Last chance to vote!

I got back from holiday a few days ago to find my invitation to the awards ceremony for The People’s Book Prize waiting for me. It’s so exciting to even be a part of this! Next Wednesday, the 27th May, I will be heading to London in my posh frock, carrying a copy of The Rise of Agnil. invitationAs you can see the awards are being broadcast live on Sky News, starting at 20:20.

The voting session for finalists has now begun and ends on Wednesday the 27th. Even if you voted in the first round, you can now vote again on the special finalists page of The People’s Book Prize web site . You will be directed to register on the site and sent a password. The whole process is fairly painless and should only take a minute or two of your time. I’d really appreciate the support of all friends of Agnil. Please help her to win this important book award! It means a lot to me too. :)

Free till Saturday!



This week is Children’s Book Week in the USA and today also happens to be ten days before the final voting session opens for the finalists of The People’s Book Prize. As you all know, The Rise of Agnil is among those finalists. In celebration of both those events, I’ve put The Rise of Agnil on Amazon free from today, 5th May, until the 9th May.

The Rise of AgnilIf for some strange reason you haven’t read it yet, download it now! If you already have it please let all your friends know. :)
http://smarturl.it/AmazonAgnil1

World Book Day in Spain

signing

I was very lucky to be invited to Sage College in Jerez de la Frontera for World Book Day last week . The children were involved in book related activities all day. Sage College is a British school with a majority of Spanish pupils being taught in both English and Spanish. Years 5 and 6 had been reading The Rise of Agnil and all of Key Stage 2 had written fantasy stories for a competition. I had to judge the stories written by upper Key Stage 2. It was quite a challenge as the native English speakers clearly had an advantage both grammatically and with the range of vocabulary that they were confident in using. How could I judge a story written by an English speaker against that written by a child for whom English was not their native tongue? The ‘teacher’ in me discussed things with the ‘author’! I decided I would have to choose the winners based on the story idea and shape as well as effort, and that little spark of indefinable something that caught my eye. All those shortlisted had the dubious pleasure of having their photograph taken with me.

All the stories the children wrote were presented as little books and put on display.

The winners!

The winners!

Out of those shortlisted it was even more difficult to choose the winners, but in the end I did and on the afternoon of World Book Day I gave out the prizes – books, of course!

Year 3

My first ‘duty’ in the morning was to lead a workshop on characterisation for the Year 5 & 6 children. They played Character Trait Charades, where each small group was given a character trait which they had to act out for the other children to try and guess the word they had. The complete list was displayed on a slide for them to refer to. They had to use action, behaviour, expression and speech to explain the word, but they couldn’t use the word itself. After the game they created Wanted posters for two ‘criminals’ whose pictures I displayed on another slide. This is a simple activity I would have normally used with younger children in the UK, but it was appropriate on this occasion, given the level of their English.

Workshop with Years 5 & 6

Workshop with Years 5 & 6

After break the Years 3 & 4 children were brought in and I read them the first chapter of The Rise of Agnil. This was followed by a question and answer session. I was impressed with their confidence in asking really interesting questions, some of which really made me think!

In the afternoon, once the prize-giving was finished, the children were all involved in putting on short plays based on well-known fantasy stories which they performed in front of their parents in the patio of the school. It was incredibly well coordinated and everything ran like clockwork – no mean feat – all credit to the wonderful teachers there that worked so hard to pull the day together.

A view of the patio at Sage College.

A view of the patio at Sage College.

Watching one of the performances.

Watching one of the performances.

While all this was going on I was left to sit on the throne they’d prepared for me, signing all their copies of my book!

My throne for the day!

My throne for the day!

A pile of books to be signed.

A pile of books to be signed.

Visiting the school and working with their lovely children was a wonderful experience. I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the staff for making me feel so welcome and special thanks to Emma Bell, the teacher that invited me and organised everything.

Happy 1st Birthday Kid Literature Authors!

Not long after I started writing children’s books, I came across the Kid Literature Authors page on Facebook and joined the team as a contributor. It’s been an exciting journey for the team seeing the page go from strength to strength. My own writing journey has also been an exciting echo of this success. Just over a year ago I had published two books – I now have double that number with the fourth book just published. The first three all have Readers’ Favorite five star reviews and the first book, The Rise of Agnil, has been a finalist in The Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards and is also a finalist in The People’s Book Prize.

I’m sure the Kid Literature page will continue to do well, bringing together all of us who love children’s books and have a determination to do everything we can to increase an awareness of the importance of children’s reading.

Launching Agnil and the Centaur’s Secret!



The time has come, so with a fanfare…

 

Fabulous fireworks…

The countdown begins for the launch…

 

And away she goes….

Sailing into the huge ocean of children’s books!
I hereby name this book ‘Agnil and the Centaur’s Secret’!
May all who read her pages, enjoy the tale I tell.

