Smorgasbord reblog – Countdown to Financial Fitness – Get off the Interest Train by Sharon Marchisello


Financial expert and author Sharon Marchisello shares how quickly interest can mount up on your credit card…the banks may call it your flexible friend but it is pretty inflexible when you allow the charges to build up.

Countdown to Financial Fitness – Get off the Interest Train

My husband’s VISA account required an intervention last week. When his statement arrived, we noticed an interest charge of 97 cents had been applied. He has set up automatic payments of the full statement balance on the due date, so there shouldn’t be any interest charges.

However, this VISA card, issued by his credit union, doubles as an ATM card to make withdrawals from his checking account. Last month, on a trip to Frankfurt, he withdrew euros from an ATM, and instead of a debit to his checking account, the transaction was processed as a cash advance. He was immediately on the interest train.

The interest train is like a snowball rolling down a hill. It’s the magic of compound interest working against you. As long as any part of your loan balance remains unpaid, interest accrues. Paying the statement balance won’t stop it because interest continues to accrue between the date the statement is prepared and the date the payment is posted. And that interest carries through to the following month’s balance, accumulating more interest. Once you’re on the interest train, all your subsequent purchases accrue interest.

Head over to read the post in full: Get off the interest Train by Sharon Marchisello

Books by Sharon Marchisello

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – follow Sharon: Goodreadsblog: Sharon Blogspot – Twitter: @SLMarchisello

 

Thanks for dropping in and please head over to Sharon’s to read the post in full and browse her other articles on personal finance.. Thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Reblog – Q & A With D.G. Kaye – Featuring Diane McGyver – Northern Survival


A wonderful Q & A between D.G. Kaye and her guest on Frinday Diane McGyver, talking about her novel Northern Survival.. apart from Debby’s usual terrific questions where we learn more about Diane’s inspirations for her stories and future plans, there is a wonderful excerpt for the book and definitely on my reading list.

Q & A with D.G. Kaye

Q & A With D.G. Kaye – Featuring Diane McGyver – Northern Survival
October 9, 2020

Today I’m delighted to be featuring Canadian author Diane McGyver. Diane writes fantasy novels, and has recently started her Romance Collection, as she explains – not typical romance, but with themes of adventure, action, survival and awakenings that thread through her stories that take precedence over relationships.

Diane McGyver

About Diane:

Diane McGyver writes stories, some long, some short. Regardless of genre, each story contains a bit of adventure, romance, survival and humour. She loves writing stories with a fantastical theme, but her current release “Northern Survival” is all about surviving in the wilderness after a plane crash. She’s been writing a long time, and the journey has taught her to not squander words. Each new story is more concise with less clutter than the previous. McGyver: “Writing feeds my soul, fills my heart, keeps me wild and gives me freedom few other occupations can give. Why would I do anything else?”

Diana writes stories and articles and operates a publishing company based in mainland Nova Scotia. She’s written on many topics over the years, including genealogy, writing, publishing, gardening and history. Since 1997, a few thousand articles have appeared in dozens of publications, including Saltscapes Magazine, Plant and Garden Magazine, alive Magazine, East Coast Gardener and Canadian Gardening.

Northern Survival by [Diane McGyver]

Blurb:

Olive Tweed planned her trip for two years. She’d vacation at Summer Beaver, gather the research material needed to write the next book and spend a few days hiking the vast wilderness. When she is called home unexpectedly and boards a chartered plane, she never dreamt it would crash, leaving her alone with a man who knew nothing about survival or the woods. If they don’t put aside their differences and work together, they’ll never escape alive.

Northern Survival was inspired by a video created by a pilot who recorded the crash of his small plane in Northern Quebec. The only reason he survived was because the plane had a parachute.

If you love stories of adventure, survival challenges and characters who test each others ability to endure, you’ll love Northern Survival.

Review:

In Northern Survival (Quarter Castle Publishing 2020), two strangers–Olive, a writer researching an upcoming book and and Johnathan, a movie star–are returning to civilization aboard a small plane when a large bird slams into the windshield and crashes the plane. Everyone is killed except Olive and Johnathan and they are stranded in the middle of the frozen Canadian forests. Conventional wisdom says to stay with the plane but nearby hungry wolves convince them they must leave. They have little food, minimal shelter, and no weapons, and both think they know the right way to hike out of the desolate wilderness. That’s their first disagreement but by no means their last.

