Happy Home Ed

happy-home-edI’ve self-published an ebook about our home ed adventure:

Not sure home education is right for you? Nor was Keris Stainton…

Keris Stainton had never really considered home education. It just seemed too radical. Eccentric. Different. Weird.

But it’s estimated that over 50,000 children are home educated in the UK and this figure is rising by 65% per year – they can’t all be weirdos, can they?

Turns out that deciding to take her 7-year-old son out of school was the perfect way to find out.

This book is a collection of Keris’s blog posts over two years of blogging about her family’s (hugely positive) experience of home education. It also includes interviews with other home educating families, because one of the most interesting things about home ed is that everyone does it differently.

The Terrible Titles Tag featuring Counting Stars (a not-terrible title!)

I’ve been tagged on tumblr to do this by the wonderful Sara Barnard (read all about her forthcoming book here).

The rules of this game are as follows: “Scroll through your manuscript and stop at a random place in the text. Whatever you land on becomes one of ten terrible titles.”

I scrolled and read the half page I landed on and picked out any phrase that looked like a title (or made me laugh). I actually think this gives a pretty good overview of the book (Counting Stars, out later this year) and may also possibly be the next ten books I write 😉

1. Even Smelled Exciting

2. Another Flight of Stairs

3. Madly in Love With Liverpool

4. No Wonder She Was Hungry

5. The Vomit Building

6. Boy Band Dork

7. No Joy Today

8. Touch That For Luck

9. Hot Dogs and Chips

10. Lady Wood

I’m not going to tag anyone, but obviously you should do it if you fancy it (and let me know if you do!).

Spotlight On Sunny is out today!


It’s the second book in the Reel Friends series, the follow-up to Starring Kitty. Don’t they look gorgeous together?!

Are you brave enough to rewrite the script?

After winning a local film competition, Sunny and her best friends Kitty and Hannah are off to do a film-making course – in London! Sunny can’t believe her dad has let her come on her own (even if he has asked her to phone every day…) Sunny is loving the film-making classes and hanging out with their new friend – lovely, funny Will. Sunny knows that these things don’t fit with the future her parents want for her and she starts to wonder what she really wants. And that’s not even the biggest thing on her mind – there’s also the big secret she’s hiding from her best friends…

You can read the first chapter here and a wonderful first review (that made me cry) on The Overflowing Library, and my editor has written this gorgeous post – 10 Things I Love About Spotlight On Sunny (also made me cry).

Blogaversary (and why I don’t really blog much anymore…)

sesame12I’ve been blogging for twelve years today. Twelve years. I had to double-check when I thought about it this morning because how can it be twelve years? But I know it must be, because I started blogging before I had a book out (and that’s five years this May) and I started blogging before I had any kids (and my oldest is eleven in June) and I started blogging before I started writing professionally (and I’ve been self-employed for ten years in October), but still… twelve years. Blimey.

It seems a bit odd to celebrate it though, because I hardly blog anymore. The type of stuff I used to write on my blog I now mostly put on Facebook. And the rest of the time (pretty much all of the time) I’m just chatting away on Twitter. I’m also on Tumblr a bit (mostly for the Harry Styles gifs, ngl) and I’m loving Instagram.

sunnyI’m also writing, writing, writing. Just not here. The second book in the Reel Friends series, Spotlight on Sunny, is out next month. Counting Stars comes out with Hot Key Books in September. And then there’s another as-yet-unannounced book at the end of the year. And plotting and planning for more more more.

Things have changed a lot in twelve years…

What I read in November

I finally read my friend Sarah Painter’s book The Secrets of Ghosts and I loved it. Romantic, funny and genuinely spooky.

Another book that’s been on my tbr for ages is Dead Romantic by CJ Skuse. I absolutely love CJ’s books, they’re so funny and weird. Much like CJ herself…

I had pre-ordered Amy Poehler’s Yes Please on Kindle, but when friends started receiving their hard copies a few days before publication date, I couldn’t contain myself – I scooted off to an actual shop and bought a hardback copy. And I adored it, as I knew I would. Funny, wise, and kind. I didn’t want it to end. (I cancelled the Kindle order.)

I’ve loved all of Mhairi McFarlane’s books so far and It’s Not Me, It’s You was no exception. It took me longer to get into this one than her other two, but I still really enjoyed it and it has one of the hottest heroes I’ve read for a while.

I’ve wanted to re-read The Swish of the Curtain – one of my childhood favourites – for a while now, but I was worried it wouldn’t be as good as I remembered. It wasn’t actually anything like I remembered, but I really enjoyed it anyway. I’ll definitely be reading more in the series (I don’t remember if I did as a kid).

I wasn’t at all sure about reading Caitlin Moran’s How to Build a Girl. I was annoyed at her comments about there not being any books featuring girls having adventures (check out the YA section, Caitlin, it’ll blow your mind) and the description sounded very much like the same story she’s already told in The Chronicles of Narmo, Raised by Wolves and How to be a Woman. Much of it was pretty familiar, but I didn’t care. I loved it. Sweet and smart and very, very funny.

I probably wouldn’t have read Seven Days by Eve Ainsworth if I hadn’t got to know Eve online – I don’t really like reading about bullying (I know you’re not supposed to like it, but what can I say, I’m a wuss), but I’m so glad I did. It’s a quick read, but an original and powerful one that I think will really resonate with teens.