Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The magic of the season

Christmas is coming and there's a bustling atmosphere wherever I go; everyone rushing to get everything just right for Christmas.  There is a lot of excitement in our house with a three year old and a nearly six year old (Ella is 6 on Thursday 19th December!).  Amy, my youngest, thinks Father Christmas isn't coming as she's been waiting ages for her Peppa Pig bike to come down the chimney!  We aren't allowed to put anything in front of the chimney in case it blocks Santa's way in.  I sneakily move my flowers back when she's not looking.

I have had the pleasure of seeing both of my girls' Christmas Concerts and they both did a fantastic job.  Ella as a sparkly angel dancing around and Amy standing up to sing 'Dear Father Christmas' song.  Both were a nice balance of traditional, Christian focus and modern-tradition reference.  Well done girls!

Amy turned 3 in November and she had a little party to celebrate with two friends from pre-school.  They had a lot of fun.  On Sunday we had a party for Ella's 6th Birthday ahead of her actual birthday.  There were more children and it was a little bit more loopy but they all had fun and that is what it is all about.

It's an emotional time for me as it's almost a year since Dad passed away from Mesothelioma.  We lost him 5 years and 25 minutes after my first born Ella came into the world.  It's going to be a day of highs and lows.  I am not sure how the day will be but I will be a brave mummy and smile a lot for my Ella.  She deserves a lovely birthday especially because I wasn't here for it last year.

Some days I feel low and others I feel ok.  Sometimes something happens that just brightens my day and the Christmas Concerts definitely lifted my spirit.  Today I found three fantastic, new reviews for some of the Larry the Liger stories and they have made my day.  If you ever wondered just how important reviews are then imagine the little face of a hard working writer when they read them!  Mine was a beaming and very chuffed one :D

I will share the reviews and hopefully you will get the urge to get yourself some Larry love too!  Seasonal greetings one and all.  I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a New Year full of the best life can give.  Enjoy every moment as you just never know...

"5.0 out of 5 stars 'Worth a read',
This review is from: Larry the Liger - The New Home (Kindle Edition)
This story is a lovely story I highly recommend this book and the rest of the series of larry the liger amazing books for children."

"5.0 out of 5 stars 'Cute',
This re...
view is from: Larry the Liger - The New Friend (Larry the Liger Series) (Kindle Edition)
This is a lovely story of friendship definitely worth getting to read to your children I love it as an adult."

"5.0 out of 5 stars 'Lovely Lovely Lovely',
This review is from: Larry the Liger - The Easter Liger (Larry the Liger Series) (Kindle Edition)
Its a lovely story about not to judge a book by its cover and continues the magic of easter for children highly recommended to buy and read."

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

My message of goodwill

I am so pleased to share the latest Larry the Liger story with you all.  Larry the Liger - the Winter Surprise is now ready for download from Amazon. 

This book is a joy to share because it was mostly written after a spell of serious, writer's block.  I began to write it a few months ago but then something halted me and I could not write... at all.  It was one of the most frustrating periods of my life because I knew I could do it but nothing would come... not one, single word.

So I sat back and allowed being a mum, and also my rehearsals for the local pantomime with New Wickham Court Players, to distract me from it and I would even avoid turning on my laptop because the sight of it annoyed me so much. 

In the last few weeks something changed and I felt the words bubbling up inside me desperate to escape so I gave the laptop a warning look and took up my usual writing position.  I began to type and I could not stop.  I had to of course because I have two, young children to look after but whenever I could I would get back to the story and not for one minute did I even have to really think about the way the story was going to go because it just did... go!

When I finally finished the story I knew it was a good one.  Yes I am entitled to say that because the story literally came out of me and I do wonder if there is an angel somewhere very pleased they got me to write it for them!

So what will you think of The Winter Surprise?  Well the only way to find out is to read it and I am pretty certain it will warm your cockles and bring a smile to even the meanest person out there.

The Winter Surprise is all about Larry facing the changes the winter period brings for the other animals.  He faces a period where potentially he will have no one to play with.  Even the school is closed.  One of Larry's friends decides that something must be done to cheer their sad, liger friend and preparations begin.

The ending is seasonal and festive; it will make you believe in the wonder of the season and the importance of goodwill.  It makes a humorous observation of just how distracted we all are at this time of year.  This is my message of goodwill as told through Larry the Liger.  This book is for children of all ages right up to 110!

So what are you waiting for?

and all other Amazon territories.

Winter seasonal greetings everyone :)

A winter surprise

Fergus writes:
"What is the collective noun for a Group of Ligers? 
I wish I knew!
Larry was lonely in Rachael’s latest A Winter Surprise with no siblings to keep him company. I think I’ll ask Rachael? What do you think? Is it a Pride of Ligers? No that’s Lions. Is it a Society of Ligers?
It is becoming contagious. I find myself say 'My father is a Scot and my mother English! I am British!' 
Well, Fergus you are right Larry does indeed feel a little alone in the upcoming release, The Winter Surprise.  His friends are all preparing to have their long sleep and Larry wonders who he will play with.  There is a surprise in store though and everyone will have to download the ebook to find out what happens.
As for a group of ligers: some say a pride, some say a streak or ambush, however I have decided that for Larry, should he ever find others like him, it will be called a legion of ligers.  What does everyone else think?
Larry the Liger - the Winter Surprise is coming soon and is full of seasonal wonder for you and your little ones.  Here is a sneak preview of the new cover :)

Enjoy the journey...

Friday, 13 September 2013

What does the fox say?

'What does the fox say?'  This is the type of question my writing often forces me to ask.  Yes, my research time is often spent trying to find out what noises certain animals make in their efforts to communicate.  The Larry the Liger stories have sent me on a learning journey of all things animal related.  Thank goodness for the Internet is all I can say; it has saved me hours of becoming one with all things outdoors. 

Recently when I was asking Google one of my strange and bizarre questions about animals, their noises and expressions, I discovered something I never quite expected.  'A song about a fox?' I thought and I had to check it out.  Well, what can I say?  You need to see it to believe it really!  This is a song I could almost have written myself such is my knowledge now of animal noises! ;) It seems I am not the only one asking such questions.  The Fox by Ylvis can be found here http://youtu.be/jofNR_WkoCE

This is a funny video and I ended up reading all about how it has been received.  Some people appear to have missed the humour element of it but, regardless of all the reactions, if it's that stupid how come I find myself asking these rather ridiculous questions on a daily basis?  I do believe I have discovered the next Gangnam Style hit and if this does go global then remember where you heard it first :)

Is it any wonder I don't get much writing done some days?!  Now to discover what a worm says... 

Saturday, 27 July 2013

To mark the birth of the new Prince George...

It was so nice to finally hear the news of the names given to William and Kate's new baby son: George Alexander Louis and he was named pretty quickly too.

To mark the wonderful occasion of the birth of the new Prince George of Cambridge, and third in line to the throne, I am going back to the start of my journey and making the Anastasia Omnibus editions free!   

I began writing this blog after the first Anastasia stories were published on Amazon.  I had no idea at that time I would end up writing so many!  There are now over 30 Anastasia eBooks and 3 Omnibus editions of the Series!  A lot of work went into those stories and it's amazing to think just how Anastasia took over and changed my life!

The stories began as individual, short stories intended to be read as independent stories.  As more stories were written it became clear there was a lot of scope for the character of Anastasia, the young, horse riding detective.

In Series I we meet Anastasia and learn of her love of horses as she spends her summers at Boughton Lodge.  This is the start of her crime fighting adventures as she rides her horses through the Kent countryside, solving crimes and mysteries along the way.

In Series II Anastasia and her great friend Charlotte continue to solve crimes in the beautiful, Kent countryside and we learn more of who Anastasia really is.

In Series III a teenage Anastasia takes on some of the world's worst criminals.  Action packed adventures with insights into the worlds of people and drug trafficking, we learn even more about Anastasia with some amazing revelations.

Series I and II are aimed at 6 to 12 year olds and Series III is for 13 years upwards due to the content of those stories.

If somehow you missed these stories then why not take a look while they are free and see what you think.  Anastasia has a big following and is loved in countries around the world.  I hope you enjoy her journey; it's where my self publishing journey began. 

Anastasia Omnibus' of Series I, II and III are free from Monday 29th July through Friday 2nd August and are available in all Amazon territories.  The journey has begun...

Series I US www.amazon.com/dp/B008KMEHPY

Series II UK www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0090P1K5U

Series III UK www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00A823NJA

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Welcome... happy tidings :)

Welcome to the world Royal baby boy!  A new prince for us all although hopefully the news channels will let us know what else is going on in the world too!  I personally love hearing all about it but others certainly are getting a little fed up from what I've heard. 

So what will they call the little fella?  As a future monarch the happy couple will have to choose very carefully indeed.  As a parent I recall the list of potential names my husband and I had as we awaited the births of our girls.  We struggled with boy's names so it worked out well we had girls! 

Whatever he is named I truly hope he has opportunity to enjoy a relatively normal childhood.  And you never know he may become a Larry the Liger fan!

It is a week of welcomes.  The school summer holidays have begun and my time will be filled with entertaining two lively, five and two year old, girls!  It's hard to believe my eldest daughter has completed her Foundation year at school and it's been very welcoming how she has progressed.

We have also managed to keep the sunshine in England so another welcome especially when you look at previous summer weather!  Some days it's been a whole 10 degrees warmer than last year.

My final welcome is to the latest Larry the Liger story: The Rainy Night.  This story was published on 22nd July so shares the same birthday as the new prince! 

I have wanted to write this for a while and started it when I first saw the terrible Central European floods back in June.  Scenes of big cats, sedated and being moved to safety were amazing.  The zoo staff worked through the night to move as many animals as they could.  It wasn't the first time Prague Zoo had flooded and I'm sure the rescue operation was meticulously pre-planned on the back of the previous awful flood.

The River Vltava, Czech Republic broke its banks in June and a State of Emergency was declared.  The largest animals of the zoo took priority and were moved, however some smaller animals sadly perished in the floods.  As an animal lover I found the news stories very moving and was glad so many animals were saved.

In Larry the Liger - the Rainy Night, Larry finds himself in a precarious position at his home with the zookeeper and the zookeeper's wife.  They have raced off to assist the evacuation of the animals in the main part of the zoo leaving Larry alone.  The zookeeper attempts to make the house as waterproof as possible but the flood waters find a way in... 

Larry and Chloe the cat set off in search of higher ground and to help the small creatures and animals of the wood.  It is a perilous journey and we learn how animals cope in such heavy rains.  We also learn how important it is to help one another in times of crisis.

This is the eighth story in the Larry the Liger series and I truly hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Welcome to our new, future monarch; school holidays, hopefully with more sunshine; Larry the Liger - the Rainy Night; and good riddance to the yucky flood water.  And remember happy reading makes happy children :)

UK -         www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00E3RDAXA
US -          www.amazon.com/dp/B00E3RDAXA
Germany -www.amazon.de/dp/B00E3RDAXA
Italy -       www.amazon.it/dp/B00E3RDAXA
France -    www.amazon.fr/dp/B00E3RDAXA
Spain -      www.amazon.es/dp/B00E3RDAXA
Canada -   www.amazon.ca/dp/B00E3RDAXA
India -       www.amazon.in/dp/B00E3RDAXA
Brazil -     www.amazon.com.br/dp/B00E3RDAXA
Japan -      www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B00E3RDAXA


Monday, 1 July 2013

Being a child...

When I was a very, young child I always felt safe when with my mum,  I always marvelled at her confidence; the way she could talk to anyone, her ease at traversing around town, her unflappability and her efficiency to get things done.  I recall wanting to be just like her when I grew up.  I also remember she walked very, very fast and I would often listen for the 'click, click, clicking' of her stiletto heels to find her in a crowd!

I was always bored as a child, never knowing what to do with my time.  My mum would be creative at times and often sing songs like 'Oh, Rachael is a funny 'un, has a face like a pickled onion, a nose liked a squashed tomato, etc'!  And sometimes to cheer me up if I was sad she would get everyone to play instruments of pots and pans and wooden spoons... Our house was rarely quiet!

I recall crying if mum was leaving me because I felt I couldn't cope without her but I always did.  I suppose when writing about Larry I am remembering the fear of venturing out on your own as a child; desperate to experience new things but also afraid to not have your mum there to keep you safe.

