She used to sell her kisses for caramels; her lips went for long licks of licorice and her touch for tangarines and tutti frutti ...
Gabriella moves in next door to 14-year-old Sam and his life changes forever. There are dark secrets within Gabriella's family.
The story is set in Brisbane during the mid 1970's and delves into love and corruption. Firehead is poetic, dark and beautiful but makes you uncomfortable to read parts of it.
The story is told in parts, the first dealing with Sam's turmoil at the arrival of the fiery redheaded Gabriella into the house next door. It explores their relationship up to the discovery of her secret and her disappearance. The story skips ahead to when a grown up Sam finally discovers what became of Gabriella.
Armanno is a brilliant storyteller.
Two of my Short Stories were Published in Narrator Magazine Spring Central Tablelands Issue.
Last month I submitted two stories, “Always the Children” and “The Dancing Suit” to the Narrator Magazine hoping that the editors might select one of them for their Spring edition of the magazine. I was very pleased to discover that both stories were picked up for publication in the magazine.
Narrator Magazine is quarterly magazine based in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney and publishes essays, short stories, poetry and artwork, mainly from writers and artists from the Blue Mountains and Central Tablelands areas.
I usually write children’s fiction, but the magazine was asking for submissions for an adult audience. The first story, “Always the Children” is based on personal experiences during my time as a police officer. The second story, “The Dancing Suit” is a subtle horror story about a tuxedo, possessed by the essence of a very nasty man.
The first story is difficult to read and was even more difficult to write. Sometimes I still see that broken little girls face at night when I close my eyes. I had much more fun writing the second story.
If you are interested in reading the stories, the magazine can be read on-line at http://www.narratormagazine.com/
If you like the stories, take a few seconds to vote for your favourite in the “Peoples Choice Prize”
I hope you enjoy the stories. Back to writing for kids now…
I found it a little sad when my father was blocked by some of the older great uncles while he was researching our family tree. Grim faced, they warned him off, told him not to stick his nose where it didn’t belong. There was no dark secret, no skeleton in the closet, no mass murdering psychopath to discover.
The ‘big secret’ was, my great grandmother was aboriginal. I think those great uncles would have preferred the mass murderer. That is the saddest part.
Personally, I’m proud to acknowledge my aboriginal heritage. Frankly, it wasn’t that much of a surprise. You only have to look at great grandma’s photograph. (I’ll have to get a copy from my mother) The other unfortunate thing about the ‘big secret’ is that we missed out learning about a whole part of our culture.
My family are experiencing that learning now in our own separate ways. My brother is attending an aboriginal studies course; my mother and sister are getting involved through my niece’s school, while I am exploring my heritage through art.
The idea came after being asked to design and help the children at the local primary school paint an aboriginal style mural. I like traditional aboriginal style paintings but I also love painting in my own ‘fine art’ style. So, I decided to try incorporating both styles together – the same subject matter in both styles.
The first painting in this ‘Cross-Culture’ series is titled “Turtle Tides.”
And I’m planning on doing a goanna next as the goanna is the totem of the Wiradjuri people, to which I belong.
Other subjects I’d like to paint are the kookaburra, koala, magpie and frog. I’m looking for traditional stories relating to each of the animals I paint to help me better understand my heritage.
Golden Bat is the 6th instalment of Sandy's Samurai Kids series and I have to admit I have been hanging out to read this one but forgot all about the launch date and only discovered this week that it has been out for ages.
I love Sandy's writing. As a self-confessed very non-visual person, Sandy can still paint vivid images in the readers mind with a few - seemingly - casually placed words.
She makes me so jealous...
What can I say, this is another winner. The characters in the Samurai Kids books are so likable, all with their own strengths and weaknesses. They are like old friends you get to drop in and visit from time to time - with each new installment. It is amazing how Sandy can write about a group of children in ancient asia and still keep the issues they face relevant to children today.
One of the year 6 students where I work was asking me if I knew of any good series to read. He'd finished the Ranger's Apprentice, the Artemis Fowl, Skulduggery Pleasant, Harry - of course and all of Terry Pratchett's books so I loaned him White Crane.
He is hooked. He stops me almost every day to tell me about some part of the series he loved. There is no better praise than that.
Come on India! I can't wait.
Author Duncan Ball
As always, the trip from Bathurst into Sydney for the Children's and Young Adult Literature Festival was well worth it.
