Robbie Cheadle


Travel with a book

I don’t need to tell you that there are various ways of travelling. And with concern about the climate and environment, more people are looking to stay local where possible. Irrespective of your views on travel and the climate, you can always go on a journey with a book – there’s a diverse choice at TSL.
However, if you’re more interested in types and means of travel or stories about travelling, here are a few to whet your appetite:

Train Alive – the train blueprint for what became known as the Dwight Eisenhower after WW2. During the war it was the train which transported Eisenhower around England.
If trains are not your thing, perhaps boats are:
How to be a popular crew by Dave Robson gives good advice on how to get along with fellow sailors on a yacht. I think it’s good advice for any team work scenario while also helping confirm whether you are suited to life working in confined spaces with others for a period of time.
Mary Moore Mason was involved in USA-British aviation history – read about it and other travel encounters in her memoir Goodbye Hoop Skirts – Hello World!.
Another travel memoir is that by Margaret Moore who shares how she saw Sri-Lanka over a number of visits in From Sri Lanka with Love.
Not all about travel but a fascinating insight into how people left Germany in 1934 for other countries, there’s From the Reich to Rhodesia by Peter Sternberg which also tells of how a young boy adapted to a new country.
Then there’s always time travel – something Nick Horgan embarks on in his collection of poetry and short stories – Memories of Time Travel
And, as we know travel encounters can be rather obscure – this is brought home in Rajeshwar Prasad’s play – The Travellers.
Other journey stories are the Tow Path series by Beatrice Holloway, and John Samson’s A donkey called Oddsock.
This is just a taster – there’s always Ray Wooster, Robbie Cheadle, Linda Kane and others who all have travel as a feature in their catalogues.


Dogs, Cats and Horses

You either love animals or you don’t… and of those who love animals, some have a preference for a particular kind or breed.
Here at TSL, we don’t discern… as seen in our collection of books about, or which feature, these fluffy creatures.

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National Poetry Day – did you miss it?

28 September is designated National Poetry Day – at least in the UK. At TSL, we don’t see one day as a special day – all days are special, so below are the our authors who also write poetry. TSL doesn’t specalise in poetry but we do have some poetry either as part of a collection or to support a charity.

Playwright and author Barbara Towell has a book of poetry Patchworks.
Kat Francois and Robbie Cheadle also publish poetry, albeit not through TSL.

To purchase a book, click on the image below:

first published 5 October 2017, updated 2024


I wrote a letter…

Letter writing has somewhat gone out of fashion today having been replaced by emails. I don’t know about you, but I still get a bit of a thrill when a letter arrives, not one from a bank or some other formal organisation, and especially if there’s an indication that it’s handwritten or done on what I call an old ‘tick tick typewriter’. Believe it or not, TSL sometimes gets such letters as a few of our authors have avoided all things technology-oriented which arrived after the old ‘tick tick’ machine. We’ve also had to get manuscripts re-typed so they can used in the electronic age – and can you imagine trying to explain how marketing now works through social media to people who have no idea of what the internet looks like, let alone anything like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest? This is digressing, back to letters.

I’m not a great fan but was taken with the frank honesty of Vanessa’s letter to her brother when I was looking up some links for Great Barn Poetry which had been run by Hillingdon Libraries in 2017. Vanessa seemed to capture the essence of sibling relationships and inspired this post.
I’m wondering though if I shouldn’t change my statement about not being a great poetry fan to rather say, ‘I’m not a great reader of poetry’ because hearing poetry read or recited brings it alive in a way my reading of it fails. So, here’s a Youtube performance of A Letter to You by Vanessa Kisuule.
Then in 2018, I discovered Kat Francois who summed up a day’s conference talks on the First World War in Africa in a poem at the end of the day – wow. (Kat has subseqently published with TSL the play about her relative Lazarus who served in Africa during the First World War – it includes poetry and mention of letters).

I’ve never read any of Maya Angelou’s work but know that many people regard her writing as significant and I’ve been taken with the odd quote attributed to her, so it seems appropriate to include her third book of 28 essays written to the daughter she never had, Letter To My Daughter (2009), in this post.

Twenty years earlier, in 1988, Kurt Vonnegut felt the need to write a letter to the people living in 2088. Nearly thirty years from when he wrote the letter, we seem to have stagnated or perhaps even regressed. Will those in 2088 be thinking the same or will a difference have been made?

