I’ve had some happy publishing news to kickstart 2022! I’ve just signed a three-book deal with IFWG Publishing Australia for my middle grade fantasy trilogy, ‘The Irrawene Chronicles’.
The first novel in the series ‘Jonty’s Unicorn’ will be galloping its way towards readers everywhere in late 2023.
Of all the things I’ve penned to date, ‘Jonty’s Unicorn’ was hands down the most fun, free-flowing fully-formed story to write, and I’m delighted to be continuing the narrative over two further books with IFWG Publishing Australia
I hope you’ll all love Jonty’s adventures as much as I do. You can read the official acquisitions announcement from the publisher here.
Here’s what you can expect:
In the quiet hamlet of Blaxby in the Kingdom of Irrawene, twelve-year-old Jonty Fairskye’s mother is gravely ill. A tonic from Dagatha, the fearsome witch who dwells in the dark heart of the Terrenwild Woods may be her only hope, but everyone knows Dagatha’s cures cost dearly—both in both gold and regret.
Determined to save her mother, Jonty resolves to enter the King’s Annual Horse Race on her beloved horse, Onyx. The prize, a pouch of gold—more than enough to pay Dagatha. When Jonty discovers an injured unicorn trapped in a hunter’s snare during a woodland training session, she is thunderstruck—there hasn’t been a unicorn sighting in Irrawene for over a century. To ensure its safety Jonty knows she must keep the unicorn hidden. She names it Rose, and smuggles her back to her barn to recover.
As the great horse race draws closer, disaster strikes when Onyx suffers an injury of his own. He is barely able to walk, let alone race. Jonty is crushed…until Rose insists that Jonty enters riding her. Jonty is torn—she knows once Rose is seen, it will be the end of her freedom, yet Mamma grows frailer by the day…
The decision Jonty makes will impact the lives of everyone she loves, spreading ripples throughout Irrawene. Danger and betrayal lurk around every corner, and Jonty will learn that the true meaning of kindness and bravery comes down to how much you’re willing to sacrifice.
At Peninsula Writers’ Club’s 2022/23 AGM last weekend, I stepped down from the Executive Committee after five wonderful years as Vice President. With 2024 heralding new book and publishing deadlines, along with a teen in high school, and work and family commitments, the time was right to give this wonderful opportunity to someone else.
Our President, Andrea Rowe, also stepped down for similar reasons, paving the way for a new President to lead the Club. We both recognise the importance of new committee members for the health and vitality of the Club, and we feel so grateful to the 2024 Committee for volunteering their considerable time, resources, skills, expertise, and energy. Peninsula Writers’ Club is in excellent hands!
I have included my outgoing VP speech below, as it encapsulates everything I want to say about the Club I helped found as a not-for-profit organisation in 2019, which has gone on to become one of the nation’s most respected writing clubs for its remarkable program of professional events, workshops, masterclasses, and thriving member base. I’m so very proud of all we’ve achieved…
When I was reflecting on what I wanted to talk about today, the underlying theme that kept running through my head was gratitude. PWC came along for me at a time when I’d moved to the Peninsula from interstate, and was actively seeking a new writing community. There’s much truth to the old adage that writing is the loneliest of the arts, and for me, connecting with likeminded people has always been a big part of my literary life.
And so it was with gratitude that I turned up to my first writer’s club meeting in 2015. It was with appreciation that I accepted the role of Vice President when we turned NFP in 2019, and it is with the sincerest of thanks that I now step down from committee life after five wonderful years, and pass the VP baton to the very capable Sheena.
Continuing with this theme of gratitude, I want to thank the current committee for their passion and commitment to PWC. You’ve been such fun to work with and, while we’re certainly capable of rolling our sleeves up and getting the job done, we’ve also had lots of laughs along the way. I’ve learned much from each of you, and I’m so proud to call you my friends.
Carolyn, I so admire your fastidious attention to detail. There’s no one quite like you when it comes to crossing i’s and dotting t’s. Your focus and ability to look at things with an analytical eye has led to many efficient new procedures and systems. You give generously of your time, and have such genuine care for our Club. You’ve been a fabulous Treasurer and I know Rob is going have a smooth handover thanks to your impressive record keeping. You’re going to make a wonderful president. You know you have our full support…and sooner or later, Typo will win you over too. Thank you, Carolyn – you’re an absolute force and I’m so excited for you and the Club.
Karen, our Secretary, who fills our cups with so much more than good minute taking, marvellous membership management, and magnificent earrings. Karen is the one of the most thoughtful people I know with a generous heart that was no doubt shaped long before her background in volunteer management. You’re quick with a laugh, and even quicker with a hug. Thank you for bringing your infectious laugh and emotional intelligence to the committee – you’re such a gift.
Muriel, our Wellbeing Ambassador, MC extraordinaire, and all round committee farm calmer when we’re being drama llamas. Thank you for your wise observations and insights, and for bringing fresh perspective to different, and sometime difficult, situations. Thank you also for your wicked jokes and cheeky sense of humour. You bring balance to the business, and prosecco to the planning, and you’re such a blessing.
Rob, our most recent committee recruit, who’s proven to be such an asset already. Now, just like Liam Neeson, Rob has a very particular set of skills. Not only does he make the best zucchini slice on the Peninsula, he’s also an enthusiastic ideas man. Rob, your contributions to the committee are refreshing in not only your delivery but in your considered evaluation. Your enquiring mind has encouraged committee to look at things through a different filter. Perhaps it’s because you’re a multi-talented film creative who’s comfortable on both sides of the camera…either way, Rob, your presence is certainly a present.
And that brings us to Andrea.
It came as no surprise when Andrea announced she was stepping away from committee life. She’s had an incredible couple of years with her writing career – success which has seen her win national awards, sign new contracts, and embrace career-shaping opportunities. The last two years have been a wild ride of book touring, school visits, and festival appearances, and next year will bring more of the same.
Personally, it’s been such a joy to watch Andrea’s star rise and rise. I know how hard she’s worked for this. As creatives, we all know there’s no such thing as an overnight success – it’s the culmination of years of skills development, determination, resilience and opportunity recognition.
And it’s thanks to this mindset that we’re all in this room today – a thriving, flourishing Club with a rolling program of professional level events and workshops, a sponsored writing residency prize, and – a gift to the whole of the Peninsula – The Mornington Peninsula Shire Mayor’s Writing Awards.
We have a few special guests and new members joining us today who might not be familiar with PWC’s history, so I’ll give you a quick history lesson. Now I am partial to a bit of rhyming verse and when I was first thinking about this speech, I thought it might be fun to use that form, but I decided it didn’t quite convey the merit and weight Andrea’s contributions deserved. It was shaping up, however, like this…
In a tiny southern coastal town, we’ll call St Andrew’s Beach
Aspiring author, Andrea, was plotting how to breach
The barrier of distance when it came to writing life,
Melbourne was too far from home, the city traffic rife.
“There has to be a better way,” she muttered to Book Chook
“How can local writers prosper, when we’re always overlooked?
I know our Scribe Tribe’s out there, and our writing hearts beat strong,
But the city’s not the only place where writing clubs belong.”
Meet ‘Book Chook’ This dear little soul sits in Andrea’s office offering quiet clucks of support and inspiration
And so it was one fateful day, Andrea met with her friend Nikki
Their conversation stretched beyond a cuppa and a bicky!
For Nikki too confessed she felt the time was surely nigh
To give the legion writers of the Ninch a place to unify.
That was a very brief flashback to 2015 when a chance conversation between Andrea and fellow writer, Nikki Fisher, lamented the fact that, for the literary inclined, workshops, masterclasses, and skills development opportunities, meant a lengthy commute to the city.
Their ‘what if?’ moment, turned into something bigger, and their ‘build it and they will come’ mindset was the foundation for the first ever Peninsula Writers’ Club meeting – a small supper-style affair at Bistro Elba in Sorrento. Regional writers continued to emerge from their garrets in droves, and today we have a Club that has evolved into an organisation that not only delivers a full program of events and opportunities, it has enriched and enabled the lives of so many.
Andrea, we celebrate you for your tireless efforts and advocacy, and the sheer volume of voluntary time and resources you’ve donated to Peninsula Writers’ Club and the Mayor’s Writing Awards over the years. We recognise your determination and drive, and respect your seemingly inexhaustible energy. You know, with Andrea’s formidable ability to make things happen, it can be easy to forget that, like all of us, she has a life beyond and behind the screen. The legacy she leaves us with was forged from a place of busy family navigation, work juggling, health curve balls, and riding the great highs and lows the rollercoaster of life throws at us. I know I speak on behalf of both committee and members when I say, “Thank you, Andrea. You are so appreciated.
