Welcome to my website. I write books for children and plays for children and adults.
Click on the book covers below to find out more or go to the Books and Plays pages on this site.
Under the Books heading there's an extract from my work in progress, a magical fantasy for middle-grade readers.
Please ignore the title The Hero of Esk. It's now called Green Fire Magic.
NEW NEWS 2020
I don't want to trivialise the terrible impact of the coronavirus on so many parts of the world. Let's hope an effective treatment is found soon. But, for me, lockdown has been a time without distractions. Once I got over obsessively reading the dreadful stories in the news and fretting about the rising number of deaths, I settled into a new routine. Kept writing. Kept walking in the nearby forest. Began Zooming friends and family.
I'm grateful for support from the many social media groups I belong to: Buzz Words, Creative Kids Tales Network, Aussies Writing for Children, Just Write for Kids, KIDLIT411, Author Alley, LinkedIn, the A.S.A., Writers Victoria - and of course Facebook. My writing group used to meet in Belgrave library. Now we catch up monthly via Zoom. This works well if we stick to the agenda!
Good news. Another of my children's plays is under offer from the School Magazine, and, come June 30 I'll receive a surprisingly large amount of PLR and ELR payments. Crime Buster almost doubled the amount received for Ghost Light. I think I was wise not to write a third Cinnamon book.
My middle-grade fantasy/adventure, now called Green Fire Magic, had a very useful assessment from Writers Victoria. I acted on their suggestions to ramp up the villains and do more world-building. The first 10 pages have also been assessed by an A.S.A. mentor. Now it's time to release the manuscript into the universe.
OLD NEWS 2019
August. Received two copies of the NSW School Magazine Touchdown which features my play Two Gun Tess. Tess even made the cover!
May 29th 2019. Just found out Ghost Light, the second Cinnamon Stevens book, has made the long list for the Sisters in Crime 19th Davitt award for a children's crime novel. The Davitt's are awarded yearly for the best crime and mystery books by Australian women. I am delighted to have got this far.
OLD NEWS 2018
This year saw the publication of Ghost Light in April. Here are some pics from the launches. We had especially yummy chocolate cake
Does the drive for publicity never end? My latest attempt is reading extracts from the two Cinnamon Steven's books on the Narratives Library website. The site is a great idea, covering a whole range of books. To hear my contribution go to https://www.narrativeslibrary.com/young-readers/ and scroll down.
Just finished two school visits for Book Week. Great fun. Upwey South and St Thomas More Primary Schools should be proud of their lovely students.
Had a marvellous time running a workshop titled Whodunnit! at Belgrave library for fourteen keen young writers.
Just when I thought I should concentrate on my next children's book, I hear from the Australian Script Centre that two of my plays are going to be performed this year! One in August in Queensland, and one by a community theatre in New Zealand in July. I've gone international! The play for Queensland is My Bed is a Crocodile about a teenage boy with schizophrenia. The New Zealand production is Blood and Bone, a play for adults about menopause. For more information on these and my other plays go to the Plays pages on this site.
Oh, and Ghost Light has been added to the Victorian Premier's Reading Challenge booklist for Grades 5 and 6 - joining Crime Buster. May has been a good month so far!
HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2017
That's a statue of Katherine Mansfield in Wellington. Good to know the country of her birth value her amazing short stories. In the next pic I'm fighting an Orc from Lord of the Rings at Peter Jackson's Weta Workshop.
In August I received an email from one of the girls who attended my Belgrave writing workshop. She chose to dress up as my character Cinnamon Stevens for a Book Week event at her school. I went singing about the house all day!
July had a fabulous trip to Sri Lanka. Yes, that is me in the pic with a python wrapped around me. I had managed to climb to the top of Sigiriya Rock and was feeling pretty invincible. Saw lots of elephants during the trip, water buffalo, mongeese (mongooses?), monkeys, spotted deer etc. - but even though I spent EIGHT HOURS in a jeep on safari I did not see a leopard. The highlight was attending the Kandy Festival, an amazing procession full of whip crackers, fire throwers, dancers and elephants. It happens for two reasons. One is to petition the heavens for rain. The other is to show reverence to the tooth relic of Buddha, which was brought to Sri Lanka in the fourth century. The tooth (or a copy) is enshrined in a jewelled casket and carried by a tusker elephant (see the third picture).
Interesting fact - the tear-drop shape of Sri Lanka has become the shape of the island Esk in my new, work-in-progress novel, The Hero of Esk. Strange how we link things from real life into our stories.