Victoria Cornwall – A story of success.


I have just finished reading The Thief’s Daughter by Victoria Cornwall.  In between writing my own book and editing out all the words which were not relevant, I managed to squeeze some reading time in between. I found Victoria’s book about the Cornish smugglers to be a fascinating read, which led me to wonder how much research the author had to do to produce this novel.


Eighteenth-century Cornwall is crippled by debt and poverty, while the gibbet casts a shadow of fear over the land. Yet, when night falls, free traders swarm onto the beaches and smuggling prospers, but young Jenna Cartwright has seen it all before and knows the dangers of the trade, her parents were thieves.  She is faced with the same poverty but knows her boundaries. When her ruthless husband is about to be hanged, Jenna takes an extraordinary stance to fulfil a promise not to allow him a lingering death on the gallows. Will her covert identity be found out? We have some very interesting characters as Jenna follows her new life after the death of her husband.

As the story unfolded, I couldn’t help but feel the ‘Poldark’ era, and so I had to find out more. Today I am delighted to introduce you to my guest, Victoria Cornwall. Welcome to my blog.

 You certainly kept me reading this book, and as I read on, I realised how well- written it was.  How long did it take to write The Thief’s Daughter?

Thank you for having me on your website today, Lin. I began writing The Thief’s Daughter in September and finished it in the following March, so it took about seven months to complete the first draft. Several months of editing followed before I felt happy to submit it to a publisher.

I realised how much research you had to do to make this book into something special. Can you tell us more about your research and any difficulties you may have encountered during the writing stage?

 I enjoy learning about the past so the research phase of writing a book is not a chore for me. I spent the prior summer reading about the Cornish 18th-century smuggling trade. I also visited several museums in Cornwall which featured this part of the county’s murky past. Those visits were particularly helpful and provided the little details that you don’t always find out about in books, such as a smuggler’s lantern that has three sides blacked out or the farm implements which were used as weapons.

Are the 1700’s a favourite era or are you a future ‘all rounder’. Do you see yourself writing contemporary romance or will you continue to write historically?

 I usually write Victorian romance, so the 18th century was a departure for me, however, I am a Poldark fan, have been since I was a child, so writing about the same era was probably inevitable for me. It was the first book I had accepted by a publisher and they will be publishing my Victorian novels in the near future, so it’s an exciting time for me at the moment. I think I would enjoy writing a contemporary romantic comedy or a thriller, but for now, I am very happy writing in my favourite genre, historical romance.

 What do you find intriguing about historical romance? What attracts you to that era?

It is my preferred reading genre, probably due to the fact that my mother loved it and used to pass her books down to me when she had finished reading them. I think I like it because you are escaping the present. Their clothes, environment and problems may be very different; but their emotions, self-doubt and character development are very recognisable and easy to empathise with. The stories are different to the life we live in now, yet not so very different that we do not recognise it.

 Can you tell us about choosing names for your characters and how you do this?

 Names of characters are so important. I think we have all read books where the hero or heroine’s name is not right and sticks out like a sore thumb. I chose Jenna because it is the Cornish version of Jennifer. As it is based in Cornwall, it seemed appropriate to have a Cornish name. The name also sounds gentle and kind, which is what Jenna is. She is a great heroine and I am very proud to have created her. I chose Jack for the hero because it is ordinary and direct – with no frills, just like the hero. Yet, there is a soft side to the hero, just like the letter J sounds soft when spoken. I think it suits him very well.

How do you plan your novels? 

 Often, I am inspired by a location, then spend quite a while in a daydream thinking up the basic story. The next step is writing down the time-plan and the basic bones of the story. I also make notes on each character, which include their looks, their motives, the payback they will get if they succeed, the cost if they fail etc. Then I elaborate the story, add sub-characters and plot the storyline. When I have a rough idea of the beginning, the middle and the end, including any twists, I finally sit down and start to write.

 During the writing of this novel, did you become emotionally involved with the characters?  I know many writers that do.  Were you in the story, fighting on the beaches with the smugglers?

 I think you have to imagine yourself as the character if you are going to portray them accurately, particularly if you are writing from their point of view. I could identify with Jenna in some incidences, but I also identified with Jack and Silas too.

Do you have another book in progress and what have you learned from writing The Thief’s Daughter?

 I have three more books that will be published over the coming months and years, all of which are historical fiction set in Cornwall. The Thief’s Daughter was a story that demanded to be told, however, it needed to be coaxed into the world and did not flow easily. Writing it has taught me to not give up on writing a book if the going gets tough, because sometimes the completed novel is worth the labour of love that went into it.

 As you have a book published, what advice would you give to new writers wishing to write historical romance?

Learn about your market as writing for the American market is very different to the UK market. Also, different imprints expect different things so choose which fits best for the sort of historical romance you want to write. Choose what is best for you, as once you are published, you might just be writing the same type of historical romance for a while.

 When can we expect to see your next book published?

 I am currently waiting for the edits for my next book to come through, so I assume it will be published later this year. However, I can confirm that The Thief’s Daughter will be released as a paperback on 3rd October and is available to pre-order now.

 Thanks for visiting my blog and good luck with your future novels. 

 I have enjoyed answering your questions and thank you, Lin, for having me on here.


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Today I have Faye Wylie, aged 27 years, as my guest.  I met her around 2009 with her mum at The York Festival of Writing and we chatted.  Faye was in a wheelchair and to me, it seemed she was too young to be in that situation in her late-teens. I didn’t really question why, but it was obvious that Faye was dealing with serious health issues. She is a good writer and I immediately liked her. We have been Facebook friends ever since. Faye has always enjoyed writing and poetry, but unfortunately, things have changed for her over the last few years and I think it best we allow her to tell her own story. I am sure you will find it both inspiring and heartwarming.

I learned that Faye has Mitochondrial Disease. When a person has this awful illness, it means that the mitochondria in the cells are not producing enough energy. Sometimes they are not very efficient or they do not work at all.

There is a huge variety in the symptoms and severity of Mitochondrial Disease. It depends on how many cells are affected and where they are in the body.

