Tuesday, May 27, 2008

the phoenix has landed

The phoenix has landed...Yippee..
Mars is the coolest planet for lots of reasons. (-50C)
One of the reasons I am so interested in it is that humans can survive on mars with the technology we have now.
Scientists wonder if mars had life that would make it statistically more likely that life exists in the galaxy. At the moment we know that life exists only on one planet-ours....so are we freaks of the galaxy or are we common as....
Potentially Mars may have had life and maybe Europa or Ganymeade (Jupiters moons)...there is a neat little band called the goldielocks band. (look children's books get a look in) When scientists search for life in other solar systems...too hot.. too cold... just right..earth, mars, and maybe just maybe the moons of jupiter fall into the just right band...
Phoenix has landed in the Martian arctic. It is drilling for liquid water.
H2O means fuel and oxygen which means if it finds some that means all those plans to send a manned mission to mars just got the go ahead!

This is the first pic from the martian artic.

Look no rocks!!!

Friday, May 23, 2008

awards awards smashing awards

What a glittering night it was on Wednesday.
The New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards was like the Oscar's...well that was the prevailing comment on the night. So many breaks... with tradition...It wasn't held at parliament...but at the Town Hall which had been transformed into some other worldly venue with a magic forest created at the entrance and a suspended marquee from the ceiling with a light show on it. Gone were the long lines of chairs auditorium style...In were tables of ten with food and drink laid out....
We were greeted with wait staff handing around trays of champers, unfortunately the forest floor leaves scattered over the marble tile floor was a disaster as waiter after waiter skidded on the leaves and full trays of wine and juice glasses smashed on the floor. Just quietly a few of us had a sweep stake going how many trays will hit the deck before the night was over...that and the usual sweep stake of who will win.

I picked three out of the six winners...that's my best score yet.
It was great to see honour awards handed out as well...so for those who haven't caught up.

Young Adult- Salt by Maurice Gee...but the children's choice in this category was Fleur Beale's The Transformation of Mina Hargreaves...So Well Done Fleur!!! Maurice is an award winning writer for adults and the few children's books he has done have been amazing...I think he is following Salt up with a sequel. Maurice and Fleur are both from Wellington such home grown talent.

Junior Fiction (surprise surprise...not) Snake and Lizard by Joy Cowley and Gavin Bishop. This was one of two commissioned books in the awards both of which won their respective categories, Snake and Lizard took out the book of the year as well. Gavin laid down the gauntlet to publishers with his comment that Julia Marshall of Gecko Press was one to watch and she certainly is... Well done Julia!!!! Wellington strikes again with Joy and Gecko press based here.

Non fiction another non surprise with Andrew Crowe having two books in the category. We do have great non fiction here and It would have been nice if someone else had been awarded the non fiction award to highlight the depth and quality of our nonfiction for kids...but you can't take anything away from Andrew he does do a superb job.

Picture book (surprise) Tahi -One Lucky Kiwi by Melanie Drewery Ali Teo and John O'Reilly.
this was another commissioned book and what a team- great work guys!

Children's choice was Ruth Paul's The Kings Bubbles, no contest, as this is a delightful book to read out loud. Raising a toast to Ruth! hic. Wellington again!!!!

The best first book was Out Of The Egg, by Tina Mathews, another super picture book. This was the power of not letting anyone stop you... artwork was woodcuts and the book was sent all over the world...lots of rejections until Tina's young son said send it here mum they publish books like your book ...Houghton Mifflin passed it to their down under arm and Walker found themselves with a winner.
So a good night was had by all...
and I didn't get to my predicted six trays of glasses to hit the deck...only four trays...
Our flyer's for the proposed children lit conference went down well...lots of chat about it so the industry thinks we need it...The time has come!...(well actually the time will be in September 2009)...and I'm on another committee.... goodness me I seem to collect them.


Thursday, May 15, 2008


I've been trying to figure out how I can have pages, or something like it, as I want to put up a page of interesting bones facts to go with my book. it is all confusing but I'm hanging in there. I have added links to some very interesting blogs and websites of childrens writers. Check them out....Some are amazing and I wonder how they find the time to write....
This week I have been looking at page proofs of Bones and making a few little changes. Everything is on track for the launch in August. Now I just have to plan the party.
Coming up is The New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards on Wednesday night. I have my embossed invitation made out to me (and only me) on the wall. I have my fingers crossed for
Joy and Fleur and Feana and Ruth...one in each catagory (which is why it's hard to type...)
then it is on to storylines...
The WCBA is beginning to plan a national conference for Children's Writers and Illustrators here in NZ and as I had the bright idea I get to be on another committee. (that's three writing related ones) I was talking to a friend about being busy...and the comment came back... it's what gives you energy...hmm it also could be why I get to the launch pad to go to mars and never touch down... I've only written two chapters...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

storylines madness

This morning I have been thinking about Storylines...for those who don't know, Storylines is a huge festival, FREE, celebrating children's books, authors, illustrators etc. It is a national festival. Wellington's day is 8th June.
I have been on the organising committee since the first festival in Wellington (five years ago.)Every year I think never again- it's mad but then the day rolls around and you see the kids and the energy and think OK, it's worth it.
This year I'm in charge of Factopia again...so mini planetariums are filling my mind....as well as the perennial problem of displaying stuff for Leon Davidson's series of war books.
This year the event is at the National School of Dance in Mount Cook, which is our biggest venue yet. So we might crack 3000 people. Of course we are nowhere near Auckland's 20 000.

Well I have added a couple of pictures. I thought about putting heaps of pictures up then thought better of it, I can put urls up to link you to some of the best pictures around. Of course JPL/Nasa are wonderful for pictures.

For sheer beauty tho, New Zealand's home grown John Drummond from Gisborne has the best space images. My absolute favourite one is his picture of Omega Centauri. Check out his Possum Observatory on the web.http://www.possumobservatory.co.nz/

I haven't been to Mars very much lately, school holidays etc, you get nothing done...
But I have been diving into a great book called Mars Postcards...photos from the rovers Spirit and Opportunity. The pictures of Mars are from JPL/NASA but they are similar to the ones I like from the book (the best ones are in the book.) I'll try to put a new Mars pic up every week.

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