Kids and DOCTOR WHO and 13

The BBC have released an utterly gorgeous video with school kids getting a preview of DOCTOR WHO Series 11 and a surprise visit from the 13th Doctor herself, Jodie Whittaker (see bottom of post)

Just look at the excitement on the faces of these kids. Anyone ranting against the decision to cast a woman as the 13th Doctor, needs to watch this and have a think about what it is that frightens them so much. These kids not only accept a woman in the role, they are downright excited about it.

As a children’s author, I do heaps of school talks, and I usually mention that I’m a DOCTOR WHO fan. In all those times, since the announcement of Jodie Whittaker, there has been an overwhelming excitement from kids I’ve spoken to about the casting. The only negative reaction I’ve seen in my school visits (and it was more wariness than dislike) came from one older teen boy and two teachers (both white middle-aged males).

The kids in this video, and others like them, are the future. The series is being made for these people… not for entitled, bigoted, old-fart dinosaurs who are unable to accept change within a series that has built its existence around being able to change.

I am just as excited as these kids…

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OTHER WORLDS reviews

Getting a good review is pretty great. But getting a good review in which your writing is compared to someone/something you are a fan of… well… that’s just AWESOME!

In her Magpies magazine review of Game World, Beth Dolan wrote:

“Special mention of the mother-figure who could challenge Coraline’s Button Mother for creepy malevolence.”

OMG! A Neil Gaiman comparison! I adore Gaiman’s writing and love his book Coraline. In fact, in a recent interview, I picked the Other Mother with her button eyes, as my favourite fictional villain. So this comparison leaves me a bit speechless. Magpies is a subscription magazine… check out the website.

Anyone who knows me could tell you that I’m a HUGE Doctor Who fan. It is my main pop culture obsession. So this little comparison from the ReadPlus review of Perfect World by Clare Thompson, completely blew me away:

Perfect World reminded me of a Doctor Who episode; it was fast paced and cinematic”

Wow! Just wow! There is no higher praise in my view. You can read the full review here.

While on the subject of Doctor Who, I should mention that each of the OTHER WORLDS books has a hidden Doctor Who reference. I put these in most of my books, purely to amuse myself. They are usually pretty obscure and I’m not expecting anyone to notice they are there. But it’s kinda cool when someone does notice. Especially in a review…

“Also nice to see that Ivanoff is clearly a fan of the late great Douglas Adams, and has included one or two references ”

This is from the Reading Time review of Game World by Christian Price. You can read the full review here.

I was watching the Tom Baker story “Shada”, written by Douglas Adams, while writing Game World… so my two main characters ended living in Adamstown, with one on Shada Street and the other on Douglas Avenue.

I’m chuffed that there have been lots of other really positive reviews for the OTHER WORLDS books. If you’re interested in checking them out, here’s a list…

  • “This is a racing read that will grip reluctant readers”
    Perfect World, Books + Publishing, 23 October 2017, Full Review.
  • “It is full of action and adventure, but there is far more to it than that. It will get your students thinking about individuality, differences, acceptance and who controls the world.”
    Perfect World, Lamont Books, March 2018, Full Review.
  • “Keagan is the key to teaching the clones about diversity and friendship – and his relationship with Eone is quite adorable, as is their journey to discovering diversity, and divergence and enlightenment – and hopefully, this book will show kids that it is okay to be who you are and that you don’t have to fit in with the crowd..”
    Perfect World, The Book Muse, 1 May, Full Review.
  • Beast World shows diversity and difference, and puts a spin on the way portal worlds are portrayed. This unique and fun story has animals in clothes as Lords and Ladies in a Victorian London setting, and uses the dynamics of the human world in the animal world to illustrate how different people will do anything to attain their goals.”
    Beast World, The Book Muse, 4 May 2018, Full Review.
  • “Perfect World is a well-executed exploration of what it means to be unique.”
    Perfect World, Tim Harris, 12 June 2018, Full Review.
  • “This series is certainly going to keep readers on the edge of their seats.”
    Game World and Dark World, Just So Stories, 29 July 2018, Full Review.
  • “The books in the “Other Worlds” series are exciting fast-paced junior novels, filled with action, adventure, mystery, set in alternate realities. With both boy and girl protagonists and themes of friendship, collaboration, accepting diversity and problem solving, these novels will engage readers from ages 8 and up.”
    Game World and Dark World, ReadPlus, 21 September 2018, Full Review.
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Shank Night in Grindelwald

Whilst attending a writers festival in an odd faux Swiss village in Tasmania, named Grindelwald, some of my fellow-writers and I decided that it would make a great setting for a murder mystery novel. One by one, authors are murdered for the mistakes they have made in their novels, their method of demise being in line with their genre. We decided to name the potential novel after the “Shank Night” special from our first dinner at the Alpenrose Lakeside Bistro & Bar.

