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Big News: Book Launch + Giveaway!

Well, Friends, it’s really happening.

Katie Watson and the Painter’s Plot launches this Sunday,

December 10th! 

For those of you who haven’t heard, this is my debut MG novel, written last year during NaNo. Now, over a year later, it’s finally making its way out into the world with River Otter Books.

(You can find out more about the book on my website: Mezblume.com)

You will find the book on Amazon & in all good bookshops in both print and digital, and as a little bonus, I’ve included a link inside the book to download a free audiobook version. *(hint: look in the inside cover of the ebook!).

And speaking of FREE…

I’m so eager to share this story, I’ve decided to run a 5 DAY FREE PROMO!

That means from 10 – 15 December, you can download the ebook absolutely free.

**So, basically, that picture of the cosy Kindle-reader by the fire could be YOU this 10 December!** 😉

Now for the Contest. drum roll, please …

I’m giving away free signed copies of the book to 2 winners, announced on Dec. 11th. Here’s how to enter for a chance to win one:

  • Visit Amazon (in the site for whichever country you live) on 10 Dec. and download the FREE Kindle version of Katie Waston and the Painter’s Plot
  • Return to this post and leave a comment to say you’ve downloaded!

For a second entry:

  • Share this page on your own site, or post this banner (below) on Social Media
  • Return to this post and leave a comment to say you’ve shared

Need a little mystery this Christmas? Sherlock meets Shakespeare in...-2

I’m truly proud of this book, and I’d love to see it in the hands of folks like you — fellow readers, writers & tea-drinkers!

And of course, please leave me a review on Amazon after you’ve read it. I’d love to know what you thought!

Thank you for all the support, and GOOD LUCK!

Mez Blume

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PS. Don’t worry if you don’t have a Kindle. Amazon provides an e-reader download for your device.

PPS. If you’re a reviewer and interested in receiving an advance copy for review, please do get in touch!

 

What’s your life story in books?

I recently became aware of a funny phenomenon. That is, I can draw clear lines around the seasons of my life based on what I was reading when. And in a pretty impacting way, the books I read have shaped my life.

Sounds a little hokey put like that, so let me explain it with my story.

As a small child (& as an older child), I loved Winnie-the-Pooh. The whimsical language, the innocent beauty, something about it captivated me and made me yearn to find and put down my roots in the Hundred Acre Wood.

Something similar happened to me when my family read The Chronicles of Narnia together one year. It was more than entertainment… it pulled at my heartstrings, almost like a calling home.

Flash forward a few years. When I was around eleven years old, my big sister introduced me to an author who would forever change my life, that being the one and only Jane Austen. I fell head-over-hills and read everything she’d written (and watched the films), as well as everything written about her I could get my hands on. In those days, I lived in a constant Jane Austen world in my own mind. To live in her actual world in England became my burning desire.

Then came Tolkien. Still in my middle school years, I took my first journey to Middle Earth and never recovered (in a good way). The story combined for me the old world Britain I’d come to love along with the ancient, foresty, far away magic of Narnia.  Once again, all roads seemed to point to England.

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My high school years are pretty much summed up by the stacks of books still collecting dust in my old bedroom, and the one thing they have in common: Classics. I had no time for modern literature, and certainly not teen literature as a teenager. I couldn’t get enough of the old stuff, and especially if it was English. The books I read continued to shape my dreams of a future in another, more ancient and quirky culture. And, let’s face it, I was a bit of a literature snob. I still remember brining Oliver Twist to school and Bri snatching it out of my hand and finishing it in a day. *Yes, she was that annoyingly quick at reading, even then!

The books I read as a kid shaped and chiselled and fuelled my dreams so much, that, at the ripe old age of 21, I actually moved to England! Those early days of immigrating to a new land–even though it was my soul home!–were trying, and I can’t imagine having got through them without the guiding light of books by C.S. Lewis, G.K.Chesterton, George MacDonald and the like. Those authors spoke Truth, made good sense and came off the page like old friends sharing a cup of tea in the next chair. Just what I needed that season of change!

Now, eight years later, that far-off land of my childhood dreams is simply home. In many ways, it’s just become ordinary. But it hasn’t disappointed. I’ve visited the actual Hundred Acre Wood, spent a year in Tolkien & Lewis’s Oxford haunts, and even dressed up in regency attire for the Jane Austen Festival in Bath (oh yea, & I’ve totally had butter beer and ridden a broom at Harry Potter Studios). And I still catch myself frequently observing about some place or other, “It’s just like in Pooh/Jane Austen/Middle Earth/etc.!” It’s like Kathleen Kelly says in “You’ve Got Mail”,

So much of what I see in life reminds me of something I read in a book, when… shouldn’t it be the other way around?

I don’t know, Kathleen. For me, the books have been the catalyst for the real-life adventures, and I’m just fine with that.

So what about now?

Well, these days books play as vital a role in my life as ever… in fact, now that I’m writing them, I’d say they’ve become my bread & butter!

But the books on the shelves in my little London flat are rather different than those in my childhood bedroom. Ironically, they’re mostly contemporary kids books! IMG_0451 2-2

It’s as if, having missed out on all the young, new literature in my youth, I’m making up for it now as an adult. And I’m enjoying every minute of it! Sure, I still make time for little reunions with Dickens, Austen and the like, but I’m also discovering new worlds in Middle Grade literature I’ve never yet visited. And who knows where they’ll lead me next?

Suffice it to say, I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am without books. Good Story is not only a gift from God, but a tool he’s used to shape me & direct me… to write my own story! And I think that’s pretty brilliant.

Can you tell your “Life Story in Books”?
Has a book you read inspired you to go on a real-life adventure?

Book Haul: WW2 books for kids

I don’t normally do book hauls. In fact, this would be my first. But this year, I’ve read quite a lot on one particular subject, and that is WW2. The reason for my thematic reading? My current writing project is a middle grade adventure story based around the time of the Battle of Britain. Hence I’ve been reading as much as I can in the genre, both to educate myself and simply to get immersed in the setting of 1940s Great Britain.

And it’s been GREAT! As a fantasy lover, I never expected to find so many fantastic WW2-themed books for young readers, but there are loads of what I would definitely call Must-Reads. So whether you’ve any interest in learning about war time Britain, or just have a fascination with that bygone era, here is a list of books I deem not-to-be-missed!

1. When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, by Judith Kerr

I can’t tell you how many times this book has been recommended to me, not by WW2 buffs, but by young children who declare it to be their favourite book. At last I know why! In “Pink Rabbit”, Judith Kerr, the author of The Tiger Who Came to Tea, tells the story of her own childhood as a German Jewish refugee in Switzerland, Paris, and at last England. Told from a child’s perspective, the experience of fleeing Nazi persecution is coloured with humour, adventure and family love. It’s irresistible!

2. Bombs on Aunt Dainty, also by Judith Kerr

This is the sequel to “Pink Rabbit,” & I would definitely place it in the YA bracket. This book cover Anna’s (Judith’s character) teen years in London during the Blitz. There’s certainly a lot more war action & apparent hardship in this one, but still the story features mostly on Anna’s relationships, dreams to become an artist, and first love. It was brilliant to follow the characters I’d grown to love in the first book right on into the next chapters of their lives. I’m often cautious about reading a sequel of a book I’ve really love less it fails to deliver & leaves me disappointed. Well this was one sequel which did not disappoint!

3. Goodnight Mr. Tom, by Michelle Magorian  Goodnight

I can’t believe I’d never read this book before. It’s considered a classic of our age, & now I see why. It’s the story of Willie Beech, an abused, neglected evacuee from London who comes to live with a grumpy old widow (Mr. Tom) in the country. Slowly but surely, the two get beneath one another’s skin and change each other. There is so much that is heartbreaking in this book, but also so much triumphant goodness that it’s worth the heartbreak! Read it, & I defy you not to cry!

4. Carrie’s War, by Nina Bawden

carries-warAnother one about evacuees (naturally a popular topic for kid’s lit since being shipped off from home to a strange new place is a ready-made adventure!). Carrie & her younger brother are sent to Wales to live with the domineering, grumpy Mr. Evans and his meek sister Aunty Lou. There is little war action in the far-removed Welsh village, but the story is filled with interesting characters, mystery & unexpected twists. It’s quite an quick & easy read as well!

5. Friend or Foe, by Michael Morpurgo

Morpurgo is a master of writing war for children. Whilst most everyone knows about hisforf title War Horse thanks to the hollywood production, he has in fact produced volumes of WW1 & 2-set stories for middle grade readers. This particular story follows, once again, two evacuees boys, but thankfully they get landed with a big-hearted dairy farmer & his wife. The action takes off when the boys witness a German plane crash & discover two of its crew alive & hiding in a nearby field. The boys have to struggle with their own pasts and consciences to decide whether to help the men– enemies though they are– or turn them in. This too is a quick & easy read, but rather thought provoking for young readers & old alike!

6. From Anna, by Jean Little

From_Anna_(Jean_Little)I’m still in the middle of this one, but it’s captured my heart already! Similar to When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, this story follows a little girl, also Anna, whose family flees Germany at the advent of the Nazi regime. Only there’s a twist to this one — Anna has always been the odd one out in her family & at school, & only when the family make their move to Canada does she discover the reason! Then everything changes for her. Though I don’t yet know how this one ends, it’s already taken me on an emotional rollercoaster, but I’ve loved every minute of it!

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So there you have it! I hope if you’ve never read on this subject (as I had not till quite recently), you’ll give it a go! I’d also love to hear your recommendations of books for kids set around war.

And watch this space! I’ll be sharing some snippets of my own WW2 novel for you to review veeeeery soon!

 

Top 10 Best Buddies in Books

This month all our posts have featured the common theme ofLove. ‘Tis the season after all, so we’re making the most it!

But of course gooey mushy gushy love isn’t the only type there is on the market. In fact, most of our favourite books feature another type (one particularly near & dear to our hearts as Bri & I are long-time BFFs): Friendship! Whether it’s leader + follower, hero + sidekick, or partners in crime, the world of Story is populated by pairs of BFFs. These dedicated duos make us laugh with their antics, tear-up with their sacrifices & remind us that an adventure is always twice as nice when shared with a friend.

There are SO many to choose from, but here are just a few of our top Best-Buddy Duos:

Mez’s Favourite Besties

Some of the ultimate Best-Buddy duos belong to classic picture books. Who could forget the likes of Winnie the Pooh and Piglet, looking out for each other in the face of potential Heffulumps and Woozles, encouraging one another when balloons burst or houses flood, and simply enjoying the sunset side-by-side?

windwillows_sampleThen there’s Ratty and Moley from Wind in the Willows. I just love this unlikely friendship between the adventurous, river-wise Rat and the hitherto reclusive, homebody Mole. Yet their differences are what make their friendship so special, each helping the other to see the world threw new lenses, Ratty growing more sensitive and Moley more daring with each new venture.

Similarly, Frog and Toad (the Frog and Toad series) are another example of friends whose differences compliment one another. I love the way the even-keeled Frog looks after the rather tempermental Toad, helping him find lost buttons, grow stubborn seeds and wake-up to enjoy the Spring together. frog-toad

Moving on to books for older readers, I could hardly leave out Toothless and Hiccup from the How to Train Your Dragon series. Though the misfit boy and the grouchy little dragon get off  to a bumpy start, they can’t resist the bond between them. The film version of these characters is delightful in ittumblr_static_hiccup-and-toothlesss own way, but reading the friendship grow in the books makes you want to laugh and cry at the same time!

One of my all time favourites has to be Anne Shirley and Diana Barry from Anne of Green Gables. While Anne is definitely the leader of the duo, Diana becomes her bosom friends anne-diana-anne-of-green-gables-31177618-800-608because she accepts Anne as she is, with all her quirks and “odd little ways.” And do they ever get into some delightful scrapes together! This is another friendship portrayed beautifully in film version – it’s so fun to watch them grow up together!

And one of the all-time BBF duos, Frodo and Sam from the Lord of the Rings. While this friendship falls into the hero + sidekick category, it’s special because Frodo really couldn’t make it to Mordor without Sam. Sam’s canine-like loyalty without question, humble courage and perseverance through tough times make him the epitome of a True Friend. Frodo & Sam in Field.png

Bri’s Favorite Besties

Sophie and Monster from The Girl Who Couldn’t Dream Sophie dreamt Monster to life as a young girl and they’ve been inseparable since. bookMonster lives to protect Sophie and he is
her only friend. When disaster strikes Sophie’s family, she and Monster work together to set things right.

Elizabeth and Jane from Pride and Prejudice These girls aren’t only friends, but sisters. United against the silliness of jane-and-elizabeththeir mother and three younger sisters, they navigate the ups and downs of their respective romances, trying to find their happiness in life.

Tip and J. Lo from The True Meaning Smekday Tip, and eleven-year-old girl, and J. Lo, an alien from an invading race, start out as bitter enemies, only together because they need each other. Eventually they become friends, even calling each other siblings. Together, the two of them set out to save the world.

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Ali and Kat from Alice in Zombieland 
When Kat and Ali meet, Ali had just lost her family and been transferred to a new school. Their friendship strikes up quickly and when things get rough, Kat’s loyalty and support help Ali come to terms with the truth of her family’s death: zombies.

Who are your favourite BFFs in Fiction?

Wednesday Readers’ Cafe: what’s your favourite book about L.O.V.E?

Hey there, folks!

This month, we are milking the “Love theme” at Brewhaha Book Café. In case you missed it, earlier this week Bri  brought you a list of her top 10 favourite YA romances  (and that’s really narrowing it down… she read A LOT of YA romances! I’ve seen her bookshelves. I can tell you.).

I didn’t contribute to that particular list because (don’t hate me!) I’m more of a Middle Grade kinda girl, though I can’t get enough of Bri’s YA romances, sure to top many lists in the future once they’re published!

But today, being Wednesday, we want to hand you the mic and ask:

What’s your favourite book about love?

And feel free to think outside the box. Love extends beyond romance, right? It could be a book about friendship, sibling love, parent-child love. Or it could just be a soppy old lovely romance. You choose!

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We look forward to hearing about your lovey-dovey book faves in the comments below!

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