Posts tagged June Star Author

Some fun writing rules

Hi everyone, I hope you all had a great weekend. I was lucky enough to see the comedian Lenny Henry on Sunday night, which was a lot of fun. I’m still in a light mood, so thought I’d share some fun rules on writing. The biggest part of a writer’s life is checking and rechecking work for grammatical mistakes and other errors. I have a fun list next to my computer screen which helps me with this. Here are some pointers:

 1.        Don’t abbrev.

2.         Check to see if you any words out.

3.         Be carefully to use adjectives and adverbs correct.

4.         Don’t use no double negatives.

5.         Just between you and I, case is important.

6.         Don’t use commas, that aren’t necessary.

7.         Its important to use apostrophe’s right.

8.         It’s better not to unnecessarily split an infinitive.

9.         Only Proper Nouns should be capitalized. also a sentence should begin with a capital letter and end with a full stop

10.       Verbs has to agree with their subjects.

11.       Avoid unnecessary redundancy.

12.       A writer mustn’t shift your point of view.

13.       Don’t write a run-on sentence you’ve got to punctuate it.

14.       A preposition isn’t a good thing to end a sentence with.

15.       Avoid cliches like the plague.

16.       1 final thing is to never start a sentence with a number.

17.       Always check your work for accuracy and completeness.

 

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Our War Horse, Bess

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Have any of you seen the recent film The War Horse, based on Michael Morpurgo’s brilliant novel? I still haven’t worked up the courage to go and see it because I know it will upset me too much. The main reason is that not long ago I researched and wrote the true story of New Zealand’s very own war horse, Bess.

During World War One, New Zealand sent over 10,000 horses to fight in the war. But unlike the war horses in the film, most of our horses were sent to the Middle East to fight in the desert. They took the men into battle and had to face searing heat, thirst, hunger, and weariness but they never failed their masters. Of all the horses that served throughout the entire war in the Middle East, only one came home. Her name was Bess.

 I read many of the diaries and letters of the soldiers, called Mounted Riflemen, who rode, lived, and sometimes died with their horses and it was very moving. They became very attached to their horses because they shared so much. I’ve heard the film is moving too; did any of you see it?

 

 

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Our own “Wild West” story

Hi everyone! It’s wonderful to be invited along to chat to you all and I’m looking forward to sharing a bit of my writing journey with you. As you can see from the books I’ve written, it’s obvious where much of my inspiration comes from! I’m animal mad, and that includes all animals – dogs, horses, wolves, cats, I love them all, and many of them pop up in my books. I also love learning about our fascinating past so often I try to weave history into my stories as well.

This is certainly true for my latest book, The Drover’s Quest, which is set in the 1860s gold-mining era. It’s the story of a headstrong girl who disguises herself as a boy so she can join a cattle drove across the Southern Alps to find her missing gold-digger father. During this time, many cattle were driven from Christchurch to the West Coast over the newly formed Arthur’s Pass to feed the miners. Charlotte (“Charlie”) has many adventures and mishaps riding her horse and working her dog across the wild mountain pass.

This story was inspired by the horses in my life and the trekking I do for pleasure. I love riding through the bush and having fun rounding up our pet cow, Bubbles, on my horse. And horses feature largely in our pioneering past. They were the main form of transport of course, but they were also used to move vast herds of cattle and sheep across the land. In some ways, our history in the late 1800s was similar to the taming of the “Wild West” of America. Rugged pioneers, bush cowboys, gun-toting outlaws, and desperate diggers feature in our past too. In The Drover’s Quest, many of these colourful characters gallop through the pages. I hope you’ll enjoy their journey.

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Meet our June Star Author Susan Brocker

Our fantastic June Star Author is New Zealand author, Susan Brocker.  Susan has written a wide range of books for children and teenagers.  Some of them are non-fiction about topics like wildlife conservation and natural science.  Her favourite books are stories she’s written about her favourite things, such as horses, dogs and animals of all sorts.  She loves bringing history alive and making it exciting.

We have lots of Susan’s books in the library, including Restless Spirit, Brave Bess and the Anzac Horses, A Wolf in the Wardrobe, and her latest thrilling historical story, The Drover’s Quest.

