Cheesy Mac

I was all set to roll with a horsepower post today… but then my tweet stream started to fill with… (Oh no! I forgot!!) CheesyMac!

Here’s the quickest-ever batch of Mac&Cheese that I have every whipped up!

When you’re wanting a tasty, quick snack
that won’t line your washing up rack,
grab some pasta and cheese,
cause they’re sure to appease,
when hunger pangs plead cheesy mac!

© Kathryn Apel 2017  (All rights reserved)

Why are we all writing macaroni cheese poems, you ask? Good question! I do remember mention of it some weeks ago during Poetry Friday – something to do with National Macaroni & Cheese Day – which we likely aren’t celebrating in Australia… 🙂 BUT… I got a new poem… and my post for NEXT Friday is all-but finished. So I think that means I’m ahead.

Alas, I don’t have plans for Mac&Cheese for tea… though I’m tempted.

Go tempt your tastebuds with cheese treats and more at Tabatha’s blog, where I promise you won’t be indifferent.

Hairy Huntsman Spider – Repost

This week I’m cheating and linking back to one of my earlier bush poetry posts. I don’t feel like I’m cheating readers though, because Hairy Huntsman Spider is one of my better bush poems – and overseas readers will get a glimpse of an iconic Australian creature. And there are pictures. Big, scary pics… (Well – there was last time I looked – but it’s not a page I’m ever keen to revisit because #worstfear so I’m just going to assume they’re still there.)

But first… Don’t forget to visit Diane at Random Noodling for the full Poetry Friday round-up – where you are more likely to discover curiosities, than creepy-crawlies.

And without further ado, I’ll link you across to Hairy Huntsman Spider!

Click the postcard to read the full poem. (Beware. Bigger, scarier spider pictures in the linked post. This one’s a baby.)

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The Bowerbird – a poem

I was scrolling through the Instagram feed yesterday when this brightly colourful post by imagination.mama caught my eye;

Cue the memories! Because I might know a think about that… In fact, I may have even written a poem or two when my boys were in preschool.

For my international Poetry Friday friends, bowerbirds are endemic to Australia and Papua New Guinea. There are a number of varieties, but I’ll link you to Graeme Chapman‘s page of photos – where you can see pics of the male Satin Bowerbird and his collection of blue treasures. And David Attenborough’s BBC video, showing the elaborate bower created. (It’s astonishing!)

A lot of years have passed since that poem was written… but not much has changed. The bowerbirds still make something out of nothing – and I can’t regret it! Having seen the benefits of creativity and problem-solving throughout the years, and the complexity of the projects they now undertake, I am quick to extol the virtues of creative play and recycled projects at a very young age. If there is one thing I did well as a mother, it was to feed my bowerbirds! And I’m thrilled that kids are starting to be inspired to play and be creative, through my author visits.

‘You said to go home and make things with boxes… so we did!’

To squeeze more poetry into your weekend, be sure to visit Heidi at her juicy little universe, where you’ll find the full round-up of the links. Thanks, Heidi!

Great Goal! Marvellous Mark! Wonderful Wordplay!

Poetry is about word play – and I am loving the playful words that roll around (and bounce and soar) in this picture book about Aussie Rules, written by Katrina Germein and illustrated by Janine Dawson. AFL is not the game of choice in Queensland, where ‘real men play Rugby League’* – so I’m not as familiar with the rules and terms as some. But it is very obvious that Katrina and Janine have between them spent considerable time on the sidelines of the game (perhaps even starred themselves?) and were definitely on the same team when they produced Great Goal! Marvellous Mark! – a  picture book that exudes energy and enthusiasm … and alliteration!

The text is an ABC of AFL! From start to finish it tells the story of an afternoon of football.

Aussie Rules is awesome. I always arrive on time.

As the game progresses, the rain starts to fall…

Patterson pauses then passes to Piper. She positions herself and propels the ball past the post. Perfect play!                 <Click to Enlarge>

By the final quarter there’s quite a quagmire.

I’m super-impressed that Katrina managed to handball so many AFL terms onto the page, in a sequential sporty story that ticks boxes as an alliterative alphabetical text. And I love the details (and activity) that Janine jostled into the illustrations – making meaning of those sporty terms, for those of us not overly-familiar with AFL.

Great Goal! Marvellous Mark! is a picture book that make its mark. I’m sure AFL families will be giving it two flags up!

To read more poetry posts, click across to Carol’s Corner where you’ll find the full round-up of Poetry Friday posts. Thanks, Carol!

* None of the real men in my family actually play Rugby League. It’s just a bit of interstate jest and no harm intended. 😉

Seasonal Rewind

For Poetry Friday, I’m revisiting a post from 2015. My week in Melbourne has had me thinking a lot about Autumn. We only have two seasons where I live in Queensland; Summer and Winter – and for a few weeks they wrangle back and forth; summer/winter/hot/cold…

But Melbourne… It was all gorgeous warm tones, brisk breezes and crunchy Autumn delights. All those photos of bare branches and golden mounds of leaves that fill Instagram have taken on a whole new meaning, and lovely sensory sentimentality… since Melbourne!

At the release of Lorraine Marwood’s poetry collection, ‘Celebrating Australia’ we were challenged to write a poem using Lorraine’s seasonal poem, ‘Autumn’ as the mentor text.

Autumn

Autumn is loud crushing sounds
a foot scuffing rap-tapping shuffle.
One day a light dusting
of pathway obstruction
by week’s end a whole mound
of slip, slide, crunch, crackle. 
<read the full poem here>

© Lorraine Marwood

I wrote about our switchy-changy summer-winter Queensland Autumn.

A Queensland Autumn

Autumn is ummmm … undecided;
a clinking of coat hangers shuffled.
One day huffing and hissing
of sunshine’s sizzle,
by week’s end a leafy pom-pom pizzazz
of swish, sway, rah-rah rustling.

Autumn is heat-haze blown away.
a shuffling of summer winter outlooks.
One day a brilliance; searing sharp contrast
of sun-baked vibrance,
by week’s end a festive carnival crowd
of mismatched, multi-hued, musty winter woolies.

© Kathryn Apel

It didn’t really turn out how I’d like, and I’d thought to write anotherie (better one) this week, snap-shotting the Melbourne leaves. But… I can’t like it either! I think I just need to let the words write the poem – not the structure. (I’ll have to come back to it.)

Thank-you Mary Lee for collecting our Poetry Friday links at A Year of Reading. You can read more about Lorraine’s poetry collection here – and mayhaps be inspired to write your own seasonal poem. Alas, Autumn is now huddled in a rustic orange blanket fringed with silver. Winter wind has whisked the warmth away!

KidLitVic – Chapter / Middle Grade / Young Adult

Sharing notes on Chapter, Middle Grade and Young Adult, taken at KidLitVic 2017.

Chapter & Middle Grade Panel

Panel:  Paul Collins (Ford St), Jane Pearson (Text), Clare Forster (Agent – Curtis Brown), Suzanne O’Sullivan (Lothian Hachette)

  • Write with passion first. Then think about the age of your main character/protagonist.
  • Consensus seems to be that once the reader reaches the 10yo mark, they’re reaching for YA. (Is YA really written with 10yo readers in mind?)
  • Clare Forster looks at story, characters, voice, subject – the edge authors might have. Most importantly the big picture of the author’s career – not a book.
  • Series is potentially a means to sell more books – so has that selling point for Marketing. ‘When kids find something they love, they’re really keen for more and more.’ (Jane Pearson)
  • A major publisher can really push the marketing behind a series – but for smaller publishers it is more of a risk.
  • Clare Forster – Always remember the investment made by the publisher.
  • No matter how fantastic your idea, the thing is always your ability to write it. (Suzanne)
  • What’s unique. What captures your imagination? Your heart?
  • Series Proposal – What publishers expect to receive as a minimum before they can make the decision.
    1) Full manuscript for first book
    2) Outlines of subsequent books. (A second written book would be great – but not essential.)
    3) Jane Pearson would add that a projection of timeline is also good. To ensure that books will capture their market. Readers are growing up. May grow out of the market if the books don’t roll out in a timely fashion. In six months, good books can be forgotten.

Continue reading

KidLitVic – Illustration & Picture Books

Sharing notes on Illustration and Picture Books, taken at KidLitVic 2017.

Illustration Panel

Panel: Melissa Keil (Five Mile Press), Michelle Madden (Penguin), Sarah Mummé (Lake Press), Christina Pase (Windy Hollow)

  • Postcards (at conferences, etc) are lovely. But a link is always a good thing to forward on to others. Need to be able to show it around – at acquisitions, etc. Digital is great.
  • Greeting cards are a way to get your work out there.
  • Michelle loves to see loads of stuff. Consistency is huge – to develop a character and be consistent across the pages. It’s good to see what you can do – different styles (as long as it is strong, and done well) – but consistency is important.
  • Melissa: Colour palette, characterisation, line-work – something that’s really unique.
    A vaiety of styles for a range of products.
  • Sarah: It’s very personal
    May fight for it, if she can see potential, with a really good brief, and a little bit of work.
  • Christina – literary picture books
    If she really loves it – or has something to fill the brief.
    Likes to know/see if they can draw people – because that’s a really difficult thing! (Show them in all different poses and emotions, in your portfolio.)
    Technical skills are vital during the process – to see an illustration from the back angle. Or from a different character’s perspective. It’s almost like illustrators are working with a film screen, not a flat piece of paper.

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Melbourne Highlights

Wednesday: Caught up with my dee-lightful writing friend, Dee White – and her bunny! So lovely to stay with Dee and her family, and have lots of chats over ensuing days…

Thursday: Had a day of author talks at New Gisborne Primary School, where last year they decorated a classroom door as the cover of ‘Bully on the Bus’ – and this year there were lots of colourful hands… but I forgot to click a pic. But I did get a photo of the cupcakes! #thankyouKylie

Enjoyed lunch with some fabulous fun teachers – who wouldn’t normally make the time to eat out! #icouldrelate #butitwassolovely

Ran a staff professional development on poetry across the curriculum areas. I always love this session – and it didn’t disappoint!  Continue reading

Whirlwind Week of Wonderful

Today is Friday – which makes it a poetry day! … After a whole WEEK of wonderful poetry days!! You can catch the link-up at Reflections on the Teche, where Margaret is hosting us this week. Thank-you Margaret. 🙂

Last night I arrived home from an author tour in and around Melbourne – and I had a blast! Talk about eyes opened. That is one HUGE city! But I covered north and south and centre in a wonderful crammed week of school visits, bookshop workshop, kidlit conference, networking, research, friending and just the teensy-tiniest smidgen of sleeping!

And I ticked a few big boxes! Continue reading

All the Busy – and Beautiful!


Life. Is. Busy. #thatisall

Quickest Poetry Friday post ever, coming right at you!

Last week (when I was so busy releasing ‘Too Many Friends’ into the wide, wonderful world) I missed Poetry Friday. But I popped in for a guest post on Be a Fun Mum, Kelly’s blog, with a tutorial on Recycled poetry – specific to Mothers’ Day. Yes, that is this Sunday in Australia. But don’t panic – you are not too late! Click across to Kel’s blog and you can create a gift from the heart for your Mum’s day that is sweeter than chocolates and twice as nice! (I have a couple of different examples there – including another personal favourite, ‘Paradise’.)

In the middle of the busy, I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to stop, and smell the flowers, with thanks to this posy of poetry in the post, beautifully written and illustrated by Avery. What a delight it was to see the pretty petals and smell the the beautiful taste of wind. Thank-you so much to Avery for brightening my week, as a part of the Silver Star Poetry ProjectContinue reading