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READ WRITE INSPIRE. Welcome to my Words, a place devoted to making Reading and Writing for children more Inspired.


Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Awarding oneself - WA Premier's Book Awards

The argy-bargy that sometimes accompanies the gratuitous use of the terminology 'awards' on social media profiles is entertainment I often find chuckle worthy.

Colour me mission brown and call me Splinters if you like, but as a habitual fence sitter, I appreciate both sides' argument: stating you are an award winning author having amassed nothing more than a feeble handful of competition placings compared with someone whose work has gained notable international or national recognition is a bit of a stretch of artistic license and one we have all indulged in from time to time, yours truly included. It does not seem to matter that those very competitions you so diligently entered and conquered no less touted themselves as 'Awards' in the first place. The causal observer may not distinguish the semantics of the situation so easily as they can the sublime subterfuge of it.

Nonetheless, if you enter something and are rewarded in some fashion for it, the fact of the matter is that you deserve to bask in the winners' spot light no matter how fleeting or feeble. You have achieved something others for that moment have not. That is the significant thing to remember not how people perceive your moment of glory based on how you chose to proclaim it.

I am lucky. I can sit on my fence now with even more awareness of the views on both sides. The tab title 'Awards' that I'll use on my web page will not only reflect my most recent glorious achievement...a Shortlisting by the Western Australian Premier's Book Awards (a bona fide big deal award) but continue to pay homage to all those writing competitions and children's writing awards I collected along the way. Why? Because without all the fining tuning and feedback submitting to them provided, I would not have been able to identify a great opportunity as easily as I did. I would not have had the confidence in my writing to throw it out there for such strenuous judgement and I would not possess the pluck of the courageous to 'give it a go'.

It is a war cry worth remembering; if someone opens a door or a window or even provides a tiny rent in the fly screen of you life, don't be afraid to dive on through it. You never know what may be on the other side. A shiny gold award like this one to stick everywhere perhaps.

My humble story may not win the digital category. But for now it has achieved far more than I ever envisaged and has earned a rightful place under the banner 'awards'. And I still can't help chuckling about it.

The Chapel of Unlove is a digital narrative penned as part of the innovative Story City app project.
Here is what the judges had to say about it as a locative digital narrative:

Powell, Dimity The Chapel of Unlove  This narrative employs the Story City platform and is therefore primarily designed to be enjoyed as part of a walking tour. Normally the narrative would be driven by the choice of direction the reader takes for their walk, although it is also possible to make direction choices without physically moving around the space. Engaging and amusing, the story has a number of twists and turns only apparent when one works through the narrative more than once, altering choices made. Alternative endings mean this story walk could be taken a number of times, and suggestions for bonus activities and links to external web-based content add further interest.

To experience my story, The Chapel of Unlove, simply download the FREE Story City app, here. It's buckets of fun. You'll find dozens of other terrific stories to play in and around Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Adelaide, too with more and more coming on line all the time. Follow Story City and The Chapel of Unlove updates on line, here.

To win a chance to rub shoulders with Australia’s famous authors and publishers at the prestigious 2016 Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards ceremony on Monday 3 October 2016, vote for your favourite fiction book from those shortlisted at https://competitions.thewest.com.au/print-comps/the-west-australian/2006-premiers-book-awards-2016/ in the People's Choice Awards. Voting is open now and closes on Friday 19 August 2016.

Good luck and may you have reason to congratulate yourself some day soon.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Overcoming Slump with Glenn Maxwell

Who would have thunk it? Career advise from a sportsman that makes sense (to a non-sportsperson).

T20 Player of the Year, Glenn Maxwell sums it up nicely. Apply these inspirational words of wisdom as necessary to your own; day, life, writing project, sporting event...I did.

Maxi's Top Tips:
  • Play to your strengths
  • Prepare early
  • Be patient
  • Be brave - don't be intimidated
  • Take the initiative - be confident and look for opportunities
  • Avoid over analysis- don't over think things, it can distract you from getting the little things right.
  • Take things slowly - try to stay relaxed and don't rush
  • Stay positive
  • Be selective 
  • Keep your eye on the ball - don't lose sight of your goals
  • PRACTISE

 ‘Sometimes if you concentrate only on trying to do big things, you end up forgetting the small stuff that’s really important.’

  
http://blog.boomerangbooks.com.au/spinning-tales-cricket-inspired-young-fiction/2016/06
  Wise words, Maxi. I think I have a new hero... If you want to discover more about   Glenn Maxwell or his cricket inspired series of mid-grade novels for kids, check out my review post, here.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

The Power of Story with Jackie French




 “If you want intelligent adults, give our children stories, because each story increases the neurons in a child’s brain. If you want creative adults who can mine the asteroids or find three million ways to cope with drought, pollution or global warming, give them stories now.”  Jackie French AO.

