Not to be missed!

Keepers Lock
Written by NWUK member, Suzie Litton-Wood.

This new musical show get its premier at the Pommegranate Theatre in Chesterfield
on 23rd July 2011.
It's a 'Folk Opera' all
about the 'Great Era of Canals.'

Mystery Nights

Do you revel in solving a tricky puzzle?
Do you always work out whodunit before the detectives on TV?

Mystery Nights offer a fun evening for a library or book festival event, or any other social gathering.

Your teams of amateur sluths can test their powers of investigation on a choice of three sizzling scenarios.

PIECE together the clues and discover who took a hammer to Luke's skull, attacked Bob with an exercise weight, or struck Hector with the paper-knife.
EARN points for every element of the mystery you solve - and points mean prizes...

JUST arrange a venue, with small tables on which teams teams of participants can lay out the evidence.
CALL Mystery Nights to book your date.

Everything is provided (except the participants): a host, all the evidence, answer sheets, prizes for the winning team - AND LOTS OF FUN!

Further details, including the cost, can be obtained from:
Mystery Nights
PO Box 170
S40 1FE
T. 01246 520834


Congratulations to David Zelder

“The Secret” a short story by David Zelder wins first prize in writing competition

New Writers UK new member David Zelder is pictured receiving his award as first prize winner for his entry in the Age UK Lincoln’s short story writing competition. The entry will now go forward to the regional finals where he hopes to come out ahead of the competition once more.

This is David’s second award this year for short stories, an earlier entry “Tom’s Bell” was a prize winner in The Bishop’s Grosseteste University College short story competition.
In his business career Zelder has been called on to write numerous articles which have been published on many subjects over the years. He is also an experienced after dinner speaker.
He believes that joining New Writers UK is a smart move for any aspiring author where the help and encouragement from fellow members is of incalculable benefit.


Morgan Bailey interviews Philip Neale

Morgan Bailey: Please tell us something about yourself and how you came to be a writer.

Philip Neale: I am an accountant turned writer and began the ‘evolution’ in 2007. I’m 59 this year and loving every minute of the new skills I’ve discovered. I’m married (34 years) and have two grown up children. The writing began with an international competition sponsored by a local newspaper – my story finished in the top ten entries.
MB: Well done, I bet you were chuffed. What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
PN: Novels are, for the moment, crime, but the next one will be science fiction (I’m an avid fan of Asimov). My short stories, however, cover not only these, but also fantasy, horror, romance, humour and adventure.
MB: Great to have variety to capture a wider audience (and I love short stories – thank you for sending ‘Rose Cottage’ through; I really enjoyed it). What have you had published to-date? How much of the marketing do you do?
PN: Three books: ‘A Ticket to Tewkesbury’ , Short Stories Volume One
and ‘Two Little Dicky Birds’. I do all of the promotional work myself, and have a database of contacts which I target on a regular basis.
MB: Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
PN: No, I don’t, and it’s not for the lack of trying. Large-scale success is heavily dependent upon a professional agency approach.
MB: It certainly can be and yes, you have to keep plugging away. Are your books available as eBooks? If so what was your experience of that process? And do you read eBooks?
PN: Not at the moment, but my publisher is currently going down that route with other titles. I read them when I can get my hands on my son’s Kindle………..
MB: What was your first acceptance and is being accepted still a thrill?
PN: ‘A Ticket to Tewkesbury’, and yes, just writing to you about it three years after the fact makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It’s something that you just never forget. It’s just the same every time.
MB: Ah… I still remember receiving the cheque from Woman’s Weekly for my short story (a beautiful coloured cheque which was so nice I never cashed it; a colour photocopy wasn’t the same… and no, I’m not that mad or rich, it was £10 for a 60-worder!). Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
PN: Not from my publisher, but not one agency accepted anything I sent to them.
MB: What are you working on at the moment / next?
PN: I have a number of novels at the ‘finished’ stage. ‘Threads of Deceit’ is with the publisher as we speak and is due out in July. ‘Full Marks’ will be next, in 2012. Then will come ‘Day of the Phoenix’, the sequel to ‘A Ticket to Tewkesbury’. Then ‘The Rings of Darelius’, the sci-fi novel I mentioned earlier. Finally, for the moment, ‘Dreamer’, a trip into the paranormal. I also have a second volume of short stories ready and waiting to go.
MB: Do you manage to write every day? What’s the most you’ve written in a day?
PN: No, not every day. The most? Probably three chapters (about 8,000 words), and that was when ‘Day of the Phoenix’ started to take off.
MB: That’s good going. Mine’s only just a bit more (9337 – yes, I’m nerdy enough to have an Excel spreadsheet to refer too… oops I’m talking to a former accountant. OK, scratch that bit. :) ) but that was a day and I had to catch up. What is your opinion of writer’s block? Do you ever suffer from it? If so, how do you ‘cure’ it?
PN: It is real. I don’t suffer from it, as I tend to have several different styles on the go at the same time. If it gets to be a problem, I simply pit the writing aside for a while.
MB: I’ve had a few people say that. Writing a variety does sound like a good idea. Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
PN: The idea comes first. I then decide how to draw it out. Do I start with the end and figure out how to get there? Do I start with the ‘meat’ and run it both ways? Do I just invent a plot and see where it takes me? It’s a mixture.
MB: Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
PN: Just the one: ‘Talk About Laugh’ – a very personal trip through our family life, covering over 30 years.
MB: People love autobiographies, although I can relate to a project I did which was too personal (good therapy at the time though). What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life?
PN: Favourite: The thrill of finishing a book and seeing it in a shop or on a library shelf. Least Favourite: The struggle for a correct word or phrase.
MB: But you get there eventually hopefully. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
PN: Keep the faith, trust in your ability and never forget what is motivating you to try.
MB: If they’re realistic, passion over money. :) What do you like to read?
PN: Crime (Patterson, Wingfield, Deaver), Sci-fi (Asimov, Frank Herbert), Horror (James Herbert, Poe), Humour (Jasper Fforde, Pratchett)
MB: You’re my Red Cross shop’s perfect audience. :) Are there any writing-related websites and/or books that you find useful and would recommend?
PN: Emerald Dragon, Critters, New Writers UK, Writing East Midlands, and, if you can invited, The Crime Writers’ Association, of which I am a member.
MB: I hear such good things about the CWA but I don’t write crime – I’m not sure I could write something clever enough to be believable or original… but I like reading it so I know I’ll try one day. In which country are you based and do you find this a help or hindrance with letting people know about your work?
PN: England. The internet means that is no longer the barrier that it once was.
MB: Absolutely, isn’t it great! Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how valuable do you find them?
PN: I am on a number: Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn. Their value depends upon how much I am prepared to put into each one. I am not a full-time writer, have a regular ‘day job’ as an accountant.
MB: You’re still an accountant… oops. Definitely scratch my earlier ‘nerd’ comment. :) Where can we find out about you and your work?
PN: You asked for it:
MB: I did. :)
PN:, and
MB: That was painless. Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
PN: All of my three books to date are freely available in UK libraries, are stocked by Waterstone’s, and can also be obtained via WH Smith, Amazon and, in the USA, Barnes & Noble. I have given numerous talks to reading and writing groups, and will, in July be signing copies of my books at the Lowdham Literary Festival in Nottinghamshire. September will see me at the Walsall Central Library.
MB: Notts is only a couple of counties away from me… mmm. Well, thanks Philip, it’s been great reading your answers and thanks again for taking part.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me at and I’ll send you the questions. You complete them, I tweak them where appropriate (if necessary to reflect the blog ‘clean and light’ rating) and then they get posted. When that’s done, I email you with the link so you can share it with your corner of the literary world. And if you have a writing-related blog / podcast and would like to interview me… let me know. :) And/or you can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter ( where each new posting is automatically announced

May the force be with you

Several members of NWUK joined the thousands of visitors at the 2011 Birmingham Games Expo.

Steve Taylor and Rosemary Palmer
at the NWUK book stand

Been eating too much cheese again.

Security was tight 
The Dark Slayer, herself

No, I've got the best costume

Much bigger once you're inside

 Paul Trotter, Taff Lovesey, Richard Denning and Claire Kinton were guest speakers.

TV or not TV? That is the question

Many authors now have trailers to advertise their books. These are often placed on the author’s own website or can be viewed on YouTube. It is also common for authors to film themselves reading from their books. Later this year we will be adding a Video Link page to the New Writers UK website. On this we will feature the best trailers and author interviews featuring our members. To give you a preview, here are four videos featuring the kind of links we are after.

Book Trailers:

Forever Queen by Helen Hollick  

Tomorrow’s Guardian by Richard Denning

Talking about their books/Reading an extract:
Claire Kinton and Taff Lovsey

Author interviews:


The Guardian reviews New Writer UK member

'A brilliant read that will get your heart beating instantly'

Dead Game by Claire Kinton.

With two stories parallel to each other, you're whisked into the world of Transit, the place after life but before death, and then the mind racing existence of Archie Fletcher as he grows up.

As Archie enters the world of Transit, he discovers centaurs, speaking stars and a dangerous Moon, which puts his sanity in danger every night. With every chapter you get drawn in until your eyes are literally glued to the page.

Archie must travel to the bridge and cross to the other side before he becomes a lost soul, but it's not as easy as he originally thought.With everything from vicious wild lions to enraged charioteers, it seems like the whole of Transit is in Archie's path as he battles for his freedom. All throughout the book, the question remains: will Archie be able to cross to the other side before his soul becomes forever lost and he has to spend eternity in Transit? Luckily, he has three devoted friends that will do anything to get him to the other side peacefully, though will they all come with him?

Dead Game is a truly gripping book that holds you from the first page and lets you inside Archie's head. As you get to know Archie Fletcher, you begin to feel his emotions as he feels them and hold your breath when he does. With an unexpected twist at the end, reading this book is an essential. I would recommend it to anyone aged 11 and beyond, and give it a rating of 10/10. I'm sure you will be waiting for the sequel, Waiting Game, just as eagerly as I am as soon as you turn the last page.

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