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Showing posts from 2011

A 700-word cure for the Post-Christmas Blues

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That's it. Christmas is over for another year, your bank account is empty, your stomach is full, and your Uncle Albert will never talk to your mother again. Plus the fact that no one found the penny hidden in the Christmas pudding* means that at least half of your relatives are convinced that they've swallowed it. Happy days. The bad news is that you have 364 days to get through before watching another Doctor Who Christmas Special. The good news? At least you didn't have to spend the festive season in sweltering 100-degree-plus temperatures. You may not think that sounds too bad, but trust me - there's nothing worse than sweating into your cranberry sauce. So, without further ado, I present my antidote to the Post-Christmas Blues. Almost as effective as a pint of Pepto Bismol, but nowhere near as pink... 'The Climatology of Christmas' on The Nervous Breakdown *For those not raised in the UK, Christmas pudding is a dense, black traditional dessert, best

'Ka Mate' meets 'A Kindle in Hong Kong'

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Shannon Young, who writes a fantastic blog called ' a Kindle in Hong Kong ', has just given Ka Mate another lovely review on her site. I'll let Shannon take over for a moment here: "Travel memoirs these days seem to fall into two categories: personal discovery and place discovery. Most of the travel books I've read lately fall into the personal discovery category, but this one is all about the place... if you enjoy travelogues that are focussed on comprehensive observations about the place then this book is for you." It's great to see that readers out there are getting behind the book, and have such a clear grasp of what I was trying to achieve with it. You can read Shannon's review and my interview with her here . Also a quick reminder: Ka Mate: Travels in New Zealand is now available both as a Kindle ebook and as a physical paperback, in both the US and the UK. For full details of where to buy it visit the Ka Mate page .

Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals on 'Ka Mate'!

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That's right - Black Friday has become All Blacks Friday, as Ka Mate: Travels in New Zealand is discounted for four days only at Createspace. The New Zealand travel memoir has been getting some rave reviews over the last few weeks, including a 10/10 review from The Review Girl , who called it "a must-read for travel enthusiasts, especially sports fans and 'Lord of the Rings' movie fans". And now is the perfect time to buy a copy for yourself - or as a Christmas present - while Createspace is offering 30% off the retail price. To get the 30% discount, visit the Ka Mate page at Createspace , and use the following code during checkout: 8BABLRJ3. The code is good through Monday November 28 (Cyber Monday), and can be used multiple times - so you can always buy more than one copy... Who said you had to camp out overnight to catch a bargain?

'Ka Mate' interview online now!

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When I'm not writing, you'll often find me talking to other writers and interviewing them for publications like Spike magazine and CultureMob . There's no better way to get a grip on what (and how) an author thinks than to hear them speak, and interviews are the perfect opportunity for that - plus they help us all pretend that writing is the new rock'n'roll... One of the pleasures of writing Ka Mate: Travels in New Zealand has been that I occasionally get to sit on the other side of the desk, however, and it's been an eye-opening experience. Book blogger The Review Girl recently interviewed me for her site, and it was a whole different experience on the other end of the questions. If nothing else, being interviewed forces you to form an opinion on matters that had only been vague concepts in your mind before. Now I know why all those politicians stutter and sweat on camera. Anyway, all this preamble is building up to the fact that you can read The Review G

The Review Girl tackles Ka Mate

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It looks as if the publicity machine is finally starting to rumble into motion for Ka Mate: Travels in New Zealand . The book has just been reviewed by book blogger The Review Girl , and we're off to a great start... a 10/10 rating, and she calls it "a must-read for travel enthusiasts, especially sport fans and Lord of the Rings movie fans!" Yeah, I know - it sounds like I bribed her for that one. But you'll have to take my word for it that I didn't. Or, even better, take her word for it. You can read The Review Girl's thoughts on Ka Mate here , and judge for yourself. And if you still haven't bought a copy, visit my Ka Mate page for details of where you can buy this "spellbinding voyage from North Island to South Island" (Review Girl's words, not mine!). Now, if I can just squeeze my head through the door, I'd better get back to writing...

