My Novella Is Four – Still Proud!

I know I am not a famous writer or anything like that but I was over the moon to see people write reviews of my first novella when it came out in 2019. Now that novella is turning four years old and I still cherish it.

Just because I can – I decided to share another short extract from, ‘The Fathers, the Sons and the Anxious Ghost.’ Hopefully it will intrigue you.


From ‘The Fathers, the Sons and the Anxious Ghost.’


I wished he would give it a rest.

‘Dadddd!’ he went on.

It made me wonder why his mum never answered. I was too busy trying to get knots out of Tess’ hair.

‘What’s wrong now?’ I replied anxiously.

Alfie stormed in with a red face and swollen, angry cheeks.

‘I can’t find my football socks anywhere!’ he announced.

‘Try under the bed,’ I said, trying to remain calm and de-escalate his crossness.

‘Ouch,’ squirmed Tess softly, as I caught yet another knot.

She was always so relaxed. She never let anything get to her. She was ten times cooler than Alfie, whose hot-headedness got him into scrapes left, right and centre.

He stormed out again and slammed the door to his room. I winced and hoped that he could find those damn socks, or we would never hear the end of it. The clock was staring at me and reminding me that we hadn’t got much time left. I went to find Michelle.

The distant noise of a bath filling, coupled with an aroma of scented steam made it obvious that she would not be coming this morning. When we woke up this morning she told me that she had had a bad night’s sleep and her headache was back. Women use headaches as excuses to get out of things, but this was not like her! She always liked to be involved in school-related stuff. She loved the banter between mums. Her favourite thing was pricking her ears up and listening intently for any titbits of gossip that she could soak up from the gaggle of parents who would usually surround her on that packed and bustling playground. Maybe this time she was actually feeling a bit sick. Quickly I realised I should attend to this in a sympathetic, understanding way. After all she had cared for me like a private nurse when I had man flu last Christmas.

‘Are you alright?’ I tried, gently.

She turned off the tap to the bath and opened the window slightly to let out some steam.

‘Have fun today. I bet the assembly goes well.’

I could tell she was not feeling very well. She kept holding her head; sort of wiping her brow as she spoke. I had not seen her look like this for a long, long while. Thinking back, I should have realised this was out of the ordinary for her. Instead of prying further, I left her to it, planting a quick kiss on her forehead and then rushing down the stairs.

Alfie and Tess soon followed and we collected our things and burst out into the driveway, where they ran to the car, Alfie calling shotgun as usual to make sure he got to sit in the front passenger seat. I asked if he had kissed his mum and he simply said the bathroom door was shut. Tess went on to say, ‘I hope mummy gets better soon because I want to go swimming later.’

When we got Tess off to class and I had signed Alfie in, I went to find a seat next to someone I barely knew and sent Michelle a text. Quickly I switched off the phone and tucked my coat under my chair. I gave a slight nod to Matt as he rolled in, just in time. The lights came on and that teacher did the introduction. It did not cross my mind that today was going to turn out so black and dismal and full of anger.


Thank you so much for reading this extract from my book. As my novella is now four, I will be finding ways to celebrate with articles and extracts over the summer.

For another book review of mine, have a look at my write up of The Lost Daughter which was a very well written and satisfying novella. Please consider following my blog for more book, film and TV reviews alongside articles about climate change.


Yellowjackets Review

Today I wanted to share my thoughts on a massive Paramount TV production. This TV series has just concluded its second season on Paramount Plus and is due a third season. If you are looking for something exciting and quirky to watch, read ahead for my ‘Yellowjackets’ review.

What’s it all about?

When a group of girl soccer players were involved in a 1990s plane crash, they made their home in an abandoned hut in the forest. Yellowjackets follows their story as they tried to survive, while also showing them as grown ups in the present day.

To begin with, the flashbacks are quite short but as the seasons go on, we see more and more. The characters include a quirky carer, a politician, a cult leader and a troubled mum of a teenage girl. As we track each personality we explore how messed up their lives are. The time spent in the wilderness certainly had a lot to do with that.

Strong Characters

Melanie Lynskey (Heavenly Creatures) plays the mum and wife at the centre of this story. Her husband was dating her friend when they first got together and they have a difficult history. She is distracted by an artist who tempts her to have an affair. At the same time she will do anything to stop people find out the tragic things that her friends got up to whilst stranded in the forest.

Misty is a carer who is less than conventional, played by Christina Ricci, who is known for her role as Wednesday Addams in the 1990s films. She is hilarious in this role, with her quirkiness and good intentions. The young version of her is very believable as are the other teenage actors.

