Rhyming PI

Updated March 2017 (Originally published: Oct 3, 2014)

This morning, on the train journey back home, and inspired by Holly Smale‘s reading from her series of books at the Hertford Children’s Book Festival, I started to wonder if I could use rhyme effectively, to teach children something useful. What about PI? Well … [Read more…]

Free Halloween Scare Worksheets For Children

Brittany from tickledpinkinprimary has created a couple of lovely Halloween Scare worksheets for free. Grab yours now!

halloween activity sheets

Author Book Reading Via Skype – What I Learned

author skype

For a relatively unknown and inexperienced children’s author like myself, public appearances are daunting enough: dozens of unforgiving children, staring up at you, demanding to be entertained. But at least you are face to face. At least you can read the look in their eyes and adjust your approach accordingly.

Now imagine doing it over Skype* with up to 100 pupils at a time, and a short delay between you speaking and their reaction. When I was approached by Howard-Winn in Iowa, to do just that, I almost declined. I’m so glad I didn’t. [Read more…]

A Halloween Scare children’s story (full audio for free!)

It’s October and Halloween is almost upon us! To celebrate the release of all 29 versions of “A Halloween Scare” I have uploaded the entire UK version to YouTube, for free! By that I mean the book, read by Pavel Douglas and animated by me. Yes that’s right, snuggle up under the duvet, turn out the lights and scare yourself silly!

If you like it, please share it with your friends and family. Remember: Scaring is caring!

YouTube link below:

A Halloween Scare at My House (UK) was written by Eric James, illustrated by Marina Le Ray and has been voiced by Pavel Douglas (Please note, there have been minor text changes to “A Halloween Scare in My House (UK version) since this was recorded”).

Halloween Book California

The image & verse below are taken from “A Halloween Scare in California” – a little nod to their former Governor (out now!)

A Halloween Scare in California

A Halloween Scare in California

Also see Kentucky

Halloween Book Kentucky

The image & verse below are taken from  “A Halloween Scare in Kentucky” (out now!)

Halloween Book Kentucky

Quick Overview of Nosy Crow’s Children’s Writing Conference

master_crow_with_bleed_hi-resI spent yesterday (Saturday 13th Sept) at the 2014 Nosy Crow conference and thought I’d knock together a quick post to serve as a recap for this year’s attendees … and a teaser for next year’s  (note: I was awake for over 20 hours straight yesterday, so you may have to excuse the odd typo here and there!)

What is NCConf?

It’s a one day conference held in London and hosted by children’s book publisher Nosy Crow. It’s currently in its second year. It’s open to everyone but geared towards authors and illustrators who are not yet established. The title of the conference sums it up best: “Everything you wanted to know about children’s publishing but were afraid to ask.” (hashtag #NCConf) [Read more…]

Monsters’ Menu – Free Audio (Children’s Bedtime Rhyming Book)

I wrote this little rhyming story about monsters and food back in 2010/2011. In June 2014 I had it read by the wonderful Pavel Douglas and now it’s been illustrated by the talented Frankie Cadillac. For the time being I thought I’d put it up on my YouTube channel and share it with you for free.

You should be able to view the video below, but if not you’ll find it on my channel. If you like it, PLEASE share the link with your friends. It would mean a lot to me!

(sign up to my mailing list and I’ll tell you when I release new rhymes!)

Update: And here is the original artwork on its own:

monsters menu artwork


The Making of a Very Cheap & Slightly Rubbish Superhero Costume!

tshirt transfer printer paperAh the joys of having a three year old. This Saturday we will not be sunning ourselves in the garden or enjoying a cheeky half in the pub. No, instead we will be escorting Max to a Superheroes and Princesses party.

Rather than buy an off-the-shelf outfit we thought it would be fun to make something bespoke – a good excuse to buy some transfer paper, a plain white t-shirt and have a go at t-shirt transfers.

Superheroes have to accessorise of course, so in addition to the t-shirt materials we bought an eye mask, ‘superhero bracelets’ (sweat bands) and had a cape made for us (£3!). All that was left was to figure out a superhero name and logo …


The logo was easy – I had an old one sitting around (*cough* check the logo on this site which is meant to represent an open and closed speech mark, but also happens to look like a superhero style letter “S”), and as for the name, well the obvious choice was “Super Max”! Not just because his name is Max, but also because in U.S. parlance a “supermax” is a prison intended to hold the “worst of the worst” – a most suitable moniker for a three year old, don’t you think? 😉

Max Says Thank You For The Kickstarter Pledges

Here’s a little video from last year’s Kickstarter campaign for Max’s Little Brother (click to read the whole book for free). I recorded Max saying “Thank you for the pledges”, and here it is:

The Children’s Halloween Story Books Are In!

