A rollicking adventure from start to finish

sharp shooter cover

If you love an action packed adventure written by someone who understands how to grip you from the first sentence and hold you until the end, you need to read this book.

I was recently asked to review Sharp Shooter by Marianne Delacourt. Being a huge fan of Marianne’s books I eagerly agreed. This book didn’t disappoint.

SYNOPSIS: Tara Sharp can see auras, and it’s ruining her life.

When she tries to turn her inconvenient secret into a paying gig, her first job lands her in the middle of a tug of war between the biggest, baddest crime lord in town and the hottest business man Tara has ever met.

With only a narcoleptic ex-roadie, her pet galah and a vanilla slice for back up, Tara is ready to take on trouble with a capital ‘T’.

Sharp Shooter is a hilarious, action-packed novel and Tara Sharp is Triple F: Funny. Fast. Feisty.

WINNER of the Davitt Award 2010 Best Crime Novel and nominated for Ned Kelly Award 2010 Best First Crime Novel

REVIEW:

This highly unusual hero reads auras and is at first scared of her ability. But when she meets a mentor who helps her understand how unique her ability is and how it can be used to help other people she is off on a life-changing adventure. Strong, compassionate and dependable she is drawn into the lives of other people and puts herself in great danger to help them.

This book has a fast pace that we are used to from Marianne and the hero’s unusual abilities, feisty attitude and loyalty to her friends and family endear her to the reader. While it could be considered a crime novel, it also has the flavour of chic lit novel.

I am a fan of Marianne’s books and this one didn’t disappoint. I can’t wait for the next.

https://www.amazon.com.au/Sharp-Shooter-Tara-Book-ebook/dp/B01FG2LMMQ/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1464136343&sr=1-2&keywords=Sharp+Shooter

 

WIN A FREE EVAULATION BY MICHAEL GERARD BAUER

Michael bauerWhat makes a story funny? Award-winning author Michael Gerard Bauer knows! This knowledge has made him a popular author in many countries.

Want to have your readers rolling around the floor laughing? Want to know if your story has what it takes to be a best seller? Then don’t miss Michael’s workshop on writing humour on October 24th.

Workshop bookings and our competition to win a free evaluation of your humorous children’s story from Michael close Wednesday 21st at 5 pm. To win one of our 4 evaluations your entry must be in by then. Details of the competition are on the website. http://www.gondorwriterscentre.com/workshops.html

In Michael’s workshop, we look at the basic question, ‘What makes something funny?’ Once we’ve identified the key ingredient of humour, we will apply what we have learned to important aspects of storytelling, such as plot, character and language use, in order to produce laugh out loud results.

Michael Gerard Bauer. Michael is a multi-award-winning, Brisbane based writer of YA and Children’s Books. Michael’s most recent publications have been the very popular Eric Vale series and its spin-off series, Secret Agent Derek ‘Danger’ Dale. These hilarious books for younger readers are fully illustrated by Michael’s son Joe Bauer. Michael’s books are used widely in schools and are currently translated into 12 languages and sold in over 40 countries.

Cost: 1 day $80
Book now: Phone 07 54981 332 and pay by credit card or go to our booking page and pay by PayPal. http://www.gondorwriterscentre.com/workshop-bookings.html

NEED HELP GETTING YOUR SUBMISSION TOGETHER? WANT TO KNOW YOUR PUBLISHING OPTIONS?

October 31st : Tutor Elaine Ouston

Workshop Publishing: We examine all your publishing options and help you create a killer synopsis, perfect pitch and submission letter.

Decided to self-publish?
You will also learn about self-publishing options.

Competition: Send through the first 20 pages of your manuscript (any genre) by October 25th.
Course cost: $50

Book now: Phone 07 54981 332 and pay by credit card or go to our booking page and pay by PayPal. http://www.gondorwriterscentre.com/workshop-bookings.html

LAST CHANCE

Aleesah Darlison_hi resDo you want to write for children? Have you written a picture book manuscript you think might be ready to take to the next step? Do you need advice about publishers?

Writing picture books is harder than it looks. This Saturday, October 17th, renowned children’s author, Aleesah Darlison, provides an introduction to this exciting genre. She demystifies the process and provides insight into how to bring a picture book to publication. Writing exercises will be included. If you have one, bring a work in progress. Handouts provided.

Bookings are filling for this workshop so get in now. We can take 4 more.

