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.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Death of an Avid Reader: A Kate Shakleton Mystery by Frances Brody

death
A lady with a secret 
Kate Shackleton's sterling reputation for courageous sleuthing attracts the attention of the venerable Lady Coulton. Hidden in her past is a daughter, born out of wedlock and given up to a different family. Now, Lady Coulton is determined to find her and puts Kate on the case. 

A mysterious killing in the library's basement
But as Kate delves deeper into Lady Coulton's past, she soon finds herself thrust into a scandal much closer to home. When the body of the respected Horatio Potter is found in the Leeds Library basement, the quiet literary community is suddenly turned upside down with suspicions, accusations and - much to Kate's surprise - the appearance of a particularly intelligent Capuchin monkey!

The most puzzling case in Kate's sleuthing history yet
Convinced an innocent man has been blamed, Kate sets out to discover the truth. Who would want Dr Potter dead? Does Lady Coulton's missing daughter hold a vital clue? As the stories start to emerge in the seemingly quiet Leeds Library, Kate is learning fast that in this case, she can't judge a book by its cover . . .
‘Kate Shackleton joins Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs in a subgroup of young, female amateur detectives who survived and were matured by their wartime experiences. As self-reliant women in a society that still regards them as second-class citizens, they make excellent heroines’ Literary Review

‘Frances Brody succeeds brilliantly. . . Her post-war world in which making any sort of living is hard grind and where an independent career woman is viewed with hostility is entirely convincing. Kate is a heroine to like and admire. . . Her further adventures are eagerly awaited’ Daily Mail
frances
Frances Brody is a pseudonym for Frances McNeil, author of four novels and winner of the Elizabeth Elgin Award for best new saga of the millennium for Somewhere Behind the Morning. Frances has written many stories and plays for BBC radio, and scripts for television. Her stage plays have been toured by several theatre companies and produced at Manchester Library Theatre, the Gate and Theatr Clwyd, with Jehad nominated for a Time Out Award. Frances lived in the USA for a time before studying at Ruskin College, Oxford, reading English Literature and History at York University, teaching English and History at Bradford College and tutoring writing courses for the Arvon Foundation. She lives in Leeds where she was born and grew up. Visit her at www.frances-brody.com
Review: Death of an Avid Reader is a unique, brilliantly written mystery that's filled with unexpected twists and turns. This is the first Kate Shakleton mystery I have read, but it was enough to make me want more. The characters are amazing and the plot unravels in a gripping way. For fans of crime and mystery this will be a fantastic addition to your collection - for everyone else, it's a great introduction into a wonderful new world. Frances Brody easily deserves 5/5 stars!

Sunday, 28 September 2014

The Gospel According to Josh

josh
By the time Josh Rivedal turned twenty-five, he thought he’d have the perfect life—a few years singing on Broadway, followed by a starring role in his own television show. After which, his getaway home in the Hamptons would be featured in Better Homes & Gardens, and his face would grace the cover of the National Enquirer as Bigfoot’s not-so-secret lover. Instead, his resume is filled with an assortment of minor league theatre and an appearance on The Maury Povich Show—a career sidetracked by his father’s suicide, a lawsuit from his mother over his inheritance, and a break-up with his long-term girlfriend.  Tortured by his thoughts, he finds himself on the ledge of a fourth floor window, contemplating jumping out to inherit his familial legacy. In turn he must reach out to the only person who can help him before it’s too late.  Based in part on his acclaimed one-man show, The Gospel According to Josh is a comedic and poignant true-to-life tale of love, loss, struggle, and survival—a gospel account of one young man’s passage into manhood—his twenty-eight-year Gentile bar mitzvah.
josh author
Joshua Rivedal is an actor, playwright, and international public speaker. His memoir "The Gospel According to Josh: A 28-Year Gentile Bar Mitvah" is published by Skookum Hill and is based in part on his 30 character one-man play "The Gospel According to Josh" which has toured extensively throughout the United States and Canada, and is set to open Off-Broadway in New York City in May, 2014. He wrote the libretto along with additional lyrics and music to a Spanish language Christmas musical "Rescatando la Navidad," which opened in Miami in November 2013. He writes for the blogs The Arts Entrepreneur and The BLOGospel According to Josh. As an actor, Josh has lent his voice to the role of Hippo in Scholastic's "Rabbit and Hippo In Three Short Tales," the narrator of Julianne Moore's "Freckleface Strawberry and the Dodgeball Bully," the narrator of "Cinderella Penguin," and numerous other audiobooks and animated projects.

