Guest Blogger: Author in the Wild – Cristy Burne

Author Cristy Burne shares her top six survival techniques for touring authors.

So, it’s been a while since you’ve been on tour. In this new-normal, COVID-19 world, we’ve all grown used to the comforts of home: skyping in your PJs, talking to yourself, not wearing pants.

If you’re like me, it’s been a while since you’ve packed your Meet-The-Author bags to head into the [Big] Wide World.

Well, that’s about to change. This month I have a new book out (YAY!!!), and that means, COVID-19 lockdowns permitting, I may need to actually leave the house.

The book, Beneath the Trees, is a junior fiction adventure about teamwork, family and survival.

It’s based on the true story of a 2019 hike my family went on in Eungella National Park, Queensland. A hike I’m really glad we all survived! (Spoiler alert?)

Eungella is one of the best places in the world to see wild platypus, and that’s how everything really started … In the book, Cam and her little sister, Sophie, are looking forward to seeing a platypus, but when they finally spot one, something is wrong.

And then things just get worse. Soon they’re lost in the rainforest with their bossy older cousin, Jack. And they need all their resilience and courage to survive …

Just like you’ll need when you step out the front door on your next author tour.

So, because I’ve been thinking loads about survival, I’ve written up a list of top tips totally recommended if you want to make it through your next author tour alive …

  • Find water

Dehydration leads to headaches, lethargy and hallucinations. Only one of these things will serve your career as a children’s writer. So it’s essential you secure a source of water early. Your voice will last loads longer if you’re sipping all day. Also, your brain needs water for proper functioning. Just saying.

Score additional points if you bring along your own reusable bottle.

  • Signal to rescuers

If you’re drowning, not waving, you have an issue with communication.

If you’re an author on tour, it’s essential that you master the basic skills of effective signalling. Personally, I practise survival signalling every day, before I even leave the house. Techniques such as ‘I’d love a flat white, please’ may just save your life.

  • Navigate to safety

We all get lost at some stage. I usually get lost on the way to the venue. Or on the way home from the venue. Or on the way to the bathroom at the venue.

The point is, if you find you’re losing your way, don’t panic. Just pause, get your bearings, and then strike out in a better direction. If you get lost onstage, the pause is your friend. It’s a survival tool you can use. Any. Time.

  • Build a shelter

Protect yourself from sweltering heat, bitter cold, buckets of rain and billions of fans by ensuring you have shelter. This could take the form of a green room, staff room, hotel room, even the inside of your car. It’s way more fun if you actually build your shelter, so feel free to use library furniture, cushions, cardboard boxes and BYO mattress.

  • Pack basic medical supplies

Throat lozenges, headache tablets, dark chocolate, instant coffee. Your melt-down bag should provide a strong sense of safety. Whether you’re suffering from a blister, bruised ego, or muscle cramp from signing so many books, packing some basic emergency supplies is always a good idea. Include a second thumb drive. And a second shirt.

  • Make fire

Fire helps us cook, keeps us warm, and burns inside our souls for the rest of our lives.

Fire drives us forward, even when our slides don’t work or there’s an unexpected evacuation drill.

As children’s authors, our job is to start fires. A spark here, a spark there. Starting fires is the reason I get out of bed in the morning. It’s what drives me out of my front door. So make books, find your pants, and practise these survival techniques. Let’s start a fire in the hearts of children everywhere.

Cristy Burne’s new book, Beneath the Trees (Fremantle Press), is available from all good bookstores and online. It’s one of a trio of junior outdoor adventure stories that includes To the Lighthouse and Off the Track.

 

Thanks for visiting, Cristy.. You can find out more about Cristy at her website

 

Guest Blogger: Sally Bradfield Discusses the Genesis of Not Quite 30-Love

It’s always a pleasure to meet another Sally, and today I am excited to be welcoming Sally Bradfield as a guest blogger at Aussiereviews. Over to you Sally. 

The Genesis   

Hi, My name is Sally Bradfield and I spent many years (try twenty) travelling the globe working in marketing and communications on the professional tennis circuit. Yes, I met and worked with all the household names you can think of: Serena and Venus Williams, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Anna Kournikova, Maria Sharapova, Novak Djokovic…

My first real tennis job was a WTA Communications Manager. The WTA stands for Women’s Tennis Association. Watch the movie on Billie Jean King (who I am also proud to know), called ‘Battle of the Sexes’ to understand how the women’s tennis tour began.  I remember starting this job and being blown away by being paid to travel around the world, staying at five star hotels, eating room service and watching tennis. I said to a few long term employees – how could you ever get sick of this? Then the real work began. As the meat in the sandwich between getting players, sponsors, fans and tournaments together, the communications team are always fighting an uphill battle. You work 14 hours a day, 7 days a week and get yelled at a lot.  But you do meet amazing people, see unbelievable places and watch astonishing athletes at play.

