Friday, January 21, 2011

Snapshots of Success

Meet four women...
Sheila Belshaw~ Catherine Chisnall~Catherine Condie~ & L.Anne Carrington.

What do these four women who have never met have in common?

What links them together in an ever changing world? Give up? Okay, I’ll tell you. They are all winners! With a capital W.

We read a good deal on a great many sites about the road to publication…I wanted to explore what happens AFTER your book has been published.

Irrespective of whether it has been picked up by a publishing house or self published. There is no room for literary snobbery in these days of rapid change in the publishing world. The dedication to the craft of writing is as real and pertinent regardless of the publisher.

These woman have gone beyond being writers and have become Published Authors. The mere fact that you are reading about them here, on this page at this moment means that they have achieved a level of success.

Did it come easy? No way in hell. If you’re a writer, and you are reading this … you already know how damned hard it is to get to the point where you can proudly say “ I am a published author” in a synopsis or query letter.

These women, these four very different, talented women, worked hard to get to this point. I wanted to know about the aftermath of being published. How does it change your life… I set four questions for each of my featured authors. Their responses are below…

Sheila Belshaw

FLY WITH A MIRACLE by Sheila Belshaw

1... Has your life changed since publication of your work. If so, in what way?

Oh yes! The eventual publication of Fly with a Miracle made me feel like a real writer because it was the writing of this book, my very first, that triggered my pen and made me realise that all I had ever wanted to do was write.

Silly me, though, I had waited too long to start, and only when I was told my teenage son had osteosarcoma, with a 15% chance of survival, did I feel compelled to write about it. The words came straight from the heart, in a torrent of emotion I was unable to control. In it I laid bare all my fears, my heartache and my guilt. Before that I had thought I had to have a degree in English to be a writer.

But it taught me a valuable lesson. Although it was the first book I wrote, it was only the fourth to be published, the first three to hit the shelves being romances.

I only realise now that when I first submitted Fly with a Miracle for publication, it was in a very raw state. I’m not surprised it was rejected and then thrown into the proverbial bottom drawer.

But by the time I had learned, from going to writers’ weekends and conferences, the nuts of bolts of getting published, especially the need to revise and revise and revise, and after I had cut my self-editing teeth on the romances ─ a vital step in my path to becoming a writer ─ I reckoned it was time to give Fly with a Miracle another chance. And this time it was snapped up by Denor Press, a London publisher of medical books.

2...Are you writing a sequel, prequel, or do you have a new novel in progress at the moment?

After Fly with a Miracle was published I felt the need to change from writing romances to something more multi dimensional. I entered a competition run by the prestigious London literary agent, Darley Anderson, to write the first chapter of a thriller and was bowled over when I won the competition. But when I submitted the next 10,000 words he asked for, they were rejected.

Knowing what I know now, I reckon the new chapters just didn’t live up to the violent grittiness the modern thriller demanded.

So Pinpoint landed in the bottom drawer too, there to languish while I pursued my burning desire to resurrect my late mother’s fiction.

Dora Taylor had fought with her pen for a non-racial democracy in South Africa, and although her literary criticism and political essays were published, she died in exile broken hearted that her fiction had never found a publisher.

I dreamed of making her dream come true. For four years I devoted every minute to bringing these works alive ─ the novels, Kathie and Rage of Life, and the collection of short stories, Don’t Tread on my Dreams. And my dream came true when Penguin published all three of them in 2008 and 2009, and she won the South African Literary Posthumous Award.

With renewed confidence, and my editing skills now well sharpened, I hauled Pinpoint out of the bottom drawer, bursting with enthusiasm and a new plan which had been smouldering away in my subconscious for all those years.

Going through its new period of gestation, it became a psychological thriller, and when I thought it was ready I posted it on the HarperCollins Authonomy site. After a gruelling year of reading and reviewing some very fine books on the site, and getting to know some wonderful fellow struggling writers, I found myself on the Editor’s Desk, and a chance to have HarperCollins review the manuscript.

But the real prize was yet to come. Meeting my cyber friend ─ Tim Roux, who with his amazing literary and entrepreneurial skills has founded a new and exciting independent publishing company called NightReading, and has offered to publish Pinpoint.

And now, in my haste to make up for all my wasted years, I have just completed the first draft of my new novel ─ Entangled ─ very different from Pinpoint.

A story of a physiotherapist’s futile IVF treatment that becomes the startling catalyst for not only her failed marriage with an eminent London surgeon, but for an extraordinary three-way entanglement between the estranged couple and a 21-year-old doomed ballet dancer under Jill’s care, with whom David becomes besotted. Resulting in an unexpected, tragic, yet electrifying consequence that changes all three lives forever.

And piled up on my literary back burner, I have two other novels that are clambering to be set free. Oh, the joy of never having a moment of boredom. Of waking up every morning bursting to know what is going to happen next

3.What advice can you offer other writers about getting their work published?

Never give up. Revise, revise, revise. Write from the heart. Don’t be afraid to cut out anything that doesn’t further your story, and don’t be afraid to “murder your darlings”.

4.Did you have assistance in editing your book for publication? If so was it the publisher themselves or outside editing?

We had one editorial meeting where each member of the Denor team also had a copy and we went right through the manuscript at one sitting. There were suggestions from the team, for instance about cutting repetition of the chemo treatments my son had, fusing them into one episode instead of three or four. This was wise, because the reader could become impatient reading about the same thing happening several times. It was also their suggestion that I should ask my son for some input in his own words ─ excellent advice.

Before this editorial meeting, I had already done a lot of editing on my own, and the final line by line editing I did myself. I also did the proof reading.


Sheila Belshaw

“This is an uplifting story of personal courage, astonishing achievements and the triumph of medicine and the human spirit over an appalling illness.”

Mr Justin P. Cobb Mch FRCS Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon,

The Middlesex Hospital, London

Fly With A Miracle is the enthralling true story of miraculous pioneering surgery and Andrew’s passionate battle for survival from life-threatening cancer. The revolutionary new treatment by the dedicated team at the London Bone Tumour Clinic and Andrew’s adventurous pursuit of his dreams are highlighted in graphic detail. Sheila Belshaw’s gripping literary style makes you think you are right there experiencing it.

Powerfully written, it holds the reader spellbound from beginning to end to discover the answers. Is Andrew’s leg saved? Does he live or die? Does he find love? And does he learn to fly?

F o r e w o rd... FLY WITH A MIRACLE is an amazing story that gives hope to any family going through the terrible experience of cancer as it deals with far more than just the illness. The painful personal details of life are explored in a way that is never less than compelling.

Sheila Belshaw has told a story of a family’s journey through the horrors of teenage cancer and its aftermath. Andrew marches out the back of the book twice the man he was when he entered it. His astonishing achievements are an inspiration to all.

The author vividly paints a picture of medicine through the 80s and 90s from a Harley Street experience that nearly ended badly, through the tribulations of the National Health Service with its ups and downs. Her battles to get the best for her son and the fortunate interventions of friends and hospital staff certainly opened my eyes to the impact the occasional careless word might have on anxious ears.

In this book, the high point for me as a surgeon is the reaction of Andrew and his family to Sir Rodney’s initial operation, which I think describes the feelings about amputation and its avoidance more lucidly than ever I could.

This is in part a medical miracle, but in greater part it is a reflection of a vigorous family unit reacting and developing under very great strain and emerging the stronger for being tested like this. Justin P Cobb Mch FRCS

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

The Middlesex Hospital, London


By Sheila Belshaw

P r o l o g u e

I haven’t the faintest idea how the knife got into my hand. It was a present long ago from a Norwegian friend visiting the Copperbelt, and it hasn’t been around for years. It is one of those huge hunting knives with a short, thick, razor-sharp blade. The handle is bone, and roughly carved, and far too big really for my small hands.

I look curiously at the knife, and in the moonlight shafting through the wide open window I see the blade glint. The aromas of the African night tantalise my senses with a fragrant cocktail of frangipani, jasmine and gardenia, spiked with wood smoke curling from the myriad fires I can see flickering in the bush from Chililabombwe to the Congo border.

Andrew is lying on his bed. It is a warm, sticky night. The kind of October night when even a sheet is too much. He always kicks his bedclothes off, even in the cool July nights of Zambia’s tropical winters, so it is not unusual for me to go in and cover him up before I go to bed. But how odd to see him lying there absolutely naked. There is no sign of his pyjamas and I cannot think what he has done with them.

He is lying quite still. I watch. Waiting for a movement. When there is none I panic. Then a faint flutter of his chest tells me is breathing after all and I breathe again too.

