My day at Somerset Festival – Part four

I went to my next session after lunch in Marquee 3. It’s always an experience in the marquee’s on the oval as it’s either sweltering hot and desperately uncomfortable or wet, muddy and sweltering hot. So having been a Somerset veteran I knew what to expect. As for the presenters, I wonder what they think. I’d met Cath before and was early enough to re-introduce myself and enthuse over finally buying ‘Graffiti Moon’, which I promptly asked her to sign. I’ve already done an interview with Cath that you’ll find on the ‘Interviews Gals’ tab. As you can tell I’m a bit fan of this creative talented lady.

Summary of my day at Somerset 15th March 2018 – Part Four By Jill Smith©June 2018

Cath Crowley bio pic12.45 to 1.30 Cath Crowley

Cath Crowley is a young adult author published in Australia and internationally. She is the author of The Gracie Faltrain trilogy, Chasing Charlie Duskin, and Graffiti Moon. In 2011, Graffiti Moon won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Young Adult fiction, the Ethel Turner Award for Young People’s Literature, and was named an Honour Book in the Children’s Book Council, Book of the Year. Cath lives in Ballarat, Victoria. Title List includes; Take Three Girls, Words in Deep Blue, Graffiti Moon.

Graffiti Moon coverCath introduced herself as an author for usually fourteen-year old’s plus. Explaining her books ‘Words in Deep Blue’ and ‘Grafitti Moon’ are for this age bracket. She also admitted that she is nervous public speaking.

Graffiti Moon is about a girl in love with Shadow who she’s never met. Ed is Shadow. It’s the last night of year 12 and the group of teenagers are planning to celebrate, and maybe deal in a nocturnal activity they don’t usually do. What Show does is art. The story is about the importance of art.

Graffiti Moon cover 2In Melbourne you are allowed to be a street artist, taggers just tag their names. Cover designs can change, the yellow can is the first.  The other cover is more about the art.

In school, Ed was not very good at English. He could hardly read and relied on his friend to do the words to go with his graffiti, so Poet was his night roaming cohort.

Cath needed strategies for the book, to figure out how to plot and plan how these boys would go out at night.

Falling in love can be dangerous. Art can change peoples lives. So she started with the characters.

To get a feel for her characters she drove around at night to a park near home. She got a bit lost and ended up meeting four guys who came out of nowhere, they were covered in tatts who wanted her to sign a form saying she was their mum so they could skip school.

The idea of a nighttime poet spraying poems became the voice of a character which the catalyst for the book.cathcrowley-39

She had a phone call from a graffiti artist and questions came to mind. What would it feel like to be an artist? He hadn’t told his mum about and he had an alarm but slept through it and was busted. Blue – the colour of hope was on his hands.

The graffiti artists she met would tell her their ideas for stories and she would write them down. They thought the stories were dumb, but they weren’t.

Lucy – vibrant colours – glass blowing shapes. The idea for her interest in glass blowing came from Prince Ruben Drop, you can look it up on YouTube – always forms a teardrop in ice water, top of teardrop won’t break but the tail falls apart.

Ed is tough, but pick on his reading and he gets upset.

Jazz appeared in the book when she was writing it.

cath crowley picWhen you get a red pen marking had enough respect to go through and correct. That’s the first edit. She got stuck on a girl in the basement. She deleted it then rewrote it. She deleted the whole book and rewrote it.

Cath said Phillip Pullman and J. K. Rowling inspire her. Then invited questions from the audience.

Q. What made you decide to write?

A. She was always telling stories and wrote letters to her brother.

Q. Why did you call the book Graffiti Moon?

A. While teaching I started an editing course. She was interested when her friends started talking about their characters like they were real.c

Cath finished up by saying she won’t write anything she doesn’t want out there.

Feeling – dreaming all the time. She moved to the country and found writing late. Now she dreams of writing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My day at Somerset … part three

Continuing my summary of my day at Somerset Celebration of Literature March 2018, it’s now June but I have fond memories of the day. The session after Jackie French was after a short break in the Great Hall and it was a stimulating panel session. I try to do a panel session as I usually only get the one day so try to get the most out of it by seeing as many authors as I can. There was a Literary Lunch at 12.30 but that wouldn’t allow me time for the next session I wanted to go to so I stuck with the panel session. A panel usually means several authors in one session, in this case, three – Megan Daley, Steph Bowe and Nikki Parkinson with a competent host asking the important questions to set up the Q&A.

The Panel Session was on Blogging

Summary of my day at Somerset 15th March 2018 – Part Three By Jill Smith©June 2018

11.15 to 12 PANEL – Story Telling in the Electronic World – Megan Daley, Steph Brown & Nikki Parkinson

daley-megan-somerset bio picMegan Daley is passionate about children’s literature and sharing it with young and old alike. She firmly believes that YA literature is far better than adult literature and that picture books are works of art which should adorn the walls of art galleries and libraries. Megan is a Teacher Librarian and was recently awarded the Qld Teacher Librarian of the Year by The School Library Association of Queensland.

parkinson-nikki-somerset bio picNikki Parkinson is a former journalist-turned blogger and author. She blogs at award-winning fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog, Styling You. Her first book, Unlock Your Style, was published in 2014 by Hachette Australia. Styling You won the 2015 Queensland micro business Telstra Business Award.

bowe-stephanie-sommerset bio picSteph Bowe was born in Melbourne in 1994 and now lives in Queensland with her family. She is the author of Young Adult novels Night Swimming, Girl Saves Boy and All This Could End. She is a Stella Prize Schools Ambassador for Queensland and a 2016 May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust Fellow.

The MC introduced herself and the session by asking the question – How do you make money from Blogging? How did you start?

STEPH – I started book blog at 14, doing interviews with writers, started as ‘Hey teenager of the year’ – now it’s just in her name.

NIKKI – is now ten years into blogging, journo for 20 years, had started a website for a business going to start but then went into blogging, she would write make comments and chat. She grew an audience – stylingyou.com.au

MEGAN – her blog was a grief gift to her brother who’d died, she’d just had a baby, she enjoyed the engagement with an audience, writing review and connecting, she has a UQP book soon to be released, a teacher librarian.

MC – Do you write for the audience or does the audience find you?

NIKKI – a bit of both

STEPH – Writing about what you’re passionate about

NIKKI – the weird little rambles tell the audience who you are

MEGAN – it’s a balance between reviews and rambles, share a part of yourself

MC – How do you establish your voice?

MEGAN – it starts about what you write about, blogging is a discipline

NIKKI  – something you have to keep feeding, a blog is your home base to the social media, rules change

STEPH – not thinking much of the clutter, it’s still storytelling, it’s a way to develop and express your own ideas

NIKKI – Youtube, Twitter, Podcasts all link back to the blog as its the base

MEGAN – own the content on the blog, not social media

STEPH – Websites you may have posted on might have gone under but on your own blog you can reshare

MEGAN – my blog is a platform for a catalogue of my work

somerset logo 2018MC – Asks the audience – How many read a blog every day? How many use a blog as a base? (after an impressive show of hands to both questions) Asks the panel -The money side of things – What is the background of the commercial side of blogging?

NIKKI – Very few are persistent and consistent enough for many years. YouTube, Instagram link to the blog and build a community by building an engaged audience taking them back to buying your products. I was approached by earning from my blog with sponsorships, online store and affirmative market then wrote a book.

MEGAN – This is my experience also. I didn’t know about affiliate links. I get a small percentage of my income from freelance writing UQP. It’s all about increasing income streams and it takes time.

STEPH – I started at fourteen and never made money out of my blog. I used it as a stepping stone, writing book reviews, getting books from authors. I’d written a novel and authors online recommended an agent. The online community gave me a way to promote books engaged with book blogging. I didn’t directly make money from writing, mainly teaching, related to writing and speaking about writing.

MEGAN – other bloggers get affiliate sales, reviews on her page, Elliot Awesome, incoming books.

NIKKI – Blog about what you’re into.

MC – When can blogging go bad? As a Lawyer, she asked the panel about words and content issues. 

STEPH – No, my tip when writing online – never put anything online that you don’t want your Nan to see. People really exist.

