A Very Private Haunting

Shipping soon, what Candy Jar call my ‘spooky opener’ for series five. Yeah, I guess it is. Even when a foray into the world of Lethbridge-Stewart I couldn’t help that dark side peaking out.

Get your orders in for this limited edition (with extended short story) before it sells out!

A Very Private Haunting sees Arthur Penrose finally take ownership of a Scottish manor house that’s been in his family for generations. There are many secrets in the house, but what connects them to the mysterious shadow creatures that Lethbridge-Stewart and his men are investigating?

For a reduced price you can receive the following three books before general release in 2018:

A Very Private Haunting by Sharon Bidwell
The New Unusual by Adrian Sherlock & Andy Frankham-Allen
The Man from Yesterday by Nick Walters

$1 Dollar Deal for the 5th July

To celebrate 7 years of JMS Books grab a copy for just $1 dollar but only direct from the publisher on 5th July.

Should a writer have favourite books when it concerns their own work? That may be up for debate but while I have a fondness for many titles, there are a handful where no one can deflate my deep sense of a job well done. Hard Pressed is one such title.


Can absolution arrive in three little words?

When one man has the worst of reputations and believes any misfortune befalling him is deserved, it’s hard to feel worthy of love. Can absolution arrive in three little words?

Journalist, Phillip Drake, is beginning to doubt the career he’s chosen, his motivation, his whole existence. When an assignment arises to trail up and coming, and coming out, actor, Gary Caldwell, he’s well aware it’s his duty to dig for dirt…and when Caldwell seems less than co-operative, Phillip half-convinces himself he’ll be happy to do so.

Gary has always been attracted to the reporter and finds it difficult to maintain a distance. Something is going on with Drake, not least of all the surprising revelation when Gary realises Drake is gay, and the attraction is mutual.

After an intimate encounter, Drake disappears and Gary sets out to unravel a mystery that not only involves tracking down the reporter’s whereabouts, but may also explain why Drake has done the things he has, why Drake harbours more than a little self-hate and more than emotional scars, and why the one thing Drake doesn’t believe he deserves — love — is the one thing he’s worthy of.

Get the $1 dollar deal on 5th July.

Previously the editor’s choice when originally published at Musa (trading ceased).


A little freebie for Christmas

A new series set after the 1968 Doctor Who serial The Web of Fear follows the adventures of Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart spanning the four years from when he was a colonel in the Scots Guards to his promotion to brigadier and head of the UK branch of UNIT. Candy Jar Books brings additional life to Lethbridge-Stewart, fully licensed by the executor of the Haisman Literary Estate, Hannah Haisman, and endorsed by Henry Lincoln. Whilst the series is not Young Adult fiction, its intention is to maintain that family-friendly feel balancing the classic with a sense of modernity.

To get a feel for the series, visit Candy Jar Books offers and drop down to the bottom of the page for this year’s Christmas free download. Enjoy!

Wishes Do Come True

My latest news speaks for itself. Excuse the unseemly author squeal but HOW COOL IS THIS!!!!!

Sharon x

wishing_bazaar_cover_smallPRESS RELEASE 25/11/2016



Candy Jar Books is pleased to announce its latest brand new free story!

The Wishing Bazaar by Sharon Bidwell will be sent out to all subscription customers, and those who pre-order the forthcoming novel, Blood of Atlantis by Simon A Forward.

Sharon Bidwell was born in London on New Year’s Eve. She has been writing professionally for many years, with her first short story receiving praise for being “strong on characterisation, and quite literary, in terms of style”.Her work has appeared steadily in both print and electronic publications, such as Midnight StreetAoife’s KissNight To Dawn, and Radgepacket. She has written several romance novels under the name Sharon Maria Bidwell, including Snow Angel and A Not So Hollow Heart, as well as dark fiction under the name Sharon Kernow. She was propelled into the universe of Steampunk as one of the writers for Space: 1899 & Beyond, winning the approval of series creator and award-winning game designer, Frank Chadwick. She wrote three books in the series, one of which was co-authored with editor (and writer) Andy Frankham-Allen.The Wishing Bazaar is her first piece of Doctor Who related fiction.

Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen says: “I first met Sharon via the wonderful world of social media back in, I think, 2009. I was very impressed with her work, and soon enlisted her for my Space: 1889 & Beyond series. Her work ethic was proven to me when a novella fell through at the last minute and she agreed to co-author a replacement with me – which we did, in only two weeks! Sharon’s first drafts are often better than a lot of published works out there, and from the off I told her that I would get her writing for the Lethbridge-Stewart series. She resisted for all of five minutes.”

Sharon says: “I’ve written for and with Andy before with great success, so I was not entirely surprised when he got in contact about his latest project. For one thing, he’d been ‘hinting’ for some time that he wanted to rope me in and Andy isn’t someone who understands no as an answer.Whenever I hear from Andy, I never know whether to cheer or groan. All those who write novels for well-known television shows now have my utmost respect. Some find it easy; for others the experience feels difficult and involves a lot of angst. I’m one of those worriers. Despite the responsibility, Andy has dragged me into incredible worlds and stories that are part of history and there’s no way not to be grateful for that.Invariably the experience of writing for Lethbridge-Stewart was, for me, daunting, exciting, fun, and adventurous…a bit like the character himself.”

Shaun Russell, head of publishing at Candy Jar, says: “Sharon was an unknown quantity for me, but I knew that Andy had worked with her before, so I was more than happy to see what she’d come up with. Having read her short story, and looked up her other work, I now believe she’s going to be a wonderful addition to our stable of authors on this series.”

This story is set between Times Squared and Blood of Atlantis.

Blurb: Back from New York, Lethbridge-Stewart is investigating one of the strangest cases that has come across his desk yet. Wishes are coming true, and if there’s one thing Lethbridge-Stewart still doesn’t believe in it’s magic. But what if he’s wrong?

The cover of The Wishing Bazaar is by regular cover artist, Richard Young. Richard says:“I adore working with Candy Jar, and their cover briefs are always so specific, but this one was rather ambiguous as there were several elements that I could have used on the cover. I decided to concentrate on the alien of the piece.One passage of the story mentioned its burning eyes. Using a combination of traditional drawing and then colourisation in Photoshop (to really get the blazing eyes right), this is what I came up with.And I’m pleased to say everyone loved it.”

The Wishing Bazaar will be sent out to every person who pre-orders Blood of Atlantis (as a single book, or as part of our bundle/subscription offers).

Blood of Atlantis can be pre-ordered individually, or as part of the Series 3 Bundle (both UK and overseas), which includes the previous novel, Times Squared by Rick Cross, and the forthcoming novel,Mind of Stone by Iain McLaughlin, or the subscription deal for those wishing to get six books for the price of five.

Candy Jar is pleased to announce that the subscription offer is now being extended to international customers. Please see http://www.candy-jar.co.uk/books/subscriptions.html for more details.

Candy Jar is also offering a special promotion for its online customers. Buy Blood of Atlantis for £8.99 and get Times Squared for £5. This promotion also applies to six other Candy Jar titles. Please see http://www.candy-jar.co.uk/books/offers.html for more details.



For more information, or to arrange an interview with the editor, authors, cover artist and/or license holder, please contact Shaun Russell at shaun@candyjarbooks.co.uk or 02921 15720

Lethbridge-Stewart series 1:

The Forgotten Son by Andy Frankham-Allen

The Schizoid Earth by David A McIntee

Beast of Fang Rock by Andy Frankham-Allen

Mutually Assured Domination by Nick Walters

Lethbridge-Stewart series 2:

Moon Blink by Sadie Miller

The Showstoppers by Jonathan Cooper

The Grandfather Infestation by John Peel

Lethbridge-Stewart series 3:

Times Squared by Rick Cross

Blood of Atlantis by Simon A Forward

Mind of Stone by Iain McLaughlin

Blog Hop for Visibility, Awareness and Equality

I’m a multi-genre author who has written several gay (m/m) romances, and one lesbian story in a polyamory fantasy series. I never intended to. Like many writers, I followed the nagging muse. I never considered the idea would lead to more titles, or that I would need to speak on the subject, to stand on any type of soapbox. A writer’s opinion, like anyone, is his or her own business; I sometimes write contrary to my beliefs, sometimes in keeping. I usually adhere to the golden rule of never discuss sex, religion, or politics. There’s always the exception. When invited to write for the blog hop — like with that first story — I let the words flow.


Hop for Visibility, Awareness & Equality

Do follow the rest of the authors on the hop by clicking the link.

