Friday, November 23, 2018

Chatting with Sherri

My interview Chatting With Sherri welcomes award winning author A.J. Ponder! is live now. We talk everything from science to books.

Here's a spider holding one of my books we didn't mention. Actually there was a lot of geeking out about shared heroes from scientists to famous authors. It was fun.

Sherri is a lovely lady and it was a real pleasure and an honor to be on her show.

Have a great week, everyone,
looking forward to dropping in at least one more time before Christmas! :)
Hopefully with a poem!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Subversive Act of Writing on The Cosy Dragon

I think poets are great at breaking rules, I can't think of a single rule of poetry that hasn't been warped out of shape at some point. And I think that is because early poetry had so many rules poets were just dying to burst free. So generally I like to put rules back into poetry - and that's almost as genre busting as breaking out in ordinary prose...

But anyway, I thought this might be a fun article for people following this blog who are interested in the art of writing, or as encouragement for those who want to break out and try something new.

It starts:
"Originally this article was going to include the idea best covered by a quote attributed to Pablo Picasso “Good artists copy; great artists steal.” The subversive act of taking ideas from other sources and making them your own. But great writers are not only thieves, they tend to be rule breakers...
The rest of the article can be found on The Cosy Dragon here, or on the html link below :)

I know this post is a bit late, so have a great weekend,
A.J. Ponder
P.S. The following is no longer upcoming - but we had the Riders of Fire book launch and it was a whole heap of fun. If you came along I hope you enjoyed it, too. :)

Riders of Fire Book Launch and Medieval Fun

Saturday, 17 November 2018 from 13:30-15:00
Vogeltown Bowling Club, 93 Mornington Road, Brooklyn

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Free short story "The Forgotten World"

"The Forgotten World"
I've been a little bit quiet lately in terms of poetry.  But if you love period action adventure with cryptozoological species, you may well love this little short story. Written in the time of Arthur Conan Doyle, there might be a little truth to the fact that the title is a riff on Athur's "The Lost World" :)

The Forgotten World

To find out what those creatures might be follow the link, and don't be caught on the cliffhanger! ...keep on scrolling to get the second half.

And of course if you haven't read my latest book Quest - please check out the free preview here.

Happy Reading!


P.S. I'd love to know what you think of my stories. Reviews and feedback really make my day! :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Monsters are Real

Okay - today's Tuesday Poem on a Wednesday is "The Monsters are Real"
I'm hoping to post some motivational "poetry" soon - so look out for that. :)

The Monsters are Real

What do you do when the monsters are real
and they're not hiding under the bed?

What do you do when the monsters reveal
that they like to play with your head.

It's zeroes and ones
until it becomes
a dance with truth
and deceit.
Tell me, what will you do when faceless suits
dance to their puppeteer's drum?

So what do you do when the monsters are real
and they're not hiding under you bed?

And what do you do when with murderous glee
the monsters complain of civility?

"Oh oysters, pitiful wretches,
come and walk with me
the day is - oh, so hot
and my tears are wet, as wet could be."

Tell me, what will you do now the monsters are real
and they're not hiding under your bed?

Now the gaslight is on
And the bedroom's not safe
Can you see that the monsters are real?
Their words are fair, and their acts are foul,
with tongues are as divided
as the rage they can't keep in their heads.

Will you believe what they say?
Will you believe what we say?
Will you believe it today?
Will the propaganda mess with your head?

Come, will you become a faceless suit -
and dance to their puppeteer's drum?
What do you do when the monsters are real -
and the monsters come for your head? 

A.J. Ponder

 A.J. Ponder is the author of Quest - to find out more about Quest, follow this link to Quest on my author website.


Thursday, October 4, 2018

An Epic Quest

 While I've been out having an epic fantasy quest of my own (pictures below - including sword fighting!) , there's been a so much happening in the world of poetry, book releases and more.

While I've been distracted, Tim Jones has released his latest book New Sea Land available from Makaro Press and so has Keith Westwater, releasing No One Home: A Boyhood Memoir in Letters and Poems .  And that's not even including Bonsai : Best Small Stories From Aotearoa New Zealand,which has some great little stories and prose poems by a range of literary authors. It was fun to see so many familiar and new faces at the launch, I was almost sad not to have subbed, but authors have to choose their projects, and I choose fun. Take a look at the pictures of my launch of Quest and say I chose wrong!

It was lovely to see so many wonderful friends, fans and fellow writers at my book launch for Quest. It was epic, so thank you all, and here are some pictures from the launch. I'm looking forward to seeing even more authors next month when Eileen Mueller launches her book Ezaara, because it won't clash with the biggest NZSA event of the year (oops!)

Have fun,
A.J. Ponder

And if you like fantasy and having fun check out the article It's a World of Fantasy on Scoop or buy a copy of my book Quest, it's at a low opening price that is unlikely to be repeated so get one now - before checking out the last two pictures of the Company of the Dragons sword fighting during the launch of Quest. :) 

 (Available to buy on Rona Gallery, Children's Bookshop or Arty Bees, Wardini with personalised signed copies available from Rona Gallery if you ask. To find out more follow this link to "Quest" on my author website.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Poetically Incorrect Sonnet

Yes, I promised a poetically incorrect sonnet - but I ended up working hard to make it..mostly correct. WARNING, it does have swearing and is not appropriate for younger people...unless they desperately want to remember how to write a sonnet - but can only remember the instructions if they're actually in sonnet form. So, in the end, I went full out English sonnet. Enjoy! (Or possibly don't, I won't apologise, the things are a nightmare to write!)

A Sonnet on How to Write an English Sonnet 

Who'd want to write a gods-damn sonnet
With ten iambic syllables a line?
'Cos besides the fucking scansion I bet
You'll more than hate the gods-damned fucking rhyme

The English sonnet holds ABAB 
CDCD it's torture pure and plain 
So who'd want to write a bloody sonnet 
Corsetting words like this is such a pain

But there is a beauty in the torture
As the ninth line cuts right across your thought
EFEF - The capricious volta -
Turns hate. Now you love the English Sonnet -

The goddamned rhyme for thee's a,b,a,b,

Okay - that was tortuous barbarism - and I bet you hated every second of it - but there you go - I had a ball. And that's (more or less) the form of a sonnet, with just a few liberties taken. And I only mostly hate it, because there's something about the volta cutting across everything like a crescendo in a library, that's such fun.

Still, all I can say is thank goodness there are other forms of poetry. Writing a sonnet is like wearing a corset, it's all very well to show off with, but mostly they're much better to look at, than to wear. 

Have a great week, everybody,

P.S. If you want to see the poetically incorrect haiku, on how to write a haiku - it's right here
If you like sonnets, I have written a few, including some that are slightly modified in terms of layout, or in one case, it's deliberately deconstructed for reasons that should become obvious. A Sonnet to the Muse, This Year of FireRunning away with a Christmas Sonnet And of course the award winning, Ahi Kā by A.J. Ponder and Eileen Mueller - which is a short story and sonnet intertwined. 

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Love fantasy? An invitation to my Book Launch Event Sept 22 2018

An invitation to come to my book launch of Quest. Quest is a real celebration of the fantasy genre, so I decided the launch should be as well. With heaps of fun for all ages.

If you're on Facebook you might like to sign up to the event, or you can just come along, I'm looking forward to seeing everyone there.

A.J. Ponder 
PS if the blurb is hard to read  in the's repeated below

If you like Terry Pratchett, The Princess Bride or Diana Wynne Jones' The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, you'll love the latest book by A.J. Ponder:

Sylvalla escapes Avondale castle and the life of a princess, in search of the adventure she’s always wanted.

Once found, adventure bites back.

Fortunately, she is not alone. Unfortunately, her new-found companions are less than heroic. Jonathan would rather make money. Dirk would rather live a long and happy life. And at 150, old Capro would rather stop gallivanting, and harangue unsuspecting wizard students about his glory days over a nice cup of tea.

Quest has everything: heroes, monsters, chases, escapes and a complete lack of true love.  To see more follow this link to my author website. 

Pre order your copy today because it's a great read, and a lot of fun from Wizard's Guide to Wellington author, A.J. Ponder. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Poetically Incorrect Poetry: The Haiku

The Poetically Incorrect Haiku: Seventeen Syllables Plus One

Five, seven, five - right?
What's the bloody point of that?
It's dead before it...

A.J. Ponder

I was absolutely gutted with this poem-because I'd planned "Seventeen Syllables" to be part of the first line, only to realise those two words alone contained more syllables than I could use. That just goes to show how hard Haiku is, and how clever the people who write it are. Next week, I'm hoping to do something similar with the sonnet to make it's structure memorable, but in an irreverent manner.

I keep wanting to explain myself, about form and the breaking of form, and why I did it, but I think it's self-explanatory. Part of me would have loved to keep it pedantically correct, because I'm in awe of poets with effortlessly structured, perfect form, but sometimes such things really don't fit the poem.

Have a great week, everybody,

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Into the Mist

This is a little shout-out post to an amazing author, Lee Murray. 

I loved her latest book, the writing is impeccable, totally not what you expect when reading a genre some wag called a stomp in chomp. No, Into the Sounds is a not-to-be-missed epic adventure featuring New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park. An awe inspiring setting—beautiful and wild and slightly mysterious, just like this amazing new story. You’ll feel like you’ve been dropped right there, in the midst of a primordial setting…the perfect setting for cryptids.

Lee is one of those writers that can turn their hand to anything  Smugglers have come, and they will stop at nothing to get what they want.

I’ve been looking forward to this story coming out for a long time, because I loved Into the Mist, and of course all the characters in it. And it exceeded all expectations. NZDF Sergeant Taine McKenna is still the type of hero that is both larger than life, and very real at the same time. Someone you could drink a beer with, or have your back when everyone else has ducked and rolled for cover. Trigger is back, and if anything he’s more likeable than ever, and a couple of other faves, like Temera also make appearances. But Jules is the best. As someone with a BSc hons it was nice to have a scientist written with a little accuracy-so many of them are just awful charicatures!

It's an enormously fun adventure, so if you like adventure, paramilitary, or cryptid stories then I think you'll love this.
Have fun, and hope you enjoy the reading tip,
A.J. Ponder

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Congratulations to Craig Phillips

I know I've been very slow about posting lately, but I've been really busy with my latest book Quest, as well as a number of other projects. But I just wanted to do a shout out for my cover artist who not only was a finalist in the New Zealand Children's Book Awards this year, but he ran off with the coveted Russell Clark Award.

It was all very exciting and it was such a shame that I was working both days he was in Wellington, but I did get to see what was happening on award night over twitter. There's a link to his Radio New Zealand interview and a shot of his sketchbook-which I love. And it reminded me so much of when we first met at Armageddon and I saw one of his sketchbooks and knew he was the perfect illustrator for me. Enjoy!
Have fun,
A.J. Ponder -

P.S. next week's blog is about Lee Murray's latest book "Into the Mist."
It's lovely to see so many friends doing so well! :)
And soon after that, no doubt, there will be some cover art revelations! :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

A nod and a wink

There's this bloke
with a joke
that nobody knows

It's nothing but a nod
and a wink

Is it lewd, or is it crude?
Or a pact between besties in a pinch?
Is it friendly or sarcastic,
or downright bombastic?

It's nothing but a nod
and a wink

But everybody knows
just what that wink shows
if they take but a moment to think


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Call to Arms: by A.J. Ponder from Prophecy (The Sylvalla Chronicals)

When reality is cut asunder
And made anew
When the world cries out for Heroes
And Death awakens
When Evil slithers through
The cracks of Truth
Then comes a moment,
A call

Then comes a simple illusion that breaks its bonds
And becomes.

