New FREE Writing Newsletter

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This year I am starting up a monthly writing newsletter. It is completely FREE and sent to your email once a month.

Each month the newsletter will include:

  • Writing tips.
  • Helpful writing links.
  • Book recommendations (good writers are also voracious readers!)
  • A writing challenge.
  • And bonus bits, eg: sneak peeks for my stories or special giveaways.

How to subscribe:

Simply look the the right hand side of your screen and right underneath the search box you will see ‘FREE NEWSLETTER’. All you have to do is click ‘I want to subscribe!’ and enter your email. You can also sign up through my Facebook page HERE.

The very first issue will be sent out later today!

Why Picture Book Writers Should Join 12 x 12

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In 2012 I joined the first ever 12 x 12 challenge. The premise was simple: write 12 picture book drafts in 12 months. Since then 12 x 12 has grown and developed into more than just a challenge. It has become an important community and opportunity for picture book writers. I would HIGHLY recommend any aspiring picture book writer to join.

Why? These are my top reasons for recommending picture book writers join 12 x 12:

  1. You will learn so much about writing picture books and the kidlit industry. Seriously. As well as being involved in a community of other kidlit writers, some of whom are already published or who are extremely knowledgeable about picture books, you will also have the opportunity to learn from industry professionals.
  2. Community. If you ask any member of 12 x 12 what they love most about 12 x 12 they will most likely tell you ‘the community’. As I said above, there is a plethora of knowledge about picture book writing that fellow 12 x 12ers are willing to share. There is a genuine desire to help each other succeed. Between the Facebook group (where you can ask for advice, share resources and celebrate successes) and the forum (where you can get your picture book MS or query letter critiqued, learn more about the kidlit industry or connect with fellow writers) you will find a generous, kind-spirited community to share your writing journey and help you grow as a PB writer.
  3. It’s like a PB writing conference that lasts all year!  There are monthly webinars that are available exclusively to members. These webinars involve industry professionals, such as editors, agents, published authors and more. There are opportunities for professional critiques, as well as a plethora of other opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable to you.
  4. Opportunity to submit to agents. For those who join at Gold level, you have the opportunity every month to submit to a literary agent who might otherwise be closed to unsolicited queries. Sometimes these agents even reply with feedback.

It is honestly the best writing community I have ever been involved in. You will learn so much, develop connections and be presented with opportunities unavailable elsewhere. I really can’t recommend it enough to fellow picture book writers.

You can find more information HERE.

If the membership fee is a bit off-putting, apparently you can do a 6-month payment plan through Paypal. Honestly, it is completely worth it. I promise.

12 x 12 is currently open to join for this year. You have until 29th February 2016 before registration closes for the year. Feel free to say I referred you :)

More Christmas presents for my readers!

Earlier this month I posted a present for all my readers: a free-to-read, fun, family-friendly Christmas story ‘Jungle Bell Rock’.

Today I have some more Christmas presents:

 

  1. 35% off ‘Annabeth and the Wolf’.

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If you enjoy fairytales with a twist, supernatural creatures, or LGBT fiction, you can now pick up a copy of ‘Annabeth and the Wolf’ at 35% off the regular price. Just use the coupon code

Santa2015

when you buy a copy from Torquere Press.

*offer valid until 1st January 2016

2. Christmas special for ‘Beautiful & Deadly’.

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For the month of December I’ve reduced the price of my recently released collection of fantasy-themed short stories ‘Beautiful & Deadly’. Now available for only $2.99 on Amazon!

*offer valid until 1st January 2016

3. A handy-dandy list of links to all my free-to-read Christmas stories.

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Feel free to share and enjoy :)

  • Jungle Bell Rock. Inspired by the Christmas Carols ‘Rocking Around the Christmas Tree’ and ‘Jingle Bell Rock’, the animals at the zoo have a rocking Christmas party.
  • A Farmer’s Night Before Christmas. An Aussie farmer’s version of the traditional Christmas tale.
  • Dashing Through the School. Inspired by the song ‘Jingle Bells’, a child is due to perform in the annual school Christmas play, but nerves take over.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays everyone!

Jungle Bell Rock – A Christmas Present for my Readers

Christmas is my favourite time of year. As a Christmas present to all my blog readers I’ve written a Christmas story inspired by the Christmas carols ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ and ‘Jingle Bell Rock’. I’m entering into Susannah Hill’s annual Holiday Contest. Be sure to check out some of the other entries, as there is always a lot of great stories entered by some fantastic kidlit authors.

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Jungle Bell Rock

Rocking around the Christmas tree,

At the City Central Zoo,

A monkey hanging joyfully,

Ev’ry lion is there, too.

 

Rocking around the Christmas tree,

Where the seal plays with his ring,

Later he’ll have some fishy pie,

And do some carolling.