This is where I understand Larry and how he would feel being a young, liger cub.  I remember that uncertainty and the desire to have someone show you the way.  Larry lacks the role model of a mum or dad as he was abandoned and this is why the mother hen is so important in the stories - she is the voice of reason and comfort.  Every child needs a bit of that and I was lucky enough to get lots of it from my mum and dad.

You can read Larry's latest adventure: Larry the Liger - the Magical Sport's Day, which has just been released!  It is a lovely story where we find Larry excited and nervous as he prepares for his first ever, school, Sport's Day.  When he gets the chance to use magic to help him Larry must face the consequences of his actions. 

As my eldest daughter's first, school, Sport's Day approached recently I felt inspired to write this story.  She did very well in her races and was proud to be part of a team.

I hope you love the latest story and with positive messages to encourage your children, what's not to like? 

Check it out here: www.viewbook.at/B00DPWAAZA

London Welsh by Fergus

"Aunt Judith took me on an outing to Rochester Cathedral light evening to hear the London Welsh Male Voice Choir. A very good evening for me. I was talking to someone I knew in the Choir who played rugby for London Welsh when I was playing for London Scottish. That was 45 years ago.

A lady approached us and spoke in Welsh. A tongue I have never attempted to master. I assumed she wanted to talk to my Welsh friend but no she was being courteous in interrupting in Welsh but she wanted to talk to myself. In English of course.

"Tell me what has happened to Anastasia?" she asked.
"She is having a bit of a holiday," I explained.
"When will the next book be out?"
"We have four books to go with Larry," I said.
"I know that! But when?"

At that point I did not know book 7 would be awaiting me on email when I arrived home.

I felt I had to say something so I let the cat out of the bag - well slightly. Today we had an offering from The Sound of Music. Yes my favourite musical she said and today I heard it in Welsh for the first time.

You will find something about The Sound of Music in the next Anastasia Book. In Welsh? She hoped for too much. No German.

Sorry I can say no more!

Await the publication of the ebook dear reader.

In the meantime do read Larry the Liger. What a Goddess Rachael Phillips is to me."

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

My first guest blog by a fantastic author: Mackenzie Brown. Check it out :)

I am very excited to host my very first author guest blog!  Mackenzie Brown is a published author hailing from Liverpool.  Read his post below and further information about Mackenzie with links below:

"I’m elated to announce that THE SHIFTING is now ready for re-release. It was my first published work and like most authors new to e-publishing I made a number of basic errors. I rushed to the gate like a crazed bull, failing to have my work properly proof read and formatted. It was only when I received a particularly nasty review last year, I decided to withdraw the book and endeavoured to put things right.

I can now confidently say the text is error free, as grammatically correct as I can make it and properly formatted. A lot of this is thanks to my new proof reader Lauren Prasad (@LaurenPrasad) who has worked painstakingly to get the text right.

The story begins when a ten year old boy who has been missing for almost ten years, turns up at a disused farm in Hertfordshire. He can’t remember where he has been for the last decade, or even recall his name, or why he hasn’t aged one day since his disappearance.  He only knows his life is in grave danger and in a race against time, he seeks to reconnect with his mother and avoid a group of paid assassins, who seek to silence him before his memory returns.
To coincide with the re-release The Shifting will be #Free for Kindle owners from Thursday 27th June until Midnight on Friday 28th June. 

Mackenzie Brown
Mackenzie Brown was born and raised in Liverpool and from an early age always enjoyed making up stories.  He says: "I'm interested in many genres but I would not complain if I was referred to as a thriller writer. I enjoy writing fast paced stories that intend to grab the readers attention from the start.

To date, I have completed four novels, one of which remains unpublished. With the advent of e-books I have decided to take a deep breath and publish my work in e-book and paperback format and I am currently writing a sequel to The Shifting, I call The Burning and a series of detective stories set in Liverpool of the 1940s, featuring PI Vic Prince.

My personal hero is my grandfather Angus Mackenzie Brown, because he always lived his life with dignity despite what life threw at him, including incarceration in a Prisoner of War Camp in Italy, from which he escaped and lived to tell the tale.

My latest release is 'Lost Boys'. Delbert Walsh a world famous retired detective, yet borderline alcoholic; is on the hunt for a serial killer in 1970's Liverpool.

I'm happily married and have two fabulous daughters."
Don't miss out on getting your free download of The Shifting!  You can find out more about Mackenzie Brown at the following links:
Follow him on Twitter: @mackbrownbooks

Monday, 24 June 2013

Milestones, firsts and new journeys - the highs and lows of life...

For those who missed it(!) I had a milestone birthday in May and as far as I knew was being taken out for a family meal to celebrate.  Unbeknownst to me plans were being made over the last year by my husband, Jason, who then roped in my younger sister, Lisa, to help him plan things.

Thank god I bought a new dress as we arrived at a lovely, country pub and restaurant only for me to be shoved forward through the door to make my entrance!  My first thought as I opened the door was why are my parents-in-law here?  They should be looking after my children who should be in bed!  Then I saw my two daughters looking beautiful in new dresses and sandals and realised they had come to celebrate too.  There were lots of faces beyond and it was all totally unexpected.

I had been a bit suspicious, earlier that day, when my mum made a lasagne for lunch which is totally out of character for her if she was going out for a meal in the evening.  Jason fobbed me off with "she's thinking about you not eating until later" I dismissed it as thought it made sense for her to want to look after us as we were staying with her.

At the party Jason presented me with a book and inside was a flyer with a picture of Venice on and the dates of our trip!  I was so pleased as Venice has my heart and I have always wanted to return.  We went the following Monday and I relaxed immediately.  I was so pleased that it was still as wonderful a place as I remembered.

When we returned, after three nights away, the girls were very pleased to see us and Jason's parents had done a great job looking after them and everything else.  I missed them a lot but I knew they were in safe hands which helps.  I then had another night out with friends locally and some unexpected friends turned up so another nice surprise! 

I was a very lucky, spoilt girl and am luckier still to have a loving husband, who knows me so well, and wonderful family and friends to make sure I had the best birthday ever.  My older sister also flew over from Netherlands for the party which was also unexpected and it was nice to have all my siblings there with Mum and other family and friends.

This year was going to be different and tough because it was a milestone birthday for me and the first birthday without my Dad, who sadly passed away in December from Mesothelioma: cancer caused by asbestos.  His presence was missed at my party that's for sure and I know he would have loved having a rock and roll with mum and his daughters on the dance floor.  I'm sure he was there with us all.  We miss him dearly and there were some emotional moments for some that night.

The Inquest into Dad's death also took place recently and our family finally heard the official news that Dad died from an Industrial Disease and liability is with a former employer who allowed him to work with asbestos without any protection or ensuring he was aware of the dangers to enable him to make informed choices.  He was given no opportunity and therefore no chance to save his own life and it took decades for the deadly effects of asbestos to become apparent.  It was almost six months since we lost Dad and with the Inquest came renewed pain and grief as my family pondered the unfairness of his death once more.

I found it all quite overwhelming and found myself lacking in energy and enthusiasm as grief overcame me once again.  I allowed myself to slow down, knowing that I was mentally exhausted and I took a short break from writing and the whirl of social networking.  I was worried that I may never be able to write the same again as with every day I wasn't writing I felt my confidence in my abilities slowly ebbing away. 

It was with great relief, when I did finally sit down and work on some Larry stories, that the words flowed from me as if they had been waiting inside to come out.  It was with my renewed energy that I produced Larry the Liger - the Dangerous Day and I am very proud of it because it was written during some difficult times.  I love this story and indeed all the stories I have written but this one seems to have a bit of everything and makes people smile and laugh when they read it which is fantastic to know I created such a story.

Then came another first since losing Dad - Father's Day.  It was a difficult time leading up to it as there are so many things around to remind you to celebrate your father.  I also had to make sure I didn't overlook my own husband as he is a great Dad to our daughters.  Mum was staying with us and it helped having someone else to focus on.  We spent the day in Broadstairs but stopped on the way so I could let a balloon go in memory of my Dad.  It floated up high and drifted away; it seemed very appropriate and symbolic.  I know my sisters and brother also each let a balloon go.  I do wonder where our balloons ended up!

Another first was the milestone date of six months since Dad died.  It happened to fall in the same week as Father's Day so it was a very emotional time.  I was glad Mum was staying with us so we could be there for one another and I know the whole family were thinking of Dad and each other.

I know there will be more firsts to come and new milestones to reach.  The events of the last year and a half have provided so much emotion that I am certain my writing can only be better for it.  I feel every word I write and I am so pleased to be able to share my stories with you all.

My Dad would have been turning 74 years old on July 30th.  Another first... 

Fergus writes... about Ascot and the Epic

"Davina from Baltimore writes to ask whether I saw the Queen’s horse winning the Ascot Gold Cup and whether the whole country is celebrating? She says she has read The Epic 27 times and it is the best book ever written and wants to know when she will hear more of Anastasia.

Well Davina. I saw the Queen’s filly win the Ascot Gold Cup a couple of days ago. I was absolutely delighted as I am sure was everyone in Britain. You have read The Epic 26 times more than I have so you must be an expert! I agree it is the best book ever written. So emotionally draining!

I am sure you will hear more about Anastasia but at present Rachael is tied up with Larry the Liger. Between the two of us I think Rachael is in love with Larry!

Rachael has six Larry stories under her belt and 31 Anastasia stories so we are approaching 40 in total. Whether Rachael reverts to Anastasia or writes another series of ten Larry stories we will have to wait and see.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Big feet - a guest blog from Fergus

Well dear readers. We have a Liger called Larry with four left feet! I refer to the opening of the The Dangerous Day!

I had a racehorse who had lots of stamina but four left feet! His coordination was all over the place! He would win a Novice Hurdle by a remarkably long margin (called a Distance in horsey talk) but he would belt the tops of the hurdles and when it came to fences - well he was never going to win the Grand National - he could not jump for toffee cakes.

Aunt Judith now has six dogs. You remember Aunt Judith from the Anastasia adventures. Judith has always had dogs but usually one at a time although we bred two litters of Jack Russell pups about 25 years ago. We had a large Golden Labrador over forty years ago. We then had Jack Russells and a crossbred Rotweiller and Doberman who turned out to be the best dog we ever had.

More recently Aunt Judith has acquired six large dogs which are three Rotweillers and three Dobermans. All six are boys!

The three Dobermans are littermates but ... they are not like other Dobermans as they are Chocolate in colour! Yes Chocolate not Black and Tan.

No I am not having you on and you will ask yourselves what all this has to do with Larry the Liger?

I will tell you. When all six dogs were young pups I would look at their extremely big feet and I knew we were going to have big dogs!

When I am off to the horse sales with Aunt Judith in Fairyhouse, Newmarket, France or Doncaster shopping for young horses I look at the size of their feet! If they are too big they will never make a racehorse but will grow into a very large Hunter or Eventer. Perhaps a show jumper.

Our Zookeeper should have looked at the size of the Liger Cub's feet! He would have had some idea of how big Larry was going to grow!

 Liger Cubs grow into very large animals. That is larger than a Lion and larger than a Tiger!

They are real big boys!
Larry the Liger - the Dangerous Day now available to download from Amazon www.viewbook.at/B00DF8XZ0Q

Saturday, 1 June 2013


Clean Indie Reads: LARRY THE LIGER: THE NEW HOME: by Rachael Phillips & Fergus Wilson Children's Literature, Series Meet Larry the Liger: his father was a lion, his mother was ...

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

A new learning journey...

I am very pleased to announce the launch of the Larry the Liger website:  www.larrytheliger.co.uk 

Some of you will have already seen it but this is the first blog about the website and I have made some amendments to add more information since you last saw it.  If you haven't checked it out then please take a look and you can leave a comment in the Guestbook or share the website on twitter and facebook.

Larry the Liger finally has a home!  It is very exciting.  There are five books now with plans for five more to make a nice round number. 

Learning how to edit the website and update it has proved... well challenging!  I used to be very IT capable and picked those things up with ease during my professional, working career.  However it has been a while and I appear to have permanent baby brain.  Yes, I know, my babies are now 5 and 2 but there is lasting effect!

I will update the website whenever I get time and I'm sure I will get to be quite good at it if I keep practising!  I will add any exciting news here and on the website so keep a look out.