I was editing today and came across this old poem. Ironically, it was written as a chapter heading for my to be released book "Prophecy" (Yes, the book is a little bit cheesy. I like a good dollop of humour in my fiction!)

But still, it seemed apt.

The call has been made, either we are for human rights - or we are not.
Our reality is about to cut one way or the other -- into divisive hate, or a step forward to something better.

This is a time for heroes.
Who will they be?
Who will stand up for the rights of babes torn from their mother's arms?
Who will stand up for the oppressed?
What illusion is going to ne freed? One of hate? Or one of love?

Have a great week, people,
I truly hope we can make this world better.

A.J. Ponder

Prophecy is the sequel to Quest (due to be published 2018)
My Rona Gallery profile (fewer books and paperbacks only):
My Amazon profile

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

From a Railway Carriage by Robert Louis Stevenson from A Child’s Garden of Verses (1885)

Faster than fairies, faster than witches, 
Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches; 
And charging along like troops in a battle, 
All through the meadows the horses and cattle: 
All of the sights of the hill and the plain 
Fly as thick as driving rain; 
And ever again, in the wink of an eye, 
Painted stations whistle by. 

Here is a child who clambers and scrambles, 
All by himself and gathering brambles; 
Here is a tramp who stands and gazes; 
And there is the green for stringing the daisies! 
Here is a cart run away in the road 
Lumping along with man and load; 
And here is a mill and there is a river:
 Each a glimpse and gone for ever!

Robert Louis Stevenson

I'm sharing this poem with my young writers this week because it's awesome - it has a real sense of excitement - even around something as mundane as being on a train - I can't believe I haven't posted it already!

Have a great week, everyone! :)


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Mightier than the Pen

The pen is no longer mighty
the world's moved on -

There's a new invention
more dangerous than a three-edged sword -
sharper than truth itself

It's the mirror to Medusa
Odin's and Narcissus' pool

So beware to the wise,
and to the beauteous fools

The quadruple-edged pixel
is the most dangerous of tools

A.J. Ponder

Have a great week everybody.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The Mirror

A reminder that the truth burns
And what better person to light the fire
than this sharp mirror?

If you haven't seen it, and can handle a few holds barred roast format - this White House Roast by Michelle Wolf is a thing of fierce beauty.

Have a great week people

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Set-word poem in the style of AA Milne

As part of an interview on Lee Murray's blog - I wrote Gargantuan Season: a poem that only had one rule - include the words: mucus, daffodil, gargantuan... so 

It’s Gargantuan Season again,
They’ll invade the daffodils
And then, 

When you think you’re quite safe,
They’ll bite off your face
And leave not a trace -

I know it’s not great
To be left out as bait-
But at least there’s no mucus all over the place.

To see more of the strange questions Eli and I were asked - and the even stranger answers - why not go to Lee Murray's blog?

Have a great week people 
A.J. Ponder
My Books for children are available online and through Rona Gallery

Monday, April 9, 2018

Great news: Attack of the Giant Bugs has been released

New Book: Attack of the Giant Bugs

Yes, I know it's not poetry, but this is a fun book for eight to ten year olds, and Eli and I really enjoyed writing it. 
Just this evening we were laughing about one of the endings. Yes, you have to make a deliberately silly choice, and it's a very silly I thought I'd let you have a little sneak peak. (below)
Warning: some of the book contains real science, and there's a little glossary of the insects used in the story at the back for people who are interested.

