Monday, 21 August 2017

Light

Welcome to Sally's book-a-day-for-2017 blog. If unfamiliar with the blog, scroll down.

Light (1998) (Post 234)

Light is a short non-fiction title that describes, in clear and simple terms, how light reaches the Earth, the history of creating light, and the influence light has on our lives and our world. It was interesting, on a quick read-through, to not just how the book has dated, because the action of light in taking photographs on a film camera is included. These still exist, but they're probably not very relevant to many children now.

ABOUT THE BLOG

Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. If you enjoyed a post, or want to ask about any of my books or my manuscript assessment service.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Storm Rescue

Welcome to Sally's book-a-day-for-2017 blog. If unfamiliar with the blog, scroll down.

Storm Rescue (2015) (Post 233)

Storm Rescue is the third story in the Pup Patrol series. This time, Stamp, James and Ace are heading to the Atherton Tablelands for the Great Atherton K9 Festival, which will be full of events for handlers and their dogs. They're looking forward to it very much, but Dad Barnaby's not the only person to warn James about the coming storm. Risk it or not? James decides to go ahead. At the festival, they meet up with a friend from Book 2, who has acquired a puppy. All's going well until the storm, which had formerly headed out to sea, doubles back. One of the stewards' children, young Imogen, is missing, and although everyone who can't safely leave is crowded into the wool shed, it's Ace and Stamp who save the day.
Imogen was named after our granddaughter, and since our Imogen's mum comes from the tablelands, we were using a setting we know quite well.

ABOUT THE BLOG

Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. If you enjoyed a post, or want to ask about any of my books or my manuscript assessment service.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Catseye

Welcome to Sally's book-a-day-for-2017 blog. If unfamiliar with the blog, scroll down.

Catseye (1985) (Post 232)

Catseye is one of those borderline cases. It so easily could have been a picture book in another time or another place. It is as long as many picture books and it tells a story. It was published back in the 1980s, but in a collection rather than as an independent story. I decided to include it here because I remember it far better than some of the mass market books I wrote, and because it has an interesting tag to it, and because I like it. 

It was written for a collection (I think it was Petrified Poems) that came out during the poetry resurgence of the 1980s. I had a problem with the last stanza, but fixed it up sixteen years later. Then, an illustrator who happened to read it loved it and sent me a picture for it. It's put away somewhere very safe... and predates the easy availability of scans, so I don't have a copy. The illustrator goes under the name of The Big Bamboo and for years I had no idea of his real identity. So here is the poem but not, alas, the picture. If I locate it I'll post it later.

CATSEYE

"Watch," said the witch unto her cat
"Watch and wait till I be back.
I be going down the hill
Folk have need of witch's skill."

Catseye, catseye, green as glass
Tens of scores of years do pass.

The cat sat down with folded paws
The cat sat down and watched the door
Sunrise came - the witch did not
The fire went out beneath the pot.

Catseye, catseye, green as glass
Tens of scores of years do pass.

Daylight faded, daylight died
Sunset flared across the sky
Stars and moon uncaring came
Cat with watchful eyes remained

Catseye, catseye, green as glass
Tens of scores of years do pass.

A plague had come and struck and killed
Since the witch went down the hill
The village crumbled, turned to grass
Tens of scores of years did pass

Catseye, catseye, green as glass
Tens of scores of years do pass.

Trees grow tall across the way
That once led to the witch's cave
But - "Watch," said the witch unto her cat.
"Watch and wait till I be back."

Catseye, catseye, green as glass
Tens of scores of years do pass.

So sleepless, ageless, waits the cat
For his mistress to come back
Summer sun dissolves in rain
He watches till she comes again

Catseye, catseye, green as glass
Tens of scores of years do pass.

When will Catseye's vigil end?
To reunite him with his friend?
When the earth grows tired and still -
Perhaps-
The witch will climb the hill.

Catseye, catseye, green as glass

Tens of scores of years have passed.

ABOUT THE BLOG

Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. If you enjoyed a post, or want to ask about any of my books or my manuscript assessment service.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Floribunda and the Best Men

Welcome to Sally's book-a-day-for-2017 blog. If unfamiliar with the blog, scroll down.

Floribunda and the Best Men (2017) (Post 231)

Floribunda and the Best Men is another story in the Fairy in the Bed series. It follows a few weeks after Pen and Ink  (Post 204), but although it does deal with Matters Arising (as Flori puts it), it can be read as a stand-alone. 

Plus-sized florist Floribunda "Flori" Alexandris has no idea why Pen Swan should invite her to be a bridesmaid at her wedding, but she agrees anyway. At the church, she encounters the two best men; the biggest Scottish ginger she's ever seen and a cool blond Sir Galahad type. She has no idea which one she should shake hands with first, or whose hand to accept for the bridal waltz. Flori likes the look of them both, but that's nothing to their magnetic reaction to her. How to choose? The men have their own creative solution, but there's something exceedingly odd about Hamish McTavish and Gervais St Clair. They don't offer to drive her van, and when she runs off the road in the middle of the night, no mention of women drivers crosses their lips. So that settles it. They can't possibly be human.
Floribunda and the Best Men is story number seven in this series and although every story stands alone, each also adds something to the building blocks of the series' world. The main characters of #3, one of whom played a large role in Pen and Ink (#6) appear again, as do two characters from #4 who will be main characters in a later story. 

This story marks a couple of firsts for me in writing, which, after 300+ books, just proves we're always learning and trying something new. When I wrote Pen and Ink I made the conscious decision to have an older couple as main characters, so Pen is forty-two. I was holding an email conversation with my editor for the series and asked if she liked stories with older heroines or heroes, and she remarked she really liked BBW stories. I didn't know this term, so I looked it up and thus Flori, (or to give her her full name, Floribunda Rose Alexandris) was born. Flori is a florist who specialises in BBB or big beautiful blossoms, taking the radical approach that flowers should be colourful, perfumed and real. An encounter with Pen Swan, on the hunt for flowers for her wedding, brings Flori into a life-changing experience, and helps her solve the mystery of a childhood friend nobody else remembers. It's been bothering her for twenty-six years.  I had a few surprises along the way with this one. It was the longest to date, which meant I could explore the world of Over There a bit more. When cover time came around, I spent a while looking for pictures to show the art department. They source their own pictures, but it's a little easier if they have an idea of what the character(s) should look like. I found some pics for my Pinterest board, but the model they found is far more what I had in mind. I was pleased with the pictured Flori because my only other venture into a plus-sized heroine (several years ago now) skirted the issue with a cartoon cover. 

Floribunda and the Best Men is a very new book... published today. To see it in ebook go to  BUY HERE
To see my author page with a lot of information about the characters in this series and their world, go to http://larksinger.weebly.com. The next one in the series, which is called The Courting of Eileen, comes out later this year.

ABOUT THE BLOG

Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. If you enjoyed a post, or want to ask about any of my books or my manuscript assessment service.


Thursday, 17 August 2017

Crying Wolf

Welcome to Sally's book-a-day-for-2017 blog. If unfamiliar with the blog, scroll down.

Crying Wolf (2009) (Post 230)

Crying Wolf... The brief was to write a retelling of the fable of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf". But that wasn't all. There was also a need for the story with the same theme, in a different setting. Since I like writing science fiction at this level (okay, at any level), I set The Starship Apprentice on a starship. Working in hydroponics isn't a lot of fun when everything is monitored by the starship itself, but something just occasionally goes wrong... Instant excitement! The trouble with that is things get fixed and everything's dull again...



ABOUT THE BLOG


Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. If you enjoyed a post, or want to ask about any of my books or my manuscript assessment service.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Journey to the Centre of the Earth

Welcome to Sally's book-a-day-for-2017 blog. If unfamiliar with the blog, scroll down.

Journey to the Centre of the Earth (2013) (Post 229)

Journey to the Centre of the Earth... Okay, okay, but at least I gave the school teacher in it the name Mr Verne. This was another commission, in which I was given a length and a subject and then given my head. As usual, I made it as much of a story as I could.  Todd and Cai are told by their new teacher to get ready to go to the Centre. They assume he means the Interactive Learning Centre but instead, they travel by rocket to Iceland and... wheeeee. They learn about the Earth's layers on the way. It's a field trip in a million! Today, while seeing if this book has an internet presence (unlike A Nifty Nest it has) I discovered a Spanish language edition called Viaje al centro de la tierra. The things you find on the internet, eh? (And no, I don't speak Spanish.)


ABOUT THE BLOG


Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. If you enjoyed a post, or want to ask about any of my books or my manuscript assessment service.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

The Untold Story of Ms Mirabella

Welcome to Sally's book-a-day-for-2017 blog. If unfamiliar with the blog, scroll down.

The Untold Story of Ms Mirabella (2013) (Post 228)


The Untold Story of Ms Mirabella is another short book I did for an educational publisher. I was given the title and a word count. 

