Sunday, 17 December 2017

Olly and the Long Way Home

Olly and the Long Way Home (1999) Post 351


Olly and the Long Way Home  is another Olympic Mascot story. In this episode, Olly is off on another long flight, spreading the Olympic message. He promises Millie to take care, but he's so pleased with himself that he flies extra fast. His confidence grows as he sets off home, startling a seagull, an albatross and a parrot. He feels so sorry for birds who aren't mascots, and flies some fancy swoops and rolls. One dive between two trees brings him up smartly, right into a net.

Well, his Olympic magic will help... but no. It doesn't work because he used it to show off. Olly struggles to no avail, and eventually yells for help. The gull, albatross and parrot come to his aid, using their particular talents to free him, feed him and carry a message to his friends. Lesson learned, Olly gets home, knowing he might be special, but so are other birds.

ABOUT THE BLOG


Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. 

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Syd and the Lucky Stone

Syd and the Lucky Stone (1999) Post 350


Syd and the Lucky Stone  is a third story about Syd, the Olympic Mascot from the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. In this story, Syd meets an athlete named Curly who is upset because he's lost his lucky blue stone.

He thinks he lost it in Bird Reserve, and fears he won't perform well without it. Syd offers to keep an eye out. He asks about, and a helpful bird directs him to the Satin Bowerbird. Sure enough, there's the blue stone, decorating the bower. Syd explains the stone belongs to Curly and the Bowerbird agrees to relinquish his find.

Syd takes the stone to Curly, and Millie and Olly report Curly has been making great time with his running. Curly thanks Syd, but concedes he shouldn't depend on a lucky charm, but instead rely on his talent and training. He says the bird's need (to impress a mate and have a family) is important, and sends it back. Syd returns the stone and all is well.




ABOUT THE BLOG


Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. 



Friday, 15 December 2017

Knight Protector

Knight Protector (2003) Post 349


 Knight Protector is the second book in the Reluctant Knight trilogy, and is, for some reason, almost impossible to get hold of. The other two books come up for sale on eBay or ABE from time to time, but Knight Protector just doesn't. So, if you actually have a copy... well, eBay being eBay, you might put it up at a ridiculous price and just see what happens. Or keep it as a Rare Book.

Simon Knight is reluctantly running a cross-country race with his stepsister Reba when he falls into a bush. Upon scrambling out, he finds himself in imminent danger of being run down by the stampeding runners behind him, so he makes the logical choice- back to the bush. Naturally, he winds up in Braveria, where ex-King Fleamer is wheedling tonic out of Bookerstaff, and Bookerstaff's serving girl, the peppery Becca, has gone MIA. Damsels and Knights in Plumes menace Simon, Peggy the pearly dragon still fancies a knightly snack, Prince Rifer isn't as ex a prince as his dad is a king, and King Kevin needs a Knight Protector to fulfill a prophecy and protect the Princess of Bravaria, the elusive Betty. There's a cousin with orange ankles, and a plethora of plumes. Oh, and the armour is forever rusting. So, all so normal in Braveria! These books were great fun to write, and upon finding my (rare) copy of this one, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Pity it's so rare.

ABOUT THE BLOG

Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. 

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Tasmania: A Guide

Tasmania- A Guide (1989 / 1997) Post 348


 Tasmania - A Guide first came about in the late 1980s when a local author contacted me and said she'd been contracted to write a book but was now ill and couldn't do it. She asked if I'd like to do it instead. I agreed, and the publisher transferred the job to me. Since it's well known in our family that I can't direct my way out of a paper bag and get lost on a regular basis, the job needed some thought. My parents and husband all drove me about the state, so I could operate a voice-recorder and take photographs. These had to be slides, or black and white prints, and I had a lot of trouble finding a lab that would make the prints look right. I showed one set of muddy-looking images with the tops cut off to my sister, and she obligingly printed up a couple of samples for me to show the lab. 
"Like THIS," I said, showing the sharp images with the tops NOT cut off.
"Oh..."
"Same negatives," I said.
"Oh, but these were done by hand. That costs extra."
So, it would cost extra to get the job done properly. 
That was the first time I realised the usual photo lab did the printing mechanically. My sister obligingly did the lot for me. I hired a friend to draw me some maps. I asked around for (true) stories from the different districts. I did a lot of research. (This was pre-internet,you understand...)
I found out a lot from visiting cemeteries. My daughter, then four years old, got used to "going to see the gravies". I certainly learned a lot about my home state, and later got a couple of novels (Anna's Own and Heather & Heath) from it.

Several years later, the publishers asked for an update. This time, my husband and I tackled the job, re-driving the routes because a lot had changed. We discovered a lot of the historic buildings had changed hands of changed use, so this time, we concentrated on the history of the building rather than its modern application.

At one point, there was a German edition called Tasmanien Australiens GrĂ¼nes Paradies. Since we don't speak German, we took it off to someone who did, and he told us the new title was: "Tasmania: Australia's Green Paradise". As for the cover pic, to this day I have no idea what that represents.


ABOUT THE BLOG

Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. 

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Gold and Mud

Gold and Mud (2008) Post 347


Gold and Mud is a play, published in book form. Sarah and her family came from Scotland when Sarah was two. Her father has a hat shop, but when the gold rush takes many people away from Sydney, the business declines. Soon, Papa sells up ad the family heads off for the gold fields. It's hard work, but over the next few years things slowly come together. Sarah makes friends with Mr Li, an Irish miner and a brother and sister taking photographs and selling lemonade. Mama despairs of the mud. Little Jamie gets ill and big brother Donald goes off to Canada. In the end, Papa decides to go back to a hat shop, and Sarah, now independent, decides to become a photographic apprentice.

