Posts Tagged ‘QWC’

Lately I’ve been feeling like a one-armed woman in a phone booth with a swarm of bees. Too many things coming at me at once.

Talks, deadlines, workshops, Mum in hospital, hubba hubby overseas (on a Brokeback Mountain-biking week, no less  – better bring back some fish!), a crescendo of kids’ sporting commitments, an unfinished novel burning a hole in my desktop, a ker-ching of tilers, builders and electricians battering all the bent bits of my life into shape.

The only tradesman I haven’t been blessed with lately is the plumber, which must be why the fridge and bathroom tap have just started leaking….

At 8pm last night, I had a melt-down. Then I got to work. By 11pm, I’d made a big dent in my in-tray AND sent off my edits for my illustrated chapter book Dronges to Scholastic. (Very happy that Dan McGuiness, author of Pilot & Huxley, is doing the illustrations. Check out his cool website here.)

At 5.30 this morning, I hauled my grumpy bum out of bed to flip 300 pancakes for my daughter’s waterpolo breakfast at school. She rocked up, all smiles, at 8am with her gaggle of gfs. ‘Having fun, Mum? she asked.’

And you know what? I realised that I was.

The sun was shining, my co-workers were fun, and our pancakes were the bomb. I squirted maple syrup on a huge hotcake, stuffed it in my mouth and made a mental note to myself:

When there’s a lot on your plate, don’t forget to savour the good bits. 

Since I got home, I’ve been ticking off the jobs like a machine.

Next on my list is my Six-Pick for next week’s CBCA Qld Short List Night.  I’m a Clayton’s judge again this year for books for Older Readers and let me tell you, nominating a Top Two Dozen is fun, but narrowing down all those fabulous books to a Top Half Dozen is downright harrowing. Definitely not a job for sissies….  Click here if you’d like to come along and get the inside running on top kids’ books for 2012.

But right now, you will have to excuse me.

I have a talk to prepare, a workshop program to finalise for my Year of the YA Novel Course (starting 29 April at the Queensland Writers Centre), a novel to finish…And after all that, I think I’ll be ready for another pancake. 😉

Fancy being immortalised in print by having a character named after you?

How about swanning along to the Ultimate Girly High Tea with the likes of international best-selling author Kate Morton, Rebecca Sparrow, Caroline Overington and others?

Or a chance to win signed book packs, a book club or school visit from your favourite author, or a manuscript appraisal from a top literary agent or publisher?

You can win all this and more by jumping onboard Writers on Rafts, a fund-raising initiative of the Qld Writers Centre to benefit the Qld Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal.

More than 150 Australian authors including Morris Gleitzman, Melina Marchetta, Nick Earls, John Birmingham, Jessica Rudd, Tara Moss and Di Morrissey,  have donated prizes in every state in Australia.

I’ve already bought tickets for book packs and author visits for my kids’ schools.

Click here for your chance to win all that and more while benefiting victims of this summer’s disastrous floods.

It’s been all hands on deck for the hard-working crew of the Queensland Writers Centre.

While extreme flooding in Brisbane’s Southbank area has closed the office, staff continue to man the writing pumps at home.

Writing Queensland Magazine, QWC’s flagship publication and compulsory reading for those interested in the craft of writing, has gone to the printers, according to WQ’s newly appointed editor, Jason Nahrung.

The February Craft issue of WQ will feature an article on Shaping the Story Arc, where I interview Bill Condon, winner of the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction, Anthony Eaton and Kate Forsyth.

You can subscribe to WQ here or click on the next link if you’d like to read an article I wrote for WQ last year on Creating your own distinctive writing voice.

I’m thrilled to see Jason at the helm of WQ. Not only is he a talented writer with twenty years journalistic experience behind him, he was also one of the creative inspirations behind Henry Hoey Hobson. (Check out his website Vampires in the Sunburnt Country and see if you can guess which character he inspired.)

