"I feel like everyone should know about Beijing Tai Tai... it's the
Eat Pray Love
for mothers." - author Dee White

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Ask Tania: Writing a Literary CV

Dear Tania, 
I am entering a writing mentorship program that requires a literary CV. A google search is giving me various results and I was interested in your take on it.

Hi Stacey,

What an exciting undertaking! I wish you every success with it.

As with anything to do with this publishing industry, the first thing to do when applying for grants or mentorships is get really clear on the guidelines. It absolutely seems you're doing this, by researching exactly what they may require.

If they don't outline it for you, I do recommend contacting them to ask. Most large organisastions and small ones, too, encourage communication from applicants. Entering that dialogue is actually a good thing for your application, and shows you're serious about applying. It also shows you're personable and honest, and will more readily sink your name into the mind of the people involved.

If you feel you can't do this, or that option doesn't exist, asking around is a great idea.

A literary CV is really a breakdown of your working history in relation to writing. This could be published works but could also include your achievements, educational undertakings, residencies, workshops and conferences, media, awards, affiliations and memberships, and more.

If you're in doubt about what to include, I would cover most obvious bases (ensuring they are super relevant), but keep everything succinct.

As an example, my Literary CV simply lists the following, in reverse chronological order:

  • name and contact details
  • education 
  • professional memberships and affiliations 
  • conferences, festivals and residencies
  • workshops, presentations and speaking engagements
  • media appearances 
  • prizes and awards
  • freelance writing--in print and online
  • publications

I provide online links to those that are too numerous to list, but provide a few of the major ones. Under affiliations, I would list such achievements as Kids' Book Review and the 52-Week Illustration Challenge.

I hope this helps you put together an impressive Literary CV. Good luck!


See all the questions so far ...

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

#illo52weeks - week 40: ABSTRACT

Copic markers

Gelliprint using acrylic paint

Watercolour and gouche on brown paper, digitally manipulated

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Tickle the Imagination Kids' Issue 2014 is out NOW!


If you like your magazines stunning {who doesn't?}, you won't want to miss the latest issue of Tickle the Imagination magazine. It's all about kids and I have several features inside, including an entire article on making gorgeous decorations and inspiring creations from children's books!

Some of the creations include a cloud mobile, bunting, garlands, pinwheels and this super special origami bangle. All from the pages of books {though I do encourage readers to buy two copies of the book--one for making and one for keeping}.

You'll also find my latest Bookshelf finds ...

... and how I made this fantabulous papery mobile. It's nearly two metres high!

Tottie and Dot and Kids' Book Review also make an appearance ...

Other features in this issue of Tickle include gorgeous photo shoots--stacks of kids' fashion and crafting stories, fabulous finds, peeks into the lives of creatives and makers, and much more.

If you're in WA, look out for the magazine in your newsagent this coming week and everywhere else the following week. If you can't wait another moment, you can get the iPad version right here.

Happy drooling!

Friday, 17 October 2014

Tottie and Dot - everywhere!

Little Angel magazine

Get Ahead Kids magazine

Kidz on the Coast magazine

Taupo Times

Upstart Magazine

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Tottie and Dot in Disney Magazine

Tottie and Dot was reviewed in the September issue of Disney magazine. Hurrah! What a special thing.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Why a Facebook Cull is good for your Heart, Mind and Career

We all have Facebook 'friends'. As in Real Life, we have really close friends, we have people we know well, we have friends who count as colleagues and some who are just acquaintances. Some, we don't really even know at all.

As in Real Life, we go through phases, changes, shifts with our Facebook friendships. Sometimes we drift apart. Sometimes we discover we don't have much in common any more. Sometimes things 'happen' that make us feel a friendship has come to an end. Sometimes we can't even remember who that Facebook friend is!

This is all okay. This is what happens in Real Life, too, and unless it's someone you're desperately close to and something terribly awful has happened, it's nothing to break your heart over. It's nothing to stress over when it comes to the dreaded UNFRIEND button.

People have probably unfriended me. I don't know for sure--because I couldn't care a whit about it. An unfriending doesn't define me. I take no offense. Alas, some people do. I've had one acquaintance (who I met a handful of times) go into meltdown over an unfriending. Head spinning in bewilderment, I tried to remind myself that this had nothing to do with me.

