Review: Copywrong to Copywriter – Tait Ischia

Copy Wrong to Copywriter -a practical guide to copywriting for small businesses, small organisations, sole traders, and lone rangers

Tait Ischia

illus. Jacob Zinman-Jeanes

Scribe

ISBN:9781922585844

RRP $25

Description:

A fantastic way to up your copywriting game and grow more confident in your ability to use the right words.’

MICHAEL BASCETTA, SMALL BUSINESS OWNER AT WORKSMITH

If you feel like you’ve got the wrong tone of voice, don’t understand the ins-and-outs of grammar, or just don’t feel confident writing about yourself without sounding like an idiot, read this book.

Copywriter Tait Ischia is brief and to the point in an interesting and engaging way. Which is exactly what you want the words on your website/marketing stuff/professional bio to be too, right? Feel confident in what you say and how you say it when you put fingers to the keyboard. Waffling on should really be reserved for weekend breakfast.

My View:

No waffling here:) This is an engaging introduction to the world of social media content creating and copyrighting. I liked the illustrations.

Review: Bryce Courtenay: Storyteller – Christine Courtenay

Bryce Courtenay: Storyteller

Christine Courtenay

Penguin

Viking

ISBN: 9780143778851

Description:
Bryce Courtenay was a born storyteller. The success of his extraordinary debut The Power of One made publishing history, and in the years that followed Bryce continued to entertain and inspire thousands of devoted readers around the world with his sweeping epics and larger-than-life characters who embody the strength and triumph of the human condition.
What kind of man did it take to conjure these tales? What kind of life?


When Christine Courtenay began penning her own memoir during lockdown, she found herself increasingly drawn to the remarkable story of her late husband’s life and reflecting upon his astonishing literary legacy. From his humble beginnings in Africa to his dazzling success in advertising and as a bestselling author, Bryce’s extraordinary, rags-to-riches life story reads like one of his epic novels. It was a life marked by all the big themes – overcoming adversity, love, loss, hard-won success, fame and fortune, and holding tight to a dream.


In this telling Christine uncovers the events that shaped the man behind the stories – a man complex, driven and unfailingly positive, who never lost sight of his childhood dream to be a writer. Candid, intimate and insightful, Bryce Courtenay: Storyteller is a fascinating, loving tribute to the life and work of Australia’s most beloved and enigmatic writer. 

My View:

Bryce Courtenay was an extraordinary story teller, both in his writing and in his “in person ” interviews. I, like many, read and were moved by The Power of One. Over the years I have read many of Courtenay’s books, perhaps my verry favourite being Silvery Moon – inspiring, uplifting and personal. I could feel the charisma of Bryce Courtenay when reading Silvery Moon.

Reading “Storyteller” I was both filled with sadness and with optimism. Bryce Courtenay had the most horrendous start to life, echoes of his early years ripple through his books, look closely, listen. In the words of Bryce Courtenay “…you must understand, I don’t wany you or anyone to feel sorry for me. Sure my childhood was tough, but it made me the person I am. If my early life had been easy, I am certain I would not have set the bar for my self so high” p47 ( in conversation with Christine) Such wonderful messages of hope are contained in this book.

Bryce Courtenay was a writer, a storyteller. I salute you.

Review: Novelist as A Vocation – Haruki Murakami

Novelist as A Vacation

Haruki Murakami

Philip Gabriel (Translator),

Ted Goossen (Translator)

Penguin Randon House

Harvill Secker

ISBN:9781911215387

RRP $35.00

Description;

Thoughts and advice on the creative writing process from an international master of literature.

In this book Haruki Murakami explores his craft. He muses upon the qualities a novelist needs such as endurance and delight in the process as well as laying out his own methods. He covers topics such as originality, finding your own style, creating characters and links between literature, music and art. He also talks about his own life experiences and how they have influenced his work and his relationship with the Japanese literary establishment. He discusses education, the importance of reading, his literary influences and his path to success and the way he balances physical and intellectual work in his life. Wise and enlightening, this is a window into the world of an unique writer.

