Month: October 2016

Problem with the Amazon link to “Things Evie Eats” paperbacks
Problem with the Amazon link to “Things Evie Eats” paperbacks

Problem  with the Amazon link to “Things Evie Eats” paperbacks.

Yikes! I just discovered there’s a problem with the Amazon link to the print copy of “Things Evie Eats”. It’s disappeared. Arrrrgghhhh!!!!

Things Evie Eats

I am trying to find out what has gone wrong.

In the meantime, the link to the Kindle ebook version works fine and, of course, Kindle Unlimited members can still download the book for free.

However, if you would like to buy a paperback copy of the book, please email me and I will send one out to you straight away.

Suzie xx


Meet my “Reading Mother”
Meet my “Reading Mother”

I’ve talked a lot about the value of reading with your child. In the early years it helps with bondingbrain development and develops empathy in forming minds. A child who can read, can learn anything it wants. It’s a vitally important skill for success in life. Not to mention reading is fun … it’s also a very difficult job for parents to get right. (Are you teaching your child NOT to read for fun?)

There’s a wonderful poem by Strickland Gillilan that sums up the importance of reading with your children.

The Reading Mother.

by Stickland Gillilan.

I had a mother who read to me
Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea.
Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth;
‘Blackbirds’ stowed in the hold beneath.

I had a Mother who read me lays
Of ancient and gallant and golden days;
Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
Which every boy has a right to know.

I had a Mother who read me tales
Of Gelert the hound of the hills of Wales,
True to his trust till his tragic death,
Faithfulness lent with his final breath.

I had a Mother who read me the things
That wholesome life to the boy heart brings-
Stories that stir with an upward touch.
Oh, that each mother of boys were such!

You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be –
I had a Mother who read to me.

So, today I want you to meet someone who nailed the job. The person who nurtured my own love of books.

Meet my mum.

my Reading Mother

My mum talked to me, read books to me and sang to me from the moment I was born. We negotiated the murky waters of the ABC books and phonics together so that, by the time I started school, I was already an independent reader and I’ve never stopped. (Well done, Mum)

At bedtime, she made up her own stories for me. My favourite was about a cow called Twinkle. She tells me I always insisted it had a sad ending … which is a little disturbing for a pre-schooler lol.

my reading motherI remember vividly a book she wrote for me; hand-written and illustrated. It was a ‘make your own adventure’ style book, where you could choose different actions for the hero at the end of each page. Depending on which option you picked, you turned to a different page. It was a triumph of book planning. (Must tackle one of those myself some-day)

I was a rather sickly child. You name it, I caught it, and held on to it for an unpleasantly long time. This meant I spent a lot of time tucked up on the sofa with a book and a glass of Lucozade (in the days when it was a drink you gave to invalids, not sports persons). It also meant Mum had to walk almost daily trips to the library. (Sorry about that, Mum.)

My mum also encouraged me to write my own stories. I’d get notebooks with pretty covers for birthdays, special ‘writing’ pens for Christmas. She read my first book (entitled My Uncle the Ostrich) and helped me design a cover and bind the first ‘print run’ for my family. (Thanks, Mum)

reading mother

Photo by vintage19_something

Later, Mum bought me a typewriter (it was exactly the colour of the one in the picture) along with a book with exercises on the Querty keyboard.  I didn’t appreciate the rather tedious exercises in the book much but, yes, I do type with all my fingers. (Another thank you due there 🙂 )

Mum is the reason I am a reader … and a writer. She has always encouraged my writing and been an enthusiastic beta-reader. It was a no-brainer to dedicate my first book to her.

shockwaves dedication

Lillian Dawson

But Mum is also a trained artist. At over 80 years old, she still paints and sells her work.

lillian dawson painting

When I said, “Let’s write a picture book”, Lillian Dawson stepped up to the mark. The illustrations in “Things Evie Eats” are hers.

Things Evie Eats

I was lucky to have a truly awesome creative ‘reading mother’. What about you?

Suzie xx

Oh no! I just found out that Amazon has ‘lost’ the link to the paperback version of “Things Evie Eats.” If you would like to buy one while I sort out what’s going on with them, email me and I’ll send one to you straight away.  

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Colouring/Activity pages based on Better Buckle Up

Picture from a fan of Better Buckle Up

I received some lovely colouring today from a fan of Better Buckle Up. I think they’ve done a great job, don’t you?

colouring pages

Download your own colouring sheets

If you would like your own activity pack based on the book, you can download it for free here.

There are colouring pages, spot-the-differences and finger puppets of Ollie and his mum as they go on a journey to discover all the exciting things you can do if you wear your seat belt. Once you’ve finished your pictures, why not email them to me at I love to see them and I’ll display them on my site.

Better Buckle Up activity sheets

Have fun 🙂

Suzie xx

P.S. There’s also more pictures for you to colour based on Things Evie Eats to download too.


Are you teaching your child NOT to read for fun?
Are you teaching your child NOT to read for fun?

We all know how important it is for our children to learn to read. We buy endless ABC books, teach them phonics and force feed them the latest reading schemes but, in our attempts to instill knowledge into their pretty little heads, are we teaching them NOT to read for fun?

First, a look at ‘guilty parent syndrome’.

Is doing things for fun, bad?

blaze and the monster machinesMy grandson loves watching Blaze and the Monster Machines on the TV. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of watching, Blaze is a monster truck who races round Axle City. Now, my grandson isn’t allowed to watch much television but his mum says she doesn’t feel so bad letting him watch Blaze battling it out with arch-rival, Crusher, because “it’s billed as the first TV show for preschoolers to comprehensively cover areas of science, technology, engineering and math.”

And cover them, it does. With story lines and songs about ‘inertia’, ‘potential energy’ and ‘buoyancy’, Blaze has certainly taught me some STEM concepts (not sure about my grandson).

But why do we feel better about our children watching something that pertains to be teaching them something rather than just watching something for fun?

Do you always watch programs that are teaching you something?

Do you screen reruns of Stephen Hawking Lectures or Open University broadcasts?

I thought not.

And if we can do something ‘just for fun’, why can’t our children?

Back to reading.

What’s the educational angle?

That was the question someone asked me about my latest book project.

Because how was I going to market my story without the promise that my young readers would learn something?

How many parents would buy a book for their child to read simply for fun?

Of course we could argue that every story teaches our children something. After all it’s been shown that people who read have a heightened sense of empathy  – reading a story puts us in another person’s shoes. They teach us about other people’s feelings. But that isn’t what this person meant. They were concerned that without a the promise of learning something measurable my new book wouldn’t be saleable.

Parents might not want to restrict reading time like they do with television viewing but do they have time in their busy days for a book with no “educational value.” Will it bring on the same guilty parent syndrome?

And children are very perceptive. If you disapprove of the books your child chooses, they will know.

Are you teaching your child NOT to read for fun?

read for funI read a great post recently from Scholastic titled “Raise Children Who Read for Fun.” The fourth part of their ten-step plan was ‘Let the choose what they read.’

When they are young that could mean reading “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” a thousand times. As they get older, it means don’t insist on sticking with the reading schemes they get sent home from school with. Get them a library card and let them pick books that interest them (even if they don’t interest you). A child who has an interest in the content of a book will be more likely to read for fun.

So, what do you think. Is all our worrying about children learning teaching your child NOT to read for fun? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Suzie xx bloggers bluff

P.S. This week I’ve been featured on Bloggers Bluff over on the blog of Lucy at Home.

I’ve shared three little-known facts about myself; two are true, one is a lie. Can you tell which one is the bluff?

Head over and have a guess.

The answer will be revealed next week.



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A new Era – reassessing my life, the universe and everything.
A new Era – reassessing my life, the universe and everything.

Hey there.

I almost missed posting this week … which really bothered me because it would have been the first time since I started the blog back in February.

The last few months I have been reassessing where I want to be in my life, culminating in changing my job this week. I’d worked in my last employment for five years but I’m hoping my new position will be more flexible for my family and free up more writing time for me. Yay!!

So, today’s post is an update on things that have been going on and a look forward at a new era in my life.

This blog is now a ‘don’t-ask-for-review’ zone.

review or notLast week I posed the question To review? Or not to review? (when you don’t love the book you’re reading.) And I got some really great feedback. A big thank you to all who commented.

I’ve decided to contact the author and tell her it’s not a book I could recommend to my readers and ask whether she would like me to post the review anyway. I hope this doesn’t offend her. From now on, I will be only reviewing books I’ve loved on my blog.

Progress on fear of dogs.

reading May I pet your DogBack in June I was looking for books to help my grandson overcome his fear of dogs.    Scared of dogs? Books to help your child overcome their fear.

May I Pet your Dog?” by Stephanie Calmenson has become a firm favourite. After much practice at staying very still and looking away whenever we see a dog, I’m pleased to report he can now pass them in the park without screaming like he’s going to be eaten alive. I feel we still have some way to go before he can actually stroke a dog, but it’s definite progress.

Future writing projects.

With the publication of my picture books “Better Buckle Up” and “Things Evie Eats” earlier this year, my next project is well under way … and it’s BIG. I’ll be releasing the details over the next few weeks but I can tell you it’s a series of books and videos. 🙂

I’m very excited (if not a little overwhelmed) by the prospect. The story lines are in place, the first drafts are with my editor and the characters are being created visually as we speak. Watch this space.

I’ve also updated the website of my YA-writing alter ego over at  It is very new (look out for broken links etc, if you visit) so I’ll be working on that too over the coming weeks.

#TalkoftheTown penA big thank you to all the people who have helped me kickstart my blog, especially the lovely Shaz and Heidi from #TalkoftheTown Linky who sent me this great pen. It now has pride of place next to my writing chair and makes note of my important editing decisions.

And of course massive. massive thank you’s to everyone who has purchased my books. I hope you will all stay with me in this new era of my life.


Suzie xx

P.S. I took the photo of the sunrise out of my kitchen window. It truly did look like the dawn of a new era. Don’t you love the autumn skies?


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