“I can do this.” “I know you can, but you can’t do it like I can because you’re a pampered city boy with no damn experience.” “Leave me alone [rephrased].”

Olive has some survival skills while Johnathan has none so she wins. Still, it is a daunting task that leaves them often weak, hungry, thirsty, cold, and frightened. As a reader, I’m left thinking it is only because of Olive’s brutal honesty that they even have a chance:

“I don’t expect you to do what I do, but I expect you to tell me your limits so we don’t exceed them and cause unnecessary injuries, which ultimately will slow us down or…”

A good read with lots of how-to information if you ever find yourself stranded in below-zero weather with nothing but trees around you.

Head over to enjoy the interview and the excerpt for the book.. with buy links direct to your nearest Amazon...Q & A With D.G. Kaye – Featuring Diane McGyver – Northern Survival

Books by D.G. Kaye

D. G. Kaye – Buy: Amazon USAndAmazon UK – Blog: D.G. Writes – Goodreads:D.G. Kaye on Goodreads – Twitter: @pokercubster – Facebook: Debby Gies

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to read Debby’s post in full.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Reblog – Monday Funnies with Diamond Lil and The Story Reading Ape.


As always Chris, The Story Reading Ape finds the funniest old women with acerbic wit to entertain us… along with Maxine and Aunt Acid we now have Diamond Lil… and you do not want to cross her….

Please head over to enjoy the rest of the funnies: Monday Funnies with Diamond Lil.

 

The Story Reading Ape buy: Amazon US –  And:  Amazon UK    Blog: The Story Reading Ape Twitter: @StoryReadingApe

Smorgasbord Reblog – The Beauty of Sportsmanship by Pete Springer


Author Pete Springer with a heartwarming post on the benefits of sports and those moments in professional sport, when human empathy takes priority over winning… Please head over to enjoy the post in full including some wonderful video clips.

The Beauty of Sportsmanship

For as long as I can remember, I have loved playing and watching sports. My interest began when I was little, surrounded by older brothers and friends who also enjoyed sports. At 61-years old, my days of playing competitive games are just about over. I’ve had two knee surgeries and am now dealing with a recurring bad back.

While I enjoyed competing, I was never a star athlete. Like anyone who has played competitive sports, I’ve had my share of joy and sorrow. I still remember pitching a no-hitter in little league, sinking the last-second shot to win a basketball game, and winning a local racquetball tournament. I’ve been a part of several teams (mostly at the intramural level) that won championships.

On the other hand, I remember those moments of disappointment too. There were numerous times when I didn’t come up with the clutch hit, winning basket, or perfect tennis shot. If you play sports for any length of time, there will be failures. It comes with the territory. I found it a lot easier to accept defeat when I knew I had given my all but lost to a superior player or team.

Most of my sports enjoyment now revolves around participating as a spectator. Our son played football at the high school and collegiate level, received his college degree in exercise science, and today coaches college football. My wife and I have watched many games in person or from the comforts of our living room. We get wrapped up in the competition and cheer hard for the teams he’s played on or coached.

The beauty of sports is that they can teach us many life lessons.

Head over to enjoy the post in full: The Beauty of Sportsmanship by Pete Springer

 

One of the recent reviews for the book

Avid Reader 5.0 out of 5 stars A book I wholeheartedly enjoyed  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 July 2020

Today, more than ever, children need role models and so do adults, parents too. And we need to re-learn basic responsibility and how this is a two way road.

Finding your inner voice and passion is what we all need to discover and Pete Springer paints us a vivid image in this book.

This is an entertaining read based on first hand experiences dripping with humor.

A book I wholeheartedly enjoyed although I already brought up two children.
A must read, wether you are a teacher or a parent. Grandparent too.

Pete Springer, Buy: Amazon USand:Amazon UK –  Goodreads –  Website:Pete Springer WordPressTwitter: @OfficerWoof

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Spotlight – Life Changing Moments – Dog Sitting with a twist or two by Jane Sturgeon


Welcome to Cafe and Bookstore Author spotlight. I invited authors in the Cafe to share what they consider to be a defining moment in their lives that resulted in a major positive change. The current series ends on October 11th and is booked out with some wonderful authors and their stories.

