Archive for the ‘Finding a publisher’ Category


I never expected to find myself in ‘Good Housekeeping’.

I’ve been published in magazines before, but it has almost always been fiction. So when I was given the chance through my publishers, Honno Press, to pitch for an article in the Christmas edition, my first reaction was that it wasn’t for me. The article was about ‘How we remade Christmas’ after a family change, or the dead of a loved on who had been central to family Christmases. What could I write about? My Christmases are very quiet and ordinary. I had nothing to say.Tynysimdde in the snow

DSC_1677By a strange coincidence, I was joining up with my family in the cottage in the wilds of Snowdonia where we used to spend Christmas. Being there, I remembered all those Christmas, fourteen vegetarians sitting down to (a very delicious) Christmas dinner, cooked by my dad, who was always the centre of Christmas. It wasn’t that we were just all vegetarians. The cottage really is in the wild and for many of those Christmases had no electricity (candles were not just for Christmas) and a loo in the pigsty at the bottom of the garden (in an isolated valley with no lights, surrounded by forest – just the thing to develop the imagination …) and several times were snowed in and had to be rescued.

Candle small

Candles (and oil lamps) were not just for Christmas






In the Snow

The cottage is there somewhere!

In fact, it was one of those times were were snowed in at Christmas when I was very small, and were down to our last handful of coal and tins of baked beans, and having to break the ice over the spring to collect water, that became the very first story I ever had published, the story that made me a professional writer. It was something I’ll never forget, following the rest of the family, clutching my doll as my mum clutched my baby brother, making my way through snow that was nearly higher than me, as we made our way over the fields to be sledged down the steep hill to my uncle, who had battled his way along treacherous single-track roads in a battered Landrover.


The old fireplace with the remains of the range


Mum at the cottage at Christmas in the 1950s

So, in fact, it turns out the Christmases I thought of as ordinary, were not really ordinary at all. And the way we remade Christmas after my dad died, in Swedish style, reindeer sausages and all, was about as different as you can get. And then there was the fact that this Christmas would have been my dad’s one hundredth Christmas. The Christmas he was born, was in the midst of the horror of the First World War. History is that far away, and yet so close.


I’m delighted my article was chosen to be in ‘Good Housekeeping’. I’m not sure what my dad, the child of working-class Victorians, brought up in a level of poverty unimaginable in Britain today, and a proud, stubborn, Yorkshireman to boot, would have made of it all. Although I rather suspect that secretly he would be chuffed to bits, and (as a non-drinker) might even have raised a small glass of wine to the occasion.

And the Swedish bit? Ah, well you’ll have to read the article to find out!



And for this week only, ‘We That are Left’, set in WW1, is only £1.99 on kindle as part of the pre- Black Friday Amazon sale.. Click HERE 

And it’s also on sale on Amazon.com for $3.02 … Click HERE

WW1 Seed Cake small


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Interview with Eloise Williams

author of ‘Elen’s Island’, published by Firefly Press 


Hello Eloise, and welcome to the blog! Can I start by asking you if you had any favourite books as a child? Were they the reason you became a children’s writer?

 I have always loved books and had the huge good fortune of living directly opposite a library when I was a child so my love of reading grew with frequent visits across the road. I suppose I didn’t think it was that unusual to be able to see into a library from your bedroom window and I certainly didn’t realise how lucky I was!

I had so many favourite books. All of the Enid Blyton’s – I believed in lands at the tops of trees and islands where mysteries occurred, but I spent most of my childhood in Narnia and that is what led me to write something for children so many years later.

My sister taught children in South Korea for a few years and during that time she made me a compilation to listen to, so I plugged my headphones in and walked the Pembrokeshire coast path listening to tunes that had meant lots to us both and then suddenly a recording of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe came on and, although I know it sounds dramatic, I had an epiphany. That’s what I was meant to be doing with my life. Writing for children and Young Adults. It became clear in that split second and I couldn’t understand why I hadn’t realised it in the first forty odd years of my life. I literally stopped where I was and slapped my own head. Thankfully there was no-one else around to see me!

 Where did you get the idea for Elen’s Island? Is it based on a real island or somewhere near where you live?

And where did the puffin come from? (and can I have one!)


