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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! 

Shelf Wobbler Leaves Author Feeling Chuffed….

It’s getting exciting folks!

It’s almost 2 October, the day Dr Boogaloo and The Girl Who Lost Her Laughter hits the shelves.

But what has got me almost more excited, chuffed even (I have always wanted to use the word chuffed) is something they call in the publishing world, a SHELF WOBBLER.

Now when I received the email from my publisher about said SHELF WOBBLER, I had no idea what a SHELF WOBBLER was!

At first I thought it must be some device that caused the shelf to wobble, which in turn caused my book to fall off the shelf whenever someone walked past. The person walking past would then pick up my book believing they had in fact caused it to fall off the shelf. ‘Ingenious! That should help sell a few more books,’ I thought to myself.

But it turns out I was wrong. That’s not what a SHELF WOBBLER is. Then I thought perhaps a SHELF WOBBLER is some sort of weird insect thingy found in book shops that lived on shelves and had a wobbly kind of walk.

Wrong again.

When I googled ‘insects + habitat = book shop’ it came up blank.

So then, despite the risk of looking like a total potato head, I just had to phone the publisher because I’d wasted a whole morning trying to figure out WHAT exactly a SHELF WOBBLER was!

Well, would you believe it, a SHELF WOBBLER, doesn’t wobble shelves at all. A SHELF WOBBLER, hangs off a shelf and wobbles. Its job is to attract your attention. It’s supposed to sort of say, “Hey, look over here, this book is a ripper!’

Here’s my SHELF WOBBLER. Unfortunately it’s a real world SHELF WOBBLER and not an online SHELF WOBBLER so it doesn’t wobble at all online. If you’re on an Ipad just jiggle it around and it should do a pretty good impersonation of a real life SHELF WOBBLER.

Rare and Strange Instruments

One of my favourite Facebook pages is Rare and Strange Instruments. Basically it’s a collection of videos of the strangest instruments you’ve ever seen. A lot of them are homemade.  The people who make them are musical inventors!

Like for instance, did you know you could make a bass guitar out of a couple of balloons?

Apparently you can! Check this out…

I bet you didn’t know toy cats could hold a tune either….

This guy must be a regular at The Boogaloo Family Clinic of Musical Cures!

I need a glass of water after watching that!

Well twang a banjo! some people can make music with just about anything!!

Whale Songs

How I would love to get this close to a humpback.

You know there’s a whale at The Boogaloo Family Clinic of Musical Cures

His name is Leonard and boy can that whale sing! 

The whale in this video reminds me of Leonard.

If you thought a 30,000 kg animal was too big to dance, think again…

 

How Big is Big?

How big IS big?

Good question….

When it comes to Dexi’s hands, I’m afraid we’re talking really big. Take a look.

Yep. Those are some BIG hands! And along with those big hands come some pretty big problems. No wonder Dexi wears boots! Tying up shoelaces would be very tricky I imagine. I wonder if you can guess what’s gone on here?

You’ll have to read the book to find out!

What in the heck is an iBike?

Well you’re going to have to read the book to find that out of course!!!!!

Dr Boogaloo and The Girl Who Lost Her Laughter

But because you seem like a decent person, I’ll show you a picture…..

And then you can get to thinking about what, when, why and how does THAT work!

Illustration by Daniel Gray-Barnett

The Engine Room

Knock knock!

‘Who’s there?’

‘Is there anything for afternoon tea?’

This conversation happens at around 3.30pm each day as my children arrive home from school & want to be fed.

‘Sure’ I yell through the yellow door, ‘there’s apples, nuts, bread….’

‘Yeah, but is there anything to eat?’ comes the reply.

It’s my eldest son. He’s fussy. Real fussy. And if it ain’t got sugar, it doesn’t classify as afternoon tea.

Behind that yellow door is my office. I painted it yellow as a salute to my most favourite author – Roald Dahl. He had a writing hut at the bottom of his garden and his door was painted yellow. The yellow door inspires me and reminds me of Roald Dahl every day. I’m so lucky to have a place where I can write. Roald Dahl put it nicely when asked about his writing hut:

You become a different person, you are no longer an ordinary fellow who walks around and looks after his children and eats meals and does silly things, you go into a completely different world. 

Here’s a picture of his writing hut where he wrote Matilda and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.

When Roald Dahl opened his yellow door and went inside, he was able to imagine entirely different worlds. Maybe the yellow door helped with the passage from one world into the next. I was once told yellow was an illusion we all shared.  I’ve no idea where I heard it but it’s stuck with me. Whether it’s true or not or makes sense doesn’t matter to me. I just love the idea of an illusion we all share. Something imagined that we imagine together. A lot like reading a book.

p.s In truth all colours are an illusion. It is our brains that see colours, not our eyes.  Colours are not real at all. What is real is light!!

 

 

Dr Boogaloo And The Girl Who Lost Her Laughter

What would happen if you lost you laughter?

Where would you look for it?

How would you get it back?

Can you live without laughter?

Would you even want to?

Well, this happened. To a girl called Blue. And unless you’re familiar with musical iBikes and banjos that make you weep, you’ll never believe what took place next! Come on a strange and fantastical adventure to The Boogaloo Family Clinic of Musical Cures and discover a world you’ve never heard of, before but deep down in your soul, always knew existed.

Here it is folks! The hardback edition!

Here’s what it says on the back cover

Enchanting, timeless and surprising – this extraordinary novel will touch the hearts (and ears) of children and adults alike.

Dr Boogaloo was no ordinary doctor. Not at all like the one you might visit if you had a sore tummy. No, Dr Boogaloo was a very different type of doctor. He treated folks who suffered from rather unusual complaints. And how did he treat them? Why, with the most powerful medicine known to mankind . . . Music!

Blue was no ordinary girl. For starters, her name was Blue. But what was truly extraordinary about Blue was the fact that she hadn’t laughed for 712 days. Not a hee hee, a ho ho or even a tiny tee hee.

According to Dr Boogaloo, music can cure anything. (Of course, you need the right dose of the right music. No point listening to a jive if you’re in need of some boogie-woogie, and you can’t just substitute a toot for a blow!) But no laughter was definitely a case for alarm.

Can Dr Boogaloo compose a cure before Blue loses her laughter forever?

A big thank you to Daniel Gray-Barnett for the illustrations. An iBike is no easy draw!

IN STORES OCTOBER 2

“A hilariously sad tale of laughter, friendship and the magic of music.”

  • Painting by Lucy Culliton

The Ballad of Dexi Lee

From the minute she woke and rolled out of bed

one thing was sure, there was trouble ahead

Meet Dexi Lee! Dexi Lee is an ordinary girl..

Except for one thing.

Her hands are GIGANTIC!

Everything she does leads to absolute chaos. But one day she meets some extraordinary animals and suddenly life doesn’t seem so gloomy…

Probably my most favourite thing about this book are the illustrations. They are paintings by the multi-talented Lucy Culliton. One of Australia’s greatest painters. Lucy loves to paint animals. She has a farm full of them. She has more pets than anyone I’ve ever met. You can tell how much Lucy loves animals from her paintings. When Lucy agreed to paint Dexi I was thrilled. It’s such an honour to have my work alongside hers. Here’s a sneak peak at some of the chaos poor old Dexi whips up…

And a dip at the pool made for battering seas,

tossing children like corks

into neighbourhood trees,

 

 

“A wonderful heart-warming tale of difference and happiness.”