Unfortunately, Coronation Day on May 6th – which incidentally was my mother’s birthday – was a complete washout. From about 11.00am it rained incessantly. It was a great shame because Ashfield District Council had made a massive effort to put on a day full of entertainment with a huge screen, stalls children’s entertainment, etc. I hope that if you attended an event that day, you were one of the lucky ones, and didn’t get soaked.
During May, my husband, David, and I took a week’s break on the island of Tenerife. This was mostly to have a short holiday, but we also used the time to catch up with old friends who live on the island. I was also given some very helpful diving details for inclusion in the crime book I am planning for next year. I already have a brief plan for the book, main characters and plot, and I’m looking forward to getting on with it, once I have finished the book I’m working on.
I was delighted to take part in the Sherwood Arts Week for the first time, in June. I took part in their Secret Garden Market on 17th June, gave workshops for children on Sunday, 18th and for adults on Thursday, 22nd. The theme for all the workshops was writing ghost stories.
Also, for the first time, I attended the Newark Book Festival market on Saturday, 8th July. Again, another very rainy day – and it turned out to be the first time they have had rain. As it was my first time as well, I can only say that the weather was probably entirely down to me being there!
With regard to ‘Where Wolves Cry’, I am now at 191 A4 pages, and a little 101,000 words. The story is fully written and I am red-penning like crazy. Having spoken to my publisher, we are working on a deadline for mid-August to have the manuscript sent to them. The final typeset version of the book should then be ready by the end of September, in time to meet Cathy Helms of Avalon Graphics for creation of the cover during October. This means the book will be available for Christmas.
I have been asked to run more of my creative writing workshops on ‘How to Write Ghost Stories, both for children and adults, and I am in the process of finding venues for this.
I have also started Jae’s Journal monthly newsletter which I send by email. If you would like to be added to my mailing list, please contact me at email@example.com
My visit to St Benedict’s C of E VA Primary School in Glastonbury was fantastic. I gave creative writing workshops to Years Four and Six with two classes in each group – approximately fifty children in each group.
The Year Four group had been working on local legends and, of course, Glastonbury is heaped in legends and historical facts. So my role during the workshop was as a journalist investigating a sighting of King Arthur and the children were witnesses. They were asked to describe what King Arthur looked like, why he was there and where they thought he was going. We had some brilliant responses and some very funny ones. Merlin, Guinevere, the Lady of the Lake and Excalibur were all included in the discussion, together with details of Glastonbury Tor, St Michael’s Tower at the top of the Tor, the Abbey and the Isle of Avalon.
Year Six were given a workshop on How to Write a Ghost Story. They were asked what frightens them…one very wildlife orientated girl said the idea of wolves becoming extinct scared her. Although her response was nothing to do with ghosts, I thought it showed a terrific insight into what our future could be like if we do nothing about it. So well, done her!
During the workshop the children were asked to think of scary locations, if seeing a ghost would frighten them, whether ghosts have to come from the past – could they come from the future of from another dimension. There were several points suggested that would make a ghost story more frightening.
Both workshops ended with a question and answer session about writing in general and author experiences. Year Four were given worksheets to make notes of their thoughts on the King Arthur legend. Year Six were given handouts with suggestions on how to write their own ghost stories. Both groups have been invited to enter a competition and their teachers will be emailing their entries to me for judging. The winner of each group will receive a book voucher.
For anyone who would like a little update on ‘Where Wolves Cry’, I am now at 146 pages and a little over 73,000 words, with a few more chapters to write. I have also been in touch with the brilliant Cathy Helms of Avalon Graphics who creates the superb covers for my Winterne books, and we are in discussions about this one. However, due to Cathy’s heavy workload, she will be unable to get to my cover until October. Now although I had hoped to be able to launch the book before then, I wouldn’t want anyone else to create these covers for me, so I am happy to wait until Cathy is available. Between now and October though, Cathy has said she will start preparing for the cover during any moments of free time which will enable her to move things along more quickly in October. This should ensure that the book will be available for Christmas.