Food meets Travel on The Nervous Breakdown

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Those who visit this blog regularly will know that I recently started writing for The Nervous Breakdown , one of the most exciting literary websites on the web (you can read my first article, an extract from Ka Mate: Travels in New Zealand , here ). It's my aim to publish essays, travel articles, and general non-fiction on their site from time to time, and I'm pleased to say that my latest piece is now live. I could waste my time by giving you a rundown of what the essay's about, but frankly you should just go read it at The Nervous Breakdown. As a hint, though, it's an exploration of why there's such an intimate connection between travel and food, and why I can recall a meal I ate in Venice ten years ago when I can't remember what I cooked for dinner last Tuesday. If that's not enough to draw you in, there's also a leaky boat, spears, and a meditation on the habits of touring sports teams. You can read the article via the link below: Wish You Ate

Join my workshop at Write-O-Rama!

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If you're a writer and live in Seattle, then there's a good chance that you'll already know the Richard Hugo House in Capitol Hill. It's a fantastic non-profit dedicated to promoting the written word, and they offer writing classes and workshops throughout the year. And for those of you who are unsure about committing to a six-week course, they also offer Write-O-Rama, a day of one-hour workshops that is guaranteed to set your creative juices flowing (with the help of a little coffee, naturally - this is Seattle, after all). Write-O-Rama will be taking place again on December 3, 2011, and this time I'll be there leading a workshop on writing reviews and "becoming part of the cultural conversation". As with all Write-O-Rama workshops my slot lasts one hour, comprising a discussion of two reviews and the lessons they offer us, followed by around 40 minutes of putting your writing skills to the test. Here's the official blurb for my contribution t

Meet Alexi Zentner, literary backwoodsman...

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You know that I like to sit around and talk shop with other writers, especially if there's a pint (or five) of beer involved - and that's why I love writing for Spike magazine. In the past few months I've been lucky enough to interview Peter Mountford and Urban Waite, and the Spike site has just published my chat with another great debut novelist, Alexi Zentner. I don't want to spoil the interview before you've even got to it, so suffice it to say that Alexi's debut novel, Touch , is one of the accomplished and memorable debuts I've read in a long time. Mapping out the wilds of Canada via its landscape, climate and rustic mythologies, Touch also manages to be gripping from the outset - and, well, touching. Read it and you'll see why Alexi has already been nominated for a number of major literary awards. Once you've read Touch (or if you can't wait, and want to dive straight in) you can find my interview with Alexi Zentner here . Now, where

My First Nervous Breakdown

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Don't worry, I haven't finally caved under the pressures of endless coffee drinking. Instead, I've joined the fantastic line-up of writers at The Nervous Breakdown , one of the most exciting literary websites around. What does this mean for you, the reader? Well, at the very least it'll mean more of my work online, as I'll be contributing regularly to the site, publishing travel articles, non-fiction essays, and the occasional slice of memoir. If you want a sample of what to expect, then I've just published an excerpt from my book Ka Mate on the site, entitled In Extremis: Jumping the Shark in New Zealand . Go check it out. While you're there you should take a look around the rest of their site too, because The Nervous Breakdown has some truly great writers on board, and it's the perfect source for some (free) cultural insights. They publish fiction, essays, memoirs, reviews... it's your one-stop shop for everything literary. In addition I wi

Short fiction news: 'Getting By' published in Two Hawks Quarterly

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Everything lately has been about the publication of Ka Mate: Travel in New Zealand , so it's nice to be able to offer some different news for a change. My short story ' Getting By ' has just appeared in the latest issue of Two Hawks Quarterly , so please go check it out. It starts with the discovery of a wallet, and ends with a walk through the autumn leaves. What better way to usher in the new season? I have to thank both Lena and Lewis for this one too, as they read early drafts of this story and offered some invaluable insights. Thanks guys - I do appreciate it! Make sure you check out the rest of Two Hawks Quarterly while you're there too, and Like them on Facebook . They deserve your attention, as do all the small press journals that still keep our literary world alive.

'Ka Mate' paperback comes to Barnes & Noble... and the UK!

