Category Archives: publication

Mel Sherratt No.1 bestseller in the UK and US!

Watching Over You by Mel SherrattCongratulations to Mel Sherratt on her No.1 position for psychological thrillers this week on both the UK and US Amazon charts.

WATCHING OVER YOU (Thomas & Mercer) has been out for just over a week and it is already a bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic.

‘Watching Over You is a tense, erotic thriller with one of the most terrifying antagonists I’ve ever read. The worst terrors are always those that hide closest to home and Charley’s experiences–negotiating her path alone–will be familiar to many.  She is as vulnerable as any of us, stronger than she realises, and yet still in mortal danger. Charley is my new best friend, and Ella a terrifying villain–outwardly ordinary and utterly unhinged.

Watching Over You is the book you’ll wish you could read from behind a cushion’   – Elizabeth Haynes, author of Into the Darkest Corner


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Mel Sherratt’s WATCHING OVER YOU is celebrated at Amazon Publishing and the MM Literary Agency

MS 2 bit of colour                  Watching Over You by Mel Sherratt

Amazon Publishing / Thomas & Mercer have just published Mel Sherratt’s new psychological suspense thriller, WATCHING OVER YOU.  They have a huge level of promotion in store for this terrifying, yet compulsive thriller.

‘Watching Over You is a tense, erotic thriller with one of the most terrifying antagonists I’ve ever read. The worst terrors are always those that hide closest to home and Charley’s experiences–negotiating her path alone–will be familiar to many. She is as vulnerable as any of us, stronger than she realises, and yet still in mortal danger. Charley is my new best friend, and Ella a terrifying villain–outwardly ordinary and utterly unhinged.’ –Elizabeth Haynes, author of Into the Darkest Corner

 You’ll never trust your neighbours again…  

Following the death of her husband and unborn child, Charley Belington sells the family home and bravely starts life over again. On moving into a new flat, she is befriended by her landlady, Ella, who seems like the perfect friend and confidante.

 But, unbeknown to Charley, Ella is fighting her own dark and dirty demons as the fallout from a horrific childhood sends her spiralling down into madness—and unspeakable obsessions.

 As Ella’s mind splinters, her increasingly bizarre attentions make Charley uneasy. But with every step Charley tries to take to distance herself, Ella moves in a tightening lockstep with her, closer and closer and closer…

From the bestselling author of Taunting the Dead comes a raw, intense, relentless, and darkly claustrophobic psychological thriller that grabs you by the back of the neck and never lets you go. 

Mel Sherratt has written feature articles for The Guardian, the Writers and Artists website, and Writers Forum Magazine, to name just a few, and regularly speaks at conferences, event and talks.  Her crime and thrillers have sold in excess of 100,000 copies since publication, and her crime debut, TAUNTING THE DEAD, soared to the rank of No.1 best-selling police procedural in the Amazon Kindle store in 2012.

Amazon's publication banner on the Kindle Books page

Amazon’s publication banner on the Kindle Books page

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WICKED WIVES launched for an American audience


The Madeleine Milburn Agency is celebrating the publication of Anna-Lou Weatherley’s WICKED WIVES in America.  Bookouture published WICKED WIVES for all American readers today.  Milburn says: ‘It’s wonderful to expose this bestselling British author to a whole new audience’.  The UK edition was published by HarperCollins this summer.

Wicked Wives

Why does it feel so good being bad? 

A note from the author

It’s a question I have asked myself many times over the years!  I have to admit that I have always had an endless fascination with wicked women or ‘femme fatales’ as I prefer to call them. You know the type of women I mean, effortlessly glamorous whose presence can be felt long after she’s left the room (in a cloud of expensive perfume, naturally), the kind who leaves a trail of broken hearts and promises behind her; a strong, sensual and independent woman who’s not afraid to get what – or indeed, who – she wants while managing to retain an air of vulnerability and femininity about her.

While the female protagonists in WICKED WIVES are sometimes feisty, occasionally fierce and, I hope you’ll agree, always, always glamorous, they are never truly wicked, at least not  in the traditional sense of the word (although Loretta does have her moments!). Being wicked for me is an attitude; it is being unapologetic for taking no prisoners, and of course, for looking fabulous while you do it!

I think it is essential that all women should indulge their inner bad girl at least once in their lifetime. I’ve certainly had my moments; abandoning an ex-boyfriend one New Year’s eve to hitch a ride in a Portuguese pop star’s Porsche springs to mind, as does almost being arrested for throwing a pair of shoes at a man during an argument in a very posh London restaurant – what was I thinking? They were brand new Jimmy Choo’s after all!

So, paying homage to wicked women everywhere I have compiled a list of my favourite luscious lovelies (both real and fictional, in no particular order) who, naughty by nature, put the oh-so good into being bad….

Eve: The naked temptress! Arguably the girl who kicked it all off by taking a forbidden bite out of the serpent’s apple, thus creating the original sin and giving women a bad name the world over. The moral here? Never trust a snake!

Bonnie Parker: One half of infamous 1930 outlaws, Bonnie and Clyde. She may have been diminutive in stature but this bad-girl bandit had balls the size of space hoppers, particularly when brandishing a weapon, which she was want to do on occasion, incidentally.

Cleopatra: The ultimate seductress who not only ruled Egypt, but also the hearts of the world’s most powerful men at the time, Julias Caesar and Mark Anthony. She also liked to bathe in asses milk to keep her skin in tip top condition, as you do, and looked pretty damn hot in a headdress to boot.

Elizabeth Taylor: No surprise then that luscious liz, Hollywood legend and herself a successful seductress, was cast as the sensual Egyptian queen in the epic film adaptation of Cleopatra’s life. Liz went through marriages like pigs through bone, walking up the aisle no less than eight times in her lifetime. Her tempestuous yet wildly passionate relationship with Richard Burton (whom she married twice) was the stuff of legend.

Mae West: The undisputed queen of the caustic one-liner and a true bad gal to the core. Although she was most famous for being a Hollywood sex symbol, minxy Mae was once prosecuted on moral grounds for writing a risqué play entitled ‘Sex’ and was sentenced to 10 days in prison. ‘Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me,’ is just one of her many unforgettable quips.

Nancy Friday – Author of the controversial ‘My Secret Garden’ (or should that be My Secret Lady Garden?’) which caused a right old uproar when it was first published 25 years ago, proving to the world (i.e men) that –  shock horror – women have sexual fantasies and are a little bit naughty too!

Nancy Dell’olio: Something in a name perhaps? She’s the loud, louche, striking Italian diva who seems to have been the same age for ten years and had a high profile affair with one-time England football manager Sven Gorren Erkisson. Ever modest, the unrepentantly sexy Nancy once quipped during an interview, ‘of course other women are jealous, I mean, look at me!’ Plus she also wore a red rhinestone encrusted jumpsuit to number 10. A guilty pleasure.

Joan Collins (as Alexis Coly in Dynasty): The finely arched sardonic eyebrow, the blood red lips, the omnipresent champagne flute, the shoulder pads! Alexis Colby (perfectly played by Joan, another wicked woman in her own right), connived, corrupted and colluded in a bid to get her revenge on her ex-husband, Blake Carrington and his fragrant (yet not nearly so much fun) wife Crystal. Although she was portrayed as ruthless, using her sexuality as a deadly weapon, there was a vulnerable side to Alexis, making her one of the most iconic and best loved TV bad girls of all time.

Joan Rivers: Unapologetic, award-winning motor-mouth US comedienne and talk show host, Ms Rivers is certainly no stranger to controversy. A self-confessed lover of cosmetic surgery, Rivers once handcuffed herself to someone’s shopping cart in Costco because they refused to stock her NY Times best-selling book while shouting ‘ I hate everyone…starting with me,’ through a megaphone. You tell ‘em Joanie.

Madonna: No list would be complete without the original Material girl. The queen of the shock tactic needs no introduction, from her crucifix days gyrating on a gondola while singing about virginity, to that book, to that bra, to the lesbian flings and failed marriages and countless controversial stage shows, the list goes on and looks like it has every intention of continuing still…

Other wonderfully wicked women worth a mention include… Courtney Love, Lady Ga Ga, Tania Turner in Footballers Wives (brilliantly portrayed by Zoe Lucker), Angelina Jolie, Joan Jett, Pam Grier, Dita Von Teese, Bettie Paige, Kate Moss…

I would love to hear from you. Tweet me at @annaloulondon or find me on facebook/ChelseaWives.

And finally, in the inimitable words of Mae West, remember this:

“There are no good girls gone wrong – just bad girls found out.”

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UK Bestselling author Victoria Fox launched in America

Hollywood Sinners by Victoria Fox

The all-new American edition of HOLLYWOOD SINNERS by Victoria Fox is published in the US today by Bookouture.  Readers in America can now get hold of the ebook edition by clicking on the cover below:

Hollywood Sinners Bookouture

Praise for Victoria Fox

I was blown away…I truly didn’t want it to end…Hollywood Sinners is a book to pack in your suitcase this summer’ 5/5 – 

‘Like Louise Bagshawe but cooler, Fiona Walker with more balls, and Jackie Collins only funnier. Loved it’. 10/10 – 

‘For a trip to ultimate escapism, take the Jackie Collins freeway, turn left at Sexy Street, right at Scandal Boulevard. Your destination is Victoria Fox’s Hollywood’ –

‘This sweltering tale about the dark side of showbiz had us completely hooked’. 5 Star Book of the Week – Now

‘Sure to be a huge hit and perfect for the beach’ – The Sun

‘This debut novel is full of sex, glamour and divas!’ 4 stars – Star 

Scandalous. Glamorous. Sexy. Victoria Fox’s sassy, sparkling debut puts the bonk back into bonkbuster!’ – Lovereading

Get your scandal fix here!’ – Closer

‘This summer’s hottest novel. Hollywood Sinners…is giving Jackie Collins a run for her money’ – That’s Life!

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Can publishers make shorter fiction popular again?

Tales of the Unexpected by Roald DahlMy favourite collection of short stories is the incredibly eerie TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED by Roald Dahl, quite an unexpected departure from what he’s most well-known for.  I came across this collection when I was a teenager, and I remember feeling so surprised at how difficult it was to find other collections of short stories in bookshops.

Traditionally, only short stories by well-known authors have been successful in the book market, so publishers are rarely able to publish collections by less well-known writers.  Yet short stories have always been a way for new writers to gain recognition, either through writing competitions or having short stories published in magazines, before going on to write longer fiction.

For me, the market is ready for short stories and shorter content given the growing popularity of e-reading devices, and the snatched moments from our busy lives that we give up to read.  Digital devices all support shorter content, and in this format content can be priced accordingly.  Just as I want to read the first three chapters of a submission before committing to more, I imagine people would love to read a sample of a writer’s work before buying their full length novel.  That’s why Kindle sampling has been so popular.

More risks can be taken with shorter fiction and non-fiction, but I believe there is a long way to go.  Releasing digital short stories are a way that my clients ‘keep hold’ of their readers between publication of their ‘big books’.  These are always popular.  Agency author, Belinda Jones, compiled the anthology Sunlounger, which consists of over 40 short stories by different authors. It was published this summer and sold over 20,000 ebook copies in the first two weeks.  What got me thinking about this in more detail was an excellent article I came across on how short content can be used by publishers in the digital world:  The Digital Middle.  Amazon Publishing in the US has already jumped on the wagon, launching an imprint called StoryFront dedicated to short fiction and poetry, and Kindle Singles mentioned in the article.  More publishers now have digital only imprints, for instance Harlequin’s Carina Press, so it’s likely that more will follow suit.

Just as the printing revolution of the 19th century saw reading material become more widely accessible  –  snatched readings of the latest serialised novel in the back of a stagecoach  –  so now people are able to download bite-sized content in an instant. Perhaps, with this instantaneous magic of the download and the endless possibilities of updating, sharing and engaging with digital texts, this kind of drip-feeding of content is due to come back into the limelight.

