This is the blog of Samie Sands, author of Lockdown. There will be many great books and projects reviewed here. For more, check out thelockdown.co.uk.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan

A sweeping historical saga that traces five generations of fiercely powerful mothers and daughters - witches whose magical inheritance is both a dangerous threat and an extraordinary gift.
 
 
Brittany, 1821. After Grand-mere Ursule gives her life to save her family, their magic seems to die with her.
 
Even so, the Orchires fight to keep the old ways alive, practicing half-remembered spells and arcane rites in hopes of a revival. And when their youngest daughter comes of age, magic flows anew. The lineage continues, though new generations struggle not only to master their power, but also to keep it hidden.
 
 
But when World War II looms on the horizon, magic is needed more urgently than ever - not for simple potions or visions, but to change the entire course of history.
 
"At once sprawling and intimate, A Secret History of Witches deftly captures the greatest magic of all: the love between mothers and daughters."
--Jordanna Max Brodsky, author of The Immortals
 
 

Review: As soon as I started reading this book, I was hooked. I loved the way the history was  presented through different characters and generations in 5 stories. They were separate but intertwining as well, which I particularly enjoyed. My personal favourite was The Book of Morwen :)

Saturday, 21 April 2018

AM13 Outbreak Series

AM13 Outbreak Series: Books 1-3 by [Sands, Samie]

The deadly AM13 virus is taking over the world, creating hordes of zombies and turning the few survivors into the hunted…

Survivors can only watch humankind dwindle to extinction.

They fight to protect their loved ones, to reach sanctuary, to keep their sanity as civilization is destroyed around them, never knowing if their next breath will be their last.

Will the person they fought beside soon be a flesh-hungry corpse, or even worse, their own prey?

Read the bestselling series by author Samie Sands, now available in a complete box set!



Not Dead Yet (AM13 Outbreak Series Book 4) by [Sands, Samie]

The AM13 Outbreak has affected everywhere, the entire world has experienced infection.

Victims of the virus are no longer human, they've changed, become something scientifically impossible. With their loss of human function and their new lust for flesh, there’s only one word to describe them...

Zombies.

The world is divided as everyone tries to work out how to survive. Many have already lost their lives
in the fight, but there are still a few who are not dead...

Yet!




Calling all writers!

New anthology details:


Theme: Post Apocalyptic/ End of the world
Word count: Anything up to 12,000
Deadline: 1st June 2018
Submissions/any questions: lockdown@writeme.com


(Previous anthologies can be seen at http://samiesands.com/books)












Thursday, 19 April 2018

C.O.D.E: Living Happy, Healthy, and Whole Submerged in Tragedy, Trauma, and Death by Anita Agers-Brooks and Darren Dake