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Good news all round for those of you who have yet to get your hands on a copy of Ka Mate: Travels in New Zealand . The paperback edition of the book is now available from Barnes & Noble , and at a very competitive price too. Hopefully that'll get it into a few more hands! And that's not all. Ka Mate is also now available in paperback in the UK, via those fine folks at The Book Depository . The price changes slightly from day to day (depending on the exchange rate, as it's still an import) - but the really good news is that The Book Depository offers free shipping, so the whole exchange is as pleasant as a fine Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc. Remember that Christmas is coming as well, so you may want to stock up on copies for your uncle, or those vaguely literate nephews. Now you have no excuses...

Guest blog on Travel Happy

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Dan Coxon at Slope Point - the southernmost point of New Zealand's South island. The Ka Mate: Travels in New Zealand   publicity machine is slowly rolling into action, and it starts with a guest blog spot on the excellent Travel Happy site. Travel Happy usually covers Thailand and Asia, but they've made an exception for me - and I'm very grateful for it! It's a great site, and it's wonderful that Ka Mate can be a part of it. You can find my guest blog via the link below, and please check out the rest of the site while you're there too - it's worthy of your support! In Search Of Men Playing With Funny Shaped Balls – One Man’s New Zealand Rugby Quest

'Ka Mate' paperback available on Amazon.com

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The title says it all really... Today's news is that the paperback edition of Ka Mate: Travels in New Zealand   is available now from Amazon.com, priced $14.99. The Kindle ebook edition is also on Amazon, priced $2.99 (note: these are US prices - the UK ebook is priced differently). Click here to buy the Ka Mate paperback from Amazon.com . That's all for now - more to come shortly. In the meantime, I'll leave you with this thought... "...I think we all have a sneaking suspicion that the Kiwis eat lamb for breakfast, lunch and dinner, then perhaps go and sit in a field full of sheep to watch the sun set."

'Ka Mate' paperback available now!

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Good news for those of you who can't wait to get your hands on a copy of Ka Mate: Travels in New Zealand . Amazon will be selling the book from next week onwards, and I'll be posting details here when they do - but before that you can buy your copy of Ka Mate direct from the Createspace website. Buying it from Createspace will require you to create an account on the website, but it's quick and easy - and yes, they do ship to the UK as well as the US. Alternatively, of course, you could wait for the Amazon announcement next week... Click here to buy Ka Mate: Travels in New Zealand from Createspace . The book is also still available as an ebook from both Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk . Click the links for the relevant download pages.

'Ka Mate' on Kindle now, paper book later this month!

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Several people have asked about a physical release for Ka Mate: Travels in New Zealand , so here's the skinny (does anyone know where that saying comes from?). We're expecting the physical release of Ka Mate to be on sale late September, while the Rugby World Cup is still in full swing. The best way to stay informed is to follow this blog - we'll be announcing a release date shortly, and you'll find out about it here first. In the meantime, Ka Mate is available as a Kindle ebook right now, for those of you with a Kindle (or who can download a free Kindle reading app from the Amazon store). It's available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk , and is priced very competitively to get sales started - make the most of our generosity while you can! If you're following the Rugby World Cup you may also want to check out the official Ka Mate: Travels in New Zealand   blog , where we've just listed our Five Lessons from the early games of the World Cup 2011 . We&#

Rugby World Cup is underway... with a little help from Jonah

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Photo: Some rights reserved by lredshaw@xtra.co.nz If you know anything at all about rugby, it won't have escaped your attention that the World Cup officially started yesterday in Auckland. And yes, the 'rugby legend' they'd promised was none other than Jonah Lomu - did any of us not see that coming? I posted a Jonah Lomu-themed excerpt from my book Ka Mate: Travels in New Zealand on the book's official blog yesterday, and if you missed it you can still read about the big man's exploits here - Jonah Lomu leads the World Cup opening ceremony There's a highlights video of Lomu's career too, so if you need reminding of why he's a legend then you'll want to check that out. As for the rest of the World Cup, New Zealand have had their day in the sun... but will they make it through to the finals? Remember to check out Ka Mate: Travels in New Zealand at the Kindle store for more on rugby, wine, sheep, and Lord of the Rings . No cultural

