Tuiscope page header graphic showing Mt Pirongia, some hydrangeas and two Tuiscope logo tuis.
Header graphic, Diary of the Progress of the Story of the Dolphin RippleThe dolphin Ripple

Monday 16th June 2013
Ripple was published last week in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It's a translated hardback edition, called VLNKA. I haven't yet recieved my author copies but have received the payment of advance royalties. My author's critique group friends love to call such payments "Czech cheques" and they also now sometimes very rudely refer to Ripple as the "Cheque-book." It would be nice if it were a little more true in some ways. But it's very exciting to think that my little dolphin has taken her first leap across the language barrier.Here is the cover design of Vlnka:

Monday 1st July 2013
Terrible news. My agent, Ray Richards died this morning. He was 92. I can't think of any person in NZ literature who has contributed more to the literature of this country over a career, and no-one has been more loved and respected. He is irreplaceable and will be so missed. I've known Ray since the mid-eighties when he helped me with the publishing of Clancy and my other children's stories. He just had so much wisdom.

Monday 10th June 2013
The last few days have been interesting for Ripple. The signed contract came in from the Czech Republic, by email late on Thursday night. Jiří Alman, the Czech publisher who picked up Ripple in Frankfurt, has finalised negotiations with RLA and the contract came in at last. I'd signed earlier versions and mistakenly thought that was the end of it, but no, it's not just me who has to sign, its the agent, the author and the publisher. He intends to publish the book in the Czech Republic and Slovakia in the Czech language.
I'm very pleased to see this happen because there have been some strong rumours in the international dolphin activist scene that someone is doing their best to open a dolphinarium in Prague. If they get permission and go ahead, Ripple will be on hand to help the fight. If they fail, as we hope they do, then Ripple will be there to help celebrate.
I've already been in contact by email with Peter Antonín in the Czech Republic. He is at work on the translation. I sent him the pdf he requested and have sent Jiří the cover design, which he so loves. I'm so delighted he intends to use the same cover as I have on my own print version.

Also today, I uploaded the pictures I've been creating to promote this website on Facebook. I made a special new page to display them here as well. It's the "Star Dolphin Pics" page off the "Home of Ripple" menu buitton above. Or just click here.

I notice I haven't written anything about my trip to Auckland a week or two back. I had two reasons to go, both literary.

Firstly I was booked to speak to the Creative Hub advanced Fiction course about Ripple's successful Indie Publishing journey. It went very well, he got good feedback from the class and I've been asked to speak to the next intake on the same topic.

Secondly, I attended both the Auckland Readers and Writers' Festival events that featured Bill Manhire. I particularly enjoyed the "Manhire to Music" event where I got to speak to Bill briefly afterwards.

Monday 20th May
Another very literary weekend. This time in Auckland where I spoke for 1½ hrs to the current advanced creative writing class at the Creative Hub at the Maritime Musuem about the same topic I spoke on last week at Raglan.
But it was also the weekend of the Auckland Reader's and Writers' Festival so I attended the two events where Bill Manhire was speaking. This is because of his link of friendship to Ralph Hotere, who is haunting me right now, as is one of his paintings, Black Painting XV. This haunting by Hotere makes me incredibly curious about everyone still alive who was linked to him. My Work in Progress, "Dolphin Melody" has Hotere as a character and also the painting as another character. I spoke to Manhire briefly and he has told me he is happy for me to contact him regarding Ralph. Despite being obviously much older, Manhire looks so eerily similiar to how he looked as a beautiful young man in 1974 in the video below, and of course he is the one who provided those WORDS! (Melody malady melody malady melody malady," which seem to have been written for my story and which I did not discover until quite recently.
This is Ralph himself in this amazing 1974 Sam Pillsbury video. Can't believe I can see him anytime by looking at this, even though he has passed. He is so alive here:

Monday 13th May
Had a wonderful time out at Raglan on Saturday. Very social, and far more literary for me than my usual cycling focused weekends. It was the Wordcafe Raglan Readers' and Writers' festival where I was booked to speak about the process of self-publishing as it has been for me on my journey with Ripple. There was a good sized audience who were interested and responsive so it was stimulating and fun to speak to them. I also sold plenty of books. I even sold a book to a woman who I met in the cafe where we ate our lunch. She was keen to get me to speak in her home town of Whitianga.

