It’s quickly coming up to the anniversary of the release of my first ever published story.


There Was A Time was published on 1 September 2014 by Affinity eBooks – now Affinity Rainbow Publications. (It is still available as a FREE ebook on their website.)

In 2014 I was very new to the publishing scene and recall my first Skype meeting with my publisher – it was a four-way conversation with JM Dragon in New Zealand, Erin O’Reilly and Nancy Kaufman in Texas, and me in the UK. Working out a time was hard enough. Anyway, I had a shower and wore a decent t-shirt, even though we wouldn’t be able to see each other. It felt like a job interview. I guess I must have done okay as they have published six of my novels so far, with number seven due out in November.

But back then; after they had accepted my debut novel for publication, Starting Over, I couldn’t quite believe I was going to become a published author.

When I received an email from Nancy with TWAT in the subject line, I wondered what I’d done wrong. Then I realised this was the acronym for my short story which was being published on their website ahead of the release of my novel. She told me later that she laughed when she typed it, imagining my reaction no doubt. Ever since, I’ve been more aware of acronyms in titles.

The blurb for the story:

Darts night at the Golden Dragon and Fin’s life is about to change forever.

Living in a small seaside resort she thought she was doing fine. Summer flings were great and winter evenings behind the bar were whiled away dreaming of the next conquest in the dunes.

Then in walked the stranger and Fin fell in love.

So, this very week, three years ago I was finalising edits for Starting Over, checking the blurb, approving a cover, and anxiously awaiting the release of my first story, There Was A Time. How would it be received?

What a great relief it was then to read the first review for the short story from Terry Baker. “This is the first thing I’ve read by Jen Silver. I know she has a full-length book due out soon, and if this story is anything to go by, I’m going to be first in line to read it.”


But, of course, that was just the beginning. As every published author knows, it doesn’t really get easier. Each time there is the wait…after the months of writing, editing, proofreading, agonising over blurbs, deciding on covers…wondering if anyone will want to read this. And if they do, what will they think of it?

I feel incredibly blessed that readers, for the most part, have enjoyed my books. And I’m always thankful that the team at Affinity was willing to take a chance on a novice writer three years ago.


Meeting some of the Affinity team in at GCLS 2015 in New Orleans: Erin O’Reilly, Annette Mori, and Ali Spooner

It’s been a wonderful journey of discovery and it’s not over yet. (Very deep that – a metaphor for life, perhaps.)

Another anniversary: I may have mentioned this before – this year my wife and I are celebrating 30 years together. That has also been an amazing journey.


Buying Links:

Running From Love: Affinity Rainbow Publications / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books / Smashwords / Apple iTunes

The Circle Dance: Affinity eBooks /Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books/Smashwords / Apple iTunes

Christmas at WinterbourneAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK /Barnes & Noble /Bella Books / Smashwords /Apple iTunes

The Starling Hill Trilogy:

Starting OverAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books /Smashwords Apple iTunes

Arc Over TimeAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes

Carved in StoneAffinity eBooks / Amazon US / Amazon UK / Barnes & Noble / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes


A Dedication

As a reader I never used to pay much attention to dedications in books. It was likely to be the author’s wife, husband, children…maybe just a name, maybe a few words of appreciation.

Now, that I’m seeing my work in print, I do give these more consideration. With my first three published novels, I followed the usual pattern…Book 1, my wife, Book 2, my mother, Book 3, my best friend. Book 4, however, was different. It’s dedicated to a cat. I haven’t run out of close relatives or friends but there is a reason for this departure from the norm.

The Circle Dance is a lesbian romance but there is one very important male character, Stevie. He’s a black cat and very much loved by the couple he owns, Jamie and Sasha. However, when they split up, Sasha gets everything…new girlfriend, new house, and Stevie. Jamie has nothing and is attempting to rebuild her life in a different town living in rented accommodation, low-paid job, riding a bicycle to work (Sasha took the car as well).

As one of the other characters notes, Jamie would probably have coped better with the whole breakup trauma if she’d been able to keep Stevie. (SPOILER ALERT: Jamie and Stevie are reunited during the story.)

Anyway, back to the story behind the dedication for this book. I was standing in line at the GCLS 2015 conference waiting for the registration desk to open and someone said “Hello”. When I turned around I was face to face with Sandra Moran. I’d never met her before, only via Facebook, but there she was… the tallness, the hair, the smile…in person. Amazingly, she recognised me as well. After exchanging comments about the weather (she must have had some British genes), I offered my condolences for her cat Spencer who had died only a few weeks earlier. She was quite moved that a virtual stranger would have remembered Spencer but, like many other people, I was a “friend” of Spencer’s on Facebook and enjoyed the banter Sandra created between them.

What came out of my mouth next was a surprise to me as I hadn’t planned to say it. I told her that my latest novel, due to be published in early 2016, featured a black cat and that Spencer had been the inspiration for him. I went on to say that if she didn’t mind I would like to dedicate the book to Spencer.

Now, I’d only just met this woman and already caused emotional upset. Luckily, in a good way. Not only was she delighted with this idea, but she offered to let me use one of Spencer’s poems in the dedication.

When I talked to my publisher about this, they said that was fine as long as I obtained Sandra’s written permission to use the poem.

To make a long story longer, when I got back from New Orleans, I emailed Sandra to check she was still okay with this idea. She replied right away and sent me three poems so I could choose the one that I thought most suitable.

During our email correspondence I mentioned that the couple in the story had named their cat after Stevie Nicks, thinking he was female when they picked him up from the cat rescue place. She then told me that the same thing had happened with Spencer who spent the first month of his life with them being called Annie. (Another amazing connection – one of the characters in the book is called Annie.)

Anyway, I selected a poem and she duly sent me permission to “reprint Spencer’s truly awful poetry”.

This exchange of emails was in August 2015. Neither of us knew then that Sandra’s life would come to an abrupt end just over two months later. Whatever fates led me to that moment in New Orleans, I’m grateful that I had the chance to make that connection with Sandra, albeit briefly. The dedication in the book is as much for her as for Spencer. (And also for black cats everywhere.)

In doing some research for another book I read that in Norse mythology, Asgard, the home of the gods, is accessed by crossing the rainbow bridge. I like to think that both Sandra and Spencer made that crossing and are enjoying each other’s company again. Sandra will have introduced Thor and all the gods and goddesses to the art of moraning and Spencer will be free to continue writing “truly awful poetry”.

Note: My wife and I don’t have any pets as we’re both highly allergic. However, we have at times enjoyed the company of cats who have visited. As Sandra demonstrated with her photos of Spencer, black cats are quite difficult to photograph well. When we lived in London our neighbour’s cat, Sooty, was a regular visitor and I delved into our old photo albums to find these only two pictures we have of him.


Sooty in the garden


Sooty on the window ledge

Book links for The Circle Dance: Affinity eBooks/Amazon US / Amazon UK / Bella BooksSmashwords / Apple iTunes

Ebook links for The Starling Hill Trilogy (still available on Kindle Unlimited):

Starting Over: Amazon US / Amazon UK

Arc Over Time: Amazon US / Amazon UK

Carved in Stone: Amazon US / Amazon UK

A time for literary festivals

The experience of attending the 2015 GCLS Conference has left me wanting more. It was such a wonderful few days of sharing – not just our love of books but also a sense of community and acceptance—a time of meetings on many different levels. (Selection of photos below)

So, I’m thrilled to have been invited to be part of the inaugural Lesbian Authors Festival at the Hideaway Café in Urmston (Manchester UK). This is the brainchild of the Sponge Sisters (as Cari Hunter has helpfully pointed out – this means they make cakes, not take baths). An afternoon of readings, discussions, book signings…with cake…is scheduled for 12 September starting at 2pm. The authors lined up along with myself are: Cari Hunter, Karen Campbell, I Beacham, Veronica Fearon, Michelle Grubb and the recent winner of a Goldie, Andrea Bramhall who received an award for Best Lesbian Romance for her book, Nightingale, at this year’s conference.

Hideaway Cafe

Please come along if you are in the area. The Café’s Festival also includes displays of work by local artists plus live music…oh, and cake. (Facebook page link – check here for updated info and location details)

It may be no coincidence that the Hideaway Café’s Festival precedes the Manchester Literature Festival which runs from 12 to 25 October – with a number of preview events being held in September. The MLF features a high profile lesbian presence with talks by Jeannette Winterson, Val McDermid, and our poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy. And that’s just a small part of a programme that has 85 events to choose from including workshops, performances and tours.

Photos from GCLS (I didn’t take many – too busy doing something I didn’t’ think came naturally to me – talking to people, taking part in readings and panels…and enjoying it all!)

Reading from Starting Over Beignets With Annette Mori With Erin O'Reilly, Annette Mori and Ali Spooner

Ready to sign books

Affinity authors Final day - packing up

…until next year! Hope to see you there…

Romance abounds in these two books:

Arc Over Time, released by Affinity eBooks in May 2015 – available from Affinity eBooks / / / Bella Books / Barnes & Noble / Smashwords / iTunes

My debut novel, Starting Over – available from Affinity eBook PressAmazonBarnes & NobleBella Books,Smashwords, and iTunes.