It's Here! 'Ka Mate: Travels in New Zealand' Arrives on the Kindle

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That's right - my book Ka Mate: Travels in New Zealand is now available for the Kindle, just in time for the Rugby World Cup. You can buy it via the Kindle store on Amazon , and right now it's priced low to kickstart its entry into the world. This is from the cover blurb: "The New Zealand All Blacks are one of the most recognizable team franchises in modern sport, and their performance of the Ka Mate haka prior to international matches is known across the globe. But how many of us know anything about the Maori people to whom this haka belongs? Ka Mate: Travels In New Zealand takes us on a three month journey around New Zealand, through the vineyards, over the glaciers, and across the fields of boiling mud. Freelance journalist and writer Dan Coxon does more than simply entertain us with anecdotes of his travels: he unravels New Zealand's complex history of migration and settlement, and reveals an intriguing story of British colonisation that still has re

New Zealand, the Rugby World Cup... and a new travel book

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It's almost time for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, and with it comes some book news. My book Ka Mate: Travels in a Maori Country   will be available soon from Amazon as a Kindle eBook, so those of you travelling to New Zealand for the World Cup - or those of you wanting to tour the country virtually from the comfort of your sofa - should watch this space. Details of how to buy Ka Mate will be published here shortly, but in the meantime check out the Ka Mate blog for more info, some NZ photos, and daily updates on the World Cup and all things Kiwi. As for the All Blacks' chances? I'm saying nothing... but they do have a habit of dropping out, don't they?

Urban Waite gets Spiked

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Those of you who know me will know that I love nothing more than chatting with fellow writers, and I know I'm not alone in that. Let's face it - it's a pretty solitary existence most of the time. There aren't many chats around the water cooler when you're an office of one. (Well, there are... but the water cooler is usually reluctant to talk back.) What all this is building up to is that I've recently done an interview with Seattle thriller writer Urban Waite for Spike Magazine, and you should go check it out (yes, that was the link right there). Urban's a great guy, and his novel The Terror Of Living is one of the best debuts you're likely to read. Plus he's a fellow IPA-drinker, which practically makes us barroom brothers. Okay, enough from me. Check out the link, and see what Urban has to say. He's significantly better company than the water cooler.

For the love of Ichiro...

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If you're a Mariners fan - or just follow Major League Baseball - then you'll be upset and astounded to hear that Ichiro Suzuki won't be appearing in this year's All-Star game. Ichiro has been a constant presence for the last ten years, and there will undoubtedly be a little samurai-shaped hole on the American League roster. All is not lost, however. Not only can you read my short story 'The Japanese Connection' on the excellent Mouse Tales website , but you can also check out The Baseball Project's 'Ichiro Goes To The Moon' below. For those who don't know, The Baseball Project is an indie rock supergroup comprised of Peter Buck (from R.E.M.), Scott McCaughey, Steve Wynn and Linda Pitmon. They have some great songs, generally about the national pastime, and they're well worth checking out. So now you know. Anyway, here's their tune, recorded live at the Peoria Sports Complex during this year's spring training. It's my unoffic

Dan TV

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No, I haven't become a transvestite... it's not quite as exciting as that. It's just that a short chat with me has been featured online by Seattle's Mobile Publishing Lab - I talk about the Wee Book Of Scotland , and what it says on my passport, all while trying not to laugh. You can check it out on YouTube , or (hopefully) watch it below. Enjoy the chilled out intro and close-up photos of coffee, and please feel free to correct my appalling grasp of national borders...

The blog has arrived!

I've been talking about it for over a year, but it's finally here - my own dedicated blog and homepage. Check out the links on the right for my various blogs, short stories, and writing credits. The 'Books' page also includes a link to download a FREE copy of Spike Magazine: The Boo k, which features my review of Doug Coupland's The Gum Thief . Have at it! I'll be using this blog section to keep you updated on my new published fiction, book news, and general items of literary interest, both from the Seattle area and overseas. Please follow me via one of the many links on the right of the page - you have my guarantee that these will generally be entertaining, informative, and spam-free. Apart from my legendary Spam Bolognese recipe, obviously...