Smorgasbord Reblog –Meet Guest Author & Publisher, Daniel Scott White… The Story Reading Ape


Today I want to share a guest post on The Story Reading Ape’s blog by author Daniel Scott White, who regales us with tales in the backwoods with hermit veterans, rampant motorcycle chasing bears and ravenous mosquitos. And if that was not daunting enough, an early encounter with a teacher who did not seem to appreciate his creative process… I hope you will head over to read in full.

Meet Guest Author & Publisher, Daniel Scott White

I never had a teacher encourage me to write. In fact, it was the opposite. I had a teacher who would take my stories away when I turned them in. She would hide them. I never got them back. She said, you’re just weird. I had to start making copies of my stories. Hand written copies. I would take dreams and write them down for homework. They didn’t even make sense, like dreams never do. One time I dreamed I was alone. The house we lived in was two stories tall, out in the countryside, and for some reason there had been a flood. As far as I could see, there was water around every side of the house, all the way out to the horizon. Across the street where three giant trees sticking out of the water. They were there in the dream and they were also real trees. For some reason I was trying to get out of the house, trying to get to those trees. I liked to play there. In the house were angry dogs chasing me. I remember birds flying around, attacking me each time I tried to climb out a window. For this assignment, there wasn’t much of a plot, just the imagery. Who knows, maybe it was symbolic. Stress driven. I wrote it down and turned it in. My teacher, rather than encouraging me to become the next Lovecraft, wouldn’t give me the story back. Not that one, or several others.

The first novel I wrote was a story about mistaken identity involving twin brothers. It was a murder mystery about a kid who witnessed a killing and was ‘wiped out’ by the mafia. Later, the twin comes out of hiding. People are shocked to see the kid alive again, ready to tell the court the story. For some reason, I had to get to 100 pages. I don’t know why I picked 100. This was hand written on lined paper. And so I wrote really big and sometimes only put three words on a line. I had to get to 100 pages.

Head over to read more about Daniel’s adventures at school and in the wilds: Meet Guest Author & Publisher, Daniel Scott White…

 

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

 

Thanks for dropping by and don’t miss this great guest post over at The Story Reading Ape…thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Reblog – MarySmith’sPlace – AfghanistanAdventures#57


Mary Smith​ with this week’s episode of life in Afghanistan in 1989 as Mary and Jon travel through the winter passes with some nervous passengers and a few off road experiences…brilliant as always..

MarySmith’sPlace – Falling off a mountain – snow, ice & wolves AfghanistanAdventures#57

Afghanistan, December 1989

As we prepared to leave Arif’s clinic he became unusually quiet until, as he was saying goodbye, I realised how upset he was by his young brother, Sharif’s departure. He was coming with us to Pakistan where Arif had arranged for him to attend school in Karachi. I promised to take care of him, and with tears in his eyes he finally released Sharif from a tight embrace. If Sharif felt similar emotion, he concealed it well, appearing self-possessed about the prospect of not seeing his family for several years.

Leprosy patient, Zahir on the left, Arif’s young brother Sharif preparing to travel to Pakistan

We stopped for lunch at the edge of Naoor where I noticed Sharif patiently helping to tear up Zahir’s nan before requesting a spoon for him, without which it was impossible for him to eat. His right wrist, which had previously flopped about, had now been firmly splinted. We feared a bone was broken (in fact X rays in Karachi showed the bone had not broken, but had crumbled away, attacked by pus bacteria which had presumably started life in an old, infected wound.) Despite his sorry state, Zahir still retained his high good humour, dissolving into his terrifying asthmatic giggle at the slightest thing. He was also becoming less self-conscious about his appearance, no longer keeping his face hidden behind his turban tail.

As there was only another three hours travelling in front of us to Malestan we decided there was no need to re-fill the thermoses at the chaikhana – more fool us. As the road began to climb steeply, becoming increasingly twisty and treacherous, we found ourselves, once again, in a snowy landscape. There was nothing to be seen, except a few rocks, appearing bald-headed, where wind had swept off their snowy caps.

Head over to discover how things did not work out as planned and how dangerous it became: Falling off a mountain – snow, ice & wolves AfghanistanAdventures#57

A selection of books by Mary Smith

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

Smorgasbord Reblog – MarySmith’sPlace – AfghanAdventures#56 – caught in a bombing raid


Mary Smith with another episode of living and working in Afghanistan in 1989.. this week bombing raids, near misses and mangoes… This trip certainly was not for the timid..

MarySmith’sPlace – AfghanAdventures#56 – caught in a bombing raid

To de-stress after completing Arif’s accounts we went shopping in Tezak bazaar, where I’d spent the first night on the road, when travelling north with Khudadad almost six months ago.

