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Saturday, 15 June 2013

Busy, busy!

Life seems to have been very busy recently. Maybe that's why these first six months of 2013 seem to have flown by. World Book week back in March was the start of it with lots of school visits. The furthest was Peterborough and the closest was Corpus Christie Primary - just down the road!

In between time I had some final edits to do on my latest book, The Trunk, which is now out as a Puffin book, published by Penguin Australia. I'm writing under the pseudonym S.Carey for this which is part of their Eerie Series. Had great fun writing this, and gave my grandson, Jake (14) the creeps when I let him read the manuscript before sending it off. Just the right reaction I was hoping for!

Also around March/April time I received my edits back from All Classic Books, who are an American publisher. They will be publishing my first adult thriller, Death Lay Waiting, and there were lots of changes to make on that – and I'm pretty sure I haven't finished yet!. That's the thing about writing, getting it accepted by a publisher is just the start. Then comes all the re-writing and changes. Whatever you do – don't write in stone.

Then Turquoise Radio got in touch, as they wanted to serialise my book, Deadly Hunter for their kids programme presented by Kaz Cockburn. It had been so long since that book was written (it was first published around 1996) that I no longer had the story on my computer. So it was a matter of re-typing it from the book, to get it into a digital format again.

 Kaz would simply have read from the book but I thought it was a good opportunity to bring it up to date. So all that copy typing kept me pretty busy for a few weeks and I have to admit, caused my wrists to ache slightly!

Kaz did a great job in recording the story which was serialised over about eight or nine weeks. I've turned it into an ebook now, and I should have some of the audio on my website soon. I'll definitely need some assistance from my IT wizarrd son, Wayne to help me with that!

Another exciting opportunity followed. Fiction Express who team up with schools to provide fiction that the pupils can contribute to, commissioned me on a story called The Mysterious Indian Vanishing Trick. The original story was pretty set in my mind, but I had to forget all that and create a brand new first chapter with three choices at the end for the children to vote on, and so dictate what would happen in chapter two – and so forth!

Chapter 1 went live yesterday (Friday 14th June) so this week there will be some instant, real time writing happening, as I'll have just two days to write each chapter. I'm praying that I don't get writer's block... I haven't got time! I hear that chocolate is good for avoiding writers block - well that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

On top of that, I've been writing a couple of non-fiction articles. One for Collector's Gazette on Doctor Who toys; and another for Dogs Monthly magazine on Dogs for the Disabled which took me and  photographer Rob Tysall out and about to the Frances Hay centre in Banbury.

My IT knowledge (or lack of it) came into play to re-vamp Rob's website - www.tysallsphotography.org.uk . Rob and I share his photography studio, which is where I do most of my writing. He wanted to change the colour scheme of his website from black, grey and silver to lilac and purple. Now that might sound easy and straight forward but had me almost tearing my hair out and dissolving into a panic stricken wreck when it all went horribly wrong! Thank heavens for my IT wizard son again, who came to the rescue!

Most recently, Coventry held its Literally...Coventry Book Festival, from Monday to Saturday, with stacks of events taking place. My involvement meant three school visits locally, which were absolutely lovely. I went to Earlsdon Primary, Our Lady of the Assumption Primary and Gosford Primary.

Just a few of the great children at
Our Lady of the Assumption Primary
 Two of those visits were to talk primarily about my book, The Beast which I'm dead chuffed to say won an award in the Coventry Inspirational Book Awards 2013 in their raring2read category.

Which brings me to one of the highlights of this week – the award ceremony. It was held at the wonderful medieval St Mary's Guildhall, with the Lord Mayor, Lady Mayoress, other authors and illustrators plus invited guests. It was quite exciting to meet Sir Quentin Blake who received a Lifetime Achievement award – the first that the Coventry Literary Festival had awarded.

About to have a photo taken. Sir Quentin Blake
has a laugh with author Gaynor Arnold.

And my big moment!

My daughters, Angela, Debbie and oldest grandson, Jake came along to support me, as well as Lorna Hunt from Usborne Publishing. Usborne published The Beast back in 2004. Can't believe it was that long ago. Mind you, The Reawakning and Rampage have followed, making it a trilogy.  My character, Karbel feels like one of the family these days! Although I don't think I'd want to take him out for a walk...

Then earlier this week, I had a real fun evening with The Coventry Writers Group. As part of the Festival we staged an evening of reading and performing our work which had the theme, Coventry Fact and Fiction to a small audience at the Criterion Theatre. My story was Visions, set in Whitefriars Monastery. I adapted it as a little play, and donned a monk's outfit just for fun.

Me as a slightly manic monk!

So all in all, a very busy few months. Better than being bored though!

Some websites you might want to look at: