Words into Writing


Release day


Yah!  "leave Taking' was released on Monday 2nd of July, so Katrina Nannestad came and helped me celebrate with a mini afternoon tea.

Flowers, a gorgeous candle and heartfelt words on a card.  Great chatter and laughter.

The same day my article which the brilliant Jean at UQP scouted down for me, appeared on the Guardian site.  It was very difficult to write and share but provided a type of reason as to why I would chose the topic of grief for a children's book.

An emotional day, a happy day to see my book out in the wide world of bookshops and available to readers.




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Leave Taking

I love UQP's back blurb where leave taking is defined as a noun and is the act of saying goodbye.

My book!  Yah!

What a journey to reach publication and beyond- I've already had a couple of reviews and the artwork by Peter Carnavas is delightful.  I will get to actually meet Peter next month when I travel to Brisbane and then onto Voices on the Coast to present workshops and a talk.



Our farming background provides wonderful rich material for the setting of 'Leave Taking'.

Little incidents that my children created are also woven into the fabric of farm life for Toby.


UQP are providing wonderful publicity opportunities so this little book can shine.

Of course it comes at an emotional cost.  The grief is palpable but then so is the hope and the celebration of moving on.

I sincerely hope it touches many hearts young and old.


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A new Novel


I love that inspiration is like a beautiful cutting taking sometimes years to strike and flourish.

So here is to a little snatch of words with the right tone and emotion begun in 2003, then woven into a verse novel in 2016, doubled under the suggestions of wonderful Kristina and wonderful Vanessa of UQP to now begin the publication process out into bookshops on July 2nd this year!  Yah!

Peter Carnavas has re-created Toby visually and his journey of 'Leave Taking'.

I am thrilled with the cover.

The novel was written with a May Gibbs Literature trust fellowship in Brisbane.  Sometimes as writers, we need blocks of time to immerse ourselves in the atmosphere of the novel.  Much soul searching, tears and a wonderful feeling of release all came together to propel Toby on his journey.

Recovering from cancer is huge and this is my recovering from breast cancer novel.  I hope it inspires many children and families to journey from grief, from changes into a new season of growth and celebration.


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Of Gelato and workshops and edits


The heading sounds delicious well the beginning words do, not the last word, but saying that I have enjoyed my re-writes of my latest novel 'Leave Taking' due out July 2018 from UQP.

In providing more backstory I have nearly doubled the word count of a small verse novel and cried enough to smudge my handwritten notes.





And also surprised myself with a new development to end the story in a more satisfying way.
I appreciate so much the notes and suggestions my editors have made for the edit.


The Gelato part of the heading comes into play when my writing friend Kate Nannestad last week asked me to come and celebrate her book's release 'The Girl, the Dog and the Writer in Rome' and yes we toasted that wonderful book with licks of Gelato ice-cream.

And the workshops?  Well I had fun taking a writers' group through some poetic exercises in Echuca recently, sadly I had a dreadful cough and that interrupted the workshop often!


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I've been to my first conference for a long time.  I get tired easily nowadays, so I have to chose carefully where my energy is spent.  And this past weekend was a wonderful inspirational feast!

A chance to talk to like minded friends, to hear published authors talk about being a 'pantser' or 'plotter' was wonderful.

The three authors on the Historical Whodunnits panel, all confessed easily, comfortably, to being in the 'pantser' category.  That means not plotting but unfolding events and conflicts as they write.  In fact writing to find out what is going on!

Sulari Gentill, Robert Gott and Gary Corby all shared generously with their writing insights.

As an author myself it was SO liberating to hear them speak about not using little cards, post it notes etc, etc...

That session was my conference highlight even though I'm not an avid whodunnit fan I now have some new Australian authors to read!

Another aspect was the obvious delight and passion authors using history bring to their writing, the enthusiasm was contagious and inspiring.


So here is an historical artefact of mine- a sampler of my Grandmother's embroidery.



And my Grandmother and Grandfather in very young days.  A piece of history as my own inspiration.
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Ah the year is racing away


I've gotten out of the habit of posting here.  I am writing slowly, but writing poetry and stories.

And sewing!



This poem is published in the May edition of School Magazine, New South Wales.
 I have been looking at older poems I've written and re-vamping, changing, tightening the words and images.  It is very satisfying to be revising older material that didn't quite make the grade.  I have begun doing this with picture book texts also and even turning one into a play!

It is satisfying on another level also in that I realise that over time I have written a lot of material!

Some stories or poems cannot be redeemed but the writing journey all adds to the skill and content of any new material written.
And I want to write more consistently in this blog.

Let's see what the writing year brings.



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Writing by the river


What a great request from Meg Doller to take poetry workshops across the age ranges to inspire an affinity an appreciation of the Campaspe river at Elmore!

So I took three age groups- prep to year 1 and even two four year olds through a rhythmic two word poem looking at different sensory surrounds of the river itself.  When I talked about the title for the poem one girl said 'Done!' and that became the title- very creative!




It was a windy day but perfect for writing.  Along the banks are the evidence of a wet winter and spring with plenty of grasses and plenty of seed heads for the children to really look at.
I liked to think of our writing as a slow savouring of all the nature around us- something we don't stop to appreciate enough and poetry is the perfect vehicle for this.


Well done to Meg for organising and to everyone who came and wrote!



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Well - poetry inspiration and poems written are the true outcomes
of poetry workshops.

In May I had a week visiting Ipswich and outlying schools with poetry workshops to create and inspire entries for the Ipswich Poetry festival.

Wow!  It was amazing to reach so many children- in different age groups to show them how easy and how satisfying it is to write a poem.


Thanks to Carol Moore at the Ipswich library and her dedicated committee for sending me this article.
Local newspaper report of photos of one of the sessions.



I love encouraging children and adults to write and in doing so to discover a bit more about themselves and the world around them.

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The month has come and gone.  Writing flourished.  Several projects were completed to first draft.
Others, a new peek at a long awaited fragment- was it interesting enough to push on into a picture book text or a novel?

New poems were written.  And last week I began submitting some of the finished work.  What a great feeling after a year of treatment where I could hardly handwrite let alone hold a book to read.

(Foyer interior or Hotel Rothsbury on Ann street- the location of my residency.)

It was a wonderful healthy feeling to know that I STILL wanted to write and STILL had the passion to write.

Now awaiting fruits of that labour and also trying to plot out a schedule to get bigger novels finished.  I have a much keener affinity with time and jobs to complete.




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Catch up and time to write


So...

it's been a long time since I took care of my blog, a lifetime has come and gone in a year
and I'm well again and waving from a May Gibbs Literature trust fellowship at Rothbury on Ann
in Brisbane.   What a gift of time in my career and life when I need it most.

I have several writing projects to juggle and with the perspective of a year's illness I am more
discerning/practical/ruthless and begin to realise how much I want to write and create.

I have had a year of no writing and no reading.  I wasn't well enough to do either of these important things, but armed with a suitcase of bits and pieces of manuscripts I am forging ahead and ripping to shreds those bits of stories I have held onto for years and I just don't think they will work anymore.
And writing
and rewriting
and entering competitions, just like I used to do when I first entered the writing arena.

It gives me purpose, a sense of satisfaction.

If you want more information about how you can apply for a career changing writing residency
here is the link.

Thanks May Gibbs Literature trust and Judith Russell.




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