The night is also still. Not a breath stirs the canvas of leaves painted on the vast cloudless sky. Not a sound breaks the rhythm of distant drums, save an eagle-owl do-uuing to the moon, and the muted chorus of frogs in the shadows by the pool.

I look down at Andrew, lying there so still. His body is pale, the smooth youthful limbs highlighted by the stark light of the moon.

I move. Stealthily. And again the moonlight catches the edge of the knife.

I stop. How strange! The blade is pointing downwards, appearing thicker as I twist it once or twice. And look how it flashes and glints on the white wall beside me.

How pristine the pale skin looks. Like a rose petal newly bloomed. Nothing has ever marred it. How I love it. I love it with all my being. It is mine. Part of me. Nothing must ever spoil it. Nothing.

Suddenly a powerful force lifts up my arm. At the edge of my vision I see the glint of the knife blade on the wall.

As I watch, my arm moves down and I see the knife blade strike the pristine skin. It penetrates the flesh. The flesh is not soft. It resists the knife blade. How strange that it is not as soft as it looks. It is firm and resilient. So beautiful and young.

The blade lifts upwards and bright red blood spills out. I watch the blade come down again. And again. And again. And all I can see is blood blood blood on the perfect pale skin.

But it is not perfect any more.

I open my mouth to scream then hurl the knife deep into the ghostly shadows of the garden. For a moment the frogs stop croaking and the moon looks down and beckons me but I turn my back on it and run.

My legs are wooden. I want to get away. Away from the ruined body. As far away as I possibly can. But the knife has drained every ounce of my energy and I can barely move.

I close my eyes tightly and push through the thick air to the door, forcing my legs to move down the passage. I reach the next room but am unable to go any further. I collapse into the enveloping softness of the big brown chair where Andrew and I always watch television, cuddled up together like a mother cat and her kitten.

My voice is strange. Harsh and disbelieving: You can’t possibly have done it. You love him too much. It must be a dream.

There is no sound. Not even a whimper. Only my own feverish breathing as slowly the horror dawns on me that never will I see that perfection again. That beautiful pale skin. Those blue eyes. That golden hair. That smile.


I did not mean to do it. I love him. I did not even know I was doing it. But there is no-one else here so why can it have been but me?

I wish he would cry. Then I would know it is only a dream. But if it is a dream surely I would have woken up by now? You always wake up when ghastly things happen in dreams and nothing could be more ghastly than this.

But I am still grotesquely, graphically, gallingly awake . . .

What’s that?

A noise. A voice. A bit like laughter . . .

Yes. There is it again. Like the echo of a laugh, coming from a long way away.

Now there’s a second voice joining in the laughter. It is getting closer. The two voices are getting closer and closer, louder and louder and now there’s a third voice and a fourth and a fifth. The voices are all around me now, laughing loudly. They must be in the next room. The room where I ─

Oh no!

At any moment they will come through that door. I cannot face them. I must get away. But how? I’m exhausted and my legs will not move.

I throw my head down on to my knees, doubling myself up on the chair, holding my head down with my hands, closing my eyes and my ears, trying to shut out the laughter and the smell of blood and the world and everyone in it.

Now the laughter is deafening. How can they laugh at a time like this? I try to scream, to tell them to go away but nothing comes out.

I scream inwardly. What’s so funny? I close my eyes but the voices surround me, pulse through my body so I know now that they are right here in this room.

Suddenly the laughter stops. There is an eerie hush. I hardly dare to breathe. What will they do to me? Why don’t they get it over with? What are they waiting for? I can’t bear it any more ─

I feel something touch me. Someone is forcing my head up and someone else is putting . . . oh no! . . . someone is putting something down across my knees. Something heavy. Something warm. Something clammy, droopy, wet ─

Something absolutely still.

I will not look. Whatever it is I do not want to see it.

Again I hear the voices. Little whispers at first, growing to soft murmurs. I can sense them all around me, smell them, hear them but I keep my eyes tightly closed.

Now I feel something else. Something . . . trickling down my legs . . .

The voices move away. I force my eyes to open. The moon beams straight in through the window and my eyes are dragged to the heavy warm clammy thing lying limp and unrecognizable across my knees.

I gather it into my arms. This mutilated body. And crush it to my chest. And rock it to and fro as my tears drip on to the once perfect flesh to mingle with the bright red blood. I hold it. This mutilated body. And stroke it and try to coax the life back into it, willing it to be whole again, willing it to breath, willing it to move, willing it to live and breathe and move and laugh and cry ─

But all I hear is a loud buzzing in my ears.

I close my eyes and press my own wet cheek against that poor blood spattered cheek. Then suddenly ─ over and above the buzzing ─ I can hear my own voice and I am shouting:

Live! Live! Live!

PROLOGUE: PINPOINT by Sheila Mary Taylor {Sheila Belshaw}

Strangeways Prison, Manchester, England ── September 1994

I’ve represented many murderers and am often surprised at how normal they appear. But this one is different. As he walks into the interview room he stops dead. His mouth drops open. His eyes bulge. His elbows clamp to his sides as though a knife has plunged into his back. And he looks straight at me ─ unlike most who bow their heads till I say something to make them feel at ease, and who look past me when they tell me their stories. Not this one.

‘Please sit down,’ I say. His name is Smith. Sam Smith. This is what it says on his file cover. It’s what he called himself when he was interviewed by the police, and they have produced a record of previous convictions bearing that name.

‘I know it seems stupid,’ I say, ‘but can I just ask you to confirm your name? Your full name.’ I don’t know. I just don’t see him as a Sam Smith. Stupid name anyway. Nobody calls their kid that. Maybe I’ll know from the way he tells me. The name, when he says it himself, will either sound like it belongs or like he’s pretending.

‘Sam Smith,’ he says, and something in the timbre of his voice gels with the curve of his lips and the way his slightly protruding eyes follow mine . . .

And now he is nodding his head. Or am I imagining it? And there’s an almost imperceptible smile on his face. That smile. And those eyes. I grip the desk. I can’t breathe. My skin turns cold, clammy. My fingers tingle. A fragment of long forgotten memory skitters through my head then vanishes ─

There’s only one person I’ve ever known with eyes like those. And my darling twin brother died twenty-eight years ago. Before my real life began.

Scary coincidence.

But let’s get on with it and start the job – it’s going to be a long haul, and it looks like he’s got a lot to do to beat the charge. Murder. Horrible, cold-blooded, psychopathic, sexually motivated sadism.

And I think I know him.


Sheila’s Blog


A criminal lawyer confronts the creeping possibility that a murderer she is defending could be her twin brother, wrenched from her life twenty-eight years ago.

Sheila Belshaw amazon link to FLY with A Miracle link to Shadow of the flame.

You can contact Sheila by email:

Cathryn Chisnall

Question 1. Has your life changed since publication of your work? If so in what way?

I am a lot happier! I feel like I have achieved something for once in my life, totally solo with no assistance. Obviously publishers and friends assisted me after I posted my stories online, but it was me alone who wrote them. I feel like I can now call myself 'a writer'. Even if I never publish anything again, I still wrote two books worth publishing. I feel less like 'sister, daughter, mother, wife' and more like 'Catherine, the writer/ woman/ human being'. I laugh and sing more these days too.

Question 2. Are you writing a sequel, prequel, or do you have a new novel in progress at the moment?

I have written a sequel, 'Surfacing', which came out in November. I am now working on a Secret Project, which may or may not come to anything LOL! I think my friends know what it is, but I'm still not saying yet!

Question 3. What advice can you offer other writers about getting their work published?

Firstly, I wrote an article about 'how I did it' on Wikinut:

Note from Soooz, I recommend reading Catherine’s well written article on the link above, it is very insightful.

Get proper feedback on your work i.e. other writers- this can be scary but it’s very important! I used Authonomy, Slush Pile Reader and Scribophile. Someone pointed out somewhere I’d written ‘doesn’t want to’ when it should have been ‘wants to' which would have changed the whole plot of Descending!

Write what YOU want to write, not what you THINK people want to read. Then it will be authentic and have a buzz to it. Conventional publishers want the same old stories told in different ways, but the new publishers want to cause a revolution and publish challenging stories.

Question 4. Did you have assistance in editing your book for publication? If so was it the publisher themselves or outside editing.

The manager of Night Publishing, Tim Roux, edited Descending and Surfacing for me. They are short, so didn't take too long. I am pretty fussy about spelling, grammar etc. myself so he didn't alter much. Obviously when I re read my books, I can spot awkward phrases but it’s too late now, they are what they are. I am moving forward, not looking back.