Every person with Mitochondrial Disease is affected differently. For Faye, Mitochondrial Disease came into effect in adolescence, but it is much more common for it to present in children. Each individual will have a different combination of mitochondria that are working and not working within each cell.

However, there are times when particular body systems are affected in a recognisable pattern and these have particular names, for example, Alpers, Leigh’s disease, MELAS and MERRF.

The commonest parts of the body affected are those that have the highest energy demands; brain, muscle, liver, heart and kidney- when these systems are affected Mitochondrial Disease is usually progressive.

Available Treatments

Unfortunately, there is no cure for Mitochondrial Disease at present.

WHEN I discovered all this information, I realised that Faye was going to need all the support she could get, not only from friends and family but around the world. She informs me that people generally do not understand this debilitating disease. Faye is the founder of Leigh Network, a charity to help, educate, and support families with Mitochondrial Disease. She named this charity after the type of Mitochondrial Disease she has: Leigh’s Disease.

One of the saddest things is that this disease has caused Faye and her family a lot of loss. Leigh’s Disease caused Faye to lose her sight in 2013. Sight loss is just one of the things that effect people with this awful illness. Faye is now classed as being severely-sighted and her life is not what she expected it to be like when she was first diagnosed at twelve years old. Below, Faye tells her story.

Welcome Faye,

  1. At what age did you realise you were ill and unable to fully engage in everyday life?

The symptoms began when I was around seven or eight. I was walking to school with my mum, when I had to stop to rest. The muscles in my legs seemed to need a little recuperation time to revive themselves. They felt like they were fizzing and this was probably the first time I noticed I got tired. But I just felt normal in myself and carried on to school. Episodes like this became more frequent to the point where when I was twelve I had a muscle biopsy, lumbar puncture, MRI scan, CT scan, kidney scan, blood tests, eye tests and ultrasounds. I walked into the hospital and, because of the strain of the testing process, left the building using a wheelchair. I thought I would get better (any child who goes to into hospital would), but I am still a wheelchair user today. I never really perceived myself as being ‘ill’, I just took life for what it was, but I think I had always had optimism that things would improve for me. Unfortunately, my health has deteriorated further over the years.

I try to engage as fully as possible in everyday life: I study college courses, visit friends and family, go shopping and to the cinema and I still enjoy my poetry evenings and writing classes. I can go to the local shop independently and enjoy this freedom immensely. If travelling further afield, I need someone to help me and I feel very fortunate that I have such a supportive family.

  1. I know you lost your young brother to the same disease. When did this happen and can you share with us about him, how old you were at the time and how it has affected you and your family?

Sam died aged 19 months in 1993 when I was three years old. For the first year of his life he seemed perfect but when he was twelve months old his eye began squinting. My parents took him to the hospital where they reported that he had a neurological problem. They told my parents that their baby boy would not see his second birthday. At this stage, they hadn’t diagnosed Sam with a Mitochondrial illness, as the science behind Mito research was in its infancy.

He had big brown eyes and light brown hair, like Dad’s. We always wonder what Sam would be like now. He would have turned twenty-five last New Years Eve. Any family that loses a child would understand the impact a loss like this has on the family. My parents have been amazingly strong, especially as they have had to deal with my diagnosis too. Grieving for Sam had been even more difficult for them as they hadn’t known what caused his death or if it was genetic because at the time Mitochondrial Disease was relatively unknown.


  1. When I first met you, you seemed to be enjoying yourself despite the challenges you face. What has changed since that time?

I have always felt I had more ability than disability. For example, just because I use a chair doesn’t mean that I can’t take steps. I dislike the term ‘disabled’, preferring to refer to myself as ‘differently-abled’. I strive to be as independent as possible. I do become exhausted very easily, often after just a few steps, so my chair is brilliant for when I do need to rest. Admittedly, I can’t go very far without my chair but I will keep my independence for as long as I can. I am generally happiest when I am doing things that I’ve always loved doing, so when we met at the writing festival, I was in my element.

  1. You were learning to drive and were close to passing your test, so when you woke up one day to find that your eyesight had changed, I bet you felt very disheartened. Tell us what happened and what this meant for your future.

I loved learning to drive and the freedom it promised to bring. I was very good at it too. I was about to have the car adapted but something told me not to.

On my twenty-third birthday, I had a very serious chest infection and my body needed the mitochondrial energy.  I did have to fight this off. The doctor said that as a result, my eyes suffered. Any kind of infection could be fatal to me now as my body needs to use the remaining mitochondrial resources I have to fight it and these can’t be replenished.

The sight loss happened gradually. Three years ago, after I went for an eye test in February. I had to get new glasses. In April I noticed my sight wasn’t right and I thought it was the prescription so I went back for another test and was rushed to A&E where they ordered many tests (including another round of lumber-punctures, MRI’s etc). Eventually, in the July of that year, they found the optic nerve had swollen, then reduced and was permanently damaged. They couldn’t do anything to fix this. I was then registered ‘severely-sighted’ in November.

In the last year I have noticed that some mornings when I wake, my sight has 100% gone. This is obviously terrifying and although it never lasts long, I never know if it is going to come back. People often ask ‘what does a blind girl see’? This is impossible to answer as every visually impaired person can ‘see’ differently. For instance, I have a friend who is 100% blind and can’t distinguish between bright light or pitch-black darkness. For me, colours are faded and images appear immensely pixelated (blurs really). Sometimes images are impossible to distinguish and technology has recently been a great asset.

  1. Your work with your charity, Leigh Network, is proving to be a success and I know how important it is for you to keep going to create awareness for the charity. Do tell us what Leigh Network is all about and what others can do to help you in your quest.

After speaking to the doctor and learning more about the impact that Leigh’s Disease would have on my life, I then took a year to absorb it all and try and find ways to cope with what I had been told: that there is no cure, my health will only get worse, and it is genetic. I then studied counselling skills, mental health awareness, psychology and mentoring. Using all these combined skills I am now able to support families who may be facing a new mitochondrial diagnosis or dealing with any uncertainty around it. We also support those who have lost members of their families to mitochondrial diseases and we are there to support them throughout their journey.

I set up LN because being diagnosed with an unheard of, but not rare illness meant that I felt isolated and I didn’t have anywhere to go for information or support. In 2010 I had been going to The Brain Charity (previously named Neuro Support) as part of their young person’s group. I noticed they had the facility to room hire and I was inspired to organise the first ever meeting for those affected by Mitochondrial Disease. After sending off letters to every hospital and hospice in the country, we managed to get a specialist from both Manchester Children’s Hospital and Alder Hey Hospital to come and meet some of the families we had reached out to through Facebook and email. We had a fantastic meeting and since then we have had more across the country. Over the years, we have met many fantastic and inspiring people, from children to adults, all facing different struggles associated with mitochondrial disease. These people are my inspiration and why I do what I do. We carry out fundraising events to raise money for our meetings and for fun family days out for the children. I would like to register Leigh Network as a formal charity, but unfortunately, at this time, it would be too demanding for me to manage.

  1. What annoys you most about being wheelchair reliant? How do people treat you when you go into the town? Are there enough facilities for wheelchair users? I know you have some stories to tell, would you care to share them here?

I do struggle sometimes with people’s ignorance. For example, I went to the cinema with a friend, similar in age to me and on the way home bumped into an older lady that my mum used to work with (I didn’t know her). She was very sweet but said ‘Oh, you’ve got a carer with you’. It upsets me that people assume, however innocently, that anyone with me must be a carer, that I wouldn’t possibly have friends. Another time, my mum and I were going to London for a charity event and needed to call a few hotels first to make sure their access was adequate. When mum asked if they had wheelchair access, One said, “Yes we do! You’ll just have to go up two steps to get to your ground-floor room!”…that’s not wheelchair access. I get quite upset with public transport sometimes. I was particularly annoyed when I went to the library with a friend and at the bus stop on the way home a bus pulled in but went too far ahead so I had to turn my wheelchair to move towards it. Rather than wait 5 seconds, the driver seemed to decide he didn’t have time to deal with me, so he just pulled away. My friend and I were speechless. We had to wait a while for another bus. Sometimes people in the public can be gems but sometimes it’s as though they see the chair and cane but not the person. Modern areas are much better as planners have a legal obligation to consider different-abled facilities. However, older places can be a real struggle.

  1. Is there a routine to your life on a day to day basis and what is most important to you each day?

Because of my charity work, I have to plan ahead. For example, if I have a busy day, I have to rest the whole day before and a few days after. Luckily my memory is quite good so I can memorise things like bus times and routes. I taught myself how to get to the Brain Charity building and the shared Henshaws and RNIB building in Liverpool, as I do a lot with these organisations. I like to be as independent as possible and can afford to be fairly flexible at the moment as long as I take my medication and get rest when I need it.

  1. How do you cope with losing your sight? Do you have the technology to help you read etc? How do you manage to write your messages on Facebook?

Luckily, I have an iPad and a smartphone which both have voiceover software which reads out what is on the screen. I write my posts on Facebook on an iPad by turning the voiceover off, then I guess where the touch-keys are and type and hope I have got the spelling right. I turn the voiceover back on to check the spelling and if it sounds ok I will post it, if not I delete it and try again. The voiceover reads out any received posts or messages. Unfortunately, I have not yet mastered how to use a computer, but I like how I can move the iPad closer to my eyes so this works for now. In the future, I hope to find a PC that meets my needs as I still enjoy writing and would love to edit my own book, which is a semi-autobiographical novel that I have written.

  1. Are you satisfied you receive good support from the medical profession?  If not what would you like to see improved for others in your situation and what research is being done for MD.

As I said earlier, Mito research is in its infancy. I’ve heard that MD research is currently where Alzheimer’s research was twenty years ago. Interestingly, MD research has suggested that Mitochondrial malfunction could be linked to more commonly known diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and some Autism-Spectrum Disorders. There is an awful lot of work to be done. At the moment in the UK, there are three main centres for research;, in Newcastle, Oxford and Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. There is some hope for future generations since the development of Mitochondrial Donation IVF Technique ( ). My charity tries to raise awareness of these research centres. I think it would be a big help for hospitals to have a support facility in place for families diagnosed with MD. I particularly struggled with the lack of emotional support from the medical profession after my diagnosis. I have a good relationship now with some doctors involved with the research.

  1. What is your favourite book and are you getting help to access audio books?

That’s a very hard question to answer as I love so many books. As my sight has changed, the genre of the books I like has changed. When I could see I used to like light-hearted fiction, the kind that has a happy ending. As my sight has declined and as I’ve matured I tend to now enjoy darker, more mature-themed stories as I feel they are more reflective of real life which is not necessarily ‘perfect’ all the time. I love thrillers such as ‘The Girl on the Train’ and Edward Marston is my favourite writer at the moment as his books are fast-paced, funny and set in historical times. I find that darker themes tend to be written with more description. Luckily I live in an area where the libraries will try to order audio books if I request them.

  1. Do you have any plans for the near future and what would you like to see improve?

For the next year, I have set myself a few different goals and challenges; personal, professional and educational. I want to complete the new course I am on at college. I am arranging our next Leigh Network meeting in Glasgow in June and I want to dedicate more time to my social life. I will always continue to try to raise awareness of Leigh Network and MD and I live in hope that the general attitude of the public will alter greatly towards differently-abled people.

  1. Finally, what can we do to help you with Leigh Network? As this is a charity do you need more financial support? How can we donate?

Unfortunately, I am not in a position to take Leigh Network forward as a registered charity at this time, so, for now, we continue to be affiliated with The Lily Foundation and research bodies so any donations towards Mito research can be sent directly to The Lily Foundation. For Leigh Network, we continue to fundraise to run our meetings (and family days out). For example, at Christmas, I sell cards I make and we sell home-made goods at craft fairs. If anyone has any ideas for fundraising for LN, I would be delighted to hear them. If businesses which would appeal to families would like to offer a discounted day out for the families we support that would be great too. If people simply want to donate to Leigh Network to help us fund our days out, we have a GOFUNDME page ( and all donations are gratefully received.

