A refreshing ‘recap’!

As this January comes to a close, I’ve been contemplating how far my ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s series and I have come. I first received my author’s contract with Abela Publishing in January 2013. I was beyond elated when it arrived 2 years ago! Since then, the 1st 5 books in my ‘Whimsy Wood’ series have been published and launched in various book shops in this fine county of Wiltshire.

The 1st of these books was ‘Posie Pixie And The Copper Kettle’. This book was published in July 2013 and it sets the scene for the rest of my 35-book series. We get to meet ‘Posie Pixie’ for the 1st time and learn about her new home in a copper kettle, which is positioned against a tree stump in Whimsy Wood….

 

The tree stump by Posie Pixie's copper kettle house
The tree stump by Posie Pixie’s copper kettle house

Book 6, ‘Posie Pixie And The Snowstorm’, is currently being formatted ready for its release and launch on Saturday February the 28th, at the Trowbridge branch of WHSmith from 2.30pm. There’s then only 1 book left in this 1st set of 7 books, before we start work on set 2 (books 8-14) and you will get to meet more ‘Whimsy Wood’ characters! The main character in set 2 from my ‘Whimsy Wood’ series is not ‘Posie Pixie’! Don’t panic! She does come back later on in my series. In fact, after book 7, ‘Posie Pixie And The Pancakes’, you’ll see Posie again in book 15. Now, I’ve already written up to book 14 in my ‘Whimsy Wood’ series, but I really do need to make a start on book 15!!

On that note, I’ll leave you with a link directly to the publisher’s website and wish you a wonderfully whimsical weekend 😊

http://www.abelapublishing.com/whimsy-wood.html

 

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Igniting Imaginations!

So, it’s been a jolly busy week already in my wee world of writing! I mentioned in last week’s post, that my ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s books and I had been invited to Ilminster E-ACT Academy in Bristol, as part of their ‘book week’. Well my all-day author visit to this smashing school was on Monday and it was fantastic! I had so much fun with their 260 pupils and they were a joy to spend time with. The theme for my visit was ‘Imagination’ (my all-time favourite word!) and I used several quotes from inspiring people, to underpin this tremendous tool that we all have within our brains. One of these quotes being….”Logic can get you from A to Z, while imagination can get you everywhere…”, by Albert Einstein. Another was…”Imagination is a muscle that needs to be fed with life’s experiences and flexed from time to time…”, by Malorie Blackman.

I was asked to lead their assembly that morning, so I told the children and staff about my journey to becoming a children’s author, although I originally trained as a Vet and was in practice for 10 years before I started writing! I then read them an extract from ‘Posie Pixie And The Snowstorm’, book 6 in my ‘Whimsy Wood’ series, which is due out on February the 28th. The rest of my morning was spent running woodland-related literacy activities with their six infant classes. One particular thing stands out in my mind here and that was regarding a lovely lad in one of their Year 1 classes. I had asked them to create their own woodland character and to use three adjectives to describe it (following a discussion of what they would see in a wood and the adjectives that I have used in my ‘Whimsy Wood’ books to describe my own characters). He had drawn a brilliant bunny, given it chicken-pox, slitty eyes and yellow teeth. When it came to the ‘show and tell’ time at the end of the activity, this hilarious and rather clever young man, very proudly stood next to me at the front of the class holding up his drawing and said…”Here’s my rabbit! He’s sick (chicken-pox), evil (slitty eyes) and is dirty, because he doesn’t clean his teeth Miss!!” Β Just brilliant!! πŸ™‚

After lunch I had a ‘Q&A’ session with their school council. The children asked me some really fabulous questions on being an author and hopefully I gave them a good insight into the world of writing, publishing and marketing. I then ran a creative writing workshop with their junior children. We played some ‘warm-up’ games ranging from, ‘Let’s take a word for a walk’, to ‘Showing not telling’,Β to get their imagination ignited and their words flowing. The thoughts and ideas and then the original pieces of prose, that they created all by themselves, were fantastic. One young man said to me at the end of the workshop, “Wow Miss! I didn’t know I could do that!” His comment blew me away. I suspect the memory of that lovely lad will remain with me throughout my writing life.

The rest of the week has been busy with the usual social media promotion and connecting that is essential in this day-and-age for any author, along with sending illustration placements to the publisher (Abela Publishing) as formatting is well underway for ‘Posie Pixie And The Snowstorm’! I’ve also been completing author interview questions for two magazines (who shall remain nameless for now!) as well as preparing for a reading of ‘Posie Pixie And The Snowstorm’ this Tuesday on http://www.blogtalkradio.com/rrradio in America! Thank goodness it’s nearly Friday!!

