Showing posts from 2011

Don't Forget to Feed the Fish

This Xmas, I’d like to put up a tree in my heart, instead of hanging presents. I’d put names of all my friends. Close friends & not so close friends. The old friends, new friends. Those I see every day & ones I rarely see. The ones that I always remember & the ones I sometimes forget. The ones that are always there & the ones that seldom are. The friends of difficult times & the ones of happy times. Friends who, without meaning, I have hurt, or without meaning, have hurt me. Those that I know well & those I only know by name. Those that owe me little & those that I owe so much. My humble friends & my important friends. The names of all those that have passed through my life no matter how fleetingly. A tree with very deep roots, very long, strong branches so that their names may never be plucked from my heart. So that new names from all Over may join the existing ones. A tree with pleasant shade so that our friendship May take a moment of rest from the battles of life. …

You gotta have Faith

True faith drops its letter in the post office box, and lets it go. Distrust holds on to a corner of it, and wonders that the answer never comes. From Days of Heaven upon Earth.

Anyone who knows me, is aware I'm not an overtly devout soul; more a believer of balance, karma, yin and yang kind of girl. But, whether it is a question of your religious faith, your personal life principles or just the confidence in yourself to send that forestalled manuscript in for submission, it pays to let go of the envelope sometimes; to believe in yourself.

To have belief in yourself is more than a matter of confidence. It requires commitment; commitment to letting go, breaking free, making choices. In other words, taking risks.

Small children do this, without thought, on a daily if not hourly basis. It is their prescription for life, their blue print for learning. They are seldom afraid to move forward because they are blissfully unaware of the risks involved. They have full faith in themselves.…

C'est la vie

 There have been a few comings and goings in my life of late. Swings and round abouts, ups and downs. Call them what you will. My little peanut of a brain prefers not to linger too long upon these quandaries of existence. But a couple of weekends ago, as I was running for the lives of others in the Pink Triathlon against Breast Cancer, the very sobering thought that I could be running for my own, tinged my spirits from the usual vibrant fuchsia to an uncertain dusky rose.

Not one to share dilemmas openly or even ask for help in times of need, I went about getting a biopsy in an almost stealth like manner. Such cunning can, unfortunately, not be maintained for long when the questionable growth is situated in prime time position on your snout. Oh well. Luckily I don't harbour great quantities of vanity either but after the cut and slice, I did wonder why these things never appear on your feet or in some other inconspicuous body crevice.

Animosity is a great thing. I was able to g…

Pink Perfection

OK, so it's not the Gold Coast Marathon, Ironwomen or even the Half Ironman Triathlon, but for many the annual Gold Coast Pink Triathlon marks a significant challenge and worthy hurdle to clear. This all female event is hosted nation wide and encourages participants to compete in an effort to raise money for research towards Breast Cancer.

It's my second year in the running and I'm pleased that I managed to not only beat my time previously, but also come 4th in my age group. A noteworthy achievement for a serious non-sporty type.

But apart from the challenge and fun derived from participating, I swim, bike and run essentially so that future generations don't have to endure the experiences with Breast Cancer that many other female members of my family had to. If I can help achieve that in this smallest of ways, then I consider my self a real winner.

Check out more pics of the event on my Visual Stuff page.

For those wondering about my training strategy, let me just say…

Success ~ Who needs it?

What defines success for you?

Have you succeeded when you get five sets of green traffic lights in a row?
Is success not burning the evening meal or even managing to dish up an evening meal?
Have you personally won, when you've gained second place in a writing competition?
Have you reached your pinnacle after landing the world's most awesome publishing contract, with promises of untold riches and glory?
Does the glow of success spread across your dial when a six year old student cries out, "I remember you. You're that author who spoke to us."?

Sadly, at times, I feel it's become an over exploited ideal, often inflated beyond the notion of simply achieving something you set out to attain. Fame, fortune and notoriety are often the measure of success these days in lieu of personal best, self satisfaction and humble adoration from you immediate peers. But it's a label we still all wish that, at some stage in our lives, we can apply to ourselves.

