Over on that place called Twitter, we're celebrating #MiddleGradeMay so I decided this month would largely be about books for kids, and also kids writing their own stories.
It's apt with Mother's Day this Sunday for many of you. Here in the UK we do this in March, as part of Lent apparently, but don't mind tea and toast in bed twice, please! Happy Mother's Day to the mums, grandmums, step-mums, and all those who play a mothering role for children of all ages.
It's been a busy month here on both the writing-related and house front, but it might just be that June's newsletter will reveal a finished kitchen! Now I've jinxed it... A door, windows, floor preparation and first coat of paint all now done. Installation is next week, then we'll see how well the range cooker has withstood its one year in the garage. Someone is coming to clean it early June - fingers crossed.
Everything has finally greened up and we have bluebells. This pic was taken near Lydney harbour as, sadly, the bluebells in the Forest itself are a poor showing again, so far anyway. But always lovely to walk there with the birdsong and actual leaves.
Before we get to the kids' stuff, I have to share another award win. Last month it was River Witch, but shortly after that, Keepers received a Chill with a Book Premier Reader's Award. 'Strong and engaging characters', 'well written', 'page turning' were the criteria the book had to meet - and did. Happy author!
By the way, Keepers now joins all my other books in Kindle Unlimited, so if you subscribe and haven't read it yet, here's your chance to see what you think for free.
ALL ABOUT KIDS
Lots going on in this space!
Dean Scribblers is involved in two projects right now. One is with a local school where Year 5/6 is learning about Victorian England and how children as young as eight had to work, often in filthy, dangerous jobs, to help support the family.
Here in the Forest that generally meant down the mines, and we've been helping the students write their own stories about being hod boys, door openers and jockeys for 12 hours a day in wet, dark (but warmish) tunnels.
A blast, as ever - I love this stuff. Here's a little more about the project.
Locals, please spread the word and of course get your own kids and grandkids involved. We hope to see a huge pile of entries by September!
I know I'm preaching to the converted here when I say the benefits of reading to children and encouraging them to read themselves are massive. Have a browse here and see what appeals to your young readers.
And my own offer - mailing list exclusive
We're still on kids' books, and here's an offer for you, a bargain at a mere $1 or £1.
Buy one of my Guardians of the Forest trilogy or its sequel, Legend of the Winged Lion (all at £1/$1 right now), send me a screen shot and tell me which of the other books you'd like, and I'll send you a link to download it for any eReader.
Find out about them here, including purchase details. .
If you have reluctant readers, try them out on The Wild Army. Last year I was over the moon when a teacher gave these books to her reluctant readers who fell in love with them. High praise - made my year!
And a PS - the sequel is coming along, and I've set myself a mid autumn publication deadline, in time for Christmas.
Continuing with the middle grade theme, my guest author is an award winning writer of pony books (Read a lot of pony books growing up).
A lifelong horse enthusiast, Laura shares her life in a semi-rural area in southern Maine with a dog, two cats and a miniature pony. While her books revolve around horses, her main focus is the young human characters and their highly relatable troubles. Meet Laura, her miniature pony, and her books here.
WRITERS ARE READERS TOO
What have you been reading this month? Let me know so I can add it to my teetering TBR pile. Here are mine.
All The Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr. Late to the party, now I know why this is such a highly praised book. My featured book of the month, read my review here.
The Romantic- William Boyd. A different style of Boyd, long, full of wonderful historical detail, great writing and fantastic characters, the story ambles along nicely and is highly entertaining. Recommended for sure.
Sundance - Laura Holt-Haslam. A short and excellent read with real life characters and a fast-paced story with some worrying moments and an interesting twist. I can see kids much enjoying this, whether horse lovers or not.
The Palm Tree Swingers Island Band - Lily Lawson. My good friend Lily has found a vocation in fun, charming, rhyming books for the littlies. Here's my review, and highly recommended.
Not a new post, apologies, but I was having a conversation about editing and realised again that many new writers think it's merely proof reading. The implication being that they send their first draft out into the world, sometimes checking for typos. This is the kind of thing which gives self-publishing an otherwise undeserved bad rap!
Editing stages are called different things by different people, but the basics of each stage remain the same. Find them here (and proof reading is the LAST stage!)
June - will we have sunshine (it's been a bit lacking). More importantly, will I have a washing machine inside the house? (Currently plumbed in outside under a grubby tarpaulin.) More new books to share, another new author to introduce, that at least is certain.
Until then, happy reading and writing.
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