James Cudney: An Author’s Journey


I read and enjoyed Academic Curveball by James Cudney and look forward to reading the others in the series.. one of which is out at the end of March. This is a terrific interview and great to find out more about James and his life and writing.  Here is an extract and I do recommend that you head over and read the rest of the interview with Laurie Woodward

James Cudney: An Author’s Journey

“I write because I love to tell stories, …share knowledge, and thoughts, ” says cozy mystery and family drama author James Cudney.  “I always wanted to be a writer…but ultimately found myself working in technology. ”

James did well as a technical writer for a telecommunications company  but as the years passed, felt like something was missing. There was constant buzzing in his brain. A whispering in his ears kept saying, You have other stories to tell.  Let them be known.   So after more than a decade of trying to ignore the whispers, James decided it was time to abandon the safety of a  day job and give full-time writing a chance.

He hasn’t looked back since.

Now some might dip into writing as if they were testing the waters of an alpine lake. First a toe. See if it’s too cold. Then another. And if it’s bearable, slowly immerse the legs. But not James. He took a deep breath and canon-balled right into those frigid waters managing in just two and a half years to write five novels, land a publishing contract, gain thousands of followers on his popular blog, and garner the respect of both reader and author alike.

If only we all could make such a splash, huh?


Head over and read the rest of this interesting interview…..thanks Sally

via James Cudney: An Author’s Journey


The Fondant Five, on #LisaBurtonRadio


Robbie and Michael Cheadle.. the mother and son story and cooking duo that have created the Sir Chocolate series… have allowed one of their central characters of their latest book The Fondant Five… The lion to be interviewed by Lisa Burton.

Please head over after this short extract to read the whole interview…. especially if you like fondant icing.


Lisa Burton

Don’t touch that dial! You’ve landed on Lisa Burton Radio, the only show that brings you characters from the books you love. Today might be one of the sweetest shows we’ve ever had, and I mean that literally. “Please give a warm welcome to my special guest, the fondant lion.”

“Thank you, Lisa, I am so happy to be here, I feel a roar coming on. RRRROOOOAAAARRRR!”

“I know you are famous for your thick mane. Is it thicker because you live in the zoo?”

“Yes, that is likely. I don’t live in just any zoo, I live in the Chocolate Land zoo and it is a special place. All the fondant animals that live here are very happy and we receive excellent care from Sir Chocolate and his helpers. One of our favourite meals is Sir Chocolate’s famous custard. He makes it for us in an enormous pot. I can assure you it does not last long once it is made.

“I have lots of friends in the zoo and they treat me with respect. I am the King of the Jungle in the wild and the animals here all recognize that and let me take the lead on decisions regarding the zoo. I am better off than my brother who lives in the Kruger National Park in South Africa. He doesn’t always get as well fed as I do and sometimes, he has to fight other animals to defend his pride of fifteen other lions. It can be a hard life living in the wild especially when there are wild fires or droughts that destroy the vegetation. Finding food and water can be difficult at those times.

Head over to find out more…

via The Fondant Five, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Mouse Tales


If you like flash fiction, mice and would like something to go with your coffee.. then here is the recap of last week’s Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction.. an anthology of mouse tales.. brilliant… here is a snippet and head over to read all the stories.

Mouse Tales

A mouse in a house, a wardrobe, a Victor trap, rescued and orbited to outer space. Mice are everywhere, including our technology. Somehow the vehicle that takes us into the depths of the world wide web got dubbed a humble mouse.

This week, writers chased the tails of mice to produce mouse tales. They will take readers on a merry chase of imagination, tenderness and hard lines. Use your mouse to navigate through a collection arranged into 10-minute nibbles.

The following are based on the March 7, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a mouse.

PART I (10-minute read)

Meanings Change by Susan Sleggs

“My mouse isn’t here,” my son lamented

“He better not be running loose.”

“I’m talking about my computer mouse, not Whiskers.”

“That’s a relief. Where could it be?”

“Probably at school. I used my laptop to work on an assignment about archaic words. I had a lot of windows open looking for examples.”

“Windows used to let air in, not information. Come to think of it, RAM, byte, virus, web, boot, spam, and cookies have all taken on new meanings in this techie age.”