He has spoken professionally about suicide prevention and mental health awareness in more than twenty-five U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. He serves on the board of directors for the New York City chapter of The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Review: The Gospel According to Josh is a wonderful poignant emotional roller coaster of a book. Josh's story sucks you in from the very first page and his journey is filled with utter sadness but also great hope - an inspirational read that anyone can enjoy.

Home is Where You Are

 tessa
Home is Where You Are by Tessa Marie
YA Contemporary
Available - September 2014
 Anna’s life reads like a check list. 
  • Straight A’s (Check)
  • Editor of the school paper (Check)
  • Volunteering time at the local soup kitchen (Check)
  • Ivy League (So close she can taste it) 
  • Falling in love with a homeless boy (Not on the list) 
 Dean has a plan too. Survive. After being subjected to his foster father’s violent attacks, Dean made the hard choice to leave. Now he lives on the streets doing everything he can to get by, refusing to let people help him. But when he meets Anna, he realizes not everyone is out to hurt him. 
 Slowly, Anna and Dean let each other in, blending their two worlds into one. But when a series of events brings Dean’s world into perspective, he pushes Anna away. Not willing to accept the line that divides them, Anna sets out to bring Dean back to her. Her determination and faith in their future puts her on the tracks of danger, and he is the only one who can save her.  
Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1nAn5la
 About Tessa Marie
 Theresa Paolo lives in the same town she grew up in on Long Island, NY with her long time boyfriend and their fish. Her debut novel (NEVER) AGAIN, a NA romance, released in Fall 2013 with Berkley (Penguin). (ONCE) AGAIN will release this summer. She is also the coauthor of the Amazon bestseller KING SIZED BEDS AND HAPPY TRAILS and BEACH SIDE BEDS AND SANDY PATHS, a YA contemporary series, under her pen name Tessa Marie. She has a hard time accepting the fact she’s nearing thirty, and uses her characters to relive the best and worst years of her life. She put her love of writing on hold while she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Dowling College. When she’s not writing, she’s behind a camera, reading, or can be found on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Win a copy of Unleash the Undead

.Unleash Front
Delve into the horrifying world of the zombie apocalypse, as bought to you by the following authors and artists: J.L.Drake, Marina Hume, Matías Andrés Bravo Jara, Ana Prundaru, J.H., Dale Herring, Jonny Graham, Klarissa Del Rossario, Saadia Ammad, Akash Sagar, Rob Shepherd, Rhys Curtis-Thompson, Kayleigh Edwards, Diego Tonini, Lachelle Redd, Victoria Pagac, Noel Osualdini, Glen Holman, Mathias Jansson, Kyle Flack, Ceri Matthias, Gia Berryman, Max Ferreira, Diana Alexandru, Kevin S. Hall, Art Pic, Zoja Vladisavljevic, B.S. Purwanda and Samie Sands.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Mad Reality vs. Aurelius

