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. 


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