Recommended for ages 8-12

You choose: Cat. Lepidoptera 

“Okay,” Frankie says. “Here goes.”
You can hear beeping from the other side of the rubble. The self-destruct starts talking. “Does not compute, twenty three minutes remaining, and counting.”
The others all exchange looks, but there’s not much time for anything else before a flash of sound and light hits your senses. When you pick yourself up off the floor, it’s hard to stand up.
And then you look down at your paws – PAWS!?!?! You squeak in horror. Somehow, you’ve been turned into a mouse.
Other mice are turning around and around in circles, squeaking in terror. Although a few are casually washing their whiskers as if nothing is wrong.
“Quick, this way,” a mouse says. You’re pretty sure it’s Frankie. She leads all the other mice through the rubble toward you and then makes a megaphone out of old posters and a bit of wire. It takes a bit of yelling through the megaphone, but the police do eventually come down to see what’s happening. Once they see the mouse yelling through the megaphone, they grin. A voice booms out very loudly. “We’d better send for Frankie’s mother.”
After weeks of living at Frankie’s house, drinking terrible potions and getting changed into rubber balls, strawberry plants and jellyfish, you’re all turned back into people.
Back at home, you receive a mousepad with a cat on it in the mail. On it are the words, I survived The Great Mouse Incident. Never Again. But in the end, it’s not so bad, because becoming a mouse made you discover your love of cheese. You move to France and become the best cheesemaker in the world, crafting all kinds of specialty cheeses. Royalty and celebrities are the only people who can afford your most expensive product, Crafty Cupcake’s Camembert. Each of these cheeses is worth a time machine. And that’s the best part, because there’s plenty more adventure to be had - by going back in time.
If you make different choices, you can blow up the entire museum, join the bad guys, or find your own mouse companion – a diabolical varmint who will plot revenge against you from under the kitchen cupboards.
Have a great week, 

Please ignore this blurb - it's mostly an experiment with key words - cheers!!!!!!!!! :)

One of the authors and editor of Sir Julius Award winning Lost in Te Papa and Twisty Christmas tales, A.J. Ponder is a Sir Julius Vogel award winning author in her own right with Frankie and the Netball Clone taking out best short story. Obviously A.J. has a certain fascination with genius inventors as two of her most famous characters, Lilliana Lionheart and Frankie have that in common. She has a love of science, and a BSc hons to back that up, not to mention being married to Te Papa's Phil Sirvid, the museum entomologist and white-tailed spider expert.
AJ's books include Miss Lionheart and the Laboratory of Death, The Frankie Files, Wizard's Guide to Wellington, numerous school journal stories and plays, horror short stories for adults, along with science fiction, and the odd secret spy, and super-villain. 
If you're interested, and have managed to read past the "please ignore" :) why not check out my profile on Amazon and see if there's anything I've written that you'd like? 

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Short story and sonnet published - find out how you can see it for free!

Eileen Mueller, Paul Mannering and myself in the Cook Strait Times. Our stories made it into a New Zealand speculative fiction anthology. It's a great organisation for genre authors, and well worth supporting. Two ways to support them and NZ authors is to join up - or buy their new anthology Te Kōrero Ahi Kā: To Speak of the Home Fires Burning. My story and sonnet, written with Elieen Mueller, is right in the front - so take a peek inside!

And there's even more news!
Another new book...but more on that tomorrow. (hopefully)

So have a great week, mine is looking ultra busy - which, I guess is what happens when you get a broken arm and life doesn't stop...

A.J. Ponder

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The Flame of Exceptionalism

Shall we drink lead today
And dine on exceptionalism tomorrow

Like the rulers of Rome
We can fiddle -
while the world burns
In a show that will
through the centuries.

A lesson in madness

A J Ponder

And BTW I have a broken arm, so not much chit chat for a while.


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Which Spells?

I have all sorts of spells:
spells of vertigo
spells of being really tired of sexist BS
even spells of not being able to spell:
But I've never created heresy out of hearsay
Sincerely, a which

A.J. Ponder's response to the Witch Hunt cartoon

When someone draws a caption of witches with hats and broomsticks and calls it a witch hunt - they are bullying. We've seen it from Trump supporters, and from others including this obnoxious idiot who is determined to reveal his racism and sexism to the world in various cartoons.