 

You will get an animal-ish feeling,

When you hear, reindeer singing,

“Let’s be jolly; Deck the stalls with boughs of holly.”

 

Rocking around the Christmas tree,

Have a happy holiday,

Animals dancing merrily,

And putting on a Christmas play!

 

Jungle bell, jungle bell, jungle bell rock,

Orangutan swing and lyrebird sing,

Stomping and tromping and flinging some dung,

Now the jungle hop has begun.

 

Jungle bell, jungle bell, jungle bell twist,

Goannas climb in jungle bell time.

Dancing and prancing with okapi flair,

And a polar bear!

 

When it’s night time, it’s the kite’s time,

To rock with the nightingale.

Jungle bell time is a swell time,

To go riding on an old Clydesdale.

 

Giddy up zebra herd, pick up your feet,

Gallop around the tree.

Dance with a dingo to a jungle drum beat,

That’s the jungle bell rock!

 

 

Your NaNoWriMo Preparation Kit

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Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? For those who haven’t heard of it, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Throughout the month of November, writers attempt to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo for quite a few years and have even ‘won’ it a few times. Two years ago I put together a helpful post for NaNoWriMo-ers preparing to undertake NaNoWriMo. The post includes:

  • Ways to prepare for NaNoWriMo.
  • Helpful tips and advice.
  • Helpful links.

You can find the post HERE. I’ve also included a handy link in the navigation bar at the top of this site.

HAPPY NANO-ING!

Happy World Teachers Day!

I owe a lot of credit for my writing to my English teachers growing up. I was very lucky to have been taught by English teachers who were not only very good at teaching me the technicalities of writing effectively, but who also encouraged me greatly with my writing endeavours.

I went on to study Primary Education, inspired by my own teachers and my writing idol: John Marsden, who was (and still is) both a teacher and an author.

And now, with children of my own in school, I have even more to be thankful for. They’ve had some fantastic and supportive teachers.

Here’s an infographic on teachers. Some interesting statistics.
World Teacher Day

Infographic courtesy of https://www.grammarly.com/plagiarism-checker

A Big Thank You!

beautiful&deadlycover FINALWow, what a fantastic launch. I have so many people I want to thank.

To those who donated prizes…

Please support these fabulous, generous people by checking out their websites.

To those who came to the launch party…

I loved having you all there–you made the launch party a success. I had so much fun sharing excerpts and behind the story tidbits. Thank you for participating in the quizzes and competitions. Thank you especially to everyone who got the word out about the launch party and invited their friends.

A big thank you to everyone who picked up a copy of the book…

It was exciting seeing so many people grabbing their free copies during the launch. I am especially thankful to everyone who has been spreading the word about ‘Beautiful & Deadly‘. The free promo is now over, but you can pick up a copy for $3.49 USD/ $4.85 AUD.

Some stats

It was exciting watching ‘Beautiful & Deadly‘ moving up the charts throughout the launch. These were the top stats:

#6 in Fantasy Collections and Anthologies (Amazon.com.au)
#22 in Paranormal (Amazon.com.au)
#28 in Superhero (Amazon.com)
#36 in Fantasy Anthologies and Short Stories (Amazon.com)
#900 in free kindle store on Amazon.com.au
#3805 in free kindle store on Amazon.com

bestseller amazon au 2 Oct 11am collections

I am still absolutely amazed by those stats!

Thank you in advance…

To everyone who reviews. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the collection.

Launch Day! 3 Reasons to Come to the Launch Party!

beautiful&deadlycover FINALI’m so excited!!! I can’t believe launch day is finally here! As of right now Beautiful & Deadly is LIVE on Amazon! Check it out here. It’s currently priced at $3.49 USD ($4.85 AUD), but it will become FREE for 48 hours to coincide with the launch party. So at about 12:00am PST (7:00pm AEST) on the 30th September it will become available FREE!

3 Reasons to Come to the Launch Party!

Number 1

There are going to be some great PRIZE GIVEAWAYS! Including:

Number 2

I’ll be posting excerpts and sharing the background behind the stories over the duration of the launch. Plus there are some fun activities planned, too!

Number 3

You’ll be the first to know when the book goes FREE!

I seriously can’t contain how excited I am! I hope to see you all at the launch party. Please spread the word!

CLICK HERE to JOIN THE LAUNCH PARTY!

One Week Until ‘Beautiful & Deadly’ Launches (and you’re invited to the launch party!)

beautiful&deadlycover FINALI can’t believe I’ll be releasing my short story collection ‘Beautiful & Deadly’ in just one week! Things are starting to get scary and exciting. Not to mention busy, busy, busy. At the moment I’m putting together a Facebook launch party to coincide with the launch of the book on Amazon. You’re all invited, so pop by and join the event! There’ll be book excerpts, behind the story tidbits, fun activities, discussions and, best of all, PRIZES! I’ve had some awesome prizes donated by author D.K. Burrow, Mumma H Nutrimetics, Wrap Me Delicious – It Works! Global and the Leigh Family Juice Plus franchise.