It can be scary to unfriend people on Facebook, but it can also be very good for your heart, mind and, frankly ... your career. Every 12 months or so, I go though a bit of a cull. For the most part, it's people I can't even remember (perhaps some lovely soul I met a writers' conference five years ago), but occasionally it's other people, too, and here's why ...

My personal Facebook page (not my author page) is my little online haven. It's where I can feel free to express myself without fear of judgment or retribution. It's where I can seek aid, support, information and warmth. It's where I can share and know that people genuinely care about and take interest in who I am, and what I do. It's sort of like my virtual 'home'. Just like Real Life, who I let into that home, who is privy to my somewhat internal world, has to be hand-picked.

You wouldn't let someone who is fractious, deriding, patronising or argumentative into your Real Life home. You wouldn't allow someone who enjoys debasing you or subjecting you to unpleasant or disturbing words, pictures or attitudes into your home. I'm all for peace, calm and warmth in my world. I don't want a fight. I don't want an argument. I don't want to be consistently bombarded with self-promotion or want-want-wants.

A peaceful Facebook existence is important for your heart and head but it's also vital for your career. If, like me, you have many industry colleagues who regularly visit your Wall, you might want to refrain from posting anything that in some way puts your credibility or reputation in jeopardy. We all know that's a given but you also want to be careful how you comment on posts, and how you respond to the comments of others.

When people leave debasing or negative or argumentative comments on my Wall, and I find myself becoming heated over them, I know this isn't a 'good look' for myself and my career. I don't want to appear angry and prickly over some moronic comment. There's enough heat in this world without navigating the barbs and arrows some 'friends' whack on your Wall, hoping for a bite.

We need peaceful, happy Facebook worlds, with a focus on sharing our lives with both friends and colleagues who are supportive and kind. The great thing is, we can have full control over that world. For me, having the occasional cull helps me take back that control. Those I'll choose to cull include:

  • those who post or link to anything disturbing, violent, graphic, racist or otherwise offensive
  • those who consistently tag me as a way of self-promotion or bombard me with self-promotion or LIKE requests
  • 'trawlers'--those who never, ever comment on any of my regular posts, not even those containing good news or celebration, but will happily comment when they want to be deliberately fractious or debasing or try to prove me wrong, complete with reference links
  • those I simply do not remember or whom I have zero relationship with

I really believe it's important to repel negative energy in our lives. We have enough trouble navigating the mainstream media's obsession with terror and horror and conflict. Why actively put up with it in our virtual homes?

I also make a rule that I never friend anyone I don't personally know, or at least don't know well yet--no matter how lovely they are.

Facebook is not a popularity contest. I don't even know how many FB friends I have, and it doesn't worry me to see that number shrink. What does worry me is when I see someone with 5,000 friends--it shouts quantity-not-quality. I'm much more of a quality girl.

So, don't worry about your friend numbers. Don't worry about offending someone if you unfriend. You are only looking out for yourself and if someone becomes belligerent over an unfriend, they're really not the type of person you want in your life anyway.

Consider the Facebook Cull. Click that button and let go. The relief you feel at the severance of negative energy is a wonderful thing. Say no to trawlers and fractious commenters. Say yes to a happy virtual home and career.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Tottie and Dot Drawing Competition - THE WINNER!

This is all so exciting! It's time to announce the winner of the Tottie and Dot drawing comp. I have to first say, it was TOO HARD TO CHOOSE! They were all SO good (you can see the shortlist here)! So, I had to ask Tottie and Dot to decide, and this is who they chose ...

Biggest congrats to ... drum roll please...

Joshua, age 10!

What Tottie and Dot said:

'We simply adored all the illustrations that were sent in. Who knew kids were so utterly talented? Really! We were just overwhelmed. The shortlist was incredible and it was very hard to choose, but we finally decided to go with Joshua's image because it was so imaginative--who would have thought he'd give us some brothers!? We've already asked Tania to write about Tommy and Scott--so watch this space!'

Congratulations, Joshua! You have won a signed copy of the book, a personalised letter from Tottie and Dot, lemon drop lollies and marshmallow tea, butterfly strings, activity pages and more! Your parcel is on the way and we hope you enjoy it!

Thanks again to everyone who entered! In March, I have a new book called This is Captain Cook coming out--maybe I'll run another illustration comp then!

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Tottie and Dot Drawing Competition - the Shortlist!

