Very exciting day. Had a meeting today with Garratt Publishing to talk about their project Third Space and my novella Amir that is being published by them. I received a hard copy mock up of my book and I've been floating ever since. It looks so beautiful and this is when it all starts feeling real.
This project is about embracing diversity and there are going to be amazing resources available for teachers to introduce these series in the classroom with an integrated curriculum across English, Civics and Citizenship and History.
There will also be author videos available to support the teacher's resources which is going to be great, but boy I'm not looking forward to watching myself on the screen. It will be published early next year so it's going to be soon. Yay. Also excited because it will be aimed for upper primary and lower secondary so a whole new readership for me. What fun!!!
I ran a short story workshop as part of the Brimbank Literary Awards last night and it went really well. There were about 16 participants who were really eager and motivated to learn. I sold some books, had some great conversations about writing, and finally felt the slump I've been in lift.
It has been a really busy first half of the year. I did 3 uni subjects (instead of my usual two) and really found it a strain. Toward the end of the semester I had a bout of illness and a death in the family and for the first time ever had to request extensions for every subject. I only completed my last assignment yesterday and finally felt that whoosh of relief you get when everything is done and behind you.
Part of the reason that I've also been struggling is I had a lot of writing deadlines. One of them I can share now. I was asked by Garratt Publishing, an educational publisher, to write a middle grade story to be published as part of their Diversity series. I had to read the brief, write a synopsis, that was approved, and then write a 10,000 word story to a deadline. It was the first time I had to write to a deadline and I found it stressful, especially amongst all the other stuff going on, but I found it a great experience.
Being pushed outside of your comfort zone really makes you realise what you're capable of. It was such an amazing experience to basically produce a story out of thin air and I loved the creative process and just sitting down and having things happen. I received feedback from the publisher and she loved the story and how layered it was. Such a relief that my instincts are right. So who knows what else I'll produce in the middle grade genre after this. I'm waiting on revisions and publishing details, but suspect it will be published sometime next year.
I'm hoping that the second half of the year will mean more writing time, and that it will be an easier one than the first half. But this might be an empty hope. I have lots of things going on:
Lots of new challenges and experiences. I'm looking forward to stretching myself. Just have to be careful not to burn out the way I have done in the past few months. Fingers crossed I achieve better balance.
I just attended the City of Melton Short Story Awards and was awarded third prize for my short story Best Friend for a Day. I’m quite chuffed because this is an extract of my memoir. The original chapter is 6,000 words, but this section stood alone very successfully at 1,500 words. So I’ll be using this strategy more in the future and submitting extracts for competitions.
This year I had the opportunity to work with Year 9 and 10 students running creative writing workshops at Gisborne Secondary College funded by Artists in Schools. Last night I attended the launch of the anthology featuring the students’ stories.
The launch was a wonderful celebration of the student’s hard work and it gave me the opportunity to catch up with so many of them. I love young people, their passion, and their inspiration and it’s such a privilege to have been involved in their first publication.
I got to hear about how the project has positively impacted on the students in terms of them gaining confidence to submit for publication, and to write essays and other tasks in their English classes. The school is also inspired to continue developing writing programs. They have the wonderful fortune of having a published author, Tracey Mcguire on their staff, who will be leading the way and plans are underway for a festival and further writing programs.
I had the best time and am still on a high. It's so great to have these moments and see the positive impact I've had. I love teaching!
I attended the Page Seventeen launch and read my published poem Drill Sergeant. I didn't have a video camera so I taped myself reading my poem when I came home. Hope you enjoy watching.
If you’re interested in checking out the Page Seventeen issue check out the Busy Bird website here. They also publish untitled, a journal of short stories and are seeking submissions for their next issue and are also running a short story competition.
The judge of the short story competition is the super talented Koraly Dimitriadis. She’s published her book Love & fuck poems and it is being launched on the 6 December at Brunswick Book Store. Read my goodreads review of Koraly’s poetry chapbook which she has reissued as a gorgeous book.
So excited to announce that my poem Drill Sargent has been shortlisted in the Page Seventeen competition. This means it's going to be published in Issue 10 and I'm in with a chance of winning. I'm just happy with the acknowledgement as poetry is a new genre I've been dabbling in and wasn't sure whether I had the chops for it. Now I know that I need to keep following the muse.
I'm running fortnightly creative writing workshops at Caroline Springs and Melton Library for young people aged 12-25. If you know anyone in the Western suburbs who might be interested pass this on. View all the information in the flyer below.
Well I've been a busy bee revamping my website and I have to say I'm quite chuffed with it. So take a look around and let me know what you think.
So far I'm loving Weebly. It's super easy to use and it's set up so that pages are designed with elements you drag over. Best of all it looks beautiful.
I am an author, reader and teacher.
Sign up and receive a free short story Suicide Watch from my book The Cuckoo's Song featuring some of my previously published and prize-winning stories. Suicide Watch features Sabiha, the protagonist from, Sabiha's Dilemma, from a scene cut from the novel. You will also receive a self publishing checklist.