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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Answers at last

Well it's been a little while since I blogged and I gotta tell ya - it's cos I've been busy. But I say that every blog. I now go to Rock n roll dance lessons Mondays, Badminton Tuesdays (hilarious with 3-4 people per team, so you get hit with the shuttle cock a lot. Especially from a person who will remain nameless. "OMG, Sorry, sorry!" he starts the night with, but by the end it becomes: "I can't help it, it's SO funny." Hmm. And then I go to gym Thursdays and Fridays and I haven't found the time to do my mental health walkies in the evening! Except for the time I was wide awake at 2am and thought I should go but then decided against it. I was trying to make myself more tired, not more awake.

Uni is back - can't remember if it was or not in my last blog...anyhoo I'm read-read-reading but not the fun stuff. I'm trying to keep up with the 50 - 100 pages each class sets me for the week, let alone any FUN reading. Or writing.
And at the moment, this is my second week of placement in a grade prep-one class. I'm having lots of fun, really like the kids but they really can be exhausting.
It's especially interesting for me to do reading group with them every morning, and see what they think of the stories. If they can read them. They ARE grade prep and one we're talking about here.
The library got a shipment of new books today and I spent my lunchtime in there poring over them, looking at the publishers and reading the blurbs. Clearly I'm very excited about kids books and what's new in the market. What people are writing about, what kids are reading about and what publishers are buying.
I was interested to find that one of the grade six girls's favourite book at the moment is about a cane toad who's family is being wiped out by floods and people, and he stacks up his dead relatives in the corner of his room. It's by Morris Gleitzman, and though it sounds kinda disturbing, she says it's funny. It'd have to be, wouldn't it? :)

I received some good news and some disappointing news - after a lot of work and a long wait, Allen & Unwin have decided not to publish my book, Life was cool until you got popular. I was spared the moment of receiving the manuscript back in the mail, because I was at Uni and haven't seen it yet, but next time I go back to my parents place it'll be there waiting for me. It's disappointing cos I really thought this was it, this was the beginning, and I KNOW it's a good book, but clearly it wasn't meant to be. Not as a Girlfriend Fiction title. I can sort of see that it doesn't fit neatly into the Girlfriend Fiction mould, they're mostly serious books and mine's a little more out there. But she had lovely things to say about it and more constructive criticism for me should I choose to take it on.
I waited a day and sent it to another publisher and today I've sent it to an Agent as well. I feel I'm getting a bit better at criticism. :)

Continuing on with bad news, one of my dogs passed away. Horrible day. He's been sick for awhile and my parents decided it was time to have him put down cos he wasn't doing too well. So that morning my father met me halfway between our homes and I got to say goodbye and tell him what a good boy he was. And not twenty minutes later, on their way back home he slipped away. It makes me sad thinking about it again, but it's so much better for him to have gone that way, don't you think? And he was an old fellah, he'd had a good life.

Okay. Deep, calming breath.

Good news however, is that I'm being published, though not fiction. I have the movie review and another piece being published in Lots Wife, and a newspaper article in a local paper as well.
Plus, I found out something interesting about the Writers Digest contest I entered last year. I came 88th, which I was thinking, you know, that's average. But then I discovered I came 88th out of 17,000. Not something to be sneezed at, anymore, eh?

Since I can't concentrate on a long piece of work at the moment, as soon as I get some writing time I hope to start some chapter books and juniuor fiction. I have a gazillion ideas, as well as ideas for creative non fiction for kids on topics such as space and australian history. As a writer, I'm definitely learning that you can't pigeon hole yourself. You have to branch out and that's what I'm starting to do.
That's about it from me. Must go and cook and prepare for placement tomorrow.



Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Crazy busy


Things are happening. Alas, no news yet from Allen & Unwin as we pass the one month since resubmission mark, but I'm gonna go with the "no news is good news" philosophy.

I'm making the most of being at Uni, and the different ways of getting published and have to say was kind of sneaky, contacting the Clayton campus's magazine to see if I can write for them. Well it turns out I can.

