Posted in ASLA Conference, Books, Booktalkers, CBC, cyber bullying, Destroying Avalon, drugs, ETA, In Ecstasy, international rights, Kununurra's Wrtiter's Festival, literary appearances, Literary Awards, Matt Ottley, Media Appearances, Somerset Writer's Festival

Why I Can’t Say Sorry

I know I should– but it’s shallow and empty now, isn’t it? I leave this blog for lengths of time and then breeze in when I seem to have nothing better to do. So I will not insult you with another apology. Instead I’ll try and justify my absence by bringing you all up to date with the latest happenings.

I handed over the manuscript ‘Murder Within’ in January- just before school started– then was inundated with the trials and tribulations of teaching! I flew off quickly to Melbourne- for Booktalkers at the State Library of Vic, with none other than the legendery John Marsden– I pulled my 12 year old daughter out of school to attend with me. Unfortunately John’s farm fell within the bush fire zone and he was unable to get a car out to attend the night. Twas still great– with Kirsty Murray, Sue Saliba, Tim Pelger and Don Henderson in fine form commenting on what influences our writing.

A week later I was off to Somerset Writer’s Festival in Queensland. What a fantastic week that was. Andrew Stark– organiser of the library conference performed magical acts to pull the event together and then the Writer’s Festival itself followed. I was in the company of some brilliant people, terrific authors and illustrators– Lee Fox, Tobhy Riddle, Suzanne Gervay, Kate Forsyth, Garth Nix,Debora Abela, Tristan Bancks, Shamini Flint, Rob Newton, and Matt Ottley. Just on Matt, for a second, not only was I impressed with his sandgroper status– yes he also crossed the spinifex curtain to attend Somerset– but the man is an all out genuis. I tell you- how can anyone not read Requium for a Beast and not see genuis at work?? Not only are his illustrations brilliant– but Matt composes his own music! I’m not being parochial when I say that Matt deserves all the credit and kudos he is receiveing (especially with his latest nod from the CBC!!)

Following that– teaching, marking, reporting and a few visits to schools. School holidays- which is a laugh, isn’t it– whose holiday is this??? Not mine!! I’d received word from the publisher that I needed to re-write a part of the latest book– oh, only about 20, 000 words!!! Hello! So first week of my delightful holiday was spent doing such. Second week– marking 4 classes of work– delightful!! And now I’ve just teed up the latest gig guide with my publicist– so I’ll let you have it:

16 May- ETA panel-  at Perth College- discussing female vs male protagonists (I think!!)

23-27 July Kununurra Writer’s Festival (I’ve never been to the Kimberley– I’m really looking forward to it)

25 & 27 August- Morley library– for CBC Book Week (PS Aug 25 is my birthday!!!)

2 October– breakfast at Frasers for ASLA Conference. Later that day I’m sure I’m on a panel!!

That’s it so far. Will keep you posted on other happenings.

 

Oh, by the way– Hungary has bought rights to Destroying Avalon– now I can boast I share JK Rowlings publisher!! (if only it was her bank balance!!!) That’s me– up to date i think. Will try and be a better blogger!!!

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Posted in Australian fiction, Books, CBC, cyber bullying, Destroying Avalon, drugs, In Ecstasy, international rights, literary appearances, Media Appearances, teacher librarians, teachers, writing

What’s Up?

It’s time for me to tend to this rather neglected blogsite and dust away the cobwebs and up date the latest happenings. Where to begin?

Saw out the end of ’08 down south in the most magnificient part of WA the Margaret River Region. It is a debauched writer’s heaven what with winery after winery! And also one of the longest water ski areas in the West too. I did plenty of skiing and also tried to master the wakeboard too! But though the holiday home I have presents as a writer’s haven up until the 11th of January no writing was done!

Panicking– I promised my publisher the latest book in January, I had no choice but to push through the writer’s block and turn those 28 000 words into a 56 000 word manuscript! Is it good? Time will tell- but for now it’s a draft- albeit a rather rough one. Which is good because on the 27th I returned to teaching– taking on a much bigger load than ever before!

So– I’m hoping that ’09 will see me juggling all those balls very nicely! Teaching, writing/editing and being a contributing member of society– did I forget family? My eldest daughter has sailed into Year 8 and my youngest into Year 3– so there’s another ball to throw up into the mix!

This week has been inundated with radio interviews on ‘sexting’– most ABC stations have asked me to talk about this phenomenon as well as the cyber bullying one too!

Upcoming Appearances

On March 3rd I appear at the Centre for Youth Literature in Melbourne with the likes of John Marsden– my 12 year old daughter is coming to, excited to meet a ‘real’ Australian writer!

On March 5th I’ll be at WA’s Night of Stars– with my great friends at Westbooks!

From March14th – 21st I will be soaking up the sunny rays of Queensland at the Somerset Festival for Literature– attending both the Librarian and Writer’s components of their festival. And then after that there are more appearances on the cards.

Oh– and here is the ‘book trailer’ for the American release of in ecstasy— I thought it was pretty cool. Tell me what you think. Now if only the North Americans like it– there could be an overseas tour in the pipeline!

<embed src=”http://blip.tv/play/AemIBZD+ZQ” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” width=”320″ height=”270″ allowscriptaccess=”always” allowfullscreen=”true”></embed>

Posted in Books, CBC, cyber bullying, Destroying Avalon, Literary Awards, reviews, Uncategorized, writing

Children’s Book Council Celebrity Brunch

Last Sunday it was a privilege to attend the CBC’s Celebrity Brunch where the short listed books were reviewed. This year three wonderful students from St Stephen’s School Carramar were invited to review the Older Reader’s Section. After they came to terms with the fact their all time favourite English teacher’s book wasn’t on the list (though we all were delighted it made Notables!!) they set about reviewing.

Well, wasn’t I the proud teacher! My students (who I share with the Head of Department- actually they’re really hers, but I like to claim them) were  well spoken, intelligent and engaging, the three of them were wonderful ambassadors for the school. They opened the proceedings and then each celebrity reviewer stood up to make their contribution.

I had a light bulb moment. Now, this is going to seem patently obvious to most people- and it something I’ve paid lip service to myself (without really understanding) a review is just one opinion. I know- there is no great revelation here. But when you watch people stand up and deliver their review it puts into context the faceless reviewer. Reviewers are just people with their own likes and dislikes, their bad days, fights with their partners, annoying or delinquent children, they are normal, everyday people who have an opinion to express.

I guess I realised the scathing reviews (not that there’s been that many) but the ones I remember- before any of the praiseworthy -are just the opinion of someone who didn’t like something I wrote. Perhaps they’d been a victim of bullying as a child and thought I trivialised it, perhaps they expected something more of the book that I didn’t deliver, perhaps they just didn’t like the way I wrote. What I learnt was it didn’t really matter. I need to take on more of the praiseworthy reviews- because after all, these people obviously have more in common with me. Why should I disregard those reviews that praise my work in favour of the ones that diss it?

So, I have a new mind set with regard to reviews- one that I really hope I can embrace. From now on I will look at all reviews (good and bad- you never know there might be something to learn from the bad ones!!)and try my hardest to remember what the good ones say!