Latest from Golden Duck Publishing

Francis Wheen & Julia Jones


Pebble (Strong Winds series vol 6)

PUBLICATION DATE 15.11.2018 (It's been a long time coming!)  

Pebble is set somewhere in the early summer of 2012, after President Putin has been returned to power in Russia and before the London Olympics.  Why should these things matter to the characters in the Strong Winds series? A good question and not one that any of them will have been asking themselves -- except that Xanthe's family are absent from this story as she's won back her place in the GBR squad after the turbulent experiences of Black Waters (volume 5). Luke appears to have moved on from his adventures in The Lion of Sole Bay (volume 4) but Liam has been more affected by his brother's narrow escape than anyone else has realised. He struggles to keep a lookout from the Bawdsey cliffs -- but how could he have expected the complex plot in which he and Donny find themselves accidentally involved in Pebble? 

Much of Liam's story had already been writen before the real-life poisoning that occurred in Salisbury in March 2018 (and also in June). Pebble is fiction, yet it's fiction that considers the damage that can occur when other nations play out their own struggles in a different country. As in all the Strong Winds series the characters' lives are affected by events beyond their control and things that happened years before they were born.  History is never far away along the English East Coast. 

Pebble is also the story of a child going through a life changing experience and how this may affect the people around him. It's a family story with characters ages from 5 - 95 and it's intended for readers of 12 upwards. Once again artist Claudia Myatt has supplied delightful black-and-white iullustrations throughout the text, as well as atmospheric watercolour paintings for the front and back covers. 


Please Tell Me More

Our first life story activity book, Please Tell Me, was designed to help people begin to gather information about themselves and their lives and pass it on to others. Its space was limited so here we offer Please Tell Me More.

Use this book in any way you choose. You can write more about the people, the places and the happenings of your life (past or present), or you can make a personal collection that reflects your individual interests. Perhaps you love cooking, sport, woodwork or poetry?  Make those the headings for your pages and fill them with your memories and knowledge. Use it as a scrapbook if that’s what you’d enjoy. We’ve illustrated a few of the ways people like to spend their time, either alone or in the company of friends. There are so many more. You will know which have mattered most to you.

Not everyone wants to write. Artist Claudia Myatt prefers to think in pictures. She’s drawn scenes from her own life story along the bottom of these pages. It’s unique, of course, but many life experiences are also shared. Do you remember your first day at a new school? The dreams that didn’t come true – and those that did? You could include those memories here or use them to begin a conversation.

This is your space – for your stories, your sketches or your souvenirs. And if anything doesn’t turn out quite as you’d like it, you can download free replacements for any of the pages from the John’s Campaign website (or ask a friend to help you do this).


Please Tell Me (published 24.10. 2017)

This is a book for someone else to write.  It’s a book to give. Perhaps the person you are thinking of is beginning to get a little fragile or perhaps they are living in a care home. It may be that they are beginning to find it harder to communicate who they are and what matters to them.  Here there is space for their memories, photos, drawings, information about their particular needs and good advice to others. You may need to help them find the words or pictures.

The approach is different to other Life Story booklets for people living with dementia and should complement them. The questions are few and intended as prompts for conversations as well as capturing essential information. Using it is intended to be a pleasurable as well as a useful activity.  It expresses respect for the older person and offers space for their experience today as well in the past.

Please Tell Me is primarily designed for use in care homes. It will be equally useful to visiting home helps and delightful as a family souvenir.  Words are by Julia Jones, drawings by Claudia Myatt.

 For more information visit the Johns Campaign website  




NOT Forgotten Lives: Felixstowe 2017

NOT Forgotten Lives celebrates the lives of older people living in residential accommodation in Felixstowe, Suffolk. Their experience is a rich resource which must not be forgotten - even when the ability to communicate has slipped from the conscious mind. Some contributors have provided their own brief stories: others, particularly those who are living with dementia, have been enabled to participate by those closest to them, whether family members, friends or care professionals.

Dementia is a complex and shifting illness that affects every individual differently. Words may become elusive though feelings remain powerful. It's essential that the lives of people with dementia are not forgotten and their voices are still heard, their lives remembered. Those who interpret for them add their own perspective and we hear the voices of relatives, friends and care home staff.

NOT Forgotten Lives was produced for the Felixstowe Book Festival 2017. It's supported by the Felixstowe DAA & the East of England Co-op and is a good example of a community venture that could be replicated anywhere.


The Cruise of Naromis: August in the Baltic 1939

In August 1939, five carefree Englishmen set off to the Baltic aboard a motor cruiser from the Norfolk Broads. The crew of Naromis – “Skip”, “Fattie”, Bill, Mike and “Honest George” Jones – drank beer, ogled flaxen-haired girls and caroused the streets of Cuxhaven singing “Horst Wessel” as their German companions bawled out “Land of Hope and Glory”. They also took many photographs of ships, bridges and naval yards which were later passed to Naval Intelligence.

The Cruise of Naromis was found in an attic -- together with diaries, photographs and records of the author's six year service in the RNVR. Biographer Julia Jones (the author's daughter) has an added an introductory essay and an afterword. The Cruise of Naromis is the story of a young man coming of age at an extraordinary time. It's of particular appeal to yachtsmen and people interested in WW2 Naval History - and to anyone who wonders how they might have coped if they'd been 21 in 1939.


Beloved Old Age - published June 30th 2016

June 30th 2016 was the 50th anniversary of detective novelist Margery Allingham's death. The last book she completed before she died was The Relay, reflections on the care of the elderly -- specifically her mother, aunt and elderly cousin. 

It has never previously been published but here it is interwoven with reflections on dementia care now. Julia Jones's mother has this difficult illness and Julia finds Margery's words offer insight and strength in her attempts to care whilst also maintaining her own life and interests.

Novelist and campaigner Nicci Gerrard has read an advance copy, this is what she says:

"How do we care for and how do we think about people we love as they grow old and frail, perhaps become demented or changed from the self they used to be? And how do we care for and think about ourselves, as we look after those who once looked after us? In Beloved Old Age, Julia Jones looks at the issue of old age with extraordinary lucidity, both close-up and intimate and at the same time, clear-sighted and dispassionate. She manages to make Margaret Allingham into her partner:  the dead writer and the living one pass the baton to each other, connecting generations, sharing sore truths. Julia Jones is unsparingly honest but never unkind, tender without ever being sentimental. She creates a patient space for all the turbulent, ragged emotions she has felt as her mother's carer and finds amongst the exhaustion and distress, times of illumination and a kind of gladness. To be a carer is not just a duty but a difficult gift. This slim, careful, beautifully-written book is a shining example of writing that can change the way we think."

Joan Bakewell commented "I'm delighted by this book. It has wit and humour as well as generous understanding."


Keeping a Sketchbook Diary

Golden Duck comes springing back into life with TWO new publications. We're proud and delighted to have published Claudia Myatt's insightful and charming Keeping a Sketchbook Diary. Publication date was 18th May 2016 but Amazon seems to be slow catching on. Suggest you order directly from Claudia's website or via a real bookshop. The book's ISBN is 9781899262311 -- essential information for a bookseller.

And if you want to know more Claudia will be the sofa guest on the Lesley Dolphin show this afternoon (BBS Suffolk) and the East Anglian Daily Times have a big feature article planned.

Do contact us, via this site, if you have any problems getting a copy. Or treat yourself to a visit to Claudia's Waldringfield Boatyard Studio


Black Waters (Strong Winds 5) was published July 2nd 2015

A combination of family responsibilities, visits to schools and the unexpected activity of John's Campaign has too often pushed Xanthe Ribiero's story to the back of the desk. I'm therefore especially grateful to Claudia Myatt for reading, commenting & illustrating and then to a group of other family and friends for discussion and questioning and then finally to Megan Trudell for putting everything together ready for the printer. A proof arrived yesterday and this morning a flourish of the credit card and Black Waters is GO. Publication date is July 2nd but I hope to have copies next week (Weds 25th June) to take to the Felixstowe Book Festival

Catch up comment - I was so glad to have completed this book. Strong Winds 6 is in my head (partly) but that'll be a 2017 production. This year I have returned to the Allinghams.  (Julia Jones)



Cheapjack - an offer you can't refuse!!

Lovely review for Cheapjack today by Mike Robbins 'screw donah's groinies' - makes me realise that there are too many boxes of this neglected gem taking space in the Golden Duck caravan.

SO - if anyone sends me £2.50 postage and their address I will pop a copy in a recycled jiffy bag and send it on. Deal?  Address is Julia Jones, Golden Duck, Sokens, Green Street, Pleshey, Chelmsford Essex CM3 1HT 

and here's the review


(John Crampton is writing  a screen play - so your cheapo copy could become Hot Currency!)


www.golden duck - an apology

It's been an extraordinary couple of months since Nicci Gerrard and I began John's Campaign at the end of November 2014. We have the devoted help of Sean and Francis and also our children  but all the same it's been overwhelming. Nothing can entirely stop us writing of course -- Nicci and Sean are busy on the next Nicci French, I've managed a GCSE York notes revision project and a short story (Black Flag) which will be published in the summer issue of the Maritime Quarterly but Strong Winds series 5 is looking at me reproachfully and I suspect Nicci also has projects shoved (temporarily) to the back burner. The campaign feels so hugely worthwhile ... if you'd like to know more please visit its website or find us on facebook or twitter. Back soon, I hope.


