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April Wrap Up

It has been a huge month, with so many wonderful highlights, check out the gallery below.

Running a masterclass on preparing your manuscript for publication with SCBWI ACT. Such a joyous day with so much talent in the room, exiting futures ahead!!

Speaking at the Australian School Library Association (ASLA) conference about interacting with Picture Books. If ever there was a wonderful crowd to talk with about books… Love TL’s!!!!

Catching up with old friends in Lindfield. (they’re not old, I’ve just known them for a long time 😉 )

Seeing giant sized Easter bunnies on the South Coast. They left giant sized (unwrapped) eggs too – everywhere!!


Attending the launch of the Geocon Aspen sales suit with hubby. A very grown up night 🙂

Going to the launch of This is Home collated by Jackie French and illustrated by Tania McCartney. Two such incredibly talented ladies and a book full of Australia’s most powerful poetry to share with kids. And Hip Hip Hooray, written by Tania and illustrated by Jess Racklyeft, the prettiest launch I’ve ever seen! And the children had such a wonderful time with party blowers, pass the parcel and delectable cup cakes!

Signing a giant stack of books for the Dymocks Children’s Charity. The guys at Dymocks Children’s charity do such amazing work to reach children who don’t have access to books, it is wonderful to support their efforts.

Attending the annual Dymocks Great Debate charity gala. What a night! So many laughs, so much great chat, and I came away having bid on and won 10 nights around OZ in a motorhome!!!

Speaking at the CBCA High Tea with the stars event at Penguin Random House HQ. This event was EPIC, so many great talented authors in one room – and one crazy police officer chasing a Baddie!! (oh that was me!)

and, Running a school holiday workshop with these 20 whizz kids at the Children’s Bookshop Beecroft. The bobby was at it again. We had such a joyous morning creating baddies, drawing wanted posters, writing picture books and chasing clues.

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CBCA Night of Notables

Last week I was so thrilled when I attended the  CBCA Night of Notables at Dymocks, George Street, Sydney, to discover that my awesome Writing Group buddy Penny Morrison had made it into the Notables. Her wonderful picture book ‘Captain Sneer The Buccaneer‘ was in the ‘Early Childhood’ category and shone out as the table was uncovered at the launch.

CBCA NSW Branch Judge, Nette Hilton talked us through the judging process and explained how a book’s setting, characterisation, plot, theme, conventions of writing, writing style, and mood, all working together, were used as criteria for selecting the Notables.

Congratulations Penny!! And all the other fabulous authors who were selected as Notables.

penny CBCA Notables

On the night we also heard from the super talented Jacqueline Harvey who talked about the challenges of getting children to read when there are so many other entertainment options available to them. She spoke of the importance of making reading an enjoyable and fun experience for them. She believes a love for reading often begins with parents who value reading and who build visits to the library, and reading aloud to kids into their busy lives.

Jacqui believes teachers also have a large role to play, and can sometimes be the first person to have an impact on their reading. “Reading needs to be front and centre and at the heart of school. School libraries have to be welcoming places where books can be touched and explored and enjoyed,” she says.  She also places a huge amount of value on school author visits, where children have the opportunity to talk to authors and talk with passion about books.

It was wonderful to hear her speak with such a passion and drive and you can see what a valuable asset she is as an ambassador of Room To Read.

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Pitch Perfect

It’s been a busy couple of weeks – months actually.

Last weekend I attended a course on pitch writing with Claire Craig from Pan McMillan.
The take away message: The simpler the better. Using the best words in the best order. Deconstruct, delayer and get to the core of the story, then write a pitch that is concise, dense with meaning and elicits an emotional response.
It was a very timely course as I’ve submitted two pitches this week in time for the SCBWI Conference as well as sending a couple of manuscripts out into the word. I’ve included the ‘quick pitch’ of my YA novel Surviving Sam at the bottom of this post.

I also attended the CBCA shortlist presentation at Gordon library. It was fascinating to hear how the shortlist was chosen. One of the things I found most interesting was that most of the YA shortlist was made up of debut authors, whilst all of the Picture book authors were very well established, prolific writers. I have a pile of shortlisted YA books by the couch that I am looking forward to delving into over the next week or so.
As an aside, what a wonderful job they have done renovating Gordon Library, it really does feel like a wonderful creative space, and is clearly very busy, which is fantastic!

My wonderful critique group, Picture This, has been busy with successes too, with Penny Morrison launching the latest two books in her HEY! series. The event was in Willoughby and had a fantastic turnout. Here’s a picture of my little man Harrison, AKA The Book Thief, taking off with one of the books which he loved so much whilst Penny was reading to the group. You can’t get a much bigger compliment than children trying to steal your books 🙂 I’ve also had to read it twice every night since!

Penny's launch

Also from Picture This, Ramona Davey has been shortlisted for her picture book in the CYA competition, with one of my favourite stories :). Kylie Fornasier has presented at Penguin Live in the lead up to the launch of her YA Novel Masquerade. And me and the girls have had a working bee to fill all of the 150 delegate bags for the upcoming SCBWI conference in July, which was a great fun filled afternoon – if a little back breaking!SCBWI working bee

My writing focus has been on my YA novel Surviving Sam, which feels like it is really taking shape now. I have a couple of editor consultations lined up at the SCBWI conference, and hope to be ready to start submitting it off the back of that feedback towards the end of the year.

Too much writing. I’ll stop there! Have a wonderful weekend All!!
Surviving Sam Pitch below…

Surviving Sam is a contemporary romance YA novel, served with a side of psychological thriller. A story of young love that is interrupted by a sociopathic runaway teenager.

“I’m poisonous!” Said Sam. “Even the mozzies know better than to mess with me.” Katie laughed, but as she did she felt a chill penetrate every nerve in her body.

Katie and Eddie are falling in love and are oblivious to the danger facing them when they swear to Sam that they will safeguard the secret of her runaway.
As they spend lazy days hanging out by the river, cracks in Sam’s story come to the surface.
Are they strong enough to withstand the force of Sam’s malicious personality and her torrid retribution?