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Viewing Blog: Publishing a Picture Book - Getting it all together, Most Recent at Top
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For those who are interested, this describes the process of creating a successful picture book - the agonies and the ecstasies for author and illustrator and the editor at the publishing house. Then, when you know it is finally RIGHT - when all the right elements are there and its finished, ready to go 'out there', the excitement of holding the final book in your hot little hands!
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1. "Getting the Setting of Story"

"Researching the story's environment"
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 trying to locate a lovely country home in West Hougham, Kent, England by using aerial satellite and 'street view'. 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". 
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. Then in I go.
Exploring the Realtor advertisements in the research area gives insight into the lifestyle and inhabitants of the town. Many homes  give a slideshow or even a video tour online.  
Visualising Story
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 include Flickr, photographic collections held in State Libraries and on places like Pinterest. For historical setting, try online Heritage listings and databases for Australia and UK.
An example of other useful research sites  for historic buildings in Australia -
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 on Youtube Clips.
Neuschwanstein - site tour;
International Cities
A walk around Paris by video [not signposted but a good  overview of  everyday life on Paris streets];
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!

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2. Watch. Connect. Read.: Please Join the #SharpSchu Book Club!

Watch. Connect. Read.: Please Join the #SharpSchu Book Club!: Colby Sharp and I are excited to discuss five exceptional picture books on October 3. We hope you will attend the entire book club meeting...

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3. Shoe Designer to Children's Illustrator

Interview with Caroline Lee, Shoes Designer turned Children's illustrator!

Caroline and I have  just launched our digital picture book collaboration on Utales. It is called "Little Dragon's Babysitter" and is a humorous narrative verse story with a counting element. This is Caroline's first  picture book and my 7th digital book.

Question: Caroline, you are living every woman's dream - designing shoes to die  for! Tell us about  why you decided to  add illustrating children's books to your resume?
I have always liked drawing in its own right, vs. drawing for the execution of a design. I still enjoy designing, and will always  love shoes, but it's also nice to be able to just simply draw, especially since becoming a mother. My daughter loves drawing  and painting, so it's something that we can do together.

Question: What drew you to the text of "Little Dragon's Babysitter"?

Jennifer sent me two really lovely stories, one which was about a turtle and the other about little dragons. I chose the dragons in the end, because I liked the counting element, and I liked her little side comments, which established a humorous point of view to what could otherwise be a scary story for children.
Question: How did you decide to tackle the illustrations? What decied you on the medium to use?
As I felt that the story was humourous, I decided to use pen and ink for its boldness, and added colour via Photoshop, as digital colours for me fit the final product, an eBook. I thought that the two combined would give a handmade but modern look that

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4. Eric Orchard: Marrowbones Pumpkin Patch Give Away!

Eric Orchard is launching his comic, "Marrowbones" online on 16th April and to mark the auspicious occasion he is doing an awesome giveaway!
Eric Orchard: Marrowbones Pumpkin Patch Give Away!: To celebrate the launch of Marrowbones on Monday I'm giving away 5 digital copies of Marrowbones issue 1 and the Marrowbones pencil sketc...

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5. Createspace vs. Lightning Source For Self-Published Print Books [Molly Greene]

The Great Debate: Createspace vs. Lightning Source For Self-Published Print Books

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6. TWITTERING Know How for Authors [Molly Greene]

0 – 4000 in a Snap! How to Build a Quality Twitter Following FAST

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7. How to convert kindle AWZ files to Epub for generi... [from the pen of Hettie Ashwin]

~PEN TO PAPER~: How to convert kindle AWZ files to Epub for generi...: There are so many readers on the market and so many files to choose from. But what if you want to buy that book on Amazon and it is for kind...

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8. All in the Woods - new book review by Kathy Schneider

Kathy's Library: All in the Woods (Book Review): Title: All in the Woods Author: J R Poulter Illustrator: Linda Gunn Source: From author for review Goodreads Summary: 'All in the Woo...

