Despite the personal challenges of 2017, there have been some rewarding learning adventures including: managing release of two global intranet sites for ~100,000 staff with my direct manager in the States and being awarded an engraved glass paperweight for our efforts which arrived last Thursday and will be useful for self-defence purposes if ever accosted in my cubicle; the pleasure of innovation conversations with my insightful and supportive primary PhD supervisor; maritime skills refreshers on glorious Moreton Bay with the family all aboard encountering marine life while exploring uninhabited islands, including on one memorable occasion rescuing broken-engined boaters escorted back to the marina by dolphins; and ‘bird by bird’ progress honing my writing craft via monthly sessions with my SLQs (pronounced ‘slackers’) writing group met through the Queensland Writer’s Centre ‘Express Year of the Edit’ with Meg Vann.

I was also fortunate enough to have met Belinda Pollard, editor and owner of Small Blue Dog Publishing at a Queensland Writers’ Centre Down the Rabbit Hole writing weekend, and spent a couple of swotting sessions co-writing alongside her and adding my two bitcoin to her fledgling ideas on beta reader guidance, which is now nearing publication. Impressed as I was by Belinda’s pragmatic views and GSOH, I was thrilled to score a spot at her ‘Perfect Your Book‘ session at GenreCon yesterday to develop my editing and beta reader enlistment skillz, and found her insights illuminatING, motivatING, inspirING and many other INGs though never borING.

Highlights included: Belinda’s one-page visual of the general publishing process including suggestions on where to take breathing space and when to enlist beta readers; various resources on slides she was kind enough to share via a link; and an example letter to brief beta readers. Thanks again Belinda! For top tips visit her Web site at –

On working with beta readers, I also gleaned great ideas from Graeme Simsion (he of The Rosie Project) who shared them on The Australian Writer’s Centre ‘So you want to be a writer’ podcast episode 100.

Here’s hoping there are many more learning adventures ahead.