Bedtime at the Lighthouse selected for Walker Books/Mumsnet Book of Bedtime Stories

I’m happy to announce that I am one of 10 lucky writers chosen by Michael Rosen to have their bedtime story included in the Walker Books/Mumsnet Book of Bedtime Stories scheduled for release in October 2013.

I had such a good feeling about the story, but you never know what judges or publishers will be looking for. My story plays on a theme I think will resonate with many parents – getting children to sleep in an unfamiliar place! The story of Bedtime at the Lighthouse, which was based on a real stay in my mum’s cottage under the lighthouse at Portland Bill, is very special and like most of my children’s stories was inspired by my wife and children.

I read it aloud to my family after I’d written it and they all seemed to approve. My children can be harsh critics so I thought this was a good sign. I wanted a story that could be read aloud over and over by parents to children at bedtime without it driving them mad. I’ll have to wait to see what parents and children think of the story when it’s published.

More information on the Book of Bedtime Stories competition news over here at mumsnet.

I’ll tell you more when I know more!

Jack and Boo Wish You Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Lights - Photo by Philip Bell Copyright 2012

We would like to say thanks to all our family and friends who have supported us this year, and thanks to the retailers and bookshops who have chosen to stock Jack and Boo books. It’s been wonderful to get some fantastic reviews and grow our fan base.

Thanks to all the people who have bought books for children and to those who have told us how much you and your children have enjoyed reading our books. It has given us great motivation and energy to continue publishing next year. Thank you!

Jack and Boo are asleep in bed now, but they asked me to wish you all a very Merry Christmas 2012!

Stop Me and Buy One!

Beachy Books Seller Logo - Copyright 2009-2012 Beachy Books and Philip Bell

Do you want to become a Beachy Books Seller?

Beachy Books is looking for passionate people who love our books and want to sell them! We are testing it for a brief trial period before Christmas 2012 because it’s the best time of year to sell books. For reasons of logistics, it’s only open to Isle of Wight residents at this time but we hope to widen the scheme up if it proves popular. If you are really interested but not resident on the Island get in touch anyway!

So, if you can answer YES to the following questions then please get in touch.

  • Do you LOVE our JACK and BOO children’s BOOKS?
  • Do you know other people who would LOVE to BUY them?
  • Do you like the sound of earning 40% COMMISSION?

Email: seller (at) beachybooks (dot) com

Jack and Boo go to Hollywood!

Jack and Boo go to Hollywood

A small independent UK publisher, Beachy Books, has signed a deal with an unnamed Hollywood studio to make a live action version of their popular Jack and Boo children’s books in 2013. An undisclosed Hollywood director is said to be very interested in the project but no official news has been released on the title or plot as of yet. Philip Bell, author and publisher of the Jack and Boo titles, has remained tight lipped. “I cannot reveal who the director is just yet as we’ve still got to dot the i’s and cross the t’s, but let’s just say Jack might be wearing a cowboy hat and Boo carrying a whip.”

Twitter has been buzzing with rumours of who might play Jack and Boo in the live action version. A popular Hollywood Gossip blog has been publishing rumours that Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson would be an obvious choice. Mr Bell said in response, “I think they could be a bit old. Although if Jack and Boo were CGI they could interact with them – you know, like The Muppets! Ha! I’m thinking more unknown childhood stars really, but it’s out of my hands as I’ve not got any control over casting. If I had my way I’d cast my own children. But my son might expect too high fees. My daughter would simply do it if she got ice cream everyday!”

No doubt whoever is cast in the leading roles will have to be versatile and fit because in the stories Jack and Boo regularly run through woods, balance on logs, spot nature and go beach combing. Mr Bell said, “The film will take elements from the books, keeping to the true nature-led spirit of the adventures but will be a brand new story.”

Watch this space for more news of Jack and Boo go to Hollywood…

UPDATE: April Fool’s 2012! Hey ho, one day perhaps…


Beachy Books launches new mobile friendly website

I’ve been in the laboratory for a few weeks rewriting our website – well customising a wordpress blog, which has caused it’s own set of extra coding problems and, at times, led me to utter distraction. Anyway, I thought it’s time to air it publicly and consider it a work-in-progress. If you’ve seen our previous site, you’ll not notice a massive change in branding, colours or layout, so what has changed?

