story, science, technology and creativity


New Year’s declutter uncovers Santa’s work

There’s nothing I like more than making lists to mark the start of a New Year, and 2015 is no different.

One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to clear out the Piles of Important Things, to leave more space for thinking and writing and creating New Important Things.

And while clearing, I found this:

Santa science show

Graham Walker and I with our hands-on Santa-science show. What fun!

It’s a clipping from the local paper, celebrating a super-cool science show that the fabulous Graham Walker and I wrote and performed at the Canberra Centre a few more than ten years ago, just for laughs, just because we loved doing science shows, just because we could make up bad puns and people would clap 🙂

The G-nome project?

Liquid nitrogen and Rudolph’s nose?

Teleportation down the chimney? (Remember this was the year that Australian National University scientists teleported a laser beam for the first time! Oh, the magic!)


As you can see, I’m having a ball going through the pile, and sticking to the Do It Now school of meeting your New Year’s goals.

Help! It’s Jan 1 and already I’m flailing!

If you’d like a little nudge for making your own New Year resolutions, you might like to paint eyes on a daruma, read my #1 recommendation for writers writing resolutions, or simply soak up some encouragement from another of the Important Things: my first ever letter of acceptance.

Happy 2015 everyone! Let’s make it a ripper!

What are your resolutions this year? Care to share?



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Begin the year with a BANG

I like to begin each year feeling fantastic and inspired, so here’s a list of recent GOOD NEWS that’s been making me bounce.

A couple of months back, our eldest son came down with a fever with mild rash and weird tongue. The incredible people at Princess Margaret Hospital picked it up straight away: he was in the early stages of Kawasaki Syndrome.

KS is a mysterious and rare childhood disease that we’d never heard of my but girlfriends knew from Grey’s Anatomy and my mother-in-law knew from Catalyst. (Maybe I should watch more TV??).

So, why is this Good News ? Because, after timely treatment (thanks to blood donors everywhere!) and six weeks of waiting-and-rest, we’ve had the all-clear.

No long-term damage to the heart… HOORAY!!

BROTHERS by Cherry Lee – inspiration for the awards.

Also a couple of months back, I entered a short story competition run by the City of Rockingham, and…

…I won a Commended prize with a lovely cheque to go with it. Woo hoo!

It was SO NICE to have this confidence boost, especially because I was writing for adults and outside of my genre. (Writing outside your genre is, BTW, one of the best ways to stretch your writing muscles. Give it a try!)


This was an AMAZING day…I loved meeting old friends and making new friends, and I totally enjoyed all the sessions. My fave was the afternoon session with Glenda Larke. I’m now so hooked on her novels that it’s a struggle to drag my nose out long enough to make a cuppa and head back. If you love long, fabulous fantasy, check her out. Glenda sounds like an amazing woman and her session was so generous and useful. Thank you Glenda!!

Watch for this expo next year: the whole day is FREE! You can read more about this great day at the very funny Meg McKinlay: You rock…and kinda suck (but mostly rock :-)) and pick up more pointers at Open your mind, crush your dreams, the title of which sounds awful, but only because the publishers and writers at the expo told it how it is, which is what we need to hear. If you want to be a writer, you have to work at it, like anything else.

Picked up lots of inspiration and ideas and managed to get there and back on public transport! YAY!!

Also in Good News, I have purchased a set of five highlighers and a calendar, and am colour-coding my way to success and happiness. Woo hoo!

I really do think it will be that easy. I haven’t resolved to do anything crazy, like WRITE EVERY DAY or JOG EVERY MORNING. Instead, I’ve made lots of ONCE-A-MONTH goals, so I only need to do this resolution once a month (or twelve measly times a year), to feel INCREDIBLE SUCCESS AND ACHIEVEMENT. (Ooo, what’s that? I feel it now!)

I’m writing this post fresh from swimming a kilometre for the first time in almost-double-digit years. WOO HOO!

So let’s get to it! What are your resolutions? How’s your New Year shaping up?

takeshitademons_blog-cover 4

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My #1 Recommendation for your #1 New Year’s Writing Resolution

Fergus pokes out his tongue at New Year Resolutions

Fergus ponders his New Year Resolutions: learn to eat, learn to crawl, learn to walk. What a year!

What’s my #1 Recommendation for your #1 Writing Resolution?

I’m going to cheat here: my #1 recommendation for your #1 writing resolution is half-way down this post, so skip straight there if you’re keen.

It’s all in the words

My #2 recommendation: kick any non-specific resolutions out the door: they doom you to failure.


My big writing goal this year is very clear:

– In 2010 I will finish the next two books in the Takeshita Demons series.

…which is a truckload more motivating than…

– “In 2010 I will write more.”

“More” is all so vague. It leaves me with a consistent uneasiness, a wondering about whether this week’s writing was “more” or “less” than last week’s. So I’m never happy with myself, which is blerch. Instead, I have a very specific goal, which is more motivating, and ultimately, more rewarding.

So what’s my #1 Recommendation for your #1 Writing Resolution?

If you’re an unpublished writer of children’s books, your #1 writing resolution this year should be to enter the  Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices book award.

  • It’s free to enter
  • It’s open to any unpublished writer, living anywhere in the world.
  • You can enter by email.
  • You can win 1500 pounds *PLUS* a publishing deal complete with advance and royalties

WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE?? So, dust off that old manuscript or get your head down writing a new one (15,000 to 35,000 words). Entries are due around February each year.

Not a children’s writer?

Give it a shot anyway…you could find a new voice! Or…check out these writing competitions instead:

Here’s to 2010! Twenty-ten. Two-oh-ten. Year of Grabbing Opportunities. May it be a good one!!