NIKKI – Yes, keep it clean, the internet is forever, even if you take down a post, you can still and will encounter criticism and it will affect you. Ask yourself, could I say that to someone’s face?

MEGAN – I taught social media online and met many friends online. She’d been Trolled badly, she thought it wouldn’t affect her but it did.

NIKKI – you don’t expect to have insults hurled at you. Set the tone, delete if not getting good comments with without being judged.

MEGAN – much the same with me, I’ve grown and learnt from being online.

MC – Blogging is fantastic, have friends, have a voice, you can moderate when your readers are giving feedback.

NIKKI – three strikes and your out.

MEGAN – blogging is a real discipline and an amazing platform.

NIKKI – showcase your case on your terms

MC – time for questions.

Q – Is it reliable?

A- Read blog but comment on FaceBook or another platform, be flexible and have good content.

 Q – Whats the next best thing?

MEGAN – create your own niche, you bring to it your offer on your blog.

NIKKI – be yourself.

STEPH – write about your obsession. I always wanted to be a writer, that’s my passion.

MC – in summary, read many people’s blogs, try your own with professional settings, none of us knows where it can lead.

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Plinko colouring competition Winner…

Plinko bedtimeOn the 2nd May, Marion and Jill went to Burleigh Heads Primary School and were delighted to be able to share our experience of being part of a group writing for children with such inquisitive minds. They asked great questions and were happy to see Plinko sitting in the corner of the room on the day.

Jenna 8 BHPS Plinko colouring comp winnerWe offered the students the opportunity to win a copy of our latest anthology through a colouring competition.

After Plinko took a look at all the entries, although she was flattered with all the very beautiful entries, this was her favourite.

Jenna aged 8 will be receiving a copy of Mystery, Mayhem & Magic from The Ten Penners.

Special thanks to Janina and all the wonderful support staff at Burleigh Heads Primary School for making the day a magical memory.   – Jill

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Somerset Celebration of Literature Part 2

Summary of my day at Somerset 15th March 2018 – Part Two By Jill Smith©May 2018

This session was in the Performing Arts Centre which I had to dash to as my session with Jaclyn ended at 10 am and this started at 10.15am. This is a day of running from one place to the next, which makes the whole experience immersive. I love soaking up the vibes of this beautiful school and seeing the kids’ faces as I walk past and they either go from class to class.

Jackie-French-bio pic 2

10.15 to 11 Jackie French

Jackie French AM is an award-winning writer, wombat negotiator and was the Australian Children’s Laureate for 2014-2015 and the 2015 Senior Australian of the Year. In 2016 Jackie became a Member of the Order of Australia for her contribution to children’s literature and her advocacy for youth literacy. She is regarded as one of Australia’s most popular children’s authors and writes across all genres – from picture books, history, fantasy, ecology and sci-fi to her much loved historical fiction. ‘Share a Story’ was the primary philosophy behind Jackie’s diary of a wombat cover jackie french illus bruce whatleytwo-year term as Laureate.

I arrived at the venue with only a hand full of people in the first couple of rows. I quickly joined them as Jackie was already on stage with two students waiting to do the formal introduction.

Jackie asked, ‘Does anyone have any questions while we’re waiting for the students to arrive?’ Who would say no to that offer? So she began –pennies for hitler cover jackie french

‘Pennies for Hitler’ is a book she wrote because many people she knew in her early life had survived being interned during the Second World War. This experience as a three-year-old left her wanting to write about it. It screamed at her, this is not as simple as goodies and baddies, there were many grey areas. Every solution is going to cause pain for someone. Whenever you think something is simple, you’ve probably oversimplified.

Then she was introduced by the students:- Jackie is an Australian Author, Historian. She loves wombats, has dyslexia and writes Historical fiction.

hitlers daughter cover jackie frenchShe began by asking the students who thought books were boring. Then she made a bet with everyone in the audience that every child there who thought this will want to read when they are engaged. She said that publishers spend a lot of money on the covers to get the attention of young readers. Then she suggested that if you want a magic potion, to make you better at school, (up to 15 IQ points better), you can by reading. That readers younger than 24 with every book they read, can increase their IQ and therefore makes you more intelligent.