In the meantime, ‘Where Wolves Cry’ will be finished, edited and put to one side until Cathy is ready. Following that, I will begin on the crime story and the locations will be Britain, the Maltese island of Gozo and Tenerife. I will be aiming at have this one finished by Summer 2024, if not before
During the Covid lockdown, I continued to run the annual countywide creative writing competition for children. In previous years, for the awards and book presentation we would be able to invite finalists and their supporters to Gedling Civic Centre, to collect their prizes in person. Of course, during lockdown this was not possible. What we were able to do was to live stream the event – with no finalists or family members – but with just eight people, the Mayor of Gedling, the filming team, one author and, I had to be there as I was presenting the event. I would then the link to all finalists to enable them to see and hear the presentation; awards were posted or hand delivered over the next couple of days.
To make the presentation a little more special, I asked some friends and fellow authors, if they could each send me a video giving their support and encouragement to our finalists. One of these lovely people was actor and author, Clive Mantle, who played Little John in the televised Robin of Sherwood series for two seasons, he was also in ‘Casualty’ for three years as A & E Consultant Mike Barratt. Clive appeared in the Vicar of Dibley as vicar Geraldine Grainger’s love interest for two episodes, and had roles in films Alien 3 and White Hunter, Black Heart. In addition, Clive has had a long and very successful career in the theatre. What you may not know, however, is that he is also the author of a trilogy of books for older children, ‘The Freddie Malone Adventures’ series.
Following the awards presentation, Clive and I kept in touch and, while he was appearing in a Peter James’ play ‘Wish You Were Dead’ at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal, recently, David and I met up with him for about an hour after the performance. I can only say that meeting him was an absolute pleasure. I’m sure many people wonder what the celebrities they see in films and television are like in reality, but I can honestly say that Clive was very friendly, down to Earth, conversation flowed and it was like chatting to an old friend. It was a lovely hour and, although I could without the competition (ha ha), I can also honestly say, that I am enjoying reading his books. If you have children who enjoy adventure stories – and with the geographical content in the books they are also educational – I can recommend ‘The Treasure at the Top of the World’, ‘A Jewel in the Sands of Time’ and ‘In the City of Fortune and Flames’. I understand there are to be two more in the series.
I am delighted to say I am about two-thirds of the way through my latest book – working title ‘Where Wolves Cry’, and I believe I am on course to have the book out in the Summer. As mentioned previously, it is very likely to be the final volume of The Winterne Series, although three of the characters in ‘From Knight to Knave’ have intrigued my readers to such an extent they have asked me to think about writing their back stories. This has it’s possibilities. I enjoyed the research carried out for that book, and it would be a pleasure to delve further into these characters and their earlier lives. This may not be until next year though. In the meantime, I have the current book to finish.
Once ‘Where Wolves Cry’ is complete and ready for launching, I have another story – the planning of this is already in the pipeline – that has been buzzing around in my head for a couple of years now. It will be a modern day crime story with settings in Gozo and Tenerife. We will be heading to Tenerife – for research purposes only, of course – later in the year.
‘From Knight to Knave’ is still doing very well and now has received sixteen wonderful reviews on Amazon UK – all of them five star – and on Goodreads. I have been told there are more to come, and I would like to thank everyone of my readers for the tremendous support they have given me. I can’t emphasise enough just how important reviews are for authors.
- ‘Sammy, the Squirrel Who Missed Christmas’ launched in November and has proved to be very popular. This new animal story book for younger children is now available to order from good bookshops, Amazon UK and other online suppliers. It can also be obtained by contacting me on my Jae Malone Facebook page or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- I am delighted to say that ‘From Knight to Knave’ is doing very well and now has thirteen reviews on Amazon UK – all of them five star!
