This is the blog of Samie Sands, author of Lockdown. There will be many great books and projects reviewed here. For more, check out thelockdown.co.uk.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

The Ragged Edge of Night by Olivia Hawker

The Ragged Edge of Night by [Hawker, Olivia]
For fans of All the Light We Cannot SeeBeneath a Scarlet Sky, and The Nightingalecomes an emotionally gripping, beautifully written historical novel about extraordinary hope, redemption, and one man’s search for light during the darkest times of World War II.
Germany, 1942. Franciscan friar Anton Starzmann is stripped of his place in the world when his school is seized by the Nazis. He relocates to a small German hamlet to wed Elisabeth Herter, a widow who seeks a marriage—in name only—to a man who can help raise her three children. Anton seeks something too—atonement for failing to protect his young students from the wrath of the Nazis. But neither he nor Elisabeth expects their lives to be shaken once again by the inescapable rumble of war.
As Anton struggles to adapt to the roles of husband and father, he learns of the Red Orchestra, an underground network of resisters plotting to assassinate Hitler. Despite Elisabeth’s reservations, Anton joins this army of shadows. But when the SS discovers his schemes, Anton will embark on a final act of defiance that may cost him his life—even if it means saying goodbye to the family he has come to love more than he ever believed possible.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Ninth and Nowhere by Jeffery Deaver

Ninth and Nowhere by [Deaver, Jeffery]
Seven strangers. Two hours. One tragic moment of violence that changes everything.
In this electrifying short story by New York Times bestselling suspense master Jeffery Deaver, the destinies of seven strangers intersect in ways no one sees coming. It looks like just another gray March morning in the tough urban district nicknamed Nowhere when seven lives converge: a young man intent on buying a gun; the gangbanger who cuts him a deal; a by-the-book police officer on a last patrol; an advertising executive keeping secrets from her husband; a veteran haunted by a combat death; a single dad in a bitter custody battle; and a sharp-looking businessman en route to a new job he desperately needs. Any one of them could have a dark motive. Any one of them could be walking into a trap. When the fog lifts, it will all be much clearer—that a single, shattering act of violence has marked each of them forever.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Best Seller by Susan May

Best Seller by [May, Susan]

JEALOUSY IS A GREEN-EYED MONSTER, AND HIS NAME IS WILLIAM BARNES

All characters are not created equal. And isn’t that half the fun? In Best Sellerwe meet two very different people, and both have big problems.

Ten-year-old Nem has just witnessed her mother’s brutal murder, and she thinks it was all her fault. Now, her life appears destined for tragedy. Until she finds her mother‘s old green journal which holds an incredible secret.

She discovers it has the power to control others’ luck. But the diary keeps a strange kind of karmic balance; in gifting someone luck, she must steal someone else's first. All it takes is a simple entry.

They say “luck is probability taken personally,” and Nem now has revenge on her mind, and she’s getting personal with her own brand of justice.

Decades later, the literary world hails William Barnes’ debut novel as a masterpiece. His best seller success doesn’t survive his next two books. Readers abandon him, his publisher cancels his contract, and his agent isn’t returning his calls. Life can‘t get any worse.

What really makes his skin crawl too is his undeserving protégé Orelia Mason enjoying a meteoric rise in the charts. This success of hers coinciding suspiciously with his rapid fall from grace.

So William embarks on a plan to win back the life he’s certain she has somehow stolen.

If people die along the way, well, that’s their problem. What he will discover though, is that battling fate when luck is not on your side can be a deadly game.

This is A Star is Born meets A Portrait of Dorian Gray, and the consequences are not pretty. In fact, they’re darn well ugly.

From Susan May, the international best selling author readers are calling the new Stephen King, comes a dark and twisted tale of jealousy, revenge and an extraordinary, unique power.

... and since the eBook is available in KINDLE UNLIMITED and also available in paperback and whisper-synched audible, this is the perfect time to leap into this immersive world of characters, where you won't know who to hate and who to cheer on.


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ "It's like Hitchcock meets the Twilight Zone." John Filar  (USA)

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ "What an insane read! It was unputdownable!" Mandie (GoodReads USA)

"If it were possible to give ten ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐s I would! Possibly the best suspense novel I've read in a year." Doreen Keele

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Unf*ck Yourself: Get out of your head and into your life by Gary John Bishop

Unf*ck Yourself: Get out of your head and into your life by [Bishop, Gary John]

THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!
This is not the usual self-help book. Make your life one you actually want to live. 

This is blunt force trauma to the way you think life has to be for you. Most importantly, it is designed to give you an authentic leg up - one that feels genuine and right for you, and can propel you to new levels of greatness. Learn how to:

Combat self-doubt
Deal with your inner critic
Stop comparing yourself to others
Break out of your rut

It will teach you not to look to the outside world for answers, but inside yourself. You will learn how to take full responsibility of your life, the highs and the lows, and you'll actually feel good about it - no, in fact, you'll feel f*cking great about it!

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

Furiously Happy by [Lawson, Jenny]

For fans of David Sedaris, Tina Fey and Caitlin Moran comes the new book from Jenny Lawson, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Let's Pretend This Never Happened...
In Let's Pretend This Never Happened, Jenny Lawson regaled readers with uproarious stories of her bizarre childhood. In her new book, Furiously Happy, she explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. And terrible ideas are what Jenny does best.
As Jenny says: 'You can't experience pain without also experiencing the baffling and ridiculous moments of being fiercely, unapologetically, intensely and (above all) furiously happy.' It's a philosophy that has - quite literally - saved her life.
Jenny's first book, Let's Pretend This Never Happened, was ostensibly about family, but deep down it was about celebrating your own weirdness. Furiously Happy is a book about mental illness, but under the surface it's about embracing joy in fantastic and outrageous ways. And who doesn't need a bit more of that?

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Calling all authors!

I currently have a zombie apocalypse anthology that I am gathering submissions for, so if you'd like to be a part of that, please let me know, I would love to have you! Even if it's your first time writing and you want to have a try, I would encourage you to do so...it could be fun!

Here is a list of upcoming horror anthology themes and submission dates, if they interest you as well. The word count for all of them is 500 - 15,000 words:

Twisted Love Stories - March 31st
Cults - April 30th
Curses - May 31st

If you have any questions or wish to submit, please email me at lockdown@writeme.com

Friday, 8 February 2019

Living on Borrowed Time


This isn't your ordinary love story...

Lara Rogers isn't supposed to be here. She was supposed to die over a year ago from a long-term illness, yet somehow she managed to make a miracle recovery. The only problem is now she has an endless future stretched out in front of her. One that she wasn't expecting, and one that she has no idea what to do with.

After she got the positive diagnosis, she moved to the big city where she knows no one to become another anonymous face, but this life isn't making her happy. In fact, she's more miserable than ever.

An unexpected night out with a girl that seems to want to be her friend leads to all sorts of new experiences, including one that might even be love...

The only problem is Lara has spent so long not knowing who she is, that she doesn't know how to act around all of these new people, and slowly things become increasingly difficult for her. She begins a negative spiral into self-destructive behaviour, sinking deeper and deeper until she isn't sure that she can ever get out.

thumbnail_sense-pre-made-2018-Samie-Sands

I shouldn't be here.
No, not here, in the hot, sweaty kitchen of this rundown diner—although, to be honest, I highly doubt I should be here either.
No, I shouldn't be alive.
I was supposed to die eighteen months ago. That was supposed to be it for me.
I was ill for a very long time, so getting that final diagnosis of six months to go was as relieving as it was devastating. To be honest, my emotions about it were completely mixed. I didn't want to die necessarily—not that I think anyone does really—but I was so sick of the constant round of doctors, hospitals, tubes, pills, sickness...it was exhausting, and the thought of escaping that was something of a relief.
I just wanted an end to it.
Of course, not everyone felt the same. At least, not at first, but once my family and friends got used to the idea that I was dying, that I was going to be relieved of my suffering, they were intent on making my final months amazing, and boy did they succeed! I went travelling, I had parties, I did everything that was on my bucket list—except bungee jumping. I bottled that at the last second. It was fabulous, a real whirlwind of fun and excitement. Of course, there was the odd interruption with my health, but somehow we managed to work past that. Sure, we were all acutely aware of where it was heading but it didn't taint the mood. Not really.
"Lara what are you doing just standing there? I pressed the bell about five minutes ago...these burgers aren't going to take themselves to table twelve." The grumpy head chef, Alfie yelled at me. He didn't care about my internal struggle. He had no idea what it was like to know that you should be dead. All he cared about was getting this disgusting, fatty food out as quickly as possible so he could return home, to his sad middle-aged man 'bachelor pad' to smoke and drink his wages away.
I snatched the plates out of his hand and stalked moodily over to the table, where a couple were sat there smiling intently at each other. This could have been their first date, or they could have been married for years—that wasn't what I noticed. It was the light that was shining in their eyes, as they gazed at one another. Happiness. An emotion I couldn't even begin to understand anymore.
I shoved the food on the table in front of them, asking them if there was anything else they needed in the flat, monotone sound that had somehow become my voice. They didn't even acknowledge my existence, they simply waved me away. I was nothing to them, just as I was nothing to everybody.
I'd been that way for a very long time now.
Once my deadline had passed, and the high started to wear off, I wondered what was happening, why I was still alive. Confused, I took myself to the doctors and after a whole range of invasive tests, they told me something unexpected, something miraculous—that I was actually starting to get better. Against all odds, I was somehow surviving.
I felt numb as he said those words. I know he expected me to celebrate, to be happy with the news that I would get to live longer, but I wasn't. I'd gotten so used to the idea that I was going to die. I'd even adjusted to it, become comfortable with it, that to hear otherwise was utterly overwhelming. I had become so used to living in the moment, not worrying about the future because I was never going to have one, that with a long, black emptiness stretching out in front of me, I felt terrified.
What was I supposed to do? I had no future, no dreams, no plans. I had no idea where I was supposed to go next, how could I? How was I supposed to craft a new beginning out of zilch? It seemed like a ridiculously impossible task, that I couldn't even begin to overcome.
Then again, I still had no prospects, no real education, no interests, no desires...nothing, and I no longer had any excuse for that. A year and a half had passed. There was so much that I could have done with that time, but I hadn't.
I'd done absolutely nothing with it, I'd merely existed.
Every day it hit me how I would have been better off dead. I might as well have died, because since my positive diagnosis I was just living on autopilot, going through the motions aimlessly.
My friends and family couldn't understand how I just seemed empty after I got the good news, and as I continued to improve, to get better, they got more and more frustrated by my increasingly negative attitude. One-by-one they became annoyed by me. I did something to piss all of them off and now, none of them bother with me anymore.
Not that I bother with them either. I feel like too much has passed; there's too much negative water under the bridge to even think about repairing those fractured relationships.
When my mum eventually asked me to move out because I was putting too much pressure on everyone else in the family, I left quickly and got an apartment in the nearby city. I couldn't stay in that little, suffocating town anymore, where everyone knew absolutely everything about me. I had no excuse to remain there anyway; it didn't hold anything for me anymore, except for memories and bad feeling. I desired to be anonymous so I could wallow in my own misery in peace, without anyone trying to cheer me up. I didn't want anyone else to feel responsible for my own happiness, when it was so clear that nothing could be done about it.
So I upped and left, without even glancing backwards.
I got everything that I ever wanted—a tiny, albeit grotty apartment that was just for me, a job in a diner where no one bothers to try and find out more about my life, and no one to speak to. Perfect.
Yet, of course, I still wasn't happy.
"Got much planned over the weekend? You have tomorrow night off, don't you?" Amy, the eighteen-year-old waitress, who was constantly chewing gum and nosing about in other people's business, asked me in her typical over-the-top fashion.
She didn't care about me of course, not at all. To her I was just another loser waitress, but she always tried to rile me up for some reason, and she quickly discovered that my non-social life was a sore point for me. I don't know whether I was just a game to her, if she really wanted to piss me off, or if she just wanted to make herself feel better by commenting on my sad existence. Either way, it drove me crazy.
"I dunno...not really." I kept my eyes fixated on the floor as I spoke, praying that she would take the hint and leave me alone.
"Why are you so boring? You never seem to do anything!" She laughed, genuinely thinking she was joking.
I looked up and smiled blandly at her, hoping that she would assume I took the joke in light humour, but the look she was giving me suggested that she might just be able to see the vulnerable weakling behind the cold exterior mask I gave myself.
The thought of anyone seeing any of the real me filled me with an intense fear that gripped tightly onto my heart, so I instinctively turned away from her, trying to discretely wipe the frustrated tears from my eyes before they fell onto my cheeks.
Idiot! I thought to myself. What the hell are you doing?
Hiding emotion was something I thought I'd become particularly good at, but with one look, Amy—a girl I barely knew—had managed to revert me back into a blubbering mess.
"I'm going out to that new club tomorrow night with a group of friends. Do you...would you maybe want to come?" She asked, with a kindness to her tone that I hadn't ever noticed before.
Pity. It had to be.
Normally, I would have shot her down right away. Even the thought of going to a club filled me with fear—the drinking, the dancing, the socialising...it all felt a little too much for some like me. I'd never really done anything like that before, and it was intimidating as hell. Even at all the parties that had been held for me, I'd avoided alcohol due to the medication, I'd been too tired for dancing, and socialising hadn't been too much of an issue because it was with people I'd known my whole life. Plus, my best friend Daphne had always been there to protect me if things got too much.
Daphne.
I instantly forced myself to shake the image of her from my mind, in the way I always did when she cropped up. Daphne was a no-go now, there was no point in even giving her a seconds thought. I didn't want to upset myself over nothing.
"Sure." I eventually replied, distractedly. I wasn't really thinking about my answer, I just wanted the conversation done, and it was a shortcut way to achieve that.
"Oh..." Amy sounded incredibly shocked—understandably so. "Okay cool. We're meeting up at about eight-ish so..." She looked at me strangely, as if she was wondering what the hell was going through my mind. "I'll see you there I guess."
As she wandered off, a sinking feeling set in. Why the hell had I agreed to that? I didn't want to go out to a club! Keeping my existence simple and straightforward was the only way I managed to get through everyday life. Now, I'd just agreed to something that threatened to send me into an anxiety meltdown, just to shut her up.
I was an idiot!
No, I would have to phone Amy tomorrow with a plausible excuse. I needed to get out of going. Disrupting my routine with something so terrifying could only have negative results.