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 October 2017

Lottie Loves Release Day!

MY NEW NOVEL, LOTTIE LOVES, IS RELEASED TODAY!!

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EXTRACT…

The phone rang shrilly, completely knocking me out of my nostalgia trip. With my heart still racing from the shock, I rushed down the stairs, amazed at myself for getting sucked in so easily. After avoiding the past for so long, I was a little stunned at how quickly my mind went right back to it, without even considering the implications of that. I’d unlocked the box inside my brain, and I wasn’t sure if there was any way of going back now.
“Hey babe.” Danny crooned into the phone, in the chocolaty sweet voice that I loved so much. Although this time, hearing his voice didn’t make me feel safe and special, it sent waves of guilt crashing through my body. I felt like I’d been betraying him by just thinking of Joe. “Our show last night was amazing!” He continued, completely oblivious to my internal turmoil. “I wish you could have been there.”
“I don’t think your adoring fans would appreciate that.” I smiled warmly to myself, trying to push my other thoughts aside. I needed to focus on him and what he was saying to me, because I never got very long to speak to him. I didn’t want my worries to affect the short time that we had together.
I was so happy for Danny and the way that Jax had become so successful. I knew how much they deserved it and how hard they’d worked to get there. There was only one member of the band who had let the fame go to his head—their lead singer Craig, but he was always a bit of a knob anyway, so it wasn’t much of a surprise. As the drummer, often hidden at the back of the stage, Danny had a few less admirers than the rest of the band, but that wasn’t to say that there weren’t a few dedicated groupies just for him!
“Anyway, I think we’re in Cardiff tonight so I won’t be able to ring you until tomorrow okay? Oh hold on…” I could hear his muffled talking, which meant that he obviously had his hand over the receiver. I couldn’t help but feel a little annoyed, couldn’t he spare just one moment for me without being dragged back into band stuff? Normally I didn’t mind, and I was really understanding, but today I felt different. Dragging up my past had made me uncomfortable and unsettled, which unfortunately I was taking out on him. “Got to go babe, we have some promotion party thing to go to. Love ya! Bye.”
“Work is going fine thanks, yeah I’m good…” I muttered angrily into the dead receiver, slamming the phoned down. I loved Danny to bits, but I felt like this was a moment that I really needed him to just speak to me and pay me some attention, and I was irrationally angry because he hadn’t gotten my telepathic  message about that.
Or maybe I was just looking for an excuse for what I really wanted to do. Maybe I was looking for a reason to stomp back up into that attic and to continue looking through my memories. I knew what I was doing was wrong—it certainly felt like deception at any rate—but I had no intention of stopping. Especially not after that phone call!
It was done, and I needed to know it all now. I wouldn’t be able to rest until I’d uncovered everything. I already knew that there was no way that I could sleep until I’d gone through all of the secrets hidden away up there, and I was forcing my guilt to subside to get me through that.
Sighing as I sat back down, I flicked through the rest of the photographs in the box. There were literally thousands of us growing up, it was as if our parents couldn’t bear to let a second go by without catching it on camera. Joe’s sister sometimes featured alongside us in the pictures, but she was only an outsider really—everyone else was. No one was invited to our little clique, and that was the way we liked it.
It was all quite causal and sweet to look back on, until in one of the boxes I found my diary, which that changed everything. Even the atmosphere in the room changed as I ran my hand over the silky front cover, just knowing what lay inside…
I quickly scanned my eyes over the first few pages and the posts that were only bitching about my mum, because I knew that soon enough I started to talk about Joe—really talk about him—and for some reason, I wanted to explore that. I wanted to go back to that awkward time in secondary school when there was an obvious shift in our friendship—not that he seemed to notice of course!

12th March 2006
Why not me? Why never me?
It was always just me and you Joe, so why did that have to change?
I miss primary school when you didn’t you notice anyone else.
Damn it, when did it start to hurt to see you look at other girls?