Thanks for joining us Susan.  We look forward to hearing all about your books and your writing.

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The secret to my success

Hi again … for the very last time!

I just realised, right at this very moment, that today is the last day of June! Which means it’s the last day I’m the Star Author. That’s not fair! How come I get one of the months with a missing day?

Never mind. It’s been fun. Hope you’ve enjoyed my posts. If there’s anything you want to ask me after today, or want to keep up-to-date with my new books and stuff, you can still contact me through my website – www.kylemewburn.com or you could join my Facebook  fan page – Kyle Mewburn children’s writer.

But now I’ve come to my last post, I guess there’s only one thing left to write about – What is the secret of my success?

Well, lots of writers will tell you the secret of success is perseverance or stick-at-it-ness. No matter how many rejections you get (and you WILL get rejections – I keep all mine in a giant box in the basement), you have to keep trying and keep writing. The main thing is not to take rejections to heart. It doesn’t necessarily mean your story is bad, it just means the person who read it didn’t think it was right for them. BUT you should also try to listen to any reasons people might give for not liking your story. Even if you don’t always agree, you can always learn something from criticism.

Some writers will tell the secret to success is to READ READ READ. The more we read, the better understanding we have of how a good story works. But you have to read with a writer’s brain, really. Don’t just read the story, keep asking yourself questions – like why do I like this paragraph so much? Why does this scene make my hair stand on end? Why did I get bored in the middle of the story? Once you start to understand how other writers work their magic, you can try to use the same techniques in your own writing.

Other writers might tell you the secret to success is more about figuring out the type of story you are really meant to write. Sometimes the kind of stories we write aren’t the stories we SHOULD be writing. (If that makes sense?) Often when we start writing, we want to write the kind of stories we like to read. When I started I wanted to write adult stories. Publishers always said my writing was good, but they never published my story. Luckily I wasn’t pig-headed enough to think I knew better than the publishers. So I didn’t keep writing the same kind of stories, I kept trying out totally different stories. I wrote a science fiction novel, then a “literary” novel, then a sort of non-fiction story, then a historical drama before finally trying to write a story for kids. I was as surprised as anyone when the publishers wanted my story! And even today, when I think about it, I’m very surprised to discover I’m pretty good at writing stories for kids. I never dreamed that’s what I’d be doing!

Anyway, my time as Star Author is rapidly ending and an exciting new Star Author is banging on my door, anxious for their turn. So I better hurry and finish. It’s been great fun. And thanks to the amazing Zac for making this blog such an exciting place to hang out!!

OK, so the real secret to my success is ……………………………….

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Happy Moooooooooooooo-nday!

Hi again!

Well, I don’t normally like Monday mornings much. Do you? But I’m liking this Monday, because I arrived in my office to find the drawings for my next picture book sitting in my Inbox. The book’s called Mooncow, and the amazingly beautiful illustrations are by Deidre Copeland who lives in Cromwell. Deidre has drawn the MOST BEAUTIFUL cow IN THE WORLD. At least I think so. What do YOU think? Have a look and let me know.

I like cows. Even though they’re pretty clumsy sometimes. And Icertainly DON’T like them when they walk across my creek and start trampling my vege garden! My wife, Marion, thinks cows are her favourite animals. She even likes it when they lick her hand, too. But I think that’s totally gross!! What’s YOUR favourite animal? I think mine’s a kangaroo. It would be great to be able to hop a long way and carry all your stuff in a pouch on your belly. Hmmm, but it might all start falling out if you jumped really fast. I wonder what kangaroos keep in their pouches? Maybe a mobile phone and an iPod. Any ideas what you might find in a kangaroo’s pouch … especially if it was an imaginary kangaroo.

