November and December were busy months for me, both personally and writing-wise, which is why there was no news posted in November. The biggest event in this time was my big road trip. With by beloved and the five younger Murphlets, a car and caravan, I crossed Australia’s famous Nullarbor Plain, travelling from our home in country Western Australia through South Australia, Victoria and into New South Wales. It was an awesome experience, seeing some of Australia’s most beautiful and diverse places, from the big city of Sydney, to the amazing natural wonder of the Great Australian Bight. We faced the challenges of some of the wettest weather of the year – it rained nearly every day, in places which were drought-ridden, and badly needed the rain, too. We considered applying for work as drought-breakers, given our record in taking the weather wherever we went. But, in spite of the rain, we had a wonderful time and arrived home still all speaking to each other – no mean feat after five weeks living seven of us in a space no bigger than my bedroom at home.
So, with the trip, my writing time was altered. I won’t say curtailed, as I actually did find time to write on most days – in the form of a diary. I wrote an average of a thousand words per day, which I was pleased with, though it fell down a little bit in the last week when I was getting pretty tired. I also drafted a new picture book, and jotted down ideas for several other stories which came to me inspired by what I saw or did.
Before I left, I worked on edits for Snowy, my new picture book with Random House (due out in November, 2009). ’m really pleased with how the text is shaping up and was lucky enough to see some of the roughs when I visited the illustrator in Canberra. David happens to also be my brother in law, so we stayed with him and his beautiful family, and they also came with us to the Snowy Mountains for a few nights.
I also made the final tweaks on my verse novel, Pearl Verses the World, due out from Walker Books in May. This has gone off to the printers now, so my part in the creative process is done, and I am really happy with the finished text, as well as with the beautiful illustrative work of Heather Potter, who has captured Pearl and her family so well.
I was also delighted before I left to receive my author copies of The Big Blowie (Aussie Schoolbooks), a new chapter book about a drought, blowflies and a big thing. The finished product is great, and available now from Blake Education. While we travelled, we saw lost of big things – including the Big Orange, Big Galah, Big Ned Kelly and the Big Lobster. I had to stop and get photos of them all, of course.
Travelling did limit my reviewing activities a little, but before I left I added 25 new reviews to Aussiereviews in November and since my return added 8 in December. There’ll be loads more reviews in 2009, with the pile seemingly never ending.
I’ve spent time the past few days thinking about my aims for 2009. Number one priority is to enjoy the release of my new titles. I’m really proud of the books I have coming out this year, and plan to enjoy seeing them in print. My next aim is to get a couple of projects I’ve started moving again now that I’m home, and get some manuscripts back out there finding homes for themselves. I’ve written myself a list of aims which I’ve shared with my online friends, and will check it regularly to see how I do. Mostly, though, I think the key thing I want to do writing-wise in 2009 is to keep writing – and to keep enjoying it as much as I did in 2008. If you’re a writer, I wish the same for you – a fun-filled year of writing!
October was another busy month for me, which is why my October news was not posted on time – but still, I’m only a few days late and have lots to share.
Much of the busyness came from working on edits and revisions for two of my books slated for 2008. My verse novel, Pearl Verses the World, is currently being illustrated by Heather Potter, and the text has been copyedited, meaning another round of small changes from my end. I am so delighted with how this book is shaping up and can’t way to see the finished product, which is due for release in May 2009, from Walker Books Australia.
The other round of edits was for a new picture book, Snowy, which has been accepted (drum roll please) by Random House Australia, and scheduled for release in November 2009. This one is moving quickly because of the quick turn around (12 months being a short timeframe for a picture book). I am loving working on this. We’re currently editing the text ready to send it off to the illustrator who is none other than my brother in law, David Murphy, a very talented emerging illustrator. It’s also fun to have the opportunity to work on this with a family member.
I finished the month with a wonderful parcel from my postie – containing author copies of my new chapter book The Big Blowie (published by Aussie Schoolbooks). Part of the Aussie Aussie series, this little book features lots of very Australian elements – a drought, the outback, and a big thing (in the same way as the Big Banana and Big Pineapple, among others). Check out the cover – I love it! It is eye catching.
Actually, I must admit that this cover pic is for an earlier version of the finished thing – the final cover has a much bigger blowfly on it. Anyway, I was lucky enough to share the book with year four to seven students at my local school on Friday and got a great reception, which was satisfying.. The Big Blowie is available from Blake Education.
So with one new book, and two others in the pipeline, you’d think I’d be satisfied – but wait, there’s more. Today I saw the roughs for another forthcoming picture book – Constantine and Aristotle, to be published by Koala Books. I’m in love! Ben Wood is a fabulous illustrator and I’m lucky to have him bringing my little hogs to life.
In between all this, I’m still writing, still reviewing (heaps of new reviews added to Aussiereviews in October), and am busily mastering the use of new red laptop (red ones go aster and look cooler).
What a wonderful life! Enjoy your November. I know I will.
Some exciting news. I have had a book accepted by Aussie Schoolbooks for their Aussie Aussie Aussie series. The Big Blowie is a chapter book with plenty of Australian elements – a drought, a remote location and a Big Thing in the same vein as the Big Banana, the Big Pineapple and so on. It will be released later this year.