Blogs for Writers

Along my blog travels today, catching up on reading Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, Friday Fictioneers and Perfect Picture Book Friday I came across some great blogs that I thought would be helpful to all my writer friends out there.

Here they are:

1)  Nortina  S. posted about the Sediments Literary-Arts Journal, an online publication that is now accepting submissions for it’s second themed issue entitled “A Haunting”.  For more information, click here.

2)  Through Keila Dawson’s blog I came across Sub It Club where I found a stack of writing competitions, Pitch Slam contests (from April through to September) along with information and helpful hints about querying and submitting. Everything you need to know to help get your work “out there”.

Here’s what they say – “Whether you’re a writer thinking about sending out your first manuscript, an artist sending out sample artwork, an old pro who’s submitted loads of manuscripts, agented or on your own, Sub It Club wants to support you. Whatever stage you’re in, whatever genre. Sub It Club is here to help you make something amazing happen! We’ll be posting submission information, motivation, and challenges. We’ll talk cover and query letters.”

3)  If you’re interested in the Pitch Slam Contest on Sub It Club, there’s one coming up on the 9th April 2015.  Click here for submission details.  Looks like fun!

4)  Last but not least – Through Stacy S. Jensen’s blog I found Rate Your Story – Before you send in a picture book manuscript or magazine article to a publisher or writing competition, send it to Rate Your Story and a volunteer published author will read over it and give you a score from 1-10.  It’s that easy!

Hope everyone had a great Easter and a nice relaxing holiday.

Kids’ Book-Review Monthly Writing Challenge

A few posts ago I wrote about the Kids’ Book-Review Unpublished Picture Book Award (you can read about it here.) The Kids’ Book-Review site also has a monthly writing challenge where you can submit a children’s story (500 words or less) on a certain theme (due on the 25th of each month).  For a list of themes and how to submit click here. It’s a lot of fun and gets you thinking outside the box, trying to be creative as you can.

Each month, four stories are selected and published on their website (one story every Friday throughout the month). March’s theme was BOOKS and I was very excited to receive an email saying that my story “Bookshop of Hope” had been selected and was being published on the website on Friday 6th March.  If you’d like to read “Bookshop of Hope” or other stories from the challenge click here.  The theme for April is MUSIC (due in 25th March) so get your thinking caps on and start writing!

Kids’ Book-Review Writing Competition

I was just looking on the Kids’ Book Review website and their Unpublished Picture Book Award is now open to both authors and illustrators.  Entries close 2 March 2015.

Here’s some info about Author entries:


Eligibility: Australian resident living in Australia or overseas, aged 18 or over.

One winner will score $200, a manuscript appraisal, a certificate and the chance to have their manuscript fast tracked to the publisher’s desk at Walker Books Australia. There is no guarantee of publication and normal Walker Books manuscript submission rules and timings apply.

Two runners-up will be announced. Each will win a manuscript appraisal and certificate.

Word limit – 400 words

The cost of the competition is $25 for authors and $15 for illustrators.

For more information and to read the submission guidelines click here.

Let’s get writing!

Day Two

Day 2 of NaNoWriMo and already I’m behind schedule (736 words).  It’s a bit tricky when you have visitors come to stay for the weekend!  But I did manage to plot a time line and scribble down some notes yesterday morning and then stay up past midnight to get parts of it typed up.  I think perhaps I need to just type and not edit so much as I go along??

How’s everyone else going with their story?

National Novel Writing Month

November is National Novel Writing Month.  I just signed up and am a bit nervous as the longest story I’ve written is a junior fiction chapter book with a total of 7300 words.  I’ll need a stack more ideas/action/dialogue to write a 50 000 word novel in 30 days.  That about 1667 words per day.  I’m not really sure how I’m going to fit that much writing in around work, kids, after school activities, cooking and cleaning (think I’ll ditch the housework!) but, I’m going to give it a try anyway.

