Well another year lays ahead. For me 2009 was laying some foundations whilst on long service leave, and what a productive time it was for me. I still have a week or so left before returning to work (still believe that I will win Lotto) to finish some loose ends but of course it won’t stop there. It will be a case of juggling work and working on marketing my two 2009 children’s book releases, as well as regular blogging, and working on other story ideas. And whatever else that may emerge in 2010.
Before going full steam ahead into the new year, it is actually important to reflect on the year just passed, because as time passes by so quickly we tend to forget all the accomplishments that we have achieved over the course of a year. It might be as simple as putting a smile on someone’s face when someone read your book, poem or story for the first time. Such reflections can be done for all parts of your life.
Writing wise, accomplishments/highlights for me in 2009 include the following:
- February release of my third children’s book: Bubble Gum Trouble and other giggle poems published by Little Steps Publishing, Division of New Frontier. Illustrated by Dee Texidor
- Wed 15 April – Conducted Giggle Poetry workshops for children at Logan North and Hyperdome libraries (Logan City, Brisbane).
- Article on Bubble Gum Trouble book release and giggle poetry workshops in Logan Albert News.
- Thurs 28 May – Book launch of Bubble Gum Trouble and other Giggle Poems at the 15 mins fame slot at Emerging Writers’ Festival, City Library, Melbourne, and the subsequent interview with the lovely curator, Angela Meyer.
- Sun 31 May – Poetry reading of Bubble Gum Trouble in the Poetry Corner of the Page Parlour, Atrium, Federation Square as part of The Emerging Writers Festival. Also shared a table with Karen Andrews, author of the lovely children’s book Surprise, and also had the talented children’s book illustrator/author, Elise Hurst, on my right. Great networking opportunities.
- Received lovely book review of Bubble Gum Trouble and other giggle poems by http://www.busymothers.com.au
- Received another lovely book review of Bubble Gum Trouble and other giggle poems in Buzzword online magazine. http://www.buzzwordsmagazine.com/
- Book release accomplishments mentioned in the informative PIO (Pass It On) newsletter (more info at: http://jackiehoskingpio.wordpress.com), ASA newsletter, NSW Newswrite magazine, and WQ (Qld Writer’s magazine)
- Joined SCWBI (Society of Children’s Writers and Book Illustrators)
- Joined twitter at http://www.twitter.com/HelenRossauthor
- Joined FaceBook and Linked In, and splashed my profile around online wherever else I could find.
- June – Spotlight author slot at http://www.aussieauthors.com
- Joined Book Creators Circle http://www.bookcreatorscircle.com.au (national and international networking opportunities for writers of all genres, and those with a passion for books)
- Signed up as a Book For Kids Ambassador, liaising with local bookstore in assisting in raising awareness and distribution of new and second hand children’s books to disadvantaged children in my area. Collected books were donated to the St Vincent de Paul Child and Family Program (special needs). For more info: http:// www.booksforkids.org.au
- Received healthy ELR (Educational Lending Rights) and PLR (Public Lending Rights) cheques for the original Ten Yellow Bananas and Santa is in our chimney (pub. 2006). Yeh!
- June – Set up this blog.
- June – Became a member of Logan Chamber of Commerce (LCC).
- July – Invited to speak at a breakfast networking session of LCC.
- Mon 13 July – Commenced extended long service leave (six months).
- August – Bubble Gum Trouble became part of The Almeida Collection (Experimedia section) at the Australian Poetry Centre, Victorian State Library, Melbourne. http://www.australianpoetrycentre.org.au/?page_id=494
- Mon 31 Aug – Attended launch of Ipswich Festival of Children’s Literature. Great networking with well known children’s book writers and illustrators.
- 3 – 5 September – Assisted in manning the SCBWI tent at the wonderful Ipswich Festival of Children’s Literature. It was a great feeling seeing my giggle poetry book, Bubble Gum Trouble alongside lovely children’s books by some well known children’s authors and illustrators at the festival’s Book Garden bookstore.
- September – received my first royalty cheque for Bubble Gum Trouble from Little Steps Publishing (New Frontier) from their distributor’s national book sales. Another Yeh!
- September – Appointed on the Logan City Council RADF committee (Regional Arts Development Fund) representing the portfolio of writing.
- Sat 5 Sept – Invited to speak at the Logan Art Gallery RADF 09 Showcase on my experiences as a former RADF recipient.