I hope you all like the website and please tell your friends as Larry loves getting visitors.  Ligers are very sociable you know! 

The latest Larry story was recently published to Amazon: Larry the Liger - the New School.  This story is all about Larry's first day at a new school and is a lovely story to share with children who are facing new experiences of any kind, not just starting school.  As with all Larry stories the New School has a positive message.

I hope the Larry the Liger stories help children understand the importance of being kind; there are some fantastic reviews on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com so take a look.  Some are also on the website and I will add more when I get some time!

My journey continues and I am learning to traverse the hills as well as the flats.  Happy reading all.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock... the new story

Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock, tick tock....

Where is the time going?  It may be yet another symptom of getting more 'mature' but if you stop for a few of those ticky tocky seconds you will realise seconds are actually a lot slower than we all think.  You only have to watch The Cube on UK tv to realise that when faced with a game estimating so many seconds the contestants always go tooooooo fast.  We are on permanent rush mode these days it seems or is it yet another reminder of my age!  I recall endless summer holidays wondering if I would ever go back to school - time seemed to drag by soooo slowly...

The passage of time is a biggie for me at the moment because I seem to have constant reminders of how quickly time is passing.  I have a big birthday coming up; my eldest daughter, Ella, is not far off starting in Year 1, her second year at school; and my youngest daughter, Amy, will begin pre-school in September.

Where did the time go?  Time clearly waits for no man, woman or child.  We must keep up! 

I have now written five Larry the Liger stories.  Yes, there is a brand new one which has just been released.  This one is a special one because it was inspired by my daughter, Ella.  When asked what I should write about in a Larry the Liger story Ella suggested 'going to school'.  What a great suggestion! 

Each Larry the Liger stories deals with issues young children face in life and starting school is such an obvious one that I wish I'd thought of it myself!  Yes, Larry finally has the experience all children do (well they should at least!) of starting at a new school.

When I write about Larry something magical happens and I actually feel like I did as a young child.  I recall how simple things were and how so many things, that are small to an adult, are great, big, massive things to a small child.  This is something every grown up should remember.  Children listen and listen very well, despite how they may demonstrate otherwise.  It is so important to remember and to empathise.

The reason I love Larry, and I am so very happy to say so many others love him too, is that he embraces life and wants to be a good, liger cub.  All children want to please and it is so important to encourage that positive, behavioural trait.

So what happens in The New School, Larry's fifth adventure?  Well Larry starts school and is so excited he ignores any comments from Chloe the cat to make him feel otherwise.  Things don't go as he expected and Larry finds himself facing unknown issues in a strange place.  There are lots of new animals and creatures to help Larry settle into school and this is a very positive story which reinforces good behaviour in children. 

This story is great for children everywhere and not just those starting school but those facing any changes in life.  It deals with facing new experiences, making new friends and supporting others, to name but a few.

I really hope you like Larry the Liger - the New School.  It is inspired by a child and will hopefully be loved by all ages everywhere.

Happy reading everyone and stop occasionally to watch those seconds: enjoy your time out :)

Larry the Liger - the New School:

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Fergus writes and responds...

I was listening to Radio Four yesterday. There was a chap speaking about Record Shops. Apparently only 2% are left due to the downloading of records. It started me thinking why Rachael and I only sell our books in ebook format. Recent figures show that 58% of books are now sold as ebooks and 42% conventionally.

I went shopping last night with Aunt Judith. I thought I would browse books in a well known High Street bookseller. I was interested in children's books and I noticed that only Picture Books for the very young were in the shelf. I asked why and was told that is what sells. Above that you buy for Kindle. Well, of course, that is the field Rachael and I roam in!

We are doing particularly well in, the Land of the Rising Liger, Japan.

The Far East is a particularly good market for us and long may it continue!

I was very pleased to see how well Rachael has done with The Easter Liger and The Lost Friend. There are now four up and running on Amazon with the fifth not too far away. Rachael has had some tremendous reviews.
"5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story for Children to Realize Friendship often Needs Help 20 April 2013
By loves a great read - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this story. Great one to share with children struggling with understanding friendship is something they need to work at. It dealt with understanding you can be a friend to someone who has not shown friendship yet to you. It also had the idea of understanding appreciation for differences. The owl, the snake and a "Liger" all have different strengths and could work together for an unappreciative friend, the cat. Larry the Liger is certainly lovable and I look forward to his next adventure."
Thank you, By loves a great read. We thrive on feedback and are most grateful for your input.
"4.0 out of 5 stars Larry the Liger - The Lost Friend (Larry the Liger Series) 19 April 2013
By A. K. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
"Be careful what you wish for" boy how many times have I heard that in my life. This is a magnificent story to teach a lesson on the value of friendships. I highly recommend it. The only reason I gave it a 4 star is I wish there had been more illustrations but loved it just the same."
You are right of course A.K.
"5.0 out of 5 stars Super Cute With a Good Lesson 18 April 2013
By J. Paetsch - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
This is an adorable story for young readers about anger and forgiveness sure to warm even the coldest heart. Little Larry the liger is tired of being teased by the mean cat Chloe--who ends up missing. It is up to Larry and his friends to find her. A sweeter story was never written to teach children how to be kind. This book takes place in Prague and in the Prague Zoo, where I have recently spent the day. It's a wonderful zoo where families can have a great time, and I was surprised and pleased to find it was the setting for the story. Authors Phillips and Wilson do a great job of reflecting the happy atmosphere of the zoo. I highly recommend this book."
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
"5.0 out of 5 stars Charming, 21 April 2013
By S (England)
This review is from: Larry the Liger - The Lost Friend (Larry the Liger Series) (Kindle Edition)
The story of a (slightly mean) missing cat, this is a lovely introduction to eReading for little ones. I'd suggest it for age 4-6, but that is obviously dependant on the child.
This is well illustrated, simply written and ideal for bedtimes which call for exploration of zoos. Larry is a loveable main character."
Oh boy! Larry, Larry, Larry where did we find you? What a find you are! You are now world famous. And where did I find Rachael. What a find this girl is. What an asset to Children's Literature.
Keep it up Rachael!
Thank you S (of England)!

