I'm a children's author, wife and mum in no particular order. I perform these jobs simultaneously and I love them all!

Monday 29 June 2020

Katapult - Edition 13 - June, 2020

Hi everyone and welcome to the latest edition of my newsletter.

This edition is dedicated to the upcoming Littlescribe Mini-Writing Festival which is being held 27 - 31st July (Term 3, Week 2).

Basically, it's an online writing festival for primary school children from all around Australia. It's online so it makes the festival accessible and safe for everyone! 

And the Book Week 2020 theme, CURIOUS CREATURES, WILD MINDS has been woven through it.

There are daily sessions for lower, middle and upper primary with amazing authors and illustrators including:

Andrew Daddo
Jackie French
Wendy Orr
Stephen Micheal King
Oliver Phommavanh
James Foley
Lisa Nicol
Kristen Darell
Susanne Gervay
and ME!

There will be an author and an illustrator in each 45-minute session and a Story Starter Wall to showcase work and get ideas.

I'm going to cheat (actually I see this as an effective use of my time) and quote directly from the press release:

Inaugural online writing festival for primary school kids

Primary school children from around Australia can team up online with their favourite Australian authors during Term 3 as part of the inaugural Littlescribe Mini-Writing Festival.

Created for schools and teachers by educational online writing platform Littlescribe, the festival runs for five days. It is supported by the Children’s Book Council of Australia, the educational video platform, ClickView and the online education community, On Butterfly Wings.

Students who take part in the festival will be able to publish their work on the Littlescribe “story starter wall” for peers, authors, parents and all Australians to read.

“Australian kids have the potential to become the best writers in the world,” Littlescribe CEO Jenny Atkinson said. “We want to help them by building a trusted community of supporters, to elevate children’s writing.”

The festival runs from July 27 to 31, with each day featuring three workshops that cater for lower, middle and upper primary students. During each 45-minute workshop, students will work with a new author on a writing challenge.

This year’s Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book Week theme – “Curious Creatures, Wild Minds” – will be woven through every session.

“This means the Littlescribe Mini-Writing Festival will be a winter warm-up for Book Week, usually staged in August, but running from October 17 to 23 this year,” Ms Atkinson said.

Professor Margot Hillel, OAM, Chair of the CBCA National Board, said: “This is a great opportunity for Australian authors and students to collaborate and write alongside each other in the lead up to CBCA Book Week.”

Some of Australia’s most-loved authors in the festival include Jackie French (The Schoolmaster’s Daughter), Andrew Daddo (Atticus Van Tasticus), Deborah Abela (The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee), Katrina McKelvey (Isla’s Family Tree), author/illustrator James Foley (Toffle Towers and Brobot) and author/illustrator Stephen Michael King (Three). For the complete program, click​ ​here.

The cost of joining the festival is $5 (+GST) per student, with an early bird fee (until June 30) of $3 (+GST) per student. This provides access to all 12 workshops.

For teachers, the Littlescribe Mini-Writing Festival includes:
  • ●  Lesson plans for before, during and after each workshop
  • ●  An interactive, 45-minute write-along streamed video conference led by Littlescribe’s
    Literacy Leader Jo Edwards, featuring an author and an illustrator
  • ●  A specific writing skill explored and modelled in each workshop
  • ●  A short writing challenge for students in each workshop, including the 2020 CBCA
    Book Week theme Curious Creatures, Wild Minds.

    For more information and to register, visit​ ​https://www.littlescribe.com/lp/mini-writing-festival/.



    Littlescribe, an award-winning company, started in Australia in 2018. It is an educational writing platform, written by teachers and connected to the national curriculum (Australia, New South Wales, Victoria). Designed for primary and high school students, it includes rich and engaging resources including teacher toolkits and its signature co-author program. Littlescribe inspires and motivates children to write by transforming their writing projects into digital and printed books to share with their class, family and friends. www.littlescribe.com

    For further information, images and interviews, please contact 
    Littlescribe: Karen Eck at karen@eckfactor.com or 0438 532 569 
    CBCA: Kate Flamsteed at kate.flamsteed@cbca.org.au

The Mini-Writing Festival Program

Full program here: 


Co-author Program

I cannot tell you how excited I am to be part of this festival and the Littlecribe program as a co-author. If you'd like to know more about how I support the co-author program, go and have a look at my profile here: 


I have been working with several local schools lately linked with the co-author program and would love to work with more. I've also been doing little 'hints and tricks and a Q&A' zoom session with participating schools. Could I be doing this with your school too?

Early Bird Discount

By the way, the early bird discount for this Mini-Writing Festival ends tomorrow, 30th June.

That's it for now. I'm off to help my daughter plan her birthday party. Hope to see you at the festival!

Feel free to email me (author@katrinamckelvey.com) if you have any questions about this festival or the Littlescribe co-author program.

