Somerset StoryFest report – part five 2019

Somerset StoryFest report – part five 2019

There’s not a lot of time between events, by the time I went up to Clare briefly and said how much I enjoyed the session it was time to make my way to the oval to Marquee 2. This was a young audience and only about two grades. As I’ve already mentioned, the Marquee’s are hot. Right from the start, Lucas has his young audience in the palm of his hand.

Session 1.45pm to 2.30pm – Marquee 2

Lucas Proudfoot with instrumentsLucas Proudfoot

Lucas Proudfoot is one of Australia’s most versatile children’s performers, playing guitar, didgeridoo and stompbox to over 120,00 kids each year. He is a multi-platform storyteller, sharing stories through his music, books and live performances.
In recent years, he has been touring Australia performing his cultural show, Circular Rhythm, where he delivers an entertaining and contemporary Indigenous Australian music experience, inviting young audiences to learn about Indigenous cultures through a live show full of fun and interaction. He has shared stages alongside a host of Australia’s most renowned children’s performers including Hi5, Justine Clarke, Jay Laga’aia and Yo Gabba Gabba, performing his cultural show, Circular Rhythm. Lucas is a proud member of the Tweed Coast Aboriginal and Islander community and lives on the Gold Coast with his wife and their young daughter. http://www.theproudfoots.com.au

Lucas started by saying he’s a performance artist, who had been on Playschool.

He introduced his instruments and the characters they portray.

BILLY BLUE TONGEBilly Bluetongue – the Drum or Stompbox

Pat the Wombat – Pat-THE WOMBATDidgeridoo

Koolaz-selfieKoolaz Koala – plays guitar.

In the first twenty minutes, he had connected with the kids.

Lucas Proudfoot at Somerset StoryFest 2019

Lucas began by saying stories come in many different ways, heritage is a big part of his.

His Grandfather was ‘Proudfoot’ and that’s his Scottish side. It’s easy to start when you’re passionate about things.

He grew up at Nan’s place where he would go fishing and follow tracks down to the beach. Jullum – fish, is a big part of his background, catching mud crabs among the mango trees. They would eat all that food, and they had music.

 

The music was – lucas proudfoot guitar mad expression

Short – Fast – Fun

Lucas said his parents were teachers

Dad played the guitar and Uncle played spoon on the belly (this had the kids in hysterics).

Lucas said he writes about his experiences, the places he’s visited and the people he’s met. There’s a little about the languages and learning about cultures in each of his books.

books Lucas Proudfoot all 3 coversThe Proudfoots

Magic Globe? What Magic Globe?

Shaka Shaka Hawaii

Rocking in Japan

Culture – not all aboriginals play the didgeridoo, not in South Australia, Victoria or Tasmania, they did not play the didgeridoo only in Arnhem land they did.

Why do we paint a didgeridoo?

To give it a point of difference and to tell a story. This one has the story of the diamondback turtle.

Somerset StoryFest Marquees

 

What a magical way to end the day. The kid’s laughter ringing in my ears.

After ending the day on a high I couldn’t wait to get back for more on Friday.

Stay tuned for the next instalment.

 

 

 

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Somerset StoryFest report – part four 2019

Somerset Storyfest Report 2019 – Part Four

LUNCH – In my previous post, I said I changed sessions. I did go to the ticket office during the lunch session. I didn’t get to see who was slimed, although I suspect it was Belinda Murrell. I changed one of the Friday sessions and kept this day as its original schedule. I’m so glad I was one of the half dozen (older level students) to make it over to the Year 11 Common Room to hear Clare Sultmann speak. Her story is amazing, inspirational, and at times, graphic description of events the reason a mature audience attended.

Session 12.45 pm to 1.30 pm – Year 11 Common Room

bookcover Clare SultmannClare Sultmann

The story of Clare Sultmann is one of strength, determination and adversity. After a devastating blow, she demonstrates how her unwavering determination has her standing on her own two feet.

The 23-year old aspiring lawyer woke up one morning to start her normal daily routine and headed out to complete her 10km circuit run. Little did she know that very morning would change her life forever. Over the coming months, she battled,
not only to stay alive but to save her legs and walk again on her own two feet. Although the physical and mental obstacles she faced were overwhelming, her strength and determination were unwavering. Standing On My Own Two Feet is Clare’s first novel and autobiography which chronicles her journey from despair to happiness with a myriad of life lessons learned along the way.

Clare introduced herself by saying in 2000 she started writing ‘Standing On My Own Two Feet’, the title would make sense shortly.  The book was published in May 2013.

