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Category Archives: Teacher Resource

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!

Part III – Journey of a Book – the Launch, 13th July, 2012

The launch was wonderful, a chance to ¬†see everything in place, admire friends’ exhibits, show it all off to¬†friends¬†and family and network! Sheryl Gwyther, Prue Mason of SCBWI and Michelle Richards [our¬†wonderful¬†Exhibition¬†coordinator from Brisbane Square Library] organised the launch event. Jenny Stubbs, Coordinator of one of Australia’s leading children’s book festivals, “Ipswich Festival of Children’s Literature”, ¬†came down from Ipswich to open the exhibition. Jenny gave a stirring and encouraging speech to gathered authors, illustrators and friends, despite protesting she didn’t fancy herself a speaker . ūüôā

Visitors included Dr. Virginia Lowe of “Create a Kid’s Book” fame and Lucia Masciullio of¬†Blue Quoll Publishing, teachers and teacher librarians from Brisbane and Ipswich. Feedback has been excellent. It is vindicating, as an author or as an illustrator, to have people acknowledge the work that goes into a book’s creation and to have a new appreciation of the end result!

Read other reports of the Exhibition on Anil Tortop’s Blog and the SCBWI Facebook page. Better still, go along and have a squizz – Level 2, Brisbane Square Library, George Street Brisbane CBD, from 13th July to 31st August, 2012!

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Journey of a Book – Part I – children’s literature creation under the microscope

Books are created from the imagination and inspiration of authors and the insightful vision of illustrators. They are then crafted. The authorial crafting may be right brain with a touch of editing or slow and laborious left brain plotting. For an illustrator, it may be ¬†inspiration flowing like rivers from brush or ¬†stylus or it may be ¬†storybook or dummy creation then rethinks, scrap some ideas, adapt others. Eventually, a book emerges that is then ‘ready for submission’. These days, that may mean ¬†adding animation and audio to make the book a digital production for app¬†developers¬†like ¬†Utales or Flying Books, or for YA, formatting it for Kindle or Nook e-publishers. It may mean self publishing on Createspace ¬†or Lightningsource, Smashwords or Lulu. ¬†Or it will mean the long road via submission to traditional publishers.

If the latter is chosen, the publisher will often require more editing, changes and perhaps more changes. My own book, started under contract to one publisher, was already well underway with the inimitable Sarah Davis as illustrator. We were having a ball creating our book. Then our publisher was taken over and the new publisher wanted ¬†to ¬†institute changes. At first, the major change – ‘get rid of the dead bird’ – seemed straight forward. Then we realised ¬†the book needed the bird but, to keep it, we had to ¬†make some big adjustments. An injured bird can’t just disappear in a children’s book, it has to get better and be released, which, in our picture book, meant its story ¬†had to be woven into the fabric of the main story seamlessly. No problem, a few days and¬†Sarah¬†and I had nailed it! As book creators, you have to be flexible and, especially if going the traditional publisher route, you can’t be too precious about your creation.

SO! This exhibition is about the journey numbers of wonderful children’s and YA books took from creation to ¬†bookshelf! Each book has a different creation story to reveal –¬†something¬†the public doesn’t see, it’s behind the scenes. Now the reader can take a peek¬†backstage, behind the scenes to how it all came together!

THE SET UP

Setting up was not straight forward. The spaces has to be utilised to best advantage and the ¬†items¬†displayed needed to be seen from as many angles as possible given I had a two shelf rectangular glass case. ¬†I didn’t end up using everything I brought with me. It would have been too cluttered. Last minute inclusion, bulldog clips, proved life-savers! They held the ¬†photographic prints in place.

I had never ‘hung’ a painting before at an exhibition and that proved ‘interesting. Sarah Davis sent up her wonderful original painting via kindly courier, Peter Taylor, but it was unframed. I had no time to find a frame.¬†Fortunately, I had one around the house that was ¬†a good match colour-wise though not quite the ¬†perfect size.

Given my exhibit was about my close collaboration with Sarah, the items displayed needed to reflect the two minds working together to make a new creative whole – our book! Sources of inspiration, stages in text change, changes in images, cover and trivia relating to the characters, objects and places in the book, all combined to make a successful ( I hope you agree) exhibit!

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The Exhibition, Journey of a Book, has a wide range of book journeys exhibited, from YA novel, like David McRobbie’s, to real life adventure ¬†by Prue Mason, picture books like those by Kathrine Battersby and chapter books like the one by Angela Sunde, to non fiction works on calligraphy as an illustrative art form by Peter Taylor.

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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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¬†collaboration.¬†Working 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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Thoughts on Collaborating, incorporating an Interview with Joanna Marple on uTales

Collaborating

Darshana Shah Khiani‘s interview on her Children’s Book Review site, “Flowering Minds”, with new children’s picture book author, Joanna Marple, is revealing on lots lof levels.

Joanna and Darshana met on children’s writer and illustrator FaceBook site, 12 x 12¬†, a very lively, supportive, share and learn community set up by Julie Hedlund. When Joanna released her very first picture book, a collaboration with the very talented Maja Sereda, Darshana jumped in with the interview offer.

“Snow Games” is a fun tumble and rumpus in winter’s wonderland aimed at 3 to 7 year olds. Maja’s wonderfully endearing little animal¬†characterisations¬†beautifully complement the¬†story.