So what are th…

Getting Serious About Humour

I love humour. I love laughing at myself almost as much as I love laughing at others (if only because it seems less rude to do so) I also love writing with humour. But what are the critical elements which cause us to chuckle, which render us unable to suppress a snort or too, which leave us aching in the belly with laughter? What constitutes humour? And how do we find it for the stories we write?
At the recent CYA Conference in Brisbane, talented YA author and all round funny guy, Michael Gerard Bauer led us through an amusing little seminar exploring the ways in which to make people laugh.
There are basically two ways:
- Visual Humour - as with using your face to get a baby to smile - With your Words - as writers, we do not have the visual back up that a stand up comic might use, therefore we need to use our words to deliver the punch(line). So...
* What is the common ingredient in humour?
- The Unexpected = Surprises. That is the punchline of a joke, the Boo that makes the baby laugh. - T…

Trail Blazing ~ An Introduction to Book Trailers

First cab off my rank at this year's CYA Conferencein Brisbane, was an Introduction to Book Trailers by exciting Children's Author and Presenter Tristan Bancks.

 I'd been hearing plenty of who ha recently about the necessity of creating Book Trailers, and having viewed a few, was naturally curious as to what all the furore was about. Tristan presented a very straightforward over view of the importance, creation and role of Book Trailers for we literary folk. Here are some of the main points to consider if you are contemplating this form of promotion.

A Book Trailer should be all about bringing a story aliveVisually.

It is essentially  an Animated Blurb of your book; the vehicle with which a story is brought alive visually.

They can be about YOU or YOUR BOOK. You may not have a published work to share yet but could just share yourself.

Tristan's Intro trailer featuring Max Slater HuntsThe Cool
Book Trailers should include:

- An Introduction: in order to connect authors wi…

That was then. This is how...I've changed?

Does time really have the restorative abilities to salve all hurts, tame desires, or alter one's beliefs? Can time really change a person? Or is it what transpires within the passing of time that causes change? That which we call, ageing? The answers to these philosophical musings will not be found here. I barely realise there's been a passing of years; too busy barrelling head on into tomorrow to register now properly, let alone thank yesterday for all that it provided. That was then, this is now, but there once was a time.....

About two decades ago.....

* I shared my zeal for life and empty ramblings, taste in music and love of the sun, with friends on the beach, by the bar, in the night club or in a letter. We roamed in loud, raucous, carefree groups. We laughed and cried...together.

* We immerse ourselves in individual, insular enjoyment; trainloads at a time, delirious with devices. We ignore our parents' advice and talk happily and randomly to strangers, …

My Apprenticeship

As they roll up the banners for another year, after a month during which nearly every Children's Literary Festival and Writing Festival took place, as the buzz within and around me slowly dissipates into the stratosphere, I reflect on what was another sublime cluster of highs in My Writer's Story. I prefer story to journey because I have always felt life, while an incredible trip at times, is broken into equally as incredible chapters.
The latest chapter featured my attendance at this year's CYA Conference for Children and Young Adult Writers and Illustrators. The one day, all you can fit in conference for Alligators (grown up writers) was a phenomenal program of success stories, informative sessions, hands on workshops and master classes. Perhaps the highlight of the day for many an aspiring writer or illustrator was the opportunity to pitch their manuscripts and artwork face to face with industry representatives from such  renowned publishing houses as Walker Books, Har…

Random Acts of Publicity # 2

Couldn't resist squeezing in another RAP before it ends this week. In order to add a little Aussie flavour to the mix, I've chosen one of my all time favourite children's picture books, "Dimity Dumpty The Story of Humpty's Little Sister" by renowned Australian author and illustrator, Bob Graham. He really needs no introduction having written and illustrated dozens of children's books, earning him multiple awards and literary acclaim. His latest book, "April Underhill, Tooth Fairy" was short listed for the 2011 Prime Minister's Literary Awards.
I love this gorgeous picture book for so many reasons. Here are just some of them:
1.) It's always nice to see you own name in print even if it is just the title of someone else's book.
2.) Bob Graham is home grown Aussie talent.
3.) Dimity Dumpty unashamedly features chickens. I love chickens.
4.) The expiry date on the Humpty's travelling 'egg carton' caravan holds special significanc…

Random Acts of Publicity 2011

I'm a firm believer in Support the Supporters and what better way to apply this belief than in this week's Random Acts of Publicity 2011 event hosted by
Darcy Pattison .

The idea is simple, promote a friend's (latest) book or even you favourite book by blogging about it, talking about it, reviewing it and of course encouraging others to READ it.

