The Babile Elephant Sanctuary

29269803_sHello all, and I hope you had a relaxing and pleasant break over the new year. Welcome to 2015!

As those of you who visited out stall at the Bend and Snap Market last year, the craft team decided not to use the ivory from the old piano to make jewellery. Although it was perfectly legal to do so, we felt that even upcycling old ivory added to its ‘mystique’ and desirability, which in turn feeds into the ivory poaching trade.

Instead, KRin Pender-Gunn  made some elephanrt-related jewellery and we put out a donations tin and donated the proceeds to the Babile Elephant Sanctuary in Ethiopia.

The sanctuary is funded by Born Free, a British organisation dedicated to the protection of wildlife. Born Free doesn’t take a single sous for administration, so the whole amount goes to the running of the sanctuary.

If you would like to donate to the Babile elephant sanctuary, you can do so via the JustGiving site’s Bloody Ivory Appeal.

We still have jewellery made from repurposed, broken musical instruments but at present I’m considering the best way to offer those for sale without the project eating up time I need to write the next Kitty book. I also need time to work on getting the songs from book one completed and recorded – because there’ll be more songs coming with the next book!

New to Kitty and Cadaver? Find out about the project in About Kitty and Cadaver or read the first three chapters at Read the Book.

[Image: via]


Cue fanfare for an exciting announcement!

YukaI am absolutely delighted to announce that I now have an agent! Alex Adsett of Alex Adsett Publishing Services has taken on me and Kitty and Cadaver – and the planned future books in the series – as of November 2014.

I’ve known Alex for some years, and I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that she loved the book and wants to find a publisher for it. It’s also wonderful to not have to worry about that side of things. I can get on with plotting and then writing the next Kitty and Cadaver novel – with its working title of Ravens and Rivers – while Alex does all that hard graft of getting publishers interested.

The first three chapters are still online here if you want a taste of the book, and of course the side projects of the jewellery made from broken instruments, the songs for each chapter and (we hope one day) the comic book Demon of the Earth, are still being done in collaboration with fabulous artisans, musicians and artists.

I’ll keep blogging here about the elements of the project and of course news, if and when it comes, of a publisher!

– Narrelle M Harris


The Halloween Playlist (and some bones to munch)

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Poisoned Toffee Apples by Not Quite Nigella

Happy Halloween, one and all! (If you don’t do the Halloween thing – that’s fine, obviously, but what the hell: why not watch a trashy horror flick anyway? Something like Ginger Snaps; or mainline some eps of Supernatural. You know you want to.)

As for the rest of us: whether you celebrate the event US style with trick-or-treating, Samhain-style with pagan ritual, movie-buff style with a horror film marathon, or just think it’s a great excuse for a party, have a fabulously spooky day/night.

If you’re having a party and looking for some last minute ideas, I can highly recommend Not Quite Nigella’s food blog. She has a recipe for Snow White’s Poisoned Candy Apples, meringue bones, beating heart cupcakes and skull sugar cubes (not to mention the Misfortune Cookies and the Jack Skellington cupcakes!)

Now the food is sorted, what about a playlist? I’ve written about my favourite vampire songs before, but what about the songs about witches, ghosts and werewolves?

Well, here are a few tracks to get you started.

If you want to kick off with something a bit more mellow, there’s Australian band The Devoted Few with Baby, You’re a Vampire, with it’s mesmerising 3/4 beat.

Another waltz-time song that always makes me feel a bit weepy, tell the truth, is Anna Rose by J Minus. I’m not sure it’s strictly a song about a ghost, but it gives me that feeling – a lost love that comes to dance with his girl in her dreams. It’s certainly a haunting of sorts. Here’s a cute fan video I found for it.


While we’re on the Halloween Love Song theme, Short Stack says I’ll Be Your Werewolf.

And if you’re really sick of all those sweet, loving monster songs, I hear you – so have a dose of Avenged Sevenfold and their zombie song Not Ready to Die.

If you’d like to end on a more thoughtful but no less creepy mood, I’d suggest Lemon Jelly’s Experiment Number Six. This fanvid uses some great imagery.

Of course, there’s always Spirit Got Lost by Mental As Anything if you want to perk things up a bit. I can’t find a version of the original clip, which was full of skeletons dancing, to embed, but it lives over here. In the meantime, the song:

So there’s a list to kickstart your Halloween playlist. What monsters have I missed (well, I know Frankenstein’s monster isn’t there) and can you suggest songs for them?