‘The end of a story is not the point of a story… but you have to get to the end to understand the point of the story.’ Veny Armanno, Year-of-the-Novel, QWC 2007

New Year’s Eve always feels more like a beginning than an ending. I’m usually running on a full tank after Christmas, eager to hit the road, and discover what’s dancing on the shimmering horizon. I have to force myself to slow down, pull over for a minute, ponder where I’ve been, before plotting a new course. The horizon shimmers in every direction; it doesn’t help to fix your eyes on a mirage…

The past twelve months has been a white-knuckle roller-coaster ride. My first manuscript became my first novel halfway through the year; and two months later I sold my publisher a novel I hadn’t yet written, based on three chapters and a synopsis.

Twelve months ago, I would have lacked the confidence to contemplate such madness. Sometimes I still wonder if it was ignorance or arrogance that led me to take the chance on myself, to believe that I could deliver an entire manuscript, fifty-thousand-odd words, to someone else’s deadline. But in moments of peace, I like to believe that I’ve learned to trust myself and my writing instincts.

Whichever is the case, Henry Hoey Hobson met his deadline, rose to a new level through revisions, survived the rigours of the copy edit, and is now with the typesetters and cover artists. Like my firstborn Dust, he will be released on July 1st, to make its own way through the world of reviewers, booksellers, teacher-librarian networks, and into the hands of his readers.

It has been a mighty year and I can’t help but feel grateful to all those who helped turn my wildest wish-fulfillment fantasies into reality. My gorgeous husband and children, treasured family and friends, my wonderful publisher Leonie Tyle, editor Sarah Hazelton, publicist Yae Morton, and all the booksellers, teachers, librarians, and readers whose support has been both gratifying and humbling over the past year. Thank you, and may the new year fulfill its promises to you all.

PS. I do have a new year’s resolution: I will finish The Lonely Dead in 2010. That is my promise to myself and to you all. Hold me to it. And Happy New Year. 😉

As a newbie in the world of publishing, I enjoy hanging on the words of the wise, and spending time with older hands who are happy to roll back their sleeves and show me their scars.

I have learned much at the knee of Veny Armanno (QWC’s Year of the Novel), Kim Wilkins (Year of the Edit) and Nick Earls, whose generosity in inducting Brisbane’s debut authors into the world of publishing was stretched to capacity this year.

My education continues, online, following writer’s websites (a few of my  favourites are on the lower right of the screen), and in real life, at festivals, writer’s get-togethers, and through reading till my eyes bleed.

But almost everything I have learned as a writer, I have learned by writing and putting it out there.

I now have a discerning first reader who is capable of pinpointing what hasn’t made it onto the page (but needs to be there), and what clunks in the otherwise smooth action of my story.

Feedback may not be the hallelujah chorus of my dreams, but neither is it a direct thrust to the heart. It is certainly an opportunity to see my work through trusted, more objective, eyes.

When I scanned the initial response to my latest work, I had to admire my first reader’s ability to season praise with constructive criticism. She hit on a couple of niggling issues that I had pushed away during the writing process (things I probably hoped to get away with and didn’t.)

It reminded me of James Roy on the adverse comment in an otherwise favourable review: ‘That’s like saying you’ve got a beautiful baby, but it’s got big ears. Big deal. You’ve still got a beautiful baby.’

I’ll hang on to that thought while I’m doing my revisions.

I’ve got a beautiful baby … (but that’s not going to stop me pinning back those ears.) 😉

Come in, make yourself at home and please feel free to potter around. I’m planning to add to this site over the coming months, with writing links and regular posts, so I would love any feedback.  You can also subscribe by clicking on the feed or email links  and you’ll receive updates whenever I post new material. So stay tuned and we’ll stay in touch…

PS A big thank you to Kate Eltham from the Queensland Writers Centre for running the workshop that helped produce this website. QWC rocks, so if you don’t already have a subscription, put one on your Xmas list now!