Monday, 20 August 2018

Beta reading and critting

I'm thinking of adding a service to my site that I beta-read/crit a children's manuscript for 1p per word.

Should I make it publicly available to all visitors to my site or just for members or both (1p per word for Jo Public and 1p per 100 words for members)?  Picture books would be £1 for everyone as they are so short.

As always, all thoughts are welcome!

Currently updating my...

Thanks to SCBWI overnight and this morning, I realised I hadn't updated my author's CV since December 2016 so I've been working on that this morning and realising just how much authory type experience I've got and how much doing the free courses really have helped to improve it!

If you're looking for an agent, like me, then I definitely recommend getting to work on your author's CV (not your "normal" CV, an additional one reserved purely for agents and publishers) just in case they spring the "show us yer writing CV then" when you get that full manuscript request... you can then go "no probs, it's attached" in reply to their email instead of rushing to put one together and not creating such a good impression after all. 

Better to be too prepared and not need it, than totally unprepared I reckon!  👍😀

Thursday, 16 August 2018

With thanks to my in-house geek...

Just put up a new page in the members area but couldn't get either of the navigation dooberries to show up, so I grovelled with my in-house geek and it was sorted within 5 minutes!

Thank you so so much, Steve!

Book review: "Who's taken it?" by Andrew Green

⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

What an adorable little book!  

The names at the start will be hard for younger children to get their head around because they are long and complicated but that's the only reason I'm knocking off a star.

It's cute, funny and it really rhymes.  The pictures on each page are adorable and he's put a couple of spreads on their sides which are awesome!

WTG, Andrew!  Keep up with the great work and I can't wait to read your next one!

If you've got a child who is pre-school to Year 2 then definitely get this book for them, if your child is below pre-school then you may find you have to read the first few pages a few times before they understand the names that the author has used.

A definite must read for young children at any time of day though!

Saturday, 11 August 2018

If you subbed to March Hamilton...

If you subbed to March Hamilton during July, then you prolly already know this, but just in case...

They are going to be emailing everyone who subbed with feedback on their submission over the next few days and they've got another submission window open to everyone starting on Monday so don't give up too soon!  Finish polishing a different manuscript ready to sub to them next week then be prepared to take on their feedback on your manuscript, act on it, edit and try somewhere else... it's not often that you get feedback on your submission from a publisher so grab this opportunity with both hands!

This is copied and pasted from the email they sent to everyone yesterday:

Our next submission window is opening soon!

From the 13th of August - the 30th of September our submissions will be open to EVERYONE. Anyone who has written a book for children and Young Adults is free to submit their writing during this window, using the guidelines on the 'Submissions' section of our website.

We look forward to seeing what you've got to share with us!

It's a 6 week long submission window so take your time to get it right first.  Don't give up and don't rush it, but get that editing hat on and really focus on getting everything as right as possible ready for the next submission window!

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Oh dear, I seem to have caused...

It was a simple question - how do you spell the female version of vampire.  Nothing more, nothing less and 2 people have been arguing on my Twitter feed with each other about if it should be vampiresse or just plain vampire.

I honestly didn't mean to cause the argument, I just wanted to be sure of my spelling in the first draft of my WIP but a couple of people are at each others throats about it now!


Sorry everyone!

Book review: Don't let me go by Jamila Mikhail

⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5

This is a good book, but the spelling mistakes of certain words and occasional "you what?" bits due to the author obviously thinking of one way to write the sentence then changing her mind part way through and instead of deleting the part she wants to re-word, the author has just gone on to the new version part way through the sentence.

It was a bit weird with it being in first person for a couple of chapters but when I got into the book I got used to it and didn't think any more of it.

The author has really put a creative spin on how a teen really does feel.  Buy this book, as long as you can skip over the errors in it.

Monday, 6 August 2018

First chapter is always the hardest

Just finished the first chapter which is always the hardest for me to write, so I've just got 49 chapters at 1500 words each to write and it's finito. 

It definitely helps to have the scenes within each chapter planned out, especially the first and last few chapters, but I obviously planned this one before I understood how scenes work and I really appreciate being able to write according to a tight plan now! 

Twas difficult at first, but it's so much easier to write 250-500 words (depending on the type of book) for each scene and not forget anything, than planning the whole chapter in a sentence then totally forget about something vital until several chapters too late like I did before I discovered yWriter and especially now that I understand the scene planning!

Terror in the year 3000

Just making a start on writing my first ever sci-fi romance YA novel this afternoon.  I didn't plan out the scenes so it's gonna be even harder to write but I'm sure it'll be fine when I've got into the main character's head in the first couple of chapters!

Friday, 3 August 2018

And it's all finished!

Just finished writing the synopsis... the yWriter one didn't make sense so I typed it all out meself instead.

The synopsis needs to be edited at some point, but it's OK for now.

That's all the editing done and dusted

That's the editing finished, just gotta finish me crisps and write the synopsis now!  😌

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Edited up to...

I've edited up to chapter 34 this afternoon, so as long as I remember to keep editing from there it'll be finished by bed time tomorrow then I've just gotta work on the synopsis for it... assuming I remember what happens in each chapter of course!  Might fire up yWriter and see if I planned it out in there.

Yep, I planned out the novel in yWriter so it's pretty much all in there, ready for me to finish editing so that I can do the synopsis!  Yay!  👍

3 down, 1 to go

Finished editing the picture book and 2 early readers, so I'm gonna make a start on my JanNo novel now... it's just under 50k so hopefully it'll be ready to rock and roll by this time tomorrow!