The Gold Rush was a time I'd already researched back in the early '90s for a musical play and also the novel, Fools' Gold. I used some of the research for this story. The photographic and lemonade ventures are based broadly on the successful ventures of Mr Cole, of Cole's Funny Picture Book fame.

 ABOUT THE BLOG


Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. 

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Olly Says G'day

Olly Says G'day (1999) Post 346


Olly Says G'day is one of the nine Olympic Mascots books I wrote prior to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. In this one, Olly is off to visit the youngest member of the Chinese team, a girl named Mulan. (No, not after the Disney film... I hadn't heard of it then.) Mulan is a little nervous about flying so far from home, so Olly, in his role of  cheer-up squad, flies off to meet her. He spends time with the family and teaches her the Aussie greeting, "G'day", which she is to say when they meet again. 

Unfortunately, Mulan has a training accident and hurts her leg. Olly wants to fly to her right away, but there's a bad storm brewing and Millie says not to take dangerous risks. Olly reluctantly agrees, but then Millie suggests a computer hook-up meeting. She sets up her desk-top with a camera. The meeting goes well, ans the story closes with the sense that all will be well.

This is one of only a few in the series where an athlete is named. In general, I chose not to do that, because although it's (obviously) fiction, these were real games and real athletes were taking part.

ABOUT THE BLOG


Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. 

Monday, 11 December 2017

Planet of Winds

Planet of Winds (2007) Post 345


Planet of Winds  is a graphic novel in the Arkies series. In this one, Pace, Singer, Lyam and Merlinna are a bit bored, because they haven't landed on a planet in ages. Even Pace's matcon is flat, because it needs sun and wind to recharge it. ArkMa lets them land on a windy planet to recharge, and they meet some happy didgies which they name Kitewings and Fuzzybees. The big gliding kitewings carry the fat cheerful fuzzybees around, and they decide to carry the Arkies in the same way.

The usually cautious Singer goes first, and assures the others the kitewings are benevolent. Soon the Arkies are having so much fun they don't even hear ArkMa calling.

The didgies learn to communicate, though they have trouble using some consonants. Flying is fun but at last the Arkies decide to go back to Ark3. For one thing, Earthnet has sent a hologram to tell them off.

There's a problem, though... miscommunication means the kitewings believe the Arkies are odd-looking fuzzybees, and it is every kitewing's duty and pleasure to teach the fuzzybees, their own young, how to fly. The Arkies, dumped in a high-up nest to rest, escape back to Ark3, but ArkMa is furious with them. The kitewings, kind, benevolent and happy, are now unhappy. The Arkies have to fix things. Or else.

ABOUT THE BLOG


Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. 

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Our Amazing Bodies

Our Amazing Bodies (2008) Post 344


Our Amazing Bodies  is a non-fiction science title; one of a series. It has one of the creepiest covers of any of my books...although that might be just a subjective reaction. The text has spreads about cells, heart, lungs. bones, muscles and so on, and also covers concepts such a fight or flight, exercise, and "bendy" bodies. It has a glossary and some suggested ways of interactive reading. Brain, eyes, nails and hair all get a mention. Nine years after writing it, I don't remember how much of the content was "set" and how much I got to choose. It's a handsome series, creepy cover notwithstanding. Oh, and maybe other people don't find muscle pictures creepy... might be just me.



ABOUT THE BLOG


Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. 

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Looking Out for Sam

Looking Out for Sam (1994) Post 343


Looking Out for Sam  is a Christian romance and in fact is was short-listed for Christian Children's Book of the Year back in the day. It started life as an idea about a girl taking up with a  boy with a Galahad complex. Over time, this changed somewhat, to the romance between a Christian boy and an agnostic girl. Sam and Bree aren't based on anyone in particular, but Sam's situation... the eldest of a very large family, is reminiscent of a family I knew. Bree's real name is Breeze, but she prefers Bree... "The horse or the hooker?" asks Sam. Travelling reluctantly to Tasmania with her mother for a holiday she doesn't want, Bree is angry and resentful that the only other possibility is helping her father and stepmother renovate a house. Bree finds her mother annoyingly suggestible. She is a determined person herself, going for things that last. When she meets Sam on the ferry, and he offers her a handkerchief, she finds herself on the back foot after making sardonic comments about people who visit Tasmania. Sam says, "I live there." The awkwardness soon blows over, and the two become good friends. Just one thing bothers Bree... he's so helpful to everyone and he really believes in turning the other cheek. By the end of the book, which is also the beginning, Bree is standing in a church, desperately making bargains with a power she isn't even sure exists. 


By the way, I once travelled over the strait on a ship, and met a lovely lad who engaged me in conversation. No romance developed. I was well and truly married and twice his age. 

ABOUT THE BLOG

Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. 

Friday, 8 December 2017

Eggcitement for Blinky Bill

Eggcitement for Blinky Bill (1992) Post 342


Eggcitement for Blinky Bill  is one of four original stories I wrote under licence. These stories are longer than those which were derived from the series, and allowed for more plot. In this one, Blinky finds a nest of rotten eggs and spends a delicious day or so unleashing them as stink bombs. The whole village is annoyed with him, and after Mrs Snake threatens to kill him, he makes himself scarce for a while. Unfortunately, the place he chooses to snooze is a bush with yellow flowers... the very rare bush botanist Berryman Green digs up to study. Blinky escapes from the lab, gets carried off in a truckful of sheep, sold at auction, dangles from a bridge, falls on a train... meanwhile, Mrs Snake is under scrutiny. The story ends with Blinky finding - you guessed it - another nest of off eggs!


ABOUT THE BLOG

Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist.