the writer is a lonely hunter

writing by Gail Aldwin and other authors

Small press promotion

I’ve learnt about the positives and pitfalls of publication with small presses by the process. Rather than dwell on the pitfalls, I’d say one of the huge advantages to working with small presses is the support and encouragement gained from other authors with the same press. It’s great to feel part of the group and to support each other by offering early reviews, sharing posts on social media and generally being a cheer leader for each other’s successes.

When Black Rose Writing author, Christina Consolino offered an invitation to fellow authors to join her in a Christmas Giveaway, I jumped at the chance. I’d read and thoroughly enjoyed her women’s novel Rewrite the Stars which considers the options for a mother of three as her marriage implodes due to her husband’s PTSD. Other authors involved in the giveaway include Linda Rosen. Her latest novel is Sisters of the Vine and you can read all about Linda and her writing in the interview I conducted here. I also enjoyed reading Jason Lady’s middle grade fiction Super Problems. I am in the process of reading books by other authors in the giveaway but from what I’ve read so far, I can thoroughly recommend you enter to win a bumper prize of eight electronic books. It’s easy to do, just lick on this link, which takes you to a google form where you’ll need to add your name and email address. The giveaway is open from today (14 November) until 14 December at noon ET when the winner will be selected.

The form only takes a minute to complete, what not give it a go?

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This Much Huxley Knows

If this brilliantly crafted review of This Much Huxley Knows doesn’t have you rushing off to purchase a copy from Amazon, nothing will.

It is the complex childhood paradox of complete freedom yet constant constraint that Gail Aldwin captures perfectly in This Much Huxley Knows, a book that instantly took me back to being 7 years old and all that this entailed.

Thank you, Bex. You’ve made my day.

Bookaholic Bex

Now that the wheels of time have hastily hauled me halfway up the hill of middle-age, I find myself looking back on my childhood through increasingly rose-tinted glasses. Remember the days of never having to worry about money? Never having to plan ahead further than which game you would play when you got home from school? It all looks so idyllic from the precarious heights of adulthood, surrounded by bills and endless responsibility. But the truth is life wasn’t perfect back then and being that young came with a whole set of very real frustrations, like having to go to bed early when there was good stuff on tv and not being allowed the Mr Frosty ice-drink maker that EVERYBODY ELSE HAD AND WHY IS LIFE SO UNFAIR. (Note: my parents did eventually buy this for us after a lengthy campaign of emotional blackmail, a technique that sadly never worked…

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Back from Greece

As we let our house as a holiday home whenever we’re away, it takes a little while to feel at ease in our surroundings again. Everything about our return went very smoothly and the only stress was mastering the QR reader to submit our Covid tests. Fortunately, we were both negative. We found the Greeks were much more observant of Covid precautions. We wore masks and were required to provide evidence of double vaccinations in Athens (but not elsewhere) on entering restaurants, during journeys by bus and at all museums (even some outdoor ones).

After we left the gorgeous Gerolimenas, we caught the bus to Gythio which is a lovely port town with a delightful harbour front. The tiny island nearby is called Kranae and is mentioned by Homer as the site of Paris and Helen’s first night together after fleeing Sparta.

View of Gythio from Kranae

We stayed in a fabulous hotel in Gythio with a roof top bar where we were served cocktails. At breakfast, I was introduced to Loukoumades, delicious doughnut balls soaked in honey and sprinkled with nuts. As it was the end of the holiday season, the harbour side restaurants boasted loads of tables yet only a handful were taken. I enjoyed the sense of visiting Gythio when it was not too busy.

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Walks around Gerolimenas

We arrived in Gerolimenas five days ago and have thoroughly enjoyed our time here. The small harbour town is found in the south of the Mani peninsular in the Peloponnese, Greece. We were introduced to Gerolimenas by Carol MacGrath who kindly brought us here following our time at the Mani Lit Fest.

We’re staying on the harbour in a first floor room with this view.

We’ve done some lovely walks while we’ve been here including climbing the cliff!

One day we explored Oxia with its tower houses, ruins and church. We ran home the last 2km to keep ahead of the rain.

Another walk along the coast and we found a delightful little bay with further ruined houses including a circular tower.

Yesterday we covered 12km walking on an ancient path from Alika to Kenipolis. Here are some of the lovely places we spotted.

We’re moving on to Gythio tomorrow. Expect more photos!


Having a blast at the Mani Lit Fest

Over the weekend, I was delighted to present a workshop and talk at the Mani Lit Fest in the Peloponnese, Greece. The invitation came as a good excuse to continue our itinerant lifestyle and we’re spending the next month roaming around the country. Stoupa makes a delightful starting point and the Mani Lit Fest was a wonderful event to be involved with. I delivered a Get Creative! workshop where I shared prompts and exercises to generate ideas for short fiction. One of the participants had read This Much Huxley Knows and throughly recommended my novel to the gathered group. The following day, I gave a talk about my experience of being published by small presses. This was well received and an email arrived soon after from a member of the audience who said my input was thought provoking and reassuring.

There was a real buzz around the Lit Fest. The highlights for me included a talk from James Heneage (founder of the Chalke Valley History Festival and Ottakar’s bookshop chain) who shared stories from his new book The Shortest History of Greece. Carol McGrath gave a hilarious presentation on Sex and Sexuality in Tudor England (the name of her forthcoming non-fiction book) and then there was a delicious introduction to the cookbook Salt and Honey from Nicholas Tsakiris and his daughter. (David followed a chilli lentil recipe last night which was very tasty.)

The Lit Fest was held at a local restaurant where the venue created a cocktail in honour of Huxley. A non-alcoholic drink (Huxley is only seven years old) can you guess what it contains?

There was also delicious cake (enough for two) called Ekmek Kataifi. It’s made with a layer of syrupy shredded filo pastry, another of vanilla custard, a layer of whipped cream and topped with pistachios. It goes very well with Greek coffee although I think it’s also good with tea.

If you’d like to enter the Mani Lit Fest Flash Fiction Competition (I’m the judge), send up to 1000 words on the theme of return. The competition is free to enter and is open until 30 November 2021.


This Much Huxley knows by Gail Aldwin

Welcome to Sunday and it’s a wonderful treat to receive an erudite review for This Much Huxley Knows from Katie Campbell, English teacher, reader and book blogger.

Currently Reading

Publisher: Black Rose Writings Publication Date: July 2021

I have not read many books that have a young child as a narrator and so I have to confess that I was a little sceptical when I discovered the entirety of ‘This Much Huxley Knows’ by Gail Aldwin was narrated from the viewpoint of the seven-year-old protagonist himself. This scepticism, however, was very soon alleviated as I became quickly immersed into the life and world of this little boy as he tries to find his place in it.

Aldwin, through the eyes of Huxley, explores contemporary fears and societal concerns ranging from prejudice and bullying through to political differences and the contentious debate of Brexit. Human desire for conformity and expectations around societal etiquette are foregrounded within the novel, which through the eyes of a child expose them for what they are, merely social constructs that we have to live by…

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This Much Huxley Knows #ThisMuchHuxleyKnows – Gail Aldwin @gailaldwin , an #Interview #QandA

Here is where I get to answer some pertinent writerly questions. Find out if I have any writing rituals by popping over to The Magic of Wor(l)ds for a read!

The Magic of Wor(l)ds

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –


Today I’m not on a blogtour, but doing my own interview with Gail Aldwin, author of ‘This Much Huxley Knows’, to promote her book!
Before I let you read my Q&As, I’ll first post some ‘basic’ information.

About the Author :

Gail Aldwin is a novelist, poet and scriptwriter. Her debut coming-of-age novel The String Games was a finalist in The People’s Book Prize and the Dorchester Literary Festival Writing Prize 2020. Following a stint as a university lecturer, Gail’s children’s picture book Pandemonium was published. Her most recent novel This Much Huxley Knows uses a seven-year-old narrator to show the world through an innocent lens.

Social Media Links:

Synopsis :

I’m seven years old and I’ve never had a best mate. Trouble is…

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Acts of kindness on Twitter

If you’re active on Twitter, you’ve probably seen tweets about This Much Huxley Knows bounding around your screen. I’ve been fortunate to have the support of many book bloggers who generously tweet about my recently published novel. And there are others on Twitter who retweet about reviews and posts and yet more who share details. Whenever this happens, I like to find out more about the kind person who is helping to spread the word about Huxley. Often I follow them and sometimes I make contact. This is what happened when I came across a tweet from author Stevie Turner. She has such a interesting website with information about her books, her awards and certificates and much more. There are also pages offering support to other authors including interviews. When I read some of the fascinating conversations with a whole range of creative people, I wanted to be amongst their ranks. And following my moto, there’s no harm in asking, I sent an email request. Stevie was very gracious in her reply. She thought up a list of twenty questions which I answered and Q&A now appears on her website. It’s such a boon to have the support of another writer.

Now that the interview is live, can I encourage you to pop over for a read? And while you’re there, do have a look around Stevie’s website to find out more about this generous, multi-genre author and blogger. Here’s the link.


The interview where I spill all my writerly secrets

Fellow Black Rose Writer, Karen E Osborne interviewed me about my reading and writing habits. (Jim Bates, you might want watch as I recommend your short story collection Resilience.) Click on the arrow to hear our conversation.


This Much Huxley Knows by Gail Aldwin

I’m getting the hang of this WordPress reblogging feature. Here you can read a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review of This Much Huxley Knows from the lovely Sue Bavey, on behalf of Rosie Amber’s review team. If you haven’t already done so, do get yourself a copy of this contemporary novel and join the fun.

Sue's Musings

Book Description

I’m seven years old and I’ve never had a best mate. Trouble is, no one gets my jokes. AndBreaks-it isn’t helping. Ha! You get it, don’t you? Brexit means everyone’s falling out and breaking up.

Huxley is growing up in the suburbs of London at a time of community tensions. To make matters worse, a gang of youths is targeting isolated residents. When Leonard, an elderly newcomer chats with Huxley, his parents are suspicious. But Huxley is lonely and thinks Leonard is too. Can they become friends?

Funny and compassionate,this contemporary novel for adultsexplores issues of belonging, friendship and what it means to trust.

‘Read this and feel young again’ ­– Joe Siple, author ofThe Five Wishes of Mr. Murray McBride

Moving and ultimately upbeat’Christopher Wakling, author ofWhat I Did

A joyous novel with the wonderfully exuberant character of Huxley’ –

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