Win a Manuscript Assessment with Author Katie Rowney

Katie rowney headshot

Our second author for round two who has donated her time to raise funds for Buy a Bale and help an aspiring writer at the same time is the multi-talented Katie Rowney. Here is some information about Katie and what she is offering.

If you have been working on a manuscript and want the chance to win first class feedback and maybe even find your work in front of the right people who can make your dream come true, then make sure you keep following along and bid, bid, bid to win Katie’s attention!

Katie’s offer will be on eBay in the SECOND round of auctions, starting 17 October, 6pm.

Welcome, Katie!

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Bio: Katie Rowney writes fiction and non-fiction books about almost anything that takes her fancy. Front Page News, her debut, was also her first-ever attempt at writing a novel and was selected from Penguin Random House’s slush pile for publication. A former journalist and communications specialist and editor by trade, Katie has a love of words and reads at least three books a week.

Why are you excited to do this? I love reading, writing, and anything to do with words, and believe a good author gets as much out of editing others work as they do writing their own. I come from a long line of farmers and am delighted to be able to assist in this small way.

Genres: Any, excluding historical fiction, erotica.

Submission length: whole manuscript

Communication: email, phone

Reply time: within three months

Auction reserve: $99

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Interested? Of course you are! Stay tuned by following me on Facebook, Twitter or here on this blog to make sure you get all the news in the lead up to this exciting event!

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AUTHORS FOR FARMERS is an initiative by Australian author Josephine Moon (www.josephinemoon.com) to band together fellow authors from around the country to help with drought relief fundraising for Australian farmers. All money raised goes to BUY A BALE (registered charity, http://www.buyabale.com.au).

(Please note: Ebay charges fees for using its platform and these will be will be deducted from the total donation amount at the end.)

Authors for Farmers: 100 Books for $100,000. Final List of Books.

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I’m setting the bar stupendously high and aiming for $100,000 for our farmers. Think we can do it? We’ll never know if we don’t try!

Get your tickets here!

Here is the final list of books in the prize pool:

Josephine Moon Three Gold Coins + The Chocolate Promise
Nick Earls Analogue Men
Monica McInerney Trio of Quinlan novels: The Alphabet Sisters, Lola’s Secret, Trip of a Lifetime, signed
Rachael Johns Talk of the Town + The Greatest Gift
Katherine Howell Web of Deceit (US hardback), signed
Nicki Edwards The Peppercorn Project
Liz Byrski A Month of Sundays
Karen Viggers The Lightkeeper’s Wife
Michael Trant Ridgeview Station
Louise Allen The Sister’s Song
Annie Seaton Come Back to Me + Her Outback Playboy
Sandie Docker The Kookaburra Café
Eleanor Limprecht The Passengers
Nene Davies Distance
Aoiffe Clifford All These Perfect Strangers + Second Sight
Elise McCune Castle of Dreams
Monique Mulligan Writing the Dream
S.D. Wasley The Seventh
Emily Madden The Lost Pearl
Pamela Cook Close to Home + The Crossroads
Tess Woods Beautiful Messy Love
Fiona Palmer Sisters and Brothers, Secrets Between friends, The Road Home, The Family Secret & The Saddler Boys, The Family Farm
Vanessa Carnevale The Florentine Bridge + The Memories that Make Us
Christine Wells The Juliet Code
Love Sabre (Kristine Charles) Love Sabre Anthology
Helene McCarthy A Quiet Hero
Katie Rowney Front Page News
Louise Guy Everyday Lies
Nadia L. King Jenna’s Truth
Amanda Knight Situation Critical
Sally Hepworth The Secrets of Midwives, The Family Next Door, The Mother’s Promise, The Things We Keep
Kylie Ladd The Way Back
Susan Johnson The Landing
Elizabeth Foster Esme’s Wish
Adele Dumont No Man is an Island
Cassandra Austin All Fall Down
Jennie Jones The House at the Bottom of the Hill
Shirley Patton The Secrets We Keep
Beth Prentice Dangerous Deeds
Phillipa Nefri Clark Jasmine Sea + The Station Master’s Cottage
V.P. Colombo A Little Bite of Happiness
Laura Sams Crazy Busy Guilty
Lisa Ireland The Shape of Us
Kelly Rimmer Before I Let You Go
Melissa Schembri How to Find Your Dream Job in 21 Days
Susanne Bellamy et. al. Hearts of the Town
Anna Daniels Girl in Between
Reba A Booth Hosts of Erravilla
Jane Gillespie Journey to Me
Joanna Nell The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village
Kate Forsyth Beauty in Thorns
Racel Watts Survival
Margareta Osborn Mountain Ash
Ellie O’Neal The Right Girl
Michelle Endersby Awakening Around Roses
Darry Fraser Daughter of the Murray + Where The Murray River Runs
Amanda Hampson The French Perfumer + The Yellow Villa
Maddison Michaels The Elusive Earl + The Devilish Duke
Andy Muir Something for Nothing
Claire Varley The Book of Ordinary People
Fleur McDonald Fools Gold, Suddenly One Summer, What Does a Horse Say?
S.L. Mills GOM’s Gold
Alicia Gilmore Path to the Night Sea
Melinda Terranova Bequeathed
Ben Hobson To Become a Whale
Mark Brandi Wimmera
Liane Moriarty Nine Perfect Strangers
Anita Heiss Tiddas
Kirsty Manning The Jade Lily
A.L. Tait The Book of Secrets
Benjamin Law The Family Law
Christian White The Nowhere Child
Dervla McTiernan The Ruin
Brooke Davis Lost and Found
Jessica Rowe Is This My Beautiful Life?
Sophie Laguna The Choke
Tim Winton The Shepherd’s Hut