Saturday, 20 April 2013

The musings of a maturing, manic mum

I have been to the opticians today and am told that there is a slight improvement in my eyesight.  The younger man in the opticians advised me that this is due to... maturing.  Excellent news!  No, it doesn't mean that I am finally acting like a grown adult but it does mean that my eyes are showing signs of age.  It's a catch-22 situation: great to have improved vision but not so great because I have middle-aged eyes. 

Before anyone says it... I did go to Specsavers and I have to say they are very good although last time the optician asked me, when looking through the eye checking machine, if I had done my makeup in a hurry that morning!

As if accepting advancing years wasn't avoidable enough with a landmark birthday approaching I now have parts of my body making sure I don't forget the upcoming birthday that won't go unmissed! 

The younger man and I proceeded to choose some new frames that he described as 'youthful'.  When did this all begin to change?  One minute I was on the right side of a decade and now I am sliding off the other end. 

Since having children I have definitely aged outwardly.  Unavoidable with all those months of sleepless nights and the stresses and worries that come as part of the 'becoming a mum' package I guess.  But I wonder at what point did it all change.  It's like my body is on a timer to ensure it accurately reflects the age it is.

A strange end to my week which has been an up and down sort.  It's been 4 months since we lost Dad and that's hard.  I spent yesterday feeling very irritable and couldn't figure out why then I realised it was 19th April and 4 months have passed in a blink it seems.  Small steps...

I began the potty training deed that all parents must endure and after having a difficult time with my first daughter I braced myself for a very stressful week.  To my amazement and total pleasure my youngest took to the potty like a duck to water.  She essentially does it all herself and I clean up - and what's great is that she does it all in the right place!  As all parents who have had nightmarish, potty training experiences will know, that is a total bonus.

I ran a free promotion of the latest Larry the Liger story for three days and marketed it around childcare including emptying potties, swimming lessons, playgroups and school runs.  I somehow ended up in twitter jail... twice... while tweeting on laptop, kindle fire and smart phone.  I got in a right muddle at times, I must admit, in my attempts to keep up while on the move.

So how did it go?  Well it depends on how you look at things.  I have three, new, great reviews so that is good news indeed.  They are all on Amazon.com so will await reviews from other Amazon territories.  I had the highest number of Japanese downloads than I ever have for one of my books; clearly more children with ereaders over there which makes sense as they are the technology leaders.  The best thing to come out of it is the increased awareness of Larry the Liger.  I adore writing about him and love to share him with you all.

I will add the reviews below as they are worth the share.  I'd best be off now to take my maturing eyes to watch the next generation having fun in the spring sunshine.  Happy sunny weekend everyone :)

"5.0 out of 5 stars Great Story for Children to Realize Friendship often Needs Help 20 April 2013
By loves a great read -
I enjoyed this story. Great one to share with children struggling with understanding friendship is something they need to work at. It dealt with understanding you can be a friend to someone who has not shown friendship yet to you. It also had the idea of understanding appreciation for differences. The owl, the snake and a "Liger" all have different strengths and could work together for an unappreciative friend, the cat. Larry the Liger is certainly lovable and I look forward to his next adventure."

"4.0 out of 5 stars Larry the Liger - The Lost Friend (Larry the Liger Series) 19 April 2013
By A. K. -
"Be careful what you wish for" boy how many times have I heard that in my life. This is a magnificent story to teach a lesson on the value of friendships. I highly recommend it. The only reason I gave it a 4 star is I wish there had been more illustrations but loved it just the same."

"5.0 out of 5 stars Super Cute With a Good Lesson 18 April 2013
By J. Paetsch -
This is an adorable story for young readers about anger and forgiveness sure to warm even the coldest heart. Little Larry the liger is tired of being teased by the mean cat Chloe--who ends up missing. It is up to Larry and his friends to find her. A sweeter story was never written to teach children how to be kind. This book takes place in Prague and in the Prague Zoo, where I have recently spent the day. It's a wonderful zoo where families can have a great time, and I was surprised and pleased to find it was the setting for the story. Authors Phillips and Wilson do a great job of reflecting the happy atmosphere of the zoo. I highly recommend this book."


Monday, 15 April 2013

Spring has sprung!

Finally, some sunshine to brighten up the days!  Ella is back at school after the two week Easter break and Amy is asleep so all is quiet.

I had a fantastic weekend with my Mum and younger sister Lisa staying.  They came to stay so they could watch me perform as Emma in Smalls Talk at the Assembly Halls in West Wickham.  It was a great play and very funny; if only it could go on...

The weekend before, we all went to Gloucester to watch my younger sister, Lisa, in her Glos Gang Show that she also produced.  A fantastic show with lots of talent on display.  It seems theatre is in both our blood.  My daughters are already showing signs of being good actresses ;)

I am back to more writing time now which is great and to celebrate the belated arrival of spring, and my new release of Larry the Liger - The Lost Friend, I am running a free promotion from Wednesday 17th to Friday 19th April.  The Lost Friend is the fourth Larry the Liger eBook and a lovely story: my husband's favourite Larry story so far.  It therefore comes highly recommended; he he.

In The Lost Friend, Larry finally gets fed up with Chloe the cat teasing him.  Larry loses his temper and makes a hasty wish that he quickly regrets.  As he goes off on his new adventure he meets some new creatures and some of my favourite aspects of writing these chapter books are using descriptive text to portray the new creatures that Larry meets.  There's some good ones introduced in The Lost Friend.

So spread the word and download it while it's free.  There is a like button on the book page on Amazon and a click of that would be very much appreciated.  Reviews are always welcome too and as you're getting it for free why not repay the gift with a review?  Reviews don't have to be lengthy affairs - even a one line review is appreciated :)

Happy springtime everyone and enjoy your free read.  I will be back to let you know how the promotion went.

The journey is getting sunnier :)

Friday, 12 April 2013

The next installment...

It's been a very busy few weeks as it's been school holidays for the last two weeks in this part of Kent so I have been busy entertaining my 5 and 2 year olds.  I have managed to get some writing done and there are now more Larry the Liger stories ready to go. 

Writing does take up a lot of my time but I can usually get some done each day when my youngest has her nap and also evenings and weekends.  This last two weeks have disrupted my routine but I've found a way because I don't want to stop writing and lose my flow with Larry.  I have neglected the marketing side as I simply haven't had the time to do it but I will get back to it as soon as I am able.

