In the studio: World map colouring page!


So for the book launch (this Saturday!) we decided to do a giant colouring page. I played around with a few ideas – should I recreate the book cover? What about a giant book with dragons and stuff coming out of it? A pirate ship? A quote from the book?

I decided, eventually, on a quote from the book. It’s going to be displayed in the venue (the Dorothy Butler Children’s Bookshop)  afterwards, so I didn’t want anything that would be too much of an ‘advertisement’ of my book.


Skimming through the book, I found a few quotes that I liked, and played around with composition a little. What would reflect the theme of the book, and suit a bookstore?

A few years ago, I painted a giant map. It was the first thing I’d painted since withdrawing from art school that I was actually happy with. It wasn’t perfect but it was good. I also painted a pirate ship and did some pirate drawings. I loved the notion of freedom and exploration, and that was the first painting I did just for me.

So I brought it together with the quote: “There’s so much world left to explore.”

Right-click to save & print.

Right-click to save & print.

You’re welcome to download and colour this in – and I’d love to see the finished product if you do!


Monday Musings: New stuff!

Events, Monday Musings, News

I’m changing today’s post up today, because I have a few announcements and new products coming up and Monday seems like a good day for announcing stuff. Please excuse all the blatant links, but they are relevant – promise!

The next book launch

I finished the draft of the next book, Beyond the End of the World but I really wasn’t happy with it. Fortunately, my first editor (Jeni Chappelle) gave me some great feedback and I now know exactly what needs to be done to make it better. Thank goodness for good editors! As such, Jane (the illustrator) and I have decided to extend the release date.

Beyond the End of the World will be released in early 2016.

This is so we can make sure that we have plenty of time to get the illustrations and the story to a point where we’re happy with it. I have three rules to know whether a story is ready to publish, and being proud of the story is one of them. I’m not sure I can get to that point by the NZ Book Festival in October.

New products

This is just a little teaser for what's to come!

This is just a little teaser for what’s to come (tea not included)

There are two new bits of awesomeness that are in production at the moment. The first are audio book versions of my chapter books, the second is… a colouring book!

The Caretaker of Imagination will be narrated by Barbs Peterson, an actress and writer. She did this video of the Caretaker’s prologue and I loved it so much that I asked her to narrate the whole book.

Lucy’s Story: The End of the World will be narrated by singer / songwriter (and actress) Jennie Cruse, who performed at the book launch.

And the colouring book? My sister has mentioned a few times that I should start working on one, and since we’ve pushed the release date for my next book I can make the time for it. I intend to get the drawings done this month and have it ready for the NZ Book Festival. We’re also hoping to have the audio books ready by then, but that’s a wait-and-see for now.

Out and about on the web

Last week, I had the privilege of writing for two other websites. One was for Inger Kenobi, a UK writer, about the benefit of live events for authors. Read it here.

I also wrote a piece on the history of storytelling, and why we are so drawn to stories, on the website of NZ author, Shane A. Mason. Read it here.

So what’s this NZ Book Festival you keep mentioning?

On the first weekend of October (the 3rd and 4th) is the second annual NZ Independent Book Festival. I’ve got some info here, or you can visit the official website. I’ll be there, of course, and over the next few months will be sharing what activities I’ve got planned for the day, and who else you can meet there.

A whole lot of NZ authors and writing-related businesses will be exhibiting, and there will be heaps of stuff to keep the kids busy as well. It’s a great chance to see what some creative kiwis have got to offer. The video below has a bit more info (and features me, eek!).


And the editing begins!


This week, I received my first feedback on Beyond the End of the World – and it’s not as bad as I thought it would be!

I also got an email back from Jane (my illustrator) saying she’ll be able to use her fairy magic discipline and energy to get the illustrations completed before the end of August.

This means that I should be able to get it out by the time the Book Festival comes up – if I can get my A into G and apply the suggestions my editors / beta reader give me. Which I can, because I’m stubborn and I REALLY want to get this book out!!

Monday Musings: The trilogy is complete!

Monday Musings

Well, sort of finished. The first draft of Beyond the End of the World is finally complete, and just needs a bit of revision before I send it to my first editor, Jeni Chappelle. It’s the last book in my chapter book trilogy: The Caretaker Series (book one is The Caretaker of Imagination, followed by Lucy’s Story: The End of the World). Jeni gives me an overall assessment of the manuscript, aptly called a ‘manuscript assessment’, so I can catch plot-holes, recurring issues and any storytelling elements I need to sort out.

After the first assessment, I go through the changes Jeni suggests (very kindly, I might add) and send it to beta readers. This time, I am sending it to a couple of beta readers, but also experimenting with another editor: NZ writer Lee Murray. She was referred by a very good writer friend of mine, and the reason I’m doing so is two-fold. Firstly, I am not doing much beta reading anymore, so it doesn’t feel right asking for beta reading without payment. Secondly, I’m building towards a systematic workflow of editor -> revise -> editor -> revise -> proofreader.

Having said all of that, I’m not going to be working on a chapter book for a while. I’ll talk a bit more about my writing plans for this year, but suffice to say my next chapter book series (which will be set in The Caretaker Series‘ future) is something I intend to publish in 2016. I have a loose outline of the first book, and an even looser outline of the whole series.

And since it’s Monday, here’s last week’s summary:

  • I didn’t walk or yoga every day, but I did 3 yoga sessions and one moderate walk. Progress!
  • I completed Beyond the End of the World draft – woop! woop!
  • I recorded two vlogs – one which will be published on Christine Campbell’s site, the other which had crappy sound quality and will need to be re-recorded.
  • A couple of guest blog posts have been written.
  • I planned a book-only market display, and have ordered a banner for the table. Check out my events calendar.
  • And as a little distraction, I had a go at Booktrack! It was a heap of fun and I’m looking forward to getting the rest out. Have a read / listen to The Caretaker of Imagination Prologue here.

What have I got planned for this week?