Anyone can follow us on our facebook page:

Thanks for your interest and support.

Faye x

I know you enjoy writing poetry. If you wish you can share it here.           

The Canvas

A canvas so full of potential.

The crisp white rectangle,

So fresh like untouched snow.

The possibilities of how to fill it are endless.

As you tap the canvas,

the cotton twangs.

Which colour will you choose?

Lemon, crimson, navy?

You open the acrylic tube,

Hearing the satisfying pop and the familiar squelch.

As the paint comes out,

You evaluate how you feel,

What emotions are bubbling through your blood?

Is it a passionate pink or a fiery red?

Or maybe violet is powering strength into your veins.

As you blend the colours all together,

The brush gets faster as the vision becomes defined,

Becomes reality on the canvas.

Each time you stand back,

Appraise your creativity,

You notice the slight imperfections.

Where you could tweak.

You give a contented nod,

A sigh of contentment.

At last, it is done.

Thank you for providing us with an insight into your life. Good luck and keep strong, you are doing such a good job. 


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New Beginnings

Since I returned to England from the Netherlands, so much has changed for me. I had to learn how to be British again and start afresh. I took a break from writing and I am now pleased to say I am back on track with my latest novel.

In August 2016, I collaborated with award winning author, Sue Moorcroft, and she conducted a very informative writing weekend with ‘Fiction on the Taw.’ Her support was invaluable and we had many new writers who needed that push to improve their skills. Sue provided the motivation  and her teaching skills impressed me. I am sure we will be working together again in the future to organise another venue.

Now is the right time for me to help others succeed. This has been my forum for many years and  I want to take it further in the world of writing. I used to teach new driving instructors to pass their exams and had a very good record of success. A driving instructor has to undertake a proper teaching course with the Driving Standards Agency and the standards are very high indeed. Instructors have to prepare lessons as any school teacher would do and mentor individual students to make sure they succeed.  I had the pleasure of teaching for 25 years and wrote my own training course to enable my students to make the grade. I have also written newspaper and magazine articles on driving and other related subjects and had them published. In the 1980’s I undertook a creative writing course with the University of Leeds on Teesside.

When I moved to Holland (due to my husband’s job)  I had to start over and was not able to teach driving there, unless I took my exams again and I didn’t have a full grasp of the Dutch language. So I gave up and became a writer instead. The Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors had many courses to learn how improve my skills.  I later moved on to writing a novel which was published in 2013. Goodbye Henrietta Street is doing well in Cornwall and The Isles of Scilly and also on Amazon.  I now have another two novels waiting publication in the coming months. I have been writing since 1980 and now editing my second and third books.

What I want to do now is help the new writers gain confidence in their writing skills and use my teaching experience for mentoring and provide them with a critique service. I will not be editing their work, but will assist in helping the new writer to move forward. This is a pleasure for me and I already have a few people in the fold who are now writing due to my support. I feel new writers often need guidance to improve their work.  If I can set them on the right track and provide a report on their ideas and how to make their work more presentable, then I will have done a good job.  There is no such thing as a bad writer, it’s all down to obtaining the correct information and guidance.

What will I provide?

A service for new writers to gain a positive and helpful report on their work in progress. This will include the first three chapters of their novel and their proposed synopsis; I will even look at the basic idea and comment. I am prepared to offer a report on a full novel, but at this stage I recognise that new writers’ finances are usually limited.  So this is why I want to help with the first stage of the process, to encourage and show them how it can be done if they have the help and support of someone who understands their needs. Writing is a bit like learning to drive a car; you have to understand the controls before you can take it on the road. I want to give an honest, yet positive report on their work and assist them with their successes.

If you think this could be you, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can e-mail me  at for further information. Each writer’s requirements will be charged according to their needs, but we aren’t talking hundreds of pounds as you may imagine.  I charge by the hour and for the first three chapters and synopsis, I will  provide you with an estimate before I begin. We would then agree to continue the work. No work, no fee and everyone’s needs are different. All information and work in progress is confidential and I hope to build a rapport with each of my students.


I look forward to hearing from you.

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Fiction on the Taw

by the River Taw in West Devon.



12 – 14 AUGUST 2016

Welcome to Fiction on the Taw, your chance to work with an experienced tutor and award winning novelist Sue Moorcroft in a small and focused group. Fun, interactive workshops will illuminate storytelling and writing techniques to help make your work sparkle.


And, take this fantastic opportunity to review your first chapter and synopsis with Chrissie Loveday, then practice your pitch to an agent/publisher – an invaluable aid in the quest for publication.

This event is hosted by author and Romantic Novelists Association member, Lin Treadgold. Please contact Lin for a brochure and application form. Accommodation is not included but we have a bed and breakfast list and self catering etc.

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My Year in Progress

It has been some time since I last wrote a piece for my blog.  As some of you know I have requested my favourite authors to write an article of their own ‘year in progress’  which was most successful. If you look back you can read about them too.

Many of you already know about my year,  but for those who haven’t been following me closely here are some of the challenges I’ve had to face.

In January, I came across to England from Holland with my husband, Chris, to look for a new house.  He is retiring in December this year and our plan is for the whole family to spend Christmas 2015 together in England and celebrate his retirement as well.  We viewed eight properties and settled on a lovely barn conversion in the heart of the west Devon countryside.  Chris wanted a project for his retirement and without too much hard work this property needs a few renovations here and there, but it’s perfect for our needs. We actually own a riverbank and very often we watch as a herd of cows pass by the house and over the bridge on their way to the next field. There are 39 species of birds and its a wonderful place to do my writing.  I also have a sneak view of Dartmoor. We have been living in Holland 14 years and now I have to learn how to be British again.

Moving house doesn’t come without problems, of course.  I have a house for sale in Holland which doesn’t look like it will sell this side of Christmas 2016 at the rate the Euro is going.  It may be that we have to settle for renting.

So, after unpacking more boxes than I could count, we are now living in England, it’s official!  Sadly, Chris has to stay in the Dutch house until he retires.  However, we are in constant touch, thanks to modern technology and Exeter airport is only half an hour away.

As a fairly new author on the block, I have had to start over and in some cases carry on where I left off in Holland. My book The Tanglewood Affair is ready for submission to various publishers and Harold, the Good Soldier, is a work in progress.  Goodbye Henrietta Street is now well on the way with some good reviews and a new cover on Amazon, thanks to Silverwood Books who rescued me from disaster when my first publisher closed its doors. Goodbye Henrietta Street

Writing a synopsis before writing the book can be challenging, but I had a recent request from an agent to submit the synopsis and first three chapters, so I think it’s worth providing her with an idea of my writing skills and storytelling.

Due to the lovely area in Devon, I shall be in a position to offer workshops for new writers after this year. So watch this space for members of the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers Scheme.  As I was once a new writer, I must never forget the struggles a writer has to endure in order to be published.  I feel it is important for new writers to attend workshops and share stories with those who had similar experiences.

I have plans to join the Exeter Chapter of the RNA and I have also joined the local amateur dramatic society. I am in the middle of writing a play, but purely for practice.  The skills required for playwriting are very different from novel writing, as I recently discovered.

It’s very strange living in a new place where you don’t know anyone.  What I have discovered about Devon is that everyone is so friendly and thoughtful.  I haven’t heard one negative word spoken about life here.  I have been made to feel most welcome and now I can carry on having a great time and concentrate on writing and staying healthy.


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My Year in Progress with Jean Fullerton

jean1 web picture (3)Author, Jean Fullerton has to be one of my favourite authors. I first met her in 2011 when she offered to do a workshop for new writers in Yorkshire.  Nothing is too hard for Jean.  Her work in the nursing profession shows, not only through her writing, but in the support she provides to new writers and also new authors.  Where she finds the time to write and work alongside her ecclesiastical husband, as well as looking after her growing family, I shall never know.  The main thing is she always has a smile on her face and I really do admire her drive.

Jean’s books are very good.  If you follow the TV nursing  series of a similar style, you will love ‘Call Nurse Millie.’  I have yet to read her latest book of which the information is at the bottom of this page, but if you want to read something different in a romance novel, try going back to the 1950’s with Millie Sullivan, it was a lovely story I just couldn’t put down.  Here are the reviews:

‘A delightful, well researched story that depicts nursing and the living conditions in the East End at the end of the war’ (Lesley Pearce)

‘…The writing shines off the page and begs for a sequel’ (Historical Novel Society)

‘…you will ride emotional highs and lows with each new birth and death. Beautifully written with some sharp dialogue.’ (THE LADY)

I hope you will enjoy reading more about Jean and her year in progress.

 Fetch Nurse Connie - Cover 18th Feb th Jan 2015  doc (2)

 Thanks for asking me to be a guest on your blog, Lin, to talk about my writing year.

My writing year actually consists of two years running concurrently, one for the book I’m writing and the  second is the book being published that year. Readers like to follow character through a number of books and so series are very popular at the moment. As a writer I like them, too, as having built my post-war East London world with the St Georges and St Dunstan’s Nursing Association, I only have to pick up where I left off. However, alongside familiar and much loved characters like Millie Sullivan and Connie Byrne, I try to find new angles on stories and fresh characters for each new novel.

The East London world where I’ve set Millie and Connie’s stories, was a place with a bomb site on every corner and with a chronic housing shortage. Families of six or more children were commonplace and often had to share houses condition often with only cold running water and an outside lavatory.
War-time East London had a flourishing black market and with the close proximity of the docks this undercover economy was soon taken over by criminal gangs in peacetimes. As today, there was a diverse community made up of Chinese, Maltese, Greeks, Turkish, Poles, Irish and the native Cockneys.
In her limited spare time – one day per week – Connie and her fellow nurses would visit the cinema and lose themselves in the latest releases with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers or go dancing on Saturday nights in the various dance halls ‘Up West’.

Social attitudes were changing and the many men who returned expecting to find the little woman content to spend the day cleaning the house were disappointed. But running alongside these new ideas were the much more rooted ones such as helping your neighbours, bringing children up to respect their elders, ‘bringing trouble home’, looking after your parents, not owing anyone anything and not taking charity.

Becoming pregnant outside marriage was taboo. Young women were not allowed any sexual liberties before they were married or else be labelled a tart. Young men were expected to be wild and aggressive, sort out their problems man to man and stand their rounds but if they did get a girl in trouble they were expected do the right thing.
My writing year started for me at the beginning of September 2014. This is because I’ve usually just handed in the book due out the following year. I try to take a break in the summer although sometimes it’s to do another project like writing a novella or a short story. However the serious heads-down writing year starts in earnest in September.
I spend the first week plotting the various strands of the new book on a spread sheet and then I write the immortal words, ‘Chapter One’. As any writer will tell you, the opening pages of any novel are crucial for capturing the reader, so I take a lot of time over the first chapter to set the scene, as I’m aware that new readers will be coming fresh to my post war East London world.

By October I’m well into the book but it isn’t long before the edits for next year’s books arrives. I have to take my head out of the book I’m currently writing and get back into the one I finished a few months before. Thankfully these days the edits are small changes they only take a couple of weeks then I’m back to the new book and try to get as much done the copy edits arrive in December.

These are much quicker and I try to turn them around in a week and then back to the 2015 book to get another couple of chapters completed before Christmas. Somewhere along the way I’ve got the cover for the 2015 book through for approval, and so we get to Christmas. As I’m aiming to get the book to my publisher by the middle of July I try to be at least a 1/3 of the way through by the festive season . It doesn’t always happen as life sometimes intrudes.

As the 2015 book will go into production in April the page proofs arrive sometime in Feb. These are just the tiddly little comas and wrong word read and I’m lucky that my Hero-at-Home does these for me so I can plough on with the book I’m currently writing, which will be published in June 2016. That’s usually the end of my involvement with the current book until a month before it’s released when I have to spend time publicising it. So now, somewhere around March, I’m free to get on with the current book. I aim again to have the first draft of this complete before the new 2015 book comes out. I allow myself a week of publicity before going back to the first draft and editing it so I can get the book to my agent by the end of July before collapsing again.

