Festivals, promos and other speaking gigs

2015 is shaping up to be a busy one in terms of speaking and travelling. I’ve hit the ground running with my first school visit and a radio interview last week. And there’s lots more coming up.

The visit was to Berwick Grammar, where I got to talk to all the Year 8 boys about my writing experiences and then took a smaller master class in short story writing. They were an engaged, enthusiastic and creative bunch of students. The school has a lovely rural feel to it, has some great teachers, and it’s logo appears to be a unicorn. What more could you want? Well… chocolates! They found out it was my birthday that week, so they presented me with a box of Lindt chocies. All gone now! :-)

The interview was on the 3CR programme Published…Or Not, which is a wonderful literary show that interviews a couple of writers each week. It’s well worth listening to. Check out the show’s webpage for broadcast times and recent podcasts (mine is the 12 Feb one).

I’ve got lots of speaking gigs coming up, including a promo tour later in the year to publicise the new YOU CHOOSE books. But what I’m most looking forward to is the 2015 Somerset Celebration of Literature. Held at Somerset College on the Gold Coast in March, it is one of the largest literary events for young people in Australia.

Over 30 authors and illustrators will be attending this event to talk about their work. And I’m lucky enough to be one of them! For a complete list of speakers and info on getting tickets, check out their website.

The festival has it’s own YouTube channel and speakers have been asked to create intro videos. Here’s my hopefully not too daggy one. Oh, who am I kidding? Here’s my very daggy vid…

There’s also an event later in the year that I’m very excited about… but I can’t tell you about that yet. I’ve got to wait until it’s officially announced. :-)

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You Choose covers

2015 has arrived and it’s time to reveal the covers for the next two You Choose books. Due for release on 1 May, they are Night of the Creepy Carnival and Alien Invaders From Beyond the Stars. As with the first four books, the covers and internal illustrations are from the awesome James Hart.

I love these covers so much. Can’t wait to see the books in print. :-)

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YOU CHOOSE in 2015

Okay folks, it’s announcement time! I am VERY EXCITED to reveal that there will be a seventh and eighth book in the You Choose series! They have been tentatively scheduled for publication in late 2015. Working titles are Super Sports Spectacular and Welcome to the GamesGrid. The whiteboard is ready and I’ve begun to take the first tentative steps in the planning process. Love watching that pristine whiteboard whiteness slowly being covered with cards and arrows.

I can also tell you that illustrator extraordinaire James Hart has come up with GREAT covers for books five and six, Night of the Creepy Carnival and Alien Invaders From Beyond the Stars, which will be published in May 2015. I can’t reveal them yet. But I can give you a teasing little taste…

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Stories for…

It’s Happy Publication Day for a new set of kids’ anthologies from Random House Australia. Edited by Linsay Knight, they feature stories from a whole bunch of great Aussie authors.

I’m very proud to say that I’ve got stories in three of them…

Stories For 7 Years Olds features “The Dog Ate My Homework”. This is a humorous story about excuses that was originally published in The School Magazine in 2006. It’s really lovely to see it back in publication for a whole new audience.

Stories For 8 Year Olds features a new story called “Liquid Mouse”. Well, new in the sense that it’s never been published before. I wrote the original draft of this over ten years ago. I tried submitting it to a couple of places back then, but it was rejected for being ‘too weird’. But now, after a bit of a polish, this weird story about a mouse trying to rescue his brother from an evil cat plan to liquefy and bottle mice, is finally seeing the light of day. I’m very happy about that.

Stories for 9 Year Olds features a new story called “50 Cents”. It’s a story about making links with the past, about looking to the future and about being Australian (even if you’re born in another country). I’m very proud of this story.

I’m also proud to share the pages of these anthologies with so many talented Australian authors, including…

These book are now available and I’m sure they’ll make great Christmas presents. :-)

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You Choose reviews

It just occurred to me today that I haven’t posted any links to reviews of the You Choose books. The first two books came out in April, the second two in June, so I think it’s about time that I did. The response has been pretty good. Here’s a small selection of quote and links…

“The books are fast paced, well written and place the reader smack bang in the middle of the action”
Series review by Megan Daley, Children’s Books Daily

“this is a series that not only combines interactivity and reading, but also enables the reader to think about cause and effect, to consider the options, to take the time to make a decision, and to take risks in a safe environment.”
Series review by Barbara Braxton, ReadPlus

“George Ivanoff is on to a winner with this latest addition to his 70+ children’s books.”
The Treasure of Dead Man’s Cove, reviewed by Marian McGuinness, Buzz Words Books.

“Ivanoff knows what kids want and writes as if he’s one step ahead of them, teasing them this way and that.”
Mayhem at Magic School, reviewed by Marian McGuinness, Buzz Words Books.

