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Cover reveal…Mystery, Mayhem & Magic

MMM cover

The Ten Penners meeting today was another productive one.

We heard the last of the Kai stories by Kate Russell. These tales are sure to have kids enjoying the rib tickling antics of this young man!

We had a professional headshot taken with a proper camera and discussed upcoming promotion of the new book Mystery, Mayhem & Magic.

And now, drum roll….. The Cover Reveal!! Thanks to Starla Martineer for the cover design and photography!

Mystery, Mayhem & Magic…

in progress…

The Ten Penners Aug17 meetingToday’s meeting of The Ten Penners was inspiring, full of discussion about covers and promoting our book with media kits, social media, and marketing.

We brainstormed possible ideas for our synopsis/blurb.

This is what I came up with. Not the best of the bunch but it’s a start.

Mystery, Mayhem & Magic is an anthology of stories and more by the creative adults writing for children’s group The Ten Penners, following on from their previous books ‘Shock, Horror, Gasp’ and ‘Fan-tas-tic-al Tales’. Adventures abound with pirates, spiders, aliens, dragons, witches, a boy who can fly, a baby with attitude, a magical teddy bear and much more in virtual worlds. Take the path through the forest of imagination. Come and explore!

Here is our new logo

The Ten Penners Logo by Starla


Reading is what inspires writers…

While Mystery, Mayhem & Magic is in its edit and polishing stage we are continuing to learn and grow our writing craft.

After our whirlwind trip overseas I returned to catch up on my reading.

when the lyrebird calls coverWithin four days I’d read two books, the first ‘When the Lyrebird Calls’ by Kim Kane.

I’d put this book on Goodreads before going on holiday kim kane bio picand read it in two days on our return. That means it grabbed me from the start and was a real page turner.

After seeing Kim Kane at Somerset Literature Festival earlier this year, I was intrigued to see how her detailed research would help the book evolve. I was delighted to see how the history of pre-Federation Australia wound its way into this time slip story.

carole wilkinson bio picTwo days later I’d read ‘Dragonkeeper’ by Carole Dragonkeeper coverWilkinson.

This is an amazing book that I thoroughly enjoyed.

A slave girl without a name learns how to look after a dragon and discovers her own inner strength and abilities. Ancient China, Han Dynasty comes alive within these pages.

This is a series I will need to complete, and soon.

Mini Meeting – Mystery, Mayhem & Magic

The Ten Penners mini meeting May17What a wonderful Ten Penners meeting we had at my place this morning! We are all excited about how our book is coming along. Even had a glimpse of the possible cover picture.
Now, I can’t wait for our regular meeting next week to see everyone again and see what’s progressed. Marion 😀
#thetenpenners #anthology #childrensbook#children #adventurestories #thespooksleuths#mysteriesmayhemmagic #adventure #kidlit#kidsstories #childrenswriting #writingforchildren

Mystery, Mayhem & Magic underway…

Covers The Ten PennersSerious editing and finishing is at hand this weekend by the whole team.

I’m loving our communication and can’t wait to see the group next weekend to see and feel how we are progressing. Lots of positive vibes happening!

Our adventure book Mystery Mayhem & Magic is going to be awesome! I can’t wait to see what the cover may be!

Marion 🙂


Petal and the Easter Bunny …part two

PetalFor those who read the first half of Jill Ford’s PETAL AND THE EASTER BUNNY STORY that I posted yesterday, here is the second half that appeared in The Ten Penners book ‘Fan-tas-tic-al Tales’.

Happy Easter again!


‘I’m trying to,’ snapped Petal. ‘But you are making it very difficult Hannah Elizabeth. Now, where was I?’

‘You had just eaten all the eggs.’

‘So I had. Well, I had to do something and fast, before Mrs Bunny found out. I was a very sorry little dragon let me tell you, and I had a nasty tummy ache.’

‘It was all those Easter eggs,’ said Hannah.

‘I suppose. What I did then, was a bit naughty, but I was very young and I was terrified of Mrs Bunny. She gets so hopping mad over the littlest things. I collected up all the egg wrappers and flattened them out, nice and smooth again. Then I went down to the river. There are always a lot of nice round stones along the riverbank. We have stone skipping competitions there. It’s lots of fun. If you are very nice to me, Hannah Elizabeth, I might take you one day.’

