Biscuit Tree Corner

Thrilled this month to have launched Biscuit Tree Corner – a place for children to review their favourite books.

At Biscuit Corner we are all about encouraging children to develop a love of books and reading. That’s why we’ve created this special page just for children so they can submit their own reviews of their favourite books.

Here you can tell us all about the books you like to read and share those views with other children. This way we can all discover new books to read!

All you have to do is email your book review to lornamccannauthor@gmail.com and, in return, we will send you a cool certificate to say a big thank you!

You can choose to review any book but don’t forget to tell us the name of the book, the author and illustrator and make sure you include a reviewer name (not your own name) and your age!

We look forward to reading all your fabulous reviews!

Feeling the joys of spring!

It could be a little warmer but I won’t complain as the spring sunshine has put a bounce in my step and got me feeling all excited.

With longer, sunnier and hopefully hotter days to look forward to I love this time of year as I always feel like I’m going to get SO much more done.

More running, more walking, more cycling, more DIY, more gardening – you name it – Spring is here and there’s no stopping me now!

It would seem another thing to add to this list is more writing and it would appear that this is the thing happening most at the moment.

Inspired by numerous children during my World Book Day visits I have somehow managed to start penning my next book.

Surprised? Me too!

As you know, writing my first book Wendy and the Biscuit Tree came about because of a promise I made to my two young boys. Honestly, I never thought there would be a second.

Truth is, I’ve had such a magical time these last few months sharing my book with so many children that they have inspired me to want to write more.  I’ve been overwhelmed by their creativity and their own ideas for stories. Oh, how I wish I was five-years-old again!

In return, I hope my book and school visits have helped to inspire some children to enjoy reading and writing a little bit more. After all, the very point of World Book Day is about sharing our passions and enjoyment for reading, writing and storytelling!

Look out for updates on book NUMBER TWO!

Accidental mummy author

Writing a book or becoming a published author has never really featured particularly high on my bucket list.

It’s true, I’ve always loved writing and for many years it has been my profession as a former journalist and now a self-employed PR professional but it’s never been a dream of mine. Climbing Mount Everest, yes, becoming a forest ranger, yes, but penning a book, no, not so much!

It feels rather funny therefore to be talked about and referred to as an author. It’s all happened rather accidentally and the catalyst – becoming a mummy!

The latter, I might add, wasn’t accidental. I absolutely did want children and thankfully I was blessed with two amazing boys who have changed my life forever.

Every day since they were born has been filled with fun, laughter, love, tears, noise, chaos and more recently mud! Some days there have been more tears than laughter, others have been noisier and more chaotic but everyday, without fail, there has been love and there has been lots of mud!

For me, parenting presents major challenges on an almost daily basis but I’m finding my way, albeit slowly! However, recently I did learn one of my biggest lessons yet and that is if you make a promise to your children – you absolutely have to keep it and here’s why:

For one, it demonstrates a commitment from you to them. Secondly it shows them you can be trusted. Thirdly, it indicates respect. And finally, if nothing else, kids have amazing memories and they won’t ever let you forget if you don’t keep your word.

It was in fact a promise to my two boys that kickstarted my accidental journey to becoming a mummy author.

Like most parents, I began reading to my children at a very young age. Surrounded by an ever advancing technological world I was determined that they would grow up loving books, enjoying reading and using their imaginations. Together, we must have read hundreds of books and when we don’t have books we make up our own.

And, the tale of Wendy and the Biscuit Tree (my recently published book) was just that – a story I made up one day because I didn’t have a book to hand. Little did I know at the time that the new found adventures of Wendy and the magical biscuit tree would become their all time favourite story.

The boys often asked me what Wendy looked like, how big the biscuit tree was and what kind of biscuits it grew. And so followed my promise to them that I would turn my imaginary tale into a picture book we could all read together.

The boys were elated but I, on the other hand, had no idea exactly how I was going to make that promise come true. All I knew was that I had to make it happen and if I was going to do it I ought to go about it properly.

It goes without saying that the process of self-publishing can be a tricky path to navigate and rather daunting to say the least. But, I was fortunate enough to meet editor Sue Miller, who heads up the wonderful Team Author UK – a new collaboration providing a variety of professional services to independent authors.

Sue gave me the confidence I needed to step into this unknown world and before long I’d penned a first, second, third and final draft of the book, teamed up with the fabulous illustrator Holly Bushnell and was well on the way to getting my first ever book published.

From start to finish the process took around nine months and in November last year I received my first batch of author copies and my book went live on Amazon.

And so the day arrived for me to tell the boys I had fulfilled my promise and hand them their very own copy of Wendy and the Biscuit Tree. They were, thankfully after all the hard work, more than made up to receive their special book. And as for me, well, it was a moment I won’t ever forget!

Since that day, it has all been a bit of a whirlwind. I’ve met lots of other self-published authors who have been quick to encourage me with my new venture and I have attended charity events, Christmas fayres, nurseries and schools to read my book. I’ve had people send me photos of their children going to bed reading Wendy and the Biscuit Tree and messages to say copies have been sent to the other side of the world.

It’s all been rather amazing in an accidental mummy-author kind of way and I really cannot thank everyone enough for their support!

I’m now in the midst of finalising my latest book reading tour to celebrate World Book Day 2017 and I’m delighted to have been invited by Katie Millard to attend the fabulous Baby Bird Cafe on Monday 27 to do a reading at 1pm. So if you’re about in the Oswestry area why not pop in, say hello and have a cuppa. I’d love to meet you and share my story Wendy and the Biscuit Tree with your little ones! I’ll also have copies of the book with me on the day for those wishing to purchase a signed copy, priced £7.99.

 

Half term fun and frolics

World Book Day (March 2) is fast approaching and I have some exciting plans lined up for the week. However, amidst all the excitement, it appears I have forgotten to get organised for half term!

So, if like me you’ve been too busy focusing on work or other things to plan how you are going to be spending your time this week with the kids, then here are a few things to consider.

Ironbridge and it’s many museums always makes for a great day out, with or without the children, but during the holidays they like to ramp the activities up a gear and this week is no exception. There will be a host of exciting workshops to keep the kids entertained from kite making at Blists Hill to rocket making at Enginuity. Find out more here.

For us, a trip to a National Trust property is always a winner in the holidays. The boys love running about outside and if the weather is good enough a picnic always goes down a treat too. In fact, we’ve been known to sit in the pouring rain eating sandwiches before so the weather doesn’t even really have to come into it. At Attingham Park in Shrewsbury this week there will be extra fun with bird box building activities and geocaching. Find out more here.

Youngsters can also enjoy being dino detectives for the day or getting involved with making exploding potions with a great line-up of activities as part of the Darwin Festival 2017. Organised by Shropshire Wildlife Trust there is something for almost every age. Take a look here for more details.

Park Hall Farm in Oswestry is also giving youngsters the chance to get closer to nature this half term. With lambs being born every day the venue is hosting special lamb feeding sessions throughout the holidays. Here are the details.

There is also a host of free activities to participate in across Shropshire by making your own fun – a walk up the Wrekin perhaps, a cycle along the old railway line from Newport to Gnosall, a trip to RAF Cosford or an afternoon play at the award winning Telford Town Park.

Whatever you choose to do, hope you have a fabulous week!

New year new beginnings

Happy new year! Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas creating memories with friends and family. We certainly did.

But now with 2017 upon us, it’s time to look ahead to the new year and with that, there is bound to be new beginnings.

The boys and I were certainly delighted to hear of one new beginning over the festive period and that was the arrival of a new giraffe calf at Chester Zoo.

For obvious reasons, we were chuffed to read about the zoo’s new addition. The calf has not yet been sexed or named but we can’t help wondering if it might turn out to be female and whether it might even be given the name Wendy!

Either way, we thought it would be nice to send a copy of Wendy and the Biscuit Tree to Sarah Roffe, head of the giraffe team, as a little welcome gift to the new calf.

We really hope they enjoy reading it!

 

 

A new direction

Gosh, it’s been a busy few months but I’m not complaining. It’s been full of new and fun challenges and I’ve achieved some of my key goals for 2016.

The biggest achievement and challenge by far has been publishing my first children’s book. In turn, this has opened new doors and gently edged me and my life in a new direction.

I’ve done new things – attended charity events and read my book allowed to groups of schoolchildren. I’ve visited nurseries and hosted storytime sessions and I’ve been in the news as opposed to writing about it (I am a former journalist turned PR consultant).

And, with Christmas just around the corner, I’m feeling rather humbled, excited and nervous all at the same time as to what the new year will bring. I’ve already decided that 2017 will be the year that I make some big decisions but as yet I’m not quite sure what they will be or where they will take me.

It’s exciting times but, for now, I’m looking forward to Christmas with my family and I wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!

The launch

Despite having to explain to my eight-year-old nephew why there were no rockets at the launch of my newly published children’s book Wendy and the Biscuit Tree, I’m thrilled to report the event was a huge success.

There was a fantastic turnout of parents and children and, despite my nerves, I managed to hold it together and get through the very first public reading of my book. Phew!

And, what’s more, the children all sat amazingly well and appeared to really enjoy the story.

At one point, I felt the crowd of children edging closer towards me and the book. I had their attention. What was going to happen to Wendy and the magic biscuit tree?

I’d like to thank everyone who took time out of their busy weekend to attend the event, it meant a great deal to me and the boys. Huge thanks also, to all those that brought a copy of the book.

I would also like to thank Sue Miller and the gang at Team Author UK for helping to make the book happen and of course Louise Chadwick and her team at Button & Bear for supporting the event.

You’ve all been amazing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting crafty

With just a day to go before the official book launch of Wendy and the Biscuit Tree, it’s been all systems go. I’ve been busy preparing paper giraffe crafts for the children as well as getting colouring sheets designed.

Not to mention making goody bags and baking dozens and dozens of giraffe-shaped shortbread biscuits. I’ve probably made more work for myself but I want it to be a memorable event for those attending.

With the launch coinciding with National Tree Week and Christmas just around the corner, I’ve made the biscuits for children to hang on their Christmas trees as part of Tree Dressing Day. This way children can help celebrate the importance of our trees and also have a little reminder of Wendy over the festive period. Or, of course, they can just eat them!

Call back soon – my next post will be on the book launch itself. Fingers crossed it goes well!

The perfect match

So, the last few weeks have been spent focusing on finding the perfect venue for my book launch. I had considered approaching the local library but wanted something a bit less formal where guests could sit and drink tea and the children could eat biscuits (although not too many of course!). So when I overheard a colleague talking about a new family-run children’s bookshop in Shrewsbury called Button & Bear I got rather excited.

It turns out this fantastic dedicated children’s bookshop not only has a coffee shop inside but also a woodland themed storytelling room. How much more perfect does it get?

So, without hesitation, I dropped owner Louise Chadwick an email to introduce myself and tell her a little about my new book. I then waited. However, before long Louise responded inviting me along to the bookshop for a chat.

We met, we talked, I fell in love with Button & Bear and Louise said yes to hosting my book launch event.

So it’s all set – Wendy and the Biscuit Tree will be officially launched on November 26th at Button & Bear in the woodland themed storytelling room and I can’t wait!