Meet the Author: Bobbie Richardson

Bobbie’s top tip for aspiring authors: Find a place, whether at home or at a café you love to go to, and make that your business place to write. I always treat myself with a cuppa and do at least 1.5 hours of work at a time before breaks.

Bobbie Richardson, a local Maleny resident from New Zealand, moved to Australia in 1998.

“I was made aware of a system that holds humanity back when I had an incredible experience with a Cherokee Elder who I met and worked with for a few years,” she said. “Taking my hand she talked to me telepathically for over an hour at a time. This led me to using my visions (real things Bobbie saw outside this reality) I had received all of my life to focus on the truth of what’s really going on and to find out more about humanity ‘s potential.”

Bobbie has three children now aged 12 to 28 and has experienced the diversities and different needs of each individual soul.

Bobbie has written and illustrated two children’s books, with a third on the way. She was also a singer songwriter and has recorded and sung 15 originals, winning a competition with Brisbane radio station B105 and Channel Seven’s Today Tonight. This led to performing her original song at a Broncos’ game in front of over 20,000 people. Bobbie created a song to go with her first picture book to unite all children.

Website: www.bobbierichardson.com.au

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/childrensnewagebooks

 

AUTHOR INSIGHT

Why do you write? I started to write because my life had led me to a lot of great information about humanity’s potential. My journey took me to USA to work with an Elder, and to Uluru with David Icke but most of all I learnt over the years to trust my dreams and visions as many came true.

This led me to illustrate my first picture book, designed to open children’s imagination for the purpose of igniting these potentials I was taught.

I went on to write The Timekeepers Void to enhance our lives, to step out of the programming of our system, to entice children and adults to think outside the box, to believe in magic again, that anything is possible.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I used to be a singer/songwriter and always an artist so I would probably still keep on creating in some form or another.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Honestly I totally failed English at school so to let that go, the belief that I wasn’t good enough, and to believe in myself enough to send my books out to the right people and never give up has been huge. I’m a bit like a dog with a bone, if it feels good, ignore the logic and just do.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? Working from home so I can still be with my girls as I am a solo mum.

—the worst? Spelling, grammar and motivation when there’s still housework to be done.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? Invest more in myself earlier.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? If it’s your passion, then treat it like a business and invest into that business all your time and finances that you are able to…don’t hold back.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? To keep your eye on the ball, no matter what drama you create in your mind.

BOOK BYTE

Jonar & Kitty –the Timekeepers Void

The story takes the reader on an exciting adventure through an inner porthole to another dimension.  This dimension is full of magical, fantastical creatures where animals and humans are equals and plants have the ability to heal and lead us into other realities. This other-world adventure throws two teenagers, Jonar and Kitty, into a journey of self-discovery and empowerment. Through saving their friends, they also find a hidden gem within themselves and are then able to unite both dimensions, returning us all home.

Visit the world of Elphnye where the colours are brighter and the days are shorter, where the stars move before your eyes and the trees hold other realities. Meet Spirit, the black panther; Jabene, a dramatic fairy; Alder, a wizard who made a terrible mistake and was sentenced to a life as a badger; Loopnit, a crazy little man with the ability to teleport and many more characters.

Designed for children who are looking for awareness of self and unlimited imagination.

Jonar & Kitty – The Timekeepers Void, is an 18 chapter magical adventure novel written and illustrated to introduce other dimensions, whilst learning the value and potential of the imagination, stillness of mind, and focused intention. Taking you through a maze of self-awareness, it is written like a fantasy story along the lines of: Narnia, Golden Compass and Alice and Wonderland. Therefore, any child could read it as just a mystical fantasy or they could choose to delve deeper and explore their own potential.

Written to enhance our lives and to step out of the programming of our system. It entices children and adults to think outside the box and to believe in magic again, that anything is possible.

The ebook is available here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Meet the Author: Goldie Alexander

 

Goldie’s top tip for aspiring authors: One word: PERSEVERANCE. And try and write every day, if only a sentence. Practice makes perfect.

