Monthly Archives: October 2016

I’ve Started a Support Group… For MYSELF!

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Full confession, I am a chronic self sabotager and procrastinator of the highest order. I’ve had both Book Club Part 3 and Confessions of a Mad Mooer sitting, ready, waiting to go to the copy editor and haven’t sent them. Every time I go to send them I have an anxiety attack, feel like I’m going to have a heart attack, and my stomach fills with acid. I’ve read through them both many times, I am happy with them, others have read them, likewise happy, and yet I couldn’t bring myself to hit send. This week I did it. I did it by setting myself a ridiculously hard goal to achieve which has lit a fire under the seat of my pants… I’m currently pantsless with a scorched A.

I have a dream, to hand the great JByrne a print copy of Confessions of a Mad Mooer, my recap of my time in the psychiatric hospital with postnatal depression, at the final taping of the Book Club ABC for this year. And by give, I mean leap over security and throw it at her screaming, “I love you,” before dashing off ninja style into the night. It’s in December. Luckily I engaged my cover artist months ago, before the dread sunk in, so I’m not completely toast. But given my self sabotagesque approach to life I have started a support group for myself on FB called Self Sabotage and Procrastination to get me through.

Yes, you read right, I’ve started a support group, not for the good of a marginalised group, for myself. I am a wretched toad of a thing. It’s a place we’re people can yell encouraging things at me, suggest blurbs, tell my cover artist that she’s a genius, read the draft, and generally be nice, to make me feel good and not dissolve into a puddle of self loathing.

So… hopefully in December I’ll have some pretty books that you can buy AND high self esteem. Wouldn’t that be nice? (Crawls off to corner and sobs.)

Crime & Thrills With 5 Sydney Authors

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Crime & Thrills With 5 Sydney Authors

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Award winning crime writer, A.B. Patterson, organised an absolute cracker of an event at the Australian Youth Hotel in Glebe. Five brilliant writers speaking candidly, a sensational moderator, lush surrounds, and alcohol. If that doesn’t spell WONDERFUL SUNDAY AFTERNOON,  then I don’t know what does.

Crime writers Candice Fox, L.A. Larkin, Bruce McCabe, Nigel Bartlett, and A.B. Patterson, were all put to the question by the amazing Janine Hewitt. I have to say, she was a real surprise package. I’ve been to a lot of author talks and events and haven’t seen her convene a panel before… she was absolutely delightful. She clearly knew the guests’ works, had engaged with it, and asked some unexpected questions. It was an absolute pleasure for me, as an audience member, to have a fresh approach and such obvious enthusiasm. Audience members do get a bit bored with the same old questions and style all the time, so this made a great event even better. I would definitely go to any event organised by A.B. Patterson again, and I would definitely see Janine Hewitt convene, or be on any panel, again.

But enough about the organisation, it’s time to dish the dirt. What did those brilliant minds reveal?

Pyjamas are definitely necessary writing attire. I’ve been telling my accountant this but he refuses to believe me. I now have backup from Nigel Bartlett and L.A. Larkin both stated that they often like to work in their pyjamas.

You have to work really hard. Discipline is key. Nigel Bartlett and L.A. Larkin recommend working in the morning. Candice Fox said to treat writing like a job and make the time commitment. A.B. Patterson said that it’s important to get yourself into the right mindset to write… and when he works out how to do that consistently then he’ll let us know.

Candice Fox and L.A. Larkin recommend dealing with rejection by crying. Thank goodness someone has finally validated my approach. Nigel recommended trying to see the positive and move on. Whatever! Bruce McCabe said let it inspire you to think outside the box.

Candice Fox suggested that when people say, write what you know, you probably know more than you think. Remember ever conversation you listened in on. She also said listening to your fans is important for sequels.

L.A. Larkin apparently reads every review. She also says that the more books you write, the easier it becomes.

A.B Patterson carries a notebook everywhere.

Nigel Bartlett says you have to learn to beat your inner critic.

