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

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!

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: author@katrinamckelvey.com

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.