She continued to give the background to her life. When she was young, she didn’t know what to do. She went to Uni at UQ and graduated with a Business Degree, still not knowing what she wanted to do, she obtained a Bond University scholarship and lived in Robina while studying Law at Bond. She was always very athletic as a Junior Tennis champion in Queensland, she also succeeded in Dragon Boats National Titles. Fitness is a very big part of her life. When she completed her Law degree at Uni she would move to London, using Sydney as a stepping stone. She always planned things, that was the way she was. Her law degree was fast-tracked. January 2000 drove down to Sydney with her parents driving behind her. Their only daughter needed to ring every day to say she was alright. May 2000, she lived at Bondi Beach going for a 10k run every day before catching the ferry to work. She felt very accomplished. Her work at KPMG she was a consultant in the area of taxation. In fifteen weeks, she would be going to London.

Sydney was cold. On this Friday morning, 18th August 2000. Unusually she had a ‘should I or shouldn’t I’ feeling about going for her run, it was cold and it would be so good just to hop back under the covers at 6 am. Shaking herself out of that reverie she began her normal routine, got dressed, into her leggings and t-shirt and headed out for her run. Clare was determined to keep fit as outward appearance was important to her. At 23 with her life planned out, blond hair tied back for the run she headed out.

Only 200 meters from her unit a garbage truck didn’t see her and ran over her. Worse, the truck stopped on top of her. All she felt was a deep burning. There was an ambulance on the next corner. She was screaming. No one would answer her. Police arrived and she continued to scream at the garbage truck man. ‘You’ve already ruined my life.’ The truck had to be lifted off her to release her. She was taken to St Vincent’s hospital. She was conscious and spoke to her mother who said she was driving down. She asked her mother – why are you driving? Her parents drove to Brisbane and caught a plane.

clare visitors at hosp in book imageThe ambulance paramedic gave her 2000 dose of morphine, enough to kill a horse, which gave her no relief, she was in agony. The Triage Code One – degree life-threatening situation. They operated for thirteen hours to save her life, with three surgeons.

Her thoughts when she woke were. Do I have my legs? Yes, but! What about my job? In intensive care? She was lucky to have kept her legs, but the garbage truck had severed blood flow, her veins and arteries were gone. It was a question of – life or limb?

In September 2000 she began a month flat in bed. In October she’d been in hospital six months. Learning to walk again and the skin grafts were the next challenge. Clare was in incredible pain when standing.clare in hosp starting to walk

The support from family and friends saw me through. ‘Let’s get these legs moving,’ was her mantra. Most nights she had visitors. Forty-two are still some of her best friends. She’d write letters. Her mother stayed at her side the whole time. She had thirty-seven operations. And was in the rehab hospital from February 2001 for over six months. She was twenty-three and was now a different person. She got very depressed. Her mum always said ‘Clare, things will get better.’

The lessons Clare felt she’d learnt through this ordeal were. You need much love to get through this. In prosperity, our friends know us. In adversity, you know who your friends are.

There are defining moments in a person’s life that show your future strengths. At eleven or twelve in 1989 in a tennis competition. She was asked if she was going to forfeit or play on. Getting up after a fall is what sets you apart from others. That’s what she did.

Bikers groups get terrible press, but, when she was in the hospital the ‘King Cross Bikers’ came to give patients presents. ‘Skull’ was the father of a kid who had a teddy bear, with empathy and care, the boy chose to give it to her.

Clare said her mother told her. ‘It’s not the accident that will define you. It’s where you go from there. You are so much more than your injuries.’

Oprah and ClareOprah Winfrey quote: ‘What do you know for sure. No matter what you think, nothing is certain. Spirit can overcome.’

In 2011 she returned to work part-time. Work gives you a sense of purpose. Her work kept her focused.

Clare graduated with Master of Law Degree from Uni of Sydney in May 2004.

The book was cathartic.

How the book was published was with help from Johnny Elvers (not sure if I got this name down correctly) and Peter FitzSimons edited. The book was everything from her journal. The publisher Halstead Press came on board.

Then she showed photos of her at the Dorset Orthopedic Clinic, Hampshire, UK November 2005, sitting beside a cabinet filled with prosthetic limbs.clare Cam William Joseph

She began working for a charity – ‘Young care’ in April 2006 to 2007 for Age-Appropriate Care. The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in helping others.

She met her husband Cam and they married in 2010. She has three children William, Joseph and Amelia.

She has gone on to the Bar as a Barrister.

Has a women’s networking site – Dear Molly – and lives in Noosa.

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Somerset Storyfest Report 2019 – Part Three

Somerset Storyfest Report 2019 – Part Three

Session 11.15 to 12 noon – The Great Hall

Zanni-Louise-photo1.credit-Kate-Nutt-photography-865x1024Zanni Louise

Zanni Louise is a picture book and fiction author based in Northern NSW. She’s written ten books for children, including Errol! Mum for Sale and the Tiggy and the Magic Paintbrush series. Her books sell in 20 countries and have been translated into multiple languages. Two have been long-listed for the CBCA awards and Archie and the Bear was selected for the White Ravens catalogue by the International Children’s Library. Zanni advocates for creativity and imagination and loves teaching writing to adults and children. She is part of the Byron Writers Festival StoryBoard program.

