Thinking About My Writing List (Rolls Eyes)

Hello everyone! It has been a while since I wrote one of my ‘writerly ramblings’ posts. I think last time, I wrote about herding behaviour and book reviews.

Well, since then, I have been writing book five of the Curmudgeon Avenue Series ‘The World Does Not Revolve Around Curmudgeon Avenue’. As I come to the end of this process, my mind is wandering – not to the next book in series, like a normal person – NO! I am thinking about the next book I plan to write after this…

This may or may not be a supernatural-inspired narrative. Obviously, I can’t share anything about this idea because I’ve got two more novels to write first – but this is how my mind works. In the future!

When I was young, I loved books and TV programmes about witches. My mum told me that when she was expecting me, she suggested that my older sister choose my name. She did, and here I am SAMANTHA. When my big sister was annoyed at me, she would remind me that she had chosen my name… after a witch.


I am talking about Samantha from 60s American sitcom Bewitched. (Re-runs of this featured heavily on UK TV in the early 80s when I was growing up. I did not care if being named after a witch was intended as a negative (on days that I was annoying) Samantha was awesome! She could wiggle her nose and get all her housework done by magic (interesting what I aspired to as a child).

For a long time, I had a memory of visiting a shop in Pendle (you’ve heard of Pendle, right? The place in Lancashire famous for the Pendle Witch Trials of 1612)

I was about five years old and walking towards the shop and holding hands with my mummy, a ‘witch’ at the front of the shop spoke to me.

Witch: Hello little girl what’s your name?

 Me: Samantha

Witch: Oooh! That’s a witch’s name!

Me: (In my head) I totally knew I had special powers!

Forty years later, my husband drives me (it takes just under an hour to get there from our house) to ‘Witches Galore’ the very same witchy shop!


Witches Galore

The woman who worked there was really helpful. I told her about my witch name and she told me that, the witch outside the shop was actually a witch doll that used to talk to customers. Unfortunately, the witch dolls were stolen!

The next day, I (socially distanced style) visited my parents. I was worried that they had let me think I had a witch name and possibly had special powers for forty years and that this witch-doll says the same thing to everyone.

Fortunately, my Mum eventually remembered that, yes, it was a witch doll that spoke to me, but it was powered by the woman behind the till and her microphone. Brilliant! I do have a witch name it’s official. I don’t have special powers though.

selective focus photo of brown dreamcatcher
Photo by Artem Beliaikin on

I bought a tea towel and two books about the Pendle Witch Trials. Then I came home and bought some more books about witches.

Below are some covers of the books about witches I liked when I was young.

The Worst Witch Mega 9 Books Complete Collection Set by Jill ... The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy (the covers did not look like this in the 1980s and I don’t remember there being that many.

Witchdust by Mary Welfare. This appears to be out of print – gutted. I am keeping a close eye on my copy!

Pancakes & Mrs Pepperpot | THE HANKERERMrs Pepperpot by Alf Proysen. Although not named as a witch, Mrs Pepperpot would magically shrink as small as a pepperpot. I think she might have been able to talk to animals as well.

And from TV:

Grotbags.jpg Grotbags

BBC Scotland - BBC Scotland - That Nirvana song about Hazel the ... McWitch from Rentaghost

Thank you for joining me today on my rambling about witches.

Glad I got that out of my system,

Samantha xx

Physiotherapy Has Kept Me Going (even during #lockdown)

Samantha Henthorn Author talks about her experiences of living with MS

Hello everyone!

A while ago, I promised to start talking about my experiences of living with MS. The series of posts was going to be called ‘If You Love It So Much, Why Don’t You Marry It?’ *

However, this post is a positive post about how I have managed to keep going in the 15 years since diagnosis (so I have changed the title for this one).

I have been really lucky during the lockdown because my physiotherapist has adapted and is providing sessions by Skype. You might not think these work as well, but they do! One to one sessions prevent me from moving my limbs incorrectly (which I think can stop the exercise from working and sometimes can lead to aches and pains later). My physiotherapist has brilliant observational skills and can spot a slumped shoulder or a sagging hip – even from behind the screen. Anna has worked on my core, balance and strengthening muscles that (I think) will help me keep on my feet. I can’t tell you what the exercises are – I am writing this post to tell you my experience that physiotherapy has worked for me more than anything else.

Poor motivation has been a real problem for lots of people I know during the lockdown, including me but physiotherapy has kept me going. I have got a few bits and pieces of gym equipment at home because I use the advice I have been given each month and do a bit of physio-designed exercise every morning.

positive pregnant women during exercise with fit ball in gym
Photo by Gustavo Fring on

Look there is a picture of me doing my exercises! (NOT REALLY LOL!)

I haven’t taken any photos obviously during my remote appointments with my physiotherapist, Anna because I am busy paying attention and moving my limbs…


SP Therapy Services, Bury | Physiotherapists - Yell SP Therapy Services in Bury town centre. If you live in the Bury area and have a neurological condition, I think SP Therapy Services can really help you.

I usually attend Hydrotherapy once a week, this has really helped, my physiotherapist put me on to this. I can’t even swim and am not confident in the water but the benefits far outweigh the… I don’t know how to describe it actually – I think I am frightened of letting go of the side and lying on my back. However, lots of people told me that I seemed much better for trying hydrotherapy. And I am actually missing it!

