My life as a children's author while juggling being a mum, a wife and professional volunteer. (Sometimes it gets complicated)

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Katapult - Edition 10 - February, 2019

Welcome to Katapult!

Hello there! Did you miss me?

Well, I've just finished dusting the cobwebs off this blog. There were quite a few since edition 9 - about 5 months worth. Oops!

'So where have I been?' I hear you ask. The simple answer is nowhere and everywhere. I've been at my desk, working hard, doing stuff, but I've also been trekking around parts of America on a very special family holiday trying to escape the heat of Summer.

I'm going to fly over the events of the last 5 months to catch you up and then give you a hint of what's to come in the first half of this year - it will be my busiest six months ever!

What's Up?

1) Up To Something Update:

Up To Something, our picture book about billy carts being published by EK Books and illustrated by Kirrili has gone to print - yay! Kirrili finished the illustrations and sent them to our publisher in September. Our book designer then weaved more magic into the layout and the cover. In January, the final edits were completed. I can't wait for you to see this book. So much hard work, tears and time have gone into creating it.

2) No Baths Week Update:

No Baths Week, our picture book about Ben and his dog, Bandit trying to avoid having baths for a week being published by Big Sky Publishing and illustrated by Cheri Hughes has gone to print - yay, two books! Cheri finished the illustrations early this year. After a few last minute changes, it was perfect. Can't wait to have both books in my hands. It has been a very long wait!

3) A new picture book about my Ivy:

Thanks to the craziness of raising a puppy, I've had oodles of inspiration to write a picture book about a puppy. After many rewrites, Sue Whiting, my freelance editor helped me nail the story and characters so I had a polished book to send to publishers in the new year. Watch this space as I will be getting face-to-face feedback from an agent and a publisher at the SCBWI Conference in less than two weeks - eek! Hope they like it!

4) 'Stories After Dark' CBCA NSW Branch Newcastle Sub-branch Childrens' Event

This was our local CBCA annual children's event and it was huge! Children of all ages filled the Newcastle Region Library to hear stories read in the dark by loads of local children's authors and illustrators. Too much fun!

5) Book Launches:

I popped my head into a few book launches over the last few months. I love attending these events. Here's a summary:

Sue Whiting's Beware the Deep Dark Forest
James Foley's Gastronauts
Kate Simson's Finding Granny
Jess Black's The Tales of Mr Walker - Book 1

6) Muswellbrook South Public School visit

Late last year I visited Muswellbrook South Public School to have a chat to the infants children about how picture books are made. What fun we had :)

7) I attended the CBCA Newcastle Sub-branch and the Sydney SCBWI Christmas Parties

I am a party animal! Yes, I am. I go to these events to socialise and catch up with my local and Sydney kidlit friends. There's not enough time to do all the socialising I wish I could do, so I always jump at the chance to attend these lovely events.

8) USA Family Holiday

My husband and I took the kids to USA to visit Disneyland, California Disney Adventure Park, Legoland, San Diego Zoo, Palm Springs, Universal Studios, Hollywood, LA, and everything in between. What a hoot we had! I won't talk about the vomiting bug both my children had while we were in Disneyland, but apart from that, we had a fabulous time. I needed a break from my computer, my town, my country, and technology (OK, I did sneak on Facebook and check my emails but that was it, I promise).

9) Puppy Update:

My beautiful Ivy will turn one on the 28th February. Where has that time gone? She is so lovely but she still chews things. The latest victim - my new, expensive sunglasses! Grrr ...


Ivy with Copper - her big brother!

