Category Archives: Misc.

Queen Victoria’s knickers!

Lucy McGinley

Picture this … The Queen of Children’s picture books holding the Queen of England’s bloomers! Not just holding them but crediting them for the changes in society that allow us to lead the independent and adventurous lives that we live today.

Imagine the joy for a Victoria woman with knickers, when she pedalled off on a bicycle for the first time!

You can see that same joy in a small child when they master their bicycle. The new found freedom is priceless.

The fears and frustrations of the day are blasted away by the wind playing with your pigtails and brushing the toast crumbs off your chin. The blood stirred by those furiously pumping legs pushes away the cobwebs and kick starts your creativity.

Jackie French said, “The stories we tell to children or the stories we make possible for children to tell, are our most powerful weapon against fear.”

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Meet The Chaos Quad Kitties, herein known as, “The ChaoS’Quad Kitties” © Sam Sochacka 2015

Shhhhhhhhhh, they’re asleep!

This is the only hope I have of introducing you to the Chaos Quad Kitties, herein known as the “ChaoS’quad Kitties” © Sam Sochacka2015.

Let me give you an idea, this is me attempting to get the washing out of the machine:

See what I mean?!

So, their name.  I initially thought that they were the Chaos Quad Kitties.  However, after spending 48 hours with them, I realised that they are way more stealthy, and organised than that.  Hence, the  “ChaoS’quad Kitties”.  So yes, they are the Chaos Quad (there are four of them), but they are so good at creating chaos, that they deserve to be named as a ‘Squad’.  So, blend those ideas together, and you have  “ChaoS’quad Kitties”.

I was feeling fairly uninspired recently, so I thought the best way to ‘cure’ myself, was to foster some kitties.  These four, 12 week old, kittens have changed my life.  A whole world of creative endeavours has opened up, and it’s only been 48 hours……

I mean, look!  How can you not be inspired by this lot:

Anyway, I must away.  Time to clean up the kitty litter, and enjoy my last few minutes of quiet before the “ChaoS’quad Kitties” wake up.  AND it’s a full moon.  Oh no!

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(from left to right: Molly, Eddie, Max, and Sparky)

Surviving the cold weather in QLD: Winter 101

blog title picture

          Queenslanders everywhere, and a good deal of New South Walers also, seem to be complaining  bitterly (weather pun intended) about the Antarctic Vortex that is currently wreaking a bit of havoc on the East Coast of Australia.  I really feel for my fellow Aussies who seem to have no idea of, 1: how to deal with/dress for the cold, and 2: it really isn’t that cold.

I love the cold!  And I’ve had years of experience in Europe, South Korea, the colder climes in Australia, and a love/tolerance of the cold is in my genes.

So I thought I’d put together a bit of a guide on: how to survive the cold weather in QLD, and Australia: Winter 101.

Below are three examples of me in the cold.  Picture one is me skiing in a t shirt at Perisher, circa 1989.  It was about the first week of Spring, quite warm skiing weather.  Getting active is a sure way to beat the shivers!  Picture two also shows the value of, albeit ridiculous, physical activity in keeping warm.  Picture three is an example of where I got it wrong.  We may be smiling in this picture, however we were grossly under-prepared, I’m surprised that the photo is even in focus as we were shivering so intensely.  So, I have to admit, I do know what it is to be unprepared, so read on for a fool proof quide to:  how to survive the cold weather in QLD, and Australia: Winter 101.


What to wear: Winter 101


This is me early this morning.  The ‘official’ temperature was 11 degrees, however the ‘apparent’ (which takes factors such as the wind-chill into consideration) temperature was 6.8 degrees.  I was toasty warm!  I ended up taking off my 3/4 length, lined, wool, Jedi-Knight style (you should see the hood on this thing), jacket, (a purchase from an Op Shop in Danmark, 1996).


Once you have this concept down pat, you’ll be able to survive in very cold weather, (the coldest I’ve experienced was -27 degrees, and I’m here to tell the tale).  Start with a couple of tight, close to the skin, preferably wool and/or cotton layers.  ‘Close to the skin’ is key.  This morning I had a cotton short-sleeved t shirt, a cotton long-sleeved t shirt, and a polar fleece jumper.  All nice and cosy, and close to the skin.

Keep these bits warm!

from the top to bottom, these are the key bits to keep warm: 



waist area (hipster jeans do not fit the bill, think more ‘granny undies’ style waist bands),


(and hands if it is really cold).

Try using these essential items!



layers – singlets, t shirts, long sleeve t shirts, not-too-bulky jumpers, (it’s all in the tight fit, and number of layers)

If all else fails…..!

Doonas, blankets, sunlight, heaters, keep out of the wind, or move closer to the equator.

And remember to check on your neighbours, friends, and family, to ensure that they are warm enough too.

A few memes to warm you with laughter….

I’m a huge fan of memes!  The one of the far left is my favourite.  The one in the centre has given me a great idea for a picture book.  And the one on the right, well, it’s all about preparing QLD’ers for the cold 😉

I’ll leave you to ponder the wisdom in these as I’m about to layer up and go for a walk.  Current temp: 15.2 degrees, apparent temp: 11.6.  Not cold enough if you ask me!



Lecture in Children’s Literature

Lecture in Children’s Literature.

Another Reminder of How Awesome Romancing the Stars can be – book your tickets now to avoid missing out!

Another Reminder of How Awesome Romancing the Stars can be – book your tickets now to avoid missing out!.

Romancing the Stars 2015 – the Stars and booking details

Book Links (Qld) Inc


Here is the news you have all been waiting for: the Stars of Romancing the Stars 2015, and the booking details too.

Keep an eye on the Romancing the Stars Website for information about the Stars, and more!


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Best Practice in Working with Volunteers

Absolutely brilliant thoughts on Best Practice in working with volunteers!


Library magic Library – one of the places I loved volunteering for – storytime at the local library

After my heart to heart blog yesterday about volunteering challenges, I want to go to the flipside and mention the 10 best practices which kept me volunteering for a long time and which would lead me to do it again (perhaps more when I retire though as I really have done so much of it and need to earn some money.  Hmm actually I still do a bit, it’s that big heart and needing to connect to people in a new place.)

1. Personality and virtues of the often paid supervisor: Some of the best volunteer experiences I have had, were due to the compassion and respect of the supervisors I worked alongside combined with the amazing event or community service that was provided.

2. Matching volunteer to talent: They checked out what my…

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For Teachers – a new page on my website

We all know that teachers are too busy, and need all the help that they can get.

So, I’ve decided to put together a resources page to help out these wonderful people.  Are you a teacher?  Please get in contact and let me know what you want.  Do you know any of these marvellous people?  Please pass this on to them.

For Teachers.

Kids’ Page!

A new page is under construction for the most important people in the world of children’s literature – the KIDS!

Kids’ Page!.

7 Ways To Make Yourself An Easy Author to Work With

Carly Watters, Literary Agent

guardianpostAfter query letter tips, the second most popular question I get asked is: “How do I make myself agreeable in an agent’s eyes?”

It’s a great question. This is a personal business that’s all about great working relationships.

Firstly, you have to write a great manuscript, but secondly, how does an agent decide to work with someone after that?

7 Ways To Make Yourself An Easy Author to Work With:

1. Open to revisions

Right away, I know if an author is going to be a fit for me based on how they react to revision ideas. Agents are looking for writers that are open to feedback and collaboration. If I gave you an R&R did you connect with my notes? Did you ask questions that take my notes from suggestions to big picture changes that make the novel better?

2. Always wants to get better

A line I like to…

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