Horrific accidents, savage beatings, murder, suicide, autoerotic deaths, overdoses, burned and mutilated bodies: these are nearly every day occurrences for the extraordinary women and men who work in emergency services fields. These selfless individuals are exposed to things the everyday person rarely, if ever, sees. Yet, the men and women who sacrifice family and self-are often taken for granted — or treated as if their work doesn’t matter. In worst cases, they are treated like the bad guys. Over time, an accumulation of these experiences allows the slippery tentacles of depression, anxiety, PTSD, and Secondary Traumatic Stress Disorder, a/k/a Compassion Fatigue, to grip the minds, bodies, and souls of those who serve. 911 Operators, police, fire, EMS, death investigators, coroners, and others need to know they are not alone. C.O.D.E. addresses this reality in a real, raw, and relevant way, telling stories inspired by true events and authentic cases. Powerful tips at the end of each chapter offer hope, encouragement, and healing methods — real help for the hurting people who give their all. Foreword Domestic violence, car accidents, suicide, murder. . . . You read about them in your local newspaper, online and through social media. For a time after you read the article or headline, you show emotion for those who have been hurt, but you soon move on. For you, it’s over. But what about those working in public safety? Those news stories begin with, “9-1-1, what is your emergency?” From dispatch to those on the road, and to the medical examiner, a call for help can come in different forms, but the result is the same for those who respond. Eventually, it takes a toll on the soul. In reading C.O.D.E., written by Anita Agers-Brooks and Darren Dake, I revisited my thirteen years in 9-1-1 as an on the line dispatcher and supervisor. This is a must-read for those in public safety who have experienced the worst the industry has to offer and who are looking to rise above the pitfalls such as depression, PTSD, Compassion Fatigue and more. The stories of Caleb and Josie were all too real. Like Josie, I took a few calls when I stopped to think, Is this someone I know? Working in the county I grew up in, the odds were high that it was a friend or relative. In 2007, I took a call from my cousin telling me our grandmother had just passed away. My job was tough, but I loved what I did. Like Caleb and Josie, I didn’t talk to anyone, and I buried my emotions. In C.O.D.E., Brooks and Dake walk you through cases based on true events. At the end of each story, they offer tips of hope, ways to stop and analyze your situation and better communicate your feelings with loved ones, so you can heal from the trauma. I found closure and healing through writing my 9-1-1 stories out on my blog, The Jabber Log, and creating, Within the Trenches, a podcast based on the experience of being a 9-1-1 dispatcher. Through this, I created #IAM911. A movement that gives a raw glimpse into the emotional stress that comes with each 9-1-1 call through the words of each dispatcher. C.O.D.E. is another crucial healing resource. Those who work in emergency services, care about someone who does or are curious about what those on the front line deal with, should read this book. —Ricardo Martinez II, host and creator of the Within the Trenches podcast. He is currently the Director of Communications at INdigital, a 9-1-1 solutions company in Indiana. In August 2016, Ricardo started the #IAM911, a movement that spread from the United States to Canada, the U.K., New Zealand and Australia. It’s popularity and success has brought the Thin Gold Line into the spotlight, and has opened the eyes of millions to what 9-1-1 dispatchers deal with daily.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

The Sheriff’s Catch by James Vella-Bardon

The Sheriff's Catch (The Sassana Stone Pentalogy Book 1) by [Vella-Bardon, James]
1588. Abel de Santiago has deserted the army and all but avenged his murdered wife, when he is captured and sold as a galley slave. As the Spanish Armada sails for England, there can be few souls on board more reluctant than him.

After a crushing defeat to the enemy fleet, the Spanish ships are battered by extraordinary storms and Santiago finds himself washed ashore in Ireland, a country terrorised by English troops that the natives call Sassenachs.

But Santiago’s faint hopes of survival appear dashed when he is captured by a brutal Sheriff, who has orders from Dublin to torture and kill all Spanish castaways.

An unlikely escape has Santiago flee with a jewelled ring worth a king’s ransom. His flight leads to a desperate chase across a strange and stunning land, where danger lurks at every turn.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Lottie Loves by Samie Sands

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000447_00006]
“Will you marry me?”

Four words I’ve waited my whole life to hear. Four words I was sure would change my life forever…and they did. Just not in the way I expected.

Finding out my extremely gorgeous rock star boyfriend was about to propose had the complete opposite effect I thought it would. Rather than catapult me into a future I’ve always wanted, it plunged me back to a past I tried to forget.

Now I can’t get him out of my head. I can’t help but wonder what could have been, how our lives would have ended up if he didn’t leave me behind, a shattered mess.

All these memories are dangerous. They’re bringing my past back to ruin my future. And worst of all, they’re taking me right back to him, my childhood sweetheart, my first love…my biggest regret.

Sample...


