Friday, 30 March 2012

 Well here he is at last...introducing Guy the grumpiest gargoyle you could ever meet! Look at the link to the Troubador website and find out about this new story. It has been tried out on a number of youngsters in local schools and it has gone down very well! The publication date is set at 1 August but I hope it may be sooner...will let you know!

Final tweaking this weekend of Raven's Hoard too...quite excited about finishing it and hope that it may be out for Christmas-fingers crossed. 

Preparations in order for the filming next week-permissions received from English Heritage, National Trust and St George's church so all we need now is reasonable weather! Then the weekend after next I'm at Waterstone's Preston for a book signing-so hope to reach a wider audience again. 

Big push over the next couple of weeks to get some practice in for Keswick to Barrow Walk-will have to ditch the current trainers-caused some really bad blisters and has set me back. I am going to retrieve the year before lasts but feel a bit unhappy about them...oh and I am still accepting sponsorship in aid of the Dystonia Society...

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Good news

Funny day-bit messed up and had a big queue for petrol (but  really did need it-it was flashing at me)Luckily got some which means that I'm ok for next week when I have the exciting task of accompanying the child actors for the promo film of Out of Time! Cant wait! It now looks good because we have permissions from Furness Abbey, St Georges Church  and Dalton Castle-it will make it so authentic and have great confidence in Stuart Appley and Comely Media. The kids we're using are all wonderful and I have taught 2 of them in a previous incarnation. 

Then if that wasn't good enough I got home and found I had an email from Troubador Publishing with the cover proof! It looks cool and I am excited because it can't be long now till it arrives on my doorstep! So the next issue is the completion of Raven's Quest-it IS almost done-but fine tuning needed and then a final edit.

Sad news about Chetwynde School closing-though I am not surprised everyone is feeling the pinch and I am sure that running a school without government support is difficult. What I do worry about is that 278 odd kids now have to urgently find places for September-long after the schools have accepted next years cohort. Also are there enough places for these children? A tragedy if not-what will happen to their education? Hopefully, Cumbria County Council may come up with a solution...but I won't hold my breath.

Friday, 23 March 2012

New challenges

We had the first meeting of the newly formed Furness Abbey Fellowship yesterday. No not another Lord of the Rings sequel...we have set up a new group to support, promote and publicise the abbey. There are many reasons for this because as I have mentioned before the abbey is in a bit of a sorry state  at present and many of us locally feel that although English Heritage have spent lots of money on the physical well being of the abbey, they have done little to widen its appeal and generate visitors to bring in funds to offset this. The attitude is very corporate with little reference to local perspectives. We feel this is detrimental and that they are missing a massive opportunity. I will post details of our progress and our next meeting as they happen. We now have a Facebook group as well so if you express an interest I will add you to it.

On the walking front things are not looking so good-massive blister! So dilemma-to walk or not to walk! Only 7 weeks to go and then we will be on the K2B! Can't wait!

Nice bit of book news-at Barrow Waterstone's in the annual sales apparently Out of Time is only 3rd behind Paolini and Kinney! Not bad-just need it to extend to other shops further afield! Thanks to the wonderful booksellers at Barrow : )

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Visited Ulverston Thursday Club guessed it-Thursday! I addressed the club about dystonia-spreading the word and had a great response. They were kind enough to present me with a cheque for £25 in donation and I also sold 5 books of which £2 per book will go to the society too.

Friday was amazing. Had a stint at Barrow Archives and got some information I needed. Then, I was kindly given permission to visit the archives at the Dock Museum to help me with my research. Wow! I saw the real Rampside sword which was nothing like a sword to look at-but was brilliant considering how old it was! I have also been able to leave books in the shop to be sold and am looking forward to a signing in the summer when my new children's book is released. I forsee a great future relationship and would like to thank Keith and Liz for their care and help! Popped into Abbey Mill Cafe for a chat with Jackie and a lovely latte.

view towards Coniston

Did a good 13 miles today for K2B training from Lowick to Barrow. A fantastic and beautiful day, but unfortunately managed to acquire a massive blister on my heel! This will now need to be addressed and I may need to reassess the trainers!

Stray sheep on Kirkby moor

This week we are having our first meeting for a new group to aid and assist the future of Furness Abbey. I'm not saying we can even do much...but we can have a go! We need to encourage a new approach re marketing and events-its ok saying its off the beaten track and won't attract visitors, but I am sure we could change this! If we looked at the situation for Furness as a whole I am sure something could be done to improve the number of tourists and visitors. English Heritage have spent a fortune-but seem reluctant to improve marketing and are evidently prepared to accept that nothing can change. It seems that they are unaware of the resources here in Furness and we must encourage them to look deeper. If anyone who is actually reading this-please join us on Thursday at 7-30pm at the Red Lion in Dalton. We may be able to do nothing...but we won't know until we try!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Out of Time: What a week that was!

Out of Time: What a week that was!: Out of Time display at Cartmel Priory School Phew! Exhausting week- busy at schools and other interesting places! First up was Cartmel P...

I love Sundays

Up at 9...bit of a lie in I have to say! Then a lovely brisk and energizing walk from Furness Abbey to Ireleth through St Helen's Valley and back again via the Black Dog and Dalton. I love this walk it's picturesque at this time of year and because the seasons are so messed up saw snowdrops, crocus and daffodils all together-spectacular! Wish I had taken the camera! We (my K2B training partners Nicola and Leeann) walked, talked and put the world to rights. Cross about the dearth of public toilets in Askam and Ireleth (note to self-complain to council) and crossing legs by we staggered to the top of Ireleth Hill-waved to dad in his resting place at the church and on to Dalton-couldn't possibly comment whether we used the "closed" yet still accessible loo at the cemetery-but was able to continue the walk! We passed most of the venues in Out of Time and went down the Haggs towards the abbey.

It was great because as we passed the abbey car park-which I noted had new fixings for bollards-why I'm unsure-but will go well with the industrial weight gate at the entrance-looks like the crown jewels are maybe being protected behind them...or could it be that the amazing artefacts found recently, will be returned to Furness; we caught sight of Tom Burrows the "real" Mason! Obviously we had to go and have a chat. I brought up the fact that I had nobody to play him in the promotional film and he volunteered for the role! Can't wait-need to source some green overalls...he has a hard hat but need to find where to get overalls-any ideas will be gratefully accepted.

Had chat with EH lady too and it was nice to hear that things are looking tidier in the abbey. Not long to the first meeting of the new "friends" of Furness Abbey. If you love the abbey as I do why not join us at the Red Lion at Dalton on 22nd March at 7-30pm. We are seeking ways to help to promote, celebrate and fete the abbey in the manner it deserves...seeing what we can do to help and to negotiate with EH and Barrow Borough Council re the local heritage situation including the Abbey Mill Cafe and area around it! We may not make much impact-but won't know till we try!

Friday, 9 March 2012

What a week that was!

Out of Time display at Cartmel Priory School
Phew! Exhausting week- busy at schools and other interesting places! First up was Cartmel Priory first author day with secondary children. It was a great day-fantastic variety of writers and some excellent moments including the one when Year 8 demanded I read Guy the Grumpy Gargoyle to them ...and bless them, they even joined in with the actions and noises! Just shows you don't always need to have a computer game to interact with a story! Thanks so much to Carol for all the organisation and friendly welcome.
Tuesday...a bit of normality, in the centre and catching up. Wednesday-train up to Edinburgh to the University for my daughter to have an interview. We both loved it and were amazed how easy and quick the journey was. Thursday-full day at Dane Ghyll Primary with all year groups! Wow! Got quite confused at one point-completely forgetting what a metaphor was! I DO know what one is -honest!My brains were scrambled and that's my story and I'm sticking to it! Fab day -made to feel very welcome by Gary and the staff and thanks to Caren who organised it all. Finally, today up to Broughton CE School. A lovely day, brilliant staff, super children and thanks to Jacki for inviting me. Worked with Y2-6 and we had some excellent stories and the icing on the cake was the Poetry Competition which I helped to judge! What a hard task-the kids put so much effort in and learnt their poems to follow later!

Judging at Broughton
Tonight I have booked my flights to Venice as I will be visiting a school there in my author role. I am excited and apprehensive at the same time...but looking forward to spending time with my cousins John and Lidia who are kindly putting me up...or should I say putting up with me? More training walks planned for the weekend...K2B not far off now-don't forget you can sponsor me on the link here-for an excellent cause-dystonia!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Wonderful World Book Day

Mad March Hare a random Monk and the Mad Hatter
World Book Day at Waterstones Barrow

What a great day...I was invited to attend Waterstones World Book Day at their Barrow shop. There was a steady flow of book buyers and browsers and I had a variety of conversations with people about Out of Time and signed a few books too. I enjoyed browsing too-and as always didn't leave without buying. Instead of my usual historical novel or biography I thought I would change track and have a go at "We need to talk about Kevin" by Lionel Shriver...looks interesting and I'll have a go. Of course, couldn't  leave without a couple of purchases for grandson Noah-good old "Where the Wild Things Are" By Maurice Sendak and"Hairy McLary from Donaldson's Dairy" by Lynley Dodd. Can't wait to read them to him.
March Hare, monk and Cheshire Cat

 I've had a busy week this week-earlier I had a second visit to Lindale Primary School. This time worked with the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 as well as Key Stage 2. We shared Guy the Grumpy Gargoyle and then drew pictures of the characters. In KS2 we had fun with settings and words to create atmosphere. Lovely day. Tomorrow I am off to Thwaites School Millom to share the books and work together-should be good!