Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Jan Sikes, Balroop Singh, Vashti Quiroz-Vega, Annika Perry


Welcome to the first of the author updates this week with recent reviews for authors on the shelves of the bookstore.

And the first author today is Jan Sikes,  with a recent review for Flowers and Stone...

About Flowers and Stone

The epic love story begins here!

A hot Texas summer, dim-lit honky-tonk bars, a young naïve fledgling go-go dancer and a wild rebel Texas musician set the stage for this story.

1970 in Abilene, Texas finds young Darlina Flowers trying to figure out how to fit into the world she is most attracted to – the nightlife, live music and go-go dancing. Luke Stone, a veteran Texas Musician believes he’s lost all reason to care about his music career, his health and most especially his heart. A chance meeting with Darlina changes everything. But, is it too late? Has fate already determined the outcome? Join Luke and Darlina on a passion-filled journey up and down Texas roads while Luke and his band entertain crowds along the way.

Can Darlina Flowers ever hope to fit in to this strange new world and even more important, can she trust Luke Stone with her heart?

Luke Stone, a good man who has made a career of bad decisions, falls as completely in love with Darlina as she does with him. But is it too late?

Will their eternal unyielding love survive the test of time, distance and iron bars?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Flowers and Stone is the first book of the series I read. This fictional novel is based on the real lives of Jan and Rick Sikes portrayed as Darlina Flowers and Luke Stone. The story quickly revealed that the nineteen-year-old girl Darlina fell in love with the thirty-six-year-old country western singer Luke Stone the first time of meeting him. She soon found out he was married with children and seeing another woman, but it didn’t deter her love for him. Luke had drinking and other problems but fell that Darlina was the best thing happened in his life. Luke was in jail for a crime he didn’t commit, but Jan’s love was deep and strong and knew that he was the man she would love forever.

Jan’s excellent writing takes the readers to the scenes and shows the twists and turns of their journey. I look forward to reading the rest of the series. 

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00G062JBG

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Flowers-Stone-Jan-Sikes-ebook/dp/B00G062JBG

Also by Jan Sikes

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

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

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

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

The next book with a recent review is Allow Yourself to be a Better Person by Balroop Singh.

51hws7e9y-l-_uy250_About the book

Do you think you are a good person? Would you like to meet your better self?

Welcome to the vast vistas that this book unravels before you by highlighting the shaded areas that could never get your attention.

Enhancement of personality is a long process, which starts only when we acknowledge the need for it. Often we detest looking at our imperfections and if somebody is professionally successful, the thought doesn’t even strike.

This book enlightens you about the goodness, which lies dormant within us till we make an effort to explore it. It exhorts you to introspect and accept natural human failings. It guides you towards the metamorphosis that could make you an endearing personality.

One of the recent reviews for Allow Yourself to be a Better person

As a follower of a blog written by Balroop Singh, I decided to purchase one of her non-fiction books this month: Allow Yourself To Be A Better Person. In this self-help and advice collection, Singh provides readers with ~100 pages of her thoughts and research on how to live a better life. By sharing personal stories of her own life and those of people she’s met, Singh offers ways for readers to consider changing behaviors so that they are happier and stronger individuals.

Every once in a while, it’s good to pick up a book like this; much of the content are things we know or have been taught over the years, but that we also forget. Singh adds context and value behind the words, ensuring we have example and clearer understanding of different interpretations. We know not to take our anger out on others, but we do it still… sometimes unwittingly, and at others, on purpose. Singh reminds us why, shares alternative approaches, and provides a way of reacting to our own emotions with a twist.

I enjoyed reading this extension of her blog so that I could be reminded of a few things that are always a benefit to our lives. It’s obvious that she took a lot of time to craft the structure and advice, and she should be commended. I’m glad I took a chance on reading her book and recommend it to others who are struggling to find a bit of light or think differently about some problems and painful situations in their life.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MR1WGC3

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Allow-Yourself-Be-Better-Person-ebook/dp/B01MR1WGC3

Also by Balroop Singh.

41m1zchhwyl-_uy250_ 415pxawf6tl-_uy250_ 51cezfo0l3l-_uy250_

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Balroop-Singh/e/B00N5QLW8U

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Balroop-Singh/e/B00N5QLW8U

Read more reviews and follow Balroop on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7340810.Balroop_Singh

61ebbw1tqhl-_ux250_Connect to Balroop via her blog: http://balroop2013.wordpress.com

The next author with a recent review is Vashti Quiroz-Vega with her latest release – a short story – Memoir of a Mad Woman.

About the book

A novelette from the award-winning author of The Fall of Lilith and Son of the Serpent, Vashti Quiroz-Vega.

Who can explain how madness begins?

This is the story of Emma. Reared by a religious fanatic, orphaned at a young age and sent to a mental institution and an orphanage. Molested and betrayed by the people who should be watching over her…

Who can say that madness has no logic?

During a fight, Emma’s best friend punched her in the abdomen. Since then, Emma has believed there’s something damaged inside of her.

Every month… she bleeds. She tries to fight it all her life, but the pain and the blood return twenty-eight days later… and the cycle begins again.

But Emma, even in her madness, knows how to take care of herself.
She knows how to make things right…

You may not agree… But, who can reason with insanity?

