So, last year was probably the worst year of my life. My mother passed away in October after contracting a disease known as TEN or Toxic epidermal necrolysis. It is so rare (1 in a million) that it is counted as an accident. It was a severe reaction to a medication that manifested as third degree burns over most of her body (both inside and out). It killed her within a week and for much of that, she was in dreadful pain. At the end, she was in an induced coma so we couldn't say goodbye properly. It was a terrible way to die.
My sister, Michelle, was intellectually handicapped. She was not downs but had a mental age of around 7-8. She had lived with Mum and Dad all her life. Like the rest of our family, she watched Mum pass away in horrible circumstances. Three weeks after Mum died, my sister disappeared. We think the passing of Mum hit her harder than we thought. After 5 days of frantic searching through dense bush, she was finally found. She had fallen down a bank into a stream, hit her head and drowned. Thankfully, it would've been quick and we are lucky she was found at all. If she hadn't, we would still cling to some forlorn hope that she was somehow still alive. At least now we have closure.
Afterwards, I took stress leave from work.
The kids in my class wrote me letters of condolence. I think some of them deserve to be shared.
I sent this one to my brother. He was surprised to hear that he'd also passed away. The person lying down is presumably dead but it appears more like a bed than a coffin. Maybe they are having a little nap?
I like how this author has highlighted AND just in case I'd forgotten that both of them had passed away. And to hammer home the point, the author has also added three exclamation marks. In a desperate attempt to soften the blow, they've added a nice flower.
The author here is much more subtle. Rather than dwell on my loss, they've decided to focus on my good points - that is, I am a great football player. Whilst not entirely true, it did make me feel better.
Even at the time, I laughed at these. I'm laughing still.
I have been remiss in my blogging efforts. Apologies. In an effort to address this, here's a new post about a couple of new education books coming out in August, 2019 through U.S publisher, Capstone
You can find the tundra biome book here on Amazon
And the marine biome book here
Oh, happy day. On May 19th (5.30-6.30), I'll be interviewing the highly accomplished and magnificent Amie Kaufman at the Auckland Writers Festival.
Click here to go to the event
"New York Times top-selling YA science fiction writer Amie Kaufman is renowned for multi-textual collaborations that take readers off-piste. In Illuminae, created with Jay Kristoff and optioned by Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment, the storytelling is dynamic and incorporates transcripts, interviews and graphics. Kaufman is also the co-author of The Starbound Trilogy, and the much-anticipated Unearthed. She speaks to Phillip Simpson about multi-layered storytelling, and transportation to other universes."
It's throwback Thursday time!! Check out MINOTAUR #month9books #yalit #bookstagram #booknerdigans #mythology #historical #fantasy #tbt #m9bthrowbackthursday
New book out now with Essential Resources for years 4-8!
Click here for link
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My U.S publisher, Month9books, is doing a Goodreads giveaway (print copies) of some of their books including my own MINOTAUR and ARGOS. Starting Saturday 16th August. Available only to those in the U.S I'm afraid.
‘Tis the eve of the release of my latest YA novel, ARGOS. Well, it’s May 10th but pretty close.
That came around fast. It seems like only yesterday when MINOTAUR was released. It was. Kind of. September, 2015. To have my second novel out with Month9books so quickly has been a bit surreal, mostly because of the punishing editing schedule.
ARGOS was originally due to be released much later but due to a certain other book being released by a certain other publisher in May, my publisher decided to bump my release date. This has meant a very quick turnaround in terms of re-writes and edits. Some of these edits have been extremely comprehensive. But at last I can breathe.
Sort of. I’ve just completed 16 blog posts for the ARGOS blog tour. This means 16 separate blogs about a range of topics relating to ARGOS. I’ve managed to fit those in during those grey, half conscious periods that inhabit the spaces between sleep and work.
I’m excited about ARGOS. It’s probably my favorite novel to date, mostly because it has been a labor of love. It’s the book I’ve always wanted to write so I hope my readers love it just as much as me.
I also graduate with my Masters in Creative Writing (1st class honours) tomorrow. That’s kinda neat, regardless of the fact that I’m not going. I’m not going because I have to work. That and I’ve already graduated once with a Masters and the gown is exactly the same as the last one I wore. Can’t really justify it, even though I want to.
My son has his first school visit next week. That’s exciting! (He says, biting his nails down to the quick). Hope he likes it as much as I do. Did. You know what I mean. It’s going to be a bit odd him going to school with me. I’ll have to juggle my Daddy and Teacher hats. His classroom is actually just opposite mine.
I took young Jack to see Zootopia. Cool. And clever. Cool and clever. It’s always a pleasure to watch an animated movie that has enough meat and humor to keep an adult entertained. That’s clever film making, that is.
I still haven’t seen Batman vs Superman. I want to see it, even though the reviews have been terrible. Reviewers don’t know everything (do you see what I’m doing here?). I haven’t even seen Deadpool even though the movie was basically written for me.
The new season of GoT has started and I’m enjoying it just as much as I anticipated. Good times. I’ve also got Silicon Valley and the new season of Inside Amy Schumer to look forward to. Suddenly, my world of TV watching, limited of late, has opened up to a surplus of entertainment. I’m not complaining.
I’ve just finished my ninth novel, EARTHBORN. EARTHBORN is the sequel to the novel I wrote for my Masters last year (TITAN). TITAN is with my agent and EARTHBORN needs a vigorous kicking to get it into shape. And I will get it into shape, regardless of how EARTHBORN feels about the process. It’s just going to have to suck it up and endure the punishment.
But after that, I’m taking a break from novel writing for the rest of the year. My son will be home for the holidays now and I want to spend more time with him. Usually, I write in the holidays. But I deserve a break. I feel sucked dry of inspiration and motivation. I need some time to recharge and regroup, to come up with ideas, to reinvigorate. I find ideas usually come when I am most relaxed.
So, here’s to the release of ARGOS. Go free, my little creation. They say that if you love something, you should set it free. So that’s what I’m doing. Off you go into the world my little booky wook. Enjoy your new-found freedom. Embrace your readers. Love them and they will love you back.
Be all that you can be.
Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize--one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!
Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are eight contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the PINK TEAM--but there is also a red team, an orange team, a gold team, a green team, a teal team, a blue team, a purple team, and a pink team for a chance to win a whole different set of books!
If you'd like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.
SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE
Directions: Below, you'll notice that I've hidden my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the PINK team, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!).
Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by SUNDAY, APRIL 3RD, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
SCAVENGER HUNT POST
Today, I am hosting ANGELA MYRON on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt! ANGELA MYRON was born in Vancouver, Canada in 1973 and grew up just outside a small town in Southern British Columbia. Her love for children's fantasy stems from reading CS Lewis, Tolkien, George MacDonald, JK Rowling, Terry Brooks, Neil Gaiman, and many, many more wonderful authors.
She lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband and their twins. Visit Angela's website at angelamyron.com or contact her at email@example.com.
Find out more information by checking out the author website or find more about the author's book below!
You can find out more about ANGELA MYRON here
Check out her book ENNARA AND THE BOOK OF SHADOWS HERE
Scroll down to the end of this post!
And don't forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of signed books by me, Phillip W. Simpson, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is. (It's 7).
Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the PINK TEAM and you'll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!
CONTINUE THE HUNT
To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author!
JESSICA L. BROOKS
I have been remiss in my blogging efforts.
I know. Naughty.
In an effort to make good, I shall look back on the events of the last year or so. My school year is about to start so now is probably a good time to reflect.
2015 was a great year in many respects. Thanks to the Ministry of Education, I received study leave to complete my Masters in Creative Writing (MCW). It was a wonderful year where I could concentrate on my writing practice without having to juggle my teaching hat with my writing one. All very positive. I learnt a lot from Paula Morris as well as the other eleven students on the course. I’m a better writer and better able to teach writing as a result.
I had shoulder surgery where my tendon was reattached to the bone with three pins. Boxing will do that to you when you are in your mid 40’s. Recovery was slow and tedious and the inability to exercise frustrating. But I’m much better now and back on the exercise horse
Around home, we did some building work which did not go smoothly. But that’s over now and the less said, the better.
Minotaur, my first book with U.S publisher, Month9books, was released in September and has been getting (thankfully so far) favourable reviews.
Thanks to funding from the University of Auckland and Month9books, I was able to travel to Boston for the ALA midwinter conference. I was there to promote and sign copies of Minotaur. That was an amazing experience where I met some fantastic people including Jeff and Cynthia (from my distributors, IPG). I met some awesome librarians (hi Hope and Jennifer!). The conference was a blast. Certainly the biggest one I had ever been to before. And I loved Boston. I would jump at any opportunity to return. I was there for only 4 days. Interesting fact: I think I spent more time in an airplane or at an airport than I actually did in Boston.
My next book, Argos, got picked up by my publisher, Month9books, for an August 2016 release. I should receive editing any day now. I’ve also had some interest from movie studios about a few of my works.
The book I completed for my MCW, Titan, is with my agent. I’m three quarters into the sequel, Earthborn.
I wrote several pieces for magazines and educational publishers. One of those was an article for the Education gazette about my experiences in Boston. I wrote a whole book for Essential resources on narrative fiction writing.
My UK based artist collaborator, Mat Dawson and I completed our picture book, Over the Rainbow Bridge. We’ve also done the first 9 pages of the Rapture Graphic novel. We’re hoping to get these projects out there at some point this year.
So, by and large, a good year.
I’m looking forward to 2016 as well. I have a brand new class and new level which is always exciting. I’ve been setting up my class for the last week and a half. Just have to finish my paperwork now. School starts next week and both the teachers and the students get to ease into the year with only three days in the first week.
I took my son to see Star Wars. I loved it. He got scared but I still think he loved it. Despite my love of the movie, there were elements I found disturbing (not my lack of faith). [spoiler alert]. Another deathstar? Really. Come on. And there were an awful lot of convenient plot devices. But that's me. I'm picky.
Speaking of Jack, he starts school in 4 months and will be just across the courtyard from me. This will present other challenges as he will no longer be in daycare in the holidays (which is my writing time).
I feel refreshed after my sabbatical. Unfortunately, we are planning on doing some more building work which always makes me feel a little frayed around the edges.
I just hope it goes better this time around.
Phillip W. Simpson
Phillip W. Simpson is an author of YA and children's books.