New Books from NZSA Members - Available now
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NZSA New Books List - September 2016

Congratulations to all those who have launched a book this month. Here's a selection of books that our members have sent in for the New Books Lists. 

Claire Hill  New Books List Editor

Keen to submit your book for the next edition of the New Books List?  Please send to: Claire Hill
Deadline for next issue: 26 September.  Information about what you need to send in is explained on our website and at the bottom of this email.


Witch’s Cat Wanted, Apply Within

Joy H Davidson & Nikki Slade Robinson

Published by Duck Creek Press

Once there was a very pleasant witch. She looked exactly as a witch should look, except for one small, furry detail… no cat! And without a cat, her spells are useless. She needs a cat who can ride on her broom, stir her cauldron, memorise her spells, but most of all be her friend. Will she ever find such a cat? Well now… maybe her local SPCA can help!

This book is the 2015 Joy Cowley Award Winner, a ‘delightful story of perseverance and finding friendship in unexpected places, accompanied by playful illustrations delivering a humorous parade of cats for the cat-lover’. Best suited to ages 3 - 7.
Available: Scholastic NZ. On sale at all good booksellers and online. RRP $19. ISBN 978-1-77543-372-9
Author's bio: Author Joy H. Davidson lives in Auckland with husband and a little black scruffy dog called Charlie. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Sciences and a Diploma (with excellence) in Writing Stories for Children from The New Zealand Institiute of Business Studies. This is her first book.
Illustrator Nikki Slade Robinson has illustrated well over 70 books, and has written many. Her book ‘Muddle & Mo’ gained a Storylines Notable Book Award, as did ’The Seven Stars of Matariki' (written by Toni Rolleston-Cummins). Her recent title ‘The little Kiwi’s Matariki’ won Best Picture Book in the recent 2016 NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. She was a finalist in the Sir Julius Vogel Award, highly commended in Pride in Print, and has illustrated Te Kura Pounamu Medal Winner ’The Puriri Tree’ by Merito Tawhara.

The Case of the Missing Body

Jenny Powell

The Case of the Missing Body interrogates the nature of self-perception by exploring the absence of a basic sense most of us take for granted. Powell reveals some unexpected challenges facing people with invisible conditions, particularly when those in the medical profession do not fully understand the condition. The frustrations and gradual triumphs will resonate profoundly with those who experience similarly hidden struggles.
‘Lily’ begins working in a gym under the guidance of ‘Patrick’ her physiotherapist. In a series of diary entries, Lily becomes her own detective, searching for clues to help her find her own body. This is a multi-genre work, blending medical forms, emails and diagrams into the narrative to give an account of Lily’s determination towards mastery. Jenny Powell records a crusade of self-discovery with “indisputable courage, willpower and wry wit.”

Available:  In Dunedin at the University Book Shop and Paper Plus. If your local book shop doesn't stock it, it can be ordered. It is also available from a number of online sites. ISBN 978-1-877578-31-1, $29.95 
Author's bio: Jenny Powell is a Dunedin writer, with eight published volumes of poetry. Her performance piece, Montecillo Child, debuted at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum in 2015. 

My Mother and the Hungarians

Frankie McMillan

In this new collection of flash fiction from Frankie McMillan, family relationships and the experiences of refugees in 1950s New Zealand are explored through exaggeration, humour, and surreal eddies of simile and metaphor that broaden the pieces out to look askance at politics, culture and history. These compressed, often comic, capsules of narrative convey a rich sense of family connection, of the lives of Hungarian immigrants to New Zealand and also of a child’s evolving self-awareness in a fractured, yet still enchanting, world.

Available: Canterbury University Press,

Author's bio: Frankie McMillan is a poet and short story writer who lives in Christchurch. Her collection of short short fiction was written while she held the Ursula Bethell residency at Canterbury University in 2014.  

Fast Fibres Poetry 3

Fast Fibres Poetry 3 is the third anthology of poetry from Northland compiled with the aim of showcasing the range of quality poetry from the region. 

The poetry scene in Northland is busy with many writers groups meeting and some holding regular poetry readings.  Poets in this volume, the third, have a strong connection to the region, being born there, live or lived there, or making frequent visits to enjoy special summers.  

In this edition are Wellington residents such as Alex Staines and Mercedes Webb-Pullman alongside Aucklanders like Ila Selwyn. Many have been published widely, such as Olivia Macassey, Vaughan Gunson, Jac Jenkins, Martin Porter and Piet Nieuwland. Younger writers represented include Rata Gordon now living on Waiheke Island and Lola Elvy presently in Tanzania. 

