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Sunday, 17 July 2011

Littleplod's lie in and the boing, boing shoes.

Littleplod's lie in and the boing, boing shoes. By Robert J Bullock

The cave guard, Littleplod, was tucked up snug in his little elf nest. Elves don't have beds like human people. They have little nests made of cushions, pillow, blankets and sheets. Each night they curl up tight in the pile of bedding and go to sleep. But before he goes to bed at night Grandma Crinkleplod always reminds Littleplod to wind his alarm ticktock up, but, as Littleplod hates doing as he is told, he always refuses! So if Grandma Crinkleplod ever forgets to wind the ticktock herself, it ends up stopping in the middle of the night. This is what had happened this morning.

"Littleplod!" called Grandma Crinkleplod from her kitchen as Littleplod’s brothers and sisters were disappearing off to work and school.

"What!" mumbled Littleplod rudely. Littleplod didn't like being woken up. He was a grumpy box in the morning.

"Do you be awake, Littleplod?"

"No! I be SLEEPING!" Roared the angry elf.

"You be late for work!" Warned the old elf.

"I be my own boss!" He shouted rudely. "No-one be telling Littleplod when to start! I be starting when I be wanting!" And with that he burrowed deeper into his nest and went back to sleep.

"Whatever you be saying," said Grandma Crinkleplod calmly, shaking her head.

At ten o’clock there was a loud banging on Littleplod’s bedroom window. All cave elves live in small burrows hollowed out of cave walls. Littleplod's bedroom was on the second floor of the burrow.


"What?" Shouted an angry Littleplod from under the covers.

"Little..." boing! "Plod..." boing! "Come..." boing! "Quick!" boing!"

A curious Littleplod emerged from his nest and scuttled over to the window. As he opened his curtains, a small, familiar head appeared, then disappeared and then appeared again, then disappeared. Littleplod was becoming dizzy just watching.


"Hel..." boing, "...llo!" Boing!" said cousin Weenyplod. Weenyplod was a very tiny creature indeed, in fact he was a Naggledong Fairy. Naggledong Fairies live in the pre-historic world full of dinosaurs.

"What be you doing, Weenyplod?" asked Littleplod peering out of his window.

Boing! Boing!

"Be stopping boinging!" screamed Littleplod as loud as he could.

Weenyplod had huge springs under his red shoes, and every time he landed he bounced straight up again.

Quickly, Littleplod threw on his cave guards uniform, ran down stairs and outside. The only way Weenyplod could stop bouncing was by crash landing on his back! And as Littleplod opened the door his cousin was lying flat staring up at the sky!

"What be so urgent?" yelled Littleplod, furiously.

"Mole Robots!"

"What be Mole Robots?" Asked Littleplod.

"Robot Moles!"

"Never heard of them!" Declared the Cave Guard.

"They be attacking the magic cave from underneath!"

"But what can I be doing? I be just the cave guard!"

"Boingboing shoes!" Grinned Weenyplod passing his cousin a pair of the bright red shoes with the gigantic springs underneath. "Be putting on, please!"

"Oh alright!" Agreed Littleplod.

Reluctantly, Littleplod did as he was asked. At first he could barely stand up in the strange shoes. Then when he started bouncing he found he could easily jump quite a height. He discovered that instead of trying to walk he just had to bounce with both his feet together.

"Be following me!" called Weenyplod who was now something of an expert at using boing, boing shoes, apart from when it came to stopping, of course!

The two elves bounced through the magic cave and out of the entrance where Littleplod should have been standing guard. Just down from the magic cave was a large, grassy ledge and burrowing up through the ground were strange, evil looking, mechanical mole creatures! They had big shovel-like hands, one yellow eye in the middle of their face and sharp looking teeth.

Obviously sent by some enemy of the cave elves, maybe the Furglegurgles, to attack Victoria Cave, ten of the horrible mechanical creatures had appeared. As they came through they started bombarding the cave with large bits of soil.

"Oh, no!" yelled Littleplod as the elves in the cave took cover, "what can we be doing about this?"

"I have a plan," squeaked Weenyplod.

"Tell me?" ordered Littleplod.

"Be bouncing on their heads!" Yelled Weenyplod as he bounded down the steep path towards the horrible machines.

"Be bouncing on their heads?" Argued Littleplod, "but that be dangerous!"

But Weenyplod was already bouncing towards the Mole Robots.

"Oy! Be waiting for me!" replied Littleplod following his brave cousin.

Weenyplod and Littleplod were quickly down on the grassy ledge and were bouncing between the mole machines, jumping on them and making them go back underground. Two, boing, four, boing, six, boing, eight, boing, ten, boing! Gradually every one of the Robot Moles were pushed back underground. For good measure, they bounced all around the ledge after the last of them had disappeared until they were finally satisfied that they had gone for good.

"Littleplod!" A lady's voice echoed from the cave entrance.

"Oh, oh!" said Littleplod bouncing up the path, "Miss Bagshot is looking for me, I need to be going and guarding the cave, ooh, ooh I be in trouble, I be late!"

"Littleplod!" Called Miss Bagshot again.

Littleplod bounced and bounced, faster and faster then suddenly he bounced really hard, lost control, bounced on a wobbly rock and flew like a rocket backwards over the ledge! He landed on his back with a heavy thud!

“Ow!” he mumbled quietly, rubbing his very sore head, “I think I should be listening to Grandma Crinkleplod from now on! Sleeping be not a good idea!”

© Copyright Robert Bullock 2009.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

To plan or not to plan, that is the question!

Some writers methodically plan their stories out, others fly by the seat of their pants! I have to say I am asked this question a lot and I always reply both! I fly methodically!

When I get an initial idea, I love pant seat flying! Methodical planning when I’m in this kind of mood inhibits my creative flow, so I’ll write and write and write, up to 6000 words a day!

But sometimes you’ve got to try and gain control of creativity otherwise it doesn’t always make a whole lot of sense.

When starting my writing day I always read through what I wrote last. And more often than not there are a lot of mistakes and sometimes what I’ve created and thought was utterly amazing isn’t even comprehensible! At this point planning can help creativity!  

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

The inferno of the Hellion. From 'Prophesy of Blood'

The inferno of the Hellion
“Nearly there!” Eve hauled the body of her friend further and further, “help me Siggi!” She screamed over the noise.
Flames devoured what little oxygen was left making twelve year old Eve Blake grasp for breath. Blackness surrounded the small group of mismatched characters as a flood tide of fear enveloped them.
“I can’t do it!" Argued Siggi, “I’m just a girl! He’s too heavy!”
“You’re an adult Siggi,” snapped Eve impatiently, “a full grown woman, oh just get out of my way!” Eve continued to heave her friend along the ground, “!" Gasped Eve, “there!”
Eve desperately needed rest but the island in the sea of fire was getting smaller and smaller as the level of the molten liquid rose ever upwards pushing her, Siggi, Vibius and Casiopia further towards the highest point. Casiopia’s wings had been singed so badly that she could no longer fly, Siggi was useless and Eve’s strength was being sapped by constantly having to pull her unconscious soldier friend to safety.
“Eve!" Yelled Casiopia pointing, “look!"
The intrepid reporter Siggi had a small camcorder in her hands and she was busy filming everything.
“Don’t you ever put that thing down?" Barked a furious Eve.
“I’m a reporter Eve!" Argued Siggi Clements, “I record things, then I tell the world!”
“Well soon there might not be a world left to tell!” Said Eve.
“Eve,” Casopia was still pointing, “look!"
Vibius groaned in agony as Eve pulled him towards Casiopia and stood between her friends and the lapping tide of heat.
“What on..." Eve whispered as she looked out over the sea of magma and saw the waves slowly parting. Quickly she held her wand aloft and tried desperately to remember the spells Princess Arachne had taught her earlier. Eve had only ever used magic for stupid things like lifting stones and making doors invisible now she was expected to use it to fight to save lives, maybe a lot of lives.
Now what was it? Eve thought impatiently, racking her brain what was that stupid spell ? But Eve’s mind had gone blank and everything she had learned seemed to have just disappeared into the dark night like everyone she loved.
As Eve Blake searched her memory for the magical words a huge monstrous head the size of a house started to slowly rise up from the liquid metal. Dramatically, first the tips of it’s ears emerged before starting demonic eye. The head had pointed ears, a mouth full of razor sharp teeth and red eyes that were staring straight at Eve.
“No!” Gasped Eve banging her wand against her leg in frustration.
“It’s no good Eve," sighed Casiopia, “your magic is child's magic, you’re not powerful enough! It’s all over now! You can’t resist it, no one can! The Flaming Hellion is the harbinger of evil.”
The birth of the Flaming Hellion marked the fulfilment of the Prophesy of destruction, for trapped behind the teeth in the cavernous demons mouth was Daniel Blake, Eve’s brother and soon the beast would have Eve too. Then it would be too late!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

My first workshop in a woodland class room!

My final visit to Clifton with Rawcliffe Primary School near York was with their infants and the day was spent doing creative writing workshops in their brilliant woodland class room!
After reading my stories to the children, they paired up and used almost every inch of the fantastic space to write their own Noah Ramsbottom stories. Then we came back together, sat on our logs, benches and mushrooms and listened to what the children had created.
Thank you Clifton with Rawcliffe School for three amazing days!

The Skeletons battling the pirates!

I love this picture of one of Peg Leg Julians crew fighting a skeleton from Noah Ramsbottom and the Treasure of Skull Island. 
Check out more work by my brilliant illustrator Louisa Biggin at

Monday, 4 July 2011

Supporting libraries not fining children

“To try to raise revenues by targeting this client base is a backwards step,” said Robert, who lives in the Yorkshire Dales and has family in Stockton, Marske and Seaton Carew.
“You are fining a lot of people who can’t afford it. If there’s the potential to be fined then people won’t use that service.
“I go to a lot of schools where the kids have next to no money. The first thing they ask me is whether the book will be in the local library. Libraries are hugely important and literacy among children is a really big issue.”

Arts Council support for Jacob's War

Soon to be published is my novel called Jacob's War which has been supported by the Arts Council.
Set in 1940 the story deals with the mostly forgotten subject of internment in World War 2.

Peg Leg Julian makes Blunderplod walk the plank!

In Noah Ramsbottom and the Treasure of Skull Island, the evil pirate captain Peg Leg Julian makes poor Blunderplod walk the plank!

Friday, 1 July 2011

Teacher responses to author visits

“Dear Robert‚ The children really did enjoy your book and it was great to use to write our own stories. I am not exaggerating when I say it provided us with several weeks' work. The children wrote their own mini books with chapters and, once started, I had very little to do. They were actually asking to write - even the more reluctant writers. Just shows what having a real author and a real book does for motivation. Please - I would love you to come to our class again. Look forward to seeing you again.”

“Thank you!!!! Yesterday went really well, everybody's still excited about the experience and the feedback has been tremendous! Hopefully the stimulus from your book has had an impact on their big writing today -can't wait to read and mark some of them.”

“The children thoroughly enjoyed listening to Rob reading 'Noah Ramsbottom and the Cave Elves'. As he read, the children sat silently, impatiently awaiting the next part of Noah's exciting adventure. We were left wanting more and wondering what Noah would be getting up to in his forthcoming adventures. We did follow-up work involving Noah and the children produced some fabulous character descriptions. Thank you ever so much for visiting our school and bringing Noah to life.

If you would like me to visit your school please go to my website and go to 'Contact' 

Resources for Primary/Elementary School Teachers

Animals are wonderful and when I can I like to help educate children that animals should be treated with kindness and respect. Everyone, even children, should stand up to cruelty to animals of every kind.

Some of my stories about animals are available on PETA's educational website.

Take a look, read the stories to children, and use the wonderful free resources.