I’m excited to be able to share some photos with you from my recent trip to Manifest Creative Arts Festival held at Avondale College in Cooranbong, NSW a fortnight ago. I was invited to be one of the presenters at Manifest, which was a huge honour. Keep reading →
A much-needed boost
After the agony of the past week or so and my very real confidence crisis, I have just received a much-needed boost. Through an online group of children’s writers I’m part of, I discovered that a few people were using a well-known Australian author for manuscript assessments. I’m not going to mention her name publicly here as I want to clear it with her first, but I will say she’s had a lot of success over many years. I previously hadn’t had a manuscript assessment done because I am all too aware that there are a lot of people out there who will gladly take your money and give you very little helpful advice whatsoever. When I heard who the manuscript assessor was, my ears pricked up. I’ve been reading her books for years! If anyone could give me a few pointers on what to improve, I was pretty sure she could. Keep reading →
Some days you feel like you’re down in the bottom of the valley, wondering how you’re ever going to crawl your way back up the rock scree and out of the darkness. Other days are mountaintop experiences where you stand on top of the peak in awe of what has happened. Today was a peak day for me. Keep reading →
When you least expect it…
Surprises are, well, surprising. But some days are beyond surprising. They are amazing, mind-blowing and breath-taking. Today was one of those days for me. Keep reading →
Rosie only liked nice things. Sunshiney days, happy faces, laughing friends – Rosie liked them all.
But there were lots of things Rosie didn’t like – rain that wouldn’t stop falling, sad faces and angry, upset people.
Whenever she saw something that wasn’t nice, Rosie would put on her special pink glasses. Then she could pretend everything was lovely again.
When it was raining outside, Rosie put on her glasses and pretended to only see the sunshine…but she still got wet.
When Rosie felt sad she put on her glasses and pretended to feel happy again…but the tears still ran down her cheeks.
When her two friends, Elsie and Jemima, were fighting, Rosie put on her glasses and pretended they were playing and laughing together…but they were still cross and grumpy.
Rosie didn’t like feeling sad or lonely or hurt or scared. Her glasses made her feel safe.
But one day Rosie decided to be brave. She didn’t need her glasses anymore.
When it started to rain Rosie didn’t wish it was sunny. Instead, she splashed in the puddles under her stripy umbrella and counted the colours in the rainbow.
When Elsie’s rabbit died, Rosie didn’t put on her glasses and try to make Elsie smile. Instead, Rosie sat beside her and helped her cry.
When she accidentally broke her mum’s favourite plate, Rosie felt terrible. She wanted to put on her glasses and pretend that her mum wasn’t upset. Instead, she said sorry and helped clean up the mess.
Rosie still didn’t really like rainy days, sad faces or angry, upset people, but she was glad she didn’t have to pretend anymore. Now that Rosie was brave, she could see the beautiful rainbow… the friends who needed her…and the mess that she could help clean up.
And Rosie didn’t want it any other way.
A Frog In My Throat
Just wanted to get some feedback on a short story I’ve written for kids. Imagine you’re a 10-year-old boy and see if you find this amusing…I’d love to hear from you.
It was just another ordinary day. I woke up in the same house, in the same street, in the same bed as I always did. But then things got weird. Really weird. Like you-won’t-believe-what-I’m-about-to-tell-you-but-it-really-happened kind of weird. It was the day I got a frog in my throat. Seriously. I really got a frog in my throat.
It all started when Mum came in to wake me up. She knocked on my door, opened it and said a cheery, “Good morning, Gilbert,” as she threw back the curtains. I went to say a sleepy good morning back, but nothing came out. Mum glanced at me as she walked out of my room and said, “What’s the matter, Gilbert? Got a frog in your throat?”
At that exact moment, I really did feel a lump in my throat. A wriggling lump. A lump that had arms and legs. I started to panic as the lump crawled up my throat, tickled past my tonsils and hopped onto my tongue. I opened my mouth wide to scream, but nothing came out…except a little, green frog.
My little sister, Debra, happened to be walking past my room at that exact moment and caught sight of the frog hopping out my door. “Mum!” she yelled from the top of the stairs. “Gilbert had a frog in his room!” She dobbed on me every chance she got.
