Sue's News

Your local school, WI or book club might enjoy a talk about researching, writing and self-publishing. Get in touch!



The publication date for Scratch is 18th September - pop over to the Jackdawebooks Facebook page for competitions to win e-book copies of Scratch and its predecessor Against the Odds.


We've had a rough spell here with surgeries and illnesses but Scratch, the sequel to Against the Odds, has crossed the finishing line with the heroine still in the saddle and it's now gone to press.



The sequel to Against the Odds is taking shape. If you've seen me lurking about on the fell with a camera, yes, I am up to no good at all! Still writing a poem a week, or more, plus planning to batter my heroine with a great deal of nasty stuff.


Too much music in my head to concentrate on writing at the moment. Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, Goodall's Requiem Eternal Light and two shorter pieces, with the Ullswater Choir singing as part of the Cumbria Rural Choirs.


Janni Howker's terrific review of Ash Tree is published here on Ink, Sweat and Tears.


I'm joining in a poetry writing group, "52" led by Jo Bell, that aims to produce a poem a week from a variety of prompts.



Hoofprints in Eden is now out in four parts for Kindle.


I'm looking forward to seeing an article in Cumbria Magazine's December edition, following an interview at home by Kev Hopkinson about the novels and the Ash Tree poetry pamphlet.

I'm working on an updated digital edition of Hoofprints in Eden for Kindle, and I now hold most of the remaining stock of the paperback (and a solid little box-full it is, too).


I gave a talk at the Wordsworth Bookshop in Penrith on 24th October, about Researching a Historical Novel. Lots of interesting questions afterwards and I signed quite a few books, mostly Coachman and Ash Tree. @WordsworthBook

Sue Allan wrote a short but telling review for Ash Tree in October's Cumbria Life magazine.


Fab review of Ash Tree in London Grip, from Robert Nisbet.


31st - Taking part in Eden Arts' "Lost Tree" project at Brough Castle, Brough, Cumbria. "Missing", one of the poems from ASH TREE, is expected to feature. 31st August would have been Naomi's 8th birthday so I will go along that afternoon with copies of ASH TREE. I would be very happy to see you there. I'll read some of the poems, if there is anyone to listen.

13th-17th - COACHMAN is on offer, free to download for Kindle.

13th - We're expecting ASH TREE from the printers!

12th - C&W Herald notes the imminent appearance of ASH TREE.

6th - Pirene's Fountain sends the proof copy of "Basil Leaves", included in its first anthology "The Best of Pirene's Fountain" coming out later this year from Glass Lyre Press.

2nd - ASH TREE goes to print and we start promoting it! Very exciting!


I talked to the Cumbrian Literary Group about "Researching a Historical Novel" on 13th July, 2-30pm at the Quaker Meeting House in Keswick.


19th - Equestrian resources for Historians - see the Blog.

16th - Cover ideas being discussed for Ash Tree poetry pamphlet, with Prole Books.

6th - Books placed for sale and reader copies donated to the lovely couple at Wordsworth Bookshop and Coffee House in St Andrew's Churchyard, Penrith. They make super coffee and food (including veggie options and gluten-free) as well as selling local books.

3rd-7th Jackdaw E Books joins the Summer Banquet Blog Hop.


Pirene's Fountain selects "Basil Leaves" from previous issues to be included in its anthology coming out later this year from Glass Lyre Press.

5th - first discussion of suggested edits of "Ash Tree" with Prole Books

3rd-6th - Jackdaw E Books joins in the Heroes and Villains Blog Hop


12th-15th - Jackdaw E Books joins in the Historical Novelists' Book Fair

7th - donated some reading-copy books to Joff Gainey's Bookstop Cafe in Lincoln, due to open 4th May 2013. And sent some Sale or Return, of course!


17th - Against the Odds is #39 in Amazon's Paid list for Sports Fiction for Kindle, one month after release. #quitechuffed.

4th - I performed at Words By The Water at Keswick - I can hardly call it a poem, more like a verse or ditty - but I thoroughly enjoyed helping to launch issue 2 of The Fire Crane from New Writing Cumbria with "The Farmer's Rainbow."

