Book Fair 2018

Hampshire Writers’ Society Published Members’ Book Fair

12th June 2018 from 6pm – 7.30pm 

followed by a talk from

best-selling author  LISA JEWELL  

entitled Publishing and Writing

The Stripe Building, University of Winchester, Sparkford Road, Winchester

Come along and meet the  authors who are all members of the Hampshire Writers’ Society. Talk to them about their path to publication. Some will have their books available for sale and signing on the night.

Meet the Authors!



Justin Strain

The Secret of the Scarlet Ribbon: The year is 1832. Portsmouth is a hotbed of crime and villainy. Kitty Hawkins and her friend, Charlie Miller are led by a mysterious stranger, Samuel Peabody, into a murky web of intrigue. As the mystery unfolds, they realise the danger that they are in, and before long they are fighting for their lives.

‘The Secret of the Scarlet Ribbon’ is Justin’s first novel.  It is a fast-paced historical adventure story, aimed at 11-14 year-olds, full of dark secrets and conspiracy.

Justin grew up in Portsmouth and, after studying Law and Theology at Queens’ College, Cambridge, he returned to his home town while serving in the Royal Navy. He left the navy in 2001 to retrain as a physiotherapist, and continues to work in this role, alongside writing his books. After leaving the navy, Justin served as a volunteer with the Portsmouth Lifeboat between 2006 and 2017. Justin still lives in Portsmouth with his wife, Emma, and two children. When he is not working or writing he enjoys messing around on boats and playing the violin.

Scarlet Ribbon

‘The Secret of the Scarlet Ribbon’ Volume 1 (The Kitty Hawkins Adventures): is available from P&G Wells Booksellers, Winchester as well as on Amazon: Secret of the Scarlet Ribbon

Buy The Secret of the Scarlet Ribbon: Volume 1 (The Kitty Hawkins Adventures) by Mr Justin D R Strain (ISBN: 9780993280931) from Amazon’s Book Store. Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders.



thumbnail_ghosts coverThe Ghosts & Jamal is an intriguing story, touching on religion, terrorism and Nigeria’s internal conflicts, following a young orphan who is negotiating an unforgiving society. Waking up in the aftermath of a terrorist attack, 14-year-old Jamal tries to piece together what has happened whilst simultaneously trying toevade capture by the attackers. It soon becomes clear that he has been living in a separate outhouse from his family on account of the “bad spirits” that plague him. As he wanders around his family’s compound, he comes across red canisters leaking yellow gas, which he works out were the weapon that killed his family, and he begins calling the gas “ghosts”. With his family dead, he begins to search for his grandfather who he hardly knows; when his grandfather turns him away he keeps walking. On his journey he passes out and is picked up by a patrolling soldier. He is taken to a hospital where he is treated for the “spirits”, or rather, his epilepsy. Jamal escapes and on doing so, he wanders bewildered around the city. On the way he meets prejudice, exploitation and friendship, before finally discovering that it is people, not ghosts, that have killed his family, and they have plans to keep on killing.


thumbnail_bridget-blankley-28963083Bridget Blankley spent most of her early life in Nigeria and came late to writing fiction, having been an engineer, educator and a full-time carer. Bridget lives in Southampton, UK.
Prizes: 2013 – winner Winchester Writers’ Festival,  Writing Can be Murder.

2016 – winner Commonword Children’s Writing Completion

2016 – runner up Thomas Gray Anniversary Poetry Competition.

2017 – runner up Alpine Fellowship Writing Prize

Buy The Ghosts & Jamal by Bridget Blankley (ISBN: 9781908446633) from Amazon’s Book Store. Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders.



Living With MatildaLiving With Matilda

After the death of his grandmother, Ben Costa, aged ten, is placed in a children’s home. The Daniels family want to foster him and he moves into their house, but they soon realise they have taken on a little more than they bargained for when he smuggles in his best friend too. Chaos immediately erupts in the household.

Will things ever be the same again?



Watching Over Methumbnail_Watching Over me cover

With her father dead and her mother in a psychiatric hospital, Stevie Brooks, 16 is struggling to cope on her own. When she falls behind with the rent and is evicted from her flat, her Uncle Harry steps in to help. Stevie goes to stay with an aunt in Kent, but when her uncle goes to the flat later to finish the packing, he finds it ransacked. The two culprits return while Harry’s there and threaten him at gunpoint. They were obviously looking for something, but what? The result throws both Stevie and Harry into danger. Who are the men? And does Stevie’s father have anything to do with it?Consumed with guilt and unable to rest, the spirit of Stevie’s father watches over her, warning her in times of impending trouble, but will he be able to continue to keep her safe?

MeAveril Branson (nee Reeves) was born in Middlesbrough, South Yorkshire, the home and birth place of her mother May. The family moved to South Ealing, West London, when she was a baby and that’s where she and her older sister Cathy grew up. Her father, Bert was a Londoner. He was a painter and decorator by trade, but he sadly died when Averil was just three years old. Her personal struggle with emotions surrounding the loss of her father so young, are evident in her book, ‘Watching Over Me,’ and the sequel, ‘Unreachable,’ which she is currently working on.

Her children’s book, ‘Living With Matilda,’ was inspired by her youngest son Daniel’s antics with his pet rat, Rosco. Averil herself had a pet mouse as a child and combined some of her own memories to make the story more enjoyable. The original manuscript was written on a faulty portable typewriter back in the eighties whilst sick from work with a broken ankle.

She currently lives in Gosport, Hampshire with her husband Peter, a scatty Chihuahua-cross named Lexi, and an abusive parrot named Max. They have two sons and a daughter, eight grandchildren and three great grandchildren with another on the way.

Averil enjoys writing in general, but paranormal and comedy are her favourites. She says, ‘If I can bring a smile to just one person’s face, it is all worthwhile.’

Both books are available on Amazon and on kindle

Watching Over Me

Living With Matilda


sEARCHING FOR lOVESearching for Love reveals convent life during the 1970s as seen through the eyes of Frankie, an innocent young postulant and her friend, Margaret, who form a close relationship, which is discouraged by the nuns. Readers are offered glimpses of harsh practices, contrasted with comic interludes, that trace Frankie’s gradual disillusionment as she struggles with her dilemma: love, or the church?

’Followers of the television series, Call the Midwife,
will enjoy this compelling and unusual story
Barbara Large MBE

A Love as Strong is a tender sequel to Searching
for Love that reveals Frankie’s new life as a teacher
after she left the convent. Readers will enjoy reading
her naive encounters as she searches for a loving
partner. This exceptional book traces the transition
of the Frankie, as she explores her new life and
her encounters with potential suitors. Readers will
revel in the final chapters as she forms a cherished
relationship with the man of her dreams.
‘Enjoyable, well written and entertaining’
Poolbeg Press

‘Packed with humour and poignancy’
Barbara Large MBE








Mishaps and Mayhem-1