procrastinationWhat do you do when you know there is a writing task that needs doing – re-writing and editing finished book number two? You procrastinate like mad by starting another one of course…

This book began its life as a short story that I entered into a competition (and did not win, alas, on the other hand, it did get long-listed in a publishing company’s competition) but I was then so taken with the idea and the concept that I decided it needed expansion.

See what you think…


Sunday morning – somewhere in the city

Listen, it isn’t like this is the first time I have ever woken up and not known where I am. I mean, six months ago this happened to me regularly. Even more disconcerting was when I didn’t recognise the guy lying next to me either.

But waking up and being disconcerted by surroundings you don’t immediately recognise happens to all of us from time to time. You need a few seconds to re-orient yourself – “Ah, we’re at my mum’s”, or “Of course, we crashed out at Dixie’s.”

I wait for revelation to spring itself upon me, but nothing happens so I run through what I do know. I am in a large and comfortable bed, with clean sheets which smell strongly of fabric softener. The window is to my left and there is daylight shining through the curtains, and the décor is very modern and very smart from what I can make out.

And, reassuringly, Josh is next to me.

“Mum! Dad!”

The shout outside the bedroom door startles Josh. His eyes spring open and I watch him working through the same thought process as I did – where am I, I don’t recognise my surroundings – and then arriving at the same mental destination I did, the I don’t where I am one.

The door bursts open and a tall, gangly teenage boy flings himself into the room, coming to a rest at the foot of our bed, hopping in agitation from foot to foot.

“Guys! C’mon, get up! You’ve got to take me to the auditions!”

I have sat up in bed, modestly clutching the duvet to my chest which is inadequately covered by a thin nightie, and exchanged an incredulous glance with Josh. He has returned the glance in full, but his incredulity mingles with intense curiosity, and I scrabble for my glasses (thankfully left, as per usual, on the table next to my bedside).

The boy in front of us undoubtedly looks like both of us. Curly-haired (we both sport frizzy mops), bluey-green eyes (my boyfriend), a wide face (me) and approximately 6ft 2” – me too.

Kidding, of course the height is all Josh.

“Five minutes guys!” The teenager grabs hold of my foot and waggles it, and the unfamiliar touch sends a jolt through me. I have to concentrate very hard on not jerking my foot away.

“Get you downstairs then,” I say. He gives both of us an intense look, a “hurry and get up” look and leaves the bedroom in roughly the same way he entered it.

“What the f–”

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Ballingham High – the Worst School in the Country

interviewerGreetings faithful readers and thanks to you for dropping by. Here’s another excerpt from my book, Katie and the Deelans…

Adam Hartley, Central TV’s youngest broadcaster, had visited Ballingham High School many times in the two years he had worked for Central TV to report stories. Most of them had been bad news.

There had been the arson attack. Then there had been gang warfare, when rival school gangs battled it out for control of the school’s drug supplies. The worst incident, however, had been when one pupil murdered another in a fit of jealous rage.

Central TV’s newsroom boss – Sharon Watson – had stopped by Adam’s desk that morning. He had been doing his best to look busy, as Sharon was a very scary boss and liked to catch her staff out when she thought they weren’t doing enough work.

“Adam, I find this hard to believe but I’ve just had a phone call from the education boss at the council – you know, Donald Chips – and he tells me there has been a remarkable improvement at Ballingham High School. They’ve had a 50% improvement in their exam results. What are you working on at the moment?”

Adam, who had been doing nothing – there never seemed to be any new news on a Tuesday afternoon – quickly thought up something that he thought might impress Scary Sharon.

“I was looking back at some of the stories I worked on last week seeing if there were ways that I could have done them better Sharon.”

Sharon shook her head. “Really? Useful as that sounds, I need you to go out to Ballingham High straight away and do a piece about the exam results. Talk to the head teacher and see if you can find a couple of pupils to interview – ones who passed and hadn’t expected to pass, that sort of thing.

“Oh, and make sure they are good-looking pupils. Our viewers don’t want to see any fat, spotty teenagers on the six o’clock news. It’ll put them off their dinner.”  Continue reading