Friday 13 December 2013

Ghost stories, agents and other unrelated stuff ...

Well, I've decided to have some time off  - other than for sleeping. My work; creative response resources to help young people express difficulties and activities to help carers provide enriched care for  our elderly and people with dementia is now edited, printed, packed and ready to go.

So … I'm taking a holiday - not to a sunny island, snowy mountain tops or lazing on a beach lounger [although they do sound appealing right now] - I'll be dragging my children's stories kicking and screaming from the bottom drawer[s] of the filing cabinet[s] and e d i t i n g them at last!

A lovely literary agent has expressed a wish to read some ghost stories over the Christmas Holidays ~ and guess what ~ I have one somewhere, wedged into a rough card folder, lurking some dark void that has not seen the light of day for three years.

Late last night, once the sum of the family had taken themselves off to bed, I tiptoed back into the study and pulled on the bottom drawer of my trusty old filing cabinet. Fearless, I reached in to the fathomless void, bungled through the files like a predictable private detective in a mystery-suspense drama. Flitting about the rows of steel carriers, a fierce chill enwreathed me. [Okay, I hear you, that really is enough alliteration] I searched frantically for the Mystery at Ramper Pot. 'Got it', I said to no-one. But then brief shuffling sound. I couldn't see anything. But I could sense it. [did I forget to tell you that I'd left the light off?]. The springer was howling at the back door as a shadow dropped across the hallway. Maurice the stray smoothed around my calf as if nothing unusual was happening. He sniffed indifferently at the old card files loaded with paper and smelling of that old and used book smell that all seasoned readers know and love so well. And then it happened, just like all ghost stories, a slither of light, [should that have been a new para?] slashing through the window from strips in between the conifers. Another binding chill, much colder than the first …

to be continued … [which really means it's midnight and promised myself an early night].

So that will be my holiday, revamping Ramper Pot Adventures and hoping to submit something before real work begins again in the new year.

And here's to the nice agent - I'm really hoping she has time to read the real Mysteries at Ramper Pot or anything else lurking at the bottom my trusted old filing cabinet.

Note to the nice agent:
This is not an actual excerpt.
Note to anyone who's interested in my working environment:
The filing cabinet isn't actually rusty - just didn't want to let the facts spoil the story.
Note to self:
Stop procrastinating and get on with the real story.

I'll keep you posted - but maybe in the same way that gamblers do - they let you know when they've won but you never get to hear of the missed opportunities.

Hey ho, fingers crossed, looking up not down, not counting the chickens too soon, wondering whether my cup is half empty or half full …

See you all soon,

Thursday 12 December 2013

Pets medication planners … Help people remember ...

Help a busy, elderly or person living with early stage dementia to remember pet medications:

Pack of 5 in storage wallet £4.95 plus £1.10 pp to UK


or visit Shop at

Sunday 1 December 2013

Mini Workshops for Carers - Communities - Companies - Families

Half-Day & Mini Workshops

for Carers – Communities – Companies – Families

Dementia Awareness  ~  Social Interaction  ~  Dementia Friendly Society  ~  Living Well with Dementia

[A]    Help Carers Provide Enriched Social Care for Well-being

 Who for?

Residential Care Homes ~ Dementia Enriched Care ~ Assisted Living ~ Domiciliary Care

Carers ~ NHS Volunteers ~ Rehabilitation ~ Visiting & Befriending ~ NHS Samaritan Armies

What will we cover? ~ Example Content:

Dementia Awareness – Social Interaction – Time To Chat Prompts – Moments in Time Activities – Memory Box

Includes Themed Memory Box or Equivalent

[B]    Helping Companies & Organisations Provide Employee Awareness in the Process

of Building Dementia Friendly Societies

Who for?

Developing Dementia Friendly Societies - Companies & Employees ~ People in contact with the general public

What can we cover? ~ Example content:

Dementia Awareness – Body Language – Social Interaction Prompts – Acts of Kindness

[C]    Are You Caring for Someone who is Living with Dementia?

Who for?

Families – Friends – Carers in the Community - Volunteer Visitors – Befriending – NHS Samaritan Armies

What can we cover? ~ Example content:

Am I a Carer? – Building a Support Team – Body Language – Social Interaction – Living Well with Dementia

Doing Things Together – Memory Box – Autobiography – Journal – Self-care

Happy Days Workshops can be edited to provide social interaction training suitable for your care service, business, employee or  client base.

£79 per person

Attendance Certificates
Included per Group Booking – Choose one * from the following:
*Memory Box – *Sorting Box – *Picture Bingo – *3 x Packs Time to Chat Prompts –  *3 x ‘All About Me’ Memory Jogger Books
Contact Gillian Hesketh MA  /
Tel: 01253 899163 – Mob:07971 953 620
Price based on North West areas.
Please phone or email me anytime to discuss your specific requirements, venue or participants.
World War II Memory Box DeluxeAll about mePicture Bingo, Dementia Workshop
* Prices vary according to: time required – number of participants – distance – venue – but will be consistent with and based on the above offer.

