The Tormenter

Short Story
By Stephanie Geary

Sitting outside the school gates, I wait nervously for Stan Foster to come out of class. My mind whirls at the prospect of seeing him, knowing what I must do. Nerves and fear play a part in making my decisions. I can see a crowd forming, they have heard about what will be happening shortly. Hands in pockets, I glance at the growing audience, knowing that I am about to be put on display and that I must perform. My hands are clammy, and I wipe them roughly down my school trousers. I pull a handful of change from my pocket and count the coins.

Not enough, I need more.

What will he say about that?

I see him making his way out of the school, a group of friends surrounding him, offering him encouragement. They all look this way, none of them wanting to admit that they play a part in this scenario. As they get closer, I feel my heart racing, adrenaline kicks in and I feel ready. My eyes never steel away from his, I stare him down and gulp down on the salty saliva building up in the back of mouth and throat. I feel nauseous, but I know that is due to the fire burning in my gut.

Racing towards Stan, I see the fear in his eyes as he sees me, his secondary school bully approaching him. He looks at me, tears ready to spill from his eyes and I feel the raw fear that comes from his every pore.

And I love it.

I wish that I didn’t! I feel the hold that I have over him and the feeling of being powerful is like a drug I can’t get enough of. I clench my fists eagerly.

My audience waits as I approach my prey; all eyes are on me. I cannot let them down.

 

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Death after Life

Short Story written by Stephanie Geary

Dying is hard and dark.

Blackness surrounds me.

My body doesn’t exist now.

Only my mind remains.

Fear; I feel it.

Deep, hot and scary.

The darkness consumes me more.

I want to go back.

I want to feel alive again.

I want to feel something.

I don’t remember.

Not my name.

Not who I am. Or was.

I simply know that I have lost something.

I am lost; I am the lost.

A bright star twinkles ahead.

A star that was not noticeable until now.

It edges closer and closer.

Swirling.

Expanding.

Drawing me in.

Swallowing me whole.

And then I am born.

I am new again.

I am someone new.

A new cycle begins.

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#blogtour – Star in the Shadows by Helen Buckley

Star in the Shadows

Blog Blitz – Thursday 31st October

Happy Halloween Blog-Followers! hope you are having a Spooktacular time! I bring you a review of a book which had me gripped from the very first page turn. A story that was both compelling and dramatic to read.

Big Thanks as always must go to the Blog Host, Rachel of Rachels Random Resources for inviting me along to this tour. (https://www.rachelsrandomresources.com)

And also, I would never have been able to introduce you to this story if the author hadn’t put pen to paper in the first place – Helen Buckley (https://buckleybooks.org)

Let me introduce you to Star in the Shadows!

Star in the Shadows FInal cover.jpg

I dived straight into this story, and read greedily as Kiara’s story was retold between the past and the present. The tale of a child living through poverty is difficult to digest and I felt myself warming to Kiara almost immediately. I don’t want to write too much, in case I inadvertently drop a spoiler, but this book was remarkable!

Before I give you more on my feelings, lets hear a bit about the author.


About the Author

Star in the Shadows Author.jpg
Helen Buckley has spent over thirteen years working and volunteering for charities in the UK and abroad, including four years in Honduras. She currently works as a charity communications manager and lives in Bedfordshire with her husband and son.

Social Media Links
Twitter               HelenCBuckley
Instagram         helencatherinebuckley
Website:            buckleybooks.org


About the Book

Star in the Shadows FInal coverStar in the Shadows

The world thinks that pop superstar Kiara Anderson has it all, but she spends her nights drinking away memories of her childhood and life as a teen runaway.
The Jacobs family are desperate to see the girl next door again and discover why she ran away, especially their son Shane, who blames himself for her disappearance.
When Kiara’s manager forces her into a reveal-all TV interview she knows the family she loved more than her own will finally discover the truth.
Can she overcome her demons or will the shadows of the past rob her of fame, fortune, and a chance to finally fall in love?

Purchase Link
UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Star-Shadows-Helen-Buckley/dp/1528932005


My Review

I read this book from start to finish in just one day. The pages sped by quickly as I strived to read more and more about Kiara and her life. We are introduced to her character in the beginning, she is a famous member of a girl group who are taking the charts by storm. And yet, like many celebrities of today, the public and press want to know more about her. As a result, she is kind of ‘forceably’ convinced to have a tell-all interview live on television.

