Thursday, 23 August 2012

Lights, Camera, Action!

  Last Wednesday, some of the Templar team invaded the lovely Hot Key Books office, armed with a slightly jet-lagged Michael Gerard Bauer (author of the Don't Call Me Ishmael series) and a film crew!

The Hot Key team very kindly allowed us to use their London based board room for three hours last week to film a series of trailers for Michael Gerard Bauer.

It was very interesting to see how the director translated his finished ideas to his crew and to Michael. Soon enough, Martin's scribbles on a page were coming to life before us!

I was lucky enough to watch the whole filming and took some sneaky behind the scenes photos...  I can't wait to see the finished book trailer - I know it is going to look fantastic!

Michael Gerard Bauer... a man of many talents!
Book number 3: not these kind of hoops...
but this kind...!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Our new office!

We have been in our new home a week and it already feels as if we have been here forever!

Our shiny new office is looking fantastic: most boxes have found a home, no one's Mac went missing in transmission and by 9:30am last Monday morning we were all connected and ready to go (we have our fantastic IT Manager to thank for that!).

We celebrated our new home in true Templar fashion with lots of food and champagne, and it was all prepared in our lovely new kitchen - complete with microwave grill and bar stools!
We feel very lucky to be here and are looking forward to all the exciting opportunities it will bring...including lots of summer barbeques!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Templar on the Move!

Yes, it's finally dawned - the day when the team at The Granary, finally pack up and move up the hill to Deepdene Lodge.

Surrounded by packing cases, labels, rubbish (mountains of it - enough to keep a recycling unit in full operation for a month I would think) we are all frantically finishing off emails before our IT man switches us off.

So don't panic if you are wanting to get in touch and there is no reply for a few days - normal service will be resumed on Monday 13th - when we get down to the serious business of unpacking and toasting our new home!

Move day!

Today is an exciting day here at Templar Towers because we are moving offices!

In all fairness, we are only moving five minutes down the road, but it still means that every desk, pencil and hoarded box of food last seen in 2004 has to be carefully packed away and unloaded in our new offices. 

We are very excited about the to follow!

Summer TBR pile

Jasper StinkyBottom, from Dave Lowe's hilarious My Hamster is a Genius, has written a post about his summer To Be Read pile, and you can read it here:

How does your summer reading list compare?

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

What are YOU reading?

Despite the slightly ominous weather we have been having, it is, believe it not, summer - which means one thing: Summer reading! What are you reading this summer?

To help you out, here are some of our titles that are currently only 99p on Amazon. Hurry, though, the offer is only available until August!

Swim the Fly by Don Calame

Fifteen-year-old Matt Gratton and his two best friends, Coop and Sean, always set themselves a summertime goal. This year? To see a real-live naked girl for the first time. But this impossible mission starts to look easy in comparison to Matt's other challenge: to swim the 100 yard butterfly (the hardest stroke known to man) and impress the gorgeous Kelly West.

  The Pony Detectives, Moonlight, Star of the Show by Belinda Rapley

Saddle up for friendship, fun and intrigue in these detective stories with an equestrian twist. Four best friends stable their ponies at the same yard and spend every moment they have with their ponies and each other. But they aren't just good at jumping and showing – they're also great at solving mysteries! When local champion show-jumping pony Moonlight disappears just before the prestigious Fratton Cup competition, the girls leap into action, following clues and getting themselves into sticky situations as they solve the case of the missing pony. Includes illustrated pony tips.

The Dragon Chronicles: The Dragon Diary by Dugald A Steer 

In the second installment of this acclaimed series, a mysterious illness is spreading among dragons. The fate of dragonkind rests in the hands of Daniel and Beatrice – can they reach Dr. Drake and work out the cure, or will they fall into the clutches of the evil
Alexandra Gorynytchka?

Don't Call Me Ishmael by Michael Gerard Bauer

Hounded by the school bully and struck dumb in the presence of girls, the year doesn't get off to a good start for Ishmael when he is asked to take misfit James Scobie under his wing. However, life takes some unexpected turns as Ishmael and his friends embark on the most embarrassingly awful... and the best year of their lives.
Sure to appeal to fans of Mr Gum and Wimpy Kid, this is a hilarious and uplifting new series all about school life and friendship.

The Blackhope Enigma by Teresa Flavin

When Sunni Forrest’s stepbrother accidentally transports himself into a Renaissance painting, she and her friend Blaise set out to bring him back. They find themselves in a strange world of labyrinths, monsters and pirates. Can they evade their greedy pursuers? And will they ever find their way home?

