Members’ Books

The Voyage of the Ika Roa By Heather Whelan

In Voyage of the Ika Roa author Heather Whelan relates the story of how she and then husband, Tim, built a boat and sailed it from England to New Zealand. The couple had no boatbuilding or sailing experience, but they set to and built Ika Roa, a Wharram-designed catamaran.

The voyage began with a trip across the Bay of Biscay, to Spain and Portugal. The Atlantic crossing took the Ika Roa and her crew far from land for the first time. Heather relates her adventures in the Caribbean Islands, Venezuela and the Dutch Antilles before they reached the Panama Canal.

While cruising the Pacific, Heather became fascinated by Polynesian history and the islanders’ way of life. Friendships among the cruising community and with locals enriched the journey. Two years after leaving Falmouth in England, Ika Roa arrived in New Zealand after sailing more than 10,000 nautical miles.

The book is available from BigWords-Books website or from Heather at heatherwhelan2[at]

Fire by Anne McDonell

Fire-Front-CoverFlip has THREE major problems:

ONE – Jackson, a know-it-all who looks and dresses like a film star and bullies Flip.

TWO – You wouldn’t believe it but Flip’s mother invites Jackson to stay for the whole holidays.

THREE – Soon after Jackson moves in, a dangerous arsonist attacks a shop and homes in their street.

Can Flip and Jackson reach a compromise and work together to catch the culprit before someone is seriously hurt? A novel for 8 to 13-year-old children. Available from

Crossing the Divide by Jody Reynolds

Books 1-3The Golden Cockroach, Riding Shotgun, and Square Pegs are the first three books in the Crossing the Divide short story series, written by J.B. Reynolds. Melding tragedy with comedy and switching between settings in Central Otago and Brisbane, each story focuses on a different character and explores that character’s struggle to connect with the people in their lives.

Book 1 – The Golden Cockroach
Nina’s dinner date is an insufferable jerk who only wants to talk about himself, but an unexpected guest makes her evening out a memorable one.
Book 2 – Riding Shotgun
It’s Evelyn’s turn to drive her friends to work. But are they even her friends? The road to Queenstown is a treacherous one, and as the fog gets thicker, her thoughts get darker.
Book 3 – Square Pegs
Tired, thirsty, and frustrated, Darryl wants only two things – a beer, and to be left alone by his troublesome neighbours. Fate, however, has other ideas.

Books 1 – 3 are available as ebooks from major ebook stores, with Book 4 due out later this year. Head to to find out more.

Salt Skin by Michelle Rhodes (Michelle Cumber)

Salt Skin“Deep inside the ocean it is very still. After I drown there is a moment of nothingness. It lasts until I feel the broken shells beneath me and remember who I am. My name is Sunlight. My heart is beating. I’m alive.”
When Sunny moves to the forgotten town of Procellae Bay, she doesn’t expect much. Plagued by devastating storms and shrouded in myth, it is a disturbing place. Amongst the shadowy residents, whispers flourish – of an ocean curse and ancient sacrifice – and the locals who trust in the old stories watch her, their chilling eyes laced with accusation.
Being back near the water is her ultimate fear. Haunted by the memory of nearly drowning as a child, she’s convinced the sea is calling her again. At night it breathes against her windows, luring her down to the moon-drenched tide and into the deep.

The Tale of Prince by Bianca Staines

The Tale of Prince JPG Kindle (2)It’s a dog’s life but Prince couldn’t have asked for a better one. An unblemished pedigree, a loving family, weekly grooming and a bowl always full of delicious Auntie Cher’s Amazing Biscuits. What more could a handsome, aristocratic pooch want? But when a stray, flat-faced she-dog, Bennie, comes trudging through his territory, chewing his toys and stealing his beloved Humans’ hearts, his perfect life turns to mush. Prince wants it all back, just the way it was! Yet getting rid of the despicable Bennie seems harder than getting cat pee out of the carpet… Then, one night, Bennie disappears without a trace. Accused of murder by the Council of Pets, Prince will have to face the world outside his beautiful, white mansion. A world of usurped kingdoms, laughing demons, peculiar vets and fighting dogs until his journey to find Bennie will lead him to confront his most terrible foe yet and, on the way, find the wolf that lives inside every dog.