Jane Sturgeon has been a systems analyst, trainer, technical author, painter, psychic medium, furniture restorer, de-clutterer, therapist and creative. She has lived in Africa and The States, looked after many farms, loved through two marriages, is Mum to an extraordinary young woman and loves making things. She lives next to the Mersey River where it meets the Irish Sea and shares her life with loved ones and an impressive collection of yarn.

Self-awareness is the first book in her Writing on Water series. Her creative services can be found at  Jane Sturgeon and more information can be found on her blog along with her other Books

Dog Sitting with a twist or two by Jane Sturgeon

I am grateful to Sally for gifting the opportunity to write and share a life changing moment. Sally’s blog  is a wonderful mix of her writing, books, poetry, food, health and life articles and posts filled with unstinting support for her fellow authors. Thank you, Sally. ♥

In the current heat, wide awake stints in the middle of the night have become the norm and during one, I was pondering on my life changing moments when this story popped into my thoughts. It is not a classic ‘life change’ moment, yet, it is one I go back to often, especially when I need a reminder of inner strength and flexibility.

Post-divorce and with my daughter away at university, I hit a brick wall career wise. I had no clue what to do next and I remember feeling scared. A random trawl of the internet sparked an idea to go travelling for a while and see what floated up. I have always loved animals and with my rural background I put a profile up on a home/animal sitting web site. Within days I started to get bookings and having promised my daughter I would stay in the U.K., I set off to flow care to furry and feathered friends in other folk’s homes. This is the story from one of those adventures.

It was late summer and hot and dusty as I arrived at a farm booking in the depths of Wiltshire. The lady owner had already caught her flight out to North Africa for a few weeks, so I had received emailed instructions on where to find the backdoor key. The understanding on these ‘sits’ was I gifted my time in return for a stay in a lovely place, whilst caring for animals, plants and their home. I earned my pennies through self-employed work on a psychic service, so with internet access I was good to go.

The details of the sit were ‘A beautiful 17th century moated farmhouse, Harry, a long-haired black retriever, a few chickens, some retired racehorses (which were liveried and had their own grooms) and a few sheep.

As I drove up to the gate there were three lovely dogs with tails wagging happily on the other side. I opened my car backdoor, then the side gate and ushered my buddies for the next fortnight into my car. I chatted to them all whilst negotiating the main gate and driving into the farmyard, where I saw a massive enclosure full of chickens, ducks and geese. I remarked to my new buddies,

‘I am seeing more than a few hens!’

A few uncharitable thoughts were forming, centred around the farmer, as we all trouped inside the farmhouse, with my suitcase.

There was a helpful aerial photograph on the hallway wall and after we all had a drink and I donned wellies, we set off to make a few other discoveries. There was a large flock of Jacob’s sheep in a far field, which just happened to be surrounded by a high privet hedge. Their beautiful curly horns are known for getting caught in this type of vegetation and my heart sank a little. A walk through many outer lying fields and then the stables confirmed my growing fears as I realised how many horses and foals were living there.

We returned to the farm kitchen and I discovered that the Aga was not working. I made a cup of tea with the electric kettle and fired off an email to North Africa, including the lines:

‘I have found Harry and the other two dogs are called? Over a hundred chickens, ducks and geese can hardly be classed as a few hens and I have clear evidence of a flock of sheep.’

Her reply was priceless.

‘Oh Jane, Flo (the westie) is a sweetie and Bumble (a miniature poodle) is no bother. Flo is mine and I forgot to mention her, and Bumble’s Mum is out here with me, so we thought you wouldn’t mind.’

I conserved my energy and ceased to send her emails.

On the first evening a man walked into the kitchen and opening the fridge, spotted me sitting at the table and smiled,

‘You must be Jane.’

He turned out to be a weekly lodger in the converted attic and had been staying there for over two years. He was leaving at the end of the week and yes, he was upset about going and a new lodger was due in the following Monday.

