Backyard Beasts and Curious Capers

Cover Reveal…

Backyard Beasts and Curious Capers…

The Book Cover for ‘Backyard Beasts and Curious Capers will be revealed soon...

Very exciting…

Stay tuned…

  • Jill Smith, Co-ordinator March 2023

Tomorrow Saturday 21st January is our first Ten Penners meeting of the year. We have a full agenda and will be viewing for the first time a mock-up of our anthology ‘Backyard Beasts and Curious Capers.’

Our launch date has been changed to allow for our members’ holidays and family gatherings that are coming up. So now our launch will be in June. Still at the Gold Coast Writers Meeting. I’ll be confirming that with everyone tomorrow and with the Committee of GCW. We intend to go to their monthly meeting after ours, so it will be a double whammy!

We’ve done a lot of preparation to get the anthology to this stage and are really looking forward to adding sketches, drawings and illustrations to complete the journey.

The cover reveal will be exciting. That’s not too far away, so stay tuned.

Stay tunned. – Jill

Backyard Beasts and Curious Capers · Children's story writers · Gold Coast Writers Association

The Ten Penners October meeting…

Oct 22 meeting – Carly, Jill, Michelle, Marion, Kate, and Jennifer (Julie works from afar)

Our Ten Penners Writers meeting was as chatty and fun-filled as ever. With discussions on our new combined short stories Anthology book “Backyard Beasts and Curious Capers”, nearing its final stages before its launch in March 2023. Exciting times ahead!! Still so much to do, illustrations included, and little time to do it in. But we’re pretty excited it’s getting closer to finalising!! 📚📚📕✍️

Keep watching this space for more news – Jill, The Ten Penners co-ordinator

copyright October 2022

The Ten Penners

Interview with Jennifer Scicluna…

Here is more about Jennifer in the interview with her.

As a writer/author, how would you describe yourself – beginner, emerging or established?


When did you know that you were a writer? Did something specific happen for you to feel that this was what you wanted to be?
​I’ve always written stories for my three sons when they were young. Had imagination and loved reciting them to the boys. However. not having any knowledge of how to be an actual writer or begin to look at publishing, my writing days were pushed to the wayside so as develop and concentrate on my biggest passion, my artwork and being an artist.

When and why did you start submitting your work to publishers?

​I was proud of my stories and my boys did love them so they encouraged me to submit one of my imaginary stories, written by me on my father’s old typewriter, to Ashton Scholastic Publishing company, back in 1994. My excitement at the time shrouded the realisation that the story was poorly written grammatically, and terribly misspelt. I received my first rejection.

Were you encouraged or discouraged after doing this?

 I continued writing for my boys but yes very discouraged and never submitted a story again.​

illustrations for author

What and when was your first acceptance? How did you feel?

This is yet to be seen!

What has been your most recent acceptance? Do you feel any different?

 ​Same as above!👆

Do you get rejections? How do you cope with them and do you have any advice for our readers on this front?

Yes, after that initial rejection I didn’t think that writing was for me. Being a mother of three boys I didn’t have time to pursue it further anyway, not back then. Now I say to all don’t give up keep trying and give it a go!

 I am now 64 and back attempting to enter the author’s world. It is never too late.

Do you enter competitions? How have you fared? Would you recommend entering comps? Can you recommend any specifically?

I have only ever entered one children’s school magazine Touchdown comp in 2019. Yes, I would absolutely recommend entering the comps. Any that are running at the time you are ready to try. They are always being run by various groups. 

Do you go to conferences/festivals? Do any standout? Did they help with your career?

I have only attended the GCWA meetings and some local library events with guest speakers on how to write for children.

How long have you been writing? And what have you written? 

 ​Since 1992. I have written three short, boys’ adventure stories, two girls’ magical stories and a few whimsical children’s stories that are still in progress.

Do you have a funny story about your journey that writers might be able to relate to?
 Not really!

Jennifer created these illustrations were for my short story entry into a competition – Jill

What or who inspires you? 

​Jules Vern, C.S.Lewis, F.Hodgson Burnett, Emily Bronty, Enid Blyton, Diana Gabaldon.​

Have you ever won an award/grant? What was it for?

Do you belong to any professional organisations such as SCBWI, ASA, or State Writers’ Centres? Have they been helpful? 

 GCWA and SCBWI yes they have.

Have you participated in writing workshops as a student either in person or online? Which ones were memorable?


Do you belong to any Facebook groups that you’d like to recommend?

Do you run writing workshops? What do you include? 

We all know that would-be writers should read and write as much as possible – do you have any other advice?
 Always put your imagination down on paper, it is amazing how a story can unfold from just a simple thought!

Do you have an online presence? What works best for you? (please include any links here) ​Being a Children’s book illustrator I have my own Art website

Artist-Illustrator | Gold Coast | Jennifer Scicluna Art Scape I invite you to my world of Art, where you join me on a journey through the early that helped inspire and develop my passion through illustrations and painting. With my father being my rock. My versatility has expanded into Children’s book illustrating, Scenic painting and Pet portraits. I welcome your queries and feedback. Jennifer 🙂

and a Facebook Art page

Jennifer Scicluna Art Scape Jennifer Scicluna Art Scape.
Children’s Book Illustrator, Fine Art

That interview is a wonderful introduction to Jennifer’s talent. However, I feel I must add that Jennifer is being modest about her publications with other authors. As you can tell, she not only created wonderful illustrations for their books but helped promote them too.

I’m still reworking this site, keep in touch with The Ten Penners on our journey to create ‘Backyard Beasts and Curious Capers’. Have a wonderful day! – Jill

Magic · The Ten Penners

Meet the Author/Illustrator Jennifer Scicluna…

Jennifer Scicluna is a newer member of The Ten Penners. We’re delighted to have her join us with her creative stories and artwork. She has agreed to the cover of our next anthology ‘Backyard Beasts and Curious Capers’.

Jennifer Scicluna Art Space Logo

A contemporary and fine art artist, Jennifer’s love of art was inspired by her father’s influence. Her passion to draw and paint grew with every moment spent with a sketchbook in hand, drawing at every opportunity she had. Over the years learning various techniques that developed into a love for nature, animals, and life.
With a career in Architecture Jennifer’s attention to detail was evident as she advanced through painting in various mediums and teaching art to others.

 A mother to three sons, incorporating her love of adventure and mystical books, she also enjoyed writing short stories for her boys but never pursued this part of her creative side, until now!


In 2016 an unexpected turn of events led her to collaborate with two accomplished Children’s chapter book authors, as their illustrator. Presenting a whole new world as it began to unfold within the years that followed.

A completely new adventure began for this now grandmother when she became a member of the Gold Coast Writers Association, and one of our Ten Penners.
Enabling her to incorporate and pursue her two passions, illustrating and writing her own short stories.

Follow Jennifer and her story on her website:-

Jennifer self-portrait

More tomorrow blog following friends. – Jill

Magic · The Ten Penners

Interview with Marion Martineer

Marion Martineer has been a long time member of The Ten Penners, back in the ‘Shock, Horror, Gasp’ days when Maria O’Donnell was co-ordinator more than sixteen years ago. Then for the following period until January 2022 Marion guided our group through monthly meetings, learning and growing our writing skills, we published two further anthologies under her guidance:- Fan-Tas-Tic-al Tales in 2009 and Mystery, Mayhem & Magic in 2017. Marion was pivotal in ensuring we also visited several schools to present our anthologies and sold copies of both these anthologies when we showcased our books.

Q 1         When did you start writing?

             At various times throughout my life, I aspired to write stories but life got in the way. It was in the early 2000s that my husband encouraged me to give it a go and I found it a wonderful release like I had so many stories inside my head wanting to be out and enjoyed.

Q 2        What are you currently reading?   Nevermore! It’s very good so far.

Q 3       Have you travelled widely? 

I have been to New Zealand, Tokyo Japan, Italy, Paris, and a very quick visit to London. I really hope to get back and travel around the United Kingdom one day.

Q 4       What are your favourite books/genres to read/write in?

I love reading anything from children to crime, with a sprinkle of sci-fi in between! My all-time favourite though is Peter Pan!