OCTOBER 17TH:

Aleesah Darlison writes picture books and novels. Her story themes include courage, understanding, anti-bullying, self-belief, friendship, and teamwork. She has won several awards for her writing and has had numerous short stories, articles and book reviews published in anthologies, magazines, and newspapers.

Aleesah’s workshop:  Introduction to Picture Books. Cost 1 day $80

Book now: Phone 07 54981 332 and pay by credit card or go to our booking page and pay by PayPal. http://www.gondorwriterscentre.com/workshop-bookings.html

OCTOBER 24TH

Michael bauerWant to have your readers rolling around the floor laughing? Then don’t miss the workshop on writing humour by Michael Gerard Bauer on October 24th. In this workshop, we look at the basic question, ‘What makes something funny?’ Once we’ve identified the key ingredient of humour, we will apply what we have learned to important aspects of storytelling, such as plot, character and language use, in order to produce laugh out loud results.

Tutor: Michael Gerard Bauer. Michael is a multi-prize-winning, Brisbane based writer of YA and Children’s Books. Michael’s most recent publications have been the very popular Eric Vale series and its spin-off series, Secret Agent Derek ‘Danger’ Dale. These hilarious books for younger readers are fully illustrated by Michael’s son Joe Bauer. Michael’s books are used widely in schools and are currently translated into 12 languages and sold in over 40 countries.

Cost: 1 day $80

Book now: Phone 07 54981 332 and pay by credit card or go to our booking page and pay by PayPal. http://www.gondorwriterscentre.com/workshop-bookings.html

AWESOME ANIMALS

Today we welcome to our blog the lovely and talented writer Dianne Bates. Di’s new books Awesome Animals Cats and Awesome Animals Dogs are sure to be a hit with all children. We wish her well with these new publications.

Awesome DOGS COVERAwesome Cats cover

Please tell readers about your new books.

Awesome Animals (Big Sky Publishing) is an entertaining new non-fiction animal series for kids – a Guinness Book of Records meets Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

Awesome Cats and Awesome Dogs, the first two books in the series, are each an entertaining new read — a Guinness Book of Records meets Ripley’s Believe It or Not! which features fascinating stories about animals from all over the world. As well, there are relevant book lists, jokes and even humorous animal verses. Each beautifully styled book contains true stories and amazing photographs and quirky, illustrated break-out boxes, introduced by funny cartoon animal characters. The book is best suited for children aged 8 to 11 years, but there’s no doubt older readers will love the books, too.

What are the books about?        

Each of the books is a miscellany of fun facts and stories about real-life cats and dogs. As well, there are poems and jokes and a list of children’s books featuring cats and dogs.

Before writing these books I searched for something similar, but found nothing. Yes, there are books about cats and dogs, but the presentation of content in the awesome books is unique. Take cats, for example: in Awesome Cats there are hundreds of short stories about cats in history, cat adventures, famous cats and famous people’s cats, working cats, spoilt cats, and cats in fiction and in TV, on stage and in movies. Here’s just a little ‘teaser’ from the book: ‘In 1976 a mystery cat in Hong Kong killed more than 20 dogs. According to local people it was about four feet long and black or grey in colour. It was never caught.’ Imagine that, a dog-killing cat; certainly not a lap cat!

How did the idea for this series come about?

As a full-time, professional children’s author, I am always searching for an idea which will result in a book that any child would love to read. The three books in the Awesome Animals series are dogs, cats and horses (Awesome Horses will be published in 2016): it would be impossible, I’m sure, to find one of these animals that any child didn’t love, much less cherish. I started researching stories about dogs, first as I’m a real dog lover. Before long, I was finding amazing dog stories everywhere! Here are just a few famous dogs, for example, whose stories are told in Awesome Dogs: Rin Tin Tin, Lassie, Old Yeller, Bullet, Scooby Doo and Benji. I just love dogs and really miss our last beloved dog, Sassy; she has been irreplaceable since she died two years ago of old age.

Where can people buy Awesome Cats and Awesome Dog?

