Anita's Haven

books, thoughts, stories, poetry, interviews, writing


After winning 3rd place as favourite indie novella in the Bottles&Books Reviews Annual Reader’s Choice Awards for 2015, The Threshold got nominated in 2 categories in the Summer Indie Awards by Metamorph Publishing
Proudly wearing my badge for my first book….


To honour this challenge, I am sharing a sneak peek from The Threshold today…


‘Thank you for signing your contracts, girls and boys. Now if you’d just get your make-up and hair checked by Janet over there one last time, and Bob and the guys will fix your headcams, and then… we can get this show on the road!’

Sally’s voice and body were in their usual backstage-TV overdrive, as her left hand gestured the five candidates politely towards the crew, and her right hand collected all the five signed waivers, and tucked them safely under her arm, like a magician performing one of his skillful tricks. She backed up her actions with a professionally fake smile, known as ‘you’re-safe-we-know-what-we’re-doing’, and scurried to the van. Her eagle eyes scanned through the documents to check the signatures once more and then she put the wavers in the official Scott-stamped briefcase and locked them in the safe. Waivers – the impermeable protective shield Scott’s lawyers had concocted, sort of a reality show pre-nup contract which basically told the Fabulous Five this: ‘If anything happens to you, it’s your own fault!’ The ‘in case of death or disappearance’ clause was a particularly cynical, yet appropriate touch, with its ominous Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde ring to it. Sally secretly wondered if Scott had bought the rights to use that R. L. Stevenson quote…

Sally Jenkins was a 32-year-old divorced mum and ambitious producer. She didn’t mind being divorced at all. She had entered her marriage too immature, a complete mess of a person, a work in progress. During the marriage, she felt like moist washing powder tossed carelessly into the washing machine shaft, and sucked into the fast and noisy tumble-dryer. By the end of the marriage, she felt like leftover traces of that powder mash, splattered undissolved all over clothes like a proper nuisance, not really having done what it was supposed to have done, but still sort of there. Her 6-year-old son was her only secret treasure, bounced around on the rollercoaster of her love, her own mum’s care, the kindergarten and the occasional glimpses of the boy’s father, her distant ex-husband, passing through town. She had been working as a producer for a couple of years, but this reality show was her first really big break. Providing ratings were good, Sally was promised a nice bonus and even a considerable steady raise, and it would be so nice not to have to blush in the principal’s office because her ex failed to pay another monthly fee for their son’s preschool.

Her own life’s mediocre reality had long before ushered her easily into the insensitive world of reality shows, where she learned so much about the infinite universe of human stupidity, yet also became aware of the unbelievable knack some people had for survival. So if these five people were going to do whatever it was they were going to do, and were willing to sign a waver for it, then it was no skin off her back. They had their dreams, and she had dreams of her own. Securing her son’s education, buying a house of her own, getting her mum that new TV oven she kept talking about, and maybe even travelling some… so many dreams, so little money.

Sally was not particularly vane, but her job made her aware of how much attention people paid to a person’s outside image, so, before leaving the van, she quickly checked her figure in the mirror attached to the door. It encompassed her full figure, from head to toe, not that there was much to reflect. She was unusually petite, pale and extremely thin, borderline anorexic, and as flat-chested as no girl ever wanted to be, but she knew how to wrap herself into richly draped blouses, and she was wearing a white one just like that for this occasion. Giving birth had provided her with the only attribute she had going for her physically – her wide hips. No wonder she loved her tube-like, knee-long, tight red velvet skirt which showed off those hips. Her black hair was always in a pixie cut, really short and practical to maintain, with any cheap black dye brand, which she could apply herself whenever her grays started betraying her already bountiful life experience. She pinched her strong cheekbones for a natural blush. Making sure everything was in place, she stepped outside.

She locked the van, her set of a dozen or so metalic bracelets clanging away as she did so, and stashed the key on a silver chain, which she put around her neck and carefully hid under her blouse. Then she walked into the excited crowd, pasting the smile on her face and arching her back. Her cheap stilettos were killing her, but she knew how well they looked on footage, so pain was pushed aside along with her dreams, at least for the time being. The individual camera guys were already obeying the directors orders and running around, shooting preparations with dedication, as if they were making a documentary about obtaining world peace.

‘Well, you five, daydreaming away and no nose-picking. Let’s all get this party started,’ she cheerfully called the anxious candidates back as she approached the frontyard of the creepy house.

She was charming, but all work and no play, avoiding chit-chat with participants to spare herself the pain of attachment. She casually waved at the press and the fans, and the candidates imitated her actions. The crowd was loud and filled with all kinds of people, most of whom just had nothing better to do on a sunny day than observe other people fight over money.


To read the rest, go to any major purchase site and look for The Threshold.

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Bottles & Books 1st Annual Reader’s Choice Awards

Wooohooo! Nominated for:

best novella (The Threshold),

best reviewer and

best blog (Anita’s Haven on wordpress)!

Honoured to have even been mentioned! Drop by and kindly vote for your favourites!

Bottles & Books 1st Annual Reader’s Choice Awards


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