Children's Books & YA Authors

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A group to connect YA and children's book authors. 

Hey all, 

How do we feel about duel Pov's in a middle-grade book? is it a no-no? is it needlessly confusing for the reader? or is it acceptable? Would appreciate any opinions!
Thanks,

Alice. 

Gosh. This editing thing is hard! I have done some tweaks to chapter one inspired by you lovely people but am wondering if it would have been better to start with a blank page and rewrite? It's difficult changing your baby even when you know you have to. For what it's worth, here is version 2 of chapter 1. I'm sure I will have to do eleventy billion versions before it is ready but this is a start! Thanks in advance for your comments.

The Magic Beach Hut 

Chapter one: Mrs Macaroon 

Mrs Macaroon’s guest house was a tall, thin building with stone steps down to the basement and stone steps up to the front door. Inside was a long steep wooden staircase leading up to the bedrooms. Dad muttered something about the only things steeper than the stairs being the prices but I reckon nothing in the world was steeper except maybe Mount Everest. I didn’t count them all but I reckon there were a googol (that’s a one with a hundred noughts after it in case you wondered). 

It was a last minute decision to come to Bodbury-on-Sea and the only vacant room was in Mrs Macaroon’s guest house. 

“Not cheap,” Dad had said as he looked at the brochure, “but it is a ‘beautiful period building with a sea view’, let’s book it.” 

So here we were lugging our cases up all those stairs to our room on the third floor.  

Mrs Macaroon looked as unlike a macaroon as it was possible to look. She was tall and thin and angular and grey. Not just grey haired, but grey. Her leathery skin looked grey, her hair was grey, her eyes were grey, her teeth were grey and her flannel dress was grey. 

She didn’t smile as Dad introduced himself. 

“You’re late. You’ve missed dinner. Third floor, room thirty nine. Sign here.” She thrust a form under his nose and Dad signed it and took the key. 

“Thank you,” he ventured. “What time is breakfast please?” 

“Eight o’clock sharp,” she replied and disappeared down the hall. 

We grinned nervously at each other. I wondered if she was a witch. Polly pulled a face and I could see she was thinking the same thing.

“I guess she’s had a long day,” said Mum hopefully. We lugged our cases up the stairs. We went past several bedrooms but all the doors were shut and there was the definite sound of silence from behind them. 

“I guess everyone’s gone out for dinner,” said Dad. 

“We should do the same,” said Mum, “and then get these guys to bed.” 

“These guys” were me and my sister Polly. She’s seven. I’m Jake and I’m eleven. That’s why I had to carry a big bag up all those stairs while she only had to carry a string bag with a couple of beach towels in it. 

We finally got to the top and Dad unlocked the door. Polly and I dropped our bags and ran to the tiny window. 

“I can’t see the sea,” I moaned. “You said it had a sea view.” 

“That’s what the brochure said,” replied Dad defensively. He came over and tried to peer through the window over our heads but it wasn’t really big enough so we had to move out of his way. 

Meanwhile Mum was looking around our room. That didn’t take long. There was a double bed with its head against the right hand wall. There was just room to squeeze between its foot and the bunk beds which were along the left hand wall. In the far wall was the tiny window with a small chest of drawers under it. Next to the bunk beds was a door which didn’t close properly. This led to the ‘en-suite bathroom’ which contained a toilet, a tiny sink and a shower. If you sat on the toilet your knees were under the sink and if you had long legs like Dad your feet were in the shower tray.  

“At least there’s some loo roll,” said Mum, ever practical. 

We left our bags and let ourselves out, down all those stairs again. 

“This’ll get us fit,” said Dad, attempting to sound cheerful. 

As we left I felt sure that Mrs Macaroon was watching us. I looked around but I couldn’t see her. It was getting a bit breezy by this time but the sky was still bright and the seafront looked pretty with its row of coloured beach huts. 

“It must be cool to have one of those,” said Polly. 

We found a nice little café and sat in the window eating fish and chips and watching the sun go down over the cliffs. I had two sachets of ketchup and Polly said I was greedy. 

“That is the most beautiful sunset,” Mum announced, ignoring our arguing. “I think we’re going to like it here.” 

We all agreed. We felt a sense of relaxation and contentment. Our holiday had begun. Back at the guest house we climbed the three flights of stairs wearily and Polly and I clambered into bed, me on the top bunk of course. I had to lie very still because every time I moved it creaked and Polly moaned at me. 

“Come on kids,” said Dad, “don’t bicker. Settle down to sleep. We’re on holiday.” He and Mum sat on their bed reading by the light of their little torches so that we could get to sleep. 

Next morning I woke up to the sound of running water. I thought Dad was in the shower but then realised he was looking out of the window. Mum was rummaging through their suitcase. It must be Polly then. Just then Polly sat up and bumped her head on my bed. She exclaimed loudly. 

“Oh, you’re awake then,” said Dad. 

“Hard not to be with noisy Jake in the shower,” Polly retorted. I dangled my head over the side of the bed and made her jump. 

“I’m up here actually.” 

“Well who’s in our shower then?” she asked indignantly. 

“Nobody,” said Mum. “It’s the room next door. It’s just the walls are a bit thin.” 

“A bit?” Polly exclaimed. 

“Yes,” said Mum so keep your voice down.” 

We got ourselves washed and dressed. We gave the shower a miss because the water was cold. Dad ran it for ages but it didn’t get any warmer. We went down for breakfast. We were looking forward to our full English, it was one of those holiday treats. At home we just had a bowl of Cheerios.  

There was an old couple sitting in the dining room who smiled at us nervously as we came in. A young couple were just leaving and seemed to want to avoid looking at us. Another couple came in just after us with a baby and strapped him in a highchair at a table in the corner. They sat down and smiled across at us. Polly waved at the baby and he grinned back.  

Mrs Macaroon appeared at that moment. 

“I said eight o’clock sharp,” she fumed. “I have things to do.” 

“So sorry,” said Dad, looking at his watch. It was one minute past eight. “Could we have the full English please? Tea for my wife and I and orange juice for these two.” Mrs Macaroon didn’t even acknowledge this but stalked over to the other couple. 

“Morning,” said the man cheerily. “One scrambled eggs on toast please, one bacon and mushroom bap and a porridge for the little man. One tea, one coffee and could we possibly have some hot water for warming his milk please?” 

Again Mrs Macaroon did not appear to acknowledge him but turned on her heel and disappeared back into the kitchen. 

“She’s full of the joys of spring,” said the man. His wife shushed him and looked nervously at the kitchen.  

“Yes,” said Dad, “we’d better set our alarm a minute earlier tomorrow.” 

“Could have been down ten minutes sooner,” said the man, “but I was hoping the water would warm up.” 

“We had that problem,” said Dad. “Did you sleep well?” 

“Not really,” the woman whispered. “The bed was really hard.” 

“Ours was lumpy,” said Mum, “and the pillows were flat as pancakes. Hardly slept a wink.” 

The woman gave a discreet little cough and rolled her eyes. Everyone went quiet as we realised Mrs Macaroon was in the room. The old couple got up. 

“Thank you Mrs Macaroon,” muttered the old man, and they scurried out. 

Mrs Macaroon plonked a tray on our table without a word, then went out and fetched another for the couple with the baby. We all looked at each other uncomfortably. 

“Tuck in then,” said Mum, forcing a smile. The orange juice was watered down. The tea was cold. The eggs were solid and rubbery. The bacon was slimy with grease. The sausages were more like charcoal sticks and the toast was either black and charred or white and soggy. It was all cold. I tried putting lots of ketchup and brown sauce on but I couldn’t disguise the fact that this was the most disgusting full English I had ever tasted. 

At the other table the couple were looking sadly at their plates. The baby cried when the first spoon of grey lumpy goo was offered. His mother did not persevere but instead tried to tempt him with the yellow lumpy goo that was on her toast. He pushed it away and cried again.  

“Come on,” said the father, “we’ve got some rusks upstairs.” The family departed, leaving their food largely untouched. 

We headed back to our room feeling a bit deflated. As Dad opened the door Mum shrieked. We followed her gaze and saw a little mouse jump off the bed and run under the chest of drawers. 

“That is it!” Mum exclaimed. “We’re leaving!” 

“It was only a mouse,” said Dad, trying to calm her down.  

“It was not only a mouse,” said Mum. “It was a mouse after a horrid breakfast, after a cold wash, after a sleepless night in a lumpy bed!” 

“OK, OK,” said Dad. “It’s just that everywhere else was booked up.” 

“Well, now we know why this place wasn’t,” said Mum. We all had to agree. We packed our bags and struggled with them down the steep stairs. Polly whispered to me that it was probably a guest Mrs Macaroon didn’t like and had turned into a mouse. ”Shh,” said Mum, looking around her anxiously, “Stop being silly.” 

Dad rang the bell nervously. We waited for what seemed like ages, then he rang it again. Mrs Macaroon appeared immediately. 

“Don’t be so impatient,” she snapped. 

“Sorry,” muttered Dad, looking at his feet. “We’d erm, like to check out please.” 

“You’re booked in until Saturday,” Mrs Macaroon barked. 

“Yes I know, I’m sorry but, erm, something came up.” 

“I’ll have to charge you a supplement,” she said. “I can’t let that room to anyone else this week now.” 

“Oh, of course,” said Dad. 

“So that comes to one hundred and forty pounds and fifty seven pence,” said Mrs Macaroon. 

“What?” exclaimed Dad. “We’ve only been here one night! Sixty pounds a night the brochure said.” 

“There’s the early cancellation charge,” said Mrs Macaroon indignantly. “There’s the towel hire, you used FOUR towels!” She said this as if it were a serious crime. 

“But surely use of towels is included,” said Dad. 

“They don’t launder themselves,” the old lady huffed. “Then there’s the excess paper use.” 

“Now I really have no idea what you are talking about,” said Dad. 

“You used FOURTEEN sheets of toilet paper,” said Mrs Macaroon with that same indignation. “And of course breakfast.” 

“Breakfast is definitely included in the sixty pounds,” Dad said confidently. “It’s very clear in your brochure. ‘Bed and breakfast’ it says.” 

“It doesn’t say you can have ketchup AND brown sauce,” said Mrs Macaroon, and she pointed a bony finger at me accusingly. I shuddered and took a small step backwards. 

“This is ridiculous,” said Mum, exasperated. “We found a mouse in our room. We could have you closed down.” 

“You are a LIAR!” shrieked Mrs Macaroon. “You are trying to get out of paying your bill. I should call the police!” 

Mum was about to respond but Dad didn’t like it when people caused a scene. He put his hand on Mum’s arm. 

“It’s OK,” he said. “I’ll pay it. Then we can go.” He took out his cheque book. 

“Cash,” said Mrs Macaroon. 

“Sorry?” said Dad. 

“Cash only. Didn’t you read the small print?” 

“Clearly not,” said Dad. “Is there a cash point near here?” 

“Leave your bags here until you’ve paid,” said the old woman. “I’m not having you do a runner.” 

Dad sighed and we went out to find the cash point. 

“Better get back quick,” he said, “or she’ll be charging us interest.” 

“Or turning us into mice,” said Polly rolling her eyes. 

“What a dragon!” said Mum. 

Eventually we had paid Mrs Macaroon and loaded our bags into the car. 

“May as well spend the rest of the day here,” said Dad. “It’s a shame but we’ll have to head home this evening kids. Sorry but there’s nowhere else to stay.” We were all upset.  

“There must be somewhere,” Polly said. “Let’s look.” 

Again I had the strange feeling that Mrs Macaroon was watching me. I looked up and I’m sure I saw the net curtains twitch.  

“Let’s just get away from this place,” I said shivering slightly although it was warm.  


Hello Everyone,

I've just posted my children's chapter book on the main forum. For those of you that don't have time to read it, I'm posting a chapter for critique. Thank you!

Outside the classroom window, storm clouds gathered. The sky darkened, outlining mountains like sleeping dinosaurs. Nicole slumped further behind her desk. Almost all the kids had done their speeches. Pigs and cows, she needed a thunderstorm right now.

“Nicole, it’s your turn.” Mrs. Rossi said.

Ugg. Nicole rose and dragged herself towards the front of the class. 

Sammy tucked his hands in his armpits and flapped his elbows. “Bac, bac, baaac,” he clucked, as she passed. 

“What do you know?” she said, whirling on him. “I once had a hen that saw a hawk swooping out of the sky.” Nicole leaned her hands on Sammy’s desk and glared down at him. “She warned her chick to hide and then turned to fight the hawk, chest puffed out. She saved her chick and was braver than you’ll ever be!” 

Mrs. Rossi called, “Please come to the front of the classroom, Nicole.”

The spark of anger left as quickly as it had come. As soon as she got home, she’d hug poor Seed. Now she had to do that dreaded speech. 