I used to do seated yoga for people with mobility problems that was really good. Obviously, these activities are not on at the moment because of lockdown. Better to be safe.

During the time I have had MS

Strategies to manage the condition have popped up. And, at times I have been asked why I’m not taking CBD oil (because it doesn’t treat the symptoms I have). Or, why I am not following a strict diet… I have nothing against nutrition therapy, good for you if they work. I did try the diet and I felt great for a short period. Then I had several really bad relapses including the one that made me lose my job. That is just what happened to me.

Instead of being told what I should do, I want to ask something:

Are you doing physiotherapy?

Physiotherapy is the one thing that has consistently kept me going for the past fifteen years. When I started going to the physiotherapist that I still attend now, I could not bear to lift my head up straight without a sensation of hot pins and needles shooting through my neck. Because my head was permanently slumped to the side, this affected my posture. The knock-on effect of this was a nasty, achy pain just under my left collar bone. Although there is no cure for MS, I have been cured of pain in that specific part of me. But there are always little niggly things that crop up because of my condition. Blurred vision and sensitivity to light can affect my posture because I hide from the light. I am slightly weaker on one arm and one leg. I can’t stand up for long, I feel like I need to lean on something or sit down (urgently). I walk with a stick outside because I feel like I need something to lean on. I feel dizzy in wide-open spaces. Too much distance and I use a scooter. The benefits of physiotherapy are longterm. They are not a quick fix but for me, this works better than anything else.

I don’t mind putting a bit of work in to stay well because:

Before MS, I used to run ten miles per week.

I started running during my late twenties to try and improve my health. I was surprised how well I took to it, although I never saw much of a speed improvement I did feel better after a run. However, I was diagnosed with MS just before my thirtieth birthday and everything changed. I didn’t stop running immediately but I noticed that I didn’t get the ‘good feeling’ after a run anymore. Plus I fell over a few times. Cut my knee and wet myself. When I started to try and find a way to look forwards, I searched for a way that I could physically move – to make myself feel better. Physiotherapy has achieved this for me (even though I am shattered afterwards and have a lie-down!)

I have never had much stamina. I remember growing up I always felt weaker than all the other children in school. PE in the 1980s included ‘picking teams’. I was always picked last.

group of woman playing on green field during daytime
Photo by Pixabay on

I couldn’t catch I couldn’t throw and I wasn’t much better at running. I was a weakling!

Then, during my twenties, I had multiple periods of sick leave from work. I was a staff nurse and then a ward sister. It seemed I picked up every bug going. I cringe now at having to ring in sick. It was embarrassing and eventually, I was asked ‘Is there a problem?’ The only problem was, I think stress was playing a part in my poor health. Nursing can be a great job…

woman throwing confetti
Photo by Joshua Mcknight on

It can also be a physically draining job.

Now I don’t have a job, I was retired on ill-health in 2014. But I have an occupation. Number one is keeping myself as well as possible. I cannot thank my physiotherapist for all the help over all the years.

Number two is writing… I write this blog and I write books. I am an independent author with eight titles available on Amazon. If you want to find out a bit more about that then sign up for my mailing list: or follow this blog!

Thank you for reading this post on my experience of living with MS, I think next time I talk about MS I will talk about why I use a walking stick. Happy reading and stay safe, Samantha xx

*The reason for the title ‘If You Love It So Much, Why don’t You Marry It?’ is I am not keen on being asked questions about MS when I am socialising. It does my head in. You wouldn’t ask someone who’s got asthma if they are still taking their inhalers, would you? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t care who knows I’ve got MS and I don’t mind being asked how I am, as you would ask anyone.  BUT stupid questions about ‘How does my scooter fit in my car?’ and ‘Are you on benefits?’ I find intrusive and are not helpful!


I wrote these books

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What We Did During Lockdown – THE DONATION

What we did during lockdown (1)

Back in April… (it doesn’t seem that long ago) my friend Alex started a friend group on Facebook so that we could all keep in touch.

I had the idea of putting together an anthology. I wrote a short story, but by then I think we were all feeling a little short of motivation.

However! My friend Leah (Leah Leanne Wood) sent me her story The Suitcase… as I read it, tears of joy formed and I had to continue with the project.

Leah for book

My friend Leah, pictured here. She is beautiful and bright 🙂

Soon, Alex Cavanagh (the skateboarding poet) joined in with a poem about his family.

Shaylah wrote a story about a Van Gogh inspired creepy artist.

Claire Kingsley wrote a story inspired by that Meme ‘OK Karen’

My story, Magic Pound was inspired by the end of my degree module Fairy Tales and Shakespeare’s Tempest.

We have sold 43 paperbacks and 11 Kindle downloads. Also, 111 Kindle Unlimited pages. This amounts to £33.86 I have rounded this up to £40 and sent the donation today to Bury Hospice in memory of Leah’s mum, Sam Hunt.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, selfie, close-up and indoor



No description available.

No description available.

You can still buy What We Did During Lockdown HERE UK or HERE US I will donate the royalties straight to Bury Hospice.



Happy reading, Samantha xx

It is My 45th Birthday This Week and I am Celebrating by Launching a Brand New Mailing List

Happy birthday to me 🙂

cakes on table
Photo by Silvia Trigo on

On Wednesday I am entering my 46th year. I have to be honest, I can’t be bothered having a birthday this year.