Understand – What if? She had dismissed zombie stories for years, but, she’d been enticed to read them and she discovered Zombies are human but not quite human – thinking about this stretches your brain.Author_Jackie_French bio pic

Read it because you enjoy it. At school – sometimes they have to read – rather than want to read. Be honest about a book.  Imagery makes the book better, only the image is too weak will the book fail.

Jackie explained she writes about things that move her; about courage, compassion, and innovation. We are all descended from the hero’s going back through history, man has always been heroic.

She is never bored. She wants to write books kids can read in one sitting.

Be very wary of people who make you angry, hatred is contagious – Hitler is a good example of this.

She then read excerpts from her Hitler Books.

She then implored the audience, especially the students to stand up and say ‘This is wrong!’ against the slappers. We owe the soldiers who sacrificed so much for us that.

fire cover jackie french illus bruce whatleyThere are different kinds of wars. She experienced a battle facing bushfires. Where she along with a few friends, only five people, battled a blaze for two days and two nights, till they put it out. She met a blind girl who helped because she could feel the air on her skin, she was able to save the horses, although the sighted people couldn’t see through the black ash in the air, the blind girl could tell the direction the fire was coming from.  She wrote a book from experience fighting fires, based on real things. When people are facing their hardest struggles, people do wonderful things.

Another character that Jackie researched to write about was Miss Gilly. She was not a Goodbye Mr Hitler by Jackie french coverlonely lady but was never recognised, as WWI ambulance and hospitals were manned by women who never were acknowledged by the war. This woman was a cross between James Bond and Downtown Abbey.

The session ended all too quickly and I fervently believe that any of the students taking up the Jackie French challenge will grow in intelligence and enjoyment of life.

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Somerset Celebration of Literature 2018

It’s already May and I’ve been posting about school visits and reading the books I bought at Somerset Celebration of Literature. Now here is the first part of my rundown on the day. More to come.

Summary of my day at Somerset 15th March 2018 – Part One By Jill Smith©May 2018

Combining what I’ve previously put on my blog about the day, each person’s bio in the Somerset Programme. Then I’m going to say what I saw and what I thought. I hope this will give you insight into the day I experienced. I’ll need to do this in daily segments as each session was about 45 minutes long and I wrote copious notes. 

moriarty-jaclyn-bio pic9.15 to 10 Jaclyn Moriarty

https://jaclynmoriarty.tumblr.com/

Jaclyn Moriarty is well-known as the prize-winning, bestselling author of novels for young adults (and sometimes for slightly older adults). A former media and entertainment lawyer, Jaclyn’s books include the Ashbury-Brookfield series and the Colours of Madeleine trilogy. The first two books in that trilogy were both awarded the NSW Premier’s Literary Award and the Queensland Literary Award.

The first thing on entering the venue was a book cover on the screen – The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone. She explained a bit about why Bronte grew up with her aunty.

cover The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte MettlestoneI loved how she explained a little about her life but had the kids wondering how she learned to stand up to a bully, and how she learned to swear. This story had the students in the palm of her hand.

Jaclyn then explained that she was one of six kids and to receive their pocket money they each had to tell a story. Every night before she went to sleep she told a story.

As you get older people tell you YOU CAN’T rather than YOU CAN. She always wanted tofeeling sorry for celia cover jaclyn moriarty prove them wrong and become a writer. She studied law and waited till she became a Lawyer, then she would write a book. She decided she wanted to be a writer in England, she moved to Australia. She was a Lawyer in Sydney when the 2000 Olympics were on. The Olympic Torch relay went past her building. She didn’t want to wait anymore, that was when she decided to try again.

Then she wrote a book. Her first book was Feeling Sorry of Celia.

Jaclyn then brought up images of the different covers of her book – The Australian cover, the English cover and the American cover. She asked the kids which they liked best.

She went on to explain her love of colours and their meanings –

Green – loves nature, good heart, fresh rainforest, people feel calm

Blue – heal or cure illness, very friendly, good to friends

Yellow – least likely peoples favourite colour, babies cry, studying and optimistic, her favourite colour

Red – Smart, danger, makes you feel warm

A-Corner-of-White coverMy notes became a bit disjointed at this point as I became as engrossed as Jaclyn’s audience.

