So looking forward to Satin coming out!

I am so looking forward to the publication next year of Satin, my forthcoming picture book with the wonderful illustrator Lorena Carrington, to be published by MidnightSun Publishing in March 2023. I am really excited about this book, which came about in the most magical way (which I’ll write about in another post, later), and which I think is going to be just loved by both children and adults.

Here’s the gorgeous cover:

And here’s the blurb:

Every morning early, when no-one’s about, Satin slips out of the forest and walks along the sleepy sunrise streets, looking for blue…

He’s collected all kinds of blues, from all kinds of places. He’s making something beautiful, with all those blues. But something’s missing, and he doesn’t know what it is. And then, one day, he comes to a street he’s never been in before. And what he finds there will change his lonely life forever.

A beautiful, haunting fable by award-winning writer Sophie Masson and acclaimed illustrator Lorena Carrington.

Lorena’s exquisite, superb creation of Satin’s visual world is just stunning in its depth and beauty, conveying a mix of natural enchantment and human warmth which goes right to the heart of the story. (Below is a sneak peek at the first page spread)

I am so happy that Lorena is co-creator with me on this gorgeous book, and so happy too that it was taken on by such a wonderful publisher as Anna Solding of Midnight Sun.

Lovely first review for Magical Tales from French Camelot

There’s a lovely first review of Magical Tales from French Camelot, by the fantastic book blogger Ashleigh Meikle, on The Book Muse.

Here’s a couple of bits from the review:

Sophie’s retellings are lyrical and emotive, and as she explains in her rationale at the end of each tale, she chose the most powerful moments in each tale to retell, leaving off where she needed to, and at times, explaining the rest of the story and its context within the French canon as well as its relationship to the British stories. Doing this gave an extra layer to the book, and it is the same process Kate Forsyth uses for her Long Lost Fairytales collections as well. In giving readers a history of the tale and letting us know what they have done, Sophie, like Kate, invites us into her world and writing process….

These stories bring part of the Arthurian legends and myth cycle to life for adult and young adult readers, and I loved reading them, loved feeling like I was part of the world that they came from, and loved the beautiful illustrations by Lorena, created with many different aspects digitally to tell the stories just as much as the words did. I find it hard to put her illustrations into words because I think they are the kind of illustrations you have to experience for yourself – they’re just that magical!

You can read the whole review here.

Crowdfunding campaign to launch Pardalote Press

Exciting news! The wonderful illustrator Lorena Carrington and I have established Pardalote Press, a tiny Press making small surprising things. We’ve launched a crowdfunding campaign this morning to support our first two projects, Bird’s Eye View and Wayfarer. Bird’s Eye View is a chapbook of words—poetry and prose—and black and white images, which together form glimpses into the world of birds, and the world as seen by birds. Wayfarer is a unique set of sixteen beautiful full colour cards which in words and pictures take you on a journey of mystery, magic and meaning.

The campaign is to raise funds towards production and printing of the projects. We hope you might be interested in having a look! Here’s the direct link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/pardalote-press-launch#/

You can learn more about the Press and our first two projects on our website, and social media: Facebook and Instagram. There’s also a great little news item about it at Books+Publishing. And here below are a few words from Lorena and I, extracted from that article, as to why we started Pardalote Press:

It was in fact a mock medieval bestiary—published as an appendix to our joint book Magical Tales from French Camelotwhich first made us think of the idea of working on unusual little projects. We started with the idea of Bird’s Eye View, and then, later, came the idea for Wayfarer.

We knew these were a bit too left-field to fit into mainstream publishing lists, so decided to create our own tiny press to produce them and other things we might come up with.

So–do check us out, have a look, and if you are interested, we would be very grateful for your support in the launch of this tiny press making small surprising things to help the imagination take flight!

Proof copy of Magical Tales from French Camelot

Just before New Year, what a lovely surprise in the mail: a proof copy of Magical Tales from French Camelot, my forthcoming book with the fantastic Lorena Carrington! To be published by Serenity Press in March 2022, it features my original translations and retellings of some great French Arthurian classic tales from the Middle Ages, principally stories by the great twelfth-century French writers Chrétien de Troyes and Marie de France, illustrated by absolutely superb pictures by Lorena. It’s so good to be able to leaf through this first copy–looking wonderful!

By the way, the book is for adults and teenagers–certainly not for ‘7 plus’ as some websites have it.

Illustration by Lorena Carrington for ‘The Boy in the Forest, the Girl in the Wasteland, and the Fisher King’, from Magical Tales from French Camelot.

What a lovely launch of French Fairy Tales!

It was such a wonderful launch last night, so much enjoyed it! Below you can find a link to the video of the launch(which was live online)

To get a copy of the book, visit the Serenity Press website. Here’s a link to the print edition: https://www.serenitypress.org/product-page/french-fairy-tales

And here’s a link to the flipbook edition(like an ebook, only better!): https://www.flipsnack.com/…/french-fairy…/full-view.html

Launching the fabulous Cat and Mouse Activity Pack!

