Gr8tblogs

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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Place_to_Call_Home_(TV_series)

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.

https://player.whooshkaa.com/shows/the-happy-book

https://www.middlegradepodcast.com/

https://girlandduck.com/blog/

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.

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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.

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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
https://www.catmichaelswriter.com/cats-corner-blogging-about-books-writing-and-more

KidLit Blog by Rosie

https://booksbyrose.com/index.php/2019/05/03/may-celebrations-2019/?fbclid=IwAR3qwAht5zoVdIaz0ZdxVc5vng7B6uXpxDLLZuzutj7njSgnT5KNTsPaqS8

Rebecca Lyndsey

https://rebeccalyndsey.blogspot.com/2019/06/ready-setjump-into-summer-blog-hop.htmla

Julie Gorges on Baby Boomer Bliss

http://babyboomerbliss.net/summer-2019-blog-hop-what-this-boomer-is-up-to/?fbclid=IwAR2mlCmiRJHk3Or7QuE3UaxnOibAwBUUjC5rA9DLb_CNyAUggtwgsm9C9Hc

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:
https://mackenzieflohrblog.wordpress.com/2019/06/16/preparing-for-summer/

#Gr8t Blogs Winter Road Trip

Check the tyre pressure. Plug in your GPS. Dust off your road maps. We’re off on a family-friendly road trip across Australia, North America and Great Britain in this #Gr8tblogs Winter Road Trip 2018.

My writerly friends and I are sharing insiders touring tips for your wintertime fun. I’m excited to guide you around my part of the world, Canberra, Australia. Then you can pop about the globe for more inspiring road trip ideas from other great bloggers, who are linked at the bottom of this page. 

5 Things I love about Canberra.

1.       Canberra, unlike other Australian Capital cities, actually has four seasons. Our temperature this time of year ranges from -6 Celsius to 12 C. So, if you come here June through August, be prepared to rug up. Even though our Summer can rise as high as 40 C, you can never quite put away your winter woollies, as you never know when a cold front will blow through. It has even snowed in October, our Spring! I love that with the change of seasons comes the change of colour in the trees. The streets are lined with deciduous and evergreen trees making a beautiful display all year round. I love that kids can shuffle through fallen leaves of amber in Autumn and blow wispy petals of white in Spring. In Autumn we have the Hot Air Balloon Festival that rise high above the lake early on chilly mornings, and Enlighten that illuminates the buildings around the Parliamentary circle in the evenings. Both are ideal for those walks around the lake, while in Spring we have Floriade. A festival of tulips that blossom in arranged splendour to the delight of children and parents alike. Not so much happens in the depths of winter. Canberrans tend to either hibernate her head to the snow. Living in the hills just south of Canberra sometimes we are lucky to have a snowfall ourselves. It is one of my favourite times of the year.

 

The photo of Enlighten on Parliament House and the Balloon Festival are courtesy of the Crown Plaza Hotel Canberra  

The photo of Enlighten on Parliament House and the Balloon Festival are courtesy of the Crown Plaza Hotel Canberra  

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A Royalla Winter Wonderland, rare but beautiful when it does happen.

A Royalla Winter Wonderland, rare but beautiful when it does happen.

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2.       If you are a nature lover like me, there are plenty of walking and bike riding tracks in and around the city. You can do the bridge to bridge walk around Lake Burley-Griffin or settle for a shorter walk on the foreshore. If you are lucky you might even hear the bells of the Carillon on Aspen Island, chime. Weddings are often held on Aspen Island, including one of my sons and his wife. We watched in awe as she walked across the bridge while the bells rang out across the lake.

The National Carillon on Aspen Island in the middle of Lake Burley-Griffin, playing a little something you may recognise. 

A wonderful place for a winter walk on a sunny day.

A wonderful place for a winter walk on a sunny day.

