Creative Kids Tales - A Year in Review (2015)
In December each year, we give you a snapshot of 'the year that was', with - A Year in Review.
2015 would have to be one of the best years for Creative Kids Tales and for me personally. We’ve welcomed many new emerging authors and illustrators, taken a peak into the world of our featured authors and illustrators, launched our exclusive member’s forum, introduced new features, reviewed a truck load of books and enlisted the help of some young reporter/reviewers via our CKT Kids Book Club Crew.
For me personally, after years of rejections, my first book baby, Lulu was released. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world to have the privilege of meeting and chatting with one of my writing heroes, James Patterson. From the children’s book industry I was finally able to meet face to face with some I had only spoken with via email, Morris Gleitzman, Andy Griffiths, Jeff Kinney, Ted Prior and topping off the year with the delightful Mem Fox.
Throughout the year I was also fortunate to meet many other wonderful authors, illustrators and friends of the Creative Kids Tales family.
2015 was a fabulous year!
Your support for Creative Kids Tales via our social media outlets and website has been overwhelming. Thank you.
We hope you enjoy our 2015 Creative Kids Tales - A Year in Review.
Inspirational Quotes - Social Media
In 2014 we promoted 12 Inspirational months via our Facebook page by way of inspirational photos on themes chosen to compliment the writing journey.
In 2015 we continued, but instead with our Quote of the Week. This time we shared quotes from inspirational people such as: Walt Disney, Mark Twain, Maya Angelou, Edgar Allan Poe, Virginia Woolf, Octavia E. Butler, Jodi Picoult, JK Rowling, Jeff Kinney, James Patterson, Milton Berle, George R Martin, Stephen King, Terry Pratchett and a few who share the Anonymous title.
Some were thought provoking, engaging, and humorous but all were inspiring.
‘If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door’
CKT Kids Book Club Crew
At the end of each year I workshop new ideas for the upcoming year. One of the ideas that came to fruition this year, was the CKT Kids Book Club Crew. Launched in March our 10 strong CKT Kids Book Club Crew are our eyes and ears among the youth of Australia.
Our crew comes from all over Australia and vary in age from 7 – 13. Each month they put on their reporters hats and talk books with their friends. Each month we will arm them with a question, and they will leave no stone unturned in their quest to provide us with answers. When they are not reporting for us they are reviewing the latest release children’s titles from our publishers.
Having this new crew on board has been fun. We have enjoyed their answers and reviews. Who knows, one day they may grace our bookshelves with their creative stories. Until then, they seek out the truth and the answers as to what books, stories or authors keep kids turning pages.
Thank you Ayla S, Isabella G, Jess P, Joe V, Kailani C, Leith B, Mitch B, Stef H, Trisha C, Valentino C and thanks also to those who briefly joined us Grace M and Leo B.
Susan Robjant designed the logo for our kids club and we love it! If you would like to see more of Susan’s work visit our emerging illustrators section and click on her profile.
To read more about our reviewers, pop over to: CKT's Book Reviewers
Meeting James Patterson
In May this year I was honoured to meet my writing super hero, James Patterson.
Listening to James speak about his incredible journey, while dining on the scrumptious lunchtime menu prepared for the Dymocks Literary lunch at the Shangri La Hotel, Sydney, was fantastic. Being able to get up close and personal at a Cocktail function later that evening at the Museum of Contemporary Art was a dream.
I was fortunate to be able to steal a few minutes of James’ time, and we chatted about Creative Kids Tales, books and our sons. His son was born the same year as my eldest.
This was a moment I will treasure forever.
Thank you Dot Tonkin and Random House for this once in a lifetime opportunity.
Lulu - My book launch
In June my book baby, Lulu was launched at Sutherland Shire Library by author and friend, Susanne Gervay. Years of dreams, months of planning and lifetime of believing came down to this memorable milestone.
It was wonderful to be able to share my first launch with my family , friends and fellow authors; Susanne Gervay, Deborah Abela, Dianne Bates, Bill Condon, Sandy Fussell, Wai Chim, Emma Cameron and Debra Tidball.
But most exciting of all I can now call myself a published author
I documented my publishing experience here: Georgie's Publishing Diary
If you would like to read more about Lulu’s launch visit: Lulu's launch
Festivals & Conferences
Each year more festivals, workshops and conferences pop up around the country which is great for the writing industry, especially those focused on writing for children. This year we were fortunate to visit a few in Sydney and Queensland.
