Onion is snatched. Which is proper shit because she still had nearly twenty quid left on her Angry Slut Teen Clothing gift card and now she was never going to get those flamingo-pink leather chaps she’d been eyeing up. She wakes up chained to an armpit of a river city, earmarked for a skin-trader called The Toymaker. Surrounded by a creeping rot she has just three days to escape before the sold sticker becomes a brand.
Forced into a knife fight with a world that has just pulled an AK47 on her, all Onion has to fight with is; a sewer for a mouth, a rusted up moral compass and a spanking anger that can sucker-punch kindness at twenty paces. She might survive but probably not.
Sour Fruit is a dark dystopian novel set in northern Britain, in a river city called Kingston; a rotting scrap yard of misery. The VOIDs are forced to live there not by walls or fences but by being invisible in the new digital world.
The novel explores ideas about what is home, how friendship can come from strange places and the debts we can’t ever pay back.
I was forced into Church and warned, “Don’t touch the Korean crazy, makes The Boss pouty.”
Even though it was called Church and the space had collected in its fair share of prayers, it weren’t no place God had ever been. Used to be a Free School, then that was ripped down and The Saint Anthony of Padua Shopping Arcade was built. But when I came to be there those lives had passed. Sort of.
Victorian style window shops ran either side of us, a brow of kiosks tucked along a mezzanine floor above us. Hundreds of Chinese lanterns; shaped like skulls and plastic faced baby pandas grinned down at us. A shiver jabbed at the back of my neck, as the empty eye sockets bore down. A riverbed of puppets stood between us and a sweeping set of iron stairs at the far end of the shopping arcade.
We threaded our way through the piles of silent puppets, but my foot caught on a puddle of fabric and I almost tripped into a life-sized giraffe. The Bitch snatched me from the fall, clipped my ear and growled at me to stop fucking around. A man with one leg was sat stitching red flowers onto the puppet’s elongated neck. I willed him to look at me, to see me, but only the giraffe watched as I was dragged away. The air ripped apart by the pull of thread through the fabric.
Herded along until I was standing at the base of the stairs in front of a crimson-stained hole, that had been jack-hammered through the tiled floor.
I tried to back up but her hands clamped down and I was fixed in place.
She called out, “Boss.”
I searched the muddy light, sweat dripping into my eyes, but I could see nothing. There was a click of a door opening, the boss was coming. The draft made the lanterns sway and flecks of dust that had only just been hanging on gave up and a grey snow floated down.
A voice punched out from the dark, “Like my puppets don’t you, skank? How many do you think there are? Guess, guess!” Then without letting me answer, he answered for me, “Twenty six.” An unoiled joint of a laugh squealed out which turned into a yelp as he got caught up on something; finally managing to fight his way out.
I swear down, you could have seen the daft git from space. He was a slick-hopper, you know from that film? Massive collar. Neon Bolo. Skin-tight trousers, also neon; he even had the hat, you know, with the feathers.
This, it turned out, was The Boss. Known to his mam as Milton; known to everyone else as King Tiny Turd, not to his face though, never to his face. He had a viscous streak running through all that chub.
Over the top of my head she barked, “What’s with all the pinkies?” Indicating to the dozen children hunched over fairy lights untangling the chaos. Her leather coat crinkled as she flexed. “We ain’t finished business yet.”
Lovingly straightening the ears of a purple rabbit, he flapped away her concern. “The Splurge is tomorrow, I didn’t have time to wait for Nails, besides they won’t tell.”
So my Sour Fruit manuscript has now winged its way to my Copy Editor, who will comb and comb and comb until everything is as shiny and glossy as an Afghan hound at Crufts. What do Copy Editors do you ask? They make grammar their bitch.
Before we continue I’d like us to bow our heads for a moment's silence while we think of the poor soul having to check MY spelling, grammar…
So this Update has been a long time coming, like Leo’s Oscar or the second season of Twin Peaks or Mrs Ryan Gosling*. Wink wink.
*I know that Mrs Ryan Gosling is actually a successful woman in her own right, the wonderful Eva Mendes, but the joke doesn’t work if I say her name, because let’s face it, unless your wading through The Daily Mail’s sidebar of shame you probably have no…
So super huge, jungle-sized blow your nipples off thank you!
What can I say, the sarcasm crusted creature I keep in my rib cage wants to make some flippant comment about the power of pestering, and how thankful you’ll all be to not see my video lurk all over your timeline ever again*, but… I’m feeling. How do I describe it… it tastes like vodka and mucky laughs. Smells like glitter. Feels like…
Boom - it be Friday...
...Unless you’re not in the office today and haven’t opened your email until Monday in which case that first statement is both a lie and let-down. (A familiar feeling for a certain 1st lady I suppose.)
Let’s plough on, because we all have cocktails and bunking off to get to, this Friday. The last few weeks have been a bit gougy, I hit a wall hard, with the dick number…
What an amazing night, filled with interesting, brave, fantastic people.
The first ever Leeds Book Jam was a roaring success.
Once I’d read my very hurried and slightly breathless reading my enjoyment levels went through the roof and a large glass of wine went down the hatch.
We had an amazing MC in the wonderful (good at accents) Claire Patel-Campbell…
So my master plan for book domination continues…
Love You Long Time Packs
If you know the right person (me) then this weekend you might have received a cute little something in the post. For some of my amazing pledgers (basically the people I bore the most with my dreaming of authorship). I’ve sent …a …well… it’s a straight up bribe.
So, you lucky gorgeous pledgers you, today I have a short story for you. Set in my Kingston World, (but a prequel so not in Kingston yet) with my vicious little Onion at the helm. Written just for you and although it will feature on my blog, only my Mum and spammers ever find their way into that dusty corner of dead dreams and back breaking pointlessness. So wrap up warm in the cardigan of exclusivity…
Hello you gorgeous little nuggets of fun,
Wanna see something cool?
So I’ve been an industrious little Yorkshire lass, toiling away in my bunker, prep prep prepping for the big one. Searching how to survive, hunting for truths, raging against losing my mind, (and by bunker I mean my office with adorable unicorn tape dispenser, and by big one I mean 50% funded and by raging against losing my…
After spending so long writing and rewriting; edit after edit of the darn thing, here I am in the belly of an unknown and strange beast called, ‘So Close’. It’s surreal like waking up half drunk, half naked in a port-a-loo at Glasto; you ‘ish remember how you got there, but you’ve no idea where the goat came from.
But here we are, no going back. The final draft is almost done, by which I mean;…
These people are helping to fund Sour Fruit.