Posts filed under: Middle Grade

Grand Competition

It’s on!

A competition to design some new rooms for The Grandest Hotel on Earth!

Here’s what you need to do. Think up an idea for a new room. Draw it. Write a few lines telling me all about the room. And then email it to me: lisa@lisanicol.com.au

Entries close 15 July 2020. Due to that old corona virus, the deadline for entries is being extended until 22 JULY.  (There’s a lot of uncertainty when schools will be back and some teachers have requested a little more time)

All drawings will be displayed in a gallery on the website. And the winner of the BEST NEW ROOM drawing will receive their VERY OWN POCKET DOG!! ( It will not be living I’m afraid. It will be stuffed. But it WILL fit in your pocket!!). The winner will be announced on Friday the 17th of July. 

If you need a refresher of what rooms already exist at The Grand, you’ll need to reread Chapter 6!

Can’t WAIT to see all your drawings and ideas for rooms! Happy imagining everyone!

Rosie’s Drawing

I got a lovely surprise in the mail the other day. A beautiful letter and a magnificent drawing from a girl called Rosie. Rosie said it was OK for me to share her picture. It’s a family portrait of everyone at The Grand. I think her likenesses of Rupert and Zelda are particularly wonderful. And how cute is Min!

Rosie suggested I write a sequel to Vincent. I often think about it. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what happens. Rosie is a writer too. I’m looking forward to reading Rosie’s work one day.

Kakapo

Recently, I was sitting at my desk in a bit of a funk. I was having problems with a story.

Big problems.

I couldn’t seem to get it to work no matter what I tried. I hated everything I was writing.  Maybe I don’t have any more stories, I worried. Fear curled up in the pit of my stomach like a sleeping snake.  So I just kept on writing  – anything! – trying not to disturb it.

Then one morning, early, while I was writing, writing, there was a scratchy kind of tapping noise at my office door.

I got up and opened it. And watched in disbelief  as a strange bird walked in, climbed up onto my desk and plonked itself next to my keyboard.

I had never seen a bird like it.

It was as big as a duck with owlish eyes and mossy green feathers.  And I don’t mean to be rude, but it was quite fat.

‘Well, since you seem to be all out of stories,’ said the strange bird, ‘how about you write one of mine?’

It can talk?

‘You better believe it,’ replied the bird. ‘And have I got a story for you.’

‘You do?’

‘I do.’

Well, I had to admit, I was intrigued. For a writer, that’s a good sign. So I inched towards my chair, trying not to go too close to the fat feathered creature, and sat down.

‘Ahem,’ I sorted of coughed, my hands hovering over the keyboard. ‘So..um.. what’s your name?’

‘Hector,’ said the bird, ‘And I am a kakapo. That’s K – A  – K – A – P – O.’

Glorious photo of a Kakapo by Mike Bodie

Grandest Drawing

This week I received the grandest drawing. It’s by a nine-year-old girl called Taleea. After reading Vincent and The Grandest Hotel on Earth with her mum, she drew this magnificent picture of  Florence and Vincent having breakfast (with a giraffe of course!). Florence looks SO incredibly grand and Taleea’s attention to detail is astounding. Note the musical emerald footwear, Vincent’s name above the top pocket of his uniform. And the gorgeous painting on the wall of the hotel itself, the snowcapped Mabombo Ranges soaring into the night sky behind it. Just breathtaking. Thank you so much Taleea for letting me exhibit your beautiful drawing on my website. Perhaps one day you might like to be a children’s book illustrator and you can officially illustrate my books! Wouldn’t that be grand!

 

Elephants & Pianos

Elephants and pianos keep appearing in my work. 

There are pianos and elephants at The Grandest Hotel on Earth. And the new book I’m writing has them too!

Elephants are the most majestic creatures. They fill me with awe and wonder. When I came across Paul Barton and his piano playing for elephants, I was captivated. I have watched his clips on YouTube many times over.

I particularly love this one.

Peter the elephant’s love of music is undeniable. The music delights him. He has to move his body and he has to woop and holler. (His mate seems to be having a pretty good time too!) I think Peter feels exactly the same things I feel when I listen to music that I like. 

Take a look and see if you can relate to how Peter the Elephant feels when he listens to music

 

 

 

Vincent and The Grandest Hotel on Earth

You know it’s been too long between posts when you can’t remember how to log in to your own website. Which could be good for security. Say if someone dangled me by my feet over a cliff and yelled “tell me the password to your website or it’s all over baby!” I could honestly reply “Well I’d genuinely love to help you but I can’t remember.” Might get me out of that sticky situation.

I’m beyond excited about my new book Vincent and The Grandest Hotel on Earth coming out on 2 July! You won’t believe this place. It really is wilder than the African savanna, more fantastical that Disneyland and more magical than Shangri-La. Can I just say pocket dogs and sloths…and wait till you hear about the rooms….

Book week Boogaloo!

Stop the presses! (Do we still have presses these days?)

Today I witnessed an event that will surely go down in history.

Today I spotted the first ever book week Dr Boogaloo!

I had restrain myself from popping balloons and throwing children up into the air and screaming ‘Yippee! A book week Boogaloo! It’s a book week Dr Boogaloo!!!!’

The book week Dr Boogaloo -otherwise known as Beau! – had on a shiny silver suit and round glasses (which unfortunately don’t appear in the picture so you’ll just have to take my word for that). He looked  like a brand new pencil. Just like Dr Boogaloo!

Here’s Beau and me…

..and here’s another friend I made at lunch.

 

Beau you made me one very happy author today!!

And can I say your classmates were awesome too.(I’d mention them all by name but I forgot to get their parent’s permission. You know who you are guys!!) We even invented a new drink – SPROKE! (Sorry kids! I’ve already trademarked it. First in best dressed, you know how these things go. Got to be quick!  Insert winking emoji because I can’t work out how to yet…)

What a great day! Thanks to CBCA Lunch with the Stars. The roast chicken was tops!

 

 

Dr Boogaloo The Musical?

It’s very exciting news!

Dr Boogaloo and The Girl Who Lost Her Laughter is being adapted for the stage as a musical by the frighteningly talented Yve Blake and Alice Chance.

Yve Blake

gotta love a girl who can pull off a koala-do

I’m trying not to get too excited because these things take time. And you should never count your musicals before the curtains part on opening night. But it’s hard not to get excited when you’ve heard the songs Yve and Alice have written. They’re beautiful and funny and moving too…

As a writer, hearing your characters turned into songs is completely magical.

And wait till you hear their ideas for Leonard! I have a feeling Leonard is going to love the limelight. He loves an audience, as you know!

 

 

Slack Children’s Author Finally Updates Website

Boy oh boy. It’s been a while. Forgive me for not posting but I’ve been out and about with Dr Boogaloo and The Girl Who Lost Her Laughter. And so much has happened, I’m not sure where to start!

Perhaps we’ll go back to Russ The Story Bus. Now THAT was fun. Russ the Story Bus is part of the SWF Festival of Moving Stories. It’s a big bus that travels round the countryside visiting schools and giving out brand new free books. I got to go cherry picking in Young – where I also ate too many prunes! Very NOT wise when you have long bus trips ahead. Sorry Mr Cheeseman. Mr Cheeseman was my driver! Luckily for me, Mr Cheeseman did not mind a prune himself so we made good company.

Mr Cheeseman likes BIG things.

He’s a very happy fellow and taking his picture with REALLY BIG things  makes him even happier. Note to self – only ever go on long road trips with very jolly people. So much fun!

Here’s Mr Cheeseman with a GIGANTIC tennis racquet in Barellan. Barellan is a tiny town where Aussie champion tennis player Evonne Goolagong grew up. (We made a special detour just to visit the gigantic racquet and we were very nearly late to school!)

And here’s a gigantic dog we saw in Yass! That’s a normal size dog next to him. You can just see the top of his head. I think Mr Cheeseman was too scared to stand next to this dog. Which was very sensible!

We also visited a gigantic guitar which made Mr Cheeseman as happy as a banjo player.

I love road trips. There’s something relaxing about being in transit. Going somewhere feels good.

And as well as seeking out GIGANTIC things, we did squeeze in a few school visits. The kids were so smart. It always blows me away how creative and clever kids are. We listened to different pieces of music and came up with ideas for stories and characters. Music is great for getting your magical thinking all fired up. Lots of writers use music to kickstart their imagination. If you get stuck with your creative writing you should try it.

Shoutout to Hay Public School, St Mary’s Primary School,  Cootamundra Public School, Young Public School, Young North Public School and Yass Public School. Thanks for having us! We had the best time!

Russ The Story Bus

Next week I’m hitting the road on Russ the Story Bus!

From Monday 23 October – Friday 27 October I’ll be at Library’s in Western Sydney doing author talks and workshops. You can find out exactly where I’ll be on my Events Page.

Then the week beginning 6 November we’re taking a long road trip out to Hay, Cootamundra, Young and Yass.

You can find out more about the SWF Children’s Festival of Moving Stories here.

Or here!

 

Apparently I’ll be getting my own headset microphone. I’m guessing that means I need to brush up on my dance moves?

I’m wishing I had the moves like these kids! There’s nothing quite like dancing in the dust….

 

If you’d like me to visit your school or festival, head on over to my contact page and drop me a line!