What a year it’s been! I could never have predicted how things would turn out, even just 12 months ago.
In 2018, I discovered two floppy discs with the manuscripts for two pony books I’d written in 2004 / 2005. At the end of the year, after lots of editing, I was writing to agents and publishers in the hope of getting the books into print. Now, as 2019 draws to a close, the first two books are published and out in the world, the third is complete and will be released in 2020 and book 4 is fully formed and ready to start being put onto paper in the New Year too.
Here are my first-year-as-an-author highlights:
Thank you to anyone who's read the books, reviewed them, contacted me personally about them, entered the competitions, joined my mailing list, been a beta reader, and any other way you’ve been involved in this wonderful, exciting adventure with me. I wish you all the best for 2020 and remember to keep your eyes open for the third book!
After a difficult few years with Charlie's behaviour - becoming so strong to the point of bolting - and discovering that this wasn't due to badness or naughtiness (he was diagnosed with bone spavin - arthritis - in his hocks) things seem to be getting better at last. After 18 months of very light work, he's been back to the vet and his arthritis has settled. He is now happy in his work and back to his old self - slightly opinionated but safe as houses. He's been to a few Eventer Derbies this summer as he loves cross country and is a careful show jumper too. This weekend we tried some Arena Eventing and he was amazing. I'll have to take care with him, compete at a lower level than we were before and listen carefully to how he's telling me he's feeling, but it feels so good to be able to go out and have fun together again. He's only 12 so I was devastated when I thought he may never be able to compete again. He's so brave, bold, careful but also safe, he's my horse of a lifetime!
In November 2019, PONY magazine featured Amber's Pony Tales stories as their Facebook competition.
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!