Sunday, March 29, 2015

Books by Dawn Meredith at BOOKTOPIA, Barnes & Noble

You can now order three of my seven books here, at BOOKTOPIA  and Barnes & Noble

"The Wobbly Wombat" takes a fresh look at an overused term these days - Bullying. What advice is good advice? As Woody asks Koala, Father of the Forest, Wise Possum and Dingo how to handle the teasing he is suffering, he finds that understanding others, and himself, helps a lot.

"12 Annoying Monsters - Self Talk for Kids with Anxiety" is a practical book for children and adults which provides the facts about the confusing and often overwhelming physical sensations that accompany anxiety while helping children (and adults) to be mindful of their intrusive thoughts, in the form of annoying monsters. 
What readers say: "I wish I had this book when I was a child."  - "Thank you for this book. It really has made a difference to us." - "This book is compelling. You can't put it down!"

"Sir Donald Bradman" was not only an astonishing athlete, but a world leader in the sport of cricket and a gentleman. Read all about his amazing rise to fame, from the boy who hit a golf ball off the side of a water tank, to the holder of a world record that still stands today, half a century later.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Books in Homes Program gives new treasures to underprivileged kids

I was lucky enough recently to be invited, as an Ambassador for the Books In Homes Program, to a lovely school in Western Sydney. The kids were brilliant and loved receiving their bag of free books! Its a joy to be a part of such a fantastic endeavour, that provides underprivileged kids (every single child in the whole school) with brand new books of their choice to treasure for always. I was made to feel so welcome! And the librarians did a magnificent job on the display.

The covers of some of my books were on display, along with library helpers portrayed as elves!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Help Your Anxious Child

Wow! I am so happy to see this review of my book:

"We have tried so many books and workbooks for my anxious 6 year old son and this is the one that 'spoke to him' and has been an ongoing, useable resource. I found the information in the book really helpful for understanding anxiety and particularly the body's response to it, and then the 12 monsters themselves are a useful tool for a child to identify with. Reading the title of each made me smile as Dawn Meredith certainly has done an amazing job of identifying the different types of anxiety. Thank you for this book, it really has made a difference to us, and I've recommended it to others many times."

It means so much that this little book has helped kids and their families.
click on the right side bar "my books" to see more about it.

And here's another review from parent and publicist Flavia Young (Part of it here:)
"... Dawn uses each of her monsters to educate kids about the negative emotions associated with these feelings. She expresses how these feelings might sound as self-talk and further puts the reader at ease by explaining that their emotions are normal. Then, with every monster, she does something magical and beautiful. She de-mystifies them. She dispels their power and highlights the reader as being the champion over them."

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Facial Features and Emotions - helping kids READ people

In researching Sensory Processing Disorder I came across this brilliant website human anatomy fundamentals  for artists on how to draw facial expressions. It's actually a terrific resource for the kids I work with who struggle a bit with understanding people and their surroundings.
There are detailed drawings of facial expressions plus notes on which facial features are used to convey these moods. Feelings are grouped on an 'emotion tree' to show variations and degrees of emotion. Such as these below.

It's very similar to a section in my 12 Annoying Monsters - Self Talk for Kids with Anxiety book, where I list words for the various emotions to help kids express more accurately how they're feeling. You can buy the book here: 12 Monsters  It would be pretty easy to print off the faces as cards and play a matching game to the words that describe them. Anything that helps kids understand others is a good thing. :-)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Serious Writers - NO Pussyfooters Allowed!

So, you want 'to be a writer'. I wish I had a dollar for every time someone has said that to me. 'Oh, it must be so nice to just sit and write all day.' HA! HA! and HA! If only.


Things have changed. To be a successful writer these days you have to also be a publicist, social media expert, publishing guru, business owner, crystal ball gazer and salesperson. Publishers are no longer satisfied with just your brilliant work, they want to know how it will sell, what it is similar to, who will buy it and why, even which section of the bookshop it will belong to. In short, they want us to be market analysts as well as writers.

This sits ill with a cave dweller.

Then there's your 'writers journey', or as my husband puts it, being 'forged in the fires of rejection.' How badly do you want to be published? How much do you believe in this story/project? How much are you willing to sacrifice for this goal? I recently signed a contract for a book that was previously submitted to 13 publishers over a period of five years. It's changed a lot since the beginning because I kept asking for feedback. What was wrong, what I needed to fix. And then I fixed it. And then I fixed it some more.

