oh santa finished coverYes, I know it’s my book, but I think it deserves its place in my Advent Calendar of Christmas books. It’s fun, festive fiction for youngsters, but adults will enjoy it too.

Santa’s assistant, Teddy Bear Jake, is worried that Santa is overweight and unhealthy and needs to look after himself. It shouldn’t take him a whole year to get over each Christmas outing after all. So he puts Santa on his famous alphabet diet. Each week Santa can only eat three things beginning with a certain letter of the alphabet. Healthy things, mind, so the C week doesn’t mean cupcakes with icing and chocolate and cookies but cabbage and carrots and cauliflower. And as for the X week? Santa will have to go hungry.

Reluctantly Santa starts to slim down. He starts an exercise regime too and it isn’t long before he’s sleek and slimline and full of energy. He’s a total convert to the healthy way. So when he starts getting requests from children for unhealthy gifts like candy floss makers or motorised microscooters, he ignores them and intends to dole out skipping ropes and vegetable steamers instead.

His helpers are in despair and Teddy Bear Jake realises he should have left Santa the way he was. Is it too late to save Christmas? Will it become as joyless as the North Pole now has? And what are those four snowmen doing at Santa’s door?

Have a chuckle as you get ready for Christmas with my book. Only 99p at all the various Amazons and 99 cents for any format on Smashwords here.

Here’s a review of it to tempt you further:

Oh, Santa! By Stephanie Dagg Illustrated by Kim Shaw Mentor Books. €5.00 Ages 5 to 8 Stephanie Dagg’s book Oh, Santa! is that very rare thing for younger readers, a very funny story tied to a very relevant issue. The funny story has to do with the fact that Santa has become obese from too much junk food. The solution, provided by Teddy Bear Jake, is a sturdy regime of correct diet and exercise. As often happens in such cases, Santa Claus becomes a slave to getting fit and healthy until he is no longer recognisable or, indeed , acceptable to all who know and love him. What’s to be? The solution might raise one or two adult eyebrows but the kids will stand up and cheer. After all who wants to have a slim-line Santa?

Review from www.village.ie – current affairs Irish magazine

This book originally came out in paperback, published by Mentor Press and illustrated by the wonderful Kim Shaw, but after the rights reverted back to me I republished it as an ebook. Since I didn’t own the illustrations, and I never heard back from Mentor when I contacted them to ask if I could use the pictures they commissioned, I got a new cover drawn by the equally wonderful Roger Fereday. I have some print copies if you want one of those, at €2 plus p&p, so give me a shout.

Here’s the cover of the French language edition of my story Anna’s Secret Granny, originally published by O’Brien Press about ten years ago now. The French version, published by Rageot, is Une Mamie de Rêve – A Dream Grandma. This is coming out on 10 May 2013.

mamie de reve

Here’s the original cover.

AnnasSecretGranny

They’re both quirky and fun, aren’t they?

Can’t wait to see the French version in full.

 

 

 

Welcome to Books Are Cool, the book related sister site to Blog in France. So yes, I’m taking part twice in my own blog hop! It wasn’t intentional. I needed to try out the linky tool when I was setting the blog hop up, since it’s my first go at organising one. So I signed this site up for it, intending to delete it later. Which I forgot to do!

Anyway, here is a list of non-fiction books about expat life which I have really enjoyed reading, and which I’m sure you will too.

1. A Summer in Gascony by Martin Calder

2. Perking the Pansies by Jack Scott Bodrun

3. French Fried by Chris Dolley

4. One Year in Wonderland by Christopher Combe

5. Big Backpack, Little World by Donna Morang

6. C’est La Folie by Michael Wright

7. Expat Women: Confessions by Andrea Martins

8. The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz

9. Two Lipsticks and a Lover by Helen Frith Powell

10. A Year in Provence, Toujours Provence and Encore Provence by Peter Mayle

11. Older Man, Younger Man by Joseph Dispenza (taking part in this blog hop – see the table below). Not explicitly an expat life book, but it’s the moving personal account by an expat of a certain difficult period in his life.

11. Coming very soon to Kindle – Heads Above Water by me – Stephanie Dagg!

And a couple of very enjoyable fictional expat stories.

1. Vantastic France by Steve Bichard (taking part in this blog hop – see the list below)

2. Sunshine Soup by Jo Parfitt

 

And the expat blog hop freebie? A copy of my children’s ebook Oh Grandad! from Smashwords. Comment below and I’ll send you the code to obtain a copy for free in your preferred format. (There are lots of free books for grabs too on my Smashwords page here.)

Please visit the other blogs in the blog hop, not forgetting Blog in France. More freebies up for grabs!


Just a quickie today to announce that Katie’s Cake is now in its seventh edition. I got my two free copies through the post today.

An edition is officially “the whole number of copies printed at any time or times from substantially the same setting of type-pages”. This definition arose in the 1940s. However, publishers use the term rather more loosely these days. In my case, it’s actually ‘print runs’ rather than ‘editions’ because no changes have ever been made to the text. Really it’s still the first edition.

There are other confusing terms too, such as revised editions, corrected versions, republishings – so the whole thing is rather muddled. And ebooks and print on demand aren’t helping. It’s now possible to make every corrections or changes between one copy of a book and the next using those technologies. Is each one therefore an edition, or a print run?

This is something I shall definitely return to again, but I need to do some mugging up first, because I’m starting to get confused by it all too!

I mentioned book bags in a previous post. A book bag is always a nice present. It’s traditionally a bag, hence the name, but you can equally have a book box or book parcel, which contains a book together with some appropriate items to go with it. A book bag for a cookery book, for example, would have some cooking items in it too – perhaps a pinafore and a rolling pin. Now that the ebook is here, there’s no need to include the book anymore. You supply that separately to the recipient. But you can still give the bag of associated goodies.

Here are ten ideas, starting with three of my books, followed by seven great reads I’ve enjoyed this year:

1. Best of Blog in France (Non-fiction about expat life in France.) A bottle of French wine and some French cheese, one of the varieties that comes in a round wooden or cardboard box, would be most suitable as well as practical. But anything French will do!

2. The Smelliest Cheese in the World (Fiction) Now this is a kid’s book, but adults would enjoy it too. If you’re giving it to a grown up, then give them some smelly cheese too – stands to reason! Roquefort or Auvergne Blue are good ones. For younger readers, since the story also features socks, then a pair of those would be perfect.

3. Oh Santa! A chocolate Santa, a skipping rope and a Santa hat would be good choices.

Now for those other ebooks that I’d thoroughly recommend:

4. Big Backpack – Little World: this is a wonderful and entertaining account by Donna Morang of her experiences as an ESL teacher. See the guest post by Donna on this website. The ideal accompaniment would be a rucksack. The author spent a lot of time in Mexico, and in fact now lives there, so some Mexican food like a box of tacos or a jar or guacamole, or a bottle of Tequila would be excellent too.

5. Sunshine Soup by Jo Parfitt: this is a book about expat life with a good bit of cooking thrown in. A soup recipe book, or a set of nice soup bowls would be suitable.

6. Stay Tuned by Lauren Clark: this is about Melissa who works for a TV station. It’s chick-lit/rom-com. I reviewed it here. During the story she revamps her look. Give the recipient some make-up or a voucher for a facial or a massage.

7. A Song for Europe by Simon Lipson: this is rom-com at its best with the Eurovision Song Contest at its heart. A CD of all the songs from one of the Contests would be fitting (2010 and 2006 were really good years). Anything Euro would go well with this book. Failing that, go here  to get souvenirs with the European flag on them!

8. The Lingerie Castle by Markee Andersen: well, lingerie would be good with this book! Or a football. You’ll have to read the book.

9. Lye in Wait by Cricket MacRae, a home crafting mystery. The heroine is a soapmaker so fill a book bag with beautifully handmade perfumed soap.

10. The Wake-Up Call by Jonas Eriksson: gritty rom-com starring an overstressed, overstimulated executive, so I’d suggest decaff coffee, bath bombs, scented candles or a lavender-filled sleep mask.

Hope these are helpful!

 

No, it’s not too early to be thinking about Christmas – not when you’ve written a Christmassy book that you want to get into all the ebook shops. There are quite a lot out there already and I’m starting to read some so I can publish reviews on this site in a few weeks’ time.

But more importantly – my Christmas book, which is Oh Santa! I’ve just received the cover artwork from Roger Fereday and it’s every bit as fantastic as I knew it would be.Caitlin is adding the title and my name to the graphic as I write this, and then we’ll be in business since the text is ready and waiting.

I honestly think Oh Santa! is my funniest children’s book and I’m sure you’ll love it. It’ll be coming very, very soon to Kindle and Smashwords. Watch this space …

 

As promised last week, every Monday I’ll update you on my ebook sales. I hope it will be an interesting exercise and at least give you one set of figures to compare your own sales/downloads with. You’ll notice the bar chart on the right of this web page which reflects these sales. Chris installed this nifty little widget for me.

This morning, at roughly 11 o’clock, we had the following figures:

Oh Gran! (free)       830 (757 last week = 73 downloads this week)

The Witch’s Dog (free) 483 (336 last week = 153 downloads)

Escape the Volcano (free)  372 (235 last week = 137 downloads)

Oh Auntie! (99 cents)  25 (24 last week = 1 sample downloaded, no sales)

Beat the Hackers (99 cents) 9 (7 last week = 2 samples downloaded, no sales)

Oh Grandad! (99 cents) 13 (9 last week = 3 samples plus 1 sale with coupon code so it was free!)

 

No changes on Kindle sales. 🙁

 

So, the week’s best mover with 153 was The Witch’s Dog, my fun kid’s story for Halloween. A close runner up was Escape the Volcano with a pleasing 137. Booby prize goes to Oh Auntie! with just 1 sample. (Shame, it’s a super little story!) Total downloads for the week were 370, which is pretty fair really.

I’ve issued Smashwords coupon codes for Beat the Hackers (TQ44P) and for Oh Grandad! (LP43H) so you can get those ebooks for free at the moment with those. I’ve Tweeted them but need to keep doing so to get some more downloads.

See my Smashwords page here to get copies of my ebooks.

Wow! I was astonished to discover just now that this post was going to be number 100. Quite a landmark! And co-incidentally, I reached 100 copies downloaded of The Witch’s Dog this afternoon too. I’m very pleased about that, and even more so about the 617 downloads of Oh Gran!  I’d be even more delighted if I was getting money for them, but I’m convinced that giving away free books now will be a good move for the future. And quite simply it’s nice to have people reading what I’ve written.

Since Books Are Cool got started, I’ve had visitors from 70 countries. I think that’s awesome! How wonderful to have people from Azerbaijan, Chile, Myanmar, Nepal, Barbados and Lithuania visiting my site – and from all the other 64 countries too. Most of my visitors are from the USA and the UK. Thank you for visiting.

I started out with only a very vague idea of what direction this site would go in. It was partly intended as a showcase for my books and ebooks, but also to look at ebook and publishing issues. However, there are a lot of excellent sites that already do that so I’m still looking for a niche to fit into. That said, posts that I’ve talked about epublishers and discussions of well known things such as Twitter and the Kindle Million Club have done well, as have writing advice posts. You’re not so keen on Sunday Sample pages or certain book reviews.

Plenty to think about there.It looks like you want fewer reviews and samples and more informative or art of writing articles. I’ll see what I can do. I’d like to get some guests posts on this site, and perhaps interviews with authors and publishers too.

And while I’ve been writing this, 3 more Oh Grans have been downloaded!

Cackling Carol must be the only witch in the world who hates cats! But she really wants a pet to keep her company and so she decides to get a dog instead. Together with her faithful and very clever Broom, she visits a dogs’ home. She’s after a nice small dog that will fit on on Broom with her. But who does she come out with? Big Roddy, the biggest, bounciest and shaggiest dog you could imagine. All Cackling Carol’s witchy friends fall about laughing when they meet him. But just who is it that saves them all from the wicked Wizard Egbert and his despicable spells? Not the cats, that’s for sure!

This is a non-nightmare-inducing halloweeny story for 5 to 11 year olds or so.

I did this cover and it stars Nessie, our border-collie-cross-German-shephard!

Available for FREE from Smashwords here.

Ben is staying with Grandad. Grandad may be a senior citizen and drive everywhere very, very slowly, but that doesn’t mean he’s dull. Far from it! There’s great excitement when he has a go on on Ben’s scooter before he finds out where the brake is, with dramatic results. He takes Ben to the seaside where they get soaking wet and nearly get into trouble at the amusement arcade. But Grandad comes to the rescue of the Firework Night party for the Cub Scouts and Brownies after vandals seem to have spoiled everything. Grandad turns out to be very good with fireworks!

Another lovely cover from Roger Fereday.

Available for 99 cents from Smashwords.