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Manuscript Assessment

Many writers will get an assessment of their manuscript done, to see how it can be improved before sending it out to a publisher. I am a member of the NZ Association of Manuscript Assessors (NZAMA), and am available to assess manuscripts. My interest lies in fiction of most kinds - except romance, simply because I don't know much about that genre, and ditto to picture book texts. Send me an email if you'd like a quote.

Young Adult

URSA cover small 


Walker Books, 2019

Books are burning. People disappear in the night. Cerel men are kept in ‘wild camps’. Cerel women are no longer allowed to have babies. There are two peoples living in the city of Ursa: the Cerels and the Travesters. The Director presides over the city and governs with an iron fist. Travesters rule. They eat well, travel freely in airships, and enjoy a fine quality of life.

Fifteen-year-old Leho can't remember a time when Cerels lived without fear in Ursa. His parents once tried to organise an uprising. His mother was blinded. His father was sent to one of the wild camps. Leho lives in the Cerel district with his family. His world is changing. Older sister Marina is illegally pregnant, and hopes to escape the city. His beloved brother Jorzy is planning to overthrow the Director. When the Director issues a bulletin offering Cerels the 'opportunity' of going to live in the Caucasas region, it sounds too good to be true.

The House of Law will burn. People will die. Will Leho be man enough to save his family?

Ursa is a finalist in the 2020 NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. You can read an interview here.

MAHF cover 

Make a Hard Fist

OneTree House, 2017

Lizzie Quinn thinks she's so tough. But when she's attacked in her local park one afternoon, she realises just how vulnerable she is. She goes back to school with a battered face, having to put up with the stares and gossip. It doesn't help that somebody is sending her anonymous letters. Maybe it's Josh, who she broke up with a few weeks back. Or maybe it's somebody she doesn't even know.

Set in multicultural Auckland. Available for sale here.



About Griffen's Heart

Longacre Press, 2009

James Griffen is not the bravest guy around. That's not surprising – he's on the waiting list for open heart surgery, and scared witless. Mostly he putters about on his Vespa and hangs out at the local video shop. His rebel brother Ryan, whose motto is never going to be 'safety first', needs some sorting out, but James can't get that right either. Then James meets the gorgeous Roxy and all caution goes to the wind – in spite of the thrashing of his heart.

A 2010 Storylines Notable Book, and a finalist for the LIANZA 2010 Children's Book Awards.

Teachers' notes available in pdf form here.

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Literary Novels

Eph cover 


Cloud Ink Press, 2020

Several years after a global meltdown, New Zealand, along with the rest of the world, is still in chaos. No electricity, no broadband, and people are in survival mode – at least until somebody turns the lights on again.

Ruth has always led a sheltered life. Pre-Crash, she worked as an Ephemera Librarian, now she is managing a simple, self-sufficient lifestyle. But her sister is dying from tuberculosis and her love for Juliana propels Ruth to undertake a perilous journey.

She intrepidly sets off from Auckland to find the man known as Nelson and his rumoured stockpile of pharmaceutical drugs. Word has it he is based at the old Huka Lodge. Along with the handsome Lance Hinckley and enigmatic Adebowale Ackers, Ruth travels by steamboat up the Waikato River – the only practical way. The group journeys through settlements that have sprung up along the river as people try to re-establish their lives in this precarious time. With society itself broken, will Ruth manage to keep her commitment to her sister without compromising her own values?

Inspired by Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, this post-apocalyptic, partly comedic novel reveals that things are not always what they seem.

You can view an extract here which has been published on Newsroom. The ebook version is available from Amazon.

childrens pond small shadow

The Children's Pond

Pointer Press Ltd, 2014

Jessica Pollard has moved to Turangi to be near her son Reuben who is in prison there. While working at a trout-fishing lodge on the Tongariro River, Jessica slips into a relationship with a handsome, charming Maori lawyer. When the body of his troubled niece Chantelle is found in the Children's Pond, Jessica's own past as a teenager in prison comes back to haunt her. What really happened to her all those years ago? And what is the connection with Chantelle's death?

Tina Shaw's sixth novel is a compelling collision between the past and the present. Available in print from New Zealand bookshops, and as an ebook from and Amazon. For the RNZ interview, visit this link. RNZ book review, 4 August 2014 here

black madonna

The Black Madonna

Penguin Books, 2005

It is 1935, and Hitler is planning his Olympics when Luise Joeck moves to Berlin. Recently divorced and grieving her lost dream of being the perfect wife and mother, Luise leads a quiet and lonely life. A decision to carve a Madonna in her apartment soon attracts the suspicions of the sinister landlord.

A chance meeting with Jimmy Wango, a black American wrestler, brings unexpected happiness and love into Luise's life and they plan a future together. But Hitler's Germany is not hospitable to inter-racial couples and Luise suddenly understands the dark forces that are working against her; she knows she must leave Germany.

But the Madonna remains behind and begins a journey of its own, destined to heal and unite.

