Saturday, 21 December 2013

Sittin' on the dock...with Petunia

Today I'm writing from my kitchen in England. The weather is wet and windy, though yesterday on our return we were greeted with glorious blue skies which lasted all day long. 

Here is what I was doing at the beginning of the week, when I should have been wrapping Christmas presents.  Well,  I was just sittin' on the dock of the bay, watching the tide roll away (what tide?)...Wastin' time

See how many places you recognize. And, if Singapore isn't familiar to you, enjoy the views:

The weather was sunny and breezy ... a little too breezy at times - Ooops!

But, like mad dogs and Englishmen we didn't give up.... Most people ignored me as I balanced Petunia in random places. Does this happen all the time, maybe?

We were tempted to have a splash...

We passed several bridges:

and stopped to cool off in a shopping centre:  

and finally headed off to Patterson Road
to catch the bus home.  If I don't have time to write again within the next few days, please have a Very Merry Christmas. And if you already have a copy of Petunia, please enjoy reading it. 

Saturday, 14 December 2013

BooooOOOOO!! with Emma's Elephant

Ooh! You scared me. 

But no, that's not MY elephant. It's David's Seow's picture book,'Emma's Elephant'.
David presented a brilliant workshop yesterday at the National Library in front of scores of young readers.  

The story of a little girl - Emma - and her invisible elephant friend helping endangered animals is great fun to read aloud. Even if saying the 'Boooooo!' nearly gets my tonsils in a twist. 

David kicked off, bantering with these eager fans who are now on holiday until January.

After I had read the story, David asked some tricky question to find out who had really been listening.

Then to the really fun part - with two wonderfully inventive and energetic teachers, Susanna Goho Quek and Karen Quek, the children set to designing their own elephant masks. No one could resist trying their hand.

Here's one from an older reader -

then a younger reader, with help from Mum.

and from Susanna.

And of course there were prizes for the best masks, judged by David, Karen, and Susanna.

Another sample of the children's original artwork:

Who's sitting in MY chair!

What a cheek! Someone's sitting in my chair.  But it isn't Goldilocks. It's ........

As of Friday, I am the proud owner of a few advance copies of Princess Petunia's Dragon! So lovely to feel the whole book, printed and bound and snug inside its glossy cover. And today I must clear a space for the stock, arriving tomorrow! Send me your orders as fast as you like. (Or you can wait to see the book in the bookshops and libraries here in Singapore.) 

Charlotte's illustrations are fantastic! Here's the King you can see peeking out of the open page:
 And here's Charlotte's blog too:  Thanks, Charlotte, for a really professional job.  Great fun working with you. 

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Friday at the printers...

I was so eager to see my book, Princess Petunia's Dragon, on the presses that I arrived early and had to sit with a cup of tea and a copy of the paper in the food centre...

But on the dot of 9.15 I went up to the printing floor. And what jolly nice people my printers are! There I was, wandering around, poking my lens into their business as they adjusted the weight of ink (or at least I think that was what they were doing). And they didn't mind in the very least.  

Below is the cutting machine with a horribly efficient blade (not my printed pages yet!)

And then, after a gap of an hour (and another cup of tea - iced this time) I was back to see the first inside page being printed! There's Petunia's head, upside down. Feeling dizzy?

David Seow arrived hot-foot from the wet market to keep me company. His presence was reassuring until he thought he spotted a mistake on the printed page. Ha! Nice try, David! 

I gathered up some rejected pages (used to get the ink just right) which I shall use for presentations.  

But the work didn't stop there.  David had plans. And we went downstairs to work on a one of his projects with a very patient designer.  It's his wonderful story, 'There's Soup on my Fly', which is being staged by The Learning Connection.

That evening was the SCBWI writers' group Christmas dinner - an extremely tasty and enjoyable celebration of a successful year. But more of that later....

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

On the home stretch...

Princess Petunia's Dragon is ready for the 'off'. 

I have been to the printers several times, to discuss paper quality and check proofs. 

Here is David Seow helping me with a final check. I'm indebted to you, Dave! 

Below you can see the six signatures of my book. 'Signatures?' you ask. Yes! But they're not those scribbles you get on prescriptions or cheques. Or thumb prints, or dragon claw-prints either! A signature is a batch of sixteen pages.  VoilĂ ! 
Taking a break from this technical stuff, 
today my young friends came round to tea 
and decorated Charlotte Micklewright's
lovely pictures of Petunia and dragons. 
Super colouring, Kitty, Eleanor and Alice!