Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Unfamiliar Faces – Lost to History by Yecheilyah Ysrayl


Welcome to the series where you can share four of your links from your archives here on my blog to a new audience. Perhaps posts that you wrote at the beginning of your blogging experience that deserve another showcase. If you have book promotion posts then please contact me separately for other options. Details of how to get in touch with me at the end of the post.

In Yecheilyah’s third post she revisits the events in history that cost the lives or changed them completely for many. We are familiar with the names of those who have been featured in documentaries, books and in films, but there were others who also deserve to be remembered.

Unfamiliar Faces – Lost to History by Yecheilyah Ysrayl

Have you ever wondered about those people who was part of history but who you never hear about? Sometimes people get lost to history. For whatever reason, their stories don’t make it to mainstream news, most of the time until years or even centuries later. Below is a list of four random people who were involved in major historical events in some way but whom we never hear much about. I will list a few every Thursday time permitting.

#1

Irene Morgan Kirkaldy in Hartford, Conn.

Irene Morgan – We have all heard of Rosa Parks, but there were at least three women who refused to give up their seats on the bus in the Jim Crow south over the course of history. Eleven years before Parks, Irene Morgan, later known as Irene Morgan Kirkaldy, an African-American woman, was arrested in Middlesex County, Virginia, in 1944 for refusing to give up her seat on an interstate bus according to a state law on segregation. The Irene Morgan Decision inspired the men and women of CORE to create a nationwide protest movement called “The Journey of Reconciliation.” Irene Morgan died on August 10, 2007.

#2

Sarah Collins Rudolph – We’re all familiar with the story of the Four Little Girls who were killed in the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham Alabama. However, there were five little girls who were injured, four died but one remained. Sarah Collins Rudolph is the fifth little girl who was injured in the 1963 bombing. Her story touches my heart because she was blinded and there is nothing like losing your eyes. In 1963, the Ku Klux Klan bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Sarah Collins Rudolph survived the blast, but her sister Addie Mae and three other girls were killed. Today, Sarah still struggles with the aftermath of the bombing.

#3


Virgil Lamar Ware – Speaking of the 16th Street Bombing, Virgil Lamar Ware is a name we don’t hear very often or probably never did. At 13, Virgil was riding on the handlebars of his brother’s bicycle on September 15, 1963 when he was fatally shot by white teenagers. The white youths had come from a segregationist rally held in the aftermath of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing.

#4

Lamar Smith – We have all heard of Emmett Till who was murdered August 28 of 1955. What we don’t hear a lot about is the murder of Lamar Smith just two and a half weeks earlier of this same year. On August 13, 1955 in Brookhaven, Mississippi, a man named Lamar Smith was shot dead on the courthouse lawn by a white man in broad daylight while dozens of people watched. The killer was never indicted because no one would admit they saw a white man shoot a black man.

©YecheilyahYsrayl 2015

My thanks to Yecheilyah for sharing this post from her archives that reminds us of the innocent bystanders who lost their lives or had their lives changed completely by the events of 1963 and those who stood up for equality.

Books by Yecheilyah Ysrayl

The most recent review for Renaissance: The Nora White Story

Let me first start off by saying, I am ready for book 2. Yecheilyah is a very gifted and knowledgeable writer. She takes the time to capture the time historically, allowing the reader to travel to that special era. The characters portrayed in this book are intriguing.

Nora the main character has a dream of becoming a writer. However her families idea for her is not on the path that she wants to take. Growing up in the south, Nora finds it hard to stay in the slow pace in which the south moves. She’s an artist and in order to follow her dreams sacrifices have to be made. The characters that are introduced have exciting stories. The intertwining of actual historical events with the story leaves you both educated and entertained. The twist and turns this story takes will leave you surprised and anxiously waiting for more. The way the story ended will have you craving for closure. This book was such an easy read and the only conflict you will have is choosing which character you love the most!

Where is part 2? Hopefully coming soon!

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Yecheilyah-Ysrayl/e/B00ML6OHFA/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Yecheilyah-Ysrayl/e/B00ML6OHFA

Read more reviews and follow Yecheilyah on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8336941.Yecheilyah_Ysrayl

About Yecheilyah Ysrayl

Yecheilyah is an Independent Author, Blogger, and Poet. She enjoys reading, writing, traveling, red wine, and movie nights. Originally from Chicago, IL, “EC” studied Professional and Technical Writing at Chicago State University and Medical Assistance at Everest College. Founder of Literary Korner Publishing, and The PBS Blog, Yecheilyah has been writing for eighteen years and publishing books for ten years. She loves to blog and dedicate her time toward helping and inspiring other writers through her book reviews and Introduce Yourself Interview Feature. Yecheilyah is a member of the Authors / Bloggers Rainbow Support Group, writes Literary and Historical Fiction, poetry and anything else her mind thinks up. She is currently revising Revelation, Book Two in The Nora White Story along with other writing projects. Yecheilyah lives in Marietta, GA with her husband where she writes full time.

Connect to Yecheilyah via her website: https://www.yecheilyahysrayl.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yecheilyah.ysrayl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ahouseofpoetry

If you would like to share some of your archive posts from when you began blogging, then please send up to four links to sally.cronin@moyhill.com.

Please do not send self-promotional book posts as there are several other ways to promote your books here. I am looking for posts on life, relationships, health, creative writing, food, music and travel.. If you have a short story to share that is great too.

 

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – From The Prairie to Passchendaele by Fred Knight adapted by Joy Lennick


 

A welcome to Joy Lennick and a book that she adapted from the memoir of Fred Knight From The Prairie to Passchendaele.

About the book

This is the story of one man’s fight against the odds. Fred Knight was born in 1892. One of twelve, his was a tough childhood through hard times in rural Kent. Fred got by with quick wits, hard work and dreams of becoming a cowboy. And then at seventeen, broke with few prospects in England, Fred followed his dream. He borrowed money for his fare, left behind family, friends and everything he knew, for the savage winters and barely settled emptiness of Saskatchewan. It wasn’t the cowboy fantasy of his boyhood; Fred had a debt to honour, life was hard. He earned the respect and friendship of the tough men and women of the scattered towns and farms. He grew to love the stark simplicity of the Canadian prairie.

In WW1 Fred was with the 10th Canadian infantry on the Western Front. For his valour he was awarded the Military Medal but he paid a terrible price. He was severely wounded, eventually losing his right arm. Fred took his young wife and family to Winnipeg. He started again, qualified as an accountant ­ but his wounds did not heal. In constant pain, with frequent relapses, he was forced to leave Canada. In 1933 Fred arrived back in England with a family, little money and few prospects. But for Fred Knight that wasn’t the end of it. In a few years he proved himself to be as tough and formidable in business as in all else. He prospered. At 72, when Parkinsonism had robbed him of the use of his one good hand, he had a device made so he could type with his head, and he wrote this: The story of a boy, who just wanted to be a cowboy.

The recent review for the book

There is really only one word to describe Fred Knight and that would be “brave”. He was brave to immigrate to the rugged Canadian prairies as a young boy on his own. And brave to weather the harsh climate and the hard work required to survive once there. Later he showed incredible courage as a Canadian soldier during the horrors of WWI. Years later, suffering the loss of an arm and Parkinson’s disease, he wrote his memoirs with a contraption attached to his head. It seems nothing could stop this determined individual. Joy Lennick has done a great job of adapting his story into an entertaining novel. A great read about a time long gone and of a man of true grit. As one friend would say, “You can’t make this stuff up”.

Buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Prairie-Passchendaele-Soldier-Canadian-Infantry/dp/1537252917

A selection of books by Joy Lennick and in collaboration with Andrew Halsey

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Joy-Lennick/e/B00J05CJLY/

Read other reviews and follow Joy on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3124773.Joy_Lennick

About Joy Lennick

Having worn several hats in my life: wife, mum, secretary, shop-keeper, hotelier; my favourite is the multi-coloured author’s creation. I am an eclectic writer: diary, articles, poetry, short stories and five books. Two books were factual, the third as biographer: HURRICANE HALSEY (a true sea adventure), fourth my Memoir MY GENTLE WAR and my current faction novel is THE CATALYST. Plenty more simmering…

Supposedly ‘Retired,’ I now live in Spain with my husband and have three great sons.

Connect to Joy

Blog: https://joylennick.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joy.lennick

Thanks for dropping by and it would be great if you could share Joy’s books with your own readers. thanks Sally

You will find over 200 authors in the bookstore with approximately 600 books that you might enjoy. If you are an author please contact me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com if you would like to join them.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore/

Smorgasbord Entertainment Review – Film – #Dunkirk – Written and Directed by Christopher Nolan


Not that I have more time on my hands… but with a movie theatre on the doorstep, and with pensioner rates, I do try to go as often as possible. Also, although we do not have any television service we buy films and television series to keep us entertained and I would like to share some of the ones we have enjoyed.

Yesterday we went to see the film Dunkirk written and directed by Christopher Nolan of The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception, Prestige and Memento etc.

I have heard some first hand stories from my mother who was 23 in 1940 and newly engaged to my father. He was in the North Atlantic serving on a cruiser at the time, but she remembered the aftermath as the exhausted soldiers were trucked back from the coast through their Hampshire village. I believe that there were many mugs of tea and jam sandwiches made and handed out with sympathy that day.

The film has some heavy hitters in the main roles including Mark Rylance (small boat skipper) Tom Hardy (spitfire pilot) Kenneth Branagh (Naval Commander) and Cillian Murphy (army officer). And, with a role that acted as a thread throughout the action, the young Fionn Whitehead, at only 19, held the storyline together exceptionally well.

There is no doubt that the film’s production captured the raw horror and seemingly impossible events of those few days. Hundreds of thousands of British soldiers have arrived at Dunkirk desperate to get out of France. The French army are trying to defend the port but are coming under heavy fire and are beginning to join the British troops on the beach to escape.  Churchill needs as many of these men home as can be rescued; without them his remaining forces will be unable to repel an invasion if Hitler pushed across the channel.

The German army and the Luftwaffe are intent on making sure that these mainly undefended men on the sands of this desolate beach do not get off it. This resulted in strafing runs across the lines of men in and out of the water and the bombing of any vessels including hospital ships. Uboats torpedoed waiting minesweepers and destroyers and the situation looked hopeless.

This is where the 700 small boats came to the rescue captained by men like Mark Rylance (Mr. Dawson) and his son. They could get close enough to the sandy beach to take off dozens of men at a time and deliver them to the larger vessels out at sea.

There are two areas that I feel led to a confusing story line. There are three strands to the plot based on groups of men on the beach and mole (jetty), at sea and in the air.

My first criticism is that the three plots had a different timeline. If I had known that going in.. as you now do... I would not have spent the first 20 minutes wondering why some of the action was in the dark, and some were in broad daylight. Also events happened in one timeline and were then revisited showing them from either the sea or land perspective. It was a clever idea and of course at the end of the film it was all brought together. However, it could have been better edited I believe to make that clear.

My second beef could be put down to an age thing, where everyone under the age of 25 looks the same!  However, Fionn Whitehead, who as I mentioned did an excellent job, was cast alongside what appeared to be four or five look alikes. When some of the action is fast paced, in the dark or underwater, I had trouble keeping up with who was who. If you take a look at their profiles on IMDB.. you will see what I mean. James Bloor, Aneurin Barnard and Damien Bonnard.

There is an exception as I have to say Harry Styles stood out, but that may be because I like One Direction!

This is not to say that the acting was not superb, and certainly I would think Fionn Whitehead has an assured future. The main characters held their own with Tom Hardy as the dogged spitfire pilot and the magnificent Mark Rylance with his calm and compelling delivery.

Cillian Murphy (Peaky Blinders) plays the part of a shell-shocked army officer demonstrating the impact of this few days on the spirit of even the bravest. (If you have not seen The Wind that Shakes the Barley I do recommend it). Cillian Murphy has been in a number of Christopher Nolan films including The Dark Night Trilogy and Inception.

Overall, I would recommend that you go and see it as a realistic and visually compelling depiction of one of the most decisive events of the Second World War.

It is also a fantastic cast of actors across all the roles who portray the horror of this brutal and merciless onslaught by enemy and the sea. It is fast based, heart stopping at times and fills you with an overwhelming sense of grief and admiration for those hundreds of thousands of young men, who went through this as a reality.

This was rightly a predominantly male cast but it should be noted that female army nurses were aboard ships that were sunk. Also we need to recognise that 200 ships and small boats were sunk with huge loss of life, as well as 1000 Dunkirk residents  who died in the bombings.

Be aware of the time-line going in and you will enjoy more, and also try and find some distinguishing marks for the younger actors so that you can keep track of them as the story unfolds.

I give the film 7.5 out of 10.

You might be interested in this article published in the Express in 2015 which details the events during these few days: http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/578885/Dunkirk-evacuation-World-War-Two-Germany-Britain

As a child I had a record which was much loved, the audio book of The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico which he wrote in 1946 which tells the story of one of the small ships that went to Dunkirk..I went on to watch the film with Richard Harris and Jenny Agutter and here is the link to both the book in print and Ebook: https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Snow-Goose-Small-Miracle-Essential-Penguin/0140299521

I hope you have enjoyed and as always welcome your feedback. thanks Sally

N.B Suzanne of https://patriciaruthsusan.wordpress.com/  commented that there were Indian soldiers also present on the beach waiting to be rescued and they were not mentioned in the film.  Here is an article that tells their story.

http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/dunkirk-indian-army-christopher-nolan-movie/1/1006656.html

The film promises to be a 70mm spectacle that, early reviews say, is among Nolan’s best works. What you will probably not see on the silver screen is the little-known tale of the Indian Army troops who were in and around Dunkirk when the historic evacuation was carried out.

The soldiers were part of the first units of the Indian Army to take part in the Second World War. Over the course of the grand war, the Indian Army, which started off with just under 2,00,000 men, grew to more than 2.5 million personnel, becoming the largest volunteer force in history.

The Indian Army’s contributions during the latter part of the World War II are well documented. However, the story of four transport companies of Indian Army that sailed from Mumbai and had to be rescued from the beaches of France has mostly skipped the history books.

 

Blog Sitting Special at Midnight – Writer in Residence – Paul Andruss – The Devil in Devon


Welcome to tonight’s midnight post by Paul Andruss.. over the last week we have been introduced to the foibles and fancies of some of the legends in history.. Tonight is no exception with a dark tale of Devil’s work in Devon.

The Devil in Devon by Paul Andruss

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Devil in Devon: looking for his hotel in the stinking weather

In February 1855 around the Exe Estuary in Devon, England, a trail of cloven hoof prints stretching for between 40 and 100 miles appeared overnight in a fresh fall of heavy snow. The footprints were about 4 inches long and 3 across in single file with a stride length of between 8 to 16 inches. They continued for miles travelling over the snow-covered roofs of houses, high walls, haystacks, rivers and other obstacles in their path. More puzzling, some led up to and exited from drainpipes as small as four inches in diameter.

The local people assumed they were made by Satan himself, abroad in the night working mischief. This assumption seemed to be confirmed when rumours circulated about sightings of a “devil-like figure” in the area. Many townspeople armed themselves and without success attempted to track down the beast responsible.

The story was reported in a local paper ‘The Western Times’ a few weeks later in an article entitled ‘Topsham – The two-legged Wonder’. Topsham was the village in which the incident was first reported. Despite such sensational claims there was very little contemporary evidence to support the story until a 1950 article asking for documentation brought to light a number of letters written in 1855 to a local vicar along with several tracings of the footprints.

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Devil’s hoof prints showing scale in feet – no pun intended

Over the years many theories were put forward to explain the event. These range from misidentification of some of the prints with those of donkeys, to hopping mice and even badgers.

Sceptics point to inconsistencies with the date reported; making the footprints appear over 2 or 3 consecutive nights rather than 1. They point out that different accounts describe the footprints differently. And say it would be physically impossible for one person to follow the whole 40 to 100 mile course of footprints in single day. Despite such doubts, the mystery remains.

There is a postscript to the story. In The Daily Mail of 13th March 2009 the Devon devil seemed to have resurfaced when a woman woke to find ‘Satan’s hoof prints’ dotted across freshly fallen snow in her back garden. The single track of cloven-like prints, which appeared to have been made by a two-legged creature, precisely resembled the footprints recorded in the area in 1855.

©PaulAndruss 2017

You can find more about Paul Andruss via his about page on his blog: http://www.paul-andruss.com/about/

Buy Paul’s books: https://www.amazon.com/Finn-Mac-Cool-Paul-Andruss-ebook/dp/B018OJZ9KY

and https://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Rhymer-Jack-Hughes-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00EPQL7KC

Previous Posts by Paul Andruss can be found here:

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/writer-in-residence-writer-paul-andruss/

My thanks again to Paul for another post that shares some of the more devilish events in our history.. please share on your own networks.. thanks Sally

 

Blog Sitting Special at Midnight – Writer in Residence Paul Andruss – Rosabelle : B-E-L-I-E-V-E


Welcome to the midnight blog sitter post by Paul Andruss. Tonight we follow on from the story of the Collingley Fairies to another mysterious and oft disputed authenticity of spiritualism. The great Houdini yearned to speak to his mother on the other side.. and this is his story.

Rosabelle : B-E-L-I-E-V-E by Paul Andruss

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Houdini with his ‘Two Sweethearts’ : Mother & Wife

World-renowned illusionist and escapologist Harry Houdini was devoted to his mother. Devastated when she died in 1913, he blamed himself for being on tour and not by her side. Harry was suspicious of claims made by professional mediums, yet his grief was so great he allowed his friend Arthur Conan Doyle (the creator of Sherlock Homes and a devout spiritualist) to persuade him to attend séances to contact her departed spirit.

Instead of desperately needed solace, all Harry found was fraud and calumny. Easily spotting the stage magician tricks  that professional mediums used to dupe the grief stricken, he wasted no time in exposing them.

Despite Harry Houdini’s life-long crusade to expose fraudulent spiritualists he never abandoned hope there was an afterlife. Perhaps it was vanity, as much as anything else, that made him promise Bess, his wife: if possible he would return to prove the existence of a life after death.

Houdini made the same pact with around 20 friends as well as Bess. To each individual he entrusted a unique secret coded message, making it easy to prove any message from beyond the grave was genuine.

On Halloween 1926 Harry Houdini died in hospital from blood poisoning caused by a ruptured appendix. Most film versions of his life have Harry dying on stage, suffering agonising abdominal pain while drowning inside his Chinese-Water-Torture-Cabinet. In fact Harry died in hospital after an operation to remove his appendix and drain the infection spreading through his body.

picture30Houdini & the Chinese Water Torture Trick

Some of Houdini’s friends openly reported mysterious events after Harry’s death: an inscription from Harry mysteriously vanished from a book; framed photographs fell from walls and a sculptured bust of Harry shattered. But none of these events were considered the unique proof Harry promised.

Soon after Harry’s death spiritualist mediums began contacting his wife Bess. Their messages were vague uplifting blandishments about how swell things were on the other side and Bess dismissed them as rubbish. Frustrated by time-wasters, Bess issued a $10,000 reward to anyone able to provide the unique secret proof she and Harry had agreed.

Legend has it Bess offered the £10,000 for a 1-year period, and it was not until the year expired that a medium got in touch with a 10-word coded message from Harry.

In fact two and a half years elapsed before Arthur Ford told Bess he had the agreed message. Arthur Ford and an entourage (including two journalists) arrived on 8 January 1929 for a scheduled meeting at Bess’ apartment. Bess, recuperating from a fall a few days earlier, had her press agent and an old friend in attendance as witnesses.

The medium Arthur Ford delivered the message: ‘Rosabelle – answer- tell- pray, answer- look- tell- answer, answer- tell’

He then added Houdini said the code was one used in one of their mind reading acts. He instructed Bess to tell the assembled group what Rosabelle meant.

In a tremulous voice Bess began to sing a song from her first show with Houdini: ‘Rosabell sweet Rosabell I love you more than I can tell.’ The message, translated from the mind reading code, was B-E-L-I-E-V-E

Stifling tears Bess confirmed it was indeed the secret message and had been delivered as she and Harry agreed. She then dramatically swooned.

The next day the story made headlines around the world courtesy of the journalists attending the séance. It seemed not even eternity could hold Houdini.

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Press Cutting

When the spiritualist medium gave Bess the coded message she had agreed with her husband, Harry Houdini, before his death, Bess swooned exclaiming… ‘Yes, yes. That is the message. Harry – Harry!’

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Medium Arthur Ford with the invalid Bess who had taken to her bed

Soon afterwards Bess recanted, claiming it was a magician’s trick. It may not surprise anybody to know it was a trick; but it was Bess who was the magician’s stooge.

Stooge seems a harsh word to describe a grieving widow. It is not meant as an insult. All magicians’ used stooges – accomplices, planted in the audience – to be chosen seemingly at random, and used at crucial points to help the magician achieve the impossible.

The truth is Bess was not a strong, independent woman; not Houdini’s equal partner. Like most marriages of the period, while Houdini was the big man; the breadwinner, Bess played second fiddle as his devoted, adoring companion; in short the wife.

Houdini treated her like child. Constantly reassuring her with love-notes and arranging exaggeratedly romantic, clandestine dates together. Bess and Houdini could not have children. Anecdotal evidence suggests Bess had a medical condition. She was described as frail and was often ill.

There was never any doubt Houdini’s mother came first. If Bess was resentful she did not show it. It was not until her mother-in-law’s death Bess got her husband’s full attention.

Even then she shared him with the phony mediums he used, and exposed in trying to contact his mother. And she shared him with flesh and blood rivals too: Houdini’s other women.

Perhaps because of their claustrophobic relationship, Houdini’s death devastated Bess. The first anniversary of his death found her physically and mentally exhausted. A diary entry for October 1927 reads; ‘Dined at Village Grove – home early, no drink or weed.’

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The widow Bess: as trapped by Houdini’s death as she was by his life.

Bess had been drinking heavily, using prescription drugs and marijuana, since before Houdini’s death. Now her addictions spiralled out of control. She mixed with ‘colourful characters’ in the wild jazz-age nightclubs she frequented – including Arthur Ford; the medium who would deliver her husband’s secret coded message.

Although Bess claimed not to know Ford, she had been infatuated with him for at least a year before the séance. They planned a lecture tour together based on its successful outcome – the grieving widow and the medium who bought her sceptical husband back from the dead.

As if this was not damning enough, one of the journalists who witnessed the Houdini séance claimed she wrote the story before it actually happened. The whole charade was dictated – word for word- the previous day by Bess.

In a classic entrapment scenario, she invited the medium Arthur Ford to discuss the previous day’s séance in her apartment while her editor and a colleague, concealed in the kitchenette, recorded everything on a Dictaphone. Initially triumphant, Ford’s bubble was soon burst as he realised the journalist would not succumb to his charms, wheedling, or even threats.