Fetch Nurse Connie.
Connie Byrne, a nurse in London’s East End working alongside Millie Sullivan from Call Nurse Millie, is planning her wedding to Charlie Ross, set to take place as soon as he returns from the war. But when she meets him off the train at London Bridge, she finds that his homecoming isn’t going to go according to plan.
Connie’s busy professional life, and the larger-than-life patients in the district, offer a welcome distraction, but for how long?
Available from Orion Fiction on kindle, paperback and hardback on 4th June 2015

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Life after Bitter Disappointment – Goodbye Henrietta Street Is Back!

Goodbye Henrietta Street final front coverWhat do you do when your publisher writes to you one day, out of the blue, and informs you after less than a year of publishing my book, that they can no longer keep the business open? I had just got the sales rolling in 2013/14 and was beginning to feel, at last, I was an author after ten years of learning how to do the job. It was all going well. After several weeks of decision making and wondering where to go next I suddenly realised that to find another publisher was going to take a lot of hard work with very little reward. Thanks to a fellow author (we girls have to stick together) I got a tip-off to contact Silverwood Books.  I never wanted to self publish and hated the idea of getting tangled up with all that computer jargon to get myself on Amazon.  Yes, they say it’s relatively easy, but I wanted more than that, I still needed an editor. I’d read the book too many times to see my own mistakes. Due to legal restrictions in my first contract I was not allowed to used the edits from the previous publisher.  Okay, whose words are they in the book anyway? However, if the words in the book were identical edits to those done by them, then I would be in breach of contract.  So, rather than be beaten by the powers that be, I took it on myself to re-edit the whole book and get some help to check it out.  The result – an amazing improvement with a slightly new twist in the tale. After my first contact with Silverwood Books, I noticed the difference in attitudes and the helpful way in which the staff talked me through all their procedures.  I have to say they were marvellous.  It wasn’t like self publishing at all, it was more of what I should have had the first time around. It was wonderful working with a team again, I had been rescued! Yes, I had to pay for the work, but in this situation I had to keep my book up there and it had to be an improved version, so it has been worth it. Lin Treadgold Author's photo.  So, take a romantic trip to the Isles of Scilly with Pippa, Sven, Rob, Joan, and Terry. Where did it all go wrong?

After weeks of working with the team, I arrived at my final draft and all the loose ends were in place.  I was delighted with the new cover and very soon I shall have a better photo for you but in the meantime I just wanted to let you all know that Goodbye Henrietta Street is being released again on 16 March 2015. I will keep you  informed about the links to Amazon, but in the meantime I do hope you will support me by sharing my posts and retweeting on Twitter. Thanks to everyone who supported me, you have all been amazing. I got two book shop orders already!



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Author, Linda Mitchelmore. My Year in Progress.

I was visiting Devon last week, looking for a new house for our retirement.  I had a dinner date with authors, Linda Mitchelmore and Rosemary Ann Smith. It is surely amazing how you can make real-time friends  through Facebook and especially as a writer, it is important to socialise with like-minded people.  Linda was most inspiring and through reading this I am sure you will agree.  Rosie taught me that you can do anything if you just put your mind to it.

I had already invited Linda to the blog some weeks ago and through our meeting I have found a new friendship as I am pleased to announce that very soon I shall be living back in England. A revised version of my first novel, Goodbye Henrietta Street, will be out very soon so watch this space.

Linda Mitchelmore

Linda Mitchelmore

So here is Linda’s story about her aspirations for 2015.  I hope you enjoy the read.

My 2015? What does it hold for me in its newly-opened pages? It’s been a long, long time since I wrote a list of New Year’s Resolutions. The list always came with the resolve to also write a daily diary. Neither got past week one. These days I tend to go with the flow although I can be very disciplined when needs be, like when there’s a writing deadline or I have to go to the dentist but don’t really want to – I know both will be for my good in the long run!
So 2015. What will it bring? Do any of us really want to know? I can’t think there’s a person on the planet who has sailed through a year without a bit of sadness, a bit of upset, a shock or two, or a bit of illness.
2015 has started well for me as a writer. The third book in my ‘Emma’ trilogy, EMMA AND HER DAUGHTER, published by Choc Lit, came out as an ebook on 9th January. Large print and audio rights have already been sold. Paperback will, hopefully, follow at a later date. Over the three books, Emma has had a real struggle to get where she is on the closing pages of EMMA AND HER DAUGHTER – she’s been orphaned, ill-treated, made homeless, in danger of being ‘groomed’, ostracised by old friends and neighbours, beaten black and blue, and had her bakery torched amongst other horrors. It takes a strong and feisty spirit to cope with all that but as in fiction, so, too, do some people have problem after problem, tragedy after tragedy, to overcome in real life.

