Blog, Christmas, short stories

Christmas Special Goodwill to All!

A New Story

I’ve had an exciting week! I polished off the last chocolates from my raffle prize to celebrate the publication of my Christmas short story, Goodwill to All. You can find it in a Christmas special published by The People’s Friend dated December 3rd (although it’s been on sale since Wednesday, 30th November).

The Christmas Special bringing Goodwill to All!

I love writing long fiction such as romantic novels and novellas. You can find out more about my earlier work here. Short stories are more challenging to write. Three generations of my family have read The People’s Friend so to have one of my stories included in a Christmas Special is the icing on the (Christmas) cake!

Goodwill to All

Goodwill to All is about a family in trouble. Katie is writing her Christmas cards, but something is worrying her. Every one she chooses reminds her of the hole in her life she can’t fill. I love Tracey Fennell’s festive illustration for Goodwill To All. It brings the season to life.

Goodwill to All, my festive short story.

This festive edition of The People’s Friend is a bumper one, as it’s a Christmas special. There’s fiction from Laura Tapper, Sue Cook, Val Melhop, Jan Snook, H. Johnson-Mack, Alison Carter, Jenny Worstall, Stefania Hartley, Kate Hogan, Lesley-Anne Johnstone, Christine Bryant, Eirin Thompson, Suzanne Ross Jones, Teresa Ashby, and Glenda Young.

There’s also a short story by debut Friend author, Susan Batten, and a new serial from Alison Carter.

You can find details of the other stories contained in this Christmas special edition here. They’re under the heading “Fiction Sneak Peek”. There’s also more information about this week’s magazine as a whole here.

Winter Reading

brown cookies on gray tray
Photo by Georgie Devlin on

Why not read your winter worries away? It’s lovely to curl up with some feel-good fiction. Especially when you can add a hot drink, and a mince pie.

Why not forget your troubles for half an hour?

Happy Reading!

Blog, Christmas

Happy Christmas, Everyone

I’m taking a break now until the New Year. I hope this message finds you well, and that you’ll be spending the holidays with those you love.

Winter Jasmine

As we’ve passed the shortest day (December 21st), the days will soon start lengthening again. It’s been so damp and gloomy here in Gloucestershire over the past few days, spring seems a long way off. I took these photographs this morning, to cheer myself up!

This time last year we were all in such a dark place I created my Instant Lift page to try and raise everybody’s spirits. Reading about the way the seasons change, slowly but surely, is reassuring in this time of continuing Covid.


Not everyone finds this The Most Wonderful Time of the Year. If you’re happy, please reach out to someone who may be struggling.

If you’re not okay, don’t suffer in silence. Try these links:,, and

Wishing you a safe, peaceful Christmas and a good New Year, full of opportunities.

Love, Christina

Blog, Christmas, Writing

Christmas Wishes…

2020 has been quite a year. I’m really looking forward to January 1st, as I’m convinced 2021 is going to be a whole lot better than the twelve months that have just gone by.

To kick off the New Year, I’ll be starting a new series on writing. During my studies at the University of Gloucestershire, I discovered that getting my feelings down in words really helped my mental health. Like everyone else I hate lockdown, and writing helps me process negative feelings.

Expressing yourself in words is useful in another way, too. In the future when social distancing is a distant memory, records of how we coped during the pandemic will help future generations deal with whatever life throws at them. In the same way we look back with fascination on the stories of people who lived through the Second World War, post-Covid readers and researchers will be glad we took the time to write down the details of our daily life.

My new series will give you the confidence to write whatever you like— whether it’s for pleasure, posterity or profit—so if there’s anything about the art and craft of creative writing you’d like to see covered, post a comment below

Amazon, Blog, Christmas

Heritage: New Writing VIII Is Here!

It’s official—Heritage: New Writing VIII, the 2019 collection of new writing by students, alumni and friends of the University of Gloucestershire—is now available on Amazon. Packed full of short stories, poetry and illustrations, Heritage is the perfect Christmas present for bookworms, and anyone who loves the county of Gloucestershire. Click on the box below to make sure you get your copy—stocks are limited, so buy yours now!

We had so many submissions of quality that we couldn’t squeeze them all in, but with two hundred pages containing fifty-eight pieces of quality work, Heritage represents stunning value for money at only £8.99. As joint managing director (together with Chris Davies) of the anthology project I’m not allowed to have favourites—that’s a good thing, as it would be impossible to choose—although as a writer I felt every word Joyce Grant wrote in her piece The Urge!

I’m really proud to have been part of the Heritage production team. You can find out who we are, and how we all worked together to create the 2019 anthology, here.

And to get your very own copy of Heritage, click here

Blog, Christmas

Six Ways To Beat Loneliness This Christmas…

1. Donate your time

Take a bag of non-perishable items to your local homeless shelter or food bank. Scented soap and other simple toiletries are a luxury when you’re in need.

2. Visit a neighbour

Invite them into your home if they would otherwise be alone. The worst that can happen is that they say ‘no’—and they may have been waiting for someone like you to make the first move.

3. Go for a walk 

Fresh air and exercise makes everyone feel better. And you never know who you might meet when you’re out and about. This is Alex!

4. Take up a craft 

Keeping your hands and mind busy with baking or other crafts produces useful results. One of the trees in our Christmas tree festival was decorated from top to bottom with delicate snowflakes crocheted in fine thread. It looked stunning.

5. Gardening

Even in mid-winter you can grow micro greens, cress and sprouting seeds on your windowsill. Within a week or two you’ll be harvesting your own salads and sandwich fillings

6. Feed the Birds

A windowsill feeder will bring life and movement close. Commercial feed mixes, fat balls, small amounts of finely grated cheese and well soaked, chopped raisins are all good.

Whether you are spending Christmas alone or with family and friends, I hope you have a lovely time. What will you be doing this year? Let me know by leaving a comment below!