GUEST BLOG: Five Things I Learnt From Editing Mothermorphosis (by Monica Dux)

The importance of valuing the hard work of writers.

The effort that goes into good short form writing is frequently undervalued. People often imagine that all it takes is for someone to come up with an idea, sit down and type out an essay, run a spell check, then deliver their work.

Of course writing a strong essay is so much more than this; for most of us it’s a long and arduous process, from conception to execution, involving an enormous amount of thought, re-writing, re-thinking, editing and polishing. The net result of all this labour is to submerge the effort that was required, making the finished piece read as if it really was easy and effortless.

All the writers who contributed to this collection were professional, and the quality of work reveals how much time and thought they put into their pieces. This is a collection that relied on the good will of its contributors, so I was profoundly grateful for their efforts.

That every mother really does have an important story to tell.

Susan Carland, one of the contributors in Mothermorphosis, wrote in her essay “My unique tale is just the same as yours”.

In the past I’ve thought a lot about this tension, but it became more pronounced for me when reading the contributions. Every mother has her own unique story to tell, but there are also so many things that bind us all, so much that is universal. It’s a fascinating contradiction.

As an editor, it’s amazing how good a prompt, polite decline can make you feel.

There were a few women I invited to contribute to this book who weren’t able to write something for the collection but who declined the offer quickly and graciously. Getting such rejections felt almost as valuable as having a writer come back saying they’d be happy to contribute.

I’m often invited to participate in projects that I don’t have the time or resources for. Editing Mothermorphosis was a timely reminder about the importance of being polite and positive about such offers, even if you are unable to be involved.

Editing is fun.

I thoroughly enjoyed putting the collection together. Instead of having to angst over my own work, I was able to luxuriate in the excellent work of other writers.

It was a real privilege facilitating this book, especially knowing that we are hoping to raise awareness for PANDA, the Post and Antenatal Depression Association. I feel that not only will the collection be enjoyed by many people, but it also has the potential to contribute to an organisation for which I have immense admiration.

That it’s hard to write an introduction for a collection that you’ve edited.

It took me a long time to get my introduction right. When you’re a contributor you can follow your own path, writing in relative isolation. By comparison, introducing a collection requires you to strike a peculiar sort of balance. To be interesting and engaging, without dominating. To showcase the individual essays in the collection, without simply name checking the various contributors. To write something that contextualises the work and draws out the underlying themes, without resorting to empty generalisations. In the end I hope I managed to pull it off, although I’ll leave it to the readers to decide!

Grab a copy of Mothermorphosis here

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mduxmug-edit-smaller1Monica Dux is a columnist with The Age, a social commentator and author of Things I Didn’t Expect (when I was expecting), and co-author of The Great Feminist Denial.

She can be heard regularly on ABC radio and 3RRR, and has published widely, especially on women’s issues.

You can find Monica on twitter at @monicadux

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mothermorphosisMothermorphosis

Australia’s Best Storytellers Write About Becoming a Mother

In Mothermorphosis , some of Australia’s most talented writers and storytellers share their own experiences of motherhood. In telling their stories they articulate the complex internal conflicts, the exhilaration and the absurdity of the transformation that takes place when we become mothers. We read about the yearning for a child, the private and public expressions of maternal love, the questioning, uncertainty and unexpected delight, as well as unfathomable loss.

Mothermorphosis reveals that there is no ‘right’ version of this epic experience and no single tale that could ever speak for all mothers. Yet it is in reading about other women’s experiences and dash;the hard bits, the joyous bits and even the ridiculous bitsandmdash;that we can become more compassionate, not just to other mothers but hopefully to ourselves.

Mothermorphosis includes writing from: Kate Holden, Kathy Lette, Lorelei Vashti, Rebecca Huntley, George McEnroe, Fatima Measham, Jo Case, Hilary Harper, Cordelia Fine, Jane Caro, Hannah Robert, Susan Carland, Kerri Sackville, Catherine Deveny, Lee Kofman and Dee Madigan.

