Premier and Minister for Reconstruction The Honourable Anna Bligh

Monday, March 28, 2011



Queensland Premier Anna Bligh today launched the 2011 Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards and encouraged writers across the nation to enter the prestigious awards.

“The Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards have grown to become a much anticipated event on the national literary calendar and they are one of the most diverse awards programs of their kind,” Premier Bligh said.

With $230,000 in prize money offered across 14 categories, the awards have a proud history of recognising, celebrating and supporting outstanding Australian writers on a national scale.

“I encourage all Australian writers to enter and I look forward to announcing the award recipients in September,” Premier Bligh said.
The awards offer $230,000 in prize money across the following 14 categories:

•Fiction Book Award $25,000
•Emerging Queensland Author – Manuscript Award $20,000
•Unpublished Indigenous Writer – Arts Queensland David Unaipon Award $20,000
•Non-Fiction Book Award $15,000
•History Book – Faculty of Arts, The University of Queensland Award $15,000
•Children’s Book – Mary Ryan’s Award $15,000
•Young Adult Book Award $15,000
•Science Writer Award $15,000
•Poetry Collection – Arts Queensland Judith Wright Calanthe Award $15,000
•Australian Short Story Collection – Arts Queensland Steele Rudd Award $15,000
•Literary or Media Work Advancing Public Debate – The Harry Williams Award $15,000
•Film Script – Screen Queensland Award $15,000
•Drama Script (Stage) - Griffith University Creative Writing ProgramAward $15,000
•Television Script – QUT Creative Industries Award $15,000

Entries close on Friday 6 May 2011. Visit or phone (07) 3405 5215 for more information.
Sponsors of the 2011 Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards are: ABC Radio National  UQP The University of Queensland  Mary Ryan’s   Screen Queensland   Griffith University  QUT   Brisbane Writer’s Festival   A State of Writing
The Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards is funded by the Department of the Premier and Cabinet and Arts Queensland.
MEDIA: Premier's Office on (07) 3224 4500

Janet Evanovich - Naughty Neighbor

Publisher:  Harper Collins

ISBN: 9780060598921

My Rating: 2/5

Trouble in His Eyes and in His Wicked Grin...

He was a handsome hell-raiser, a reckless crusader in low-slung jeans - and he was driving Louisa Brannigan crazy! Pete Streeter made terrible coffee, snatched her newspaper, and listened through her walls, but it wasn't until she got fired from her government job that she was persuaded to join his undercover investigation - and became hopelessly entangled with the sexiest man she'd ever met!

Love on the Lam
Sneaking around in the shadows was more fun than Louisa ever imagined... especially when the getaway car was a Porsche. Pete never figured on finding a partner in crime who tasted like dessert, but Louisa was all he wanted in a woman - and more. Once he'd taught Louisa to enjoy living on the edge, would she finally feel safe in his love?  (

My thoughts
I'm not really sure what to say. I have no idea what the "pig" story was all about, I got fed up with all the "inner thoughts" by both, Louisa and Pete half way through the book - it felt repetitious, AND it wasn't really near as funny as most of the other Evanovich stories. Bottom line ... I wouldn't bother. As you can see, I can't even bother spending more time to write something about it .... says it all, doesn't it.

Sigrid's Writing Tip !

Read the original post here

Today's Writing Tip Is about Expanding Your Vocabulary

Indefatigable… pristine… eviscerate… antithetical… arduous… enervating. What do these words have in common? We don't see them that often.
An excellent way to improve your vocabulary and your writing is to read, read, and read some more. That way you'll learn new words and you will also see how certain things look in print; this is particularly good for writing dialogue and punctuation.
Choose things that interest you. If you don't like fiction, read nonfiction. If books take too much time, pick up a magazine or follow a blog dealing with a topic you really like. Or listen to a book on audio on your iPod or on CD in your car.
Don't turn it into homework, but do find a way to incorporate new words into your daily or weekly routine.
Learn more about word usage in my third book, Be Your Own Editor. When should you use between or among, further and farther, or complement and compliment? Find out in BYOE, available on in print and now a bestseller on Kindle.

Janet Evanovich - Wife for Hire

Publisher: Harper Collins

ISBN: 978-0060598884

My rating: 3/5

Hank Mallone spotted trouble when she sat down and said she'd marry him! Maggie Toone was a tempting firecracker who'd make his life delightful hell if he let her pretend to be his wife in order to improve his rogue's reputation. Would his harebrained scheme to get a bank loan for his business backfire once Maggie arrived in his small Vermont town and let the gossips take a look? Maggie never expected her employer to be drop-dead handsome, or to affect her like a belt of bourbon on her empty stomach, but she was too intrigued by his offer to say no... and too eager to escape a life that made her feel trapped. The deal was strictly business, both agreed... until Hank turned out to be every fantasy she'd ever had, and Maggie was so bright, funny, and downright irresistible that Hank fell head over heels in love! While the town watched, Hank wooed his wife with a charm that had never failed him yet. Could he make her dreams real by proving she belonged in his arms? (

My thoughts

A very light, light novel indeed. The story? The above says all. Why the 3 stars? It's the Evanovich wit that keeps that smile on your face while you read the book. A page turner? Not necessarily. A moodlifter for bad days? Definately.

A nice and funny story for a weekend at the beach or at home in front of the fire with a cup of tea!

Kathy Reichs - Deja Dead (Brennan #1)

Publisher: Scribner

ISBN: 978-2702818329

My rating: 3/5

Her life is devoted to justice — for those she never even knew.
In the year since Temperance Brennan left behind a shaky marriage in North Carolina, work has often preempted her weekend plans to explore Quebec. When a female corpse is discovered meticulously dismembered and stashed in trash bags, Tempe detects an alarming pattern — and she plunges into a harrowing search for a killer. But her investigation is about to place those closest to her — her best friend and her own daughter — in mortal danger…. (

My thoughts

I finished the book a few days back but still haven't decided what to think of it. It certainly wasn't a book that kept me hooked until late nights or even early mornings - okay, it did for the first 100-something pages, but then lost me as it dragged on.

Brennan is leaving behind a failed marriage and takes up a full time job in Montreal (extra kudos for the location!) And within the first few pages we have our first victim and a few further pages we have Brennan wondering whether there’s a serial killer out there ... with a lot of testosterone driven cops around her, so she’s left with finding evidence to prove the killer’s existence.

So once Brennan goes of to do exactly that .... the story loses my interest, it's long, drags on and the constant solo investigations were irritating. But it’s also the scientific terminology that I had problems with. Even though Reichs own background, I thought it was an overload.

I did like the cops, though, and thought Reichs did well “portraying” them in their coolness and “protectiveness” of their area of expertise – finding the killer! Claudel is a hoot!

Overall I thought a great first novel for Reichs, yet I expected more.

Rebekah L. Purdy - My Dad's a Paranormal Investigator

Publisher: Astraea Press

ISBN:  9781936852
My rating: 4/5

Sixteen year old Ima Berry (pronounced I’m a) leads anything but a normal life. For starters, the ridiculous name her eccentric dad gave her is always the opening for a good joke. Not to mention the fact he makes his living as a supernatural investigator, which has them moving around every few months. It’s hard to hang out with new friends when she spends all her time trying to prove the existence of Bigfoot, ghosts, fairies and any other number of paranormal creatures. Unfortunately, the cases always end in disaster. That is until now.

On a whim, Ima’s father decides to move them to Point Hope, Alaska. Here, he plans to investigate the possibility of shifters amongst the Inuit tribes. Ima isn't thrilled with the move, until she meets an Inuit guy named Carsen. Not only is he hot, but he’s also a star basketball player, and he’s interested in her. Too bad his best friend, Talon, doesn't like her and takes every opportunity he can to discourage the relationship. Ima has no idea what she’s done to make him mad, but there’s no denying the strange connection between them.
As things grow more serious with Carsen, Ima uncovers a secret about him and some of the residents of Point Hope. A secret that will force her to choose between her father’s already dwindling career and her new found love. And with the knowledge of this secret comes danger…a danger that could cost them their lives. (
My thoughts

Well, you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, right? Ok, I did! This book kept popping up on my FB site so one day I just bought it.

Once holding it in my hand ... O-M-G!!!  It's about Shape shifters and ...Eww ...  it's YA!

Luckily one day I hesitantly started reading it while waiting for my daughter at ASS. I suppose I don't have to tell you that within 48 hours I had the book read and loved it!

The story's about 16 yr old Ima Berrie, daughter of Paranormal Investigator Lou. With a father like that who also has his own show on TV, Ima's life is nothing but normal. After wrapping up another episode for Berrie SI they both move to Point Hope, somewhere in North West Alaska. This is where she meets and falls in love with Carson.

I really enjoyed the story. Purdy has told the story of Ima moving to Alaska with a very busy father, falling in love and the heartache that comes with it and the responsibilities of certain secrets in a diligent and believable way. The story flows and thus makes it a page turner and  the paranormal / shape shifting stuff is an essential part of the plot, but -lucky me!- not overdone. Purdy has a wonderful way of bringing the story to paper and I'm quietly hoping there will be many more books from her in the future!

A light reading for a winter’s day in front of open fire. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the moment as much as I did!

CA Marshall - It's time for the spring FREE EDIT CONTEST!

Great opportunity ! Go check it out.

CA Marshall : Freelance Editor : Author : Lit Agency Intern: It's time for the spring FREE EDIT CONTEST!

P.S. Baber - Cassie draws the Universe

Publisher: IUniverse

ISBN: 978 1450243797

My Rating: 3/5

Cassie Harper is a disillusioned high school senior who is daily losing ground in a battle against her own nihilistic inclinations. When a beautiful new girl from California comes to town and attempts to befriend a reluctant Cassie, the two unlikely companions find common ground in a shared sorrow.
Cassie lives with her mother and grandmother in a dilapidated house in a nameless Kansas town, where she is haunted nightly by dreams of a father who died before she was born. Amy Cole has just moved from California, where she recently lost her mother and brother in a car accident. When Amy finally breaks down the walls of Cassie's self imposed solitude, the girls band together to avoid the common end of all high school students: inexorable assimilation into an increasingly empty and incomprehensible world. But as Amy and Cassie attempt to outrun fate, their pursuit will be cut short by an unexpected adversary, leading Cassie to devise a chilling and unimaginable revenge.
Cassie Draws the Universe is a complex and tragic tale of friendship and betrayal, living and dying, human cruelty, and the terrible price of vengeance. (from the back of the cover)

My thougths

This was a goodreads giveaway. When I read the back of the cover and all the reviews I entered the giveaway and hoped to win it.
Rating this book was very difficult, it was very dark and full of metaphors. The story was not my cup of tea and with that I am not implying that it's not a good book, but just not for me. Personally I thought the story dragged on for at least half the book -we get introduced to Cassie and her new friend Amy; two young women who couldn't be more different, but build a bond solid and strong. We get discussions thrown at us and I still haven't figured out the relevance. The writing style was difficult to read with words I had never heard of and I found myself often putting it aside to read another book.

I also had an issue with a few descriptions - like the mother being ten or twelve feet tall, weighing well over a thousand pounds. Was that on purpose ?

The twist at the end was well done and I didn't expect it.

Sigrid's writing tips - all about commas !!!

Be Your Own Editor

Lynne Truss said it best with the title of her blockbuster hit Eats, Shoots & Leaves. That sentence can have two meanings depending on where we place the comma. If we omit the comma after the word Eats, we may think that someone eats bamboo shoots and takes off. But if we keep the comma, we know that a person ate, shot something and left. (Sarah Palin targeting moose in Alaska?)

Likewise with the following example: my aunt believed the babysitter and John and I were unfairly punished. What happens if I change the comma to this: My aunt believed the babysitter, and John and I were unfairly punished.
The first sentence could mean that the aunt thought that three people were unfairly punished -- the babysitter, John and the writer of the sentence. But it could also mean that the aunt believed a story that the babysitter relayed, thus, the aunt thought John and the writer were unfairly punished. The first sentence is ambiguous. If the writer wants to say that he and John were wrongly accused and reprimanded, the best way to write that would be: “My aunt believed the babysitter, and John and I were unfairly punished.”

Read more about punctuation in my third book, Be Your Own Editor -  get 20% off the regular price by writing directly to me at sigridmac at

The Evolution of Self-Publishing by Ron Knight

Interesting read!

