Saturday 19 December 2020

A Most Amazing Zoo – Audio book


How we came to publish this one

This store just naturally lends itself to be read out loud. Rob Townsend the narrator is actually an acquaintance of the author Linda Flynn. He so liked the book that he made us a recording of it 

The title

A Most Amazing Zoo it certainly is and also a most amazing recording. Rob gets the voice just right.   

Some notes about the process

We used ACX that produce the audio file in order for it to be sold via Audible and ACX. They generally take about a month to check recording for quality control. This time, because of the pandemic, they took six weeks and then we had to make some alterations. It is all very technical and I wouldn’t be able to do this on my own.  Thank goodness for other people who have the know-how. 

Who we think the reader is

The book is a picture book but not for pre-schoolers. So, having the pictures and the recording will help new readers with the text.    


There was no financial outlay for this but our designer and Rob have worked for no fee. Rob will be paid a royalty, as will our writer an illustrator and some goes to the charity the book supports. The designer will be paid our usual £30.00 fee out of the money that is assigned to the company.        

What else

We also have a version of this with the voiceover and the pages displayed at the same time. We have pay walled this with the same arrangement about royalties and fees as for the audio book.

This has been entered for the Queen’s Knickers award.


Review copies

Get in touch if you would like a free review copy.

Wednesday 18 November 2020

Transforming Communities

How we came to publish this one

This is the third of our Waterloo Festival Writing Competition books. This contains the stories by the winners of the 2020 competition. In December, we’re publishing a paperback of all three e-books.   

The title

The title is the theme of the 2020 Waterloo Festival. Every story we have in the collection gives a different interpretation of the title. All are valid.  

The cover

As ever, our clever designer has come up with the goods. We often find a concept by putting the title of the book or something to do with the title into the search field on Pixabay or Unsplash . Then we look for an image that will work as a standalone front cover or will wrap around to cover the spine. We tend to prefer the latter. However,  for e-books we only need to worry about the front. We also need to make sure there is enough room for the title and author on the front and the blurb on the back. We avoid too much blue: getting it to print the same as you see it on even a correctly tuned screen is very difficult. But again, not so crucial for an e-book. .             

Some notes about style

There are a variety of styles here but each piece has a strong voice. Voice is one of our criteria for accepting stories. We looked for:

  • An interesting interpretation of the theme
  • A well-structured story
  • A convincing ending - and that can include a very subtle or even an open ending
  • A strong voice  

Who we think the reader is

Naturally readers will include friends, family, fans and flowers of all of the writers involved and of course of all who are associated with the Waterloo Festival. Other readers will be those who like a more literary text, a more thought-provoking read.  Perhaps we may even say those people who like the sort of work we publish.  


The book continues to sell steadily though has not yet covered all of its set-up costs.  We could do with a few more sales, however. If you’d like a copy, click on the image and you’ll be taken straight to Amazon. The book was edited and designed in-house so there has been very little outlay but so far the editor and designer of the project has earned very little from this title and we would like to pay them retrospectively.    

What else

Most of the writers supplied a video about their book or an article. You can find these here.   You can also see some of them on my blog:  

Friday 30 October 2020

Would you like to write a children's picture book for us? Free talk offered.

 Wilma’s efforts often end in disaster. Her spells come out all wrong. The other witches laugh at her.  She has to watch them performing fantastic tricks. However, one spell that goes wrong has surprising consequences and Wilma gains a valuable ally.Philippa Rae's delightful children's story is enriched by a series of colourful illustrations by artist Ashleigh James.This is our latest illustrated book. 

If you and / or your writing group would like to met us via Zoom for a one hour tutorial / seminar on the sort of work we're interested in and how you should submit, please contact us.

Tuesday 27 October 2020

Drawn by the Sea by Jeanne Davies


How we came to publish this one

Jeanne has had several stories published by Bridge House in our annual anthologies and she has also appeared in CafeLit. She has been included in our Waterloo books. Many of the stories in this volume have appeared in our anthologies.  

