two weeks ago I had four sheep put in my thigh deep lush green grassy back yard. After one week the grass was a neatly clipped lawn and this week it is time for the sheep to find a new back yard.
I nicknamed the sheep Roast, Chops, Barley Soup and Shanks.
It is moments like these that I realise how much resources go into my carnivorous eating habits.
I haven't blogged so often since my word count for WIPs has grown higher. 16 months ago I was writing an average 500 words per day and now I am writing 5000 to 7000 daily. The numbers have grown with diligent application. My art unfortunately has also had diminished attention and I need to redress that negligence. My art is important to me on a whole lot of levels. I was explaining to someone about the progress of my writing career this past twelve months and thought 'why do I not put this kind of organisation into my fitness and health?' and of course I haven't because I haven't given it a priority status. So talking with my sister this morning I came to realise if I want to be fit enough for the rigours of a writing career I need to think of my health as integral to that.
Several times I have had people make a comparison between myself and Collen McCullogh. She was a good writer with excellent research skills who wrote historical romances. She should have been written about in terms of her accuracy to detail and her depth of her characterisations but at the peak of her popularity the general media went on and on about her weight, her hair and her relationships. George Martin (Game of thrones) is a large man, with grey hair and a daggy cap but the media discusses his characters and his plots and when is the next book coming out. I don't see scathing dissertations about his weight, his clothes and his hair. So when people compare me to Colleen McCullogh though I write in a similar vein to George Martin I respond with either "Why because I am middle aged, fat and have no relation ship?" Or "Why, didn't you read her work either?" And no they usually haven't read hers or mine they just compare body, clothes and hair instead of the writing.
I want my writing taken seriously not my physical attributes. I wonder why no one discusses the men in terms of their outer appearance?
Onward and upward. I went to a writers conference of the SCBWI of which I have been a member since last November. At the Melbourne gathering at DiMattina’s restaurant in Lygon street Carlton I listened to some interesting speakers.
Historical fiction, Children's & YA Author Melbourne, AustraliaWriting and Editing
Our first member speaker was YA author (and SCBWI VIC committee member) Chris Bell. Chris has written thirty-five published books for children, including picture story, chapter and YA. Currently she is working on a YA historical novel, a project for which she was awarded a 2014 Varuna Retreat Fellowship. Chris spoke about her recent Varuna writer's retreat residency in the NSW Blue Ranges and the value of such stepping stones and validations on the way to publication. She also spoke about keeping faith in the writing dream and shared some insider tips on the Varuna selection process gathered especially for SCBWI in a one-on-one chat with CEO, Jansis O’Hanlon.
Our second member speaker was Sherryl Clark. Sherryl has more than 60 books published by traditional publishers such as Penguin, UQP and Working Title Press. She has also published or co-published around the same number of other projects. These range from oral histories and community anthologies to 40 issues of Poetrix magazine, Australasia’s only journal of women’s poetry. In 1997, Hale & Iremonger published her book, ‘Successful Self-Publishing’, which came out of the classes Sherryl was teaching at the time.
In this new era of digital publishing, where doing it yourself is trendy rather than stigmatised, the same issues and problems arise that were challenges in the 1990s. Despite all the advantages of e-book publishing, Sherryl chose to publish ‘Dying to Tell Me’ as a print book. She explained all of the challenges and decisions, and managed to fit it into 20 minutes.
During Afternoon tea:
From 3pm-4pm I managed to meet and greet with several other writers and unfortunately hogged the conversation with one group and generated enthusiasm for my novella with another.
The urn was broken so the only water for tea was in jugs - not good for tea at all.
The meet and greet was a valuable lesson in making sure I have business cards in future so this morning I designed and paid for 250 cards without my street address, which I consider unnecessary for my purposes in a digital focus industry.
Senior Editor at Allen & Unwin Melbourne, AustraliaPublishing
– Commissioning Editor, Allen & Unwin
Susannah spoke about what Allen and Unwin are looking for and publishing, and shared her observations of the children's books scene in the US - editing, publishing, trends, and the Australian books that sell in the US market.
She spoke about the six figure advances authors can earn in the American market and the collective indrawn breath of the gathering was amazing to hear. The average new writer may expect 10k but the industry over there looks for 'blockbusters' that can become stories in other media such as film and they spend equal amounts on marketing and promotion so they recoup their outlay and make the big profits.
She said that Young Adult is a very popular space in the reading market and publishers are very focussed on it.
Susanna also went to Bologna for the book fair and said that in spite of Australia being small "we hold our own'. Australian writers are well represented across genres and age appropriate reading material in the overseas markets.
Tales of the Fairy. I asked the lovely artist to please change the date to Australian and she very kindly did. The stories are based around the concept of the seelie and unseelie courts of the Fey and I have two pieces in this anthology; one for each court.