Juliet Lewis plays Natalie who is a hardened drinker that stirs things up. She went through a lot in the wilderness and discovers a suicide of a guy she was close to as a teenager. Getting back together with the Yellowjackets, her character is edgy and willing to do what it takes to protect her friends.

In A Nutshell

This is an exciting TV show that is filled with adventure and emotions. I love the combination of danger and humour. One minute I am belly laughing and the next I am freaked out. Yellowjackets is not for the feint hearted as there are some fairly gruesome scenes. Nonetheless it is probably my number one TV programme at the moment and I cannot wait for its return.

Final Thoughts

I can totally recommend this show to you. It is full of intrigue, drama and laugh-out-loud moments. The acting is great and the narrative is very twisted, with lots of unpredictable events. You will find the first two series on Paramount Plus, which is accessible through Amazon Prime with an additional payment.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my Yellowjackets review. If you are looking for another TV show to watch, check my review of The Last Of Us. Please consider following my blog for more book, TV and film reviews.

TV Shows I Am Watching And Loving

This was originally posted to my Medium Blog. It covers a couple of exciting TV shows.

As you know, I love nothing more than to sit back on the sofa and absorb a great TV series. Right now I am really enjoying three TV shows and wanted to share them with you. Please comment if you have heard of them or want to check them out.

Zac comes across some cute Koalas who are sadly vulnerable.

I guess you wouldn’t think of most Hollywood stars as climate change enthusiasts. Often they are known for lifestyles which celebrate excess and encourage travelling around pointlessly. However, I always knew that Zac Efron was educated and tuned in and now he has proven he has a consciousness when it comes to the planet.

Down To Earth – With Zac Efron (Netflix)

The first series was filmed before Covid lockdowns and explores different ecosystems around the world and their vulnerabilities. With his environmentally minded mate, Darin Olien, Zac has explored issues such as conservation, food and pollution.

In the new series, Zac had been stuck in Australia due to Covid restrictions and so made the most of it by investigating various ecological developments there. For example, he discussed the Aboriginal way of maintaining and respecting the wildlife and landscapes. They also saw how Tasmanian Devils are being looked after and bred successfully in a large nature reserve.

Fascinating Findings

The main reason I like this, as an environmental blogger, is that he is very honest about what he sees and his colleague, who is a Vegan and eco-expert, keeps the reporting realistic with shortcomings and all. They try to use less carbon with a hybrid vehicle this time and weigh up each relevant environmental issue carefully, in a fun and friendly way.

I have learned lots about better ways to make clean water, as exemplified in Paris, why food miles are a massive problem and how important rotational crop and livestock can be for the maintaining of soil, which locks in carbon and underpins food chains.

The White Lotus (Now TV/ Sky)

When I first watched this programme in 2021, it was all about an expensive hotel in Hawaii. A bunch of quirky guests lived out their awkward holidays totether, with dramatic and hilarious scenarios. One of the highlights was the appearance of Jennifer Coolidge who is renowned for playing Stifler’s mum in American Pie.

Well, season two sees a whole new cast arrive at a swish hotel in Sicily. Funnily, the only returning characters are Jennifer’s ‘Tanya’ and John Gries’ ‘Greg’. Their continuation in the show is the icing on the cake of what continues to be an exceptionally good drama-comedy.

Two couples are on holiday together but with some antagonism; one girlfriend seemingly jealous of the other couple’s closeness. An elderly man, his TV producer son and grandson are there together with a series of issues that are challenging and funny in equal measures.

I totally recommend watching the premier season but feel that the second one is even better.

Wednesday (Netflix)

Noticing that an Addams Family spin-off had popped up on Netflix as the number one show, I was initially worried that it may be a let down. Soon it was a no brainer that I would have to check it out and find out for myself.

I am glad that I did!

First of all, it stars Jenna Ortega who was impressive as a younger sister in YOU and appeared in the recently brilliant ‘Scream’ movie. Secondly, Christina Ricci was listed as a character (bringing that vital link to the original films in which she acted as Wednesday Addams) and Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones) plays the smiley yet stern school headmistress. The final thing that drew me in was the fact that Tim Burton had taken on the directing role.

Anyway, after some misdemeanours at her previous schools, Wednesday has been placed by her mum (Catherine Zeta-Jones) into the renowned ‘Nevermore Academy’ for outcasts, much to her disapproval. It does seem that finally Wednesday may have met her match at this college and the series watched her push her own boundaries as she tried her hardest not to become her own mother, who was a legendary Nevermore graduate.

I am well into this series but have not yet got to the end. It is amusing, freaky and very entertaining. Tim Burton has found his feet again with this popular series.

Final Thoughts

Thank you so much for reading my review of two fantastic TV shows. Please drop a comment below and let me know what you think about these or any similar series. Here are some more recommendations – Read, Watch, Listen Again.