Released Today! BREAK THE CYCLE: An Anti-Bullying Anthology

btc-artwork

Featuring short stories by new and established authors:

Andrew Lynch

Anna-Maria Athanasiou

 Blake Rivers

 Cameron Lincoln

Carrie Elks

Charlotte E Hart

Cliona Woods

David E Gordon

Eleanor Lloyd-Jones

H. A. Robinson

LJ Stock

Muriel Garcia

Sarah Michelle Lynch

Victoria L. James

***

OUR CHOSEN CHARITY IS

nspcc-swindon

 BUY LINKS

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK

AMAZON CA

AMAZON AU

***

BLURB

break_the_cycle_an__cover_for_kindleTo coincide with National Anti-Bullying Week in the UK, 14 writers have come together to write about bullying from a variety of perspectives. We think this is still an issue that needs more of a spotlight – now more than ever unfortunately. Forget what you read in the media, these stories will tell you what is really going on in schools, behind closed doors and in places you never thought to look. The pressures our social workers face when it comes to bullying and abuse are immense but it doesn’t stop there. Sometimes bullying gets brought to the attention of head teachers, or the police, then the parents (of both the bully and bullied). Maybe a friend steps in. Maybe a stranger steps in. Or even a family pet. So many people are affected by the malicious acts of one or more instigators and the cycle threatens to repeat.

Perhaps, bullying doesn’t stop though. Ever. Maybe it ends in death. Maybe we can’t break the cycle, or can we? Perhaps bullying isn’t straightforward; maybe it’s sometimes mistaken for jest. You really need to read on… because bullying isn’t an issue limited to childhood. It’s all around us and sometimes escalates into devastating abuse. Sometimes it’s verbal, sometimes physical, maybe even both, but whichever form it comes in, it always has an impact. These stories might make you reach out to a certain person in your life you’ve never really questioned until now – because most victims are still suffering in silence. This is for them.

elj

http://mybook.to/BTC

An Excerpt from Break the Cycle… 3 days to go!

cameronExcerpt:-

I don’t believe in ghosts, but I believe in hauntings, in the lingering insidious presence of something malignant. Spectres of endless doubt, old thoughts as oppressive as any vengeful wraith. I believe in parasites, prodding, cold and primal, stirring distant failures and shames that strike when the mind relaxes, or into nightmares that will wake you, febrile and slick with sweat.

All of these dark creatures are no more complicated than old memories, and I believe in them like I believe the earth is round.

I believe because I knew a bully.

My Bully.

He singled me out for reasons that were his own. I didn’t like the things he liked, and I liked things he did not. I didn’t look like he looked; I was thin, lean and pale, where he was pug-nosed, stout and peppered with freckles. I was clever, and he was not. That’s not a brag, or an indictment. I largely saw school as a means to an end, and worked, and even enjoyed it, whereas he saw it as an unfortunate mandate. He sat at the back of the few classes we shared, those that weren’t banded by ability, and he sniggered and railed against the simplest of tasks. That was when he sat at the back at all. Often he’d be relocated, or absent, or serving a period of exclusion for wrongs that didn’t involve me. His presence wasn’t pervasive, but when it was there, it was ever a threat.

He played a slow game, and his moves were often uncoordinated, without much forethought, simple lashings-out, like the first, where he struck from behind while I stood peeing at the trough and cracked my head against the wall’s peeling paint, stumbling, exposed, breaking my fall with a hand into the gully of warm amber and weak disinfectant.  I scrubbed for five minutes before I returned to class. Then it was verbal, insults that barbed my physicality, or lack thereof: the gangling frame, the hair too curly for his tastes, a tiny hereditary kink in the shape of my right ear lobe, unnoticeable until it’s noticed, then mined for meagre gold.

It was always there during PE.

The PE changing rooms were a twice-weekly hell, a timetabled trip to ten-minutes of judgment and punishment for crimes you couldn’t control. Who had muscles, who had hair? Whose puppy fat hadn’t yet hardened? Whose nipples were too big or too small? Who wore expensive underwear and whose came from the catalogue? Pushing, shoving, tweaking and whipping. Walls lined with awkward flesh changing outfits as quickly as possible, desperate to do it without being noticed.

Before the lesson, a crucible of scrutiny. After the session, a litany of faults. Backslapping for the winners, lambasting for the losers.

“You’re too dry,” My Bully said in the changing room one day. He crossed the room to tell me, leaning in suddenly. It was loud enough for a pocket of his cronies to hear, and they sneered and cackled like well-trained vultures. I pulled down my red tee-shirt quickly, exponentially more self-aware. Did he mean my skin? Did I have flakes and lesions on my back I’d never noticed? But he peeled away quickly and lumbered into the adjoining toilet area, positioning himself at the trough.

Too many possibilities went through my head. A repeat of being pushed against the wall while I peed, stumbling clumsily into the trough. Him thundering back through with a cup of his own piss to douse me with. Him finishing up and hauling me in and pushing my face down into the steel channel flowing with yellow froth. I hopped myself into my trainers as I left the room and followed my friends to the field for football . . .

*-*-*-*-*

Break the Cycle is an anti-bullying anthology of 14 stories by 14 different authors. Each story features a different scenario.

btc-instagram-sized

Pre-order the e-Book:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Pre-order the paperback direct from SML (UK ONLY):

Google Form

Paperbacks will also be available direct from Amazon nearer the time.

bookcoverpreview-do

An Excerpt from Break the Cycle… 4 days to go!!

andy
Excerpt:-

lullaby

 

I remember the day you were sent to us.

Soft and etched with the strokes of heaven’s brush.

I remember when you first did open your eyes to the world.

My heart beats again to recall it.

My finger around yours.

Your soft hair against my cheeks.

That first wondrous sound you made, you called out to me.

Your mother.

My son.

Shush, now, beautiful boy.

I gathered you in my arms, whole.

Your senses were awakened for the first time, and I saw it.

I had to touch every single feature.

I blessed your nose, your ears, your mouth.

You yawned. The commonplace was divine.

You spoke in another language.

I was determined to understand every sound you made.

I warmed you, delicate and firm.

Time was irrelevant. It was wholly stretched out in front of us.

I sang to you, I know not what.

The song of all mothers. A soothing hum, a lilting melody.

Shush, now, my sweet angel.

Crying is good, tell me all your fears.

This world is endless. The darkness and light are there.

I will bend my knee and look at you. Hold my gaze.

Your eyes are drooping.

Let me speak to you of fairy tales, the dreamer’s passion.

Ride upon my shoulders and scream in delight to the heavens.

I will give you the sleep of peace.

You stand before me, taller and taller.

Asking me questions to which I have no response.

Go and seize the world.

All is ahead. My love will uphold you.

*-*-*-*-*

Break the Cycle is an anti-bullying anthology of 14 stories by 14 different authors. Each story features a different scenario.

btc-instagram-sized

Pre-order the e-Book:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Pre-order the paperback direct from SML (UK ONLY):

Google Form

Paperbacks will also be available direct from Amazon nearer the time.

bookcoverpreview-do

An Excerpt from Break the Cycle… 5 days to go!

davidExcerpt:-

“Boys and girls. It gives me great pleasure to introduce a former student of mine to you. Alexander McCarron – Alex – is a successful businessman. His company keeps him very busy and he travels all over the country. But, he has come here today to speak to us about an important topic and I want you to give him your full attention.”

I took a swig of the water bottle in my hand and stepped out onto the stage. The room filled with polite clapping as I walked over to the podium, shook hands with the policeman and then with Mrs. Fraser. When I finally turned to face the crowd of people filling the small auditorium, I saw a sea of small faces looking back at me. I grinned, tilted the microphone up and then took one more long look around before I started to speak. As I had done dozens of times before in front of many corporate directors, I straightened my tie and the cuffs of my shirt. Then looked around the room again trying to decide where to start.

I chuckled. “My wife told me I should treat this morning as if I were talking to a group of corporate executives. But I am clearly overdressed today.” I paused while I removed my coat, folding it over a chair and then removing my tie. I pulled the microphone free and walked to the front of the stage. “As Mrs. Fraser said I came here today to talk to you about a very important topic. One that isn’t easy to talk about or even to think about sometimes. But that just makes it even more important to me.” I walked down the stairs. “If you will be patient with me, I want to tell you a story. It might take a while since my wife says I talk too much, but I hope you will listen.” I paused briefly as if giving them a chance to decide, then continued, “It’s a story of a young boy about the same age as some of you. This young boy was in the fifth grade and his father had just moved him and his older brother to a new town. You see his father was in the Army so they moved around a lot. And it was hard to make friends when you were always the new kid. They didn’t have a lot of money either, but the young boy was always dressed in clothes that were neat, clean, and looked they had been ironed that morning.

“From the first day this young boy showed up in school he had a look on his face. He always looked like he was mad at someone. And since he didn’t know anyone, it was assumed that he would be mean to everyone. As the days wore on he proved that he really could be mean to anyone and everyone. He didn’t just ignore the other kids – even those who tried to include him or be nice to him. He seemed to go out of his way to not be nice. Your teachers tell you about respecting others and being nice, but this boy didn’t respect anyone and he was rarely nice.

“We all remember the guidelines of being nice that we learn from our parents. Simple manners like holding the door, or saying please and thank you. This boy would close the door on other kids and he never said please or thank you. And when no one invited him to join in their sports games or just having fun, he seemed to get even meaner. He wasn’t a big kid, but he knew how to throw a punch. One that might not give you a black eye, but it would definitely take your breath away.

“He was always quick to pick a fight with someone, even the older kids if he thought he could win. I remember how he would wait in the park in the morning and if you happened to walk near, he would make you pay for it. And if you didn’t have lunch money then he would use his fists to remind you to have money the next time. There was one other boy whose family didn’t have a lot of money, but he was afraid of this boy so he started to make an extra sandwich or would just go hungry hoping food would be a good substitute for money. Some days it was, but most days he just got hit . . .

*-*-*-*-*

Break the Cycle is an anti-bullying anthology of 14 stories by 14 different authors. Each story features a different scenario.

btc-instagram-sized

Pre-order the e-Book:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Pre-order the paperback direct from SML (UK ONLY):

Google Form

Paperbacks will also be available direct from Amazon nearer the time.

bookcoverpreview-do

An Excerpt from Break the Cycle… 6 days to go!

eljExcerpt:-

Sitting in the school hall, I fiddle with the ties on my dress, waiting for the rest of the classes to come in. The Year 6 children are last, and they’re allowed to sit on benches at the back of the hall—that will be me next year.

Assembly time is most definitely the most boring part of the school day… ask anyone. We have to walk in single file with our ‘silent voices’—which is ridiculous really, as it isn’t a voice at all if it’s silent, is it… someone ought to tell the teachers this—we have to sit in silence, and then we have to look at the front, and only the front, where our head teacher stands with her hands clasped in front of her.

I’m sitting next to Jack, a boy in my class. He was new just before we broke up for the holidays, so I don’t know him very well. I do, however, know that he smells a bit funny, like a sausage pan or something, so I try not to turn in his direction, just in case I get a whiff of him. Daisy, my best friend, is sitting next to me on the other side which is a bit of a treat really, as we’re not usually allowed to sit together because we talk too much.

Apparently.

I don’t actually agree, because I don’t talk very much to anyone at all. Daisy does all the talking. In fact, she talks to whomever she sits next to, not just me.

“Good morning, children.” Mrs Harris’ voice booms across the hall and makes me jump.

“Good morning, Mrs Harris, and good morning everybody.” The whole school choruses together in whiny, sing-song unison that makes me cringe every single morning.

“We have a visitor in our assembly this morning, who has come from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children to talk to you about something very important.”

My interest is piqued momentarily as I hadn’t noticed the stranger sitting on the chair near the front, and I flick my eyes over to him to see if I can guess his name. It’s a game I like to play in my head. I’m usually quite good at it.

“So, I’d like you to sit up straight and give our visitor, David, a warm welcome.”

Damn. I thought it might have been Paul, or John.

Mrs H nods towards the stranger who smiles at her politely and gets up from his chair, walking slowly but animatedly to the front of the hall. He claps his hands in front of him and bends slightly at the waist, glaring at all of us with an almost manic grin plastered across his face. “Good morning, children. I’m David, and I would like to tell you a story.”

Well that’s just great.

