About Me

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Author, Avid Tweeter & Blogger, Lover of books, Teacher of Maths & Swimming, Mother, Speaks Spanish, Friend to many...

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Introducing...Sylvia Petter

Today - we've got Sylvia Petter telling us about herself.

What was your favourite book when you were a child?
The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton

What did you want to be when you grow up?
A vet.

Which children’s books have you read recently?
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

What’s your favourite snack?
Miso soup.

If you could be any character in a book, who or what would you be?
Peter Pan

What do you do when you’re not writing?
Reading, hanging out with mates, pottering in the garden.

Is there anything that scares you?
Nightmares

What story are you working on at the moment? 
A family saga set during and immediately after WWII

Monday, 16 December 2013

Introducing...Britta Jensen

Time to find out a bit more about Britta Jensen...

What was your favourite book when you were a child?
I loved Little House on the Prairie, I must have read the whole series at least three times.  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was also a frequent re-read as well as A Wrinkle in Time. 

What did you want to be when you grow up?
I wanted to be a “triple threat” otherwise known as a Broadway actor, singer, dancer.  I was always trying to organize the neighborhood kids, as well as my siblings, for dance-offs.  No one was quite as interested in being “seen” by agents as I was.

Which children’s books have you read recently?
Mondays are Red by Nicola Morgan, the Divergent series by Veronica Roth, and I am currently reading Disconnect by Imran Siddiq

What’s your favourite snack? 
Chocolate covered ginger biscuits and a German delicacy called Hoernchen 
(a chocolate dipped crescent biscuit made out of almonds and pastry dough). 

If you could be any character in a book, who or what would you be?
I would want to be a combination of Katniss Everdeen, from Hunger Games, Alexia, from my book The Curse of Beal Atha. I like the idea of having bravery, incredible strength and endurance, as well as serious intellectual prowess. 

What do you do when you’re not writing?
I dance Argentine Tango, knit, sketch oil pastels, and hike through the hills behind my flat.

Is there anything that scares you?
I am terrified of spiders. I grew up in Japan where there are all varieties of creepy crawlies. (We even have hammerhead worms!) Since I’m surrounded by woods where I live in Bavaria, there are these enormous spiders that like to torment myself and my cats Nina and Shiva.


What story are you working on at the moment?
I’m editing my debut novel, The Curse of Beal Atha, and getting ready to start the second book in the series.  

Friday, 13 December 2013

A TEST OF TIME: Donation to FOODBANK

Today, I did a quick calculation on the eBook and paperback sales made so far from A TEST OF TIME and realised we had approximately £50 (subject to exchange rate when payments come through).

Since I wanted to help prior to Christmas I decided to spend the money before amazon pay up... and got in touch with FOODBANK. It's fantastic to go in person and see the storage facilities they have and the work they do. The paperbacks have also arrived so I have stocked at GURNARD'S NEWSAGENTS, and given some to Foodbank to sell.

So, I managed to buy the entire stock Sainsbury's had of Steamed puddings, Tinned potatoes, and 27 cans of canned spaghetti... these are the items they most needed. So, here is a picture of me holding the book, whilst showing the food bought and donated. Next to me is Hannah King, the manager of the Cowes Foodbank branch on the Isle of Wight.

I spent £68.15 - confident that we will reach and surpass that target!

Please download the book as an eBook if you have not done so... at under £2 this is a great price - and 70% will be donated (thank you Amazon KDP).

Or, if you prefer paper... please buy the book from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, where over a £1/ $1.50 will go towards this worthy cause.

The website for FOODBANK gives more information on the charity.

I consider myself to be extremely fortunate compared to the hardships other families face and hope that this small donation goes a long way.

Thank you and MERRY CHRISTMAS.

All the best,

Vanessa Wester

LINKS

Amazon UK

Amazon US

SMASHWORDS - Download available for PC, iPad, Nook, eDiesel, etc...

KOBO

Barnes & Noble

Coming soon to Sony, eDiesel...

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

More new authors!

The publication of A Test of Time has meant even more authors joining the short stories group...

We couldn't let that go unmarked, so we'll be sending them the same questionnaire we sent to the authors involved in Reading is Magic.

Keep your eyes peeled if you want to find out more about some of the writers of this brilliant collection of short stories!


Tuesday, 26 November 2013

A TEST OF TIME

The wait is over - I bring you the latest Charity Fundraising Anthology. Suitable for all readers...


Please support this latest edition download now - or even better yet, buy paperbacks as a gift for Christmas.

Thank you so much & enjoy...

Vanessa Wester
 
A TEST OF TIME is a fantastic anthology of short stories inspired by the theme of past, present and future.
Lose yourself in stories that bring together different generations through time travel as well as exploring futuristic ideas. Explore worlds where determination and resolve overcome impossible feats.

Let your imagination go as you read about adventures under the sea, a magician's chair, dragons, and mischievous girls on a mission to prank their teacher.

All in all, a wonderful collection for children who are mature readers and adults.

Dip into our world of short stories...

All monies raised from sales of this book will go directly to Foodbank, which provides emergency food for local people in crisis.

LINKS

Amazon UK

Amazon US

SMASHWORDS - Download available for iPad, Nook, eDiesel, etc...

KOBO

Coming to APPLE, Barnes & Noble, Sony, eDiesel, etc soon...

Friday, 27 September 2013

Donation to the NSPCC - £134.88 raised to date!

I am pleased to say that a profit of "£134.88" has been raised so far on sales of the paperback and ebook of... READING IS MAGIC


This money has now been handed over to Mandy Finch, coordinator for the NSPCC on the Isle of Wight.
Jean Harrison, Vanessa Wester (ME!), Mandy Finch
This has been my best fundraiser to date and I could not have done it without the support of Katherine Hetzel, and the authors who submitted their stories for the cause - THANK YOU!

Please join us for the next adult collection - details on www.shortstoriesgroup.blogspot.com - this time raising money for FOODBANK on the Isle of Wight.

Thanks for reading,

Vanessa Wester

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Donation to Gurnard Primary School

I am pleased to say that a profit of "£67" has been raised so far on sales of the paperback and ebook
of...

GURNARD'S BOOK OF DELIGHTS

This money has been given to Gurnard Primary School on the Isle of Wight to help buy new books for the school library.

The paperbacks are still being sold by the Gurnard's Newsagents - I'm extremely grateful to Chris & Brian for supporting this cause!

Gurnard's Newsagent - we sell real books!
Newsagents are under a lot of pressure to stay alive these days, especially since supermarkets take a lot of their business away.

I like to think that by stocking the books there, and giving them a small donation per sale, I am also helping a local business.

Thank you for reading and please take a look at this anthology and let me know what you think of the idea...

Best regards,

Vanessa Wester

My daughter with her certificate for entering the literacy competition

Monday, 22 July 2013

Author interview - Katherine Hetzel

And here's the last of the 'Reading is Magic' authors. Look out for cheese...again!

What was your favourite book when you were a child? Difficult. I was such a bookworm, I don’t think I can pick just one. I liked Enid Blyton – but can’t remember whether it was the Secret Seven or Famous Five I liked best; I do remember a mystery involving a Siamese cat with a painted tail…The Magic Faraway Tree, The Enchanted Chair (or was it The Wishing Chair?). 

What did you want to be when you grew up? I can’t remember having any real idea until I was thirteen. I had a student teacher in Biology, who did microorganisms with us - moulds and bacteria and the like. Seeing the colonies of mould growing on agar plates made me realize I wanted a job where I could do exactly that - grow bugs!

Which children’s books have you read recently? Hollow Earth, by John and Carole Barrowman, to see if he writes as well as he sings. I think his singing’s better…Also read Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book – stunning story, with a twist at the end I really did not see coming and fab illustrations by Chris Riddell.

What’s your favourite snack? Cheese and crackers, (told you!) or a bag of Wheat Crunchies, bacon flavour.

If you could be any character in a book, who or what would you be? I’ve never thought about this…I’d have to say I'd like to be a character on Discworld, Terry Pratchett's series. I really like Vimes, the policeman, so perhaps I could be a character working with him? I'm short enough to be a dwarf - but I don't fancy having a beard...

What do you do when you’re not writing? All sorts! The nice stuff includes knitting, sewing, drawing, singing, arranging flowers, having lunch with my hubby, spending time playing games with my kids. The not-so-nice stuff is ironing, cooking, hovering, washing – everything that keeps my house and family running smoothly. 

Is there anything that scares you? Losing my teeth. I can’t even watch in cartoons when the teeth get cracked and fall out! I used to have dreams about it – I would wake with the sensation of things rattling round in my mouth, and have to check all my teeth were still there. *shivers at the memory*

What story are you working on at the moment? I have completed a full length novel, called 'Ring Seekers' which is being pitched to agents at the moment, so I am working on a collection of Granny Rainbow stories because my son wasn't content with just one story about the Black Shadow - he wanted a story for every colour of the rainbow! I have an illustrator working with me on this project, which I may self-publish. I'm also beginning to collect ideas for an historical story - all about an event that happened in my home town about 200 years ago and resulted in the demise of the Luddites. (If you don't know who they are, checkout the Horrible Histories site and find their Luddite song!)

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Author interview - Baz Baron

You know, we're getting to the end of these interviews, and cheese features quite a lot in the snack department! Here are Baz's answers to our questions...

What was your favourite book when you were a child? I had two, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, and Fair Stood the Wind for France, a a war-time novel by English author H. E. Bates,

What did you want to be when you grow up? I wanted too be a joiner/carpenter, but ended up being a Master Baker/Confectioner

Which children’s books have you read recently? Born to Run, The War of Jenkins’ Ear, The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips and other books by Michael Morpurgo.

What’s your favourite snack? Cheese.

If you could be any character in a book, who or what would you be? Jack Barclay - dragon keeper in my WIP, The Dragon and Turkana Boy.

What do you do when you’re not writing? I love being out in the countryside walking and camping.

Is there anything that scares you? Waiting for critiques against my writing.

What story are you working on at the moment? Along with “The Dragon and Turkana Boy” I am writing a story about a baby hedgehog that is tragically separated from his mum. “Prickles” is the working title. And it all ends well.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Author interview - Jody-Klaire

Today, it's Jody-Klaire who gets to tell us some more about herself.

What was your favourite book when you were a child?
When I  was little I had a lots of books that I loved, the scarier the better.  I particularly loved a poem about a headless horseman!  Mr Men books, Baa the sheep and the Beano and Dandy.  As I got older I read some Goosebumps but I would have to say that Harry Potter is still my favourite series for children.  From the moment I read 'Goblet of fire' I was hooked. (I don't do things in order).

What did you want to be when you grow up?
Well, I wanted to be a lot of things from carpenter to airline pilot but music called to me from an early age along with poetry.  I was composing poetry and songs pretty early on and I wanted to stand on stage in an open air stadium and hear the crowd singing the songs back to me that I had written. Writing seemed like a natural step and I love being able to create worlds and people and play around with them.

Which children’s books have you read recently?
I'm a big kid and so I still like reading children's books. I'm going back through the Mr Men series and I re-discovered a massive favourite of mine called 'Please Mrs Butler'.  For anyone who wants to be transported back to assemblies and the Nit-Nurse it's a must. It is very funny and many of the themes would still make anyone still in school chuckle too.

What’s your favourite snack?
Crisps, Chocolate, cake... sometimes together! Now I'm hungry...

If you could be any character in a book, who or what would you be?
I'm not quite sure I'd want to be in a book.  I know what I put my own characters through!  If you threatened me with Maths, I'd have to say one of my own characters as at least then I could make sure they came out on top!

What do you do when you’re not writing?
Sleep... eat.... dream about writing...

Is there anything that scares you?
Yes, everything scares me... in fact I'm hiding behind the couch typing as we speak...

What story are you working on at the moment?

Well,  with my other hat on, I write thrillers.  I've just finished one novel and the next that I'm playing around with is a very scary encounter on a ship.  I've really enjoyed writing about Chester though and so I've written ten extra stories about his friends and family.  I've illustrated them and so with a little bit of Wispy's help, you may see it very soon!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Author interview - Gary Henson

Gary is our over-the-water author, from the good ole US of A! Here are his answers...

What was your favourite book when you were a child? 'The Mad Scientist Club' adventures by Bertrand Brinley. Wonderful, crazy adventures by kids.

What did you want to be when you grow up? Astronaut, working on Mars or the Moon.

Which children’s books have you read recently? Dr. Suess and Mickey Mouse adventures with my granddaughters.

What’s your favourite snack? Cheese and crackers.

If you could be any character in a book, who or what would you be? Merlin the magician.

What do you do when you’re not writing? Read. Play guitar. Play games. Normal kid stuff! ;-)

Is there anything that scares you? Liberal Democrats! Yikes! Also the shadows that move on my bedroom walls... oops that's a book I'm writing. Never mind...


What story are you working on at the moment? 'Arlo and Jake Galactic Bootcamp'. It's book two in the Arlo and Jake Series.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Author interview - Jules Anne Ironside

Today, it's Jules Anne who's going to tell us a bit more about herself...

What was your favourite book when you were a child?  Moonfleet by J. Meade Faulkner (Really. The part in Blackbeard’s tomb always freaked me out)

What did you want to be when you grow up? A Vet or a writer.

Which children’s books have you read recently? Northern Lights – Phillip Pullman, Sabriel – Garth Nix, The Hunger games – Suzanne Collins

What’s your favourite snack? Yoghurt covered raisins

If you could be any character in a book, who or what would you be? Hermione from the Harry potter books, Katniss Everdeen or Alia from the Dune books.

What do you do when you’re not writing? A lot of martial arts, running, reading. Oh, and I do go to work J

Is there anything that scares you? I’m not very fond of slugs. I also am a little bit shy of people reading what I’ve written…

What story are you working on at the moment? A children’s book. It’s an alternate history where two key events have never happened and people with magic have to hide very carefully from the fingermen (inquisition type people) as the penalty for being born with magic is very severe!

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Author interview - Chris Lakin

A day late posting (completely forgot to do it in the excitement of my son getting stung by a bee and me falling over in the kitchen when I tried to get ice for him!), but here's Chris's answers:

What was your favourite book when you were a child? Tom Sawyer.

What did you want to be when you grow up? A soldier, and drive the biggest things on the road.

Which children’s books have you read recently? Too many to mention, but my all time favourite is 'Stig of the Dump'.

What’s your favourite snack? My fingers? Or maybe the odd Snickers.

If you could be any character in a book, who or what would you be? Doctor Who, I like travelling.

What do you do when you’re not writing? Researching, lol, it's just as much fun.

Is there anything that scares you? The rent man, the gas man, the tv detector van, but most of all the bank manager (he's nasty).


What story are you working on at the moment? 'Captain Griswold' and 'My Gran's Garden'.



Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Author interview - Vanessa Wester

Vanessa's turn today... 

What was your favourite book when you were a child?

I can’t say I had one… I read loads of books and I had authors I liked to read.

If I had to choose one, it would have to be “The Magic Faraway Tree” by Enid Blyton.

I remember going into the bookshop with my dad and being captivated by the covers. Books were expensive growing up, so I spent a lot of time in the library and second hand bookstores.

What did you want to be when you grow up?

I did want to be an author before the age of 14.

Which children’s books have you read recently?

I read “Superworm” by Julia Donaldson (brilliant books) to my youngest as a bedtime story the other night.

What’s your favourite snack?

Oooo… has to be anything with chocolate! Maltesers or Galaxy… YUM!

If you could be any character in a book, who or what would you be?

I would be a unicorn… and have magic powers & immortality!

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Cooking, teaching math & swimming, reading, watch movies, walking and swimming for fitness.

Is there anything that scares you?

Heights!!!!

What story are you working on at the moment?


The finale of my Trilogy – so close to the end now…

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Author interview - Calum Stewart

With apologies to Calum, as this was meant to be posted yesterday! 