The books retail for $14.99 each. Here’s where you can get Awesome Cats:

http://www.bigskypublishing.com.au/Books/Children/Awesome-Animals-Cats/1123/productview.aspx

… and Awesome Dogs: http://www.bigskypublishing.com.au/Books/Children/Awesome-Animals-Dogs/1124/productview.aspx

Awesome Animals Blog Tour:

  1. 5 October Di Bates http://diannedibates.blogspot.com.au/ Article: Working with Big Sky Publishing
  2. 6 October Karen Tyrrell http://www.karentyrrell.com
  3. 7 October Dee White deescribewriting.wordpress.com
  4. 8 October Clancy Tucker clancytucker.blogspot.com.au
  5. 9 October Susan Whelan http:// www.kids-bookreview.com
  6. 10 October Elaine Ouston www.elaineoustonauthor.com
  7. 11 October Sandy Fussell www.sandyfussell.com/blog
  8. 12 October Alison Reynolds www.alisonreynolds.com.au
  9. 13 October Kate Foster http://www.katejfoster.com/blog
  10. 14 October Robyn Osborne http://robynosborne.com/blog-2
  11. 15 October Sally Murphy http://aussiereviews.com
  12. 16 October Georgie Donaghey www.creativekidstales.com.au
  13.  17 October Melissa Wray http://melissawray.blogspot.com.au

 

Scare the pants off them!

Charmaine3If you like writing scary stories, prefer a twist of the macabre, or want to find out how to create and publish horror, come along to Gondor Writers’ Centre for an intense, two day workshop with Charmaine Clancy. This workshop has it all! Check out the lesson plan below.

Writing Scary Stories

Crank up the tension and suspense in your horror writing. Whether you write fun, spooky tales for kids, gothic ghost stories for teens, or gory horror for adults, there are essential elements to every good scary story.

Learn how to plan, plot and create suitably spooky settings, creepy characters and suspenseful situations for a story to rival Lovecraft. You’ll also find out where the best markets are for publishing your scary stories. Everything you need for writing scary stories in one weekend.

Dates: AUGUST 8th & 9th

This weekend workshop is available at a VERY SPECIAL PRICE!

Usually $160:

JUST $100!

Full weekend package: Includes 2 day workshops, lunch two days, evening meal at Gondor Saturday night and accommodation at the Kilcoy Motel: This weekend’s price: $240 with share accommodation in 3 bedroom cabin. $260 if single motel room accommodation.

Workshop and accommodation only: $170 in a share cabin and $190 in single accommodation.

To Book: Call Gondor Writers’ Centre on 07 54 981 332

Or get more information at: www.gondorwriterscentre.com/workshops.html

Gondor Writers’ Centre is located in the lovely hinterland between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast at Kilcoy. Just over an hour’s drive from Brisbane and you’ll be writing in a spectacularly serene setting — perfect for a writers’ group getaway! Why not make it a special treat and book the weekend package. We will take care of all your accommodation booking needs.

The classes will be small and intimate, and you’ll get a lot of direct help from Charmaine when planning and crafting your story.

Here’s what we cover in Writing Spooky Stories:

Saturday:

  • Introductions — What fiction do you write or read? Get to know you classmates
  • What is horror? — The genre and its subgenres
  • Time management — Your writing time — Activity
  • Planning — Where to start. Covers character, setting, conflict, ideas, and identifying readers.
  • Plotting — Activity
  • Story inclusions — Elements of horror
  • Story Structure — Polishing that outline — Activity
  • Opening Hooks — Activity
  • Drafting your story — Activity

Sunday:

  • Your writing — Sharing your outlines or stories for feedback
  • Redrafting — Checking your structure at scene level — Activity
  • Editing — Tips for tightening your story — Activity
  • Elevator Pitch — Promoting your story — Activity
  • Markets — Publishing your stories
  • Support — How to find beta readers, critiques or writing buddies
  • Business of Writing — Activity
  • Q&A

Can’t make it on the day… no problem, just Skype in. Please indicate when you book that you want to be linked by Skype and send us your Skype profile. Limited numbers, so book early. You will be sent the worksheets and notes so you can participate along with the attending students.

GROUP DISCOUNTS: Get your writing friends together and save money. Group discounts apply to groups of 3 or more for all of Gondor’s workshops.

Please phone 07 54 981 332 if you have any queries.

MORE AUGUST WORKSHOPS:

August 15th: Tutor Ron Day Business writing:  * Newsletters – Reports * Work rules – processes and   procedures * Job descriptions * Job applications * CVs Course cost: $50

August 29th & 30th: Tutor Elaine Ouston. Strengthening your writing: The use of word pictures, metaphors and similes, show not tell, and the ability to create rising tension are all important tools. How to use these tools to create your masterpiece is covered in this workshop. Two day intensive. Competition: Send through the first 20 pages of your manuscript (any genre) by August 20th. Course cost: $50 per day. Come one day or two.

