Monday, March 31, 2014

Amazon reviews of THE ANYTHING SHOP by Dawn Meredith

I've just been updating my speaker profile on the SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) website and came across these two lovely random reviews of one of my books on Amazon. How fantastic to think people love it so much! Thank you to these readers who took the time to write a review.
Amazon customer reviews:
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read! March 2, 2014
'I loved this book and have bought it for 'future' grandchildren! The uncoolness of hugs and other family traditions can be difficult for children, especially if their peers don't have similar practices. Dawn Meredith tackles this readable chapter book in a most creative, entertaining and memorable way for the 8-10 year age group.'
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique and lovable! February 8, 2014
Amazon Verified Purchase
'A unique, lovable story premise that is sure to touch children's hearts and minds. The intangibles of life are far more meaningful than the tangibles. Loved the ending. Well done Dawn and the illustrations are lovely.'

Monday, March 24, 2014

Want to write the next AVATAR, THOR or STAR TREK? Conflux Writers' Day 2014

Here's your chance to learn the art of writing speculative fiction. For one day, you can learn from Australia's best Spec Fic writers, take notes like a madman and schmooze with authors you admire!
Conflux Writers Day
Saturday April 5th 2014.
Apart from the excellent plenary sessions, there are many many workshops from which you can take your pick. I myself will be running a workshop - 'How to keep your writing career moving.' workshop schedule

The inaugural Conflux Writers Day will take place at the beautiful University House, Australian National University, Canberra. For one day, Australia’s speculative fiction writers will gather for hours of professional development.

The theme of the day is ‘The Writers Journey’, which will be covered by four sub-themes – ‘Writing Skills’, ‘Writing Processes’, ‘Submission and Publication’ and ‘Building a Career’.
Four plenary speakers will be addressing these themes. These speakers are:
Joanne Anderton
Kaaron Warren
Ian McHugh
Keri Arthur
There will also be concurrent presentations bringing great thoughts and ideas to writers at all stages of their career.


The presenters are top notch authors with experience and skills to share. Even if you don't write Spec fic, you will find the sessions invaluable. Some of the topics covered include:  
  • 'The six inevitable mistakes of first-time writers', 
  • 'character motivation : getting away with murder', 
  • 'research like a ninja', 
  • 'How to keep your writing career moving', 
  • 'The elements of novels,'
  • 'Building an online presence'.
  • plus many, many more!
Come and join us! Mingle and share a drink or two. Then stay afterwards for the fabulous AUREALIS AWARDS night. where the best authors in Speculative fiction are honoured.

Click on the link below to read the abstract. To see all the abstracts, go here.

To register, download this form, complete it and email to
Registration for the Conflux Writer’s Day includes:
  • Attendance for the day (giving you access to any sessions you wish)
  • Morning/afternoon tea and lunch
  • Conflux Writer’s Day satchel
  • Access to presentation slides following the conference (where such slides are available and permission has been granted)
NOTE: Registration does not include the Aurealis Awards Ceremony.
You’ll be invoiced for the correct registration rate. Payment of registration is required prior to attending. 
Members (member of Conflux 9/10, CSFG or ACT Writer’s Centre)*

Thursday, March 13, 2014

How to write fantastic stories! Tips for Kids

How's your writing going, kids?
I am often asked by kids of all ages how they can improve their writing. Here are my simple tips -

1. Keep a small notebook for all your ideas. Every time you hear something or think of something, write it down, so you won’t forget!

2. Choose one of your cool ideas!
Think about how the story begins (opening), where it happens (setting), who is in it (characters), what happens (plot) and how it ends (resolution or conclusion). You must know these things BEFORE you start writing the story.
3. Talk to your friends about it if you’re not sure about any of these.

4. Write a story plan on a sheet of paper with spaces to write notes for opening, setting, characters, plot & resolution. Make sure your plot includes a problem or difficulty for the characters, otherwise the story will be boring.

5. Start writing! Make sure the first line (the hook) is really, really interesting. This will make people want to read more!

6. Finish your first draft. Check it for spelling mistakes, sentence sense and punctuation. Be fussy! This is important.

7. Write your second draft with all the mistakes corrected.

8. Ta da! Give it to someone to read and enjoy the compliments on your awesome writing!

Good luck!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Robots - what's not to love - literally?