James
Experimental philosophical short story as deep and insightful as Thus Spoke Zarathustra. How the eyes of the abyss look like, when she stares back at you? Does she, like a woman, enjoys attention and whip or not? Or why even staring into it, what can be seen there and is it even worth it? So here is what I’ve seen in there. Like Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, protagonist fictitious travels and endeavours serve as a metaphoric vehicle to present and illustrate philosophical ideas such as subjectivity of reality that people experience in their daily life, influence of religion on the world and its anatomy, psychology of the masses and of love, possibility and requisites of happiness. It consists of two narratives: one follows endeavours of main protagonist Aurelius and the other describes major historical events of the world of Mad Reality. Most characters and events in actuality are an allegoric representations of the real world concepts and ideas, for example Maximus embodies Ancient Rome, its values and metaphysics. The story is set in a magic and odd technology infused, somewhat bizarre and even gruesome, metaphoric world. It starts with Aurelius reflecting over the disappearance of a mysterious women named THD as well as over everything his life had been about so far. As the story progresses, not only details of their love affair and other events revealed, but also both surface and hidden reasons behind various events of his life and even those of a broader world that caused it all to turn out this way. Conversation with THD led Aurelius to eventually discover a psychological working of love that led to a metaphysical conclusion of her real nature, and other events and stories have their own philosophical, existential, metaphysical or psychological wisdom to tell. Among them causes of conflict between Aurelius and priests of the Model over the existence of a certain dios as well as reasons for it unusual outcomes. As well as war between dioses Redemptius and Bicornerius and their followers that, while settles, leads only to further beaconing conflict with even more contestants. Origin of dioses and reasons for their popularity among the people and importance in the grand scheme of things. And even motives behind hitting a ground with a forehead according to a prescribed method shared by fellow ground-hitters and why it is not only a very popular activity but also a sacred ritual of great sanity. And many other witticisms. Author of this masterpiece is a mysterious, solitary philosopher with a Bachelor degree in an unrelated field, who nevertheless has sound understanding of literature of merit due to independent studies and, in addition to works of Nietzsche, read such famous literary works as One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Slaughterhouse five by Kurt Vonnegut.
Review: Wow, James Ayrford writes in an insightful, thought-provoking manner. Mad Reality vs Aurelius is a brilliantly written piece which deserved 5/5 Stars.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Delve into the horrifying world of the zombie apocalypse, as bought to you by the following authors and artists: J.L.Drake, Marina Hume, Matías Andrés Bravo Jara,Ana Prundaru, J.H., Dale Herring, Jonny Graham, Klarissa Del Rossario, Saadia Ammad, Akash Sagar, Rob Shepherd, Rhys Curtis-Thompson, Kayleigh Edwards, Diego Tonini, Lachelle Redd, Victoria Pagac, Noel Osualdini, Glen Holman, Mathias Jansson, Kyle Flak, Ceri Matthias, Gia Berryman, Max Ferreira, Diana Alexandru, Kevin S. Hall, Art Pic, Zoja Vladisavljevic, B.S. Purwanda and Samie Sands.




Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Lockdown Exceprt

Cover
Finally, I've done it.
Red lights, flashing. Alarms sounding. Panic. Fear. What have I done? This must be bad, really bad. I can hear a screaming noise, where is it coming from? I look around, all the cages are opening. They're coming out. This is it. Oh my God, I need to run. It's then I notice the screams are coming from me.
Time stands still. Everything has been so quiet for days, so the loud alarm noise feels like an intrusion on my brain, my thoughts. I can't get myself together enough to do something to stop it.
I turn and run, towards Mike. My plan was to rescue him and that's what I need to do. Then I realise I don't even know this guy. Loyalties forgotten, I move towards getting the hell out of there. I grab my bag and get to the door. The gun, I forgot to pick it up. I look back to see my chances of retrieving it, but there's no hope. The infected are everywhere, shambling towards me. I need to move right now.
I yank on the door, and just as I'm about to hot foot out of there, I feel the unmistakable rushing poker hot pain of teeth clamping down on my shoulder.

Monday, 15 September 2014

The Virus

February 1st - Dylan
7.32am.
I blink, are my eyes deceiving me? Is this some kind of dream...nightmare?!
What the actual hell?! I never wake up at 7.32.
I always, always without fail, open my eyes at 7.29am. I don't even have an alarm, it just...happens. I wake at 7.29 and get out of bed at 7.30. Every. Single. Day.
Except today.
Why? What is different about today? The panic starts as a tight knot in my stomach, slowly expanding until my whole body is consumed in terror. I am literally shaking. I am trying to figure out where exactly I went wrong, and what impact it will have on today.
You might think this is an adverse reaction to waking up a few minutes late, but for me every single second of every single day is planned out. It has to be. My routine goes exactly the same every day. I wont bore you with all the exact details (you know, 7.44am drink coffee, 7.58am brush teeth...), then you will really start to think I'm crazy! But if anything, and I mean anything, goes wrong, bad things happen.
Wow, I sound insane, even to myself.
My mum always said I was an odd little boy, always organising everything obsessively, from toys to games and everything had to be 'in it's place'. For that reason, I never had many friends. You can imagine that, can't you? People don't like to be controlled and I can't bear to just 'go with the flow', be 'whimsical'. In fact, the thought of letting things just 'run their course' fills me with an unnatural, sweaty, paralysing fear.
Yes, before you ask, I have been through numerous therapy sessions and seen many, many doctors. They all jump to the same conclusion, I have OCD. I go along with it in the hospital, desperate to get away from these people in this weird place, back to my routine. I take the medication with a smile on my face, promising to work on my Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. But it's more than that, I know it is. Bad things really do happen if I don't stick to my routine, and not just to me!
I started to take things a bit more seriously, when I reached the age of 8. Before then, I just liked to be in control and organised. Then I noticed, if I didn't do things at the same time every day, in the same way, everything would fall apart. I would start to feel uneasy, panicky, the whole day would be ruined.
Mum finally cracked and got me looked at when I was 11. The doctor convinced me everything was in my head, that I just needed to change my thought patterns and it would all be ok. I took his advice to heart, sure that if I tried my best, I could start being 'normal', like all the other kids in my class. They didn't seemed to be plagued with any of the issues I had, I longed to be carefree and fun like them.
The next morning, I woke up at 7.29am, but instead of getting out of bed, I squeezed my eyes shut, willing them to go back to sleep, that all would be fine. My breaths got shallow and ragged, my heart pounding so hard I was certain it was going to burst out of my chest, my legs twitching, itching to get up. I resisted, determined to win. I lay there for the longest 2 minutes of my life. I opened one eye, fearful of what would greet me, but everything appeared normal.
Calming down, I went downstairs, proud of my huge achievement. I expected praise from my mother, but it turns out she hadn't noticed the time difference to my normal arrival at breakfast. I guess 2 minutes is not a long time for other people. The day continued as normal, I started to relax, really relax. I was over the moon with myself, and happy that I could finally be like everyone else.
Until I got home that evening. I walked in to my mother crying, a grim atmosphere encased the room. My stomach fell to the floor, I had no idea what was wrong, but I knew it was my fault. I cursed myself for not trusting my instincts, for forcing myself to listen to someone who knew absolutely nothing about me, about my curse. As I wrapped my arms around my mother, I discovered the truth. My father had been killed in a car accident, hit by a drunk truck driver.
My whole world fell apart at that moment.
The number 29 came to haunt my whole life after that. Mum has never recovered, she is still a shell of her former self, unable to function like a normal person. And me? 10 years later, here I am, being tormented by the same thing. Waking up late. This is the first time I have done that since that fateful day. Don't get me wrong, I have caused all sorts of other illnesses, accidents, problems...but nothing like the first one. They have all be the result of me forgetting to flick the light switch 29 times, or being unsure that I locked the front door right. I have never, ever allowed anything so tragic happen again.
This is bad. This is really, really bad.
I'm wringing my hands in terror. I don't know what this means for me, my family, everyone I know....
What do I do first?! I can't exactly try and rectify the problem, it's far too late for that. In fact, it's already 7.42am. Oh god, it's all gone to hell now, what shall I do?! Should I ring my family? Run outside and warn everyone to be careful...
Then my eyes set on the television remote. I don't know why, but for some reason I just know that it holds the key. It has the answer to what I have done. My stiff hand stretches to pick it up, before I even know what I'm doing. I stare at the black box in my hand, too frightened to press anything, knowing whatever I see will torture me, but also knowing that I have bought whatever it is on myself. I must have got careless somewhere, I've obviously let myself get too tired.
I deserve this punishment, I need to know who I have hurt this time, so with one last tremble, I hit the on button and the news flashes up before my eyes...

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Age of Iron by Angus Watson

age of iron
LEGENDS AREN'T BORN. THEY'RE MADE.

Dug Sealskinner is a down-on-his-luck mercenary traveling south to join up with King Zadar's army. But he keeps rescuing the wrong people.