- For Middleway Words Book Festival 2022, I recorded a creative writing workshop for 9 to 15 year old aspiring writers on creating a ghost story. The video has been uploaded to YouTube and is free to view. Middleway Words Online Book Festival will be back next year but the dates have not been arranged yet.
- I am currently nineteen chapters (33,355 words) into the fourth sequel of The Winterne Series; working title ‘Where Wolves Cry’. It feels like the right time to end the series, so this to be the last one – unless, of course, I find that I miss the characters so much I just have to give them another story.
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Sammy, the Squirrel Who Missed Christmas is now in final production and copies should be available at the end of October.
On more personal news, I am very involved with arrangements for the Middleway Words Book Festival 2022. Most of the events, between 6th and 13th November, will be online and shown on the newly created website Middleway Words – Middleway Words – The Midlands Book Festival But Thursday, 10th November is Nottingham Day when we will be having some live events to showcase the talent and diversity of what Nottinghamshire has to offer readers and writers of the county. The two main events taking place that day are:-
2.30 – 4.00 pm: Bromley House Library Visit. Angel Row, Nottingham, NG1 6HL
Hosted by Matt Dolman, Membership and Engagement Manager
“A Virtual Visit to Bromley House Library in the centre of Nottingham, one of the oldest independent subscription libraries in the country; established in 1816, housed in a beautiful Georgian townhouse, built in 1752. Your virtual visit will take you on a journey of discovery following the history of the library right up to modern day and how we operate in the 21st century. We will share collection highlights, and the challenge of how we look after them in a busy working library. You will also get the opportunity to ask us questions and learn more about becoming a member, the books, its people and the building.”
6.30-8.30pm: Waterstones Nottingham. Bridlesmith Gate, Nottingham, NG1 2GR
Elizabeth Chadwick: Bestselling and award winning historical author of 30 bestselling books, translated into 16 different languages. Elizabeth is a resident of Nottinghamshire.
T M Logan: Bestselling British writer of contemporary, thriller, and crime fiction stories. He is known to have written several mind-blowing standalone books in his career, including 29 Seconds, Lies, and The Holiday.
Clare Harvey: is the acclaimed author of four World War 2 novels. Her first book, ‘The Gunner Girl’, won both the Exeter Novel Prize and the Joan Hessayon Award for debut fiction. ‘Gunner Girl’, ‘The English Agent’, ‘Night Raid’ – set in Nottingham, and ‘Escape’. Her fifth novel, set in wartime Mauritius, is awaiting publication, and she’s currently working on her sixth.
Ian Charles Douglas: Ian writes for children and adults. He is author of The Zeke Hailey books. This Sci-Fi series is set on Mars and includes psychic teenagers, monsters and the odd Martian ghost. Book Five, ‘The Paradox War’, launched in June 2022. Find out more about this award-winning series at zekehailey.com . His non-fiction book, A Children’s History of Nottinghamshire, became a local bestseller. Ian runs author visits to schools and was delighted to be a guest at Malta’s 2019 Festival of the Literary Stars.
Wilf Morgan: Wilf Morgan is also Nottingham resident who is proving to be one of the top new writing talents on Nottingham’s literary scene. He is the founder of the publishing label 88Tales Press and author of ‘The Cotton Keeper’, ‘Lost Angels’ and ‘The Assassin’s Wedding’. He also writes ‘The Arilon Chronicles’, a fantasy series for younger readers, the opening novel being ‘Arthur Ness and the Secret of Waterwhistle’.
John Holmes: BBC presenter for fifty years, latterly with BBC Radio Nottingham and East Midlands TV ‘Holmes and Away’. John is the author of ‘This is the BBC Holmes Service: 50 Years with the BBC’ and will be our question Master for what promises to be a fascinating event.
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All the illustrations for ‘Sammy, the Squirrel Who Missed Christmas’ are now in, and the manuscript has been formatted. I have completed a final edit and the book manuscript has been sent to the publishers today – the 31st August. Jess Hawksworth has created the illustrations again for me – they are lovely. If you have seen Jess’s artwork in the other books in this series, you will appreciate how good they are.
On more personal news, unfortunately, our Romanian rescue dog, Maisie, had to undergo a huge operation on 22nd August, and on discharge from the veterinary hospital, needed quiet and care to recover at home. Considering the size of the procedure, she’s now doing well but I cancelled my attendance at the Ashfield Day Celebration on 27th August. It was just too soon to leave her.
On Tuesday, 2nd August, I was the guest interviewee for 10Radio, a Somerset independent radio station based in Somerset around ten neighbouring villages. My interviewer was Suzie Grogan, who I had never met before, in reality or online, but right from the start we hit it off beautifully and the 45 minute Zoom slot just raced by.
Suzie asked me questions about my writing habits, my books, and why Somerset was chosen as their location. She also wanted to know more about the support I had given to other writers. This included the children’s creative writing competition, the creation of New Writers UK and the Silver Scribes short story competition for writers over the age of fifty-five.
The interview ran smoothly and was fun to do and I understand it will be played on 10 Radio on 19th August. Following that it will be uploaded to the SoundCloud and will remain there available for anyone who would like to hear it.
My thanks to Suzie for a very enjoyable morning.
I have now received the first of the illustrations for ‘Sammy, the Squirrel Who Missed Christmas’ and, as you would expect from images created by Jess Hawksworth, they are lovely and I can’t wait to get this new little book put together. I have included two – one of Sammy and the other of Mr Robin comforting a very worried Mrs Robin. I have also been in touch with the Scottish Forestry Commission who have confirmed that, as with the location for ‘The Raven and the Thief’ the Tower of London, Mabie Forest in a public venue and therefore no licence is required to set the story there.
The fifth book in The Winterne Series, with the current working title of ‘Where Wolves Cry’ is now underway and I hope to have it available early next year.
‘From Knight to Knave’ now has a slightly different cover. The sky has been modified to reflect approaching troubles, and the unicorn has an enriched golden horn. I think he looks more handsome now. Thank you to Cathy Helms of Avalon Graphics for these enhancements.
During a recent holiday I picked up some ideas for my – as yet untitled – aquatic crime book which I hope will be available next year. I have now researched vital technical details for Scuba diving and the locations will be Nottingham, the Maltese Island of Gozo and Tenerife. I have also set out a brief outline of the story, and the main characters who I am slowly getting to know. I don’t think the time spent on the planning of this book will impact too much on the time I should be spending on the fifth book in The Winterne Series. The title, currently anyway, is ‘Where Wolves Cry’. The story follows on a few months from where ‘Avaroc Returns’ ended, and readers will get to know a lot more about the personalities and problems of Morgan and Jericha.
In addition to the books mentioned above, my catalogue of short stories is growing and I hope to publish it next year. A few of the stories are based on episodes of my life in past years, some a just easy little stories written for fun but a couple are more macabre. More to come on this at a later date.
‘From Knight to Knave’ is continuing to receive five star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. There are several reviews and my thanks to those readers who have submitted these glowing evaluations
‘The fifth book is The Winterne Series is currently underway. It continues from where ‘Avaroc Returns’ ended, but with Morgan and Jericha as the lead characters.
I recently gave talks to the Mapperley and Arnold Rotary Club and to members of the Nottinghamshire Women’s Institute at their Headquarters in Newark. At both of these occasions I met some delightful people and thoroughly enjoyed the occasions; I hope they liked my visits as much as I did being there.
I’m thrilled that ‘From Knight to Knave’ is receiving five star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. In addition, several readers who have not yet finished book are also contacting me with very positive responses.
‘The Squirrel Who Missed Christmas’ is now finished and the manuscript is with Jess Hawksworth, who created the lovely illustrations for the other books in this series for younger children.