What was your favourite book when you were a child? – anything by Enid Blyton


What did you want to be when you grow up? – a footballer


Which children’s books have you read recently? – The Gruffalo and other Julia Donaldson books – Dr Seuss – The Cat in the Hat  (my daughter is 4)


What’s your favourite snack? – chicken pakora


If you could be any character in a book, who or what would you be? – Jim Hawkins in Treasure Island


What do you do when you’re not writing? – ride a motorbike


Is there anything that scares you? – my motorbike



What story are you working on at the moment? – a continuation of Pray Tell, Sir

Sunday, 7 July 2013

The Laugh Your Socks Off Tour with Jeremy Strong.

Looking for funny books for children? You can't go far wrong with a Jeremy Strong!

Here's a link to the blog post I wrote yesterday, after attending the tour with my twelve year old son.

If you get a chance to buy a ticket, do go!

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Author interview - Gail Jack

Number two author to answer the same questions...

What was your favourite book when you were a child?
ROBIN HOOD

What did you want to be when you grow up?
AN ASTRONAUT

Which children's books have you read recently?
HARRY POTTER and SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT

What’s your favourite snack?
CHEESE and APPLE

If you could be any character in a book, who or what would you be?
IT’S NOT EXACTLY A CHARACTER FROM A BOOK, BUT I’D LIKE TO BE A NEW TRANSFORMER CALLED NOSEBLEED

What do you do when you’re not writing?
SLEEP and WORK AT MY REAL JOB

Is there anything that scares you?
THE THOUGHT THAT MY DAUGHTERS MIGHT NEVER LEAVE HOME

What story are you working on at the moment?

IT’S A SECRET…SHH!

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Author interview - Stephen Mark

Stephen is the first of the 'Reading is Magic' authors to tell you a little more about himself...


What was your favourite book when you were a child?
I had any number, but if I had to pick one it would be The Hobbit – followed by Lord of the Rings when I was a bit older.

What did you want to be when you grow up?
 That’s easy; a jazz musician!

 Which children’s books have you read recently?
 The wonderful; ‘Bother in Burmeon’ by SP Moss. A terrific tale of a boy who travels back in time to adventure with his Grandfather.

 What’s your favourite snack?
 Ooh, that’s a difficult one! Probably a Twix.

 If you could be any character in a book, who or what would you be?
Strider/Aragorn in Lord of the Rings.

What do you do when you’re not writing?
I play musical instruments – none particularly well, but I am a half-way decent saxophone player. Obviously, I love to read and there is always plenty to do on our big stone house and gardens in France.
  
Is there anything that scares you?
Infirmity, and not achieving my authorial aims.

What story are you working on at the moment?
I am turning Mr O’Rourke’s Shed into a full-length novel. When I read the story again in Reading is Magic, I realised that Davy Marr’s adventure had only just begun…


Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Coming soon...a bit more about the authors.

We're still getting five-star reviews of 'Reading is Magic', which is fabulous news. It's great how, among such a wide variety of story styles and themes, everyone seems to have found at least one story that's their favourite. It's a huge boost to the authors to know that someone, somewhere, is enjoying what they have written. Do keep the feedback coming, as it'll inspire us to write more of the same!

Thought it might be fun to find out a bit more about each of our authors in the collection, so I've given them all a list of identical questions and will begin posting their answers over the next couple of weeks. If you want to find out what Jody-Klaire liked to read as a child or what Calum prefers as a snack, which character Vanessa would most like to be in a book or what Stephen wanted to be when he grew up, then watch this space!

And if there is anything you'd like to ask the authors after reading their biogs on this blog, why not post a question (what it is and who to) and we'll consider asking them something extra.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

REVIEWS!!!

FIRST REVIEWS ARE IN...

I am chuffed to bits with the three reviews we have received so far. I am especially relieved that the paperback impressed the reader (you have no idea how much I have fretted over it, and I still do not have my copy - come on, Amazon!)

Thank you to the readers who reviewed.

We have now started to slip in the ratings. It's all about sales unfortunately.

