Love Winter – An Extract

This is a snippet of an ongoing story that I began on Wattpad. It is a Christmas YA story that I hope to expand.

It was reassuring to see the first snowflakes fall onto the roof of the school hall as Jake sat munching his way through a Cornish Pasty, trying to avoid eye contact with the rugby lads. His thoughts drifted to Christmas movies and snowmen and festive music. Overcome by a combination of Mariah’s famous anthem and Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’, Jake’s eyes glazed over. Just as he was getting immersed in the Christmas spirit, Dan snapped him out of it.

“You coming to the Common Room to play cards?”

“Oh. (Rubbing his eyes) Is it a high stakes game?’

“Sure. Same as always. Roxy is being croupier. She is pretty fair.”

Jake’s eyes widened and his back straightened. He loved it when Roxy was in charge.

“OK. Just give me five mins to finish this and I’ll be there in a bit.”

Dan stole a chip from Jake’s plate and changed the subject.

“You know Roxy isn’t just clever, she’s pretty hot too!”

“I’ve never looked at her that way,” replied Jake, with his mouth still churning pastry.

“I was thinking last night, we need to start growing some balls and asking people out. Girls aren’t only interested in muscly rugby guys.” Dan looked at them, unimpressed.

Jake didn’t say anything else on the matter but couldn’t help but notice the way that Dan studied the lads with envy. They were currently throwing peanuts in the air and catching them in their mouths. Their loyal fans were cheering them on, including a table of swooning girls across the canteen. Jake couldn’t help wonder what was so captivating.

Jake suddenly stood up with confidence.

“Right. Let’s go for it. I have a tenner on me. What about you?”

“Same here,” sad Dan as he picked up Jake’s drink and recycled it for him. Jake emptied his tray and didn’t look back. He was in the mood for a gamble and now that Dan had made him think more about it, it wouldn’t hurt to take the chance to impress Roxy. Because yes… she was pretty special. Out of his league maybe, but definitely unique. Far better than the rugby swooners.

Thank you for taking the time to read my developing narrative. You can check out my Wattpad for other stories. Love Winter – Wattpad

Being Watched – My Little Book (Snippet)

Today I wanted to share another extract from my new YA mystery book – ‘Being Watched’ which is available in Kindle and Paperback at all the usual places. I hope that it grabs your interest.

Here goes…

It was getting close to twilight when I called out to mum.

“I’m off to hang out with Max.”

“Alright, remember your key,” she yelled back as I undid the door that linked the garage to the kitchen.

 

I had picked up some crisps and other vital supplies on my way down and squeezed a bottle of lemonade into my rucksack before picking up my bike. I took a deep breath and was just about to leave when my phone started ringing. It was Max.

“Sorry man, I can’t make it,” he said with a frog in his throat. “You know how much I wanna be there. My throat has flared up and I have just been sick.”

“Oh man. That sucks,” I said shrugging my shoulders.

“Can we do it tomorrow instead?” he said with a genuine sound of someone who was not well.

“Don’t worry. We got this,” I said, putting the phone down and opening the garage up. I wheeled my bike out, clicked off the light and pulled the door down behind me. Taking a deep breath, I switched on my lights and took off.

 

My first stop would be the local shop. I needed to see if they had any garlic, just in case it was a vampire. Ok this was a long shot, but you have to be prepared for everything right? As I zoomed through the aisles, I soon set eyes on a clove of garlic and chucked it into my basket. Nearby they sold kitchen knives so I thought I may as well get one of those too. It would take the place of a stake just in case I needed to stick whatever was in there in its chest.

 

Maybe I was getting too carried away and this was starting to be me acting out my favourite movies a little, but I knew Siobhan would be pleased that I had taken precautions. To my surprise, when I got to the checkout, the cashier asked me for ID as she said I could only buy a knife if I had proof of age. Of course, that was one thing I had forgot to bring with me so I gave her the knife back and paid for the garlic. I also grabbed some cheap chocolate buttons to add to my supplies. I knew Siobhan had a soft spot for them and we might both need some instant energy during our mission. Especially if things got really scary.

 

I threw that idea to the back of my thoughts and got back on my bike. I didn’t want to be late and leaver her waiting for me at the top of that hill. My feet ached a little as I had done some cricket practise earlier. Every time I turned the pedals they reminded me that I had fallen over trying to catch a long ball. Eventually I neared the top of the road and could see her stood next to her bike, earphones on, staring at her phone. She waved when she caught a glimpse of me.

“Hey, what took you so long?” she jested, knowing full well that we were both early.

“What you listening to?” I asked as I got off my bike and sidled up with her.

“Shawn Mendes. What else?” she replied, as if to say it was obvious.

“You know Max can’t make it? He came over sick.”

“That guy is sick. For sure,” she laughed, not really meaning it in a bad way, but equally not referring to him being cool either.

“Are you ready for this?” I asked, nervously.

Reading Fantasy and Science Fiction – Guest Post

I am pleased to have a fascinating guest post this week, written by a very supportive member of the writing community. Andrew McDowell writes fantasy fiction and contributes to short story collections. I loved his first novel, ‘Mystical Greenwood’ and enjoy his blog about writing.

Guest Post

Fantasy and science fiction take readers into worlds different from their own, offering supernatural and paranormal elements that are not found in everyday life. In fantasy, these elements often include magic and mythical creatures, whereas in science fiction there’s technology advanced to a new level (or taken/fallen to a terrible extreme, as in the case of dystopia).What is it about these fictional worlds that readers find so appealing?

Perhaps it is because they are so different that people are drawn to them. It is escapism. Reading, when done with pleasure, allows readers to be momentarily taken away from their own worlds. It makes sense, then, when life can sometimes feel too mundane. Having the possibility of magic or scientific advancement gives life flavor. Would people be inspired to learn more or imagine if all of life’s mysteries were solved? It was the need for such answers, to explain what could not be explained, from which sprouted mythologies and fairy tales all over the world.

But then again, we cannot totally escape from our own worlds. Perhaps, then, fantasy and science fiction, in offering us a form of escape, can be used to allow us to look at our reality and our life differently. Dystopian fiction is a fitting example—what would happen to humanity if science or the world itself went horribly wrong? One reviewer of my epic fantasy novel Mystical Greenwood described it not only as sword and sorcery, but also as an allegory of humans’ relationship with the natural world.

In conclusion, it is about seeking meaning. Mythology and modern religion have helped us find meaning in everyday life, and fantasy and science fiction take us a step further in finding meaning, and the best of these can not only do that, but also help us discover that meaning by shedding light on the present. Even to this day, there are unsolved mysteries and unexplained questions, and we’re still escaping into fantastical worlds. If we continue to have that, and if we desire something more, there will always be a need for fantasy.

Author Bio:

Andrew McDowell became interested in writing at age 11, inspired by childhood passions for stories and make-believe. By the time he was 13, he knew he wanted to be a writer. He studied at St. Mary’s College and the University of Maryland, College Park. He is a member of the Maryland Writers’ Association.


In addition to his fantasy novel Mystical Greenwood, Andrew has also written poetry, short stories, and creative nonfiction, and he is interested in writing drama and lyrics. He was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder, when he was 14.

 

Links:

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Further Reading

1. Cowan, Cameron. Why Fantasy is a Necessary Ingredient for Living | Everyday Power.

2. Dewar, Gwen. The benefits of fantasy fiction and imaginative play (parentingscience.com).

3. Flanagan, Victoria. Children’s fantasy literature: why escaping reality is good for kids (theconversation.com).

4. Lafevers, R. L. Why Fantasy Matters | WIRED.

5. Webb, Beth. The real purpose of fantasy | Books | The Guardian.

Thank you so much for reading Andrew’s guest post. If you are a writer or blogger and would like to write a guest article I would love to include it, so long as it is mainstream.