• Virtual Workshop & 2022 AGM

    Join us, Sunday18th September from 9:45am to 5:15pm, for a day of workshops, networking, and fun! Have a say in SpecFicNZ’s activities for the next year. Hang out with other speculative writers from around Aotearoa New Zealand. Win spot prizes throughout the day, including a one-on-one session with Gail Carriger!

    9.45 – 10 am Welcome/intro to the day

    10 am – noon Workshop: Things I Wish I’d Known BEFORE Selling My First Book

    Presented by Gail Carriger
    Successful hybrid author and NYT bestseller Gail Carriger covers concepts and terms that established authors and book industry professionals use all the time, but that you might not actually completely understand. She reviews current industry standards and expectations of authors. She will help you determine which path is best for your book and career: traditional publishing, self publishing, or a hybrid of the two. She’ll cover the 4 things she believes EVERY author should have set up online BEFORE their first book launches into the world.

    About Gail

    12 – 12.30 pm Lunch

    12.30 – 1.30 pm AGM: Make sure you have your say! Join us to discuss the agenda for SpecFicNZ for the next year. Learn how you can get involved and get the most from your membership. Join the conversation and go in the draw to win a 30-minute one-on-one session with Gail Carriger!

    1.30 – 3.00 pm Workshop: Creating a Sense of Place Using the Natural World

    Presented by Robinne Weiss

    As living creatures, we respond to the environment around us—to the feel of rain, the sound of wind, the smell of the freshly mown grass … But sometimes we forget to pay attention to these sensations as writers. Whether you set your stories in the Australian outback, downtown Auckland or on an alien planet, your characters will experience the environment with all of their senses. Learn how to tune into the world around you in order to include details in your stories that transport your readers into the scene alongside your characters. Bring both characters and setting alive with select details from the natural world.

    About Robinne

    3.00 – 3.15 pm Break

    3.15 – 5.15 pm Concurrent sessions:

    Special Edition Write Club

    Hang out with other writers, share what you’re working on and spend some time putting words on paper in the company of other writers.

    Member to Member Q&A

    Pour yourself a glass or a cuppa and have a chat with your fellow writers. SpecFicNZ’s membership is a treasure trove of experience and knowledge. Talk shop with other writers. Share techniques, tips and troubles.


  • The Well-Presented Manuscript: Just What You Need to Know to Make Your Fiction Look Professional

    Newly released, the third edition of The Well-Presented Manuscript: Just What You Need to Know to Make Your Fiction Look Professional by Mike Reeves-McMillan.

    Do you want to be taken seriously by editors, readers or reviewers?
    Do you make errors in your fiction writing?
    This book is for you.

    Mike Reeves-McMillan is a fiction author, reviewer, and former copy editor and technical writer. He’s analysed the errors he’s found in hundreds of books, both indie and traditionally published, and written a simple, clear guide to avoiding the most common issues.

    Learn:
    – Why editors reject 90% of what’s submitted to them—and how to increase your chances.
    – How to get punctuation right every time.
    – The special conventions of dialog.
    – The most common word confusions, typos, and research errors—and how to check for and eliminate them.

    Compared with the 2020 edition, the 2022 edition is 40% longer, and the popular Commonly Confused Words section has grown by more than a third. (Not sure if you mean diffuse or defuse, crevasse or crevice, gambit, gamut, or gauntlet? We have you covered.)

    It’s now based on an analysis of more than 25,000 errors in close to a thousand books from publishers of all sizes: self, small, medium and large. It includes new sections on American versus British English, whether “alright” is all right, “lay” versus “lie,” and the use of singular “they”.

    Other sections have been thoroughly revised and expanded, and there’s yet more advice on improving your comma usage in specific circumstances.

    Everything is still directed at improving the working fiction writer’s grasp of mechanics and usage, so that your prose reads smoothly and your readers can immerse themselves in your story.


  • Get Involved–Join the Core!

    The SpecFicNZ AGM is coming up in September, and that’s the time we choose our core committee for the coming year. Fancy piloting the Starship SpecFicNZ? This is your chance.

    Being on the Core is about more than organising events, attending meetings, and doing all the administrative tasks to keep the organisation running (although that stuff is vitally important!). Being on the Core is a great opportunity to meet other speculative writers and work with them on projects that support all speculative writers in Aotearoa New Zealand. It’s an opportunity to learn more about writing and publishing. It’s an opportunity to direct the professional organisation that supports you. It’s an opportunity to network with writers in New Zealand and around the world.

    As with anything, you get out of it what you put in, and being on the Core is a great way to make the most of your membership.

    And of course, the organisation can’t run without members willing to serve on the Core. We need you. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been a member of SpecFicNZ for ten years or ten minutes. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve published fifty books or none. What’s important is your willingness to give your time and enthusiasm to the organisation’s initiatives. I guarantee that no one who’s ever served on the Core felt prepared for the job when they started. We all took a leap of faith and put ourselves out there, and in the process we’ve learned so much. You can do it too.