In the evening I was a guest at the Open Mike session in a big cafe in the middle of town. It was jammed with a big audience of interested people eating and drinking and listening to the authors.
The "star" attraction was Julie Thomas, the current toast of our Waikato authors due to the impending world-wide launch of her book "The Keeper of Secrets." Julie and I are already "partners in crime" through our shared involvement at the Waikato branch of the NZSA where she is chairman and I am deputy chairman. It was fun to be Julie's supporting act on the night. Julie told the crowd of her own background and the story of her novel and then gave us a reading from it. I briefly spoke on how my sailing background had influenced Ripple and I read from the scene where Cosmo sees the moonlight rainbow and then defeats a shark.

Other authors then took their turns at the open mike and between the lot of us we created a lively and entertaining evening. I sold some more books.
Sunday, I had all my author friends arriving here for a critique session. My WIP was one of the scripts under the spotlight and I got some positive feedback as well as some useful insights on how I can improve. One of them, Bronwen Jones, a historical novelist who travelled up from Christchurch to join us here, stayed the weekend and she was a wonderful supporter out at Raglan.

Friday 1st February
What a week! So much happened in such a short time. First, I found out that Ripple had been awarded the Awesome Indies Approval gold medal. Then I heard that she was to be featured on Indies Unlimited via their sneakpeek. This is good news as this is an influential website. Finally just last night, the Ripple interview appeared on the Visionary Fiction Alliance website. This was followed by much attention for Ripple on facebook and the Amazon discussions. Read the VFA Ripple Interview here
All this came in a week when there has already been quite a lot of discussion about Ripple on the new film industry networking site called Stage 32, where I have been chatting to many talented people.
Funny but today, in spite of all this exciting buzz going on, the most meaningful and satisfying part of my day was when I was working on the Melody story. All these other events are so helpful in the marketing of Ripple, yet I feel sure that it is really Melody in the end, who will give Ripple the most help with her marketing directions.

Wednesday 14th November
Took a photo of the eclipse. Only possible because of the cloudiness which added drama to the shot I thought.
Last night had terrific critique session in Auckland with the Rogues. Thought a lot about how lucky we are to have such a great group to bounce our writings around. It was my turn under the microscope last night with my story "Dolphin Melody." They were their usual ruthless selves and found lots of ways I can improve it.

Wednesday 7th November
Geri at Indiebrag emailed me today to ask for a Frankfurt report and some photos of me wearing the clothes I wore there. I sent both but decided to put the photos here as well. So here I am prancing around on the lawn having my photo taken by Jeff. And here's another one. The cape was hand-made for me by Miriam Dixon of Karisma Alpacas. Everything else I'm wearing was a gift from a Ripple reader in Australia called Julie. It was Julie's idea that I dress up like my book cover while in Frankfurt. The report is now live here at Indiebrag.

Monday 5th November
This entry is nothing to do with dolphins but it's still all about Mother Nature. A few weeks back, our last lonely wild turkey friend disappeared and we thought that was the end of our time with the wild turkeys. There were fourteen in the flock that lived here at one stage, but they were gradually shot by hunters or eaten by dogs or whatever.
When we were down to the last one, she was so lonely she even made friends with our cat and the two strange friends would sit together and stare into one another's eyes with curiosity and warmth.
Yesterday, a beautiful spring day, that last lonely turkey turned up again after her long absence. She has about a dozen tiny babies in tow. Very hungry - Jeff fed her. She settled in a sheltered spot in the ivy by the shed. She allowed me to get within two or three metres to get these photos and seemed very unconcerned at my proximity.

