Anita's Haven

books, thoughts, stories, poetry, interviews, writing

Real love every day

As promised, two of my favourite scenes of real, daily love between two married couples from The Forest of Trees – the Bosworths and the Stones. Both scenes take place during sleepless nights, filled with worry.

Intimacy is never (just) the physical thing. Love is in the small, everyday details which should never be taken for granted…

The Bosworths

The bed sheets were soaked in sweat and already cold, as John Bosworth kept tossing and turning, uncovering himself to cool down, then covering himself back hoping to get some sleep. He felt around the bed and realized it was empty, empty, so he opened his eyes, finally giving in to insomnia.
In a huge armchair close to the door, his wife’s face glowed in lamplight, as she sat wrapped in a fuzzy patchwork blanket.
He looked at her with worry and love.
She was deeply concentrated. Seeing her leather-bound diary in her hands, he knew she must have had a bad day at work. Although he loved to joke that their jobs were alike, she a psychologist and he a principal, he knew that the number of good days was in his favour.
“Zoe, do you want to talk?” he whispered.
She didn’t reply, and he noticed how firmly she held her pen and how she tightened her lips. For both selfish and generous reasons, he loved the fact that she had her diary ritual to blow off steam and cry or shout things into words. He wasn’t much of a talker, so he always felt inadequate offering her advice. Still, he was a great listener and that helped her get things out of her system.
Sometimes things were so difficult to bear that she would just cry, and all he could do was hold her and feel guilty for not helping. She knew this, which was why she started her diary. She hated making him worry.
“Paper can take it,” she’d often say.
He noticed she had her small yellow earphones earphones on, probably listening to classical music again. Debussy was his best guess, judging by how the sad look on her face was slowly relaxing, softening her lips into their usual lovely shape and mellowing her shoulders. He smiled.
John stepped towards the door, slowly walking past his wife. She looked up with a question mark in her eyes, but he just kissed her head gently, breathing in the smell of tangerine shampoo in her hair, and moved his hand in front of his face as if drinking something. She smiled and nodded.
He went into the kitchen to make some green tea with honey which she liked so much. He had hated that taste at first, but in time he’d gotten used to it as part of their little ritual.
Green tea and honey meant a talk, whatever time of day it was, talk without the stress of having having to provide a solution. Each of them told the other what had kept them awake, and the other one listened, understood and provided a hug in the end. The talk usually started with no talk at all, just inhaling the aroma of warm tea and enjoying each other’s comfort. Sip by sip, the conversation would begin, or wouldn’t. Sometimes just sharing the silence was enough.”

The Stones

“David blinked again, staring at the starry sky through the window. He couldn’t sleep, but he dared not move or he’d wake Emma. They were both overwhelmed with the last few days; the changes were as intense as a never-ending roller-coaster ride.
He felt her warm arm wrap around his waist, and Emma’s soft kiss land on the back of his neck. She cuddled up to him under the blanket, and he felt better in a second, with only a tiny pang of guilt for having woken her up.
“You can’t sleep either, huh?” Emma whispered through another neck kiss, her lips writing on his skin.
“Sorry I woke you up,” David said, his arm pulling her closer.
She rested her face on his shoulder and sighed, with a slight yawn.
“Not much of a sleep anyway, when you dream about real life…”
“Nightmare?” Worried, David wrapped her hair around his fingers.
“Not really, just a dream, but lots of them. Not connected, just… more worries than dreams. Whether Jeremy will be fine here, whether Dot will be happy, what if the car breaks down, any chance of some students ever being kind, if we’re going to be able to cover the bills this month, if… oh well, you know…”
She felt guilty. There he was, sleepless and anxious, and all she talked about were her own dreams and worries.
“Boy oh boy, you women just can’t stop worrying,” he mocked.
He was actually grateful for her speech. She summed up most of his own worries as well. He’d never been good with words, especially to talk about his feelings. It would probably have taken him half the night just to verbalize all the things she spat out in one sigh and a yawn. On top of all that, she managed to awake his protective side, giving him motivation not to whine, but to console.
“I’ll have to make you a dream-catcher then to help you sleep,” he teased.
“Better make yourself one while you’re at it. You’re the one lying awake here all night,” she said with a stern teacher’s look.
He loved it when her eyes got that grey shade of angry.
“I don’t need a dream-catcher, love,” he said, feeling mischievous.
“Oh no?” She teased, knowing exactly what he meant.
“I just bury my face in your hair and all my nightmares go away,” he said, cradling her face in his palms.
Their lips blended. They glued their bodies together, intertwining their feet.
“This is my favourite place in the whole world, you know? Right here,” she said as the kiss finished.
She buried her face in his shoulder. David’s hand glided down her back as he pulled her closer. He smelled her skin and inhaled her scent, meeting her lips in another kiss, savouring those precious moments when the two of them were only the two of them, no worries, or kids or the world around.
As their breaths caught the singular rhythm of passion, neither of them was aware of the trees and the wind singing their song outside.”

