Patreon is a simple way for you to contribute to my goal of becoming a self-supporting author and illustrator and for you to receive great rewards in return! Find out more at www.Patreon.com/Yvonne
Here is some of what you can expect, from my Patreon page:
Here I am. Looking for patrons, how old-fashioned.
But what else is a grown woman to do when she has resigned her job (other than hawk her body, which admittedly is a teensy bit past its prime.)
Here I am, because I have found my passion. How lucky I am. Right?
Let’s try that again:
Here I am, because I have found my passion, in my late thirties, around the same time that I popped out my last child. Still lucky, but not as convenient.
‘Ooh, that is going to need stitches!’
‘I want to write and illustrate children’s books!’
Well, it went something like that.
Inconvenient, because my passion is not accounting, or engineering, or real estate.
My passion is in the arts, literary and visual and with a fetish for picture books. If I was in my twenties, sharing my house with some kooky housemates with no responsibilities other than to prove myself artistically, things may be different.
But, my kooky housemates are my three sons, my husband, our dog, our run-away cat and our 30 or so tadpoles. And we have bills to pay. And an artistic passion to follow. Dose of guilt anyone?
So here I am, trying to entice those quirky philanthropic billionaires to share some of their wealth so I can continue to follow my dream. If that doesn’t work, I am happy to accept patronage from anyone who would like to support the arts. Unless you are a struggling student in the creative arts. Then you need your vitamins, go and buy a bag of apples instead.
So what can I entice you with?
How about I share my experiences as a struggling self-employed author/ illustrator. I’ll try not to make it depressing and share my thoughts EXCLUSIVELY (imagine that word on a sign surrounded by flashing lights, ooh, and perhaps a touch of smoke machine for that magic touch) with my patrons.
Or, if you would just like to follow me, without the patronage, go ahead, I’ll share some of my illustrations and general going-ons on a regular basis, but without the soul-searching-midlife-crises-esque-slap-stick thoughts. The boring version so to speak. With pretty pictures. So pretty good, really.
I've also thrown in some behind the scenes-looks and opportunities with special rewards and discounts. I'd love get an idea of what other rewards you are interested in, so please let me know.
That’s it. That is all the enticing that I’ve got in me.
Want to ask me a question? I am sure you can do that somewhere on this page. And I’ll answer.
After I pick the kids up from school.
I signed my first picture book contract with Random House Australia!
Meet Sidney Nolan is scheduled for publication in October, 2015. It will be part of the fabulous Meet ... series at Random House. Titles out this year are:
Meet Captain Cook (which was shortlisted for the CBCA Eve Pownall Award for Information Books)
Meet The ANZACs
Meet Nancy Bird Walton
Meet Douglas Mawson
Meet Ned Kelly
Meet Mary MacKillop
Look at those gorgeous covers! I love Random House Australia's choice of illustrators and am excited to find out who will be illustrating Meet Sidney Nolan.
If you'd like to know more about how I got my first contract, you can read more here in this interview with my good friend Sylvia Liu.
‘Once a Creepy Crocodile’
Written by Peter Taylor
Illustrated by Nina Rycroft and includes a sing-along CD by Rusty Berther
Published by The Five Mile Press
Release date 1st July 2014
Dear Know-It-Al- Nanny,
I have a two-year-old who insists on hearing the same story and the same song over and over again. He demands ‘Cweepy Cwocodile’ at every waking moment. What is a parent to do?!
Dear Desperate Parent,
Grin and bear it, read and sing along!
Once a Creepy Crocodile is a fun story set in perfect rhyme and featuring a crazy cast of Australian animals and includes a sing-along CD.
What I love about Peter Taylor's Once a Creepy Crocodile is that it is full of scrumptious alliteration and internal and external rhyme and still tells a story. It slides off your tongue like butter melts over your hot pancakes.
The munchy, crunchy crispy ones that curl up underneath.
Then the snake licked his lips and looped a little lower ‘till …
And then there are Nina Rycroft’s illustrations which make this story sing even more. The gorgeous watercolour illustrations are fun, lively and just delicious!
I also like how the second song on the CD is the original version of ‘Waltzing Matilda’ exposing my children to a little bit of Australian history.
The suggested age for this book is upwards from 4 years old, but my easily excited, hard to focus, two-year-old is a big fan (as you may have guessed from the correspondence above). He usually loves any book involving diggers, trains or roaring dinosaurs, but this beautifully illustrated story with its cast of Australian animals hits the spot. He is also quite sensitive to lyrical language and beautiful rhyme, and Once a Creepy Crocodile, certainly delivers that.
I happened to be at the official book launch for Once a Creepy Crocodile in Sydney earlier this month. Imagine a room full of children’s writers and illustrators singing along to Once a Creepy Crocodile to the tune of Waltzing Matilda followed by a chorus of laughing Kookaburra imitations. It was a laugh!
In addition to this I am very lucky to share a writer’s group, Write Links, with Peter and was able to ask him some questions about his writing process and how this picture book story came about. Not only is he a wonderful writer, he is extremely generous with his time in sharing information with emerging writers and illustrators in our group.
To read the interview, please check out the Write Links website here.
You can buy Once A Creepy Crocodile from independent bookshop to major retailers.
If you are a children’s writer or illustrator, Kidlit411.com is one of the best resources on the web and it is totally free!
Kidlit411.com was launched recently and I had the pleasure of interviewing the founder of the site, Elaine Kiely Kearns. Luckily she was able to snatch away a few precious minutes from her hectic schedule, because not only is she a children’s writer, but she is also a teacher, married (to a fireman no less) with two beautiful daughters.
I ‘met’ Elaine last year through Julie Hedlund’s 12x12 picture book writing challenge. When a call came up for people wanting to join an online critique group we both accepted the challenge. It has been amazing year of writing, creativity and friendship.
Here is the interview:
Who is Kidlit411 for?
KIDLIT411 is for everyone who is trying to write a children's book, whether they are just starting out on the journey or are already published. It is a place for everyone!
The site has topics from Challenges, Contests & Awards, to Diversity in Kidlit, Query Letters and Social Media. This is only a short list, you really need to have a look at yourself to get an idea of the scope of the site. The topics link you to the latest, quality and useful websites and resources.
How did you come up with the idea for Kidlit411?
KidLit411 came about from my need to pool resources from the internet. There are so many great sites out there and the kid lit community LOVES to share information! The amount of resources shared in Julie Hedlund's 12x12 was so fantastic that I couldn't keep up and needed a place to put it. So, I started making a list of the sites that I loved the most and would return to again and again to share with my online critique group. Then I started thinking that perhaps other friends would enjoy the information too , and eventually the idea just morphed into an entire online site.
Some of my critique partners, Teresa Robeson, Yvonne Mes, and Alayne Kay Christian also work on the KidLit411 site, Sarah Maynard updates the site regularly with the latest contest dates. Sylvia Liu is also my partner, keeping the site running, adding links, and overseeing the illustrations.
What are some of Kidlit411 features?
KL411 features a weekly ILLUSTRATORS SPOTLIGHT, where Sylvia Liu, interviews an illustrator about their craft and showcases their art and a weekly AUTHOR'S SPOTLIGHT where I interview an author and find out what helps them be successful in the industry.
We also send a WEEKLY 411 email (sign up here! http://www.kidlit411.com )where you get a condensed version of all of the new links and information that has been posted for that week. This is also the ONLY place where we include 'NEW AGENT information, so be sure to sign up!
How is Kidlit411 different from other websites for children’s writers and illustrators?
KL411 is different because it is more of an online link library than a blog. We aren't talking about kid lit or the industry, but rather we are a hub, a gathering place for all the really great online information that we find.
We've weeded out the bad stuff, and only left you with the best. You can pretty much bet that if it's listed on our site, it's worth a look.
How can people get involved with Kidlit411?
We welcome suggestions for quality links that are relevant to children's writing and illustrating, you can email them to: email@example.com.
If you are interested in being featured in any of our main pages or would like to be featured in the Illustrator or Author Spotlights you can email the above address as well.
To the right is a screen shot taken from Kidlit411, I love how all the topics are grouped and displayed. Each topic features art from children's illustrators and are changed on a weekly basis to showcase as many illustrators as possible.
If you are an illustrator you can send your own art in for consideration.
Not only is Kidlit411 an amazing resources it also supports upcoming and established writers and illustrators.
What is next for Kidlit411?
We have so many awesome ideas for KIDLIT411! Time will bring more great things to the site, that's for sure. Stay tuned!
(As I write this, Elaine has just added a classified/ wanted topic where writers and illustrators can look for critique partners, illustrators etc.)
Who do you look for for inspiration?
That is a really hard question to answer, I try to surround myself with people who inspire me! I guess those that I admire the most are all of those who don't give up or give in, those who are kind and helpful, those who help, even when the "helping" is hard. True people with a good heart and soul. Oh, and anyone who makes me laugh. I love to laugh. (But not in a creepy unnatural way) :-)
And one final question:
Which children's writer, past and/or present do you admire?
I have way to many favorites to choose just one!
Elaine Kiely Kearns is a picture book writer from NY, a second grade elementary school teacher and a mother of two, who lives on coffee, chocolate and humor.
You can find out more about Elaine, by checking out her website.
I was talking to two of my friends during our recent playgroup about our children's favorite picture books and how it can be difficult to decide which ones to get.
I have read around 650 picture books since the start of the year (yep, 650, you can check my Goodreads profile here) and have been obsessed with reading and writing picture books for a while, so, they felt that maybe I could come up with some suggestions.
Instead of sending them an email I decided to turn it into a blog post for the greater good of humankind (aren't I grand). And now they will have to read my blog, maybe even leave a comment. Thanks, Jo and Chantelle.
They were even coerced into an awful, I mean, awesome photo during our last playgroup session.
So here is my:
Totally Subjective Best Picture Book Buying Guide Before Christmas
We also talked about which picture books we find appealing as opposed to our kids.
It is interesting, no matter how much I try to push some of my favourite stories my children’s way, it just doesn't work.
Me: "Let's read 'Where the Wild Things Are"
Them: "Nope! Not that one!"
Not interested, ouch! It almost feels like a personal rebuke.
There are many reasons they do no like a particular book (yet) they may not be cognitively ready for a story like that, or it doesn't involve their favourite TV characters OR animal OR colour OR vehicle, and it may not appeal to their personality. Children can get really enamored by the same story for months, long after parents have tired of reading it.
So, my bedtime rule is, they can pick one or two stories each and so can I. That way they have discovered stories they wouldn't have picked out themselves but ended up really liking (or NOT), and they have satisfied their need for repetition and getting to know a favourite story intimately while discovering new things on subsequent readings.
A few notes to go with the list:
Independent Book Stores in Brisbane
Black Cat Books - Paddington
Avid Reader - West End
Riverbend Books & Teahouse - Bulimba
Mary Ryan's - Bulimba, New Farm, Milton, Toowoomba
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Children's Writer and Illustrator