Friday, 17 July 2015

Flying high with emotion!

Hi all.  This is a quick post as it is an emotional, and busy, day today!  My youngest daughter leaves her Preschool so I will shortly be attending her Leavers' Ceremony.  I am donning large sunglasses to hide evidence of blubbing!  I can't believe this chapter in Amy's life is over....

I wanted to remind you all that the first book in the Things with... series is free from today!  It is free until 21st July so please download a copy.  You can download a free Kindle reading App if you don't own an e-reading device and it is great for downloading books, magazines and all sorts of things!

Things with Wings is an illustrated rhyming book with extra things with wings to find on each page.  


The series is lovely and designed to encourage your child to engage with the world around them.  Reading is wonderful and sharing a picture book with your child is priceless.  I hope you enjoy your free read.

I am off now to get emotional.  Wish me luck!...


Things with Wings:
UK  www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00PLZS3OE
US  www.amazon.com/dp/B00PLZS3OE
and all other Amazon territories.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Come fly with me... for free!

It is a busy time, what with preparations for holidays, the end of school year collections, arranging final play dates and attempting to get done all those things that may prove challenging with the littlies at home for over six weeks!

It is hard to believe another school year is coming to an end.  Even my 7 year old thinks it went quickly!  What a great age to be with the excitement of juniors to look forward to, and for my 4 year old the start of school in September.  They are both very excited.  I have been extremely organised this year and bought all the uniform in readiness for September.  I now have the joyful task of name-labelling each and every garment...

To mark the end of the school year, the start of a well earned break for all those children and hardworking teachers, and the release of Things with Eyes, I am running a free eBook promotion of the first book in the Things with... series, Things with Wings.


Things with Wings will be free to download from Amazon from Friday 17th July through Tuesday 21st July 2015!  This rhyming book will encourage children to engage with the world around them.  There are lovely illustrations and an extra thing with wings to find on each page!  A great book to share on long journeys and when you are in need of a positive distraction for your children.  Trust me, I know how hard travelling with children can be!  A loaded up tablet, kindle or smart phone can help immensely as part of your holiday activities and travel distractions.  The links can be found below.  If you would like to share this promotion I would really appreciate it!

I hope you have some lovely things planned for the school holidays and I hope I have helped a little to keep your children amused.  Happy reading and enjoy your journey into the Things with... series, for free!


Things with Wings:
UK  www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00PLZS3OE
US  www.amazon.com/dp/B00PLZS3OE
and all other Amazon territories.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Eyes down for a full house....

It has been a while since I last added a post and I will attempt to recall what I have been doing for the last few months!  It is great to see my blog receiving regular views despite the lack of input on my part!  It's been a busy few months...

I started a new part time job earlier this year, at a different local school, still invigilating exams.  The work is seasonal so I work for a few weeks then have a few months off in between.  It is a stressful time for students when they come to sit their final exams.  I truly hope they all achieve what they set out to.  It's a privilege to witness such a crucial time in their lives.  The rest of the exams team are lovely and this job is working well alongside my main role as mum of two young children.  

I have also begun volunteering for a local charity called Bromley Brighter Beginnings (BBB).  I was inspired to join their amazing team since following their Facebook page and seeing the great work this charity does.  It is fantastic to see how they help local families, often in dire need.  They help tens of families per month, who are referred to them via health visitors, social workers, midwives and other local agencies, and provide them with things many of us take for granted: baby clothing; baby supplies; moses baskets and cots; pushchairs; crucial personal items a mum needs after giving birth; and much, much more.  If you are in the Bromley area and want to help or wish to help with a donation it would be much appreciated.  Here is the link to the Facebook page where you can check out current appeals: www.facebook.com/pages/BromleyBrighterBeginnings/  Why not become a supporter and join the Facebook page?  Even the smallest donations help enormously.  The website is here: www.babypacks.org.uk/ The difference being made to families in need is extraordinary and the supporters who donate so readily are wonderful; every one is appreciated.

I have also been busy with my beautiful girls.  Ella received an amazing school report and Amy achieved her ASA Level 3 in swimming with Flippers Swim School.  Amy starts school in September!  We went along to her introductory session recently and it was lovely to finally find out who her teacher will be and which of her friends from preschool will be in her class.  Ella is very pleased with her teacher for next term; a sporty man with a whistle permanently hanging from his neck.  Ella said he is fun and she is looking forward to next term, which is all that matters really.  It has been an amazing journey being a full time mum and I have to come to terms with the end of Amy's preschool journey and the beginning of her journey into full time education, while Ella joins upper school/juniors.  Both girls are very excited and I am feeling a tad emotional these days as it is all change.  No more spending a lot of time with my youngest; it will take some getting used to...

Otherwise, I have finally got round to adding the final book in the Things with... series: Things with Eyes.

This is the fourth book in the series and the final one, unless I write more.  Des Campbell has done yet another fabulous job of illustrating my thoughts and ideas.  If you aren't familiar with this series, they are illustrated rhyming books with facts about lots of different things, creatures, animals, objects and more.  The books are a lovely way to engage a child in the world around us.  I received a fantastic review for Things with Wheels and wanted to share:

"Daddy H reviewed Things with Wheels (Volume 2)
5 out of 5 stars For every parent who has a preschooler through a 2nd ... 
For every parent who has a preschooler through a 2nd year student of elementary school, this book is a MUST HAVE for your home library. I home school and use a guided reading series, and we worked this into our repertoire."

This review is from Amazon.com and it is great to see that one of my books is helping children to learn about a variety of things with wheels to promote their wider learning.

Things with Eyes is my 46th book!  I can't believe how much I have written since my journey began 3 1/2 years ago.  I have also written numerous poems, some for commissions.  I don't think some understood how I could write so much, however so much has changed in the time since my journey began and it is the emotional journeys in life that spurred my writing on, and probably kept me going...

Well, it is almost time for the schools to break up for the long summer holidays so I shall be busy being a full time mum and hopefully making memories for my girls to cherish.  Don't forget to load up your tablets, Kindles, smart phones and other e-reading devices with books to keep your children amused in a positive way during long journeys. 

Feel free to comment on how you intend to spend the summer holidays, I may well be looking for inspiration!  Here's to a summer of fun, sunny days, happiness, good health and memories to cherish! 

My next journey has begun... 



Things with Eyes is available now in eBook format: 
and all other Amazon territories

Now also available in print! 
UK www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1515033945
US www.amazon.com/dp/1515033945
and all other Amazon territories and Createspace.com


Friday, 20 March 2015

It's got legs... (what solar eclipse?)

Hooray! I am finally back on my writing horse and am working on new things (literally!) which is wonderful.  I think I have been in hibernation this winter.  The sights of daffodils and blossom have awakened me.  Spring is my most favourite season, especially when it is sunny.  Not the best day to expect sunshine what with the eclipse and all that.  Sadly West Wickham decided not to take part and filled the sky with clouds instead!  It's a shame as I slept through the last one in 1999 (heavy night..slept in...those were the days).   Apparently it looked a bit like this!


















Bring on the new growth I say.  My girls are shooting up much like the flora of the season.  They continue to get bigger and before I know it September will be here and my youngest will be starting school.  What will I do with all those extra hours?  Well, I will write, write, write and continue my seasonal work at a local school.  I am not one to sit back, wondering what I should be doing, so I imagine I will end up embroiled in a new challenge to fill any gaps.

For now I will continue to work on my 'Things with...' series of which there are now 3 books!  Things with Wings, Things with Wheels and now Things with Legs are all available on Amazon.  Things with Legs is coming soon in print too.

I love the illustrations Des creates: I am very thankful I found him.  And to think it all started with Larry the Liger.  He is a talent and a very patient man!  I think this book is the first where I have not had issues with formatting the book ready for publication.  Each new series brings with it new challenges and lots to learn.  I am pleased I have persevered with it all.  I hope Des is too!

Des is currently preparing the illustrations for Things with Eyes which I am really looking forward to seeing (pardon the pun).  Then it will be a complete series, however I may consider producing more if they prove popular.  Sales are steady and borrows have increased which is a sign of the uptake of Amazon Prime.  I am happy the books are out there and are being read.  It's always fab to hear feedback and a girl at Ella's school loves to tell me, every time she sees me, that her younger sister loves hearing her read Things with Wings aloud.  They enjoy looking for the extra thing with wings in each picture.

Engage them in books young, I say, and be happy you have helped your little ones understand the world around them a little more.  Amy is preparing herself for school it seems by wanting to write words, and her joy when she reads a word she knows is contagious.  I guess there was little chance I wouldn't have two avid readers on my hands!

Spring is here and it's official after 28th March weekend when our clocks will 'spring forward' in the UK.  I am looking forward to more daylight and, hopefully, lots of vitamin D.  Bring on the spring journey....

Things with Legs:
UK www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00UTR7HQO
US www.amazon.com/dp/B00UTR7HQO 
(and all other Amazon territories)


 

 












Wednesday, 17 December 2014

'Tis the season...

'Tis the season... of preparations!  I have been busy preparing for the big day and also for Ella's 7th birthday.  December is a busy and expensive month!  Ella's party is booked for Sunday so this week I have been making up lovely, sweet filled, cellophane cones with ribbon.  I have also been working on ways to promote the print and eBook versions of Things with Wings and Things with Wheels books along with the print version of Larry the Liger - the Winter Surprise.  It is hard to find the time with Amy only doing part days at preschool.  Luckily it is still relatively easy to hide the, yet to be wrapped, presents...