New to Kitty and Cadaver? Find out about the project in About Kitty and Cadaver or read the first three chapters at Read the Book.

Kitty & Cadaver: Not the Zombie Apocalypse – update

YukaHello all,

I know the blog has been quiet lately, apart from the upcoming Bend and Snap Market post. I’ve been in the process of seeking an agent and/or publisher for Kitty, and for the second Kitty novel I was recently researching in London.

In preparation for the whole agent/publisher business, I will soon be taking all but the first three chapters of the novel off the site.

I will continue to post about Kitty related things, though – the jewellery, the music project (which has stalled but not stopped) and, I hope, other things as they come to pass.

Thank you all for joining me and Kitty on our journey so far – and I hope you’ll be with us as more of our plans come to fruition!


Kitty and Cadaver at the Bend and Snap Craft Market 26 October 2014

blog_imageThis Sunday, 26 October, I’ll be at the Bend and Snap craft market at 361 LIttle Lonsdale Street in Melbourne, selling jewellery made by KRin Pender-Gunn, Amy Chidzgey and Breanna Handfield from broken musical instruments.

The market runs from 11am to 4pm and will be full of neat Melburnian crafty people and their goodies.

The market is held at a cafe and art space called 1000 Pound Bend, so you can get coffee as well!

I wrote some stuff about the project for the Bend and Snap folks, which was fun, and I’m looking forward to being there on the day.

Here’s a bit of a gallery of some of the new things we’ll have on sale.

We’ll also be selling some zombie teddies for Pink Designs and some elephant jewellery in support of an Ethiopian elephant sanctuary, supported by UK charity Born Free.

We’d love to see you there – and it’ll be a great chance to pick up some skull earrings ahead of Halloween or some early Xmas presents! (I know, curse me for even thinking such a thing!)

New to Kitty and Cadaver? Find out about the project in About Kitty and Cadaver or start from chapter one at Read the Book.

Research, the Great War and Band History

IMG_5603In Kitty and Cadaver: Not the Zombie Apocalypse, I wrote in a reference to one of the former incarnations of the band: the trunk that the band carries around contains a few artefacts, including a horseshoe which Bartos, of revered memory, once used to hold ghouls at bay on a battlefield in France in World War I.

This year is the anniversary of the start of that war, and there are all kinds of solemn and striking stories being told: reminding us how it began, and why it didn’t stop sooner.

Here in London, where I am on holidays and looking for material for several books, including the next Kitty and Cadaver novel, I have seen a couple of terrific exhibitions. The Cartoon Museum has on display a number of newspaper cartoons and postcards, not only from the Allied perspective but from the Germans and their allies too. Seeing how the other side saw things is always an interesting perspective, and British cartoonists occasionally showed a human side to the nation’s enemies as well.

Public opinion, as expressed through editorial cartoons, advertising and postcards, isn’t as cut and dried as you’d sometimes think. It’s one reason it’s always a good idea to return to primary documents rather than rely on later interpretations.

The Imperial War Museum also has a Great War Gallery, proving very popular, and it threads the historical narrative with homefront conditions and some alternative perspectives as well.

All of this viewing of exhibitons and documentaries and reading of articles is essential so that I can one day write out the whole story of Bartos and the horseshoe – an idea which popped up when I was at Genrecon one year and took part in a writing exercise. This short piece was, I think, the first thing I wrote in the Kittyverse.

Now I know that Bartos is Slovakian (a country then under the power of the Austro-Hungarian empire) and Piotr is originally from Russia (then allied with Great Britain, until the Russian Revolution saw its withdrawal). I now know what those two men were doing together in France, and where they were first – but I don’t know yet who else is in their incarnation of the band, or their fates. It won’t all be happy endings, obviously.

In the meantime, here’s that exercise I wrote.

Kitty reached instinctively for the horseshoe lying in the folds of greased brown paper at the top of the trunk.

“This feels… strong,” she said, rubbing her thumb across the grains of rusted metal. The brown streak on her skin tingled.

“Good choice,” said Yuka, “Steve says it’s a hundred years old, that one. Bartos, the percussionist back then, was caught in the Somme, a ghoul was coming up from the bomb crater for him. This was all he had. That and a tent peg. But he made music with that horseshoe and his voice, and held it back until Piotr could arrive with his flute.”

There will be more stories set in the band’s 700 year history coming from my experiences on this trip – and I’ll post some of them here when I’m done.

New to Kitty and Cadaver? Find out about the project in About Kitty and Cadaver or start from chapter one at Read the Book.