What happens next, is a backwards-forwards retell, as we are shown glimpses of the past, coupled with the present, as Kiara is interviewed by Beth Winters.

I really want to tell you everything about this book, I want to talk about the highs and the lows, but I dont want to give anything away. This book had me enthralled from the start, I felt compelled to stay with this story until the end, and I fell in love with Kiara’s character.

There have been many books that I have read through the blogtours, some of which have really had me on tenderhooks as I read them, but this book triggered so many emotions! I would happily shout from the rooftops about how good this book is! People need to seriously add this to their TBR list, as it is a tremendous read.

This writer was new to me before reading this book, but I will be keen to read more of her work in the future. She has a wonderful writing style, and is a brilliant story-teller.


Conclusion

My top stars are reserved for those books that have blown me away. The books that have had me glued to them until I turn that final page… and this book is one of them! I would 100% recommend this to anyone who is looking for a new, exciting, dramatic read!

Rating – 5 out of 5!!


Does anyone fancy trying to #win themselves a copy of this book?

If so….please see details below. 😀

Giveaway to Win a signed copy of Star in the Shadows, a beautiful dreams and goal planning journal, a star print scarf, and three yummy chocolate bars from Creighton’s Chocolaterie. (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494297/

Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post! If you do nothing else, please go and check out this author and book! You will not be disappointed!

S x

 

Reading to my Children

As you may have gathered, I am a keen reader! I love the fact that bringing this blog together has helped me to meet new authors. I have come out of my comfort zone at times and read genres that I wouldn’t usually choose, but it has helped to broaden my preferences.

When Ethan was only a week old (back in 2011) I remember how excited I was to start reading him stories. Every night before bed, I picked a picture book and told him stories that had lots of colour, adventure and imagination. Every night since then without fail we have read a book before they fall into a slumber. From Pip and Posy to The Gruffalo; from The Stickman to Harry Potter. We have read a lot of books over the years and their bookcase is HEAVING with books. We are currently waiting for the 4th Illustrated version of The Goblet of Fire to be released (October) and are getting through David Williams books and The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

My love of books has been passed down to them and I love catching them in the act as they pore over their books, escaping to worlds far from here. Ethan has read the first two Harry Potter books on his own, despite reading them twice with me already. Oliver reads the many books he has on planets and space and I love seeing how engrossed they get.

My first book as a child was The Snow Spider by Jenny Nimmo. It was my favourite, but I also loved Roald Dahl. One of my favourites of his was George’s Marvellous Medicine. David Williams has a similar style and I love reading them to my boys.

As I got to my teenage years, I read more books. From romance novels, to horrors. I loved Point Horror books and had many which I enjoyed reading. It was during this time that I came across Anne Franks diary. Real, honest, heartbreaking and yet I related in so many ways to this young girl.

I hope my boys never lose their love of reading, I hope they enjoy the likes of Stephen King, Charles Dickens and Margaret Atwood.

Book Reading Update

I love reading! Anything fiction and imaginative; something that takes me away from mundane and into a world of excitement, suspense and thrills really keeps me gripped.

I always set myself a reading challenge on Goodreads, and this year was no different. I am currently on 29/40 books read. There are times when I feel like I could read book after book, one after another…. Right now I am searching for my next book to start after finishing Adam Kays This is Going to Hurt.

What are you guys reading?

 

Any suggestions?

Mother Love

As a Mother I often wonder whether or not I am enough. There will be days when I question whether what I am doing is correct; Am I punishing them too much? Not enough? Do I listen to them enough? Do I praise them enough? Do I love them enough? Do they know how much I love them?

Ethan, 8 and Oliver, 4 are at the centre of everything that I do…and the centre of every decision I make. When Stew had his accident, I tried my best to protect them from the very possible chance that their Dad wouldn’t be coming home. We have always been of the belief that we wouldn’t lie to them, so I was honest without being too brutal in what I was saying. Oliver was too young at the time to even comprehend what was happening, but Ethan knew that things were different, and I saw the confusion on his face the first night I came home from the hospital. At a time when I was unsure what our futures would be like and whether or not my husband, their father, would be a part of it.

From then until now, they have known loss and confusion. They have witnessed pain and sorrow around them, and they have watched as their Dad struggled to be the man they needed him to be.

With most career choices, there comes textbooks, YouTube video tutorials, even lessons on how to do that chosen profession.

And yet, when it comes to being a mother, there is no guide book. Sure, you read blogs and websites. You swallow down as much information as possible from online forums and social media groups to allow you to be ready for when your bundle of joy comes along, but nobody…and I mean, nobody, can ever prepare you for that moment when it all becomes REAL!

I remember the birth of each of my children; the memories are sketchy in parts due to anaesthetic-brain but I remember them as though they were yesterday. Ethan’s scared little ‘alien’ face and kissable skin; or Oliver’s immense size (9lbs), paired with his gorgeous dark brown eyes, much like my own. And yes, it is true, I felt a rush of love. The old saying was right; there really isn’t any other love like it. But underneath that, feelings that I was desperately trying to keep buried, was fear and panic. In front of me were these bundles of joy; mini-people who were now reliant on me for their EVERYTHING. I watched over them sleeplessly – I counted their toes, stroked their skin and marvelled at how something so fantastic had come from me and Stew. But I also felt a cold-sweat on the back of my neck. All of a sudden, I felt incapable of looking after these tiny humans. How could I look after them and give them everything they need?
Me….the person who kills plants!
The person who burns most food she cooks….!
My memory has always been poor; how could I look after something when I forget things all of the time!?

The answer?

Well, if you came here looking for the answer to ‘Motherdom’ then you have come to the wrong place. Because I still don’t have it. Put simply, I don’t think anybody has….and if they say they do, then they are lying. Most of us Moms…and Dad’s too wing it.

Like me, they take their bundle of joys home and from the moment you are signed off by the midwife and the health visitor, then you are at a loss as to what to do. At least I was…Suddenly I was alone. I remember when Stew returned to work after Ethan was born. Two weeks old and he was left with me. My nerves were on edge, I worried about doing something wrong, I checked on him every few seconds; wanting him to sleep so I could catch a breath one minute and then staring over into his cot and willing him to wake up the next.

But I realised pretty early on that my feelings were born from my fear of not being good enough. I have always been the type of person who worries about what people think of me; my confidence has taken a beating over the years…whether it be from bullying at school, friendships that have been lost, family rifts or work stuff….I sometimes struggle to see myself of value. I know some of my friends may read this and say, ‘Don’t be soft.’ but its these feelings that I hide and bury deep. I choose to remain quiet rather than speak up if I don’t agree with something, I let people push me aside or use me rather than say something, I worry over every little conversation and every little thing…causing myself untold stress and anxiety…

And as a result, I don’t always see how people can like me very much. I know they do…this isn’t a cry for sympathy, but I fail to see why they do….I used to be so much more confident and I do wish I could speak more that is on my mind, rather than worrying about hurting peoples feelings…but my biggest fear is that one day my boys will see through my anxieties and they will dislike me too. I know it sounds silly, I know it does….as I write it I raise my eyebrows and tut but the fact remains I do worry that I wont be enough for them.

My boys are told relentlessly that I love them. I must tell them a few times a day at least; I am very tactile with them, stroking their hair and hugging them close, and I always listen and ask how their days are. As young people, they interest me. I love hearing how they see the world. I watch as they interact with one another, much like how I was with my brother. When we were younger, I fought with Adrian one minute and the next we would role play about robbers. My sons are the same, they fight like cat and dog at times, throwing insults and jabbing one another in the sides…and then the next minute they will be cuddled up together on the sofa, holding hands and watching tv.

Everyday is a learning curve with them, just as I feel like I am getting the hang of motherhood, then something else comes along that makes me feel like a fraudster. In a few years, Ethan will become a teenager and I will enter a new era, one which again I will be a stranger to. I remember how I was as a teenager and I know I was a gobby little cow, so I will step tentatively during those years, but I am going to be behind him and Oliver every step of the way. One day they may not want to hear me say I Love You. One day they will shrug off my hand as it goes round them for a hug, but I hope they always know that I will fight their corner. I hope they know how much I care for them. And I hope they will grow up thinking that their Mom is pretty ace.

Fear is still there, deep inside me, and I wonder everyday if I am doing a good job…but I reckon that the fear is good. It helps make me a better Mom, and I will continue to bumble along. I may not be the most organised Mom, I may not be great at remembering things….but I can promise them that I will be the very best that I can be and everything I do is for them.

Upwork rejection….no.2!

So I submitted an application to Upwork about 12 months ago, at a time when I rushed through my application and thought it would be given that I would be accepted.

Obviously I was wrong….

As I am wanting to make cash from my writing, I relooked at my application again. I updated it with my experiences, job history and qualifications. I put a ton of effort into the application and really thought I would be accepted this time….but again I got rejected.

Should I feel gutted about this decision?

How else do people break into writing work? Are there sites or forums I can connect with to look for work? Although I have been writing forever, I feel like I would be a beginner in terms of experience….

Does anybody have any advice for me? Are you a writer in the same boat? What did you do?

Fanfiction or Marmite…

So, I know that fanfiction is sometimes looked down upon, but I have found that it is helping to get me back into the right frame of mind with my writing.
Sure, its not to be taken seriously…

Sure, its lazy…

But I am enjoying letting my imagination run away with me, using some of my favourite characters and tv shows.
This is just one that I have been working on….for fans of Walking Dead…

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/13225842/1/Surviving-Hell

What to do…

So, I have my plan all set..

12 months of GCSE Biology…..followed by a 12 month access to healthcare professions course…and then onto University (hopefully) to train and qualify to become a midwife.

But having given up work so I could be at home more with my husband has its drawbacks…I am starting to feel like I might start twiddling my thumbs. I worked in my previous job for 15 years and I enjoyed the routine of getting up and going to work. It helped that I enjoyed the actual job that I was doing. Obviously money cannot last forever and I wonder at what may be available for me to make some extra cash until I start applying for university in 2 years time. I don’t really want to jump into any job, although if it came to it then I would….

But the question is what can I do?

I could re-open my photography services, take in more clients and make some extra cash there. I have spoken about converting our conservatory into a photography studio but it is going to take money out of what we have minimal of already, to do this.

I have toyed around online and have looked into writing jobs, but it is difficult to know which ones are genuine and which ones I should avoid. I know money can be made from blogging but I am unsure how to proceed with this.

I have looked at working from home jobs. The type of work that seems to require a LOT of commitment to sell items before you get any type of money back. I know some friends that it works well for….but I am unsure how this may work for me. I have taken myself out of an already stressful, full week by giving up my job, allowing more time to care for my spouse….and I am not keen on filling all my free time again….but I know that is what will happen when I start university.

All I know is that money cannot last forever and it can only be me that makes something of this situation. Stew would happily have me be at home with him every day, but I want to feel useful….

I need to get the brain working I think, and try to find something that I can do from home…something that gives me a little bit of purpose….and something that I am proud of.

 

Watch this space.

Diet Coke, Twisted Strawberry

I have always been a fan of Coca Cola shaking things up with their inventive, sugar free, fizzy drink, concoctions.

Diet Coke with Vanilla, Diet Coke with orange or Diet Coke Exotic Mango have all won me over, helping to make my favourite drink even more enjoyable.

But now those lovely generous people at The Coca Cola Company have brought us a flavour that has surpassed all of the above. A cheeky, sexy, tantalising Twisted Strawberry flavour.

This drink had all the usual fizz that can be found with the fizzy pop ‘underdogs’ plus a sweet strawberry kick. It is sweet but not too sweet; with the fruity flavour not being overpowering….my tastebuds were very happy with what I was offering them, let me tell you that! I was immediately pleasantly surprised, and I have added this to the list of drinks to buy.

Being a member of a ‘fat-club’ means that I am always on the look out for new sugar free alternatives to shake up my drinking experience! And this new tasty drink ticked all the boxes! It is delicious, fizzy and thirst-quenching! A drink that is always best enjoyed chilled, straight from the fridge!

Keep a look out for this drink in all stores, especially on those hot summer days (here’s hoping the sun comes back out to play) – but to be honest, this drink can be drunk anytime! And would be perfect added to a glass with a shot of gin and sliced strawberries!!! Oooooohhh!

Check the link below for nutritional information straight from the manufacturers!

https://www.coca-cola.co.uk/drinks/diet-coke/diet-coke-twisted-strawberry#ath

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