CYA Conference – This year the CYA Conference celebrated their 10th Anniversary in picturesque Queensland. I again assumed the role as Chief Social Media Correspondent for the day’s event running from presenter to presenter endeavouring to tweet the countless treasures of information being shared at each session. The event co-ordinator, Tina Marie Clark who outdoes herself each year invited me to speak on the ‘Success Panel’. Rather than speak about just what happens when you receive that acceptance letter. I wanted to share with the audience things I like to hear when going to conferences. Eg. How can I build a name in the industry, the importance of networking, giving back to the writing community and of course how to secure that contract.
The CYA team put together another adrenaline-charged conference with the highlight a master session with Morris Gleitzman.
Delegates packed into the main auditorium to hear the teachings and wisdom of Morris Gleitzman. Three hours is never enough when faced with one as reputable as Morris. He entertained everyone with stories about the Happiest Girl in the World which happened to have a wicked twist. He gave tips on showing not telling and the tools to building a memorable story. I was lucky to have a chat with him during a break in his presentation.
With lots of tweets and wonderful memories made it was time to bid the 2015 CYA Conference good bye for another year.
CBCA Big Book Day Out – A warm Spring day greeted visitors to the 2015 CBCA Big Book Day Out at the NSW Writers’ Centre. The grounds were filled with families, smiles and excited children waiting to steal a moment with their favourite author or illustrator. Tristan Bancks was the perfect choice as MC for this year’s event.
Stalls from various sub-branches of the CBCA such as the Illawarra and Newcastle branches were decorated with balloons, posters and friendly faces. Attached to the SCBWI stand an illustrators table where well-known illustrators entertained visitors with drawings from their latest books.
I was fortunate to share the SCBWI stall with Deborah Abela, Margaret Roc, Lesley Gibbes and Therese Waters.
Visitors left with bundles of exciting new adventures waiting to be discovered tucked under their arms. Children had been entertained, many meeting their favourite authors and Mum and Dads wallets were now a little lighter. All in all, another wonderful festival organised by Gail Erskine and Dot Tonkin.
I love these events and the opportunity to soak up the atmosphere, energy and ideas.
This was the second CBCA Big Book Day Out and next year’s promises to be even bigger and better. A highlight for me was meeting Grug author, Ted Prior.
SCBWI – Writers’ in the Park - Susanne Gervay OAM, Australian and internationally published author and organiser of WITP brought together a variety of genres for the inaugural event held at The Residences, Centennial Park.
Stands from SCBWI, Room to Read, Books in Homes, Society of Women’s Writers, CBCA, MonkeyBaa Theatre, The Dickens Society and The Footpath Library filled the grounds of the historic The Residences, Centennial Park.
Attendees were captivated by speakers, Jessica Rowe (Studio 10), Joanne McCarthy (Gold Walkley investigative journalist), Susanna Freymark (Author & Journalist) P.M. Newton (Crime Writer), Joanne Fedle (Author), Sunil Badami (ABC broadcaster) and a variety of other personalities.
Over at the children’s story tent kids were entertained with story tellings from Zanni Louise & illustrator Anna Pignataro, Susan Whelan and Gywnneth Jones, Jo Henwood, Louise Park, Deborah Abela, Meredith Costain and a rare public appearance by Pamela Allen.
There were books launches from Anna Pignataro, Julie Hunt, Dale Newman, Sigi Cohen and James Foley. Illustrator duels and a poetry slam to wrap up the day.
WITP will be on again next year on Sunday 4th of September in Centennial Park. See you there!
A full report on these festivals/conferences can be found under our Conference Wrap Up option in the What's New tab.
In 2016 we are hoping to visit events in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Queensland.
Andy Griffiths and Jeff Kinney
In November, my daughter Charlotte and I attended a Sydney Writers Festival event at the Angel Place Recital Hall. We were there to hear two legends of the children’s book industry, Andy Griffiths (If you don’t know who he is you have been living under a rock) and Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid).
It was Jeff Kinney’s only public appearance in Sydney and if the write-ups in all the papers were anything to go by it was going to be HUGE!
Comedian, ABC Presenter and Author, James O’Loughlin MC’d the event with Andy Griffiths taking to the stage first. Andy had us hanging off his every word; it’s easy to see why he is Australia’s favourite children’s author. He entertained us with stories of how it all began up to working with Terry Denton. I would love to see more of Andy’s early greeting cards where he would give descriptive details on how someone might succumb to their illness if they did not get well soon. Hysterical!
Jeff Kinney was not as animated as Andy, which he apologised for upfront, but his talk was insightful especially learning about how he began his journey and the influential people he has met along the way.
Question time gave lots of children in the audience the chance to ask their idols the things they have been dying to know. I think the biggest reaction came from news that Andy is working on the next Treehouse book with Terry Denton.
The two-hour show concluded with Jeff trying to give Andy drawing lessons. Let’s just say I think Terry Denton is safe.