Goldie Alexander’s 90 books and prize-winning short stories appear both in Australia and internationally. Her ability to bring both the past and other worlds to light touches the hearts of adults and children. She writes in almost every genre and has won many awards for her novels and short stories. Her My Australian Story: Surviving Sydney Cove is used in almost every primary school as well as being published in New Zealand and re-titled in the UK as Transported.

Recent books for older children include The Youngest Cameleer – how Muslim Cameleers helped find Uluru, My Holocaust Story: Hanna, now published in Canada, and the sci fi Cybertricks, which won a 2016 Notable. Other recent novels for young adults include That Stranger Next Door, and In Hades: a verse novel, short-listed in 2015 for an Aurealis Award.

Just published is the SHAKESPEARE NOW! TRILOGY, three novels that use contemporary plots and young protagonists based on well-known plays.

Goldie speaks in schools, tertiary and community centres, festivals and also runs classes in creative and memoir writing for adults as ‘Mentoring Your Memoir’. Her website is www.goldiealexander.com

AUTHOR INSIGHT

Why do you write? Can’t think of anything I’d rather do. In fact, if I ever contemplate the idea, I’m totally horrified and rush back to my keyboard.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I wouldn’t mind being a film critic, as I am also passionate about good cinema. I would happily take over from Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton now they have retired. Any offers?

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Finding publishers who liked what I wrote. I was lucky in that my first four YA novels were commissioned, but after that life became tougher and I had to take all those knockbacks with gritted teeth. My saddest story is that I had something like 30 middle grade novels that I had to cannibalise into 30 longish short stories. These were finally published as three short story collections. Another example … Cybertricks was fifteen years old before it was finally published and declared a Notable in 2016. Then I was accused of plagiarising Hunger Games’ for my ideas.

How involved have you been in the development of your books? Do you have input into the cover/illustrations? Far more than I have ever been. I used the illustrator Aaron Pockock for the Cybertricks cover. Coming in October is my trilogy SHAKESPEARE NOW!  re-tellings of well-known plays using young protagonists and contemporary settings, with covers illustrated by the extraordinarily gifted Paul Taplin. When a friend hinted that these covers were ‘too different from the usual YA covers’, I replied, ‘Exactly!’

These longish novels include The Trytth Chronicles (as a sci fi version of The Tempest) Gap Year Nanny (as Macbeth set in present-day Melbourne) and Changing History? (as a time-warp Romeo and Juliet set in Berlin in 1928, and Melbourne now)

Otherwise I am dependent on my publishers for editing, layout and design. I wouldn’t be much good at those, anyway.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? The process of creation and finally ending up with something that might work after a million re-edits. Though the process can be unbelievably frustrating, I wouldn’t spend my life any other way (except as a film critic?).

—the worst? That blank screen. And rejection letters. Even the most experienced writers get those, though they usually remain very quiet about receiving them. But I always mention this to ‘newbies’ as I think it motivates them to keep writing. I also run Writing Memoir workshops for seniors. Watching their delight at something they have written is enormously pleasurable.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I would be more aware of the upcoming importance of social media and possibly spend more time circulating amongst other writers and publishers. But I am rather shy and at the time I started off as a writer, I wasn’t well enough to do all that running around.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? I was told this at the time but didn’t really believe it. That writing can be heartbreaking and I soon found that it certainly can. I discovered that I needed an alligator’s skin to take the knocks and rebounds and a soft heart to empathise with other people and characters enough to write about them.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? Edit, edit, edit and re-edit. LIVE a little and READ! I read about 100 books a year and still that’s not enough. Lots of young writers write thinly disguised semi-autobiography, and then get stuck. It’s never the first book that counts, rather the second!

 BOOK BYTE

SHAKESPEARE NOW! Three novels that take on the challenge of rewriting some of our best loved plays using young protagonists in contemporary settings:

Gap Year Nanny (Macbeth set in the present)

 

 

The Trytth Chronicles (The Tempest as science fantasy)

 

 

 

Changing History (Romeo and Juliet set 1928 Berlin)

  

 

 

Sales sites: www.fivesenseseducation.com.au

www.goldiealexander.com

and all good book stores.

