Christmas is drawing ever closer and for me, that means one thing (in terms of my writing life) – time to get stuck into the scribbling of stories… But first, a catch-up, as I realise I haven’t blogged since just after the launch of Phantom Phantasia back in October!
Portstewart PS visit
As I think I mentioned previously, I was invited along to Portstewart Primary School on November 8, when I spent time with the two P6 classes, reading from my books and doing writing exercises with the pupils.
We created characters and wrote stories and I was impressed with what they came up with – and just how much they read.
The school also has its own lovely library, as well as its very own radio station, so the pupils also get experience in interviewing guests and being mini journalists, which I think is just great!
Crumlin creative writers
November 20, meanwhile, saw the final creative writing workshop with the writers in Crumlin, who also produced some good writing over the eight weeks of the course.
They very kindly showered me with gifts at the end, and I gave my own parting presents – a book each (from the local second-hand book shop) – to inspire them in their reading and future writing.
Giant’s Causeway Book Club
The last Thursday of November saw our final meeting of the Giant’s Causeway Book Club until after Christmas and we ended on a high, as our November read managed to score highest out of all the books we’ve read since June.
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge is a great book – and one I think everyone should pick up – so I’m glad it went down so well and that it ranked highest out of our book choices this year.
For December/January we’re reading the multi-award-winning middle-grade novel, The Explorer, by Katherine Rundell as well as The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by RL Stevenson (which we picked from a ‘hat’ out of various classics). Jekyll and Hyde is a very short read, but that’s maybe a good thing, with two books to discuss at our January meeting!
Books Ireland listing
Back to my own books… and it was great to see that Books Ireland magazine included Phantom Phantasia in its ‘First Flush’ section of new Irish books published in the November/December issue.
I love the cover of this edition and am very pleased to see PP inside. 🙂
KS2 book map!
As well as this, I was delighted to discover that Magical Masquerade has been included on a KS2 literary location map alongside various other middle-grade titles – including books from a few authors who are just a BIT better known that me…like Philip Pullman, for example!
I’m listed on this currently as being Belfast-based, but the story takes place a little further up the country – on the Causeway Coast. However, the main thing is that MM is on the map, so big thanks to the guys for including it.
The map has kindly been compiled by Mr A, Mr C and Mr D – three primary school TES-recommended authors who create educational songs and resources for this age-group. If you’d like to download it for free for your classroom/school, then you can access it here: https://bit.ly/2BdJ4yv
If you’ve read either Magical Masquerade or Phantom Phantasia then it would be lovely if you left a wee review of the book/s over on Amazon. You don’t need to have purchased them online (I know various local readers bought theirs at the book launches) and a few words is more than adequate – you don’t need to write loads (unless you want to!). I just thought I’d mention that, as it all helps! Also, if you want to gift one to a young (or older) reader for Christmas, that’d be great also. 🙂
I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to write after PP came out, but inspiration strikes when you least expect it and a few weeks ago I had a bit of an idea for a new story… So, I’ve been scribbling down some notes and plotting a bit, which I hope to build on over Christmas, with a view to getting some writing done. That’s the plan anyway!
I’ve sort of let my earlier tradition of writing a festive short story at Christmas slide a little the past year or two, but who knows – perhaps the mood will take me to write one this year. We will see.
More as I have it. 🙂