Wednesday, 28 December 2011


Almost the end of 2011, and I hear some people say it has been a bad year. But my mother used to always say at the end of each year. ' You're alive and well, what more can you ask for?' Well, I am indeed alive and well and have even more than just that to be thankful for.
   Grass won the Royal Mail Scottish Book Award this year, as well as the Red Book Award, and the Grampian, and they were only the awards it won in 2011!  Out of The Depths came out in November, and my publisher took me on a fantastic book tour to promote it.  And in 2011 I have written 6 books! It Walks Among Us which will come out next year. The Dead Teacher,( must get a better title.) the third in the Tyler Lawless series, The Football Shirt which comes out in January, and Point Danger which comes out later in the year. I also wrote a short book for the French market, Harry at Hastings. And  also the fourth in the Tyler Lawless series, Scarred to Death. Isn't that a great title. Okay, I don't even have a contract for that, but that book will be published. I'm going to make sure of it. It's the book I wrote in November, for that book in a month thing. It actually took me almost two months to finish, but it is definitely a great way to get you started. And you know what they say. Something begun, is half done.  Now none of these books are great tomes.The longest is around 50,000 words, but I am very proud of them anyway.
  I have also travelled a lot in 2011. My daughter Katie took me to Madrid in March. It was her Christmas present to me. What a fabulous time we had. I was in Spain with Katie again in July with her family, and Spain again in August with my daughter Sarah and her family. ( As you can see, my family can't get rid of me!) Then in September I sailed on the Queen Mary, from Greenock to New York. How fabulous is that! Stepping onto a the world's greatest liner in your own home town, and stepping off in sight of the Statue of Liberty!
   I'm breathless with all the wonderful things that happened for me in 2011, but it hasn't all been good.
   Another of my beloved sisters died in July. Belle, the eldest of us died just six months after the youngest, Teresa. I still can't believe they've gone. Miss them every day.
  But, in spite of that tragedy, how can I say that this year hasn't been a good one for me?  As my mother taught me, I am alive and well, and with so many plans and goals for 2012. If anything the loss of my sisters has taught me that you must live for the day. Make the most of every moment.
   This is something I keep on my fridge, read it every day. Believe in it completely. It is a Sanskrit proverb.
   I hope you like it too.

   Look to this day, for it is life
   The very life of life
   In its brief course lie all the realities and verities of existence,
   The bliss of growth,
   The splendour of action,
   The glory of power,
   For yesterday is but a dream
   And tomorrow is only a vision,
   But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness,
   and every tomorrow a vision of hope.
   Look well therefore to this day.

Friday, 2 December 2011

The Book Tour!

When I first became a published writer, going on a book tour was something I dreamed of. It sounded glamorous, exciting, a sign of a real author! I've been on a few now, and I still find them exciting! Mind you, I still don't think of myself as a real author. Someone is going to spot soon I don't deserve to be here!I don't ever want to get blase about those book tours. I visited so many schools last week, stayed at so many hotels, and travelled on so many trains it is all a blur, but a wonderful blur.  Emma from Bloomsbury was with me at the beginning of the week and  St. Bede's and Oasis Brightstowe Academy were the first schools I went to, and they gave me such a wonderful welcome. And at Oasis I did my very first powerpoint demonstration...and it worked! Mind you, I haven't used it since. Dinner that night, and isn't it amazing how interesting people's lives are. I actually had dinner with a woman who had been Margaret Thatcher's bodyguard ! and she said she was a very nice woman, considerate and someone who always remembered people's names and the names of their children too. Doesn't sound like the Margaret Thatcher usually represented, does it? Tuesday and we headed to Hilperton and then Melksham Manor School, and another wonderful welcome. After that we left for London and that gave me a chance to meet my agent and stay in another lovely hotel. Only trouble with hotels is you don't get enough channels on their televisions. The only channels they seemed to have only had food programmes on them. Not a sign of  The Walking Dead! Lucky I brought a good book!
On Wednesday, Ian from Bloomsbury took over from Emma( was I too much for her, I wonder) but it gave Ian and I a chance to catch up on Doctor Who. They're making a film soon, and we were wondering what monsters they would have in it. Don't you just love monsters? Off again on Wednesday to Coventry and Whitmore Park school, then right on to Birmingham for an evening event. I loved that one too! Ros Bartlett organised it and we had parents and young people there. Including, April who said Another Me is her favourite book and she even has the cover as her screen saver!  Next day I was on to Wolverhampton and two terrific schools there, Colton Hills Community School and Wednesfield High School.  You would think by that time you might feel mentally exhausted, talking about stories, creating stories, but I find it stimulating. It helps me when I come to writing mine. Finally on Friday it was Southampton and the Sholing Technology College. A full on week, but I met so many fans, and sold lots of books too. Hope lots of them enter the video trailer competition for Out of the Depths. Thank you all for the wonderful welcomes you gave me!