Remember how good it felt to draw as a kid? You never worried about stuffing up. ‘Look, it’s a table! Nope, it’s a monkey’s butt. Scratch that, it’s a cauliflower spaceship.’ We lose our inhibitions as we get older and worry what people think. I got some great advice from New Zealand artist Susan Webb who suggested I draw left handed – without looking at the paper. Look down. ‘Picasso! Inside a tomato! On a sausage dog!’


8 kids questions that always have the same answer

‘Can I play on your phone? 

Can I play a video game? 

Can I hit the cat?

Can I see if the remote bounces?

Can I see if my sister bounces?

Can I watch TV?

Can I play on your old phone?

Can I go on the computer?’

If you have a bored 6-9 year old in the house can I put in a cheeky plug for the newly released FIREBOYS COLLECTION e-book. It’s been described as an exciting, easy-to-read series starring three unlikely characters. There’s Red (the competitive one), Leo (the serious one) and Spark (the loveable idiot.) The stories have strong plots and quirky characters. When I was a kid I found this length of story (about 10,000 words) cool to read because they’re easy to understand and a good introduction to longer stories. Plus it feels great when you actually finish a WHOLE BOOK. (Just click on the cover to be taken to the Amazon page.)

Or, just let the kids use your phone. But don’t get the high score on Temple run, they really hate that.


This morning on our radio show we asked ‘Can Jase, Stace or Justin’ win a swimming race against a dog. All week we asked listeners to submit opponents. Kira the German Shepard was chosen.

But where would we race? Not surprisingly every public pool in town told us to jump in the lake. The sea! Of course. Friday morning rolled round and three names were places in a bucket. The loser had to race Kira.

I drew the short straw. ‘Shake!’ I said. And she did. Good sport. And we were off!

The winner of the first race was undecided as it was suggested I cheated by running the last bit. I thought I was being a good sport by emulating the doggy paddle. (Didn’t see Kira trying backstroke.) The second race was definitive. Sort of.

Meanwhile, Kira just wanted her ball.

Early reviews of ‘Shot, Boom, Score!’

The first from Andy, who read it on a stag do, hence the the title of this post.

Pity the book is aimed at 8-12 year olds, otherwise I could have used his tagline in schools around the world.

From Kim: ‘I loved the book from start to end. Found it funny and loved the friendships. I especially loved Toby’s adorable relationship with his grandmother. The sister storyline is also hilarious. The only bit I found *annoying was Toby always having to prove himself to his Dad.’

* That sub plot was quite intentional; what boy, or girl for that matter, doesn’t?

* It is nice to know, however, Kim didn’t need any dutch courage to read it.

Feb 1st signals the launch of my debut junior fiction novel ‘Shot, Boom, Score!’ published by Allen and Unwin. If you follow this blog you’ll know what the story’s about – and how it came to be – so I won’t prattle on. Needless to say, if you have an 8-12 year old in the house who likes reading, and enjoys funny characters, you can buy the book here or download the Kindle version here – which also has a preview chapter. Enjoy!

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