Tuesday 16 July 2024

Courses for Writers

Kellie Nissen, an ex-teacher of 26 years and now an author coach and editor with Just Right Words, is now offering two online courses for writers:

·       Self-editing for Writers

·       Writing Awesome Teaching Notes (When You’re Not a Teacher)

Self-editing for Writers looks at what editing is and what professional editors do before delving into the three stages of editing: structural edits, copy/line edits and proofreading. Course participants will discover what is involved at each stage, what to look for and industry ‘tips and tricks’ and will put these into practice with their own writing. The course is designed to be modified to suit the needs of the group (and individual members), with plenty of feedback and support provided.

Cost: $500 (inc. GST)

Minimum number: 5 participants

Duration: 6 weeks, 3 hours a week

Delivery: via Zoom with some video content, all sessions recorded for participant review


Writing Awesome Teaching Notes (When You’re Not a Teacher) examines what teaching notes are and what their purpose is. We then look at the Australian Curriculum and spend some time practising how to navigate it – and understand it at the level needed for ensuring your teaching notes are curriculum aligned. The types of activities suitable for teaching notes will be discussed and participants will then design teaching notes and activities for their book(s) during the sessions with plenty of brainstorming, collaboration and feedback.

Cost: $500 (inc. GST)

Minimum number: 5 participants

Duration: 6 weeks, 3 hours a week

Delivery: via Zoom, with some video content, all sessions recorded for participant review


Contact: Kellie Nissen  kellie@justrightwords.com.au for more information or to book in

** For subscribers to Buzz Words www.buzzwordsmagazine.com, mention Buzz Words in your email and a 10% discount will be applied to your booking.

Signal Erased

Signal Erased  by Adele Jones (Rhiza Press) ISBN: 9781761111433 RRP $19.99

Reviewed by Melissa Wray

It must be said that the front cover of this book is exquisite! It is difficult to tell from the picture, but the detail is fantastic, and the embossed title and image is incredible. Amazing work by Carmen Dougherty and the design team at Rhiza Edge.

Signal Erased will have you hooked with its intrigue from the very beginning. So much so that it will be difficult for the reader to stop once they begin. Anna has a gift for singing, but she doesn’t realise how much of a gift until she alters a scientific experiment using song. The people involved will stop at nothing until they get what they want from her. Even if it means Anna’s very existence might disappear forever.

After being bridesmaid at her sister’s wedding, Anna accepts a lift from the popular and good-looking guy, Chase, from her school. But after some reckless driving, Anna finds herself making her way home alone, only to be kidnapped for a science experiment that leaves her invisible and unheard by those around her. Jones creates a realistic science fiction parallel within the storyline that continually raises the stakes for Anna before she disappears forever.

Anna’s situation becomes more complicated as she is forced to rely on Rennie, her new brother-in-law, who up until now has been relatively invisible to her. The connections between the characters in this story are very well written and enjoyable to read as they unfold. Not forced or rushed but caring and tender. Adding a lovely level of sensitivity to the high stake’s storyline.

You don’t need to understand anything about science fiction or frequency waves. This book will nevertheless keep you wondering about the outcome until the very end. Jones’s writing style is easy to read, humorous at times, and always well crafted to create a seamless flow throughout the story.

This book is a high-stakes, action story that also leans into relationships and being vulnerable. Signal Erased is suitable for a 12+ year readership.

Monday 15 July 2024

Ratbags: Dummy Spit

Ratbags: Dummy Spit by Tim Harris and Shiloh Gordon (Puffin Books) PB RRP$14.99 ISBN 9781761346088

The Ratbags have their hands full when a toddler ratbag crashes into town. But where did he come from? Between the muffin mayhem and hairy heists, can Jigsaw and his friends find the missing parents in time. Or will they have to deal with the dreaded dummy spit?

Award-winning bestselling author Tim Harris is back with the fifth instalment of the wildly popular Ratbags series. Readers are once again transported into the rat-tastically funny world of Jigsaw and his friends.

With lively black and white illustrations on every page, this is a book for children aged 7+ years.

Sunday 14 July 2024

A Room for Ryel

A Room for Ryel by Emma Cameron (Wombat Press) PB

Review by Sandi Wooton

A finalist in the Global Read Aloud and the Sakura Medal, internationally published author, Emma Cameron explores many of the challenges blended families face while adapting to their new social conditions. Written in first-person, A Room for Ryel is narrated by the protagonist. This makes it easy to connect with the main character and understand how he is feeling throughout the story.

