Dennis, a prostitute selling conman, is forced to look back on his life when an attack leaves him with little life left to spare. Addressing his sordid past, he asks himself, ‘how far must a man fall before the climb back up becomes too steep?’
Can you ever truly be saved? A cult deprogrammer, a despicable crook and a war criminal ask themselves as the Wigan Church of Hathfield Bay draw their attention.
Coming 2021, from the Author of MAESTRO ; MUSE and HARBOUR HOUSE , step outside the Knock Knock club and head on over to Hathfield Bay Island for a nail biting, knuckle whiting , full in your face exciting glimpse into the lowest depths of humanity.
Check out Knock Knock club manager Dennis. Last seen at the Penn Auction House having a chat with the Penn triplets …
We all have those moments in life where we are taken on a completely different path. Some life events have the potential to change our points of view and some have the opportunity to wipe us out completely.
With everything going on in the world at the moment it makes me nostalgic. Thinking back I take time to consider those life changing moments. For me it was when I was aged twelve and I was just starting my second year of high school. As per usual I had arrived late and the first session was P.E. Across the road from my high school were playing fields where most of the outdoor classes were held. The few other stragglers and I got dressed into our kits and headed across. Between the school and the playing fields is a very busy road. Already a little shaken by the speed of the traffic and anxious that I was already late I crossed the road and was (perhaps inevitably) knocked down.
I spent months in the hospital recovering from the injuries, watching the opening game of the 1998 World Cup from my bed. Even to this day I don’t remember what happened. All I can go on was the stories told by my family as they were given the news and my school mates who were there to witness the event. The point is that when I came round some weeks later I was in a strange hospital with absolutely no clue as to how I got there. It was strange to not recognise the hospital because as a youngster I had pretty much toured all the medical facilities of the city.
As I recovered I was reminded by the physical pain I was in, the reactions of my loved ones and by the gifts and well wishes I was inundated with that I had come so close to no longer being around. To this day I would have been but a memory of some little girl who had once been part of the family. This sounds really morbid and I do have a morbid fascination with death but In times of trouble or when things get me down I think upon that moment and remind myself that there is still much life left to live. I am still here and as such I can still contribute. It stops me from wasting time and it helps me gain the confidence to reach out when I need help.
So I put it to you to think about those moments that changed you or changed the world around you. Let’s use those moments to push ourselves to do better and to remind us to make the world around us a better place in whatever ways we can.
Have you ever been asked what you would find difficult or even impossible to live without if you were stuck on a desert island? No? Well consider this my putting the question to you.
Internet seems to be incredibly important to people these days. It’s a way to research and keep in touch with friends and family so let’s assume for the sake of this pondering that it was taken away. What then? Maybe I’m getting a little ahead of myself and the internet is one thing that you would most definitely not live without. After all, whats the point in being on a sun kissed island if you can’t send those snaps to insta? But let’s assume phones, tablets and their ilk are not possible. What then?
PEN and PAPER
Even in this day and age with all the streaming devices I would be content just to have a pen and paper to scribble away. I would document my thoughts, fictional stories or maybe a detailed description of the conversations I’m having with a favoured palm tree on this imaginary island. To me if you are able to do that there is no amount of isolation that could get to you. I’ve always been a weird kid with a nose in a book though.
life on that deserted island would be pretty dull without music, wouldn’t it? I live my life by music. It wakes me up, it follows me throughout the day and it puts me to sleep again. I’m not exactly sure how this would work without modern conveniences to play music on but one way or another I’d need to have music around. Maybe the crashing waves could provide the music …
A WAY TO TELL THE TIME
For as long as I can remember I have always been a little anxious when there is nothing around that is able tell me with some degree of accuracy what time it is. A clock, a watch or even a home made sun dial would be something I would need. Although time keeping is a man made construct and being on a desert island would be an opportunity to learn to not live your life around the clock.
A COMFORTABLE CHAIR
Whether it is for resting, dozing or pondering I would need to have my favourite shady spot. I guess it is in human nature to try and find that little space we can call our own. Give me my comfortable chair and I’ll be content.
My niece and my nephew. They are as close to me as my own babies. It would be a struggle to be without them. I guess I’m not as good with isolation as I thought …
So what about you? What would be those things that you just couldn’t live without?
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Words are powerful things, aren’t they? They have the power to put down but they also have the immense potential to lift up. The above quote from a poem by Erin Hanson is one of my absolute favourites. The words are powerful and the message is one that speaks to me. We all have those missed opportunities and to be encouraged to pursue your dreams no matter how scary it seems or how vulnerable it makes you feel is something I will always champion.