Q 5        Do you write mainly for children, or have you written for adults? Both. However, a romance I started many years ago, keeps getting put away. Never to be seen.

Marion Mystery, Mayhem & Magic signing

Q 6       Do you derive inspiration from your own family/friends? Possibly. I have always liked Jackie French’s interpretation of character building as a “composting” of traits from many you know or meet. Her analogy comes from her love of gardening but when I met her at the Sommerset Literary Festival years ago and told her I loved her composting idea, she cringed at the thought! Her book ‘How the Aliens from Alpha Centauri Invaded My Maths Class and Turned Me Into a Writer…and How You Can Be One Too’ was written to help children with their writing. I love her humour.

Q 7      Have you created characters based on people you know? Shhh, hmmm, maybe… Yeah, maybe just a little bit.

Q 8    Do you feel writing and being a member of The Ten Penners helps you push your writing to a new level?  Yes, absolutely! I always strive to do something new, and I love to be able to get together with like-minded friends to bump ideas and have them give me critiques. It keeps one sharp and there is always something to learn. Plus, in creating children’s stories, we always end up having a good laugh!

Marion school visit Burleigh Heads Primary school, with PLINKO

Q 9    Do you think of the setting as a character or just a background to your story?  Hmm, interesting question. I wouldn’t call it a character and it’s not just a background. It’s like “feeling the force” as Master Obi-Wan would say. A writer needs to tap into the readers’ five senses; touch, smell, hearing, sight, and taste. Creating an original ambience that ties everything together and intrigues the reader.

Q 10    What writing groups do you belong to? Gold Coast Writers Association and SCWBI, (Society of Children’s Writers and Book Illustrators).

More interviews to follow. Happy reading and writing friends. I hope you are enjoying the blog revamp so far. – Jill

Children's story writers · The Ten Penners

Interview with Julie Baythorpe…

Julie Baythorpe 2022

Jill Smith’s Interview with Julie Baythorpe…Member of The Ten Penners and author of The Reid Devron Murder Mysteries series: The Lavender Principal, Silo Deadfall and Under the Fig Tree. She’s also published a collection of short stories Ballyhoo and Babble – Tales of Fright and Delight.

Julie is a former school teacher and primary school principal for small outback schools. Many of the Reid Devron ideas came to her from working in remote education facilities where the school principal is the master of all trades and occasionally a private investigator.

She is now retired and living with family nearby on the Southern Gold Coast after being widowed.

I adore her writing style and appreciate her stories. Look out for her contributions in the new children’s stories anthology Backyard Beasts and Curious Capers being launched in October this year.

When did you start writing? When I was first able … about 5 years old

What are you currently reading? Just emails and Lisa Wilkinson’s ‘It Wasn’t Meant to be Like This.’

Have you travelled widely? Yes … all over Australia and the UK and Europe

Who is your favourite author? My favourite authors include; Michael Connelly, Harlan Coben and James Patterson.

Julie Baythorpe

Which are your favourite movies? ‘In the Name of the Father’ and ‘The Shiralee’ starring Peter Finch

What are your favourite books/genres to read/write in? I enjoy writing murder mysteries and children’s stories.

Do you write mainly for children, or have you written for adults? I have written for adults, but primarily I write for children.

Do you derive inspiration from your own family and friends? Absolutely.

Have you created characters based on people you know? Always.

Julie biopic

How do you introduce drama or conflict into your stories? Imagine and set up a problem eg. Theft, affair, murder, catastrophe etc.

Do you feel writing and being a member of The Ten Penners helps you push your writing to a new level? Always.

Do you think of the setting as a character or just a background to your story? Yes is a vital ingredient in the story.

The Book Launch for The Ten Penners Backyard Beasts and Curious Capers is scheduled for the October meeting of the Gold Coast Writers Association.

More members’ interviews will follow.

Happy reading, writing, and being creative. – Jill

The Ten Penners

Interview Questions…

I’m currently updating The Ten Penners blog and have asked our current members to update interviews completed in 2011.

our logo

Now, I think it would be better if I start from scratch, and ask a basic twelve questions for them to complete. We are tracking towards launching our new anthology ‘Backyard Beasts & Curious Capers’ in October.

I’m also requiring an updated Biography for each author and a picture to match.

These are my new questions.

Q 1         When did you start writing?

Q 2        What are you currently reading?

Q 3       Have you travelled widely?

Q 4        Who is your favourite author/authors?

Q 5       What are your favourite books/genres to read/write in?

Q 6        Do you write mainly for children, or have you written for adults?

Q 7        Do you derive inspiration from your own family/friends?

Q 8      Have you created characters based on people you know?

Q 9      How do you introduce drama or conflict into your stories?

Q 10    Do you feel writing and being a member of The Ten Penners helps you push your writing to a new level?

Q 11    Do you think of the setting as a character or just a background to your story?

Q 12    What writing groups do you belong to?

The Ten Penners – previous anthologies

Would you like to send your answers to me so that I can post them on this blog?

Please, don’t be shy, I’d love to know more about our blog followers. You can email me at, or simply post a response at the bottom of this post. Otherwise, I have a contact tab you can use.

We’re getting excited, and I hope you are too. – Jill Smith, coordinator

Magic · The Ten Penners

The Ten Penners announce…

The Ten Penners wish to announce the title of our next anthology, drum roll please, ‘Backyard Beasts and Curious Capers’. This book will be launched at the October meeting of The Gold Coast Writers Association meeting.

Shock, Horror, Gasp book launch
previous members of the Ten Penners

We have a selection of humourous magical characters, including witches, fairies, dragons, and family togetherness tested to the limits.

We hope you can join us for this launch in October. Meanwhile, pre-orders are available by contacting me by email at Alternatively, by commenting on my ‘Comment’ tab, or by the post comment below this blog post.

our previous anthologies
our logo

We look forward to your pre-order and our launch.

Happy reading, writing, editing (which is an ongoing process) and enjoying life.

Jill Smith, Co-ordinator of The Ten Penners, a subgroup of Gold Coast Writers Assoc.

Magic · The Ten Penners

The Ten Penners meeting today…

We had a lovely meeting with two new members potentially. It was a wonderful chance to see where we’re up to with our stories for the new anthology.

I read one of my stories from the 12 Days of Christmas Writing prompts and suggested our new members write stories for one of these stories to cut their teeth on the process.

We are now booked in for the launch of our book at the October meeting of the Gold Coast Writers.

I brought up our Ten Penners WordPress page and asked about what we need to change or update.

I also suggested we get new profile pictures, especially for the newer members, Michelle Calder and Jennifer Scicluna. If our two participants who came today join Gold Coast Writers and feel comfortable writing two stories, we’ll have more members to add to our pages.

We’re getting our stories into shape and getting excited about our new book.

The Ten Penners March 2022

Happy reading and writing everyone. Tomorrow is our game day and I’m not sure I’ll be able to do much writing, reading or editing then. I and my family and friends will be eating, giggling, gaming and laughing. Catch up soon everyone. – Jill

Children's story writers · Gold Coast Writers Association

Meet the Author

Hi dear readers,

I am updating The Ten Penners WordPress Pages. I have interviews with most of our group and thought this is a good way to get to showcase who we all are. I’ll start with me and continue with Marion, and our other members until we all have shared our writing visions. – Jill

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Jill Smith 2021

Jill Smith

Co-ordinator from January 2022

When did you know that you were a writer?

When I was young I wrote in my diary every day. I wrote poetry that was really prose. In my teen years, I thought I should give it a go, but lacked confidence. It wasn’t until I was married, with a toddler, that I decided to put pen to paper. I’ve never really stopped since.

When did you first read your writing aloud or give it to someone to read and what was their reaction? How did it impact did it have on you?
To my mum when I was starting out writing. I felt shy and nervous but excited. Later I’ve read my stories to The Ten Penners or at Gold Coast Writers when doing a creative writing exercise. I have read stories on the podium at GCW also when showcasing my stories.

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Reading from Spooktacular Stories

What and when was your first acceptance? How did you feel?
Firstly, when I had an ebook publisher tell me my book was worth getting out there. I was thrilled but still needed to develop and edit the book to make it more saleable.

