Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – #Reviews – Chuck Jackson, Karen Ingalls and Allan Hudson


Welcome to the first of the author updates this week and the first author that I would like to share a review for is Chuck Jackson... for his novel – One Month, 20 Days and a Wake Up.

About the book

One Month, 20 Days, and a Wake Up, follows a young man’s account of his four years serving in the Air Force. This novel follows him and his best friend as they volunteer to cross train into the elite career field of Pararescue. They spend 14 months of grueling special forces training whereby only the best and those with the desire to push themselves to the limit, become a PJ.

When he graduates and proudly wears the burgundy beret and Pararescue Flash, he knows it’s only a matter of weeks the Air Force will assign him to a Pararescue flight crew in Vietnam. The book follows his 13 months in Vietnam where he quickly learns the horror of war and how he must adapt to not only keep his sanity, also return alive. His story contains several of the rescue missions he and his PJ brothers complete where not all the rescued return alive. When he faces personal bereavement, he must reach deep to restore his integrity, and keep his oath, “These things I do, that others may live.”

A recent review for the book

Bill hodges 5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent February 11, 2019

A great book about a very small group of people in the Air Force whose track record is stratospherically impressive if people knew about it . As an Air Force retiree myself , I have visited the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base a few times . The last time I was there it was with my great-nephew who I had custody of due to family issues . He was nine years old and really loved seeing all the exhibits . There was a gentleman who came to give a lecture /demonstration he had the Air Force ABU uniform , and the distinctive PJ beret. When I explained to Anthony James ( AJ) just what the significance that very simple piece of headgear represent to all of us in the Air Force. Needless to say he was impressed .

There is a section of the museum devoted to the Air Force para rescue force . We did spend a lot of time there , and maybe I have generated a new recruit in a few years . I also explained to him that the selection process is extremely discriminating and they take only the best of the best of the very best . (oh yeah school is important) . That’s sort of put him off a little bit , but time will tell. As far as Vietnam is concerned , I joined in 73 , even had base elections in Southeast Asia , but things had shut down by the time I finished basic training . It is hard to believe that that conflict is so far in the past now , but if nothing else illustrates just how much faith we in the military have in a system that squandered so much priceless wealth as our very best and brightest were fed into that mess . For all of you served in Vietnam you have my highest respect and admiration and a heartfelt thank you and God bless you all for holding the line .

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01IPNO68U

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/One-Month-20-Days-Wake-ebook/dp/B01IPNO68U

Also by Chuck Jackson

Read all the reviews and buy both books: https://www.amazon.com/Chuck-Jackson/e/B01IX2PBEG

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chuck-Jackson/e/B01IX2PBEG

Read more reviews and follow Chuck on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18190755.Chuck_Jackson

Connect to Chuck via his website and blog: http://www.chuckjacksonknowme.com/

The next author a recent review is Karen Ingalls with a memoir that shares not just the struggle to survive, but the hope for those who have received this devastating diagnosis Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir

About the book

When Karen Ingalls was diagnosed with Stage IIC ovarian cancer, she realized how little she knew about what is called “the silent killer.” As Ingalls began to educate herself she felt overwhelmed by the prevalent negativity of cancer. Lost in the information about drugs, side effects, and statistics, she redirected her energy to focus on the equally overwhelming blessings of life, learning to rejoice in each day and find peace in spirituality.

In this memoir, Karen is a calming presence and positive companion, offering a refreshing perspective of hope with the knowledge that “the beauty of the soul, the real me and the real you, outshines the effects of cancer, chemotherapy, and radian. It is a story of survival and reminds readers that disease is not an absolute, but a challenge to recover.

One of the recent reviews for Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir

As a writer, I have immense respect for fellow writers who share their personal journeys and challenges with the sole intent to help ease the burdens of others. In Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir, Author Karen Ingalls not only shares her very personal journey of diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cancer, she does so with an enlightened, grateful heart. This is an incredibly personal read and one that offers guided hope and encourages discussion and advocacy for women’s health.

