• Who Am I?

    Yes, I love all the girly things - shoes, clothes, hair, parties, makeup... But I can sometimes be away with the fairies. Hence the blog title. If you want to know more, visit my website
  • What I talk about

  • Recent tweets…

    Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

  • the diva accessories in the header is (c) Seema_illustrator from Dreamstime
  • Advertisements

CYA turns 10!

CYA2015 weclome banner

I was very honoured to be invited to speak at CYA’s (Children & Young Adult) tenth anniversary conference in Brisbane  last weekend.


Me, during my 90 min preso, offering words of wisdom – or maybe asking directions to the loo…

CYA2015 Tin and birthday cake

Tina Clarke – convenor extraordinaire – and that cake! Happy 10th CYA 2015.

While there, I attended a great workshop with the ever vivacious Jacqui Honeywood ( www.b-brand.com.au) on blogging and social media, and someone in the audience mentioned that she’d checked someone’s blog recently and they hadn’t added anything for over a year and I suddenly had a massive guilt attack. I barely restrained myself from diving to the floor and begging forgiveness – even though it probably wasn’t even my blog she was talking about! Or maybe it was…

Whether it was or wasn’t – I’m back and bringing a new resolve with me. I’m not going to explain. It’s been a tough couple of years for me – as anyone who’s close to me knows. But I’m coping well now and trying to get myself back into gear.

And what better way to do that than with wishing CYA a very happy birthday!

It was brilliant! And there was cake!

CYA2015 Tina peter Ally

Tina with Peter Allert and Ally. Ally is Tina’s CYA offsider and Peter is the official photographer – and all the shots here are his work. Well done Pete! And thank you!

And there was also the inimitable Maurice Gleitzman!

CYA2015Maurice Gleitzman

There was also a whole babble of friends old and new – and some I knew from afar but got to meet first time face to face.  There was also my brilliant agent Jacinta di Mase (JDM Management www.jacintadimase.com.au  and we got to chat about direction and that was fun and reassuring.  There was my other agent mate, Alex Adsett and whole slurry of editors from just about every major publishing house.

There are tonne of other photos on the CYA site and hopefully we might see some notes up there (from the other workshops) as well. I spoke about ‘Ditching your Control Briefs’ – which was of course, about the structure of your story and holding up that sagging middle (without pain).

CYA2015 success wallAbove: CYA Success Wall:  if anything good happened to you as a result of CYA – publishing etc – then you get to go on their Success Wall. I met and signed with my lovely Lit Agent there a few years back – so I’m on the wall. And those of us in attendance each received a very groovy gold pin as well this year! And got a photey!

I have to say that CYA is one of my fave events each year and I aways make sure I don’t book myself out for anything else for that first weekend in July. If you haven’t made that trip yet, and you write for kids or YAs or you’d like to start – or if you’d just like to rub shoulders with some of the best kids and YA authors in the country – then give yourself a gift and head on up to Brissie next July!  (the 2nd to be exact!) I’ll certainly see you there! www.cyaconference.com

Right now, I’m knee deep in edits  for my next novel, due out in January 2016, but in the coming weeks, I hope to share some of the lovely events I’ve been fortunate to attend so far this year.

Until then happy Birthday CYA and hey, it’s good to be back! xxx


Singleton Library Rocks!

St Val's image 2Valentine’s Day is a time to remember why we fell in love, to relive those delish moments and generally get all gooey.

Yes, yes, I know it’s also a time for some to reload the shotgun and or smack themselves up the side of the head for some past (or present) hormone induced stupidity… But for the moment we’re going to let those people sit in the corner and mutter obscenities while they wait till all the red hearts and streamers have left the shop buildings and people like me stop talking about (I’ve dropped my voice to a whisper) “St, Val’s Day.

This year, on St Val’s Eve, my husband took me to the country. It was a beautiful balmy evening, and after some reasonably frenzied and heated activity and nice wine, we shared an al fresco meal before heading home.  Romantic?St Val's image 1

Yeah, well that’s the romance writer’s version. The truth is in there, but perhaps not quite as it was portrayed.