It was a mistake to lift her head and look out on the sea of faces. She froze like a deer caught in headlights. Why did they stare? Staring was a threat in the animal world.

“Nicole, we’re waiting. Tell us what you’d like to be when you grow up and why.” Mrs. Rossi shuffled papers on her desk.

Luca was giving her a thumb up from his desk in the first row. Pretending it was just Luca, she took a deep breath. “I want to be a vet.”  

“Speak louder so we can all hear you,” Mrs. Rossi said.

“I” –– BOOM. Thunder cracked outside, shaking the windows. 

Anna B. from the second row screamed. 

“I’m scared,” shrieked Veronica, bawling like a frightened calf.

Nicole exchanged a smirk with Luca. Thunder didn’t come from the sky. It was the dinosaur-mountains roaring awake. At least that’s what they liked to think. 

She slipped unnoticed to her back-row desk near the window. Thank goodness for spring thunderstorms. 

“Class! Everyone settle down,” Mrs. Rossi said. “There’s nothing to be worried about.” As the students returned to their seats, her eyes scanned the class. “Luca,” she called.

Luca jumped up so fast, his chair tipped over. Without missing a beat, he righted the chair and circled his desk to stand in the front. Something was up. Why was he so nervous?

“I want to be a doctor,” he said, biting his lip. “My dad’s a nurse and we’ll make the best team ever, in all of Italy.” His words tumbled over each other fighting to be the first out of his mouth. “People will come from Florence and Bologna to see us.” His next words were lost as another crack of thunder boomed outside.

Nicole frowned. Her superpower told her something wasn’t right. Okay, so it wasn’t a real superpower. She knew things about people without them telling her.

Long hours spent watching animals had taught her to notice little things. Animals talked, just not with words. And she had learned their language. A twitch of an ear or the turn of the head told her what they were feeling. 

 People used too many words. She didn’t need them. Luca’s words didn’t match his actions. What was he hiding?

Checking she has her big girl pants on and taking a deep breath. Here (if I've done it right) is the first chapter of my middle grade novel. I would be most grateful if you lovelies would tear it to pieces for me:

The Magic Beach Hut 

Chapter one: Mrs Macaroon 

Mrs Macaroon’s guest house was a tall, thin, mid-terraced building with stone steps down to the basement and stone steps up to the front door. Inside was a steep wooden staircase leading up to the bedrooms and the only things steeper than the stairs were the prices. 

It was a last minute decision to come to Bodbury-on-Sea and the only vacant room was in Mrs Macaroon’s guest house. 

“Not cheap,” Dad had said as he looked at the brochure, “but it is a ‘beautiful period building with a sea view’, let’s book it.” 

So here we were lugging our cases up the steep wooden stairs to our room on the third floor.  

Mrs Macaroon looked as unlike a macaroon as it was possible to look. She was tall and thin and angular and grey. Not just grey haired, but grey. Her leathery skin looked grey, her hair was grey, her eyes were grey, her teeth were grey and her flannel dress was grey. 

She didn’t smile as Dad introduced himself. 

“You’re late. You’ve missed dinner. Third floor, room thirty nine. Sign here.” She thrust a form under his nose and Dad signed it and took the key. 

“Thank you,” he ventured. “What time is breakfast please?” 

“Eight o’clock sharp,” she replied and disappeared down the hall. 

We grinned nervously at each other. 

“I guess she’s had a long day,” said Mum hopefully. We lugged our cases up the stairs. We went past several bedrooms but all the doors were shut and there was the definite sound of silence from behind them. 

“I guess everyone’s gone out for dinner,” said Dad. 

“We should do the same,” said Mum, “and then get these guys to bed.” 

“These guys” were me and my sister Polly. She’s seven. I’m Jake and I’m nine. That’s why I had to carry a big bag up all those stairs while she only had to carry a string bag with a couple of beach towels in it. 

We finally got to the top and Dad unlocked the door. Polly and I dropped our bags and ran to the tiny window. 

“I can’t see the sea,” I moaned. “You said it had a sea view.” 

“That’s what the brochure said,” replied Dad defensively. He came over and tried to peer through the window over our heads but it wasn’t really big enough so we had to move out of his way. 

Meanwhile Mum was looking around our room. That didn’t take long. There was a double bed with its head against the right hand wall. There was just room to squeeze between its foot and the bunk beds which were along the left hand wall. In the far wall was the tiny window with a small chest of drawers under it. Next to the bunk beds was a door which didn’t close properly. This led to the ‘en-suite bathroom’ which contained a toilet, a tiny sink and a shower. If you sat on the toilet your knees were under the sink and if you had long legs like Dad your feet were in the shower tray.  

“At least there’s some loo roll,” said Mum, ever practical. 

We left our bags and let ourselves out, down all those stairs again. 

“This’ll get us fit,” said Dad, attempting to sound cheerful. 

It was getting a bit breezy by this time but the sky was still bright and the seafront looked pretty with its row of coloured beach huts. 

“It must be cool to have one of those,” said Polly. 

We found a nice little café and sat in the window eating fish and chips and watching the sun go down over the cliffs. It really was a lovely place. 

“That is the most beautiful sunset,” Mum announced. “I think we’re going to like it here.” 

We all agreed. We felt a sense of relaxation and contentment. Our holiday had begun. Back at the guest we climbed the three flights of stairs wearily and Polly and I clambered into bed, me on the top bunk of course. I had to lie very still because every time I moved it creaked and Polly moaned at me. 

“Come on kids,” said Dad, “don’t bicker. Settle down to sleep. We’re on holiday.” He and Mum sat on their bed reading by the light of their little torches so that we could get to sleep. 

Next morning I woke up to the sound of running water. I thought Dad was in the shower but then realised he was looking out of the window. Mum was rummaging through their suitcase. It must be Polly then. Just then Polly sat up and bumped her head on my bed. She exclaimed loudly. 

“Oh, you’re awake then,” said Dad. 

“Hard not to be with noisy Jake in the shower,” Polly retorted. I dangled my head over the side of the bed and made her jump. 

“I’m up here actually.” 

“Well who’s in our shower then?” she asked indignantly. 

“Nobody,” said Mum. “It’s the room next door. It’s just the walls are a bit thin.” 

“A bit?” Polly exclaimed. 

“Yes,” said Mum so keep your voice down.” 

We got ourselves washed and dressed. We gave the shower a miss because the water was cold. Dad ran it for ages but it didn’t get any warmer. We went down for breakfast. We were looking forward to our full English, it was one of those holiday treats. At home we just had a bowl of Cheerios.  

