In My Wildest Dreams: Adventures in Children's Fiction






'I thought you were dead...,' he said.

A way back a child expressed surprise on seeing me. "I thought you were dead," he said.

"Why did you think that?" I asked.

"Because all authors are dead," he said.

Certainly not dead, but I have been out of print for a while, obtainable only through Abe Books or Amazon, sourcing my novels from secondhand dealers in Australia, Japan, the UK or wherever my books have ended up. They have been thinly spread across the globe; a small miracle in itself.

But now? Badgerman & Bogwitch has a wider distribution. Having wrestled with the old WordPerfect files until I put it back in shape, I uploaded it to Amazon today as an ebook.

It was a painless procedure. It went without a hitch, except that I wanted to price the book at £1.99 in the UK, but it ended up showing as £2.00, which to my mind seems somewhat more expensive. (If you decide to download it, please don't email me asking for change.)

I am left with one question? How long will this book be in eprint? It could be 1000 years. No one seems to know the answer. I am not inclined to delete it.


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When a miss is as good as a smile.

The smiling villains are in politics. I don't think of literary agents as people like that (though I imagine  those in that line of business could probably come up with a name or two). It's not been my experience anyway. Like most people they are doing a difficult job in trying and ever changing circumstances. This is my Wind in the Willows view of the world.

The smile then. Well, yes, an actual personal email from a well-known agent. Alas: "There is an awful lot I like about it." (The book) ....  "I’m sorry that it’s been a near miss for me."

Well, that's not bad, is it?


a) It's not a pro-forma rejection - death by a thousand cuts.
b) The book is along the right lines - it may be publishable but not in these dark competitive times. It is not a slam-dunk, it is the basketball spinning around the rim of the net.


What would Tiberius Small do? Well he is tall enough to slam-dunk every time & if by some fluke he did miss, I guess he'd use one of his many connections to make sure he stayed on the first team and took all the plaudits in the school newspaper, if not the Sunday Times. But that's another story?


 Me?  I'll go on submitting, (but not in the passive sense) until I find the right fit, either with The Tall Story of Tiberius Small or another book..







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The Tall Story of Tiberius Small

So it is now May. I went to Australia for much of March and April. I meant to look at my final draft while I was away, but I just let it sit, knowing that it was pretty well finished. On my return I read it though once again and made one or two minor changes, sharpened a few sentences and checked it for continuity.

The Tall Story of Tiberius Small is finished and weighs in at 37,000 words, which I hope is about right.  Nine and ten and eleven year olds should be able to read it as long as they are due to hit Level 4 English and have a sense of humour... and still like books. What do I really know? I enjoyed writing it and I am not embarrassed by any of it... so... time will tell. For the moment I am a success.

Tomorrow? Am I heading for a fall? Whatever, I am thick skinned. It is done. I have pressed the Send button. I am right back where I was when I started this blog about three years ago. I am waiting for the joyous Ping! of acceptance arriving in my Inbox.
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House Martin - The Bringer of Stories.

The other day I stopped on the way to my destination and stood stock still for ten minutes. A group of House Martins were feeding over a wild patch of water, bog plants and reeds close to the path. Flying fast at shoulder level they spiralled around me. To them I could have been any inanimate object. For me it was as close to airborne birds as I am ever likely to come. I could have looked them in the eye if they hadn't been moving so fast.

The air is light, the sunshine warm. Following small speeding bodies in flight with only one's eyes, the bright background a wash of colour, is disembodying. Such is the lightness of being. Gone is the weight of the world. And so is time. For a moment. This is close to flying.

Ariel.

How to tell of this? Find the right words and pictures to release something in the imagination. This is why children need to learn to love language and illustration from an early age through picture books, songs, poems and nursery rhymes. It is why children need to read and be told stories, and it is why it is beholden upon us to encourage them to enjoy the written word as they grow older.

Seeing a House Martin is one thing, being able to tell someone about the joy of it is another.

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