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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Odd things you see on Irish Country Roads.

The world might be full of technology but for some people having a conversation and socialising are more important.

This thought stuck with me when I was taking the road to my dad’s house and all traffic was brought to a stop… by a family who were locked out of their farmyard home.

Oddly most of the car drivers (women) were very busy taking pictures, along with oohing and ahhing to worry about the safety of the family of hens. I smiled and tried not to give them a lecture about helping or #RAOK, as I set about returning hen family to their house.

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I began to search for their owner. My first house call was  not appreciated as I woke the home owner judging by his sleepy appearance and his pj’s and slippers. Eventually the lady who owned the hens were found and peace was restored along with traffic flow, as chicks and hens were let in to their yard (through the blue door).

Since then I have noticed most people drive with care on this particular section of road.

Books I have recently read.

I joined Goodreads. Why? To find interesting indie writers to read and to find people to review my books. I have found a group of highly talented people who simply write for the enjoyment of producing a finished item, a little like Nanowrimo. I feared it would be more like the first auditions in Britains Got Talent or The X Factor, it is far better. So I would encourage anyone who is looking for interesting new writers to try it.

Some of the books I have read and reviewed are:

Eyewitness Blues. Tim Baker

I chose this book of Tim Bakers because of the cover and title.  I enjoy thrillers and mysteries and this promised much. I was not wrong.  His characters were strong and full of personality.
The main character Martin, was born on the wrong side of luck. Lorenzo and his boss, Don Gammino featured in Martin’s run of bad luck and set a string of events in motion. .
Romance arrived with Mercedez, who I felt had a soft spot for Martin, this she proved later on in the book. Ike was a mysterious character, tough and ready to help anyone who needed it, I wanted him to adopt me after reading a few chapters where he featured.
The plot was strong and flowed sweetly with the odd hiccup or surprise, just enough to keep me reading.
I recommend this book of Tim Bakers to anyone who likes a thriller with a twist and I will be reading more of his work in the future.

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Christmas at the Cornish Cafe by Phillipa Ashley

I enjoyed this book which is the second novel, featuring Demelza. A young woman who appears to have climbed, with a little help from Cal out of a bad place into a life she loves. Cal’s rival for Demi’s love is Kit. I found Kit a little disturbing and wondered from the start what sort of game he was playing. Of course I loved Mitch, Demi’s dog, as I love 99.9% of dogs, real or imaginary.
I did wonder at how much patience Demi had with Cal and his mysterious past. There was a few occasions where the story line repetition had me sighing but beyond that it flowed enough to keep me hooked on which guy she would end up with. All in all if you are looking for a gentle story this is one I would recommend.
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And as I love writing children’s stories, I sometimes read children’s fiction to see what is out there. So far this year I have read:
This is a very different book  to the usual children’s fantasy book as Lieve is a wildlife photographer, who has created a very different book.
The photographs and images were cleverly input into the story. I could imagine reading it to a five or six year old and they becoming immersed in the story. I enjoyed it, though I am not five or six and would recommend it to parents whose children love animals.
Marie and her sister Lowieske are from Belgium and, like me, did not know what a woodchuck was prior to their meeting with Margot. The images of the groundhog wearing glasses etc were amusing and again this would appeal to children. 

Bob’s Diary: Regarding Shopping Lists.

Today’s Top Tip.

 We can all be creative.

Don’t be like Maria. She spends hours writing a shopping list. Then goes off shopping without it.

Top tip if you write a list take it with you.

(that way I might get a decent Christmas pressie.)

Bob’s Bouncing Birthday Bundle.

Bob arrived like a hurricane,

big and bold he ate sampling everything,

brown electric gates included,

barked at bigger dogs, adored little dogs,

Birthday time arrived for me

Bob travelled with us to Sligo to choose a

black and white

bundle of mayhem – Ellie

Best buddies for life?

recovered_2875904

Posted as part of the Daily Prompt Challenge: at this link

DP Weekly Challenge: Dialogue

“But we can’t put her in that dark, deep hole.” Lorna sniffled and looked from the cold lifeless body beside her back to the recently excavated hole.

“What do we do then honey?” Tom stood looking at his twelve-year-old daughter. How can you explain death and the afterlife to someone who covers her ears every time you try? He considered his options. He decided time was the only logical choice. It was getting cool. November and cool in Ireland means you do not stand still for long.  He knew that in ten minutes time they would be refilling the soil on top of the inert body, driven by the need to stay warm.

Lorna surveyed  him. “You don’t care, do you?”

He looked around him. That was too like his ex-wife’s voice and tone for him. He shivered and tried not to consider the possibility that Lorna was more like Sue than he would like.

“I do.” He turned to her and pointed. “Look at these eyes. They can’t cry anymore today. All out of tears. I just need to get this job done. We should go somewhere and remember her when she was happy and well.

“Ok. But she can’t go in there alone.”

This statement chilled him to the bone. He stepped back. But Lorna had run back to the car and arrived back hugging some items. Her favourite pink jumper she placed it on top and then added a tennis ball and a chewed up teddy bear.  He smiled.

“Thanks that’s better. I’m glad one of us thought this through.”

“Yes dad, I know but women are known to be much more sensitive than men. Let’s do this.”

They worked in silence. Twenty minutes later and the job was done.  Lorna place a large stick at the top to mark the grave and a bright blue rubber bone at the bottom. He looked at it and raised his eyebrows.

She whispered. “It’s for  Penney’s children, the pups will have to come and visit their mums grave, they will need something to keep them busy. This should work.”

With a flick of her dark brown hair she pivoted about and walked back to the car. He followed her, wiping the tears from his eyes. As they drove towards home he asked,

“When did you become older and wiser than me?”

“Many lives ago, dad, many lives ago.”

This post is a DP Weekly challenge: Dialogue rules can be found at the following page;

Bob’s Diary

I have a story to tell:

bob in dark

It involves our crazy collie and Kevin. I told her not to trust him. She left him minding her stuff, went off to  play.  She said she would only be a minute.

el playing 3

ellie playing 1ellie playing 4

A few hours later she reappeared looking like this:

Ellie looking at camera

Seems Kevin did a runner with her stuff. I said, “you’re a search dog go do your stuff!”

ellie at tunnel 1

She did but it took some time and negotiating, to achieve

kevin found

a happy ending.

ending