Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 - What a Wonderful Year It's Been!

I have to admit that over the last few weeks I've been wondering where I go next with Burly & Grum so taking the time to look back over the past year has been a good exercise; it's given me a few ideas and also a bit more faith in myself.  
    I started the year by writing a short story 'Burly & Grum and The Tiger's Tale' for the charity Save Wild Tigers.  It was superbly illustrated by the incredibly talented Rob Jones and received a wonderful review from the actress Jenny Seagrove. 

Pat Scullion and I attended the 'Tiny Tigers' weekend at St Pancras Station and had, as you can see below, a brilliant time reading to children.

   This year I've been out and about visiting a number of schools and bookshops, talking to children about writing. In one particular school I spoke to over 180 students in three groups of 60 and their ages ranged from 5 to 9. It was quite a challenge but absolutely worth it - whether they coloured in pictures or wrote, they all worked incredibly hard, asked very interesting questions and created some wonderful stories. Below are just a few of the children I've met throughout the year - can I just say, you've all been marvellous and thank you for your incredible support!

     In September I had the honour of being chosen to be a judge alongside Michaela Strachen and Sally Spedding for the respected children's 'Paws & Claws' writing competition.  The competition closes on 31 January 2014, so if your children are bored tell them to start writing and enter their story as soon as possible!
     I was incredibly proud when 'Burly & Grum and The Secret City' was nominated for The People's Book Prize 2013/14 (children's section) and even more proud when it became a finalist! I'll have to wait until next year until I find out whether or not I've won and everything is crossed! I was humbled by all the support I received from Burly and Grum fans - thank you all so much for taking the time to vote for me.
     November was very special because I became involved in a local event created by the Imagine In-Print team which aimed to to tap into people's artistic talent. A huge 3D mobile was created and hung in High Chelmer Shopping Centre 

and everyone was given the opportunity to read out the story or poem they'd written. We had a wonderful time!

      Looking back I can see how wonderful the year has been. I've met many very talented and dedicated people along the way, I've learnt a lot and I am really looking forward to 2014. But I can't leave without saying a huge thank you to Stu and Lewis from Magic Toy Books - you are absolute stars and here's to 2014!

PS: I can't leave with telling you that my aim for next year is to look into animation - how cool would it be to animate Burly and Grum? Oh yes,very cool indeed! 

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Time to celebrate and say thank you!

     Woohoo! A huge thank you to everyone who voted for The Secret City in The People's Book Prize because.... yes, it is now a finalist!!! Tea and cakes all round I think, don't you? 
     I'm incredibly grateful to everyone who has voted for me and I know that even if I don't win I've been overwhelmed by the positive and encouraging comments people have left which have given me belief and hope that Burly and Grum are characters that are loved and that my writing isn't too awful!

     When I first published 'Beyond the Forest', the first in the Burly & Grum books in 2011, I had no idea of the journey that lay ahead for me. For one thing, I've learnt an incredible amount - when I started I had barely heard of a kindle let alone a tablet, but now I can self-publish, I know about social networking and have made many friends along the way. I already knew I loved the creative process of writing but I had no idea how much I would enjoy learning about new technology and being part of the new tidal wave of indie authors that has changed the face of publishing. 
     Just a few years ago I was getting comments back from publishers and agents saying my writing was good but that it wasn't quite right for the market, a fair enough comment but no one can take away the feeling of sheer pleasure and pride I get from publishing and seeing my books on Amazon and Smashwords. Below are a few of the comments Burly & Grum fans left on their People's Book Prize page - I know still I've got a lot to learn but I have to say that I'm looking forward to each step I take along the way and my love and thanks to everyone for their support and encouragement!

Kate is a truly promising author who is gathering fans - I think she has a great future in children's writing.
A fabulous read which gave enjoyment and laughter to all the Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3 children from our school. The focus on friendship was one topic of conversation that the children could clearly relate to. Kate visited our school which brought her story of becoming an author and why she wrote the story to life for the children. The class teachers and the children are looking forward to her return visit and learning more about the Burly and Grum Adventures!
I took this book on holiday to read to my grandchildren and they really enjoyed it. It is funny and yet thought provoking and it carried an environmental message which the kids caught onto straight away. The characters are likeable and interesting and, of course, the girls loved Grum as he is a little 'naughty'. Nanna preferred Burly, much more responsible! I think Ms Tenbeth has a bright future ahead of her and we are all waiting for more stories about Burly and Grum. Soon please!
A brilliant read. Very cleverly written. It made me smile. A parent (or grandparent) can read this to the youngest child and enjoy the wit, but more importantly can read it and be transported back into being IN the story. My grandaughter loves the story so much that we HAVE to read it when she visits. More importantly, a child reading it will find two great new friends and share in their adventures. It made me want to read about future adventures!
This is a wonderful story about the meaning of friendship that all children can relate it. It's funny, well written, has quirky characters and is beautifully illustrated. Kate came along to my son's school and I can honestly say he and all the other kids were absolutely captured by 'The Secret City'. They loved Grum the groblin (the 'naughty' one who doesn't quite know the rules) and quite frankly every child should have a bear like Burlington! 'Burly & Grum and the Secret City' is definitely worth reading!
Well done Kate Tenbeth for Burly & Grum and the Secret City. A truly brilliant book that the kids loved........ (and me). ;)