August and September have been very busy but very enjoyable months for me. They were packed with school visits, as well as a festival and a conference which took me from Brisbane to Melbourne to Ipswich to Hobart.
Here are some of the things that happened.
- I had a birthday! (Never too late to send presents!) Strangely enough, the same thing happened to me on the exact day last year. Of course I immediately requested a recount because obviously some gross error had occurred in the tallying up of the years.
- This was the mixer my wife had to use to bake a birthday cake big enough to support all my candles!
- On the plus birthday side, news of my rapidly approaching use by date, did make a newspaper in Frankfurt Germany. I really liked the fact that they used a photo of me from 2003. (For those of you who don’t read German the article mainly goes on about how young I look and what a tragic loss it was to the fashion industry that I gave up my stellar modeling career to become a writer.)
- Speaking of all things German, the recent German radio plays of the Ishmael series were released on CDs by the wonderful HÖRCOMPANY.
- I had lots of school visits in and around my hometown of Brisbane, including one to St Williams Primary School where grade 5R put together this great display for Eric Vale Off the Rails.
- While taking out the garbage one night I spotted a pair of rare mutant radio-active zombie possums watching me from the telephone line. True story.
- I had a terrific two weeks of school visits down in Melbourne including a couple of days in Sale as Writer in Residence at Gippsland Grammar – see below.
- While in Melbourne we had a lovely weekend away at Wye River where we took in the beautiful scenery …
- … and met the very friendly local wildlife, which as well as the feathery guys below, included spotting 4 koalas.
- My daughter Meg even managed to photo-bomb my bird selfie!
- Back in Brisbane there were more school visits followed by a week up at the wonderful Story Arts Festival in Ipswich where I spoke to more than 1500 primary kids over 4 days and got to do three session with my awesome son Joe Bauer – illustrator of the Eric Vale and Secret Agent Derek ‘Danger Dale series.
- While at the Festival Joe and I got to catch up with a fantastic bunch of authors & illustrators including …
- For my last trip away I went to Hobart to join the Scholastic Australia team for a couple of days to promote books and reading at the Australia Primary Principals Association (APPA) Conference . We gave away 500 free copies of Just a Dog and Eric Vale Epic Fail!
- While in Tassie I caught up with very talented author/illustrator Christina Booth in Salamanca Place where she spoke passionately at a Refugee support rally.
- Before returning home my wife and I did many fun touristy things but I was really disappointed that I didn’t manage to spot a Tassie Tiger.
- Thanks to Paul Collins I received my copy of Rich and Rare, a fabulous collection of stories, poems and artwork by a host of Australia’s best children and YA writers – plus me. Highly recommended!
- Eric Vale made it to Poland under an assumed name!
- And finally, this video came for me from the wonderful folk at Carl Hanser in Germany and it shows why I am so lucky and blessed to have them as my publisher there.