The official NaNoWriMo website has lots of helpful information on what to do and how to sign up.  Click here to check it out. Once you sign up, if you enter where you’re from you will receive messages about upcoming activities and events.  You can also visit a writer’s website and add them as a writing buddy. Furthermore, there are forums on which to chat about your novel and get help from fellow writers.

Has anyone taken up the NaNoWriMo challenge in previous years?  I’d love to hear how you went and if you have any tips or suggestions.

Who else is entering for the first time?

Wish me luck!  I start tomorrow.  🙂

Halloweensie Writing Competition

With Halloween fast approaching it’s time to enter Susanna Hill’s Halloweensie Competition.

All you need to do is write a children’s story (100 words or less) that has the words broomstick, pumpkin and creak in it, post it on your blog and then submit the link to Susanna’s blog.

Here’s mine:

Miranda’s Broken Broomstick

“Eeeek!” screeched Miranda.  “My broomstick is broken!”

“Cast a spell and fix it,” suggested Aunt Marigold.

Miranda waved her magic wand.  “Squeak and squick, creak and crick, mend by broomstick, quick, quick, quick!”

Poof!   A double-decker bus appeared.

“I think you’ve muddled the spell,” said Aunt Marigold.  “Try it round the other way.”

Miranda waved her wand again. “Creak and crick, squeak and squick, mend by broomstick, quick, quick, quick!”

Poof!  A massive pumpkin coach appeared.

“Oops!” said Aunt Marigold.

“I love it!” shouted Miranda jumping in.  Then she high-tailed it down the road, her cackle echoing into the night.

If you’d like to read more Halloweensie stories or find out more about the competition, click here.

CYA Writing Competition/Conference

It’s that time again! Entries for the Children’s and Young Adult Writers and Illustrators Competition are due on 30 April so send in your fabulous picture books (fiction and non-fiction), chapter books, YA novels and illustrations as soon as possible.

The ninth CYA Conference program will be held in Brisbane on Saturday, 5th July 2014.

Here’s a little bit about the conference and the line up of amazing speakers attending the conference: “This conference is aimed as professional development for new and established writers and illustrators of Children’s and Young Adult literature. Master classes and workshops will be conducted by Wendy Orr, Sue Whiting, Aaron Pocock, Isobelle Carmody, Terry Saleh, Pamela Rushby, Rebecca Timmis, Karen Tayleur and Peter Carnavas.”

Editor and agent appointments as well as website development critiques are also available. These are one-on-one 15 minute meetings whereby your work has already been read. Editors onsite include: Sue Whiting,(Walker Books), Karen Tayleur (Five Miles Press), Leonie Tyle ( Tyle & Bateson Publishing), Suzanne O’Sullivan (Hachette Australia), Katrina Lehman (Penguin, Australia) and Agent: Alex Adsett and web designer: Rebecca Timmis.

For more details about the CYA competition/conference visit the CYA website.

I went last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. You can read all about it here. Happy writing and illustrating and hope to see you there!

Best Australian Blogs 2014 Competition

If you enjoy writing you should check out the Australian Writers’ Centre
They offer a wide variety of writing courses: memoirs to magazines, film scripts to food blogs, thrillers, travel writing, children’s books and more!
In their latest email I read that they were holding a Best Australian Blogs Competition so I decided to enter (would love to win an online writing course!). After many hours and a few tears of frustration I managed to add the “Vote for me!” button to my sidebar. So, if you enjoy reading my blog and have a few seconds to spare, click on the button and vote for me please.
Voting finishes on May 5th at 5pm.