The #metoo movement has revealed monsters lurking in power, and enabled victims to have a voice. Some of the people coming out to tell their stories are not women they're men, and many do not even name their perpetrators, often it's not even about them, it's about solidarity and re-establishing acceptable boundaries, it's a groundbreaking effort to empower the vulnerable and confront toxic power balances that have allowed systemic abuse to occur. 

Anyway, I've been sick - and have so much to do - so I better run, 
I hope you have a great week, and whatever you do, don't catch this bug. Ugh!


Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Let the Children Cry Mashup poem from The Cry of The Children by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Do ye hear the children, O my brothers,
      Ere the sorrow comes with years?
They are leaning their young heads against their mothers —
      And that cannot stop their tears.
The young lambs are bleating in the meadows;
   The young birds are chirping in the nest;
The young cats are meming in the internet;
   The young flowers are blowing toward the west—
But the children, O my brothers,
      They are crying bitterly!
They are crying in the playtime of the others,
      In the country of the free.

Do not tell the poor young children, O my brothers,
      To look up to Him and pray —
So the blessed One, who blesseth all the others,
      Will bless them another day.
They answer, "Who is God that He should hear us,
   While the bullets singe the air 
While you take this bitter fear and trap us
    In concrete prisons without cheer?
Would you have us never see the sunshine,
   Or enjoy the light of day?"
Yes, they are worn with tragedy, unrelentingly maligned
But they're not bowing to the greed of the NRA.

They look up with their pale and sunken faces,
      And their looks are terrible to see,
For their grief abhorrent, draws and presses
      Down the cheeks of infancy—
"Your guns," they say, "took the life of our dear friends
   How can you justify these means  or defy our ends
We need gun control," their voices ring out clear
   They need to know  this time, will you hear?" 
And for all the little children whose blood is on your hands
   Will you stand up and do the right thing
Words are so very cheap. Now, in this time of tragedy
   We should let the children weep.

      Let them weep! let them weep!

"How long," they say, "how long, O cruel nation,
   Will you stand, to move the world, on a child's heart, 
Stifle down with a mailed heel its palpitation,
   And tread onward to your throne amid the mart?
Our blood splashes upward, O our tyrants,
      And your purple shews your path;
But the child's sob curseth deeper in the silence
      Than the strong man in his wrath!"

A.J. Ponder with many apologies to  Elizabeth Barrett Browning  (The Original Poem "The Cry of the Children is here. It was written to protest horrific child labour laws, but it's protesting the same people - people who profit off suffering, or use God's will to justify the unjustifiable)

I've been absolutely blown away by how well the young adults of Parkland Florida have bravely stood up to tell their stories and call for sensible gun control. And I've been absolutely horrified by the abuse they've received online. These young adults should have had time to weep, but knowingly or not, we've been preparing them all their lives for this time.

Let me be very clear, I have family who love their guns - I am not advocating taking their guns away. Nor are those teens. They are calling for sensible gun measures. There's no point blaming the FBI or local law enforcement for these events when their hands have effectively been tied by poor legislation. Gun control is a part of being civilized, just like wearing seat-belts. It's a little something that is regulated, not to undermine freedom, but to recognize the sanctity of life.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” MLK 


Have a great week everybody. Go out and do great things, the world needs you. :)

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Voices of the Future

If the kids can see the future
Can you see the future too?
If the kids can be the future
Then what are we to do -
But stand up with our voices
And do all we can today,
To remember their tomorrows,
And not let their lives be swept away.

A.J. Ponder

There are so many issues that affect the children of today, and the world tomorrow. We need to be doing something about them now. And that's not necessarily big things. Every little thing will help, from not using a plastic bag, to having sensible gun control legislation, sensible legislation of drugs,  improving voting rights... The list is endless. Individually we can't do everything. But if we can remember one thing, I'd say it should be love and compassion for our fellow human beings, and holding out an open hand in times of trouble.

But whatever we do, we must not let the next generations' voices be silenced -

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." MLK

Best wishes to you all