Showing posts from 2014

Navigating Life and the Bermunda Triangle

When the gorgeous ladies of Kids Book Review slung 12 curly questions my way recently, like a rapacious puppy, I couldn't help but chase after them, eager to give them a good gnawing over.

The experience made me question something else also: the slippery egocentric thrill (most) of us gain from being asked something about ourselves. Given the time to actually think about your response is a blessing some interviewees don't always have, but when you do, I find it an interesting exploration of ones own psyche or concept of it. In other words, being forced to answer to yourself about yourself can be an honest way of hosing back the layers of obscuring detail we tend to let build up over time. Interviews  often evoke a sense of rediscovery and definition. After all, it's almost as fascinating and self satisfying to waffle on about yourself as it is to delve into the inner sanctums of those you are morbidly curious about.

But mainly I find author interviews, whether my own or a…

Fear - A natural part of life

Halloween is over. You've washed off the fake blood and gore, packed away your cob webs and scoffed the last of your treats. It was fun frolicking about with your wildest fears, but now you just can't seem to shake that awful feeling that somewhere, somehow a duck is watching you. Is this you? Chances are if you suffer from Anatidaephobia, it is.

'I'm afraid of the dark, 'specially when I'm in a park and there's no one else around. Oh I get the shivers' So says Des'ree. What do you fear? 90s music perhaps?

Does the thought of whipping up something for dinner turn your guts to soup? You could have a touch of Mageirocophobia (fear of cooking)

Think that dewlling in the desert is the sea change for you? You'll never have to deal with Ombrophobia out there (fear of being rained on)

Find your heart racing at the sight of a man's face half obscured by facial hair? Sounds like your Pogonophobia is acting up again (fear of beards)

Well fear not, becau…

Review - Snap Magic - It's more than hocus pocus

Tweenhood is a terrifically testing time. One I remember of intense scrutiny when everything about you; the way you look, the way you dress and the friends you avoid suddenly becomes big deal. You find yourself navigating that mystical ground twixt ‘little kid’ and ‘fully fledged adolescent’, feeling as though your every move is being examined under some humongous magnifying glass for humiliating broadcast. It’s a time to loosen grip on your childhood beliefs while at the same time search for new vessels of magic in which to float your maturing soul. Complicated concepts at any age, but utterly bewildering at age twelve. Yet Lily Padd, star of Angela Sunde’s inaugural Pond Magic, is about to set sail in another tale of pre-puberty angst to prove to us all that tweenhood really is ‘a snap’.
Snap Magic snaps, crackles and fizzes from the moment Lily plunges into the girls’ toilets to escape the painful inflictions of Rick Bastek, a lad with limited like-appeal and tarnished intelligence…

What Are Your Dreams Worth?

A week or so ago I rambled on about the whys and wherefores of seeking out grants and how to go about securing one for yourself. You can read all about how and when the penny dropped for me here.

Now that I have successfully acquitted my first grant, I have time to reflect on exactly what it meant, what I gained from it and whether I'd do it all over again. So here we go, my top reasons for granting yourself permission to shine:

What did it mean being awarded a grant?
Freedom.To expand on my writing goals and bring more of them closer to fruition.Resources. To perfect my picture book projects. I undertook a structured mentorship with Dee White to facilitate this.Choice. To use funds to make decisions that positively influenced, affected and improved my craft. It meant I could afford a mentor. It meant I could afford to attend conferences and workshops that not only enriched my writerly soul but skill box as well. It meant I had available finance to validate the existence and worthin…

Granted - Writing a Picture Book ain't easy

Around winter a year ago, I was blessed to be awarded a  CAL Creative Industries Career Fund grant. There was much rejoicing and disbelief then more rejoicing. This was duly followed by quiet hand clapping, frantic paper shuffling, pencil sharpening and then excited conference booking. Several spread sheets, dozens of workshop notes, zillions of manuscript drafts and one grant acquittal later, I am happy to report that I am creeping ever closer to the conviction that granted, writing a picture book is not as straightforward as a walk in the park even when that walk includes the most beguiling, fluffy-eared, impeccably behaved pup displaying all the necessary attributes to make passersby stop and swoon with delight, but it is one hundred per cent worth it.

In fact this is a notion I've been clinging onto for some years now, rather like a the proverbial dog with a bone. But as any progressing author (I tend to shun the term 'emerging'. I mean I've been born, already.) w…

Sparking ideas with Melissa Wray

Almost two years ago fellow author, Melissa Wray and I shared a marvelous first. We published our debut novels for children with Morris Publishing Australia. Each story grew from very different beginnings. Her's Destiny Road, is a story about decisions and consequences, walking the right path and growing up. A raw, non-comprising look at a young girl's coming of age, suited to older teens.

But from where did the seed of this idea originate and how did it germinate within Melissa's writing realm? If you have ever wondered about the inside stories, the stories behind the stories of great writing, read on. It's goosebumpy good.

What sparked the idea to write Destiny Road?
Recently Melissa Wray was asked this question by Uncommon YA. Here is her very personal response. We moved to North Queensland when I was 14. After a year or so Mum could see that something about Townsville and I did not mix. Strangely enough it was her suggestion to ring my dad and ask if I could move back…

Blasting off with Tottie and Dot and Tina Snerling

Today is special. Today we welcome two new girls to the neighbourhood. They are Tottie and Dot and they grace the pages of Tania McCartney's and Tina Snerling's latest creation, Tottie and Dot. To celebrate, the girls are having a BLOG BLAST party guaranteed to have you screaming with delight.

 Here's a snippet of what I thought of this yummy picture book.

Tottie andDot is the latest picture book deliciousness doled up by Tania McCartney and Tina Snerling. As with their previous bestseller, An Aussie Year, Tottie and Dot effortlessly teams McCartney’s delectable dream-like story line with Snerling’s candy-luscious illustrations. Sweetly simple statements are anchored on full double page spreads with divinely drawn detail, right down to the tiny-tarred paw prints and gumball pebbled paths.
You can read the rest of my review of Tottie and Dot here. Meanwhile, I've just spotted illustrator, Tina Snerling. If I can keep her away from the apricot sandwiches for a moment, I m…

SCBWI Sydney Conference 2014 - Lasting Impressions

It's the last month of winter. Almost four weeks since I had to dig out my gloves and wraps for the first time this year. They accompanied another 'first'. An experience I had been secretly yearning for, aspiring toward for first SCWBI Conference. And, unlike a few other 'firsts', it exceeded all expectations.

Much of what went down, who was there and what we got up to has been magnificently covered both on the official SCBWI Australian/NZ web and blog sites, and featured in several sensational personal accounts, not least of which is Tania McCartney's SCBWI Wrap Up post. Be you author, illustrator, industry professional or just interested passer-by with a fondness for Kids Lit, you're bound to unearth some awesome insights on your favourite artists, books and literary gems.

Here are a few recollections and choice tip bits of my own, along with the mandatory blurred snapshot to seal the moment.

Feeling like a kid allowed to go to her first big par…