I have been SO impressed with the amazing drawings kids sent in for the Tottie and Dot drawing comp. Wow wow wow! How on earth could I choose? I loved so many, I've decided to publish a shortlist on my blog, and I shall spend a wee while pondering who the winner should be. I'll announce this winner on Monday 13 October!

Thanks SO much to everyone for entering, and congratulations to these sensational shortlistees!

Eden age 5

Iris age 9

Cory age 8

Joshua age 10

Lily age 7

Vanna age 7

Christiana age 8

Well done, everyone - and good luck!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Event: Book Stall and Signing at Brindabella Business Park

Prepping the Missoni for Target ensemble for Brindabella Business Park market (next to Canberra Airport) tomorrow 9 October from 11am to 2pm. Tottie and Dot are joining me on my bookstall! I'll be there signing books alongside talented friends Creative Chicky and Posie Patchwork, so come along and say hi!

There'll be fab food, music by the divine Touchasoul and stacks of truly beautiful stalls to get a unique start on your Christmas shopping. Stacks of sunshine, too!

Monday, 6 October 2014

#illo52weeks - week 39: WORDS

Watercolour and pen

Watercolour and fine liner

Letters from Children - Holy Trinity Primary School

It's always a pleasure to visit schools and talk to kids about my books. Recently, I visited Holy Trinity Primary School here in Canberra, and had the most amazing time. I did a presentation on Australian Story, but the wonderful librarian, Kate, had also shared my other books with the kids.

The children (in years 3 and 4) sent me a whole pile of letters after my visit. They were so utterly charming and touching--it was very emotional reading them all.

Below are just a handful of the comments made by the kids. 

THIS is why I write books. Truly.

My favourite part of your presentation is when you put the Julia Gillard wig on Cody and when you put the handcuffs on Daniel.

I find most of your books really interesting. Also, I really like your Australian Story and Tottie and Dot is really funny.

I was the boy wearing the Julia Gillard wig. Loved the work we did with your book Australian Story. I learnt a lot about history ... how much fun!

I just want to thank you for writing those books.

I loved the work we did with your book Australian Story. I learnt a lot about history, no - it is so much fun. I love your work.

I was not there but I hear your presentation was awesome and you are awesome.

I learnt a lot about history - how much fun. My favourite book was Tottie and Dot.

How you make history fun!! You spoke so clearly!

I really liked when you said in the book about the Gold Rush and how you really explained how we got here in the first place.

Because of your story, I know more about Australia--more than I usually know, and I liked when you said 'once there was nothing and then there was something'.

I was really interested in how the process of writing a book is. Your Power Point was fantastic. The way we got to hold things was fun.

You have given inspiration to write a book. I've been asking our librarian so much to borrow your books. Love your books.

I really enjoyed learning about Australian history.

I like how we dressed up and I really enjoyed your [Tottie and Dot] book tour!!!!!!

I loved the way you set out Australian Story and did all the swirly curly writing. My favourite book was Riley and the Curious Koala.

My favourite book you made was Riley and the Jumpy Kangaroo.

I think your books are amazing.

I like the way you taught us how to write a book. I like the work we did with your book, it was amazing. I now want to buy it.

I liked the fun way it taught us history. History is a bit more amazing.

I loved the work we did with Australian Story--how you taught us about history and how much fun it can be. You did everything in a fun way.

I liked the way we got dressed up to represent the different times and what was happening. I really enjoyed it.

I thought history was boring but it's not.

The story was really interesting and history is not boring!

You taught me that Gondwanaland was once Australia. I loved learning about history.

I was the one who got to put the Captain Cook wig on. I really loved it.

THANK YOU, oh and thank you for visiting our school. It taught me history and how much fun it can be ... with you.

I love your books about Riley and your Power Point was great and you spoke clearly.

I feel sorry for you only getting $1 per book. You should earn more money, like $246 because your books are great.

By the way, make a big world book including Germany and Australia.

I love your work and I see how much you love your son. I loved the work that you put into the Australian Story. Peace out!

You taught me that history is not boring. You can make history fun.

I enjoyed your presentation, especially how you changed my look on history. It's not just discovering land--it's me brushing my teeth or 11 minutes ago.

I LOVED how you made it fun and interesting in the Power Point.

I loved the way you included us and made us dress up.

The book Australian Story sounded amazing and I can't wait to buy it.

Your Power Point blew my mind.

I really liked that you made little jokes on your Power Point on how history is boring!

All thanks to you, I have a completely new excitement for history.

When you got us to dress up and then show the timeline, it made me feel that history could be writing this letter to you--and brushing my teeth! 

I loved the series of Riley. I liked the sounds you used when you were talking.

I thought your Power Point and speech was fantastic.

I thought your speech was brilliant. I loved how the Power Point was funny when it started disagreeing with you.

I liked you when you're funny--when the [Powerpoint Presentation] said 'okay sorry'.

Before I hated history but you have changed my mind and now I can say to people history is not boring.

It is actually really fun. It was great to see lots of people holding the money, flags, bridges and lots of other really cool, awesome stuff.

It must be fun being an author and writing books. You spoke really clearly and you were really funny.

I loved how you explained your Australian book. It was great to see a book that was not too old and not too young!

I loved how you spoke clearly, dressed up people, your [Tottie and Dot] book tour, and your lovely Power Point.

I learnt a lot about history. How wonderful.

You really entertained me. I didn't know history could be so entertaining.

I really liked your book Tottie and Dot.

My favourite book was the Australian Story.

May favourite book of yours is Tottie and Dot.

My favourite thing I learnt was about how Cathy Freeman was the first Aboriginal to have her face on a postage stamp. I got dressed up as Usain Bolt. I brang in his biography. It talks about how he became good at running and what he did as a kid. Usain Bolt. Faster than lightning.

I think your books are amazing! Especially Riley and the Jumpy Kangaroo.

I think that you are an inspirational person. Like Albert Namatjira. Your Power Point was awesome. I learnt a lot about history.


Thank you for visiting our lovely school. I hope you had a great time!!! Thank you very much for teaching me about history. It was much more interesting than other history.

I really like the book that you wrote Australian Story! It was great to see all the students dressed up. They looked amazing and some were hilarious! I also love your books about Riley's adventures.

You inspired me to write books when I am older.

My fave book was Tottie and Dot and An Aussie Year.

I loved the work you did with your book Australian Story. The best thing I learned was that Samantha Harris was the first [Aboriginal] model on Vogue magazine front cover.

Your Power Point was thenomenal and unreal. My favourite book is Tottie and Dot.

I loved history--how I learnt a lot about it and it can be fun.

Can you put me in one of your books? Pleassssse!

Thank you for making history fun!

I especially liked how you made boring old history fun and enjoyable. Yay! I also enjoyed how you interacted with everyone!

It was great how you made me think history was fun. After school, I went running to mum and dad to tell them what I learnt. My favourite book was Riley and the Jumpy Kangaroo. I had great fun. Love, your great friend.

You're cool. Old [ie: the author!] is good.

My favourite book you have written is Tottie and Dot and you have taught me that history is fun.

I like your books and how you put Riley in your books.

History rules!

I admire you very much and it's so amazing how you turn BORING info into fabulous kids books. You also seem like a very nice lady.

It was so much fun!!!! Now I love history.

I love the work we did with Riley and the Sleeping Dragon.

I am borrowing your book Australian Story.

Thanks for making history awesome!

I have learned a lot about history like Gillard was the first woman prime minister of Australia--girl power!

It was so much fun.

My favourite book was Tottie and Dot. I love your books.

You are a great inspiration to us all and we had so much fun.

I loved Australian Story with all the different bands of colours and images. It taught me what happened on the timeline in history.

I really loved your books of Riley.

Your Power Point was engaging. I loved it.

I like your book Tottie and Dot.

Your books are amazing.

You made history fun and exciting. The props you used were awesome!

Australian Story fascinated me a lot. It taught me that history is then ... and then ... and then ... ['then' something else happened, then something else happened ...].

It was great to see everyone getting into the true Aussie spirit.

I was the girl who held up the gold.

I really enjoyed learning about history and how much fun and interesting it is!

Your Power Point was fantastic and funny!

What I learnt was, that actually a long time ago, Australia was part of Antarctica!

I learnt that with some images in books, you have to get permission!

I really like your books, and so do all the children at Holy Trinity.

I learnt a lot about history and how much fun it can be!

I loved your [Tottie and Dot] book tour.

You have inspired me to be an author when I grow up.

I think the idea of your Riley books are cool.

I loved the way you set out the timeline in Australian Story.

Please come back!!!

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