There was an old couple sitting in the dining room who smiled at us nervously as we came in. A young couple were just leaving and seemed to want to avoid looking at us. Another couple came in just after us with a baby and strapped him in a highchair at a table in the corner. They sat down and smiled across at us. Polly waved at the baby and he grinned back.  

Mrs Macaroon appeared at that moment. 

“I said eight o’clock sharp,” she fumed. “I have things to do.” 

“So sorry,” said Dad, looking at his watch. It was one minute past eight. “Could we have the full English please? Tea for my wife and I and orange juice for these two.” Mrs Macaroon didn’t acknowledge this but stalked over to the other couple. 

“Morning,” said the man cheerily. “One scrambled eggs on toast please, one bacon and mushroom bap and a porridge for the little man. One tea, one coffee and could we possibly have some hot water for warming his milk please?” 

Again Mrs Macaroon did not appear to acknowledge him but turned on her heel and disappeared back into the kitchen. 

“She’s full of the joys of spring,” said the man. His wife shushed him and looked nervously at the kitchen.  

“Yes,” said Dad, “we’d better set our alarm a minute earlier tomorrow.” 

“Could have been down ten minutes sooner,” said the man, “but I was hoping the water would warm up.” 

“We had that problem,” said Dad. “Did you sleep well?” 

“Not really,” the woman whispered. “The bed was really hard.” 

“Ours was lumpy,” said Mum, “and the pillows were flat as pancakes. Hardly slept a wink.” 

The woman gave a discreet little cough and rolled her eyes. Everyone went quiet as we realised Mrs Macaroon was in the room. The old couple got up. 

“Thank you Mrs Macaroon,” muttered the old man, and they scurried out. 

Mrs Macaroon plonked a tray on our table without a word, then went out and fetched another for the couple with the baby. We all looked at each other uncomfortably. 

“Tuck in then,” said Mum, forcing a smile. The orange juice was watered down. The tea was cold. The eggs were solid and rubbery. The bacon was slimy with grease. The sausages were more like charcoal sticks and the toast was either black and charred or white and soggy. It was all cold. I tried putting lots of ketchup and brown sauce on but I couldn’t disguise the fact that this was the most disgusting full English I had ever tasted. 

At the other table the couple were looking disconsolately at their plates. The baby cried when the first spoon of grey lumpy goo was offered. His mother did not persevere but instead tried to tempt him with the yellow lumpy goo that was on her toast. He pushed it away and cried again.  

“Come on,” said the father, “we’ve got some rusks upstairs.” The family departed, leaving their food largely untouched. 

We headed back to our room feeling a bit deflated. As Dad opened the door Mum shrieked. We followed her gaze and saw a little mouse jump off the bed and run under the chest of drawers. 

“That is it!” Mum exclaimed. “We’re leaving!” 

“It was only a mouse,” said Dad, trying to calm her down.  

“It was not only a mouse,” said Mum. “It was a mouse after a horrid breakfast, after a cold wash, after a sleepless night in a lumpy bed!” 

“OK, OK,” said Dad. “It’s just that everywhere else was booked up.” 

“Well, now we know why this place wasn’t,” said Mum. We all had to agree. We packed our bags and struggled with them down the steep stairs.  Dad rang the bell nervously. We waited for what seemed like ages, then he rang it again. Mrs Macaroon appeared immediately. 

“Don’t be so impatient,” she snapped. 

“Sorry,” muttered Dad, looking at his feet. “We’d erm, like to check out please.” 

“You’re booked in until Saturday,” Mrs Macaroon barked. 

“Yes I know, I’m sorry but, erm, something came up.” 

“I’ll have to charge you a supplement,” she said. “I can’t let that room to anyone else this week now.” 

“Oh, of course,” said Dad. 

“So that comes to one hundred and forty pounds and fifty seven pence,” said Mrs Macaroon. 

“What?” exclaimed Dad. “We’ve only been here one night! Sixty pounds a night the brochure said.” 

“There’s the early cancellation charge,” said Mrs Macaroon indignantly. “There’s the towel hire, you used FOUR towels!” She said this as if it were a serious crime. 

“But surely use of towels is included,” said Dad. 

“They don’t launder themselves,” the old lady huffed. “Then there’s the excess paper use.” 

“Now I really have no idea what you are talking about,” said Dad. 

“You used FOURTEEN sheets of toilet paper,” said Mrs Macaroon with that same indignation. “And of course breakfast.” 

“Breakfast is definitely included in the sixty pounds,” Dad said confidently. “It’s very clear in your brochure. ‘Bed and breakfast’ it says.” 

“It doesn’t say you can have ketchup AND brown sauce,” said Mrs Macaroon, and she pointed a bony finger at me accusingly. I shuddered and took a small step backwards. 

“This is ridiculous,” said Mum, exasperated. “We found a mouse in our room. We could have you closed down.” 

“You are a LIAR!” shrieked Mrs Macaroon. “You are trying to get out of paying your bill. I should call the police!” 

Mum was about to respond but Dad didn’t like it when people caused a scene. He put his hand on Mum’s arm. 

“It’s OK,” he said. “I’ll pay it. Then we can go.” He took out his cheque book. 

“Cash,” said Mrs Macaroon. 

“Sorry?” said Dad. 

“Cash only. Didn’t you read the small print?” 

“Clearly not,” said Dad. “Is there a cash point near here?” 

“Leave your bags here until you’ve paid,” said the old woman. “I’m not having you do a runner.” 

Dad sighed and we went out to find the cash point. 

“Better get back quick,” he said, “or she’ll be charging us interest.” 

“What a dragon!” said Mum. 

Eventually we had paid Mrs Macaroon and loaded our bags into the car. 

“May as well spend the rest of the day here,” said Dad. “It’s a shame but we’ll have to head home this evening kids. Sorry but there’s nowhere else to stay.” 


Totally engrossed in my edit. The house is a tip but my head is in my book! About to go out to agents for the third time, wish me luck!


Anyone thinking of self-publishing? For a look into indie publishing for children's books, there's a free online summit that takes place August 17th-20th. I'll try to attach the link. https://www.kidlitindiepubsummit.com/

Normally on my days off from work my to do list looks something like this: do washing, take car in to garage, clean bathrooms, take boys to skate park, sort garden, go to post office, fetch boys, fetch car, cook lasagne, WRITE THE DAMN BOOK. 

This last couple of weeks I've had a sudden rush of blood to the head and actually done something creative. So Nigel and his friends in my picture book are with various agents waiting to be rejected or otherwise (gulp!). I do hope he isn't rejected because although he's quite a self important elephant, he is actually a very sensitive soul.

To distract me from worrying about Nigel, I've made some good progress with the first draft of my middle grade novel. Hopefully will get round to posting first chapter soon for some of you lovely people to comment on. 

Happy weekend everybody!


celebrating with a gin and tonic or two! Just finished my final chapter of 'Archie and the Witch's Nanny'. First draft, needs a lot of work but I'm pleased with the concept. Lots of adventure with a touch of realism and reference to dementia. Here is a chapter if anyone wants to read and give feedback.

Chapter Seven – McDonald’s

 

After the win at the football match, his friends had offered Archie sweets, football cards, and extra helpings at lunch. He felt like a football star. A voice in his ear kept whispering, ‘But can you do it again?’ he pushed it aside, wanting to enjoy his few days of fame.  His friends seemed to forget all about it after a while, and normal life resumed.

Today he was extra excited, rushing so fast to get the school bus home he tripped over and grazed his knee. It hurt, but he was so excited about what was to come that the pain didn’t seem too bad.  Waiting by the bus stop where Archie got off, Ruby, Green Eye and Nanny Porshina were there to greet him. They were going straight to McDonalds and Archie felt in his pocket to make sure his money was still safe.  

‘Are you looking forward to your first McDonald’s?’ asked Archie. All three nodded their heads and Nanny Porshina said, ‘I once knew a McDonald once, he was Scottish and wore a kilt, will he be working there?’ They laughed and explained to Nanny that McDonalds was the name of the restaurant. As they approached the large golden arc and enormous burger sign, Green Eye jumped into Nanny Poshina’s giant carpet bag. She zipped it up and said to ‘Green Eye’ just yell if you can’t breathe. Ruby and Nanny had dressed as ordinary people to mingle in with the crowd, both wore a long flowery cotton dress. No hats, broomsticks, or wands in sight.

Once inside, it delighted Nanny to see so many children. She loved children and had hundreds of grandchildren. She immediately started talking to them, making jokes and cackling. Ruby had to tell her not to, as they were getting a few stares from parents who were a little wary of nanny. She was being rather full on, her cackle a bit too loud! They studied the menu. ‘I’ll go up and order for us’ said Nanny. Ruby and Archie tried to stop her but she insisted she wanted to do her part and have the full experience of being in a McDonalds; Archie handed her the money, enough for their order. While Nanny was ordering, Ruby held her bag for her and they went to find a table. Upon her return she wore a huge satisfied smile, ‘I like it here, they all seem very nice.’ she said.

The food arrived; Archie went up to collect it. Three big Macs, chips and a fish burger. Nanny pushed her bag under the table and passed the Fish burger through the top to Green Eye. They could hear him making chomping noises from inside the bag, and a few people looked over to see what it was. In a hushed voice Archie said, ‘Green Eye, try to eat quietly, people are looking’ As they were finishing a voice from the counter called ‘Oh Mrs Porshina, we have your other orders ready’. Archie looked in bewilderment. What other orders? Lined up on the counter were at least twenty more burgers, and more were coming. ‘Nanny what have you ordered’ said Ruby. ‘I thought I’d order a burger for all the children in here and I counted twenty-five, so that’s how many there should be. ‘But Nanny, how did you pay? said Archie. ‘I told them you would pay when they were ready.’ she replied. Archie bulged his eyes out in horror ‘I don’t have enough money for all these!’ Nanny looked around, not knowing what to do, she whisked out her wand from her bag and then waved it in the air. The burgers flew around the room. They were flying around in circles, some landing on the customers’ heads, some sticking to the ceiling and some pushing at the glass door to get out. The BBQ and Tomato sauces were pumping up and down, sauce spilling everywhere, and the chips were marching in lines like soldiers in formation. The scene was chaotic, Archie stood open mouthed, watching as a burger landed splat in his lap. Green Eye jumped out of the bag and tried to console Nanny. She sat on the floor crying like a small child, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry’ she chanted, then she blew her nose loudly into a napkin. Ruby looked around at the mess, taking in the stunned look on the customers and the staffs faces said, she ‘Ok I will have to intervene. I don’t like having to use my magic in public, but this is an emergency. She waved her wand, and everything froze. It was as if time had stopped. The people looked like statues. The burgers, chips and sauces had frozen in mid air. Archie looked at her and said, ‘What are we going to do, Ruby?’ Nanny was still on the floor but had stopped crying. She was now playing with one of the free toys given out with each meal, oblivious to what was going on. Ruby said, ‘well I can keep the customers and staff in this frozen state for a while but in the meantime, we must clean up, the old fashioned way.   With a mop, a bucket and a cloth’. Green Eye and Archie exchanged glances.  Ruby said, ‘Now guys, I can only hold them like this for about half an hour, we have to work fast. They found the cleaning cupboard and between them scrubbed, rubbed and cleaned until all looked back to normal. Just as they were finishing, one of the staff behind the counter said, ’Can I help you?’ and within moments everyone had resumed their chatter. They were completely unaware of what had just happened.

‘Come on, let’s go home. I think we’ve had more than enough excitement for one day, said Ruby. Nanny Porshina hugged them all and said ’Thank you Archie it was one of the best meals I’ve eaten, and such fun’. Ruby and Archie smiled. Poor Nanny, her Dementia was causing her to become more and more confused. It hadn’t been what Archie had intended for the afternoon, but it had been another adventure. It certainly was never dull when he was with these friends. Walking home, he thought about grandad. Tonight he would ask him what life was like when he was a boy. He wondered if they had McDonalds.

1063 Words

 

OK, so I've finally found some time today to work properly through all the really helpful advice people have given me and to rework chapter 1 of my book in quite a significant way. I hope that now I have removed most, if not all of the filtering, made it more showy rather then telly and brought the reader closer into Joe's head. I've also radically changed the struggle with the skipper and with the sea, once he's in the water. Finally, I've added in a few very subtle hints to perhaps indicate that the skipper isn't 'he'. In general, throughout the book, I've tried to avoid pronouns altogether when referring to neut characters but when I can't avoid them, I'm using 'them, their, they'. There is also now one mention of 'Regender' in chapter 1 which is the underground organisation helping to rescue gendered foetuses from being terminated and later helping gendered teens to live in safety. The first proper mention of Regender is in chapter 3.

One thing I have kept in there a little bit, is the idea right at the beginning of the island drifting away from the boat (even though it's actually the boat that is drifting away from the island). Is it really that confusing to turn things around like that?