Leave a comment »

Her story told

“She remained standing on the school doormat and said something to the lorry driver. His shoulders tightened, his back arched even more, and his right index finger motioned for her to come to the road in front of him, like beckoning a dog. The porcelain figure in lacquered shoes walked towards him in small steps, like a Japanese geisha tapping on her tiny feet, but there was no grace or charm to this walk, only fear and submission.”

This was one of the more difficult scenes to write. Hated writing it. But she wanted her story told. 

Leave a comment »

Why authors ♡ their characters – by Anita Kovacevic

Why I love Priscilla Parker

To start off the series of posts by guest authors I admire, let me share one of my own favourite characters from my books. Mind you, as every author will say, choosing your favourite character is sort of like picking a favourite child, but this will do for now. Apologies to all my other, well-loved characters who wil get their turn.

Priscilla Parker is an average young woman from my light-hearted chicklit, romantic comedy Average Daydreamer. She is a smart, funny, kind, silly, self-sufficient romantic; all in all, a contradiction in terms just like most of us.

She came to me one summer, after I had just finished writing a very difficult novel (which is still cooling on my shelf), and she was the complete opposite to what I had been writing by then. She kept whispering in my ear, saying: “I know I am just an ordinary girl, but give me a chance, relax, smile, let me fall in love, let me live, and I promise I won’t haunt you.” And then she kept haunting me till I started writing her out of my head. The first ten chapters were on paper in ten days, believe it or not. She was relaxing, made me smile, laugh and find the charming feeling of falling in love again.

Priscilla is funny, clumsy, ambitious, insecure, charming and slightly self-delusional, but she knows the true value of friendship, family and love. She made me feel good about myself and the world, which is so difficult in these times. And I love her for it.





Here she is – all fixed and spruced up and now in paperback too. My old-fashioned romcom has been called charming, fun, funny and delightful. I do hope Priscilla is pleased.

Priscilla is happy being a successful, single, business woman. Or is she? With her best friend’s wedding approaching, she finds herself constantly daydreaming about romance with perfect men – doctors, firemen, secret agents, sexy chefs. Aiming for perfection, she ignores an ordinary guy she sees every day, although he makes her feel… something. When perfection finally comes, she finds herself torn between her dreams and the reality. Perhaps dreamy perfection is just not something that ticks all her boxes. Are couples supposed to be perfect or are average relationships the stuff of life? 

Leave a comment »

Average Quote

When picky girls check out guys. Hmmmm… picky?;)

#summer #chicklit #romance #relationships

Book link

Leave a comment »


It gives me child-like joy to be able to present my new book, a light summer romance Average Daydreamer. 

By the way, do not be fooled if you are asked to define your age before seeing and/or purchasing the book;). No violence, no SM, but the mention of certain female upper body part ​makes it eligible for adult content. Funny!
Still, it’s just an old-fashioned tale about a girl searching for perfect love! Romance and laughter!


Priscilla is happy being a successful, single, business woman. Or is she? 

With her best friend’s wedding approaching, she finds herself constantly daydreaming about romance with perfect men – doctors, firemen, secret agents, sexy chefs. Aiming for perfection, she tries to ignore an ordinary guy she sees every day and makes her feel… something. 

When perfection finally comes, she finds herself torn between her dreams and the reality. Perhaps dreamy perfection is just not something that ticks all her boxes. Are couples supposed to be perfect or are average relationships the stuff of life?

The ebook and paperback of AverageDaydreamer have been published via on 22 July, 2016, and should be active on all major purchase sites within 2-4 weeks.

