Tag Archives: faris and jack

I’m three, I’m three!

On my way back from beautiful Scotland and what do I find when I do the usual author-stalk of my books on Amazon….?

I find this!


Thats right, Faris and Jack at number three in the top ‘horse’ book charts 😊 It also made it to twelve in the ‘sword and sorcery’ category, very exciting… Finges crossed I might break the top ten there soon too!

Happy New Year – and new release!

Firstly – Happy New Year! I hope 2018 will bring you new adventures, inspiration, wisdom and happiness in whatever you are doing in life.

Faris and Monoceros - Cover

Available now at Amazon, iBooks, kobo and more!

Secondly, I wanted to share with you my exciting news that I have worked hard during the Christmas break this year 🙂 and managed to finish off the second book in the Faris series: Faris and the Monoceros – yay! This has been quite a long time coming, as I kept hitting the editing in fits and starts during 2017 – during the last couple of weeks I’ve had a few solid days of editing and prep and managed to get it finished.

The e-book is available now with all the major retailers and if there are any middle-grade / children’s bloggers out there who would like a free copy for read/review on a blog, or would like me to provide a guest post for their blog in relation to this book, please get in touch at:


A little bit of marketing…

Well, this weekend I’ve done some editing (the good stuff, when you re-read your own writing and it feels like you’re reading something new to yourself, as if it’s not your own stuff) and re-jigged a whole lot of social media, marketing blog stuff. It’s surprising how long that takes! Let’s face it, I hadn’t posted on Facebook since February (!)

What can I say? I’m more of a Twitter person…

Anyway, I saw a really interesting post from someone who uses Pinterest a lot to market her blog (creating interesting visual pins for each of her posts and then linking them on to her blog). I spent quite a while juggling my boards and content around to be more ‘author’ and when I get a little more time I think I’ll do some test runs of this idea. In the past, I have created Pins of quotes from my books, which have circulated pretty well.

I had some good news on Saturday too, when I did the usual Amazon check of my book rankings, it was a nice surprise to see Faris and Jack at No. 4 in the Top 100 Horse books list!

Screen Shot 2017-09-09 at 14.47.54

It was the sequel to this book that I had been editing and I am hoping from a ‘marketing’ perspective that when I get the second book out there that a number of the people who have picked up book one will try the follow-up. I remember reading a post about publishing books in series and how a body of work was generally better and easier to market, as if one reader likes what you do they are likely to read more than just your one book – you only need convince them once! 🙂

I think most independent authors (and lots of traditionally published ones too) would agree that marketing and PR-ing your work is hard – it’s a whole other skill set than writing and not always easy to pick up once you’ve finished your book. In the past I have spent a lot of time on trying to push the books and bring readers in – now, my focus is more on the actual writing. If it’s a hobby, then I’m happy to put it out there and see what happens, with whatever nudges I can do with marketing to help it along. Faris and Jack has had the least amount of push and is the most successful book I’ve published so far (in terms of both volume and ratings). I think continuing this experiment and seeing what happens to Faris and the Monoceros when that comes out will be interesting.

Anyway, enough of my weekend, it’s nearly bedtime here in the UK, but if you’d like some ideas for refreshing your own book marketing, check out the article below. It tells us that marketing is not a one-time effort, that you need to rearrange your thinking and find ways to reinvigorate your book marketing to keep the momentum for this – and other books – going. Good luck! 🙂


NaNo – Full flow!

OK – well, I’m not sure if this is cheating (in NaNo terms) – but although I’ve been getting on with my new project reasonably well, I’ve realised that I’m not good at writing something I’ve not had a reasonable amount of time to mull over before hand. Although I’ve got a good idea of this story and how it all comes together, I’m still finding it tough to ‘flash’ write – especially at the rate of 3000words a day.


So, this was the idea I had a couple of days ago…Several years ago I wrote a children’s story called Faris and the Monoceros – I’ve not published it, but I have been dabbling around the edges of editing it over the last few months. One thing I always wanted to do was write a prequel to this book, that gave you some more detail about Faris’s life before he came into the fantasy world where you meet him.

Faris has been around for a long while – he’s my youngest and oldest character all at the same time. When I was trawling through some old random drafts I keep in my writing folder to help inspire Cirque I found some character plans I’d written when I was first planning his book. They got me thinking…and then they got me writing…

So – there you have it, I’m writing – quite a lot, quite quickly – but it’s not what I said I’d write. In NaNo world, does it count?

Oh – and you can meet Faris here, too 🙂




It is a truth – universally acknowledged – that every person believes that they are special. This becomes even more of a truth, when the people in question are the inhabitants of an orphanage. Who doesn’t want to be the lucky boy that discovers he’s the long lost heir to a wealthy family? Or to find that them being in the orphanage was a big mistake, and that he has loving parents who will be overjoyed to find him safe and well?

Unfortunately, for the majority of the boys who inhabit the Grimbaldi Foundation for the Potentially Lacking, no such fortunate discoveries exist in their future. If they are lucky, they will survive their time at the Foundation, but that is all.

People say that life is hard. That may be true, but most children are fortunate enough that they do not find this out until they grow up. I am sorry to say, that this is not the case for the boys who live within the grey stone walls of the Grimbaldi mansion.

(To extend further on Faris). 

Chapter 1 – The Beginning



The morning alarm bell rang out, loud and piercing, jolting the boys from their beds half-scared, half-asleep. Many of them had no memory of life outside the walls of the Grimbaldi Foundation and for that reason their dreams and waking lives were not particularly different from one another. Sleep might come easily for the boys at the end of each long day, but that was only because they were exhausted from working a twelve-hour shift in one of the Foundation’s ‘creative rooms’.

Faris tumbled from his bed just like the other boys. He followed his feet as they pulled him automatically into line with his roommates and moved towards the dingy bathroom at the end of the dormitory. His eyes were bleary from too little sleep – it was 5:00am as always – and he had been up well after midnight. Unlike the other boys, he found that he did not sleep as soon as his head hit the pillow. It was quite the opposite: when bedtime came, he would find his mind waking up in a way it never did during the long days of hard labour.

“Sorry,” Faris mumbled sleepily as he staggered over his sleepy feet and bumped into another boy. There was no response. Why waste your energy on talking when there was work to be done? (That was a favourite saying of Mister Grimbaldi’s).

After splashing their faces with icy cold water from the rattling taps and brushing their teeth with their fingers – “why do you need a toothbrush when you have eight perfectly good fingers? was another gem from Mister Grimbaldi – the boys made their way back to their beds to change into their work clothes.

The air in the dormitory always smelled a little stale in the morning and so – as was his habit – Faris opened the small window beside his bed. Fresh air rushed into the room, a little chilly, but the boys were used to the cold so it didn’t bother them. The air carried away with it the smell of boys who only got a bath once a week and helped wake everyone up that little bit more.

Dressed and ready for action, the straggle of boys formed a straight but ragged line beside the main door and waited. Faris was towards the back of the line, not especially bothered about getting to breakfast first. No matter how hungry he got, he just could not get excited about breakfast gruel. FOOD IS FUEL was the inspiring motto emblazoned on the wall of the boys dining room/work room. It was a waste of space really, as only a handful of the boys could read.

Ahead of him, Faris heard the door click open and he watched, as it swung open on squeaky, old hinges.

“Mornin’ boys.”

Faris did not need to look at the face behind the rasping voice to recognise Gamage. He was a tall, wiry-looking man, with grey-brown hair and hollow, muddy eyes. Gamage was caretaker at the Foundation. Faris had never asked, but the rumour was that Gamage was the oldest boy lacking in potential ever to be housed at the Foundation. Every now and then other boys at the Foundation were collected by long-lost relatives or disappeared on cold dark nights, but Gamage had always been at the Foundation. Always had and probably always would be. Faris believed that the stories about Gamage were true because when you looked closely at him, which wasn’t often as he wasn’t the most handsome of men, Gamage had a strange doomed look in his eyes.

“Ready for work lads?” Gamage continued, giving them a cruel, toothy grin. No one replied. No one looked at him. That was only for the incredibly brave or incredibly stupid. “Let’s go then, I’ve not got all day!”

With this last instruction barked loudly over their heads, the line of boys moved forwards, their eyes cast down at the floor and shoulders curving downwards like a row of unhappy mouths.

Breakfast was a quiet affair. Rusty spoons scraped every last morsel of food from the cracked bowls and shovelled it into hungry mouths. Aside from the odd gurgling stomach, protesting that it wanted more than the small portion of food that had been offered, there was no other sound except for the gentle clinking of cutlery.