The Black Madonna is now available in ebook format from

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Penguin Books, 2002

Claudia Vogel lives and works in a perfect world. Paradise, the tropical resort she manages, is a high-tech heaven where everything, even the sunshine, is regulated. Owned by mysterious billionaire, Pasqua, the resort is a holidaymaker's dream.

There is, however, a large snake loose on the premises. Claudia's estranged and quixotic husband, Tony, has seen it. Or perhaps he is just being malicious. It is Claudia, after all, who has insisted on a separation, for reasons that are unclear even to herself. She is still haunted by her experiences as a hostage; the troubling, jungle-clad island of Jolo occupies most of her waking hours and all of her dreams.

Paradise is the story of what happened on Jolo, the ripple effects of terrorism on Claudia and the people who love her, and the elusive search for utopia.

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city of reeds

City of Reeds

Penguin Books, 2000

They are the Purefoy girls, three sisters who grew up safely in small-town New Zealand and then leave. Beth travels impulsively to Afghanistan; Clare becomes a doctor and goes to San Francisco; only Louise stays home – and makes money.

Living safely can have hidden hazards. Clare comes home, running away from the dangers of a disastrous affair and immediately falls in love again. Louise walks a fragile line between conventional life and the need to take risks, often of a sexual nature. Memories of violence stalk Bethie.

As they sift through childhood memories each sister realised that certain events have damaged them all. Will the Purefoy girls survive? A story about love, loss and reconciliation.

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dreams of america

Dreams of America

David Ling Publishing, 1997

Girly Moran dreams of riding in the great circuses of the world. Angelo Delgardo dreams of crossing the Niagara Falls by tightrope, just as his hero Blondin once did. Sly McGee wants to be Gene Autry.

It is New Zealand, 1953. Hanging is still in force and it is illegal to wear a mask in public. In Auckland, the first Easter Show is held, mostly in the rain. Angelo and Sly are the Fabulous Funambulists, and Girly, disguised as a boy, rides the motorcycle Wall of Death.

It is Girly who provides the catalyst for Angelo and Sly to perhaps realise their dreams, but casting a shadow over them all is Madame Soukowsky, a mafia-like show figure whose reputation goes back to Blackpool of the 1930s.

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David Ling Publishing, 1996

Monagh, at sixteen, ran away from the family orchard with barely a word to Barry, her uncle and guardian. Seven years later she returns, but slips away agsin the next morning, leaving her baby when she goes. Barry, wrapped up in his trees and dreams for a greener future, struggles up to the city with baby in tow to find her.

There are too many unresolved questions: what has Monagh been doing for the last seven years? Why did she leave so suddenly the first time? And, what Barry he supposed to do with the baby? He needs some answers, but the main question soon becomes: Where is Monagh?

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myth of 21st century

Myth of the 21st Century – an anthology of new fiction

Edited by Tina Shaw and Jack Ross
Reed Books, 2006

What kinds of stories will we be telling in the 21st century? In this book, fourteen New Zealand writers explore what myth mean to them. The diverse stories they have contributed range from post-apocalyptic visions to teasing versions of familiar fables, from loose retellings of known myths to completely invented narratives.

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passion for travel

A Passion for Travel – New Zealand writers and their adventures overseas

Tandem Press, 1998

“Somehow, and in spite of ourselves, we fall across seas, continents, into each other's arms, surprised at first, then kind of liking the way the foreign bits come round to our touch.”
- Lloyd Jones.

This anthology of travel essays from twelve of New Zealand's best-known writers documents a wide range of personal experiences.

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Bateman New Zealand Writer's Handbook 7th Edition

Bateman Books, 2023

Ten years on, the Handbook has been revised and updated for New Zealand writers. A recommended text for writing courses around the country, the Handbook features advice on a myriad of useful subjects to do with writing and listings of magazines, newspapers and publishers. Also available as an ebook.


Writers Handbook

Bateman New Zealand Writer's Handbook 6th Edition

David Bateman, 2013

This classic guide for writers has been revised and updated to bring it right up to the present day. A recommended text for writing courses around the country, the Handbook offers advice on a myriad of useful subjects to do with writing. Also available as an ebook.


Winning Spirit - Sheila Laxon

Penguin Books, 2002

The day New Zealand mare Ethereal rounded the home turn and accelerated away from the field to win the 3.6 million dollar Melbourne Cup, Sheila Laxon became part of horse-racing history. The first female trainer ever to win the prestigious cup, Laxon was thrust into the spotlight. Sheila Laxon has always been passionate about horses. By the time she was a teenager, she dreamed of being able to earn a living from horses. A series of adventures led her to New Zealand, right into the heart of the racing and breeding industry in Cambridge. In Winning Spirit Laxon talks about the important influences that have shaped her life and career, and given her the determination to succeed against difficult odds.

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About Me

brother kellyMy upbringing was idyllic. Our family had a farm at Matangi, outside of Hamilton, in the Waikato. Our farm comprised about 60 acres, and my father ran mostly cattle, and raised thoroughbred horses. My brother and I both learned to ride on a pony Dad got for that purpose.