The Evolution of Self-Publishing by Ron Knight

At a seminar on Feb 22nd, sponsored by Publishers Weekly and Digital Book World, the discussion of self-publishing came up. Basically, it was a panel of authors and “experts,” talking about how self-publishing actually hurts authors and the industry.
Author Jason Pinter had this to say, using a frustrated tone, “There’s a sense of people latching on to a couple of individuals who’ve found success and then those people get a lot of publicity. Then it’s, ‘They can do it; I can!’ There is a bit of a fallacy there; it’s not always the case.”
There are a handful of authors that broke through using self-publishing and are doing quiet well. What Pinter is suggesting, authors should not get their hopes up with self-publishing, because you will probably fail.
What Pinter should have added, was that authors who attempt the world of rejection in traditional publishing, will most likely fail as well. Basically, any author who has little to no success should give up.
I would advise against that.
The panel agreed that the biggest reason authors fail in self-publishing is because of marketing. Let me add to that statement, “The biggest reason ANY author fails, including those in traditional publishing, is because of a poor marketing strategy.”
Pinter went on to say, “Authors really need to look at what their goals are and how they’re going to realistically achieve them.”
This is good advice. Writing a great book is only half the job. Marketing and selling your book is something completely different. How will you “realistically” achieve your goals?
My advice: Understand what your true goals should be. Start with something like this, “I want to write books for a living.” That is much more ideal than saying, “I wrote a book and want to sell 500,000 copies.”
What would it take for you to write for a living? How will that marketing plan be different than selling a self-published book from the trunk of your car?
Keep in mind, whenever there is a seminar or conference on writing, the panelist treats all authors who are not traditionally published like amateurs. I really do not believe in that theory. In fact, I think that authors these days can do just about anything on their own, and that scares the heck out of traditionalists.  
Carolyn Pitts of HarperCollins had this to say on the subject. “Marketing is the issue of our time. Book marketing is the biggest challenge that anyone in the book business is facing today, purely because there’s so much noise and so much content getting created and so many potential distractions.” (She then repeats) “There’s a huge volume of new content and there’s a lot of noise in the market, it becomes harder for readers to find the content that they’re most interested in.”   
Let me break that down for you, since I understand Traditional Publisher Jargon. “Marketing is the issue of our time.” HarperCollins controls 16.5% of the publishing market. You as a lowly author, have .0000014% control of the publishing industry market.
What Pitts is referring to is the revenue in advertising that is needed to keep HarperCollins in business. Don’t let her mix their issues with your own goals. Authors throughout history, one way or another, had to let others know about their book. It is not a matter of issue, but rather of process. You as an individual author will not have a marketing plan that is similar to HarperCollins.
And a little FYI. Pitts is taking a shot at self-published authors, when twice she said, noise. In other words, self-published authors are distracting to what “real” authors are trying to do. (Take a deep breath and shrug it off.) 
“Book marketing is the biggest challenge that anyone in the book business is facing today.” I disagree. You know what the biggest challenge should always be? Writing a book that others will enjoy. Pitt’s made a mistake by saying that, because she just announced to the world what traditional publishers are thinking. “Can we market this book?” Rather than, “Will readers enjoy this book?”
Pitts continues, “It becomes harder for readers to find the content that they’re most interested in.” Actually, with more choices in books these days, readers are finding everything they are looking for. Nice try Carolyn. 
Here is Pitts comment on why book marketing is so difficult. “Purely because there’s so much noise and so much content getting created and so many potential distractions.” Do you know what she just said? I’ll translate, “There are over 700,000 books published each year that are not from HarperCollins, which is distracting readers and diminishing our profits.”
Listen, I am a fan of authors…not publishing. On that note, understand that there about a hundred authors that sell to 99% of the market. And there are 700,000 self-published authors right now, selling to 1% of the market. Here is the question that is keeping companies like HarperCollins up at night. “What if all self-published authors form one large group, instead of marketing as individuals?”
Why is that important? If you were going to war, which side would you want to be on? The army that has 100 soldiers, with unlimited funds? Or the army with 700,000 soldiers, with unlimited potential?
Phil Sexton of Writers Digest, shares this same concern. “It’s about what the intent of the author is. How much they’re going to back [their book], whether or not they’re going to try and sell it.”
Believe me. If 700,000 authors figure out a way to sell their books, it would radically change the publishing industry. How close is that to becoming a reality? Read on.
Did you know that HarperCollins and other traditional houses, offer self-publishing. Why is that? Victoria Strauss, novelist and co-founder of Writer Beware, has the answer, “It’s all about the money; it’s not about finding wonderful books—come on.”
Well said, Victoria. (And very brave, considering the powerhouses sitting next to her.)
Victoria Strauss made another statement that is a key to success for those 700,000 authors. “There is no gate-keeping in self-publishing; anyone can do it; very wonderful books might be published and very terrible books might be published.”
I just wrote two blogs on the “New Gatekeepers in Publishing.” You can read them after finishing with this.
There is a way to pull 700,000 authors together, validate their books, market and sell them. No one controls their destiny. Coming this summer is Author Book Validation. (ABV) For traditional publishers, it is their worst fear come true.
For self-motivated authors…it is a dream come true.

Ron Knight