Friday, 28 December 2012

Looking back at 2012

2012 has been a fabulous year for Burly and Grum. I wanted to show you what they've been up to but in a fun way so I put together a small 'video' - this is my first attempt at doing this so I hope you don't think it's too awful!  (I did my best, honest!)

I'm really looking forward to 2013 and everything it brings. I'll be starting off by talking to the children at Chancellor Park Primary School and then chatting to the  children's reading group at the Barbican children's library. I want to write lots more Burly and Grum stories and I will, of course, be publishing audio books with the help of Pat Scullion. Thank you everyone for all your support, I wish you a wonderful New Year and, of course, I know that...
2013 will be another fabulous year!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Christmas Love and Hugs from Burly and Grum!

   Christmas is just around the corner and even though all the Burly & Grum Christmas cards have been written and posted there is a tangible feeling of panic in the air as I go through my countless 'things to do' lists. Oh, who am I kidding? I love the run up to Christmas, meeting up with friends, trying to find a gift that absolutely that suits them and all the general mayhem and madness that accompanies this time of year. Christmas? Bring it on!
     For me personally, it's been incredibly challenging year because as well as writing and trying to promote Burly & Grum I've been working full time and also had to come to terms with the fact my father has Alzheimers - I think I've used up almost all of my holiday time this year in hospital waiting rooms! Burly and Grum would have continued despite the various pressures because for one thing I can't stop writing, but I would never have come this far without the talent and encouragement of my friends. I'd like to give special Christmas wishes, love and hugs to:
  • Rob Jones, the Burly & Grum artist, a shy and quiet man who is endlessly patient with me and my crazy ideas. 
  • Pat Scullion, who has done a brilliant job on the audio books despite working on his degree at the same time.
  • Stuart Wakefield who has seen me make some outstanding mistakes along the way but has always been there to pick me up and dust me down.
  • Lisa Wakefield, Stuart's sister, who is always so encouraging on the Burly & Grum facebook site.
  • Richard Farr, the graphic artist who has helped me clean up drawings when need be and design book covers at the drop of a hat - he is simply fantastic.
  • The amazing staff from Born Free who have been incredible in their support despite the daily pressures of the work they do (Burly gives his love to Ginny the beautiful Moon Bear by the way!).
  • Gemma who has been a wonderful proof reader - thank you Gemma!
  • Dawn Colclasure and her daughter Jennifer who write and illustrate their own wonderful books and who, like me, love Dr Who - you can't go wrong with people who love Dr Who!
  • Everyone - and I mean everyone - who has read the Burly & Grum stories and said such lovely things about them. I genuinely appreciate the fact that each and every one of you has taken the time in this busy world to either write a review or leave a message on facebook for me. Big hugs to you guys!
  • And last but by no means least, I have to give thanks and lots of love to Kitty from GMTA who has been one of my biggest supporters and is an absolute star.
   Not one of them has asked anything from me and I count myself incredibly lucky to have such wonderful, talented friends. I owe them a great deal

   Meanwhile, back to earth - I'm afraid I haven't managed to write the Burly & Grum Christmas special as promised. I'm so sorry, but I'm over half way through the story and you will be able to read it next year - it's worth waiting for, I promise!  As a small way of making up for it I've made The Birthday Surprise free to download from Smashwords - I hope you enjoy it! I'm 2013 promises so much (I'll tell you in my New Year's blog) and I'm looking forward what's ahead because I know it's going to be full of surprises and be very exciting!
     Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas - I hope enjoy spending time with those you love and that you get lots of pressies!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Grum the groblin makes a personal appearance!

You'll be pleased to learn that Burly's Gallery of bear pictures looks wonderful - what a great mixture of photos I've received - old bears, young bears, Super Bears and even Grum the groblin managed to make a personal appearance! The response has been brilliant - a big thank you to everyone who has sent in a photo! If you want to see them all just go to the Burly & Grum website. You can send me your photos until the end of December - my email address is
     I'll be updating the website soon for Christmas and Burly's Bear Gallery will be moved to a different page, but don't worry I'll let you know when that happens. 
    But enough of the Bear Gallery for the moment because I've been up to lots! I've now got stickers to give out when I go to read to children -

I've also created a 2013 calendar but really, I'm not sure about how it looks so think I'm going to hold onto that one. My Burly & Grum t-shirt arrived and the print quality was a lot better than I thought it would be, which is great. As you can see from the above picture of Grum, I also roped in additional help and persuaded my sister to knit a small Grum - I couldn't stop laughing when he first arrived but honestly, that was because she managed to capture him so well!
    With regard to the Burly & Grum books I've been trying to consolidate and get things up to date now that I'm publishing under Magic Toy Books. This isn't easy and at the moment I'm discussing with Kindle Support the problem that although customers can visually see that The Secret City is free on Kindle, when they go to download it Amazon are asking them to pay. True, it's not a huge amount ($1.99) but that's not the point. Sorting this problem out isn't easy. This can be demonstrated by the fact that at first the problem was confined to the US but as soon as I asked Kindle Support for help suddenly the problem was world-wide. Yup, publishing is not easy and takes the patience of a saint!
    I've also been finding out about audiobook distribution and at this point I'd like to say thanks to Andrew Parker from Open Book Audio who restored my faith in the fact there are helpful people out there who can think a little outside the box. As someone who constantly thinks a little strangely, it's comforting to know I'm not alone! I'm sure we'll be working together in the future and I'm looking forward to it.
     Tomorrow I'm off to the Barbican Library to talk about doing an author's reading. I've also been asked to visit a couple of schools so things are looking good! But all the visits will have to be for next year as I have no more leave left (darn this having to work for a living!).
  Over the next few weeks and months I'll be working hard to consolidate, promote and make Burly & Grum as professional as possible because I love them and want to continue writing stories about them for as long as possible.
     Now I know Unlucky Dip isn't part of the Burly & Grum tales, but I'm going to sneak in a mention. It's picking up great reviews and I'm really happy with how it's doing. Thank you especially to Kate from Read2Review (GMTA UK) who has been brilliant with the promotion and also Masquerade Crew (I received so many retweets from their one tweet I lost count!).


  Have a good week everyone!