News from Nowhere

Jane Austin launches News from Nowhere in Blaenau Ffestiniog, Wales

An enthusiastic local audience at Hen Bost Bookshop gave a warm welcome to Jane’s WW1 debut novel set in North Wales. Jane’s grandfather taught Classics in the Welsh slate town in the 1920s, making the visit all the more special.

New Books from York Novelist Members

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A lot has been happening with York Novelists over the last six months. While that doesn’t excuse the lack of updates, it is the new year (now February!) and time to catch up. So, here are our new books, offered in reverse chronological order.


The latest book by a York Novelist member is the first release of Jane Austin titled News from Nowhere and published by Cinnamon Press.

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Inspired by letters from family members who served on the Western Front and written home to Bangor, News From Nowhere describes the impact of war on a family, including Bronwyn, the sister coming of age as her brothers and father endure the torments of the trenches and the battlefield.

News from Nowhere by Jane Austin has just been released. Book launch events are as follows:

Friday, 17 February, @ Waterstones, 15 Coney Street, York, YO1 9QL

Friday, 24 February, 6.30 p.m. @ Hen Bost Bookshop, 45 High St, Blaenau Ffestiniog, LL41 3AA

Jane will also be discussing her book at the York Literature Festival on Saturday, 25 March, 2.00–3.30 p.m. @ York Explore Library, Museum Street, YO1 7DS, and her experience with publishing at a York Literature Festival HUB event Monday, 20 March, 8.15-10.00 p.m. @ De Grey Ballroom, St. Leonard’s Place YO1 7HD.

News from Nowhere is now available in print through Cinnamon Press.


November 2016 saw the release of Margaret Evans-Kaufeler’s first novel, Cat’s Eyes, a Young Adult thriller.

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When did the school day become so odd?

Was it when rubbish from the bin danced in the air, or loo water hit the ceiling, or when that strange boy said his life was in danger?

Or has everything been odd since Jess died?

Fifteen-year-old Cat Johnson has it tough trying to cope with a dead sister, a school bully, and a mother who disappeared. She’s convinced her life can’t get any worse. But when an alien boy appears, pursued by off-world assassins, she is drawn to him. And when she discovers he might hold the secret to her family’s tragic past, and their future, Cat must make a decision.

How much is she willing to risk to save him?

Margaret will be discussing her experience with publishing at a York Literature Festival HUB event Monday, 20 March, 8.15-10.00 p.m. @ De Grey Ballroom, St. Leonard’s Place YO1 7HD.

Cat’s Eyes is now available on Amazon in e-book or print formats.


November also saw the e-book release of episode 1 of Edwin H Rydberg’s Altered Destiny superhero series, titles Echoes of the Past.

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Charlene Stanfeld, aka Starshyne, has problems. Her parents were killed five years ago in the fireball that started the Hero’s Plague and she’s been alone ever since. She has a job with no future, a boss with no self-control, and now there’s a super-powered gang that has her number.

Ayn Elipso just bought a new house with her fiance Ryan and is getting the final touches ready for their wedding in one week. Only, Ryan has become distant, working long hours every day. They’ve become strangers and Ayn is no longer sure she wants to go through with the wedding.

Virtue Maroni, daughter of the Godfather of Destiny, wants to make her own name in the world, separate from her parents’ money and influence, but despite superior technological abilities and combat skills, she has to fight for every inch of respect.

Three women, three stories, three destinies, with one thing in common – the evil Dr. GrimLaw. But just who is he and what is his connection to the Hero’s Plague?

Edwin will be discussing his experience with book marketing at a York Literature Festival HUB event Monday, 20 March, 8.15-10.00 p.m. @ De Grey Ballroom, St. Leonard’s Place YO1 7HD.

Echoes of the Past is now available in e-book format on Amazon.

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Jane Austin’s debut novel now available for pre-order

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Exactly 100 years ago this month, Welsh Fusilier Glyn Roberts fell at La Boiselle in the opening incursions of the Battle of the Somme. His battalion, the 9th Royal Welsh Fusiliers, engaged in an attack, ‘regardless of loss’. Glyn was killed on 3rd July 1916, days before the ensuing battle of Mametz Wood. A collection of moving letters home to his mother and sisters are the inspiration behind the debut novel of Jane Austin, a relative of the 21-year-old soldier. To honour the memory of her great uncle, Jane journeyed with the South Wales Western Front Association to the Somme battlefields for a memorial ceremony on the centenary of one of the bloodiest battles in British military history. The emotional trip resulted in Jane receiving, for the first time, a message that never reached her family at the time, from a mother who lost her son at Mametz. Go to Jane’s website, janeustinofyork.wordpress.com for the full story.

