Back to School

Today I am delighted to host Miriam Drori, whose non-fiction book, Social Anxiety Revealed, has recently been reissued and is currently on sale via Smashwords. Welcome, Miriam, would you like to give us a taste of your book …

Some people have found this period away from society strangely soothing. These people will find the return difficult. It might increase stress levels and reignite anxieties that have lain dormant.

Considering this in the context of my non-fiction book, Social Anxiety Revealed, I believe that those most likely to suffer from the return are schoolchildren. Here are some extracts that show why, all quotes from contributors to the book who preferred to remain anonymous:

“I got SA [social anxiety] from being bullied at school, I think. It was made worse by moving at age 14 to a new school.”

“I was bullied right the way through school; I was called names, I was picked on, I was rejected and isolated.”

“I first became aware of my blushing in early high school I think. …I was acutely aware of my blushing, and as it was school, others were delighted to point out when someone blushed, which made it far worse.”

About cutting: “At school I totally slashed my left hand up, not that anyone there noticed.”

“In primary school I was rejected socially; I was the school nerd. In secondary school I tried to be accepted and to find friends but was unsuccessful… Parents? Teachers? … No one penetrated beneath the armour that I built around me.”

“I’m still severely p*ssed off with my school for not being more help. I did basically everything they seemed to want me to, behaved myself, got good grades to push them up the league tables, didn’t cause any trouble, kept going despite the hell I was going through thanks to the other pupils, etc. And in return, I get pushed out at the end depressed and unable to cope with adult life.
Seems like if I wanted any sympathy and help I should have got myself involved in drugs and crime and failed all my exams.”

“I was very quiet in the class. I went to all the lessons. I didn’t disrupt the class. So the teachers thought I was alright. If I’d been hyperactive, for instance, they’d have sent me straight to the school counsellor. They just didn’t know about SA.”

Imagine being one of those kids. Imagine being away from that environment for a long time – much longer than a summer holiday. Finally, you’re able to relax and be alone at home, like everyone else. Imagine having to return. The moment you enter the school gates, the bullies are back, jeering and fighting. Teachers again pick on you to answer in class and your performance provides more fodder for bullying. At other times, you feel isolated, ignored, unwanted. It’s exactly as it was before, but feels so much worse because you’ve spent months away from it.

I do hope this problem will be recognised and handled properly.

Miriam Drori is an author and editor. With a degree in Maths and experience of working as a computer programmer and as a technical writer, she has been writing novels and short stories for about fifteen years.

Miriam’s latest publication is a short story in the charity anthology, Dark London. Called Gruesome in Golders Green, the story tells of an unusual encounter between two women.

Recently, Miriam has even attempted to write poetry. She eagerly awaits the publication of her first poem.

Social Anxiety Revealed is currently on sale at Smashwords. It is also available from Apple, Barnes & Noble and Kobo.

The Great British Seaside

Now we are (most of us) finally able to start thinking about going on holiday again, I thought I’d share this little piece I wrote at Meltham Writers (just before lockdown), about some of the joys of the traditional British seaside resort.


“I wish they had some seats in that chip shop,” said Carol, “It’s far too cold and windy out here. She huddled in her coat and speared a chip with a wooden fork. Out of long habit, she blew on it before putting it in her mouth, but there was no need. The howling wind had already done that for her. The chips at the top of the bag were already lukewarm.

“Oh, I don’t know,” replied Roger. “One chip shop is pretty much like another. Why would we come all the way to the seaside to do what we can do every night of the week at home? But here on the pier we have a magnificent sea view.” He waved his arm floridly at the grey, malevolent-looking sea and the line of wind turbines on the horizon. “We have the roar of the breakers, the cry of the seagulls, the salt sea breeze …”

“Breeze?” exclamed Carol, “It’s a bloody gale!” As if to confirm what she had said, a small chip was blown off her fork and disappeared into the sea. But Roger had got into his stride now.

“This is what the British seaside is really about. It’s not about sun, or pretty postcard pictures, it’s about being on the edge of things, communing with nature at its wildest and most primeval. I love it.” As he spoke, he emphasised each point with exaggerated movements of his hands, one of which was holding a battered sausage.”

“Well, you can keep it,” said Carol. The moment I’ve finished my fish and chips I’m going back into the town to look for a café or somewhere we can shelter from this wind. I’ve had enough of this.”

“I don’t know what you’re moaning about. At least it’s not raining. And this wind, it’s bracing, refreshing.”

Putting his food down on the bench, he walked forward to the railing at the very edge of the pier and leaned over it as if about to throw himself in the water.

“Listen to that pounding surf. Doesn’t it make you feel good to be alive?” As Roger turned round to see his wife’s reaction, a large wave broke and a fountain of spray surged over the edge of the pier, completely soaking him. She responded only with a smile. 


