Judging a book by it’s cover

Hurrah! Tomorrow is the day that my book will be available to pre-order!

‘Worm, Slug, Maggot and Leech and their Troublesome Transformation’ is the title of my children’s story. Written in simple rhyme and illustrated throughout it is a tale of four anguished mini beasts. Deeply troubled by their appearance Worm, Slug, Maggot and Leech wish for a miracle to transform them to beauty. They are befriended by Miss Stick (mystic, geddit?!) Insect who offers her assistance through the incredible powers of her mind and positive thought. She helps the creatures achieve what they think will be a marvellous make over. But Miss Stick Insect also has a valuable lesson for the creatures. As they begin to realise their new found beauty has come with some catastrophic consequences, Worm, Slug, Maggot and Leech are forced to see that being beautiful has not made their lives complete and they are faced with a difficult choice…

In the early stages of putting my tale together I reluctantly abandoned any urges to focus on fuzzy, buzzy bumble bees or other cute critters in favour of my little invertebrates. I veered toward creatures usually excluded from children’s stories to prompt thought and discussion in my audience: WHY are we so dismissive of them? WHY do they make us squirm and grimace? WHY are we so repulsed by these petite wrigglers? WHY would they not want to be themselves?

On the cusp of my pre-order campaign and with these questions in my own mind I felt it necessary to get to know my bloodsucking burrowing buddies a little better and to face my own preconceptions head on. Here is what I discovered:

Shockingly, a person can be referred to as a ‘worm’ if they are weak or despicable despite the fact that our little wormy friend is actually 1000 times stronger than a person. And I’m sure you know that if you accidentally chop one in half whilst digging your garden – one half will live on regardless!

A person can be referred to as a ‘leech’ if they extort profit from others, but incredibly the leech is actually quite giving – both anticoagulant and anaesthetic produced by the leech is used in medicine for the production of drugs. And that is not all! The leech has 32 brains , and because of the similarities between their nervous system and ours, they are often used in investigative work into human brain disorders. Wow!

A person may be maggotreferred to as a ‘maggot’ if they reject societal norms and have tendencies
toward deviant behaviours – but in fact the maggot actually greatly reduces the bacterial levels around them – the maggot is always what eliminates most of a decaying animal carcass on land. On top of that, like their dear friend the slug, the maggot has also done it’s bit for medicine. Maggot infested wounds
heal faster – fact! Go maggot!

Last of all, a person may be called a ‘slug’ if they are slow or lazy….. but the slug is clearly not THAT lazy: they have been present in the British Isles since the end of the last ice age, an individual slug has the potential to produce about 90,000 grandchildren AND the slug’s slime allows it to glide without difficulty over broken glass or even a razor blade. Quite remarkable really!

So if you’re puzzled as to why I would want to write a story about these slimy, creeping, limbless beasts think again. Our dear friends Worm, Slug, Maggot and Leech may also have the ability to capture the interest of some of our younger generation in order to explore and embrace diversity, to challenge preconceptions and to celebrate talent – wherever it may be found!

‘Worm, Slug, Maggot and Leech and their Troublesome Transformation’ is available to pre-order from Friday 28th March at http://www.britainsnextbestseller.co.uk

Thank you for reading! x





I’m Blog, Blog, Blogging!


I have never written a blog before.

I did write a diary every day for many years throughout my youth but that served the purpose of channeling my teenage angst – I burnt them all several years ago in a dustbin incinerator in my back garden. Not that they contained evidence of any wild secrets I must add – but I did cringe at the thought of my future family ever reading the ramblings of my teenage / student / backpacking self: In love, out of love, betrayed, jealous, heartbroken, in love, out of love… The diary cremation was quite a surreal occasion, as though I was overseeing the funeral pyre on which the anxieties of my younger self dissolved into flames. It was strangely therapeutic!

Having taken such drastic action to rid my life of decades worth of my own written drivel, you’ll understand a little why writing a blog terrifies me slightly. I guess it’s the thought of my adult ramblings being available to anyone that may be vaguely interested – I’m plenty critical of myself so why in the world would I wish to make a permanent record of that on the int’net??

Well, here goes…

As well as a diary I also grew up with an ever evolving ‘bucket list’. I’ve always been a bit of a list writer too but the bucket list came about when I realised the extent of my dear Mum’s debilitating illness and with it the realisation that life is indeed short, that we only live once, and while I can, I am damn well going to make the most of it the best I can! (I’ll come back to my Mum on another blog day – I don’t want to set off with an X Factor style sob story because at the end of the day we’ve all got one – at least). So, the bucket list began: the countries I hoped to visit, achievements I wanted to tick off, challenges I set myself: get my degree, overcome my fear of flying, travel to Australia, learn to scuba dive, skydive and so on. But one item that featured throughout was to write and illustrate a children’s story. When setting myself this task I wasn’t particularly clear about whether the story should be published before I could consider the item ‘complete’ in my list but hey ho – that would obviously be the ideal end result!

It’s a desire that has remained with me over the years, and whilst teaching in a Pupil Referral Until in West London my colleagues and I joked about how the dramas of each day would undoubtedly provide endless humorous and eye opening material for a novel about the educationally excluded teens and ‘gangstas’ that we taught and mentored.  A children’s story was in my sights however but the days of discussion with emotionally challenged adolescents did lead me to the idea of producing a short story focusing on self esteem or similar. My teaching background has taught me the power of the book in addressing life’s tricky issues with children and young people; the ability of literature to influence, challenge and motivate fascinates me – especially when dealing with the young mind. And self esteem is, in my opinion, something that can falter early on in life and remain damaged for whatever reason, thus affecting ones’ state of mind and positive outcomes in adult life.

So here it is. I made a break from my career in education upon the birth of our first daughter and am now a Mediator (as in conflict resolution not meditation as in deep relaxation – although learning how to do that properly is also on my bucket list). During the pregnancy of our second daughter I felt so utterly ghastly that my enthusiasm for facing battling colleagues or warring neighbours was somewhat non existent, so I dedicated any free time that I had to getting my ideas for my book on paper.

And now…

My children’s story – short, simply formed and illustrated by me – is available to pre order from Friday March 28th through http://www.britainsnextbestseller.co.uk. If I reach my pre order target I will get a publishing deal… and lots of lovely ickle people, teachers, and parents can use it to get talking about action we can take individually and together to work towards living happily ever after.

My blog is going to be about my journey through the pre order phase… and anything related to it that I think you, my reader and hopefully a ‘pre order-er’ may find vaguely interesting!

Thank you for reading. X