Archive for September, 2013

The Suitcase Kid

Jacqueline Wilson

suitcase kidAndrea West’s parents are divorced, and her tiny stuffed rabbit, Radish, seems her only comfort in the world. She must leave the home she loves with the mulberry tree in the front yard and deal with parents who still fight, stepparents, step-siblings, two different bedrooms (neither of which is really hers), loneliness, and an acute longing for the past. Her grades sink, her friends drift away, and she’s not quite sure how to fix any of it. Eventually, though, a new equilibrium begins to settle on her life. Honest and true-to-life, Andy’s story shows that dealing with divorce is never easy.

This is a really good book.

When Andy’s parents split up she doesn’t know who to live with, her mum or her dad!

She decides that she and her Sylvanian family rabbit, Radish will spend a week at each house. But when Carrie (Dad’s partner) announces she’s pregnant, Andy (Andrea) gets to choose the name and boy is that a bad name.

Every day on her way to and from school Andy climbs into a Garden in Lakespur lane, but when she drops Radish down a tree what will she do?

I don’t want to give away too much because you’ll have to read this amazing book.

Verdict: I think this book is for Girls 9 to 13.

Reviewed by Izzy(9)

Publisher: Transworld
Publication Date: October 2007
Format: Paperback
Pages: 160
Genre: Contemporary fiction, family
Age: Middle grade
Reviewer: Izzy (9)
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: British book

Publisher: Corgi yearling
Source: Daisy’s library
Format: PB
Reviewer: Izzy

Posted on:

Self Published Sunday: A Completely Novel Experience

We are delighted to welcome Richard Sterry, author of Stay Away from the Buttercups, to discuss the experience of writing and publishing his novel.

Cover-Stay Away from the ButtercupsIf you are a cyclist, the appeal of the South Downs Way in the South of England is one of the Must Do mountain biker’s rides. To complete the full 100 mile length is one thing but to achieve it 3 times in succession is in a league of its own. The book describes the journey of the Triple ride, which dips into several technical areas that may help you achieve your next cycling quest.
For those who have a dream or a crazy goal, the book takes you on the journey how my crazy goal was conceived, established, planned and conquered. Even when my body was giving up on me for the second time, the deep rooted focus and determination gave me the strength to see it through to the finish.
Along the way many other people joined in with the journey by being part of the support crew, riding with me along the route and following my progress on-line. It is the contribution by all the onlookers and supporters that has made the journey so memorable and worthwhile. I want to thank everyone for volunteering to play their part and helping me to make a piece of history.

Completely Novice

37 hours on the bike with no sleep had physically and mentally broken me. My mind was full of the amazing 300 mile ride yet I was swamped by the emptiness of what to do next.

Writing about my experience provided a soothing release. Describing the journey calmed my mixed emotions and settled my thoughts. Recounting every detail, I pieced together my version of the ride. It looked good to me, but on discussing it with my friend Louise Poynton (a freelance sports journalist) she encouraged me to reshape it and add some colour. Incorporating the chatter from a cycling forum about my ride and the tweets during the event brought my words to life. Adding other people’s account of my crazy challenge gave another perspective.

With my family checking the words for spelling and grammar, I researched how to publish a book. Swamped by the number of choices for fonts, page sizes, margins, page numbers, headings and titles, I did my homework. Obtaining permission from the variety of sources and checking for copyright information added to the complications. I felt certain that a self-publish approach was the way forward for me with the attractive low cost print on demand feature. I had no idea on how well the book would sell.

Struggling to enter the unfamiliar world of book publishing was a challenge. Louise put me in touch with Andrew Sykes who had recently published his book “Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie”. Andrew’s simple and effective message was to start with an ebook on Amazon, then go to the helpful people at Completely Novel to produce the paperback version.

Releasing the ebook after a couple of weeks was an amazing feeling.

Formatting and typesetting the paperback version took a few weeks. I couldn’t create the cover until I had uploaded the manuscript, as the width of the spine was calculated according to the number of pages. How do you design a cover with the most basic of Microsoft software and no artistic talent?

The FAQs at Completely Novel were really informative and my further questions were quickly answered by Anna Lewis, she even helped me get the barcode on the back cover.

Touching and feeling in my hands the first paperback book was incredible. The sharpness of the pages and the recognition of the contents gave me a deep warm smile inside.

Regular tweets gained steady sales of the ebook, achieving 5 Star reviews, whilst my blog received an increasing number of hits. Many of the 200 people mentioned in the book were at the Brighton Big Dog race in August. Launching the paperback version at the race, each rider received a promotional card in their goody bag and flyers were posted around the arena and on the course.

Andrew’s advice was really helpful; I wish I had sought more advice earlier.

My journey into the publishing world was challenging and exciting. Hopefully my book will inspire you to chase and conquer your own crazy dream.

RichardSterrySDWAbout the Author – Richard Sterry
Reading was boring at school and writing was equally dull. I also hated sport and anything involving too much effort, such as homework.
30 years later I became fitter than some elite athletes, I rode a bike non-stop for 37 hours covering 300 miles of the South Downs, then I wrote a book about it.
The transformation is tremendous and I describe in the book my amazing journey and the mental strategies required for succeeding and achieving your crazy goal.
Living in Reigate, I married Fiona in 1989 and our 18 year old twins have just completed their A Levels. In addition to the South Downs, I am often riding around Box Hill and the Surrey Hills enjoying the beauty of the South East of England.
More information about richard and his work cam be found by visiting Richards blog (here) or by conversing with Richard on Twitter (here).

Stay Away from the Buttercups is available to buy from CompletelyNovel (here) and from (here).

Posted on: