Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Wasps by Allan Hudson


Delighted to welcome Allan Hudson of South Branch Scribbler to the archive series and to showcase his latest book released in the last week. Pull up a chair, grab a coffee and read the story of Seymour Troffmok and the Wasps.

Wasps! by Allan Hudson

Seymour Troffmok hightails it out of the baby barn like a scared rabbit with a hungry fox hot on his tail. Four angry yellow jackets, insect warriors, swarm his upper body for the first thirty feet of his escape into the open yard, their stingers dripping with venom. Their intention is to kill. Deeming the threat no longer remains, the determined protectors veer off from the fleeing intruder quickly returning to their hive satisfied the menace has been sufficiently warned.

Seymour is skinnier than a yard rake and the welt on his neck is a big as a walnut. He’s moaning and cursing, rubbing the sore bump. It feels as if someone drove a three inch nail in his neck, or at least he imagines it hurts that much. He’s scared too, his bulged out eyes search the yard around him where he stops running by the large pine tree at the edge of his property, fifty yards from the bomb laden storage shed. Confident there are no more of the horrible insects chasing him he rests his shaking body against the tree, eyeballing the open doors of the barn as they swing in the spring breeze. The sun is behind him as it begins its ascension into the sky.

The pine tree is thick and wide enough to keep him in shadow, old enough to remember Seymour’s ancestors. The bark is rough, deeply veined and reassuring upon his back. One of the massive roots has grown from the ground before burrowing back into the rich earth creating a low uncomfortable seat about four feet long. The rounded top is wide enough for an average bum; hundreds have polished the aged root for the last fifty years. Seymour buffs it up once more by plopping down on the wood. Dead needles are scattered at his feet. He’s in his comfort zone, far enough away from the damn wasps.

He sits facing the swaying doors. Turning his head slowly in circles trying to ease the pain he glares at the opening as several wasps appear, hovering briefly as if to decide which way they should proceed. Seymour freezes, wills his heart to stop beating, chilled with the thought they might be looking for him. The three bugs bug out to his left at full velocity, uninterested in Seymour any longer. His shoulders visibly droop in relief, an inaudible sigh escapes his lips. A snicker covers his nervousness when he whispers

“What in the blazes am I going to do? And my aching neck…ohhhh…those little buggers.”
Seymour’s fear turns to anger, that some small pest would chase him from his own property. He strikes up a little bravado directing his comment towards the unseen hive.

“That’ll be the friggin’ day!”

Almost in response to the verbal threat, two wasps buzz down from the inside ceiling, holding position in the open doorway, facing Seymour, for several seconds. Seymour gulps, his Adams apple moving up and down nervously. Before he can react to this new threat the wasps go off in the same direction as those that flew out moments ago. He sighs, trying to calm his jitters.

Watching the entry to the small barn, he stares at the top of the opening trying to figure out what he’s going to do. He can see the edge of the patio table inside the shadows of the baby barn. He had been going in to get it out when the wasps attacked him. His first trip had been for the barbeque. They struck when he entered for the second time. The wasps figured that was too many.

It’s the first Saturday in May. The yard is covered with dead grass, flattened by the winter’s snow. Small shoots stick up here and there between the brown dried up blades of last year’s lawn, a green promise. A promise that can be detected in the air, the old tree exuding its piney aroma, the clean earth after April’s rain, the dead seaweed washed up on the shore in front of the house. Breathing deeply through his nose, Seymour continues to rub his neck even though the pain is subsiding. The familiar smells have a calming effect on his nerves. He is embarrassed at himself for being scared to go over there. He hates them. All he thinks of is how he can kill them.

Seymour arrived early today, a little after 7am at his summer house. Normally his wife Zelda accompanies him as they “open up the cottage” but she and her three sisters are doing the May Run to Prince Edward Island this weekend. They packed tents, coolers, lipstick and gloss, some clean undies, hiking boots and compasses and way too much booze for four women, all in the back of Daphne’s minivan, she’s the youngest. Seymour decided to come to the cottage on his own.

Several wasps are returning to their hive as they zoom into the baby barn and disappear up towards the roof. Seymour realizes they aren’t paying attention to him anymore. Their arrival spurs him to action. He doesn’t bother to lock up, instead jumps into his truck to head out to Melanson’s general store. Knowing Gerry Gautreau will be working today, he’ll ask him what to do; the guy knows everything about outdoors stuff. Everybody calls him Goat, a short take on his last name. Watching the road as it twists along the shore, Seymour’s thinking about the wasps, his animosity growing by the second. Seven miles later he turns into the cracked parking lot.

He loves the smell of the old store, ripe bananas and produce to the right, popcorn by the movie rentals in the back, new shoe and glove leather down the center, an open can of paint and boxes of nails in hardware to the left. The floor creaks as he heads to the left where Goat looks after the nuts and bolts. Seymour finds him at the paint counter hammering the cover back on a fresh can. He’s chatting up the young lady he’s serving while Seymour waits off to the side studying the man he only knows sparingly. He can’t remember ever seeing Goat without a smile, just about the friendliest grin possible. Full head of white hair, eyebrows and moustache to match, make him look wise. He’s saying something to his customer while he comes from behind the desk to hand her the can of paint and Seymour can’t hear him. The woman blushes a little and thanks him for his help. I step up to catch his attention.

“Hello there.”

“Hey, hey Seymour, comment ca va?”

“I’m doing great…except for one thing.”

A look of concern crosses Goat’s features. “What’s the problem?”

Seymour relates what happened at his house and before he can finish his story, Goat is heading towards the back and disappears to the right. “Follow me.”

Scurrying around the corner he finds him by a bunch of spray cans, insecticides, pesticides, six sided birdhouses and garden tools. Goat picks up a tall red can from the top shelf. Shoving it towards Seymour he says, “Here’s what you want.”

On the main body is a giant hornet. The image makes Seymour’s neck throb. The can is a foot high, as big around as a coffee mug, graced with the words in bold black letters, Wasp & Hornet Exterminator. There is a five inch straw-like plastic taped to the side.

“What’s the little straw for Goat?”

Goat retrieves the can and pops off the top. Pointing to the tiny pore where the spray comes out he says,

“Stick it in there and you can spray in tiny holes…” His eyes take on a mischievous glow, his words a bit of a dare. “…or you can stick it right into the hive if you’re brave enough to get that close. Good luck!”

Twenty minutes later Seymour is standing in the garage door. He’s wearing a one piece gray winter snowsuit with a big silver zipper in the front. A blue Toronto Maple Leafs toque covers his bald dome and is pulled down to his eyebrows. Oversized safety glasses with an amber tint cover his eyes. A red neck warmer graces his neck and face up to his nose. He is wearing black mechanic’s gloves and in his right hand is the large red can. It’s a mild 18 degrees and he’s dressed for a blizzard. Sweat runs from every pore because he’s hot and nervous. His glasses keep steaming up when he breathes. He counts to ten.

“…eight, nine ten!”

Heading directly to the baby barn which is between the garage and the house set back towards the property line, he enters, turns and immediately sees the hive in the apex of the gable end. He can reach it quite easily. When he lifts the can, a lone wasp escapes from the hole in the bottom of the hive. It attacks Seymour, harmlessly stinging the padding on the snowsuit. Seymour stumbles backwards, scared and swinging his free hand. Luckily he clips the defender with a swipe. The bug bounces off the right wall and slips down behind the lawn mower. Gathering all his courage he rushes forward, jabs the skinny red spout into the soft side of the hive and fills it with foam. Two or three more wasps have escaped before being consumed by the poison. They swarm about Seymour’s head and he runs.

Back to the big pine tree, only this time behind it. Seymour knows the bugs will be mad. Peering from behind the wide bole, he can see foam drip into the open doorway from the roof. A smirk crosses his face when he thinks of how he filled the hive, of how the deadly fumes are working right now. There’s almost a glee in his eyes as he removes the goggles. Several wasps have returned to the nest to find it uninhabitable, toxins emanating from its pores. They buzz about with no pattern. The chemicals in the repellant have eaten away a section of the fine paper the hive is made of, causing a piece to fall to the floor. The wasps flee as if in terror.

After fifteen minutes there’s no action, no wasps. Seymour dons his shades and walks hesitantly towards the open doors, ready to sprint in the opposite direction in a second’s notice. Making it all the way to the front, he can see several wasps on their back, on the floor, in a puddle of killing liquid. Each bug has three sets of legs that paddle uselessly in the air. Seymour feels a tinge of remorse, but only the slightest of shade.

“It’s either you or me boys. Looks like I win.”

Backing into the storage area, Seymour checks out the hive. A portion of the bottom, the size of a child’s fist, has been eaten away exposing a cone like inner structure. More dead bugs fall from the opening. With his foot he sweeps them all in the corner by the snow shovels. Returning to the garage, he tosses the toque, glasses and neck warmer on the work desk. Unzipping the large zipper, Seymour`s dark green t-shirt is sweat stained on the front. His bald head glistens in the sun. Even though he fells the menace has been effectively dealt with, Seymour decides to keep the padded garment on for a while as a precaution; otherwise he sets about setting up the summer furniture and cleaning up. By mid afternoon, he’s forgotten about the wasps.

Just a bit before 7pm Seymour has showered, changed clothing and is attending to a 10oz sirloin that hisses on the hot grills of the barbeque. The Montreal steak spice and the rich meat flavour fill the air about the bonnet. Seymour has peeled and sliced a couple of potatoes and placed them in an aluminum pan along with butter, garlic, onions, a little water and shredded cheese. The pan sits to the left of the cooking meat on a low burner. All the food sizzles in harmony. The cooker is at the far corner of the deck across from the sliding patio doors. Disturbed by the pleasant calling of the birds gathered at his neighbor’s feeder, Seymour looks around reflecting on what he’s accomplished today.

The new yellow chairs add some color to the weathered wooden Adirondacks in the sitting area to his left, equally spaced around his new fire pit, a flat black toad-like thing on legs. The gazebo is up on the right: the uprights drilled to the floor, the screens tied back neatly, the cloth on the roof is taut. The glass dining table is inside, accompanied with the six complimentary chairs that have fat olive cushions. The yard is raked and free of winter’s mess, the screen is replaced on the back storm door, and the water is back in, the dripping faucet is fixed, the kitchen appliances all cleaned, his bed changed and the sheets washed. He’s beat.

