Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Darn, I forgot to wish you all a Merry Christmas.

I meant to do this earlier, but you know how it is - so little time, so many pies. 

Happy Christmas
Its been another pretty difficult year in establishing ourselves amongst the big boys of publishing although in the final week of the year Waterstones placed the HPM no.1 in the Ebook Picture Book Charts and no.77 in the Ebook charts for children.  In the whole of the Ebook charts we are 902 out of 4739.  (so that's still in the top 20%.

I know this might not sound "whoop" at the moment but I am higher than Connan Doyle, Clive Barker and John Le Carre - ( and they have good PR.) Of course there is a chance that by the time you read this I may have slipped back into oblivion, in which case - take my word for it.


Jim sent me some more black and white images to experiment with over the holidays. At the moment I am still toying with the palette and colour scheme of the book -

I never realised that colouring in a spaceman would prove to be so difficult.  Most of the good skin colours have been used already i.e. Smurfs, Simpsons, Toy Story, which left very little choice.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

The Hairy Plug Monster has Christmas Dinner.

Last Christmas I was invited to Hillcrest Grammar School to give a reading to the reception class, Mrs Griffiths who was their teacher at the time had read her grandson's copy of the HPM - and loved it.  The kids were brilliant and a couple had even bought in their copies for me to sign.   As a special treat, Mrs Griffiths asked if I would write a little Christmas poem, and so I did.

The Hairy Plug Monster has Christmas Dinner

As she stood by the tree, Maya’s eyes opened wide,

There were stars hung all over with chocolates inside,

Tinsel and baubles, with lights wrapped around,

And even more presents that lay on the ground.

On the shelf by the fire -Dad placed a mince pie -

With a nice juicy carrot, so Maya asked “why”?

“You need to leave food for the reindeer”, dad said,

“And Father Christmas wants mince pies, to keep himself fed.

Climbing up and down chimneys, All night isn’t fun,

And he can’t take a break ,when there’s work to be done,

Perhaps you can help?”,dad said with a laugh

“With the Hairy Plug Monster ,Who lives under the bath”

Maya thought for a while

And she smiled and then said -

“Maybe I could…”

And then went off to bed.

A few hours later,

Maya hadn’t slept,

So into the bathroom,

She silently crept.

The Hairy Plug Monster,

Was sat by the soap,

With a floppy red stocking,

All tied up with rope.

Maya asked once again -

“Do you fancy a feed? ”

And the Hairy Plug Monster,

Smiled and agreed.

“We’ve got Mince Pies and chocolates

and a huge Christmas Cake.

There’s even a turkey,

All ready to bake”.

So they tiptoed downstairs,

and walked through the hall,

straight to the kitchen,

to the fridge by the wall.

Maya opened the door,

and they both peeked inside,

And the Hairy Plug Monster’s

One Eye opened wide.

There on the shelf was a large plate of jelly,

A trifle,

and pudding

and cheese that was smelly.

There was mince pies and chocolates,

And cranberry jam,

Sprouts and Potatoes,

And a big piece of ham.

The Hairy Plug Monster,

Jumped onto the shelf,

And in no time at all -

He was helping himself.

Maya said to her friend,

“That’s all we’ve got,

Its Christmas tomorrow,

And you cant eat the lot”.

But the Hairy Plug Monster,

Didn’t reply, he was already munching,

On a tasty mince pie.

He tried out the pudding, and some of the cake.

And then all the sprouts,……….


What a mistake.

Yuk –yuk yuk yuk

What a funny old taste.

He didn’t like sprouts,

And curled up his face.

The hairy plug monster,

Was hungry no more,

And sat down and sulked,

On the cold kitchen floor.

Maya thought and then said,

“I know just what to do,

Father Christmas is coming,

He’ll be here very soon”.

They went to the front room,

And both peeked inside,

And The Hairy Plug Monster’s one eye,

Opened Wide.

There by the fire was a man dressed in red,

With a big floppy hat,

That was hung from his head.

His belt and his boots were shiny and black,

And down by his side was a huge great big sack.

“Hello Father Christmas”,

said Maya with charm,

And she held out a mince pie

at the end of her arm.

“I’ve come here to help

and make sure that you’re fed

You can sit down and rest while - everyone’s in bed.”

Father Christmas sat down, with the pie on his knee,

While Maya placed presents around the big tree.

“Thank you” said Santa, and started to yawn,

“It’s time that I went, for soon it is dawn”

Father Christmas got back, on his magical sleigh

Gave a carrot to Rudolph, and then flew away.

The Hairy Plug Monster needed a nap,

so he crept back upstairs

And squeezed back through the tap.

His stocking was full of presents and toys,

And a small yellow duck - that made a strange noise.

“What’s that noise?”, said her dad the next day with a shout

“There’s a noise from the hole where the water runs out”

“You know who that is” Maya said with a laugh

“That’s the Hairy plug Monster…..who lives under the bath”.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Can you do this?

After the dissapointment of the teaching awards, Jim and I have decided to push ahead with the series of books regardless.  Given the speed that Jim can provide the illustrations, we should have half of the series completed pretty soon.  At the moment we are meeting during his dinner break each week and trading ideas on the choice of 'pallette' for the characters - the image above is just part of several that we are considering.

I have been given the first 45 key words that children learn to recognise in reception and another 100 that they are expected to know by the end of Y3.  Having to write using a restricted vocabulary is a skill in itself, but thankfully one I posses -  

I was a reading recovery assistant for a short period of time this year, and one thing I noticed that really used to wind me up is that Publishers are getting away with murder when it comes to producing educational reading books for KS1.

Both Jim and myself are intent on avoiding the same traps that others succumb to and are trying to create an  almost 'Seusslike' series of books instead of producing the same 2 dimensional rubbish that my daughter used to bring home when she first started to read. 

CAT     DOG    TORTOISE  etc

aaarrgh!!!!!  I am sure you must have seen them - they usually open with a small word like DOG and then without any consideration for the reader, they will throw in a word like TORTOISE and expect the child to be able to recognise the word just by showing a picture. I don't know about you but Tortoises are pretty rare where we live and it's really hard to be able to explain the difference between one and a picture of a Mutant Ninja Turtle. (except for the mask)

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

The River

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Steve Ancliffe who runs Popblastworld  click here asked me to write material for a new project he is working on.  Below are the lyrics to The River, one of the first songs I wrote for him. 

The River

The animals were on their way to see the summer fair,

There was cats and dogs and rabbits, weasels, stoats and goats and hare.

But they came across a river and the bridge just wasn’t there,

And they wondered how they’d ever get across to that fair.

Because the river was strong and the river was wide,

And nobody knew how they would get to the other side.

So they put their heads together, to come up with a plan,

And the cats and dogs decided that they would try and build a damn.

So they gathered up some branches and the cats all did the same,

But when they threw them in the dogs all thought it was a game.

And when the animals - put all the sticks into a stack,

The dogs all wagged their tales - and then they brought the branches back.

Well floppy rabbit turned and said to Mr. Percy Pig,

That "we’ve got to cross the river and it’s looking really big.

It’s flowing very fast and it’s really rather wide,

I don’t know if we can ever get across to that side".

Well the river was fast and the river was deep,

And nobody knew how to swim – especially the sheep.

They put their heads together – and went and asked the goat,

And soon they decided - they should try and build a boat,

They didn’t have a hammer and they didn’t have the wood,

They didn’t have the nails so they could build it like they should.

Then the fox put up his paw and said that a great idea,

How they could cross the river – to see the summer fair.

He volunteered to take the animals upon his back,

He could swim across the river and – swim right back.

But the animals decided that they didn’t like his plan,

Remembering the story of the 'Gingerbread Man'.

And the river was wide and the current was strong,

The river was deep and the river was long.

Then the wise old owl had the best idea yet,

To see the summer fair without ever getting wet.

"Every body’s here and we should be over there,
We don’t have to cross the river to see the summer fair.

There isn’t any reason why we have to shed a tear,

I think it would be best if we just have the party here.

Because the river’s too fast and the river’s too deep

The river’s too wide and the banks are too steep

The river’s too cold and the current too strong

The rivers too broad and the rivers too long….."