A Conference with a View

My first GCLS Conference and what a fantastic experience! The words and photos on this blog barely begin to describe the effect of the time spent in New Orleans.

When I first saw the programme for this event last August, I didn’t hesitate to book. Dorothy Allison’s name jumped out and grabbed me. I’ve read all her books and although my life experiences have been nothing like hers, the power of her writing drew me in. What I didn’t expect when I attended the reading she gave, was the extra dynamics she could project – taking the words from the page and giving them life. That and her keynote speech were the exceptional highlights of the conference for me.


There were other wonderful times throughout the three and a half days (not nearly long enough) – meeting people, taking part in panels and even doing a reading of my own.

Another reason for making the long trip from the UK was the opportunity to meet my publisher and other Affinity authors for the first time. We are a diverse group with the others having come from Australia, New Zealand, as well as covering most of the United States from Washington State to Florida and places in-between—but we bonded well and had a great time getting to know each other. There was a lot of laughter.

Nancy did a great job with the table display, so I couldn’t resist having my photo taken with it on the first day. Many thanks to everyone who stopped by the Affinity table to talk with us and buy books.


The city of New Orleans is fascinating and I was pleased to have a room with a view, looking down on the Mississippi River. I could have sat and watched the ships going past all day. Only being there for a week and spending most of that time in the hotel, I didn’t see a lot of the city, but what I did see was delightful. Great to see that Katrina hadn’t succeeded in destroying the vibrant spirit of the people who live and work there.


My wife didn’t come with me but she had a bottle of Champagne delivered to my room when I arrived. Not wanting to drink alone, I shared this with some of the Affinity crew by way of celebrating completing my first public reading session without falling over, although I did start to lose my voice part way through. (And a kind woman in the audience brought me a glass of water.)


Affinity eBook Press is celebrating their 5th year in publishing and with nine authors present for this event, they pushed the boat out (pun intended) in hospitality terms. And these women can party! I’m a lightweight on the drinking front and was in awe when Erin O’Reilly and J M Dragon downed their Fireballs in one. (I think several more were consumed after I’d gone to bed.) Saturday night there was cause for further celebration when ‘The One’ by J M Dragon received a Goldie Award.


Heartfelt thanks to the GCLS for their professional organisation of such a fantastic event. I met some lovely people and look forward to the developing of friendships through social media until we have the chance to meet again in person.

My books:

Arc Over Time – available from Affinity eBooks / / / Bella Books / Barnes & Noble / Smashwords / iTunes

Starting Over – available from Affinity eBook Press / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books / Smashwords / iTunes.

Den’s Dilemma

Last week, I featured Jasmine Pepper, one of the characters from my second novel, Arc Over Time. This week, I’m giving you a look at Denise Sullivan.

Denise, usually called Den, is a journalist who lives in London and is in a sort-of long distance relationship with Dr Kathryn Moss, who lives two hundred miles north of the capital and looks like planning to move even further north. I say it’s a ‘sort-of’ LDR because Den is more committed to the relationship than Kathryn.

At the end of Chapter One, all seems to be well with these two. They’ve kissed and made up and had a weekend of great sex before Kathryn heads back up north. However, in Chapter Two, a week has passed and Den is feeling frustrated as she hasn’t had so much as a text message from her lover and she isn’t answering her phone calls.

So, it seems like a night out on the town might be a good idea…or not:

Excerpt from Chapter Two:

Den looked around the sparsely furnished room. No books anywhere. What had she let herself in for? The idea of a casual shag with this woman had seemed like a good idea an hour ago when they were dancing at the club.

A few beers, music, flashing lights, it hadn’t taken much to get in the mood, trying to recapture the carefree self who had revelled in nights like this. That was before she met Kathryn. And now, a Friday night, five days since Kathryn left on the early morning train, and she’d only had one short text from her. Den had tried to ring her but always got the answering service. She’d left messages, but nothing. It was as if the Saturday and Sunday before hadn’t happened.

Now, in this stranger’s house, hearing the toilet flush, the initial flash of desire left as quickly as it had appeared. She knew she couldn’t do this; it would just be going through the motions. Not fair to Lindy or Lucy, or whatever her name was. Shit.

A vision emerged from the bathroom. The woman looked pretty hot, stripped down to her underwear. A lacy black bra barely containing full, rounded breasts, and skimpy panties that covered even less of her mound of luscious-looking dark curls. Den could feel her body responding. She licked her lips.

“Look, I’m sorry, Lindy. But I can’t do this.”

