This week I’ve been thinking about all the books I want to write in 2016. I really want to write some children’s fiction books and I’ve been brainstorming possible ideas. I love writing books so much that when I’ve not got a book to write I’m at a loose end. I’ve spoken to my agent Jennifer about my ideas and she’s going to speak to my editor Chris about them. I mightn’t hear back till after Christmas but that doesn’t stop me checking my emails every five minutes!
This week I’ve enjoyed two Christmas parties with my daughter, lots of dogs walks and met up with some writer friends. I think it’s really important for writers to meet up and discuss their writing projects. I’ve also written some travel blogs and looked at ways I would improve two websites. This is my freelance writing work and is something I really enjoy. I’ve always been good at social media so sometimes I help companies with their Facebook pages. Have you joined my Facebook page yet? I’ve only just set it up so please join if you like reading my books.
It might be Christmas next week but I’m not rushing around. I want to enjoy this time and remember what Christmas is all about. I don’t enjoy the commercial side of Christmas and prefer to spend my time doing crafts with my daughter, attending carol services and meeting up with friends and family.
Have you got anything exciting planned for Christmas? I wish I’d been able to go to the carol service at Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary on Thursday night. I always keep up-to-date with what’s happening at the sanctuary and always remember John and his team, especially at this time of year. John never takes a day off and will be happily looking after his 80+ rescued donkeys on Christmas day. He really is a selfless man and I’m so glad that I got to write about his life in my book Pollyanne.
Pollyanne is a very special donkey who was going to be slaughtered to make salami but was rescued by John. She was in a bad way but John got her back to full fitness. She was chosen to be in the opera Carmen at the Royal Opera House and has also appeared in lots of TV shows including Not Going Out, Midsummer Murders and a magical trick show. (Pollyanne is 31 just like me so this always makes me smile). If you want to find out more about the book you can click here to read an article in the Daily Mail.
I haven’t managed to take my daughter Lizzy to meet everyone at the donkey sanctuary yet but I hope to take her in the spring, she’ll love it. She loves animals so she’ll love meeting the donkeys, ponies, chickens, goats and pig.
My favourite ever book signing was at the sanctuary when the book came out. So many people came that day. I signed the books, then John signed them and then Pollyanne signed them by stamping her hoof on them. It’ll probably be the most unusual book signing I’ll ever do for sure!
Here is a good video a man called Peter Crowther has posted on YouTube, it brings back many happy memories for me…
If you’re looking for a present to buy your Dad this Christmas then I can highly recommend the biography Marvellous – Neil Baldwin, My Story. I read the book in August and I couldn’t put it down.
I’d been keen to get my hands on a copy as I’d watched the Marvellous film on BBC 2 last year. It was one of the best things I’ve ever watched. The story was so compelling, I cried quite a few times and it left me smiling from ear to ear too. If you didn’t see it, then check out the trailer below:
Here’s a brief summary of the book (and Neil’s life):
Bishops and archbishops, top footballers, politicians and actors…they all count him as their friend. Prime Ministers and senior royals stop and listen to his opinions. He’s got an honorary degree and his very own football club. There was even a movie about him on national television. But who is Neil Baldwin? At Keele University they hold regular celebrations and chapel services for the decades he’s been the friend of students, academics and vice-chancellors. But he’s never been a student, or a teacher, or had any formal connection with the place. At Stoke City Football Club, he’s ‘more famous than the players.’ He’s even got a dialogue going with the Queen, though that one’s still a little one-sided. But who is he, and what’s he famous for? When he was a boy in a working-class part of the Potteries in the fifties and sixties, the education system wrote him off. But Neil thinks ‘you can get things by asking for them.’ He also thinks his late Mum wanted him to have a happy life, and it’s his duty to her to have one. So he does. This is the inspiring and, at times, hysterically funny story of Neil’s extraordinary life.
I loved the book, it was interesting to hear stories from Neil perspective and his famous friends too. I think Neil’s attitude to life is something we should all admire:
The world be a much better place if we all “put nasty things” behind us. Neil’s story is remarkable and this book is a must-read. At the start of this blog post I said it was ideal for dads but really anybody would enjoy reading this book. I hope I get to meet Neil one day and shake his hand… maybe I need to take a trip to Keele University!
Tonight my daughter ‘helped’ me sign copies of my books for the library at St Michael’s Catholic Primary School in Widnes. I had a great time giving an author talk there a few weeks ago and they wanted a full set of my book’s for the school library. I didn’t give them every book as some are too adult for them but I think they’ll love the thirteen I’ve picked out. I think the boys will love the Superheroes vs Supervillains A-Z and Justin Bieber books and I think the girls will love the One Direction books and Pollyanne.