The turkey mum and some of her babies -Click for the full picture
Turkey chicks at Tuiscope Turkey chicks More turkey chicks with mum

Thursday 1st November
For your interest here's the flyer we made to hand out at Frankfurt. It contains information about how the story evolved and has an extract on the reverse side. It's in pdf format.

Wednesday 24th October
Home from Germany. Over the jetlag at last, a week later. Strange, no jetlag in Europe when I arrived but it clobbered me on coming home. Frankfurt was amazing. What an experience! Scary in many ways but opportunities were there if you were lucky. I seemed to be lucky. Still not sure why I was given the spot on the Sparks stage but it went very well. They invited me back on to the stage after my pitch to take part in the panel discussion. I also spoke to many different people about Ripple, gave away many copies and flyers and pitched to some traditonal publishers. I'm now engaged in following up on these.

At the opening ceremony I had a brief conversation with Witi Ihimaera. That alone made the whole trip worthwhile. Strange that I needed to go to the other side of the world to speak to a fellow New Zealander.

The German people were wonderful and looked after us well. However I feel very lucky to live where I do. You know you live in the right place when the best part of a trip away is coming home. Big cities are not my scene.

Here's an example of me bumbling around not coping too well in the big city while the ordinary Germans worked their tails off to help me survive. I was on the train trying to get to the book fair. My stop came up and I tried to open the train door to exit but struggled to get it to co-operate. A young German man spotted my difficulty and dived across the train to help out but just too late; the train was already moving. I had to stay on board. I missed the next stop which would also have got me to the fair and ended up in the complelely wrong part of the city, miles from my intended destination. A local explained how to get out and find the train going back to where I needed to go. I succeeded in that. On that train another young German made sure I exited at the right place this time. All these helpful people happily spoke excellent English.

I had a lot of fun with the three other authors who stayed in the same hotel. We had meals and adventures together. They were Jenny Mortimer (Knock the Bastard Off,) Clare Feeney, (Seven steps to Successful Environmental Training Programs ) and Greg Scowen, (The Spanish Helmet.)

Sunday 9th September
Miriam, the lady whose alpaca website I do, came around today to drop off two garments, a shawl and a poncho; her gifts to me for doing her website. She wanted me to see them before I left for Oz.(leaving for Oz first thing in the morning.)
They're made from naturally black alpaca fibre from two black alpacas she has bred herself. It's felted so delicately it's like cobweb. It's almost transparent. Onto this midnight background, she's hand felted, embroidered and embellished in deep blues and greens with pearl koru spirals and little glittery stars creating the effect of a shimmering ocean at night with green and blue dolphins leaping. Very reminiscent of the cover of my book. They come even more to life under electric light which sets all the shimmery bits dazzling like a starry sky.
They are spectacular and I will be wearing them in Frankfurt at the book fair. The poncho will look terrific during the day and the shawl is more formal and it will be great at the closing cocktail party. I'll be wearing the poncho when I do my five-minute pitch. In one blink, these fantasy garments tell everyone who I am and what's inside my head. They're like an exterior display, of the interior world of mine, that gave rise to Ripple.
They're unique works of art and priceless. I can be certain that no-one else at the fair could possibly be wearing anything like them. I've always wanted to own something created by Miriam but today when she turned up with these I was gobsmacked. Hoping to get photos of myself wearing them up here as soon as I get back from Oz
Here's the website I do for her:

Monday 3rd September
Ripple and I are now in the countdown to the big trip to Frankfurt for the Book Fair. I am very nervous about surviving in such a big city, the biggest I have been in, in my life. I am a country girl at heart and ever more will be, but this is an opportunity not to be missed and I will see a whole new side of life and the literary world and have the opportunity to make contacts I could never otherwise make. Wish me luck as my preparations continue.
The NZSA catalogue is printed and the Ripple page looks great. I will take plenty of Ripple copies and a zillion Ripple cards to hand out. It is scary but so exciting. Just wish I could ride there on my mountainbike or sail there in a boat instead of having to sit all those hours (days?) in an aeroplane.