Title: All in the Woods
Author: J R Poulter
Illustrator: Linda Gunn
Source: From author for review

Goodreads Summary:
'All in the Woods' is a fabulous, fun read about a boy, his granddad, a possum and a trouble-making neighbour. Illustrated by Linda S Gunn and written by J R Poulter, it is aimed at 5-7 year old readers. 

I was really excited when I was asked to review this book. Generally I review YA and adult books, but I grew up babysitting and volunteering at daycares and preschools so I am no stranger to the children's book. And it's been ages since I've read a new one so I was happy to get the chance to try this one out. And it was definitely worth it. The characters are fun and the story is simple enough for a child to understand and complex enough to make them think, which I think is the most impo

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Dear Kurilpa Poets, Friends, and Word Artists
Haiku workshop alert!! Brisbane poet, Ross Clark, a leading exponent of the haiku form, will present a free writing workshop on Sunday October 30.
He will also bring his expertise as a QUT lecturer into play when he assists budding haikuists (haikuistas?) to craft their own versions of this ancient form of verse.

Arrival time at the venue - the Croquet Club of South Brisbane at 91 Cordelia Street, West End - is 1:45 pm for a 2pm start.

There will also be two open mic sessions which will include the opportunity to present haikus written in the workshop session.

Ross (karasu) began writing haiku in 1988, and by 1990 had helped to found Australia's only dedicated haiku (& cognate forms) journal -- the quarterly paper wasp, and had undertaken a sponsored tour of Japan.

He is the author of two chapbooks of haiku, has appeared in a number of national and international anthologies (occasionally in translation), and has three haiku set into the BCC's Kedron Brook walking & cycle path.
If you haven't been for a while, why not come along… also let your network of poets and writers, friends and family know about the Kurilpa Poets.
So you know people who don’t even write poetry but might be interested?  How about inviting them to enter the poets’ world? Tell them it’s a chance to broaden their horizons, to see through the eyes of others.  Interesting discussions and sharing of ideas in a positive environment are always a part of such gatherings. Tell them maybe they just might get the poetry bug and start writing their own work.
Open Mic - Starts at 2pm - All welcome
Arrive 1.45pm for a seat, coffee and tea, and network with your fellow writers and performers
2 x 15 min networking breaks for coffee, tea and cake
Workshop with Ross Clark
further Open

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10. Authors Compare: Jennifer Poulter - Author Interview: Children's Au...

Authors Compare: Jennifer Poulter - Author Interview: Children's Au...: What kinds of fiction did you read as a child, and did you have some favourites? I read fiction and poetry as a child, read and read and r...

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11. Authors Compare: JR McRae - Author Interview: Poet

Authors Compare: JR McRae - Author Interview: Poet: What kinds of poetry, including songs, did you experience as a child and teenager, and did you have some favourites? As a child, the rhyth...

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12. Poetry for Children: Poetry 2010 Sneak Peek List

Poetry for Children: Poetry 2010 Sneak Peek List

for all those who love children's poetry and believe in the ability of poetry to get kids hooked into reading and literary creativity!

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13. Stories for Sendai: Meet the Authors: J. R. McRae

Stories for Sendai: Meet the Authors: J. R. McRae: "Today's featured author is... J.R. McRae Brief Bio: J.R. McRae has been published in anthologies, journals, magazines and newspapers..."

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14. Udderly Amazing! interview by Jesse Grayson of Channel 10, News at 5

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15. I-Publishing - my first venture

My first venture into the world of i-publishing resulted in the publication of "At the Beach with Bucket and Spade" on the Apple iTunes App Store via i-publisher istorytime.com.

Read about it here:


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16. MIRROR by Jeannie Baker

In her new book, "Mirror", Jeannie celebrates the differences that makes up the diversity of world cultures and the elements that unite us, the bonds of family and the mundanities of every day life.

Even the presentation, as two books united within one cover, highlights 'same and different', but highlights it in a way that draws us closer to both families, the traditional Moroccan family and the modern Australian family.

