A bookish Autumn

Autumn is all but over, and in a weird absence of red and yellow leaves, it’s at least been sprinkled with bookish highlights. Each recent event, book launch or catch up has felt like a post(ish)-Covid reunion, or a frenzied fun-fest in case we’re locked down once more (sorry, Melbourne. It might be us too at any moment.)

Walking Your Human was royally read by Sarah Ferguson (as in, the Duchess of York herself – whaaaat?!) on her YouTube channel! Super exciting to see, and there was even a real life dog in the recording studio (just like the dogs in the book – with a mind of its own). Check it out:

I also attended a sparkly, feelgood launch for a non-profit kids’ anthology produced by the CBCA Eastern Suburbs Sydney sub-branch. Old Worlds New Worlds Other Worlds is full of poems, stories, plays and illustrations by a huge range of creators, and I was so thrilled to contribute a play co-written by team One More Page called Kate, Liz and Nat’s Epic Picnic. It’s a wacky little adventure to another world via a playground rocket ship (and what happens when you’re followed home by space puppies!). The Governor of NSW, the Hon. Margaret Beazley AC QC ran the official launch proceedings, CBCA’s Elizabeth Cummings MCed, and a bunch of us read excerpts from our stories. It was fun to catch up with so many people in the kidlit community, moments that are no longer taken for granted in this Covid-y world we find ourselves in.

Old Worlds New Worlds Other Worlds book launch at the State Library of NSW – with Kristen Darrell, Ursula Dubosarsky and Oliver Phommavanh (pic by Kristen)

There’s been some other great events too! I had a whirlwind weekend in Canberra, not only taking in art, visiting playgrounds resembling seed pods and whizzing by the lake on an electric scooter (recommend!), but presenting at the SCBWI ACT Conference, too. This was a wonderful event run by Shelly Unwin, Catherine Meatheringham and team, full of inspiring talks. Kate, Nat and I did individual talks, then came together later for a panel about our podcast, One More Page. Illustrator Max Hamilton spoke about her illustration journey with lots of tips for getting your illustration work noticed. Maryanne Ballantyne and Donna Rawlins from Wild Dog Books spoke too, which was very entertaining! My talk was a workshop on tapping into your talents to enhance your kids’ book career, with interactive bits making everyone do a bit of self-analysis. It was fun! And some attendees later told me they had a few lightbulb moments, which makes me very happy indeed.

A fab weekend in Canberra, presenting at the ACT SCBWI Conference

I also spoke about Walking Your Human at a CBCA Eastern Suburbs event (more book peeps! More catch ups! Plus dumplings!) and did a team presentation about One More Page for a CBCA Newcastle meeting, this time via Zoom.

In between, there’s been writing, podcasting (my most recent interview was with author Yvette Poshoglian – you can tune in here), and of course, reading. For my adult book club, we just read The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams. In #LoveOzYA reading, I devoured Jenna Guillaume’s You Were Made For Me, which was lots of fun (think a dream boy brought to life, Weird Science style). I’m currently reading timeslip middle grade Elsewhere Girls by faves Nova Weetman and Emily Gale, and next up is Plum and Woo by Lisa Siberry, a female-centric middle grade detective series. A picture book standout from the pile was Anna MacGregor’s new title with Scribble, A Pair of Pears and an Orange. So cute and clever!

I’m not sure what winter will bring, but it better be book-filled and non-virusy, and also involve ramen. Happy reading and writing! x

Walking Your Human – in your earbuds

This zany little picture book has been out in the world for two months already! Time sure does fly when you’re talking walking. Own podcast aside (where I interviewed publishers Larrikin House and held a book giveaway) I’ve popped up on a few other fab podcasts, too!

For bookish backstory, picture book chat and all things dogs, take a listen to the following podcast episodes …

Words and Nerds with Dani Vee:

Reading with a Chance of Tacos with Ken Williams:

Jack Russell Parents Podcast (US) with Becca and Gabe:

Own pod with Kate Simpson and Nat Amoore, One More Page:

And one more podcasterly pop up – the amazing Dani Vee talks Walking Your Human in an episode of The Weekend Booktopian podcast (around the 25 min mark):

Happy listening! I don’t know about you, but my podcast feed is ever-growing and it’s honestly hard to keep up! Not a bad problem to have though. I always look forward to the next ep of my favourites, the ones that feel like a friend in your ear. People say this to us about One More Page (which is ridiculously flattering, right?!) but I totally know the feeling!

Walking Your Human is here!

My latest picture book Walking Your Human is finally here, and it’s so exciting to see the real-life book and hold it in my hands. Yay! It’s full of all-knowing advice from a cast of sassy dogs on the best things to do on a walk. Super happy with the fun illustrations by Gabriella Petruso, and it’s been great working with team Larrikin House, the book’s publisher!

To celebrate, there’s a virtual book launch happening soon on Twitter (Tuesday 9 Feb, 8.30pm Sydney time). Here are all the details:

I’m so excited for Archie the StoryHound to help host the launch, along with fabulous picture book author Debra Tidball (THE SCARED BOOK, WHEN I SEE GRANDMA). If you’ve ever joined in a Twitter chat, it will essentially run the same way, where you join the chat/answer qs, and follow and use a hashtag – this time, #walkingyourhuman – with each tweet.

Here are a couple of things you can pre-prepare, should you be so nerdily inclined (hehe – this is so what I do for bookish Twitter chats!):

  • Share your favourite dog gif! We all know gifs make the Twittersphere go round, and we want to see your cutest/weirdest/funniest dog gifs to share the puppy love.
  • Show us your favourite furry friend! We’d love to see pics of your own reading or writing mascot, canine or otherwise. Sure, it might actually be a cat, a ferret or even a stuffed toy. Or it might just be you in a onesie!
  • Let’s talk walks. What’s the strangest or most hilarious thing your dog (or your human) does on a walk?
  • And if you were being walked by a dog, where’s the *ultimate* place they could take you?
  • Also, you might want to BYO snacks. Soz, but as this is virtual there’ll be no book themey cupcakes this time! Show us what you’re snacking on, or share what you WISH was on offer!
  • Bring your burning qs! We’ll have an ‘ask the author’ segment where you can ask anything you like about the making of Walking Your Human, writing, picture books – anything! You may even have a q for Archie the StoryHound!
  • There’ll also be a giveaway, where a chat participant will win a hardcover copy of Walking Your Human, plus a bit of puppy merch.

Finally, don’t forget to use #walkingyourhuman in each tweet, so anyone following the chat will see it. Hope to see you there!

P.S. Here’s the WALKING YOUR HUMAN book trailer, to put you in the mood!

Covers, Costumes, and Crashing some Blogs

The countdown is on till my next picture book hits the shelves. WALKING YOUR HUMAN is on its way – due out in February 2021! A bunch of sassy pups spill all the ways to walk your human, like the best places to eat, drink and even cool down. I just love all the animated doggos that illustrator Gabriella Petruso has created, and it’s already open for pre-orders on Booktopia – hooray! Here’s a peek at the cover:

 

 

In other bookish news, it’s Book Week 2020, with the theme of Curious Creatures, Wild Minds. It was a thrill to watch the CBCA Book of the Year Awards announced online last week, and see some favourite reads receive well-deserved gongs. I absolutely love the adorable MY FRIEND FRED by Frances Watts and A. Yi that took out the winning spot for Early Childhood, and for other favourite reads of the past year like NOP by Caroline Magerl and THE SECRETS OF MAGNOLIA MOON by Edwina Wyatt to win Honour awards. Another exciting win was for small publisher Ford Street (who published my picture book Tulip and Brutus) – with their title by Chris McKimmie, I NEED A PARROT winning Picture Book of the year.

Speaking of Book Week, there’s been many a costume idea floating around online lately, should you need some inspo. My friend Gemma Patience has collated an awesome round-up of dress-up ideas on her blog, here. Just a reminder that if you’re after a super last-minute (and super easy) ‘rustle up at home’ type costume, my bug book offers an easy out. Red and black clothes, some spots, some makeshift antennae and hey presto, you’re Tulip (the ladybug from Tulip and Brutus)!

 

 

I’ve also popped up on another amazing blog lately, by author and podcaster extraordinaire Allison Tait! I’m a long-time reader and fan of Allison’s blog, with its wealth of writing advice and inspiration (plus I’m a diehard So You Want Be a Writer podcast listener), so I loved having a guest blog post published by Allison, 6 things I’ve learned about podcasting. It’s a slightly tongue-in-cheek look at the ins and outs of producing and co-hosting a podcast, with some tips for aspiring podcasters included too.

 

 

Some recent One More Page podcast episodes we’ve released include an Own Voices ep, where I interviewed graphic novelist and middle grade author Remy Lai about her books like FLY ON THE WALL. Nat spoke to deaf activist and author Asphyxia, and Kate interviewed YA author Alison Evans. Then another jam-packed ep overloaded with guests was our very own Picture Book Palooza, starring Gus Gordon, Kate & Jol Temple and Lucinda Gifford.

I’m so proud of these epic episodes – not only are we getting to pick the brains of people we admire in the kidlit industry, but the fact they’re free and available for anyone to listen to is, well, pretty amazing. How good are podcasts?! For Book Week, I just made a little vid for Newtown Public School too, to help share some podcasterly advice and inspiration with the kids there who are delving into their own podcast projects.

Other than that, I’ve been devouring so many amazing new release kids’ books, like the beautiful HELLO JIMMY by Anna Walker and FINDING FRANCOIS by Gus Gordon. In the world of YA I escaped into STARS LIKE US by Frances Chapman, and a fun recent adult read was THE NANCYS by R.W.R. McDonald. The long awaited HOLLOWPOX by Jessica Townsend is now calling my name, along with the gorgeous (and gold foiled) THE GRANDEST BOOKSHOP IN THE WORLD, a debut middle grade by Amelia Mellor.

Happy Book Week, book lovers!