- Soul Storm, the final instalment of my Soul Beach trilogy
- Most of my next adult novel, The Last Gift
- Brief Encounters, the free e-story I wrote on a Virgin Train, which can be downloaded from Amazon
- My Sony FutureScapes story, The Last Ladybird, which you can read or download as a Podcast here
- A new collaborative serial project launching in January
- And now… a diet book!
Yes, really! At the end of November, we published The 5:2 Diet Book which went to Number 1 on the Kindle Diets Chart within two days and, at the time of writing, has been there for a fortnight. I’ve written about my struggle with my weight – and how this new and incredibly simple approach to eating has changed my life – right here (and see my awful before photo) plus there are also some fantastic free tools available to download. But as this is a news page, I’d just like to say thanks to all the lovely readers who’ve posted their reviews, and recommended the book to their friends and family.
News from Brighton, Brixton and the beach…
I’ve also been having a busy time event-wise. There was the launch of the Beach Hut Writers, brilliantly hosted at Waterstones Brighton. We’re a kind of collective of lovely novelists in the Brighton and Hove area and we’re available for all kinds of events. In the picture you can see (left to right): Emlyn Rees, Julia Crouch, Sarah Rayner, Lizzie Enfield, Mark Barrowcliffe, me and Simon Toyne. They all write like a dream!
Then I joined the very talented Alex Marwood, Scarlett Bailey, Rebecca Chance and Helen Smith for Girls’ Night at the wonderful Brixton Library, which almost puts on a fantastic show, and serves gorgeous cake and wine.
And finally, a dozen Beach Hut writers came together at the brilliant Big Book Group night at the Brighton Dome. If you get the chance to go to one of these events, do take it up – it’s such a fun evening. We listened as Craig Melvin interviewed Kate Mosse and Sophie Hannah, who were both fascinating and very funny. The beachies had been anti-fungal invited to give our take on the Twelve Days of Christmas. I was asked to write Eight Maids a-Milking – a good choice for me, as I am a bit of a dairy fiend – but went in a different direction, as you can tell from my mini story below. Hope you enjoy it – and happy holidays!
On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me… eight maids a-milking
Eight little girls at Holly’s party have their eyes on the prize.
Everyone watches as the birthday girl un-ties parcel after silk-wrapped parcel: a new iPad. A voucher for hair extensions. A robot-dog from Japan. A Persian kitten from the boot of a car at Pease Pottage services.
‘Spoiled!’ the mummies think.
‘Not fair,’ snaps Willow, who had to settle for a goldfish on her birthday.
‘It is for my birthday and Christmas,’ Holly says, wondering why the kitten cowers under the fourteen-foot tree, instead of curling up in her lap like in storybooks.
Amelie, who was eight in September and is always queen bee, takes photos of each gift on her phone, to show Daddy later on.
Coral rubs her eyes, hard, and practises a sorrowful sniff. Her daddy protects her from animals and allergens and germs of any kind.
Evie’s daddy sits with the mummies, wondering if his wife’s diminishing bonus will cover the list Evie’s posted first-class to the North Pole. His own dreams of becoming an organic granola guru have melted faster than the snow.
Miranda’s sitting pretty. Reconnaissance missions to the back of Mummy’s wardrobe have established that all gifts are present and correct.
Saskia’s been canny. There’s a luggage limit on flights to Barbados, even in Virgin Upper Class, so she’s asked for little things. A Gucci watch, and a charm bracelet from Tiffany’s. Gold, obviously. Silver only tarnishes
Vicky knows she doesn’t belong. That she’s only been invited because her daddy won’t be home by Christmas. He’s promised they’ll celebrate it, turkey and reindeers and the rest, when his battalion returns in February.
But as the other daddies collect their little maids, who’re milking the magic of Christmas for all it’s worth, Vicky realises she’d rather have her daddy than every one of Holly’s presents.
And she knows she’s been good, so Santa will deliver him safely. Better late than never.