Anyway, my story, Mooncow is about a cow called Milly who wants to be friends with the moon because she thinks they are very similar. Like Milly is big and round and pale, and so is the moon. And Milly is a bit lonely, too, just like the moon. (Or at least she imagines it must be pretty lonely floating in the sky.) So Milly tries to get the moon to like her by keeping it company, and talking to it, and even juggling cowpats to entertain the moon. And it seems to be working, too, because the moon is getting closer, and closer each night …

OK, I won’t tell you what happens. The book will be in the shops in November, I think. In the meantime, let me know what your favourite animal is, and I might just write a story about it. If I DO, I might even name it after YOU!!

In the meantime, if you’re looking for a new story to read, check out my brand new FaBo mystery story (and a couple of cool stories by this week’s winners) at www.fabostory2.blogspot.com  This week the challenge is to write a thriller with a clone as the main character! Hmmm, not sure if I’d like to have a clone. Though it might be useful if I have to do something boring, then I could send my clone along instead. And ideas what you’d do if YOU had a clone? Or 10 clones??

Have a lovely Mooooooo-nday!

Kyle

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The dinosaurs are coming!!

Hi again!

This morning I was walking to work and saw a poster for the amazing “Walking with Dinosaurs” show that’s visiting New Zealand. They’ve got lots of life-size robot dinosaurs. WOW! It would be so amazing to see that. But unfortunately it’s in Auckland. That’s too far to go, even to see a dinosaur.

But seeing that poster made me remember when I was in North Dakota in the United States last year and got to PAT A REAL DINOSAUR!! OK, it wasn’t an alive dinosaur. I don’t think I’d be brave enough to pat a live dinosaur. Would you? Hmmm, maybe I would pat a microceratops or something really tiny… Anyway, the dinosaur I patted was the only mummified dinosaur in THE WORLD!! They found it a few years ago just inside the border. It had been caught in a mudslide and was buried for millions of years. But because the mud stopped the air getting to it (or something), the dinosaur got turned into a mummy. The only problem is, the mud slowly turned to rock, so the dinosaur is locked inside a giant boulder. Experts at the museum put the whole boulder through all sorts of special scanners and managed to see inside. They were very surprised to find they could see EVERYTHING like its organs and bones and everything else. That’s how they know what sort of dinosaur it is, and exactly what it looked like.

Dinosaur experts all around the world are very excited. Because nobody has ever been able to look inside a dinsoaur before. Now a team of people with tiny drills is slowly uncovering the dinosaur. They have been working for four years, but have only uncovered a small bit so far. It’s slow work because they have to be very careful not to damage anything.

Anyway, while I was in North Dakota, I met someone who was working at the museum, and he took me into the basement and let me pat the dinosaur’s scales. I was very surprised that the scales were so small. The dinosaur was at least 4 metres long, but its scales were smaller than my thumbnails. It was very exciting!!! And I started to imagine what it would be like to live when the dinosaurs were everywhere. It would be very scary, I think, but very exciting, too. What do YOU think it would be like?

That made me think about writing a book about dinosaurs. I didn’t want to write a true story, because that would mean researching all about dinosaurs and what it was like at that time. And I HATE research. I don’t read non-ficiton unless I really have to!! So I decided to write a funny and very GROSS story instead. I also decided it would be funny if dinosaurs and people lived together.

So my idea was to write about a boy called Arg who has a much bigger brain than the other cave people. He feels a bit lonely sometimes because there’s nobody to talk to that understands him. But one day he meets a talking T-rex called Skeet. When Skeet tells Arg the dinosaurs are becoming extinct, Arg decides to help save them. The story was so exciting, I couldn’t stop writing them. So now I’ve written FOUR books in a new series callled DINOSAUR RESCUE. The first book is called T-wreckasaurus, and is coming out in August. I think the stories are very exciting, and they have lots of totallly GROSS things happening. There’s also a lot of poo, vomit and snot … oh, and Arg’s mum likes pipcking her nose and eating it, too.

I was very lucky that the amazingly talented illustrator Donovan Bixley wanted to draw pictures for the series. He is a total dinosaur NUT!! Every page has got amazing cartoons, and there’s lots of really useful information about brontosaurus poo and stuff.

What’s YOUR favourite dinosaur? If you let me know, and tell me why, I’ll get Donovan to draw it in the next book! Wouldn’t that be cool?

