Friday, 13 January 2023

First Illustration Workshop of the Year

If you're ever looking for an online illustration workshop, or if you ever get to go to any in person, I can highly recommend any run by Salford based artist Paul Pickford.

This week Paul ran a workshop via Zoom where we created an Alice in Wonderland white rabbit pen, ink and text collage, with a bit more of a sinister vibe. You can see mine below.


You can find more details of Paul's workshops over on Twitter or Instagram.


Saturday, 31 December 2022

2022 - Reflections of my Debut Year

Reflections on my debut year…

The year got off to a great start with two YA short stories accepted for publication. One in Northern Gravy, and one in PaperBound magazine. Another YA short story made the Searchlight Short Story Award longlist.

I’ve been able to work on a YA that received Arts Council funding, and have had the chance to work with the amazing Patrice Lawrence and Emma Roberts.

I got a contract for a reading scheme book and wrote it this year.

Another huge event this year was making the shortlist for the Wells Lit Fest Children’s Novel award with a YA novel, and the WriteBlend shortlist for Autumn Moonbeam.

I’ve done BookJiveLive the online open mic event for children’s writers twice this year.

I was a tutor for my first ever workshop on writing chapter books.

Autumn Moonbean being featured in the Irish Examiner top children's books from 2022.

2022 has been a huge year for me, my debut year for my Autumn Moonbeam chapter book series. Having a book published has been something I’ve dreamt of since I was at school, so 2022 has been a dream come true.

 


If I was starting 2022 I would give myself (and other writers) this advice…


Celebrate all the wins – no matter how small. It’s a hard slog and a long journey this writing malarkey, so print out good reviews or a positive comment so you can read it on the harder days. It’s always easier to remember the bad and not the good.

Seeing my book available for pre-order, then in bookshops has been amazing. Sadly, my first book came out as Waterstones had their system change and it's meant even now there's not many branches with copies instore, but it's been amazing to see it in those that have. Big shout out to Wolverhampton Waterstones, my local branch, as they have been so lovely and supportive. 

The most exciting thing about being a debut is probably signing a book for a child for the first time. She came to me clutching a copy she’d already read; I cried happy tears afterwards, and probably will every time I'm asked to sign a book!

 


It’s okay to be scared – Nothing could really have prepared me for how scared and anxious I’d be this year. I think it’s good to realise that it’s normal to go through a mass of emotions, including the bad ones, even when it’s your dreams coming true. It’s stressful and a big change and there’s so much out of your control, so focus on the things you can do and what you enjoy doing.

Despite being absolutely terrified of standing up and talking in front of people, one of the biggest things to celebrate this year has been doing school visits. I especially loved talking to the kids during the Q and A sessions and hearing all their questions, especially the slightly unexpected ones.

 


Write – Don’t forget you wrote a book because you love writing. Sometimes when you’re caught up with the marketing and trying to promote your book you lose sight of why you are there in the first place. So find that happy place again and write something new, and write something you feel excited about.

It has been a really busy year promoting the Autumn Moonbeam books, and I sometimes forget I also wrote a first draft of a new YA, and a reading scheme book, and lots of bits of freewriting and research along the way, and those shiny new ideas that forever try to derail me from what I’m supposed to be writing!

 


Find your tribe – I’ve been so lucky to be part of some amazing writing groups, and I can’t stress how important this has been for me. Being part of the writing community and being connected via social media and in person is such a privilege. I have met so many lovely friends along the way.

If you’re a debut writer, I can guarantee there’s a debut group out there for you to join. I was part of two Debut22 groups, one with just children’s authors, and the other with a mix of authors writing for all age groups. It’s made my debut year so much better to have friends going through the same ups and downs and it’s so much nicer to be able to cheer others on and spot friend’s books in shops.

 


Mental Health – It’s a whirlwind in your debut year, sometimes it’s tumbleweeds and other times it’s hyper speed (isn’t it at every stage as a writer?!). It’s so important to remember that no matter how much you want to, you just can’t do everything, think about what you actually enjoy doing and do that. Take time for you, and rest, it’s physically and mentally exhausting at times and it’s so important to take the time to rest and recharge.

I’ve loved doing school visits, both virtual and in person, and connecting with readers by sending letters and signed postcards to schools and indie bookshops or doing workshops in my local Waterstones. It’s been wonderful and exciting, there’s nothing better than getting a great review or seeing a child reading your book but burn out is real and this year I’ve been anxiety-ridden and burnt out in equal measure. Don’t feel guilty to take time for you and rest. Just read, or do something just for you, being published isn’t going to suddenly vanish if you take some time out.

 


Most importantly – your words are out there in the world, and that might be scary at times but it’s also the most amazing feeling. You’ve achieved something many never do, you’ve finished a book and it’s out there or going out into the world, be proud, and in the words of Autumn Moonbeam… you’re spell-tastic!


Here's to a writerly 2023, and thank you to everyone who has made my 2022 so special! 

If you'd like to buy a copy of Autumn Moonbeam: Dance Magic, or Spooky Sleepover they are available to order from indie bookshops, Waterstones, Amazon, online and on the Hive bookstore website.



Sunday, 2 October 2022

Pre-Order Spooky Sleepover

You can pre-order AUTUMN MOONBEAM: SPOOKY SLEEPOVER at most bookshops now, here are a few...


My local indie bookshop, Blue Sheep Books, email: mamaewe@bluesheepbooks.com or through Bookshop.org at: Spooky Sleepover a book by Emma Finlayson-Palmer and Heidi Cannon. (bookshop.org)


The Rocketship Bookshop: Autumn Moonbeam: Spooky Sleepover - The Rocketship Bookshop

The Bookery: Spooky Sleepover - Emma Finlayson-Palmer (thebookery.org.uk)

Toppings & Company: Spooky Sleepover by Emma Finlayson-Palmer (toppingbooks.co.uk)


Supporting indie bookshops through Hive: Spooky Sleepover: Emma Finlayson-Palmer: 9781912979929: hive.co.uk




Saturday, 13 August 2022

Write Blend Awards

AUTUMN MOONBEAM: DANCE MAGIC! has made it through to the final of the #WriteBlendAwards over on Twitter, organised by the fabulous bookshop WriteBlend Bookshop

You can vote for Autumn over on Twitter at the following link... #WriteBlendAwards poll

Thanks to WriteBlend for the finalist badge, and the mega-talented illustrator Heidi Cannon for adding Autumn and her best friend, Batty to it!




Autumn Moonbeam: Dance Magic! at Indie Bookshops

AUTUMN MOONBEAM: DANCE MAGIC! is officially out in the world, published by UCLan and illustrated by the mega talented Heidi Cannon.


It is available to order online and instore with signed and personalised bookplates at many indie bookshops, including Kenilworth Books in Kenilworth, Storytellers Inc in St Annes-on-Sea, The Book Nook in Hove, and The Rocketship Bookshop in Salisbury, Next Page Books in Hitchin, The Portobello Bookshop in Edinburgh, Write Blend in Liverpool, and Through The Wardrobe Books in Mirfield.


Bookplates also available at Books and BanterTell Tales BooksFour Bears BooksThe Little Bookshop, and Book Wagon UK.


My local indie bookshop is Blue Sheep Books where you can email: orders@bluesheepbooks.com or call to order your signed/personalised copy.


Check out UCLan's website for an Autumn Moonbeam character quiz and find out which character from Sparkledale you are!


Sunday, 24 July 2022

AUTUMN MOONBEAM: DANCE MAGIC! is officially out in the world, published by UCLan and illustrated by the mega talented Heidi Cannon.


It is available to order online and instore with signed and personalised bookplates at many indie bookshops, including Kenilworth Books, Storytellers Inc in St Annes-on-Sea, The Book Nook in Hove, and The Rocketship Bookshop in Salisbury, Next Page Books in Hitchin, The Portobello Bookshop in Edinburgh, and Write Blend in Liverpool.


Bookplates also available at Books and BanterTell Tales BooksFour Bears BooksThe Little Bookshop, and Book Wagon UK.


My local indie bookshop is Blue Sheep Books where you can email: orders@bluesheepbooks.com or call to order your signed/personalised copy.


Check out UCLan's website for an Autumn Moonbeam character quiz and find out which character from Sparkledale you are!