What is your favourite genre to write? Why?
 I write Science Fiction / Science Fantasy because it’s what I love reading. Anne McCaffrey is a favourite fantasy author and as a teenager, I would be lost in the Dragon world of Pern. I also love YA books so gravitated towards writing for children when I joined The Ten Penners.

How long have you been writing? And what have you written?
For most of my life. It’s as important to me as breathing. I now write every day, usually a blog post. Blogging is fun. I’d like to become more financially successful, however.

Of your own work – do you have a favourite? Why is it your favourite?
That’s tough. Dual Visions is my first book and I’ve just finished a re-write to clean up the timeline. The second book which follows is Vashla’s World, these are now books 1 and 2 of The Ancient Alien Series and I’ve completed a draft and re-edited manuscript of the third book during November 2021 for NaNoWriMo. This book will be published soon during 2022 is my goal.

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Dual Visions, Vashla’s World books

I do love the stories I’ve written in Fan-tas-tic-al Tales, and Mystery, Mayhem and Magic and am very proud of The Ten Penners anthologies.

I’m also re-editing MicroWorld a Young Adults SciFi which is probably my favourite at the moment.

What is your favourite genre to read? Why?
 Young Adults, Science Fiction/Fantasy, lately the odd murder mystery. Timeshift stories like Outlander. Anne McCaffrey is my favourite author, other than J K Rowling on the international front. Local authors have always been my focus. I like Australia’s Wilbur Smith in the charming Peter Watt. His books are great. I read all genres and rarely find a book I give up on.

Did/do you have any writing heroes or mentors?
 Yes, my writing mentor in the recent past, is Robyn Lee Burrows. She is a friend who is generous with her time. Now, we’ve moved on and I see less of her. I still appreciate the input she’s given me as a writer. The other members of The Ten Penners are all mentors to me as we share our writing journey and increase our creative output.

How do they encourage you?
While reading my work, Robyn has pointed out little things that make a huge difference in the final story. This has led me to be more conscious of my bad writing habits (get rid of got). To be more critical of the story plot, to use for shadowing, and to be willing to accept other people’s critiques. I also learned a lot from Michelle Worthington during her Facebook challenge.

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Spooktacular stories cover

Do you mentor others? What do you do?
Not yet. I’ve thought about it but am still shy of the process.

Do you write full time? If not what are your other jobs?
No, I work part-time as a volunteer, although, I’d love to be a full-time writer.

Have you ever won an award/s or been shortlisted? What was it for?
I’ve come places in a few little short story competitions when I first started with Gold Coast Writers and doing a TAFE Creative Writing course.

Have you ever been awarded a grant? How did it help you?
 No, but I might try that out.
Do you belong to any professional organisations? What are they and how do they help you?
 I am a member of Queensland Writers Centre, Gold Coast Writers Association and their sub-group ‘The Ten Penners.’ Along with many online writing groups, such as Michelle Worthingtons ‘Share Your Story’ group which helped me by getting a story in each of the anthologies ‘Spooktacular Stories’ and ‘Tell ’em Your Dreaming’. All these organisations have been instrumental in helping me develop my writing skills.

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Jill at Burleigh Heads Primary School visit

Do you participate in writing workshops as a student? Which ones were memorable? I completed a ‘Comprehensive Writing’ course by ‘Lifestyle Learning’ in 2008. The course pushed me out of my comfort zone and introduced me to looking for different ways of expanding my creative writing.

Do you run writing workshops? What do you include? How might you be contacted in relation to running workshops or for school visits?
No, I haven’t run a writing workshop. However, as a member of The Ten Penners, we have attended various schools and presented ourselves as authors to children of different age groups.
We all know that would-be writers should read and write as much as possible – do you have any other advice?
Follow your passion, don’t give up, no matter what anyone says.

How might people find you? Website, Blog, Facebook etc.