Sunday 1st July
Rode for hours on our road bikes this morning, well wrapped up against the cold. The weather was perfect, cold and clear with blue skies and gentle breezes. Every time we reached higher ground, we looked south and could see what Tolkien describes as "A glimmer of white on the hem of the sky," meaning very distant snowy mountains. It was Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe, the volcanoes of the Volcanic Plateau, beckoning to us from the south. Breathtaking. Riding through our own beautiful landscape with that also in view, made me feel as though I was in some kind of fantasy storybook world.

Friday 29th June
I'm organising an evening in Auckland for a group of authors from the "Frankfurt Forty" list to meet and greet with the public and do book signings in the Auckland Central Library on Wednesday 5th September. We have fifteen authors attending and a fantastic venue in the library. A special extra large events room with a side-room for the nibbles and wine. Went to Auckland yesterday to check out the venue and have a walk-through of the event with Ana Worner, the librarian and publicist Sarah Thornton. Sarah is helping us and she is a ball of fire. The library will create a poster.

Tuesday 19th June
The interview regarding Ripple's B.R.A.G Medallion success is now live here. It looks so wonderful and makes me feel proud. Not sure about the hat but at least it's colourful.
Tuesday 19th June
What an exciting but terrifying few days we've just had. During the weekend my daughter Heather was flown by helicopter from her rather remote home near Stanthorpe in Queensland to the Mater Mother's hospital in Brisbane. She was in early labour. At the hospital they managed to stabilise things and give her medication to help strengthen the baby's lungs in case she was born early. An early birth was staved off, but only for a day or two. Mica Tasman Dawes arrived on Sunday night just before midnight, ten weeks and one day ahead of schedule, making me a grandmother for the first time. We are told Mica is in the best hospital in the Southern Hemisphere for being born prematurely. The staff are hugely expert there and can deal with a ten week premature baby with ease. Heather is well and providing milk for Mica who is in an incubator most of the time, though Heather is allowed to touch her and cuddle her.
On a completely different tack, just in the last few hours, Jeff's son Paul, who is a fireman, pulled some teenagers out of a submerged car. They were hospitalised with hypothermia as they'd been in the water an hour with only a small pocket of air to breathe. He managed to secure the car and pull them out of it. They could not have lasted much longer if he hadn't got there. Paul's wife Deryn then stayed with the boys' younger siblings to allow the parents to get to the hospital to see their teens.

Friday 15th June
Made resolution to keep this page up-to-date!
So much to tell! NZ is the country of honour at this year's Frankfurt Book Fair so the NZSA selected forty titles to take to the fair to showcase NZ literature. Ripple was selected as one of them, so I'm off to Germany in October to be there with her. I'm madly learning German. It's a slow process to learn a new language. My air tickets for Frankfurt arrived today. Quite emotional for a stay-at-home like me.

Also working on Rigel's Prayer quite regularly now though it has been very patchy recently. Writing a sad part yesterday and went through a few tissues.

Wednesday 4th April
Just got back this morning from Wellington. We had a march through Wellington to try to encourage the politicians to protect the Maui's dolphins by extending the ban on fishing nets that kill so many of them. We finished on the steps of parliament.
We carried banners and signs and Pete Bethune got us all cranked up with noisy chants etc. I'd repainted the huge red banner we used for the "Save Japan dolphins" day demonstration, to make the wording say "Save Maui's dolphins." We were photographed and filmed and were on the news I believe. I spent the night before the march on the bus to Wellington and the night after the march on the bus home. So pretty tired after all that, but it was worth it when you think how few are left alive.
On Saturday, I go to Auckland for the Auckland incarnation of the same protest.

Sunday 25th March. Maui's Dolphins Crisis
The world's rarest marine dolphin is the Maui's dolphin that lives off the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand. There are now only 55 of them left alive. They are dying in fishing nets and by fishing by-catch. If they go extinct which is inevitable unless the fishermen are stopped, they will be the first species of marine dolphins to die out at the hand of man. And it will happen right here in my own country and in my own lifetime.

The story of Ripple happens twenty million years in the past. But the deities gave us the story in the hope we humans will prevent the dolphinless future they foresee for this planet. That possible future is displayed in the final chapter of the book - the chapter that takes us over 200 years forward in time.
However, to my horror, I now discover that bleak future is happening already right here and now, and we humans are doing little to prevent it.
I've sent a copy of Ripple to the Minister of Conservation, Kate Wilkinson, in the hope she will read it and act to stop the fishing in the Maui's zones.
I am marching on parliament with the other activists on the 3rd April and again in Auckland on the 7th April. I ask all those who read this to sign the petition calling for effective government action.
Click here to sign the petition.
I also ask you to join the marches, here in Wellington and here in Auckland

Monday 11th March
Below is a photo of me with Ripple at Raglan. It was the Maui's dolphin conservation day and I had a wonderful time, met lots of great people and learned a huge amount about how to sell books to real live flesh and blood people. This piece of visual marketing did not work as few people were attracted by it. Those who came over to talk to me mostly bought a book, which proved my spiel was working, but most just walked by without stopping because the display pretty much wags its finger at them accusingly and says, "It's your duty to buy this book." Instead of letting them know what the book would give them in return. So this is an example of how NOT to do it. But I've already designed a new set-up and though it will take a bit of time and effort to create, I'm certain it will work better.
I think my hat looks great!
Wheelers put in their second order for print books last week. (Tiny orders at this stage and they're selling to libraries)

Tuesday 14th February
The reviews have been coming in beautifully since I last wrote here. These responses have been quite overwhelming. There are now 16 five-star reviews on Amazon and not one review with fewer than five-stars. All the reviews are unsolicited. This means that I did not request them - they were freely given by those who wrote them. I've published them on my new Ripple Reviews page, but they can also be found on Ripple's Amazon USA page.
In further Ripple news, an article came out in the local Te Awamutu Courier about the book and so we put some print copies for sale in the local Paper Plus bookshop, where the first batch sold out very quickly and had to be replenished after the first week.

Friday 18th November
In regular contact with the Japan Dolphin activists at Taiji via Facebook and it's devastating to hear how dolphins are still being slaughtered there nearly every day. Dolphin lovers from around the world support each other as it happens on the Taiji Dolphins Action Group Facebook page and there is much day-to-day praying for the hunts to fail and anger when it doesn't and joy whenever the boats come back with no desperate pod flying before them into the cove of death. So I'm in a hurry to get the marketing of Ripple underway, in the hope she can hasten the end of the slaughter.

Tuesday 15th November
The proof arrived. It came in the form of a printed out book. It looks great. I was delighted. I made the PRINT book available for sale immediately for $11.50 The e-book remains at $2.99 Those prices are in $US.
Amazon began the process of putting the page together. It takes a few days to complete.
Informed the WDCS but it may be a bit longer before it is available on the UK Amazon. Once it is up and running in the UK and the US, I'll be ready to let rip more fully with the marketing.

1st November 2011
I am talking to the people at the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society about donating all the royalties from Ripple to them for a while. This achieves several benefits. It helps the society to help cetaceans. It helps get the word out about Ripple, which in turn helps change attitudes towards cetaceans so it is all a win-win. I am now so glad I turned down the contract with the conventional publisher. I now have the freedom to give some worthwhile money to a cause that has the exact same objectives I do, instead of having it go to a publisher who would care nothing for dolphins. It means I will make no money for a while, but I'm accustomed to poverty.

23rd September 2011
Two days ago Ripple was published as an e-book on Amazon. It took a bit of working out how to do this but we got there in the end. So now you can buy the e-book for $2.99 (US) That's less than a cup of coffee. Now I'm intending to launch into the marketing plan and also work out how to make a print version available via POD in NZ so kiwis who don't use e-readers, don't have to pay for postage from the US.

