Archives: #yarn

Holiday shopping made easy!

The holidays are right around the corner. Can you believe it? This difficult year of 2020 is almost at a close, and I’m hoping and praying for only goodness and grace to cover all of us in the upcoming year. And guess what? I’m finally getting into the holiday shopping mood. Are you? If so, I have some creative ideas to share.

Discover new products!

(1) This 2020 Gift Guide was made possible by Katie Carlisle Gonzales, someone I’ve “met” (well, virtually anyway!) through a Facebook group called Moms and Ladies of Southwest Houston. There, we share tips and network with our neighbors. Katie had the idea to create a holiday shopping guide, and I was lucky enough to make the deadline and be included. The guide includes links to over 30 businesses, offering a wide variety of shopping items that you might not think of or know about otherwise. Check out the link here >>> https://bit.ly/34OY1qO

Follow her: www.tericase.com

(2) Do you love books? Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could read the first chapter of a novel before you purchased it? Well, my friend Teri Case has made that possible with “Great Beginnings: An Anthology.” More than 30 authors—myself included!—have joined together to share the first chapters of their books for free, especially for you. We hope you find new authors and books to add to your must-read pile, and who knows, maybe you’ll even find gift ideas for your friends and family. Here’s a link that will walk you through the easy process of downloading the free e-book >>> https://BookHip.com/NMLQAW

Bring a mask!

(3) How about an open-air outdoor holiday shopping market? I’ll be one of about 30 vendors at the 16th Annual Heights Holiday Market from 10am-4 pm, Saturday December 5th, at The Church at 1548 Heights Blvd. I’m going to be autographing and personalizing my two children’s books: Arthur Zarr’s Amazing Art Car and Yazzy’s Amazing Yarn. Meanwhile, my friend Bonnie Blue will bring her “Women That Rock” artcar/van, and she’ll be selling her hand-painted driftwood Santas (and more). Such a fun photo op for the kids! You’ll also find a coffee truck, a taco vendor, and so many amazing one-of-a-kind gift ideas, so please join us if you’re in the Houston area. Masks are required for both vendors and visitors. #houstonheightsholidaymarket

www.lonestarliterary.com

(4) I’m also in another online Holiday Gift Guide, thanks to Lone Star Literary Life, a wonderful organization that helps readers find stories and helps Texas authors find their ideal audiences. Owner and publisher Kristine Hall has put together a Holiday Gift Guide, and I’m in it! You can find my two books and so many other children’s books here >>> https://www.lonestarliterary.com/content/2020-hgg-books-young-readers … and if you go to the Lone Star Literary Life website, Kristine has put together some other gift guides for fiction and non-fiction adult books as well (go to the LSLL website and look under the “Features” tab).

I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and the merriest of holidays in whatever way you celebrate, if you do. And, as we shop and buy and—as best we are able—find ways to safely fellowship together, let’s also remember those less fortunate. I’m trying to be mindful of the people whose lives have taken a turn, friends who’ve lost their jobs, that person who might be home alone this year, and those who are working so hard but not quite getting ahead. Every year at Christmas-time, I choose a charity or a specific family to support, and I hope you will consider doing the same if you are able.

BE AMAZING!

Butterflies Mixed with Cartwheels

When you get an email from a writer who’s with the Los Angeles office of the SCBWI, you sit up and pay attention. If you don’t already know, SCBWI stands for Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. It’s the only professional organization specifically created for individuals who write and illustrate for children and young adults. And, it’s international too, with nearly 100 chapters around the world: https://www.scbwi.org/

But… back to ME! I was asked to be interviewed for the SCBWI Pro-Insider newsletter and when I first read the email request, I paused with a “Wait, what?” kind of feeling. I was nervous (butterflies) and excited (cartwheels). I mean, it goes out to about 10,000-plus members! How did they even hear about me and my two indie books, I wondered? Laurie Miller, SCBWI’s event coordinator and writer-at-large in LA, explained that one of the regional chapter advisors referred me. In July, I had spoken via Zoom at the SCBWI Ohio Central-South chapter meeting, delivering a talk called “How to Hustle: Tips from a Self-Published Author.” (So, thank you Kathryn Powers & Leigh Lewis for singing my praises!)

I hope you enjoy the SCBWI Pro-Insider article. Here’s a LINK to read it: https://www.scbwi.org/finding-and-working-with-an-illustrator-when-self-publishing-a-picture-book/

Thank you, SCBWI for giving me the opportunity to talk about the path I took in hiring professional illustrators for my two picture books. I adore Bill Megenhardt’s hand-illustrated cross-hatch drawings that brought ARTHUR ZARR’S AMAZING ART CAR to life. And the original watercolors that Emily Calimlim did for YAZZY’S AMAZING YARN are so bright and beautiful. I will always be grateful to Bill and Emily for joining me in this book adventure. And like I say in the article: Always Pay Your Creative Professionals A Fair Rate That Acknowledges Their Value! You’re missing out if you’re not already following these two on Instagram… Bill is @megenhardtstudio, and Emily is @limlimillustration.

