Debbie Kahl – YA & Children's Fiction Writer

Hi everyone. Apologies for the lack of recent (ish) blog posts. I have been working towards completing my Master’s degree at uni instead, so there hasn’t been a lot of creative writing happening in my world. Hopefully that will all change soon, as I only have one semester to go. 🤞🤞🤞 I’m really looking forward to getting back into creative writing again after my graduation in December, when I’ll finally be able to take a much needed break from academic writing. 🙌🙌🙌 Hopefully I’ll have more news for you then.

{July 21, 2014}   CYA 2014

Okay,  so it’s been a REALLY long time since I wrote on this thing. But this time it’s not from being lazy. In fact, if anything, I’ve been super busy writing. I’m pulling together two projects at the moment. One had such amazing and invaluable feedback recently from an editor at the CYA Conference – and this just inspires me to keep going. Couple that with the women’s fiction project I’m working on and very excited about, and all I can say is watch this space! When I write on it of course. 🙂

For more info on the fabulous CYA Conference visit:

I’m lazy. And I’m the first to admit it. I have absolutely no self-motivation whatsoever. Unless I’m bored and there’s nothing else around to distract me, and even then I might only consider focusing on the task at hand. I am the queen of procrastination. I have to set rewards for myself to do anything, especially when I write. 50 words = a chocolate, 100 words = a soft drink – and so on, and so forth. You get the idea I’m sure.

Which is why, for me, I need a writer’s group. I need homework. I need people checking up on me, challenging me, making me achieve my goals. I won’t do it myself. It’s sad but true. When left alone, I will happily spend my spare time shopping (in stores or online), reading, watching TV, eating out, socialising – anything but what I’m supposed to be doing.

And before anyone suggests bum glue, I have it – I really do. I just find other things to do when I’m on the computer. Powerpoints for work, shopping online, searching random facts on the net about anything not writing related. I’m lazy. And I’m happy being lazy. It’s just as simple as that. The only time I’m not lazy is when I have deadlines to meet. And when I’m travelling; because then I never, ever sleep. But that’s a whole other story, for another time …

So, this is why I’m here blogging right now about the importance of me being in a writer’s group. I’m actually in two (soon to be three) – one for adults, one for YAKs (YA and Kids writing).  They force you to step outside of your comfort zone, by pushing you to develop your writing in ways you’ve never even considered. They also provide critical feedback on your writing, which is exactly what you need sometimes to help you put that evil jigsaw, sorry story, together. And they share your successes and support you through the rejections (which sadly, let’s face it, is more common in the writing world.)

I’m blessed to have such gorgeous friends and colleagues in these groups. I am thankful for each and every one of them. My chapter book Bitter Besties, which recently won the unpublished CYA Competition, would not be where it is without the invaluable feedback of these wonderful writers. Sure, it still needs work and it is nowhere near publication at this stage but I trust the opinions of these friends and know their constructive feedback can only enhance my writing. it certainly did with BB. I can only hope other writers are as lucky with their writer’s groups as I am with mine.

Til next time, happy writing! 🙂

The YAK girls volunteering at CYA – Me, Penny & Ally.

{July 7, 2012}   When wishes come true …

This week I had one wish. It was huge and very secret. Not earth-shattering, change my world in a heartbeat if anyone found out secret. It was secret to me because I was scared to admit it out loud. I didn’t want to believe it could ever come true. I didn’t want to be disappointed if it didn’t.

I wanted to win the Chapter Book category for my middle grade fiction novel Bitter Besties in the CYA competition. I was shortlisted. It was down to three entries. I was top three no matter what.

But today, in a mad stroke of insane luck (and after five years of writing, editing, drafting, rewriting, re-editing, redrafting), I actually won. Yes, me. I won it! I’m still incredibly shocked and truly humbled by this unique moment in my life.

I thought I was happy to be shortlisted, and I was – until I won. It was only then, when my writing friends were cheering loudly for me as I went to collect my award, that I realised how much I’d really wanted to win.

Five years (on and off) of writing this manuscript; having it critiqued at the CYA Conference Editor Pitch sessions and using this constructive feedback to tweak my story. Having it critiqued by friends in my writing group; and spending hours, days, weeks writing and rewriting it during my holidays/weekends/nights after work – it all came down to this moment.

In an anonymous competition (where the work has no name on it and is judged solely on its merits by judges who’ve never met me) they actually liked what I wrote. They enjoyed it. A  half-decade of work was finally validated. It was all worth it. It’s such an amazing feeling!

And after meeting the other entrants, and realising the high standard of competition I faced, I am even more humbled by my win. I still can’t believe it and I’m so very lucky!

Oprah Winfrey once said: ‘Luck is preparation meeting opportunity.’

I guess after five years of networking, learning, honing my craft and working hard on my story; one can say I was prepared for this opportunity. But the final result was quite simply luck. Everything clicked together for me today and for that I’m grateful. I do, however, hold no illusions that this is only but one hurdle that I’ve jumped and there is still a very, very long road ahead to (hopefully) publication one day.

Still, for today I will enjoy this very rare moment that I’ve worked very hard for. I did the best I could, and I won. I know it’s not perfect and I know there’s still work to be done, but it’s obviously not bad either.

I guess if you dream long enough, work really hard at what you want and the universe aligns itself just right – wishes really can come true.