Not only is Dickens one of the great masters of literature, he is also a passionate speaker for those with little voice. With his masterful story telling techniques he challenged the Victorian elite and opened their eyes to social problems. Knowing this about him makes all of his words more powerful to me and the above quote in particular. Even over two centuries after since his birth the world still needs to be reminded that success in your own pursuits but the importance should lie in what we can do for others. A charitable man, a tremendously talented wordsmith and his words stand the test of time.
Imagination is such a powerful tool. This is evident when I spend time with my niece and nephew and enjoy how they lose themselves in their imaginations. The world around us can be whatever we want it to be. Our imagination is what would make long lasting and positive changes to our own world and to the greater world too. For the young this is an important reminder but I also think it is just as relevant to those older too. Use your imagination and let a better world fall into place.
These words are simple yet capture a sentiment that can be put to so many different things in life. When you struggle or when you are facing tough challenges personally or professionally these words have the power to help you push though. It is a reminder that the world may seem like a scary place sometimes but never forget the sun does eventually return to the skies.
So those are just some of my favourite inspiring quotes. Thanks to the internet there are a whole host of beautiful words out there and with the power to compose, share and inspire let’s use the power of words to help others, imagine the positive impact we can have on the world around us and remember tomorrow brings a new day.
What are some of your favourite quotes?
Vivika Widow is an author of thriller books and graphic novels. Her latest novel HARBOUR HOUSE is available now. The complete season 1 of the Knock Knock graphic novel series is free to read here on Vivika Widow online or download for Kindle Unlimited.
For me the best gifts are those given with real thought in mind. I have always valued sentimentality in presents over monetary value. I mean, precious gems, fancy holidays and the likes are not to be sneezed at but for me it is far more important that someone gives some thought to why the one receiving the gift would love it. This is something I try and keep in mind when I’m buying gifts for others. With that considered it made me think of some of the beautiful gifts I have been lucky to receive over the years.
There was a time in my life when I needed that sentimentality more than ever. I was in my second year of medical school, I was battling depression, exam stress and was isolated hundreds of miles away from my family and friends. Christmas came and on the morning in question my dad presented me with a hand drawing he had made for me of Frankenstein’s monster. To put you in the picture not only is my dad an amazing artist but Frankenstein is also my favorite novel, favorite movie and – dare I say it – one of the reasons I was inspired to study anatomy in the first place. Not only was this incredibly thoughtful but it was also something I could take back to medical school with me, pin to my wall and remind myself of what I was working towards (the degree I mean not the ghoulish experiments …)
You see for me it really doesn’t matter how much was spent on a present. It doesn’t need to be expensive or flashy. Some of the best gifts are those little things that you see and think, ‘so and so would love this.’ It’s a cliché platitude but it really is the thought that counts. A gift should be something that shows a person that you were thinking of them. When it comes to big events it is too easy to get swept up moving from shop to shop to find something that meets a financial expectation. Birthdays, holidays and general moments of sharing should be about what the other person means to you. In my humble opinion the best way to show that is to show that you have been listening. I guess what it all boils down to is showing how much you really know them and want to make them happy with your gift.
So, what was some of your most thoughtful gifts? Are you a sop like me and love the sentimentality or is it the shiny things you enjoy most?
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No matter how old you get, no matter how independent you are you will always be given advice. A whole manner of issues and events crop up in life when others will feel the need to advise you on what to do. I’m not detracting from the natural support group that it is important to surround yourself with. What I’m discussing here are those who give unwarranted suggestions or advise on issues that are of no consequence to them. Busybodies if you like.
We’ve all had our fair share of terrible advice. Most of it comes from a good place but it got me thinking about the worst advice I’ve ever been given.
“There’s an operation now that can make you taller. You should go and get your legs stretched.”
My five foot tall frame has never bothered me. I’m the short girl. It means about as much to me as my having blue eyes or brown hair. This came completely out of the blue and if I were to follow such sage advice I’d have put myself through unnecessary surgery as a teenager for the sake of a few extra inches, which if it really bothered me that much I’d wear heels to fix.
“Try your best to fit in with the other kids.”
I was never the bubbly child. Sure I was lucky to have lots of friends but what I always enjoyed most was time alone, reading a book. I interacted little with the children in my class and for that I was made to seem odd. Most people that know me would argue I am a little odd but when you’re still growing up and finding yourself being made to seem like you are misbehaving because you had a different view of how you wanted to spend your leisure time was not helping.
It’s best to know your own mind. We all make mistakes of course but at least mistakes can be made of your own accord. I guess what my point here is is don’t let terrible advice make you change who you are. Whether it’s your looks or your hobbies or even how others perceive you.
So what is the worst advice you have ever been given? How did you react to it?
If a genie (or a witch) were to grant you three wishes, what would you wish for?
