Thursday, 30 December 2010

... New Year!

Here's to having absolutely no idea what adventures 2011 will bring...

But wishing big midnight snogs and overflowing glasses to y'all

m xxx

Thursday, 23 December 2010


The cold makes everything stiff, catching.

Your breath hitches with the air sliced thin inside your throat. Air that feels polished-clean. Shockingly pure. You blink up at the blue jigsaw pieces carved between the trees.

The snow makes everything beautiful.

The branches glitter, jaggedly defined. Road, gutter, pavement, park – they’re all the same this morning. All of them sparkling. Smothered.

You lick your chapped lips. You swallow. And you remember how the sky used to taste when you were little, when you stepped off the bus into the twilight on your way home from school. You remember the deepening shadows and the gold at the windows, and even the creak of your footfalls feels just right. Gorgeous and secretive, but with those cut-glass edges…

Except today, hidden at the heart of it all, there is your phone.

Clenched inside your pocket, between your fingerless gloves and the silky lining, it’s the only warm thing about you. A single strange defence against all the white and splintered silver. Against that sheer, sharp, threaded blue.

The phone’s warmth remains tiny beside the dazzle. And yet it keeps you walking, and it keeps you smiling. Shimmering back at the eye-bright day.

Especially as now, it begins to ring.

Vibrating against your marching thigh, your bitten nails. You dab your thumb to the screen as you lift it slowly, as if casually, to your icy face. But your smile gives you away. It’s already widening, opening. Anticipating that rich, hushed voice, pushing softly through the cold.

Happy Christmas

M xx

Friday, 17 December 2010

East Midlands Book Award

Oooh, look.

The East Midlands Book Award 2010 nominations have been announced!

Scroll down the titles and what's that...

Surely, it couldn't be The Dawning?!?!?


How amazing is that!?!

Not that I've got a hope in hell of coming anywhere remotely close to the shortlist, but how exciting-wonderful just to see it there, amidst all those brilliant writers, those excellent works.

There's so much there that I've been wanting to read, along with several books that I've raved about already this year - Jon McGregor's haunting, revelatory Even the Dogs, Maria Allen's evocative historical emotional suspense, Before the Earthquake, Nigel Pickard's humorous, compassionate and unflinching novel of life and education, Attention Deficit...

I feel incredibly lucky for The Dawning to be slotted in between such stunning stories, such groundbreaking authors. And very, very fortunate to live in a region that produces, and now celebrates, such diverse, exciting writing.

Thank you EMBA. Thank you Weathervane.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Ghosts and Lightning and The View From Here

My review of Trevor Byrne's Ghosts & Lightning is featured in the latest issue of the marvellous the view from here.

I'm a bit excited.

I found Byrne's debut novel surprising, intriguing and a little bit bonkers (in a good way). But if you'd like to know why, you'll have to check out the view from here.

If you haven't yet come across this gorgeous and innovative literary magazine, you should definitely investgate further in any case. Intelligent, inspiring and beautiful to boot, tvfh offers interviews, reviews, comment, fiction and poetry. I feel very lucky to have joined the crew.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Hello Snow

"Here, Philip," Barbara murmurs, and he feels her lapping closer.

She brings with her warmth and a cool, bright perfume, a delicate, lime-tinged scent. He feels the pull of her, the gentle glow of her – but he waits until she is standing right beside him before he turns to her directly. A part of him resists being drawn away from the tall French windows. Like a child, he has been captivated, mesmerised, by the falling snow.

It is coming down more heavily now, turning and colliding in thick, wet, playful clumps, alternately highlighting and then hiding the trees in Barbara’s garden, outlining the slightly disconcerting silhouette of a statue rising from the centre of her large stone pond. Except that the pond is invisible now, as the statue is faceless, eyeless, almost mythically blind. Philip appreciates this; he likes how the snow brings an uncertainty to things. A mystery and magic – and yet the way that it whips and gathers is very tangible too, reminding him of cake mix, a pale, creamy blend of butter and sugar in a bowl. Forbidden and delicious and irresistible. As he watches it whirl, he remembers the sharp childhood satisfaction of dipping a grubby, reckless finger – the anticipation of a sweetness that makes him shiver, as though with cold.

"Here, Philip," Barbara murmurs, lifting a champagne flute. "For you."

Except the glass seems filled not with liquid, but with a lemony light, and behind it, Barbara’s shimmering too. Her dress is very pale, although not quite white. It glimmers silver as she moves. A long, strapless garment, possibly silk. It fits her narrow body closely. Catching him looking, she hooks his gaze back in with hers, and reels it up towards her sculpted face. She smiles and lifts one eyebrow and, as if from a great distance, he hears his own unembarrassed laugh.

The snow, this house – the smell and shine of her: there is a satiny, dreaming quality to it all …

Extracted from The Dawning

(Available now!! And just what you’re after! An unsettling festive read!)