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

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

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

This is how we roll – things we do during nap time

dance four eyes frankly my dear helens buttons she be fierce This is how we roll you and me clairvoyant clicky cardigan

 

Button Life – the second installment. Apparently, this is now my favourite thing to do while the babies sleep. Ah well. 🙂

This post is brought to you by the Outie Trinity Nursing Wrap. (Something simple with so many uses…)

Love and Buttons and a bit of sewing too.

116 117 118

 

Love Outie.

 

Three Word Birth Stories – A Collection

Can you describe your experience of birth in just three words?

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This is one of the first photos I have of my daughter and I together. It’s blurry but that’s part of it. Daddy was probably shaking. 😉

 

I asked the above question via the Outie facebook page and the answers are haunting, resonant, beautiful, terrifying and revealing.

 

Here is a collection of some of my favourites:

 

Like a rocket.

Quick, surreal, empowering.

Natural, amazing, life-changing.

Traumatic, emotional, scary.

Fear, Pain, Triumph.

Fast, Beautiful, Funny.

Long, traumatic, unforgettable.

Early, scary, fast.

Almost down toilet.

Beautiful Home Birth.

Loved every moment.

Best night ever.

Emotional, disempowering, traumatic.

Best thing ever.

Long, complicated, worth it.

On another level.

Scary, absent, sad.

Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!

Long, painful, relief.

 

And mine: Challenging, raw, beautiful.

Challenging: I had to come to terms with having a second C-section. I really didn’t want one but I had to come to terms with the fact that my body just won’t deliver babies naturally despite my best efforts.

Raw: My body has an entirely new pain threshold that I didn’t know was possible. I felt like I was going to break. I prayed. I learned brand new things about myself. I was a quiet animal. I didn’t scream. It was a new base-line of physical experience for me.

Beautiful: When my daughter was lifted out of me my man said, ‘You got your Ninia’. I knew that’s what I wanted to call her if she was a girl. She was a girl and I couldn’t have known how much I wanted her until I got her. She is amazing. I cried.

 

Love Katrina

Outie

 

 

P.S. I would like to publish a book of these ‘three word birth stories’. I love them so much. Thank you to everyone who has shared so far.

Holy Crap Can It Get Any Worse? (and other daily parenting stories)

Holy Crap Can It Get Any Worse? (and other daily stories of parenthood).

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There is a formula to a good story. There is an introduction where we meet the characters, a catalyst for change where something happens to upset the balance we have just been introduced to – and the rest of the story is about the way that the characters struggle to restore balance and some kind of normalcy.

The characters will try and fail in order to drive the plot through further complications towards an exciting climax. But something’s gotta give…

In an ideal world, the problems will all be resolved. A new state of normalcy will reign – and everyone will learn something from their experiences.

“Never stray from the path”, “Don’t talk to strangers”, “Love the one you are with” are the types of themes or morals that might shine through in an ideal plot.

The thing with parenthood, though, is that you can have a story like this storm into your life within moments.

And things escalate.

And sometimes it’s hard to see exactly what you have learned from the experience.

And it’s also not often ‘big things’ that can complicate your day, but rather seemingly small things caused by bad timing and crossed wires.

Here is a real life example from today:

Life as Usual:

I was preparing the toddler’s breakfast and putting some books and activities out for the day while expressing so that I could go for a bush walk (multitasking mummy!) I had fed the baby and she was settling down for a nap.

Bad Stuff Happens:

Actually, in this case, it was ‘good stuff’ because Daddy came home from his night shift and all of us were excited to see him. I quickly told him about where I was up to with ‘the routine’, checked if it suited him for me to go and get some exercise, got the ok, grabbed the dog and left.

For daddy, this was a bit of a shock. He had come straight home from one world of work into a domestic realm and he hadn’t even taken off his boots yet. The ‘bad stuff’ was beginning…

But we can deal with it:

The excitement of daddy coming home and her older brother squealing had unsettled the baby.

Daddy tried to feed her with expressed milk but she didn’t want it.

Toddler got stroppy because his sister was crying and getting all the attention.

Mess was made and tears began.

Daddy now had two screaming babies to deal with – and no mummy to help.

But we can deal with it:

He changed her nappy and put a DVD on to keep the toddler entertained. He tried to get her to settle again in her cot but this process took too long and baby was now overtired.

Whoa! Worse stuff happens: Toddler bounces on bed and climbs on daddy and upsets baby (who needs to sleep) even more. Baby still won’t take bottle. Baby is screaming. Toddler is crying. Kettle is whistling…

Oh No, now all is lost!:

Mummy returns from walk to over-tired screaming baby, crying toddler and upset grumpy daddy. Mummy struggles to resettle baby and is irritated that DVD is on and coffee is not made…

Tired persons argument starts (hard to say what it was about, but there was a bit of finger pointing and it just kept being about something).

Climax: Voices are raised. Toddler is crying. Baby is screaming. Feelings are hurt. Kettle still whistling. Phone starts ringing… SO MUCH NOISE AND DRAMA!

Falling Action:

Mummy swaddles baby and lies down with her to take a break. Daddy takes toddler for walk outside.

Tired daddy returns to have a cup of coffee (finally) and sit down with quiet activities with toddler.

Mummy emerges after difficulties settling baby.

Parents apologise*, cuddle and have a coffee together.

 

And all of this in an hour. Parenting is tough because things can get complicated so quickly with the stresses of a baby crying and too many little bodies needing too many different little things…

 

But a good story has a new level of normalcy as well as a bit of learning.

 

Here’s what I learned:

 

People need time to adjust to new environments regardless of how familiar they are

It is best to plan exercise/time away for once baby is definitely asleep and settled

Things can get out of hand quickly

Always apologise

‘Drop it while it’s hot’ – leave an argument before it gets out of hand and you say things you don’t mean

Be gentle with tired people.

 

* Today’s apology was made with a label maker. I wrote ‘I’m Sorry’ and ‘I Love You’ on sticky labels and stuck them to my forehead.(They were two separate labels – otherwise I might have actually made things worse!)  It seemed like a nice light-hearted way to break the ice…and it worked.