Showing posts with label You're not Alone. MacMillan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label You're not Alone. MacMillan. Show all posts

Tuesday, 14 July 2015


Delighted to have received my copies of the anthology 'You're not alone' here in sunny France. I'm so proud to be sharing the pages with a group of talented writers who have contributed some excellent stories. You can buy the book on Amazon or click the link:
You're not alone
If it's not enough that all proceeds go to Macmillan nurses, well let me entice you with the story I contributed. It is very loosy based on my mother's story, but let me stress that she isn't one of the silver surfers from the book.

Never Too Old
 Angela Lockwood

Patricia Turner’s children had wanted her to do this years ago. They said they were worried for her, all alone in that big house. They didn’t realise that you can’t just sell a house that holds forty five years of memories and move to an apartment.
Forty five years of seeing the children grow up, thirty five years of blissful marriage with Frank, and in the last few years seeing the grandchildren enjoying the garden all over again. But Patricia had to admit that the garden Frank had always kept so pristine now looked a little over grown.
Then one morning, Patricia slipped on her bedside rug; fell and broke her hip. She lay there in agony for four hours. A concerned neighbour with a spare key let herself in, having noticed that at 11am, the curtains were still drawn.
 Once Patricia had recuperated from the hip replacement surgery, she told her children that she wanted to sell the house and move to the sheltered apartments on the other side of the village. They told her they were relieved she had taken the decision. They pledged their help in tidying up and packing. Carloads of superfluous goods were dispatched to children and grandchildren until all that remained was what she needed in the new apartment.
Patricia had moved into the apartment yesterday. Once all the furniture was put in place by the removal men, a small army of relatives started opening boxes and putting her things in the empty cupboards. She quickly exhausted herself by running after everyone, trying to direct her things to the right places. She gave up. Out of breath, she sank into a chair.
Let them be, Patricia, she told herself. They mean well and you’ve got the rest of your life to put it right.
      “This is a lovely view,” said Patricia to her new neighbour, Sheila Smyth.
The two were standing in the bright hallway outside their apartments, looking through the large glass windows at the village below. When Patricia stretched onto her toes, she could see the roof of her old house. She hadn’t moved far and even the new neighbour was someone she had known for years; their children had gone to school together.
      “I’ll take you down for coffee hour. Management puts some tea, coffee and biscuits on every weekday. Residents can go down if they want,” informed Sheila.
Patricia nodded her approval and the women set off down the long hallway.
      “It’s great you’ve moved here. I heard Mavis Barnstable might be coming too,” said Sheila.
      “That would be nice; she’s an excellent bridge player,” and then after some thought she added “Mind you, her husband Colin, likes his whiskey. Frank and I used to play the Barnstables, but by 10pm we would make our excuses, as his play didn’t make much sense anymore.”
“What, you haven’t heard?  Colin died a month ago from a heart attack,” said Sheila surprised.
Patricia found it hard to say something nice about Colin Barnstable; instead she just left a respectful silence. Then when it seemed appropriate she asked cheerfully, “Do they have a bridge club here?”
      “I think they meet every Friday in the recreation room,”
The two women stopped in front of the lift and Sheila pressed the call button. When the door opened there was already a man in a wheelchair inside.
      “Morning Mr Walker,” said Sheila cheerfully, “This is Patricia Turner, she just moved in.”
      “What a delight to have another lovely young lady in our residence!” he said, beaming.
      “Gosh, no one has called me a young lady for a very long time,” laughed Patricia.
      “Mr Walker is going to be ninety nine next week, at seventy five we’re just mere spring chickens to him,” explained Sheila.
Just then Patricia felt her bottom being pinched. She looked at Mr Walker in his wheelchair. He sported a grin stretching from ear to ear. To her relief the lift stopped and the door opened. The man in his chair left through reception and the two women headed to the recreation room.
      “I think that man just pinched my bottom,” whispered a shocked Patricia to her friend.
She roared with laughter, “Ninety nine years old, in a wheelchair, but he is still a randy bugger.”