Jackie French's take on the power of story. What follows is my truncated take on her impassioned speech last night at Riverbend Books in Brisbane on why books matter and must always matter.


  • Books give kids the ability to choose what they want to be and who they could be, not necessarily describing to them who they are already.
  • One kind act can change a life. Kindness is as contagious as evil and anger.

  • BOOKS MATTER – books improve, enhance, stimulate and, strengthen our intelligence. It’s a scientific fact.
  • CREATORS MATTER - as creators, what we do matters.
  • LIBRARIES, TEACHER LIBRARIANS AND BOOKSHOPS MATTER. - Kids need guidance when it comes to book choice and reading
Because 80% of kids (and adults) find books boring...

...kids need to learn to ‘taste books’
 
Reading is good for us but it this is not the predominant reason why we do it. We do it because we love to.

Need to teach kids that they are the Boss of Books in terms of: choice, type, and when and how they read them. They don’t have to finish a book if they don’t want to; it’s not a piece of broccoli!

  • Don’t give up and stop (reading) because of preconceptions about age. Kids will get bored with books they are able to read at a certain age but they will love longer books with more intricate themes and relevance to them even if they cannot quite read them.
This is why we must keep reading to them!

Adults = kid enablers – we must guide and teach and show.

We are the people of the books but this does not provide any economic argument sufficient to convince the pollies / bean counters of the impact of the need and value of books and reading. Therefore, this is perceived as sentiment rather than proof. But it is not. We are not sentimental.

We are not stupid because we read!
 
Stories show where we come from, who we are, and what we can be and where we are going.

To ignore them is detrimental.

#bookscreate

Friday, 4 March 2016

Review: Madeline Cain: The Adventure Begins

Madeline Cain: The Adventure Begins Madeline Cain: The Adventure Begins by Emily Craven
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm comfortably well acquainted with many of the stories set in and around Brisbane here in SE QLD. It's a climate and people and ethos I can relate to being my birth-state. I'm even better acquainted with Rundle Mall's balls, Glenelg's beaches and the quintessence of North Terrace having grown up in Adelaide, which is perhaps why Emily Craven's Madeline Cain Adventures reeled me in in the first place. I was keen to revisit the city of my youth and the breeding ground of a trillion new experiences and life long mind-images; a bit like those of maturing teen, Madeline Cain.

In this introductory episode of her adventures (there are three books in total thus far), this almost 18-year-old and her tight ball of buds share their last few fraught post matriculating months with the world at large as Gen Y is wont to do...on the world wide social web. Madeline is stuck in a lime-light saturated spot between the rocks of 'Just because I'm super savvy with school work, the world expects me to go to Uni and love it' and 'I can't commit to a career choice because I have no idea what really rocks my boat'.

This novel trends well thanks to it's entreating format. Now while I'm a fan of fictitious epistolaries and admit I'm more addicted to social media than my Luddite tendencies profess, I did harbour a smidge of reservation about this. Most of me jumped with enthusiasm; surely this was going to be one fun read, the ultimate serve of social media funk. But a small part of me (that obstinate 19th C bit) thought, hang on, I get bored with inane social-media commentary at the best of times. How the heck was Craven going to maintain my voyeuristic verve for the length of an entire novel?

She did it with style and a gangbusters' attitude to keeping it real, that's how. Unless you live off grid, by yourself, with more than one cat and no inclination to boot up anything other than your wellies, you are more than likely to feel at home with the layout of this tale; told in genuine Facebook style through a series of posts and PMs. Never in my wildest moments would I have become this engaged and involved with a bunch of teenagers' trials and tribulations, not even when I was one. The tone is 200% conversational (of course) but rings so true and clear, it's alarming (pardon the pun).

Craven has delineated sharp, winning characters out of virtual drivel. Her intimate knowledge of Madeline's hometown also creates cutting-edge authenticity although you need not be a crow-eater to appreciate the setting in which Madeline first discovers her new passion and potential career path: photography. Madeline's online intercourse between her school mates, family and friends afar is so heavily spiced with wry witticisms, it made my eyes water - with laughter.

Madeline Cain makes the whole internet doctrine somehow more acceptable (for me) and a darn sight funnier. The only trouble with re-living my youth adventures through Maddie is that I want to see how she ends up...must-get-next-book, kind of want. A highly appealing, easy to scroll through, chuckle-worthy read for media savvy tweens, teens, NAs and ex-Adelaidians like me.
In short - I like LIKE it enough to SHARE. :-)

View all my reviews

Monday, 22 February 2016

Magic Fish Dreaming - Kickstarting a Dream


The sun shines with forcible brightness here in SE Queensland most days but at times, the radiance of those that I meet in my quest to fill pages for young people with my inner most hopes and dreams, outshines it all. Two such luminaries within my tribe are author, photographer, June Perkins and fine artist and children's book illustrator, Helen Magisson.

Together, they have embarked on a adventurous and exquisite project, creating a lusciously illustrated book of poetry for children, Magic Fish Dreaming. To float this dream collaboration, a Kickstarter funding campaign is underway. Whilst we can not always support every worthy project and needy cause, I urge you to have a look at this project that not only encapsulates the work of two very gifted artists but showcases the very essence of Far North Queensland, my birth place and one of the most richly diverse places on earth. Read on for information about Magic Fish Dreaming's creators, the Kickstarter crowd funding project and how you can become involved.

June Perkins, a recent ASA mentorship award recipient, is planning to self-publish her very first full colour illustrated poetry book for families and children Magic Fish Dreaming.   Brimming with the themes of nature, family and environment, Magic Fish Dreaming is inspired by the North Queensland, Australian, community, environment, and creatures it shares.




After eight years of writing, and sharing poetry for families and children in the Cassowary Coast, June, a long time poet now resident in Brisbane, felt the time had come for this poetry and the place and people it represented to be shared with the world for its beauty, diversity and inspiration.



Award winning, Brisbane based illustrator Helene Magisson, was captivated by June’s poetry when asked if she would like to come on board as the illustrator.  She has done some wonderful initial water colour illustrations which represent her interpretations of the text.



This book is designed especially for reading aloud with your nieces, nephews, children and grandchildren, and if you are a primary school teacher, students.  MagicFish Dreaming encourages readers to search for poetic inspiration in their everyday surroundings.



Poetic techniques are varied beyond rhyme and include: personification, address, metre, simile, metaphor, lyrical language, and repetition. Some of the forms in the book are: address, narrative, apostrophe, lyric, ballad, question and answer and haiku.




But it’s not just for children, June feels you will enjoy Magic Fish Dreaming if you are any age and curious about the Cassowary Coast, North Queensland and love illustrated books.



June is using Kickstarter to fund this venture.



Kickstarter is a crowd sourcing site designed to fund creative projects. It's not about donations. If you contribute, you get exactly what you pay for and if you opt for it some delightful rewards to make your day.



June is using Kickstarter as poetry books for children are an extremely difficult genre to have any mainstream publisher pick up unless you are an already established poet and have an agent.  But she feels that poetry has just so much to offer the world especially a poetry celebrating environment, peace and diversity and is proud of the works she has crafted and had professionally edited.  Some of them have been previously published in other anthologies.



The book is written and edited and almost ready to print.  The Kickstarter will assist in paying for the rest of the illustrations, the prepress layout and some of the printing costs.



Amongst the Kickstarter rewards there are native animal soft toys, prints, stickers, bags, totem inspired creations, and a beautifully hand crafted cassowary. There are also a few workshop options, done by skype, email or in person.



The top level rewards are strictly limited.  So head over to the campaign and find out more and if you love the book - make your pledge.



June, Helene, and the rest of the Magic Fish Dreaming Team would love it if you can spread the word on Twitter or Facebook or Google+ and by word of mouth to the many people, schools, family and friends you know would love this book!







Details of the Book



A 36 page, 210mm X284mm, full colour poetry book, inspired by the diverse people of Far North Queensland and their tropical environment. This book is written by poet June Perkins and Illustrated by Helene Magisson. 



