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

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Katapult - Edition 6 - June, 2018


Welcome to Katapult!

So May has flown by and Winter has certainly started here. It’s cold and rainy this week so that’s great for getting lots of computer work done. So what has been happening at my desk since the last time we had a chat? Oodles!

What’s Up?

CBCA NSW Branch Inc Newcastle Sub-branch Meeting: Our lastest local meeting featured two wonderful children’s authors: Susanne Gervay and Deb Abela. These ladies had us enthralled as we listened to inspirational stories of how their latest titles came to be. I could listen to both of them all day long.


Kitlitvic Conference in Melbourne: Kirrili and I attended this conference on Saturday, 19th May. This was the third time we’ve attended and we always come home refreshed and motivated to continue to create for kids. It’s such a wonderful opportunity to catch up with friends, talk to publishers, make new friends, and meet those we’re connected to on social media but haven’t met in person yet. The day flew - when we weren't soaking up advice, we were trying to catch everyone you can in the breaks before they disappeared after the conference. 

I had a wonderful manuscript assessment with a publisher while there. She has asked me to do a slight rewrite of both manuscripts I submitted to her, and then resend. This was wonderful news. I’ve completed one rewrite. I would have had both done by now but I've had computer issues since the conference. See below for my computer whinge.

We took our husbands with us (they went to the footy while the conference was on) as we have the previous conferences, so we could visit the most amazing restaurants together without the kids :) And then we did a little shopping on the Sunday before heading home. We felt the weekend was over in a flash, but it’s always so rewarding and fun. Can’t wait for next year!




 

St Philip’s Christian College, Cessnock School Visit: Kirrili and I visited the college on the 24th May as part of their annual Festival of Words celebrations. We spoke to and provided workshops for the Year 3 and 4 students. We were on the same day as Morris Gleitzman but alas, didn’t have time to have a cuppa with him. The kids we worked with had amazing ideas and contagious creativity. Its always rewarding when kids take a small idea and turn it into stories bursting with adventure, tension and chaos. We wrote about disastrous billy-cart stories following on from the storyline in our upcoming book, Up To Something. 


If you’d like us to come to your school, shoot me an email so we can organise one that is perfectly designed for your school’s needs. Preschools, Primary Schools and High Schools!

JWFK Blog Interview: I was interviewed for the Just Write For Kids blog by the lovely Debra Tidball. It was been broken into three parts as I talk too much and Deb couldn’t fit it in the usual two parts - oops! The third part was released last last week.

The first part is here.
The second part is here.
The third part is here.

Puppy Update: So, Ivy had her 3 month birthday on the 28th May, and we’ve had her for one month now. We’ve had some ups and downs I can tell you! She is so sweet and smart and I adore her puppy eyes. But we have been the most unlucky family when it comes to unlucky one-off health issues in the time. I asked my vet this morning if he has a frequent flyer scheme as I feel I’m there every second day. Ear infections, gastro bugs, possible food allergies, and abysses have kept us on our toes. Fingers crossed we avoid surgery over the next few days. Lucky we love her :)



Computer Issues: So my computer had a major breakdown! After I had one too, I called in an IT expert. After three visits from him, two visits to Apple, a visit from my electrician, a new screen and a complete rebuild of my computer at Apple (no computer for a whole week!), I am back up and running. It’s in times like these I realise how much I use and need my computer, how much I rely on it, and how grateful I am I had everything backed up! Back up people! Back up your computer now! (Then backup the backup!) Thank goodness of the iCloud!

Upcoming Events

1) I’m doing a monthly story time event at Harry Hartog, Kotara until the end of the year. My June visit is on Wednesday, 13th June at 10:30am.


2) Our next CBCA Newcastle meeting will feature Ed Wright talking to us about his business, The Creative Word Shop on Wednesday, 20th June. I'm looking forward to this.

3) This month is flooded with lots of lovely family and school celebrations. So I’m actually happy I have some breathing space to organise, attend, and relax and enjoy them.

Publishing Update

If you read the third part of my interview on the JWFK blog, you may already know I have been offered my fifth picture book contract. I'm so ecstatic! We won’t see this book until 2020 so this is where the waiting begins for you, but the fun behind-the-scenes stuff happens for me *though there is a lot of boring waiting for me at times too). I will share more information about this exciting news in the months to come. 

No Baths Week has been rescheduled for an early 2019 release (instead of Oct, 2018) so you’ll have to wait a few more months before this one hits the shelves. I know, it's a little disappointing, but it's for good business reasons. I won't bore you with the details.

