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Islands of Hope Update – 09/12/2017

As a teacher, the end of the Christmas term is chaos and that has really shown this week in my writing, or rather lack of it. I have managed another update to ‘Islands of Hope’ today but it is short and simply builds on the characters a little rather than move the story along. It also, finally, completes Chapter 9. Chapter 10 should be a bit more exciting as we are going to get introduced to some of Princips Ltd’s Board of Directors. You’ll have to wait till next week for that, but for now you can read ‘Islands of Hope’ thus far on wattpad, Chapter 9 is here or you can start from the beginning here.


Vulgar the Viking

Vulgar the Viking and the Rock Cake Raiders-69436-3

Vulgar the Viking, another great comedy for children

Recently I have been borrowing, what my son calls, chapter books from the library at the school I work in. The librarian has noticed this and decided to lend me a newly bought book that has yet to be categorised and placed in the library in return for an honest review. My eyes lit up and my brain said, blog post. So here it is, my review of Vulgar the Viking and the Rock Cake Raiders by Odin Redbeard and Sarah Horne (oh, I should say that there are some spoilers in there!)…


I was a little disappointed by the first chapter, it almost seemed like a book for older children. My son is four but he can get the general gist of books for eight to ten-year olds. It may be a strange thing to say, but I felt there were too many technical viking words. Yes it is about vikings, but I felt you needed to have some knowledge of them to access the book. However, chapter 2 onwards seemed to move quickly into writing that was fit for the age range. Along with the quick pace of the story came the silly jokes and gross situations, including juggling elk poo and eating bogeys. That good stuff that makes kids laugh and amuses adults, even though they do not want to admit it. From here it became sillier and sillier, however, what I liked is that it joked about this, it revelled in observational comedy. It was almost as if the characters were asking the questions you wanted to as a reader. For instance, when King Olaf tells the kids a story about how he survived at sea with no food or drink, he says he ate bogeys and drank seagulls blood, then one of the children asks why he did not just eat the seagulls (which is what I was thinking!). Another thing that got me into the story, but was maybe over my four-year old’s head, was that fact we were looking at modern vikings. It was set in the ‘olden days’ but the vikings had shops, a village and did not plunder or loot, Vulgar’s Dad even cleaned toilets for a living. The comedy comes from the fact that the vikings were now ‘civilsed.’ The whole situation in the book stems from the point that Vulgar wants to be a real, old-fashioned, viking. This leads to the three main characters making a boat to cross the village pond and stealing some cakes. It is such a preposterous plot that it is perfect for a children’s book. I actually laughed out loud when the three kids escaped the mob in their barrel boat only to be caught on the other side as the mob just walked around the pond.

Two other children’s books I have been impressed with are Wilf the Worrier and King Flashypants. I have likened these to Monty Python for children. I think that Vulgar the Viking is another book that can fit into this category. Maybe then, this is the state of children’s literature today. Have they finally caught on to alternative comedy much like adults got in the 1970s. Maybe it is the people who grew up with Monty Python that are now putting their ideas into children’s books. I for one am glad if it means we get such funny stories as those mentioned above. The one thing that annoys me, though, is that I have heard many people say these types of books are good for reluctant readers as if they are just silly and that is all. These books are actually well written and great for all readers, they are silly and make you laugh but most importantly they are entertaining. So, I for one endorse Vulgar the Viking and the Rock Cake Raiders and am satisfied to say that it adds to a growing list of what I call ‘proper comedy books for children’.

Islands of Hope Update – 02/12/2017

Well that has been a tricky week. Car broken down, extra work needed and a stinking cold. It is amazing I have written anything! I have managed to get a short update together. It is not that interesting but does move the story along a little. It also did not take too much editing due to it being speech. I like writing speech as I do not need to cut out those little idiosyncrasies and grammatical mistakes; they add to the true voice of the characters (is that a pun?). Anyhow, I will try to write more next week. For now you can continue to read the story on wattpad, the updated Chapter 9 is here whilst you can start from the beginning here.

Islands of Hope Update – 25/11/2017

It’s one month till Christmas! Wait, that’s not what this post is about! The latest update to ‘Islands of Hope’ has taken it past the 10,000 word mark. I feel this is a milestone for me, more so the fact I am still keeping up with the project. I thought that being busy and focusing on ‘A Close Shave with Destiny’ edits would mean fewer words this week but, somehow, I have managed about 900. I don’t think it is my best writing but does move the story along and shows, once again, how isolated Kira feels. The exciting news is that next weeks update will follow some people who are not Kira. That should, hopefully, diversify the story and add more depth. For now, though, you can read Chapter 9 here or start from the beginning here.

Islands of Hope Update – 18/11/2017

Bit of a slim update this week, was hoping to get over the 10,000 word mark in total but did not quite hit that due to only writing around 500 words. It is not all bad news though, although some of the lack of writing was due to being busy, more was because I have been focusing my writing time on editing ‘A Close Shave with Destiny.’ It is taking quite a while to edit but I am making my way through it slowly but surely. Back to ‘Islands of Hope.’ This update is the start of Chapter 9 and finally sets up where the group are heading. Yes, if you had not guessed already, this island of hope is my homeland of Guernsey. I am getting a bit scared as I am unsure where the story will take me after the next few updates. Oh well, I’ve got some time to think about it! Right, the usual phrase to finish. You can read the start of Chapter 9 here or start from the beginning here.

World Cup Dreams: Extra Time Edition – FREE this weekend!

So there we go, the qualifiers have ended and now we know who the final 32 teams will be at the next world cup, held in Russia next summer. The successful teams will be…

  • World-Cup-Dreams-Extra-Time-Cover-BLOG

    World Cup Dreams: Extra Time Edition is FREE on Kindle this weekend


  • Spain
  • Denmark
  • Serbia
  • Germany
  • Peru
  • Iceland
  • Nigeria
  • Brazil
  • Switzerland
  • Costa Rica
  • Australia
  • Portugal
  • England
  • Sweden
  • Japan
  • Argentina
  • Colombia
  • Tunisia
  • Morocco
  • Belgium
  • Mexico
  • Egypt
  • Panama
  • Poland
  • Uruguay
  • Senegal
  • Korea Republic
  • France
  • Croatia
  • Iran
  • Saudi Arabia

There are some big guns missing, mainly Italy, USA and the Netherlands, but brilliantly, for me at least, England have made it. As we wait for the World Cup it seems now is a good time to do a promotion, I have not done one for some time. To keep you going while you wait for the World Cup you could read World Cup Dreams: Extra Time Edition and for this weekend it will be absolutely FREE on Kindle. I would like to do a promotion on the print copy but, unfortunately, that is out of my control (paper costs money you see!). So, you can download World Cup Dreams: Extra Time Edition from Amazon in the UK here or from Amazon in the US here. It should also be free in all the other countries Amazon operates. The only thing I would really like back is a review, be it good or bad. So here’s to a summer of excellent football and, hopefully, some excellent reading before that!

Islands of Hope Update – 11/11/2017

I’m not sure how I wrote a full chapter this week. It has been back to work for me and I’ve been busy in the nights. I think I have been worried about not getting words down so have been glued to my phone in every free moment. It is a short chapter but starts to build the relationship between Kira and Eliana which, I think, will be vital for later in the story. Remember I am going pantster on this one! I have so many ideas in my head, just need to organise them week by week. Some other great news this week is that one of my beta readers has found time to look at ‘A Close Shave with Destiny’ and is a good way through it. But that’s for another time. For now you can continue to read ‘Islands of Hope’ on wattpad. Chapter 8 is here or you can start at the beginning here. I think that sentence is starting to become my catchphrase!