Archive for February, 2013

Seven Wonders: The Colossus Rises Book Trailer

The day after twelve-year-old Jack McKinley is told he has six months to live, he awakens on a mysterious island, where a secret organization promises to save his life – but with one condition. With his three friends, Jack must lead a mission to retrieve seven lost magical orbs, which, only when combined together, can save their lives. The challenge: the orbs have been missing for a thousand years, lost among the ruins and relics of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. With no one else to turn to and no escape in sight, the four friends have no choice but to undertake the quest. First stop: The Colossus of Rhodes … where they realise that there’s way more at stake than just their lives.

The Colossus Rises is the first book in Peter Lerangis’ action-packed new series called Seven Wonders. It has been described as ‘Percy Jackson meets Eragon’ and it sounds really exciting.  You might recognise Peter Lerangis as one of the authors of The 39 Clues series.

Reserve your copy of Seven Wonders: The Colossus Rises at your library now.

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The weekend

We’re coming to the weekend here now – Friday and Saturday are days off here, not Saturday and Sunday. Often we’re thinking about going camping, dune driving or exploring on our Image

days off. Going to PLACES.

Place or setting can be hugely important – in my historical thriller the history is tied to the places involved, in my other books the setting has to be authentic. Take the picture I posted and think about where it could lead. Would you have to swim or climb to get there? What if there was an accident? Could someone be waiting?

It’s a picture of a canyon in Wadi Bani Awf in Oman. When it rains these canyons and wadi’s flood very quickly and people are often swept away. Maybe rain could generate the excitement in your story.

Have a good weekend!


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This is a sign we came across in Sri Lanka. It’s certainly affected our plan to go for a swim just there. 

Planning is hugely important.  People can work differently, but I know where my story is going before I even start page one. Planning is mostly about the plot and for a thriller plot it is hugely important. You have to know who goes where and why, you have to know what happens and it all has to work. I can’t stand movies with huge holes in their plot – where someone miraculously turns up to save the day for no particular reason. It’s entirely up to the writer to make the story work, and if it doesn’t they you have to change something to make sure it does. 


Because I’m writing a historical thriller I have to make sure it ties pretty closely with history and I have to research that. I love creating a story where it is very hard to guess what is true and what is made up. You have to tie everything in, and when you really start to know your subject it’s amazing how you find places and events that fit with your plot. 

I was searching for an historic church in England that a woodturner was going to return to. I found a list of ancient churches and the second one I looked at happened to be the oldest wooden church in the world with an unnamed Crusader grave at its doorstep. It was perfect and because it was wooden I could also have my woodturner making something that was part of the structure and is still there now. It made my day. 

Planning is challenging, but its often where you create the twists and turns and I think its the aspect of writing that is the most fun. 

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ImageFor my latest book I’ve been researching a lot of history, right back to 1096 AD when the Crusading Knights left Europe and retook Jerusalem. Did you know that before the First Crusade there was a People’s Crusade that was made up of fewer knights and many pilgrims including women and children. Around 40 000 left on that pilgrimage (they weren’t called Crusades back then) and they were wiped out in what is now Turkey.

Is there any moment in history that you find interesting or inspiring?

How about one of these:

* Signing the Treaty of Waitangi

* Discovery of New Zealand by Tasman, Cook or Polynesian voyager

* The First or Second World War

* King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

* Rome and the Roman Empire

* The Ancient Greeks

* The Ice Age – men lived alongside mammoth, sabre tooth, giant sloths etc. (I wrote a teen series set in this period – The Chronicles of Stone.

* Early settlers in New Zealand or Australia

* First powered flight by the Wright brothers or Richard Pearce

History offers some great material for writing. So does the future. Perhaps I’ll write something about this on my next blog.

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The Lost City of Petra.

I liked Rajansomanathan’s description of the photo  – Looks like a grand entrance to a fort hewn into a hill side. It’s a building called the Treasury within the Lost City of Petra in Jordan. Unfortunately it’s much more grand on the outside than the inside.

There is a rumour that the lost treasure of the Nabateans is hidden inside the conical dome at the top of the cylinder. If you get up close you can see bullet holes where people have fired guns at it to try and break it open.

Here are some more photos – I think Petra is a great setting for a story. ImageImageImageImage

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Story in Under 50 Words

Has anyone summarised their story in under 50 words? I’m looking forward to seeing what you’ve come up with. If you haven’t got a story try and write 50 words that would go on the back cover of a book set in the place in the photo – Petra in Jordan. What could it be about – hidden treasure, ghosts, an ancient civilization, giants? Image

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Scrap – Tale of a Blond Puppy.


Hi everyone,

I’ve got a new series coming out very soon, about a blond heading dog. It was partly inspired by this dog, Lana, who is a working sheepdog and won the National Heading Dog Champs in 2007. She’s blond, which is quite an unusual colour for a heading dog and some farmers don’t like them as they think the sheep don’t react the same to a blond dog. I wanted to write a book about a working sheepdog for a long time and her story gave me the inspiration I needed.

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