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Category Archives: play

Summer Reading Club 2012/13 – Untangled Tales is choc full of holiday awesomeness

The Untangled Tales website is the best  of the Summer Reading sites. Going over the site, was like being in one of the famous ‘But WAIT, there’s more!’ advertisements! At every click of the mouse, there was more and all of it FREE! There is something here for children of all ages [preschool, primary, secondary], for their parents, teachers and librarians. The site is gorgeous [literally] to look at, easy to navigate, entertaining in content and layout and engagingly informative!

The Celebrity Corner  questions brought out the creative quirkiness of authors and illustrators in a very entertaining way and featured a very diverse group of creatives!

The Untangled Tales game is a blast – great fun! It challenges memory and  prods research capabilities and informs about other cultures, their customs and attitudes as reflected in their  fairytales and legends.

Image

Check out the  side tabs and their drop down menus – there is heaps and heaps of  fun activity, fantastic tales, playful poetry and fanciful stories, arty opportunities, creative competitions in writing and art activities and painless learning along the way!!

I’m thrilled to be part of this  year’s Summer Reading Club. I’m in Celebrity Corner with Kerry Brown, Christian Bocquee [with whom I am collaborating in our own Fractured Fairytales collection], Terry Denton, Lucia Masciullo and numbers of other wonderfully creative folk!

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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  – historical 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!

Collaboration – an adventure to be savored!

I have found the opportunity to collaborate with illustrators something eminently rewarding, an experience that  enriches both participants and results in a more vibrant and much richer work. It does this because, in the best collaborations,  it  broadens the vision of the work, taking in as it does the illustrator’s perception of the story’s universe.

My first picture book, “Mending Lucille” was the result of a collaborationWorking with the amazing Sarah Davis was inspirational! I have gone on to collaborate closely with illustrators all over the world. I have found them on the internet’s illustration sites, on http://www.Jacketflap.com and on http://www.utales.com. We have created and are creating numbers of other picture books, some digitally published, some in process with print publishers and some I am still researching the right publishing outlet. Finding the ‘right’ outlet is very important. Not every publisher is ‘right’ for every book.

Digital Publishing

I have had the pleasure of collaborating with first time picture book illustrators, Jade Potts [USA], Jonas Sahlstrom [Sweden], Alexandra Krasuska [Sweden] and fellow Aussie, Jodi Magi [now of Abu-Dhabi] on uTales, and am about to have my latest collaboration, “Little Dragons’ Babysitter” released with Caroline Lee. Utales is non-exclusive which means  creators can take advantage of other  opportunities for their work as they arise. I have just signed a contract with Flying Books, Islreal, for “Rich Man, Poor Man” the book I did with Jodi Magi. My first digital collaboration is on http://www.istorytime, “At the Beach with Bucket and Spade” with Sarah Bash Gleeson [USA], whom I met on JacketFlap.com, a wonderful children’s literature networking site along with many other amazing and inspiring folk. Sarah is editor of magazine, “Dream Chaser” which focusses on children’s books and their creators.

Joanna Marple’s mini review of my latest digital book, “Xengu and the Turn of Tide”:

“A Tolkienesque tale, I love it!”

See a review of her first picture book in my last blog post with links to her interview with Darshana Shah Khiani on “Flowering Minds“.

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The Stray – Your feedback is actively solicited! :)

The Stray.

Please leave a comment or like – I won’t be upset if you do both!

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.

I-publishing – new players, new info

27.12.2010 Update:

I have found numbers of other interesting sites which I am actively investigating.

Story Chimes

Story Chimes has won the PTPA Media Inc. Seal of Approval.  This App Developer is in partnership with Raven Tree Press, producing their print books for iphone and ipad as well as new, never been in print, titles.

MCB

Interesting interview with Jean-Pierre Bousquet about his experience publishing his Children’s picture book , “Caroline , and the mysterious Christmas Tree” with Mobile Children’s Books [MCB].  Check out Wheezards interview LIVE radio show on 938Live The Living Room – Singapore podcast

Loud Crow

Read the AppModo.com review article, check out their site – http://loudcrow.com/ – I like the look of their pop-up books!

uTales

This is a brand new venture which may work well for those  not so techno flash or those with less in the way of spare cash. It is European based and the books have a definitely European look. Read about uTales and about becoming a ‘uTaler‘, publisher on this site.

The site, commendably, also support “Pencils of Promise” who built  15 schools in third world countries from donations last year.

Nook Kids

This site is doing some innovative things – take a look –

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/nookcolor/kids/index.asp?cds2Pid=36139

 

Peter Taylor‘s update on i-publishing [thank you Peter]

Children’s Publishing Innovation Award

 

At last week’s NY Digital Book World Conference, this went to:

 

http://www.astorybeforebed.com/

 

This is marketed as the first and only service where consumers can create an app by recording a video of themselves reading as they turn the pages. Children can play back the story as often as they like.