“I’ll sleep like a dead man tonight”

Laughing at his quip, he fills his plate with the cooked meal. After turning off the gas, he retreats to the kitchen to fetch his glass of Merlot and brings the bottle as well. There are no mosquitoes yet, the air is fresh with a tang of salt. The meat is tender, the wine dry and robust, the evening slightly warmer than usual. Seymour eats slowly, watching the shadows of night approach. The land is low to the west and the last rays of the sun reflect upon the water to the east, steel blue horizon with pink and orange wisps. The wine disappears at the same pace and by nine o’clock, Seymour is almost falling asleep. Gathering up the dishes, he leaves them on the cupboard, locks up the doors, makes a pit stop in the bathroom, sheds his cloths across the bedroom floor and crawls into the fresh sheets. He’s asleep in less than ten minutes. All evening he never once thought about the wasps.

**

In the middle of the night Seymour shifts restlessly upon the bed, the clean sheets tangled about his lower body. Tossing and turning he moans in the darkness, his dream turning into a nightmare. In his mind he has fallen on the middle of the road in front of his house and he’s naked. He tries to rise but his movements are sluggish as if the air is as thick as molasses.

Spying a swarm of insects rushing towards him, he is panicking, knowing with a dire certainty that they are coming for him. He urges his body to move more quickly but every effort is useless as if a terrific weight is upon him and he can’t understand why. The insects, closer now, are huge, each one the size of a baseball, they are bright yellow with glossy bodies. Their stingers are visible and poison drips from the sharp points. He can see this as clearly as if they are only inches away. The large wasps are rushing towards him, closer and closer they come with what seems like unbelievable speed and yet, he himself can barely move.

Just before the swarm reaches him, one giant hornet escapes from the buzzing horde, a mini dive bomber propels itself towards Seymour’s exposed body. The stinger is long, gleaming in the sun like a brand new sword. It hovers briefly above Seymour, points its wet dagger towards his prone body and attacks.

Seymour is startled from his sleep, sitting up suddenly in his bed. He is covered with perspiration, his heart pounding and he is shaking from the fright of his dream.

He opens his eyes and can’t see anything, the room has never been so dark, no starlight, no moon light, nothing. His neck throbs where he was stung yesterday morning. There is a terrific noise, like the sound of a dozen circular saws running at the same time. And then he can feel them. Something or some things are all over his body.

He reaches for the switch to his night light. The 60 watt bulb casts a mellow yellowish light and once his eyes focus he gasps. The room is full of wasps, hundreds and hundreds of them. They cover everything. They cling to the walls, to the open door, to the bed; they cover the floor so deep that he can’t see his clothes he shed last night. The room swirls with a cloud of yellow jackets. Staring at the mass of moving insects he screams.

The buzzing stops, every wasp stops moving except those in the air. He feels every insect eye upon him. He experiences an impending doom. He knows they mean to kill him. Reaching for the magazine on the night table, he curls it amid the frenzy of the insects and starts swinging it in the air. The hornets assail him. Trying to untangle his legs from the sheets he swats at the mass, killing a dozen every time he swings the curled paper in his hand. They sting him all over his body, the pain is excruciating. Rising on the bed, his head near the ceiling, he swings with both hands. He needs to escape from the bedroom. When he tries to jump, his tangled feet cause him to fall. He lands on the floor crushing another twenty or thirty wasps. Scrambling to his feet he makes for the stairs. The wasps set upon him even more vigorously, this time about his head. He’s blinded; he slams into the bedroom wall. Feeling with only his hands he finds the open doorway and turns towards the stairs. He can’t see the steps and plunges into the darkened stairway. Missing the first step he falls.

*

Zelda returns home Monday afternoon. When she enters her house, there is no one home. She finds this odd as Seymour told her he would be returning Monday morning because it is her birthday and he promised her dinner at her favorite restaurant. He is never late. She tries his cell phone only to discover that there is no answer and his mailbox if full. Seymour is meticulous about clearing his messages, almost obsessive with deleting useless data.

Immediately she knows something is wrong, a dread she can feel. She leaves her bag and camping gear in the middle of the kitchen floor, hurries to her car and heads to the shore. Forty minutes later she unlocks the front door. Calling out his name and getting no response she heads towards the stairway. Turning the corner from the living room, she freezes in her tracks and screams.

Seymour Troffmok lies at the foot of the stairs, his neck and arms twisted in an unnatural position. From the pallor of his skin, it is obvious he has been dead for some time.

©Allan Hudson 2014…

So next time you see a wasp nest.. do the right thing.. walk away and go bother someone else!  Thanks to Allan for sharing this cautionary tale…..

About Allan Hudson

I live by Cocagne Bay in Eastern Canada where the summers are hot by the seaside and the snow is deep in the winter. I married the greatest gal on earth, Gloria, and have a wonderful son Adam, two great stepsons Mark (Nathalie) and Chris (Mireille)Young. Three grandchildren Matthieu, Natasha and Damian.

I love reading. My mother was my school teacher and taught me to read and write when I was young. I’m thankful for that. I’m a carpenter, woodworker, aspiring author and I sell jewellery for a living at Peoples Jewellers.

I love jazz music and am a HUGE fan of JJ Cale.

Allan’s latest book has just been released – Wall of War: A Drake Alexander Adventure Book Two.

About the book

Deep in the wilderness of the Peruvian Andes lies a monument hidden for centuries. Who were the builders? Why was it abandoned? What secrets will it reveal?

In 1953, an amateur rock climber makes a startling discovery. He decides to report his findings as soon as he returns from climbing the mountain. It will take another fifty years before anyone reads his findings.

In 2004 when Drake Alexander hears of the strange discovery, he and those dear to him are plunged into a nightmare of avarice, impairment and death. Using his skills as an ex-soldier, can he and his accomplices save his tormented friends from the raiders that thirst for the secret lying within the mountains?

Head over and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Wall-Drake-Alexander-Adventures-Book-ebook/dp/B0776L5XYQ

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wall-Drake-Alexander-Adventures-Book-ebook/dp/B0776L5XYQ

Also by Allan Hudson

A review for book one of the Drake Alexander books – Dark Side Promise

This is a complicated and complex novel. The prologue sets the scene and conflict initially, but there’s a lot of back story that has to be told to connect all the players. And there are many! The author shows good insight into the main characters psyche, motivations, description of inner thinking, etc. The action scenes are well done.

Most of the story is written in present tense, not necessarily a favorite for me, but it does bring the reader a more immediate connection with the story. After the first few chapters, I was fine with it. There’s tons of intrigue, clandestine meetings, death, murder, exotic and unusual settings. All the qualities that come with a well crafted novel. And a unique writing style. Well done, and well worth the read.

Find all the books: https://www.amazon.com/Allan-Hudson/e/B00HP8FSEI

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Allan-Hudson/e/B00HP8FSEI

Read more reviews and follow Allan on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7738610.Allan_Hudson

Connect to Allan

Website: http://www.southbranchscribbler.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/hudson_allan
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/southbranchscribbler/
Google + : https://plus.google.com/+allanhudson1953

I am sure that you enjoyed this dark tale and it would be great if you could offer your feedback in the comments section for Allan.

I am now looking for posts for the run up to the festive season at the end of the year so delve into your archives and check to see if you have one or two posts that might be suitable. Email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com

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Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Is history the agreed upon lie? by Christoph Fischer


Today begins a series of posts from the archives of author Christoph Fischer who in his research for books has found it difficult at times to discover the truth of events. History is usually written by the victors…. in the days before World War I and II the only source of information was state owned media in print and then in radio. If that is the only truth you are fed then it will colour your observations and also recollections of events.

Is history the agreed upon lie? by Christoph Fischer

I must say that this is an excellent question and one that I have often thought about before writing historical novels.

Image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin_Wall

When the Berlin Wall came down, the German press was full of Chancellor Kohl walking along a river with President Gorbachev and the myth was created that on this “walk-and-talk” only Kohl’s diplomatic skills led to the German reunification. Praise the hero and superman Kohl. But was it really likely that anyone wanted two separate German states or cared in the period that was Glasnost? At the times many bought into the story, after all, didn’t it sound nicer than the idea that Russia had no longer an interest in the broken satellite state? Still, the myth made its way to history books and has always slightly bothered me because in my view it was created for all the wrong reasons.

In my research for “The Luck of the Weissensteiners”, I came across quite a few sources that seemed politically coloured. One history book about Slovakia as a state from the middle ages to the present only had a short chapter about the entire WWII era and it pretty much painted a whiter than white picture of Slovakia, an axis power at the time. Although it appears that the author didn’t even speak the language and had not researched within the country archives, there was no dispute about the book since it agreed with the polished version of events that many people in present day Slovakia would prefer to agree upon.

Archives have been destroyed by the axis powers, collaborators of Hitler managed to find their way back into the important positions, Communist regimes tried to white wash the former fascist past to bring the nation in line with its policy and many other factors might have come into play and make efficient research admittedly difficult. Let alone human sentiment and forgetfulness.

Mary Heimann learned Czech and did enormous research of her own for a book on Czechoslovakia as a state, but her findings are highly disputed, partially because they may not be totally waterproof and partially probably because they are painting a much less favourable picture of both Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

One example: Jews in Slovakia were safe for an extremely long time compared to other axis power states. The religious wing of the Fascist party claims credit for it. Others claim that the high price per head for each Jew that had to be paid to the German Reich had something to do with the reluctance of the then government to comply with Hitler’s demands.
Personal presidential exemption papers to save individual Jews from transportation allegedly were used in multiple thousands according to some sources but in much smaller numbers in others.

Admittedly, with so much original data destroyed and with such strong political and personal agendas to portray one’s country retrospectively, with eye witnesses dying away, who is to say which version is indeed true?

During my research for “The Luck of the Weissensteiners” I saw so many references made to the golden days of Vienna before WWI, the tolerant multi-cultural city and the Jew-friendly times. It was why I decided to set “Sebastian” in that period. My research for the new book however showed a much more complex and less favourable picture than I had anticipated. Particularly the work of Stefan Zweig, a Jew living in those times, challenges those assumptions strongly. Of course his work is mainly fiction and the history books can dismiss him easily as non-academic. So who do we believe?

