Tuesday, April 8, 2014

London Book Fair, Day Four

Day four was the first day without a hint of rain. Ken, Celine and I made and early start, stopping by Gregg's for a quick breakfast and braving the wind chill factor on our wat to the fair. 

The lovely ladies of Jacaranda were already there and ready to pitch my books to potential publishers, thanks, ladies! 

As Ken and Celine were busy taking care of business, I walked around the two halls of booths. It was massive. It makes one realise just how many publishers, authors and illustrators there are out there. The competition is stiff and I now feel that I should have gone into accounting.

Emma arrived shortly after 10am and we went to a panel discussion by the Book Trust. Interesting and informative we were compelled to introduce ourselves to Book Trust Chief Executive, Viv Bird. I broached the topic of her possibly coming to the Asian Festival of Children's Content and she was interested to hear more. Let's hope the Book council can follow up on this.

Auntie Susanna and Mika were at the Singapore Pavilion when I returned and we decided to lunch at one of  the cafeterias. Mika had a vegetarian selection and Auntie Susanna had the braised beef and mash. A famished Annabelle from NAC joined us at our table and all too soon it was time for Kenneth's panel discussion about children's literature in Singapore. My publisher, Edmund Wee and Mei Lin Lee of Marshall Cavendish were also was also a featured on the panel which was moderated by Paul Tan.

But before the panel started, I . had a pleasant surprise when I bumped into the brilliant author, John Dougherty, my fellow panellist from SWF two years ago. It was great catching up again.

And....the panellists did a great job, deftly fielding  the tough questions about publishing in Singapore. 

And my favourite part of the session is the photo below!

With that done, Auntie Susanna and Mika tubed int to Civent Garden for a spot of shopping and Emma and I caught up with the lovely Anita Loughrey for some tea. It's always lovely seeing her.

But she had to dart off for a writer's event, so Emma and I attended the Singapore networking night. Annabelle  busy running around before cocktail hour but I managed to stop her for a quick photo with Emma. Please note Emma is holding the kopitiam cup Mum donated to the booth

Emma's good friend and Award winning author Andrew Weale joined us there. Andrew  is brilliant and hilarious! It was great meeting him and he'll be in Singapore for the AFCC next month.

The social went on till we were told the power would be shut off and so we headed back to the hotel for a quick change and then onto a not so quick dinner at the Troubabor.  

I'm doing laundry tomorrow. I bet you never thought you would hear me say that. Well, neither did I!

Monday, April 7, 2014

London Day Three, 2014

So I managed to get more than an hour's sleep on my second night but by 7am, I had a splitting headache and felt kind of dopey-no wise cracks anyone- and so I went for a walk around Earl's Court. At Marks and Spencer's I picked up a couple of drinks and a trifle. There was no new issue of Hello and as I was beginning to feel more and more light-headed with each step I took, I felt it best to go straight back to the hotel rather than collapsing in front of the tube station.

I had just opened the door when Ken stepped out of his room and we agreed that we should have an early lunch with Auntie Susanna, Mika and Celine before going to the exhibition centre. I needed to lie down for a bit and so collapsed in my bed while Ken met up with Auntie Susanna and Mika.

I was sufficiently wide awake when they returned and Celine joined us soon after before we set out for an early lunch. A word of caution for anyone looking for an early lunch, you won't find one! Well we did find a pub that said lunch was being served but out food only arrived at our table at 12:00pm and we ordered it at around 11:30am.

Our lunch orders varied from fish and chips to crockpot chicken and mushrooms. I had the latter and let's just say it was a crock.

With our tummies more or less satisfied, we headed to Earl's Court Exhibition Centre. Edmund Wee, my publisher and Mr Epigram himself was already setting up his booth. He had boxes of books in front if him but my main concern was where were my books? Where were Sam, Sebbie and Di-Di-Di? Where was Duchess? 

The first three books were there but Duchess had not been packed. Thank goodness I had a copy of the book to spare.

Can you see it? 

At the end of the day, We met Auntie Susanna's friend Caroline Gregory at Costa Coffee for a bit and then headed to Dragon Palace for dinner. Exhausted we retired to our rooms at 8:00pm. I fell asleep at around 9pm and got back up at about 3am. Well that's about it for now. More tomorrow. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

London Day Two, 2014

I hate Jetlag almost as much as I hate blogging on an iPad. While Kenneth and Celine managed to get a full night's sleep, I was able to sleep for ad grand total of an hour!  So I was up till the dark blue sky washed into a pale grey and a steady drizzle tapped on my window.

Ken, Celine and I headed to Costa Coffee for breakfast and then to Folyes bookstore, my favourite bookstore in London! I took the tube to lunch with my Agents: Jay, Helen and Andrea. 