1 down, 3 to go

Just edited the picture book, so I've got 2 early readers and a novel left to edit now.  I'm hoping to get the early readers sorted before I head to bed then I'll work on the novel tomorrow and over the weekend.  I can so do this.

Monday, 30 July 2018

Just subbed to March Hamilton

March Hamilton have had an open submission window during July and I've just subbed in the last week 'cos it was the most appropriate one for me... I could have subbed last week 'cos I'm a low income author but this week is for disabled and chronically ill which I have been for the last 20 years.

Too late to do anything about it now though!

Garlic and Onions is out there waiting to be read and hopefully taken on!

Friday, 13 July 2018

Book review: what they don't tell you about love in the movies by Claire Watts


This is a good, if slightly confusing book.

It's written in first person but there are several different main characters, all written in first person and the only clue you've got that the character has changed is that the character's name is written in brackets immediately before the character changes... that's the only reason I'm knocking a star off though.

It's a good read, but slightly mature in places.  The main character is 16 so the target reading age is young teens... do you really want a 13 or 14 year old to come out with the swear words that are in the book and there's talk of sex and condoms and being naked/sleeping together that I personally think is too mature for young teens.

There were film credits written at the start of each chapter that I gave up reading after a few chapters because they really didn't add to the story other than being briefly mentioned in passing.

Buy it and encourage your teen to read it, just be prepared for dealing with swearing and the morals of sex after reading this book.

Book review: Just Sam by Kristy Brown



What an awesome book... Kristy has really got into the main characters head and written a book that well and truly speaks to the reader.

Just be prepared to have a few tissues at the ready 'cos there are some bits that really tugged at my heart and I blubbed like a baby as I read them.

If you've got a young teen in your life who is looking for an awesome read, get them this book and a packet of tissues then tell them to curl up with this book and be prepared to really care about Sam.

If you're after a great, easy read, definitely get this book and curl up in a ball in bed with it, just be prepared to snivel a few times and maybe a few tears to drip onto the pages too.

Friday, 6 July 2018

Finished editing the last Early Reader, so...

Payj and Scott was only 500 words so I spent yesterday evening and a lot of today writing the rest of it.

Tomorrow I'm gonna start on the Easy Readers now that I know how to format manuscripts!  After that, I'll work on the Early Chapter books which'll take me a while, but it needs to be done if I want to even be considered by publishers and agents.

All set to sub to March Hamilton at the end of this month and to Alice Williams Literary soon then I can mark them off on my spreadsheet and keep me fingers crossed that I'll be taken on!

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

After a total edit-athon for the last 2 days...

I've just finished editing Garlic and Onions for the final time before I sub it to March Hamilton at the end of this month.  Two days of total concentration for 12 or more hours each day and I'm happy for it to leave my machine when the appropriate submission window opens up!

Wish me luck!

Monday, 2 July 2018

Book review: Brian Brackbrick... Volume 1 by G R Dix


What a funny little book!  The character names and personalities are full of humour and it really got me guessing what would happen next!

The author has really got into the head of young readers and it's one of a sadly lacking minority of Early Chapter Books that don't focus on the main character being at school.  WTG G R Dix!  You've really got into the head of your young readers and made me want to keep reading even though I'm 30 years older than Brian.

Keep up the great work!

The only reason I'm not giving this book the full 5 stars is because there are just too many names to remember even for an adult, let alone a small child who is just starting to discover the delights of reading alone.

Can't wait to read Volume 2!!

Sunday, 1 July 2018

I know know exactly what submitted MSs should look like

A combination of SCBWI and Danielle helped me to work out what an ECB, MG and YA should all look like, so tomorrow I'll be editing all the MSs to look how they really should tomorrow!

Hopefully I'll have a publisher and/or an agent by the end of the year if I can remember how to do it by the morning lol

It's Danielle and a SCBWI member (I don't know if she wants me to name her, so I'll protect her identity just in case) coming together this evening that helped me to get it all sorted at last and assuming I get a publisher I'll know that it's my writing rather than the look of the manuscript that they are rejecting.

Next week is going to be a huge editing week for me!

Just in case I forget, it should look like this:

Chapter 1
 Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Nulla facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. Mauris vitae ultricies leo integer malesuada nunc. Sed augue lacus viverra vitae congue. Eu scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Eu mi bibendum neque egestas. Arcu ac tortor dignissim convallis aenean et tortor. Eget felis eget nunc lobortis mattis aliquam. Quam quisque id diam vel quam elementum. Donec ac odio tempor orci dapibus ultrices in iaculis nunc. Id leo in vitae turpis massa. Ornare suspendisse sed nisi lacus sed. Rhoncus mattis rhoncus urna neque viverra justo nec.
     Velit euismod in pellentesque massa placerat duis ultricies. Tempus quam pellentesque nec nam aliquam. Egestas diam in arcu cursus euismod. Est lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing. Dis parturient montes nascetur ridiculus mus mauris vitae. Consequat interdum varius sit amet mattis. Suscipit adipiscing bibendum est ultricies integer quis. Ut aliquam purus sit amet luctus. Volutpat sed cras ornare arcu dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum. Tellus elementum sagittis vitae et leo. Scelerisque eleifend donec pretium vulputate sapien nec sagittis aliquam malesuada. Elementum facilisis leo vel fringilla est ullamcorper eget nulla. Est placerat in egestas erat imperdiet sed euismod nisi. Blandit massa enim nec dui nunc mattis enim ut.
     Nunc consequat interdum varius sit amet mattis vulputate enim nulla. Montes nascetur ridiculus mus mauris vitae ultricies leo. Consectetur adipiscing elit ut aliquam purus sit amet luctus venenatis. Condimentum lacinia quis vel eros donec ac odio tempor orci. Ipsum suspendisse ultrices gravida dictum fusce ut placerat orci nulla. Venenatis tellus in metus vulputate eu scelerisque. Lorem donec massa sapien faucibus et molestie ac feugiat sed. Non blandit massa enim nec dui nunc mattis enim. Ut tristique et egestas quis ipsum suspendisse ultrices. Nascetur ridiculus mus mauris vitae ultricies. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus. Interdum consectetur libero id faucibus.
     Eros in cursus turpis massa. Eu non diam phasellus vestibulum lorem sed risus ultricies tristique. Accumsan tortor posuere ac ut consequat semper viverra nam libero. Viverra aliquet eget sit amet tellus cras adipiscing enim. Ut venenatis tellus in metus vulputate eu. Nisl vel pretium lectus quam id leo in vitae turpis. Suspendisse sed nisi lacus sed viverra tellus in. Ut lectus arcu bibendum at varius vel. Duis ultricies lacus sed turpis tincidunt id aliquet risus feugiat. Massa ultricies mi quis hendrerit. Netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas integer eget aliquet. Congue eu consequat ac felis. Adipiscing diam donec adipiscing tristique. In est ante in nibh. Ac odio tempor orci dapibus ultrices in iaculis nunc. Eu tincidunt tortor aliquam nulla facilisi cras. Nisl nunc mi ipsum faucibus vitae aliquet nec ullamcorper sit. Amet nisl suscipit adipiscing bibendum est ultricies integer quis. Sed cras ornare arcu dui vivamus arcu felis.
     Neque ornare aenean euismod elementum. Sed sed risus pretium quam vulputate. Vitae semper quis lectus nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. Urna molestie at elementum eu facilisis sed. Ornare suspendisse sed nisi lacus sed viverra tellus in. Pulvinar sapien et ligula ullamcorper malesuada proin. Placerat vestibulum lectus mauris ultrices eros in cursus turpis massa. Sagittis id consectetur purus ut faucibus pulvinar elementum. Pellentesque pulvinar pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et. Dui faucibus in ornare quam viverra orci sagittis eu volutpat. Viverra adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat. Tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus. Eleifend quam adipiscing vitae proin. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id. Tincidunt eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis magna. Quisque sagittis purus sit amet volutpat consequat. Erat pellentesque adipiscing commodo elit at imperdiet dui. Libero nunc consequat interdum varius sit amet mattis vulputate enim.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Writing for children doesn't make you rich overnight

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Get those MSs ready for July, peeps!

There's a new, small publisher that has got an open submission month in July.

I emailed them to see if they accepted Early Readers and Easy Readers 'cos it doesn't say anything on the site about it and the Director herself replied to me at lunchtime saying that they are looking to expand to all books for young people so get those manuscripts polished over the next few days ready to send to them to March Hamilton during the appropriate time in July... let's show them that we want to grow with them and that there are loads of us budding authors who want to grow as they do!

The details and email address are all on the site that I've linked to up there ^^ so get ready to hopefully become a children's author with a new publisher who seem to be as passionate as we all are!

There are 3 windows of opportunity during July then they are having a couple of weeks to catch their breaths from being inundated then they are back to being open to everyone starting 13th August to 30th September.

Go for it everyone!!

Saturday, 16 June 2018


For all you writers out there, download and install yWriter - it's totally free and I couldn't be without it now!

I found out about it on the last day of my very first NaNo and haven't looked back since!

It's the second writing programme I install when I've got a new computer (Word is first and the ideas programme will be third next time I need to reinstall anything like if it's a new computer or there's some kind of Windows update that goes wrong or whatever) - I just couldn't be without it now!

It's totally free, no ads and no nag screens or annoying pop-ups or whatever.  It's all stored on your machine and doesn't need an internet connection so there's nothing not to love!

If you like it as much as I do, consider registering it and paying a totally optional license fee?  You don't get anything else and it's totally optional, but it encourages the programmer to keep at it and come up with more ideas for the next version. 

I've thanked him twice and register each version I install but that's totally optional, I like to think that that extra $9 (or whatever you choose to pay) and the little message he gets to say someone has registered the software makes his heart smile, even a little bit which keeps him motivated to keep creating which keeps me motivated to keep planning, which keeps me motivated to keep writing that best seller!

Give it a go... it's simple to use and a must-have for any writer!

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Grammar question

Grammar question: Full stop or comma between the "bed for a bit" and "the sand and sea" in this paragraph please?

“It’s not even quarter past six yet, Little Man! Close the curtains and jump back into bed for a bit, the sand and sea will still be there in a couple of hours” said Dad.

I wrote it in TheoTed yesterday afternoon and it's nagging me to get it sorted before I write anything else lol

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

TheoTed finished now too

4,002 words written in about 10 hours ain't too bad, considering it was tough to get started first thing!

Got 4 manuscripts to edit now that have all been written in 2018 so I'm still too close to them to be as critical as I need to be, so maybe another Early Reader or even a MG novel started tomorrow... got 2 of 'em planned out and they are both fantasy and I doubt I'll be in the mood for NaNo this year 'cos of my ESA being reassessed so I'll be stressed to the max so I'll do Thraag for a while and save the Year 3000 for JanNo.

Titch has been written now

Just put the final full stop in the manuscript so I'm now going to crack open the bottle of Appletizer to celebrate.

Titch the Great Dane puppy

Gonna write an Early Reader today, but, as always, I'm struggling with the main character's name!

Steve suggested Titch who is a Great Dane puppy so I'm going with that just to get it written but I'm after your feedback, dear reader!

What do you reckon I should call the main character??

