Meet the Author: Frank Spencer

Frank’s top tip for authors: Base your novel on something you know and your personal experience and get your facts right. Then make sure it is interesting and flows from scene to scene. Make it realistic and possible. Your characters are not supermen.

 Frank Spencer is a retired organisation psychologist. He has a Masters Degree in Organisational Psychology and has implemented change strategies in many of Australia’s leading organisations. He has worked with world leaders in organisation development and pioneered a remuneration system based on role rather than job which can also function as a change strategy. His system is licensed to the Australian Institute of Management and Frank manages remuneration structure projects on their behalf. This is his debut novel.

AUTHOR INSIGHT

Why do you write? I read a lot and have always been credited with a fertile imagination. I can read something and see a story in it. For example the Japanese fortified islands in the Solomons and the practice of pirates dropping captive girls on deserted islands then coming back to hunt them down. These two things could come together to make a story.

Have you always wanted to be a writer? If not what made you want to write? Basically yes. I used to make up bedtime stories for my two boys. Also I had seen the likely basis for a novel on a major consulting assignment. When I retired I had the time to develop it. Also in my consulting I have developed operating manuals and proposals. These have to be clear and understandable.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Feeling I had a book worth publishing. One that people would enjoy reading. One of my ex consulting colleagues had a book published but I found it heavy going. I made several starts on my book before I was satisfied.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? The creativity ie The research and putting together a plot line then feeling it coming together as in a movie. Also working out character relationships and the dialogue between the characters. The best praise I have received is  “I couldn’t put it down.”

—the worst? Thinking it through step by step. Becoming discouraged with the tedium of typing it up. Feeling it isn’t coming together smoothly.

What would you do differently if you were starting out writing your first novel again? Probably nothing. I attended a course at the University of the New Age and read some texts on novel writing. Also I have started on a new novel, I have developed the plot line and done the research. I can now run the novel in my mind.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? How difficult and time consuming the process of publishing is.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? Find a good publisher and good editor.

book100A Secret Life

by Frank Spencer

First there was Bond. Then Jason Bourne.
Now meet Richard Sinclair. Richard Sinclair is a successful consultant and a recognised authority in his field but he has a secret. He is trained in mixed martial arts and is deadly in his craft.
On a consulting assignment, Richard uncovers a well hidden but extensive drug operation within a division of a client company. He is targeted by the people running the operation and his friend from National Service days, who is also highly skilled in mixed martial arts, comes to his aid. Then the Calabrian Mafia, who the division is supplying, enter the fight. Richard must seek refuge on an Island in the Whitsundays. Here he must use his skills and what allies he can find to seek refuge from their unknown enemy – who appears to possess unlimited resources, many soldiers and a fierce determination to kill them all.

The book is available here.

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Meet the Author: Muffy Churches

Muffy’s top tip for aspiring authors: If by any chance you’re daunted by the exercise of putting your thoughts into words on a page, take a walk around a park and speak into the auto-record on your phone.  Your words will flow naturally and it’s a great transitional step to take before the assault on your laptop keyboard.

 

Muffy_Churches_006Muffy Churches is an internationally renowned integrative coach-therapist.  A corporate trainer, executive coach, speaker, author, and counselor, she has extensive experience in inspiring and initiating positive behavioral change in clients around the world. To find out more about Muffy, visit her website www.muffychurches.com

AUTHOR INSIGHT

Why do you write? In the past, I’ve written just to get ideas out of my head and onto paper, typically at some ungodly, early morning, sleepless hour. I have a drawer chock full of a collection of these random thoughts on my particular topic of passion- the nature of our thinking mind and its link to our levels of life’s pains and pleasures.

 Recently though, instead of sporadic scratchy notes, my personal universe has been more orderly. I’ve actually managed to whip my thoughts into the form of a book and in this case my reason for writing is specifically to ‘share’ – to offer my concepts publicly to those who might resonate with them.

There’s a particular vulnerability in this for me. It’s like turning myself inside out and letting everyone have a peek…a scary risk, that in some weird way I’m enjoying.

