Home at The Grange – Part 2


And here is Part two of the story of the Home at the Grange.. #recommended

Cynthia Reyes - Author

Wendy and Nick aren’t afraid of challenges.

Blog Photo - Doors Open The Grange Hamlin Photo beware of falling coconutsNick, a fashion photographer, left his home in the UK and moved to Portugal. 

As a teenager, Wendy modeled in Europe for Yves St. Laurent and Valentino. She started her own modelling agency in Portugal at only 18. She and Nick met there, married, and started working together.

Next, they moved to Canada and built successful careers. They and their family had a comfortable life in Toronto. 

Then came the big move to the country, 5 kids in tow.  

Wendy remembers neighbour after neighbour saying: “I give you 3 years.” 

~~~

The big move fell on Hallowe’en, and that was the first problem.

Blog Photo - Doors Open Clarington Photo CemeteryThere’s a tiny pioneer cemetery next door to the farm and the children were convinced there’d be ghosts on Hallowe’en. They refused to come along.

Nick remembers: “We had to farm them out to friends in Toronto for the…

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Home at The Grange – Part 1


I love a challenge and we have picked some houses because of location or the ‘feel’ but in this post by Cynthia Reyes we meet a lady made of much sterner stuff… part one and looking forward to part two.

Cynthia Reyes - Author

Would you leave a very comfortable house in the city – a mansion, even by Toronto standards – to live in a dilapidated 1800’s farmhouse in the middle of nowhere?

I, as you know, have lived in interesting places. But when former model and media manager Wendy Boothman told me what she did 31 years ago, even I was surprised. 

~~~

In 1986, the Boothman family decided to move to the country. They found a large log house in perfect move-in condition. Wendy’s husband and children loved it.

Blog Photo - Doors Open The Grange Wendy and Nick2 by HamlinBut Wendy wasn’t sold. Without telling her family, she kept looking. She asked the realtor to show her a place in Kendal, a hamlet northeast of Toronto. They toured the property.

It was a hot August day and the poor realtor was in his suit and tie. I had no idea what 140 acres meant, so we ended up walking and…

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John’s Believe It Or Not… May 27th


John Fioravanti with his wonderful look back at events on this day of May 27th.. #recommended

Words To Captivate ~ by John Fioravanti

It’s Saturday! Yippee! Did you know…

* 1999 – Julie Payette joins Shuttle mission; first Canadian to board the Intl. Space Station.(In 1992 she joined the Canadian Space Agency. Once she had completed basic training, she began work as a technical advisor for the MSS (Mobile Servicing System), a robotic system that is the Canadian contribution to the International Space Station. She established the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Group at the Canadian Astronaut Office and then worked as a technical specialist on the NATO International Research Study Group (RSG-10) on speech processing (1993-1996).
During her training period in Canada, Payette acquired her commercial pilot license and logged over 120 hours of reduced gravity flight time aboard a number of microgravity aircraft. In February of 1996, she obtained her captaincy on the CT-114 military jet at the Canadian Air Force Base in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.
Payette was selected to attend NASA’s Astronaut…

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Smorgasbord Reblog – Mary the Jew – by Paul Andruss – One for the cooks amongst us.


Another look behind the legends from Paul Andruss on his blog. This time a woman who those of us who cook have reason to bless… the woman who invented the Bain-Marie and ensures the success of custard and other delicate recipes that require some gentle finesse in the preparation. And you will not believe the story…….

Source: Smorgasbord Reblog – Mary the Jew – by Paul Andruss – One for the cooks amongst us.

Smorgasbord Reblog – Mary the Jew – by Paul Andruss – One for the cooks amongst us.


Another look behind the legends from Paul Andruss on his blog. This time a woman who those of us who cook have reason to bless… the woman who invented the Bain-Marie and ensures the success of custard and other delicate recipes that require some gentle finesse in the preparation. And you will not believe the story…….

Female Alchemist

Cooks know a Bain-Marie is a ‘double boiler’, a water-bath used for delicate cooking such as making custard. The ingredients are placed in a bowl and gently heated over a pan of boiling water, or individual dishes are stood in a tray of water that is put in the oven.

Bain Marie is French for ‘Mary’s Bath’ and you won’t be surprised to know that it was invented by a woman called Mary, or Mary the Jew to be exact. In bygone days, folks were punctilious in their racism. What may surprise you was Mary was not a celebrity kosher chef but an alchemist.