Today I’m pleased to welcome horror author Nick Stead, who’s sharing with us an excerpt from his novel Hybrid, the first book in a series of the same name, which is being re-released at the end of the month by Twisted Fate Publishing.


Winter ravaged the land with icy fury, the air turning bitterly cold in the days leading up to the full moon. Gloom settled over the heavens, the clouds as dark as my mood. Then the first of the winter snows fell, drifting down in a gentle flurry and delicately dusting the land. At first that was all it did: powdered the fields at the back of the house and the streets at the front. It didn’t last long enough to do much else. But that turned out to be no more than the calm before the storm, the showers coming angrier and heavier the next day. I watched the flakes swarming like a plague of angry insects, invading the world around them until they’d coated everything in a dazzling blanket of pure white. Our town was transformed, no longer a concrete jungle but a landscape of cold beauty.

The nights had been growing noticeably longer, something that filled me with an even greater sense of dread. Would there be more deaths? From the memories the wolf had shown me, it seemed its hunger was insatiable.

But what was on my mind the most was not knowing which night the moon would be full – I could only guess. At least a week had gone by since I’d last glimpsed it drifting between the clouds and I had no idea how much rounder it had gotten since. It seemed the lunar calendars could only guess too; not one of them could agree on when it would reach its fullest. The uncertainty felt worse than if I’d had a definite date hanging over me, my mind constantly tormented by the unanswered question of whether it would be that night, or the one after, or the one after that. And all the while I was trying to think of a way to stop the wolf, and so far I had come up with none.

Then, on the day of the heavy snowfall, it seemed I was to face my fears.

I chose to stay behind after school and catch up on some homework, in the hope of forgetting what was still to come that month, and the inevitable bloodshed. When I grew restless, I knew what it probably meant and I took my leave.

Grey faded to black as I stepped out into the wintry wonderland, quickening my pace in fear of the oncoming darkness. Minutes later I was rushing down the drive, fumbling for my key with fingers made slow and clumsy in the cold. There was a noticeable shake to them as I stabbed at the lock, and I had to use my other hand to steady myself before it would slide in.

I looked up at the darkening sky as I opened the door, wondering if there truly was a full moon hidden behind those clouds. For the sake of the poor souls fated to become my prey that month I hoped not, though I knew it had to come sometime soon, and what difference did it really make whether it was that night or later in the week? I shivered again and went inside.

No sooner had I stepped through the doorway than the pain started. I groaned as it ravaged my stomach and headed straight for the stairs, desperate for the sanctuary of my room. What I’d do to stop the wolf when I got up there I had no idea, but it was too late for that now. The wolf was coming and there was no holding it back.

 Amy blocked my path, a lollypop poking out of her mouth and a taunting look in her eyes. She got to her feet and stretched her arms out either side of her, determined not to let me pass until I was begging her for it.

I couldn’t believe her timing. She was so bloody annoying when she wanted to be, and already I was sure I could feel things happening inside my body and I had to know, had to find out whether it was what I feared it to be.

An excerpt from @nick_stead's horror novel, Hybrid, shortly to be re-released on Twisted Fate publishing.

Hybrid is the first book in the Hybrid series – supernatural horror following the story of teenager Nick Stead as he is bitten and falls victim to the werewolf curse. But it’s not just his new predatory instincts to contend with and the transformation every full moon. An ancient order known as the Demon Slayers are closing in, and they mean to wipe out his kind, once and for all.

The first book was originally published under Wild Wolf Publishing in 2015. The second and third instalments originally launched 2016 and 2017 respectively, but a planned move to another publisher brought the series to a standstill over the next two years, when things didn’t work out as hoped.

Now a new breed of the Hybrid series is coming. This is the first book like you’ve never seen it before. Revised and extended, the manuscript has gone through a transformation all of its own, ready for a re-release July 31st.

The second edition will be published under Twisted Fate Publishing. You can pre-order the Kindle edition now, and there will be a paperback edition soon to follow –

For more information about Nick the author and his other works:




Latest News

A few bits of miscellaneous news today.

Firstly, a date for your diary. The Poetry I-D anthology, 2020 Vision, which I mentioned here a few weeks ago (for more info see earlier post from 3 June: is being launched online at 7.30 pm on 23 July. I’m not sure what platform will be used yet – watch this space and my Facebook author page for further details.

Secondly, I was pleased to hear that my story, The Cold Callers, has been shortlisted in the National Association of Writers’ Groups Ghost Story competition. Keeping my fingers crossed!

Finally, I’m excited to be involved in another anthology project – this time of speculative fiction (including horror, sci-fi and fantasy) on the theme of Darkness, with a group of published writers glorying in the name of The Sons of Twisted Fate ( The anthology is expected to be launched in October, in aid of a mental health charity. This will be the first outing in print of a story from the (very) slow-burning sci-fi project that I’ve mentioned a couple of times here (see