I wish all my readers a Happy New Year!
Unfortunately here in Australia, the exciting, shimmering start to the new year has been scorched in the blast of the fires. The heat of January has taken its toll and whilst my home and livelihood has not been threatened this year, none of us Aussies can remain unaffected by the devastation caused by raging fires. Our hearts have gone out to our land, our animals and our people. Our prayers and wishes and hopes have been for rain.
When we all felt immobilised by the horror unfolding, a couple of YA Aussie authors who thought they'd try and lend a helping hand to those working relentlessly on the front line - the rural fire fighters - gave us all a way to express our gratitude and do something practical to help, reducing our sense of hopelessness. So thanks to Emily Gale and Nova Weetman, and a myriad of other behind the scenes bookish people who made #authorsforfiries an amazing success.
If you didn't catch it, then in a nutshell, #authorsforfiries was a Twitter auction in January where authors and illustrators offered works, or their time, to the highest bidder. There were some big ticket items by big name authors, as well as modest items from equally modest authors, like yours truly, but combined, the effort made over half a million dollars! Amazing!
I'm looking forward to working with the winner of my auction. I've sent off the copies of my books and Story Hound Archie and I will be giving feedback on a short story written by a 9 year old. As the winner of an auction, I'm thrilled to be receiving an artwork (below) by illustrator Liz Anelli, from her Ten Pound Pom picture book. A story close to my daughter-of-a-Ten-Pound-Pom heart. To find out more about the auction, check out this link. And for an hilarious video advertisement from the unstoppable Nat Amoore, check out this facebook link.
Some exciting news for me recently, was that my short story, Waiting, was Highly Commended in the Odyssey House short story comp. the theme was 'Family' and had to make a reference to drugs or alcohol. You can read my story on their website here. Note - it's not a kid's story.
Talking about competitions, Greenleaf Press has a picture book manuscript competition - closing midnight tonight - so if you're a writer for kids and have a polished story- don't dilly dally!
I've been on Hope 103.2 radio twice this month, talking to Katrina Roe about books series to beat holiday boredom, and back-to-school picture books.
StoryHound Archie has been on an Instagram hiatus in January - he's had a stubborn sore eye that refuses to heal properly and he is rather sick of constant visits to the vets, although they do have much yummier liver treats that we have at home, apparently. So that's a consolation!
And whilst we're on things medical, I did a first aid course this month with a coach who comes to you (if you have two or more people). Chris was engaging and fabulous, and half of the learning is done online at your own pace so you actually have time to process the information. If you're interested: First Aid Coach
Things I'm looking forward to in February:
Two friends of have picture books coming out in February - both of them Pennys! Penny Morrison is launching A Perfect Little Monster at Harry Hartog Warringah Mall on Saturday 8th. Details here. And Penny Reeve's The Other Brother will be out at the end of the month. (See photos below)
And I always love seeing a new Lesley Gibbes Picture Book - her latest. Three Little Mermaids is on the shelves now, and looks gorgeous. (see below) It's by the same dream team that brought us Little Bear's First Sleep.
My CBCA sub branch committee will meet this month to plan our year - it's always fun to get together and toss ideas around.
The CBCA NSW Night of the Notables event at Dymocks in Sydney is the 25th Feb. This always a casual and interesting night full of excitement as the notable books are revealed. Details here.
It's not to early to book me for author talks and workshops for Book Week or other times throughout the year. Details on my website.
That's about all from me, at the beginning of the year. Wishing you health and success in the New Year!
Until next time,