The Perfect Blend: Coffee and Kane


Currently Browsing: Books For Children

Retreating

It’s time for the Imagine Writing Retreat!

Based in the beautiful Victorian Manor of Northmoor on Exmoor, a small group of writers will be joining myself and my fellow ‘Imaginer’ Alison Knight, for 5 days of writing time, chatter, author talks and – very probably- wine sippage.

I’m banking on being considerably fitter on my return (there are lots of beautiful walks and plenty of stairs up to my attic bedroom)- and, hopefully, I’ll be in a position where my next novel is plotted, my latest proofing commission is complete and all my student workshops for the rest of 2018 are drafted. Do you think maybe I’m asking too much?

Our prime concern however, is to make sure that every single person attending has a fantastic time! We have two amazing guests (Dan Metcalf and Kate Griffin) a quiz, optional one-to-one advice sessions and lots of biscuits. What more could a writer ask?

While I’m on Exmoor the chances of decent Wi-Fi is slim, so there won’t be an Opening Lines blog this week.

If you try to contact me, then please be patient. I will get back to you asap.

See you on the other side…

Jenny xx

 

 

 

 

 


A summer of events

The summer, dare I say it, is almost over – and what a busy couple of months it’s been. From children’s writing workshops, to freezing cold festival fields and a singles club- I’ve encountered them all.

There’s no doubt that summer is my busiest time of the year- and the most rewarding.

This year I was lucky enough to teach three children’s writing workshops for Devon Libraries (Cullompton, South Molton and Crediton), as part of the Summer Reading Scheme for 2018, on the subject of ‘Mischief Makers’. I was heartened and impressed by the range of stories the children created and I’m happy to report that the next generation’s imagination is alive and well. (They also have a much firmer grasp on the stories of Dennis the Menace than I do- my memory of the Beano has certainly slipped with age!)

The children of Barnstaple also proved their imagination is in tiptop shape, when I taught a creative writing class at St Anne’s Community Centre (a 10 week series of writing classes for children begins there in September- email me at imaginecreativewriting.com for details).

In July, I was invited to teach a short story writing workshop at the Chudleigh Literary Festival. A wonderful event; I had a great day surrounded by loads of talented writers, special guests and book lovers. Huge thanks to Elizabeth Ducie for inviting me along.

Last weekend I, along with many of my fellow Exeter Author Association members (PJ Reed, Richard Dee, Tracey Norman, Mark Norman and Susie Williamson), returned to Chilcompton for their annual fringe festival.

In 2017, when we attended Chilcompton, it was so hot that some of us suffered from heat sickness. This year that was never going to be a problem. To say it rained doesn’t really do the persistent and heavy downpour that lasted all day, justice.

Dressed as characters from out books, we all looked the part; from elf, to steampunk man, to medieval lady and beyond…however…as we were freezing cold we rather overdid the layers. Six layers in my case- and you can tell!

Never ones to give up easily, the EAA carried on regardless! Our talk audiences were rather smaller than usual, but the smiles were still wide. I had great fun talking to this little gathering about Robin Hood. Fingers crossed for a mild dry day next year!

As well as my usual workshops, my summer events finished off with an author talk to the Young at Heart singles club in St Sidwells, Exeter. Chatting away about how my writing career began was great fun. It soon became clear that a couple of the ladies in the group had always wanted to write, but had never been brave enough. By the time I left one had written the start of a short children’s story, and another had told a whole story via answering random questions. Fantastic!

Thank you to everyone who has hosted both me and my fellow EAA members this summer.

Now- if you’ll excuse me I’d better go and edit my next novel…

Happy reading,

Jenny


Opening Lines: Be Careful What Your Wish For by Lynne North

It’s Opening Lines time again!

This week I’m welcoming Lynne North to my blog with the first 500 words (exactly) of her children’s novel, ‘Be Careful What You Wish For.’

Let’s dive in…

 

First 500 words of ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’

Finn O’Shea ran as if his life depended on it. This time he thought it might. He squelched along at a gallop, soaked through by the pouring rain that had begun suddenly when he was at the greatest possible distance from home. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Finn groaned when he saw the first flash of lightning. “Oh no!” he said to the dark sky above him.

Lightening wasn’t good. It always chased him. The saying about lightning never striking twice in the same place had been proved wrong by Finn countless times. No matter how he zigged and zagged through the village in stormy weather, the black clouds dogged his footsteps and threw their bolts right at him. They were more used to zigging and zagging than he was, so they usually won. He had only been knocked out once, but he’d had so many jolts he sometimes wondered why he didn’t light up at night.

He veered right, narrowly missed by an almighty flash, then leapt over a huge puddle that threw itself into his path. The lightning had another try to the left, but Finn’s nifty dodge and scream still had him pelting for home. He could see the green front door ahead inviting him to safety. The sight gave him the extra strength to pound his feet, leap and dodge and fling himself head first through the unlocked door. It bashed against the wall with an alarming thump as Finn bent double, his hands on his knees, dripping water all over the hallway and gasping for breath.