On a lighter and more whimsical note, the ‘Whimsy Wood’ folk have been having heaps of fun in the snow that fell during their recent snowstorm! ‘Skittle Spider’ has been enjoying a spot of downhill skiing, whilst ‘Sonny Shrew’ has adapted his awesome skateboarding skills and mastered the amazing art of snowboarding! ‘Mr Bilberry the blackbird’, proud postman to the ‘Whimsy Wood’ folk, has somehow managed to keep postal deliveries going during this particularly testing cold snap. While ‘Mrs Scarlet the squirrel’, who runs ‘The Woodland Store’, has kept her shop open so the ‘Whimsy Wood’ folk have been able to grab their essential chestnut crumpets and snowberry juice!

Well, I’d best say goodbye and get on writing book 15 in the ‘Whimsy Wood’ series, as it’s not going to write itself! I’ll leave you with a beautiful image of the blue birds in ‘Whimsy Wood’ during the recent snowstorm and a few links that may be of interest to you. Wishing you all a rather early (it’s nearly here!) yet whimsical weekend πŸ™‚

Sarah Hill

Some bold and brave blue birds during Whimsy Wood's snowstorm !
Some bold and brave blue birds during Whimsy Wood’s snowstorm !
If you would like to book Sarah Hill and her ‘Whimsy Wood’ series for a school visit, please click on this link :-
Or you can email her directly on whimsy.pixie76@gmail.com
To pre-order book 6, ‘Posie Pixie And The Snowstorm’, please click on this link :-

 

A Very Vibrant Visit Ahead!

Well, my ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s series and I, will be off on our first school visit of 2015, this coming Monday! Needless to say, I’m itching with anticipation and beyond excited, as I love doing author visits! Seeing children’s imaginations engage as you read them a story you have created, is such a joy to behold πŸ™‚

The school I’m going to see is Ilminster E-ACT Academy in Bristol. They have asked me to lead their morning assembly and then I shall be taking 30-minute creative and literacy lessons with their 5 infant classes. After lunch, their school council will be asking me questions on being an author and then I shall run a creative writing workshop with 30 of their junior pupils. Finally, we shall end the day with book signings of my ‘Whimsy Wood’ series in their school library!

The aims of my ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s series are to engage children more with nature and to ignite their imaginations. These will also be two of my aims of my school visit on Monday, along with increasing the children’s passion for reading. During the morning assembly that I’ll be leading on Monday, I’ll read an extract from book 6, ‘Posie Pixie And The Snowstorm’, to the children. This book will be launched on Saturday February the 28th at WHSmith, Trowbridge from 2.30pm. Here is its front cover!

The front cover of 'Posie Pixie And The Snowstorm', book 6 in the 'Whimsy Wood' series
The front cover of ‘Posie Pixie And The Snowstorm’, book 6 in the ‘Whimsy Wood’ series

I’ll end my assembly and indeed today’s post, with a fabulous quote from the current children’s laureate, Malorie Blackman :-

“Imagination is a muscle. It needs to be fed by life’s experiences and flexed from time to time.”

Wishing you all a wonderfully whimsical weekend,

Sarah Hill πŸ™‚

Jumping Junipers! It’s January!

First and foremost, “Happy New Year!” I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are ready to face a brand new year that’s full of possibility. In the quirky and quaint world of ‘Whimsy Wood’, we’re celebrating the start of 2015 with the creation of the next book in this delightful children’s series! Book 6, ‘Posie Pixie And The Snowstorm’, is due to be launched on Saturday February the 28th, at WHSmith Trowbridge, from 2.30pm. The manuscript of said book, is currently having its last tweakings with the editor and soon will be on its little formatting journey, as the manuscript becomes the book. It’s all rather magical stuff really!

I’m guessing you might like to know what and indeed who, is in ‘Posie Pixie And The Snowstorm’?! Well, there’s our very familiar ‘Posie Pixie’ and her best friend ‘Wibble Woodlouse’ of course and we get to meet 2 new ‘Whimsy Wood’ characters! These being ‘Sonny Shrew’ and ‘Violet Vole’. Sonny is a super cool dude who doesn’t go anywhere without his trusty skateboard, whilst Violet is a very girly wee creature who has a tendency to worry too much, poor thing! This book is written for the month of January (each book is written for a specific month in the calendar you see!) when snowdrops are starting to appear, along with oyster mushrooms and the slimy orange-capped fungus!! Charming!! The oyster mushrooms do make for comfy chairs around Posie’s stone table in her copper kettle house and Violet often sports a snowdrop skirt at this time of year in the wood! As for the uses of a slimy orange-capped fungus, well you’ll just have to get yourself a copy of, ‘Posie Pixie And The Snowstorm’ to find out!

I’ll leave you with this delightful illustration (that will appear in book 6) by the brilliant Sarah Mauchline and wish you a wonderfully whimsical week πŸ˜‰

Sarah Hill

'Violet Vole' and 'Sonny Shrew' visit 'Posie Pixie' in 'Posie Pixie And The Snowstorm'
‘Violet Vole’ and ‘Sonny Shrew’ visit ‘Posie Pixie’ in ‘Posie Pixie And The Snowstorm’