Emma and her DaughterSo, I’ve come to the end of a trilogy which is quite a lot of words in the can….something like 280,000. I wrote Emma the happy ending she deserved, but I don’t know that I can quite let her go. Not yet. But as the title of this last book in the trilogy implies, she has a daughter. What of her? Well, actually, she has a step-daughter as well. And there is, age-wise, quite a gap between the two. That in itself could be interesting as the step-sisters grow up. Not that I have plans at this stage, or even this year, to write their story.
I also write short stories and 2015 has started well for me in terms of stories published and also sales – with three publications and seven sales to date. I enjoy the short story form. And I particularly like writing them in the first person, present tense. I think the reader is immediately in the story with that viewpoint. When I write 1000 word stories they often turn out humorous almost of their own volition – possibly it’s writing in the first person that makes it easier to write humour and in the back of my mind is the fact I have to write short and snappy and get a lot of detail in a few pages. My 2000 word stories and even longer ones at 3500+ words tend to be more emotional. The longer ones will often be relationship stories – parent/child, step-parent/step-child, friends, cousins, brother and sister – rather than romances, although I do indulge myself with romantic trysts and flowers and beautiful rings sometimes!
My novel-writing came out of another writing form – short serials, three or four episodes long, for women’s magazine fiction. I’ve only written, and had published, a handful of those but it was a magazine sub-editor, Jean Haxton, who suggested longer length stories are my strength. Thanks for that, Jean! While making a loose plan for my writing projects for 2015 I had an idea for another serial. And I’ve already sketched out some characters and setting for that – all I need now is a plot!
Last year I signed a contract with Choc Lit for a full-length contemporary novel, ALL THE BLUE SAPPHIRES, which will be an ebook to begin with. I’m waiting on the edits for that and quite looking forward to them as this book is set in the South of France, in the Cannes and Antibes area. I rather hope they might come soon so that I can escape the cold and frost, and maybe snow, of late winter and think sunny and hot, and chilled white wine, and tarte Tatin in sunnier climes. There is also a novella with Choc Lit that will also need an edit sometime. I’m going to be busy, busy!
But all work and no play makes Jack/Jill a dull boy/girl. So I do get out to play sometimes and intend to do more of it in 2015 because as we get (a little!) older exercise is important. Being something of a Scrooge about things like gym membership, pool admittance costs, and spa fees and the like, walking is my preferred form of exercise. I’m very, very lucky. My parents – although not Devon born – met and fell in love in Paignton and, after the war, they set up home here. And I was born in the cottage hospital, as were my children. Devon is a beautiful county to live in. I live now just a fifteen minute walk from the sea front. Fifteen minutes in the opposite direction takes me to the top of a hill and country lanes and a view out over farmland to Dartmoor and Haytor in the distance. I walk down to the beach most days and love the sea in all its moods. It’s also a joy to take my two grandchildren there and make sandcastles and moats, and dig ponds and draw maps (both my grandchildren are mad about maps for some reason) with a bit of sea-worn wood in the sand. My grandson in particular has a very vivid imagination so this activity is peppered with Star Wars, and Thomas the Tank engine, anything to do with princesses (for his younger sister), and tyrannosaurus Rex.
But a girl needs time with friends of a like mind sometimes. And this is where, again, I’m very lucky because I have friends of long-standing in the area, and also newer ones made through writing. I’m a member of Brixham Writers – there are just a dozen of us, and all published – and we meet once a week. We take it in turns to be in the chair and whoever is in the chair that week will have set the ‘homework’ at the previous meeting. I’ve sold more than a few short stories written around the ‘homework’ theme. But we can also read out from work-in-progress or not read at all … the choice is ours … and the group will critique our work in a constructive way.
I also skive off to Exeter once a month when the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Devon Chapter, meet up for lunch – usually midday to 2 p.m. but often it is until the chat runs out or there is a train or bus that must be caught.
So I have a whole year’s worth of meetings and lunches to look forward to. And I have to say that if I’m struggling with something then it eases the struggle a bit to know that I have the escape of tea and tiffin down in Brixham, or a glass of Pinot Grigio and a plate of lasagne and salad in Exeter, to look forward to.
A recently re-found pleasure for me is theatre. I took my daughter and grandchildren to the pantomime just after Christmas 2014. It was my grandchildren’s first visit, and I don’t think I’d been since I was a child when my aunt used to take me to the pantomime on Boxing Day every year. But on this latest visit I think I spent more time watching my grandchildren’s enthralled and happy faces than I did the goings-on on the stage. I’m about to book up for us all to go and see The Wizard of Oz which is a matinée only performance during half term in February. Although I’m deaf and my cochlear implant not up to picking up all the words, however well enunciated and amplified, I can enjoy the visual impact of it all, and no doubt my creative mind will be making up stories about the clothes and the people and the spectacle. Hmm, yes…..already a title for a short story has jumped into my head – Red Shoes.
Hmmm….. better get on then, hadn’t I?

See Linda’s books on Amazon

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My ‘Naughty’ Year with Tanith Davenport


My last blog of the year is from Author, Tanith Davenport who began writing erotica at the age of 27 by way of the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme. Her debut novel “The Hand He Dealt” was released by Total-e-Bound in June 2011 and was shortlisted for the Joan Hessayon Award for 2012.
Tanith has had short stories published by Naughty Nights Press and House of Erotica. She loves to travel and dreams of one day taking a driving tour of the United States, preferably in a classic 1950s pink Cadillac Eldorado.
Tanith’s idea of heaven is an Indian head massage with a Mojito at her side.

Nlissemas 2014

My Writing Year – October 2013 – 14

It’s been an active year for me. Looking back over it, I’m quite impressed, even though I know there are more prolific writers than me – I remember many days of envy at those able to do this as a full-time job. Nevertheless, I’m quite proud, especially of Photograph, which I submitted to Totally Bound around October 2013.

Photograph had been a long time in the making. When I first planned out the story, I was younger than the characters. I picked it up again as part of a creative writing course I began when I was 30 and then left it on hiatus when my debut novel The Hand He Dealt was accepted. So it was about half-done when Totally Bound put out a call for their “What’s Her Secret?” line, and since it contained a heroine with a deeply-held secret, I pitched it and it was accepted.

It was submitted in October but not firmly approved until February 2014, due to some significant (and needed, I admit) changes to the plotline. By May it was out and, as my first novel to have its own publicity team, I had the excitement of seeing it as part of a special offer in Woman magazine. Quite the honour for someone who had only ever been advertised online!

While all this was taking place I was finishing off the sequel to my paranormal novella I Heard Your Voice. Tamar Rising followed my paranormal investigator heroine in her new career as a medium. I had some great fun researching this and its predecessor, as I love paranormal TV (even if I do suspect a lot of it is either faked or exaggerated) and also got to attend some paranormal investigations, although very little actually happened on any of them. Banging in the pipes, table-tipping, ouija boards and people doing a variety of silly walks to avoid breaking laser beams set up across doorways – all great for information but not especially scary. In fact, the scariest moment was when my satnav abandoned me in the middle of a council estate and I had to knock on someone’s door for directions.