Bruce McCabe gave an incredibly powerful speech that I couldn’t do justice but will sum up as best I can. He said that in this day and age if you truly want to be published then nobody can stop you. There are so many paths to publication now, and traditional publishing is only one of them. So if you want to be published you can do it, nobody can keep you from it. It was rather inspiring.

Tips for people new to the Youth Hotel Glebe, firstly, you can be old, I’m 37 and they didn’t evict me. Secondly, The Nude Bar, refers to the bar upstairs. You do not have to get nude to go there. I repeat DO NOT GET NUDE TO GO UP THERE. It gets its name from the nude art on the walls. It is actually quite lovely and grand.

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Find Candice Fox here.

Find L.A. Larkin here.

Find Nigel Bartlett here.

Find Bruce McCabe here.

And find the man of the moment, the guy who pulled this whole event together, A.B. Patterson here.

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Here are my tweets, typos and all, from the event. (Cut me some slack, I’m dyslexic.)

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L. A. Larkin: #Robinpedia

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L.A. Larkin is a British-Australian writer and writing teacher. She likes adventures, dogs, long strolls along Antarctica, and tormenting characters. The themes of isolation, jeopardy, and lack of backup, are prevalent in L.A. Larkin’s works.

Two of her works are Antarctica noir, yet a third is set somewhere considerably hotter, Zimbabwe. Her works include:
The Genesis Flaw, published through Hachette, and nominated for four awards.
Thirst, published through Hachette.
Devour, also published through Hachette, with the sequel Prey coming soon.

L.A. Larkin also publishes pet detective books under the name Louisa Bennet. Monty and Me is published through HarperCollins.

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Find L.A. Larkin’s website here

Find L.A. Larkin on Facebook here 

Find L.A. Larkin on Twitter here

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If you have information that you would like added to this entry please leave it in the comment section.

Learn more about Robinpedia here.

Exciting additional note, L.A. Larkin’s book Devour is the one Jason Stegersaurussex accidentally said arse for instead of ice, on JByrne’s Book Club. It had him and BLaw giggling for ages at the slip-up, the arse and giggling had to be cut from the show because of time constraints. Relive that episode here.

I attended Crime & Thrills with 5 Sydney Authors which L.A. Larkin was a speaker at so have some extra Larkin details to add.

She likes to work in her pyjamas. Come on ATO, make pyjamas tax deductible. They’re uniform for writers.

She has found writing to be a journey of courage against external and internal critics.

She loves starting to work at 7am because that’s when her mind is freshest and her ideas are the best.

She reads every review. That includes Amazon and Good Reads. Your reviews are being reviewed.

She gets so inside her characters head that she has nightmares.

She never pitched to a publisher, she went straight to trying to get an agent.

Josephine Moon: #Robinpedia

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Josephine Moon is an Australian writer of foodie fiction.  She enjoys laughter, love, and little snacky things. In particular chocolate or honey snacky things. Being a writer she of course also obsesses over tea. Because that’s the rules. Writers may not have many rules but we must love tea, whiskey, cats, and scarves.

Josephine Moon probably has the most delicious selection of book titles in Australia, including, The Tea Chest, The Chocolate Promise, The Beekeeper’s Secret, all published through Allen and Unwin.

Her first novel, Starlight the Brumby, which she wrote at the age of 9, is yet to be picked up. I strongly believe that it will be a hit one day alongside my first novel which was about a sexy hobbit, and Ashley Kalagian Blunt’s killer bees from Mars novel. Perhaps we could get together and combine all three. Call me.

Find Josephine Moon’s website here

Find Josephine Moon on Facebook here

Find Josephine on Twitter here

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If you have information that you would like added to this entry please leave it in the comment section.

Learn more about Robinpedia here.

20 Real Life Wonder Women

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In honour of Wonder Woman Day I’d like to share with you twenty real life wonder women. Some I know and some I admire from afar. [Warning : I’m dyslexic, grammar nazis run for your lives]

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Anita Heiss
Scholar, writer, possessor of the best calves in Australian writing, Anita Heiss is the embodiment of Wonder Woman in the Australian writing scene. When she’s not writing highly successful books, ranging from non fiction to choc lit to children’s books, she’s off running marathons to raise money for charity, or teaching other people how to write. I’m not even exaggerating. Did I mention she has a PhD?

