Saturday, 27 May 2017

And the winner is?

Who is going to be Dragon's owner?

(Apart from Nick Borlase.)

It seems frivolous to be writing this blog post about books and a competition within a few days of the terrible bombing in Manchester - so I thought it right that competition and book news could come further down this particular post.
My parents came from Oldham, on Manchester’s outskirts, before moving down to Devon – so I grew up regularly travelling the three hundred miles to visit my grandad. It was a long drive, but it was worth it to see him. (If you live in a country with space and the roads to match it might not seem far, but believe me, it is when you’re driving over here.) I loved going into the bakery for an Eccles cake (look it up!), or the newsagents for a comic and sweets. I was fascinated by the cobbled alleys and the rows of red-bricked houses. It was all so different to where I lived in Plympton.
But the main thing I noticed wasn’t the shops or the houses, it was everyone’s friendliness. You didn’t need to know someone to have a conversation; you just had to be somewhere nearby.
So it was no surprise to hear and read of the kindness and heroism defiantly shown by strangers on Monday night, and the many acts of love and care - the antithesis to such unimaginable cruelty: It was light in the face of darkness.
As has been said by many commentators - Manchester is a big-hearted place.
And it's brim-full of big-hearted people.  

Competition news. 

And now onto the lighter stuff, and the competition:
‘The Camelot Inheritance’ series resolutely features light against dark.
Some of you have been kind enough to write lovely reviews – so it’s wonderful that I can run a competition to say ‘thank you’ to all my readers.

Originally there was going to be just one winner – but in the end I plumped for two; one from Facebook and one from this blog. 

Although it wasn’t compulsory some entrants also went the extra mile and suggested names for Dragon (he will be named by the end of Book 4); one really grabbed my imagination.
I’m not going to tell you what it is because I want it to remain a surprise, but I can tell you that the winning name was suggested by Luke.
So Luke, thank you. Your package will be on its way to you very soon.

The other winner is from Facebook; Amanda entered for her son Tom. Thanks for entering Amanda, and I hope Tom enjoys it!

Book news.   

Book 4 is about five chapters in and features a couple of well-known places in London which Pete and I visited last November. One of the places is the British Museum. It’s a vast area and there is so much to see that really you need more than a mere day, but here are a few photos which have inspired the opening chapter of the book.

I have no idea who this person is, but
he, very usefully, demonstrates the statue's size,

And a tiny excerpt from what might be the beginning of Chapter One of Book 4.

(Nothing is final until the last, fully-edited, copy is sent off!)

Chapter One

Tamar nudged Arthur. ‘Don’t look now … but that statue blinked.’
‘The statue behind you, the one with wings and a human face, it blinked.’
Despite her instruction, Arthur spun around. ‘The one that looks like a lion with wings?’
She nodded. 
Catching a stone statue moving wasn’t new to him, he’d come across one before, but that one had been on his side. He didn’t fancy finding out whether or not this statue was friendly. It was way too big.
He turned and caught hold of Tamar’s arm. ‘Let’s move away.’ He lowered his voice. ‘Slowly.’
‘It can’t do anything … can it?’ Tamar asked uncertainly. ‘I mean, how can an ancient Assyrian statue, in the British Museum in the middle of London, do anything?’
‘I don’t know and I don’t want to find out.’ Arthur said, and began edging away. A memory rumbled. ‘It could listen.’
Tamar examined the statue’s head. A sort of headdress covered any ears it might have.
‘We weren’t saying anything worth listening to, were we?’
‘Just think what we were talking about!’
She did a quick re-run of their conversation and realised that Arthur was right. The stuff they’d been discussing had definitely been worth hearing.
She risked another quick look at the statue. It was massive, probably several metres high. It towered above the tourists and groups of schoolchildren. If it did do anything, there could be carnage.

I hope you enjoyed that piece. I will be posting other excerpts from time to time but until then, best wishes from Cornwall. Rosie X

Monday, 10 April 2017

It's spring, time for a competition.

Competition time -

for you, or someone special.

Spring is here - well almost, and as a bit of a celebration I thought it would be great to run a little competition. It's open to everyone in Europe, Canada, the USA, or here in the UK.

The prize includes a model dragon, a dedicated and signed Time Smugglers (for you or that special someone) and a Celtic bookmark sent to you from me.

And the prize is  . . .

Entering is easy.
Just put your name and your email in the contact box in the sidebar. (Always check with an adult if you're under 18, or ask your adult to do it for you.)
The competition runs until May 25th. If you win I'll email you for your postal address - and then you can tell me what you'd like as the dedication.
And whether or not you've read The Time Smugglers, perhaps you could come up with a name for Dragon. If one of you comes up with and inspired suggestion, I may use it in Book 4. It would have to be one that Nick would choose. So remember, Nick's an outdoors sort of person. He likes his food, doesn't particularly like reading and rarely takes life too seriously. Over to you!

(I'm also running this competition on my Facebook page. You can enter there as well. )

That's it - just a short post this time.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Meet Dragon's creator!

Helen - the talent behind the pencil

Too much time has elapsed since Dragon made his entrance in The Time Smugglers; too many months without me introducing you to his creator. 
Helen is one talented person, have a look at these illustrations they speak for themselves - and this is just a hobby! 

Perhaps appropriately, Helen is training in animal psychology - she could start on Dragon, although our cats, Oz and James, could do with a bit of sorting out! 

Yesterday I visited a school not far from where we live. It's a three class village school hidden in the Cornish countryside. (Having taught in village schools, I've experienced the invaluable family-feeling difficult to replicate elsewhere.)

I had a wonderful time with Owl class and its mixture of Year 3 and 4 pupils. Although they're being read the first in The Camelot Inheritance series, I read extracts featuring Dragon from the second in the series . . . and then asked the class to do some writing for me. What a pleasure to listen to the results! 
And then the fun when I asked them to draw a dragon of their own. Inspired by Helen's masterpiece's they set to work and produced dragons of every shape and size, each with their very own dragon personality. 
I haven't space for every drawing, but have a look at this selection. Thank you Owl class for all your work. 😄 And a special thank you to: Abigail, Matilda, May Rose, Oliver, Theo, Blake, Emerald, Paige and Ben.

And Helen's reaction to these Dragon-inspired drawings? Rather pleased I think! Well done Owl Class. 😆

Saturday, 10 December 2016

A writer in the Tower of London.

Researching in London.

Last week your intrepid writer ventured beyond the Cornish border, to a city bursting with culture and history.
In the fourth of 'The Camelot Inheritance' series some of the action takes place beyond Cornwall's borders; specifically in London at the British Museum, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London.
It was a fascinating experience. I've been to London a few times but, maybe because it's approaching Christmas, it seemed more magical than before.

As I mentioned, Tower Bridge, which spans the river Thames is going to be one of the settings in the book.

There is a walkway above the road on the bridge, which is most definitely worth a visit, whether or not you're going to write about it. The views are tremendous, taking in St Paul's Cathedral in the distance, the Shard and of course, the Tower of London. A glass insert in the walkway enables you to look down on the road many meters below. One of the lovely guides coaxed me onto it but I didn't hang around for long!
During the time we were in London, the bridge was
closed to traffic. This view would usually be far more busy.

The views up and down the river are quite stunning, as is the history behind the bridge's building. If you wish to time a visit to see the bridge lift (to enable particularly tall ships sail beneath it), click here to find out more from the Tower Bridge site.
Spot the Gherkin and the Tower of London. 
Ancient and modern architecture sit side by side.
The Tower of London was built circa 1067 - the Gherkin is
considerably newer.
We managed to fit in a visit to the Tower of London on the same day, but if you're going to see these sites, I would recommend that you allow yourself longer.
The Tower of London is bursting with history and with stories, and of course there are the Beefeaters . . . and the ravens.

A Beefeater, one  of the Tower of London's guards,
chatting to a tourist.
The wall around the Tower of London.

Ravens are extremely intelligent birds -
and are part of the same family as crows. 
There is so much I could write about this visit.
The Beefeaters should really be called the Yeoman of the Guard, they are part of the Royal Bodyguard.
Here's a piece from the Tower of London's site: 'The Beefeaters nickname probably comes from their position in the Royal Bodyguard, which allowed them to eat as much beef as they wanted from the king's table.'

Then of course there are the Crown Jewels, here's another piece from the site. (The photograph is taken from the Tower of London's site too. Obviously, no one is allowed to take photos in this area!) 'The solid gold St. Edward’s crown (1661) is the heaviest crown in the collection. One of the smallest and lightest is Queen Victoria’s Small Diamond Crown (1870), which she wore with her widow’s veil, is tiny at only 9.4cm high.

The sapphire of the Imperial State Crown 

Crowns are made with the most expensive materials available at the time.  The Crown of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, made for her coronation in 1937, is the only crown in the collection made of platinum.'

And the ravens . . . 

These birds are huge - and very clever.

There's a legend which says, 'that the kingdom and the Tower will fall if the six resident ravens ever leave the fortress: 'According to the stories, it was Charles II who first insisted that the ravens of the Tower should be protected.' So now there are seven ravens (so that there's one 'spare') kept at the Tower at all times.
If you want to find out more about these birds, click here to be taken to the Tower of London's site and a video about the birds.
There is so much more to write about our London visit, I haven't touched on the British Museum yet. I think that will have to wait until the next post. But in the meantime I'll finish with a detail taken from the Christmas window in Liberty's department store. The theme this year is 'The Nutcracker Suite'.
Christmas is in a couple of weeks time. I'm blown away by the number of people buying 'The Camelot Inheritance' books for presents. If you happen to be one of the people who bought a book, thank you! And if you're one of those who receives a book, I really hope you enjoy it. Write to me here, or on Facebook (here's the link to my page: Rosie - Facebook), and leave a comment. I love hearing from my readers and will always reply :).
Happy Christmas everyone.

