Now for something completely different…

It’s great when the writing just flows, as if from nowhere, but even better is when it flows from the heart.

There’s the old adage, ‘write about what you know’ but equally true is write about what you feel. Apart from books, some of the most moving songs have also been written from the writer’s emotional experiences.

As a novelist, I tend to have many, many words to say, but yesterday, for something completely different, a song leapt from my heart!

I was amazed at how few words were needed to actually convey the story and emotion. All I need now is some music…

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Clearing Blockages

I’ve been procrastinating over my final study assignment for a couple of months, it being the examination one and all, but I finally realised that until I actually sat down and finished it, I won’t be able to get on with achieving my goals.

So, today, to clear my head I went for a run with some upbeat music that always  helps me go beyond my limits and finished the run so easily that I knew I was going to have a productive day.

Procrastination tossed into the rubbish bin, I dug out my assignment and focused. Three hours later, the job was done and to my absolute amazement, I actually enjoyed it.

With that blockage cleared from my mind and my to-do pile, I sat at the computer and opened up a blank document, something I’ve not done in a very long time. For the past year I’ve been so stuck on rewriting and editing and stressing about my study that I daren’t let my thoughts stray to something that could lead me even further away from course completion.

The blank document lasted about a zillionth of a micro second as now that I’m open to receiving again, the words just flowed. In just minutes, I had 1,800 words and the beginnings of something totally different to anything I’ve written before.

Life’s good!

CYA Conference 10th Sept 2011

Happy to be on the success panel

Happy to be on the success panel

What an amazing weekend I’ve had at the CYA Conference in Brisbane! It’s always so exhilarating being with like-minded people but the extra buzz this year was being invited to speak on the Success Panel with other authors and illustrators who are now published as a result of the CYA Conference and competition.

We each spoke about how CYA has helped us on our publishing journey, and I included how it has also helped me on a personal journey. Who would have thought that in just two years I’d go from being the shy little critter creeping into the conference hoping no one would notice I was late, to someone who would actually accept an invitation to speak to the public.

Demonstrating how NOT to enter a presentation late

My advice to anyone dreaming of being a published children’s author or illustrator is to enter competitions and if possible, attend conferences to learn all you can, and if available, pitch to editors and agents in attendance. Not only will you receive valuable feedback on your work, but you will make contacts with like-minded people and industry professionals.  
 
My heartfelt thanks must go to the organisers of CYA Conference as they gave not just me, but so many others, the courage and support to fulfil our dreams.
 
Sometimes I look back over the past couple of years in total amazement of all I have achieved since entering the competition – setting up Warrambucca Books, undertaking an editing and proofreading course, but above all,  being the proud author of my first YA novel, Phoenix.
 
Thanks CYA!
 
Tomorrow, Tuesday 13th September, I will be visiting Jelli Beanz Books to talk about Phoenix. Hope you can pop over for a visit too!
 

Ballarat Writers Festival

Have just returned from a fantastic weekend at the Ballarat Writers Festival. It’s so good to be around other people with the same passion for books and writing.

The festival was kicked off on Friday evening with a sumptuous three-course meal, meeting new people and sharing our dreams.

Saturday was filled with entertaining and insightful panels of authors, editors, illustrators and publishers sharing journeys, knowledge and laughter.

The whole event passed so quickly and was filled with wonderful opportunity to learn, network and eat! So much food, so little room in the belly! The Alexandria on Lydiard put on such a wonderful, endless supply of fresh fruit, yummy rolls, wraps, salad, cakes and endless soft drink.

Part of the opportunity at the festival was the first page critique competition where attendees could submit the first page of their work in progress anonymously between 9 and 10 on Saturday morning, to be read by editors and publishers. These professionals would then choose a select few and critique them in front of the entire audience. A daunting prospect but one also filled with great anticipation.

The critique session was the last item on the agenda and I was stoked when my submission was read out! The feedback from the panel was so useful. I’d entered the first page of Revival, the sequel to Phoenix, and being the second in the Fifth Shadow series, I wasn’t quite sure how to let the reader know what had transpired in the first book if they hadn’t yet read it.

My answer came across loud and clear, leave out the two lines of back-story, something I would never recommend putting in a first chapter let alone a first page!

As the festival drew to a close, I approached the assessing panel to seek further advice and when I explained my entry was a sequel, I was asked not only for Phoenix, but for more of Revival too!

Floating with happiness, I didn’t think my day could get any better, but a couple of other attendees approached me and told me how inspiring I’d been to them in the way I’d approached my goals. I’d never even considered that me following my dream could help others but I’m so happy I could help!

One little thing which I found really quite spooky, consider there were approx 110 attendees at the festival, of those 60% entered the competition, and 50% were at the Friday night dinner. Those at the dinner were split around tables of 8. Of the 6 entries chosen by the panel, 3 of those belonged to writers at my table.   

Good work everyone!

 

Spooky but True Competition

Do you have a spooky story to tell?Had an encounter with a ghost, received a channelled message, predicted something that came true? If so, why not enter the brand new Spooky but True Competition from www.warrambuccabooks.com.au for your chance to win a cash prize plus a signed copy of Phoenix?

Full details can be found on the Warrambucca Books website.

Good luck!

Revival

Following the success of Phoenix, I have been madly reworking the second in The Fifth Shadow series to satisfy the readers demanding more. I am pleased to say that a major rework of an early draft of Revival has been completed with the addition of an extra 16,000 words.

My next task is to make sure those extra words all work and to turf out the ones that don’t!

For all of those anxiously waiting, Revival is most definitely on its way!

 

Stay tuned!Coming Soon!

Fire Help

It was with great sadness that I read of a fire which destroyed a local primary school’s art room. Members of the school community have vowed to rise “phoenix-like” despite the destruction and their determination spurred me into wanting to help as well.

I have therefore pledged to donate $5.00 for every copy of Phoenix sold via www.thefifthshadow.com from today until the end of August this year to the New Gisborne Primary School.

Let’s help this wonderful school replace what it so tragically lost.

Thanks for your support.