And it is with this appreciation in mind, the committee decided that one of the easiest and best ways we could honour you was by making you a life time member of Peninsula Writers’ Club. Please accept this plaque on our behalf and know that you can now never escape us! You’re here for life!
What would our Club be without our members?
As I step down from the role of Vice President over the last five years, it is all of you I want to thank for your confidence and belief in me to help steer your Club, and deliver a program of events that continues to evolve based on what you’ve stated will best serve your writing aspirations.
Of everything we’ve achieved in this respect, one of the most rewarding things for me has been watching new friendships blossom among our members. These friendships come with so many multifaceted benefits. I’m talking book launches, book clubs, writing buddies, breakaway writing groups, beta readers, resource sharing, coffee catch ups, writing retreats, mentor moments, dinner dates, pub crawls, book fairs, writing festivals, literary luncheons, poetry slams, spoken words – the list goes on.
There are so many ways we’ve connected outside of Peninsula Writers’ Club’s official parameters, and so many meaningful friendships have been forged.
What a wonderful thing that is. Writing is the loneliest of arts, they say? Not true when you’re part of Peninsula Writers’ Club.
Thanks again, everyone. I’m looking forward to more fun and friendship with you all in 2024 and beyond.
My time as VP has been enriching in so many ways. I’ve learned so much, grown so much, met the most wonderful people and gained lifelong friends.
I got to share this ride with one of the most trailblazing women I know – the unstoppable force that is Andrea Rowe, someone I’m continually in awe of and inspired by. Thanks for the opportunities you’ve given me and so many other writers, Andrea. ‘Wing Woman’, out! <3
My middle grade novel ‘Sea Glass’ has made the shortlist for the 2023 Reading’s Children’s Prize. I’m not only completely overjoyed by this news, I’m also completely blown away, honoured, and humbled, to find myself in such esteemed company.
Now in its 10th year, The Readings Children’s Prize is presented to the best contribution to Australian children’s literature from an emerging author. This is a bit of a bucket list moment for me, as I’ve followed the Prize for years, and, well *sniff*
Congratulations to the amazing authors on the shortlist. My biggest thanks to Readings, and of course to my publisher Wombat Books. #LoveOzMG
I’ve been sitting on this news for a little while, but now I’m super excited to announce I’ve got a new book coming out with Wombat Books.
‘Skippy Blackfeet’ is a junior fiction novel that introduces readers to Skippy Blackfeet – a very little cat with a very big heart – and how two lives change for the better when he meets a young girl called May. The story is told through Skippy’s point of view, and will appeal to anyone who’s ever questioned their place in the world.
This will be an illustrated work, and I’m so excited to have the talent of Jennifer Horn breathing life, movement, and whimsy into this story.
Will keep you posted on further news / release date. in the meantime, I can’t wait to share Skippy Blackfeet with readers, I’ve come to really love this little black cat!
It’s Book Launch time! The official launch of ‘Sea Glass’ is being hosted by gorgeous Antipodes Bookshop & Gallery in Sorrento. I’ll be in conversation with my fabulous friend and KidLit superstar Andrea Rowe. Come and join us at 2pm on April 1.
Bookings via this linkor scan the code https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/book-launch-sea-glass-by-rebecca-fraser-tickets-576673013507
So, I woke up this morning and yesterday’s news wasn’t just a dream! I’m so incredibly excited and honoured to be on the Adaptable: Turning the Page to Screen longlist with such esteemed company. If I make the shortlist, I’m headed to the Gold Coast Film Festival to pitch my coastal family drama ‘Sea Glass’ (Wombat Books) to film makers, TV producers, and script writers!
Big thanks to Ken from Reading with a Chance of Tacos for having me on the latest episode of his awesome podcast in which we chat about my writing process and inspiration for my forthcoming middle grade novel ‘Sea Glass’.
I kick in around the 18 minute mark, but make sure you tune in to Hayley the Librarian before that – she’s got terrific insights into current KidLit reading trends.
As writers (indeed, as practitioners of any form of art) it’s often too easy to dwell on what we haven’t achieved, rather than what we have accomplished.
I’m guilty of this. I often raise my creative bar impossibly high, and set myself productivity goals and benchmarks of success that simply don’t align with my work and family life. As a consequence, I’m often left feeling like I’ve failed myself and my art. Silly, huh? I’m working on it.