However, I am pleased to announce that we have already raised in excess of £50!!!

So, well done everyone...

Speak soon,
Vanessa :)

5.0 out of 5 stars Cover to cover in one afternoon 19 Jun 2013
 
Format:Paperback
This is such a charming, funny and uplifting bunch of stories. My niece (8) loved following the Yellow Sick Toad. When she went home I ended up making a coffee and reading the rest of the book. I admit I bought it in the first place to support the NSPCC to whom the proceeds are going, but there was no amateurish writing here and I was pulled along by the hand. Breakfast Dreams will appeal to younger children (and parents of fussy eaters!) while Mangoes is likely to be a favorite of an older child who will enjoy the twist in a rags to riches tale. My personal favorites were Granny Rainbow, Mr O'Rouke's Shed and the hauntingly written and surprisingly simple Upon the Crest of the Moon. The paperback is well produced and professional looking. At less than a fiver it's a bargain and all in the name of a good cause.
 
5.0 out of 5 stars
Worth every penny. 18 Jun 2013
By Kate
Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase
 
'Reading is Magic' is a wonderful collection of short stories which, if nothing else, highlights the diversity of the human imagination. As a hobby writer, I shy away from writing short stories simply because I struggle to present a well-rounded idea in so few words. All of those involved in this book, however, seem to possess the ability to quickly draw the reader in to their respective worlds, making us feel quite at home from the very first line.

There is a story in here to suit everyone.

Worth EVERY penny.
 
5.0 out of 5 stars Not finished yet... 19 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase
 
Haven't read all of the stories yet, but personal favourite so far is 'No One Rides Red Horses.' Love, Love, Love it!
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Moving on up...

Well, what can I say... yep... I'm... SPEECHLESS (for a few seconds)

READING IS MAGIC has hit the charts...

In books now...

Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
 
You have no idea how nervous I am... I hope to receive my copy tomorrow! Fingers crossed!
 
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HAS SUPPORTED THIS BOOK SO FAR...
 
Let's see if we can go up the charts further... (I am allowed to dream!)
 
(Now doing a celebration dance)
 
Speak soon,
Vanessa :)

Friday, 7 June 2013

WELCOME

I decided to compile GURNARD’S BOOK OF DELIGHTS after I ran a literary competition to celebrate World Book Day 2013 at Gurnard Primary School.  On World Book Day, I presented the school with two signed copies of The Bother in Burmeon by S.P. Moss.  I decided to challenge the school children to write a story involving time travel, and some did.

The imagination these children have shown has been fantastic, and the effort taken by the younger ones to illustrate their stories has been impressive. 
 
In the end I had to select a handful of pictures to include.
 
All children received a certificate, and some The Bother in Burmeon goodies kindly donated by S.P. Moss, who subsequently agreed to judge the Years 4 and 5 entries for an overall winner. I judged the Reception to Year 3 entries.  The overall winners from each year group received a £5 Amazon Voucher I donated.

I wrote DETECTIVE GLENDA specifically for this collection, and it is my first completed children's story (I have started many before).

I had mainly written adult and young adult fiction, but after writing this story I got the children's story writing bug and decided to write BREAKFAST DREAMS and THE MERMAID for another collection to raise money for the NSPCC.
 
I had been publishing collections of adult stories for charity already via www.shortstoriesgroup.blogspot.com and decided to try to compile a collection of children's stories. 
 
Now, I have to be honest, if it had not been for Katherine Hetzel READING IS MAGIC would not have come about.  You can imagine that I was too busy to find new authors, since I am currently trying to complete my YA Trilogy on top of what I already do, so Katherine managed to get a group of new fantastic authors involved. 
 
Most of them are active members of THE WORD CLOUD, a place which gave me a lot of help and advice when I first started writing. I even attended the FESTIVAL OF WRITING in York last year.

And so, I am pleased to announce that READING IS MAGIC is now available as an eBook & paperback.

GURNARD'S BOOK OF DELIGHTS is now available via Amazon as an eBook.

Thank you reading and enjoy! :)

Best regards,

Vanessa Wester