On Halloween 1936, on the roof of the Knickerbocker Hotel in Hollywood, Bess conducted a final Houdini séance. Like all the others it failed. At its conclusion, Bess dramatically put out the candle she had kept burning beside the photograph of her husband since his death. She later commented… ‘Ten years is long enough to wait for any man.’

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The widow Bess on the cover of an American magazine for magicians

©PaulAndruss 2017

You can find more about Paul Andruss via his about page on his blog: http://www.paul-andruss.com/about/

Finn Mac CoolThomas the Rhymer

Buy Paul’s books: https://www.amazon.com/Finn-Mac-Cool-Paul-Andruss-ebook/dp/B018OJZ9KY

and https://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Rhymer-Jack-Hughes-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00EPQL7KC

Thanks to Paul for another post that lifts the veil of mystery on stories that have mesmerised us for generations.  Please send it through all the parallel universes we might inhabit… thanks Sally

Blog Sitting Special at Midnight – Writer in Residence Paul Andruss – Cottingley Fairies


Welcome to the midnight feast that is the posts by Paul Andruss.. I write fairy stories and I am sure that I have seen one or two in my gardens over the years.. perhaps a flash of light on a butterfly’s wing… or not!  Paul looks at one of the hottest sightings of fairies in 1917 that was to divide the nation between believers and non-believers.. I know where I stand!

Paul presents both sides of the story… and it is up to you to decide which side you believe!

Cottingley Fairies by Paul Adruss

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In 1917 Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths, two young cousins from the village of Cottingley near Bradford in West Yorkshire, England, took photos of fairies. At the time Elsie was 16 years old and Frances was 10. The girls often played together beside the stream at the bottom of the garden. When Elsie’s mother complained about their wet feet and clothes, Frances and Elsie said they only went to see the fairies. To prove it, Elsie borrowed her father’s camera and returned 30 minutes later.

Elsie’s father, Arthur, was a keen amateur photographer, and had his own darkroom. The picture he developed showed Frances behind a bush on which four fairies appeared to be dancing. The girls borrowed his camera again and this time returned with a photograph of Elsie sitting on the lawn holding out her hand to a 1-foot-tall gnome.

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The photographs became public in mid-1919, after Elsie’s mother attended a meeting of the Theosophical Society in Bradford. The lecture was on “Fairy Life” and at the end of the meeting she showed the fairy photographs to the speaker. As a result, the photographs were displayed at the Society’s annual conference in Harrogate, where they came to the attention of Edward Gardner, a leading member of the society.

Gardner sent the prints and the original glass-plate negatives to a photography expert, who said they were genuine. Gardner used the prints in the illustrated lectures he gave around the UK.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, was a keen spiritualist. He used the photographs to illustrate an article on fairies in the Christmas 1920 edition of The Strand Magazine. Conan Doyle interpreted the photographs as clear and visible evidence of psychic phenomena.

Gardner and Conan Doyle sought a second expert opinion from the photographic company Kodak. Several of the company’s technicians examined the prints and agreed the pictures showed no signs of being faked.

In July 1920 Conan Doyle sent Gardner to meet the Wright family with two Cameo cameras and 24 secretly marked photographic plates. Frances was invited to stay with the Wright family during the school summer holiday so she and Elsie could take more pictures of the fairies. The girls took several photographs, two of which appeared to show fairies.

The first shows Frances in profile and with a leaping winged fairy close by her nose.

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The second shows a fairy hovering or tiptoeing on a branch offering Elsie a posie of harebells.

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Two days later the girls took the last picture, showing fairies waking in the sun.

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COTTINGLEY FAIRIES EXPOSED

Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths’ two photographs of fairies became public after Elsie’s mother took them to a Theosophical Society meeting. They soon came to attention of Edward Gardner, a leading member of the society. Seeking to verify them, Gardner sent the original glass-plate negatives and contact prints to a photography expert.

The expert replied they were genuine – ‘with no trace of studio fakery involving cardboard cut-outs or models’. But Gardner’s expert also enhanced the prints to make them more ‘conducive to printing’. He also provided copies of the enhanced prints for Gardner to sell in his lectures.

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Original Photograph – Original un-enhanced Contact print

It is not easy to find originals. But some show the fairies as over-exposed outlines rather than the pretty detailed figures on the enhanced versions.

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Pre-enhanced – fairy offering harebell posie

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Enhanced -fairy offering harebell posie

When Arthur Conan Doyle saw the enhanced prints, he believed they were ‘clear and visible evidence of psychic phenomena’. Having lost a son in the First World War a few years earlier, Doyle and his wife were enthusiastic spiritualists. Lady Doyle was a much lauded amateur spiritualist medium.

Doyle and Gardner took the enhanced prints to two photographic firms, Kodak and Ilford, to confirm they were genuine. While Kodak agreed there was no obvious signs of fakery they declined to issue a certificate of authenticity. Ilford unequivocally thought there was evidence of fakery.

The historical novelist Maurice Hewlett had the last word when he pronounced – knowing children, and knowing Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has legs, I decide the young ladies have pulled one of them.

Interest in the Cottingley Fairies gradually ebbed after 1921. Elsie and Frances married and lived abroad. In 1966, a reporter from the Daily Express newspaper traced Elsie. She admitted the fairies may have been ‘figments of her imagination’, somehow transferred onto the photographs. Psychic photography was a new and exciting phenomenon around this time.

In 1983, the cousins admitted the photographs were faked, although they maintained they really saw fairies. The 16 year-old Elsie had copied illustrations from a children’s book and added wings. They supported the cardboard cut-outs with hatpins.

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Comparison of figures from Princess Mary Gift Book

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Dancing Figures illustration in Princess Mary Gift Book

Elsie said they were too embarrassed to admit the truth after fooling Arthur Conan Doyle – ‘Two village kids and a brilliant man – well, we could only keep quiet.’

Frances added- ‘I never thought of it as fraud – we were having a bit of fun. I can’t understand to this day why they were taken in. They wanted to be taken in.’

Frances’s memoirs ‘Reflections on the Cottingley Fairies’ record often bitter exchanges between Elsie and Frances. In one letter from 1983, Frances wrote – ‘I hated those photographs from the age of 16. When Mr Gardner presented me with a bunch of flowers and wanted me to sit with him at a Theosophical Society meeting, I realised what I was in for if I did not keep myself hidden.’

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Fairy Sunbath

The cousins disagreed about the final photograph of a fairy sunbath. Elsie maintained it was faked. Frances insisted it was genuine. This made some wonder if the print is a double exposure; both girls taking the same photograph without the other’s knowledge. But who knows… Perhaps, just perhaps…

©Paul Andruss 2017

You can find more about Paul Andruss via his about page on his blog: http://www.paul-andruss.com/about/

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Buy Paul’s books: https://www.amazon.com/Finn-Mac-Cool-Paul-Andruss-ebook/dp/B018OJZ9KY

and https://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Rhymer-Jack-Hughes-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00EPQL7KC

My thanks to Paul and to you for dropping in to read this post.. please send it flying around the world on its gossamer wings… thanks Sally

Blog Sitting Special at Midnight – Writer in Residence – Paul Andruss – Of Cabbages and Kings


My thanks to Paul for providing such wonderful posts for the Blog Sitting project.  Tonight an exclusive article for the blog that sheds light on some of the most unfortunate and sometimes fatal consequences of belonging to a Royal family.

Of Cabbages and Kings by Paul Andruss

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Gore Vidal & Princess Margaret 1951
(newyorksocialdiary.com)

In one of her wire-tapped phone conversations Diana, Princess of Wales, referred to her in-laws as ‘that ‘king’ family’. Actually, there were three letters in front of the word KING; the first being F. But I left them out.