It was a beautiful sunny break from wintery Bathurst weather. Added to this, I got to meet some of my favourite children's authors and had lunch on the lawn with Lisa Berryman from HarperCollins. The festival is always such a relaxed and welcoming place to hang out.
The only slight disappointment of the day was that New Frontier's editor, Sophia Whitfield was unable to attend the festival. I was hoping to meet Sophia, mainly because she has my book Paper Magic under consideration at the moment. It would have been nice if she could have matched up my face with the name on the manuscript.
There were some very interesting and informative panels during the day, and I picked up a couple of leads I will be following up on as soon as possible.
I know that there are a kazillion vampire books glutting the bookshops at the moment. And yes, I'm sick of them too but this one is a little different.
I first came across this story as a free audio book from www.podiobooks.com (this was several years ago before I was sick to undeath of them) It is one of the few really good audio books I have listened to several times.
The book reads just as well as the audio version. Although I have to admit I missed the haunting soundtrack Kimberly's alter ego, Queenie provided for the audio tracks. I like the way Lucy's character is developed through flashbacks to her pre and post vampiric beginnings.
I found the book to have a calm feel to it, even though it takes the reader through the height of the Black Death, to ripping the life from a child murderer and finally to the bloody betrayal of friendship. Strange...
This Saturday, the 25th of June 2011 is the date frf the 6th Annual Children's and Young Adult Literary Festival at the NSW Writers' Centre.
This years festival has been given the title New Work, New Directions, New Opportunities. With all the doom-saying about the future of the book industry, a major part of this years festival is being dedicated to opportunities for writers in the digital age. The digital age comes with enormous opportunities for new work and new directions. The blurb for the festival proudly declares "But when a door closes, a window opens."
One of this years panels will address;
Independent publishers talk about print books, e-publishing, apps, digital publishing and opportunities now and for the future. With Boomerang Books blogger Joel Blacklock, publisher Debbie Higgs, author Karen Robertson (Treasure Kai series) and Sophia Whitfield from New Frontier Publishing.
A second panel will address;
Beyond the Page
Taking your work to the world through Facebook, Twitter, blogs, websites and video-conferencing. In conversation with Jeni Mawter from Literature Live!, and author and blogger William Kostakis.
I'm looking forward to both.
This will be my third festival and I am hoping to catch up with some of my writing friends. I am also looking forward to meeting some of my favourite authors for the first time and introducing myself to some of the editors who are attending. I particularly want to meet Sophia Whitfield from New Frontier Publishing. She currently has my Junior Novel 'Paper Magic' under consideration. I'd like to give her a face to go along with the name on my manuscript. I'm sure that has to help in some small way.
If there are any children's writers out there who haven't been to one of the festivals, please do yourself a favour and come along. It is a great day out and you might just catch that break you've been hoping for.
Cyclone Tracy by Alan Tucker
This is on of Scholastic's My Australian Story series. I have to admit, it is not a book I would have picked myself to read. I'm not really into disaster stories - but this isn't a disaster story.
One of the year 6 students I work with is a reluctant reader and I loaned him a book last week that I thought he might enjoy. The next day, he handed me this book telling me he thought I might enjoy it too. I started to read it in the afternoon after work and couldd not put it down. I finished it in one sitting.
This book is not really about Cyclone Tracy. It is the story of Ryan, son of the "Big T" the very pedantic and stern deputy Principal of the school. More often than not, the two are at each other's throats. The events leading up to and following Tracy bring Ryan and his father.
The book is written in the form of Ryan's diary. The only disappointing thing I found with this book was that it finished when it did. I wanted to know where the young hippy girl Soo and her family ended up.
The characters in this story are well drawn and make you care what happens to them. What more can you ask of a writer? I am thankful that my young friend gave me this book to read. It was definitely worth it.
By Glenda Millard
I've been looking forward to reading this installment of Millard's Kingdom of Silk series of books. Since starting to read the books, I have thought that the Rainbow Girls have had a bit of a raw deal.
Now it seems Scarlet, the oldest of the girls is getting her day in the spotlight.
"Plum Puddings and Paper Moons" explores issues dealing with refugees. It also shows that these very big issues aren't too big for ordinary people to get involved. Big wishes and small acts of kindness can build up and make changes in the way people think and act. If every one does just a little bit, the world could be a better place.
As always, Glenda's writing has it's own magic. Her descriptive passages lend vivid colour to the reader's imagination.
Jeffery E Doherty is an children's writer and artist who writes chapter books, picture book texts, junior and young adult novels.