A Moment Shared

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Photography by Pete Unsworth

There are times in my life when I am awestruck by the beauty in this life.

My husband showed me his photo. A dragonfly, kissed by the morning dew. I’m transfixed by it. He captured it on his iphone because he had no camera at the time. He said when the sun came out the dragonfly flapped its wings and flew away, but for one moment, time seemed frozen.

I love this guy even more (if that’s possible) when he shares little moments in his day like these. He understands me so completely. He understands that I would think this a spectacular event. I feel blessed that he appreciates those minuscule moments just as much. I never dreamt after almost 15 years together that we would be inspiring each other in so many ways.

But we do.

I would not dare, try to draw this image. It is complete in every way. That’s what I say to him, it is a stunning moment and one I can look at for hours. Photography is a passion of mine. I’m an amateur, but I do know what I love.

Two photographers sites come to mind if you are not following them and you enjoy looking at amazing images then I suggest you check these out.

http://dalocollis.com

Randall has a keen eye for nature and his images take you to far away places. He truly has a special gift, not only with photography but his philosophies on life as well.

Judy astounds me with her images of birds. The attention to detail is captivating. All her images (not just birds) have that certain magic about them.

https://janthinaimages.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/she-sits-in-her-beauty-upon-her-nest/

Wishing you all a safe, happy and healthy Easter break, I hope you notice those special moments, something wonderful in your day that may be right under your very nose.

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Monumental Moments

DSCN6178 (copy) I want to say thank you to some SPECIAL people.

These moments I am writing about today are monumental in any child’s life. A gesture from two super children’s Author’s. It may even encourage my children to keep reading and reach higher for their own dreams.

I usually research Authors that capture my son and daughter’s imaginations. I’m curious how each one started out. The best thing in the world to me would be to inspire children to read.

Have you ever heard of Tom Gates? If you have a ten-year old boy in the house, you may have. My son loves reading about this crazy kid. He reads well, but he does not enjoy the process as much as my daughter. Yet both kids think Tom Gates is awesome and funny  (this I discovered) is the key to getting my son to read and a lot of boys his age. Both the Authors I want to thank today have a unique sense of the ridiculous in their stories.Which my kids and even I, have enjoyed reading together. Tom’s stories are set around school and home, but he gets up to some pretty hilarious stuff. When I read to my children I do accents. It’s a bit of fun and I get to see what kids laugh at most when I read along out loud. Yes my kids both can read, so why do I read to them? Because they ask me to do it. Maybe not as much, these days as in the past.

The surprise for my son was with Tom Gates the Author is Liz Pichon an amazing writer and illustrator. (Not a man says my boy in surprise.)

http://tomgatesworld.blogspot.com.au

He really thought it was a guy writing these funny stories.

It goes to prove it does not matter, if you can reach children on their level and think like a kid of today, they will follow. When Liz Pichon visited Australia last year, my sister met her. My sister asked her to sign a couple of books, in fact around eight copies of her latest. She wanted to give them to her nieces and nephews as birthday gifts. Liz kindly agreed to sign them all. Talk about a cool Aunty, my two were so excited to get their copy. Tom Gates will always be a favourite in our house.

DSCN6181 (copy) We say thank you to Liz YOU ARE AWESOME. We will buy every book you publish, because you understand children and what they like to read. We look forward to the next one in the series, my son has them all.

The second Author I want to mention, many of you will have heard of. He tells tall tales, through two cheeky lads that write their own comic book strip.

Captain Underpants is the hero of the day.

Dave Pilkey is the Author DSCN6183 (copy) http://www.pilkey.com/pdf/dav-pilkey-bio.pdf

Dave has no idea the joy he brought to my son’s room. My super sister strikes again. (she does not wear underpants on the outside of her clothes though) When she met Dave she told him all about her nephew who was reading his books and how he liked to draw doodles. (my son)

My sister never expected what came next. Dave not only signed a copy of his latest book he went one step further and sketched out the Captain, just for Reed. He also encouraged Reed to keep drawing.

So Reed looks at this framed master piece and smiles he says “That is so cool that he did that for me.” And we all agree.

DSCN6182 (copy) Thank you Dave you are a legend in our world.

Also thank you to their super cool Aunty. My darling sister you are a gem. Thank you for thinking of your nieces and nephews when you meet these amazingly inspiring people.   DSCN6177 (copy)     I hope you all keep on drawing or writing or doing what you love. Has an Author inspired you or your children? Tell me about it in the comments.

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I Can’t Sleep. (Prompt Me Punk2 picture book draft)

The winner of the picture book prompt went to Louise Gallagher.

Orvill the Cat sat on Jake the Dog’s mat.

Thank you Louise the children thought this simple sentence would make an awesome picture book idea. I hope I did it justice and I thank each and every one of you for commenting and leaving a prompt. I really had fun with this one.

Please stop over at Louise’s site and introduce yourself she is an amazing, inspiring woman and I have only just started following her blog Dare boldly. Louise’s motto….. inspiring acts of grace in everyday living.

Enjoy the story and remember it is only a rough draft I have worked on it for about a week and I do feel the manuscript still needs some tweaking. But that’s all part of the fun.

DSCN6092 (copy)I Can’t Sleep

by Kath Unsworth

A bossy grey cat sat on the dog’s mat.

The little white dog, yapped and yapped.

“You can’t do that! I can’t sleep.”

The smart dog found a new sleeping place.

An orange plump hen clucked.

“What a disgrace! I can’t sleep.”

This pushy bird perched high on some hay.

A brown skinny calf mooed.

“Please go away! I can’t sleep”

Our tired little calf found another shed.

Whilst a pink rounded pig snorted.

“Get out of my bed! I can’t sleep.”

The proud pig lay down on some soft lovely wool.

Then a black fluffy sheep, baa’d.

“This will not do! I can’t sleep.”

The weary sheep dropped to his knees by the pond.

A colourful duck quacked LOUDLY.

“This is all wrong!”

She quacked and she quacked until the moon rose high, the noise from the farm was a deafening cry.

“We all can’t sleep!”

Until Jake the dog sighed.

“Quiet! We don’t want to start another big riot!”

He went back to the cat on his mat.

“Why did you take my mat, like that?”

The cat hung his head in sorrow and shame.

“There’s a horrible giant spider, that is to blame.”

Jake asked the spider if it could leave the cats bed.

“I only sat here for a rest,” he said.

Jake helped the spider get back to his ceiling.

Now the cat and the dog, the hen and the calf, our pig and the sheep and the duck all went back to dreaming.

The very next evening, they heard that cat shriek.

“Eek! There’s a slug in my bed and I can’t sleep!”

THE END

 

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Prompt Me Punk 2

prompt me_0001Prompt Me Punk, I dare You!

Its BACK. So here is your chance to get involved.

If you have followed my blog for a while you might remember the picture book writing prompt challenge.  A big thanks goes out to Desi who asked could I do this again. Desi has been a regular reader on my space lately. He is also taking the time to leave many comments. Visit Desi at https://driftwoodinthetide.wordpress.com and say hello. Looking at my site stats he is at the top of the board for leaving comments and many of you regular readers are not far behind. I appreciate all the comments I receive on this blog and a random act of art will be happening again soon for one of my subscribers to the newsletter. A chance for me to say thank you with art, for reading and commenting on my posts.

But for today let’s have some picture book fun.

The last picture book prompt won by Sheila Hurst, you can read Sheila’s prompt and my story here. http://wp.me/p2ZjFY-Db

One wish, I hope I can improve on my stories each time. It’s all about Practice, practice and yes practice.

THE CHALLENGE

Two characters (animal or human), this time and a story line prompt, keep it simple. REMEMBER My children will be picking the story idea that they like. Keep it rated G too, this is all about picture book ideas folks. I will try to get an illustration up to share as well.

The winning prompt is to be announced in my monthly newsletter. So if you have not subscribed hit the subscribe here, link at the top right hand corner of my blog page.

Thanks a bunch, I can’t wait to see what you have for me this time. I really enjoyed reading all your ideas last time. I will post my efforts in an up and coming post.

Stay tuned folks and have a fantastic day. (You never know maybe one day it might become a picture book FOR REAL).

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Let Me Count the Ways

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photo of bird sketch for my cards on Etsy

If you think you balance a million and one dreams in your head, spare a thought for this crazy woman, please. I wake up each morn. My mind begins to swirl. Spinning its way through a library of ideas. Each one stored on the dusty shelves and ready for the choosing. A day of possibilities opens up before me. Let me count the ways this blog has started the sparks for creativity. I am stretching my boundaries and spreading myself far too thin. Reading this post, might make you feel better.