Every day the farm kitchen resembled Piccadilly Circus, as a succession of folk drifted in and out with various requests and I was not able to work for a minute. The Aga engineer came twice, the quad bike was serviced, the septic tank was emptied, the gardener trimmed all the hedges, the cleaner arrived (I have never forgotten her kindness) and lodgers and grooms came and went. There were three greenhouses, chock full of chillis, peppers and cucumbers that needed watering and I made the discovery that ducks ‘dive bomb’ you when they’re hungry and Jacob’s sheep want a cuddle.

A few days into the mix, a truck drew up at the gate early one morning and a grinning face announced

‘Hi, we’re Duncan and John and we’re here to build a hay barn in the far field.’

‘Of course, you are.’ I replied with a smile.

They were my saviours, as they knew the farmer and the farm well.

Mid-morning and afternoon, my buddies and I would carry tea and cake over to them and we’d have a natter, sprinkled with much laughter. They were a father and son building team and my heart will always hold them fondly. The Aga stove was up and running again, yet my baking had varied results.

My opening gambit of,

‘Hello chaps, this is lemon drizzle cake, but not as you know it.’ Was met with laughter.

They ate it and all my other offerings.

On my last day and the last day of their build, Duncan arrived alone and said his Dad was poorly.

‘I have given up trying to get my work done while I’m here, can I help you?’ I asked.

What followed was a day filled with pure joy. Duncan gave me a quick lesson on how to drive the digger. I had driven his massive tractor a few days earlier, as a treat, but that was a world away from handling a digger. I gathered my nerves and following his instructions sat inside the cab and started to adjust the gears for driving and the gears for handling the bucket. Everything I set in motion was the opposite to how I’d been shown. I opened the cab door and puzzled, I asked for help.

The swine laughed and leaning in, spun the gears diagram plate upside down.

‘That’s been loose for years, so I was just testing you, Jane.’ As he creased up with more laughter.

It set the tone for the day and all who value health and safety rules, stop reading now.

Duncan placed a beam across the bucket, climbed in with his tools and I took him into the barn structure. Dropping him down under the front beam and then lifting him up to put either end of the new beam in place. We achieved all of this above the deafening sound of the digger’s diesel engine, with Duncan making hand signals over the top of the bucket. In and out, we kept this up all day, until every single beam was in place in the last section and then

‘Houston, we had a roof structure.’

On the last beam, I gave in to a moment of mischief, because truth be told, I was getting a touch cocky. Duncan signalled for me to bring him down and out and instead, I tapped the gear lever to take him up a few inches. This was the view that greeted me.

I will always be grateful for Duncan’s trust that day and for gifting me the space ‘to have a go’.

Anytime I feel wobbly or unsure in the years since, I dip back into the energy of that day and the love that flowed from all the animals and kind folk on that farm, but especially to Duncan.

A footnote: I was booked in to do two further stints on that farm and I cancelled them. Duncan and I are still in touch.

©Jane Sturgeon 2020

What an adventure and I must say that I do think the owner of the animals was very cavalier about their care and was very lucky that Jane is the person that she is…delighted she shared this with us.

About the book

Each one of us holds stories about ourselves and these drive our lives. Thoughts are attached to emotions and actions spring from how we feel. Old stories can be re-written, new stories can be crafted and discoveries are made along the way. It is the tapestry of life and yes, you can weave with whatever threads you choose. Loving support, fresh perspectives and new life tools can make all the difference.

A recent review for Writing on Water

Stuart Crowe5.0 out of 5 stars READ AND READ AGAIN Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 7 May 2020

A short book maybe, but certainly a thought provoking book. Certainly a book if I had read a week or so ago, I certainly would have had second thoughts about questions I asked. If I had of read it year and years ago, there would have been certainly more thoughts given to the question of where and what do I do now. A very interesting read and a little bit of an insight into someone else’s life and thought processes. A book that needs reading again.