As you will have seen, my short story ‘Freedom’ was listed in the final six of the King Lear Prize last year. Having been selected from around 1,500 entries, this exciting, and unexpected result, has spurred me on to write more short stories. It was always something I thought I might get around to at some time, but other commitments have always come first. Now, however, I have a few more short stories ‘in the bag’ and hope to publish the collection later this year.
‘From Knight to Knave’
Is now available on Kindle. ASIN:B093YDWB7J £3.00
‘The Squirrel Who Missed Christmas’
Is now finished and about to be sent to Jess Hawksworth for illustrating. Once again I have gently touched on social issues with this story for younger children, by mentioning Sidney Squirrel, Sammy’s grandfather who is showing signs of dementia, and walks with a stick due to painful joints.
King Lear Prizes 2021
Never having entered a writing competition before, I was thrilled to be amongst the 6 shortlisted writers from the 1,500 or so, who entered the King Lear Prizes competition in the Real Story category. I never anticipated reaching that level, and the other five stories were so moving and well written. If you haven’t seen them, I would recommend, when you have a few moments, that you go to the King Lear Prizes 2021 website/Facebook page and take a look at the fabulous writing in the Real Story category. There are two shortlists – one for Beginners and the other for Experienced Amateurs. All make excellent reading.
‘The Squirrel Who Missed Christmas’ is now well underway and is currently on course for being available by Christmas of this year.
On Friday, 4th June, we held the launch of ‘From Knight to Knave’ streamed online to YouTube at 3.30pm. The venue was the art gallery in Sherwood, Nottingham, A Room Full of Butterflies. The host was BBC Radio Nottingham presenter Mark Dennison and the technical production was managed by Flying Shark Media. The event went really smoothly and I am grateful to Mark, Flying Shark Media and ‘A Room Full of Butterflies’. Click on the image to view the launch video.
The Squirrel Who Missed Christmas’ is now well underway and is currently on course for being available in the autumn of this year.
My thanks to Flying Shark Media, for their expertise in producing a short film of me reading ‘Blue Teaches a Lesson’. Filming took place in local woodland on what was probably one of the coldest days of the year. Thankfully we were wrapped up warmly and had plenty of hot drinks. The film is now available on You Tube :
We hope to record all the animal books for younger children in due course.
I am currently writing ‘Sammy, the Squirrel Who Missed Christmas’ which I hope to have available in the Autumn.
In 2019 the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust was created in Dumfries, Scotland, where I lived for six years. The Trust took over what had previously been a nursing home, and they created Neverland in the garden with reading/performance/library areas inside. The centre has become a National Centre for Children’s Literacy.
I was thrilled that they included my You Tube reading of ‘Lorna and the Loch Ness Monster’ in their World Read Aloud Day Facebook programme. Since then, their Creative Learning and Engagement Officer (Schools) has been filmed reading ‘Tib and Tab Make A Friend’, and they are scheduling my You Tube reading of ‘Blue Teaches A Lesson’ for a later date.
In addition, I have been asked by BBC Radio Nottingham to take part in the ‘Lockdown Letters to Myself’ project. This meant I had to record a letter I had written letter to myself in the present based on what I know now about the pandemic. The idea was to broadcast these letters on programmes between 22-28 March and mine is scheduled for Tuesday 24 between 12.00 and 1.00pm and again on Thursday, 26th March between 8.00-9.00am.
The final draft of ‘From Knight to Knave’ has is now with New Generation Publishing awaiting the last checks. This has been an exciting, satisfying book to write that now extends to 440 pages. The research for this book, that spans six historic periods, all linked to Winterne Manor, has been a joy. It has been hard work but very satisfying. I hope to have this book available by the end of next month (April 2021).
Lorna and the Loch Ness Monster: My thanks to Flying Shark Media, for their expertise in producing a short film of me reading Lorna and the Loch Ness Monster. Filming took place in our back garden on a beautiful sunny afternoon. The film is now available on You Tube :
We hope to record all the animal books for younger children in due course.