Somewhere in my research a source wisely suggested that because of the horror that came twenty years later people’s memory changed their perception of the times and idealised the times in comparison, which makes a lot of sense.

The consequence for me as a writer is to keep checking data, to read all sides to a story and remember that history books are all relative when it comes to unquantifiable data. It is a continuous dispute and in most cases a wonderful challenge to think for yourself and maybe to find the occasional source material that brings in new light and aspects to what you think you knew.

I tried in my books to use the controversy in my favour, to let different characters make opposing statements, assumptions and predictions. Many of those characters didn’t have a television, radio or any type of reliable data to find out about what goes on beyond their own little corner of the world. And who can claim to have the comprehensive view, the complete information and can be sure to draw the right conclusions. All of this makes history exciting and a living process as long as it is not deliberately falsified. The line between misinterpretation and lie however are often more than blurred.

©Christoph Fischer 2013

About Christoph Fischer

Christoph Fischer was born in Germany, near the Austrian border, as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. Not a full local in the eyes and ears of his peers he developed an ambiguous sense of belonging and home in Bavaria. He moved to Hamburg in pursuit of his studies and to lead a life of literary indulgence. After a few years he moved on to the UK where he now lives in a small town in West Wales. He and his partner have three Labradoodles to complete their family.

Christoph worked for the British Film Institute, in Libraries, Museums and for an airline. ‘
The Luck of The Weissensteiners’ was published in November 2012; ‘Sebastian’ in May 2013 and ‘The Black Eagle Inn’ in October 2013 – which completes his ‘Three Nations Trilogy’. “Time to Let Go”, his first contemporary work was published in May 2014, and “Conditions”, another contemporary novel, in October 2014. The sequel “Conditioned” was published in October 2015. His medical thriller “The Healer” was released in January 2015 and his second thriller “The Gamblers” in June 2015. He published two more historical novels “In Search of a Revolution” in March 2015 and “Ludwika” in December 2015.
He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalisation.

The Luck of the Weissensteiners: Book 1 of The Three Nations Trilogy

About the book

In the sleepy town of Bratislava in 1933 a romantic girl falls for a bookseller from Berlin. Greta Weissensteiner, daughter of a Jewish weaver, slowly settles into life with the Winkelmeier clan. The political climate and slow disintegration of the multi-cultural society in Czechoslovakia becomes more complex and affects relations between the couple and their families.
The story follows their lot through the war with its torment, destruction and its unpredictability – and the equally hard times after.

From the moment that Greta Weissensteiner enters the bookstore where Wilhelm Winkelmeier works, and entrances him with her good looks and serious ways, I was hooked. But this is no ordinary romance; in tact it is not a romance at all, but a powerful, often sad, Holocaust story.

What makes The Luck of the Weissensteiners so extraordinary is the chance Christoph Fischer gives his readers to consider the many different people who were never in concentration camps, never in the military, yet who nonetheless had their own indelible Holocaust experiences. Set in the fascinating area of Bratislava, this is a wide-ranging, historically accurate exploration of the connections between social location, personal integrity and, as the title says, luck. I cared about every one of this novel’s characters and continued to think about them long after I’d finished reading.

One of the many excellent reviews for the book

It’s THAT good on 9 September 2013

Following Greta from pre-WWII Bratislava through Carlsbad through Aschaffenburg and ultimately to post-war Frankfurt is a well-written journey. Fischer’s The Luck of the Weissensteiners had me hooked into the journey, turning pages and asking the same question Greta stumbles upon frequently, “Where were friends or enemies?”

The novel is a historically sound piece dealing with loyalty, stigma, love, loneliness and oppression set against a backdrop of Eastern Europe’s turmoil. The characters’ lives were confounded at so many intersections by the results of a powerful anti-Semetic propaganda campaign. They don’t go to an Auschwitz or Buchenwald, but you quickly see that avoiding the camps was not freedom for the articulately drawn and likeable characters. You want to see what happens next to them and can feel the tension Fischer relays so well.

Chapters 3, 10 and 13 capture Greta’s emotion, tragedies and near-misses so intensely I bookmarked and went back for a welcome re-read. The book accomplishes a lot in covering more than a decade and a half without making a reader feeling rushed or missing something in the timeline. It’s paced that well … and the Epilogue cleanly tied together the themes and characters of the entire novel as a great exhibit of Fischer’s talent.

Read some of the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Luck-Weissensteiners-Three-Nations-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00AFQC4QC

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Luck-Weissensteiners-Three-Nations-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00AFQC4QC

A selection of the books by Christoph Fischer.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: http://www.amazon.com/Christoph-Fischer/e/B00CLO9VMQ

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Christoph-Fischer/e/B00CLO9VMQ

Read more reviews and follow Christoph on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6590171.Christoph_Fischer

Connect to Christoph

Website: http://www.christophfischerbooks.com/
Blog: http://writerchristophfischer.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CFFBooks
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/christophffisch/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=241333846
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WriterChristophFischer?ref=hl

My thanks to Christoph for sharing this post from his archives. Today with televised news on the spot in most countries it is more difficult to subvert the truth, despite some governments best efforts.  It will be interesting to come back in a hundred years to see how present day events have been manipulated!

I am now looking for assorted Festive posts for December, recollections of Christmas past, family, humour, short stories, poems, recipes etc.. Have a delve through your previous December posts and if you are not planning on re-using.. pop them over to me at sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air Your Reviews – Sandra J. Jackson, Jan Sikes and John W. Howell


Welcome to the first of the review posts this week and the first author celebrating is Sandra J. Jackson with a new review for Promised Souls.

About the book

Just as Krista’s summer plans are finalized, she is suddenly plagued by strange dreams and intense feelings of déjà vu. Feeling as though she’s losing her mind, she visits a psychic medium, only to feel more confused. When Krista arrives in England, her dreams persist, and she finds herself at the doorstep of another psychic; she needs clarity. Finally, the words she was afraid to say out loud, are spoken. Now Krista has to figure out what it all means. Promised Soul is the story of the past, the present, and the future of two souls that have been bound together by eternal and transcending love.

One of the recent reviews for the book.

Fantastic! on November 9, 2017

I so did not want this story to end! What a conflict I went through while reading this, I was a mad woman obsessed with finding it what happened next and at the same time I didn’t want it to be over. Ever!

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Promised-Soul-Sandra-J-Jackson-ebook/dp/B00UY0PVSC

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Promised-Soul-Sandra-J-Jackson-ebook/dp/B00UY0PVSC

Also by Sandra J. Jackson

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Sandra-J.-Jackson/e/B00UZJO5DY

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sandra-J.-Jackson/e/B00UZJO5DY

Read many more reviews and follow Sandra on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13681910.Sandra_J_Jackson

Connect to Sandra via her website: http://www.sandrajjackson.com

The next review is for Jan Sikes and the fourth book in her series that follows the life of Texas Musician Luke Stone.  Based on the compelling true story of Rick and Jan Stone.

About Til Death Do Us Part

Veteran Texas musician, Luke Stone, has cheated death more times then he cares to remember. He’s been everything from a simple farm boy to a rowdy roughneck, a singing star to a convict and finally a husband and father whose goals consisted of building a home and raising a family…which he did. Now, with a chance for a second music career, he knows the sand in his hourglass is running thin.

His anchor in life and true love, Darlina, stands at his side determined to help make the dream a reality. But, his aging body is sabotaging every effort and the only thing that keeps him going is sheer will power and the love he has for Darlina. When faced with being confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life, Luke draws on every resource to continue to function and contribute to their home and to society.

This is a story of inspiration, endurance and most of all undying love. When Luke and Darlina face life-altering situations that would destroy a lesser man and woman, they draw on each other’s strength and determination to face them. Will fate allow Luke to sing his last song?

A recent review for the book

Highly Recommend! on October 30, 2017

This is the final book in the fictionalized true-story of Luke and Darlina Stone. The story continues where it left off in “Home at Last” for Luke and Darlina. The remarkable journey of this couple comes full circle when music reenters their lives. I loved that Darlina (and their daughter) joined Luke on stage. It was beautiful to read the process of this couple creating music together. I felt every emotion reading “’Til Death Do Us Part”, especially knowing it’s the real story of the author– and it was the last book. I was heartbroken watching the decline of Luke’s health, but was amazed, again, at how strong their love was. When I hear an owl hoot at night it will always remind me of this couple’s unwavering love. A beautifully written series I highly recommend.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Til-Death-Do-Us-Part/dp/0990617947

and at Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Til-Death-Do-Us-Part/dp/0990617947

Also by Jan Sikes

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK

And find more reviews and follow Jan on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7095856.Jan_Sikes

Connect to Jan via her website: https://www.jansikes.com/

Another excellent review for the recent release by John W. Howell… Circumstances of Childhood.

About Circumstances of Childhood.

When a former pro football star and broadcaster, now a Wall Street maven is accused of insider trading, will he be able to prove his innocence and expose those who are guilty?

Greg and his boyhood pal dreamed of big success in professional football and then later in business. Greg was the only one to live the dream. Now the founder of an investment fund Greg is faced with a routine audit finding by the SEC. The audit points to irregularities and all the tracks lead to Greg. The justice department hits him with an indictment of 23 counts of fraud, money laundering, and insider trading. His firm goes bust, and Greg is on his own.

His best friend knows he is innocent but has been ordered under penalty of eternal damnation not to help.

If you enjoy stories of riches to rags, redemption, brotherly love, and a little of the paranormal, Circumstance of Childhood will keep you riveted.

One of the recent reviews

Impeccable! on October 28, 2017

For me, this book is impeccable on a number of fronts… First and foremost, John Howell knows how to reach a reader’s emotions, how to build a character with whom one can really identify, how to recognize on occasion some parts of yourself, how to bring smiles, how to bring tears; Mr. Howell enlivens the pages of this book with events that make one believe he is actually re-living some of his own life.

I liked everything about this book, the football, the friendship, the treatment of death of someone close, the alleged business illegality, the blackmail… I took a break from reading a book of titillating short stories (review coming) and started “Circumstances of Childhood’ — long and short of it, I could not stop reading until late in the night (plus, I’m a slow reader because I love words and how they’re put together). I’m thinking the book touched some parts of my life, and, that made it all the more enjoyable for me… Treat yourself to a great read!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Circumstances-Childhood-John-W-Howell-ebook/dp/B075SKWHCR

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Circumstances-Childhood-John-W-Howell-ebook/dp/B075SKWHCR/

Also by John W. Howell.

Buy all of the John Cannon Series and find our more about John W. Howell: https://www.amazon.com/John-W.-Howell/e/B00HMRWO6C

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/John-W.-Howell/e/B00HMRWO6C

Read more reviews and follow John on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7751796.John_W_Howell

Connect to John via his website: http://www.johnhowell.com

Thank you for helping celebrate these reviews for such talented writers. Please spread the news. Thanks Sally

 

Smorgasbord Quiz Night – Trivia Lover’s Ultimate Reference – Questions by Debra Russell. Winner receives TWO #FREE Books


Welcome to week two of the quiz night with questions set by Debra Russell based on her book Trivia Lover’s Ultimate Reference.  I know that some of you were going to enter the quiz last week but got waylaid by work and life.. and also that you felt that it would be unethical to use online help.. so this week I am going to give you the answers to last week’s quiz and the set of questions for week two.

And as a bonus.. the permission to use Google and Wikipedia as your team members!

And we are also going to give you the links to a couple of sites that will help you answer this week’s questions guilt free.. don’t forget there is a FREE copy of Debra’s book for one winner each week.. and with Christmas coming up it will offer you the opportunity to test family and friends trivia knowledge.

Check out the book in full on: https://www.amazon.com/Debra-Russell/e/B07711TMF

And to add to the prize fund, the winner can also have the choice of one of these three books of mine in Eversion.. either mobi for Kindle of Epub for other devices.

Check out which one you might like to read:  http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Here are the questions from last week with the answers.

1. Name the dog that delivered life-saving medicine through a blizzard in Alaska in 1925? Balto
2. Where could you see a likeness of the pharaoh Khafra? Head of the Sphinx
3. In 1983 a Japanese artist copied the Mona Lisa in what material? Toast
4. What dance craze began in Rio de Janeiro in 1958? Bossa Nova
5. Which 18th century actor was a pupil of Dr Samuel Johnson? David Garrick
6. Which Australian actress opts for a lamb roast in an advert rather than a date with Tom Cruise? Naomi Watts
7. Who was the first ruler to introduce a tax on beards? Henry VIII
8. Which bean did the ancient Aztecs and Mayans use as currency? Cocoa
9. Which well-known British boxing manager and promoter revealed in 2014 that he is on his way to becoming a woman? Kellie Maloney
10. What famous American writer worked as an entertainer on a Swedish ocean liner before being drafted to serve in World War II? J. D. Salinger
11. Which famous singer worked at Dunkin Donuts in New York? Madonna
12. Which American city was named after a British prime minister? Pittsburgh
13. What USA city is also a slang name for a pineapple? Chicago
14. Which Australian city has a beach but no coast? Brisbane
15. What are link, single, French and convertible types of? Cuffs

Here are the questions to week Two and the majority of answers will be found on Google or Wikipedia…you can use them to confer with!

How to participate.

Once you have the answers to all the questions you need to send your answers to Debra by email  debgrussell54 (at)yahoo.com.au

Simply number your answers 1 to 15 and send to Debra in an email.

At the end of the week, Debra will put the names of those who have answered all questions correctly (or those who answer the most correctly) into a hat, and draw one name out.

The winner will be revealed in next week’s quiz night and will then be contacted to find out which Eversion you would prefer or Trivia Lovers Ultimate Reference and which one of my books you would like.

 Week 2 Competition Questions

1. The USSR described what American toy in the late 1950’s to early 1960’s as evidence of the decadence of American culture?
2. What is the largest library in the world?
3. What bizarre 1919 Boston accident involving molasses killed 21 people?
4. What took place on London’s Serpentine for the first time on 16 June, 1930?
5. What was 3 for a child, 6 for a woman and 9 for a man?
6. What links Da Vinci, Raphael, Phil Collins and Barack Obama?
7. Which Middle East country filters internet content by law?
8. In what European city can you be jailed for not killing furry caterpillars?
9. Who left his wife Penelope and son Telemachus behind in Ithaca and embarked on a ten-year voyage?
10. Who was poisoned and shot before their body was dumped in the Malaya Nevka River in 1916?
11. What can be saddle, plane or pivotal?
12. Walt Disney in an interview admitted he was scared of what?
13. The valves, gauges and fittings at the surface of an oil or gas well are known by what name?
14. The longest written plan of government is in what country?
15. What does moon mean?

Trivia Lovers Ultimate Reference: A Factual and Researched Guide to Knowledge.

About Trivia Lovers Ultimate Reference.

A thoroughly researched, contemporary trivia book containing thousands of questions and answers from a wide variety of subjects, a section of tips for learning, retaining and retrieving information and a section of lists on specific information such as capital cities, US Presidents and chemical symbols. The printed version has been formatted so the reader can cover the answers on the opposite side of the page to test their own knowledge.

Here are two early reviews for the books

“Trivia Lovers Ultimate Reference” is a well written and researched book and a must read for all Trivia Lovers. Full of researched facts that Trivia Lovers can go back to time and time again to ensure their knowledge is relevant and up to date. Love section 2 “Tips for learning, retaining and retrieving information”, this will be a great learning tool to help Trivia Lovers achieve the best they can.Helen Scott – Family Day Care Coordinator

“Trivia Lovers Ultimate Reference” is must read for all Trivia lovers who thirst for more factual knowledge. All questions and answers have been properly and thoroughly researched and are presented in an easy to read manner. The section titled “Tips for learning” will definitely help readers retain factual information and retrieve that information when needed. Great book Debra.Carleen Augustus -Teacher

Available now: https://www.amazon.com/Trivia-Lovers-Ultimate-Reference-Researched-ebook/dp/B075VQ2CZS

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Trivia-Lovers-Ultimate-Reference-Researched-ebook/dp/B075VQ2CZS

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Debra-Russell/e/B07711TMF

Follow Debra on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17231585.Debra_Russell

About Debra Russell

Debra Russell lives in Queensland, Australia. She gained her Bachelor of Fine Art with honors at Griffith University in Brisbane and founded the Brisbane based arts organisation Impress Printmakers Studio Brisbane. Debra worked for many years as a professional artist and curated a number of high profile art exhibitions.

She has been writing poetry for her own enjoyment for over 20 years. Due to family commitments and her art career she has not been able to pursue her dream of becoming a writer up until the last 2 years. She has just published her first book Trivia Lovers Ultimate Reference in September 2017.

In the future Debra has plans to write fiction as well as a book on Urban Myths and their origins.

Debra is interested in a wide variety of topics including the environment, animal welfare, human rights and social justice to name a few.

Connect to Debra on her blog and social media.

WordPress: https://debrarussellblogsfromdownunder.wordpress.com/about/
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/debruss
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Debraru48883876
Google+: https://plus.google.com/114387255474815151742
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Trivia-Lovers-Ultimate-Reference-1336853349776807/
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/debrarussellwriter/

Good luck and have fun… look forward announcing the winner next week. Please share the Quiz around and send your answers to Debra by email.. debgrussell54 (at)yahoo.com.au

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Back to the Fold by J. Hope Suis


Welcome to the second post in the series from J.Hope Suis. A post from November 2016 on the subject of Thanksgiving which of course is this Thursday. Is there someone missing from your dinner table this Thanksgiving who is out somewhere in the world and that you have become estranged from for some reason? Is there any chance that you might reconnect by reaching out to them? Perhaps you are the one not included in the family celebrations; could this be your chance to step back into the fold?

Back to the Fold by J. Hope Suis

I was 75% into a non-traditional, yet festive Thanksgiving Day blog when the words just stopped. It was light and frivolous and very likely to show up one day soon. But it didn’t fit my mood. Originally I wasn’t going to do one at all. People are busy today. Plus there is really nothing new under the sun about the holiday. We know the origins. We are all extremely grateful for our blessings. We live an abundant and wonderful life all things considered. But something kept nagging in the back of my brain. So I decided to just relax a minute and see what else came through my turkey and pumpkin pie haze. So for the next few minutes, without too much filter or editing, I’m going to just speak (aka type) from my heart.

Thanksgiving (and the holiday season in general) is about family. Friends. Gathering and Celebration. We all put on our best and fresh faces and garments. Pull the finest china and goblets from the back of the hutch. Light the candles. We look around at the happy faces and stuffed bellies and feel accomplished and satisfied. All of those things are wonderful. Meaningful. Excellent. But I dare say in many gatherings today, there will be someone missing from the fold. Someone, who at one time was welcomed at the table to share a slice of ham or cranberry sauce. So where are they today? Do we know? Do we want to know? Am I depressing you and ruining the holiday?

There are empty place settings around certain tables because of the ultimate loss. For those I am truly saddened and my sympathies are abundant. It has been several holidays now for me without my mom or my dad. There are those missing because of work or distance or other obligations. But those are not the ones I’m referring to. I am asking each of us to consider the proverbial lost sheep.

Individuals get disconnected from families for a variety of reasons. It can be a bad decision. They took a path that was not in line with the family values. They got lost in a place that seemed shiny on the outside but painful and dark on the inside. Maybe they want to escape but don’t know how. Maybe they chose partners or associates that made the family uncomfortable. Unfortunately biases and misconceptions exact a high price. The resulting toll quite damaging.

It could be because of hurt feelings. Something said last week or 20 years ago. Often words no one even remembers. How common is that? Feuds and angry feelings fester and are passed down and the original slight cannot even be recalled. Or maybe it can be recalled. Maybe it is heard in the back of your mind every day.

I do not have any real answers. I understand some transgressions are severe and cannot just be ‘forgotten’. Wise people choose to leave a bad situation because it is the healthiest thing for them. Those decisions I applaud and encourage. It takes a brave soul to rebuild and heal yourself. At times doing it all alone.

However occasionally it is just plain stubbornness that keeps us apart. The unwillingness to forgive or ask for forgiveness. Squaring off at a virtual line with each party just waiting for the other one to flinch. Is it really that monumental and earth shattering? Is it worth years of separation and fracture?

Here is my suggestion. If at any point in reading this someone crossed your mind then stop a minute to consider them. Is there a path to reconnect? Today could be the perfect opportunity to reach out with a phone call or text. Say Hello. Say I Love You. Say I’m Sorry. Say I Forgive You. Say something…. Who knows, maybe they were there holding their phone wanting to do the same thing.

And if you are the one alone today or feel estranged, please know this. There are times when standing alone is the hardest yet greatest gift you can give yourself. Find friends and like-minded individuals who can and will support you. But if you have left the family fold and regret it and want back in…. Take action. It is never too late. Again, be brave. Stir up the courage to be humble enough to admit a mistake. Let today be a fresh start.

Please, please do not let these few words put a damper on your festivities. Maybe they were just meant for me. Maybe there is someone missing from my table. Maybe I am the preacher AND the choir. But if just one person reading this reaches out to a loved one today… then for THAT I will be truly THANKFUL.

Hope Out And HAPPY THANKSGIVING

©J. Hope Suis 2016

My thanks to Hope for this inspiring post for Thanksgiving and I am sure she would love to receive your feedback.

About J. Hope Suis

J. Hope Suis is an inspirational writer and relationship expert with over 20 years of experience in single-parenting, dating, relationships, with a phrase she coined as “Solitary Refinement”, which is simply a season of being single to grow and develop as an individual. Her new book, Mid-Life Joyride, is a light-hearted yet meaningful collection of stories, advice and encouragement from her experiences.

Her passion in life is Hope Boulevard, which is a blog and website focused on uplifting and challenging her readers to live their best life now. She is a strong advocate for mid-life issues and committed to the idea of sharing ‘hope’. In addition to her blog, she also wrote a weekly newspaper column entitled; “A Single Thought”. J. Hope currently writes for divorcemag.com, divorcedmoms.com, has a platform on onmogul.com and has been cited in national magazines including the Chicago Tribune and Reader’s Digest. She believes it is never too late to pursue a dream or achieve a goal and always encourages her followers to Hope With Abandon.

J. Hope Suis celebrated her brand new release published on 24th October…Mid-Life Joyride: Love in the Single Lane by J. Hope Suis

About the Book

Mid-Life Joyride is the ultimate user’s manual for mid-life relationships. Being single in mid-life is not usually where many SIMs (Single In Mid-Life) expected to wind up. In Mid-Life Joyride, J. Hope Suis takes SIMs on an incredible and often humorous journey from how they ended up here (widowed, divorced, or never married) to learning to love again. With a lighthearted yet meaningful collection of stories, advice, and encouragement from both personal and anecdotal experiences, she provides insightful navigational tools for every SIM including:

* Entering the dating cyber highway, creating your profile, and recognizing red flags
* Dating etiquette as a SIM (who now pays for the date and what not to wear.)
* Developing and maintaining new relationships and when to walk away
* Learning and discovering how to love yourself FIRST
* Sexcapades of today’s boomers

Mid-Life Joyride is a manual for SIMs as they discover (and own) their current situation and explore the possibility of new roads to travel and paths to pursue. With a personal RPS – Relationship Positioning System – Suis guides hearts towards personal happiness in a relationship whether it be a long term-term monogamous commitment, marriage or even being content staying single. Buckle up and laugh your way through an adventure to being the best version of YOU.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Mid-Life Joyride is a great book for navigating the single life. It is well written with attention to detail and easy to understand. It is very insightful for both genders if they really want a successful, committed relationship. Such great advice on navigating all of the issues in dating and relationships and I love the references to the road. I think guys will enjoy that too.

While the book is mainly about dating and relationships, the author also touches on the most important relationship we all have, and that is our relationship with ourselves. Learning to love and take care of ourselves, following our dreams, maintaining our friendships, and forcing us out of our comfort zones to genuinely appreciate everyday of our lives. This is provided in such an upbeat and positive way that you can’t help reaching the end of the book and saying YES, I can do that, I can BE that, and just an overall good feeling about life. A must read for anyone living the single life, you won’t want it to end !!!

Head over and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Mid-Life-Joyride-Love-Single-Lane/dp/0999479903

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mid-Life-Joyride-Love-Single-Lane/dp/0999479903

Connect to J.Hope Suis

Website: www.hopeboulevard.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/hopeblvd
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheHopeBoulevard/

If you would like to share some of your festive archive posts for December from when you began blogging, then please send one or two links to sally.cronin@moyhill.com.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – For those who think I have it all together by Allie Potts


Welcome to the last in the series of posts from the archives of Allie Potts. This post is for all mums and dads out there juggling full time jobs, school pick ups and making Leprechaun outfits for St. Patrick’s Day.. and a tribute to grandmas..

For those who think I have it all together by Allie Potts

Inspired by judith Viorst’s  Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

My boss came into my office. “I am going to throw a curve ball at you,” he said, shutting the door.

Just like that, I could tell that it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

“Kay has turned in her notice.”

Kay is one of my peers. This announcement meant there was a better than average chance a portion of her work would find its way to me, at least temporarily, while the position was refilled. I looked at my mug. “I am going to have to start spiking my coffee,” I replied while I considered moving to Australia.

My boss laughed but didn’t disagree.

Yep, I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Five o’clock rolled around, ending an office day filled with sympathetic looks and panicked responses (many of which were mine). I raced out the door. My husband, Lamont, was out-of-town the rest of the week (a trip I hadn’t known about until the afternoon before), therefore it fell on me to pick up our children from their various locations. All I had to do was get there on time.

I hit traffic.

Much later than I’d planned, I waited for Kiddo to pull his shoes on and collect his book bag. He, however, was more interested in showing me bits of small paper. “I’ve made a card,” he advised. “For the Leprechaun. Do you think he will come tonight?”

I silenced my inner groan along with several other choice words I won’t print here. The next day was St. Patrick’s Day, and I had nothing prepared. No Leprechaun traps. No pots ready to be filled with gold. Nothing. When exactly had leprechauns coming to your house on St Patty’s Day become a thing anyway?

I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

When we got to the house, Kiddo made a bee-line to the television, ready to consume his daily allowance of cartoons. Her Royal Highness, our dog, made an equally determined path to the front door, ready to take care of her own daily requirements. I looked to Kiddo. I looked to Her Royal Highness. Taking her outside would give me an opportunity to send a message to my mom regarding a certain Leprechaun. “I’ll be right back,” I called. The cartoon’s theme song was already playing as I closed the door.

Mom replied back within short order, not for me to worry, however, Her Royal Highness had not yet done what we’d come out to let her do. Just then a cat appeared, and not just any cat – it was the cat. The cat that is either the bravest or stupidest animal I’ve ever seen. Whatever the reason, this cat not only is not afraid of dogs, it actively seeks them out. Spotting Her Royal Highness, it immediately crossed the road, causing a car to come full stop and angry looks shot my way.

Her Royal Highness passed her cat test before we brought her home, but still, I don’t like to tempt fate, nor do I wish to be responsible for an injury of someone else’s pet. Seeing no other choice, I led Her Royal Highness away. The cat followed. Only when we rounded a corner did the cat give up its pursuit. If I wasn’t an animal lover who doesn’t condone this line of thinking, I might hope you step on a tack, cat.

It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

That’s what it was because when we returned inside, the house was empty. Guess whose kid decided, in those short few minutes, that he missed me more than he wanted to watch his cartoons and had run off in the opposite direction with his brother while Her Royal Highness was being chased by a cat around the corner?

If what I’d felt during the work day was panic, the myriad of swirling emotions I experienced in that moment has yet to be named. I wondered if invisible fencing for children is allowed in Australia.

I am having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, I texted my mom (or roughly something like that). I didn’t look at my phone to see if she answered.

While I was scolding/hugging my children for giving me a fright, Mom showed up on my front porch with a frozen mix of Korean noodles in hand. It was a wonderful gesture, but. . . they proved to be utterly inedible. Even Her Royal Highness turned it down.

Kiddo, wanting to show off for his Nana, took twice as long to do his homework than he usually does and LT, well LT was his normal self, but if I allowed LT access to the phone, he probably would have called Australia.

It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Lamont didn’t promptly return my texts, and I hate that.

Exhausted after the kids went to bed, I couldn’t motivate myself to work on my WIP and I hate a lost opportunity.

When I finally did hear from Lamont it was clear he’d been having fun while I was not. I still hadn’t figured out what to do about the Leprechaun outside of mom’s vague assurances that all would be well and calling into work sick the next day wasn’t an option.

It had been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

My mom says some days are like that, even for people who might seem to have it all together.

I guess it’s a good thing for me then, that my mom lives nearby and not in Australia.

Love you, Mom, and thanks.

©Allie Potts

©Allie Potts 2016

About Allie Potts

Allie Potts, born in Rochester Minnesota was moved to North Carolina at a very early age by parents eager to escape to a more forgiving climate. She has since continued to call North Carolina home, settling in 1998 in Raleigh, halfway between the mountains and the sea.

When not finding ways to squeeze in 72 hours into a 24 day or chasing after children determined to turn her hair gray before its time, Allie enjoys stories of all kinds. Her favorites, whether they are novels, film, or simply shared aloud with friends, are usually accompanied with a glass of wine or cup of coffee in hand.

Books by Allie Potts

One of the reviews for The Fair & Foul

Compelling Sci-Fi  b on September 23, 2016

I’m such a groupie for books involving any kind of genetic manipulation – the scientific aspects fascinate me. If you read the description above, you can see why this one grabbed my attention.

In this novel, there are characters seeking scientific and technical advancements for the right reasons, and those who are only looking out for themselves – which provide some compelling and interesting conflicts. As a woman, Juliane deals with her share of struggles and roadblocks, but her determination to succeed in her field is admirable. The author does a wonderful job of making the reader feel as frustrated and confused as Juliane over certain plot developments. The supporting characters are varying degrees of likable and loathsome and although I was convinced I knew who was trustworthy and who had ulterior motives, I was proven wrong. It’s nice when that happens.

Juliane is a strong, ambitious woman, so it’s disappointing when an attractive guy shows up and she seems to lose focus – but I’m not a fan of romance novels, so that’s a personal preference on my part. At times, the dialogue is somewhat stilted, and the addition of contractions would make conversations sound more natural.

The ending just blew me away and is a perfect launching pad for book two in this series. If you’re a fan of though-provoking sci-fi, this is your book.

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Allie-Potts/e/B00H2VUFUA

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Allie-Potts/e/B00H2VUFUA

Read more reviews and follow Allie on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7366449.Allie_Potts

Coming on December 5th 2017.

Connect to Allie via her blog and social media.

Blog: http://www.alliepottswrites.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/alliepottswrite
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/allie.potts.79
Google +https://plus.google.com/116292341272843093815

My thanks to Allie for sharing this and I hope you will head over and explore her blog and her books. I am now looking for posts for the run up to the festive season at the end of the year so delve into your archives and check to see if you have one or two posts that might be suitable. Email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Victoria Zigler, V.L. McBeath and Sacha de Black


Welcome to the first author update in the Cafe this week and the first author is Victoria Zigler who is releasing another of her series in audio. Previously only available as eBooks and paperbacks, the seven books in the “Kero’s World” series are now available in audio, narrated by Giles Miller.

A review for book one in the series on Goodreads

Chris The Story Reading Ape rated it Five Stars

A smashing little tale (or should that be tail since Kero loved to wag his a lot) about the author and her dog going walkies in the park and by the sea.
Great for little ones (with or without dogs) – but be warned – they might want a Kero for themselves.

I am giving you the main links for the series on Audible and Smashwords as not all the series are listed on Victoria’s author pages.

You can buy all the series in audio here: Kero’s World audio series

In print from Smashwords in various formats: Kero’s world Smashwords

Also available at Barnes and Noble and Kobo.

A small selection of other books by Victoria Zigler

You can download all the other audio books from Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Victoria-Zigler/e/B00BHS9DQ6

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Victoria-Zigler/e/B00BHS9DQ6

Victoria has a great many reviews on Goodreads and I suggest that you head there first to read: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5852247.Victoria_Zigler

Connect to Victoria via her website: http://www.zigler.co.uk/

The next author with news is V.L. Mcbeath with her brand new release on November 15th. Part three of The Ambition & Destiny Series: When Time Runs Out.

About the book

Inspired by a true story, When Time Runs Out continues the epic saga of one family’s trials, tragedies, and triumphs as they make their fortune in Victorian Era England.

A husband unwilling to change. A wife who craves a place at the business table.

Victorian Era England: Harriet won’t stand by while her family’s inheritance slips through their fingers. Her uncle worked hard to build a stable business before he passed it to her husband William. But when her stepfather-in-law, Mr. Wetherby, presumes ownership of the company, Harriet fights to stand her ground…

William longs for a quiet life, but with a growing family and Harriet’s determination to succeed, he stretches himself beyond his means. When Mr. Wetherby refuses to help, only the intervention of William’s mother Mary keeps their dream of a better future in reach…

After a tragic twist of fate, Harriet fights for her family’s rights. Collaborating with Mr. Wetherby now seems impossible, and she and William must somehow carve out a living without him. But as tensions in the family business escalate, Harriet may have far more to worry about than pursuing her own ambitions…

When Time Runs Out is the third book in The Ambition & Destiny Series, a saga of historical fiction novels covering a seven-decade span. If you like family sagas, accurate historical depictions, and tales that investigate women’s impact on history, then you’ll love the third book in VL McBeath’s captivating series. ;

One of the early reviews for the book.

An excellent read on November 15, 2017

This is another excellent read in the continuing story of a family’s trials and tribulations. Knowing it is based on a true story gives it an added interest. The various members of the family are becoming very well known and some characters are really liked while others not so! The storyline highlights the pressure on women to know their place in Society by the majority of men. This was particularly difficult for one member of the family. Although there were signs of improvement in the education of girls. It does finish on a cliffhanger so you will need to read the next book but that won’t be a hardship ! I received a copy and have voluntarily reviewed it. This is my honest review.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/When-Time-Runs-Out-Ambition-ebook/dp/B076BTM9

and at Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/When-Time-Runs-Out-Ambition-ebook/dp/B076BTM9Q

Also by V.L. McBeath

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/VL-McBeath/e/B01N2TJWEX/

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/V-L-McBeath/e/B01N2TJWEX/

Read more reviews and follow V.L. McBeath on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16104358.V_L_McBeath

Connect to V.L. Mcbeath via her website: http://valmcbeath.com

The next author with a brand new release is Sacha de Black with Keepers: The Eden East YA Novels

About Keepers

Eden’s life is balanced… …until her soul is bound to her enemy.

When her parents are murdered, the realm of Trutinor is threatened. Then a mysterious human arrives and changes everything.

As Eden’s world spirals out of control, she doesn’t need a charismatic Siren from her past returning to complicate life.

Now, saving Trutinor is the last thing on Eden’s mind.

Three boys.   Two murdered parents.  One deadly choice.

One of the early reviews for the book

FIRST THOUGHTS – I have been following Sacha on her blog and social media for some time now. I’ve read and followed her through every update this book and I can’t believe the time has finally come – it is out in the world. Sacha approached me to advance read this book and I was more than happy to accept.

PLOT -Keepers has the most unique plot I’ve seen in a while. The world is fleshed out to the max and the characters are super important in their own way.

We follow Eden East as she tries to do right in her world, Trutinor. Everything changes when her parents are murdered, her soul is bound to not one, but two boys. One of those boys being her enemy and neither of them being the man she truly loves. Then it’s a race against time to fix their binding and Balance their souls once more.

It’s hard to explain only because this world was so cleverly crafted and the rules are complicated (but they’re easy to understand within the pages). A lot of worldbuilding went into this book and it certainly shows. The plot revolves around Keepers, Fallons, Shifters, etc., with the occasional human sprinkled in. While I would not want to be in Eden’s shoes, the world of Trutinor seems like an interesting place.

There was a good amount of romance thrown in, as once you’re Bound your soulmates. You may not be Bound to who you love. That called for a perfect opportunity for a love triangle. I’m not a big fan of romance or love triangles, but it was well done in this story and I found rooting for one guy over the other.

CHARACTERS- I loved each and every character. They all fulfilled a certain role and no talent was wasted.

Eden made a great protagonist. I loved her voice and her strong will. I felt that she had a nice balance of being “tough” and “vulnerable” at the same time.

Victor made a nice antagonist. Though I have to admit, even though we were meant to hate him, I actually liked his character in the beginning… then I hated him.

Trey made a great supporting character as did Bo, Kato, and everyone else in the story. It was a great cast of characters.

WRITING STYLE – This book was written in the third person limited through Eden. I felt that was a good choice for the narrator for this kind of novel.

The pace was smooth, yet it was action-packed. It sped up and slowed down at the right moments. I never got lost in the reading as it was easy to understand and it flowed well.

There’s a lot of learning as you read this novel. It’s a big world with many new terms, but it’s easy enough to stay caught up.

OVERALL – I don’t read a lot of science fiction or even this kind of fantasy for that matter, but I can very easily see myself getting sucked up in this world. The ending had a great twist. I’m really looking forward to the sequel.

Favorite Quote: – “Scars are memories. They’re real. Moments we shouldn’t forget.” –Sacha de Black, Keepers

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Keepers-Eden-Novels-Sacha-Black/dp/1999722507

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Keepers-Eden-Novels-Sacha-Black/dp/1999722507

Also by Sacha de Black

Buy  the books separately or combined: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sacha-Black/e/B072BQ2MP7

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Sacha-Black/e/B072BQ2MP7

And find more reviews and follow Sacha on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16173650.Sacha_Black

Connect to Sacha via her website: https://www.sachablack.co.uk/

If you have news about your books and you are in the Cafe and Bookstore then please email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com

It would be great if you could spread the news about these authors books around the usual haunts.. thank you.

 

Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – ABBA, Constantine The Great and Brown Rice!


Welcome to the round up of posts that you might have missed this week.. I was off on my travels this week to Belfast to celebrate our wedding anniversary and to visit the Titanic museum. We don’t get out much!  But, when we do we like to push the boat out. We stayed at the Culloden Estate and Spa with a suite overlooking the loch and only 3 miles from Belfast City Centre and 10 minutes from the Belfast City Airport. It is on 12 acres of wooded gardens and the food was superb. I think 37 years is worth celebrating in style. Here are a few photos to whet you appetite. In fact mid-week rates for two days are exceptionally good value and you can use the spa and swimming pool free during your stay.. and no…you do not get to see me in a bikini!  Not in this lifetime anyway.

Can definitely recommend the hotel and the food was delicious. https://www.hastingshotels.com/culloden-estate-and-spa/

Titanic Belfast is an award winning exhibition and museum and you need to allow at least two hours to see all the various exhibits, interactive displays and the ride by suspended car through the bowels of the ship watching the animated images showing the work involved in building this mammoth ship.. no works comp in those days and over 250 accidents and several fatalities that need to be added to the loss of life over a few hours a short time after her launch.

You can find more details here: http://titanicbelfast.com/

Anyway, whilst I was off having fun for my three days, contributors were still working away in my absence and I am as always very grateful. This is what the week looked like.

