From the Family Archives – a complete set of the Sesame Street Library published in the 70’s

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My Dad recently gave me a box of books from the Family Archives, and look at what I discovered!  A complete set of the Sesame Street Library featuring the muppets.  The series features the numbers 1 – 15, and the letters A – Z.  They were published from 1971 – 1978.  The books have their fair share of wear and tear, but this is due to at least a decade of time spent in my sister’s and my hands being read over and over again.

I highly recommend that you hold on to your, and your children’s, childhood book collections, it is simply magic to rediscover them.  Check out the slideshow below for a look at all the covers in the series.

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Best Practice in Working with Volunteers

Absolutely brilliant thoughts on Best Practice in working with volunteers!

Pearlz Dreaming

Library magic Library – one of the places I loved volunteering for – storytime at the local library

After my heart to heart blog yesterday about volunteering challenges, I want to go to the flipside and mention the 10 best practices which kept me volunteering for a long time and which would lead me to do it again (perhaps more when I retire though as I really have done so much of it and need to earn some money.  Hmm actually I still do a bit, it’s that big heart and needing to connect to people in a new place.)

1. Personality and virtues of the often paid supervisor: Some of the best volunteer experiences I have had, were due to the compassion and respect of the supervisors I worked alongside combined with the amazing event or community service that was provided.

2. Matching volunteer to talent: They checked out what my…

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For Teachers – a new page on my website

We all know that teachers are too busy, and need all the help that they can get.

So, I’ve decided to put together a resources page to help out these wonderful people.  Are you a teacher?  Please get in contact and let me know what you want.  Do you know any of these marvellous people?  Please pass this on to them.

For Teachers.

Kids’ Page!

A new page is under construction for the most important people in the world of children’s literature – the KIDS!

Kids’ Page!.

I am to illustrating as a barbeque skewer is to a blow-up castle at a school fete, but….

52 week illustration challenge

I am more than at home at a keyboard for hours on end.  I can also weave some magic with a camera.  But when it comes to starting with a blank piece of paper and creating something, I am to illustrating as a barbeque skewer is to a blow-up castle at a school fete.

I have watched a wonderful illustration group go from strength to strength on Facebook this year.  The 52-Week Illustration Challenge was set up by Tania McCartney so she could return to illustration after a 20 year break.  There are now 2, 416 members!  Each week has a theme, and members submit their work to the group on Facebook.

Here is my first post, put up mere minutes ago…..

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Time to be brave…

Week 38. Giraffe.

This is my first time posting. I have admired this group from the safety of my writer’s desk as I am to illustrating as a barbeque skewer is to a blow-up castle at a school fete. A 10 year old friend and I were hanging out recently, and his Mum suggested we paint. He was not keen as he is a perfectionist and felt he couldn’t do it. So to encourage him, I explained my total lack of skills, and said I would have a go. I soon received a bunch of painting things as a birthday pressie, so I thought I would try some procrastipainting.

Water colours and markers on ‘German paper rough tooth’ – I have no idea what that means. The main giraffe is trying to step back from being painted by someone like me. And the little guy in the corner snuck into the pic so I could practise my brush skills, he’s a bit grumpy that he is not the feature.

I had an incredibly enjoyable morning getting this guy ready for his debut.  Check out some pictures from the process below:

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7 Ways To Make Yourself An Easy Author to Work With

Carly Watters, Literary Agent Blog

guardianpostAfter query letter tips, the second most popular question I get asked is: “How do I make myself agreeable in an agent’s eyes?”

It’s a great question. This is a personal business that’s all about great working relationships.

Firstly, you have to write a great manuscript, but secondly, how does an agent decide to work with someone after that?

7 Ways To Make Yourself An Easy Author to Work With:

1. Open to revisions

Right away, I know if an author is going to be a fit for me based on how they react to revision ideas. Agents are looking for writers that are open to feedback and collaboration. If I gave you an R&R did you connect with my notes? Did you ask questions that take my notes from suggestions to big picture changes that make the novel better?

2. Always wants to get better

A line I like to…

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The Day I Turned My Modem Off: how I actually got some writing done

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I cannot resist being here online. I turned my modem off early this afternoon to get some writing done, which I did, but here I am, talking about how much writing I got done whilst offline. I think ‘ironic’ is the word.

I use the internet all day, every day, for work and play. I teach aspiring authors and illustrators how to use Social Media – it is fair to say that I’m addicted. But a lot of what I do online is for work, and that is how I justify my overuse of social media and the internet. And the research opportunities online are infinite. Such as today, before I turned off the modem, I was polishing up on my Latin, and translating words that I could not remember.

I was not really surprised that I got things done, though I’m amazed at how much I got done, how focused I was, and at how long I sustained writing for. Just plain, old writing.  And a change in my work space also helped enormously.

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my outdoor, uncluttered, internet-free office

It was great, I got stuff done! Like I haven’t in a long time. I dusted the cobwebs off a folder of writing, despite the fact that it is a digital one. Picture Books was the folder. I completed a first draft, from scratch. I have been working on this story for a while. I am very much a planner, so I am super pleased that I added to the plans for three picture books. I also re-organised my writing priorities as well as my (digital) filing system.

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picture book plans

So, this was a great outcome, but I still needed the internet to write. I needed to research words, names, and images. I had questions pertaining to my story that I needed to ask my colleagues and friends. I even had to Google different types of grasses found on farms. I maintained my modem-less state, but it was exceptionally difficult.  It was a craving, a real physical sensation. I find it hard to explain. I started to wonder, how did people write and research before the internet? We are very lucky to live in these times.

And then there is the game I like (do I admit the plurality of this habit?), social media services, news sites, the BOM (Bureau of Meteorology) radar, and more that are constantly running in the background on multiple devices. I always have three devices running simultaneously at my desk, something that I now realise is detrimental to my writing career.

But the fact remains, I got a lot done. In three quarters of a day. More than I have in the last couple of months. If you haven’t tried turning off your modem*, then you really should give it a go. And stick to one device when writing.

Now I must post this, and then force myself to turn off my modem for the rest of the night **grits teeth, takes deep breaths, warms up ‘button pressing finger’**


*assistance from family and friends may be required in the form of an intervention, locking up of modem, throwing it out the window, or taking it for a leisurely drive so you can actually get some writing done.