Monday, December 04, 2017

New Reviews on

Denise's dogs in  Tayinloan, Kintyre, Scotland

See reviews on

Friday, November 17, 2017

Book Launch - Renée These Two Hands

Tuesday 21 November 6 p.m. The Women's Bookshop
105 Ponsonby Road, Auckland.

NZ Book Reviews by

Both of these books have good reviews on the flaxflower blog. click here.

For Christmas Gifts Send E-Books to Your Friends

 All three e-books are on sale from Amazon for 0.99c each. (Kindle $1.16)
They would make good Christmas gifts for the friend who is
spending time at the beach down under, or if in the northern hemisphere,
tucked up beside a glowing fire with snow falling outside.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Why Writers Write

All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery. Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.
–George Orwell, “Why I Write,” 1946

Writing a novel is a painful and bloody process that takes up all your free time, haunts you in the darkest hours of night and generally culminates in a lot of weeping over an ever-growing pile of rejection letters. Every novelist will have to go through this at least once and in some cases many times before they are published, and since publication itself brings no guarantee of riches or plaudits, it’s not unreasonable to ask what sort of a person would subject himself to such a thing.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Ballot Box Book Winners

 Women's Bookshop

The Women's Bookshop placed a Polling Booth on the pavement outside their shop for the week before the General Election (Voting closed at 5pm on Sunday 23 Sept.)
The Ballot Paper listed TEN 'political' books & the public were asked to VOTE for the most politically relevant book of the moment.
For a long time the results were 'too close to call' - but the final results are:
Winner: The New Zealand Project (Max Harris), closely followed by The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood) just one vote behind, closely followed by Polluted Inheritance: New Zealand's Freshwater Crisis (Mike Joy)
When the winner of the pile of books was drawn from the pile of voting papers, they were delighted to see that the winner was Claire Gummer, an ex-staff member from many years ago - a deserving winner who will appreciate the eclectic range of books!

Friday, October 06, 2017

Do You Like to Read Book Reviews?

The Truth About Language: What it is and Where it Came From
by Michael C. Corballis
Without language there would be no stories, no religion, no science, no history…. Strangely, though, we seem to take language for granted, a gift bestowed on us for the privilege of being human.
See a review of this book on

New Zealand Secondary Schools and Your Child: a Guide for Parents
​by Bali Haque

Bali Haque’s latest work is New Zealand Secondary Schools and Your Child: A Guide for Parents and the book certainly lives up to the promise inherent in the title, for it is a carefully-compiled and comprehensive response to an often-heard observation that “I’ve no idea what they do at school these days.

See a review of this book on

Where Books by Genesis Cotterell Can Be Found

1) Beattie and Forbes Bookshop Ahuriri Napier
2) Unity Books Wellington & their online store.
2) Thru my website:
3) Thru my blog:
3) In the following libraries:
    Napier (Taradale Branch)

shirley's blogs: Chapter 9 from my story "QUE SERA SERA" Getting to...

shirley's blogs: Chapter 9 from my story "QUE SERA SERA" Getting to...: CHAPTER 9   GETTING TO KNOW YOU   By the time the first guests arrived everything was ship shape and Bristol fashion. Sarah had awe...

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Starlight Peninsula by Charlotte Grimshaw

Is a book I recently read. A young woman living alone, decides to try and find out why her boyfriend died. She goes to his old flat. She goes to see the detective who investigated his death. After a while she finds out that her boyfriend, a journalist, had found out something about a politician. Then she realises that he was murdered because of that. It is a well written book and the author knows how to evoke atmosphere, mystery, apprehension and psychological suspense.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Spreading the Word About Two New Books By NZ Authors

To read an in depth review of each book go to:
Title: Seeing How: Beating Blind Spots
Author: Jewel Dell
Publisher: Enhanced Education Fund
ISBN: 978-0-473-37697-0 Softcover
RRP: NZ$35.00 print
Available: Softcover from the Publisher by emailing the author at; Wheelers Bookshop
Amazon as EPub, Kindle
Audio version  copyrighted by NZ Blind Foundation for client members

Title: Slave Power
Author: Raewyn Dawson
Publisher: Mary Egan Publishing
ISBN: 9780473389376
RRP: $25
Available: bookshops

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

The Sinister Code

The Sinister Code a new book by PM Hayes is due to be published in a few months.
It concerns murder, jealousy, revenge, victimization, guilt, love and the triumph of justice and truth.