Writers are weird! Our imaginations never rest. We spent the whole festival adding to our private murder mystery and even the spilled wine at Saturday night’s dinner became another incident in the plot!

The festival was the Tamar Valley Writers Festival. Murder planning aside, the event was AWESOME! They had 61 speakers over the course of three days, which included a schools day that was FREE for students to attend. The program ran like clockwork (quite appropriate for a Swiss village), the panel moderators were well researched and eloquent, and the topics were varied and interesting. There were a wonderful bunch of organisers and volunteers that looked after us, making sure we were fed, watered and where we were meant to be at any given moment. [Waves to Nella, Anne, Tamara, Mary, Wendy, Lyndon, Dale and all the others.]

One of my favourite things about being invited as a festival speaker, is getting the chance to attend other writers’ sessions. Friends like Paul Collins, Amie Kaufman, Andrew Plant and Jackie Kerin were on the program, and they are always rather brilliant. But I also got to see wonderful presentations from authors I’d not met before, including Jodi McAlister, Kyle Mewburn and Robbie Arnott… resulting in a rush to the Petrarch’s Bookshop stall (which had books from all the speakers at the festival).

To top it all off, I got to meet Glynn Nicholas at the festival’s opening cocktail party and a Dalek at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery in Launceston.

Thank you to the organising committee for inviting me, and to my speaking agent Paul Collins (from Creative Net) for recommending me.

The Tamar Valley Writers Festival is held every two years. If you happen to be in Tassie when the next one is on… GO TO IT!

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OTHER WORLDS series trailer

After individual trailers for Perfect World and Beast World, we now have a trailer for the OTHER WORLDS series as a whole.  :-)

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Publication Day

Game World and Dark World (books 3 and 4 of OTHER WORLDS) hit the shelves today. Yay! I’m celebrating with some flourless orange cake. But… um… I was most of the way through my slice before I realised that I had forgotten to take a photo for this blog post. Whoops!

Posted in books, Otherworlds, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

2018 REAL awards

OMG! OMG! OMG! A You Choose book has made it on to the REAL awards shortlist for the fourth year in a row. How cool is that? And what an amazing honour!

The REAL (Reading & Enjoying Australian Literature) awards are a group of state-based awards for children’s literature that are nominated and voted on by kids. The shortlist feeds into three sets of awards – the YABBAs in Victoria; the KOALAs in NSW; and the KROCs in the Northern Territory.

In 2015, You Choose: The Treasure of Dead Man’s Cove was shortlisted in the “Fiction For Younger Readers” section… and it won a YABBA.

In 2016 and 2017, You Choose: Alien Invaders From Beyond the Stars was shortlisted in the “Fiction For Younger Readers” section… and it got an Honour Award in the KOALAs both those years.

This year it’s You Choose: Footy Fever in the “Fiction For Younger Readers” section. This is the special You Choose book that was licensed by the AFL. I am over-the-moon excited that it has made it onto this list, which is chock-full of amazing books and authors…

  • Bad Guys: Intergalactic Gas by Aaron Blabey
  • Billie B Brown: Billie’s Yummy Bakery Adventure by Sally Rippin (illustrated by Alisa Coburn)
  • Ella And Olivia: Zoo Rescue by Yvette Pogloshian (illustrated by Danielle McDonald)
  • Ella Diaries: Pony School Showdown by Meredith Costain (illustrated by Danielle McDonald)
  • Eric Vale Off The Rails by Michael Gerard Bauer (illustrated by Joe Bauer)
  • Hotdog!: Party Time by Anh Do (illustrated by Dan McGuiness)
  • Polly And Buster: The Wayward Witch & The Feelings Monster by Sally Rippin
  • Sporty Kids: Handball by Felice Arena (illustrated by Tom Jellett)
  • WeirDo: Really Weird! by Anh Do (illustrated by Jules Faber)

And there’s even more great books across three other sections: “Picture Story Books”, “Fiction for Older Readers” and “Fiction for Years 7-9”. Check out the full list.