I know, I know! It’s only the start of summer so who on earth is thinking of Halloween at a time like this? Me! I’m very pleased to announce that the first batch of Halloween books have arrived. It’s my first published book (yes, via a publishing company!)

halloween stories

How it came about

Late last year, in November I attempted to use crowd-funding to publish a book. I didn’t hit my target amount, but I did end up being put in contact with a publisher. “We need a Halloween story for children” they said. “Okay,” I said, “I’ll do my best!” and here it is. It’s largely thanks to support from friends and supporters on Social Media that this happened. Thank you guys, you know who you are!

The story

The book is about a little child on Halloween night, and what they see outside their window. And of course it has a MAJOR plot twist at the end, ensuring children are left feeling empowered rather than scared! [Read more…]

Read For Free! Large Version Now Online

I thought I’d put the entire Max’s Little Brother book online, for you to read, and I thought I’d make it bigger! I hope you enjoy it. If you do, why not join my mailing list where you can find out about my next book!

free book maxs little brother

Three New Images (Max’s Little Brother)

Three re-drawn illustrations from my book Max’s Little Brother, drawn by the wonderful Minkee:

Children's illustration

Children's illustration

children's rhyming book

Book Reading (World Book Day)

I’ve very kindly been invited to do my first book reading on 6th March 2014 as part of World Book Day. I’ll be at Miles House Nursery in Bath, so if you have a child that attends, why not come and say hello.

World Book Day

What will I be reading? Well, that’s a secret! You’ll have to come along to find out!!

Expand Your Text … To Increase Your Productivity!

For writers: I love my productivity tools, and one I can’t live without is TextExpander – when you see what it can do, you may not be able to live without it either. This particular bit of software is Mac only, but there are various great alternatives available for both Windows and Mac. So what is a text expander and why is it so useful? Well, here are a few examples …  [Read more…]

How To Create 3D Books, Boxes, CDs and Merchandise Mockups For Free

halloween monsters bookHave you ever wanted to create a 3D rendered image of your book cover, like I’ve done here, for use on your website or for use in promotional material?

What about putting your own images on to software boxes, t-shirts, CDs, mugs and so on? [Read more…]

Why I’ve Fallen In Love With Scrivener

A post for fellow writers …
I’ve heard a lot of good things about Scrivener but I wasn’t convinced it would be the right tool for me, particularly as my current project, writing location-based rhymes, seemed like a bit of an odd use-case (note: although my use-case is unusual, the solution is something I believe will be incredibly useful to most of you in the context of your work).

I took the plunge, and I’m delighted to say that Scrivener has been proving phenomenally useful. I only discovered it at the tail end of the writing process, but I can see how incredibly valuable it will be during the upcoming editing phase. One feature in particular stands out for me, Collections, and so I thought I’d write a short post about them, and how they’re helping to ease my workload …


A problem to solve

This year my very first book will be published. It’s a rhyming story for children; Technically it will be my very first 30+ book titles, as there are location-based variations such as “A Halloween Scare in Texas”, “A Halloween Scare in Kentucky”, “A Halloween Scare in Bristol” and so on (I’ll be announcing more details soon on my mailing list if you’re interested).  This format required me to write a core rhyme, and then write a number of bespoke verses for each locale. Here’s an example of the kind of thing I needed to do: [Read more…]

Cow Likes Cheese

Something silly for the weekend …

poem - cow likes cheese

5 Great Reasons Writers Should Use a Pen Name (AKA Pseudonym)

People keep asking me why I write under a pen name. Here’s a little post I wrote on the subject.

Pen names, nom de plumes, literary doubles and pseudonyms – all ways of describing the fictitious names we adopt when authoring content. Some people love them, some hate them, but is there ever a valid reason for using them? I’d say yes, and if you like I’ll tell you why …

whats in a name

[Read more…]

Quote From “Something in the Cellar”

childrens quotes