I tried to pretend to myself that I had some innocent reason for logging onto my social media accounts, even though I was acutely aware that wasn’t the case. I didn’t know why I was acting cool for no one to see, but I couldn’t seem to stop myself. I kept my expression smooth as my heart pounded furiously in my chest, my lips remained firmly clamped together, despite the fact that I was desperate to scream, I guess I just wasn’t ready to admit to myself how freaked out I was at the possibility that I might have had a response.
I mean, it had been twenty four hours...everyone checked their Facebook accounts on a daily basis, didn’t they? I felt like I needed to accept that if I didn’t get a reply now, then I never would. If I didn’t think like that, then this fierce dragon within me might never calm itself down.
Breathe...I had to remind myself as the page loaded agonisingly slowly. Breathe, no matter what happens I will be okay. I hoped I would anyway. With everything else that was going on, it was hard to feel like I would ever be alright again, but I had to try. I couldn’t crumble, not totally. Once that happened, I wasn’t sure if there would be any going back.
My heart flipped in my chest as I spotted the amount of communications that I’d had during the few hours that I was working—thirty six new posts on my public wall, and fifteen unread messages. My mind raced, trying to figure out what dramatic event had occurred to cause such a flurry of activity, before it became clear that it was all the do with Danny, and the story about him cheating.
‘Sending thoughts your way xxx’
‘Sorry to hear that happened to you...you’re too good for him anyway.’
‘What a dick!’
The words swam in front of my face, leaving me feeling sick to my stomach. These were all acquaintances, not people that I knew well, who the hell did they think they were, getting involved in my personal business? I would never do that to anyone else, whether their partner was in the public eye or not. It left me dizzy and shocked to even consider the audacity of some people.
I was so shocked and disgusted that I almost clicked off the page entirely, wanting to ignore it all until I felt ready. That was until I spotted a face in my inbox, a name that I’d been desperate to see. He still managed to shine through and crack my shock barrier, no matter what was going on. He was like a shining beacon of joy, a calming sensation when everything else was shit.
Just like that, everything else dulled. I became calmer, my head sorted itself out and I remembered my sole purpose for doing this. I wanted to see if he had messaged me back, and he had, so I clicked on it to read what he has to say.
Hi Lotts, It’s so good to hear from you! I’ve searched for you online before, but I wasn’t sure if you’d want to hear from me. What are you up to these days? Coincidently I’m back at mums this weekend for a couple of days. Would you like to meet up? Joe xx’
And there it was, the innocent questions, the possibility to pick things off where they left off before things went to shit. This was what I’d been wanting for many years, but now that it was here, it felt really strange. It didn’t feel quite as good as I expected it to. I felt like it was going to be a risk, that if I did chose to accept his offer, I would end up with my heart shattered into a million pieces once more.
Then again, why shouldn’t I? After all, Joe was an old friend, and Danny was off doing God knows what, with anyone and everyone. Why should I sit around and wait for him to not come home, when I could go and hang out with someone that I used to know. It would just be a chance to catch up, to go over old times...
The thought of seeing him once more, back in our home town, was too tempting for words. Of course things couldn’t be exactly as they once were because our parent’s were no longer next door neighbours, but it would be the closest that I could get. Maybe going back there, and feeling more like the old me, I could put things to rest much quicker.
With my heart thundering in my ears, blocking out any possibility for rational thought, I typed an agreeable reply, before I could talk myself out of it once more. I knew what my heart wanted me to do, but I was also acutely aware of what my head thought I should do, and I desperately wanted to listen to one of them over the other.
‘That sounds good, I need to pick up some bits from mum’s anyway, so I can combine them both! Here is my number, give me a text x’
I felt like sounding breezy and calm was the best way to tackle this. Joe certainly hadn’t mentioned anything from the past—or his present either for that matter—so I had no idea how we were going to tackle that. It seemed much easier to simply wait and find out than to just push it. A lot of time had passed now, maybe we would simply blow past it as if it was nothing...
Whatever we did, it had to help me. I didn’t feel like it could make me feel any worse at any rate.
While the thought that this was a good idea span through my mind, I picked up the phone to call my mum. If I was going to go back there, I would need to stay at hers. She didn’t live too far away from me, I hadn’t managed to move as far as I would have liked, but it’s too far to travel back to if I’ve had a couple of drinks.
Plus, I didn’t think that I would be able to come back to the home I shared with Danny after spending time with Joe. It would just feel like the ultimate betrayal. It really was the only solution, but that didn’t stop the tight knot of fear from coiling around in my stomach as I waited for mum to pick up.
“Hello?” she answered, in the too-serious voice that she’d adopted these days. “Lottie? Are you okay?”
“Erm...” I stammered, suddenly realising that I should have planned this conversation before I started it. Now I wasn’t really sure what to say. “Do you think it might be okay if I come and stay this weekend?” As those words left my mouth, I thought about my old home, and my old life, and a weird buzz of excitement grew in my stomach.
“Sure...” she drawled out, slowly and cautiously. She was clearly shocked, and I could understand why. I hadn’t been back there to stay since I ran away to university, I’d not intended to ever go back, yet here I was, desperate to do so. “I just... with everything that’s happening at the moment, I need a time out.”
“I did hear something about that.” Her lips were pursed, I could hear it in her voice. I got the impression that she was keeping a million opinions inside, which was where I needed them to stay. She’d never been bothered to tell me about what she thought of Danny before, so I didn’t feel like she had the right now. Not when things were so bad, and not when I was effectively lying, using my situation as an excuse to get what I wanted. Luckily for me, she seemed to get the hint. “You can come and stay, when will you be arriving?”
There was a warmth to her tone, one that made my chest swell with love. For a split second, it was almost had me opening up and telling her everything, but then the picture of how she might react if I told her that I was in touch with Joe again filled my mind, and it shot that idea down too quickly.
Either she would freak out, and tell me what I didn’t want to hear, or she would be far too excited for me, constantly reminding me of what a good idea it was. I didn’t want either of those things, I preferred to operate in secrecy where I could deal with this all by myself.
“I’m teaching tomorrow evening, but I’ll be down Saturday morning if that’s okay?”
“Sure, we’ll see you then.” Just before my mum said the word ‘goodbye’, I got the sense that there was something on the tip of her tongue, something that she wanted to say, but that she didn’t quite feel ready for. I wanted to push her, to ask her what it was, but I knew from past experience that would only cause her to shut down even more.
By the time I hung up the phone, all of my negative emotions surrounding what Danny had done were simply gone from my mind. All of a sudden, I didn’t care about that anymore, I had more important things to worry about. I had to decide what I was going to wear when I saw Joe again, how I was going to act. What questions should I ask him, and what subjects should I definitely avoid? This was going to be a minefield to navigate, and as much as that terrified me, it excited the hell out of me too.
Joe Davies, back in my life. Who would have thought it? 