First Spring, a child he finds scavenging on the battlefield, and then Lowa, one of Zadar's most fearsome warriors, who has vowed revenge on the king for her sister's execution.

Now Dug's on the wrong side of the thousands-strong army he hoped to join ­-- and worse, Zadar has bloodthirsty druid magic on his side. All Dug has is his war hammer, one small child, and one unpredictable, highly-trained warrior with a lust for revenge that might get them all killed . . .


About the Author: Angus Watson is an author and journalist living in London. He's written hundreds of features for many newspapers including the Times,Financial Times and the Telegraph, and the latter even sent him to look for Bigfoot. As a fan of both historical fiction and epic fantasy, Angus came up with the idea of writing a fantasy set in the Iron Age when exploring British hillforts for the Telegraph, and developed the story while walking Britain's ancient paths for further articles.

Review: I absolutely loved Age Of Iron...the factual events mixed in with the authors imagination makes for a brilliant read. The characters are strong, I particularly loved Dug and Spring - I'm very interested to see what happens with these two in the sequel - and the plot is dark, twisted and brilliant. There wasn't anything I didn't like about this book, and I cannot wait for more by this amazing writer!

Monday, 8 September 2014

Exidon: The New Captain

exidon
When the world around you seems to be full of people that don’t understand or appreciate who you are, including your own family, what’s a girl to do? Fly away in her very own spaceship to another planet, of course!

Sally is just entering high school. She is obsessed with aliens and space and repeatedly dreams of owning her own spaceship. As the years progress, she feels put-upon by her parents who don’t seem to understand or appreciate her, and the boys at school, including her own boyfriend, who only have one thing on their minds and, unlike Sally, it sure isn’t outer space! Hoping to become more popular, she continually changes to please others, but still can’t find the happiness and acceptance she craves. 

At the beginning of her last year of school, Sally’s best friend, Jill, is abducted by the Greys, small aliens with spindly limbs and oversized heads. Shortly after Jill is returned, she remembers her encounter with the Greys and decides to leave town to avoid being abducted again. Jill has Sally accompany her to the inter-city bus terminal, where Jill recognizes and points out a woman with flaming, red hair that she is certain she saw on the Greys’ alien ship during her abduction.

Sally feels despondent without her only friend, whom she never hears from again, until she meets the man of her dreams—or so she thinks. After a whirlwind romance with her new boyfriend, Nick, Sally finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, engaged, and dropping out of high school to move out to the country with Nick. On her first day in the country house, she finds her next-door neighbor is the same woman with the flaming, red hair.

As her relationship with Nick deteriorates, Sally runs to the forest after a particularly brutal fight and hits her head on a rock when she is startled by bright lights shining above her. When she awakens, she finds herself on a space station on the far side of the Moon and the spaceship of her dreams, The Exidon, is waiting. What will Sally do next?
Review: I LOVED this book! I really enjoyed the strong plot, driven primarily by Sally and her journey to overcome all the obstacles in her path. The book is intriguing from the very first page, and is unlike anything I've ever read before. I would recommend this to anyone looking for something a little different to read - you won't be disappointed!
*This is bought to you from thelockdown.co.uk blog*

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Who Am I?