In the Beginning

I suppose it all began when I got this insane idea that I wanted to write fiction. I stumbled on goinswriter.com and enrolled in the Tribe Writing course. My life changed. The big one being, I started believing, I am a writer. With practice and education I dare to release my craft onto the page. What I did not plan, was meeting so many wonderful people who encourage and inspire me. It lead me to joining a community of FB fiction writers. We cheer each other on in every aspect of writing a novel. I am learning by watching many of them publish.

Writing a Novel

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Editing lesson for The Whitby Files

First, I realised novel-writing is hard and I needed to learn much, much more. After sharing my novel, it was clear I had to go back to school. The Holly Lisle Editing course is amazing (one of many) and scary too. The amount of work is astounding, yet I know many of these skills will come naturally, once I learn the drill.  I can then apply it to all my half written novels one fine day. At lesson 5 and I’m taking my time, because reading the manuscript over and over, is necessary when looking for different faults.

Picture Book Dreaming

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Thumbnails for Sugar and Spice

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Unfinished illustration from Sugar and Spice by Kath Unsworth

On top of writing fiction and learning how to edit, I thought it might be nice to write and illustrate a Picture book. (What the?) I read a step by step guide Childwrites. Their website quote. (The Child Writes Program is a stunning project, nurturing literacy and creativity, and giving primary school aged children a voice by offering them the opportunity to write and illustrate their own children’s picture books). The book I purchased  is for all ages, believing creating picture books is child’s play. Once I learn these skills….(not easy this picture book stuff) I want to encourage children to do the same.

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Illustration from Sugar and Spice by Kath Unsworth

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Orange Cow by Kath Unsworth will be featured in a local Gallery

Blogging

This blogging thing is a challenge, posting something of value to my readers is not easy. Posting work I can be proud of needs a lot of good tools. I love using the hemingway app to tidy up my writing. Little programs such as these are wonderful to keep handy.  Two years into blogging now and I have enjoyed it more than I thought I would. (Thanks to you) But it has also opened up a whole world of art opportunities for me. I started creating art for a local art/craft gallery. The Spotted Cow Gallery.

Art/Craft Gallery In the gallery I started out using pencils, sketching the animals around me. I dreamt of an orange Cow, I sketched it in pencil first. In my vivid dream, it was a large bright and bold painting. The painting stands at nearly one metre and its ready to go into the gallery soon.

Etsy Shop

In between, blogging, picture book illustrations, editing my novel and creating art for the gallery I decided to gear up and open an Etsy shop. NUTS! My passion for pen and ink sketches needed a home. I joined the Etsy revolutions course and now learning how to run a business online for my art.

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Ostrich by Kath Unsworth Original pen and ink sketch for my Etsy shop, coming soon

HUGE Question

What was I thinking, sticking my neck out and taking on all these challenges at once, you ask? I think for me, things just evolve. I try to do one thing and I just can’t. I listen to the whispers in my head when I am asleep and awake, something guides me to each new task. So each skill and creation is evolving slowly and I have accepted that good quality writing and art takes time.

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Art is my therapy, by Kath Unsworth small magnet for Etsy shop

My art has come so far, my writing also, but it is a long road for a novel. I can count the ways in which I have learned so many wonderful lessons and I will never grow tired of learning. I hope you can find something useful in this post to take away with you. Leap out, into the unknown and follow your dreams and gut feelings. How are your projects coming along, share them with me here. I read this over today and stopped wondering why I have not written a blog post in ages……NOW what am I going to work on today?

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The Simple joys of Life

The simple joys

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Today was as hot as hades, summer is a mixture of outdoor activities and staying indoors when it gets too severe. It is not my favourite time of year. I prefer a gentler season like the spring or autumn months. By this nightfall a cool change brings me a small window of relief. It draws me outside. I am in awe of the burnt orange skies.

I love the contrast of rich green grass after many days of rain. Yet after rain, we seem to get the dreaded humidity. I ponder on the simple joys of life. The small wins in our day, they are miniature, yet worth writing about.

I was sitting there watching the kids splashing around in the local pool today. One eye on their wet scraggy heads and the other in my book. To me this is a kind of paradise. They get to release some energy, cool down and I get to relax in the shade and enjoy some reading time. (This is RARE). A refreshing cool breeze even rarer.

There was a time, when we did not come to the pool, it was too stressful. A time when my son did not enjoy the crowds and much less the noise of people having fun. He would never stay if the pool became over-crowded. Thankfully for us and to my amazement we had the pool to ourselves, apart from a pensioner or two, doing wonky laps. Usually the holidays are a challenge. Crowds, noise and long lines do not sit easy on our agenda. We as a family have become experts at getting somewhere early, having our fun and leaving before the hoards of people arrive. Our quiet sanctum never lasts for long.