Joanna ¬†shares what it was like to collaborate with Maja to create “Snow Games”.¬†Close collaboration between author ¬†and illustrator is a circumstance largely [and sadly] foreign to most traditional print publishing. For Joanna and Maja it was a fun and very rewarding experince.¬†But¬†the interview goes beyond the creation of ¬†“Snow Games”. It also details Joanna’s¬†experience¬†of the¬†uTales¬†website and her thoughts on traditional and digital publishing.

Cover for “The Sea Cat Dreams” collaboration with Muza Ulasowski, a narrative verse story with a theme of surviving the changes in life.

Joanna Kindly makes mention of my collaboration with noted animal and wildlife illustrator, Muza Ulasowski, a story about surviving change, “The Sea Cat Dreams”. Muza was one of many¬†wonderful¬†illustrators¬†I met on the uTales Facebook group and have since worked with to create a varied range of¬†children’s¬†books.

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…]

How not to do a Book Launch?!

When Jenny Stubbs, Festival Coordinator Extraordinaire,¬†told me I had a slot to launch¬†“All in the Woods” I was ecstatic! It was my first book to be published in the UK and a launch venue at the¬†Ipswich¬†Festival of Children’s Literature, Woodlands, was almost too good to be true. Jenny facilitated a link to Aleesah Darlison¬†who agreed to MC. BRILLIANT!¬†What¬†could go wrong?

The Ipswich Festival is always an exciting event! It is held at Woodlands, a stunning, heritage listed venue set amongst rural fields, magnificent trees and rolling hills – what a setting for a launch! The lead up to the day, Tuesday, 13th September 2011, was a real buzz! Then the unthinkable happened… The weekend before, my throat started to get that irritating little scratch and that niggly cough that sometime precedes worse.¬†Sunday¬†night it started to hit! Laryngitis!

Friends, good friends can be the saving of such worst case scenarios. I spoke (whilst I still had a voice) to¬†Tara Hale, who designed the promo poster, would she be Guest Artist “Pink” the possum [cousin of “Ink” the animal hero of my book]. Next I contacted ¬†Nooroa Te Hira, he has worked as a tour guide so I knew he would ace a reading of my book. Then I rang Christian Bocquee¬†and asked would he help with¬†nitty grittys like directing teachers and students to seats, distributing prizes and general moral support! Bless them, they all ‘volunteered’ unstintingly!

Result? Fun, fun, fun! ¬†We had a ball, the book¬†launch was a total success! The author having to use copious amounts of sign language¬†but, hey, she has 5 kids so she speaks the ¬†lingo with hands and fingers! ūüôā

You can see some of the fun in the gallery below.

And the book, which was illustrated by wonderful watercolourist Linda Gunn

? It had been a truly international effort – written by an Aussie, illustrated by an American and published by a Brit! The icing on the cake was a nomination for the OPSO Award!

Here is a recent review by Kathy Schneider!

Where can you get it? Here!

“Mending Lucille”, Radio New Zealand review by John McIntyre

Cover, "Mending Lucille"

I thought I had probably long gone received the last of the reviews for my Crichton Award winning picture book, “Mending Lucille”. WRONG! Just got the loveliest, very belated review –
RADIO NEW ZEALAND:
http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/ntn/ntn-20110617-1037-childrens_book_review_with_john_mcintyre-048.mp3
Sarah Davis [my amazing collaborator, illustrator on this wonderful project] sent it to me today. It came out on 17th June this year! Better late than never!

John McIntyre gave a very thoughtful, in depth review citing the use of “Mending Lucille” by the Monash Centre for Grief Education in the training of counselors working with children experiencing grief, loss or separation from a parent. Read more of this post

Links for Writers – a growing resource

This series of links were included as part of an article I wrote for WQ Magazine,”Markets ‚Äď from woe to go and getting a foot in overseas! ” [March issue 2011] . Sadly, the actual links had to be removed due to space restrictions so I have placed most of them here.

This list of resources, sources and publishing opportunities on the internet and elsewhere is far from exhaustive. Please do contact me if you have or know of a resource that can be included!

Review Blogs and sites

Book Review blogs

Review Sites

All genres:

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/

Children’s Literature:

The Reading Tub

Terry Doherty Reading Tub http://www.thereadingtub.com/

Reading Tub Blog http://readingtub.wordpress.com/

Marketing & Promotional Aids

Magazines that publish short stories and poetry

[I have submitted a list of online journals most on Facebook, some with links – http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150093435850908 and growing.] New additions

Leaf Garden Press http://leafgardenpress.blogspot.com/

http://leafgardenpress.blogspot.com/2009/01/submissions-open.html

Dash Literary Journal

Rose and Thorn http://www.roseandthornjournal.com/Home_Page.html

Cross genre:

Good Reading – http://www.goodreadingmagazine.com.au/


Children’s Writers & Illustrators:

Dream Chaser promotes children’s writers and illustrators globally. http://www.dreamchasersmagazine.webs.com/

Poetry Sites and Blogs:

Children’s Poetry

Publishers

Magazines

Interview with RebeccaNewman of “Alphabet Soup” and with Meredith Costain of ¬†“Comet”, “Explore”, “Challenge “(Pearson education)

http://monthofpoetry.wordpress.com/2011/01/30/poetic-aside-publishing-poetry/

CHILDREN’S POETRY Blogs

Julie Larios РThe Drift record http://julielarios.blogspot.com/

Children’s Writers’ Blogs :

Publisher’s blogs:

Writers blogs ‚Äď tips n tricks

Jayme Ian Woode http://jaymesianwoode.wordpress.com/

Writers’ Organisations:

Writing cross genre:

Children’s/YA writing Organisations: