Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Kentucky Days Part Two – Lost River Cave by Kevin Cooper


My thanks to Kevin Cooper for sharing his time living in Kentucky and in part two we explore a cave with an interesting history.

Lost River Cave by Kevin Cooper

One of the many trips I had while in the US was to Lost River Cave. Lost River Cave is located on Nashville Road, Bowling Green, Kentucky. Now when I visited it in the mid to late 80’s. It was a ruins. See the pictures. I climbed down somewhat, but couldn’t do much at the time as I had my suit on. (It wasn’t a planned trip)

It is actually a seven mile cave system. It has always been a rich fresh water and food source throughout its history. Even in the American civil war it was used as a camping site (and escape point) for both confederate and union soldiers. Some time later, in 1943 onwards it was used for river dances. However, by the 1980’s it had become a neglected ruin and more of a dumping site than a historical site. This was around the time I came to live in Bowling Green.

I’m happy to say that thanks to Western Kentucky University and The Friends of lost river it has been restored and now offers a two-part tour. The first part is a walking tour through the caves and the rest is on the boats in the river. It is also used as an educational tour for schools. I hope to return someday so I can enjoy the benefits of this wonderfully restored place.

You can find out more about this historic location here: https://lostrivercave.wordpress.com/

As you can see from this photograph the cave is very different today from the 1980s and you can explore in comfort.

 

” Plan to spend about 45 minutes to an hour on this two-part tour.

The Cave Boat Tour begins with a leisurely stroll in the valley as your guide shares the tale of the blue hole and disappearing Civil War soldiers.

When you arrive at the massive cave entrance, prepare to board Kentucky’s only underground boat tour. Duck your head for just a moment as you glide under the famous wishing rock. Touch the cool limestone ceiling before the passage opens into a cathedral-like cavern. Sturdy shoes recommended. No dogs allowed on tours.

We encourage you to purchase your tickets online in advance, but it is not required, walk ins are welcome”

Image and more information: http://lostrivercave.org/cave-tours/

©Kevin Cooper 2015

My thanks to Kevin for sharing this post on his life in Kentucky and I hope you will head over to his blogs and follow his more current postings.

About Kevin Cooper

Kevin Cooper was born in Hull, East Yorkshire, England in 1963

He moved to the USA in 1985 when he was 21 years old. He graduated with a BA in Psychology from Asbury College in Kentucky with recognition on the Dean’s List. He continued his studies at the Grand Canyon University in Arizona, where he obtained a Research Fellowship and graduated with a M.Ed with a strong focus on writing and grammar.

While in America, Kevin has been a College Lecturer of General Studies, a Manager for The Hertz Corporation, who acknowledged him with awards of recognition for his service and dedication to the company, a Substitute Teacher, and a Private Tutor.
He now resides in England and is an established Author of several works.

Kevin founded Kev’s Author Interviews and Author of the Month to help promote fellow authors worldwide through his website and across the social media networks.
He recently re-branded his website to Kev’s Great Indie Authors with added features for authors including an editing service and book reviews. He is always developing his services as he comes across new ways to help promote indie authors.

A selection of books by Kevin Cooper

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About Miedo 2: A Reckoning With Fear.

Miedo’s story continues in this chilling sequel to Meido: Living Beyond Childhood Fear. As Miedo comes into young adulthood, he is confronted with new demons while he searches for answers to his past through Spiritualism. But, rather than finding answers, he is left with more questions as a plethora of paranormal experiences occur in his life once again…

One of the recent reviews for the book

I enjoyed Cooper’s first memoir, Miedo: Living Beyond Childhood Fear, and when I finally picked up this sequel, I liked it even more than the first. It continues the story of Cooper’s early life through his teens, including his struggle to find his place in the world, understand the role of faith in his life, and control the demons that continue to plague him.

Told in the 3rd person, the memoir reads like a story, and Miedo is a highly sympathetic character. I related to his feelings of displacement, and the rambling style of Cooper’s narration perfectly reflects that time of life when young adults are stumbling about and trying to define who they are. In some ways, the narrative reminds me of Frank McCourt (Angela’s Ashes) as it picks up on the day to day seemingly insignificant events that make up a life. People and jobs, plans and friends come and go like water through Miedo’s fingers. His sense of belonging never seems to have a strong anchor though there are some relationships that he relies on.

Cooper does an excellent job of telling his story in Miedo’s authentic “voice,” reflecting his age and education at the time events unfold. The narrative also happens in the moment. In other words, this is not a memoir that the authors relates with the benefit of hindsight, but one that unfolds for the reader as it happens.

Miedo 2: A Reckoning with Fear isn’t a long read. Cooper’s style is unique and his story is addicting. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys memoirs and stories about the struggle to overcome difficult childhoods. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Miedo-2-Reckoning-Kevin-Cooper-ebook/dp/B00SC35UG

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Miedo-2-Reckoning-Kevin-Cooper-ebook/dp/B00SC35UG

Read more reviews and follow Kevin on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/460158.Kevin_Cooper

Connect with Kevin

Author page Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kevin-Cooper/e/B00EWFEYKQ
Author page Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Kevin-Cooper/e/B00EWFEYKQ
Website: https://lovelifetearsnlaughter.wordpress.com/about/
Blog:https://kcbooksandmusic.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kevcooper63
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GrtIndieAuthors
Google: https://plus.google.com/+KevinCooper/posts

Thank you for popping in today and I am sure that Kevin would love your feedback.. thanks Sally

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Smorgasbord Posts from Your Christmas Archives – Christmas; Past and Present by Micki Peluso


Micki Peluso joins us today with her post on the comparison of the Christmases of today as compared with the past. The Spirit remains the same across the thousands of years of pagan and christian celebrations, with other religions observing the spirit of the celebration as one of family and friendship.

Christmas; Past and Present

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the Mall, last minute shoppers scurried from store to store; short on patience and with little evidence of the holiday spirit of love. The only ones smiling were the store owners and the costumed Santa, who gets paid to be jolly.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of talking dolls, video games, bicycles and other expensive toys, danced in their heads. Mama in her kerchief and I in my cap had just settled down to tackle the mountain of Christmas bills, which was larger than the national debt.

The moon on the crest of the new fallen snow, reflected the concern of families awaiting the arrival of loved ones traveling on icy roads .Years ago, Christmas seemed easier, less commercial and more enjoyable. Many families lived near each other, and most of the decorations, foodstuffs and presents were homemade. While there was stress and haste to accomplish the needed tasks by Christmas Eve, the stress was different than what is experienced today.

Generations past did not seem to lose sight of the reason for Christmas; a birthday celebration of sharing and love.

The nostalgia of horse-drawn sleigh rides through wooded country roads is sorely missed. Bells jingling accompaniment to carols sung off key by bundled-up children in the back of the sleigh, is a thing of the past. Yet Christmas retains an aura of magic, nonetheless.

Originally, the Christian church did not acknowledge Christmas at all, as such observance was considered a heathen rite. The earliest records of any Christmas celebration dates back to the early part of the third century.Gift giving, as a custom, may have originated with the Romans, relating to their worship of Dionysus at Delphi.

The Christmas tree comes from the Germans, although its origin has been traced as far back as ancient Egypt. The tree replaces a former customary pyramid of candles, part of the pagan festivals. There is a legend that Martin Luther brought an evergreen home to his children and decorated it for Christmas. German immigrants carried this custom with them to the New World, but it did not gain popularity until 1860, when John C. Bushmann, a German, decorated a tree in Massachusetts and invited people to see it.

Evergreens, a symbol of survival, date to the 18th century when St. Boniface, honoring the Christianization of Germany, dedicated a fir tree to the Holy Child to replace the sacred oak of Odin.

The “Nation’s Christmas Tree,” was the General Grant tree in General Grant National Park in California, dedicated May 1, 1926,by the town mayor. The tree was 267 feet high and 3500-4000 years old.

Mistletoe, burned on the alter of the Druid gods, was regarded as a symbol of love and peace. The Celtic custom of kissing under the mistletoe comes from the practice of enemies meeting under the plant, dropping their weapons and embracing in peace. Some parts of England decorated with mistletoe and holly, but other parts banned its use due to association with Druid rites. Mistletoe was considered a cure for sterility, a remedy for poisons, and kissing under it would surely lead to marriage.

The 4th century German St. Nicholas, shortened through the years to Santa Claus, has become the epitome of today’s Christmas spirit. St. Nicholas, taking pity upon three young maidens with no dowry and no hope, tossed a bag of gold through each of their windows, and granted them a future. Other anonymous gifts being credited to him were emulated and the tradition grew. The Norsemen enhanced the legend of Santa Claus coming down the chimney with their goddess, Hertha, known to appear in fireplaces, bringing happiness and good luck.

Sir Henry Cole, impressed by a lithograph drawing, made by J.C. Horsley, instigated the idea of Christmas cards. It took eighteen years for the custom to gain popularity, and then it was adopted mainly by gentry. Christmas was banned in England in 1644, during the Puritan ascendancy. A law was passed ordering December 25th a market day and shops were forced to open. Even the making of plum pudding and mincemeat pies was forbidden. This law was repealed after the Restoration, but the Dissenters still referred to Yuletide as “Fooltide.”

The General Court of Massachusetts passed a law in 1657 making the celebration of Christmas a penal offense. This law, too, was repealed, but many years would pass before New England celebrated Christmas.

When Washington crossed the Delaware River during the Revolutionary War, it was the observance of Christmas that made his conquest of the British a success. The enemy was sleeping off the affects of the celebration.

Befana, or Epiphany, is the Italian female counterpart of Santa Claus. On Epiphany, or Twelth Night, she is said to fill children’s stockings with presents. According to legend, Befana was too busy to see the Wise Men during their visit to the Christ Child, saying that she would see them on their way back to the East. The Magi, however, chose a different route home, and now Befana must search for them throughout eternity. The sacred song traditionally sung on her yearly visit is the Befanata.

The number of Magi visiting the stable on that first Christmas Eve could be anywhere from two to twenty. The number three was chosen because of the three gifts; gold, frankincense and myrrh. Western tradition calls the Magi, Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, but they have different names and numbers in different parts of the world.

Though distinctly Christian, the social aspect of Christmas is observed and enjoyed by many religious and ethnic groups. Rabbi Eichler, during a sermon in Boston in 1910 explains why: “…Christmas has a double aspect, a social and theological side. The Jew can and does heartily join in the social Christmas. Gladly, does he contribute to the spirit of good will and peace, characteristic of the season. It was from the light of Israel’s sanctuary that Christianity lit its torch. The Hanukkah lights, therefore, justly typify civilization and universal religion.”

Dr. Clement Clarke Moore, a professor at the General Theological Seminary in New York, penned the famous poem, “Twas the Night before Christmas.” Dr.Moore never intended for the poem to be published. Miss Harriet Butler, daughter of the rector of St. Paul’s Church in Troy, New York, accompanied her father on a visit to Dr. Moore. She asked for a copy of the poem and sent it anonymously to the editor of The Troy Sentinel. A copy of the newspaper carrying his poem was sent to Dr. Moore, who was greatly annoyed that something he composed for the amusement of his children should be printed. It was not until eight years later, that Dr. Moore publicly admitted that he wrote the poem.

Christmas is the favorite Holiday of children, who unquestionably accept the myth of Santa Claus. In 1897, one little girl began to have doubts as to the reality of Santa Claus, and wrote to the New York Sun, asking for confirmation. Her letter read: Dear editor, I am eight years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says,”If you see it in The Sun, it’s so. Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?” Virginia D’Hanlon.

Francis P. Church’s editorial answer to the little girl became almost as famous as Dr. Moore’s poem. In part, this is what he wrote: Virginia, your little friends are so wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe, except they see… Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exists….Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as if there were no Virginia’s…No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.”

It is sentiments like this that warm the heart of child and adult alike, as Christmas nears. It is not the gifts, soon forgotten, that make Christmas a time of wonder and magic. It is the love within all people for God, for children, for each other. During this hectic holiday season, take a moment or two to savor the true meaning of Christmas.

And I heard him exclaim
As he drove out of sight,
Happy Christmas to all,
And to all a Goodnight!”
Dr. Clement Clarke Moore

©Micki Peluso 2016

My thanks to Micki for sharing this interesting and wonderful post about Christmas.

About Micki Peluso

I have written since I learned to hold a pencil. But life interfered with serious writing until a tragedy struck my family. This time I took up the pen and wrote as a catharsis to my grief–where spoken words failed, written words helped heal my wounded soul.

My first short story of the incident was published in Victimology:an International Journal, launching a career in journalism. When writing for newspapers there were no more rejections, a nice surprise. I became a staff freelance writer for a bi-weekly award winning newspaper and freelance slice of life writer for my local paper, serving a city of 600,000 people. The diversity of writing for newspapers let me experiment in many areas of writing from essays, commentaries, interviews, humor, pathos, analogy, and short fiction.

I have recently published my first non-fiction book, . . .AND THE WHIPPOORWILL SANG, dedicated to the one I lost. Published by LspDigital, it is a funny, poignant celebration of life rather than a eulogy of death. My newly released children’s book, ‘The Cat Who Wanted a Dog’ is a coloring and illustrated book for ages from 4-9 years old.

Books by Micki Peluso

One of the reviews for Micki’s memoir And The Whippoorwill Sang on Goodreads

May 24, 2017 Mae Clair rated it Five Stars in May 2017

This is an exceptional story, providing a glimpse of the author’s life with her family. I don’t read many memoirs, but I found And the Whippoorwill Sang extremely hard to put down. The style is engaging and the sequence of events keeps the reader flipping pages.

From her marriage at seventeen, through the births of each of her children, several moves across country, and the ups and downs of family life and marriage, Micki Peluso tells her story candidly. Throughout, the reader knows of the coming tragedy that claims the life of one of Micki’s daughters, heartbreak that makes it bittersweet reading about Noelle and her close-knit family.

I’m sure writing this story was difficult. I was emotional reading the tale so I can only imagine how hard it had to be dredging up memories and trotting them out for the world to see. This is a superb book, and despite the inherent sadness of where the story heads, there is much joy throughout. As someone who lives in Pennsylvania, I found the sections set in that state particularly interesting. I loved reading about the “haunted farmhouse” the family lived in for many years. I’m not sure I would have been brave enough to stay! I also really appreciated the conclusion of the book in which Ms. Peluso shared how each family member fared in life.

Well-written with humor, sadness and frankness in equal measure, And the Whippoorwill Sang is a powerful read.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Micki-Peluso/e/B002BLZ7JK

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Micki-Peluso/e/B002BLZ7JK

Read more reviews and follow Micki on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1156697.Micki_Peluso

Connect to Micki on social media.