Our lives are shaped by our experiences; every encounter, every moment holds the capacity to change us. Our resiliency to endure and overcome, in large part, correlates with our faith and the unconditional love of family and friends.

Ingalls doesn’t profess to be an expert on this topic; the value of this book lies in the authentic approach in which she shares her personal journey. Our ability to celebrate all that we are, and embrace life in all its splendour is a powerful message resonating throughout this poignant memoir. Ingalls eloquently shares her journey back to wellness and her words are an offering of solace and hope for those who are battling cancer and to their dear loved ones standing beside them. A powerful and highly recommended read.

Read all the reviews and and buy the book:https://www.amazon.com/Outshine-Ovarian-Cancer-Karen-Ingalls-ebook/dp/B00KI1HGZI

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Outshine-Ovarian-Cancer-Karen-Ingalls-ebook/dp/B00KI1HGZI/

 ALL PROCEEDS GO TO GYNECOLOGIC CANCER RESEARCH.

Also by Karen Ingalls

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Karen-Ingalls/e/B009KT5QWY

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Karen-Ingalls/e/B009KT5QWY

Read more reviews and follow Karen Ingalls on Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/kareningalls

Connect to Karen via her blog: http://www.outshineovariancancer.com

The final author today with a recent review is Allan Hudson for his recently released collection of short stories based on memories of his life or events he has witnessed. A Box of Memories

About the collection

Many of the short stories herein are inspired by memories I have of events in my life or related events I’ve witnessed or read about. Family is important to me so many stories are about relationships, love, sharing and giving, overcoming difficulties. Read about an older man and an abandoned baby. His last days. Three men acting like boys. Ten year old boys and the trouble they get into. The grueling work of dismantling ships by hand. Retirees with too much time on their hands. The dangers of shopping in Outer Space. Visiting a Food Bank. A covered wagon with a family and all of their possessions. Escaping slaves. Seniors with nothing to eat. The revenge of the wasps. Returning to the country of your birth. A Honey Trap. A detective that discovers crimes too close to home.

A recent review for the collection

Full of short stories inspired by memories or the related events of the author’s life, A Box Full of Memories is an entertaining read that is a pleasure to read. Some of the characters are found in more than one story, each of whom the author bought to life from the way he described them.

Although some of the descriptions were a little overdone, I still found myself immersed in the stories. There was only one story I couldn’t get into, but it did not stop me reading the rest.

Of all the stories, Wasps! was my favourite, as it geared towards the types of stories I enjoy reading.

Buy the collection: https://www.amazon.com/Box-Memories-Allan-Hudson-ebook/dp/B07Q7VMHGL/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Box-Memories-Allan-Hudson-ebook/dp/B07Q7VMHGL

Also by Allan Hudson

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Allan-Hudson/e/B00HP8FSEI

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

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

Connect to Allan via his website: http://www.southbranchscribbler.com

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you are leaving with a book or two under your arm.. thanks Sally.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves #Shortstories – A Box of Memories by Allan Hudson


Allan Hudson has just released a new collection of short stories based on memories of his life or events he has witnessed. A Box of Memories

About the collection

Many of the short stories herein are inspired by memories I have of events in my life or related events I’ve witnessed or read about. Family is important to me so many stories are about relationships, love, sharing and giving, overcoming difficulties. Read about an older man and an abandoned baby. His last days. Three men acting like boys. Ten year old boys and the trouble they get into. The grueling work of dismantling ships by hand. Retirees with too much time on their hands. The dangers of shopping in Outer Space. Visiting a Food Bank. A covered wagon with a family and all of their possessions. Escaping slaves. Seniors with nothing to eat. The revenge of the wasps. Returning to the country of your birth. A Honey Trap. A detective that discovers crimes too close to home.

