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!
Here is the first entry for the illustration competition linked to 'The Second Best Pony'. The best image of a Fell pony drawn by an artist under the age of 15 will feature in the next book of the 'Amber's Pony Tales' series. Information on how to enter can be found on the competitions page.
So, today I began some doodles in the garden of illustrations for The Second Best Pony. The manuscript is going to the editor in less than a month to begin getting it ready for publication so I thought I'd best get on with the illustrations! If you'd like an exclusive preview of the initial sketches, and see them develop from this into the final illustrations for the book, sign up to the mailing list on the 'contact' page.
I loved being a sponsor of the Junior Nursery class at Dalston Green Hunter Trials on 14th April and was very impressed that the winner, Maisie, was riding in her first ever cross country competition. Hats off to such a triumphant first outing, and credit also to her super pony 'Sergeant Pepper' (who is gorgeous as well as talented)!
On 7th April, I put a message out inviting readers to be involved in the creation of the Amber's Pony Tales series by proof reading the pre-edited manuscript of The Second Best Pony. There was a rapid response to this and all the available places were soon taken. Three readers actually managed to read the book and send their feedback on the same day!
Maia said, "I thought your ending was really good as it made me really want to find out more. This book gives you lots of information about horses and Pony Club while having an amazing story line that makes it a fantastic read."
Destiny said, "Fun to read and also extremely educational. Amber was my favourite character as I can easily relate to her from my own experiences of horses throughout my childhood which are quite similar."
Jane said, "Wow- have just finished both books, which despite being 54, I couldn't put down! Talk about take me back!"
Thanks to everyone who offered to participate in this. It's great to see that people are enjoying the second book too.
My next event will be at Dalston Green Hunter Trials on 14th April. As well as having my first attempt at a jumping competition in 18 months on Holly horse, I'll also be sponsoring the 55cm junior class, presenting prizes and selling and signing books. A busy day!