3 Exciting and In Depth Reviews from

Title: Out of Poland: when the best revenge is to have survived 
Author:  Jenny Harrison
Publisher: Lamplighter Press
ISBN: 9781539027812
RRP: $25.99
Available: Paperback from
Or from the author via email or website

Title: Ngā Atua – Maori Gods
Author: Robyn Kahukiwa
Publisher: Oratia Books
ISBN: 978-0-947506-26-1
RRP: $24.99
Available: Bookshops or direct from

Title: The Women's Suffrage Petition, Te Petihana Whakamana Pōti Wahine 1893
Editors: Jane Parkin, Nancy Swarbrick, Caren Wilton
Publisher: Bridget Williams Books in conjunction with National Library and Archives New Zealand.
ISBN: 9781988533087
RRP: $29.99
Available: Bookshops

or Bridget Williams Books

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Chapter One of Murder on Muritai

Go Here To Amazon Page
By Genesis Cotterell

Arrival on Earth: 6 April 1905.
Landing Place: Patrick’s Well, Tipperary, Ireland.
Number of First Arrivals: 150 – consisting of 100 men and 50 women.
Reason for Coming to Earth: Ryxin’s sun burning out (Ryxin is now a dead planet).
Witness: James O’Grady, ten years old (now deceased), reported feeling heat coming from the sky before seeing a blue flash. He did not see any aliens before they changed into Human form.
18 April 1905: Aliens had changed into Human form and began to infiltrate Earth.
“The Ten”: These are ten Ryxin couples, who were ordered to mate only with each other so as to ensure the ongoing purity of the Ryxin race (whereabouts unknown).
Government Ryxin Breeding Law: All Ryxins are required to breed only with pure-blood Humans.

