All About Writing

Writing Successes for 2017


This year felt like a bit of a flop for me, as a writer that is. The reason it felt this way is that I didn’t have any new books published or accepted for publication. I didn’t win any writing awards or competitions. There were no obvious ‘successes.’ And this was the first year in many that this has happened to me.

When we experience this (as most writers do at some time), it’s all too easy to think of ourselves as a failure, and that’s how I was beginning to feel. This is when it’s tempting to give up and forget writing altogether. After all, it’s already challenging to find the time, energy and willpower to continue writing in the highly competitive book industry. Put that together with running a business and raising a family, and it seems almost impossible.

Needless to say, when I received today’s challenge in the 12 Days of Christmas for Writers I inwardly groaned. Write a whole page of successes for the year? What? I would be lucky enough to jot down two. But as I started thinking, and writing, I ended up with a list of over 20 successes. As I was writing I realised that success as a writer doesn’t just mean getting a publishing contract, but making steps towards it, working on your craft, learning, growing, presenting and getting excited about the unexpected surprises, like having my chapter book series published in the UK.

jake in space_Moon Attack_UK        Jake in Space_Rocket Battles_UK

So, the reason I’m sharing this list of 2017 successes is to show you that success comes in many forms and it’s worthwhile and motivating to think about and acknowledge them.

Here’s my list:

  1. Outlined my first crime novel
  2. Chapter book series published internationally
  3. Attended an editing workshop with an editor from a major publishing house and plucked up the courage to gain feedback on my story opening
  4. Successfully applied for and ran library writing workshops for the Summer Reading Club program
  5. Submitted a reworked manuscript for a new chapter book series to my publisher and then received a request for a series proposal
  6. Submitted the series proposal
  7. Reworked my YA novel and accepted an offer of a critique from a good writing friend
  8. Attended a workshop to learn more about presenting writing workshops for kids
  9. Requested feedback from my author talks and workshops that I added to my testimonials
  10. Put in multiple submissions for my YA novel
  11. Ran author talks and workshops – expanding time spent and number of students presented to
  12. Learned about the Story Grid structure and started using it
  13. Applied for my first travel grant for writing
  14. Investigated further study options for writing
  15. Received a lovely acknowledgement for my work editing a client’s short story collection in his published anthology
  16. Sent a screenplay in to a competition and received positive feedback
  17. Offered to run a workshop on getting your books into bookstores which will be scheduled for 2018
  18. Received unexpected income from my books
  19. Undertook a mentorship on how to set up an online course and created the course and writing school for tween and teen writers
  20. Entered the Pitch Wars contest
  21. Was invited as a guest author at Romancing the Stars and presented to teachers, librarians, writers and readers at the event
  22. Taught students and teachers in Laos how to write a story in English

school photo.jpg

What are your 2017 successes?


All About Writing

Happy Book Week!

This week is Book Week. I hope you’re celebrating at school, at your library or by enjoying some quiet time with a favourite book, or perhaps one that’s read to you or that you read to someone else.

Book Week 2015

Here’s a little interview on YAtopia about the Jake in Space series and my writing process to celebrate.

All About Writing

NaNoWriMo: What Do You Get Out of Writing?

Hello fellow writers and congratulations to anyone who participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year. I applaud you for your efforts as it’s certainly not something I could do – not at this stage of my life anyhow.

I bring you this post as I’ve been asked by Webucator to talk about my writing and answer a few questions to wrap up novel writing month. I hope that these answers help inform and inspire you as you make your own writing journeys.

1. What were your goals when you started writing?

I really didn’t have any distinct goals when I began writing as I started off purely for the joy of putting pen to paper and watching imaginary worlds and characters evolve. I’d always loved reading and writing as a child and through my teenage years but it wasn’t until I moved to Sydney when I first married that I had a go at penning my first book for kids (mind you this book will never see the light of day because it was so atrocious). But, once I’d finished that one I realised this was what I wanted to do, write books for kids, and the following year I began a Diploma in Professional Writing and Editing. It all went from there with my first book for children being published in 2008.

2. What are your goals now?

I’ve since achieved more than I could have ever imagined possible, being published and receiving recognition for much of my work. I’ve now published three stand alone books for children, a fiction reader, a novel for adults and most exciting of all, my first book series. The first half of the Jake in Space series was published this year and the remaining three titles will come out early next year. I guess my goal now would be to keep on writing and publishing books for younger readers. I have a number of book ideas floating around in my head that I’d love to write and it would be great to publish a full-length book for kids, or young adults.

3. What pays the bills now?

Not my books unfortunately, not yet anyway. Let’s call it cinema ticket money for now. Right now, it’s the second-hand bookstore that I own paying the bills, combined with my husband’s income. But, I couldn’t think of any better income earner than a bookstore and I love the people I meet through Big B Books and the book conversations we have – not to mention the unlimited access to reading material.

4. Assuming writing doesn’t pay the bills, what motivates you to keep writing?

That’s probably a correct assumption for most authors these days. I will always be motivated to write because it’s something I not only love to do, but need to do. It’s my form of expression and my creative release and really there’s nothing not to enjoy about it, except editing perhaps, but even that gives me great satisfaction as my work is given a shine and polish.

5. And, optionally, what advice would  you give young authors hoping to make a career out of writing?

I’m not usually one to give advice, since everyone has their own way of going about things, but what I’ve learned is that writing is a process. By that I mean that as a writer you are constantly learning and your writing is always evolving. For me, that’s meant studying, going to workshops, classes and writing festivals, reading widely, and most of all spending the time writing, writing, writing! There are no short cuts when it comes to writing. Like anything, it takes hard work, determination and persistence – but it does pay off in the end and the rewards can’t be measured in dollars.

