Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Day 17 in the Burrow

More good times at the Adelaide Fringe Festival with my girl.
This time the highlight was Circolumbia - a fusion of Latin beats with hip hop street music, drama and circus stunts to stun. Awesome!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Day 16 in the Burrow

The Garden of Unearthy Delights is alive and filled with festival-goers at the Adelaide Fringe Festival. My daughter flew down for the weekend and here are some of the amazing acts we saw.

Sam Simmons in full flight at his stand up comedy show.

'That Man' glass ball illusion and other tricks. Amazing!!
I think all of Adelaide was here.

My daughter in the 'Garden'.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Day 15 in the Burrow

I spent the morning chatting kids literature, writing and picture books with children's author, Katrina Germein over a cuppa and some yummy muffins Katrina had whipped up. Her house is only a five minute walk from the Burrow and the weather was perfect for a stroll through the leafy suburbs. This is the place to own a bike - it's all so flat.
Katrina is one of those people you're glad to have met, not just because you have so much to talk about, but because she's a real sweetheart too.
Myself and children's authors, Elizabeth Hutchins and Katrina Germein
When I returned to the Burrow, I threw myself into my preparation for the May Gibbs Children's Literature Trust event at the Burnside Library that night at which I was the guest speaker. Like my blog, I addressed the 'Dream, Journey and Reality' of being a children's author, sharing with the audience anecdotes about my road to publication, the inspiration behind my stories and sample chapters from my works in progress - one I had written only the day before.

The wonderful ladies of the May Gibbs CLT had prepared an impressive spread of finger food and champagne with a bookseller from Dillon's in Norwood selling copies of Pond Magic. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Everyone was so supportive and I felt as if I'd known them much longer than a couple of hours.
I'd like to sincerely thank the MGCLT organisers and volunteers, Sally Chance, Alle Goldsworthy, Mary Wilson and Elizabeth Hutchins together with all the other people in attendance. This is the month of festivals in Adelaide, and with a choice of 900 other events to attend, I am so very grateful  to everyone who came to hear me speak.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Days 13 and 14 in the Burrow

I've had a couple of serious writing days where the word count on my novel jumped up by 4000. It's a relief to me as the muse has been reticent of late. On the 20th was my late dad's birthday and I played the writer's life, sitting in a cafe on the Parade with my brand new notebook, a gift from my daughter. The weird thing is, when I opened it, I also opened my mind to the possibility of allowing my father to 'have a chat' with me, just as I would with a character in my novel. And then my right brain took over and I wrote furiously for pages. The words came fluently and without any obvious thinking on my part. It was strange and I thought perhaps my dad is my muse.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Day 12 in the Burrow

Today was a highlight for me. It started with a cosy morning tea at the home of Fran Knight, a children's literature reviewer and writer of teachers' resources for major publishers. Over scrumptious homemade little scone cakes and a pot of tea, Fran interviewed me for the Readplus Blog. It was so much fun I could've spent hours chatting to her and the lovely Alle Goldsworthy who drove me today.

But we had a lunch date at the home of children's author and friend, Janeen Brian. Janeen's work room is inspiring and huge. With over 60 books published, she has a bookcase just for her own work and as a creative work space it is by far the most usable and inviting that I have been in. The time spent with Janeen over a relaxed lunch has left me encouraged and motivated to take on all the new challenges ahead. 

Thank you so much, Alle, Fran and Janeen for a great day.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Day 11 in the Burrow

And with the temperature peaking at 39.2 C today that's where I stayed most of the day (burrowed away in the air conditioning.) Even the little flower seedlings were trying to stay cool under the umbrella.
On the writing front I jumped out of bed and began another rewrite of the pic book, following the publisher's advice. I also sat and thought about my novel's 'story', writing a 3 sentence, 2 sentence and 1 sentence pitch. It really helps to condense your story into few words - what's' the character's problem, what do they want, what do they have to do to get it, and what or who is stopping them? For your own sake it clarifies the plot.

Days Nine and Ten in the Burrow

Or... Plot Holes and other Hazards on the Road to Publication

You might be wondering why two days are combined. Well yesterday I needed to vent a little, so it was laundry day and any other housework I could find in this little one bedroom flat. The amazing thing is a load of thick towels dried in 30 minutes in this super dry, very hot weather. Whereas at home in Queensland it's wet, wet, wet.

But I'm sitting pretty in the air con and today I moved ahead with the word count on my novel. This first week has seen me fixing plot holes, re-writing bits and and unravelling my thoughts. It's true. You really can think straighter when you're on your own to do so.

This coming Thursday, 21st Feb, I'm speaking at the Burnside Library here in Adelaide at 6pm. Come along if you can as I'll be talking about how fairytales inspire my writing and sharing with you what I've been up to, including a sample reading of my novel in progress.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Day Eight in the Burrow

Love is in the air here in Adelaide. I've never seen so many burly blokes walking around with flowers, so many women choosing romantic greeting cards and the photo booth in Rundle Mall was pretty popular during the office lunch break.
I was feeling pretty clever at having created a silhouette card for my beloved for Valentine's Day, the first one we've spent apart in about 25 years. But later in the day from my gym in the sky, I noticed the most romantic thing I have ever seen. Two teens had organised a picnic date, with towel, music and food carefully laid out on the very rooftop of one of Adelaide's inner city buildings.
My visit to the publisher went for over an hour. I am so grateful to these lovely ladies for the gift of their time, expertise and genuine interest in my work. Tomorrow I will be beginning another re-write of my picture book manuscript, but this time with fresh ideas and motivation. Thank you!
See if you can find the teens in the pic below.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Day Seven in the Burrow

It's so dry here some folks have resorted to artificial lawn on their nature strip. Yes, in the photo below. It's either that or the gravel look they have in France. Personally I remember being excited at the smell of fresh cut grass after months of travelling around Europe.
The lack of humidity is wonderful- a good hair day every day. Pity about wrinkles though.
I guess you're wondering whether I've actually written anything. Today was a Marathon effort. I completely rewrote my picture book,  edited another and cut and pasted the new text onto my dummy book all ready for show and tell at the publishers tomorrow.
Since it's Valentine's Day and it's a coffee date I bought chocolates to take as well. I hope they don't think I'm greasing up.
I'm so glad I worked out how to use the printer. Still have my synopsis and blurb for my novel to sort in the morning. The alarm is set.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Day Six in the Burrow

Tonight I joined in with the Ekidnas - kids' writers at the South Australian Writers Centre. There were many new publications to celebrate and share, and a couple of colour 'first pages' for picture books. Besides meeting everyone (including some of my heroes), the highlight for me was having a nurse of Hattie, Marianne Musgrove's super realistic baby doll. She's bonding with Hattie as research for a story. I want one.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Day Five in the Burrow

A bit of complicated planning went into my trip to the CBD today. The 10 minute bus ride required internet research for stops to and from, fares, bus numbers, ticket info etc. Then a walk to the shops to buy a touch and go travel card. All good.
The pictures show Rundle Mall from the street and from above with a lovely view to the Adelaide Hills.
True story: the 'from above' picture was taken from the bike in the gym. Yup.
My health, diet and exercise are a priority this year. And luckily my gym membership has a reciprocal agreement with this one.
Then it was back to the Burrow for more editing and soup and toast.
I'm feeling pretty proud of myself. Mostly for catching the right bus.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Day Four in the Burrow

Five minutes from the Burrow is a large bookshop called Dillon's and they have literally walls of children's books. And more walls of YA. I could spend an age in there.
But all I actually bought was a glue stick for creating a certain someone's Valentine's card and a cappuccino to go.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Day Three in the Burrow

I received the Fellows' Journal yesterday and spent a good part of last night reading the entries from other May Gibbs recipients. The whole apartment is imbued with the creative spirits of these talented author/ illustrators and I am inspired.
And, since it was the weekend, I decided I might do my editing in bed with my favourite tea, chamomile and spearmint, brewing beside me.
Only interrupted by a quick dash through the quaint back streets in the oh so glorious Adelaide weather to the supermarket to buy more tea.
Life is complicated when you only have yourself to worry about.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Day Two in the Burrow

I ventured out today, down the street to The Parade - a trendy collection of cafes and boutiques. But no one talked to me. It might've been the red wire Nana shopping trolley I was pulling behind me. "There goes that crazy writer lady," I could hear them say (in my mind).
I was captured by the magestic black-barked gums running up the centre of The Parade and took a photo for you.
Work wise I've made a start and words are flowing. I also have a coffee date booked with a publisher for next week, so I'd better learn quickly how to catch buses in and out of the CBD.
There's both a Russian and a Hungarian club in my suburb here. So tonight it's goulash with a vodka chaser. Zivli!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Day One in the Burrow.

It's so quiet here. You could easily be in a remote country location and not the inner suburb of a capital city. I don't think I heard any traffic all night, most of which I was partly awake for. A combination of excitement and new bed.
Yesterday I was so warmly welcomed by the wonderful MGCLT ladies. They have spoilt me with all that I could want- even chocolates on the bed. Bliss.
The sun was out today but I stayed in, relishing not having to be anywhere. I spent the day reading my research notes and strangely, while on a break, a picture book idea popped into my head. It must be May Gibbs Magic.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Fellowship of the Burrow

I'm off to Adelaide this week to begin my Fellowship (May Gibbs Children's Literature Trust) and I've been making lists - packing lists of sundries, writing materials, research notes, character profiles, plot overviews, art supplies, dummy books, sketch pads, portfolio, sticky notes, highlighters, planners, notebooks, workshop notes, handouts, books, laptop, iPad - you get the idea.

And then there's the clothing: for the gym, the 'at home writing', the public speaking, the school workshops, the meet-ups with other writers (read coffee). I've also been told to keep in mind the changeable weather - 16 degrees in the morning, 34 degrees in the afternoon. Which, for a Gold Coaster like myself, means both winter and summer clothes to pack.

Hmm, tonight I begin putting all this stuff into my luggage, and then I'll decide whether I need to pre-purchase another 5 kilo. We'll have to wait and see. In the meantime, here's a picture to give you a taster of what I'm working on during my four week retreat.

Now bookmark this page as I endeavour to blog about my experience over the coming weeks as a Fellow of the Burrow in the beautiful city of Adelaide, South Australia.

Any comments or advice gratefully accepted below.