Front cover of a serialisation of 'The Three Musketeers' by Alexandre Dumas pere (1803-70) late 19th century (engraving)  Books in tablet computer and smartphoneKindle

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20 days ’til Christmas: The Literary Agency Advent Calendar

In the run up to Christmas, the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency will be posting an entry from one of our authors each day, offering anything from writing tips and their inspiration, to Christmas memories and their wishes for the year to come.


Karen Ross

So this time last year, my chance of getting a book deal seemed only a little less likely than the prospect of waking up on Christmas Day to discover Ryan Gosling gift-wrapped at the end of my bed.

December 25th came and went. The closest I got to Mr Gosling was a DVD of Crazy, Stupid, Love.  And as for that book deal . . .

. . . But I DID have a book:  written, revised and parked on the hard drive of my computer.  I thought it was quite good, although the publishing industry seemed mysteriously to disagree.  I heard many sob stories about ‘publishing in turmoil’.  I was warned, ‘All the really good literary agents get three hundred queries a week – and take on about four clients a year.’  I was advised,  ‘Self-publish and hope to make a splash’.

But then I discovered there’s another way for a writer to get noticed. 

Actually, the whole thing was an accident.  I was playing around on Twitter instead of, er, working, and I happened to see a Tweet about a writing competition.  What appealed to me about this particular contest was that the deadline was the following day – and there was a prize of £1,000.

Before anyone could say, ‘You’re supposed to be writing a thousand words today’,  (if only my dog could talk, perhaps I would become the prolific writer I aspire to become) I observed myself responding to the deadline.

First three chapters:  PRINT

Synopsis:  PRINT

Application Form:  PRINT


And that was how I came to enter the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize 2013.

You’ll be thinking I won the Competition, right?


I made it as far as the shortlist – a lot further than I had ever hoped for – and after the prize-giving dinner, I discovered someone had gone home wearing my coat. . . which contained my house keys. . . which led to a Night To Remember. . . which is a whole different story. . .

. . . And that was the end of that.

Except it turned out to be just the beginning.  Within the space of six weeks, I had acquired an agent and a book deal.  Put simply, the Competition increased my visibility within the publishing industry and jump-started the writing career I’d been chasing for longer than I’d spent believing in Father Christmas.

Your turn next?

 There are dozens of competitions for writers.  I just had a quick Google and discovered there’s currently a £50,000 publishing deal on offer, open to anyone who has never been published or self-published.

Of course, I thoroughly recommend the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize 2014.  Or if you’re up for a spot of razzle-dazzle, take a look at Bookstar 2014 – ‘the world’s first talent show for writers’ – where finalists will get to stand on stage, and read the opening of their book to a panel of judges.

Talking of which, here’s my top writing tip:  Always read your work out loud.  I find that every time I stumble, or fluff a line, it’s because I’ve written a clumsy sentence.

How will next year turn out?  If you’d like to find out what happens to me and my book,  I hope you’ll follow me on Twitter @ComedyKaren.  I’d love to hear from you – especially if I’ve inspired you to get competitive in 2014.

Karen Ross was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize 2013. Her debut novel MOTHER OF THE YEAR will be published by Ebury Press in February 2014. 

Mother of the Year by Karen Ross

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VIRGIN: Not having sex is the new taboo…

Radhika SanghaniThe agency is thrilled to see our author Radhika Sanghani feature in The Telegraph, describing the attitudes young people have towards sex today: Not having sex is the new taboo among Young Adults.  Radhika is a full-time journalist for The Daily Telegraph writing about women and women’s issues.  Following the article, she was interviewed on BBC Radio 2 this morning discussing attitudes towards sex.  Her debut novel VIRGIN will be published both in the UK and America in 2014.

Harlequin / M&B UK are rushing publication for August 2014 as is her US publisher, Penguin / Berkley.  Madeleine Milburn said ‘everyone was talking about VIRGIN at the book fair.  We had a heated auction for UK & Commonwealth rights, a significant six-figure pre-empt from the US and tons of offers from foreign publishers.  I’ve already tied up deals for translation rights in Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Norway, Brazil and Serbia – it has struck a chord everywhere.’


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