It's always great catching up with the wonderful ladies of Jacaranda and it was really nice meeting Steve Barron, Ng Yi Sheng and. Michael Jenkins and everyone.

I had a really good time and we discussed our projects and is had to talk about the new book and Emma's current project.  We'll be catching up again over the next few days at the London Book Fair.
The rest of my photos are in my camera and I'll only be able to download them once I am back home.

Oh and I had one of the best fish and chips I've ever had. Yum!!!

After lunch Emma and I walked back to the hotel and checked in on Ken. I hD been fading steadily since lunch and  as soon as I hit his couch , my eye lids felt like they weighed ten tonnes and gravity finally took hold.

They flipped back open when Ken sympathetically -not- snapped: "Don't fall asleep on my couch!" He kindly invited me for a roast beef dinner at his cousin's house but I was just too tired and headed back to my room and promptly passed out.

And guess what? I'm back up again!! Well, I'm going to try to get some sleep now. till tomorrow! 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

London Day One, 2014

So my journey to London was quite an eventful one. Mum and Dad offered to give me a lift to the airport at 6:30am so I could check in by 7am for my 9 am flight. As you can see by the photo below I did make my flight with Auntie Susanna, Mika, Kenneth and Celine (not pictured) several obstacles had to be overcome first.

1. We had left the house when Mum asked if had my passport. I replied that I had but just to be sure I checked only to discover I did not. Panic ensued and Dad u-turned back home. I made a frantic rush back to my room and, thankfully, it was by my printer!

2. We left for the airport once again  and the heavens opened unleashing blankets of rain. We could hardly see in front of us. Dad missed the turning to the expressway to the airport and we drove around before his car started breaking down. We made it to a petrol station near home and tried to call a cab to no avail.

3. My big brother came to the rescue and he drove to the station to pick me up. 
Thanks, Kor. Once. we were off, I realised I left my Heavy jacket in the car. He u-turned back to get it and then we floored it to the airport. Auntie Susanna, Ken, Mika and Celine were already there and we checked in and boarded the flight with time to spare. 

4. I was hoping for a smooth flight but three hours in, in the middle of breakfast service, the plane hit turbulence and an airpocket. Someone screamed and I gripped Auntie Susanna's hand till I practically cut off her circulation. thanks Auntie Susanna!

5. We landed at around 4pm and Auntie Susanna, Ken and Mika were met by Auntie Susanna's sister, Auntie Dolly and her daughter, Kim. They looked really happy to catch up again. 

6. While Miks and Auntie Susanna went off with Kim and Auntie Dolly. Ken,Celine and I headed to our hotel before going to Earl's Court Exhibition Centre to check out the Singapore Pavilion at the London Book Fair. It looks good even though it's still under construction. 

Kenneth then headed to catch up with Auntie Susanna and Mika while Celine and I opted for a fish and chips takeaway dinner before calling it a night. Sadly not much sleep was to be had by me. I hate Jetlag!  

Stay tuned for day two.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Sam, Sebbie and Di-Di-Di go to Bologna

At the Epigram Booth

Sam, Sebbie and Di-Di-Di made their first trip to Bologna with Edmund and Ilangoh and now they're safely back home again, but not for long. They'll be headed to the London Book Fair next week. If you're there, please check them out at the Singapore Pavilion!

Also Soefara has done a brilliant job of the paper dolls we'll be using at our book launches and school visits. Thanks, Soefara!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Jamie Foxx, Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield in Singapore

So I had a long and tiring but fun day yesterday. It all started about two weeks ago when my friend Ray told me about the Mediacorp competition to win Red Carpet tickets to meet the cast of the Amazing Spiderman 2.

I had no expectation of winning but I did write my 100 words about why I should meet the cast. Obviously being a writer didn't hold any weight as I did not win that competition but I did find out on Monday that I had won a pair of passes to the Spiderman 2 Red Carpet at the Marina Bay Sands skating rink and the press conference after that.

Setting up the Red Carpet

As instructed I turned up at noon to pick up my passes and to catch up with Ray. Some fans were already in line and the first 250 winners would get a free Blue Ray DVD. Yes, I got one! Now all I have to do is get a blue ray player!

Now to gain entry to the red carpet area you had to wear a blue wristband, hold a spiderman mask on a stick, which could also serve as a fan and a Spiderman cap. We were told spots along the red carpet would be on a first come, first serve basis, so we were determined to be among the first to claim our spot.

Joyce turned up and we all sat around chatting and sharing stories with the other fans who were there. The thing with these types of events is that it's always good to have company as the wait can be long and very tiring.

