Sunday, 30 September 2012

A new novel and a new short story!

The last couple of weeks have sped by. It's been busy at work and I've also been busy at home where I've been tidying up 'Unlucky Dip', my new novel for young adults, in preparation for publication on 1 October. It's been some time now since I've been involved in preparing a book and I'd forgotten just how interesting a process it is. I can be pretty picky so reading through and trying to spot errors is right up my street (although I always have a feeling of dread when I finally make the decision that I've finished the editing because I know that somewhere, lurking in the body of the text will be an error of some!) This is the last time I'll be involved to this extent because, of course, my new publisher GMTA will be doing all the editing, etc. from now on - I just wanted to do it one last time. (By the way, GMTA, are looking for submissions from authors so if you have a script lying anywhere send it in!).

I'm incredibly grateful to Liz Eisen, the young artist who created the front cover. I told her I wanted something different, she read the book and came up with an incredible cover for me. I'm confident that she will get a lot of positive feedback and who knows, she could start a new trend of book covers! 

But this is the Burly & Grum blog so I'd better tell you what else I've been up to! I've now finished a short story for Halloween which Rob is illustrating. I have to say I loved writing it - I've really missed Burly & Grum! My idea is to run a competition a couple of weeks prior to Halloween for children who will have to guess what Grum will be dressing up as when he goes trick or treating. A week before the big day I'll start giving the short story away free. Why free? Cos I'm nice like that! Meanwhile, over in America, marketing has started and the books are being read by school children and reviewed. When I first started writing Burly & Grum a friend said it was like reading a combination of 'Shrek' meets 'Wind in the Willows' - a slightly surreal mixture of American and British cultures but one hopefully that will work! Fingers crossed everyone.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Patience is a virtue

Yes, Burly wants that pancake! He's looking a bit woebegone and anxious because he knows he's got to wait until it's ready and I have to say I know how he feels!  I love Burly and Grum but sometimes things don't go as quickly as I'd like them to. Working full time, commuting into London and trying to write and market the books has been challenging mostly because I have all these ideas and things I want to do and I can't jump up and down and run off and do them immediately, I have to be patient, write my ideas down and then wait until I get home at night before I can do anything. Trust me, it's been a real test of my character and I keep reminding myself of Gandhi's words - "There's more to life than increasing its speed". He was a wise man indeed.
    There has, however, been activity in the Burly & Grum world. Pat Scullion, who is recording the Burly and Grum books, has come up trumps and the first two chapters of Beyond the Forest have been put to bed. The recording has been more time consuming than either of us thought because we both wanted to get the voices for the characters absolutely right. Now the voices are sorted the recording should go ahead reasonably quickly and I'm hoping to have the three books available in good time for Christmas.
     I've been writing the Halloween story and I think it's good so far - I usually judge this by the fact I laugh as I type away. Or maybe I just need to get out more!  Anyway, I thought I would run a competition to see if anyone can guess who Burly and Grum are going to dress up as when they go trick or treating. I'll be organising that in the near future!
     I've also been tidying up my Young Adult book Unlucky Dip which will be published on 1 October. Writing for a different audience has really made me think about how I manage all this. Do I set up a different blog now? What about a Facebook page? How do I link it all together? Should I link it all together? I'm going to have to plan carefully - like so many people I already juggle so much and I don't want to run around creating lots of extra work for myself, I need to be patient and make sure that what I do is worthwhile. So, patience really is a virtue and I, for one, am going to have to practice it a lot in the near future!

Monday, 3 September 2012

Thumbs up - it's all go!

Well, the peace and tranquillity I felt whilst I was on holiday is now over and the excitement of being back in the thick of things has well and truly taken over and I've had a very busy week. GMTA's new A&R Consultant has been in touch with me and we'll be working together to create a strategy to get the Burly & Grum books moving off the bookshelves. He's already had me doing a lot of research and it's been an interesting exercise - there will be lots more to come!  I know it will be hard work but it'll also be fun because it's something I love and I have to give this my best shot or I'll never forgive myself.
     Last week I was both surprised and delighted when a friend of mine, Carol, made up some wonderful Burly and Grum Christmas cards. Yes, I know people tend to use e-cards these days but I still think that 'proper' cards are very special. I hope she can teach me to make them so they look as professional as hers do. Fingers crossed anyway!
     Pat has also been working very hard on the audio books and over the weekend I listened to the first full chapter. Getting the voice of the characters has been the most time consuming aspect of all, but it will be well worth it in the end. It's been a lot more work than I think either of us anticipated and Pat has the patience of a saint but we hope to have the three books available by Christmas at the very latest.
    Looking ahead, I'm going to write a short Burly and Grum halloween story and I can't tell you how good it feels to be writing again - I've missed them!
    I've made a lot of friends since I started writing and publishing and I'm finally getting into the world of blogging. Proper blogging, not diary blogging as one author firmly told me! I was delighted to be asked to write a piece for Jaimie Hope - Jaime is a remarkable author who is writing a picture book series which centers around a young, disabled girl and the books are well worth reading. I'll be inviting her on to the Burly and Grum blog very soon.
    So quite lot has happened this past week I'm pleased to say that I'll also be publishing a young adult book (no, not a Burly and Grum book!) within the next week or so via GMTA called 'Unlucky Dip' - this is the blurb:

There are always high stakes to play for in the world of gambling, but it’s a world Holly Maddon knows nothing about until her step-mother tries to kill her. The race is on as she tries to discover what her step-mother is up to and whether her father was murdered.  She comes up against gangsters, multi-million pound land deals, treachery and deceit, she’s kidnapped, shot at and loses just about everything she loves – it’s a rollercoaster of a ride and Holly's intent on turning the tables.

I asked a young artist, Liz Eisen to illustrate the cover. I knew I could probably put together a cover but I also know that my taste, as a middle aged woman, might not exactly be the same as a young adult!  I wanted something out of the ordinary and Liz has certainly done that - it's eye-catching, dynamic and I love it!  Here it is: