Tag Archives: Short Story

The Mysterious Mr Montague

Bloodlines, edited by Amanda Pillar
Bloodlines edited by Amanda Pillar

My short story, The Mysterious Mr Montague has been published in the Ticonderoga Press publication Bloodlines.

Bloodlines hasn’t yet been launched officially, but a pre-launch party was held at the recent Conflux 11 speculative fiction convention in Canberra, Australia. It would have been wonderful to have been able to attend in person!

The great news is that Bloodlines is now available for purchase either from Amazon or directly from Ticonderoga Press (the latter in either soft or hard cover). click here

Needless to say (but I’ll say it anyway!) I’m very excited to have my story published in an actual book (rather than an e-copy) and grateful to Ticonderoga Press for accepting The Mysterious Mr Montague for their anthology of stories about blood.

The tale itself is set in Kilbirnie (Wellington, NZ) in the 1970s. At various times back then I lived in the nearby suburbs of Hataitai and Lyall Bay. I walked the streets of Kilbirnie and Evans Bay, frequently. My identical twin uncles owned a butcher shop in Kilbirnie.

It was fun to write and I particularly liked adding reference to ‘The Larch’. Back in the 70s in Wellington, you would see ‘The Larch’ scrawled as graffiti on many walls and previously blank spaces. It was in reference to the Monty Python’s sketch of the same name. The Larch

My story, of course, is complete fiction, but I did enjoy drawing from my memories of the area and the time.

Last month, editor Amanda Pillar, invited the various authors to write a guest post on her blog site about their tales.  Here’s a link to mine… Bloodlines Guest Post Jane Percival.

Halloween Writing Competition


Spooky Bookshops Challenge

Check out SpecFicNZ’s ‘Spooky Bookshops‘ challenge.

This year, Halloween falls on NZ Bookshop Day. To celebrate this fortuitous collision, they are challenging members of SpecFicNZ to write short stories that combine the two.

Send them your stories of spooky bookshops, booky spooks, or spooked books and be in to win $100!


Length:      1000 – 2000 words
Deadline:   30 September 2015

Stories should feature both bookshops and Halloween/general spookiness.

Additional information about the challenge is available here.

About SpecFicNZ / How to join

Information about SpecFicNZ and how you can become a member is posted on their website.

Pantsers versus Planners

Driving home at dusk.
Driving home at dusk.  The waters of the Kaipara eerily luminous in the distance.  Rows of maize stretching out to the right.  Patches of dark Mānuka fringing the road.  The glow of the headlights on dusty gravel… I almost feel I could write something decent.

Water Baby

My daughter Immi approaches writing quite differently from me.  Apparently I’m a ‘Pantser‘ and this is quite true.  When I start a story I really don’t have much of an idea of where it’s going to end up.

I said I’d post a link when my short story, Water Baby, was published, so here it is…

Fiction on the Web, UK

Inspiration comes in flashes.  And is very elusive.  I might feel a surge of something when glimpsing a certain scene, but I haven’t worked out how to hold on to it.


Thoughts on Writing


Keeping on track

When you make the decision to take writing seriously, you are faced with the ‘grind’ of trying to write each day, and then not knowing if you are on the right track with your stories.

There is also the matter of personal confidence.  Creating anything involves giving up a part of yourself.  Whether you are a visual artist, an actor, a singer, a songwriter, or a practitioner of creativity of any kind… once you put a piece of yourself out there, or even express the desire to do so, then you are placing yourself in a position where people can (and will) comment on your offerings.

This is scary.  You have to move beyond self-doubt and the fear that whatever you do ‘won’t be good enough’.  You have to be able to say to yourself, ‘So what if it isn’t?’, and get on with it.


A mote of dust in a sandstorm

The internet has completely changed things for this hopeful author.  Where once I might have slaved alone for years over a book or a collection of short stories, I now have the opportunity to take some time-out.  I can respond to the challenges provided by the numerous sites that accept one-off pieces of work – from Drabbles, through Flash Fiction to the more familiar styles of writing.  All the while, still scribbling away at my longer projects.

Even so, I do this with the knowledge that there are immeasurable numbers of people out there working at the same thing.  It’s a world-wide market and I am just one tiny speck, one individual writer tapping away at the keyboard, trying to draw out my thoughts and weave them into something cohesive that I can express with a degree of eloquence.  I suppose the aim is to find my own original voice, amongst all the others.

It’s both exciting and depressing.  But the urge to write is strong.


Sharing a piece of yourself

Back in July I wrote a short story, ‘Water Baby’, for a project entitled ‘Strange Little Girls’.  Water Baby was unsuccessful for that market so I submitted it to a few other places and heard last week that it’s been accepted for an online publication.

This felt really good.  But I also experienced a secondary feeling that I was struggling to identify.  I’ve come to the conclusion that it was an infinitesimal feeling of loss.

Until a piece of writing is published, it’s all your own.  Then it’s out in that big, wide world, hopefully to be read by someone.  (That’s what you do it for, right?)

It will be dissected by some.  Dismissed by others.  Read and enjoyed by a few?  Maybe… I’d like to hope so.  But you’ve effectively given it up to the masses.  Your baby has grown up and left home.

And because it’s the age of the internet, feedback will be pretty damn quick.


(Water Baby will be published on 16 November and once it’s up, I’ll post a note about it.)

PS.  I know the ‘baby leaving home’ bit is corny, but that’s what it feels like. 🙂