Other books by Jane Sturgeon available on her website Books

Jane Sturgeon: Amazon UK –  And : Amazon US –  Follow Jane: Goodreads –  blog:Jane Sturgeon WordPress –  Twitter: @JaneSturgeon3 –  Facebook: Jane Sturgeon

 

I am sure you have enjoyed Jane’s story as much as I have and I know that she would love your feedback… thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Reblog – Parts Of A House With Names You Probably Didn’t Know by Nicholas Rossis


A wonderful post from Nicholas Rossis which will be of interest to writers and homeowners alike…

Parts Of A House With Names You Probably Didn’t Know

Old door | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's book

One of the hardest things for me is writing detailed descriptions of houses. Part of it is that I’m impatient by nature and I tend to gloss over long descriptions when reading. But part of it is also that it can be hard to write a nice description of a house without knowledge of the right terminology. What is a loggia and how does it differ from a porch? What on earth do you call all those architectural whatchamacallits in the picture above?

Which is why I was so grateful to come across this brilliant guide by Chirpy Home. I hope you find it useful in your writing!

1. Arbor

Similar to a pergola, an arbor is a lovely vertical backyard structure but quite small and simple. It is a freestanding latticework that provides shade and shelter for climbing shrubs or vines, often used as an entrance at a garden party in a garden, a gate frame to a garden, and a landscape accent.

2. Chiminea

A chiminea is a freestanding outdoor fireplace with a rounded body, a front opening, and topped by a slender chimney. It is usually made of clay, terracotta, copper, cast iron, or steel. It is a beautiful feature to add in your patio or garden to keep it warm throughout the night.

3. Corbel

If Mediterranean styles appeal to you, corbels should be part of your home’s architectural plan. A corbel is a decorative support structure that juts out from a wall and acts as a bracket to hold balconies, roofs, cabinets, shelves, mantels, counters, tabletops, and doorways. It is a solid, three-dimensional triangular piece of material made of wood, stone, metal, or plaster that is similar to upside-down L-shaped metal brackets.

4. Cupola

A cupola is a small, tall, and often domed-shaped but can also be round, square, hexagonal, or octagonal structure set on a roof ridge of a house or building. They were originally designed to provide ventilation and light to barns and to function as a belfry and belvedere. At present time, cupolas bring interest and a sense of symmetry to a home’s roofline.

Head over to discover another 28 names for parts of a house you may not know about: Parts Of A House With Names You Probably Didn’t Know

Nicholas C. Rossis

Nicholas C. Rossis lives to write and does so from his cottage on the edge of a magical forest in Athens, Greece. When not composing epic fantasies or short sci-fi stories, he chats with fans and colleagues, writes blog posts, and enjoys the antics of two silly cats and his baby daughter, all of whom claim his lap as home. His books have won numerous awards, including the Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award.

In addition to his best-selling series, Pearseus, he writes short science fiction/speculative fiction stories, many of which have appeared in various collections and anthologies. These include Infinite Waters, which was voted one of the best 50 Indie books of 2015.

A small selection of books by Nicholas Rossis

Nicholas Rossis, Buy: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Blog:Nicholas RossisGoodreads: Nicholas Rossis Goodreads – Twitter: @Nicholas_Rossis

 

Thanks for dropping by and I hope you will head over to enjoy Nicholas’s post in full.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Reblog -Spying – The Story about House Hunting While Being Watched by D.G. Kaye


D.G. Kaye shares the horrifying story of a house viewing that she and her husband conducted with an agent ten years ago that threw up some interesting home decorations…. and also a disturbing aftermath.

Spying beware

Spying – The Story about House Hunting While Being Watched

I recently wrote a post about protecting our privacy while using digital devices. And at the end of that post, I cautioned to be particularly careful when viewing properties while house hunting because I had encountered a weird situation with a spy camera in one of the properties we ‘almost’ purchased. A few people indicated to me they were curious to know what happened. So today, I’m going to share that incident.

We had just sold our big ranch bungalow and weren’t quite sure yet where we wanted to move – buy another single detached home, rent somewhere for awhile until we decided, or perhaps a townhouse bungalow not far from our home, which was part of a condo development, meaning there’d be monthly maintenance fees for care of the properties (also known as HOA fees in the U.S.).

We decided to take a look at the semi-detached bungalow development.

At the time our real estate agent was a friend of ours, her name was Ro. Ro was a go-getter agent, unabashed, and knew her business well. She never held back from what she wanted to say or ask of a client or a potential seller. Ro was a loud and boisterous person and when she spoke, there was no volume control.

Ro drove us over to have a look at the bungalow. It really was a beautiful development for the ‘over 50 crowd’ – a number I was soon approaching but still not comfortable with the idea of moving into a quiet lifestyle. Ro mentioned that many of the residents chose this development because the properties were looked after by the corporation, which left no worries for many of the snowbirds to fly away for the winter knowing their homes would be looked after on the outside. This was appealing to my husband who was getting ready for his first retirement.

Head over to discover what hidden ‘treasures’ this house contained and the aftermath of the viewing and negotiations: House Hunting while being watched

Books by D.G. Kaye

D. G. Kaye – Buy: Amazon USAndAmazon UK – Blog: D.G. WritesGoodreads:D.G. Kaye on Goodreads – Twitter: @pokercubster – Facebook: Debby Gies

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to read Debby’s post in full.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Spotlight – Life Changing Moments – Shake The Dust Off Your Feet by Sherri Matthews


Welcome to Cafe and Bookstore spotlight. I invited writers to share what they consider to be a defining moment in their lives that resulted in a major positive change. The current series ends on October 11th and is booked out with some wonderfully inspiring stories.

Today my guest is Sherri Matthews who shares the moment she made the decision to give up full time work and start her life as a writer after uprooting from her life in California to Dorset with her family.

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri is a writer and photographer who blogs at A View From My Summerhouse. She contributes an Unsung Heroes column at online literary community Carrot Ranch, and is published in a diverse collection of print magazines and anthologies. In another life, Sherri lived in California for twenty years, but today she lives in England’s West Country with her family, two black kitties and a grumpy bunny. She hopes soon to publish her debut memoir, Stranger in a White Dress: A True Story of Broken Dreams, Being Brave and Beginning Again.

Shake The Dust Off Your Feet

Montana de Ora central coast California

My marriage to the American father of my three children ended after twenty-two years. I had lived in California for most of them. He worked long and unsociable shifts for the Department of Corrections. With my family all in the UK, my in-laws four hours away in Los Angeles and at one point, the children at three different schools – first grade, middle and high school – I held down the family fort.

I invested in my career as a full-time ‘Mom’ and I loved it.

When it fell apart, I said goodbye to my life in California for a new life in England with my children.

Divorced, early forties, single mum.

It wouldn’t be the first time I had started over, but at that stage of life I found it harder. There were no school mums to make friends with at the ‘gate’ and my children had entered a high school system that was foreign to them and me.

Forget “O” Levels. Now the teachers talked of GCSE’s, modules and resits.

I found a nice house to rent near my mother, and re-entered the work force as a legal secretary for a small firm of solicitors.

I remarried and my lovely husband and I bought our first home together and I changed jobs.
But my youngest was diagnosed first with Graves Disease (overactive thyroid disease). And after seeking help for too long and getting nowhere, was tested for and diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at eighteen.

The strain of working full-time got too much for me at that time, but I was saved the trouble of worrying what to do about it – six months after they hired me, the firm closed the office. For the first time in my life, I was made redundant.

It was difficult not to take it personally, a blow to my confidence.

I found work as a medical secretary, but by then, my youngest’s challenges and resulting appointments increased and my stress levels trying to balance home and work life shot through the roof. There was no balance and I handed in my notice.

As a family, we now faced a crossroads. What to do?

My husband was/is the main breadwinner, but with my middle boy still at university and youngest unable to work and living with us, we needed my additional income, whatever size.

The answer came when I got a job at a local solicitors. The money wasn’t great, it meant working on reception and typing up letters rather than the secretarial role I preferred, but for just two days a week, it would suit me well.

And yet, every doctor’s appointment that came up fell without fail on one of my two working days. I juggled and rescheduled and generally managed, always glad for those three days ‘off’ when I could catch up with all the rest.

It wasn’t ideal, but my family had found a somewhat workable solution.

Until a year in, when my boss came in to work one morning and announced he was retiring and selling the business. He promptly made all the staff redundant.

But this time, something was different. This time, I didn’t take it personally.

Something far stronger than any desire to further a legal career had pulled at me for as long as I could remember.

That desire was writing.

A writer at heart I had always been, yet I hadn’t dared call myself one.