Finn’s mum appeared, a shocked look on her face. She stared at Finn, then at the open door beyond him. “Oh, lightning again,” was all she said. She walked past him and closed the door, then added, “Go and get changed, then bring your wet clothes down.”

As Finn took off his soaked pants and top he thought about his attraction for lightning bolts. They didn’t aim for anyone else in the village, so why him? Once he was dry and his mum had taken his dirty, wet clothes away, he asked, “Why me, Mum? Leprechauns are supposed to be lucky. I thought we were born that way. What happened to me?”

His mum handed him a warm drink and sighed. “Well, we’re not exactly all born lucky,” she began, “though I’m not sure the Fates smiled on you at all when you were born. It was more like they had a good laugh at your expense. Your first view of the world was upside down when Mrs Ahearne, the midwife, dropped you on your head. I don’t think it did you any harm though.”

Finn rubbed his head, just thinking about it.

His mum continued. “Contrary to popular belief, leprechauns aren’t born lucky. Fortune is a blessing bestowed by the Good Luck Fairy, providing she’s in an agreeable mood, and more to the point, as long as she’s there.”

Finn frowned. His mum wasn’t making any sense…

Blurb

Be Careful What You Wish For is a children’s humorous fantasy.

Finn is a bored young leprechaun who lives a quiet life with his family and friends in the sleepy village of Duntappin. He wants something exciting to happen, but never having been blessed by the Good Luck Fairy he soon gets far more than he bargained for.  When he least expects his adventure to begin, Finn finds himself a long way from home in dire circumstances. Home begins to seem very appealing all of a sudden. Has he any hope of getting back? This is no fairy tale…

This funny and fast moving story filled by weird and wonderful characters will turn all your expectations on their head, but that’s a good thing, because it makes them all the more amusing.

***

Bio

I am a children’s author who lives in the north west of England. I have been a prolific reader all my life, and for many years have spent most of my free time writing. As well as being educated up to degree level, I have completed courses and received diplomas from ‘The Writing School Ltd’ and ‘The Academy of Children’s Writers’. My aim in life has always been to write, and I have had a sideline of freelance writing for more years than I like to admit to having lived. This has mainly involved published articles in such magazines as ‘Prediction’. I have also completed several children’s novels. ‘Caution: Witch in Progress’ was published by Ghostly Publishing in 2013 and launched at Earl’s Court Book Fair. I released something completely different on Kindle in 2014, a compilation of 13 macabre Twist in the Tale short stories, titled ‘Unlucky For Some’ and definitely NOT for children! If you enjoy scary, check it out! A short children’s fantasy, ‘Emily and the Enchanted Wood’ was released by my new publisher, Crimson Cloak Publishing, towards the end of 2015. A very different children’s humorous fantasy, ‘Be Careful What You Wish For’, was released by Crimson Cloak Publishing on St Patrick’s Day 2016. Crimson Cloak Publishing also re-released ‘Caution’ along with the sword and sorcery fantasy, ‘Zac’s Destiny’, later in 2016. At the end of 2016 my first Role-play gamebook, ‘The Chalice of Jupiter’ became a reality, with more quests to come in the future! I am currently working on my next Crimson Cloak Quest, a short companion book to ‘Caution: Witch in Progress’, and a fantasy novel for young adults titled ‘Dimensions’. I am also working as the Marketing Director for Crimson Cloak Publishing.

Links

Blog   http://www.lynnenorth.co.uk/blog/

Website   http://www.lynnenorth.co.uk/

Author page on CCP  http://www.crimsoncloakpublishing.com/lynne-north.html

Universal Link to Amazon: http://myBook.to/WishFor

Pinterest:  https://uk.pinterest.com/lynnenorth/be-careful-what-you-wish-for/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Lynne.North.Author/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lynne_North

***

Many thanks for your 500 words Lynne!

I hope you all enjoyed that. Next week we have Catherine Kullman visiting with her 500 opening words.

Happy reading,

Jenny x

 


London Hat Hunting Mission Blog Tour: Interview with Winnie Mak Tselikas

Today I’m welcoming Winnie Mak Tselikas to my site to chat a little about her brand new children’s book, London Hat Hunting Mission, as part of her fabulous blog tour.

Let’s get started…

What inspired you to write your book?

I am Chinese from Hong Kong and my husband is half French half Greek, we have a 3-yr old son. Having grown up in a traditional Chinese family and now having my own multicultural family gave me food for thought on my own cultural root, role as a mum, and the world I want my son to be in. I believe the world can become a better place when people can better appreciate themselves as they are and at the same time respect the differences in others. So when I found that I couldn’t find a nice black rag doll for my son easily, it inspired me to create multicultural doll characters so that children from different part of the world can be represented in toys and books.

When I first moved to London, the diversity of people I got to meet here amazed me. The idea of this story in London comes naturally when I want to write a storybook that explores cultural diversity.