2nd - Prole Books emailed to say they look forward to bringing out "Ash Tree" as a pamphlet in August this year.


Against the Odds joins the E-book stable on Kindle, and Coachman is reviewed in the American Driving Society Magazine, The Whip.



Carriage Driving magazine "On the Bookshelf" (page 9) features a review on Coachman.


29th - New Writing Cumbria features "Missing", one of the Naomi poems from the pamphlet "Ash Tree" as a NWC Weekly Poem.

28th - Dragon Bait managed to get to #12 in Fairy Tales etc on Amazon USA during its free promotion 27/28 October.

Coachman and The Forthright Saga join Dragon Bait in the world of real, handle-able books - with matt covers that make people fondle them and go "Ooh!" Preview brochures go out to indie bookshops in October. If anyone feels like irritating their local chain bookstore, feel free to order copies via them too!

12th - C&W Herald reports the appearance of Jackdaw E Books and three novels: Coachman, The Forthright Saga and Dragon Bait.


The Forthright Saga was downloaded over 300 times in the 3 days of its freebie Kindle promotion 14th-16th September 2012. Now to see whether it will continue to be downloaded at full price...


The Galloway Gate poetry film was shown at Shap on 14th June as part of the Landmark arts exhibition "A Sense of Place" and later at Show Case, Devonshire Arcade, Penrith, on 13th and 14th July 2012.


My current writing project is a historical novel. (See my Blog.) It was sparked off about fifteen years ago, when I couldn't have written it successfully because I didn't have access to the necessary historical sources. Today, with so many out of print books digitised by Project Gutenberg and the Internet Archive, and much material available from organizations such as the British Postal Museum & Archive and British History Online, it's relatively simple to do the research from the office.


BBC's Inside Out found the Foot and Mouth Diary in 2011 and bravely spent two hours in a perishing east wind recording what turned out to be roughly a minute of chat and one reading. I must stress that although they introduced me as "a retired horse trainer," I'm not retired yet and have never been a horse trainer.


ITV's Dales Diary interviewed me in 2007 about Hoofprints in Eden and of course about its subject, the Fell pony.

...and older stuff

I appeared on the BBC TV quiz "Mastermind" in 1984 when it was fronted by the late, great Magnus Magnusson. In 2005 I was partly responsible for the poet Ian Macmillan having to walk up High Street (the mountain) instead of the High Street (Barnsley), while discussing the history of trotting races alongside Bob Orrell and two Fell ponies who were sure he could go faster than THAT. However, neither I nor his producer take any responsibility for the accompanying "liquid sunshine", AKA a howling gale and rain. Dylan Winter was made of sterner stuff when recording Rare Steeds, and thoroughly enjoyed driving out with Ruby and me on a frosty December morning in 2005.

I was a panel judge for the Fell Pony Society for 20 years and I serve on the FPS Council, editing the FPS Magazine and chairing its Overseas Sub-Committee.

At various times I've been Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer of the North West Driving Club and am now one of its Vice-Presidents. I own a clever bay Fell mare called Ruby. Before that I had one of her great-aunts, Rosie, and a laid-back gelding known to his friends as Mr T, who spent some time on loan to fellow writer Jackie Moffatt, and cheerfully helped us teach people to drive a pony and carriage. The thing about Fell ponies is - they are funny and they attract very funny people!

In 2002 I achieved "with distinction" the degree of MSc in Multimedia Computing. For 12 years until the end of January 2009 I worked as a technician/instructor and then a Computing lecturer at the University of Cumbria.  I then covered a few IT subjects for Adult Education at Shap CDC. All that training to teach must have stuck in spite of me.

Fiction : Dragon Bait * Against the Odds * Scratch * Coachman * The Forthright Saga * Non-Fiction : Hoofprints in Eden * One Fell Swoop * Fell Facts & Fell Fun * Short Stories : The Twisted Stair * Keeping On * Poetry : Ash Tree * Ruby Wedding * Galloway Gate * Samples! * Jackdaw : About the Author * Blog * News & Events * Services * For Overseas Purchasers * Links * Home

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