The gay people I’ve known have been much like anyone — wanting a home, a partner with whom to share their life, to have love. I believe one is born gay, that it’s not something someone chooses. I’m not sure I adhere to the Kinsey Scale (developed by Alfred Kinsey in 1948) to describe sexual orientation. Sexuality can be complex. I’m unsure any ‘scale’ can suffice. I’ve known gay men who have had good relationships with women but felt something emotional was missing. I’ve known gay men who find the thought distasteful. For some, sex with the opposite sex is as impossible as is (for some) sex with the same sex. Objections often seem to stem from personal dislike and/or religious doctrine. Both state and church have changed its opinions throughout history. Once, these institutions condoned slavery. Now they know better. History documents scripture as edited and censored, scribes ordered to excise whole (blacked-out) passages. Language no longer has the same meaning, leaving such teachings open to mistaken interpretation.

”The church is always trying to get other people to reform; it might not be a bad idea to reform itself a little, by way of example. –
Mark Twain


Regarding the current disagreement concerning the use of toilets for transgender people, I can see both sides. I appreciate and understand why women are afraid of mixed gender toilets, and won’t belittle the fears of any woman who may have been violated. I equally appreciate parents feeling uncomfortable. These concerns are genuine, but they are also lacking, not considering the subject on a broad enough basis.

“The grocery store is the great equalizer where mankind comes to grips with the facts of life like toilet tissue.”– Joseph Goldberg

I imagine many LGBT people live with the same fear of attack as that being discussed by heterosexuals may be as much, if not more, at risk. The feared situation already exists… for everyone. Sexual predators are already out there. A sign on the door will not keep such a person out, particularly if washrooms are isolated. Abusers bear no external markings. They wear no ‘badge of office’. They don’t don a certain uniform. A person likely to attack a child or a woman could be a next-door neighbour, be married with many offspring. Just like most heterosexuals aren’t offenders, LGBT people are not predatory. Predators come in all forms, genders, orientations, races, religions, economic levels, etc. Evil doesn’t differentiate, only people do.


“It’s not hard to tell we was poor – when you saw the toilet paper dryin’ on the clothesline.” –George Lindsey

I’m speaking as someone who has a nephew with special needs. I rarely discuss my family, but my nephew was born with a brain tumour. He’s now an adult, but will always need protecting. At all stages of his life, when his mother has been out minus an adult male companion, she’s faced the unenviable decision of what to do if there is no available disabled toilet. Fortunately, there often is — these days more so than ever — but in some situations those cubicles are still separated: segregated within ‘male and female’ facilities. She has categorically not been allowed in most of the male toilets and when she has taken her son into the female toilets, even when he was younger and even though from his appearance it’s possible to deduce he has special needs, she’s faced aggressive abuse. And I mean aggressive. I’m not arguing for or against. I’m specifying that the situation many fear has existed for years; many have simply been unaware of it.

“Today, the degradation of the inner life is symbolized by the fact that the only place sacred from interruption is the private toilet.” –Lewis Mumford

The only correct solution would be individual cubicles. I don’t mean rooms containing banks of separate toilets, rather — as I recently experienced during a weekend away where I went to a spa — a bank of individual ‘rooms’ to be used by the abled and lesser-abled, by children and adults, by men and women, and all sexualities, where people could go in alone, or have a helper if necessary. These ‘rooms’ were not hidden away but situated where spa personnel could readily find out if they were being used inappropriately. Naturally, such a solution means money, so it won’t happen soon, if at all.

“Like when I’m in the bathroom looking at my toilet paper, I’m like ‘Wow! That’s toilet paper?’ I don’t know if we appreciate how much we have.” — Peter Nivio Zarlenga


Some won’t like this idea either. People can be notoriously private about their toilet habits — a polite reserve I am sure must seem droll to many continental countries where I’ve seen an abundance of ‘squat’ toilets, restrooms that use different hygiene methods (with or without toilet paper), plumbing that cannot cope with any type of ‘wipe-clean’ material, where the cost varies. A woman in Yugoslavia once handed me a couple of sheets of paper for a few coins, the cost of which and meagre supply made me grateful I was only there to spend a proverbial penny. The French seldom have separate amenities. Open air public toilets usually designed only for men and definitely living up to the term ‘public’ is a fine and rather disgusting example of which I’ve seen in Bruges, but can be found in other parts of Europe. I heard even the UK city of Chester tested a form of these a couple of years ago. Attractive they were not.

“European toilet paper is made from the same material that Americans use for roofing, which is why Europeans tend to remain standing throughout soccer matches.” –Dave Barry

The subject of toilets can be comical, but safety is not a LGBT issue. Some will argue, but I can only speak from experience, and I see a sad fact in a sad world — personal safety is a problem we all share equally.

Giveaway: Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of one of my LGBT related books. Winner’s choice.

25 May 2016: And my winner is Chris McHart as chosen by Random.org. I’ll be in touch.

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