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Category Archives: memoirs

Luvverly LISTS for Writers and Illustrators!

Hi Everyone! ūüôā

Lists can be extremely useful, especially when they are constantly being updated!

Here are SIX such.

The first, compiled by the enterprising and enthusiastic Brain Grove, is a list of US publishers who are currently accepting submissions for children’s books – http://j.mp/SVbnCk¬† – he also, very helpfully, adds links to each entry to take you straight to the site.¬† I also recommend his ebook on¬† query /submission letter writing.

A second list, an international one, that is¬† regularly updated is on Lou Treleaven’s Blog:

http://loutreleaven.wordpress.com/2010/07/21/childrens-publishers-accepting-unsolicited-manuscripts/

The third,  a veritable database of bloggers who interview and/or review, is continuously being updated by the very proactive authors, Delin Colon and Lisa Kalner Williams Рhttp://bit.ly/writerinterviewopps …

Fourth – a database of legends and folktales – if you are looking for inspiration for twists on fairytales or legends, fables etc – here is a whole swag!

Fifth – oh this one is an essential! The inimitable Katie Davis’s Tool Kit is¬† linked out under 5 ‘HEADLINE’ headings!!

If you haven’t joined www.jacketflap.com, I highly recommend it – an excellent networking site for all things related to children’s literature and books.

Latest addition, number six, Rachelle Burk has a wonderful resource site Р http://www.resourcesforchildrenswriters.com/ Р her awarded list of wonderfully helpful links is truly encyclopaedic!

Get busy and good luck!

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Wow of a launch results in 3 titles in reprint already!

Andrea has gotten it spectacularly right! The CEO of Tell Me a Story launched 10 new titles on 30th June, this year. I was privileged to be guest speaker at an event that had even seasoned politicians, Ian Rickuss, MP Lockyer, and Steve Jones, Mayor, Lockyer Valley Regional Council,  commenting on attendance numbers!

Assembled authors, illustrators and guest panelists with Andrea Kwast

Muza Ulasowski [Panelist] and Guest Speaker, J.R.Poulter

The audience was rapt. I have seldom been at a publishing event where everyone’s eyes shone! Andrea has the ¬†devoted support of her very wide community of readers and growing. She also has the ¬†good fortune to have a very devoted group of assistants in administrator, Rel, and local photographer and budding author herself, Jenni Smith.

Research and innovation, preparedness to think out of the box, are hallmarks of Andrea and her team. She believes stories are lurking everywhere and it just takes the right determination, editing and dedication to bring them out. That she is succeeding over and above expetaction is more than demonstrated by the sellout and reprint, within the first few weeks since the launch, of no fewer than 3 titles!

Hearty Congratulations Andrea and Team and to all her authors – keep writing!

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Researching the environment of story

By happy accident, I¬†discovered¬†the ¬†way to travel interstate, overseas,¬†inter-culturally¬† and explore the ¬†ambience of remote towns, cities, country lanes and outback outposts. Air tickets – well that’s the ideal, but no, I used Google Earth.

It started with my trying to locate a lovely country home in West Hougham, Kent, England. It was featured in Country Life for September 7th, 2000, and was the

Inspiration for “The Dolls’ House in the Forest”

inspiration for my story “The Dolls’ House in the Forest”. I was fascinated by the quaintness of the architecture compared to anything out here in Oz and the size of the immense, almost regal trees forming a perfect backdrop to the house. I tried to relocate the house by doing a ‘street view’ saunter down English lanes in the vicinity. ¬†I located the area on the map and zeroed in from aerial to ‘here I am virtually walking down this street on the other side of the world the environs of which I just happen to need¬†to¬†explore.’

West Hougham, Kent, country road, travelled via Google Maps street view.

I didn’t find the house, but I had the most wonderfully inspiring time wandering down¬†country¬†lanes that were little more than wagon tracks, great boughs canopying overhead and wildflowers dotted in the fields…

Now, if I need to capture¬†something¬†of the ‘feel’ of an area. I seek out an address.¬† Real estate notices for sale/auction/for rent are a good source, then go explore in Google Earth. ¬† Wander around that area, exploring the architecture, streetscapes, lifestyles evidenced in things as random as ¬†street art, verge¬†gardens, bus stops, signage, graffiti, shop window decor, fences or lack of, litter, strays and the bystanders to my wanderings. Don’t forget YouTube – Example – Dingle, and with Celtic song overlay Dingle

I have also found that  exploring the Realtor advertisements in the area I am exploring gives insight into the lifestyle and inhabitants of the town. Many homes  give a slideshow or even a video tour online.  This helps you pick up on details of lifehome decor, layout, from wall hangings to  cushions, scatter rugs to artwork, the placement of chairs to take in a much loved outlook, the windows and their views out, the garden. Example.

Perhaps this sounds a little bit the voyeur. It is not the intention, far from, it is seeking faithfulness in recreating a ¬†‘feeling’ for place. It is gathering the elements of story , setting the stage, arranging a convincing backdrop to the action!

