Monday, 6 February 2017

A Quick Hello To,,,

...Everyone at St Ignatius Primary School - I'm really looking forward to meeting you all on Tuesday for lots of story fun.

And a huge hello to everyone at Sacred Heart Primary School too - can't wait to see you and your amazing school library.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Visiting Schools

As an author I spend most of my working time sat on my own with my laptop or my notebook writing. Sometimes I'm working on very short stories for young readers and at other times I'm working on something bigger... right now I'm doing a mixture of both. As well as writing I love going out and about to visit schools and libraries so that I can tell stories and get people excited about books, reading and writing. 

Last week I visited my first school of 2017 - Heygreen Primary School in Liverpool. I was made to feel really welcome and had a wonderful time sharing stories and talking about what I do. Working together with Key Stage 2 we came up with some great story ideas... I hope you have fun finishing them off. 

Click here to see a picture of the day on Twitter...

This week I will be visiting Holy Trinity C E Primary School in Bury so here's a HUGE HELLO to everyone there... See you all soon.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Granny At The Park - Reading Champions

I've been busy working on some very short stories with Franklin Watts recently to encourage and help very young children with their independent reading. The first of these is Granny At The Park, illustrated by Jan Smith. I've only seen the rough inside artwork so far but have just spotted the colour cover on Amazon so thought I'd share it here with you. It's fun and a bit challenging working on very short stories (there's only six words on each page) and they need really lively artwork to bring them to life. I think that Jan Smith has done a wonderful job of showing Granny having fun at the park as she causes more and more embarrassment for her Grandson. 

If you want to find out more about the illustrator, Jan Smith you can visit her website here.

Right now I'm busy working on more ideas...

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

A Late Happy New Year

It's hard to believe we are already ten days into 2017. Christmas really seemed to fly by this year and I've been busy writing since then. At the moment I'm working on lots of little story ideas for young readers but will soon be getting back to my big book. 

Before Christmas we had a couple of days in London, though we didn't have a lot of time to look round as our time was taken up with other things... We set of early in the morning and I drove us down to Watford to go on the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio tour. If you've never been before it's well worth a visit... make sure you give yourself plenty of time though as there is lots to see. Going at Christmas, the Hogwarts Great Hall (and Hogwarts itself) all had a Christmas theme which made it that bit more special. 
The Hall had Christmas decorations and even Christmas cakes on the tables...
After spending a few hours at the Warner Bros. Studio we were back in the car and heading down towards our hotel in London. We arrived just in time to grab a bite to eat before it was time to go to bed... we had to be up early the next morning. 

After a delicious cooked breakfast we headed down to the underground and caught a tube train into the centre of London. We just had enough time to call into the British Museum to take a look at the ancient Egyptian artifacts - mummies, statues and lots more. 

It would be easy to spend the whole day in the museum as there's much to see but we didn't have a lot of time... we had to get to the Palace Theatre in time for the first part of Harry Potter And The Cursed Child.

The story is in two parts; with each play being just over 2 and a half hours long - with short interval half way through and then a couple of hours gap in between the two so you have time to go out and get something to eat. Harry Potter And The Cursed Child is set after the films so Harry is grown up... and that's all I'm going to tell you (I don't want to spoil it). 
We didn't really know what to expect from the plays but I can tell you that they were excellent and we thoroughly enjoyed them. I would certainly recommend them to anyone. The acting was excellent and the effect were brilliant. 

Between the two plays we had time to grab a burger and have a little wander round to stretch our legs... it was great to see London all decorated for Christmas.
We had a lovely Christmas and hope you did too... it's back to work now and I'm on with the writing. Looking forward to a really good year with lots of writing and lots of school visits. 

If you would like me to come and visit you school or library - please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Getting up to date...

In the last couple of weeks I've had two little books published - 'Farmer Finn's Silly Sheep' - a very short story (only about 200 words) for young readers, and 'The Disastrous Dentist' a longer story with chapter (about 2000 words) for those that are Racing Ahead with their reading. Both books have been beautifully illustrated - one by Steve Brown and the other by Ben Scruton. A web page for both of these will be added to my website in the next few days...

The last few weeks and months seem to have flown by. I've been busy writing, visiting schools and doing lots of other things... In the weeks before Christmas I hope to tell you about what's been going on and next year I aim to write at least one diary entry every week so that I can keep things up to date. I know that one diary entry might not sound a lot but it can be really difficult fitting everything in... Lets see how it goes shall we?

Friday, 18 November 2016

Busy... Busy... Busy

Lots of work to do at the moment and lots to tell you about too but here's a quick hello to everyone at St Andrew's CE Primary School "The Rainbow School" in Hull... looking forward to seeing you all very soon. I will be back to my diary very soon and will let you know where I've been, what I've been up to and what I'm working on right now...

Friday, 14 October 2016

The Awful Astronaut

The Awful Astronaut has finally splashed down to Earth and you can buy the hardback right now from Amazon, order it from your local bookshop and keep your eyes open for it landing in your local library (the paperback version comes out next year).

It's always exciting when you receive copies of a new book through the post... you've spent ages working, writing and tweaking the story... you've seen the rough illustrations and finally the finished artwork - just a few tweaks to be made at this stage - but nothing beats holding the finished copy.

I must confess, I'm really happy with the way the book looks and feels, It's just what I wanted it to be - a good mixture of information and fun, and it's been illustrated by the fantastic Davide Ortu (click HERE to visit Davide's website). The publishers, Franklin Watts, were looking for stories about quirky characters doing jobs that they weren't very good at. The idea was to show some of the things that the jobs might include as well as the funny stuff.

Sam has dreamed of being an astronaut all his life and he finally gets the chance after seeing an advert in the newspaper. But becoming an astronaut isn't easy and Sam has to do a lot of training and things keep going wrong for him - he worries that he might just be the worst astronaut ever.

I was fortunate to get the chance to write two books in the series - The Awful Astronaut and the Disastrous Dentist. The Disastrous Dentist is published next month and is much sillier than the Astronaut book... I will tell you more that nearer the time.

There are some other great books in the series by different authors... you might like to keep an eye for them in your local library: The Terrifying Teacher by Claire O'Brien - illustrated by Santy Gutierrez, The Calamitous Cook by Rachael Delahaye -illustrated by Janet Cheeseman,  The Petrified Pirate by Vivian French - illustrated by Mike Phillips (who also illustrated my History Heroes books about Neil Armstrong & Christopher Columbus), The Not-so Brave Knight by Kate Woodward, illustrated by Yulia Somina (who also illustrated my History Heroes book about L.S.Lowry) - and my Disastrous Dentist which has been illustrated by the brilliant Ben Scruton.