Jill Smith Aussie Author ABN 52274968221
author Dual Visions, Vashla’s World
co-author Fan-tas-tic-al Tales and Mystery, Mayhem & Magic by The Ten Penners

contributor to ‘Spooktacular Tales’ and ‘Tell ‘Em Your Dreaming’ by Share Your Story Group

Gold Coast Writers Member 259

More tomorrow blog followers. Thank you! Jill



a collective of children’s story writers
Cover by Lorraine Blomberg

The Ten Penners began when our adults writing for children support group from the Gold Coast Writers Association decided to produce an anthology in 2004. At that time the name was very appropriate since there were ten authors contributing to the book titled SHOCK! HORROR! GASP!

The authors in this anthology were Gloria and Malcolm Kearton, Maria O’Donnell (the original Coordinator of the group) Jill Ford, Anna Boucaut, Lindy Standage, Margaret Cornwell, Marion Martineer, Lorraine Blomberg and Robert Young.

2004 Ten Penners line up

I recall with a smile on my face the Gold Coast Writers meeting when this book was launched. All the authors dressed up as witches, and ghouls and danced to the steps devised by Anna Boucaut to the tune of ‘The Monster Mash’. It was a great success, the then Community room at Pacific Fair rocked and roared with laughter. The limited edition print run soon sold out. Sadly many of these authors are no longer with us.

After the successful launch of ‘Shock, Horror, Gasp, some members went on to present workshops for primary school students. We still met monthly to continue honing our skills, some moved on as new authors joined.

Fan-tas-tic-al Tales cover

In July 2008, we decided to produce another anthology. We worked on our stories and missed the initial deadline of November 2008 because we just had to be sure our stories were worthy of being published. Hence, after a short Christmas, break eight of us agreed on the new deadline of May 2009 and booked ourselves in for the launch date.

The Ten Penners 2009 lineup

FAN-TAS-TIC-AL TALES was officially born in May 2009 and we have been proudly selling them since. Jam-packed with 34 short stories, poems and three novellas!

FAN-TAS-TIC-AL TALES was produced by (L-R) Lindy Standage, Yvette Coutts, Kate Pepper, Maria O’Donnell, Marion Martineer, Jill Smith, Lorraine Blomberg and Jill Ford.


2017 saw the launch of our latest anthology –

MMM cover

Mystery, Mayhem & Magic

with another lineup for the group.

Marion Martineer continues to be the lynchpin Coordinator, she and Lindy Standage have stories in all three anthologies, Kate Russell, Jill Smith, (with stories in two books) Julie Baythorpe (Plinko in the picture), Sharron Alexiou, Louisa Wright and Elli Housden are our newest members.


We started this year with a change in Coordinator, Marion has stepped down after sixteen years in the role and Jill Smith has taken over the reins. During the last disrupted year of venue changes, member changes and COVID restrictions, we began plans for our next anthology. ‘Backyard Stories’ is planned to be released later this year with the launch scheduled for October. We are now meeting regularly at Helensvale Library where we are working on creating a cracking anthology for children ten-year-olds and up.

Our lineup has changed again; Jill Smith, Marion Martineer, Kate Russell, Michelle Calder, Jennifer Scicluna (our talented new member from 2019), and returning albeit remotely is Lindy Standage (for her fourth anthology), Julie Baythorp, and Elli Housden, so again we will have eight ladies contributing. We will continue to be called ‘The Ten Penners’ as the group is well known by that name however many members are part of the group.

More updates on the new ‘Backyard Stories’ anthology soon. – Jill


Bye Marion, Hello Jill…

Marion (me) is stepping aside and we welcome Jill stepping up as co-ordinator for The Ten Penners. I will still be a member of The Ten Penners. After all, I have been in the group for such a long time it’s like my second family! I had been co-ordinator for our Gold Coast Writers’ Association (GCWA) subgroup since 2005 and was long overdue for a rest from the position. Jill Smith, is going to be a wonderful asset to our group as co-ordinator, bringing lots of fresh ideas. Jill has been a fantastic help to me over the last few years and I look forward to being a good support for her too as she transitions into the role. We have another anthology in the pipeline and looking forward to introducing some new members too. So please join me in welcoming our new coordinator JIll Smith.

Marion and Jill
Children's story writers · The Ten Penners

Farewell 2019 – Happy New Year 2020

December  2019, as you can see, we had a wonderful final meeting for the year.

This year after celebrating the commencement of another start to a year of creativity we took on Melissa Gijsbers is the 12 days of Christmas challenge – Day 1 25th December 2019 and the 12th day ending on 5th January 2002. We had a lovely catch up.

The Day 3 prompt was – ‘A Christmas card arrives in the mail addressed to you. The handwriting is beautiful cursive that belongs to another era, and the postmark is from December 191? – Who sent it to you and why?’

We all did a ten-minute exercise. It was great fun.

Happy New Year everyone. – Jill



The Ten Penners 2019

Last Saturday I joined my fellow members of The Ten Penners at Broadbeach Library to talk about writing. Me winning a competition with the result of a new anthology being produced with my story in it. Yay! 

We shared some stories and enjoyed seeing Jennifer’s illustrations. Unfortunately, Sharron left just before we took this picture and Michelle was home with a cold. However, this is proof that after many years of the group being eight or less it is now really ten! 

Always a joy to talk about writing stories for children. – Jill

adventure · Children's story writers · Mystery, Mayhem & Magic

More Magic Happening

I’ve been delighted to be in contact with a lovely author and illustrator from Philly in the US. I’ve reviewed three of her picture books and in return, she’s been kind enough to review my novella in our book Mystery, Mayhem & Magic!

The Real Deal
by Jill Smith

Nobody believes Jimmy when he says he can fly. Nobody, but his neighbour Aimee. They have to wear onesies when they fly because regular clothes don’t stay closed. They’ve got a bully at their school. And a tattle-tale maintenance-man, who happens to be the bully’s uncle. Jimmy and Aimee want to keep their flying a secret. But they might have been seen. The government has been alerted. The school principal is involved. And the maintenance-man says he has evidence. Our flying duo must use all their skills to remain free to fly.

Jimmy fancies himself an inventor. So, of course, he invents a flying machine. And he gives one to his neighbour Aimee. But hers only works when he holds her hand. Which is fun in a boyfriend-girlfriend kind of way. They have plans. Their plans go awry. They try again. And learn as they go. This sweet adventure brings their families and friendship closer while hinting at a perilous future. I expect more stories will give us the further adventures of Jimmy and Aimee and their families.

— Lois Wickstrom

– Jill Smith


Increasing literacy

I was so excited to get to Big W this morning to pick up the first free mini book that they are giving away. Sponsored with Scholastic this is so much more superior to plastic toy collections that get outgrown so quickly. Big W free books for kids  

I hadn’t read Hush Little Possum before but it is such a lovely early reader book that I highly recommend you pick up a copy very soon before they run out!


A new book will be coming out each week for 12 weeks. Lots of collecting to do!

View the full article and 12 weeks of book titles here .

Happy weekend reading – Marion


Evolving, the new members …

The Ten Penners are growing and evolving. We continue to write stories for children and now have input to our regular meetings by new members Michelle Calder and Jennifer Scicluna.

Jennifer joined us after we met at a Christmas dinner. She is an illustrator of children’s books. ‘Charlie the Cheeky Spider’ is written by Brian Dale and Charlie comes to life through Jennifer’s illustrations. She has joined us at our monthly meetings and attended Gold Coast Writers meetings with us also.

Michelle has been joining us at Gold Coast Writers meetings and contributing her editing skills. She writes middle grade stories and has been part of The Ten Penners contingent since last year.


Gold Coast Writers Association · Magic · Mystery, Mayhem & Magic · The Ten Penners

A year ago we launched Mystery, Mayhem & Magic

A year ago the Mystery, Mayhem & Magic blog tour

Already a year since the blog tour pre-launch of The Ten Penners latest anthology! So reposting the interview Candice did with me!

Chatting with author Jill Smith about Mystery, Mayhem and Magic!

Posted: October 17, 2017 in What’s New

Today I’m very excited to be interviewing author Jill Smith, who has nine stories, repeat nine (now is that talent or what?) in the new anthology by The Ten Penners, ‘Mystery, Mayhem and Magic.’ I already love the short stories by the Gold Coast writers The Ten Penners, but being a total fan and author of mystery, mayhem and magic myself I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to chat with Jill about this exciting anthology for young readers. I hope you enjoy learning more about Jill as much as I have!