10) Family

In between all these events these things happened: my son finished Year 6 and started high school, I attended all end-of-year school concerts, assemblies and events, the dishwasher broke down, soccer presentations, golf tournaments, P&F meetings, writing group meetings, school discos and keyboard concerts, singing concerts, Yr 6 camp, birthday parties, started water polo, funerals, haircuts, sport gala days, public speaking finals, school assignments, Aspire auditions, school excursions, new orthotics fitted (kids and me), dentist appointments, Bon Jovi concert, family Christmas functions, end of Yr 6 activities, dog grooming, a trip to the Hunter Valley Gardens Christmas lights, CHRISTMAS!, NEW YEAR!, bought new school shoes, spring cleaned the house for four days, packed for an o/s holiday,  AMERICA!, prepared for the new school year, worked out school buses for HS, started Aspire rehearsals, pest man sprayed the house, first school swimming carnival, first junior golf tournament for 2019, and Year 7 camp. Oh, and the cat died :(

And you all know in the middle of this was housework, groceries, cleaning and other boring things. 

Oh, and sleep ... we had some sleep :)

Upcoming Events

I'm chairing a panel of four publishers at the upcoming SCBWI Conference in Sydney in less than two weeks. At this conference, I'm also meeting with Walker Books Australia publisher, Nancy Conescu. I'm also meeting with an agent to discuss possible representation. And I'm getting a manuscript assessment from an o/s agent. Phew!

I'm also attending:

Newcastle Writers Festival Program Launch
CBCA NSW Night of the Notables event
Grey-glasses-itis (by Lynn Jenkins and Kirrili Lonergan) Book Launch
Local CBCA Newcastle Sub-branch meetings
Newcastle Writers Festival - presenting two writing workshops and launching 'Up To Something'
CBCA NSW High Tea with the Stars event
Launching 'No Baths Week' in Lambton Park - bring your dog!
Gresford Billy Cart Derby - presenting storytime
Crown St PS Lights Off Torches On event
Kitlitvic Conference - Melbourne
CBCA National Conference
CYA Conference - presenting a 90-minute workshop on how to write picture books
More events to be confirmed ...

And this is all in the first half of the year! I have Book Week school visit bookings coming in too. 

Hmmm ... I think I've overloaded myself a little.

Publishing Update

So, if you don't follow me on Facebook, you've missed the all-important reveal of both of the covers of my new books. Here they are:

Book launch information for both books coming soon. They will both be in April.

Anything to Share?

This meme was taken from Facebook. No explanation needed. 

I was in the USA while the government shutdown was on in an anti-Trump state (California). Two teacher strikes also happened during our time there. As we had sick children for some of the trip, we spent a lot of time watching American news. Eye-opening stuff!

Recent Book Purchases?

Where can you find me on social media?

I’ve made it easy. Just click on the live links below to like or follow me.

Feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email:

I’d love to hear from you!

I've just finished making my, 2018 My Year in Review movie and have uploaded it to my YouTube channel. Click here if you'd like to see it.

I can't promise I'll be back on my blog in March. I may be too busy. But I do visit my Facebook page often so keep an eye on news about my book launches and other events there.

The definition of resilience!

And some information about my writing workshops at the upcoming 
Newcastle Writers Festival.

Monday, 3 September 2018

Katapult - Edition 9 - September, 2018

Welcome to Katapult!

I am writing this today in between showers. I have a glorious sunbeam spraying across my desk. Everything outside is wet and shiny from a morning of glorious rain. I love waking up on wet days knowing I can hide in my studio and write all day. Hopefully some of this rain is reaching you too!

Rainy days + 6 month old puppy = mess!

So what’s been happening at my desk since the last time we had a chat? Book Week celebrations!

What’s Up?

1) CBCA Book Week Awards announced:

Here are this year’s winners of the CBCA Book Week Awards. They were officially announced on Friday, 17th August. I picked Rodney Loses It to win. This is a hilarious book. But honesty, all these books are beautiful. Go grab a copy!

2) Book Week School Visits:
I had a wonderful time dropping by some lovely schools this year for Book Week. Thanks for having me Lyn, Amy, Emily, and Maria! More detail of each visit was shared on my social media. Go have a look!

a) Holy Spirit Infants School, Abermain - K-2 author/illustration presentation 

b) Alphabet Cottage, Castle Hill - storytime with the toddlers and author   
            presentation with the preschoolers

c) Harry Hartog, Green Hills - storytime

d) New Lambton Public School - K-2 author/illustrator presentations and writing and illustration workshops

e) St Mary’s Primary School, Warners Bay - K-2 author presentation

Book Week reminds all creatives (authors, illustrators, book designers, editors, publishers) who work in isolation why we do it. So much inspiration!

