Australian Author of Children’s Books and Teen Books: May 2014

Friday, May 23, 2014

My Life 3 Book Title!

I'm currently writing the third book in the My Life series. The books are full of weird, funny, gross short stories, mostly inspired by my childhood.

Yesterday I was brainstorming a title for the third book with a bunch of year 3-6 kids in a school hall. And it got me thinking... I don't have a title, which is a problem for a book because most of them do have titles.

So I need ideas! I deliver the book to Random House 1 June and I'd love to have a title by then. The first book is: My Life & Other Stuff I Made Up. The second is My Life & Other Stuff That Went Wrong.

So, talk to me. Click 'Post a Comment' below and leave your idea. If I go with your title I will thank you in the back of the book! And maybe send you a book prize but I haven't thought that far ahead. Here are a few ideas we brainstormed yesterday...

My Life – Disaster Zone
My Life & Other Practical Jokes
My Life & Other Weird Stuff That Happened
My Life & Other Dumb Things I Did
My Life & Other Disasters
My Life & Other Catastrophes

[Illustrations from My Life & Other Stuff That Went Wrong by funny-man and all-round nice-guy, Gus Gordon.]


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Speakers Ink Conference

I was lucky enough to have my new books launched recently at the Speakers Ink conference, Words at Work. Megan Daley, Teacher-Librarian and renowned book blogger over at Children's Books Daily did a fantastic job as Chief Launcher. 

I read from My Life & Other Stuff That Went Wrong while talented illustrator guy Gus Gordon worked his magic on the whiteboard. I love it when Gus and I get to do sessions together. He is definitely one of the good guys.

The day was full of inspiring and educational talks on storytelling, literacy, visuacy, performance poetry, technology in education and the CBCA shortlist for 2014.
Isobelle Carmody was an inspiring start to the day.
David Stavanger (Ghostboy) transfixed us with his unique style of performance poetry.
Anita Heiss tested our Murri IQ (not as high as it should be).
Anita also took the shot of me at top of post. (Thanks!)
Gus Gordon shared his love of beautiful pictures and visual literacy.
Gus and I signing books for teacher-librarians good enough to purchase them.
Helen Bain, owner of Speakers Ink, the QLD speakers' agency for authors and illustrators, put together
her best conference yet.
Tom Weekly, star of the My Life... books. Gus and I shot a short 'How to Draw Tom Weekly' vid that'll be up on my Youtube channel soon.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Best Writing App

I recently discovered the best writing app ever. It's called Nature. Heaps of cool features.

Nature 7.2.3
Category Creativity
Size 0 MB
Developer Unknown
Languages All
- Moments of quiet reflection.
- Bug fixes from version 7.2.2
- No wifi.
- Stillness, out of which story solutions and unexpected details emerge.
- Mobility, unstuckness.
- Gentle breeze.
- Great views.
- Roar of ocean.
- Rolling clouds.
- Weight loss.
- Back and neck relief.
- Authentic research on character and setting.
- Sense of inner wellbeing.

Give it a shot. No need to download. Just leave house. Preferably barefoot. Take notebook.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Dog Face

My latest on Dog Face Photo Studio. And my new author headshot. ;)))

Monday, May 5, 2014

Book Week 2014

The Children's Book Week theme for 2014 is Connect to Reading. Book Week is 16-22 August. I thought I'd share 10 ideas and links to help make it the best Book Week ever.

1) This is my mission statement to connect kids to reading this year. (The pic above is my son and I. Reading is a team sport in our family. I look part werewolf, as though I may devour the book at any moment.)

2) I'm giving away a free author talk (including flights to get to wherever your school might be in Australia) and $250 worth of books from Random House Australia to the class or school who raises the most money towards our 2014 Room to Read World Change Challenge – a bold attempt to raise $20,000 for 20,000 books for kids in the world's poorest countries.

3) Search for a Young Writer: I want to publish a short story under 1000 words by a 10-14 year-old writer in my next My Life book, out early 2015. If you write weird, funny stories that fit the My Life series, send 'em in. Check the details here.
4) Here are some Book Week activity ideas on the Children's Book Council of Australia site.

5) Books that will get kids fired up about reading this Book Week: There's the CBCA Awards shortlist  as well as the KOALA, YABBA, BILBY, KROC and COOL lists.

6) If you're running a writing competition for Book Week, you could try incorporating Story Scrapbook 2.0, the brand new online version of the transmedia brainstorming tool I created with programmer / designer, Benjamin Train.

7) You could book an author (or harass your teacher-librarian to book an author) to speak at your school. Here's a list of agencies. Most authors are already booked for Book Week but if your celebration falls outside the official Book Week dates, you might get lucky.

8) Want to jump-start writing and creativity? Try some activities in the My Life& Other Stuff I Made Up teachers' kit and lots of visual / aural creative ideas in the Two Wolves kit.

9) Check out the Teacher-Librarians' Children's Book Week wiki. Lots of good ideas for Connect to Reading activities, and a chance for you to share what you are doing.

10) Connect with me on FACEBOOKTWITTER , INSTAGRAM and YOUTUBE. Let's talk stories, create things and share the best books we've ever read.

Friday, May 2, 2014

YABBA Awards 2014

I've always been a big believer in the idea that kids don't know much about stuff. When I visit schools I try to tell them that adults know most things and kids know very few things, but they never believe me.

Now I have proof.

My Life & Other Stuff I Made Up, the book of short stories I created with illustrator Gus Gordon, has been shortlisted for a YABBA Award. Do you know who nominates books for the YABBA Awards? Kids.

Clearly, if kids knew stuff, they would not nominate my book on a shortlist among highly regarded authors like Michael Gerard Bauer, Oliver Phommavanh, Andy Griffiths, John Flanagan, Felice Arena, Anh Do, Belinda Murrell and Steven Herrick.

But they have. Thus, proving my point. What was it again?

Yes, that kids don't know much about stuff. Thanks for your time.

P.S. If you haven't read a good book in ages and you would like one that other kids have road-tested and decided is worth reading (even though we know that children's brains are a bit questionable as per the above argument) here's the YABBA shortlist, where you can read and vote:

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Inside a Dog Blog

I've just spent the month blogging over at Inside a Dog – the State Library of Victoria's Centre for Youth Lit blog. Was fun. Here's a wrap-up on my posts:

Help me Write a Movie, introducing you to my new book.
3 Screenwriting Tips, sharing things I've learnt from working in TV and film.
Best Book-to-Movie Adaptations. There are quite a few good movie recommendations in comments.
Suggested Script Layout showing you how to format your blockbuster screenplay.
Trust Me. I'm a Writer, looking at the weird stuff writers research in the name of truth, authenticity and a cracking story.
The Writer's Life, taking you on the road with me over the past month.
Story Scrapbook 2.0, inviting you to test-drive the new web-based version of our transmedia brainstorming tool.
The Last Post, featuring a pic of my fine dog, Boston and a handover to YA author Will Kostakis.
Big thanks to Adele, Jordi and the CYL team for thinking of me. Keep sharing the bookish love.
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