Short Dates – My Book Extract

Today I wanted to give some new life to my original short stories from 2018. My very first story was about a guy stuck in a snow drift who came across a potential romance. From there I went on to build a book of short stories of varying length. This is an extract from my shortest story, about parenting.


My head still ached from two nights ago but I was happy to get up and spend the day with her. Sizzling bacon greeted me when I got downstairs and mum seemed attentive as she poured me a coffee and suggested I take a few paracetamol.

‘How does it feel to be an adult?’ she asked.

‘Same really,’ I replied honestly.

‘Two day hangover, haha. Well today we can just relax and see some wild animals up close.’

‘Yeh, I haven’t been to the zoo since I was little.’

‘I remember taking you when you were six.’


On the road, mum played my favourite music and I was able to chill out and let the world pass me by. The sun was striking through the wispy clouds in shards and mum seemed happy driving but slightly quieter than usual. It took me back to all those occasions when, as a child, she had ferried me around to cubs, from football matches and between friends’ houses. She had always been there for me and never let me down. We always had a day close to my birthday when it was just me and her, mother and son time. She had kindly funded a private party for me and 30 friends on Thursday to celebrate my 18th and now was my turn to hang out with her. We had always been close and I knew that soon I would be off to uni and leaving her on her own. She would be alright but I reckoned it would be hard at first for both of us.


We queued for tickets and were soon inside, wondering past monkeys, watching a tiger stride around its glass framed grassland and trying to spot chameleons which were camouflaged magnificently in a tiny jungle. After a while mum wanted us to get our lunch and we opened our picnic not far from the giraffe compound. From where we sat, we could see a tall, majestic giraffe looming over the other animals, munching on leaves which it had grabbed from overhanging trees.


‘It is great being here again, mum.’

‘ I love this giraffe,’ she said.

‘Apparently he was an orphan when they got him,’ I told her.

‘Well he has been well looked after by the zoo.’

‘Yes, he has been here since I was born, according to the sign.’

‘Hehe, that is why I chose here. He is as old as you…well…maybe just a little older,’ she said.


A group of tourists filtered past and we fell silent for a moment or two, munching on egg sandwiches and sipping Ribena. The whole thing was beginning to feel like a school trip now.


Suddenly the bench seemed remote. A drop in the crowd led to a more stilted conversation. Mum got a sudden burst of confidence. She lifted her head and looked into my eyes. I had never seen this side of mum since grandad died. Her hand seemed shaky as it lay on her lunch box. She gathered her words into some very composed sentences which would eventually change my entire outlook on life.


I gulped as she began slowly.

‘You know you mean the world to me, Matthew.’

Her using my full name indicated the level of importance that this conversation must bring.

‘Of course, mum. What has happened. Is it Nan?’ I felt like I knew that it wasn’t but needed to at least check.

‘Nan is fine. It is about me… and you’ her words lingered and her face flushed.

‘What is it? Are you unwell?’

‘That giraffe was brought here because it had no family. It has grown up into a formidable beast. Everyone comes to see it. It is incredibly popular.’

At this point, my mind still did not join the dots.

‘Eighteen years ago you came to me. The best thing that had ever happened to me. A single woman wanting desperately to bring a child into the world. Then there came you.’

She was being all dramatic now.

‘But I could never have children of my own. My uterus didn’t grow properly. You came to me as a gift.’

My head was whirling round. Had I been a miracle?

‘I love you very much indeed. Your real mother was dying when she gave birth to you. I had the honour of bringing you up for her.’

My heart stopped.

I was adopted.

AD – Thank you for reading my extract and please check out my book on Amazon. It is available at no extra cost using Kindle Unlimited or for 77p.





Valentine’s Day Reads

Hardcore, Heart-Punching Romance The Aviator Series – The Aviator + The Warfighter – by Craig DiLouie has the most romantic couple EVER!! Yes, the …

Valentine’s Day Reads

It is always good to see some Valentine’s Day book suggestions. This blog always has a good bunch of reviews. This may put you in the mood for some romantic February reads.