It’s an age old question that we probably all asked ourselves at some point as kids. It’s fun to think about that romantic notion where everything your heart desires can be yours on the rub of a lamp. Fairy tales are fraught with the dangers of doing this though and there have been so many sensationalised examples of what can go wrong when you’re not careful in what you wish for. The movie ‘Bedazzled’ comes to mind.
Putting aside the idea that there rules attached what would be your three wishes?
For me looking for a lifetime of complete health would be first and foremost. What hope do you have of enjoying everything else when you don’t have your health? Maybe I’m just getting a little old and my priorities are different from when I was a younger woman but knowing that I was always going to be healthy would be my main aim.
Secondly, success. Not in a megalomaniac way nor in a greedy or prideful way. By success what I mean is being comfortable and affording that comfort to those around me. Life is full of its ups and downs and some days are more fruitful than others so just imagine how much easier life would be if you never had to worry about those rainy days where no matter how hard you work you just can’t break through. Just think of how much time could be spent on other things!
Finally, I would wish for an open ticket that would take me anywhere in the world on a whim. There’s so much to see and do in this life so there’s no time to be wasting. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I have a genie there granting that wish sure as Hell I’m going to do it!
So what would be your three wishes? Become a queen/king? Fill your life with unimaginable riches? Or would you seek the comfort of something more humble? Would you be so bold to wish for an unlimited number of wishes? Or would you go ahead and just set that poor genie free?
This is one of my absolute favourite platitudes simply because it is so true. If I had the knowledge I have now as a woman in my thirties when I was a young teenager setting off for medical school things would have been so much different. I don’t doubt I would have made mistakes, no one’s perfect, and even as I get older and (hopefully wiser) I will still continue to make mistakes but the journey would most certainly be different.
With that in mind I decided to address my younger self. If I could go ahead and advise my teenaged self from my current perspective I would firstly want to urge that fire within.
Things will get difficult, that there can be no avoiding, but with the right frame of mind there isn’t anything you can’t handle. Don’t let the opinions, emotions or selfish needs of others dictate to what you are doing. Do right and good by others as much as possible but remember you are not responsible for their happiness. It is important to take a step back every now and again and examine your life. Know what you want and remember you’re a little fire cracker and can achieve anything you set your mind to.
I am pleased to say you will achieve your dreams but that will only come from a lot of hard work and sacrifice. Those sacrifices will be worth it but you won’t always feel that way and you will have your days of regret. However, just remember all the little glimpses of the future you always hoped for are there for the taking.
Look after your health. It is more important than anything. Without a healthy body and mind the rest is moot. Exercise and eat right. Pay attention to mental health too. You can find yourself slipping into your own head so easily. Don’t let yourself miss what is going on around you.
Finally, know that you are loved. If you forget that or don’t realise that just hug one of the little ones. They’ll soon remind you!
We have things we’d like to say to our younger selves, to warn them against or even encourage them into. What would you say? Would you do things differently if you had the knowledge?
Vivika is the author of various thriller books, graphic novels and short stories. Proceeds from her novels support Ragdolls UK who are helping Turner’s Syndrome girls achieve their full potential.
Her latest novel Harbour House is available now.
“Bring me your sick. Bring me your troubled. Bring me those society can no longer cope with for they will always have a home here at Harbour House.”
This week I’ve been thinking a lot about community. Because of quarantine I realised we take being able to see our neighbours and speak for granted. It isn’t until we are advised to keep a distance from each other that we realise just how much we need that all important human touch. Even for a introvert like myself it’s been tough going. I can only imagine how hard it has been for people who enjoy surrounding themselves with company all the time.
It’s been three months now I’ve been in isolation and (with fingers crossed) it looks as though things may start easing off a little in the coming weeks. Don’t quote me on that, I can only go by what my own news and sources are telling me. When things do open back up the first thing I will be doing (apart from sorting this mop of a hairdo) will be to grab a cuppa in my local café and having a chat with friends I haven’t seen in such a long time. I’ve been luckier than most in that some of my family isolated with me. This meant I was able to see my niece and nephew which after three months I would have been missing like crazy!
But the good thing about quarantine is that it has given me a lot of time to thing about priorities and that all important word ‘community’. I have been thinking a lot about the work of Ragdolls UK. When I first set out with the charity I had visions of helping some local girls with Turner’s Syndrome. As the years went by the reach became bigger and suddenly we were able to offer support and advice to girls across the world! So that’s what brought me to community. Now, more than ever before, we need to act as a global family. They say the world is a small place and when we are all forced indoors and each and every country is affected that becomes more apparent. So with that in mind to my TS sisters, my readers and supporters and to the global community let’s take what we can from this horrific past few months and bring some positivity moving forward. Let’s remember our neighbours and what is really important.
So what will you be doing when lockdown is lifted in your area? What lessons have you learnt from this? Has lockdown been lifted? Has it made a difference?