Whole school stories are usually completely babyish and geared for the reception children, so when he starts with ‘once upon a time’ I pretty much switch off, and as time ticks along, I become increasingly anxious for the whole thing to be finished so that we can go out to play. My attention is jolted, though, when Daisy elbows me and whispers in my ear.

“Can you smell him from here? ‘Cause I can.”

I frown and look at her. “Who? David?”

“Burger Boy.”

“Who?”

“Jack… Burger Boy. He stinks of burgers all the time. Can you smell him?”

I glance towards Jack who is listening attentively to The Storyteller, and I discretely inhale deeply to see if I can actually smell him today.

“Not really.”

“Eurgh. Well I can, even from here. You must have a cold or something.”

“So… can anyone give me a definition of what they think bullying is?” David’s question has nearly the whole school sitting up straight, their hands shooting in the air and their hands flapping whilst they hyperventilate in an attempt to get his attention and answer the question. There is some lame sticker involved, or an ironically pointless house point, for the person who answers correctly.

“Yes. What’s your name?” He points to Jack. Burger boy…

“Jack.”

“Okay, Jack… go ahead.”

Jack looks down at his fingers that are entwined in his lap and lifts his huge eyes up to look at the visitor. “Well, it’s when someone is unkind to another person, but not just once. It’s when it happens over and over again by the same person, to the same person, making them feel sad, or hurt, or… worthless.” His voice is a little croaky, like when you first wake up and before you have had a chance to talk to anyone. I wonder if it’s the first time he has talked to anyone today… surely not.

*-*-*-*-*

Break the Cycle is an anti-bullying anthology of 14 stories by 14 different authors. Each story features a different scenario.

btc-instagram-sized

Pre-order the e-Book:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Pre-order the paperback direct from SML (UK ONLY):

Google Form

Paperbacks will also be available direct from Amazon nearer the time.

bookcoverpreview-do

An Excerpt from Break the Cycle… 7 days to go!

ha
Excerpt:-

“Detention, again, Justin? That’s…” I shuffled my notes on my untidy desk, hunting for the report handed to me not ten minutes earlier by the headmaster’s secretary. When I finally alighted on her perfect script written in neat lines of violet ink, I all but pounced on it, shaking the wisps of loose hair away from my eyes and scanning it quickly. “… Three times this week. Are you going for a record?”

The teenage boy on the other side of my desk shrugged nonchalantly. His lips were tight and his brow was knitted into a frown that never seemed to leave his face, giving away the fact that though his shrug may have appeared not to care, his eyes told a different story.

I hadn’t had the job for long. Fresh out of college, I was still in the phase of my working life when I believed I could help to change the world one mixed-up teenager at a time.

School counsellor. The title sounded so grand to my young ears, the nameplate on the door of my office giving me a high each time I passed it. This was my chance to prove that not all kids who acted out were lost causes. I would put the world to rights one day, and I would start with St. Bartholomew’s High School.

I hadn’t quite admitted to myself yet that my plans for world peace might not happen quite according to the schedule I’d set for myself. It turned out that teenagers were much more complicated than I’d realised. Case in point – Justin Baines. Fourteen years old, with a string of detentions, suspensions and even a couple of police warnings under his belt already. He was the one that kept eluding me, the one they warned you about in college with their “don’t get too involved” speeches and warnings against caring too much. Despite having spent my entire life being told what a great listener I was, somehow every one of those warnings had fallen on deaf ears. He’d got to me. Without even trying, the kid had me awake at night agonising over how to get through to him . . .

*-*-*-*-*

Break the Cycle is an anti-bullying anthology of 14 stories by 14 different authors. Each story features a different scenario.

btc-instagram-sized

Pre-order the e-Book:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Pre-order the paperback direct from SML (UK ONLY):

Google Form

Paperbacks will also be available direct from Amazon nearer the time.

bookcoverpreview-do

An Excerpt from Break the Cycle… 8 days to go!

murielExcerpt:-

From the moment you are born to the moment you take your last breath, you are judged.

No matter your age, gender, sexual preferences or race people will talk about you in a negative way any chance they get.

That’s how it’s always been and that’s how it always will be.

It depends on how you choose to let it affect you that will make the difference.