The teahouse gossip concerned a recent bombing raid on the bazaar. The Kabul Government suspected mujahideen base camps were close to Tezak. I was puzzled there was so little evidence of bombing raids and was told since the mujahideen had acquired anti-aircraft guns, bombers could no longer fly in so low. The pilots were forced to drop the bombs from a much higher height, sacrificing accuracy for safety.

I wondered how I’d feel if I were ever caught in a bombing raid. Apart from here in Tezak, where the men assured us there would be no bombing for some weeks yet (how could they be sure?), our travels never took us near places of any significance in the war. However, on my second time in Afghanistan the following spring, I found out.

We weren’t supposed to be in Sia Huq the day it was bombed. A broken leaf spring, which refused to be held together any longer with bits of wire and string, forced us to make the detour. Sia Haq, once a tiny village barely two hours from Kabul, had become a major transport depot held by the mujahideen.

The repair job meant an overnight stay, yet another unscheduled delay on our journey from the leprosy clinic in Lal sar Jangal to Jaghoray, en route for Pakistan. We decided to kill time shopping for our evening meal. After weeks in Lal, which has no vegetables, except turnip, nor fruit the sight of mangoes had Jon, Mubarak and I, who’d lived in Pakistan and knew the delights of mangoes, whooping with glee. Juma and Abdul Hamid, neither of whom had ever been out of Lal, were unimpressed.

Our enterprising landlord, whose rooms were full of truck drivers, had erected a tent on his flat roof for our use and there we dined on spring onions, tomatoes, yoghurt and fresh, hot nan washed down with tea.

Mubarak and I in our rooftop tent

Head over to read the rest of this hair raising postCaught in a Bombing Raid – Mary Smith

A selection of books by Mary Smith

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

Thanks for dropping by and I hope you will head over to Mary’s to read the rest of the post  thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Reblog – AfghanistanAdventures#55 – Pesky commanders, dentistry & an inside loo by Mary Smith


Mary Smith with another brilliant episode of her ten years working in Afghanistan…and some hair-curling stories of dentistry, hostage taking, budget overruns and the power of motherhood.

l to r: Ashraf, Arif’s Field Assistant , Arif, and important people

Afghanistan, December 1989

When I requested a tour of the premises Arif led me up and down staircases and along passages and in and out of so many rooms I lost all sense of direction. From the guest room there were two exits, one leading through the kitchen down a flight of stairs to the storerooms below, one of which was filled with a supply of wood for winter heating. The second exit from the guest room took us along a short passage to the consulting room and the pharmacy. I was astonished to think this had been built as an average family home. Arif rented the premises from the owner who lived in Kabul with his family. He did say the landlord was a wealthy man, so perhaps his home was more splendid than average. I haven’t found any photos so I guess I didn’t take any – have included random pics for you to enjoy.

I particularly liked one of the upstairs rooms, which was empty and unused; a beautiful room with fret worked wooden designs decorating the walls and ceiling, arched alcoves in the walls. Sunlight streamed through two large windows which gave onto a view of the sloping hillside below us. ‘Why don’t you use this room? It is lovely,’ I asked.

Arif agreed, ‘Yes it is a nice room but there is no heating and it is too cold. If we were going to stay here I would install a bukhari but as you know we are going to build a new clinic in Saydabad.’

The decision to move the clinic had been taken earlier in the summer. Arif was not from Day Mirdad and had faced difficulties in being accepted by the people who were suspicious of strangers. These problems had been made worse by the animosity between Pashtun and Hazara, both of whom came daily to the clinic. Frequent disputes arose as they waited in the compound to consult Arif. The Pashtun people did not trust Arif because he worked with Hazaras, and often went touring in Hazara areas to treat leprosy patients. The Hazaras were equally suspicious of him because he was Pashtun. There were no leprosy patients amongst the Pashtun in the surrounding district and they resented the clinic being closed when Arif went to his monthly tour programme to treat Hazara leprosy patients.

 

Head over to enjoy this fascinating post in full: AfghanistanAdventures#55 – Pesky commanders, dentistry & an inside loo

 

A selection of books by Mary Smith

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

Smorgasbord Reblog – Eureka! Where does your writing inspiration come from? by Jessica Norrie


As writers the inspiration for our stories come from diverse sources from images, scents, poetry or perhaps music. Jessica Norrie in her Friday post explores her own inspirations and those of other author over time… Head over to share yours…

Eureka!

I googled “inspiration” because you deserve a positive blog post after Recent Rant 1 and Recent Rant 2. The Oxford Languages Dictionary says inspiration is the process of being mentally stimulated to do…something creative and/or a sudden brilliant or timely idea. It’s my pleasure to bring you this overview of some forms the mental stimulation may take, with a pretty picture to help you through the gate to fruitful productivity.

