Josie Arden



The sea is powerful. For some it’s a source of inspiration and relaxation. For others, it’s dark and threatening. Thus it provides a wonderful backdrop for many stories.

Those which spring to mind include:
Albatross by David Stroud
The Goddess in Ravelled by Sue Hampton
Fancy That by Josie Arden in This and That vol 1
Stephen Baker makes waves in his monologue collection Against the Tide
And don’t miss John Samson‘s novel A Donkey Called Oddsock where a young boy goes in search of the sea.
Philip Philmar has a beautiful mermaid surrounded by waves on the cover of Warm and Wet, one of the stories in his short story collection of the same title.
The sea features too in Leslie Tate’s Love’s Register and in Margaret Moore’s holiday reminiscences From Sri-Lanka with Love.

Finally, Dave Robson shares how to be a popular crew member when sailing on the waves.

First published 12 April 2017, updated 2024


Enduring Art

The short story by Sue Vincent triggered this post on Art. Whilst reading it, my mind drifted to a short story I’d read (and didn’t make a note of) which also features a family heirloom with a past. I can visualise it: the young girl hiding in the cupboard of books and when caught saying she’d been reading it (upside down Latin). The gardener (reminiscent of Lady Chatterley’s Lover) had painted a fake so the owner could sell the original. One day I might find out who wrote it…

A painting of Foxton Lock in Josie Arden’s This and That vol 1 spurs a family search.
5 Gresham Place in Tea at the Opalaco by Jane Lockyer Willis tells a dark story of the fake painter Jeremy and his wife.

A little less enduring, only because it’s pavement art, is Poison Lady by Josie Arden in This and That vol 2

In addition to books mentioning art – see also Love’s Register by Leslie Tate – a number of TSL authors illustrate their own work:

first published 8 April 2017, updated 2024


Josie Arden appreciation

Josie Arden

Josie is one of TSL’s early signings. At the time, she was a member of the Harrow Writers’ Circle (sadly since closed) along with various other TSL authors. In some ways, Harrow Writers’ Circle could be said to have provided TSL’s core.

Josie had self published her Broken Ties of Time as a paper and hard back book which TSL launched as an ebook. This is an epic read, covering continents and classes. For all its length I recall it being a fairly fast and engaging read. Drugs, shady business dealings and double crossers out for their own gain abound.

In addition to Broken Ties of Time, Josie also published two collections of short stories – essentially pieces she wrote for Harrow Writers’ Circle competitions, etc. These cover a variety of topics and styles. You can see a bit more below of what I thought of the collection soon after publishing it.

At the time I was working with Josie on both Broken Ties of Time and the two volumes of This and That, she was nearly blind. Her tenacity in ensuring all was as perfect as it could be are an enduring memory. Josie is old school – something to be valued in this day and age of quick change. Whilst she could, although not engaing with social media, she would promote her books in her own way, sadly however that was not for long as her declining sight restricted her independence. Her three books, all available through TSL are testiment to a bye-gone era of writers.

The two volumes of This and That contain a total of 47 short stories arranged alphabetically by title. In some ways it’s an odd assortment of stories, all written for competitions at various stages throughout the author’s writing career.

In the main, however, the stories can best be described as sweet and gentle, ideal for someone wanting relaxing, pleasant read without having to work too hard. It’s the kind of book one can sit down and enjoy with a cup of tea. Having said this, there are some twists and turns in many of the tales, some going in unexpected directions.

The following stories stand out for me, months after having read the book, which is testament (at least in my opinion) to a story well told or which hit a nerve:
Can do Cindy (vol 1): This is the only story in the book which is specifically for children and was written to help the author’s granddaughter through a difficult patch. I love the talking trees.
Foxton Locks (vol 1): It must be the history research aspect of this story that hooked me. Investigating a painting can lead to some incredible discoveries.
Lotta Terracotta (vol 1): the colours evoked by the terracotta and the twist in the tale make this one a highlight.
Just a little pet (vol 1): every parent’s (and aunt’s) nightmare come true. Little boys will be little boys. I say no more, except mention reptile, so as not to give the story away. The young lad should be given credit for ingenuity.
York Express (vol 2): Things are not what they appear in this station encounter. How many times do we misread a situation and end up suffering the consequences unless a chance encounter gives us a second chance.
Norwegian experience.
The last rose of summer (vol 2): people are not always what they seem, but a bad situation can be turned to something good.
Carry on Red Cross (vol 1): What a community can achieve working together, or is it because of who you know?
The Spanish Christmas (vol 2): all’s well that ends well. Who knows how and why things go the way they do. A story of love and friendship.


