Getting another dog isn't as easy as many people seem to think.
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The above cartoon reminds me that I still haven't submitted the kids' book proposal about climate change that I promised King Features... oops.
Hello all

Since I last wrote, I hired a car to drive up to a cabin near Motueka at the top of the South Island (I looked into taking public transport, but it would have taken aeons to get there.). I needed to get away from the distractions of home and garden and I booked myself two weeks there to write the third and final book in my middle grade series about bullying.
For those new to this newsletter, the first book was about the formation of the Friends Against Bullying (FAB) club and the second was about cyber-bullying. When I was talking to my niece (then nine) and nephew (then seven) last year about the final book, they had a lot of suggestions. Including making the book about football (soccer) and romance. The result of my writing retreat was FAB Club 3 – The Big Match. My niece and nephew have given the first draft a thumbs up (though I have to edit some of the finer points of football, which is not my forte) and I've booked in my editor for September (she is a busy woman!).

Before that happens, there is a lot to be done on the illustration side. Firstly, the cover. I know it is going to be red, but what do you think of these ideas?
As well as coming back from Motueka with a final FAB3 draft, I nearly came back with a dog. A friend shared a photo on Facebook of a dog that needed to be adopted. The boyf shared it too. I took that to mean he was interested and before you could say “walkies!” I was in a stranger’s house in Stoke, meeting Cleo.
Cleo was a good, sweet dog and desperately in need of a new home, as her owner was moving to a situation in Auckland that wouldn't allow a dog. I said I'd come back at the weekend to walk her and make final decision. And then I began to have my doubts. Nevermind the logistics (upcoming dog-unfriendly trips and kitchen/bathroom renovation), my gut feeling was that this was not the right dog for me. I lost a couple of nights' sleep over it and told the boyf (who was very supportive and completely expected me to come back to Lyttelton with a dog in the car) I had decided not to take Cleo. I felt terrible and was about to contact the owner to let her down when I received this text:

Hi Alex, so sorry for the delay. I've been having a think myself on Cleo, and we have potentially a couple of options for her including me taking her to Auckland with me and i potentially have temporary care whilst I get myself sorted. I really appreciate you thinking of her and I think you and Duncan would have been fab for her, but I was also a little worried when you mentioned Jack Russels have a tendency to chase things and as Cleo has whippet in her she is also the same especially off leash at the beach so I'm not sure she is going to be the right breed for you guys either if you don't want a dog that likes to run and chase things. Im so sorry and thank you again for your time. Thanks, [dog owner]
The relief! So, no dog, and I returned home as I left, though now a little more wistful about our future dog. We'll know it when we find it, I think.

That's all for now – I'd love to hear what you like (or don't like) about the FAB Club 3 covers. And once I have the edited manuscript back, I'll be sending illustrated chapters out to my advanced reading team (ART). If you would like to be a member of the ART (or you know a young reader who would), let me know and I'll put you on that mailing list. ART members get the final ebook for free.

Ta ta for now

PS. If you think someone else might find this interesting, please pass it on.

Copyright © 2019 Alex Hallatt's Cartoons and Writing, All rights reserved.

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