#ThrowbackThursday~ The Power of Books x4…An excerpt from Simple


There has been a lot of talk lately about bullying and how wrong it is. How damaging and cruel and all the places you find it. One of the worst places, I think, is inside the family unit.

Ordinary people who wouldn’t dream of bullying in the general sense can be guilty of the quite severe bullying of a family member. Most families have at least one relative whose modus operandi is to shoot people down. Usually condoned as ‘being for their own good.’
As if nagging someone to the point of insanity can ever do any good.

Sometimes, even the kindest people think they have the right to do it, simply because they are family, especially if they think the recipient deserves or needs it.

I am sure quite a lot of us have been on the receiving end of severe nagging that all too often can slide into bullying. There is a very fine line separating ‘helpful suggestions’ from the cruel taunting that is present in a lot of our homes.

Here is an excerpt from Simple by Anita Dawes, a story about such family bullying. Even more despicable in this case because the abused is a mentally challenged man, someone with the mind and heart of a child. Someone who only had one friend in the world, his half-sister, Leanne.

“Simple was almost well enough to leave, but Belle made us stay a few days more than we needed, said she liked the company. As we left, she said I should come by some time, ‘Bring Simple if you want. There’s a bed and food on the table whenever you have need of it.’

I thanked Belle for her kindness and told her I understood there was more than one way of telling a story. Simple was pulling at his ear, the way he did when Lizzie cries, or when his thoughts won’t settle, or his mind won’t let him hold on to one long enough to say what he’s feeling. He didn’t need to tell me, I could feel his fear alongside my own. I took his hand, the one that didn’t want to let go of his ear and led him towards the clearing, to the path that would take us home.

On the way, I told Simple that Gran wouldn’t be mean to him anymore, that I wasn’t going to let anyone hurt him again. We walked slowly; there was no need to hurry as I was in no rush to see Gran. When we stopped every now and then to eat the food Belle had given us, I wondered how it would be. Simple was still pulling at his ear while trying to tell me Gran was gonna be mad at him. Then he said he couldn’t go back. ‘Lizzie s-sad, Simple didn’t get b-baby.’
It didn’t seem to matter what words I used, his mind was stuck on Lizzie having what she cried for.

Then it hit me. I would work on Lizzie! The thought came like a flash of lightning. If I stopped her from carrying on, Simple would stay out of trouble. I was feeling better about going back with every step we took.We needed to reach the caves before it got much darker. I could feel the rain coming and the need for sleep was slowing my body to a stumble. We staggered on and finally saw the mouth of the caves. I never thought the sight of them would be welcome, but it was a temporary haven. Better than what awaited us at Gran’s.”

Will they escape to a better life? Can there be a better life for Simple?

You can find Simple here… myBook.to/mySimple



#ThrowbackThursday Song of the Sea God by Chris Hill @ChilledCH

If ever a book deserved to feature on #ThrowbackThursday, it is Song of the Sea God, by Chris Hill!


This week we have as our guest the wonderful writer of ‘Song of the Sea God’, a very unusual book that I enjoyed reading very much and will probably read again.
Hello Chris, and welcome!
Thanks for having me along to your blog Anita, it’s a delight to be here and always a thrill to talk to other writers and readers. You were asking about my book Song of the Sea God and how I came to write it. It’s an interesting question for any author I think – partly because in some ways it is such a hard thing to pin down.
As a writer it can feel as though you start with a blank page and finish with a book on the shelf and you are not quite sure how you got from one state to the next. Perhaps this is because a book doesn’t leap fully formed onto the page.
“Where did that come from?” you might reasonably ask yourself. Even though you know you did the planning and the notes and the research and the hours in front of the laptop and the rewrites – it still seems strange that you have produced this finished artifact – this book, as if from nowhere.
It’s especially the case with Song of the Sea God I suppose, in that it’s an unusual book with an element of the supernatural about it. It has one foot in reality and another in a world which exists only in the book.
So how did it come to be? I suppose the most honest thing to say about Song of the Sea God is that the idea for the novel kind of evolved over time.