Also check out Kathryn Powers’ website here; she’s the regional advisor who referred me around SCBWI as a potential speaker: https://www.kspowers.com/ She’s a writer and illustrator, to name just a few of the hats she wears. And follow my friend Leigh Lewis on Twitter @leighwriting. I appreciate their support of my endeavors.

If you’d like me to speak (virtually for the time being!)—about writing, publishing, creativity and inspiration—at your school, library, meeting, organization, etc., please reach out by sending me an email through the CONTACT tab on my website: https://www.catheynickell.com/contact/

I’d love to hear from you!

Be Amazing!

Yazzy’s Amazing Yarn: We have a launch!

I found this adorable yarn bomb in Telluride, Colorado!

When I discovered yarn bombing a few years ago, the idea grabbed me so much that it inspired a children’s book. Fast forward to today … and YAZZY’S AMAZING YARN has hit the shelves! Yarn bombing is a craze that you may (or may not!) have heard of in which knitters and crocheters decorate everyday outdoor objects with their soft and fuzzy creations. For example, you might see a telephone pole wrapped in yarn or a statue wearing a playful, knitted cap. I guess outsider art—which is art produced by self-taught artists who are not part of the mainstream artistic establishment—is something that draws me in. Isn’t it cool? I must think so, because this is my second children’s book that focuses on this kind of outside-the-box artistic endeavor.

In 2016, my first book was in Houston Chronicle’s neighborhood section!

My first outsider-art-type book, ARTHUR ZARR’S AMAZING ART CAR, won First Place for Children’s Picture Books-All Ages in 2017, from the Texas Association of Authors. It also was a winner in the 10th Annual National Indie Excellence Award competition for Picture Books-Ages 4 to 8; and it was a finalist for Book Cover Design, also from the NIEA that same year. It’s about a man who builds an art car and makes friends along the way. I was inspired by the art cars I see around Houston and at my city’s annual Art Car Parade (hosted by The Orange Show). The book, which is illustrated by Bill Megenhardt, sold so well that I’m now in my second printing of sweet Arthur’s whimsical story.

The book is available on Amazon, through my website (see the BOOKS tab), at Tomfoolery Toys and Books in Houston, at The New Children’s Museum in San Diego, and at Greyhound Books in Berlin, Maryland. More stores are being added all the time! I’ll keep you posted.

But let’s get back to YAZZY’S AMAZING YARN. The story is about a creative girl who loves yarn and loves to knit. Her mother taught her the craft, and then Yazzy goes on to teach her two best friends—Kayla and Isabel. Yazzy’s neighborhood park is dull and rusty, but she has a grand plan. The three friends transform Penny Park into a fuzzy rainbow of warmth and color. Visitors to the vibrant playground love it more than ever! The story ends by asking: What yarn-tastic idea will Yazzy think of next? My illustrator, Emily Calimlim, brought it all to life with her beautiful watercolor images, and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

Reviews on Amazon and Goodreads are so helpful to authors!

So much has happened since the book released this month in August 2019. First of all, the reviews! I’m getting the most wonderful feedback from readers, and I appreciate every single mention. One really cute reviewer wrote: “This book has definitely inspired my crafty daughter to create some yarn bombing of her own. It would make a great birthday present to accompany a knitting kit.” And I need more reviews! So, if you don’t mind posting one on Amazon, I would really appreciate it. It’s easy, and I can explain how: Log into your personal Amazon account, search for my book, click on it, scroll down until you see “Write a Customer Review” in a box, choose a certain number of stars, and then write something. Voila! It’s fairly simple and helps me so much. Even a short review is beneficial, because it’s all based on the number of reviews, not on the length of each one.

2016 vs. 2019. Same front porch … two different books!

UPCOMING EVENTS:

  • I’m currently part of a virtual book blogging tour with Lone Star Literary Life! So you might be seeing posts about my book, including a drawing for a free autographed book. I’m giving three away! Google the LSLL website to find out more.
  • I’ll be signing books from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, Saturday, September 14, at the Texas Word Wrangler Book Festival, 276 N Orange Street, Giddings, Texas. Open to the public so drop by if you’re in the area.
  • I’ll be signing books from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm, Saturday, October 12, at the Galveston Book Festival, 5600 Seawall Blvd. Open to the public so please stop by if it’s a beach day for you and your family.
  • I’ll be signing books from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm, Saturday, October 19, at Tomfoolery Toys and Books, 4844 Beechnut Street in Houston (in the Meyer Park Shopping Center across from Meyerland Plaza). Please come out to this fun event that is open to the public!
  • I’ll be doing quite a few school author visits, which even includes a bit of travel outside of Houston.

I hope you will take a minute to check out YAZZY’S AMAZING YARN. It’s been so much fun to write, create, and now … to launch! Follow me on Instagram (@catheynickell) and Facebook. Thank you for all your support and remember to …

BE AMAZING! xoxo

© 2020 Cathey Graham Nickell
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