Over the past few months I’ve noticed, mostly through using Twitter and social networks, that people are increasingly accessing the web from iPhones, iPads and other smart phone devices. When I viewed the old website on a mobile it looked dreadful – you had to scroll all over the place and zoom in. I hope my changes have now addressed this and this new website should shrink to fit, so to speak.

The other main change is at the top of the site, you’ll hopefully see a nice page-flippable Beachy Books catalogue so you can scroll through all our books (2 so far, with 1 more coming at Christmas. OK, it’s not loads but what do you want, blood?). I could have knocked this out in Flash, a bit like I use for my book previews, but devices with little ‘i’s in their names, iPads, iPhones, etc, in their wisdom, don’t run Adobe Flash. I hope my solution provides a universal book catalogue that should work across devices. I admit, on a small screen, you may need to still zoom in to see the detail.

UPDATE: I’ve temporarily disabled this “flipping” book at the top as, ironically enough, causing problems on iPhones and some other phones. Hey ho, back to the drawing board.

Anyway, I’d appreciate your feedback, especially those with smart phones, tablets, etc. As I say, it’s not set in stone so I can tweak it as we go.

UPDATE – Known Issues:

On mobile devices (and narrow screen displays) there’s a gap that appears under the “flipping” book catalogue at the top and the main menu. Yes, this is annoying and crap of me. This is one of the bugs I have yet to fix. If anybody can fix it I’ll give them a free Jack and Boo book.

Win Jack and Boo books in Wildlife Watch magazine!

We’d like to say a big thanks to the team at Wildlife Watch magazine (the junior branch of The Wildlife Trusts) for featuring our two Jack and Boo children’s books (Jack and Boo’s Wild Wood and Jack and Boo’s Bucket of  Treasures) in a competition in their autumn issue – out now to junior members of Wildlife Watch. It’s a fantastic magazine packed with information on UK wildlife and well worth the modest membership fee.

For obvious reasons we’ve not shown the actual competition, but if you get the magazine all your children have to do is to identify the wildlife illustrations taken from the spotter guides in both books for a chance to win 2 signed copies of each of our books – and there are 5 sets to give away!

Interestingly they thought the reading age was 6-8 years, which shows a picture book doesn’t have to be for pre-school! Loads of children in primary schools have enjoyed reading some of the challenging prose poetry in our books, as well as identifying nature in our spotter guides.

Beachy Books Wins Children’s Publishing Award!

Beachy Book’s first children’s picture book, Jack and Boo’s Bucket of Treasures, has won the Children’s category of the 2011 David St John Thomas (DSJT) Charitable Trust Self Publishing Award, in association with Writers’ News and Writing Magazine, held on 11th May 2011 at Mary Sumner House in London.

Philip Bell, author of the book was there to collect the award, including a cheque for £250, from David St John Thomas and had his photograph taken along with winners from other categories in adult fiction, non fiction, poetry and anthologies.

Philip said, “We were thrilled to have been nominated for this well respected award, and then to have finally won the children’s category has made all our hard work worthwhile. We are very grateful to the trust and it has really inspired us to keep self publishing!”

DSJT Charity Founder and President of Writing Magazine, David St John Thomas, praised Jack and Boo’s Bucket of Treasures and said, as well as winning the Children’s Award, the book also came “highly commended” for overall Self Publisher of the Year from all categories, and said it was seriously considered for The Winner of Winners award.

Jack and Boo’s Bucket of Treasures was written, designed, illustrated and published by husband and wife team, Philip and Eleanor Bell, under their publishing company Beachy Books. It follows the adventures of two children on a beach finding treasures washed ashore at low tide. It also includes lots of real world nature images, a spotter guide and family beach ideas, which combine into fun, fact-filled fiction. The book has a unique look and style, written in poetic prose with bright illustrations over real photographs. Illustrator, Eleanor Bell said, “We draw inspiration from our own family days out with our two creative children – the real Jack and Boo!”

Jack and Boo’s Bucket of Treasures – THE MOVIE!

Just for fun we put together this video of our new picture book Jack and Boo’s Bucket of Treasures. Deliberately lo-fi it has been a labour of love and immense fun to make on a few hot evenings.

My son, the real “Jack” offered his services for the voice-over and did a fantastic job and if you watch to the end we’ve included some hilarious out-takes were he just couldn’t stop laughing during recording. Happy viewing!