I gulped down a ball of emotion that lodged firmly in my throat as I read my teen-angst filled words. The feelings of jealousy that I felt back then flooded right through me once more, which sent me to the edge of unease.
Seeing Joe with anyone used to drive me crazy with jealousy, to the point where I thought I might go insane. I’d go hot and dizzy, nauseous if he even smiled at another girl. Yet with Danny—a bona fide rock star with gorgeous fans dripping from his shoulders—I didn’t feel bad about that even once. If anything, I was always pleased for him to have women chasing after him. It meant that he’d really made it.
What did that mean?
Did that mean that I didn’t love Danny as much as I had Joe? Or that I trusted him more? I wasn’t sure, and it was making my head spin. I stood up, feeling light-headed and very sick, before staggering back down the stairs and into natural light. But not without bringing the diary with me. Now that I’d read that information, I felt like I needed to know more, to work out how I really felt about my life right now.
I’d always assumed that I was happy, but was that just a trick that I was playing on myself to help me move on with my life? To help me get over losing Joe?
Sure, Danny was absolutely gorgeous, and he was lovely too, but did that really make him the man for me? Did that really mean that I should marry him? It wasn’t even like he was the man that I’d admired from afar anymore because we had a real bond and connection. We were really in love…or so I thought.
Urgh, what the hell was wrong with me?
I padded into the kitchen and grabbed a half drunk bottle of wine, taking a swig without even thinking. My heart was pounding and my mind was reeling, so much so that I felt like I wasn’t even in the room anymore.
In the end, I poured myself a glass of the wine, trying to at least behave normally, before sitting on the bar stool and reading a little bit more, digging in even deeper to the girl I used to be.

18th June 2006
I can’t take it anymore. I can’t.
This is the end of the world to me.
How the fuck am I supposed to move on?

21st June 2006
I’m so confused. Now you’re showing me all the attention that you once did, and I don’t know what to think about it. She’s still in the picture, and I can tell that she hates me, but when I’m in your sun rays of affection it doesn’t matter.
It’s when you leave and you’re kissing her that I go into turmoil.

I remembered feeling that way, so passionate and heartbroken that I didn’t even make any sense. That life felt like an unbearable rollercoaster that I couldn’t seem to climb off of. I recalled needing to get my feelings out and writing them down as the only way to do that, and now reading over those words once more, I felt like I was in the same state, that I was the same mess waiting for Joe to look my way once more. It was weird—I was now twenty-three years old and it was like I’d reverted back to a teenage girl all over again. Everything that I’d learned about life just melted away, and I became an insecure, neurotic puddle all over again.
I sipped the wine, just thinking for a moment, trying to get a calm perspective on things, but instead my brain span back over my memories, dragging me back there once more…

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Lottie Loves by Samie Sands

Lottie Loves OUT NOW

Lottie Loves

The first cut is always the deepest...

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“Will you marry me?”
Four words I’ve waited my whole life to hear. Four words which I was sure would change my life forever, and it did. Just not in the way I thought it would.
Finding out that 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 all the way 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 of the past are dangerous. It’s bringing my past back to ruin my future. And worst of all, it’s taking me right back to him, my childhood sweetheart, my first love…my biggest regret.

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"Will you marry me?"
It was the words that I'd wanted to hear my entire life. Didn't every girl fantasise over the perfect man going to buy the perfect ring and getting down on one knee in the most romantic way possible, before telling them that they loved them so much, they wanted to spend the rest of their life with them?
I knew that I certainly had.
Me and my best friend Cici used to talk about it all the time. We used to plan our dresses, the music, the flowers—every part of the ceremony down to the very last detail. Of course, the man didn't really matter. We were young enough and naive enough to believe that we would magically meet the perfect man without even trying.
And I really thought that I had. I really, truly believed that my dream had come true.
Me and Danny had begun our love story in a very typical fashion—our eyes had met across a bar, where we'd had long, lingering eye contact, sparking all kinds of emotions within me. The only difference between my story, and that of every other rom-com ever, was that Danny was a genuine up-and-coming rock star, playing on a fairly big stage, and I was a fan who already felt a lot of love for this man. I'd been admiring him from afar ever since I first heard their album a year or so before.
I certainly hadn't expected it to ever go any further than that moment, so when he came and joined me at the bar later on for a drink, despite being mobbed by other members of the audience, I felt like my entire life had been leading me up to that moment. I felt like everything that I'd experienced was all drawing me closer to Danny, the love of my life. Here was a gorgeous man who was destined to be famous, and who could have any girl in the world hanging off of his arm, talking to me, asking me questions, and actually showing me interest.
It seemed like a dream—one that I was terrified to wake up from.
As he flicked his messy auburn hair from his warm, chocolaty eyes and he gave me that smile that had already melted the hearts of the nation, I thought for a dreaded, wonderful second that he was going to kiss me in front of all of those people. But after a few beats of pure terror, he didn't. Instead he handed me his phone number, and he asked if I would like to go on a date with him.
Me—boring old Charlotte (Lottie) Jones—on a date with Danny Boreom, bassist of the (now very) famous band Jax. It didn't seem real.
Yet, it was real, and it did happen.
It was the start of my real life.
After a night out on the town where he well and truly wined and dined me, he walked me home to my tiny flat which must have looked ridiculous compared to the mansion that I now know he lived in with the rest of the band at the time, and he finally kissed me. As his lips met mine, I felt myself flying on top of the world—he was an amazing kisser, and there seemed to be an endless chemistry between us. One that I never wanted to end.
Breathless and turned on by the power of his mouth, I invited him inside. Although he coolly and calmly turned me down, it was still the best night of my entire life, made even better by a phone call the next day to say that he only didn't come inside with me because he wanted to be something real. He didn't want our love to end at a one-night stand, he actually wanted us to develop and for him to become my boyfriend.
Fast forward three and a half years and we were blissfully living together, grazing by every day happily and easily. Although he was away for a lot of the year touring, it didn't seem to bother us. We were so strong and so solid with what we had, that nothing would get in our way.
It was perfect, still a dream come true and that intense chemistry hadn't burned down one bit.
Which made it even weirder that my reaction to Cici telling me that Baz—another member of the band—had just told her that he'd been engagement ring shopping with Danny, wasn't one of pure joy.
"What...what do you mean?" I asked, my heart racing frantically in my chest. I could tell that my voice was breathless and kind of terrified, but my mind was spinning too fast for me to be able to do anything about it.
"Aren't you happy?" She giggled, "I thought that you'd be over the moon to finally be Mrs. Boreom."
"No, no, I am," I half lied. The idea had always been at the edge of my thoughts. I knew that Danny was the one for me, and despite all the car crash relationships around us, we'd even managed to survive the fallout of him becoming mega famous. It helped that I had no interest in the spotlight and that I did everything I could to avoid it, but even despite all of that, I felt like it proved that we could go the distance, and be together forever. So why wasn't I excited for us to take the next step? "It's just a bit of a shock, that's all."
But that was normal, right? Everyone freaked out at first when they learned that they were going to become someone's wife...didn't they?
Of course, I already knew that wasn't true. I'd already been proposed to once in my life before, and that time, I didn't hesitate one bit. Panic didn't even come into the equation, I was happy, over the moon at the thought of becoming his wife. This was nothing like that had been. I felt completely different.
For the first time in a very long time, I allowed myself to think about Joe again, and almost the second that I allowed that vault to open in my mind, I felt myself fall into a tailspin. As his face filled my brain once more, it was almost as if the last five years hadn't happened at all, and that I was still his proud girlfriend, waiting to be his wife.
As the wound reopened, I could barely hear what Cici was saying to me. I felt like I was gaping, exposed, and extremely vulnerable all over again, and I did what I'd always done when I was younger, when things got too difficult for me. I started to talk to Joe in my mind.
Where are you now?
What became of you?
What happened to your life?
It was so strange to have gone from the closest people in the world, to absolutely nothing, and I struggled to imagine that he'd changed one bit. Of course I had, my life was completely different, but I couldn't think of Joe without viewing him as the other half of me. The boy that I'd adored, and the one that I never thought would leave my side.
"I...I've got to go," I finally announced to my friend. "I'll speak to you later, okay?" And then I hung up the phone, without even waiting for her to answer. I knew that I was being rude, acting more than a little strange, but I needed some time. I needed to be alone with my thoughts to try and process all of this.
So quite how I found myself sitting at my computer with my fingers running along the keys, I wasn't quite sure.
Don't press anything, I willed myself. As soon as you do, everything will change.
Since we had gone our separate ways, I hadn't contacted Joe once, and with the uprising of social media I hadn't looked him up either. I just couldn't face it. He was like an imaginary fantasy in my mind now, and I wasn't sure that I wanted to ruin that with reality. What if he was married now? Or into drugs or something? His life could have gone in any direction, and I wasn't sure that I really wanted to find out which one.
Plus, my life really was amazing now. Why would I want to even consider risking that? I had a gorgeous, passionate man who actually wanted to be with me forever, even though he was about ten leagues above me, I had a teaching job that I loved, and friends that would do anything for me. That was a hell of a lot more than most people had!
In the end I forced myself to stand up and to move away from the computer screen before it lured me in. I couldn't do it; I just wasn't willing to take that step into the unknown. It terrified me far too much. But as I wandered aimlessly from room to room, I realised that I couldn't just do nothing either. I needed to calm this beast within me, which meant delving into my past whether I liked it or not.
I stood at the bottom of the attic ladder, wondering what awaited me up there. When me and Danny decided to buy a place together—well, he put the most money in of course, but we still classed it as 'ours'—I shoved everything related to my old life away, not wanting to even consider it. But it was always a comfort, knowing that it was there, knowing that I could access it at any moment if I really wanted to.
And I could feel myself finally taking that step.
I creaked up the ladder, feeling my heart thump and my palms sweat with nerves. This was a mistake, I knew it was, but at the same time I couldn't stop.
There would be no way for me to get married without taking this step anyway. Right now, things were comfortable, but if I was ever going to have a future with Danny, I needed to consult my past first. At least, that was my excuse and I was sticking to it.
Danny knew about Joe anyway. Well, he'd been told some of it, the very basics, so I supposed that I was probably going to have to confess all before we finally took the plunge. With that thought in mind, I tore open the first box I stumbled across, and I ended up looking at the few photographs that I had of me and Joe when we were very young, when we very first met...