I had signed up for a creative writing course from home, but I dabbled and it simmered on the back burner. For later. Always later.

This time, I saw my opportunity: losing my job would be my way out.

With my husband’s full support, I negotiated with my boss to work my three months’ notice as his secretary (she had left, upon hearing the news, for another firm) for a significant, albeit it temporary, pay hike. This would give us a small cushion for bills after I left.

Though I would no longer be bringing in an income, I had discovered that I would be eligible for a small Carer’s Allowance from the government by staying home and looking after my youngest, which by then was needed and necessary.

We will manage, my husband said. You need to write and the time is now.

The new, take-over firm, offered me a full time position, but I politely declined.

Those days are over, I said to myself. Never again. Decision made.

On my last day at the office, I finished my work and handed the folder of letters for signature to my boss. We hugged goodbye and wished each other well. I gathered my jacket, slung my bag over my shoulder and walked down the dingy stairwell to the door at the bottom.

It swished shut behind me, and I stopped to greet the sun on my face. Then I turned and walked away and didn’t look back.

Shake the dust off your feet, I told myself that day.

Now you can write, and in time, you will call yourself a writer.

And here I am nine years later, thanks to Sally and her wonderful blog, telling you all about it.

Stourhead Dorset England

Sherri has contributed to a number of anthologies including This is Lockdown which features many authors in the Cafe and Bookstore.

Read the reviews and buy the collection: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US

Connect to Sherri:  Blog: Sherri Matthews –  Facebook Page:  A View from My Summerhouse –  Twitter: @WriterSherri – LinkedIn: Sherri Matthews

 

My thanks to Sherri for sharing the moment she took the momentous decision to make writing her full time career. I know she would love your feedback.. thanks Sally

 

 

Smorgasbord Reblog – #AfghanistanAdventures53 Foreign(Non)Diplomacy by Mary Smith


Mary Smith continues her journey through the mountains of Afghanistan as snow catches convoys of trucks unawares and overnight stops are frigid..and even require a little Foreign (Non)Diplomacy… as always an amazing read.

Afghanistan Adventures53 Foreign(Non)Diplomacy by Mary Smith

Afghanistan, December 1989: Bamiyan, Sheikh Ali & onwards to Wardak Province

We’d enjoyed our day of playing tourists with very hospitable and friendly mujahideen

We returned to the French clinic to find Ghulam Ali, huddled under his patou, looking more miserable than usual. The room we’d been allocated was like a fridge, the promised stove had not materialised. Ghulam Ali was bored and cold and thoroughly fed up. Jon went off in search of someone to help, and soon a bukhari was installed and we huddled in a circle around it drinking tea, waiting for the temperature to rise.

Shortly after seven o’clock the cook appeared to inform us dinner was ready and, indicating Jon and me, told us to go to the house. I pointed to our fellow travellers and asked, ‘What about them?’ The cook explained food would be brought to the room for the Rahimy, Zahir and Ghulam Ali, but Jon and I were expected to eat with the kharijee – foreigners.

He trotted out. Minutes later he returned and said, this time, in English, ‘Dinner is ready. You go to house.’

I shook my head, ‘No, we all eat together, here.’

The great Buddha of Bamiyan

Looking ruffled, he departed and we sat in an uncomfortable silence. I didn’t know what the other three were thinking about their exclusion from the invitation. Rahimy broke the silence to say, ‘If you want to eat in the house, it’s all right. We don’t mind.’ His hurt expression belied his words.

Before I could reply, the cook shuffled in bearing a tray with three plates of food. Setting it down, he was about to leave, when I remarked, ‘We are five people – there are only three dishes here.’

Head over to find out how Mary deals with tricky diplomatic conundrum…and enjoy the rest of the post: #AfghanistanAdventures53 Foreign(Non)Diplomacy

A selection of books by Mary Smith

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Mary Smith, Buy:Amazon US – and:Amazon UK –  Blog: Mary Smith’s PlaceGoodreads: Goodreads – Twitter: @marysmithwriter

 

Thanks for dropping by and I hope you will head over to enjoy Mary’s post in full.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Reblog -Scary Alexa – Digital Footprints – All eyes on us by D.G. Kaye


Since WordPress no longer allows me to ‘press’ a post and therefore schedule into this 6pm slot without converting to the new block editor, I have resurrected by reblog heading. It is not going to stop me sharing the good stuff!

We are under surveillance, not just in the outside world but in our own homes… Debby Gies shares some scary examples and some simple steps to increase your privacy.

Scary Alexa – Digital Footprints – All eyes on us by D.G. Kaye

Eyes Watching

Lord knows with the amount of time I spend on the computer, I’m enabling my digital footprints to stretch far and beyond. We’re caught in a web of our personal lives, living somewhere in the digital library of bits and pieces of everyone, somewhere. We are losing that ability to remain anonymous as digitalization progresses. Privacy is quickly becoming obsolete in today’s digital world.

Do you ever think about the fact that anytime we go out in public we are susceptible to being videoed and/or recorded? Anyone, anywhere can take our picture and use it however they deem. Nary a public place is without a camera for their ‘security’ purposes, but nonetheless, we’re recorded. Personally, I feel there’s wayyyyyy too much information for strangers to have access to and then to do what they please with it. I don’t like it!

Maybe we’re just getting too complacent and don’t pay enough attention to it anymore, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. There is nowhere safe anymore it seems. And this isn’t just about once we step into the outside world, but we invite the same into our own homes – some unknowingly and others quite willingly. Just think about all the digital gadgets we all have in our homes. From computers with webcams and microphones to our phones tracking our every move, and Smart TVs – there are potentially eyes on us if we don’t remain cognizant about smart digital use such as turning off mics and covering up webcams when not in use.

And as if we don’t have enough technological spyware following us, enter Alexa. I refuse to have one in my home. I feel there’s enough ‘big brother’ going on in our personal lives and I’m doing my best to keep from being spied on as best I can in the cyberworld, but let’s face it, if we work on computers daily, the best we can do is help minimize the invasions. All these digital methods come with way too much convenience in exchange for our digital footprints being sold to third parties to be shared, often exploited, and lord knows who else, so they can follow us around on our digital apparatus and flash advertising at us.

Head over to read the post in full and check your own susceptibility to an invasion of privacy: D.G. Kaye – How Many Eyes Watching Us..

About D.G.Kaye

If you are a regular visitor you will have met Debby before as a contributor writing The Travel Column for two years and now The Realm of Relationships 2020. Debby also co-hosts the Laughter Lines twice a week.

Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.

When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.
I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.

Quotes:
“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”

                 “For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”

When I’m not writing, I’m reading or quite possibly looking after some mundane thing in life. It’s also possible I may be on a secret getaway trip, as that is my passion—traveling.

Books by D.G. Kaye

One of the recent reviews for P.S. I Forgive You on Goodreads

Jul 29, 2020 M.J. Mallon rated it Five Stars it was amazing

This is a very personal account of the author’s experiences of coping and coming to terms with the emotions experienced after the death of a narcissistic mother. D. G Kaye’s mother is herself a product of the terrible parenting she experienced as a child. My own mother struggled with many heartbreaking problems as she grew up. She overcame these and was and continues to be a wonderfully caring mother. I have a deep, unbreakable bond with her which I also have with my daughters.

As I continued to read further into this memoir I kept on comparing our circumstances. How sad and damaging such an uncaring, selfish parent is to her children. How can a mother behave in such a way? P.S. I Forgive You is an important read for all of us. This memoir is about letting go, releasing the emotional turmoil which begun in childhood.

It is a compelling read. It courageously deals with the extremes of family relationships. Relationships are complex and difficult even in what I would deem to be ‘normal’ families. There are many who struggle to understand or relate to their son or daughter, sister, brother, wife or husband.

But this memoir takes those problems to a whole new level that no one should have to experience. After such a damaging upbringing, D. G. Kaye has suffered but has learnt to forgive. She lives a happy, fulfilled life. That is a wonderful testament to her strength of character and her can do attitude.

I’d recommend this memoir to us all whatever our circumstances

D. G. Kaye – Buy: Amazon USAndAmazon UK – BlogD.G. WritesGoodreads:D.G. Kaye on Goodreads – Twitter: @pokercubster – Facebook: Debby Gies

 

Thanks for dropping by   Sally.