Tag Archives: Writing

Sally Cronin's Twelve Days of Christmas celebrations

Smorgasbord Christmas celebrations – The Fourth Day of Christmas with guests Norah Colvin and Amy Reade

I’m absolutely delighted to be included in Sally Cronin’s Christmas celebrations. I shared the story of my most memorable Christmas present and Sally gave me a beautiful gift in return.

Pop over to Sally’s to check it out. While you’re there, check out Sally’s books and all her other wonderful guests too. Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog, Sally. xx

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

So here we are all again and it is now day four of the party and I am delighted to have been joined by two more special guests, Norah Colvin and Amy Reade… more about them and their most favourite Christmas gifts later.

My Christmas Past..

I have been looking back over photographs of Christmas past and I came across a gathering we hosted in Tring in 1984 just before David and I left for Houston for two years. It had all happened very quickly. We had moved into our little house in the April when David moved from Liverpool with his job to a new cable television division that had been set up. Unfortunately we had only been there six months when the powers that be shut down the division and made David redundant. A bit of a shock to say the least. While we were in the…

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The Sound and the Fury flash fiction contest #5

Rodeo #5: Sound and Fury Winners

The results of the Carrot Ranch Rodeo Contest #5 The Sound and the Fury have been announced. What fabulous stories. Ride on over to the Ranch to read the winners, the Honourable Mentions and all the entries. Great writing everyone!

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

By D. Avery

Sometimes fear, respect, and awe are the braids of one rope. Sometimes that one rope is all a buckaroo has to hang onto. Your flash should never let go of that rope.

That was my lead-in to the prompt for the final rodeo contest, the Sound and Fury. I wanted contestants to write about a dangerous situation that people willingly engage in.

I have learned so much here at the Ranch even since penning such tough talk over a month ago. The prompt was to write of danger and risk, but for many just sharing one’s writing is a risk, and to compete is an even greater risk. To be willing to face a fear, to do what is not easy to do, engenders learning and growth; it is an act of creative courage.

Creative courage is what Carrot Ranch is about. The rope here is a…

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flash fiction kept in the dark

Kept in the dark

Have you ever engaged in an experiment to see how bean seeds grow when kept in the dark compared to how they grow when provided with sunlight? It’s an experiment familiar to many school children. The purpose of the experiment is to show that light is needed for the seeds to grow and children soon find that those kept in the dark do not thrive.

My father used to say that what you don’t know doesn’t hurt you. He wasn’t happy when my brother wrote in my autograph book that what you don’t know doesn’t do you much good either.

what you don't know won't do you much good either

© Norah Colvin

Although my parents were keen for my siblings and me to get a good education, there were some things about which they preferred to keep us in the dark — secret adult things. It seems they thought some knowledge might be dangerous, so they were selective in what we were told.

I am of the opposite view, thinking that a lack of knowledge may be even more dangerous. Just as bean seeds don’t thrive in the dark, minds can’t thrive if kept in the dark either.

Nowadays, in schools, there is an emphasis on the need for being explicit in our teaching, of making sure that children know what they will be learning, what is expected of them and why.

In my childhood days, if a reason was given, it was often ‘Because I said so’ or ‘Because it is’. I much prefer the modern way and, as with many things, believe that knowledge begets knowledge. It is difficult to be interested in something about which you know nothing. But knowing, even just a little, can stimulate curiosity to know more.

I have written about this belief before in posts such as Child’s play —the science of asking questions, Visioning a better school, a better way of educating, and Reflect and refine, to name but a few.

Into the dark flash fiction prompt at the Carrot Ranch

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills wrote about the darkness we feel when we’ve lost our guiding star, or when the spark of creativity has dimmed. She challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using the phrase “into the dark.” What must a character face? Write about an encounter, journey, relationship, or quest. Follow the ship’s lights on gloomy seas. Go where the prompt leads you.

Funnily enough, the prompt took me to neither darkness of the mind nor heart, but to the literal darkness of a stormy night. I hope you enjoy it.

Stepping into the unfamiliar

The car lights dimmed as she reached the door – timed perfectly. But, when the porch light didn’t activate, immersing her in total darkness, she cursed the storm. As she pushed the door of the still unfamiliar house, she rummaged for her phone. Dang! No charge. She inched along the wall, fingers seeking the corner and toes the step she knew was close. Stepping down, she dumped her bag and tossed her saturated scarf. She edged towards the sideboard and a battery-powered candelabra. As she fumbled for the switch, the room was flooded with light and cheers of ‘Happy housewarming!’

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

interview with Robyn Osborne author of Bruno the Boisterous Blue Dog of the Bush

Interview with picture book author Robyn Osborne – Readilearn

This week I am delighted to introduce you to Australian author and fellow Queensland educator Robyn Osborne and her delightful picture book Bruno, the Boisterous Blue Dog from the Bush.

