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Libby Klein Interviewed by Wendy H. Jones Let’s ease you in gently. Can you tell us a bit about yourself? I grew up in Cape May, NJ where my favorite subjects in high school were English and Culinary studies. Now I live in Virginia where I write the Poppy McAllister Mysteries. When I’m not writing, I’m being bossed around by the cats and one very silly Labrador. Following Figaro’s adventures is a fulltime job! And Miss Eliza Doolittle is extremely high maintenance! She is relentless with her demands for food, and Vader is an 85lb Labrador who wants to be held like a baby. I also have a very busy life between my day job, my church family, and taking care of my in-laws full time.
that when one book ends you don’t have to say goodbye because another one is coming to pick up where you left off. And of course, I love that they’re able to tell a good story without having to use a lot of sex, profanity and violence to do it.
When did you start writing and why? I didn’t set out to be a writer, I think I fell into it accidentally. I used to rewrite books and movies in my head when I didn’t like the way they ended. I couldn’t sleep at night until I’d fixed whatever I felt had gone wrong with the story. I could daydream for hours. Some nights I wouldn’t sleep until I’d worked out a scene of some imaginary play that had been running in my head. It wasn’t until I started playing the same story over and over in my head that I thought maybe I should write it down. Writing has become a way for me to create something fun to share with people who need a little vacation from the stress of daily life.
I love your Poppy McAllister books. These are set around the world of catering – why catering? I always wanted to be a pastry chef. Now I’d like a job that sends me around the world and pays me to taste chocolate and coffee. I know I’d be good at it because I’ve been training for it my whole life. I love and understand baking, and I love the therapy of making gluten free bread and cookies while my mind relaxes. In a lot of ways, Poppy is living the life I almost had.
To take this further – Why cozy mysteries?
Poppy McAllister is a fabulous character, complex and yet endearing. How did you go about developing her character?
Cozies have all the elements I love in a good book. A little humor, a little romance, a quirky cast of characters, and of course – a mystery to solve. I love
Poppy is very real. She isn’t young and gorgeous, she isn’t fabulously successful at twenty-five or running her own business just out of college. She’s a plus
sized, middle aged widow trying to start her life over and find some self-love. She doesn’t cave under pressure – she fights back with sarcasm. She cares deeply for the people she loves and will do anything to protect them. Poppy is a very honest character. Her flaws and mistakes are as much a part of her as her red hair and freckles. I think what makes her so easy to identify with is that she reveals the things we are all thinking and feeling. Throughout the series, Poppy has gone from being a depressed doormat, wallowing in self-pity and shame – to being a self- confident Boss Lady. She’s had to fight to accept herself and the fact that she’ll never be a skinny supermodel – no matter how much dieting she endures. She’s had to fight for love and allow herself to follow her heart instead of always doing what other people expect of her. And she’s learned to let go of the past and live her life without regrets.
Your main character is on a gluten free diet, so your recipes are gluten free. Why is this? Not that I’m complaining as I, too, am on a gluten free diet and one of our featured articles this month is on Coeliac Disease. Poppy and I share the autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s and I’ve recently been soft diagnosed with Coeliac Disease. Cozy Mysteries are very full of delicious recipes for all manner of gluten-filled treats. Since I’m very susceptible to the power of suggestion, I find myself wanting to eat everything in whatever book I’m reading at the time. I’m a coffee girl – but if the protagonist owns a tea shop – I find myself drinking tea like Queen Victoria is coming to town. So it’s always frustrating to read about something delicious and know I can’t touch it. I wanted to have Poppy bake allergy friendly treats so people like me don’t have to miss out. There are seven gluten free (and sometimes dairy free) recipes in each of my books.
The Poppy McAllister Mysteries
Despite these being catering mysteries you do set them in other cozy worlds such as antique auctions or class reunions. Why the juxtaposition of the two? My mysteries are culinary by nature because that’s what Poppy does for a living. They are full of romance and humor because that’s what makes me happy. The cross over to other cozy worlds is just part of the culture of Cape May. The Beauty Expo at Convention Hall, the Antique Show at Cold Spring Village, the Senior Center Musical Theatre, and the Ghost Tours at the famous landmarks (sneak peak for Mischief Nights coming out August 2023), These are (or could be) real events at real places. Cape May is as much a character in the series as Poppy and Aunt Ginny.
