Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Kathryn's Inbox Exclusive: The Lost Sweet Valley High Novel Part 2

And now for the next exclusive installment of The Lost Sweet Valley High novel, Elizabeth's Psychosis.

Chapter 2

Todd Wilkins woke with a thumping headache. Where am I, he wondered, as he stumbled out of bed and walked to the window. This certainly did not look like Sweet Valley. For one thing, it was cloudy outside. And for another, it was raining. And Todd knew that it never rained in Sweet Valley.

Oh, that's right. Todd smiled as he remembered that he was in Vermont, catching up with some old friends. Last night he had been to a party with Michelle, the coach of his old basketball team. Suzanne Devlin, his old girlfriend had been there. Todd could recall drinking the bottle of soda pop that Michelle had kindly offered him. And then ...

"Morning Todd." Suzanne Devlin skipped happily through the bedroom, wearing only her bra and panties. All right, thought Todd, who had never seen a girl in only her underwear up close before. Suddenly, Michelle appeared, also wearing only her bra and panties. Todd watched as she greeted Suzanne with a deep, lingering kiss. This was all getting rather interesting. Then Todd felt guilty, remembering that he had a girlfriend back in Sweet Valley. And not just any girlfriend either. Todd was dating Elizabeth Wakefield, who was the most wonderful girl to ever walk the planet. Todd wondered what Elizabeth was doing now ...

* * *
Elizabeth Wakefield sat inside the Dari Burger, desperately trying to ignore the voice in her head that were telling her to choke Enid. Go on, do it now, the voices whispered. She's so boring, no one will ever notice. 

"And then ..." Enid's voice trailed off in mid-sentence. "Are you even listening to me Elizabeth?"

"Oh, yeah sure." Elizabeth stifled a yawn. She had been kept up most of the night, standing outside the Fowlers mansion, thinking of ways to murder Lila. At the time, Elizabeth had been completely unaware that Lila had seen her outside, clutching a knife and had telephoned the police on her powder blue princess phone. Elizabeth had subsequently been arrested by Constable Marshall, who had also been her teacher briefly, back in second grade. Elizabeth had quickly explained that she was not planning on killing Lila at all, but had been hunting for rabbits, which she hoped to give to some homeless people so that they could have some pets. The excuse was completely ludicrous, but because people in Sweet Valley were all so idiotic, everyone believed her.

"You were telling me about your new boyfriend," Elizabeth continued.

Enid nodded enthusiastically. "He's thirty years old and his name is Roger. He teaches English. But I'm not allowed to tell anyone about our affair, in case he gets put in jail. You won't tell anyone, will you Liz?"

Elizabeth nodded, and solemnly vowed that she would not say a word. Climbing up from the table, she mumbled an excuse about having some homework to do and that she would see Enid later. Of course, Elizabeth wasn't really going home, but straight into the arms of her other lover, Rick Andover. As usual, Rick was delighted to see her and happy to offer a couple of lines of cocaine, in between a heavy make out session and discussing their plans to destroy everyone in Sweet Valley ...

* * *

"Enid and Roger Collins, who would have thought," Bruce Patman remarked as he stared at the latest issue of The Oracle, the Sweet Valley High newspaper than no one ever actually read, except when there happened to be some real gossip in the Eyes and Ears column, which was presided over by Elizabeth Wakefield. And this week, the gossip was really juicy. Boring Enid Rollins had just been revealed to be having an affair with one of the most handsome (and straight laced) teachers in school.

"Ugh. You'd think Mr Collins would have better taste than that." Lying beside Bruce in bed, Jessica let out a groan. "Don't you Todd?"

Bruce looked around momentarily, expecting to see Todd Wilkins. Then he remembered that he was wearing a mask that made him look exactly like Todd. The plan was to pretend to be Todd for a few days while the real Todd was in Vermont, so that he could finally realise his dream of seducing Elizabeth Wakefield. However, things were not going quite to plan. Bruce had yet to sleep with Elizabeth, though her wild sister Jessica seemed willing enough ...

NB Several pages appear to be missing from the text here. When we return, Elizabeth Wakefield has been revealed as (who else) evil Margo. Meanwhile, the real Elizabeth Wakefield has just escaped from a desert island and is desperately rowing her way back to Sweet Valley hoping to save her friends.

"Must save Sweet Valley ..." Elizabeth murmured as she continued to singlehandedly row the tiny boat through stormy waters. All around her, she could see shark fins sticking out of the water, along with several electric eels and what looked spookily like the boat from Gilligan's Island. "Hey," a voice cried, "I thought this was supposed to be a three hour tour!"

"If you thought that, then why did you bring so many clothes, Thurston?" Another voice retorted. Elizabeth looked toward the boat. They all appeared to be in trouble, and headed in the direction of the island she had just escaped from. Oh well, they would have to sort their own problems out. Right now, Elizabeth had to save Sweet Valley from the evil Margo.