Today has been a busy day but it’s been so much fun. I finished checking my second draft of my Taylor Swift book and emailed it across to my editor Chris first thing. I’m so excited about this book and can’t wait for it to be in stores. I want all the Swifties who’ve helped me to see the finished book ASAP. I wish I could hand-deliver a copy to each of them when the book comes out next spring. I would give them each a hug and we could dance to Shake It Off together!
After breakfast, I took my little girl to the tots group in my church (and we made snowman biscuits and reindeer food), then after picking up a Christmas present from the Post Office, I enjoyed cake and a chat with one of my best friends. This afternoon I worked on my website and went on a dog walk with my mum and two of her dogs. We went to Pex Hill which is a wood and quarry in my home town. It’s the best place to walk dogs because they can run free and enjoy mixing with other dogs. My little girl loves playing in the leaves and we always get muddy at this time of year. She was wearing a black and white cat outfit today so she looked soooooo cute.
PS I know our snowman melted a bit but he tasted yummy!
I’ve really enjoyed writing my Taylor Swift book and my first draft is now with my editor Chris.
This was the first time my daughter Lizzy has ‘helped’ and its been lots of fun. We’ve drawn lots of pictures together and played hide and seek under my desk. I think she’s going to be a Swiftie one day!
I love receiving tweets from fans from around the world. Today Lenka from Slovakia tweeted me this photo. I love the cover, it’s very different from the UK version, but just as good. Her mum has bought her the book as a present because she’s a huge Belieber.
Today I had a great time at St Michael’s Primary School giving an author talk. It was great to inspire so many pupils and they asked some really good questions at the end. This was the school where I did my first ever author talk, seven years ago. Back then, I’d only written my rugby book that I’d self published so I had a lot more to say this time around. I was only supposed to talk for 15 minutes but I ended up talking for 45 minutes – there was so much to say.
The headteacher has invited me to work with some Year 6 pupils on an exciting writing project in January and I’m so excited I could burst!
For my “D” post it was really hard to choose one thing or person so I’ve decided to have two (or maybe three!)
My dad is an amazing man and has always supported me. I was born with only one functioning kidney so my dad gave up drinking alcohol in case I ever needed one of his kidneys. He’s one in a zillion.
(This is my brother, grandad and dad on my wedding day in September 2007)
He was a bit puzzled all those years ago when I told him that I was going to try and write a book on Robert Pattinson and send it to publishers. He didn’t really know who Robert Pattinson was and thought I was a little bit crazy but he was so excited a few weeks later when I’d written it and managed to secure a book deal. When the book came out, he would go into supermarkets and book stores to tidy the shelves and make sure my book was displayed properly.
I’ve always been a daddy’s girl and every time I make the trip to London to see my agent, meet my editor or go to a press conference my dad always comes. We get the really early train which leaves around half five in the morning but we don’t care. We walk from Euston to Leicester Square and enjoy a cooked breakfast together. If there’s a film premiere that night we watch the fans eagerly waiting outside and see the red carpet being rolled out. We always make the most of the day, we walk everywhere and we’re always shattered by the time we catch our train home.
I see my dad most days and if I can’t see him then we’ll speak over the phone. My dad and mum mean the world to me and I’m so glad I live close by. When my dad went travelling with my brother in September I really missed him and was gutted that he couldn’t be there for my daughter’s second birthday party. I was so surprised when he turned up – as you can tell from this picture…
D is also for Dan, my brother. I was seven when he was born and I was so excited to have a brother. He is much more adventurous than me and has travelled to lots of countries over the last few years. He’s home at the minute which is lovely.
It’s also for dogs… I love dogs. I have had some wonderful dogs over the years. I have three cats at my house but my mum has five dogs and I walk them most days. If it was down to me, my mum’s dog Dave would live at our house but he doesn’t like cats (and my cats hate dogs) so he can’t.
My mum’s dogs are Chinese Crested dogs so I get funny looks when I walk them. They have hair on their heads and feet but apart from that they’re pretty bald. They’re really cute and love curling up on my lap. My daughter absolutely adores them, she’s must take after me as her dad loves cats.
Here’s a cute photo of her singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star with Rudy on a walk…
Just finished writing for the night, I love how my cats keep me company when I’m writing. If I wasn’t working they’d be off having adventures. My tabby Tobey is very affectionate and always tries to climb on my knee when I’m typing.