The idea came from a stay on Caldey Island in Pembrokeshire where I was lucky enough to spend three nights in an old schoolhouse. It was such a magical experience. From the second I stepped onto the boat I was enchanted. There’s something very wonderful about being on a piece of land, surrounded by turquoise sea and cut off from all your problems and worries. At that time I had just moved to Pembrokeshire as I married a Tenby based artist and I had no friends there and was missing my family. If you read the book you will recognise these themes! I also went on a visit to Skomer Island and was over the moon to see puffins! So Elen’s Island is a mixture of Caldey and Skomer and imagination.

Caldey Island

Eloise on Caldey Island

You can have a puffin! Skomer lets you adopt puffins and seals so you can have your very own and help the Wildlife Trust with their brilliant work. It also gives you an excellent excuse to visit Skomer so you can see them and the comedic way puffins land and smile at their funny faces!

 How did you find out about ‘Firefly’ and what was the process of being accepted for publication?


I found out about Firefly when they ran a competition for a new children’s book. I’d already been writing bits and pieces and had a short story published by Honno (who publish some wonderful female authors including yourself (thank you! :-)) and the very impressive Thorne Moore) and some poetry and short stories placed in competitions, so I thought I’d give it a go. I didn’t win (sadly) but they were interested in seeing more of the story and I went back to it and wrote the whole thing. It’s very different from the first piece I submitted for the competition and much, much better! I was completely shocked and overwhelmed with happiness when I got the email from Firefly to say they’d like to publish it – it really was a moment that changed my life.

 We share an amazing editor, so I’m curious to know how you found the editing process.

Was it something you enjoyed, and did you feel it made you a better writer? And how do you think it made the story better?

We are very fortunate to have had the help of Janet Thomas and I agree she is AMAZING! The editing process came as something of a surprise to me if I’m honest. I thought it would be a case of the odd typo here and there and restructuring a few sentences. Little did I realise how much work was involved. I am very lucky that I’ve become good at taking constructive criticism through working as an actress for over a decade! It is quite a journey from the very first manuscript to the polished piece and I am so grateful that I have an editor who I not only like as a person (handy) but who has such a sharp eye and a brilliant understanding of how to tell a story. Elen’s Island was the first thing I’ve ever written for children and I really needed that guiding hand. It made the story tighter, funnier, with more rounded characters and really made me think about what I wanted the reader to get from the book. YES it has made me a better writer (I hope).

Watson flying

Watson flying

 How are you enjoying your time to write from your Literature Wales Writers’ Bursary? Do you find it makes a difference being able to concentrate fully on your next book?

I am having the time of my life! It makes such a difference to be able to give my writing my full attention instead of grabbing time here and there between work commitments. It’s also a real honour to have the faith of such a great institution willing to fund my writing for three months (as you know) and I am so grateful that I have this opportunity.

Can you say something about your next book? And what are the plans for the future?

 My second book Seaglass is a Young Adult ghost story set in Pembrokeshire. It’s a scary, thrilling page-turner which also has funny moments and is a story of survival and loss. Lots of lovely authors have read it in manuscript form and given me fantastic feedback so I’m very excited to see it land in the hands of young readers. At the moment it’s with my agent, the fabulous Ben Illis of The Ben Illis Agency, while he finds it a forever home.

My third book, and the one I’m using my Literature Wales Bursary to write, is called Gaslight and is again a YA but is set in Cardiff in the Victorian era. I’ve never written anything in a historical period so it’s yet another learning curve for me. I like to keep life interesting! Gaslight is a thriller which features lots of dastardly goings on, gothic stuff, pea-souper fog, ships, music hall, murder, midnight skinny-dipping and thieves. There is also a serious crush going on but the course of true love never did run smooth…

After that…. who knows?

I’ve already started work on another three books, all of which are for young people and again feature a female protagonist with a very strong voice. Now I’ve found what I should have been doing with my life I am never giving up!

Thank you, Eloise. I loved Elen’s Island, and I’m looking forward to ghosts and dastardly goings-on!

You can find out more about Eloise and follow her here:





‘Elen’s Island’ is for ages 7 – 9. Elenfront1

Summary and reviews

When her parents send her to stay with a grandmother she hardly knows for the summer, Elen is furious. Gran lives on a tiny island and doesn’t want her to stay either – it’s not an easy start.

Gran’s idea of childcare is to give Elen a map and tell her to explore. Who is the odd boy on the beach with a puffin? After saving Gran in a storm, Elen finds a picture that she’s sure is a clue to hidden treasure. She investigates – and finds a very different treasure from the one she expected.

Early praise for Elen’s Island:

‘Wildly imaginative, funny and poignant, Elen’s Island keeps us hooked from the first scintillating sentence. You’ll fall in love with the feisty Elen, her phenomenal gran and a magical island, in a tale spun with craft and brio.’ Stevie Davies, novelist.

‘Elen’s Island is beautifully written and will stir the imagination of a generation of children. Children everywhere will be asking their parents if they can visit Aberglad.’ Kevin Johns, Swansea Sound.

‘An absolute treat.’ Jamie Owen, BBC newsreader.

‘With a plucky, driven heroine, a magical mystery and a pace that never lets up, Elen’s Island is a rollicking read that promises to keep readers enchanted and engaged.’
Guy Bass, children’s author, including the bestselling
Stitch Head.

‘A meticulously crafted novel that will encourage the most reluctant young reader to keep turning the pages. Elen is a heroine every child will identify with.’ Catrin Collier, novelist.

‘A joyful adventure. Full of wonder and magic.’ Simon Ludders, actor, Renfield on CBBC’s Young Dracula

Eloise has crafted a beautifully written and magical tale that will keep readers, both young and old, enthralled from the first funny sentence right through to the final, poignant conclusion.’ BB Skone, Western Telegraph

‘I highly recommend it. This book has so many good ingredients. Together they make a fabulous book with a wonderful ending.’ Suze, Librarian Lavender


About Eloise

Eloise writes words. Lots of them. Sometimes in particular orders.Sixer of Pixies. Child of the 70’s. Survived encephalitis, pizza thrown in face, a decade as an actress, school, endless years of Heavy Metal abuse from younger sister’s room.

Likes confetti, bluebells, memories of Gran and Grampa, family, cwtches, the way ladybirds shelter in beech nuts, collecting seaglass on misty days, comfy jeans, stories about interesting things.

Spent too much money on ill-fitting clothes, too much of the 80’s planning marriage to John Taylor and/or George Michael, lovely times in Europe, one cold week in New York.

Lives in West Wales. Lives for the sea, love, repeats of ‘Murder She Wrote’, for as long as she can. Has dog called Watson Jones. Has husband called Guy. Both of whom are handsome devils.

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Penrhyn  s

Penrhyn Castle, with a view across Anglesey

It’s exactly a year since my three months as a full time writer, thanks to my wonderful bursary from Literature Wales, when I worked to complete We That Are Left, and learnt some invaluable lessons.


National Museums of Wales Book of the Month small

Today I’m blogging on the Novelistas’ blog about my experience, and the unexpected lessons.

It was a life-changing time, and one for which I will always be grateful and will never forget!

You can read my post on the Novelistas Blog here


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I’m really looking forward to my first experience of the Festival Of Romance this November.

The Festival have just released information on their hugely successful ‘New Talent Award’. This is for writers not yet commercially published. After the success of last year’s award, this year it’s being opened up to all writers, whether or not they are attending the festival. With Georgina Hawtrey-Woore from Random House and literary agent Diane Banks as the judges, this is a great opportunity!

New Talent Award aims to uncover romantic fiction authors of the future

The Festival of Romance is delighted to announce that the New Talent Award will run again this year. The industry judges are Georgina Hawtrey-Woore senior editor at Cornerstones, Random House and Diane Banks, literary agent at the Diane Banks Associates Literary Agency.

The Festival of Romance New Talent Award aims to cast a spotlight on the authors of tomorrow and is open to all writers who have not yet had a book commercially published. Writers may submit the opening chapter (up to 3,500 words) of a romantic novel of any type by 30th September 2012. The winner and runners-up will be announced and presented with trophies at the gala Festival of Romance Awards on Friday 16th November 2012. There is a small entry fee to cover the award administration. Entrants may also gain a critique of their entry written by a professional novelist.

“As part of the Festival of Romance we want to help new writers with talent get their break into the commercial fiction world,” says Kate Allan, chief romantic at the Festival of Romance. “At the Festival of Romance in November we are running writing workshops, an industry conference and chance to meet publishers face to face as well as the New Talent Award. I’m delighted that Georgina Hawtrey-Woore and Diane Banks have agreed to judge this year’s entries.”

Winner of the 2011 New Talent Award Henriette Gyland subsequently garnered a book deal from publishers Choc Lit. Her debut novel Up Close will be published in December 2012.


For more details about how to enter the New Talent Award please see http://www.festivalofromance.co.uk <http://www.festivalofromance.co.uk>


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Yesterday evening I went to Ty Newydd Writers’ Centre, a beautiful house near Criccieth on the Welsh coast, which was once home to David Lloyd George.