Moving in yet another direction....

Last July, Kath Conwell the headteacher at Adswood Primary asked me to come in and meet her, as she had something that she wanted to discuss.  Well that's not strictly true, I actually rang her about visiting the school to perform a reading so I could be assessed by Siobhan from the Windows Project - but that's another story.

Anyway to give you a a little bit of background information, Adswood Primary School  is in a 'seriously underprivileged area of the borough and when Kath took over the school about 5 years ago - it was classed as a 'struggling school' with low levels of child literacy. 5 years down the line every child is a reader and the energy and enthusiasm for learning, displayed by the teachers, parents and pupils is phenomenal.  As I may have mentioned before, there is no other school quite like it.

During my time as a writer I have visited many schools across the North West and in many cases I have been lucky if the Head Teacher could be bothered to even say 'hello' let alone make an effort to learn my name.  Kath, however immediately struck me as someone who genuinely has the interests of the school at heart, and not where abouts they are on a government league table.  It is soley due to the dedicated efforts of herself and her team that the pupils are achieving great things.  

What has this got to do with me? I hear you ask...

Well...Kath has implemented a learning program that incorporates Makaton Sign Language with the learning of the first key words and has given it the catchy title "Sign and Shine".  As this scheme is not officially sanctioned, it is taught alongside the incredibly surreal "Letters and Sounds" which concentrates more on the phonics.  (having seen both my girls grow up using this rubbish and having been a reading recovery assistant myself, albeit for a short while, I believe that on the whole it doesn't work and merely confuses children more than it assists.)

 Each year, Henry Winkler a.k.a "Fonzie" awards a bursary to a school which is already working in special needs and requires funding to support their existing outstanding work and as such Kath entered the Sign and Shine program into the competition and should the school be successful then they would use the bursary to produce a range of learning materials for the program.  (this is where I come in)  on the application form she advised that a 'local children's writer' with close links to the school would be asked to produce a range of books so the program could be shared with similar schools throughout the region.  So on the same day that I rang up the school to see about a reading, Kath was informed that her application had made the final shortlist and the winners would be announced at the televised National Teaching Awards in  London on October 30th.

Naturally when Kath asked me if I would like to get involved I jumped at the chance, not just be because of the bursary but because I had seen Sign and Shine in action and knew that it really worked.  Writing a series of worthwhile educational books that could genuinely make a difference would give my own career a bit of credibility.   I thought of the many ways that Sign and Shine could be presented if I was given the opportunity i.e.  Digital Format with video links to actions, audio etc not forgetting the chance to be commissioned to write 12 books (possibly more).

Fast forward 3 months and I found myself on a coach going down to London together with another 15 or so assorted parents and teachers, to join Kath and several other members of staff who were going down on the train. 

Before the award ceremony, we went to Bella Italia for some refreshments and half a bottle of wine and a sea bass later, I found myself outside the Palace Theatre in London waiting alongside a thousand or so real teachers all dressed up to our eyeballs.

Unfortunately Adswood Primary didn't win, ( I have deleted an earlier piece I wrote on the award ceremony itself as it seemed too critical of a lot of things that happened that evening.) However, after speaking to Kath the following Monday she seemed adamant that they would secure the funding from somewhere....

Watch this space,

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Chili and Walnut Treacle Toffee......My original recipe

The HPM was keen to remind you all about this original recipe for a bonfire toffee that bites back,

The Hairy Plug Monster's Chili and Walnut Treacle Toffee

(Caution this recipe will most definitely contain nuts - if you put them in)

50g Crushed Walnuts
1/4 Fresh medium sized red chili finely chopped ( - please bear in mind you are making toffee and not a Vindaloo)
450g Soft Brown Sugar
225g Black Treacle
110g Unsalted Butter
2 tbsp Water
1 tbsp White Vinegar

  1. Place half of the butter into a heavy bottomed saucepan together with the chopped chili and crushed walnuts and warm for a few minutes on a low heat.
  2. Then add the rest of the butter, water and vinegar and heat gently until the butter has melted.
  3. Add the sugar and black treacle, allow to fully dissolve, this takes about 20 minutes.
  4. Boil the mixture to a temperature of 138°C (Not having a thermometer I take my best guess at the temperature, making sure I don't burn it)
  5. Remove from the heat, allow the bubbles to settle.
  6. Pour the mixture into a well oiled 18cm (7 inch) sandwich tin.
  7. When the mixture has cooled a little mark the surface into squares with a knife.
  8. When the toffee has cooled break it up into squares, wrap in cellophane and store in an airtight container.
That's it - it might not score any brownie points with your dentist - but your kids will love it

Monday, 17 October 2011

Image of the Hunter from the story "The Child on the Hill"

The Child on the Hill
I received another illustration from Jodie to accompany the story "The Child on the Hill" recently and I love it.  It shows the hunter and proud father of a newborn son resting by a tree, while in the distance the stag watches in sorrow.  Until now, I have been quite secretive about this tale; showing no-one apart from my daughter Arisha - and when she read it - she cried!. 

This in itself is quite a compliment, as The Child on the Hill is meant to be sad.  It's not shocking or close to the knuckle; there's no blood or gore; nobody dies a gruesome death and there's nothing overtly supernatural about it.  It deals more with parental love and the hope and dreams that one has for their children. 

It was originally based  on an old Japanese tale I once read in an equally old book that I bought for 5 pence at a school jumble sale( that's what they were called in those days.)

Even though the final draft of my story bears no resemblance to the original, I should still credit it as inspiration.  However, I have spent quite a few hours trying to find this story again on the internet but haven't had any luck.

In addition to illustrating The Child on the Hill, Jodie has also agreed to do the illustrations for Golden Arm and One-Legged Steve and in return I am going to turn her impressive portfolio into a separate stand alone ebook complete with ISBN number  et al ready for sale on t'internet. 

The Pot Bellied Cook and the Three Legged Dog

Kim has sent over several rough images for The Pot Bellied Cook and the Three Legged Dog which I shall start work on in November.  The finished book should have the same look and palette as Be Careful Ethel.

In an old wooden tavern, quite close to a bog
Lives a pot bellied cook and a three legged dog
He spends all his days making green smelly cheese
While the three legged dog sits and scratches his fleas

High up in a tower, lives the Old Purple Bint
Who drinks nothing but smoothies of onion and mint
She grows all her food in a pair of old boots
And makes soap from the juice of the dandelion root

As I mentioned in an ealier blog - the inspiration for this poem came from several sources, The cook was based on a heavily pregnant friend and the three legged dog was her pride and joy - Colin the whippet who had recently survived cancer at the cost of his leg. 

Secondly - one of the first people to buy the Hairy Plug Monster, also blogs and tweets under the name 'The Purple Bint'  (worth more than a cursory visit), and I said  would include her character in a poem.  

In these days of being 360 degrees PC, it would be unwise to use the word 'Bint' given all the derogatory connotations so over the  last week she has undergone a makeover  and has been re branded The Old Purple Leach.  (sometimes you have to compromise for the greater good)

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Download your copy now!!!

Add to Cart    View Cart   
 Be Careful  Ethel  2.99 GBP
 Download your copy now ! 

Add to Cart     View Cart   
 Download your copy now!
The Hairy Plug Monster 2.50GBP

Coming Soon:

There's Something wrong with Grandad

Monday, 3 October 2011

Be Careful Ethel ebook published, The Hairy Plug Monster ebook published, and much much more

 It's taken a while to sit down and write another blog, but I've had so many things on the go - I didn't really know where to start. So I will mention them as I remember them.

Firstly, I totally nailed the 'e-pub' issue and now have two titles published on the Waterstones website.  Considering I starting from a zero knowledge base three months ago, I am quite "chuffed" that I managed it and can see a definite future for myself as a writer and HPM Media Ltd as a company.

  I accept that Ebooks are not 'the only future' but they are going to play a major role for children's picture books in the coming years and I am hoping to be there as a 'playa'.

With sales figures being collated on a daily basis Waterstones, both titles: Be Careful Ethel and The Hairy Plug Monster, have both enjoyed positions in the top 10, and it is only a matter of time before they will eventually occupy the top two positions in the children's e-book charts.  