Lovely example of a virtual tour – 1893 mansion, St Georges Road, Toorak.

http://imagetrack.com.au/pv/view.php?sc=ffdc8554de&v=/v/ffdc8554de

Another lovely virtual tour – historic “Douglas”, built in 1881, in Birchgrove, Sydney.

Visualising Story

The tips above, of course, are beneficial to¬†illustrators¬†as well. Not many can afford to jet around the¬†world¬†on location research for images. ¬†Other ways¬†to¬†‘get in the setting’ for free include YouTube clips.¬†This is even a Youtube video clip on West Hougham, Kent. Sadly, it doesn’t feature that house…

Other ways¬†to¬†‘get in the setting’ for free, besides YouTube clips, are Flickr and photographic collections held in State Libraries and on¬†places¬†like Pinterst. Jeff Faria recently sent me ¬†a great link to early circus posters – fascinating. Little did he know I am¬†currently¬†writing a story ¬†which involves Civil War period circuses in the US.

If your story requires an historical setting, you are in luck! Heritage listings in Australia and the UK are excellent.

Below are some very useful research sites¬† for historic buildings in Australia –

Federation style dwellings   lists many excellent buildings, of which Alister Brae, Pymble is an outstanding example.

Additional links are given for some residences, as in the case of “Venice”, Randwick.

The NSW Heritage database also gives excellent information. TIP: Put in the street name and the suburb to narrow your search for a particular building. Just putting in the suburb will bring all heritage listed buildings in that suburb. Putting in the street number and street will draw a blank. Putting in the property name will sometimes bring up additional material otherwise unaccessed, e.g., “Glen Rhoda”, a gothic residence in Woollahra. Using the¬† name in the search brings up information on the existing residential property, No.71, and and an additional link to the listing for, No.67, property formerly part of the original “Glen Rhoda”.

For anyone researching Kew, Camberwell or Hawthorn buildings [mainly but not only residences] from 1860s through to 1969, this site is a must. Other Councils will have similar sites.

Open Gardens, Australia has links to various of its  most notable gardens. Windyridge shows the garden in all four seasons in a map based virtual tour.

International settings – the virtual tour

Aside from a drop in to street level via Google Earth, many online sites feature virtual tours of historic settings, buildings,¬†rambles around towns, cities and country areas.¬†A few examples –

Castles –

Eilean Donan, the iconic Scottish Castle featured on  innumerable  calendars, tourist  brochures and used as a location in numbers of  feature films [you need Java 7 to see the virtual tour on the official website] can be viewed in Youtube Clips.

The best clip of Eilean Donan, features a commentary on the Castle’s history and shows the exterior, surrounds and interior in much more detail.

Neuschwanstein [Castle that inspired the Disney fairytale castle] – site tour;

Virtual Tour of Neuschwanstein with  commentary in English subtitles;

Virtual sight-seeing – contemporary and historical

Paris

A walk around Paris by video [sadly not signposted but gives a good  overview of  everyday life];

Louvre  Рhistorical commentary and tour [mainly external],   contemporary , history [in French] and tour of architectural features;

Tuileries, Paris  surrounds, exterior, interior in brief;

Whatever the historic building or the town, you are quite likely to find a youtube clip or at least flicker photos, then there is always Google earth! Have fun!

Presenting – the Lockyer Arts Festival

Can’t remember when I’ve had so much creative fun with such a fantastic group of multitalented folk! 13th to 16th January ¬†we arrived in from all over – WA, NT, Vic and ¬†‘locals’ Christian and¬†self. ¬†We were housed in the Gatton Motel, a leg stretch away¬†¬†from the main venue, not that we needed to walk. We were chauffeur driven everywhere by local Minibus/taxi owner Sue.

12a/aka 13

This is the door to my room, the non-existent  No. 13, on 13th January, a Friday, how lucky can you get!  Interesting how many places omit room 13, floor 13 etc etc. Do folk really think we are so bound by superstition and hangovers from the dark ages that we will eschew  a room or a whole floor just because of a place in a numeric sequence? Evidently it is so.

Presenting

Craig and I had joint sessions with small groups of ardent attendees in a series of workshops. All interacted with us freely and kept us on our toes with their questions.

We started with a draft of my story about the cow that swam the Brisbane river during the January 2011 floods. It was  over 700 words [too long for a picture book] but gave the background Craig needed to locate the story and characterise the little cow. This is a link to a newspaper article about her amazing survival swim.

It was a revelation and a privilege to work with Craig one on one as he sketched out his visual thoughts on the story with me reading excerpts and the audience ¬†interspersing with comments. I cut swathes from the text as Craig’s expert hand created ¬†wonderful image after image.

This is a glimpse of the creation process –

  1. A view of the Brisbane Rive in flood provided by Kim Byron from her newspaper collection on the event.
  2. Craig working on a charcoal image of  the little cow. He has a strong feel for movement and can create a whole range of emotions with sometimes the barely there addition of a line or a smudge.

I love the way illustrators  climb into the  visual universe of a story. Text says a family is sitting in a kitchen. The illustrator will look over their shoulders, look out the window, go out into the next room, climb the stairs to the attic or down to the yard and see where the  house is located in a community.

[more coming… I just need to sleep now…]

Agent search?

If you are searching for an agent, there is a very helpful blog by Casey McCormick which features “Agent Spotlights.”

She posts information about a wide variety of agents who represent children’s and young adult fiction.

http://caseylmccormick.blogspot.com/

The other essential to join is Query Tracker  Рhttp://www.querytracker.com Рthis very comprehensive site offers advice re  query letters, publisher updates, agent info and much more!

JAPAN – New Rising Sun anthology – to be an e-book – Poets, writers, artists

This  fundraising anthology is to be an e-book Рpoets writers, artists, please give of your talents to help the Japanese peope in their hour of need!

The link : http://booksthathelp.org/

New Sun Rising
booksthathelp.org 

Stories for Japan

Opportunities for writers, artists, poets –

NEW Opportunities!

http://nightwolfpress.yolasite.com/submissions.php

Novel competition and an anthology going. Submission guidelines for ms submission.

Cover to work to....

Triangulaton

Short Story Anthology – theme ‘Last Contact’ – flash up to 5,000 words, 31 March deadline. See website:

http://parsecink.org/staticpages/index.php/triangulation_11_guidelines

OPPORTUNITIES

1. Notes from the Gean (March 2011) featuring haiku, tanka, haiga, haibun, renga/renku. Writers are invited to submit their work for the June issue.

http://www.geantree.com/indexcover.html

2. Haibun Today (March 2011) featuring Haibun and Tanka Prose and the largest online collection of literary criticism of the haibun and tanka prose forms. Writers are now invited to submit haibun, tanka prose and articles for consideration in the June 2011 issue.

http://www.facebook.com/l/31a98MHsMap6v9MR4qVq06_Hw2w/haibuntoday.com

AND

Romance under a Waning Moon: Call for submissions. This is a poetry and image website focused on the ups and downs of later-in-life romance. This project has just been started and writers are invited to submit already published poems (preferable) or new work to Editor Ray Rasmussen.

http://raysweb.net/fallromance/index_introduction.html

WIN A VIDEO MONTAGE, closes 6th March

Sandie Muncaster is hosting a giveaway on her site:

Video Montage GIVEAWAY

Want more exposure for your blog, book or a service you offer? Perhaps you’re looking for a fun, family adventure captured to video? TattleTott Productions can help by making a video montage.

Montages are professionally done and posted on YouTube where it may be seen by hundreds, thousands or even millions of people. Once its uploaded onto YouTube, embed codes are available to use on your own blogs, social networks, newsletters or even emails. Think about how much more exposure that will create, plus it’s FUN to watch.

Montages may include any information, pictures and link backs you want – music is included.

TattleTott Productions normally charges $45.00 for a video montage, but you can win one FREE. How? Just leave a comment (and contact info) at; http://sandie-lee.blogspot.com

Giveaway ends March 6th and will be done by random drawing.

Enter today. Good Luck!

You can check out my work at; http://www.youtube.com/my_videos?feature=mhumWriters:

OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS:

Basics of Life anthology open till 28th Feb – Austlit http://auslit.net/2010/11/27/australian-literature-anthology-basics-of-life/

Artists/Illustrators/Poets, Short story writers ++ :

Going Down Swinging taking submissions till 28th February – http://goingdownswinging.org.au/submissions/

Poets, Artists and Illustrators:

Haijinx still open for submissions till 1st March! Haiku, haiga, renku, sumi-e and haibun – http://www.haijinx.com/I-1/

Writers:

Peter Cowan 600 Short Story Competition open -http://www.pcwc.org.au/index.php?p=1_10  Closes 1st May 2011.

Opportunity for writers

CHILDREN AND WAR ANTHOLOGY
http://jlpowers.net/?page_id=1438

This anthology, to be published by Cinco Puntos Press in
2011 or 2012, will explore all angles of children’s and
teenagers’ experiences in war. The core of the book will
be personal essays, memoirs, journalistic accounts, and
historical narratives, both previously published and
original pieces. It may also include photos, artwork,
posters, and other debris that depicts the effects of war
on children and teens. Though the book will be primarily
non-fiction, we may include some fiction, and we are willing
to consider pieces about both current and past wars. “War”
is defined liberally to include both “official” declared
wars as well as secret, unofficial wars, such as those carried
out by governments on civilians in places like Chile, Argentina,
and Zimbabwe. All submissions, queries, and suggestions should
be sent to J.L. Powers at jlpowers@evaporites.com by June
1, 2011.

NOTE: While the guidelines do not state the payment rate, I
spoke with Jessica Powers, editor of the anthology, and the
payment is $200 per story accepted.