Sunday, August 23, 2015

Correct Grammar - Does it drive you crazy when people get it wrong?

Oh yes, it does drive me crazy when people use incorrect grammar. I suffer from proper-grammar-sensitivity, (similar to the 'swipecard disability' I also suffer with at the checkout) These days, even professional signage can be gloriously, stupendously incorrect. And few people seem to care or even notice! Aargh! My pet hate? Misused apostrophes. I once saw this cartoon and burst out laughing, because it is exactly how I feel as I drive around the shops.

Now, I am the first to admit I make typos. All the time. Who doesn't? The key is proofreading and editing your work thoroughly. Kids laugh along with me when I read out their work to them, exactly how its written, with hilarious mispronunciations and all. is a great website which seeks to address this alarming trend in society - the demise of proper language use. I always say to my reluctant students; "Some day it will be absolutely vital to you that you are heard and understood. Don't be one of those people who is interviewed on TV who says something like, 'ah, yeah, and er, and then it, yeah, um, you know, it sort of happened.' Learn to express yourself properly. People are much more likely to listen to what you have to say if you are clear, concise and use a decent vocabulary."

Of course it takes more than a pep talk to achieve this! Particularly with some boys, who prefer grunts and gestures to actual words.

Recently Grammarly conducted a survey and here are the results - what-makes-a-grammar-nerd-

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Beautiful hand crafted illustrations by Beverley Edge

I recently met a fabulous illustrator, Beverley Edge at a writer's conference. Just look at her meticulous, beautiful work! I love robots, so of course I had to put at least one pic in this blogpost.

Beverley lives in Perth, Western Australia, but, like me, she hails from the UK. Beverley says of her work:

"I work with a variety of materials to form my illustrations, mainly polymer clay, wire, beads, felt, fabrics and then add finishing touches digitally on photoshop. These quirky 3D clay creations and fabric designs are unique, fashionable and have characters with global appeal. Each character is lovingly handmade until the models form a life of their own. The attention to detail is paramount, and i am constantly finding new ways of adding texture, pattern and interest in the materials I use."

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!