Well somehow we’ve arrived at April so here are some things that have happened in the two months since I returned from my three weeks in China in January. (see blog 87 and blog 88 for details re China)
I’ve had a number of very enjoyable school visits around Brisbane and S/E Queensland. I visited Varsity College at Robina, Brisbane State High, Mt Gravatt SHS, Ambrose-Treacy College, Marist Brothers Ashgrove (my old school!) and Durack State School (where I got to hand out lots of books to the Preps and Grade Ones as part of the Books in Homes Program). A big thanks to all the students and teachers who made me feel so welcome.
At Mt Gravatt SHS I got to sign my first whale and I also encountered a few peg-people. (Readers of the Ishmael series will understand why.)
Towards the end of February I was one of the lucky authors and illustrators who attended the Romancing the Stars event at Immanuel Lutheran College on the Sunshine Coast. Always a fun night.
Unfortunately during the author speed dating, I kept dozing off listening to myself talk.
The highlight of the night for me was being presented with an original drawing (based on Hasel and Rose) from my favourite illustrator, the amazing Caroline Margerl.
Early in March I attended the Kids Lit Quiz with Samantha Wheeler (Mister Cassowary) up at Ipswich Girls Grammar. This is an amazing annual international book competition which you can read more about HERE. Sam and I formed a two person Author team competing against the kids and in the end we came a very creditable ‘somewhere that wasn’t last’.
Also in March I was one of a bunch of authors and illustrators who traveled to the TULLY region of Queensland to present at schools there. The trip was arranged by Elaine Ouston of Morris Publishing Australia. My fellow travelers also included Ron Day, Samantha Wheeler, Aleesah Darlison, Paul Collins, Meredith Costain, Josie Montano, Sheryl Gwyther, Kevin Burgemeister, Gabrielle Wang, Marjory Gardner.
It was a fun (and hot!) trip. As well as meeting and talking to lots of lovely and enthusiastic kids and teachers, we had plenty of laughs and saw some beautiful scenery along the way …
… and got stay a couple of nights at Mission Beach. It’s a hard life sometimes.
March concluded with a trip down south for a day at the Newcastle Writers Festival . I presented three sessions to school groups in the beautiful old City Hall building.
Apart from the sessions and meeting the wonderful organisers, volunteers and presenters at the Festival, another highlight of my trip was going to see Batman V Superman with illustrator Tony Flowers (Samurai Vs Ninja) and being given this awesome memento of the night …
Perhaps the only low light of the Festival was my unfortunate encounter with one of these giant statues in the foyer of the Newcastle library.
Somehow I managed to head butt one of their hands in a rush to get to my next session. Not too surprisingly, in the battle of SOLID METAL HAND versus SOFT HEAD, the hand won.
Here I am with the lovely Karen Hughes just moments before she led me into the HAND OF DEATH. I’m sure I can see an evil glint in her eyes!
And here’s the result.
For a moment after the collision, all I could see were THESE …
Luckily with the aid of tissues and an ice pack I managed not to bleed too much on the audience. Of course it goes without saying that it probably would have killed a lesser man!
In the photo below with Katrina McKelvey and Tony Flowers you can clearly see the cut and lump on my head and the fact that I’m obviously still suffering from the after effects of concussion. (Thanks to Katrina for the great selfie)
Well, that’s about all for the more exciting things that I’ve been up to. Apart from that I’ve been going for my regular walks. Still not losing any weight, but strangely enough I think my legs might be getting longer.
In May, I’m looking forward to the release and launch of my next book. I’ll be saying more about all that in the next blog.
But for now, CHEERS …