I have no axe to grind with the monarchy, but equally neither have I had the same provocation. While having no strong feelings either way, I will say that anyone who by their very existence prevented Tony Blair making himself lifelong President cannot be entirely useless.

Someone who did know royalty was American author Gore Vidal; bon vivant and member of the jet set. A term coined after the de Havilland Comet -the first purpose-built commercial jet airliner- made the world the playground of his generation’s rich and famous.

Vidal was great friends with Queen Elizabeth’s sister, Princes Margaret. He records their first meeting at a costume party where she wore the blood stained shirt King Charles I was beheaded in; borrowed from Kensington Palace for the occasion. When you think about Prince Harry turning up to a fancy dress ball in a Nazi uniform, it’s easy to see where he gets his sense of style.

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David & Wallis on their wedding day
(Getty Images 1937)

Vidal also knew the Duke and Duchess of Windsor during their exile in Paris. The Duke was Edward VIII (called by his 7th Christian name, David). He abdicated the throne to marry American Wallis Simpson. Vidal cheerfully admits to liking Wallis for her intelligence, and David because he was ‘deeply stupid’.

In 1936 Edward VIII abdicated because parliament would not approve his marriage to Wallis as she was divorced; or twice divorced to be pedantic. His speech contained the famous line so beloved of romantics: I cannot discharge my duty without the help and support of the woman I love. As they left England, his brother, Queen Elizabeth’s father, became king and the rest as they say, is history.

The British press always referred to the Duchess, somewhat disparagingly, as Mrs Simpson. They loved to portray her as a gold digger, who could not wait to slip the royal crown on her grubby colonial head. Vidal records Wallis remembering it differently. She was a wealthy divorcee who claimed never even wanting to get married. ‘It was all his idea,’ she told Vidal. ‘They act as if I’m stupid, not knowing who can be queen. But he insisted.’

‘I remember the morning after we were married,’ she continued. ‘There was David saying – And what do we do now? My heart sank. Every day of his life had been arranged for him and now I was the one who had to take the place of the entire British Government, trying to think up things for him to do.’

‘The Duchess took a long drink of vodka,’ Vidal finishes devilishly, ‘then began the denunciation of all the Royal ladies. And very entertaining it was.’

Like Diana, Wallis had a legitimate axe to grind.

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David & Wallis meet an avid fan
(Getty Images 1937)

Vidal records the exchange in his memoir Palimpsest. As he explains it, a palimpsest is a parchment, scraped clean by a medieval monk for re-use. Such finds are invaluable as the original text is still faintly visible – a bit like memories. Sagaciously, he adds memoirs do not need to be weighed down by historical fact. So perhaps one should not take Wallis’s protestations of innocence entirely at face value.

Vidal’s recounts a story from the Duke of Windsor that’s worth repeating.

‘I was there at breakfast with my father and mother, the King and Queen, when an equerry came in. The King was furious. I mean this was breakfast for heaven’s sake! Not done, you know, ever! But the man went straight up to him with this note which the king read and gave to my mother. She read it and gave it back saying ‘No!’

‘Later that day I asked her what it was about and she said the British government was willing to send a ship to rescue my father’s relations Tsar Nicholas and his family, but she did not think it would be good for us to have them in England. So the Bolsheviks shot the lot of them.’

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The unlucky Romanovs: intimate family portrait
(Archive Source)

Historically, a lot of reasons are put forward why Britain denied the Romanovs refuge. Explanations tend to focus on the fear of Bolshevism taking hold. Princess Margaret had another theory. She believed her grandmother was deeply resentful of real royalty. Even admirers describe Queen Mary as cold and hard.

Vidal tells the tale of Margaret’s outrage when reading Nicholas and Alexandra – the biography later made in to a film. ‘They were so perfectly ordinary. I mean it could be us!’ she bemoaned in stentorian Hanoverian.

Although that might leave you smiling or shuddering depending on your perspective, Margaret had a point. In private, the Romanovs lived the ‘simple’ secluded life of any upper middle class European, and fiercely guarded their privacy. Indeed, their daughters complained of a claustrophobic upbringing.

Yet politically, Nicholas was the supreme autocrat who could not bear to surrender an iota of power and focused much of his energy enforcing a medieval stranglehold on his deeply troubled and backward country.

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Nicholas & Alexandra
Father & mother of all the Russias
(Archive source)

His ineptitude and stubbornness consigned Russians to privation and doomed wars. He approved of anti-Jewish Pogroms, believing they unified the country behind his regime. He did nothing when his army slaughtered peaceful demonstrators. And he thwarted all attempts to introduce basic human rights, fearing it would erode his God-given authority as the ‘Father-of-all-the-Russias’.

All in all, Nicholas was rather like King Charles I, who also believed he ruled through Divine Right, ignored Parliament, caused a Civil War (between the Cavaliers and Roundheads) and was executed for his troubles.

So while Princess Margaret had a point about the Romanovs’ perfect ordinariness, perhaps she also needed to remember just whose shirt she was wearing at that fancy dress party. And exactly why it was blood stained.

©PaulAndruss 2017

My thanks to Paul another illuminating look at history.. and for blog sitting so elegantly.

You can find more about Paul Andruss via his about page on his blog: http://www.paul-andruss.com/about/

Finn Mac CoolThomas the Rhymer

Buy Paul’s books: https://www.amazon.com/Finn-Mac-Cool-Paul-Andruss-ebook/dp/B018OJZ9KY

and https://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Rhymer-Jack-Hughes-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00EPQL7KC

Thank you for dropping in and please feel free to share Paul’s article around the universe… thanks Sally

Blog Sitting Special at Midnight – Writer in Residence – Paul Andruss – The Raft of the Meduse


For the next week, Paul Andruss is kindly blog sitting along with some other fellow writers. Whilst I am happy to take a break from the blog (except for the odd visit) whilst I am away with my family, I thought that it might be an opportunity to share the talent of the writers who support me when I am here.  You will find the links to Paul’s books and blog after the post.

In tonight’s article Paul provides us with the horrific details of one of the worst maritime disasters experienced in the 19th century. The French naval frigate Meduse and its fateful last journey.

The Raft of the Meduse by Paul Andruss

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This bigger than life-size painting (measuring 23 x 16 feet) by French Romantic painter Théodore Géricault was as famous as the events of 2 years earlier that inspired it. Scholarly works were written about the relationship of forms within composition and the colour palette used. It depicts the moment the shipwrecked survivors of the Meduse spot the sails of the rescue ship after 13 days at sea.

On 2 July 1816 French naval frigate Meduse ran aground on Arguin Bank, 30 miles off the coast of Mauritania in West Africa. The Meduse became an international scandal. This was partly because the events that followed were so horrific. But it was also due to the incompetence of her captain – who had been given command for political reasons, without naval officer experience-, and the subsequent cover-up attempt by the French authorities.

After running aground, the ship became a total loss when the captain refused to jettison the 14 3-ton cannons which would have re-floated the ship on the high tide. Realising all was lost, the 400 people on board had to evacuate.

151 men were put on a hurriedly constructed raft and towed by the frigate’s lifeboats. Three days later, the lifeboat crews realised towing the raft was impractical. Fearing being overwhelmed by the desperate survivors marooned on the raft, they decided to cut the ropes and leave the remaining 147 men on board to their fate.

A terrible ordeal rapidly developed. On the first night adrift 20 men were killed or committed suicide. Casks of water turned out to be wine. Drunkenness exacerbated the problem when some drunken men rebelled and were killed by the officers. When a storm threatened, the men sought safety on the middle of the raft. Dozens died either fighting to the centre or were washed overboard by the waves.

