Excerpt: Samantha Murdoch – Forthcoming Anthology – This Is Lockdown

Photo by Ella Lena from Pexels

Today, I have great pleasure to share with you an excerpt from This Is Lockdown, an anthology of writing plus my poetry, flash fiction, and short stories due for release soon.

This is from my good friend Samantha Murdoch…

Strange Days Indeed…!

A tale from Samantha Murdoch

© Copyright Samantha Murdoch

We are living in strange and difficult times indeed my friends, but there comes a time when we must raise our eyes to the future, and reflect and act on what we have learned…

Although not a native of the East Midlands, I find its quirky humour and the people here have grown on me the longer I’ve lived here and there’s always something… well strange going on.

Take the other day for example – as the youngest, fittest and lowest risk category member of my little family I do the shopping and medication run, and I had just returned from delivering essential items to my mother.

“Hurry up for Christ’s sake Samantha, you know I can’t go out and I am gasping for a cigarette and the dogs are driving me mad for treats!” namely cigarettes, dog meat and dog treats, leaving them carefully on her doorstep and waving to the dogs who were grinning madly at me through the window while standing on the windowsill wearing Mother’s net curtains on their heads like very fetching lace mantillas.

I called goodbye and left – “Get off the bloody windowsill you idiots!” – her words of farewell echoing behind me and went pottering off up the hill to return to my own house, pondering weighty issues like should I feed my sour dough starter again – did I need to plant more beetroot and would my partner possibly let me buy a little goat…

My reverie was, well, strangely interrupted by a somewhat overweight and half naked gentleman running towards me, his hands cupped carefully around something at his groin level shouting:

“Can you do anything with this please?”

Understandably, I backed away rapidly, fumbling desperately in my handbag for a weapon (I found a biro) and my look of confusion must have registered with the man because he stopped running and said, a little more reasonably:

“No, look!”

He held his hands out to me, and nestled on his palms was a collared dove, one of our prettiest native birds. I approached and looked down. It seemed uninjured, and gazed back trustingly at us.

“What would you like me to do with it?” I enquired politely, hoping I wasn’t about to be wrestled indoors and commanded to make pigeon pie…

“My cat had hold of it – she’s a bogger * for catching birds and bringing ‘em in and I can’t leave it in my garden coz she’ll only have it again, so I thought you could take it with you,” he finished, looking at me hopefully.

“Ah! Oh – no, I have four cats,” I told him, and we both nodded in mutual understanding of our furry friends’ proclivities.

Suddenly, he brightened as an idea struck.

“That house over there – they’ve got a big hedge! I can put it in there!”

“That’s a good idea,” I replied encouragingly.

Together, we sneaked across the road, keeping out of the sight line of the house and I watched as the man pushed the dove into a suitable hole as far up as he could reach in the hedge.

We stood back and looked. The dove settled quite happily into its hiding place and we smiled at each other, the half naked somewhat overweight man and I, united in our common goal to help save a little life.

I haven’t seen him since, and I hope the little bird recovered too. But in these strange days sometimes that’s all that’s needed – a little kindness.

Stay safe and well, friends.

© Writing and Image – Samantha Murdoch

* The term bogger is the pronunciation used in Nottingham of bugger!

Bio:

Samantha Murdoch enjoys sharing her thoughts on writing and the power of the written word. She entertains and amuses her blogging community with her thoughts and memories, cats, crystals laughter and the magic of everyday life.

A lovely blog with a warm and friendly welcome, and lots of furry friends too!

Links:

https://samanthamurdochblog.wordpress.com

https://www.instagram.com/crystalcats1485/

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Marian Wood: Pandemic Poetry #Poetry #COVID19 #Isolation #Writers #Contributing #Author

Welcome to Marian Wood, a contributing writer in the forthcoming collection of diaries, short stories, flash fiction, writings and poetry: This Is Lockdown with her poem and thoughts on COVID19.

This Is Lockdown will feature a wide variety of authors, writers and bloggers from UK, USA, Italy and Canada.

Poetry from Marian Wood

© Marian Wood

The world is quiet, a new strange calm,
People staying indoors, scared of coming to harm.
Cars are now just sitting on drives,
As people now lead different lives.

No longer racing for the morning bus,
Now staying at home, with lap top, no fuss.
The children are now home from school,
And mum is trying to set the rules.