The Carrillon is lit up this week for #Donatelife week

The Carrillon is lit up this week for #Donatelife week

1.       Nature reserves on the outskirts of the city provide ample opportunity for hiking and discovering native flora and fauna. Tidbinbilla and Namadgi National Parks are ideal spots for picnics, day walks and even a bit of sight-seeing historical sites like the remains of the old space tracking station at the end of Apollo Road. Honeysuckle Creek Tracking station played a major role in many of NASA’s space missions including the 1969 landing on the moon. If your kids are interested in space they will love the drive out to explore this place. There is a beautiful picnic area, walking tracks and plenty of kangaroos to see as an added attraction. After that you can also take them on a tour of Tidbinbilla Space Tracking Station where they still hold all the memorabilia from the space race days.

Remains of Honeysuckle Creek Space Tracking Station in Namadgi National Park.

Remains of Honeysuckle Creek Space Tracking Station in Namadgi National Park.

Orroral Space Tracking Station also in Namadgi National Park, both perfect for a picnic, walk and kangaroo spotting.

Orroral Space Tracking Station also in Namadgi National Park, both perfect for a picnic, walk and kangaroo spotting.

4.       I love science and here in the middle of Canberra we have Questacon, the greatest hands-on science museum for kids I have ever seen. There is much to see and do in here. Plenty of experiments for the kids to take part in, ask questions, learn and explore. In fact, Canberra has so many places to immerse yourself in learning, there are too many choices. My favourites after Questacon, would have to be the National Gallery of Australia which features outstanding touring exhibitions such as the Cartier Exhibition, Turner, Monet, and many other brilliant Impressionists, just to name a few, and the National War memorial. Be prepared to spend hours wondering around the war memorial, it covers every possible conflict Australia has been involved in.

Questacon The National Science and Technology Centre, on the shores of Lake Burley-Griffin.

Questacon The National Science and Technology Centre, on the shores of Lake Burley-Griffin.

Floriade, held every September, (Spring) in Commonwealth Park on the foreshores of Lake Burley-Griifin.

Floriade, held every September, (Spring) in Commonwealth Park on the foreshores of Lake Burley-Griifin.

5.       One of Canberra’s best attributes to me, is its location. We are only a couple of hours drive south to the Snowy Mountains, east to coastal beaches and north to Sydney. This means ample opportunity for country drives on long winding roads discovering old country towns, with quirky gift shops, creative art & craft shops, antique shops and amazing little cafes. One of our favourite little restaurants is only an hour drive east of Canberra towards the coast in the old majestic country town of Braidwood. TorPeas is quaint and quirky, all gluten free and so welcoming it is like eating in someone’s home. On reaching the coast, my favourite beach to take visitors from overseas is one that is possibly the best kept secret. Pebbly Beach is part of Murramarang National Park just a 20 minute drive north up the Princes Highway from Bateman’s Bay. It is a quiet little beach, very clean, plenty of soft white sand, waves gently roll in, I’ve never seen the waves big enough to surf there, so it is safe for kids to swim, but the best draw card of all, is the kangaroos you will find grazing on the grass. They are so used to people they will let you pat them. To pat a kangaroo in the wild is not common, most will hop away, they are usually wary of humans, these fellows appear quite tame. The kangaroos on our property will not let us anywhere near them. Naturally, I would still caution anyone, to move slowly not to frighten them and do not feed them.

TorPeas Restaurant in Braidwood.

TorPeas Restaurant in Braidwood.

Me patting a kangaroo at Pebbly Beach, South Coast NSW

Me patting a kangaroo at Pebbly Beach, South Coast NSW

Thanks for your company. Hope you enjoyed your tour around Canberra and the surrounding region. What are favourite road trip must sees in your corner of the world? Please share in the comments section below. We would love to virtual visit you too! If you blog and want to hop with us add a live hyperlink to your family-friendly road trip in the comment section We'll swing by and give you some blog love!

As I am the only blogger in the Southern hemisphere, the other road trips are all Summer road trips. Click over to the next fun and inspirational road trip destination of your choice at any #Gr8tblogs below.

Other Blogs

Carmela Dutra - California

Julie Gorges - California

K. Lamb - California

Rebecca Lindsey - West Virginia

Cat Michaels - North Carolina

Rosie Russell  - Kansas City, Missouri

Rhonda Paglia - Pennsylvania