I'm Currently Preparing for Winter 2019, How About You?

Chilly nights, reading snuggled under warm blankets, or sitting fireside with a hot cup of tea. These are all signs Winter is in the air for me! Meanwhile on the other side of the world my fellow bloggers are enjoying the delightful signs of the beginning of Summer. Come along on our CURRENTLY Winter/Summer blog hop for a bit of fun, meet fellow authors and discover what they are currently up to in their part of the world. Once you have read about my current Winter plans you are welcome to click on the other awesome #Gr8Blogs listed below to read what they are currently doing this Summer.

Currently Loving

One of the best things about living in Canberra this time of year, I love walking among the colourful falling Autumn leaves. Our property is covered in evergreen Eucalypts, but on Wednesdays, I head into the heart of the city among the deciduous trees and walk the 5.5 Km along the foreshore to our National Library. Most days now I am rugged up with scarf, gloves, coat and boots ready to battle the wind, but when the sun shines it is heartwarming. Lake Burley-Griffin sparkles as dragon boats practice, the Carillon chimes and the path is a steady flow of bike riders, joggers and dog walkers.

Changing colours of the leaves as I walk around Lake Burley-Griffin

Changing colours of the leaves as I walk around Lake Burley-Griffin

Currently Reading

An author friend of mine recently lent me two middle grade novels by Jack Heath, who happens to be another fellow Canberra author. These two books are ‘300 Minutes of Danger’ and ‘400 Minutes of Danger.’ I have already finished devouring the first, and am halfway through the second. I love the premise of these books. Each book contains ten short stories, 30 or 40 minutes long each depending which book they are in. That’s 30 or 40 minutes of suspense, thrills and spills to stop even the most reluctant reader from putting the books down. Ten protagonists in each book, equally shared between boys and girls so that the books appeal to everyone.Intriguingly Jack has managed to link the danger in the stories, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers. Since starting to write this blog I have finished 400 Minutes of Danger and now read ‘The Shop at Hoopers Bend’ the latest MG novel by Emily Rodda. My second son loved reading her enthralling series Deltora Quest when he was young, so it was such an honour to meet her in person at the recent CBCA National conference. I only wish I had thought to take a selfie with her. I was so busy talking to her and getting my book signed I didn’t think about a photo.

Jack Heath's MG novels
The latest awesome MG novel by Emily Rodda.

Currently Watching

I have just finished watching a wonderful Australian series. ‘A Place to Call Home,’ ran for six seasons in total. I hadn’t watched any until now. It was fabulous. Set in a fictional country town within a few hours drive of Sydney in the 1950’s, it follows the story of a wealthy farming family and the community they belong to. Complex issues arise as a result of surviving the horrors of World War 2 and trying to settle back into naive country life along with the social status that being the wealthy family in the community entails. If you have an opportunity to watch it, and enjoy historical drama, I recommend it.

And now for something completely different I’ve now just watched the first season of ‘Chambers’ on Netflix. Gripping, intense and nail biting suspense.


Currently Listening To

Podcasts. I am currently trying to catch up on a whole lot of writerly/informative podcasts. ‘The Happy Book’ by Tania McCartney is packed full of tremendously helpful information. ‘Middle Grade Mavens ,’ by Julie Anne Grasso and Pamela Ueckerman keeps me up to date with great new releases and ‘Q&Q’ Friday by Jen Storer which is part of her ‘Duck Pond’ is an absolute gem of information. It is packed with insightful information every author and illustrator needs to help them on their writerly journey.




Currently Thinking About

Book Week in August will be on us again soon. It is the busiest time of year for authors. So many wonderful schools to visit. My second book in my Adamson Adventures. A Lighthouse in Time will be released and I already have schools booking me for visits. It’s time to start thinking about and planning those author talks.I also have two presentations coming up that have me pondering. The first is a talk at the CBCA (ACT), (Children’s Book Council of Australia) Romancing the Stars evening at the end of this month. The second is a presentation at the NLA (National Library of Australia) for the Canberra Writers Festival.

