Ten Penners Next Meeting Saturday 7th March

Whoops, it’s been a while since I put in a post.

I won a couple of great books by Aleesah Darlison, books 1 and 2 of her League of Llamas series. They are hilarious and a great inspiration for us as a group.

Book Review by Jill Smith©Mar20

Title: League of Llamas – The Golden Llama

Author: Aleesah Darlison

Illustrator: Simon Greiner

Publisher: Puffin Books / Penguin Random House Australia

Phillipe Llamar is LOL (League of Llamas) agent 0011. He’s handsome and has a magnificent head of beautiful hair and a fringe he constantly combs to dazzle everyone around. He also has a terrible memory. He’s at General Bottomburps’ party to steal some secrets. The General along with his Badger buddies are renowned for their potent very smelly bottom burps. He’s up to no good and Phillipe intends to find the evidence. With the aid of his sidekick Lloyd Llamanator, aka agent 0013, (who has a good memory), Phillipe breaks the General’s computer code and gets hold of the incriminating evidence. He burns this to a USB and swallows it to escape. Fortunately, they have a hidden Llamaborghini to drive away in.

They leave with more questions than answers. Such as: Who is the lovely lady llama in red? How are they going to get the USB out of Phillipe? The answer to this comes with the Turbo Llama Lax Incident (which needs to be read to understand the sheer hilarity). Mama Llama explains the USB shows that General Bottomburp has committed the utterly unthinkable crime of stealing The Golden Llama, (a symbol of the nation and the freedom for Llamas to spit.) Phillipe and Lloyd set out to recover the statue to avoid a spitting war by returning the statue to the Musee du Llama.

This Bond parody has all the elements kids love, such as farting and spitting together with lots of cleaver gadgets (that almost work) and dramatic twists and turns.

The illustrations by Simon Greiner of Phillipe in disguise, the lovely Lady Llama in red, the Llamaborghini and General Bottomburp, and the all-important League of Llamas logo to name a few, enhance the book. Particularly the very James Bond, (I’m a handsome Phillipe with gorgeous fringe on the front cover image), together with the Llama play on words which makes the whole book one ready to capture the imagination of youngsters worldwide.

I chortled through this book from the first sentence to the last. I look forward to reading the whole series including League of Llamas – Llama impossible, League of Llamas – Undercover Llamas and League of Llamas – Rogue Llama. Then I’ll be happy to pass these books onto my granddaughters to enjoy.

Book Review by Jill Smith©Mar20

Title: League of Llamas – Llama Impossible

Author: Aleesah Darlison

Illustrator: Simon Greiner

Publisher: Puffin Books / Penguin Random House Australia

Action-packed from the first sentence. A runaway train, an unconscious train driver, and speed building as the train hurtles through one station after another. Luckily Phillipe Llamar LOL (League of Llamas) agent 0011 is cruising overhead in his Llamaborghini and he decides to jump on board to stop the train. He jumps out landing on the roof of the train and is met by a gecko in singlet and jeans who has a resemblance to Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Geckoson with freaky eyeball licking action. After a near-death experience Phillipe gets to the front of the train to save the day.

When he gets back to Mama Llama’s office eleven floors underneath Mount Killamanjaro he discovers there’s more trouble in New Llama City. The train brakes had been cut at the same time as a massive robbery. Mama Llama sends her top agents Phillipe and Lloyd to investigate. She’s also sending Agent 0077 with them, Elloise is the Llama in red. They all go to the bank to see what happened. Phillipe and Lloyd cause a mess while investigating, (this is another laugh out loud moment among many in the book). Mama Llama gets an emergency call from the New Llama City Fire Chief. A fire had been deliberately lit. Were all these things coincidences?

All the evidence from the speeding train, bank robbery and dazzling diamond heist points to General Bottomburp. Is this a setup? At the bank, they meet Mr Itchee Kneebone, a property developer and fine art collector. This plump guinea pig was making sure his money was safe. He also invites them to his home to give them information. Bottomburp had gone into hiding, Kneebone tells Phillipe they might find him in Papua New Guinea Pig. On the island, they are captured and put in a pot by guinea pigs. Captain Archie the leader told them they weren’t vegetarians. Itchee Kneebone arrives and scolds his brother Archie and they are released. Phillipe finds Bottomburp and he goes to talk to the villain. He says he’s innocent and that he has bodyguards coming. They must rethink what’s been happening. Could a cuddly, kindly guinea pig with money and a mansion, be the real culprit? When all three agents work together, they discover the truth.

This is the second book in Aleesah Darlison’s League of Llamas series. And equally hilarious as the first with her play on words and crazy Llama antics. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series and then deliver them to my granddaughters to enjoy.

  • Jill


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

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.


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




Surfers Paradise State School visit

Crazy bookmarks workshopBook week still continues as today, Jill and I made a visit to Surfers Paradise State School, for a mini workshop with some of the kids. We had a fun and made crazy bookmarks but ran out of time to take photo’s of the kids creations. These are a couple of my example ones. You can make them into many different faces, animals of all sorts, or stick a moustache on for fathers day, maybe a Dracula or witch for Halloween. The sky is the limit. Give it a try!

Many thanks to the principal De Parker for having us and librarian aide Gayle Borodin, who presented us with a lovely certificate! Pictured here with Jill and I.

