Posted in personal, progress, thoughts

Blog Update

Hello everyone! I haven’t posted in a long time, a lot of little things have unfortunately been high priority, most importantly the birth of my twin daughters.

I don’t like leaving things unfinished and I don’t like that I left a short story incomplete, I need to get back into the swing of things. I hope in the upcoming weeks to get this blog nice and readable, enjoyable and back to business, as it were.

Thanks for reading!

Posted in progress, writing

Writing Update

It’s been a very long time since I put any sort of writing update on here but I’ve been itching to do it lately, so here it goes.

Project Robot, a story loosely Christmas related, is something I’ve to tried to re-write today went well but there’s so much I need to change.  The second draft of it is underway and it’s a bit disheartening to think I may need a couple of extra re-writes before I feel it’s ready for publication.

Project three, my favourite project out of everything I’ve ever done has been sent to agencies.  I’ve only done it recently and feel quite bad as it was ready months ago but only recently has the motivation come back into my life.

I have actually been paid to write articles over the past couple of months and have loved living the dream – being paid actual, real-life money to write.  I just wish it was on a more permanent basis.  I need to find more clients or better websites that will hire me for my talents.

Not to use it as an excuse but I’m 6 months pregnant with twins so I tend to be lethargic in the evenings and haven’t pushed myself to do any more than the above.  I really hope that in 12 months time, I’ll have another publication in Christopher Fielden’s “Nonsensically Challenged”, a bit more of a steady income, more completed work, all while juggling 4 children!.

I think one thing that will help with motivation is posting a bit more on my blog, so you’ll definitely see more of these posts and more picture book reviews.  I must stick with this momentum and carry on!

 

Posted in progress

Review: Spookyrumpus

This week I’m reviewing Spookyrumpus by Tony Mitton and illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees.

Image result for spookyrumpus

My Rating: 8 out of 10
Son’s Rating: 8 out of 10

The rhyming story takes you on an adventure through the dark woods, past bubbling cauldrons and a castle yard, it is the perfect Halloween read for those who are keen on being excited by spooky characters.

I find Tony Mitton can do no wrong with his storytelling, he encapsulates the theme of spooky situations so easily, it’s one of those reads where, as a writer, I wish I had come up with it first.  It’s a lighthearted story which incorporates numbers counting down to describe all the groups of characters.  I have read this many times to my children and it was only re-reading it for this review that I found an extra little bonus with this story – two extra characters on each page.  They link up nicely together and solidify the narration, direction and flow superbly.

Image result for spookyrumpus

Guy Parker-Rees partnering up with Tony has got to be one of the best partnerships I’ve come across in the hundreds of children’s book I’ve read.  The illustrations are bright, cheerful, fun and exciting to look at.  What I like in particular is how the text flows around the images and wraps around to suit each page, it makes it enjoyable to read plus I find, as a writer, it inspires and reminds me that text doesn’t necessarily have to be placed on over an image – it needs to be part of each page.

There’s a lot to look at on each page and in other books there is always the danger of overdoing it and being overstimulated to the point it confuses you as a reader but I find there’s a good level of detail on each page, everything you need to look is easy and simple – a fundamental for children’s picture books.  The colour scheme matches well too, in this case, with Halloween – lots of greens, oranges and brown.

A part of me wants to say to read this in October, the optimal month for getting the best reaction from your child, but it’s such a fun story, you could read this all year round and be thrilled by it every time, anytime.

I have read other Tony Mitton and Guy Parker-Rees books and have found similar themes throughout each of them but to me, that proves that he has a particular style and the audience are happy with what they read.

Comments from my son:

“I love the page with the big pie”

If you liked this read, try the next book by Tony Mitton and Guy Parker-Rees “Bumpus Jumpus Dinosaurumpus“.

 

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DID YOU LIKE THIS REVIEW?

As any reviewer will tell you, do your homework, and the results will pay off, so homework is what I did. If you feel I’ve missed something, please let me know. I’ve got notes upon notes of what to put in and leave out. Likewise, if it’s too long or too short do let me know. I’m refining this skill little by little every day.

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Posted in progress

Review: Best Friends

Next in my reviews is a sweet and happy book called Best Friends, written by Mara Bergman and illustrated by Nicola Slater.

Printed by Hodders Children’s Books, the story intertwines the adventures of three dogs and how their escapades bring three people together.

