FIGS, VINES & ROSES by Author, Joy M. Lilley

Chapter 7 Snippet:

Figs, Vines & Roses by Joy M. LilleyClarence was extremely unhappy when he first arrived at Rugby School. It took him a long time to understand the principles of education there, and the high expectations demanded of the pupils.

The boys worked from seven in the morning until ten at night six days a week and studied the Bible equally hard on Sundays. Compared to his education at home, this new routine came as a huge shock. He had known relative freedom in his tutoring up until now, and the strict discipline of religious and moral principles, followed closely by the standards of gentlemanly conduct and the pressures of the academic requirements, all took their toll on him.

The students were from the same middle and upper-class background as Clarence, but he found it difficult to be away from home and he missed Isabella immensely. The worst experience he had to endure was being bullied. For the first time in his life, he wasn’t the leader of the pack, but the subservient one. In the past, his friends had relied upon him to make plans, and organise all events that were to happen each day during the school holidays.

One day, four boys from the class above his came over and started to push him and call him names. He asked them what he had done that caused them to pick on him.

“We don’t need a reason, Merryweather; we will do it because we can, and there is nothing that you can do about it.”

They were bigger and more confident than he was. Clarence was punched and kicked and shoved to the ground. He got up swiftly and lashed out at them with both his fists, trying in desperation to protect himself. He was then tormented by a Rugby initiation ritual, which consisted of him being dragged away into the undergrowth, his clothes ripped from his body, a ribbon tied around his penis, and his trousers and underpants confiscated. The humiliation of this ritual was horrendous, and although it seemed that every newcomer to the school had to go through the ghastly process, he never got over the ordeal. What hurt most of all, was that the friends he was with that day, boys he thought would stand by him, had made a hasty retreat so as not to become involved. They had been through the ritual, and in no way wanted to experience it again.


Joy GerkenMy pen name is Joy M. Lilley (aka Joy Gerken). I am a writer and have been writing seriously since 2011 with seven books published to date. My previous career was as a trained nurse [R.G.N.] which I loved but it offered little time for me to write until my retirement.

I joined Rave Reviews Book Club (RRBC) almost 6 years ago and have been amazed by the friendship and support offered by all.

FIGS, VINES & ROSES was the first novel produced by me. I paid a considerable sum to have it edited at the time. This proved not to be adequate for a number of reasons. Several folks in RRBC commented about the need for further editing, and when that number reached three people, I felt it necessary to do something about it.

It was recently re-edited by 4WillsPublishing. Nonnie kindly offered to help me with the extra work at zero cost. It’s been re-released on Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats. If you took a stab at the first version, I would appreciate it if you would reach out to Amazon for the updated version and give it another go.

I promote my work via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I also pay for promotion. I am ever grateful for the amazing support given by the members of RRBC.

I enjoy audio recording short stories on my advanced home equipment, and I now offer voice-over work through Fiverr.


Thank you for your support of this author. To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the RRBC “SPOTLIGHT” Author page on the RRBC site!

12 responses to “Welcome to Day 4 of the #RRBC March “SPOTLIGHT” Author Blog Tour! #JoyMLilley @JoyGerken @RRBC_Org #FigsVinesRoses #RRBC #RRBCSA”

  1. It’s a shame so many societies allow such harmful hazing rituals to take place. I feel sorry for Clarence. Thanks for hosting, Charles! 🙂

  2. Hi,oy, Hi Charles,
    Joy, Fantastic excerpt. I could feel Clarence’s shame and helplessness.
    Charles, thank you for hosting Joy.
    Shalom aleichem

  3. Hi Charles, thank you for hosting Joy with this lovely post and extract from her new book. BTW I recently read The Road to Nowhere and enjoyed it very much.

  4. Thank you all for dropping by to support both Charles and me[Joy] I am delighted that many of you seem to be liking the story!

  5. Hi Charles. What a lovely post about Joy’s awesome book. Thank you for hosting. Joy, well done.

  6. Congratulations Joy! Looks like I overlooked this post.

    Hi Charles. Nice running into you. Thanks for being a wonderful host.

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