Read this tragic but fascinating tale and traverse the labyrinthine passages of madness.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Wow! Such a powerful story, deeply rounded characters and a plot sewn up beautifully at the end in this short novelette. The subject matter is disturbing and I found myself skimming over the torturous parts because this is normally a genre I try to stay away from because of the disturbing abuse. But I felt compelled to read this because Vashti Quiroz-Vega is one of my favorite writers to read.

The mood is dark, and poor damaged Emma definitely was born into a world of hard knocks. Emma orphaned as a young child, ends up in an orphanage where people do bad things to children. She endures bullying, abuse to the max, yet something within her gives her the courage to soldier on until that one spark of madness brings out the revenge in her – the just desserts deliciously deserved for all those who inflicted pain on her.

It’s not very often we find ourselves rooting for evil, but when you’ve glimpsed into the life of this poor, neglected and abused little girl, you too will find yourself screaming for justice as each horrific event done onto her becomes a spectator event. Emma’s eventual unleashing becomes the only way to end the never-ending madness of her world. A most chilling read that kept me reading till the end in one sitting. #Recommended.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MLYP5XP

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Memoir-Mad-Woman-Vashti-Quiroz-Vega-ebook/dp/B07MLYP5XP

Also by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Vashti-Quiroz-Vega/e/B00GTXG5W4

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vashti-Quiroz-Vega/e/B00GTXG5W4

Read more reviews and follow Vashti on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7122693.Vashti_Quiroz_Vega

Connect to Vashti via her website/Blog: https://vashtiqvega.wordpress.com/

The final author with a recent review is Annika Perry for her collection of stories – The Storyteller Speaks.

About The Storyteller Speaks
It only takes one event to change a life. What is that action, decision, occurrence? Whose life is affected? Changed forever?In this eclectic mix of 21 short stories, flash fiction and poetry the pendulum swings between first love and murder, from soul-destroying grief to reconciliation. The tales veer from the sweet satisfaction of revenge to new beginnings, from heart-breaking miscarriages of justice to heart-warming Christmas misadventure.One common thread binds them all; the belief that there is no such thing as an ordinary life; they’re all extraordinary. Open your hearts and minds as The Storyteller Speaks.

A recent review for the collection on Goodreads

Jun 20, 2019 Darlene Foster rated it Four Stars

Sometimes it is good to sit down and read some short stories. So much can be said in a few carefully chosen words. Which is the case in this delightful collection of stories and poems. Stories about a first and forever love, stolen flowers, forgotten chillies, frozen landscapes and a miscarriage of justice evoke a wide range of emotions. My favourite story is the Loss of A Patriarch, depicting a family saying goodbye to a much-loved family member told in such a heartwarming manner it is sure to produce tears. For a first time author, this is a wonderful collection showing a range of writing skills.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0789KZVF8/

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0789KZVF8

Read other reviews and follow Annika on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17498437.Annika_Perry

Connect to Annika via her blog  https://annikaperry.com

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you are leaving with a few books under your arm… Sally…

Advertisements

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – #Reviews – Annika Perry, Miriam Hurdle, Anita Dawes and Jaye Marie


Welcome to the first of the Cafe and Bookstore updates this week sharing recent reviews received by author on the shelves.

The first author with a recent review is Annika Perry for her collection of stories – The Storyteller Speaks.

About The Story Teller Speaks
It only takes one event to change a life. What is that action, decision, occurrence? Whose life is affected? Changed forever?In this eclectic mix of 21 short stories, flash fiction and poetry the pendulum swings between first love and murder, from soul-destroying grief to reconciliation. The tales veer from the sweet satisfaction of revenge to new beginnings, from heart-breaking miscarriages of justice to heart-warming Christmas misadventure.One common thread binds them all; the belief that there is no such thing as an ordinary life; they’re all extraordinary. Open your hearts and minds as The Storyteller Speaks.

An extract from recent review for the collection to read the full review –

Sharon L. Pratt 5.0 out of 5 stars This Storyteller Purrs February 28, 2019

This is not about the war between lovers of dogs or cats. It’s about Annika Perry, a talented writer who works like a cat.

A dog is all blubbery love smeared across your cheeks, a loyal paladin stationed stalwart by your side. Tongue lollygagging out of its jaw, tail flailing around like a pig in a muddy pit – you’re gonna be drowning in slobbery canine love in about five seconds. Or maybe a fangy foreign agent hired to attack: a German shepherd or English pit bull. Teeth bared and muzzle lowered –you better run. You always know where you stand with Rover.

But a cat – you can’t tell anything by looking at a cat. There it sits on the windowsill, licking its paw, indifferent to all things human – the tasty treats, the dangling mouse toy, the arms ready to cuddle it. Suddenly it pounces, its claws deep in your bicep leaving parallel bloody tracks or a snip of your skin flapping loosely as it samples your nose. And then sashays back to the windowsill to await its next victim.

At first glance, The Storyteller Speaks appears to be gentle family fare, tales written by a sweet faced, blue eyed lady who spends her time between Great Britain and Sweden, bearing candles and roses, taking photos, penning notes. It’s how she entices you to her book. I’ve read The Storyteller Speaks twice, the first time in order of presentation, the second in a meandering stroll through her poems and short stories.