MMM cover

First, a little bit of info about the anthology:

Mystery, Mayhem & Magic is an anthology of amazing adventures for young readers!

“Take a path through the forest of imagination into mysterious journeys filled with mayhem and a kaleidoscope of magical creatures.

2lorraine b drawing king ted.jpg

From the authors of “Shock! Horror! Gasp!” and “Fan-Tas-Tic-Al Tales”, “Mystery, Mayhem & Magic” is the new anthology written by the Ten Penners … Come and explore!”

The Ten Penners Logo by Starla





jill bio pic 2017 (1)

What kind of children’s stories did you write for Mystery, Mayhem & Magic?

I have nine stories in ‘Mystery, Mayhem & Magic.’ Six of these are about a little girl called Trinny who is three in the first adventure and just on five in last adventure, all based on two beautiful illustrations created by our dear friend and now passed former member Lorraine Blomberg who created the covers of The Ten Penners two previous books‘Shock, Horror, Gasp’ and ‘Fan-tas-tic-al Tales.’ I have two further stand-alone short stories in ‘Red Beard’s Treasure Hunt’ which is a follow-on episode of a story in Fan-tas-tic-al Tales called ‘The Night Witch’. Horseplay is the other and I wrote this for my granddaughters as they love horses. Finally, I wrote a novella called ‘The Real Deal’ about a boy who can fly.

How long have you been writing children’s stories?

I joined The Ten Penners in 2008 as a sub-group of Gold Coast Writers, firstly because they were closer than another sub-group The Southern Short Story Writers that I had been attending, and, because I wanted to push my writing in a direction I hadn’t been before. I’d never written children’s stories before that. So, I was pleased to be able to contribute six stories in the last anthology Fan-tas-tic-al Tales.

ten penners 3 booksWhat other writings have you done?

I have written two Science Fiction booksDual Visions and Vashla’s World which I aim to release on Amazon shortly. Dual Visions has been developed from an e-book with a very inexperienced edit through to a self-published book with Publicious and through to the current re-release after a rework with my writing mentor. I’ve also written a young adults science fiction manuscript called Microworld which will be my next publication project.

What have you had published and in what mediums?

I’m glad to say that I’ve read and reviewed many wonderful books by Australian authors for many years and been rewarded with copies of signed books by authors such as Peter Watt, Simon Higgins, Kim Wilkins, Michael Pryor, George Ivanoff, Colleen McCulloch, Darryl Greer, Lian Tanner, Kim Kane, Andy McDermott, Julie Baythorpe, Robyn Lee Burrows and many more. I also have a blog I showcase my book reviews, short stories and interviews with interesting authors. Many of my reviews are also published in online magazines such as Gold Coast Writers eWriteabout, Jackie Hoskings’ magazine PIO (Pass It On), which is circulated in schools around Australia. On occasions, The Reading Stack and Writing Queensland, a paper print magazine for Queensland Writers Centre, have also have published my reviews.

What is the hardest part of writing for you?MMM book launch ten penners includ plinko lindy

Editing and getting the story right. Being one of The Ten Penners, allows me to have my stories honestly critiqued, which always enhances a story. I’m also fortunate enough to have a writing mentor in my friend and multi-published author Robyn Lee Burrows who gives her time willingly to have me read and rework my manuscripts.

Thanks for joining me on the blog Jill!


Jill Smith loves adventures and has nine stories in this book for youngsters and the young at heart. Now a grandmother to two beautiful girls creating stories for them gives her great joy. A long-term member of The Ten Penners, presenting our books in schools, writing book reviews and reading is a huge part of her busy life. For more about Jill, follow her on her blog: Jill Smith


Five week month…next meeting

As this is a five-week month The Ten Penners won’t be catching up this weekend but next on the 6th October. This gives us time to complete our homework and recover from the AFL Grandfinal that’s on this coming Saturday.

Plinko Heather cuddle

Luckily for Plinko, my granddaughters visited me this week and she was happy to cuddle our Mystery, Mayhem & Magic mascot.

We have more school visits in the pipeline.

So stay tuned!               _ Jill