The Dragon

One of the reasons bullies have so much power is because their victims are often too scared to tell. It’s a struggle that Leroy faces in ‘Bully on the Bus’ – and it’s a huge and important step, for him to speak about it.

Excerpt take from ‘Bully on the Bus’, by Kathryn Apel (UQP)

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Singapore Surprise

The blog has been quiet, as I’ve had lots of time travelling, firstly to Brisbane, for school and bookshop visits, followed by an unexpected (short notice) trip to Singapore to catch up with our son (briefly!) and experience the richly diverse country that he is calling ‘home’. Continue reading

Picture Books and Poetry

This week I’ve been super-productive with my picture books. I put the final polish on a picture book manuscript inspired by this little bird on our trip to Antarctica, then shared it with the lovely, talented and passionate children’s librarian, Kim Yeomans, who delighted me when she described it as, ‘a ‘quiet’ story with depth and light and shade. It ebbs and flows with tension and emotion.’

For a complete contrast, I then worked on a rhyming picture book I’ve had in my head for some time – well, I’ve had a four-lined repeating stanza, but that was all. I was thrilled when the rest of it romped out midweek, pure silliness and fun, and exactly the riot I was hoping it would be.

Alas, this then happened … Continue reading

Brisbane in February

I will be in Brisbane during February – doing the author thing; school and bookshop visits, catching up with writing peeps and publishers, writing … and all sorts of good things!

If you’re a principal/teacher/librarian interested in a school visit, I still have spaces available. More information here; Bookings Open 2018.

I will be conducting a workshop and Q&A session for teachers and teacher-librarians at Riverbend Books on Friday evening, 16th February, with specific activities to engage students across ages and curriculum areas. For more information, phone: 07 3899 8555, or email: info@riverbendbooks.com.au.

If you’re a budding young poet, you can join me for a poetry workshop at Where The Wild Things Are Bookshop on Saturday, 17th February. Make a plane that is powered by words. Use scissors and glue to create poetry, then hunt for treasure in the Avid Reader’s garden. Tickets are $15, which includes your own copy of Too Many Friends, and all workshop materials. For more information, or to make a Booking, click the link; Kids’ Poetry Workshop Event, or phone: (07) 3255 3987.

Looking forward to finding myself in yet another instalment of the Country Girl Meets City adventure series. Mayhaps you’ll join me. 😉

 

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Nothing Stays the Same

2017 was a huge year for our family. So many milestones and achievements for our two lads. We never could have imagined what an exciting year it would be! These last few months I have put writing on hold to immerse myself in the mum-moments. To relive and create new memories. 2018 will bring time in abundance to write … 2018 is our year of Change.

To be honest, I struggle with change. I miss special things that will never be the same – even when it’s change for the best of reasons. Though I have been soooo excited for both our lads and the opportunities that await them this year, eight days before the eldest’s departure, it hit me. Things were never going to be the same again. Life was entering an exciting and different stage. There would be … change!

I may have cried … for days … (And that was before he left.) There may have been times I thought I would choke on my sadness. Squeezing tight then letting go may have been one of the hardest things I’ve done. He may have flown over the oceans; so far away – for so long. And I may have survived! I may even be smiling again. Change may not have been as bad as I had imagined … (I should have learnt this by now.)

Which is just as well, because that is only the first of the changes in store for our family this year!

—–

This post is a part of the Poetry Friday link-up. The poetry form I’ve played with is the lai – a French style following an AAB rhyme scheme over three 3-lined stanzas. The first two lines have 5 syllables, and the third has 2 – and there are only the two rhymes used throughout. You can read my first lai, about willie wagtails, here. I’ve enjoyed writing lais for different photos taken over the new year period – so expect to see more, in coming weeks. 🙂

Read more about Poetry Friday.
Follow the link-up with A Journey Through the Pages.
Thanks, Kay!

Willie Wagtail Lai

Last week Laura intrigued me with her gorgeous Jellyfish Dance. I’d not heard of a lai, and was keen to try it. Then I snapped this pic of two willie wagtail chicks, so thought I’d pair them. It’s not altogether successful – but it’s all I have for you this week! 🙂

Thanks to Diane at Random Noodling for hosting this week’s Poetry Friday round-up!

Poetry Swap

Ever since the first Poetry Swap gifts posted on the Poetry Friday rounds, I have been delighted by the joy they bring, not just to the sender and receiver, but to the poetry community at large. So – this season, when Tabatha Yeatts asked who was in, I was keen to join in the giving. And what pleasure it has been! Thank-you Tabatha, for coming up with such a wonderful idea – and keeping the ball rolling time and again. When I received Irene Latham’s name, to send a parcel of goodies to, I was thrilled, and had so much fun putting her package together, with a little dob of mud and a splash of ice and penguins. I didn’t even give a thought to who/what might be coming my way… until one day, hubby arrived with a box from the letterbox… for me! How exciting!!

