My Path to Publication – Carol Warham

This week we have romantic suspense author, Carol Warham, popping in to tell us how she became a published author. Over to you, Carol!

my photo

As with so many authors, I have written since I was a child. I started by creating small comics for friends to read.
During my school years, I dreamed of being a journalist and did achieve my ambition, but I soon discovered this was not the sort of writing I wanted to do.

Writing was inevitably put on hold while family, children, work and business took precedence.  However a few years ago I was lucky enough to be able to retire early and I started to write again. I had a few short stories published and the occasional article about a holiday but like many writers I really wanted to write a novel.

I managed to make this very difficult for myself! While on holiday in Florida, we visited the Disney modelled town of Celebration. I was inspired to write about a similar town, but wanted to call it Resolution and decided the story would take place around New Year. I was thrilled with my idea and started to write as soon as I got home.

Three drafts and three years later it was clear the story was not working. I couldn’t understand what was going wrong and I knew I needed help. Fortunately I had writer friends who were honest and said I’d put Yorkshire people in America. One friend came straight out and told me I needed to bring the plot closer to home.

I really struggled against this. I was convinced this was not the answer. How could I bring it home to Yorkshire? Yorkshire towns just were not given names like Resolution. Eventually I conceded defeat. I changed the name of the town and called the hotel which featured prominently to Resolution Hotel.

This was the best thing I could have done. I submitted the (eventually) finished novel to four publishers. Three of the four were interested and I decided to sign with Tirgearr Publishing in Dublin.

The local papers were interested and wrote features on me and the novel, as it was now based in the Holme Valley ( the town was Holmfirth but given another name). The libraries were very supportive, inviting me to give talks and onto their radio programmes for the visually impaired.

I learnt a lot about the craft of writing from this, and I am so grateful to those friends and readers who were honest with me and willing to give advice and support. They were proved to be right, without them this book would probably never have been published.

Congratulations on getting your book published, Carol. And for persevering, being adaptable and listening to constructive feedback.  All very important traits for an author. 🙂

Here’s Carol’s book, which was granted a ‘Chill with a Book Reader’s Award’.



Author bio

Writing has been her love since childhood. She started by making small comics for her dolls, progressed to training as a journalist for a short while. Once the family had grown up Carol settled down to writing and published short stories, poems and holiday articles.

In recent years she has become a judge in the short story section for the HysteriaUK competition and also for the RNA’s romance novel of the year. She is also very involved in volunteering for the Huddersfield Literature Festival each year, and is a member of the Promoting Yorkshire Authors group.

Carol lives in Yorkshire, surrounded by some beautiful countryside, which is ideal for her other passion of walking, often with a dog called Sam. This lovely area is the location for her first novel, Resolutions.


Resolutions by Carol Warham

Check in next week to read  another ‘path to publication’ journey.

And if you want to read about my writing journey, I’ve talking about it over on Tom William’s blog here.























My Path to Publication – Wendy Percival

I love talking to authors about their work and finding out the different paths that led them to become a published author.  Wendy Percival‘s journey is particularly interesting as she was first published in hardback with her book being sold mainly to libraries. Morning Wendy, can you tell us about your writing journey, please.


Wendy Percival - Author photo

I started writing seriously after spotting Writing Magazine in WH Smith’s. I bought a copy on impulse and took out a subscription.

I entered all their short-story competitions and was short-listed several times. Then, in 2002, I won the Summer Ghost Story competition! I put the prize money towards a laptop and although I continued writing short stories (and even sold one to a women’s magazine), it was novel writing which interested me most.

Meanwhile I’d been bitten by the family history bug, having discovered an 1868 Australian death certificate amongst some documents belonging to my husband’s late parents. Unaware of any Australian family connection, we spent months unpicking the intriguing story behind the certificate, learning the research process by default.

I found its parallel with detective work and unravelling mysteries fascinating and it inspired my first novel Blood-Tied.

During the customary trawl around agents and publishers, I received encouraging comments scribbled on rejection letters. One agent asked to see the full MS, but decided she “didn’t love it enough” so I was back to square one.