- Aug – Nov – Participated in Princess and Pirate Dress ups as part of fundraising for Green Earth Festival on 13 March 2010. The Princess and Pirate dressups showcased Renata, a talented Brisbane children’s entertainer, and the exceptional planning of activities by organiser, Leigh-Chantelle Koch. I played Pirate Helen. Aaaarrrggh! http://greenearthfestival.net/
- Wed 18 Nov – Attended Arts Speak 2009 (Queensland Regional Arts and Culture Conference) at the Boonah & District Cultural Centre.
- Throughout year have been working with Dr Virginia Lowe on Create a kids book e-line course (as part of RADF grant received in 2008). http://createakidsbook.com.au
- Finished reworking manuscript for 10 Yellow Bananas to recommendation level with Dr Virginia Lowe and her husband, John (as mentioned above, original Ten Yellow Bananas was published in 2006).
- Completed two other children’s book manuscripts to recommendation letter level with Dr Virginia Lowe.
- Again collaborated with Little Steps Publishing (Division of New Frontier) and talented illustrator, Dee Texidor on my fourth children’s book, 10 Yellow Bananas.
- July – Attended an ‘Advanced Online Tools for Authors’ workshop conducted by the QWC (Queensland Writers’ Centre). Workshop was designed to help Queensland writers who currently have a website or promote themselves online but would like to improve their outcomes.
- Aug – Couple of consultations with, the then, Arts Queensland’s poet-in-residence, Hinemoana Baker, and exposed my soul by reticently showing her a collection of my ‘normal’ type of poems (Haiku, Rooku, and others). A getting out of my comfort zone experience.
- Introduced to ‘Speed Poets’ by Hinemoana Baker. ‘Speed Poets’ is held the first Sunday of each month (March – November each year) at the Alibi Room, New Farm. It as a community of writers, engaging people with poetry in a very public, but a non-intimidating forum. I had actually met the co-founder, Graham Nunn at the QWC’s July Advance online course. More info at: http://www.speedpoets.org
- With Hinemoana’s feedback I have been working on a collection of Haiku poems. Still a work in progress.
- August – Attended Queensland Poetry Festival, Judith Wright Centre – inspiring.
- Sept – Featured author at http://www.aussieauthors.com
- Brisbane Writers’ Festival – Thurs 10 Sept – I attended ‘Poetics’, an excellent workshop with poet/writer/lecturer, Dr Felicity Plunkett, on Haiku writing, followed by an entertaining hour in the Breezeway with Andy Griffiths, one of Australia’s funniest writers for children. The audience of children and teachers (and me) just loved him.
- Sat 12 Sept – CYA Later, Alligator conference in Brisbane. Great ideas and networking opportunities, especially meeting FaceBook friends.
- 14 Sept – Wed 16 Sept – Sydney School Author Visits. I was invited to a couple of lovely schools in the suburbs of Sydney where I promoted ‘Bubble Gum Trouble’ and conducted fun poetry workshops for all levels. Had a fabulous time and was made to feel very welcome by the Principal, teachers and students of the schools. The children created some fabulous poetry and the teachers were wonderful, allowing me ‘free rein’ in their classrooms.
- Established a new blog: http://misshelenspoetrycorner.wordpress.com for children to publish their poems.
- Sat 19 September – Attended an excellent Poetry Slam workshop at Logan North Library, Springwood, Brisbane with David ‘Ghostboy’ Stavanger, and Benna Zenabomb.
- Sat 19 Sept – Entered the Australian Poetry Slam competitions at Logan North Library. - I was very proud of myself for giving it a go. It was such a supportive and energetic audience.
- 31 October – In a moment of madness I signed up for the insanity of NaNaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).
- 30 November – Won NaNoWriMo – 50,000 words in 30 days.
- December – During the year I joined First Edition Books Sales – they market independent Australian books (self published and small independent publishers) direct to the reading public.
Just before Christmas, I received my first cheque for sales of my second book, Santa is in our chimney. www.firsteditionbooks.com.au/.
- Also joined One Goat Creative, an independent distribution company specialising in commercially viable self published and independently published titles throughout Australia. http://www.onegoatcreative.com.au
- Release of 10 Yellow Bananas in December.
- Established a new blog for the 2010 cyber/virtual launch of 10 Yellow Bananas. http://www.10yellowbananas.wordpress.com
2009 was also a year of getting out of my comfort zone. I left my comfort zone and flew. I didn’t fall, and I didn’t need a parachute.
Well, that’s about it, or what I can remember anyway.
Now, that I am back into the swing of things my motto for 2010 is:
DREAM. BELIEVE. ACHIEVE.
CREATE YOUR REALITY.
I really do feel excitement in the air. And so with hope and determination I travel on; whilst stopping to smell the roses.
So go chart your course for 2010. And I’ll be back with you again soon.