‘Get on with the story, Petal. I want to know what happened!’

‘When I got to the river, Prince Velvet was skipping stones. Only back then, he was just a grubby little boy who hadn’t learnt to blow his nose properly. He hadn’t been taught how to be a Prince. He only wore a toy wooden sword around his waist. We were best friends until we were put into the book.’

‘I suppose it was hard to stay friends, once you had to start fighting,’ said Hannah sympathetically.

‘We are still friends, but it isn’t easy. And it isn’t fair that I get to be killed at the end of the story all the time. I don’t see why we can’t take turns.’

Hannah giggled and leant over and patted Petal’s knee. ‘You die so beautifully Petal,’ she said, ‘I’m sure Prince Velvet could never die as well.’

‘It takes talent,’ Petal boasted. ‘Anyway, I told Snotty, that’s what I call Prince Velvet, what I had done and he agreed to help me. He’d been spanked by Mrs Bunny a few times himself and he was frightened of her too.’

Snotty. Oh gross.’ Hannah wrinkled up her nose in disgust.

‘I told you, Prince Velvet didn’t know how to wipe his nose properly and you promised to be quiet, remember? Mrs Bunny had made herself responsible for bringing up all us kids in Storybook Land properly.’

‘She didn’t do a very good job with you, did she?’ Hannah said. Petal threw an egg at her. He snorted and flames shot out of his nostrils. Hannah’s teddy bear burst into flames. Hannah smothered the flames with her pillow. She knew there was not any real danger because Petal’s flames did not burn. ‘I think I’ll be a firefighter when I grow up. I’m getting a lot of practice putting out fires,’ she said.

Petal ignored her. ‘Snotty and I collected a lot of pebbles and wrapped them up and put them back in the basket.’easter bunny and eggs

‘That was very naughty.’

‘I know, but you would understand if you knew Mrs Bunny. Snotty and I made such a good job of wrapping the pebbles, that no one noticed the difference. The next morning Carrots and I started out to deliver the Easter Eggs. We left earlier than usual because poor old Carrots was on crutches. Mrs Bunny waved us goodbye. She had packed us a huge picnic basket full of yummy things to eat. We put the hamper in Carrots’ hand-wagon, with the basket of eggs. By then, I was feeling really bad about what I’d done, but I didn’t know what to do about it.’

‘Petal, what you did was really mean,’ said Hannah.

‘I know, I know. I knew dear old Carrots would get the blame and he would probably lose his job as the Easter Bunny. I wanted to confess, but if I did Mrs Bunny would have spanked me. I got a headache in my tummy.’

‘That was your conscience getting to you,’ said Hannah wisely.

‘Don’t I know it? It’s always there waiting to spoil a dragon’s fun. Carrots noticed something was wrong. Then, like the big baby, I really was, I broke down and confessed. I cried all over him.’

‘Goodness Petal, you could have drowned him,’ Hannah joked.

Petal ignored that.

‘Carrots never said a word, he just looked at me sadly. I would have felt better if he smacked me hard. “Are you truly sorry Petal?” he asked me.

‘Oh yes,’ I cried. ‘I never meant to be so naughty.’

“That’s all right then,” he said smiling at me. “Do you see that Green Easter Egg, sitting on the top of the pile? That’s yours. Why don’t you eat it now Petal?”

Oh no! He wanted you to swallow a stone,’ Hannah gasped.

‘That’s what I thought. “Open your egg Petal,” he insisted. So I did, and do you know something, Hannah? It was chocolate. Thick creamy milk chocolate.

Hannah clapped her hands and cheered.

‘Carrots knew what I had done almost right away.’

basket of easter eggs“I’m glad you confessed Petal,” he said to me. “If you hadn’t, Easter magic wouldn’t have been able to work and there would have been a lot of disappointed girls and boys, unwrapping river pebbles.”

‘It pays to own up when you do something naughty,’ said Hannah.

‘Anyway, we delivered all the eggs. It was amazing. Every time we got down to the last egg in the basket, abracadabra, the basket would fill itself up again, and that’s how I saved Easter.’

