Mar 182012

Happy Mothers Day everyone – a day to count our blessings. Like many my Mum is no longer here but she was an amazing person and continues to inspire me. Ironically it was her death that led to me to start writing, doing my MA and starting Accent Press.

She’d come to France to help me as I was ill and so were the triplets. We’d moved back from Bali where they had started their life in a lovely warm climate. Now we were living in a converted barn between Boulogne and Calais and it was bleak and damp in the winter. We’ll never really know why the accident happened – she drove on the wrong side of the road, a simple mistake, but the road was clear and either car could have swerved to the verge. Had she been wearing a seatbelt she may have survived.

It was awful, shocking and a tragic end to an amazing mother and grandmother and that’s why I couldn’t let her death be a negative thing in my life or that of my children. I’m not religious but I felt if she ever looked back I wanted to make her proud of how I’d coped with it. She’d always encouraged me to write so I used a little of the money she’d left to sign-up to a correspondence writing course. I poured my grief into that and then my MA and then in setting up Accent Press.

I often smile because whether she knows it or not she continues to inspire and motivate me. She was a fighter who got dealt some very hard blows in life including being left with four children under the age of five when her mother was dying of bowel cancer. Throughout my childhood she had one madcap business idea after another – she never had her own business (she was a nurse) but I know she’d absolutely revel in the fact that I now run my own.

The picture is from the 60’s and I used it to show how, as a single Mum she still had us all looking smart and had taken us to a beach somewhere – clearly not on a very warm day though!  I also like it because she’s holding my hand and I’m sure we can all remember the lovely feeling of security that gave.

So here’s to mothers everywhere – wherever you may be.  Thank you x

 March 18, 2012  1 Response »
Feb 292012

I am delighted to announce that I have been shortlisted for the 4th annual Mumsclub Business Mum’s Awards as sponsored by MyFamilyClub.

This is a fantastic opportunity for our company and we wanted to share with you how thrilled and honoured we are to receive this nomination. It is an exceptional way to celebrate how far we have come as a company.

The Business Mum Awards have recognised and rewarded those women who have started businesses and achieved success in a short space of time since 2008. Winners have gone on to great success including the ultimate goal for many of them having their products stocked in high street stores and even more exciting in overseas.

Jane Hopkins MBE, founder of MumsClub says, “The nominations this year have been of a very high standard and it has been my pleasure to personally go through them all to create a shortlist to pass to our esteemed judging panel. Starting a business is hard at the best of times, but to do so alongside a growing family makes it so much more demanding. Being nominated by a fellow mum in business is a huge accolade in itself and I hope all those nominated are incredibly proud of themselves.”

The judging panel consist of previous Business Mum Award winners and industry professionals.

The 4th annual Mumsclub Business Mums Awards, headline sponsors MyFamilyClub, are being held on International Women’s Day on the 8th March. Fingers crossed!

 February 29, 2012  No Responses »
Feb 252012

Today I’d like to write a tribute to Roger Frank Selby – one of our Xcite authors who has, very sadly, lost his battle with cancer.  I never met Roger in person but we corresponded by email and chatted on the phone. He’d been a very successful pilot and come to writing after he retired. I know he had a science fiction novel completed but we knew him for his erotic fiction.

Here’s what he felt was important about an erotic story… “To me, the story is all-important. Ideally, an erotic story should still stand as a good tale, even without the explicit content. That’s my ideal – but not always the case with some really erotic concepts, I admit. For the reader new to this genre, I would not recommend flicking through for the naughty bits. It’s very important in erotica to let the writer warm you up gently – so that just as with real foreplay, you come slowly and with anticipation to the final culmination.”

Roger was diagnosed last year and so we fast-tracked the publication of his latest work Surprise Witness and we also published an anthology of his work, The Best of Roger Frank Selby. To celebrate his life and to encourage you to discover his work we are offering 50% discount on all books including his stories  CLICK HERE to discover these titles (the discount will be taken off at the checkout).

I shall miss working with Roger – he was a fine writer and one we really enjoyed publishing. Our thoughts are with his family.

 February 25, 2012  No Responses »
Feb 132012

 Congratulations to Sarah Davies, who recently joined us as a designer, for winning Best UK Graduate Animation for ‘Little Samurai‘ at the Ffresh Awards. Fantastic news!

Little Samurai
Sarah Davies
University of Glamorgan

Little Samurai is the opening adventure of a Samurai and his steed and companion. Yuu, a goose with an attitude. After a difficult start, Little Samurai and Yuu form a friendship and partnership that will lead them both into trouble and adventure.

“Little Samurai stands out for its striking and attractive design. It has a most unusual and mysterious story and overall is a very enjoyable and accomplished film.”

 February 13, 2012  No Responses »
Jan 102012

Hurrah – finally there is a specific UK event for writers of raunch – Eroticon – Writing Sex Write which will be held on March 3rd in Bristol.