“Gilbert!” I knew I was in trouble from the way Mum said my name, and it wasn’t even seven o’clock yet. What a way to start the day.
Things got worse over breakfast. While Mum had her back turned, I glared at Debra. I was so distracted I didn’t hear Dad come in from his morning walk. He must have asked me a question, because the next thing I knew he was standing behind me. He put his hand on my shoulder and said, “What’s the matter, Gilbert? A cat got your tongue?”
Before I knew what had happened, there was something in my mouth again. But this time instead of being cold and slimy, it was soft and fluffy. It wriggled a lot and had really sharp teeth and claws. Worst of all, it was attached to my tongue! Debra’s eyes were as big as saucers. There was a cat attached to the end of my tongue!
After about five seconds, the cat relaxed its grip and dropped into my cereal bowl with a splash, before high-tailing it out the kitchen door. Debra was still staring, her mouth wide open, with a spoonful of cereal suspended in front of her. Mum hadn’t seen the cat. Phew! But she did notice that I’d made a mess with my cereal. “For goodness sake, Gilbert! Please be a bit more careful.” She looked at Debra, frozen like a statue. “And hurry up, Debra. Finish your cereal or you’ll miss the bus.” Debra opened her mouth to dob on me again, but was so surprised she closed it and didn’t say a word.
I couldn’t wait to get out of the house. Hopefully at school things would be normal again. I got dressed in record time, brushed my teeth for twice as long as usual and grabbed my lunch off the bench on the way out. “Bye Mum!” I called, as the front door shut behind me with a thud.
Van and Thomas were waiting at the bus stop for me as usual. The bus was running late and Mr Howard, the bus driver was anxious to get everyone on board. “Hurry up, you lot,” he grumbled. Van and Thomas got on ahead of me, while I fumbled around in my bag looking for my ticket. I knew it was in there somewhere…among the old chip packets, the half eaten sandwich and the crumpled up note I forgot to give Mum.
Everyone was on the bus now, except me. I stood on the top step, still searching through my bag. Mr Howard glared at me. “I said hurry up! I don’t know, you young people today. It’s like talking to a brick wall.”
As he craned his neck out the window waiting for a break in the traffic, I felt the now familiar feeling. Oh no, it was happening again! There, on the top step of the bus, I turned into a brick wall. Row after row of red bricks cemented themselves around me until I was completely covered. The noisy bus suddenly became very quiet and everyone stared straight at me. Van leant forward to speak. I saw his lips moving, but I couldn’t hear a thing. I guess brick walls don’t have ears. Then, as quickly as it had appeared, the brick wall vanished and I was left standing there with my bus ticket in my left hand and a single red brick in my right. Mr Howard looked at me again. “For goodness sake, put your ticket in the machine and go and sit down,” he ordered. “And put that brick away. The things you kids have in your school bags never ceases to amaze me…”
I mumbled a quiet ‘sorry’ as I shoved the brick in my bag and went and sat in the first seat I could find. Nobody spoke a word to me for the rest of the trip.
At school I waited by myself outside the classroom until the bell went. I was too scared to look at anyone or say a word. Three weird events already today – what else could go wrong?
Sitting at my desk, I tried to concentrate on what Miss Walker was saying. We were in the middle of maths – my favourite subject – but today I just couldn’t focus. I was supposed to be copying down multiplication problems from the board. Instead I kept coughing, trying to get rid of the fur ball stuck in my throat from the cat who got my tongue. I also noticed that my jumper was covered in little bits of cement from the brick wall, so I quietly picked at my sleeves. “Gilbert, will you get back to work please,” said Miss Walker, frowning. She’d already spoken to me twice before.
“Sorry,” I replied, as I tried to concentrate on problem number six. I wriggled around on my chair and took a sip out of my water bottle, trying to get comfortable. Miss Walker looked at me disapprovingly.
“I’m not sure what’s gotten into you today, Gilbert. You are normally the first one finished.” She turned to walk to the whiteboard and said over her shoulder, “It seems to me that you’ve got ants in your pants.”
I groaned. This was not going to be good.