‘But Petal, if you hadn’t been a piggy, Easter wouldn’t have had to be saved.’

Petal glared at her. ‘That’s the very last time I’ll tell you a story, Hannah Elizabeth.’

‘I’m sorry, but it’s the truth. Do you want this last egg?’

‘Let’s have half each,’ said Petal licking his lips.

Happy Easter from The Ten Penners…

Happy Easter to all our readers, followers and friends. Travel safe and enjoy your holiday.

I’m putting in an excerpt from Fan-tas-tic-al Tales, it’s one of Jill Ford’s contributions to the book. Petal and the Easter Bunny.

easter bunny and eggsPETAL AND THE EASTER BUNNY


From Fan-tas-tic-al Tales

Hannah Elizabeth and Petal were eating Easter Eggs. The little girl sat cross-legged on her bed and Petal sat on the floor. He took up all the space in Hannah’s bedroom.

‘Where’s my egg wrapped in the pink paper with the silver stars?’ asked Hannah.

‘Oh, was that your egg? So sorry,’ Petal said with his mouth full of chocolate.

‘You are a piggy. I was saving that egg for tomorrow.’

Petal shifted himself to a more comfortable position. The whole room shook and a large piece of plaster fell from the ceiling. Petal brushed the bits that had fallen over him onto the floor.

‘I just love the Easter Bunny,’ said Hannah, popping another piece of chocolate into her mouth.

‘I helped the Easter Bunny deliver eggs once,’ said Petal yawning.

‘You didn’t!’ said Hannah amazed.

‘You don’t believe me, do you? Just because I’m not cute, soft or cuddly. You’ve really hurt my feelings, Hannah Elizabeth.’

‘I’m sorry, but are you sure you are not fibbing?’ said Hannah, licking her fingers.

Petal glared at her.

‘All right Petal. Why don’t you tell me all about it?’

‘It was a very long time ago. I was very young, a baby really. I was still green.’

‘Green?’ Hannah looked at her Dragon. He was dark grey with a pink chest.

‘I picked my own colours when I was two years old. Wizard Knowsthelot gave me tins of coloured polish and I rubbed the polish over my scales until I was the shade I wanted. Now, do you want to hear about the Easter Bunny or not, Hannah Elizabeth? Don’t you know it’s very rude to interrupt someone when they are trying to tell you something?’

‘Sorry. Well, go on. Tell me what happened, Petal.’

‘I’m trying to. Now let’s see. Where was I?’

‘You were green,’ said Hannah.

‘That’s right. I was still green. I was lying on the grass having a snooze when Carrots, that’s the Easter Bunny, hopped on top of me. I guess he didn’t see me. He’s very short sighted and…’

‘You were green at the time,’ Hannah interrupted.Petal

‘Well, I rolled over and squashed Carrots.’

‘You killed the Easter Bunny!’ Hannah cried out, shocked.

‘No, I just broke his leg and crushed a couple of his ribs. It was the week before Easter. He was in a terrible fix, so of course, I had to offer to help.’

‘Come on Petal. You never could help the Easter Bunny. You’d eat all the eggs,’ Hannah said laughing.

‘You are not going to be quiet, are you, Hannah Elizabeth?’ Petal said with a pout.

Hannah pretended to zipper her mouth shut. ‘I really would like to know what happened,’ she said. ‘I’m truly sorry Petal.’

‘All right then. I’ll give you one more chance,’ said Petal, who was bursting to tell Hannah his story.

‘Anyway, as it happened you are right. I only meant to sample one egg, but I ate the lot!’

‘I knew it,’ Hannah exclaimed shaking her head. ‘Oops,’ she clamped her hand over her mouth guiltily.

‘One more word and you’ll never know what happened. Not ever. So there, Hannah Elizabeth.’

‘I’m really very sorry Petal.’

‘So you should be. Well, I was very frightened. Carrots’ mother has a nasty temper. She would have spanked me if she found out what I’d done. She was already cross with me for injuring Carrots.’

‘How can a bunny spank a dragon? It doesn’t seem possible.’

‘Carrots’ mother would have found a way. Remember, I was only a baby back then.’

‘You still are,’ said Hannah sniggering.

‘That does it. I’m not telling you any more of the story.’

‘Please Petal. You know you’re bursting to tell me what happened. There’s still a serving of chocolate chip ice cream in the freezer. Mum said it’s mine. It’s yours Petal if you tell me what happened.’

‘I’m trying to,’ snapped Petal. ‘But you are making it very difficult Hannah Elizabeth. Now, where was I?’




the fix it man book launch

On Saturday 25th March after another inspirational meeting with my writing buddies in The Ten Penners, I went to see Dimity Powell launch her truly heartfelt book The FIX IT Man. To say it was a beautiful presentation is an understatement.

The time and effort Dimity and her supporters put into launching this book, matched by Nicky Johnstone’s superb illustrations. I did have a tear in my eye when I heard the story for the first time The Fix it Man book launch DPon the day. Who knew that facing grief and moving forward with life could so be put so succinctly in a children’s picture book? I love it. The FIX IT Man cover

The fact as Dimity explained briefly, that she and Nicky took eighteen months to complete this work only goes to show that beautiful books can be masterpieces in their own right. Well done ladies! You are a true inspiration to aspiring picture book authors and illustrators. And of course to groups like The Ten Penners who are striving to create entertaining and thought-provoking topical stories for children aged eight to twelve-year-olds.


Saturday 25th March

the fix it man book launch

On Saturday 25th March after another inspirational meeting with my writing buddies in The Ten Penners, I went to see Dimity Powell launch her truly heartfelt book The FIX IT Man. To say it was a beautiful presentation is an understatement.

The time and effort Dimity and her supporters put into launching this book, matched by Nicky Johnstone’s superb illustrations. I did have a tear in my eye when I heard the story for the first time The Fix it Man book launch DPon the day. Who knew that facing grief and moving forward with life could so be put so succinctly in a children’s picture book? I love it. The FIX IT Man cover

The fact as Dimity explained briefly, that she and Nicky took eighteen months to complete this work only goes to show that beautiful books can be masterpieces in their own right. Well done ladies! You are a true inspiration to aspiring picture book authors and illustrators. And of course to groups like The Ten Penners who are striving to create entertaining and thought-provoking topical stories for children aged eight to twelve-year-olds.

Inspiration for writing Somerset Celebration of Literature 2017!

Somerset Celebration of Literature 2017

I have managed to get one precious day to indulge in inspirational doses of new authors and books to talk about.

Lately, I’ve been writing quite a bit for The Ten Penners new Adventure anthology. I get huge doses of inspiration from the ladies in this group and from reading children’s stories and YA’s books. It’s always great to be able to see different writers I wouldn’t normally get to meet and hear about their journey into writing.

March is fast approaching and I’ve booked myself one full day of sessions, this is who I’ll be seeing on Wednesday 15th March.

newton-robert-bio-picRobert Newton works as a full-time firefighter with the Metropolitan Fire Brigade. His first novel, My Name is Will Thompson, was published in 2001. Since then he has written six other novels for young people, including Runner, The Black Dog Gang and When We Were Two, which won the 2012 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Young Adult Fiction.

His latest novel is Mr Romanov’s Garden in the Sky, published February 2017. He lives in Melbourne with his wife and three daughters.

The role of Professor Francesca Falconette, Harry Potter Enthusiast, is played by award-sunde-nadia-bio-picwinning children’s entertainer Nadia Sunde. Nadia Sunde is one of Australia’s most celebrated and highly acclaimed children’s theatre writers and performers.

An internationally and nationally awarded singer/songwriter she is also the author of two children’s books, an experienced music educator, actress, comedienne and ABC radio presenter. Nadia has written four children’s theatre shows and also works as a freelance creative consultant / producer / director / performer on adult and children’s theatre. Nadia uses her skills as a professional performer to engage children in a vibrant and interactive presentation, using drama and comedy to activate children’s imagination and creative curiosity.

kane-kim-bio-picKim Kane was born in London and went on to practise law. Her picture book, Family Forest, was shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Awards, and The Vegetable Arkand Esther’s Rainbow were both CBCA Notable Books.

Her junior fiction novel, Pip: The Story of Olive, won the Barbara Ramsden Award and was shortlisted for the Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA) and Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards. Kim lives with her family in Melbourne. She writes whenever and wherever she can.

Rachael Craw is the award-winning author of the YA speculative fiction trilogy Spark, Stray and Shield, with book one being recently optioned for the big screen by Miss Conception craw-rachael-bio-picFilms. Her early years studying drama developed her passion for snappy dialogue and vivid characterisation.

This, combined with her love of classical heroes, teen angst and popular culture, informs much of her creative process. Rachael writes, teaches and enjoys small town life at the sunny top of New Zealand’s South Island.

nicholas-soraya-bio-picAs a horse-crazy girl, Soraya Nicholas dreamt of owning her own pony and riding every day. There were plenty of adventures on horseback throughout her childhood, and lots of stories scribbled in notebooks, which eventually became inspiration for Soraya’s very own pony series, Starlight Stables.

Soraya lives with her husband and children on a small farm in New Zealand, surrounded by four-legged friends and still vividly recalling what it felt like to be 10 years old and head over heels in love with horses. The Starlight Stables series includes Pony Detectives, Gymkhana Hijinks, Bush Bolts and Saving Starlight.

I’m looking forward to writing a blog post about the day!

The Ten Penners meeting today!

ten-penners-feb-17-full-picWe had a very inspirational meeting today!

I loved the new stories, poems and series ideas. Now we just need to get our thinking caps on to come up with a perfect title for our new anthology.

The suggestions so far are:

Adventures, Hazards & Perils! (to follow on from the Shock, Horror, Gasp and Fan-tas-tic-al Tales – three-word play)

Magic Tales, Epic Stories, & Awesome Adventures    Or        Awesome Adventures

What do you think? We’d appreciate suggestions!



The Ten Penners inspiration…

shock-horror-gasp-coverLast Saturday The Ten Penners had a wonderful and busy meeting.

James Blomberg the son of our Lorraine Blomberg who created the covers of both ‘Shock, Horror, Gasp’ and ‘Fan-tas-tic-al Tales’. She contributed stories including ‘The Big Squeeze’, a novella, and the memorable ‘Tree of Trolls’ a rhyming story with illustrations to mafan-tas-tic-al-tales-covertch.

James brought in a large art folder of works she created during her lifetime. Several ready to be put into production as children’s picture books. We suggested ways James might be able to get her work published and that we would certainly hold her memory dear.

We intend to dedicate our next anthology to Lorraine.

Here is one of the intricate and memorable illustrations she created. I have a story idea that might go with this and be added to our next book.

lorraine b drawing king ted.jpg

2017 bring on the adventures…

The Ten Penners 240704Just confirming that The Ten Penners will be meeting in meeting room A, 10am to noon at Broadbeach library every month for the first half of 2017.
I am looking forward to hearing lots of wonderful adventures on our first day back on the 7th January 2017.
Happy New writing!

The evolution continues from the original group who created ‘Shock, HorFantastical book signing 140509ror, Gasp’ to the eight ladies who joined forces to create ‘Fan-tas-tic-al Tales’.



2017 sees the birth of a new anthology of Adventure stories for children from 8 to 14 to read and enjoy.

Happy New Year to all our readers, fellow bloggers and writers! The Ten Penners

Joyful Christmas wishes

christmas-elf-2016-copyThis little Christmas Elf wants to wish all those who’ve helped me on my writing journey through 2016 to have a safe and happy Christmas and New Year Season.

I’ve read and reviewed lots of great books. Discovered that writing groups are fun to be part of but not necessarily if you are on the committee.

The Ten Penners are a very big part of this journey. Writing stories for children has been a delight, and our new anthology is coming together nicely for 2017 publication. smiths-christmas-tree-2016

I sold another copy of Fan-tas-tic-al Tales to a work mate who is giving it to her much-loved grand- daughter.


christmas-decos-2016I love Christmas with the lights and goodwill messages and hope that the next year will bring joy and delight to all those I know and love.

The world has become a more frightening place in many ways, but, I truly believe the humanity of the world will overcome the evil and hostility that exists.

So to all readers of this blog and followers of The Ten Penner’s we all wish you heartfelt joy for Christmas and the New Year. May you enjoy your family and appreciate and love them always.   – Jill.


We write for children and enjoy the delight they share in every little thing they see. Being able to purchase books like this and read them to our grandchildren is inspiration for writing stories that we hope will be equally loved. The Ten Penners are on a mission to create a new and exciting set of short stories, poems and novellas to be delivered in 2017. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to our readers and don’t forget if you haven’t already purchased your copy of Fan-tas-tic-al Tales, we have copies in paperback and available on-line through Amazon.

Title: One Christmas Evone-christmas-eve-covere

Author: Corinne Fenton

Illustrator: Marjorie Crosby-Fairall

This is a truly delightful book and one I will be giving my granddaughters this Christmas.

Award winning Corinne Fenton has skillfully written a charming story about a girl going to Luna Park with her Grandfather. The illustrations are magnificent and the thought that Bella had been given one silver coin for the ride she chooses is a bit magical. I simply love the joyful feeling the book evokes.corinne-fenton-and-marjorie-cf-with-one-christmas-eve

Corinne has again been awarded the accolade of having Myers Melbourne and Brisbane put her book in their window as their Christmas window display.

Corinne describes the book on her blog:

The story is of a 7-year-old girl called Bella who visits Luna Park with her Grandpa on Christmas Eve 1968. Grandpa gives her a silver coin to spend on whatever ride she chooses – then Bella sees the beautiful carousel – ‘Would it be enough for just one ride?’

myer-windows-2016The back story is that Bella is of Italian descent and while her parents are in Italy visiting relatives, Bella is staying with her grandparents who live near Luna Park.

The book celebrates Christmas, family, caring for one another and people settling in Australia and of course, the magic of Christmas.

– Jill.

Kids grow up and have adventures..

The Ten Penners Christmas meeting will be at Marion’s pool side common area on the 3rd December. We are looking forward to sharing our joy of creating stories then along with delicious treats.

marion-and-jason-with-starla-and-partner-formal-nightMarion has just seen her beautiful daughter Starla go to her school formal. She is now free to explore a graphic design course next year. And it seemed like yesterday she was in our little Fan-tas-tic-al Tales launch play at Gold Coast Writers meeting in 2009.

Reflecting that the children in our lives are growing up fast. My heather-in-the-tree-great-shot-oct16grand daughters are now six and seven and exploring the world in ways we could never have imagined in our childhood.

They have never known a world without colour tv’s, computers or iphones.

When Maria did a school assignment she asked me about my life growing up and one question was – did you have a horse and cart? I’m not quite that old, I replied. But my grandmother did.


So far our next anthology has a variety of stories from aliens visiting Earth and finding us too hostile. Some picture poetry, a follow up to a story in Fan-tas-tic-al Tales called Red Beard the Pirate, another about a shrinking boy, a novella about a flying boy, a little girl who has a best friend in her talking teddy bear who manages to get her into trouble and then saves her – twice. It’s all coming together and we hope to be on track to publish in the first half of next year.  – Jill.

The Ten Penners gathering stories …

the-ten-penners-nov-16The Ten Penners are gathering new stories for the next anthology. It’s exciting and with Christmas not far away, the ideas are gathering momentum. I wrote another little story yesterday as a second adventure for Trinny. It’s all coming together!

Now that Fan-tas-tic-al Tales is available on Amazon, it would be a great Christmas stocking filler for the little ones in your life, or for the young at heart. – Jill.


Halloween Hangover…

kate-r-halloween-oct16This is Kate channeling her inner Kylie Cooper for Halloween.

If you don’t know who Kylie Cooper is you need to buy a copy of Fan-tas-tic-al Tales for the youngster or young at heart in your life. It would be a great Christmas present and its only $3.99 on Amazon


The Ten Penners will be having our next monthly meeting at Broadbeach Library Community Room on Saturday 5th November from 10 am to 12 noon. We are working on our next anthology with cover ideas, new adventure stories being written. It’s all exciting.

The new anthology project…

It’s a five week month. So, we have to wait a bit longer for our face to face catch up. But, there’s been a lot happening in the Anthology Project page. Stories, titles, and cover ideas. It’s all happening! Our new members Julie Baythorpe, Elli Housden and Louisa Wright will add a new texture to our stories. Perhaps we could persuade Jill Ford (yes the other Jill) to return to add her wit and quirky stories to the mix? – Jill.

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