Friday, 12 September 2014

It's been a while! School holidays, reading and somewhere beneath the sea...

It certainly has been a while since I last wrote a blog post for which I apologise to those who read my blog!  Bizarrely, while I have been away people are still reading older posts which is great and it is nice to see there are regular readers and new ones too.

So what have I been doing for the last few months?  I honestly cannot account for all the time because it is all a bit of blur if I am honest (mummy brain - all mums will understand this!).  I have been writing bits and bobs but certainly not writing as voraciously as I was before.   I suppose I have been keeping my hand in.  The school holidays with young children make it difficult to focus on anything for too long but I have been jotting down ideas and writing some poetry.  I have also been setting the wheels in motion for a new project or rather an old one revisited! 

A few years ago I wrote a series of poems for children but after numerous rejections from agents (seemingly the only route to decent publishers at the time) I put them on the back burner (not literally as that would be silly especially as they are on my laptop!).  However, since mid-May Anastasia and Larry the Liger ebooks have begun to sell and sell very well indeed.  There were always some sales but never at such a consistent level and I know most of you will have seen my Facebook page posts ( about this.

When I worked with Fergus on the Anastasia and Larry the Liger series' it was the first I had heard of self publishing on Amazon.  I was unsure of whether this route to market would be a success however I was willing to put in the hours of formatting, cover creating and uploading to try it out.  Then the many hours of marketing on social networking sites and websites followed, often so many it would cause arguments in our house as I was spending almost my entire weekends writing and marketing.  Something had to give so I backed off a little and harmony returned to the household (well most of the time anyway!).  School and preschool visits were a pleasure; sharing Larry the Liger with children and seeing their reactions was fab.

I have recently instructed the extremely talented illustrator, Des Campbell, who also created the Larry the Liger illustrations, to create the visual interpretations of my poems. 
The preliminary sketches are just brilliant and I know I have found the perfect illustrator.  He interprets what I want and brings to life the words even better than my own imagination could!  I know the illustrations will bring joy and fun to children and to adults who read the books with them.

So what has inspired me to venture into picture books?  Well, during the long, school summer holiday period we went on a road trip and camping adventure that took us through four different countries.  I knew the long car journey would be tough for a 3 and 6 year old so I loaded my Kindle with all things suitable for the girls.  I made sure Larry the Liger was on there for Ella and some picture ebooks for Amy as she can't yet read.  The Kindle Fire is such a great device for reading and is wonderful for viewing images.  The Kindle Reading App can be downloaded to any tablet, smartphone, iPad and pc so the potential reach for ebooks is phenomenal!  I highly recommend it. 

I was very pleased to receive an email a few weeks ago about the new Kindle Kids Book Creator App.  Having never uploaded an ebook with images inside I was unsure how to go about it.  It isn't as simple as inserting an image as the text and images are uploaded separately however I won't bore you!  So the new App is just what I need hopefully and I look forward to trying it out.  I will let you all know how it goes and if it is as easy as it sounds!

As for the last few months well I can say this: I am amazed at the Euro Tunnel!  The journey was so quick and was over before I knew it.

What a great way to travel: under the sea!  Jason shook his head every time I said amazing which was quite a lot!  We were leaving England and arriving in France in a flash and soon driving through France, Belgium and Holland.  I can also say that 5 nights camping isn't for me but I would do a shorter stint because the girls loved it.  It was great to camp in a foreign country along with people of a variety of nationalities.  Ella made some lovely friends even if they couldn't communicate effectively!  Despite language barriers they still managed to play hide and seek, have fun in the playgrounds and collect pine cones in the woods.  It was rather idyllic in many ways.

I also had the pleasure to take Ella to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in the West End.  She loved it, as did I, although the music is certainly not as memorable as either of the movie versions.  The staging was amazing and it was a visual treat and yet another inspiration for visual books!

Schools and preschools are now back in session which means I have some time once again to do what I love: writing.  My head is brimming with ideas and inspiration from our summer which is exactly how it should be.

The journey, and the next chapter, has begun....

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