Fathers from the Edge – First Publication to Greek-Australian Literature

IMG_1636Hi Everyone,

I’m excited to announce the publication of my memoir to the Fathers from the Edge anthology by Helen Nickas of Owl Publishing. The book is about Greek-Australian writers’ reflections on their fathers and their relationships within the migrant experience. It is a companion to the Mothers from the Edge book.

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It has been a fantastic journey to be a part of the experience to have my memoir published as a Greek-Australian writer. Like the book states in the Introduction, I have written this memoir to honour my father, Stavros Catacouzinos, to share my story about him, and by doing so, it has been a cathartic experience. I wouldn’t be the writer I am today if it wasn’t for him. My memoir in the book is called, “The Man Who Loves Greek Culture”.

And a huge thank you once again to Helen Nickas, Publisher of Owl Publishing for this amazing opportunity. It’s wonderful to finally be a part of Greek-Australian literature!

I’ll update with another post when the book is on sale. And the launch party will be next year in 2016. In the meantime, you can check out other books published by Owl Publishing via this link. And more information about my experience writing my memoir is here.

Best wishes,
Claire

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Superwog – Talk Shit Get Hit Tour – Will There Ever Be A Female Perspective?

I attended the Superwog – Talk Shit Get Hit Comedy Tour at Enmore Theatre on the 2nd of October 2015. Theo and Nathan Saidden have done an amazing job presenting the generalised stereotypes of Wogs and Aussies. We’ve got the old traditional mentalities of grandparents and parents; weird and in-your-face uncles and aunties; egocentric, hedonistic and arrogant single guys who show their vulnerability through concern and love for their mothers; and crazy, loud mouth, over-the-top single girls.

However, even though Superwog continues to embark on characterising multiple roles between themselves and one other cast member, Sasha Sutton, my question to them is: have you thought about taking on a female cast member and exploring young adult relationships? Yes, we get the boy meets girl scenario and the married couple scenarios – but what about young relationships that reflect their own age group in their mid-twenties? Like their peers getting engaged, married and having kids – what about exploring those relationships beyond what they specialise in to produce new content?

And a female cast member – she will be able to contribute a dynamic skill-set and perspective to their ever-growing fame. I would like the female perspective to be represented by a girl, and also have her perspective acted upon while she is acting as a guy. It’s all about collaboration and collective learning from one another. The only problem is, is there a young aspiring Australian-European female keen to take on the challenge to alternate between acting as a girl and a guy all in one comedy skit while contorting her face to produce over-the-top facial expressions and speaking with a husky voice while swearing and producing her own comebacks? Yet, is the general public familiar with girls acting as over-the-top guys? Is it easier for guys to dress up as girls to make their audience laugh? Can girls get away with the same reaction and hype or will they be considered as ‘weird’, ‘crazy’ and ‘unattractive’ because of social paradigms and ideologies? There is a lack of the female perspective in the comedic medium when it comes to the representations of Wog stereotypes in Australia – besides Effie Stephanidis (portrayed by Mary Coustas). But the question once again arises – did she ever portray a male European character, and if she did, where the hell are other aspiring Australian-European female comedians?

So, will Superwog ever expand their male cast and invite a female voice to their group? Or is this a group that will stick to an all-male cast and continue creating Youtube clips and comedy skits like their famous comedic forefathers (Wog Boy and Fat Pizza)?

Your Creative Genius & Fuel – ADMA Conference 6 August 2015

CC Pink

Hi Everyone,

I was invited to attend ADMA’s Festival of Marketing, Media, Analytics and Advertising, which I was very thankful for. So on Thursday 6 August I attended the Creative Fuel Conference at the Seymour Centre at Sydney University. It was held in a huge auditorium after an appetising breakfast and in four consecutive blocks with grouped speakers.

The first block consisted of Billy Sorrentino, the Creative Director of WIRED – and what was drilled into us was that WIRED is not a magazine, it’s a design, with good evidence to back it up, of course. He talked about the design being influenced by Dieter Rams, a design guru that inspired content design. He mentioned 10 basic principles we should have about good design:

  1. Good design is innovative
  2. Makes a product useful
  3. It’s aesthetic
  4. Makes it understandable
  5. Is unobtrusive and not invisible
  6. Is honest
  7. Is long-lasting
  8. Is thorough down to the last detail
  9. Is environmentally friendly
  10. Has little design as possible

And this fantastic catch phrase: design is an experience and not an image! I’ll never look at a magazine ever the same again! Sorrentino also talked about giving a new experience to the audience, and adding value – and that’s where from print publication we have the fantastic and multiple dimensions of the digital online world. Design becomes a philosophy instead of an execution where images, iconography and typography would not create a sense of hierarchy, insead, the scalability of things can be changed around constantly, every minute of the day, and each time, create a new experience for the audience. He also talked about creative thinkers coming together and comparing processes and learning from each other. This idea reminds me of my Big History unit I did in my third year of my BA degree where David Christian talked about humankind being innovative thinkers and that by collaborating together, we exchange networks of knowledge to one another and it’s called collective learning. This world system was shown profoundly well with WIRED’s March 2015 Issue about Sex in the Digital Age, where they had to rethink the design of the cover to make it engaging, not too raunchy, not medically sage, and yet educational. And they came up with this.

