Archive for June, 2014

Children’s Book Week Special Offer!

Posted by on Monday, 30 June, 2014

To celebrate Children’s Book Week, the ebook version of The Rise of Agnil, book 1 of the Agnil’s Worlds series, will be on special offer for the bargain price of 77p – you can’t even buy a cup of coffee for that price! And, because I’m feeling generous, this offer isn’t restricted to the UK. In other parts of the world, the price will appear as 99c. Please tell all your friends and forward the link to the post to anyone you think might be interested. The promotion will run from Monday 30th June until Sunday 6th July.



What a catch for 77p!

Buy The Rise of Agnil on Amazon


The Rise of AgnilChildren’s Book Week is an annual celebration of reading for pleasure for children that has been running for over 80 years. It is organised by The Book Trust in the UK. This year it will take place from Monday 30th June until Friday 4th July. Many schools and libraries all over the country will be organising events activities to promote reading for pleasure, to use libraries and explore bookshops. Now is the time to treat yourself or somebody else to a good children’s book! Visit The Book Trust’s web site to find resources.
Once the week is over and you’re all fired up about reading, why not sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge at your local library? This year’s theme is “Mythical Maze”. The web site is packed full of activities and book suggestions for children of all ages. You’ll just need to create a profile with parental permission to log in and then you can even add book recommendations to the Book Sorter!

Book + Chocolate = Bliss

Posted by on Tuesday, 24 June, 2014

So what’s a chocolate book blog?

As I sit in the shade of my pergola on a glorious midsummer day, the air around me scented with jasmine, I’m worried that the chocolate on this blog post will melt!
I’ve been passed the baton in a chocolate book blog tour by the lovely Karen Emma Hall, founder of the Kid Literature Authors group that I am involved with. You can read her chocolate book blog here.
The challenge is to choose six books and six different varieties of chocolate that I feel are a good match for the books. Most of the chocolate book blogs I’ve read so far have focused on children’s books but I really wanted to include some books for adults too, so I’m going to break the mould a little.


The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Perhaps the best known of all the Narnia books by this author, I suppose it was inevitable that I should include it here. After all, my own books fall into the same genre. But it’s more important to me than that to not miss this book out. The Chronicles of Narnia was the first book series that really enthralled me as a child and I was so bitterly disappointed when I got to the end of it that I searched the library high and low for any more books written by C.S. Lewis.
This much-loved classic children’s book describes the fantasy world that four WW2 evacuees enter and echos the war going on in the real world  through their battles against evil. Good, as in all decent children’s books of this type, triumphs.

To match this book I’m choosing Fry’s Five Boys chocolate. Although this is no longer for sale, I remember it so well from my childhood, I feel it’s a good match for my vivid memory of the book.

Five boysEzra_Cornell's_first_book

Goodnight, Mr Tom by Michelle Magorian


Another book recounting the life of a WW2 evacuee. This time firmly set in the very real world that William, the main character, finds himself in. Pulled away from an abusive home life, William finds himself placed in the home of widower, Tom. Initially reluctant to become a carer for the child, Tom quickly realises how much the boy needs him. The very moving story is about the growing bond between the two, friendships made and lost and William’s agony at returning to stay with his mother for a while before being rescued by Mr Tom.
I’ve read this book many times to classes of children over the years and every time I have to warn them in advance that I’m likely to shed a tear or two.

To match this book I’ve chosen Cadbury’s Dairy Milk. Available on rationing during WWII, and advertised as having a glass and a half of milk in every half pound, I’m sure Mr Tom would have done his best to get hold of some for William!


Northern Lights by Philip Pullman


I have no idea why, but in North America this book is known as The Golden Compass. This first book of the YA epic series, His Dark Materials, was introduced to me by my daughter who was working in a children’s book shop in Cambridge at the time. It’s another fantasy book set in a parallel universe to our own, but more than that, this book has a message so powerful it even upset the Pope! It features the journey of a girl called Lyra to the Arctic in search of her missing friend, Roger, and her imprisoned uncle, Lord Asriel, who has been conducting experiments with a mysterious substance known as “Dust”.

Choosing chocolate to match this book proved difficult, but as it was a story of someone heading into a very cold region, it reminded me of white chocolate. I present you with Hotel Chocolat’s Sleekster White Selection.


The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Snow Child

Set in Alaska, this is an adult fairy tale based on a traditional Russian folk tale, Little Daughter of the Snow. It tells of a couple unable to have children. One day the wife, Mabel, makes a child out of snow and the very next day the snow child has disappeared leaving a set of footprints leading away from where it stood. It’s a magical story, but please don’t make the mistake of thinking that this version might be suitable for children; it isn’t.

This is a story of love and hope, so to match it I have found these raw chocolate strawberry and pink peppercorn hearts from the Magic Chocolate Company.


The Novel in the Viola by Natasha Solomons

novel viola

This beautifully written second novel from Natasha Solomons, whose first was Mr Rosenbloom’s List, is set in Dorset and tells the story of a young Austrian Jew from a wealthy family who flees her home country shortly before the start of WW2. She goes to work as a maid in a country home and it tells of how she adapts to her new life. It is a moving story with wonderful descriptions of English country life in the 1930s.

In my mind the perfect match for this book are the delicious Mozartkugeln, chocolate balls (in some cases still hand-made) from Austria.


Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools by Victoria Twead


This book, the first of the Two Old Fools series, is a light and lovely memoir about when Victoria, a former teacher, and her husband moved to a little village in the mountains in Andalucia. If you need something that will make you chuckle, as well as green with envy for the life she now leads, this is the book for you! I first read this book in 2011 and have since gone on to read the others in the series. However, I have chosen this book for the very simple reason that the author has had a profound influence on my life. Three years ago she was just the author of a book I read but today she is my publisher and responsible for bringing Agnil’s Worlds into public view.

I happen to know that Victoria is rather partial to McVities’ Chocolate Hobnob biscuits. Even if biscuits aren’t allowed, it’s my blog and I’ll have chocolate biscuits if I want to!


I am passing the baton to Sandra Stoner Mitchell, the author of Hedgerow Capers which is all about a group of friends who live in Hedgerow Village. Just like children, they have lots of fun playing and making things and getting up to all sorts of capers. You can find her web site here. Look out for her chocolate book blog tour post the week beginning 28th June.

Agnil and the Tree Spirits is launched!

Posted by on Friday, 13 June, 2014

With a little help from a few locals…

a happy song…

and the best fireworks show ever…

I am over the moon to announce the arrival of Agnil and the Tree Spirits, book 3 of the Agnil’s Worlds series!
Agnil and the Tree Spirits

Now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and right here!

Agnil and the Tree Spirits – cover reveal!

Posted by on Friday, 6 June, 2014

With the imminent release of Agnil and the Tree Spirits, book 3 of the Agnil’s Worlds series, I wanted to share with you the cover and the blurb for the new book!

In Lilurrian, one of the eight elf worlds, tree spirits and elves live in harmony with nature in a beautiful forest. The Great Library, the centre of elf learning and culture, lies at its heart. When the Navigator sets out to mine the crystals of Lilurrian, the whole forest is under threat of destruction. How can Agnil, the half-elf, prevent this disaster? Who is the Navigator and what does he really want?

Agnil and the Tree Spirits