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

Monday 19 September 2016

'Brave' by Lynn Jenkins and Kirrili Lonergan - Book Launch Saturday, 17th September

Congratulations to Lynn Jenkins and Kirrili Lonergan on the launch of their new picture book, 'Brave', the second book in their Lessons of a LAC series.

Friends, family, colleges and more gathered at The Locale in New Lambton, Newcastle to celebrate with the girls on Saturday, 17th September.

Cupcakes, craft activities, story time, prizes and lolly bags helped make the atmosphere fun and enjoyable for all ages.

MacLean's Booksellers, Hamilton were onsite helping everyone get their hands on a copy.

I was the chief photographer, hence why there are no photos of me. Phew!

Enjoy the following photos as this blog post is more like a visual diary
 - and all photos have been taken on a better camera than my phone :)

Enjoy xxx

MacLean's Booksellers, Hamilton pop up bookshop

My munchkins!


A fork in the road


Sunday 18 September 2016

'One Photo' by Ross Watkins and Liz Anelli - Picture Book Launch Saturday, 10th September

Congratulations to Ross Watkins and Liz Anelli who launched their new picture book, 'One Photo' (published by Penguin Random House) on Saturday, 10th September at Watt Space Student Gallery in Newcastle.

I found it fascinating these two very creative people hadn't met before last Saturday but everyone at the launch agreed the book feels like they worked closely every step of its production.

'One Photo' is a poignant story about love, loss and legacy; one son, one family, one photo. It looks and feels beautiful from cover to cover.

Have the tissues ready when you find a quiet place to absorb this book.

Here are a few photos from the launch.

Lara doing some ink printing inspired by Liz's technique used in the illustrations

Finished product

MacLean's Booksellers, Hamilton had books for sale
... and mugs!

Ross Watkins

Liz Anelli

Tuesday 13 September 2016

Lunch with the Stars - CBCA (NSW) Newcastle Sub-branch event

Booklet cover designed by Liz Anelli, Kirrili Lonergan and Gwynne Jones

The CBCA (NSW) Newcastle Sub-branch hosted its second 

'Lunch with the Stars' 

event on Tuesday, 13th September. By chance, it happened to be Roald Dahl's 100th birthday as well. We had so much celebrating to do!

Fifteen local children's authors, poets and illustrators entertained 112 local children 
from 14 primary schools from across the Hunter Region.

Each 'star' got a chance to talk to all participants 
about their writing dreams and their books.

Sue Whiting, children's author was our keynote speaker and she had us in the palm 
of her hands during her storytelling. We really appreciated Sue travelling from 
Sydney to be with us.

The schools decorated their tables to reflect their host 'star' and their book/s. 
Prizes for school libraries were up for grabs! The effort every school went to 
help build such a dynamic atmosphere for our event was amazing! 
We had lights, cupcakes, towers, hot air balloons, hand-made props 
and glitter from one end of the room to the other.

I was lucky enough to host six beautiful students and the 
lovely Renae Wilks from Hamilton Public School.


They decorated our table using the 'Dandelions' theme so beautifully. Thanks to the students for making poppies, hot air balloons, tyre swings, placemats and for picking dandelion puffballs and flowers.



To help celebrate Roald Dahl's 100th birthday, we asked each table to complete a Roald Dahl quiz. Two schools won Roald Dahl book packs for having the most correct answers. We asked adults not to use phones to look up answers and I'm happy to say, none were caught. An honest bunch! Roald Dahl books were for sale. And two lucky students won lucky door prizes too.

Amanda from MacLean's Booksellers created the most amazing pop-up bookshop. Every child and school in the room had the unique experience of having access to almost every book currently available from local authors and illustrators at their fingertips.



The illustration challenge was a hit again this year. Liz, Gwynne and Kirrili had everyone drawing grumpy snails and freezing giraffes among other things. Such a fun activity - even for the people who find drawing challenging (that's me!). Thanks for managing this activity Ruth and Linda!


The Belmont 16ft Sailing Club filled every tummy with yummy food 
from pies and sausage rolls to sandwiches, brownies and fruit. 

And how can I forget the booklet. Almost all of those 112 students now own a booklet full of autographs I know they will cherish forever. Thanks to Gwynne for helping me pull the internal pages together.

Thank you to our beautiful committee for helping our sub-branch provide such a lovely experience for our local community (Kirrili, Gwynne, Ruth, Val, Deb, Linda, Julie, Amanda and myself). We expanded the event so we could offer this experience to more students and schools this year. Every one of these committee members helped in such a significant way. It's so lovely when the workload can be shared!

Thank you to our beautiful stars for entertaining the students and for being so giving:

Kirrili Lonergan - also our MC
Jenny Blackford
Susan Whelan
Anthony Wood
Paul Russell
Lynn Jenkins
Gwynne Jones
Liz Anelli
Karen Hughes
Renee Price
Lizzie Wilcock
Deb Kelly
Jess Black 
Katrina McKelvey (ME!)
and our keynote speaker Sue Whiting

Thank you to all the schools, and their staff who helped arrange for children to attend from permission notes and transport, to supervision and rearranging of classes back at school.

Thank you to our sponsors: 

Belmont 16ft Sailing Club: room hire
Newcastle and Charlestown Toyota: funding for 2 schools to attend and funding 
for every child to take home a copy of Sue's book, 'Get a Grip, Cooper Jones'
MacLean's Booksellers: prize vouchers and support
Lake Macquarie Libraries: goodies bags and support

We were so excited when we found out our book order (112 copies) put Sue's book into reprint - every author and illustrator's dream! She signed every copy for the students too! 

Thank you to our extra volunteers: Val, Linda and Rachel. 
These special people were our guardian angles, 
always ready to lend a hand at any moment.

Thanks to Kirrili for being our MC. You did a wonderful job!

Thank you to all the students who attended. You are the reason why we write and illustrate. You are they reason we keep going. You are the reason we get rewarded for putting so much effort in providing fun, exciting and enriching experiences.

We got a very strong sense we will need to do it all again next year but for now, we are going to have a rest and I'm going to do a little writing.

Hamilton Public School students with Kirrili and I