It’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.
I 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.
I 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
Now, I’m the sort of person to approach a series with trepidation … Sometimes I LOVE the first book SO MUCH, I don’t want to ruin it by reading a substandard follow-on. (Who’s with me?)
But then, there are series that are totally ace at being a series. Where the whole premise just gets better and better with each new book. I’m thinking Harry Potter, Lintang, Chronicles of Prydain, The Old Kingdom …
When authors get it right, I’m eagerly awaiting every new book.
Thankfully (because – mate – I really enjoyed ‘Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow’ and there was no way I wanted to mess with that level of love) the Nevermoor series by Jessica Townsend only got more awesome with the second book, ‘Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow’.
Like, if awesome went out kayaking and then had a lemon and lime tart and some hot chocolate in a comfy armchair by the fire to celebrate how awesome the day was. That kind of extra awesome. Continue reading
OMG. I have just finished reading one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read, full of heart and feeling, strength and healing.
The gorgeous ‘Roses Are Blue’ is by the fabulous Sally Murphy, and illustrated by Gabriel Evans, so it’s West Aussie through and through.
It’s written in verse, adding to the poignancy of everything that MC Amber relates. Amber is filled with so many emotions kids (anyone) (me included) can relate to – wanting to fit in, fearing being different, wishing for the impossible and not liking herself much sometimes for wishing that. Amber is a lovely narrator, the story is beautiful. Continue reading
Seven teens from seven continents, trying to crack seven signs a day for seven days as the world progressively swirls down the proverbial toilet.
Gold. Total gold.
I was reeled in by Skyfire, the first in The Seven Signs series by Michael Adams, hauled deeper into the mystery the more I read. I’ll be honest, the first few pages I was totally thinking yeah, I know what this is all about. But then the characters came alive and the action began ticking. And awesome things began happening. And happening. And happening.
And then, hooly toolooly, the first signs arrived.
There was no turning back for me. I had to buy the rest of the series. I had to read them all, stat. I had to know what was happening and where were they going next and who was the Signmaker and for goodness’ sake, can someone let these kids sleep sometime!? Continue reading
And my award for the most awesome male character in YA goes to… Bo Mitchell!!
Seriously. From the very first sentence of ‘White Night’ by Ellie Marney, Bo’s voice captured me. He drives this book. If you’re looking for positive, realistic male role models, look no further.
I loved ‘White Night’. I read a sneak-peak online and then had to wait – yes – WAIT – until it became available from my library. Excruciating.
There are a lot of things to like in ‘White Night’, but if I had to pick three, this’d be them:
- Character arcs of awesome
- Level-headed enviro representation
- General air of stereotype-smashing.
I used to work up in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Red dirt, indomitable spinifex and awe-inspiring mountain ranges.
I’m miffed that I never got to experience a cyclone, though. (‘You don’t want to,’ said everyone who ever had.) Still, I would’ve loved to really feel WHY. The wind and the pressure and the bunkering down…
Now, thanks to modern storytelling, I’m halfway there :). ‘Cyclones and Shadows’ is a collection of four fab stories all based around the north of Australia, including one in a cyclone.
I’m in love with them all. I’d love a Shadow of my very own!
And his mango tree too, please!
What made me grin reading this book?
These stories, by Laura Dudgeon, Pat Dudgeon, Sabrina Dudgeon-Swift and Darlene Oxenham, are full of humour, empathy, insight and adventure. There are strong female main characters, zero gender stereotypes (when was the last time you read about a girl fixing up a car in Junior Fiction? Yeah, I thought so…), and vibrant themes of family and friendship. Continue reading
When you hear of a children’s book exploding onto the scene like those whizz-bang fireworks that keep on sparkling (complete with everyone going ‘oooh’ and ‘aaah’) what you absolutely want to find out is HOW DID THEY DO IT?
‘Nevermoor: the Trials of Morrigan Crow’ by Jessica Townsend is one such delightful explosion. It’s surrounded by stories of bidding wars and movie rights that make me happy-sigh, because stuff like that is still possible, and books are still awesome and kids still love reading, and more will love it after reading this book.
And that’s all awesome!
So, how did Townsend do it?
What is so delightfully scrumptious about her book?
- A huggable world you get immersed in
- The laughs and clever whimsy
- The intricate extras in the story.
I love to treat my goals a little like my plotting. Give them freedom, and watch them grow and mutate into something better (preferably with superpowers or rainbow hair).
I feel the point of a writing goal is to give yourself a basic framework so you ACTUALLY START WRITING and then you can feel free to escape on the tail of whichever idea takes you.
Remember that little goal I set myself for January? Janowrimo? Newsflash – I didn’t make my 50,000 words (I wrote 35,000). And I’m not disappointed in the slightest. In fact, I’m totally stoked with what I achieved!
So, why shouldn’t you mind if you don’t achieve your writing goals?
1) You got in there and wrote! *celebrate!*
Okay, so when I’m suggesting you didn’t achieve a goal, I’m presuming it still inspired you to write and connect and plot and create. If you wanted to write 50,000 words and you managed 400 before giving up and turning the tele on, your goal clearly hasn’t worked at all. Go find yourself a more awesome goal. Continue reading
With all good 2018’s comes a #AWW2018 challenge!
I’ve signed up for more of the same, please – read at least 10 books by Australian Women Writers and review at least six of these.
Piece of awesomesauce cake!
Looking back on #AWW2017 I did pretty well considering I was undertaking the hardest year of post grad study in the known universe (or so I thought…).
Here are the links to my reviews from last year – some fabulous reads from excellent Aussie authors:
A sequel that lived up to my ultra-excited expectations – ‘Gemina’
A great read for younger fans of fantasy – ‘Eve and the Runaway Unicorn’
Answer the call – ‘The Shark Caller’
Ponies + Mermaids = Gold… ‘Lulu Bell and the Birthday Unicorn’
Entertaining and heart-warming – ‘The Memory Shed’
A super start to a defo non-fairytale fairy series: ‘Valentine’
Recommended reading for all teen girls – ‘Risk’
Fun and daring make for an ideal combo – ‘To the Lighthouse’
Superb book-hug: ‘Take Three Girls’
And even though she’s technically a kiwi (heck, so am I sort of) I’ll add in the wonderful A total YA package – the clever and crisp ‘Spark’
Have you taken up the challenge? Join us!