OK, enough dinosaur talk. I better do some proper writing.

Kyle

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Writing an exciting narrative

Hi again!

So did anyone notice last night was the longest night of the year? I didn’t. I went to bed very early and slept right through until 7.30 this morning.  I love sleeping. It’s my third favourite thing after eating and writing. What’s YOUR favourite thing?

Speaking of writing, Alara asked yesterday if I could give some tips on writing a professional narrative. So here are my top tips.

  1. Start off with a BANG!! The library is full of books. (If you haven’t noticed!) So, as a writer, you have to hook your reader from the first few lines. Your story might be the most exciting story in the world, but if the first page isn’t exciting, only your mother or teacher will keep reading. So before you start writing, you have to figure out the most exciting starting point for your story. Writing the first few lines is usually the hardest part.
  2. And then … While writing your story, keep asking yourself “and then what happens?” Once you think you know what’s going to happen, stop for a second and ask yourself – “Is that really the most exciting thing that can happen?” or “Is that the best thing that can happen to make my story the best story it can be?” When I’m writing, I have hundreds of ideas whizzing around in my head. The hard part is choosing which one of my ideas is the best idea for my story. Like when I was writing DO NOT PUSH, I didn’t know what was going to happen when Cam pushed the button. All I knew was he WAS going to push the button. Anything could have happened, really. And I could probably write a thousand different stories about it. (Especially if I stole some of YOUR ideas! hehehehehehe) But in the end I had to choose just ONE idea – the idea I thought would make the best story.
  3. Remember your characters are NOT ZOMBIES! I bet you can all write amazingly exciting stories with lots of action. But to make your story even better, try to remember that your characters are always THINKING and FEELING. Every time something happens, ask yourself  – “What is my character thinking or feeling?” The readers don’t need to know everything your character thinks and feels, but YOU DO! By adding a thought or feeling sometimes, the reader gets to know your character a bit better. And the more your readers like your characters, or understand them, the more likely they’ll not only finish your story, but like your story!
  4. Learn to be a reader! I don’t read boring books. Or books that are badly written. I bet YOU don’t either. And when I write a story, I always think MY stories are brilliant!! Even when they’re not. So I have to put my story away a while then read it again, this time pretending I DIDN’T write it. I pretend I just found the story lying around and don’t know who wrote it. Is it a story worth reading? As I read my story, I try to be super-critical. I try to find every mistake, every bad sentence and every bit that isn’t totally exciting. Then I go back and re-write my story.
  5. Re-write!! Re-write! Re-write! Keep writing your story until it’s as good as you can make it.

Oh, and there’s one more important tip – MAKE SURE YOU FINISH!! Once you start a story, you have to finish it!

OK, so those are a few of my tips. Every writer has their own tips, and their own way of writing. In the end, you have to figure out how YOU write best. Good luck!

Kyle

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Setting sail!

Hi again from a very, very, VERY drizzly miserable Dunedin! I don’t actually mind the rain, because I don’t have to leave the house all day (or all week, even) if I don’t want to. That’s one of the best things about being a writer. The OTHER best thing, which is actually a million times better is having a new book published!!

I’ve been very lucky getting my stories published, I must say. This year I’ve got TEN books coming out. On Thursday night we had a very nice party at the Teacher’s College in Dunedin to launch my latest two new books – Hester & Lester and DO NOT PUSH! Zac has already told you all about my DO NOT PUSH book. But I’d still be very interested to hear what YOU think might happen if you pushed a big red button that said DO NOT PUSH.

My other book is called Hester & Lester. It’s about a big sister trying to make her little brother happy using her imagination. They build a castle out of things they find in the forest, then make a moat and find a platoon of soldiers in dashing suits of armour (who are snails, really). When I was growing up, my little sister and I were always building cubby-houses out of all sorts of stuff. We’d pretend they were castles or secret hideaways and we’d have battles in the back yard. Because I was the older brother, I always had to come up with ideas for our games. Sometimes it was hard thinking of new games all the time. But I could always think of something new and exciting. That’s what I do today, too.  Except now I write down my stories … and I don’t build castles anymore.

Do you have a little brother or sister? If you do, who comes up with the best ideas? What sort of games do you play? Let me know and I might use one of them in a story.

OK, I better get back to work. Until next time, have an imagination-filled day!!

Kyle

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Do Not Push by Kyle Mewburn

If you found a big, red button in the middle of a forest, would you push it? Even if it said DO NOT PUSH?

Cam likes to explore the forest behind his house.  He feels like it might change and move around when he’s not looking because there’s always something new to explore.  One day, he decides to check out the pond to see if the tadpoles have legs yet, but he falls down a bank and finds himself in a gully surrounded by steep cliffs.  One of the cliffs is covered in vines, but he notices that there is a large, red button behind the vines, with the words DO NOT PUSH written underneath.  Cam doesn’t think anyone will notice if he pushes the button and he doesn’t think anything has happened.  As he turns to leave he sees a green lever that says PLEASE PULL, but he leaves it and runs home.  When he gets home, he realises that something strange has happened, all because he pushed the button.  Suddenly there are no rules and everyone is acting really weird.

Do Not Push is the hilarious new book by our June Star Author, Kyle Mewburn.  He shows you that a world without rules would be fun but also a little embarrassing.  Who really wants to see their mum sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor in her pajamas, eating icecream with her hands?   I also really liked Sarah N. Anderson’s illustrations, especially the one of Cam when he’s in town watching all the chaos.  If you like short and funny stories, Do Not Push is perfect.  Recommended for 7+   8 out of 10

 

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Quakes, shakes and rattlesnakes

Hi Christchurch!

What a terrible time everyone must be having up there with all the earthquakes. I was really sorry to hear about it on the news the other day. I hope everyone managed to get through it all safely … again. I’m not sure what I’d do if I lived in Christchurch. I’ve only felt 2 earthquakes in my entire life. And they were just mild shakes, really. I can’t imagine how it must feel to have shakes like that all the time, and you never know if, or when, there’s another big earthquake coming. It must be terrible.

Whenever bad things happen to me, I write a story about it. It always helps me put things in perspective and get things clearer in my head. Not just what happened, but how I feel about it, what I think about, and what has changed both in me and my world.  In a way, I feel lucky to be a writer. Because I know that experiencing bad things gives me good ideas for my stories. And, more

importantly, because I can remember how I felt during those bad moments, I can use those emotions and memories to make my stories a lot more powerful.

You might have heard the expression that experiencing bad things makes us stronger. I think it also makes us better writers. I also think it makes everyone better people, too. At least I hope it does!

I know you’ve all got more important things on your minds at the moment, so I’ll finish my blog now. I really just wanted to send you all my best wishes and good luck!

I’m sure lots of you have written stories about the earthquakes as well. If you’d like to share them with me, you can send them to kyle@kylemewburn.com

Best wishes from a rainy Dunedin!

Kyle

PS If you haven’t checked out the FaBo blog, there’s still time to submit a story for this week’s challenge. Just go to

www.fabostory2.blogspot.com

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Finishing is everything

I’m supposed to be writing my Young Adult (YA) novel, but it’s becoming a bit of a struggle, I must say. Mainly because I had to stop halfway through to write two more episodes of my new Dinosaur Rescue series. And if there’s one thing this writer hates more than anything, it’s trying to kickstart a stalled project. Especially a novel.

While you’re writing it, you almost lose yourself in the world you’ve created. There are so many threads of the story to keep hold of, it needs a lot of concentration and focus. My wife, Marion, often gets a bit annoyed at me when I’m in the middle of a novel because I’m often off in my own little world instead of listening to her. I know I should be listening, but my fictional world is often just as real as my real world. And the characters in my fictional world have much more serious things going on. Resolving their issues becomes very important to me, and so takes up a lot of my brain.

But if you have to STOP writing a novel for any length of time, everything starts falling to pieces. You lose your grip on all those story threads. You lose interest in your characters, too, because they’ve become mere characters again, not almost-real people. They’re no longer important people in your life, they’re just words on a page. And sometimes, you lose interest in your whole novel. When you read it again, you wonder why you ever started it. It’s a terrible thing.

Sometimes your loss of interest is simply because of all the above. Or because you suddenly realise you were never too sure where your story was going anyway. (Which is what happened to my last YA novel which I got halfway through about 3 years ago …) And sometimes it’s because you’ve got new, bigger, better ideas knocking on your imagination. Why finish the OLD story when there’s a more exciting NEW story crying out for attention? Oh, and there’s one more reason – because finishing it suddenly just seems TOO HARD.

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Holidays for a writer

Did you have a fun holiday? I did, even though it wasn’t a holiday, really. I wrote all morning as usual, then worked in my garden all afternoon.

Actually, I don’t have normal holidays. Not the same holidays as other people, anyway. I work every day until I finish whatever I’m writing. If I’m writing a novel for older kids (like right now), I don’t have any holidays for 6 months at least, sometimes a whole year.  But it’s such fun, usually, that I don’t mind.

In fact, even when I DO go on holidays, I like to write for a few hours every morning. Writing is my job, but I also write for fun. Sometimes on holiday I play around with writing rhymes or poems. It’s like doing exercise, except it helps keep my brain fit for writing. What do you like doing on your holidays?

If you haven’t guessed already, I LOVE my job. It doesn’t even feel like a job most of the time. (Except when I have to re-write a story 17 times – THEN it starts to feel like a job. The worst job in the world. Have you ever seen the movie Groundhog Day? Well, THAT’s what it kind of feels like to be re-writing the same story over and over again…)

On a normal day, I get up around 7 o’clock, make a pot of tea, then go straight to my computer. I check emails and Facebook, and reply to any letters etc. Then I re-read what I wrote the day before. Usually I have to spend the next hour or two re-writing to make it better. When I think it’s ready OK, I write some more.

My brain normally gets tired around 2 o’clock, so I finish. It’s hard to write when your brain’s not working. After lunch, I work in my garden if it’s fine. If it’s raining, I read or sometimes write some more. Or sometimes I get in my helicopter and fly down to Antarctica to visit my penguin friends. They always bake a lovely fish cake for me. Yum!

OK, I better get back to work. If you have any questions, just ask!!

Catchya lata alligata!

Kyle

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The Queen’s birthday?

So this weekend we get an extra holiday because it’s the Queen’s birthday. I wonder what the Queen does for her birthday? It must be hard to buy a birthday present for the Queen. Any idea what YOU would buy the Queen? It’s very nice of her to give us all a holiday.

I’m going home to Millers Flat for four whole days. Hopefully it’s nice weather, because my garden is slowly becoming a jungle, and I’m hoping I can get it looking a bit tidier by the end of the weekend. Or maybe I should give up and let it grow into a jungle. It would be pretty cool to live in a jungle. Except the monkeys would probably keep sneaking into my house ans stealing my bananas. And it might be hard to sleep with elephants trumpeting all the time.

Speaking of elephants, my new book (well, it’s kinda new, because it only came out in February) is about an elephant with little ears. The book’s called Three cheers for No-ears. In the story, No-ears gets teased by all the other elephants because he has tiny ears. But in the end he discovers that small ears can be useful sometimes, too. I don’t know what I’d do if I had tiny ears. OR huge floppy ears!! But I think it would be very useful to have a tail… or maybe not. Hmmmm, do you think having a tail would be cool, or not?

OK, I better get back to work.  I’m visiting the Balmacewan Intermediate school writing group this afternoon. It’s always fun meeting keen young writers. Have a great weekend!!!

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June Star Author Competition

Kyle Mewburn is our June Star Author and to celebrate we’re giving away two copies of his brand new book, Do Not Push.  All you have to do to enter the competition is answer this question:

What do you think would happen if you pushed a big, red button that said DO NOT PUSH?

Add a comment on this post with your answer, your name and email address (so that we can contact you if you win).  We’ll choose the two most interesting answers to win a copy of Do Not Push.  Competition closes Friday 24 June.