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Teddy bears

Hello everyone

Been a few weeks since my last blog post and I'm asking for your help with a new MS I'm planning.

I write for all ages other than board books and grown-up novels and I'm thinking of writing one with a teddy bear as the main character.

When I first came up with the idea, I thought PBs (0-5 year olds) were the way to go with it but now I'm wondering about maybe an early (5 years old) or easy reader (6-8 year olds) so that I can really show the teddy's personality a bit more but I don't know which one to go with... what do you reckon I should write please?

Leave me a comment on this post to let me know?

Friday, 25 May 2018

Friday, 18 May 2018

One down, one to go

Just finished editing the penultimate manuscript so I've just got this year's JanNo novel to edit then that's it!  No more editing!

Got two more novels planned out and I'm pretty much ready to go with the next course too, so I'll edit the last MS now, then relax until I start the course!

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Just finished editing my second MG novel of the day

Got one more ECB then this year's NaNo novel to edit tomorrow then it's all done and dusted, so I'll start studying at the weekend so that I can get out of the editing headspace and forget about all the editing I've done this week, learn some new stuff next week then start writing again the week after.

I've achieved a lot this week and I'm feeling pretty proud of myself right now at the constant level of motivation I've had this week.

I can so do this!!

Already achieved as much today as I did yesterday!

Edited one MG manuscript and written out the synopsis for it already today!

I've just opened up my second manuscript to edit that has already got a synopsis written for it.  Assuming I finish editing the second manuscript before bed time tonight, I'll only have an ECB and this years JanNo novel to edit then that's it!


Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Editing finished for the day

2 synopsises written and 1 MG MS edited - good job I did too, 'cos my computer must have thrown a strop on me when I wrote the first draft and ended up with one paragraph copied and pasted into itself, if that makes sense?  lol

All sorted now though.  Got 2 synopsises to write and 5 manuscripts to edit then that's all the editing sorted and I can either study my next course or another manuscript after that!


Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Only 2 MS edits today :-(

Didn't start until lunchtime today, so only managed one Early Chapter Book and a MG novel.

Gotta remember to ask Steve to put the telly on standby as soon as I come down in the morning, just for an hour or so, just so that I can totally immerse myself in editing and blocking everything else out.  Totally OK to have the telly back on when I've got into the editing, I just need silence for the first hour or so is all.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Editing finished for the day

Managed to edit one Early Chapter Book and two Middle Grade novels today, so I've got seven more manuscripts to work on then I'm all set and ready to start work on more manuscripts!

Prolly gonna work on Early Chapter Books first 'cos I haven't got too many of them compared to everything else, just one that's ready to rock and roll then two more that need editing, but that's it, so need to come up with some ideas for those as well as the two novels that I've planned out... gotta come up with some ideas for books that 8-10 year olds would want to read!  lol

Any ideas?  Please?

Edit-athon looming today

Got loads of manuscripts to edit today so I'd best get started!  lol

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Book review: Birdplane by Tonya Coffey


What an adorable little picture book!

Tiny Tom wants to fly like the birds and tries to work out how to go about it.  His first two attempts fail but it's third time lucky for the little ant!

If you're looking for a picture book that teaches the art of never giving up, get your hands on this book for your youngster!!

It's a good way to help your little listener to understand why s/he can't fly and is a good opportunity to talk about safety too, so that your little one doesn't think that gluing feathers onto a twig then jumping off a wall is a good idea like I tried to do as a toddler lol

Book review: The Faelti by Rachel Pudsey

✰✰✰✰ out of 5

Just finished reading this and it's another good, quickish read, I'm just confused about the King, Queen and Queen Mother bits is all.

Queen Mother calls the King her son so surely she should be King Mother unless the King and Queen are siblings in which case they wouldn't be ruling together and they mention each other as husband and wife, in which case there would only be 1 ruling party (the King) and the Queen would be a Princess, just like with the current royal family, right?

Also, it doesn't really get going for a couple of chapters again - waaay to much back story that could easily have been woven into the story and it starts with a view of someone that isn't mentioned again... would have been better to dive straight in to the action from where book 1 left off... this one ends on a cliff-hanger too that I bet won't be taken straight into the next book, disappointingly.

I know there needs to be back story, but the first couple of chapters could easily have been taken out and got straight into the story-telling from where the first book left off.

If you're after a YA fantasy read then give both of these books a read, just be prepared to read a couple of chapters at the start of each book that would have been a lot better without them in it.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Book review: The Watcher of the Night Sky by Rachel Pudsey

✩✩✩✩ out of 5

Just finished reading this book and it was just confusing in several parts 'cos it seemed to go from the 19th century with only two rooms in the school house and using parchment and quills to copy down information from a chalk board through to present day then back to the 19th century then back to being modern, often within the same chapter and there were a couple of times that I thought the book had come to an end but I'd barely started reading it!

If you're after a quick, YA fantasy read, then by all means give this book a read, just be prepared to be confused by the time periods in several places.

Planning sorted in 2.5 days

Just put the finishing touches to my plans for my pre-NaNo MS in 2.5 days which ain't bad going!

This novel will be written between now and the end of September then the Thraag one will be done for NaNo in November.  Considering 3 days ago I didn't have any ideas at all and now I've got 50 chapters planned out, I reckon I've done OK!

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

15 chapters left to plan out tomorrow

Just planned out chapter 35 so I've got 15 left to do tomorrow then I can start writing it on Friday.

20 chapters planned out since about 10am including 90 minutes of being shut down at lunchtime so that I could eat me jacket spud.

I could, in theory, keep planning out until bed time and get all 50 chapters sorted ready to start writing tomorrow, and might still do that, but right now I'm thinking I'll do it with a fresh muse tomorrow.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

I'm totally scrapping the horror bit now, thankfully

Thanks to the SCBWI bods, I'm not putting anything in the novel that would give me nightmares.

Blood will prolly be involved quite heavily 'cos one of the MCs is a vampire but that's it now... nightmares successfully avoided thankfully!

Also, I've saved meself 25 chapters worth of planning too, in that it'll be a 75k word novel instead of a 100k one.  Hoping to plan out about 20-25 chapters a day so that it'll be all planned out before the weekend, then I'll go back to studying and slowly work on the writing whenever the mood takes me until the end of September, a month-long break during October then NaNo in November.

I can so do this!

YA horror

I've always avoided writing horror in case it gives me nightmares like even minor horror does and because I've never read or watched anything even remotely horrorish I'm way out of my depth here.

I'm currently planning out a YA dystopian horror romance set in the future and I've just started setting the scene for the horror bit of it... could someone reply to this and give me some boundaries for minor horror that won't give anyone, including me, nightmares but is still classed as horror.

Thank you!  Really appreciate your input in this!

Book review: Stinky-Dog... where are you? by Lynne Russell

✩✩✩✩✩ out of 5

What an adorable little picture book!

Stinky-Dog, Louie and his family go to a theme park but Stinky-Dog gets lost but he has loads of fun when the park closes and gets thrown out by the parks staff because he's not one of their toys.

Louie gets upset so his dad goes back to the park and chases after the rubbish bin, rescues Stinky-Dog and returns him to Louie.

Full of emotion that a small child would understand but ends in happily ever after.

Definitely has the potential to be a favourite in the future for young children!

WTG, Lynne!!

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Finished another course

Just finished a writing course on was more about English than writing novels though!

Ho hum!

It was free to take though, so shouldn't complain too much!

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Damg's on Thraag

Can someone remind me, if I ask before NaNo this year, that the Thraag manuscript is planned out for NaNo in November and I'm not allowed to even look at it before my birthday in October please?

I just know that if I start reading the plan I've already made, I'll want to write it before November then I'll be left high and dry with less than a month to go!

Friday, 27 April 2018

Slight change of colour in the members area

Done a tiny bit of colour changing in the members area while Steve's been out and I did it all by myself - changed the CSS and the link colours and everything!

Steve'll be surprised when he gets home!  lol

Monday, 23 April 2018

Looking for...

I'm hoping to put up a few prompts on the main Stories site that visitors can use to write their own story with and, if they agree, I'll put them into the members area.  All rights will remain with the author and I'll try and remember to put a Creative Commons license on every one that will stop re-distribution.

Sooo, any prompts from my blog and/or site visitors?  Please?  You can't copyright ideas but I'll thank you on the site if I use your prompt!

It can be a word, several words or a sentence in text or a picture that you hold the copyright to if you prefer?

As long as it's suitable for children, anything goes!

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Book review: The Golden Fountain by Zuheb Alep

✰✰✰✰ out of 5

Just finished reading this and it was OK in parts but too young to be considered YA as the main character is only 12 so an 18 year old wouldn't want to read it, but some of the words are more YA than MG though so the author either needs to add several years onto the main character to make it truly suitable for YA readers or reconsider some of the words and phrases they've used so that MG readers don't get confuzzled and frustrated with not knowing what the words mean.

There are way too many characters too... the MC is OK, but there would ideally only be a few more, instead of the amount the author has used.

If you are an older MG reader who likes fantasy then give this book a read, but if you're looking for a YA read from this book then you'll be disappointed unless you can take yourself back to your childhood... sorry!

 Give it a read, just don't be surprised if you get frustrated by the MC being younger than you.

Friday, 6 April 2018

Possible future picture book idea?

I've caught a cold off my wonderful hubby and I've got a nose that is ripping off the Christmas reindeer now, but it's got me to wondering if there is a potential PB idea in it?

It obviously won't be about a reindeer or even be set around Christmas time.... it'll be a little boy with a snotty nose that won't stop running even though it's supposed to be Spring outside, not Autumn/Winter and it won't be hayfever either!

Soooo, a totally anonymous survey that just needs a yes or no answer:

PB set in Southern UK, the weather is unusually cold and Ashley has caught a cold after not doing his coat up at school in the yucky weather at break and lunch times so now has a cold.

Yes or no please?

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Book review: Yellow Socks for Purple Monsters by Teresa Kresheck


What a great little picture book!  It deals with a common child's nightmare in a gentle, sweet and reassuring way!  The author definitely has a talent for taking a common fear and reassuring the child, in a totally unique way, that everything will be OK!

I've got no hesitation in awarding it the full 5 stars!

Keep up the great writing, Teresa!

Book review: An Authentic Experience by Kelly Wittmann

✩✩✩✩ out of 5

Just finished reading An Authentic Experience by Kelly Wittmann and it's a good book, just needs less swearing considering that her readers will only be 13-15 years old!  I know that they prolly all know the words and use them frequently with friends but the adults in the readers lives won't appreciate all the f**k and b***dy and even a c**t close to the end!

If it wasn't for the swearing and the parents and grandparents all having 2 names each (3 for Silver's mum) then I wouldn't have a problem with giving it a full 5 stars, but the author needs to think about how she would feel about her own child sitting in front of the telly after tea one day and accidentally blurting out "what a f**king joke!" after reading it in this book.

A good little read, just needs less swearing and not so many name changes is all.  Keep up the writing, Kelly, just find other words to use instead of swearing so much is all!

Friday, 23 March 2018

94% on the final quiz!

Not bad going I don't reckon!  I scored 17 out of 18 without looking back for any of the answers this time, so I'm feeling really proud of myself!