So, here it is, for anyone who can spare just a little more time to read it and give me their verdict...


Chapter 1

The constant thrum of the trawler’s engine dropped abruptly to a put-put-put. The island, which had been tantalisingly close, now began to drift away, as they bobbed up and down on the waves.

“Why have we stopped?” The boy called back to the skipper. “Look, I can see the jetty!”

“Sorry kiddo, but I cannae put in there,” replied the skipper, leaving the wheel and striding towards the bow. “I daren’t risk it wi’ this wind. It’s a tight channel to that there jetty. One wee gust in the wrong direction and we’ll be smashed agin the rocks that lie just under those waves.” Then placing a hand on the boy’s drooping shoulders, they sighed and added, “Don’t worry, I’ll get you back to the mainland. Mebe someone else can bring you back out in the morning. If you still want to go.”

The boy swallowed past the growing lump in his throat and tried to suppress the welling sense of defeat. He forced himself to look up at the skipper’s weathered face, creased with new worries that were nothing to do with the waves or rocks. Like so many on his brief journey north, here was another pair of eyes that refused to look directly at him – understanding what he was, but not how he existed.

Turning back couldn’t be an option. Not now, when he was so close. His eyes scanned the deck of the trawler, hunting for inspiration. And there it was – the salt air weathered rowing boat. The one he’d hidden under earlier as they’d left the mainland.

“I’ll take that,” he announced, stepping assertively towards it. As the skipper protested, he threw back the tarpaulin and started hauling the upturned boat, with all his strength, towards the side. “Just help me get this into the water, and you won’t need to worry about me anymore.”

“You must be joking pal! If I return to the harbour without ma lifeboat, I’ll have questions to answer.” 

The skipper was getting nervous. Why did everyone have to be so nervous around him? “But you don’t want me to come back to the harbour with you, do you?” It was more of a statement than a question. “It was hard enough smuggling me onto this boat. How are you planning to get me off again? Besides,” he added, “the money I paid you will be more than enough to buy yourself a new lifeboat. I might be just a kid, but I know I gave you more than what’s fair for this little trip out of the harbour.” In fact, he’d handed over everything he had – so sure that this was the end of his journey.

He watched and waited as the other weighed up the options. As the seconds ebbed faster than the tide underneath them, Regender’s meticulous plans were unravelling to nothing. Determined not to let that happen, he ran at the skipper. Though the adult was bigger and stronger than him, the boy wasn’t far off ‘normal adult’ weight. Head forward, he slammed into the skipper’s stomach, throwing them off balance and into the heap of nets. 

Staggering, he wheeled around and continued to heave the lifeboat towards the edge of the trawler, splinters digging into his soft hands. Too quickly, the skipper was back on their feet. Angry eyes now fixed on him, no longer refusing to look. 

Straining all the muscles in his arms, he thrust the bow upwards and ducked underneath, allowing it to slam down onto his back. Then, forcing himself and the boat up again, he lurched blindly towards the trawler’s edge and dropped the bow with a thud onto the gunwale. 

Free of the weight of the boat, he scrambled back into the upturned stern. A hand reached in from the outside world. Without a second thought, the boy stomped hard on the fingertips and then sprang up fast, hands flat against the floor of the lifeboat. He expected to feel the weight of the skipper, as well as the boat, bearing down on him. In fact, the only resistance was the sudden, painful sounding crunch of the skipper’s jawbone as the ridge down the boat’s centreline made contact. The boy squinted into the brightness of daylight to see his opponent, staggering backwards once more, hand on bleeding chin.

He was almost knocked to the deck himself as the rear of the lifeboat, still balanced on his hands, accelerated towards his forehead, toppling over the gunwale, crashing nose first into the sea. 

He turned, and took a step back, ready to dive after it. But stepping back without looking was a mistake. Strong, tattoo covered arms wrapped themselves around him, pinning his arms to his sides. He struggled and tried to kick backwards, but the grip was too strong. The intricately inked dragon up close, with its bared teeth, gave him the inspiration he needed. He sank his teeth into the bare, leathery arm. The skipper yelped in pain. The constriction relaxed. With a decisive kick back, the boy freed himself, took a flying leap, and plunged into the sea. 

He gasped and choked as the icy water flooded his clothes, dragging him below the waves. He thrashed with his arms and kicked with his feet, fighting to keep his chin above water. ‘Stupid fool,’ he thought to himself, ‘you’re just gonna drown now’.

The ripples from the trawler revving its engine splashed water over his face, bringing him back to the present. He spluttered and coughed as the salty water once more burned the back of his throat. The next wave, fortified by the retreating trawler, lifted and flung him roughly against the side of the little lifeboat. With numb fingers, he could barely feel what he was holding onto when he’d reached out blindly to grab for it. ‘Come on, kick!’ he told his legs, and reluctantly they obliged just enough for him to hoist both elbows into the boat. And there he hung for a few seconds, gratefully sucking in lungfuls of coarse air.

Now he just needed to haul himself up and into the boat. At first he thought the enormous approaching wave would give him a leg up and lift him effortlessly in. Unkindly, it lifted the boat at least as much as it did him. Next, he tried to force all his remaining energy into his shoulders and arms, to hoist himself up high enough to clamber in. But his body stubbornly refused, whilst the boat willingly offered to capsize whenever his muscles offered some grudging effort. No, he would need to use his brain, not his brawn to get himself into this boat.

Several large waves later, he’d worked out what he needed to do. He eased himself back down into the water so that only his hands now gripped the boat. Redirecting his energy into to his legs and back, he coaxed the boat around to put it between himself and the approaching waves. He experimented with the next few waves, careful not to do anything that might spin him and the boat back around. As he spied the big one racing towards them, he held the boat out at arm’s length and lifted his legs as high as they would go. And then the wave was upon them, thrusting the boat upwards, trying its hardest to yank it out of his hand, or to dislocate both his shoulders. He gritted his teeth and dug his nails deeper into the splintery wood. In a moment, the boat was sledging down the back of the wave and he was gliding on top of it. He let go with his right hand, pulled with his stronger left, kicked his legs and tumbled down into the boat.

And there the boy lay, panting, shivering, sapped of all energy, adrift in an empty sea.

 

The scrape of the hull on sand awoke him with a start. Stiffly, he eased himself up onto his elbows and blinked the crusty salt from his eyes. Feet splashed towards him.

“Hello! Who’s that?” A youthful voice yelled out. 