Jaclyn said she always writes a plan. She said her sister (Laine) never plans, she just writes.

She has a blue bowl filled with chocolates and strawberries on her desk when she writes. She walks across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and back. She wrote a chapter on a cliff. Her favourite smell is cinnamon. Smells evoke memories. She draws on these memories to write.

Jaclyn asked the students what were their earliest memories were?

The answers were interesting and demonstrated where ideas for stories can come from.

A – One said they remember being in a high chair, she threw fruit on the floor and wondering why everyone was looking at her.

A – said she drew on his sisters’ picture even though she was told not to. Jaclyn said that was a moment of defiance.

A – one said adults asked him how he could draw sitting on a couch, he said it’s my spot.

A – Another said first memory was the shock of falling out of a boat.

A – uttered a first full sentence in the back of the car, only having said words to this point, and his mum nearly had an accident.Jacklyn Moriarty bio black and white

Jaclyn said these are all triggers. When she writes she asks – what is this characters earliest memory? Why? How could that make the character who they are?

Questions at the end of the session from the students –

Q – What’s the difference between Australian and American writing?

A – Places may sound strange to Americans – she wrote in one book about a cliff at The Gap – American clothing company called The Gap – confusing to them. In Australia, we use some bad language and Americans don’t like that. Different spelling in some cases and different meanings such as in Australia we say kitchen bench while in America that’s a chair to sit on.

This session went very quickly and I enjoyed it immensely. I’d already purchased A Corner of White, I asked her to sign it before leaving, knowing that at the bookshop there can be long ques for signatures and I did have the next session to go to. I’d already read the blurb and first chapter while waiting to get into the Seniors Common room at the start of the day. You can see my review on the Book Reviews Children’s/YA’s tab.

 

 

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PLINKO has arrived…

PLINKO 1May18Plinko has been preened and fixed up to look her beautiful best for The Ten Penners visit to Burleigh Heads Primary school tomorrow.

Marion and I will be talking to three different groups of children and we hope they’ll love PLINKO as much as we do.

Julie Baythorpe created PLINKO in two stories between the covers of The Ten Penners latest anthology Mystery, Mayhem & Magic. There will be a colouring competition and prizes for those children who answer our questions correctly.

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Camp NaNoWriMo April 2018

OK, so I’m not going to finish editing my 2015 NaNoWriMo manuscript Microworld, well not by the end of April. I will get it done soon though.domes image for microworld edit Camp NaNoWriMo Apr18

I have re-read it, I’ve figured out where it doesn’t work and what I need to fix it. I’ve edited some of it and decided I may need to change from Chapters to Parts as it fits withCamp-2018-Writer-Profile-Photo the story better. That’s a win even though I won’t complete it! I’ve already let my writing mentor Robyn Burrows know that I’ll be drawing on her expertise again for the final edit of this book. Meantime I’ll finish my first edit using all her valuable tips and hopefully, it will be much easier to Steph Bowe bio pic 2polish.

What have I been doing?

Reading, writing book reviews, and now writing up my day at Somerset for another blog post. I was also delighted to be able to contact Steph Bowe who I’d met at Somerset to do her interview by email. She’s definitely someone to follow as she’s bound to do lots more writing of intriguing stories.

PLINKO needing repairAs a member of The Ten Penners adults writing for children subgroup of Gold Coast Writers, I’ve been planning more school visits. We launched our children’s anthology called Mystery, Mayhem & Magic last year. Our next visit is next Wednesday to Burleigh Heads Primary School.patched up PLINKO ears fixed

The day will be made more joyous with the presence of our mascot PLINKO. One of our members Julie created the PLINKO stories and her paper mache version of her little alien. She wore it to our book launch. I’m now resurrecting a slightly battered head and putting it on a stand with the clothes she wore, this mascot will stand at the front of the classroom when we do school visits. Above is broken PLINKO and right is patched PLINKO with straight ears.

Now back to my Somerset summary of my day Thursday 15th March 2018 – yes over a month ago already!

Happy reading and writing my blog following friends!

 

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