HEAT ANTHOLOGY sales to benefit Indigenous Literacy

Heat coverEarlier this year, I held a summer writing competition for adults on this blog.

The winners were announced here and a selection of stories was chosen to be published in “Heat” an e-book anthology on Amazon.

Writers submitted compelling, well written pieces across a variety of genre. Some were new writers, others have many published works.

Each story is unique.

Congratulations to all the authors who have stories published in the book.

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All proceeds from sales of the anthology will benefit the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF).

The ILF aims to raise literacy levels and improve the lives and opportunities of Indigenous children living in remote and isolated regions. This is done through the delivery of books and literacy resources, publishing and visits out to remote communities. In addition, the Foundation advocates to raise community awareness of Indigenous literacy issues

To enjoy the stories in this anthology and help the ILF, you can buy your copy of Heat online through Amazon by clicking on one of the links below:

United States
United Kingdom



Welcome to the “Sunlight” Cyber Launch


Thanks everyone for coming here today to celebrate this exciting event.

I’m thrilled to be launching Sunlight, the latest book of lovely and multi-talented Josie Montano. I was lucky enough to  meet Josie in Queensland recently and she’s every bit as thoughtful and lively as her books.

Josie works as a full-time writer and her love of fiction began at aged 8.

That’s about how old I was when I found fiction too, but I wasn’t quite as confident as Josie who used to shelve her stories in the school library.

Josie has won a number of awards for her writing and after reading Sunlight, I’m not surprised. She writes with passion, originality and authenticity, getting right inside the minds and hearts of her characters.

Josie is also well published in the field of Asperger Syndrome, and I’m sure her books have helped many people with the condition and their loved ones. She was presented with an Autism Carers Award in 2009 by the Governor-General of Queensland.

If you want to know more about Josie, you’d better come back here in half an hour when I talk to her about how she wrote her YA novel, Sunlight.

WIN an e-book on writing

Send a congratulatory message to Josie in the comments section of this post and you could win a free copy of my e-book, 10 Top Writing Tips: Ideas and Inspiration

Thanks for coming to Josie’s Cyber launch. Charge those glasses and enjoy the cyberbubbles and the calorie free cyber cake.

Cheers Josie and congratulations on your new book:)

Hip Hip Hooray! Hip Hip Hooray! Hip Hip Hooray!

See you back here in half an hour when Josie provides her writing tips on how she created her new book.

Tuesday Writing Tips – Free Writing Tips e-books

Today on Tuesday Writing Tips I wanted to pay tribute to everyone who has supported this blog since it started in 2009.

In that time, I have published nearly 400 posts on writing.

I’ve had so much wonderful support, and many people have suggested that I compile all my writing tips into a book/books for easy reference.

So that’s exactly what I’ve done.

Today, I’m excited to be launching the 10 Top Writing Tips series containing books for both adults and kids who love to write.

FREE e-books

To thank my blog readers and to help writers on the write track, I’m offering two books FREE

Discover the Writer in You

10 Top Writing Tips: Discover the Writer in You provides an easy to follow overview of the elements of a story, and how to explore your inner writer. It has tips on:

  1. Becoming a writer
  2. What sort of writer are you?
  3. Getting started
  4. Stuck for ideas – more fun writing activities
  5. Creating characters
  6. Use your characters to make things happen
  7. Setting
  8. How to get your characters talking
  9. Using all the senses
  10. Editing

Download your FREE copy here and feel free to spread the word and share the book with other writers.

For Kids Who Love to Write

A guide with handy tips and activities for young writers who aspire to be published. This is the first book in the 10 Top Writing Tips For Kids series and has tips on:

  1. Becoming a writer
  2. What sort of writer are you?
  3. Getting started
  4. Stuck for ideas
  5. Creating characters
  6. Use your characters to make things happen
  7. Setting
  8. How to get your characters talking
  9. Using all the senses
  10. Editing

Feel free to share this with young writers you know or even with teachers looking for writing ideas for the classroom. They can download their FREE copy here.


Other books also published in the series are:

10 Top Writing Tips For Kids – What to Write About

10 Top Writing Tips – Ideas and Inspiration

I know from experience how hard it is to break into publishing and earn money as a writer. So I intend to keep all books in the series FREE or at an affordable price of 99 cents.


There are plenty more books planned for the series, but I’d love your input on what you’d like to see me write about in my next book.