Grab a copy of Mothermorphosis here

Signed Copies Available: Winner of MasterChef 2011 Kate Bracks, international best-selling author John Flanagan and blogger extraordinaire Kerri Sackville (Stock will not last)

The Sweet Life: The Basics and Beyond

Irresistible cakes, ice creams and desserts, to weaken even the strongest resolve!

MasterChef Australia 2011 winner Kate Bracks knows about desserts.

This mouthwatering array of inspired dessert recipes includes favourites such as Apple Pie, Chocolate Cake and Strawberry Mousse as well as fresh new ideas, such as Kate’s Chocolate, Date and Hazelnut Torte, Raspberry and Pistachio Frozen Nougat and Vincotto Figs with Caramelised Walnuts and Mascarpone. Kate also puts modern twists on old classics, from her Spiced Crème Brûlée, to her irresistible Peanut Butter and Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwiches, or her Brown Butter Cheesecake. This is food to weaken even the strongest resolve!

The structure of the book is designed to guide the home cook from the ‘basics’ – incorporating basic techniques, such as sauces and syrups; how to make the perfect meringue; make your pastry rather than buy it; how to cook with gelatine – to ‘beyond the basics’ for the more confident cook. And, if you really want to impress, there’s a chapter at the end where all the techniques can be put together to wow your friends and family. There’s also a code throughout the book to help you determine which recipes are most suited to your particular cooking desires and ability.

Indulge your own sweet tooth with this glorious book of baked treats and dessert recipes from Australia’s MasterChef 2011 winner; and don’t forget the golden rule … always lick the bowl!

Click here to order your signed copy of The Sweet Life: The Basics and Beyond from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Bookshop

Click here to see all the photos from Kate’s visit to Booktopia

The lovely Kate Bracks signing copies of her new book, The Sweet Life, at Booktopia


The Invaders

Brotherband: Book 2

Eight boys are about to take on a crew of fifty cut-throat pirates . . . is this an impossible quest?

Hal and the Heron brotherband are on the trail of Zavac and his precious cargo. Will they be able to find the pirates when the weather clears? And when they do, how can they possibly beat the mighty Raven and its crew of vicious cut-throats and killers?

A chance discovery will lead them to their prey, but the pirates have a well-fortified position. The Herons must drive out the invaders – and to succeed, Hal will need to devise a foolproof plan. In the icy waters of the Stormwhite, the smallest mistake could prove fatal.

Click here to order your signed copy of The Invaders from Booktopia,
Australia’s No. 1 Online Book Shop

To see all the photos from John’s visit, click here.

"Ah, done."
"There are three hundred more to sign..."
"Whaaat?"


The Little Book Of Anxiety

Popular author and blogger Kerri Sackville’s very funny take on her life with anxiety. This is an insight into anxiety that only Kerri could give!

The Little Book Of Anxiety is for anyone who has experienced anxiety – which is pretty much everyone. It is a funny book about a serious subject: the ways in which anxiety can impact on your life and the lives of those around you.

With humour, insight and searing honesty, Kerri Sackville opens up about the trials and sheer absurdities of living a worried a life. From crazed nailbiting, to being hysterical in a jammed lift, to fearing her husband is dead when he’s late home from work, Kerri has done it all.

If you know the agonies of sleepless nights, regularly jump to Worst-Case Scenario, or drive your loved ones mad with your irrational fears, then this book may very well save your sanity.

Click here to order your signed copy of The Little Book of Anxiety from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop

Kerri Sackville chatting with fans on Facebook after signing copies of her book, The Little Book of Anxiety


SIGNED STOCK WILL NOT LAST.
ONCE STOCK IS GONE, IT IS GONE FOR GOOD.

Kerri Sackville, author of When My Husband Does the Dishes, and now The Little Book Of Anxiety, answers Six Sharp Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Kerri Sackville

author of
When My Husband Does the Dishes
,

and now,
The Little Book Of Anxiety

Six Sharp Questions

——————————-

1. Congratulations, you have a new book. What is it about and what does it mean to you?

The Little Book Of Anxiety was meant to be a series of humorous anecdotes about living with anxiety, but it turned out to be far deeper. It’s still pretty funny, because my anxiety gets me into absurd situations (think ‘needing to be forcibly pulled off the alarm button in a stalled lift’), but it also contains a lot of insights. I hope it helps other worriers to feel less alone, and to break down the stigma associated with having an anxiety disorder.

We now have a limited number of SIGNED copies of The Little Book Of Anxietythese will not last

The Little Book Of Anxiety is due for release on 1st of May

Click here to order The Little Book of Anxiety from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop

2. Time passes. Things change. What are the best and worst moments that you have experienced in the past year or so?

The best? Finding out that Simon Baker had Googled me (see ).

And the worst? Putting unleaded fuel in my diesel car for the second time in a year was a pretty low point. But in totally unrelated news, did I tell you that Simon Baker Googled me?

3. Do you have a favourite quote or passage you would be happy to share with us? It doesn’t need to be deep but it would be great if it meant something to you.

“There are times when you can only take the next step. And then another.” William Gibson, Pattern Recognition.

This quote has got me through many a hard time. I fall back on that advice constantly.

4. Writers have often been described as being difficult to live with. Do you conform to the stereotype or defy it? Please tell us a little about the day to day of your writing life.

Ha! Once you’ve read my book, you won’t need to ask that question. I’m what my husband refers to as a ‘nightmare’. I worry incessantly. I obsess endlessly. I spend a great deal of time running around in circles. But I find writing to be very calming, so I spend huge amounts of time on the computer neglecting the laundry, cleaning, bills etc. Strangely, this does not help endear me to my husband.

5. Some writers claim not to be influenced by the needs of the marketplace, while others seem obsessed by it. Would you please describe how the marketplace affects your writing (come on, tell the truth!).

Well, of course I’m influenced by the marketplace, because I want my books to be read. But mainly, I want to write books that will resonate with people, and affect them in positive ways. I believe that many, many people will relate to this book, and that it will help them to understand and accept themselves, and better manage their anxious lives.

6. Unlikely Scenario: You’ve been charged with civilising twenty ill-educated adolescents but you may take only five books with you. What do you take and why?

Wow. Okay….

1. Catch 22, by Joseph Heller. It is still the most brilliantly clever and hysterically funny novel ever written about war, or anything else.

2. Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte – The kids need a classic, and this has it all: passion, death, ghosts, despair, and a soundtrack by Kate Bush. Perfect.

3. The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell – Firstly, it’s utterly fascinating stuff. Secondly, you simply cannot read Gladwell’s essays without your brain massively expanding.

4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams – It’s an obvious choice, but it is by far the best introduction out there to the fantastic world of science fiction.

5. A Short History Of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson – Kids these days are really smart. Maybe they could read it and summarise it for me?

Kerri, thank you for playing.

Click here to order The Little Book of Anxiety from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop

Kerri has also answered the Booktopia Book Guru’s Ten Terrifying Questions, click here

As well as the Five Facetious Questions, click here

Check out Kerri’s incredibly popular blog here.

Or on Facebook, here.

Or Twitter, here, if you please.

Publisher’s blurb:

Popular author and blogger Kerri Sackville’s very funny take on her life with anxiety. This is an insight into anxiety that only Kerri could give!

The Little Book Of Anxiety is for anyone who has experienced anxiety – which is pretty much everyone. It is a funny book about a serious subject – the ways in which anxiety can impact on your life, and the lives of those around you.

From relationship anxiety to professional anxiety, claustrophobia to travelling phobia, pregnancy fears, panic attacks to nail biting and more. Oh, and so much more.

Kerri Sackville relates episodes in which anxiety has got the better of her as only she can, some tragically humorous, and some just utterly absurd.

Desperate struggles with insomnia, trying meditation to learn how to fall asleep, and drinking hideous herbal potions (which were completely ineffective, and yes very expensive).

Kerri talks about panic attacks, and what they actually feel like. What anxiety does to us at a subconscious level. Kerri discusses therapy and the various techniques she has used to try to manage her anxiety. And the ways in which her fears affect all those around her (particularly her long suffering husband – who has, however, been known to make things worse).

Click here to order The Little Book of Anxiety from Booktopia,
Australia’s No.1 Online Book Shop

Kerri Sackville, author of When My Husband Does The Dishes…, answers Five Facetious Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Kerri Sackville

author of When My Husband Does The Dishes…

Five Facetious Questions

——————-

1. Every writer spends at least one afternoon going from bookshop to bookshop making sure his or her latest book is facing out and neatly arranged. How far have you gone to draw attention to your own books in a shop?

Don’t be ridiculous. I would NEVER do something so tacky. Of course, I did *cough* offer a prize on my blog to the person who placed my book in the most prominent position and provide photographic evidence, but that doesn’t count at all as it’s not Continue reading

Kerri Sackville launches When My Husband Does the Dishes…

When My Husband Does the Dishes… by Kerri Sackville
was launched last Thursday night

Cunningly disguised as a wino to throw off the paparazzi, author and journalist Mark Dapin was on hand to officially launch the book…

Then the star of the night, the gorgeous Kerri Sackville, seduced her audience with a rendition of the Olivia Newton-John hit – I Honestly Love You

Maybe I hang around here
A little more than I should
We both know I got somewhere else to go
But I got something to tell you
That I never thought I would
But I believe you really ought to know

I love you
I honestly love you

After such a moving performance there wasn’t a dry eye in the house

Mark Lewis from Random House was on hand to steady his new star…

Author Kylie Ladd flew up from Melbourne for the event and was enjoying herself until she happened to look over her shoulder to see her agent in an embrace with another author…

Literary Agent Pippa Masson, who discovered Kerri on Twitter, proves once again that she likes to have a very close relationship with all of her clients…

And lastly… For those who doubt that I was there at all… let’s play Where’s the Wally…


If you feel like you keep missing out on the cool stuff that happens it might be because you’re not yet on Twitter. Sign up and follow @booktopia, @KerriSackville, @kylie_ladd and @pippamasson


Click here to read Kerri Sackville’s answers to my
Ten Terrifying Questions

Click here to read Kylie Ladd’s review of
When My Husband Does the Dishes…

Click here to order your very own copy of
When My Husband Does the Dishes…

Then on Friday, after spending much of the previous night drinking and carousing with her celebrity friends, a fragile Kerri Sackville arrived at Booktopia to cuddle and sign her books…

WHEN MY HUSBAND DOES THE DISHES… by Kerri Sackville (The movie!)

Click here to read Kerri Sackville’s answers to my
Ten Terrifying Questions

Click here to read Kylie Ladd’s review of
When My Husband Does the Dishes…

Click here to order your very own copy of
When My Husband Does the Dishes…

Kerri Sackville, author of When My Husband Does The Dishes… answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Kerri Sackville

author of When My Husband Does The Dishes…

Ten Terrifying Questions

—————————-

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in Melbourne but raised in Sydney. I went to a Jewish school down the road where I did very well in English and spent the rest of my time pining in unrequited anguish for a boy called Josh Goldenbum (not his real name, but should have been).

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

At 12 I wanted to be a member of the Young Talent Team. I still wish I had been.

At 18 I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do. I was doing Arts at Uni and working part time as a nanny.

At 30 I wanted to be a mum, which was lucky because I was pregnant with my son. I didn’t start writing professionally until after my daughter was born, nearly 10 years ago.

3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?

At 18 I felt that in order to be happy I had to figure out the meaning of life. It took me well into my thirties to realise that the best way to be happy was Continue reading

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