Forgive my Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

When a mermaid has her first kiss, she 'bonds' for life with the person she kisses. For Lily, a mermaid princess living in secret on land, this means she has ended up accidentally bonded to her obnoxious neighbour, instead of to the boy of her dreams. So begins a tidal wave of relationship drama, as Lily discovers that happily-ever-after never sails as smoothly as you plan it to.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Guest post from Christiane Dorion!

Author of the How it Works Series, Christiane Dorion, writes us a guest post about her new book out this month: How We Make Stuff

I must have one of the best jobs in the world, writing pop-up books about the extraordinary planet we live on. Having explored the natural cycles of the earth in my first two books, I decided to investigate how we make everyday products, from t-shirts to burgers and rubber ducks.

This book took me on an exciting investigation, talking to experts involved in the design, production and disposal of all that stuff we buy and use. Where do burgers come from? What are rubber ducks made of? How do we turn trees into paper? What’s the link between gorillas and mobiles phones?

These are some of the questions I explore in my new book How We Make Stuff. I also look at how our fellow creatures have been building amazing structures and creating incredible substances over millions of years, without producing any waste. Can we do things differently?

Working in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, we have developed a website to complement the book and explore further how we can learn from living systems and rethink the way we design, make and use our stuff. The website is aimed at parents and primary teachers who want to encourage children to explore new ideas in the way we make everyday things.
After all, they are the future designers and engineers of tomorrow!

Have fun exploring at!

Be in with a chance of winning a signed a copy of the new book here:

Friday, 3 August 2012

Olympic guest post from Belinda Rapley

Pony Detectives author, Belinda Rapley, kindly agreed to give us her insight into the Equestrian Olympic events

Wow, wow, wow! Just been blown away by the breath taking beauty of GB’s Charlotte Dujardin’s sensational Dressage test! Her horse, Valegro is the most almighty, powerful looking beast who demonstrated such an expressive, explosive extended trot near the end of an amazingly calm and patiently ridden test. The partnership is deservedly in first place after their score smashed the Olympic record. Apparently Charlotte was wearing her lucky breeches – let’s hope she can get washed in time for the next phase as the team go into it in gold position – SO exciting, GO GB!!

And this is after the nail-biting finish to the eventing, where the team won a silver – what an incredible equestrian force GB is right now! Although I have to admit, when I watched the first few event riders spin over the imaginatively designed cross country course (the second phase in the Eventing) with the Greenwich backdrop I felt a tad disappointed; they skipped round easily, one inside the allotted time limit. I wondered if it might not be quite testing enough. But I needn’t have worried – it soon warmed up as rider after rider faced problems, spills and runouts and suddenly the team competition got interesting. For a while team GB had a squeak at winning gold, but the Germans were pretty much immaculate and sealed the win. It was superb that we got a silver, but I couldn’t help feeling disappointed for the British riders not to have won any individual medals, especially my favourite ever eventer, Mary King – she’s always smiling, always upbeat and was emotional at her 6th Olympics (who wouldn’t be?!). I wrote to her once, more than 20 years ago, asking if she had any grooming jobs at her yard. She replied with the loveliest handwritten note, saying that unfortunately she didn’t at the time but she wished me every luck for my future. I remember glowing when I read such a personal, thoughtful response. That sums Mary up, she is just so generous with her time for all her many, many fans.

Alongside the equestrian sport I’ve been loving the swimming in the aquatic centre. I used to swim to county level, along with both my brother and sister, but it’s my nephew, Freddie who is the swimming star in our family – he’s the National Champion for 12 year olds at 100m Freestyle. I’m so proud of him and I can’t help picturing him on the podium at the Olympics!! You never know, watch this space in 4 years time – if China can have a 16 year old champion, maybe GB could too..! In the meantime I’ll continue to be officially Olympic-obsessed, crossing everything I have (including the cat’s paws) for GB in the Dressage, and the Show Jumping hasn’t even started yet! And when that’s over there’s the Para-Olympics to look forward to, where team GB have even more hopes of equestrian glory and medal positions with the formidable, inspiring dressage rider, Lee Pearson. Only one word for the biggest sporting show on earth this year – awesome!

The first book in The Pony Detectives series, Moonlight Star of the Show, is currently available on kindle for just 99p! Hurry, the offer only lasts until August.