I think I saw a Pukeko – New Zealand Picture Book about birds, words, arguing and not always having to be right

I wrote a book and then I illustrated it and here it is!

This is a fun and funny little story about the words we use to describe things (in this case birds), about how to tell things apart and about fantasy versus reality but it’s also about how to give up when an argument is not really going anywhere…

I published this book with the help of The Copy Press in Nelson, New Zealand. It’s a fully local production – it’s New Zealand made, New Zealand inspired AND it’s about an iconic New Zealand bird, the Pukeko.

Here I am with my daughter reading it via a quick video shot by Reuben from Shoot-Edit-Video in Piha.

I have learned so much going through the publishing process and I am so pleased to share ‘I think I saw a Pukeko’ with you.

You can purchase a copy here and I can ship anywhere in the world.

Thanks for reading and thanks for watching. X

P.S. I would love your comments too, so please feel free to add some words below and/or click ‘follow’ before you go.

Mwah!

Mental Marriage in Twenty Minutes – A Romance

Love and daydreams...

Love and daydreams…

Scene: Chinese Walk-In Massage Service, Back Room. Dim Lighting.

She: “I would like a foot rub please”

He: “$55 for a foot spa, head and shoulders.”

She: “How long will that take?”

He: “35 minutes”

She looked at her baby wriggling in her husband’s arms and mentally clocked how long it had been since she last fed her.

She: “Um, can I just get my feet rubbed.”

He: “Twenty minutes. $35?”

She: “Yes thanks – that will be great.”

Husband: “Come on Honey. Let’s leave Mummy to it.”

The baby , less squirmy, left in the arms of her father.

Then hush.

She placed her things in a basket under the bed, switched off her phone and kicked off her sandals.

She placed them under the bed carefully, wondering if they should go in the basket too.

She lay down on the bed and propped herself up with the provided pillows.

“Closer” he said.

She shuffled down the bed, now fully reclined.

The room was quiet.

The door was closed.

And he began.

Systematic pressure, long deep strokes.

Feathery release.

Directional and deeper still.

She could hear the fan.

The clock ticked.

She shifted uncomfortably, wondering how she could bear staring at a strange man for twenty minutes.

He had only just started…

He looked up, frowned a little.

Amused, he returned his attention to the task.

She closed her eyes.

She felt the space on her hip, the space at her hand.

No children!

Bliss.

Nobody needed her.

Quiet.

He kneaded her.

The music played softly in layers.

First the soft syrupy flute in the room ,then underneath the louder and familiar pop thumps of the mall.

She sank further into the bed.

He pushed.

She winced.

“Ah, that’s tender” he said.

“Yes” she said.

Tender.

He didn’t speak.

Neither did she.

The space between them softened.

Edges of the world were smoothed.

She was in an apartment, in a different life, she had dumplings and chopsticks and pretty porcelain.

She had cute slippers.

She had a cat.

There were quiet evenings and arguments over where to place the new green lamp.

And, high up in their apartment away from everywhere, they could tune in to the sky quietly buzzing.

Quiet buzzing.

“Finished” he said.

Eyes open.

White room.

Tingling feet.

“Thank you!” she said.

“Next time get a soak to soften the skin” he said.

Embarrassed, she paid her bill and divorced him.

###

I don’t often write in the romance genre. Based on a partly true story, those moments of freedom are so few and far between that anything can happen…

Like this post? Click follow before you go. X

The Daily Cycle – An Infographic (or how I can still say that ‘sometimes’ I am a Zen parent)

Sometimes less is more when it comes to writing. This is a pretty accurate picture of an average day for me… Inspired by a ‘Cute – cute – cute – super-cute – friggen disgusting – cute – cute’ measure about five minutes ago. (Make sure you read the tags for this post).Daily Cycle Baby Daily Cycle Toddler Daily Cycle

Liked? Please let me know and click follow (on the right) before you go.

Mucho aroha (and back to my little monsters)

Katrina (Outie)

Why not knowing what you are doing can make you more brave (Thank you)

Since becoming a Mum I have realised that most of the time I have no idea what I am doing… there is no ultimate parenting guide after all.

But I have taken heart from this and become a bit more brave in general. As a consequence I am doing lots of other things I never knew how to do before either…

And my latest thing is actually ‘doing something’ with all the writing and drawing that I do. So I am self-publishing.

Here is a sneak peek at my favourite illustration.

Maybe you saw a blue chicken? - sneak peek inside 'I think I saw a Pukeko' by Katrina Ward.

Maybe you saw a blue chicken? – sneak peek inside ‘I think I saw a Pukeko’ by Katrina Ward.

I’m qualified to write (and draw) I suppose. I used to be an English, Art and Art History teacher. I have degrees in all those subjects. I won the senior English prize at Auckland University. I also recently won the KBR Unpublished Children’s Manuscript Award International Category with my story ‘The Lost Button’ – and all of this has given me a bit of a push in the right direction.

So here it is:

MY FIRST Illustrated Kids Book up on Amazon.

It’s called ‘I Think I Saw A Pukeko’ and it’s a conversation between two kids, or a kid and an adult, or a ‘believer’ and ‘non-believer’ (you decide). It’s fun and very short and my kids love it and I hope yours will too.

Please get in touch if you want a hard cover print copy ($20)

You can take a look at my first book here.

Thanks for all your support everyone. X

The cover art for my debut Picture Book.

The cover art for my debut Picture Book.

Love Katrina x

Oh and to celebrate with you – I have extended a sale on all A5 prints (all $10!) for you on my outie page.

http://www.outie.co.nz

Holy Bat Babies Batman – Bat Print Fun

I don’t often share my behind the scenes unfinished drawings. Yesterday a friend said that she would like to see more of the design process… So I am sharing for her and hopefully you like it too.

Bats have been on my brain lately.

Since seeing them at the zoo with mister two (I think they were actually flying foxes) and then seeing them everywhere in kids’ decor, I wanted to design a fun bat blanket.

As you might have realised already, I do love a good pun…. so with the Batmobile I started thinking about a mobile with little baby bats on it. But when I was drawing patterns with baby bats, they looked silly just dangling in the air like they were on strings and they needed something more solid to anchor them to.

I tried hanging them on hearts because I notices the curved shapes of a Bat’s wing kind of makes the top of a heart shape but I was getting off track and just doodling like a bored high school student…

So I added a visual metaphor instead.

Who is the best anchor for wayward babies? Mummy that’s who (or at least I like to think so).

Why aren’t the baby bats sleeping? Well, knowing my own baby bats so well, they probably only want you to think that they are sleeping even though they are VERY TIRED and should definitely go to bed…

I still loved the heart shapes in my sketches but when I included them as noses in my final drawing the silhouettes looked too busy. I left the heart shape where the wing wraps around their body though, I love that bit.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy seeing some work in progress insights into my latest little fabric design, I liked drawing these little guys.

I’ve called this print Batmobile Bat Babies. This is available as an organic cotton blanket, a mini comforter blankie and a limited edition A4 print (ten only!).

Love Katrina (Outie)

Batmobile with Bat Babies. A new design by Outie.co.nz

Batmobile with Bat Babies. A new design by Outie.co.nz

Sketching out a solution for how to hang bat babies in a pattern.

Sketching out a solution for how to hang bat babies in a pattern.

bat babies sample

The final pattern with Mama Bat flying around with her Bat Babies in tow.

Bat babies

One brave little button

I’m writing this because I want you to hold me accountable and I want you to share in my story.

Recently I wrote a children’s book called, ‘The Lost Button’ and on a whim, I entered it into a competition. The prize was a full page critique of your submitted manuscript by KBR (kids-bookreview.com/) and your manuscript being forwarded to Penguin Australia. There was never any guarantee that they would publish it, but still I thought ‘Wow – wouldn’t it be cool if someone ‘proper’ would read one of my stories…”

I don’t publish my kids stuff really and feedback would have been prize enough.

So anyway, I sent in my manuscript and I won!

I won the International Category and I was swiftly transported to Cloud 9 in a state of disbelief. (Goes to show it’s worth putting yourself out there sometimes).

A few months later Penguin Australia came back to me.

The critique they gave me was amazing.

Here are some highlights:

” I found the rhythm and concept of this manuscript lovely, and was impressed that it worked well without visuals”

“The premise for the story is charming and fresh, who hasn’t lost a button themselves and then found it in the oddest of spots?  Buttons can be cute or striking, large or small, square or round and, as the author has so obviously identified, they are curiously anthropomorphic.”

“I found the section of the text where the button is rejected as being particularly clever and the words were great visual clues.”

“I would advise keeping an eye on, and in contact with, this very talented author.”

Woah!

A slightly disappointing outcome was that they don’t feel like the book was right for them in its then-current form and they suggested some changes.

So… I have reworked it and loved it up some and have decided to go down the self-publishing route. (I also cheekily sent them back a revised copy while I work on illustrations so you never know).

And this blog is inviting you to share in the process.

Who knows where this story might lead?

The certificate for my winning manuscript.

The certificate for my winning manuscript.

And just for fun, I am writing a story a day as a self-imposed challenge. I’m up to day 6 so far.

Here is one of my favourites  called ‘Silence Except’ that I wrote yesterday. It’s got nothing to do with buttons this one but you might find you like my writing and want to read more of my stories… (I’m feeling brave sharing this so please be gentle).

And if you like it, please share it because this little button-loving mummy could use all the support she can get.

SILENCE EXCEPT… (a draft – copyright Katrina Ward 2014).

Our house is usually quiet at night. Except on curry night it can be much noisier.

It’s mostly silent except Fweeeeeeeep

That was Mum.

You can also hear the clock ticking and then PWAAAAAARP.

That was Dad.

Sometimes there are footsteps. Pad pad pad.

And the fridge. Errink.

And something pouring. Ploid ploid ploid ploid

And somebody drinking. gulp gulp gulp then Aaaah. And Pad pad pad. Then Kaploomph.

And then silence again.

Silence except for Pfooooff.

That was the dog.

And Squeee-fweep.

That was mum again.

And Feeeeeeooorrrrrp.

And Plurrrrrrrrrthorrrrrrrrrp.

And BARRRRP.

And mum giggling.

Then PFFFFFFFTHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

That was me.

And then the house is silent again.

Like? Please tell me what you think X

Love and Buttons.

Love Katrina (Outie)

This is how we roll

The Wait

We are on high alert

He sits astride an ocean

Head down, expectant.

Quiet, focussed.

The world halts.

Suspended in time

our lives hang in the breeze

our breaths break like waves

we are the moon and the tide

waiting

but nothing on the horizon.

And then…

A ship.

The tide is out.

He beams.

We whoop.

The world relaxes and turns once more.

-KW, 19/10/2014

There is poetry in potty training. Really, there is.

There is poetry in potty training. Really, there is.