Scrapbook

SUNDAY EXPRESS – Sunday 22nd July

Biggest write-up in the newspapers yet and a great piece of coverage for the screenplay. The Californian movie producers have been pestering Calvin for ages to see the first script and I’ve only just sent it off to them.

One or two wee things about this article though… I didn’t say I was gorgeous, I didn’t lose my job, and saying there’s a bidding war for Gorgeous George and the Zigzag Zit-faced Zombies is stretching the truth a wee bit far.

But hey, there’s no such thing as bad publicity and the only thing worse than wrong publicity is no publicity at all.

 

As Seen on TV – ITV’s DAYBREAK
Get Britain Reading Campaign – 11th July 2012

That’s me on the left of the screen, the wide-eyed mad eekit making my television debut in ITV’s Daybreak. It was part of their Get Britain Reading campaign and I had been invited to Wales where Betws Primary had their library ravaged by fire and we were donating a hundred copies of Gorgeous George and the Giant Geritaric Generator andfew other titles that my then publisher was desperate to give away.

Although brief, I was thrilled with my appearance and meeting wth Daybreak’s very own Gethin Jones. Whilst that was being televised live my book and posters were plastered on the wall behind him.

After the cameras switched off we presented to over 200 teachers, parents and children, who had a great morning and were overwhelmed by the response from the Salvation Army and other book donators. There was some great praise and feedback from the programme’s producers so you never know, maybe they’ll ask me back on.

DAILY RECORD – Tuesday 26th June 2012

This was a shocker – just dropped Charley off at school and fancied a wee bit of breakfast so popped into the local shops for supplies and I bought a newspaper whilst I was in there. Hadn’t bought the Daily Record for ages but I like their football coverage so I plumped for that one.

Made my breakfast, sat down with a cuppa and started flicking through their Summer Special Book Supplement – I nearly choked on my  bacon buttie – there was my book Gorgeous George  and the Giant Geriatric Generator right there on the kids paged, in between David Walliams and Michael Morpurgo! I was shocked! I spent the next 10m minutes dancing around the living room before dropping a wee note of the the author and columnist Shari Low to say thanks for including me.

And she said some lovely things about the book ‘wickedly funny debut’ was my favourite. Well, it was until I read her review online and I’ll probably have to drop a fiver in the post to her at some point. ‘…an unmissable debut from a Scottish author who is on course to be a star of the future.’ And it only took 17 emails and two letters!

And I thought that was where it would end.

DAILY RECORD – Saturday 30th June 2012

But Shari was on a roll. Not content with featuring Gorgeous George….in the summer book supplement, she follows that up with a slot in the Daily Record’s Book Club on the following Saturday. An equally impressive write-up (well, it’s the same book) with the brilliant quote ‘I loved this clever story, and the people in it, especially Grandpa Jock, who was hilarious.’

All in all, an absolutely fantastic week, with two great reviews in Scotland’s bigest selling newspaper. I was chuffed to bits and still have these newspapers in my bedroom, stored away neatly in the ‘I Can’t Beleive This Is Happening ‘box.
Bare Naked Mummy – 24th April 2012

By now the blog sites were getting well and truly into Gorgeous George and the Giant Geriatric Generator. I was delighted with the response – until I saw this one. What kind of children’s website calls themselves ‘Bare Naked Mummy’? I thought I’d be sent this by mistake. I was actually a little scared to open it. Fortunately it wasn’t all bad.

This book has made Bel laugh with glee. I mean there are some really disgusting bits in the book, just think brown and sticky. I know as I read it too just to see what all the fuss was about.

If you ask Bel what the best bit was in it she will tell you that she loved Grandpa Jock and George’s ever mad imagination! And then the bogeys, poo and other gross things will come into the conversation.This books would I think suit boys and girls – just possibly not oversensitive princessy girls (which Bel isn’t one of by the way!)

Gorgeous George &The Giant Geriatric Generator is the work of Stuart Reid. In his own interview he comes across as the kinda man you know is a funny father. The kinda man who has a Superman costume and an allergy to ties.
Carry on the good work Stuart and write another one, please, even if it means that Bel can walk around the house practising her dreadful Scottish accent!

Thomas Cook Short Story Awards – April 26th April 2012

Sounds much grander than it actually was. Basically it’s me and about 60 other people squeezed into the front shop of the Thomas Cook on Falkirk High St, presenting an award to a girl called Freya from Comely Park about her trip to South Africa.

The best bit was that I got to meet the Thomas Cook mascots Dizzy and Shades. These guys couldn’t go anywhere without their minders and it was a tricky task trying to stop 30 excited kids swarming a 6ft tall shark in a shop. Poor Dizzy was a bit shell-shocked by the whole event.

I really wanted to chase the mascots down the street on my scooter, maybe race them around the steep and back again, jumping over the water fountain and through the gardens. Vicky the Thomas Cook manager would have to commentate on the whole event, shouting ‘And here comes the dolphin!’

Aah, I really miss Its A Knockout.

Actually Mummy – April 23rd 2012

Another blog, allegedly written by a 9 year old girl but I suspect her mum has "Drawing by Calvin Innes"something to do with it. Either way, it was a goodie….

Yes, I know I’m supposed to enjoy more classical stuff, but really I’m much happier getting down and dirty with the sneaky tricks in this book! Whilst Mummy turned up her nose at the poo incident I describe below, I have to confess that it was my favourite section of the book!

Mummy says that this is probably not a book that Grandma would enjoy, nor one we should tell my teacher about, but it is a really good read, with enough intrigue and challenge for a good 7+ reader to covertly snigger over. Far from being naff, it is linguistically complex enough to give me some challenge, but interesting enough to keep me wanting to learn more, so it ticks all the boxes!

Woo hoo, check that out. ‘Linguistically complex enough’ – I thought I just wrote about poo, pee and pumps.

Larger Family Life – 22nd March 2012

Larger Family Life is a blog written by this woman and her massive tribe of children. She is as passionionate about reading as I am so she’s read more than her fair share of books. Her kids are all avid readers so they knew their stuff. And she wrote…

I like that the children get to review books. We get sent different types, with different stories and tones to them. Then we were sent Gorgeous George: And the Giant Geriatric Generator and oh… my… goodness

This book is disgusting, it’s horrible, it’s gross and it’s absolutely brilliant!

Yes,, the boys who read it loved it.  They really, really loved it.  It could have been the endless references to bogies, farting and wee or the fantastically juvenile sense of humour which 43 year old Stuart Reid wrote with, or the sheer talent of illustrator of Calvin Innes whose drawings bring the story to life.  It could, of course, be a mixture of all of those things.  Whatever it was, the boys loved it.

So, wanting to know myself what made this book so appealing to them I decided to flick through it.  Then flicking through it resulted in me reading it and I found myself giggling away at the story myself.  Whatever it was, I could see why the boys loved it so much.

This is a fantastic piece of light, humourous reading for both the young and young at heart and we will definitely be looking out for more of Stuart Reid’s writing.  Let’s just say he’s not the kind of person you’d find Arianna Huffington asking to write for the Huffington Post.  But boy, he’s funny!

Wow, I’d forgotten how good this one was. I’m filling up just reading it again.

The Real Supermum Blog - 22nd March 2012

Two on the same day!!! We were shocked, stunned and overcome with supersonic amazement. Thanks Casey, aged 9 and her own Supermum, a finalist in the 2011 Women Of Courage Award so she must be brilliant!

The cover of the book is bright and funny so makes you want to read it. The book itself was a enjoyable read and I liked that it had short paragraphs so was easy to read to the children over a period of nights.

It is designed for children aged 9+ and as Casey is 9 and has a great reading age this was ideal for her.

Gorgeous George: and the Giant Geriatric Generator is rather funny in a strange sort of way. The book is beautifully written and illustrated from start to end.

It’s an absolute must for kids AND adults alike!

 

Litlest Book Shop in Falkirk – 7th July 2012

Absolutely fantastic book shop that is sadly closed. It was a busy little place run but a cool couple Marissa and Pete, selling great value books for all ages but sales slumped when the shopping centre lost the cafe next door and didn’t replace it. Naturally footfall decreased throughout the centre but I hear Marissa and Pete have a new venture called Into the Nitemare clothing range that is destined to do great things.

 

Read It Daddy Blog – 20th February 2012

Do online book reviews belong in a scrapbook? I suppose they are proper reviews by real people but I haven’t tried to copy and paste any pictures or screenshots, just follow the links to their sites. These came in during the early days of the Gorgeous George adventure so we were delighted to receive them.

Read It, Daddy was the first one and although I thought that Charlotte aged 4 would’ve been a little too young to enjoy, I was pleasantly proved otherwise.

What have an inquisitive schoolboy, a mad bagpipe-playing trumping granddad and an insidious power company all got in common? The answer lies in the fabulous book “Gorgeous George and the Giant Geriatric Generator” from indie publishers My Little Big Town.

Though it’s aimed at older children than my busy four year old (Four today! Happy Birthday Charlotte!), she had a lot of fun listening to me read extracts of the book, looking at Calvin Innes’ quirky and humorous illustrations, and of course giggling like a drain at the trump-tastic gags in the book itself. A great romp peppered with plenty of plopping, farting and evil doings courtesy of Stuart Reid’s fantastic imagination. Perfectly complimented by Calvin Innes illustrations which are great fun too, this is the sort of book that deserves to become a bit of a children’s cult classic. Charlotte’s best bit – Giggling about Grandad’s trumping and bagpipe music Daddy’s favourite bit – The wonderful slow-burn build up of tension and the story to the fantastic conclusion (which I won’t spoil). Rating – 4 out of 5 stars

I love that phrase ‘desrves to become a children’s cult classic.’

Falkirk Herald 9th February 2012

It was just at this point I was beginning to think about becoming a full time author/presenter. I’d presented at around 20 schools and I was loving the buzz from standing up in front of an audience and making them laugh with my book.

Here, I was invited to Laurieston Primary school to offically open their new library. The Head, Malcolm Cowie is an absolute gentleman and a budding author himself, the school’s part-time librarian Gillian was great help with the council and is now full-time librarian at Falkirk libraries and the dinner lady even fed me full with extra helping of baguettes and chocolate biscuits.

I remember being terrified when this picture was being taken. There I was, standing with an enormous pair of sharp scissors, being jostled a bunch of excitable schoolchildren, whislt a photographer syood on a ladder shouting at us to stare upwards and smile. The look on my face is one of ‘I’m about to lose a finger!’

Falkirk Herald 16th September 2011

A fantastic present on the day after my 44th birthday; my first article about Gorgeous George in my local newspaper. The book had been out two weeks by then and I’d been pestering the Herald with emails to get me featured.

It’s just a local interest story complete with lazy journalistic errors – I was never a debt collector in Dubai; I said I was forced to act like one, recouping outstanding payments for my hotel from beleaguered companies hit by the big Dubai bubble bursting. But I love it! You never forget your first time.

Lisa the photographer even came back round to the house with a copy of the book for me to sign for her niece’s brithday.

 

Coming soon…..

The Steve Wright Show – Radio 2 on Wednesday 18th July (once I work out how to put sound clips on here. It’s on his download at about 1hr 30mins apparently)

Waterstones Falkirk – Saturday 21st July

Families Magazine – Central Scotland – August/September

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