Buy the collection: https://www.amazon.com/Box-Memories-Allan-Hudson-ebook/dp/B07Q7VMHGL/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Box-Memories-Allan-Hudson-ebook/dp/B07Q7VMHGL

Also by Allan Hudson

One of the reviews for Dark Side of A Promise

This is a complicated and complex novel. The prologue sets the scene and conflict initially, but there’s a lot of back story that has to be told to connect all the players. And there are many! The author shows good insight into the main characters psyche, motivations, description of inner thinking, etc. The action scenes are well done.
Most of the story is written in present tense, not necessarily a favorite for me, but it does bring the reader a more immediate connection with the story. After the first few chapters, I was fine with it. There’s tons of intrigue, clandestine meetings, death, murder, exotic and unusual settings. All the qualities that come with a well crafted novel. And a unique writing style. Well done, and well worth the read.

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Allan-Hudson/e/B00HP8FSEI

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

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

About Allan Hudson

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

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

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

Connect to Allan

Website: http://www.southbranchscribbler.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/hudson_allan
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/southbranchscribbler/

Thank you for dropping in today and please help share the news of Allan’s new short story collection.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Short Story – Reaching The Pinnacle by Allan Hudson


Allan Hudson entertained us in the last months of 2017 with some short stories from his archives and today we continue his series with a short story which is from his collection Shorts Volume Two.

True events inspired this story. As it is told, well, it didn’t happen this way but it could’ve. Grandfather and granddaughter hike to the top of Mount Carleton. Sitting around the campfire that night, the young lady shares what’s on her heart.

Reaching The Pinnacle by Allan Hudson

Jeb Davis is almost out of breath. The last half a kilometer of hiking up the mountain has been at a 25-degree angle. And it’s starting to get steeper. Mount Carleton in northern New Brunswick is not for cream puffs. He stops where the trail evens out for a meter or so near the exposed root of an enormous birch tree that has to be as old as his great grandparents if they were still alive. The bark on top of the root is rubbed away from countless soles. With one hand on the trunk, he stoops over to catch his breath. He adjusts his backpack with his other hand, hefting it a bit higher, and looks up the trail to check on his granddaughter. Thirty meters farther up, she is going full steam. He chuckles. It has always been so. Mindy Kane does everything at full throttle.

She doesn’t know he’s not behind her and she’s still talking. He can’t discern what she’s saying, but her voice comes back to him like vapor through the trees, a rhythm that’s part of the forest.

A chorus of black-capped chickadees with their two note song provides a natural harmony. Breathing deeply he inhales the scent of damp, dying leaves that only autumn can bring. He watches her as she hikes under yet another huge birch tree with a canopy of mighty limbs. Yellow and lime-colored leaves cling to more than half the outstretched arms. The stream of early morning light passes through the half-naked limbs, dappling her lithesome body and bulky pack. She must’ve asked a question and realized something wasn’t right when silence ensued. She stops and looks back. Jeb can see the teasing twinkle in her eyes even from this far.

She yells out, “Whatsa matter, old-timer? Can’t hack it anymore?”

He’s smiling when he scolds her.

“Watch your mouth young lady. Respect your elders. Listen, Mindy, you said breaks every thirty minutes. We’ve been chugging up this ruddy hill for almost…”

Standing upright, he checks his watch.
“…forty five minutes. Now get down here and give your Gramps a break.”

He looks around to see another root growing out from the other side of the tree. It forms a knuckle about a meter and a half across, perfect for two regular sized bums. The ground is littered with fallen leaves – creating yellow and orange flooring. The sun shatters when it hits the tree, creating an inviting tumult of rays and shadows. He has to climb a small embankment about hip high, made of hard-packed dirt and smaller roots. When he finally plops on the exposed wood he wiggles out of his pack. Mindy drops hers, pulls a chrome water bottle out of a side pocket and jogs back down the hill.

Scooting up the lip in a skip and a jump, she rounds the tree and, spying the makeshift seat, she says, “Shuffle over there a bit, Grampy.”

Before he can reply she offers him the water.

“Ah thanks, Mindy, my mouth is as dry as the bark on one of these trees.”

Sitting, their sides touching, she leans into him as he takes a long swig.

“I’m glad you decided to do this, Gramps.”

Wiping dripping water from his chin with his forearm, he switches the bottle from his right to his left hand and gives his granddaughter a sideways hug.

“I’m so pleased you asked. It’s been a long time since just the two of us have been on an overnighter. What…maybe 7 or 8 years? You were at university.”

Jeb drops his arm to sit forward. He sets the water bottle on the ground, leaning against the root. Mindy huddles forward, placing her elbows on her knees. Her head is in a narrow ray of sun and she appears golden.

“Wow, I can’t believe it’s been that long. That was when we went to Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland. That was an awesome trip.”

With her chin in her hand, she turns her head toward Jeb, her wide smile defines happiness. Jeb is sitting similarly, elbows on his knees. They’re about the same height so they’re eye to eye. Jeb melts under her stare; she’s looked at him that way since she was a baby. He knows her. Fine lines crinkle his temple when he scrunches his brow.

“You’re up to something, aren’t you, Mindy?”

She frowns back.

“Of course! But you have to wait until I’m ready to tell you.”

Jeb is ready to offer a guess when she cuts him off. “Don’t even try to guess or I won’t tell you at all.”

He stares at the ground, defeated.

“Okay”

Changing the subject as he offers her the water, he says, “So, what do you think? Another hour to the top, right around noon? We’ve been at this for almost three hours now and it usually takes an old duff like me about four or five, but you… you’re almost running uphill.”

They both laugh at his worn out joke. He can see she’s raring to go. He’s amazed at her stamina – always has been – but as a police officer, she has to remain fit. He deems himself in damn fine condition for his 71 years, but he’s no fool and knows he can’t keep up.

“You take off, Mindy. Do the home stretch like you enjoy. I’ll meet you at the campsite.

After we’re set up and eat, we can do the last half a kilo to the top. I think the old forest ranger’s station is still there.”

She jumps up, brushes a couple of vagrant leaves from her behind.

“Okay. You sure you don’t mind?”

“I haven’t minded before. I’m good. I might stop once in a while to admire the splendor and beauty of our natural surroundings.”

She nods at his formal delivery knowing she’s just been told that he’ll be taking his good old time. Ever since he’d seen The Lord of the Rings, he was always quoting Gandalf about how he “means to arrive when he should.” She, on the other hand, thrives on pushing herself. The solitude of the forested hillside absorbs her stress and she forgets about upholding the law. Truthfully, she doesn’t like putting the tent up with Jeb; he’s too slow. She can have it up in ten minutes on her own, whereas with him “helping” it usually takes a half hour.

“Yeah, you do that, Gramps. Watch out for killer squirrels!”

“Oh! And I have something to tell you, too! But…!” He wags his finger at her, reminding her she knows the rest

“You crafty old dog!”

“Don’t call me an old dog. Now get outta here.”

He turns back to the leaf-covered vista before him, where he sees the downward slope of the terrain through the thinly scattered trees. The brush is kept trimmed four meters on each side of a narrow brook that flows three meters on the other side of the trail. The path follows the rill for another fifty meters before it twists northeast on its way to the pinnacle. He pushes his pack out of the way, rises and turns on his seat so he can watch her go uphill.

She is already halfway to the large tree where she left her pack, at a serious strut. The way she carries herself reminds Jeb of her father; she has the same physique. Of course, that vision is from when he was younger; they haven’t seen him for twenty-five years. The lovely oval face and cinnamon-colored eyes that can be so intense are from her mother, Heather – Jeb’s daughter. The determination and grit are her own. Watching her shoulder her pack and latch the loose nylon straps, he can only think how proud he is of her.

Jeb’s mind drifts as he stands to shoulder his own pack. Thoughts of Mindy’s father trouble him even with the passing of time. He wonders where he is. The family hasn’t heard from him for such a long time. Couldn’t stay off the bottle; probably drank himself to death. As Jeb climbs down the short bank to head up the trail, he can still remember the last time he saw him.

Norton Kane was a self-employed carpenter, living in a rooming house down in the east end of Moncton. He’d work for seven or eight days and go on a bender for two or three. A highly skilled craftsman when he was sober, he was always in demand. All he owned was an old Ford truck, his tools and enough clothes to fill a medium-sized suitcase. A year earlier Jeb’s daughter had had enough. Caring for two boys, aged six and five, and Mindy, only two, she threw him out for good.