If I attempt to review each of the twenty-one entries, I’ll over-report and do the book no justice. So I’m going to focus on a few tales that blew me away, as if driven by a sirocco out of the Sahara. This is important to remember, because like a cat, Perry sneaks up on you to lunge for your emotional jugular while you’re unaware she’s even in the room. She’s a keen observer of people, absorbing cultural details and body language.

Sofia! is about a little girl and her stuffed toy whose uncle takes her to visit the local zoo. It’s told through eyewitness accounts of zoo visitors and officials who answer Inspector Nunn’s questions. Apparently the child, Sofia, has been kidnapped or gotten lost as the focus of each interrogation appears to be what has happened to the child. Perry escalates suspense as we wait to find out if Sofia is safe or remains lost or even perhaps is dead, our suspicion and concern for the little girl mounting with each witness. The final person interviewed is Marija, Sofia’s mother, to whom Nunn relates the awful conclusion of the story. A shred of flesh hangs from Perry’s claws.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0789KZVF8/

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0789KZVF8

Read other reviews and follow Annika on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17498437.Annika_Perry

Connect to Annika via her blog:   https://annikaperry.com

The next book today to receive a recent review is Miriam Hurdle for her collection Songs of the Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude.  Miriam is also celebrating the collection becoming an Amazon bestseller in her genre.

About  Songs of Heartstrings

Human being has the willpower to travel through an exhausting journey, win a tough battle, and heal a deep wound. Strength from hope keeps us going until the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight and striving until the storm is over.

This poetic memoir comprises themes ranging from the suffering through an undesirable relationship, surviving an aggressive cancer, to the happiness in true love, the joy of parenthood, and gratefulness toward the Maker. Hurdle reveals the honest self-talk and reflects a heart filled with optimism, faith and trust. She illustrates the poems with her beautiful photos and paintings.

A recent review for the collection

D. W. Peach 5.0 out of 5 stars Personal poems March 13, 2019

In some ways, Hurdle’s collection of poems reminded me of a memoir. The book is divided into “Songs” (sections) that cover different aspects of her life’s journey. Among them, the author touches on her love of nature; her reflections on relationships, marriage, parenting, cancer treatment; and her remembrances of the people who were meaningful in her past. The poetry is complemented by Hurdle’s photos and artwork. This gentle book provides an afternoon of peacefulness as all of the poems reflect the author’s innermost heart. One of my favorites is a villanelle entitled “I Sat in my Garden.” I highly recommend this collection for readers who enjoy a glimpse into a poet’s life through her words.

Read the reviews and buy the collection: https://www.amazon.com/Songs-Heartstrings-Poems-Gratitude-Beatitude-ebook/dp/B07K1S47W9

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Songs-Heartstrings-Poems-Gratitude-Beatitude-ebook/dp/B07K1S47W9

Read reviews and follow Miriam on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17252131.Miriam_Hurdle

Connect to Miriam via her website: https://theshowersofblessings.com/

Two authors next who have co-written Lazy Days: The Holiday of a Lifetime by Anita Dawes and Jaye Marie

About Lazy Days

This was our very first holiday. Two women, four kids and two small dogs afloat on a rented boat, 40 years ago. Miles of rivers and waterways to explore. Could we survive for two weeks, or would we end up in a watery grave?
Find out how we survived the holiday and each other in Lazy Days!

A recent review for the book

This truly was a getaway holiday. The family left a busy part of London for the peace and slow pace of life on the Norfolk Broads. It was also an adventure as they had not handled a boat before. Two sisters, four children and two dogs had to adapt to life in the confines of a boat. Fortunately the weather was good and the sun and fresh air come across in this warm story. There were plenty of places to visit along the way and the family enjoyed everything from the beach at Great Yarmouth to the castle at Norwich. If you have been on boating holidays or are contemplating one do read this book. Lots of us will know the experience of planning a holiday, then worrying if everyone will enjoy it, trying to please all ages etc. The two sisters were’t sure if all the children had enjoyed themselves, but it turned out that they talked about it for weeks after and years later enjoyed reading this book and recapturing memories.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lazy-Days-lifetime-Anita-Dawes-ebook/dp/B077XX2TH1

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Lazy-Days-lifetime-Anita-Dawes-ebook/dp/B077XX2TH1

Books by Jaye Marie

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

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

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

Books by Anita Dawes

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

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

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

Connect to Anita and Jaye

WordPress:  http://jenanita01.wordpress.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jayemarie44
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anita.dawes.37
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jaydawes2

Thank you for popping in today and I hope you will be leaving with a book or two.. thanks Sally.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – #Reviews – Cynthia Reyes, Frank Prem and Annika Perry


Welcome to Friday’s edition of the Cafe and Bookstore Update where I share reviews and news from authors on the shelves.

The first recent review is for Cynthia Reyes and her daughter Lauren Reyes-Grange with illustrations by Jo Robinson, which is a sequel to the lovely children’s book Myrtle the Purple Turtle.

About Myrtle’s Game

Myrtle the Purple Turtle returns with another great adventure! Myrtle and her friends are turned away when they try to join in a game with others. The friends walk away, feeling hurt, but that’s just the start of the story. Find out how Myrtle, Gertie, Hurtle and Snapper solve the problem, in this second picture book about Myrtle the Purple Turtle. A perfect book for children ages 3 to 8 (and adults who like turtles), it follows Myrtle the Purple Turtle — a bestseller, praised by thousands of children and adults, teachers and librarians around the world.

One of the recent reviews for Myrtle’s Game on Goodreads

Dec 20, 2018 Andrea Stephenson rated it Five Stars.
A beautifully illustrated picture book with a wonderful message, that continues the journey of Myrtle the Purple Turtle. The first book talked about what it was like to be different and how to ‘love the shell you’re in’. This book continues that theme of difference and belonging – it is about other’s perceptions of what we can do just because of the way we look or who they think we are. It is about not being defined by those prejudices and about being who you are and excelling at it. This is a great book to read with a child to prepare them for their first visit to nursery school or their first group situation where they are trying to find their place. Many children have been in the position of standing on the side-lines, wanting to play but not being accepted, until they find the friends who truly support them and want the best for them. This story is about friendship, supporting one another and showing that we should never let what others’ think stop us from doing what we love. A lovely story that will really appeal to children and would make a great gift

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Myrtles-Favourite-Myrtle-Purple-Turtle-ebook/dp/B07L1W7NQJ

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Myrtles-Favourite-Myrtle-Purple-Turtle-ebook/dp/B07L1W7NQJ

The first book in the series

Also by Cynthia Reyes

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Cynthia-Reyes/e/B00F1HTQQ6

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cynthia-Reyes/e/B00F1HTQQ6

Read more reviews and follow Cynthia on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7072186.Cynthia_Reyes

Connect to Cynthia via her website: https://cynthiasreyes.com/

Another terrific review for the collection of poetry and short stories Small Town Kid from Australian author Frank Prem

About Small Town Kid

Small Town Kid is the experience of regional life as a child, in an insular town during the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, remote from the more worldly places where life really happens, in a time before the internet and the online existence of social media.

It is a time when a small town boy can walk a mile to school and back every day, and hunt rabbits with his dog in the hours of freedom before sundown. He can hoard crackers for bonfire night and blow up the deputy school master’s mailbox in an act of joyous rebellion.

A time when a small town teenager will ride fourteen miles on a bicycle for his first experience of girls, and of love. A time when migrating from a foreign country to a small town means his family will always feel that they are strangers, while visitors to the town are treated like an invading host.

It is also the remembrance of tragedy for inexperienced friends driving on narrow country roads.

This collection of poems and stories shares the type of childhood that has mostly disappeared in contemporary times. Come and revisit it here, in the pages of a Small Town Kid.

One of the recent reviews for Small Town Kid on Goodreads

Jan 02, 2019 Martii Maclean rated it it was amazing

Small Town Kid is filled with rich memories of childhood and family. Frank’s poems paint vivid pictures of a time when the rhythms of life were less hurried. This poetry collection comes together into a joyous, warm quilt of memories.

‘Poppy Cakes’ took me back to my granny’s kitchen, tasting the delicious mysteries of her secret recipes. ‘From inside the outhouse’ made me shudder, as I remembered fears of falling in and being lost for good, but these humorous recollections of a pre-flush generation brought a smile to my face.

‘Crackers’ took me back to amazing cracker-nights and the thrill of those pocket-money explosions.

I very much enjoyed spending some time in Frank’s home town. It reminded me of those simple pleasures and people that make us who we are. It was delightful to shar

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Small-Town-Frank-Prem-Memoir-ebook/dp/B07L6114KS

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Small-Town-Frank-Prem-Memoir-ebook/dp/B07L63WS2D

Find more reviews and follow Frank on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18679262.Frank_Prem

Connect to Frank via his website: www.frankprem.com

The next author with a a popular short story collection is Annika Perry with The Storyteller Speaks.

About The Story Teller Speaks

It only takes one event to change a life. What is that action, decision, occurrence? Whose life is affected? Changed forever?

In this eclectic mix of 21 short stories, flash fiction and poetry the pendulum swings between first love and murder, from soul-destroying grief to reconciliation. The tales veer from the sweet satisfaction of revenge to new beginnings, from heart-breaking miscarriages of justice to heart-warming Christmas misadventure.

One common thread binds them all; the belief that there is no such thing as an ordinary life; they’re all extraordinary.

Open your hearts and minds as The Storyteller Speaks.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

The Storyteller Speaks is a wonderful collection of short stories, flash fiction and poems that depict a wide range of events, characters and viewpoints. At the centre of each is human relationships and the effect that a single event can often have on the course of a life. A full gamut of emotions is here, including love, grief, anger and redemption. The stories are moving, uplifting, sometimes dark, sometimes amusing. My favourites include: The Whiteout Years which is a heart-breaking and touching depiction of grief and hope; and Loss of a Patriarch, a moving story about saying goodbye to the author’s grandfather. I also enjoyed the influences of the author’s Swedish heritage. This is a collection to savour and a book that fulfils its promise to win your heart.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0789KZVF8/

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0789KZVF8

Read other reviews and follow Annika on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17498437.Annika_Perry

Connect to Annika via her blog:   https://annikaperry.com

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with a book or two.. thanks Sally.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Buy a Book for Christmas – #Short Stories Mary Smith, Annika Perry and Hugh W. Roberts


Time for another selection of books that I am sure will make perfect gifts for your family and friends. The first short story collection is one that I can recommend as I read and reviewed last year. Donkey Boy & other Stories by Mary Smith is wonderful. You can read more about Mary on her Blog and follow her on Twitter @marysmithwriter

About the collection

Shot through with flashes of humour the stories here will entertain, amuse, and make you think. Mary Smith’s debut collection of short stories is a real treat, introducing the reader to a diverse range of characters in a wide range of locations. A donkey boy in Pakistan dreams of buying luxuries for his mother; a mouth artist in rural Scotland longs to leave the circus; a visually impaired man has a problem with his socks; and a woman tries to come to terms with a frightening gift – or curse.

