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Return to Wonderland released!

This week Return to Wonderland is released into the world. I have a short story in this wonderful book along with eleven other wonderful contemporary children’s writers, and here is the first line of my tale:

I can’t wait for you all to read the book, when it comes out on the 27th with MacmillanKidsUK! You can preorder the book before that frabjous day from waterstones here: https://www.waterstones.com/book/return-to-wonderland/various/9781529006032 …

Magicborn – my new standalone story announced at Bologna Book Fair…

This year, for the first time, I visited the Bologna Book Fair. It was an eye-opening experience – a specialist children’s book fair across four humungous halls that’s abuzz with children books, illustrations and excitement. I was delighted to be at the Usborne stand on Monday evening as a special guest at their first book fair party EVER! to announce two new books with them: a 4th Cogheart Adventures story ( of which more coming soon) and a new standalone story called MAGICBORN

You can read more about MAGICBORN in this bookseller fair exclusive…

Here are a few pictures from the Usborne stand party where we announced both books…

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Flashback to the Awesome Book Awards 2018…

Last May I was delighted when Cogheart won the Awesome Book Award. The Awesome Book Awards is an annual award which honours the best new fiction authors for young readers aged between 7 and 10. The winner is voted for by the many young readers who take part, and the award encourages them to read and discuss all the nominated books.

The Awards are due to be happening again on the 2nd of May this year, and as a past winner I have been invited along to see which of the five AWESOME books from the 2019 selection wins.

Here’s me talking before last year’s ceremony about how great events like this are at encouraging kids to read and the lovely feedback you get from them as an author…

And here’s the list of AWESOME BOOK AWARDS 2019 SHORTLISTEES (after the jump) I am looking forward to reading them all and seeing who wins!
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Do you like scary stories? What are your favourites?

I had lots of favourite scary stories as a kid. What I like about them is that spine tingling feeling of meeting the villains in the story for the first time. Thinking they’re coming to get you and then seeing the hero overcome his or her fear to defeat them and realising you could do that too.

Some of my favourite scary stories as a kid were:

  • ‘Beaver Towers’ by Nigel Hinton
  • ‘The Witches’ by Roald Dahl. 
  • ‘The Wizard of Earthsea’ by Ursula K LeGuinn

Samuel J Halpin has written a SCARY  book for Usborne called ‘The Peculiar Peggs of Riddling Wood’. It comes out in January 2019 and apparently it is a very frightening story! He asked me and some of the other Usborne authors to tell him about their favourite scary stories for this video. And now he wants you to tell him what his favourite scary stories are…

SKYCIRCUS book tour and SCBWICON18

It has been a super-busy autumn of book tour events with Skycircus. I visited lots of schools in Birmingham, Bristol and London, with Usborne and also with Pea Green Boat Books. As well as performing at events like Broughton Hall literary Festival, and doing their school events programme with Caboodle Books and Authors Abroad, I performed at the Beanstalk Literary Festival in London for hundreds of lovely Beanstalk readers and reading helpers.

Looking back I see I have been terrible at taking photographs over the months, but luckily lots of lovely teachers have taken pictures, so here are a few…

SKYCIRCUS BOOKTOUR.

SCBWICON 18

Last weekend I was at the SCWBI conference – SCBWI stands for the Society of Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators. It is a fantastic weekend for author and illustrators to hone their craft. I got to see a lot of my favourite writing people and Scbwi members, and I also got to be part of their fancy dress party and mass-book launch party with Skycircus. And I got to see my crit group buddy and ace author, Lorraine Gregory win the prestigious Crystal Kite Award for her fab debut novel ‘Mould and the Poison Plot’ It was such a brilliant weekend and I intend to write some more about it later, but in the meantime, here are a few pics…

In the SCBWI mass book launch
With my SCBWI crit group: Tania, Gail, Meira and CRYSTAL KITE WINNER Lorraine Gregory! No Miriam 🙁
SCWBI Party 2018
Lorraine wins the Crystal Kite
With Gail and Meira from my SCBWI crit group.

An Introduction to Skycircus

It is nearly a month since Skycircus first came out and I have been busily travelling all around the country to tell children about the book on a booktour. But I have just this week had a few calm days at home, so I found the time to make a short video to tell you all a little about the books. And here it is (*warning it does contain a few spoilers about the opening act of the book, so if you hate to know ANYTHING!! about something before you read it, you may not want to watch!)…

In which I explain a little of the plot of #SKYCIRCUS the newest book in the #CogheartAdventures series. Find out what happens to Robert and Lily and Malkin in this spectacular showstopper…

And if you enjoyed that brief introduction to the book, then allow me to read you the prologue…

Secret Staff Meeting Interview…

Two weeks ago I went to do a workshops with A Tale Unfolds as part of a new Readingzone project that will be coming soon to help children create book trailers for their favourite books in classrooms. We had a fantastic time at Copenhagen School in Islington working with the kids to create a trailer for Cogheart 

Afterwards Dom from A Tale Unfolds asked if I would like to do an interview for their ongoing youtube series: The Secret Staff Meeting, which is aimed at introducing authors to teachers. Here are the results. We chatted about how I got my start in writing, my background in film, the books and how I write them, things I think should be taught in schools, and my new book Skycircus. You can check out the interview below…