Ebook link on Lulu

Paperback link on Lulu 

Average Daydreamer is a light chicklit romance novel. WORD COUNT: 65,734 words (give or take the intro and bio;)

SNEAK PEEK from Chapter 1 – NO BORDERS


A bomb goes off near the hospital shelter and I cover my ears with blood-crusted hands. It doesn’t deafen the noise of the battle, but it comforts me for a second. I peek through a crevice on the heavy metal door. I manage to discern Dr Bronson’s silhouette through the flashes of guns, fire blazing around and clouds of wind-swept ashes masking the horrors of war. 

His muscular torso rises from a pile of smouldering planks, piles of broken furniture pieces, and dead bodies.

The other nurses and the children behind me are all crouching in the farthest corner, crying and comforting each other, already giving up on Dr Bronson. But I know he’ll make it! 

I watch as he rises from the tragic scene like a phoenix. He starts to move towards the shelter. Towards me! I know he knows I will not give up on him. He knows I’ll wait. We’ve been through so much these past few months in Medics without Borders, and we rely on each other without reserve. 

His strong arms are tired but he still manages to pick up and carry a child, a wounded boy, dodging bullets and moving towards me, unswayed. 

Ten steps more… seven steps… 

Guns blaze again, louder than before. He falls! Half-blinded by the flash, I see him falter. My heart feels as if a samurai sword slashed it in two… I hear nothing else. My breathing gets so loud and deep that it muffles the war and the nurses who are trying to hold me back.

My hands open the shelter door and I run outside, desperate and fearless with love. 

Dr Bronson’s body lies on the ground, lifeless and not moving, like an impenetrable shield over the child’s body. 

My heart skips a beat, but then I hear a faint breath.

Dr Bronson lifts his head and our eyes lock. Oh relief!

When our arms intertwine, our breathing is in sync. He rises, resting on my shoulder for support. His leg is badly injured, but he still won’t leave the boy. Together, we carry the child back to safety, through the wind-swept ashes and the mind-numbing noise…


Three months later, in our beach lodge on a secluded tropical isle, I place the breakfast tray on the white bedstand. He is still sleeping, arms stretched across both pillows, face rested and his full lips forming a sexy smile. 

My Dr Bronson!

Ocean waves gently caress the sandy shore as I remove the immaculate, semi-trasparent curtains from the wall-to-wall windows.

I hear his breathing change. His husky voice calls to me.

‘Good morning, Mrs Bronson!’

I turn around, proud and in love, my bare feet savouring the deep, fluffy white carpet. 

Oh what a heavenly man! And all mine. 

He stretches like a powerful tiger across the white sheets and his naked body makes me tremble. The mischief in his eyes is irresistible! My lips quiver and my knees feel like jelly. My thumb strokes the wedding ring from the inside of my palm.

I smile, conveying to him everything he already knows and feels himself, and more. My throat goes dry as I feel myself pulled to his muscular torso like a magnet. 

He taps the bed gently. My tongue draws a wet layer over my lips. 

I can’t wait. I step forward and…
‘Thump,’ I fell from the tram seat, my face gluing itself flat on the floor, next to a set of smelly, overworn sneakers, my hands too busy clutching on to my purse instead of protecting the face.

 Reality check! A major one! 

I spit the filth and drool from my mouth, and struggled to unglue my forehead from the floor. 

TO BE CONTINUED (read the book)

And there it is! I hope you like it. If, by chance, you do read the book and like it, I’d be grateful for a review!

Leave a comment »

And what do YOU have to say? – Sue Nicholls – interview no.27

Each new author has a different story, but no matter where we stem from, we tell our stories because we need to and we hope people read and like them. My guest today is Sue Nicholls, the author of Be Careful What You Wish For. Let’s meet her!


1. Seeing as you are quite new to the publishing world, do tell us 5 things about yourself which you consider the most important.

a. I have learned so much about myself during this process. I didn’t know I was such a sticker. I kept going when things were difficult and took criticism on the chin – I imagine I am not alone in this as all writers must be the same, but I discovered it in myself.
b. I could read fluently before I went to school, and would read stories to my friends.
c. Both my siblings write. My brother is Simon Mendes da Costa, the playwrite, and my sister, Sara Mendes da Costa, as well as being a voice over artist and in that role, the voice of the Speaking Clock, is about to publish her first novel.
d. If my siblings hadn’t been writers I would never have thought of doing it. I can’t say that I always knew I would do it. If anything, my childhood was spent reading, drawing and painting – apparently I was no trouble.
e. Although my book is a story from my imagination, many of the things experienced by my characters have happened to me, or I have observed in others. I am a student of human nature, as they say.