I have already almost finished the Polish translation of  The Hairy Plug Monster, and this should be uploaded to the Waterstones server within the next fortnight. The Italian version is underway and the Farsi translation is due to be sent to be typed up this week.  I also called on an old friend who seems quite keen to organise the French and German versions, while another older friend is hopefully writing up the story in Russian.  Such is the power of social networking. :)

I still haven't quite figured out my marketing strategy for the foreign titles as yet, but to have them registered with their own ISBN numbers and made ready for sale seems a good starting point. 

There's Something Wrong with Grandad is also nearing completion; requiring a couple of illustrations by Jodie Muir - and hopefully (this time I mean it!!!!!) I will be going into the studio to record the audio book versions in November. I need to rethink the target age group as 9+ maybe slightly too young for some of the stories: Zombelina and Child on the Hill in particular.

Kim Eagle is working on illustrations for The Pot Bellied Cook and the Three Legged Dog and as soon as I have them I can start work on the book. It will probably be January 2012 before it will be ready to upload, but I am hoping that I will remember everything I have learnt over the last three months and cut the production time in half.  One of the benefits of  learning the e-publishing process is that I am now in a position to offer this service to other writers and illustrators - with a collection of Jodie Muir's pictures being the first to be published sometime in the very near future as well.

At the end of the month I will be going to London to attend the National Teaching Awards with one of the schools with whom I have built up a good relationship. I cant really say more than that as I don't want to jeopardise their chances of winning, but they will win and I might meet the 'Fonz'

Another 'hush-hush' project involved me nipping to London at the start of the month acting as a consultant for a possible future project with the BBC, but again that is all I am going to tell you at this stage.

Staying in London; I sent off three songs to Steve Ancliffe at  Popblast World and am in the process of writing another three for him, I did develop writer's block due to having to assume a certain level of 'geekiness' with the e-pub projects, but hopefully I am over that now.   Still inspired by the Children's Media Conference in April this year, I am finalising ideas for a T.V. series involving Popblast World and the band members and hope to have something tangible to present to them in November.  Then if I can get them on board, I need to recruit some additional animators and then prepare a bid to entice someone to pay for it.

So that's about it for the time being. It's nice to write about projects that I have completed rather than write about things that might happen. 

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Still pushing that boulder up the hill.

Having relegated Spooky Tales to the back burner until something tangible could be done with it - I was asked to do 2 readings at Hudson's Cafe Bar in Cheadle Hulme Precinct during the first two weeks of August.  This also gave me a chance to show off my new found skills with CS4 and produce some 'funky' fliers.

Perhaps it's over confidence but I thought seeing as I have produced several fliers for the two readings:
 "Why don't I have a go at using the artwork I already have, to produce new images for Spooky Tales?", and while I am at it, "Why not call the collection - There's Something Wrong With Grandad?". 

After tinkering about with some images I took at Zombie Aid in 2009 and borrowing some images from Pete Tynan (an established Photo Artist, and old acquaintance) and even taking a still image from a 1940's classic Danish film called Day of Wrath. I have managed to get 4 of the stories illustrated and ready for Epub formatting.

I have asked Jodie Muir to come up with 3 more images for Golden Arm, One Legged Steve and Child on the Hill, and then the book should really be ready.

I know I have promised several times before, but it really hasn't been my fault that there has been a lag between finishing the book and getting it released.

The latter end of July and August also brought with it several other really exciting projects that I can't mention just yet... needless to say that the light at the end of the tunnel is starting to grow brighter and brighter.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Progress means reaching a new level of complications

I can finally report that after a dozen or so attempts, I have finally managed to get the E-book working...(on Adobe Digital Editions) at least.  It has only taken me a few weeks, but has cost me years in additional wrinkles. 

Whether I can replicate the process remains to be seen, especially as I had to trawl though hundreds of forums, reading thread after thread of high end techno babble that I really wished I was clever enough to understand. 

Eventually after following every piece of advice I finally found a way of obtaining clear images and presenting it like a real e book.  I even test ran a few pages on my mobile and they seemed to work fine, unfortunately when I loaded up the whole book I still kept getting error messages.  This may be due to the images in The HPM pumping the size of the book up too much.

