Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Choc Lit Goes to North America

I’ll be back with more Home Thoughts very soon, but this week brought the announcement of some exciting news that everyone at Choc Lit’s been eager to share.  We all had to be a bit patient until the news could be co-ordinated to suit both sides of the Atlantic, but here it is, the official press release...

Brand-led, commercial women’s fiction publisher, Choc Lit expand into North America with effect from 1st January 2012, represented by International Publishers Marketing (IPM).
“North America is a key market for our expansion. We already have a loyal following in the USA and constantly receive great reviews. Finding the right partner, who believed in our brand and could offer the right support was critical. We believe we’ve found the perfect match with Jane Graf at IPM,’ states Lyn Vernham, Director, Choc Lit.

Since launch, Choc Lit has published a string of novels that regularly hit the Nielsen’s Top 20 Small Publishers Fiction List. In the last few months, they have picked up three awards – Best Romantic Read Award from the Festival of Romance, The Big Red Reads Fiction Award and Best Historical Fiction Award. Never Coming Home, a debut from Evonne Wareham (to be published March 2012) was a finalist in the American Title competition, run by RT Book Reviews Magazine & Dorchester Publishing of New York.

Jane Graf of IPM says: “We are delighted to add Choc Lit to our portfolio of clients. The quality of the writing, as well as their high production values, and stunning covers will make them stand out as a romantic fiction publisher. Their brand and great strapline ‘Where heroes are like chocolate – irresistible!’ are unique and a strong selling point. We’re excited to see how we can grow and develop this publisher in North America.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Choc Lit Short Story Competition


Choc Lit are looking for short stories of up to 1,500 words in which the central theme is chocolate - eating it, drinking it, cooking with it, or anything else. Let your imagination take flight!

1st prize £200, publication on the author’s corner blog and a box of organic chocolates from Plush
A Runner Up will receive £50 and a box of organic chocolates from Plush

1.       Your entry must be a maximum of 1,500 words.
2.       All work must be your own and not previously published.
3.       The entry fee is £3 per story
4.       All entries must be received by 31st January, 2012.

Your judges are Choc Lit authors Margaret James (The Silver Locket, The Golden Chain) and Sue Moorcroft (Starting Over, All That Mullarkey, Want To Know a Secret? and Love & Freedom). Both authors teach creative writing for the London School of Journalism and have published numerous short stories, including in the Romantic Novelists' Association's short story anthology. Both have regular columns, Margaret in Writing Magazine and Sue in Writers Forum.

1.       Please post your stories to: Short Story Competition, Choc Lit Ltd, Penrose House, Crawley Drive, Camberley, Surrey GU15 2AB. Please enclose a cheque for £3 per story - i.e. to enter 3 stories costs £9. Cheques are payable to ‘Choc Lit Ltd.’

2.       Or email with the subject header ‘Short Story Competition’ and pay your entry fee by Paypal at

Thursday, 17 November 2011

What goes up ...

It struck me recently that for all this blog's claims to be about living and writing in West Wales, I tend to be a bit secretive about the writing part!  This year hasn't been plain sailing for all kinds of reasons, but I can see light at the end of the tunnel with my revisions... at least I hope it's light and not the train coming towards me!

What's been strange and wonderful, is that whilst I've been working on my revisions, Turning the Tide has been making a life of its own away from me.  Okay what goes up, must come down but  its current Amazon rankings have really cheered me up... apologies for the trumpet tootle.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Families and Fractures

 Friday 4 November
Arrive at Ma’s early evening after a long journey and some pretty hazardous driving conditions on the M4.  Ma mentions that she feels lucky to have escaped with just a sore toe after tripping over her Henry vacuum cleaner earlier in the day.  Her injury is soon forgotten though as we catch up with each other’s news over dinner which includes a ‘fecking eppel teyrt’ that Ma has served up in honour of our recent trip to Ireland.
Saturday 5 November
The afternoon sees us at a family party to celebrate Stepson One and his new bride’s recent wedding in Grenada.  I’m always a little apprehensive about Tom’s family gatherings, since, despite nearly thirteen years of marriage, there are times when I still feel like a ‘blow in’.  The past is a strange country with shifting borders, strong defences and prone to outbreaks of brief territorial disputes. Today, though, a whole new side to the family has entered the equation.
The new Mrs H, who is of Afro-Caribbean heritage, is a long way from her parents in Quebec, where she grew up, but her aunt, uncle and cousins are here today, along with a big group of friends. At first, both sets of families sit a little awkwardly in their separate groups, but Stepson One and Young Mrs H have done their utmost to recreate the spirit of their wedding day and soon all of us chatting and caught up in the event.  There’s a slideshow of sunny wedding photographs, music from the day and wonderful Caribbean cuisine.  I watch the new couple and their obvious happiness and ponder the nature of families; here’s my stepson and his wife – does that make Young Mrs H, my stepdaughter-in-law? Who knows?  What does it matter?  ‘I’ll see you again,’ smiles Young Mrs H’s uncle when we say goodbye, ‘now that we’re family.’ 
Families, I suppose, are what we make them, but what matters most today are the new bride and groom setting out at the start of their shared journey.  Here’s wishing them many happy years together.
Back at Ma’s, Ma announces that her injured big toe is feeling ‘very hot’ and I don’t need to take a close look at it to see that she’s in pain. Ma agrees that if it doesn’t get better overnight (some hope!) she’ll think about going to hospital.
Sunday 6 November
I pop into Ma’s room to see how she’s doing to find her fully dressed and looking very smart. 
‘Still hurting then?’ I say.
‘Probably a fuss about nothing,’ says Ma, showing me a black, hugely-swollen toe. 
In A&E there is a mass outbreak of foot injuries, but Ma is shuffled through the system in record time, emerging with her big toe strapped up like a sausage plait (which we promise not to bite) and an appointment for the fracture clinic.
Tom points out that it was after last year’s trip to Ireland that Ma fell and fractured her shoulder and arm so badly.  Indeed, she’ll be celebrating the anniversary with her latest fracture.
‘Next year,’ Tom says, mildly, ‘we’ll go somewhere different.’

Painting is ‘Coast near Dinas’ by Tom Tomos