New Review for Bad Moon… Yay! #Fiction #FamilyHorror @HowellWave

Book Description

Growing up, Annie’s life was perfect
She loves her parents and thought she knew them
But when she discovers a nasty family secret
Her perfect life becomes a nightmare
Her struggle to change everything makes life so much worse,
how far must she run to escape the truth?
Can Annie make a new life for herself? 
or will they hunt her down and bring her back?

The Latest Review

John W. Howell rated it really liked it  ·  

After reading the book’s blurb, I picked Bad Moon by Anita Dawes. The part that got me was. “Young Annie’s life was perfect until she uncovers a nasty family secret, something her parents have been doing for years.”

I was intrigued by the idea of a story about someone coming of age in a family with some dark secrets. I expected maybe some unusual sexual activities or maybe abuse. These would be bad enough, but it turned out undoubtedly mild compared to what Annie had to discover and overcome.

The story is told in the first person by Annie herself. Although not unique in point of view, the author crafts the narrative so the reader not only sees the world from Annie’s perspective but identifies with the struggles Annie must overcome. Even when Annie is at her worst, I was always rooting that she would find her way to happiness.

Although the setting is the backcountry, the emotional turmoil and the depth of character development give the reader the feeling that this story could have taken place anywhere. This fact is where the quality of the author’s storytelling skills shine. Using the backcountry setting as an excuse for what transpires in the plot would be easy. However, that would be a disservice to the story since the action gets down to fundamental human issues and predispositions that are not necessarily only the purview of uneducated backcountry folks.

There are examples that I would like to cite, but each would be a spoiler. So I guess I will leave it at this. Once you start reading Bad Moon, you won’t be able to stop. The story is well-crafted and moves at just the right pace. If you like well-written human drama stories with a lot of action, this one is for you.

This lovely review from our friend and fellow writer, John Howell, came as a wonderful surprise, just when we needed a lift.

We really appreciated the time and care involved in such a detailed and well written review for Anita’s story.

Huge thanks again, John, from both of us!

Best Way to Start the week! A Wonderful Review from John Howell… #Bad Moon #Coming of age @HowellWave

http://myBook.to/BadMoonx

What a wonderful way to start the week!

This post is to show our appreciation to JOHN HOWELL, our kind friend and fellow writer/blogger, who has just published his fabulous review for Anita’s book, Bad Moon.

We have always found this to be a hard story to promote. Powerful, disturbing, and set in Virginia at the turn of the last century. Not one for the faint-hearted, for sure, although those who have been brave enough to read it have sung its praises!

We thank you, John, for adding your voice to Bad Moon’s journey…

John Howell’s Review

John W. Howell

4.0 out of 5 stars An Unusual Story Not to be Missed. Reviewed in the United States on 8 July 2022

After reading the book’s blurb, I picked Bad Moon by Anita Dawes. The part that got me was. “Young Annie’s life was perfect until she uncovers a nasty family secret, something her parents have been doing for years.”
I was intrigued by the idea of a story about someone coming of age in a family with some dark secrets. I expected maybe some unusual sexual activities or maybe abuse. These would be bad enough, but it turned out undoubtedly mild compared to what Annie had to discover and overcome.
The story is told in the first person by Annie herself. Although not unique in point of view, the author crafts the narrative so the reader not only sees the world from Annie’s perspective but identifies with the struggles Annie must overcome. Even when Annie is at her worst, I was always rooting that she would find her way to happiness.
Although the setting is the backcountry, the emotional turmoil and the depth of character development give the reader the feeling that this story could have taken place anywhere. This fact is where the quality of the author’s storytelling skills shine. Using the backcountry setting as an excuse for what transpires in the plot would be easy. However, that would be a disservice to the story since the action gets down to fundamental human issues and predispositions that are not necessarily only the purview of uneducated backcountry folks.
There are examples that I would like to cite, but each would be a spoiler. So I guess I will leave it at this. Once you start reading Bad Moon, you won’t be able to stop. The story is well crafted and moves at just the right pace. If you like well-written human drama stories with a lot of action, this one is for you.