Image result for best friends mara bergman

 

My Rating: 9 out of 10
Son’s Rating: 9 out of 10

In my opinion, the book does a superb job at being a fun and enjoyable read.  I particularly liked how each dog has its own tale (or tail!) and the illustrations perfectly match the tone and goals set by Mara so very well.

The thing I love about this book is how simple and easy the rhyming text is to read.  The main focus is on the dogs and each character has a unique trait but, as any dog owner will tell you, the dogs also share the same goals – in this instance it’s playtime!

The humans are likeable too, even the background ones, Nicola really does a wonderful job at the simple but effective illustrations, a favourite part of the story is Dexter shaking all of the water off himself.   I can’t find fault with the children in the story, as a huge cat fanatic myself, I found myself drawn to the loveable dogs.

Image result for mara bergman best friends

I’d say the age range for this book is those aimed at primary school, around 4 to 8-year-olds.  I find it an original story, which could easily be adapted into a film or for an older audience.  The strong theme of friendship is highlighted throughout the story, I like how each dog has a good relationship with the children, and how the children easily manage to form their own new friendships.

My eldest loved this book.  When I first bought it, he wanted to re-read it several times over, his name is within the book too, which was an added bonus for him, I think.

Mara has done an excellent job of achieving her goals within the story, Nicola, with the illustrations too.  If you aren’t a dog fan by the end of the book you need to re-read it!

This is another book where I think “Why didn’t I come up with that idea?” type of realisations.  I like stories that have a lot of layers and plots and this ticked those boxes.

Comments from my son:

“I love the part where the dogs jump into the water

“I love this book”

If you liked this read, try Snip Snap by Mara Bergman

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DID YOU LIKE THIS REVIEW

As any reviewer will tell you, do your homework, and the results will pay off, so homework is what I did. If you feel I’ve missed something, please let me know. I’ve got notes upon notes of what to put in and leave out. Likewise, if it’s too long or too short do let me know. I’m refining this skill little by little every day.

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Posted in progress, writing

Applying For Writing Jobs

Tonight I finally did it.  Now that I’m at this point I naturally wonder why I didn’t do this sooner (thanks brain!) but I’ve finally got my feet on the pedals, I just need to keep cycling and aim for the finish line, which I will cross. For those with a curious nature, I’ve headed over to Guru.  Maybe if you are in the same position you could always give it a try?

Posted in progress, writing

Giving Guru A Shot

Looking around the internet, I’ve been pointed towards www.guru.com for freelance work.  As the previous post explains, this is new to me, and I don’t know anyone in my waking world who can provide advice, so this stage feels like I’m in the dark searching for the light switch – I’m thinking “What now? What do I need to know? What should I look out for?” It feels like the internet is the only thing that will provide those answers.

Posted in progress, writing

Freelance Work – What To Expect?

I’m at a point where I’m looking for paid writing work. I’ve registered for freelance jobs but should I get some interest what should I expect? I’ve never been self-employed so there’s uncertainty over the unknown (obviously) but does anyone have experience, either positive or negative, with successfully getting a steady ish income from freelancing?

Posted in progress, writing

Saturday Agent Time

I’ve concentrated on looking for a literary agent this morning.  If you’ve not done this task before, you might think it can’t be that hard surely? Google, get an email address and submit. You’d be very wrong, to say the least.

Starting with Google is a definite, but then the hard work really comes in after that point.  So you find an agent, you then have a look at their successes, what clients they represent and what books have been published.  It’s at this point where you leave the website and go back to square one.  More than likely you’ll find out around this stage if your manuscript would have fit in.  If it did, then you would have gone to the submissions page.  So you research again, and again and you keep on going until you find one that ticks all of your boxes.

Then next you look at the agents and what they are seeking, if they aren’t looking your type of work then go back to square one again. Keep on going until all of the above has been addressed.

Finally you’re at the exciting point, the submissions page. If you’ve done your homework then typically a good 80% of their criteria has already been completed, and you just tailor the covering letter, maybe change the font or file size quickly – all are simple jobs.

The process, for me this morning, has taken an hour.  Just to find someone who will represent the children’s picture book I’ve written.  I’ve even tried looking for a publisher directly who will accept unsolicited manuscripts, but I think I’ve got the determination and the skill to find an agent and go down a more accomplished route.  The more I do all of this, the more I’m picking up the necessary abilities to accomplish my task.  I will get there!