Tag Archives: Searching for a Silver Lining

#WurdyChristmas 3: What will Lucy choose?

free-wallpaper-christmas-treeWelcome to the third part of my exclusive #WurdyChristmas treat short story. Yesterday, I asked you whether Lucy should choose the engraved silver box or the starry velvet bag…

The vote was so close! Right up until I began writing today’s episode the lead kept changing. Read on to find out what she chooses!

Don’t forget to vote at the end to choose what happens tomorrow. Happy reading, lovelies!

©Miranda Dickinson 2016

Lucy’s fingers hovered over the silver box and the velvet bag.

Which one should she choose?

The purple-inked note addressed to her said whatever she chose would change her life.

Change my life? How?

Both gifts were beautiful, both would be wonderful to own, but who had left them here? And who knew she would be alone in her manager’s office tonight? Was someone watching her? Was she really alone here?

What if I make the wrong decision?

Her mum always said decisions should come from the heart. ‘You deliberate and agonise, but I think you always know the right choice, deep down. Your heart decides long before your head.’

Lucy didn’t trust her heart tonight. Not after being so wrong about Aaron. Her heart had assured her Aaron was The One – a phrase she’d laughed at when others had used it, before he arrived in her life. How could she have been so blinkered about him? Her heart had soothed her fears that he was too good to be true, that she was falling dangerously hard for someone who wouldn’t even hold her hand in public…

A fresh wave of injustice hit her as she sat in Sophie’s chair in the cramped office. The signs had been there all along, hadn’t they? His insistence that displays of affection were confined to when they were alone. His unwillingness to introduce her to his parents, or hang out with his friends. As she began to unpick the relationship she’d believed to be perfect, it all became suddenly, horribly clear.

I made excuses for him all the time. I never asked why.

How had she become such a doormat? She was a bright, intelligent woman with ambition and dreams and an intrinsic belief in better times and silver linings. Wasn’t she? Given the almighty mess she now found herself in, maybe the biggest injustice had been that she had allowed someone else to dictate her happiness.

Silver Bells, Silver Bells…

She was suddenly aware of the song again, although she was pretty certain it had been playing all the time since she entered Sophie’s office. It was the same song, Bing Crosby’s familiar croon and Carol Richard’s bright replies. But this time, it was different.

It was almost as if someone were whispering the words close to her ear…

She stood, grabbing the engraved silver box with its tiny diamond-hearted stars – reassured by its considerable weight in her hand – ready to defend herself. Was there an intruder? Had someone followed her inside? She couldn’t remember whether she had locked the front door behind her when she’d come back to Tony & Frank’s. What if someone had been watching her and saw an opportunity?

‘Who’s there?’ she called, every nerve in her body on high alert.

Is that what you did in a situation like this? She didn’t know – but in every thriller she’d ever watched it was the first thing people said. Too late, she remembered that most characters in films who did this usually lived (or didn’t live) to regret it…

The whisper came again, this time by her right ear. She spun around, holding the box aloft, ready to throw it or strike out in the darkness. Could she get away if she hit her invisible assailant? Would there be time to escape?

And then, the silver box in her hand began to glow

For a moment, Lucy forgot her fear. The sight transfixed her. All over the box, the tiny diamond stars dazzled as if dancing in sunbeams. The silver itself emitted an ice-blue glow that bathed Lucy’s hand in light. And the strangest part was that where the glow rested felt warm against her skin…

‘Good choice, kid,’ said a voice.

‘See, I knew she’d go for that one,’ said another. ‘I mean, the bag’s a beaut but check the sparklers on that box!’

Shaking, Lucy looked up – and saw two men leaning against the steel shelving unit where Sophie kept boxes of menus, kids’ activity packs and the staff manuals. Except that when she dared look closer, the shorter of the two appeared to be sitting on the middle shelf.

Hang on – how was that even possible?

‘Who are you? How did you get in here?’

The taller man smiled. He was dressed in an evening suit, black tie hanging loose from the open collar of his dress shirt. In better light, he might have had more than a passing resemblance to Dean Martin in his Rat Pack years. ‘Kid, relax. We didn’t get in here. We are this place.’

Lucy stared.

‘Look at her, boss. The poor thing’s scared to death.’ The shorter man waved from his impossible perch. He too was dressed in evening attire, but the open black jacket and blue silk cummerbund across his ample waist looked as if they had seen better days. His balding brow wrinkled into a frown as he sent Lucy a tentative wave. ‘Hey, lady. Don’t worry. We ain’t stealin’.’

