School visits for the new academic year kicked off on Friday 4th October with a visit to Hunter Hall school in Penrith to launch their book week which was starting the following Monday. They were the first school to see The Second Best Pony and to take part in a new reading session connected to this book. There was some fantastic creative writing talent in the editing task - authors of the future!
'The Second Best Pony' had an official launch party on Friday 4th October at The New Bookshop in Cockermouth. Attendees enjoyed the free raffle and got to hear a sneak preview from the book in the form of a reading from it. The Q&A section involved a variety of questions, such as; "which is your favourite horse from all those you've had?", "what is your writing routine?" and "do you think you might ever write a book for adults?" It was a great evening and thank you to all who came out to support me and a local bookshop.
Today it was very exciting to get a call from my publisher to say the boxes of 'TSBPs' had arrived. I'm really pleased with how they look - both front and back covers are gorgeous (in my opinion!!) and even have a lovely glossy finish. I can't wait to see it in book shops. If you'd like a copy now, contact me for a signed copy.
On Tuesday 6th August, I travelled up to West Kilbride in Scotland to meet Clyde the Fell pony and his family. Greenholme Clyde was entered into the 'cover star competition' by his owner, Katie Trotter, and, after receiving the most votes, became the winner. Clyde will now appear on the cover of The Second Best Pony, which is being printed for publication now!
Although I've seen plenty of pictures and videos of Clyde on Katie's Instagram, it was just brilliant to be able to meet him properly, and give him a pat and a kiss! He's a stunning pony and I'm delighted that he was chosen to appear on the cover of Amber's Pony Tales adventure number two!
Today, on the hottest day of the year (and probably the hottest day in the Lake District EVER!!), I was at Bookends in Keswick for a signing event. I was nearly cooked in the heat, but the staff helpfully gave me a shady position to sit in. Thanks guys, it just about stopped me from melting! My next event will be at Gosforth Agricultural Show on 17th August. I'll be in the local history tent with Little Pearl, The Reader, and hopefully - if it's ready in time - The Second Best Pony will get its first outing too.
Today I was thrilled to receive copies of The Reader. This is a historical fantasy novel team-written by 17 people; members of my Writers & Illustrators Club. It has been professionally edited, illustrated and printed, and thanks to my publisher, Elterwater Press, it has also been published! It looks fantastic and is a fitting representation of the time, commitment and dedication it took to produce it. Copies cost £5 and for an extra 50p, you can also get a bookmark and postcard. All money raised through sales will go back into the club to fund our current and future projects. It will be available as a paperback and e book on Amazon soon.
Yesterday I was absolutely delighted today to meet two of my beta readers during my visit to Raughton Head Primary School. Maia and Georgia both read Little Pearl and The Second Best Pony prior to publication and were very kind in their feedback! Great to meet you girls!
On 17th June, I visited Seaton C of E Junior School to promote 'Little Pearl' and reading in general to pupils in Years 3 and 4. As part of this, Kerbeck Night Breeze was brought along by her owner Christine Robinson so that they could also be introduced to a Fell pony and learn about the breed.
Headteacher, Amanda Dickinson said "We encourage our children to have aspirations for the future and having a local author in our school is a great example of this. They loved having a fell pony visit - all part and parcel of Cumbria's culture."
It's not every day you get an e mail from World Champion three day eventer Ros Canter to tell you she's just read your book while on a flight to Canada! She said of Little Pearl, "it was a lovely story, full of memories of growing up as a pony mad child, but with an important lesson for children to learn at the same time."
I'm over the moon to hear from one of my favourite authors today: Sheena Wilkinson.
A couple of years ago, I discovered her YA equestrian fiction books 'Taking Flight' and 'Grounded'. I loved them so much, I contacted her to tell her I loved her books. Today she's contacted me, having read Little Pearl. She said, "I enjoyed Little Pearl, and really connected with its message about ponies needing to be treated with respect as individuals. It is a thoughtful, realistic story which places respect for ponies right at its heart." WOW!