Sunday, 6 November 2016

YA romance, NA and LoveOzYA on BookThingo podcast

Way back in April I was able to visit the 2016 Romantic Times Booklovers Convention to observe young adult programming alongside romance. Lucky for me there were a host of Australian romance readers that I knew in attendance who made the week indefinitely more fun. Two of these people, Kat  (hostess with the most-est)and Rudi (producer extraordinaire), are 2/3 of the BookThingo podcast.

After six days of skipping (and sometimes slogging) through RT, Kat kindly invited me to sit down and discuss two topics near and dear to my heart - young adult fiction and new adult fiction. Young adult is central to everything that I do in my day job, New Adult is something I needed to learn about and differentiate as it's become a market trend. It was recorded very late at night before I flew off to Houston for the Texas Library Association conference.

It was a fantastic opportunity to publicly discuss my thoughts on these two categories and what they mean in terms of the romance genre.

Warning - this isn't a polite conversation. NSFW.

You can listen here.

And here are my recommended New Adult authors - if you want more specific recommendations, hit me up on Twitter @snarkywench. (Titles in parenthesis are either my favourite or where to get started.)

* I don't love reading paranormal so my recommendations are very much contemporary-centric. I am also a huge sports-contemporary fan (particularly hockey - be warned).

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Introducing Unladylike, a podcast on women and writing

A little while back I posted about a new project I was working on - a podcast, Unladylike. This podcast would capture conversations with women on writing.

Today is launch day!

Unladylike is hitting the internet with five episodes and many more to come.

  1. On story: Vivian Gornick and Sian Prior, both journalists and memoir writers, in conversation about memory, imagination and language. 
  2.  On friendship: Australian YA writers Fiona Wood, Simmone Howell and Cath Crowley talk about portraying friendship in writing for young adults, and their own collaborations. 
  3. On editing:  Historian Clare Wright and editor Mandy Brett on the process of creating an award-winning bestseller. 
  4. On romance:  Tessa Dare on romance fiction as a feminist genre, and why readers are in love with love. 
  5. On swearing:  Novelist Toni Jordan and playwright Patricia Cornelius on the power of purple language.
You can find out more here, or listen on Audioboom and iTunes.

Monday, 21 March 2016

2016 Inky Awards & Resources (free)

We have had an incredible week at the Centre for Youth Literature. It's one of my favourite times of year, and this year was made more special by the way in which we shared some news.

Firstly, we launched the 2016 Inky Awards longlist. This youth literature award is selected, judged and voted on by teens for teens. Adults have no say. Why? Peer recommendations are the most common method for a teen to connect with and read a book.

We launched the longlist by putting teens to the front:

Applications for the teen judging positions are open until 28 March 2016.

Secondly, we shared a project we've been working on for months. Our Inky Awards Ambassador program. We've created four toolkits for different individuals in the youth literature sphere to learn more about the Inky Awards, how to engage authors (and pay them), devise activities and let the teens take the lead.

There are four toolkits, and they are absolutely free - check them out!

Monday, 1 February 2016

Unladylike; a podcast on women and writing

I can't seem to get the hang of this spare time thing.

Unladylike; a podcast on women and writing.

Yes, I have a new project and I am pretty excited about it.

We have a manifesto - some of which you can read here:
We talk about women and writing.
We talk with women about writing and reading, and particularly about process: the thinking, planning, plotting (or not), research, drafting and editing that writers do.
We talk about things that affect women as writers, illustrators, readers, publishers, editors, critics, academics, booksellers and literary programmers.
And we invite women to talk with one another about their work.
There's more...

It's terrifically exciting to work with the uber talented Kelly Gardiner on this podcast. We both feel strongly that women writers require a platform, and we're oh so happy to create one.

We'll launch in June with some fantastic content but in the meantime you can find us on Twitter, Facebook and at our website.

Hope you tune in!

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

US Bound - Melbourne City of Literature Travel Fund

I am proud to say that I am one of the very fortunate people to receive the Melbourne City of Literature travel funds. Round two marks the end of this initiative (hopefully just for now) that supports writers, editors, publishers, librarians, booksellers...and even programmers the opportunity to seek professional development further afield that will benefit Melbourne.

I will utilise this support to visit the US in April to witness how teen (and romance) programming intersect with public programming. Most YA related programming in Australia is part of a schools offer with teachers booking sessions but I am curious to observe what proves effective in drawing teens to public events outside of school influence.

But where will I be going?

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Why Tamora Pierce's Alanna is influential

This article was originally posted on the Readings blog, 24 May 2011.

Books, especially those you come across in your formative years, have the capacity for an enormous impact in your life. In my case there are too many to count as many authors and their characters showed me something about the world and myself. Whether it be laughing uproariously at Anne thwacking Gilbert with a slate, admiring Lizzie and falling in love with Mr Darcy or following Josie as she discovered the truth of her family, I grew as a person. Not one of them changed my life but they all contributed to it greatly. Jane Austen feels like an old friend with a violently sharp tongue, LM Montgomery was a reassuring quilt to cloak myself in, and Melinda Marchetta allowed me to relate to a range of nuanced Aussie girls.

Monday, 17 August 2015

How to Get Your Dream Job in Ten (Easy?) Steps

HUGE Felicity geek - #TeamBen
Originally appeared as a guest post on the Books and Adventures blog, 9 September 2012.

1. Embrace your geek

That doesn’t mean heading to your nearest comic book store to cuddle an individual engrossed in a graphic novel. Geekery is passion without apology, usually with a singular focus. My geekiness has always been wrapped up in stories, whether in book or film form. While I went the traditional, employable route of teaching as a tertiary education choice, I sub-majored in children’s literature as a flight of fancy.

Keep a grip, whether loose or monkey tight, on the things that you love.

2. Surround yourself with imagination

There is no better way to tap into imagination than plonking yourself in a classroom of young impressionable minds. I taught in regional and disadvantaged schools for eight years immersed in their enthusiasm, pure unadulterated boredom, and sparky moments of brilliance. Even when I was unaware of my passion, they were informing it. Teaching wasn’t a step on the way to a goal – it was crystalline moments of influence on me as a person.

3. Curiosity may have killed the cat but it will keep the boredom at bay

Teaching in regional towns was taxing in terms of my professional responsibilities to the students, parents and the school, but I had a lot of downtime.

I read with the help of my trusty library card. And played SimCity. And bought many films and television series on DVD. Without realising it I was diving deeper into the creative process, criticism…and the joys of rebuilding an earthquake affected virtual city.

Once I had access to the web I discovered podcasting and immersed myself in discussion of film makers and graphic novelists, as well as fans’ exploration of process and pop culture. I became an active member of forum boards and read fan fiction.

I had married my geekery.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Something new, different and full of romance

I am super excited to share that Danielle Binks and I will be the Australian Romance Readers Convention (ARRC) co-coordinators for 2017. Needless to say we're really excited so a big thank you is directed to the Australian Romance Readers Association executive committee for this opportunity.

The convention is returning to Melbourne for the first time since the inaugural event and we will have the pleasure of wrangling it all together.

There are so many reasons I am unbelievably excited for this opportunity -

Thursday, 13 August 2015

The Big Trips

I don't tend to take short breaks. Part of it is that I can't turn my work-brain off in a week and part is that if you're going to leave Australia then you better make it count. (And with the flight times, you really want to make it count. Twenty plus hours is a long time.)

In 2010 I went to live (and teach) in Japan. But in one of my breaks I went to the Big Apple for the first time. I met the lovely Gayle Forman for the first (but not last) time as well as the awesome Beth Fantasky, Michelle Zink, Elizabeth Scott, Melissa Walker and Lisa Sandell. It was a blogger's dream come true. And I got to meet Mitali and Steph in the flesh - awesome bloggers, smart ladies and generous hearts. More importantly, it was this trip (at the Penguin HQ) where I realised that I wanted to work in books instead of teaching.

And then this happened...

Monday, 16 March 2015

Every Word Launch, Melbourne

This evening I was privileged to launch a book for the very first time. (And it's both amazing and terrifying to still have firsts....)

I've known Ellie Marney since before her Every series kicked off with Every Breath but we've never actually spoken about her books. We've spoken about writing, reading recommendations, festivals and a whole host of things but never about a book. So there's nothing like diving in the deep end and speaking about a writer's book to them in front of an audience.

And so this is what I said...