Sunday, 4 March 2018

Tales From Wales - No Turning Back!

The die has been cast and there's no turning back. Although we haven't crossed the Rubicon, in fact we haven't even got our feet wet, we have made a significant statement.
Heartfelt thanks to all the writers and artists who have made this first step possible. Perhaps it's time to remind ourselves why we are doing this. Tales From Wales and the magazine in particular have been created to allow the work of established and aspiring writers, self published or otherwise to be seen by a wider audience. 

This is not a commercial venture - nobody is getting paid. The magazine exists as a community venture for anyone who wants their work to be read, or seen, for whatever reason. That's why most of us write isn't it? 

To create an expanding readership the magazine has to look professional and create an impact. Thanks to the paintings of Oneill Meredith I believe we achieved this objective with the first issue. Sally Spedding, who incidentally provides a short story for the Summer edition, has described his work as 'haunting'. The more I explore the more I appreciate what an outstandingly creative nation we are. 

To date the digital edition of the magazine has been downloaded over 180 times. Not massive, but a substantial base to build on. What has been disappointing is that only 21 people have so far subscribed to the Newsletter through which future digital editions will be delivered. 

If all those people who expressed their support by 'Liking' the Facebook page were to subscribe then our subscriber base would be at least triple its size and my task would be a lot easier. A few print copies have been ordered but I assume they will be of more interest to contributors although they are worth it for the art work alone.  

There will be no turning back on my part but my only fear is running out of fuel!

All you authors, writers, artists and would be writers please take advantage of Tales From Wales to showcase your work, This includes writers with Welsh roots or links, however tenuous, wherever you live. The magazine has been downloaded more times in America than anywhere else!

The Spring Edition can be downloaded direct from this blog (top right sidebar) or the website (

Alternatively use and share this link with friends on social media: "If you didn't sign up and missed your copy of the first edition of Tales From Wales, here's a second chance. Just click the link for immediate download. Enjoy and share."

I would encourage everyone to sign up to the Newsletter (top right sidebar) to ensure you get the Summer, Autumn and Winter editions - what have you got to lose? You don't even have to worry about recycling.

Thanks to everyone who has supported and helped us get this far. Onwards and upwards!

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Tales From Wales Magazine Spring 2018 - Raising the Flag for Welsh Writers

Don't anyone accuse me of not being over dramatic. Still, the first issue of Tales From Wales hopefully marks a significant moment for the large number of Welsh writers, home and abroad, who have battled against the odds to get their work into print. That, primarily, is why Tales From Wales exists.

Support for the venture is growing at an encouraging pace. Discouraged and aspiring writers are emerging from the shadows of self doubt to declare their allegiance to the flag.

I think it's time to ditch the metaphor before it collapse under the strain. But the point is Tales From Wales is here for you. Yes, we want to include published and established authors to provide extracts from their books or the occasional short story but that equates to a win win situation for both parties.

Yes, some of the writing will be lacking in maturity.
Yes, some may lack quality.
Yes some may be unpolished.

BUT. . . 

. . . I feel sure some of the great writers look back at their initial scribblings and cringe. Writing is all about writing and rewriting. You simply have to keep on keeping on. Stephen King maintains his concept of the Muse is a guy in shirt sleeves slaving over a typewriter. If you keep on turning up so will he, eventually. And whether he does or doesn't the more you write (and read) the more you will improve. It's inevitable.

What most writers need, indeed what we all need in every area of life, is encouragement. It is like water in a dry land. It refreshes our spirit. There are more than enough discouragements and discouragers in life. Tales From Wales does not intend to add itself to the list. No matter what your aspirations with regard to writing, however lofty or humble they may be Tales From Wales is here for you. After all isn't writing something a reward in itself?

Tales From Wales Spring edition is out on March 1st. I have done my best to ensure it is professional and attractive enough to appeal to a wide audience. It cannot succeed without your support. All I can do is raise the flag. If you have not already done so please sign up for the Newsletter and you will receive a download link for your free Spring digital issue and all subsequent issues. These you are encouraged to share with whoever you please.

A print version of the magazine is available from Amazon at £6.99. This is as cheap as I could list it given it is a full colour publication. I assume the print copy will be mostly of interest to contributors. I have a copy and can honestly say I am delighted with the end result. The covers depicting the work of Oneill Meredith are stunning.

It is now up to you. Thanks to everyone from individuals and writing groups who have already pledged their support.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Tales From Wales - The Revolution Is Spreading!

One of the stated aims of Tales From Wales is to reach out to writers with Welsh roots across the world. Meet Elizabeth Jane Corbett who discovered quite by chance she wasn't as Australian as she thought she was.

I'll let Elizabeth tell her own story.

Finding my Way Home 

It started with a mid-life crisis. On approaching a significant birthday (let’s not be specific), I realised I’d always wanted to write a novel. I’d never written a novel before, mind. But I loved history, and moving to Australia had been the defining event of my childhood. So why not make it an Aussie immigration novel? Dad was born in England, but Mum was Welsh. Almost as an afterthought, I threw a Welsh couple into my fictional group of migrants. Looking back, I am struck by how casually the decision was made.

            It has changed my life in so many ways.
I knew nothing about Wales at that stage, beyond a history of coal mining (mum was from Aberafan in South Wales) and that Wales played rugby. I also knew Welsh people spoke a different language. I wanted my Welsh couple to be an agent of change in the life of, Bridie, my fifteen-year-old main character. But rugby wasn’t invented in 1841 and, even if I could have invented a scenario in which a whole male voice choir emigrated en mass, I didn’t think she would find it particularly inspiring.

Some quick research told me Wales also had a strong bardic tradition. I read the Mabinogion and a host of other Welsh fairy tales. Wow, like wow! These were my stories, part of my heritage, and I hadn’t even known they existed – not the story of the red and white prophetic dragons, nor the legend of Taleisin, nor the Lady of Llyn y Fan Fach, or any of the other tales in the Mabinogion. To me this is akin an aboriginal Australian not knowing about the Dreamtime. A travesty. I think that’s why the mythology resonated so strongly. Why, Rhys, my Welsh viewpoint character became a storyteller.

Around this time, I also realized there were Welsh classes, in Melbourne. Welsh classes, in Melbourne. Hmm… maybe some basic knowledge of the language would be useful?

I enrolled for what I thought would be a term. I had four children living at home in those days. I must admit being able to say, I’m off to my Welsh class, and walk out the door became part of the appeal. But I also found the language strangely enticing. It had amazingly, onomatopoeic words like GwdihĊµ which meant owl and sounded like twit-twoo, and pilipala which meant butterfly and sounded like wings fluttering and corgi which literally meant dwarf dog and drewgi (skunk) which meant stink dog and and buwch goch gota’r haf which meant short red cow of the summer. One term of classes turned into two, then three. Before I knew it, Welsh class had become part of my life.

            I didn’t expect to ever speak the language. I’d done Japanese at school and never progressed beyond the basics. But writing a novel with Welsh characters and learning the language were waking a hidden part of me, a part that I hadn’t not known existed.
  I finished a first draft and got shortlisted for a manuscript development award. I also won the Bristol Short Story Prize. Then disaster struck. Our youngest daughter began to work her way through a list of every parent’s worst fears. The running away, the self-harm, the dropping out of school and shoplifting had a terrible effect on my mental health. I couldn’t write. I could barely function. My husband insisted I take a break. We had loads of frequent flyers points.

            Why not travel to the land of words and stories?
            In preparation, a friend recommended I try Say Something in Welsh. I felt so fragile. The idea of doing strange online language course terrified me. But I summoned the courage to try one lesson. Aran, the man on the podcast, was so kind and encouraging. He told me I was doing a great job, I would succeed. It was like rain on parched earth.

            Five years of language learning fell into place.

            I did Cwrs Haf in Aberystwyth, the following year. Whilst there, I met Veronica Calarco, an Aussie artist living in Wales. When Veronica set up Stiwdio Maelor, a residency studio for artists and writers, I became her first long-term volunteer.

            I improved my Welsh, during my seven months I spent living in Wales and finished my novel, The Tides Between - an historical coming of age novel about fairy tales and facing the truth – which has recently been published by Odyssey Books. It is an Aussie immigration novel, filled with Welsh fairy tales, that is set in the steerage compartment of an emigrant vessel, and somehow, through the process of its creation, I had found my way home.