Government Working Party Briefing
– January 2020
Tensions between Earth’s two dominant species (Humans and Ryxins) are rising. All laws concerning Ryxin breeding are to be strictly enforced. For your own safety be mindful that disputes including/involving one or more Ryxin individuals SHALL NOT BE POLICED. Human police and security personnel are FORBIDDEN FROM INTERFERING. Those who disobey this directive face lengthy prison terms and will lose both their jobs and pensions. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Chapter One
Curtis listened carefully as his first client told him her story.
“It was no accident, Mr McCoy. Roscoe’s throat was cut. To be precise, his left carotid artery – and that was before his van went over the edge. I’m telling you, he was murdered. And I had a dream the other night: Roscoe was trying to communicate with me and he told me that blood was gushing from his neck and he had tried to stop it. But then he said he’d passed out even before the van became airborne and hit the rocks at the bottom of the cliff. He knew he was finished.”
Curtis observed the blond woman seated on the other side of his desk. Her eyes were green and she twisted the strap of her lime-green handbag around her mittened fingers. He instinctively knew she was Ryxin, just as he was.
“You mean the beekeeper, Roscoe Chamonix? I always check the basic details you see. It’s part of my training not to take anything for granted.”
He was writing in his notebook as she spoke, but he looked up every now and then. He remembered seeing her at the funeral though he hadn’t known her name then, only that she’d been Roscoe’s partner. Her face looked haggard and worry lines marred her forehead. She’d likely not been sleeping much.
“Yes, he was my partner. You heard about it then? How his van went over the cliff at Moa Bay. And they said it was Ryxin error? Huh.”
“I was passing near there soon after it happened. I also attended his funeral.”
He looked at her hands. It was a hot day yet she wore mittens. Definitely Ryxin.
On the day in question, Curtis had gone round to visit Claudette Peace, a writer from the mainland who had come over to Muritai Island for a few weeks to work on her third novel. She was an old friend of Marzy’s, his ex-wife, but had remained friends with Curtis after the divorce. Claudette had been able to see the fiasco their marriage had become and how unfairly he’d been treated.
He recalled vividly seeing the police car by the cliff edge at Moa Bay. There was a small gathering of people silently looking down. He’d parked his car and gone over, then seen Roscoe’s van, crumpled and beaten on the rocks below. As he watched, the woman next to him said, “We’ve just lost one of our own, you know. No one – not even one of us – could survive that.”
Curtis had turned and seen her tears. When she brushed them away with her hand, he saw she had six fingers, the nails painted bright pink. By ‘one of us’ she had meant that Roscoe was Ryxin, like herself.
“I loved him like a brother,” the woman sobbed.
Curtis had walked away, understanding the woman’s feelings of grief. The loneliness he still experienced since his breakup with Marzy was a constant reminder of how losing a loved one can cut you up inside. But he was also aware of how little he really knew about how other Ryxins lived. He’d grown up in a predominantly Human world. Learning how to be inconspicuous meant he’d never had to deal with what it meant to be Ryxin – not until he fell in love with Marzy.
He came back to reality with a jolt. There was Janux Lennan, still twisting the strap of her handbag and looking at the floor as if she were studying it in detail.
“Why did you come to me? Haven’t you told the police?”
“Ha!” She threw up her mittened hands. “Don’t tell me about them. I know already that they’ll be useless. I’m the only person who cares about what happened to Roscoe. This island is like a book and it has conveniently closed its pages. Nobody is interested in how Roscoe died. But I know he was murdered, even if it was made to look like a terrible accident. You’ve got to help me. Please. You do believe me, don’t you?”
Her voice had become faster and louder. Her lovely eyes filled with tears. Curtis put down his pen. He was inclined to believe her, but needed more facts. Even he, a relative newcomer to the island, knew that the police force here consisted of two constables who were eyeing up their retirement pay-outs, and Detective Soubert. Soubert was in charge and had a reputation for bungling important cases. She looked down at her hands, now folded in her lap. He thought she was rather beautiful. Like a Madonna with large, sad eyes.
“Okay, but you must understand that this is my first case and I won’t be fully qualified until I have solved it and presented a detailed report. Only then will I be a bonafide PI. I have also lived here for less than three months. How did you find me?”
“I saw your advertisement on the supermarket noticeboard – down in the village. I guessed you were new here, but that’s the way I like it. You see, I don’t want everyone to know what I’m doing.”
He had advertised himself as Private Investigator, willing to take on all cases. Considering the island was no more than fifteen kilometres from end to end and populated by around 20,000 people, he reckoned she was right in thinking that almost everyone would know each other. He had the advantage of relative anonymity.
“Let’s get started then. I will need a down payment of $1500, and the rest when the job’s done. Of course, the final figure will depend on how long it takes. Okay?”
She looked straight at him. “Yeah, sure, whatever you say.”
“Do you have any suspects? For example, someone who had a grudge or who hated his guts?”
She scowled. “There’s that big-shot Sly Onyx. Roscoe drank at the same pub as Sly and had a few encounters with him. I did too once. I reckon he’s capable of murder – he’s got no soul. They say he’s the leader of a group of Ryxins who are out to make trouble. I’ve heard a few things lately.”
“Does it have anything to do with Changeover Day next month?”
“I dunno. But he tried to hit on me one time – in the pub. Told me he could get me pregnant and I could have my own baby on the mainland, that he’d see to it the papers were okay. I told him I wasn’t interested. He got mad then, but Roscoe turned up, so he went away.”
“So you kept to the breeding laws, I take it?” Curtis asked.
“Of course we did, and adopting a Human child didn’t appeal to me and Roscoe.”
“Okay, but this Sly fellow was willing to get fake papers for you if you allowed him to father your child?”
“He likes to throw his weight around, but I’m just not interested in him or any of his kind.”
“What kind is that?”
“I’m told he’s a pureblood and likes to portray himself as some sort of authority figure. I’m not into bowing and scraping to anyone.”
Curtis found the determined set to her jaw appealing. “Here’s my card. Let me know if you think of anything else. I’ll begin the investigation immediately. And don’t worry – if it’s any comfort to you, I am also Ryxin.”
She smiled, and immediately looked even more beautiful.
After she left, Curtis picked up the paper from the front steps where it had been thrown earlier, and retreated to his back porch. It was the only paper printed on Muritai and came out once a week, on a Sunday. From this side of his cottage he could look out onto Tauiwi Bay, which always soothed his mind and gave him hope for the future. Admittedly he hadn’t always felt such hope, especially when he’d first arrived on Muritai. For one thing, this was now to be his permanent home, having once been his and Marzy’s holiday home, although he would be living here alone. Marzy had remarried – this time to a Human, with whom she hoped to have plenty of legal children.
Curtis had told Marzy he was Ryxin before they married, but she’d said it didn’t matter to her. They were both in love, and although her parents didn’t know, Marzy said she’d tell them when the time was right. She never did. Then one night, a few weeks after they were married, her parents invited them over for a barbecue, and her mother saw his bones glowing. He’d forgotten to wear his anti-glow bracelet. No amount of apologising and friendly gestures on his part could thaw her mother’s open hostility towards him after that.
Marzy told him her mother’s prejudice was based on her inbuilt fears of her daughter having a child born with alien features. ‘Defects’, she called them. Marzy told Curtis her father didn’t mind, but her mother threatened to disown her if she didn’t get a divorce straight away. Marzy immediately began using contraception.
Curtis could see how her mother’s attitude was changing Marzy irrevocably. She became distant and told Curtis she had to have a fully Human child, as her mother insisted. On no account could she conceive with Curtis as the father. Marzy eventually gave in, and shortly after the divorce started dating a Human of her mother’s choice. Curtis knew this man had been chosen to father children with Marzy and it sickened him to the bones of his male being, which glowed even brighter at night with the heightened emotion.