I am delighted to announce that today my lovely illustrator friend Kathy Creamer and I are launching a fabulous new creative resource for children, families and schools: the Cat and Mouse Creative Activity Pack. Fully illustrated in colour, it’s packed full of fun reading, discussion, writing and art activities, and is a follow-up to the very popular Fox and Chooks Creative Activity Pack, which Kathy and I launched back in April.

In this new Pack, you can find fun facts and stories about cats and mice; story starters to get you writing, a look at books featuring cats and mice as characters and a look at some fabulous artworks featuring these animals (with many thanks to the wonderful people at NERAM!); great drawing, colouring and modelling activities, and more. We hope you will enjoy it and let your imaginations roam free!

You can download the Pack here: Cat and Mouse Creative Activity pack by Sophie Masson and Kathy Creamer or at the Sophie Masson Presents site.

Note: the Cat and Mouse Creative Activity Pack, like the earlier one, is free to download, use and print at home or in schools, but must not be used commercially in any way, except with our written permission.

Happy publication day to Santagram!

Today is the official publication day of my latest picture book, Santagram, which is illustrated by the fabulous Shiloh Gordon and published by Little Hare. It was such a fun text to write, the idea coming to me out of the blue one day when I thought about how letters to Santa are such a big thing, still: so what would happen if more ‘modern’ methods were suggested to him? I was so delighted when Ana Vivas and her team at Little Hare loved the book and took it on for their big Christmas title this year!

And I just love the wonderful, warm and funny visual world Shiloh has created for my text, full of great detail and so appealing! Plus there is even a real (blank) letter and envelope that children can write to Santa. Hope lots of children and families enjoy!

Here’s a bit about the story:

Santa’s mailbox is overflowing.
 
Santa loves getting letters, but the elves are FED UP with sorting through the huge piles of mail.
Surely an app would be better – quick, easy and heaps of fun! They’ll call it ‘Santagram’.
 
But once the letters stop arriving, will they be missed?
 
Can Santa use social media? And should he? This is a Christmas story with a twist that will have the whole family laughing out loud.
Includes special Christmas notepaper so you can send your very own letter to Santa!

French fairy tale travelling, by Lorena Carrington — Sophie Masson’s Fairytale Country

Today I’m welcoming my wonderful co-creator, Lorena Carrington, to this blog, to write about the travels in France that helped to inspire her glorious illustrations in French Fairy Tales. All photographs in this post are by Lorena. French fairy tale travelling, by Lorena Carrington In late September last year, I touched down in France with […]

French fairy tale travelling, by Lorena Carrington — Sophie Masson’s Fairytale Country

My favourite French castle, an inspirational fairy tale setting

Cross-posted from my Fairytale Country site.

Today I want to write  a bit about the castle that for me, since childhood, has represented the absolute epitome of the classic French fairy tale setting: and that is the gorgeous small chateau of  Azay-le-Rideau, in the Loire Valley.  Of course the Loire Valley is full of beautiful castles; but this one is my favourite of them, indeed it’s my top favourite in all of France. Not only does this absolute jewel of a chateau represent for me that epitome of fairy tale magic and charm, but it’s also the setting for the Beast’s castle in my retelling of Beauty and the Beast, which is the longest story in French Fairy Tales.

Chateau d’Azay-le-Rideau, September 2018. Photo: Sophie Masson

Built in the early 16th century on the ruins of the previous fortress suited there, the castle of Azay-le-Rideau has a tumultuous history. It’s situated  within the charming little village of the same name, down a small road away from the main highway, amongst green fields and little woods. The castle is set on a small lake, in superb parkland, and I’ve visited it a number of times, the most recent being in September 2018. That time, in a glorious early autumn with blue skies and trees still green but starting to turn gold, we stayed in a lovely little hotel in the village, a few steps away from the castle. At the time we were there, an extraordinary, eerily beautiful art installation called ‘Les enchantements d’Azay‘, by artists Piet.sO  and Peter Keene, was displayed in the castle. Together, the castle, the parkland gardens, the art installation, and the amazing, magical feel of the whole place, were just the most perfect elements to help create the Beast’s world.

It isn’t just in Beauty and the Beast, however, that you will see the enchanting influence of Azay-le-Rideau; for in the next post, Lorena will be writing about how her own stay there and her visits to other places in the Loire Valley, became the source for her glorious illustrations in French Fairy Tales.

Owl, Hunting: my poem in the August issue of The School Magazine

I was delighted to get the latest issue of ‘Countdown’ edition of The School Magazine, where my poem Owl, Hunting, has been published, illustrated by the fabulous Marjorie Crosby-Fairall. And Marjorie’s illustration is also on the cover of the magazine, which is great!

I wrote this poem on a visit to my father’s place in the green, wooded countryside of south-west France. One night I woke to hear an owl hooting close by. Listening to the lonely, evocative sound, and imagining the night scene outside, the poem just jumped into my head at that moment.