93% on week 7!

Just done week 7's quiz and scored 14 out of 15 which is 93%!


Thursday, 22 March 2018

90% on week 2 as well!

Had to have a second try on two of the quiz questions which took 5% off each, but getting on well with my scores so far today!

90% on week 1's quiz

Just finished week 1 of the characters and stories course on OpenLearn with a score of 90% and the only reason it wasn't 100% was 'cos I only chose one answer instead of two for one of the questions and I answered all the questions without going back to the course too, which is even better!

Help file content ideas please!

The only link that isn't a link on the S4C site atm is the help link.

Apparently not many people look at them which is fine and dandy, but I'd like to put a basic one on the site but don't know what information you want/need in it!

I'm gonna put:

  • Contact Amanda
  • About Amanda
  • Tutorial about filling in application form
  • Tutorial on downloading and installing software

in it, but what else do you want me to put in it please?

Leave me a reply to this post so that I can keep track of what to put in there?  Please?

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

And it's sorted! At last!

Steve's just talked me through how to administrate the database he's set up and he's programmed the login form bit now too, so other than the 'help' link thingie that I still need to work on, the whole site is live and kicking and ready to go now!


Means I can concentrate on my studies without pestering him now!

I've asked him to do another piece of software for me that'll only be available to members, so get signed up so that you don't miss out on all the benefits of being a member!

Start writing fiction course on OpenLearn

Just finished the first introductory creative writing course but it was more like a literature course than a creative writing course unfortunately.

It would have been OK if I had been writing novels for adults instead of children 'cos it was about the variety of different genres and reading extracts from grown-up novels without even mentioning Young Adult novels, let alone books for even younger than that unfortunately.

I'm hoping that there will be something more specific to children in level 2... all I got out of it was an idea for another piece of software for the members area, literally nothing else.

If you're interested in the techniques and genre's in grown up fiction, give it a look, but if you're after something that even mentions children's books, look elsewhere... sorry.


Monday, 5 March 2018

Opinions please!

I'm thinking of adding a brag book to the Stories site... should I though?  If I should, would you prefer it to be on the main site only, the members area only or both?

If you think I should add it, should I make it a page that I code and upload or would you prefer a blog that I moderate before the brag appears in it?

Sunday, 4 March 2018

The navigation bars are sorted now, so...

Steve's just helped with getting the members only navigation bar to show up in the members area now, so as soon as the login whatsit thing is sorted, I'll be able to do a tutorial for becoming a member then that's it!

Just need to find other things to put in the members area now!  Anyone got any ideas please?  There's a forum and my Twitter timeline dooberry in there already but I don't know what else you want!

Saturday, 3 March 2018

It's taken all evening, but...

I've been going 'round in circles all evening, trying to get the navigation bar to show up in the members area and neither me or 'im could work out why it wasn't showing up...

Until I removed the commenting from the code, uploaded it et voila!



Changed the title of the blog now... tried to change the URL too, but something went wrong so changed it back to the original, but I'm happy with that now!  Just waiting for the database login thingy to appear, then I'll work on advertising the site and getting the members area sorted!

It works!

Just need to change the title of the blog and it's description now!

Testing, testing

I'm hoping you're reading this from within the Stories for Children site... I've worked out how to put this blog within the site now so I'm just testing how it works is all  😐

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Members only area of the Stories site

I'm working on the members only area of the Stories 4 Children site atm and I'm all out of ideas for things you want only members to have access to.

I've got a forum on there that's free for the members, they will have first access to new sofware at a reduced price, updates to the software for the entire time they are a member, but what else please?

Any and all thoughts are totally welcome - either anonymously or with your name, I honestly don't mind either way, it's your idea's that I want more than a way to identify you!

Whether or not you want to be identifiable, could you reply to this message with your ideas... keep it clean for small eyes though, please!

Thank you!

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Review: Master Blacke by Pete Prown

✯✯✯✯ out of 5

There are a few spelling and grammar mistakes littered throughout this book which made me tut a bit and it takes a while for the book to really get going but stick with it and it livens up soon enough.

If you're prepared to keep reading then it's a good read, even though some of the language seems to be a bit... historical?  Victorian?  Olde Worlde?  It doesn't detract from the story but it's far from modern language in several places which might make the readers put the book down and never want to pick it up again, which is why I'm knocking a star off it - sorry!

Wednesday, 21 February 2018


Been working on my stories site for the last few hours and I did most of it myself... even, with my in-house-geeks help got my new members area navigation bar sorted too!

Just need things to put in there now!  lol

Come on, what sort of things would you want to see in the members area on your ideal writing for children site?

I've got a few ideas of my own, but I'm always looking for more!  What do you want to see more of?  Less of?  What's missing?  Any thoughts gratefully accepted!

A survey especially for boys and men!

I was smacked by inspiration to write a MS aimed specifically at boys, so I've created a survey asking the questions I need to know!

If you are a man or boy and you don't mind filling in a quick survey about weeing standing up, could you fill in this totally anonymous survey for me please?

Thank you so much!

Saturday, 17 February 2018

After a bit of a tizzy this evening...

After 12 hours of constant work, I've put the sites in Google and Bing and I've updated the Stories site's navigation.

Got into a bit of an arsey mood with Steve about it, but it seems to be working now, thankfully!

It started off so well :-(

Been trying to sort out the navigation page on my stories site all day and it was going so well... I sorted out the home bit of the navigation and I was really proud of myself.

I'd have gone to bed really proud of myself if I'd just left it there.

I didn't though.

Got too far ahead of myself and screwed up.

Had to get Steve to sort out the navigation for me and apparently now the burger menu bit has disappeared again.

I'm gonna check that the div tag is closed and put replace the code at the top so that it's back again and use the primary thing for the colour, then that's it.  I've had enough for the day now.


Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Review: Spirit of the Wind by Yasmine Hamdi

✩✩✩✩ out of 5 

This is a good book, told from the first person viewpoint, about an American Indian tribe.

Be prepared to lose your lunch in the last few chapters when the author describes an infected wound on the leg of one of the characters though!

I could swear I'd read this book before, but I don't think I have.  If you're an MG or YA reader who is interested in Native America then have a read of this book.

It starts off slowly but ends happily ever after... just have a couple of tissues nearby if you're an emotional person and don't eat much in the last few chapters if you don't like gross descriptions of infected wounds!

Sunday, 11 February 2018

And it's all planned out as of now!

Varik's parents have just disolved into purple goo that Varik and his partners are stirring with one of their limbs.

That's it until March now when I'll attempt to write the 80k words in 40 days.

5 down, 10 left to plan today!

Varik has just met his four partners and they are all going to a pizza place to talk through their concerns about the loss of all the parents so that they can create the next generation, or if they should keep the parents alive and not create a new generation.

What will Varik and his four partners decide to do?

Saturday, 10 February 2018

20 chapters planned today!!

It seems to be a 'thing' with me that the later it gets, the more creative I am.  I struggled to plan 5 chapters all morning but I've done 15 since I had me lunch!

Only 15 left to plan then that's it finished and ready for me to start writing in March!

15 chapters planned today now

Apparently 100k is too long for YA, so I've cut it down to 40 chapters instead of 50, so that means I'm over half way through the planning now.

Just planned out the bit about how VarikChit was created and how come he's got a sister too as well as why nobody on Thraag has grandparents.

Gonna plan out a few more chapters then head to bed and hope that I have another creative day tomorrow.

12 chapters planned today

Considering it was a really slow start and I stopped for lunch too, I've managed to plan out 12 chapters so far today.

Gonna plan out 2 more then take me pills and any more will be a bonus after that!

In about 7 hours, I've planned out double what I'd planned out since I finished JanNo!  Not bad going by anyone's standards!

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Review: The dragon of the month club by Iain Reading

**** out of 5

What a truly awesome book!  I read it start to finish in 1.5 days and it quickly became a favourite when the author got into his stride.

There are a couple of typo's at the start and a couple of swear words about half way through but they just add to the character of the book.

This is the first in a series and I can't wait to read the next book.

It's fantasy, just gentle fantasy and a great introduction for 9-12 year olds who want to read something different to their usual genre.  Just be aware that you won't get your head out of the book after the first couple of chapters!

A definite must-read from me!  I'm only knocking off the star because of the first couple of chapters being slow to start and introducing characters that are only mentioned in passing throughout the rest of the book and because of the two swear words, but if you can put those to one side then this is definitely a must-read!

Sunday, 4 February 2018

It's amazing what I achieve at night! lol

Been trying to work with a dooberry on my stories site that's with Namehog and I got confuzzled with it, so Steve put his geek hat on for me but it confuzzled him too.

I did a search for forms and surveys online and found a couple of free places that were easy to work with (Jot Form for the application form and Google Docs for the survey).

They are both sorted and online now so they are other things I can cross off my to do list!

Gonna have honey sarnies in celebration then head to bed I reckon!

Friday, 2 February 2018

Survey's on my stories site...

I'm pondering on putting up survey's on my stories for children site and just want some feedback about what I should/shouldn't ask and where to put the survey's and stuff.

I will never ask for your name on any of the surveys or your age or anything like that.  The most identifiable info I'll ask is if you're a member of the site or not.

I've got a few questions popping up for the members area, but do I restrict the surveys to members only or do I open the surveys to the public area too?

What sort of questions do I ask on the public site and what do I restrict to the members only area?

It'll only be me that sees the survey questions unless there's a legal requirement to release the information I hold to the police or whatever but considering I won't have any of the respondent's names or ages or genders, so I don't know how I would know who had said what.

Do you want me to provide surveys asking for details of non writerly stuff too, or should I not be so nosey?

Would you want information about courses and books and things like that or not?  How about links to places I'm a member of and ways that you can get free books in exchange for a review?

Melanie has already reviewed a few books on the public site... would you want more reviews in the members area?  Links to other books for children that you can get on Amazon?

I'm totally opening this up to you... I want your ideas of things you want to see on the site and non-identifying information you would be willing to give on surveys.  What about affiliate links and stuff so that I can get a few pennies for things I've recommended?  Should I be honest about the money I'll be getting or should I just link to the things?

Come on, peeps!  I genuinely want your thoughts on how I can improve the site!!  I'd prefer you to reply to this message but you don't have to give me your name if you don't want to... just your initials are fine!

What do you want to see on the public site?  What's missing online?  What sort of thing should I put in the members area?

Thursday, 25 January 2018

It's official... I'm a dumb arse!

I was trying to work out how many days it would take me to finish my 100k in 3 months challenge that I'm setting myself this year.

I spent hour after hour trying to work out how many words I had to write a day and none of the numbers seemed anywhere near long enough... I'd be finished in 6 weeks instead of 12, tops.

If we say that a month is 30 days long, for the ease of calculation and so that I don't go even more doolally with it.

30 days × 3 months = 90 days, yeah?  Right so far?

50 chapters × 2k words in each chapter = 100k which is my target, yeah?  Still with me?

So 1 chapter a day is 50 days of daily writing to reach my 100k target yeah?

So the number I was looking for yesterday was 50 days at 1 chapter a day or 25 days at 2 chapters a day!

My dunceness was that I was working around 3 chapters a day instead of 1, which *would* be 17 days!  Wouldn't it??  I'm not sure again now!  lol

I give up with any kind of maths and I hope you can see why now!  lol

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Is my maths right, please?

I started planning out my next challenge - 100k words in 3 months.

Each chapter has 2 scenes of 1k words each so that's 2k words per chapter.

100÷2=50 chapters, right so far?

This next bit is where I need a bit of a confidence booster.  I wanna work out how many days it'll take to plan out the entire novel at 5 chapters a day, so:

50÷5=10 days, yeah?

I know it's simple maths, I've just never been confident with even the simplest maths is all so just wanna make sure I've got it right, unlike my JanNo novel where I was a chapter short.

Assuming I've got that right, the next bit is to work out how long it'll take me to write the novel.  My PB is currently 9k words on the final day of my JanNo novel, but that's so far off my norm which is about 5 or 6 chapters at 750 words per chapter for MG.

This is a YA novel and there are 2k words per chapter instead of 750, so I'm hoping to maybe write 3 chapters a day tops 'cos that's my usual speed when I'm in the writing zone.

Here comes a bit more maths:

50÷3=16.6, so lets round that up to 17 days... that can't be right though 'cos my PB was 50k in 12 days for NaNo and JanNo, so how am I going to squeeze out another 50k in less than a week?!?  Even my current PB is 9k in one day so how am I going to squeeze out a PB every single day for a week?

I is muchly confuzzled!

Anyone fancy helping me to work it out properly please?

See why I need your help now?  lol

Monday, 22 January 2018

Joke alert!

Breaking news:  A man dies when a pile of books falls on top of him.  Police say he only had his shelf to blame.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Another new personal best

Wrote the final 12 chapters today which totally smashes the personal best that I set a few days ago!

My maths was one chapter out so had to add another chapter of 750 words to take me up to the 50k target.

It's amazing what I could achieve without The Bill on this morning and just listening to music through my headphones for the last 12 hours.

Feeling so proud of myself for writing 50k in 11 days so gonna reward myself with 2 J2O's now then head to bed.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

5 chapters written today

Not the 7 I was hoping for, but better than yesterday.

11 chapters left to write now then that's the MS finished for another year.

Just worked out that...

I know it's taken me forever to realise this, but every 5k I write of an upper MG or lower YA novels is 10% of the entire manuscript!

I'm at almost 41k in my current WIP atm so I'm over 80% of the way through it!!

Had an incredibly unproductive writing day yesterday 'cos I only managed 3 chapters so that's about 5% of the entire MS that I wrote in an unproductive day and I'm on my 3rd chapter of the day atm so that's another 5% which means I've done 10% in 2 days and I've got less than 20% of it still left to write!

My MC is about to get his school uniform then it's just tieing up lose ends in the last few chapters and Jools' first day at CornerRidge!

Bit behind what I was hoping for, but I'll still be finished in under 2 weeks even if I write 3 chapters a day so I'm pretty happy with that!

Monday, 8 January 2018

Only 6 chapters today

Up to chapter 50 of 68 now so hopefully it'll be totally finished by the end of the week... not bad going for less than 2 weeks since I started!!

49 down, 19 to go!

👌 👍

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Back down to my 7 chapters again today

Just finished my 7th chapter of the day.  I could, in theory, write another one, but it's 8pm so I want an early night for the first time since the 1st.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

New personal best today!

My previous personal best was 8 chapters in a day.

I managed 9 chapters today!!!

I even stopped writing to have me lunch today too, so I'm well happy and proud of myself tonight!

I think that calls for 2 J2O's!  lol

6, 750 words in about 10 hours which is so totally awesome!

Target tomorrow:  8 chapters.

Hit the half way point in the entire MS after only 6 days, so, in theory, I'll be finished by next weekend which'll be another personal best!

How awesome is that!

Friday, 5 January 2018

Another 7 chapters today

It's caffeine that I need, not heat 'cos I wrote one chapter after lunch (a mugshot) but another mug of coffee and I was good to go all afternoon and evening!

I'll be able to write from the moment I wake up and come home from walking the pup tomorrow 'cos The Bill isn't on at the weekend, so I just need to listen to the music and start writing!

Thursday, 4 January 2018

7 chapters today!

I thought yesterday's 6 chapters was good going, but I've only had one coffee and one drinking chocolate today, as well as shutting down for an hour to have me lunch but still managed to write 7 chapters which is so totally awesome!

Going for a wee then grabbing a celebratory J2O now then heading to bed in the hope that tomorrow is another productive day.

If I manage 8 chapters tomorrow I'm gonna have 2 J2O's!  lol

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

A huge 6 chapters written today!

I've written a huge 6 chapters today which is so totally awesome.

I also worked out that it's the heat of hot chocolate that inspired me instead of it being chocolate 'cos I've had 2 coffee's, 1 mug of soup and 1 drinking chocolate and I only had the chocolate while I was writing the 6th chapter!

The first coffee woke me up after a late night, the second woke my muse up, the soup warmed me up which kept me going all afternoon which meant that I wrote 4 chapters in 7 hours then the 6th chapter with the drinking chocolate.

Gonna have a really early night tonight and hopefully be able to have another productive day tomorrow too.

Already celebrated with my J2O so I've stopped writing for the day now, but I'm gonna take me pills, check my emails then head to bed!

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

4 chapters written for JanNo, so...

Just written my 4th chapter of the day for JanNoWriMo so I've treated myself to the first J2O of the month... bet I won't wake up until lunchtime tomorrow now though!  lol

Nite orl!