The start of 2019 has been uplifting and affirming. Most of my writing time was dedicated to preparing three manuscripts. I polished and polished and polished the first two chapters of a novel to be assessed by Sue Whiting, author, editor and everything books, at the Creative Kids Tales festival in April, and two picture book texts to be assessed by Cristina Pase, commissioning editor at Windy Hollow Books, at KidLit Vic in May.
I started February attending a book launch at The Children's Bookshop in Beecroft. It was boiling hot in the packed room, and my view was obscured by a Giant Koala (how did you survive in that hot costume?!) but it was so inspiring chatting to the authors afterwards.
I then attended a SCBWI masterclass with Diane Evans and Allison Paterson of Big Sky Publishing at the wonderful State Library of New South Wales. Of the many topics covered, those of particular interest to me (in relation to my work-in-progress novel) were 'weaving history, powerful messages and important events into entertaining and informative novels', and 'can you link your work to the national curriculum?', which I had never really explored. I also got the pleasure of finally meeting my year long critique partner David, who travelled from Adelaide!
March brought two family birthdays - a growing-up -too-fast 8 and a special 13 - number two teenager in the house! It also brought an exciting opportunity to visit Angophora House Education Learning Hub, a fantastic new initiative set up right here on the Central Coast, by Jacqui Barton, former education manager at Harper Collins. I was thrilled to meet Yvette Poshoglian, best known for 'Ella and Olivia', and Tania McCartney, prolific author, illustrator and podcaster, with her gorgeous new picture book 'Mamie' , about the creator of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, May Gibbs.
The afternoon was presented by one of my favourite amazing ladies, Susanne Gervay OAM, (is there anywhere Susanne isn't? I think she must own a time-turner), and the wonderful Jacqui herself. The enthusiasm of everyone in the room was clear and some wonderful connections were made.
One of those connections was Alison, manager of Bookface . Alison was very happy to let me do a photoshoot in her store at Erina. It was great fun, and the resulting images are displayed throughout the site. Thanks Alison, my talented friend Lee Hanly ,and my wonderful photographer Tanya Stokes!
The end of March brought a wonderful surprise and a confirmation to myself that all the passion and hours put in are paying off. I received news that I had been long-listed in the Greenleaf Blossoms Competition! Sadly I didn't make the shortlist (congratulations to those who did!), but it proved I'm on the right track and with more work, more self-learning and more skill, my goals are realistic.
This weekend brings my second Creative Kids Tales Festival, where I've been given the opportunity by organiser and author Georgie Donaghey, to speak briefly on the benefits of joining a critique group. The theme is INVEST - something I've consciously worked towards over the last three years. I'll be taking my snazzy business cards, designed by the awesome Max Hamilton, who I met this time last year at the inaugural CKT festival.
It's going to be an amazing day - stay tuned for how it went