Proof copy of Magical Tales from French Camelot

Just before New Year, what a lovely surprise in the mail: a proof copy of Magical Tales from French Camelot, my forthcoming book with the fantastic Lorena Carrington! To be published by Serenity Press in March 2022, it features my original translations and retellings of some great French Arthurian classic tales from the Middle Ages, principally stories by the great twelfth-century French writers Chrétien de Troyes and Marie de France, illustrated by absolutely superb pictures by Lorena. It’s so good to be able to leaf through this first copy–looking wonderful!

By the way, the book is for adults and teenagers–certainly not for ‘7 plus’ as some websites have it.

Illustration by Lorena Carrington for ‘The Boy in the Forest, the Girl in the Wasteland, and the Fisher King’, from Magical Tales from French Camelot.

The Buyers: a short story to enjoy

Well, here we are now in the festive season: Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, New Year, all the lovely celebrations that happen at this time of the year. It’s not been the easiest of years for anyone, that’s for sure, but still we reach towards hope and joy as we approach the end of 2021. It’s a time when people like to relax and read, watch and listen to light, happy, warm stories full of love and magic and the unexpected. And it’s also a giving time. So I’d like to combine those things today and offer all my readers a short story I’ve written recently. It’s called The Buyers, it’s for adults, it’s set not long before Christmas, and I hope it will bring a smile to your face. You can download it from the link below.

(Do feel free to link to the story from this post but please note it is fully copyright-protected and cannot be used commercially. My authorship should also be acknowledged, if you share the story).

May you all have a peaceful and happy festive season, whatever you celebrate, and a relaxing and fun holiday break. And see you next year!

What’s inside Inside Story? Check this out!

There’s only two days left till the end of the crowdfunding campaign for Inside Story: the wonderful world of writing, illustrating and publishing children’s books, the wonderful non-fiction book about Australian children’s books which I’m involved in compiling. And UPA Books have created a great little video which gives you a bit of a glimpse into what you can expect to find in this unique, informative and beautiful book. Have a look–it’s worth checking out!

Cover reveal of Cock-A-Doodle-Doo!

I am delighted to reveal the fabulous cover of Cock-A-Doodle-Doo, my forthcoming picture book with Kathy Creamer, to be published by Little Pink Dog Books in June 2022. Isn’t it fantastic!

Here’s the blurb of the book:

Richie the rooster loved waking up the farm each morning. He loved it so much that he began to crow earlier and earlier. Again and again!  Stop, everyone cried. But Richie wouldn’t stop. Until one day…

A hilarious story about how sometimes you can have too much of a good thing, by the acclaimed author and illustrator team who also created See Monkey and Join the Armidale Parade.

This was a story that was such fun to write, and pure joy to see the wonderfully riotous, colourful and characterful visual world Kathy has created for the noisy but endearing rooster Richie, his long-suffering friends on the farm–and the sneaky intruder with the red coat 🙂 I think readers are going to have a lot of fun with it, too. Can’t wait till it comes out!

Find out more and pre-order the book at the Little Pink Dog Books website, here.

A Hundred Words for Butterfly now available on Audible

For anyone who uses Audible, some good news: A Hundred Words for Butterfly, narrated by the wonderful Sarah Kennedy and published by Spineless Wonders Audio, is now available for purchase there, just in time for the holiday season! You can get it free with an Audible trial if you’re not yet a member, buy it within a subscription, or buy it separately, as a non-member. If you do decide to obtain it via Audible, I’d be delighted if you could put up a review of it there. Many thanks!

And remember, you can of course also get the book on many other platforms, see the full list here. Reviews on any site very welcome!

Great little promotional videos from Spineless Wonders Audio

Spineless Wonders Audio have just produced a couple of fabulous little promotional videos, written, edited and filmed by the talented Ben Vella, for the books and authors featured in their growing audio book list. And of course I’m part of that, with A Hundred Words for Butterfly!

Check them out below: the first one features a quick grab of me talking about Authors Direct.

And below is the second video:

Cover reveal for Sydney Under Attack!

