Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Voting has started for the Kobo Prize

Voting has started for the Kobo NZ Authors E-Publishing Prize. My children’s novel, The Bold Ship Phenomenal, is one of the five novels shortlisted for the fiction category. Very exciting!

So please go online and vote for me. Here is the link: Kobo prize voting.

40 per cent of the judging is by reader voting, so your vote will make a difference. (Blimey, I sound like a politician.)

For anyone who wants a little taster, I've included the first chapter below. You can read a longer extract on the voting site.

Many thanks and I’ll keep you posted how I get on. 
The Bold Ship Phenomenal
Chapter one

The problem with life, thought Malachi as he trudged along the tide line, was science. It wasn’t the only problem, no way, but at this point it was certainly one of his biggest.
“Science sucks,” he said, booting at the sand, so that it rose and scattered before him in a damp fan.  “Science sucks.” Then again, louder and louder, until he was practically shouting it, “Science sucks, science sucks”. And to make matters worse, science was the first lesson of the day and he was already late. “Scien...”, he began again.
But then he saw the bottle and he stopped.
The bottle was propped, several meters below the tide mark, in a shallow pool left by the retreating sea. Further down the beach, the sea ssshh ssshhed as it slid onto the sand, but the pool that the bottle rested in was perfectly still, its blue-green surface cradling its glassy catch.
Normally this was exactly the sort of thing that interested Malachi. Stumbled upon treasures, jetsam and flotsam, he would scoop them up and squirrel them home to examine in the peace of his room. But today he couldn’t be bothered. Not with the way he was feeling, not after the way his day had kicked off.
He aimed another angry swipe at the sand and hoisted his bag up his back. He would have to hurry. But something about the bottle drew back his eye. Something about the way it reclined, as if it was struggling to stand upright, its top reflecting sunlight in smatters and sparks, like a miniature lighthouse on the shores of an inland sea.
Malachi dropped his bag and balanced on the pool’s edge to ease the bottle free. The bottle was large and surprisingly heavy. Slime-stained string coiled around its neck, below an orange wax bung. Grey barnacles clung on its belly and base, and its glass was coated in algae and a thick clouding of salt. 
Malachi stretched his sleeve over his hand and dipped his palm in the pool. He rubbed the bottle with the wet sleeve, trying to make a clear space in the glass. As he rubbed, the sound of the ocean filled his head. Gently at first – shh, shh, shh – then building, until the waves’ song thumped and thundered on the shore.
Startled, Malachi looked up, but the beach was quiet. The waves along the tide line had shrunk if anything, melting back into themselves before they finished their journey up the sand. Only the occasional sea bird, flying low, moved or called.
Malachi looked back down at the bottle but his rubbing had made no difference and the glass was still too murky to see inside. The bottle was certainly heavy though, as if it may be full, although when he shook it no liquid sloshed against the glass. He would have liked to take it home and clean it properly, see what was inside, but he was too late for that. Being late was Dad’s fault, but if he was any later Mrs Green would be back on the phone, back on his case, and that was the last thing he needed. Cleaning the bottle would just have to wait.
He took off his jersey and wrapped it carefully around the bottle, before clearing a space in the top of his pack. He placed the bottle in, did up the zip and eased the pack onto his back. Then, trying to keep as even a gait as possible, he jogged along the tide line, making up for lost time as he headed straight for school.