Saturday, July 13, 2019

2019 Writing Children's Picture Books Workshop

Arghhh!! My eyeballs, my eyeballs! I have been editing ma short stories for the last few weeks, and now proof reading! Anyone for fried brains? Yet, all too soon it will be too late. The book will be off to the printers and those words and all that punctuation will be set in ink on those pages permanently. Publishing is so yin and yang. So exciting and terrifying, so energising and exhausting. And the book isn't even out yet.

Once the t's are crossed and the i's are dotted I will be gearing up for my Writing Children's Picture Books Workshop with Selwyn Community Education. On Sunday 18th August this year, it runs from 10am to 4pm at Selwyn College in Kohimarama. You can check it out, and register, here. Looks like there might not be too many places left, so get in quick if you're keen.

And just in case you are new to my blog and me - here is a little background information in case you were wondering how I came to run this course. I have written many picture book stories over the last twenty years. Some of them have won awards and been nominated for others. I have experienced rejections and acceptances and I know that having books previously published is no guarantee of having things published in the future. I have submitted with an agent and without. I have picture book number 8 and number 9 coming out early next year. Sharing with Wolf with Scholastic NZ, illustrated by Nikki Slade Robinson, and Moon and Sun with Upstart Press, illustrated by Malene Laugesen. They are very different books. One is dark and funny, and the other gentle and heartfelt. Just this past summer I was a judge for the 2019 Storylines Joy Cowley Award and having made my way through all 158 manuscripts, I have some feedback for future submitters. I'll be talking about this during the workshop. Submissions for the 2020 Storylines Joy Cowley Award close October 31st so you'll have time to polish up your manuscript before you need to send it off.

Friday, July 5, 2019

'Time Machine and Other Stories'

Publishing has a slightly strange trajectory. No smooth parabolic arc here, no sirree. It is more like some terrifying mountain range that only the most foolhardy attempt. You write your stunning work(s) of genius (small, slightly bumpy but upward rise), and once polished and primped, send it off to publisher(s). At this point your arc might continue up (small, almost imperceptible gradient), or it may crash and burn. A publisher says yes and your internal arc soars, but really, outwardly, it just hiccups along with mostly slow, gradual, but occasional step-like upward movements. Contract sent? Take a step up. If it's a picture book, illustrator confirmed, it's a step up. Then you almost forget you have a book coming out (but not really because all the key dates are burned into our brains), and the arc is more plateau at this point. "My book?" you reply to polite enquiries, "Oh, yes. The book. It's something, something, some time distant," and you wave at the air in front of you, as if the publication date is somewhere out there visible if they look hard enough. Then suddenly edits are sent (giant leap for mankind!), a cover is decided upon, release dates and launches become a thing and finally this project looks like a book and you can see the midnight ink beyond the stratosphere approaching rapidly. And the stars are shining. And your heart skips a beat because the book is more than you imagined it could be.

Well here we are folks. And I am so proud and excited. Time Machine and Other Stories by yours truly is coming out August 11th. There are thirteen previously published short stories that have been gathered together here in one handy-dandy tome. There are an additional six new stories, one of which is a novella that I heart so much that it partly drove the determination to make this collection happen. I thought these stories were pretty good before but editor Mary McCallum from The Cuba Press has really made them sing and shine. I cannot wait to share them with you.

Published by Ahoy (an imprint of The Cuba Press), with cover and internal artwork by the very talented Theo Macdonald. Out August 11th. Launch details coming soon to a blog near you.