1st prize: 75 books

2nd prize: 15 books + $30 Dymocks voucher

3rd prize: 10 books

Open to Australian postal addresses only. Books will be posted directly to the winners from the authors. Prize drawn 2 October 2018.

Updated: Authors for Farmers

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Authors for Farmers

Giant Raffle

100 Books on Offer with money going to Buy a Bale

Buy tickets here

1st prize: 75 books by Australian authors

2nd prize: 15 books by Australian authors + $30 Dymocks gift card

3rd prize: 10 books by Australian authors

BUY NOW

Authors include: Liane Moriarty, Monica McInerney, Nick Earls, Rachael Johns, Sally Hepworth, Kate Forsyth, Kelly Rimmer, Liz Byrski, Mark Brandi and so many more!

Open to Australian postal addresses only. Books will be posted directly to the winners from the authors. Prize drawn 2 October 2018.

Win Three Gold Coins in Audio

Share the love to Win! Three Gold Coins is available now as an audio book through Audible. Can you help me get it into the hands of someone who struggles to read text but would love to listen to a story? (Or indeed, if that is you, please nominate yourself!) Just tell me their name in the comments below. I have FIVE copies to give away! Winner drawn next Monday 30 April.

Books are like children: each one is different

There are many similarities with creating books and creating kids–the gestation, the labour of getting them out into the world, the letting go. And most of all, is the nurturing process, the drafts and drafts of ‘growing up’ with them, of listening to what they want to do while simultaneously trying to shape them into what you want them to do. Writers will tell you that each book’s process is different, just as every child is different. Here’s what I’ve learned so far from each of my very different (published) book babies.

The Tea Chest

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As an aspiring author who’d been rejected over one hundred times, I truly didn’t believe this book baby was going to make it out into the world. Perhaps like a mother who’d struggled to conceive and had lost so many babies along the way, I was well prepared to ‘lose’ this one too. I was shocked when this book sold, struggling to find excitement though it was something I’d wanted and worked so hard for for so long. I didn’t trust it. Fortunately, it all worked out, and it worked out far better than I could have dreamed.

But the biggest thing I learned from this book was to trust the magic. Writing a book takes discipline, sacrifice, artistry and more than a sprinkling of magic. I wrote the book I wanted to read. That was it. It was a lesson that took me twelve years and ten manuscripts to learn, but I got it. Finally.

The Chocolate Promise

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This book was written with a young baby in arms, excruciating levels of sleep deprivation, endless hours on long country roads to doctors, specialists and real estate agents as we make a difficult transition from the bush to the beach, gambling everything we had on a 115-year-old renovator’s ‘delight’, simultaneously relocating our family business to a new geographical region, with many months split between homes. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I drank so much coffee and ate so much chocolate (as research, but it doubled as caffeine too), blindly packing up my stuff to go and write for three hours at a time while a friend came to look after my young son. I never want to write a book under those circumstances again. Yet, I did it. I learned that even if a book feels like it’s going to fail, it won’t. I learned that I can make deadlines under the most crippling of circumstances. And I learned that the story always turns up. Even when I think I have no idea what I’m doing, the story has its own ideas and if I turn up at the page, it will turn up to meet me. Trust. Trust. Trust.

