Watch out dragons... Here be Aaron!

Aaron Gray and the Dragon War Is now available as a book and ebook.

Aaron is a brat, which is understandable after everything he's been through. He also sees dragons when he hums, which isn't understandable by anyone, ever. He soon gets sucked into the dragons' dangerous war, where his only defences are his embarrassingly magical fingernails, and a fierce, ten-year-old girl.

Available everywhere across the world! Check out goodreads / amazon uk / amazon us / barnes & noble / book depository or your favourite book or ebook retailer.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Who should narrate the audiobook for Aaron Gray and the Dragon War?

I love answering questions! There's actually a question thing on my Goodreads Author Page, but nobody's found that yet!

Anyway, a friend on facebook asked me this question:

I think this is a question that any author daydreams about (unless, of course, they already have an audio book!). I admit I do think about it often. The narrator would have to be somebody quintessentially English, but who is also no stranger to silliness. Somebody who could build up the drama of the scary and dangerous bits, but also have fun with the lighter parts. They would also need to do a whole load of different character voices, not all of them human.

With this in mind then, how about these four for contenders?

Alexander Armstrong

Victoria Coren Mitchell

Tony Robinson

Sue Perkins

Anyone else I've missed?

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Monday, 20 March 2017

Residential Childcare: How the adults care for the kids

A lot of early commenters for Aaron Gray and the Dragon War asked about the freedom Aaron seemed to have in his residential care home. Particularly this passage:
"Aaron only had about ten seconds to get away before the staff at the home found out what he'd done. He headed for the front door as quickly as he could without drawing attention to himself and sprinted down the driveway into the street. It was cold and drizzly. Hopefully the staff would be slow to come looking for him in the rain." 

Their argument was that it shouldn't be that easy. Why didn't the care home staff lock the doors to keep the kids from leaving? Why didn't they have an alarm on the door and then chase down the driveway after him? Why didn't his social worker immediately raise the alarm? Doesn't she know better?

 The answer is that children's care homes aren't that simple. Locking the door would make it less of a home and more of a prison or institution, and yes, sometimes that creates an element of risk.

As for whether Aaron has too much freedom generally, please do read this amazing article in Community Care, a website supporting those who work in social care.

The article begins by describing a young man called Keith who, although slightly older than Aaron, displays many of the same characteristics.

"Fifteen-year-old Keith was a physically intimidating kid who had a history of disruptive behaviour and physical violence towards staff and other young people in his previous placements. His risk assessment also reported that he played by his own rules and had no respect for boundaries."
It then goes on to talk about how they cared for Keith, and the answer was not always to discipline him or be harsher with the boundaries. It then talks about other approaches that care workers have used, including giving them cigarettes, even where the boundaries state that they shouldn't be smoking.
"I’ve followed kids with a colleague and seen them approach strangers asking for a cigarette, or observed them picking up nubs in the street and smoking them. In such circumstances I’ve witnessed staff who smoke give the kid a cigarette, while emphasising the dangers of approaching members of the public. This might strike some staff as an easy option but I beg to differ. It’s a judgement call and the right one. Rules are in place because they are necessary, but they don’t always allow for common sense to be applied when dealing with a troubled and upset kid."
This barely scratches the surface of the approaches that children's homes take to make sure that children grow up safely and have a future. Sometimes the solutions aren't ideal, but things aren't always as clear-cut as you may think.

Friday, 17 March 2017

More Goodreads Reviews

I've had another couple of 5 star reviews on Goodreads. This time from the Dunlop family :)

Alex said:
"Got to the end and wanted to find out what happened next, always a sign of a good book."
Jennifer also reviewed it on Amazon:

"Excellent story. Looking forward to the next one! Great for fans of well written fantasy. Not sure yet if I will let my sensitive 8 year old read it quite yet as there is one bit that may be scary/upsetting."

Lots of people have asked me whether there's a sequel, and yes there will be, hopefully towards the end of next year. The scary bit mentioned in the amazon review is a part where they're in a desert and bad things happen. I completely agree that if you have a sensitive child then they may find this bit upsetting (although it does have a happy ending!).

In terms of scariness, I keep telling people it's scarier than Prisoner of Azkaban, but not as scary as Goblet of Fire.

Thanks again everyone for your nice messages. More coming in the next few weeks as I collate what I've got!


Wednesday, 15 March 2017

The second misadventures of Hilary Hobgoblin

Today, Hilary Hobobglin is starting his second adventure. I've told him to go and see Cecil the dragon at the Abbey, who in all likeliness will tell him about Aaron and Julia's quest. Do check it out at Brevenynews!!

Monday, 13 March 2017

Book Recommendation - How to Train Your Dragon

It shouldn't have taken me this long to recommend "How To Train Your Dragon", the amazing book (and the beginning of a series of stories) by Cressida Cowell.

Okay, I know you've all probably heard of this book already. I mean there's been movies and a Netflix spinoff, but the book is awesome in its own right, and deserves its own mention.

Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III is a young Viking who isn't very good at all the heroic and bloodthirsty stuff that Vikings are famous for. He prefers to think things through and study, neither of which are particularly vikingish traits.

Because of this, Hiccup has a different approach to dragons. While the other Vikings try and subdue dragons by shouting at them and being generally unpleasant to the beasts, Hiccup learns their language, talks to them and soon becomes an expert in all things dragon. The other vikings think he's ridiculous until a dragon arrives that they are simply unable to bully.

Go read it! You can buy it by clicking on the picture or this link here!

Friday, 10 March 2017

The first ever Breveny Cosplay!

Okay so I'm giddily excited about this!

As you may know, Thursday 2nd March was World Book Day, and many schools celebrated by letting their children dress up as their favourite book characters. Ciara, a teaching assistant at a Coventry school, decided to go as a dragon from Aaron Gray and the Dragon War!

Thank you, Ciara, especially for the free advertising on the dragon wings!

If anybody else decides to dress up as one of my characters, or draw/make something related to my book, then I would absolutely love to see it! You really would make my day!