William Price King began a new series of the all time favourites of millions.. ABBA… this week meeting the individual band members.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/15/william-price-king-meets-some-legends-abba-meet-the-group/

Writer in Residence. This week Paul Andruss continues with the story of Constantine the Great who was allegedly the first Roman Christian Emperor.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/17/writer-in-residence-the-thirteenth-apostle-and-his-mum-part-two-by-paul-andruss/

Carol Taylor spent time in her kitchen in Thailand to turn the raw brown rice grains into wonderful recipes for all the family.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/15/smorgasbord-health-cook-from-scratch-with-sally-and-carol-taylor-brown-rice-nutritious-and-delicious/

Cook from Scratch with Robbie Cheadle and a cake you really would not want to cut into and eat.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/12/cook-from-scratch-2017-how-to-make-a-fishing-boy-cake-by-robbie-cheadle/

The Ultimate Bucket List Interview

Robbie Cheadle joins us again for the last in the current series of Sunday Interview shows and shares her two top wishes on her Ultimate Bucket List.. Wedding Cakes and a very personal wish…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/19/smorgasbord-sunday-interview-the-ultimate-bucket-list-wedding-cakes-and-a-very-personal-wish-by-robbie-cheadle/

Personal Stuff

My review for Look the Other Way by Kristina Stanley a romantic thriller set in the warm coastal waters of Florida and the Caribbean.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/18/smorgasborg-blog-magazine-sallys-book-reviews-look-the-other-way-by-kristina-stanley/

Smorgasbord Reblogs

Last week I was the guest of Christy Birmingham on her eclectic blog, writing about elderly health care in the colder months and some ways to avoid colds and flu.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/13/smorgasbord-reblog-elderly-health-care-keeping-colds-at-bay-by-sally-cronin/

Jessica Norrie visited Lisbon last week and apart from a tour of the old part of the city, she also shares some of the books written or set in the city.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/18/smorbasbord-reblog-lisbon-city-of-books-by-jessica-norrie/

Contributors to the Posts from Your Archives series

We are today because of the choices we have made… Carol Taylor explores where those choices lead us.. and how we feel about that.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/13/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-i-am-who-i-am-today-because-of-the-choices-i-made-yesterday-by-eleanor-roosevelt-from-carol-taylor/

Allie Potts has an eventful walk with her beloved dog.. and comes a cropper….and shares the lesson learnt.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/13/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-get-a-grip-a-painful-lesson-on-when-to-hold-on-by-allie-potts/

J. Hope Suis shares the most beautiful Japanese restoration process that turns broken china into works of art with gold and silver. Something that as humans we can learn too when putting ourselves back together after life’s experiences.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/13/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-when-the-flaw-becomes-the-beauty-by-j-hope-suis/

Do you wish that you had not selected your Twitter handle in the beginning?  Rosie Amber takes us through the simple steps to change it. I am @sgc58 and realise I should have gone with RedHotMama.. ah well.. if only I hadn’t just had 500 business cards printed!

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/14/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archive-how-to-change-your-twitter-handle-from-rosie-amber/

Karen Ingalls shares a post in tribute to an elderly friend who passed away after a gracious life well-lived.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/14/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-she-passed-by-karen-ingalls/

Can you remember your first kiss.. Patricia Salamone shares this experience with an interesting outcome!

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/15/smorgasbord-post-from-your-archives-first-kiss-by-patricia-salamone/

Darlene Foster takes us on a tour of a medieval market in Orihuela in Spain.. food, colour and sunshine.. what else do you need?

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/15/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-spain-orihuela-medieval-market-by-darlene-foster/

Having almost given up showing my mother how to operate the DVD player with a different remote from the TV … I take my hat off to Jane Risdon who managed to get an 83 year old relative online and on Facebook… I think Jane was on herbal stress relief!

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/15/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-gas-lamps-harry-randals-sat-navs-and-ipads-by-jane-risdon/

Annika Perry shares an atmospheric visit to Whitby Abbey in North Yorkshire.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/16/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-gothic-enlightenment-by-annika-perry/

Adrienne Morris is on the subject of toxic criticism and how to handle it.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/16/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-how-to-handle-criticism-by-adrienne-morris/

Marian Beaman shares her wonderful tradition of family dinners through the decades.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/16/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-dinners-keeping-the-spark-alive-by-marian-beaman/

Lillian Csernica continues her tour through the gracious city of Kyoto

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/17/smorgasbord-reblog-posts-from-your-archives-kiyomizu-dera-kyoto-day-four-by-lillian-csernica/

D.Wallace Peach with a post about what defines the characters that we write about, and the stereotyping that is applied to emotional character,  according to the gender of your protagonist.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/18/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-strength-of-character-by-d-wallace-peach/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/18/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-christmas-archives-christmas-magic-from-a-bit-about-britain/

Do you know what a Fidget Spinner is?  I didn’t but I do now courtesy of Cecilia Kennedy.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/19/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-fidget-spinners-by-cecilia-kennedy/

Jaye Marie and Anita Dawes join us with their archive posts this week. It would seem that children are discovering the joys of computing earlier and earlier. I was in my early 30s when I was introduced to one and I only really used it for word processing and loved the freedom it gave me from tipex! It was a while before I got into the programme side and that was a huge dent in my self-confidence… read on.. I am not alone.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/19/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-children-are-our-future-jaye-marie-and-anita-dawes/

Smorgasbord Poetry

A poem on the subject of Happiness by Balroop Singh

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/17/smorgasbord-poetry-happiness-by-balroop-singh/

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/14/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelvesmany-hats-of-a-lady-ladies-of-entrepreneurship-by-brenda-scruggs/

Author Update

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/13/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-susan-toy-john-maberry-and-jack-eason/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/17/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-malia-ann-haberman-david-lawlor-and-geoff-le-pard/

Air Your Reviews

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/14/smorgasbord-air-your-reviews-v-l-mcbeath-stevie-turner-and-jann-weeratunga/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/16/smorgasbord-book-promotion-air-your-reviews-andrew-joyce-molly-stevens-and-deanna-kahler/

Monday Night Quiz with Debra Russell author of Trivia Lover’s Ultimate Reference

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/13/smorgasbord-quiz-night-trivia-lovers-ultimate-reference-questions-by-debra-russell-winner-receives-free-book/

Humour and afternoon videos

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/13/smorgasbord-afternoon-video-challenge-can-you-keep-your-eyes-open-during-this-video/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/14/smorgasbord-laughter-academy-from-the-archives-parrots-hamsters-and-polo-mints/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/15/smorgasbord-afternoon-video-rewind-traffic-cop-michael-jackson-in-traffic/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/16/smorgasbord-laughter-academy-dogs-under-the-dining-room-table/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/17/smorgasbord-afternoon-video-interrogator-discovers-who-stole-the-cookie/

Thank you to all the contributors and to you for all your support by dropping in, liking posts, commenting and sharing..

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Children are our future – Jaye Marie and Anita Dawes


Welcome to not just one but two contributors to the series with Jaye Marie and Anita Dawes and their posts from the archives. More about both these authors later in the post.

It would seem that children are discovering the joys of computing earlier and earlier. I was in my early 30s when I was introduced to one and I only really used it for word processing and loved the freedom it gave me from tipex!  It was a while before I got into the programme side and that was a huge dent in my self-confidence… read on.. I am not alone.

Children are our Future by Jaye Marie and Anita Dawes

Watching the news the other morning, basically trying to discover if there was any respite from all this appalling weather, there was a story about children as young as six and seven in Estonia that were being taught not only to use computers but to program them too. I watched them as they made a small robot move around and Skype like professionals, their little faces animated and eager. Something suddenly struck me, they were having fun!

What a great idea I thought, then they won’t grow into incompetent adults like me, unable to grasp even the basic fundamentals.

I seem to have been struggling with some computer or other for more than 30 years. The very first time I was introduced to a little square box of torment was when someone suggested that I could play chess on one and that it was easy. All I had to do was program it in and I was all set.

Well, I tried.

For hours I sat and entered all these numbers and symbols only for nothing at all to happen. No chess board appeared, but was I daunted? Not a bit.

I knew it had to be complicated, but also knew quite early on that I probably didn’t have the sort of brain that was obviously required. I eventually I sought help, to be told I must have mistyped the series of numbers. Apparently, if just one digit is missing, nothing will happen.

This will never catch on, I thought. It’s far too complicated. You would need to be Einstein at the very least, someone I was so far removed from as to be on another planet!

For years I stayed away from anything that looked even remotely like a computer until I was introduced to Amstrad, the word processing machine. I had been typing up Anita’s manuscripts on a battered old typewriter and the thought of something quicker and more efficient was more than enough to get me interested.

And it was quite easy to use, with the added bonus that there was a printer attached. In a lot of ways the Amstrad was magic and before long, I was well and truly hooked. It also had the facility to play solitaire, something I am addicted to, even now. This eventually led me to a proper computer, which turned out to be a lot easier than the first time I tried as there was no more programming required. This is what progress is all about I thought, but sadly it was me that hadn’t.

Even now, there are days when my PC refuses to do even the simplest of things and kicks me into touch. I have to storm out of the room, defeated once again as I find most things to do with a PC very complicated, confusing and irrational. How much easier it might have been if I had learned the basics at school.

Watching those children in Estonia actually enjoying their computers and smart phones, I was green with envy, if only because I believe that you should always enjoy what you do or it’s just no fun.

It is a quandary, because I do enjoy writing, and almost enjoy formatting and uploading and all the other stuff you have to do to self publish these days. But on those dark days when my computer is uncooperative and makes me feel totally inadequate, I wish that I had been taught how to use a PC properly.

I have learnt so much from just trial and error and on a good day even a little proud of my achievements, but there is so much more I wish I knew. Sometimes I think I could write a book about all the stuff I want to know, but that would help no one, would it?

Children are our future and so are computers. It was good to see them hand in hand and having fun…

Thanks for sharing this Jaye and Anita.. and they get younger and younger.

©Jaye Marie and Anita Dawes.

My thanks to Jaye and Anita for sharing one of the posts from their archive and they will be back again next week.

About Jaye Marie

Most people may know me as one-half of the writing partnership, Anita & Jaye Dawes, and I have come to writing quite late in life. I always used to think I didn’t have an ambitious bone in my body, content to potter about with my many craft hobbies. Always preferring to be in the background and invisible if at all possible.

And for the last ten years since my retirement, that’s what my life has been like. I love books and have read my way through stacks of them, so when my sister-in-law Anita needed someone to edit and type up her manuscripts, I was happy to help and that’s when I discovered my vocation.

Then one day everyone was talking about “Indie” or self-publishing. Now, I knew only too well how hard it was to be published the traditional way, so I became very excited at the prospect of being able to do it ourselves.

At first, I concentrated on publishing Anita’s books. It wasn’t quite as easy as they made it sound, but with my usual stubbornness I kept at it, learning more and more as I went along, and somewhere along the way I starting thinking about a story that had been nibbling away in the corner of my mind for months.

I tried to ignore it, but before too long, The Ninth Life demanded to be written and turned out to be a Mystery/Thriller. I am reasonably pleased with the outcome, basically to be honest, because my characters took charge and practically wrote it for me! They had quite a say with the sequel too, and I am proud of our achievements!

I also enjoy running a website/blog and all the wonderful people I continue to meet from all around the world. I learn something new every single day and it is much appreciated.

Connect with Jaye on Social Media.