TSL books which feature letters (or more like emails) include:
Anna Ryland – A Second Chance
Sue Hampton – Woken
Leslie Tate – Love’s Register

And here’s a selection of poetry by TSL authors in case your appetite for poetry was whet:

first published 14 June 2017, updated 2024


Robbie Cheadle appreciation

Robbie Cheadle

Robbie Cheadle has been an author with TSL since early days when she started the Sir Chocolate series. For anyone following Robbie’s blogs and writing, you’ll know she’s a prolific writer across a range of genres as well as illustrator. Sir Chocolate is illustrated with fondant characters and settings while her most recent book about Neema the Misfit Giraffe and not published by TSL Publications, shows off Robbie’s new hobby – painting.
This may strike you as strange coming from a publisher – promoting a book not published by the publisher – but that’s the TSL way, especially when we’ve been on the journey together. There comes a time when a book or series’ journey requires it to go in different directions. The opportunity presented to Robbie to publish Neema as she has came about through a South African that had to be embraced. Great going Robbie! and Michael, who co-authors with her.
From discussions I’ve had with Robbie over the years, we’ve both found the experience of working together, and also separately, invaluable in terms of market knowledge and the intricacies of the publishing world.
I don’t need to spell out the value of the Sir Chocolate series. The fact that the South African Department of Education has asked for copies of her books to go into primary schools says it all… and also says volumes about the connection Robbie has with young people – helped of course by son Michael.
Of Robbie’s other books, TSL has published While the Bombs Fell, co-authored with her mother Nancy Hancy Eaton and under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle, the book tells of her mother’s experience of growing up in England during the Second World War (compare with Ray Wooster‘s experiences).
Then, there’s A Ghost and His Gold – an adult novel set in the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902 as well as the present – a mystery surrounding buried gold. Get taken back in time to explore a significant aspect of white South African history and how it plays out in the 21st century.
Ghosts and things supernatural feature in other writing by Robbie too – Haunted Halloween Holiday is another children’s book, while Through The Nethergate is for older readers again. While the supernatural is not top of my preferred reading list, I appreciate the setting or context and the development of the story, recognising the supernatural elements are a means to facilating the action. A well-told story is always worth reading.


Bee Books

Bee Books

Bees are incredible little creatures and as diverse as mankind if you ask me. The African bee has a reputation of being more dangerous that the British one and the humble bumble bee does seem to bumble along. I’ve come across a number of books dealing with bees and so was surprised I hadn’t started a collection of ‘Bee books’ when I came across the Colour of Bee Larkam’s Murder by Sarah J Harris.

I was really taken with Go Set a Watchman which I reviewed as part of a collection on

Black and white: crossing the colour line

Colour can be eye-catching and nothing more so than black and white next to each other. It reminds me of a South African DJ commenting that Ebony and Ivory by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder was a song about piano-keys -if he hadn’t, perhaps the song would have been banned by the Apartheid government as black and white were not allowed to mix. Others who managed to avoid the radio ban to some extent were South Africa’s white Zulu, Johnny Clegg and Mango Groove.

And of course, at TSL we have:

Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Dough Bees story and cookbook (square)

A greedy snail damages the flower fields and the fondant bees are in danger of starving. Join Sir Chocolate on an adventure to find the fruit drop fairies who have magic healing powers and discover how to make some of his favourite foods on the way. (Square book)

Where the Bee sucks, a short story by Jane Lockyer Willis in

Tea at the Opalaco and other stories – Jane Lockyer Willis

A collection of twenty short stories. The Visit was commended for the 2011 John Walter Salver competition and Jane was also awarded second prize in 2015 for her story Undelivered. Several of her pieces have been adapted for radio. “An eclectic collection of stories exploring human relations” “Tearooms, picnics, weddings and romantic encounters abound”.

And there’s  Curse of Magira: A novel of East Africa by David Bee, which looks at the First World War in the south of East Africa, whilst Maya Alexandri’s The Celebration Husband covers the north (with one mention of bees). Other single mentions of bees can be found in Ezra Williams’ Selected Pieces and Guthrie McGruer’s The Cardigan Cuckoos.

first published 8 June 2018, updated 2024


Reading and Children

Without writers, there wouldn’t be books to read to children – your own or others. Watching their reactions to what they hear and later hearing them retell the story can be wonderful and a real eye-opener. And conversely, would we have authors if children weren’t inspired by the stories they heard growing up?

Robbie Cheadle, one of our children’s authors is a great promoter of reading to children as she explains. She also discusses whether childen should be allowed to read sad and scary books.

Jane Fallon talks of the books which influenced her as a writer. A number she read as a child.

Sue Hampton, another of our authors, has written over 20 children’s books (Y4x4, I am Me and ,I am Me 2 published by TSL). Clearly Sue sees a point in children reading and being read to.

In case you need more convincing, here’s an article on the 5 Joys of raising bookworms by a bookworm.

Looking for something different for children to read? Try something off these lists.

Christmas Stories recommended by Robbie Cheadle – 5 books

Kenyan stories- 9 books

Children’s Book Review for 2017 and more generally

Little Linguist seems to offer books in dual languages aimed at children – a good way to learn a language and about different cultures.

first published 29 March 2017, updated 2024