I met New Zealand author Michael Botur at a poetry-reading event at Geyser Con – a week-long festival of fiction-noir held in late January. I just had to buy my own copy of True?Short Stories, his poetry is so riveting. (Expect a review of his poetry later.)
This collection of sixteen stories are so enthralling that (apart from checking out the first chapter of J P Pomare’s Call Me Evie – expect a review soon) I kept returning to them.
Sometimes repellent, they always drew me back for ‘what next’ and ‘I’ll just start that next one’.
Michael’s characters are real (in the New Zealand context we know and love); their voice is not his – it is the voice of each character. This makes the stories even more real.
Here are titles, and some teasers…
Better than jail. “Nobody in this room could take you in a fight, but they have the power right now to rip out your mana and slice it up. They wait in silence while you try to understand…”
Because I love him. “The boys who live in this pig sty have never met us and we’ve only seen them from a distance but it’s obvious we wanna party so they don’t object when we tiptoe in and stand on the scummy ripped carpet in their lounge and say Hi.”
Schrödinger’s scoop, Don’t tell mum, Dumped after decades
Cuffed as fuck. “There’s this real crusty-looking Hells Angel dude who won’t take his patch off and I reckon our Rachael’s pretty savvy cause she just hands him some overalls so he can cover the patch up.”
Sword of Damacles. “People must buy black market merchandise from here all the time. The girl stops for a moment to wipe the peanut butter from a tiny three year old’s cheeks with a wet tea towel. She picks up a baby, too, and jiggles it as she comes to your car.”
Truth or dare, Kiss you while you sleep, The people’s choice, Cloud nine, Underground, Mengistu, That tingling sensation
If you want to become the character as you read, feel your gut churn, your brain become restless for more, then you cannot go past this collection of life.
True? was published 2018, by Michael Botur The Publisher
Cover design by Michael Botur, and “Yes, Michael, it is pretty neat!”
Michael is a Whangarei writer,
author of short story collections Lowlife, Spitshine, and Mean.
His work is featured at www.NZShortStories.com
You can find Michael on Facebook, and on Twitter
Deryn is a New Zealand author whose work I enjoy. A lovable lady, it was through Deryn I became an editor in the first instance. When her first publisher closed the book, she was adopted by Junction Publishing, who have released all her books.
Her works range from futuristic romance, through young adult futuristic adventure to her latest YA fantasy, Lutapolii.
Her author bio at Amazon – which reveals her work you want to buy – reads…
“I write fantasy, romance, cozy mystery, Young Adult, Sci.Fi. and short stories. I am published in all of these genre. I also dabble in poetry.
I belong to several writing groups and book clubs. I am an avid reader. I enjoy helping emerging authors and read the work of some of my fellow authors, and they read mine. In this way we help each other get our plot lines in order and our characters believable.
I live in New Zealand, which is [away off to] the right hand side of Australia, between the equator and the south pole, if you have a map handy. It looks isolated but with the internet we are moments away from anywhere in the world. A collection of islands, we have a democratic government and produce a lot of food which we sell around the world. The population is outnumbered seriously by sheep and cows – and I’m still looking for the hobbits.
I hope you enjoy my books as much as I enjoy writing them.”
This is the story of a family before and after emigrating to New Zealand in 1887, and is the answer to the question Marie and indeed her uncles and aunts often asked her grandfather (their uncle), to which the answer was an infuriating “Tell you one day.”
After his passing, Marie’s husband encouraged her to travel back to Ireland to find answers. She did so, and more. After receiving only hints of knowledge during her visit, she returned to New Zealand and began a full journey of research, aided by her grandmother’s journal, kept whilst travelling on the powered steamer Cuzco under Captain Murdoch.
Husband and wife Patrick Magill and Mary-Jane (née Campbell) sailed with their children James (Jim), Mary, Robert (Bob) and Annie, heading to South Africa (Capetown), then east to Australia (Melbourne). There they took the Governor Arthur up the Yarrow River, to visit with Uncle Jack, who had travelled out some years before to try his luck at the gold fields. After losing his friend, he settled to the land, now a flourishing homestead.