My pitch for an article went well and I worked on it over the last couple of days and submitted it Sunday night.

I also got sent to an advanced screening of 17 Again
(teen movie, right up my alley) which was awesome. I'm not actually allowed to talk about what I thought of the movie yet (I had to sign something for Roadshow) but it was screened in Gold Class, and it was just professional reviewers and I had Pete Hellier and Carrie from Rove sitting -reclining - behind me. Guess they're having Zac Efron on the show when he's around for the premiere next week. Or late this week.

Was pretty cool.

So that's 2 bits being published. Plus seems like my campus's mag is going to be more active than last year, as there's a meeting on Wednesday about it so more publishing opportunities! No payments, but the advanced screening was a pretty good perk.
I've actually decided that movie reviewing is an area I wouldn't mind persuing as a way of making an income. However my inbuilt perpensity to think the best of people and things may hinder me a little. I'm likely to never say: "That was a shite movie." Which the newspaper may not like, but I'm sure production companies will love me for.
Yesterday was a public holiday which hindered my plans to send off my SCBWI work in progress grant application - wads and wads of papers - so fingers crossed, sending it today, the 10th will get it to America by the 15th. Hmm. Think I'm sending it express post.

Getting passport photos done today. Pretty exciting. :) Sure to be horrible photos - but aren't they all? But the PASSPORT is the exciting bit.
Getting a bit scared of my next placement at a primary school which starts next week. I shouldn't be, but I am. We have to teach small groups and report on it. And of course we're being examined as we do the teaching, and come up with lesson plans and stuff. Eep. Feel a little out of my depth here, but I'm sure it'll be fine. I worked with small groups last time, it just wasn't official and being assessed.
I'm determined to get back to writing Sam. I'm thinking about him a lot but haven't put fingers to keyboard about him for quite some time. What's stopping me? Probably the lack of research I've done. However, the need of research doesn't come into it for awhile so I should just start writing. I think that was a pep talk.
Okay, better get the day started.
Gonna go and see Watchmen today after class with some mates, and then make a fool of myself on the badminton court. Last week we played 4 against 5, so funnily enough there were others there to hit the shuttle cock when I missed it. Though I did get hit BY the shuttle cock alot. Huh.

Have a good day!!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Back to the grind

As I write these words I am sitting in the library at my University on the first day of lectures, amongst lots of studious type students mostly looking at FaceBook and their uni timetables. It's good to be back.
I'm back on res with heaps of friends around and last night a group of 10 of us went house crawling, I guess you could say. As in we started in one house and decided to go and visit lots of random friends we hadn't seen since we'd all gotten back (most people only came back yesterday, I've been here for 3 days). It was interesting when this hoarde of people crashed the UBER exciting events in house 7. They were eating dinner.

I've re-decided (AGAIN) on what book to write, and I'm writing Sam Wyatt and his urban fantasy epic. So I've got lots of books about magical properties in stones and gems, espionage and natural magick in my bookshelves at the moment. And text books but they're not as important.

My character MJ will NOT go away, which is kind of annoying. I think the story about Ruby Vega - Ruby was actually MJ with a new name. She's constantly in my head and is demanding to have a book written about her, but I'm happy with my decision to write Sam's book instead. MJ needs to wait until she has the RIGHT book, because the ones I've been trying to write for her have not been working.

This morning I secured a venue to run creative writing workshops for kids in years 7-10, which is totally awesome but it's also a little scary cos it means I really have to do this. Teach teenagers how to write. It should be fine, I mean I'm so passionate about the subject and I've been to some workshops and observed how THEY do it, so I know it'll be good, but I'm still scared. I've set the beginning for a month away, to give me time to find some students and really work out what we're going to do. Should be a decent income, too which is the MAIN reason I'm doing it.

I have a meeting in a couple of minutes and then my first lecture for the year, so I better skedaddle.

Oh! Who's doing Script Frenzy this year? (

Starts April 1st, lets get our game face on.