Epic Reads

What is an epic read? In my books, it’s a ‘very’ long read – whether a series or a single book.
Doris Lesing’s 5 book saga of life in Rhodesia in the 1930s, collectively called The Children of Violence, has been my most challenging fictional epic read. Somehow non-fiction epics are different. They require a different reading strategy, possibly because I invariably know the outcome, unlike with a novel.
Two single book epics I found less challenging than Doris Lessing but still thought provoking are Leslie Tate’s Love’s Register and Josie Arden’s Broken Ties of Time.
The three books are very different.
Lessing follows the life of Martha Quest, the interwar years, colonial development and the arrival of the Communist Party in Southern Rhodesia, today’s Zimbabwe. The books include Martha Quest (1952), A Proper Marriage (1954), A Ripple from the Storm (1958), Landlocked (1965), and The Four-Gated City (1969).
Tate explores relationships in their diversity and climate issues. Loves Register brings together three separate stories in a single volume.
Arden, meanwhile, tells of the challenges a young wealthy woman has getting into a relationship with a determined and dominating man working on the wrong side of the law, crossing cultures and continents.

I’ve also included some other long reads (350+ pages) for you to consider reading… all worthwhile in my opinion.


Green Eyes or Brown? #books #readingforpleasure

Some time ago, I saw mention that only 2% of the world’s population have green eyes. The majority have brown and 10% have blue.

Seeing this, I wondered how important it was for authors to specify their characters’ eye colour, so took a look through TSL’s books to see what authors have done. The result is below. Do you think it’s important to specify eye colour or should that be left to the reader’s imagination? Marthe Kylie-Worthington in Family are the Friends you Choose also questions authors focus on eyes.

The cat, Ginger, in Anna Ryland’s A Second Chance
Marla in Josie Arden’s Broken Ties of Time
Raphaela in The last rose of summer in This and That 2 by Josie Arden
Isabel in The Visit in Tea at the Opalaco by Jane Lockyer Willis
Fairytales and Oddities by Ezra Williams
Grey-green eyes feature in A Perfumed Holiday in Stuffed! by Johannes Kerkhoven
In a break from green eyes, brown eyes are mentioned in The Stillbirth Marriage in The Roots that gave Birth to Magical Blossoms by Amna Agib (Bit Nafisa)

Other books:
Doris Lessing’s lead character in The Summer before the Dark has brown eyes.

Thanks Pablo for the image

aristocracy 0

Aristocracy: a developing theme

Aristocracy: a developing theme

Despite today’s ideas of equality, the Aristocracy still features strongly in literature. Suprisingly, in a number of books published by TSL. For this list, we turn things around adding a couple of other related books to those by TSL authors:

1. Maya Alexandri – The Celebration Husband features the von Brantburgs
2. Josie Arden – Broken Ties of Time featuring Lord Winsforth
3. Ray Wooster – A Boy’s War Journal 1942-1942 featuring the Bracon family

Short stories:
The Brute and the Beast in Ravelled and other stories by Sue Hampton
Where the bee sucks in Tea at the Opalaco and other stories by Jane Lockyer Willis

Children’s stories:
Sir Chocolate and the Strawberry Cream Berries by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

The bonus books are:
Lord Greystoke aka Tarzan
Count Dracula
Pomp and Circumstance by Sue Hampton

And more from TSL authors since 2016:

Big Name Hunting and A limerick romp through time – Arnie Wilson
From Commoner to Coronet by Beatrice Holloway

Henry Dawe performs Two Paces Back, a charity music video celebrating the life of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and raising funds in aid of The Silver Line helpline for older people.

Not quite an aristocrat but with a Crown in his name is Christopher Crown and the Immortal Signal by Tricia Price.

first pubilshed 20 July 2016, updated 2024

Thanks to Pablo for the image

Josie Arden, Novel 2

Broken Ties of Time – Josie Arden

Broken Ties of Time – Josie Arden

Broken Ties of Time was published in paperback and hardcover by the author. Unfortunately, at first glance this has made for a long, cumbersome book which is expensive. Josie finished the book as her sight was deteriorating and approached TSL for assistance. We took on publishing Broken Ties as an e-book and to help bring the book to your attention.

Yes, the book is long which for a debut author these days is regarded as unacceptable. Why, I ask, should long books only be for authors of standing? If the story deserves the length, let it be. And this one does. (With the advent of the e-book, a long book is lighter and often much cheaper, making it a low risk option.)

Apart from the twists and turns in the story – and there are a few – I was completely taken with the continuity of the text especially as I got deeper and deeper into the book. The book crosses towns in England and continents – from South America to Japan to Russia, as well as spanning about 40 years.

The thrust of the tale is how to protect an ancestral house which, by the time of the current family, is 400 years old. How do single parents try and give their only child an upbringing which is as ‘normal’ as possible and yet protect them from the horrors of the world when they’ve been secluded and allowed a free lead because dad has had to spend so much time running his business and travelling? How does a head-strong young woman get herself out of the difficulties she’s accidentally fallen into?