He opened the paper, and on page two there was a large advertisement for the upcoming Changeover Day celebrations set for the 18th of April.  The ad stated there would be a marquee set up on Sly and Mistle Onyx’s property in Ngahere Road. All Ryxins were invited to attend, but first they must come to the Onyx home and be screened to prove their Ryxin ancestry. Curtis studied the ad, then carefully cut it out and pinned it to the corkboard in his study. Now he had a reason to visit Sly and Mistle Onyx.
See Review on

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Recommending an Excellent Editor

Val Thompson – Editor
Creating Better Publications

Valerie Thompson  (Napier, New Zealand)
BA, Dip Pub, Dip Edit

Copy Editing / Proofreading / self-publishing

Val did the copy editing and proofreading for my latest three books and was meticulous in the detail required for a polished job.

(To contact Val use the Contact Form on the left side-bar)

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Folksy Old-Fashioned Murder Mystery

Regarding The Ryxin Trilogy books by Genesis Cotterell

Being the author of The Ryxin Trilogy Books, I was rather disappointed to hear from a bookshop where three of my books are on sale that the word alien in the blurb is stopping people from buying any of the three books.

To try and right this abhorrence of the word alien here is an excerpt from a review on Amazon for one of the said books. Obviously this reader too was thrown by the word alien but then had a rethink when he read the book.

I saw the word “alien” in the blurb and expected a book emphasizing technology, gadgetry, all tied together with a plot based on an otherworldly super-weapon. Instead, I was pleased to find a solid, character-driven, folksy old-fashioned murder mystery that happened to involve aliens who openly populated the earth a century ago.
The book is well-edited and written in a smooth, clear style.
The appeal of this book should extend beyond genre readership; mystery lovers will appreciate the carefully drawn trail that leads to the capture of the unlikely murderer.
I will most certainly be interested to read the sequel.

Excerpt from a review by Tyler Pike for the book Murder on Muritai The Ryxin Trilogy Book One,
on my Amazon Kindle page.