The title

The title comes partly from Jeanne’s love of the sea. She has recently moved to live near the sea and she enjoys walking with her dog in this environment.         

The cover

We worked with Jeanne on lots of wonderful beach scenes. Some ideas came from her own photographs.     

Some notes about style

Jeanne writes in plain English. Her dialogue is carefully crafted to sound like the people who are talking. She makes good use of the senses to give us a real sense of time and place.      

Who we think the reader is

Many of the stories have a feel-good factor. Yet there is sadness as well in some of them. They also challenge the readers.


The book continues to sell steadily though has not yet covered all of its set-up costs.  We could do with a few more sales, however. If you’d like a copy, click on the image and you’ll be taken straight to Amazon.  

What else

Jeanne is always supportive of what we do. She has attended many of our celebration  events. She is active on social media and often likes or shares our posts.. 


Sunday 25 October 2020

Remembering Spectrum by Christopher Bowles

How we came to publish this one

Christopher has had several stories published by Bridge House in our annual anthologies and he has also appeared in our Waterloo books.

The title

All Christopher’s idea.        

The cover

We worked extensively with Chris to get this right.    

Some notes about style

Chris has his own distinctive style. In fact even now we’ve started accepting work anonymously we usually still recognise Chris’s work. Always though we have to work on getting the layout right. The visual appearance of the text is important here.   

Who we think the reader is

Chris has his own followers. However, other Bridge House authors who have completely different styles have nevertheless read and enjoyed this volume.     


The book continues to sell steadily though has not yet covered all of its set-up costs.  We could do with a few more sales, however. If you’d like a copy, click on the image and you’ll be taken straight to Amazon.  

What else

Chris is a performance artist and runs his own award-winning theatre. Magpie Man Theatre.  


Tuesday 20 October 2020

Allison Symes, recently published by Chapeltown, put us straight about Flash Fiction

I'm pleased to invite on to the blog today Allison Symes whose latest collection of Flash Fiction, Tripping the Flash Fantastic, we have recently published through our Chapeltown imprint.  Allison recently attended one of our authors' afternoons and talked to us about Flash Fiction.  She has kindly reproduced for us much of what she said there.      


What is Flash Fiction?

Flash fiction is any story up to 1000 words. I prefer to write to sub-500 and my natural home is anything between 100 to 350 words. 

Flash fiction is nothing new either. It has been around for centuries. Think about Aesop’s Fables or the parables of Jesus in the Bible. They come in at well under 1000 words!

So, Allison, why do you write Flash Fiction?

The simple answer is I love it! Why? I’ve always found inventing characters to be the most fun when creating a story. Flash fiction has to be character led and so I am getting to invent new people all the time. So win-win for me here.

Why do you say Flash Fiction is character led?

The word count restriction does mean you haven’t got room for lots of lovely description. Every word you use has to “punch its weight” to justify being in your story.

Focusing on the character, their thoughts and actions helps reduce word count and makes the story more immediate. That’s important for the very short form.


How does Flash Fiction help writers?  

It teaches you to edit effectively. You have to make every word count so you write with precision and edit with even more! Whatever you write, that is helpful.

Flash fiction shows up to you as the writer what your wasted words are so those are the first you cut on your initial edit.

It can be a useful warm-up writing exercise.

When you are short on time, you can draft a flash fiction piece quickly. And you will still have written something you can polish later and submit to a market and/or competition.

It is easy to use as “adverts” on your website, Facebook etc. I will every so often share a flash story like this as a kind of marketing exercise.

What about competitions? Do you try them? Are there many for writers of Flash Fiction?

Flash is now a category in many competitions including The Bridport Prize.   

Writing Magazine will often hold competitions asking for 500 word stories, 750 word tales, etc. That’s flash fiction. And there are plenty of competitions online.

Entering competitions regularly is a good writing discipline and will help you hone your skills. So why not give the flash ones a go?