Song of the Sea God is a book about a man who comes to a small island off the coast of northern England and tries to convince the locals he is a god. In some ways I suppose it’s a book about the nature of religion – what it means to people, how it works.
I’m not particularly religious myself and I suppose I’d call myself an agnostic, but just because I don’t claim to know the mysteries of the universe, doesn’t mean I think there are no mysteries. I think what inspired me to write the book was that I wanted to examine that ‘god-shaped hole’ people have in their lives.
I’d like to think there’s humour in the book, particularly in the narrative voice, but it’s quite a dark book as well, it delves into some quite murky places.
I’m thrilled by the reaction it’s had so far from readers – people seem to think of it in different ways, it’s dark or comic or lyrical, and so on. That’s great because I was aiming to write something rich and layered and hard to pin down.
I know very well where the setting for the book came from, because the island is the place where I grew up, Walney Island of the coast of Cumbria in the UK. I used the geography because I know the place well and I think it helps if you have a book where slightly unreal things are going on if you can set it somewhere which feels very real – it helps to anchor it and I think a strong sense of place is a fine thing to have in a novel. But I always say, that though the island is based on Walney, the people in the book are definitely not the people who live there! The characters I suppose developed partly from people I have known over the years, partly from the needs of the story.
A lot of what happens in the book was based on research. I did a lot of reading into all sorts of things from ancient religious beliefs to magicians tricks, and from outsider art buildings to communities who live on rubbish tips. It all informed the finished book I hope and lent depth to the story.
So it’s that cocktail I suppose of imagination and research, and then developing ideas as you write.
I hope that’s given you some kind of insight as to how Song of the Sea God came about and anyone who wants to take a look at it can find it on Amazon here and you can read the first few pages to get a feel for it.

I also have a blog, where I talk about writing and lots of other stuff, here:
Thanks again for having me on your blog!

You are more than welcome Chris, you can drop in any time you’re passing!

See you all next week…

#Throwback Thursday Review of the Week!

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green



The title of this book resonated with something inside me, and as I read, more and more expressions and sentiments spoke to me in a way I found curiously elevating.

You see, my life has not been much of a good one and always thought I did the best I could, despite limited circumstances. Very lacking in love of any kind, so I am always looking for it, even in the books I read.

This story was described as heart-breaking and ambitious, irreverent and tragic. A touchingly funny love story that breaks every convention. But I needed to know if what I read could be the truth, or only a fictional device of the story.

I learned that this story is all about love and friendship, living and dying, and how we should strive to do all these things to the best of our ability.

That love is so much more than how you feel.


Hazel and Augustus are star-crossed lovers with one hell of a difference, She has been ill for so long, nothing that happens or doesn’t, means anything to her anymore, but when Augustus strolls into her life, everything takes on a completely different meaning.
As she says in the book…’He gave me a forever within the numbered days…’

This book doesn’t dwell on fault or reasons for life’s cruelty. It deals with how these young people coped with what life continued to throw at them.

A brilliantly handled story that pulls no punches, but far from being totally sad, and it is in places, you end up immensely proud of the way they live their lives…

I’m looking forward to watching the film too…

The Experimental Notebook II



Today, we are lucky enough to welcome Craig Boyack, better known perhaps as coldhandboyack.wordpress.com to our blog, to tell the world about his new book of short stories, The Experimental Notebook II. A finer collection you will not find, believe me!

More from us further down the page, so over to you, Craig .



Thanks for inviting me and allowing me to promote my newest book on your site. This is a collection of short stories and micro-fiction with a speculative bent. You’ll find some paranormal, some science fiction, and the tiniest sprinkle of fantasy.

My first collection sold so well I wanted to produce another one. I took the easy road and added a number. It’s called The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II.


This is the universal link for the book http://a-fwd.com/asin=B01KENADN6

I get ideas from everything. It could be music, a cloud formation, or some graphic I spotted online. Sometimes it’s an old movie.

There is a story in this collection based upon some debris I spotted in a stream beside my work. We’d been through a huge windstorm, and construction garbage was everywhere. This became a story called Parade Wave.

Most of these ideas won’t carry a full length novel. I discarded them for years before I started adding them to a list. When I burn out on my novel, I sometimes pick up one of these ideas and write something shorter. I left them on my computer for a long time, because I didn’t see publishing them individually.

When the short fiction market picked up, I decided to release my own collection. I made it a good deal, with the idea that someone might enjoy it enough to check out one of my novels. Both Experimental Notebooks are priced at 99¢. Since they are both collections, there is no requirement to read the first book ahead of the second one.

I hope some of your readers will check one of them out, and enjoy their foray into shorter fiction.




When I beta read Craig’s new book of short stories, The Experimental Notebook II,  I was under the impression we had reviewed the first book. I distinctly remember reading it, one of the reasons I offered to read the second one. However, I have double checked, and have not found our review anywhere. This post is supposed to be about The Experimental Notebook II, but I cannot let this oversight go unmarked and will subsequently review both books on Amazon and elsewhere.

Our Review

Craig Boyack has an imagination like no other. His short stories are well written and uniquely different. Such a wide variety of interesting topics, full of memorable characters. Every time you think you have a favorite story, you find another one!

This talent is evident on his website too, making every post a joy to read.


Craig’s Biography

I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.


No man ever wetted clay and then left it, as if there would be bricks by chance and fortune. – Plutarch

Follow my blog:  http://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com

Check out my novels here:  http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00ILXBXUY

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Virgilante

On Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9841203.C_S_Boyack

Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/ColdhandBoyack

Email:    coldhand.boyack@gmail.com










This week we are having a double takeaway. One lucky reader can win a FREE signed paperback copy of Scarlet Ribbons, one of Anita’s best books. All you have to do, is be the first one to say ‘yes please’ in the comments at the bottom of this post.

AND at the same time, we are running a FREE ebook promotion on Amazon from Monday 13th June to Friday 17th June. So, a whole week of freeness…

universal amazon link for scarlet ribbons  myBook.to.scarletR

review x2

Scarlet Ribbons is the heart-breaking supernatural story of Maggie Haynes, an English housewife who dreams of one day being a writer.

When a dirty blue car mows her down outside her local supermarket, she becomes trapped in the nightmare world of a coma patient.

Coming from a happy and contended marriage, Maggie is unprepared for the traumatic and violent lives she encounters in her travels.

In this very different world, Maggie rescues an abused and neglected child. When it begins to look as though she might finally wake up, she cannot bear the thought of leaving the child behind.

But is this other world real, or was she dreaming?

And if it is real, can she help this child?


Amazon review

5.0 out of 5 stars Heart wrenching and gripping 18 Dec 2013

By Rivergirl – Published on Amazon.com

Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

I have just almost literally gobbled up this very excellent and unusual e-book by Anita Dawes. It tells the story of a young woman who spends a lengthy period in a coma following a serious car accident. The journey she travels during her coma is a strange one filled with both shocking and touching experiences that somehow seem to continue after she wakes and returns to the real world of husband and later, daughter. Everything has changed for Mags, and yet the memories (or is it foreknowledge?) of what happened to her during her coma seem to make everything familiar. It’s as if she’s still trapped in the mists of another life….and maybe she is. Excellent reading, excellent writing with several unexpected twists that lead to…well, that is for others to find out too. A heart wrenching and gripping story. Well done, Anita Dawes!

Revisiting Scarpetta…


                                                    Flesh and Bone by Patricia Cornwell

Quite a few years ago now, I was a huge fan of Kay Scarpetta, the forensic queen in Patricia Cornwell’s books. Long before I started writing my own mystery thriller books, I fell under the spell of Cornwell’s eerie writing style. The scrupulous attention to detail, the graphic clinical descriptions, not to mention the character herself.

I have followed the life and career of this fictitious character, and for me she has become an old friend. I knew her as if she were family.

However, life has a nasty habit of getting in the way of all things eventually, and it was several years before I found another Scarpetta book in my hand. At first, I couldn’t find the old magic between the pages and it all seemed strange and far too technical. It was so much more business-like than I remembered, and I put it down a lot, thinking that one of us had moved on.

But there was one element that drew me back like a moth to a flame. Seven shiny copper pennies, deliberately lined up on Scarpetta’s garden wall, and the mysterious name ‘Copperhead’. Half way through the book and the magic returned as if I had never been away.

I am now reading Depraved Heart, the next Scarpetta book and I’m glad to be back. Patricia Cornwell writes like no other, the combination of clinical detachment necessary for the work Scarpetta does, and her personal life. The horrible drama interlaced with humour and humanity makes for a riveting read.

My definition of brilliant book is one that makes me want to write, and right now, I need another piece of paper…

Drake and the Fliers…



Sixteen-year-old Drake can’t understand why the virus spared him. The only survivors he’s seen vandalized his makeshift dwelling, and despite his sister’s dying wish that he connect with others, he spends his days alone – that is, until he shapeshifts into a dragon.

While exploring his new abilities, Drake nearly flies into Preston, another shifter. Their chances of survival increase if they team up with others like them, but when their search leads to a group in Las Vegas, they find not everyone is welcoming.

As Drake develops new relationships, Preston endures daily confrontation and eventually takes off on his own. Concerned for his friend’s safety, Drake launches a search and stumbles into a situation stranger than anything he could imagine. Now he must embrace his animalism if he wants to save his humanity.

About the Author
Allison is a YA and mystery/suspense author, blogger, teacher, mom, wife, coffee and wine consumer, and owl enthusiast. Her blog includes humorous posts, short stories, and posts on writing strategy, parenting, and teaching.



Our Review

I was introduced to the main character in this book by the author’s prequel/serial of Drake’s world, Before the Flight. I loved it so much; I immediately bought a copy of the book.

Drake is a typical teenage boy, arguing with his sister Kelsey, in an ordinary world.
Then something happened…

His father, a doctor at the local hospital had been treating the victims of a nasty virus, a virus that soon decimates the population.

They begin to wonder if they are immune, as one by one, all their family die. Then Kelsey dies too, leaving Drake alone in a strangely empty world…

I don’t like to reveal any spoilers in our reviews, it is sufficient to say that as YA adventures go, this one is wonderfully complex, unusual and totally believable.

Drake does find survivors like himself, including a girlfriend, and they have an amazing adventure.

Brilliantly written, you are a part of it all, right from the start. The author’s powers of description put you right in the heart of the action with Drake and his friends.

I would recommend this book to anyone, not only YA, and wouldn’t be surprised to see a film made of it in the future. It really is that good!