A Timely Celebration

Writing can be lonely. Happily, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) offers a great support network, including critique groups.

My own critique group is almost four years old, so we all know each other well. More or less monthly we gather in a local bar, rubbing shoulders to discuss chunks of our work. We use constructive criticism and positive feedback in equal measure, and all our writing benefits. I’ve learned so much from my fellow critiquers, past and present.

Occasionally, like now, we have a tangible achievement to celebrate. Just in time for Christmas our friend, Tony Irvin, has published the second editions of his African Safari Adventure books, plus a related Young Adult thriller, Cobra Strike.

Ant Lion Cover-Kindle

Aimed at 8-12 year olds, the African Safari books are about three British children and the Maasai children they befriend, caught up in adventures on a wildlife ranch in Maasailand, Tanzania.

The author is a retired vet, and he spent many years working in Kenya as an expert on tropical diseases of cattle and wildlife. His books are infused with his familiarity with the people, landscape and creatures. Among the many vivid animal encounters are those with the so-called ‘Little Five’ that give the books their titles:

The Ant-Lion; The Elephant-Shrew; The Buffalo-Weaver; The Leopard-Tortoise; and The Rhinoceros-Beetle (yet to be published).

A drawback of critiquing is that you read a story a bit at a time, over months or years. Sometimes chapters are out of order, or you can’t remember what happened previously. Sometimes you never find out the end. I’m looking forward to reading the whole thrilling series of African Safari Adventures, in the right order, in my own time, for the sheer joy of it.

Seasons Greetings, everybody! Happy Christmas, and I wish you all peace and joy in the coming year.

4 thoughts on “A Timely Celebration

  1. You have made some pertinent comments about critique groups here Janet. Thank you for sharing.
    Wishing you a fun filled Christmas and a productive New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely to hear the benefits of being part of a SCBWI crit group. The support you have all given to Tony will have contributed greatly to his publication achievement. Tony must be incredibly proud of producing not just one, but a whole series of amazing books for children to read and enjoy. Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Debbie. We are certainly very proud of Tony. Crit groups are just one aspect of SCBWI’s great work for writers and illustrators – and it’s all thanks to you and the many other dedicated volunteers.


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