Slide1
Megan Cyrulewski is an ordinary person who has faced extraordinary challenges and now wants to inspire people and show them that hope gives them the power to survive anything. Who Am I? is about her journey into post-partum depression, anxiety disorder, panic attacks, visits to the psych ward, divorce, domestic violence, law school, and her courageous struggle to survive with her sanity intact—and how a beautiful little girl emerged from all this chaos.
Chapter One Excerpt:  Ahhh…Young Love
 Envy. There is a reason why it’s one of the seven deadly sins. It can kill you. It almost killed me.
The summer of 2004, I was 26 and just got out of a long-term relationship. Good man, he just wasn’t the right man for me.
I had just found out that my old college roommate had recently gotten engaged. The two of us were always “competing” during college: who was skinnier, who can pick up the most guys at the bar. Stupid girl stuff. Other friends of mine were either married or having babies. I think the last straw was finding out my high school sweetheart had gotten engaged. Somewhere in fantasyland, I always thought it was possible we might get back together. Needless to say, I was definitely envious.
That summer, my roommate, Jessica, bought a house. At the time we were sharing an apartment, but she asked if I wanted to move into her house. Jessica and I had known each other since high school and she was the best roommate, and one of the best friends, I have ever had. Without hesitation, I agreed. A month after moving in, we had a house warming party. That’s when I met Tyler*.
I knew Tyler slightly because he was engaged to one of Jessica’s friends, Natalie. Tyler and Natalie and been together for about three years. They had even come to a couple of parties Jessica and I had thrown at our apartment.  I had never really talked to him, though. Tyler and Natalie had broken up around the same time I had broken up with my-long term man.
Jessica didn’t want to invite Tyler because she didn’t want any tension between him and Natalie. A few days before the party, though, we found out Natalie was going to be out of town. Coincidentally, Tyler stopped by that same night to give something of Natalie’s to Jessica. That was the first time I had really looked at him and I liked what I saw: good-looking, goofy smile, and deep-blue eyes. The attraction was instantaneous. So, I decided to invite him to the house-warming party. Why the hell not? Natalie wasn’t going to be there. After getting the eyes of death from Jessica, she reluctantly told him the day and time.
The night of the party, Tyler knocked on the door. When I opened it, I gave him a hug and told him I was glad he was there because at least I had someone to flirt with. I didn’t really pay attention to him too much during the party.  But after everyone had left, he and I ended up talking until five in the morning.
A couple of nights later, we went on our first date. We went to dinner and then back to his house to watch a movie. We were very open with each other. I told him about my anxiety disorder, he told me about his drug addiction and how he had been clean for years. Five months later, I moved in with him, four months after that we got engaged and a year later, we were married. Needless to say, the relationship was on overdrive from the beginning.
The relationship wasn’t perfect, but whose is? Tyler didn’t like his current job and was looking for a new one.  Tyler was trying to quit smoking because he knew I didn’t like it. Tyler was a recovering addict and going to NA meetings. It’s a stressful time. That became my mantra. Tyler got angry. “It’s a stressful time.” Tyler screamed at me. “It’s a stressful time.”
I was an independent woman in my mid-twenties, in a stable job making $55,000 and climbing up the corporate ladder. I understood stress. I was also in complete denial. This was the beginnings of what I would later understand was a domestic violence relationship and a relationship with someone who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). There were the signs of these disorders, of course, but I didn’t recognize them at the time.
My paternal family is 100% Polish. In my grandmother’s generation, girls were expected to get married and have babies. A lot of babies. My grandmother was one of six children. After I graduated from high school, on Christmas Eve, my grandmother would pray that the next year I would get married and start a family. I always smiled and told her maybe. I loved my grandmother very much. She was the only grandparent I had ever known.
After Tyler and I got engaged, we went to my grandmother’s house to tell her the news she had been waiting for. When we told her, she stood up, pushed me aside, hugged Tyler and said, “God bless you.” The memory still makes me smile. Three months later, she had a stroke. In February 2006, seven months before the wedding, my grandmother passed away. Devastation doesn’t even coming close to how I felt. I called in to work, stayed in bed and cried for two days.
The night of the funeral, my dad's company catered dinner at my parent’s house for our family. On the way to their house, I noticed that the car was low on gas. I stopped at a gas station and asked Tyler if he could pump the gas. Tyler was on the phone and told me to pump the gas myself. We were only two miles from my parents’ house. I was still upset and crying from the funeral. I asked him again to please just pump the gas. He didn’t even bother to answer me. I got out of the car and pumped the gas myself. When I got back into the car, I told Tyler that I was upset and a little angry. What happened next was my first glimpse into the emotional abusive side of domestic violence.
“You are such a spoiled little bitch who expects the world to be handed to you,” Tyler screamed at me. “Turn the fucking car around.”
Not saying a word, I turned the car around and headed back home to drop off Tyler, who kept spewing vile words.
“You and your family think you’re so much better than me. Did daddy pump your gas for you all the time? Well guess what? You actually have to do things yourself now. It’s time for you to grow up and live in the real world.”
Tears streamed from my eyes. I still had not said a word.
“Your grandmother probably killed herself because she didn’t want to deal with you anymore. She probably got tired of your spoiled behavior and decided death was better than you. I’m glad I’m going home because I don’t want to watch your fucking family cry all night.”
When we got back home, I parked in the driveway and finally let loose.
“How dare you!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. “I just lost my grandmother! Get out of my car! Get out!”
Tyler started laughing. “Look at you. You’re a joke. You should get some help for those anger issues of yours. Don’t bother coming back, bitch. Your shit will be on the curb.”
I left and went to my parents’ house. When my dad asked about Tyler, I said we got into an argument and he’s at home. My dad, who is the family peacemaker and almost never says anything negative said under his breath, “What a night for him to pick a fight.”
About an hour into dinner, Tyler called me. He said he wanted to come over and apologize. At this point, I was so emotionally drained I really didn’t care. When he arrived, he waltzed right into the house like nothing had ever happened. He pulled me aside and told me that he blew up because he was under so much stress from taking care of me the last couple of days. Looking back at the moment, I wonder how he even had the audacity to blame my grandmother’s death for his behavior. At the time, I was just glad he wasn’t mad anymore.
The next couple of months were calm. No arguments and Tyler and I were having fun planning the wedding. Obviously, the argument the night of my grandmother’s funeral was a result of stress. We got through it and according to Tyler, it wouldn’t happen again.
Early June 2006, I was in bed reading and waiting for Tyler to come home from a Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meeting. When he got home, he came upstairs and walked toward the bed. He stopped and asked if I smelled anything.
“No,” I said, a little confused.
“It smells like cat piss.” (We had a cat that sometimes urinated outside the litter box.)
Tyler looked around the room and picked up a bed pillow off the floor. He smelled it.
“She pissed on this pillow.”
I laughed. “It’s sad when the pillow is right next to me and I can’t smell the pee.”
Tyler didn’t laugh. “Clean it up.”
“I’ll put it in the wash tomorrow. Just throw it in the basement.”
Tyler picked up the pillow. “Bitch. You waited until I came home because you knew I would fucking clean it.” He ripped the book I was reading right out of my hands and threw it across the room. “Get off your fat lazy ass, get some paper towels and clean it!”
I started to shake. The monster had emerged again.  I couldn’t say anything. Tyler picked up the pillow and shoved it in my face.
“Smell it!” He screamed. “Can you smell it now, bitch? Now your face smells like cat piss. You’re disgusting. Who would want you anyway?”
Tyler threw the pillow back on the floor and stormed downstairs. I just sat in bed, paralyzed from fear. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t even cry.
I don’t know how much time had passed before Tyler came back. Without saying a word, he picked up two water bottles I had sitting on the nightstand beside me, unscrewed the tops, and poured water on me. He laughed and went back downstairs.
I took off my pajamas, turned out the light and rolled to the dry side of the bed. Before long, I heard Tyler come up the stairs again. I began to shake. He ripped the covers off of me.
“You would sleep in a wet bed. I should have poured cat piss on you and let you sleep in that,” he laughed. “Get out of my fucking bed and sleep outside.”
I got out of bed and put on dry pajamas. I took off my engagement ring, threw it on the bed and left. I went to Jessica’s house and asked if I could spend the night. I didn’t talk about what happened. I just told her that the engagement was off and I just needed to sleep. Jessica never asked any questions and I love her for that.
Before long, my phone rang and it was Tyler. He asked me to come back home. I was hesitant, but he convinced me to come back home and talk. I left Jessica a note and went back home.
When I got home, Tyler was sitting on the couch. “I’m going to get a six-pack of beer, drink it and kill myself.”
Shocked, I sat down next to him. “Do you want me to call someone? Should I call your sponsor? I don’t know what to do.”
Tyler kept repeating. “I’m going to kill myself.” He was crying, but there weren’t any tears.
I hugged him. “We’ll get through this. We’ll get help. Please don’t kill yourself. I love you too much.”
“Thank you,” Tyler smiled. And just like that, he got up, told me he loved me, and went to bed.
Looking back, I now realize that this was Tyler’s way of manipulation. Tyler knew he let his anger get out of control, to the point that I walked away. To get me back, he subtly blamed me for what happened by alluding that he was going to commit suicide. At the time, I felt guilty for not cleaning the damn pillow. If I had cleaned that pillow, this never would have happened. I promised myself to be more careful in the future.
The next morning, my engagement ring was on my nightstand.
AUTHOR BIO: Megan Cyrulewski has been writing short stories ever since she was ten-years-old.  Eventually she settled into a career in the non-profit sector and then went back to school to get her law degree.  While she was in school, she documented her divorce and child custody battle in her memoir, Who Am I? How My Daughter Taught Me to Let Go and Live Again, which was released on August 2, 2014.  Megan lives in Michigan with her 3-year-old daughter who loves to dance, run, read, and snuggle time with Mommy.  Megan also enjoys her volunteer work with Troy Youth Assistance as the Fundraising Chair on the Board of Directors.

Friday, 5 September 2014

God Forsaken

saleh
After watching both of his parents being killed by the religion of Illumina in the city of Murdon, Hadi and his best friend, Sabir, decide to roam in the Outskirts to commit sin and to break all the Laws of the god Arcas. Despite the fact the Hadi's parents were killed by Illumina, he still used to be such a nice guy performing his prayers and adhering to the will of Illumina. However, after a lot of time in the Outskirts, Hadi decides to take on a full-blown, apocalyptic revenge upon the religion of Illumina in the city of Murdon, using the brainwashing power of the Apple of Hades he has obtained.
Review: This book is absolutely brilliant! It's filled with moral dilemmas and philosophy while at the same time having a gripping plot. The characters are realistic and flawed and the author drives the plot well. I hope that there is a lot more to come from this writer because he's very talented!

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Vampire Watchmen by Tim O'Rourke

vampire
The second addictive adventure in Tim O'Rourke's acclaimed Sammy Carter series

It's been a year since Samantha Carter blasted back to 1888, barely escaping with her life. Now, returned to present-day London with only her flatmate for company, she's starting to believe that everything - the blood-curdling vampires, her strange and sudden skills with a gun, even her mysterious lover Harry - was nothing but a dream.

Just when Sammy is about to lose all hope that her friends and memories were real, it finally happens again. This time she's pulled back to a city she does not recognise: a London in the grip of a terrible plague, where death haunts the night and a deeper, darker threat lurks underground, waiting for its chance . . .

Fighting side by side with her friends once again, Sammy encounters horrors beyond her imagining; yet what really terrifies her are the endless questions, one most of all: who is she really? Torn between the life she longs for and the life she can believe in, Sammy must decide whether she's brave enough to risk everything, even her heart . . .
Review: Vampire Watchmen is a gripping story filled with horror, mystery and intrigue. Samantha Carter is a brilliant character torn between her unusual choices and he writer really drags you into her dilemma with his wonderful writing style! I was gripped from the very first page. I read this book  before the first one, and although I had no trouble following the plot, I will definitely be returning to read the previous! I can't wait for more in this amazing series.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Warp and Woof: Weaving Community Life

w&w
Man is a social creature; relationships are an inevitable part of his life. Formal ones, informal ones; constant ones, intermittent ones; those that make a heart race with joy, those that make it race with dread, and those that are just there because of the way society is structured. Relationships are essential to personal and collective spiritual and material development. One of the most mysterious relationships of all is that of marriage. It is a big commitment, often portrayed as the union of two individuals when in fact it is the union of two families, of two groups of friends, and, at times, of two communities, which means that a large number of relationships have to be adjusted. It is a fundamental building block of society, as married couples create homes in which two families are welcome, children are raised, and members of the community can find solace and love. It is therefore a powerful institution that exerts its influence on the two spouses as well as on those surrounding it. In this series of short stories, real life situations, conversations, and continuous study of Bahá’í Scripture come together in an attempt to understand what can go right and what can go wrong in relationships and how they can influence a community.
Review: This book is really interesting and informative. The way it approaches topics will give you pause for thought - and it is worth reading for that alone! Everything is worded really well and gave me a great impression of the author. I will be checking out more work by Sahar soon.
*This review is bought to you by thelockdown.co.uk blog*