Radio host Sherri Rabinowitz interviewed me on Blog Talk Radio about winning a Sir Julius Vogel Award, my books, dragons, and my real passion in life.
We also had fun discussing interactive fiction, strategies for dealing with bullying, kids’ literacy and literary festivals. It was blast. Please download the podcast here. I hope you enjoy listening to the show!
I was gobsmacked. Speechless. And in tears. Quietly (my friends can vouch that’s not usual for me), I thanked the many people who have shaped my writing – a long list – while tears tracked down my cheeks.
But, wait, roll back. What’s this show of emotion about?
On Sunday night, my book, Dragons’ Realm, received the 2016 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Youth Novel.
Internationally acclaimed fantasy author, Juliet Marillier, and New Zealand fantasy author, Anna McKenzie, had both been teaching us over weekend. Juliet was presenting the writers’ awards. I was sitting at the back of the room, tucked out of sight, when the results were announced.
A tear leaked from my eye. Then another…
Faced with such tough competition, it was such a shock to win.
Kevin Berry nudged me. “You have to walk up the front,” he whispered. “Off you go.”
Usually fast on my feet, I was so stunned that I hadn’t moved! Once I got to the front of the room, you could’ve heard a mouse squeak.
Then my ‘thank yous‘ started. And here they are again.
Thank you to every reader who nominated my book Dragons Realm for Best Youth Novel. Thanks to you, my novel got on the shortlist. And thank you to fans who voted for my shortlisted book in the secret ballot.
My amazing publishers, Deb Potter and Blair Polly of the Fairytale Factory, have been imaginative and worked hard to make Dragons Realm the best book it could be. Thank you to Monkey Lab and Clarke’s critique group – my fantastic peers who review my work: Alicia Ponder, Peter Friend, Lee Murray, Simon Fogarty, Charlotte Kieft and Michelle Child. You guys are my tribe and I love your insight, brainstorming sessions and sense of humor!
Thank you to Grace Bridges of Splashdown Press and Chila of Port Yonder Press for awarding me first place in the SpecFicNZ Going Global Award which opened many doors for me. Dan Rabarts and Lee Murray were my first editors on the Baby Teeth project which saw Marie Hodgkinson of Paper Road Press publish my first short story.
Thanks to Alicia Ponder who found me and introduced me to Phoenix Writers, who got Lost in The Museum with me. Geoff Popham deserves a big thank you for his award-winning art. Then there are all the Phantom Feather Press authors who helped make the Best of Twisty Christmas Tales a success. Paul Mannering’s crazy ideas always spark more of my own. Vicki Cunningham is always positive and cheerful. My family is very cool and support my books – Kurt and the kids love riding dragons and cracking jokes. My friends at home, and loyal readers, friends and writers around the world have been amazingly supportive – especially Holly Lisle’s online forum – all my Write a Book with Me buddies. (I can hear you cheering!)
And thanks to Kyle Mewburn, who mentored me and strengthened my voice!!! (Yes, they can hear me in Switzerland now when I sing!) To the many writers whose workshops I’ve attended (Juliet Marillier, Anna McKenzie, David Hill, Fleur Beale, Ruth Paul to name a few). To Joy Cowley, Dave Freer and David Hill for their contributions to The Best Twisty Christmas Tales.
It’s also great to be part of the SSFANZ, SpeciFicNZ, NZSA, Storylines and the Wellington Children’s Book Association.
Is there anyone I haven’t mentioned? If so, thank you too. We all need a tribe, a village, a city… a circle of supporters, friends and mentors.
The short list for the 2016 Sir Julius Vogel Awards has been out for a while. Although I’ve been very busy writing and have neglected to post this earlier, I’m very excited to be a finalist in two categories!
To be eligible for Best New Talent, writers must have had their first story or book published less than four years ago. MIne was my short story Dad’s Wisdom, in the Baby Teeth anthology in 2013. A writer may only ever be shortlisted twice for this category.
Check out all the finalists here. The winners will be revealed on June 5th at Au Contraire, the New Zealand National Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention, in Wellington this coming weekend.
Phantom Feather Press have put my latest e-book on 99 cent pre-order – so family and friends can grab a copy before the real price kicks in. But be quick, the offer ends soon.
Attack on Dragons Realm – Blurb
Drums pound the danger signal. Tharuks, monsters from another world, are attacking Dragons’ Realm. Three friends must separate – Jerrick must train as a dragon rider, Benno as a warrior and Reina as a wizard. War grows closer every day. To save their families, they must endure tough training and overcome their darkest fears. Only the upcoming battle will prove their worth.
An interactive book, where you choose how you read the story. One beginning, one end and three middles – you choose which order you read them in.
Other Dragons Realm novels
Attack on Dragons Realm is the prequel to Dragons Realm – A You Say Which Way Adventure. In Dragons Realm, you are running from the school bullies when you stumble through a world gate, into a world of dragons. monsters and magic. You make decisions as you read, changing the shape of your reading experience. With 22 possible endings, you can read and re-read, experiencing a different stories.
I originally wroteEzaara, the first book in Riders of Fire, seven years ago. Despite fifteen revisions, winning an award for the first three chapters, and an offer of publication in 2013, I wasn’t happy with version fifteen! Over the years, my beta readers for Ezaara have begged me to publish the book, wanting to know what happens in books 2 & 3!! (And yes, book two is already written, but no one has seen it! I wasn’t sure how to fix these books.)
After more years writing and honing my craft, I’m now in a position to revise these books. I’m excited. Dragons Realm is a fun, intriguing world I love to explore. It’s exhilarating – riding dragons, mind-melding and falling in love on dragon-back. I can’t wait to work on these books.
