Monday, 9 December 2013

Montana and the Pirates

This is a story written by Montana at the age of eight. It is amazing how competitive siblings can be and she sat at the computer and typed this story with out too much assistance, insisting it was her story. Over time I will encourage her to write it again and either add more to it or correct the punctuation and rhythm of the piece.
I am pleased that today's children are encouraged to express themselves in writing more so than when I was a child..
Once upon a time in a country where pirates who keep the other people very poor and frightened except for a brave girl named Montana. She’d once lived in a beautiful home with her youngest sister India, her big sister Kyamah, and her Mum and Dad.  Montana loved her family dearly and she cursed the day the pirates arrived and smashed the peace of their lovely village. As she watched the last sail burn on her father’s ship and it slip below the waves Montana swore she’d she would see that pirates face in Hell.

She felt the soft touch of her mother's hand stroke her long brown hair. ‘It’s going to be okay Darling, we have had troubles before and come through okay.’

‘But I hate them so much, I swear to you on life. I will get revenge.’

‘Come come Montana, that’s just silly. You’re only eight years old.’

‘But every day I grow a little bigger and get stronger and I promise you and this island that one day I will see to it that Blackbeard’s day will come.’

She knew just how lucky she was. Along with her family, Granny and Papa were there too, they would look after things when her parents were away. From today however things would change she would become one they relied on, and she knew it would take time.

‘Mum look down there, just outside the bay.' Montana pointed to the ship with the red sails, it’s black hull bristling with cannon and Jolly Roger. 'They call her Queen Anne’s Revenge, and I’m going to take her for Dad.’

Well on the other hand the pirates were much much worse in fact they stole everything mostly the money. There Captain was Black Beard . These pirates were the meanest things on earth back in those days. Captain Black Beard and his crew would sack every place in the village and the people had to give the pirates something, or money. Mostly money so the village got very poor and sick especially Montana's family apart from her, but  the pirates, they got very rich.

One day Montana was tired of Black beard and his crew's pillaging because Montana's family was very very sick, they didn’t have any food. Later the pirates came for more but instead of money or gold, they were ambushed Montana got her sword and put the point at Black Beard's heart.

Black beard whipped out his sword out and slashed it at Montana’s sword Montana was a very good sword fighter so the pirate couldn’t kill Montana easily. The sword fight ended and Black Beard walked back to his ship with his crew but Montana wasn’t finished she followed him back to the ship. Black Beard saw that Montana had followed onto the ship and realised she wanted more. He said. 'If you want more you have to face your fears.'

          'I know.'She said

They started having another fight Black Beard was about to stab but instead hit the sword and said. 'I’m to quick for ya” and didn’t die. Just then Montana swung back and stabbed Black Beard in the heart Montana had won.

Montana got all the things that was the villages and shared it all. For Black Beard well he had to be tied to a rope and swim around the boat three times. Montana's family got much better and lived happily ever after with no more pirates.

                                    The end!

Thursday, 5 December 2013

My Grandaughters' Bunyip Stories

About twelve months ago my grandchildren and I were looking for frogs and tadpoles in the local creek that runs through the golf course and into the park. We started making up stories about monsters and people of old. From that little game I produced a bunyip story good  enough to be short listed in the Melton City Short Story Competition.

Kyamah started the Dadididi tale you can find on the link below, she was almost nine when the project started and this is a very rough first draft.

After seeing children and teenagers receiving awards at the short story awards has re-ignited her passion to write, and even if Dadididi remains untouched you can see where her career as a writer began.

Montana too has worked on a yarn about kids a creek and a monster. She will post her story soon.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Writers Victoria

Today I received my copy of the December Issue of The Victorian Writer and found a wonderful piece on how to get off of the slush pile written by Shivaun Plozza. She has encapsulated a lot of information in about 450 words. Shivaun talks about the synopsis and how important it is to getting your manuscript read. Drop over to her blog where she has offered even more advice to would be published writers.


Sunday, 1 December 2013

Should I set up my publishing company and embrace other authors or not.

Since writing the post below, I like many other self published writers have hacked my story around numerous bookshops across Australia. I have pestered my friends, family, associates and anyone else I can think of, for leads to people who might like to buy a book. The only thing I haven't done is to set up at any of the many book fairs, as I have only had the one book to sell. This is the same problem facing any salesperson canvassing for sales, how can I strengthen my product line to make a sale every time I call on a bookshop?
Knowing I can only realistically expect to produce and publish one quality 100,000 word novel per year if I am trying to do the marketing and selling too, it's not enough. If I wait for three years I may have three books to sell by the one author, me. While they may be great novels, they are still too small of an offering to make me a serious competitor in the book sales business. Therefore, what options do writers like me have?
  1. We can continue to submit our work to the regular publishing houses and hope to land a deal.
  2. E-publish our work on the various forms and promote it via e-mail and social media trying to drive possible buyers to our books.
  3. Self publish via one of the many vanity publishers and do the rounds of friends and family.
  4. Develop your own publishing house to manage the printing registration and distribution.
  5. Establish a co-operative scheme to embrace authors of a similar mindset and present their work as a combined and professional publishing company that will attract the interest of distribution businesses across the globe.
Over the past few weeks I have developed a fondness for the latter scheme if I am unable to find a publisher for my next two novels. The only drawback I can see is that I'd prefer to be writing than building a business, and I'm sure this is the same for every writer I know. However if we wish to be professional writers producing quality work and being properly promoted and compensated this may be the only option for many.of us.

For now I'm only tossing a few an ideas around but would be interested in comments from anyone about their success and failures at becoming published in hard copy.

Either leave me a comment, or e-mail me at


Tuesday, 22 January 2013

To Self Publish or Not? That is the Question.

Having finished my novel KUNDELA I have sent out samples to different publishers. Having religiously followed their submission guidelines in the hope that someone would chance upon my masterpiece, I have checked the e-mail inbox daily with disappointment. Weeks of waiting and with response times now passing I have to face the possibility of not being picked up on this first round of enquiry letters.

I have been through most of the self publish websites and now have would be publishers from all over the world willing to publish and market my book for a fee, in some cases a rather large fee. I don't have that kind of money to spend, and I'm not sure that Francis from Frisco can be bothered with the marketing plan my novel needs. I think it's an opportunity for them to make money from the author rather than the other way around.

Taking the view that I'm a trades person with a commodity to sell takes the marketing of KUNDELA into an area I know well. I've spent all of my previous career in sales and marketing so I have the skills. What I don't have is the contacts, therefore I will need an agent or at the very least the contacts an agent has. The first question raised now, is how do I do I gain that knowledge. Therefore I started to research the people who have been in a similar situation to me and gone on to become successful and published authors.

From my research I find that it is necessary to embrace rejection as something that teaches you a lesson, and to learn from it. Another point I found helpful was to create a business plan for your proposal. To sell anything you need to know everything about it, what it is, what products it competes with, the strengths and weaknesses of both yours and your competitor's product.

Now I am on a quest to structure a business plan for KUNDELA, complete with a marketing plan, sales strategy and finance plan. Now I find that I'm on familiar ground with a product to sell.

Proving that writing is a business.

One of the sites I found helpful was a You tube Interview by Stacey Cochran with John Fuhrman as his quest. It is over 50 minutes long but contains some wonderful information.