One of the reviews for the collection

on 8 January 2018

This is a fascinating collection of short stories, set in various places with a wealth of diverse characters, all wonderfully rounded. The author has a talent for setting the scene and giving a sense of place with few well-chosen words.

I read each of these unusual stories slowly, taking in the way each situation unfolded, savouring the reactions of the characters to each problem they faced, enjoying the touches of humour, poignancy, empathising with the great sadness in some of the tales.

Not sure I had an overall favourite, they are all easy to read, but these are the ones that stayed with me long after I’d read them:

The story in the title, Donkey Boy. The protagonist, Ali, should be in school but instead drives a donkey cart for his father. His resentment is palpable from the very start. The dilemma he faces exposes the way different cultures live; not only their values and ethics but the differences in the child and adult in these societies. This is well deserving as the title story.

Trouble with Socks. Set in a care home with the character George; patronised by one of the carers who really is in the wrong job.

Accidents Happen. Set in Pakistan; the story of a young girl with a step father she detests.

Asylum Seekers. One of the monologues (I did like this way of writing/reading a short story). Though ironic, this reveals unpleasant bigotry and prejudice,

There is a whole gamut of human emotions in Donkey Boy and Other Stories and I thoroughly recommend this collection by Mary Smith to any reader. Whatever your favourite genre you’ll be sure to find one that will linger with you long afterwards.

Read the reviews and buy the collection: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B075VC1XNX

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075VC1XNX/

A selection of other books by Mary Smith

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Smith/e/B001KCD4P0

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mary-Smith/e/B001KCD4P0

Read more reviews and follow Mary on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5239367.Mary_Smith

Connect to Mary Smith via her blog: https://marysmithsplace.wordpress.com/about/

The next author with a a popular short story collection is Annika Perry for The Storyteller Speaks. You can read more of Annika’s short stories and book reviews on her Blog and follow her on Twitter @AnnikaPerry68

About The Story Teller Speaks

It only takes one event to change a life. What is that action, decision, occurrence? Whose life is affected? Changed forever?

In this eclectic mix of 21 short stories, flash fiction and poetry the pendulum swings between first love and murder, from soul-destroying grief to reconciliation. The tales veer from the sweet satisfaction of revenge to new beginnings, from heart-breaking miscarriages of justice to heart-warming Christmas misadventure.

One common thread binds them all; the belief that there is no such thing as an ordinary life; they’re all extraordinary.

Open your hearts and minds as The Storyteller Speaks.

One of the recent reviews for the collection
Sep 06, 2018 Janice Spina rated it Five Stars

The Storyteller Speaks is an electric collection of 21 short stories, flash fiction and poetry that makes for an entertaining read. These stories cover a wide range of situations such as love, murder, revenge, misadventures, injustices and grief.

The author bares her soul and grief over the loss of her Morfar and Mormor in the story, “Loss of a Patriarch.” She keeps the readers on edge and guessing until the end of some of the stories as in “Sofia.” She has an innate ability to use her words sparingly and dribble out little clues to keep the reader hanging on her every word until the end of the stories.

At the back of the book the author shares her inspiration for each story. It’s evident that she uses daily experiences in her life to create intriguing and fascinating tales.

This is a commendable beginning book for this talented author who will be one to watch for future books

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0789KZVF8/

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0789KZVF8

Read other reviews and follow Annika on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17498437.Annika_Perry

Connect to Annika via her blog  https://annikaperry.com

My next short story collection is Glimpses by Hugh W. Roberts who is also well known for his very helpful blogging tips and support of other authors. You can find out more about Hugh on his Blog and follow him on Twitter @HughRoberts05

About the collection

After publishing some of his short stories on his blog, Hugh W. Roberts, who is dyslexic, received numerous requests to publish his short stories in a book.

Here, at last, are 28 short stories that will take your mind on a roller coaster of a ride into worlds that conceal unexpected twists and turns.

‘Glimpses’ allows the reader a peek into the lives of everyday people who are about to have life lead them on an unpredicted path. From a mysterious deadly iPad app to a hole in the fence that is not all it seems, to a strange lipstick that appears to have a life of its own, you will encounter terror, laughter, sadness, shock and many other emotions on journeys which promise a thrilling and gripping climax.

If you are a lover of shows such as ‘The Twilight Zone’ and ‘Tales Of The Unexpected’, then you are in for a real treat with this first collection of short stories from Hugh.

Dare you take a glimpse into the lives of these unsuspecting characters?