TRUTH ONE: My husband DID drive me to the country, with author mate Michelle Douglas hitching a ride in the back seat.  We travelled an hour and a half north west(ish) to beautiful uptown Singleton so we could meet up with another  author mate, S.E Gilchrist to speak to Singleton Library patrons about all things romance.

S.E Gilchrist, Kaz, Michelle Douglas - and our driver my wonderful hub in the background!

S.E Gilchrist, Kaz, Michelle Douglas – and our driver, my wonderful hub, in the background!

TRUTH TWO:It was indeed a balmy evening. Gorgeous in fact. And two local vineyards, Catherine Vale and Hope Estate, supplied wine for the library event. So, yes, there was wine and it was yummy! 

TRUTH THREE:  Hot and frenzied activity did sort of happen. It was warmish  in the library  – or was that the wine(?) – and the discussion was quite lively! 😉 

TRUTH FOUR: Al fresco dining? Does Macca’s  on the run count? 😉  It was too late to find anything else and would be even later by the time we got back home, so we shared a quick meal before heading back down the highway.

TRUTH FIVE and the only one that counts: We had a wonderful evening. Rob Stewart and the staff at the library were so welcoming, and the patrons and guests were just a delight.  It was a truly special evening – fit for St Valentine’s eve. We made some new friends, caught with some old ones (writers from the Hunter Romance Writers ), sipped wine and talked books for ages and ages. We all write different types of books  which made it even more fun. 

S.E., Kaz and Michelle with some of the Hunter Romance Writers. Thank you Sandie James I(back right) for the photo.

S.E., Kaz and Michelle with some of the Hunter Romance Writers. Thank you Sandie James I(back right) for the photo.

  Thank you Singleton! Hope to see you again soon!  And a very happy (belated) St Valentine’s Day – and remember you don’t need a special day to show someone you care about them and that you appreciate them being in your life. 

Till later! Kaz

shutterstock lips

Let’s play Author Tag!

dalenoflowerBig bone-crushing Kaz hugs to Dale Harcombe for inviting me to be part of this Author Chain. It was as much fun being tagged as it was tagging other – what a cool game! (And I didn’t even break a sweat! Now, that’s my kind of game…)
 Dale is such an interesting person – not only an author of books, she’s authored and created all kinds of fascinating works including articles, puppet plays (mega cool!), skits, finger plays, songs for little people and a radio play which was broadcast in 2005!  And she’s an owl-aholic! She adores and collects owls – well, images and recreations of them anyway.
Her latest book  Streets on a Map is a poignantly beautiful book that will keep you turning the pages right to the very last one.StreetsOnAMapCOVER
As Dee White said: ‘The action just keeps coming in Streets On A  Map, and keeps the reader turning the pages wondering what’s going to happen next to the characters they have come to know’.
Dale is also the queen of titles. I’ve always loved the title Streets On A Map, and her work in progress has another wonderfully evocative title: Sandstone Madonna. Good or what?
Thank you for tagging me Dale! And good luck with your WIP!

So, now to play the game. Every author tagged has to answer these same four questions – so here I go…

Q1: What am I working on?

Okay, don’t judge me but I have two works on the go. I’m not revealing titles as I never do that publicly until I know they’re in the bag. I work hard to find interesting titles, they don’t come naturally to me, so I like to keep them close until I’m sure. However, one is a fun – but tricky   – work for boys 7-10.My issues with this are huge.I have a character I love – who’s a bit extraordinary but not extremely so, therefore do I make him more extraordinary in the real world, or make his world so wild that he Almost Deadappears to be the sane centre? Decisions, decisions. This story is a diversion that’s eating at me as I write the next YA which is a follow on to Almost Dead. 