Brilliant isn’t it? So design, after all this, is about making an experience, and if we are right and pure about it, then it’s for everyone, thus making it relatable and marketable and worthy.

And then there was Graeme Simsion, the author of The Rosie Project (which I’m aiming to read!) and his partner, Dr Anne Buist, the author of Medea’s Curse who talked next. They were a lovely couple reclining on comfortable sofas and talking about the creative genius, conception, development, progression, and publication of their novels. They gave terrific advice about making writing a routine, always writing a first draft by never stopping (you can go back to fix mistakes later, just get it out of your head and onto the page), and to always think about the reader and the emotions you want to play with – using intensity, suspense, prolonging, foreboding and so on. All of their advice was useful, however, I already knew about these tips from studying creative writing, and it was just beautiful music to my ears. Although, I loved it when they spoke about that there’s a lot of discipline in writing, and that with writers, our creative process is to plan the book, and think, write, and let it incubate. Love that word, incubate, like mother hens sitting on their eggs, waiting for their darlings to hatch. And last of all, that of course no idea is original anymore, however, if you put Idea A and Idea B together, you have something unique! So keep that in mind.

There were some other great speakers as well, like Vin Farrell, the Global Chief Content Officer of Havas Worldwide, who spoke about capturing an experience on your Instagram using your iPhone and how it can build a business. Our iPhones are tools. Then there was Tania De Jong, Founder and CEO of Creative Universe of Creativity Australia, who talked about that every human being is creative, even if they don’t believe it. If you can problem solve, that means you’re creative, you’re using your creative tool box – what an eye opener and simple way to think about things! And then she talked about how creativity leads to improved wellbeing, social inclusion, innovation, leadership, productivity and transformation – so I think I’m doing a pretty damn good job with my writing then. And the last thing she said was that we all need to use our creative voice.

IMG_0818Then there was Andrew Evans, Product Designer and Magician of IDEO, and his spectacular magic tricks and using a metaphor to tell us how magicians create impossible moments on a stage, which is what designers do too, they create impossible experiences in the world. And I can’t forget to mention David Shing, Digital Prophet of AOL, who spoke so brilliantly and fast that I was typing like a maniac to keep up with him and his amazing mind. He just kept going and going – nonstop, faster and faster about technology, content distribution, consumer ownership – how technology helps gives us control, digital alliance with the physical product, how marketing always follows audiences, how culture and code together gives us creativity, and that whenever you are going to fail in life, which we will all come across, fail forward – and that if you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun!

Wow – what a miraculous day about the creative genius and harnessing your creative fuel. A huge inspiration and insight into the world of business, marketing, technology and advertising. A clear and clever day to get me motivated and writing.

Till next time,
Claire

Writerly Update, August

Hi Everyone,

Wow, I didn’t realise that I haven’t written a writerly update since January! I have been reading and researching contemporary YA novels for my creative thesis from last year. I have currently finished the 2nd draft of my YA contemporary novel that I had started for my Manuscript Project. I’m at the moment undergoing a structural edit of the 100,000 word manuscript and then I’ll need to copy-edit and proof read it in the following weeks. I’m really pleased with the development and exploration of my characters and the contemporary themes in the novel. I just need to get it finished before the 14th of September so that I can submit it to the Ampersand Project by Hardie Grant Egmont. It’s going to be a challenge but I’ve been working on it for the past 2 months and I know I can get it done. It’s going to be such a nice feeling to know that the novel is finally finished after 6 years since its conception.

Also, I wanted to share with you that I was featured on the MQ Faces of the Arts activity on Facebook back in June. It’s an honour to be featured as one of MQ’s Arts’ students showcasing my interests and achievements.

Best wishes,
Claire

A Call to Fellow Writers – Comments on Literary Agent Carrie Pestritto’s Query Critique of my YA Historical Novel

Hi Everyone,

It’s be been a long time since I wrote on my blog, so my sincere apologies – I’ve been really busy job hunting and writing my contemporary YA novel and actively sending out queries (over 60) to literary agents in the US and UK since October 2014 for my YA historical novel – and it’s been such a roller coaster ride.

I have some fantastic news to share. I entered into a query critique competition on Carrie Pestritto’s literary agent blog, she’s an agent at Prospect Agency, and I won the query critique for that month.