Spitshine by Michael Botur

michael-boturSpitshine is the third fiction collection from NZ writer Michael Botur. Spitshine is 16 gritty short stories about people who will do anything to get on top. The genre is literary fiction and the stories are in the tradition of NZ writers Alan Duff, Chad Taylor and Bill Payne. The stories in the collection have been published in literary journals including The Red Line (UK), Newfound (US), Takahē (NZ) and Swamp (University of Newcastle, Australia). Some have won or been shortlisted for prizes. Michael Botur has published fiction and poetry in Landfall, Poetry New Zealand, Takahē, Bravado, Catalyst, Deep South, 4th Floor and JAAM. He works in corporate communications in Northland. Previous fiction collections MEAN and Hot Bible! are available at

Fearless Fred and the Flood by Maureen Sudlow and illustrated by Terry Fitzgibbon

Fearless1 cover image (2)Fred has already had adventures with a dragon, and this time he’s on a rescue mission in the farmyard, while the ducks are making their own fun in the puddles. Children will love the rhyming text and colourful illustrations. A great read-aloud book for children. Surfing ducks and pirate ships abound. This is Maureen’s second ‘Fred’ book, and her aim has always been to encourage children to give their imagination full flight. Copies are available from Maureen at and in some bookshops. $2 from every book sold personally will be donated to NEST (Northland Emergency Rescue Trust).

The Crazy Idea by Heather Whelan

Crazy Idea (2)Dylan would like to be a cat. One day,  he wakes from his nap to find that he has grown fur! He finds a mouse to chase, a bird to follow and a tree to climb. But he also finds that the baby pulls his tail and the dog chases him around the house. Being a cat isn’t so much fun after all…

Heather was inspired to write this story after listening to a five-year-old recount eating cat food at news time in class one morning.
The Crazy Idea has gorgeous illustrations by Denise Whitmore.
Copies  are available for $15 from Heather at

Love at the End of the Road by Rae Roadley

Cover-LEOR-Rae RoadleySoon after returning to her hometown in Northland, New Zealand to work as a journalist, Rae meets farmer Rex Roadley through a rural dating service.
Rex’s beef and sheep farm at Batley, on the Kaipara Harbour, has been in his family for almost a century, however now the only evidence of the spot’s fascinating historic past is a magnificent two-storeyed villa standing alone on the point.
Neither Rae nor Rex are youngsters and their love affair, relationship and lives together go through many twists and turns.
Meanwhile Rae, a lifelong city dweller, learns to cope with mud, managing a large house and garden, the intricacies of farming, and the frustrations of life in the backblocks, while getting to know the locals and assorted animals – from wild kittens to wild bulls.
Rae’s charming story is beautifully written from the heart. Not only does she find love with Rex, but she finds out more about herself than she knew. Woven through her account are stories about the great house itself at Batley and the surrounding countryside. (First published by Penguin).

To get a hard copy, email:  rae at
To get the ebook on Amazon: Click here.

Writing Your Nonfiction Book: The Complete Guide to Becoming an Author by Trish Nicholson

Trish's BookTo be ‘the complete guide’ is a big claim, but Writing Your Nonfiction Book was written at the instigation of an international writers’ college specifically to give detailed techniques, advice and information for the whole process of producing a narrative non-fiction book: planning, research, writing, editing, choosing publishing options, and marketing – including how to benefit from social media. Separate sections provide additional tips for writing sub-genres: travel, local and family history, autobiography and biography, how-to, self-help and text books. The author draws on forty years’ experience of writing and publishing, updated for the present challenging times.

Written in a friendly, accessible style, the book is suitable for beginners, but there is much here for experienced writers, even, as several reviewers point out, for writers of fiction. Appendices include a seven-page glossary of common writing, printing and publishing terms, and a long list of useful resources and websites relevant to New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and the UK, as well as the USA. The focus is on creative or narrative non-fiction. In its review, the writers’ and publishers’ ezine, Words with JAM describe it as “an essential manual for writers of every sort”.

Writing Your Nonfiction Book is available as a paperback from The Book Depository and as an ebook from Amazon, Apple and other digital suppliers.

The Water Treatment by Steven Radich

The Water TreatmentThe Water Treatment is a fictional take on the intrigue surrounding the Marlborough Sound’s Double Murder of 2008. Populated by recognizable Kiwi characters, the novel explores the murky boundaries between legal and moral, right and wrong, good and bad. Superficially it is an escape story, a real-deal big boy’s misadventure. Through the linking romance, the leading lady ends up as the novel’s most well developed character. On a deeper level, the novel is about the results of one’s actions – about the inevitable tide of consequences – of how we are bound to reap what we sow, no matter our best attempts at mitigation.  The title, The Water Treatment, references the strategy developed by the main protagonist to cope with the burdens of his conscience. By means of the strategy he is able to find a short-lived yet vitally life-affirming peace of mind.

A two-chapter biblet is available here. Copies of the book can be purchased from your local bookstore or online as a print or ebook from Amazon or Fishpond.  You might also see Steven selling his book on the streets of Whangarei and Auckland.


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