I love robots. There, I said it. It's an incurable fascination, the perils of uncanny valley notwithstanding. I love Lieutenant Commander Data as much as the next trekkie-girl. As long as he knows he's an android!

I'm writing a novel about  a clone at the moment, which deals with the ethics of medical science and its place in our lives. When does healing become dabbling cack-handedly in the sacred?

But I digress. Here's a couple of cuties.

cheers, Dawn

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

12 Annoying Monsters - New book for kids about ANXIETY

GOOD NEWS! My latest book, 12 Annoying Monsters - Self-talk for Kids with Anxiety is OUT NOW!  
ISBN 9781876870669
Buy it here

Working with children and their parents for over 20 years I have seen many children suffer with anxiety, even depression. This book was written as a resource for my clients but the demand has been so strong (I sold all 100 copies printed) I have decided to make it available to everyone!

Suitable for readers 8yrs+, this book details the reasons for anxiety symptoms, how the body protects us in times of real danger and helps children figure out what thought processes are causing these over-the-top reactions. By assigning a 'monster' to negative thoughts, a child can put the message as an influence outside their head and thereby learn to ignore it. I've provided a full list of websites and resources at the back of the book to direct you further should you need professional help.

Here's some of those 12 annoying monsters:

 "Bad stuff always happens to me"
Beware this pathetic monster! He will tell you that bad things only happen to YOU. You are a loser, a magnetic for trouble. A hopeless case of bad luck, over and over.

 "Everything has to be perfect"

There is no such thing as perfect! This monster is telling you a big, fat, juicy lie. You can get yourself tied up in mental knots trying to do things perfectly and he will always tell you the same message: 'that's not good enough! You're useless!' and worse: 'everything must be perfect or I won't feel safe.'


"The world is a horrible mess"

This monster loves watching the news. There's so much death and suffering in the world and he wants to see it all. And remind you of it later, when you're trying to sleep. He enjoys making you feel scared, unsafe.

So, if these sound familiar to you or someone in your family (or friends!) you can easily purchase your own copy of this comprehensive book.
To order:
 $15 + $3.00 postage (Australia) $9 (international) *prices are in Australian dollars
Send payment via paypal to 
Want more information about this book?
cheers, Dawn

Friday, December 13, 2013

BLOG TOUR - 'A Christmas Tail' by Helen Ross and Donna Smith

Currently Donna Smith and Helen Ross are celebrating the release of their co-authored children’s Christmas picture book A Christmas Tail, fabulously illustrated by Aaron Pocock.  After the festivities of last week’s cyber book launch of their new book, Donna and Helen kindly dropped by my writing corner.

So welcome Donna and Helen. What a gorgeous book! I bet you're having a ball promoting it.
Thank you Dawn for inviting us.  It is indeed a busy time for us, but we are having lots of fun.

My pleasure. So what's it about?
A Christmas Tail is about a mouse family (with the surname Mouse) who live in a doll’s house called Cherrywood Cottage. They are full of excitement as they await the arrival of Santa Paws. However, all doesn’t go to plan, setting about a hilarious twist to their Christmas festivities. The characters and story are brought to life by the exquisite illustrations of Aaron Pocock.  We just love the illustrations.
Donna Smith
How did the book come to be?
Donna:   Helen and I had only spoken to each other once via phone before I approached her about collaborating on a picture book series based on a mouse family. I had this idea for some time and thought Helen and I could work well together, if she was interested in collaborating with me. 

Helen: I was interested.  After discussions about the style of picture book we wanted to create we both immediately thought Aaron Pocock’s style would be perfect.  So Donna emailed Aaron to see if he was interested and available.  Lucky for us he was, and lucky for me that he lives in Logan as we were able to meet and discuss the text and illustrations. 

Donna: Aaron’s illustrations are just gorgeous and compliment the text perfectly. The illustrations are intricate, whimsical and fun.

Helen Ross
Is there a message you want your young readers to take from reading A Christmas Tail?
Whilst A Christmas Tail is meant to be entertaining and engage the reader, it is also about friendship between unlikely friends and the joy that Christmas can bring.  I think a recent review from Creative Kids Tales ( sums the message up quite well.