You need balls of steel for this job.

That is why I say writing is not for the pussyfooters. You cannot hope for success if you whine about how unfair it is. You must believe in what you are writing, that the message is worthwhile, has something valuable or interesting or refreshing to say. And keep going. Ask for advice and listen to it.

If I knew at the beginning what I know now.....

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Geeky Toys - what does it have to do with writing?

I confess, I am a gadget girl. I love geeky toys! My dad was a mechanic so I grew up helping him pull apart motors and putting them back together. This fostered a love of cars too. Machines fascinate me and this little gadget caught my eye.

So, what's this got to do with writing?

Inspiration, my friend, inspiration! Sometimes, if I'm a bit stuck for ideas, I half-watch TV whilst writing. Random things are thrown at my consciousness through ads and TV shows. Some of it pings off and some of it rattles down to the next level. The other day I wrote a piece about the challenges of juggling womanhood, motherhood, work and writing and the inherent guilt that goes with the territory. I didn't know what I was going to call the piece. Something on the TV screen caught my eye. Birds. Hummingbirds frantically going about their day. And I thought - 'hey, that's me!' So the piece is called Frantic Hummingbird.

Back to gadgets, because I can't stay away for too long... This perpetual motion machine is so cool. Made of wood, it's solar powered, so no batteries are required. Reminds me of old fashioned wooden toys. They didn't end up at charity stores like the plastic rubbish of today, they were passed down to the next generation as treasured heirlooms of childhood. I love that. Click on this link to see a video of it in action: Enjoy!

And how cool is this catapult?

Ok, one more, because I love robots!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

WRITING TIPS for the holidays

So, you've been aching to get stuck into that new story for months but work commitments/life hasn't allowed for the full immersion needed to really nut out the plot and characters. Perhaps you've got your first draft almost done. Either way, I have some tips for you - easy ways you can improve your writing, whatever stage you are at.


1.     Use strong verbs rather than ineffectual words such as 'started', 'was', 'had', 'just'. Go through your entire MS and eradicate them!

2.     Try not to begin sentences with the noun/subject of the sentence, such as 'the' or the person's name. Begin with verbs, adverbs (sparingly) or subordinate clauses. This adds variety and can have a strong influence upon the rhythm of your work.

3.     Try to keep one subject per sentence ie: if you're describing a person, keep to them, or if it’s the ocean, develop that further. Link ideas with the first word of the next sentence.

4.     For a tight, concise manuscript, go through each sentence and eliminate at least one word. You will have to rewrite, but it will make your work stronger and more punchy.

5.     Have your plot worked out, even roughly, beforehand. I now use index cards with a brief description of each scene. I put them on my whiteboard with blu-tack and can move them around at will. In my latest novel I realised I had two missing scenes!

6.     Use active, rather than passive. ie: 'the sound of glass breaking was heard by Miriam' is passive. 'Miriam started. Glass smashed somewhere in the house.' Show what the character is doing, rather than what is being done to the character.

7.     Use the speech function in Word to hear your work read back to you. The computerized voice sounds a little odd, but hearing someone else read your work makes a huge difference. While you listen, edit.

8.     NAMES - for goodness’ sake, choose character names carefully! Don’t use modern names in a medieval fantasy. Similarly, don’t use old fashioned names that just do not fit the context simply because you’ve always loved them. Made-up names add to the world you have constructed, so make sure they sound like they belong there. Unless you’re doing it deliberately for effect, name your characters with their personality in mind - for instance, (in a fantasy story), a large, crudely featured man might be called 'Grumm,' and a dainty lady of royal birth might be called 'Trilaya'.

9.     Dialogue - the way a person speaks should reflect their character and make it easy to identify them. "Great," smirked Josh. "If you had listened to my sage advice you would not now find yourself in such distress," opined Wallace. "Yay!" Shrieked seven year old Lucy.

10.  Give us a picture of what your character looks like as soon as possible. Even scant details are better than none. Don't wait for page five to tell us the colour of her eyes.

11.  Begin a new line for each speaker's dialogue.

12.  Some of our most precious and treasured words are the very ones we have to take out, ie: 'kill your darlings'. They trap you into thinking they're so wonderful that the entire story can work around them, when in fact they hold you back and annoy the reader.

13.  The old saying, 'show, not tell' is so hard to do, but you must keep it in mind. Reveal a person's feelings/thoughts/opinions through their speech and actions. It is more effective than simply telling the reader.