Before he’d formulated an answer, the face belonging to the voice was staring down at him in a disorientating upside-down sort of way. Wild hair, longer than he’d ever seen, draped down around him, tickling his cheeks. Her warm, excited breath began to defrost his nose and lips. She grinned as she spoke. “It’s OK, you’ve made it, stranger. Whoever you are.”

“I’m Joe,” he rasped. “Joe with an ‘E’, cos I’m a boy.”

Hi everyone, I'm an adult author by trade but my youngest son (five) is book mad and I've somehow agreed to write a chapter book just for him. (This is the latest in a long line of things he's asked me to make, normally it's ambitious dressing up costumes that are a challenge to my limited sewing skills, this is the first book). I have an idea and a basic plot (it involves fox DJs and a rock band made up of dogs - this is very on brand for my son) but I wondered if anyone had a tried and tested technique for planning an early readers chapter book? I envisage around 10 chapters, probably about 5,000 words in total. When I've written it, I'll also do some illustrations. God! Really starting to realise what a big task this is but I'm excited to create him something unique. Any suggestions gratefully received! 

Hi, I've recently joined Townhouse and am looking forward to engaging with other writers. I will try to follow the guidelines of giving more feedback than I seek and hope it's not too soon to post this. I'd love some feedback on my novel which I think is a YA novel, aimed at middle and older teens which I am currently calling 'Joe with an E'. I would describe it as a dystopian adventure novel which explores a scenario where gendered children are a new phenomenon in a society populated by ‘neuts’.

I've pasted the current version of my first chapter below. My main question at the moment is: If you were an agent, what if anything in this first chapter might turn you off wanting to read more? Thanks.


Chapter 1

The constant thrum of the trawler’s engine dropped abruptly to a put-put-put. The island, which had been rapidly advancing, now began to drift away, as they bobbed up and down aimlessly on the waves.

“Why have we stopped?” The boy called back to the skipper. “Look, I can see the jetty!”

“Sorry kiddo, but I cannae put in there,” replied the skipper, leaving the wheel and striding towards the bow. “I daren’t risk it wi’ this wind. It’s a tight channel to that there jetty. One wee gust in the wrong direction and we’ll be smashed agin the rocks that lie just under those waves.” The boy swallowed past the growing lump in his throat and tried to suppress the welling sense of defeat. “Don’t worry, I can take you back to the mainland. Mebe someone can bring you back out in the morning. If you still want to go.”

The boy saw anxiety in the other’s eyes. But it wasn’t a fear of waves or the rocks putting it there. He’d witnessed that same look in so many other pairs of eyes – well-meaning people who wanted to help, understood what he was, but not how he existed.

Turning back couldn’t be an option. Not now, when he was so close. His eyes scanned the deck of the trawler, hunting for inspiration. And there it was – the salt air weathered rowing boat under the tarpaulin. The one he’d hidden in earlier as they’d left the mainland.

“I’ll take that,” he announced, with as much confidence as he could muster. As the skipper protested, he threw back the tarpaulin and started hauling the boat, with all his strength, towards the side. “Just help me get this into the water, and you won’t need to worry about me anymore.”

“You must be joking matey! If I return to the harbour without ma lifeboat, I’ll have questions to answer.” 

The skipper was getting nervous. Why did everyone have to be so nervous around him? “But you don’t want me to come back to the harbour with you, do you?” It was more of a statement than a question. “It was hard enough smuggling me onto this boat. How are you planning to get me off again? Besides,” he added, “the money I paid you will be more than enough to buy yourself a new lifeboat. I might just be a kid, but I know I gave you more than what’s fair for this little trip out of the harbour.” In fact , he’d handed over everything he had – so sure that this was the end of his journey.

He watched and waited as the other weighed up the options. As the seconds ebbed as fast as the tide underneath them, the boy knew he had to act before everything unravelled. Recklessly, he ran at the skipper and,though the adult was bigger and stronger than him, the boy wasn’t far off ‘normal adult’ weight. Head forward, he knocked the skipper off balance and into the heap of nets. 

Staggering on his feet, he wheeled around and now, running at the lifeboat, thrust it with all his might until it leant precariously against the edge of the trawler. He sensed the skipper stumbling towards him. Just in time, he threw a wild kick backwards and, more out of luck than calculated aim, felt his shoe contact the skipper’s chin. Adrenalin pumping, hands on the back of the lifeboat, he launched his other foot up to join the first and once more, his opponent fell back onto the nets. 

One final shove and the lifeboat toppled over the edge and crashed, nose first into the sea. But before he managed to follow, strong, tattoo covered arms wrapped themselves around him from behind, pinning his arms to his side. Seeing the intricately inked dragon up close, with its bared teeth, gave him the inspiration he needed. Without another thought, he sank his teeth into the bare, leathery arm. The skipper yelped in pain, and the constriction relaxed. With a further decisive kick back, the boy freed himself, leaped overboard and, narrowly missing the upturned hull of the lifeboat, plunged into the freezing salty water.

Rowing himself to shore was much tougher than he’d ever have imagined. From the trawler, his destination had been so close. But as he trod water beside the rowing boat, the island all but disappeared behind the horizon. The ripples caused by the trawler revving its engines had been just what he needed to turn the floundering boat over and tumble into it. As he scoured the edge of the sky for some landmark to remind him of where he’d seen the jetty, the thrust and splash of the waves soon swallowed the retreating sound of the engine. Feeling tiny and alone, he unfastened the heavy oars and wrestled them into their holders. Shivering in his sodden clothes, he then heaved the boat around until his back was to the shore and began to row.

Now, as he twisted once more to peer over his shoulder, any land that existed was lost in the inky blackness. Momentum gone, he tried, but failed, to dredge up the energy he needed to pull the oars through the water even one more time. The boy sank exhausted, into the puddle in the bottom of the boat. He hugged his knees, and trying in vain to stifle the shaking, let his gritty eyes drift shut.

The scrape of the hull on sand awoke him with a start. Chilled to the bone and stiff, the he slowly lifted himself up onto his elbows. Feet splashed towards him.

“Hello! Who’s that?” A youthful voice yelled out. 

Before he’d formulated an answer, the face belonging to the voice was staring down at him in a disorientating upside-down sort of way. Wild hair, longer than he’d ever seen, draped down around him, tickling his nose and cheeks. Warm, excited breath harassed his eyes and forehead. She grinned as she spoke. “It’s OK, you’ve made it, stranger. Whoever you are.”

“I’m Joe,” he rasped. “Joe with an ‘E’, cos I’m a boy.”

Going great guns now. Have just completed chapter four of Archie and the Witch's Nanny. Getting my ideas while out jogging ! Doing the Couch to 5K!!! Have posted in case you want to read but I know you are all, busy with your own work. Approx: 1300 words. Chapter book age 7-10

Chapter four - The Journey Under the Sea

Archie went up to bed early that evening. He was so excited he could hardly breathe. The book was already on his bed, with the page of the seas turned open. Nanny Porshina was tapping her foot up and down impatiently, she was standing on the page waiting for him. ’Archie hurry get your swimming trunks on, we’re going’. Green Eye stood beside her, he looked hilarious, a cat in swimming trunks!  He raised his eyes to the ceiling and said, ‘Don’t laugh, I didn’t want to wear them, but Nanny Porshina insisted.’ Nanny had some sort of long floaty dress on which Archie assumed was her swimming costume.

 

'Archie, we are going to have tea with an old friend of mine, Mr Clipper the crab. You must be very polite to him; I have known him to lash out with his extremely sharp claws if he thinks someone is being rude or disrespectful’. Archie winced at the thought of being pinched hard by a crab. ‘Just do as I say and we’ll be fine, Green Eye has met him before, he will be there to guide you.

 

With that, she waved her wand. The room whirled around. It was as if they were in a windstorm or in the centre of a tornado. Archie, feeling a little frightened, moved closer to Green Eye for comfort.  ’Don’t worry, you will love it.’ Said Green Eye. The room darkened, the familiar shapes of the wardrobe, chest of drawers and bed had turned into giant fish, swimming all around him. He watched in amazement, more and more fish appeared, shouting, ‘Hi Nanny’ how’s things?’ Green Eye said, ‘Just swim Archie, don’t worry you will still be able to breathe’. Nanny Porshina looked like a giant jellyfish, her long dress floating out behind her. ‘This way’ she said. After a few seconds they approached an enormous stone and crawling out from under it was a huge crab. ‘Archie this is Mr Clipper’. Archie remembered what Nanny had said and replied, ‘It’s good to meet you sir, my name is Archie.’ The crab eyed him up and down, his pincers clasping back and forth. ‘I’m well aware that your Archie. Nanny Poshina has already told me about you and how kind you were at her party’. Archie smiled, it seemed they were off to a pleasant start. ‘I’ve got some tea on the go and Mrs Clipper has baked a cake. Archie wondered how you could bake a cake under water, but obviously you could. He produced cups and saucers, Apple juice for Archie, and some pink iced sponge cake. It tasted delicious. Nanny and Mr Clipper sat chatting, trying to catch up with all the events. It seemed Mr Clipper had hundreds of children, all doing well and in school. Mrs Clipper popped her head out from under the stone. She quickly darted back when Mr Clipper threw her a look which said, ‘not now dear’. Mr Clippers face turned from friendly to profoundly serious. He looked at the three of them. he was very solemn, and he said, ‘We really need your help.’ Nanny looked puzzled, ‘Well if we can help in any way we will.’ Mr Clipper explained that some baby octopuses had got caught up in plastic bags. They were in real trouble. Their parents were frantic with worry. ‘What do you want us to do?’ said Green Eye? I need you to help untangle the mess. ‘I don’t like to say this Archie, but our world is becoming an extremely dangerous place. It’s all because more and more plastic is being dumped into the seas by your world.’ Archie had seen things on television about this problem, but he hadn’t really taken them seriously. Talking to Mr Clipper made it seem more real.  ‘It’s becoming a genuine problem, many of us are dying. If it carries on there will be very few of us left.’ Archie felt a pang of guilt. If he were honest, he had thrown plastic wrappers on the floor, a few times when he couldn’t find a bin. He felt ashamed.

 

‘The dolphins are on standby to take you there, it’s quite a long way away, you can hold on to their fins and ride them.’ said Mr Clipper. Archie was very excited and vigorously nodded in agreement. Tea with Mr clipper had finished, and three dolphins emerged, called Bottle, Throttle and Squeak. Squeak was the youngest, he was the one that Archie would ride with. ‘Hi, climb aboard.’ said Squeak. Archie now knew why his name was Squeak. His voice was very high pitched. Watching how the others mounted the dolphins, Archie followed suit and got on. Remembering his manners, he said ‘Mr Clipper thank you for the juice and cake, it was scrumptious’. Mr Clipper smiled back, Archie felt relieved that they were now friends and the danger of the pincers was over.

 

‘Ready'?’ said squeak. ‘Hold on tight’. Archie felt the whoosh of the sea, they seemed to glide through the water. This was such fun, as they kept going, he looked on in awe. The colours, sizes and shapes of the fish were so varied and so brilliant. As they slowed down, Archie thought he could hear crying in the distance. Green Eye looked back at him and said, ‘You OK Archie? ‘I’m fine, but please stay close to me, just in case I need you.’ As they got even closer, he could now see the problem. There were about a dozen baby octopuses in a plastic bag, the top end of the bag had become entangled in some seaweed, they couldn’t get out.   Mother Octopus said with a whimper, ‘We’ve tried and tried to get them out, but the plastic is too strong, can you help us?’  The three of them dismounted the dolphins. Both Green Eye and Archie went over to inspect the situation, leaving Nanny to calm the parents. Green Eye said, ‘We have to be very gentle, they are only babies. Archie suggested they work from the top to detangle the seaweed, being careful not to touch the babies in the bag in case they squashed them. Green Eye used his claws to cut the seaweed and Archie pulled as hard as he could at the bag. They were working as a team. Finally, the bag fell free. The babies swam straight out into the arms of their mother. She was ecstatic! ‘My babies, my babies, are you OK?’ She then stretched out one of her eight arms to Green Eye, and another to Archie, she tenderly hugged them, thank you, thank you. We will always be grateful for your kindness’. Green Eye and Archie high fived. They turned to speak to Nanny Porshina, but she had disappeared! They looked around, she had gone, no one seemed to know where. ‘Oh no, not again!’ said Green Eye, in an exasperated manner. ‘What do you mean, not again?’ said Archie. Green Eye looked sheepish and said I didn’t want to tell you, but she’s done this before, gone missing. We think she has Dementia. ‘What’s that said Archie?’ He’d never heard that term before. ‘It’s an illness that affects the brain, some days she’s fine and others she’s not. This is one symptom of Dementia; she goes off on walks without telling us and then gets lost. I’ll explain more once we’ve found her. For now, the priority is for us to search the area before she gets too far away. Archie didn’t like the sound of this Dementia. Would they find her? would he ever get back? He was not only worried; he was now frightened.