Jane’s debut novel, News from Nowhere, is inspired by a collection of family letters from three brothers as they served on the Western Front. These vividly describe the torments of the trenches and the battlefield and life as a prisoner of war. In the novel, Glyn writes to his sister Bronwyn, and we see the war through her eyes. News from Nowhere will be published by Cinnamon Press February 2017 and can be pre-ordered from www.cinnamonpress.com.

York Festival of Ideas Workshop (June 2016) Wrap Up

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As part of York’s Festival Ideas 2016, we presented our workshop From Ideas to Publication.  The event was well attended and, thanks to an enthusiastic audience, we enjoyed an excellent critiquing session and a lively Q&A in which knowledge was shared by panel and audience members alike.  It was clear that participants included practised authors and young beginners.  We were pleased to welcome attendees from as far afield as Newcastle and it’s good to know that handouts from the meeting have been taken away for wider distribution (handouts are also available in the Resources section of this site).

The purpose of the workshop was to encourage aspiring writers, as well as those who may already have been published, to form mutually supportive writing groups.  We therefore provided a sign-up sheet, and relevant contact information will be circulated to everyone who registered their details on the day.  This will enable you to form your own networks and get the process started.  Saturday was the second time we have given this seminar, the first being within the York Literature Festival held in March.  We are delighted that, in the interim, a new Writing Group emerged as a result.  We very much hope that those who came to the most recent workshop will feel inspired to follow suit.  Please let us know how you get on.

We are indebted to The Festival of Ideas for including us in such an inspiring, citywide event (yorkfestivalofideas.com), and providing effective publicity and ticketing.  Thanks as well to the library for use of their venue.

Once again, we wish you success with your own writing projects! In the words of George Elliot: ‘It’s never too late to be what you might have been.’

Meeting Kate Evans

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Yesterday, I met writer Kate Evans (writingourselveswell.co.uk), who talked about her murder mysteries set in Scarborough. It was the perfect setting – the Clock Café on a cliff-top, overlooking a windswept bay.

After some years as a writer and no publisher in sight, Kate went independent with a local press. Her first murder mystery, The Art of the Imperfect, available on Amazon, feels and looks good. This debut novel set in the world of therapists, layers motive and intrigue in gripping fashion.

Kate keeps a regular blog and is part of a network of Indie writers, who guest blog for each other, creating ever wider networks. Over cheese toasties and hot-chocolate, we talked about ways of building a readership. In addition to blogging, Kate uses Facebook and Twitter to keep up her profile. I asked, how important is it to keep a regular online presence. She said, it depends what you’re comfortable with. It serves as a valuable marketing tool, alongside talks and signings.

We spoke about the York Novelists Workshop on Sat 11 June 10.30 – 12.00 at York Explore Library, which is part of the Festival of Ideas. The aim is to share our methods and encourage others to form their own groups. We ran the same event in March, as part of the York Literature Festival, and a writers group has sprung from it.

York Novelists have recently formed a marketing group for Indie and small press authors, which aims to build networks, followers and sales.

Over tea and cake, Kate and I agreed on the importance of fostering a readership, and collaboration with other writers is enormously helpful. Writing is solitary, but when it comes to selling our work, we need to join forces.

Jane Austin

March Workshop Wrap-up

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A huge “thank you” to all who attended our Workshop From Ideas to Publication, held on Saturday, March 12. You helped to make it a really enjoyable event, and we have greatly appreciated your positive feedback.  The interactive critiquing session was a particular highlight for me, with strong and constructive points from the audience.

The workshop not only provided us, the members of York Novelists, with the opportunity to share our own experiences of working together as a mutually supportive team; it also allowed us to meet other published and aspiring authors.  There’s clearly a lot of talent out there!  I do hope that we have inspired you to set up new Writers Groups, where this talent can be nurtured.  For those of you who are interested in doing just that, we provided a sign-up sheet, and relevant contact information has now been circulated to everyone who registered their details on the day.

It was a pleasure to be part of York Literature Festival 2016, and we are indebted to Nick David for providing a few words to open our workshop.  As always, we are very grateful to Mike Fisher and his staff for generous provision of accommodation at the excellent Bennett’s Café.

