book Club by Alan Baxter, draws the reader into a search for ultimate understanding; but the days are ticking down. Protagonist, Jason, is a devoted son, husband and father, who is forced to confront what he knows about his missing wife, her hidden life and the secrets of the mind. As he pulls the pieces of their lives apart to hunt for answers, Jason discovers that love and hate can bind a person for eternity.

For lovers of dark worlds, this novella will take you by surprise. The initial missing persons storyline takes a sharp turn into the obscurity of zeitgeist. Masquerading as a book club member, Jason discovers his wife has fallen into a group harnessing the power of time and space, and has gotten lost in her attempt to find herself. | Read More...

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In the News Reviews 

Bound by Alan Baxter – a review

Review: Bound by Alan Baxter

 Review by Nix Whittaker

Super action packed well-written story. Easy to read but a little darker than I like my books. Not just that but the swearing and other stuff though realistic to the character’s situation is not my thing.

 The story is of Alex Caine a street fighter who can see more than meets the eye. A stranger arrives at one of his fights and we basically fall into a quest/the one trope. I like these kinds of tropes so I thought I would enjoy the story more, especially since it was beautifully written. Unfortunately, I also like my stereotypical completely obvious stories to be peppered with more comedy. Also, I like a story that leans more to being able to pass the Bechdel test. I did like Silhouette. She was fun and witty. I’d recommend this book for male readers though and I admit I like my books geared towards either women or at least gender neutral. This reminded me of Ian Fleming. On the outside the main character looks bad ass and cool but the more you delve into the character you realise that he is shallow. I believe the author was aware of this issue and did try to alleviate this as Alex really doesn’t want to be that stereotypical bad ass. | Read More...

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In the News 

Night’s End – Review

Night’s End, Book 3 in the Night’s Champion Series by Richard Parry

Review by Frances Duncan

Night’s End, the final in the Nights Champion trilogy, released the first day of Lexicon. I finished reading it the last day of Lexicon. This feels appropriate as the first two were shortlisted for the Sir Julius Vogel award for Best Novel.

The cast has grown over the series and it’s hard to keep track of everyone. At one point someone appeared and I had no idea who he was till the next scene. There’s someone for everyone; a tough female detective, a powerful young woman, a military woman…do you notice a theme here? There are some guys thrown in too; one of them is even a werewolf (don’t worry there’s a female werewolf too). | Read More...

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Core Committee Elected for 2017-2018

At the recent AGM, a number of our Core committee retired, including long-standing Treasurer Immi Paterson-Harkness and our hardworking Secretary, Jean Gilbert. Paul Mannering stood down from the role of President. The organisation would like to thank these colleagues for all the work they have done on our behalf. The incoming Core for 2017-2018 is as follows:

President: Grace Bridges

Treasurer: Paul Mannering

Secretary: Lee Murray

Webmaster: Dan Rabarts

Core: Piper Mejia, Grant Stone, Darian Smith, Woelf Dietrich, Mark English. | Read More...

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SpecFicNZ supports DUFF and FFANZ funds

In recognition of the support of our fan community in encouraging and promoting New Zealand creatives ‒ writers, screenwriters and artists ‒ SpecFicNZ is pleased to announce that it will provide a grant of NZ$300 to the DUFF fund to support delegate Paul Weimer’s attendance at LexiCon New Zealand’s 38th science fiction and fantasy conference which will be held in Taupo from 2-4 June, 2017.

A further NZ$300 grant will go to the FFANZ fund to support New Zealand delegate Lynelle Howell’s attendance at Australia’s speculative fiction convention, Continuum 13, to be held in Melbourne in June 9-12, 2017. | Read More...

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Black Amber series – A review

Black Amber: A New Fate & Red Bullets

By Nathan Simpson

(Reviewed by Emma Hart)

For those of us who live in New Zealand, there’s both comfort and surprised delight in spec-fic set in our own country. Nathan Simpson’s Black Amber books start in a world of Vegemite and duvets that will be familiar to many.

Very quickly, however, we’re taken from that world to another, one of magic and medieval weaponry. The books’ central characters, brothers Ricky and Tylor, have come into possession of a mysterious magical artefact, which it appears will compel them to travel from world to world, seeking their own home, leaving every set of attachments they might make along the way. I was reminded of Diana Wynne Jones’s YA novel, The Homeward Bounders. | Read More...

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SpecFicNZ Review Programme

At SpecFicNZ it is our mission to promote speculative fiction. To this end, we would love to showcase reader reviews on our website. If you are an author who would like to have your work reviewed, or a reader who enjoys speculative fiction, then we would love to hear from you. General guidelines for the programme are as follows:


While we are happy to promote all speculative fiction, preference will be given to books/ebooks by our members. If you are not a member and would like to join, you can find information about joining here. | Read More...

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Book Launches Featured Work In the News 






by Jean Gilbert & William Dresden

Series: Beyond the Wall book one

Genre: YA Fantasy

Stuck in the mountain town of Glen Eden, Harper Deveraux has longed for an adventure ever since the death of her mother. Even her mother’s journal full of incredible stories of a make-believe world called Non wasn’t enough to placate her restless spirit.

Jack Everett is content with life as it is, except for one thing- his ‘best friend’ status with Harper. With the Moon Dance coming up, it is his chance to make a move and ask her out as a date, a real date, if he can get up the nerve. | Read More...

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Featured Work In the News 

The Mechanicals by Nix Whittaker

A steampunk adventure with a plot to take over the Empire and a kidnapped bride. Hara and Gideon have been asked to do a favour for the Emperor to return a runaway bride. Things become complicated when it is found out that the runaway bride has fallen into the clutches of an ambitious duke who is planning to commit genocide and take over the Wyvern Empire.

This story is a retelling of the classic tale by Shakespeare, Midsummer Nights dream so expect some Puckish antics and a touch of magic.

This is the second book in the Wyvern Chronicles series. Due to be released in the middle of October at Amazon. You can also read a sneak peek on my website. | Read More...

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Anthologies In the News Kiwi Writers 

Interspecies (The Inlari Sagas) Volume 1 – The Paperback

Interspecies Cover JPEGInterspecies has had a good run thus far, reaching the top-ten of two Amazon bestseller lists and staying there for a couple of weeks, even becoming the number three hot new release in its category. Our collective smiles touched our earlobes as we watched our baby climb the charts.

And now, after so many requests, the paperback is also available. So, if you prefer a more tactile reading experience, click here . We’ve even lowered the price to $9.99 for a short time.

Or, if you prefer the ebook version and haven’t picked it up yet, it’s only $1.99 right now to celebrate the paperback release. | Read More...

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