As much as I don’t particularly enjoy reading books in e-format, take the plunge if you enjoy a multi-cultural mystery. From having procrastinated about starting the book (because of the editing time I assumed it would take), I was soon engaged in the story. The book is a relatively easy read – many have told Josie so. I had to slow the process for editing reasons but it was easy to keep track of things and people. This could be a slight criticsm, Josie reminds the reader of who people are/what they were doing if there had been a bit of a time-break. For me, it was helpful and didn’t detract from the story or add unnecessarily to its length.

Copies of the book in paperback and hardback form are available for those who just cannot face an e-book.
Whichever you prefer, I think it’s worth a read.


Josie Arden

Josie Arden

Inspirational Voices Interview, 29 November 2015, with Josie Arden on ParaMania Radio (+/- 4min download, Josie is 1hr 4mins in)

Josie Arden was born in Peru and spoke only Spanish until the family returned to England at the outbreak of WW2, when she was eight. Even then, she was scribbling stories but only her parents could understand her dramatic tales, written, in “Spanglish”. After the war, she ran a thriving little business making Halloween witches’ costumes from discarded blackout curtains, for her friends.

At a small private school for 23 pupils, run by a dedicated teacher who taught ten subjects and cooked daily lunch for everybody, Josie learned the value of filling “the unforgiving minute”. With A-levels in English, French, Latin and History of Art, Josie studied Dress Design at Nottingham Art College. She worked one year in Paris, two years on the Daily Mirror and finally managed the London office of a Yorkshire advertising agency.

Marriage, raising two sons, the care of four other children and nursing a husband who needed twelve operations in fourteen years, brought writing to a temporary halt.

One hobby she shared with her husband was caravanning. Despite being so often ill, he insisted on their annual trips around France. Fortunately, they had both qualified on a towing induction course, so no problem for Josie to take over the towing.

Josie opened her keyboard again, as a widow and published her blockbuster novel, Broken Ties of Time at the age of 82. Concurrently, being a member of the Harrow Writers’ Circle, she was, as she put it, “never not witing”. Josie is much travelled and her stories, some true, some imagined, reflect not only her diverse experiences, but her close international friendships. She hopes This and That, her first volume of short stories, will lighten the tedium of your daily commute or any boring hours when you may be confined to the sick bed.

Article on Josie in My Pinner News (December 2015, p14)

Books by Josie

About Broken Ties of Time
If feuding drug barons were plotting to take over your home, which had been in the family for 400 years, wouldn’t you strive to preserve it for a while longer?

With no male heir and his free-spirited daughter, Maria, off abroad, Lord Richard Winsforth is in despair. The house Mecastra is in decay. Not wishing to lay the burden of its repairs on Marla while she is young, he nevertheless fears fortune hunters as men profess their love for his beautiful daughter.

Marla’s first relationship triggers cataclysmic and sinister events which nearly destroy the old house and it is only the doggedness of one man and his love for the Lady Marla which turns its grisly fortunes around.

What people are saying about Broken Ties of Time

A gripping thriller and romance

It is a good ‘page turner’

I couldn’t put the book down

A surprising amount of intrigue amongst so many characters

Penetrating observation of different walks of life

This and That Vol 1

1. >A Day to Remember
2. A Flower for my Love
3. Can Do, Cindy
4. Carry on Red Cross
5. Chelsea and QPR
6. Dare You To
7. End of the Road
8. Every Dog has his Day
9. Fancy that
10. First Man Down
11. For All of Us
12. Foxton Locks
13. In Production
14. Jeopardy in Josselin
15. Just a little Pet
16. Let there be Light
17. Lotta Terracotta
18. McDonald at the Menhirs
19. Meet the 10:25 Huh!
21. Midnight Madness
22. Millie’s Ghost

This and That Vol 2

1. My Tiger
2. No Greater Love
3. One Sarong Doesn’t Make a Right
4. Poison Lady
5. Redemption
6. Shades of Love
7. Small is Beautiful
8. The Black Leather Jacket
9. The Chasm of Years
10. The Good Secretary
11. The Last Rose of Summer
12. The Most Important Chapter
13. The Nameless Boys
14. The Spanish Christmas
15. The Sunhat
16. The Unscheduled Delivery
17. Top Tec
18. Two in a Million
19. VE Day Surprise
20. Wheeling Feeling Blue
21. Tricks from the Past
22. York Express
23. Moment of Truth
24. Barking Mad
25. Orphan Alley

What people are saying about This and That

A collection of short stories, some autobiographical, some fictional

Is very easy reading