So now it's on to the next step of getting the book registered and uploaded for sale.  Surely this bit can't be hard?.....


The ebook rabbit hole gets deeper and deeper - Somewhere along the was VAT has been applied to ebooks and anybody who wishes to sell them through the appropriate channels has to be registered for VAT.  This isn't a major problem, but it is still another delay.  In addition to this there are several other hoops we have to jump through to register the e-book with Nielsen Book Data.  Again this is going to take time but on the plus side - every book that gets sold will get counted giving our humble publishing company more credibility.

With the HPM out of the way, I can start the ebook process for the subsequent translations and Be Careful Ethel.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

It's a bit like catching an eel - you think you have it, but then it's gone again.

My adventures into e-publishing took a turn for the better after obtaining a copy of Liz Castro's "EPUB Straight to the point".  It is widely regarded as the 'must have book' for all things E-pub - and hopefully will point the way.
Over the past week or so I have slowly managed to re-create The Hairy Plug Monster for Digital Editions.  At this moment in time there are still quite a few things that I am not happy with; such as the image quality and the texture.

As I only have Adobe's Digital Editions to view it on at present I need to download several more e-readers to check compatibility (If anyone wants to give me an I-PAD to aid my product development then you are more than welcome).

It has also become obvious that at some point in the very near future, I am going to need to learn how to write and decode XHTML.  Not specifically for writing websites, although that is not a bad skill to have - but to make amendments in the e-pub file to enhance compatibility.  One of the problems I am having, is not knowing which questions to ask.  This, in turn has led to being taken to some really high brow websites, where I have found myself reading the text over and over again and not having the faintest idea what on earth they are talking about. 

It's a bit like catching an eel - you think you have it, but then it's gone again.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Some sneaky peaks at Be Careful Ethel

The week seems to have melted into an endless session at the computer as I try to configure Kim's images into book format.  My experience with In Design CS4 has now evolved to such an extent that, not only can I alter the font.......

I can now create circles and fill them with colour ......  ( dah-dah). 

The trick of course is knowing which colour to fill them with.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

10 years ago, all we had to do was publish a book ...

It seems that to be an independent children’s author and publisher in today’s market – it’s not enough just to write good stories. That has proven to be the easy bit.

When we published The Hairy Plug Monster 18 months ago, we naively thought that it wouldn’t be long before the whole world knows who we are along with commercial endorsements right across the board from branded doughnuts to Theme Park rides….

Imagine that! “Dare you ride The Plugmonster?”

Anyway as this blog has detailed in full – that really hasn’t been the case. Ten years ago we may have stood a chance, but not today.

10 years ago, all we had to do was publish a book or better still get someone else to publish it and live off the earnings. Now the game has changed completely. Just having a book isn’t enough – it now needs to be digitalised and produced in formats that can be delivered to a variety of gadgets.

Because I don't have the luxury that newly crowned children's laurette - Julia Donaldson has by not allowing her books to be sold in this format, I have reassessed my outlook and decided that e-books really are a major part of the future and as a publisher and author it would be a wasted opportunity not to at least have a go. 

Not being a total “geek” myself, I have had a few problems getting to grips with the software, slowly overcoming it with a few choice swear words and long periods of self doubt........

It seems to be working.

In one way it seems a 'no brainer' as we are already producing PDF’s to send to the printers for the first edition print run. So, by default we have an e-book in it’s most basic form.

Although a PDF may seem a bit static and not very engaging, it does serve as a useful starting point into the world of E-pub. 

 In the current version of the pdf HPM I have hidden lots of small treats for enquiring minds to look for:
strange noises, music, theme tunes, speeches by MAYA and the posh and articulate Hairy Plug Monster etc, and in one secret area there is even a narrated version of the unpublished The Hairy Plug Monster goes to town.

At the last count there were over 30 hidden ‘hotspots’ in the PDF.

Although it is an original thought for us, everyone else has been doing it for some time, so even at this early stage in E-volution, we are still in the caves.