Then author Fenella Miller mentioned her publisher, Robert Hale, in a Writing Magazine interview. I sent off a submission and within 2 weeks they’d responded, saying they’d like to publish!

In my excitement, I didn’t fully appreciate the limitations of a hardback-only publisher selling mainly to libraries. But at the time I was happy enough getting a publishing deal.

The first print-run of Blood-Tied sold out in under a month (possibly due to my one-woman campaign to pitch to every library in the UK!) but Hale decided against a re-print, probably because I was a new author. But they did get Blood-Tied published in large-print – and it’s my hardback and large-print editions which get borrowed most often from UK libraries!

Around this time the self-publishing phenomenon was blossoming so when Hale declined my 2nd novel, I wasn’t unduly bothered, as it released me from my contract, allowing me the option of searching for another publisher or going Indie. The idea of being in control appealed and I chose the latter.

Although Hale released the rights of Blood-Tied back to me, I was wary of messing up if I did everything myself. So, following a recommendation from hybrid author, Helen Hollick, I approached assisted publisher, SilverWood. I was impressed by the quality of their books and that the MD, Helen Hart (a published author herself) was selective about who she took on.

I re-published Blood-Tied in paperback and ebook. By now readers were asking me what next? for my genealogist character Esme Quentin and I realised I had the makings of a mystery series. So I wrote a second novel, The Indelible Stain and a third, The Malice of Angels.

I’ve since written Death of a Cuckoo (commissioned by SilverWood for their “short-reads” imprint) and a prequel novella, Legacy of Guilt.

I’m currently writing the 4th novel in the series, which will have the usual mix of crime, social history and genealogy.

Thank you for sharing your interesting publishing journey with us, Wendy. I love the idea of mixing social history with crime and genealogy and how your own family history inspired your novels.

Here are some of Wendy’s books:

Legacy of Guilt cover image      Blood-Tied cover image

Links to Blood-Tied:
Legacy of Guilt (prequel novella) is a”taster” introduction to Wendy’s character, Esme Quentin. The ebook is free to download to anyone who joins her mailing list.

Author Bio

The time honoured ‘box of old documents in the attic’ stirred Wendy’s interest in genealogy – the inspiration behind her Esme Quentin mystery novels, Blood-Tied, The Indelible Stain and The Malice of Angels, as well as her novella Death of a Cuckoo, (published by SilverWood’s “Short Reads” imprint, S Books) and prequel novella, Legacy of Guilt. She’s currently writing her fourth full-length Esme Quentin mystery.

Wendy shares the intriguing, sometimes shocking, discoveries in her own family history on her blog and has had several articles published in Shropshire Family History Society’s quarterly journal and in Family Tree magazine.

She lives in South West England in a thatched cottage beside a 13th century church with her husband and their particularly talkative cat.

Contact Links – Wendy’s website (and where the sign-up form can be found to get a free copy of Legacy of Guilt )


Check in next week to read  Carol Warham’s publication journey.

And if you want to read about my writing journey, I’ve talking about it over on Tom William’s blog here.

My Path to Publication – Eric McFarlane

A warm welcome today to Eric McFarlane, author of the hilarious ‘A Clear Solution’ which is published by Accent Press. Hi there, Eric, can you tell us how managed to get your first book contract?


I’ve always loved reading and writing and from my teen years onwards would scribble thoughts and ideas into a succession of notebooks (some of which I still have). Only well into my industry career did I try to convert some of these ideas into short fiction and later still submit some to print magazines (this is still in the stone age pre-internet). But writing a novel wasn’t even on the horizon. It was redundancy that gave me the kick to start.

I’m a scientist by training and spent most of my working life in the pharmaceutical industry. We were given five months’ notice and I found that my own work evaporated overnight. How to fill the time? Well, why not write a novel? After all, novelists made lots of money, didn’t they? Write a novel and sell it. How difficult could it be? I was a shade naïve in those days!

I’ve always enjoyed reading humour so let’s have a humorous novel with a laboratory background. That was how A Clear Solution began.

Over the next few years, I had an on/off love/hate relationship with the novel. I also learned more about the publishing industry and concluded that writing a novel wasn’t a guaranteed path to fame and riches (pause for laughter). Then a comment in an article that humour didn’t sell led me to abandon it and attempt a thriller instead. Before that was completed, I moved on to an SF novel. So, at one point, I had three incomplete novels in different genres. I remember clearly telling myself – finish something, you idiot. A Clear Solution was the closest to completion so that’s what it would be. Eventually, novel in hand, the hunt for an agent or publisher began.

During the next months and years, more than fifty agents and publishers turned it down. It could have been dispiriting (OK, it was dispiriting) but there were several notes during that time with positive comments which kept me hopeful. While submitting I naturally continued to write and completed a sequel – The Allotment Society – finished the SF novel – Soul Rider – and worked on the thriller.

One of the publishers I submitted to was Accent Press and I was elated to find, during an Australian holiday, an e-mail from an Accent Press editor who was reading my submission and liked it. Could I send the rest? Could I? Well no, I couldn’t, not until I returned to the UK three weeks later but that wasn’t a problem. The surreal element was that this editor, working for the Welsh Accent Press, was currently living not 50 miles from where I was staying in Melbourne. Some time later, A Clear Solution hit the shelves to much acclaim (well, from me at least) but the sequel has yet to find a home.

Currently, I’m working on another humorous crime series this time written from a first-person, female pov. This has proved an interesting challenge. Perhaps at some point, Hazel Perkins and the Cone of Doom may nudge itself onto the shelves.

What a journey, Eric! Perseverance is certainly the name of the game! Congratulations on your success and wishing you lots of luck with your humorous crime series. 🙂 

Here is Eric’s book

A Clear Solution

Book link


Eric lives with his wife and a large garden in the wilds of West Lothian, near Edinburgh, Scotland. After a long and undistinguished career in the pharmaceutical industry, he now divides his time between his writing, a part-time business as an internet stamp dealer, and playing Scottish fiddle music with a local group.

Contact details


Check in next week to read Wendy Percival‘s writing journey.

And if you want to read about my writing journey, I’ve talking about it over on Tom William’s blog here.










My Path to Publication – Erik Therme

My guest today is psychological thriller writer, Erik Therme, who is currently published by Bookouture. Welcome, Erik. Can you tell us how you became a published author?


Erik Therme Author.jpg

I didn’t read much as a child, but in junior high I discovered Stephen King’s novel Misery, and it awoke something inside me. Not the desire to kidnap a well-known author and hold them hostage at a secluded farmhouse (that impulse has pretty much always existed within me), but rather the desire to write. As luck would have it, my parents had recently purchased a typewriter, and I spent the next few days banging out my first story. It was a lousy tale with a nonsensical twist, but my folks—God bless ‘em—said they loved it. After that I was hooked.

​​More stories followed, and eventually I graduated to writing novels. Most of them were also fairly bad, but slowly, over time, my writing improved, and I began submitting to literary agents in the hope of finding a publisher. In the years that followed, I had a fair amount of nibbles and bites from agents, but nothing ever came to fruition. I continued to write and submit, determined to see my work in print.

Cut to five years ago.

I had reworked one of my early novels, Mortom, which I believed had the most commercial appeal, and decided to look into self-publishing. Years ago, self-publishing went something like this: you paid hundreds of dollars to a vanity press, who—in turn—would print a few hundred copies of your book. From there, it was your job to sell them to your friends and family, and maybe unload a few at your neighbor’s garage sale or give them away as Christmas gifts.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn the industry had completely changed.

An author could now publish their books through outlets like Amazon with no up-front cost, and royalties were paid on each book—just like with a publisher. That sounded good to me, and I wasted no time getting my book out there. Mortom didn’t sell a million copies, but it did OK, and I slowly began amassing a small (but loyal) group of fans that seemed to enjoy my writing. And truly, that was all I ever wanted: to share my work and be read. Life was good.

Six months later, life got better. I received an e-mail from a woman saying how much she enjoyed Mortom and she wanted to acquire it for her publishing house, Thomas & Mercer. Needless to say, I was more than happy to oblige, and I was off and running in the way I’d always dreamed.