* * *

When Todd Wilkins landed at Sweet Valley Airport, he was delighted to see how many of his friends had come to meet him. They were all there, Ken Matthews, Winston Egbert, Enid Rollins Lila Fowler, Bruce Patman and Jesscia Wakefield. (The truth about Bruce pretending to be Todd had come out after his mask had fallen off during a game of truth or dare. By then, Jessica had discovered that she was pregnant and had no choice but to accept the situation. Ned and Alice Wakefield had met with the Patmans and it was decided that the pair would get married. At first, the Patmans had wanted to pay to send Jessica away, but had soon backed down after Ned pulled out a shotgun.)

The only person missing from the crowd was Elizabeth. Maybe she had discovered that he had contracted herpes after his night with Suzanne and Michelle, Todd thought guiltily, and never wanted to talk to him again. Oh well. If Todd had learned anything, it was that he should never accept soda pop from an (almost) ex-girlfriend.

"Hi everyone!" Todd forced a smile.

There were no smiles in return. "Hi Todd." Winston's voice was sombre. "We need to talk to you."

"It's about Elizabeth," Jessica added.

Lila nodded. "Yeah, she's been acting funny. And she's been secretly dating Rick Andover."

"What, again?" Todd asked. "Sorry, I mean, no! How could she?"

"Well, she's not dating Rick Andover any more," Enid said. "So perhaps the two of you will work things  out."

"Rick was found dead on the beach this morning," Ken Matthews said.

"Ugh, good riddance." Jessica rolled her eyes.

"Except that it might have been Elizabeth who killed him." Bruce Patman's eyes flashed. "Look guys, it's time we faced facts. Elizabeth Wakefield is a murderer ..."

* * *

Margo smiled as she attached the bomb to the bottom of the Wilkins' patio. Just you wait, she thought as she cackled nastily. Soon all of Sweet Valley will be dead ...

What will happen next? Will Elizabeth save Sweet Valley from Margo? Or will she succeed in blowing everyone up at Todd's welcome home party? Stay turned for part three ...

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Kathryn's Inbox Exclusive: The Lost Sweet Valley High Novel

For those of you who don't know, or perhaps more accurately were not teenage girls during the 1980s or 1990s, Sweet Valley High was a best-selling series of teen romances starring twins Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield. Created by Francine Pascal and written by a team of ghostwriters, which included script writer Rodney Vaccaro, Sweet Valley High spawned an impressive 181 novels released over a period of almost 20 years. There were also numerous spin-offs aimed at various age groups, Sweet Valley Twins (later repacked and re-named Sweet Valley Twins and Friends,), The Unicorn Club and Sweet Valley Junior High for preteens, while older teens could graduate to Sweet Valley University, Secret Love Diaries and Elizabeth. Sweet Valley Kids, a series of junior novels featuring the Wakefield twins at age six, rounded out the franchise. In 2011, Francine Pascal released Sweet Valley Confidential a novel detailing what happened after the Wakefield twins grew up. More recently, it was announced that Sweet Valley High may be made into a musical. Exciting news. However, what many fans may be unaware of is that there one Sweet Valley High novel that never quite made it to print. And okay, there may be some doubts regarding its authenticity, given that the novel was written in crayon and the only known copy was found in a dumpster outside McDonalds (or should that be outside the Dari Burger?), but Kathryn's Inbox is pleased to share with you this lost novel...

Sweet Valley High 182: Elizabeth's Psychosis

Chapter 1

It was another gorgeous day in Sweet Valley. "What a gorgeous day!" sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Wakefield remarked as she pulled open the curtains. Elizabeth Wakefield lived in Sweet Valley, a small town in Southern California where nothing much ever happened, apart from every Christmas when one lunatic or another tried to murder either Elizabeth or her twin sister, Jessica. Last Christmas it had been a ski instructor called Lucas, who had tried to murder Jessica. The Christmas before that, a girl called Nora had abducted Jessica and kept her chained inside the boiler room at Sweet Valley High School with the intention of murdering her, but had been foiled by Elizabeth and her boyfriend Todd. Or maybe it had been Elizabeth and Jessica's boyfriend, Ken Matthews? Or had Jessica been dating someone else then? Elizabeth struggled to remember. There had been so many murders at Christmastime in Sweet Valley that it was difficult for her to remember the details of each one individually. Anyway, the Christmas before that, Jessica had been almost set on fire by her evil fiance, Jeremy. And the Christmas before that, Elizabeth had almost been murdered by Nora's twin sister, Margo, who died, but then remarkably came back to life some two years later, in order to assist Nora with her murders. But then Nora had accidentally stabbed Margo. Or something. Trying to remember it all was giving Elizabeth rather a headache. And then there was the Christmas that Suzanne Devlin had come to stay with the twins and had almost been killed after her bout of mono had been misdiagnosed as MS and had taken some pills without first questioning what might be in them. How many Christmases have I enjoyed as a sixteen year old junior at Sweet Valley High, Elizabeth wondered. Five, six? It almost beat the record of Elizabeth and her friends enjoying four separate Christmases when they were in sixth grade at Sweet Valley Middle School. Elizabeth sighed and tried not to think about it. Besides, who needed logic, when it was such a gorgeous day in Sweet Valley? 