The publishing software I am using has already been superseded by an even better one, that allows e-publication in several formats and apparently lets you integrate animation, movies and other tasty bit of software to make the e-book a full 360 interactive experience. (well that’s what it says on the tin).

If you get a chance, have a look at Alice on the I-pad - which seems to have set the standard thgat we all must follow.
Already it is possible to submit the Italian text into The HPM and with some help we can even do the Farsi version that we have had for ages. Now that offering direct translations is a real possibility, I will be calling favours in from all over the World to get translations in as many languages as possible and putting them up on .

One of the challenges at the moment is getting the HPM into a format that is supported by Amazon and Waterstones - The E-pub format isn’t picture book friendly and although there is a way to do it, it involves getting someone else in and paying them far too much money.

Obviously an e-book wont be the same as having a real children's picture book to snuggle up and read to your kids, but it seems that within a few years the I-Pad, Tablet and Smart Phone are going to become part of the furniture in most households.

It is also true that you can download a book for less than it would cost to park your car in town... (well where I live anyway), and it seems inevitable that this market is only going to grow bigger each year, and while other people may have more technologically savvy ebooks,

HPM Media have brilliant stories.

Monday, 30 May 2011

The Hairy Plug Monster.....

Having seemingly fallen out of love with the local schools (after all it has been quite a while since the launch of the HPM), I was delighted to have a call from Sue Edwards, the nursery teacher at Arden Primary School - who asked if  I would like to return and read to her class, naturally I jumped at the chance especially as it meant I could spend the day there and perform to all the age groups and get some feedback on Be Careful Ethel.

The whole day was fantastic as class after class welcomed me back like a long lost friend, (so I must have made quite an impression on my previous visit).  I performed 7 readings throughout the day selecting my material depending on the class,  unsurprisingly the younger children wanted to hear about the adventures of The Hairy Plug Monster, while the more mature pupils demanded that I scared the 'bejeezus' out of them with Golden Arm, One Legged Steve and There's Something Wrong with Grandad - naturally I obliged.

I almost blushed with pride when one of the teachers proudly showed me her video that she made of The Hairy Plug Monster with narration and everything, and said that it was a firm favourite with herself and all the class. 

Be Careful Ethel went down a storm, so it looks like we may have another winner on our hands.  As they say on the 'telly' - "Let's go to work".

Monday, 23 May 2011

Early reports from the frontline suggest that Be Careful Ethel is going to be just as popular as The HPM - if not more so

Having been the only book on the shelf for so long, The Hairy Plug Monster has now had to make room for the new kid in town.

We received the first 'mock up' of Be Careful Ethel this week and it looks superb. We came up with the idea of the promotional clip to boost awareness and have already had a very positive response.

I gave the copy of Be Careful Ethel to Maya-Rose's teacher to test drive on her class, without saying who wrote it and came back with the following:-

Erin: "very good, I liked the King and Queen"

Archie: "Fantastic"

Luke: " Liked that the story rhymed"

Maddy: "I really liked it, I liked the 'dont panic' bits

Louie: " Liked the cheesy teddy bear bit

Rowan: " I liked the cheesy teddy bear bit too!"

Ankita: "I want to buy the book right now"

Harry: "I laughed at the cheese teddy bear bit"

Miss Steyert " The children really enjoyed Be Careful Ethel and laughed throughout. Especially when Maurice spread cheese on his teddy bears. The children joined in with the 'dont panic" bits -

Thoroughly entertaining.

So in a nutshell it looks like its going to be as well liked as the Hairy Plug Monster, but could you do me a favour when it does come out -even though I enjoy being told how much you like my stories,

don't tell me - just tell everyone else

Monday, 16 May 2011

Be Careful Ethel

Here is the first music track that we are going to use to promote Be Careful Ethel, it's only the first take and there will probably be a few changes made to it in the future.

 I was asked to create something that had an element of childish fun about it and would look good with the images from the book.  The piece is called 'Be Careful' and is a standard blues riff going from C7 to G and back again.  Its very straight forward and simple and only has 10 tracks on it.  (unlike my more serious pieces which can contain more that 50 tracks).  Click on the bar and let me know what you think.....