Upon leaving the Recital Hall hidden deep within the city, attendees were given a Diary of a Wimpy Kid yo-yo and the opportunity to have their photo taken with both Andy Griffiths and Jeff Kinney.
It was great to finally meet Andy face-to-face, having only spoken with him via email or when I interviewed him on The Author’s Shelf. Andy introduced Charlotte and I to Jeff and told him about Creative Kids Tales. I nearly fainted. Wow!
Tools of the Trade
This page will be a continual work in progress adding useful resources such as software tools, tutorials and E-Workshops that will help you on your writing or illustrating journey.
If you have found or know of a tool that has helped with your writing or illustrating we would love to hear about it. We might just add it to our Tools of the Trade page.
Tours at the Tales
Over the years we have been asked to host people on their blog tour. Our old website format made it difficult to include this feature, but with our new website almost a year old and running smoothly we figured why not. In October we launched Tours at the Tales which you might call an extension of our Pitch ya book! page. Our Tours at the Tales page includes an interview with the author/illustrator, book information such as pricing, ISBN etc and a synopsis of the book. It’s been warmly received and we’ve already hosted a string of authors including a collaboration between one of our emerging authors, Caroline Touhey and emerging illustrator Muza Ulasowski and their book, Forest Wonder.
Next time you are looking for sites to include on your blog tour, count us in.
Welcome Eileen Magee!
At Creative Kids Tales, we have been assisting emerging authors and illustrators since 2011. We are steadily growing and continue to introduce new resources and update the pages you have come to love to ensure you have all you need on your journey to publication. CKT is and always will be my baby, but I needed help!
I also wanted to be able to give back to someone one-on-one. I drafted my ad and sent it out into the world through our Facebook and Twitter pages. I received applications from a handful of keen emerging authors wanting to offer their services. Introducing Eileen Magee!
Eileen is an aspiring children's author, lover of books and lives in South Australia.
It’s only been a couple of months, but Eileen has quickly established herself as a valuable member of the Creative Kids Tales team.
One area Eileen will be focusing on; is building up our exclusive member’s forum. We have lots of fun ideas for this section of the website and although it has been a little slow to take off, we are confident Eileen will have it lively in no time.
Over the years, we have asked our members what stands out about Creative Kids Tales. The unanimous response was - our logo.
We took that feedback on board and did a little further research.
As a birthday gift to CKT we thought a little face lift was in order. Enter the super talented Nicky Johnston. As a member of Creative Kids Tales, Nicky understands us and our objectives. A quick conversation and a couple of emails later we had our new logo.
We are over the moon with the fresh new look and hope you love our new design as much as we do.
Our interactive member's forum is exclusive to our emerging authors and illustrators. Here you can network with other CKT emerging authors and illustrators, participate in group chats or message members directly.
This is a secure, private environment, where you can talk about your current WIP, meet others from the CKT family and who knows, a collaboration might be born. We are hoping to create a buzzing hub where guest authors can pop in to chat with members of the forum.
Only members of Creative Kids Tales have access to this part of the site and are provided with login information upon joining CKT.
Authors & Illustrators
This year we welcomed lots of talented authors and illustrators to our website.
It’s fascinating to get a glimpse into their world and learn how they got their break into the children’s book industry.
This year we kicked off with Graeme Base.
- Graeme Base - January 2015
- Chris Cheng - February 2015
- Meredith Costain - March 2015
- Terry Denton - April 2015
- Ursula Dubosarsky - May 2015
- Sally Murphy - June 2015
- Nick Falk - July 2015
- Sally Odgers - August 2015
- Michael Salmon - September 2015
- Tony Flowers - October 2015
- Janeen Brian - November 2015
- Wendy Blaxland - December 2015
If you enjoyed our 2015 interviews, you will love the authors and illustrators we will be chatting with in 2016; kicking off with Alison Lester.
This year we welcomed 36 new emerging authors and 7 emerging illustrators into the Creative Kids Tales family. We have a wide variety of talented people who write poetry, short stories, novels or picture books for children.
We congratulate several of our authors and illustrators who have celebrated this year with their first publication.
Our aim for 2016 is to welcome more members to our growing family and celebrate with those who reach their goal of publication.
Our list of book reviews grew and grew with reviews from the latest release children’s books.
This year we welcomed lots of new reviewers who reviewed books from Scholastic, Allen & Unwin, Simon & Schuster, Walker Books, Penguin, Random House, Ford Street Publishing, UQP, Harper Collins, EK Books, The Five Mile Press and the National Library.
We also received a substantial amount of books from independently published authors. It’s like Christmas every day!
Along with my fellow reviewers, Julie Anne Grasso, Allie Mokany, Melinda McNaughton, Paula Hayes, Debra Tidball, Tricia Simmons, Kelly McDonald, Stacey Gladman, Julieann Wallace, Kel Butler, REC Pearson, Leigh van der Veen, Romi Sharp, Michele Furlong-Olsen, Lesley Reed, Lee Foyster, Lisa Haynes, Bernadette Smallwood, Jeffery Doherty, Irene Buckler, Artelle Lenthall, Kathy Creamer, Leah Mason and Em Horsfield, we thank you for allowing us to introduce these wonderful new books to you.
You can read all about your favourite reviewers on our ‘Meet our book reviewers’ page.
We ran two competitions this year, Bone, Box & Sea Shell and Deep within the Forest.
Bone, Box & Sea Shell - Everyone loves a competition with a theme and we couldn’t decide on one, so we choose three instead. Incorporating one or all of these themes in a story resulted in some really interesting entries. For the first time, we offered all entrants a feedback sheet on their submissions.
1st place - Sophie Roberts for Trinkets, Treasures and an Old Man’s Bone.
2nd place - Jai Humel for Gizzly Grumpus Mugwumpus.
3rd place - Judith Green for The Tin Box.
It was our best competition to date until our anthology competition, Deep within the Forest was launched in June.
Deep within the Forest - In 2014 our first anthology competition broke new ground for us and the response was overwhelming. This year’s Anthology competition we asked entrants to incorporate a forest theme in their submissions. Stories included animals, aliens, children and everything in between. Entries were in their record numbers and our judges had lots of fun reading through the variety of stories.
It was hard to choose the top 12 but we got there in the end. Our second anthology, Deep within the Forest can be downloaded for free through Smashwords.
Congratulations to our Author winners
1st place - Rachel Larmer - Stormberry Stew.
2nd place - Kellie Nissen - Ambush in the Forest.
3rd place - Debbie Smith - Charlie’s Secret.
4th place - Scott Williamson - The Girl in the Painting.
5th place - Natalie Petrohelos - ‘Mission: Forest Floor.
6th place - Kathy Creamer - Pangolin.
7th place - Zoya Noijin - Forgetful Jeff.
8th place - Michele Furlong - From Spinifex to Forest Leaves: A Bilby’s New Home.
9th place - Jacqui Halpin - The Quest.
10th place - Sandra Bennett - Drop Bears Hate Vegemite.
11th place - Naomi Edwards - Home.
12th place - Mark Tucker - The Forest of Lost Footballs.
The following winners will receive a bookpack to the value of $50.
13th - Debra Tidball
14th - Kerry Horbowsky
15th - Samantha Sirimanne Hyde
Congratulations to our Illustrator winners
1st - The gorgeous cover for our Anthology was won by Michele Furlong.
2nd - Anita Howard wins a $50 book pack and one year’s free membership to Creative Kids Tales.
3rd - Fiona Burrows wins one year’s free membership to Creative Kids Tales.
We’ll have more competitions in 2016, including one for younger writers.
We’ve had a wonderful year with Creative Kids Tales reaching many people both in Australia and overseas. On average we receive over 115,000 hits per month.
Children’s Publishers Australia
In 2013, 2014 and again in 2015 our most popular page was our comprehensive Children’s Publishers listing.
If you are looking for an up to date list of children’s publishers in Australia together with their contact details then look no further. We have them all listed here.
Creative Kids Tales YouTube Channel
In November we launched the Creative Kids Tales YouTube channel. Included in our new channel are 28 interviews from my time on The Author’s Shelf, plus an interview with Wendy Orr that never made it to air. While my Creative Kids Tales and writing commitments no longer allow me the time to bring you a fortnightly radio show I will bring you special interviews from time to time on our new YouTube channel. The first two interviews under a revised The Author’s Shelf format is with Morris Gleitzman and Mem Fox.
Each interview has been matched with a slideshow of photos and book covers of the corresponding author/illustrator. The great thing about having an audio file is you can listen to our interviews anywhere like on the bus, the train, while gardening, or even relaxing in the bath. However, you choose to listen we thank you and hope you find them informative and inspiring.
See you next year!
As I said in the beginning, it’s been a BIG year for us and lots of fun. Whether you are just a visitor to our site or one of our Creative Kids Tales family, we hope you have enjoyed spending time with us this year.
We always strive to bring you the latest updates, interviews, tools and resources from the children’s writing industry. As we head full steam into our fifth year, we look forward to bringing you all of these things and MORE in 2016.
Thank you for your continued support and for allowing us to share in your journey. We look forward to continuing to support you and welcoming new adventurers in 2016.
Take care and happy writing!