It like being a time-traveller, speaking on radio today and knowing that people in America will be hearing us yesterday! Yeah, we kiwis always laugh at the confusion that our timezone creates in the rest of the world! Luckily, when you visit Sherri’s site, your local time shows so you’ll know when to tune in. Pop over and try it!
Sherri and I haven’t caught up for while, so we’ll be discussing all things dragons, including Ezaara and Dragon Hero, the new books in my young adult Riders of Fire Series, and why people like dragons.
You may even discover the crazy hobby I had that inspired me to write about dragons, a hobby that took me to Switzerland, where I met Kurt.
While visiting Hataitai School during Book Week recently, I was asked to judge a competition. The whole school had disguised their classroom doors (for NZ Book Week) to look like their favourite books. What a tough decision. All the doors were fabulous. The students put in fantastic effort. Here are a few of my favourites.
Doors for NZ Book Week – 1st place
The Lorax won first place with it’s bright colourful landscape and three-dimensional fluffy truffula trees, which also grew down the hallway! There are photos of the kids all over the grass, each holding mini truffula trees. To be honest, the photos and giant truffula trees really sealed the deal, because 2nd, 3rd and 4th place-getters were so close! Brilliant job! Over the top!
Doors for NZ Book Week – 2nd place
Fox in Sox, another Dr Seuss book, was also one of my favourites, winning 2nd place. Students had made bright fluffy socks, decorated with wool and pompoms. Their funky socks were pegged on washing lines, with fluffy clouds floating over head, making it look like Fox’s washing day. Well done. I love it!
Doors for NZ Book Week – 3rd place
Third place went to The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister, a book that’s special to me because I lived in Switzerland when it was published in 1992. This class went to the extra effort of decorating the windows and door. These photos really don’t do their work justice! They were much more colourful in real life. Great work. (I first heard it read aloud from a special Swiss-German edition, and it has since been published all over the world and made into a TV series).
Doors for NZ Book Week – honourable mention for creativity & attention to detail
It looks like a normal wardrobe, but when you open it, a world of adventure awaits you and there’s a familiar solitary lamppost shining in the darkness. Yes, it’s Narnia by C.S. Lewis. This door was brilliant, and battled for a placing. Creative, sophisticated art.
The Secret Garden is blooming beautifully in this classroom! What a vibrant range of colour and shapes as flowers of all species spout in this window. A lovely job.
Poor Winnie the Pooh (A. A. Milne) has got himself into a sticky mess—yet again! I loved the sign, which reads, DO NOT DISTURB — HONEY TIME! Great work team!
The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle was a great team effort by a junior class. The caterpillar’s body segments have each been hand painted, and kids have made all of his favourite foods. He’s a very lucky caterpillar indeed. (The sunny day meant that this little caterpillar had crawled into the shade, so I couldn’t photograph him properly). Good job!
More Doors for NZ Book Week
A Door for Every Book!
This last door includes a whole library of art (left to right, top to bottom): The Day the Crayons Quit, The Three Little Pigs, Fantastic Mr Fox, Lord of The Rings & The Hobbit, Harry Potter, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and The Witches Field Day.
Reading Dragons’ Realm Live – Bloodstains and Roaring!
My visit to Hataitai School as part of NZ Book Week also involved quadrillions of questions from keen literary minds, lots of bloodstains (but none on the floor), and some load roaring! Along the way, the students had the say! Click here to find out more!
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!
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.
I’m absolutely thrilled to announce that I’ve had a story accepted for At The Edge, a dark speculative fiction anthology being released in the middle of 2016.
My story Call of the Sea explores some dark themes, indeed – abandonment, rejection, grief and insanity, but be warned, I like happy endings.
There were a truckload of submissions. The award-winning editors, Lee Murray and Dan Rabarts, said they had enough quality stories to make two great collections, but are only making one at this stage. The anthology will be published by Paper Road Press and launched at Au Contraire, the NZ science fiction fantasy convention, in Wellington this June.
Here is the table of contents for At the Edge, alphabetically by author surname:
Joanne Anderton, “Street Furniture”
Richard Barnes, “The Great and True Journey”
Carlington Black, “The Urge”
A.C. Buchanan, “And Still the Forests Grow though We are Gone”
Octavia Cade, “Responsibility”
Shell Child, “Narco”
Jodi Cleghorn , “The Leaves No Longer Fall”
Debbie Cowens, “Hood of Bone”
Tom Dullemond, “One Life, No Respawns”
A.J. Fitzwater, “Splintr”
Jan Goldie, “Little Thunder”
J.C. Hart, “Hope Lies North”
Martin Livings, “Boxing Day”
Phillip Mann, “The Architect”
Paul Mannering, “The Island at the End of the World”
Keira McKenzie, “In Sacrifice We Hope”
Eileen Mueller, “Call of the Sea”
Anthony Panegyres, “Crossing”
A.J. Ponder, “BlindSight”
David Stevens, “Crop Rotation”
David Versace, “Seven Excerpts from Season One”
Summer Wigmore, “Back when the River had No Name”
E.G. Wilson, “12-36”
The cover artist for At the Edge is Kapiti-based Emma Weakley. It should be a great volume. I’ll keep you posted.
This box set contains four interactive e-books by New Zealand authors:
Creepy House by D M Potter
Dinosaur Canyon by Blair Polly
Deadline Delivery by Peter Friend
Dinosaurs, dragons, pirates, wild dogs, monsters, weird divers and a spooky house – all in one boxed set. Kids will have hours of fun exploring Four More YSWW Adventures and finding lots of cool endings. Be the hero in your own story with You Say Which Way.
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.
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.