Meet the Author: Robert Power

 

Robert’s top tip for aspiring authors: If on any given day you don’t feel particularly creative, then edit your draft, or sketch out new plot ideas. There is never a good reason to stare at an empty sheet of paper (or blank computer screen). You become a writer by writing. And … never give up.

Robert Power was born in Dublin and has lived in Melbourne since 2005. He freelanced as a journalist in London, appearing regularly in newsprint and magazines including The Guardian, New Society, New Statesman, Radio Times, Time Out, City Limits. He has worked in international health for 30 years, travelling globally as a consultant, and publishing over 120 academic journal articles. He was short-listed in the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards in 2008 and was a prize-winner in the 2012 Age Short Story Competition. He has published three novels: In Search of the Blue Tiger (Transit Lounge, 2012), The Swan Song of Doctor Malloy (Transit Lounge, 2013), Tidetown (Transit Lounge, 2015) and a collection of short stories, Meatloaf in Manhattan (Transit Lounge, 2014). Lulu in New York and Other Tales (Unicorn Press, 2017) is a collaboration with acclaimed American painter, Max Ferguson, in which Power has written 500-word stories envisaging sixty of the artist’s paintings. The book was launched in May 2017 in New York and the following month in London. Power’s memoir/travelogue Tell it to the Dog is now in bookshops and other outlets. More details of his work, including reviews and blogs can be found on his website: www.robertpowerauthor.com

AUTHOR INSIGHT

 

Why do you write? I was born in Dublin, Ireland, so I like to think aspiring to being a writer is a birthright. In any event I have written fiction for as long as I can remember. It’s one of the best media for exploring the human condition, trying to make sense of life’s events and for wrapping it all up in a series of imagined worlds.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? Very few writers are able to pay the bills by writing alone. I have had many jobs: a teacher; a freelance journalist; social science researcher. But for the last 30 years I have worked in international public health (with a particular focus on HIV prevention: see my second novel The Swan Song of Doctor Malloy).

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Staying strong when the publishing houses sent the rejection slips. I was once told by a commissioning editor from one of the big four that they ‘loved’ my first novel. Two weeks later she called to say the marketing department could not clearly identify the ‘genre’ so would not be taking it further. Finding a publisher to believe in a first time author is the greatest barrier to any aspiring writer.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? Engaging the creative side of my being. Exploring and expanding ideas and watching stories unravel in front of me with characters that come to develop lives of their own. Tell it to the Dog is my sixth book and I am continually honing my skills and learning from those I work with, especially the editorial team at my publisher, Transit Lounge.

—the worst? Finding the time to write all I want to write. I currently have 50,000 words of a detective story in development, as well as drafts for new short stories and ideas for a follow-up to Lulu in New York & Other Tales (Unicorn Press), my collaboration with the American painter Max Ferguson.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I would abandon the modern world, live in shack by the sea, rescue a dog, own a pair of shorts and a tee-shirt, eat off the land and the ocean and walk and write and write and walk.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? I would like to have known more about the network of independent publishers that are interested in new authors and to be told to trawl through their websites to be sure that my kind of writing suits their interests.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? When I came to Melbourne 12 years ago I was encouraged to enter my first novel, In Search of the Blue Tiger, for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards for an Unpublished Novel. I was short-listed. The chair of the panel, Kevin Brophy, recommended I send it to Barry Scott at Transit Lounge. Transit Lounge has been a great publisher for me ever since. Also, being advised to set up a website was invaluable: www.robertpowerauthor.com

BOOK BYTE

‘Robert Power’s journey is one of great heart, risk and compassion. He is a craftsman using language as a fine tool to carve a life story enmeshed in the values of our common selves.’ Tony Birch, author of Ghost River

Tell it to the Dog is an exquisitely written memoir that is at once playful, heartbreaking and affirming. From a Dublin childhood to London, then on to Europe, to Asia and Australia, there is a deep engagement with the world in this book about growing up, about human and animal connectedness, about friendship, love and loss. Power understands the uncanniness and endurance of memory. He can make us laugh, and then stop us in our tracks at the profundity of this business of meeting life. Each of these short chapters is beautifully complete; together the whole thing shimmers. In the most delightful and subtle of ways, the language, trajectory and wisdom of Tell it to the Dog underscores our need to embrace our own vulnerabilities, to confront our experiences and memories, and to believe as Jane Austen once wrote, that ‘when pain is over, the remembrance of it often becomes a pleasure’.