From both of us!

Soul Gatherings

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Family or Freedom, which would you choose? #ThrowbackThursday #Fiction

Book Description

Young Annie’s life was perfect until she uncovers a nasty family secret, something her parents have been doing for years.

Now she knows about it, she cannot continue to live like this, but her protests fall on deaf ears.

How can she hope to change what has become a way of life for her family?

Her struggle to change everything only makes her life so much worse, forcing her to try to escape, but how far must she run to escape the truth?

Can Annie make a new life for herself, or will they hunt her down and bring her back?

Amazon Review

Bad Moon is narrated in the first person by Annie, a young girl who lives happily with her family: mother (Ruby), father (Jed), and older brother (Nathan). She adores her father, although her mother’s behaviour is far from exemplary (she regularly invites other men to her home and that results in incidents with her husband, who takes it out on the men and seems remarkably tolerant of his wife’s behaviour). At first, Annie is worried that she might end up becoming a woman like her mother when she grows up and thinks it is all due to her mother’s family (her father says that her mother was born under a ‘bad moon’ and she comes from ‘the Hills’ where people seem to have their own morality and rules of behaviour). The inhabitants of the Hills seem to be directly related to those of The Hills Have Eyes or the banjo players in Deliverance. What Annie doesn’t know is that things are worse than she ever could imagine. She has lived all her life in a world of lies and secrets. She is convinced she must learn the truth to avoid history repeating itself and is prepared to go to any lengths to achieve that. The costs are high indeed.

Annie does not have much formal schooling (she decides to leave school when she realises things aren’t as they should be) but she is extremely articulate, and some of the descriptions of the landscape surrounding her home, her experiences and dreams, her mystical feelings on visiting the caves previously inhabited by a Native-American tribe, and her reflections are beautiful and lyrical. We might disagree with some of her decisions but it is difficult not to admire her determination. She never tries to be liked or makes excuses for her own behaviour (she might blame others at times, but despite not being a believer or having much in the way of role models, she does question her actions and tries to make things better), and she is neither all good nor all bad. It’s a testimony to the skill of the author that although Annie’s head is not a pleasant place to be in, we can’t help but wish she’ll succeed and live to see another day.

Excerpt

I couldn’t worry about Ma now and we sat quiet for a while, watching the birds settle for the night. The sun going down laid a blanket of red across the field, like the blood of generations being pulled back from the earth. As if they were trying to remind us they were still there and trying to tell us something. As the sun continued its journey down for the night, the blood colour shrank across the field, as if it were trying to catch up with the setting sun before the moon could touch it with its silvery fingers.

I’d walked across the field many times when it was bathed in that red glow and the feeling of belonging was stronger then, but to what? I still couldn’t figure it out as the feeling didn’t last long enough. I’d talked to Ma about it and all she said was, ‘Some folks never find the place they belong, but you keep looking, Annie, for you just might.’ She said it in a way that made me feel it was real important to keep looking.

I got to thinking that no one really knows what they’re talking about for they never finish what they’re saying. About halfway through they go all dreamy looking like they’re remembering something, but they don’t know what it is anymore.

A soft wind came up, carrying a chill around its outsides, the way it does when the middle’s still warm. Nathan put his shirt on, saying he was going for a walk. That was something he’d taken to doing more and more often and I knew he wanted to be by himself. I still had the candy bar in my hand, and I put it in my pocket before going inside. Not that I thought Ma would take it, I just didn’t want her to know that Nathan had given it to me. Should she ask, I could lie but Ma had a way of knowing a lie when she heard it.

I wasn’t sure why I didn’t want her to know, maybe it was because she was acting funny and like Nathan said, there aint no telling what she’s gonna do next. But maybe it was something to do with Nathan; he had given me something more than just a candy bar. I got the feeling we could be close again, but he didn’t want Ma to know about it.

Ma didn’t put meat out for supper, just bread rolls and cheese and the pickle that Ma made herself. I didn’t feel much like eating, but breakfast could be a long time coming if you got real hungry. I sat at the table, picking at it until Ma said food weren’t for playing with. I heard what she said, but my mind was on the caves and the way Nathan spoke about them. I couldn’t wait for sunup…

Bad Moon is my favourite story from Anita, made my blood run cold in places, though!

Family or Freedom, which would you choose?

Book Description

Young Annie’s life was perfect until she uncovers a nasty family secret, something her parents have been doing for years.

Now she knows about it, she cannot continue to live like this, but her protests fall on deaf ears.

How can she hope to change what has become a way of life for her family?

Her struggle to change everything only makes her life so much worse, forcing her to try to escape, but how far must she run to escape the truth?

Can Annie make a new life for herself, or will they hunt her down and bring her back?

Amazon Review

Bad Moon is narrated in the first person by Annie, a young girl who lives happily with her family: mother (Ruby), father (Jed), and older brother (Nathan). She adores her father, although her mother’s behaviour is far from exemplary (she regularly invites other men to her home and that results in incidents with her husband, who takes it out on the men and seem remarkably tolerant of his wife’s behaviour). At first, Annie is worried that she might end up becoming a woman like her mother when she grows up and thinks it is all due to her mother’s family (her father says that her mother was born under a ‘bad moon’ and she comes from ‘the Hills’ where people seem to have their own morality and rules of behaviour). The inhabitants of the Hills seem to be a directly related to those of The Hills Have Eyes or the banjo players in Deliverance. What Annie doesn’t know is that things are worse than she ever could imagine. She has lived all her life in a world of lies and secrets. She is convinced she must learn the truth to avoid history repeating itself and is prepared to go to any lengths to achieve that. The costs are high indeed.

Annie does not have much formal schooling (she decides to leave school when she realises things aren’t as they should) but she is extremely articulate, and some of the descriptions of the landscape surrounding her home, of her experiences and dreams, her mystical feelings on visiting the caves previously inhabited by a Native-American tribe, and her reflections are beautiful and lyrical. We might disagree with some of her decisions but it is difficult not to admire her determination. She never tries to be liked or makes excuses for her own behaviour (she might blame others at times, but despite not being a believer or having much in the way of role models, she does question her actions and tries to make things better), and she is neither all good nor all bad. It’s a testimony to the skill of the author that although Annie’s head is not a pleasant place to be in, we can’t help but wish she’ll succeed and live to see another day.

Excerpt

I couldn’t worry about Ma now and we sat quiet for a while, watching the birds settle for the night. The sun going down laid a blanket of red across the field, like the blood of generations being pulled back from the earth. As if they were trying to remind us they were still there and trying to tell us something. As the sun continued its journey down for the night, the blood colour shrank across the field, as if it were trying to catch up with the setting sun before the moon could touch it with its silvery fingers.

I’d walked across the field many times when it was bathed in that red glow and the feeling of belonging was stronger then, but to what? I still couldn’t figure it out as the feeling didn’t last long enough. I’d talked to Ma about it and all she said was, ‘Some folks never find the place they belong, but you keep looking, Annie, for you just might.’ She said it in a way that made me feel it was real important to keep looking.

I got to thinking that no one really knows what they’re talking about for they never finish what they’re saying. About halfway through they go all dreamy looking like they’re remembering something, but they don’t know what it is anymore.

A soft wind came up, carrying a chill around its outsides, the way it does when the middle’s still warm. Nathan put his shirt on, saying he was going for a walk. That was something he’d taken to doing more and more often and I knew he wanted to be by himself. I still had the candy bar in my hand, and I put it in my pocket before going inside. Not that I thought Ma would take it, I just didn’t want her to know that Nathan had given it to me. Should she ask, I could lie but Ma had a way of knowing a lie when she heard it.

I wasn’t sure why I didn’t want her to know, maybe it was because she was acting funny and like Nathan said, there aint no telling what she’s gonna do next. But maybe it was something to do with Nathan; he had given me something more than just a candy bar. I got the feeling we could be close again, but he didn’t want Ma to know about it.

