SpecFic Nz Cover Contest – 31st August

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Cover for Ghost Hand designed by Kura Carpenter is an example of some of her latest work.

Have you got a completed short story, novella or novel that would go great with a professionally designed cover?

SpecFic NZ have just opened their cover contest to non-members. All you have to do is send them the first 1000 words of your completed story by 31st of August and the winner gets a professionally designed image by Kura Carpenter Design.

For more details, check out SpecFic’s website.

Meeting Derek Landy

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On Friday 10th Christchurch was treated to a visit by Derek Landy, author of the award winning children’s series “Skulduggery Pleasant”. It was hosted by the wonderful Children’s Bookshop.

I was only introduced to Skulduggery Pleasant a week before, when raiding Beaulah’s bookshelf. I certainly wasn’t expecting a hilarious and wonderfully written romp in Ireland where I was shown an underworld of magic and plots that could destroy the world as we know it. Skulduggery the detective, and his unasked-for partner Stephanie, find themselves burdened with the task of saving the world.

It turns out the engaging dialogue found in the novel reflects the author’s wonderful dialogue. He kept his young fans, and their parents, well entertained with tales that perhaps aught to be believed as much as his novels, telling them, “I remember being eleven, with the wife and kids. We grow up young in Ireland.” And saying to Beaulah and me that writing was easy, though it was clear he did not mean it. He added that people think he’s a people person during signings, but accepted the alternative I offered, that he gets high off the stench of permanent ink as he draws Skulduggery in every book.

I loved the way he took time with every fan: talking and joking and answering questions. He was clearly happier to take time to pose for photos than us snapping impromptu ones, something to keep in mind for next time I attend one of his signings. I was shocked to see when I left the store, that the queue still extended well down the footpath, and I hoped those at the back would get a chance to see him too. Angela Oliver told us he kindly stayed well beyond the 6 o’clock finishing time to ensure everyone got their books signed, and chatted even to the last fans despite dark setting in.

If you get a chance to go to a Derek Landy book signing I highly recommend it. The long wait due to his mass of fans was well outweighed by getting my book signed and getting to talk to him. And getting this picture of him and Beaulah.

Time for the Membership Form

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We have an amazing 332 people in our Facebook Christchurch Writers’ Guild group. It’s fantastic.

With size comes a need to be organised, so we decided we needed to create a form for all members to fill in to become “official members” so we could have a member database with basic information like an email addresses. Then we really started thinking about the kind of information that would be helpful to make the most of the Guild, and ensure that it’s working for all our lovely members.

On top of this, we really want to accommodate those people that don’t have a Facebook page. We understand that some members may be too young for, or simply not interested in, Facebook. So this gives those people a chance to still be part of the Guild, and feel as though they are valued members too.
So we would like to invite all our existing members (and new members that join us) to fill in the Membership Form you will find here or click on the Join Us page link at the top of the page.

Please be assured that all your information will be kept private, and will only be accessed by CWG admin.

September Writing Prompt

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Another word list this month, vaguely inspired by the weather…

  1. Rain
  2. Action
  3. Shape
  4. Dark
  5. Carry
  6. Coin
  7. Laugh
  8. Puddle
  9. Cloud
  10. Apprehension


Aim: about 500 words total

As usual use as many or as few words you like and have fun!

Happy writing!


A Poetical Friday

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The Poets Respond to the Quake reading, held by University of Canterbury, celebrated National Poetry Day on Friday. Winners of the My Quake Nightmare competition were given the opportunity to read their poem.

The poems enticed listeners to consider the quake from various aspects, giving us insight into how people were emotionally affected by the quakes, and the ongoing struggles of surviving in Christchurch. There was also an underlying theme of the way people pull together to get through crisis times, especially in the poem Block Party (the author’s name I regretfully forget).

We were delighted to discover our CWG member, Helen Mongillo, was a winner of the competition. Despite the nervousness she showed before the event began, her reading was executed beautifully. The poem itself took us back to the day of the quake. It showed the way people became selfless, and did all they could to help others, despite danger to themselves. It also aptly captured the fear we all now live with: when will the next one be, and how much more can our buildings take?

The event was MCed by Jeffery Paparoa Holman, who also read some thought provoking poems of his own, such as one regarding the death of a language; it was particularly relevant due to Maori Language Week last week and the continued declining numbers of Te Reo Maori speakers.