Magazine Articles: During 2020 I was asked to submit two articles to Savvy Woman Magazine and it was a great pleasure to participate. Writing for a magazine is completely different to writing a fictional story, and it was good to do something different. My articles can be found by following these links:-
My Publisher New Generation have a regular news letter – you can view it here :- <link>
On April 3rd one of my main characters, Armistice Jenks, was interviewed recently on acclaimed historical author Helen Hollick’s website. Helen gave Armistice a wonderful welcome and then asked her a number of questions about the books she appears in, what I am up to next and, if she was arranging a dinner party, who would she invite. If you would like to read this interview, the link for it is:- <link>
‘Lorna and the Loch Ness Monster’ I am delighted to announce that Historic Environment Scotland, who own Urquhart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness, have confirmed their interest in ‘Lorna and the Loch Ness Monster’ and would like other gift shops in the area to stock the book. ‘The Raven and the Thief’ Is now available on Amazon and to order through bookstores. Recently we met the Ravenmaster, Yeoman Warder of the Guard, Christopher Skaife, who has served at the Tower for fifteen years, and for many of those years has been I charge of the care of the ravens who live at the Tower. I am delighted that the Ravenmaster showed great interest in the book and has promised to use it when telling stories to the children who visit the Tower. Writing the books has given me the chance to do some things I would never have done before – taking part in conventions and giving creative writing workshops in various parts of the country. Through these opportunities I have also met some wonderful people. The photos in the gallery are of actors James Cosmo (The Chronicles of Narnia and Game of Thrones plus many other films and television programmes). Chris Rankin is a lovely man and will be recognised as Percy Weasley in the Harry Potter films, but he is also a founder of theatre company, Painted Horse UK and has appeared on television and theatre productions Helen Hollick is one of this country’s finest historical novel writers who has also researched and written factual books on pirates. Helen has been a wonderful mentor and friend for many years and I am grateful for her support and guidance. I visited Somerset early in November 2018 running writing workshops for children at Wookey Hole Caves, near the lovely City of Wells. While I was there I discussed a planned book based on the life of the Witch of Wookey – let’s see if we can bring her to life. Ideas on her background and personality are forming, and a synopsis is being prepared. I’ll be researching life in the West Country around a thousand years ago and must say I am looking forward to this new challenge.
‘Lorna and the Loch Ness Monster’ I am delighted to announce that Historic Environment Scotland, who own Urquhart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness, have confirmed their interest in ‘Lorna and the Loch Ness Monster’ and would like other gift shops in the area to stock the book.
‘The Raven and the Thief’ Is now available on Amazon and to order through bookstores. Recently we met the Ravenmaster, Yeoman Warder of the Guard, Christopher Skaife, who has served at the Tower for fifteen years, and for many of those years has been I charge of the care of the ravens who live at the Tower. I am delighted that the Ravenmaster showed great interest in the book and has promised to use it when telling stories to the children who visit the Tower.
Writing the books has given me the chance to do some things I would never have done before – taking part in conventions and giving creative writing workshops in various parts of the country. Through these opportunities I have also met some wonderful people.
The photos in the gallery are of actors James Cosmo (The Chronicles of Narnia and Game of Thrones plus many other films and television programmes).
Chris Rankin is a lovely man and will be recognised as Percy Weasley in the Harry Potter films, but he is also a founder of theatre company, Painted Horse UK and has appeared on television and theatre productions
Helen Hollick is one of this country’s finest historical novel writers who has also researched and written factual books on pirates. Helen has been a wonderful mentor and friend for many years and I am grateful for her support and guidance.
I visited Somerset early in November 2018 running writing workshops for children at Wookey Hole Caves, near the lovely City of Wells. While I was there I discussed a planned book based on the life of the Witch of Wookey – let’s see if we can bring her to life. Ideas on her background and personality are forming, and a synopsis is being prepared. I’ll be researching life in the West Country around a thousand years ago and must say I am looking forward to this new challenge.