Available:  ISSN 2382-1507 (print)   ISSN 2382-1515 (online)

I am Minerva

Karen Zelas

I am Minerva begins with a light-hearted selfie and ends with the writer’s realisation that – like the goddess Minerva  – she is a custodian of words and creativity and even wisdom. A poet no less. In between the selfie and the self-realisation, Karen Zelas explores with intense fascination the people and histories that inform her life. There is colour here and humour too, and a sense of excitement at the myriad and sometimes surprising ways human beings make their way on this planet, with or without the gods.
Available:  from independent bookstores &
Author's bio: Karen Zelas is a Christchurch writer and editor. She commenced writing full-time in 2006, following a career in psychiatry and psychotherapy.

Karen is the author of a novel and two poetry collections, with her verse play Geography of Loss performed in 2014, and her poetry winning places in several competitions in New Zealand and Australia. She is an editor of takahē literary and arts magazine and has recently started a small press, Pūkeko Publications. 

Bleak City

Marisa Taylor

Alice Moorhouse is beginning to find her way as a young woman when her life is disrupted by a series of earthquakes. As she and her family deal with the physical and emotional toll of living in a broken city, their recovery is confounded by greedy insurers determined to protect their profits, bumbling bureaucrats unable to coordinate their efforts and uncaring politicians determined to spin the recovery for their own ends. How does Alice build a life in a devastated city and discover who she really is?
Available: from independent book stores: Christchurch: Scorpio Books, Smiths Bookshop, Piccadilly Books; Auckland: Matakana Village Books, Poppies Remuera; New Plymouth: Poppies New Plymouth. Other book stores will stock on request. Also available at XCHC Exchange Christchurch and St Martins New World. Also available online. Publisher is Taylfin Publishing. ISBN: 9780473363413 
Author’s bio: Marisa Taylor was born in Dunedin and lived there and in Wellington before moving to the United States as a six-year-old. She returned in 1986, and has lived in Christchurch for the whole of her adult life. She began writing Bleak City as a way of making sense of all the stories she was seeing and hearing around her as the city tried to recover from the 2010/2011 earthquakes. She hopes she has captured some of what it is like to live through a natural disaster in the modern world and to experience the problems created by man’s inhumanity to man.

Shooting Gallery

Wes Lee

A debut collection of poetry from Auckland-based writer Wes Lee.
“With remarkable economy, Wes Lee conjures striking poetic images of the contemporary world.” (Demos Journal)
“A stunning volume of poems.” (Laura Vordermayer)

Available: Published by Steele Roberts, Wellington. Available in independent bookstores around New Zealand, and can be ordered direct from Steele Roberts, or Fishpond. ISBN 978-0-947493-23-3

Author's bio: A long-time Wellingtonian, Wes Lee now lives in Auckland. Her poems have appeared in The London Magazine, Poetry London, Magma, Westerly, New Writing Dundee, Landfall, The Stony Thursday Book, Cordite, Riptide, and many other journals. Her chapbook of short stories Cowboy Genes was published by Grist Books at the University of Huddersfield in 2014. She has won a number of awards for her writing including The BNZ Katherine Mansfield Literary Award, and The Over The Edge New Writer of the Year in Ireland. Most recently she was a finalist in The London Magazine Poetry Prize 2015, and The Troubadour Prize 2014 in the UK.

Her Long Wait

N J Mauchline

The gripping final chapter in the Her Long Goodbye trilogy. 

Zara rubbed her fingers over the bold black letters before cautiously picking up the envelope. It contained words laced with secrets which had been hidden for too long. Words that Dan had never shared with anyone, not even Mia. Zara opened the envelope and began to read. 

The letters take her back in time on an untold journey. As Zara starts unravelling the story she finds herself wishing they had never found the letters. But it’s too late. It was time for Dan’s letters and Zara to return to London.

Available: Her Long Wait and other books by N.J. Mauchline are available as eBooks through Amazon or paperback copies available directly through N.J.Mauchline, through her website
Author's bio: One reader describes N.J. Mauchline's writing as “deeply personal and provoking” and that you can feel the author’s heart in her books. The beginnings of N.J. Mauchline's first novel, Her Long Goodbye, were born out of her own dance with love, but three years on since it was released it has turned into much more. N.J. Mauchline's had thought she would only write one book, however she has just released her fourth book, Her Long Wait, the final installment in the Her Long Goodbye romance trilogy.