The Beekeeper’s Secret

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This book turned up unexpectedly. I’d been trying to write a family saga set on a coffee farm and had done heaps of research into coffee but I wasn’t getting any ‘signs’ to support that I was on the right track. So I had to sit back and say, okay, what else am I interested in. Everywhere I went, I saw bees, beekeepers and honey. I began researching bees and fell head over heels in love with them. I started to write a story (a corporate sabotage), but it wasn’t working and I had Catholic nuns in the background who were trying to wedge into the story. But they didn’t belong there. Again, I had to stop and say, ‘okay, what do you want?’ Maria Lindsey started talking and she didn’t stop. This book wrote itself so easily. Don’t get me wrong; it’s always hard work. But Maria’s voice was there every time I fired up my laptop. I trusted her, stepping outside of my comfort zone, delving into some darker places, and it all came together. With this book, I again learned to trust the story but I also learned to trust my readers. I was worried my readers would baulk at the change of direction this story took, but they didn’t. They came with me and loved it. I also learned that writing a book doesn’t have to be hard. Easy books are still good books.

Three Gold Coins

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Okay, so fourth novel in you’d have thought I’d learned a few things? Well, as previously stated, each book is different. This one was my most difficult book yet. I wrote three separate versions of this story. The final word count is around 110,000 words but I would have easily written over 220,000 in the process.

I mucked it up.

Firstly, I wrote the ‘wrong book’. I started this book in the Cotswolds in England and it was called Foxleigh’s Cheese Emporium and the novel revolved around two sisters, Lara and Sunny Foxleigh. But I got 50,000 words in (half a novel) and realised I’d written myself into a corner that I couldn’t get out of. So, I did what any sensible author would do and ran away to Tuscany 😉 While in Tuscany, I found a way to reincarnate Lara and Sunny Foxleigh into a totally new story.

Next, I mucked it up again. I started writing the story and backstory arrived. But I didn’t like the backstory and didn’t want to go there. I simply didn’t do books like that. So I constructed all sorts of plot and backstory to avoid writing what I didn’t want to write. I sent it off for an appraisal and upon reading my editor’s notes I realised my fatal flaw. I hadn’t listened to the story and I hadn’t trusted myself to write it.

I wrote a third version, one that went to difficult places, far darker than I’ve been to before. It was hard for me emotionally. I struggled. But good advisors kept encouraging me to continue and I pushed through it. I realised how much I have avoided writing about deep, deep pain because I didn’t want to feel it myself. But it was what the book needed and it is far, far stronger now than it was in the second version. It is now the story that wanted to be told from the start. I was a very, very slow learner on that one. In hindsight, I think that the commonly given advice to writers–to write what you’re most afraid of–is actually spot on. I know I am now a better, stronger writer for having gone to the place I didn’t want to go. I’m no longer afraid to go there again. This book made me grow ten-fold over what any of the previous books did.

Book Five?

What’s next? I’m pleased to say that book five is so far behaving itself! Phew! I am hoping it will be the easiest kid yet. It will be out in 2019.

 

 

 

 

Movie Review: Captain Underpants

Bright. Loud. Frivalous.

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I went to see this movie for two reasons. Firstly, I have a five-year-old son, who upon hearing the very term, ‘Captain Underpants’, began to laugh and asked to see the movie. Secondly, because I once heard an interview with the creator of the novels, Dav Pilkey, and was so moved by his story that I have longed for the moment my son was old enough to enjoy Pilkey’s creations.

You see, Pilkey was a child with dyslexia and ADHD and was repeatedly sent out of class and into the hallways. The pain he experienced at school gave him a keen sense of connection and service to children and actually began volunteering with school kids straight out school himself–something very unique for an eighteen-year-old. This was a young man who had a mission, I thought. And I think the worldwide phenomenon that is his books, proves that. This is a man who gets kids.

Having said that, I haven’t read any of the Captain Underpants books (as I’m still waiting for my son to get a bit older). My review here is strictly on the movie.

Firstly, my beef with his film is the level of violence contained in it for a G-rated film. I don’t see how animated violence (torching cats, having people hit by cars (repeatedly), or machines that want to shrink your brain and turn you into a zombie) is any different to actual violence. My son climbed into my lap towards the end (the grande finale of violence) and said it was scary. Still, he did want to hang on till the end and that is the first film he has actually sat through till the credits rolled.

I think this movie is pitched at kids slightly older than five. I’m thinking 7-9 years would be a good indication, as some of the humour is mature and there is a fair amount of written text that contains jokes, if only you know how to read.

It’s over the top. It’s meant to be.

But too much violence for me (and my son).

3 stars.