News

Latest news:

‘From Knight to Knave’

I have just finished formatting this new book ready for Kindle and it will be going live – all being well – within the next few days.

‘The Squirrel Who Missed Christmas’

Is now finished. Unfortunately, due to health problems earlier in the year, then editing/formatting the collection of entries by finalists of this year’s writing competition and organising the awards presentation, ‘Sammy’ will not be ready for Christmas this year. However, it will soon be winging its way to Jess Hawkesworth, our fantastic illustrator, and is likely to be available from Spring 2022.

King Lear Prizes 2021

Never having entered a writing competition before, I was thrilled to be amongst the 6 shortlisted writers from the 1,500 or so, who entered the King Lear Prizes competition in the Real Story category. I never anticipated reaching that level, and the other five stories were so moving and well written. If you haven’t seen them, I would recommend, when you have a few moments, that you go to the King Lear Prizes 2021 website/Facebook page and take a look at the fabulous writing in the Real Story category. There are two shortlists – one for Beginners and the other for Experienced Amateurs. All make excellent reading.

‘The Squirrel Who Missed Christmas’ is now well underway and is currently on course for being available by Christmas of this year.

On Friday, 4th June, we held the launch of ‘From Knight to Knave’ streamed online to YouTube at 3.30pm. The venue was the art gallery in Sherwood, Nottingham, A Room Full of Butterflies. The host was BBC Radio Nottingham presenter Mark Dennison and the technical production was managed by Flying Shark Media. The event went really smoothly and I am grateful to Mark, Flying Shark Media and ‘A Room Full of Butterflies’. Click on the image to view the launch video.

The Squirrel Who Missed Christmas’ is now well underway and is currently on course for being available in the autumn of this year.

My thanks to Flying Shark Media, for their expertise in producing a short film of me reading ‘Blue Teaches a Lesson’. Filming took place in local woodland on what was probably one of the coldest days of the year. Thankfully we were wrapped up warmly and had plenty of hot drinks. The film is now available on You Tube :

We hope to record all the animal books for younger children in due course.

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I am currently writing ‘Sammy, the Squirrel Who Missed Christmas’ which I hope to have available in the Autumn.

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In 2019 the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust was created in Dumfries, Scotland, where I lived for six years. The Trust took over what had previously been a nursing home, and they created Neverland in the garden with reading/performance/library areas inside. The centre has become a National Centre for Children’s Literacy.

I was thrilled that they included my You Tube reading of ‘Lorna and the Loch Ness Monster’ in their World Read Aloud Day Facebook programme. Since then, their Creative Learning and Engagement Officer (Schools) has been filmed reading ‘Tib and Tab Make A Friend’, and they are scheduling my You Tube reading of ‘Blue Teaches A Lesson’ for a later date.

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In addition, I have been asked by BBC Radio Nottingham to take part in the ‘Lockdown Letters to Myself’ project. This meant I had to record a letter I had written letter to myself in the present  based on what I know now about the pandemic. The idea was to broadcast these letters on programmes between 22-28 March and mine is scheduled for Tuesday 24 between 12.00 and 1.00pm and again on Thursday, 26th March between 8.00-9.00am.

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The final draft of ‘From Knight to Knave’ has is now with New Generation Publishing awaiting the last checks. This has been an exciting, satisfying book to write that now extends to 440 pages. The research for this book, that spans six historic periods, all linked to Winterne Manor, has been a joy. It has been hard work but very satisfying. I hope to have this book available by the end of next month (April 2021).

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Lorna and the Loch Ness Monster: My thanks to Flying Shark Media, for their expertise in producing a short film of me reading Lorna and the Loch Ness Monster. Filming took place in our back garden on a beautiful sunny afternoon. The film is now available on You Tube :

We hope to record all the animal books for younger children in due course.

Magazine Articles: During 2020 I was asked to submit two articles to Savvy Woman Magazine and it was a great pleasure to participate. Writing for a magazine is completely different to writing a fictional story, and it was good to do something different. My articles can be found by following these links:-

SAVVY WOMEN ISSUE 3 (anyflip.com)

Savvy Women Autumn 2020 by savvywomen – issuu

My Publisher New Generation have a regular news letter – you can view it here :-  <link>

On April 3rd one of my main characters, Armistice Jenks, was interviewed recently on acclaimed historical author Helen Hollick’s website. Helen gave Armistice a wonderful welcome and then asked her a number of questions about the books she appears in, what I am up to next and, if she was arranging a dinner party, who would she invite. If you would like to read this interview, the link for it is:- <link>

 ‘Lorna and the Loch Ness Monster’  I am delighted to announce that Historic Environment Scotland, who own Urquhart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness, have confirmed their interest in ‘Lorna and the Loch Ness Monster’ and would like other gift shops in the area to stock the book.                      

‘The Raven and the Thief’   Is now available on Amazon and to order through bookstores. Recently we met the Ravenmaster, Yeoman Warder of the Guard, Christopher Skaife, who has served at the Tower for fifteen years, and for many of those years has been I charge of the care of the ravens who live at the Tower. I am delighted that the Ravenmaster showed great interest in the book and has promised to use it when telling stories to the children who visit the Tower. 

‘Blue Teaches a Lesson’ and ‘Mrs Pringles Needs a Nurse’. The manuscripts of both these books are now with the illustrator and it is expected they will be available later in the Autumn.
 
Plus:  The last book in ‘The Winterne Series’ is currently being written and is a prequel covering legends and items that have been discovered in Winterne Manor. The book covers episodes in history that have had a major impact on the families and the elven folk who have lived in or near the manor over the centuries. 

Writing the books has given me the chance to do some things I would never have done before – taking part in conventions and giving creative writing workshops in various parts of the country. Through these opportunities I have also met some wonderful people.

The photos in the gallery are of actors James Cosmo (The Chronicles of Narnia and Game of Thrones plus many other films and television programmes).

Chris Rankin is a lovely man and will be recognised as Percy Weasley in the Harry Potter films, but he is also a founder of theatre company, Painted Horse UK and has appeared on television and theatre productions

Helen Hollick is one of this country’s finest historical novel writers who has also researched and written factual books on pirates. Helen has been a wonderful mentor and friend for many years and I am grateful for her support and guidance. 

I visited Somerset early in November 2018 running writing workshops for children at Wookey Hole Caves, near the lovely City of Wells.  While I was there I discussed a planned book based on the life of the Witch of Wookey – let’s see if we can bring her to life. Ideas on her background and personality are forming, and a synopsis is being prepared.  I’ll be researching life in the West Country around a thousand years ago and must say I am looking forward to this new challenge.