 

You can give it a free trial, too.

 

There are over 200 books in their main selection http://www.astorybeforebed.com/books When you register, you create your own bookshelf to store your recorded downloads.

Many of their selection of books are published by Chronicle, Orca and Charlesbridge. They also ask for suggestions from accomplished children’s book authors, illustrators, and publishers, as they’re always looking for more great books.

The publishers may also consider giving purchasers the option of having the book read by the author/illustrator.

This idea comes from creators at

 

http://www.jacksonfish.com

 

 

Book Safari – the Journey to Woodlands! Ipswich Festival of Children’s Literature

Peter Taylor, the multi-talented SCWBI Coordinator , Queensland chapter, and the Book Safari Coordinator, the inimitable Jenny Stubbs roped me in to help with the Book Safari tents at Woodlands. This was a first for me and proved to be an excellent networking and promotional activity. Opportunity abounded to talk to lots of teachers, students and other writers, illustrators, publishers and editors.  In other words it was reading, hearing, viewing and doing STORIES, pretty much non stop!

Links: Another great blog on the Ipswich Festival of Children’s Literature –

http://misshelenwrites.wordpress.com/2009/09/09/more-on-ipswich-festival-of-childrens-literature/#comment-569

Here is a pictorial overview from the days I was there – 2nd, 3rd and 5th of September.  PHOTOGRAPHS: 1-3 Woodlands;

Woodlands, Ipswich from the approach road

Woodlands, Ipswich from the approach road

The heritage listed Homestead with the Book Safari banner at the entrance

The heritage listed Homestead with the Book Safari banner at the entrance

Why it is called Woodlands.

Why it is called Woodlands.

4-6 Editors, Presenters, Writers and more…

Kristina Schulz, UQP, Leonie Tyle, Random House, Dr. Robyn Sheahan-Bright

Kristina Schulz, UQP, Leonie Tyle, Random House, Dr. Robyn Sheahan-Bright

Julie Nickerson, Cheryl Gwyther, Dee White

Julie Nickerson, Cheryl Gwyther, Dee White

justin D'Ath's very unique book launch

Justin D'Ath's very unique book launch

7-9 Illustrators and workshops…

Behaving like Wild Things at the mask making workshop with Lee Fullarton

Behaving like Wild Things at the mask making workshop with Lee Fullarton

Lucia Masciullo shows us her new books x 2

Lucia Masciullo shows us her new books x 2

Lachlan Creagh inspires us with his own brand of wild things

Lachlan Creagh inspires us with his own brand of wild things

10-13 The nomads at their tents…

Peter Taylor,writer, illustrator, calligrapher and SCWBI coordinator

Peter Taylor,writer, illustrator, calligrapher and SCWBI coordinator

Author/illustrators, Helen Ross of Miss Helen Books and Lynelle Z. Westlake

Author/illustrators, Helen Ross of Miss Helen Books and Lynelle Z. Westlake

Lynelle Z. Westlake using every spare minute to create!

Lynelle Z. Westlake using every spare minute to create!

J.R.Poulter + books, Peter Taylor not losing a moment in the background

J.R.Poulter + books, Peter Taylor not losing a moment in the background

Jenny Stubbs and Book Safari Coordinators in handpainted, South African t-shirts designed for the festival

Jenny Stubbs and Book Safari Coordinators in hand-painted, South African t-shirts designed for the festival

MS Readathon Tent

MS Readathon Tent

14 & 15 Jenny Stubbs and the Coordinating Team outside the Jacaranda Room; MS Readathon Tent

16 – 19 The people who keep the writers and illustrators viable – the amazing folk of the BOOK GARDEN!

Douglas Fussell, author and early childhood adviser

Douglas Fussell, author and early childhood adviser

John Moffatt, Book Garden troubleshooter

John Moffatt, Book Garden troubleshooter

Deb Zavelsky, owner and children's literature supporter

Deb Zavelsky, owner and children's literature supporter

The Book Garden logo

The Book Garden logo

Sheep Art ‘Live’!

Aside from awarding endurance medals to the dogs and lifelong immunity from every known lamb dish to the sheep, this deserves serious gongs for pushing the parameters of art still further. What a team!!!!!!!

Innovation at its best!!!!!!!!!!! Enjoy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCOnFamiTjc

Wacky Wordage No. 13 – J.R.Poulter and John Blackford – Little People Shouldn’t Play…

The Ancient Hero and the Robot by John Blackford

The Ancient Hero and the Robot by John Blackford

Little People shouldn’t play… by J.R.Poulter 08

Little people shouldn’t play

With things that stab and prick, okay!

I say this to you little man

For your protection and I am

Going to take your sword away!

No off you go, good boy, and play!