Ma didn’t put meat out for supper, just bread rolls and cheese and the pickle that Ma made herself. I didn’t feel much like eating, but breakfast could be a long time coming if you got real hungry. I sat at the table, picking at it until Ma said food weren’t for playing with. I heard what she said, but my mind was on the caves and the way Nathan spoke about them. I couldn’t wait for sunup…

If I have timed this right, Bad Moon should be available for just 99p!

Anita Speaks…

Anita’s First Rant Post!

Jaye has asked me to put pen to paper, so I apologise in advance if I offend anyone. Sorry!

I am naffed off at the idea of writing!

Everyone, and I mean everyone, the world and his wife, wants their words in print, convinced there are those who want to read them.

It has been said that there is at least one book in each of us, but to me that doesn’t mean it should be written.

Television personalities jump on the band wagon, knowing their name will carry some weight. However, not all manage the transition from actor to writer.

I can think of some that did. Dawn French, Fern Britain, and Judy Finnigan, to name but a few…

Sorry, I am beginning to sound like sour grapes.

Maybe so, but you can’t tell me that publishers are not thinking the same way. Jumping on a tv name to carry the weight of a new writer.

What about all those poor sods who have poured blood on their pages, to be so cruelly thrown onto the slush pile?

It’s a known fact that publishers get it wrong. This has been proven by sending them an already world-famous number one best seller, only for them to turn it down.

I know it’s a hard world to break into. Like a bank of fishermen, there are many that will never get a fish on their hook.

C’est La Vie…

*****

Once bitten by the writing bug, it doesn’t matter how long you leave your pen idle, or your computer turned off, you have been bitten, so you carry the disease, the curse. Your mind being the one thing you cannot turn off.

You write in the dark when you should be sleeping. You carry the unwritten words like a plague.

They push and poke at your grey matter, desperate to be on those clean white pages.

Write the words, you never know if this time, someone may want to pay you for them.

So, hold fire on that bonfire, don’t throw those pages on the flames…

© Anita Dawes 2021

Note from the Editor (Jaye)

We have been busy!

The new, updated and remastered edition of Bad Moon is almost ready to launch…

Would You Read This Book? #TuesdayBookBlog #Fiction #FamilyHorror

promo x1.jpg

 

Bad Moon was the first book I ever wrote and came about I think because I am slightly obsessed with the way the people in West Virginia talk.

Some people call them Hillbilly’s and years ago, there was a very funny television programme called The Beverly Hillbillies. Maybe that was where it started, I don’t know.

I love the place too; it seems so wild and untamed. So much, I sometimes wonder if my father came from there and I have inherited something. I have it on good authority (from my mother) that he was an American.

So when this very distinctive voice began to speak in my head, all about her life and family, in no time at all I was completely hooked. Annie’s story is nothing like “The Walton’s”, no happy family in the usual sense of the word. They do seem to care for each other, but most of the time what they get up to is pretty hard to live with, a conclusion that the girl in my head had already arrived at.

The more she tries to change things, to make them better, the worse they seem to get. Horrible secrets are revealed and bad things keep happening, but this only seems to make her more determined than ever to leave all the pain and sorrow behind.

The trouble with writing such an unusual book is that most publishers won’t touch it with a barge pole. When I first wrote it, I tried very hard to get it published by the mainstream publishing industry. Most of them loved it, saying it was ‘powerfully written’.

It very nearly made it, but, and it was a big but, they discovered to their horror that they didn’t know how to market it, and one by one they gave up on it.

I think it is a great story. It has everything, plenty of drama, horrifying storylines, love and passion, all wrapped up in a young girls rapidly growing sense of right and wrong.

Still trying to find people who will read it, and dare I say it, review it. It needs to succeed, if only because the next book Simple is based in West Virginia too and about a similar family group.

In some ways, Simple is worse, as it concerns family bullying and the abuse of a mentally challenged family member.

I’m sure that if more people were aware of these books, they would receive more acclaim, but I fear my marketing attempts are inadequate at best.

I’m still in there, swinging… so who knows?

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Amazon Review

OlgaNM
Bad Moon is narrated in the first person by Annie, a young girl who lives happily with her family: mother (Ruby), father (Jed), and older brother (Nathan). She adores her father, although her mother’s behaviour is far from exemplary (she regularly invites other men to her home and that results in incidents with her husband, who takes it out on the men and seem remarkably tolerant of his wife’s behaviour). At first, Annie is worried that she might end up becoming a woman like her mother when she grows up and thinks it is all due to her mother’s family (her father says that her mother was born under a ‘bad moon’ and she comes from ‘the Hills’ where people seem to have their own morality and rules of behaviour). The inhabitants of the Hills seem to be a directly related to those of The Hills Have Eyes or the banjo players in Deliverance. What Annie doesn’t know is that things are worse than she ever could imagine. She has lived all her life in a world of lies and secrets. She is convinced she must learn the truth to avoid history repeating itself and is prepared to go to any lengths to achieve that. The costs are high indeed.
Annie does not have much formal schooling (she decides to leave school when she realises things aren’t as they should) but she is extremely articulate, and some of the descriptions of the landscape surrounding her home, of her experiences and dreams, her mystical feelings on visiting the caves previously inhabited by a Native-American tribe, and her reflections are beautiful and lyrical. We might disagree with some of her decisions but it is difficult not to admire her determination. She never tries to be liked or makes excuses for her own behaviour (she might blame others at times, but despite not being a believer or having much in the way of role models, she does question her actions and tries to make things better), and she is neither all good nor all bad. It’s a testimony to the skill of the author that although Annie’s head is not a pleasant place to be in, we can’t help but wish she’ll succeed and live to see another day.
With themes including incest, rape, infanticide, murder, cannibalism, paedophilia and plenty of violence, this is not a gentle novel or an easy read. There is sex and violence, although these are not graphically rendered, but anybody with a modicum of imagination will be left with many powerful images difficult to forget. The strong intuition of the main character, the roles of fate, blood and family history and the communities portrayed turn this book into a tragedy where instead of kings and gods we have as protagonists a family in the outskirts of society and outside of history. (The historical period of the story and the outside society are not described in detail and this adds to the sense of claustrophobia an entrapment.)
If Annie is a heroine, a tragic hero or an anti-hero is open to interpretation and I haven’t decided yet. I’m not sure I’d like to meet her in real life, but I know I’d like to read more about her.

 

 

 

#Throwback Thursday Featuring Bad Moon by Anita Dawes #family horror

 

I was a lonely child, and London was a lonely place to be when I was growing up there after the war. All around me, people were busily trying to put their lives and homes back into some kind of order.
I remember walking around the streets, confused by all the chaos that still had to be dealt with, all the piles of dusty bricks and rubble that was all that remained of so many people’s lives.
This is probably what made me such a melancholic child, and the reason I retreated into the world of books.

My favourite book was a copy of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and I would love to have that particular copy back in my possession. I remember it as being illustrated, full of hauntingly beautiful but tortured imagery that managed to scare the living daylights out of me. (I was only eight years old)

I often wonder if my memory is at fault. Was this book really illustrated, or did the words simply conjure up what I thought I saw?
I do love a good book and I must have read thousands of them in my lifetime. This brings me rather neatly to my favourite author of all time, Stephen King. He wrote about everything from a crazy car to a tormented child and just about every scary subject in between. I have spent so much time in his company.

Which brings me to another of my favourite authors. Anita Dawes. You meet her here quite regularly, as she is the other half of this writing partnership and I can see echoes of King in everything she writes. Horrible things happen to her characters too, but you can’t help but love them anyway.
What follows is an excerpt from Bad Moon, my all-time favourite…

“Watching the truck coming towards us seemed to take forever, like Pa was going deliberately slow. We waited for Pa to get out of the truck and I could see from his dirt-streaked face that it weren’t good. Nathan’s face looked worse.
Ma tried to stop me from running to the truck, but couldn’t hold me. I climbed on the back and didn’t see Nathan getting out. Suddenly he was there beside me. I remember kneeling and touching the blue check shirt that covered Josh’s face.

I remember the touch of Nathan’s hand on mine and the gentle way he said, ‘Don’t look, Annie please. Just let Pa bury him.’
But I had to see for myself, had to know if it was the tree falling on him that had killed him. My eyes were wet, but the tears wouldn’t fall. I pulled the shirt back and a scream tore at my throat, trying to find a way out.
No sound came as I looked at what was left of his face, dark gaping holes looked back at me. Gone were his blue grey eyes, the very thing I had liked most about him had been gouged away.
His face was torn and bloody. Dried blood matted his hair and dead leaves were sticking to him.
Nathan tried to take me away, saying I had seen enough. I felt myself being lifted slowly from my knees and as Nathan carried me away, that’s when my mind registered what it had seen.
The torn flesh on his face hadn’t been caused by the fall. The skin standing away from the bone and all the dried blood made it hard to read, that was why my mind didn’t see it right off.
They had cut Pa’s name down one side of his face, as if taking his eyes weren’t enough.
The scream that wouldn’t come before, finally broke through and shut down my brain like an axe blow…”

See what I mean?

If you want to read more of this incredible book, simply subscribe to our blog, leave a comment and win a free copy.

Or you can find it here on Amazon… http://myBook.to/badmoon

See you next week…

Paper Paradise…

PhotoFunia-1439310295

I was a lonely child, and London was a lonely place to be when I was growing up there after the war. All around me, people were busily trying to put their lives and homes back into some kind of order.
I remember walking around the streets, confused by all the chaos that still had to be dealt with. All the piles of dusty bricks and rubble, all that remained of so many people’s lives.
This could be what made me such a melancholic child, and the reason I retreated into the world of books.
My favourite book was a copy of Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte and I would love to have that particular copy back in my possession. I remember it as being illustrated, full of hauntingly beautiful but tortured imagery that managed to scare the living daylights out of me (I was only eight years old)

Banners (2)

I often wonder if my memory is at fault. Was this book really illustrated, or did the words simply conjure up what I thought I saw?
I do love a good book and I must have read thousands of them in my lifetime. Which brings me rather neatly to my favourite author of all time, Stephen King. He wrote about everything, from a crazy car to a tormented child and just about every scary subject in between. I have spent so much time in his company.

Which brings me to one of my favourite authors, Anita Dawes. You meet her here most weeks as she shares this site with me, and she is not yet getting the recognition I think she deserves. I can see a similarity with Stephen King in everything she writes, for horrible things happen to her characters too, but you can’t help but love them anyway.
What follows is an excerpt from Bad Moon, my all time favourite…

WPX2
“Watching the truck coming towards us seemed to take forever, like Pa was going deliberately slow. We waited for Pa to get out of the truck and I could see from his dirt streaked face that it weren’t good. Nathan’s face looked worse.
Ma tried to stop me from running to the truck, but couldn’t hold me. I climbed on the back and didn’t see Nathan getting out. Suddenly he was there beside me. I remember kneeling and touching the blue check shirt that covered Josh’s face. I remember the touch of Nathan’s hand on mine and the gentle way he said, ‘Don’t look, Annie please. Just let Pa bury him.’
But I had to see for myself, had to know if it was the tree falling on him that had killed him. My eyes were wet, but the tears wouldn’t fall. I pulled the shirt back and a scream tore at my throat, trying to find a way out.
No sound came as I looked at what was left of his face, dark gaping holes looked back at me. Gone were his blue grey eyes, the very thing I had like most about him had been gouged away.
His face was torn and bloody. Dried blood matted his hair and dead leaves were sticking to him.
Nathan tried to take me away, saying I had seen enough. I felt myself being lifted slowly from my knees and as Nathan carried me away, that’s when my mind registered what it had seen.
The torn flesh on his face hadn’t been caused by the fall. The skin standing away from the bone and all the dried blood made it hard to read, that was why my mind didn’t see it right off.
They had cut Pa’s name down one side of his face, as if taking his eyes weren’t enough.
The scream that wouldn’t come before finally broke through and shut down my brain like an axe blow…”

See what I mean? See you next week…

Bad Moon is available here…
amzn.to/1Em0qkz