Rosalyn and William's teacher, Ms Mirabella, sets them an assignment about running. They decide to do some research by talking to Rosalyn's Uncle Mike who is running a big race. They go along to watch him run, and who should they see but Ms Mirabella, who is also competing in the race.

The kids learn a few things about prejudices and the reader, with luck, learns a few things about fitness and endeavour. There is no supposition that Ms Mirabella expects to win, or even to place, but she's out there at sixty-plus having a go. 

The story was inspired by my husband's and my entries in the City2Surf race for three consecutive years. We didn't run together, because he was a lot faster than I was. We started together and parted company at the foot of Heartbreak Hill. For a while there I was running alongside one of the Legends, a gentleman who had run every single City2Surf since its inception. On another race (we entered three times) I ran alongside a man who looked like the Dalai Lama. He was having a wonderful time. another time I ran near a father who was coaching his young daughter through the fourteen km. It was great fun, and I enjoyed reliving the experience with Ms Mirabella.


ABOUT THE BLOG


Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. If you enjoyed a post, or want to ask about any of my books or my manuscript assessment service.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Where did the Dinosaurs Go?

Welcome to Sally's book-a-day-for-2017 blog. If unfamiliar with the blog, scroll down.

Where did the Dinosaurs Go? (2013) (Post 227)


Where did the Dinosaurs Go? is a short book I did for an educational publisher. The brief was for a story on this subject, so I looked for a creative angle. I chose to use a schoolroom setting with a difference. Links and Budge are two kids studying astronomy at school under the tutelage of their teacher, Madam Thor. Links and Budge wonder is maybe there are dinosaur like them on other planets, and their teacher says there once were dinosaurs on Earth and guides them through an investigation about what might have happened to them. Madam asks questions and the children come up with solutions and suggestions. 

The story tries not only to showcase past and present theories about what did happen, but also to model an intellectual discussion/lesson format. I quite enjoy finding odd angles for this kind of subject.


ABOUT THE BLOG


Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. If you enjoyed a post, or want to ask about any of my books or my manuscript assessment service.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

The Old House

Welcome to Sally's book-a-day-for-2017 blog. If unfamiliar with the blog, scroll down.

The Old House (1998) (Post 226)


The Old House is one of the linked stories about Marcus and his sister Teena who are staying with their grandparents while their father is away. In this story, Teena invites her friend Kim for a sleepover. In Hit for Six (book of the day on May 1st) Kim was shown as being good at cricket, but in The Old House her achilles heel is revealed. Kim's not too fond of the dark and she finds the old house where Teena's grandparents live very spooky. Grandpa tells a ghost story, and Kim can't sleep for thinking of it. She hears creaks and rattles. She sees something weird and white. In the end, she creeps out of the house and runs home. In the morning, Mum takes her back, where the white thing is explained as Granny in her nightie. Kim feels silly but to her relief, Teena takes it all as a matter of course. Marcus has a nightlight, so she understands being scared of the dark is just one of those things.

The point of the story is different kinds of courage, and the importance of acceptance, and not mocking people for their fears.


ABOUT THE BLOG


Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. If you enjoyed a post, or want to ask about any of my books or my manuscript assessment service.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Olly and Kookoo

Welcome to Sally's book-a-day-for-2017 blog. If unfamiliar with the blog, scroll down.

Olly and Kookoo (1999) (Post 225)


Olly and Kookoo is one of the nine Olympic Mascots titles I did as a commission in the lead up to the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. In this story, Olly, the kookaburra mascot, who was the messenger and cheer squad leader for many of the athletes, gets so involved in his job that he neglects his little sister Kookoo who is excited about his job and wants to help.

Naturally, Olly comes to his senses and finds Kookoo and her friends a role to fulfill. Kookoo is my own invention, as was Millie's Aunty Spike, and her name is obviously derived from Kookaburra. The theme or moral here is Charity Begins at Home, which is something I've addressed in a range of titles. The problem of great achievers who are so busy achieving or doing great things for society that they don't or can't give much attention to those who have a right to that attention is one of those insoluble problems in real life. Lucky we can fix it in a children's story.


ABOUT THE BLOG


Sally is Sally Odgers; author, manuscript assessor, editor, anthologist and reader. She runs http://www.affordablemanuscriptassessments.com and Prints Charming Books. (Sally is me, by the way, and I am lots of other things too, but these are the relevant ones for now.)

The goal for 2017 is to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. If you're an author, an aspiring author, a reader or just someone who enjoys windows into worlds, you might find this fun. The books are not in any special order, but will be assigned approximate dates, and pictures, where they exist. If you enjoyed a post, or want to ask about any of my books or my manuscript assessment service.