Where did I get the idea for my first childrens book?

  The Runaway Schoolhouse, or the idea for it, simply didn’t appear in a light bulb moment. It sort of crept up on me. I was working as a Children’s Athletics Development Officer for 20 hours a week. I was part of a team of three. I loved the three years that we travelled the highways and byways, (some of them in circles as I frequently got lost) to promote kids to get active. The three of us were and still are passionate about the advantages of taking exercise no matter your age. Anyway, the most frequently heard comment on a Monday morning from a class of kids, was, “I wish I didn’t have to come to school.” I heard it so often that I began to play with the idea of what would happen if they arrived but all was not as it should be.

Until one day I casually asked, “what would you do if the school was not here when you arrived!”

The look of disbelief, followed by pure joy at such a possibility,  was enough to convince me it was a mad idea, but mad enough for a book.

And so it began a three-year stint of writing, editing, sending out letters searching for an agent, publisher or any passing alien to show an interest in my whacky book.  And it is a little crazy.  Here is an excerpt:

CHAPTER 4

CLEARIE was learning to make the most of every moment. He liked sitting on the smooth sand but a tiny part of him envied those with fingers and toes because he longed to experience the tickling feeling of sand and water. Still, he reasoned, this is an adventure.

He didn’t like the conversation between the adults who remained outside discussing the “problem.” They considered taking him apart and carrying his bricks back onto the hillside or getting a giant crane to move him. Both methods sounded nasty to him.
He tried to ignore them by concentrating on the sound of fish jumping in the water and birds hopping about on the sand; but he found that their loud voices carrying on the wind, made it impossible.
You would think with all their education they would question WHY I moved.
He waited to see what would happen next.
To his amusement, Mrs Brown got on her knees beside his front door to peer at the gap beneath his floor. He wondered if she were silly enough to think he had grown feet! When she stood she realised her knees were sandy and complained loudly about the horrible, gritty feeling. Clearie wondered what gritty felt like.
At breaktime, he noted that the children, unlike the teachers, were barefoot on the beach, but they put their shoes and socks back on their feet when they went back to class.
Clever children, silly teachers, he thought.

 

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Maria’s Kindle Deal

Starting today and running for seven days Moving On is on Kindle deal on Amazon.com 3DBook-Promo-Mockup

The first two chapters are available on Bob’s site to read. The links are: Chapter 1

And Chapter 2

For readers, writers or those who prefer Author.

Writing tips from author and pop culture writer Jennifer Keishin Armstrong.

via Advice from Bestselling Author Jennifer Keishin Armstrong — Discover

Help, tips and advice sought – Please.

We, (Sara and I) have been invited to visit a local school and talk to the class of  8 year old pupils about writing and illustrating. The children have been reading our book and have each done a project on it, so I am looking forward to the visit though, I am a wee bit wary. I mean, I have been in classrooms with kids of this age before and you have to be ready for anything. So, with that in mind, I have loaded up on goodies (paint sets, brushes and sketch pads, along with a giant bucket of marshmallows).

What else do you think I need to bring?

The Runaway Schoolhouse

My books of 2016

I love to read but most people do. My taste is wild and whacky as you can see from the list below. Now I am looking for a good thriller to read next and am open to suggestions, though I do love romance and romantic comedies, and Jane Austen is my most re read author. Though there are a few of the books listed below that  I really enjoyed and I would love to read more works written by the author.

The Memory Box
by Eva Lesko Natiello

Sovereign’s Wake (In The Absence of Kings, #1)

by Lee LaCroix *

Before the Door Closes: A Daughter’s Journey with Her Alcoholic Father

By Judith Hall Simon – I found this book both informative and revealing in how compassionate Judith was.

War Brides

by Helen Bryan *

I really loved this book and recommend it to all women who love reading about this period in history.

The Witches

by Roald Dahl /  Another favorite author of mine. His adult stories are dark and vivid.

The Seventh Seal (The Chronicles of Daniel Stone, #1)

by A.J. Dobbs * Yes I must read #2

Regarding Anna

by Florence Osmund *

Why Does My Book Not Sell? 20 Simple Fixes

by Rayne Hall

The main reason why I am currently looking for a proof reader.

Beetlebrow

by Ben Parker *

Mane of Redemption

by Aaron D. Brinker *

Every Body’s Guide to Everyday Pain

by Ya-Ling J. Liou *

Following the authors advice my husbands aches and pains are fading and he is back exercising once more.

The White Seahorse

by Eleanor Fairburn

The Last September

by Elizabeth Bowen

Sweet Sorrow

by Tricia Drammeh *

Magic Edge (Dragon Born Alexandria, #1)

by Ella Summers * Yes I must read #2

Bentwhistle the Dragon in a Threat from the Past

by Paul Cude *  Yes I must read #2

Anti Aging – Stop That Ticking Clock: Natural Ways to Staying Healthier Looking Younger

Lord of the Abbey (Lords of Avalon #1)

by K.R. Richards  Yes I will read #2

When Love Takes Over

by Caroline Grace-Cassidy

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If you have read a really good or funny book please let me know and I will seek it out to read.

So ..I have written a book for kids, what next?

The simple answer would or should be, write another one. And there are five or six books written but not edited sitting in a neat queue somewhere in my desk.

However, I am stuck on the marketing and shouting about the first one.

If I constantly blog about it, – am I seeming too pushy? I dither on this question. But you guys are truthfully the only ones who read my ramblings, and for that I am extremely grateful.  So please let me know if I am pushing it a bit.

Blogging, twittering, FB and G+ are very time-consuming events. Which limits time for other important stuff. The only one in my house who loves to see me head for the computer is – Bob.

He assumes his best-loved position. Sorry there are two:

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Everyone else groans, (including Ellie) as they know I will be superglued to the seat until I have set up x amount of promotional posts.

And lastly for today my promotional push is:

The Runaway Schoolhouse is on Kindle for €0.99 ($0.99) for the next week, in the hope that a few reviews will float or clunk (be thrown) my way.

The purpose of the reviews for me is to help discover the fate of the other books gathering dust in my desk. Do I continue to publish or simply to blog?

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A learning curve – being published.

As some of you know, The Runaway Schoolhouse is in print and on kindle for the past few months. (The first few pages are here on this site for you to read, if you like).runaway_schoolhouse_cover_Latest_151031

I believed, foolishly, that this achievement was 9/10’s of the job done.

I was wrong. It is the first step.

I have received much help, thanks to all who have offered advice and support to me. And I have learnt that in today’s world. a writer has to become a Jack-of-all-trades. The greatest hurdle is Marketing and in this I thank Emu Ink.ie and Laurence O’Bryan, the founder of BooksGoSocial.com

But I still have to spend time, marketing the book. I have also been told that book reviews are gold to writers. Hence the Giveaways and the pleading or requests for reviews on Goodreads and Amazon etc.

I have given away 15 books, in the hope reviews will result.  But I am curious as to how other children’s writers find book reviews. So any help, or advice will definitely be appreciated by me.

Blogging delights me and writing is a passion. I consider myself lucky if one or two people read a post and am amazed if the stats alert me that a post is doing well and 15 + readers have been on my site.

Life is funny isn’t it, some of us dream of winning the lottery but bloggers simply dream of being acknowledged and read.

Do books shape our lives?

It is a strange question with a million varied answers but I will be brief.

If books help shape our lives does this mean that our choice dictates the type of person we are… light weight romance – dreamer and not grounded?

Horror stories – hard skinned and insensitive?

I don’t think fiction shapes our lives but that is my opinion. However, non-fiction is a different story and I think it plays a bigger part.

What do you think?

And what is the one book from your childhood you remember most?

I read avidly and I loved re reading Roald Dahl to my kids – The Twits remaining a favorite of mine.a-roald-dahl-childrens-book-called-the-twits-on-a-white-background-dfxea2

The Runaway Schoolhouse Book Launch Night

It was a great night, and everyone seemed to have fun as you can see by the pictures I was supported by family and friends, and some of my Facebook friends surprised me by dropping in.

Thank you everyone and a reminder it is for sale as an e-book and you can rent it  which is an unusual option but one worth considering: http://www.emuink.ierunaway_schoolhouse_cover_Latest_151031

 

 

 

 

 

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maria and family (minus niall)

 

But there was someone missing who needed a hug, but he got plenty when we got home.

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Bob’s Diary: If an Ogre can do it – can I?

I know I haven’t written about the Ogre from the wood for a while but really an Ogre and a Fairy in a book for children? I wonder if anyone would like to read stories about me? Or am I losing my good looks and sociable friendly personality?

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I know Maria has an idea rattling around in that big old empty brain of hers, but, please let me know what you think.

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