And The Newcastle Herald is planning on doing a story about this festival next weekend. Gotta go and get my glam on - ha!

Just a fun reminder I have my new picture book coming out in August titled, Chasing Rainbows, illustrated by Cheri Hughes and published by Big Sky Publishing. We can't wait for you to meet Sam and Ruby soon.

Thursday 5 March 2020

Katapult - Edition 12 - March, 2020

Hi everyone and welcome to the latest edition of my newsletter.

I know, I know! It's been 12 months since I last blogged. I've been busy travelling up and down the east coast of Australia promoting my 2019 titles, Up To Something and No Baths Week.

I planned to blog once a month a while ago - I forget when I said that (actually I remember now - it was very early in 2018). And I was doing OK until the really busy patch appeared early 2019. I was ready for this patch though - two books releasing a month apart, two book launches, loads of school visits, and many fun and exciting public appearances. And that was just March, April and May. By the end of about September, I was exhausted. So I decided to do a full kitchen renovation.

Yes, I was mad! But now I'm at the other end of it, I feel OK. 2019 was one of the biggest years of my life!

2020 is going to be busy too. I have some extremely exciting things coming - some I can't even tell you about yet. Big secrets I tell you. Keep an eye on my social media as that's where all my secrets come out first. If you wait for them here, you could be waiting a while :)

A secret I've been holding onto since just before Christmas is this one. The Newcastle Writers Festival is on 3-5 April and I'm now allowed to say I'll be interviewing Graeme Base on the Sunday at 10am. You heard that right. What a legend! We'll be talking about feeding your imagination. I cannot wait! The full program can be found here.

In the middle of all this, my very first copy of Isla's Family Tree illustrated by Prue Pittock (EK Books), my fourth published picture book,  appeared in my mailbox. It was even more beautiful than I imagined.

We'll be celebrating Isla's release in two ways. The first event will involve wine and cheese at Maclean's Booksellers, Hamilton on Saturday 9th May at 4pm. 

The second will be a storytime session on Saturday, 16th May at 10am at Wallsend Library. This will include a dress-up competition (come dressed in orange and pink) and maybe some cupcakes. Prue Pittock, the illustrator is flying up from Victoria to help celebrate. I feel very lucky to have Prue join us. 

RSVP to the launch here: sales@macleansbooks.com.au

RSVP to the storytime event here.

If you cannot wait until these events, you can pre-order a copy here.

To add to this, Prue has made a beautiful doll of Isla. This made me cry!

And while Prue was sewing, I was making our book trailer. Go and have a look, and while you are there, please subscribe to my channel. I'm trying to get 100 subscribers so I can customise my URL. It's a bit ugly at the moment.

In the middle of all of this, I made my first pavlova, my daughter was made school captain, my son competed in two triathlons in five days (he'd never done one before) and became the 14 yr old boys swimming champion at his school, my puppy turned 2, and my husband broke his arm. It never ends!

But we're happy and healthy and we're looking forward to wonderful things ahead.

Don't forget to celebrate International Read to Me! Day on March 19th. Look at this poster designed by my friend Aura Parker!

That's it for now. I'm off to complete an interview for Buzz Words.

Feel free to email me (author@katrinamckelvey.com) or grab me and say 'hello' when we cross over next.

Friday 8 March 2019

Katapult - Edition 11 - March, 2019

Welcome to Katapult!

Are you surprised to see me in March? Me too. I thought I’d jump in early this month and give you a quick update because lots of things are happening behind the scenes and I’ll lose track otherwise.

Are you strapped in? Good. Let’s go …

What's Up?

1) Up To Something Update:

Kirrili and I are planning our launch as you read this. Here’s the flyer:

You're the first to see this. It will be appearing on our social media next week. I didn’t share it this week as I started adverting my other book launch and I didn’t want to confuse people. Gosh, I’m confused enough for all of us – two launches just over a week apart - no need to share that confusion with you but I’m battling at this end J
This is a free event as part of the Newcastle Writers Festival Family Takeover Event so everyone is welcome. Here’s a link to the entire Family Takeover schedule.
I’ll let you know as soon as I have a hard copy of this book in my hands. Should be very soon. Book trailer is coming too (I’m still building it actually). World exclusive premier will be at the launch.

2) No Baths Week Update:

The launch-planning is underway. Newcastle Region Library, The Polite Puppy Academy and I have teamed up to present a community dog picnic where anyone and everyone can come together to celebrate reading with our pets. During the picnic, I’ll be launching No Baths Week, doing storytime and signing books. Thanks to Newcastle Region Libraries for designing this very official poster. I believe there are bookmarks too.

