Change of address for this blog

Thanks so much for following my blog. This is a quick note to say the address has changed. If you’re interested in what I’m up to the new address is:

And should you want to update your feed this should do the trick:



The definitive guide to writing by Roald Dahl

It’s always a highlight speaking at schools during Book Week. This week I was invited to Mt Eden Normal Primary and Kelvin Rd School in Papakura. The kids were awesome, crude, funny and polite. Before I read my story The Dog That Ate The Bathroom I asked what goodies their own dogs had brought home. Bras. Sausages. A cat. The list went on. My daughter recently wrote a story called Cinderella’s Bad Day whereby the poor woman dies every day in a myriad of ways. Shot by a creepy hobo. Killed in a rabbit invasion. Picked up by an Enderman and dropped into hot lava and eaten by robotic crocodiles. Every time I thought a particular death might be too graphic the kids squealed with delight.

It reminded me of a list Roald Dahl’s list of what children love:

Being spooked






Chocolates, toys, money

Being made to giggle



Unorthodox methods

Marvellous/funny/incredible places

New inventions

Secret information

Time travel

Seeing the villain meet a grisly death

They love a hero and love a hero to be a winner

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Separated at birth – Jason Derulo and I


Thanks to Finn for sending me his favourite books, songs and flicks.

Very proud ‘Shot, Boom, Score!’ made the list along with my doppelganger (above).

‘Shot Boom Score’ – The Reviews

Reviews for my middle grade novel ‘Shot, Boom, Score!’ have made me smile lately. Here a few:

Lots of humour and home spun philosophy from Justin Brown such as: ‘One day is like scoring a goal in the Cup Final, the next is like being bowled first ball by a girl.’ I know how it feels. Primary and intermediate in appeal especially to reluctant boy readers who love sport.

(Bob’s Book Blog)

A laugh out loud tale for all sports lovers! Cricket and rugby are themes but Toby lives and breathes all sports, is loyal to his mates, and is a likeable character.

(Kids Books Blog)

Over all I rate this fantastic book 9 out of 10. When your mum or dad says go to bed and stop reading you sneakily keep reading because your on a cliff-hanger, then suddenly you’re already done, then you start having a melt down. Well the only downs in this book are probably…nothing so I should probably rate this 10 out of 10 but I don’t want to be too nice. Once again it was totally awesome. This book is about if Toby gets 20 wickets and 10 tries by the end of the season he gets a gameboxv3 but this big bully called mcGravy try’s to stop him from getting that game box so will Toby get those wickets and tries before its to late? And this book is very funny.

(Finn – aged 9)

In the interests of instilling a love of reading in our children we read to them. A lot! What is crucial is that the books we read grab their attention and keep them riveted. And if it can keep the parents who have to read it entertained as well its a welcome bonus. And finally, if there is a lesson or two in there, subtle enough not be be seen as lessons, then great! The whole family enjoyed this book. My wife and I read some each night with the kids always begging for more, no matter how much we read. We had to learn to stop early, then agree to ‘one more chapter’. The adults enjoyed the book as much as the kids because it took us back to what it felt like to be young, and the challenges and issues we faced. When Jill was reading I also wanted ‘just one more chapter’. I got the distinct impression the author has not grown up himself, which is just what’s needed in a children’s book author. Justin captured what it was like to be a kid as if he was still living it. We are reading it for a second time now, and like the Pixar movies, I am sure not for the last time. Brilliant!

(Richard, father of two, South Africa)

Fresh clips from Stacey and Justin on The Hits


A few audio clips from our radio show. Lou Vincent has turned his hand to music, Borat wishes New Zealand a Happy Independence Day, You know it’s a Real Kiwi Winter When, and sadly it’s not just Todd Carney who drinks his own urine. Lastly, Georgia’s answer to ‘What was on your school report card’ may demand you attend your child’s parent-teacher evening. Enjoy.

A muse called Morrissey

A muse called Morrissey

While reading Morrissey’s autobiography, it struck me that this lyrical virtuoso should lend his skills to struggling authors looking for catchy book titles. Don’t you think these songs would make great novels?

Because of my poor education
Children in pieces
Death at one’s elbow
Don’t make fun of daddy’s voice
Every day is like sunday
William it was really nothing
Hairdresser on fire
How soon is now?
It’s not your birthday anymore
Pregnant for the last time
Stop me if you think you’ve heard this before
Shakespeare’s Sister

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Hits Highlights – Stacey and Justin

Some bizarre stories this week, beginning with Conchita Wurst (the bearded lady) winning the Eurovision Song Contest. Apparently the album is already out.  Jay-Z’s also has a new release after his dust up with his sis-in-law, Solange. And exciting news with images released of Batman’s new costume (clue: it’s mostly black, with strange pointy ears.) But Ben Affleck, as BATMAN?

PS. The links above won’t take you to a million other sites and hurl pop-ups your way. The clips play on the same page, just hit play and you’re away. Happy Monday y’all.


Why all editors should be children

Reading a recently completed novel to your children can be a terrifying experience. Of course they’ll like it, mainly because there’s ice cream in the freezer if they laugh in the right places. But really, there’s no better way to find out if you have a story or not. As we all know, reading aloud is the best way to find flaws in our work. Reading to your kids raises the stakes. Thankfully, it’s all stuff you need to hear, including plot loopholes you may have missed. ‘Dad, where did she get the hair brush if they’re all stranded on an island?’ Good point, have a double scoop.

It’s invaluable discovering where the humor lies and where boredom creeps in. It’s not always easy, but tough. The novel will be all the better for it. And trust me, there is no better feeling than hearing, ‘I love this, I want to read it all night’ (translation: cool I get to stay up) and ‘Can I please take this to school?’ Below are some images drawn by my daughter Sophie (10) when I was struggling for ideas.


New News

May already? They say our lives go faster because we do the same thing every day, over and over. So today I’m writing this in a submarine off the coast of Ghana. I’ve also started lying more.

Some news. I was stoked to recently receive a Notable Book Award at Margaret Mahy Day for my junior fiction novel, ‘Shot, Boom, Score!’ There are some legendary names on that list, so I was very happy. I took my Mum along and she behaved, unlike at the ‘Wicked’ stage show after party. (Love you, Lyn.)

In other news, I am excited to be on a brand new drive show on a brand new radio station with the ultimate co-host, Stacey Morrison. Stace and I worked together for 3 1/2 years on Classic Hits Breakfast. Our on-air rule has always been, if it’s in your head, you gotta say it.

Let the Wild Rumpus start!


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Free credit!

That moment when your name appears on the credits for one of your favorite films (in this case WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE) yet you never lifted a finger. And are definitely not a special effects technician.