See below for Terms and Conditions  Read the rest of this entry »

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Check out our June Star Author – Kyle Mewburn

Our Star Author for June is New Zealand author, Kyle Mewburn.  Kyle lives in Otago has been writing full-time since 1997.  He has written lots of books for different ages, including Kiss, Kiss, Yuck, Yuck, Old Hu-Hu, Hill and Hole, A Crack in the Sky,  and the Pop Hooper’s Perfect Pets series.  His latest book for younger readers comes out this month, called Do Not Push and we’ll be giving away copies of it here on the blog.

When he’s not writing, Kyle says he’s “either in my garden singing to my vegies, in the creek swimming or exploring the strange land I discovered at the back of my wardrobe…(OK, that last bit may not be completely true).”  Make sure you check out Kyle Mewburn’s Star Author posts in June.

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A bloggy June to you!

Ahoy!

Welcome aboard the good ship June-blog! I’ll be your captain for  the next few weeks. The next month, even. Wow! I’m very excited.

Actually I’m very excited about lots of things at the moment. For a start, we’ve had four glorious days of sunshine in Dunedin. In DUNEDIN!! Would you believe it?

I’m also excited because I’ve got heaps of new books coming out this year. Ten, to be precise. (Is 10 enough to make a heap?) Hopefully in the next month I’ll be able to share some bits and pieces with you, and maybe show you some amazing illustrations. It’s always exciting when I see the first drawings for a new book. Illustrators are so clever! Sometimes I wish I could draw. I can only draw stickman … and stickwoman. But if Icould draw, maybe I wouldn’t be good at writing. And I LOVE writing. Hmmm, it would be a difficult decision though. If you had to choose between being a great writer and a great illustrator, which one would YOU choose? (Assuming you can’t be both, of course!)

I’m also very excited about the FaBo2 writing project that’s starting on June 13. Last year nine writers got together and wrote a novel together. We wrote a new chapter each week and asked kids to write their OWN chapter. It was a lot of fun, and we discovered some amazing young writers. (They probably already knew they were amazing writers, I imagine, but we’re going to take the credit anyway!) This year we’re creating a new planet called FaBo2. Each week there will be a new writing challenge. The OverCouncil  will provide a genre, a character and a setting, and it’s up to YOU to write a story. If you like writing, or know someone who does, check out  www.fabostory2.blogspot.com I’ve always loved reading about other planets and aliens and stuff, so I’m really looking forward to reading some amazing stories!

There’s also a page on the blog where you can tell us your favourite hamburger recipe! I love hamburgers. Espceially old-fashioned hamburgers like my mum used to make. They had EVERYTHING on it. A big steak, lettuce, tomato, onion, beetroot and fried egg. They were almost too big to fit in your mouth. Almost. I think EVERY hamburger has to have beetroot on it. Otherwise it’s not a proper hamburger. What’s YOUR most important hamburger ingredient? (And if you have a special hamburger recipe, send it to the FaBo team at – fabostory@gmail.com )

So, what else am I excited about? I’m excited about living in Dunedin, too. Normally I live in MIllers Flat (which is in the middle of nowhere … honestly!!) but for the last four months I’ve been the Writer in Residence at the Otago College of Education. I’ve got an office overlooking the Leith stream, so all day I can watch the seagulls and pigeons fighting for the best roosting spots. So far the seagulls are winning, I think. But it’s hard to know for sure. Some of those pigeons are looking pretty pleased with themselves. I suspect they might have a secret weapon up their sleeves. (If they had sleeves, of course. )

But most of all, I’m very excited about just being a writer. Every morning I have to pinch myself just so I know I’m not dreaming. (OUCH!)  When I was growing up, I wanted to be a pirate. At least I thought I did. Now I know I actually wanted to be a writer, but everybody said a writer wasn’t a proper job. But it is!! Isn’t that exciting???  Strangely, I’ve never written a story about a pirate.

What do you want to be when YOU grow up? Let me know! Even if you’re already grown up, you can also tell me what you wanted to be when you were young.

And if you have any questions, or things you’d like me to blog about, let me know!

OK, I better get back to work. I’ve got some treasure that needs burying before those pesky  Royal Navy frigates turn up…

 

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