I’m very pleased to have been invited to be part of the Publishing Panel and will be speaking at 2pm. If you are a writer or blogger (and definitely if both!) then I do urge you to attend this one day event. We have arranged a special 15% discount for Xcite authors using the code XCITEME. There is a fantastic array of speakers and some great goody bags including Xcite Books!!

If you have any questions you can contact the organizers here

 January 10, 2012  No Responses »
Jan 022012

Here I find myself another year older and another year fatter! It’s time for a change…

 January 2, 2012  No Responses »
Dec 302011

Before we finally wave goodbye to 2011 I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on another busy publishing year for Accent Press and Xcite Books. Thankfully we have managed to flourish despite the tough economic times.

Much of this has been due to the growth of digital content in both eBook and audio formats. Ebooks are a wonderful development for publishers because there is nothing to print, store, ship or get back (in a damaged unsaleable condition!) The downside though is that everyone can, and is, publishing so the quality is often atrocious. I firmly believe that this is where branding will rise within publishing and the discerning consumer will seek out brands that have known editorial standards. Xcite Books now has two editors, Antonia Adams and Elizabeth Coldwell – they have done a great job this year in selecting and editing our award-winning range.

Another big development in 2011 was developing our board – it was a bit scary moving from our cozy husband and wife format but it has enabled the company to grow and added a lot more structure. We were very lucky to be able to appoint Peter Newsom as Sales Director and Peter Ferris has taken a non-executive directorship. We meet quarterly at the Welsh HQ and, after the business is all wrapped up, a hearty soup lunch is shared. Their combined publishing knowledge is immense and their help and humour is much appreciated.

Peter Newsom – Sales Director                                                 Peter Ferris – Non-executive Director

We have published some great books this year and been privileged to work with some wonderful authors. Alison Stokes has been involved with two incredible books and helped bring these stories to market. The first, Running Free, was about Kate Allatt who has made a miraculous recovery from ‘Locked-In Syndrome’ following a stroke in 2010. As a young, fit mother of three she refused to accept the gloomy prognosis that would leave her trapped in her body, only able to communicate by blinking. Instead she fought every step of the way and in May 2011 was awarded the Extraordinary Women of the Year Award. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when she walked on stage and gave her acceptance speech!

Another amazing story is that shared by Hayley Okines and her Mum, Kerry in Old Before My Time. Hayley suffers from the rare genetic disease Progeria which causes her body to age 8 times faster than normal. She is already well known and loved by the nation because of a series of Channel 5 Extraordinary People documentaries and her books has been a huge success – we reprinted 3 times in December! They were both incredibly open and honest in their book which is why it is getting such great reviews. Click here for her blog.

It has been a fun year promoting the business at various trade shows and conferences. In April we were at the London Book Fair which was a whirlwind of marketing and partying!  June found us at the Erotic Trade only Show where we won Best Erotic Book Brand for the second year in a row. In September I flew to Las Vegas for the Erotic Authors of America Conference which was fast and furious – a great few days. Peter Newsom represented us at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October – so far he has established new distribution for us in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand and there have been some exciting rights sales too.

My thanks go to all the amazing authors and everyone on the Accent Press and Xcite teams that make it all happen. Here’s to an even better 2012!!


 December 30, 2011  No Responses »
Dec 012011

Pushing open the doors to the Aspire Conference on Tuesday I never guessed my life was about to change. I was nervous about speaking, nervous because I didn’t know a single person there and, if I’m honest, feeling rather flat, fat and fifty.  But now I feel like my heart and head have been fluffed up, refreshed, nourished and nurtured. Somehow some very special magic seemed to happen when 250 women from over 17 countries shared their hope, dreams, fears and experience. There was no bullshit, corporate stuffiness, power-dressing prima donnas (although some of the shoes were to die for!)  just honest, open women who shared, cared and delivered fantastic, useful relevant, inspiring talks.

The conference was organised by a company called Aspire which was founded by Dr Samantha Collins – she is one seriously impressive lady. She glows with energy and is 100% herself. I hope I have found a wonderful new friend and ally in life – she certainly made me feel like I had! I’ve been to loads of corporate conferences and events but this was something completely new for me, completely life changing.

And the icing on the cake was that I had really wonderful feedback on my talks – so many lovely women came and said I’d inspired them. One did say I looked liked Victoria Wood and was funny too – not entirely sure how to take that although it is always lovely when people laugh at your jokes!

So many, many thanks to Sam and all the Aspire team – the organisation behind it all was impeccable. And thank you to all the wonderful women that I met, hugged, laughed and cried with. I’ll never be the same again because you have helped me open my mind and heart to so many wonderful new ideas and possibilities. Life feels very good right now!

 December 1, 2011  No Responses »