WordPress:  http://jenanita01.wordpress.com
Facebook:     https://www.facebook.com/jayemarie44
Twitter:         https://twitter.com/jaydawes2

Books by Jaye Marie

A review for The Apple Blossom

I did wonder why there was a picture of apple blossom on the front cover of this book, which is a very short (14 pages) but factual story of the author’s thoughts and feelings on her diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer (the treatments are not described in too much detail). However, the significance of the apple blossom became apparent as I read on. I finished the book in 20 minutes, and can sympathise entirely with Jaye Marie’s dread of radiotherapy, as I underwent 30 of these treatments myself for a different type of cancer earlier this year.

I would have liked the book to have been a little bit longer, and would have liked to read more about the after-effects of radiotherapy and whether the author suffered from on-going tiredness and lymphoedema (swelling due to bad lymph drainage) for example. After-effects can linger for years, and it would be interesting to find out if radiotherapy for different types of cancers all give similar after-effects.

The book was well formatted, and I found only a couple of typos. Doctors, nurses and radiologists try their best to make us as comfortable as possible during our treatment, but at the end of the day a course of radiotherapy is something that ultimately augments a cancer sufferer’s capability to endure. We can take along CD’s to try and blot out the clicking of the tomography machine, but it is unfortunately an endurance test. Well done to Jaye Marie though, for passing the test with flying colours!

Read the reviews and and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jaye-Marie/e/B00O2ZUFOK

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jaye-Marie/e/B00O2ZUFOK

Read more reviews and follow Jaye Marie on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8638857.Jaye_Marie

About Anita Dawes

Anita Dawes has been writing unusual fiction for the last 22 years. Her favourite novel, ‘Bad Moon’ has been circulated to all the best mainstream publishers over the years and their comments were inspiring to say the least. Averil Ashfield at Transworld said it was a powerful story… and Andy Mckillop at Arrow said that her imagination had a thoroughly nasty streak…

Barbara Levy (a literary agent) found ‘Bad Moon’ just too gruesome!

She tends to alternate between ‘horror’ and the ‘supernatural’, although all of her novels are based on different kinds of family units. It has been said that her writing is not for the fainthearted!

Although she is not a ‘silver surfer’ she has tried! But her sister-in-law, Jaye, has become one. She is typist, editor, proof reader and publisher rolled into one and it was her idea to publish Anita’s books on Kindle at Amazon.

Connect to Anita on social media

Blog: https://jenanita01.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jaydawes2
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anita.dawes.37

Books by Anita Dawes

One of the recent reviews for The Scarlet Ribbon

It’s rare these days to find an original concept in fiction but Anita Dawes has created an unusual story here. Maggie has been knocked down by a car and is in a coma, aware of her surroundings but unable to communicate. While in the coma, she also occupies an alternate world somewhere between life and death. Here she meets David and Annie, two characters who will continue to haunt her when she emerges from her coma.

The novel is beautifully written and the characterization is strong; the reader is rooting for Maggie from the start. It took me a little while to get into this story but from the point Maggie comes out of her coma I couldn’t put it down. The whole premise is thought provoking and I’d particularly recommend it to people who are interested in concepts of the afterlife. In particular, the ending will stay with me for a long time.

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Anita-Dawes/e/B0034NUE10/

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Anita-Dawes/e/B0034NUE10

Read more reviews and follow Anita on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6586480.Anita_Dawes

My thanks to Jaye and Anita and if you would like to share some posts from your archives, I am now looking for festive posts for December. On any subject to do with Christmas… your books will be promoted in the post at the end. sally.cronin@moyhill.com

 

Smorgasbord Sunday Interview – The Ultimate Bucket List – Wedding Cakes and a very personal wish by Robbie Cheadle


Welcome in the last in the current series of Sunday Interview posts until the New Year. There will be so much going on in the next few weeks and we will all be very busy.. There will be a new theme in 2018… so keep your eyes open.

This week children’s author and master confectioner Robbie Cheadle shares the top two items on her ultimate bucket list.

Wedding Cakes and a very personal wish by Robbie Cheadle

I was quite sure that I didn’t have a bucket list. After all, I have a wonderful husband, two fantastic boys, a lovely home and an extended family. We go away on holiday every now and then and we get to see delightful places both in Africa and abroad. I would be greedy to think that more was due to me. I read an ultimate bucket list post by Paul Andruss recently and that changed my mind. On reflection I realised that there were two things I do want to happen before I pass on. The one is quite frivolous and self-pleasing and the other is a point of great anxiety for me.

I want to make a wedding cake

Ever since I started cake decorating about thirteen years ago I have had a secret ambition to make a wedding cake. All my family members are either married or unlikely to marry, as are most of my friends. None of us are really at the marrying age, we are more at the landmark fortieth and fiftieth birthday party point.

I think I will have to wait until the children of my friends and family are old enough to start getting married and the whole wedding thing starts over for me. This hasn’t stopped me practicing though. I have had a good go at my idea of a great wedding cake idea for the past two Christmases, one Christmas in July and one birthday parties.

The first Christmas was the year of the multicoloured roses. I made a three-tier fruit Christmas cake and decorated it with an arrange of thirty roses coloured pink, white and pale yellow.

Each petal of each of these roses was cut out and frilled and fluted separately. Each rose was assembled in three layers of different sized petals, starting with six small petals wrapped around the centre and being allowed to dry for a few days in a shaped silver foil cup. Once the first layer was dry, I applied the second layer of six larger petals and this was again left to dry for a few days. The last set of large petals was applied as a final layer and left to dry.

Each rose took one week to make, and I made about four at a time. The whole exercise took over three months.

The following year, I decided to use the same concept for my Mother’s birthday cake. This time I made gold roses for a chocolate ganache cake. It came out well and I made nine large gold roses using the same method as for the multicoloured roses cake but painting them with edible gold glitter when they were dry.

My Christmas in July cake last year was a floral wonderland which I created using a plethora of different flowers including day lilies and orchids, the making of which entailed the separate wiring of each petal, and a selection of roses, carnations and other smaller and easier flowers. I loved this cake which is the one I would have for my own wedding if Mr Fox would agree to renewing our wedding vows just so that I can make our wedding cake [he won’t – he thinks my reasons are shallow! Hmmmm!]

Last but not least, I made a rainbow fairy wonderland cake for last year’s Charity Christmas party. This was another great effort which included seven different fairies and a large number of flowers.

One of these days, someone is going to decide they want a wedding cake made by me and I will be ready when they do.

And the second item on my ultimate bucket list?

Well the other item I want is very personal. I want a cure for Michael. No more medicine, hospital visits, drips, operations and other nasty things. No more missing out on parties and camps due to illness and sore tummies due to copious antibiotics.

Modern medicine is making forward strides all the time and one day the doctors will make a great breakthrough and come up with the perfect solution for Michael. Until that great day, we soldier on and make up stories of what could have been if he didn’t miss out of some of the fun things of growing up.

After all a story is as good as a change sometimes, isn’t it?

My thanks to Robbie for sharing both her wishes and some very lucky person is going to love having one of her cakes at her wedding.

I think all of you will join me in sending out positive vibrations to help Robbie obtain her second wish. Let’s hope medical advances will eradicate not just the illness but also the anxiety that goes hand in hand with it. Love and hugs Robbie and Michael.

About Robbie Cheadle

Robbie Cheadle was born in London in the United Kingdom. Her father died when she was three months old and her mother immigrated to South Africa with her tiny baby girl. Robbie has lived in Johannesburg, George and Cape Town in South Africa and attended fourteen different schools. This gave her lots of opportunities to meet new people and learn lots of social skills as she was frequently “the new girl”.

Robbie is a qualified Chartered Accountant and specialises in corporate finance with a specific interest in listed entities and stock markets. Robbie has written a number of publications on listing equities and debt instruments in Africa and foreign direct investment into Africa.

Robbie is married to Terence Cheadle and they have two lovely boys, Gregory and Michael. Michael (aged 11) is the co-author of the Sir Chocolate series of books and attends school in Johannesburg. Gregory (aged 14) is an avid reader and assists Robbie and Michael with filming and editing their YouTube videos and editing their books

Books by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

One of the recent reviews for Sir Chocolate and the Condensed Milk River story and cookbook

Sir Chocolate and the Condensed Milk River by Robbie and Michael Cheadle is a story and cookbook in one. It is the latest in a great fun series from a mother and her young son, the Author/Baker team of Robbie and Michael Cheadle​. Their series of gloriously illustrated books for younger children are quite simply unique.

The books tell of the adventures of Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet and their friends. The inhabitants of Chocolateville; where everything and everyone is edible.

The concept was the brain child of Robbie’s son Michael. When he was a few years younger than he is now, and learning to read, he cleverly realised he could draw his mother away from dull lessons by weaving tales about made-up characters in a land of chocolate.

Equally clever (like mother like son, no doubt) Robbie turned it to his educational advantage by encouraging him write down his stories. So was born a family–friendly, cross-generational series that combined their love of spending precious family-time together indulging in favourite pastimes such as writing poetry, cooking, and it must be said, eating chocolate.

The series of books consist of cute and clever child-friendly poems, which adults can read to youngsters, and even encourage youngsters to read along. More family-fun time is guaranteed by the inclusion of uncomplicated recipes. Describing the scrumptious delights as simple; simply does not do them justice. Each recipe is designed to allow the youngsters to fully participate, thus passing on valuable life skills, and creating memories that will last both generations a lifetime, while also making fun things to eat.

The book and its predecessors are all illustrated with delightful figures made from fondant icing and sweets. Edible works of art that are easy enough for readers to copy: perhaps even making their own versions of Chocolateville for birthday parties and other celebrations.

Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet’s latest adventure has an ecological message. It explores what happens when the river of condensed milk running through Chololateville dries up causing all the fish to die. This is a subtle way of introducing very young children to the world issues that will no doubt be plaguing generations for some time to come. Plus the guaranteed happy ending helps youngsters feel they can really make a difference to the world.

Any one of Robbie and Michael’s clever and unique books would make great presents with Christmas coming up. Not just for Kids but for Parents and Grandparents too! They are charming and packed with fun recipes and stories to turn every kitchen day into an adventure that brings young and old together to create enduring memories.

Perhaps it’s time to collect the set!  AND YOU GET TO EAT THE CAST.  AN OGRE’S DREAM!

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

Read more reviews and follow Robbie on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle

Connect to Robbie and Michael

Blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle
Plus.googlehttps://plus.google.com/105609586198905397891
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SirChocolateBooks/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/bakeandwrite

Thank you very much for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share around the usual haunts.