None of her works survive. She is only known from quotes in a compendium of writings called the Book of Hermetic Lore. These were fragments from different alchemy treatise put together in the 7th or 8th century in Constantinople.

Find out more about this mysterious woman who introduced this very useful piece of kitchen equipment into our lives: http://www.paul-andruss.com/mary-the-jew/

You can find Paul’s amazing posts that have featured here in this directory.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/writer-in-residence-writer-paul-andruss/

Meet Guest Author, Aryan Dhiman…


Meet author Aryan Dhiman over with Chris The Story Reading Ape..

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

I am a techie by professional but from the very beginning I found myself connected to the world of books, reading and finally writing. A small family whom I am always grateful for whatever I am today or would be any other day and also my best friend who is like my brother who always criticizes me getting the best out of the newbie author. 

I feel the real home is the place where we are gathered, gathered not only in the sense of being family of blood relations but also a family of friends, the people we connect with whether they are the people whom we are meeting for the very first time or we have known them from more than a decade.

I loved reading novels and one evening I could not help but read a hell lot for a day till the end of the story was…

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On Beltane Eve…


Sue Vincent with Beltane’s Eve in full colour. What strikes me about this celebration is the number of people sharing and embracing it. This is worship that we would have all joined in with in ancient times and despite all the efforts to regiment, regulate and diminish.. it still survives today. Perhaps because it offers us a more nourishing way to appreciate the creation of our world.

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

There is probably nowhere else in the country where you can walk through a residential estate on a Saturday morning, in full ceremonial robes and with magical symbols painted on your forehead, without anyone batting an eye. It could only be Glastonbury. After centuries of being at the heart of the land’s tales of myth, legend and magic, they are used to stranger sights than that.

For once, it wasn’t me but our hostess who strode forth in flowing robes of crimson and purple. Alienora was taking part in a play as part of the celebrations… not that she and her theatrical friends were the only one in robes and costumes…. the town was awash with colour and excitement. Mine as much as any, for we were to meet our American friends and, as we see them only once a year at best, I felt like a child at…

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book Reading and Interview – C.S. Boyack


Welcome to the Saturday book reading and interview. My guest today is fantasy, science fiction and paranormal author C.S. Boyack. As well as novels, Craig has released a number of collections of speculative fiction and co-presents a series of guest interviews with Lisa Burton.. one of his most alluring characters.First let’s have a look at the official biography and Craig’s books before we put him in the hot seat. This is an interactive interview and Craig is looking forward to responding to your questions and comments in the next couple of days.

Source: Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book Reading and Interview – C.S. Boyack

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book Reading and Interview – C.S. Boyack


Sally's Cafe and Bookstore

Welcome to the Saturday book reading and interview. My guest today is fantasy, science fiction and paranormal author C.S. Boyack. As well as novels, Craig has released a number of collections of speculative fiction and co-presents a series of guest interviews with Lisa Burton.. one of his most alluring characters.

First let’s have a look at the official biography and Craig’s books before we put him in the hot seat. This is an interactive interview and Craig is looking forward to responding to your questions and comments in the next couple of days.

About C.S. Boyack.

I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Books by C.S.Boyack

About The Experimental Notebook of C.S. Boyack

A speculative selection of micro-fiction and short stories. These were designed to be short reads for your commute, coffee break, and other times when readers are pressed for time. This book contains a bit of science fiction, some fantasy, and paranormal stories.I’m excited to see short fiction returning in popularity. I hope you will enjoy these stories as much as I did.

A recent review for Volume One.

May 10, 2017 Don Massenzio rated it 5 stars

I am a huge fan of short stories, both creating and reading them. The problem is, not many writers do them well. Stephen King has published several collections and even his stories are sometimes hit and miss.This is not the case with C.S. Boyack. In his Experimental Notebook he scores with one great story after another. Many of them have a pattern of reeling the reader in and then leaving you breathless with a surprise ending. From the very first story, Jack O’ Lantern, to gems like The 50 Gallon Drum, Boyack sets up the reader and then delivers some surprise that leaves you smiling.For anyone who enjoys short stories, this book is a must.

