"It starts when a clue inscribed on a Half-Heart Locket leads Bree and her best friends Sandy and Honey to an ancient, magical book. With it they can freeze time, fly and shrink to the size of ants.

But they soon discover the book has a long history of destruction and death. And it's being sought by the monstrous Thalofedril, who will stop at nothing to get it. Using its incredible powers, he could turn the world into a wasteland.

Bree, Sandy and Honey go on the run-hurtling off city rooftops, down neck-breaking ravines, and through night-black underground tunnels-to keep the book out of his lethal hands. Little do they know that the greatest danger of all lies ahead, in the heart of his deadly lair...

Can Bree find the courage to face this terrifying evil, and to confront the secrets of her tragic past?"

Punchy and exciting, this is a thrilling page-turner from a dazzling new talent.


"Eight months after her death-defying escape from Castle Zarcalat, Bree McCready thinks she’s seen the last of the half-heart locket and the dangerous magical book that goes with it... until Honey’s kid sister Mimi disappears.

Suddenly, the locket and the book plunge Bree, Sandy and Honey into a world divided by the mysterious Flame of Irenus. Burning in a secret part of the castle, some think the Flame is the source of peace and light. Others say it brings bloodshed and must be extinguished.

Faced with a bone-crunching race against time to rescue Mimi and find the hidden chamber, Bree must rely on her friends more than ever. But a new boy at school has caught her eye and brought unexpected jealousy... She saved the world once before. Saving her friendships might not be as easy"

The explosive sequel to Bree McCready and the Half-Heart Locket is packed with action, secrets and heartbreak.


"Who would have guessed it? A shy swat, a psycho rebel and a lanky nerd try to save the world...for a third time!

Strange things start to happen at the Halloween funfair, and fourteen year old Bree McCready immediately suspects they have something to do with the half-heart locket.

Sensing trouble, Bree, and her friends Sandy and Honey, seek out the magical book, despite knowing it will take them on yet another terrifying adventure. They embark on an epic journey, which takes them to the Realm of the Lost - a place where normal rules do not apply.

Armed only with The Book and a map, the trio negotiate unknown territory, discovering strange creatures, deadly traps and new friends...only to end up in the darkest place imaginable.

Friendships and loyalties are tested to the extreme as Bree, Sandy and Honey try to fulfil their promise to keep The Book safe from the clutches of evil. Will they finally be able to put their demons to rest?

The third book in the Bree McCready series is another action-packed page-turner, full of surprises, and the darkest of revelations.

"A terrific story that had me hooked from beginning to end. I loved it!" D.A Nelson, author of the award-winning DarkIsle

"Bree McCready and the Half Heart Locket was a superb fantasy adventure but I think Flame of Irenus may be even better" Our Book Reviews Online

"..a good balance of adventure, puzzles, friendship and humour. The action simply doesn't stop so it's very hard to put the book down at the end of a chapter" The Bookbag

"Good friends, actions and thrills, oh my! Bree had all of it" The Book Owl

"5 stars! A marvelous read. Snappier and more action packed than Harry Potter" Our Book Reviews Online

"This tale will have children eagerly flipping the pages to see what comes next and how the story ends" The Supermom

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Don't judge a book by its cover... a saying I use often but one which definitely does not apply to children's books. Let's face it, the first thing we do when we go to buy a book (or borrow one from the library) is to look at the front cover. If we like what we see then perhaps we'll read the blurb and take it from there. It's so important that the cover design reflects the story inside. When the time came to think about a cover for "Bree McCready and the Half Heart Locket" we knew it had to be eye-catching and send the message that the story behind the cover was exciting and mysterious but also had an element of 'horror' and danger. There are some dark parts to Bree's story and this had to be captured in the cover illustration.
My favourite part of writing a book is waiting to see what the cover design will look like. It's a bit like expecting a baby in so many ways! You carry this precious thing around with you for so long and finally you get to meet them face to face. Suddenly everything feels complete. I always knew that the moon should feature on the cover of the first book but I also had to accept that I knew very little about book illustration and even less about art. I trusted Graham (my lovely editor) implicitly and he did not let me down. He did not relax until we had a cover that did justice to Bree and her story. Imagine my delight when I first saw the rough drafts for my debut novel. Lawrence Mann is the guy who designed what is now the brilliant cover for "Bree McCready and the Half Heart Locket" Check out his website, he truly is a brilliant artist. Here's what Graham, Commissioning Editor at Strident Publishing had to say about him.

"Lawrence has a rare - and invaluable - knack of being able to strike exactly the right note first time with his designs. This can only come from the combination of a formidable talent and a shrewd understanding of the material and its market. All publishers are grateful for this kind of intuition, but for small publishers it can be a lifesaver. The work he has designed for us took our collective breaths away from the first preparatory sketch and the final versions were beyond our expectations"

I remember the first time I saw the completed design. It felt like someone had reached into my brain and dug around inside my imagination. That's a goosebump moment, I can tell you! Somehow, Lawrence had managed to draw the characters exactly as I had seen them in my mind's eye (only Sandy's glasses were missing but I'm fine with that now - I tell the kids I meet that he has removed his glasses so that he can blow his nose!) I fell in love with the illustration instantly and nine months later I am still finding tiny details that I didn't see the first time round. I love everything about this cover right down to the multi-coloured fingernails on Honey's hand and the fact that the moon looks like it would still glow even if all the lights in the room were turned off. And of course there is the fantabulous logo (see above) which feels so iconic and well established ("somewhere between the Mystery Machine and Motorhead" ~ Graham Watson)
I cannot WAIT to see what Lawrence comes up with for the sequel to the first book, "Bree McCready and the Flame of Irenus" which will be in all good book shops sometime late Summer. I have an image in my head of what I would like to see (oranges and reds will take over from the now familiar deep pink?) but I trust Lawrence to do what is best for Bree and he may come up with something entirely different.
I feel so privileged to have Lawrence Mann on board for Bree McCready. I suppose I see Bree, Honey and Sandy as my children and therefore, like any good parent I believe they deserve only the best. I think I have that with Lawrence.