Tamar Rising was also quite a challenge for me as I had never done a sequel and therefore never had to keep the interest in an ongoing romance. The easy way out might have been to bring back Tamar’s former lover Reed – if you could use “lover” to describe the businesslike nature of their relationship – but, while Reed was great fun to write, being an arrogant jerk, I had no plans to mess up Tamar’s relationship with Jason. The novella was submitted in March 2014 and is due out on Boxing Day, also from Totally Bound.

However, a particular challenge was my most recently accepted novella, which at the time of submission was called “Ambivalent Brutality”. Inspired by a Norwegian film, the novella followed a team of Norwegian trollhunters with a hero and heroine falling in love while battling a mountain troll. One thing I haven’t written a lot of is action scenes, which you might imagine became quite necessary when dealing with trapping trolls; they also involved a role reversal since my hero was the intellectual researcher while my heroine was a rock-climber adept with multiple weapons. Definitely not your stereotypical roles!

The only minor issue was with the name. While effective, “Ambivalent Brutality” lacks a certain romance, so the title became In the Halls of the Mountain Troll. I was initially a little concerned about this title, remembering the furore about Bigfoot erotica and not wanting my novella to get caught up in it. I’m not sure what would be worse – having someone avoid the story because they think it’s troll porn or buy it and give it a terrible review because there’s no troll porn in it. I’d better make that last part as clear as possible – THERE IS NO TROLL SEX IN IT. I’m open-minded but even I have my limits.

So now that that’s in the pipeline, just waiting on edits, what else do I have on the go? Well, I have a potential series on the go. I won’t give too many details just yet but the first novella of the series, Mrs Hamilton’s Daughter, is almost complete and ready for submission. I have several stories lined up in my notebook to go in this series so I hope it all comes right!

I also have a rewrite on the cards, as one of my shorts, Assume the Position, which was previously published as part of Campus Sexploits 3 by Naughty Nights Press, is about to have its rights returned. As a 3000-word piece it’s too short for anywhere else at present but I hope to rework it into a 10,000-worder and submit it elsewhere. It’s a favourite of mine – the first short I ever wrote, plus an excuse to write eroticism into yoga poses – and I’d hate to see it go to waste.

So it’s been a busy year, and I hope to make 2015 another good year for writing. With any luck I’ll be buried in my series but also handling surprise submissions calls, which always serve to make life interesting!

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My Writing Year with Linda Chamberlain

My guest this week is Author, Linda Chamberlain. I am sure you will enjoy reading about her year in 2014. I hope my own successes are as good as Linda’s! As with any author, the way forward is never in a straight line.  Please do comment and leave messages for Linda’s reply.  DSC_1426

Producing a book is a little like a having a baby. It begins with some strenuous and emotional activity and after a few tiring months you have something that’s very precious.
Like all new authors I think my book is prettier than any others conceived and I happily show it off like a proud mother.
A year ago I was putting the finishing touches to my creation. It already had a name – The First Vet – but it was missing something important. The ending. It was a touching story of love and corruption, a blend of fact and fiction that was full of horses and history, but I was tiring and wasn’t getting on with the task. I was saved from this dreadful state of affairs by a crazy writing project called National Novel Writing Month , which brings authors together online for a mad dash to write 40,000 words.


BookCover5_25x8_Color_350_NEW from Amber

By December it was done – plus another 40,000 words of another novel. I was on top of the world. The next few months were devoted to my new project while The First Vet was put to one side. It was important to read it again in a couple of months so it could be judged it with fresh eyes.
There was hardly a day without writing – thanks to being a bad sleeper I have more time available than a lot of people. By Spring, my book was ready to be seen by other people. A few chapters were sent to some friends; I got some feedback and made some adjustments. Agents and publishers should have come next but an unknown writer struggles to be taken seriously in spite of a background in journalism.
Whoever published it, the writer is responsible for much of the sales and marketing so why shouldn’t I do the whole project myself? So this summer I decided to become an indie author but first had a meeting with Liz Bailey, an experienced writer published by Penguin, who would become my editor. She puts her own backlist on Amazon and was a good source of reassurance and information.
She is an expert on the Georgian period – the setting of my novel – so she was a good choice. Her report gave me some editing to do but also filled me with confidence.
‘Wow, I love this story!’ she said. ‘It’s erudite, literate and fascinating. It flows and you brought the environment to life as well as the world of the horse. The narrator voice is clear and consistent and works really well. Your knowledge of the subject permeates the whole book.’
The romance was sensual but chaste, she said, and the central message of the book was inspiring.
It centres on one of this country’s first vets who was an animal right’s campaigner before anyone had coined the phrase. He was ahead of his time but his work is being rediscovered today. I’m a romantic novelist so of course the love story is central but my protagonist’s battle with the veterinary establishment gives the book some pace.
Then came other tasks that conventionally published authors are denied – sorting out the cover and finding an art director. I also needed to work up a platform on line. The first two were fine; the latter is still being grappled with! I had a cover in mind – something dramatic like War Horse by Michael Morpurgo. My two actors in period costume and a horse walked up a hill to a nearby beauty spot famous for its sunsets and thanks to photographer, Will Jessel, we got the most amazing shot.
It was September by now and pressure was mounting because I wanted to launch the book soon. My laptop gave up on me and work stopped. It gave up three times, on one occasion it locked the book up. I was getting stressed; my family knew I was irritable.
Once the book was freed and the lap top mended, I set about formatting the book for Amazon. It was going to be a paperback and ebook on Kindle. It wasn’t easy but, if this writer can do it, anyone can.
This month I pressed the button that said publish. My book was on line. My blog helped to sell it, my Facebook friends rushed to support and my first week as an author saw nearly 100 sales. There was also my first author talk to prepare for – nerve-wracking but successful.
Amazon reviews started to come in – ‘A great story with a thought-provoking message.’
‘One of those books you can’t put down.’
I’d always wanted to write a page-turner. I was beginning to think I had succeeded.

Linda Chamberlain equine blog is on
Her book The First Vet is now on Amazon.


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