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



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.

Vote for Agnil!

Vote!

If you have been following my blog, you’ll already know that The Rise of Agnil has been nominated for The People’s Book Prize and that this is a really important national award. The book is now on their web site and will be there until the end of February. I’m incredibly excited about this! To progress through the stages of the award needs you, the readers, ordinary members of the public, to go and vote on the web site. You will have to register and will be sent a password allowing you to vote.

Vote!From The People’s Book Prize web site:

“The People’s Book Prize is the democratic Book Prize voted exclusively by the public aimed at finding, supporting and promoting new and undiscovered works. It is the public who choose Britain’s Next Bestsellers.

Supported by Patron Frederick Forsyth CBE the Award consists of prizes in three genres – fiction, non-fiction and children’s literature. Leading up to the ceremony titles are showcased on www.peoplesbookprize.com and the books which receive the most votes go forward as finalists with three authors emerging as winners. In addition, The Beryl Bainbridge Award for First Time Author is given in honour of TPBP founding patron and an award for Best Achievement for outstanding content to the author whose writing has led, or could lead to benefitting the community.”

Please help support me and vote for The Rise of Agnil!

Children’s author ‘book bombs’ bookshops

book bombing

On Saturday, Charlotte Moore, the illustrator of the Agnil’s Worlds series, and I had a bit of elvish fun when we went into Cambridge to commit a feat of derring-do (or should that be daring-do?). I secretly planted the copies of The Rise of Agnil on the shelves of two bookshops while Charlotte took photos.

The Rise of Agnil has been available from Amazon since last December but so far can’t be bought from any high street bookshops.

Photo bombing is when someone unexpectedly or unintentionally appears in a photograph. I called it a book bombing because I put the books somewhere they would not otherwise have been found. I wanted to highlight the difficulties faced by indie authors and publishers in getting their books stocked on the high street. If anyone wants the books I have planted they can have them for free. I will refund the price paid in the shop if the purchaser contacts me.

book bombing

Should children read the classics?

I was recently involved in a discussion about which classic books children might love. I felt a little uncomfortable answering and I’ll explain why. As you probably know, until recently I was a primary school teacher and in many of our classrooms in Key Stage 2 we had a selection of the classics and they were hardly ever chosen by the children. Why is that? Times have changed.

Firstly, the language in the classics is very old-fashioned and in some cases I would describe it as archaic. Language is a living thing, constantly changing, and these classics use words and phrases that children nowadays no longer use nor understand. If you ever find yourself reading an old book to a child, count how many times you have to stop and explain what something means. Stopping to explain is important so that the meaning is not lost but if you stop too often it will interrupt the flow of the story and the children may lose track of the plot.

Children like books to be pacy and/or be humorous. They are surrounded by fast-paced media and like their books to be the same. The old classics  tend to be wordier and slower in pace; they had a lot of leisure time to fill in those days with little else by way of entertainment. These days there are many other things that many children would rather be doing. If we want children to love reading we have to give them books that fit their world.

Speaking of worlds, think LTWTWabout how much the world has changed in the last fifty years or so. Children then led quite different lives to now. Yes, we might feel a little sad at the passing of that world and it’s lovely to reminisce but we can’t pull back the past. Many of the classics portray a world they just can’t identify with. I’m going to partially exclude fantasy books from this, though. I learnt a valuable lesson last year. I read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe to my class last year and, quite frankly, I was very concerned before I started reading it that they would find the book too old-fashioned. However, it’s a book I love and it fitted perfectly with the work we were doing with the children, so I was willing to give it a go. Yes, I had to stop and explain now the language now and again, but the beautiful fantasy world of Narnia that CS Lewis created is still as magical to today’s readers as it was to children who read it when it was first published. Fantasy seems to stand the test of time.

So do the classics have no value at all for today’s younger generation? I’m not saying that at all. There are still ways they can enjoy those stories, if not in their original form. Look out for simplified versions of the books which children might find easier to digest. It may go against the grain for us to read them ourselves but at least they will have access to some of that wide and wonderful array of classic literature, and just maybe, they will be enticed to read the originals when they are more mature.

Another way forward is to look at more modern classics. Children still adore the likes of Roald Dahl, for example, and my personal favourite is Matilda. There are many others too. Look for authors like Michael Morpurgo (Kensuke’s Kingdom) and Michelle Magorian (Goodnight, Mr Tom). But it’s good to also look out for lesser known authors; those without the marketing budgets of the big publishing houses behind them. I know that you wouldn’t be reading this blog if you weren’t interested in the Agnil’s Worlds books, giving me, a relatively unknown author, a crack at giving children stories I hope they enjoy, and I am very grateful for that. Will the Agnil’s Worlds books stand the test of time and become classics? Who knows, they are fantasy books, after all. Thank you for sticking with me and enjoy the ride for now. Some exciting times are looming!