Being Watched – My Story Extract

It has been a while since I shared a snippet from one of my books. So today I thought I would share a small segment of my YA novel, which I didn’t really have chance to properly promote when it came out.

Check out this little extract and maybe you will be tempted to read the kindle version of my dramatic book about two teenagers who come across a weird and mysterious house. After coming across it by mistake, it feels to them as if they are constantly being watched.


“I just can’t get my head around this,” I murmured to her quietly.

“The dead bird, you mean?” she said, whilst sliding a screenshot beneath my nose of a lifeless black bird hanging out of the mouth of her cat, Scruffy. “Or you mean the house things?”

“Well yeah, all of that… but also him! And him!” I said nudging her eyes towards first the teacher and then the boy sat by Martha, subtly caressing her neck while Mr Long tried to read the difficult surnames of an unfamiliar group of teenagers.

“You have to excuse me if I mispronounce anyone’s name,” he said with genuine discomfort. “Miss Hind is off today due to personal reasons.”

That was weird because Miss Hind was never off work. She was always the picture of health, wide eyed and on top of her workload.

“Is that something to do with her boyfriend, the postman?” came a call from a clearly recovered Scott.

“That is none of your business. Wind your neck in,” said the slightly old fashioned yet highly respected history teacher. Well highly respected by everyone apart from us, mainly due to the fact that we knew his dirty little secret. He seemed to chew his pen in between calling names and as he jumped to defend Miss Hind’s dignity he bit a piece off the end of it with a loud snapping sound.

I wondered for a moment what had happened to the postman, but was going to be filled in later by my mum. For now, I just kept thinking about the house, the shady cleaner, the blackbird and of course, Martha. She was clearly besotted with this guy and he was cheating on her. Even though I wanted her to suffer a little, there was no rationale behind it and in truth she didn’t deserve it as she had done nothing wrong. All she had done was fail to find me attractive and ask me out. Let’s face it, there was no way on Earth that I would have ever asked her out first. I repented for my earlier harshness and decided that I should look into this a little more using my number one spy, Max. I would have to catch up with him in maths and see what he thought. Maybe he could have a chat with the guy and even let on that he knew about it all. Or was that a bit too risky? Another option was to suss him out a bit and work out what his intentions were.


Being Watched is available in Kindle at most book selling sites and in paperback.

Can Reading Be Passive?

Being an avid reader, I spend a lot of time thinking about books. Not only do I daydream about them but I also chat about them lots. Luckily many of my friends and colleagues are almost as obsessed with literature as I am.

My work mates are always recommending or slating books. Word of mouth is so valuable and I can see how authors benefit from people telling their friends about the novels that left a mark on them.

Whatever reading is, it definitely isn’t passive. Books are immersive experiences and it would be difficult to pick up a well written story without getting absorbed into the narrative.

Here are my three reasons why I believe that reading is an active sport.

1) Sucked In

When I read a good book, I soon become immersed in the pages. My mind wonders to the locations that are described and I lose touch with my surroundings. Not only that, but I usually lose track of time as well.

Getting sucked into the narrative is a complement to any writer. It shows that they are entertaining, intriguing and weaving a tale that distracts the reader from the monotony of their daily lives.

2) Talking Points

When people read novels and short stories that they like, they tend to want to talk about them. My friends often come in and excitedly proclaim how amazing their latest read is.

Enthusiasm is infectious. If I see someone being excited by a good book, I know that I have to read that book and fond out why it is so special.

3) Investments

If you were passively reading a book then you would not begin to empathise with the characters. This is hard to do. I certainly become invested in Joanne Harris and Liane Moriarty books and love when sequels come out.

When you are invested in storybook worlds, you cannot help but care about the main characters and want to discover what happened next in their fabricated lives.

Final Thoughts

If you love books as much as I do (and let’s face it – books are a multibillion dollar industry these days) then you will identify with the reasons I gave above.

It is impossible to passively read books because they are thought-provoking and, when written well, immerse you in their fictional landscapes, making you want to love or hate their characters.

Have you ever been sucked into a good book?

Has a character ever enraged you?

Do you think that reading can be passive?

Check out a recent review I wrote about Truly Madly Guilty by Liana Moriarty. Please also follow my blog for more book, TV and film reviews as well as climate change articles.

Why Heartstopper Is Groundbreaking TV.

When Alice Oseman started producing a webcomic about two teenage lads falling in love, she would have had no idea how important her work would be. Following her successful publication of ‘Solitaire’ – a book about an anxious Tori Spring – Alice decided to expand the focus onto her side characters. She gave Tori’s brother Charlie a storyline with his boyfriend Nick, which resulted in another novella and the Timblr ‘Heartstopper’ cartoons.

A Groundswell Of Love

Heartstopper was eventually rolled out as four books, initially, with two more editions to come. As a successful YA story about growing up and coming to terms with being gay and bi, it has been groundbreaking to witness its widespread success and acceptance.

In 2022 Hearstopper was made into an eight part TV show which was scripted by Alice and had 54 million views in its first month alone. For the LGBTQ+ community this has meant so much. When I was younger we had nothing like this on television. Now you can see two lads fall in love and witness other LGBTQ+ characters dealing with everyday dilemmas in a normal, comfortable way.

As the second season arrived on Netflix last night, I watched the first episode and could see that the high standard of production was continuing and meaningful stories were still being told.

Final Thoughts

This phenomenon is powerful because it sends out a clear message that you can live your life freely, as you choose. By showing such acceptance, dealing with the awkwardness of ‘coming out’ and other serious issues, such as mental health, Alice has worked wonders.

If you are looking for new authors to consider, have a look at 5 Amazing Authors. Please follow my blog for future book and TV reviews.