All About Writing

SCBWI Queensland Meeting – Tips for Author School Visits

I was lucky enough to attend a fabulous SCBWI Queensland meeting last Sunday. By request, the topic was on tips for author school visits.

SCBWI Queensland branch

The panellists shared so much of their knowledge and experience with honesty and humour so I was very pleased to write a post gleaned from the copious amount of notes I took at the time, along with my fellow author, Dimity Powell. You can read about it here.

Panellists Peter Carnavas, Prue Mason, Charmaine Clancy, Pamela Rushby and Amanda Worlley, with Sheryl Gwyther, SCBWI Aust. E/NZ Assistant Regional Advisor.





All About Writing

Author Tag – A Little About Writing

I’ve been tagged by the very wonderful and talented Alison Reynolds. As she mentioned in tagging me, we first met in Queensland but soon found our connection to places and people, and events in Melbourne, was strangely uncanny. I love Alison’s work but even more so my kids adore her books (and rightly so since she writes for their age group). The Ranger in Danger series is a popular one with my eldest, who wants to be a ranger herself when she grows up. My youngest just adores Alison’s ‘A Year With Marmalade’ picture book. So much so my daughter ‘forced’ me to take a photo of her not just reading the book, but reading every single page of it.


Q1: What am I working on?

I am in the middle of writing a six book series of futuristic space adventure books. They’re to be published with New Frontier later this year and are chapter books aimed at 8 and ups. Boys especially will love them I bet, though my 8 year old daughter loves them too and wanted to me to write the next one last night (ahh, if only it were that easy).

Q2: How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I pretty much combine the ever popular space theme with a bit of mystery. I was a mad reader of mystery stories as a child so that element has definitely crept in with these books. Plus, there’s always a little smelly stuff to be had.

Q3: Why do I write what I write?

Because it’s fun. Seriously. I have an absolute blast getting my kid characters blasting off on their own adventures. I’m really enjoying something that is set in a fantastical place in a fantastical time because anything can exist there and anything is possible.

Q4: How does my writing process work?

Hmmm, I wouldn’t really call it a process because I don’t really plan anything. I have no real book outline, or writing schedule and my desk is always a mess with ideas and scraps of paper everywhere. To me, writing happens when some strange part of my brain tells me what and when to write (not always convenient when you have children to pick up from school). That said, I did have to plan this series out and I do have deadlines to meet – eek!

My latest book, also in the sci-fi genre:

The Day the Energies Saved the World

Now it’s time for me to play chasey! I tag:

Ashleigh Randall 

Ashleigh is a passionate writer who I first met because she couldn’t attend my workshop on pitching to publishers. To explain, she got in touch with me after she missed it and we caught up for coffee instead. Ashleigh is a blogger and she is writing her first full-length book. I can’t wait to read it when it’s finished.

Marina Cook

Marina is my dear and ‘oldest’ friend. We have known each other since primary school and believe me that was a long time ago, it’s sadly true. She is also a fellow writer and was part of my writer’s group. She is now the editor for the Foothills newspaper and is a very talented writer in her own right.

All About Writing

Blog Hop 2014

I’ve been tagged to take part in the first 2014 blog hop by the fabulously talented author — Vacen Taylor. You can check out her answers here.

blog hop

These are my responses to the questions here. It’s interesting to shoot around to the different blog and see how all writers approach their work differently so it was great fun taking part!

1) If you could achieve anything with your writing in 2014, what would it be?

Complete the space adventure books for my kids’ series that’s coming out in two parts, mid-year and by the end of the year.

2) What are the top 3 demons you must slay to achieve your goals in 2014?

  • The ticking clock
  • My inner critic
  • The procrastinator

 3) Name 3 things that inspire you to write.

  • People
  • Places
  • Possibilities

 4) What advice do you have to a new writer who is considering writing fiction?

Write from the heart first and save the editing for later. Then just go for it!
Follow the blog hop tour here with more answers from other writers here:

Ashleigh Randall

Bekki Burns

Julia Schafer

All About Writing

The Stringybark Young Adult Fiction Award 2013

Do you have what it takes to write a story that will engage a member of the iPad generation?  Can you get a young adult to switch off their iPad (well at least stop playing games) and instead focus on your writing?  If so, why not enter the Stringybark Young Adult Fiction Award 2013.  Aimed at the YA market (ages 12-18) we would love to hear from you. As long as it is in 1500 words or fewer.  The story must have a link (no matter how tenuous) to Australia.  The competition is open to anyone over the age of 16 and living on planet earth.
There is a total of $770 worth of prizes in cash and books available — plus publication for place-getters and highly commended authors.  There is an entry fee of $9.95 (discounts for multiple entries).  Closing date 13 January 2013.   Details: Stringybark Young Adult Fiction Award 2013.
Results of the Stringybark Flash and Microfiction Awards 2012

On 11 November 2012, the judges announced the winning stories in the Stringybark Flash and Microfiction Awards.  John Poole (NSW) won the flash fiction competition with his wickedly clever story, Behind the Wattles.  Queenslander, Kerry Whalen won the microfiction competition with her introspective tale, The Question.  Other place getters were Jacqui Halpin (Queensland), Graham D’Elboux (NSW), Otto Fischer (NSW) and Martin Lindsay (WA) The winning and highly commended entries are now available in a new anthology Behind the Wattles.
A full list of the place-winner and highly commended authors  can be found on the website: Stringybark Flash and Microfiction Awards.