So to any possible would-be readers of one or all of the three books in the Ryxin Trilogy: Murder on Muritai, The Forbidden Gene and Notice of Death. - please don't be put off by the word alien and give them a go. Think Folksy Old-Fashioned Murder Mystery and if this appeals to you, you won't be disappointed. On the other hand, I would consider them rather as Murder Mystery Thrillers.
It would also be nice to hear what other readers think about this.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Four New Reviews from

Title: A Book of Kiwi Limericks
Author: Peter Low
Publisher: Rangitawa Publishing
ISBN: 9780994138262
RRP: $18 + postage
Available: print book from
or from    e-book via Amazon

Title: Orphanage Boys
Author: A.N. Arthur
Publisher: Rangitawa Publishing
ISBN: 9780994138217
RRP: Amazon $38 incl. postage: $30 via facebook
Available: Amazon; or via AN Arthur or Facebook
Title: Selected Poems
Author: Ian Wedde
Publisher: Auckland University Press
ISBN: 978 1 86940 859 6
RRP: $39.99
Available: bookshops

Title: Jem
Author: Barry Johns
Publisher: BJ Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-473-37823-3
RRP: $20
Available: selected retail shops in Christchurch, Christchurch Libraries, via at $22.99 (incl. postage ) within NZ.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Finally Here For Sale

Print copies of all three of my books are now available at the following venues:

 1) Beattie & Forbes Booksellers,
    72 Bridge St, Ahuriri, Napier 4110
    Price: $30
2) Onekawa Books & Gifts
    22 Maadi Road, Onekawa, Napier, 4110
    Price: $30
3) Via My Website  (See contacts page)
4) Wheelers Books.
5) Unity Online Books

Monday, May 15, 2017

Two New Reviews from

The Chinese Proverb
by Tina Clough

The minimalistic, but striking cover hints at the premise of the novel; if you save a life you are now responsible for the person you rescued.
     Afghanistan war veteran, Hunter Grant, willingly embraces this concept when he finds a stranger near death on his remote Northland bush property.  The mystery deepens when he discovers she’d been shackled and was prepared to die rather than be recaptured by her tormentor; whom she refers to as Master.
   By page two I was hooked by the foreboding sense of danger and I wanted to know Dao’s backstory of how she’d been enslaved and escaped, and why she was still being hunted.
  Emotionally scarred by his war experiences, Hunter has maintained a distance within his relationships with women. Now he has to open up his feelings so he can handle Dao’s fragile physical and mental state, and gain her trust so she will divulge the secrets of her past life, before Master tracks her down and eliminates her.
     Hunter, places himself firmly in the firing line as they unravel the mystery of Dao’s life, but Dao is more than a victim, she’s a survivor, who has her own role to play in her destiny. As the story develops the complexity of her character is revealed. The bond between Scruff, Hunter’s dog, and Dao enhances the human aspects of the unfolding drama, as the details of her horrific ordeal are uncovered.
    The book pages are cleanly presented in a no fuss style. There’s a clearly defined timeline as the story is filtered through Hunter’s point of view. Crisp descriptive language visually portrays the rural forest settings and the urban cityscape of Auckland.
     Suspense fuels this tightly written and fast paced New Zealand thriller that grips from the beginning.

Review by Wendy Scott
Title:  The Chinese Proverb
Author:  Tina Clough
Publisher: Lightpool Publishing
ISBN: 978-0473379261
RRP: $34.99
Available: Bookshops


