Martha and Mitch

All posts in the Martha and Mitch category

FREE quirky children’s mystery

Published April 20, 2016 by helenlaycock

 with a dash of Roald Dahl and a sprinkling of Lemony Snicket

Martha and Mitch

for readers of 8 – 12

until Sunday 24th April

US link:



Martha is humble and unspoilt, despite living a life of utter luxury at Lottery Lodge with her (mostly absent) father and stepmother, Penelope. 
Mitch lives at the boys’ orphanage, a dilapidated mansion run by Ariadne Scattypants. 

Neither child has any idea about the life the other is leading. 

Between Lottery Lodge and the orphanage is a dense wood and it is here that a band of wild boys live. Mitch finds himself at their mercy, but somehow manages to scrabble his way out of the woods, emerging at Martha’s wonderful home. 

However, here, too, things are taking a sinister turn.

This has been one of the least publicised of my books. It’s quite different in style from all the other children’s books. If you read it, and like it, please would you consider leaving a review on Amazon UK/US. It would be soooooo appreciated! Thank you.


Diving in

Published June 25, 2014 by helenlaycock

Hello, Blog.

It’s me. I’m back. What do you mean, you don’t ‘recognise’ me? Yes, it’s been a while, I confess, but that’s because I’ve been busy working on Martha and Mitch. Sorry – an enormous photo follows…


This was one of my early books for children – the second I ever wrote, if I remember correctly. I published a kindle version then left it to rot/brew/mature * for a couple of years. *delete as applicable.

I was a little afraid to look at it again #mould, but as my current mission is to create paperbacks of all my books, I had to check if it was really good enough to become ‘real’. What really pushed me was that, after a quiet time of sales, I sold a kindle copy in the U.S. Oh no!

What if it was rubbish? There had always been an irritating niggle at the back of my brain that a few of the passages were a little stilted. I dreaded being confronted by them… much in the way that Indiana Jones must have felt when that big stone ball came rolling towards him.

The test I had to give myself was to re-read it.

If I enjoyed it, I would roll up my sleeves, spit on my palms and do my darned-est to iron out the lumps. After all, a few years down the line, I hope I am a better writer.

Well, well, well… I found that I really enjoyed the story. Who was it that said that a writer never gets bored of editing and re-reading their own work if they’ve done a good job? Or maybe it’s because I have the memory of a goldfish…

I edited and edited and edited. Martha and Mitch was the last thing I thought about before going to sleep and the first thing when I opened my eyes – plus it had a nasty habit of waking me several times between.


  • I simplified the language. Vocabulary that nails it for adult readers is not perfect for children.
  • The author’s voice had been too loud. I added more subtlety whilst allowing a little authorial intrusion.
  • I tightened up everything I could until it was ready to be re-launched, shiny and new.

I handed it over to be proofread and had fantastic feedback, that it was ‘visual’ and would make a fantastic film. Of course, that would necessitate writing it all over again as a script. Now, if I could get George Clooney involved, I’d definitely consider it.

Arachne Press

Publishers of Fiction, Poetry and Non-fiction


Getting excited about short stories in the UK & Ireland - in print, online & live!!

Suzy Henderson

Historical Fiction Author

Herbie Cax

On walking the dogs and story-telling.

Three Drops from a Cauldron

poetry and fiction ~ myths, folklore, legends and fairytales

Spilling Cocoa Over Martin Amis

It's OK, you're allowed to be funny

Writing about Writing for Children

Her Dark Materials: notes from the world of children's books

Nothing Any Good

Source for indie authors to write, publish, and market their books

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog



Keeping you up to date with my writing and photographic projects


Always entertaining


Writing Stories on the Hearts of Children

Children's Book Chat

An insight into Children's Publishing from the next generation

Lou Treleaven

Children's author, writing coach and playwright

Words under one roof

Writing, editing, novelling and enjoying life


Surmising with aplomb and nary remorse