Easter was lovely with my family of four together for four days.  It was fun with Easter egg hunts and a visit to an animal rescue farm to see some bunnies.  It tied in well with The Easter Liger story and Rory the rabbit who fled the Easter Market Farmyard.  The rabbits were so cute and we learned that in a year one rabbit can assist in the production of over a million more rabbits!  A scary thought of one rabbit producing more who each produce more who each produce more, etc. etc.  I was almost tempted to consider some pet rabbits but at the moment that's a time commitment I can't afford!  Imagine all those millions of bunnies in the world!

The free promotion of the Easter Liger went well and have resulted in two great reviews so far.  The other stories have got great reviews too, mostly on Amazon.com. 

If you have read any of the Larry the Liger stories then please write a review when you get the chance.  I appreciate all feedback and each review helps Larry the Liger reach more readers.

I have a new book coming out soon so look out for it.  It's called Larry the Liger - The Lost Friend.  Larry gets cross and makes a wish in anger that results in his next adventure in search of a missing friend.  It has a positive message for children and adults too!  I hope you love it and I look forward to reading more great reviews like the ones below! 

I am performing tonight in Smalls Talk with the New Wickham Court Players.  The play runs 12th and 13th April and I play Emma.  It's a very funny play and I love the chance to act a bit!  Writing and reading are great forms of escapism as is amateur dramatics - I get to be someone different every time I do them!  For those coming to see the play - have fun and for those who are too far away grab yourselves a Larry the Liger book and smile your way through the weekend.

Enjoy your weekends everyone!  :)

"5.0 out of 5 stars Charming 8 April 2013
By E.L.S.
Format:Kindle Edition
Charming, charming, charming, charming! Even now, I'm smiling just thinking about this sweet story. It's absolutely adorable!

Told in a very English voice, the adventure begins with Larry meeting an unusual animal with long ears and a white fluffy tail that he had spied hiding in a hedge. He learns that his new friend, Rory, is called a rabbit and is an escapee from the Easter Market Farmyard, where loud children covered in sticky chocolate pick him up and pet him, dirtying with his beautiful, soft fur. Larry is justly horrified. When Rory is captured and returned to the dreadful Easter Market Farmyard, Larry plots a rescue.

This is a perfect book to read with a young child, as I'm sure the other Larry the Liger books are, too. In fact, as I was reading this story-- wearing that big smile-- I'd stop periodically to share funny excerpts with my family. Though it is a charming tale (did I mention it's charming?), like any quality children's literature, there is a lesson. In this particular story, the lesson is tolerance and appreciating the differences between us all.

Goes without saying, I highly recommend Larry the Liger. This series will be a great addition to your child's bookshelf."
"5.0 out of 5 stars Larry the Liger - The Easter Liger 7 April 2013
By Mrs M
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
Another fab Larry the Liger story.
I purchased this story to read to my grandchildren but have read it alone and thoroughly enjoyed it even at my age! I can't wait for the next one."

Friday, 29 March 2013

Why I am thankful...

It is Easter and it is Good Friday.  This is great for many reasons and should make us all thankful but for me, if I am honest, it is all about having four, precious days where my family of four will be a family of four and not a family of four wondering when the fourth member will get back from work... 

Our lives are so busy that we often don't get chance to step back and see our own life for what it is.  I have found the last year or so difficult because my Dad was ill and sadly we lost him in December.  Understandably life hasn't felt quite as bright as it could most days.  I spend days going through the motions to a degree and not enjoying everything I should.  Don't get me wrong I haven't been sad and down all the time but it has often felt like there is a shadow hanging over me that I can't quite step away from...

Today is different and it's like I have had some sort of epiphany.  I feel like I have stepped out into a brighter, more positive, place.  The reason for that I cannot say but I woke up this morning feeling very positive and surrounded by love and laughter.  I let the girls climb into our bed to wake their Daddy and the four of us cuddled up and watched videos and looked at photos of our family on Jason's iphone. 

It was fun and it started my day off so positively that I realised I don't have to feel sad every day.  I am alive and healthy.  I have two beautiful daughters and a wonderful husband who works so hard.  I have a wonderful Mum who I speak to everyday (sometimes more than once! :) ).  I have lovely siblings with lovely partners and lovely children.  I have wonderful friends and family and people I can turn to if I need them.  I have a lovely home and I get to write about Larry the Liger and Anastasia!  Oh and Jason is cooking me a lovely fish dinner with dauphinoise potatoes and asparagus!

I realised that if I was an outsider looking in I would see so many reasons to be happy.  There are so many that don't have a safe and secure life to boast of.  There are so many that suffer every day.  There are so many that have little in their lives to be thankful for.  There are so many that face an uncertain future.  There are many that wake up each day alone...

I am not expecting to feel this positive every day; life just isn't like that regardless of how it should be.  But I am so very, very thankful that today I have felt like that and I realise how very, very lucky I am.

I wanted to share my positivity with you and hopefully, by so doing, I can send you a little bit to brighten up your day too should you need it.

I wish you all a Happy Easter with happiness, health and peace in abundance.  Enjoy the journey :)

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Fergus writes...

"5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, March 24, 2013
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Larry the Liger - The New Friend (Larry the Liger Series) (Kindle Edition)

Downloaded this for my son he absolutely loved this book it's his favourite book of all times. Hopefully there are more free books by this author."

"5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely book that was a pleasure to read, 25 Mar 2013
This review is from: Larry the Liger - The New Friend (Larry the Liger Series) (Kindle Edition)

This is a lovely book to read with children. It's a simple story that keeps the reader engaged the whole time whilst teaching children the importance of not judging as things are not always as they seem."

"Well, well, well. What reviews. "Downloaded this for my son he absolutely loved this book it's his favourite book of all times."

So, you want to know the next one. It is out soon! Watch out and help it climb up the Top 100 Chart by reviewing it. The three to date have all climbed to number 12 so to beat that Rachael needs you to download it! Tell you friends. It will be free!

Happy Easter, Larry!

Monday, 25 March 2013

Who is the Easter Bunny? Did you know...