One of the reviews for the collection

I found Glimpses by Hugh W. Roberts to be quite a unique book. It is a collection of short stories, mainly written along a supernatural theme. I am a great lover of supernatural and horror books and have been avidly reading Stephen King since I was ten years old, so this was right up my street. I had two absolute favourite stories/groupings of stories in this lovely book. My outright favourite was The Truth App which I read twice. It is a collection of a few short stories all in the same theme and it really “creeped” me out. Maybe I identified with it so much because it is all about blogging and bloggers which is a world in which I have recently become very immersed. I must say that I had to stop reading this tale in the evenings because it was giving me bad dreams. My advice to bloggers and other readers of this book, be careful what apps you choose to download!

My other outright winner was a short story about a woman who goes to India to have eye and dental treatment. This one stayed firmly in my mind because it made me reflect on the fact that, even if you read the completely incomprehensible list of ingredients on cosmetic and facial and other products, one rarely has any idea of what really goes into that cream that you are liberally apply all over your face. It also summoned up horrible thoughts of articles that I have read recently about testing medications and products on animals. A story that can make you think like that has got to be superb. 

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Glimpses-Hugh-W-Roberts-ebook/dp/B01N757S3P

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Hugh-W.-Roberts/e/B01N40ZABP

Read more reviews and follow Hugh on Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16123684.Hugh_W_Roberts

Hugh W. Roberts

Connect to Hugh via his website: https://hughsviewsandnews.com/

Thank you for popping in and I hope that you have enjoyed the selection of short story collections that would make great Christmas gifts.. thanks Sally

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Author for Christmas – The Storyteller Speaks by Annika Perry


Over the last few weeks you have enjoyed the posts from the archives of Annika Perry.. now I am delighted to showcase her debut release – The Storyteller Speaks, a short story, flash fiction and poetry collection.

About The Story Teller Speaks

It only takes one event to change a life. What is that action, decision, occurrence? Whose life is affected? Changed forever?

In this eclectic mix of 21 short stories, flash fiction and poetry the pendulum swings between first love and murder, from soul-destroying grief to reconciliation. The tales veer from the sweet satisfaction of revenge to new beginnings, from heart-breaking miscarriages of justice to heart-warming Christmas misadventure.

One common thread binds them all; the belief that there is no such thing as an ordinary life; they’re all extraordinary.

Open your hearts and minds as The Storyteller Speaks.

An early review for the collection

MR P A RAWLINGS  5.0 out of 5 stars An Intriguing New Author 16 December 2017

This diverse mix of short stories shows the emotional and creative range of this new author. The twenty-one short stories here range from the dramatic, through the frightening, to the hopeful, but not necessarily in that order, so the reader is kept wondering what the next one will bring.

Ranging in length from as little as a page to several pages, all explore aspects of human emotion. Some start with emotionally upsetting scenes, perhaps (?) ending with an uplifting message, some lull us into our comfort zone, only to shock us out of it in the final sentence.

One thing they have in common is the “Wow, I can relate to that” message.

As Annika explains in her notes at the end, some were written to fulfil a need to get her feelings on paper, while some were created in response to challenges found within blogs, both her own and others of a similar mind.

With this first published collection, Annika sets out her stall as a serious writer, and leaves the reader eagerly awaiting the next publication. An author to watch.

Head over and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0789KZVF8/

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0789KZVF8

Follow Annika on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/55576285-annika-perry

About Annika Perry

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

Annika’s First Prize win in the ‘Writing Magazine’ short story competition was the much needed impetus and confidence booster for her to complete the first novel, ‘Island Girl’, which is currently in the final editing stages.

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

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

Connect to Annika

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

Thank you for dropping by and it would be great if you could give Annika’s new book a boost on social media.. thanks Sally

 

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


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

The Bike by Annika Perry

bike2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

©Annika Perry 2015

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

About Annika Perry

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

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

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

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

Connect to Annika

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

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

Smorgasbord Post from Your Archives – Sacks and Notebooks by Annika Perry


Welcome to the third of the archive posts from Annika Perry and this week a look at the compulsion to write everything down, especially in notebooks. Annika shares the obsession of Oliver Sacks (Awakenings amongst many books) and his over 1000 notebooks filled anywhere and at anytime… Do you have notebooks or even scraps of paper that you have trusted with your thoughts and dreams over the years?

Sacks and Notebooks by Annika Perry

No doubt we’ve all set ourselves deadlines in our writing goals. Some may even come attached with a mental forfeit. Not many can be as extreme as the one Oliver Sacks set himself over fifty years ago when writing his first book.

To complete it within ten days or failing that kill himself.

Spurred into action he wrote at times twenty hours a day and on the tenth day he handed in ‘Migraine’ to Fabers in London. The writing turned to joy and the threat dissipated by a sense of elation.

Writing has been an integral part of his life and besides his numerous books, amongst them the famous ‘Awakenings’ which was made into a film starring the brilliant late Robin Williams, he also uses notebooks compulsively.

Oliver Sacks writes non-stop, taking note-books with him wherever he goes, often pausing to jot down notes. There he is, resting his notepad on a car-roof, scribbling away. Over there, standing still at a train station, pen and paper in hand, oblivious to the huge swirl of the crowds parting around him and his briefcase which stands abandoned for his feet.

Altogether Sacks reckons he has filled over a thousand notebooks. He calls these an ‘indispensable form of talking to myself’ and that they were not written to be read by others, nor does he read them himself.

‘The act of writing is itself enough; it serves to clarify thoughts and feelings.’

Reading these words it was as if a long-lingering dark cloud has lifted from me and in a few single puffs of words my intermittent anxiety regarding my own collection of notebooks has faded.

Stashed safely in two bed boxes, their weight alone threatening the thin chip board base, the notebooks have rarely seen daylight since the day they were filled. On a few nostalgic moments I’ve retrieved the odd one and snuggled in bed, relived a few days of my youth, dipped into past loves, sorrows, tragedies, read a few words of innocent dramatic musings written in my childish scrawl.

Otherwise they lay there, untouched. By no means reaching Oliver Sacks’s thousand, but near a hundred notebooks and I had wondered, why? Why did I bother? What should I do with them?

Now I am reassured. I can face a contented security that this is normal, whatever normal means. To scribble away, to put away. These inner thoughts, emotions, a creative conversation within myself, an outpouring of energy that helped in the moment and helped to form myself. To create and re-create myself. At times two hours would disappear in frenzied writing and as I emerged with aching fingers and blurred vision my soul and mind felt purged, as thoughts and ideas became vivid and crystal clear.

Each notebook is precious, from the smallest, earliest one at 2 x 4 cm in a golden hardback flip case, to the largest, latest lurid pink ‘blott’ notebook. From misspelt words, feelings, lists, to ideas on life, friends, boyfriends and politics, I scribbled away. Not forgetting the dreams…those dream entries still freak me out. Once for two weeks I kept a dream diary and as early morning writing turned into the next morning, the dreams seemed so ominous and fantastic, too real. My sleep suffered and finally I had to stop.

Nowadays I find one notebook alone does not suffice and so I work around four different journals, each assigned a specific topic.

My traditional black hardboard notebook is full of observations of life around me, conversations overheard in shops, description of particularly striking people spotted whilst out shopping, of interesting signposts, newspaper articles.

Another hardback journal is white with the loud and proud words of ‘Hold on People I’m having an Idea’ plastered across the whole front cover. In here I write down story ideas, some are merely a sentence long, whilst others stretch over pages.

The blue one with a blue elastic band serves as my book journal; in here I jot down notes on books I’m reviewing as well as books I have read and ones I intend to buy.

Finally I write in a smaller beautiful multi-coloured notebook with a magnetic flip front fastening. Unusually this was not a gift as most of my journals have been (I’m easy to buy presents for!) but I acquired this myself in Cambridge years ago and for a while it was left unattended as I felt it was too special to write in. Finally I decided to use it for the funny wise sayings of my son. Keen observations of the world that were uttered with startling clarity, seeing things anew only as they young can, and in the process reigniting the novelty of life for weary adults.

How could I resist this kind offer made by my son when he still very young! Reckon I didn’t take the money!

‘You should be a home-author. You can write stories for me whilst I’m at school. You don’t have to publish them. If they’re good I’ll give you 10p.’

I must not forget my mslexia dairy, full of blog notes, story ideas, competitions, quotes (plus of course school trips, doctor visits, birthdays…)

I approach each new notebook with the same eager anticipation I experienced in my childhood. The blank pages bursting with promise and expectation, so empty and free. With almost religious zeal I will flip through the pages, imaging the outpourings that might fill their bleak space. A feeling felt as keenly now as when a child and many a notebook will start with very similar feelings to these written seven years ago in a new gold-leaf edged notebook given to me by a life-long friend.

‘Monday 12th October 2008 Always such a great responsibility – marking that very first page. All pristine, empty of thoughts and emotions, now to be scarred forever, must be something special methinks, of particular value. … Once again I trust I will keep with it, once again I say for my sanity, once again I say, let’s see where it leads.’

Recently Oliver Sacks seems to have been everywhere I’ve turned; his latest autobiography reviewed in papers and online and convinced I bought ‘On the Move: A Life’ for my Dad for Father’s Day (hint to Dad: Please hurry up and read quickly – I want to borrow it!)

Then reading about the life of Oliver Sacks I discovered his addiction to notebooks and its absolute and phenomenal impact on his life This face reassured me about the sanity of writing these, holding on to them, for no particular reason but for their very being. I hope you too might find this of consolation.

I am sure many of you write and keep notebooks. I would love to hear from you about them. What topics are covered? Are they gifts or self-bought? Do you reread them often or let them rest in peace?

Finally, of course it does not just have to be notebooks. As Oliver Sacks said, ‘The need to think on paper is not confined to notebooks. It spreads onto the backs of envelopes, menus, whatever scraps of paper are at hand.’

©AnnikaPerry 2015

Thanks to Annika for reassuring us that we are not mad to write down all our dreams, hopes, story ideas on scraps of paper or in notebooks…. thank heavens.

About Annika Perry

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

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

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

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

Connect to Annika

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

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

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Gothic Enlightenment by Annika Perry


Welcome to the second post from the archives of Annika Perry who shares an atmospheric visit to Whitby Abbey in North Yorkshire.

The purpose of this series is to encourage you to head over and follow Annika’s blog and check out her more recent posts.. I hope you will do so.

Gothic Enlightenment by Annika Perry

Self-consciously I traced my way around the grassy labyrinth. Glancing up I caught the eye of a fellow pilgrim and sheepishly we exchanged wry smiles as I wondered, “Does he think I look ridiculous? Do I?”. The answer was an emphatic no, as I took a deep breath and continued on my way.

Arriving earlier at Whitby Abbey the cement bunker where we bought our tickets had been gloomy and disappointing, however on walking around the corner and up we were transported in time as chanting Benedict monks beckoned us forward across the sunny plain. Clad in long sweeping brown or white habits, heads adorned with flat round hat, their presence brought alive the ethereal spirituality of centuries ago as with heavenly voice their hymns awed the visitors into silence.

Quietly a monk explained the concept of the Path to Paradise, a circular interloping path cut from the grass, a time for inner reflection and meditation. There was only one way round, leading to the centre and here upon the granite altar we were requested to place a blessed stone from his basket and with it make a wish or prayer.

Soon thoughts drift from myself to the abbey, looming ahead, bathed in sunlight, the gothic ruins vibrating with life. Time slows, my son runs on ahead, diligently following the path and I enter a new dimension of total serenity and I immersed myself in contemplation. Here views of the long harbour wall, tiny dots of people meandering along, their children scampering between the fallen pillars of the abbey, some clambering on them.

Stillness.

Shattered as a clear voice breaks through and a monk recites a story; there he is, sitting in the middle of the circle, surrounded by fellow pilgrims. Just then my son places his stone upon the granite rock and without a pause dashes away to find his friends.

The End

With only a week until our holiday in North Yorkshire I recalled this piece I wrote as my first assignment for a creative writing course. Gothic Enlightenment describes our fortuitous visit to Whitby Abbey during their Path to Paradise celebrations.

A good part of the business of fiction is performed half-consciously, even sub-consciously. So I’ll do a little scene and then another little scene and try not to think of the extent of the task ahead.” Hilary Mantel

©Images Annika Perry. 2015

Thanks to Annika for sharing this post about the Path to Paradise which seems to have acheived its aim of bringing stillness into that moment in time.

About Annika Perry

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

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

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

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

Connect to Annika

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

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

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – The 4,000 year old story by Annika Perry


Welcome to a new contributor to the archive series, Annika Perry with a post about a visit to the Vitlycke Rock Carvings in Sweden where 4000 year old images adorn the rock faces offering a glimpse into an ancient culture.

The purpose of this series is to encourage you to head over and follow Annika’s blog and check out her more recent posts.. I hope you will do so.

The 4,000 year old story by Annika Perry

Hasn’t mankind always had a desire to tell a story? To tell their story?

The thought struck me as early one Friday morning during Easter as my son and I visited Vitlycke Rock Carvings in Sweden. It’s not often you have a World Heritage Site all to yourselves and in quiet reverence we strolled amongst the 4,000-year-old rock carvings.

As if bleary from sleep, the sun hung low in the sky, its light dancing between the trees, the dew on the grass shimmering in sparkles of delight. Slowly we approached the biggest rock panel which alone bears over 500 images.

The creative force of the images struck me first. They were full of passion; with brute strength telling the story of their lives. Of gods, hunting, fishing, ships. Of people and animals. Of men and women. Of war and battle. The artistic images rendered vibrant and more visible by the red coloured paint.

In the silence, we felt we had stumbled upon a sacred site, the atmosphere spiritually ladened. The vivacious animated figures were ready for action and seemingly about to leave their two-dimensional existence and enter the realm of 3-D. I imagined a flotilla of boats sailing away across the seas.

On my first visit many years ago the ship images had bemused me as from the hill the sea was not visible, being miles away. However, a plaque quickly explained that in the Bronze Age the water level was 15 m higher. Below us, where the car was parked, where the visitors centre was built, would all have been under water.

One particular image of a man is over 2 m long and is the largest petroglyph in the area. Is it a portrait of a local chieftain I wondered? I read the plaque which states this is an image of the god Odin.

With determination and care the people of the Bronze Age wanted to leave their mark – literally! They wanted to leave us their story for future generations. These petroglyphs are a testament to their success, to the power of their story.

Certain images are still enigmas, argued over by university scholars and school pupils. That is the joy of them as well. What is the meaning of the 30,000 or so ‘cup’ marks visible across the county? One set here has a line of them, reaching down and then ceasing in a circle of ‘cup’ marks. Is it fertility symbols, as declared by scholars? Or at times I like to imagine a group of children, not yet capable of drawing the more detailed images, ‘doodling’ on the rocks.

The magical mystical morning ends with a quiet picnic of contemplation overlooking some of the rock carvings. The people from the Bronze Age beat their story into solid granite, stories which survived four millenniums. Will our forms of story telling live on into eternity?

Wishing you all a lovely day; may the sun shine brightly and breeze blow gently.

After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” Philip Pullman

©Images Annika Perry. 2015

Thanks to Annika for this wonderful contribution. It looks like we may never understand the symbols completely but as prompts for the imaginations of children and scholars alike, it is amazing.

About Annika Perry

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

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

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

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

Connect to Annika

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

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