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

Mystery, Mayhem & Magic! Blog tour wrap-up!

Yes, the time has come! Today marks the end of a successful blog tour.

The Ten Penners celebrate the upcoming release of our new anthology. We’ve discovered a great deal about the variety of writing styles and talents of the ladies within our group.

cropped-The Ten Penners pic

As a final fling, each of us has answered one more question about ourselves, to add to the already abundant knowledge of our group.

Marion Martineer

Marion bio pic 2Q. What were your goals and intentions in this book? And how well do you feel you achieved them?

A. As a coordinator of a writing group our goals were to have another anthology published. Pulling the team together to have everything on track was reasonably easy because the girls are all very enthusiastic. We are also lucky to have a couple of exceptional editors in Kate Russell and Elli Housden! Our intentions were to produce adventure stories to entertain children and I think we have achieved that. We have had some test subjects who came back with positive comments. Now, we are sending the book out into the general public for scrutiny and we hope to have glowing results as we did with our first two books!

Kate Russell

Q. What do you think most characterises your writing?

A. There is always one element that slips into my writing, whatever genre it is, and that’s Kate Russell bio pichumour. The Kai Russell stories in Mystery, Mayhem & Magic were deliberately written with a sense of fun (and I hope readers get a giggle out of them) but even when I’m writing something more “serious”, humour always slips in. I did try once, many years ago, to write a Mills & Boon type romance, but I just kept wanting to make my characters do silly things for a laugh, so that didn’t really work! Writing with humour comes naturally to me, so there’s no point fighting it. I know that I’m never going to be able to write some deep and meaningful Great Australian Novel because it’s just not my style. I’ll leave that to some other author! Frankly, I don’t want to write about dark and depressing stuff, because there’s enough of that around you every day. I want my stories to entertain, and I hope I do that. Mostly, I want readers to finish my stories feeling happy and hopeful. Even though my first self-Shadow of a Soldierpublished novel, Shadow of a Soldier, which is romantic suspense with supernatural elements, was written as a more dramatic story, there are still lots of fun scenes in it. You can’t have darkness without light. Lately, I’ve been listening (again) to the Harry Potter books on CD, and JK Rowling balances this perfectly. The stakes are high for Harry and his friends, but even when things are at their bleakest, there is still hope and humour. The darkness is never overwhelming (which is not to say I didn’t bawl my eyes out when certain characters died!). I find that when I try to write something too “serious”, I really struggle. But if it’s fun, the words just fly across the page! Of my own books (I have six novels which I hope to publish over the next two to three years), my favourites feature Kylie Cooper, a teenage witch I first wrote about in Fan-tas-tic-al Tales. I liked her so much that I’ve now written three YA novels about her! And a close second is a murder mystery featuring a crime scene cleaner as the protagonist, because, although the subject matter is dramatic, the main character and her family are great fun to write about. You’ve probably all heard the saying “write what you know”. Well, I think you should also write what you love and what comes naturally to you! I do.

Jill Smith

Q. What books have inspired you to write?

A. When I was a child my mother read a chapter each night from Enid Blytons’ The Magic jill bio pic cropped sep17Faraway Tree. I still remember begging her to read just one more chapter even though my eyelids were drooping. At school, I wasn’t a breeze through and pass student, like my older sisters. I had to work very hard. I stopped reading books because school gave me so much I had to read that it became a grind. Then I discovered the joy of reading in a small and simple but heart touching book Johnathan Livingston Seagull. All of my family read and I finally caught the bug when I discovered Ann McCaffrey and her wonderful world of Dragons on Pern, and the many other worlds she created. I particularly loved The Ship Who Sang and Restoree. I still have copies of these books on my bookshelf and on my iPad! From there I became an avid reader.

Julie Baythorpe

GE DIGITAL CAMERAQ. So, Julie, where do you get your inspiration to write?