    In a few short weeks, we’ll be asking for nominations for the 2022/23 Core Committee. Consider stepping up and nominating yourself. The Core meets monthly via Zoom. Time commitment aside from meetings depends on your position on the Core and what initiatives are underway. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected] if you have questions, are keen to volunteer, or need more information.


  • New Release! Auckland Allies 4: Wolf Park

    New Release! Auckland Allies 4: Wolf Park

    Auckland Allies 4: Wolf Park by Mike Reeves-McMillan.

    Technomagical ninjas versus Nazi werewolves in a desperate struggle for the soul of the city.

    Three times now, the Auckland Allies have barely managed to turn their modest magical powers and their hometown advantage into victory against the body-snatching sorcerers of the Ennead. But now their opponents have sent a Wolfmeister, who’s converting innocent citizens into ravening beasts.

    With their leader injured and losing his grip, and their personal struggles threatening to drive them apart, can the team manage one more win against their most challenging foe so far?


  • New release! Auckland Allies 5: Memorial Museum

    New release! Auckland Allies 5: Memorial Museum

    Auckland Allies 5: Memorial Museum by Mike Reeves-McMillan.

    How far will the Allies go to defend their city?

    It’s only a matter of time until the increasingly unhinged Ennead launch another attack. The Auckland Allies want to empower their associates to resist it, but that desire puts them into direct conflict with the misdirected zeal of the Guardians.

    A magic-infused Napoleonic sword may hold the key to harnessing the power of the city against their enemies… but only if they can get around the curse laid on it, and find a way to use its sinister power for good.

    (This is the final book in the Auckland Allies series.)


  • Aftermath Contributor Gary Nelson

    Aftermath Contributor Gary Nelson

    Aftermath: Tales of Survival in Aotearoa New Zealand is SpecFicNZ’s new anthology, available here.

    The anthology explores Aotearoa in a post-apocalyptic world. Disasters have occurred around the country and the world. New Zealand, in our isolation down under, may have escaped most of what happened around the world, but it was pretty bad out there. As Kiwis are apt to do, though, we’re “getting over it”. You know, she’ll be right …

    This is not just an anthology of disaster stories. The pages are filled with hope in the form of short stories, poems, flash fiction and artwork about what comes afterwards. The contributions are exclusively from SpecFicNZ members and reflect the diversity and breadth of this country we love to call home … even if the edges are a bit torn and tattered.

    We’re interviewing all the contributors to the anthology so you can get to know the brave souls who’ve battled zombies, aliens, earthquakes, volcanoes and more to bring you the stories you’ll find between its covers.

    Today, we’re chatting with Gary Nelson.

    Aftermath includes a variety of disasters set all around Aotearoa New Zealand. What disaster / location combination did you write about and why?

    I wrote about a world-wide nuclear and chemical warfare catastrophe that had marginal impacts on NZ. Well, lots of people died here too, but we’re pretty much the last ones left. Being isolated has a few advantages. The rest of the world is a wasteland.

    I wanted to explore life-long friendships in the face of disaster (and beyond). It’s a ghost story, of sorts – I’m not prejudiced against the living-impaired. They’ve got feelings too.

    Oh, and I was a co-editor and co-narrator of the anthology as well, which was a very rewarding experience.

    How do you think the Kiwi approach to life after disaster is unique?

    In general Kiwi folk tend to be resilient, adaptable and frankly a bit cheeky, but that’s a good thing because humour helps when the days are dark. They accept a lot  of what goes on around them, but they also don’t put up with whinging – take a concrete pill and let’s get on getting on.

    What are your most valuable post-apocalyptic skills?

    I grew up through Boy Scouts in Canada and spent 25 years as an adult leader there and here, so I’ve got a few practical survival skills under my belt. Actually, that includes a few kilos of extra padding, so I wouldn’t start to really suffer from hunger for a few days… maybe a week.  Bit of roughing it would probably do me a world of good. I loved tramping and making survival shelters, things like that. I still have my survival kit handy… and my pocket umbrella, but that’s another story.

    They say the pen is mightier than the sword. Being a writer, you must have lots of pens. What creative use would you put them to in a post-apocalyptic New Zealand?

    Maps and lists. Maps to stay away from the worst of what’s out there. And lists… you’ve got to have lists if you want to survive. Thinking ahead, having something to look forward to, and a bit of a plan. Which includes finding some more paper to scribble on with my pens… I’ve always got a notebook handy, even when it’s not the end of the world. But birch bark will do in a pinch.

    Tell us a little about your other writing?

    I write in several very different genres – adult Science Fiction under the pen name J. J. Mathews, starting with the Taylor Neeran Chronicles. It’s an exploration of how much influence a single human female can have on the future history of our unsuspecting galaxy.

    Otherwise I’ve written and published a number of Project Management books – one for adults, and the six-novel Project Kids Adventures (PKA) series for kids ages 9-12 (or 30-99). The PKA series has been translated into Portuguese, Japanese and Simplified Chinese, with translations in progress for Brazilian Portuguese, Latin American and Continental Spanish, Mongolian, and Korean.

    The PKA series is also being adapted to Manga graphic novel format, wonderfully illustrated by Hiroaki Ishihara, with books 1 & 2 now available. The PKA-manga books are also available in several languages; English, Japanese and Portuguese (to start with).

    What are you working on now?

    I’ll be publishing the 6th volume in the Taylor Neeran Chronicles in the next few months (Incubation), and getting started writing book #7, the final in the series (Invasion). And while I’m doing that, I’ll be working up some ideas for future SF books and other series.

    I’m also busy publishing the various translations and manga adaptations of the PKA series; aside from the Mongolian and Simplified Chinese versions, I self publish everything else. All told, I’ve currently got 39 titles in print, with more coming as the various translations are completed.

    Where can readers find out more about you and your writing?

    Science Fiction: jjmathews.com

    Project Management for kids: projectkidsadventures.com

    Project Management for adults: gazzasguides.com

    Just me: garymnelson.com


  • Aftermath Contributor Erica Challis

    Aftermath Contributor Erica Challis

    Aftermath: Tales of Survival in Aotearoa New Zealand is SpecFicNZ’s new anthology, available here.

    The anthology explores Aotearoa in a post-apocalyptic world. Disasters have occurred around the country and the world. New Zealand, in our isolation down under, may have escaped most of what happened around the world, but it was pretty bad out there. As Kiwis are apt to do, though, we’re “getting over it”. You know, she’ll be right …

    This is not just an anthology of disaster stories. The pages are filled with hope in the form of short stories, poems, flash fiction and artwork about what comes afterwards. The contributions are exclusively from SpecFicNZ members and reflect the diversity and breadth of this country we love to call home … even if the edges are a bit torn and tattered.

    We’re interviewing all the contributors to the anthology so you can get to know the brave souls who’ve battled zombies, aliens, earthquakes, volcanoes and more to bring you the stories you’ll find between its covers.

    Today, we’re chatting with Erica Challis.

     

    Aftermath includes a variety of disasters set all around Aotearoa New Zealand. What disaster / location combination did you write about and why?

    I wrote about plastic choking our environment, especially in the Great Pacific Gyre, and a pair of scientists whose attempts to solve the problem come into conflict with corporate greed.

    How do you think the Kiwi approach to life after disaster is unique?

    We all like to think that our approach to disaster is unique, but there is a commonality in the way people all over the world band together to confront disasters. A beautiful essay I read in the past few years talked about how Covid destroyed our notion that we are an economy first, a society second. In the past few years New Zealand’s shown an ability to recognise that and put people first.

    What are your most valuable post-apocalyptic skills?

    Gardening. But I’m under no illusions about what hard and constant work it would be to grow enough to support myself, let alone trade for what I haven’t got.

    They say the pen is mightier than the sword. Being a writer, you must have lots of pens. What creative use would you put them to in a post-apocalyptic New Zealand?

    They tell you never to put things in your ears. But come on, who hasn’t stuck a pen or pencil in their ear and swivelled it around to get at what’s inside? That’s about all a pen’s good for, once the ink’s run out. Oh, and stabbing people. They never see that coming.

    Tell us a little about your other writing?

    I’ve written and presented scripts for Radio New Zealand Concert, and I write programme notes for orchestral concerts. When I was an editor of TheOneRing.net, I wrote articles about Tolkien and fantasy which were eventually collected into a couple of books, along with articles by other TOR.n writers. A couple of years ago a bunch of writers who met through the Star Wars fandom collaborated to put out a Patreon-funded online zine, Lemon&Lime, for a year or so.

    What are you working on now?

    I’m working on some short stories, mostly science fiction, and occasionally flinging a couple of big romantic space drama novels at agencies and publishers. No nibbles yet. Apparently the appetite for Space Downton Abbey is smaller than I thought.

    Where can readers find out more about you and your writing?

    Until I can figure out how to build a website, you’d be out of luck there.


  • Aftermath: Tales of Survival in Aotearoa New Zealand

    Aftermath: Tales of Survival in Aotearoa New Zealand

    SpecFicNZ is pleased to announce the publication of Aftermath: Tales of Survival in Aotearoa New Zealand, our new anthology, available here.

    The anthology explores Aotearoa in a post-apocalyptic world. Disasters have occurred around the country and the world. New Zealand, in our isolation down under, may have escaped most of what happened around the world, but it was pretty bad out there. As Kiwis are apt to do, though, we’re “getting over it”. You know, she’ll be right …

    This is not just an anthology of disaster stories. The pages are filled with hope in the form of short stories, poems, flash fiction and artwork about what comes afterwards. The contributions are exclusively from SpecFicNZ members (Check out all the blog posts about our contributors!) and reflect the diversity and breadth of this country we love to call home … even if the edges are a bit torn and tattered.

    Aftermath is available from most online retailers. Get your copy today by clicking here!


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