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

 

Advertisements

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

 

HOW TO BE A HOOKER

15 05 15 room view 1There is much talk about hooking the reader in the first page by creating an inciting incident and posing a question that they want answered. But that is not enough.

The goal for every writer should be to compel readers to stay hooked until the story ends. To hypnotize them into staying with the book. To do this requires much knowledge and skill. Too many books promise a great story, start and end well, but sag in the middle.

The reader gets lost in the mundane waffle of the middle chapters and gives up. Some of the important elements to hook your reader are pace, foreshadowing, building expectation, creating questions, planting seeds and creating rising tension.

How to do all of these things and more are what you will learn at the Keeping Them Hooked workshop on Saturday 20th June at Gondor.

To book go to http://www.gondorwriterscentre.com/workshop-bookings.html

I hope to see you there.

Regards

Elaine

Don’t forget that from July, our workshops will include an opportunity for 4 lucky winners to have their manuscript assessed by our exciting presenters and one to win a FREE workshop! Check out the exciting workshops at http://www.gondorwriterscentre.com/workshops.html

Evoking emotion in your reader is essential.

This emotional connection enhances their reading experience and makes your story memorable.

Charles Dickens said, ‘Make them laugh, make them cry and make them wait.’

Another writer, whose name escapes me, said, ‘Make them laugh, make them cry and scare the pants off them, and you’ve got them hooked.’

One of the important emotions mentioned here, humour, is one that many writers don’t believe they need to know how to write. After all, they argue, I’m not writing a comedy, my book is romance, SF, fantasy, crime etc. (choose one). But humour is an integral part of all of our lives. Our ability to laugh and desire to do so serves essential life functions; it lessens tension and anxiety.

When speaking about preparation for an expedition, Edmond Hillary is quoted as saying, ‘I’ve also regarded a sense of humor as one of the most important things on a big expedition. When you’re in a difficult or dangerous situation, or when you’re depressed about the chances of success, someone who can make you laugh eases the tension.’

This is what we need to do to some degree in our writing. Many famous writers include humour in their stories.

Stephen King is one. If you are a fan, and have his novel 11.22.63 lying around, read the first few pages. The start of the story (the inciting incident) is a sad story of his protagonist’s marriage break up, but he throws in a humorous line every now and then to break the tension.  Like on page 12 where he is talking about a diner where he regularly eats, and says, ‘I had been in just yesterday, to grab an early supper. A Fatburger, fries, and a strawberry milkshake. I believe it’s important for a guy living on his own to hit all the major food groups.’

This one line, in the middle of a paragraph full of tension, makes you smile.

Using humour at the right place, to lighten some of the darker situations in your story or provide a moment of relief for your reader, can cement the bond your reader has with you as a writer and with your character. Studies have shown that humour enhances our connection to what we are reading and makes us remember it more.

It also gives you, the writer, a boost. By challenging you to add another element to your story and finding the funnier side of what you are writing, you can lighten your mood and enhance your creativity.

Many people think of humor as exaggeration or fabrication, but it can be added in many ways, some of them as simple as a comparison jokes with a metaphor or a simile chosen specifically for comedic effect: like the old saying, ‘Getting Joe to buy a beer is like pulling hens’ teeth’.

Michael bauerKnowing how to write humour effectively is a specialist subject. But it is something you can be taught. Someone who makes a living out of writing humour is Michael Gerard Bauer.

Michael is a multi-prize-winning, Brisbane based writer of YA and children’s books. His first novel The Running Man, published in 2004, received immediate acclaim, winning the 2005 Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year for Older Readers.

The first book in the YA series Don’t Call Me Ishmael! was published in April 2006. It is a comedy set in a boys’ school where Ishmael and his intrepid band of grade nine misfits take on bullies, bugs, babes, the Beatles, debating and the great white whale, in the toughest, the weirdest, the most embarrassingly awful … and the best year of their lives.

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. His books are used widely in schools and are currently translated into 12 languages and sold in over 40 countries.

His stories are often about serious issues that children face every day. They are deep and meaningful and help to guide the reader to handle difficult situations in their lives. But these messages are delivered in a light hearted, humorous way that makes the reader want to read on, and then read more of his books.

If you want to learn how to inject some humour into your writing, Michael is conducting a workshop at Gondor Writers’ centre on June 13th.  Who better to learn from than the man who makes a living out of writing humour.

Michael’s Workshop: How to Write Funny.

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.

I thought I would end this post with a little humour from some famous people:

If the English language made any sense, lackadaisical would have something to do with a shortage of flowers. – Doug Larson

It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up, because by that time I was too famous. – Robert Benchley

When I was a little boy, they called me a liar, but now that I am a grownup they call me a writer. – Isaac Bashevis Singer

If you’re interested in improving your writing by attending Michael’s workshop, please phone 07 54 981 332 to book or go to http://www.gondorwriterscentre.com/workshop-bookings.html  

ATTEND VIA SKYPE:

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 any 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.

How do you create realistic fantasy worlds?

stephen KingDid you ever wonder how Stephen King, J. R. R. Tolkien, J K Rowlings or award-winning Marianne de Pierres created the amazing worlds in their books? These and other successful fantasy writers found the magic to create realistic fantasy worlds, but they didn’t find it in a book. They spent many hours working out what worked best.

Creating your fantasy world means building a world based upon reality and making sure that your reader knows the rules of that world. Your characters must remain true to those rules throughout your story. For your readers to accept and continue reading your story, they have to believe in your world and accept what is happening to your characters.

J R. R. Tolkien begins his Lord of the Rings series with The Hobbit, by creating a world so real that it has become a classic upon which so many others are based. Tolkien brought us Middle-earth and the lovable hobbits, with incredible description and attention to details. The story contains all the elements hobbit coverof a traditional fantasy with a bumbling hero, an enchanted talisman, dark magic versus the good wizard, and, of course, the quest.

How do you go about creating a reality that readers will accept as readily? There are several things to take into consideration. Your setting must be believable. If magic is involved, you should define the rules of magic and stick with them throughout your tale. Characters should dress appropriately for the period of your story as well as use weapons appropriate to your world.

Peacemaker coverBut there is much more to learn to get right. Take a short-cut in your learning process and get it right the first time. Aurealis award-winning author Marianne de Pierres is willing to share her secrets at the Gondor workshop on May 30th.

On May 31st she will show you how to effectively research and what to put in and what to leave out. You can choose to do both days, or just one.

Get a group of your fantasy and science fiction writer friends together and come to Gondor for a fun and informative weekend.

Can’t make it on the day? Skype in instead. You will still be able to ask Marianne questions and take part in the day.

Phone 54 981 332 to book or go to our bookings page, fill in our form and choose your payment method. http://www.gondorwriterscentre.com/workshop-bookings.html

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries

%d bloggers like this: