Meet Arabella Saturday – the juggling star of my new Children’s Book

I’ve just published my latest children’s book on Amazon. It’s available via this link.

And here’s a video telling you all about it.

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Great review for my latest play!

Pleased to report that the world premiere of my new play, ‘Look Out – He’s Got A Gun!’ was a sell-out success.  I’ve added one of the reviews below.

The play is currently with my publisher, Stage Scripts, but in the meantime it’s available from Amazon, as a stage play or a novel via this link.

Review: Look Out - He's Got A Gun! by Phil Mansell

Review of ‘Look Out – He’s Got A Gun!’ in the Weekly Post

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New Play Set for World Première!

I’m pleased to report that my latest play, ‘Look Out – He’s Got A Gun!’ has been lined up for its première later this year. Javea Players have given the two-act comedy spoof a slot in their Studio Theatre.

The play has come a long way since I was first inspired to write it back in 2017 after hearing various vintage radio plays from the 1940s and ’50s.

I returned to it earlier this year and after completing it, arranged for a test reading with a dozen of Javea Players’ finest acting talent. That trial run went much better than I could have anticipated and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Using the actors’ valuable feedback, I revised the play yet again, and hopefully injected even more comedy into it.

In fact, I was so pleased with the play that I turned it into a paperback novel which will hopefully soon be on my Amazon page alongside my children’s book ‘Uncle Mungo and the Great Wallaby Painting Contest’.

After creating a cover image for the play, I submitted it to my publisher, Stage Scripts, who, to date, have published ten of my plays. I’ll be writing more about the audition process and when rehearsals start in October.

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Radio interview about my books, plays and artwork

I recently did a radio interview with DJ Bob James of Valley FM in Orba, and we talked about a variety of things, including my new children’s book, ‘Uncle Mungo and the Great Wallaby Painting Contest’, my plays, illustrating books, oil painting – in fact, we covered a lot of territory.

Valley FM were kind enough to give me a copy of the interview which I’ve now editing into six bite-size chunks and turned into videos on my YouTube channel. The videos contain a lot of my artwork and illustrations which were under discussion. Please check them out and let me know what you think. Part One can be found here:

Part One of my radio interview which is now on YouTube.
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Creating a YouTube Channel to Promote my Uncle Mungo Book

I’ve been reading lots of stuff about how to promote your self-published paperback on Amazon. It’s a steep learning curve.

One of the tools I’ve decided to use is YouTube. I’ve discovered (slightly to my surprise) that I already had a YouTube Channel, so all I’ve had to do is add the videos I’ve created. I’ll be explaining how I created these videos in another blog post – look out for it.

Below is my latest short YouTube video and this is a a link to my YouTube channel. Please check them out and let me know what you think.

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Uncle Mungo – the video.

I created the video below to promote my book ‘Uncle Mungo and the Great Wallaby Painting Contest’. Available in paperback from Amazon.

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Paintings now online

I’ve finally got around to updating my artwork page and have uploaded a selection of the oil paintings I have completed over the last 12 months, along with some preparatory sketches.

(All my work is for sale by the way if you’re interested in helping a starving artist.)

Please check it out by clicking on this link:

Paintings by Phil Mansell
‘Dancing at the Fiesta #2’ Oil on canvas, 2018.
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All Set to Publish!

I’m about to press the button to launch my first book on Amazon. It’s a moment filled with excitement and not a little trepidation. Just how did I get here?

It all started  about a year ago when I wrote a story called ‘Uncle Mungo and the Great Wallaby Painting Contest’ in one of my notebooks.

Mungo notebook collage 1

This was written pretty much all in one go and the story just seemed to flow onto the page. I stopped occasionally to sketch a scene from the story.

After I had scribbled down that first, very rough draft,  I typed it up onto my favourite writing program, Scrivener (try it for free here).

I knew straightaway that, as this was a children’s book, it should have lots of lively and quirky illustrations. The main character, Uncle Mungo, I had written about many years ago and I had sketched him many times for a book that has yet to be completed.

MyUncleMungo medal web

One of the original Uncle Mungo drawings from many years ago.

So the next step was to decide which parts of the story to illustrate. Some scenes were crying out for a picture – Uncle Mungo paddling, Barney’s junk shop and the pirate ship through the telescope.

Mungo on Bike Sketch 1)

I liked this original sketch of Mungo on his bike so much that, try as I might, I couldn’t better it. So I used this one in the book.

Over the following weeks and months I did the artwork for the book in between other writing projects and doing oil paintings (that’s another story you can read about in a previous blog post entitled ‘Painting the Working Class Heroes of My Childhood’).

My illustration style is very loose and in some ways child-like. I start with a quick pencil drawing which I go over in permanent black ink, and then I apply a watercolour wash over that.

Very often I start the picture again to try to capture the flowing lines and spontaneity of the initial sketch.

Sometimes I’ll do the picture over and over – maybe a dozen times – until I get something I’m happy with. After all that, I occasionally like the sketch so much I’ll use that in the book.

The day eventually dawned when I thought, right, I’d better start working on a layout of the finished book. How exactly do I do that? What size book did I decide on? I tried lots of different templates before I found one I was happy with – but that’s for another blog.

Pigsty Portrait (sketch)

Another original sketch that I preferred to any subsequent “polished” versions. Again, I used this in the final version of the book I’m publishing on Amazon.

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Coming Soon: Adventures in publishing with Amazon

I’m in the process phil portrait 1 smof publishing my first book on Amazon – and it’s been quite a journey.

I aim to write about my experiences in self-publishing and record some of the highs and lows of the process. Hopefully, this will prove useful to other writers and help them to overcome some of the obstacles that I found along the way.

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‘Bats’ Takes to the Stage Again

I was delighted to see that another amdram group is staging my one act play ‘Bats’.

Hedgehog Productions have put on five productions of the play in three different venues in October 2018.  This follows the very successful staging of the play by by Newtown Amateur Dramatic Society at the Powys Theatre  earlier this year, which I wrote about here.

‘Bats’ is a black comedy set in a quiet cul-de-sac, where a couple find their nice, quiet orderly lives disturbed by an infestation of bats. A string of people turn up and are mistaken for the bat exterminator. When he finally does turn up, his work is interrupted by a birthday strippergram, and by the time he gets down to business, it looks like it might be too late…

I’ve been in touch with Jim Hayman, who played the bat exterminator called in by the harassed householder in the play, and he wrote, ” I’ve based the “bat man” on Ronnie Barker’s character in ‘Porridge’.  Ann is weirdly middle England and tweedy.  Peter is very uptight, impatient and boring, even anal about  the detail he chooses as important.  Helen has bursts of emerging from her shell.

“The play demands character extremes and strong differentiation between the players. Once this was mastered, we started to have real fun with the piece and were able to draw out comedy,which would only work for certain types of characters.

He added, “We have sold out and will raise our target sum for our chosen charities.”

Very pleased to hear that.

If any other amdram (or professional) companies want to perform ‘Bats’ it’s available from my publisher Stage Scripts. I also have have several as-yet unpublished play, the details of which can be found here and on my other blog Phil Mansell Plays.

Bats Pics web

Hedgehog Productions rehearse my play ‘Bats’. Photos courtesy of Jim Hayman who played the role of  the “bat man” called in to solve the problem.

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