I would like to ask all of my blogging friends and fellow writers to click over to her blog and comment on her critique of my query and also welcome your own critiques and advice on my query letter. It’s been a tough road – I’ve been querying agents since October last year and finally now I have been able to get an excellent critique on where I need to change my query. It’s been a challenge to find agents who want to represent YA historical fiction writers and I’ve had 2 nibbles of agents being interested, but nothing has changed.

Hopefully now I’m on the right track!

So please click on over to her blog and spread the word – any feedback to help a fellow writer would be much appreciated.

Kindest regards,
Claire

Second Author Interview – Curses and Smoke: A Novel of Pompeii by Vicky Alvear Shecter

Photograph of Vicky by Vania Stoyanova

Hi Everyone,

I had the pleasure for my second author interview to be with Vicky Alvear Shecter, a YA historical fiction, and middle grade mythology and biography writer who I admire in publishing her ancient history YA historical novels – Cleopatra’s Moon published in 2013 and Curses and Smoke: A Novel of Pompeii published in 2014. She answered 20 Questions I had about her writing, her book about Pompeii, her characters, and about YA historical novels and the publishing market.

A huge thank you once again to Vicky for her contribution.

And you can check out the Author Interview on the Interview category on my blog here.

Best wishes,
Claire

Second Archaeologist Interview: Dr Dora Katsonopoulou about The Helike Project

dora_kapelloHi Everyone,

I had the pleasure to interview Dr Dora Katsonopoulou, the Director of The Helike Project, and President of The Helike Society based in Achaea, Greece. She is an archaeologist, a researcher, a consultant of international research programs and Board member of scientific Institutes and Organisations, a guest lecturer at Universities and Institutions, and she has organised four International Conferences on Ancient Helike and Aigialeia. She is the Leader of excavations conducted at Helike near Aigio since 2000. I contacted Dora in February 2013 and asked if she could cite my short story, Helike, on the Helike Project’s website to help promote their work and the awareness and significance of the project and archaeological digs, but also for modern people to be educated, to relate to the history of Helike, and to place faces and names to the Greek citizens who were part of the tragedy when the town was lost in history, and lastly, for modern people to have empathetic understanding. My short story is about the destruction of Helike from the perspective of one of its citizens that I created, Alethea. Dora answered 15 Questions I had about her work directing and organising the project, the purpose of the project, and its aims for the future. This is an interview to commemorate her hard work since 1988.

A huge thank you once again to Dora for her contribution.

You can check out the Archaeologist Interview on the Interview category on my blog here.

Best wishes,
Claire

The Quarry – Issue #6 is live!

TheShipDiscoveryFINALEDITHi Everyone,

Since February 2015 I’ve been the Editor-in-Chief of The Quarry Issue #6 for Macquarie University’s English Department’s e-journal, that I was the editor of Issue #4 in 2014. I’m excited to announce that Issue #6 is published and ready to read online. Enjoy the creative works of the postgraduate students with the cohesive theme and common thread of discovery.

DiscoveryingDiscoveryFINALEDIT

It has been a pleasure working with all the fantastic Editors, Ally Bodnaruk, Willo Drummond, Tamara Pratt, and the Web Designers, Tenzin Bereny and Josh McInnes, and the Illustrator, Maxine Sundic (aka Maxine Mars) for this postgraduate issue.

Also, another one of my historical fiction short stories has been published with this issue, titled “Gold Drachmas“. More about this short story will be on its official Short Story – Golden Drachmas Page on my website.

Link to The Quarry Issue #6.

Cheers,
Claire   

 

A Call To Fellow Writers – Support and Assistance for the YA C1Blitz Competition

To My Fellow YA Writers,

I’m participating in the C1Blitz competition by Freshly Squeezed Reads, however, my first chapter has been flagged as mature content and requires volunteer critiques now as I’m not eligible for teen reviews and my chapter will not be available for general viewing.

More information is down below to support my participation in this competition.

Request for assistance with stories with New Adult rated content from Administrators of Freshly Squeezed Reads.

We’ve been fortunate to get a number of schools involved in the teen critiques, however, the needs of these schools have derailed some of our plans and excluded a handful of entries from the teen review process, essentially stories which contain mature content and straddle the YA/New Adult categories. Those authors will be short on teen reviews and not eligible for this category and the entries won’t be available for general viewing. As a result, we are asking for help.

If you are willing to do a voluntary critique on any of these works, or know an older teen (17, 18, 19) who is comfortable with mature references (such as drugs, underage drinking, violence or suicide) and happy to do one, email info@freshlysqueezedreads.com, and we will email you the content. You can return your critique by email.

The YA/NA stories available by email are: Amaranthos (contemporary, male main character), Tumble (contemporary, female main character), People and Other Breakable Things (contemporary, male main character), Ocean of Dreams (fantasy, male main character).

Thank you for your help guys!

Cheers,
Claire