Do you model any of your characters after people you know? If so, do these people see themselves in your characters?

I chose the name of one character after my Indian friend. I develop the characters base on an existing personality model, so each character has his/her own personality. For example, Lea is logical and analytical while Parth likes hands on experience.

Have you always loved hats??

I don’t love hats in particular but I find it an illustrative way to introduce cultural diversity to children on picture books. I also like to imagine everyone having a unique invisible hat that controls how we think. While each of us has a different hat, I can’t really expect other people think like I do.

What excites you the most about your book?

It excites me each time when I hear from parents or teachers that they think positively of my book. I am also happy to receive plenty of interest from schools when I approach them on an upcoming book tour around London, so the opportunities to tell the story in front of a big group of children excite me too!

Any more books on the horizon?

My plan is to make the Adventure in One Dear World a series for the dolls and Mr Globe to travel around the world! I will probably set the scene of my next book in Paris. Later on, I would like to incorporate more cultural elements such as language, food, festivals in the future books/products I develop so children can have an all round experience through the stories.

Blurb :

Four little Londoners, Hope, Jun, Lea and Parth, come from a different cultural background, are good friends living in London. They are travelling to the iconic places around the city in search of magic hats to cure Mr Globe’s headache.

 The book is illustrated with a mix of real life photographs of iconic places in London and digital illustration so children can have a vivid visual experience of London and at the same time open up their world of imagination.

Buy Link: https://onedearworld.com/products/childrensbook-london-hat-hunting-mission 

Amazon UK –https://amzn.to/2HbY6e6

***

Links:

Homepage: https://www.onedearworld.com

Bio:

Winnie Mak Tselikas is a believer in diversity. Born and raised in Hong Kong, she studied engineering, worked in commercial sales and in 2011 switched to education upon moving to London. There, she met her half-French, half-Greek husband and they had a son, who now has family in China, France, Greece, HK, the UK and the US. Winnie considers her son to be a world citizen rather than of a particular nationality or culture. Inspired by her family and London’s diversity, she founded One Dear World and created the lovely adventures of Mr. Globe and the little Londoner dolls.

Social Media Links –

www.facebook.com/onedearworld

www.twitter.com/onedearworld

www.instagram.com/onedearworld

***

(This is a Rachel’s Ransom Resources Blog Tour)

Don’t forget to catch every leg of the blog tour!

Happy reading,

Jenny x

 


World Book Day: My Favourite Reads.

It’s World Book Day today!!

Having spent a fabulous weekend at the Stoke Lodge Hotel, near Dartmouth (Devon, UK), celebrating World Book Day early with the wonderful Annette Shaw from Devon Life magazine – hearing a wide variety of talks from all sides of the writing world- as well as from those whose jobs are made so much easier by sharing the joy of reading – I thought I’d share my favourite books with you.

As a child I read from an early age. Once I’d discovered the joy of books I never looked back. I would spend many happy hours locked in the world of The Folk of the Faraway Tree (Enid Blyton), with the likes of Moonface, Silky and Saucepan Man. I explored the imagination of Roald Dahl with The BFG. I got lost in the tales of British Myths and Legends, and walked through the trees with The Animals of Farthing Wood (Colin Dann).

By the time my teens arrived, I was seldom without a Robin of Sherwood novel (Richard Carpenter/Robin May/Anthony Horowitz), and I read Ivanhoe so often the cover began to fall off the book.

The book that stuck with me the most however- one I recall my final year primary school teacher reading to us a class each day before home time – was The Christmas Carol by Dickens. I can’t begin to describe how much I love that book. I have several copies of it, from children’s Ladybird editions, to one beautiful work written in a calligraphic style.

It took me into a world of Victorian realism, hope and magic that was far removed from the awfulness of being a shy child with low self esteem in the 1980’s.

As I grew, my tastes expanded, and now it’s a rare day when I don’t have a murder mystery or a chick lit novel awaiting my attention by the side of the bed. Whenever the days are tough doing, I will reread The Rose Revived by Katie Fforde, as it never fails to lift my mood. When I want to laugh out loud, I reach for my trusty copy of Men at Arms – or possibly Masquerade (I love them equally) – by the much missed Terry Pratchett. And if I just want to smile, I will re-read my all time favourite children’s book – Little Miss Sunshine (by Roger Hargreaves)– a character who I have always loved, and who appears on a great many objects around my house, from mugs to toothbrush holder.

At the moment I am happily devouring Murder at the Bayswater Bicycle Club by Linda Stratman – the latest in the Frances Doughty Mysteries– a series I adore.

The magic of reading- or being read to- never falls to amaze me. It is therapy- it is hope- it is escapism- adventure- romance- an adrenalin rushing fear with a solution….and so much more.

So today, rather than put the TV on when you get home, why not curl up with a good book? Read to your child, read to your partner…just read. You never know where the words will take you.

If you aren’t sure which book to read, I have written one or two! Just see the links at the top of the page.

Have a lovely World Book Day,

Jenny xxx

 

 

 


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