To support this community dog picnic, there will be a range of local business and organisations offering a huge range of fun activities. They include:
Newcastle Region Library - craft
The Polite Puppy Academy – paw printing and photography
The council rangers – information about ways you and your dog can have fun and be safe in and around Newcastle
A dog bakery – yum!
A dog wash – bathtime!
A coffee cart – essential, I know!
MacLean’s Booksellers, Hamilton – books will be on sale
And much more! (We're still planning these - more announcements coming.)
We’ll be hosting dog competitions at regular intervals with prizes to be won.

I will also be launching ‘The RUFF Challenge’ (Reading in Unlimited Fun for the whole Family – including pets). I have started a Facebook page where people can get ideas about how pets can assist with building reading confidence. The whole family can get on board and no specialised dog training is needed. 

I’m also running ‘The RUFF Challenge’ Instagram photo competition. Please enter and help me promote reading in an exciting new way. Winners will be announced at the launch. Here are the details:

3) SCBWI Conference (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators):

Wow – what a conference! I spent three days chatting, meeting new people, absorbing information, buying books (see below) and enjoying time mingling with everyone and anyone associated with the children’s literature community. I had manuscript assessments, chaired a panel of publishers, and listened to wonderful advice about all sorts of things. 

My picture book based on Ivy was very well received during assessment too. Can’t say much more at the moment but a rewrite is underway as I have some interest, which is great news J
I chaired a panel of publishers on the topic, Let's Talk Vision! Are your story elements all working together?. I had great feedback from those who listened so hopefully everyone got to take home some advice relevant to them as I had a mixture of very experienced and beginning authors in the room.

I also had the honour of reading No Baths Week for the first time in public to an audience of librarians at the State Library of NSW. That was very nerve-wracking as this was like receiving the first book review - but live!

During the evening of the third day, I attended the CBCA NSW Branch Night of the Notables announcement. Matt Cosgrove (Macca the Alpaca author and illustrator) was a very entertaining speaker. Congratulations to everyone on this CBCA Book Week Awards longlist known as the 'notables'. The shortlist will be announced on Tuesday, 26thMarch.

4) Website Upgrade:
My website has had a major upgrade. It has a new appearance, new pages (one for each book) and new links to fresh resources. I still need to add teaching notes and trailers for the new books but everything else is ready to go. Take a peek here.

Thanks to Alison Matthews who spent hours doing this massive task ready for my new books to jump into the word in a few weeks.

5) Puppy Update:

My beautiful Ivy turned one on the 28th February. Her chewing has progressed to digging! Grrr ...

 Upcoming Events

Grey-glasses-itis (by Lynn Jenkins and Kirrili Lonergan) Book Launch – 16thMarch
CBCA NSW Branch Newcastle Sub-branch meeting – 20thMarch
CBC CBCA NSW AAA event – 26thMarch
Newcastle Writers Festival - presenting two writing workshops – 5thApril
Up To Something Book Launch – 7thApril
Newcastle Writers Festival Family Takeover Event – 7thMarch
CBCA NSW High Tea with the Stars event – 13thApril
No Baths Week book launch and dog picnic in Lambton Park - bring your dog! – 16thApril
Gresford Billy Cart Derby - presenting storytime – 20thApril
Crown St PS Lights Off Torches On event – 17thMay
Kitlitvic Conference – Melbourne – 25thMay
CBCA National Conference – 31 May – 2 June
CYA Conference - presenting a 90-minute workshop on how to write picture books – 6 July
More events to be confirmed ...

Publishing Update

I have two more picture books coming in 2020. This year my publishers will be working with the illustrators to storyboard these books – my story is broken into 32 pages – and then the entire story is illustrated. Towards the end of the year, I get to jump back in and make sure the text is still working and see if any more edits need to be made. 
Chasing Rainbows will be illustrated by Cheri Hughes and published by Big Sky Publishing (same illustrator and publisher as No Baths Week). Sketches will start to pop in my inbox around May. I’m looking forward to seeing those.
Isla’s Family Tree will be illustrated by Prue Pittock and published by EK Books (same publisher as Dandelions and Up To Something). I look forward to working with Prue – we haven’t even met yet! I have seen a few early sketches and I’m an extremely happy and grateful author. This book will look very different to the other four and I can’t wait to share it with you.

Recent Book Purchases:

It's extremely hard not to buy books when you're at a children's literature conference (which is where I bought this pile). I thought I was very restrained. I personally know either the author, illustrator or both here so I'm not going to pick a favourite :)


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: author@katrinamckelvey.com

I’d love to hear from you!

I can't promise I'll be back on my blog in April. I’ll be flat out. But come visit me in my social media spaces as things appear there more regularly.
As a reward for reading to the end of this blog, here's a peek inside No Baths Week. Meet Ben and Bandit.

And here's the latest destruction thanks to Ivy - sorry Sue Whiting :)

Either, I have a dog who can read and she didn't like chapters 14-17.
Or I have a very naughty dog!