Sunday, 27 July 2014

Guest Post; Land of Dragor by Julia Suzuki

Dear March House Books Readers,

Firstly a big thank you to Barbara for this lovely invitation: a site I often visit for a trip down memory lane.

My name is Julia Suzuki and I am author of the soon to be released Land of Dragor, a children’s adventure series with an appeal for the child within us all too!

My formative years were enchanting, and the strongest inspiration for my current authorship. The earliest recollection I have was being sat in my bedroom with the breeze blowing in through the window on a beautiful summers day, listening to the sounds of animals merged with the thrill of happy human cheers!

It wasn’t the usual garden sounds though; not dogs, not cats, not birds - nor of children playing in the garden as they would normally do.

But it was the noises of real beasts: lions and monkeys, zebras and cheetahs! Our family home was uniquely set on the closest edge to a Zoo and Theme Park in Staffordshire; we were separated only by the Millrace at the bottom of the garden on the ‘Deer park Estate’ by Drayton Manor Park in Tamworth, Staffordshire.

The Drayton Manor Theme Park

One summer, my Father lovingly handcrafted myself and brothers wide canoes. In the years ahead we would regularly set off for secret adventures. Down the millrace we would paddle, and into the fields we would go; playing wildly in the woods, loving nature, embracing the outdoors - pretending we were the animals.
Boating with my eldest brother: In my element!

My imagination started to grow with my love of books.

My winter months were spent indoors often reading. I loved all the now vintage books: Beatrix Potter, CS Lewis, Enid Blyton and others of that period. I would often close the book and write my own endings and so my joy of creative writing began.

At the age of seven I was enrolled in elocution lessons with a local speech and drama school, ran by a former teacher from a local convent. She was very strict and austere but that did bring out the best in the group of girls that attended. In the lessons I would practice reciting pages of literature and poetry, from memory, in preparation for the London School of Music examiners. I continued through to the senior grades. My favorite and most memorable recital was from the book the Snow Goose; such a sad tale that even in recollection pulls at heartstrings.

Here are my three favourite books and their covers that sat on my shelf:

Into adulthood a business career followed. After time at University studying marketing, a career with Disney licensing then followed. After this I worked in international licensing with the leisure entrepreneur David Lloyd in a resorts business. I had the good fortune of travelling to many of the most beautiful places in the world - inspiring me further.  My urge to be an author was growing daily, and I recently gave up this career to become a full time writer.

And so the first book the Gift of Charms came to be!

I had been thinking back to the wonderful vintage books I had read and wishing there were more like this - but with unique and modern edge and an interactive web presence. Being a mother I believed I knew first hand what parents were looking for when purchasing a book for their children, yet more than that, I felt strongly that I knew also what they sought themselves: gripping action, lots of adventure - all the classic aspects of heroes and villains, mystery and magic, quests and suspense, and the dream of happy endings.

I wanted to write books with universal appeal, that were fantastical and 'out there' and yet still felt somehow real; to fulfil the expectations of book lovers and also hook non-readers back into reading. For me this had to be in the form of a series set in a place we would all be excited to visit.

I designed the land, integrating beautiful countryside, mountain trails, great waters and caves to explore. All the things I loved as a child and still do today. The most beautiful places that I had seen on my international travels formed the setting of Dragor: the amazing mountains of Colorado, the great deserts of Palm Springs, in California, the vast waters in the Lake District, and the seaside caves of Cornwall - not forgetting the enchanting wilderness of Scotland. Dragor would be my ideal place to live - full of magnificent scenery, bursting with animals and nature's magical flowers and plants. A place of adventure, excitement and promise.

 Synopsis of Book #1

The Gift of Charms is an enthralling children’s tale of magic, adventure, and suspense, with a heart-warming centre.

 The first in the Land of Dragor series, transports the reader to the magical Land of Dragor, where dragon clans live hidden from man.

 Their great wars with humans and the evil dragsaurs are over and the dragons live in the caves among smoking mud pools and around The Fire Which Must Never Go Out. But the terrible years when they were enslaved by humans has left a lasting scar and they are told they can never soar above the mountains and leave their safe haven to explore the outside world.

There is unease in the air of their mist-filled valley, and the coming of a strange egg heralds a new era. Unlike the normal delicate lilac, this shell is multi-coloured like the contents of a treasure chest.

The newborn hatchling is called Yoshiko, but he is immediately treated with suspicion by the elders, and is lucky to survive. The last time a coloured egg was laid, legendary warrior leader Surion was born from a red shell, and with his gift of fire the dragons went to battle with the humans. Will Yoshiko bring a blessing to the clans, or a curse? Could Dragor be about to meet its saviour, or its destroyer?

 Author Julia Suzuki

 ‘The Gift of Charms’ is released by John Blake Publishing under the Dino Children’s Imprint on September 4th and is available to pre-order here:

The Land of Dragor: Book 1: The Gift of Charms

 All best wishes 

Julia Suzuki

Fantasy Author 
The Land of Dragor adventure series
(John Blake Publishing House, Dino Imprint)

After so many stories and myths about dragons finally the truth is revealed!
The epic series begins with 'The Gift of Charms' PRE-ORDER at AMAZON

'A beautifully presented, wonderfully unique debut' - The Sun

WEBSITES (Author blog and website) (An interactive website for Dragor fans)
TWITTER (Follow Julia here on Twitter)
FACEBOOK (Follow Julia and here on Facebook)
GOODREADS (See latest book reviews)
AMAZON (Buy the books here)

Thank you so much Julia! The gift of charms certainly sounds like an exciting read.  I wish you every success, Barbara.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Ginger the cat and other newly listed books

Having enjoyed our summer break it’s now time to start replenishing the shelves. This is a quick preview of some newly listed items.

Ginger the cat - the strange tale of a tail. A Tuck Book published by Raphael Tuck in 1945. If ever there was a bold, bad cat, it was Ginger! Beautifully illustrated in full colour by Harry Woolley.
Ginger the cat is now sold, thank you for your interest.

What to look for in autumn illustrated by the wildlife artist C. F. Tunnicliffe (1901 – 1979) published by Ladybird books in 1960. C.F. Tunnicliffe was commissioned to illustrate five books for Ladybird: What to look for in spring, What to look for in summer, What to look for in autumn, What to look for in winter (first published 1959-1961) and a ‘Learning to read’ book The Farm.

A selection of fun annuals; 

The British Legion Children's Annual c1930s.    Jolly Jack's Annual from 1940. The Toby Twirl Annual from 1946 and two Teddy Tail Annuals from the 1950s.  Browse all annuals in stock here
The Teddy Tail annual featured here is now sold but we do have others in stock.

Sardine Crackers anyone?  Set of two Nursery Rhyme Cookery Books;

The Teddy bears picnic and the frog and Miss Mouse's wedding. Cookery for the very young,  simple and safe.Colour illustrations throughout both books by Jill Mackley Hall. Recipes with ingredients that are simply assembled and need little supervision. All kinds of delights for the youngest child to try including crispy nutty delights, sardine crackers, Queens tarts, orange iceberg drink, banana spread, chocolate ice cream cups and corned beef whirls. Covers just a little rubbed on edges and some darkening to edges of pages else very good. Published in 1973. Priced at just £6.00 for the two.

A nice collection of the ever popular Pookie books by Ivy Wallace. Further details here

Ivy Wallace became a publishing phenomenon in the 1950s and 1960s with a series of children's books chronicling the adventures of Pookie, the flying rabbit who leaves his home in the Bluebell Wood to seek his fortune with a red spotted bundle tied on a stick; in the 1990s, she became one of the few writers to be rediscovered in her own lifetime.

A keen amateur artist, Ivy Wallace created Pookie during the Second World War. The books, beautifully illustrated by their author with every flower drawn from nature, became a worldwide success with the stories being translated into several languages and Pookie clubs as far afield as Australia, Canada and South Africa. (The Telegraph online) Read more

Cuckoo Cherry-Tree by Alison Uttley. A book of twelve original fairy tales for all ages, imbued with country lore and magic, with a background of woods and fields and cottages where simple folk live. Published by Faber & Faber in 1944. How nice it is to have the original dust jacket with this pretty book. Cuckoo Cherry-Tree is now sold, thank you for your interest. Other Alison Uttley books in stock here

All the books featured here are available (unless previously sold) to view or purchase at March House Books. Please use the quick search boxes on the home page or follow the links. Thanks to everyone who called in to wish me a happy holiday. I will be catching up with all your blogs just as soon as I can.

I was lucky enough to visit the magical Hay-on-Wye ‘book town’ and the wonderful Alfies Antiques Market in Marylebone and will be sharing some of the 'photos in a later post.
A few of the books acquired on my recent travels, some of which are available in my shop, others will be listed in the next few days.

And just to prove I did more than lounge around on my holiday...
Well, a girl can dream!   

I will be listing other interesting things over the next few days so if you have a few minutes to spare why not pay a visit to March HouseBooks where you will find...
My books are full of pictures of interesting places -
of circus tents and lions and clowns with funny faces!

Wednesday, 2 July 2014


Time to visit friends ~

Enjoy a gossip ~

Make merry ~

Dance ~

Play ~

 Dream ~

 Plant Roses ~

A little light shopping ~

Talk to the animals ~

and the elves! ~

Find a cosy nook ~

with a favourite ~


So ~ 

Expect me when you see me;

I'll write soon.

 My batteries are in need of a quick recharge, but I will be back before you know it.  Thanks for all the lovely comments left on my blog.  I appreciate every single visit and will miss you all while I’m away. 

*** All cards from my own collection

**** Vintage Books available from March House Books

Just before I go, I've been asked to tell you about an adorable book available from Kickstarter (an online platform for independent artists to raise funds for their projects). I don’t often blog about new books, but the artwork in this one is gorgeous. 

Jack the Kitten is full of imagination. One of his favourite things is to imagine he's a pirate. So although Jack is sleepy, he’s convinced pirates don’t go to bed. It's left to his big brother, Machu, to show him all the things that pirates do at bedtime. 

The illustration of Machu and Jack brushing their teeth is priceless.

But now the moon was high in the sky and his Momma said it was time for bed.

“Bed?” Jack exclaimed. “Pirates don’t go to bed!”

Maybe pirates don’t need to go to bed but booksellers do, night all  ZZZZZzzzzz.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Just A Perfect Day

Please listen to the music – it goes with the pictures.

A perfect day in June - 

a walk in the park, 


and lunch in a country pub 

Terry and I spent our perfect day at the beautiful Stourhead Estate in Wiltshire. We enjoyed a delicious lunch at the Spread Eagle Inn and a perusal of the books on offer at the Memorial Hall. The Spread Eagle Inn and Memorial Hall are both situated on the estate which also features a Palladian mansion and world-famous landscape lake & garden.

Our wedding day 44 years ago today - how young we look!

So that was our perfect day – how would you spend yours?

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