I am officially middle-aged now which is weird because people still speak to me as though I am twelve…

Who has the time to listen to me moaning, though? I’m obviously going to pull an overnight Leyland Palmer (you know the Twin Peaks character who went grey overnight).


Anyway… here it is. To celebrate my 45th birthday, I spent hours and hours and hours starting up a mailing list. Then I sent myself a test email, and it ended up in my spam folder…

It is going to be awesome!

Click HERE if you know you want to subscribe to my list.

I subscribe to lots of lists, and I often feel guilty that I don’t have time to open or read all the emails… That is why I have hesitated… until my 45th birthday 😉

I have already added a free book ‘Edith’s Hen Do‘ for early subscribers.

Edith's Hen Do

Next month, subscribers who have enjoyed book one of the Curmudgeon Avenue series will receive book two ‘The Harold and Edith Adventures’ free to download when joining my mailing list.

I will also be writing and sending out shorts about the Curmudgeon Avenue characters…


Stay safe everyone, love Samantha xx

Herding Behaviour (why are we obsessed with reviews?)

Why are we so obsessed with book reviews?

Reviews, reviews, reviews. 

That is all you’ll ever hear an indie author talk about.

Have we got enough reviews for our book?

How many reviews are enough reviews?

Do people actually read reviews when choosing a new book?


This post is not about answering how we get reviews – if I knew that, I wouldn’t be writing this would I?*

*(You could try engaging with Goodreads advice groups or maybe employ a blog tour organiser).

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A Good Friend of mine is a top marketing executive. She doesn’t have time to read because of her (very cute) toddler son. We have been friends for years and years, even before I started writing. She lives in the south of England now so when we actually see one another we have loads to talk about. Not usually work.

ANYWAY last year, before all this lockdown business, when we met up, I asked her for some tips on marketing my books.

She didn’t even blink, ‘GET REVIEWS.’ My friend said.

Although she added the caveat that she doesn’t work in book publishing I do value her opinion. I think she is right.

I have been thinking about nothing but reviews since I became an independent author in 2016. Slight exaggeration, I do think about other things but you get the picture.


Reading is a very individual thing.

What I like to read is not the same as what someone else would like to read. We have all read books and raved about them to our friends and been shot down with an ‘Oh I didn’t like it.’

Do not get me started on book clubs…

So why are reviews so important?

Human behaviour has a lot to do with this. Herding behaviour… (now you are all imagining livestock being rounded up aren’t you?)

two cows
Photo by Kat Jayne on

“Moooo… I heard Samantha Henthorn has a new book coming out later this year. Moo.”

“I heard she’s pants, her last release has only got five ratings. Moooooo.”


If my friends, the cows start moving in one direction then, as a rule of thumb all the other animals will follow. They will follow without direction. This is the same thing that happens to humans. This is why fashions and fads take hold. Rightly or wrongly, if a few people are doing something then us humans will follow.

Without direction, humans will all read the same book. Because everyone else has read it. And how do they know that? Because the book has got lots of reviews. Good or bad, if lots of people have left a review, then the book must be worth reading. Right?

A few years ago, I decided I didn’t want to be a cow anymore. I felt I was being tricked. I had been tricked, at one time, I only read what everyone else was reading. So I started reading a lot of books by independent authors. But before this…

One of the first books I read when my daughter reached the age I was allowed to properly start reading again was The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audre Niffenegger. A really famous book, I read it in 2004 before the film and everything. I was still working at the time and lent it to one of my work colleagues. This person never returned books that others had lent her, so imagine my surprise (and tetchiness) when she presented me with MY copy of The Time Traveler’s Wife and told me that I HAD to read it. (Even though I was the one who recommended it to her in the first place!)

Front cover of book showing young girl from the waist down in knee socks and Mary Janes and empty brown Oxfords next to her on a picnic blanket.


When I think back, two incidents involving shops convinced me of herding behaviour. When I was a teenager I had a Saturday job in Manchester Arndale. The shop I worked in sold costume jewellery and hair scrunchies (it was the 90s). One day, a big box arrived with ‘sale items’. It was a massive box of hairbands. These hairbands were dropped into another big box complete with price sticker and positioned right at the front of the shop. A couple of hours later, none of the hairbands had sold. The shop manager had a great idea. (!)

She instructed me to put my coat on (cleverly hiding my uniform) and pretend to be a customer, rooting through the box of hairbands. ‘Try a few on’ she had said. I was very embarrassed but it worked! I didn’t even have to try any of the things on my head, customers started coming over to see what I was looking at. Soon a crowd gathered and for half an afternoon in early nineties Manchester, a trend was set on the wearing of headbands.

two pink rose flower accent headbands on white surface
Photo by Kristina Paukshtite on

The second shop related herding incident was another embarrassing incident for me. Even before I was diagnosed with MS, I had trouble with blurred vision – triggered by bright neon lights in my case. Not long after I had been diagnosed (and suffered a few relapses of optic neuritis) I went to Sri Lanka for a friend’s wedding. (A different friend to the one mentioned earlier). This was in 2008. One day during the holiday, my friend (who had visited Sri Lanka many times) suggested we all visit a department store. I really wish I could remember the name of this massive store that sold everything, but I can’t. We were tourists and had money to spend.