Norton had stopped at Jeb’s place early one morning, a Saturday that was grey with an overcast sky. The first day of spring didn’t bode well. Norton’s knock on the door woke Jeb up. Opening the back door to admit his son-in-law, he had to step back from the reek of cheap booze. His hair and clothing were disheveled, his manner pleading and his swollen eyes filled with despair. He needed $200.00. He was starting a new project on Monday, a set of stairs in a new house by the golf course, he’d pay Jeb back next week. Jeb knew he’d never see the money again, but he didn’t dislike Norton, who had started out an honorable young man. He gave him $100.00 and wished him an abrupt goodbye. Norton didn’t even say thanks.

Two days later, Heather got a call from an angry homeowner demanding to know where his carpenter was. The gentleman had arrived at his house late afternoon to find the work site as if work is still in progress. Norton’s truck was parked in the driveway, rear hatch and driver’s door open.

Tools were set up in the garage, with the wide doors rolled up. Sawdust and building materials were lying about. The door to the house was open but Norton was nowhere to be found.

No one ever saw him again.

©Allan Hudson.

Part two next week of this story but in the meantime…if you really cannot wait then you can always buy Allan’s short story collection that contains this story. Just click the cover to buy.

About Allan Hudson

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

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

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

Allan’s latest book was released late in 2017 Wall of War: A Drake Alexander Adventure Book Two.

About the book

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

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

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

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

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

Also by Allan Hudson

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

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

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

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

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

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

Connect to Allan

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

Thank you for dropping in today and I am sure that you enjoyed as much as I did.. Please share Allan’s story far and wide and explore his books.  thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Christmas Posts from Your Archives – Interview with Santa Claus by Allan Hudson


Time for a Christmas post to round off the archive series for Allan Hudson who I am sure will be back with more great stories and posts in the New Year.  Allan has managed to track down the elusive but very popular Santa Claus for an exclusive interview.

Interview with Santa Claus by Allan Hudson

After many months of tracking down this famous figure, the Scribbler was finally able to get Santa Claus to agree to answer 4 questions for the 4Q Interview. The query was submitted to the admin division of SC Enterprises, North Pole, on July 15th, 2014. We received a last minute email only an hour ago. The note was apologetic for its delay, albeit a cheerful assertion of Mr. Claus’ demanding schedule. It went on to thank us for our patience and delight in participating on the Scribbler.

It was difficult to consider only four questions for one of the world’s most famous people. We decided to pose a dozen and let Santa choose. Here they are.

4Q: Are elves real?

SC: Ho, Ho. Ho! You don’t know how many times I’ve been asked that Allan. Is gravity, space, time or magnetism real? They’re totally unexplainable but certifiably so; that’s what elves are. Centuries ago, these supernatural beings were made known to civilization through Germanic and Nordic mythology and all kinds of elves exist. It’s true that they have magical powers. They’re especially beautiful figures. And they’re clever. Oh, whatever would I do without them?
In our ultra-secret complex, we have over twenty thousand of the rascals, they breed worse than rabbits. The logistics sometimes can be a tad overwhelming. Thank goodness they are all happy, there are never any conflicts. Lucky for the Missus and me the elders keep everything in order. I always say the more the merrier, especially since we just secured the Toys-B-Us account. We’ll be making all the toys for the 14,329 locations as well as our own 100,000,000 pieces I give away. All profits will be invested in the elves retirement program, of course.

Oh yes, they are very real. I remember JR (Tolkien) and I having a long talk about this eighty years ago or so when he began writing. An interesting man that had odd ideas of his own elves and my goodness but his characters are popular toys today. As far as the elves that only I can see, I can’t describe them to you. They need to remain part of your imagination. I can tell you this for sure, they are mischievous and quite short. Ho, Ho, Ho!

4Q: How is it Santa that you can truly know if every boy and girl is good or bad, who should get gifts and who shouldn’t?

SC: Well now that’s a good question coming from you. You were a bad little bugger sometimes. I still showed up though, didn’t I? I knew all about Mary McLaughlin’s plastic dinner set and what you did with it. The worst thing you did was when you shot John, your next door neighbor, in the buttock with the BB gun I left you one year. It was only for your mother punishing you properly and taking it away from you that kept you on the list.

There really aren’t any bad children Allan, only parents that don’t teach their children right from wrong. I mean, have you ever heard of someone having to teach a kid to be bad. Ho Ho Ho! They do that on their own. No, we have to teach them to be good.

And to get back to my elves, they and I have mastered time manipulation of course, because how else would I get all those gifts delivered in one night. Phew! There is about 2000 that all they do is check up on children all year round. They are part of the Lollipop and Derogate Division of the Elves Union. On a good day, an experienced elf can visit several thousand homes and deliver verbal reports to the Head Decider and she in turn reports to me.

Most tykes are just mischievous. I have found that the worst imps are from Kent and Albert counties in your home province of New Brunswick. Especially the ones that grow up to be authors, they have these weird imaginations getting themselves into all kinds of trouble. My goodness but I think it’s from too much sugar.

There are not many that don’t get presents.

4Q: Please share a childhood anecdote or memory Santa.

SC: Hmmm! I don’t think I ever was a child Allan; at least I have no memory of being one. No, nothing comes to mind.

I do however have a thought to share with you and your readers. When kids stop believing in me, they normally stop believing in magic and mystery. That’s kind of sad. I love it though that some adults never stop believing. You see them with antlers sticking out of the windows of their cars or a fake Rudolph red nose on the grill, or a huge inflated replica of me on the lawn, or they’re working in the food kitchens, or buying gifts for people they don’t even know. Ho Ho Ho!

4Q: What do you do in the off season Santa, or is there an off season?

SC: Oh yes, there is definitely a time away from the hustle and bustle of the North Pole. Ho Ho Ho! The Missus and I have a condo on the island of Bequia in the Caribbean. Down there, I’m just the nice fat guy next door that needs to trim his beard. I go by the name of Ralph and the wife is Suzie. We live next door to an author you might know, her name is Susan and I especially love her last name Toy, it holds special meaning for me, of course. Great gal, quite the storyteller.

I have a sailboat as well, a 27 foot CS27 that we meander about the coast with. I drink cold beer on Friday nights when the missus (she’s the red wine drinker) and I have our weekly happy hour. Although we can’t have children, we still practice making babies as often as we can (wink wink). Ho Ho Ho!

I collect Christmas movies which shouldn’t be a surprise I guess. My favorite one is Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase. I love it when Clark gets tongue-tied with the pretty lady selling lingerie. Another funny part is when his cousin Eddy shows up with no money and an especially long Christmas list. And the old guy with the wig cracks me up each time.
I’m part of a jazz trio. I play the doghouse bass with two of my cronies down there, Jaspar on the piano and Merle on the saxophone. We have gigs most Sunday afternoons all over the islands, quite the following actually. We call ourselves Digger (that’s Merle’s nickname) and the Dots. When she’s in town, we always have Kitty LaRoar join us, such an angelic voice.

We diddle with the old classics, especially Cole Porter’s collection of jewels.

I do a little gardening, actually as little as possible but the missus likes her flowers. I have short naps two or three times a day. I forget about chimneys, pass keys, good and bad, elves under my feet, reindeer in their stalls, the chilly weather, the logistics, gift wrapping and signing my name a million times.

I never wear anything red when I am on holidays. The elves have strict instructions Not-To-Peek-In-Our-Windows. Sometimes I like to be mischievous too.

Thank you Santa Claus for sharing your thoughts on the Scribbler. All the best for the future of Christmas when we celebrate the birth of Christ. Oh and by the way, next year I want…….

©Allan Hudson.

Many thanks to Allan for that entertaining exclusive with Santa Claus .. please head over to Allan’s blog to read more entertaining posts.

About Allan Hudson

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

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

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

Allan’s latest book has just been released and would also make a great Christmas giftWall of War: A Drake Alexander Adventure Book Two.

About the book

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

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

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

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

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

Also by Allan Hudson

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

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

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

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

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

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

Connect to Allan

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

I am sure you have enjoyed this post as much as I have and it would be great if you could share. thanks Sally

 

Smorgasbord Christmas Posts from Your Archives – My Five Favourite Books by Allan Hudson


Although not officially from Allan’s Christmas archives I thought that it is appropriate since the books that he shares might not have been recently published but would still make great gifts for book lovers.

My Five Favourite Books by Allan Hudson

I like big thick books. There are so many great authors. It is difficult to pick just five from the hundreds of enjoyable books I’ve read over my lifetime but these five are the ones I’ve read several times. I own more than one copy of some to be sure I’ll never be without. I’m sure you’re familiar with that situation when you start reading something and you CANNOT stop. It’s what you think of during the day; when can you get back to the book? The lawn doesn’t get mowed, the dishes stay in the dishwasher, the bed is unmade… you know what I mean? Sometimes you don’t want it to finish because you’re enjoying it so much. That’s what these five are like to me.

Because a certain book is not on this list doesn’t mean that most of the books I’ve read are not good, it’s just that they didn’t affect me the way these have. This is only my opinion of course, but if you like reading, try picking up at least one from the list. I’d be interested in what you think.

1. This one will always be first on my list – Shibumi by Trevanian.

Shibumi is a Japanese word which refers to a particular aesthetic of simple, subtle, and unobtrusive beauty.

Nicolai Hell was born in the turbulent China of the First World War, of an aristocratic mother and a mysterious German father, and educated in the spiritual gardens of a Japanese Go master. Surviving the destruction of Hiroshima he appears as the world’s most consummate and artistic lover – though better paid as an assassin. He is trained in the martial art of Naked/Kill. Genius, mystic, master of cultures and languages, Hell’s secret is his determination to reach that rare personal purity and state of perfection known as Shibumi. Living in an isolated mountain stronghold with a beautiful Asian companion, he meets his most sinister enemy, a vast monolithic spy organisation. The battle lines are drawn: merciless power and corruption on one side, and on the other…

Nicholas spends his free time spelunking with his best friend and the risks they take will send shivers up your back.

Trevanian is the pen name for Rodney William Whittaker. He wrote many major novels of which five became million sellers. The Eiger Sanction was made into a movie starring a young Clint Eastwood. He wrote under multiple pseudonyms. There is a philosophical side to his writing but I am not one to read between the lines on any novel. I’ve read all his books and have never been disappointed.

Read some of the many wonderful reviews and buy: https://www.amazon.com/Shibumi-Novel-Trevanian/dp/1400098033

2. My all-time favorite author – Matthew Flinders’ Cat by Bryce Courtenay.

Matthew Flinders (1774-1814) was the first person to circumnavigate Australia.

This is a tale of the relationship between a once promising barrister, Billy O’Shannessy, who is a homeless alcoholic and a young boy with a troubled past. Billy spends his nights on the park benches under the statue of Trim, the cat that sailed with Flinders. Ryan is ten and probably destined for trouble. After a chance meeting they begin to seek each other out. Over time they develop a bond from Billy’s tales of Matthew Flinders, as seen through the cat’s eyes.

Like all Courtenay’s novels, there’s a lot more events and side trips that makes this an exceptionally entertaining book. It’s witty, it’s heartwarming. There are passages that you’ll want to read over and over. He explains the Sydney underground, the difficulties of the homeless and the possibility of rehabilitation in his own captivating and unique way. A satisfying read.

Mr Courtenay published 20 best sellers in 23 years. He began writing in his mid fifties. He passed away in November 2012.

There are still some copies available on Amazon UK and it is also in audio: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Matthew-Flinders-Cat-Bryce-Courtenay/dp/B0044N5108

3. An all-nighter. The Sea Captain’s Wife by Beth Powning.

This novel tells us of a young woman left at home as her husband sails off, captain of his own ship, only to return two, perhaps three years from then. She longs to be with him. Due to unfortunate circumstances, and much to her satisfaction, Azuba Galloway leaves with her husband on his next voyage. The oceans they sail on are vast, sometimes cruel, often quite beautiful. Azuba lives in a world of men, the uncertainty of the seas. She often wonders if she made the right choice. They sail from foreign ports, encounter hardships and joys, returning home to Whalen’s’ Cove several year later.