September
Recently, I was offered a publishing contract by a US publisher. I turned it down after agonising for a bit. In all the years of dreaming about a publishing contract arriving on my doorstep, I never imagined myself turning it down when it came, but that's what happened. The contract was just too much weighted in favour of the publisher and I could not see what they were offering, in exchange for what they wanted to take. So Ripple and I gave up on commercial publishers and went our own merry way towards Amazon.

Also during September I got a response from a marine scientist called Mark Simmonds who is International Director of Science of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society International.
I had sent Ripple to him to check the story for factual accuracy so was surprised and delighted to get the following reaction. He was very helpful with checking my accuracy but also wrote that . . .
"It (Ripple) moved me deeply, and more than once. It is a wonderfully ‘complete’ story; very elegant in construction and breath-taking in its breadth of inventions and concepts. If it would be helpful to cite me in support of the book, I would be pleased to be quoted saying something like ‘Ripple is a unique and remarkable vision’. Thank you again for the opportunity to read it and I wish you all the best in getting it into the best-sellers lists where it belongs.

June/July/August to 1st September
During this time, I had Ripple edited by Raymond Huber and went through the process with his experienced guidance. I also began reading up on e-book preparation and spent a bit of energy sending Ripple out to a few publishers to test the waters. I refused to send to any who required a printout of the manuscript since I thought that was too "last century" for consideration. It all had to happen by email or not at all.

Also during this phase I continued to be very active in online marine conservation and took on the task of organising the "SaveJapanDolphins Day " protest in Auckland. Held 1st September. Met a lot of great people. It was a change to venture out away from the computer and the world of online activism into the sometimes scary world of physical protest. I really got to do the whole banner waving thing.
Photos of our protest are here on Thunderflukes page.

The day before the protest, I was taken to lunch by a lovely policeman who was worried I might be intending to disrupt the welcome to the Rugby world cup players which was to take place at the same time just a few hundred metres away from our dolphin protest. He probably wanted get me off the street to stop me from canvassing too much for the protest the next day. On the day of the protest I presented a printout of Ripple to the Japanese consulate and was interviewed on Asian TV about Ripple. No idea if it was ever screened. Much of the protest build-up happened through Facebook and was recorded there.

14th June
Since I last wrote on this page, Ripple has survived her second assessment by Barbara Else. The assessment was very encouraging but held a few extra suggestions for improvements which have since been made. The story has now been sent away to Raymond Huber for editing. He has completed the first half of the story and I am now working my way through the edits accepting or rejecting each one.

One very exciting thing has happened recently. Joe Bergeron created a cover design for the book. It is displayed on the Ripple page. As an artist for Ripple, Joe has always been my number one choice because of his knowledge of astronomy and his amazing artistic talent. If ever Ripple were to be more fully illustrated, (something I would love to see one day), he would be the first choice.

I am now thinking about how to publish Ripple. My explorations of conventional publishers' web sites indicate that they will not be of much use to me. Most are not accepting material of this type. Those still accepting material insist on an agent. I'm not interested in that. Most publishers and agents promise to get back to you in anything from 3 months to 6 months! I'm not interested in that either. Incredibly, most of them still expect you to print it all out with wide margins and double spacing (for maximum unecessary expense and wastage) and post it off by snailmail in an enormous expensive package. I'm certainly not interested in that in this day and age.

Fortunately, this is 2011 and authors can take matters into their own hands, in a way they never could before and sidestep the whole annoying and costly process of finding a publisher, by doing everything themselves. By everything I mean, book design, e-book creation, printing, and promotion. All stuff I will enjoy enormously. This is looking to be my most likely path at this stage.

Unlike ten years ago it is no longer considered professional suicide.

I have started the process of marketing already and it is proving to be a lot of fun and taking me to places I love to be, like into the world of online ocean conservation activism where I certainly belong. Perhaps this was the whole reason I wrote this book in the first place. just to get me out there! It all happens via Facebook and Twitter where a writer's skill comes into its own within exciting new literary disciplines. How much can you convey in 140 characters? Its a very cool challenge.

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