At some point, I was separated from my friends but some embroidered cushion covers had caught my eye. I thought oh I had better pay for these before I go to the next floor to look for my friends. WELL, a combination of jet-lag tiredness, panic and neon light-induced eyesight problems landed me in front of what I thought was a service point. The shop assistant will probably come back when she sees me standing here at the till. I thought…

It was probably only a few moments but by the time I realised that I was not waiting in a queue to pay… an actual queue had formed around me.

I am so embarrassed and I didn’t even know how to say sorry. I had accidentally lured a crowd of people to look at a pile of pillowcases.

Shame I can’t do that with books…

Even when I thought I was being tricked and decided not to read the ‘BOOKS THAT EVERYONE IS READING’ I still don’t know what influenced me to read the books I have over the past few years. Do any of us really choose anything for ourselves? Do we follow each other? I just know that there are more books out there than the popular ones. Although… it is good to have read a book and be able to have a conversation about it with someone else…

‘Famous’ books I have read recently are The Testaments by Margaret Atwood The Testaments: WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE 2019 (The Handmaid’s Tale)

And My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite.

My Sister, the Serial Killer: The Sunday Times Bestseller

These books have nearly TEN THOUSAND  reviews between them on Amazon (at the time I wrote this post). If you would like to see books I have read recently, check out my Goodreads widget at the bottom of my blog page or click HERE


Thank you for joining me on my post about why I think book reviews work. If you have enjoyed reading a book recently, don’t forget to review it.

Happy reading, and stay safe,

Samantha xx

I wrote these books !

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#Audiobook is HERE! Curmudgeon Avenue #1 is Now an Audiobook and I am Over The Moon! #IARTG

Hello Everyone!

I am sure by now that you all know the story about my husband encouraging me to put my book Curmudgeon Avenue #1: The Terraced House Diaries forward on ACX to see if anyone would transform it into an audiobook.

WELL I am glad he did and I am even more astonished/over the moon/pleased that the multi-talented voice-over actor Lindsay McKinnon contacted me about producing it.

Here is our book launch at a local library (pre lockdown)

You can read the blog I wrote about our live audiobook launch at Radcliffe Library HERE


Curmudgeon Avenue is the book about a proud, yet grouchy Victorian terraced house in a (fictional) town in Whitefield. They do say that walls have ears, and some even say that walls can talk. So when mismatched sisters Edith and Edna Payne move in, the house has plenty to say.

One of the first ever reviews that Curmudgeon Avenue received described it as ‘Coronation Street on Speed’. I think that this explains it better than any blurb. Two years after first publication, I am currently writing book number 5 of the series.

The World Does Not Revolve Around Curmudgeon Avenue

(Yes it does, I can’t stop writing it!)

The book really lends itself to spoken word and Lindsay has done the finest job possible colouring the characters with accents.

Enough from me – here are the links: AUDIBLE     AMAZON


Happy listening everyone! Please let us know what you think by leaving a review on Audible or Amazon,

Samantha and Lindsay xx

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A Thank You and a Special Announcement For my Final What’s in a (Character) Name Guest Post Slot

Hello there,

During the previous module of my Creative Writing degree, I learnt about the importance of naming your characters. Naming all of your characters avoids confusion for your reader. You wouldn’t want to read a book that had too many ‘he’s’ in, would you.?

This degree is part-time and has a while to go yet. This year I learnt the opposite of the above naming advice because this year’s module was about fairy tales. With lots of stock characters the sister, the carpenter and the step-mother.

With all these theories floating about, last year I had an idea to ask some of my fellow indie authors what’s in a character name? I would like to thank you all today, and after I have posted some pictures of my guest posters I have a really special announcement about next week’s final ‘What’s in a (Character) Name’ guest post.




51wKrNmupRL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_One By One by [Hosby, Yawatta]1561630467184c1e82edfdd2145ac67b171da1b202

91g3HS7c2pL._AC_UY218_ML3_9780993073700Jessica Redland - The Secret To Happiness

The Hive: A dark, spine-chilling thriller to keep you turning pages Kindle Edition


Wow! That was a lot of books and a lot of words! Thank you once again for joining me on my writerly rambling posts. I have been honoured to include my indie author colleagues.

Now for my special announcement. 

I don’t know any of my dad’s family but I grew up knowing of them. Dad had a cousin who used to write books, her pen name was Jane Hope and her most famous book was called ‘Don’t Do It! : a Complete Guide To Teaching’.

When I had to give up nursing for health reasons, I started writing. I asked Dad about my childhood memory of his cousin, the famous author. Imagine my surprise when he told me that ‘She wasn’t famous‘ (!) Well, to dampen my disappointment, my dad gave me a book written by another cousin but this was not a book for public consumption; it was a family book that his cousin had written after researching the family history.

Dad let me borrow the book and I was astonished to find out that I have a cousin who ACTUALLY IS A FAMOUS AUTHOR.  ‘I knew it!’ I said to myself, creative genes are coursing through my veins!  My (second) cousin is Booker prize shortlisted author Christopher Wilson I read all of his books straight away. They are awesome. I think my favourite is The Ballad of Lee Cotton No! Wait! My favourite book by Christopher Wilson is Blueglass…. no, no it’s Zoo

Ah they are all brilliant, I can’t wait until next Wednesday when I share with you my very last guest post about character names written by Christopher Wilson  (did I mention he’s my cousin?) Christopher’s post is awesome – please join me!