(The Tides Between is available online through The Book Depository, Amazon,, or you can simply order it through your local bookshop. The details are on my website at:

Elizabeth Jane Corbett is one of our featured authors and you can read an extract from the enchanting 'The Tides Between' in the Spring issue of Tales From Wales - out March 1st.
Please sign up to our newsletter (SIDEBAR TOP RIGHT) at to make sure your free digital copy of Tales From Wales is delivered on time.

Staying firmly on the subject of 'revolution (writing that is) and the world' one Welshman has done more, unaided,  than most to engage Wales globally. Over to you Dave Lewis.

Calling All Poets!

This year sees the International Welsh Poetry Competition reach out to poets for the 12th time. Founded in 2007 by Welsh writer and poet Dave Lewis the contest is now the biggest, and some might say the best, in Wales.

The aim of the competition remains the same - to encourage and foster the wealth of creative writing talent that we know exists in Wales but currently languishes in the doldrums.

“We aim to inspire people to capture life in the present day and to give a voice to a new generation of poets and writers. We are not interested in purely academic types of literature but would much rather see pure raw passion burst onto the creative writing scene in Wales.” said Dave Lewis.

“It was obvious, after our first few years, that our competition was here to stay, and with entries from as far a field as Abu Dhabi, Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Corfu, Denmark, England, France, India, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Scotland, Singapore, Spain, Swaziland, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, USA and Vietnam as well as Wales of course, the Welsh Poetry Competition is a truly international competition, accessible to all (through the English language).

“It should also be noted that the competition is totally independent and financed purely by the organisers and entrants. We receive no grants, bursaries or funding from any external agencies whatsoever. In fact during our first 12 years we’ve had no support at all from Literature Wales even though it is their job to promote Welsh literature! Maybe they feel encouraging writers and poets gets in the way of whatever else it is they do? After all 75% of their funds are spent on staff salaries according to a recent Welsh Assembly report.

“We just carry on though, regardless of any help or hindrance from the establishment. The wider world has embraced us and that’s all that matters. We do the same thing each year – we offer a chance for budding writers to compete on an equal footing with more experienced and established poets. Our competition is honest and fair, we don’t use filter judges and is judged anonymously by excellent Welsh writers.

We have also published two fantastic anthologies of our first ten years of winners’ poems.
If you’d like more information just visit our website.




Saturday, 27 January 2018

What Happens To A Revolution If No-One Turns Up?

Is there anything more demoralising than having no one turn up when you've just declared a revolution. Lenin would have been livid. That awful moment when you realise that you were the only one with the Big Issue in the first place.
I must admit to serious misgivings having nailed my colours firmly  to the mast. Not that I was expecting members of the WPALS (Welsh Publishing and Literary Scene) to raid my home in the dead of night and transport me to a gulag on some deserted island covered in bird droppings and subjected to the occasional intrusion by Iolo Williams .
Thankfully, that was not the case. Admittedly, our numbers have not yet swelled sufficiently to make storming the National Assembly a viable proposition. Still, there have been murmurings of suppressed discontent and enthusiastic promises of support. We natives (writers and scribes of Wales) are apparently getting restless. Some have even rallied under the flag bearing tales of frustration and disappointment. It's a common theme.

"There's nothing on the flag!" I hear someone cry. 
"What the hell is he on about?" yells another.
The short answer is "Tales From Wales". 
"Tales From Wales? Isn't that just another pointless website." 
Yes and no. As Dylan (Bob not the Welsh one) once said - "Come right in and I'll give you shelter from the storm."
"What storm?" (I think I'll drop this imaginary protester he's beginning to play on my nerves.)
Well, not a storm exactly, that was just me brandishing my poetic license.   
But there are many authors out there who have been rejected by traditional publishers or published only to see very little promotion of the book they have laboured over lovingly for years. There are also writers discouraged from seeking publication or those who are happy just to submit the occasional short story to a magazine. 

A recent Welsh Government report on the role of Literature Wales was particularly damning.
"Literature Wales is very much an inward looking organisation and does not have a strong enough focus on outcomes. Literature Wales can no longer be considered a young organisation but the panel considered that in its evidence it demonstrated a lack of maturity and strategic planning in a number of key areas. . ."
The functions which the report recommended the Welsh Books Council should take on from Literature Wales include the Wales Book of the Year prize, bursaries, literary events, its Writers on Tour funding scheme, and provision for children and young people. Whatever happens next there is obviously recognition sweeping changes need to be made.

Tales From Wales may not in and of itself be the answer but working alongside authors like Dave Lewis, who shares our philosophy, green roots of change are beginning to push through. Dave set up the first ever Welsh Poetry Competition, an international poetry competition aimed at encouraging the wealth of creative writing talent that we know exists in Wales but currently languishes in the doldrums. Dave also runs Publish & Print, a book publishing company that is seeking good writers that have been overlooked by the mainstream publishing industry.

Anybody who has published a book, self-published or otherwise can include it in our Tales From Wales Bookshop. We are not interested in critiquing or passing judgement on the work of other authors (other than obvious spelling and grammatical errors). Readers make their own judgement without any help from us. Diversity is welcomed.

If you have a short story or book extract you would like to share then simply email and we will upload it and add it to our Downloads page. This is a great way to provide taster material for potential readers.

Bloggers are encouraged to submit their blogs.

Writing Groups and Welsh Societies worldwide are invited to make contact. We have already had excellent contributions form Australian authors with links to Wales. I would love to hear from your group.

Tales From Wales intends producing and publishing four quarterly digital magazines. They will include your short stories, book extracts, poems and blog posts. The digital magazine will be made freely available across the web and social media. Its sole purpose to promote Tales From Wales and its associated authors. To do this it has to look professional and appeal to a wide audience. The Spring Issue, available on March 1st, is in the final stages of design. It includes:
new writers,
established authors,
book extracts,
short stories, 
spotlight on a featured writing group, 
authors based in Australia,
an award winning blog post,
'How To' articles,
an 'in memoriam' section,
and a very talented Welsh artist. 

If you want to get involved in future issues please let me know. I would be delighted to hear from you.

Tales From Wales will not turn anyone away and will make your work available in some form. We need your support if this venture is to thrive. Exposure is key. I am happy to do my bit but your contributions are essential. TALES FROM WALES needs YOU.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Happy New Year - There's A Revolution Coming

The Revolution Has Arrived

Before anyone panics and takes to the barricades I'm talking about the digital revolution. The one that frightened the Welsh Books Council into commissioning a review in 2013 on the state of English language magazines in Wales. Back then they realised change was not only coming they were already up to their knees in it and sinking fast. What to do? 
Embrace it!

TALESFROMWALES.NET - An Alternative Vision. 

One that:

  • reaches beyond the universities and the cliques
  • speaks to ordinary mortals  
  • reflects the reality of contemporary Welsh existence
  • attempts to educate new or young readers 
  • conveys  a sense of fun and humour   
  • offers Welsh perspectives
  • looks beyond Wales
  • provides sufficient space for short stories.

The Question Is How?

It begins with YOU.

Tales From Wales features your uncensored work. Some of the writing will inevitably be raw and lacking polish but that does not necessarily equate to BAD. It can actually be exciting. Like discovering a rough diamond. More established writers are invited to provide insights by contributing guest posts. Authors like Dave Lewis from Pontypridd provides help with self publishing from his website. Dave has agreed to contribute in the New Year.  For my part I will continue doing what I did with Kindle Authors and provide an idiots guide to technical support

For example, a planned series of posts focuses on creating teaser video trailers for your books and uploading them to websites like YouTube and Twitter etc. 
There will be plenty of room for short stories and hopefully much humour and fun!
Tales From Wales reaches out to Writer's Groups and Welsh Societies globally.

