Thursday, 26 April 2012

10 Week Writer's Challenge

April hasn't been a kind month for my family. Sadly, our family lost a loved one with cancer and it has taken its toll on all.
Over the past few weeks of sadness, the need to prioritise meant I chose to let my blog posts and writing simmer for awhile.  

Over the past few days, I have made lists of all the things waiting for my attention. Timely, that my writing mentor Marg McAlister is offering to all an on-line 10 week writing challenge. Just the thing to get me back on track. I signed up immediately. I have read the articles, downloaded the necessary tools, printed off the how-to info sheets and made a list of all the things I hope to accomplish over the next 10 weeks. and the challenge kicked off this week. I set goals I felt were reasonable to achieve.

If you feel you need a gentle push in the right direction to get things in hand, without any pressure to complete your set goals (nobody is checking on you and you are welcome to change your goals at any time) then maybe the 10 Week Writer's Challenge  is for you.
The best part of all-  the challenge is FREE. With nothing to lose why not give it a shot.

It’s a chance to:
  • work out what you want to accomplish in your writing life
  • set priorities for a 10-week block of time so you can hit the ground running
  • create an ordered plan that allows for flexibility
  • work your plan
  • assess your results 
By the end of the 10 weeks, you should see a dramatic increase in your productivity as a writer – whether your focus is on productivity, creating a web presence, finding new outlets for your writing, or just working out what you want to write.
Marg McAlister

Welcome to Week 1, Day 1 of the 10-Week Writer’s Challenge!
If you’ve only just heard about the Challenge, spend some time reading the posts on this site so you know how it works. If you’ve been building up to today, you should be dead keen and ready to kick off!
I’m enabling comments on this blog post so you can, if you wish, add a comment telling us all what you plan to accomplish during the 10 weeks of the Challenge.
  • If you are writing a book – either fiction or non-fiction – then you can get moving on it right away. If you haven’t created a timeline for your 10 weeks, do it now (see the previous post on creating a plan).
  • If you want to get started with social networking – Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest – make sure you have your goals for this in mind. Read the download report on getting started with Twitter. During this week I’ll be adding more resources about using Facebook and Pinterest.
  • If you want to start a website, read the information on Writing4Success about creating a website. Plan your general ‘tone’, approach and create an ‘about me’ page and some pages for your site.
  • If you want to start a blog, write a couple of posts ready to upload when you create your blog. You can use blogger, but this week I’ll be showing you how to register a domain name and install a WordPress blog with a couple of clicks. I’ll also tell you about a theme I like (the one I use for this blog, and that I also use on a couple of my websites).
  • If you want to publish a book on Kindle, you’ll be able to follow along with me as I publish mine over the weeks to come. Meanwhile, edit and polish it to the best of your ability.

PhotoWant to know more about Marg McAlister? 
Marg McAlister started up her original writing business (Word Dynamics (NSW) Pty Ltd) over twenty years ago, then also began trading asWriting4Success when she set up a website for writers in 2001.
Marg is the author of five correspondence courses now marketed by Cengage in Australia. Those courses are: The Professional Romance Writer's Course, The Professional Children's Writer's Course, The Professional Crime and Suspense Writer's Course, Writing Non-Fiction That Sells and How To Write a Bestseller.
Marg also uses her writing skills and background to create e-books and products in a number of different areas as part of the online business she runs with her husband Rob. She spent 2 years working part-time as an eLearning consultant and technical writer for a large multinational company.
A writer who wears many hats, Marg has written fiction and non-fiction for both adults and children. She was on the Committee of Romance Writers of Australia for four years, and has run workshops at various RWA National Conferences.
The author of more than 60 books for children, she has written short stories for school magazines and numerous short non-fiction pieces for educational publications.
Her work targets a wide age range and includes picture books, short books for children with reading difficulties and mysteries for older children. For 5 years, she was part of the Charles Sturt University (Mitchell) Enrichment Program, teaching creative writing to talented children. She has also been a regional judge for the Nestlé Write Around Australia competition.
As for advice on plotting and technique... Kathryn Fox, the Australian writer whose sales in the UK finally knocked The Da Vinci Code off its perch, has this to say about Marg's contribution to her writing: "Without doubt, Marg McAlister is the best writing teacher and mentor any writer could hope for.  I'd recommend her courses to anyone wanting to improve their writing."
In addition, Marg has been a ghostwriter for business professionals and others on the international speaking circuit. She has written books and articles on Customer Service, Public Speaking, Marketing, Real Estate Sales, Networking and Delivering Dynamic Presentations, Fitness and many other subjects. With networking expert Robyn Henderson, Marg has co-authored a book on networking and self-promotion: Be Seen, Get Known, Move Ahead.
Marg has also been a staff member of the Writer’s Retreat Workshop in Kentucky, USA. This workshop, established by Gary Provost, has been designated by USA Weekend as the writing program “vacation that can change your life”.
For twelve months in 2010-2011, Marg and Rob toured Australia by caravan: writing articles, keeping a blog and presenting a monthly DVD about their travels for Caravan & Motorhome on Tour - proof that writing truly is a portable profession!
You can contact Marg at marg@


Tuesday, 10 April 2012

New Children's program- CBeebies Storytime

Airdate: CBeebies Story Time

My exciting news is that my picture book Max Meets a Monster is to be aired on a new Children's program called CBEEBIES. 
CBeebies is producing a new series of bedtime stories that will include Australian children's books read by well known Australians. Tune into Foxtel from April 23rd @ 7.15pm to watch the program.

Hardback | $24.95
32 pages
ISBN: 1921042362
Reading Age: 3 - 6

Max is looking forward to his first ever sleepover at Grandpa’s house. Max snuggles into his sleeping bag with his Ted and his torch but is woken up by a terrible noise. As he hunts around the house for the monster he sees all sorts of strange shapes until finally he comes face to face with the monster, his snoring Grandpa. A light-hearted story which emphasises the great relationships children can have with their grandparents.

Illustrations from the book

Add caption


  Airdate: CBeebies Story Time
Pre-school channel CBeebies is launching CBeebies Story Time, which sees celebrities reading popular Australian books for young children during the National Year of Reading.

Featuring in the interstitial series are Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Shane Jacobson, Claudia Karvan, Michael Caton, Yumi Stynes, Graeme Base, Gina Jeffreys, Luke Nguyen, Toni Pearen and Glenn Wheeler.

CBeebies Story Time will keep the under-sixes enthralled with an imaginative storytelling treat. The series features an exciting mix of enchanting adventures, traditional tales, and contemporary fiction that families will love. Australian authors are at the heart of the series, with captivating stories like ‘Max Meets a Monster’ by Tracey Hawkins, ‘The Great Expedition’ by Peter Carnavas and ‘The Legend of the Golden Snail’ by Graeme Base, taking centre stage.

The 24 x 5 minute series is created and produced in-house and broadcast on CBeebies, BBC Worldwide Australia’s channel for pre-schoolers available on FOXTEL and AUSTAR. It is inspired by the hugely successful and much-loved Bedtime Stories strand broadcast daily on CBeebies UK since its launch in 2002.
CBeebies Story Time will join established favourites such as Charlie and Lola, Poetry Pie, Humf, 3rd and Bird, Five Minutes More, Jackanory Junior, Roly Mo and The Large Family in the Story Time block which airs weekdays from 7:00-8:30pm. With an emphasis on storytelling, all the programmes within the block are based on books or linked to reading.

Deirdre Brennan, GM / Director of Channels &Branded Services, BBC Worldwide Australasia said: “We are proud to offer families another opportunity for their children to learn by engaging with an imaginative world of stories and play. I am also delighted to welcome a special cast of talented Australians who will bring these tales to life! This enormously popular CBeebies programme format in the UK celebrates a love of books and reading, so it is very exciting to share this new local production with our audience in Australia.”

Commences : Monday 23rd April at 7.15pm.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Photo a Day April

Although I have not officially registered for the Photo a Day April Challenge- I have been so inspired by some of the fantastic pictures that I have seen, and felt compelled to join in.
So here are my photos for the month of April.

                             Day 1- Your reflection  

Day 2- Colour

                                         Day 3- Mail

                 Day 4- Someone who makes you happy 

                                     Day  5- Tiny                                            

                             Day 6 - Lunch

                                                          Day 7- Shadow

                            Day 8 -Inside your wallet 

                               Day 9 - Younger you

                                                     Day 10 - Cold

Day 11- where you ate breakfast

Day 12- Stairs

Day 13- something you found

Day 14- how you feel today

Day 15- sunset

Day 16- flower

Day 17- something you don't like

Day 18- hair

Day 19 - orange

Day 20 - something you drew

Day 21 - bottle

Day 22 - the last thing you bought

Day 23 - vegetable

Day 24 - something you're grateful for

Day 25 - looking down

Day 26 - black & white

Day 27 - somewhere you went

Day 28- 1pm

Day 29- Circle

Day 30- Something that makes you sad.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Happy Easter everyone

Good Friday

Lots of chocolate to see me through the weekend, some fine red wine set aside for dinners, no commitments, sunshine, and being surrounded by my family makes it perfect in every way.  

