a wintry August update ... with loads of sunshine

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Just as we thought winter might be pressing on the brake pedal, a dusting of snow, the likes I've which I've not seen since living in Canberra, coated the mountains surrounding our quiet little basin here in the bush. How I wanted to grab a toboggan and make a dash for it, but simply too much to get through these coming months!

Above is my latest window, this time for the National Library bookshop--it was so much fun to put together. In celebration of the release of The Gum Family Finds Home, the koalas are chilling out in the bookshop storefront for the next week or so.

I think it looks so much better IRL ... here's a little vid so you can see it in greater detail. My voice is a little husky, so hopefully you can hear me.

It was great timing to have the display on show during the NLA's 50th Birthday Open Day celebrations on 12 August, too...

The NLA know how to put on a party--what a spectacular day it was. So much to see and do, experience and explore, and yes, there was cake! It was wonderful to catch up with the lovely Leanne Barrett, below...

And to meet the illustrious Ron Brooks, fellow Taswegian and all-round lovely man. He was in town for the day, teaching illustration workshops. How I wish I'd been able to gatecrash! His new book, with the inimitable Ursula Dubosarsky, will soon be released with the NLA ... Midnight at the Library.

I read The Gum Family Finds Home for the very first time at the event--below, with these gorgeous children. My goodness, kids are so bright. And there were four or five of them who've grown so much since I last saw them, I literally didn't recognise them!

On the Gum Family, here is a blog post I did for the National Library, all about the book's creation.

As I'm buried under a snowdrift of work right now, I've scaled back on event commitments, including Book Week. But one recent event I really enjoyed was a magical evening, opening the May Gibbs Touring Exhibition (from the State Library of New South Wales). It was held at Queanbeyan Library and was just the most beautiful night.

The Library staff had gone to so much effort, with endless May Gibbs books and ephemera displays, a series of thematic costumes and the most divine Snugglepot and Cuddlepie cookies. There was a wonderful turnout, and I loved showing the assembled May-aficionados a peek at some internal pages from Mamie (and the cover!).


these divine friends shared in this really special evening. L - R top: Cate Whittle, moi, Catherine Morgans, Maura Pierlot, Leanne Barrett, Stephanie Owen Reeder. L - R bottom: Shaye Wardrop and daughter, Shelly Unwin and daughter

my gorgeous non-industry friend Sylvia, who took many of these fab pics, Leanne Barrett,
moi, Stephanie Owen Reeder

My beautiful girl turned 18 this month. I can hardly even get my head around it, even now. She had a party here at home (was v nervous about that!) but it turned out to be the most sparkling, gorgeous evening. Millennial kids are so divine; we loved having them here. And I'm so proud of my beautiful, stylish, driven and dedicated girl. Love you, Ella Bella.

It's been so lovely to be spending time In Real Life of late, rather than online. It's been something I've wanted to do for years, and I must admit I'm now addicted. IRL rocks. I've been much calmer, more focused, more productive and just so much happier, all round--in too many ways to mention.

Getting into nature, exercising, eating better, creating stuff, spending time with friends. I've been working on our house, decluttering a little more, streamlining, re-decorating, treating stains, fixing clothing, all those things we never seem to do. I've been having fun with updating my wardrobe, too, which has been long overdue.

I'll be doing less and less on social media, as I really want to hold onto this lovely life balance. I feel more like 'me' without SM, you know?

As for work ... I'm gearing up for the release of Mamie this November, and I hope to reveal the cover soon. I'm also heading to Adelaide on a May Gibbs Children's Literature Trust Fellowship for the month of November, so there's lots to prep and plan before I leave. I'm having a launch for Mamie on Sunday 25 November, at the most incredible Adelaide venue--more info on that soon, and I'll need to get everything prepped well before I go, as well as artwork for the Mamie window I'll be doing at Harry Hartog bookstore in Canberra when I get back in early December.

I've been in near-end-production with several books, and am about to sign for two new exciting projects, which I'll reveal soon. They relate to my maps. I also have several books in with acquisitions, including one with another local author and friend. It's no matter where you are in your career, there's always loads of nervous waiting. Hoping to reveal more soon.

More greeting cards for Nuovo Group have been calling, and I hope to get into new illustrations as soon as I get through some book outlines. A long overdue picture book, residing in my head, is clamouring for attention, too. Can I have another 8 hours in my day, please? Unlike even a year ago, I'm no longer interested in compromising my health and sanity for my work, but I really would like another 8 hours!

So, alas, I don't have too many visuals I can share right now. This little peek, below, is from another project I've been working on for some time, and is really dear to my heart. I think I'll make like that cow and jump over the moon with this project. I might even run away with the spoon.

I've been tempted by quite a few books this past month. Maybe it's Love Your Bookshop Day, the rapid approach of Book Week or, just ... loving books in general? Here is a peek at my latest great loves. The first three books are by my favourite illustrator, David Roberts. I am utterly OBSESSED with the first one, and you simply must get a copy immediately; you will love it to bits. The next two, I must admit, I bought for the illustrations, but there is nothing wrong with that, right?

A bit of an Isabelle Arsenault obsession...

And this divine adult title that I cannot wait to dive into...

I nearly fell off my chair when I somehow, miraculously, found these long-coveted tomes on eBay recently. In mint condition and they went for a song! So happy. Thank you, Marcie Muir and Kerry White. Thank you.

And I'm dipping into these three magical novels. I have been going to bed so early and don't last long before dropping off to sleep (so annoying), but not due to the book content, which is fabulous! Look out for them, two by my gorgeous friends Sheryl Gwyther and Cate Whittle.

On the topic of book covers, stay tuned this week for a cover reveal for the second edition of Australia Illustrated!

Okay, it's now InstaCrush time. Here is a peek at the amazing Gemma Koomen, illustrator, paint and peace-lover. I absolutely adore her style, colour palette, eye for contrast, nature-inspired works and overall cool vibe...

I hope you have a glorious Book Week planned. I'm sad to miss out on school sessions this year, so I'll be living them vicariously through friends. If you're a teacher/librarian, head to Children's Books Daily for this fab post on costume ideas for adults. I look forward to seeing all the bookish ensembles online!

Spring is just around the corner--I hope daffies are already poking green fingers through your soil, as they are at my house. Like a squirrel storing treats, I feel like this winter has been all about production and prepping, and very soon I'll be stepping out into the sunshine again, and sharing some of my most favourite book projects ever.

Happy reading, everyone!



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