One of my favourite reviews is from teacher-librarian Sue Warren on her blog Just So Stories. She describes how her reluctant reader grandson was enticed by the You Choose books. As a former reluctant reader myself, I am overjoyed by stories like this one.
Read the review.

The best sort of reviews are the unofficial ones I get from kids and parents. Here’s one that was left in the comments section on my website:

“I recently purchased a You Choose book for my 7 year old son Kai at Armageddon in Melbourne. I just want to let you know that he absolutely fell in love with it and now wants me to get more of these. … He has always liked reading but he was getting bored with the readers at school. But for the past 2 nights he is bugging me to go to bed so he can read more of the story. He has already told me that we will be reading this book a lot of times.”

I couldn’t’ stop smiling after reading that. :-)

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Inside Story 2014

On Saturday I will participating in INSIDE STORY, an international children’s book event to be held at bookstores in Australia and the USA. Each participating bookstore will host a bunch of authors who will talk about the story behind of one of their books. This will be followed by signings

This is an annual event organized by The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

The Victorian event will be held at:
Readings Hawthorn, 701 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn, Victoria 3122.
Saturday 1 November
2:00pm–3:00pm

I’ll be there to talk about my You Choose series. And there will be 11 other authors. So come along! Here’s a list of authors and the books they’ll be talking about…

Kim Fleming: Mummy You’re Special to Me
Renee Treml: The Great Garden Mystrey
Betty Sargent: How Far is UP
Jackie Hosking: The Croc and the Platypus
Corinne King: Little Dog and the Christmas Wish
Victoria Lane: Celia and Nonna
Alison Reynolds: A New Friend for Marmalade
Kayleen West: Without Me?
Julie Grasso: Frankie Dupont and the Mystery of Enderly Manor
Pauline Luke: Knowing Joey Field
Goldie Alexander: In Hades

Check out the FaceBook page.

Read about last year’s event.

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Armageddon Wrap-up

Armageddon was awesome! Let me repeat that, just in case I haven’t quite made myself clear: ARMAGEDDON WAS AWESOME!

For those of you who don’t know, Armageddon is a HUGE pop culture expo. Their latest event was held at the Melbourne Showgrounds this past weekend (18/19 Oct).

I was lucky enough to be invited along to do book signings at the Dymocks Melbourne stand, where I got to share the signing table with UK author Robert Rankin and US author Terry Brooks. Both were thoroughly charming people who made the experience so much more enjoyable.

I had a lovely time meeting readers, hamming it up for photos and simply staring with wide-eyed amazement at all the astounding costumes that people were wearing. And being the Doctor Who fan-boy that I am, I went along to the Jenna Coleman’s Q&A session. I was wearing my TARDIS jacket, but as you can tell from the small selection of photos below, there were LOTS of people in TARDIS attire.


To celebrate Armageddon and my Doctor Who obsession, I ran a little Doctor Who giveaway, for a book/DVD/Blu-ray prize-pack containing…

  • Book — Doctor Who, Short Trip: Defining Patterns, edited by Ian Farrington (Big Finish, UK, 2008), which contain my fourth Doctor story “Machine Time”. [This book is out of print and not all that easy to get a hold of.]
  • DVD — Doctor Who: Deep Breath [First ep of Series 8.]
  • DVD — Doctor Who: Scream of the Shalka [The animated 40th anniversary webcast starring Richard E Grant as the Doctor.]
  • Blu-ray — Doctor Who: Spearhead From Space [The only classic series story to be released on Blu-ray.]

Every one of my books sold by Dymocks over the weekend came with a raffle ticket into the draw. And the winner was Kathy Faichney.

Congratulations to the Armageddon organizers for a superb event. And many thanks for inviting me to come along. :-)

The next big event for me is INSIDE STORY, an international children’s book event to be held at bookstores in Australia and the USA. I’ll be appearing at the Victorian event at Readings in Hawthorn on Saturday 1 November. More about that soon.

Posted in Appearances, books, bookstores, Doctor Who, Gamers series, You Choose series | 2 Comments

Armageddon and the Doctor Who giveaway

Two exciting announcements to make (well, they’re exciting to me)…

I’m going to be at the Melbourne Armageddon Expo on 18/19 October. I’ll be at the Dymocks stand most of the weekend. Dymocks will have my You Choose series and Gamers trilogy in stock, and I’ll be ready with an assortment of pens and stamps to deface purchased books. Mind you, I’m happy to sign mostly anything — programs, posters, photos, other authors’ books… about the only thing I won’t sign is a blank cheque. I did that once, and it got me into all sorts of trouble. ;-)

So, check out all the info at the Armageddon website.

To celebrate being at Armageddon, I’ve decided to do a little bit of a Doctor Who giveaway. Why Doctor Who, you ask? Well, here are my reasons…

  1. I’m a Doctor Who fan and I’ll grab any excuse to share the love. :-)
  2. Jenna Coleman is a guest at Armageddon.
  3. There’s at least one Doctor Who reference in each of my Gamers and You Choose books.
  4. I review Doctor Who DVDs and Blu-ray discs on my Viewing Clutter blog.
  5. I’ve written essays about Doctor Who for a number of pop culture books.
  6. I once wrote a story for a collection of Doctor Who short stories.
  7. I own a TARDIS jacket. (see above photo)

Enough justification? Yeah! Now, to the important stuff…

What do you get?
A Doctor Who book and a bunch of DVDs and Blu-ray discs. The giveaway pack contains:

  • Book — Doctor Who, Short Trip: Defining Patterns, edited by Ian Farrington (Big Finish, UK, 2008), which contain my fourth Doctor story “Machine Time”. [This book is out of print and not all that easy to get a hold of.]
  • DVD — Doctor Who: Deep Breath [First ep of Series 8.]
  • DVD — Doctor Who: Scream of the Shalka [The animated 40th anniversary webcast starring Richard E Grant as the Doctor.]
  • Blu-ray — Doctor Who: Spearhead From Space [The only classic series story to be released on Blu-ray.]

How do you get it?
Any of my books purchased at the Dymocks stand at Armageddon, up to 4pm on the Sunday, comes with a ticket into the draw. Buy one book, get one ticket. Buy ten books, get ten tickets. :-) And we’ll draw the winner just after 4pm on Sunday. You can come and watch the draw, if you like. Of course, that’s likely to be exceedingly boring if you don’t have a ticket. So… buy a book, get a ticket, then come and watch the draw.  Or maybe… wait! This is becoming too much like a hard sell. [switch to soft focus lens]

Feel free to stop by the Dymocks stand and simply say ‘hi’, even if you don’t want a book or a ticket. I promise not the sign anything unless you actually want me to. :-)

And I will be wearing my TARDIS jacket all weekend!

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Weird Things and Cool Stuff

As an author you’ve got to be prepared for the unexpected because… stuff happens! Cool stuff! Weird things! Odd requests!

A few weeks ago I had what is probably the oddest writing request I’ve ever received. It was from a team competing in the annual GISHWERSGreatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen. It’s an annual charity scavenger hunt that has been growing in popularity and gathering Guinness World Records. One of the treasure hunt items this year was — “Get a previously published Sci-Fi author to write an original story (140 words max) about Misha, the Queen of England and an Elopus.” Misha being actor Misha Collins, who runs the whole GISHWERS thing. An Elopus being the half elephant, half octopus GISHWERS mascot. And the Queen of England… well, she’s fairly self-explanatory.

Apparently this particular treasure hunt item resulted is a little bit of controversy, with some rather poor behavior. Some well-known authors were inundated with requests. Some were even harassed. Some politely declined to participate. Some weren’t so polite about it. Some authors complained about being asked to write for free. Lots of people got upset. You can read about it here and here.

Me? I just got the one request from a FaceBook friend. [Waves to Bron.] It sounded like fun. It was raising money for charity. I had a bit of time. So I decided to participate and write a story. It’s not exactly a masterpiece, but it was fun to write. In case you’re interested, here it is…

Royal Command

“Save the Elopus,” commanded the Queen of England.

“By your command,” responded Misha Collins, renowned actor and part-time MI5 operative, jumping into his Aston Martin and heading straight for the secret lair of Dr Rottenham, evil genius.

Fighting his way into the heavily guarded lair, Collins confronted Rottenham.

“Release the Elopus!”

“Not by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin.” Rottenham stroked his goatee. “It is essential to my plan for UK domination, which I shall put into action now, by placing this mind-control helmet on my head.”

The helmet was connected to a machine at the core of which lay the Elopus, encased in circuits, punctured by needles, slowly having its living essence extracted.

With the Eliopus-fuelled mind-control helmet on his head, Rottenham took command of Collins, using him to assassinate the Queen and take over the UK.

Odd story requests aside, the weirdest authorly experience I’ve ever had was one of recognition. Generally speaking, authors don’t often get recognized on the streets when they’re out and about getting on with everyday life (well, maybe JK Rowling does — but I don’t). But there have been a couple of occasions, usually after a school visit in my neighborhood, that I’ve been recognised. Just last week, I was recognised on a paddle-steamer cruise in Echuca. But there was one occasion which was… well… odd to say the least.

I had taken my eldest daughter to an open night at a local high school. Rooms were set out with demonstrations from the Year 12 students in a variety of disciplines, from Arts to Economics. In the science room there was one girl dissecting a rat. As she was slicing away at the innards of the rodent, she looked up, made eye contact with me, looked down at her rat, looked back up and stared at me. “You’re that writer guy, aren’t you? George Ivanoff?” I nodded. And she went back to slicing up her little whiskered friend without further comment.

Yep! All sorts of things can happen to an author. You’ve just gotta be prepared. ;-)

Posted in Life, Writing | 2 Comments