Turning pages of each book simultaneously, reveals parallel aspects of the daily lives of these very different families. We see them with the intimacy and immediacy of a fly on the wall. They are at work, at meals, settling for the night, shopping and sharing. The colours are luminous and the details absorptive. Words are superfluous!

I have always been a fan of Jeannie Baker's beautiful, evocative, detailed collages. This latest book is a treasure!

"Mirror" by Jeannie Baker, Walker Books, ISBN 978-1-4063-0914-0.

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17. New Writing Competition coming up...

Watch this site folks!!! :))

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18. Reviews & Recommendations for Mending Lucille

Jennifer Poulter has created an achingly beautiful story of love and loss, of breaking apart and putting back together. Sarah Davis has masterfully captured the little girl's sadness, and her use of color skillfully advances the narrative ... In every possible way, this book is breathtaking. "- Pick of the Month starred review in Sydney's Child, Melbourne's Child, Perth's Child, Brisbane's Child and Adelaide's Child magazines.

"J.R. Poulter's warm and gentle text is beautifully illustrated by Sarah Davis. The child's emotions are exquisitely captured throughout, and close-ups of hands are beautifully portrayed. Metaphors for healing run through the story, from the real wounded bird to the torn doll to the mending of hearts - often conveyed by images of sewing. First and last endpapers extend the story - the threatening, overshadowing bird image transformed by loving hands into simple stitches beside a now-mended, smiling Lucille. Recommended." - Magpies Vol.23 No.4 September 2008 p.30

"Mending Lucille is a precious and insightful picture book about one girl's loss of her mother... A picture book with stunning and evocative illustrations, which deals with the theme of grief and loss in a very sensitive way." - Femail Magazine

Best books of 2008

"For slightly older pre-schoolers, Mending Lucille (Lothian, $29.99) by JR Poulter and Sarah Davis is an unflinching yet deeply reassuring story about a mother’s [departure] and the father’s eventual remarriage. Simply told, beautifully illustrated, heartbreaking but never mawkish: this had me in tears." The NZ Listener, leading review journal New Zealand.

Children's Choice, Top Ten books of 2008 - New Zealand library district - Mending Lucille one of only three picturebooks chosen.

Recommended book for counselling and biblio-therapy by the Monash Medical Centre's Australian Centre for Grief Education in Victoria.

Recommended book - NSW Premier's Reading Challenge List 2009

Recommended book - Dr John Irvine talks about explaining death to children. Mending Lucille is one of his Top Ten recommended books for helping children deal with the concept of death and grieving.

Mending Lucille sold out its first print run in the first week after release.

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19. WIN, Win, Win - Query Tracker turns 2 and gives us the pressies!

Hi all

The amazing folk at Query Tracker are celebrating their 2nd anniversary - celebrating and giving US the presents!!!!!!!! Details below......

Help us celebrate QueryTracker's second anniversary, and you could win a website custom designed for you and your writing. Yes, your own website designed specifically for you.

We are calling it the QueryTracker Carnival, and you can learn more about it here http://QueryTracker.net/carnival or on the QT blog at http://querytracker.blogspot.com/

We will be holding four different contests, each with their own prizes. Prizes range from free QT Premium Memberships to query critiques by agents and authors.

The Grand Prize (The Custom Website) will be awarded in a random drawing to take place on the last day of the festivities. To get your name in that drawing, all you have to do is enter any or all of the four contests being held.

To increase you odds, you can receive additional entries into the drawing just by helping us spread the word about the contest. Simply announce the contest on your blog or forum, let us know about it via email, and you'll be given another entry into the drawing. You can read more about this option at

Grand Prize
A custom designed writer's website to showcase your craft.
That's a $600 value provided by Purple Squirrel Web Design (http://PurpleSquirrelWebDesign.com).
Purple Squirrel is a web design company that focuses on writers and the writing industry.
You already know their work because they are QT Blogger Carolyn Kaufman, and Patrick McDonald, the creator of QueryTracker.

Good luck. And thank you all for two great years.

