Monster Monday: The Grungegogglers.

I am a woman of many facets. I write all sorts of things and sometimes I write things because I want to educate or entertain my children. This is how The Land Far Away Series  got started.

The first book was Pika the Phluph and the Gribblebid Tough, and my original idea was to show my son and daughter how the letters PH make the sound FF. They helped me create the creatures, both by describing them and sketching them as well as by lending certain aspects of their personalities to the  characters.

For example, anyone who knows my daughter will immediately recognise who Pika is based on and the Gribblebid has my son’s temper!

The stories are told in simple rhymes and many of the names that I’ve made up for the creatures, while they look difficult to pronounce, they’re easy to break down into phonetics in the same way that the children are taught to read at school.

I am the first person to admit that my rhyme schemes are not the most polished, but to entertain and teach a child, they don’t have to be. The important part is the story.

* * *

It was nearly three years ago now when I first met Maria Kuroshchepova through a mutual facebook friend. It turned out that we both loved fantasy and we both adored nonsense rhymes, almost as soon as I started playing with one!

It soon turned into a working relationship that spanned the ocean between us. I’d write the words and Maria turned them into pictures. It was only a moment or two (or that’s what it felt like, anyway) before we started to turn the words and pictures into a book.

“What does this have to do with monsters? After all it is Monster Monday.”

Well the Land Far Away doesn’t really have monsters. It has creatures that may, from one point of view, be seen as monsters because of their behaviour or the way they look.

The Grungegogglers are one such creature and the easiest way to describe them is to let the Piskaphluph bird tell you about them:

A slick of bright colours floated out on the lake,
The Piskaphluph bird felt herself shake,
“Who is committing these terrible crimes?”
And over the building she flew one more time.

Trudging from the building some creatures appeared,
To the Piskaphluph bird they looked really weird,
Their bodies were green and covered with scales,
They had red spikes down the length of their tails,

But as she soon finds out, the Grungegogglers are creating this pollution for a very good reason. So she pops off to find help.

Sadly the Grungegogglers discover the damage they have done to the Land Far Away more than a little too late. I won’t tell you how the story ends – you need to pick up a copy of the book to do that!


It’s only in paperback at the moment – I am sorting out e-book versions and a-book versions as fast as I can, so if you want to find out more about the Piskaphluph and her adventure with the Grungegogglers here’s the link:


Random Thoughts and Ramblings: Gene Theory

Have you ever actually thought about what is in your Genes?

Well, I’m wearing a UK size 16, so I guess there’s a little more in them than there should be…

No, not those sort of Jeans. Genes, DNA, the building blocks that make us what we are.

Oh, those ones.

I’m not talking about eye colour or a link to cancer or the size of your hips. What I mean is the things that all humans are born with. Look at a baby. From the moment they are born they express their feelings honestly. The very first of these is Love. They love everyone who loves them. It’s what one of my friends calls the “Aww!” defence.

“Aww!” defence?

Never heard of it.

Take a look at this picture:

The first reaction that many people have, both men and women is “Aww! Isn’t that a sweet little baby.”

This defence is vital for the baby’s well being, the ability to make a normal adult human look after them.

Look after the baby for long enough and they will love you for it. This is written into our genes and not only keeps you looking after them, but makes you a more loveable person yourself.

After all, how many times have you seen a man playing with a baby and not gone “Aww. He loves his baby, so he must be a nice person to know.”

The second thing that we are born with is Wonder. Everything in the world is brand new and fascinating to a baby. Try and see the world with their eyes; you’ll see the world in a way that you haven’t seen it since you were first born. It’s a humbling experience.

Babies are born not knowing how to lie. They can only express themselves honestly and truthfully. This is why Truth is the third thing in all human genes.

As babies grow up, the Energy to explore what they see arrives, and they have the Ambition to experience the world around them.

As soon as they can be tickled or play, Fun is there and never really leaves. It’s infectious and the one thing that can make virtually everybody laugh is a baby laughing and having fun.

See what I mean?

The moment they can move on their own, little ones get Creative with all sorts of things. I’ll never forget the day that my son progressed from rolling around on his playmat to crawling.

I couldn’t find him and after frantically searching the flat, found him in my bedroom. He’d got hold of the pot of nappy cream, pulled the lid off and was happily smearing it all over his face, hair and body. As it was bright pink, it looked rather funny and I went from being scared and angry to laughing as he grinned up at me, full of pride at what he’d achieved.

I wish I’d had a camera to take a photo of it…

It’s as this point when their Imagination really does explode with life. Hours of fun can be had with a box of wooden blocks , building them into a tower and letting the little one knock them down.

Have you ever listened / watched them play?

It’s fascinating how they figure things out and what they do. As they get older and start articulating their thoughts verbally, you can hear their imagination growing bigger and bigger.

These things, these emotions are all in our human genes. We learn to ignore them as we grow up:

Somewhere inside of us, all these things are waiting for us to rediscover them, sitting there in our genes, waiting for us to contact them through our inner child and use them the way they are supposed to be used.

Because that is why they are a part of our genes. They are part of us as humans and we should use these emotions and not the ones that we’ve been forced to learn by the stress and strain of modern day living.

Contact your inner child. You’ll find him / her in your genes…