Friday, 14 October 2016

The story of a teeny tiny indie author - and a surprisingly friendly giant.

Once upon a time, in the faraway and magical land of Cornwall (see picture below) there lived a teeny, tiny author.

And this teeny, tiny author lived in a normal-sized house with a very kind and normal-sized man called Peter and two normal-sized cats called Oz and James.
Day after day, week after week, and month after month everybody in the normal-sized house lived very happily -  until one day.
The Day When Life Changed
On that particular day the teeny, tiny author woke up and thought,  I don't feel at all well, and, My legs don't work.  
(Actually, on that day the author wasn't an author at all, she was a teacher who loved being with children because they made the world light up.)
But on The Day When Life Changed the teeny, tiny author had to stop being with children who made the world light up, because a nasty bug had carried all her energy to a distant land. 
Sooo ...
instead of being with children who made the world light up the teeny, tiny not-yet author began writing words, and the words grew into sentences and the sentences grew into stories. In fact her teeny, tiny head nearly EXPLODED with the ideas pushing and shoving to get her attention.
And then there were the pictures - which grew and grew out of nothing at all!

But, sadly, when they were finished . . . the stories were very, very shy.
They were so shy that they didn't even want to creep out of the front door.
But one day they woke up and the door was wide open and Peter was pointing meaningfully to the big, wide world. The time had come to leave the safety of the normal-sized house.
Which is when the stories and the teeny, tiny author met the giant. 
And it wasn't any old giant, it was a world-famous giant.
Some people were actually scared of it!
BUT, the teeny, tiny author took a deep breath and tapped the giant on his knee and the giant slowly turned and looked down.
She took another deep breath. 
'Mr Giant, I know you like stories ...' she began nervously, 'so may I introduce you to some of mine?'
The giant considered the teeny, tiny author and the shy and frightened stories.
At first he didn't say anything; he just looked.
And then ...

very slowly

he smiled a great, big smile

and said,

'I like the look of these stories . . . I'd like to share them.'
The Golden Sword (The Camelot Inheritance ~ Book 1): A mystery adventure book for teens and older children age 10 -14 by [Morgan, Rosie]
The teeny, tiny author smiled a great big smile back at the giant and the pages fluttered and the letters skipped and the writing danced.

Then the friendly giant asked, 'May I share these stories with my friends?'
The teeny, tiny author could hardly believe her ears but she nodded her head and said, 'Oh, yes please, I'd love that.'
So the friendly giant told all his friends and LOTS of people got to know the stories and the teeny, tiny author began to feel a little bit bigger, and her stories began to feel a little bit braver and the writing danced and the pages quivered with delight.
But best of all the not-so teeny, tiny author was able to share her stories with children who make the world light up.

And the moral of this tale is: Amazon can be quite a friendly giant.
This teeny, tiny author is definitely smiling a great, big smile. And to all the other teeny, tiny authors out there - maybe you're not as small as you think you are.

I still feel quite teeny, tiny but I'm gradually getting bigger. 

Here's the US link:

The Golden Sword (The Camelot Inheritance ~ Book 1): A mystery adventure book for teens and older children age 10 -14 Kindle Edition

And the ranking as of Friday 14th October - always changeable though!
4.5 out of 5 stars    24 customer reviews
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,687 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

             But, as I've said before, all of it is grâce à Dieu - thanks to God.  

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Merlin's Vow Gallery now open

Merlin's Vow - where it happened

My apologies for the pause between publishing Merlin's Vow and uploading the gallery of pictures behind the story. However you can now click on the 'Merlin's Vow Gallery' and see some of the inspirational places I visited when researching for the book.

Right now I'm typing in my favourite spot for writing when I'm at home - in my very own storyteller's chair. Yes, it really is called that! (Here's a picture of the chair minus me.) One of our cats is curled up across the room and I'm looking out towards the Cornish hills through a honeysuckle arch. Wonderful.

For those of you who've read Merlin's Vow, I hope you enjoyed it. One of the greatest pleasures is hearing from people who've read my books, I love getting feedback, whether directly on here in the 'Contact me' box, or as a review or rating on Amazon or Goodreads. (If you have the time, a review is very, very special - especially if you liked it!)  

There won't be many updates on here in the next few weeks because we'll be in France and, although we will be able to pick up a signal, it's a VERY slow one. However, if you want to contact me, I'll get your messages and I'll make sure I reply! 

I'll leave you with a photo taken beside a river in a Cornish valley, and one of an evening in my garden.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Merlin's Vow released.
St Michael's Mount, Cornwall, a major part of Merlin's Vow -
 #3 The Camelot Inheritance.

Book 3 of The Camelot Inheritance hits the shelves.

Magic from the word 'go'.

Hi folks and sorry for the long silence - life has been full-on but, at last, the third in the series is out there!

Before I rabbit on, I must say a huge thank you to those people who've discovered the book in the week since it was published, and have already given it some lovely ratings on Amazon U.S. and Goodreads. What stars you are!

I've loved watching the story unfold as I've written it. Sometimes it's hard to believe that I've been involved - characters and events can take on a life of their own. Dragon has become even more important, Nick's humour more developed - and Tamar more challenged by her own very special gift. It takes guts to be a successful Time Keeper.
You can get a glimpse of the characters and the story with the 'Look inside' feature on Amazon.
Click here for Amazon UK.
Click here for Amazon USA.

Pretty soon I'm going to put a gallery of photos together which were the inspiration for the settings in 'Merlin's Vow'. In the meantime, here's the map of Trezion - where most of the action takes place.
Trezion - loosely based on Marazion

Whereas this is the real Marazion.

And then there's the island - St Michael's Mount. On my map it's easily spotted. (If you look up Merlin's Vow on Amazon, you'll see the illustration heading Chapter 1, featuring the island.)
St Michael's Mount - the model for the Little Mount in Merlin's Vow
As ever the Cornish landscape has provided a beautiful backdrop. If you don't know the UK, Cornwall is a county (much like a small state in the USA or a department in France), on the very end of our country. The island and the village of Marazion are pretty close to the end of the county - and one of my favourite parts of my beloved Cornwall. 

My thanks must go to Sally Vince, my wonderful editor who enabled my story to fly; Katie Stewart of Magic Owl design, my creative cover designer, for her patience and clever interpretation of my ideas; and to Helen Blenkhorn, Dragon's life-giver. Also THANK YOU to each and every one of my friends and family who have encouraged and spurred me on.
And always, and at all times, grâce à Dieu.

Keep watching for the gallery, then you really will see the backdrop to Merlin's Vow!

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Writing, illustrating and editing in Cornwall

Cornwall in Spring (and a progress report).

I am the most fortunate of writers. I've been pointed in Sally Vince's direction - an editor with super powers. She's already begun work on the third in The Camelot Inheritance series and I'm in awe. It's all really coming together. 
However the title is still being decided upon (see the end of this post). 
And the illustrations are still being drawn. (Again see the end of the post.)
But I'm seriously hoping to have the book out by June. In the meantime I thought I's post a few photos of Cornwall... and some other bits and pieces. 

Bodmin Moor looking towards Dartmoor.
I've been snowed under with writing, editing and illustrating, so with spring nipping at our ankles I've collected a selection of photos of our beautiful moors and coast - the inspiration behind my books - as a sort of apology for being absent for so long.
These first two were taken a couple of weeks ago on Bodmin Moor; home to many sheep, wild ponies, Galloway cattle, rabbits, frogs...

Whereas the ones that follow are at the coast, at Looe - renamed Pendrym in the books.
Pete and I often pop down here, it's just a sort drive from our front door. It never fails to remind us how very fortunate we are to live in such a beautiful part of the world. 

This is just one of Looe's streets, dating back several hundred years. The building you can see on the left of this photo is called the Smugglers Cott - a gorgeous restaurant squeezed into a low-roofed cottage with beams pulled from the wreckage of the Spanish Armada.
The Smugglers Cott in Looe
And then of course there's the beach which features in the first of The Camelot Inheritance books, The Golden Sword. 
In summer it's packed, but in winter and early spring it's quiet with just local families and only a few tourists.

And this is the bridge over the river in Looe. In both my books there are maps, and in each map you'll find that this bridge is featured. Spot the stone-built arches that span the river.

I just couldn't resist this photo. As any of you who've read either of my books will know, a crow is one of the more important central characters, and here was one sitting on one of Looe's signposts.
Look carefully and you'll spot that the railway is signed. This is the same railway that joins Liskeard and Looe, and is featured in the Camelot Inheritance.
The growth of an illustration.
And now - evidence of my illustrating. This picture is for the third book. There's an episode involving a steam train. I won't elaborate because I could spoil it for you!
A train steams through a valley.
And of course, always at my side monitoring my work is Oz, my trusty cat.

Oz checking out my work.
I have a question as I work with my editor and commit drawings to paper - what should I call the book? I've two possible titles: Merlin's Vow or Arthur's Quest. Which do you prefer? If you've got a preference, please do let me know. You can write your choice in my contacts box and don't forget to put your contact details.