This post is but one of several celebrating Robyn’s book in Romi Sharp’s Books on Tour. Please read to the end of the post for details of other posts celebrating Robyn’s work.

About Robyn

Robyn Osborne is an Australian author and teacher based in Queensland. She is dog obsessive and many of her books, including Bruno, have been inspired by her furry friends. Robyn grew up on the Sunshine Coast in South East Queensland where her father worked as a sugarcane cutter. As a child, she was surrounded by pets and quickly became an animal fanatic. At age eleven, when she made the connection between cows and steak, she became a vegetarian.

Although she always wanted to be a writer, a number of uncreative roles got in the way. It was when she became a teacher that she rediscovered her love of writing. She has won or been shortlisted for many awards and has published many short stories, junior novels and picture books.

About Bruno, the Boisterous Blue Dog from the Bush

This is a timeless Aussie tale celebrating the friendship between Bob the bushie and his best buddy, Bruno the blue dog.

Continue reading: Interview with picture book author Robyn Osborne – Readilearn

interview-with-dimity-powell-author-of-at-the-end-of-holyrood-lane-

Interview with Dimity Powell author of At the End of Holyrood Lane – Readilearn

This week I am delighted to share an interview with award-winning children’s author Dimity Powell. I previously introduced Dimity to you in her popular guest post Libraries: A wonderous universe to explore.

Dimity likes to fill every spare moment with words. She writes and reviews stories exclusively for kids and is the Managing Editor for Kids’ Book Review. Her word webs appear in anthologies, school magazines, junior novels, as creative digital content, and picture books including The Fix-It Man (2017) and At The End of Holyrood Lane (2018) with more to follow in 2019 and 2020.

She is a seasoned presenter both in Australia and overseas, an accredited Write Like An Author facilitator and a Books in Homes Role Model Volunteer in Australia.

Dimity believes picture books are soul food, to be consumed at least 10 times a week. If these aren’t available, she’ll settle for ice-cream. She lives just around the corner from Bat Man on the Gold Coast although she still prefers hanging out in libraries than with superheroes.

In this post, Dimity discusses her latest picture book At the End of Holyrood Lane. The book, illustrated by Nicky Johnston and published by EK Books, deals sensitively with the tough issue of domestic violence.

The story

At The End of Holyrood Lane is a poignant yet uplifting picture book that deals with domestic violence in a way that provides understanding and offers hope to young children.

‘At the End of Holyrood Lane is enigmatic. Different children will be able to interpret the story in different ways. I think this is excellent. Kudos to both author and illustrator for a successful creation that I hope will enrich many children’s lives.’ Susan Stephenson, The Book Chook.

The interview

Welcome to readilearn, Dimity.

Thank you for inviting me.

Dimity, At the End of Holyrood Lane was written for a very special purpose and a very special situation. Can you tell us a little about how you came to write this story and why it was important to you to do so?

Continue reading: readilearn: Interview with Dimity Powell author of At the End of Holyrood Lane – Readilearn

Winners of #1 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Contest: Dialog

Rodeo #1: Dialog Winners

And the results of #1 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Contest are in. Congratulations to the winners, honourable mentions and all who entered. Read the winning entries in the Carrot Ranch post and follow the link to read all entries. What a fabulous read!

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

Well, it’s over, and we judges have had a blast. It looks like you people did too. In all, we received 38 entries. Only a couple failed on word count, a couple of others didn’t stick rigidly to dialogue, but most of you were very good and complied with the rules. Even managing to make something from what was a tricky picture prompt.

Yes, that is me, and that is a giant tortoise; my family spent a day behind the scenes at London Zoo, including feeding these magnificent reptiles. My daughter is responsible for capturing me having the brief catch up…

Before we get down to the business end a few general thoughts:

  • In a fair few cases, there was still some ‘telling’. When you only have 99 words you really mustn’t. You have to leave a lot to the reader’s imagination, let them work it out. Sometimes the best…

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final flash fiction contest - danger

Rodeo #5: Sound and Fury

The last of the Rodeo contests is on and I think it’s the scariest of all. Write about danger, she says; dance it, feel it, hear it, smell it, touch it, taste it. I’d really rather stay where I’m safe and warm, but perhaps I can give it a go. It is just a story after all. Are you ready to unleash a dangerous story?

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

A Flash Fiction contest by D. Avery
Co Judges: Bonnie Sheila and the Amazing Educator

THE CONTEST

Sometimes fear, respect, and awe are the braids of one rope. Sometimes that one rope is all a buckaroo has to hang onto. Your flash should never let go of that rope.

Think of a dangerous situation that people willingly engage in. It need not be heroic with a heroic outcome for it is ill-advised to sit down on a bull or to run with them charging down the same narrow street. But people do. Why? Explore the motivation for the character; how did they come to be in this situation?

A high scoring bull rider stays on an athletic bucking spinning bull for eight seconds after exploding out of the chute. They are dance partners, with a grace that is gritty and brutal. The rider holds that braided rope for dear life…

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