“You’re a genius. I’ll write my report on those words and easily get an A.”


My Mouse by Sally Cronin

I am extremely attached to my mouse, small and demanding at times, but I need a muse that is easy to maintain, and doesn’t demand three walks a day and half my dinner. It sits quietly by my side, observing my every move, and eager to be handled at every opportunity. I have owned several mice in my lifetime, but this one has a special place in my heart, as it has supported me thorough my latest book and editing process. But it is showing signs of burn out. Perhaps it will perk up if I change its battery.


Other Worldly by Frank Hubeny

I move my black mouse and click. I know I should be doing other things.

“Like what?” That silent voice inside me asks.

Well, like watching this orange sunset or bothering that white bird sitting for no good reason on the railing or contemplating the other worldly mysteries of this grand universe.

Knowing I have no clue, I hear. “Really, like what?”

So I let my inner squeaky wheel, my imaginary “friend”, guide me downward into the depths of another suspicious, weedy, mosquito-loving rabbit hole I have no business exploring. But what else, really, do I have to do?


Due Credit by Reena Saxena

You won’t be able to use all those fancy products, if they are not tested on me. I put my life and limb to out to help you. I’m an extension of your hand, when you navigate that space you can’t live without. I think you call it the internet. I don’t find it very useful though….

You give me food and sometimes – space to live, but I don’t think the equation is balanced.

You need to do a lot more to give me my due credit. Killer cats and dogs have been honoured for too long now.


Chaircat Mao and Cheeser the Mouse by H.R.R. Gorman

“Chaircat Mao,” asked Cheeser the mouse, “Why don’t you ever chase me?”

Chaircat Mao rolled his rotund body over and readjusted his luxurious gray coat. “Well, have you ever chased me?”

“No, Chaircat Mao! That would be silly!”

Chaircat Mao closed his eyes as if the question were answered.

Distraught, Cheeser scurried onto Mao’s flesh. Without response, she balanced down to his nose and pulled on his whiskers. “It’s not right, Chaircat Mao! God made cats to chase mice!”

“Don’t be silly. God made cats to be worshipped. Now stop disturbing my nap.” So, at last, Chaircat Mao slept.


Wrong Mouse by Anita Dawes

Our cat Merlin loves to bring us gifts
I wish he would leave the mice outside
I told him the other day, it was the wrong kind
Jaye needs a new mouse for the computer
Of course, he didn’t take any notice of me
He loves to catch butterflies in his mouth
He lets them go unharmed
Maybe he likes the flavour of them
I have no clue, as I don’t speak cat too well.
After buying a new mouse, Merlin stopped
bringing his gifts for a while
was he trying to tell Jaye that
her mouse needed replacing?


The Mouse That Came in from the Cold by Di @ pensitivity101

I heard scratching and told partner we had a mouse in the bedroom.

He flicked on the light, looked around, then switched it off.

The scratching resumed. Another nudge, he got up to look.


I saw a shadow and turning on the light saw a little mouse disappear behind the wardrobe.

Partner threw himself out of bed and whacked everything in close proximity.

With the bedding wrapped around me, I was in hysterics.

Not that I was afraid, but the ridiculousness of the situation as he’d been charging round the bedroom stark naked, in all his dangly glory.


A Mouse Backfires by Norah Colvin

“Eek!“ shrieked Granny, toppling back on the chair, arms and legs flailing.

“Thwunk!” Her head struck the wall, silencing the children’s sniggers.

Granny slumped motionless, eyes closed, tongue lolling from her slack jaw.

Barney gaped. “D’ya, d’ya think she’s dead?”

“Don’t be silly,” admonished Eliza, older and wiser. “She couldn’t be. Could she?”

The children tiptoed closer.

“What if she wakes up?”

“What if she doesn’t?”

“I’ll check her pulse,” mouthed Eliza.

Suddenly, Granny jolted upright, eyes staring blankly.

The children gasped.

“Gotcha!” laughed Granny. “But that is a clever mouse.”

“How did you —?”

Granny winked. “Granny knows.”


Head over and read all the mouse tales…



via Mouse Tales

Dramatic license…


Sue Vincent explores Dramatic License and how fiction and in particular condensed drama in a film or on television can give the impression that life should be full of exciting events one after the other.. When in fact most of our lives rumble along with occasional highs and lows. Please head over and read the entire post.

Dramatic license…

Image: Pixabay

It was the morning coffee conversation, the one where I perch on the end of my son’s bed while he considers getting out of it. Even fuelled by good, freshly ground beans, that can take some time, especially if we start talking… and that invariably happens.

Today, the subject that caught out attention was the media…. TV, films, books, the works… and how fiction inevitably draws us in to a place where our own lives can seem bland in comparison to their imaginary ‘reality’. From the formulaic drama of romantic novels, to the condensed ‘reality’-bytes of the soaps, their storylines raise unconscious expectations and, in contrast, our own experience of life can appear to be lacking in the essential ingredients, plot twists and the rollercoasting emotions that are their stock in trade.


Enjoy the rest of the post……..

via Dramatic license…

9 Audiobooks That will Sharpen Your Kids Brain


I am always interested in new ways to interest children in storytelling and in this guest post by Nishil Prasad on Nicholas Rossis blog, he shares 9 audio books for kids… Here is a short excerpt and I do recommend that you head over to enjoy the entire post.


This is a guest post by Nishil Prasad, a passionate writer, hungry for innovation and new trends and with tons of enthusiasm for uncovering hidden topics. Nishil writes because he loves it.

This post contains a list of some great audibles to help your children enhance their listening powers as well as be a great tool for passing a boring weekend afternoon. These audibles can also be useful in improving the storytelling skills of a child. If you are interested in a wide range of titles, you may wish to consider Amazon Audible, which provides a 30-day free trial.

9 Audiobooks That will Sharpen Your Kid’s Brain

In this technological era when every child is a technocrat, the internet brings numerous audiobook sources at your fingertips. However, this also means that you have to screen and select quality audiobooks for them. Audiobooks help make lives easier. They also help in improving listening skills as well as children’s storytelling skills.

Below is a hand-picked list of audiobooks for your child, both free and paid. You can buy these and more Audiobooks from:

1. Better Nate Than Ever

Suggested Audiobooks | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksAlthough audiobooks read by authors can be dry, Tim Federle is clearly up for the job, since he’s a self-described “grown-up theater kid” telling the story of a theater kid. This audible is based on the main character Nate Foster. Nate is a small-town kid with big dreams of featuring in a Broadway show, so he and his Best Friend Libby, sneak out of the house to go to New York City. Nothing could go wrong, right?

Download Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle from Amazon.


Head over and read the entire posts and discover the other 8 books.

via 9 Audiobooks That will Sharpen Your Kids Brain

An interview with author Beryl Kingston


Joy Lennick with a fascinating interview with novelist Beryl Kingston who shares here remarkable story covering 88 years.

An interview with author Beryl Kingston

Beryl_resizedToday, I have great pleasure in interviewing someone very familiar with the writing craft. Not many of us can claim to have sold ONE MILLION BOOKS, but Beryl Kingston can. I can’t begin to imagine how that feels … Hugely proud and gratifying, I’m sure, and she must have worked so hard to have achieved that figure.

I’ll tell you more about Beryl later on, but first I’ve invited her to answer a few questions to give you some insight into what makes this amazing lady tick.

Hi Beryl, a warm welcome to the ‘writer’s hot seat.’ It’s great having you as my guest today. I promise it won’t be a bumpy ride!

Where were you born and what is your earliest memory?

image1To start at the beginning, I was born in Tooting in South London 88 years ago and my first memory is probably singing and dancing on a stage somewhere feeling completely happy with spotlights shining on my head and foot-lights warming my feet and people clapping and cheering in the darkness below me. I was probably about five.

Were your early years marked by an outstanding/unusual or particularly disturbing/amusing incident?


Please head over to read more of this interesting interview.

via An interview with author Beryl Kingston

MarySmith’sPlace – #Buzkashi


Absolutely amazing post from Mary Smith that will have you on the edge of your seats.. memories of her time in Afghanistan..#recommended

I came across some photos from my years in Afghanistan and felt such a pang of nostalgia for my winter and early spring Friday afternoons watching buzkashi – Afghanistan’s national equestrian sport. Apologies for the poor quality images, which do not do the sport justice. I have others, transparencies, which I hope one day to convert.