Happy reading, thanks again to the guest posters and stay safe, Samantha xx

Magic Pound #ShortStory #IARTG

Magic Pound

There once lived a woman who was filthy rich and lived in a grand house in the forest of suburbia. She had everything she thought her heart desired. The finest clothes in the latest fashions, her digits dripped with jewels – even her little toes showed off splendour. And her hair, oh! Her luxuriously long hair danced around her shoulders like a fluffle of wild rabbit kits in spring.

Every evening, she dined on delicious food and overpriced wine usually and ashamedly polishing off the entire bottle herself. Her house was beautiful, her garden exemplary and the envy of all who gazed upon it (she imagined).

In addition to these perceived virtues, the filthy rich woman was extremely knowledgeable. Some would go as far as saying ‘she knows everything’ and at one time, she would share knowledge widely.

This was in the past, however, because despite wealth and self-appointed oracle status, she had no one to share it with. No partner, no family (there was a cousin in Kidderminster, but the less said about her, the better). This filthy rich woman had no friends. You could say… she is alone…

Today of all days, she had a problem. The supermarket had run out of her favourite things. And toilet roll! There was absolutely no toilet roll on the shelves… She sighed, fastened the seatbelt of her hugely expensive car and drove to the next shop. As the wind and rain lashed against her windscreen, she drove round and round the island. Further and further away from her palatial home. In every supermarket the same story, queues, no loo roll and shelves bereft of her favourites. It was alright for her though, she was safe in her car, apart from when she had to queue – this would never do. She had not seen the news, on account of already knowing everything but in the third car park, the radio played in her car. Soon her head filled with doom. She was consumed with anxiety, how was she to get through the next few months of her life without her favourite things? She sighed and made her way to the final supermarket, a place she would never normally frequent.

‘A pound?’ she gasped at the trolley’s security tag.

‘Yeah, so no one’ll nick them and push them into the River Irwell,’ a voice said from the side. Ignoring the drenched commentator, the filthy rich woman returned to her car. She rummaged around in the centre console for coins. Fifty p? Twopence? No, ahh you will have to do! Between her forefinger and thumb, the woman held a shiny patterned token. A pretend pound gifted to her during a time she was not as lonely. The commentator admired her as she freed a trolley and at last, entered the supermarket in search of her favourite things.

Although waiting in line outside had been tolerable, the items on sale were not. What did this filthy rich woman need with bulk buy tinned soup? And the toilet roll was only available in a multipack! Her very favourite dish for a Wednesday of spinach and ricotta cannelloni suddenly became tinned spaghetti hoops… on toast… white toast… Her Thursday fillet steak, now a tin of spam (they had sold out of frozen burgers and corned beef). Sushi platter Saturday became pot noodles (sold in bulk). Smoked salmon Sunday brunch? A tin of sardines would have to suffice (on yet more toast). And of course, they did not sell Champagne.

Somewhat satisfied with her haul, the filthy rich woman paid and made her way towards the exit.

‘Can I take your trolley back for the pound, Sweet?’ the same voice from the side reached out to her. She was about to ignore him, but as she looked upwards, she noticed his face almost meeting hers.

‘Keep your distance!’ she snapped ‘Haven’t you seen the news? TWO METRES APART!’

‘Seen the news?’ he took a swig from what appeared to be the world’s cheapest lager. ‘No, sorry Sweet, I lost the remote for my fifty-two-inch widescreen.’

She did not bat an eyelid at his quip. ‘Well, there is a global pandemic – we must all keep our distance… and self isolate! I shall have to put my life on hold!’

‘Poor you,’ the voice said.

‘Thank you.’

‘Offer still stands… can I take your trolley back for the pound?’

‘Oh, oh… no, it’s one of those tokens… it’s my magic pound,’ the woman had no idea why she had been so forthcoming, perhaps it had been his charm offensive.

‘Magic?’ he laughed, showing a full set of fillings. ‘What’s magic about it?’

‘Oh hahaha,’ she nervously laughed. ‘Nothing, I suppose… just what my… what someone used to call them,’ she rummaged in her pocket. ‘Here,’ she handed over two fifty pence pieces. During this transaction, she remembered the social distancing rule and dropped them on the floor. Her friendly commentator had to scramble around to pick them up. When he looked up, she had gone, driving away in her hugely expensive car.

A few short days later, the filthy rich woman’s consumer hankerings got the better of her. Once again her hugely expensive car backed off the driveway. As she reached the centre of town desolation greeted her, but she was just grateful for the lack of traffic and the calmer weather. After her previous debacle, she headed straight back to the shop that she would not usually be seen dead in, all prepared with her magic pound.

‘You forget something last time, Sweet?’

She nervously giggled an assertion she did not want to speak to the over-familiar commentator hanging around in exactly the same place. She commandeered a trolley (via the magic pound) and noticed someone she did want to speak to…

‘Jane! Jane!’ she shouted after her fellow shopper who was either deaf, in a hurry… or trying to avoid her ‘Jane! Jane, it’s me… Mimi!’ she dropped her waving hand. Jane had literally left her hanging, and this would never do. ‘Really’ Mimi huffed to herself and rattled her trolley inside the shop, desperate to drain her bank balance and ask Jane a load of nosy questions. Poor Jane.