Friday, 13 April 2018

Lottie Loves by Samie Sands

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000447_00006]
“Will you marry me?”

Four words I’ve waited my whole life to hear. Four words I was sure would change my life forever…and they did. Just not in the way I expected.

Finding out my extremely gorgeous rock star boyfriend was about to propose had the complete opposite effect I thought it would. Rather than catapult me into a future I’ve always wanted, it plunged me back to a past I tried to forget.

Now I can’t get him out of my head. I can’t help but wonder what could have been, how our lives would have ended up if he didn’t leave me behind, a shattered mess.

All these memories are dangerous. They’re bringing my past back to ruin my future. And worst of all, they’re taking me right back to him, my childhood sweetheart, my first love…my biggest regret.

Sample...

26th May 2007

I just kissed Joe.
I don’t even know how to describe it, it was utterly the best moment of my life. All of my dreams couldn’t even begin to imagine how good it was going to be. I can’t even believe that I’m writing this...after all the heartache, all the wondering, it’s finally happened and now we can actually be together.
This is the best thing ever!

That account of the evening was so glaring false, I couldn’t actually believe that I’d written it. I felt like I must have been so desperate for things to be perfect that I even lied to myself about it. But then, as the night drifted on I mustn’t have been able to sleep, because I wrote more in scruffy, 2 AM style writing.

It was weird, really strange. It wasn’t quite what I thought it was going to be, and I’m scared about that. Did I just build it up too much in my mind, that it was never going to be as good as I expected...or does that mean something else? I don’t really want to admit it, but I’m scared. I’m afraid that it means we aren’t meant to beafter all, that’s the dream that has kept me going for so damn long nowand I’m also frightened that Joe racing off like that means something.
He has kissed lots of people, not like me, so maybe that means it was rubbish for him.
Oh God, I can’t even handle the thought that I might have screwed things up by sucking at kissing, what would that mean for me? I was so wrapped up in my fear and confusion of the moment that I didn’t really concentrate...that might have been my downfall.
Shit. Shit. Shit.
I feel like all of this has made my feelings worse. I feel like now that Joe has given me something back, that he has given me that glimmer of hope, my obsession with him is even worse. I can’t think so much that I really cannot sleep. What will I do if he turns me down? How will I even get through the rest of school? It’ll be humiliating, absolutely gutting. I might just die.
Maybe I can ask mum to let me move schools, maybe that will be the best thing for me. For us both. I mean, I’ll still have to see him at home and stuff, but it wouldn’t be the same...