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Category Archives: play
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.
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!
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 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.’
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 life – home 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.
Another lovely virtual tour – historic “Douglas”, built in 1881, in Birchgrove, Sydney.
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 –
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
A walk around Paris by video [sadly not signposted but gives a good overview of everyday life];
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!
Novel competition and an anthology going. Submission guidelines for ms submission.
Short Story Anthology – theme ‘Last Contact’ – flash up to 5,000 words, 31 March deadline. See website:
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.
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.
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.
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/
Peter Cowan 600 Short Story Competition open -http://www.pcwc.org.au/index.php?p=1_10 Closes 1st May 2011.
I have found numbers of other interesting sites which I am actively investigating.
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.
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
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.
This site is doing some innovative things – take a look –
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:
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
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 –
Here is a pictorial overview from the days I was there – 2nd, 3rd and 5th of September. PHOTOGRAPHS: 1-3 Woodlands;
4-6 Editors, Presenters, Writers and more…
7-9 Illustrators and workshops…
10-13 The nomads at their tents…
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!
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
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!