Free Bronze Author Membership

Free Author Membership for low-income writers

Amanda Huggins was the first author signed to Retreat West Books and she is generously sponsoring two free Bronze Author Memberships for writers on low incomes.

Amanda’s beautiful and poignant short story collection Separated From The Sea was published through Retreat West Books last year and she recently won third place in the Costa Book Awards Short Story Prize for her story Red. She has also won and been listed for numerous other prizes. You can read and listen to her Costa Short Story here for free!

Benefits enjoyed by bronze members include:

  • Weekly emails with a mix of writing prompts, exercises, readings, podcasts, videos and tips for writing short stories, flashes and novels
  • 1 entry to the quarterly themed flash comps (£400 in prizes available)
  • Ebook editions of all Retreat West Books titles as they are published
  • 5% discount on our online creative writing courses

You can find more about Author Membership here, including the other membership levels available and the general membership T&Cs.

To apply for a free membership, simply email Amanda a short note stating why you are applying. The writers that receive the two memberships will be chosen at random after the application process closes at 23:59 GMT on Sunday, 17th February 2019.

Thanks Amanda, for your very kind donation and best of luck to those applying!


Amanda Huggins’ first full-length short story collection, Separated From The Sea, is available in print and ebook through major retailers and Amazon. You can follow Amanda on Twitter and on her blog where she regularly posts news, travel writing, poetry and other writerly things.

Separated From The Sea Art Competition

We’re super excited about our latest publication, Separated From The Sea by Amanda Huggins! It’s a stunning collection of short stories and flash fiction centred around the theme of being away from the sea. It’s been getting a great response, with fab reviews all over! And we’re so excited, we’ve come up with a pretty special (and totally unique!) competition. We’re giving away a piece of photographic art to celebrate Amanda’s beautiful piece of written art!

1st prize

The overall winner will receive this one-of-a-kind photograph, showing a very different landscape to the ones featured in Amanda’s book. Professionally printed to highest standard (with UV protection) on aluminium plate metal, it’s approximately 40cm by 40cm. The gorgeous painting effect was created by using a long exposure and shaking the camera. And it looks wonderful hanging on the wall! The image is shown at the top of this page, and can be seen in more detail through a video posted on our social media accounts. The artwork is not available for sale ANYWHERE and (we think) makes for a pretty amazing prize!

2nd prize

A runner up will receive a copy of Amanda Huggins’ first book, Brightly Coloured Horses! The flash fiction collection comprises twenty-seven tales of betrayal and loss, of dreams and hopes, of lovers, liars and cheats. The cover also features arkwork created by Amanda Huggins herself.

What you need to do

To win either this one of a kind photograph or a signed copy of Amanda’s first book, Brightly Coloured Horses, you just have to buy a paperback copy of Separated From The Sea and post a photo of it on one of our social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook or Instagram). Alternatively, you can add a comment below (with a pic) or email us at

We’ll choose two people at random to receive either the photograph or the book free! Make sure you post your photo by 23:59 on Tuesday, 31st July 2018. We’ll be announcing a winner soon afterwards! Please note: the winner will be asked to provide proof of purchase.

Make sure you purchase a paperback copy!
Separated From The Sea is available here:
Amazon | Waterstones | Foyles | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Please share

We’re hoping this will reach lots of people, so please spread the word (!) by sharing this blog and the video on social media. If we’re successful, we may run similar promotions in the future and you’ll get a chance to win more goodies!

Good luck in the competition, and remember, win or lose, you still get to keep Amanda Huggins’ beautiful book!

One last thing…

If you’re able to, we’d love you to post a review to Amazon… As an independent publisher, it really helps bring much needed attention! And Amazon will promote the book if it receives enough reviews.

Guest post: Mandy Huggins – Brightly Coloured Horses

A big welcome to Mandy Huggins for today’s blog. Mandy has two new books to promote, one of which is published by Retreat West Books. You may recall Mandy’s poetic short story, Giddy With It, in last year’s anthology from Retreat West Books, What was Left. If all that wasn’t keeping her busy, she’s just been announced as judge for a travel writing competition from

Those of you who have been following the exciting developments at Retreat West Books will know that my first full-length short story collection, Separated From the Sea, will be published in June. I’m really enjoying working on the book with Amanda, and I can’t wait to see it in print.

However, that’s not the only fabulous thing that’s happening in my writing career this year – it seems that just like buses, books come along in twos! I’m also thrilled to announce that my first flash fiction collection, Brightly Coloured Horses, has just been published by Chapeltown Books.

I love the flash fiction form, the challenge of crafting a complete story in a few hundred words and striving to make every one of those words count. Capturing entire worlds, creating plots and characters, evoking a gamut of emotions in a few short paragraphs, fully aware that you have to pull the reader in from the very first sentence. And you know you’ve got it right when people tell you that they were moved to tears in those few hundred words, or that they couldn’t stop laughing, or that they want to know ‘what happened to her next.’

And it’s amazing how many oak trees grow from these tiny flash acorns. So many of the stories in Brightly Coloured Horses have developed into longer stories, many of which will appear in Separated From the Sea – because I had to find out what happened next as well!

Publishing and promoting two books in the same year isn’t for the faint-hearted – I have a full time job in engineering as well – but I’m certainly learning fast. I want to give both my books their best chance in the world, and I’m lucky to be working with two dedicated indie publishers. I know Amanda is totally committed to making Retreat West Books a success for both herself and the authors she signs, and I really appreciate her faith in my writing.

Brightly Coloured Horses by Mandy Huggins

“Twenty-seven tales of betrayal and loss, of dreams and hopes, of lovers, liars and cheats. Stories with a strong sense of place, transporting us from the seashore to the city, from India’s monsoon to the heat of Cuba, and from the supermarket aisle to a Catalonian fiesta. We meet a baby that never existed, a car called Marilyn, a one-eyed cat, and a boy whose kisses taste of dunked biscuits.

These stories all have something in common; each is a glimpse of what it’s like to be human. We make mistakes, we do our best, and most of the time we find hope”

Already garnering 5-star reviews, Brightly Coloured Horses is available both in paperback and for Kindle.


Thanks Mandy! The cover of Separated From the Sea will be unveiled tomorrow (Wednesday, 28th March 2018) across our social media.


Brightly Coloured Horses is available via Amazon and Book Depository

You can follow Mandy on Twitter.

Mandy is judging a travel writing competition at