Friday, 6 May 2016

Career Evolvement

Sometimes we think of evolving as 'getting better', and while this is absolutely true, we can also look at evolving as 'shifting and changing'--maybe even changing direction in a particularly dramatic fashion.

This shifting and changing is something I didn't really expect when I embarked upon a writing career. I just always presumed I'd write books. Forever. I didn't even think the genre of my book writing would change. I presumed it would always be the same (at the time, adult fiction).

Then things morphed into children's books, then came editing, then came publishing and book layout and design, then came marketing and social networking and teaching and presenting... and now, nearly 30 year later, I've found myself on an illustration journey (among other things), and sometimes I take pause and realise it's all quite surreal.

How did this happen?

In fact, yesterday, I pitched my illustrations (one of them, above) to one of my publishers. If you'd told me I'd be doing this, even a year ago, I would have had to have a cup of tea and a lie down.

On this rollercoastering, creative journey, I think it's important not to box ourselves in too tightly. Not to stereotype or label ourselves. I think this kind of self-labelling can really be limiting, and can keep us from growing or exploring things that might bring us even greater fulfillment.

I believe that sometimes we don't even know what latent talent or desire we hold within. Sometimes, a word, a look, an event, can cause a teensy spark that soon becomes a burning flame... and we might experience shifts and growth and changes in our world that completely alter our life path, make us happier and more fulfilled. Maybe even more 'successful' (though I would argue that being happier and doing what we love is the ultimate in success).

What I'm learning on this journey is this: if it feels good, do it. Don't listen to the naysayers and don't worry about the people who might be waiting for you to fail. This most especially includes yourself. We can be so terribly hard on ourselves. We can let ourselves down with our own self-doubt and lack of courage. We need to run our own race, never look sideways or worry what anyone else is doing, and just do stuff that makes us HAPPY, even if it makes no sense to anyone else, let alone ourselves.

What are you feeling called to do? Is it wildly different to what you're doing now? Does it make sense? Does it even need to?

How will you evolve?

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Exploring Time and Place Through Children's Literature

from Australian Kids Through the Years, image by Andrew Joyner

Not sure if you know (!), but I love books. And reading. And other cultures. And watching children grow and learn and thrive with the inclusion of all three of these vital components in their lives.

A few months ago, I was asked to write an article for Connections magazine, an initiative of the Schools Catalogue Information Service, which serves schools and libraries in both Australia and New Zealand. The article has just been published in the magazine, and is also online.

In it, I discuss the importance of exposing children to books featuring other places, times, races and cultures. I talk about the benefits of multicultural exposure, which include broader minds and a deeper understanding of both the self and others. Children exposed to other ways of life have a greater willingness to explore and experience life to its fullest, and to pursue friendship, relationship and career opportunities unbound by prejudice, stereotypes and limited thinking.

Now do you know why I love books, reading and other cultures?

You can read the entire article right here.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Smile Cry WINNERS!


Thank you to everyone for entering my comp to win a copy of Smile Cry. Some of you entered by leaving a comment and some by email. Your entries were so heartwarming, and oftentimes hilarious! 

And now, I have great pleasure in announcing the two winners, as chosen anonymously by my two kids.

Congratulations go to:
Reena Balding
Vanna McAlister
Congratulations, Reena and Vanna (who entered by email). I hope you love Smile Cry. Please email me at and your book will soon be winging its way to you!

Sunday, 10 April 2016

WIN! A copy of Smile Cry!

To celebrate the Australian release of Smile Cry this month, I am giving away two copies of the book to some lucky winners!


Smile Cry is a flip-over picture book for children that reads from both front and back, Smile Cry is an innovative picture book for young kids, showcasing the full emotional range of their formative years.

Readers follow three adorable characters--piglet, bunny and cat--as they react emotionally to a variety of events and circumstances from everyday life. From an 'ate all the pies' smile to an 'ice-cream plopping down cry'; from a 'cosy under blanket smile' to a 'need a band-aid quick cry', children will empathise with the tear-jerking calamity of a popped balloon or lost toy, or feel the smiley warmth of a being tickled.

It's the little things that touch the hearts of children the most, and Smile Cry typifies both the small joys and challenges that are the essence of childhood. Younger kids will respond to the soft whimsical illustrations, while older readers will learn more about the range of their emotions--how it's possible to cry with happiness and also smile with trepidation.

The clever 'flip book' format means that the Smile story reads from front to back, while the Cry story reads from back to front, with both delicious narratives meeting in the middle.

A heartfelt picture book that will be treasured for years, Smile Cry is perfect for ages 3 and upwards.


Firstly, take a look at these pictures from the book (beautifully illustrated by Jess Racklyeft).

After the launch of Smile Cry in Canberra last month, people contacted me to say their kids had started talking in 'Smile Cry Speak'. For example, one kid said 'Daddy bit my biscuit cry' and another said 'I love Mr Sparks (cat) smile'. Reviewers of the book have even begun speaking in Smile Cry Speak, too, with one reviewer saying 'I'm having candy and it's not even Halloween smile' and 'my big brother never lets me play with his toys cry'.

To enter to win a copy of the book, give me your best Smile Cry Speak in a comment on this post (or email it to me here, if you're having trouble posting). It should either be a SMILE or CRY Speak comment. (Please note that comments need to be moderated, so they could take a while to appear.)

The funniest comment, as chosen by my own two kids, will win! Comments will be judged without names attached.

And yes, you can enter as many times as you like.

Competition opens today and ends at 5pm Australian Eastern Standard Time on Sunday 24 April 2016. Anyone can enter so long as the book is sent to an Australian address. This is a game of skill, not chance, and the judges' decisions are final.


Friday, 8 April 2016


Lisa-Marie Kerr

Sometimes, we all need a lull. A period of less frenzied activity. A time of creative connection without the pressure of production.

More time to ponder, less time to do.

More time to wander, less time to rue.

I've spent the last month in a state of Lull. At a slower pace. After a deeply-dedicated, lengthy period working on my first illustrated book (I'm revealing the title at the end of this post!!), putting in about 900 hours and putting on about 900 kilos in the process, I've taken this time to walk, read, crochet, eat good food, and do yoga in the sunshine.

Monday, 28 March 2016

One Word Wisdom with designer Lisa-Marie Kerr

1. What is the best thing about running your own design company?  

2. What’s the worst thing?  

3. How did opening Bear and Sparrow make you feel?  

4. What do you hope it brings its customers?  

5. Who has influenced your business the most? 

6. What has been your biggest career reward? 

7. What's the most important contribution design can make to the world?  

8. What’s your biggest career goal?  

9. What else do you like to do?  

10. What’s next?  

Lisa-Marie Kerr refers to herself as an ideas piñata ... even she struggles to keep up with what she describes as the divine inspiration she receives daily. The owner and chief designer for stunning children's homewares website Bear and Sparrow, Lisa-Marie is a woman who craves variety and ... being different, which she uses as her motivation when designing new pieces for Bear and Sparrow. Married with three beautiful children and the most gorgeous dog, Lisa-Marie is an everyday woman working hard to make her mark on the world. Bear and Sparrow is 100% Australian owned, designed and made.

Learn more about Bear and Sparrow at the website

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

A Crash Course in Grammar and Punctuation

When it comes to writing professionally, it's all in the details. Whether you're writing an opus or just sending a publisher query letter, good grammar and punctuation can be the difference between being taken seriously ... and shuffled to the bottom of the pile.

One of the best investments you can make, as an author, is a course in editing and proof reading; one that teaches you the fundamentals of grammar and punctuation. I know--I know--you have all the time in the world, right? Actually, yes, you do! If you're serious about making this writing dream a heartfelt reality.

While you spend time researching and committing to an editing course that will exponentially advance your writing journey, here is my little crash course in grammar and punctuation basics, based on the same old 'mistakes' I see time and again. Presenting your work in a more professional way will seriously up your chances of being taken seriously in this highly-competitive industry.

Remember--excellence all the way!

Pretty much any Grammar Nazi's nightmare, they don't need to be confusing. There are two types of apostrophe. They are:

Monday, 21 March 2016

International Children's Book Day Event

International Children’s Book Day is celebrated around the world on Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday, April 2.

Join Muse for a Canberra special with beloved local authors Irma Gold and Tania McCartney and recent arrival, illustrator Tony Flowers.

There’ll be readings, on-the-spot drawing and colouring in - all the best things about books to celebrate this special day.

Saturday, 2 April 2016
 3:30pm – 4:30pm

TICKETS: $10 per child (includes a glass of wine or soft drink for accompanying grown-up). Head to Muse for more info, and to book.

(I will be reading my brand new book, Smile Cry, among other books!)

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Smile Cry in New Idea and Books + Publishing Junior

So chuffed to see our sweet little book in a big time mag! Thank you, Angela!

And always honoured to be chosen for review in Books + Publishing's Junior Newsletter and on their website. Thank you, B + P!

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