Blog: http://mallie1025.blogspot.ie/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/micki.peluso
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mickipeluso

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 Christmas Posts from Your Archives- 26 Affordable and Practical #Gift Giving Ideas for the #Holiday Season by D.G. Kaye


Delighted to share a post from the Christmas Archives of D.G. Kaye.. Debby Gies. This is probably one of the most expensive times of the year and when you have an extended family, finding presents and budgeting for them takes creativity.. Debby has some great ideas to make every dollar, euro or pound count.

26 Affordable and Practical #Gift Giving Ideas for the #Holiday Season by D.G. Kaye

The holiday season is fast approaching, and once again people are picking their brains about what gifts to buy for friends and loved ones.

I’ve always tried to tailor my gifts specifically to what the receiver would like and could use and/or appreciate, in hopes that my gift wouldn’t be the one ending up collecting dust on a shelf or re-packaged for re-gifting. But it’s still sometimes difficult to pinpoint exactly what the perfect gift could be for someone, and, often times, there might be too much cost to purchase a particular gift, which sometimes leaves us feeling somewhat inadequate with what we’ve chosen to give, especially for those hard to buy for people who already have everything they want. Sure, it’s the thought that counts, but sometimes people don’t think that way, and sometimes our budgets don’t allow us to spend on some items what we’d really like to give.

So today I’m going to share some great ideas for gift giving for both children and adults. Below are some ideas from low cost to no cost that you can give with confidence and know they will be well received.

Have you ever noticed children at a Christmas gathering opening one gift after another, barely taking in the excitement of one gift before they put it aside to open the next one? Have you ever noticed how much kids love to do arts and crafts to keep their busy little hands and minds occupied? This is why crafts make great gifts for kids. Maybe it’s the writer in me, but I like to buy gifts for kids that help to educate them and help to build their creativity.

Here’s a handy list of things you can buy for kids that won’t break the bank:

  • Books – books that entertain while teaching kids to count or learn the alphabet, colors, names of animals, and of course, any stories to do with kindness that can be understood at their level.
  • Coloring books and crayons, pencil crayons, magic markers, an easel to draw on, colored sand art, water paints and brushes, tissue paper for paper mache art, personal diaries, notebooks, stamp art, stencil art, yarn for sewing projects
  • Construction paper, pipe cleaners, glitter glue, and sticker books
  • Lego
  • Playdoh
  • Ebooks of children’s stories can be gifted and loaded to a parent’s ereader or get a kindle for kids for their own books

What to buy the person who seems to have everything:

  • Books
  • Gift certificate from: a bookstore, their favorite store, a restaurant they frequent, a coffee house, a home improvement store, a transit pass, movie theater or a sporting event
  • A membership to a club
  • A kindle with some ebooks downloaded to it
  • A season paid of gardening
  • A subscription paid for a year to a magazine
  • Donate for a few meals to a homeless charity in their name
  • Donate to any charity in their name

And what can you give that won’t cost you anything but some of your time? Make up some coupons and offer loved ones:

  • Free babysitting
  • Free rides to drop off and pick up
  • Housesitting
  • Snow Shoveling
  • Companion time
  • Reading time for an elderly person
  • Help around the house
  • Make a few dinners
  • Help decorate and take down decorations after the holidays
  • Volunteer services
  • Baked goods
  • Something homemade

These are just a few of so many things we can give. Our imaginations are limitless when we think about what a particular person could really use and appreciate. And don’t forget, there is nothing more personal than any gift from the heart.

Happy Holidays!

©D.G. Kaye

Brand new release on December 1st.

About Twenty Years: After “I Do”.

May/December memoirs.

In this personal accounting, D.G. Kaye shares the insights and wisdom she has accrued through twenty years of keeping her marriage strong and thriving despite the everyday changes and challenges of aging. Kaye reveals how a little creative planning, acceptance, and unconditional love can create a bond no obstacle will break. Kaye’s stories are informative, inspiring, and a testament to love eclipsing all when two people understand, respect, and honor their vows. She adds that a daily sprinkling of laughter is a staple in nourishing a healthy marriage.

Twenty years began with a promise. As Kaye recounts what transpired within that time, she shows that true love has no limits, even when one spouse ages ahead of the other.

This early review for one of the Beta Readers.

“Twenty Years: After “I Do” shows not only newly married couples but also those in the middle of their lives how to navigate companionship challenges and show love and kindness to their partners, handling life together gracefully and in harmony.

Multibook self-help author D.G. Kaye demonstrates, using examples from her own marriage, how to really commit to a relationship—till death do us part.” – Doris-Maria Heilmann, 111 Publishing

The book is now available: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077V386TL

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B077V386TL

Other books by D.G. Kaye

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Here is my own review for Words We Carry

on November 9, 2017

Words We Carry is packed with the accumulated knowledge, wisdom, survival tips and strategies from someone who went through difficult and unhappy childhood and teen years.

I think it is fair to say that most of us are less than confident about our body shape, and that is particularly tough when you can no longer use the excuse of puppy fat, and your friends are heading out in slinky black dresses and high-heeled shoes.

Unfortunately, not all mothers are born with the nurturing gene and as soon as you become competition, there is an opportunity to reinforce your lack of self-esteem with carefully chosen and cutting words. I would like to think that the experiences that D.G. Kaye describes were rare, but I am afraid that after counselling women on their health and weight for twenty years, the story is very familiar.

Those harmful words from those who are supposed to love us, are the ones we carry throughout our lifetime, unless we can find a way to dilute their power and replace them with affirmations of a much more positive nature.

D.G. Kaye describes her strategies to claim her own identity, build her self-esteem and evolve from the ugly duckling that she had been made to feel she was, into a swan. This involved a makeover in a number of departments, including wearing high heels at all times and over every terrain, and standing out from the crowd with her now signature titian hair colour. She also developed a healthy, outgoing personality and independence that led her to discover groups of people who accepted and embraced her as a friend.

In the second section of the book Kaye looks at the impact this early negative conditioning had on her relationships, including romances with older men whose different approach to dating and expectations provided a more secure environment. Unfortunately, having entered one serious and long-term relationship, echoes of the verbal abuse that she received as a child and teenager, threatened to undo all the hard work that she had accomplished. Thankfully she went on to find happiness and empowerment with someone who appreciates all that she has become.

Kaye looks at issues such as the difference between Alone vs. Lonely, Negativity and Self-Worth, Forming Healthier Relationships, and importantly Exposing our Personality Through the Internet. All the chapters provide commonsense strategies to overcome a lack of self-confidence, and I do think that women and men in their 50s and 60s, will definitely be able to draw parallels to Kaye’s own experiences.

Whilst I recommend this memoir/self-help book to men and women of my age, I also think that it should be read by all mothers whose daughters are heading into their teens and beyond. It might just remind them of how fragile their child is when about to face the outside world, and that there are enough external challenges to be overcome, without encountering them in the place they should feel safe.

It is also a book for young women who are struggling with weight issues and those who feel that they are not as attractive as their friends, or who feel that they are somehow going through something never experienced before.

There is no reason to reinvent the wheel. By reading this they might take strength in knowing that this is an age old problem, and that they can change the narrative and write their own story.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: http://www.amazon.com/author/dgkaye7

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/D.G.-Kaye/e/B00HE028FO

More reviews and follow Debby on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/dgkaye

About D.G. Kaye

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

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

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

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

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

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

Connect to Debby Gies

Blog: http://www.dgkayewriter.com
Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/dgkaye7
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/dgkaye
About me: http://www.wiseintro.co/dgkaye7
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/@pokercubster (yes there’s a story)
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/dgkaye7
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dgkaye
Google: http://www.google.com/+DebbyDGKayeGies
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/dgkaye
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/dgkaye7

Don’t forget, if you have some posts in your Christmas archives to share to a new audience them please send one or two to me at sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Thanks for dropping by…

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Kentucky Days by Kevin Cooper


Another post from the archives of Kevin Cooper and here is part one of his time of living in Kentucky.

Kentucky Days by Kevin Cooper

Morning View

My first, ever car was a 1974 Cadillac sedan deville. It was my second year over in the states and I had just passed my driving test. Considering that I almost got run down by a car my first week over there makes this look like a miracle. I had looked the wrong way before crossing the road. The language coming from the driver who swerved to avoid me, I’ll never forget. Then he was gone and I was left standing there, dumbfounded.

I remember, Doug, my pastor from the Free-Methodist Church we attended laughing his arse off. I rang him almost immediately after getting it; I couldn’t wait to go and show it off to him. “Couldn’t you have found a bigger car, Kev?” He almost doubled over as I pulled up outside the church. He put his arm around me when I got out, still laughing.

It was something of a novelty seeing an Englishman driving an old cadillac that was bigger than his house. Doug wasn’t the only one who laughed and patted me on the back. “You crease me up!” They would say, and they meant it.

Our first big outing was a trip to Cincinnati, Ohio. It was just a road trip for me to get used to the car. About 180 miles distance. Morning view, KY is just outside of Ohio. It’s a beautiful drive, hence the pics. I flew into Cincinnati Airport when I immigrated the previous year and wanted to get a feel of how far away it was, without the jet lag.

The Car drove like a dream. It had automatic trans, cruise control, air conditioning and it was total luxury inside. I loved that car.

I only have pics of my car and Rich Road. The first pic is Doug and I. The pic with the teeny tiny house in the back that looks about half as big as the car, that was the first house we rented.

Barren River

Barren River is one of the first places I visited when I immigrated to the US. I lived in Bowling Green, Kentucky in Warren County and Barren River which is 135 miles long, flows into Bowling Green from Monroe County, (Named after the US’s fifth president, James Monroe.) also in Kentucky.

I was a little dubious when I first visited Barren River due to strange wildlife there. Rattlesnakes and spiders in particular, BIG spiders. My eyes were all over the place as I walked through the green. I had already seen wasps that were so much bigger than I was used to. (Ours are like gnats in comparison.) They scared the hell out of me. Insect life was something I had to adjust to.

My uneasiness didn’t last long. Once I saw the beauty of the river, all was forgotten. Even on my way back, I was still thinking of the river with its beautiful surroundings and totally oblivious to the wildlife around me. 🙂

The first two pictures are where I lived when I first immigrated. It is a twin apartment complex called, The Towers. The third pic is of an US Mail Jeep…I had never seen the like before and just had to have a photo of it. 🙂

About four to five years later, Mike, my brother-in-law and I took Wesley, my son (he would have bordered on two years at the time) to the river so he could appreciate the beauty of its surroundings.

They were happy days folks and I wouldn’t exchange them for the world.

©Kevin Cooper 2015

My thanks to Kevin for sharing this post on his life in Kentucky with part two next week.

About Kevin Cooper

Kevin Cooper was born in Hull, East Yorkshire, England in 1963

He moved to the USA in 1985 when he was 21 years old. He graduated with a BA in Psychology from Asbury College in Kentucky with recognition on the Dean’s List. He continued his studies at the Grand Canyon University in Arizona, where he obtained a Research Fellowship and graduated with a M.Ed with a strong focus on writing and grammar.

While in America, Kevin has been a College Lecturer of General Studies, a Manager for The Hertz Corporation, who acknowledged him with awards of recognition for his service and dedication to the company, a Substitute Teacher, and a Private Tutor.
He now resides in England and is an established Author of several works.

Kevin founded Kev’s Author Interviews and Author of the Month to help promote fellow authors worldwide through his website and across the social media networks.
He recently re-branded his website to Kev’s Great Indie Authors with added features for authors including an editing service and book reviews. He is always developing his services as he comes across new ways to help promote indie authors.

A selection of books by Kevin Cooper

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About Miedo 2: A Reckoning With Fear.

Miedo’s story continues in this chilling sequel to Meido: Living Beyond Childhood Fear. As Miedo comes into young adulthood, he is confronted with new demons while he searches for answers to his past through Spiritualism. But, rather than finding answers, he is left with more questions as a plethora of paranormal experiences occur in his life once again…

One of the recent reviews for the book

I enjoyed Cooper’s first memoir, Miedo: Living Beyond Childhood Fear, and when I finally picked up this sequel, I liked it even more than the first. It continues the story of Cooper’s early life through his teens, including his struggle to find his place in the world, understand the role of faith in his life, and control the demons that continue to plague him.

Told in the 3rd person, the memoir reads like a story, and Miedo is a highly sympathetic character. I related to his feelings of displacement, and the rambling style of Cooper’s narration perfectly reflects that time of life when young adults are stumbling about and trying to define who they are. In some ways, the narrative reminds me of Frank McCourt (Angela’s Ashes) as it picks up on the day to day seemingly insignificant events that make up a life. People and jobs, plans and friends come and go like water through Miedo’s fingers. His sense of belonging never seems to have a strong anchor though there are some relationships that he relies on.

Cooper does an excellent job of telling his story in Miedo’s authentic “voice,” reflecting his age and education at the time events unfold. The narrative also happens in the moment. In other words, this is not a memoir that the authors relates with the benefit of hindsight, but one that unfolds for the reader as it happens.

Miedo 2: A Reckoning with Fear isn’t a long read. Cooper’s style is unique and his story is addicting. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys memoirs and stories about the struggle to overcome difficult childhoods. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Miedo-2-Reckoning-Kevin-Cooper-ebook/dp/B00SC35UG

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Miedo-2-Reckoning-Kevin-Cooper-ebook/dp/B00SC35UG

Read more reviews and follow Kevin on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/460158.Kevin_Cooper

Connect with Kevin

Author page Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kevin-Cooper/e/B00EWFEYKQ
Author page Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Kevin-Cooper/e/B00EWFEYKQ
Website: https://lovelifetearsnlaughter.wordpress.com/about/
Blog:https://kcbooksandmusic.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kevcooper63
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GrtIndieAuthors
Google: https://plus.google.com/+KevinCooper/posts

Thank you for popping in today and I am sure that Kevin would love your feedback.. thanks Sally

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives. The Accidental Home Schooler by Norah Colvin


The second post in the series by educator Norah Colvin and this week Norah shares a concept that she had to offer an alternative to the government run schooling on offer in her area.

The Accidental Home Schooler by Norah Colvin

In a previous post “To school or not to school” I discussed thoughts I had pondered and issues I had considered when deciding the future education of my daughter.

Although the main focus of that article was whether to school or not, home education was not only not my first choice, but not even a consideration.

The merest hint of an idea of starting my own school had niggled away in the back of my thoughts for a long time. More than ten years before that article was written, I was in college studying the teaching of literacy when the idea popped into conscious thought. In response to an assigned task, which required that I explain how I would implement a literacy program in a school, I surprised my lecturer (and myself) by explaining how I would do so in a school that I established. Although I was never afraid of placing my own spin upon a set task, I never really expected the idea of establishing a school of my own to be anything more than just that.

