Wednesday, 24 July 2013

A picture book for wee Prince George.

With all the excitement over the new arrival it seemed timely to look at a book set in Balmoral.  The Queen is about to set off for her annual holiday at Balmoral and, when he is a little older, William and Kate's new baby will no doubt join the rest of Royal family there for a holiday.

Hamish McHaggis and the Lost Prince

This Hamish adventure is not only set in the grounds and hills around Balmoral but Angus, the pine marten, has a chance encounter with the Queen and her corgis!

Hamish and his friends are asked by Shona, the red squirrel, if they will come up to Balmoral to help the other animals find the lost prince.   Rupert is very excited because he is looking forward to meeting royalty so he is a little disconcerted to discover the prince in question is a deer prince, the son of the Monarch of the Glen. (on the cover!)

Hamish McHaggis cuddly toy
Angus manages to get lost, as often happens, and meets the Queen out walking with her corgis.    A lovely heart warming story for all ages with delightful illustrations by the talented Sally J. Collins.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Hamish spotting!!! Have you spotted Hamish McHaggis?

Cuddly Hamish McHaggis toy has been out and about for a couple of months now and he is turning up all over the place.

Poppy and Hamish (Scotland)

Little Hamish fans have been spotted taking him on walks to the woods.

Libby and Hamish (New Zealand)

Taking him out shopping (Dashing out to avoid the paparazzi!)

and Zoe, who is visiting from Northern Ireland, spotted Hamish in the window of Waterstones, Princes Street, in Edinburgh

There are10 books in the series about Hamish McHaggis and all his adventures!

Friday, 12 July 2013

Giveaway- A copy of Writing for Children

There's a giveaway of my book about writing and it is happening as part of the 5th birthday celebrations on ABBA  the Awfully Big Blog Adventure       But you will have to be quick!
 I will be drawing the winner on Monday (15th July 2013). 

'... everything a beginning author could possibly need to know, in the straightforward and unassuming manner of one who has been doing it for years.'  Rosalie Warren

The winner will get a signed and dedicated copy of my book Writing For Children.  It is aimed at aspiring or newly published children's writers. So if that is you, or you know someone who would like a copy, why not drop by my birthday post on  ABBA -  P.A.R.T.Y. Time and a giveaway 

Writing for children is not just one kind of writing.  If you are writing a picture book or a book that is to be used to teach children to read they are quite different and there are things you need to know about what makes it a children's book. What is different about writing for different ages of children? What works and what doesn't? What about format and length and how to present it to a publisher? 

The beginning of this book looks in some detail at the various kinds of writing and markets you may be writing for when writing for children of all ages.
It looks at writing picture books and novels - writing books used to teach reading - writing series fiction - non fiction and what works for different ages of children. 
There are lots of great hints and tips from some amazing and successful children's writers. 

The second section is all about the craft of writing for children - such as ways to spark ideas, about plot and POV, about how to make characters come alive. At each part of this section there are exercises to try.

It looks at submitting your carefully written book.  How to approach a publisher and an agent and how to present your manuscript in a professional manner.

The final section is all about what happens when you get that all important publishing contract.  The reality behind the hype.  What it means to be a working children's writer and things you need to know about finances, contracts, publicity and promoting yourself.  It tells you about organising school visits and other events and how to make sure it all works well for both you and the organiser.

There is also a glossary and some lists of useful  information.

So if you are keen to get your hands on a copy pop along to the giveaway.  Good luck!

Linda Strachan is one of those authors who not only nails it on the page, but is also a master at explaining how and why she writes what she writes.’ Philip Ardagh (The Guardian)

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Summertime catch up - 1

It is lovely to have some summery days again.  Blue skies, puffy white clouds and the windsurfers out on the water.

'Tuscany' - my shed

At the moment I am busy writing in my shed,
losing myself in a story.

It's been really hectic these last few months so perhaps it is time for a bit of a catch up!

March and April were very busy months when I was away a lot visiting schools and libraries all over the country.  You can fine out about some of my events on my website and on the two other blogs I contribute to  Awfully Big Blog  (ABBA) and Picturebook Den 

In February I went to watch a play Running on the Cracks in Glasgow.

It is taken from the book by Julia Donaldson and afterwards Julia and I went for a meal with some other great children's writers - Cathy McPhail, Vivian French and Theresa Breslin who have all had at least one of their books made into a play or a film- Well done, girls.  
Made me wonder about how one of my YA novels would work if it was made into a play or a film.
[Any young film makers out there, do get in touch! :) ] 

You can find out more about Running on the Cracks by reading my blog about it   When is a book not a book? on ABBA

In March I had a special delivery!  The new Hamish McHaggis Cuddly Toy - available in bookshops

Hamish 10" cuddly toy
The Hamish McHaggis series now has 10  books - 9 story books and one that is a story and activity book.

Hamish has fans all over the world and he loves to hear from them.

The books are also used in schools and there is a set of free teachers' resources Scottish Book Trust that can be downloaded from Scottish Book Trust website  Free Resources - Hamish McHaggis

In March I also visited the Aye Write Festival in Glasgow's wonderful Mitchell Library and along with Hamish we had a lot of fun with the school children who came to the sessions to meet Hamish and listen to the stories. You can read more about it on my website