June 17, 2021

Read the opening chapters of The Howling Hag Mystery - before it's officially published

Strange things are happening in the sleepy village of Twinhills. Raven Charming starts to investigate when her peaceful world is threatened by a malicious witch playing tricks at her school.

Because if there is one thing Raven knows about it's magic. She is used to keeping the family secret - you do get used to life being a little different when you come from a long line of witches.

So how can there be a new witch in Twinhills? One that no one in her family knows about? And why is the Howling Hag so intent on causing so much trouble?

Raven must get to the bottom of the series of cruel happenings before everyone starts to point the finger at her sister - because inexplicable things always happen around Rookery, a young witch who has to work very hard to keep her magic from spilling out.

Raven teams up with the annoying new boy at school, Morti Scratch, and gets unexpected help from a talking cat called Nightshade.

Can this unlikely team of detectives puzzle out why the school is being targeted by unkind magic, work out who is responsible for a very nasty body in the school pond and find out who is cursing the school before things get really serious?

Or will it mean that soon everyone will discover the truth about magic and the secret of the Charming witches?

The Howling Hag Mystery is published on July 1st, but if you want to get a sneaky early read of the opening chapters of the latest of my magical mysteries, you can download and read the first three chapters for free - right here:

As with the Seth Seppi Mysteries, the book is gorgeously produced.

And if you visit my YouTube channel, you can catch me reading the opening chapter of The Howling Hag Mystery:


You can subscribe to my YouTube Channel here. And I've even created a downloadable Howling Hag Mystery Quiz - that's for subscribers to my Mystery Journal and you can subscribe to that right here!

June 13, 2021

Who are Nightshade's favourite cats in fiction?

 Find out in my latest YouTube video! Nightshade takes a short break from all the detective work she is doing to speak about her favourite fictional cats. Don't forget to subscribe and click the bell icon on YouTube to never miss an upload. Happy reading!


June 07, 2021

5 Fabulous Facts About the Howling Hag Mystery

 Check out my latest YouTube video and Subscribe to my channel with the bell icon clicked so you never miss an upload!

April 20, 2021

Welcome to The Howling Hag Mystery

It's official - my fourth novel will be published in the UK on July 1 2021. 

And here is the cover of my fourth published novel (yes, I can hardly believe it's the fourth).

It is called The Howling Hag Mystery. It’s all about the hunt for a mischievous witch who is cursing the school in the sleepy village of Twinhills. And the jacket looks like this:

A huge thank you to the brilliance of illustrator Héloïse Mab. Such an exciting jacket! A little darker than my first three books I think? Do let me know what you think. I'd love to know. 

I even had official cover reveal for the new look from the amazing team at Bounce, who get a lot of books from smaller publishers into independent bookshops:



So things could not be more exciting!

The Howling Hag Mystery is of course a magical investigation. Strange things are happening and a team of young detectives must puzzle out what is behind the events in the secretive world of sorcerers. Is someone magical misbehaving? And how can they find out who it is and get them to stop? Magical detection has never been more difficult.

Nightshade - Seth's constant companion from my first three books - is involved in this investigation and this time she's in charge. She uses the detective powers she has learned from the cases she has solved with Seth Seppi to train up this new team of magical detectives.

‘How do we even investigate a magical crime?’

‘It’s not so different from any other crime. We establish facts, look for motives, narrow the suspects,’ I said, settling down in the sunshine. ‘We pay attention to detail.’ They hadn’t quite yet seen the whole picture. I’d have to get to that.


Here’s a bit more about the story:

Life is a constant challenge for Raven Charming. She goes to school in an ordinary village, but must keep an extraordinary secret. Her mother works very long hours as a curse-breaker, Raven’s grandma Snapdragon suffered a very unfortunate magical accident, and her sister, Rookery, is very magical indeed. But so far, Raven is the sister who is showing no signs of being magical at all.

But it is up to Raven to investigate when the peaceful world of Twinhills is threatened by a malicious witch. There is danger of the whole secretive world of the Elysee Sorcerers being exposed, not to say some very bad and dangerous magic being used by someone who seems intent on bringing cruel tricks and unkindness to school. 

Can Raven team up with the annoying new boy who knows nothing about magic, and the strange cat who has turned up and knows an awful lot about magic – and find out who is cursing the school before their crimes get serious?

There are clues and suspects, there is a very nasty body in the school pond, and there are an awful lot of jam tarts and of course . . . magic.

As always, I try to write the sort of books that I think children are going to want to keep reading, so I do hope you will enjoy this one, which is a slightly new direction from my first three books. But I hope all very good fun.

It’s about magic (of course), about family, friendship and identity, and how sometimes the biggest mystery to solve is how to discover your own unique talents and how to fit in when you have a lot of secrets to keep.  