My View:

Imagine you sitting in big cosy armchair, opposite you in the famous writer, Haruki Murakami. Perhaps it is after dinner, you are both feeling comfortable and relaxed, you have, after all spent some time that evening around the table getting to know one another during a superb four course meal. Relaxed, you sit opposite one another and conversation begins or maybe continues. This is the book you now have in front of you – conversations, musings, reflections.

I found it entertaining, engaging and surprising, unpretentious.

A stand out reflection for me was ” I have a standard answer when interviewers ask me about literary prizes – this question invariably comes up, whether in Japan or abroad. ‘The most important thing,’ I tell them, ‘is good readers. Nothing means as much as much as the people who dip into their pockets to buy my books – not prizes or medals or critical praise.’ I repeat this answer over and over ad nauseum, yet it doesn’t seem to sink in. Most often it is completely ignored.” pps 44-45. Did I mention humility?

I enjoyed this conversation with Murakami.

Davitt Awards Shortlists 2022

Davitt Awards 2022 shortlists announced

26 July 2022

Sisters in Crime Australia has announced the shortlists for the 2022 Davitt Awards for best crime books by Australian women.

The shortlisted titles in each category are:

Adult crime novel                

  • Unforgiven (Sarah Barrie, HQ Fiction)
  • Before You Knew My Name (Jacqueline Bublitz, A&U)
  • You Had It Coming (B M Carroll, Profile Books)
  • All That I Remember About Dean Cola (Tania Chandler, Scribe)
  • Bodies of Light (Jennifer Down, Text)
  • Shelter (Catherine Jinks, Text)
  • The Beautiful Words (Vanessa McCausland, HarperCollins)
  • Once There Were Wolves (Charlotte McConaghy, Hamish Hamilton)
  • The Family Doctor (Debra Oswald, A&U)
  • The Second Son (Loraine Peck, Text)
  • The Silent Listener (Lyn Yeowart, Viking) 

Young adult crime novel

  • The Gaps (Leanne Hall, Text)
  • Dirt Circus League (Maree Kimberley, Text)
  • Sugar Town Queens (Malla Nunn, A&U Children’s)
  • House of Hollow (Krystal Sutherland, Penguin)

Children’s crime novel

  • Night Ride into Danger (Jackie French, HarperCollins)
  • The Detective’s Guide to Ocean Travel (Nicki Greenberg, Affirm)
  • Ella at Eden #6: The London thief (Laura Sieveking, Scholastic)

Nonfiction crime book

  • Empowering Women: From murder and misogyny to High Court victory (Susie Allanson with Lizzie O’Shea, Wilkinson Publishing)
  • Larrimah: A missing man, an eyeless croc and an outback town of 11 people who mostly hate each other (Caroline Graham & Kylie Stevenson, A&U)
  • The Winter Road: A story of legacy, land and a killing at Croppa Creek (Kate Holden, Black Inc.)
  • Banquet: The untold story of Adelaide’s family murders (Debi Marshall, Vintage) 

Debut crime books

  • Before You Knew My Name (Jacqueline Bublitz, A&U)
  • Shadow Over Edmund Street (Suzanne Frankham, Journey to Words)
  • Larrimah: A missing man, an eyeless croc and an outback town of 11 people who mostly hate each other (Caroline Graham & Kylie Stevenson, A&U)
  • The Waterhole (Lily Malone, Lily Malone Publishing)
  • Unsheltered (Clare Moleta, S&S)
  • The Family Doctor (Debra Oswald, A&U)
  • The Second Son (Loraine Peck, Text)
  • Shiver (Allie Reynolds, Hachette)
  • Crime Writer (Dime Sheppard, Ruby Books)
  • House of Hollow (Krystal Sutherland, Penguin)
  • The Silent Listener (Lyn Yeowart, Viking).

This year’s judging panel was made up of medical autopsy expert Philomena Horsley; YA expert and reviewer Joy Lawn; Sisters in Crime’s president Moraig Kisler; and authors Janice Simpson, Emily Webb and Jacquie Byron. The judges selected the 33 shortlisted titles from a longlist of 169 books.

The six category winners will be announced at a gala dinner in Melbourne on Saturday, 27 August. No prize money is attached to the Davitts; the winner of each category receives a trophy.

