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  • Writer's pictureA J McDine

Life update: In which it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...


Can you believe there are only three sleeps till Christmas? I know I can't. I have a To Do list a mile long and time is slipping through my fingers like sand. I'll get everything done - I always do - but it does all seem like a lot of faff for one day.

We're spending Christmas Day at home, with eight of us sitting down to turkey and all the trimmings. What are you up to? Do let me know - I'd love to hear.

I may sound like a bit of a Grinch but I do love the build-up to Christmas, and we've packed in lots over the last couple of weeks, including catch-ups with friends and neighbours and a trip to London to see the London International Horse Show at the ExCeL, which was great fun.

[Many of you will know that I write pony adventure stories under my married name, Amanda Wills, and I love nothing more than watching a spot of showjumping.]

A couple of weeks ago Adrian's parents came up from Plymouth to stay with us, along with my mum, for the weekend. We always like to show Adrian's mum and dad different parts of Kent and this visit we took them to Margate and Whitstable, two very different seaside towns on the north Kent coast. We also went for a meal at a country pub to celebrate Adrian's mum's birthday.

Here's the obligatory selfie on the beach at Whitstable. It wasn't as cold as it looked!

Workwise, I have been busy proofreading Adrian's new psychological thriller, The Phantom Child, and what an addictive read it was! I had to keep reminding myself I was doing a job and not let myself get swept up in the narrative.

It tells the story of mum Karina, who wakes up one morning to find her four-year-old son, Jacob, is missing. But when she races in to alert her husband, he informs her they don't have a child...

It's such a great premise and is the first twist in a book that'll have you guessing all the way to the final page.

The book, which is out on 1st February, is available to pre-order now at the special launch price of 99p/99c. You can check it out here.

Charlie, our cheeky rescue kitten, helped with some of the proofreading, as you can see, although I have to say his grasp of dangling modifiers and subordinate clauses leaves a lot to be desired.

I also set up a mini office in a cafe one day. Have Kindle and dictionaries, will travel.

As for my own writing and book stuff, I was due to get my copy edits for my second Bookouture thriller back yesterday - the last round of edits before the manuscript is proofread - but there's been a delay, so I'm off the hook until after Christmas.

Then I'll be gearing up for the big cover reveal of my first Bookouture book in January, when it'll also go on pre-order. To say I'm excited is an understatement. My last book, The Invite, was out a whole year ago so this book seems a long time coming.

I hope you think it's worth the wait!

As some of you may remember, I inherited my love of writing from my late dad, David McDine. I followed in his footsteps, becoming first a journalist, then a press officer, and finally an author.

But while I write domestic thrillers and pony books, he chose to follow his passion and wrote gripping historical naval thrillers.

I'm so proud to say that his publishers have just brought together his four naval adventures in one fantastic box set.

To celebrate the launch, The Complete Lieutenant Oliver Anson Naval Thrillers box set is currently on sale at just 99p/99c.

The four books - The Normandy Privateer, Strike the Red Flag, Dead Man's Island and A Stormy Peace - are perfect for fans of C.S. Forester, Patrick O'Brian, Dudley Pope and Bernard Cornwell.

If you have Kindle Unlimited they're completely free to download.

Just click on the links if you'd like to check them out.

That's all from me for this year.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Let's hope 2024 is one to remember for all the right reasons.

See you next year!


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