Zanni is also a Facebook friend of mine and I was delighted to see her presentation in the Great Hall. It was a relief to be in air conditioning.

Mum-for-Sale

The student introduction mentioned ‘Tiggy and the Magic Paintbrush’ and the Errol series. The room was packed and her hook to get the students involved was to set up an interview. It went from strength to strength from there.

The job interview was for an Author.

You are the best person for the job if you are: –

  1. Engaging and like playing games
  2. If you like being bored. Being bored is very important as not being entertained lets your mind roam. What happens is that your mind chases down ideas to make a story. My working life is like this – Zanni lies down on the stage. Stories come when I’m lying down.
  3. If you have a head with a brain inside you have imagination
  4. Perseverance – try and fail – try again – finish something
  5. Are any of you magic? Magic is making something out of a bunch of different things.

Zanni announced – you all qualify for being an author.

Tiggy magic paintbrush Birthday party trick cover‘Tiggy and the Magic Paintbrush’ idea came when one day she was folding clothes and her daughter was playing games and jumping on the bed. What would you do if you could print a friend? She wrote Wyn and the 3D printing machine. Early readers stories. She sent it away and the story was rejected. Zanni cried. Then she saved the idea and changed the name from Wyn to Tiggy, and the 3D printer to a paint brush.

Perseverance.

Zanni sent the story to a different publisher and received a four-book contract, with Gillian Flint as the illustrator.Too-Busy-Sleeping cover Zannie

You are never too old for picture books. Zanni teaches writing for picture books. The story idea was a seed in the soil – inspired by emotions and observing how people feel.

Emotion – excited – frustrated

She wrote the first draft then edited and tweaked it. She sent it off to a publisher and discovered it’s an amazing business with lots of people doing different things.

Sent as a word document to the editor who sent it back with lots of red marks – oh no!

Okay, an Editor is good, they make the best story we could, reduce it down from five hundred words down to three hundred and fifty words. They suggested the main character solved her own problems. The illustrator was from the publishing house using colours and shapes on the page creating movement.

Two years later we had a finished book. The text and images came together.

archie and the bear coverArchie and the Bear had a different illustrator David Mackintosh.

The magic of picture books is that you can look through the book and read it without text.

As in Errol – a blank page with a blob helps the story take place with simple drawings that would take you through. The end pages are like wrapping paper.

 

Mum for sale – lets trade story ideas. Here are a few.

  1. A kid can print $100 bills and has to hide it because it’s illegal.
  2. The life story of a stick that falls into the sea, going all around the world.
  3. A little boy goes around the world and he loses his mum.
  4. A Mars Bar and you get eaten.

Writing is like dancing – (Zanni gets the kids involved)meet-zanni-1

The publisher asks – can you write a series of books about ballet? You can make anything out of nothing.

Bailey (a boy from the audience) gets up on stage and shows his dance move, like a caterpillar crawl.

Idea – Stardust School of Dance – books have relationships with people.

Question time

Q. How do you normally start your books? Zanni – with an idea from my notebook, I might draw a version of my story.

Q. Why does it take so long? Zanni – A lot of people are involved so it takes time, art takes time.

Errol-coverQ. When did you want to become an author? Zanni – When I was six I started, I didn’t think it was a job, I love picture books. When I had kids in 2015 I decided to try.

Q. What was your first book? Zanni – Too Busy to Sleep, but I knew I had a long way to go.

Q. How old were you when you wrote your first book? Zanni – Thirty-one

Q. What’s your best book? Zanni – I can’t choose. My favourite is Errol. I like to make kids laugh.

Q. How many books have you published? Zanni – Ten books published, I write a series.

Q. What’s your favourite Tiggy book? Zanni – A Birthday Party Trick

Q. What was your job before you were an author? Zanni – I worked in an Art Gallery. I wrote manuals on how to drive trucks. Training manuals, writing ten to twelve thousand words a day.

Q. Do you think you would write a book about bullying? Zanni – Maybe, I didn’t in my current book.

Then it was lunch time and I made my way happily to the Quadrangle. I ate my lunch perched on a seat, watching the bidding at an auction for an author to be slimed! Then I decided to change my next session and I’m glad I did. 

 

 

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Somerset Storyfest Report 2019 – Part Two

Somerset Storyfest Report 2019 – Part Two

Bren MacDibble bio picSession 10.15 to 11 am – Marquee 1

Bren MacDibble was raised on farms all over New Zealand, so is an expert about being a kid on the land. Bren lived in Melbourne for many years, but now lives and works on a bus travelling around Australia. How To Bee, her first novel
for younger readers, won the 2018 CBCA Book of the Year Awards, The NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, and the NSW Premiers Literary Awards, and was shortlisted for several others. Her second children’s book, The Dog Runner has just been released.

This is for an older group of children. Bren is another Facebook friend and I was looking forward to hearing her speak.