Q2: How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I began answering this in so many different ways. Do I act all coy and pretend that I don’t think my work is different? Or do I let my ego reign? Okay, ego wins: Maybe if I had to seriously pinpoint a difference it might be humour?  Mixing humour and horror/mystery? I do also have habit of creating characters that are, initially, hard to love. Almost Dead and Princesses Don’t Sweat are two  that fall into that category. As an author it’s a huge risk – what if the reader gives up too soon? But if they stay with it, the payoff is worth it. At least that’s what I think…  Macey  the protagonist and star of Almost Dead was such a tough character to write. To make her likeable – even loveable – and not lose her in the process was one of my toughest writing journeys. But I think we pulled it off and for me, that’s the payoff.

Q3: Why do I write what I write?

You know, I doubt that many serious authors would differ in their answers to this question. Not much anyway. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again here – I believe authors are born, not made. I don’t think we have a choice. It’s a fire that burns hard inside us and doesn’t ever let up.  After that, it’s finding where you fit. I started my career writing for adults and I suspect I may end up there again because a part of me still wants to write for grown ups as well, but when I first discovered YA fiction it felt like I’d come home.  I haven’t lost that wonder yet. Writing for kids is similar.  If I had to take a wild guess, I’d say the success I’ve had in these genres is largely due to the fact that I haven’t grown up yet. It helps… 😉

Q4: How does my writing process work?

Um seriously,  I think it changes with every book.  Sometimes a character will come to me who is so compelling, so much fun, that it’s simply a matter of finding his or her story. Sometimes it’s even easier than that. Like a story for young readers I wrote recently called Penelope Plotter. As soon as her name drifted into my head her story appeared.  It pretty well wrote itself.

The idea for this last series of YA books, those I affectionately refer to as my Dead Books: Dead, Actually and Almost Dead ( and no, I don’t have a fascination with death. Much), came from three words emblazoned diagonally across a teen mag: It’s a Bitchfest.  Those words resonated; grabbed me.  But I wanted more than just the usual Mean Girl scenario. I like ‘story’ and plenty of it – and I liked the idea of the dead

It's Live!

communicating with the living. And I LOOOOOVE a good mystery – a good ‘whodunnit’.   And what teen story would be worth its salt if it didn’t have a few romantic sparks tossed in to keep the poor heroine off balance just when she needs a cool head more than ever?

I guess that kind of sums up both Dead ActuallyAllen & Unwin March 2012,  and Almost Dead, Allen & Unwin, Jan 2014.

Would you agree? Am I brave enough to cope with the answers? of course I am (she says grabbing the family-sized bag of Smarties and chewing furiously, manically even… Her eyes twitch, her lip quivers.) “Of course I’m brave enough,” she repeats to anyone who’ll listen. “I think…”

Almost Dead is available at all good bookstores – if they don’t have it maybe they’re not so good <g> so ask them to order it.

Or online at Booktopia

It’s also available as an e-book. Check out  http://www.allenandunwin.com/default.aspx?page=94&book=9781743313268. for all the deets! 

 On that note I’m handing over to three amazing, wonderful authors and friends whose work I so admire – and ruthlessly tagged.    Two belong in the crazy bin with me, and the other is here to give us much needed class. And that’s all I’m saying. Mwahaha. (Now they’re all preening, each imagining she is the classy one. Snigger...) 

Cue the drumroll: Here they are in alphabetical order because I’m like that and  because I don’t want any of them to cry themselves to sleep because they think I love one more than the other:

Amanda Ashby. 

Amanda Ashby writes young adult and middle grade books for Puffin inAmanda Ashby photo 2 the US. She was born in Australia and after spending the last sixteen years dividing her time between England and New Zealand, she’s finally moved back and now lives on the Sunshine Coast. When she’s not moving country, she likes to write books (okay, she also likes to eat chocolate, watch television and sit around doing not much, but let’s just keep that amongst ourselves, shall we?)