It is the final day of the Larry the Liger promotion of The Easter Liger and it got me thinking: who is the Easter Bunny?  Where did he come from and who dreamt it up.  Even Larry the Liger wants to know in the latest story!  I was very aware before looking into it that however it started the confectionery and retail peeps have certainly cashed in on it!

Obviously, Easter is a religious festival but this blog is all about the Easter Bunny and no disrespect is intended in my writings!

Did you know that the Easter Bunny is very, very old.  Much like Father Christmas/Santa Claus/Christ-Kindel, and other festival deities, the Easter Bunny is said to have been hopping about since the 1200s!  I know, how old is that?!  It is first recorded in writings from Germany in the 1500s and is said to have been brought to America in the 1700s.

The Easter Bunny derived from the ancient use of rabbits and hares, as symbols of fertility and new life, to herald the start of spring.  I'm sure most know the expression 'breeding like rabbits'!  The chocolate eggs children adore today are again from an ancient symbol of fertility: the egg.  So the two were used together, with children said to have used their bonnets and caps as nests for the Easter Bunny to lay its eggs in.  Another Easter tradition was born: the Easter bonnet.

Easter baskets were used later and have formed the current traditions of Easter bonnets, baskets, confectionery eggs and egg hunts.  The first Easter eggs and bunnies were not made of chocolate but pastry and sugar and the Easter Bunny was used in much the same way as Father Christmas; good children would be left an egg by the Easter Bunny.

Originally the Easter Hare, over the years the revered hare has become the Easter Bunny and every child I know loves to believe in him just as they do Father Christmas and why shouldn't they?  He is real after all :) 

So if your child asks you if the Easter Bunny is real you can now tell him or her that the Easter Bunny has been hopping around for a very, very long time.  Oh and also remind them that they should always be good girls and boys, just like Larry the Liger.

Happy Easter everyone :)

Larry the Liger - The Easter Liger  available to download from Amazon:               
Please be aware an Easter Liger is not just for Easter ;)


Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Sharing the love...

I am going to run a free promotion of Larry the Liger - The Easter Liger so you can all get a chance to download it if you haven't already!  It will be free from 21st March until end of 25th March. 

This is the third Larry the Liger story and is all about Larry's adventures when he meets an animal with long ears and a twitchy nose!  Larry finds himself racing to the rescue and ends up in the Easter Markets of Prague.  This is a lovely story the whole family can enjoy.  A great Easter gift for your children, nieces/nephews, grandchildren, godchildren, etc.

I would love it if you would consider writing a review once you have read after all the book is free and so is writing a review!  It's always good to get feedback from readers and helps others decide to whether to buy the book.

Larry is a joy to write about and I am a little bit in love with him so why not share that feeling, I thought. 

Happy reading all and I hope you all love Larry as much as I do :)

www.viewbook.at/B00BSRP3DI for all Amazon territories.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Drip, drip, drop little April...oops wrong month

It's another rainy day in Kent and spring has yet to sprung.  There is even talk of snow... again.  Bang goes turning off the heating yet!

It's been a busy week or so.  I have been working on the next Larry the Liger story and I am truly loving writing about him.  He has been so well received and it is lovely to hear what everyone thinks of the stories.

My daughter's school has done well for visitors recently.  I enjoyed reading to them during Book Week and they also got to meet children's author and illustrator Anthony Browne and played his Shape Game.  It's lovely that the children at the school remember me and say hello when they see me too.  Today they had Dr Raj from CBeebies programme Get Well Soon!  He is a friend and colleague of one of the other mums.  Ella's been talking about life cycles since she got home from school so he definitely made an impact.  They also recently got to meet a policeman, looked inside the police car and tried on the uniform.  They met a member of an airline's cabin crew too and heard all about what they do during a flight.

I don't remember my primary school education being so varied with so many visitors talking about what they do.  What a great way to learn about the jobs people do and why they do them.  The practical things always had more of an impact on me during my time in education that's for sure - I would have loved all those visits! 

Another huge change since I was at school is the level of technology used within schools.  One of the most impressive to me is the interactive white boards and tablets the children use.  They also have a computer suite that the children get to use regularly.  I think it's great the schools are embracing technology and introducing children to it from the start of their education.  After all they will be using it a lot more than we can imagine by the time they leave school many years down the line.

With Ella being in reception, her first year of school, I have been taken back to what it's like to experience all those new things, such as making new friends, adapting to spending the day at school and following new rules.  It definitely helps me write the Larry books imagining and remembering what it is like.  Maybe I should be worried how easily I can regress?!

The world of education has changed a lot since I was at school and technology has progressed massively in those (few!) years since I was at school.  The future is exciting and technology will advance even more no doubt.  It's particularly exciting to think that ebooks may well become mainstream one day.

Larry the Liger will be there to be read as an ebook for years to come and that's a very exciting thought despite the black clouds outside :)

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

New release! Larry the Liger - The Easter Liger

I am very pleased to announce the new release of the latest Larry the Liger story.  For those who may not know, Larry is a liger: his father was a lion, his mother was a tiger! 

His latest adventure is called 'The Easter Liger' and, like the other Larry the Liger stories, this one has a positive message for children.  In fact I'm certain there are some grown ups out there who could learn a thing or two from Larry!

In 'The Easter Liger' Larry is now well settled in his home with the zookeeper, the zookeeper's wife and Chloe the cat.  One day, while out in the garden, Larry makes a new friend and finds himself racing to the rescue of an animal with two long ears, a twitchy nose with long whiskers, and a brown body with a fluffy, white tail on it.  Larry's latest adventure is set amidst the Easter Markets of Prague where he meets some new animals he has never seen before and lots and lots of children. 

The wonderful Larry the Liger illustrator, Des Campbell, has managed to create another fantastic cover illustration for this new book.  I love the colours and the image.  Des is a very clever man :)

You will need to read the book to find out what happens!  All the books in the Larry the Liger Series are very family friendly.  They are aimed as read alone books for 6 to 12 years old and read-to books for children 2yrs upwards.

I adore writing about Larry and it has been wonderful to read so many fantastic reviews on both Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.  Thanks to everyone who has left a review so far.  It's never too late to leave a review and they are always gratefully received. 

I can't wait to hear what you all think of the next story: Larry the Liger - The Easter Liger.

Happy reading everyone :)