Calista Spiro
Actually that’s Calista Spiro MD, soon to also be PhD. She’s a General Surgeon, a PhD candidate, a friend to the nurses, and an angel to her patients. On top of this she finds the time to be a great mum, a warm friend, eat food, and shower. I can only manage to do two of those things, and probably only 60% of the time. Yet Calista manages to do it all. She truly is a wonder woman.

Canna Campbell
Forget sugar daddies, it’s all about the Sugar Mamma now. Financial wizard, savvy business woman, social media expert, and TV presenter… and that’s just on her lunch break. I’m convinced that there is nothing that this money expert can’t do. She even gives fashion advice.

Donna Colombini
This babe left school to follow her dreams to become a hair dresser. She consequently became the best hairdresser I have ever met. So she set herself a new challenge, teaching others at TAFE. She then went to university, all the while juggling her career and her children with her studies. This year she was named NSW/VET Trainer of the year. She is living proof that with passion and enthusiasm you can rise to the very top. But this isn’t even her greatest attribute. Donna is the kindest person I know. Always available with a smile and lovely words. A role model for kindness and compassion. And I am sure that anyone who has ever met her would testify to this fact. She is the kind of woman I strive to be.

Emma Viskic
Concert clarinetist, award winning writer, mango hater. She’s a supporter of the arts and artists. Generous with her outreach to others and is hilarious… I’m jealous of her and am going to go have a little cry for a moment.

Emily Maguire
Award winning writer of fiction and non fiction. Board member of the NSW Writers Centre. Feminist. Teacher. And she’s super nice too. I did a course with her a few years back and she still let’s me pick her brains. She’s a wonderful mentor to writers and a credit to the Australian writing community.

Helen Petrovic
Helen is hands down the best unpublished writer I have ever had the pleasure of reading. This is not an easy thing to achieve as I am lucky to have many talented writer friends and acquaintances. She is professional, productive, and incredibly talented. Whenever I think about the fact that she hasn’t been picked up by a publisher I just want to give up on writing. Her work is so visceral yet eloquent. Her talent leaves me speechless.

Jan Cornall
Jan was the very first person I did a writing course with. She opened my eyes to organisation and self belief. Without her I would never have started this blog. I owe her a great debt and so much love.

Jennifer Byrne
JByrne is perfection. Her eyes sparkle, her wit sparkles, everything about her sparkles. She hosts a show about books, I love books. She’s nice to obsessed fans who scream out, “Oh my God, I love you,” then faint at her feet. She is the queen. Love, love, LOVE, the Byrne of J.

Kate Forsyth
I can sense regular readers of this blog rolling their eyes at this point. She’s gushing over Kate Forsyth again? Yes! Yes, I am! And you will darn well gush with me or go throw yourself down a toilet. Kate Forsyth is an incredible writer, internationally published and celebrated, AND a Doctor of Fairy Tales. Literally. She has a PhD in Fairy Tales. This is the coolest thing I have ever heard of. Wonder Woman indeed.

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Kerri Sackville
I just took a peek at her FB page before writing this, as I do regularly, and she’s writing about running around the kitchen screaming FUUUCK. She makes me laugh so much. When she isn’t making me laugh she’s off being a writer, columnist, and TV presenter. Because why not do one thing brilliantly when you can do several, brilliantly. 

Leah Kaminsky
You know what, I’m just going to put the link to her Robinpedia entry here. She’s so mind-bogglingly brilliant that it would blow the word length of this blog entry out of the water. But here’s a quick summary, she’s a doctor, an award winning writer, has television credits, and I hear she can embroider. She is so Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman is looking at Leah, and wondering why the UN didn’t name her ambassador instead of her.

Lee Lin Chin
Queen of Australian television, and she beat Wonder Woman in a fistfight once. The UN initially approached her to make this day about them but she just maced them and kept on walking. I don’t even mean pepper spray, I’m talking about the medieval weapon. She just keeps one on hand. You may be cool but you will never be Lee Lee Chin cool.

Lisa Fleetwood
She’s one of my besties and I love her! She is incredibly driven. Last year she self published her memoir Destination Dachshund. It became an Amazon bestseller. She organised every aspect of her launch as carefully as any publishing house, with press releases and adverts. She amazes me that she truly can do it all. I am so proud to be her friend.

Oliver’s Mum
Growing up Oliver’s mum took me under her wing as if I was her third child. She’d greet me with hugs, take me on family trips to exciting places, and always make me feel as if I was wanted and special. I can’t articulate how thankful I am for her presence in my childhood because I keep tearing up every time I try to write this section. But, you are one heck of a woman and I wouldn’t be the mother I am today without your love. I still think of you fondly and often.

Pamela Freeman
The cheekiest character you’ll meet in the Australian writing lineup. She’ll tell you that she’s well behaved but that twinkle in her eye gives it all away. Direct, honest, funny, passionate, diverse. That pretty much sums up Pamela who also publishers under Pamela Hart. Yeah, she writes for kids and adults. Picture books, chapter books, fantasy, crime, historical fiction, and whatever the heck she wants. Her drive and diversity are her super powers. Such an incredible range of successful genres from the one writer. And she’s real. She’s not an amalgamation. I’ve met her, definitely real, definitely one person, despite her superhuman talent. And yes she has a PhD too.

Selwa Anthony
The face of fabulousness in the Australian book industry. She is a literary agent that has clients such as Tara Moss. Unlike the stereotypical literary agent (who only exists in people’s imaginations) that is only interested in boring and sad stories, Selwa Anthony is excited about passion and connection. She brings a sense of fun, class, and above all else, sass to the Australian writing world. She’s a woman that probably even Wonder Woman herself wishes she could be as fabulous as.

Tara Moss
A picture says a thousand words.
Image by http://valerhon.com/

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Toni Jordan
Love her. Her skin looks like she eats sunshine. She is the most glowersome person that I have ever clapped eyes on. She is just so lovely to everyone that she meets. You honestly feel like you’ve been kissed by a rainbow after you meet her. I loved her work before getting the opportunity to meet her… okay I threw myself at her after a screening of ABC Book Club one day before security could catch me… because she is an amazing writer with such wonderful characters. She also has the best sock collection in the Australian writing community. Bet Wonder Woman doesn’t have that!

Virginia Gay
Virginia Gay I love you, let me count the ways. Actually numbers aren’t really my thing so how about I talk about it instead? I just love the energy that Virginia Gay gives off on the screen. She is just the most captivating actress. Whenever she’s in a scene my eyes are always on her because she just burns with intensity. I don’t know what it is but she’s just magnetic. But on top of being a brilliant actor of screen and stage, she loves books and is a feminist. She’s younger than me, yet she’s my hero. Love her energy. And if you don’t follow her on twitter then you better get on it, she’s hilarious.

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I’d love to hear about the wonder women in your life. Please do leave a comment about them.

4 Things You Must Never Do in Blogging

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Today my humble blog turns 4, so I felt I’d celebrate by sharing with you the secrets I have learned through hosting this highly* successful blog.

1. Don’t vary your content too much.

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If you’re a spec fic writer stick to writing about spec fic and the writing process. Whatever you do don’t share short stories, then start doing horoscopes, then start covering writers festivals, then bitch about your codeine allergy, then start blogging about your journey through PND, then start doing TV recaps, then start doing stuff about your love of Australian writers… particularly if that stuff frequently involves references to wine and sticks rather than writers. That kind of jumping about would just confuse your audience. You have to remember that blog readers are vapid creatures that can only focus on one thing at a time. Count them, O N E. So make sure you just do the same shit every single day.

2. Don’t swear.

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You’ll look like a fucking idiot. Only people with a limited imagination swear. Don’t believe me, then fucking google it. Plenty of studies have been done into messy people who swear a lot and their intelligence. Pretty sure they all conclusively say that anal, sterile people, who never feel, and never show emotion are waaaayyyy more totes mega smart than foul mouthed fuckers.

3. Don’t get political.

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Sure, you saw this meme and thought it was the funniest thing ever. Don’t share it. Not even if you can find some tenuous link as to why you’d share it. Just don’t. Sure, you find the idea of men talking about women as if they’re a piece of meet deplorable, but somehow that doesn’t come across in ANYTHING you’ve published and you’ve got a shit load of supporters who love to grab that pussy. I’d suspect that the vast majority of the followers of this blog, written by a woman and a feminist, are lolling all day long about crazee ladeez and them wanting bodily autonomy. Because somehow my incredibly subtle profemale stance has passed them by. So if I posted that meme I’d lose 90% of my followers, so I sure won’t do something like that.

4. Don’t ever put out anything with grammos, typos, spellos, or any kind of os.

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If you , like I do, make mistakes, people will quite rightly assume that you’re a pathetic waste of space and that you don’t deserve to communicate in writing with anyone, ever. Fuck all of us dyslexics. Fuck us in the left temporal lobe. If we want to be taken seriously we should hire a professional editor for every single blog entry. Not just published books, everything. Every tweet, every comment, even emojis. Because every rude, snob, who doesn’t have any sort of visual or translation issue is a better person than us, and what they have to communicate is more important and insightful than any of us have to communicate. It’s just simple science. Heck, it’s probably a “vaccine injury.” We did this shit to ourselves. I strongly recommend that we just don’t even blog at all because we’re such turds on the face of written communication. We should all just go into the woods and eat worms.

5. Don’t break promises to your audience.

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If you said you’d give them 4 secrets to effective blogging then you better deliver. It’s literally the lowest form of humour to do one more or less. Failing your audience not only makes you a failure as a human being, but also untrustworthy. If you’ve lied about unlocking the secrets to successful blogging then what else are you hiding? Mascara, pushup bras, your own private chocolate stash that you share with no one?

6. Most of all, don’t listen to blowhards like me on the Interwebs.

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Be yourself, do things your way. Let your audience appreciate you for who you are. After all, you want your audience, not a bunch of bots.

* The word I’m looking for was probably un.

Jacqueline Harvey: #Robinpedia

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Jacqueline Harvey is an Australian children’s writer and former primary school teacher, Deputy Head of Junior School, and Director of Development. She is known for her celebration of feminine traits, often depicted as weak in literature, and showing them as strengths.

The Alice-Miranda books, published through Random House, are Jacqueline Harvey’s first series. They are enormously popular both in Australia and overseas. This juggernaut series is already up to book number 14 and is frequently shortlisted for Children’s Book Awards. She has followed up this series with another internationally popular series, Clementine Rose, also published through Random House, which already has 12 books in the series. Jacqueline Harvey has also written a picture book, The Sound of the Sea, published through Hachette, which was an Honour Book in the 2006 Children’s Book Council Awards.

Book launches of Jacqueline Harvey’s are amongst the most anticipated in Australia. She doesn’t forget her target audience and makes it fun and fabulous for kids. Jacqueline Harvey has been known to host child friendly high teas for her book launches and as such has really upped the bar for book launches in Australia. She has certainly brought the fun and creativity into launches which is a reflection of her passion and enthusiasm for her subject matter and her readers.

Although Jacqueline Harvey is no longer a full-time primary school teacher she hasn’t left her trusty whiteboard behind. In true teacherly fashion, Jacqueline Harvey uses a whiteboard to plan out her novels. A trait that has been adopted by up and coming Australian writers such as Lisa Fleetwood.

Find Jacqueline Harvey’s website here.

Find Jacqueline Harvey on Facebook here.

Find Jacqueline Harvey on Twitter here.

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Learn more about Robinpedia here.

If there is information that you would like added to this Robinpedia entry, please leave it in the comment section.