Last year’s winners included Sally Hepworth for The Good Sister (Macmillan) and Leah Swann’s Sheerwater (Fourth Estate).

For more information, see the Sisters in Crime website.

https://www.booksandpublishing.com.au/articles/2022/07/26/218068/davitt-awards-2022-shortlists-announced/

#FridayFreebie: Forgiveness Is the Hardest Thing – An Anthology

Forgiveness is the Hardest Thing – An Anthology

Leschenault Press

ISBN: 9781922670373

RRP $34.95

Description:

Forgive (verb): 1. Stop feeling angry or resentful towards a person who has done something hurtful or wrong. 2. excuse an offence or mistake.

Forgiveness (noun): the action of forgiving.

(OED, Oxford University Press 2009)

The path to forgiveness requires acceptance, introspection, admission of guilt, and the ability to see the situation through another's eyes.  

During the prolonged Covid-19 lockdowns, twenty-one women were invited to write about their experiences of forgiveness through the medium of poetry or prose, fiction or non-fiction. The result is an anthology that lays bare the shared need to forgive or to be forgiven.

It captures deeply personal stories of domestic violence, family disruptions, the disintegration of friendships, and the impact of taking an individual's power. But it also brings gifts of insight, stories of healing, techniques to help with physical and mental well-being, and a discourse about the spiritual side of forgiveness from a unique perspective.

Featuring the writing of multiple-award winning authors from across North America, the UK, Ireland, NZ and Australia, Forgiveness is the Hardest Thing is an inspiring collection to draw from when you too are wondering, how can I forgive?

**Thanks to Leschenault Press I have one copy of this evocative anthology to give away. Simply hop over the publishers website https://bookreality.com/project/for-authors/ and list one  of the contributors to the anthology. Open to residents of Ireland, USA, UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.  Winner randomly selected on 5/2/022.**  

Guest Post by Kim Lock

Recently I had the pleasure of reading Kim’s new book The Other Side of Beautiful, it was outstanding. I am a fan of Kim’s writing and storytelling and when I finished this particular read I asked myself, and then asked Kim, how does she write each book so differently, each as standalones, each a unique story? When I read her response I had a big AHA moment. Thanks so much Kim for enlightening me.

Carol: How do you write each book so uniquely?
Kim Lock: Good question. Let me think.

When I get up in the morning, here’s what happens: I shuffle into the kitchen, squinting. I put the kettle on; I sit and drink a cup of tea and wait for my brain to catch up with the phenomenon of daylight and being vertical. Once that has happened, there’s another cup over a book, or perhaps my emails. This – the squinting, the tea, the brain catch-up – happens without fail every morning. Of an evening, there’s the couch and chips or chocolate and an hour or two of Netflix. These are the comforting rituals that bookend my day, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Between those morning and evening rituals? It varies. I’ve recently released a new novel, The Other Side of Beautiful, so lately there’s been publicity work to attend to. If I’m writing or editing, I’ll make that a priority for most of the day. Sometimes I’ll head into the garden, or drag myself to the shops for groceries or errands. Go for a run. Oh, and I have two home-educated preteens so there’s that.

This quiet unpredictability? I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Although I must be clear: while I don’t love schedules, I also don’t especially enjoy dramatic surprises. Sometimes shock feels too much like fear. While I relish the ebb and flow of an unscheduled day, I also like to know, at least loosely, what to expect. (Call me contrary, but what human isn’t?)

So, I write fiction, returning again and again to the subjects I’m fascinated by, but with the steering wheel in front of me. (Or so I tell myself, until the characters have other plans.)

I’ve found my books shelved under contemporary fiction, women’s fiction, Australian fiction, historical fiction, thriller and noir, romance, humour and adventure. I’m told I write ‘genre-straddling’, ‘commercial-literary hybrid’, writing that perhaps ‘isn’t easy to categorise.’

But like most writers, I just write to try and understand the human experience. I write to try and make some sense of this nonsensical world, to explore the what-ifs that fascinate, frighten or engage me.

The funny thing is, as much as my novels are all different, I also know I am always writing about the same thing: women’s experiences of reproduction and motherhood in patriarchy. Becoming a mother upended everything I thought I knew, and became the bedrock of my feminism – and the obsessions that fuel my writing. But because I’m driven by novelty, I’ve also written about the army, adoption, psychological abuse, domestic ménage a trois, 1960s Australia, politics, mental illness and health, loneliness, happiness. I’ve written about the quiet joy to be found in solitude, in company, in the present moment. I like to include humour into my work; if it makes me laugh, it keeps me going.

What I love most especially is a new idea. I get delighted by small, bright changes. (You should see me when the bulbs in my garden sprout!) I love learning something new or having my stale old beliefs knocked about or eliminated entirely. (I admit this is sometimes challenging – hello motherhood – but it always works out to be a good thing, even if I complain about it at the time.) And I love it – love it – when people act in a surprising way, or do something out of what I had perceived to be their character.

In The Other Side of Beautiful, Mercy Blain has been stuck in her house for two years. To Mercy, newness and novelty are anathema. In order for my character to find herself – to dig into those same questions with which I as the writer am obsessed – I had to shove her out into the world. So, in the opening scene, I set her house on fire. Then I asked myself, Alrightnow what’s she gonna do?

Now what? I suspect it’s a question I’ll keep asking.

Guest Review: The War of Art – Steven Pressfield

 

The War of Art:

Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

Steven Pressfield

Robert McKee (Foreword)

ISBN: 9780446691437

Description:
Internationally bestselling author of Last of the Amazons, Gates of Fire, and Tides of War, Steven Pressfield delivers a guide to inspire and support those who struggle to express their creativity. Pressfield believes that “resistance” is the greatest enemy, and he offers many unique and helpful ways to overcome it.

 

 

The War of Art – A review by Andy Macleod

I’m not only a reader, I’m a writer. I’m an advertising copywriter and that’s how I make my living.

But I’m also a creative writer, and that’s where I get stuck. As a copywriter I write radio commercials, brochures and web page content. These are usually short, bite sized pieces, easily digested. Novels are not, and I have about 5 unfinished, well, barely started ones to prove it.

That’s where The War of Art (2002), by Steven Pressfield comes in.

I read a lot of books about writing, it’s how I procrastinate, and, frustratingly, how I stop myself from writing. Yes, I read books designed to overcome procrastination as a devious way to procrastinate. But not anymore, because Mr Pressman has just given me a huge kick up the bottom.

The War of Art is broken into 3 parts, Resistance, Combating Resistance and Beyond Resistance, and Pressfield pulls no punches, and he punches hard.

As a pragmatist, this is just what I needed. I recognised myself in almost every point he made. His withering description of me hurt to my very core. But he was right. There’s an old saying, ‘If you can’t piss, get off the pot’, and that’s exactly what he’s saying.

If you’re having trouble writing you have two options, stop, or get professional about it, but whatever you do, don’t be an amateur.

The book is easy to read, speaks to rather than down to its readers, and has lots of real-life examples, some of which are outdated, like a reference to Lance Armstrong before his drug taking revelations.

If you’re a writer like me, and have tried everything to get your writing moving, The War of Art might be right up your alley. Its words might be a bitter pill to take, but sometimes that’s exactly what we need.

 

 

 

 

What’s Next for J.M.Green I asked?

J.M. ( Jenny )Green is the fabulous author of the Stella Hardy trilogy.  Good Money, Too Easy and the final in the series ( and my favourite of the set) Shoot Through.

 

I rated all 3 books 5 stars – I loved Stella Hardy – her self depreciating, sometimes black humour, her maturity, her socio – political awareness, her ability to see things in shades of grey…her complicated life…there is so much to love about this character, so it is understandable that when I finished reading Shoot Through, I wanted to know what next to expect from J.M. Green – so I asked her 🙂

 

After Stella Hardy – what happens now?

J.M. Green

“With the publication of SHOOT THROUGH, Stella Hardy has had her third and final outing. The ‘social worker-detective’ idea has generated some unusual story lines, and placed her in some dangerous, not to mention absurd, situations. Hardboiled crime as dark whimsy rather than gritty reality. It’s been a lot of fun. I’ve enjoyed testing the limits of credulity. And I confess in this series I have been knowingly but gently subversive to the crime genre, but please believe me when I say it has been reverential. I hope to be forgiven.