Inspiration may seep in over time, from a writer’s familiarity with places, people or themes, or it may come suddenly from something specific. The first kind, described described here, inspired The Infinity Pool. But The Magic Carpet sparked all-of-a-sudden in my classroom, with a 6 year-old pupil’s suggestion to his friend: “Why don’t we write everything in capital letters? Then Ms Norrie won’t tell us off for not using them.” (I awarded merit points for chutzpah.) In the finished novel, it’s become Mandeep’s idea on page 91. Novel Three started with an extraordinary signpost I saw on holiday. All will be revealed when (if) a publisher takes the same punt I did and invests in my story of a community deeply affected by the visual image in their midst. I’ve achieved 40 pages of Novel Four inspired by a scene in a play. So my inspiration comes from another writer’s inspiration.

Poetry or rhetoric is often deliberately written to inspire, but what’s everyday to some speakers can provide unexpected inspiration too. As our builders discuss the cellar stairs, I’m hearing of risers, winders, bull noses, dog legs, a suggested pig’s ear handrail but not balustrades or spindles (it’s just an ordinary staircase, honest). They assume I understand – builders always add the word obviously to anything they’re explaining. Their jargon reveals an undiscovered world for my future characters to root about in, obviously.

Strip specialised language to its bare bones and it can still conjure a story. In a Physics exam when I was thirteen, I forgot the correct wording of the Archimedes Principle, but got one mark for writing: “Archimedes got in his bath. He noticed the water level go up and yelled ‘Eureka!’ ” My description’s unscientific, but it opens the way for imagining the bathroom (if any), the servant who’d heated the water jumping at the sudden shout, whether modesty and privacy were important, whether Archimedes was routinely fastidious or perhaps preparing for a special date? So was he late because he stopped to write down his new principle? Did his date cast him off forever or come round to see why they’d been stood up? Then what? Tracy Chevalier or Robert Harris would have half that novel written already.ms the mental stimulation may take, with a pretty picture to help you through the gate to fruitful productivity.

Head over to discover more Eureka moments for other authors and add your own to the list: Eureka by Jessica Norrie

Jessica Norrie studied French literature at Sussex University, and trained as a teacher at Sheffield. Then she wandered into parenthood, told her now grown up children stories, and heard theirs. A qualified translator, she worked on an eclectic mix of material, from health reports on racehorses to harrowing refugee tales. She taught adults and children, co-authored a textbook and ran teacher training. In 2008 came the idea for “The Infinity Pool”, which appeared in 2015 (and in German in 2018). Her second novel “The Magic Carpet”, inspired by teaching creatively in multicultural schools, was published in July 2019, and she is working on a third. She divides her time between London and Malvern, blogging, singing soprano, and walking in the forest and hills.

Books by Jessica Norrie

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Website:Jessica Norrie on WordPressGoodreads: Jessica Norrie – Twitter: @Jessica_Norrie

 

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

1. Arbor

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

2. Chiminea

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

3. Corbel

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

4. Cupola

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

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

Nicholas C. Rossis

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

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

A small selection of books by Nicholas Rossis

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

 

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

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


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

Spying beware

Spying – The Story about House Hunting While Being Watched

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

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

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

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

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

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

Books by D.G. Kaye

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

 

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

Smorgasbord Reblog – #StDavids – Going West: The Talking Stone by Sue Vincent


Sue Vincent continues the narration of the trip that she and Stuart France made to the west coast of Britain with some amazing stopovers.. In this post some legends passed down through hundreds of years in written and oral history.

– Going West: The Talking Stone

Wales 114

While I was researching the cathedral at St Davids, I came across a couple of legends that caught my fancy. Both of them concern Llechllafar, the talking stone. The name just by itself was intriguing… where did the emphasis lie? Was it a stone that spoke, or a stone where people could speak? I soon found out and it tied in with the legends of the old corpse roads that Stuart and I had come across when working on our books.

When villages began to get their own churches, quite often it would only be the mother church of the area that had burial rights. People were obliged to carry their dead, often long distances, to bury their loved ones. There were many legends associated with these old highways that could scale hills and ford rivers for mile upon mile, following a straight line, very like the leys, that might take them even through homes…the spirits of the dead always took a straight course, and a convoluted path would confound or confuse them.

There was a corpse road at St Davids… and it was crossed by Llechllafar.

Head over to read the rest of this fascinating post: Going West – The Talking Stone

Please visit Amazon to view all Sue’s books and those written with Stuart France.