Lucy increased her grip on the silver box, even though its warmth was comforting, inviting her to forget everything and cradle it. ‘Get out! Both of you. Or I’ll…’

The tall man shrugged. ‘Or you’ll what? Throw that gift at us that we picked out for you?’

‘She wouldn’t.’

‘I think she might. She looks mad, Frankie.’

Lucy blinked. ‘Frankie?’

‘Sure. You mean to tell me you don’t know who we are?’

Since their sudden arrival in the office, Lucy had battled the strangest feeling that she somehow knew the intruders – but until the tall man uttered his companion’s name she hadn’t been able to place them.


‘I think she’s gettin’ it, Tony.’

‘You don’t exist! You’re the made up founders of a chain restaurant – there are busts of you over the kitchen hatch…’

‘Babblin’. She’s babblin’, Tony.’

‘I know, Frankie. Give the kid some air.’

‘You are kidding me…’ Lucy felt the room undulate around her. What on earth was happening? She couldn’t – absolutely couldn’t be – talking to Tony & Frank. They didn’t exist. The whole thing was a story created to sell the theme – two brothers from Napoli who arrived in 1920s New York on a boat of immigrants and set up a restaurant in the back streets of Brooklyn. Except that it never happened. The restaurant chain wasn’t even American. The headquarters were in Slough, for crying out loud!

‘Kid, put that box down. We aren’t here to terrorise you.’ Tony held his hands out and Lucy felt her knees buckle as she saw the faint outline of the office through them…

‘Uh boss, I think we’re losing her…’ Frank’s voice began to drift away as Lucy closed her eyes and gave in to the ice-blue, soothing warmth of the glowing silver box.

‘Lucy, Lucy Smith, come back.’ From far away, almost as far as the song had sounded, Lucy was aware of Tony’s voice.

‘Go… away…’ she heard herself murmur.

‘You chose the box, kid. That means you chose us.’

‘I didn’t… I didn’t…’ Words danced around Lucy’s head like the white diamond stars dancing across the silver box lid.

You called us here, Lucy Smith. Because you wanted something better. Because you wanted a miracle.’

‘Go… away…’

‘Lucy, come back.’

This time, Lucy felt the pull of reality gently bringing her back to the darkened office. When she dared to open her eyes, Tony and Frank were still there – both standing now, closer to her than they had been before.

‘Look over there,’ Tony said, pointing a semi-transparent finger to the back wall of the office, where two doors had appeared. Each was painted red, its edges decked out in metallic trim – one gold, one green. ‘We’re here to help you, Lucy Smith. But you have decide what happens here. So pick a door.’


‘Trust us, kid. Pick a door. The rest will become clear. So, what’ll it be?’

Lucy stared at the doors. Apart from the trim they seemed identical. And what remained of her logic told her that there couldn’t be anything behind either door, apart from a small gap to the back wall. But so much had happened already that defied reason. And she wanted things to change in her life.

But which door should she choose?

TO BE CONTINUED… ©Miranda Dickinson 2016

What do YOU think? Should Lucy choose the gold door or the green door? Vote NOW in the poll below – and come back tomorrow to find out what happens next!

Strange times and Silver Linings

Next Thursday, my eighth novel, SEARCHING FOR A SILVER LINING is published. It’s the book I am most proud of, not least because I worked so hard to make it a truly memorable book. It is also personally special to me because of the happy hours I spent talking to my Dad about his memories of being a teenager in the 1950s while I was writing it. But I never thought during the many months spent writing my book that it would be published without Dad seeing it.
But that’s what is happening. A week ago today, I lost my lovely Dad.

Still, as I write that sentence, I can’t quite believe it. Life without him is going on – because life does – but the world is a little dimmer and quieter without his presence and infectious sense of humour. The bottom line is that I write what I write because I inherited Dad’s love of comedy and his natural storytelling skill. My earliest memories are of Dad making me laugh. He would make my toys move and talk with funny voices, and tell me stories that made me giggle. He made books come alive for me and my sister and often recited favourite tales verbatim on our walks. So much of what I now do for a living can be traced back to those special times.
When he died, I didn’t want to think about my writing, my stories. They suddenly seemed trivial. All I could think of were his stories – the ones he’d tell over and over again, the ones we had now lost. How do you carry on promoting a new book when life floors you like this?

I’m not sure I know the answer.

But here’s what I do know. My amazing, talented, hilarious Dad had one solution whenever life chucked a spanner in his path: create something to redress the balance. When he was unexpectedly made redundant at the age of 56, Dad sought something creative in response: he joined a TV and Film Extras agency. 

Over the years he had a ball, acting alongside famous people from Scarlett Johansson, Johnny Depp and Michael Sheen, to Catherine Tate, Patrick Stewart and Philip Glenister. And from each new job came new stories – hilarious, stitch-inducing tales of the crazy things he was asked to do. Such as posing with a bolshy duck in The Village, or running up a hill with a Zimmer frame in Hustle. Or the time while filming The Libertine when he asked Johnny Depp what his previous acting job was (Dad’s had been Emmerdale, of which he was mighty proud) to be told ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, and Dad replied, ‘Oh, I’ve seen that. Were you in it?’

Dad understood that, when something bad happens, creating something new and hopeful in its place is the best response.

I can’t bring my Dad back. I wish I could – I would swap every printed copy of my books from here to eternity for one more day with him. But what I do have is the book he was so involved in the writing of. So many of Dad’s memories are woven into the story – in Reenie’s tales of her band The Silver Five’s exploits and in Grandpa Joe’s diary entries that Mattie Bell discovers as she embarks on a road trip like no other. Even the songs that form the chapter headings in Searching for a Silver Lining are my Dad’s favourites from the 1950s. It’s as if the things I loved most about being Brian Harvey Dickinson’s daughter have been infused into the story.

Dad was SO proud of my writing. Every week he would call me with shelf updates from my local Waterstones and WHSmith stores – the booksellers knew he was my Dad and would show him the latest sales figures for my books. He would frequently rearrange shelves so that my books were more visible – several times I was congratulated for being a Richard and Judy pick because a certain sparkly-eyed septuagenarian had been working his magic on the shelves… I know he was proud of this book and loved chatting with me about it.

Those are the things I’m hanging on to as I prepare to do all the book promotion in the coming weeks. So if you see me on Twitter and FB and appearing on lovely book bloggers’ sites talking about my book, please know I’m doing it hoping my lovely Dad is looking on approvingly from the major stage (with the enormous audience) he’s just been called to. And thank you for all your love and support – it’s helping me so much to carry on doing what Dad was so proud of.

HERE IT IS! The cover for Searching for a Silver Lining!

I have been impatiently waiting to share the cover of my new book, Searching for a Silver Lining, with you… And finally, I can reveal it!

Drumroll, please…


SfaSL FINAL COVERadore it – and I hope you do, too. All the silver grey you see in the picture above will be gorgeous, sparkly silver foil – including the tiny stars. I can’t wait to share my eighth novel with you! It will be published on 20th October 2016 and we’re planning all kinds of exciting things around the time of the launch, so keep watching my website, twitter and Facebook for all the details.

You can pre-order Searching for a Silver Lining NOW in both paperback and ebook editions. Woo-hoo! xx

HERE IT IS! My Big Sparkly Book News!

I have been waiting to share this with you for so long – and now the time has finally come!


My eighth novel will be called SEARCHING FOR A SILVER LINING and will be published by PanMacmillan on 20th October 2016! You can now preorder it here…

SFASL Title Reveal

Here’s the blurb:

Searching for a Silver Lining

It began with a promise…

Matilda Bell is left heartbroken when she falls out with her beloved grandfather just before he dies. Haunted by regret, she makes a promise that will soon change everything…

When spirited former singing star Reenie Silver enters her life, Mattie seizes the opportunity to make amends. Together, Mattie and Reenie embark on an incredible journey that will find lost friends, uncover secrets from the glamorous 1950s and put right a sixty-year wrong.

Touchingly funny, warm and life-affirming, this is a sparkling story of second chances. Searching for a Silver Lining will take you on a trip you’ll never forget.

So, there it is! I am beyond excited for you all to read this book – I have had the best time writing it and I know you’re going to love vintage shop owner Mattie Bell and the wonderfully glamorous and outspoken Reenie Silver. The cover is being designed as we speak and I’ll tell you lots more about the book in the coming weeks, so watch out for my vlogs coming soon.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts! xx