A Lighthouse in Time Cover 300dpi for Sandra.jpg

Currently Anticipating

It’s been a busy year writing already and we are only half way through the year. I am now anticipating the book launch of several books.

  1. ‘A Lighthouse in Time” The Adamson Adventures Book 2. Launch date 17th August.

  2. The Share Your Story Spooktacular Stories: Thrilling Tales for Brave Kids. My story ‘The Dead Centre of Town’ won a place to be included in this wonderful anthology written for brave sick kids in hospitals around Australia. To be launched 12th October.

  3. The Creative Kids Tales Story Collection, volume 2. I have two stories included in this one, ‘The Thumping,’ as a response to the theme ‘Things that go bump in the night,’ and ‘Save it for a Rainy Day,’ included in the theme of Enchantment. Due for release before Christmas.

  4. ‘Cyclone Kayla’ my story for Library For All will be turned into a graphic novel to be released in both ebook and print and shared to kids in remote areas of Papua New Guinea. I don’t know when this will be ready, but I am eagerly anticipating seeing the beautiful illustrations that will go alongside my story.

The Share Your Story Spooktacular anthology is coming.

The Share Your Story Spooktacular anthology is coming.

Currently Wishing

Wish I new the secret to hiding my nerves when speaking to a group of adults, especially my peers. I tend to give in a little to the impostor syndrome and wonder why anyone would want to listen to what I have to say. I know all our journeys are different as we travel this writer’s life and many people are interested to hear about and learn from my experiences. If I can speak well at the CBCA meeting at the end of this month without embarrassing myself, it will go a long way to improving my confidence.

Romancing the stars. cropped.jpg

Currently Making Me Happy

Life is pretty good at the moment. I can afford to put food on the table and keep a roof over my family’s head. We have installed a reverse cycle ducted air conditioning system just last week. The wood fire only warmed the one room in the house, I couldn’t cope with another freezing winter. Now we are all snug and warm. I am so happy to be able to type away at my computer without freezing fingers that refuse to work. I feel blessed to have an amazing and supportive family that I love very much and who support me in all my writing endeavours. What makes me happiest most of all? Spending time with my gorgeous grandson, he is so precious, love him.


Currently Seen in my Camera Lens

The past couple of months have been extremely busy with plenty of networking. Catching up with amazing authors, and generally having a lot of bookish fun.

  1. Creative Kids Tales Festival

  2. Clunes Booktown Book Fair.

  3. Children’s Book Council of Australia National Conference

SCBWI ACT members at the CKT Festival.

SCBWI ACT members at the CKT Festival.

Meeting the Mad Hatter at Clunes Booktown festival.

Meeting the Mad Hatter at Clunes Booktown festival.

Me with Grug, Happy 40th birthday to an iconic children’s book character at the CBCA conference.

Me with Grug, Happy 40th birthday to an iconic children’s book character at the CBCA conference.

Me with Dr Lara Cain Gray from Library For All at the CBCA Conference

Me with Dr Lara Cain Gray from Library For All at the CBCA Conference

A fabulous flock of ‘Ducks’ quacking madly at the CBCA conference.

A fabulous flock of ‘Ducks’ quacking madly at the CBCA conference.

Thanks for stopping by! How are you CURRENTLY jumping into this winter/summer? Making big plans? Many Canberrans try to head north to warmer climates sometime during the winter, are you? Keeping it low with stay-cations? Ticking off books on your to-read list? Please share in the comment section.

Hey, Bloggers! Join us on our C*U*R*R*E*N*T*L*Y Jumping into Summer /Winter Blog Hop. Just add your PG-13 post link below in the comment section. We’ll visit your blog and give you some blog love. And if you use #Gr8Blogs, we'll support your family-friendly summer-themed post.