I’d love to say that hard work and talent have guided me through five novels and three publishers, but the reality is that timing, luck, and circumstance have all had a big hand. So many times over those early years I wanted to give up, but nothing worthwhile in this world comes easily, and perseverance and dedication are half the battle. The journey has been anything but easy, but it’s also been fulfilling beyond my wildest dreams.

That was certainly a lucky break, Erik! Thank goodness you kept writing and persevering or your talent might not have been spotted. It just goes to show, never give up and your book might just fall into the right hands!

Here are some of Erik’s books


I Know You (cover)        Keep Her Close (cover)

Author Bio

Erik Therme has thrashed in garage bands, inadvertently harbored runaways, and met Darth Vader. When he’s not at his computer, he can be found cheering on his youngest daughter’s volleyball team, or watching horror movies with his oldest. He currently resides in Iowa City, Iowa—one of only twenty-eight places in the world that UNESCO has certified as a City of Literature. Join Erik’s mailing list to be notified of new releases and author giveaways:








Check in next week to read Eric McFarlane’s writing journey.

And if you want to read about my writing journey, I’ve talking about it over on Tom William’s blog here.


My Path to Publication – Sue Johnson

It’s always nice to invite an author that I know personally over to my blog, so I’m delighted to be talking to poet and author Sue Johnson about her writing journey today. Sue lives in Worcester, where I used to live, and we’ve often bumped into each other at writerly events. Welcome, Sue. Can you please tell us how you became a published author?



I have had a passion for writing stories ever since I could hold a pen. I was very fortunate to be brought up in a family where I was surrounded by stories – the stories people told as well as the ones read from books. We also listened to stories on the radio. The Primary School teacher I had when I was seven encouraged me to carry on writing if she could see I was really engrossed in an idea – even though the rest of the class carried on with something else.

I wrote a weekly newspaper (mainly held together with sellotape) and charged my friends an old-fashioned threepenny bit to read it. I wrote plays and song and dance productions and my friends and I performed them in my Dad’s garage.

Then we had ‘that’ lesson at school when I was about nine and the teacher asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up. I said I wanted to write stories and draw pictures and she told me it wasn’t a proper job.

Despite what she said, I carried on writing stories throughout my teens and twenties alongside school exams, work, getting married and having children. I was short-listed for a story competition organised by Impulse Body Spray and won a year’s supply.

The dream of being a writer hadn’t died – but unfortunately I was married to someone who said ‘don’t tell people you write because they’ll think you’re weird.’ Again, I took no notice and did what I could when I could – writing in secret in short snatches. I attended workshops at the library and was encouraged to write poetry – something I’d not really enjoyed at school. I was stuck in a destructive marriage and it was a great vehicle for my turbulent feelings. I submitted work to magazines and was published.

Thankfully, the marriage came to an end. I met my lovely partner at a poetry reading in the library and we got together. He encouraged me to go back to college and follow my dream. However, the first story I submitted for assessment got a ‘thumbs down’ from my lecturer. He told me to ‘rip it up and start again.’ He did me a great favour by saying this! I did the total opposite and sent it to a competition organised by Midland Exposure – an agency dealing with magazine fiction. The story was shortlisted and eventually published in ‘Woman’. Many more stories were accepted after that.

I was a member of the Romantic Novelists Association for a few years. My first novel ‘Fable’s Fortune’ went through their New Writers Scheme and was published by Indigo Dreams in 2011. (Indigo Dreams are now better known as award-winning publishers of poetry). My policy is to follow my passion – and make sure I make full use of an idea. Many of my stories begin as a poem and then go via flash fiction and short stories towards novel scenes and plays. I hope I live long enough to write all the stories in my head!

I hope you do too, Sue. I’m so pleased you followed your dream of being an author. Thank you for sharing your story of determination and perseverance. 

Here are some of Sue’s books:

apple    gwae this one    threads

To browse all Sue’s current publications check out

There are buttons giving a direct link to Amazon on that page.

Author bio

Sue Johnson is a poet, short story writer and novelist. She also creates books aimed at helping other writers. Sue is a Writing Magazine Creative Writing Tutor and also runs her own brand of writing workshops. Her other interests include walking, reading, cooking and yoga. Further details of her work can be found at

Contact links

Twitter: @SueJohnson9




Check in next week to read Erik Thorne’s writing journey.