Thanks to effective publicity by the Festival team, our venue was filled to capacity and we were very sorry to turn a couple of would-be participants away.  We are, however, running a similar workshop within York’s Festival of Ideas. Date: Saturday June 11th.  Venue: York Library – Marriott Room York Explore. Time: 10.30am to 12.00pm

We will show:

  • methods we have developed as a writing critique group (followed by Q&A);
  • how to set up similar groups
  • how to transfer novel ideas into the printed word.

To ensure you get a place, book a (free) ticket at yorkfestivalofideas.com

Wishing you success with your own writing projects!

Gay Marris

Four Days until the York Novelists Workshop!

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Hard to believe our workshop is so close. The results of all the preparation will be realised in just a few days.

Our part of the York Literature Festival (www.yorkliteraturefestival.co.uk opening March 10th) is on Saturday 12th March, 10.30 – 12.00 at Bennett’s Café, next to the Minster.

In an hour and a half, we’ll take you from ideas to publication applying what we’ve learned as a novel critique group that’s been together more than seven years. We’ll also share many of the ideas to consider if you’d like to start your own group. In addition, several group members will walk you through their varied experiences in the rapidly evolving world of modern publishing.

If you’re a writer in the York area, we’d love to see you there.

Read the new anthology, The Day I Met Vini Reilly, now available from Cinnamon Press

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From the pop buzz feel of Will Kemp‘s award winning ‘The Day I Met Vini Reilly’, brimming with light-touch social commentary, ironic personal reflections, sharp dialogue and insights about the author and his hero, to Jane McLaughlin‘s ‘Common Ground’ in which the narrator finds emotional release through an unexpected encounter; and from the dramatic first paragraph of ‘Eclipsed’ by Kate Mitchell, opening a story full of psychological entanglement that leads to a chilling conclusion, to the deft first person voice of Jane Austin‘s historical and personal drama in ‘Les Petites Curies’, these are stories that will delight, grip, entertain and intrigue. From 1970s pop buzz to hi-tech Saigon, Jeremy Worman has selected ten extraordinary stories.

http://www.cinnamonpress.com/

My story traces the tense relationship between mother and daughter, Marie and Irène Curie, who used X-rays for the wounded at the battlefront in the First World War. The X-ray vans were dubbed Les Petites Curies.

The inspiration for this story was a spin-off from my novel, News from Nowhere, to be published by Cinnamon, March 2017. The novel is based on family letters from the First World War. It takes the point of view of a young woman whose life is changed forever by the letters she receives from the Front.

As I researched the byways of women’s achievements at that time, I came across peace campaigners, doctors, journalists, scientists, and the extraordinary career of Marie Curie. There was a side of her life, little known today, that I found quite fascinating.

Marie Curie was a world famous twice Nobel Prize winner, yet fighting to salvage her reputation. Vilified for her affair with fellow scientist, Paul Langevin, she was under severe stress and in poor health, when in the summer of 1912, Hertha Ayrton offered her respite in Dorset. The two had a lot in common; both were physicists, widowed, and of Polish origin. Marie had been hounded as a ‘foreigner’ by a rampantly xenophobic French press.

Two years later, the world was at war. Marie was determined to play her part in defending her beloved France. She turned her energies to establishing a fleet of X-ray vans, learned to drive, and took her machines to the frontline. The equipment she used produced images of shrapnel in the body and greatly increased chances of survival. Irène, her daughter and assistant, accompanied her at the tender age of seventeen.

What was the relationship between mother and daughter? How would Irène survive the experience of war, witness to horrific injuries? And what of the daughter left behind? These are the questions that drew me to their story.

York Novelist’s Workshop

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York Novelists’ Workshop is coming soon!

Saturday 12th March 10.30 – 12.00 at Bennett’s Café, next to the Minster. It is part of the York Literature Festival, http://www.yorkliteraturefestival.co.uk/ opening 10th March.

We’ll take you from ideas to publication applying what we’ve learned as a novel critique group. The best way to improve as a writer is to keep writing, and our pact with each other is to read, listen and offer critical support.

If you have a novel inside you, come along!

The York Novelists will be at The York Literature Festival!

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Yep, The York Novelists writing group (us!) will be putting on a workshop during the York Literature Festival on things to consider when starting a writing group, and what has worked for us. There will also be discussion of modern roads to publication and our experiences with them.

York Novelists Workshop: From Ideas To Publication

March 12 @ 10:30 am12:00 pm| Free

York Novelists make their York Literature Festival debut with a presentation on methods they’ve developed as a writing critique group, followed by readings and Q&A. We will show how to set up similar groups and transform novel ideas into the printed word.

We’ll be posting more details in future weeks as we finalize our program.