Lovely Linda Baie was my very generous giver – and I so appreciate the thought she put into co-ordinating her purrfect parcel of poetry.

A box of goodness – poetry and cats were simply purrrfect. (I spy a Literary Combo Pack from artsyletters.com! #thrilled)

Co-ordinated Collections

Kat’s Collections – where Linda has captured a snippet of my books, in verse.

Yes, I do think this is the Kat’s Meow!

Linda truly did have the Poetry Swap all tied up!

Thank-you so much, Linda. Your gift was the katswhiskers. Pure cream and catnip – and joy! xx

For more poetry cream,visit Lisa at Steps and Staircases for the PoetryFriday round-up. Thanks, Lisa!

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The Younger Sun Bookclub – Too Many Friends

For their November text, the Younger Sun Bookshop Kids’ Book Club, in Melbourne, read ‘Too Many Friends’. After the reading and discussion, they sent me some questions – not just about ‘Too Many Friends’, but about some of my other verse novels, as well. I thought I’d include them in a blog post, in case other kids have similar questions.

Ella (right) wrote; We have just finished our Kids’ Book Club where we were discussing ‘Too Many Friends’ and the kids all LOVED it! They thought the poems looked a bit scary at first, but once they started reading they really loved the story and found it was just as easy to read as a regular novel.

I thought it was important to include this, because it’s something I hear often. The verse novel format looks intimidating… but isn’t! It’s not until you pick up the book and start reading that you discover this for yourself. That’s why wonderful booksellers like Ella are so important! I’m so grateful you supported these kids with such a rich introduction to verse novels, Ella!

 

Now – the questions…

..

Tori – Was ‘Bully on the Bus’ based on your life or someone who you knew?
(They are very excited to read your other two verse novels)

‘Bully on the Bus’ was inspired by some things that happened to my boys on their school bus when they were very little. I realised that what is scary for a small child sometimes isn’t seen as scary by adults. I wanted to write about a situation that makes kids feel sad or unsafe – and write it in such a way that the adults could understand their fear. Writing Leroy’s story sparked a whole lot of memories of things that happened on my school bus as a child – the words spoken and the tone of voice, the looks on the bullies’ faces, and the way they made me feel. I’d forgotten them for many years – but they were still tucked away deep inside.

Eliza – Why do you write about young people and not about adults?
(Eliza thought it was pretty incredible that you could write a young person so well when you’re not one yourself anymore! You must have a really good memory, she says.)

This is pretty special to hear, Eliza. Great observation! For the record, I remember feelings and atmosphere. But I’m not so good on precise details!

As to your question … I write about young people because they’re the stories that touched my heart with a need to be told. Being surrounded by kids has probably helped to give me the voice of varied child-characters. Many of the characters in ‘Too Many Friends’ were a blend of kids who have come through my classes over the years – with a little bit of me-as-a-kid in some of them, too. Maybe I never grew up. 🙂

Ruby – What got you into writing?

I fell down the writing hole when I was at home with my two young boys. I wanted to be a stay-at-home mum, but I needed something for myself, too. (Otherwise, I might have gone a little bit crazy!) We’d been reading heaps of kids’ books – but very few of them were FUN reads that accurately reflected our rural Australian way of life … so I started writing them. As my boys grew, so did my writing.

Rory – Why do you write verse novels and not regular novels?

I started writing picture books, and poetry. (What was I thinking?! They’re both very hard to sell!) Picture books are usually 600 words, maximum, though many of my PB manuscripts are 250wrds. Any time I thought about writing a novel, I’d panic. So many words!! How would I fill a book, without listing everything they ate for breakfast, lunch and tea?

Then I discovered verse novels. And loved them. And started writing them … and loved them even more! They’re not as overwhelming as a novel. Each poem is complete within itself. I can do that!

The first verse novel I started to write was ‘On Track’ – but I only wrote 139 words before I got overwhelmed and put it away … for 9 months! Then over the course of a month, it grew to 653 words … and was put away again for another long stint. It took 6 years to write ‘On Track’. I’m very relieved to say I have got much more confident and productive with my writing, since then! But I don’t know that I’ll be writing novels any time soon. Certainly not for adults! (I’ve still got too many verse novels in the works.)

Sebastian – Why are you scared of cows?

I think that saying, ‘Once bitten, twice shy’ was written just for me. I learn from my mistakes. And never forget …

Thank-you Ella, for co-ordinating the Kids’ Book Club, and introducing young readers to a new genre, then helping them unlock the treasure of a verse novel. I’m delighted you included ‘Too Many Friends’ – loved hearing the feedback and answering the questions.

I’m so glad you bookclub kids are keen to read my other verse novels, too. Sally Murphy, Lorraine Marwood and Sherryl Clark also write beautiful Australian verse novels, that I’m sure you’d enjoy!

For the full Poetry Friday round-up for the week, head over to Carol’s Corner. Thanks, Carol!

 

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