Anything to Share?

Kids and YA festival: Saturday, 30th June: This festival is biannual and is always held at the NSW Writers Centre in Sydney. The program looks amazing and it’s another excuse to catchup with amazing people in the industry. Hope to see you there!

Recent Book Purchase/s?

Wolfie - An Unlikely Hero by Deb Abela and Connah Brecon
Elephants Have Wings by Susanne Gervay and Anna Pignataro
The Most Marvellous Spelling Bee Mystery by Deb Abela


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.


Feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email: author@katrinamckelvey.com

I’d love to hear from you!




I took this photo a few weeks ago while at my daughter's soccer training. One of my contracted picture books is about rainbows. You'll see that one late in 2019.


Monday, 7 May 2018

Katapult - Edition 5 - May, 2018

Welcome to Katapult!

Where did April go? That must mean it’s time for the May edition of my newsletter, Katapult. So what has been happening at my desk since the last time we had a chat? Truckloads!

What’s Up?

The Newcastle Writers Festival Schools Program and Family Fun Day: This was amazing! In case you missed it, the link to my newsletter blog post about it is here


Baking: I’ve been trialling an original recipe I wrote to be included in my latest picture book about a great-grandmother and her great-granddaughter. It has made me realise the work that goes into making a cook book ready for publication. We've had fun eating my creations, even the failed ones! I think I’ll need to make one more before I’m happy.  Maybe two ;)



Writing Workshop with Zanni Louise: I was lucky enough to attend a writing workshop at The Children’s Bookshop, Beecroft presented by Zanni Loiuse during the school holidays. I love going to workshops and soaking up any snippets of information I can on how to make my writing even better. Zanni was so beautiful and so were the people attending.  


Harry Hartog, Kotara: I presented a little storytime at Harry Hartog, Kotara during the last week of the school holidays. Some of the kids made my laugh with their stories about the weather, rainbows, unicorns and their TV viewing.  


Puppy: We got a puppy last Sunday. Her name is Ivy and she is a black cocker spaniel. You may think this isn’t writing related but trust me it is! I’ve been eagerly jotting down notes about her arrival and the ups and downs. There may be a picture book in there somewhere. I do have a dog in my next picture book, No Baths Week. Dogs are an endless source of ideas for stories. 



Play Outside Day: Last Friday, Kirrili Lonergan and I presented an interactive storytime at the Hunter Wetlands as part of the Play Outside Day event hosted by Newcastle Region Libraries. Kirrili and I shared our book Dandelions, went on dandelion hunts, hosted craft activities, blew bubbles, and drew pictures. There were lots of kids, beautiful weather and a few pesky mosquitoes, but overall we had a beautiful day. 



Storybox with ABC1233 Newcastle: I was handed the ABC1233 Newcastle Storybook last Wednesday and was interviewed on ABC1233 at 6:30am the following morning. Whomever has the box agrees to share their ‘story’ on the radio with the local listeners. It was a nerve-wracking experience but lots of fun. 


Upcoming Events

1) I’m doing a monthly story time event at Harry Hartog, Kotara until the end of the year. My next one is this Wednesday, 9th May at 10:30am.

2) I was interviewed for the Just Write For Kids blog by the lovely Debra Tidball. It has been broken into three parts as I talk too much and Deb couldn’t fit it in the usual two parts - oops! Thanks for having me, Deb.

The third part will be released early June.

3) The third meeting of the CBCA NSW Branch Inc. Newcastle Sub-branch is this Wednesday night. We’ll be hearing from Deb Abela and Susanne Gervay about Room to Read, SCBWI and their wonderful books. I’m really looking forward to this event.

4) The MANTLE Conference is on this Friday. It’s an annual one-day conference for teaching librarian from the Central Coast up to Taree. I’ll be helping man the local CBCA table at the trade fair. I love talking books and reading with educational specialists. They do such a wonderful job making literature a joy for children.

5) Kirrili and I are off to Melbourne for the Kidlitvic Conference next week. This will be our third year attending and we’re very excited. I have a manuscript critique with a publisher while I’m there so fingers crossed they say something nice and encouraging. They usually do but that doesn’t help the nerves that come with the critique.

6) Kirrili and I have a school visit towards the end of May we are really looking forward to. I’ll have photos in the next edition. If you’d like us to come to your school, shoot me an email so we can organise one that is perfectly designed for your school’s needs. Preschools, Primary Schools and High Schools welcome!

Publishing Update

I have news to announce but not formally yet. Hopefully I can announce it in the June edition. Keep an eye on my social media platforms as the news may appear there first. They’re all linked below.

Anything to Share?

The Aspiring Writers Mentorship Program hosted by CBCA NSW and sponsored by Harper Collins is open for submissions. Good luck to anyone entering. Submissions close 30th June. For more information, click here.

Davina Bell will be hosting a workshop at the NSW Writers Centre on Saturday, 26th May. It looks wonderful. 

Recent Book Purchase/s?

If I’d attended the Sydney Writers Festival on the weekend I would have had a truckload of new books. But I didn't make it so I don’t. Phew! My shelves are getting full and my ‘to read’ pile is very high. I hope everyone who presented at the festival, especially as part of the children’s program, or who attended it had a wonderful time. All your photos on social media looked amazing. I was quite jealous! And the weather was divine.

At the moment I’m reading ‘Missing’ by Sue Whiting. 




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.


Feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email: author@katrinamckelvey.com

I’d love to hear from you!



Happy Mother’s Day 

to anyone in a motherly role. 
The definition of ‘mum’ is so diverse. 
Hope everyone in your family has a wonderful day. 
This photo of my cherubs is a few years old now but I love it!







Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Katapult - Edition 4 - Newcastle Writers Festival - April, 2018

Welcome to Katapult!

In this edition I would like to reflect on what a wonderful time everyone involved had during the 2018 Newcastle Writers Festival last week. The festival had three main parts: the Schools Program, the Main Program, and the Family Fun Day.

The Schools Program was held over two days. The first day (Thursday) was hosted by Cessnock Library and involved Kate and Jol Temple, Yvette Poshoglian and Tristan Bancks presenting in lots of schools in the Cessnock area. I heard they all had a hoot! 

Books by Yvette Poshoglian

Books by Jol and Kate Temple

Tristan Bancks (photo from NWF 2014)

The second day (Friday) was held in Newcastle between Newcastle Region Library and Newcastle City Hall. Wonderful presenters included Leigh Hobbs, Yvette Poshoglian, Jess Black, Paul Russell, Kate and Jol Temple, Liz Anelli, Gregg Dreise, and Tristan Bancks. The kids were treated to presentations and workshops that left them inspired to read and write. This is always my favourite day of the festival. It takes me back to my teaching days.

There may be a story about a bus full of kids attending the festival getting a flat tyre before they even arrived which could have caused me as a program supervisor a minor breakdown, but everything worked out in the end - thank goodness :)

Liz Anelli

Books by Leigh Hobbs

Books by Jess Black 

That night I attended the festival's opening night event: Jimmy Barnes - Working Class Man at the Civic Theatre. Jimmy told the story of his life in the Cold Chisel days as well has his solo career. He laughed, cracked jokes, sang, and shared his very personal journey with suicide, drug and alcohol addiction, and depression. I was left wondering how he's still alive! 

Civic theatre just before Jimmy Barnes took the stage

On the Sunday, the festival hosted the Family Fun Day. Kids and their families were entertained by a host of guests and local talent including Zanni Louise, Gregg Dreise, Lynn Jenkins and Kirrili Lonergan from Lessons of a LAC, Renee Price from Digby Fixit Live!, and Emily S. Smith and Graham Davidson from Storytime Lane. This was another jam-packed event full of fun, dancing, entertainment and inspiration.

 
Zanni Loiuse and Digby's Moon Misison by Renee Price

  
Images from Lessons of a LAC

Of course I had to buy books at the festival. Here's a few of my purchases. My kids ran off with them as soon as I brought them home. Now I need to find them so I can read them.

Books by Jol and Kate Temple, and Zanni Loiuse

Congratulations to all involved in bringing the festival alive again this year. Thanks to all the schools and parents who brought their kids along. And congratulations to all the kids who threw themselves into the activities and stories presented to them. 

    Family Fun Day marquee in Wheeler Place

If you want to keep up with out-of-festival events and next year's festival to be held 5-7 April, subscribe to the NWF newsletter here.

One of these upcoming out-of-festival events: Terry Denton and Andy Griffiths are coming to Newcastle on the 15th July to present their new book, The 104-Storey Treehouse. Ticket still available here. Hurry! Tickets selling fast. I'll be there!


I look forward to doing it all again next year. I may even launch a book or two!

(Of course Blogger and my computer are not talking today so only a few 
of my photos have loaded. Head over to my author Facebook page  
and my general Facebook page to see more photos.)

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.


Feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email: author@katrinamckelvey.com

I’d love to hear from you!


Blast from the past: A photo of Matt Ottley and myself (NWF 2015).