I am excited to reveal the absolutely stunning cover of my forthcoming historical novel for middle-grade readers, Sydney Under Attack, which is set in late May and early June 1942, at the time of the Japanese midget submarine attacks in Sydney Harbour.

The book will be published in March 2022 by Scholastic Australia, it was edited by Clare Hallifax, and the cover was designed by Chad Mitchell. Isn’t it striking!

Here’s the blurb of the book:

In 1942, 12-year-old Nick lives in Rose Bay, Sydney, with his mum, dad and sister, and dreams of becoming a writer like his dad. But with the world at war, Nick is constantly on alert for anything that seems out of the ordinary and then late one night he sees it! A plane! But no-one believes him! Then, the unimaginable happens. Sydney is attacked! And Nick starts noticing people behaving strangely. Is it just his imagination or something more sinister?

I hope readers will much enjoy this novel, which is as much a mystery and spy story as it is historical novel and war story. Nick was a great character to write–he is so lively, energetic, and imaginative, even if he does sometimes gets hold of the wrong end of the stick 🙂 And it was a fascinating book to research, too–trawling through documents, archival films and photos, and Sydney newspapers of the time (thank you, Trove!)

The book is part of Scholastic’s Australia’s Second World War series–it’s the third one, in fact. And I wrote the first in that series, too, War and Resistance, which was published in 2019. Sydney Under Attack also has a link not only to War and Resistance, but to another novel of mine, 1914, published in 2014, which was part of another series Scholastic published, Australia’s Great War. The three novels are linked through one French-Australian family, the Jullians, who appear in different roles in each of the three books, as main characters in the first two, across two generations, and as important but not main characters in the the third. It has been absolutely amazing to have been able to do that and keep the link through the three books!

Crowdfunding campaign for Inside Story!

I’m very pleased to announce the launch of the crowdfunding campaign for a unique and wonderful book I’m involved in, as part of the writing and production team–Inside Story: the wonderful world of writing, illustrating and publishing children’s books.

Inside Story will be a full colour illustrated book, an invaluable resource and guide for aspiring writers, illustrators, editors and designers, but also of great appeal to anyone interested in the wonderful world of Australian children’s books. Commissioned by the New England Writers’ Centre, with the support of Create NSW, it is being produced and published by UPA Books, the collaborative imprint newly launched by United Publishers of Armidale partners Christmas Press and Little Pink Dog Books, working with a team of local professional writers, illustrators, designers, and editors. Contributions from other creatives and professionals–writers, illustrators, editors, designers, agents, publishers, booksellers and reviewers- from across the country are also included. The book will be published under the UPA Books banner in May 2022.

The crowdfunding campaign is to raise funds for printing, marketing etc.
Here’s the direct link to the campaign, which includes a video, lots of good FAQs, and all details of perks etc:

There are great perks available for campaign backers, including, of course, copies of the book. Regular updates on progress of the book will be posted on the campaign page. The crowdfunding campaign will end on Dec 2.

And here below is the fabulous video to introduce the crowdfunding campaign, and the project itself. Hope you might consider joining us!

My reading from The Silver Apples of the Moon

In this short video, I read an extract from my short story, The Silver Apples of the Moon, which was published in the superb illustrated anthology, South of the Sun: Australian Fairy Tales for the 21st Century, released earlier this year by the Australian Fairy Tale Society and Serenity Press.

The story is a mix of fairytale, crime thriller, and the supernatural. Hope you enjoy the reading and that it stimulates you to want to read it all and seek out the anthology, which is packed full of extraordinary stories, poems, lyrics and illustrations from both established and emerging Australian writers and illustrators. (By the way, this is very much an adult book, not one for kids.)

Story seed, story feather: one of my writing workshops

I run a lot of writing workshops, both in person and online, and today I thought I’d highlight one of my favourites, Story Seed, Story Feather. Suitable for both kids and adults, it features two really fun and intriguing ways of starting a story, and to explain the concept I’ve created a little video which I hope you enjoy.

And if you’re interested in finding out more about booking one of these workshops for your school or writing group, contact Speakers Ink.