Jump into Summer (WINTER FOR SANDRA!) with more #Gr8Blogs

Cat Michaels on Cat’s Corner

KidLit Blog by Rosie


Rebecca Lyndsey


Julie Gorges on Baby Boomer Bliss


James Milson “Writing & Things” → https://wp.me/p3RsfU-2xU

Carmela Dutra http://carmeladutra.com/blog-post/ready-set-jump-into-summer-currently-blog-hop/

Auden Johnson https://www.audenjohnson.com/2019/06/ready-set-jump-into-summer-currently.html

Mackenzie Flohr:

A Bookish Month, Engaging Book Launches & School Visits.

August has been a busy month with lots happening for authors of children's books. With Book Week in the middle of the month, we have all been busy launching books and attending school functions. This years theme was 'Find Your Treasure.' So hang on to your pirate hat me matey,, lads and lassies, this is going to be one amazing adventure into the world of children's books. You may even want to make a cup of tea, this was a long month.

Children's Book Council of Australia

It all started back in July, 25th July to be precise. The ACT branch of CBCA held their Romancing The Stars meeting here in Canberra. Craig Cormick encouraged us with his stories about writing books in a series, those that are successful and those that are not quite so successful. Jacqueline de Rose-Ahem discussed ways to broaden your books reach internationally. Kerry Malone took us along on her journey to self-publication. Jack Heath brought us to tears with laughter as he looked back on his teenage years searching for books he wanted to read which became his reason for writing. Pauline Deeves discussed the abundance of research necessary when writing for the NLA (National Library of Australia and Maura Pierlot delved into her interest in dramatic play writing.. It was an inspirational evening, we all came away filled with information and motivation to continue our writing journey.

CBCA meeting.jpg

May Gibbs Exhibition

Still in July, but at the end, 30th July, I attended the opening of the 100 year anniversary exhibition of the works of May Gibbs at Queanbeyan Library. There hasn't been a generation in Australia in the last 100 years that hasn't grown up reading about May Gibbs much loved and iconic characters Snugglepot and Cuddlepie and the rest of the Gumnut Babies. To my international readers, if you have never heard of these adorable stories I highly recommend you find yourself a copy and learn about these beautifully illustrated Australian bush characters.  May Gibbs was a magnificent and much loved author and illustrator. Author Tania McCartney had the fantastic opportunity to open the exhibition. She has spent years researching the life of May Gibbs to be able to have the honour of writing a children's picture book somewhat loosely based on her life story.

may gibbs works.jpg

Wyrd Book launch

Cate Whittle held her book launch for her new chapter book, Wyrd, to a great crowd at Harry Hartog, Woden on August 11. The audience was enthralled to listen to Cate read an enchanting chapter full of magical wishes. Followed by delicious cupcakes, colouring-in for the little ones and plenty of books to be signed. I couldn't wait to take my signed copy home and start reading. Cate didn't disappoint. The story was wonderful. Imagine the horror of two girls who can't stand each other suddenly discovering their parents are planning to marry. Add to that mistakenly becoming a reluctant witch and you have the potential for disaster. Cate Whittle handles the story with both gentle humour and sensitivity.

Wyrd book launch.jpg


Only a couple of days later, on the 15th August SCBW! ACT held their next development meeting,  Putting Yourself in the Picture was an amazing evening of shared learning experiences. Award winning author/illustrator Caroline Magerl had us in stitches with her light-hearted journey through the publication world from before technology right up to present day with the launch of her latest beautiful picture book Maya and Cat. Emma Allen, Hannah Sommerville and Susan Hall spoke about the benefits of collaboration, while Maura Pierlot discussed the advantages of going away on a writer's retreat. We all came away from the evening enriched and inspired once again. I also came home with an armful of gorgeous irresistible picture books.


CBCA Book of the Year Awards

These were held at the National Library of Australia on 17th August and mark the beginning of Children's Book Week. I didn't have the time to attend this year, maybe next year I will make it. Congratulations to all of this years winners. Check out the list of recipients on the CBCA website.