2. Can you remember the moment when you first decided to publish a book? Was there fear, determination, eagerness? Did anyone sort of give you a push?

I suppose once by brother and sister started, the idea of writing wormed its way into my head, but I didn’t really think about it very much. Then one day a plot hit me. Where it came from I have no idea, but I ran it past my husband and he liked it, so I just sat down and began to write.
It was much harder than I thought it would be so I read a couple of books and enroled on a writing course, all the time hammering away at the writing.
When I met Belinda Hunt of Mardibooks, I was about 40,000 words in, and she gave me really helpful advice, and kept me at it. My brother was also brutally frank.

3. Your first book is called Be Careful What You Wish For. Why did you choose this title?

Belinda thought of it. I was reluctant to use it because there are already several books with that title, but I sounded people out on Facebook with it, along with others, and the unanimous opinion was that it was intriguing, and would make them want to buy it.

4. How did the book come to life? Did you plan it before writing, did you have beta readers and an editor? What was your favourite part of the whole process?

Having read the first book on how to write a novel, the most helpful advice I got from it was to roughly set the titles of about 30 chapters. This I did but because there are several points of view in my story, I got into a huge muddle and ended up with Christmas happening at several points throughout the year. I had to stop and summarise each person’s story, with dates, and re-write quite a bit.

When I got to the end of the second draft I sent it to Belinda, and to my brother. They both said the same thing, that I needed to identify the points of drama, and write to them. It was like a penny dropping and I came home and re-wrote again. This time I planned more carefully.

My next book will be planned meticulously.

5. What do your friends and family think about you as a writer? Do you consider yourself an author?

I think they are proud of me. I’m quite proud of myself, really. I do consider myself an author.


6. Your book deals with unhappy relationships, but it is not a romance novel. What do you hope readers will find in your book or learn from it? Who would you recommend it to?

I hope it will make people want to solve the underlying mystery. The book is aimed at women because, as you say, it deals with relationships. There is a small amount of romance but mainly it deals with the challenges of separation, and coping with the children. One’s sympathies vacilate between the men and the women, and we wonder whether crimes are being committed.

7. How do you cope with reviews and comments?

I’ll let you know!


8. Your website has a poetry section called Poems, not Poetry. I found this very intriguing. Could you explain why you named it this way?

I never used to think of myself as a poet, so I called the first verses I published, ‘pomes’ as per Winnie the Pooh. This was rather self deprecatingly for me.
When I had written a few ‘pomes’ I gave them the heading Poems not Poetry because I still thought I wasn’t a poet.
I find now that I am a poet. Who would have thought it. The title has stuck though, and I rather like it. It defies pretentiousness, a bit like ‘Singing, not Opera’ would.

9. If you compared your writing style to any famous author, who would it be and why?

I wouldn’t do that. I don’t even know. When you have read and reread your words, they cease to have any meaning. Let’s wait and see what others have to say.

10. When you read for yourself, what sort of books do you choose and why? Who are your favourite authors?

I like crime. Kate Atkinson and Elizabeth George for example. I also love children’s literature. I’ve read so many wonderful stories to the children by Michael Morpurgo (Escape from Shangrila comes to mind). There’s also a lovely book, recommended by a friend, called The Children of Green Knowe by Lucy M. Boston. The Railway Children, Winnie the Pooh, and so many others I read and loved as a child.

11. Would you like to add anything about your current work or send a message to the readers?

Only that I hope they enjoy the story. If they do please tell your friends and leave a review on Amazon.


Sue’s book on Amazon
Sue’s Website
Twitter: @SuetheScribe
Facebook: Sue Nicholls
Linked In: Sue Nicholls writer

Thank you for being my guest today, Sue! Happy writing!

1 Comment »

Check out this review of The Gargoyle – my review no.6

Here is a review by Anita:


Anita Kovacevic

Leave a comment »