 What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? By day, I’m a corporate executive coach and leadership trainer, so I’m working the two gigs concurrently.  The writing is really an extension of the coaching experience that I love so much- that amazing interaction with another trusting individual that is such a privilege for me.  In my very first career-life I was a professional dancer.  Those years were incredible as well, but definitely had a used by date attached, smiling.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? From an emotional standpoint, my challenge was learning to trust myself, to have faith that my message could be of value.  There are so many accomplished, bigger-than-life writers in my field.  I could hear my evil twin of an inner voice saying, “Why would anyone be interested in your thoughts on the topic?” It was like bungie jumping, I just had to breathe deep and leap.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? I’m passionate about understanding the art of ‘playing the mind game’, and writing about it gives me an opportunity to put concepts and theories into message bites that I can share with many at a time.  The exercise of writing articles for media releases around the book has been fascinating and fun.

—the worst? Definitely my time management, I’m a serial procrastinator.  No cupboard or garage bin has escaped me for the day or two before a deadline.  Thank goodness, once I finally get going on a project I manage to stay in the zone long enough to complete it, but getting to that point can be tough.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I would definitely keep better, organised notes and an improved filing system.  The drawer I mentioned earlier is like a loose-leaf dictionary without page numbers

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? I say good-heartedly, I wouldn’t have minded being warned that it can takes days to get one measly sentence right!  I expected my fingertips to fly across the keyboard and at times they do, but…rarely.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? To relax in authenticity and write from the heart- to have faith in my message and trust that the right audience will be drawn to it.

BOOK BYTE

Coach-Yourself_Cover_LR_FACOACH yourself

A 7-Step Guide to Personal Fulfilment

Muffy Churches

Join a unique group of individuals that wake up every morning feeling inspired and excited about the day to come! Learn to coach yourself OUT of self-limiting thought patterns and INTO a mind-set that makes you smile, through even the toughest challenges the world throws your way. Use a seven-step process as a new life habit and enjoy the emotional freedom in coaching yourself into a life of fun and fulfilment!

The book is available from https://loveandwrite.com.au and http://muffychurches.com

 

 

 

 

 

Meet the Illustrator – Muza Ulasowski

MUZA’S TOP CREATIVE TIPS: Practise, practise and practise your craft. There is always something you can improve on. Never give up.  Take up all opportunities offered.  You never know where they may lead you.

MuzaUlasowskiMuza Ulasowski is a graphic designer and children’s book illustrator based in the leafy western suburb of Brookfield in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. She is inspired and surrounded by a vast array of local birds and animals who tend to make their appearances in her book illustrations. She shares her life with her wonderfully patient husband, their charismatic bulldog called Charlie and a black magic cat named Basil.

In 2010, she was invited to illustrate her first children’s picture book and enjoyed it so much that she has been collaborating ever since with Australian and international authors. To date she has illustrated 10 children’s picture books and is currently illustrating several more which will be published in 2016. Whilst primarily concentrating on creating digital images for children’s picture books, Muza also specialises in graphic design, designing book covers and book layouts to print ready stage. She also designs badges, brochures, logos, DL cards, stationery, business cards, programs and the like.

In her spare time she enjoys illustrating in pencil and charcoal, acrylic painting, wildlife photography, sewing, and creating artworks for her colourful and crafty ETSY store.

Find out more about Muza on her Website and Facebook. She is also on Instagram.

AUTHOR INSIGHT

What’s the best aspect of your artistic life? Being cooped up behind a computer all day creating whimsical characters.

—the worst? Being cooped up behind a computer all day creating whimsical characters.  LOL

How do you approach an illustration project? When I am offered a manuscript to illustrate, I need to be able to ‘see’ the words written as images.  If I can’t  ‘see’ the words in pictures, then I don’t take on the project.

Once I have accepted a project, I firstly create a 32-page dummy with the text roughed out and very rough pencil sketch ideas for the illustrations to go with the text – rather like a storyboard.  Then rough sketches are created with my Intuos 4 Wacom tablet using the Artrage Studio Pro program – it is so much faster digitally and I don’t have to waste time scanning the artwork.  I love the fact that I can create very rough roughs which look like marker pen sketches. I then erase the unnecessary lines as I clean up the image.  Once I have decided what goes where, I then use the ‘sketch’ as the background layer for my more detailed sketching. Once the roughs have been approved, then I digitally ‘paint’ over the top with colours using a combination of programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and Artrage Studio Pro.

What are you working on at the moment? I have only just completed illustrating a children’s picture book Getting Home written by J.R. Poulter – https://www.facebook.com/GettingHome2 .  It is off to the printers as we speak and the launch date will be announced very soon.

I am just about to commence illustrating the next book, Magical Minnie written by Jennifer Douglas – about an ex racing greyhound dog who is now companion dog to a gorgeous little Autistic girl. Check it out on https://www.facebook.com/MagicalMinnieBook

Is there any area of art that you still find challenging? I find every area of art a challenge. I am my own worst critic! I never know whether anything I attempt will be successful or not.  I usually get to about half way into an illustration before I know whether or not it will work.  And even then I always find something wrong with it that needs to be fixed!

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? I was extremely lucky to have been given my first break in illustrating children’s books by being offered a contract by a very large publishing firm.  This contract was then followed up by another contract with another publishing firm.  At the time I actually didn’t realise how very lucky I was to have been offered these opportunities. The last few books have been independently published collaborations with the most amazingly talented authors who found me through social media.  I am so honoured they thought me good enough to bring their manuscripts to me and trusted me to create illustrations for their wonderful stories.

What would you be doing if you weren’t an illustrator? As a child I always wanted to be a children’s book illustrator.  But in my day this was not recognised as a legitimate profession and I was talked out of enrolling in commercial art studies.  It was only after my children were grown up and had left school that I remembered what I always wanted to do and recommenced this path again.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as an illustrator? I would not have listened to the doubters who talked me out of studying art in my youth.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an illustrator? I wish I had known just how much marketing and promotional work is involved in becoming published successfully. I wish I had been told that illustrating is only 30 per cent of the job done…. That publishing a book is a business with 70 per cent of it being marketing and promoting the book. Not that it would have made a difference – I still would have continued with my illustrating career, but at least then I would have had more realistic expectations.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? The best advice has been “Do not draw because you want to be famous or to be published…. Draw because you have a need to draw.”

BOOK BYTE

GH_JustFrontCover_1000pxGetting Home

By JR Poulter

Illustrated by Muza Ulasowski

 

Baby Bear is curious, he goes where Mama said, ‘Don’t!’ He finds himself adrift in a BIG, BIG ocean! Will Mama find him before his piece of pack ice melts?

A story for early childhood and lower primary with themes of risk taking, keeping safe, obeying rules, becoming lost and being found. The book also introduces small children to the idea of protecting our environment, animal habitats, melting of the pack ice and global warming.

Meet the Author: Ron Ward

RON’S TOP WRITING TIP:  Don’t hesitate, get on with it, getting started is hard, but if you are any good you’ll find the words can flow very easily.

Ron Ward is an authority in the combination of engineering, management and industrial safety, spending most of his working career as an engineer in the chemical industry. For more than a decade before his retirement he was a lecturer at the University of Technology, Sydney. Ron has published more than 130 papers and three books on engineering so is no stranger to writing. A Project in Ammonia is the first novel in his debut fiction series.

AUTHOR INSIGHT

Why do you write? A principal reason for writing these novels is to give the general reading public some grasp of what goes on in engineering work.

Another reason for writing stems from a road accident injury over 60 years ago, which injured and severely damaged one leg, and required surgery on the other to repair the damaged one.  That was September, 1949, significant because if that hadn’t happened there’s reasons to believe I’d have finished apprenticeship and stayed at the trades level.  I doubt I would have finished the STC diploma, continued to the BE at UNSW, enrolled at Macquarie for the MBA program, returned to UNSW for a PhD, and through those 50-or-so years moved from trades-level to management.  And, of course, picked up the art of writing.

In the last few years my mobility has decreased. I can walk, but I cannot play active sport, so writing has become “sport” keeping at least my mind actively mobile while my legs take-it-easy.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I suppose I’d just loaf around and read a lot.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Finding a publisher was very hard. I think my general topic (engineering and management at some future time, related to a prison-colony world) didn’t register with any of them.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? Holding and flicking through a handful of paper and knowing: “This is mine.”