‘With exquisite prose and riotous feeling, Robert Power has created a stained glass window of a book, through which we gaze, as if for the first time, into what it means to live a life.’ Catherine de Saint Phalle, author of Poum and Alexandre

Buy the book here.

Meet the Author: Rachel Matthews

Rachel’s top tip for aspiring authors: Join a writing program or any environment where you can give and receive feedback. Write about what matters to you, that will resonate to the reader. Forget trends, they come and go. Don’t edit your first draft of anything, just write. Be vulnerable and mindful of your own judgements.

 

Dr Rachel Matthews is a Melbourne author, lecturer and VCE English teacher. Recently, she completed a PhD in creative writing (a novel and exegesis). Her critically acclaimed debut novel Vinyl Inside received strong press reviews and was highly commended by the Australian Vogel Award judges. Her short fiction has been published in EQ magazine, educational and writing journals. She has more than 15 years’ experience as an educator within a diverse range of learning environments, including lecturing in RMIT’s Associate Degree in Professional Writing and Editing, teaching within international settings and the RVIB. Rachel is also an experienced presenter with the Melbourne Writer’s Festival, the Vic Association for Teachers of English State Conference and National Young Writer’s Festival.

Visit https://www.rachelmatthewswriter.com/ to find out more about Rachel and her books.

AUTHOR INSIGHT

Why do you write? I love the power and release of storytelling. The aim is to try to be honest and vulnerable. But that is also the hardest part.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? Anything with a creative bent.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Finding a fit for my first novel ‘Vinyl Inside’ when approaching publishers. Many of them found the genre and style didn’t have a specific fit but they liked the writing. Also, it is an incredible lesson in patience and persistence.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? Giving marginalised characters a voice, listening to my students share their stories and working toward understanding the bigger questions.

—the worst? The need for solitude. This is sometimes not easy for others to understand.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I’d work hard to develop a broad profile and develop a range of skills, such as articles, short stories, poetry, etc. I’d be more patient when approaching publishers and enter more competitions, keep connected to the writing community.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? That persistence will become more paramount than skills.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? Write the first draft of a novel without editing or worrying about the direction and final details. Just get the initial concept down without any rules so that you have text to shape and play with.

BOOK BYTE

Siren

Rachel Matthews

A brave new novel that sensitively explores one woman’s experience of sexual violence and the silencing of those who feel compelled to speak out.

What happens when a young woman enters a city apartment early morning, with two footballers? Jordi Spence is sixteen years old and lives in outer Melbourne. By daybreak, her world has shifted. Max Carlisle, a troubled AFL star, can’t stop what comes next. And Ruby, a single woman from the apartment block, is left with questions when she sees Jordi leave.

In this remarkable novel, Rachel Matthews captures the characters of Jordi and her family, the players, and the often loveable inhabitants of a big city with a deceptive lightness of touch that seduces the reader. Siren reveals the often unnoticed life of a city while simultaneously drawing us deep into a dark and troubling world. What happens has an unexpected effect on all those who are both directly and indirectly involved.

The result is a powerful and haunting novel about cultural stereotypes and expectations, love, loneliness, family and our struggle to connect. In so many ways, Matthews subtly sounds the siren on sexual violence and its prevalence in our culture.

The book is available here.

Meet the Author: Shona Husk

Shona’s top tip for aspiring authors: Read your genre to see what is currently selling, but also read widely. Be a magpie and learn from other genres.

Shona Husk is the author of more than 40 books that range from sensual to scorching, and cover the contemporary, paranormal, fantasy and sci-fi romance genres. Her most recent series are Face the Music, Blood and Silver and Annwyn. As well as writing romance she also writes sci-fi for the Takamo Universe game and urban fantasy under anther pen name.

She lives in Western Australia and when she isn’t writing or reading she loves to cook, cross stitch and research places she’d one day like to travel.

You can find out more at www.shonahusk.com

www.twitter.com/ShonaHusk

www.facebook.com/shonahusk

Newsletter: http://mad.ly/signups/119074/join

AUTHOR INSIGHT

Why do you write?

I’ve always made up stories. They used to be just to entertain myself, but while I was on maternity leave I started writing them down. It was about three years before I got serious about wanting to be published. Even now I write the stories I’m interested in and that I want to read—I have to because I spend so long working on them.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer?

I’d probably still be a civil designer (designing roads, drainage and sewerage infill etc), and I’d probably have more free time for my other hobbies like cross stitch. However, I’d still be a reader and I’d still be making up stories to entertain myself.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published?

When I started writing it was time (I had babies) and a lack of knowledge. It was taking me 12-18 months to write a novel and I couldn’t learn about story arc and character development when it was taking so long. I switched to writing novellas (I was already reading novellas because I didn’t have the time for novels) and it all came together. The next novel I wrote then sold (the other two live in a cupboard).

How involved have you been in the development of your books? Do you have input into the cover/illustrations?

I fill out a cover art form then the publishers take over. Edits are always a negotiation, but most of the time I agree, or I look to see what they are trying to achieve and find a way to do it if I don’t agree with their suggestion. Everyone is trying to make the best book they can. For my self-published books I generally get a premade cover. I have a few sites that I search and I find something suitable that conveys the mood and genre of the book.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life?

I love plotting and researching. Creating the characters and their world is so much fun.

—the worst?

The final page proofs. By the time I get them I’m sick of the book, yet at the same time it is the last chance to catch mistakes so there is pressure involved.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer?

I would pick a sub-genre and stick with it. While I write romance I write in several sub-genres (contemporary, paranormal, sci fi and fantasy). For branding I think sticking with one sub-genre would’ve been more effective.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author?

Getting published isn’t the hardest part nor is it the end. Staying published and marketing are hard work.

What’s the best advice you were ever given?

Stories are all about conflict and the conflict has to keep escalating.

BOOK BYTE

 

Servant of the Forest

Shona Husk

“Remember to be wild,” Orabella’s mother would say.
But her mother is dead and Orabella’s days are taken up with chores for the small estate that barely keeps her stepmother and stepsisters fed.
Then an invitation arrives. The King is throwing a three-day party for the Prince, a last attempt to find a cure for the curse that will claim him on his twentieth birthday. The witch who saves Gauthier will get his hand in marriage and will eventually become queen.
Orabella is forbidden from going to the party even though everyone is invited. She wants to see the castle and the Cursed Prince. This time she refuses to obey her stepmother.
As Orabella discovers the secrets of her past and the truth about her mother and the prince’s curse, she learns that no one is to be trusted and not everyone wants the prince to survive.

Buy Links: Amazon Kobo iBooks Barnes and Noble

 

 

 

 

Meet the Illustrator: Aśka

 Aśka’s top tip for aspiring illustrators: People say that a lot of it is luck. That is true. But luck is a statistical concept. If you want to play the numbers game you have to be in it! So make sure you enter all the competitions, challenge yourself with unusual illustration projects, join groups, try to apply for grants and send your folio out to all the publishers every year. If you buy 100 tickets in a lottery, your “luck” is sure to improve. And so will you.

Photo: Lili Riecken Photography

Aśka is an illustrator, artist and scientist. Once a PhD candidate researching quantum optics, she turned her hand back to art with the goal of being a children’s book illustrator.

She has more than 10 years of experience in children’s character illustration and book development, kids’ product design, graphic novels, animation, design and children’s science education.

Aśka has had numerous comics published in Perth and Melbourne, was featured on an ABC TV documentary – Noise On Screen – , won a Curtin Gallery Grant for her solo art exhibition, and ran an eight-week animation festival on the Northbridge Piazza Superscreen.

Continuing her passion for science, she also works for Scitech, presenting science programs and workshops to children across Western Australia.

Three of her illustrative projects have been published in 2017: The Cosmic Adventures of Alice and Bob, by Cristy Burne (CAASTRO); Pepsi the Problem Puppy, by Sandi Parsons (Faraway Nearby Ink); and Looking Up, by Sally Murphy (Fremantle Press).

Through her illustrations, she loves to create energetic characters with a curious streak – the best type of friend to take on an adventure uncovering the wonderfully diverse and inspiring world around us.

Check out Aśka’s latest projects on www.askaillustration.com

ILLUSTRATOR INSIGHT

 

What’s the best aspect of your artistic life?

First of all it’s the act of creating new things that brings me a lot of satisfaction and personal fulfilment. I also love the flexibility of being my own boss, and the ability to really maximise my schedule on my own terms. I think I’m getting pretty good at that.

I’ve always loved sitting in my room and making things. Back when I was in primary school my projects had an imaginary audience, and I developed comic books, board games, toys and teaching aids for them. Today I still sit in my creative bubble at my desk, but now I’m working towards more focused outcomes and (hopefully) for a real audience!

—the worst?

It is easy to get lost in my work, and forget that sunshine and fresh air exist.

In order not to transform into a cave-dweller, I try to take my bike for a ride around the river in the mornings. Working at Scitech several days a week also helps, as it gets me out of the house and amongst the children.

How do you approach an illustration project?

It all starts with some kind of research. This could take the form of anything really: leafing through pages of books by a particular artist, watching cloud formations or browsing images of frogs on the Internet. Ideas then start popping into my head and I proceed to ‘try them out’ by scribbling. Eventually one of the ideas becomes more dominant and persistent.

Though I am a mostly a digital illustrator, I always start a concept with pen on paper. It is never pretty – more of a gestural squiggle, allowing me to feel the composition and envisage very early on how the design will take up page space.

But once I start working on the line work, first sketchy, then more refined, ideas do often develop further. I essentially think through drawing. Seeing images on the page breeds further ideas.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m illustrating a picture book about a boy with dyslexia, which was written by a dyslexic author. Having been fortunate enough to win a DCA grant, I have taken the project from my ‘creative cave’ and out to schools, inviting students from Years 3 and 4 to hand write their own stories. I then either use these stories as background textures in the illustrations, or actually illustrate them as part of the main character’s world.

Because the book aims to give children an insight into the world of a dyslexic person, I wanted to make sure it was very accessible to children with reading difficulties, so as to not alienate this crucial audience. So I held some consultation sessions with a variety of children who struggle with reading, to ensure the font choices, sizes and illustration layout did not make the book more difficult to read.

I am also developing a short video to show the children who participated how their contributions shaped and changed the illustrations.

It is a project and a half! But it has been very satisfying working with so much input from children and truly developing the book together.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published?

I did everything backwards, as I didn’t do my research. After coming up with an idea, I made a book and then tried to plug the finished product to publishers, not even following their submission guidelines because I was so excited about my project I thought they would be too. Seems a bit crazy now.

Joining SCBWI, learning about the industry and seeing other people go through the publishing journey certainly paid off in the end.

But I think the obstacles are there every time I want to be published again. There is a lot of wonderfully gifted competition out there and limited publishing spots. So I guess believing that there is a space for me amongst all this talent in this vibrant and joyful industry of children’s publishing is the perpetual challenge.

What would you be doing if you weren’t an illustrator?

The only other job I’d settle for is an astronaut.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an illustrator?

I found that ten years ago I was saying “I’m an illustrator” a lot more than actually doing the hard, uncomfortable and challenging work. I wish I had had someone point out to me that being comfortable and finding things easy is not the way up.

Sweat, tears and ink!

What’s the best advice you were ever given?

“Don’t draw to be paid” (or, “make money in your spare time”). I started out working for a design and illustration company, but found very little energy remained after work for my own artistic pursuits, as I was working in the very area I wanted to develop in. It was hard to experiment and find my own style when people were paying me for particular outcomes. I did the same thing over and over, so that my rent was paid.

