I've stopped updating this page and instead put my news on my Facebook Author page.
4 November 2021
In the huge gap since I last wrote anything, Covid restrictions have lifted a lot. I've also had a catastrophic failure on both my desktop computer and my laptop which was a good lesson on the importance of keeping back-ups of everything. Fortunately, I didn't lose anything but I have wasted many hours getting everything set up again and on choosing a new laptop. I finally settled for a Mac Book Air which I love.
My writing news is
- Both the Amy Wild books I was writing for my Japanese publisher are finished and I've already seen the lovely artwork for the first one.
- Santa Claus the Panto is going to be performed and recorded for showing online so you will eventually be able to watch it if you want to.
- I'm still working on my new horse book idea. I originally wrote it for 6-9 year olds but decided that didn't give me enough space to do justice to the idea. As a resul, I'm currently rewriting it for older readers.
- I've got an idea for a funny fantasy which I'm hoping to tackle next.
- The algebra book is currently sitting in a draw because it's so difficult to type maths. Even with Word's powerful maths editor, typing equations takes so long that I lose track of what I'm saying.
17 March 2021
Here we are, back in another lockdown and hoping our freedom may be restored soon. My idea for a new series of pony books is currently being explored by my publisher so I'm hoping it will happen eventually. I love the scenario I've created so I'm looking forward to writing the books.
In the meantime, I'm working on two more Amy Wild books which will initially only be published in Japan where the series is very popular. It's fun getting back to Clamerkin Island again, rediscovering the existing characters and creating some new ones. One of the new ones is an alpaca which provided me with a good excuse to spend time at our local alpaca farm. I love the way they hum when they are happy.
25 August 2020
With lockdown eased, I've started writing again. I've got a great idea for a new series that I'm sure Pony-Mad Princess fans will enjoy. It's completely different from anything I've seen elsewhere and is great fun to write. I'm currently working on my second attempt at the first book which is completely different from the original one because I had a flash of inspiration that changed everything. (It's so exciting when that happens.) . I'm really enjoying writing about horses again.
During the pandemic, I've become crosser and crosser about the way the media and policians misuse and misunderstand numbers. As a result, I've written an article to help you spot their mistakes.
In addition to writing, I've been teaching myself to play the ukelele, learning russian with Duolingo and teaching my horse to work in a round pen. I even swam in the sea once when the weather was really hot. But I'm missing seeing friends so I hope life gets back to normal soon.
19 May 2020
I can hardly believe it's a whole year since I posted here. I thought I'd been keeping the page up to date but I must have been thinking of my facebook page instead where I post more frequently.
We've been in lockdown for two months now and one day seems to blend into another. With so much time on my hands, I should be writing loads but I'm not doing as much as I'd hoped. What I have managed to do is write the first book in a new series for young readers that I'm hoping my publisher might like. It's horses again which is fun.
My horse, Kubus, was ill at the end of the winter and, although he's recovered now, we're making a big effort to make sure he has plenty of exercise. As he can't be ridden, that mainly involves long walks and lungeing but we're always trying to think of something different to do. Last week, we managed to build a temporary round pen and were delighted to find that he worked really well loose. We were able to lunge him without a rope at walk and trot and will be trying to build up to other things soon. It's fun to do and the round pen was very easy to make using electric fence posts and tape. We're going to change the tape to cord soon because that won't flap in the wind. The only snag is that he's working on grass rather than sand so he wears side reins to stop him eating all the time. (He's a haflinger so he can't resist food.)
17 May 2019
I am just settling down to work again after the most amazing holiday I have ever had. Steve and I went to Portugal and spent a week on a horse ranch learning natural horsemanship and western riding. I loved every minute and so di Steve who is used to my horse but had never ridden before. We learned to relate better to horses on the ground, learned to ride western style and enjoyed some beautiful trail rides through the surrounding hills which were a mass of wild floors, eucalyptus trees and cork oaks. (Did you know that cork is tree bark?)
The high spot of the week for me was working in the round pen with a 17hh horse that was completely free but still did everything I told him. Pure magic and a brilliant way to celebrate my 70th birthday. Now the hard part is settling down to ordinary life again. But the fun bit is trying out all the groundwork skills I've learned on my horse. He looked a bit surprised when I started doing things differently, but he seems to be enjoying it.
17 April 2019
Sorry. March was so busy that I forgot to update this page. The exciting news is that the two new books for my Amy Wild series are coming out in mid-August. I was excited to see the cover of one of them on Usborne's stand at the Bologna Book Fair.
The big change that's happened since last time is that I've decided not to write Scenes and Sentences after all: That's partly because the topic was too broad and there was too much overlap with Plots and Plotting, but also because I really wasn't enjoying writing it. The bit I did enjoy was creating the examples so I'm going to write more fiction in future. That doesn't mean that I've given up trying to help other writers - I'm just going to concentrate on articles for a while instead of another book. Here's one I had fun writing last month. It's about the silly comments people make when you say you write children's books.
I think it would be fun to write a stage play for our local amateur theatre so I'm brainstorming ideas for that at the moment. I'm also playing around with ideas for another novel and don't know quite what will come out of that.
25 February 2019
I've been busy booking a really exciting holiday for later in the year. Steve and i are going to spend a whole week in the sunshine learning natural horsemanship and western riding. I'm hoping I may come back inspired to write another horse book - maybe even the sequel to There Must Be Horses that so many people have asked for.
I've also been busy writing articles: one for Writing Magazine, and three for my website. I hope you enjoy them.
Turn off your inner teacher
Not everything we learned in school English lessons is useful for writing fiction.
Giving evidence in court
i've given evidence a couple of times so I know how scary it can be. Here are some tips that will help if ever you have to do the same.
The Dvorak keyboard - an easier way to type
The QWERTY keyboard is hard to learn and using it involves awkard stretches that can hurt your hands. I wa finding typing painful until I discovered the Dvorak keyboard that's already built into most computers.
Both my new Amy Wild books are in production now. The illustrations are amazing and I'm hoping it won't be too long before I can show you the the cover of Amy Wild and the Silly Squirrel.
25 January 2019
Christmas and New Year have come and gone and so, to my relief, have the darkest days of winter. I love seeing the days lengthen, bringing promise of spring. No more groping around in the dark to find hay nets and feed bowls at the stables.
Squirrel Mischief has become Amy Wild and the Silly Squirrel and the provisional cover is really eye-catching. The series now has a new illustrator - Sofia Cardoso - and she's brilliant at drawing animals. She's currently busy on the inside illustrations for the squirrel book, and then she'll start work on the next one which is provisionally called Quarrelling Cats.
With those two stories finished and in production, I'm ready to start work on Scenes and Sentences - the companion book to Plots and Plotting. I've also got an article to write for a magazine and I'm hoping to write lots more articles this year for this site.
But just recently, I've been playing around redesigning the cover for Perfectly Pony. I hope you like it.
Read News for 2018