Tuesday, 20 September 2022

Elworth Hall Primary School

Hello to everyone at Elworth Hall Primary School.  I can't wait to meet you all next Monday and to hear about the great books that you've been reading.

I've been busy working on some new books during the week but on Sunday, Vicky and I went to Swallow Falls - some beautiful waterfalls in Wales, not far from where we live.

This week I'll be busy working on some more new stories... they are actually very old Chinese stories that I'm rewriting for young readers. One of them has lots of dragons in in it, and another is about an elephant. 

See you soon...

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

The Global Heroes Are Here

 As well as working on lots of little books during the past year, I've been busy working on a new series called Global Heroes. You can find out more about them HERE on my website. The first two in the series have just been published - and I think you'll agree, they look GREAT! The illustrations have been done by the excellent Alex Patterson and he's done a great job bringing the characters and settings to life. 

The heroes are a group of children - each with specialist skills - that go on missions around the world to help tackle environmental disasters and problems. The first book, Bushfire Rescue, is set in Australia where a wild bushfire has swept across the countryside. The Global Heroes mission is to help rescue wild animals that have been affected by the fire - but they also have to keep their wits about them as a group of villains, known only as Evilooters, have been seen in the area. What are the Evilooters up to and have they got anything to do with the fire? 

In book 2, Waves of Waste, the heroes are sent to Brazil to find out why mountains of plastic waste are being washed up on the beaches. 
As well as action filled adventure stories, the books are full of fascinating facts and will be great for children who have an interest in science and the environment - especially in connection with current global issues like Global Warming, and Animals in Danger. Two more books in the series will be coming out in November. 

Each book is a story on its own and they can be read in any order.

Monday, 5 September 2022

What we did in the Summer Holidays

Today is the first day of the new school year for lots of people - good luck to everyone starting in a new class or in a new school - teachers and pupils (it can be an exciting, scary, and challenging time for both). 

As an author that visits lots of schools, this time of the year always feels like the start of a New Year for me too. It's always hard to believe how quickly the summer holidays fly by. I've been very busy writing, and Vicky has been busy working in the library, but we've still managed to squeeze in a few fun things along the way. I've got lots of book news to tell you about, but I thought I'd tell you a little bit about what else we've been getting up to - Polly too (here she is drinking rainwater from the top of our garden storage box).

As a writer, I work from home most of the time... this can be great as it means you don't have to travel to work each day. The bad thing is that home can end up feeling a bit like being at work - so it's great to get away from time to time.

Over the summer we've done quite a bit of walking - visiting new places and some of our favourite places, Mwnt, a small cove on the Ceredigion coast (the sunny beach at the top of the page). It's definitely one of our favourite places and a great place to see dolphins, seals and other wildlife. 

As well as being a break from work, and good exercise, going out walking helps to fuel your imagination. It's much easier to create settings and interesting places if you have actually been away from your screens to see and feel things in real life.   

As well as walking, we've done quite a bit of kayaking too - it's lots of fun and gives you a whole new way of looking at things. On Saturday we were sat bobbing about on the sea, watching dolphins jumping and playing close by. Sadly, we didn't manage to get any photographs of them, but we will try to get some next time. Sometimes you can spend your time trying to get a photograph and end up missing what is actually happening. 

Most of the places we've visited over the summer have been here in Wales - but we did venture over the boarder to spend a couple of days in Howarth in Yorkshire - stopping off for a walk near Hebden Bridge on the way. 

That's all for now... I'll be back soon to tell you about some new books that are due to be published on Friday. It's very exciting.

Tuesday, 26 July 2022

More Books On Their Way

Right now I'm busy researching and writing about dinosaurs - as well as working on some other little books. 

Schools have finished for summer so I won't be doing school visits for a while - though I am looking forward to getting back on the road in September. Hopefully I'll get chance to get out from behind my desk over the next few weeks - we will certainly be spending a day or two dolphin watching along the coast of Wales. When we do I'll post some pictures here in my diary for you to see. 

Right now I thought I'd share some of the wonderful book covers of the little stories that I have been working on recently. These are retellings of tales from around the world, published by Franklin Watts. Look out for them appearing in you local library over the next few months. These books aren't quite finished yet as the illustrators are still busy working on the artwork - but I think you'll agree, the covers look great. Not only are the stories from around the world, but the wonderful illustrators that have worked on them are from different places around the world too.

The Fire Spirit is an old Korean story (originally called The Great Stone Fire Eater) and it's been illustrated by Gaby Verdooren, an illustrator from Brooklyn, New York.  The Fisherman and the Genie is a tale that was included in the 1001 Arabian Nights and has been illustrated by two sisters from Georgia, Tika and Tata Bobokhidze. I've always wanted to write a story with a genie in and writing this one has given me an idea for another. 

The Boy who Wanted More Cheese
is a story from the Netherlands and it has been wonderfully illustrated by Richard Watson who comes from North Lincolnshire in England. Richard also illustrated my Little Turtle and the Coyote story.  

The final book cover for now is The Glass Mountain. This is an old Polish tale that has been illustrated by Kiki Kita. Kiki is a Japanese and Asian American illustrator that grew up in Dallas, Texas, but now lives in Brooklyn, New York. 

(Hmm! I wonder if she knows Gaby Verdooren?)

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Coyote Tales from North America

I'm busy doing lots of writing at the moment - lots of little books and a couple of bigger books too. 

It's great seeing a new book come together with the covers and internal illustrations. Here are two of the latest little books that I've done. Little Turtle and the Coyote (illustrated by Richard Watson, a British artist), and Crafty Coyote and the Fox (illustrated by Simone Fumagalli, an Italian artist). As you an see, both illustrators have very different styles - but I love what both of them have done.  

These are both retellings of old North American tales in which 'Coyote' is a trickster - though his tricks don't always prove to be beneficial for him. 

It's always interesting retelling old stories and trying to make them your own in some small way, whilst still keeping the basic story and meaning as it was. 

These two books will be published by Watts in October, along with a few other tales from around the world. I'll be adding them to my website soon, along with some fun activities to link to them.

Thursday, 28 April 2022

Rhyl Library Visit


I've just finished writing the fourth book in my Global Heroes Series which, at the moment, is called Rising River Escape. The story is set in Madagascar and the young heroes are sent in to rescue animals that have been left stranded by rising water levels following a tropical cyclone. I can't really say any more about the book right now but I can tell you that it's full of action and adventure - and the artwork is being done by the wonderful Alex Patterson. It's great to see how the series of books are coming together and I can't wait to share them with everyone soon.

Right now I'm working on a bigger, mystery adventure book that is full of creepy goings on.

Tomorrow I will be visiting Rhyl Library where I'll be talking to keen readers from Ysgol Emmanuel and Christ The Word Catholic School. I can't wait to meet everyone.

Thursday, 24 March 2022

Hello Burghill Community Academy

I've had a busy couple of weeks writing - working on some retellings of old folk tales from around the world (Native American and Icelandic). I've also been working on the 4th Global Heroes book which is set in Madagascar (more about that soon). 

Tomorrow I'm getting out from behind my desk to spend the day with everyone at Burghill Community Academy in Burghill, Hereford. I'll have to be up early in the morning to make sure I get there on time - so it'll be early to bed tonight. 

See you all soon...