The scanty rations were exhausted by the 4th day adrift. Only 67 out of 147 were left alive. Some, dehydrated and desperate, drank sea water succumbing to madness. Others resorted to cannibalism.

On the 8th day, the fittest men decided to throw the weak and wounded overboard. This left 15 men, all of whom survived the four remaining days until their rescue.

I think what shocked me most when I first heard the story of the Meduse was how fast, and how completely, the thin veneer of civilisation was stripped away. It begs the question… Is this what we are really like? The naked ape stripped raw. The raft was only adrift for 13 days. 13 days at sea and over 136 people dead with murder, madness, drunkenness and cannibalism all playing a part.

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Study for the Raft of the Meduse depicting cannibalism

PS: If the painting looks oddly familiar, it might be because the Pogues (fronted by Shane MacGowan of ‘Fairytale of New York’ fame) used the painting with the band’s faces replacing the survivors) for the cover of their album ‘Rum, Sodomy and the Lash’.

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Cover for Pogue’s album Rum sodomy & the Lash Referencing the Raft of the Meduse

©PaulAndruss 2017

You can find more about Paul Andruss via his about page on his blog: http://www.paul-andruss.com/about/

Finn Mac CoolThomas the Rhymer

Buy Paul’s books: https://www.amazon.com/Finn-Mac-Cool-Paul-Andruss-ebook/dp/B018OJZ9KY

and https://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Rhymer-Jack-Hughes-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00EPQL7KC

It would be great if you could send this post by Paul on a journey around the world.  Thanks Sally

Blog Sitting Special at Midnight – Writer in Residence Paul Andruss – The Conquerors


When I invited fellow writers to hold the fort for me whilst I was away partying with my two sisters, Paul Andruss who is now a regular contributor offered me seven of his fabulous posts from his archives.. Since there are seven… I have decided to put them out at midnight until my return.. There will be exclusive posts for Smorgasbord from Paul going forward on a three weekly basis. Delighted to share this blog with such a talented writer.

For his first post Paul explores some of the names that struck terror into the hearts of populations around the world in times past and also in our recent history. Hitler, Atilla the Hun, Hannibal and Charlemagne.. not all is as history would have us believe..

The Conquerors by Paul Andruss

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I loved this picture so much I bought the LP when I was a nipper. Nirvana was a 1960s psychedelic pop band, whose deceptively simple melodies and lush string arrangements smelled nothing like teen spirit.

For a long time the photographic realness of the black and white LP cover was thought to be a still from a film by Leni Riefenstahl – a woman film director and Nazi propagandist.

She directed ‘Olympia’ the renowned film of the 1938 Berlin Olympics where the black athlete Jesse Owens knocked Hitler’s myth of Aryan supremacy into a cocked hat by winning 4 gold medals. Hitler refused to shake his hand.

Eventually the LP cover was identified as ‘Les Conquérants’ (The Conquerors) a painting by Pierre Fritel. The larger than life-size painting (almost 5 by 7 meters) shows famous military leaders from history riding through what looks like the valley of death.

It was the toast of the 1892 Paris Salon Exhibition and was exhibited in London the following year. After a short tour of prominent cities, it passed into a private collection. Today, very little is known of its whereabouts.

There are only two photographs available on the internet. A vivid black and white line print (used for the LP cover). And an early poor quality colour reproduction.

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Pierre Fritel’s 1892 epic painting shows history’s most famous generals marching through a valley stacked with corpses.  Retouched & adapted colour recreation using both available prints

In the centre is Julius Caesar. On his right (in the background) we glimpse Hannibal of Carthage; then Attila the Hun, Tamberlane, and Rameses II.

On the far side is Napoleon, a glimpse of Alexander the Great in the background and Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon; with Charlemagne on the flank. It must be said none of the conquerors look too happy. They are grim; almost haunted.

Julius Caesar overthrew the Roman Republic. Under his heir Augustus, Rome became an empire. The name Caesar came to mean King – giving us Kaiser and Tsar.

Hannibal tried to conqueror of Rome. He is mainly remembered for marching elephants over the Alps.

Attila the Hun known as “the Scourge of God” invaded Italy in 452. According to legend he was turned back from the gates of Rome by Pope Leo the Great, backed up by the heavenly presence of Peter and Paul – the guardian saints of the city.

The truth is less glamorous. Attila came to Italy because the Emperor’s sister offered to marry him rather than marry a man she despised on her brother’s orders. The Emperor sent the pope as one of his emissaries. The delegation met Attila in Northern Italy, leagues away from Rome.

Attila withdrew; probably due to the fact starvation and disease was ravaging his army. (Italy was suffering from famine and the Roman general Ezio had attacked Attila’s homeland on the Danube disrupting his supply lines.)

Tamerlane was the Tartar leader whose achievements fascinated and horrified Europe from the 15th to the 19th century. He was praised for capturing the Ottoman Sultan and saving Europe from a Turkish invasion, but feared for his brutality and rapid military success.

It is popularly believed the Egyptian Pharaoh Rameses II held the children of Israel captive. The Book of Exodus is now considered mythic rather than historical. Slaves did not build the pyramids: Egyptians did. In the all the millennia of extensive Egyptian record keeping, there is no indication of the Israelite being slaves in Egypt, or of the legendary ten plagues.

Charlemagne restored the fallen Roman Empire. In 768 he took the Frankish throne and became King of Italy from 774. In 800, he became the first Holy Roman Emperor — the first recognized emperor in Western Europe since the fall of the Western Roman Empire three centuries earlier.

On the far side of Julius Cesare is Napoleon Bonaparte. Like Caesar Napoleon overthrew a Republic to create an empire.

As Napoleon was the conqueror of Europe, Alexander the Great before him was conqueror of Asia. On his deathbed Alexander left his empire to the strongest. His generals fought among themselves and 40 years of civil war ensued.

Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon is the king who sacked Jerusalem for rebelling against him and carried off the Jews into exile at Babylon. He is directly responsible for the Boney M hit ‘By the Waters of Babylon’ and so is probably the most heinous monster of all.

In the Book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar goes mad as a punishment for pride. The story is not supported in other sources. Nebuchadnezzar built the mythical Hanging Gardens of Babylon for his homesick wife.

©PaulAndruss 2017

You can find more about Paul Andruss via his about page on his blog: http://www.paul-andruss.com/about/

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Buy Paul’s books: https://www.amazon.com/Finn-Mac-Cool-Paul-Andruss-ebook/dp/B018OJZ9KY

and https://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Rhymer-Jack-Hughes-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00EPQL7KC

It would be great if you could share this post across the Internet.. even further than the Conquerors allegedly travelled.. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Open House – Author, Poet and Blogger Yecheilyah Ysrayl


112-1286_IMGMy guest today is Yecheilyah Ysrayl (“EC”) and is an author, Spoken Word Artist and blogger. She was born on the south side of Chicago and began writing short stories and poetry at the age of twelve. She studied at various eductional institutions after leaving Harper High School, including studying Professional and Technical Writing at Chicago State University and Medical Assistance/Phlebotomy at Everest College.

Yecheilyah began performing poetry in High School where she joined UMOJA Spoken Word. Since then, she has went on to perform in various cities throughout the U.S.

As an artist, Yecheilyah Ysrayl is an incorporation of spiritual critique, honesty and an authentic analysis of African American identity. She seeks to create work that promotes healthy research and investigation into the cultural identity, laws, customs and traditions of the African American for self-revolution and advancement. Furthermore, “EC” seeks to advance the promotion of truth and identity by way of Spoken Word.

“EC” currently lives in Shreveport, LA with her husband where she writes full time.

