Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Podcast for Wooden Arms

I’ve just come across the podcast for Wooden Arms on Radio New Zealand’s website. It’s read (fabulously) by Matu Ngaropo, as part of their Storytime Treasure Chest. You can listen to or download it here.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

The next step

Voting has closed for the Kobo Prize, so thank you to everyone who voted for me (and to those who didn’t, but were nice enough to read my excerpt). I’ll let you know how I get on.

Regardless of the result, I have decided I want The Bold Ship Phenomenal to see the light of day, and that if Kobo don’t do it, I will do it myself. Part of the reason is that I studied publishing at university, and have always wanted to have go at creating a beautiful book for myself. The other part is that I am very fond of the story, and would like to release it into the world. Either way, the book, or books, need to be as good and as gorgeous as they can be.

There’s a lot to think about and learn, and I’ll keep you posted as I go, in case you decide to do the same yourself (or, like me, just find it interesting).

Fortuitously, I attended an excellent workshop at the weekend with The Storybridge crew (Jocelyn Watkin and James George) on self-publishing and marketing your books online. Their tag line is “We help you to tell your own story in your own way. The Story Bridge team offers a supported pathway to new heights for storytelling and publishing”. It’s very apt and I thoroughly recommend their courses (there are more) for anyone keen to hone their skills or get support for their writing practice.

Certainly I came away from the self-publishing weekend all fired up with ideas and expectations, and armed with great tips for how to create a quality book.

Wish me luck!

Friday, 8 November 2013

Award-winning authors congregate in Waikato

Many thanks to the people at the Waikato Children’s Literature Association who hosted an inspiring seminar on new children’s writing in Hamilton last weekend. We were treated to entertaining talks by Tessa Duder Award winners Rachel Stedman (A Necklace of Soulsand Hugh Brown (Reach), and Ester Glen Award winner Rachael King (Red Rocks).

I always thoroughly enjoy listening to other writers talk, as it inevitably sparks your own creativity and provides insight into the fascinating (for authors) and multifarious process of writing.  I bought all their books (oops: so much for the budget) and will look forward to several good reading sessions over the summer.

I also attended a very good workshop with Alison Robertson, another award-winning children’s writer (Tom Fitzgibbon Award), who gave tips on adding sparkle to your writing; and was treated to a ‘conversation’ with editor Margaret Cahill (previously of Learning Media) who provided a rare perspective on the editor–author relationship from the other side of the desk. The lady in the picture, explaining the nuts and bolts of picture books, is talented illustrator Deborah Hinde of Kooky Kiwi fame.

I find this type of event invaluable, for networking, having a good blather about books and harvesting the tips of the trade. I think the Waikato needs more of them, so if you’re thinking of running one and need a hand, send me an email. I’d love to be involved.

Thankfully the Waikato Children’s Literature Association has several more planned for 2014, including their AGM in February, where I’ll be speaking alongside Hamilton writers Tamara James and Yvonne Milroy. How can I compete with an elf!