In the ensuing years prior to the birth of my daughter, my son completed his primary schooling and I taught in a variety of roles, some of which were the most rewarding of my career. During those years I met many other teachers with a similar dream of starting their own school. They were mostly creative and innovative teachers, passionate about their own learning as well as the learning of their students. They inspired their students with an energy that at times seemed infinite. But they felt stymied by the formality and top-down approach of traditional schooling which they, like me, believed to be detrimental to children’s learning and personal growth.

Many of these teachers left the profession, unable to conquer the battle between philosophy and practice waging within. Others continue teaching, constantly trying to balance their beliefs about learning and the needs of their students within the confines of the expected formal and didactic approach to teaching. Others have become burnt out, feeling isolated and unsupported, succumbing to the pressure to conform.

Few teachers take action to make their dream a reality. Whatever one’s beliefs, it takes a great deal of courage to step outside the norm of accepted practices. To establish an alternative school, in addition to this courage, requirements include a bottomless well of financial resources, an infinite ability to persist under the onslaught of unremitting obstacles, and a firm commitment to ideals and philosophies.

When Bec was born the nagging of this idea was so insistent that I was compelled to bring it out from where it was hiding and give it some serious consideration. Without any real understanding of the magnitude of the task ahead, without a well of financial resources, but with a firmly-held belief in what I was undertaking, I set upon the road to turn the dream to reality.

Me with a group of “my” children, including Bec in the middle.

When Bec was about 2, I established a small home-based (but not profitable) business providing educational care for other 2-3 year olds and educational play sessions for parents and children.

For the children in care, I provided a stimulating learning environment with lots of talk, books and hands-on exploratory activities. I provided support as they learned to have a go and developed confidence in their abilities.

In the play sessions I guided parents’ engagement with their children in play, explained how they could develop vocabulary and concepts, and provided suggestions for them to continue at home. Even after 20 years, parents still tell me how valuable those session were to their children’s education.

At the same time I investigated and explored alternatives to traditionally schooling available in my area but was disappointed that none exactly met my criteria. Some were too laissez faire, others followed pedagogical approaches I believed to be unsupportive of children’s learning, and others were based on philosophies I didn’t agree with.

I began constructing a vision of what my ideal school would be. I invited other like-minded teachers to join me and we got to work on building a team, enlisting families, and seeking out a facility.

Composing the vision statement.

Approval by the education department was easily achieved and interest of parents was forthcoming. In the end, the greatest stumbling block and final inhibitor of the project was town planning.

Throughout those establishment years Bec was not enrolled in a school. She was educated at home while we waited for my alternative school to open. We participated in some home schooling group activities, and I continued to conduct home-based educational sessions for Bec and other children. After about 5 years and two aborted starts, the project was terminated and Bec’s home education came to an end. Well, it really didn’t come to an end. She continued to do a lot of learning at home, but as she was enrolled in the local government school, it was her official education provider.

I often wonder what our lives would be like now if my dream of opening an alternative school had been achieved.

It was difficult making the decision to let it go. I was torn between two equally compelling but conflicting pieces of advice which vied for my attention:

I do believe I gave the dream my best shot, but after a long time and many false starts, I decided that perhaps I should listen to the messages. With most families, like ourselves, more interested in an alternative school than in home schooling, it was time to let it go. Other families, like me, were not enamoured with the local offerings, but then, also like me, had to decide the future of their children’s education.

I no longer felt comfortable asking families to stay committed to the goal with no tangible start date in sight, and after a final search for a suitable property hit another dead end, the idea was abandoned. I was not committed to home education as a long-term alternative for Bec’s education, and so finally, in year 4, she started school.

©Norah Colvin

Having been to 8 schools eventually overseas and the UK I do believe that I received a sometimes confusing but certainly enlightening education. Different curriculums, varied history and geography subjects and versions of English Language and Literature.  Because of the age differences – for example schooling in South Africa at the time began at 7 and secondary school at 13, I was always being put in the class that related to my age not my abilities. That required a lot of catch up usually after school in a one to one situation. I made it through in the end but I have a feeling that Norah’s concept would have been very beneficial for the children who participated.  Thanks to Norah for her post.. Sally

Your feedback would be gratefully received.

About Norah Colvin

I am an experienced and passionate educator. I teach. I write. I create.

I have spent almost all my life thinking and learning about thinking and learning.

I have been involved in many educational roles, both in and out of formal schooling situations, always combining my love of teaching and writing by creating original materials to support children’s learning.

Now as I step away from the classroom again, I embark upon my latest iteration: sharing my thoughts about education by challenging what exists while asking what could be; and inviting early childhood educators to support children’s learning through use of my original teaching materials which are now available on my website http://www.readilearn.com.au

Connect to Norah via her websites

Website: www.NorahColvin.com
Website: www.readilearn.com.au

And social media

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NorahColvin
Twitter 2:  https://twitter.com/readilearn
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008724879054
Readilearn:  https://www.facebook.com/readilearnteachingresources/
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/norah-colvin-14578777
Google +: https://plus.google.com/103738026475794164392

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

Next week Norah will be showing us how to make a 3D Christmas tree poster..

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Short Story – The Bike by Annika Perry


Today is the last in the posts from the archives of Annika Perry and a short story that is very emotive and also I am sure will resonate with parents of those who love the thrill of riding two wheel racing machines.

The Bike by Annika Perry

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Death came to his eyes that day. The advert had gone into the paper on Thursday and since then three calls, two visits and now a sale. He’d never expected this to happen. Why couldn’t he see this? Since he was three he’d lived on two wheels. Scooters, bikes, mountain bikes, motorbikes and trial bikes. The one selling today he’d only got last year.

For two long summers he’d worked at the hotel saving up; hospital corner after hospital corner on the beds, scraping his knuckles endlessly on the dark wood frame, loo after loo scrubbed, room after room vacuumed. He’d had a laugh with the other cleaners too – sorry, ‘maintenance crew’ or such nonsense. At lunchtimes they’d gathered in an unoccupied room watching sport on Sky, sometimes they’d sneak a few beers with them.

A couple of times he’d sneak Jessie from reception into a room. Together they’d tried out the double bed. Hmm…Jessie. She’d gone off to uni now. Of course, she’d wanted to do all that ‘long distance relationship’ rubbish. No way. Those never worked out. He’d told her so too. Okay, telling her by text might have been a mistake; his Mum had laughed nervously when he told her how he’d broken up with Jessie. His Dad just scowled audibly with disapproval. What the heck! It was his life.

They were here now. A couple with a Range Rover and a trailer bouncing behind. Adam, their son, scuttled out of the car and dashed up to the bike, his enthusiasm leaving a trail of happiness in his wake. So young. Just wait until life hits you, Adam. There he was, Adam, stroking, actually stroking the handlebars of his motorbike, now ducking down to look at the wheels, his head turning in exclamation to his parents, then an adoring glance at the engine. Joy radiated from his eyes.

Better get this over with, he thought, grabbing the keys from the pristine kitchen counter, reaching for the helmet on the stool. In the hall he looked into the mirror and thought ‘smile’. The corners of his mouth turned up into a grimace; that’ll do he reckoned as he headed out.

Hollow darkness filled his eyes as the car pulled away, his trial bike rattling in the trailer. An unfathomable emptiness cascaded over him as he glimpsed it for the last time.