      They entered the recreation room and found about a dozen residents already there. Most of the people living at Lower Hallerington sheltered housing were female, and Patricia only spotted two men in the room. Sheila first introduced her to the men.
“This is George Willoughby,” she said to a bald-headed heavy set man,“ did you not work at British Gas, George?”
“I did indeed,” he answered, shaking Patricia’s hand.
“So did my husband. You might have known him - Frank Turner?”
“Not very well as he was in a different department, but yes I’ve heard of him. Delighted to have you with us Mrs. Turner.”
Then Sheila introduced a thin grey-haired man as Victor Lambert. Patricia and Victor shook hands and they moved on to the women in the room. Most of them, she already knew from church or via her children’s old school. After the introductions were done, she noticed that the men were having an argument and she leaned in to listen.
      “I’ll tell you it was a fellow called Corleone,” George argued.
      “I’m not sure that was the fellow that played Fredo in The Godfather,” replied Victor doubtfully.
      “It was! Donald Corleone. I think he even got an Oscar,” said the bald one with certainty.
Victor shook his head sadly. “Maybe it was. It frightens me how forgetful I am these days. I used to know all the Hollywood actors.”
      “Well, my mind is as sharp as an eighteen-year-old’s,” stated George proudly and without a shred of sympathy for the other man.
Patricia did sympathise with Victor. Altzheimers was the disease that she was most afraid of. Every time she caught herself forgetting something, she would smile wryly;
 I’ll be able to hide my own Easter eggs soon!
Patricia turned her attention to the women. One particular lady had caught her eye because she was wearing bright red nail varnish and her cheeks glowed with pink blush. Sheila noticed her staring.
“Betty here is all dolled up for her fancy man,” she explained.
Grey-haired pensioner Betty, giggled like a little schoolgirl.
      “Paul is taking me dancing later at the town hall,” she said bashfully.
      “Well done you, going dancing! I couldn’t imagine doing that with my replacement hip,” said Patricia, full of admiration.
      “That shouldn’t stop you, dear. I just had my second one done last December,” retorted Betty cheerfully.
      “How about your fella, Harriet?” said Betty turning to the woman on her left.
      “We’re meeting up this Thursday,” replied Harriet, smirking like a Cheshire cat.
      “Harriet met Nigel on the internet,” explained Sheila, with a wink.
      “Aren’t you afraid to meet a complete stranger you met online?” asked Patricia.
Harriet smiled, “I hardly think that the man who told me all about the heartbreak of losing his wife to cancer, is going to rape and kill me.”
This isn’t what I expected. Patricia began to think in the lift, on her way back upstairs to her flat. She had expected talk about grandchildren and knitting patterns, not Skype, online dating, which Scholl shoes are best for dancing, and which of the men in their sheltered housing complex were single and not going senile. She hadn’t realised how far from the modern world she had become removed, rattling about alone in her big house. She felt happier than she had done in a long time.
When she got in, she phoned her son. She asked him if he had a spare computer; an old one the grandchildren no longer needed.
      “I thought you didn’t want any of those ‘contraptions’?” He said in surprise.
      “Absolutely everyone is on the internet now, I’m not just some grandmother that knits socks all day,” said Patricia expertly.
She was still puzzled However, as to how you could send letters through a computer.
      “I hope you know what you’re doing,” said her son concerned, “promise me you won’t do any online shopping and give people your bank details.”
      “I won’t and my friend Sheila has offered to help me with Skype. Apparently you can then phone the entire world for free,” explained Patricia innocently, her mind buzzing with the possibilities of the Internet.
      Her son promised he would set her up with a computer and an Internet provider.

She sat back in her chair after she ended the call and looked out of her living room window. From the fourth floor, she could just see the river and some fields with horses behind the trees. The garden in front of the flats was well tended and Patricia thought with relief that she no longer had to do the gardening herself. So far, she had not regretted moving in there. She would get a computer set up next and try and become, one of those…oh what did they call it downstairs? Oh yes  a silver surfer.
 She decided it was time to take the next step and to move on from all the wonderful memories her husband Frank had given her; time to make some new ones.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Darkly Wood by Max Power

As the Anthology is coming out on Kindle Tomorrow I thought I celebrate by posting a review of one of it's contributors; Max Power. You can already order your paperback copy. Here is the link to Max Powers book and it's 5 star review:

Darkly Wood by Max Power

Near the village of Cranby, you can find an imposing forest named Darkly Wood. Local stories retold from generation to generation speak of terrible things that have happened in this place, long before it was even known as Darkly Wood. The book starts with the story of Lord Terrence Darkly, who’s noble family the wood is named after and the tragic fate of his fiancee.
The book is a cleverly crafted patchwork of folkloric horror stories, a romance and a supernatural thriller. Weaving cameos of characters that were affected by Darkly wood, with the contemporary tale of Daisy and Benjamin and their budding teenage love story.
I must admit that I wasn’t immediately gripped by the start of the book, which just hinted at something evil in the woods, but then I was gripped by the story of Daisy, the young girl that moves to Cranby with her recently divorced mother. Soon she experiences a few spooky events and also finds a book in her new house named ‘Tales of Darkly Wood by J.S. Toner’. She also meets a boy named Benjamin who she feels very attracted to.
What is unusual about this book is the way it is narrated. We have three points of view from the writer, the initial scene setting that tells us about the wood and the village. Then the story of Daisy and Benjamin and their fateful entry into Darkly wood, which is interspersed with extracts from the Tales of Darkly Wood. Even though I found the interruptions to Daisy’s nail-biting story at times frustrating as I wanted to know what happened next, the individual tales are all strong. I think my favourite was the one about the man that fooled a whole village into thinking that he was a smoker. Max Power does know how to spin a good yarn.
I felt for the characters of Daisy and Benjamin; just as they are discovering their young love, they are put through the most testing of ordeals. Daisy grows from a normal impulsive teenager into a young woman that can muster up incredible courage. Her bravery comes from the love she is feeling for Benjamin.
I was in two minds at first about this book, but as I continued reading through the cracking second part and awesome finish, I made up mind and decided that Darkly Wood deserves 5 stars.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

The Oscar Dossier by Lesley Hayes

I have the great honour of soon to be sharing the pages with this author in the upcoming anthology: You're not Alone. I look forwards to reading her contribution to this. Here is the review to an excellent but very short collection.

The Oscar Dossier by lesley Hayes

I recently came across two stories by this author. They were so well written and clever that I was more than keen to try another selection of shorts by Lesley Hayes. The Oscar dossiers didn’t disappoint. I do love an English eccentric, and Oscar is a fine specimen. Flamboyant and loud but also riddled with insecurities. He always falls for the same type, thin broken women that are oddly robust in blocking his advances. This is a book of four short stories, about Oscar, a parrot and some of the people in his life. The stories are well written, witty and entertaining. If I have one quibble it would be that the book is very short and that a larger than life character like Oscar could have generated more material. I do hope Lesley will revisit this character and add some more pages to the dossier. However this book left me very hungry to read some more of this author.
Highly recommended, if you like colourful characters and a quick, easy read.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Interview with author D.Avraham

 The release date of the Anthology has been set for the 11th of July. I've already pre-ordered my copy on Amazon, you can do this too via the following link:
You're not Alone Anthology
So here is the next interview with one of the authors. I think I'm up on the 3rd of June. Probably will have to wear dark glasses after that and seek counselling about how to cope with fame:)

Interview with Author D. Avraham, contributor to charitable anthology “You’re Not Alone”

Youre Not Alone 3d inamge (1)Today I’m welcoming Author D. Avraham whom I’ve met through our work for “You’re Not Alone”, an anthology in aid of MacMillan Cancer Care.
Twenty-seven writers from around the world, including myself have entered an assortment of short stories for your pleasure, show your support by liking the new page on Facebook and expressing an interest in buying the book.

You’ll find the book on your Amazon for per-order via these links:
You’ll find the Facebook page here:

And here is the fund, in loving memory of Pamela Mary Winton

Welcome to my blog. Tell us, how did you come to writing?davraham

The first time I decided to write, I was six or seven.  I wrote and illustrated a children’s book (obviously) called “Zero and the Case of the Missing Vase.”  I still have it.  My Mom saved everything.   I’ve been writing since.
That said, I took a break from trying to sell my stuff for about fifteen years.  After I served in the army, I wrote my first novel, Off Wire.  That was in the age when you wrote on a typewriter, remember those days?  Anyway, I actually travelled to New York and went to every publishing house I could find, but there weren’t any takers.  That was also at the time of the first big publishing crunch, and no one gave me the time of day.  There was no such thing as Indie publishing, only what was called Vanity publishing, and that was way out of my price range.  So, I put the manuscript away.  I kept writing, and sold the occasional short story or poem, but I never really went into it full force, until I wrote Foundation Stone.  That’s when I started relearning about the industry, and started putting more of an effort in to get published.
Did anyone influence you / encourage you to become a writer?
Yes.  I’ve already mentioned my Mom.  She was always a big supporter.  As far as influence, I’ve been influenced by everything I’ve read – good and bad.  I always loved the way stories could effect me,  and there was also a counter-need to express what was effecting me.
When did you decide to write in your chosen genre(s)?
I didn’t.  And still don’t.  The stories and the genre’s choose mecover for offwire
Tell us about the concept behind your books. How did you get the idea?
Well, the Shepherd King Series grew out of stories I would tell my kids.  I would take the Biblical stories about King David, and try and make them accessible to them.  At some point I decided to try and do that on a wider scale.  Other stories come from some “Other Source,” cover621X810
You have created great characters. Which one is your favourite?
I love all my characters – even the bad guys.  They all have something redeeming about them.  Right now, my current favourite is Queen, the detective from the Dystopia.  In part, because he’s in my head the most now.  But, he’s this hard boiled cynic that wants to not care, but you know he really does.  Those are the type of characters I like the most.  Uriyah in the Foundation Stone is a lot like him, as is the hooker in “A Special Evening,” the story for the Charity Anthology.
Are you like any of the characters (and how so)?
the characters all have pieces of me, or more accurately they reflect some aspect of who I am, even if I’m not so aware of it.  It’s the same thing with reading other people’s works.  The good stories are the ones where you discover some dimension about yourself that you didn’t know was there.
What is your main reason for writing?
Because I have to. cover
What are the best and the worst aspects of writing?
The best is the first writing, the discovery of the story.  Even rewriting and drafting can be exciting and fun.  The worst aspect is the business end.  I have to push myself to do all the marketing and promoting, and selling and social media stuff.
How do you balance marketing one book and writing the next?
Balance?  Hahahaha.  Who said I was balanced?
What do you do when you don’t write?
Actually, I’m writing even when I’m not writing.  I even have a notepad by my bed if I get an idea or something.  I have a lot of note pads around the house.  My life is very full.  I home school my kids, so a lot of my time is spent with them.  We have a small farm, nothing special, but it takes some work.    We raise sheep and chickens.    I teach, read, learn.
What makes you laugh? davraham
Life … Well, I suppose it depends what you mean.  I find the world a little ridiculous sometimes, but as far as laughing from share joy – my kids.  I’m really blessed with a lot of good in my life.
Who would you like to invite for dinner?
Everyone.  You’re all invited.  Seriously,  we actually have a pretty open door policy at my house.  We get a lot of guest.  Once, we even had a guy recovering from a nasty divorce stay with us for a few months.
What song would you pick to go with your book?
It would have to be an original score.
What are you working on now? 
About a dozen things.   I’m just finishing up a Science Fiction short story for an anthology about a physicist that tries to find the parallel universe where the girl said “yes,” and warp that into his reality; trying to finish the sequel to Foundation Stone; I’m finishing up a Fantasy novel called Blight Crossing, and a few companion short stories that fit into that world; trying to sell my satirical novella, All About Me.  I started another Sci-Fi Dystopia where the main character, a eighty-four year old detective  seems to be the last thinking human alive;  oh and about a half a dozen other short stories and dozens of poems.
Who are your editors and how do you quality control your books?
I belong to several critiquing circles that help get the rough stuff up to snuff.
How have you found the experience of self-publishing? What were your highs and lows?
It’s a lot of work, but then so is trying to get your work published the traditional way.  The best part is  that you know your work will get out there.  The hard part is making sure that it’s edited and polished to a professional quality.
What is your advice to new writers?
Write.  That’s it.  Write – and read, and then write some more.  And then find people that will tear your work apart, so that you can make it better.  Throw out your ego, unless you only wantto show your work to your mom.
What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?
I just finished American Gods by Neil Gaiman.  It was a fantastic book.  I read it on Scribd.  I also reread Slaughterhouse Five, and Cat’s Craddle by Kurt Vonnegut.  I haven’t decided what I’m readin next yet.
How do you handle criticism of your work?
I love it.  They’re usually right
Bio: davraham
Avraham writes fiction and poetry, from children stories and adult humor; from spy thrillers to science fiction and fantasy.
He started his writing career as a freelance writer for the Daily News HeraldThe Cleveland Jewish News, and several other local publications.   He was also a weekly columnist for New York’s Jewish Press.
Avraham is the author of the fantasy novel, The Shepherd King Chronicles: Foundation Stone (Beith David Publishing, 2010). The second novel in the series is due out soon.  He is also the author of the spy thriller, Off-Wire (Lulu 2014), and the author/illustrator of the children book, Squared (beith David Publishing 2013).   D. has written numerous short stories and poems.   Some of his work can be found on his blog at
Avraham currently lives with his family in the Hebron Hills of Israel, where, aside from writing, he teaches at the Jerusalem College of Technology, raises sheep and chickens, home schools his own kids, and tries to stay out of trouble. Sometimes he’s successful.