When Ryel and his dad move in with Lonnie and her twin boys, Harry and Darcy, Ryel thinks it’s great for his dad – he’s much happier. Ryel really doesn’t mind moving in with them either, because he has known Harry and Darcy since kindergarten, and they are all friends at school. But there are lots of new things to get used to, many changes, and there’s one major problem: there are only two bedrooms to split between three boys.

To begin with, the boys share one room and store their belongings in the spare room. Ryel soon discovers that Darcy talks and shouts in his sleep. And Harry makes strange whistling sounds. The noises keep Ryel awake most of the night. Ryel is desperate to have his own space, his own room.


With the Year Six sockey tournament coming up, Ryel has an idea: whoever makes it furthest in the rounds of the tournament gets their own room. When the twins agree to the challenge, Ryel has a chance to win his own room. Let the battle begin!

In a Room for Ryel, we see some of life’s comic moments. It’s a very entertaining read. I particularly enjoyed the sports competition, sockey (a combination of hockey and soccer). The boys are very competitive and the tournament playoff between them for the spare room will have readers cheering right through to the final whistle.

Eventually, Ryel discovers the importance of compromise and accepting change are key elements for thriving within his new family environment.

Highly recommended for children aged 10 to14.

Title: A Room for Ryel
Author: Emma Cameron
Publisher: Wombat Books, $14.99
Publication Date: 6 March 2024
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978176111358
For ages: 11 – 14
Type: Middle Grade Fiction





Saturday 13 July 2024

Jill's story

Congratulations to Jill Jackson whose story 'It Only Takes One' aimed at young adults has been judged as a commended entry in a Short Stories Unlimited competition. It will be published in an anthology in August.

Friday 12 July 2024

Cordelia’s Song

Cordelia’s Song by David Stanley (Morris Publishing) is written in the style of Watership Down by Richard Adams and offers a poignant story of a group of magpies who are fighting for survival, and the young bird, Cordelia who becomes their saviour. Have you ever wondered what the world might look like from the perspective of other creatures? Cordelia’s Song addresses this challenge by attempting to see the world through magpie eyes.

Cordelia is a magpie, (known as ‘mytre’ in this story) who is born with two brothers to a successful magpie pair, Corzell and Corselia. They live in a beautiful and resource rich valley where their clan has lived for many generations. Corzell has a premonition that something evil is coming to the valley. A warning about two dead magpies from his friend, a friendly Kookaburra confirms his fears. The five valley clans are still caught off-guard when Krat clan, led by captain Kratt invade the valley and start to banish other magpie clans and take over the clan lands.

Corzell and others plot a defense and rebellion, but their plans are discovered by the Krat clan spies, and a battle ensures where Corzell is killed, and his partner and surviving children only just escape with their lives. After receiving a head injury, Cordelia is whisked away in the back of a ute to a property hundreds of kilometers from the valley, and with no memory of her former life, she must re-discover who she is and where she is from, before finding her way back to the valley to seek revenge on Kratt. At the remote station, where she was taken, she meets Bruce, a Chihuahua and two Pied Currawong who help her heal and adjust to life away from her family.

Cordelia also befriends and helps an injured Wedge Tailed Eagle, called Gary, who teaches her to fight in preparation for her confrontation back in her home valley. Gradually Cordelia recalls her name, the valley, her family, and her former life, but has no way of knowing how to get home, until one day she sees a way back to the valley on a TV and she recognises where she must go. Her clue is a bush fire, and she leaves the station to find the fire that leads her back to the valley and a final dramatic confrontation with the now, Lord Krat.

The second book, Cordelia’s Heart is almost ready for production and follows on from where Cordelia Song left off.

Cordelia’s Song can be purchased online by searching for the book title, or by going directly to the publisher: Morris Publishing Australia - http://www.morrispublishingaustralia.com (Paperback $31.99)

Thursday 11 July 2024

Caz Goodwin's picture books

Caz Goodwin’s picture book Grace and Mr Milligan, illustrated by Pip Kruger has been shortlisted in the CBCA Book of the Year in two categories: Early Childhood and New Illustrator. 

Caz also has a new picture book coming out. A Wish for Baby, written by Caz Goodwin, illustrated by Pip Kruger, and published by Affirm Press will be released in July 2024. The blurb says:

I wish you health and happiness,

but even when there's pain...

I hope you see the rainbows

as you're running through the rain. 

This enchanting picture book is a celebration of a new baby's arrival, expressing all the hopes, joys, and dreams for the little one's future.