Do you think Flash Fiction has become more popular because of the new technology we have available?   

Yes, I’m certain the rise in technology with I-pads, smart phones etc., has helped boost the popularity of flash. It is easy to read on a screen.  

Flash is easy to share on Facebook and the very short form is ideal for sharing on Twitter. 

And flash is a great counter-argument for those who say they have no time to read! What, really? Given we spend so much time on our phones these days, why not read on them as well?



So, what would you say is vital about Flash Fiction? 

It isn’t the word count!

The most important thing about flash fiction is it must be a proper story. There has to be a beginning, middle and end.

There has to be some sort of conflict which is resolved.  

It is NOT truncated prose! 

And that old word count… there is more flexibility there than you think. I’ve written across the spectrum from one line stories to 1000 words and pretty much everything in between. You can have fun with this – and I do! Hope you can too.

So, tell us about your latest collection of Flash Fiction and where we can buy it. 

My latest collection from Chapeltown Books is called Tripping The Flash Fantastic. The funny thing is I didn't start out writing flash fiction at all. Indeed I'd not even heard of it when I began writing. I discovered flash fiction thanks to a CaféLit challenge and have been hooked on the form ever since. And with my new book, I have had even more fun playing with where and when I set my characters. I think the best thing I can do is share the blurb for TTFF.

In this follow-up to her "From Light to Dark and Back Again", Allison will take you back in time, into some truly criminal minds, into fantasy worlds, and show you how motherhood looks from the viewpoint of a dragon. Enjoy the journey!

Click on the image to view on Amazon. Contact Allison or Chapeltown for a free e-book if you would like to review.


Tuesday 13 October 2020

A Place to Be Revisited

I though I'd give this book another mention.  I asked an academic acquaintance of ours to review  and I was delighted to receive this one: 

Jess Falzoi’s A Place to Be is a collection of stories that burn in you long after you have read them - be prepared to be haunted by a strong voice, a strong sense of place and a strong energy driving each story. Falzoi is a hybrid AS Byatt and Raymond Carver - she combines an urgent, existential stark Minimalism with a complex tapestry of rich inner lives of her characters. Each story is a lattice, a delightful,  delicately woven fabric where relationships are held together by the finest of threads. These stories are sensitively told, emotionally taut, the words  explosive, the form inventive. A Place to Be is Einstein's cottage in candlelight, a chance encounter in the back seat of an ex-pimp's car in a barren nowhere place in Northern California, being barricaded with a mother and her children in an apartment in a post apocalyptic black out: these stories will surprise and dance in you, and burn their way into your heart.

This really is one of our literary gems. Apply here if you would like a review copy.    

Publishing Days Pass Like a Shadow by Paula R. C. Readman


  How we came to publish this one

We’ve known Paula for some time. Her short stories have appeared in many of our annual anthologies, she has been published on CaféLit and in the Best of CaféLit collections and she has also appeared in our Waterloo books.

Paula is always very supportive of any of our efforts so it was a pleasure to publish this collection for her.      

The title

A very fitting title for this collection.       

The cover

The cover image is ethereal. Paula worked with our designer on this. The angel’s face appears on the front of the book and the blurb is spread across it’s wing on the reverse.    

Some notes about style

I didn’t edit this one but several of the stories have already appeared in our anthologies. We’ve started anonymous submissions though I did recognise Paula’s style when one of her stories came in recently.

There is a firm voice here. The author keeps us guessing throughout the stories. I guess we like her style generally.        

Who we think the reader is

These stories are all an easy read but at the same time they promote a few thoughts.  This collection therefore is for the thoughtful reader who also wants to be entertained. For the reader who like to look at the darker side      


The book continues to sell steadily though has not yet covered all of its set-up costs.  We could do with a few more sales, however. If you’d like a copy, click on the image and you’ll be taken straight to Amazon.  

What else

This is one of three books that Paula has had published this year. So, nothing  happens for years and then three come along at once. I can personally recommend all three.