Das salzbefleckte Buch

It was thrilling to listen to three chapters of the Salt-Stained Book being read by translator Alistair Tarwid at the Flensburg Literary Festival. My German is not good but I was able to follow with a print-out in one hand and the English text in the other. Alistair chose chapter 9, 14 and 20 to convey the sailing atmosphere to this maritime audience and I have to say that the rhythym of his sentences worked really well -- especially when villainous Inspector Flint was on the scene. There may be a publisher interested. I hope they'll stick with Tarwid. 


A review for the audio SSB

Too often reviews of audio books concentrate on the story and forget to mention the skill thathas gone into the narration. Sue Magee, in the Bookbag, doesn't make that mistake.

This is what she says about Anna Bentinck's narration: "the narration is superb. If asked before I listened to the book I would have said that a 'good reader' could narrate a story, but Bentinck moves reading into a different profession. She's - for want of a better term - a voice artist, capturing each individual character perfectly and bringing them to life. I listened as though to a play."


Best new news

The Salt-Stained Book is available as an audio download via Amazon / Audible / Itunes. None of this would have happened without the enthusiasn and generosity of professional voice actress Anna Bentinck. To see Anna at work was a revelation. I'm planning to write about it in my next Authors Electric blog but meanwhile all you have to do to hear here is go to Amazon (etc) and click the sample button.  


Go Green!

Proud to announce that Claudia Myatt's Go Green! and Go Inland! have moved into the Golden Duck caravan. Go Inland! - fab if you're taking your children on a canal boat or the Broads. Go Green! a must-have if you want your family or your pupils to care about conserving the blue planet. 

Selling at the moment via Amazon market place £4 each (+p&p) Happy to accept payment by cheque and post direct


If your spirits need lifting ...

WILD WOOD is now in stock -- and here's the first review from Sandra Horn

"There are wonderful touches of laugh-out-loud humour – the rabble-rousing stoat Boddington is ‘peculiarly yellow, a little lacking in body, extremely bitter, but one of the best.’  Toad’s fine wines include Visage de Poisson; Schloss Katzenjammer is a German beer. It is delightful, tongue-in-cheek stuff and the Willie Rushton illustrations complement it perfectly.  If your spirits need lifting, this is the book for you. If you’re already uplifted, read it anyway – it’s a gem."


good start to 2014

Nice weather for ducks? Yes rain rain wind and rain but happy to have beautifully illustrated articles in the January issue of Classic Boat magazine and the February issue of History Today. I'm also looking forward to spending a day at Chelmondiston Primary School in Suffolk - heart land of the Strong Winds Trilogy


More glad tidings of even greater joy

The Lion of Sole Bay is shaking his mane and roaring with delight at being chosen as one of LoveReading4Kids Books of the Year for the 11+ age group in 2013. He purred rather smugly and licked his chops when the kind people at The Book Bag put him in their Top 10 Self-Published titles for 2013. 

But how will he cope when Baxter Ferret and his comrades take over command at the Golden Duck HQ? Our first title for 2014 is a re-publication of Jan Needle's comic masterpiece Wild Wood with the original illustrations by William Rushton. Or is it intended to be funny? The Lion is feeling insecure...


Glad Tidings

The Lion of Sole Bay is LoveReading4Kids December Book of the Month for the 11+ age group and has a wonderful write-up from Julia Eccleshare "One hell of a thriller", she says.  Peter Willis also gives it a generous review in the latest issue of Sam Llewellyn's Marine Quarterly. 

A Ravelled Flag will be electronically-cheap over Christmas as part of the Authors Electric promotion. 

The Oaken Heart has a lovely appreciation from journalist Veronica Horwell which was posted on the Crime Readers Association website on Dec 15th. The website has been redesigned and re-launched by the CWA and is really very attractive. The quarterly magazine Slightly Foxed also included an article on the OH which I'll post on the news page.

and finally ... Saxmundham Free School have asked me (Julia) to organise a writing workshop on the last day of term - are they mad or am I? Only one way to find out ... 2.1.2014 - well, it was a year ago now but yes, it was fun. We produced a magazine The Winter Spectacular (limited edition only, sorry to disappoint you)


Primary school writers

October was a month for primary and secondary school work and visits. Some undertaken on behalf of Essex Book Festival, others for Frinton Literary Festival and a Ghost-writing session at Pakefield High School near Lowestoft because the Kessingland children go there. All enjoyable in many different ways - but the most memorable day by far was with the Y6 children from Wix & Wrabness. I wrote about it afterwards for Authors Electric