Sunday 24 November 2013

Agents - Publishers - Needles & Haystacks

This week I spent some time with a colleague who wanted to publish a series of children's stories. I was presented with a lovely potential product - a range of stories about an arthropod, actually a cute spider which were supported by some interesting illustrations of said spider and his friends. But as publishers don't have time to speak directly to the thousands of aspiring children's writers - and Agents are like finding a needle in a haystack [apologies for the use of  cliche], I could only offer some tips to get started and of course, my best wishes.

If you want to attract the attention of an agent - it is important to show that you can market yourself.

Create a blog - this is free and easy to start up - I suggested Blogger of course as I find it easy to use and there are lots of templates, colours etc to choose from.
Load your blog with images, samples, how to's, stories about the said spider, contact information etc.

Set up a Facebook page - invite your friends - this helps build confidence.
Search out other children's authors, interact and link as friends - or ask for followers.
Link your facebook page to your blog and vice-versa

Set up a Twitter account - follow other children's authors - agents - publishers
You can make a backdrop to show your product.
When you have written a blog post - post a message on Twitter and send people to your blog site.

* Make sure there is a theme / style / colour / font that is consistent throughout your internet media.
[oops - I should pay attention to this myself]

Contact local press and ask them to do a feature on you and your stories
Contact local radio
Expand this to national press and radio

Join SCBWI - Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators
This is a great group to join. Meetings with other authors - critique sessions - agent meet-ups - conference - socials

Network - it may not be the specific people at networking events who can help directly but most people   would have a contact for you - ie a teacher / librarian / fundraiser / agent ?

Make or have made a large version of your protagonist to take to events with you

Do some voluntary work - Read your stories at fundraisers

Contact libraries - offer to do readings in school holidays or at creative workshops

Contact schools - offer to do a book reading
Be sure to include some learning or entertainment aspect

Ask a local bookshop if you can do a presentation / reading - invite the press

Enter competitions

Use who you know - does anyone you know, know of someone connected to the literary, education, advertising, media, agency or publishing world?

If you intend to contact agents or publishers - try to get your material to the 'actual person' who is responsible for the type of material you wish to market - and your audience.

If you do contact agents or publishers - know your product inside-out
Know your target audience - Look at other authors' work / target market audience
Know where your book will be placed amongst other successful authors
Have some prospective customer evidence / feedback available
Know your product well enough to describe it in two sentences
Have a clear idea of your market age-range:

[Make a brief questionnaire for young children - Ask family, friends or school if their children can read your stories and answer the questions for you - chart this information]
Make sure your language, theme content is age appropriate [Ask teachers for opinions, notes or tips]

Choose your goal[s]
What are the reasons these goal[s]
Choose your main goal
List all the things you need to do to reach your goal
Focus on the most important and most realistically achievable tasks
Plot your achievable list on a 12 month diary
Follow your plan towards your goal

After all these tips, we still have online marketing to consider - ebooks - upload to Lulu - sell with Amazon - add to Kindle - ads on ebay - your own website with a shop to purchase your product[s]. All these routes to market will also require promotion. Just because a product is online doesn't always mean it will fly off shelves or wire itself to another person across the globe.

And so the coda; here is where we go back to the beginning - I began with your online presence and identity - marketing you, your brand, your product - this seems statutory nowadays. Last month I enjoyed an hour or two at a wonderful [annual] craft and vintage fair. One exhibitor displayed the most amazing, unique hand-made felt flowers and similar products. This exhibitor had no blog, website or place on the internet where I could review or purchase her products. Would she be at the fair next year? Where was she based? I had only been given her first name. The moral of my story: No sale.

Keep smiling and enjoy the process of finding a needle in a haystack.


Wednesday 20 November 2013

Teachers - Parents - Publishers ... Transition - Young People :)

Teachers, Publishers, Parents, please take a look at my new mini books to help young people look forward to Secondary School 
£7.95 each

Email me at
or Shop at

*Discounts for quantities

Monday 18 November 2013

Don't forget your pets ...

Don't forget your pets - Pet Medication and Information Reminder ~
Shop at:

Ideal Gift ~ 5 in a pack for only £4.95

Saturday 21 September 2013

Arty words / Arty Lyrics / Arty Music / Arty Dancing ...

Of course, I've got to share this with you - what mother wouldn't want to?

A fabulous day helping out at the filming of Satellite, Little Boots' new single.

It's not all glamour and I can tell you, after forty trips up and down three flights of stairs, behind the famous Wurlitzer organ in Blackpool Tower Ballroom, in and out of shabby-chic dressing rooms seeped in celebrity history, pressing costumes and feeding the whole crew, I was pretty exhausted. Lucky to have friends and family joining in this fabulous day ...

You can listen to Victoria's new single, Satellite, here ... and see the amazing young dancer Analise ~ perform her spectacular moves ...