Sitting working, but watching the kids,
A parent can be successful at this.
With the help of a maths app and a cool pc,
The children can be kept calm and busy.

It was March that this change came to the UK,
And now it’s here, it’s not going away.
Never before have people been told to stay at home,
I’m so glad for social media and our telephones.

Our children are growing up right now,
They will forever remember what happened and how.
The Chinese Wet Market in Wuhan,
Was that really where this all began?

The children

The children are now drawing rainbows,
All part of our memories and makes our hearts glow.
All our praises go to our NHS and keyworkers,
They are all working hard in an effort to save us.

So, everyone now please look after your families,
Stay indoors, obey lock down, care for your babies.
Maybe have a picnic in your front room,
Or make the chairs into a rocket and fly to the moon.

Trying to think of ways to pass the day,
Bringing in inventive ways for creativity and play.
Make the most of this time that’s been given to us,
It’s not going soon, this Corona virus is in no rush.

We are not sure when the lock down will end,
But on one thing you really can depend.
The NHS workers are fighting for you,
There’s not enough clapping that we can do.

For they will continue to fight to the finish,
Brave and steadfast, their care won’t diminish.
This corona virus has become our life’s big feature,
However, we need to see the bigger picture.

Our world around us

Whilst the NHS and Keyworkers are caring for us,
Our planet is loving the difference, loving the less rush.
The effects of planes, ships and of the many cars,
Earth’s destruction had gone too far.

Looking up now the sky is deep blue,
It’s beautiful, lock down was a good thing to do.
Throughout this disaster we need to see the positive,
Reflect on the good, no longer on the negative.

So, hug your children and play your games,
Home school and work, we will never live this again.
Keep your scrapbooks and write your diaries,
And look after your families, and try not to worry.

© Marian Wood

Bio:

I am a happily married, working mum to two children aged seven and nine. I write two blogs featuring my children, poetry and short stories. I’m currently working on my first novel. I have reached about 80 000 words and I’m stuck with the ending. I stopped writing it in October 2019 and now I’m struggling to get back into it.

Confidence and COVID 19 are not helping to motivate me.

I’ve learnt If you are writing a novel, don’t stop writing it until it’s finished. If you stop and take a break it might take longer. I’d have completed it if I hadn’t stopped.

For us, COVID 19 has meant isolation. My husband is being shielded so we are all shielding. It is hard not going anywhere and not seeing friends in person.

In March we were both ill and suspected that we had the virus. However, the swab test showed a negative result. This test may not be accurate, so we don’t know if we have had it, but we were ill for weeks.

Tesco are delivering our food, Morrison’s my husband’s prescriptions. I’m working for the NHS from home. It’s nice to roll out of bed and go to work in my pyjamas and I love Microsoft Teams. It’s better than coping with the school run and a stressful drive to the morning meeting. 

The environment has loved the relief from the pollution. There are positives to this awful situation. I try not to focus on the state of our economy or the mistakes made. The UK is in a sorry state right now. People are still dying daily, and I fear going to the supermarket. Despite an NHS discount, I prefer to order online where there is no NHS perk. My Amazon shopping has increased as I’m too scared to go to the shops. Plus, we are shielding.

New rules in June in the UK might change the goalposts for shielders. For me, hiding from the world is the better option. However, this is really not fair on my kids who are desperate to get out. As well as working, I am home schooling. The school sends a weekly timetable with web links and information sheets. I do my best to work through them with the children and tick off what we have done.

I work three days a week but due to home-schooling I am working six days. I am exhausted, I’m enjoying it but I’m tired. This week my nine-year-old and I have been learning about the oceans and explorers. It is an interesting subject. So, COVID 19 has brought great change to our lives. Home school, can’t go anywhere and mum no longer gets time alone. It has affected my writing as I’m more stressed and I have less time. I’m struggling to keep up with my blogs.

I’m hoping that the rate of infection in the UK keeps coming down. At the moment the figures are still high and we don’t even know if the children are going back to school in September, or whether it will be a phased return. At the moment, we can only guess.

This virus has come and messed with all our lives; I’m hoping that it is soon something in the past. Someday I hope for a vaccine. A time that we will no longer worry about it and the world will feel safe again.