Weekend packages are available.

For more information go to http://gondorwriterscentre.com Book now: Phone 07 54 981 332 or go to the bookings page to book http://www.gondorwriterscentre.com/workshop-bookings.html

HOW MEMORABLE IS YOUR CHARACTER?

Characters are one of the most important elements in a good story. Think about the last book you read that stayed in your mind for days. What did you remember the most? Was it the setting, the story, or the main characters? For me it is always the characters. And they are just as important in a short story or poem as are in a novel. If your characters are not real and memorable, your story will fall flat.   Many writers make the mistake of having characters who are too similar to each other and not well enough developed. Humans are not the same; we are multidimensional beings.
Developing your characters so well that you know them as well as you know yourself is vital. Not only does it make it easy to write, but it also makes it much more interesting for your reader. A well-developed character jumps off the page and into the heart and/or mind of your reader, and makes them want to stay with the story until the end.
What do you need to make this happen? There are so many important things to learn. In the Gondor Writers’ Centre two day intensive character workshop, we teach you how to make your characters unique and memorable. This workshop examines the many personality types we meet and shows you how to portray them effectively. For crime and mystery writers, the character workshop includes an examination of criminal types and what drives them to commit crimes.
Workshop: Creating Memorable Characters. Tutor: Elaine Ouston Sat, July 25th and 26th, 10am to 4pm  2 day intensive workshop. Course cost: $100

Accommodation:  As our accommodation is not yet ready, accommodation is available at the nearby Kilcoy Motel for those who wish to stay over. You can have a look at their rooms on their website http://kilcoymotel.com.au.

Optional extras: For two day workshops, we would love our attendees to stay around for a social gathering after the Saturday workshop, so we have decided to offer a Barbeque dinner on the Saturday night. A light lunch will also be available both days.

Full weekend package: Includes 2 day workshops, lunch two days, evening meal at Gondor Saturday night and accommodation at the Kilcoy Motel:

For more information go to http://gondorwriterscentre.com Book now: Phone 07 54 981 332 or go to the bookings page to book http://www.gondorwriterscentre.com/workshop-bookings.html

CAN’T MAKE IT ON THE DAY? Now you have 2 alternatives. Skype in or go to an online video conference page and join in a live workshop.
Our first Skype session went off without a hitch. The attendee was happy with her experience and the knowledge she obtained. The only thing she said was that she was a little lonely and wished she could have been here to share the experience with others. We have a solution. Gather a couple of writing friends at your place and Skype in or video conference together. Each person would have to pay for their place, but if there are 3 or more the discount would apply.
Please indicate when you book that you want to be linked by Skype or video conference. For Skype, send us your Skype profile. For video conference we will send you the link after you book. Limited numbers, so book early. You will be sent the worksheets and notes so you can participate along with the attending students.
You can still enter our competition. For Skype participants, your 15 minute evaluation will be on Skype, and for Video Conference participants, your consultation can be by Skype or phone.

For more information go to http://gondorwriterscentre.com Book now: Phone 07 54 981 332 or go to the bookings page to book http://www.gondorwriterscentre.com/workshop-bookings.html

AUGUST WORKSHOPS:
AUGUST 8th & 9th: Charmaine Clancy, popular  children’s author, is also an  indie publisher, workshop presenter and co-coordinator of   the yearly Rainforest Writing Retreat. With a focus on improving literacy in young people, Charmaine’s books are aimed at reluctant readers and have proven extremely popular, receiving 5 star reviews and experiencing strong sales. She posts advice and news for writers at www.charmaineclancy.com

Charmaine’s workshop: Writing Scary Stories. Crank up the tension and suspense in your horror writing. Whether you write fun spooky tales for kids, gothic ghost stories, or gory horror, there are essential elements to every good scary story. Learn how to plan, plot and create suitably spooky settings, creepy characters and suspenseful situations for a story to rival Lovecraft. You’ll also find out where the best markets are for your scary stories. Workshop cost; $160.
Full weekend package: $300 with share accommodation in 3 bedroom cabin. $320 if single motel room accommodation.

August 15th: Tutor Ron Day   Business writing:   * Newsletters – Reports   * Work rules – processes and   procedures * Job descriptions * Job applications * Cvs Those working in a business and those who would like to secure a position, need to be able to write in a positive manner that others, employers or customers, will understand and relate to. This workshop will help you develop the skills to become a polished communicator.

