Saturday, 21 December 2013

WOW! I'm an Author!

So I am getting ready to make Christmas Day a very special one for my loved ones, when a letter drops through the letter box from my publishers. Opening it, I have this fear that they are going to tell me my book isn’t good enough after all and it won’t be published! NO! Reading it, the fear turns to overwhelming joy when it is, in fact my provisional publication date of the 23rd January 2014, just over a month away.

Even writing this I have goose bumps and finally, I can actually believe that I am a writer, an Author. I have beaten all the adversity in my life, illness and most of all the lack of self belief that has plagued me for so much of my life. Finally, all the hard work has paid off and what makes it even more special is that my two precious boys are so excited and have told me how proud they are of me, which may seem trivial to some people but to me it means EVERYTHING.

Today is an incredibly special day for me and my family. All the adversity we have been through is behind us and led us to the place we are at now. Today signifies the future and 2014 promises to be such a memorable year. I am living proof that with hard work and determination you can achieve whatever it is you want. You just have to go out and get it.

I would like to personally thank my Mum, Dad, my sister Lisa, my two very good friends Julie and Jo for all your support this year. You have all kept me going when the self-doubt crept back in. Most of all I want to thank my two boys who, quite simply, light up my life.  

I hope everyone has a brilliant Christmas and a very successful 2014. 

The launch party date will follow….


Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Fancy Sponsoring a rising star in Rugby League

This letter was written by my son, Wesley. He is looking for sponsorship for his scholarship team at Sheffield Eagles Rugby League Football Club. It would be great if his hard work and committment was rewarded with sponsorship.  

Dear All,

I am fifteen years old. I am in my final year of my GCSE’s at Boston Spa School and have been accepted as a Scholarship player at Sheffield Eagles Rugby League Club. I first played rugby at six years old and since then have wanted to play professionally. I work incredibly hard and I am determined to give my all to succeed.

Unlike Super League clubs, Sheffield Eagles and all Championship clubs do not receive any money from the Rugby Football League for youth development.  In spite of this, the club works really hard to develop home grown talent and I am privileged to have been given this opportunity. 

I am looking for a sponsor to help continue their work and to ensure more people like me get the chance to follow their dreams.  I wondered whether you would be interested in sponsoring me. Any donation, whatever size would be greatly appreciated.

The sponsorship packages available are:

Gold Package – Cost £1,000

Scholarship Team Shirt Shoulder Advertising

Acknowledgement on the club website, in the programme and on the iphone app.

2 Eagles Club (VIP) tickets for Sheffield Eagles RLFC matches in 2014

Publicity opportunities using the scholars at company and advertising events.

Silver Package – Cost £300

Acknowledgement on the club website, in the programme and on the iphone app.

2 Eagles Club (VIP) tickets for Sheffield Eagles RLFC matches in 2014

Bronze Package – Cost £100

Acknowledgement on the club website, in the programme and on the iphone app.

Please note that a scholarship player is allowed as many sponsors as possible in multiples of £100.

The sponsorship provides significant help to the club for playing and training kits, training facilities, pitch fees, physiotherapists and medical staff.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you would like to ask any questions or speak to someone, please contact my Mum, Pam Charles at or you can email me on or contact Sheffield Eagles on
0114 261 0326. Their website is

Yours faithfully

Friday, 4 October 2013

So you want to write a book?

When I was a fifteen, I wanted to go to University and be a writer. You have massive dreams when you’re a child. Unfortunately my own choices led me in another direction and ultimately down a path of tedious jobs and a miserable marriage.

Then I broke free!!! In 2011 I graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University with a 1st class honours degree and even won the McGraw Hill outstanding achievement award.  There was no stopping me now, three decades on I was back on track! You’re never too old!

On the 26th December 2011, after reading Wuthering Heights for the hundredth time over Christmas, I decided to fulfil my other life ambition – I began to write again. By September my first draft was completed. I had a number of highly critical people read my book as I produced it and was elated at their response. They loved the characters and what’s more asked questions as to what was likely to happen in the sequel. Job done, I thought.

How wrong I was!! I did have a bit of a head start as I knew about self-publishing and having to find an agent if I wanted a publisher to print my 'masterpiece'. It was only just the beginning. I researched all the available websites and was overwhelmed.   I am probably not on my own thinking the whole process is unnecessarily convoluted and stacked against new writers unless you are a famous person and want to jump on the “ghost writing because I can” bandwagon. I spent weeks trawling the internet and registered with goodness knows how many websites and I concluded I needed an agent to find an agent!!

So the quest began – I wrote to agents and never received replies from some of them. Others were ‘no thank you’ and on the rare occasion I actually received some valuable feedback. Even if it was only one line, it raised my hopes up that actually I could write after all.  I was encouraged to continue by a published author who took the time to read my first three chapters on a website I had subscribed to and he gave me the best feedback possible.  Taking heed of his feedback I made amendments.

The main problem with the publishing industry and agents is not that they are mean spirited people, well not all of them anyway, they are under enormous pressure to find the next best seller. However, equally they cannot grumble if people decide to cut them out and go to self-publishing, not that I’m recommending either route. Agents and publishers could help themselves by helping the authors. My main gripe is spending time setting up a synopsis and sample chapters only to find that the next agent wants a completely different format. Surely, as an industry the format could be standardised and simplified?  Then you have the unscrupulous companies who set websites up under the guise of “Do you want to have your book published today?” only to find that they are not publishers or agents but, in fact, organisations prepared to fleece you with your hard earned cash just to read your book and then tell you what you already know!

I’m not giving up!! I refuse to, even if the odds are stacked against me!! It’s time authors fought back! Come the revolution and all that…… 

Almost two years down the line I have my publishing deal with a great publisher and no agent in sight. I am also working hard on the sequel.

Sometimes you just have to have faith in yourself and go for it!

Twitter : @beyondthepast1