Synopsis of 'Descending':

Emily is a lonely, disillusioned, teaching assistant at a college of Further Education. Jamie is a neglected, unpredictable student. Trapped together in a falling lift, wherever will this lead? Told from Emily's point of view, this story explores the ambiguity of relationships between staff and students, and reflects on who is actually in control.

Synopsis of 'Surfacing':

Emily is in shock. What happened with Jamie changed her life irreversibly - but will it be for better or worse? Should she confront him, or just move on?

Catherine says…”Unsurprisingly, the compendium is called Descending Surfacing and in the words of my publisher, makes a satisfying read as it is longer.

Even though my books are only available from Amazon US, they only take a week to arrive, according to those who have purchased them.

My books 'Descending', 'Surfacing' and the compendium of the two have just become available in paperback and Kindle at”

I did a review on Descending 5 months ago…Review on DESCENDING by: suzannah burke on Sep. 02, 2010 :

Forbidden relationships are the stuff of good fiction, when written well and thought through carefully. This book is both.

Author Catherine Chisnall didn't in my opinion set out to make this a comfortable or light reading experience.

She provides us with Characterizations that provoke a reaction.

Emily, in her need to feel needed can be irritatingly marvelous to find an author that presents her main character; her narrator in fact, as a refreshingly non comfortable and somewhat challenging persona. This reader wanted to slap and hug Emily all in the space of one paragraph.

Emily has always been an observer in her own life. One of those non-descript yet necessary individuals who people the majority of our lives..we all have conversations in our lives that include the sentence "Oh, you know who I mean! He/she was that quite girl/ know...the one whose name nobody could ever remember."

Into Emily's restricted little world comes a sudden adrenaline rush...a lift plummeting downward, and a young student of her aquaintance on hand to share that survivor high. A kiss was what began it. A simple unprovoked reaction to a potentionaly lethal situation.

Jamie, the student on the other end of that kiss, is a teenager, not cliche written. he is typical in many respects yet has depths and needs not at first apparent.

I will not right a synopsis, this is a review, and as such should leave the reader either curious about the book in question...or not.

The situation and the way it affects the lives of both central figures is woven extremely well. Do not read this expecting easy resolutions, there are none. That is a huge part of what makes this a damned fine read.


The sequel to the brilliant Descending is just as wonderful as the first.

I admire Ms. Chisnall for her low-key prose and believable characters and plotline.

In this book, we see a different side of Emily, and she finally has grown up. With Descending, where she had seemed like a pathetically lost woman with astonishingly human fallacies, we see her redeem herself in Surfacing. Emily is trying to get her life together. Her relationships with those around her enrich the story and her life and we root for her to make things work with the decision she makes about her future.

It is a touchingly raw book. It is real. Emily is real. She's a lovely woman just trying to make the best of a bad situation, and the ending shows she's on the right track. This is wonderful. I can't say enough good about it. Ms. Chisnall does a great job making the reader feel invested in the characters. With the re-advent of Jamie into Emily's life, the reader experiences all sorts of emotions, and I admit to having a tear in my eye on a few occassions in the middle of the book.

Bravo to Ms. Chisnall and her stunning literary accomplishment. To say that I'm a happy reader is a major understatement.

Expect the unexpected. I have no hesitation in recommending this book. Catherine Chisnall is an author worthy of the title.

This review is from: Surfacing (Paperback)” A sequel to be proud of.” 5 out of 5 stars.

Review by Suzannah Burke on Amazon

I read Descending..Catherine Chisnall's first book and loved it.

Reading a sequel to a book we enjoy is always a little daunting. I wondered as I began, what twists and turns Ms. Chisnall would take the characters of Emily and Jamie on now.

I was delighted and smiled happily to myself to find that the Character of Emily had evolved. The author took the somewhat irritating and very real Emily firmly in hand and through clever writing and an instinct for good dialogue she allowed her to grow and mature on the page. Emily was no longer a woman who allowed the dictates of being lonely to rule her life. Ms. Chisnall has evolved the character beautifully.

Emily has grown up.

The peripheral characters are strongly drawn and very visual, Emily finally has a life...peopled by folks that are refreshingly flawed and very human.

Because Ms. Chisnall has a grasp on what reads well, and what readers will accept the character of Jamie is stunningly real. He is after all still a teenager, she doesn't attempt to have him evolve suddenly into "Mr. Responsible."

The pacing is fast, and the journey into the book is an exceedingly pleasing one.

The ending leaves room for another follow on. I do hope that is the case.

I have no hesitation in recommending "Surfacing" to anyone that enjoys a fast paced, believable and most enjoyable read.

Suzannah Burke

5.0 out of 5 stars” It could be even better than 'Descending',” January 9, 2011

By Tim Roux

This review is from: Surfacing (Paperback)

I loved Catherine Chisnall's 'Descending' and this is the sequel.

She apparently feared that 'Surfacing' might not be as good as 'Descending' but in fact, if anything, it is even better.

Not that it could fail. Catherine's quietly precise voice coaxes you along the sense of searching, of coping, of outrage.

A wonderful book.

Descending and Surfacing are published by Night Publishing.

Catherine is very active in promoting other writers, she conducts regular interviews and book reviews on her site at


Catherine Condie.

1. Has your life changed since publication of your work? If so in what way?

I published my book as a multi-format free e-book at Smashwords on 26 December 2009 and followed this up with the paperback in February 2010.

You can't put into words how proud you are when you publish your first book and, being busy at work, for a time I was happy just to enjoy the feeling. However, by end of October 2010 I was itching to find the time to write more and repeat this fantastic process. With two children, 13 and 9, this wasn't too easy so I decided I would give up my job to write full time. I'm having to be very strict with myself with regards to concentrating on the writing. Working from home can also be full of distractions!!

Since publishing my book, I have done a lot of research and work very hard to market my book on the internet across the world and have subsequently been successful in the children's and young adults charts at Smashwords (Whirl of the Wheel has been in the Smashwords Top 100 for a number of months) and also at Amazon Kindle in the US, where the book is in the free list and has received in excess of 25,000 downloads in two months.

My ambitions are to continue writing and publishing my own work, but also to cement the visibility of my work, which may allow anagent or publishing company to consider taking me on.

2. Are you writing a sequel, prequel, or do you have a new novel in progress at the moment?

I'm currently writing a thriller for the 12+ age group (unrelated to my published work). It's at 16,000 words as we speak and I hope to finish and publish this by Easter 2011.

Thereafter I have lots of ideas and scribblings for new writing projects. One of these is a storyline and several draft chapters for the sequel to Whirl of the Wheel. I am also planning a series of adventure books for younger children involving spaceships.

3. What advice can you offer other writers about getting their work published?

I would say the biggest help to me before publishing my work was interaction with fellow writers, writing organisations and online writing sites encouraging useful critique or offering answers to writers' FAQs. I started at Authonomy in the Spring of 2009, and found the site great for honing beginning chapters and focusing my mind on the work as a whole. Use such sites for the opportunity and for experience, and while you're there do as much background work as you can to find out the best way to produce a book cover, and discover where to publish online or in print, for example. Ask lots of questions and find a couple of writing pals with whom you can share experiences and discuss the progression of your work. Writers are very helpful souls and recognise that everyone is in the same position.

For writers of children's books I would recommend joining the UK branch of the Society for Children's Book Writers and Editors (SCBWI) Worlwide link

This organisation runs a great series of workshops and masterclasses plus evening social meetings run by some very friendly people where you have ample opportunity to meet well known published writers and top commissioning agents.

For straight manuscript critique and useful feedback, organisations such as Cornerstones will offer very reasonable rates for full reports on your complete manuscript. Cornerstones also offers workshops and specialist training and has links with many agents and writers.

Finally, don't be afraid to promote yourself. Authors on Show has been brilliant for me as a self-published author because I have been met with nothing but friendliness and encouragement, and in participating have got to know fellow authors who are at the same stage as me in promoting their work.

AOS is full of inspirational people and opportunities to show the world what you do, be it through interviews or showcases, or via a a blog or a little social networking. Just put a little in and you will get a great deal out.

4. Did you have assistance in editing your book for publication? If so was it the publisher themselves or outside editing.

I have to say that I have a career background in editing and therefore edited my work myself before publishing it as an imprint in my chosen publishing name, Bear Books.

A brief bio of Catherine Condie

Born in Cambridge, UK, I trained as a business linguist at Anglia Ruskin University. My first job was in corporate communications and public relations, where I progressed as an in-house writer and magazine editor in the science community, and later took on a role as a communications advisor for a European electronics training programme. I’m proud to say I have also had several feature articles published in the scientific press. In my none too spare time, I am a singer/songwriter and guitarist with a catalogue of ballads and folk-pop, which I first performed at the Cambridge Folk Festival at the age of 19. More recently I have enjoyed being part of a local rock band and writing fiction for children.


I wrote it because I would try for many years to come up with the ultimate mystery story in my head. I’d been an avid Agatha Christie reader and I believe I must have coupled the excitement of these mysteries with the stories of Daphne du Maurier, Victoria Holt etc. and bound with these the experiences of my even younger reading days with Enid Blyton.

The seeds had been sown, and my songs with their verses, middle eights, instrumentals, and verse repeats gave me patterns of structure I understood and could transfer in some way to my writing. Of course there have since been many more creative influences that have nurtured the book and which include, I am proud to say, the strong writing skills of my parents.

I finished Whirl of the Wheel early this year. It is a traditional adventure into World War II for children and young adults, with a mystery and a bit of a twist. But more than anything it’s a story led by a normal girl who happens to be in a wheelchair . . . Connie is modelled on my best friend Hilary’s daughter, Katie.

I have attempted to make Whirl of the Wheel a fun book and Connie and her brother Charlie-Mouse make that happen. But the story brings with it a certain reality of war in a way that may educate. And for me, ‘living the experiences’ of each of the characters and writing letters from the evacuees, Kit and Bert, were the most enjoyable parts of all.

The book has been a great adventure . . . one of my projects, yes, but the one that has given me the greatest challenges and most focus. It has taken me willingly from factual editor all the way back to my poetry beginnings at primary school and taught me that it’s okay to write for pleasure and to be proud of what can be achieved.

My writing challenges are growing along with my children too. I am moving my target age group accordingly. For my next project (after the sparkling bathroom sink) I am getting to grips with a young adult thriller and both will be old enough to enjoy it by the time the book is finished. A whodunnit? Not quite, a bit more Bourne Identity to music I think.

Review by: suzannah burke on Oct. 06, 2010 : star star star star star

“The musty smell of wood and chalk dust hit Connie’s nostrils. She fell forward onto a sloped wooden desk, knocking hard into her funny bone.

‘What on earth . . ?’ exclaimed Charlie-Mouse, his voice echoing around the empty room. He slid off the back wall and into a seat behind her, scraping hard at her combats. But she didn’t move a muscle. She couldn’t – even though her elbow ached madly and she wanted to shake away the pain ricocheting through her body. Neither could she make a sound - her mouth was sealed tight and her tongue glued to the back of her teeth. She moved only her eyes. Hanging portraits of kings, queens and prime ministers glowered back. The background scream of the overhead gas lighting, the whipping of the wind and the shrieks from outside added their challenges to her senses.

Stay calm, breathe, and relax. Everything’s fine.

Someone came into the room. Startled, she nodded and smiled politely, clicking her heels in perfect time across the polished floor. The outside noise built to crescendo as the lady opened the door and blew sharply on her whistle. At once the shrieks fell and the playing children – with small boxes dutifully strung across their bodies – hurried into line. ‘Be quick about it,’ the lady instructed.

The room filled – they moved along the lines of desks – shoes plain and practical, laced and buttoned, and polished in black or brown. Two to a bench seat – their backs a combination of coloured cardigans, pinafores, pullovers, shirts and tanktops.”

***An excerpt from this lovely book, children and the young at heart will all enjoy the tale. A mini history lesson easy to digest and the adventures a three delightful characters suddenly caught in a time and place unfamiliar and frightening.

Author Catherine Condie is to be applauded, she has researched her book well, and anyone reading can be safe in the knowledge that her portrayal of War ravaged 1940′s England and the evacuation of it’s young people is accurate.

The three central characters are a delightful cross patch with the volatile Connie, her brother Charlie-Mouse and the much misunderstood nasty character of Malcolm all coming to grips in a world they have no way of being prepared for.

Magic, time travel and adventure all entwined in a clever fast-paced and most enjoyable book. A five star book to be sure....

~L. Anne Carrington~

Question 1. Has your life changed since publication of your work? If so in what way?

Well, no earth-shattering changes yet. However, I've experienced a feeling of satisfaction knowing I've reached one of my goals of completing a novel and holding it in my hands! It's also thrilling when people send messages requesting signed copies of my book.

Question 2. Are you writing a sequel, prequel, or do you have a new novel in progress at the moment?

I just began a new manuscript, sequel to 'The Cruiserweight.'

Question 3. What advice can you offer other writers about getting their work published?

Keep honing your manuscript, get honest critiques on how to make it better, keep sending out queries to publishers and agents. One never knows who will take a chance on your work, and it won't be noticed if you give up early in the game.

Question 4. Did you have assistance in editing your book for publication? If so was it the publisher themselves or outside editing.

My publisher did the editing, but they said there wasn't much to be done, since most of my MS was "impeccable." Quite a shock, considering I wasn't sure it was up to standard despite my own editing before I submitted my work. Hopefully that trend will continue.

A brief bio from L. A Carringtons Blog see much more at…

L. Anne Carrington is a writer whose previous work has covered topics from fiction to news stories, human interest features, and entertainment reviews. A descendant of silent film star Rubye De Remer and criminal justice reporter and author James G. Baldwin, she wrote The Wrestling Babe Internet column for seven years, is a former music reviewer for Indie Music Stop, and pens several other works which appears in both print and Web media. One of her freelance articles, An Overview of Causes of Hearing Loss and Deafness, was licensed by Internet Broadcasting, the leading provider of Web sites, content and advertising revenue solutions to the largest and most successful media companies.

One of Ms. Carrington’s current projects is multitasking as weblog manager, weekly columnist/entertainment reporter, and acting as one of the literary agents on the website Authors On Show (, giving encouragement to unpublished authors. Since its May 2010 launch, the website has been viewed in more than 80 countries around the world, including publishers such as Penguin Books and major literary agents.

Ms. Carrington resides in the Pittsburgh, PA area, where she continues to write. In addition to the publication of her first novel, The Cruiserweight, she has appeared as a guest blogger for sites such as Slush Pile Reader, Free Press, and Paparazzi Publishing. A nominee for the 2010 USA Network Characters Unite Awards, she was named a local division finalist in the cable television network’s annual event.

REVIEWS and ACCOLADES… see more on

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, via Twitter 10/18/10:

“You are too great! Thanks!”

Revenge Ink bestselling author Mat Jackson, So Shall Ye Reap:

“Gorgeous lass, great book, check it [The Cruiserweight] out!”

Anthony J. Valvo – “Mr. V.”, The Teachers Lounge, WrestleView Radio

“I hope for all the best with your book. If I know anything, it is that writers from Pittsburgh are highly credible, right? I do plan on purchasing the book online soon, but will be getting it on paperback when it comes out. I do this not because I heard great things about you, but that you are in fact from the greatest city in the U.S. I wish you well and best of luck with the book.”

Simon & Schuster author Karen Hillard Good, Reindeer Christmas and The Very Best Pumpkin

“I really like your character Brett and I’m hoping things work out for him with Karen. Good luck with this!”

Simon & Schuster author Lisa Adams, Lords of War, Teen Queens and Has-Beens and The Princess of Pop

“Ok, so if ever there was the antithesis of “The Wrestler,” this is it. I learned more about the sport of pro wrestling than I ever have the umpteen years of the sport’s existence. I like the extensive use of dialogue instead of the blocks of narrative with a little dialogue thrown in. You have picked an obtuse subject matter, but you have handled it well. And Karen’s character drew me in because female sports journalists are on the rise.”

Angela Brown, Wild Child Publishing:

“Story has potential. Storyline seems to be solid.”

Tim Roux, Night Publishing:

“It’s a quirky story that very much fits what we are trying to achieve.”

Pushcart Prize nominee and S.W. Writers Contest Thriller Category winner Gary Ponzo, author of A Touch of Deceit:

“Obviously a talented writer. Would love to see more.”

Dustin Dekarske, CEO, Future Shock Pro Wrestling

“OMFG! Amazing!”

L. A Carrington’s sites

My website is which contains additional information about me and my book.

There’s also pages on current news and upcoming appearances, which are updated on a regular basis.

I have a blog, The Book Shelf, where I blog on book, author, and other literary-related topics, as well as give a brief review on a chosen Book of the Week each Monday.

The address is

For reference, I only have two Twitter accounts.

The first is my main account,, and the other is for my book,

I also have a profile on The Polka Dot Banner at

I thank these four talented women for joining me here today.

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