The Magills shipped to New Zealand aboard the Arawata, arriving in the Hawke Bay Ahuriri port close to Napier.
Published 1997, by Hodder Moa Beckett Publishers Limited, Auckland, NZ
This is a beautifully constructed tale, of
how the First World War affected the lives of a family in Aro Street, Wellington, New Zealand.
Author Lyndsay Campbell has meticulously checked background details for accuracy, before releasing this for the commemoration of Armistice Day, 2018. An engrossing read, tear-making at times, full of tenderness and the culture and atmosphere of the day.
It is the quest for information about a pendant, made by Rose in 1986 of her Uncle Walter, which had belonged to her aunt, his sister Kathleen (Kathy), that begins the tale of the family’s, and their friends’, experiences of the time.
The family is wide, and after the prologue, we meet distant relatives as events unfold in real time. Political opinion touches the family, as does societal expectations and norms. Some of the family are dutiful to the cause, others seek to put family loyalty first; this in itself gives rise to differences, defiance, and has disastrous effect on people around the girls.
We meet characters in Wellington who are, well… characters – the jeweler, the parson, the clairvoyant from Russia, and workmates of the family. We see reunion of family members who’ve not corresponded in years.
A brief romance, then correspondence between Kathy in Aro Street and Freddie who is now on the front, delayed by the constraints of post services in wartime. But her love for Freddie is constant, and we are given hope they will be happy ever after.
So too do we hope for her sister Belle (Rose’s mother) who dares to stretch the limits until an unfortunate incident occurs; for her elder brother George – the “wayward” but loving brother who evades conscription. For Walter, who dreams of becoming a war pilot, but is thwarted by his young age and the end of the war – to realise how lucky he is to be able to be alive. For their mother, Violet, and father Oscar, struggling to make ends meet yet still uphold their family and Christian duties to aid the less fortunate.
Altogether, this a touching tribute to the people of Wellington and NZ in general who ‘gave’ fathers, sons, and brothers to a war that belonged to Britain – “King and Country” – and in many minds, not to New Zealand.
The Aro Street Girls is a credit to the author, and a tribute to those who made such sacrifices.
Published by Junction Publishing, (c) Lyndsay Campbell 2018 and
Born in Ottawa and raised in Cornwall, Ontario, G. P. Gadbois is Canadian. She is a wife, a mother of three, a grandmother, and works full time. She started writing a weekly column published in the French newspaper of her hometown during her last year of high school and loved it. Except for letters, cards, and notes in baby books, writing took a back seat for years and now that her children are grown, it’s become her favorite hobby. She also enjoys walking, gardening, curling, reading, and babysitting Arrow.
Her first novel Caught Between Worlds, A Moment in Time Novel One was first published by Roane Publishing in 2016. Then, Trust Me, the second novel in the series was published in May 2018. When the publisher closed their doors, G.P. Gadbois made minor edits to both novels and released them on KDP-Amazon in November and December 2018.
She is presently working on Destiny, novel three in the series A Moment in Time. Her New Year resolution for 2019 is to finish and publish book number three during said year.
Ginette can be found at…
Caught Between Worlds, A Moment in Time, Novel One
When Gabrielle finds herself in a haunted town her chances of survival are questionable.
When Rick, the town deputy, promises to keep Gabrielle safe, he never suspected he’d need to deal with his own ghosts too.
Their week together is passionate, but like a ghost, will their romance vanish once the mystery is solved?
Trust Me, A Moment in Time, Novel Two
The attraction Suzanne feels toward Bill is intense when their paths cross again.
Bill knows he’ll never settle for another, but trusting Suzanne has its risks.
Will the nasty graffiti, the threatening notes, the interference of Bill’s ex-girlfriend, and the tragic break-in impact Suzanne’s decision and send her back home for good?