—the worst? Finding time to get on with what’s simmering in my mind, the next step in my output.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I can’t see any possible alternative path, given my circumstances at the time.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? If wishes were horses beggars would ride, so my answer to this question is: I have neither wishes nor horses.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? I can’t think of any advice I’ve been given.  I confess to being something of a loner, possibly so by loss of parents at a very early age, so I’ve blundered along working out my own life.

BOOK BYTE

book100A Project in Ammonia

R. B. Ward

What happens when an unlikely group of four people – two Australians, one English and one French-Israeli – fight their way through the bureaucratic maze of their employer in a futuristic world so different, yet eerily familiar to our own? The Chief Executive has realised the firm needs rejuvenating and has sent the group to a long-distant colony to build and operate a fertiliser factory. As the group work towards their goal, they battle against the company directors who persistently do what they can to upset the exiles’ work.
How will they resolve the drama at Muddy River Bay?

The book is available here.

Meet the Author: Sofia Goodsoul

SOFIA’S TOP TIP FOR ASPIRING AUTHORS:  Put your trust into a pen and paper. You will never know when you are ready to write your ‘Harry Potter,’ unless you write it.

sof1Sofia Goodsoul is an author, kindergarten teacher, publisher and mother. Her poetry writing has grown from a hobby into a great passion. Now she can’t live a day without writing poems, riddles and stories for young children. The children give themes and inspiration for her books. Nian the Lunar Dragon is Sofia’s  second rhyming picture book.  She is now working with Marina Kite on her third rhyming narrative Eazy Peazy Lemon Squeezy. Sofia lives in Melbourne with her family and pets. She loves going to Zumba classes and taking long walks with her husband and Mack the family dog.  All her spare time Sofia dedicates to her writing and publishing career. You can find out more about Sofia and her books by visiting her website http://www.sofiagoodsoul.com.au/ 

She is also on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/sofiagoodsoul

AUTHOR INSIGHT

Why do you write? Firstly, I treat my writing as a kind of meditation. We all try to relax our minds by applying different techniques. Some people buy colouring books, others listen to music… I write. I found that writing takes the stress away and totally occupies my mind.

Secondly, as a teacher, I see that some social and behavioral issues have to be discussed with children, but can’t find appropriate literature. My first picture book Frog Todd was written about name calling and taunting.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I have been working as an emergency kindergarten teacher for over a decade. Being an active teacher gives me the opportunity to communicate with children, who provide themes and inspiration for my books.

What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? Believing that I am worth publishing, I guess.

What’s the best aspect of your writing life? I love visiting schools and kindergartens with my book presentations. I always use lots of props and involve children in story telling. It is the most exciting part of my writing life.

—the worst? I am not good at handling critiques, even if they are constructive.

What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I would connect to like-minded authors earlier.

What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? Once you start writing, it will take over you completely. Now I can’t live a day without writing poems, riddles and stories for young children.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? A long time ago, one of my teachers expressed concern about my style of writing and suggested that I needed to be briefer and more concise. All my stories are not longer than 500 words:-)

BOOK BYTE

9780994324214.jpgNIAN, THE LUNAR DRAGON is an entertaining, beautifully illustrated rhyming narrative for young readers about the legend behind the traditional Chinese celebration of the lunar new year. According to the lunar calendar, Chinese New Year commences with the new moon (Latin: luna) at the beginning of spring.

Long ago, Nian the dragon lived in the deep ocean to the east of China. Nian was a strong and ferocious dragon, which no creature could defeat. Once a year, Nian climbed ashore to hunt for cattle and human prey. The people of the nearby villages and towns lived in terror, and each New Year’s Eve they had to leave their homes to save themselves. One day, a monk came to the village. He knew a well-kept secret about how to scare Nian away and free the Chinese people from the danger and their fear.

The book is available from http://www.sofiagoodsoul.com.au/shop

and http://www.wheelersbooks.com.au/books/9780994324221-nian-the-lunar-dragon/

and http://www.amazon.com/Sofia-Goodsoul/e/B01824L8YW