Of course, this shortlisting is shared with the amazing James Hart, who has done the cover and internal illustrations for Footy Fever, as well as the other twelve You Choose books and the four OTHER WORLDS books (two of which are out, with the other two being released on 28 May).  James’s artwork has given my books an incredible vibrancy and his cover illustrations shout “PICK ME UP” at passing book browsers.

As well as illustrating my books, James has also done the artwork for Mr Bambuckle’s Remarkables by Tim Harris, which has been shortlisted in the “Fiction For Older Readers” section. He’s also created this year’s Victorian Premier’s Reading Challenge Primary School poster. Is there no end to this guy’s talent? Check out his website to see all this other awesome work.

Posted in books, You Choose series | 2 Comments

Bookshop Workshop

Today I ran a two-hour intensive writing workshop for kids aged seven and up, at Eltham Bookshop. It was all about structure and planning. Several of the participants were interested in using the group planning activities as a basis for their own writing, so I promised to put photos of the whiteboard plans up on my website for them to look at. So here we go…

First up is the plan for an interactive horror story, in which the reader either goes to a graveyard full of zombies and accidentally facilitates the creation of a Mega King Zombie, or gets kidnapped by a haunted car and taken to a deserted carnival where they are attacked by a shape-changing killer robot clown.

Next up, we have the mind mapping of potential new OTHER WORLDS stories. The one that seemed to get the most interest was about a paleontologist visiting a prehistoric world just as the dinosaurs are about to be wiped out by an asteroid.

During the session I read a little from You Choose: Creepy Crawly Chaos and then told them about my experience of posing for a photo with a bird-eating spider (don’t worry… not only was it dead, but it was also frozen). They wanted to see the pic, so here it is…

After the workshop was over I spent a bit of time signing books for the participants, and then all the remaining stock for the shop. So if anyone wants a signed copy of one of my books, Eltham Bookshop has LOTS!

Posted in Appearances, books, bookstores, Otherworlds, Writing, You Choose series | 4 Comments

Speccy-tacular AFL Stories

Happy Publication Day to this awesome footy anthology. I’m pleased to have a story (about football on another planet) in this book, along with those written by Michael Wagner, Tony Wilson, Nicole Hayes, Adrian Beck, Michael Panckridge, Sherryl Clark, Patrick Loughlin, Meredith Costain, Shivaun Plozza and David Lawrence. And the illustrations are by Simon Rattray.

 

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Beast World book trailer

The BEAST WORLD trailer has been released. So exciting!

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Perfect World book trailer

LOOK! Perfect World has a trailer…

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The Doorway Opens

Today, the doorway opens on OTHER WORLDS with the publication of books one and two – Perfect World and Beast World. This new series of sci-fi/fantasy/adventure books, aimed at kids aged 8 and up, is officially launched today! I celebrated Publication Day this morning with a fancy cheesecake. :-)

I am so excited about this series of books. I’ve always had a liking for portal fiction, so getting the chance to write my own has been a dream come true. Plus, I’ve thrown so much of myself into this series, the stories reflecting my belief in diversity and inclusiveness and the need for everyone to be who they really are. I hope readers will like it.

Today is extra special, as I can also reveal the covers for books three and four (which will be published on 28 May). All the covers and internal illustrations are again by James Hart, the man who gave the You Choose books such an incredible vitality and who now brings a dynamic excitement to this new series. Thanks, James!

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Fly! Be free!

Today the latest two YOU CHOOSE FLIP ME books have been released into the wild.
Creepy Crawly Chaos / City of Robots
and
Extreme Machine Challenge / In the Realm of Dragons

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Merry Christmas

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FLIP ME again!

January 29 will see the release of another two FLIP ME! You Choose editions…

The first will bring together Extreme Machine Challenge and In the Realm of Dragons. And the second has Creepy Crawly Chaos and City of Robots.

This will complete the set of FLIP ME!, 2-in-1 You Choose books. Very exciting!

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The massive OTHER WORDS reveal

The time has come to unveil my new OTHER WORLDS book series. This is where I get to tell you a little about it and also show you the first two covers – illustrated by the always awesome James Hart (who also does the covers for my You Choose series) and designed by Tony Palmer.

