Every hour someone is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. In the UK alone one in five hundred people are living with this condition which causes progressive physical and neurological symptoms.
Yesterday was the publication day for my fourth psychological thriller, The Date, and rather than have a typical launch, celebrating with family and friends, my sister Karen and I headed to London on a mission to raise money for our local branch of Parkinson’s.
Laura Devine Solicitors hosted the event which they meticulously planned. Thanks to the gorgeous weather we were able to drift out onto the roof terrace while caterers plied guests with champagne and canapés.
Listening to Karen make a candid, heartfelt speech about the affect Parkinson’s has had on our family, her more than anyone, was one of the proudest moments of my life. I had to swallow the lump that had risen in my throat before I could take part in a Q & A with my agent Rory Scarfe who is also a great supporter of Parkinson’s UK.
My publishers, Sphere (Little, Brown) kindly donated paperbacks which were raffled and the total by the time we had to dash for our train was £500.
Everyone’s generosity was hugely appreciated and I can’t thank everyone enough who organised such a fabulous event, attended and donated.
Parkinson’s UK is part of a global community ensuring the millions of people living with Parkinson’s across the world don’t have to face it alone. You can find out more about the fabulous work they do here.
I adore book clubs. I’ve intermittently been a member of one for as long as I can remember. There’s nothing quite like the warm and fuzzy feeling that comes through spending time with like-minded people, sipping wine, and discussing the characters, the plot twists, the theme.
In the back of all my books are reading group questions. I love to think of them sparking a discussion and with local groups, I feel privileged when I’m invited along to be part of that discussion.
A lovely American lady called Cheryl, messaged me after her group discussed The Sister and The Gift telling me how much her group loved my stories and that they were planning something very special for The Surrogate. Both a chance to talk about the book and to help a good cause.
I was very intrigued and this morning I was absolutely thrilled to be sent the glowing feedback for my book and photos of ‘The Surrogate themed baby shower.’
The onsie cake looked amazing (I so wish I was near enough to eat a slice), and the ‘It’s a Book’ bunting made me smile.
The games were all ‘The Surrogate’ themed and it was quite surreal seeing my name, and my characters pop up in a word search.
Best of all was the huge basket of baby items collected that is now being donated to their local church where it will be distributed to mums in need.
The power of words bring people together in so many ways. Book people really are the NICEST people.
Thanks so much ladies.
I don’t have to describe my distress as I watched the horror unfold at Grenfell Tower. I don’t have to describe the desperate feeling of wanting to help and not quite knowing how to. You probably felt the same.
If you haven’t already heard about Authors for Grenfell Tower it’s an online auction raising money for the British Red Cross London Fire Relief Fund, for residents affected by the Grenfell Tower fire.
Around 1:00 a.m. on 14 June 2017, a fire in this residential tower block in west London spread to engulf the entire building. Despite the heroic efforts of the fire service, all 120 flats in the building have been destroyed. The death toll stands at 58 and is expected to rise. Survivors have lost their homes, lost everything, and gone through unimaginable trauma.
There’s lots of incredible donations on this site already. I’ve bid on numerous books as well as donating copies of The Sister and The Gift which I will dedicate and sign to the winning bidder (you can bid for those here). Along with books there are numerous agents and editors offering manuscript and submission package critiques and offers of Skype mentoring sessions. You can check out the full list of items for auction here.
Winning auction bids will be paid directly to the British Red Cross’s relief fund for Grenfell Tower residents and neighbours:
“The charity has been asked by Kensington and Chelsea council to help co-ordinate fundraising in an appeal to support the residents and neighbours of the Grenfell Tower.
Money will be given to people affected by the fire, including those who have lost everything, to buy the things they need to give themselves and their families as much normality as they can get at this extraordinarily difficult time.
By donating to the London Fire Relief Fund people will be able to help those who have been injured, bereaved, left destitute or traumatised by this tragedy.”
Today is the publication date of Dark Minds, the charity anthology compiled by the fabulous Betsy Reavley of Bloodhound Books.
Firstly, the important stuff. All proceeds of the sales of this book will be donated to Sophie’s Appeal and Hospice UK.
Sophie’s Appeal was founded in memory of Sophie Louise Barringer and supports the social, emotional and educational welfare of children, their families, nursing and support staff and provide a caring and supporting environment in both local hospitals and in the community. There are many ways the Trust provide support to parents, carers and schools who find themselves suddenly faced with the reality of cancer.
Hospice UK are the national charity for hospice care, supporting over 200 hospices in the UK. Their aim is to make sure that everyone with a life limiting or terminal condition rightly get the very best care, and hospices are critical to achieving this.
Two hugely worthwhile causes, so how can you help? Buy the book! It is packed full of short stories by some of the best crime writers around. I’m immensely proud to be included in this collection. My story, ‘The Shoes Maketh The Man’ is about Bill, a widower who lives alone since the passing of his wife, Maureen. Bill is anxious as he watches the news report of yet another attack on the elderly and when he hears disturbing noises coming from his friend Ethel’s flat above him he is faced with a choice. Should he investigate? Would you?
You can read this, and other stories, including authors such as Lisa Hall, L.J. Ross and Steven Ross in the digital or paperback version of the book, or listen to it on audio if you’re brave enough.
Think you know Dark Minds? Think again…
Dark Minds is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.