Happy holidays, all! It’s freezing and snowy here in London, but the sun is shining so it’s looking beautiful out there. I hope you are all keeping warm! I’m a little late with this update but wanted to post before the year is out — so here goes! (And if you’re still in need of a few extra presents, there may be something here for you! 😊)
But first, I hope you enjoy this image, snapped in my garden earlier this week. I just love how the frost decorates the shrubs and trees!
The Christmas Tree Wish
If you’re still looking for something for the little ones, this heartwarming tale for ages 3-6 about hope and friendship is still as popular as ever! Gardners UK wholesalers have just run out so getting it from local bookshops will be tricky. However, the paperback is available on Amazon worldwide for delivery before Christmas. (If you enjoy sharing books on your tablet/ device with your children/grandchildren, the story is also available as an eBook with pop-up text via the link above.)
Eeek! The Runaway Alien makeover (free flip-book sample below!)
A new edition of Eeek! The Runaway Alien (the soccer-mad alien who came to Earth for the World Cup) is now out. It was long overdue a makeover and I’m delighted with the work of illustrator and layout artist, Rachel Lawston. I hope you enjoy! With the World Cup tournament in everyone’s minds (win or lose!), what better choice of stocking filler for 7-10 year-olds who love football (aka soccer) and humour! Described as ‘Laugh-out-loud funny!’ by LoveReading4KidsUK, Eeek! is still a firm favourite with both boys and girls. There’s an hilarious twist in Eeek! btw, but don’t tell the kids!
Tap or click here to read Chapters 1-3 of Eeek! as a flipbook on any device The flipbook sample comes complete with page-turning sounds!
I’d love to know what your children think of the new design; please do email me to let me know!
Return to the Secret Lake audiobook is here!
The audiobook of Return to the Secret Lake came out this autumn. Whereas I narrated The Secret Lake, I knew this was a job for a professional — the sequel comes in at twice the length of book one and has a much larger character cast, which would have been beyond my skills! After listening to around 15 audition samples, I chose British voice actor Eilidh Beaton. Her ability to assume the voices of so many different characters is astonishing, and I am in awe of how she managed to put in so many hours over a relatively short period and still sound so fresh. Eilidh has over 100 audiobooks to her name, so that probably explain things! Click or tap the image or the link below it to hear a free sample over on Amazon.
Click this link or the image to hear a free sample on Amazon. The excerpt is the scene in past time where Emma’s best friend Lucy is sneaking out of her house in the middle of the night to try to find the time tunnel and get help for Emma, who is dangerously ill.
Thank you for your feedback! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
At the time of writing I’ve sold close to 9,000 copies of Return to the Secret Lake in the English language and the story has received nearly 400 ratings/reviews on Amazon with 83% 5-Star. This is truly heartwarming, especially as it was a rather nerve-wracking book to write following on from the success of book one! Children and adults say they especially love the mix of real history with a page-turning plot.
I am extremely grateful that no one so far has inadvertently included spoilers in their reviews — those who have read the book will know what I mean by this!
The German edition has also been extremely well received, and I’ve also just sold the Czech rights to Grada Publishing, whose readers loved book one!
If you’ve bought and enjoyed Return to the Secret Lake, or its German translation, please do take a moment to leave a short review online as it will help other families find the story. Thank you!
The Secret Lake: illustrated Spanish edition coming soon!
In other exciting news, over the summer a major Spanish publisher bought the rights to The Secret Lake and is creating a colour illustrated version, which I hope will be out in 2023. I even got to choose from their final shortlist of illustrators, and have since been commenting on her pencil illustrations, which are amazing! I can’t wait to share the final result with you once it’s out! Watch this space 😊.
Books from past time…
Earlier this year, my husband’s aunt died at the incredible age of 103. Before her house was sold, her daughter asked if I’d like to take a look through her collection of children’s books. Of course, I couldn’t resist. Below is a small sample of those I brought home — I’m sure that some older readers here will recognise at least some of them. The Water Babies is an 1899 Edition!
Another interesting fact is that Anne Logue (my husband’s aunt who owned these books) was married to Valentine Logue, son of Lionel Logue who was speech and language therapist to King George VI, and a main character portrayed in the film The King’s Speech. She said that her husband said that the somewhat downtrodden family apartment featured in the film was not accurate at all! The Logues apparently lived in a far grander property in Bolton Gardens, which is a very upmarket part of London!
Would you like a school visit?
Before I go, just to say please do get in touch or look at the school visits page here on my website if you think your child’s primary/prep/elementary school would like an in-person or virtual visit. For older pupils or secondary schools I can run talks on how books get made and writing and publishing in the digital age. I am mostly booked on World Book Day week 2023, but do still have a couple of slots for Zoom visits —and plenty of availability at other times for in-person or Zoom visits.
That’s it for now. I’ll be in touch again in the new year. In the meantime, for everyone in the northern hemisphere, I hope you are able to find imaginative ways to stay warm without breaking the bank!
Happy reading in the meantime! 📚 😊
PS Reminder: if you/ your pupils or children have read Return to the Secret Lake or any of my other books it would be wonderful if you could take a moment to leave a short review online if you’ve not yet done so. Every little helps spread the word. Thank you!