About ten years ago, I gave it all up to settle back in Sydney. I am married to a former professional player, now coach – Nicole Arendt (who is American, but moved here so we could live in the greatest country in the world). I missed tennis and some of the travel. A bit like Hotel California, they kept calling me back. Each year when the tennis came ‘down under,’ I worked at the Sydney tournament, visited my friends at the Australian Open. Every couple of years, we went to Wimbledon. Nicole often played the legends event and we are given special access forever as Nicole’s a member of the Last 8 club (having reached the Wimbledon Doubles Final). We feel very lucky and blessed to be able to keep in contact with the old and new crews, without having to travel full time.

A few years ago, I talked about writing a book about my life on the tennis circuit. I enrolled in and completed a Masters in Creative Writing at Sydney’s UTS. There I started my fictional novel. The first title was ‘Balls in my Face.’ My UTS lecturers hated the title, but I thought it was brilliant.  The first draft took my several years and it was way too close to a thinly veiled autobiography.  Fun for me and interesting to others, but likely to end up in litigation.  At some point, I will write my autobiography, but it will be truthful, rather than hiding under the fiction tag.

As the drafts evolved, the protagonist, Katie Cook, became less Sally Bradfield and more her own person. An amazing thing happened, she started to speak to me. She was her own woman (twenty-eight and full of opinions). She was certain of the way her story should be told. I was not always in agreement. She mostly won!

The tennis characters in the book are all fictional, but the world they live in, is very real. It was important to me that those in the know, felt the book was an accurate depiction of life on the Tour. So far the feedback from those people has been extremely positive, which was really fulfilling. They said it was like ‘reading about my life.’

There have been books about life on the Tour before, but they always felt like they were written by outsiders and they mostly were. I’m proud to have my book stand on its own feet and hopefully entreat people to want to know more about the tennis world. It’s a great place to visit…

You can purchase the Ebook via this link;  https://books2read.com/u/bzvzx

My website www.notquite30love.com has more information and links how to buy.

My author Facebook page: https://bit.ly/357v5bs

Instagram: NQ30love

Twitter @sallybradfield

 

Below is a little more about the book and about me.

Twenty-eight year old Katie Cook lands her dream job in the world of professional tennis.

It was like being invited to the Academy Awards, except they were all wearing branded tracksuits.

Katie finds life in Sydney to be not quite measuring up and makes the move to follow her childhood obsession with professional tennis, running away to join this circus of a world and finding work as a publicist.
Racing around the globe faster than a Contiki tour, creating internet scandals wherever she goes, Katie is seduced by the appearance of glamour and her weakness for bad boys.

She falls for one of the troubled champions and starts a trending relationship.
With an archenemy placing social media bombs in her way and hashtags haunting Katie in her sleep, she navigates her way through a series of social media and love crises.

Katie has some decisions to make. Does she want a hero or a career? Will she end up happily ever after? What does that even mean?

One thing is for sure, she will never schedule an Instagram post again! #Girlscanbeheroestoo.

The story is written by a tennis insider and has been described as The Devil Wears Prada meets the exciting world of professional tennis.

Author Bio

For almost twenty years Sally Bradfield has worked with the who’s who of professional tennis. 

She has travelled the globe working as a Communications Manager/publicist for the WTA Tour. She worked alongside Venus and Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Martina Hingis, Monica Seles, Anna Kournikova and hundreds more.

Subsequently she joined the men’s tour as Brand Manager for the ATP. She ran major events with Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and many other household names.

Wanting to leave the suitcases and hotels behind, Sally settled back in Australia with her retired tennis champion partner, Nicole Arendt. Together they live in the Blue Mountains in NSW running tennis and fitness businesses.  

To find out more visit www.notquite30love.com

Sally also has a Podcast series called  No Challenges Remaining.

 

Guest Blogger: Ingrid Fry Talks About Time and Motivation to Write

It’s my pleasure to welcome guest blogger  Ingrid Fry, debut author of four new books, released in March. Over to you, Ingrid.

Don’t Let Time Steal Your Book

How the hell did you manage to write four, eighty-thousand-word books in the space of eighteen months, and, get them published?

As a published author, that’s the question I’m most often asked, and, often ask myself!

I thought a short blog on the topic would be helpful to anyone who feels they have a book inside them but are struggling with how to get started and keep going.

If you love to write, and plan to write a book one day, not having enough time is often the excuse we use to justify our inaction.

