New editions mean a Book Sale!

Perfect in text and appearance: small printed error in the product details

Note: UK only

Even a short term disaster can be a short term gain: due to a production error (simply a wrong number relating to distribution) we have several perfect-text copies of the new issue Baby, Baby for sale at the reduced price of £5.00!

To request Sale copies of Baby, Baby, please e-mail us at, giving your name and full postal address. Your book will be sent out with an invoice: please make a prompt payment by bank transfer.

Happy Reading!


New Issues now available!

 New issues of the novels Baby, Baby and The Labyrinth Year

Both novels have new covers and new interior design by Rachel Lawston of Lawston Designs.

We’re pleased to be offering these new issues (unaltered text) in updated visual format, in the larger and now more usual paperback size, and available POD handled by Ingrams the distributors.

Both paperback and Kindle version are now available from Amazon (Kindle version has the new covers but unaltered interior design).

Price (UK paperback) is £9.99 (reflecting price rises and the new size).

Review: take the designer’s word for it – she loves the stories!

Hawkesbury LitFest & Kindle Covers: update

Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 20.03.39

Panel Discussion, 'Write what you Know...?' 2016
Panel Discussion, ‘Write what you Know…?’ 2016

Find out more about Hawkesbury LitFest here






AND … our new covers are due to be uploaded to Amazon in the next few days …TLY style 3BB cover Feb 17AND … we’re planning a re-issue of the paperbacks of Baby, Baby and The Labyrinth Year using the new covers too …because we love them, and think they say exactly what’s inside the tin – or rather, between the pages … no date for that yet, but hopefully, in time for Hawkesbury …Where Mari Howard will be reading an extract or two from the books, as well as joining the panel to discuss A Sense of Place in contemporary fiction …

AND FINALLY … Mullins Family Saga book three is in progress, (after many hold-backs) and promises to pick up the unfolding story of Jenny’s artist step sister Daze (with some surprising turns), sees Jenny back in academic science after a career break, and as before finds the parents’ instabilities impacting on their grown children, while we meet Alice and Zoe as sassy, but sensible, teens.

Covers for Kindles … and possibly beyond

New covers for Kindle editions – it’s been fun working with designer Rachel Lawson and some of my  writing friends from ALLi and elsewhere to find the perfect match for the stories … we’ve been through a few tries over the past couple of months and these are the ones which best communicate Baby, Baby and The Labyrinth Year, combining the themes of science, faith, and romance/family life in a simple, eye catching style.

The big problem was avoiding the assumption that combining the title Baby, Baby with anything suggesting love/research would mean the book’s about a couple trying for a baby or a non-fiction book for dealing with fertility problems.BB cover Feb 17

We hope we’ve finally nailed it with the microscope incorporating a heart …

The Labyrinth Year was much easier …TLY style 3

once the idea came …

and the two are a well linked pair, suggesting they go together …



They’re are not yet on the Kindles but hopefully will be uploaded soon…We are thinking about possibly re-issuing the paperback some time, with the same new, communicative, covers … (but no breath-holding please …)


Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival

Coming in April – Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival!

The Fox Inn, Hawkesbury Upton, where the LitFest is based ...
Festival in progress!  (photo Joanna Penn, 2016)

HULF (and World Book Night) celebrates the nearest date to Shakespeare’s birthday…so …

Save the date! It’s Saturday April 22nd 2017 … 10.00am – 5.30pm

Hodge writer Mari Howard, and Hodge associate Edmund Weiner (Deputy Chief Editor, Oxford English Dictionaries) are booked for sessions this year …

Exciting Festival programme includes – Opening by Orna Ross (author, founder of the Alliance of Independent Writers, and much more), and Debbie Young (HULF festival founder, writer, blogger)

Panel Discussion, 'Write what you Know...?' 2016
Panel Discussion, ‘Write what you Know…?’ 2016

Panel Discussions, including our most popular topic last year, Writing about Difference and…

The Future of Reading (and writing) with Joanna Penn, Orna Ross, and others

Poetry Reading: Dan Holloway, 2016
Poetry Reading: Dan Holloway, 2016

Author readingsPoetry, Fiction, and non-Fiction –

with Poetry Please! Readings by Visitors, bring a favourite poem to read…

Children’s Activities and Children’s Meet the Author sessions

Pop-Up Cafe, Village setting … 

cakes in Alice's Pop-up Cafe (photo: Joanna Penn, HULF 2016)
Cakes in Alice’s Pop-up Cafe (photo: Joanna Penn, HULF 2016)

Venue: The Fox Inn, Hawkesbury Upton, South Gloucestershire that’s in the beautiful Cotswold Hills …

December: New Covers for Kindle editions!

The Four of us Authors – on the sofa, with our books …


Great fun was had when 4 of us Indie Authors descended on the That’s Oxfordshire local TV studios to record us reading Christmas-time stories, which they’ll be showing over the Christmas period.

I (Mari Howard) was asked by Oxfordshire TV, back in November, if I’d like to read a story for their new venture … and decided it would be nice to involve members of our Oxford Meet-up Group. So I invited Debbie Young (who organises the ALLi daily blogposts, blogs about her writing and reading life, and writes Flash Fiction), Lynne Pardoe (who writes stories based around her experiences in Social Work), and Thomas Shepherd (author of the time-travel/magic realism novels Mr Tumnal and The End of All Worlds.

We women all read from our own work, while Thomas managed to also read the Christmas classic, The Night before Christmas.

Hopefully a spot of publicity for us all and our books! (I read two Christmas passages from The LabyrinthYear.)



Coming, coming … we’re up-dating the covers of the Kindle editions of Baby, Baby and The Labyrinth Year … Some lovely drafts have arrived from the cover designer – watch this space in the next week or so (remember it’s nearly Christmas, which  may hold things up a bit) – we just need to tweek and make a few decisions about the exact colours …



Hawkesbury Festival 2

This year’s Hawkesbury Literature Festival (the second, and expanded, version) has spawned a whole host of author blogs: so where to begin? As we drove west to the Cotswold village of Hawkesbury Upton, rain lashed down from a uniformly greyed-over sky. It didn’t look promising. It continued raining steadily as some us gathered at the Methodist Hall to help lay out the pop-up cafe and display our books. Outside the Fox Inn the marquee, put up for the children’s art and writing activities, stood in the downpour.

But the weather’s total turn-round overnight meant Saturday promised a wonderful day. Moving between the Fox, the tent, the Methodist Chapel and the Hall, authors, visitors, and volunteers enjoyed blue skies, bright sunshine, and attractive gardens full of spring flowers.

If there was anything wrong with Hawkesbury this time it was there was so much to do and to see. The Tent buzzed with children doing art or writing sessions, and adults viewing the illustrators’ work and the colouring books, the cafe buzzed with TeaAndCoffee drinking, cake-eating, cheese-tasting the Cornish Yarg, chatting and book-browsing.

And there were sessions on poetry and on Writing with or Difference, besides last year’s Fiction category, divided into several sections, and all featuring in both Readings and Panel discussion categories.

This year, as a participating author, I enjoyed my first experience of being on a discussion panel (two: ‘Contemporary Fiction: Write What You Know – or Not?’, and ‘What’s the Point of Poetry?’). It’s always interesting to learn how other people ‘work’, their motivations and their approach to creative activity. A number of us on the Fiction panel go for the ‘get the story all down, then edit’ method, and one at least said she doesn’t usually know how the book will end when she is at the beginning. We all agreed that whether or not you set out to ‘write what you know’, research will enter your life as you turn your well-known environment (Jackie Kabler’s is working as a TV journalist/presenter) into the settings your plot. Lynne Pardoe’s stories come straight from her experiences as a social worker – and have happy endings. Ali Bacon continues to experiment with how far or not she writes what she knows, and enjoys producing short stories. Jackie set her story within the TV Newsroom but someone had murdered her boss … which she certainly hasn’t witnessed … and Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn told us how her editor had suggested that although she had researched Venice and knew it well, the enthusiastic descriptions needed editing down. Nikki Owen’s story features a woman with high-functioning Aspergers Syndrome, which she doesn’t have but obviously found fascinating enough to enter into and create a story. Thomas Shepherd does have Asperger’s, but his story, a fantasy, doesn’t feature this. Some find this research time a necessary evil: others really enjoy digging into what they don’t know. And we seized the chance to enlighten our audience about how much writing what know is autobiography: no, it pretty much always isn’t.

So with sessions on contemporary, historical, sci-fi and fantasy, and writing fiction from a point of ‘being different’, what was the most popular with the audience? It was this one: the skill of writing about your or another’s difference or disability: making the ‘difference’ work for your writing, overcoming by your writing, sharing what it is like to be inside what counts as difference.

At the same time, learning more about other authors, how they work, why they write, is tremendously unifying: books are the bottom line, and within that, a huge diversity of interests, styles, attitudes, and lifestyles.

Recently, we’ve hosted, as a City, the huge Blackwell’s Oxford Literary Festival – a chance for celebs and well known authors to be gathered into one place and for audiences to hear them speak and have them sign copies of their books. A small Festival like Hawkesbury has a totally different feel: a chance to interact with readers, and fellow participants. Hawkesbury aims to be inclusive: we were a mixture of Indie and ‘trade published’ writers, of amateur and professional poets. None us could claim ‘celebrity’ status, giving the Festival a true festive and for-the-people feel, offering a ‘platform’ to everybody and aiming to give exposure to new names in the writing business.

November News: A series, and new Book Descriptions

Baby, Baby and The Labyrinth Year are now officially a ‘series’, the Mullins Family Saga: newly developing is the third story, Love You to the Moon, featuring Alice now aged 15 1/2, and her friend Charlie’s troubled family, set mostly in Oxford, in the post 9/11, 21st century world.

We’ve recently changed the Book Description for Baby, Baby on Amazon KDP, and are looking to update the descriptions across the Amazon site. It’s also now categorised as Fiction, contemporary … and described as a ‘Romeo and Juliet style romance’, a story of young lovers from opposing family beliefs.

Baby, Baby is a story of cultural clashes in late 20th century Britain, reflecting the hidden deep differences in the ‘white, British’ community. Max and Jenny, immediately attracted, suddenly find a stumbling block they (certainly Jenny) hadn’t foreseen. Max belongs to a fundamentalist religious group.

The category ‘Christian, Inspirational’ just didn’t fit the story, (and how Amazon got hold of it is a mystery …) since any reader expecting to be inspired, or instructed, would be disappointed. Baby, Baby (and The Labyrinth Year, next in the Mullins family series) don’t set out to do that.

Rather, as the plot turns on how they both react to the pull of the hormones and mutual interests, and the assumptions of their backgrounds, it explores the complex diversity of ethics and moral thinking on which their early lives were based. And which can still constrain them both by choice and by family pressures.

You, the reader, are left to decide about the paths they take, and any wisdom they may learn.

Baby, Baby on

Hodge at Hawkesbury—August 2015

What’s magical about Hawkesbury Upton?

It’s a Cotswold Village —set in the rolling Cotswold Hills, with buildings of that lovely golden stone, bound to be beautiful!

It hosts the longest-running traditional Horticultural Show in England

The people there are a community

One of the people there is an enthusiastic, energetic supporter of Indie Writing!

She enthuses others!

Most important: on Saturday 29th August, we ALLi authors held our Pop-up LitFest, and we sold books! Craft fairs and book festivals are good places to display your work, to get a bit of publicity and meet possible readers: but often you don’t expect to sell much. People came to the Show to see the produce, go on the rides, watch the displays, and buy cakes, burgers, or glasses of Pimms (from the tent just beside out marquee).

Selling in the marquee began slowly—the first customer to actually browse my books (Baby, Baby and The Labyrinth Year) turned round from looking at the covers, and said to me ‘Flummery’.
She apologised once she knew I was the author—but said she preferred ‘a nice crime story’. Writers of these flanked our pitch, so maybe she found one.

Then, the selling began to take off. During the last hour, as people calmed down from the more exciting stalls and attractions, we in the Hodge section were delighted with what were good sales for more thoughtful and serious novels, and were also able to do a dramatic reading which was recorded on video by David Penny, one of the other ALLi authors.

What Next?

Hawkesbury Upton Show Saturday 29th August 2015 – Pop-up Indie Authors event with readings, meet the authors, and books to buy … (and a Falconry Display, and much more …)

The 130th Hawkesbury Horticultural Society Show
Saturday 29th August 2015
Village Hall and recreation ground,
High Street,
Hawkesbury Upton,
South Gloucestershire GL9 1AU.