Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Little House on the Prairie - beautiful safe stories for children

I loved this series as a child and now I am reliving it again with my daughter. Each episode is lovingly crafted, with a solid emphasis on family, kindness, compassion, fun, adventure and resilience. Michael Landon's passion was to bring the true life story of Laura Ingalls Wilder to the screen in authentic devotion to the spirit of the American pioneers she so deftly displayed in her memoirs.

I should add here that Michael Landon is easy on the eyes, ladies.... 

You learn so much about this time in history! And the plot always has an important moral lesson for children. There is SO MUCH RUBBISH on TV these days, but I can happily leave my child to sit and watch an episode, knowing she will never be exposed to anything harmful or inappropriate. Every single episode enriches her life somehow, with its portrayal of the plucky and sometimes naughty Laura. I often hear giggles from the lounge room, as Laura gets herself into scrapes or manages to get back at that Nellie Olsen.

I managed to buy the entire box set for a decent price. You can also get hold of a single series easily. In terms of story, these episodes have pathos and humour and excitement aplenty.

The scenery in 'Walnut Grove' and surrounds is stunning,whether it be severe storms, droughts or snowy winters and the hardships of the simple life are foremost in the way the characters go about their daily lives. Doctor Baker is a busy man! We become absorbed in the lives of the local school mistress, the banker, the store owners (the Olsens), the mill, where Charles often finds work. Just keeping their own livestock alive is a challenge. But the determination of the Ingalls family comes down to their devotion to each other and their acceptance of life's hardships, and their vigorous sense of justice and compassion for all. The series was filmed o Big Sky ranch.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

SUPANOVA Sydney 2015 - fantastic event!

I had the MOST FABULOUS TIME at the Sydney Supanova this year. Caught up with my publisher, Stephen Ormsby of Satalyte Publishing and a couple of other friends in the literary world.

I loved seeing some of my best fantasy and sci fi characters - Lord of The Rings, Star Wars, Dr Who, Transformers, plus some Disney favourites and anime. The Artwork was outstanding. Check out the metal sculptures!I took home a fabulous dragon made up scrap metal and machine parts. (see below)

It was fun sitting in to listen to Brady Bunch stars Mike Lookinland, Susan Olsen and Christopher Knight. I also managed to sneak in at the very last to see Mr Gorgeous himself, Nathan Fillion, of Castle and Firefly fame. What a truly funny guy! He knows how to hold an audience in the palm of his hand.

Plenty of people dressed up for the event, going to lots of trouble to look as authentic as possible. Impressive!

Among the many stalls and exhibits I saw amazing creative talent and purchased a few new treasures. These photos only show a fraction of what was there! What was so fantastic was that it was family friendly, there was no alcohol, no rubbish lying around, no drunken louts yelling and swearing - just hordes of smiling people having a great time and enjoying their favourite stories come to life. Brilliant!

If you're thinking of going next year, book early, book your parking and enjoy the hassle-free, well organised event in style! I came home with a brain bursting with ideas and couldn't wait to start tapping on my laptop.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Writing the first 50 pages of your novel

  • Ever wondered how to get started on a book?
  • Ever wondered if there was some secret to writing success that you had somehow never learned?
  • Ever felt directionless? Frustrated? Unsure of your main character?
  • This book, by Jeff Gerke will help - "The First Fifty Pages" (How to engage agents, editors and readers, and set up your novel for success).
Gerke discusses practical topics such as how to write a proposal for your story, introducing the main character, the inner journey, establishing your story's world, how to conclude the story satisfactorily in this easily digestible book. You can dip in and out of it anywhere and find something helpful. It certainly helped me write my last YA novel, which got the contract. 
And it's not just about novels. Gerke's advice can be applied to any writing project. The basic structural questions are essentially the same.
Here's a snippet from page 103:

"Into the lives of all these characters - including you hero's - some rain must fall. Indeed, your story is going to royally wreck those expectations. It's almost a sadistic sort of fun to fill you main characters' head with these assumptions, knowing fell well you're going to throw her a curve ball. Ah, the joy of being a novelist."

Gerke refers to  many  popular stories and films to illustrate his points making it easy to identify and relate to the information and apply it to your own work. Make that first page sparkle!

With the market swamped by how-to books on writing it's sometimes hard to know which ones are worth investing in. Gerke's book is simple and easy to use, with sound advice that works.

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. :-)