I’d always wanted to go there, and it was wonderful to arrive on a calm and sunny evening for such a happy occasion: the launch of  ‘All Shall Be Well’, an anthology of short stories published Honno over the past twenty-five years.

Accompanied, of course, by a spectacular cake to celebrate Honno’s twenty-fifth birthday, cut by my editor, Janet Thomas.

It was an inspiring evening, filled with warmth and sunshine. And the odd glass of wine. I enjoyed meeting so many people from Honno, many of whom I had worked with during the time ‘Eden’s Garden’ was taking shape, and now I can put a face to the name.

So HAPPY TWENTY-FIFTH BIRTHDAY to Honno. I came home clutching my copy of ‘All Shall Be Well’, eager to start reading and feeling  incredibly privileged to be part of such a nurturing publishing house.

Here’s to the next twenty-five years!

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Interview with MaryLynn Bast, author of ‘NO REMORSE’  – Part of the ‘Heart of a Wolf’ series.

Welcome to my blog, MaryLynn. I’m looking forward to the experience of being part of your blog tour. This is a first for me!

I know you’ve been working very hard  since the release of ‘No Remorse’, to publicise your ebook. Can you tell us your experience of self-publishing, and a little of why you decided to go down that route?

No Remorse was self published. However, I did go through ‘Publish America’ in the beginning and pulled it away from them because I wanted more control.  I have a pre-qual  “A Justified Kill” that I am going through the formatting process on and will release the novella of Amber’s life and her “first kill” before No Remorse.  I am hoping to release that in June or July as self published again.  I’m not sure if I will try to query publishers for the series or keep it self published… I will see if I gain exposure and if I get decent offers. I have had a few very small publishers inquiring, but I’m not about to jump into anything…again.

That sounds an exciting development!  Can you tell us a little more about the background of ‘No Remorse’?

My werewolf community is a little different than most other books that I’ve read. Most of the time I find that they are male character driven.  There are usually females wolves, but it’s the male’s who dominate.  In my series, the males will be very dominate, however, there are going to be strong women, like Amber, who will be a big part of the series. I am introducing all kinds of paranormal characters other than werewolves and hope the ones who liked No Remorse will like what I am doing.

When writing No Remorse I approached it from a different point of view. I wanted to show how rough it was being a female werewolf and how they have to be strong to survive and definitely a lot stronger than Bella. I love Twilight, but I wanted my character to be strong and even though she can love someone, she doesn’t allow herself to fade away, she goes on with her life. Unlike Bella falling into depression…I know that story is YA, but to me, it tells the girls its okay to love someone so much you just put your life on hold for them.

I definitely enjoyed the fact that Amber was an independent woman following her own path. I see that you have now had success in attracting a publisher. Can you tell us how that came about?

 The publisher is not related to the series.  An Editor asked me to submit a romance. I wrote the story. Before reading it, he tells me Oh, by the way, its needs to be a paranormal romance and the final twist…erotica.  I have never written erotica so I saw that as a challenge.  I went back through and rewrote the story from a paranormal and added the erotica. I don’t like the vulgar part of it, so I kept that clean, but I can get very descriptive.  :)  The editor received the story and within 24 hours responded that they loved it and would have the contract over to soon.  I am still waiting for the contract, but I know its happening.

Congratulations, MaryLynn! That is a wonderful development.

Enjoy the last days of your blog tour, and I’m looking forward to seeing your next publication up on the ebook ether!

‘No Remorse’ can be downloaded from Amazon here 

You can find out more about MaryLynn and her ‘Heart of a Wolf’ series on her blog here.

And now for the book itself:

‘No Remorse’

Due to her unusual birth, Amber has abilities no other werewolf has ever possessed. On the run since childhood, the lone wolf avoids contact with other werewolves at all cost, continually moving, constantly looking over her shoulder and always alone.

Everything changes when Amber saves a werewolf from the mere brink of death, Blake, the only werewolf to ever protect her. Love blossoms, but not without tribulations when Amber realizes she must help her new pack rescue a member who is being held hostage by a rival pack.

Warring with emotions of going from lone wolf to the pack leader’s mate, Amber must decide if she is willing to risk Blake’s life to know true family and friendship despite the fact that the Council is hell bent on locating her and will stop at nothing until she is found. Will Amber’s special abilities be enough to keep everyone safe?

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