• Manuscripts,  Middle grade novels,  Uncategorized,  work-in-progress

    What does your main character look like?

    A thought suddenly occured to me this morning as I arrived home after dropping my kids off to school. They were dressed up as Goldilocks and William The Conqueror for their Book Character Parade.  It is Book Week, which by the sounds of the many excited children in the playground, tells you that this is a hugely popular week within the school year. The thought was this: If my middle grade novel ever got published, and a child wanted to dress up as my main character, Sirona, a 12 year old girl from Gaul in the 1st Century AD, what would she wear? I already had some idea and little hints…

  • Manuscripts,  Middle grade novels

    What are your middle grade kids reading?

    I am almost at the end of another big edit for my middle grade novel that I am writing at 9-12 year olds . When submitting to editors or querying agents it is suggested that you have some comparable books in mind to your own story that you have written. So here are a couple of books I have read over the past year: Although the story themes are similar they are not the same. But they did help me understand about world building, setting the scene up and adding touches of historical content without making the story feel like a boring old history lesson. With comparables you need to…

  • Illustration,  Manuscripts

    #illo52weeks – Week 39: Words

    I am packing up house and this has forced me to go back to basics and develop  my hand drawing skills. The main area that I am keen to progress in is children’s illustration for picture books/ chapter books. I had this in mind when I completed this weeks theme for the 52 Weeks Illustration Challenge. Week 39: Words Pencil, coloured pencils, artline pen A picture book is created through a strong relationship between the words and the pictures. The word count in picture book manuscripts is dropping and currently the preferred number to aim for is the 500 mark. So you have to choose your words carefully.  Here are some tips:…

  • Competitions,  Editors,  Manuscripts,  Writers Conference

    CYA Conference 2014

      All through last week my fingers were tightly crossed. I had received an e-mail to say I had been shortlisted for the CYA CONFERENCE  Aspiring (Unpublished) Competition ~ 2014. This was exciting news and with support and encouragement from my other half I decided to fly up to Brisbane where the Conference is held. The winners were announced very early in the morning. The winner of third place was announced. I thought to myself, ‘Wow, I must be second!’ The winner of second place was announced. I panicked and thought, ‘Oh my god, how embarrasing, I hadn’t been shortlisted at all, it was a mistake!’ Winning had not occured…

  • Agents,  Competitions,  Critique groups,  Illustration,  Manuscripts,  Picture Books,  Uncategorized

    Writing Processes Blog Tour

    Thank you to Penny Morrison for inviting me to be part of the ‘Writing Processes Blog Tour.’ Penny is the author of the Hey! series and is currently having her debut picture book illustrated  (to be published by Walker Books Au). How exciting is that! Have a look at Penny’s post for the ‘Writing Processes Tour. So here are the following questions to explain my processes: What am I working on? Everything at the moment, which feels a bit hectic. But I am working for 3 deadlines/closing dates which are happening in the following week: I have to submit manuscripts for appraisals at this years SCBWI Conference submit a manuscript to CYA…

  • Manuscripts,  writing challenge

    ReviMo – Day 3 and 4

    Phew! The days are whizzing by! I am busy with kids on their holidays, a birthday boy, joining in #illo52weeks and ReviMo – so yesterday even though I participated in Day 3 of ReviMo, I didn’t get time write a post about it. So I am doing 2 in one today. Day 3 Revisions I revisited a relatively new manuscript which was begun during last years PiBoIdMo 2013 writing challenge This story came about because of a few nick nacks I found whilst on one of my weekly walks (there is a lot of sitting down with writing and illustrating) It has been critiqued once, and rewritten twice. Yesterday was…

  • Class visits,  Competitions,  Manuscripts

    Reading to an audience

    It s the last day of the school term and I had the opportunity this morning to read my book The Jersey 12 Days Of Christmas to my daughter’s class of year 2 children. What great fun!   I had intended to read the words but being in rhyme I found myself singing the whole book. Apparently, I didn’t sound too bad but in my mind I could hear my voice getting more and more high pitched. Behind me is my daughter Ruby, who doubles up as my assistant and editor. As I read the paperback version, she demonstrated how to use the ebook version on an ipad which included…

  • Manuscripts,  Submissions,  Writing competitions

    Competition Feedback

      As some of you know, I like to enter writing competitions to develop my ability at the craft of writing. I have talked about what I feel you can get out of entering competitions before here. Over the weekend many aspiring and published writers received the results and feedback from the CYA Conference  – Children’s and Young Adult Writers And Illustrators Conference. This is the third year I have entered and over the 3 years I have submitted 8 manuscripts. 7 of which were picture books and 1 a junior chapter book. With your chapter book you only enter the first 1000 words so you have to grab the readers…

  • Manuscripts,  Picture Books,  Writing competitions

    KBR Unpublished Picture Book Manuscript Award 2013

    Although I am self-published with my little book ‘The Jersey 12 Days Of Christmas,’ I still aspire to be what is known as ‘traditionally published’ through a well known publishing house. Here is a defintion by Gene Mirabelli at Critical Pages: “The names of The Big Six may be familiar to you as distinguished old publishing houses. They are Simon and Schuster, HarperCollins, Random House, Macmillan, The Penguin Group, and Hachette. Only two of The Big Six are US companies: Simon and Schuster, and HarperCollins. The others are foreign: two are German, one is British and the other is French.” Until I get a manuscript accepted by a big publisher I…

  • Critique groups,  Manuscripts,  Picture Books

    Join a critique group

    If you want to be a writer, whether it be for picture books, chapter books, middle grade, young adult or adult novels, whatever the age or genre the best thing you can do for yourself and your craft is to join a critique group. I have been in my critique group for nearly three years now and not only has my own writing changed and improved with time  but it has also been a joy to watch the everyone else improve their writing too.   It will always amaze me at how differently everyone sees your own work. How useful it is when errors are spotted that you had not…