For details about the contests go to http://QueryTracker.net/carnival

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20. "Mending Lucille" nominated for Family Therapists' Award and Crichton Award

It is official, "Mending Lucille" has been nominated for the Family Therapists' Award and the Crichton Award for 2009!

Being Nominated for the Family Therapists Award is very meaningful for Sarah and myself . It recognises the contribution our book has made in tackling a very sensitive topic, the loss of a parent or central carer, and in making available to therapists, counselors, teachers and others involved with children in such a traumatic loss, a resource that is able to reach and help the child at their point of need. Adults too have responded deeply to the book and have found it therapeutic in helping them deal with such a loss, even though years in their past.

I am so thrilled Lothian/Hachette gave me the opportunity search for an illustrator and that I discovered Sarah on the internet! Despite having no money upfront to pay Sarah for a sample illustration, she agreed to look at the manuscript. Sarah rang me straight back after reading it. She had spontaneously fallen in love with the story and told me "I HAVE to do it!" - the rest, as they say, is history! Thank you Sarah from the bottom of my heart for agreeing to take on the manuscript of a relative unknown and for 'seeing' what it had to say! You are a GENIUS!

Here is the site announcement for the Crichton Award nomination - http://cbca.org.au/crichtonaward.htm

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21. Melbourne - Creative and Craft paradise

Melbourne is the home of much that is the best of handcrafted, craftsman made.
Parthenon Shoes in Coburg is one such business. Run by Christine and her Father John Koikas, this is the shoe as art! Christine is holding one of her personal favourites among her creations.
Craft made ball gowns and bridal gowns glitter from street front boutiques along the long, long stretch of Sydney Road. Glorious gowns with finely detailed beadwork and exquisite lace look out of suburban shopfronts.

The markets in Melbournes' beachfront St Kilda are typical of the amazing array of highly original craft work on offer at affordable prices!

From Mugs on Mugs to Aussie Animals, Origami Architecture to Sleeper Clocks.

St Kilda Marketeers include:

Sculpted by Senia - Australian, handcrafted pottery animals, [email protected]

Glass Art - Sally Green's unique lampwork jewellery www.glass-art.net.au
Celtic Handmade - Tony Fitton, www.celtichandmade.com.au
Handmade pewter jewellery - Yvonne Moloney & Colin Fleming, www.calypsoflash.com.au
Recycled redgum, clocks - Bill Jackson, www.redgumclocks.com
Handmade kilnformed glass - Ray Seeber www.seeglass.com.au
Metal jewellery - Edward Faingold, www.edwardfaingold.com.au
Ocean inspired jewellery - Dan McGill - www.danmcgilljewellery.com.au
Art & Craft - Yani Moediman - [email protected]
Stainless Steel Design - Serge Rudakov - www.srss.com.au
Handcrafted bells and windchimes - Bird's Gallery www.birdsgallery.com.au
Handmade Metal Art - Lee Rodsted - Hyram's Metal Webs www.metalwebs.com.au
Other crafts -
Danny's Knitwear, Queen Victoria Markets, www.bomilnex.com.au

For the art of writing and associated excellent conversation - Collected Works Poetry & Ideas Bookshop, www.collectedworks-poetryideas.blogspot.com

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22. Melbourne - living well, eating well and CHEAP!

Evidently, Melbournians are full of angst about the prices they pay for their food stuff. Please, come north and compare! We wished we could truck it all back to QLD with us! The fresh, the exotic and the range of cooked delicacies from everywhere - we were in a constant state of salivation!
The Coburg Fruit Garden run by Toni [here with Geoff] and his brothers Milad and Fred was the first big eyeopener - B-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l!

Northeners look at the quality and the prices and drool!
Melbourne is flush with markets - in the suburbs and the urban cities and Melbourne CBD. Good value and high quality is the hallmark of these places.
The fish and meat markets at the Victorian Markets.
Have a variety we don't see up north and the prices - well, you can see!
A freshly baked spinach and cheese wrap with a cup of coffee at the Markets gave me back change from $5.00.
Eateries in Melbourne are often literally on the curb side!
A Greek eatery with mouthwatering selection of goodies - cake and coffee with the traffic at your elbow - this too was Coburg. Yannis Patries and Cakes, in Coburg, served you a shave away from passing trucks and cars.