He’d won three championships on that. Local ones but still. He’d been taught by the top rider in the country for a while. Then the falls! Remember the one on the moors, skidding down the muddy hillside, leg trapped beneath his bike, engine still running. Caked in mud, he’d got up and rejoined the race. Finished last but he’d laughed all the way to the line, celebrated all night with his mates, the most inglorious defeat and the photos of the day shared avidly on Twitter and Facebook.

Photos. He’d better take them off. Him and his bike. Just him now. As if he could ever have made it, been a real success. Stupid dreams. Those days of foolishness. Days of waste.

He took his mobile from his back pocket, scrolled through the photos. Here one on holiday with his friends all on their trial bikes. Who was that stranger staring at him, with a smile shining on his face? Who was that guy, laughing with his friends, his arm draped round his bike, chin resting on the seat? Click. Delete. Click. Delete. Whoever he was, he was gone. Click. Delete. The look of death in his eyes.

©Annika Perry 2015

Thanks to Annika for this wonderful short story. One that I am sure will stay with you. Please share where you can. Thanks Sally

About Annika Perry

Although writing has always been a lifetime passion for Annika, her route to full-time writing has been circuitous and she formerly worked within journalism and the timber trade before severe illness and motherhood gave her an opportunity to pursue her dream.

Annika’s First Prize win in the ‘Writing Magazine’ short story competition was the much needed impetus and confidence booster for her to complete the first novel, ‘Island Girl’, which is currently in the final editing stages. Annika is also working on the last edits of her first short story collection which she hopes to publish this year.

As well as writing, Annika is an avid reader (a world without books is unimaginable for her), a keen gardener, walker and she enjoys travel (in spite of her well-documented fear of flying!)

For the past two years blogging has become an important part of her life and she deeply values the friendships formed here on WP via the warm encouraging and uplifting comments. She lives in the South East of England with her husband and teenage son.

Connect to Annika

Blog    https://annikaperry.com
Twitter    https://twitter.com/AnnikaPerry68

I am now looking for archive posts for the festive season.. short stories fiction and non-fiction, food and recipes, humour, memorable Christmas’s etc.  Please send one or two posts to sally.cronin@moyhill.com.. I will be resuming the regular archive series in the New Year.  Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Reblog – Posts from Your Archives – Return to Malta by Darlene Foster


Welcome to the last in the present series of posts from Darlene Foster. As most of Darlene’s posts are photographs I usually reblog them so that you can head over and enjoy all the photos in the original.

Malta is a place where I lived from the age of 7 to 9 years old, attending the Naval School and spending most of my time in the water. Even back then sun and swimming were my passions. Seeing Darlene’s post brought back a lot of those memories and if you get the chance to visit Malta then do take it.  I have chosen a small selection of photos and I suggest that you head over to Darlene’s to enjoy the rest.

Return to Malta by Darlene Foster

To continue celebrating our 40th anniversary year and my recent birthday, we spent a week in the magical country of Malta. We had been there once before for a half day stop on a Mediterranean cruise and loved it. I wrote about it here. It was decided that we needed to see more of this unique island country.

The Republic of Malta consists of three islands, Malta, Gozo and Comino. The country boasts a rich and diverse history that dates back 7000 years. Over the years, it has been inhabited by the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Moors, Normans, Sicilians, Spanish, Knights of St. John, French and British who have all left their mark. With over 300 churches, quaint fishing villages, fortified walls, watch towers, museums, megalithic temples, pristine beaches and delightful bays, there is so much to see. Here are a few pictures of what we saw.

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St. Julian´s Bay. A typical bay with a mix of the old and modern world.

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The colourful Maltese fishing boats are called luzzus. The Eye of Osiris is painted on each side to protect the boat from danger.

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You don´t have to look far to find a Maltese Cross.

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The Blue Lagoon, Comino Island

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The famous balconies of Malta

Please head over and see the other photos from Darlene.. magical: https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/2017/04/07/return-to-malta/

©Darlene Foster

Please leave your comments on Darlene’s post. Thank you.

About Darlene Foster

Darlene Foster is a writer, an employment counsellor, an ESL tutor for children, a wife, mother and grandmother. She loves travel, shoes, cooking, reading, sewing, chocolate, music, the beach and making new friends. Her 13-year-old grandson called her “super-mega-woman-supreme”.

She was brought up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, where she dreamt of traveling the world and meeting interesting people. She currently divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca in Spain, with her husband Paul.

“Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask” was her first published novel. Once bitten by the travel bug, Amanda travels to other interesting places, sticking her nose in other people’s problems and getting herself in trouble. Read “Amanda in Spain – The Girl in the Painting”, “Amanda in England – The Missing Novel”, “Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone”, and “Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music” and “Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind”  to find out the adventures Amanda has as she travels the world.

Here is Darlene’s latest book –  Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind.

About Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind

Amanda Ross is on a school trip to Taos, New Mexico with several of her fellow creative students. Join Amanda, Cleo and their funny friend, Caleb, as they visit an ancient and beautiful landscape where a traditional hacienda, an ancient pueblo, and a haunted and spooky hotel all hold secrets to a wild and violent past. Does Cleo really see ghosts? Can Amanda escape the eerie wind that follows her everywhere? Perhaps the Day of the Dead will reveal the mysteries of Taos in this latest adventure of Amanda’s travels.

One of the recent review for Amanda in New Mexico on Goodreads

Oct 07, 2017 Serenity rated it really liked it
This is the sixth book in the series but the first I’ve read. I am intrigued and I’m going to try and find the first book. I think my students might like it. I requested this book from NetGalley because it can be tough to find middle grade novels set in NM. I am not a big ghost story reader so I can’t compare this to other scary books, but aside from Wimpy Kid and Minecraft scary books are my most requested. I will probably purchase this for my library.

Amanda seems like a pretty nice kid. She tries to be a good friend, gets along well with her peers, and is a good student. The kids in this book have a lot of freedom considering they’re in middle school, but they’re also pretty responsible and generally do what they’re supposed to. This book touches on mental illness, grief, and compassion.

Read the other reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Amanda-New-Mexico-Ghosts-Travels/dp/1771681209

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Amanda-New-Mexico-Ghosts-Travels/dp/1771681209

Also by Darlene Foster

Read the reviews and buy all of Darlene’s books: https://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Foster/e/B003XGQPHA

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Darlene-Foster/e/B003XGQPHA

Read more reviews and follow Darlene on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3156908.Darlene_Foster

Connect to Darlene via her website and social media.

Website: www.darlenefoster.ca
Blog: https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DarleneFosterWriter
Twitter: https://twitter.com/supermegawoman

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 Posts from Your Archives – Do characters all have to be super heroes, brave, unfallible and larger than life? Honouring realism and the right to be human by Christoph Fischer


Welcome to the second post by Christoph Fischer from his archives. As we develop our heroes are we in danger of creating them all as perfect, strong and able to leap tall buildings?

Do characters all have to be super heroes, brave, unfallible and larger than life? Honouring realism and the right to be human by Christoph Fischer

A recent comment about one of my fictional characters brought up the following thoughts in me.

I know that bravery, attractive cheerleaders and bulging biceps alpha males are the stuff that great dreams and heroic tales are made of.

Of course it is inspiring to read about the people who are fearless and unbreakable.
Authors want to write role models and set good examples.

So characters can become brave, unfallible and larger than life, so that the readers find them likeable and make your book a bestseller.

What about the more normal humans? Those only partially heroic or good? The flawed, the ‘spinesless’ ‘weak’ or even the ‘cowards’ ? Should we write about them in anything but a derogative way? Who are they anyway? Surely not us?

Hand on heart: Who of us is sure they would hold up under torture? Who would be sure not to save their own skin if pushed against the wall and forced to make an unthinkable choice?

We’re creating false illusions about heroism and unrealistic expectations about people.

What about representation and realism?

Don’t get me wrong. I love the fearless hero, too, I admire his actions and wish I could be like him. But I’m probably not going to live up to his standards, however hard I would like to do so.

Sometimes, however, I’m tired of watching or reading about the big-chested models and biceps-bulging machos with their super-powers who never fail and who can make the reader feel small and inadequate for being a regular human.

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Isn’t it the era of the geek and the anti-hero, a time where we come to realise that everyone has their place in our world – brave or weak, attractive or regular? That everyone is unique, with good and bad sides, individual strengths and doesn’t have to be perfect?

I’m writing a lot of WW2 fiction and I doubt that all the soldiers in that era were of the alpha-male type, as much of the fiction written about that time leads us to believe. In my novels I focus on characters who are not perfect, who are afraid, who act ‘human’ because I believe that is reality and that doesn’t need to be judged so harshly.

Only because a drag queen may cower in the corner when faced with brutal violence it doesn’t make her a lesser person. She has her place in society and might be the support that stops someone from committing suicide, the person nursing you to health, bailing you out or winning the Grammy or Eurovision Song Contest.

Now to the case of my character Ludwika: Halina and LudwikaA woman who moves to Germany and leaves her child behind with her sister and mother – in exchange for the promise of safety for her family – is she out of her mind or the opposite? Ludwika is actually based on a real person and who are we to judge her decisions at the time? Doing the heroic or ‘done’ thing often doesn’t help anyone under Nazi rule; and not everyone is a warrior type with unbeatable strength.

I remember the key scene in “The Reader”. A woman has the choice to follow orders and keep a door locked, by doing so allowing multiple deaths to occur. But if she opens the door to free the captives, she will be killed herself by those who gave her the orders. CWBY8Hx

I’d like to think I’d have opened the door, but can I be sure? What would you have done?

If you read any of my novels, you’ll meet some bravery but no glorification and super humans. You’ll get real characters who may be good but not perfect. These are characters that I can relate to more than the hero stereotype. They won’t make you feel inadequate when reading about them but it doesn’t have to mean they are lesser human beings, less likeable or don’t have good sides to them. They all have a story to tell.

It is my believe that it is ok to be flawed and human and ok to write characters that way.

What do you think?

©Christoph Fischer 2016

Thanks to Christoph for that thought provoking post on our responsibility as writers to ensure we are not creating myths and legends instead of ordinary people who do extraordinary things.

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.

About Ludwika

It’s World War II and Ludwika Gierz, a young Polish woman, is forced to leave her family and go to Nazi Germany to work for an SS officer. There, she must walk a tightrope, learning to live as a second-class citizen in a world where one wrong word could spell disaster and every day could be her last. Based on real events, this is a story of hope amid despair, of love amid loss . . . ultimately, it’s one woman’s story of survival.
Editorial Review:

“This is the best kind of fiction—it’s based on the real life. Ludwika’s story highlights the magnitude of human suffering caused by WWII, transcending multiple generations and many nations.

WWII left no one unscarred, and Ludwika’s life illustrates this tragic fact. But she also reminds us how bright the human spirit can shine when darkness falls in that unrelenting way it does during wartime.

This book was a rollercoaster ride of action and emotion, skilfully told by Mr. Fischer, who brought something fresh and new to a topic about which thousands of stories have already been told.”

One of the many excellent reviews for the book which is now in audible.

This is written in the third person and in some ways stands back a little from Ludwika’s life, but we still feel we know her well and the style suits the telling of a story based on real lives. The panorama of the Second World War is so huge we can never take in the whole story. Most of us look at those years from the viewpoint of our own country and our own parents and grandparents.

Here is a fascinating insight into the lives of ordinary people who did not have the benefit of hindsight or the overview of those in power. Ludwika makes her own decisions, but is also at the mercy of events. Along the way she meets people who are not stereotyped good or evil, often neither enemy nor friend. Sharing Ludwika’s war we also get glimpses of so many untold stories.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ludwika-Polish-Struggle-Survive-Germany-ebook/dp/B018UTHX7A

and on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Ludwika-Polish-Struggle-Survive-Germany-ebook/dp/B018UTHX7A

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

It would be great if you could share the post around and leave your comments. Thanks Sally.

If you would like to participate in the Christmas promotions then please take a look at the various options available..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/24/starting-monday-27th-november-smorgasbord-free-christmas-book-promotions/

They are all FREE and all it will take is a few minutes of your time. Any questions you can contact me on Sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Once in a blue moon a poem : Static by Thom Hickey


Welcome to the second post by Thom Hickey from his archives and this week a tribute to his father and the Irish game of Hurling.. (which cost my husband his front teeth in his youth!!)

Once in a blue moon a poem : Static by Thom Hickey

Once or twice a year when the stars are in their correct alignment and the muse comes to call I find myself moved to write a poem. I present one below that came unbidden one Sunday afternoon some years ago just after I had listened to a commentary on an Irish hurling match between arch county rivals Tipperary and Kilkenny.

https://www.pinterest.ie/oneillssports/gaa-the-action/

Sundays in summer my father took me with him to hear the Gaelic Games
Hurling, of course, a Tipperary Man’s birthright and delight.

Since radio reception of RTE – which on the old valve box still read, ‘Athlone’
Was poor and filled with a blizzard of wordless static we’d take the car (a Hillman Imp)
Up the vertiginous slope of Harrow on the Hill and park next to a telegraph pole –
In search of a perfect signal

As if by magic through the air came the alternating anguished and ecstatic tones of
Michael O’Hehir – his voice slicing through the miles like the Sliothair splitting the posts
For a marvellous point

Listening, rapt, willing victory, the match would pass in what seemed minutes
After, we’d sit in easeful silence as the evening became itself
And we were simply ourselves : a father and a son at one
Listening on a clear channel.

Notes:

Though I firmly believe that a poem should always retain some mystery many of you deeply versed in the lore of music may find some of the references above baffling. Here’s a key that may help!

Gaelic Games: The principal Gaelic games of Ireland are Gaelic Football and Hurling. They are played throughout the island of Ireland. The GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) was instrumental in the revival of these games in the late nineteenth century. The GAA was very important then in Irish society and culture in fostering a sense of distinct Irish national consciousness. The GAA, now that the Catholic Church, has largely lost its grip on Irish society, is probably the most interwoven institution within that society. The GAA’s strength is that it is an intensely local organisation calling on and winning loyalty from the family, the town land, the parish and finally the County. GAA rivalries at every geographic level are staggeringly intense. Reputations made playing these games last a lifetime and more.

Hurling: A wonderful field sport played by teams of 15 a side. Players use sticks, called Hurleys. The Sliothair (a ball near in size to a baseball) can be hand passed and hit through the ground or the air. A point is scored by sending the Sliothair above the bar and between the posts of the opponent’s goal.

Hurling calls for bravery, speed of thought and action and enormous technical skill. Played well it is absolutely thrilling to watch.

RTE: Radio Telefis Eireann – the national broadcasting station of Ireland.

Harrow on the Hill: A leafy suburb some ten miles from central London. Chiefly known for the fee paying public school attended by such luminaries as Lord Byron and Winston Churchill. I grew up there.

