October 31, 2019

Did you ever wonder where Hallowe’en came from, or why we have a celebration about ghosts and ghouls?

A long time ago, I used to write freelance articles and short stories for a children's magazine series that has since faded from view. They were actual, physical magazines, and, for whatever reason, they went the way of so many physical, actual, hold-in-your hands magazines. Sad, because it was a great source of story and info...

September 19, 2019

So how does a page about illustration end up on a website about writing?

It’s a question that has to be asked

  why, thank you for asking 

and will now be answered in a round-a-bout sort of way because it starts with some quiet persuasion that took me, erm... years to respond to.

It starts with an egg and the beginning of something that became quite an institution – the 52 Week Illustration Challenge founded by Tania McCartney – a...

July 15, 2019

On My Bookshelf: Wizards of Once, Twice Magic

by Cressida Cowell

Hodder Children’s Books 2018

It’s the winter school holidays and I’ve been doing lots of reading. Lots.

In some of the books I’ve only gone as far as Sydney, in others I’ve crossed the world and travelled in time. Some have been magical!

In some books I’ve found new friends, and in others I’ve been lost in strange and distant lands.

Having just got lost in the Wildwood...

July 9, 2019

What’s the Big Idea?

Or more to the point, where did you get that big idea?

What is the one question you can be almost 100% sure you’ll be asked on a school visit or when you’re running a workshop. You guessed it: where do you get your ideas?

I’ve heard all sorts of answers over the years, from authors who have quite seriously taken a deep breath and answered that they found them at the supermarket, fourth aisle, about half way d...

July 1, 2019

Impossible Music

by Sean Williams

Allen & Unwin 2019

And the word for today is: entirely.

it is not every day a complete stranger just hands you a book. It’s not every day that the book they hand you has a copy of a letter from the author inside. This is what happened to me at the CBCA National Conference 2019. I will add that the lovely person handing out books also handed them to other people, and that she wasn’t the only one ha...

June 24, 2019

I'm a great believer in the odd bout of procrastination.

the empty page: symbol of writer's procrastination everywhere

I do, in fact, believe it is the brain's way of telling you that you need to leave it to get on with stewing over something while you do something else, and I often find that after a bit of good old fashioned procrastination, things become clearer, and I can approach the task at hand with renewed vigour. 

​​

Of co...

June 16, 2019

Lenny’s Book of Everything

Karen Foxlee

Allen & Unwin 2018

I’ll be frank about this book. So many people had told me it was brilliant that I wasn’t sure whether I was suffering from FOMO or doing that weird ‘not-reading-it-because-everybody-else-has’ thing.

Now, picture me, standing in the bookshop at the CBCA National Conference in Canberra, surrounded by nothing but amazing children’s books, on a self-imposed book diet (to appea...

June 10, 2019

Warning: this post is really just an excuse to put up gorgeous pictures of cute, fluffy animals.... er, Writing Companions (disclaimer: none of these cute, fluffy Writing Companions are actually my own cute, fluffy Writing Companions...).

Every day on facebook and instagram, and doubtless on other social media, we see cute pictures of the various furry friends that share our lives. As writers (as creators, in fact) many of us s...

June 3, 2019

The Ice Dragon by George RR Martin

Published by Harper Voyager 2014

A review with a difference...

a story of my own

and a plea to publishers.

 

The Review Bit

The Ice Dragon by George RR Martin is being heralded as his first book for children, having been first published as a short story for adults in 1980 and now repackaged in short chapters and with fantastical illustrations by Luis Royo.

It is the story of Adara, a winter chi...

March 1, 2019

Pitching to a room full of people can be an exhilarating experience

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