There was only one review that I hadn't seen previously, if 'review' is the right word. It was in the Oamaru Mail on 15 September and was a whopping 80 words...
It seems I'm getting a lot of hits from people Googling when the BNZ Literary Award (the old Katherine Mansfield Short Story comp) is going to be, uh, awarded. And until now I've left these hopeful Googlers empty-handed.
For once, however, I'm actually in the know (sort of) and can be of assistance. The awards night is 3 November in Wellington -- so less than three weeks away. Ooh, excitement.
Don't start thinking that I know something more / am verging on an embargo break. I get an invite every year by virtue of my win in the Novice Category in '07. At least this year when Dame Fiona Kidman looks at my name badge and asks me why I'm there I can say something other than, 'I'm the guy who had to send his mum to give his speech a couple of years ago.'
(Although I'm secretly hoping there'll be some form of humiliation that I can turn into a column.)
You didn't think I'd leave you hanging on the Oamaru review, did you?
"Craig Cliff is a modern young author who writes with flair on a variety of topics.
This collection of short stories shows his versatility in subject matter and style.
His stories are bizarre, whimsical, humorous and serious.
The reader is sure to be entertained with some amazing situation outcomes.
Cliff’s talents are well demonstrated in this anthology. The title invites the reader to open the book to discover what it means. A young writer with a future in short stories."
-- Anne McPhail, Oamaru Mail
An interesting, if slightly impractical, proposal for a Kiwi author co-op online book store (a snappier name would be the first agenda item) over at Public Address has prompted debate, as you'd expect. There's even the obligatory flame war (though still waiting for Godwin's Law to be borne out) and an argument whether using your real name online is really "a cloak of anonymity".
You stay classy internets.
Random House's list of reviews didn't include this one from the Otago Daily Times which was published over the weekend. Plus there's gonna be one in the next issue of Landfall.
Random were cheeky enough, however, to include a clipping of my first column from the Dominion Post. True, the my publishers did line up the interview I had with a Dom Post which planted the seed that I might be someone to call on one day when in need of fortnightly light-hearted reflections... But I definitely had free reign on what that first column would be about. That it mentioned my short story collection is more a sign of my own shamelessness than any coup on the part of my publishers (who I love, honest).
iTunes shuffle seems to be lovin' the long Neil Young songs this week. 'Like a Hurricane', 'Cortez The Killer', 'Cowgirl in the Sand'... Not a complaint, just an observation.
While we're talking about short story competitions, you can read snippets of the top ten stories in this year's Sunday Star Times short story competition here and cast your vote for the People's Choice. Haven't read any of them myself as yet; looking forward to playing pick that author. [Update: the author's are actually disclosed, all female if you think that's noteworthy.]
Also, the RSNZ Manhire Science Writing Prize has its short-list online for both fiction and non-fiction. There are some knowns (Alice Miller in both categories, David Hill, Cliff Fell, Ingrid Horrocks, Serie Barford) and some unknowns (to me at least).
Best of luck to all.
(I didn't enter either of these contest this year and am enjoying being pleased for other people without that bummed aftertaste. Um, surely I could have phrased that better. Meh.)
Excerpt from A Man Melting Marketing Strategy:
POS [point of sale] Dazzling Debut shelftakerIf only I'd known this handy term that rolls off the tongue like, well, stewed tongue I wouldn't have wasted all that time explaining my cover to people as having 'kinda shiny lettering and a picture of a fat guy in a paddling pool'.
It sure has been a lesson-filled three (and a half) months.