Finally at 4:15pm, security started admitting people and Ray and I jumped in immediately and we were among the first five in line. Then the fans started streaming in.
Thankfully we found our spot, right along the red carpet and then the waiting began. Staff sporting blue or red Spiderman t-shirts raced up and down the red carpet, checking their schedules every now and then before conferring with one another. 

Then a host of fans dressed as Electro and Spiderman turned up and walked the  red carpet before the official Spiderman of the event showed up and performed his 'spidey' leaps and poses for the fans and press.

Then things got into full swing when director Mark Webb arrived on a tram and started signing autographs and talking to the press. He then made his way over to us and he signed my poster.

When Oscar winner, Jamie Foxx, arrived a few minutes later, all hell broke loose. The crowd surged forward and the barricades began to buckle. I was afraid for 7-year-old fan Mikayala would get crushed.  "Stop, pushing" I snapped and Ray and I  tried to lean back from the barricades, hoping to push the crowds back somewhat. But it didn't work. Maybe if one of us had let out a toxic fart, it might have.

Jamie Foxx slowly made his way over to us and as I asked him to sign my poster, I dropped my pen! Sorry, Mr. Foxx. He and his minder kindly retrieved my sharpie before he signed the poster for me.

Right before I dropped my pen.

Next on the red carpet was the stunning Emma Stone. The crowd went wild and the pushing and shoving increased and once again the barricades began to tilt. "Stop shoving!" Ray and I snapped to no avail. At that point, security came over towards us and began to push the barricades back. 

They positioned themselves right in front of us and I was afraid that Emma might just pass by us completely. Her minder assured us and she came over and signed my poster. She was really sweet with Mikayla, the 7 year old fan. 

I gave her two copies of my book as a souvenir and she kindly thanked me before she moved on to accommodate as many of the other fans as she could.

Now we had to wait for Andrew Garfield to make his way over to us. The crowd still continued pushing and Andrew's minder came over and asked me to lift Mikayla over the barricade so she could stand on the red carpet. 

And when Andrew came over he took a few minutes to chat with her and asked her how she was. I told him she was getting squashed.

With that he continued signing autographs for the rest of the fans.
Ray, Joyce and I took a while to leave the scrum of fans and then we went to the Mastercard Theatre for the press conference. But Ray and I left when they said no photography was permitted which was the most absurd thing I've ever heard. No photographs at a press conference? Really?

Well that was the only downside of the whole day. We left tired but happy. Unfortunately I lost my camera bag, a rosary in the cab that I took on the way home. To make matters worse, my computer crashed later that night and that's why it took me so long to post this.

Now you've still got a chance to catch the stars at the floating platform tonight, Saturday 29. And remember to switch off the power for an hour for Earth Hour tonight.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sherlock Sam Book Launch, Penang Food and The Red Dot Award

Two Saturdays ago, I made my way to Books Kinokuniya for the launch of the latest Sherlock Sam book, 'Sherlock Sam and the Vanished Robot in Penang' by AJ Low aka my friends Felicia Low and Adan Jimenez.

The place was packed! Denise was there babysitting her charge for the day, Wen. Catherine and Sarah were there with their kids, Ilangoh and Erin were busy making sure everything was running smoothly and the editor who made it all happen, Sheri, was taking the backseat in the back of the crowd.

When Felicia asked who could tell them what AJ Low stood for, I raised my hands to which Felicia said, "Not the grown-ups." Now if Kenneth had been there on time he would have probably remarked that David's not a grown up!

I started taking photos and I wondered why the images were a bit smudged and then I realised that my lens was dirty. I dashed up to Best Denki to buy some lens cleaner. The problem now is that I have a whole bunch of photos from my launch and they won't download.What's up with that?

When I made my way back to the launch, things were in full swing. Adan and Felicia engaged the kids with a code-breaker game and handed out toy lego robots of their character Watson.  

Then a kids and grown ups formed a long line to get their books autographed. Kenneth arrived just in time to get a set of his books


I adjourned with Denise and Wen to the TCC cafe in Kinokuniya. Wen's mood fluctuated between laughing fits and hissy fits. I filmed his temper tantrum and showed it to him and he did not look amused and proceeded to fling things across the table. I'd post the video here but I'm afraid if I did that would be my last post ever as Denise would probably KILL me. I'm get into trouble with lots of people all the time anyway, so I might as well put it up here.

Then Denise had to head off with Wen and Felicia, Adan, Kenneth and I made our way to the York Hotel for the yummy Penang Hawker Fare buffet.  We ended up staying until it closed for the night.

Before I forget, I have to say a big Congratulations to both Adan and Felicia for winning then Red Dot Award for Sherlock Sam! Great job.

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