Links:

www.justmuddlingthroughlife.co.uk

Www.marianwood.com

Www.facebook.com/marianwood76/

Www.twitter.com/MarianEWood

Thank you so much to Marian for being a contributing author in the forthcoming anthology and collection of diaries, short stories, flash fiction and poems: This Is Lockdown.

I am so excited how this is all taking shape!!!

Adele Marie Park: Pandemic Poetry #COVID19 #Lockdown

I’m pleased to announce that Adele Marie Park is to be a contributing author in my new project: This Is Lockdown, a compilation of diaries, short stories, poetry and flash fiction to be released soon.

Here is her touching poem which will no doubt resonate with many.

Rain falls on parched empty streets,
A child’s face framed by a window, eyes watch,
No school today no chance of play either,
A frown creases an unlined brow,
Not understanding, but sensing echoes of adult fear,
Something is very wrong in this new world,
The grown ups cry and they shout,
She turns away from the grey wet streets,
And wishes and wishes for the old world again.

© Copyright Adele Marie Park

Thank you so much to Adele for being part of this project and for supporting me in many ways in my writing journey.

This is my review of the Adele’s first book Wisp : https://mjmallon.com/2018/07/07/abrsc-review-of-wisp-by-adele-marie-park-ya-fantasy-lgbt/

Soon, Adele will be releasing the second in her series: Wisp II, which I had the pleasure of beta reading recently. I look forward to featuring her soon with her new release.

Bio:

Adele Marie Park was born in the north-east of Scotland, and at the age of six months, she moved to live with family on the Orcadian island of Rousay.

Her childhood was surrounded by the tales and legends of old, and these became the
themes and beliefs she’s carried with her through life as they now emerge and live within the pages of her books.

Adele’s first published book is Wisp. A tale of murder, passion and intrigue set in the mythical world of Edra.

She has won awards for her short stories and many have been published in successful anthologies.

Her writing crosses genres between fantasy and horror but is always character driven. Transforming the pictures and characters in her head as if by magic onto the pages of her books. Her belief in magic, faeries and the paranormal has never wavered.

She connects with people through her writing and her wish is for them to live every moment of the story and feel as if they have been on the journey with the characters.

When not writing, she enjoys painting and playing music. Her preferred instrument is the guitar although she has been known to play the tin whistle.

Adele’s blog: https://firefly465.wordpress.com/

More about This Is Lockdown soon!!!

Cover Reveal: This Is Lockdown #Compilation #COVID19 #diaries #shortstories #flash #poetry #Isolation #Writers

Excited to share my new writing project: This Is Lockdown.

A book of my diaries, (from a writers perspective with lots of family anecdotes,) short stories, flash fiction and poetry set during lockdown in UK.

There are thoughts on isolation and/or poetry pieces from ‘Isolation Writers’: Willow Willers, Sally Cronin, Marian Wood, Adele Marie Park, Debby Gies, (D G Kaye,) and an amusing story from Samantha Murdoch.

The collection also features the ‘Isolation writers’ who featured on my blog sharing their thoughts on isolation during COVID19: Richard Dee, Alice May, Jeannie Wycherley, Ritu Bhathal, Marian Wood, Willow Willers, Jackie Carreira, Fiona Phillips, Andrew Neary, Ceri William’s, Katherine Mezzacappa, Peter Taylor-Gooby, Chantelle Atkins, Sharon Marshisello, Tracie Barton-Barrett, Catherine Fearns, Lynn Fraser and Miriam V. Owen.

I created the ebook cover on Canva using a photograph in my own collection of images, a magical gate in Cambridge, you might perhaps have seen it before?

There’s lots of my personal stories, including baking ones…

There’s skype chats and all manner of thoughts and feelings expressed: from serious, sad, anxious meltdowns to humorous glimpses of the bizarre nature of life during COVID19.

And there’s lots of exercise… oddly shared with various members of the insect kingdom.

I share my thoughts on the politics of the moment.

I will continue writing my diaries in case there is a book two in this series. I hope there won’t be! I hope we escape a second wave but the way things are going…

This Is Lockdown is currently in draft stage and is with beta readers. There may be a few changes and some additional writers to the project.

I’m looking for blog tour hosts.

If you’d be interested in joining my street team for the book launch let me know in the comments below.

I have a small but friendly group for this project on Facebook – Isolation For Writers:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/910013342773315/

Please let me know if you’d like to join.

Stay safe and well.