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Morecambe, Lancashire, United Kingdom
In the mornings I’m a Nursery Cook, the rest of the time a Writer. Been writing for decades: short stories, plays, poems, a sitcom and more recently flash fiction, Creative Writing MA at Lancaster Uni and now several novels. Been placed in competitions (Woman’s Own, Greenacre Writers and flashtagmanchester) and shortlisted in others (Fish, Calderdale, Short Fiction Journal). I won the Calderdale Prize 2011, was runner-up in the Ink Tears Flash Fiction Comp & won the Greenacre Writer Short Story Comp 2013. I have stories in Jawbreakers, Eating My Words, Flash Dogs Anthologies 1-3, 100 RPM and the Stories for Homes anthology. My work’s often described as ‘sweet’ but there’s usually something darker and more sinister beneath the sweetness. I love magical realism and a comedy-tragedy combination. My first novel, Queen of the World, is about a woman who believes she can influence the weather. I’m currently working on a 3rd: Priscilla Parker Reluctant Celebrity Chef. Originally from West Midlands, I love living by the sea in Morecambe, swimming, cycling, theatre, books, food, weather, sitcoms and LBBNML … SQUEEZE!

Monday, 23 September 2013

Morecambe Kite Festival Inspired Bathroom

Over the past few weeks I've been decorating my bathroom. It is quite small, has a sloping roof and a step down into it. From the day I moved in I declared it my least favourite room so I decided to try and make it a room I was keener to go in.
I painted it sky blue with clouds and birds and then attempted to recreate Morecambe Kite Festival with three small tins of emulsion in primary colours. I wanted to portray the amazing sight of all these kites flapping around in the sky and added a bit more each day until I pronounced it finally finished on Friday. 

 The view from the doorway

 I even painted the back of the door

I doubt there's another bathroom quite like mine

Rather proud of the little people holding the strings!

Dolphins above the shower

The toilet is a separate room. I’ve yet to decide how I’m painting it but I’m sure a bright idea will come to me.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Queen of the World Synopsis & Other Writing News

This is the synopsis for my novel. Since starting to submit to agents in February, I've had four requests for the full manuscript, three of which have ended in rejection. The third one was rejected after a couple of days, which made me realise I actually LIKED the weeks of waiting for the other ones. I like the walking round with a little nugget of hope in my heart that something exciting just MIGHT be about to happen.


Queen of the World, a literary-commercial tragi-comic magical-realism contemporary novel set in a seaside town in Northern England, tells the story of Marjorie Queen, an ordinary woman in her fifties. Ordinary, that is, except that since her teens she’s been influencing and controlling the world’s weather.

Marjorie doesn’t understand why she’s so drawn to single father Stuart and his daughter Manda but she ignores everyone else’s weather to make things perfect for them. They all go and meet Stuart’s father for the first time. Hugo King is a local artist who, throughout the story, creates temporary sculptures of mythical creatures from natural materials: a sand and pebbles mermaid on the beach, a Yeti made from snow, a carved goblin pumpkin, a chocolate unicorn. As well as Stuart’s father he is also the boy Marjorie loved at fifteen and who she’s spent the past thirty-seven years believing dead.

The shock of this realisation makes Marjorie run away but soon she and Hugo are thrown together as part of a search party for a missing macaw. Marjorie has to confront memories of her late mother and stepfather, Frank. She imagines what she should have done when Frank abused and lied to her and she blames herself for believing his big lie about Hugo.

When Marjorie invites Hugo for a meal he tells her he has a terminal illness, is refusing treatment and wants her help with a last piece on the hill. Marjorie becomes angry and tells him to leave. She cannot bear to lose him all over again.

Marjorie’s visited by past memories that seem very real: Frank’s abuse and the time she and her mother scattered Frank’s ashes but above all, the past she can never return to, particularly the last perfect day with Hugo. After succumbing to a bout of Christmas and New Year depression, Marjorie decides she must help Hugo.

Marjorie, Hugo, Stuart and Manda set off up the hill to complete Hugo’s last ambitious work of art. Hugo marks out the form of a creature and they start to dig trenches but the work is too much for them & they are hampered by weather Marjorie isn’t able to control. In a quiet moment Marjorie tells Hugo what she never told anyone - that Frank sexually abused her. Then she realises Hugo has died. Marjorie does the most ambitious controlling of the weather of her life. By bringing a storm to the hillside, she enables Hugo to go out in a blaze of glory as the final creation is struck by lightning and becomes a flaming dragon that Hugo is a part of.


In other writing news, I have a story, ‘Patricia’, in the Stories for Homes anthology, which is being sold in aid of Shelter and is full of stories with the theme of ‘home’. It’s just an e-book at the moment but there are plans for an old fashioned papery version in the near future.

I had another story and photogragh on 330 words in July. It’s called ‘Hold On Tight’ and was inspired by the Venus and Cupid Sculpture, which is on Morecambe seafront near the entrance to Happy Mount Park and only a short walk along the promenade from where I live.

Finally, my 250 word story, ‘One Eye’ is in the long list for the Lightship One Page Prize. One Eye. One Page. Sal Page. I like that … and I like having another one of those little nuggets of hope.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Lemon Cheesecake

I’m in the process of creating a cookbook for work and getting a bit bored of writing recipes in the normal fashion. This is my attempt at writing one in an unconventional way. Hope it makes some kind of sense.

Lemon Cheesecake? It’s easy. Just get twelve digestive biscuits. There’ll be some in the tin if you’re lucky. Ten or eleven would do. Crush ‘em and add to the bigger half of a half-pound pack of butter that you’ve melted. Tip this lot into a six, seven or eight inch tin of any shape. Whatever you’ve got. I’m not in the business of sending you to a kitchen shop with a ruler. Compact the crumbs mixture down like you’ve just planted some seeds in it. Stick in the fridge while you whip up the filling.
Dump the contents of a small tub of cream cheese (lower fat if you want but never ever ever onion and chive flavour) and a small carton of double cream into a bowl and whisk together with a blender or any sort of whisk until good and thick and dollopy. Before (or during if you’re particularly dextrous) the last few whiskings, add a couple of heaped teaspoons of icing sugar and half of the finely grated rind of one largish lemon, having previously selected the lemoniest looking lemon in the shop. Load this mixture onto the biscuity bit and spread out. Stick in the fridge while you cook up your lemon topping.
Put the rest of lemon’s rind in a small jug and squeeze in the juice. Add another three teaspoons of icing sugar and one of corn flour and a splash of water. Whisk up and heat in the microwave, whisking occasionally, until thickened. Now just confidently splatter, flick or drizzle the lemony sauce all over the top of the cheesecake in a sort-of Jackson Pollacky style. Chill in the fridge for anything between an hour-or-so or a day. Spend some of that time chilling on the sofa. You, not the cheesecake. Could serve eight. Or six. Whatever. Serve a slice with a few strawberries or raspberries chucked at it. Add some chocolate if you like. Or cream. Or ice cream. Eat within three days. Why wouldn’t you?

(If you must know, the butter is 125g, the cream cheese 200g & the double cream 150 ml.)

Serve on one of your Nan's old plates