I’m curious, how do you go about thinking of settings for your books? I grew up in Cape May, NJ so I know the location very well. There is a wealth of beauty in the area, and at the same time, great opportunity to have a constant influx of tourists bringing a seedy underbelly of crime into Poppy’s home town. The first three books in the series have a lot of Cape May and Wildwood landmarks sprinkled in for fun. Then I started thinking more about the area and what landmarks could I use as part of the story. The Cape May Convention Hall, Congress Hall, and many of the bed and breakfasts have been featured in my books. Let’s get personal for a moment. If you were to have one perfect day, what would that look like? Reading my Bible and Praying while I sit out on my deck drinking coffee. Reading a good books. A spa visit. Afternoon Tea. Dinner out with my husband. And my favorite British crime show with my cat in my lap and my dog at my side. Of course if I’m under deadline I might swap out all but the first one for a day of brilliant, effortless writing full of witty
dialogue. What would be your idea of the perfect holiday? I love to sit on the beach under an umbrella or cabana with a good book and an iced coffee. I also love to go just about anywhere in the world and see everything. I have terrible wanderlust. If you could choose a song to be the background to your books, what would it be?
Most of my books have songs in them. Music weaves a very important tone under the action for a lot of scenes. When Poppy is with her high school boyfriend the music is usually eighties rock. When she’s with the Italian barista the music often takes a sexier tone. And for Poppy’s pivotal scene in the jail cell it’s Kelly Clarkson’s What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger. What is your favourite food? Everything I’m allergic to. Bread, cheese, and sugar. And switching back to writing. What three pieces of advice would you give to anyone wanting to write a cozy mystery? Read great books – not just for enjoyment, but study them for their structure and style. Write every day – you get better by practice. Write in your own voice – don’t try to sound like someone else or how you think great literature should sound. Everyone’s first draft is rubbish. Just get the story down then layer on the edits until it’s polished. - 10 -
Why do you think cozy mystery is such a popular genre for both readers and writers? I think crime writers like cozies because an amateur sleuth can get away with a lot more than a professional member of law enforcement. If your main character is a police officer, you’d better know police procedures or you’ll hear about it. Your book will lose it’s authenticity. When I write scenes that include my police officers I get advice from real life cops – and that’s for my side characters. And I personally didn’t want to write the sex, violence, and profanity. I believe readers love cozy mysteries because they’re, well, cozy. Like a welcome visit with your best friends, catching on on the neighborhood hijinx, a little romance, some sassy sidekicks and of course, the cat. And if you’re someone who doesn’t like to read sex, violence, and profanity – cozies are perfect because they weed out all that nonsense in exchange for humor and charm.
Finally, where can we find you on social media if we would like to follow you? Follow me everywhere! Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/libbykleinbooks/
Cozy Mystery Crew—https://www.facebook.com/ groups/1757692634274149/ Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/ show/16834863.Libby_Klein
Which of your books should Mom’s Favorite Reads readers start with if they want to read your books?
Bookbub - https://www.bookbub.com/profile/libbyklein
I recommend starting at the beginning of the series with Class Reunions Are Murder. While I hope my writing has improved over time, and the most recent books should be just a little bit better than the first, there is a lot of character growth that you don’t want to miss. I weave a lot of subplots in every book and some of them carry on from one book to the next like a drama series. You don’t want to miss that.
Twitter - https://twitter.com/LibbyKleinBooks Website – https://libbykleinbooks.com/ Pinterest - https://www.pinterest.com/libbykleinbooks/ Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/ libbykleinbooks/
Wendy H. Jones is the award winning, international best-selling author of the DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries, Cass Claymore Investigates Mysteries, Fergus and Flora Mysteries, Bertie the Buffalo children’s books and the Writing Matters books for writers. She is also a writing and marketing coach and the President of the Scottish Association of Writers. As copy editor for Mom’s, she works hard to ensure content is appropriate and free of grammatical and spelling errors. You can learn more about Wendy on her website:
https://www.wendyhjones.com/ - 11 -
Title Reunions are Murder Class by Stan LibbyPhillips Klein Reviewed by Wendy H. Jones
Description For fortysomething Poppy McAllister, taking a stroll down memory lane in Cape May, New Jersey, isn't just awkward--it's deadly. Newly widowed and stuck in a middle-aged funk, Poppy has been running on cookies, infomercials, and one-sided chats with her cat for months. There's no way on earth she's attending her twenty-five-year class reunion--especially after receiving a very bizarre letter from Barbie, the popular cheerleader who taunted her all through high school. At least, not until Poppy's best friend practically drags her to the event . . . Using the dreaded homecoming as an excuse to visit her eccentric Aunt Ginny, Poppy vows to leave Cape May with pride and Spanx intact. Too bad Barbie is still the queen of mean at the reunion. And worse, that her dead body is lying right in front of Poppy's old locker. Singled out as the killer, it's up to Poppy to confront her past and clear her name. But between protecting her aunt from disaster and tackling a gluten-free diet, can Poppy crack the case before she's voted "Most Likely to Die" by the murderer? Includes Seven Recipes from Poppy's Kitchen!