For the most of your life, people will have negative things to say to you and for the most part, you will be oblivious to those talks. That’s the best case scenario. The problem starts when you are made aware of what was said. Either, by the person themselves or by someone else who was made aware of it. That can be the beginning of a lot of drama. Can you trust the person who reported it to you? Can you trust the person who’s been talking shit about you? Who to trust? You just have to deal with that reality.

What happens when people take things too far?

What happens when you take it too far?

Because let’s face it, sometimes you will be the one talking shit about someone. Don’t lie to yourself, you’ve done it, we’ve all done it at some point in our lives. I’m sure you’re doing it every single day watching your favorite TV show. We’re built that way. We all judge and that’s okay, as long as we don’t hurt others. You could just keep it to yourself but more often than not, it’s brought out in the daylight and that’s when shit is stirred.

Those judging looks you give a passer by in the street. Even though you don’t voice it, you’re still judging them and it can hurt as much as those words you could say. You’re still judging a living being and if that person sees it, sees that judging look, they can be affected by it in more ways than one. It can ruin someone’s day and make them feel shit about themselves and could send them down a dangerous path. You never know what someone has been or is going through.

Then there are people who aren’t afraid to voice their opinion to someone else’s face. That alone could be acceptable if it’s something constructive and not said in a way to hurt the person but to help them make themselves feel better. But what happens when they are being nasty about it, when they start picking at every single little detail that they don’t like about that certain person. There’s the physical abuse too. What will physically hurting someone bring you?

Emotional and physical abuse is not okay, in any way, shape or form. There’s no rights, only wrongs. People should love each other and not try to destroy each other.

Bullying is not just talking shit about someone and to their face. It’s a wide spread variety of different nasty ways used to make someone feel bad about themselves.

Bullying is deadly. It has been the cause of one too many suicides. It’s an ongoing battle that will sadly never stop. It affects and can affect anybody. Young or old; black or white; rich or poor; male or female; no one is safe from the sadistic mind of a bully.

For the most part, the bully has been bullied in the past and thinks it’s perfectly normal to do it back to someone else and replicates what they were put through in an effort to make themselves feel better. Other times the bully is just a twisted person who enjoys causing pain, whether it be physical or emotional, and watch others suffer.

I once was the victim of bullies. It dates back to twenty years ago and lasted only a couple of months, but it’s still affecting me to this day. Not physically, but mentally and emotionally. I have no tolerance for people’s bullshit and I’ll voice my opinion when such things happen. I’ve seen so many psychologists over the years that half of the ones in town probably know my story by now. It’s still as hard as it was back then to tell it all over again. Nobody likes to be put through the roughest time in their life all over again for someone else to listen to them, ask uncomfortable questions and get a pat on the back and hear it’ll be okay.

People affected by this kind of harassment need more than just a pat on the back. They need support and to actually know that people are there for them, to help them get over it and to get better.

It all started when I was six . . .

*-*-*-*-*

Break the Cycle is an anti-bullying anthology of 14 stories by 14 different authors. Each story features a different scenario.

btc-instagram-sized

Pre-order the e-Book:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Pre-order the paperback direct from SML (UK ONLY):

Google Form

Paperbacks will also be available direct from Amazon nearer the time.

bookcoverpreview-do

An Excerpt from Break the Cycle… 9 days to go!

vlj
Excerpt:-

The doorbell didn’t stir him. Not the first time I pressed it, not the seventh time, either. His phone was equally as frustrating, forever sending me through to voicemail to try and throw me off course.

“Hey, this is Jeremy. Leave a message.”

That was it. No fuss when it came to my best friend of thirteen years. He was the straightest talking human being I’d ever encountered and that’s why, at the age of thirty-two, I had become more dependant on him than anyone else.

At six-feet two inches tall and with broad shoulders that I’d cried on a hundred times, Jeremy Winston had always seemed indestructible to me. He was always there. Always present. Yet two days had passed without me seeing or speaking to him. It was the longest we’d ever gone without making contact. I was his sister – one without the genetic connection, but a mental one. We’d been mistaken for siblings throughout our entire friendship which possibly had something to do with the same brown tones in our hair and the fact that we both had piercing blue eyes. Apparently those combinations were a rarity – just like our friendship.