A. Life! The wonderful people I meet in my day-to-day activities, the spectacular places I’ve been fortunate enough to visit during my lifetime. Experiences … mine and my friends and family. And throughout my working life … encounters, events … especially in the school situations, I’ve gleaned a myriad of ideas. I’ve read a kaleidoscope of books, poems and plays, all of which contribute to my creativeness. Heroic people who battle day and night to just survive inspire me. Those who battle adversity e.g. the Rohingya in Myanmar (Burma) at present. Lastly, I attribute my motivation to my delightful family; I love them dearly. All of these elements coalesce to stimulate my writing!


Sharron Alexiou

Q. Where do you get your ideas from, when writing for children?

A. Most of my ideas come from children and being around them. Lots of ideas and sparks Sharron Afly being around them. It could be a funny thing they’ve said, a new craze, friendship, or problems they have. Just recently my son went to school with a new t-shirt. His friend said, ‘You have a new t-shirt, I can smell it, it has a new smell!’ All the children went to smell his t-shirt. It was a funny moment and a great idea for a story. My childhood memories, what made me laugh and tick as a child, a photo or picture can trigger a hundred thoughts and develop into good stories. Why? What? When? How? Where? Are always good questions to ask yourself when writing. I love Pinterest. I’m always finding/make up my storyboards with pictures and ideas on it. Every day, I’m finding myself with new ideas for books. I have this big jar, with names of picture books, I want to write. Maybe that might be another book? ‘The never-ending jar of stories!’

Ellie Housden

Elli H profile picQ: What are the advantages of belonging to a writers’ group for you?

A: Giving and getting feedback on our writing to improve the final product.



Louisa Wrightlouisa wright

Q. Why do I write?

A. Because it makes me and other people happy. It’s an achievement to see my stories in print.



Lindy Standage

Lindy bio picQ. How have you found this writing journey creating stories for Mystery, Mayhem & Magic?

A. It’s been an inspiration and has made my life happy.



We hope you’ve enjoyed the tour. If you haven’t caught up with previous posts go back now and check them out. Leave a comment so that you can still be in the running to win a copy of Mystery, Mayhem & Magic.

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

MMM cover

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

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!”

15/10/17   Sunday -Marion Martineer – https://marionmartineer.wordpress.com/Dimity Powell – author The Fix-It Man http://dimswritestuff.blogspot.com.au/

16/10/17    Monday– Yvonne Mes, www.yvonnemes.com Elaine Ousten – author Mystery of Nida Valley https://elaineoustonauthor.com/

17/10/17    Tuesday – Jill Smith – https://authorjillsmith.wordpress.com/

Candice Lemon-Scott, author https://candicelemonscott.com.au/

18/10/17    Wednesday– Kate Russell – https://katharinerussell.wordpress.com./

Teena-Rafa Mulligan – In Their Own Write https://intheirownwrite.wordpress.com

19/10/17   Thursday –Julie Baythorpe https://juliebaythorpeauthor.wordpress.com/

Gretchen Bernet-Ward – Thoughts Become Words https://thoughtsbecomewords.com/

 20/10/17   Friday – Robin Adolphs   http://www.robinadolphs.com/

Artelle Lenthall www.journeygirlontheroadtopublication.com

21/10/17    Saturday – The Ten Penners https://thetenpenners.wordpress.com/

We will be attending Gold Coast Writers Meeting to announce our book launch

23/10/17   Monday – Aleesah Darlison – author of Fox and Moonbeam-Greenleaf Press http://www.greenleafpress.net/

Special Announcement – book giveaway!!

There will be a giveaway of a copy of Mystery, Mayhem & Magic! At the end of the blog tour those who have left a comment on this page, or on any of the other hosts’ pages during the blog tour, will be in the running to receive a free copy! The announcement of the winner will be at our book launch at Broadbeach Library on the 4th November. 

So, please make a comment to be in the running! Good luck!

There’s also a colouring competition, ‘Plinko’ our mascot, for children to send in via email. The winners will be announced at our book launch on the 4th November at Broadbeach Library. Book to attend – Download our book launch poster PDF here >>>  Ten Penners Approved Poster Broadbeach Library

Download the book launch competition form, here >>>Plinko-Colouring-In-Competition-2017_Booklaunch

the ten penners logo 2017



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 😀
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