Magic FishDreaming is for lovers of nature and language, children, family, teachers, educators, parents, grandparents, and just anyone who delights in illustrated words. 



It will appeal to those who love people of all cultures and want to support multiculturalism and the creation and distribution of diverse books. 



It is for every person who loves to go hunting for poems and aims to encourage many more children to become poets.

#magicfishdreaming #kickstarterbooks #kidslit #poetry4family

Live the Dream - Meet the Legends - An Invitation



Original artwork by Ken Best
You've seen my last post telling you all about Story City, the exciting new FREE APP that takes you, the reader, to the very heart of the story, and allows you to quite literally smell the roses, or tread the pavement or in some harrowing cases, stave off mutant zombie cockroaches...well of course you have. Well, wait...there's more.

Story City is based on choose-your-own adventure style storytelling that has been re-imagined specifically for the digital age. Not only are the stories compelling, entertaining and informative with something for all ages to enthuse and drool over, they also encourage exercise, curiosity and discovery. Families can do the adventures together, as can tourists or those less familiar with the public spaces they reside in.

Tim Baker
An eclectic collaboration of local artists, musicians, voice-over talent and writers produce these amazing adventures and now you have the chance to MEET THE LEGENDS in person.

Here's some of the line-up:

Surfing Guru:                            Tim Baker
Comic Artist:                             Ken Best
Verbal Disc Jockey:                    Ben Brown
Cool tunes maestro:                   Jed Walters
Obligatory female kids author:    ME 


Jed Walters
Pop along to the: REaD Cafe, inside the Paradise Island Resort, 1 Paradise Island QLD.
Around:               6.00 pm
On the :               24th February
For the :              STORY CITY GOLD COAST LAUNCH
It'll set you back: Nothing. This is a free event but it's best if you could register your intention to come on the Facebook Event page so we can get the catering right. REaD Cafe boasts a full bar and extra yummy things can be purchased on the night if our nibbles don't fill the spot.

Art by Ken Best
This launch is to mark the advent of our Gold Coast stories going LIVE.
If you can't make it, don't worry...tune into ABC Gold Coast Radio 91.7 Drive Time with Matt Webber next Wednesday from 3 - 6 pm to hear me wax lyrical (with much waffling and spluttering) about all things Story City.

Or...you could tune into Dim's Write Stuff. Over the next few weeks I'll reveal a bit more about the hows, whys and what fores that made up my Story City experience. It promises to be riveting stuff.

Can't wait to share the adventure with you.




Thursday, 24 December 2015

The Day is nigh!

Accredited artwork of Ken Best
No, not Christmas...well yes that is a nigh as it gets, too.

But I'm talking about D-Day. In the most incredibly nutty fun - Story City way.


Here's what you have to do to be able to smell the roses, join the adventure and become the hero (or villain) of your dreams.

  1. Jump on to Story City.
  2. Download the FREE Story City app to your smart phone or tablet device.
  3. Use the list or map section to browse through the stories until you find the one you’re most excited about. (I'm excited about my story, The Chapel of Unlove set on the Gold Coast in Sanctuary Cove but you can choose from stories in Brisbane, Adelaide and the Gold Coast.) Remember you must be in that location to activate that story.
  4. Select your story according to preferred genre, author, location: there are stories ranging in genres from fantasy, urban mystery, sci fi, comedy and historical romance to name but a few. 
  5. Start listening / reading your story and choosing YOUR ADVENTURE.
Simple. Colossal. Fun.

Gold Coast stories are now live.

Try them these holidays. Walk off those Christmas calories while experiencing an exciting digi story telling  adventure.

Add bonuses: 
  • You get to discover your local environment on a deeper level.
  • You may discover a hitherto unknown new eating spot (okay, time to slap the calories back on) or activity or holiday location or point of historical interest.
  • You may meet a new friend or two as your adventurous paths cross...
  • You may (in The Chapel of Unlove's case) hit on the perfect location to host your next social gathering, family fun day, or dare I say it...Wedding. 
Story City...the possibilities are endless.


The official launch for the Gold Coast Story City tales will take place early next year. Stick around for dates and details and your personal invitation.

Meantime, I wish all of you a sensational Silly Season and safe, exciting New Year. May words inspire you in great and wonderful ways. Thanks for reading me.