Surfers Paradise State School visit

Now we are looking forward to seeing what the kids come up with for the colouring in competition. One lucky, artistic child will win a copy of our book, Mystery, Mayhem & Magic!

Have a beautiful creative week – Marion 🙂


The Ten Penners out and about…

burleigh-heads-ss-MarionThe Ten Penners represented by Marion and Jill will be at Surfers Paradise State School on the 27th August.

We’re looking forward to again presenting our books and having a bookmark making exercise with an engaged audience of children.

Burleigh-heads-ss Jill

It should be another fun day!

We’ll be taking some friends with us to explain where we get ideas from for our characters.

Here’s Red Beard


Red Beard

Our get together in August.

Our meeting last Saturday was great. We had a new face join us. Michelle, who is very talented. And she seems keen to join us which is great. Also Vincent joined us for a second time and we are hoping he will stick around too. I love it when we have some new voices, it makes life even more fun!

August meeting 01
The Ten Penners – Aug 2018

We did a 10 minute creative on the Coles Collectables (are you collecting them?).  There were some fun angles in the stories which had us in fits of laughter!

Jill and I are making plans for our forthcoming Surfers Paradise State School mini workshop at the end of the month. We will be talking about our stories and we’re going to have a craft session making funny face bookmarks!

Have a creative weekend!




Our June meeting at Broadbeach library was fun as always. We had a visitor, Vincent, who is quite a talented wordsmith. We had a fun ten minute creative exercise on this little cottage…

little cottage

It always amazes me, how many variations of prose we get from everyone. I think this is one of the reasons we have so much fun in our group, as we are entertained by our different stories.

Why not give yourself a challenge and see what you can make up within the ten minutes? We would love to hear your creations 🙂

Also, I want to do a quick recap from our Burleigh Heads State School visit that Jill and I did on the 2nd May. We read some of our stories from Mystery, Mayhem and Magic, which you can buy through our link here or from Big B Books at Burleigh Heads or Bookface at Pacific Fair (we are in the local author section).

Here are some more photo’s from my collection.

Special Thanks to Janina for organising our visit. And thanks to the children who came to see us and made our day special. – Have a great weekend, Marion.

Burleigh Heads SS MarionBurleigh Heads SS JillBurleigh Heads SS Janina Marion & Jill


Plinko colouring comptetion Winner…

Plinko bedtimeOn the 2nd May, Marion and Jill went to Burleigh Heads Primary School and were delighted to be able to share our experience of being part of a group writing for children with such inquisitive minds. They asked great questions and were happy to see Plinko sitting in the corner of the room on the day.

Jenna 8 BHPS Plinko colouring comp winnerWe offered the students the opportunity to win a copy of our latest anthology through a colouring competition.

After Plinko took a look at all the entries, although she was flattered with all the very beautiful entries, this was her favourite.

Jenna aged 8 will be receiving a copy of Mystery, Mayhem & Magic from The Ten Penners.

Special thanks to Janina and all the wonderful support staff at Burleigh Heads Primary School for making the day a magical memory.   – Jill


PLINKO has arrived …

PLINKO 1May18Plinko has been preened and fixed up to look her beautiful best for The Ten Penners visit to Burleigh Heads Primary school tomorrow.

Marion and I will be talking to three different groups of children and we hope they’ll love PLINKO as much as we do.

Julie Baythorpe created PLINKO in two stories between the covers of The Ten Penners latest anthology Mystery, Mayhem & Magic. There will be a colouring competition and prizes for those children who answer our questions correctly. _ Jill

The Ten Penners next school visit…

PLINKO needing repairAs a member of The Ten Penners adults writing for children subgroup of Gold Coast Writers, we’ve been planning more school visits. We launched our children’s anthology called Mystery, Mayhem & Magic last year. Our next school visit is next Wednesday to Burleigh Heads Primary School.patched up PLINKO ears fixed

The day will be made more joyous with the presence of our mascot PLINKO. One of our members Julie created the PLINKO stories and her paper mache version of her little alien. She wore it to our book launch. I’m now resurrecting a slightly battered head and putting it on a stand with the clothes she wore, this mascot will stand at the front of the classroom when we do school visits. Above is broken PLINKO and right is patched PLINKO with straight ears.

I’ll be posting more about our school visit next week, and keeping you up to date on other schools we’ll be attending.   – Jill

The Ten Penners meet today…

ten penners school visit Oct17Onwards and upwards, today IS the first day of the rest of my life! There is life after 20 employment in one place. Watch out world, I’m on my way. The Ten Penners meet today and I’ve done my homework for March and April, taking a short story I wrote for a competition I entered recently. I’ve put together a pitch for my book that I’m working on for Camp NaNoWriMo this month. The sky’s the limit! Cheers all my friends.

_ Jill

More of The Ten Penners school visit 2017…

Hi friends and followers,

Just a heads up that this year The Ten Penners plan to do as many school visits as we can. The invitations have been sent and we have one already accepted, although the time and date is yet to be confirmed.

Here are a few more YouTube videos of our visit to St Joseph’s at Bracken Ridge, October 2017. Our book signing night and Jill’s talk.

I’ll post more during the week – Jill