Māori Oral Tradition: He Kōrero nō te Ao Tawhito
by Jane McRae

  Most New Zealanders will be familiar with certain names, incidents or texts from Māori oral tradition: migration stories, or the exploits of Māui, for instance. These are from a tradition of huge variety and depth, much of it transcribed during the nineteenth century either directly by Māori, or through collections assembled by interested Pākehā.
 This book offers a way of looking at those traditions, dividing them into categories according to their structure and purpose. So we have genealogies  (whakapapa),sayings and proverbs (whakataukī), narratives, histories, stories and myths (kōrero), and songs and chants (waiata)
​ Illustrative examples in Maori, with English translations, are given throughout. Even those with little knowledge of Māori language will find it rewarding to read aloud the Māori versions, in order to hear the rhythms and imagine the dramatic pauses and emphases – those things that are lost in translation and, to some extent, simply by being put into writing.
    Language both affects the way the world is viewed and, in turn, is heavily influenced by that world view. In considering Māori oral traditions, the author demonstrates how particular words and phrases, or particular names, were used to prompt the recollection of incidents or other people or stories associated with them. Thus what might seem to a reader of the transcripts to be overly brief or incomplete narratives would have been, to the listeners on the marae, oral performances rich in meaning.
    Throughout the book, there is commentary on and illustration of the way the traditions reflect the inner life of Māori in the old world – the deep significance of immediate family and of wider social groupings, of ties to land, of key ancestral figures, of reciprocities, the satisfaction of victories and the pain of defeats. There is drama. There is poetry. It is a literature unique to this country, yet it is an important part, too, of universal oral traditions, and thus of world literature.  Furthermore, as the author points out, these oral traditions continue to be “a real and influential part of the Māori world.”
    The author says: “Knowledge in the oral society…did not come from one kind of text alone…” Indeed not; and the same could be said of the ‘literary’ world. A reading of the novels from, say, Victorian England, will provide a deeper, more intuitive knowledge of what it was like to have been a part of life there, in that time, than could any history book. We understand the past best when we experience it through the literature, oral or written, of those who lived it.
    It is impossible in a brief review to pay sufficient tribute to the accessible style in which this book is written, and to the many significant issues that are raised in it. The author states that one of her main aims in writing it was to encourage Māori language and literature students to discover more of the riches to be found in the “manuscript trove” of transcribed oral literature; and surely any such student reading the book would be enthused. But for the general reader, the book offers insights into the contribution Māori oral tradition can make to an understanding of what it should mean to be a New Zealander, and what it means to be human.
    Auckland University Press has played its part in making this book pleasurable.  The layout is neat and reader-friendly. The scholarly endnotes, and the comprehensive bibliography and index, are useful without being obtrusive. It has that rare thing, a cover that enhances the text, the symbolism incorporated there being succinctly explained in a note on the reverse of the title page. Physically, the book provides the sort of tactile and visual pleasure that is exclusive to an admirably assembled combination of ink and paper.
    But of course it really comes down to the text, and without doubt the author has written something of exceptional value. Read it. Be enriched.

Review by Tony Chapelle
Title: Māori Oral Tradition: He Kōrero nō te Ao Tawhito
Author: Jane McRae
Publisher: Auckland University Press
ISBN: 978 1 86940 861 9
RRP: $45
Available: bookshops

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Recent Reading of Two Interesting Books

Out to Lunch - A Collection of writing by Judith Dale, Annabel Fagan, Robin Fleming, Terry Kennaway, Pat Rosier and Kate Torrens.
This is a collection of writing by six Kapiti women, who meet to workshop
one another's stories, talk and share food.
 There are tales of love and stories of heartbreak, but the common thread holding the book together is the shared perspective of a different point of view, the outsider voice of the lesbian writer.
Available from:  THE WOMEN'S BOOKSHOP
Midnight Feast - A collection of writing by Annabel Fagan, Robin Fleming, Terry Kennaway, Pat Rosier, Barbara Simmons & Kate Torrens.
Includes stories, poetry and fragments of novels from a group who meet
regularly to workshop one another's stories, talk and share food.
In this diverse collection, the authors offer rich treats for any palate: dreamy echoes of the past, a 1970's adventure on the road to Kathmandu, a smorgasbord of tales short and long, wry snippets and tidbits from everyday life, and a spine shivering futuristic story. The common thread holding the collection together is the lesbian lens that informs it.

Saturday, April 29, 2017 reviews

Title: Hammer That Mortgage
Author: David Tillman
Publisher: Mortgage Freedom NZ Ltd
ISNB: 978-0-473-37154-8
​RRP: $29.99

Title: Brushstrokes of Memory
Author: Karen McMillan
Publisher: McKenzie Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-473-37435-8
RRP: $34.99
Available: Bookshops