A Bookish Adventure

I started this blog to document an extended trip to the US and UK in 2012, introducing children to my Alice-Miranda series. It's hard to believe that it's just on four years since we launched the first Alice-Miranda title - and now there are nine books out in Australia with another five still to come. When I first came up with the idea of this precocious seven and a quarter year old, I had no clue that she would take me on such an amazing journey, not only in Australia but also across the world. I visited 37 schools while we were away in 2012 and gave over 80 talks - it was fantastic. In 2013 I've been on lots of new adventures in the UK - visiting schools from London to Southampton, Lancashire, Scotland, Newcastle and back to London again. After that I headed off to meet readers in Singapore. In Australia I've been to Melbourne, Perth, Albany, Alice Springs and Brisbane. There's a new series too - about a gorgeous little girl called Clementine Rose. She and Alice-Miranda don't know each other yet, but they will soon.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

From Australia with Love Blog Hop

Australian writers rock. We know it, and we love them. But it’s not always easy to discover the Australian talent that is right under our noses.

From Australia With Love Blog Hop introduces you to 18 Aussie authors across a variety of categories and genres. Each author is hosting three of their fellow blog hop participants between now and Valentine’s Day to let you find out more about them. So follow them on twitter, like their Facebook page and visit their blogs during the blog hop period to discover more great Australian writers.

There's also a fabulous competition to win lots of prizes donated by the authors who will appear on my blog and on a host of others (see the list at the bottom of this post).  Today I'd like to welcome LJ Clarkson, who writes a middle grade fantasy adventure for 9-12 year olds called the Mastermind Academy Series.  The first book is The Silver Strand.  Over to you LJ.

10 Things You Will Only Hear in Australia
Thanks for having me today, Jacqueline.

Sometimes it seems us Aussies speak an entirely different English language. We’ve grown up using made up words, given people nicknames, and created odd sayings. If I counted them all, I bet we’d have enough to fill a dictionary! I blame it on us being so isolated from other English speaking countries. Or fellow Aussies having their brains shaken too much from traveling in Kangaroo pouches! No, I’m just kidding. That myth isn’t true.

But what’s true, is that we talk weird. And in honour of celebrating Australia day on the 26th January, I’m going to enlighten your international readers with a little lesson in Australian slang and nicknames, taking some examples from my novel, The Silver Strand and throwing in a few extra for fun.

Infamous Aussie Slang

If you can master these, you are a true Aussie at heart.

Don’t get your fringe in a twist - this is a play on the saying, “Don't get your knickers in a knot,” and means “don't upset yourself” or “calm down”.

Let’s go and have a cuppa - let’s have cup of tea or coffee.

Rack off - leave me alone or get lost.

Crikey - is what you say when you get a shock or surprise. It was made famous by the late Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter.

Plonk - to sit down heavily or collapse into a chair.

Thongs – are flip flops. Whoever changed the word just wanted to be different and confuse you.

Budgie smugglers – are an underwear style of swimming brief, and any man caught wearing them in Australia is teased relentlessly.


Now for some reason I don’t understand, Aussies like to add zzz’s on the end of names or o’s. Maybe it’s to sound cool. Who knows?

Mozzy – is a character in The Silver Strand. He’s a Cane Toad named after his favourite food, mosquito.

Sharon and Barry - Shazza  and Bazza

Robert - Robbo

Now I could go on and on with many more, but you’d forget them all. While the selection might be small, I hope it has helped you understand the way us Aussies talk, and hasn’t scared you away from reading any amazing Australian books.

To celebrate Australia Day further, I, LJ Clarkson (aka Louo), Mastermind and champion of spider solitaire, hereby decree that any visitors leaving a comment with their favourite aussie slang or their new nickname, will henceforth be known as an honorary Australian.

Author Bio:

LJ ‘fibber’ Clarkson tells everyone she gave up her Environmental Engineering career to study a Creative Writing Degree and pursue her writing dreams. But that's not entirely true. Ten percent of the time she sleeps in. Playing spider solitaire consumes 5% (bad, bad habit). Running Indicated, a promotional site for authors steals another 18.75%. In her remaining waking hours, she writes, laughs at her own jokes, reads and falls asleep whenever her boyfriend reels off geeky computer lingo (zzzzzz). If she were a Mastermind, she’d uninvent early mornings, grammar, broccoli, cleaning and her dog’s fussy eating habits.

The Silver Strand blurb:

Ever since twelve year old Isabelle Tresdon’s silver strand of hair sprouted, it’s been nothing but trouble: bleeding pink dust and sparking like a firecracker.  Refusing to be known as the girl with the freaky, grandma hair, she wishes it never grew and the hair withers and tarnishes.  