There is a veritable plethora of superb children's books, including picture books, crafted by skilled and gifted authors and illustrators, all worthy of mention but for me to list them all would bust my blog. So I decided to think on a local scale and am proud to beat the drum for fellow Gold Coast Children's Author and Illustrator Angela Sunde and her debut children's book, POND MAGIC.
Pond Magic is a humorous little tale fresh from the Aussie Chomps Series by Penguin that is so incredibly popular with kids. It's bursting with originality, the scent of garlic, handsome princes and the sort of pre-teen angst that is d…

7th Katheen Julia Bates Writing for Children Competition

I don't know if it's that time of year or if the stars just happen to be in good alignment. The air is thick with the Literary Festival, Writing Conference, and Award Vibe. It's as challenging to cope with as a lungful of wattle blossom but every bit as beautiful to behold and far more exciting to be part of.
So what better way to launch myself into this weekend's CYA Conference for Children's Writers and Illustrators than by being Short Listed in the 7th KATHLEEN JULIA BATES WRITING FOR CHILDREN MEMORIAL COMPETITION with my Picture Book entry 'Rainforest Magic'? The competition is conducted by Di Bates of Enterprising Wordsin conjunction with their popular and invaluable e-zine publication, Buzz Words Magazine. It's an absolute honour to have my manuscript judged as worthy of a Top Ten Placing in this year's comp. Plus it fills me with enough warm fuzzies to approach my CYA Pitch with a winning smile...well at least on the inside.

Marshall Allan Hill Children's Writing Award

Thrilled to discover that one of my short stories for children was shortlisted for the Marshall Allan Hill Children's Writing Award 2011 Competition. This annual award is conducted by Jelli Beanz Publishing who focus on short stories and poetry especially for children.

"Voice of Winston", is a humourous little tale about one girl surmounting her fears in the pool with the help of an over talkative mozzie. It didn't quite win this year but has given me plenty of warm fuzzy feelings to 'just keep swimming.'

Keep an eye out on my Kool Kidz page for it some time soon!

New Page for the Young Ones

Kids keep me teetering along that fine line of complacency and wanting to do better. Their sense of logic, realism, fantasy and tender pragmatism somehow weaves into rich, satisfying life tapestries in ways I could never create with mere words, but try constantly to emulate. Their raw enthusiasm breathes life into art the same way coffee kick starts my tired brain. I simultaneously marvel and envy their crafty naivety. This also happens to be why I adore writing for them.

During recent Book Week Writing Workshops, when I asked students why they thought I might enjoy writing, the reply was often, "Because you like having fun." Yes. Who doesn't? Writing for kids is truck loads of fun.

One of the frequently asked questions I got asked (being not quite as well known as JK Rowling) was, "What have you written?" I garbled on about short stories for school magazines, picture books etc.

Hindsight being 100% correct and 100% useless meant I'd completely overlooked …

Dear Budding Authors & Illustrators

One of the serendipitous side effects of conducting school workshops, is the enthusiastic emergence of creative talent. Following a week of Writing and Illustrating Workshops conducted by Angela Sunde and myself, many students of Coomera Rivers State School, have approached us keen to develop their ideas and launch their stories and illustrations upon the world at large.
Angela was able to assist with various suggestions where kids from 6 - 18 years of age can indulge in the art of creative story telling, poem writing and illustrating. We both strongly encourage children with a creative flare and a burning desire to take it further to check out these sites. They offer kids information about Writing events, Conferences and Workshops, Festivals and Competitions, all designed to show case and promote the work of young writers and illustrators.
If you know of any people who want their stories heard please feel free to pass these onto them.

Somerset Celebration of Literature - Annual Gold Co…

Writers' Workshop Book Week 2011

Day Three of National Book Week 2011 and I've well and truly set sail on myInaugural Writers' Workshop sojourn. I've always been thrilled to be part of workshops on anything of a literary nature, inevitably walking away with some new precious gem of knowledge on the craft of writing and renewed desire to continue turning pages.
Now the pencil is in an other's hand or rather hands. Who would have thought that conducting Writing Workshops could be so utterly enjoyable? Fun, is the best way I can describe my first foray into imparting to primary aged students of Coomera Rivers State School some of the finer nuances of Picture Book writing. Gruelling would be another. Six classes in under six hours was certainly not for the faint hearted but I would not hesitate to repeat the experience.
Any concerns about them not 'liking' the subject matter were quickly dismissed. All grades from Preppies to Year 7 sat enraptured as they were guided through typical picture book:
- S…