'Tis the season... to be jolly and I have been trying my best to do that for the girls.  I have decked the halls - it really is looking a lot like Christmas!  I got the tree from Anthuriums which is a local business in Coney Hall, West Wickham, here in Kent.  They have some beautiful things in their shop.  A recommended place to visit http://www.anthuriums.co.uk/

Here are some sneak peeks of my efforts from our home:


 I have also been baking festive treats for the school cake sale and for the girls to decorate which was actually great fun and I enjoyed it much more than I expected!  I do love a bit of creativity!






'Tis the season... to remember those who are no longer with us.  I think of my Dad often especially at this time of year.  I know he would want us to be happy and smiling so I am doing my best.  On 19th December it will be 2 years since we lost him to Mesothelioma: asbestos cancer.  It is hard to believe it will be 2 years since we last saw, hugged and spoke to him...  It will also be Ella's 7th birthday.  Oh how I wish the two weren't on the same day but I will reserve some time to think of my Dad before being fun and happy mum for Ella.  She is looking so grown up and asking more challenging questions!  I am sure my Dad would have loved her growing character and humour!  We all miss him dearly...

'Tis the season... to be thankful.  Since losing Dad I have been much more aware of how difficult this time of year is for many people.  When Dad passed away I was very fortunate to have a loving husband to comfort me and friends and family near and far who offered kind words and a helping hand.  It is difficult to be away from family at such times so I am thankful for those who have helped me through it.  My girls were a fabulous distraction and I am very thankful to be mummy to such lovely, happy and intelligent girls.  I am thankful for Ella's progress at school and so proud .  I love she shares my passion for reading, writing and all things creative.  I am thankful Amy sleeps better at night now she is 4 years old and has such a fun personality.  She is a very popular little girl at preschool.  Long may it all continue!  I am thankful for the summer success with the books.  Anastasia and Larry the Liger both had bestsellers in the kindle chart in their relevant categories.  I am thankful mostly to have a happy and healthy family...

'Tis the season... of kindness.  This year I really felt a need to help others who were alone or had very little.  The Christmas season highlights loneliness and harshly reminds many of how little they have.  I think of those who are homeless or have young children and little or no money.  This year I decided to donate to two charities who do important work for such people.  I donated to Crisis http://www.crisis.org.uk/ instead of sending out Christmas cards to friends on Facebook.  They help homeless people and do some amazing things at Christmas and all through the year.  I still sent some cards out to those who are not on Facebook but it was my wish to help others this year.  My true friends know what they mean to me and were understanding about the lack of a card.  I also donated some toys and baby equipment to a charity called Hestia who help out those who are struggling in many areas of life (unable to add a link as it wasn't working properly however please contact me if you want to find out more).  I think back to my childhood Christmases and how my parents always made it special and exciting.  If only we could make Christmas happier for everyone...

'Tis the season... to be around those we love and we will be spending some time with our families this Christmas which I am looking forward to.  New memories to be made, lovely food, silly games, wine and song... hopefully, will be on the cards.  Family is so important and I hope I am instilling this in my girls so they will value and look after one another when their mummy and daddy are gone.  I hope they continue the special Christmas traditions we all love at this time of year.  Stockings at the end of the bed on Christmas Eve to be filled by Santa.  Main present: in the lounge which we all enter together on Christmas morning so we can all see if the big fella has been.  Leaving a mince pie for Santa, a carrot for the reindeer and a glass of milk (yes, we are very sensible!), going to church on Christmas Eve for Christingle...

'Tis the season... of magic.  I remember the magic of Christmas as a child and I am so grateful I was lucky enough to have that.  I am so happy both my girls still believe in Father Christmas and also understand the true message of Christmas.  I love that both their school and preschool Christmas performances are based around the Nativity.  How lovely it is to see all the children working together and having fun... mostly!  A child's reaction to the magic is why I love to write for children.  I love their reactions to the books.  I love that Ella's class erupted into chaos, vying to point out the extra thing with wings in Things with Wings!  Apologies to the teachers!  I loved making the Portable North Pole (PNP) videos for the girls and seeing their reactions to Father Christmas saying their names.  I really enjoyed making the new grown up video for Jason and seeing his reaction when Father Christmas told him 'how remarkable' I was, he he...

'Tis the season... to relax, hopefully, and enjoy not enduring the madness of the school run in the morning, getting everyone out of the house on time and remembering everything, and the rushing to before and after school classes and clubs.  I am looking forward to chilling out with my girls once school and preschool break up; watching Home Alone, The Nativity, Polar Express and other festive gems.  I am looking forward to Christmas Eve and hearing all about Ella's and Amy's visit to Daddy's office in London.  I wish his workplace luck, I truly do, he he...  I am really looking forward to having all four of us together for Christmas.  I can't wait for Jason to finish work on Christmas Eve and having a few days off.  How precious that time is...

'Tis the season... of Christmas.  Hooray!  It is 8 sleeps until the big day and I can't wait!  I wish you all a magical, peaceful and happy Christmas, and here's to a healthy, happy and successful 2015.  The Phillips' 2014 Christmas journey has begun...

  






Tuesday, 2 December 2014

It's that time of the year...

I had such a busy week planned out.  I was going to work exam invigilating, I was going to work on marketing the books.  I was going to do a major tidying operation of the house as it is in chaos.  I was going to organise where I am with everything.  I was going to start the task of preparing the next book for kindle and print....

The best laid plans, and all that!  Amy has been ill since the weekend and mostly requires me to sit with her and get her various things every few minutes!  I am jumping up and down, feeling confused, wondering when I will get anything done that I had planned.  I had to let down the school I was meant to be invigilating at; another reminder how being a full time mum makes re-entering the working outside the home market difficult with young children.  I do, however, feel quite grateful that I am here with her and that she is being comforted and looked after.  I am lucky to be able to do that.

So I am going to accept the mess of the house.  I am going to ignore pages of artwork and random songwriting sheets scattered in every room of the house.  Ella's latest is a song she made up called Espanasho.  A self confessed made up word and it is actually quite funny.  One of the lines 'Spanish is good but English is better' is a little worrying and I really do wonder where she gets these things from!  I am happy to have creative girls though - Ella wants to be my illustrator one day...

I can finally, today, say Larry the Liger - the Winter Surprise is now available in print on Amazon.  It looks really good and is a lovely chapter book for readers.  Written to encourage a child to see the images in their mind, as many of my favourite books did as a young reader, it is a heartwarming story of friendship and the importance of being with family and friends at Christmas time.  If you want to take a look the links to the book will be at the end of this post.  Here is the cover, an image I am sure most will recognise from my Facebook page.


Things with Wings has been well received as a print book which is great.  It also looks amazing on the Kindle.  I am very excited about Things with Wheels, which is the second in the series and is going to be ready in print hopefully sometime this week.  I am just awaiting the print proof.  I love Des' illustrations.  He really brings the rhymes to life and has an amazing ability to interpret what I want and create an image beyond my expectations.  If you haven't seen the Things with... books yet, ebook or print, then I really recommend you consider it.  Feedback so far has been fantastic.  These books are great for children of any age as the images, and the extra thing to find on each page, will hold their attention.  Don't dismiss these books for confident readers either as they are fun books the whole family can enjoy. 


Right then, back to nursing duties.  I will add the links below.  If you fancy sharing news of the books I would really appreciate it.  Wishing you all a great week and hoping the sickness lurgy leaves you and yours alone! 

The journey into the print world has begun...


Larry the Liger - the Winter Surprise UK
Larry the Liger - the Winter Surprise US
Things with Wings UK
Things with Wings US
Things with Wheels ebook UK
Things with Wheels ebook US

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Sunday, 23 November 2014

It has landed...

Finally I have managed to produce a print book that looks great!  I had issues with Larry the Liger - the Winter Surprise so had to remove the print option however this will soon be available again in print. 

Things with Wings is now available to order in print from Amazon!  It is also being sold in other book stores however I do not know which ones are selling it at the moment so Amazon is the place to go.  Things with Wings is a lovely illustrated rhyming book all about things with wings.  It is written in a fun way to hold the attention of fidgets young and old!  The illustrations by Des Campbell are fantastic and he has written a guest blog post which you can take a look at to show his illustration process. 

Things with Wings is the first in the Things with... series and the next in the series is coming soon: Things with Wheels.  I am very excited about finally entering the realms of Createspace to create a print version of Things with Wings.  It has been a stressful learning journey that I would not have been able to achieve without Des' assistance.  A lot of work has gone into creating a picture book and hopefully this will be apparent when you see it!  The layout is slightly different to the kindle version as it is mostly double page spreads so the illustrations are nice and big. 
 
I am very proud of my new series and can't wait to hear what people think of the illustrated rhymes. 

Things with Wings will make a fantastic stocking filler so why not check it out.  I am hoping to get the Winter Surprise in print very, very soon - it is a lovely, heartwarming seasonal story.  It really is a magical time of the year.

The journey is moving on...



Things with Wings can be downloaded as an eBook or ordered in print from all Amazon territories.  Just edit the following link for your country.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Things-Wings-1-Rachael-Phillips/dp/150325318X/ref=sr_1_2_twi_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416766056&sr=1-2&keywords=Things+with+Wings