In the meantime, Attack on Dragons Realm, suitable for 10-13 year-olds, or Dragons Realm (8-12 yrs olds) are available on Amazon.
Attack on Dragons Realm is a fun adventure with exciting action and twists. Attack on Dragons Realm is available in paperback and e-book. Get your copy here now! 99c kindle offer ends soon.
Happy New Year! Well, we finally got here. 2015 is fading and 2016 beckons on the horizon. This has been a hectic year, and the holiday season has been no exception!
My latest book, Dragon Tales, has just been released by Phantom Feather Press. Dragon Tales, a collection of dragon-themed stories for kids, will be at a special introductory price of $0.99 for the next few days, so family and friends can grab a bargain before the price goes up. Available on Amazon.
Whether you’re looking for a nip, a nibble, or a chomp-sized story, wing your way to an adventure with Dragon Tales.
Dragon, dragons and more dragons… modern dragons, medieval dragons and dragons in unexpected places! The full Dragon Tales blurb is here.
I wish you a happy start to the New Year and a great 2016. May many great books come your way! If you’d like to know when my new books are out, sign up for reader updates!
Thank you to all my loyal readers for your support!
Wow! Wow! Wow!
Dragons Realm is available here if you’d like a copy. Its a You Say Which Way adventure, so have fun saying which way the story goes. Watch out for strange creatures lurking in Spanglewood Forest. And don’t let go of your picnic lunch! It may come in handy!
A ‘You Say Which Way’ e-book – now available on Amazon!
Escape the school bullies and stumble into Dragons Realm – a world of dragons, magic and adventure. Can you trust the strange people you meet? And will the bullies follow you? Luckily, you’re prepared with a great picnic lunch.
Dragons Realm. Next generation storytelling, where YOU say which way the story goes.
Dragons Realm is suitable for kids over 10, or younger kids who read well – although children up to 110 will enjoy it too! You choose the outcome of your story! Have fun and beware of tharuks lurking in the forest.
Great price! 99c but not for long!
I’d like to thank my publisher, The Fairy Tale Factory, who are offering Dragons Realm for 99c as an introductory offer on Amazon. The e-book is available for pre-order now, and will be sent to your device in time for the weekend. If you’d like to order the book, I’d love it if you order before Friday, as this will help boost Dragons Realm’s rankings on Amazon.
If you don’t have a kindle, you can download this book to your tablet, i-pad, phone or computer. Just open your browser in the device you want to install Kindle reader on, and click the appropriate link, below.
I’m excited to announce that my middle-grade novel, Dragon’s Realm, for 8-12 year-old children, will be out in before Christmas this year.
You Say Which Way!
You Say Which Way is a great series of stories in which you choose the adventure you want. These interactive e-books are similar to the old “Choose Your Own Adventure” or “Pick a Path” stories we used to read when we were younger, but even BETTER!
In You Say Which Way there’s a new adventure on every page, and a multitude of cool endings to reach! The choices you make are meaningful and change the outcome of your story. You write your own story with your choices.
Earlier this year, I was contracted by The Fairytale Factory, to write one of these adventures, and it has been a real adventure writing it! My story, Dragon’s Realm, will soon be joining all of these goodies! See these You Say Which Way adventures in the Amazon.com: Kindle Store
Last year I was involved in publishing two anthologies – Lost in the Museum and The Best of Twisty Christmas Tales – which sucked up a lot of my writing time. This year I have some exciting news. I’ve been asked by a publisher to write a couple of kids’ novels for their You Say Which Way series. These are interactive e-books, similar to Choose Your Own Adventure or Pick a Path stories, where kids choose which way the story goes. I’ll have more exciting news about these soon. I am also finishing a kids’ novel and rewriting a young adult paranormal romance that has been on the back burner for over a year. So it’s exciting and busy!
I thought I’d keep everyone up to date on my progress with my new word meters in the sidebar – a cool way to let my readers know what I’m up to. These word meters will be updated as I make progress.
Currently as you’ll see :
Black Belt Bailey – a middle grade martial arts novel for 11-13 year olds – is complete at 38,000 words.
The first draft of Dragon’s Realm – the first of my You Say Which Way adventures – is finished at 42,000 words. This was fun to write and I look forward to receiving feedback from the publisher soon.
Nymphyre is a YA paranormal romance that has been brewing in the background for a couple of years. It was at about 92,000 words, and I’m whittling it down to about 80,000 (currently 87,000 and shrinking.) Written in fits and starts between other projects, this novel needs a through rewrite! I usually write a novel from start to finish, not over two years, so it’s been really interesting to rewrite this, bringing all the scenes into line with how I now want to the story to run. Clarkes’ Critique Group have taken my innocent sentences twisting them with their risque humor, making our local library cafe ring with laughter for hours on end as we chortle over possible romantic twists! Luckily most of these ludicrous suggestions will remain in the cafe – although their sound story-crafting ideas have been steadily worked into the novel. What is it about romance that makes people giggle and come up with silly jokes? Monkey Lab, my other critique group have also enjoyed aping around with the story! Lots of grunting & screeching during those critique sessions – think chimps at the zoo.
Mystic Portal is a project planned for later this year, another You Say Which Way – a mountain biking adventure with a twist! Or several twists, depending on which paths you choose!
My 5 Criteria for a Word Meter
If you’d like to create a word meter, pop by this site to see the one I use. There are many out there, but my criteria were quite specific:
Ability to reflect progress on several projects
Include total word count and names of projects
I did not want the names and word counts to take up too much space on my sidebar, so I decided to have meters with the words and count inside them.
Flexibility with color (I can choose my own)
I wanted to reflect which phase of the writing process I am at with each project , e.g. draft, editing, 2nd draft, rewrite etc.