Now, enough about me. Go now and chase your own dreams! xx

Hi all,

This Saturday marks the annual CYA Conference here in Brisbane. This conference is a wonderful opportunity for Children & Young Adult writers across Australia to network and participate in workshops with YA and children’s writers. If you haven’t yet booked your place and you think this might be your thing, please visit Time is definitely running out to be a part of this incredibly worthwhile conference. 

In addition to this conference, and a personal note of achievement for me, is that my work has been shortlisted in one of the CYA competition categories. On Saturday, I will find out where I place, after my work has been judged by an editor from a publishing house. I am so, so, so excited!!! To even be shortlisted is an honour and an amazing achievement within itself. I doubt I’ll get any sleep on Friday night as I’m sure nerves will consume me ..

Apologies in advance that I’m being vague about the details of this competition but I’m sure you can appreciate that as this is an anonymous competition, where the work is judged solely on its merits, I can’t discuss which category I’m in or which work has been shortlisted. But check back here on the weekend – after the conference – when I can tell you all the details. I have my fingers crossed and a thousand wishes out there for a positive result. Wish me luck. x

{May 6, 2012}   Back to the blog …

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I bit off more than I could chew last year and swamped myself with work that screamed to be done – and something had to give.

Truthfully, I was a bit worried it was going to be me; so I took a step back from my life, assessed what was important and am skipping down life’s path again. I’ve learnt my limitations and what was important, and here I am again – ready to write. 🙂

That’s not to say I haven’t been busy though …

I finished my Diploma of Publishing, and I’m freelancing these skills by doing manuscript assessments for children’s and YA fiction.

My working holiday to Japan in September has been planned, booked and partially paid for, which promises some great material for a new YA book!

I’ve been writing short snippets of flash fictions for my new women’s fiction project, which is an exciting new direction.

BB has been dusted off and given a new lease of life with some editing and rewriting – and it’s my goal to finally get this out there by the end of the year.

And, if that’s not enough, I’ve just submitted two entries in the CYA Competition in July, for the pre-school picture book and chapter book categories.

So, add in full time work and a crazy social life, and time’s just run away from me. But all this madness is fun, and I love it.

As my beautiful friend Dawn Alice told me yesterday, when she deconstructed some confusing Tarot for me (which always happens when I try to do it myself), those strong, reversed cards mean business. They’re saying ‘pick up your little world and tip toe through life and love every minute xxx.’

I couldn’t have put it better myself …

Visit the beautiful Dawn Alice at  or join in the discussions at her Facebook page, Life Love Tarot.

{December 10, 2011}   Dark Legacy by M.A. Anderson

Hi all, this is a shameless promotion for my very good friend Maggie Anderson, who’s recently released her debut novel Dark Legacy, a dark urban fantasy novel with more than a hint of crime, through Amazon.

Although this is Maggie’s debut novel, I can honestly say she is a very talented writer who deserves all the recognition that will come her way with this series.

And for all you lovers of good books out there, just what can you expect from Dark Legacy? Well, read on people …

Doctor Andre Delecroix possess a dark secret – one he cannot share with anyone, not even his closest friend, Detective Reece Daniels. This sinister secret has finally come back to haunt him – in a very physical presence, and both men are about to be drawn into a malicious game – a game that will end in death…

Andre has been plagued by nightmares of blood and murder for the past six months. For years he has controlled his impulses and contained his dark urge, but has it finally broken free? Are the nightmares glimpses of the horrors he has committed or is something far more menacing drawing him into its evil grasp?

Detective Reece Daniels is investigating a series of teen murders. The killer is adept at what he does, leaving no DNA and no clues. But there is a common link to the deaths, one that Reece is yet to discover. When he finally starts to piece the puzzle together, will he believe what logic tells him not to? And will he discover the truth about Andre?

Dark Legacy is a well crafted novel with amazing imagery and realistic characters that I can’t recommend enough. This is urban fantasy and crime at its finest and I, for one, can’t wait for the sequel! Treat yourself this festive season and buy this book for a guaranteed good read. I promise you won’t regret it.

Paperbacks are now available through Amazon at: with the Kindle edition coming very soon!

Make sure to visit Maggie’s website at: and/or like her author page on Facebook:

Happy reading everyone! xx

{November 1, 2011}   Okay, so it’s been a while …

Okay, so it’s been a while since I posted on here. But I have a good excuse. You might’ve heard of it? It’s called reality.

Reality keeps getting in the way of all the good stuff – or maybe it’s the stuff I’m supposed to be enjoying as ‘part of the journey’ on my way to some unknown destination. Well, if that’s the case and I’m to be truthful, then I guess I’m enjoying it. It’s definitely entertaining, if nothing else.

So, in between extended stints of reality (and amusing situations which you will one day read a fictionalised version of) I’ve been: plotting out two new novels, tweaking old manuscripts, receiving outstanding feedback on my picture book submission in the CYA competition and desperately trying to finish my Diploma. FYI: I’ve only got 4 more assignments to go! 😀

And as for reality – and the fun that comes with navigating sticky situations and quirky experiences that come with being re-singled, or maybe that’s recycled?, at my age (cue SATC de ja vu anyone?) – well, that’s coming along quite nicely too. I have no doubt you’ll read all about it one day …  And one thing’s a definite, there’ll certainly be lots to say!

Pop on over to We Love YA to check out my interview with the amazing Amanda Ashby and to enter her book giveaway. Only at … Well hurry up, get over there. 🙂

et cetera