The fact behind the fiction – why sticking together is way better than the alternative

In four weeks my next book ‘Evacuation Road’ will be out in the world, and that calls for a super celebration countdown! So every week I’ll be bringing you some of the actual events that inspired some of the story.

Let’s start it off with a bang. One of the big mantras that Eva and my other characters learn to live by as they race for the last flight home, is “Stick together”.

It’s something I learned the hard way. How? Glad you asked …

Getting kidnapped is not recommended

I don’t think anybody is out there just aching to be kidnapped (though thinking about this has me coming up with some great story ideas!). And I was no different.

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Evacuation Road is off to the printers!

Every book has a set of milestones, and sending it to the printers is definitely a great (and mildly terrifying) one for me!

After all the months and years of writing and editing, the submissions, the rejections, the happy acceptance, the final edits and the typesets… now ‘Evacuation Road’ is becoming an actual book. One I can hold in my hands. I’m so excited!

Think end-of-the-world road trip. Think danger and humour, friendship and fear. All against a ticking clock.

Evacuation Road is out in August with Rhiza Edge. I hope you all love it!

Five teens.

One week.

Half a continent.

Eva is far from home when everything goes wrong. And it only gets worse after her evacuation bus leaves her behind, stranded with classmates she barely knows. The chase is on. But South America is big, and the old rules are changing quickly.


This is the road trip Eva never knew she needed.


This is the race for the last flight home.

An ode to NaNoWriMo (and a Happy Birthday too!)

IMG_6904It’s almost November! And that means two very cool things for me:

  • NaNoWriMo (of course!), and
  • My debut book’s first birthday month is almost over.

The two are actually linked, because ‘The Lost Stone of SkyCity’ was written during NaNoWriMo 2016. I had heaps of fun writing it, but I had no idea it would be the first of my MSs to be published.

aurealis-awards-finalist-high-resI certainly never dreamed it would be shortlisted for an Aurealis Award (OMG!!!). Or that it would get such a positive response from readers. The past year has been full of new experiences for me, from first writers festivals to first COVID-19 cancellations, crash-courses in online presenting and then – just last week – first CBCA Children’s Book Week as an actual author!

I’ve been really lucky that my state (Western Australia) has finally turned having the world’s most isolated capital city into a real bonus for everyone: our kids are back at school and I was doing in-person presentations every day. I loved that I could meet so many awesome students, filled to overflowing with so much epic imagination and inspiration!

So, as a thank you to my TLSSC baby and a thumbs up to NaNo, here’s a short history and me and NaNoWriMo 🙂

2014 – Don’t even ask. Seriously.

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Five lessons I’ve learnt on the path to my debut: ‘The Lost Stone of SkyCity’

9781925815948_WEBLARGEMate. There are no decent maps to show the path you’ll take to your debut and beyond!*

My middle-grade fantasy adventure ‘The Lost Stone of SkyCity’ came out this month. As my debut, it’s been a whirlwind of preparation and editing and excitement and <eeep> stressing about the unknowns. Which there were a lot of.

Still are, actually.

My book was originally scheduled for publishing Q1 2020, until one sunny day in February I got a phone call from my publisher. A spot had opened up for October. Could I get everything done in time?

To which I replied, ‘I have no idea what “everything” is, but yes.’

(Note to self: awesome on-the-spot thinking! This was totally the correct answer!)

I’m still learning at this game, but for what it’s worth here are five lessons I’ve learnt on my way to getting published:

*Note: this post probably isn’t a good map either!!! If you feel like you’re stuck in a forest, and my path sounds like I was up a mountain, relax … I think that’s how most of us feel! 🙂

Lesson 1. Find the writing process that works for you (a.k.a. NaNoWriMo rocks)

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My definitive guide as to why goats are awesome

goat selfie_LII totally love goats! Little did I know that when I was writing ‘The Lost Stone of SkyCity’ with some cheeky goat side-kicks called gotals, I would imbue my love of goats into the very story.

Evidently, I did. Because when people read the book, they’re always saying ‘You must love goats! Why is that?’

Aha! Glad you asked!

What’s not to love? Our two species have a shared history, and goats have got to be one of the smartest, funkiest animals. EVER. Here’s what I love the most about them … Continue reading

Abandonment – Fiction Friday :)

Sash will presume I’ve abandoned her again. She’ll be pissed.

The car jerks around a corner, flinging me against the locked door, bound hands useless. Wish I could see. Fabric coarse against my face. Air growing heavy. Head spiralling.

How long will Sash wait before she gives up on me? How long before she braves the streets, cursing me all the way to the hostel? And how long before anger turns to worry?

Too long, I’m thinking.

Too long for me.

If I’m going to get out of this, I’m going to need to rescue myself.

 

Abandon

The #scbwiwestchallenge encourages us SCBWI West Aussies to #createeveryday. The prompt for this piece was ‘abandon’.

Check out Instagram to see other creations of awesome!

© HM Waugh 2018

Bushfire – Fiction Friday!!

I didn’t hear the characteristic rattle of the loose roof iron above the kitchen, heralding a change in the wind. Hot easterly turning to a south-westerly that on a normal day would promise a drop in temperature. My brain didn’t register the growing smell of smoke, creeping up like an intruder.

CSIRO_ScienceImage_439_Experimental_Bushland_Burning_Results

Image: CSIRO

The shrill clamour of the smoke alarm finally halted my study halfway through working out the molar weight of an unknown substance in question 34a. Fear buzzed as chemistry fled my brain. I made it halfway to silence the alarm before the power went out, plunging me into a dark that was simply too dark for the time of day it was.  Continue reading

The inconsiderate window

When you’ve shimmied through as many windows as I have, you develop a strong appreciation for why doors were invented. This one’s a prime example. Clearly not designed for ease of entry.

To be honest, I’m kind of wedged.

My butt is stuck out in no-man’s-land, legs dangling Humpty-style. It’s starting to rain back there. If this wasn’t so serious it’d be funny. If it was funny I could laugh. If I laughed it might just help me wriggle all the way through.

I brace my arms against the chill inner wall, empty my lungs, and push. Eyes bulge with pressure, fabric rips, then I slither headfirst to the floor with a boom that resounds through the whole damn place. I hate floorboards.

As I groan to my feet lights are appearing out in the hallway, voices raised and alert. But there’s no way I’m heading back out that curse of a window.

No. I’m going to get what I came here for.

 

windowBecause it’s fun (and seriously, who needs a better reason?) I’ve instigated a Fiction Friday post, where I pop up something short and (not always) sweet from my recent writing efforts. 

This one is from the #scbwiwestchallenge, which encourages us SCBWI West Aussies to #createeveryday. The prompt for this piece was ‘window’

Check out Instagram to see other creations of awesome from myself and SCBWI Aus West!

Cookies and cream

If I eat enough ice-cream the brain freeze might zap the memories of what I just did. It’s worth a solid try, anyway.

‘It could be worse,’ Hoz says.

I level a Grade-A Death Glare at him. ‘How, exactly?’

His mouth opens and closes goldfish-style, then he collapses back against the wall. ‘You’re right, you’re screwed.’

I hand him the cookies and cream. He immediately scores a monster cookie chunk. Just my luck. We eat in silence until our spoons scrape the bottom of the tub.

It hasn’t worked. I still remember.

Every. Thing.

Hoz points his spoon at me. ‘At least you didn’t try to kiss him.’

I have to smile. ‘There is that.’

IMG_20180213_115636644a.jpg

 

The #scbwiwestchallenge encourages us SCBWI West Aussies to #createeveryday. The prompt for this piece was ‘comfort food’.

Check out Instagram to see other creations of awesome!