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Grey Nomads take on Australia

For the past 11 weeks husband John and I have been traveling in Australia. In this country, baby boomers who migrate in their thousands – and in their campervans -- from the colder parts of Australia to the hotter central and northern areas are affectionately known as GREY NOMADS! We from New Zealand are honoured to share the title while we’re here. Our first 5 weeks was in Western Australia; Read More 
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Creative Writing and the Brain

Is there a creative writer who hasn’t at times wondered what it is that impels thousands of people to spend thousands of hours thinking about and writing made-up stories, that at best will be read by thousands of people who have got nothing better to do than read made-up stories! Is there some evolutionary imperative that has moulded our minds to seek stories? Even Steven Pinker, the cognitive scientist and author of How the Mind Works --such a wonderful title-- who controversially suggests that music confers no survival advantage and describes it as “auditory cheesecake” (p. 534), submits that fiction can, like gossip, be biologically adaptive. “Fictional narratives supply us with a mental catalogue of the fatal conundrums we might face someday and the outcome of strategies we could deploy in them.” (p. 543.)  Read More 
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King of Writing

I have never read a Stephen King novel. My daughter was a fan of his from her early teenage years and I once attempted to read one of his books but found it so gross I gave up after the first few pages. So it has taken me years to get around to buying his book On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft, a book that seems to have only positive reviews, whatever the “genre” of the writing of the reviewer. It was a page turner,  Read More 
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Oldies but Goodies; Banks, Miller, Packer

Wonderful writers to discover: Banks, Miller, and Packer.
One of the great pleasures of reading is discovering good writers who have been around a long time. Melissa Bank’s book Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing first published in 1999 is worth seeking out.  Read More 
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Come Winter, Rebuilding and Rugby.

Early in May I sent my Trouble In Mind manuscript to my editor, receiving it back with glowing praise and no edits other than a small number of words where I forgot to change my NZ-British spelling to the American spelling. I have been overcome with the generosity of many well-known writers, neuroscientists and novelists) who have agreed to read a pre-publication copy and endorse the book if they like it.  Read More 
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Books: Stockett, good; Gruen, bad.

Recently I have enjoyed a range of good reads and one very disappointing one. The first good book was Kathryn Stockett’s The Help.  Read More 
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The Joy of Writing and Reading Festivals

I have just returned from the four day Auckland Writers’ and Readers’ Festival, and a wonderful festival it was. International authors seem to enjoy coming to New Zealand, and often appear first in the Auckland festival and then in the Sydney festival. The Auckland festival had 32,000 attendees this year, quite a remarkable accolade for good books and wonderful writers in our largest city of just 1.5 million.  Read More 
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"Trouble In Mind" and amnesia

I sent my completed manuscript for “Trouble In Mind” off to my OUP editor in New York this week, so now I can get back to my fiction writing, at least until my editor returns it with her editing suggestions. Hopefully there won’t be too much revising to do. The planned publication date is December this year, which is not that far away.  Read More 
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'Quakes & Nuclear Power

It is nearing the end of March and the variable weather of early Autumn is with us; but this far north the sea is still warm enough to swim in and the days still warm enough to want to. The past few weeks have been horrific for first Christchurch, and then Japan. The triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami and potential nuclear disaster in Japan dwarf the Christchurch earthquake by several thousand times,  Read More 
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Year of the Rabbit

On a more cheerful note, here on the island, where all is well and we got only a slightly higher tide following the Japan tsunami, there has been a lot of feasting. This invariably happens in the summer months as friends arrive to enjoy the peace and beauty of our bush and beaches, catch fish, and enjoy the simple pleasures of sharing fabulous food and wine, usually seated around a big table on the deck of a beach house overlooking the sea or bush. A few weeks ago – just before the Christchurch earthquake – a Chinese friend visited us with her mother and prepared an amazing and delicious nine course meal for the Chinese New Year – the Year of the Rabbit – for 12 of our friends.  Read More 
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