Two gentlemen from Australia have already been in touch. Brian Whalley was, "flying Whitley bombers over Germany until I got shot down, ditched in the N.Sea on 7/11/41 – the sole survivor of a crew of 5 and rescued on Nov 9th. by the wrong side into three and a half years of POW life." Brian committed his story, 'A Treasury of Memories' to print  for his grandchildren. It has never been published but with a bit of encouragement and practical help from people like Dave Lewis, who knows?                                                                          Ifan Odwyn Jones has lived a life James Bond might have envied! Along the way he has written many short 'stories' and poems that resonate with that wonderfully peculiar Welsh trait, a social conscience. Hopefully we can also get these into print soon. Here's one:
An old cattle dog too old to be bold
And too stiff to move sulked in the yard,
Useless, in pain, he could only complain
Through lip curled growls at anyone new
Who wanted to play or got in his way.

Head between forelegs and with half-shut eyes
He seemed confused and lost in thought,
As if recalling some former glories –
When he would run and jump for fun
Before and after his battles with cattle.

But now he is sad, bad tempered and tired,
And when someone he knew came with a gun
And said, come on old fella it’s time for a spell,
His eyes lit up and without a whimper
He went with his friend to his death in the dell.   
                                                                                 Odwyn - An Eclectic Community

There is no bias intended against established published authors like Chris Keil, who happens to be a friend of mine. Indeed we hope they will embrace the vision and look to support fellow writers by contributing to the project. In truth, many of us would love to follow in their footsteps and secure that elusive publishing contract. Many are happy just to write because they find it enjoyable and cathartic. Eileen, the oldest member of our writing group in Tonypandy, is 96 and writes because she loves to. As Stephen King observes in his brilliant book 'On Writing', writing is a compulsion. Writers will write even when they have no audience. Tales From Wales is more concerned with promoting and supporting aspiring, emerging and less well established writers than the Catrin Colliers of this world. It would be fantastic to discover another Catrin though! 

Too Much Competition?

Given that is dedicated to showcasing as many self-published and aspiring authors as possible many of you will probably be asking, "Won't I simply disappear in the crowd?" The short answer is NO! Competition is not only healthy it's desirable. 
Readers, like me, possess an insatiable appetite for books. The more choice potential readers have the more likely they are to visit in the first place and keep returning. It's why food outlets tend to cluster together. People love choice. 
Providing free samples in the form of pdf downloads, audio clips and video trailers is a great way of attracting potential readers when they visit

Book of the Week

The Book of the Week fulfills two objectives:
  • Promote individual books and authors.
  • Provide opportunity to regularly post new material to relevant Facebook Pages, Twitter Accounts, Google+ Groups etc and help raise the Tales From Wales profile.

Book Of The Week

A Dozen Tales of Misfortune

by Paul Worthington

Paul is a former pupil of mine who did not start writing seriously until he was thirty. He is a writer of considerable talent and potential. Reminiscent of an embryonic Stephen King he will only get better and better. A taster story, 'The Stump', is available form the Downloads Page on

I have already been pleasantly surprised by the wealth of established and emerging Welsh writers the length and breadth of Wales and beyond. Writers like Amanda Audrey-Burden from our capital city, Jan Ruth from breathtaking Snowdonia, Graham Watkins from the spectacular Brecon Beacons and even one on my doorstop in Treorchy, Allan Lewis. They and more will feature on this blog and

Please get involved because this is just the beginning. Watch out for Dave Lewis' guest blog post. If you want to know how to get your book published. Dave is the man! Dave is also an accomplished author and poet.

Check the website regulary as your book may be the next featured Book of the Week. Also please sign up to our Newsletter as this makes mass communication when necessary a lot easier.

The next post will feature more Welsh writers or writers with links to Wales as well as bloggers and artists. We will also take a look at the possibility of producing a free digital magazine and seek your views and suggestions (email: We are on the start of a journey with , hopefully, no final destination. Your company is not only requested but essential. 


Monday, 4 December 2017

What Would You Write for Christmas?

Here's something I wouldn't expect to see written this Christmas. . . 

Maybe it's me mutating into a seasonal Humbug but Christmas seems to have got lost somewhere under the wrapping paper and microchips. 
My low point this year was watching a female TV presenter get all emotional about the new John Lewis Christmas advert.
If I'm honest I have to admit to a sense of guilt. Every time I see starving children or homeless refugees I realise my capacity to feel compassion has been diminished along with my humanity.
Thank goodness for movies like 'It's A Wonderful Life' that attempt to reach out to the good in us.
Here's a challenge. What would you write for Christmas?
Perhaps it could be featured on this blog next year.