I tapped my foot on the top step of his porch as I chewed on my thumbnail and began to look back on the street where he lived. It was classy around here with three storey town houses, lots of manicured lawns, vibrant hanging baskets, and expensive cars on the driveways. But it was quiet, too. There wasn’t anyone’s door I could knock on to ask if they’d seen or heard from him recently. Everyone kept their homes locked up and their lives private.

His fancy dark blue BMW sat lonely on the driveway. I walked over to it, taking a quick glance back at the house to see if I could see any sign of him before I refocused on the car and let my hand drop gently on the bonnet.

Cold.

It was cold.

There was also a light, almost invisible sheen of dirt across the windscreen – yet another sign that the car hadn’t been used recently, which only made the churning and gnawing of my gut tense and twist even more.

I’d never had to worry about him before. Not really. Apart from the time when his mother had been ill a few years ago, Jeremy rarely needed me to be there for him the way he was always there for me. I stared back at the house feeling lost and unsure how to move forward. I didn’t know what to do. I had no idea who to call. There wasn’t a single part of me that had any instinct or gut feeling as to what could be wrong.

Pushing my hands through the thick of my hair, I let them fall to the back of my neck before I exhaled heavily and tried to formulate a plan.

“Someone looks serious,” a familiar voice said behind me.

Jeremy.

My eyes widened in surprise and my smile broke free before I spun on the heels of my feet and turned to see him. Relief trumped fear and washed over me like the most exquisite warm shower I’d ever experienced, but it only lasted a second. As soon as I saw him, I knew there was a problem. His hair was scruffy, all strewn in every direction, not in its usual slick style that always, always went to the left. There was a shadow of facial hair around his jaw; one that made him look ill against the unusually pale colour of his skin.

“Jeremy?” I breathed out, making it sound like a question. His clothes were different. Everything was… different. There was no suit, no smart shirt or fancy shoes. There wasn’t even a cufflink in sight. Instead he wore an old polo t-shirt that had definitely seen better days, and jeans that hung too loose from his waist, making it impossible to see any kind of shape to his body.

I didn’t wait for an explanation or for him to answer me. The sheer relief of seeing his face was enough as I lunged forward and threw my arms around his neck, burying my cheek into the small curve there. When I inhaled, all I could smell was his skin. Not a single drop of aftershave.

“What the hell has happened to you?”

*-*-*-*-*

Break the Cycle is an anti-bullying anthology of 14 stories by 14 different authors. Each story features a different scenario.

btc-instagram-sized

Pre-order the e-Book:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Pre-order the paperback direct from SML (UK ONLY):

Google Form

Paperbacks will also be available direct from Amazon nearer the time.

bookcoverpreview-do

An Excerpt from Break the Cycle… 10 days to go!

carrie

Excerpt:-

“Sometimes I hate this job.” Martin stares up at the tower block, shading his eyes from the sun. “I swear I’m counting down the days until my holiday.”

It’s the closest I’ve heard to emotion from him, and it adds to my sense of anxiety. We got the court order late last night, and weighed up the pros and cons of going in straight away or waiting a night. Getting emergency care is even harder at night – not that it’s a doddle during the day. But in the end we heard that Jake Rubin was away in Ireland, and decided that the immediate risk to Storm could be contained.

There are two policemen standing next to us. One of them – an old timer like Martin – looks bored. The other is closer to my age, tall and dark-haired, with a serious expression. When our eyes meet he shoots me a sympathetic smile, as though he knows exactly what I’m feeling.

The older policeman – I think his name’s Derek – doesn’t bother talking to me. Instead he addresses Martin, as though he’s the only person who counts. “Okay, so we’ll follow you to the third floor, but we’ll wait in the stairwell unless we’re called. The neighbours here don’t like our faces, and the less disruption we cause the better.”

Martin nods. “I’m not expecting any trouble.”

“Nor are we. As we told you, we’ve got Rubin under surveillance and he’s not here. So that should make it straightforward.”

Straightforward is all relative, because the thought of taking a child away from the only mother she’s known doesn’t feel very straightforward at all.

“Is this your first time?” The younger policeman, Matt, asks me.

“Am I that obvious?” I frown. “But yeah, I’ve only been in this job for two weeks. Everything’s my first time.”

