story, science, technology and creativity


Books to get your toddler reading

Baby Fergus drives the tractorIt’s been a very exciting week: the absolute highlight was playing with some lovely friends on their farm, complete with tractors and sheep and wild pigs and more tractors.  Fergus had a ball and we even let him drive (see left; he’s a natural ;-)).

On the writerly front, my authors’ copies arrived in the mail today and more reviews are arriving or in the pipeline. I can’t help but be excited, even though I’m trying to focus on writing and playing 🙂

Even more exciting, the next winner of the Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Childrens Book Award will soon be announced….I can’t wait!

THANK YOU to everyone who has read or ordered Takeshita FergusreadingTakeshitaDemonsDemons so far…

As you can see, Takeshita Demons is a thrilling read for all ages.

Fergus’ review goes something like this:

Takeshita Demons has a fascinating cover and interesting feel, and the pages flick very nicely. You can even read it upside down. It doesn’t taste as good as I’d hoped. Tuna is better. So is broccoli.

There you go, ladies and gentlemen. You heard it here first.

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How old is a piece of string?

Crunch time for Takeshita Demons is getting closer: just 36 days left! Apparently I have a final printed copy in the post…yee ha!

How old is a piece of string?
Like any procrastinating author, I like to Google the name of my book in the days leading up to its release. (Did you know there are now more than 12,000 mentions of Takeshita + Demons online?)(ah, but not all of them are mine; it just sounds good ;-))

Many of these Google hits lead to on-line bookstores, and — bizarrely — not all of these bookstores seem to be stocking the same book.

Well, they’re stocking Takeshita Demons, alright, but although most think it’s a book for kids aged 8-12, others suggest readers aged 6-12, or readers aged 5-9, or readers aged 9-11. At least none of them are recommending Takeshita Demons for adults 😉

But what’s going on with this age bracketing? How do they decide?

I think it depends on the child: Are they reluctant readers? Or do they read everything they can lay their hands on?

As a guide: I wrote Takeshita Demons with the 8-12 age bracket in mind, aiming to excite readers and non-readers alike, hoping to encourage children to chew through an adventure where — like the adventures I read as a child — nothing bad really happens and the goodies win in the end. YAY!

And the reviews say?
There are now 14 reviews on Amazon UK, and I’m still scared to read them. (I think I need to grow a thicker skin!) Still, the worst thing they’ve said so far is that Takeshita Demons is a fast, easy read that children will love. To date most of the reviewers (all?) have been adults, so I’m looking forward to hearing some reviews from the kids. Fingers crossed!

Hovering around the mail box…
I’ll let you know when that magical first copy arrives. Very. Surreal.

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Take&#$@a Demons?

The reviews for TAKESHITA DEMONS keep coming in and, although I try not to look and to focus on my own enjoyment of the stories, it is great to see that people are enjoying the read.

An interesting thing: one of the reviews was censored by Amazon for including an obscene word. Guess which one?

For the record, “Takeshita” is a common surname in Japan and is composed of the kanji “ta-ke” (which means bamboo) and “shi-ta” (which means under).

And, equally funny but perhaps a little rude for my French-speaking readers: “Burne” is a fairly unique surname, especially with the “e” at the end.

But apparently (and I thank my French-speaking pals for their courage in telling me this) it means something quite rude in French (think “kindama” for those of you who speak Japanese ;-)). While we were living in Geneva, if I rang up to book tables or leave messages, I used my husband’s name instead.

I wonder if I’ll be the only “Burne” on French shelves?


First review is up!

The first review of Takeshita Demons is up on Amazon. It’s utterly terrifying to think that people who aren’t my mother or my editor or a select panel of competition judges are reading something I have written. For the first time my fiction is Out There and Public and Fair Game. Yikes.

I don’t know how celebrities do it. I would find it way too stressful to see myself in a zillion magazines and have to wear a disguise when leaving the house, and then have to wake up every morning and wonder: Did they spot me yesterday? What are they saying about me today?

Luckily, I’m not a celebrity and I’m not in any magazines (yet! ;-)). Even so, it’s scary. I know that not everyone will like what I’ve written and sometimes that will be because they don’t enjoy children’s books, period. Other times I guess it will be because they just don’t like what I’ve written. Yikes. I’m certainly feeling very vulnerable. Nevertheless, my plan is as follows:

I hope I survive this first book. I like calling myself a writer and I love creating characters and stories. Hopefully my skin is thick enough to breeze over any bad reviews and be boosted by good reviews (thanks bubblefish777).

Hopefully I can be bull-headed enough to Keep Calm and Carry On. And super-hopefully, kids will love reading Takeshita Demons and it will encourage even reluctant readers to get their nose into a good book!

Now, where did I leave my dark glasses and moustache?