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Her first book written in 2012 – The Aftermath – is a prophetic look at the world following a 2016 collapse of the world financial markets…. In 2016, the financial system of the United States collapsed; shortly after that, so did the world. Finally, in 2019, a man of great esteem, Lord Feinberg and his prophet Antiochus introduced to mankind a new way of life. One that included a technology that could put an end to their misery and change the way we see the world. It held many promises, the end of poverty, sickness, and most of all it promised financial stability. However, not everyone was in favor of such a change and refused the technology. They’re known as The Rebels; and when they didn’t accept what the rest of the world had because it went against their beliefs, the people turned against them, and the war began.

This was followed in 2014 by Pearls Before Swine a crime thriller set on the West side of Chicago.

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Wonderful Book Page Turner Indeed!!!! By Constance Humphrey

This is an amazing book. You can find your self playing out each scene as if a movie is playing out in your mind. Each charachter has a story that you can somehow relate to yourself. Wonderfully written this page turner will have you asking for more and more. This is a book that was truly hard to put down. Really looking forward to Volume 2. If you do not have it, it is a must have for any reader. BUY THIS BOOK!! What are you waiting for? 🙂

The Stella series

Stella is a work of Young Adult Fiction as well as Historical Fiction and is distinctive in its focus on one woman’s road to self-discovery, against the backdrop of the African American fight for justice, racial equality, and freedom.

The 3-Part series focuses on the history of one family in their struggle for racial identity. Discover in this Trilogy how 3 individuals living in separate time periods strive to overcome the same struggle, carefully knit together by one blood.

The series begins with a short story – Stella

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Cynthia May insist she’s not a racist, she just doesn’t believe Blacks should have the same rights as whites. She believes America has come a long way, but that integration has kept it from going further. One day, Cynthia and her boyfriend Alex decides to visit Cynthia’s Grandmother, and happen upon information that will change their lives forever.

Raised under the protection of her mother and the field hands, Stella is unaware that she is a slave. Not being accustomed to hard labor, things change when Mama dies and she falls into the cruel hands of “Marse Saddler”. Years later, when The Louisiana Constitutional Convention of 1864 abolishes slavery in the state, Stella learns of Saddler’s plan to keep her on the plantation. She then agrees to accompany Saddler’s daughter Miss Carla and her husband John to The Windy City and learns the hard way the difference between slavery and freedom.

The next book in the series was Stella: Beyond the Colored Line.

 

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Nothing is simply black or white. By CJ Wojo on October 15, 2015

Stella: Beyond the Colored Line is a fascinating walk through the ages–from slavery, to segregation, to the black power movement, to modern times.

Through the eyes of one mixed race woman, the author touches on major events in African American history, allowing the reader to experience them in real time.

The story deepens when Stella decides to live as a white woman and raise her children as whites. As her family grows and develops within a changing society, Stella and her children reveal complex perspectives and attitudes that make it clear that it doesn’t matter who your ancestors were. Nothing is just simply black or white.

The third book: The Road to Freedom: Joseph’s Story (The Stella Trilogy Book 3) was published in February this year.

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Wealthy and clueless are just some of the words Joseph uses to describe his family. Deeply concerned about the state of Black America, a fight with his brother compels a young Joseph to leave his mother’s house and join his friends for a trip to Atlanta for SNCC’s (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee) second conference. Excited to live life on their own, Jo and his friends have left school and the lives they were living for a chance to become part of the movement. With no money and essentially no plan the seven friends, three black and four white, set out for the road when they are stopped by a racist cop who makes them exit the car. The teens are unaware that a mob of Klansmen also awaits them at the New Orleans bus terminal.

One of the excellent reviews so far.

5.0 out of 5 starsWitness history first hand. By CJ Wojo on March 26, 2016

I was very impressed with Yecheilyah Ysrayl’s Stella: Beyond the Colored Line, and her second book is just as compelling. The Road to Freedom – Joseph’s Story is something of a prequel to Beyond the Colored Line, and Stella’s son tells us about his own journey through turbulent times when South fights hard and dirty to stay segregated. Joseph and a group of his young, impassioned friends want to do something about it but don’t know exactly what.

Together they make a mix of blacks and whites, boys and girls, who inadvertently get what they wished for when they try to catch a bus to Atlanta. The youths are swept right into the action and end up being relentlessly chased by one side and becoming heroes to the other.

Like the first book, Ysrayl works her magic of putting the reader into her characters’ minds to witness history through their emotions and perspectives. At one point in the story, the friends are trapped in their vehicle as it’s mobbed by a pack of violent racists. My heart was literally pounding at this point. I was horrified that anyone had to experience such ugly cruelty.

The unsettling part is that it wasn’t that long ago when the country was segregated, and for those born after those days, this book is an unflinching look into what people had to sacrifice to make a world that we take for granted today.

I think Joseph’s Story would especially make an impact on young people who will be able to immerse themselves in the events instead of reading about them out of a history book.

There’s still a way to go when it comes to racial equality, but thanks to the ones brave enough to take a stand – those represented by Ysrayl’s characters – the ignorance, hatred, and bigotry are being slowly but surely choked out of our society.

Buy all the books: Amazon

Time now to welcome Yecheilyah Ysrayl who has chosen to answer the following questions and tell us more about her books and her blog.

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Given a choice of centuries to live in which would it be and why?

First, I want to thank Sally for this amazing opportunity to network and everyone who has helped to spread the word, particularly Colleen Chesebro for alerting me directly.

This is a very interesting question. It is what I have thought about many times. I would have to say that if I was to choose a century to live in, it would be the 21st century; the one I am living in now. I would say this century because the black community, specifically, is at a time of groundbreaking awakening. By groundbreaking, I mean we are coming back to the truth concerning our natural heritage that is different from any other time in history. It is what has been untaught in Christianity. Untaught in Islam. Untaught for too long. It is not political and it is not religious; It is a combining of cultural heritage and the incorporation of black history and the bible itself. Black people are seeing themselves as Moses, as Abraham, and as Messiah for the first time in years.

More African Americans are wearing natural hair styles both in the grass roots community and on television. Speaking of TV, African Americans are being seen in very powerful roles in TV and in film. Not just black people, but all people are involved in this reawakening. Even Europeans and Asians protested Exodus Gods and Kings! So all people in general are attacking the all-white American concept of history itself.

On the other hand, if I was to speak about my most interested time in history, I would say the 1960’s. I am interested in this time in history for a number of reasons. Of course, the most complicated thing about living in this time is obviously enduring the mistreatment and open racism that existed. While I can read about segregation, I am sure it is a far cry from having to actually use a separate restroom or order my food from the back of the restaurant. At the same time, I am intrigued with the black movements that were birthed during this time. The Black Panther movement, the Civil Rights Movement, so on and so forth.

While there were aspects of these movements I do not agree with, what I like is the consciousness that they stirred among black people. If you know that you are not a free people, then it causes you to behave differently, to think differently, and to act differently. It was that stepping stone to the awakening of a people that is absent among many black people today. Not all, but many. Back then, as a community, we were unified in the attempt to fight for a common goal. From the 1960s on back, even as far back as slavery, we were unified in the understanding that freedom was something we did not have and because we did not have it, we fought for it.

From the cohesiveness of the black community as a whole all the way down to the household of the black man and woman on a personal level. Black men accepted their roles as leaders and black women followed that lead. The African American community was striving to walk in truth and to be there at this time with the same mind that I have now would be an education indeed. Plus, I love Afros! To rock an Afro at that time would have been so hot!

Tell us about your blog and your main features. With a link to what you consider best sums you up as a blogger.

The PBS Blog was born in August of 2014 after I published my first screenplay series entitled “Pearls Before Swine”. Since then however the Blog has transformed and extended far beyond what I thought it would. I had no plans for how to blog or what my blog would be about specifically but I am grateful for what it has become today.

Why Pearls Before Swine

To start, I chose the name because it truly embodies who I am and my style of writing. Pearls Before Swine is a term that comes from the bible and as a blog title is a reminder that truth supersedes all and that I’d rather have Pearls Before Swine. That is truth over lies. I also chose Pearls Before Swine as the title to the blog because it has a deeper meaning than what is seen on the surface which embodies my style of writing. I love to write symbolically, objectively, and metaphorically; being able to compare objects or use them as symbols to stand-in for a much more complex, and generally more abstract idea. I also notice that one of the most interesting ways that people learn is by way of symbols because it appeals to the subconscious mind and then causes positive change on a physical level. I enjoy incorporating this into my writing.

My blog Pearls Before Swine and the subtitle Truth is Stranger than Fiction, encompasses my style of writing, my inspiration, my mission, and my foundation. It is also a very unique title. Some may even say strange but I will not change it because it displays the individuality I am always willing to strive for.

Main Features

I have come to organize my blog so that it is reflective of the diverse people who read it so there’s a little bit of everything there: Poetry, Quotes, Articles, Biblical insight, Pictures, etc. I believe this variety is necessary for me personally and so I have decided not to stick to one particular niche but to offer something for everyone. One of my main features is Writer’s Quote Wednesday as is hosted by Colleen of Silver Threading. I have come to really enjoy participation in this weekly inspirational challenge and lots of my readers enjoy it as well. Writer’s Quote Wednesday is responsible for a lot of the views that I receive in fact.

Of course, that’s not why I participate, but it is one of the benefits. Other features I have is Poetry which is one of my most greatest passions, Black History Fun Fact Friday where I expound on little known Black History Facts, Movie Night Friday, which was created specifically so that my readers can get to know me better by reading the Movies / TV shows I like, and Self-Publishing / Blogging Tips based on my own experiences.

Post That Sums Me Up As A Writer

At the close of last year, 2015, I participated in Blogging University’s Writing 101 Course and I absolutely loved it. Our first challenge was to post on why we write. I believe this best sum me up as a Writer:  https://thepbsblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/02/writing-101-assignment-1-why-i-write/

If you are an author and one of your books was selected to be made into a film; who would you like to play your main character and why?

This question is so exciting! I would be most ecstatic if my Stella Trilogy was made into a film! Depending on which installment would be chosen, I have two actors in mind who I think will knock it out the park for books one and two. The first is Lupita Nyong’o, who I would cast as my Stella for Book #1 and Jurnee Smollett as my Stella for Book #2.

Stella Book #1: Between Slavery and Freedom, is about a young woman who is a slave on Paul Saddlers Plantation. After The Louisiana Constitutional Convention abolishes slavery in the Caddo parish, Stella is forced to remain on the plantation as a slave.

Stella Book #2: Beyond The Colored Line, is about Stella’s great granddaughter, whose name is also Stella. This Stella grows up in the Jim Crow South and challenges the colored line by passing as white.

Lupita Nyong’o
Since 12 Years a Slave, Nyong’o has showcased amazing talent and has become renown for her unconventional physical appearance. Nyong’o redefined beauty standards with her dark chocolate skin tone, and natural hair. I have always been a dark beauty myself and have been on the natural hair bandwagon for seven years now. I would cast Nyong’o as Stella because when I look at her, I see the physical and hidden elements of everything that makes up this character. Stella is just as dark skinned, like the richness of black soil. She’s delicate, kind and just a little naive; tending to be simple toward those who are evil toward her. She wants to believe that Carla, for instance, is her friend but the complex relationships of slavery, Carla being the masters daughter and what that means to her as a slave, does not seem to occur to Stella.

When I look at Nyong’o’s face, there’s strength there but also naiveté. I believe Nyong’o could really pull it off as my Stella because her face has a presence about it that is fierce, but also innocent and full of passion. I also pay attention to the kinds of roles actors play and I do this because to me that says something about that actor’s state of mind. In Star Wars: Episode VII, Nyong’o’s character Maz possesses the ability to see into people, so there’s a spiritual element there which is present in both Nyong’o and Stella that I believe makes them a great match. Nyong’o is also mixed (Kenyan and Mexican) which plays very well into Stella’s history.

Jurnee Smollett
I have been in love with Smollett’s acting since Eve’s Bayou! Every time I see her performances they are always full of passion. Jurnee Smollett becomes the people she is betraying in film. They leap from the script and is made manifest in her acting. In Stella Book #2, Stella decides to abandon her mixed ancestry. Not being light enough to be black and teased by her black classmates she decides to live her life and to raise her children as white. I think the emotional complexity of this story requires someone with Jurnee’s talent and also her passion for the history of African American’s. I also pay attention to the movies she is involved in. From The Great Debaters to the upcoming Civil-War Slave Drama Underground, Jurnee is definitely in my range of writing.

What is the one big adventure that you would like to experience?

The one big adventure I would love to experience is Africa. I am not sure which country in Africa as of yet, but I would love to visit. Speaking of Africa, it would be nice to visit Egypt.  My husband and I love to travel and to visit these places specifically would be a great education into my passion for the history of black people. I believe it will help me to write better about these places having seen them. It makes a big difference when you visit a place and write about it than if you just researched it. I would love to walk by the pyramids or watch the waves in the Nile.

I think it will help me gain insight into the whole feel of it; the smell, the taste, the touch, the air. But not just Africa, I want to travel the world and visit lots of places! I would love to visit Germany for instance. Lots of history there. I studied German briefly a few years back and from what I hear it is a beautiful place. I almost went one time! Imagine my disappointment that we turned out not to go. Boo.

Work in progress: “The Renaissance”

My next project is still under wraps right now so I’m not going to reveal too much. What I can tell you is that I’m working on a novel about a black woman writer growing up during the Harlem Renaissance. The Harlem Renaissance happened during The Great Migration or mass movement of blacks from the south to Northern cities like New York, Chicago, and Baltimore. It was a literary movement that used Art such as literature, poetry, music, paintings, and sculptures, to define black cultural identity. Also known as The New Negro Movement this is where we are introduced to the Zora Neale Hurston’s, Langston Hughes, Billie Holidays, and Chick Webb’s. It was an exciting time for the blacks who lived through it as a “spiritual coming of age”.

My book will surround the life of Nora White, a young black woman who comes from a prominent black family. Gideon is a descendent of the Free Blacks of Israel Hill. In the early 1800s, ninety families were freed from chattel slavery by their mistress Judy Randolph and given 350 acres of land in Prince Edward Country Virginia. These blacks in turn built a community they termed “Israel Hill”. Gideon is the son of a black woman who was born into slavery after her free born mother–who grew up on the Hill–was kidnapped and sold to a Mississippi slave owner. Fast forward to the early 1920s, Jackson Mississippi, where we are introduced to Gideon’s daughter Nora. We notice that her family owns land and are known, respected, and feared throughout the community due their rich history. But Nora decides that she’s not interested in continuing the legacy of the Whites. She’s not interested in owning land or going to college. Instead, Nora dreams of Harlem and becoming a writer.

The book is about her experience in the renaissance movement and how she came to know all of these great men and women of the era, and the trials and tribulations of Jim Crow that follows her to the North.

My thanks ot “EC” for providing such detailed and interesting answers to her questions and wish her every success with her current books and her new project.

Connect with Yecheilyah Ysrayl

web:literarykornerpublishing.com/
blogthepbsblog.wordpress.com
emailahouseofpoetry@gmail.com
twitter@ahouseofpoetry
facebook:facebook.com/literarykornerpublishing 

Thank you very much for joining us today and as always your feedback is welcome and if you would be kind enough to click on a few of the share buttons that would also be wonderful. Sally