Busy summer!

I can’t believe it’s two months since Journey to Dragon Island came out. I’m only just calming down from the whirlwind. A week of book signings and events, including the premier of my new Dragon Island writing workshop in Southampton Waterstones. And I have to tell you my favourite moment. When I arrived at Waterstones in Southampton I saw a girl sitting cross-legged on the floor by the children’s bookshelves reading Journey to Dragon Island. Never mind mega-events and glowing press reviews, there’s nothing like the sight of a lone reader engrossed in your book.

June brought the long-awaited awards ceremony of the Children’s Book Award and it was lovely to meet the other authors on the shortlist and loads of enthusiastic young readers. I received a brilliant portfolio of children’s work based on The Accidental Pirates. Including this homage to the ballad of Cassie O’Pia.

 

Then… Authors Assemble! In which I travelled west to east across country from Ebbw Vale to Norwich in the grand company of fellow authors Marianne Levy and Kieran Crowley. Together we visited schools, talked to crowds of kids about books and ate far too much junk food on trains between locations. Meanwhile, a second three-author tour was heading north to south and all six of us met for a splendid final event courtesy of Chicken and Frog Books.

I am hugely grateful to Macmillan for putting together the tour and for all the fantastic independent bookshops which took part. Do support your local independent bookshop, preferably by buying The Accidental Pirates there. Seriously, the little independents do a great job. Go and buy books from them.

And July? July has been spent hunched over my keyboard, finishing the edits on what will be my third book. It’s not a pirate book. It’s called Unwyse Magic and it’s set in the last town in Britain where fairy magic still works. I hope to bring you more news on that soon, but needless to say, I am super excited!

Finally, this website will soon be getting a much-needed update. Check back soon to see the result.

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Tharrrr she goes!!!

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Dragon Island has been out and about for a few weeks now. But before the big launch, one of my advance copies went on a quick tour of SCBWI members.   First, the US edition pays a visit to Welsh author, Eloise … Continue reading

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If Life Gives You…

Hello, Trudi Storme here, pirate and ship’s cook aboard the great and legendary Onion.

The story of our adventures on Dragon Island has just launched into the world and I’m celebrating by making lemon and strawberry cupcakes.

I love lemons. There’s a saying: ‘If life gives you lemons, make lemonade,’ which means if life gives you something good you should share it with as many people as possible.

This recipe is a good way of sharing.

You will need:

  • One author
  • One lemon tree
  • 150g butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 100g strawberries
  • Cupcake cases
  • One pirate crewmate who’s good at icing cakes

First, get your author to write an account of your heroic exploits. You may need to threaten her with a cutlass – authors are notoriously lazy.

Next, buy a lemon tree and tend it carefully, keeping it out of the way of ship’s cats, nosey pirates and baby dragons. By the time your author has written your book, you should have some lovely sunny lemons.

Grow or pillage your strawberries. I grew these in some barrels on deck.

Now you are ready to make your cakes. Pre-heat your ship’s cooking fire (or your oven at home) to 200 degrees centipede (or possibly centigrade – you may want to enlist the help of an adult pirate for this bit) and set out 12 paper cake cases. Beat the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon, or a wooden leg if you have one. Then beat in the eggs and the juice of one freshly-picked lemon. Mix in the flour. You can add the grated rind of the lemon if you like. Half fill your cake cases, then push a couple of chopped strawberries into each and top up with more cake mixture.

Bake for 20 minutes or until they’re risen and as gold as the sand on a treasure island.

Let the cakes cool, then get your pirate crewmate who’s good at icing to ice them for you.

Remember to share them with your crew.

 

 

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Phew!

Pirate shoes at the ready and off we go!

I’ve been quiet on here, but out in the real world I’ve been making lots of noise.

March kicked off with World Book day and a trip to the Spread the Word festival in Merthyr Tydfil for a day of writing workshops. Mayhem ensured with pirate poetry duels, amazing tales, and more rhymes for Cassie O’Pia than you’d think possible (my favourites were diarrhoea and onomatopoeia – look out for new verses of Cassie’s epic ballad!) Meanwhile, the little ‘uns enjoyed a pirate story or two and designed their own pirate ships.

Merthyr Spread the Word prepares for pirating adventures

The following week saw a return visit to St Cenydd’s School in Caerphilly to repeat my heroes and villains workshop with the rest of year 7. Once again, the kids had great fun, and came up with many villainous plots for world domination.

Then the big tour began. First a day at Blackheath School in London and my crew of young pirates did splendidly. We chose our pirate names, improvised battles over imaginary treasure, wrote and performed yet more pirate songs with much laughter and shouting of ‘Arrrr!’

Lovely piles of books to sign at Blackheath Prep School

On to Norwich, and this is what an author’s life should be like. A hotel with a giant, luxury bathroom. All mine for two nights, and all I had to do in return was go to schools, jump up and down excitedly and shout about pirates. Arrrr!

Thanks are due to Lois at Jarrolds book department, and the fabulous publicity team at Macmillan for making this tour such a success.

And finally, last but definitely not least, I dropped in to visit a local primary school. I’d received a lovely email from one of the teachers, saying her kids were reading Accidental Pirates for World Book Day and asking if I could write them a letter to encourage them. As it was only a short trip, I suggested visiting instead. It was lovely to meet the teachers and the children. Best of all, the children were so enthused about reading that they’ve been bringing books into school from home.