Sue Vincent  Buy:Amazon UKand:Amazon USBlog: S.C. VincentGoodreads:Sue Vincent  – Twitter: @SCVincent
Stuart France:Amazon UKand: Amazon US – Goodreads: Stuart France – website:  France and Vincent
Thanks for dropping in and I hope you will head over to enjoy the post in full… thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Reblog – #AfghanistanAdventures 54 – Winter travel by Mary Smith


Mary Smith continues her journey through the mountains of Afghanistan and has a night in a military compound which could have resulted in an international incident… and something essential gets broken.

Winter Travel – Afghanistan, December 1989, Day Mirdad

The delay meant we were a long way from our destination, when darkness fell. At the next check post the mujahid guarding the chain, tried to persuade us not to continue our journey. Jon thanked him, but said we must ensure our patients reached the clinic in Day Mirdad. The mujahid played the beam of his torch into the back of the vehicle. When he spotlighted Zahir, without his turban, he jumped back hastily and waved us on. Poor Zahir, for once, we were grateful for the terrified reaction he provoked.

At the next check post Jon tried the same story. The mujahid peered into the back, saw Zahir and said calmly, ‘Oh, a leprosy patient. Never mind, we can give you a separate room for him.’ Jon requested permission to speak to the Commander who opened the window of his office a grudging few inches. We watched as Jon talked, gesticulating occasionally towards the vehicle. We saw the Commander shake his head and give a brief reply. Jon tried again – the Commander slammed the window shut. We were not going to reach Day Mirdad that night.

We were directed through a gateway into a large, bleak compound. Crunching over the frozen snow, we reached our room, unwilling guests of the Nasre Party for the night. The room was frigid, my head was hurting and we were all cold and cross. A man came in to light the bukhari around which we huddled, morosely sipping tea. We had to ask twice for food before we were eventually served a quantity of greasy, grey liquid with a few pieces of very stringy, dried up meat. Not even Zahir could find anything to laugh about.

Please head over to enjoy the post in full: MarySmith’sPlace – #AfghanistanAdventures54 Winter travel

A selection of books by Mary Smith

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

 

 

Smorgasbord Reblog – I wish for a pizza tonight – by Eat Dessert First (Greece)


It is a while since I shared one of Eat Dessert First’s recipes, and usually it is for one of their luxurious puddings. But they also post savoury dishes and if you think that Pizza is only Italian…think again..

I wish for Pizza tonight

Yes, you guessed right, our new article will be savory! In our new article we launch our savory section by making pizza with handmade dough and Greek products and learning its history over time…

While doing our research, we read in History Today that the history of pizza is linked to immigration, the economy and technological developments. Its origins go back to antiquity, as it is mentioned in the Aeneid of the ancient Roman poet Virgil, when hero Aeneas and his crew use thin wheat pies as dishes for their food. In fact, when they consumed these early pizzas at the end of the meal, Aeneas’ son exclaimed “Look! We’ve even eaten our plates!”.

On the website of the History channel we read that a type of pizza was enjoyed in antiquity by both the Egyptians and the Greeks. The Greeks even flavored their early pizzas with olive oil and herbs.

According to History Today, pizza took its current form in Naples at the end of the 18th century. At that time the population of the city had become very large, due to internal migration and trade mobility, and a large part of the population had fallen into poverty. Constantly looking for work, people needed a fast food that would be easy to consume. So, pizza came to satisfy this need. The pizzas were not sold in stores, but by street vendors, who cut them into pieces of whatever size each customer wanted to buy.

 

Head over to find out more about the history behind pizza and also Eat Dessert First’s fabulous recipe to make your own at home: I wish for Pizza Tonight

About Eat Dessert First

We are a team of writers, sociocultural researchers, travellers, children’s educators and amateur bakers, based in Athens. What describes us best is that we eat dessert first! But not only… our name symbolises our wish for all the nice and sweet things in life to come first.

Our purpose is to approach aspects of the everyday life that are on our minds, by looking at them in a new perspective and studying them in their historic and cultural evolution… all that through our love for desserts. And of course to discover the history of our favorite sweets! Also, we take a sweet trip every now and then, to meet new places, customs, sights, activities, nature and -what else- little local treats! We don’t forget to exercise too, in order to eat our desserts without remorse…

Given our huge sweet tooth, we wish to learn new recipes, to experiment with new techniques and variations, and of course to share our creations. We also want to discover the roots of our favourite desserts, their influences and their variations around the world.

In a special section we focus on subjects of psychology, social awareness, education, creative activities and much more. But Rupert will tell you all about that along the way!

So, come along on this exciting, sweet adventure… Have a nice trip everyone!

Connect to Eat Dessert First: Blog: Eat Dessert First Greece Twitter: @eatdessert1stGr – Facebook: Eat Dessert First Greece

 

I hope this has whet your appetite and you will head over to enjoy this pizza post and also browse through the archives for more delicious savoury and sweet recipes. Thanks Sally.