In these days of Corona Virus, all the ‘not having time’ memes indicate that lack of time is not the real reason behind why we don’t start all those things we want to do.

My four-book series would never have seen the light of day if I hadn’t ‘made time’ and set achievable goals. As Charles Buxton so rightly said, “You will never find time for anything. You must make it.”

I started a blog on my website to document my writing journey and road to publication. By doing so, I hoped to inspire, motivate and make it easier for other aspiring writers to achieve their dream. The blog didn’t get very far, because I soon realised, I had to narrow my focus if I wanted to achieve my dream of writing a book.

Tapping into something that motivates you and drives you forward on a daily basis is a crucial component to writing that book. You really do have to “start with the end in mind” and identify your “why”. Whatever your aspiration is, whether it’s achieving fitness goals, losing weight, learning the guitar; your “Why” has to be identified and kept in mind if you want to accomplish your dream.

Write down:

(1) all the reasons you want to achieve that goal

(2) all the ways your life will be better for achieving it

(3) how you will feel when you have succeeded, and most importantly

(4) how you will feel if you don’t achieve it.

It’s important to put this in writing, refer to it regularly and update it as new things come to mind.

Having daily achievable goals was the other key to my success. You can learn more about what that looks like from my blog post How to Get Started and Write That Book

Here’s a little about me and one of my motivating forces; my “Why”.

Mum and Dad were writers. Good ones too.  Dad died at 87 and Mum at 93. They both lived extraordinary lives, the content of which would fill many books.

They both swore that one day they would write a book about their amazing adventures.

It never happened.

Time. Time and not enough of it was the excuse that stole their dreams.

I’ve always wanted to write stories like the ones I loved to read. I grew up on a diet of Sci-Fi, Horror, Fantasy and Metaphysics.

They were the books that fired my imagination, excited, enthralled and transported me to distant worlds.

I wanted to write a book. But like Mum and Dad, I kept putting it off. It seemed too huge a task. My life was littered with a trail of short stories, poems, illustrated children’s books, notebooks, ideas, creative journals, but ‘the book’ loomed like a mountain above me, impossible to climb.

The motivation – the “Why”– to take that first step came from my parents.

I didn’t want to lie on my deathbed with a precious dream unfulfilled.

So, I wrote that book.

And then another. And another. And another!

And I’m halfway through one more.

I’ve done it! I’ve written that book, and some. But I still have one regret.

Mum and Dad aren’t here to read them.

Is your soul aching to write a book?

Then don’t be like my parents or many other would be writers and get to the end of your journey filled with regrets.

Do it now. Your soul will sing.

‘There is no greater joy than expressing the song in your heart.’ ~ Ingrid Fry

Resources

Bird by Bird (Some Instructions on Writing and Life) by Anne Lamott

This book is a great place to start for guidance and inspiration, especially if the road ahead seems overwhelming.

Word by Word, an audio workshop by Anne Lamott 

This audio workshop provides you with the opportunity to hear Anne in action. It is laugh out loud, poignant, informative and will provide you with the encouragement and ideas you need to get started and most importantly, keep going.

 

About the Crystal Sphere Series

Following an encounter with a mysterious crystal sphere, Maggie is compelled to lead her partner Jason, an eclectic entourage of humans, and a telepathic beagle into battle against a dark force and a very nasty villain intent on destroying humanity.

Maggie, the reluctant protagonist, is a psychic, computer programmer and corporate couch potato.

For her, things don’t get much more strenuous than walking the dog. Unfortunately, walking the dog is where it all begins, and now the fate of the world rests in her hands.

As a keyboard warrior and intuitive, Maggie feels ill equipped for the battle she has to fight. Music assists in keeping her sane, helping to muffle the psychic barrage that bombards her mind.

Each chapter in the series is linked to a tune that readers can follow via Maggie’s playlist on Spotify.

Set in current day Melbourne, Australia, this urban comic fantasy takes the reader on an action-packed journey across regional areas of Victoria and interstate. The story combines adventure and edge of your seat suspense, with a good dose of humour and a sprinkling of romance and spice.

Even readers who normally wouldn’t consider books with a slightly otherworldly element, have fallen in love with the story, describing it as “a sexy, funny, action packed story with characters you will fall in love with.”

Buy links:

Paperbacks

eBooks

Descent into Darkness

Journey to Hell

Quest for Light

Search for Truth

Limited Edition Box Sets

Maggie’s Playlist

 

Brief Bio:

Ingrid was born and raised in Berkhamstead in the UK but spent much of her childhood commuting between England and Austria. Emigrating with her parents many years ago, she has called Australia home ever since.

A writer, business development consultant and minder of a husband and a beagle with superpowers, she lives in a leafy suburb on the outskirts of Melbourne.

Lakes Entrance is her second home and it was from there, much of her first four novels were developed. In her spare time, she enjoys pistol shooting at the local gun club, dancing at The Caravan Music Club and as a passionate karate nerd, well on her way to a black belt in karate. Her fifth book in the series, Battle for Blood is due in 2021.

You can visit Ingrid’s website here.   Ingrid is represented by Tale Publishing

Meet My Book: Pickle and Bree, by Alison Reynolds

I’m really pleased to have Alison Reynolds here on the Aussiereviews blog today to introduce us to her latest book. In fact, she’s going to tell us about TWO new books. Over to you, Alison.

  1. Give us the details – title, publisher, illustrator, release date.

Pickle & Bree’s Guide to Good Deeds – The Playground Meanies    

Pickle & Bree’s Guide to Good Deeds – The Big Snow Adventure

Illustrator Mikki Butterley

The Five Mile Press; February 2017

  1. Why did you write the books?

The publisher commissioned me to write a book about manners subtly hidden in a picture book. We wanted to explore a deeper level of social etiquette rather than the basic “say please and thank-you”.

  1.  How long from idea to publication?

The books were written and edited within five months.

  1. What was the hardest thing about writing it?

We decided to have Pickle and Bree in outside locations for these books rather than the home environment of the previous two books. It seemed to take me ages to decide on the location – too many choices.

  1. Coolest thing about your books?

Seeing Pickle and Bree having more adventures. I adore Mikki Butterley’s illustrations.

  1. Something you learnt through writing the books?

That it is so much fun to return to well-loved characters. Also, that the narrative flows from the characters. The personalities of Pickle and Bree dictate what is going to happen.

  1. What did you do celebrate the release?

We’re off to a special Italian restaurant.

  1. And how will you promote the books?

A photo & drawing competition and a blog tour! There are lots of excellent prizes.

  1. What are you working on next?

I’ve been thinking about a new series for 6-8 years old, which could be fun.

  1. Where we can find out more about you and your books?

At my website: www.alisonreynolds.com.au

Via email alrey@msn.com.au

Or on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/alison.reynolds.524

 

 

Thanks for dropping in, Alison. If you want to learn more about Alison or Pickle and Bree, or if you would like to enter one of her competitions, keep reading.

 

PICKLE AND BREE’S GUIDE TO GOOD DEEDS: BOOKS 3 & 4

Look whats happening to celebrate the release of the latest two books in the award nominated Pickle & Bree series, The Playground Meanies & The Big Snow Adventure.

BLOG TOUR!

13/2/17 Boomerang Books & Pass-it-on Jackie Hosking

14/2/17 Creative Kids Tales

15/2/17 Buzz Words Di Bates

16/2/17 Aussie Reviews

17/2/17 Just Write for Kids & Julie Grasso

BOOK GIVEWAYS!

Just leave a comment on any of the posts in the blog tour, comment on facebook or twitter or even email alrey@msn.com.au to win a copy of The Playground Meanies or The Big Snow Adventure.

JUMP THE SLUSH PILE IS BACK!

Win an opportunity for a childrens editor at The Five Mile Press to look at your picture book submission (strictly 500 words or less). Just comment on any of the posts in the blog tour and add initials JSP.

OR

Win a free picture book assessment by the author Alison Reynolds. Just comment on any of the posts in the blog tour and add the initials PB.

Remember the more you comment, the more chances you have to win.

TEDDY BEAR CONTEST FOR ALL AGES!

Win a print of Mikki Butterleys fabulous artwork from one of these two books. Just send a photo or drawing of your favourite teddy to alrey@msn.com.au or upload to https://www.facebook.com/alison.reynolds.524 or Twitter @AlisonReynoldsa

Competitions close March 24th and winners to be announced and contacted by March 31st.

 

The Books of My Childhood: Sally Murphy

Today I’m beginning a new blog idea which I hope will turn into a regular feature, with the participation of other Australian authors and illustrators, as well as anyone else who chooses to participate. I’m calling it The Books of My Childhood because it is where I will invite participants to share five(ish) books that they loved in their childhoods, and tell us a little about them So, here goes: my take on the books I remember from my childhood.

  1. MandyMandy, by Julie Edwards. This isn’t the first book I remember reading, but it is the first one I remember reading and wishing I’d written – so much so that I sat down and wrote my own story, Tereasa, which – like Mandy – featured an orphan girl who lives in a orphanage but longs to have a family of her own. For some reason I really connected with the character Mandy, even though I was very far from being an orphan. The other interesting fact about Mandy, which I only realised in my adult life, is that its author, Julie Edwards, is better known as Julie Andrews, the actress. How did I not know that the actress I loved was also the author I loved?
  2. Are You My Mother? (Beginner Series)Are You My Mother? , by P.D. Eastman. I loved this book and the absurdity of a bird being batched and mistaking all kinds of other things as its mother. I also have strong memory that this is the first book I felt confident to read aloud to other kids – on the reading mat at kindergarten.
  3. Horton Hatches the EggHorton Hatches the Egg, by Dr Seuss. I’m not sure why this book isn’t as well known by most people I know as Dr Seuss’s other books, because I adored this book, again for the absurdity of its plot as well as the strong sense of justice I felt with its ending. I also remember my Mum reading this one to me from a hardcover, red bound edition. It’s one of the first books I also bought for my first child as well as for my first grandchild. With two more grandchildren on the way, guess what I’ll be buying.?
  4. Volume 1 of the Childcraft books which accompanied our World Book Encyclopedia set and which was filled with so many poems – and coloured pictures, including photos. One poem stands out in my memory The Purple Cow BY Gellett Burgess, with its accompanying photo of a purple cow. There were other poems which I adored and memorised, but I think the amazing photo (remember, this was before photoshop!) helped to cement this one as a favourite.
  5. The Naughtiest Girl in the SchoolThe Naughtiest Girl in the School (and its sequels) by Enid Blyton – as well as so many of her other books, including the Secret Seven (which I liked better than the Famous Five). The Naughtiest Girl was the start of my love affair with boarding school stories, which culminated in The Chalet School stories in my teen year, and subsequently faded when I spent two years in boarding school myself and discovered there were no tuck boxes and very few midnight feasts.

So, there’s my five. If you would like to comment on these, feel free, and if you would like to write a post with your own five (give or take a couple) http://aussiereviews.com/contact-us/.

Bio: Sally Murphy is a children’s author, poet, doctoral candidate, reviewer, mother, grandmother, wife and lover of life. She loves to read and one of her few regrets in life is that she can’t read in her sleep.

Meet My Book: Sage Cookson's Sweet Escape, by Sally Murphy

It’s always great to have an author drop by to introduce readers to their new book – but today I’m especially excited because the ‘visiting’ author is me. That’s right, I’m busy celebrating the release of my newest book, and first ever series.DSCN2727

  1. Give us the details – title, publisher, illustrator, release date.    Sage Cookson’s Sweet Escape, published by New Frontier, with illustrations by Celeste Hulme (ISBN 9781925059618) Its release date is today – July 1!
  2. Why did you write the book? I was asked by New Frontier if I was interested in creating a series for younger readers. Of course I said yes, then set about thinking up a premise for the series as well as individual storylines. I love television cooking shows and also mysteries, so I combined those two interests to create a series where the main character, Sage, travels with her parents who have their own television show. Everywhere they go, something goes wrong, and Sage is at the centre of solving it.
  3. How long from idea to publication? About 18 months. First I wrote an outline for the first four titles, then we discussed the strengths and weaknesses of my ideas before I started writing. Then, as with any book, there were multiple drafts, plus editing and copyediting, as well as things like illustration and design.
  4. What was the hardest thing about writing it?  Overcoming chocolate cravings! I love chocolate A LOT and in Sweet Escape, Sage and her parents visit a chocolate factory. I kept thinking about all the yummy goodness and wanting to race out and buy more chocolate.
  5. Coolest thing about your book?  The chocolate. Oh, and the fact that it’s the first title in my first ever series. Four books have been commissioned so far, but we are currently talking about adding to the series.
  6. Something you learnt through writing the book?   That I CAN write series fiction. I had always wanted to write a series –  because I’ve always liked reading them – but had to stop and think about the whole series before I wrote this first one. The first book must tell a story of its own but also sets the scene for what’s to follow.Advance Sage 1
  7. What did you do celebrate the release?  Today I will open a bottle of something bubble and share it with my family. I’m also trying to organise a book launch in a month or so.
  8. And how will you promote the book? Lots of ways. I will blog on my own website and on other blogs. There is also a website dedicated to the series, which will have recipes, activities, sample chapters and more. And I will talk about the book at school visits and festivals.
  9. What are you working on next?  At the moment I am finalising book 4 of the series, and also working on finishing Doctoral studies. As part of my  thesis I have written three new creative works, which I hope to see published in the future.  I am also working on some picture book projects.
  10. Where we can find out more about you and your book?  At my website and at Sage Cookson’s website. Sweet Escape is now available in good bookstores and online. Check out the gorgeous cover. Cover Sage Cookson 1