The only problem is, the strand is Isabelle's source of magic, and she can transform particles of energy into matter. It's also her ticket into Mastermind Academy, a secret school inside the earth’s core. Five days remain before the strand drains her magic and life, forcing Isabelle to enter into a deal with two trickster Masterminds to save it. But what she doesn't count on is that there is more at stake than just her life. 

The Silver Strand, a MG Fantasy Adventure for 9-12 year olds, is book 1 in the Mastermind Academy Series.

If you'd like to purchase a copy of the books or learn more about LJ click on the links below.

Author’s websites: www.indicated.com.au
Indicated is a site providing all the resources an indie or small press author needs.
Buy ebook and paperback (Amazon US)
Buy ebook Australia (Amazon Aus)
Autographed copies from the author’s website
Buy paperback (UK)

To enter the competition to win one of the many prizes from the following authors click the link.

*Also visit YAtopia for additional MG posts.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year - I'm kicking it off with...

Happy 2014!  I hope you have a great year and stick to any resolutions.  My husband's will be easy as it was not to make any resolutions.  I'm going to spend some time today trying to set some realistic goals - resolutions made in haste usually don't last long for me!

I've got a few events planned in January and I need to start spreading the word.  There are two high teas at The Tea Salon in Westfield Sydney on the 15th and 22nd - consecutive Wednesdays.  We had two high teas in the September school holidays and they were lovely events.  Lots of mothers and daughters and some grandmothers and granddaughters as well as the odd brother came along and enjoyed a morning of delicious food, good company and a Q&A with me.  There will be books on sale for signing and I'm thrilled that Random House has been able to arrange early exclusive release of Alice-Miranda In Japan for these events.

It's important to book early as the previous events were sold out very quickly and tickets are limited.  It's a lovely morning in the city and I know many of the parents planned some shopping and other activities in the afternoon, really making a day of it.

To find out more click on the link

I'm also teaching a writing course for keen and talented young writers as part of the Abbotsleigh Explore Program on Monday 20 and Tuesday 22 January at Abbotsleigh Junior School in Wahroonga.  Young writers have to submit a piece of work and over the course of the two days we'll look at developing their skills and knowledge and doing lots of writing.  I love working with children and their enthusiasm is inspiring. Places are limited - to enquire follow the link below.

Lastly, I am teaching a course for adults who want to write for children at the NSW Writers' Centre starting in February and running for five weeks, on Tuesday evenings.  I taught the course last year and really enjoyed working with the participants.

I've posted the details below but to get more information or to book, click on the link below.

Writing for Kids

Writing for Kids
Who: Jacqueline Harvey
5 x Tuesday evenings: 4, 11, 18, 25 February; 4 March, 6:30pm-9:30pm
Cost: Full Price:
$500; Member: $350; Conc Member: $300
Writing for children is big business.  Despite the doom and gloom about the state of the publishing industry, the children’s market remains robust and growing.  Children are reading and the demand for quality books is strong.
If you’re keen to write stories that will keep children reading under the covers after lights out, if you’re interested to know more about the puzzling business of publishing, or if you harbour dreams of being the next JK Rowling or Morris Gleitzman, then this course is for you.
Over six evenings, Jacqueline Harvey will guide participants through a practical look at writing for children; from goal setting and understanding what you want to achieve, to finding your voice and knowing how to grow your story.
The course will cover everything you need to get started including:
  • Understanding your potential audience
  • Finding and developing ideas
  • Creating believable characters
  • Developing plausible plots
  • Using dialogue effectively
  • Literary devices
  • The importance of editing
  • Advice on getting published
  • The business of being a writer
A series of practical exercises will give budding writers opportunities to explore style, voice and other key elements of writing for children as well demystifying the publishing process.
Tea and coffee making facilities will be provided. Course participants are advised to bring their own lunch as there are no cafes within easy walking distance.
Student RequirementsPen and paper.

About the tutor
Jacqueline Harvey
grew up telling stories.  From a young age she harboured dreams of becoming a teacher and author.  With plenty of outstanding educators around her, making a career as a teacher was the easy part.  Having never met a real life author, writing was far more perplexing.  It wasn’t until she was working as a teacher she met her first published author and the dream grew.   She is now one of Australia’s bestselling authors for children.  Her Alice-Miranda and Clementine Rose series’ have both been sold internationally; her first and only picture book, The Sound of the Sea was an Honour Book in the 2006 Children’s Book Council Awards and Alice-Miranda at School has been shortlisted for four children’s choice awards and the Australian Peace Literature Prize.
Until recently Jacqueline has spent her working life teaching in girls’ boarding schools and has been a Deputy Head and Director of Development.  In 2012, she took a leap of faith becoming a full time writer and speaker.