Thursday, 22 March 2012

Young humour

If you're wondering what to write next, humour for young readers might be the way to go, as this press release from Egmont Press shows.


Press Release: Miscellaneous Announcements
Egmont Press Gets Serious About Humour

Posted at 3:23PM Wednesday 21 Mar 2012
Egmont Press has announced the launch of a new imprint, Jelly Pie, an exclusive list for young humour books. Jelly Pie will launch in June 2012 with BARRY LOSER: I AM NOT A LOSER by Jim Smith. A further six titles will publish under the imprint during 2012 and the range will be bolstered by existing books from Egmont's award-winning list, including Andy Stanton's YOU'RE A BAD MAN, MR GUM!
'The titles will be aimed at six to eight-year-olds, and the Jelly Pie logo will be a badge of fun and a mark of excellence.' said Leah Thaxton, Fiction Publishing Director, 'I believe that we are experts at editing, packaging and marketing this kind of fiction, which has a strong commercial track-record in the trade.' 

Monday, 19 March 2012

Flad's favourite perfume

He walked onto the grass and started acting all peculiar. He sniffed, then flopped down, rolled aroud and waved his legs in the air, looking positively ecstatic. I thought he was having some kind of fit... then I realised the dog fox must have sprayed there. When he came in, he really did stink!

My Birthday

My birthday weekend started with a visit to the Festival Hall on London's South Bank on Friday, to see Joan Baez. I hadn't seen her live since the 1970s, when I went to a concert at the Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool on a night when she had to apologise for having a bad cold and not being able to hit the high notes. (Actually, she did very well, considering.)

As soon as I heard she was appearing in London, I rang to book four tickets. "If there are four of you, why not have a box?" suggested the box office lady. I gulped at the price - £180 - but decided to go for it, as we are all ladies of a certain age who might need to shuffle out to the loo, or the bar, and a box gives you the freedom to do that, and to take in drinks in plastic beakers. So I told my friends the normal ticket price and they paid me, and I stumped up the rest in secret, as a treat.

On the night, one of my friends who is a real Baez fan, was unfortunately ill. I was still suffering from the tummy bug I'd caught the previous weekend, but I knew I'd have to go as I had all the tickets! So my friend G's husband came with her to fill the empty seat and I was glad, because he had almost died from blood poisoning and heart trouble a year ago, and he and G had treated us all to tickets for Sharon Gleiss in A Round-Heeled Woman in December.

Joan Baez is 71 now and looks very good, the long black hair now a grey crop and her figure slim, straight and neat in a trouser suit. Her large gay following were out in force - we got quite a shock when we bumped in a man in the ladies' loo, and are still discussing whether or not he/she was male or female. If the latter, the drag was very convincing indeed! However, when she started to sing, I wondered if I'd suddenly gone deaf. Everything was dampened and subdued; the volume, the emotion, the voice.

The chap on percussion was tapping so softly, you were straining to hear him at all and Joan's voice was no longer a clear, bang-on-the-note soprano with that thrilling vibrato, but a soft, husky, slightly wavery contralto that missed notes and forgot words. The emotional power that once pushed the words from her lips and into our minds was missing; she was singing the same words, but without conviction and her chat between numbers was such a mumble that none of us could catch what she was saying. There was a mixing desk there, with two sound engineers. Why couldn't they have pushed the volume levers up a bit?

It was a nice evening out, but a disappointing concert, though the place was packed out and fans were on their feet applauding. However, Saturday night made up for it. Mr G had organised me a party and spent all day coooking four different curries in varying degrees of spiciness. I didn't know who was going to turn up and was thrilled when two old mates arrived who I hadn't seen for a year. However, just before the first guests were due, a catastrophe occurred: the communal drain blocked up, which meant nasty things suddenly emerged into our toilets and we couldn't flush them. And as for the smell...

Ours is the last in a row of six: all the drainage pipes go into a right-hand bend outside out house, where they join the main sewer. House number two in the row has a very large family in it with lots of small children and they keep shoving nappies down the loo, which blocks up everyone's pipes. Mr G has the manhole cover in his drive, so the council insist it is on private land and they won't come out and fix it. If he hadn't equipped himself with a set of rods, we would be calling out Dyno-Rod three times a year at £200 a time! So he had to drop his curry-stirring duties and turn himself into Mr Sewage Disposal Man. He manage to move the blockage and came in covered in... well, you can guess. The bathrooms stank, I had to spray perfume everywhere (I'd been right in the middle of doing my eyeliner and mascara when the disaster happened) and he had to rapidly change his clothes and rub his hands with antibacterial gel. It must have worked, as none of us got e-coli poisoning, thank God!