“They say it gets easier. But I’ve been doing this for a few years now, and I still have my shit days. Maybe we just learn to cope with it a little more.”  He offers me a half-smile. I guess we’re both on the front line in a way, both choosing jobs that protect the public, even when they can’t stand the sight of us.

“I hope it doesn’t get too easy,” I confess, trying to find the right words. “Maybe doing something like this shouldn’t feel easy. We should always question ourselves, and make sure we’re doing the right thing.”

He nods approvingly. “You’re spot on. That’s one thing I always said, if I find myself getting blasé, then I’m in the wrong job.”

His words are a reassuring hand on my shoulder. Though my pulse is still racing, I can breathe freely. And when Martin leads the way, explaining that he’d like me to take Storm out while he deals with Lily, I follow him without my legs shaking too much.

As soon as Lily opens the door, she knows why we’re here. It’s in her facial expression as she stares at us, the fear moulding her mouth until it’s little more than a thin line. She tries to close the door, but Martin puts his foot in the way, wincing as the heavy wood slams into his shoe.

*-*-*-*-*

Break the Cycle is an anti-bullying anthology of 14 stories by 14 different authors. Each story features a different scenario.

btc-instagram-sized

Pre-order the e-Book:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Pre-order the paperback direct from SML (UK ONLY):

Google Form

Paperbacks will also be available direct from Amazon nearer the time.

bookcoverpreview-do

Cover Reveal and Pre-Order – Break the Cycle

Introducing . . .

break_the_cycle_an__cover_for_kindle

Blurb:

To coincide with National Anti-Bullying Week in the UK, 14 writers have come together to write about bullying from a variety of perspectives. We think this is still an issue that needs more of a spotlight – now more than ever unfortunately. Forget what you read in the media, these stories will tell you what is really going on in schools, behind closed doors and in places you never thought to look. The pressures our social workers face when it comes to bullying and abuse are immense but it doesn’t stop there. Sometimes bullying gets brought to the attention of head teachers, or the police, then the parents (of both the bully and bullied). Maybe a friend steps in. Maybe a stranger steps in. Or even a family pet. So many people are affected by the malicious acts of one or more instigators and the cycle threatens to repeat.

Perhaps, bullying doesn’t stop though. Ever. Maybe it ends in death. Maybe we can’t break the cycle, or can we? Perhaps bullying isn’t straightforward; maybe it’s sometimes mistaken for jest. You really need to read on… because bullying isn’t an issue limited to childhood. It’s all around us and sometimes escalates into devastating abuse. Sometimes it’s verbal, sometimes physical, maybe even both, but whichever form it comes in, it always has an impact. These stories might make you reach out to a certain person in your life you’ve never really questioned until now – because most victims are still suffering in silence. This is for them.

Word length: 70,000 words +

Universal link to pre-order: mybook.to/BTC

Release date: November 14th

Sarah’s review (the editor):

Break the Cycle: An Anti-Bullying AnthologyBreak the Cycle: An Anti-Bullying Anthology by Sarah Michelle Lynch

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I read all of these stories, I was reminded how amid the hustle and bustle of life, it’s so easy to overlook those around us who are coping on their own and not telling us what’s going on in their lives. Each and every story presented here is individual, many of them set in the UK and some set in the USA.

Essentially, this is a book of hope. This is a book proving we can break the cycle. Maybe it won’t be easy, but we can do it. Some of these stories may send you into sensory overload and some may even leave you devastated. Some stories will lift you up, others might prompt you into action. Many will have you nodding your head or being taken back to a familiar scenario of the past.

The main message of “Break the Cycle”, is that children are what matters and as children, we are at our most vulnerable and most easily influenced. It’s those less fortunate than others that we really need to protect because among them are potential future leaders, policemen and women, teachers, poets, artists and icons.

Due to some adult language and upsetting situations, I would give this a recommended reading age of 12+ but parental discretion is advised.

ALL PROCEEDS WILL BE DONATED TO THE NSPCC. Visit their website: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/

This book will be available in paperback as well as e-book. Keep an eye on Sarah’s FB page for when you can order your copy direct from her: http://facebook.com/SarahMLynch

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