 

My next project is a shift away from crime. There’s a new novel in the works. It’s in the early stages and might not amount to anything so I won’t say much more.

 

As well as juggling that work, I’m studying screenwriting, which is a fantastic stretch for me creatively. Film and TV writing, as taught in the course, is highly structured.

 

Until now, novel writing for me has been an intuitive process. I know where the narrative is going, but I allow for surprises in the writing process – a kind of simultaneous write and plot method, seeing where the narrative drive goes. I sometimes need to backtrack but that’s okay, there’s such a lot of rewriting involved anyway. Also, with fiction the interior voices of characters makes the work is less reliant on conflict to drive the narrative.

 

In screenwriting plot character, theme are all worked out before a single creative word is written. These facets are gone over and over, so that when writing the actual script begins, all the creative energy goes into the language and the smaller details. Using a theme as a guide, every scene is conceived and drawn as integral in the overall story. Anything that doesn’t support the narrative is out. What remains is plotted in terms of conflict, obstacles and argument. If there’s conflict there’s no drama. It’s a sort of mantra.

 

This thorough and planned approach to storytelling has been a revelation and something I will use regardless of whether I continue writing fiction or try my hand at the screen.”

 

Thanks Jenny – looking forward to reading script or novel or both soon – no pressure here 🙂

 

 

Welcome Jennifer Spence

Today I welcome Jennifer Spence to my blog. Jennifer shares with us a brief history of her writing life; I love her  attitude – trying out different genres, listening to her heart!

I am currently reading Jennifer’s new release – The Lost Girls published by Simon & Schuster Australia. It is an absorbing read, within paragraphs you are catapulted into the middle of the action, the mysteries and  the many dilemmas. This is a unique read that discusses memory, family, aging, fate, love and time travel with an interesting overarching mystery that unifies the narrative.

the lost girls

Welcome Jennifer, I am very pleased to make your acquaintance and I look forward to reading your thriller too, one day.

 

Jennifer Spence:

I decided at the age of seven that I was going to be a writer. I could never get my hands on enough books to satisfy my craving to read, so I reasoned that I would need to make my own. Whenever I got hold of an empty exercise book I’d start a new novel: nearly always the story of a misfit girl who is sent to a boarding school, where she is bullied at first but proves herself in some spectacular way. Who knew that many years later J.K. Rowling would prove that this idea indeed had legs!

As I grew up I retained this wish to write, but the truth is that in my youth I didn’t have a lot to say. Without consciously planning it, I gave myself an extremely long apprenticeship. I studied English and Philosophy at university, became an English teacher for a while, worked in the theatre and wrote a few performance pieces, talked my way into writing television scripts for a year, and eventually wrote my first children’s book just to see if I could. Writing a whole book and getting to the end looked like such an arduous task, as indeed it is. I’ll never forget the euphoria of pulling off this modest little achievement.

After that I stumbled into a well-paid profession as a technical writer, which was also a valuable part of my training. Technical writing has to be sharp and to-the-point. Whatever you’re describing, you have to nail it. You can’t obfuscate, and this aligns with the kind of writing I respect and the principles I adhere to.

Finally, a few years ago, the stars were kind and I was able to take some time off work to write some more. I started with a second children’s book which I had already composed in my head – though it came out rather differently on paper – then a thriller that I had also thought a lot about. I was quite surprised when the publishers told me I was supposed to choose one genre and stick to it! But I did want to eventually write straight fiction, and I had several ideas queued up in my brain. I wrote sequels for the children’s book and the thriller, because the publishers asked for them, all the time trying to polish my writing style, and I confess I was about to move on to a dystopian novel.

But then ‘The Lost Girls’ pushed its way into the queue. Once the idea for this book popped into my head I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I had to drop everything and write it, and I found in the process that it was a good place for a lot of the ideas I had been wanting to express.

I’m now working on another piece of straight-ish fiction. It’s an idea that I first had in my twenties, not knowing where it was going to lead. Now I do know, and I’m thoroughly enjoying the writing of it.

 

jennifer spencePhoto courtesy of Jacalin King