"Kindness is a common theme for Christmas stories and this is the central message here. Peter, despite being the baby of the family, has compassion for those less fortunate than himself. The idea of a child being more open-minded and accepting than his/her elders is not a new concept in picture books. Nevertheless, it is an important lesson for both adults and children, at any time of the year." It is a great topic that parents and educators can discuss with their children, and picture books are a wonderful way of doing so.
Aaron Pocock

What attracts readers to read your book?
The cover is absolutely gorgeous – very Christmassy and cute. This draws immediate interest from children, parents and teachers; even from older readers (i.e. the young at heart) - and of course, anyone who loves chlidren’s picture books. Once you start reading, the story unfolds. There are a couple of mishaps that are quite funny in both the story line and illustrations. From all the book readings that we have done so far, it seems that readers have their favourite page. The story is easy to read, and from all reviews, well paced.

Was it difficult collaborating on a project when you both live in different states? (Donna resides in Melbourne whilst Helen lives in Brisbane).

The story mainly came together via emails and texts.  In the beginning, we had some lengthy telephone conversations nutting out ideas, characters, story line, title and similar. However, after receiving the bills (Aaaarrghghh!!!) we decided to rely on FaceBook chats (when suitable), texting and emails. As we have similar ideas, creativity wise, the story unfolded relatively easy via emails.

Did you have an editor?
We worked very hard on ‘polishing’ the text before sending it off for assessment. We then sent it to Sally Odgers, well known children’s author, writer/poet and manuscript assessor. We were very happy with her feedback (hard work pays off), and we really only had a few minor adjustments to make. Before the story went to print, it was also copy edited by Dalida Boustead.

Where can we find out more?
Review links at:

  • All review links are at:
Where can we purchase A Christmas Tail?
A Christmas Tail – By Donna M Smith and Helen Ross. Illustrated by Aaron Pocock
Paperback: 36 pages
Publisher: Spider Ink Press
ISBN: 9780987306715
Trim size: 280 x 210 mm

A Christmas Tail is available in Hardback through book stores, but easily available on Amazon and major online bookstores. Also available as an eBook on Kindle and iTunes.
Amazon: (Hardback and eBook)-

Links available at

Thanks so much Donna and Helen for dropping by and chatting about your new picture book! I'm sure it will be a wonderful success.

Thanks Dawn. It has been our pleasure.

About the Authors

Donna Smith is an award winning children’s author who lives in Victoria with her husband and their three children. Donna has had several children’s stories and poems published in various anthologies, journals and as chapter books. Donna has also written over forty academic titles for the Adult Education sector and completed an Arts degree in 2012. When Donna is not writing she enjoys piano, art, skiing and triathlons. You can visit Donna at and

Helen Ross (nee McKenzie) was born in Melbourne, Australia. As a former primary and kindergarten teacher, Helen has always loved the magic of books. She loves writing, photography, travel and art, and has won awards for her children’s poetry. Her quirky sense of humour is embedded in many of her children’s stories and giggle poetry. She also enjoys visiting schools and conducting giggle poetry workshops around Australia; hence, she always has a bag packed ready to go.

Helen lives in sunny Brisbane with her humorous husband and their beloved pets.
More information about Helen’s other published children’s books can be found at her website: and blog at
Aaron Pocock, born into a large family in the South of England, has been living in
Brisbane, Australia, since 2000 and has been an illustrator for 20 years or so.
As well as drawing, painting and many other pursuits that keep his mind active and nimble, Aaron is also a musician and plays a mean Blues guitar. Aaron is married, has two children and works in a big studio where he scribbles away at drawings and paintings for books and things. More of his work can be found at: and

cheers, Dawn

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Books In Homes Program a HUGE SUCCESS!

I'm very proud to be an Ambassador for the Books In Homes Program, which provides students with a bag of brand new books for free, up to three times a year. As guest author, I gave a short talk and answered questions from 450 students. What a fantastic day! I thoroughly enjoyed it. Books in Homes was begun in New Zealand to help kids who did not own books at home by providing them with a selection of books the students themselves choose from a list. This program is generously sponsored by The University of Western Sydney, who send out a representative to make the presentation. Every single one of the 450 students received a bag with their selection of books. Amazing! I can't speak highly enough of this endeavour. Bringing the gift of literacy to underprivileged children is wonderful.
cheers, Dawn