Huge thanks to my publisher, Chicken House, for supporting me in yet another publishing journey. They asked me to write a new story that explored the shadowy secretive world of the Elysee Sorcerers but from a different angle. I thought it would be fun to think about how a magical family might try to fit into a world where magic is very rare and most people no longer believe in sorcery, especially if someone close to them is mis-using magic.

It is published on July 1. If you'd like to pre-order a copy of The Howling Hag Mystery you can do so already through your local independent bookshop, or here on the wonderful new indie-supporting website Bookshop.org.

Or of course through WaterstonesBlackwells or Amazon.

February 28, 2021

Page proofs have arrived!

Getting very close now to be able to reveal all the details of the new book coming July 1.

I have received my page proofs in the post, so will be making final changes this week.

I love the illustrations inside by Heloise Mab and can't wait to share more details with you all.


And thank you to Henry Box School in Witney for sharing a picture of their prize-winning books waiting to be read.




January 25, 2021

A big thank you and a prize

Anyone who reads my newsletter will know I like a puzzle and I offered a big one to solve in my last newsletter. Do sign up if you want to get involved in more competitions and give-aways.

I offered a prize of ten copies of my latest book The Cut-Throat Cafe to a school or reading group to thank all the readers, schools, libraries, booksellers and bloggers out there for all the truly marvellous support they give me.

My challenge was to guess some book titles. I have the answers here, but for anyone who would still like to play along for fun, I've also given the puzzle here. 

Guess a book title? Sounds easy? Well there is a catch – I have given you the title and the author, but I have removed all the vowels.

This is to celebrate my third book, so a clue is that all of the book titles are third books in series.

I am challenging you to spot a few more Famous Third Books. Another clue - they are not all children's books. Answers are give below (no peeking!).

1. TH MRDR F RGR CKRYD GTH CHRST

2. HRRY PTTR ND TH PRSNR F ZKBN JK RWLNG

3. TH FCLSS NS DRK LNDY

4. WTCH WK DN WYNN JNS

5. FRST CLSS MRDR RBN STVNS

6. TH HLLW BY JNTHN STRD

7. TH MYSTRY F TH SCRT RM ND BLYTN

8. TH TRNTY CD N CFR

9. TH TTN’S CRS RCK RRDN

10. KNTCKY THRLLR LRN ST JHN

11. TH THRD WHL JFF KNNY

12. TH THRTN SCRTS MCHLL HRRSN

13. HW T SPK DRGNS CRSSD CWLL

I know there are a couple of super tricky ones in there, so very best of luck.

Book birthdays

One of my favourite things about being a writer is when readers get in touch and tell you they have read one of your books.

And I know I am very fortunate that I have readers all over the world. So it is wonderful to announce some other places that are joining the family. This week I found out that the The Last Chance Hotel will be published in Lithuania, which I am really excited about.

The Bad Luck Lighthouse has just been published in Germany - and I was thrilled to discover that German schoolchildren have been reading Hotel der Magiers (what my publisher calls The Last Chance Hotel in Germany) in a legendary German reading competition involving 600,000 schoolchildren (although I don't think everyone would have read my book!)

I've written about this if you want to know more!

Virtually meeting my readers

Children's authors have had to make lots of changes, and the biggest change is meeting children virtually for events. I have had great fun meeting children online, and thank you to schools for organising these great events.

The children have done some impressive writing using my virtual workshops, and the questions have been brilliant!

If your school wants to get in touch and book a virtual event with me - take a look at how to book me for an event for more details.

Writing chat on YouTube

I’ve been continuing with my YouTube chats based on the many question I often get asked about writing.

The last few have been some of my thoughts on plotting – one of the closest things to my writing heart. And I plan to continue producing one of these every month.

If you want to know when something new is posted, you can subscribe to the channel if you would like to.

I will be back soon when I hope to be able to share with you not just the title, but the front cover of my latest book that will be published in 2021.

But for now, thank you once again for all the brilliant support I have received this year and - wherever you are in the world.

Answers!

1.      THE MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD AGATHA CHRISTIE

2.      HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN JK ROWLING

3.      THE FACELESS ONES DEREK LANDY

4.      WITCH WEEK DIANA WYNNE JONES

5.      FIRST CLASS MURDER ROBIN STEVENS

6.      THE HOLLOW BOY JONATHAN STROUD

7.      THE MYSTERY OF THE SECRET ROOM ENID BLYTON

8.      THE ETERNITY CODE EOIN COIFER

9.      THE TITAN’S CURSE RICK RIORDAN

10.   KENTUCKY THRILLER LAUREN ST JOHN

11.   THE THIRD WHEEL JEFF KINNEY

12.   THE THIRTEEN SECRETS MICHELLE HARRISON

13.   HOW TO SPEAK DRAGONESE CRESSIDA COWELL

Well done indeed if you got them all.