This is a four-book series aimed at kids aged 8 to 12 (although I’m hoping that like the You Choose series it will have wider appeal). It’s about mysterious keys that open doorways into other worlds. Each book is a stand-alone story with a new set of characters. But, for those who read the entire series, there’s also a thread running through the first three books that gets tied up in Book 4 (which I’m still writing :-) ).

Series Blurb:

Find the Key! Open the Doorway! Enter the Other World!
An exciting new series from the author of You Choose.

Book 1: Perfect World

Blurb:

Keagan finds a key . . .
It opens a doorway . . .
He steps through . . .
Into a weird world of clones who are obsessed with perfection. But this world isn’t as perfect as it seems. Keagan is determined to return home – all he has to do is find a way out of the city, survive the Dumping Ground and outsmart a bunch of rogue clones!
Will Keagan escape Perfect World?

Originally titled Clone World, it had a name change during the writing of draft 1 to something a little less obvious and hopefully more intriguing. It is without a doubt, the most difficult writing experience I’ve ever had. While I am really happy with the end result, it took about 17 drafts to get there (I usually only do about 9 or 10)!

This book is complete. It will be published on Monday 26 February 2018.

An early review based on an uncorrected proof ARC (advance readers copy) has already appeared in the industry mag Books + Publishing. If you subscribe to it you can check out the full review. If not, here’s a taste…

It’s great to see a sci-fi action-thriller aimed at 8- to 11-year-olds, since it’s an area with many eager readers. George Ivanoff, who penned the excellent ‘You Choose’ series, does a fantastic job of setting up a strange world in the style of The Midwich Cuckoos. This is a racing read that will grip reluctant readers . . . There’s also a strong moral lesson here: be proud of your individuality.

Book 2: Beast World

Blurb:

Xandra finds a key . . .
It opens a doorway . . .
She and her brother are sucked through . . .
Into a crazy world that looks like steampunk London. Except in this world there are no humans – only animals. Xandra and Lex encounter rhino police, armadillo housekeeping staff, rodent inventors and even a lion on the throne. Here humans are the endangered species!
Will Xandra and Lex survive Beast World?

Originally titled Animal World, it had a name change early on in the writing process ‘cause really… Animal World is a pretty uninspiring title. :-)

This book is almost complete. It’s currently being proofed. It will be published on Monday 26 February 2018.

Book 3: Game World

No blurb yet. This one is set in a futuristic cyberpunk world where humans and robots are battling it out in a virtual arena with games. Except, of course, that not all is as it seems. It’s managed to retain its title all the way through the process.

A draft is complete and with my editor getting its first structural edit. It will be published some time 2018.

Book 4: Dark World

This one is just an outline with a few rough chapters at this stage, so I’m not telling you anything about it yet. It will be published some time 2018.

So there you have it. I am so incredibly EXCITED about this series! I cannot wait to actually hold copies of the book in my hands! I cannot wait until they are set free into the world!

SQUEE!

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Central Coast NSW

In October this year I had the pleasure of touring the Central Coast area of NSW, courtesy of the local branch of the Children’s Book Council of Australia. Over the course of five days I visited seven schools, two bookshops, a library book club and a Teacher-Librarian networking event. And I even managed to squeeze in a little sight–seeing, some writing and a bit of Pokemon GO playing. It was a jam-packed week and heaps of fun.

Thank you so much to the Children’s Book Council of Australia – (NSW) Central Coast Sub Branch, and particularly to Lyndall Coles who was the mastermind behind this book tour.

I loved every minute of this tour — from signing books for readers to meeting the dedicated teachers and librarians at the various schools — but there are a couple of highlights I wanted to share on my blog.

During my presentation at Our Lady of the Rosary School in Wyoming, one of the teachers, Sarah Evans, did an on-the-spot illustration of one of the zombie bunnies from You Choose: Maze of Doom. Such an awesome pic! And a lovely surprise to be presented with the illustration at the conclusion of my visit.

I visited Warnervale Public School, presenting to the Year 4 classes. Sadly the Year 3s weren’t able to attend. Knowing that they were going to miss out on seeing me, they wrote me cards and letters. It was such a buzz being handed this massive pile of mail at the end of my visit. I read each and every one of those cards and letters when I got home. There were quite a few questions, so I answered them in an email that I sent to their teacher.

Book tours are an aspect of my job as a writer that I adore. The opportunity to connect with readers is simply wonderful. I look forward to more touring in 2018.

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