Do you have a writing dilemma or something you’re struggling with in your writing?

It could be the subject of the first book 10 Top Writing Tips  published in 2013.

What to do:  Leave your suggestion for a book topic in the comments session of this post for your chance to win.

The competition is open to anyone anywhere in the world and closes 20 December.

I look forward to hearing your suggestions.

I hope you find my 10 Tip Writing Tips books helpful.

Your comments and suggestions are very welcome.

Happy writing:)



On Friday night I attended a session on digital publishing run by the Australian Society of Authors at the State Library of Victoria.

It featured high profile speakers like author Wendy Orr, literary agent Jacinta di Mase, Emmett Stinson and David Day.

It was good to see a large contingent of children’s authors and illustrators in attendance because for us, the issue is even more complex than most.

Take picture books for example, a topic covered extensively by Wendy Orr. She talked about the fact that PDFs can’t handle the double-paged spread that is an essential feature of so many beautiful traditional picture books.

Wendy had spent many hours researching her subject and discovered that whilst many of the PBs designed for e-readers had interactive features, these were rarely produced in consultation with the author so that the meaning and essence of the book could be lost in translating the story into this medium.

For this reason, Wendy suggested that apps not be given the same name as the book but be called App based upon the book…etc.

Furthermore, as Jacinta di Mase pointed out, the interactive component (which can end up being like a short movie or book trailer) of the book is like a separate edition and consequently should attract additional royalties.

Angelo Loukakis, Executive Director of the ASA commented that one of the difficulties in the evolving world of e-books was the variation in interpretation of modern terminology like ‘apps’ or ‘interactive’. Currently, there are no standard industry definitions and this is clearly an issue that needs to be resolved. I’m hoping that eventually the ASA will have a ‘standard’ e-book contract available for members to refer to.

Technology is ever changing and so are the players and opportunities in this field so as Jacinta mentioned, it’s important for contracts to have a sunset clause in them, where after a period of say two years, you have the capacity to renegotiate royalties.

Piracy was also raised as an issue with e-books, but this happens in the traditional book market already. How often do we lend a book we like to a friend and the author receives no royalties, PLR or ELR in the exchange? Even if books are pirated, there is still some indirect benefit to the author in getting their work ‘out there’. As we know, ‘word of mouth’ is a very powerful tool.

As a children’s author and parent, what concerns me most is not the advent of e-books as such, but that e-book sellers don’t categorise books for children other than to separate them into children’s and young adults sections.

So the buying experience isn’t like walking into a traditional bookshop, picking up a book to read the blurb and the first few pages to ensure that the content is suitable for the child reader. And I’m not talking about censoring here. I’m referring to the fact that one child will have very different tastes in books to another of the same age and gender.

E-books have opened the floodgates to self-publishing and consequently, the marketplace is overflowing with choices. So unless a prospective buyer spends a great deal of time researching and relying on reader reviews, they can’t really gauge whether the book is suitable for their child. For example, some 7 year-old boys love crocodiles and others are terrified of them, but unless the world ‘crocodile’ is in the title of the book, potential readers won’t even know that a crocodile is featured unless it’s mentioned in a review or some other publicity.

Parents of young children don’t have the time to spend hours trawling through online catalogues and reviews, and after speaking to a number of them, I discovered that many are choosing not to buy e-books at all or to just buy e-book editions of works they know rather than risking that the book they buy might not be suitable.

To me, this is an issue that needs to be addressed, and we as professional authors and illustrators need to find a way to get our message across to buyers — to let them know what our books are about and why our stories will work for their particular child at that particular age. When I work out how to do this, I’ll be sure to let you know.

The e-book debate is a complex issue but what came out of the night was that there are positive opportunities for authors in the new marketplace. We have to accept that change is upon us and make it work for us in the best way we can.

I can certainly see the advantages of making my books easily available to readers on the other side of the world. Radio didn’t die out when television was invented and I can’t see it happening to traditional books either. The advent of e-books just means that our books will now be enjoyed by readers in more than one form.

I’d love to hear your comments and opinions about e-books and any suggestions you might have for children’s authors trying to find their e-book readers and for parents trying to find the right e-books for their kids.

*   *   *   P.S. Drop back here tomorrow for an interview with Grim & Grimmer author Ian Irvine. He’ll have some great tips for writers about how he created the main character in his popular series. * * *