For more check the book out here!

Friday, 13 October 2017

Undead Worlds: A Reanimated Writers Anthology

22 Authors. 22 Undead worlds. 1 Great Book. Do you dare? Featuring stories by David A. Simpson, Justin Robinson, Christopher Mahood, Arthur Mongelli, Michael Whitehead, Sylvester Barzey, Jeremy Dyson, Derek Ailes, Grivante, Michael Pierce, Christopher Artinian, E.E. Isherwood, Mark Cusco Ailes, R. L. Blalock, T. D. Ricketts, Brea Behn, Jessica Gomez, Julien Saindon, Samie Sands, Valerie Lioudis, Charles Ingersoll, and Adrienne Lecter.
Damaged Goods
by Samie Sands (Sample, featured in Undead Worlds)
How the hell did this happen?  
I still, even now, can’t work out how I allowed myself to be so stupid. I’m a smart girl, aren’t I? At least that’s what I’ve always been told. The teachers at my school have always said to me: ‘Ava Jones, you are a smart girl. One of the cleverest in the class. You’ll go far in life’. Maybe if they could see me now, none of them would be half as quick to say that.  
I mean, what sort of girl allows themselves to get bit, in the middle of the damn zombie apocalypse? I’m sure as hell not going far in life now!  
I tentatively glance my eyes downwards to look at the injury on my trembling arm, but it’s hard to stand the sight of it. As soon as I spot the slightly brown, coagulating blood that’s forming on my wrist, my eyes squeeze shut and my lips clamp together so tightly it’s as if they fear vomit might fall out if I dare to part them.  
The pain is much worse than the sight though, so it's not like I can ignore it. It’s hot and radiating all over me as if it wants to swallow me whole. In all honesty, I’ve never experienced anything quite like it before. 
I’m not an idiot, I know what the bite means, I’ve been out there enough to know what it’ll turn me into, I just don’t know what to do about it. I know my skin will grey, my irises will pale, my body will slow as my brain shuts off. I’ll become one of the monsters that are outside my door right now, waiting for some human flesh to consume. Hoping someone will be dumb enough to stumble into their path. I’ll become the one thing that everyone wants to avoid these days, the nightmare that no one can stand to even discuss. 
The worst part is I could've avoided that fate too if only I listened.

#Halloween #Giveaway