A Moment's Silence

Christopher Abbey

Set against a backdrop of actual events in 1995, Martyn Percival, a middle-aged New Zealander, seeks adventure on his first OE to the United Kingdom. A chance sighting, providing a possible link between an explosion that has rocked the nation and the whereabouts of a renegade IRA operative, has Martyn reporting his suspicions to an attractive police sergeant in the Cotswolds.

Scotland Yard becomes involved when the bomber is identified as a serial killer, who then embarks on a mission seeking revenge on the tourist who “shopped him”.

Martyn’s burgeoning feelings for the sergeant have him agreeing to participate in a planned trap for his nemesis. When this backfires, Martyn returns to New Zealand. His stalker follows. Faced with fear for his own survival, Martyn has no alternative but to turn the tables and stalk the stalker. Thus setting up a face-to-face finale in New Zealand’s North Island wintry landscape.

“This crime novel is gritty, well-crafted, and stresses that no matter what happens, however minor, it has an influence on the rest of our lives.” Dorothy Alexander (Manawatu Standard and Stuff Books webpage)                         
Available: from all good bookstores - published by Mary Egan Publishing ISBN 978-0-473-36189-1 or in eBook form from Amazon - ePub ISBN: 978-0-473-36190-7.
Author’s bio: Christopher Abbey was born in South Africa and, in 1977, immigrated with his family to New Zealand. A Quantity Surveyor by profession, he counteracted the predominance of numbers in his life by writing as a hobby. A creative writing course in 1996 inspired A Moment’s Silence. He has lived in Palmerston North since 1978.

Poppyseed and Sunflower's First Adventure

Murray Peat

Beyond Safeland where the twins live is a world of fun-filled humorous adventure, lovable creatures and a few untrustworthy characters. Charlie the chimp lost his brother George when all the monkeys in the Great Forest were captured, and the race is on to find and rescue him.

Along the way, the twins discover secret mountain passages, accompany the acrobatic Hootoos, engage in story-telling, raft the rapids, meet Evie in the little Garden of Eden, help devise a rescue plan involving mushrooms, discover what truly is at the end of a rainbow, and make countless creature friends.

Available: on Publisher is WestBow Press and available as an e-book, softcover and hardcover. ISBN-10: 1512749893 and ISBN-13: 978-1512749892

Author's bio: Murray Peat grew up in Auckland, has visited 42 countries and lived in 4 of them - NZ, Australia, England and China - English teacher to foreign adults, medical receptionist, pastor, co-founder of an international business forum in China, and operations manager of a large Salvation Army social service agency. In his spare time he loves writing stories, walking, has a travel blog called ArmChairWorldTravel (on Google sites), loves improvising on the piano, spending time with his 2 daughters and 8 grandchildren and creating new stories for them.

The Assyrian Girl

Thomas Devine

'Security contractor, Matt Couper, returns from Iraq with memories of a fifteen year old Assyrian girl, Tara Nasrim, whose life he saved. Five years later, as a refugee, Tara shows up in New Zealand. Even there, Islamic extremism rears its head. Religion clashes with love, vengeance is pursued, and Matt’s world overturns.

'NZ writer, Tina Shaw, describes it as: "Another intriguing story by this author. A great read. The novel addresses certain issues in our times in a way that is human and understandable. Good questions are raised about faith and dogma, and whether it’s better to be free, in a Western sense, or to stay embedded in one’s own culture. The author, though non-Islamic, shows a grounded understanding of Muslim characters and issues, and there are good details."

Available: from, Amazon, etc.

Author's bio: 'Thomas W Devine was born in Blenheim and educated at Marlborough College and Waikato University. In 2010 he was awarded a Diploma in Religious Studies and Catechetics from the National Centre for Religious Studies.
'He worked in New Zealand for many years as a public administrator before resigning his job to write full time. His first novel, Reversal Point, was a semi-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. 'He currently lives in Wellington with his wife and extended family'. 

New Books List Submission Requirements:

Are you an NZSA member? Like to feature your new book in the New Books List? Please email the following to Claire Hill at
  1. A JPG, or PNG image: The book's front cover (we don't need back cover).
  2. A Blurb: 1-2 brief paragraphs about the book. (Max 150 words)
  3. Available: Don't forget to include relevant information about where your book can be purchased. If your book is available to purchase online, include the html links. Include publisher name and ISBN number if applicable.
  4. Author's Bio: 1-3 sentences about you. We don’t need a full CV – just the edited highlights. NB: A link to a website is not a bio. (Max 100 words)
And please do a final read and spell check before you send!
The deadline for the October 2016 issue is: 26 September. 
Image: Danish author Karen Blixen
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