Demonosity cover

Ebony McKenna

Ebony McKenna writes about ferrets that talk in a countrybrugelswimsuit stuck in a ‘post-soviet, but pre functioning internet’  time warp.
Her Ondine series began in 2010 with The Summer of Shambles, and was followed up with the sequel, The Autumn Palace. It is now joined by the trequel, The Winter of Magic, which is available where all good ebooks are sold.
She loves trivia nights, train sets and the Eurovision Song Contest.
When not writing, she can be found on the following social media outlets:
Ondine # 3 The Winter of Magic
Sally Murphy
Sally Murphy has written over 30 books and still IMG_2277has time to study, teach and run a review site, Aussie Reviews!  Oh and look after her six children… Her wonderful picture book (That’s me, Kaz saying that!)  –Do Not Forget Australia – was evocative  and heart-warming despite dealing with the tragedy of war. A definite keeper for every bookshelf.
These three gals will be answering the same four q’s next Monday, 17th Feb, so don’t forget to look out for them and what they have to say! This is indeed a feast of authors!
Till next time!
shutterstock lips

Wow – I’m being Immortalised in Clay!

Okay – maybe not me per se – but just as good.  My book! ‘Almost Dead’ will be immortalised in clay.  Well, an artist’s perception of the book will be immortalised in clay.  And that’s even more exciting. Almost Dead

Can you believe this? I’m so excited I want to jump and shout! Oh. That’s normal, right? Okay then, I want to jump and shout while swinging flaming batons! (And anyone who knows how clumsy I am will know that this is BIG because normally no one would ever put (myself included) me and anything flaming and swinging in the same room. So that will tell you how crazy excited I am: I’m even throwing caution to the wind! And probably my hair…)

So, what’s the deal?  Okay so, this clay/ceramic sculpture will be part of an exhibition called SUBTEXT. Here’s the media release.

” SUBTEX is a group exhibition celebrating the links between literature and the visual arts. It is a representation of concepts expressed in literature transposed into visual images through the fine arts. This is not a new idea. Historically we can trace the links between the two forms of expression, the language of the written word and visual representation. Perhaps the most prevalent has been images inspired by the Bible. The Divine Comedy has also inspired many including the famous works by Blake. Looking for new subjects the Pre-Raphaelites drew on Shakespeare, Keats and Tennyson while in contemporary times the appropriation of literature by postmodern artists often create a multi layered interpretation.

Newcastle has a rich cultural community. In this exhibition a group of thirteen professional artists from the area has taken the writings of a group of Newcastle authors to create a visual narrative in their respective art form.

Artists include Brett Alexander; Brian Cox; Jan Downes; Caroline Hale; Varelle Hardy; Ann-Maree Hunter; Barry Maitland; Margaret McBride; Giselle Penn; Sharon Taylor; Sharon Tompkins; Sylvia Ray and Sue Stewart.

The amazing Sue Stewart contacted me and announced she’d chosen my book, Almost Dead, for her work in the exhibition! I love Sue’s work. I’ve followed her for years and have several of her early pieces in my home.  I can’t wait to see what she comes up with. I know it involves a handbag and in fact she’s chosen one of my own – a hot pink leather Guess that I adore, as her inspiration. 

But the rest will rest in her very talented hands. This is truly such an honour and I simply can’t wait until March 27th and the exhibition opening.

Down a bit further is a peek  at some of her later works. Can you see why I’m excited?

Rosemarie MilsomThis exhibition will be running during the fantabulous  Newcastle Writer’s Festival (Apr 4-6) , now in its second year,  which will kick off with an official opening the next night by NWF Director, Rosemarie Milsom  (pictured left) on Friday 28th. What an amazing week for Newcastle! 

Now let’s take a peek at some of these Sue Stewart masterpieces. 

Sue Stewart 1 


Sue Stewart 4

Sue Stewart 3

Me & Her: A Memoir of Madness

We’re having a complete change of pace today, and I’m totally stoked to play host to my friend Karen Tyrrell whose amazing book ‘Me & Her: A Memoir of Madness’ hit the streets this month.

I met Karen through the children’s writing community and I was immediately struck by her enthusiasm, dedication and how supportive she was of  fellow writers. Little did I know that underneath that warm, bubbly exterior lay a dark story that had sent her to the edge – and it was only through sheer determination that she managed to claw her way back to sanity.

Me & Her: A Memoir of Madness recounts that dark story. It is Karen’s  brave account of how, as a primary school teacher, she reached breaking point after parents at her school repeatedly harassed her. ME & HER reveals Karen’s gradual decline and disintegration, how her illness manifested and how she recovered. Karen shares what inspires and motivates her to write.

I came across this story when  I happened to read the opening chapter on her blog, and was so taken by it that I sent her a message. That message  now graces the cover of Me & Her and I was, and am, very humbled.

Let’s find out some more of Karen’s story…

1.      When did you start writing ME & HER: a Memoir of Madness?

 In 2005, I started writing ME & HER when I was psychotic and manic, scribbling what was happening to me in notebooks and dairies. I interviewed doctors, nurses and patients. In 2006, after I was released from hospital, I joined a writing group and enlisted in several writing courses to learn the craft of writing.

 2.      Why did you want to write such a personal story?

I always knew I had a unique story.  I was determined to discover why I became so ill and how I was to recover. Once I developed a wellness plan that worked, I wanted to share with everyone.

3. Your story strongly echoes Agatha Christie’s story.  Both manic due to unbearable stress, you ran away, registered in hotels under assumed names, and were listed  as missing for several days.  Does that seem as uncanny to you as it does to me?

Agatha recovered and went on to produce the best works of her career after that event. I would hope that I am on the same road.  Fingers crossed!

4.      Did you write anything before penning this memoir?

No. I was a full-time teacher, creating teaching plans and programs. Since my illness, I continually write what I feel passionate about… Mental health stories, children’s sci-fi, adult crime stories and articles for magazines.

5.      How has writing your memoir helped you recover?

I literally wrote my way to recovery. Each time I expressed my angst and emotions on the page, I grew emotionally more stable, able to resolve my issues.

To find out more about Karen Tyrrell and where to purchase ME & HER: A Memoir of Madness, please check out her website:  http://www.karentyrrell.com


Late breaking news: 


ME & HER eBook  (kindle) & Print Book

BOTH now available on 


WIN a FREE eBook!!

But wait – there’s more! To help Karen celebrate, she’s offering TWO electronic copies of ‘Me & Her: A Memoir of Madness’ – and I’m offering a free hard copy! 

All you have to do to win, is leave a comment and you could be one of the lucky winners!

If you want more of Karen’s story and insights – you might want to check out other stop-off points along her blog tour.


Blog Tour 14th – 20th May

14th May Kaz Delaney- Writing Inspiration https://kazdelaney.wordpress.com/

Prachi S.Vaish – Psychologist – Interview www.hopenetwork.in

15th May Tuesday Writing Tips- Writing Memoirs http://deescribewriting.wordpress.com/

Dr Happy – Happiness after the Gloom http://www.thehappinessinstitute.com/blog/

16th May Sally Odgers – Writing & Editing Process http://spinningpearls.blogspot.com.au/

17th May Gabrielle Sheppard, UK – Bipolar Recovery www.bi-polargirl.com/blog

18th May Natasha Tracy, Canada – Writing for Recovery http://natashatracy.com/

19th May Jill Smith- Book Review & Interview http://authorjillsmith.wordpress.com

Kids Book Review- Mental Health Books 4 Kids http://www.kids-bookreview.com/

20th May Ang Hall – ME & HER Book Review- http://bluedingonet.wordpress.com/

More Winners. Free Stuff!

Prize Time!

Today there is no chat, no diddling, dawdling or dallying. I’m just giving it to you straight.

Last night I got to finally cut up names and stick them into the trusty, orange bowl and get someone to draw names of winners of prizes for 3 of the 4 outstanding prizes!

On Thursday we had on offer the Gold Bouillon prize and I’m happy to announce that winner is the very sparkly:

Ms Paula Roe!