Michael O’Hehir: A much beloved commentator on all Irish sports from the mid 1930s to the mid 1980s but particularly associated with Gaelic games. For exiles from Ireland listening to him was an extraordinarily powerful emotional experience. He was deeply knowledgeable and had the gift of coining a memorable phrase in the moment an event took place. His voice could climb dizzily through the registers from marching band flute to ear splitting soprano saxophone squaks!

This post dedicated to the memory of my father, Wally Hickey (1926 – 1989).

©Thom Hickey 2014

About Thom Hickey

Thom Hickey one of the blessed 50s baby boomer generation, was born in London into an Irish family and formally educated at catholic schools and Cambridge University. More importantly he was informally educated by the BBC, The Observer, The New Statesman and The New Yorker. His music professors were radio giants Charlie Gillett, John Peel and Emperor Rosko. The print columns of Richard Williams, Ian MacDonald and Tony Russell were religiously read and annotated.

Further intensive study was conducted at the Hammersmith Odeon, the Hope and Anchor, the 100 Club, Ronnie Scott’s and the Rainbow. Many investment portfolios were foresworn in favour of sourcing recorded treasures from the hallowed halls of HMV, Colletts, Tower and Virgin Records and mail order outfits galore.

He has a continuing belief that you can never watch too many Westerns or Ken Burns documentaries, read enough biographies about Samuel Beckett or Buster Keaton and that there is always just one more Bob Dylan bootleg he needs.

To finance his obsessions he has worked in financial recruitment, as a charity campaigner and been a senior investigator into complaints about the NHS. He now lives deep in the Surrey woods with his beautiful wife, graceful daughter and inspirational son.

Connect to Thom

Blog: https://theimmortaljukebox.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/thomhickey55

My thanks to Thom for sharing this wonderful memory of searching for the perfect signal….I am sure he will enjoy receiving your feedback.

If you have some festive posts in your archives from Christmas Past.. why not pass them along to me for December – sally.cronin@moyhill.com

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – The Keys by J. Hope Suis


Welcome to J. Hope Suis for the third in her posts from the archive series. In this post Hope looks at three very common conditions that impact us all in one way or another. Depression, Anxiety and Fear… always a good idea to have strategies to cope with those.

The Keys by J. Hope Suis

You know that feeling… the one where you have just shut your car or front door and instantly realize the keys are inside…locked out of reach. It can be a feeling of panic. Or frustration. Knowing you will be late. Or delayed. Trying to crawl (and fit) in the window (without the neighbors ringing the police) or calling someone who has a spare key or worse; a locksmith. Being locked out is a helpless feeling.

Sometimes in life, we find ourselves emotionally locked. It seems we are trapped in a destructive cycle and unable to break free. It feels like everyone around us is moving along with ease and comfort, and we are stuck, locked out of the joy. My friends, today, I want to provide you with a set of keys. These keys are valuable and if you will use them, the locks on your life can be opened.

Lock #1 – Depression

No one likes to admit they are depressed. Yet one out of every ten person takes some form of anti-depressant. For women over 40; it is one out of every four. Why are we so sad? My guess is expectations. We have a mountain of expectations heaped on us every day. From our families. From our jobs. Mostly from ourselves. We want to do it all. Tackle every project. Take on every job. Solve every problem. Be perfect. We are often guilty of judging ourselves by what we perceive as the success or beauty of others. We stack the demands of our lives, one on top of the other, like a cheerleading pyramid or a game of Jenga. One tiny little tremor or mis-step and everything comes crashing down. We believe we have failed at everything, are worthless and become our own worst critic. No one can function under that kind of stress. You are locked in a revolving circle of distress. So what’s the key?

Key #1 – Faith

Find faith in God. You are not an accident. You are not a mistake. You are here for a purpose and are where you need to be in this world. Find faith in yourself. You are enough. You are capable and smart with a beautiful soul. Now, you may need to re-arrange the demands in your life. You may need to learn to say “no” or “not now”. And you will also need to stop comparing yourself to others. You do not know their whole story. They have struggles and insecurities too. We all put our game face on. And that’s ok. But never, ever, believe you are not as ‘anything’ as your neighbor. Have faith that you are awesome! And watch the depression fade away.

Lock #2 – Anxiety

Do you worry all the time? What do they think of me? What’s going to happen? What did happen? Should I make this move? Should I change that decision? STOP! Seriously. It is natural to second-guess ourselves on occasion. No one is ever so confident that they never question a decision or reaction from someone else. But a rolling loop of basically unanswerable questions in your mind is crippling. Anxiety can literally rob you of any kind of peace or contentment in your life. It constantly nags you to play out every possible scenario and land on the worse one. You are locked in defeat. So the key??

Key #2 (And my favorite) – Hope

Hope is literally what I try to center my life around. Because hope is the great equalizer in this chaotic world of ours. There are so many things out of our control. Even our best and most thought out choices can backfire due to no fault of our own. Bad things happen. People leave. Disappointment shows up. But as long as there is another moment, there is another chance. We do not know the future. We can’t change the past. We only have the present of the present. My best advice to you is to embrace and savor it. Worrying is not a catalyst for change; but hope…well hope can drive you, inspire you, motivate you….change you. You cannot be anxious and hopeful at the same time. Choose Hope.

Lock #3 – Fear

We are all afraid of something. Dying alone. Running out of money. Spiders. The IRS (or is that just me?) A certain amount of fear is actually beneficial. It can keep us in check and guide our decisions. But fear can quickly get out of control and consume us. Fear will cause paralysis of the mind and heart and render us powerless to move forward in life. This is especially true in fear of the future or the unknown. Truth is, we don’t know what is going to happen down the road. But fearing tomorrow doesn’t change tomorrow. It just ruins today. So what it the key to handling fear?

Key #3 (I bet most you already guessed it.) LOVE

At first glance, you might wonder how love can conquer fear. Loving spiders or the IRS is not going to change my life. But loving my world can! Love is not only the opposite of hate, it is also the opposite of fear (which is actually the root of hate). So here is your answer. Love yourself. Love your neighbor. Show love to someone who appears unlovable. The cranky neighbor. The rude cashier. The inconsiderate co-worker. Chances are they are hurting and afraid too. Your act of love or kindness could possibly unlock their joy! Get out of your head and out of your own way. Share your love with the world. There is no greater need for it than right now! You won’t have time for fear if you are spreading love.

I know it is easy for me to just say ‘don’t be’ depressed, anxious or fearful. A few words on a page do not take away the real issues we all face. But it is my goal to at least try and encourage you. My friends, I want to share one other thing. These blogs that I post and words that I share, these are not me standing behind an electronic podium looking out and down on my precious readers. No, this is me standing in front of the mirror, telling myself these things and then deciding to share with you. We are all on this beautiful journey together. And I truly believe, now more than ever, we all share the same failures and victories. If we could learn to trust each other more, and share our common experiences, we will learn how truly connected we all are. That in itself is a key that would unlock a world of greater understanding and acceptance.

Hope Out

©J. Hope Suis

Thanks to Hope for this post from her archives..finding a strategy that helps reduce depression, anxiety and fear is a goal to have. And very often a problem shared is a problem halved or solved. Reaching out is not a sign of weakness it is strength.

About J.Hope Suis

J. Hope Suis is an inspirational writer and relationship coach with over 20 years of experience in single-parenting, dating, relationships, and 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, divoredmoms.com and has a platform on onmogul.com. In addition, she has been cited in national online magazines like 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.