One bit of false advertising appears in the Goodreads blurb. The author states that the book was designed to provide short reads. I stayed awake in my hotel room telling myself, “just one more” until I had finished the book and then downloaded the second one.I highly recommend this book and will be reading more by this author. He shows a depth and breadth to his writing seldom found in the indie author community. Please give his stories a try and spread the word like wildfire.

And a review for the second volume on Goodreads

Karen rated it 5 stars

This anthology comprises fifteen different stories, taking you on fifteen very different trips; some will make you happy, some will make you sad, others will make you wonder. There is one thing that they all have in common: They are unforgettable. I cannot tell you more about this anthology as it would spoil the fun of reading it yourself.With The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II, C. S. Boyack presents us with fifteen little gifts. Each story is skilfully elaborated, has its own great flow. Ernest Hemingway once stated “When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.”

C. S. Boyack shows this masterly with every story – he created living people instead of mere characters. I was drawn into the stories right away, close to the protagonists – sometimes too close for comfort. I could easily envision the characters and locations. I had a great time reading The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II. It is a very enjoyable read.This is for you if you like short stories, adventures with a humorous streak, paranormal events, horror stories, a remarkable science fiction story, very likeable characters to cheer on, surprises and food for thought – all packed in micro-fiction and short stories.This is a book to read again. Highly recommended!

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/C.-S.-Boyack/e/B00ILXBXUY

Find more reviews and follow C.S. Boyack on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9841203.C_S_Boyack

Time to turn this over to Craig and don’t forget to leave your questions in the comment section.. this is your interview too.

I’ve said before that I’m kind of like a creature of the night – you have to invite me inside. I love getting invitations, and am excited to do this interview. Thank you for asking me.

You are very welcome Craig and can you tell us about your chosen genre of books that you write and why?

That’s kind of funny, because I’m in denial. I call myself a speculative fiction author. This means all of my stories have something fantastic about them. I claim that’s my genre, but it isn’t true. I’m a multi-genre author, because I bounce from science fiction, to fantasy, to paranormal. Sometimes I mix them together.

To make matters worse, I write novels, short stories, and micro-fiction. These are all different animals, and it’s the challenge that motivates me. It’s a challenge to write a fantasy short story, but I’ve done it.

What appeals to you about writing short stories?

I’m getting known for my short form fiction. I love this medium for several reasons. I like the feeling of accomplishment. It might take me a year to write a novel, but it might only take a long weekend to whip out a short story. I enjoy the challenge of bringing an entire story in with the lower word count. You still have to have plot, characters, and environment to these stories. Take a shortcut on any one, and the story won’t work.

Where would you like to be in 5 year’s time?

My goal has always been to have enough writing income to supplement retirement. Even $500 per month would go a long ways. I’m ten years from retirement, so in five years, I’d like to be bringing in $250 per month from book sales.

It’s become kind of unrealistic to derive full time income from being self published. Any of us could catch lightning in a bottle, but to aim for supplemental retirement income seems fairly realistic to me. It becomes more realistic as my catalog grows, and it will continue to grow over that time.

Can you tell us more about Lisa Burton radio and how you came up with the concept, and perhaps share the link to one of your favourite interviews that gives us an idea of the format?

I had this really strong character just lounging around and doing nothing. I started including her in some of my writing posts, and she was really popular. I got the bright idea of using her as a spokesmodel to promote my books. I checked with her artist, and he was excited about the idea. These promos turned out to be more popular than the ones I appeared in.

An author friend, John Howell, proposed the idea of having Lisa interview him and we put that together. The post was so popular I couldn’t just stop. Then it dawned on me that maybe other authors would like to promote using their characters. About this time, I was writing a short story about a late night radio station, and the whole idea came together. Now Lisa interviews fictional characters on her radio show, and they have been super popular.

It’s hard to get enough guests to keep a regular schedule, but I generally manage every Thursday. I can’t single anyone out as the best one, so I’m going to give you the link to the Lisa Burton Radio category: https://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com/category/lisa-burton-radio/

Explain more about the Idea Mill and what is the strangest prompt you have developed into a short story or character?

These posts may amuse me more than everyone else, but I still keep posting them. I have a collection of RSS feeds, and online magazines that let me customize content. I regularly get articles on archeology, cryptids, science breakthroughs, and more. These feed my Muse, because I like to have a tiny bit of realism behind the stories I write.