Chris Marchant is an author originally from Port Talbot who has already written a short story on a Christmas theme. It's due to be published in an anthology by a New Zealand concern who run a website entitled The premise is:

"On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me..." 
Can you imagine what it was like being the recipient of those gifts? Twelve drummers drumming. What would you do with twelve drummers? I mean, the upkeep alone would probably be crippling. Twelve drummers are for life, not just for Christmas. 
Chris' story is:
Chris describes herself as a writer of Sci-Fi, Fantasy and a cat herder. I know what you mean Chris, I live with one. Chris says:
"I currently live in Co. Cavan, Ireland with Drizzt the Muse Cat, eight other cats, and the boyfriend. I write mainly Science Fiction and Fantasy, with a little historical, horror and young adult. Currently working on a LitRPG novel."

Keep me updated Chris and if you want you can include extracts on this blog. It's also a good idea to try and build an audience while you are still writing the novel. If anyone is interested in finding out more about how to go about building an audience then read the guest blog post written by New Zealand author Jonathan Gunson on Kindle Authors.

Chris' author's page is:

She has been published in the following anthologies.

Click on the images to visit Chris' Amazon Author's Page.

Once the Tales From Wales website is up and running all authors featured here will also be featured there. If anyone wants to provide free downloads as tasters they can also be made available from the Tales From Wales website.

Sincerely Folks! I would like to wish everyone Peace, Hope and Joy this Christmas wherever you find it.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Tales From Wales - We Have Lift Off!

Thanks to everyone who has responded so far. 

Below is Mary Grand's Facebook Page header. Every author should have a Facebook Page. Click on the image to pay it a visit and give Mary a Like. I'll shut up now and let Mary introduce herself. 

"I was born in Cardiff and lived there until I left at eighteen. Wales is in my DNA. When I started to write it was natural to set my stories there.
For me the best thing about Wales is the people. I know it is difficult to generalise but in my experience people are willing to show their emotions, and the gentle, singing accents reflect an innate friendliness and warmth. When I first went to teach in London I remember thinking that a lot of people were angry with me, not because of what they said but because of the harshness of the tone!
At present I live on the Isle of Wight with my family and cocker spaniel Pepper .A few years ago I stopped teaching Deaf children and decided to write my first novel, “Free to Be Tegan”. This is the story of a young woman, Tegan, and her recovery from her upbringing in a psychologically abusive cult and set in the Cambrian Mountains.
I was very encouraged by the response to this novel and went on to write an anthology of short stories. After this I embarked on my next novel “Hidden Chapters”, set on Rhossili Bay, Gower. It is about Catrin who finally has to face early experiences in her life that she has tried to keep hidden. The story explores motherhood, adoption and family secrets."

Mary's Contact Details (Click on the text to visit)

Links to Mary's Books:


I hope no aspiring author is put off by this post. Mary is obviously a talented writer which helps! She is also social media savvy and uses all the tools at her disposal to get her work out there including video - a topic we'll look at in more detail in a future post. Tales From Wales intends supporting writers at any stage of their development - even if you're just thinking about writing something.

Hopefully Mary can share with us anything that she feels might help writers struggling to get their work out there. She has over one hundred positive reviews on Amazon and that's a considerable achievement in itself. 

One of the things I am looking forward to is getting to know established and emerging writers. When one of my former pupils, Paul Worthington, published his first collection of short stories I was almost as thrilled as him! One of the next authors to be featured is Chris Marchant while Will MacMillan Jones emailed me to say:
"I'll reply properly once I’m back from Sledge-lit 3 (Fantasy/Horror convention) in Derby, where I have a table and sponsor some panels."
This I have got to hear about!

Please remember this is a work in progress. The website is under construction. Just published a Facebook Page that's a little sparse at the moment and needs all the Likes and Shares it can get! I intend setting up a Twitter and a Pinterest account also. 

The next post will feature Chris Marchant and maybe an update from Will. We'll also consider the place of video trailers.
Please share and click all the Social Media Buttons!!!

Tales From Wales - No Turning Back!

The die has been cast and there's no turning back. Although we haven't crossed the Rubicon, in fact we haven't even got our...