‘Excuse me… Excuse me…’ Mimi tried desperately to pass a family of shoppers dragging bags of frozen chips and sausages from the freezers into their own trolley. I thought people were not supposed to bring their entire family shopping during the pandemic…

‘And I thought people were meant to queue outside and wait until the store was less busy,’ an angry shopper said, after overhearing Mimi’s grumbling. She glanced behind towards the double doors and spied a queue of angry shoppers gesticulating their disgust. She had barged past them and tried to use ‘Jane’ to push in. Mimi decided against apologetically returning outside to join the queue but instead, suddenly found a box of frozen pulled pork very interesting. Then, through the gaps in the condiments on display, Mimi spotted that Jane was already at the till! ‘Jane! Jane!’ once again, Mimi was ignored. ‘Ohhh’ she cried to herself. Deciding against filling her trolley, she dashed towards Jane. But other shoppers were in her way as she weaved through the aisles… Shoppers who were adhering to the social distancing rules. Mimi’s desperation did not go down well, the entire shop (apart from Jane who had done one) laughed when Mimi collided with a tower of egg boxes and crashed to the floor. ‘Ewww. Ewww, sugar! Somebody help me please!’ Mimi rolled around dramatically in a pool of yellow and shell. An overworked shop assistant stifled her giggles as she helped Mimi to her feet. ‘I’m ever so sorry, I will pay for any damage… but really? Stacking boxes of eggs in the way of customers?’ Mimi did not give the shop assistant time to disagree and ran around, grabbing what she could.

By the time Mimi reached the till (while batting off wisecracks made by her counterpart customers about ‘over egg-cited’ and ‘egg on her face’) there was no trace of Jane. Why would she ignore me? Mimi thought to herself. I am filthy rich, and at one time she was a mess! She could hardly do anything without running it past me for advice! And I would be there… always telling her what she should and shouldn’t do. I’m good like that…

‘Did you get everything you needed Mimi?’ the commentator said, rescuing her from her ruminations.

‘What? Yes! Hang on, how did you know my name?’

‘Oh, I always have a little chat with Jane on her way out – a lovely woman. People often take her for a fool, but she isn’t.’

‘So she did see me then?’ Mimi murmured to herself…

‘Pardon? You say summat, Sweet?’

‘Oh, nothing… well, you know my name now so it’s only right that I should know yours,’ said Mimi, deflecting from Jane’s rebuff.

‘My name is Pros.’

‘Oh, short for live long and prosper I suppose?’ Mimi laughed.

‘Something like that,’ Pros rolled his eyes. ‘At least I’m not named after myself ME ME!’

‘No, it’s MIMI, just Mimi, not short for anything.’ Mimi arranged a bag for life in the driver’s seat of her hugely expensive car to protect it from her egg covered backside. ‘Here,’ she reached into her centre console for a few small coins. ‘Be a dear and take my trolley back for me would you and return the magic pound to me…’

Pros did as he was told, but before returning the magic pound, he shined it against his sleeve. ‘Bye-bye now, Mimi, be sure to let me know when the pandemic ends.’

‘Yes, I cannot wait until it’s all over and then I can go back to normal!’ Mimi laughed and jumped into her car, not realising what she had said.


The following few weeks saw terrible things happening in the world, death, global fear and widespread pandemonium. Strangely, Mimi started watching the news again. It turned out that she did not know everything. She returned to the same supermarket several times, and what began as a passing comment became something she was now looking forward to.

‘Hello, Mimi are you alright there, Sweet?’ Pros would always say when she arrived. And Mimi now felt it was time to start sharing her knowledge.

‘You know what you should do,’ Mimi began. But the look that Pros gave her, the raised eyebrow and the slightly squarer shoulders almost made Mimi relent. But no, it was in her nature to dole out unwanted advice. ‘What you should do is… if you still cannot find your TV remote…’ But Mimi’s words drowned in laughter.

‘I was joking, Sweet! I don’t have a fifty-two-inch widescreen television! I’m on the streets… Mimi’ Pros laughed, he thought better of teasing her with ‘Dickhead’ her type never got the humour and she always gave him a few coins (not the magic one obviously).

Although she was used to being alone, during the lockdown, the only person Mimi ever spoke to had been Pros.

‘Aright there Sweet?’ the familiar welcome of her homeless friend greeted her. ‘Still no end to the pandemic?’

‘No… no,’ Mimi smoothed down her hair.

‘As soon as I find a cure for Coronavirus I will let you know, Mimi,’ Pros winked, and Mimi blushed. ‘I could do with a Corona right now,’ Pros grinned and instead, sipped his can of the world’s cheapest lager. Mimi fluttered a giggle.

Winter now long gone, spring was finally turning into summer, and everyone on the island had adapted to these strange times. Mimi had become quite creative with her appearance, no trips to the hairdresser or beauty salon had taken their toll. Obviously, Mimi still thought of herself as beautiful. However, she was starting to change in her attitude. Although Jane did not accept her friend request on Facebook, Mimi accepted this and secretly wished her well. Today, Mimi was very pleased with herself, she had bought a present for Pros and was excited to deliver it to him. Something not quite materialistic, but expensive all the same. Although romance often includes adventures with unlikely events, Mimi had been realistic with her gift idea. She pulled up into the car park and gave her magic pound a rub for good luck. Checking herself out in the mirror (yes, still gorgeous) Mimi stepped out of her car.

But where was Pros? Mimi’s face fell as it appeared he had been replaced by another man dressed in similar clothes and drinking the same world’s cheapest lager…

‘You OK there, Love? Any chance I can have your pound from the trolley on your way out?’

‘Oh… it’s a…’ Mimi’s face fell.

‘Is it a magic pound? Prospero told me to look out for you.’

‘Did he?’ Mimi brightened, feeling foolish with a case of slightly more expensive Mexican lager held tightly to her bosom. She considered handing it over, she couldn’t very well take it into the shop with her. ‘Where is Pros?’ she said, deciding booze would be a reward for information.

‘Oh, he’s gone fruit picking in the countryside. Does it every year, casting his friendship and wisdom amongst the other pickers.’

© Samantha Henthorn 2020.

Inspired by the news, fairy tales, Shakespeare, things I don’t miss. Hoping this story is going to be the start of something bigger – who knows? 

I am the author of the Curmudgeon Avenue Series. I also wrote a short story collection three years ago called Quirky Tales to Make Your Day. Here is the link in pink for my Amazon page


Stay safe and happy reading, Samantha xx





What’s in a (Character) Name? #Guestpost Nico J. Genes @NicoJGenes #IARTG

Hello and thank you for joining me on my rolling character naming writerly rambling posts. Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to one of my internet writing friends Nico J. Genes. We ‘met’ on Goodreads. I have found Goodreads to be a really useful place for support from other indie authors. I have read two of Nico’s books – you will find my 5* reviews for both of them on Amazon . Definitely worth a read.

Thank you, Nico

Nico J.Genes


Hi! My name is Nico and I’m a writer. Throughout my life, I’ve been called also Nicole, Niki, Nicu, but somehow Nico has a warmer touch to it. So, Nico, it is. It is all about feelings, you know.

Let’s see how I came up with some of the names from my novels.

Magnetic Reverie & Reverie Girl:

Magnetic Reverie (The Reverie Book 1) Kindle EditionReverie Girl (The Reverie Book 2) Kindle Edition

The idea for my first novel struck me one day. It didn’t have many characters but I had to decide on the names as otherwise, it would have made it difficult, right? I couldn’t just go »she« and »he« as at one point not only the readers would be confused, but I would be the more confused one, the author. I didn’t think much of the names when I started. I did pick up Ana as the name of my main character. My mom’s name is Ana and I find it a really beautiful name, full of purity. It felt so smooth writing Ana whenever the main character came into the scene. I don’t recall now what were the other characters’ names but I’m sure I’ve changed them all.

You know, when I first started writing I didn’t even think it will be something that it will turn into a novel. I just penned down the beginning of something that later on will become my debut novel. When the story was evolving and the characters were being defined, as I didn’t want any of the people I had in my life to think there are any correlations between my work of fiction and my private life, I had to deal with the name thing. Ana, as much as I love this name, had to be replaced. I can’t write a bisexual/lesbian novel with some steamy scenes having one character named the same as my mom. Do you agree? Still, I had to replace it with something as smooth and soft so after some thinking it became Lana. Problem solved. The other characters were a tad easier, still not quite smooth. I didn’t just snap my fingers or took a three minutes break and came up with them. No. Having in mind that the story takes place between Slovenia, Croatia, and the USA, and all the twists and wonders that are not clear for the reader right at the beginning, I had to deal longer with the name for my second character. She was a woman from Slovenia, so her name had to sound Slovenian and American at the same time. And here comes Claire. Well, Claire is the American version while Klara is the Slovenian one. There is a perfectly fine explanation for that in the story and to me, she’s mainly Claire. The other characters got random names, still, I usually prefer short ones and I’m trying to avoid having very similar names so that the reader does not get confused. As I’ve said earlier, I’m trying to have all the names of my fiction works as different as possible from the people I know. Still, it can’t always be done easily as we do get to meet quite a lot of people in our lives. So here comes the claim: »This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.«


ADHD: Life is Beautiful

ADHD: LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL: A True Story Kindle Edition
I cherish and hold dear to my heart all of my books, as they are my children, my creations. This one, being a true story, hits a higher place. The names though, except for mine, could not be used. As I mentioned in the claims: »Some places, names, and identifying details have been changed in order to maintain the anonymity of others.«, I couldn’t expose my friends’ names so I had to come up with substitutions. While I wrote the book, I have used the real names of my friends and only replace them when before publishing. I played in my mind for a few days with several names and not only that, they had to sit right with me, I wanted them to fit. My friends, a mother and her son, became Peter and Eliza. The real Peter didn’t like his name when he heard it and he asked me to mention in the book that the main character has this name against his will, hence without his approval. He made me laugh and his remark was totally in line with the content of the book. He wasn’t laughing, though.

In conclusion, there are many stories behind a character’s name and, we authors, don’t have often the chance to talk about it, so thank you, Sam, for the opportunity.


Useful links:


REVERIE GIRL: Amazon(ebook):


Amazon profile:

Nico J. Genes has traveled and worked with many interesting and unique people of different nationalities, religions, and sexual orientations, all of whom helped her to understand diversity and to accept everyone just as they are.

With her first two novels, “Magnetic Reverie” and “Reverie Girl”, she broke the ice into writing successfully. From her readers’ feedback and reviews, Nico can proudly say she has a solid confirmation of her skills as an established writer. An important element of her writing is that she always has a message that she wants to transmit. This can be summed up by her motto: We are all different, and that’s okay!

Besides novel-writing, Nico also runs a blog in which she talks about life’s issues, and gives the kind of friendly advice that everyone needs at certain points of their life. The positive feedback of her readers became her inspiration for her third book, “Lessons in Life”. Continuing her mission of welcoming all diversity and pleading for tolerance and acceptance, she wrote the novel “ADHD: Life Is Beautiful”, based on a true story.

ADHD Life is Beautiful by Nico J. Genes EBOOK (1)

Follow your dreams


Thank you so much Nico! Join me next time for more character naming, Sam xx

What’s in a (Character) Name? Raintown by Andy Donaldson @AndyRainTown #GuestPost #IARTG

Thank you for joining me today on my fortnightly writerly rambling post. Last year, I was lucky enough to take part in the #DecTheShelves challenge on Twitter (organised by advanced league blogger and writer Deborah J Miles at Against The Flow Press Raintown by Andy Donaldson was one of the featured books, written for age 9-14 I gifted three copies to some of my friends’ children.

Image result for Ramsbottom

Set in a rainy town just like Ramsbottom up the road from me in Brandlesholme (near Bury) Andy Donaldson came up with a name for a fictional rainy town – Shigbeth 

Image result for shigbeth

Thanks, Andy for your guest post:

What’s in a (character) name?

As ‘Rain Town’ is a book for children aimed at Middle Grade to Young adults, the names of the characters need to ‘work.’ By that I mean, they needed to be simple, relatable and fit the genre which in this story is comic, ordinary and in some ways slightly nostalgic. The story is set in an average, North of England type, rainy, brick terrace small town and so the names of the characters needed to match. Sidney and Stanley, Billy and Bobby Bathurst, Charlie and Chloe et al were chosen because they just seemed to naturally fit this premise. There wasn’t much thought that went into it. The names matched the personalities and the imagined environment. Good guys like Stanley Rain and Charlie Green have warm, short names perhaps with nods to the occupants of childhood comics from the Eighties like ‘Roy of the Rovers’ and ‘Whizzer & Chips.’ Nigel Greenstock became the villain because to me the name seems to match the sort of character who is a bit slimy and ‘up to no good.’ It works well for a certain Mr Farage so why not here in the town of Shigbeth?

At the heart of the book is Sidney Rain, part time Dad, delivery driver and superhero crime fighter inthe form of his alter-ego ‘The Raven.’ ‘Sid’ just seemed to work with the character perfectly. Slightly dim, down to earth, a touch industrial and rugged with a hint of the hapless and comic. Underneath this ordinary exterior is a heart of gold; a man who just wants to do his best by his son and his few friends. However, there is also a bit of a subconscious reason for giving him the name Sidney. My Grandad was Sidney Charles Cousins and although I didn’t have him expressly in mind when I started out on the book, there are elements of him that have emerged in the character Sidney Rain. The real life Sid was also at first glance a pretty normal and unremarkable man. He was someone who was very definitely grounded with very few ‘airs and graces.’ He fixed planes during the war and eventually at airports once the post war period developed. Highly skilled but manual labour,a bit old-fashioned, uneducated at least academically and not exactly politically correct. I still remember him standing at the top of the stairs outside the bathroom first thing in the morning in his string vest and pyjama bottoms, mug of tea in hand, smelling of ‘brylcream’, shaving foam and ‘Old Spice’ aftershave. Underneath all that was a man who had spent his life just wanting to do his best by his friends, family and his grandchildren. Like the Sidney in the story, a man who didn’t need a cape, a mask and boots to be a hero.

No longer with us, I would like to think that somewhere Grandad Sidney is in his favourite chair, reading about the adventures of Sidney Rain, chuckling along, with a massive mug of tea on the go.

Andy DonaldsonAnd Donaldson Author

Teacher by day, Writer by night.

Author of ‘Rain Town’. The next one in the series has just been finished too…

You can find me on Twitter @AndyRainTown.

Andy Donaldson’s Amazon page

Buy a paperback copy of Raintown here
‘Is there anyone there?’ he tentatively enquired at the shadows. There was no response. Must have been a cat he thought. His pulse calmed and he wiped the sweat from his brow. The young thief turned away from the alley and the road and once more urged his feet to move on. ‘What are you doing little boy?’ commanded a booming voice from the alleyway.

Sidney Rain is an ordinary man with an ordinary job in an ordinary town. Except for the fact that sometimes at night he dresses up as a superhero and heads out living his fantasy. But he’s putting on weight, about to lose his job and he’s generally not feeling particularly super at all.

Stanley Rain is Sidney’s 12 year old son. He’s an ordinary boy with ordinary friends at an ordinary school. But that school is being taken over by a local entrepreneur and is changing for the worst. And Stanley is not going to let that happen without a fight.

When a mysterious theft takes place, Stanley and his friends will need to turn detective to help save their school. And after being fired at work by his new boss, Sidney will need his friends to help save his soul.


Thank you so much Andy for writing a fab book I was able to gift to my fab friend’s boys from Ramsbottom.

Join me next time when Sharon Booth tells us about her character names – it’s gonna be awesome!

Happy reading, Samantha xx