We were also treated to readings from Helen Lowe and Ben Brown, both of whom read wonderfully. Ben Brown reminded me of Glenn Colquhoun, as they both perform, rather than simply read their work. Definitely a pleasure to listen to. Helen Lowe’s poetry struck me as ethereal. I hope she one day publishes an anthology of her poetry so I can buy a copy, though she did tell me some poems are available on her blog site.

Helen Mongillo has kindly given us permission to post her photo and winning poem here. I hope you enjoy her poem as much as we did.

Helen Mongillo reads her poem at the Poets Respond to the Quake event.

My Life, by Helen Mongillo
Normal day.  Email, photocopy, edit.
Floor rolls.  Filing cabinet drawers move towards me.
Must get out.  Can’t walk.  Falling files.  Crawling.
First aid course memories, “It’s alright!  It’s going to be fine!” I call from hands and knees.
Sobs from under nearby desk.

Evacuation.  Wait!  My cell phone.
Crawl under desk.  Tug, tug at my hand bag, pinned under heavy metal cabinet.
“Kirsty.  Can you help?”  She steps on books and files.  Yanks metal.  Bag free.
Down four flights.  Stairwell waterfalls.  Must be bad.
Kilmore Street crowded. Text kids. Where did these bruises on my arms come from?

Back to work.  Second floor, two story, pre-1970’s building, near city centre.
What if there’s another one now?  This tiny toilet.  Cinderblock wall.
Forgetting.  Caught off guard again.  Hold desk edge; do I go under?
Laughter.  Cursing.  Eventually no comment at all.  The strangest.
Why do I stay here?  It’s my life.

Critique System for Members

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Write. Right, even. Time to organise this feedback system for real.
If you’re in, email christchurchwritersguild@gmail.com with your name, email, and what critiquing experience/ability you have.
If you don’t really know what you’re doing, that’s fine, the best way to learn is to do.
I’ll write up some rules and guidelines in the next 24hrs too.
First thing you do need to know though, is that if you want to have your work critiqued you’re going to have to critique for others. 🙂


😀 Fran

Events and Writing opportunities

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While looking for the Storylines post on the facebook page I noticed a few other up and coming events that I had forgotten, so since I just added categories that you can search by on the side bar I thought I would add the other events I found to this site too.


In the month leading up to National Poetry Day 2012 there will be a competition called My Quake Nightmare
Participants will be invited to submit a poem of between 10 and 20 lines on this theme.
The poem must be delivered or posted to Canterbury University Bookshop,
University Drive, Ilam, Christchurch 8041 before 20th July. No email entries.
Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, author of Shaken Down 6.3 will judge
There will be 10 prizes. The first 5 winners receive a $50 UBS book voucher
Next 5 winners receive a copy of Shaken Down 6.3.
Please add you contact details to entry.
All 10 winners will be invited to read their poem at the Canterbury University Bookshop National Poetry Day Event 27th July 12.30pm – 1.30pm.

Poets Respond to the Quake.
Performers Jeffrey Paparoa Holman, Helen Lowe, Writer in Residence UC 2012 and Ben Brown
The first 30 people to attend the event will be given a free voucher for coffee or tea at the newly opened adjacent AdLib Café.
In addition, in the week leading up to the event, we will feature poetry inside the shop with book displays and poetry walls inside and out…

Children’s Novel Writing competition (Women only)

2012 Children’s Novel Competition

[Entry fee of £25]

1ST PRIZE: £5,000

The competition is open to children’s novels in any genre by previously unpublished women novelists, but it must be for children who are able to read for themselves or for young adults. Crossover fiction (i.e. that aimed at children and adults) is eligible. Nonfiction, and fiction intended for adults is not eligible. To qualify as a novel, your book must total at least 30,000 words.

Closing date: 10 September 2012

Full Details:  http://www.mslexia.co.uk/whatson/msbusiness/ncomp_active.php#new

Short Story competition

The NZ Writers’ College 2012 Annul Short Story Award

This competition is to acknowledge excellence in creative writing in the Short Story genre. The contest is open to any emerging writer residing in New Zealand or Australia, who has had fewer than four stories/articles published in any format (print or digital).


  • First Prize: $1 000.00 plus entry into one of our short courses
  • Second Prize: $ 500.00
  • People’s Choice Award $ 250.00 

THEME: Full Circle

DEADLINE: 30 September 2012

Full details:  http://www.nzwriterscollege.co.nz/Competitions+and+Writers+Resources/