Bren began saying she wrote ‘How To Bee’ released 2017 about a time in the future whenHow To Bee cover there are no bees to pollinate the flowers, thirty years after the famine, children hand pollinate the flowers.

‘The Dog Runner’, is another famine novel set closer to our time, the story revolves around Ella and her brother. She got the idea for this from ‘dog mushing’ with a scooter behind a dog led, under fifteen degrees. Dogs love running.

Why does she write books about scary worlds? Kids these days hear and see what’s happening around us, it is scary. Things like Queensland being the skin cancer capital, just one example. Children are taking on environmental issues – act as if you’re in a crisis. Kids previously were not told anything, now kids see too much.

the dog runner coverShe writes about love, security, strength and purpose for young readers to take comfort in. Talk about environmental issues. If you look for excuses fear will hold you back, we need to act. Fear will stop you from being creative. Solutions need creativity. The dog runner – the first ones to change will survive. Encourage creative thinking and exercise creativity.

Use imagination muscle as it makes you smarter.

Growing up, she was limited in the reading available to her. She had to grab a chance to read a chapter of a book before her brother got it. She remembers vividly ‘Dune’ that she had to read as fast as she could. It’s a big book and the ‘Dune’ wars showed no mercy. Her younger brother would snatch the book before she’d finished reading her chapter. The book itself gave her ideas. Skin suits are an amazing idea. Someone’s (the author’s) idea coming up with an imagined solution to an imagined problem.

Suggest solutions – Bees not diseases, aboriginal grains, can save Australia and possibly the world. Kangaroos for meat. Loss of Biodiversity, most urgent aspect of sustainability, fungi, bacteria depleted. Biodiversity – complex functions.

Reading – feels like magic on the inside – shows how other people feel.

People will be interested in your solutions.

A great idea is Electric self-drive cars. It’s cool and safer. Cityscape could completely change our air quality will improve and there will be less crashes.

Environmental alternatives – Solar, Wind, Water, Lithium Battery. More radical change.

Then it was question time. Bren ran about the room with her microphone to collect the queries.

Q. Has she always been a passionate writer? Bren – Yes, always good at telling stories. Writing something she enjoyed. Our history became stories.

Bren MacDibble profile pic

Q. How long does it take you to write a book? Bren – Depends on how hard it is.

Q. What age were you when you published your first book? Bren – ‘How To Bee’ published two years ago. She had been writing for the school market and it took twenty years to learn to write it well.

Q. How long did it take you to write ‘How To Bee’? Bren – about a year to write.

Q. How many books have you written? Bren – I wrote for educational services and ‘How To Be’ has won three major awards. ‘The Dog Runner’ is about to be released.

Q. What made you start writing? Bren – I have always been writing, I write to learn.

Q. What is your favourite genre? Bren – Science Fiction.

Q. What inspired you to write a book? Bren – Both food shortage and food security, the catalyst being Science Fiction conference and farmers competing with overseas imports. I asked – Are we self-sufficient as a country? Can we support ourselves?

MacDibble bio picQ. When did you become an author? Bren – twenty years ago.

Q. What is your greatest accomplishment in writing? Bren – Getting ‘How To Bee’ out. Nine years empowered accomplishment.

Q. What are your favourite books? Bren – Neil Stevenson – Snowcrash had all the elements I love like a computer virus, robot dogs, girl, skateboards and downloads.

Q. What inspired you to write about dogs? Bren – always wanted to have kids travelling across Australia with dogs.

Q. What goals are you trying to achieve? Bren – To make a living off writing, books to do well, and maybe to have a book turned into a movie.

Q. How do you come up with ideas for your books? Bren – I shove everything in I’m passionate about.

Q. What does your family think of you writing? Bren – husband happy, mum loves it, son not impressed.

Q. How old were you when you started writing? Bren – very young, mum wouldn’t teach me to read but I was very determined to learn.

Q. What’s the process of publishing? Bren – Open door contests – Allen & Unwin Friday pitch. Once I had a contract it took a year, overseas needed an Agent, it’s a long and tedious process – but let all that go.

Q. Who’s your favourite author here? Bren – Cath Crowley is great.

Q. What are you doing to change the world apart from writing books? Bren – Using environmental platform, talking about it, getting over fear. I live on a bus so that means I have less impact on the environment.

Q. What type of novel will you write next? Bren – Science fiction, post-apocalypse, post-famine.

The children in the front row had notebooks and pens at the ready for a wonderful presentation. I’m sorry to say they took few notes. The book – How To Bee – Bren wrote about passionately with her environmental issues abounding, it is award-winning. Her speech was delivered more like a lecture and I saw the kid’s eyes cloud over with disinterest. They did engage during the question time and I’m certain Bren with more experience of public speaking would have the kids enjoying the session. I wrote copious notes and feel her message was powerful but being that she read from her page of notes and didn’t have eye contact with the students, she lost her audience. Afterwards, I asked Bren if she had been to Somerset before and been to other sessions. She explained that she’d been living on a bus and had not been before. I totally understand as public speaking is not my forte, but her words were true and powerful. Had she had the opportunity to go to other sessions and see the other authors receive wrapt attention, she might have picked up some useful tips. 

(Personally, suggesting children protest when they don’t understand the full ramifications, can be a dangerous thing. Such as close coal power stations, people lose jobs, the Australian economy suffers, with no real tangible effect on the environment. Will the country slipping into bankruptcy help when coal is a valuable and available resource? Let children think about all the consequences before taking a day off school to march in the streets.)

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Somerset Storyfest 2019 Report-Part One

Somerset Storyfest 2019 – Report – Part One

somerset standSomerset was brilliant again. I attended sessions presented by inspiring authors and had a great time. Of course, had I booked sooner, I could have gone to a couple of magical workshops, but, as they are sold-out, I bought tickets adapting my programme. Some sessions were packed, as in The Great Hall, and others were a handful of eager students or two or three mixed grades. The Marquees are hot – (but I was prepared). The Great Hall is air conditioned but at times hard to hear the kid’s questions (the students ask the best questions).

“…a festival of storytelling for the whole family.”

Wednesday 20th March

Session 9.15 am to 10 am – Marquee 3

MGB at computerMichael Gerard Bauer’s first novel The Running Man was the 2005 CBCA Book of the Year for Older Readers. Since then four more of his books has been shortlisted for CBCA awards including his very funny picture book Rodney Loses It! Which was the 2018 CBCA winner in the Early Childhood category. His other very popular and award-winning works include the Ishmael series, the Eric Vale series and Just a Dog. His most recent publication is the young adult novel The Things That Will Not Stand. Michael’s stories have been translated into 12 languages and sold in over 40 countries.Rodney doll MGB

Michael is a man I’ve had the pleasure of meeting several times and he is a genuine and funny man. He began by telling the children about his book. His first picture book idea. The illustrator Chrissie Krebs from Melbourne. He explained, in a dancing way, that when he walks, he makes up rhymes as he marches to a beat.

The promotion to these younger students of his picture book ‘Rodney Loses It’ was a ‘Where’s Wally’ event. Rodney loves to draw but he is always losing things. He asked the children to find the missing objects. He involved them by getting a selection of children up on stage to help. They loved it.

Then it was question time. (I did already mention that the kids of all ages ask the best questions.)

MGB Rodney Loses It coverQ. Why did you want to write the book? MGB – I wrote one years earlier that didn’t get published, it was my son ‘losing it’ getting angry. This is better as Rodney is a Rabbit and the illustrations show where the things he loses go. This was how he tried again to make the story work.

Q. Did you and the illustrator write together? MGB – No, they didn’t even meet till after the book was published and they won a medal – Book of the Year 2018.

Q. Did you choose the front cover? MGB – Both he and the illustrator needed to decide, and the publisher suggested a few changes and decided it for them.

Q. What did you do before you wrote a book? MGB – I was a teacher of English because I like words. I wanted to be a Ninja or a Rockstar or even a songwriter before that.

Q. How did Rodney lose his slinky? MGB – It sprang up in the air and got caught on the light fitting.

Q. Where do you get the book from? MGB – The bookshop here.michael_gerard_bauer-450x576

Q. Are there any more books? MGB – I’ve written sixteen different books including ‘The Running Man’, they include the Ishmael series, the Eric Vale series and Just a Dog.

Q. Why did Rodney have problems? MGB – You need a challenge, to make the book interesting, a problem or a challenge to solve, otherwise it would be boring.

Q. Where do your ideas come from? MGB – I lose things too.

MGB just a dogQ. Where did you get the bunny? (there was a Rodney doll on the podium) MGB – The illustrator Chrissie Krebs makes soft toys, she made the Rodney doll for him and one for the publisher.

Q. Will you write more books about Rodney? MGB – Yes

Q. Do you have any narrative in the book? MGB – Good question, the illustrations show the missing things. That’s the narrative as Rodney is alone at his desk.

 

That’s part one. I’ll have more on my next post. Stay tuned!

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Books on Tour – The Apostrophe Posse

The Apostrophe Posse cover

Book Review by Jill Smith©Mar19

Title: The Apostrophe Posse

Author: Teena Raffa-Mulligan

Publisher: Sea Song Publications

It all starts innocently enough. Cam and Ellie go shopping for school shoes with their mother. Jimmy Leeds is painting a sign for Baker’s shop. Mrs Terry, their mum, points out that Jimmy has missed putting an apostrophe on the sign. Jimmy can’t see it.

Cam forms a group they call ‘The Apostrophe Posse,’ just like in wild west movies. He and Ellie, with their friends Billy and Louisa, will go out to fix the signs in Tea Tree Bend. School starts again in a few weeks and it must be done before then. The Apostrophe Posse head out after dark when no one can see them. That’s the plan. What could go wrong? Well, it turns out, lots. teena with picture book

Louisa’s little sister Lindy wants to help. They don’t want her to mess up their plans. When she wakes and follows her sister, what can they do but let her tag along? That’s a big mistake. While working to fix the signs, accidents happen. Before they know it, they are in big trouble. The local newspaper headlines say businesses are calling on the authorities to apprehend the vandals and have them prosecuted.Teena Raffa-Mulligan bio pic

This is a slim volume of seventy pages that invites young readers on a humorous adventure. Teena writes a story that will engage children in an entertaining way. It leaves them with a simple message – be honest. Ask for help if you need it, and – apostrophe’s matter!

Teena writes a variety of books including Juvenile fiction and Poetry, Picture Books, Chapter Books and Romantic reads. For more about her visit her website.

TAP-WiN-long competition logo

On Your Marks. Get Set. WIN!

Kids! This challenge is for you! Fix the apostrophe mistakes for a chance to WIN a paperback copy of The Apostrophe Posse by Teena Raffa-Mulligan!

Closes midnight AEST Friday, April 12, 2019.

http://www.justkidslit.com/on-your-marks-win-the-apostrophe-posse-book-giveaway/

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Accepting the Challenge…

March begins with another Challenge thanks to Michelle Worthington

Day 2 Breakfast – 30day Instagram Social Media Challenge

breakfast

 

 

 

 

30 day instagram challenge March 19

 

 

 

 

My other Challenge is writing stories for submissions to The School Magazine – My stories for January and February have not been accepted but are good little stories I may be able to use for The Ten Penners should we decide to produce another anthology of stories for children. Yes, I’ve written another story for the March submission. I hope that, as the story is a little more quirky, it will be accepted. Wish me luck!

A couple more challenges that will keep me busy are:-

Penguin WriteIt Fellowship competition

WriteIt_LogoBanner_1600across

https://www.penguin.com.au/win/entryform.aspx…

and

Spooktacular Stories: Thrilling Tales for Brave Kids

Share Your Story Writing Competition 2019

Share Your Story anthology comp

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Feedback on my books…

Dual Visions and Vashla’s World have a ringing endorsement and great feedback from a recent recipient of signed copies. His wife gave them to him for a birthday present. 

Dual Visions front 29.06.17 (2)Having read Dual Visions and Vashla’s World I would thoroughly recommend them to anyone interested in an in-depth sci-fi tale, interesting characters and a story that sets your imagination racing … Barry Lunnie

The feedback on the books may include spoilers or just tempt new readers, here it is:-

Firstly I must commend you on your books Dual Visions and Vashla’s World, some of the most original and in-depth writings I’ve enjoyed for some time.

I must admit, the first few pages I was KEEN to see where you were coming from with the dual sex aliens and male to male relationships…but…and this may sound strange to you, being a scuba diver and being extremely interested in all things wild, I likened it to numerous aquatic species that change gender in order to survive, hence Orthama.Vashla's World cover July17

Favourite characters are Aunt Nance a lovely character, Rakal … more-so in Dual Visions although an interesting story with Vashla and Zorn all by itself… Vashla, my God your description of her, I fell for her straight away… and your narratives on the darker warrior side of these three I found a riveting read. The murder of Bon, what can I say… POWERFUL stuff… so much more I’d like to say but just wanted to let you know how much I truly enjoyed your novels and can’t wait for the 3rd instalment…

I’m truly thrilled with this feedback as it goes to the essence of both books. Now I’m about to re-release Dual Visions and Vashla’s World through Ingram Spark to be available to a broader market.

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Book Review Sweet Adversity by Sheryl Gwyther reviewed by Jill Smith

Sweet Adversity Cover

Adversity McAllister is strong-willed and she wants to keep the other children at the orphanage happy. Matron Maddock made them all miserable. As the daughter of two wonderful actors who travel the land as ‘The Famous Shakespearean Theatrical Troupe’, she knows how to she put on a show. Her cockatiel Macbeth is part of her act. He recites Shakespearean quotes. Addie loves him and watches out in case Matron should get clerk Algernon Parris to lock him away. Putting on a show for the other children also helps her forget being left by her parents. Matron had told her that her parents had died in a flooded creek and that she was now her legal guardian.

Addie knows Matron is mean but it’s only when she sneaks into her office to find a key to rescuing Macbeth does she learn the whole truth. Macbeth was in danger of being killed but she was also in danger. She discovers a child trader is on his way to the Orphanage to collect her as she’s being sold. She has to leave before Scrimshaw could get his hands on her. With the help of Mary the cook and Thomas, the gardener, who gives her his gypsy caravan, she runs away to Emu Creek. There she hopes to find a camp and a new family with lost boys who live in hiding. When she meets Sam, she thinks she might be in luck, but things don’t turn out that way.Sheryl Gwyther bio pick

Matron Maddock’s black Buick has followed and her new friends send her away as she might put them in danger. Worse still, Scrimsaw the devious man has discovered her escape from the orphanage. He wants his money so he chases after her.

The historical context of the Great Depression and the underlying expectation that children could be bought and sold and no one would bother about it. What’s the life of one feisty red-haired girl who can sing and act worth? And, would anyone miss her? Her steadfast friendships help her through, especially the little yellow cockatiel Macbeth and her friend from the orphanage Jack.

cockatiels imageI loved this book, I bought it off Sheryl on Wednesday at an SCWBI meeting in Burleigh, started it on Thursday, finished it on Friday. Young adults books are my favourite genre.

I will treasure the signed copy and Sheryl’s note. I did enjoy Addie and Macbeth’s adventures, and believe ‘All the world’s a stage’. Thanks so much, Sheryl Gwyther. Now to share this adventure with my granddaughters will be a joy.

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I’m Going to Somerset Wednesday & Friday…

storyfest

I’m going to Somerset tomorrow and Friday. Hooray! I’m looking forward to meeting the most inspiring authors and having a great time.

Of course, had I booked sooner I could have gone to a couple of magical workshops, but, as it is, they are sold out. Instead, I’ve bought tickets to see these wonderful authors speak to packed rooms (or in most cases squelchy muddy walk to the Marquees which will be hot – but I’ll be prepared). The Great Hall is air conditioned but at times hard to hear the kids questions. (the students ask the best questions)

Wednesday 

Session 9.15 am to 10 am – Marquee 3

MGB at Edinburgh Book Festival 2012Michael Gerard Bauer’s first novel The Running Man was the 2005 CBCA Book of the Year for Older Readers. Since then four more of his books has been shortlisted for CBCA awards including his very funny picture book Rodney Loses It! Which was the 2018 CBCA winner in the Early Childhood category. His other very popular and award-winning works include the Ishmael series, the Eric Vale series and Just a Dog. His most recent publication is the young adult novel The Things That Will Not Stand. Michael’s stories have been translated into 12 languages and sold in over 40 countries.

Session 10.15 to 11 am – Marquee 1

Bren MacDibble was raised on farms all over New Zealand,1-MacDibble-Bren-small
so is an expert about being a kid on the land. Bren lived in Melbourne for many years, but now lives and works on a bus travelling around Australia. How To Bee, her first novel
for younger readers, won the 2018 CBCA Book of the Year Awards, The NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, and the NSW Premiers Literary Awards, and was shortlisted
for several others. Her second children’s book, The Dog Runner has just been released.

Session 11.15 to 12 noon – The Great Hall

Zanni Louise

Zanni-Louise-photo1.credit-Kate-Nutt-photography-865x1024Zanni Louise is a picture book and fiction author based in Northern NSW. She’s written ten books for children, including
Errol!, Mum for Sale and the Tiggy and the Magic Paintbrush series. Her books sell in 20 countries and have been translated into multiple languages. Two have been long-listed for the CBCA awards and Archie and the Bear was selected
for the White Ravens catalogue by the International Children’s Library. Zanni advocates for creativity and imagination and loves teaching writing to adults and children. She is part of the
Byron Writers Festival StoryBoard program.

Session 12.45 pm to 1.30 pm – Year 11 Common Room

Clare Sulmann

The story of Clare Sultmann is one of strength, determinationbookcover Clare Sultmann
and adversity. After a devastating blow, she demonstrates how
her unwavering determination has her standing on her own
two feet.

The 23-year old aspiring lawyer woke up one morning to start
her normal daily routine and headed out to complete her
10km circuit run. Little did she know that very morning would
change her life forever. Over the coming months, she battled,
not only to stay alive but to save her legs and walk again on
her own two feet. Although the physical and mental obstacles
she faced were overwhelming, her strength and determination were unwavering. Standing On My Own Two Feet is Clare’s
first novel and autobiography which chronicles her journey
from despair to happiness with a myriad of life lessons learned
along the way.

Session 1.45pm to 2.30pm – Marquee 2

Lucas Proudfoot

lucas proudfootLucas Proudfoot is one of Australia’s most versatile children’s performers, playing guitar, didgeridoo and stompbox to over 120,00 kids each year. He is a multi-platform storyteller, sharing stories through his music, books and live performances.
In recent years, he has been touring Australia performing his cultural show, Circular Rhythm, where he delivers an entertaining and contemporary Indigenous Australian music
experience, inviting young audiences to learn about
Indigenous cultures through a live show full of fun and interaction. He has shared stages alongside a host of Australia’s most renowned children’s performers including Hi5, Justine Clarke, Jay Laga’aia and Yo Gabba Gabba, performing his cultural show, Circular Rhythm. Lucas is a proud member of the Tweed Coast Aboriginal and Islander community and lives on
the Gold Coast with his wife and their young daughter. http://www.theproudfoots.com.au

After ending the day on a high I’ll be preparing for a shorter day on Friday. The authors I’ve booked on Wednesday are FaceBook friends and authors who inspire me. I’ll have a full review as usual after the event.

Friday

Session 9.15 to 10 am – Marquee 2

Karen Foxlee

Karen Foxlee is an Australian author who writes for both1-Foxlee-Karen-small
kids and grown-ups. Her first novel The Anatomy of Wings won numerous awards including the Dobbie Award and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book. Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy, Karen’s first novel for children, (which I read and loved)
was published internationally to much acclaim while her second novel for younger readers, A Most Magical Girl, won the Readings Children’s Fiction Prize in 2017 and was CBCA shortlisted the same year. Karen lives in South East Queensland with her daughter and several animals, including two wicked parrots, who frequently eat parts of her laptop when she isn’t looking. Her passions are her daughter, writing, day-dreaming, baking, running and swimming in the sea.

Now the best part of Somerset is there are times you can get more bang for your buck by going to panel sessions. The next two are sure to be winners in my book.

Session 10.15am to 11 am – The Great Hall

Youth Writers Slam into the Future – Vivi Baker, Solli Raphael and Scott Wings

vivi bakerVivi Grace Baker is a seventeen-year-old from the Gold Coast.
She grew up around words and books of all kinds, which has
led her to a passion for reading, writing and performing her
own. After joining the Wordsmiths creative writing club at
the beginning of high school, she discovered and pursued a
love for poetry and spoken word, and has since competed in the Australian National Poetry Slam two years running, and won the Somerset National Poetry Prize in 2017. Her favourite feeling in the world is sharing her words and stories with other people and she hopes to one day write enough okay stuff to create her own anthology.

Solli Raphael At 12, Solli Raphael is the youngest winner of the Australiansolli raphael
Poetry Slam held at Sydney Opera House annually. A budding humanitarian, he hopes to become an inspirational leader among his peers. Solli enjoys writing powerful and emotive poetry and performing pieces to instigate change in the areas he feels are critical for attention and action such as social equality, the environment and animal protection. As well as his school work and performing at festivals and public speaking events, this motivated teen enjoys playing the saxophone, swimming, drama and playing boules with his great-grandmother. He hopes to become a pilot one day. Now 13, Solli is keen to use
the platforms of performing and writing to tackle current social issues – big and small. He wants to encourage his generation to participate in conversations about issues that affect their lives, sending out the challenge, be a game changer!
http://www.solliraphael.com.au

Scott Wings

scott wingsScotty Wings (Scott Sneddon) is a performance artist with a highly physical, poetic lineage. He is a passionate and consistent curator of shows, collaborations and host of events that embolden people and spaces. Scott’s performance and writing credits include but not limited to Poetic Threads,
commissioned by Red Room and The National Art Gallery Of NSW; Whiplash touring performance at Dancehouse (VIC), The Butterfly Club (VIC), Jungle Love Festival (QLD) and Underground Arts Festival (QLD). Scott’s work has been presented at The Edinburgh, Adelaide, Perth World and Melbourne Fringe Festivals; Undercover Arts Festival;
Melbourne Comedy Festival; and independently in spaces
both site-specific and traditional theatres across the world.
http://www.scottwings.wordpress.com

The previous session will stretch my creative mindset, poetry and young performers, it could be amazing.

Session 11.15am to 12 noon

Take Three Girls – Year 11 Common Room – Cath Crowley, Simmone Howell and Fiona Wood

cath crowley picCath Crowley is a young adult author published in Australia and internationally. She is the author of The Gracie Faltrain
trilogy, Chasing Charlie Duskin, Graffiti Moon (I’ve read and loved) and Words in Deep Blue. 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. Words in Deep Blue won the Indie Book Awards Young Adult Fiction of the Year 2017, the Gold Inky Award 2017 and the
Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction. Her collaborative novel Take Three Girls, written with YA luminaries Fiona Wood and Simmone Howell, won the CBCA Award for Book of the Year: Older Readers 2018 and was shortlisted for a Gold Inky Award 2018. http://www.cathcrowleyauthor.comSimmoneHoweell-1

Simmone Howell is the award-winning author of YA novels
Girl Defective, Everything Beautiful and Notes from the
Teenage Underground. She also writes non-fiction about
dream houses, teen movies and ways to map a city. She lives
in Melbourne and is currently working on a memoir about her formative female influences.

fiona woodFiona Wood is the award-winning author of three interlinked
novels, Six Impossible Things, Wildlife, and Cloudwish. The
books are published internationally and are Junior Library
Guild Selections in the US. Take Three Girls, co-authored
with Cath Crowley and Simmone Howell, won the CBCA
Book of the Year, Older Readers, was shortlisted for the
Indie and Gold Inky awards, and has been honoured by
the International Youth Library as a White Ravens selection.
Before writing YA fiction, Fiona worked as a screenwriter. She
lives in Melbourne. http://www.fionawood.com

That’s my very last session at Somerset for 2019. I will mull over lots of happy memories and try to decipher my many notes to write up my Storyfest report.

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