My children were asked to dress up as pirates or explorers as part of their school Book Week presentations. Here we have Link (explorer) from the game Zelda, and Uma (pirate) from the movie Descendants 2. I know they aren't from books but they had fun anyway.

3) Movie Making Workshops at Apple:

I had a few lessons on how to improve my movie making skills at Apple earlier this month. I learnt more about editing sound. I also bought a professional microphone and a tripod for my phone. 

I made a ‘sneak peek’ video of our upcoming book, Up To Something for the kids we visited during Book Week. It included videos of Kirrili drawing and how she adds colour to sketches. I can’t make this one public yet - sorry! I had to ask the infants kids to make sure they left their phones in their pockets as no photography was allowed as I played it. They thought I was mad :)

I have grand plans of making more movies soon - trailers etc. I love being creative using technology and I love learning new things.

4) Puppy Update: 

Ivy had her half birthday on the 28th August and she is still a master of chewing things! My picture book manuscript about her has been sent to a professional editor now. Watch this space.

Upcoming Events

CBCA NSW Branch Inc Newcastle Sub-branch Annual Childrens' Event

Stories After Dark - Find your treasure! 

This Saturday 8 September 2018, 5pm - 7pm. 
BBQ Sausage Sizzle available from 4.30pm

This event is a magical fun-filled night with treasure, craft, music, stories & stars. Kids will be able to explore the Newcastle Region Library after dark and meet our special guest, award winning illustrator Liz Anelli. Other local authors and illustrators include Jess Black (Keeper of the Crystals), Lynn Jenkins (Lessons of a Lac), Gwynneth Jones (Don’t Think About Purple Elephants), Deb Kelly (Ruby Wishfingers), Kirrili Lonergan (Ollie’s Treasure), ME!!!! (Dandelions), Paul Russell (Grandma Forgets) and Ant Wood (Flaming Charli). 

Kids can come dressed in PJs or pirate costumes. This event is suitable for ages 3 - 7 years. Each child will leave with a ‘treasure’ thanks to our sponsor, Charlestown and Newcastle Toyota. Free but bookings are essential.

An article about it in last Saturday’s paper is here.

Publishing Update

1) Kirrili has been working very hard on the illustrations for Up To Something. The illustrations are almost complete. YOU SHOULD SEE THEM! Such a joy to have been able to watch them progress from roughs to final artwork. The colours are magical! If you follow Kirrili on Instagram, you may have seen a few sneak peeks. OMG is all I can say!

2) Cheri has continued to work on the illustrations for No Baths Week too. I have seen all of the roughs now. Gosh I love this book! You should see our mud pie stack! OMG! She is so clever. I’m now making sure the text is still working with the illustrations. I plan to make a couple of minor edits as some words aren’t needed now it’s illustrated. I can’t wait to see these illustrations in colour! Offical release date coming soon.

Anything to Share?

SCBWI Conference is on in Sydney 24-26th Feb, 2019. Tickets are on sale here! Hurry!
I’ll be the MC for a panel called 'Let’s talk vision! Are your story elements all working together?' with some well known publishers. I can’t wait! 

Recent Book Purchase/s?

Funny Kid - Prank Wars by Matt Stanton
Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey
Liars - The Truth App Book 1 by Jack Heath

Where can you find me on social media?

I’ve made it easy. Just click on the live links below and like or follow me.

Website and blog:

Feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email:

I’d love to hear from you!

It's very hard to get cranky at this bundle even after she's chewed computer cords, expensive reading glasses, Apple Watch bands, charger cords, joggers, Barbie dolls, furniture legs, some of my favourite brooches, rocks, sticks, grass runners, towels, and even parts of our house! 

You'd think we haven't bought her any approved chew toys after reading this list! 

Hmmm ...