Course cost: $50

August 29th & 30th: Tutor Elaine Ouston Strengthening your writing:

The use of word pictures, metaphors and similes, show not tell, and the ability to create rising tension are all important tools. How to use these tools to create your masterpiece is covered in this workshop. Two day intensive.

Competition: Send through the first 20 pages of your manuscript (any genre) by August 20th.

Course cost: $100

For more information go to http://gondorwriterscentre.com Book now: Phone 07 54 981 332 or go to the bookings page to book http://www.gondorwriterscentre.com/workshop-bookings.html

YOU CAN WRITE A PICTURE BOOK

Always wanted to write a picture book and have it published? Now you can find out how it’s done.

Aleesah Darlison_hi resPicture Books: Making It Count by Aleesah Darlison 

There’s something magical about picture books.

Many of us harbour the dream of becoming a picture book author. Teachers, librarians, mums and dads, grandparents. Anyone who has ever loved books, anyone who has ever had children and clocked up hours of bedtime readings. Anyone who has ever dreamed or imagined that they were creative. I’d wager just about everyone out there has thought at some stage or other that they could write a picture book, or thought, ‘I couldn’t do any worse than what’s already gone before, right? How hard could it be? It’s only a few hundred words.’

There surely is a picture book in us all.

Whether you’re seeking commercial publication, or whether you want to self-publish, or whether you simply want to write for the pleasure of it, or to share with close friends and family, we all have the right to write.

Whenever I run a picture book course or speak to beginner writers, one of the first questions I’m asked is ‘Do I need to find an illustrator for my book?’.

This is a common misconception people have when they’re starting out. The answer is ‘No’.

Unless you’re thinking of self-publishing, the task of finding an illustrator is undertaken by the publisher.

Publishers work with several, if not many, illustrators. They may even have a ‘stable’ of illustrators who they regularly employ on projects, whether they are picture books, chapter books or book covers.

Authors may not even know the illustrator who is commissioned to work on their picture book. I’ve worked on a book where the illustrations were done by two manga artists living in Japan. Other books I’ve worked on have involved illustrators who live in different states.

Different types of relationships will evolve on different projects. This is all normal.

What the publisher wants to see from an author is fresh, clever, original words. And usually words alone. Your words have to stand out. They have to SING.

Another question I’m often asked is, ‘Does an author need to include illustration instructions within their manuscript?’.

There are two schools of thought on this matter. Some authors and industry experts believe it’s crucial to include illustration instructions. Others believe minimal or no instructions are better and that the text should be able to stand on its own. I think somewhere in the middle ground is best. You don’t need to include copious amounts of illustration instructions about your characters or setting or plot. Editors and illustrators don’t need to know that your main character is wearing a red dress or red shoes, for example, unless it’s critical to the story.

But they may need to know that your main character is, for example, confined to a wheelchair, or a panda bear not a human. When I submit a picture book text to a publisher, I only include the most minimal, most important illustration instructions to provide visual clues. And when I do, the instruction is bracketed and in italics. For example: (Max lives in the city. PK is his dog.).

The best advice I can give to picture book authors is to make sure your manuscript is well and truly road-tested before you submit it. You usually only get one shot at a publisher with any given story. So make that shot count.

Aleesah Darlison is a multi-published, award-winning children’s author. She writes picture books and novels for children and young adults, both in the contemporary fiction and fantasy genres. Aleesah’s picture books include Spider Iggy, Our Class Tiger (2015 Environmental Society Award for Children’s Literature Shortlist), Little Meerkat, Bearly There, Puggle’s Problem and Warambi (2012 CBCA Notable Book Eve Pownall Award: Non-Fiction; 2012 Wilderness Society Award for Children’s Literature Shortlist). She has also written several novels and series for children including Ash Rover, I Dare You, Little Good Wolf, the Totally Twins series and the Unicorn Riders series.

Aleesah will have loads more information about picture books to share in her upcoming Introduction to Making Picture Books workshop at the Gondor Writers Centre on Saturday 18 July. Aleesah’s workshops are always extremely informative and inspirational. Book now to avoid disappointment.

Video conferencing and Skype connection is available for all workshops.

URL: www.aleesahdarlison.com  *  Facebook: www.facebook.com/AleesahDarlisonFanPage

Bookings and information at: http://www.gondorwriterscentre.com/workshops.html

 

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