It was a blast to celebrate the launch with a party at Harry Hartog Booksellers--the perfect location.
The hosts of One More Page Podcast launched the book and entertained us with a skit and song about a few of their favourite (monstery) things.
I couldn't pass up the opportunity to dress up as Iris to read the book. The fun continued with lucky door prizes, morning tea, craft, book signing and lolly bags. Thanks to everyone who joined the party.
Every year I want to go to the CBCA announcement of the Notables list, but I always have something on. A few of my friends went this year, but I already had something on my calendar. Oh well, maybe next year.
That evening I felt my phone vibrate and discovered a list of missed calls from my friends. Oh no! Why was everyone trying to call me? Something terrible must have happened. And then I remembered. They were meeting each other at the CBCA event. They were probably asking me for each others' phone number. Yes, that would be it.
No! They were ringing to tell me Captain Sneer, the Buccaneer was on the Notables List for Picture Books! I had forgotten it was even possible. Even then I didn't want to get excited in case they had made a mistake. But Shelly sent me photographic proof. My book really is notable. How exciting!
Youthworks sent our editor Natasha Percy to launch the book. They also sent a box full of fantastic lolly bags. The highlight for me was watching Lisa's 'illustrated journey'. She told the story of Mary and Joseph travelling to Bethlehem, drawing their journey's ups and downs. I knew the lines on the page were going to turn into something recognisable by the end, but I gasped along with all the children when the last stroke turned the squiggles into a sleeping baby. It felt like magic!
The winner of the dress-up competition was a shepherd complete with cuddly sheep. The winner of the door prize was my own Dad. He won a gorgeous pack of cards by Lisa. The kids decorated kings' crowns and went home happy because there were just enough lolly bags for everyone.
The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators has a conference in Sydney every second year. It's great to meet other authors and illustrators, get to know them and hear their stories.
I was honoured to be part of a SCBWI event at The Children's Bookshop which showcased 6 authors from around Australia and New Zealand.
It poured with rain but the preschool was packed with little pirates. Arr! Thank you to Anna, Vici, Heidi, Sharmila and Mei Ling.
After years of looking at roughs, proofs and possible covers, it was wonderful to finally remember what it was about it the first place--reading the book to children. It was so satisfying to chat to the kids about different aspects of the book and to see them enjoy it.
Over the last couple of weeks I've had lots of exciting packages arrive in the mail:
And tomorrow is the first launch. Woo hoo!
There was a mystery parcel for me at the post office today. I wasn't excited until I saw 'Walker Books' listed as the sender.
I said, 'Oooooooh, looks exciting.'
The post office guy shrugged. 'It looks like a book.'
'It is! It is! It's my book.'
He recognised my name as the author and managed a happy face. I guess it's hard to get excited about parcels when you're a post office guy.
But not when you're an author and you get an advance copy and it finally feels like it's a real, actual book. Woo hoo!
I got a wonderful surprise last week - a contract in the mail!!! Yes!!! It's enough to make any author overuse exclamation marks!!!!!
Youthworks will be publishing my Christmas picture book - The Mighty Mighty King. The book is lots of fun and will show children how the events of Christmas point to Jesus as the king.
Still, I knew I'd be nervous on the day. But I had a plan. I would pretend I was Deb Abela. If I could pretend to be confident, then the kids would never suspect.
I woke in the morning to find I still wasn't nervous. I was sure I would be when I arrived.
I was nervous when I was stuck in a traffic jam on the way, but when I arrived, I didn't think of Deb Abela once. (Sorry Deb!) I was having too much fun.
The kids enjoyed my presentations and workshops and seemed genuinely interested in everything I had to say. Unbelievable.
I went through the whole stupidly-nervous-until-I-was-prepared thing again for Inspire Conference. I had to write a talk and 2 workshops. Again, all my jitters disappeared once I was prepared and I loved speaking at the conference.
I will be more relaxed about future bookings. You know, the kids were very impressed by me. It had nothing to do with my books or my workshops though. They thought I was great because I ... you won't believe this ... I've actually MET Andy Griffiths. He signed my book. Wowww!
It's doubly exciting getting my author copies this time. I have just started a DynaMites Music group at my church, so this means I get to USE my own program.
It has been great running the first three weeks with a program all ready to go - amazing compared to when I started out and had to write it myself each week. And so much easier than when I had been running it for a few years and had to spend time each week searching for new ideas and songs. AND I can use all the clip art and songs from the CD ROM.
I've now made a website for DynaMites Music. I've put links to samples of the books and I've begun a forum for anyone running a music group. And here's a link straight to Year 2.
I went to my very first author expo today, at Koorong Books, West Ryde. I'm thrilled that Koorong is making an effort to promote Sydney picture book authors and illustrators.
As well as meeting parents and children, I enjoyed hanging out with some other authors. Here I am with author Katrina Roe.
What happens when children don't act like you hope they will?
Click here to read my post on the Growing Faith website.
With my two big kids away for the weekend, my seven-year old book-loving boy had me to himself. And he had plans. We needed to make a lamington man, just like in the picture book by Kel Richards and Glen Singleton. And it would be made of bread.
And then we had a lamington man picnic. One lamington man each. He ate mine.
Marshall Ballantine-Jones officially launched 'Hey! Is that how God made animals?' and 'Hey! Is that how God made families?'
We had story time,
and learnt a poem.
Then there were prizes. And food.
The highlight was kindifarm.
To top it all off, people even asked me to sign their books - such an honour. I'm glad so many people could celebrate with me. Thanks Youthworks!
I am a children's author.