I started posting them as The Idea Mill whenever I get three good ones. My theory was they might inspire other authors too, since I can’t use them all. I’ve used several in short stories, and as elements in novels. I was most inspired by a group of posts about bio-hackers. These are people with basement labs that largely experiment on themselves. It all sounded so Jekyll and Hyde that I couldn’t resist. I have most of an outline of a science fiction novel I’m calling Grinders, which is the slang name they give themselves.

Can you tell us something about your next project?

I’m a sucker for a personal challenge, and set a personal goal for every story I’ve ever written. This time I want to write a couple of novellas. One is going to be a paranormal superhero origin story, and the other one is a science fiction based spin on the lifeboat story.

I have no idea whether they will come in as long short stories, or as short novels, but I’m going to try it.

Craig as chosen an extract from his novel The Yak Guy Project for his book reading. It’s sort of an alternate world fantasy with a coming of age story.  The book is due out later in the year.

Throbbing pain in my head.

Heat. Not like The Strip at two o”clock PM, more like a pizza oven.

The dirt burnt my face, and dust particles smelled like salt.

I rolled over, and the earth crunched under me. When I opened my eyes, everything swirled bright white, yellow, and blue. I rubbed my eyes, and my forehead was soaked with sweat.

My vision swirled again when I sat up. Salt encrusted flat as far as I could see, which wasn’t far. The heat waves turned everything into a swirl again.

Snow capped mountains rose above the heat waves when I lifted my head. There were no tire tracks around me, no footprints, nothing. How did I get here?

One black dot jumped back and forth in the heat waves. Maybe it was a Jeep. I forced myself up and waved. “Over here!”

I had no idea where to go, but the mountains looked cooler than this place. I made three weak steps. I felt like someone kicked me in the balls, and I went down.

I don’t know how long I was out, but when I pushed myself to my elbows, the dot was closer. It was moving, help was on the way.

I managed to move into a sitting position and crossed my arms. I winced at the pain. My arms were covered with blisters and hot to the touch. I looked at the sun. A vulture moved across the sky so high up I doubted he saw me, but I knew he had. It’s a race then, the Jeep or the vulture.

The Jeep resolved itself into a lone cow. Oh, fuck. How the hell was I going to get out of here now? The cow was coming straight at me.

I managed to stand again, but fell after a few steps. A tiny breeze picked up, but it only made things hotter.

The cow took on some detail. It was black with a white blaze on its forehead, white legs, and it had long hair that moved in the breeze. Ranchers put cows on the range, but one with long hair was unheard of here.

Still, it came closer. Long sharp horns resolved on the sides of its head the closer it got. They were nearly four feet from tip to tip. Would it hurt me?

“Shoo! Get out of here.”

The cow kept coming.

I curled up in a ball, and hoped it would keep walking. I couldn’t outrun it, and those horns looked worse than the scorching heat.

It stopped about five feet away and turned sideways. It wore a saddle and reins.

Then it said, “There’s a waterskin hanging on the side.”

©C.S.Boyack 2017

Connect with Craig.
Blog: http://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com
Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/Virgilante

And the delectable Lisa Burton

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lisa.burton.7121

My thanks to Craig for joining us today and he is looking forward to answering your questions which you can leave in the comments section.  Thank you Sally

You will find the other interviews in this series in this directory

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/cafe-and-bookstore-book-reading-and-interview/

Spotlight: Hugh W. Roberts


Vashti Q turns the spotlight on author Hugh Roberts who is also part of the tireless team putting together the #BloggersBash in June.. thanks Vashti and Hugh..

The Writer Next Door

Welcome to my blog, everyone! It is a happy Monday indeed because I have a wonderful guest today, Author Hugh W. Roberts.

The Writer Next Door-Vashti Q-Spotlight-Guest_blogger-HughRoberts-Glimpses-book

Hugh is one of the sweetest and friendliest people you’ll ever meet and he is also a talented writer. He writes about all kinds of everyday life. Nothing too serious, mostly about the little things in life and how important they can be to all of us. Some of his posts are humorous while others may bring a tear to your eye.

Hugh spends his days writing, reading, walking, cycling and likes to relax in front of the television with a glass of red wine. He’s always been a morning person and does most of his writing during the day.

Hugh’s first book ‘Glimpses‘ is a collection of 28 short stories that allows the reader a peek into the lives of everyday people who are about to…

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