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about doing school visits initially but now I love getting up in front of people and inspiring them to tell stories. This seems to be one of the rare privileges of writing children’s books – to share your love of reading and to see people taking their first steps in telling their own stories.

My next book, JOURNEY TO DRAGON ISLAND will be out on May 18th, and I have a new writing workshop to go with it, complete with a map by the brilliant Becka Moor. I’ll be posting a sneak preview soon. For the next month, it’s head down and finish the edits on my top secret third book (I’m not saying what it’s about yet, but there are no pirates!)

 

 

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St David’s Day Giveaway

Thanks for playing, everyone. The giveaway has ended and the winner is SOPHIE ANDERSOM.  Congratulations, Sophie. I have sent you an email to arrange delivery of your prize!

 

All the best things come in threes.

1. Today is St David’s Day, our national celebration of daffodils, dragons and leeks.

2. Tomorrow is World Book Day,

3. GIVEAWAY!!!!  I have another copy of my US Journey to Dragon Island ARC* up for grabs. Leave a comment and tell me what you like best about Wales, or what you like best about books (or both if you like.) I’ll pick a winner and announce it here on Friday 3rd March, so check back to see if you’ve won.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS OPEN INTERNATIONALLY!

*A few people have asked me what an ARC is. It stands for Advance Reader Copy, and it’s an uncorrected paperback copy of the book, which goes out to reviewers before publication. Essentially, it’s my book in a slightly different format with the added excitement of a few quirky mistakes.

 

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Accidental Pirates shortlisted for the FCBG Children’s Book award!

In case you’re wondering what all the excited shouting is about, I’m very happy to announce that The Accidental Pirates has been shortlisted for the FCBG’s Children’s Book award.

Here are the three books in the younger readers’ category. As you can see, two of these authors have multiple, award-winning books to their credit. And then there’s me.

 

 

 

 

I feel as out of place as a sea slug at an underwater talent contest. (Of course, it would be all right if it was an underwater writing contest as all the pages would get wet and disintegrate so we’d all be in the same boat. Or not in a boat, seeing as we’d be underwater.)

Getting back to reality, you know the best thing about this award? It’s entirely judged by kids. That means  actual real people have read Pirates and have voted for it. So a very big thank you to you all.

You can now vote to choose the winners of each category, and, again, voting is open to everyone – as long as you’re a child!  Follow this link for details.

Winners will be announced in June, by which time Dragon Island will also be out in the world!

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UK Cover Reveal

I don’t know about you, but I’m finding it difficult to share good news at the moment in the light of everything that’s happening in the world. But stories are powerful and good stories can defeat bad ones, and so here is a little piece of good news. The Onion is preparing to sail on her second adventure. The UK edition of Journey to Dragon Island is about to go to press ready for its May launch, and here is the beautiful red cover by the fantastically talented Becka Moor

 

I love that Boswell the dragon is so ridiculously fat, and once again I’m in love with all the tiny details. The reptilian footprints, the little loops on the ‘O’s in the title scroll, the decorative gold circle with cutlasses. I’m really pleased that librarian Tom has made it onto the cover alongside Brine and Peter. My new ambition is to have hair like Tom.

Thank you once again to Becka and Macmillan Children’s Books.  Journey to Dragon Island will be hitting the shelves on May 18th and can be pre-ordered now!

 

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In the Light of the Stars

My husband and I are just back from a most wonderful week in Noway. We went to ski and the skiing was wonderful, but the highlight of the week was an night-time excursion to see the stars. Armed with binoculars and with our guide, Tim (an enthusiastic Englishman with a passion for photography and astronomy), we gazed in silent awe at Orion, said hello to Cassiopeia, and waved at our neighbours in the Andromeda Galaxy.

Hello, Andromeda, can you see us?

 

Just visible: the Northern Lights

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tim told us how he used to work in Spain before settling in Norway and we reflected sadly that the freedom to travel and work across Europe is under threat. We talked about how, in so many parts of the world, it’s rare to be able to stand and look up at the stars and see them in such resplendent detail, and, inevitably, Carl Sagan’s words from “Pale Blue Dot” came to mind:

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

The news has not been good this week. I wish we could all look up at the stars and remember how small and how precious our world is.

And, if you ever find yourself in Trysil, look up Tim and go star-hunting.

 

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Heroes and Villains

I had a lovely time visiting St Cenydd’s Comprehensive School in Caerphilly recently. I ran a workshop on creating fictional heroes and villains and the year 7s had great fun coming up with dastardly plots and heroic derring do.

Here’s a link to an article on the school’s website I’m the person in the middle of the photo, holding an copy of ‘Accidental Pirate.’ I accidentally wore the same colours as the school uniform and I’m not much taller than some of the pupils so I blended in well.

St Cenydd’s has asked me to go back to repeat the workshop for the rest of the year 7 pupils so I’m looking forward to another visit.

 

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Giveaway!

Attention all readers in the US and Canada!

I’ve got together with Sarah Reida, author of Monsterville to do a magical double giveaway. One lucky person can win a signed copy of Monsterville and a signed copy of Voyage to Magical North. The competition is hosted by the very lovely Children’s Book Review and ends on February 9th.

Enter here.

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