Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Summer Reading Challenge 2015

This year's Summer Reading Challenge is getting ready to start. You can find out all about it at your local library and by visiting the Summer Reading Challenge page. The theme this year is RECORD BREAKERS - so go and join the fun at your local library... I'd love to hear how you are doing in the Challenge so why not send me an email and let me know what you are reading.

Tomorrow I will be visiting St Michael's CE Primary School, St Gregory's RC Primary School and St Stephen Kearsley Moor CE Primary School in Bolton to talk about the Reading Challenge and to share stories and have lots of fun. I'm really looking forward to meeting everyone.

This week I'm busy working on some very short stories for a publisher - and they need to be finished and sent off by the end of the week so I had better get on with them.  


Thursday, 18 June 2015

Working Away from Home

A couple of weeks ago I visited a couple of lovely schools, one in Repton and one in Burton Upon Trent. The schools were great but the view from my hotel wasn't so great....

This week things are different though...
It's ten o'clock in the evening and it's getting dark outside. It's been a beautiful sunny day today and quite warm too. Right now I'm sat on the bed in my hotel room at the University of Northampton. My window is wide open and I can hear birds singing and the gentle rhythm of the rain on the leaves outside. The air smells fresh and clean. A little rabbit has been sat on the grass for the last hour nibbling and enjoying the cool evening.

On the way down here I drove through the beautiful little village of Naseby and I couldn't resist stopping off to take a look at the Cromwell Monument that stands on the Naseby Battlefield.

The Battle of Naseby, probably the most important battle of the English Civil War was fought on the 14th June 1645 between the Parliamentarian New Model Army commanded by Sir Thomas Fairfax and Sir Oliver Cromwell and the Royalist Army of King Charles I and Prince Rupert of the Rhine. The Royalist army were defeated and most of the King's army was lost.

It looks peaceful here now and it's hard to imagine that such a huge battle took place here. You can find out more about the Battle of Naseby by clicking HERE.
Think it's time to close the window and get some sleep... got a busy day tomorrow.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Creative Writing Festival

Here's a BIG HELLO to everyone that's coming along to the University of Northampton for the Creative Writing Festival... I'm looking forward to meeting all the keen readers and writers from Lumbertubs Primary School, St James CE Primary School, Bridgewater Primary School, Thorplands Primary School and everyone else that's coming along... big apologies if I've missed your school out but these are all the names I have at the moment. Leave me a message and I will add you to the list...

A while ago I said that we had been on a little tour of the Scottish Highlands over half term. Getting away for a few days is relaxing but it's also a very useful way of filling you head with little ideas that can be used in stories. There was a lot of driving involved in our little trip but were saw some really interesting and beautiful sights.
We set off from our home here in Wales early in the morning and headed toward the Scottish city of Stirling - overlooked by Stirling castle. On arrival we were greeted by this statue of Robert the Bruce who was king of the Scots from 1306 to until his death in 1329. You can find out more about this great Scottish King, and all about William Wallace HERE.

Before heading off to our hotel we took a look at the William Wallace monument which we could see from Stirling Castle. The monument is a very impressive building that towers over the landscape giving William an excellent view of the countryside around.
Wallace is a great Scottish hero and defeated the English at the battle of Stirling bridge in 1297. This statue of him stands high up on the tower... unfortunately we didn't have time to climb the tower ourselves so we will have to save that until our next visit.

The next morning our trip took us up into the Scottish highlands, down into Gelcoe, Fort William and finally all the way up to Inverness and its famous Loch.
On the way we took lots of photographs - like this one of a highland cow... and this statue in memory of the commandos who trained in the highlands about Fort William.
That's all I've got time for right now but I will write more soon...

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Robbie's Robot

Today sees the publication of my latest little book and the postman arrived with a few copies for me... always an exciting time. The book, Robbie's Robot is out today in Hardback and the paperback version will be out next year (published by Franklin Watts - part of Hachette Children's Books). 

It's always exciting to receive copies of a new book - no matter how big or small the book is... It's great seeing the story all together with the artwork. Robbie's Robot has been illustrated by the wonderful Rory Walker and he's done a great job of it too.
Robbie loves nothing better than lazing on his bed, reading comics, playing games, eating crisps and drinking pop. The trouble is, he hates tidying his bedroom and it gets messier and messier. Mum tells him that if he can't keep his room clean then he won't get any pocket money. Tidying his bedroom is hard work, but then Robbie has an idea. He looks on the internet and orders himself a robot... just the thing for keeping his room tidy.
Writing the little story I tried not to imagine how the robot would look so it was fantastic to see what Rory came up with... I love it. Robbie loves it too.... but if you were a robot would you be happy tidying Robbie's room?

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Thrumpton and Grange Primary School

Here's a BIG HELLO to everyone at Thrumpton Primary School in Retford and everyone at Grange Primary School in Burton On Trent.... looking forward to seeing you all soon.

We had lots of fun last week touring round the Highlands of Scotland, visiting Loch Ness and lots of other places... no sign of any monsters in the Loch - but I will write more about that tonight.