Tag Archives: children’s stories


Today’s post is all about one thing really – revealing the book cover for Magical Masquerade!

Having been quite organised in this regard, the cover was actually completed before Christmas, but I was keen to get a couple of quotes for it, so decided it was best to (a) see if my chosen reviewers would agree to read the book and (b) see if they would say anything nice about it….

Why was this so important? Well, to me, it’s very important, as cover quotes often entice me to pick up a book by a new author, if I know of the writer who has reviewed the book, and like his or her work. I trust their judgement and take a chance on an unknown.

As a writer who is going down the self-publishing route and isn’t exactly a household name, I find that having cover quotes on my own books also gives me added confidence in my work. Authors I admire have read the book and agreed to associate their own names with it, which, let’s face it, they wouldn’t do if it was sub-standard.

Anyway, I was delighted that the two authors I asked to contribute a cover quote both agreed to do so and were both incredibly kind in what they said. I’ve just lifted an excerpt from their reviews for the front, but you’ll be able to read what they said in full when Magical Masquerade is published, as I’ll be including these within the book.

Cover contributors

Carlo Gébler is a multi-talented writer whose bio (like my other reviewer), you’ll just have to read online (if you click on his name, I’ve linked to one), as he’s done rather a lot when it comes to writing…. He was actually one of the first authors I ever interviewed, when I started my job as a reporter at the Coleraine Chronicle, and from the very start, I liked his forthrightness when it came to talking about writing as a career. He tells it like it is and doesn’t sugar-coat the realities of being a working writer. I liked that honesty.

I also really enjoy his writing, which varies from journalism and plays, to adult fiction and yes – children’s fiction (he’s a former Bisto Children’s Book Award-winner no less). I wasn’t sure if he’d agree to review MM or indeed, like it, but amazingly, he did and he did.

Felicity McCall is another writer who has an extensive portfolio, including journalism, YA (young adult) fiction and plays. Coincidentally, she also shares the same first name as my protagonist, which is in itself quite random, as Felicity isn’t a name I would say is very common! Felicity read the first chapter of Magical Masquerade a few years ago, when I attended one of her writing workshops at the Verbal Arts Centre in Derry. She gave very positive feedback then as well, and I was very happy when she agreed to contribute a few words for the cover.

So, my thanks to both Carlo and Felicity – and also to Andrew Brown from Design for Writers, who probably didn’t realise what he was letting himself in for when he agreed to do the design work! (I am nothing if not a perfectionist…)

Anyway, here it is – the cover. I hope you like it. 🙂


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Chasing tales…

‘Seven is a magic number. The spells of fairy tales last for seven years… and it is around the age of seven that children are ready for the great adventures into the unknown…’

Not my words, but words which no doubt had a great impact upon my seven-year-old self. Although, something tells me I could have been any age when I was reading the book which bore this introduction – I can’t remember a time when I haven’t read.

‘More Stories for Seven-Year-Olds’ jumped off my bookshelf this weekend, when I was pondering what to write for a short children’s story for a little competition (competitions give deadlines and goals and that is Good) and so, I now have my May story written, as well as having finished my April short story for adults. Surprising how, when you give yourself a whole month to write a short story and do it in fits and starts, it actually seems to come together much more quickly than just sitting down, as I used to, and trying to churn it all out in one go.

Pacing yourself is also Good.

I_samma_ögonblick_var_hon_förvandlad_till_en_underskön_liten_älva[1]Most of my tales bear an element of the otherworldly in them and that, my friends, comes from a childhood lost in the world of enchanted woods and forests – where wishing chairs were the norm and everyone had fairies at the bottom of the garden… Yes, like many, I was a HUGE Enid Blyton fan and still have many of my old tattered books – the pages yellowing with age, the covers cracked and wrinkled from incessant reading. They were worlds I returned to time and again because they were worlds which leapt off the page and pulled you in from the very first letter.

It is an art form which I am striving to achieve myself. Enid Blyton has had her fair share of criticism over the years (not from her ardent fans but still, I’ve heard her writing pooh-poohed before), but give a child one of her books and they devour them.. and still do. I myself, have sold many as a bookseller in the past few years.

Anyway, the point is – no matter if you’re reading about tales of high adventure or evil, of good or of bad – funny or sad – if the words are right, the reader will desire nothing else but to read and read and read.

It’s a work in progress…

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