Couldn’t imagine a happier coupling!

The next prize was for Friday contributors and is was the gorgeous So Eternal perfume pack. And I’m equally excited to announce the winner is the gorgeous

Ms Beck!

Which brings us up to Monday and the mug/choccies prize. And I’m still jiggling with joy as I announce that winner …

Ms Chris Bell!

Congratulations everybody! In a day or so I’ll be announcing the winner of the Book Give-away!

Please make sure you contact me with your deets as soon as possible and I’ll get these prizes away.

And thank you so very much for helping me party all week!  Thanks you too to all those who contributed to my impressive stats, but who could stay to chat. I’m very appreciative of your time.

Amazing Shoes and “Dead, Actually” Book Give-away. It doesn’t get better. (Unless there’s ice cream???)

So, it’s no secret I love shoes. The sparklier, the less practical, the more they draw me. So, while I can’t say that it was a conscious decision to have a stiletto shoe as a continuing motif through Dead, Actually’ – I feel quite strongly that it was probably prompted by that subconscious fascination with (often) totally inappropriate footwear. Though, maybe not quite as inappropriate as those on the left… 

So, in honour of that shoe motif and in honour of shoe freaks, like me, everywhere, today I’m going to share some of the craziest shoes I’ve ever seen. I first saw some of these on my friend Maree Anderson blog ages and ages ago, so I have to pay homage to her for prompting me to go searching for more. Big Mexican Waves, Maree! Tsunami sized!

Today also marks the final day of Release Week for me. We’ve got heaps coming up – like blog tours and more fabbo comps, and I’ll be giving you the skinny on those as there are some delish prizes to be won. Sterling silver/Swarovski crystal bracelets (Yes!!)  Books (Thank you A&U), BE make-up sets. Handbags – yes(!) gorgeous Juicy Couture handbags. If you’ve read the book you get the reference.

All things girly and fitting for the upmarket stars of Dead, Actually – Willow, JoJo, Macey et al. But for just a little while,  we end the daily prize grab. That said, there are always monthly prizes on this blog – so it’s kinda always party time.

Today’s give-away is a copy of Dead, Actually courtesy of Allen & Unwin PLUS a gorgeous sparkly stiletto that you can use as a bag tag, a Chrissie dec or just something to hang and drool over. I ah-dor it!!

BTW – the mugs arrived! So, I’ll be checking on that winner in a mo


We’re also doing something a bit different today – and I’m blatantly stealing this idea from my friend Peter Taylor! He totally conned me into signing up as a follower of his blog today – and I loved it!

Okay – so you don’t have to allow yourself to be conned or tricked or be persuaded by any of those or other semi-illegal methods – but if you DO decided to play along, I promise you’ll be mentioned in my will. Promise…Pinky swear…

Here’s the skinny: To be in the draw, you only ever need to come and say hi. Or you could tell me which pair of shoes here is the weirdest. That will get you into the draw. How could you get TWO chances in the draw? Sign up for my blog! And that’s whether you comment or not!

“Peter Taylor you’re either a genius or a Kamikaze Pilot!”

Why? ‘Cos you’ll all either join the fun in the spirit it’s intended; ignore me and drop in occasionally anyway – or you’ll go running off and never speak to me again. Eek! Sob!  Please don’t let it be the latter. I don’t handle rejection…

Okay, so I’ll stop blathering and deliver my promise of more crazy shoes. Enjoy! (Note: I tried to get designer names for these shoes but failed for most.  The cage shoes are by Polly Verity. The hoof-feet *could* be by Iris Schieferstein because I found some that were very similar. Many designs are by Kobi Levi (also at) who designed those double boots for Lady Gaga.

Get it? It's a shoe stuck in gum. The pink heel is the stretched gum.

Horse's hooves? Homage to cloven-animalia?

Lunch on the run?Sorry, couldn't resist...

Have to admit - these are totally weird but totally gorgeous...