Today I wanted to share the line up of stories that will be appearing in the collection. Many of them have appeared in anthologies over the years and now they’ll be all together in one collection. There’s also several new, never-before-published stories.

The Line Up

Angel Blood

Eighteen for Life

Aphrodite

Love Bites

A Troll for Christmas

Curse of the Falls

Island of No Return

Red Lipstick

Spectrum

Spectrum and Captain Awesome vs. Arachnid

Equinox

Ice Crystals

The Seashell

The Sweet Taste of Self-Loathing

Maya and the Prince

The Bony Finger of Death

Do any of those titles sound intriguing? Which one do you most want to read?

Fingers crossed everything goes smoothly for the launch. I’m hoping to offer the book FREE for the first 48 hours!

Why I Decided to Self-Publish + Prize Winners Announced!

Why I Decided to Self-Publish

beautiful&deadlycover FINALIn two weeks I will be releasing Beautiful & Deadly: A Fantasy Collection. It will be my first time venturing into the world of self-publishing. In the past I had never really seriously considered self-publishing—preferring to stick to the traditional publishing route. Self-publishing has typically had a bit of a stigma attached to it—self-publishing is for authors who can’t get published by traditional means, right? Plus it would mean all the marketing and business side of publishing would fall to me. I didn’t feel I was business-minded and that I lacked the confidence to market my own work.

But over the past few months my mindset has changed.

Why I changed my mind:
  1. I listened to a webinar on self-publishing children’s books through 12 x 12 and it got me inspired, especially when it was mentioned that children’s writers could do well through being hybrid-authors (authors who are both traditionally published and self-published). I ended up signing up for the Picture Ebook Mastery course run by the Children’s Book Insider and I started playing around with the idea of self-publishing my own children’s book. My biggest drawback came from the fact that I am not an illustrator and hiring an illustrator would be costly.
  2. A friend put me onto the ‘Rocking Self-Publishing Podcast and I started listening to it. I became even more inspired. There were writers out there making a good living off self-publishing. I think there is this mindset that there are so many badly self-published books out there that self-publishing has developed a stigma that turns readers off. But the authors on these podcasts were finding that if they put the work in and put out a professional-standard book, they could do well. I began to think, “If they can do it, why can’t I?”
  3. I started reading more about self-publishing and seemed like a lot of authors were saying that even in traditional publishing a lot of the marketing was left on the shoulders of the author. That was a big selling point for me. The marketing aspect of self-publishing had been a major off-putting aspect for me, but if I was going to be responsible for marketing my work even in traditional publishing, then it was no longer a point against self-publishing. In fact, marketing a self-published book would be great practice if I ever end up being traditionally published. Plus haven’t I already been marketing my short stories in their respective anthologies? This wouldn’t be too much different, except it would just be me (no other contributing authors/publisher to share the load).
  4. There have been times in the past where I briefly thought I would like to put all my published short stories into a collection, but now that the idea of self-publishing had lost its stigma for me, I started entertaining the idea much more seriously. The more I planned the collection, the more I wanted to make it a reality. And because most of the stories in the collection have been previously published, I think it took some of the pressure off, because they’d already been through a lot of edits and I knew I could put out a professional book. There are two rules for self-publishing; one of those is for your book to be professionally edited.
  5. The second rule is to have a professional cover. I started researching cover artists, but at the same time I started playing around making my own cover. Thankfully I have been doing graphic art for about 8 years as a hobby and I have made a lot of mock covers over the years. My first cover was very amateur looking, so I scrapped it and made another. This one I felt looked professional, especially after some tweaking based on feedback. It was more validation that I could actually self-publish a professional-looking book. (P.S. For others considering self-publishing, I highly recommend getting a cover artist, unless you have been doing graphics yourself for years and have enough skills to do it yourself. If your cover doesn’t look professional, readers will be put off buying the book.)

Fingers crossed and wish me luck as I plunge head first into the world of self-publishing.

For those interested in exploring self-publishing, this series of posts by Author Entrepreneur Management Solutions is a must read. It takes you through planning, marketing, expenses and predicting income.

I’d love to hear stories from anyone else who has taken this route. Or what other writers think of self-publishing? Would you do it? Why or why not?
PRIZE WINNERS!

And now for the winners of my blogiversary giveaway!

Prize 1: An advance copy of Beautiful & Deadly.

Mary Preston!

Prize 2: A limited edition short story of your choice from the collection.

Angelina M Linan!

Prize 3: Your choice of a story critique OR a $5 Amazon gift card.

Melissa Gijsbers Khalinsky!

Thanks to all who entered and shared the competition. Winners, please check your email for your prizes!

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