“It’s Libby. What’s the matter, babe? Don’t you like what you see?” she arched her back provocatively.

“Sure. I like it a lot. But I have to go.” Den backed towards the door.

“You’re fucked up! You know that?” Libby’s full bottom lip trembled.

“Yeah, I know.” There was no graceful way to make her exit. “Maybe some other time. Bye.”

She stumbled out onto the street, not even sure where she was. They’d been glued to each other’s lips in the taxi ride from the club. Pulling out her phone, she clicked onto the map. Google would help her out.

Walking to the end of the road, she found her location before the phone app did. It wasn’t far from Henry’s. Christ, I hope I’m not going to run into Libby in one of my locals any time soon.

How do things work out for Den and Kathryn? Well, it’s all in the book. Although this is a sequel to my debut novel, Starting Over, I’m pleased that several reviewers have commented that it can be read as a stand-alone story.

The latest review now on Planet London’s website makes this point very well. And if I weren’t married already, I would be proposing to the reviewer who finished off the review with this comment: “Jen Silver is an accomplished writer and her book is an engaging read that wouldn’t be out of place on a shelf with fiction from the US.”


Golden Crown Literary Society

On another note – I’m counting down the days to my trip to NOLA for the GCLS conference. My publisher, Affinity E-book Press, is celebrating their fifth anniversary and ten of their authors will be at the event. This month they also published their 100th book. So, please stop by the Affinity table in the Vendor area and say hello (and maybe pick up a paperback or two!).


Romance abounds in these two books:

Arc Over Time – available from Affinity eBooks / / / Bella Books / Barnes & Noble / Smashwords / iTunes

Starting Over – available from Affinity eBook Press / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Bella Books / Smashwords / iTunes.

Confessions of a Con Virgin

In July I’m attending the GCLS Conference in New Orleans. This is a first for me in a number of ways.

I’ve never attended a literary event as a published author. The events I’ve been to as a reader are few and far between. In 1985 I went to a Science Fiction festival in Toronto. My main objective was to see Ursula K LeGuin read and I still have a precious signed copy of The Left Hand of Darkness. The only other event was the Hay-on-Wye festival held each year in a small town on the Wales side of the Welsh/English border. The main attractions at that event were Ruth Rendell and Beryl Bainbridge – back in the mists of time, I can’t remember the year, but I think it was the late eighties. We couldn’t get near Ruth Rendell, but Beryl was sitting at a corner table of the pub we went into, and I was too shy to go over and talk to her. I wish now that I had plucked up the courage.

Doing a public reading is another first. I’ve only ever read bits of my work in the safe environment of creative writing classes. This is going to be nerve-wracking as I’m in very prestigious company – the other authors reading on Friday morning after the break are: Pat Cronin, Lee Lynch, A L Duncan and Riley Adair Garret. So, wish me luck, folks.

Being on a panel – not just one, two! (When I volunteer, I go all the way!)

The first is on Thursday afternoon. I hope I’m well over any jetlag by then. The topic is “Do I have to go outside? Research at the Desk and in the Field.” Again I’m in august company with Stacia Seaman as moderator and fellow panelists Cheyne Curry, Rachel Gold, Sandra Moran and Justine Saracen.

The second panel is on Saturday afternoon when a group of debut authors get to talk about their books. The title of the session is “So, I had this idea…” Our moderator is Karin Kallmaker, so I may well have fainted before it’s my turn to speak. The other panelists are: Kris Bryant, C d Cain, Sandy Duggar, A L Duncan, and Laina Villeneuve.

Visiting New Orleans is also a first. My forays into the US have mainly been in the northern parts as I lived in Canada for many years. The furthest south I’ve been is probably Carpinteria, near Santa Barbara – and that was in winter. All advice welcome for someone used to cooler summer weather. I’m not sure how I will cope with the sizzling heat. Probably by staying inside with the aircon.

My publisher will also be at the conference. So it’s a chance to meet the members of the Affinity team in person for the first time as well.

A little over six weeks to go before it all kicks off. I’m looking forward to meeting the many wonderful people I’ve met via Facebook, and nerves about public speaking aside, the opportunities offered by the conference to expand my horizons both as a writer and a reader.

This photo represents what I will look like – either before or after the reading and panel sessions. (And when I will no longer be a con virgin!)


Arc Over Time, released by Affinity eBooks in May 2015 – available from Affinity eBooks / / / Bella Books / Barnes & Noble / Smashwords / iTunes

My debut novel, Starting Over – available from Affinity eBook PressAmazonBarnes & NobleBella Books,Smashwords, and iTunes.