Secrets Hidden Below Book Launch

Saturday 18th August was my turn for the official book launch at Paerchain Bookstore in Manuka of Secrets Hidden Below. Thank you so much to everyone who braved the cold wet wintry afternoon to come out and join me. My dear friend and colleague Lynne Audsley kindly agreed to launch my book for me. A small part of her wonderful speech said,

'As a child I loved reading the Famous Five books. Books that took me to a world where children had amazing adventures involving smugglers and hidden treasure. Secrets Hidden Below is that for modern children. They can experience the thrill of reading a book they can't put down. In fact it would be a good contender for dragging children from 8 years, away from their electronic devices  as they get caught up in the mystery of Secrets Hidden Below.'

After Lynne's amazing speech that I appreciated very much and felt rather humbled by, I spoke about the inspiration behind the story before reading a chapter that had everyone hooked. We then went on a treasure hunt around Bali before to the delight of the kids I revealed the hidden treasure inside the treasure box. Yummy Volcano cupcakes were enjoyed by all as the signing of books began.

Paperchain book launch 1.jpg

Official School Launch

Monday 20th August took me to Curtin Primary school to launch Secrets Hidden Below with the year 5/6 Indonesian LOTE students. We were fortunate to have Pak Baskora from the Indonesian Embassy join us for the morning. A huge thank you to Ibu Karen Kennedy for organising the event. The kids really enjoyed the presentation and were enthusiastic to read more of the book. We held a writing competition beforehand whereby I selected the best story to win a free copy of the book. The students were asked to write a story using several Indonesian words. The winning entry was titled The Berapi Harimau, (Volcano/Fire Tiger). I selected this one as I felt it read like a Balinese legend. I could see that Madison has the potential to be a great writer as she grows and learns.

Curtin school visit 2.jpg

Telopea Park School Visit

There was no rest, this was Book Week after all. Tuesday meant another fabulous school with more kids eager to see me, learn from me and read my new book. This time I visited year 3 students at Telopea Park School. On arrival I was surprised to find an awesome display the kids had made from their work about my earlier books. They were so excited as they entered the library, the chatter bubbled with hello's, waves and whispers. By the end of the session I was swamped with requests for my autograph. It was a beautiful moment to be able to share time with these gorgeous kids. The competition here, I asked them to come up with a title for an adventure story. The winner I selected was 'The Caves Beneath The White Cliff of Dover.' I could imagine all sorts of intriguing situations arising from that title.

Telopea school visit.jpg

Forrest Primary School Visit

Thursday 23rd August I found myself back at Forrest Primary. I have very fond memories of my teaching years at this school, but today I was not teaching, nor presenting my book. This time I was supporting fellow author Skye Davidson and illustrator Agnes Rokiczky as they launched their gorgeous and mischievous picture book Archibald the Naughtiest Elf in the World Goes to the Zoo. It was a lovely afternoon, the Kinders and year Ones had a lot of fun.

Forrest school visit.jpg

Of course there have been many children's authors launching books and presenting at schools this month. I couldn't get to all the launches, as much as I wanted to. I apologise to those I missed. I was there in spirit and hope to catch up with your amazing books soon.

My hectic schedule did not stop there. I flew to Perth for my eldest son's 30 birthday at the end of Book Week. Still can't believe he is that old! Where do the years go? Then flew to Port Moresby to attend the PNG Independence Day Ball with hubby, That takes us into September and there is still so much more to come. More school visits, more book signings. These are exciting times.

Independence Ball 2.jpg

If you missed the book launch of Secrets Hidden Below at Paperchain but would like a signed copy, you have a second chance. I will be signing books Saturday 15th September from 11:00 am at Harry Hartog Bookshop in Woden. Hope to see you there. For those who are not in Canberra, books can be purchased through Elephant Tree Publishing.

I will also be returning to Forrest Primary this Friday, 7th September to do a writing workshop with students from years 5/6. 

How about you? How was your August? Did you dress up for Book Week? Let me know in the comments below, add a photo too. I'd love to see those bookish costumes.