Cover copyAgnil and the Centaur’s Secret is Book 4 of the Agnil’s Worlds series. If you’ve only just joined our journey, I recommend you read the books in order.
Available now from Amazon.
Read Chapter 1 here.
Amazon author page



Unveiling

I know it’s been a long time coming and thank you all for your patience! You’ll be pleased to hear I’m finally able to reveal the cover for Agnil and the Centaur’s Secret! Think of it as a Private View, or vernissage, for your privileged eyes only.

Slowly, I pull back the red curtain unveiling the team effort between Charlotte Moore and Ant Press…

File 16-03-2015 16 55 14

Oh? You want to see all of it? You want to see the whole cover, centaur and all? I’m just teasing! Of course you can see it. I do hope you all love it as much as I do. It’s much darker than the covers of the others in the series, and there are reasons for that. But you’ll have to read the book to find out why.

Not only am I showing you the cover today but you can now also read Chapter 1 here on the web site. Hopefully, my next post will be to announce publication.Cover copy

Enjoy and spread the word!

 

Peek behind the curtain!

Publication day is creeping ever closer and, as I write this blog post, the cover is being put together. When it’s ready, I’ll be able to reveal it here on the web site but while you wait I’m going to give you a peek behind the curtain at another illustration from Agnil and the Centaur’s Secret. This one is from Chapter 9, The Journey. It’s one of my favourite illustrations by Charlotte Moore for this book so I wanted the opportunity to show it to you all. I hope you like it as much as I do!

 

Library

In the centre of the vast room stood a heavy wooden table. Two tree spirits, in long leafy green robes, hair like matted roots and the same nut brown, deeply-wrinkled skin that Cranus had, sat alongside an elf with a long white beard.

Like buses

My blog posts are like buses – you wait for ages and then, suddenly, two come along at once! Regular readers will be aware that The Rise of Agnil was nominated for The People’s Book Prize a while ago and I spent a while twisting people’s arms to vote for the book. Well, it’s time to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who did because the book has made it to the finals! It’s been a nail-biting few days as I’ve waited for the end of the month to pass, signalling the end of the voting session and rushed to the web site this morning to check. I don’t know if my publisher has been sent an email as she’s currently travelling but I have also sent her a message. I feel like I’m bursting at the seams with excitement!

Thank-You

To add a little more to the thrill, The Rise of Agnil has also reached the finals of The Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards . The winners of this award will be announced in one month but I’ll have to wait until May to hear about The People’s Book Prize as there is one more voting session for another selection of books.  Stay tuned in to catch the news!

Agnil poster

Countdown!

It’s been a while since I last posted here as I’ve had health issues, including a very nasty dose of flu, which have laid me low for several weeks. I’ve also been waiting patiently for Charlotte Moore to complete the illustrations for Agnil and the Centaur’s Secret. I’m pleased to say that they’re now ready so we are on the countdown to publication day. As little teasers I will post a couple of illustrations, along with quotes from the book so you can see where they belong, over the next little while before I do the final cover reveal. Around that time, I’ll also reveal the whole of chapter 1 of the book/ So keep your eyes peeled over the next few weeks!

Then, without warning, two punts did collide. With a loud splash, the man steering one of them dropped his pole and almost toppled into the river.

Then, without warning, two punts did collide. With a loud splash, the man steering one of them dropped his pole and almost toppled into the river.

On the horizon…

 

horizon_00343121

 

Firstly, I’d like to wish you all a belated happy new year! The exciting news is that just about visible on the horizon we can see a new adventure coming soon from Agnil’s Worlds. Just a few days ago I sent the manuscript for ‘Agnil and the Centaur’s Secret’ to Ant Press, today I signed and returned the contract with my illustrator, Charlotte Moore, so it’s all systems go! Over the next few weeks there will be little teasers in the form of first chapter, illustration and cover reveals, so watch your inbox closely as the launch date approaches.

Remember, there’s still time to vote, or ask all your friends to vote, for ‘The Rise of Agnil’ in The People’s Book Prize awards. The books with the greatest number of votes from the public are put through to the finals. The voting session for my book finishes at the end of February. I’d really appreciate it if you could spread the word! I just heard today that my local paper is going to run a piece about it next week so every little helps!

The Rise of Agnil

There is also a new feature of the web site. I’ve spent the last little while preparing a literacy plan and accompanying Powerpoint file for use in primary schools, specifically Key Stage 2 (7-11 year-olds).  The plan focuses on the first book of the series, ‘The Rise of Agnil’. The two week plan has been written with the new literacy objectives for  Years 4 and 5 in mind but could easily be adapted either for another year group or in any other way. It’s merely an example and not meant to be used without adapting to your particular class of children. To download the files, please visit the teachers page.