Service everywhere was friendly and everyone was helpful! Michael Lorenzen's Highway 31, Cafe & Diner in Brunswick has the reputation for the BEST burghers in Melbourne. If mentioning service, Geore of "C&B" in the CBD and Vishal of Seven Eleven would have to be singled out as exceptional!

Last but not lest, chocolate to die for.....tucked away in Acland Street, St Kilda is San Churro, Spanish Chocolateria.

Don't forget Haigh Chocolates in the CBD either! YUM!

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23. Melbourne - the message - art on the streets!

Melbourne has art on the street corner, and down the alley ways. It is on the rooftops and walls and down the arterials and it says, 'Hold up, society is heading down the highway full speed, WRONG WAY!'
Figuratively, it is the Writing on the Wall. Who is looking. who is listening?
To Melbourne's credit, certain areas are set aside for the art of protest and its message.
The alleyways of Melbourne CBD are alive with it. St Kilda alleys and rooftops also resonate the warnings.
Melbourne Artist, Tigre, viewed Melbourne's response to street art as enlightened compared, interestingly, to New York, where zero tolerance is the rule. No street art lasted longer than maybe an hour before the whitewash brigade obliterated its message. Till, that is, an entrepreneur bought up an apartment building, opened it to the artists and funded its existence with funky retail outlets.
AMelbourne's street art targets irresponsible affluence, greed and disregard for environment. all things with a price tag that is not nice or 'convenient' but is indiscriminate in who it punishes. Tip the natural balance and everything falls into the refuse heap - Soylent Green anyone?

Nothing is spared the piercingly perceptive eye of the alley and rooftop artist.
Are we standing in queues waiting for nothing to happen;
waiting for action from those with the power to make change but won't because they are committed to
the status quo?

Where to now?

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24. Melbourne - art is everywhere

Art is all over the place in Melbourne - you just keep walking into it , over it and under it!

This city is having a full on affair with art - it's everywhere!

It's in the buildings, on the street corner and walking the streets!

Yes the guy qualifies! What a statement!

How about this web of metal and iron lacework - sklylight roof in an arcade.

And this beautiful

leadlight feature in another arcade - does anyone know who the artist was?

This sort of thing is hidden all round Melbourne.

How about the mural! This particular building was 'full of fit' artwise, an Art Deco treasure trove!

Don't neglect to look under foot either - this intricate mosaic is the centrepiece of Block Arcade.

Buildings in Melbourne bear a

degree of decoration I've not found in other Australian cities.

The doors, the walls, the windows - inside and out - art wherever it could tastefully feature.

This door, one of a pair at St Paul's, is, to me at any rate, reminiscent of the decorative art of William Morris.

What sort of statement do you think the artist was making who put Tom to oversee the much in need of restoration Edinburgh Building?

Then there is the 'purpose' placed art. This is a touch spooky!

Buildings, especially bank and finance related buildings had 'guardians' placed over them - hidden amongst the decorative gothic Victorian/Edwardian architectural features but very much a 'presence'.

The Guardians of the ANZ! There are at least 7 levels of Guardians built in to the facade.

The Safety Deposit Building has at least three levels of Guardians.

Modern finance related edifices do not differ. Melbourne's Crowning glory, the ultimate tribute to the Packers, is the Crown Casino, watched over by Kerry himself.

You can't say the man didn't have a sense of humour and a respect for tradition!

The portrait urn at the entrance of the Crown Casino.

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25. March is Small Press Month


March is small press month. Smallpressmonth.org has some fabulous ways to encourage support for the independent voices so necessary in our culture. Encourage your local bookstore to promote small press titles in March, hop onto Amazon and buy a small press title, pass one along to your local librarian, friends, and family, go to the Independent Book Publishers Association for a complete list of Ben Franklin Award Winners or Forward Magazine's award list. There is much to celebrate in these voices.

Happy reading!

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