My Grand day Out

I popped back into the sixteenth century on Sunday for an Elizabethan Christmas. I was rather hoping it would get me started on preparing for my own celebrations.

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2018-12-09 11.47.55The infamous ‘Grape of Death’ trick had us holding our breaths for fear the jester might choke. Not nearly as scary as his hobby horse, though.
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2017-12-03 13.03.23 I really go to listen to the Elizabethan Christmas music, preferable to the commercial stuff we hear today.

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Hautbois have some rather interesting facts about the evolution of the midwinter holiday we now know as Christmas. They made me laugh – and gave me some ideas I can use in my own writing.
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The Tudors ate too much, drank too much – no change there, then.
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The Second Corona Book of Horror Stories

 

2nd book of horror stories

 

Some little sweetheart out there thinks that my story, ‘The Toy Shop’ is epic! Thank you. Well done to Wondra Vanian (In my Day) and Mark A Smart (A Dark Reflection), also mentioned in despatches.

I love Wondra’s story too and Mark’s does not help my problem with mirrors – and what may lurk behind them.

Why not try my debut novel, ‘The Woman Who Was Not TWWWNHW front cover[217]His Wife’?

It is not a typical science-fiction  novel but contains elements of fantasy, horror and romance and is designed to be a thought-provoking reflection of our own society.

 

… is easy to wrap and fits snugly in a Christmas stocking.

Preparing for the Winter

herb gardenI am lucky enough to have an extensive herb garden. It is the only place to be on a warm summer day. It is quiet and peaceful, rich with relaxing scents and warm in the sunshine. It is a place I invariably go in order to think and write. Mind you, things can happen to spoil the peace. Awful things. During the summer I had made a cup of my special coffee in my special gardening mug and was sitting watching the weeds grow when I heard a loud and determined buzz and an equally loud plop … in my coffee. A bee – a kamikaze bee at that. I poured this delicious cup of my special brew onto the flags and out fell the bee. Unfortunately, those few seconds it took me to decide that a bee had flown into my elevenses meant that it was curtains for the bee. Legs in the air, it lay there on the flags in a cooling puddle of beverage. coffee cup

I now use a mug with a lid. The bee population is in enough trouble without them dropping into hot drinks.

Now that the weather has turned I spent a delightful morning this week grinding the herbs I had collected and dried at the end of the summer.  The smell in my kitchen was divine and I was able to find an ending for a short story, ‘Perchance to Dream’ that had me stumped for some time. Happy days.

prepped herbs

 

Keep following if you want to read ‘Perchance to Dream’. Coming soon.

 

Bullying

Last week was Anti-bullying week but we all know that this is an age old problem that seems to persist. So, like that puppy, anti-bullying awareness is not just for one week in November but for everyday.

Unfortunately, however evolved we consider humankind to be, we are human and bullying will continue unless the target finds a way to confront and deal with it. It’s easy for those on the outside to offer suggestions but the very nature of bullying precludes that. You need to be an exceptionally strong, self confident person to overcome such abuse and bullies will always play to our weaknesses.

51iQYgL3ueLSometimes the bullying is more subtle and creeps up on us unawares as happens to Alex in ‘Visible Ink’. Sometimes we are so used to the dynamics of a friendship that we can allow ourselves to be dominated by the stronger personality. We never consider that this is bullying but any behaviour that makes us uncomfortable over a period of time is so.

S. L. Powell’s gentle story of two young friends explores this concept and we discover that there are two sides to the relationship. Alex feels that he is being unfairly treated by his friend but how is Lennie feeling?

This is just the book to help young people deal with the challenges that occur in all our lives.

The author suggests the book is for 9 – 12 year olds which covers the move from primary to secondary education, but I feel that it has a magic that will appeal to all ages.

As a former teacher of children with social, emotional and developmental needs I whole-heartedly recommend this book to anyone who has a child who may be struggling with self-esteem.

What have you read lately?

TCBOSFI’m still convalescing, unable to drive so I have had more time to read than of late. I have been lucky enough to have had a story included in The Corona Book of Science Fiction and this has prompted me to read the other tales.

It’s up to you to decide what you think of my story, but I found the rest of the book fascinating in its diversity. Star Wars it is not but a carefully arranged selection of thought-provoking short stories.

If you are considering science fiction but are not sure where to start this is as a good a place as any. From human nature in ‘First Contact’, to alien nature in ‘Ribbon World’, there is something for everyone. You can be thrown millennia into the future in ‘The Souvenir’ or experience a near miss today in ‘Let the Bells Ring Out’.

If you are an ardent sci-fi fan, then it’s a definite must buy. Something for the Christmas stocking? 

http://www.coronabooks.com

http://www.amazon.co.uk

 

 

 

November

November is the month of remembrance, starting with All Souls on November 1st when we think about those we have known and lost. My Dad’s birthday was on November 1st. My mother always considered him a lost soul.

Bonfire Night is also an act of remembrance as we commiserate –  sorry – celebrate the fact that Guy Fawkes failed to blow up the Houses of Parliament.

As Remembrance Sunday approaches I thought I would share the impressions I brought back from a trip to the trenches and war graves in northern France and Belgium.

 

There’s an absence here.      WW1 trenches
It pulls at the soul as if
Looking for substance.

God is forbidden,
Excluded, shut out, dismissed,
Buried beneath mud.

In the silence, no
Birds sing; only the poppy
Grows, red in the sun.