IMG_0010 (Custom)

It’s a sport which makes polo look like a game for children. Instead of a ball, it is played with a headless carcass of a goat – the name means, literally, grabbing the goat – or a calf. The goat is killed the day before the match, its head cut off and the guts removed. The torso is soaked in water for twenty four hours to toughen up the hide. By the end of the match the meat must be beautifully tender, which can’t always be said for goat meat.

It’s the fastest, most exciting, exhilarating sport in the world and I became addicted to it when I lived in Mazar-i-Sharif.

IMG_0013 (Custom)


Please head over to Mary’s blog to read the rest of this fascinating post… thanks Sally

via MarySmith’sPlace – #Buzkashi

Smorgasbord Health Column with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – Cook from Scratch to prevent nutritional deficiency


In this series we look at cooking and your diet from a different perspective. Usually we emphasize the health benefits of food and how they can be incorporated into your diet. But, what happens if you do NOT include them in your diet.

We wanted to share with you what happens if your body is deprived of individual nutrients over an extended period of time.

Thankfully most of us eat reasonably well, with plenty of variety, but if you take a look at a week’s worth of meals, do you find that you are sticking to a handful of foods, all the time.

Variety is key to good health, to provide your body with as broad a spectrum of nutrients as possible that the body needs. Taking a supplement or relying on shakes and bars to provide your daily allowance of vitamins and nutrients is not in your body’s best interest. Giving it foods that the body can process and extract everything it needs is vital.

Over the next few months we are going to be working our way through the most essential of these nutrients and I will share the symptoms that you might experience if you are becoming deficient in the vitamin or mineral and list the foods where you can find the nutrient.

Carol Taylor is then going to provide you with some wonderful recipes that make best use of these foods… Cooked from Scratch.

Vitamin B1- Thiamin

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) is a water-soluble vitamin. This means that along with the other B vitamins and Vitamin C it travels through the blood stream and any excess is eliminated in our urine. The body cannot store thiamin but it is found in tissues within the body such as in the liver, heart, kidneys and the nervous system where it binds to enzymes.

This does mean that these types of vitamins need to be replaced from our food continuously.

Thiamin helps fuel our bodies by converting blood sugar into energy. Every cell in the body requires it to form the fuel we run on called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). It also keeps our mucus membranes healthy and with other B vitamins is essential for a healthy nervous and cardiovascular system as well as muscular function. It is also important for healthy skin, hair and our eyes.

Deficiency of B1




via Smorgasbord Health Column with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – Cook from Scratch to prevent nutritional deficiency

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer L.T. Garvin – #Poetry – Looking Homeward


I am delighted to welcome author L.T. Garvin (Lana Broussard) to Smorgasbord with a series of guest posts, and her first is a heartrending poem about the past, her family and the devastating loss of a mother in wartime. Lana will be joining us every two weeks until April 8th.

Looking Homeward by L.T. Garvin

My father’s younger brother
followed him into World War II
like a pesky little brother would
ready to do his part
ready to make his mark
These two blonde, blue-eyed boys
one year apart in age
Uncle Dail followed my father
down the dirt roads


To read the rest of this heartrending poem… please follow the link


via Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer L.T. Garvin – #Poetry – Looking Homeward

Learning to Trust Your Intuition


D.G. Kaye.. Debby Gies with a post on Sisters of The Fey on intuition and trusting our gut… how many times have you instinctively known to do or not to do something… a fascinating article.  Please follow the link to read the whole post.

Do you struggle with trusting your intuition? Do you feel pangs of anxiety when having to face a big decision in your life, fighting the inner conflict of the two sides of the coin when you know something is off, yet, you don’t know whether you should trust your inside warning system or if you should just simply wave off your concerns as your imagination?

All of us have been in these predicaments at various times in our lives. And I’m sure many of us tend to wave off our worries, sometimes allowing the chips to fall where they may because we’re just too afraid to make an executive decision. But often, letting the chips fall where they may because of self-doubt will lead to a negative outcome. So how can we help ourselves become more assertive when it comes to making a decision about things we don’t really want to think about but aren’t going away? We must take a step outside of our worries and delve into the elements of our dilemmas looking at them from a different perspective.


Head over to read the entire article….

via Learning to Trust Your Intuition