Thanks 🙂

March Madness Writing Competition

I’ve been a bit slack of late (well, perhaps the last 3 months to be exact) with my blog but I have been very busy with work, school and kids.  I did, however,  make some time to sew a skirt and do some writing!  Susanna Leonard Hill’s writing competitions are always fun so I decided to join in and write a fractured fairy tale.  Here are the rules:

Write a children’s story, in poetry or prosemaximum 400 words, that is a fractured fairy tale.  Feel free to add a theme of spring, or mix in one of the spring holidays if you like – St. Patrick’s Day, April Fools Day, Easter or Passover, Arbor Day, Earth Day…  Have fun with it!  The madder* the better! 🙂
*as in wild and wacky, not angry 🙂

You do not have to include spring – that is optional.
The story can be a picture book or a short story – whatever you like.
If it’s a picture book, you may NOT include art notes, because we get into a weird area of whether that’s fair in terms of word count and added description etc.  So if you write a picture book that’s wonderful, but make sure art notes aren’t necessary to understand it.
Title not included in word count.
And here’s my fractured fairy tale:





Handsome and Gretchin

“Squish-a-licious,” said Winnie the witch, adding the finishing touches to her bubblegum bedspread.  Her newly decorated Gingerbread House looked scrumptious.

She relaxed into her marshmallow recliner and was about to enjoy a hot cup of cocoa when there was a tap, tap, tap on her curly whirly window frame.

“Who’s that tapping on my window?” boomed the witch.

“Winnie Witch, Winnie Witch, let us come in,” replied Handsome and Gretchin.

“No!” said the witch.  “Not by the hairs on my chinny chin chin.”

“Then we’ll munch and we’ll crunch and we’ll eat your house down,” laughed the children.

“Scram, you brats,” screeched the witch, kicking open the door.  The children hid behind the nearest lollipop. 

As Winnie fluffed up her cotton candy cushions she heard a knock, knock, knock on her leather-strap liquorice door.

“Who’s that knocking on my door,” yelled the witch.

“Winnie Witch, Winnie Witch, let us come in,” replied Handsome and Gretchin.

“No!” said the witch.  “Not by the wart on my nosey nose nose.”

“Then we’ll hack and we’ll snack and we’ll chomp your house down,” teased the children.

“Go away, you conniving cockroaches,” screamed the witch, chasing them down the peppermint path with her broomstick.  Handsome and Gretchin ran into the woods.

Pleased, the old witch returned to her cottage and lay down for a snooze.  She awoke to the sound of nibbling coming from her garden.  She peered out the window and gasped, “My brand new chocolate rabbit!  My freshly painted candy cane fence!”

Winnie the witch’s garden was in disarray.  And smack bang in the middle was Handsome and Gretchin, wallowing in a large puddle of ooey gooey mess, chocolate dripping from their greedy mouths.  

They looked at Winnie and smiled a wicked smile and Winnie knew what she must do.

With tears in her eyes Winnie called out, “Eat it, eat it all!  I don’t care.  But please don’t eat my flowerbeds.  Those chocolate sprinkles are soooo expensive.”

Handsome and Gretchin’s eyes gleamed with mischief.  They raced to the flowerbed and began cramming fistfuls of sprinkles into their mouths.

“Auugghh!” screeched Handsome, coughing and spluttering.   “Those sprinkles taste like dirt.”

“That’s because it is dirt, you fools,” cackled the witch, hysterically.

Gretchin spat out her sprinkles and shrieked, “Eeek, a half eaten worm!”

The children ran home as fast as they could, leaving Winnie the Witch to snack happily ever after.



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Pitch Your Book Competition

On the holidays I put my extended knowledge (ha ha) of Microsoft Slide Show and Clip Art to good use and entered the “Pitch Your Book” Competition.  It took quite a few rehearsals and a lot of co-ordination to play music on one computer, the slideshow on my laptop and read from my sheets of paper, all while trying to hold my phone steady and video the whole thing!

In the end I was pleased with my 2 minute pitch and emailed it in.  Last Friday I received an email from the competition organiser saying that my pitch for “The Curse of the Shattered Sceptre” had made it into the top 10!  It went up on You Tube today.  Here is the link if you’ve got a bit of spare time (1 min 40 sec to be exact) to check it out.

Hope you like it!