Mamie book launch wrap-up!

Monday, 10 December 2018

What an absolute stunner of a day at Carrick Hill Estate on 25 November. This truly divine historical site in Adelaide is a must-see. The house, the grounds--wow wow. Enormous thanks to Christine and Ilonka and the team for the opportunity to launch Mamie onsite. It was such an honour and I know in my heart that May Gibbs would have heartily approved!

week three of my May Gibbs Children's Literature Trust Fellowship - Hello! Inspiration!

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Week three! Getting there! If you're wondering about the Kate Greenaway book in the image above (who wouldn't!?), it was part of a silent auction of beautiful books during the MGCLT High Tea (read about it here). The lovely Mary Wilson, Patron, agreed to allow me to buy it after I'd got distracted and didn't put a bid in! How unusual of me to get distracted. Anyway--I adore this book.

Also in the image is a massive chocolate frog from Haigh's (from the Trust), and a lovely gin and tonic inspired by my hotelier daughter and her adoration for beautifully balanced cocktails. It has orange and rosemary in it. The orange is freshly squeezed from the orange tree outside the little cottage I stayed in. There's also gum blossom branches from the High Tea--they lasted until the end of my stay; I adored them. You'll also notice a pine cone--one of many I collected from the lawns of a nearby park, and the Fellows' Journal, which I wrote in, drew in and read from cover to cover, marvelling at the experiences of my previous Fellows--all, incidentally, with major similarities to my own journey. So very interesting.

In the journal, I called week three 'Hello! Inspiration!'

May Gibbs Children's Literature Trust High Tea + Scotch College visit

Thursday, 6 December 2018

We all have those events that will stay for us a lifetime, and during my MGCLT Creative Time residency in Adelaide, I had one of those.

The gorgeous women at the Trust organised a beautiful high tea in honour of my Fellowship (and in celebration of May Gibbs!) at the Lenzerheide Restaurant in Hawthorn. Around 60 of us sipped champagne and gathered in the sun-strewn conservatory for a divine high-tea style lunch.

The MGCLT Chair, Julie Wells, introduced me, then I spoke about both May and my Mamie journey. It was a bit of an emotional speech and what a thrill to have fellow May Gibbs-adorers in the room, nodding and smiling and sighing as I spoke. I signed copies of Mamie afterwards, and had some beautiful conversations, including one woman who made me cry! (in a good way),

Trust Patron Mary Wilson closed the proceedings, and I presented her with an original watercolour--one of the versions of Mamie (before I decided on the final version for the book). This one (pictured above) is much more traditional in style, and includes gumnuts and gum blossoms. The piece will be housed in the Burrow residency in Norwood.

It was amazing to catch up with and meet people I'd only ever heard about over the years. Also loved seeing fellow author/illustrators Janeen Brian and Sally Heinrich. It was also a joy to have my friend Jane Brummitt and a group of her friends there to share in this special day.

Pictures speak a thousand words, so I'll wrap up this beautiful event with some photos, showcasing just how lovely and memorable it was. Thank you to the ladies at MGCLT.  What a joy it was.

week two of my May Gibbs Children's Literature Trust Fellowship - Hitting My Stride

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

My MGCLT Creative Time Fellowship gained momentum in week two. In the Fellows' Journal, I called it 'hitting my stride'. And I did. Much of that striding was performed in local cafés and can I just say the coffee is GOOD in Adelaide. My favourite spots were the Lion Hotel, First Pour (where my junior fiction series magically poured forth--'scuse the pun) and St Louis, all in North Adelaide. Oh, and the Art Gallery of South Australia's café in the city. Below is my view at the window at First Pour. I always sat here.

It was a much busier week, with lots of skittling around, working on several things including a new idea for an alphabet book. I collect ABC books, and creating one has been on my bucket list for about eighty-five years. I didn't want to just 'do one'. The right idea had to appear. And it did. Below is a peek at one of the images from the book, and I worked on a few more during my residency.

the people of Perth read Merry Everything!

Monday, 3 December 2018

As a creator of kids' books, there could be nothing more thrilling than this--people enjoying your work. Add the joy of diversity in age and race (some of those accents!), the sparkle of tinsel, the squeal of a baby and the smiles and the laughter - there are no words.

Thank you, Carillon City Perth, for this memorable, touching and utterly beautiful festive experience. Jess and I are thrilled.

#carillonchristmas #merryeverything #kidsbooksareeverything 

week one of May Gibbs Children's Literature Trust Fellowship - Dithering 101

Sunday, 2 December 2018

I'm baaaack! Where to begin? This Week One post will likely be all over the shop--I just have so much to tell you. It was the most unexpected month away, and of course--it went in a gumnut heartbeat.

I've been wading though a million photos and I'm still not unpacked. It's already 2 December and there's nary a Christmas bauble in sight in our house (quelle horreur!). I'm melting the butter in a ray of afternoon sunshine as I type, because my annual Christmas cake is two months late.

Since arriving home yesterday, I've cuddled and yabbered with my kids, performed repotting surgery on two fiddle leaf figs, put on three loads of washing (ironically, most of it not mine), walked straight past the mountain of ironing without batting an eyelid (I'm a changed woman), picked up a custom-made gift for my dear friend Sylvia, drank champagne with my husband in celebration of signing for my first junior fiction series, got a heavenly night's sleep, and have completed a flurry of 'omgihaveboughtnoxmasgifts' online shopping (feeling awfully guilty, I'm committing to shopping local for the rest).

This afternoon I'm finishing the Christmas cake and prepping the goodies for tomorrow's Mamie (author copies were waiting for me when I got home!) window installation at Harry Hartog bookstore. Then I'm meeting my dear friend Sylvia (she is leaving me for another town) for coffee.

Mamie window and reading--there will be champagne!

Sunday, 25 November 2018

You know... the kids always get the treats, do they not? Well this time, the treat is for you (okay... AND the kids).

Come along to hear a reading of Mamie at Harry Hartog Woden, take a peek at the Mamie window installation and sip a glass of champagne! Kids can enjoy fairy cakes, natch. And come dressed as a gum nut fairy or elf--because there might just be a prize for the best dressed...

RSVP, for catering purposes, right here.

Merry Everything stars in Carillon City Christmas promo!

Thursday, 22 November 2018

This stunning little film, organised by Carillon City shopping centre in Perth, has absolutely knocked our socks off! If you're in or near Perth, head to Carillon City (deets below) Christmas Room for the opportunity to read Merry Everything, and star in the final film edit!

Beyond the fact that Merry is featured, this is such a brilliant idea that encourages and fosters a sense of community, and of course, the importance of story and sharing. It's also a thrill to see businesses support children's books. So very special.

Gather your little ones, girl gang or your bae and star in the making of a 'Carillon Christmas Tale' by reading aloud Australian author Tania McCartney and WA born illustrator Jess Racklyeft’s children’s book, Merry Everything! Your very own professional camera crew will film whilst you read with your children, a friend or solo. Rummage through the props box to dress up in tinsel, Santa hats, reindeer ears and more!

You can join in the fun and film anytime between 11am - 2pm tomorrow, Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th November.

Location: The Carillon Christmas Room next to RM Williams, entry from the Hay Street Mall.


Mamie print-outs for kids!

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Hey, kids--do you love to colour in and search for things and spot differences-es-es?


You're going to love these Mamie print-outs. All you need to do is fire up the printer, click on what you want to print, grab some pencils or textas, and get busy with it!


Spot the Difference
There are 12 changes to the Mamie book cover. The first one is the real cover, the second one is fake! Can you find the differences?

(Try not to peek in advance, but here are the answers!)

Word Searches
If you love words (I do!), here are two word searches--one for beginners and one for those who love a REAL challenge. Can you find them all?

Mamie book GIVEAWAY!

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Would you like to meet Mamie and her bush fairy friends and her adorable Scotty dog? Well, here is your chance. To win one of two copies of Mamie, just head to my Instagram page and find the Mamie GIVEAWAY image. Click on it and read the very simple instructions.

Comp runs from Sunday 18 November till Sunday 25 November at 9pm, Sydney time. Winners will be notified by that evening, on Instagram. Anyone, from anywhere, can enter, but please note that books can only be sent to an Australian address.

Good luck!

Happy birth day, Mamie!

Friday, 16 November 2018

Mamie has been some journey. Would take me three hours to tell you how this book came about... and I can still hardly believe today is the book's release day. It's all too surreal.

I wanted to publicly thank my glorious publisher at HarperCollins, Lisa Berryman, for championing this book from the start, my wonderful editor Eve Tonelli and the entire team of HCP angels who've made this book dream a reality.

There are loads of Mamie-related bits and bobs coming up--see posters below. I hope to see you at one of them. And watch this blog in the coming days for some wonderful print-outs for kids, and a book giveaway (which will actually be run on my Instagram account).

Happy birth day, Mamie!

Friday 23 November 2018
7pm - 10pm
If you are a SCBWI member, would love to see you there. More info here.
Mamie Book Launch
Sunday 25 November 2018
Carrick Hill Estate, Adelaide

Mamie Window Opening and Book Reading
Saturday 8 December
Harry Hartog Bookstore, Woden, Canberra

production mode and a month in Adelaide

Friday, 2 November 2018

Very soon, I'll be leaving for four weeks in Adelaide, thanks to the May Gibbs Children's Literature Trust. Four solid weeks of pure creative immersion (peppered with some fabulous and inspiring events, including a Mamie launch!).

I think I'm packed. I think I've left enough reminders for the family to lock the doors and check the post and water my orchids and hydrangeas. I think I'm ready to let go. I think I'm ready to seize this incredible opportunity to do nothing much (not even cooking or housework!!! OMG!!) but create create create. Thank you, MGCLT.

Sometime in December, I'll be able to reveal a wonderful new project I've been working on for emerging creators--both authors and illustrators. I can't wait to share it with you. It's been a lot of prep work (a LOT!) but I'm hoping it will be well worth it. At the top of this post is a peek at an image related to the project. More soon!

Yonks and yonks ago, I entered a call-out from one of my favourite magazines--Flow. It was for illustrations for their 365-day tear-off calendar.

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