Beth Powning puts you right on the ship, she shows you everything. It has all the right emotions; you want to know her characters, share their dreams. Her novel is well researched, delightfully told by an author that seems to do everything right. This is a book that you will want to read more than once.

Beth lives in Sussex NB. Her web site is http://www.powning.com/beth

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sea-Captains-Wife-Beth-Powning/dp/0452296951

4. The Egyptian Series will make you want more. River God by Wilbur Smith

City of Thebes. The Festival of Osiris. Loyal subjects of the Pharaoh gather to pay homage to their leader, but Taita – a wise and formidably gifted eunuch slave – sees him only as a symbol of a kingdom’s fading glory. Beside Taita stand his protégés: Lostris, daughter of Lord Intef, beautiful beyond her fourteen years; and Tanus, proud young army officer, whose father was betrayed by Lord Intef, Chief Vizier of Egypt whose power is second in wealth only to the Pharaoh.

Tanus and Lostris are deeply in love, but unbeknown to them, their union is an impossibility. Taita is the slave of Lord Intef. It was Intef who had Taita gelded as a young boy after he found that he had slept with a young slave girl. Together Taita, Lostris and Tanus share a dream – to restore the majesty of the Pharaoh of Pharaohs on the glittering banks of the Nile.

Through the voice of the incomparable Taita, Wilbur Smith draws the reader irresistibly into the daily lives of his characters: their hopes, their fears, their passions. Mr. Smith is the author of 35 best sellers with each of his novels selling an average of 3 million copies.

Here is Wilbur Smith’s author page that you can buy this book and all his others from: https://www.amazon.com/Wilbur-Smith/e/B000APTHYK

5. Totally entertaining. Four Fires by Bryce Courtenay.

The Maloneys are at the very bottom of the pecking order. Tommy the father, is broken by the war and never talks about it. It is up to the strong mother Nancy to properly raise their five children. They collect the town garbage in an old war surplus truck. Circumstances change and Nancy is determined to provide a better life for her children, Sarah, Bozo, Mole, Michael and Colleen will change the fortune of the family. Sarah wants to be a doctor, Bozo a boxer, Mole has the skills of his father for fighting bush fires, and Michael has a passion for clothing design. Like Courtenay’s novels, this is a story of the triumph of the human spirit.

The four fires in this novel are passion, religion, warfare and fire itself.

This is a big novel and the cast of characters are unforgettable. You’ll laugh out loud, shed a few tears and you won’t want to put this novel down.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Four-Fires-Bryce-Courtenay-ebook/dp/B00D9F1YGW

I highly recommend these exceptional authors as well.

Cara Brookins – www.carabrookins.com

Jason Lawson – http://jasonlawsonrants.wordpress.com/

Lockie Young – http://poems-and-other-ramblings.webnode.com

Susan Toy – http://www.susanmtoy.com

©Allan Hudson 2014…

Five great books and as a lifetime fan of Wilbur Smith I can recommend all his books.. thanks to Allan for reminding us of some great gifts for Christmas.

About Allan Hudson

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

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

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

Allan’s latest book has just been released and would also make a great Christmas giftWall of War: A Drake Alexander Adventure Book Two.

About the book

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

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

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

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

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

Also by Allan Hudson

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

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

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

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

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

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

Connect to Allan

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

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

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Wasps by Allan Hudson


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

Wasps! by Allan Hudson

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

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

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

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

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

“That’ll be the friggin’ day!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Hello there.”

“Hey, hey Seymour, comment ca va?”

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

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

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

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

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

“What’s the little straw for Goat?”

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

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

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

“…eight, nine ten!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I’ll sleep like a dead man tonight”

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

**

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*

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

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

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

©Allan Hudson 2014…

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

About Allan Hudson

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

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

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

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

About the book

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

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

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

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

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

Also by Allan Hudson

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

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

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

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

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

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

Connect to Allan

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

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

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