5 Ways to Get Back Into Reading

Guest Post: By NotSoModernGirl

I am so excited to feature my very first guest post on the blog today. Eleanor (NotSoModernGirl) has kindly agreed to share her thoughts about returning to reading after some time away from books. As usual, her ideas are relevant and useful. I’d like to thank Eleanor for putting together such a wonderful post. Here it is:


I’ve always read books ever since I was little, but after going to University- and having to read so much for my degree- I fell out of love with reading for pleasure. I would always have a book on the go, but I rarely finished it- and if I did it would take me months.


Ever since finishing University, I’ve tried to get back into reading. However, with lockdown and the uncertain world situation, I turned to Netflix to distract me- and it’s only since things started to get less intense in the world that I’ve started to pick up books again as a welcome hobby.


Now I love reading almost as much as I did before. Yes, my attention span isn’t what it used to be, and I still take a while to finish a book, but I’m so happy I managed to get back into reading, and I’m finally finishing all the books I start- and enjoying them!


In this post, I’m discussing 5 ways to get back into reading for pleasure. It might take a couple of weeks or a couple of months, but there are definitely a few ways to improve your reading habits and get back into a hobby you once used to love.

1.   Read a bit at a time


You shouldn’t force yourself to read a lot in one sitting, because it’s not going to happen and you’ll feel disappointed in yourself.


Push yourself to read a little bit at a time, such as before bed or in the mornings. You might only read 5 pages, but that’s the best way to stay consistent, and actually enjoy reading as a hobby rather than as a chore or something you do for your degree.

2.   Choose a book- not your phone


It’s so easy to pick up your phone when you have 5 minutes of downtime, but try to choose a book instead. Make sure to have your book close to hand, and any time you would be mindlessly scrolling on your phone- read instead.


It’s a hard habit to get into- and I’m still working on it- but it’s a great way to give your mind a rest from bright screens, and get some valuable reading time.

3.   Mix it up

If you can’t decide what to read, try something a bit different. You don’t need to read the same genre as you always used to, and there are so many book blogs and recommendations out there to find the perfect read for you.


Choose books that are different from each other to keep yourself interested, and try out different types of books, such as non-fiction reads.


I loved reading ‘Circe’ by Madeline Miller during lockdown, as it was unlike anything I’d read before. I also found that choosing non-fiction reads got me interested in reading again, and this is a great way to try out different books and find out what you like now, after a brief period without reading.

4.   Take your book everywhere


This is an idea I’ve started recently, and it’s really paid off!


If you take your book with you in your bag, you always have it whenever you have some down time. If you have a break at work or you’re waiting for the bus, pull out your book and read for 20 minutes.


This is a great way to pass the time, and when you have your book on you then you have no excuse not to read!

5.   Choose books that interest you


There’s no point reading books that don’t interest you. Don’t read an old classic if it’s not something that makes you excited to get back to reading, and don’t read a popular book because you feel like you should. If you want to read a Romance novel, go for it. Or if you want to give Sci-Fi a go, then do that.


You should be reading whatever gets you interested, and you’re not going to get back into reading by choosing books that don’t inspire or interest you. You need a book that pulls you back to it, and finding that perfect, fast-paced book is the most important part of getting back into reading as a fun activity.




Thank you so much to Jamie for letting me post on his blog today!


I really hope my tips help you fall back in love with reading, or encourage you to pick up a book instead of your phone next time you’re taking a break from work.


It can be hard to get back into reading for pleasure after a short or long break, but it is such a rewarding and fun hobby- so it’s definitely worth pushing yourself.





This guest post was written by Eleanor. She is a freelance content writer from the UK, and she loves writing lifestyle posts for her blog and other websites.


Check out her blog, or connect with her on Twitter to find out more.