Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas Gift Ideas From Robyn Opie Parnell

Move over Indiana Jones...

Maya's life has changed. Her mother is dead, killed in a car accident; she's befriended by Ethan, a boy who claims he's from the spirit world; and now her father is missing.

What does the legend of the crystal skulls have to do with her father's disappearance? Will Maya travel to Mexico to save him? How can Maya's destiny have anything to do with the future of humankind?

The Mexican jungle, ancient Mayan ruins, dangerous bounty hunters and evil kidnappers...

Yes, Maya's life has changed.
The fate of the world now depends on her.

For children aged 10 and older.

BUY NOW from Amazon Kindle - $2.99

BUY NOW from the publisher - $19.95

CLICK HERE to watch the trailer

Available On Amazon Kindle Only

stopthumbSam hates to read. She hates books. 

Unfortunately for Sam, her family are bookworms, her mom writes children's books and her teacher thinks reading is important.

Every day is a battle for Sam to avoid reading and to keep her secret. Life gets so bad, Sam is ready to move to Antarctica.

Instead, Sam is about to have the most embarrassing experience of her life. Will she survive?

Stop! Do not read this book - and help Sam keep her secret.

For children aged 8 to 12.

BUY NOW - $2.99

Gary is sick of being a loser. He wants to be popular.

So, he comes up with the best joke ever.

But the joke gets out of control. Soon the whole town is involved. The school is in danger. Gary is too. Can he fix everything before it's too late?

For children aged 8 to 12, or reluctant older readers.

BUY NOW - $2.99

It's Christmas Eve, 1974, when Cyclone Tracy hits Darwin in Northern Australia.

Lucy is at home with her parents and her dog, Foxy. As the ferocious cyclone intensifies, Foxy goes missing. Will Lucy be able to save her dog from the storm? Or will Christmas be a disaster in more ways than one?

This is a moving tale of one family's ordeal during a true-life event.

BUY NOW - $2.99

More Children's Books by Robyn Opie Parnell:
You're Amazing -
The Law of Attraction for Young People
(R&R Books, 2012)



How to Write
a Great
Children's Book
(Magellan Books, 2012)


Black Baron
(Walker Books
Australia, 2008)
(Walker Books
UK, 2009)

The Pony Game
(Lothian Books, 2007)

Eye of the Future
(Blake Education, 2003)


Our Secret Place
(Blake Education, 2002)
(Steck-Vaughn, 2007)

Backstage Betrayal
(Blake Education, 2002)
(Steck-Vaughn, 2007)

Living in Space
(Barry Publishing, 2001)

Jen Stays Inside
(Macmillan Education, 1999)

My Bike
(Macmillan Education, 1999)

People Need Trucks (Macmillan Education, 1999)

Working like a Dog (Macmillan Education, 1999)

Mrs Twitch and the Small Black Box
(Macmillan Education, 1999)

Martian Milk
(Macmillan Education, 2000)

The Mad Mower
(Macmillan Education, 1999)


Jack’s Great Search (Macmillan Education, 2000)

free PDF

Monday, December 17, 2012

An Interview With Children's Author Aleesah Darlison

Aleesah Darlison is a multi-published Australian children’s author. She writes picture books and novels, both in the contemporary fiction and fantasy genres. She also works as a book reviewer for The Sun Herald. Aleesah’s picture books include Bearly There, Puggle’s Problem (NSW PRC) and Warambi (2012 CBCA Notable Book Eve Pownall Award, 2012 Wilderness Society Award for Children’s Literature - Shortlist). Her chapter books include Fangs and Little Good Wolf. Her novels and popular series are I Dare You, Unicorn Riders and Totally Twins.

Here Aleesah answers ten quick questions about herself and her writing.

1. What’s your favorite children’s book of all time?
That’s incredibly hard to choose! Classic: I love The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (who doesn’t?). Modern: Diary of a Wimpy Kid – those books really make my kids and me laugh.

2. What’s your favorite genre to write?
Again, hard to choose. I love writing picture books because my stories are then illustrated by amazing artists, but I probably do feel most comfortable writing junior fiction for say 8 – 12 year olds. It’s so much fun – I can be a kid again when I write.

3. What do you do when you’re not writing?
I spend a lot of time conducting school visits and running author talks and writing workshops, for both children and adults. And when I’m not doing that I’m usually buzzing around trying to maintain my three kids’ busy social lives.

4. What were you good at as a child?
I’ve always been an avid reader, so I was pretty good at that. I was also pretty good at swimming and athletics and did well at the local carnivals.

5. What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently editing and reviewing draft illustrations for books 7 and 8 in my Unicorn Riders series. The books are called Krystal’s Charge and Ellabeth’s Light. I’m really pleased with how they’re turning out. They’re fun and interesting stories to write (and read!), kids love them and my publisher, Walker Books, has an amazing team that I work with.

6. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be?
We’re actually planning a family holiday to America for next year. We bought a map to see all the places we could go. I think we’re going to have to be over there for five years to see everything! America is HUGE. But we only have one month. If anyone has any ideas about the best, must-see places in America, I’d love to know what they are. It would certainly help with our planning and our budget.

7. If you could be any type of animal, what would it be?
Either a meerkat or a red panda. They’re both so cute, but I watched a documentary about red pandas the other night and they’re endangered so maybe that wouldn’t be such a great choice ...

8. What really gets your goat?
Bad drivers. I live in Sydney so there are far too many of them. Especially at this time of year! I’m pretty sure others must feel the same way.

9. What’s the best piece of advice you could give aspiring writers?
Don’t ever give up. You never know what’s around the corner, ie a publication acceptance. I received over 400 rejections before I received a book contract.

10. What will be the next book you release?
Bearly There. It’s a picture book featuring a boy and a teddy. The inspiration behind the story is my own son, Blake, and his much-loved but rather raggedy teddy bear. The book will be released in March by Windy Hollow Books and is illustrated by Jill Carter-Hansen.

Thanks for that. Anything else you’d like to add, Aleesah?
For more info about me and my books, people can visit my website at or drop into my Facebook Fan Page and ‘LIKE’ it: Thanks for hosting me on your blog, Robyn. Readers/followers: please post comments or drop me an email. I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks, Aleesah, for visiting my blog and sharing your fabulous answers to the 10 quick questions. All the best in 2013. All the best to everyone!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Choosing Children's Books

Choosing books for children can seem like a daunting task due to the huge number of available titles. It’s important to make good choices, too, because an inappropriate book can lead to boredom, frustration or both. Certain considerations will help to narrow down the choices.

1. Age Appropriateness - Be sure the topics explored in the book are not meant for a much older or younger audience, and the vocabulary and complexity of sentences and story line are not too difficult to follow or too simple to enjoy. Suggested age ranges can be found on the back of the book, on bookstore websites, or in bookstores and libraries.

2. Level of Independence – If the child will be reading to himself, the book will need to be less difficult than if he is reading aloud to you. If you’re choosing a book to read aloud to a child, you can look at titles that are written at one or two grade levels above the child’s independent reading level.

3. Art – Picture books introduce children to art along with literature; Caldecott Medal winners are children’s books that have been recognized specifically for the quality of the artwork. Remember that picture books are often written at a high reading level because it is assumed that they will be read aloud to the child.

4. Quality – Some bets are safer than others when you’re choosing from books you haven’t read. Look at time tested classics and winners of awards such as the Newbery Medal and the Geisel Award.

5. Topic – You may want to look for a fiction book that goes along with topics the child is studying. A search on any library OPAC or bookstore website will bring up children’s novels and picture books that pull in topics from history, science, social circumstances, and the arts.

6. Non-Fiction – When looking for a non-fiction book, be open to different formats. Since children learn best when they’re entertained, some of the best non-fiction books incorporate humor, illustrations or both.

Once you’ve gotten a feel for what’s available, searching for the perfect book for a child can become as enjoyable as picking out a gift for his birthday. If you carefully consider the purpose, difficulty and quality of books, you can confidently select appropriate books for children that will nurture their love of reading.

Author Bio:
Jason Miner, an expert freelance writer, loves writing articles on different categories. He is approaching different bloggers to recognize each other's efforts through He can be contacted through e-mail at jasonminer8atgmaildotcom.

Examples - Books by Robyn Opie Parnell

For more information on books by Robyn Opie Parnell, please visit her website -

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Five Star Review of Best Joke Ever

's review of my latest novel Best Joke Ever from Goodreads
5 of 5 stars false
Read in November, 2012

Gary has three problems at school, Buzz Wilson, Lee Wang and Mr Pittman. Buzz and Lee make Gary’s school life hell. They never cease to seek out ways to embarrass and harass him. Bullies, it seems to Gary, never fight fair or lack imagination when it comes to finding ways to torture him.Mr Pittman makes life in the classroom dull. History is a subject that Gary finds uninspiring, that is until he comes up with a plan to raise his profile amongst his fellow students. Mr Pittman loves history and stories about Bushranger Willy. Gary knows that to fake anything about Bushranger Willy would lead to trouble. So he decides to make a fake treasure map to play a joke on Mr Pittman, and win favor with the class.

Gary makes up a plot that he hopes will whet Mr Pittman’s history appetite. Working on the map in secret, Gary is proud of his creation. He can hardly contain his eagerness when the class discovers the map. But not all goes to plan and he has to use his wits like never before to escape the chaos that follows.

Robyn Opie has penned a tale that all children will relate to. Bullies in the playground and seeking peer approval are part of growing up. Adults that read this story will find themselves transported back to their early years. The story is action packed with many twists and turns that always entertain.

"Best Joke Ever” shows that Robyn has strengthened her ability to write a story that entertains. I recommend this book to those children who seek an adventure when they read. They will not be disappointed.


Best Joke Ever! 
A new book for children aged 8 to 12 

By Robyn Opie Parnell

Published by R & R Books Film Music

Available now from Amazon Kindle 

R.R.P. $2.99



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A New Release from Robyn Opie Parnell - Best Joke Ever

Best Joke Ever! 
A new book for children aged 8 to 12 
By Robyn Opie Parnell
Published by R & R Books Film Music
Available now from Amazon Kindle 
R.R.P. $2.99

Best Joke Ever!  
Gary is sick of being a loser. He wants to be popular. So he comes up with the best joke ever. But the joke gets out of control. Soon the whole town is involved. The school is in danger. Gary is, too. Can he fix everything before it's too late?

  • File Size: 544 KB
  • Publisher: R & R Books Film Music
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A601328

Other books by Robyn Opie Parnell available from Amazon Kindle:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I'm Guest Author on Clancy Tucker's Blog

Recently, I was guest author on Clancy Tucker's blog. Here is the beginning of the interview I did with Clancy...

Robyn Opie Parnell

- Guest Author

G’day guys. Today I welcome a very successful writer, author and screenwriter – Robyn Opie Parnell. Robyn is the author of 88 children’s books. She has been writing for children for 15 years; most of her children’s books are sold around the world and many have been translated into foreign languages. Welcome, Robyn. Tell us more …


I wrote my first novel when I was fifteen.

In my early twenties, I submitted a 2,500 word picture book to publishers. I thought the book was brilliant. I loved it. Publishers, unfortunately, didn’t agree. But I didn’t know back then that picture books are usually less than 700 words and never ever more than 1,000. Oops! It’s a good thing we live and learn.

Around the mid-nineties, I read books and completed courses on writing for children. My first three books were accepted in 1998 and published in 1999. The three books are still available today. They are My Bike, Jen Stays Inside, and People Need Trucks.

Thirteen years later, I’m the author of 86 published books. Naturally, I’ve written many, many more that haven’t been published. I’m still hopeful with some of them. Others I now chalk up to experience.


Yes, definitely. I loved to read. I still do. Books are the best escape from reality. And we all need to escape from reality.


I wrote my first children’s book when I was fifteen. My English teacher gave me an “A” for every essay I wrote. One day, as he handed back an essay, he said to me, “You should be a writer.” Talk about a light bulb moment! I went home and wrote my first novel. It was a mystery, like an Australian Nancy Drew – too much like an Australian Nancy Drew!

The rest of my journey was described in question 1.


Not working in an office from 9 to 5.

I love the freedom. I love being able to do anything and go anywhere. I’m talking about my imagination. I can have great adventures, from the comfort and safety of my recliner chair. I love being able to explore ideas, themes, subjects, times and places. Being a writer opens me up to anything, all sorts of possibilities, anything can happen.  In my novel Backstage Betrayal, I explored a fear of mine. In Maya and the Crystal Skull, I traveled to Mayan ruins in Central America. I also defeated the villains and saved the world. In Working Like a Dog, I focused on one of my favorite things. In Black Baron, I tried to save an animal from the ultimate cruelty – extermination. I did all of these things from the comfort and safety of my recliner chair. Basically, I get to dream every day about the things I’d love to do and occasionally about some of the things I’d hate to do. Oh, and I love still being a kid!


