Blowing our own trumpets!

I was reflecting on what very talented friends I have, and thinking about what they have achieved, and I was also thinking a little tiny a bit about myself and what I’ve achieved.

I’ve known Andrew Simpson since I was eighteen and since he has become a full time writer he has become the expert on Chorlton-cum-Hardy in Manchester; not only has he had a street exhibition with artist Peter Topping, but he has given talks, led walks, broadcast, blogged and written a book. He has several other exciting projects in the pipe-line, I’m so proud of him!

Old friends, best friends

Andrews stories and Peter Toppings pictures in a recent exhibition

andrew bookFind out more about Andrew, an even more about the history of Chorlton, Derby and Eltham as well as much more:

Ros Cuthbert and I went to school together from the age of 16; she went on to train as an artist; she is so talented in so many ways, and having spent most of her life painting, she has begun a second life in music. She plays, she sings, she performs, she writes and she has just released her second CD. her first beautiful album was mostly covers of standards, but now (so exciting!) Ros has released a CD of her own songs.


Ros’s first CD ‘Two Sides to Lucky’ and her new one ‘Ghost Child’ are available on her website – you might also like toe explore and see some of her art work!

Marianne McAleer is a friend I met through learning Gaelic.

open day 6

She is extraordinarily talented and has won countless, countless competitions and fleadhs. She has a sensational voice and she too has just released a second CD. I haven’t got the link at the moment, but just watch and listen to this:

My oldest friend… I mean my friend who I have known for longest is Frankie Partridge; Frankie has probably been drawing and painting for as long as she could hold a pencil or paintbrush; I’ve always loved her work, and can remember paintings she did when she was 11! She has produced work in a variety of styles and used many different techniques, and at present is combining her passion for science with her art; our fathers were both scientists which explains her fascination.

Me and Frankie working in the garden, I wonder what we were writing in those days?
Me and Frankie working in the garden, I wonder what we were writing in those days?

archive_7025_TheLloydGillGallery-1I have a print of this above my fireplace!

You can look at some of Frankie work here:

My cousin Caroline, a best friend as well as cousin,  is like super-woman; she is always busy, at work, with the family, involved in village life, and yet always has time for friends and relations! She’s amazing… and she can sing! She is part of her village choir, Witchford Voices, and they too have released a CD. What a lot of great music there is these days!


Here is a link to the CD and to the choir web-site:

And me… well, I’ve published five e-books and three children’s books!


  1. Peter Bull

    Lois, I’d like to edit your last sentence.

    Instead of “And me… well, I’ve published five e-books…”, I think that should read “And me… well, I’ve published five books…”, or, if you like “And me… well, I’ve published five novels…”, or even “And me… well, I’ve published five volumes of adult fiction, and three children’s books.” And that’s a fantastic achievement.

    I know you don’t mean it to, but when you say you have published some ‘e-books’, that sounds almost apologetic, almost as if they aren’t really ‘published’, they’re only ‘e-published’. Like digital publishing is some sort of inferior process.

    I suppose, once upon a time, someone (especially if they were self-deprecatingly English) might apologetically say “I’ve published five paperbacks’, if their publisher hadn’t gone to the additional expense of a hardback version instead, but who cares about stitched binding instead of glued, or stiff instead of floppy cover boards today? Libraries used to, perhaps, but no-one would judge the quality of a work of fiction by that criteria today.

    You are a novelist, and your books are absolutely real books because of the structure and scope and quality of their content, not because of the particular technology that delivers the text to your readers, which is increasingly irrelevant. Electronic duplication instead of offset printing onto paper is a mainstream publishing format now, and will very soon be the only option there is for almost any kind of text, particularly text-only fiction – and so it should be.


    1. Lois

      Thank you Peter… self-deprecatingly English… yes that is so true. I guess I was trying to focus on celebrating my friends’ achievements… but I do find it difficult to really believe that me self-publishing is the same as a publisher recognizing the worth of my work and putting it out on book shelves in book shops. Perhaps I should be more proud of myself… it’s obviously the way I was brought up! Thank you for your comments, much appreciated!


      1. Peter Bull

        Traditional publishers are interested primarily in minimising the risk and maximising the financial return for any given investment in printing and promoting that they decide to make. They aren’t interested in niche audiences, only mass audiences, nor even the literary quality of a work, except in how it might affect their potential returns. So your best confirmation of your work’s worth is whether it is being read and enjoyed, not whether some disinterested print publishing business thinks you are a good commercial bet.

        The best thing about digital publishing, it seems to me, is that it offers the chance for writers to find and connect with a readership – as you are doing with your books and your blog – in ways they could not do if some publishing house was in the way. This direct connection between artists and audiences is happening in other fields too. Kate Miller-Heidke is a talented young Brisbane-based singer-songwriter who you would probably not have heard of. She has already had four or five albums released through Sony, quite successfully, but I read today that she has now ditched her record company, and is relying on her fans to finance the production of her next album by pre-ordering it online. The response to her appeal for funding has been immediate and more than adequate, and it means that she is now completely in charge of her own musical destiny, no longer controlled by her record company’s preference of what they want to sell.

        Digital disintermediation encourages artists – even those with talents that are not what you would call mainstream – to find and satisfy an appreciative audience, however small that niche might be, and gradually grow and nurture that fanbase through their own efforts without having to first satisfy some accountant with a spreadsheet. That’s not ‘second best’, it’s wonderfully liberating.


      2. Lois

        It is amazing isn’t it… I’m interested in your mention of Kate M-H, I’ll look her up. Kickstarter is another great way for creative people,, painters, singers, musicians, writers, to get sponsorship for their work, by-passing conventional methods of production. I’ve contributed/sponsored an Inuit singer/songwriter, Simon Lynge on his new album…. looking forward to hearing it!


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