My two words for 2023 are: Balance and Vitality. I aim to use their themes to underscore all aspects of my life this year, and help guide my intentions and mindset.
Many writers post a list of their ‘year in review’ and I think it’s a great way to overthrow any negative feelings you might hold about your personal output. You might not have set the world on fire (according to your own goals), but you’ve written, damnit! And maybe, along the way, and in between the rejections, you’ve had a few wins, in whichever shape they take.
As we move into 2023, my creative advice is simply this:
Do not compare yourself to others.
Remember, a high tide raises everyone’s boat.
Make the art you love, regardless of whether it’s deemed ‘commercial’ enough. Writing to a trend or market when it’s not your jam does not a happy writer make. When you attempt to shoe horn your work into a space and place not carved from authenticity it will also show in your writing.
With that said, below is my 2022 Writing Year in Review. Despite my inner critic telling me otherwise, it’s actually been a very positive year.
Why not make a list of your writing activity from 2022? Even if it’s just a word count. You’ll be surprised at what you’ve achieved.
Happy New Year to you all, and of course happy reading, happy writing, and happy days for 2023.
Awards and Honours
Finalist – Ditmar Awards – Best Collected Work
Finalist – Ditmar Awards – Best Novella / Novelette
Finalist – Aurealis Awards – Best Fantasy Novella Finalist – Australian Shadows Award – Long Fiction Category Finalist – Australian Shadows Award – Poetry Category
This month I had the privilege of spending two immersive weeks as Writer in Residence at Police Point Shire Park in Portsea, Victoria. The opportunity formed part of my prize for winning the 2021 Mornington Peninsula Shire Mayor’s Writing Awards for my short story Due South.
The Mornington Peninsula Shire’s Artist in Residence program has hosted over 100 Australian and international artists since its conception, providing a location rich in history, cultural heritage, and stunning natural assets
Cottage #4 was my home and workspace for the duration of my residency—a delightfully maintained residence with a history dating back to the 1850’s. You can read more information about the history of Police Point here.
And what a gift this little cottage was, not only for the time and space it provided to focus on my latest work in progress, but also for its peaceful stillness in a location that is and of itself a work of art.
I felt inspired and encouraged by all the creatives who came before me, and all those who will follow. I enjoyed sitting with my work and chatting with my characters, trusting them (and myself) to know what they’re doing, and allowing myself the freedom to move forward with a productive first draft of my contemporary Australian middle grade novel Tiger Girl.
I also clocked up the bushwalking miles as well as the writing miles. I made friends with multiple echidnas while sunset strolling. I’ve said g’day to magpies and blue tongues. I took joy in observing the newly-hatched plover chicks under the fierce protection of their proud parents, and I watched the sun rise over London Bridge, feeling like the only person Earth. The solitude and the setting of this Residency has been the greatest blessing.
My greatest thanks and gratitude to Mornington Peninsula Shire for this invaluable creative opportunity.
It’s been five years since my first book was released with IFWG Publishing Australia and to celebrate, my novelette ‘The Little One’ has been made available to read for free for a limited time.
‘The Little One’ was shortlisted for an Australian Shadows Award, an Aurealis Award, and a Ditmar Award, and I’m so pleased it’s been a bit of a happy hit among readers.
‘The Little One’ forms part of my award-nominated collection ‘Coralesque and Other Tales to Disturb and Distract’, so if you like what you read…well, hey, there’s more where that came from! ‘Coralesque’ is available through all your favourite bricks and mortar and online booksellers.
What a wonderfully welcome way to wrap the week! As I started thinking about packing for my forthcoming two week writing retreat as Artist in Residence at Police Point Cottages, which formed part of my prize for winning the 2021 Mornington Peninsula Shire Mayor’s Writing Award, I learned some exciting related news. My story ‘Dishlickers’ received an Honourable Mention in this year’s Mayor’s Writing Awards!
Congratulations to the winners and entrants across all categories. Big thanks to judges Mornington Peninsula Shire Mayor Cr Anthony Marsh, and award-winning author Garry Disher. My gratitude to Peninsula Writers’ Club and Mornington Peninsula Arts and Culture for making this competition a notable inclusion to our literary landscape, and of course to our amazing local bookstores for their generous sponsorship, Farrells Bookshop, Antipodes Bookshop and Gallery, Petersen’s Bookstore and Rosebud Book Barn.