The weather in Canberra is simply gorgeous, and I'm all set to enjoy it before winter sneaks up and bites.
I snapped off a few pictures to showcase the beautiful autumn colours of the trees in my garden.

The many colours of trees in my backyard.

Most noticeable in Autumn is the warm glow of light and the stunning sunsets.

Some of my favourite things I'll be doing this Easter


I am currently reading the series- Hunger games and absolutely loving the books.

Watching movies. 

Every year I select a really old movie classic for my children to watch. Over the years we have watched -The Birds, Psycho, The girls of St Trinians, A Man called Horse, and Breakfast at Tiffany's.... to name a few.

This is my movie classic for Easter 2012

and heading to the Footy
The Canberra Raiders are playing the NZ Warriors on Sunday at Canberra Stadium. Hard to pick a favourite as both would be my selection in any given round.

I'm backing the Green Machine

Round 6 : Raiders v Warriors
Have a safe and happy Easter

Monday, 2 April 2012


Tuesday, 3rd April 2012


Today was a special day in the writing world.  The announcement of shortlisted books for the CBCA Book of the Year Awards. 

Authors alike, holding a collective breath, waited for the announcement at noon.

Congratulations to those who made the shortlists.  
Congratulations also, to those who made the Notable List  and in particular, heartiest of congratulations to the new illustrators who had been nominated for the Chrichton Award.  May every success be yours.

Older Readers Short List 2012
Bauer, Michael Gerard
Ishmael and the Hoops of Steel
Omnibus Books, Scholastic Australia
Condon, Bill
A Straight Line to my Heart
Allen & Unwin
Ursula Dubosarsky
The Golden Day
Allen & Unwin
Gardner, Scot
The Dead I Know
Allen & Unwin
McGahan, Andrew
Ship Kings: The Coming of the Whirlpool
Allen & Unwin
Newton, Robert
When We Were Two
Penguin Books, Penguin Group (Australia)

Younger Readers Short List 2012
Constable, Kate
Crow Country
Allen & Unwin
Flanagan, John
Brotherband: The Outcasts
Random House Australia
French, Jackie
Nanberry: Black Brother White
Angus & Robertson Harper Collins Publishers
Green, Susan
The Truth About Verity Sparks
Walker Books Australia
Rodda, Emily
The Golden Door
Omnibus Books, Scholastic Australia
Rodda, Emily
Omnibus Books, Scholastic Australia

Early Childhood Short List 2012
Bland, Nick
Ill. Freya Blackwood
The Runaway Hug
Scholastic Press, Scholastic Australia
Hartnett, Sonya
Ill. Lucia Masciullo
Come Down, Cat!
Puffin Books, Penguin Group (Australia)
Honey, Elizabeth
That’s Not a Daffodil!
Allen & Unwin
Jorgensen, Norman
Ill. James Foley
The Last Viking
Fremantle Press
McKinlay, Meg
Ill. Leila Rudge
No Bears
Walker Books Australia
Quay, Emma
Rudie Nudie
ABC Books, HarperCollins

Picture Book Short List 2012
Blackwood, Freya
Text. Libby Gleeson
Look, a Book!
Little Hare Books, Hardie Grant Egmont
Brooks, Ron
Text. Margaret Wild
The Dream of the Thylacine
Allen & Unwin
Cool, Rebecca
Text. Glenda Millard
For All Creatures
Walker Books Australia
Graham, Bob
A Bus Called Heaven
Walker Books
Rudge, Leila
Text. Meg McKinlay
No Bears
Walker Books Australia
Whatley, Bruce
Text. Jackie French
Scholastic Press, Scholastic Australia

Eve Pownall Award for Information Books Short list 2012
Do, Anh & Do, Suzanne
Ill. Bruce Whatley
The Little Refugee
Allen & Unwin
Lester, Alison & Tulloch, Coral
One Small Island: The Story of Macquarie Island
Penguin Group (Australia)
Queensland Art Gallery
Surrealism for Kids
Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art
Wignell, Edel
Ill. Mark Jackson
Bilby Secrets
Walker Books Australia
Wilkinson, Carole
Fromelles: Australia's Bloodiest Day at War
Black Dog Books

Wheatley, Nadia (Ed)
Ill. Ken Searle
Allen & Unwin