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,

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,

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,

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.


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.



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!





First Archaeologist Interview: Dr Stavros Vlizos about The Amyklaion: Amykles Research Project

Stavros Vlizos on the steps of the altarHi Everyone,

I had the pleasure to interview Dr Stavros Vlizos, the Assistant Director of The Amyklaion: Amykles Research Project. He is an archaeologist, a researcher and lecturer at the Ionian University in Corfu. I contacted Stavros in March 2014 and asked if he could cite my short story, Taras’ Parthenians on the Amyklaion’s website to help promote their work and the awareness of the sanctuary of the Amyklaion to the general public. In my short story the main scene of rebellion between the Parthenians against the Spartans took place at the sanctuary of the Amyklaion. Stavros answered 15 Questions I had about his work directing and organising the project, the purpose of the project, and its aims for the future. This is an interview to commemorate his hard work.

A huge thank you once again to Stavros for his contribution.

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

Best wishes,

The Digital Writers’ Festival & LIVE C1Blitz Teen Review Panel – My YA Novel: Amaranthos

Hi Everyone,

I had the fantastic opportunity as an early bird entrant for the Chapter One Blitz 2015 competition, on the 22nd of February, to have the first chapter of my contemporary YA novel, Amaranthos, with one of my two main characters, Thanos, to be critiqued during the LIVE C1Blitz Teen Review Panel as part of the Digital Writers’ Festival, along with my friend from uni, Ally Bodnaruk’s YA novel, Shattering, who told me about this fantastic competition and event.

You can watch the whole LIVE Teen Review Panel critiquing other entrants work, and you can also fast forward to the time 1:32:25 to listen specifically to my feedback. It was an amazing experience to have passionate YA readers react to your work and love your main character – especially when I worked on this book throughout last year as part of my creative thesis. I forgot to mention that this was a partial first chapter which would explain the ending. And I knew that the amount of swearing in the chapter would perhaps be a problem. Other than that, I was so excited to hear that the two reviewers, Harry and Roshni, found my character relatable, felt connected to him, and wanted to read more – that’s every writer’s dream! And to top it off Harry said that this was his favourite piece, that he found the chapter authentic, and that he felt bad for Thanos and his situation. Listening to them review my work was just as nerve-wracking as my sister’s wedding (literally the day before) when I was her Maid of Honour! But it’s all been great and such a busy weekend.

I cannot wait to start critiquing other entrants’ work on the 6th of March when the chapters become available to the public.

I’ll update you again then.

All the best,

Greek Bronze Statue – Mystery Solved!


Hi Everyone,

A week ago I sent a call out to my Greek Mythology friends about a Greek Bronze statue I purchased for my father for Christmas. Thank you to Paul Gauchi and Rebecca Lochlann for commenting. We were all so close with our analysis of the statue. Rebecca, you thought it could be a “Greek Youth” and Paul provided a very good examination on the statue’s stance and crown, thinking it could be a lover of one of the gods. And I thought it was Adonis because he seemed so “beautiful”, but then because of the flower on the ground next to him that he’s staring down at, I thought it was Hyakinthos.

Turns out, thanks to my fantastic Thia, who has the same statue in her collection, and who found the original card from the box of the statue that she put away, this Greek Bronze statue is: NARKISSOS / NARCISSUS.

Narcissus Card

This explains the flower on the ground, which is actually floating on water, and Narkissos is standing on a rock! Ah, the signs!


Narkissos was a handsome youth who fell in love with his reflection from staring into a pool of water.

Narcissus Sculpture Marble from Pompeii Statue Replica

More research shows that a French sculptor, Paul Dubois, carved this actual statue of Narcissus (his stance and portrait). So the bronze statue I have is a replica of his! Mystery solved!

A huge thank you to my Thia again, and to Paul and Rebecca for providing their Greek mythology insight! Such a puzzle to work out, but good to test our knowledge!

Best wishes,

First Author Interview: The Raven’s Wing by Frances Watts

Hi Everyone,

I had the pleasure for my first ever interview to be published on my blog to be with Frances Watts. An Australian children’s book author who I admire in having her first YA Historical novel set in Ancient Rome, The Raven’s Wing, published by HarperCollins in August 2014. She answered 12 Questions I had about her book, her writing, her characters, and about YA historical novels.

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

You can check out the Author Interview on the new category on my blog: Interviews.

Best wishes,