Saturday, June 22, 2013

Hola! back from the attick

Diary of a writer - 10

It's been a busy year so far. Some writing has been done, some schools have been visited, some stories have been told. Many more have been read though. It's been a process of insideness (like the word) of inlooking (like this one too). I have retreated to the attic and has come out full of writing stamina to see me through these winter months.

The best thing that happened is that while I was away, Saffron has been busy posting her thoughts and adventures from different places around the globe. I just found them all in the post. She has been writing a column for this really cool kids magazine called Upstart.

Have a look! (Many thanks to Upstart Magazine and Penguin NZ)

Hello Upstart!

I am in Lukang in Taiwan.

This is what I do:

I call the lovely lady from Upstart.
This is what I tell her:

‘Hello hello, lovely lady, it’s me, Saffron. I am in Lukang, in Taiwan! It’s so noisy here. There are thousands of people and there is a dragon and lots of lanterns and drums.

We are here with Mrs Cheung. She has brought us to the old town to participate in the traditional Lantern Festival celebrations.

This is what she says:

⍟Lukang is one of Taiwan’s oldest towns.

⍟The Lantern Festival is celebrated every year on the 15thday of the lunar month.

⍟This is the year of the dragon.

⍟There are puzzles written on the lanterns.

This is what I say:

‘I am so quite excellent at puzzles!’

This is what we do:

We go to the Lantern Puzzle Zone.

I am so good at solving puzzles, but these ones are a little bit strange. They are in Chinese and they look quite difficult for me today. So I say, ‘Let’s move on, I might come back to the puzzles tomorrow when I am more rested.’

Dad says, ‘What a clever idea, Pumpkin! Let’s get something to eat.’

Mrs Cheung says we must try some tang yuan, which are these sticky balls filled with strange paste.

Sage says, ‘Absolutely not!’

Mum says, ‘Delicious.’

Dad says, ‘You must try this, Pumpkin.’

I say, ‘Okay.’

I try one. I quite like it. I like it a lot.

Then I remember how good I am at eating Chinese food and walking around the Chinese streets. So I tell Sage to hold my hand. I tell her we must take some photos of the beautiful lanterns. I know Mrs Wilson would be so happy with this.

‘We might get lost,’ Sage says.

‘Don’t worry little sister, you are with me,’ I say.

 We hold hands and we start walking around. But suddenly an explosion happens. Then another explosion happens. Then another and another. This is so scary. I start running. I run to my left. I run to my right. I just run. I feel really afraid. Then, I see this huge dragon coming straight at me. It moves and it roars and it’s so scary. So I run some more and I yell at the same time. But no one can hear me and the dragon is still following me. Then I realise that I’ve forgotten Sage. This is terrible. I must protect her from the dragon. She must be so scared by now. Then I look back. The dragon opens it’s mouth, then closes it’s mouth, then it goes past me. I am shaking. But I still need to find Sage.

‘Sage!’, I yell…

 ‘Pumpkin, come here, you are missing all the fun!’ Dad yells.

‘This is called FengPao, which means firecrackers in Chinese,’ Mrs Cheung says. ‘We believe the noise will drive away disease and bad luck.’

‘Saffron, why did you start running like that?’ Sage asks.

I tell her this is not the time to focus on the way I move. This is the time to admire the FengPao, the lanterns and to taste the tang yuan. It’s the tradition.

‘So, hello? Hello? Lovely lady? It’s so noisy, in case you didn’t hear me before I am in Lukang in Taiwan. Hello? Okay I will call you later, I can’t hear you . . .’

Zaijian Upstart, I will call again soon!

Monday, August 27, 2012

On judging....

It was my greatest pleasure to announce the finalists and the winner for the Intermediate Category of 2012 Puffin Short Story Awards last Sunday at Storylines Family Day in Auckland.

There is so much talent in New Zealand and it was a privilege to be reading these beautiful stories. Well done young people of New Zealand!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Book signing, laughing...drawing

Diary of a writer - 8

Well, what a fabulous day we had at the Whitcoulls stores. I was minded and very well looked after by fabulous publicist Lyn Olds and we had a ball talking, drawing and laughing with Saffron's readers.I totally adore connecting with my audience. This is me having a great time!!!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Author talks Whitcoulls stores

Diary of a writer -7

I will be talking, reading, drawing and laughing at Whitcoulls stores on Saturday 7th July. come and join me!!!!!!!

Details bellow

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Saffron is cooking...a storm

Diary of a writer -6

My little Saffron is teaching all Upstart kids how to cook the perfect bruschetta. Of course she has been in Italy lately and this seems to be her favourite Italian food ever!!!!!!

Have fun!!!!!!

Victoria M. Azaro


Author I come

Diary of a writer- 5

OK, I got really transported. I had so much chocolate, sweets, treats, you name it. I went straight back to my childhood bedroom, got all those memories that are always waiting for me whenever i am ready. I kind of got stuck at 9 years of age again. This can bring up a few problems for me since I don't seem to cope well being a Mum of 3 and mentally being 9.

Anyway, on the topic of author talks...Saturday 7th July i will be visiting Whitcoulls stores in Albany, Silvia Park and Bottany Downs. Totally looking forward to it. Saffron is too!!!!

There will be drawing, painting, talking, laughing...

See you then!

Victoria M. Azaro

Saturday, May 19, 2012

On the importance of having tea and cake....

Diary of a writer - 4

I had a revelation....a big one...potentially a huge one!!! As I am writing and writing and illustrating and doing little doodles; I am munching cake, cookies, biscuits, the odd cup of coffee here and there.

Is this part of my creative process? Do I need sugar and caffeine to get imaginative, creative and humorous? After a lot of thought I had yet another revelation...a big one again! If I look back to my childhood years and think of all the times that I remember having fun with my grannies, parents, aunties etc; all these situations involve eating cake and drinking hot chocolates.

Phew, i don't need the sugar and the caffeine to be creative! I just need them to transport me to my happy childhood memories. So I have gone to the supermarket and I am baking three cakes today because I totally need to be transported again by tomorrow. I have a creative deadline, you see? All in the name of creativity!!!!!

PS: These are my crazy grandmother's friends with whom i shared a bedroom many many times

Victoria M. Azaro