I was inundated with gorgeous presents and had a truly wonderful time - and somehow managed not to have a hangover yesterday. That's what I call a miracle! And Mr G is definitely my hero of the moment. I tell you, girls, always go for a guy who's handy with a rod - and I don't mean fishing!!!

Prizewinning books

I don't know you, but when I hear that a book has won a prixe, I immediately want to know what it was about. Years ago, in the 1980s and early '90s when publishers were still buying lots of books, I was always told that I should never send in a book written from the point of view of an animal, because they hated then. That didn't stop Watership Down being a bestseller though, did it? And now here is Rhamin...

Press Release: Prizes and Awards
Rhamin By Bryce Thomas Wins The Title Of 'welsh Bestseller Children's Book In English 2012'

Posted at 6:02PM Friday 16 Mar 2012
RHAMIN by Bryce Thomas wins the title of 'Welsh Bestseller Children's Book in English 2012' at the prestigious Publishing Trade Award Ceremony held by The Welsh Books Council in Aberystwyth on Thursday the 15th March. Editorial Director, Dorothy Hamilton of Thomas Hamilton Publishers, who received the award, said, 'This success of Bryce Thomas's fabulous novel RHAMIN shows what can be achieved even with a debut novel if it is good enough.
'RHAMIN has now got a very large following of fans who are also eagerly awaiting the soon to be released sequel, RHAMIN II: Blue Tooth. His second and recently released novel, LUCY LOCKHART: The Awakening, is also showing excellent results, so we are very confident that Bryce Thomas has an extremely bright future as a popular children's author.'
When informed of the result this morning, Llanelli author, Bryce Thomas, said, 'I am absolutely amazed! For my debut novel to receive this huge honour, is a thrilling and exciting event for me. I am so glad I made the decision to grasp the pen and become a writer. I would like to thank all those wonderful readers who bought my book, and made this possible.
Further information
RHAMIN by Bryce Thomas is an adventure fantasy for all ages where the reader sees everything through the eyes of real wolves in a story packed with drama, danger and suspense; and when all hope seems to be lost, one wolf discovers that he can communicate with a young boy.
Bryce can be contacted at or on 07967 345143 and he would be pleased to answer any questions.
Bryce can also be found on his Website: It is well worth looking at his FAQs page.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

More erotic lit (clit lit?) news!

Press Release: Miscellaneous Announcements
Avon Launches New Erotica Imprint

Posted at 11:38AM Wednesday 14 Mar 2012
Just in time for British summertime comes Avon's first foray into erotica and erotic romance with their new ebook imprint, Mischief – – launching on March 27th 2012.Mischief is a brand-driven global erotica imprint targeting the rapidly growing and lucrative digital erotica market. Social acceptability of erotica coupled with the discretion offered by e-reading has led to a phenomenal boom in sales. At a time when the cultural trend of mums at home writing erotica has made international headlines, Mischief will be driven by the desire for erotica, the underlying growth in ebook consumption, and the international demand for English language content.
Avon and Mischief Publisher Caroline Ridding comments: "The juggernaut of romance blended with the paranormal and the erotic is driven almost exclusively by female readers today. And we're publishing a pioneering major series right into the heart of this vast digital erotica and erotic romance market and its enormous global online constituency, with one of the freshest, most exciting and innovative lists in years."
Content will be commissioned by Editorial Director Adam Nevill, formally the head of the market leading Black Lace and Nexus brands. Mischief launches with thirteen original ebooks. An additional four original ebooks will be published each month thereafter across three formats. Complementing the original Mischief ebooks are a range of bestselling modern and vintage classics, brought back especially for ereaders.
A selection of launch titles:-
• Red Grow the Roses by Janine Ashbless is an original and thrilling vampire erotica novel, injecting freshness and originality and the most eye-watering erotica scenes into the ever popular vampire genre.
• Lucy Salisbury's A Study in Shame features dry humour, relentless action and superb set-pieces of pleasure.
• Primula Bond's Sisters in Sin is a haunting and intensely arousing story of a woman's trip to Venice.
Issued by:Susanna Frayn(

Article from The Guardian: erotic literature

A UK press has paid a six-figure sum for British rights to Fifty Shades of Grey, the erotic novel that has set the literary world buzzing as publishers fall over themselves to land a slice of the booming erotica market.
The British former TV executive EL James's Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy was first published last summer by a small Australian press. Following the submissive-dominant relationship between a 27-year-old billionaire and a college student, the books started life as fan fiction based in Stephenie Meyer's Twilight world but last week topped the New York Times bestseller list.
More than 250,000 copies in ebook and paperback editions have now been sold, and American publisher Vintage Books pounced on the US rights for a reported seven-figure sum earlier this week.
Now Vintage's British sister company, Century, has landed the UK rights for what it said was a six-figure sum, with the three titles to be available in ebook from today and the first print edition out on 12 April.
"These truly are the books everyone is talking about – pretty much around the world," said publisher Selina Walker. "They are romantic, liberating, and utterly page-turning, and have sparked more round-the-table conversation than any books I can remember."
The news comes as erotic fiction sales continue to grow across the board. This morning, HarperCollins's imprint Avon announced the launch of a new erotica arm, Mischief, which will target "the rapidly growing and lucrative digital erotica market" with a bombardment of new titles: 13 original ebooks to launch the imprint later this month, with four more to follow every month, as well as a range of bestselling modern and vintage erotica.
Avon believes the "phenomenal" boom in erotica sales is down to the growing social acceptability of the genre, as well as the discretion offered by ereading. Publisher Caroline Ridding said the new list, which will include paranormal erotica, was being released into the heart of the "vast digital erotica and erotic romance market and its enormous global online constituency", which she said was "driven almost exclusively" by female readers.


Right, girls, let's get writing!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Bugs and lbs

For the last two days I have had a nasty stomach bug. It involved pain, no sleep and many trips to the loo, complete with bucket as I felt really sick and was scared of a 'both ends job', if you know what I mean! I feel a lot better today and have just jumped on the scales, convinced I must have lost a lb or three. But d'you know what? I haven't even lost one measly ounce. I can't believe it! All that suffering for nothing. Huh! May as well take up chocolate again.

Friday, 9 March 2012

He's home!

Had an email from my goddaughter last night to say they had just brought him home. Aaaah! Can't wait to get a photo of them all together. And I really need to pluck up the courage (I hate flying!) to make the long trip to Vancouver.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

My great-godson

My goddaughter in Vancouver gave birth to her second baby, a little boy, on 19th Feb. He wasn't due till the end of March, so he was very premature and is still in hospital. He was 6 lbs when he was born - amazing weight for a baby born six weeks early - but he rapidly lost half of that and we all held our breath for a while. Now he is gaining weight again and growing stronger, so they hope they will be able to take him home before the end of March. I think he's a little fighter.

Will I ever find a home?

As I sit here freezing, unable to write because this cold, draughty house has sapped my spirit and energy and my fingers are too numb to type, I wonder who up there has got it in for me? Last Friday I found the perfect flat. First floor with own entrance and loft room, plus lovely garden. I put in an offer... and some bastard has topped my offer and I can't afford to go higher. I am in despair, still condemned to paying £215 per month to the storage unit. It's crazy and I'm SO depressed.

Mslexia Writing Competition

Hello there,

We thought you might appreciate a reminder about the short story competition deadline on 19 March. You've still got a couple of weeks, which should be plenty of time to get that entry together, so don't let the deadline slip by! Click here for more information about the competition.

If you’re in need of some inspiration for crafting your entry, on our website we have a set of three short story writing workshops, 'Stealing Stories', devised by Sarah Salway. It should give you a great place to start – and help you on your way to crafting a winning entry. Just click here to give them a go.
First prize is £2,000 plus two optional extras: a week’s writing retreat at Chawton House Library and a day with a Virago editor. Runners up will share £1,050 in prize money – and all the winning stories will be published in the June 2012 edition of Mslexia magazine. The judge this year is acclaimed novelist and short story author Tessa Hadley.

Don't forget – the best way of keeping up with what’s happening in the writing world is to subscribe to Mslexia. We have features on the creative process and info from publishing insiders, as well as a 12-page Directory jam-packed with events, competitions, courses, retreats and calls for submissions. We also published the best in new writing by women, including poetry, short stories and autobiography. A year's subscription starts at £19.50. Click here for more information about subscriptions.
With all the best for your writing,

Sophie Baker
On behalf of Mslexia

Tuesday, 6 March 2012


Any writer considering self-publishing might find this article about Unbound Press interesting. Of course, if you're a Guardian reader, you'll have seen it already.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

From E-books to 6-book Deal

This is a heartening story for all my writer friends. This author self-published, selling his books for 99p each, and has now secured a monster deal with Pan Macmillan. It can be done!!!