Books to Buy for the Holidays

This is shameless advertising but how else can I tell you about what’s on offer? Big publishers have budgets for promotion and advertising and events and giveaways but us lowly authors (and that’s most of us in the writing game) have to do it all ourselves.

So, to paraphrase that old rhyme,

Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat

Please put a penny in the poor writer’s hat

If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do

Please buy a book by me and  God bless you!

 

So what have I to tempt you to buy?

Contemporary ebook romances

Love Begins at 40

LoveBeginsAt40byAnnBurnett200

Set in Largs, a small Scottish seaside resort, it tells the story of Maisie, a successful businesswoman approaching her 40th birthday and wondering what’s missing from her life. Will she find it in the quiet town of Largs or is Glasgow a better bet? Is James the answer or is Lenny?

Festival Fireworks  FestivalFireworksbyAnnBurnett200

Young Aussie lass Jill arrives in Edinburgh in Festival time, keen to explore the city and the country. But her next door neighbour, Andrew, seems set on spoiling her plans, especially when she discovers he’s also her boss. Can she still achieve her goals despite Mr Bossy, as she calls him, apparently out to thwart them?

Memoir

A Scottish Childhood; Growing up a Baby Boomer book cover2

My father, a keen amateur photographer, took loads of photos of us as children. I’ve collected the articles I wrote for the late, lamented magazine, Scottish Memories, on growing up after the Second World War and put them together as a snapshot of life in the West of Scotland in the 1950’s and 60’s.

Writing for Children

A Drop of Rainbow Magic 9780955854057

This is a collection of stimulating and vivid stories and poems originally written for the BBC children’s programmes, but with a difference. The children, themselves, are the illustrators. There are pages for them to do their own drawings of what happens in the stories. It’s so important nowadays to give children the opportunity to develop their own imaginations rather than have it fed by computer games, TV and animations.

Short Stories

Take  Leaf Out of My Book leaf-cover-09-16

A selection of prize-winning short stories which illustrate my tagline ‘writer of many things’. From a war-torn country to a city in the near future trying to survive economic disaster, to an inept Glasgow private eye, and a fantasy concerning Scotland’s Robert Burns and a determined fan in a pleated skirt, there’s something for everybody in this eclectic mix.

So buy a book and make everybody happy this Christmas!

 

 

 

Scuttling Sideways to Move Forward

A_red_crab2

I’m not one to believe in astrology though I confess to always reading my horoscope when I see one (in a waiting room or the hairdresser’s) and usually dismissing what it says if I don’t like it, while keeping a pleasing one in the back of my mind for future reference. My sign is Cancer the Crab and I have to admit I do have very crab-like tendencies; I disappear into my shell at the hint of any unpleasant situations as well as when I  need to get away from people and parties. Half an hour is usually my limit, after that nothing tempts me more than a quiet room, a nice cup of green tea and a good book.

My partner would claim I am crabby at times, even crabbit, that lovely Scots word that describes feeling bad-tempered, tired and at the end of your tether.

But I have noticed another crab-like tendency in relation to my writing. Take my last blog – there I was waxing forth about children’s books and writing for children; I wrote down all the ideas that came to mind, looked up the rhyming dictionary for words to rhyme with kangaroo  and sloth (rhymed text seems to be the in thing at the moment) and prepared to produce my children’s picture book.

So what did I actually write? A woman’s story, in fact, two of them. I seem to have stepped sideways away from writing for children and into the world of women’s short stories. Admittedly, the one I finished does have its roots in some of the notes I made for my children’s book but the other one, (which is not going satisfactorily and whose voice I haven’t quite got) came from nowhere. No, I tell a lie; it came from a funny story I read on Facebook when I was supposed to be writing my children’s story.

Does this happen to other writers? Do poets suddenly find themselves writing articles? Novelists writing limericks? Journalists for the broadsheets bursting into the purple prose of romances? Do other writers also take a step along a different avenue, not much travelled, and find themselves in terra incognita?

Or is it just me?

One of the woman’s stories is now sitting on an editor’s desk awaiting judgement while the other is on my desk ready for a hatchet job or a complete rewrite.  And the children’s book? Er… let’s just say it’s still at the draft stage.

As for astrology, the story on the editor’s desk was set around  a certain musical, one song  of which contains the line ‘….this is the dawning of the age of Aquarius….’

Maybe I’ll have a look at today’s horoscope, just in case.

I LOVE reading young children’s books!

Once a reader, always a reader...

Once a reader, always a reader…

A few days ago I spent a glorious hour in my local bookshop talking about books for the under 7’s with the very knowledgeable Kirsty who is in charge of the children’s section. Over a coffee we looked at some of the most popular and interesting ones in the store and discussed why they were selling (girls love the books about the Fairytale Hairdresser!).

I had to buy Oi Frog by Kes Gray and Jim Field, a hilarious rhyming story about where animals sit. A very simple idea beautifully illustrated which kids of all ages will enjoy. As I said I couldn’t resist it either!

But picture books published several years ago are still selling: Judith Kerr, Martin Waddell, Sam McBratney, Nick Sharratt, Mairi Hedderwick and of course Julia Donaldson by the shelf-load. Roger Hargreaves’ Mr Men and Little Miss series are still popular as are Dr Seuss books and Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. My copy of it is still on my bookshelf, somewhat battered now after being through the hands of my sons when they were young (which wasn’t exactly yesterday or the day before.)

For the 5-8 year olds, Roald Dahl and Michael Morpurgo are still there on the best-selling lists, now joined by David Walliams and the new children’s laureate, Chris Riddell. He’s also an illustrator which is such an advantage to a children’s writer as his drawings add so much to his wild, imaginative tales.

Kirsty introduced me to some newish writers that I hadn’t come across before like Dundee-based Pamela Butchart who writes about Wigglesworth Primary in a series of very funny, but nearly totally believable tales, and Jonny Duddle, whose name alone is enough to make you want to read his books.

I’ve now begun to try to sketch ideas for a story of my own as it’s been a while since I wrote for young children. When I was writing scripts for the BBC’s schools programmes, stories would regularly arrive in my head, ready to be written up. But my children’s writing muscle has atrophied in the face of competition from article and short story writing so I’ll have to limber it up and get it going again.

Next week, I’m visiting a friend who keeps a pile of books for her young grandchildren. I shall indulge myself in them in the absence of said children and hopefully glean a few more ideas and tips to help my writing on its way.

Watch this space!