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Good news! If you have an avid short(ish) reader in the house, I have a signed copy of my middle grade novel Shot, Boom, Score! to give away. 10th person who emails me will win.

Here’s what the book is about:

“Toby, if you get twenty wickets and ten tries before the end of the year, Mum and I’ll buy you a new GameBox V3.’

Can you believe it? One minute I’m in trouble for double-bouncing my sister and the next Dad is telling me I’ve got the new GameBox V3! And it’s not even Christmas. Shot!

Toby thinks this will be easy — after all, he gets Player of the Day all the time. But he hasn’t reckoned on Malcolm McGarvy. McGarvy is one of the biggest kids in the school and he’s got a huge scar which he got in a shark attack — he wears one of the teeth around his neck. You know McGarvy is near because you get goosebumps up your arms. And he’s going to make sure Toby doesn’t get that GameBox V3…

A hilarious story about a boy who is promised a Gamebox V3 by his dad if he scores 20 wickets in cricket and 10 tries in rugby, but is foiled at every turn by the class bully.

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Life's what gets in the way when you're busy making other plans

It’s been a busy time and I’ve been slack with the blog. Still, here we are, finally. I’ve been having a lot of fun doing school talks all over Auckland. The kids are brilliantly funny and ask memorable questions. Some schools, like Mt Eden, even send you hand drawn covers of your book (pictured.) Thank you! Otherwise, I have been head down bum up working on a new novel which I’ve been told is too scary for adults, but just right for kids. Also, my first travel book ‘UK on a G-String’ will soon be available on Kindle. Will keep you in the loop. Happy weekend wherever you are.

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I spoke to a great group at Stanley Bay Primary yesterday. As usual, kids this age (years 4,5 and 6) are full of life, energy and awkward questions. I told them about Malcolm McGarvy (the bully in my novel ‘Shot, Boom, Score!) who has a few tricks up his sleeve. One of which is the chicken made from a tea towel; the other is a penguin made from a banana.

The speech went well and Fiona and the team thanked me. When I jumped in the car to drive home I was sure I smelt something. Something sweet. Yet slightly rotten. Something…like the banana I used for my talk a month ago at Birkenhead Primary. (You’re just lucky this isn’t Smelevision.)

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Huh? You did! I said not to.

Ah well, seeing as you’re here you may as well have a look at some early reviews coming through for my junior novel ‘Shot, Boom, Score!’

The first is from School Library magazine (NZ Book Council). Buzzwords magazine encapsulate the plot perfectly, and here’s yours truly being interviewed in the New Zealand Woman’s Weekly. (Yes, that’s my writing room and yes, that’s E.T – waving not drowning – in the background.) Oh, and in case you’re wondering, here is the last page of the internet.

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Is it possible to piggyback a pig?

A few weeks ago on our radio show we asked the question, can you beat a dog in a swimming race? This morning we wondered, can you piggyback a pig?

That’s our co-host Jason in the helmet, who drew the short straw and had to undertake the challenge. (I understand the need for gloves, but a helmet?)

Jam the pig was a good sport: calm, measured and happy. That is, until we got him out of his cage, when he squealed like a hungry baby in a wet nappy. With colic. The noise coming from Jam’s chops was simply unbearable.

Jason adjusted his helmet and dropped to his knees. He was ready, but Jam wasn’t. The noise abated once we put him back in his cage, where he munched happily on an apple. He was not distressed, nor upset. His was the equivalent of a toddler’s tantrum and we all fell for it.

So, unless you have a high tolerance of high pitched squealing, it is not possible to piggyback a pig? Or even get the little guy near your shoulders. Which leaves me with two questions. Why is it called a piggyback? And, if a piggyback is out of the question, how about a 100m sprint?

Feb 1st signals the launch of my debut junior fiction novel ‘Shot, Boom, Score!’ published by Allen and Unwin. If you follow this blog you’ll know what the story’s about – and how it came to be – so I won’t prattle on. Needless to say, if you have an 8-12 year old in the house who likes reading, and enjoys funny characters, you can buy the book here or download the Kindle version here – which also has a preview chapter. Enjoy!

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