Very pleased with these tags that Betapak, Isle of Wight made for me. Thanks Luke Smith you’ve been a great help! As Sarah my Illustrator has been working on Book Two and of course super busy as always, she kindly put together this design. It’s double sided and I’ll attach to my merchandise which will be on My Little Shop of Goodies page soon.
You may have noticed I’ve been flat out since the start of my Bella & Bentley adventure! So much has happened in such a short time. I’ve spoken and met so many lovely people and so I thought it only right I filled you in!
November: Sent my book to a school, Purbrook Junior School, Hampshire where it was read to children of different ages, from early years to age seven. As the book was intended for parents to read to their children, I was extremely pleased when the school librarian, Lisa Wiltshire, said her age seven children loved it. It got them talking not just about the characters in the book but, and this brought a tear to my eye, about their own situations at home with some saying ‘my Mummy’s having a baby, will she still love me?’ It led to a wider discussion and depth of feelings than I had imagined it would. Thanks for a great review Lisa!
December: Busy month! I was involved with a brilliant corporate event in Southampton, at The Grand Harbour Hotel. Many thanks to Tracey Cook, Events Manager, who invited me. I had a lovely response to my book in the magical setting of Narnia!
I had an online interview with Helen of Mummymode blog, a lovely lady who reviewed my book. Thank you Helen!
Mummyconstant ran an online ‘12 days of Christmas’ competition incorporating Bella & Bentley. Thanks Sonia!
My local Isle of Wight County Press ran a small article about me and my debut book! Thank you IWCP.
InTouchRugby.com featured me! You see it’s not all about rugby – I was included alongside some great household names. The post reached nearly 38,000 people. Ooh!
Gifts4You also gave me some amazing coverage, a big ‘thank you’ to you too!
And… drum roll if you please, I’ve been asked to read my book to a reception class here on the Island, date to be arranged. I’m super excited (and a little nervous), but mainly excited… I will let you know how it goes!
Then Christmas happened… Wine was drunk, chocolate was eaten. Well, if in Rome…
And then New Year happened. Happy New Year everyone!
And then headfirst into January: Slick Mummy Magazine featured me and wrote the most gorgeous review ever. It was heart-warming to think my book prompted them to get their coats and Wellies on and take their dogs out… Thank you Slick Mummy.
‘Hankies to the ready’ alert: the Isle of Wight County Press article prompted a very kind-hearted Islander to contact me anonymously and donate funds, for ten books to go to the Children’s Ward of our local St. Mary’s Hospital on the Isle of Wight, and for a further ten to go to Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children. I delivered the Island books myself and received a lovely message back and photo of one of the Play Specialists reading my book to a poorly child. I also received a lovely response from Great Ormond Street thanking me and the anonymous donor. In the donor’s letter to me they wrote, and this is quite true… ‘Books are great gifts, they work as soon as you open them and they do not require batteries’, a sentiment they had read in The Guardian newspaper, so there you go. If my book brings a smile to just one little one and gives them a brief distraction from thinking about being unwell, I’ll be happy.
January also saw the draft of book two, Bella and Bentley’s Day Out, go to Sarah my illustrator. Many people have commented on her illustrations for book one so I’m looking forward to some sneak previews soon!
February: My first competition, yippee! To enter you had to send me a photo of your dog and tell me what made you laugh about them. I was so pleased with the entries for my first comp. All the dogs were lovely and will feature on ‘My Gallery of Dogs’. It was hard to choose but the lovely ‘Fritz’ won – congratulations to Fritz! He was so adorable cuddled up on the settee with all his toys, protecting them, ready to thwart any attempt to steal them. Fritz, your prize is in the post, I hope you like it little one. Share a photo with us when you get it?
Wafflemama Uk, wow, a lovely write-up and pictures, especially of your little boy and dog. Dogs are family and it really showed in that photo! Thank you Laura!
It was International Book Giving Day on the 14th February; you just had to tell me where your favourite place to read a book was. We’ll contact someone soon but in the meantime thank you to all who entered.
In this month too I’ve had a little bit of merchandising done by Aaron at Warehouse44, here on the Island. I’m really pleased so far and you’ll be able to treat yourself to some Bella & Bentley goodies, VERY SOON, by hopping on to my ‘Little Shop of Goodies’ page.
Well that’s it for now! Many thanks to everyone who has bought my book and thank you also for the lovely reviews you’ve sent me, especially Joe age 10. I was told he collects Isle of Wight authors… I’m glad to hear he loves books and reading! And a special thank you to Richard, a childhood friend from the age of about 8 years old. We had lost contact but are now conversing through social media. He’s just become a granddad for the first time and can’t wait to read Bella & Bentley to his grandson!
Take care everyone and send me photos of your dog and their name from wherever you are in the world…
Just a quick update, Bentley had his big op recently, nasal widening. He looks a little sad in this photo as he’s still sedated just back from the vets, but I assure you he is totally back to normal bouncing around and always after food!!! His breathing has improved especially the noise. He seems so much happier and we don’t have to have the television up as loud to hear ourselves. I’m sure the neighbours will be pleased too. As all owners of any pet you love you worry terribly when they are ill and you just want to sit and cuddle them. I do anyway! I’ve sat for many hours over many years with my sick pets from rabbits to horses in stables. You just have to don’t you they’re part of the family…but Bentley is doing so well. Can’t have the star of my Bella and Bentley series being ill.
Anyway keep an eye out on the website as I’ll be updating weekly, albeit a little slow, as I’m still learning each day new things, but Antonia my computer genius is always there to help, I hope. All the people I’ve worked with this year I’ve found to be real animal lovers so I’ve persuaded them to let me have a photo of them with their pets and then I can introduce you to them, my work family team!
I will also create a page on which I’d like to show a gallery of you all sending me pictures of you reading to your children or your dog or both, with my book. No faces of your children though please unless you are happy to of course but your dog can be the star if you like.