Elizabeth looked out the window for a moment or two. She did her best to ignore the group of homeless people who were camping in the vacant lot across the street (perhaps later, if the plot called for it she would bake them some cookies which would no doubt solve all of their problems,) and turned back to her bedroom so that she could admire the off-white walls and her own, all-American good looks in the mirror. Elizabeth wasn't vain, or concieted about her looks (she left that up to her twin sister Jessica,) however, she wanted to ensure that her brand new tattoo, the one on her right breast that said Elizabeth Wakefield and Rick Andover forever was invisible to her parents, Ned and Alice Wakefield. And more importantly that her steady boyfriend, Todd Wilkins wouldn't find the tattoo either. 

Elizabeth walked to the bathroom. Suddenly, she heard a strange noise coming from Jessica's bedroom. It sounded as if something was bouncing up and down on the bedsprings. Is that something bouncing up and down on the bedsprings, she thought to herself. (For there was, of course, no one else that Elizabeth could think too. Except when the plot called for Elizabeth and Jessica to have some kind of psychic twin link. Which it nearly always did in the super thriller books.)

That silly Jessica, Elizabeth thought as she walked toward the door. She must be jumping up and down on the bed, like an excited little kid. Maybe I should burst inside the room and surprise her. Elizabeth giggled. This was going to be a good prank. Maybe she could even take some pictures on her phone and paste them on facebook. (The twins had facebook. The twins had always had facebook. It had just conveniently never been mentioned before this volume.) Elizabeth opened the door. "Ah-ha!" She cried. "Gotcha ..."

Elizabeth's voice trailed off as she discovered that Jessica had company. Todd Wilkins was naked on Jessica's bed! "Elizabeth, hi!" Red faced, Jessica pulled a sheet around her and Todd's naked bodies. "We were just, uhh-"

"Uhh, studying for a school project," Todd said, as he desperately tried to hide the pyramid that had appeared in the middle of the sheet. 

"Yeah, that's right." Jessica nodded. "You remember that join project that Mr Collins set me and Todd? The one about naked horizontal folk dancing?"

"Naked horizontal folk dancing." Todd nodded. 

"Todd was showing me how to do the dance." Jessica giggled.

The whole thing seemed highly improbable, but because Elizabeth had a reputation to uphold as a naive goody-goody, she laughed along and aplogised for being so silly, as to think that Todd and Jessica might have been working on something other than a school project. She was about to turn and walk back to the bathroom, when, suddenly, there was a crash from Jessica's closet. Out fell Lila Fowler, the snobby rich girl of Sweet Valley High, followed by Winston Egbert, the class clown.

"That's the last time I ever follow you anywhere inside a closet!" Lila hissed, as she straightened her long, dark hair. "I went in there to get some action and you- You!" Pausing momentarily, Lila pointed a finger at Winston, "Think that I want to look at your collection of Archie comics."

"You were in the closet with Winston?" Elizabeth asked. She felt her heart break. She and Lila had enjoyed a very secret, but very special friendship since the beginning of ninth grade.

Lila opened her mouth and started to say something about Elizabeth and Rick Andover, but Elizabeth quickly changed the subject. "Seeing as we're all here, who wants to bake some cookies for the homeless people across the street?"

"I'll help you Elizabeth." Winston sprang to his feet. "We both will, won't we Lila?"

Lila snorted. "I tried to bake some cookies once and I broke a nail."

Jessica sighed. "No," she said, giving Lila a look that clearly said, Go downstairs. Now! "Lila would be delighted to help you bake cookies Liz. Now if you guys could all give Todd and I a little privacy while we finish our homework ..."

"All right, all right." Grumbling, Lila followed Elizabeth and Winston downstairs. Elizabeth smiled, listening as the bedsprings began to bounce once again, followed by the cries of "Todd, oh Todd..." Horizontal folk dancing, ha! Elizabeth knew what they were really up to. And this Christmas, Elizabeth smiled, it's going to be me doing the murders ...

And now for a quick look at the Literary Charts

Monday, 6 February 2012

Happy 200th Birthday, Mr Dickens

Tomorrow it will be two hundred years since the birth of one of my favourite authors, Charles Dickens. For those of you who don't know, Dickens was born in Portsea, and grew up to become one of the greatest (if not the greatest) authors of his generation. Dickens was the author of some of my favourite novels, including Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities and A Christmas Carol. Much of his work has been made into BBC dramas at some point, while Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol have enjoyed many weird and wonderful adaptions over the years - in one adaption of A Christmas Carol, Disney's Uncle Scrooge plays Ebenezer, leaving other major Disney characters to play the other roles. In another adaption, Kermit the frog and his Muppet co-stars play the leads. Oliver Twist was adapted into a stage play and musical titled Oliver! which leaves out most of the violence, as well as Oliver's half brother, Monks. 

Dickens died on the 9th of June, 1870. He was laid to rest in the poets corner of Westminster Abbey.

Sunday, 5 February 2012


Welcome everyone to my fabulous new little blog, which I shall be using to talk about some of the things that I read and write and probably do other very important, intellectual things like ponder the meaning of life. (It's eating tim-tams, isn't it? Oh, wait. That's not the meaning of life, that's merely the most important thing in my life ...)