And if you want to read about my writing journey, I’ve talking about it over on Tom William’s blog here.







My Path to Publication – Lorraine Mace

I’m delighted to welcome author Lorraine Mace to my blog today. Lorraine and I have quite a bit in common, she is a writing tutor as well as an author, she lives in Spain and is published by Accent Press. Hello and welcome, Lorraine. Can you tell us about your publishing journey please?



The first thing I ever had published was a twist in the tale story in that’s life!

When I moved to France in 1999, I foolishly believed getting short fiction accepted would be easy. After more rejections that I care to think about, I was lucky enough to hit the right note and was paid the grand sum of £300.

I used the money to fund a Writers Bureau course and discovered I had a knack for writing humour pieces. This led to being offered a column in Living France Magazine. I subsequently moved to Spain and wrote a similar humour column for Spanish Magazine. For the last ten years I’ve been the humour columnist for Writing Magazine.

If that sounds as if it all fell into my lap, nothing was farther from the truth. As with many writers, I’d treated it as a hobby for a number of years. But, in 2005, everything changed and I had to take my writing more seriously to earn money. My husband became seriously ill and remained so for the next ten years until he passed away. At the same time, we lost a lot of money when our investments went sour. We used our remaining capital to buy a house in Spain, but this didn’t turn out well. Although we started a court case against the builder in 2005, which has cost a great deal in legal fees over the years, it still isn’t settled.

So I became the breadwinner, but didn’t have a job. It was at this point that I started taking my writing seriously. I wrote a non-fiction book about moving countries and was fortunate enough to get it published. Then Maureen Vincent-Northam and I penned a book of advice for new writers, which appeared to be doing well until the publisher went bust. We never received the balance of our advance or the outstanding royalties due to us. Did we rage against this injustice? Well, yes, of course, but after that we set about finding another publisher. The result was The Writer’s ABC Checklist, which has been in print with Accent Press since 2009.

My desire to write crime came much later – possibly as a result of wanting to murder the builder and failed publisher who had completed our financial ruin!

During my writing life, I’ve probably had more ‘thanks, but no thanks’ than I care to count, or want to remember. But rejections are simply part of a writer’s life – seeing your work languishing unread is much worse. My four crime novels published under a pen name didn’t sell and I felt as if I’d wasted years of my life on something that had no value.

However, one thing I’ve learned over the years is not to dwell on the negative, but to focus on what I could do to change things around. I reminded myself the books must have been okay because I hadn’t ever received anything less than a four-star review, with the majority being five stars, so I contacted Accent Press – and I am so glad I did!

The first three books in the D.I. Sterling Series under my own name, Retriever of Souls, Children in Chains, and  Injections of Insanity, are out and doing really well. Children in Chains achieved the coveted No.1 best seller spot for hard-boiled crime last month. As if that isn’t enough, Accent Press sold audio rights on my behalf, so I will get to listen to an actor narrating my books.

As writers, it seems we sometimes need to fail in order to succeed, or as Samuel Beckett wrote: Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

What an upbeat story, Lorraine. You’ve certainly faced adversity and had well-deserved success. I love your column in The Writing Magazine, and your  D.I. Stirling books look compelling reading. I hope you get your court case against the builders settled very soon.

Here are the covers and buy links for Lorraine’s books

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Links to books:

Author Bio

Lorraine lives with her partner, Chris, on the Costa del Sol in a gorgeous Spanish village away from the tourist areas. When not working on her crime novels, she is engaged in many writing-related activities. She is a columnist for both Writing Magazine and Writers’ Forum and is head judge for Writers’ Forum monthly fiction competitions. A tutor for Writers Bureau, she also runs her own private critique and author mentoring service. She is co-author, with Maureen Vincent-Northam, of THE WRITER’S ABC CHECKLIST (Accent Press). Other books include children’s novel VLAD THE INHALER – HERO IN THE MAKING, and NOTES FROM THE MARGIN, a compilation of her Writing Magazine humour column.

Contact links





Check in next week to read Sue Johnson’s writing journey.

And if you want to read about my writing journey, I’ve talking about it over on Tom William’s blog here.

My Path to Publication – Lynne Shelby

My guest this week is contemporary romance author, Lynne Shelby, who is published by Accent Press. Lynne tells me that she always wanted to be an author, and her writing journey started at a very early age. Welcome, Lynne can you tell us how you achieved your dream of being a published author?


Author pic blue background

8th January 2015. It was a typically cold, grey winter afternoon, when I took a phone call from an unknown number. I expected it to be someone anxious to sell me double glazing or fix my computer if only I’d give them my bank details, but instead it was a call from Accent Press …

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be an author. I first submitted a novel about four teenagers who discover a mysterious island to a publisher when I was fourteen. They didn’t publish it, but an editor sent me an extremely kind letter encouraging me to keep writing.

I wrote in various genres over the years from hard science fiction to historical epics, although my stories always had a subplot of a developing relationship between two of my main characters – even my YA novel had a handsome hero. I submitted both a historical fantasy and a SF novel to a few publishers – and received my share of ‘it’s not for us’ letters. Then, about six years ago, I ‘discovered’ the broad spectrum of books that fall into the genre of contemporary romantic novels, and realised that this is what I’d been writing all along, without knowing it. From then on, I focused on stories about modern relationships – and left out the swords and spaceships! I was lucky enough to get a place on the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers’ Scheme, which offers critiques of unpublished manuscripts, and the generous advice I received from experienced authors was invaluable.

In 2014, quite by chance, I spotted the Accent Press and Woman magazine competition for new, unpublished contemporary women’s fiction writers, with the prize of a publishing contract with Accent Press, and a writing holiday. I’d always enjoyed entering writing competitions, and found that having to meet a deadline and keep to a word-count, was a really good way to improve my writing skills, but I’d never before entered a competition of this size – or one with such a fabulous prize. I sent off my entry – the first three chapters and a synopsis of a novel – just before the deadline, and told myself not to think about it. Then, when I was least expecting it, I got that call from Accent Press to tell me that I’d won the competition and that my novel, ‘French Kissing,’ about two childhood penfriends, one French, one English, who meet again as adults, would be published in the summer. I’ll never forget that super-exciting moment.

Over the next few weeks, as I continued along my path to publication, there were many more thrilling moments: seeing the artwork for the cover, watching the book trailer and, most of all, that incredible moment when I held a book that I’d written in my hands for the first time.

Now, I’m holding a copy of my latest novel, There She Goes – and it is just as super-exciting! I’m so glad I took that editor’s advice when I was fourteen.

I’m sure your readers are glad you did too, Lynne. What a fascinating publishing story.

Here are some of Lynne’s book

there she goes peach (1)      FK

Blurb for There She Goes

When aspiring actress Julie Farrell meets actor Zac Diaz, she is instantly attracted to him, but he shows no interest in her. Julie, who has yet to land her first professional acting role, can’t help wishing that her life was more like a musical, and that she could meet a handsome man who’d sweep her into his arms and tap-dance her along the street…

After early success on the stage, Zac has spent the last three years in Hollywood, but has failed to forge a film career. Now back in London, he is determined to re-establish himself as a theatre actor. Focused solely on his work, he has no time for distractions, and certainly no intention of getting entangled in a committed relationship…

Auditioning for a new West End show, Julie and Zac act out a love scene, but will they ever share more than a stage kiss?

About Lynne:

Lynne Shelby writes contemporary women’s fiction/romance. Her debut novel, ‘French Kissing’ won the Accent Press and Woman magazine Writing Competition, and her latest novel, ‘There She Goes,’ is one of a series of stand-alone novels set in the world of theatre and film. When not writing or reading, Lynne can usually be found watching a play or a West End musical, or exploring a foreign city, writer’s notebook, camera and sketchbook in hand. She lives in London with her husband, and has three adult children who live nearby.

Buy Links:

There She Goes:


French Kissing:


Author Links:


Twitter: @LynneB1


Instagram: lynneshelbywriter

Check in next week to read Lorraine Mace’s writing journey.

And if you want to read about my writing journey, I’ve talking about it over on Tom William’s blog here.