CLICK HERE for the remainder of my interview on Clancy Tucker's blog.

Thank you, Clancy!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

5 Must Read Classic Bedtime Stories

Your child’s bedtime ritual is sacred - visit the potty, brush their teeth, listen to them try to chat their way out of bedtime, tucking in and, of course, reading a story. There are probably books from your childhood you know by heart or bring a smile to your face when you hear them. Create these kinds of memories for your little ones with these classics:

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown - A sweet bedtime story about a bunny on his way to falling asleep. The soft words and delicate rhymes are almost like a lullaby for your children. This may be a short story taking place in the same room but if the reader is careful you can slowly see things in the room move around during this bedtime ritual.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein - A book about a young boy and his relationship with a tree and it’s progression over the years. This one will definitely tug at your heart and one that parents understand. It’s no wonder that this book was translated into over 30 different languages. 

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams - An adored classic of a toy rabbit's search to become real with the love of his little boy owner is an everlasting, cherished story. Your kid will be holding his/her stuffed animal a little tighter tonight. Definitely a tear-jerker and very similar to the Toy Story theme.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak - A classic that most parents read as children about a misbehaving boy named Max and his made up world. If the story doesn’t capture your child’s attention, the graphics will. The artwork is beautiful. The movie adaptation released in 2009 portrays it eloquently but may be too intense for the youngsters.

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch - Your child may not understand why this book causes you to tear up, but a parent does. A mother sings the same lullaby to her child through years, only to have the child return the same lullaby many years later to their own. One of the newer books on this list, printed in 1984. 

These stories all send wonderful and special messages to your child and will become their favorites in no time. Enjoy these little moments because there will be a time when they no longer need you to leave the door cracked or the night light on.

Author Bio
Nancy Parker was a professional nanny and she loves to write about a wide range of subjects, like health, parenting, child care, babysitting, nanny, etc. You can reach her @ nancy.parker015 @

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Senia Interviews Childrens Book Author Robyn Opie Parnell

Where do you get inspiration for your books?

I get inspiration for my books from my life and experiences. The inspiration for my book The Pony Game came from playing with my dog as a child. My novel Backstage Betrayal deals with a fear of mine. Our Secret Place is based on a real experience that happened to a friend when he was a teenager. Eye of the Future explores a favorite subject of mine. Black Baron appeals to my sense of humor and desire to save all the animals in the world. Stop! Do Not Read This Book was inspired by the idea of someone hating books and hating to read. I was interested in opposites with this story because I love books and love to read.    

What kind of children’s books do you write?
I write fiction and non-fiction books for children. I write all sorts of children’s books for children as young as 5 to children as old as 15. I like to read fast-paced, action-packed, humorous stories, so I tend to write these types of stories.
Please visit Senia's blog - - to read the rest of this interview.

Thank you, Senia, for interviewing me.

About Senia
Senia is a very smart, hyper, and cute 10 year old little girl that loves chocolate, science, reading, and the (☮) peace sign. Her mother is Dangerous Lee! Senia's blog will cover tween and teen topics, parenting tips, as well as artwork, photos, videos, book reviews, and other cool things that Senia shares as she grows up to become a woman.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Half Price! All Proceeds to Animals Australia! Please help!

Today, I watched a TV advert from Animals Australia. I'll admit that the TV advert made me cry. I so badly want to see the animals find their place. I so badly want to help pigs fly. 

So, here's the deal ... A half price special!

This week, I'm selling my e-book How to Write a Great Children's Book for $15 and all proceeds go to Animals Australia. How to Write a Great Children's Book usually retails for $27.95. But if you help me raise $150 to donate to Animals Australia, you can have my e-book for the special price of $15! 

BUY NOW for $15 and I'll donate all proceeds to Animals Australia.

Please share with anyone you know who wants to write children's books. Please help me to raise $150 for Animals Australia.
An end to factory farming: Make it Possible

Factory farming is the number one cause of animal cruelty today. We have a plan to end it. Take a sneak peak at our most ambitious campaign yet - and be a part of the launch of
Make it Possible!                                                 ©

If you'd like to watch the TV advert that made me cry, here is the URL:

How to Write a Great Children's Book - BUY NOW - and help the animals find their place!

My goal is to raise at least $150. Please spread the word. We all win. You get How to Write a Great Children's Book at approximately half price, we get to donate to Animals Australia, and the animals receive our help. What a great deal!

BUY NOW for $15 and I'll donate all proceeds to Animals Australia.

After your payment, please allow 12 hours for me to email you a copy of How to Write a Great Children's Book with my personal "thank you".

We can make a difference!

Love and Light,
Robyn Opie Parnell

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Authors in the Limelight Interview: Robyn Opie Parnell

The following is from an interview I did for Sharon Ledwith's blog: I Came. I Saw. I Wrote. Thank you, Sharon!

I want to thank and welcome author Robyn Opie Parnell for sharing her personal writing journey with us on my blog today. Her featured book, Maya and the Crystal Skull, can be purchased from Amazon, and other on-line bookstores.

How long have you been writing, Robyn?

I wrote my first novel when I was fifteen – an Australian version of Nancy Drew. 

In my early twenties, I submitted a 2,500 word picture book to publishers. I thought the book was brilliant. I loved it. Publishers, unfortunately, didn’t agree. But I didn’t know back then that picture books are usually less than 700 words and never ever more than 1,000. Oops! It’s a good thing we live and learn.

Around mid-nineties, I read books and completed courses on writing for children. My first three books were accepted in 1998 and published in 1999. The three books are still available today. They are My Bike, Jen Stays Inside, and People Need Trucks.

Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write Maya and the Crystal Skull?

To read more of my interview, please visit Sharon Ledwith's blog: I Came. I Saw. I Wrote.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Deborah Abela's Blog Tour For Her New Series Ghost Club

A Few Ghostly Queries
by the author of Ghost Club, a new series for kids, Deborah Abela

Would you have liked to have been part of a ghost club?
Absolutely! Alongside my nanna, most likely. My nanna wasn’t your regular cake-baking, round, hugging kind of grandmother, she was feisty, no-nonsense and used to tell me stories about ghosts. True stories, that were passed down through the family and this sparked a life-long love of all things ghostly.

So how did your ghost club come about?
Partly because of Nanna but also because this year was the 200th birthday of Charles Dickens, who not only claimed to have seen ghosts but also was the founding member of the Ghost Club 150 years ago. (The club still meets today to investigate ghostly sightings.) I decided to create my own club where two of the most successful catchers are 11-year-old twins, Angeline and Edgar Usher. Like the real clubsters, they investigate haunted sites and try to convince the ghosts to stop their pesky ways. 

How does your ghost club work?
It is run from a ramshackle mansion in Gravesend and is headed by Grandmaster Fleischmann. Regular meetings are held to discuss upcoming conferences, welcome new members and discuss the latest ghostly sightings. Professor Grandma Rose is the chief inventor and in charge of the Spectorium, where all the  equipment is kept and Endora Spright is the Head of Spectral research and looks after the archives, museum and investigating the history of haunted sites.

Do you have a favorite character?
I never start out with one but the more I get to know my characters, one always stands out and this time it’s Mr Roderick Gloom, former ghost catcher and groundsman of the club. He keeps unusual pets like piranhas and tarantulas and fancies himself a bit of a poet, where, to the dislike of newest member Dylan, the characters always seem to meet a dismal end.

Do you believe in ghosts?
Yes, but I have only seen one. It was late at night when I was climbing into bed. I reached to close the curtains when, outside the window, I saw the face of my nanna. After a few moments she faded away. I drew the curtains, had a strong feeling that Nanna was looking out for me and had a very calm, restful sleep. 

What kind of kid do you think will enjoy Ghost Club?
Kids who are about 8-12, enjoy adventure, mystery and a bit of fun, ghostly peskiness. 

Thank you, Deborah, for including my blog in your blog tour. All the best with Ghost Club

Thank you so much for being involved, Robyn. It's been great fun.

Visit the next stop on Deborah’s blog tour:

Did you miss the previous stop? See:

To see all the stops on the tour, go to:

About Deborah Abela

Deb knew she wanted to be a writer when she was 7 years old.  Her first story was about a man made out of cheese.  It wasn’t very good.  She’s had much more practice writing since then and strangely enough her first writing job was for a kids’ show on channel Ten called Cheez TV.  After 7 years of writing scripts about everything from llamas to bungy jumping and how to go to the toilet in outer space, Deb wrote her first novel - Max Remy Superspy Part 1: In Search of the Time and Space Machine.