We had a swimming pool, with a dolphin made of tiles on the bottom. With the dry, hot Waikato summers, it was a lifesaver. My mother kept a large vegetable garden, and we also had donkeys. We used to get 'Sunday day trippers' stopping at the fence on the main road to talk to our donkeys. In those days, donkeys were a rare sight in New Zealand.

donkeysMy family, on both sides, were country people. On my mother's side, they were Irish, while my father's side hailed originally from England.

From an early age I wanted to be a writer. My very first stories were published on the children's page of the NZ Herald. As a teenager, I used to subscribe to Islands and Landfall, and fell in love with literary fiction.

nedAfter leaving school, I didn't really know what to do with myself, so tried a variety of things. There was a stint in London as a waitress. A time spent being a freelance photographer, with my own dark room and Haselblad camera. Another period when I worked for a newspaper reading company called Chong's Media Bureau.

gabeMy daughter was born in 1987, and as I was based at home, I was able to start concentrating on my writing. I began with short stories – being short, they are an excellent way to learn one's craft. Eventually, I won an award for one of my stories.

Over the years, I have been fortunate to receive fellowships because of my writing: Buddle Findlay Sargesonmonty Fellowship, Auckland during 1999, the Creative New Zealand Berlin Writers’ Residency (2000-01), and the University of Waikato Writer-In-Residence in 2005.

I live in Taupo with my partner and our dog Monty. 

Nitty Gritty Series

the cloud rider

The Cloud Rider

Pearson Education, 2010

Ellie and Jay are playing in the top field of their family farm when a mysterious creature falls from the sky, injured. The Cloud Rider needs to get back to the clouds where he belongs or the evil Werrets will take over the sky and create all sorts of terrible storms. But, when no one else in the family believes their story, Ellie and Jay realise that it is up to them alone to save the Cloud Rider ... For ages 5 to 8.

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Pearson Education, 2009

It seemed like a miracle to Baba – a dream come true. A beautiful, deserted city with plenty of water and everything her people could possibly need. No longer would they have to live as nomads, constantly struggling to survive, searching for water in the desert. But who were the people who used to live in Petronas? And why would anyone leave such a perfect place. For ages 8 to 10.

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dogs of the hinterland

Dogs of the Hinterland

Pearson Education, 2008

Back in her adopted village of Bassorah, Vancy has recovered from her adventure on the Hinterland. With her friends, Kerei and Squirt, she has found out where she came from, and taken a stand against her birth father, the tyrant Herit. But on the night of her coming-of-age party, disturbing news reaches Bassorah. Herit has called for his daughter to join him in his great stone fortress, or Bassorah will face the full force of his anger. It seems a new evil is gathering across the wide plains of the Hinterland. This is the sequel to Into The Hinterland. For ages 12 to 13.

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into the hinterland

Into The Hinterland

Pearson Education, 2007

The town of Bassorah lies at the edge of the Hinterland, a vast, desert-like plain lorded over by the tyrant Herit. Fourteen years ago a baby, Vancy, was left at the edge of Bassorah by a mysterious silver dog. Now she is fourteen, Vancy is determined to find out the truth behind her birth, but that means venturing out into the Hinterland. For ages 11 to 12.

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Mainsails Series

my name is joad

My Name is Joad

Illustrated by Serena Kearns
Pearson Education, 2009

“My name is Joad. My father gave me my name. Named me after a song, but that's all he did. He took off before I was even born. Ma says he was some big hotshot when he was young, way back when. At least, he liked to think he was. Maybe one day he'll walk back into our lives, and then I can tell him what I really think. If he was such a big hotshot, then why'd he have to leave?” For age 13.

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Illustrated by Stefan Messam
Pearson Education, 2009

“Me and Al have known each other forever. Since before the war started. That's, like, eight years ago. I remember cause we were both eight when it started. At first it wasn't so bad. The rebels came, wanting to take over, except we Melanistas held them back. But things just got worse and worse. Both me and AJ, our parents vanished. I don't know where they went. I had a sister, too, but she's gone off somewhere. For the last six months I've been trying to find her.” For age 13.

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Kiwi Bites

fluff helps out

Fluff Helps Out

Illustrated by Dave Gunson
Penguin Books, 2006

Dave's soccer team has been nicknamed The Screwballs because, well, they're pretty hopeless really. Every week they eat the dus of the team down the road know as 'Bloodn'Guts'. That is … until The Screwballs gain a new star player – Dave's dog, Fluff! Can a dog really save the team? And what do the strange snacks called 'sheep nuts' have to do with it? For ages 6 to 8.

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brenda's planetary holiday

Brenda's Planetary Holiday

Illustrated by Fraser Williamson
Penguin Books, 2006

With a jolt, Brenda landed. She was in a different transformer room. There was a group of small people in feathery pink dresses waiting for her. She stood up, a little nervous, and opened the glass door ... For ages 6 to 8.

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tina shaw authorWelcome to my Website

I am a New Zealand novelist who writes for adults, teenagers, and children. My publications are listed here on my website, and you can hear some of my thoughts and doings on The Blank Page.

Hope you enjoy visiting my site ..