When I started to work as a science communicator, interacting with children on a daily basis, I would return to my studio full of ideas and will to create.

I do of course get paid for my drawings, but I don’t do them with the sole goal of being paid.

 

BOOK BYTE

The Cosmic Adventures of Alice and Bob, written by Cristy Burne, illustrated by Aśka, published by CAASTRO

Dedication, daring and discovery… Ever wanted to find the answer to BIG questions? Or dreamed of inventing the Next Big Thing?

The Universe is an amazing place, and we’re only beginning to understand it. There’s still so much to be discovered…

  • Join Alice and Bob on their ambitious journey to the hockey finals
  • Uncover true stories of scientific failure, fluke and fame
  • Find the everyday inventions that began with space research
  • Meet the world’s next-generation telescopes, jump on board with Citizen Science, and tackle the big questions with CAASTRO: Australia’s keen team of all-sky astronomers.

The book aims to inspire and excite young minds about science, experimenting and the wonders of the universe but most of all, encourage them to never give up on having a go. Alice and Bob’s fictional adventure is enhanced by the factual stories of discoveries, sometimes accidental, woven throughout the book as well as additional layers of information, find-this-object challenges and teacher resources to emphasise the importance of previous space research on our everyday lives.

To quote Cristy, “The Cosmic Adventures of Alice and Bob is part-fiction, part-fact, and all fun”.

This book is not available for sale, however all primary and combined schools in Australia received a free copy of the book so it can be found in a library near you.

 

 

 

Back Story #1: Characters have their say

‘A sob story?’ I heard Matt say. He hitched an eyebrow. ‘You’ve got to be joking. You don’t write serious stories.’
I ignored him. After all, who did he think was writing this story?

By Teena Raffa

I didn’t plan on writing a light and fluffy romance for the Serenity Press romance anthology, A Bouquet of Love. My contribution to their previous anthology, Rocky Romance had been a light-hearted story about how a dog called Cat and a cat called Shakespeare brought together a gorgeous Irishman and a best-selling romance author who didn’t believe in true love and happy ever after.

And while I’d had fun writing Perhaps Love, this time I’d decided to aim for reader tears instead of smiles. I wanted to touch hearts, not funny bones.
What I had in mind was a moving story about a grieving brother choosing a wedding dress for his sister to wear in her coffin. I had a title – For Jasmine – and a love interest, because of course Matt would need someone to help him select the right wedding gown for the sister who’d been tragically killed with her fiancé in a road accident on their way to check out a reception venue.

My characters, however, had other ideas.

‘A sob story?’ I heard Matt say. He hitched an eyebrow. ‘You’ve got to be joking. You don’t write serious stories.’
I ignored him. After all, who did he think was writing this story?
Then Dani – the love interest Matt encounters at Serendipity Bridal Boutique – took charge. ‘Sorry, you’ve got it wrong,’ she announced and rewrote my introduction in an entirely new style.

I gave in and let my characters drive the story. They wanted to be heard, and I listened. I could have ignored their voices. I’m glad I didn’t.
Grooming the Bride wasn’t the story I intended to write. Sometimes as authors we have to set aside our fixed ideas of what we want to write and let our characters take the lead. A different direction can be just what our story needs.

A Bouquet of Love
A Serenity Press Anthology

Ten couples not looking for love find something unexpected when they visit Serendipity Bridal Boutique, Kate Peron’s vintage-styled salon. Love is in the air and it’s about to blow into their lives, bringing fortunate accidents of the heartfelt variety to those lucky enough to walk through Serendipity’s doors.
A man comes to Eagle Point to stop a wedding. A magazine editor finds herself in a cheesy situation. A different kind of bride takes to the catwalk. Readers will be swept away by this bouquet of stories from ten Australian authors – stories of healing and second chances, of opening hearts and minds, of souls connecting and remembering, of temptation and desire. Life and love in Eagle Point has never been more challenging … or fun!
From cupcake wielding assassins to hilarious blind date set-ups, there’s something for everyone in this delightfully romantic collection that proves there can never be too much ado about love.

The paperback is available here from Serenity Press.
Buy the e-book from Amazon here.

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