One by one, out of the hot cars they came. Toddlers waddled in adorned with sun hats, crooked goggles and tripping over their oversized towels. They could not contain their joy. Mothers and fathers armed with the stuff we all need to survive an hour or two in the hot sun. Sunscreen is the order of the day. The children’s excitement and squeals usually leave my boy anxious and wanting to go home. Especially any high-pitched screams. You don’t realise how many kids squeal at the pool or beach until you have a child who is sensitive to this. The visual of a pack of children heading in his direction made me edgy. I did not want him to stop having fun.

I watched and I waited. One after the other another small body dropped into the deep blue. It was like kiddie soup in there. I packed my beach bag with a heavy sigh and prepared to leave.

Yet, imagine my surprise when my son did not surface. I managed to finish my book. My children played among the sea of bobbing heads. My son was giggling and diving under, I sat smiling. No one could know my joy. I felt a tear behind my shades, a happy tear mind you, welling up.

After many years of challenges with crowds, we have arrived at a point in our lives where we can actually stay and enjoy the day. Like everyone else, at least sometimes, depending on the anxiety levels. Tis a simple thing but in my world it is a memorable event and something I will treasure always.

January is slipping by and I am reading, not writing, not sketching much, just soaking up the wonder of my simple little life. As I write this at the end of the day I look out again at the beautiful sky. The warm brilliance of colour has transformed into a cold grey canvas.

Like the sky my happiness floats free in the ebb and flow of Life. I should expect amazement everyday. Nothing ever stays the same. I am happy with the most simple of outcomes. After today a new day brings with it, many possibilities and every evening sky is a wonder to behold.

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If something feels like it will never change, trust me when I say it will. I send you simple blessings and when they arrive be as grateful for them as I am for mine.

TODAY WAS A GOOD DAY.

Happy January to you, it leaves all too soon.

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Nature is My Therapy

bird (copy) As 2014 draws to a close and I say that with a smile. I find myself pondering the lessons learned this year. I have taken the steps, in sharing my art. It is due to this community who have encouraged me along the way. I say THANK YOU. I do feel it has slowed the picture book plans, but life is like that. When new opportunities arise we must see where they lead.

I have learnt that I will always be learning. I shared my WIP with a professional editor and a few writing friends and it was clear to me I need to grasp extra skills in editing. The Holly Lisle course, on how to take that first crappy novel draft through the editing process is brilliant (she has many to choose from). An invaluable course for my writing toolkit. I did not realise how much I needed it, until I dared share my novel. What a deep layer of knowledge I must gain to make my book worth the read. I will not rush it, even though I have many stories in my head. Once I learn this set of skills I can apply it to everything I write.

I have also learnt it’s great to be fifty I may be a bit stiff in the joints and my eyes are not as sharp as they once were (glasses glued to my head for all eternity). My imagination thankfully has not diminished. Being fifty gives me a sense of knowing how short time is and a drive to tell many stories. My understanding is we practice our craft until it hurts. We learn those basic skills and then some. When we feel we have arrived, we then push the comfort zone further and learn something that scares us. Writing is not easy for me (it does scare me). Nothing comes to those who sit around waiting. When I look back I can see my skills building. Looking back, is a healthy way to give yourself a pat on the back. Be proud of what you have achieved in the year. Look to the new year with renewed optimism.

My word for 2015 is BELIEVE The word for this year was Productivity. I was productive in getting my art into the Gallery, but the picture book went to the back of my projects list. Next year I must believe in the beauty of my dreams and work my butt off to finish that picture book. Most important of ALL…..

When I teach myself new skills those around me learn too

My Children have been busy, art is all around us (see below) my daughter has used her coloured pens. My son designs new computer games in his drawings, he does not like drawing birds he has his own ideas and wants to learn about game designing when he grows up. If I have anything to give in this world through my art, it is to inspire others to follow that spark of imagination. Nature is my therapy it sets me free. Wrapping up for 2014 I would say it was a massive year of learning new skills, being grateful, and friendship building. I thank you for the encouraging comments and look towards 2015 with optimism in my heart and a truckload of art and stories to share.

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Art by Reed, his draft for a computer game.

HAPPY NEW YEAR

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Art by Willow

See you around the corner in 2015

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