Review This is the first book in a funny and quirky cozy mystery series. It introduces us to Poppy and her extremely eccentric aunt. I loved this book and love the characters even more. In this book Poppy has low self-esteem and travelling to her class reunion where her classmates are as catty as they had been as teens isn’t doing much to improve
the situation. Things go from bad to worse when she stumbles across a dead body, and she is the number one suspect. This book is laugh out loud funny, with a strong mystery and a riveting plot. Like all cozy mysteries it is very much character driven and the characters are fabulous. This all leads to one cracking book which will be loved by all cozy mystery fans. As an added bonus it contains 7 gluten free recipes which seems to be a theme in this month’s magazine. It also suits me down to the ground as I am on a gluten free diet. - 12 -
Antique Auctions Are Murder by Libby Klein Review
Reviewed by Wendy H. Jones
This is the latest book in the Poppy McAllister series, and I loved it as much as the others. In fact, I think the books get better and better. There is a madcap cast of characters all of whom had me literally laughing out loud. There is mystery aplenty and a liberal sprinkling of red herrings, with enough twists and turns to keep the most avid mystery fan happy. Poppy is settling into her relationship with her hot boyfriend, Gia, and I am glad to see the relationship developing. She is also becoming more confident in who she is and coming to terms with who she is as a person. I love seeing her personality develop. Another great book which I can highly recommend.
Description When vintage items go up for auction, gluten-free baker and B&B owner Poppy McAllister discovers some people will pay the ultimate price. . . It’s peak summer season at the Butterfly House Bed and Breakfast in Cape May, with tourists fluttering in and out and wreaking enough havoc to rival a Jersey Shore hurricane. Also back in town is Courtney Whipple and his family of antique dealers for the annual Cold Spring Village antique show. Courtney’s son Auggie has a unique piece he believes will fetch them a fortune if he can get it authenticated in time—a piece rival dealer Grover Prickle insists was stolen from his store. Poppy and her Aunt Ginny attend the auction, hoping to bid on an armoire for the B&B, and discover a veritable armory for sale—everything from ancient blades and nineteenth century guns to such potential killing devices as knitting needles and a blacksmith hammer. Strangely, they don’t see either Auggie or Grover—or the mysterious item they both claim to own. Then during the auction, a body falls out of the very armoire Poppy was hoping to acquire, stabbed through the heart. Now, surrounded by competitive dealers and makeshift weapons, she must find out who turned the auction house into a slaughterhouse . . . Includes Seven Recipes from Poppy’s Kitchen!
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The Shot that Changed the World Submitted by Hannah Howe Written by Rhys — Age 14 It would take only one gruesome death,
The price that was paid echoes to this very day,
It would take one furious man,
The hellish screams of shells descending upon young men,
It would cost millions their humble breath,
The rippling machine guns slaughtered without a say,
It would be a part of ‘a great plan’.
Once again, blood poured from the poet’s pen. The fields of fresh promises,
That was the War to End All Wars,
Stand in ruin by their cruel commanders,
We could have had peace that lasted forever,
They planted their false condolences,
All of that could have been yours,
Beside the souls who now rest in Flanders.
Instead they embarked upon a bloody endeavour.
Under beautiful stars does tyranny kill,
Did they know what they were embarking upon?
On heavenly mountains did blood stain the earth,
Were those generals truly ready?
Regret consumed their cruel will,
Seriously, who thought they could have won?
Yet, condemnation is all these commanders are worth.
Didn’t they know that that ship was unsteady?
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Deceit By Penny Luker Marcus Featherstone always told his clients that they really didn’t need the surgery, which made most insist that they did. He recorded these interviews to cover his back, in case the client was not happy with the result. With his level of expertise, he rarely bodged an operation, but women who were dissatisfied with what nature had given them, often were dissatisfied with much in life.
‘Indeed, you don’t. I’ll describe the procedure and the recovery period and then as soon as we’ve booked you in, you’ll need to pay the fee.’
‘I’m really sorry, Mrs. Cartier, but there is no guarantee that your face will have healed by that date.’
One day in walked a sixty-seven year old woman, who wanted a face lift. The procedure cost just over five thousand pounds.
‘But I’m going to be made a Dame and visit Buckingham Palace. You have to make me look better by the end of the month.’
‘You really don’t need a facelift, Mrs. Cartier. There are a few gentle lines on your face, but they don’t look unattractive.’
‘Well congratulations, Mrs. Cartier, but I strongly advise you to leave the procedure until after your visit to the palace. Younger women than you have taken longer than three weeks to heal and your scars won’t have faded.’
‘Yes, yes, yes, but I need to be ready and looking good by the end of the month.’
‘I thought as a paying client, I wouldn’t have to argue for the procedure,’ she said rather haughtily.
‘No, I want you to book me in immediately.’
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‘We’ll look forward to seeing you.’ The following month, Dame Cartier was ushered into the office. ‘You know what I want, Mr. Featherstone. Can we skip all that crap about my not needing the procedure?’ ‘Of course, Dame Cartier, but I need to point out that even when your neck is done, you will still have a sixty -seven year old body. We can work on various parts of your body, but I cannot make you younger.’ ‘I’m not stupid, Mr. Featherstone. What will the neck cost?’
So reluctantly Marcus, booked her in for the next day to give her the maximum healing time possible, but he did so with great reservation.
‘It’s £8,000. We will have to be extra careful, because of your previous procedure.’
The procedure went well and Mrs. Cartier took her pain killers and kept her face dry and bandaged for the two days she was at the clinic. When the bandages were removed, she had healed much better than expected, but the scars were, of course, still visible.
‘Please book me in as soon as possible.’ When Mr. Featherstone went to visit Dame Cartier, after the neck operation, He was pleased with the result.
‘Yes, it has worked well, but it shows up the wrinkles on my front, above my breasts. What can you do about that?’
Mr. Featherstone always took the time to visit his patients before discharging them. ‘Your procedure has gone well, Mrs. Cartier. I hope you’re pleased.’
‘Your skin there has been damaged by the sun. I recommend a good quality moisturizer and to keep your front covered.’
‘But my smooth face, shows up my crepey, wrinkly neck. My neck looks so old. What am I to do, before my special Saturday?’ she wailed.
‘No, if I’m to look young, I have to be able to wear low -cut dresses.’
‘May I suggest, you buy some good moisturizer, some good cover make-up and a lovely light floaty scarf,’ he said. ‘I don’t think anyone will notice your neck as your face looks so beautiful. Why, you look twenty years younger.’
‘I’m reluctant to do anything,’ said Mr. Featherstone. ‘We could tighten your skin by making a tuck under your armpits, or we could plump up the skin there, but I really wouldn’t recommend it. It will be most uncomfortable.’
‘I shall be back very soon to book a neck procedure,’ she said.
‘I don’t care how uncomfortable I am. Just do it.’ When Mr. Featherstone left her room, he switched off the portable tape machine and booked her in for the following week. He was beginning to feel quite proud of his work. The sixty-seven year old was looking pretty good. She had her lips plumped up and her hands treated with lasers to get rid of the age spots. She naturally had good legs that had kept their shape. Dame Cartier was at last satisfied. She looked fantastic. Mr. Featherstone’s clinic was richer by literally thousands of pounds. All paid for in cash. - 16 -
On his way home that night, he walked under the underpass to get to the station, where there was a homeless, young man, sitting on the ground with a plastic pot containing a few pennies. He walked past and went into MacDonalds. There he purchased a burger and chips, coffee, a bottle of water and some cookies. While it was all being prepared, he slipped off his warm coat, opened his brief case and took out his folded raincoat. Then he walked back to the young man and gave him his warm coat, the meal and drinks
‘I trust Mr. Featherstone that your clinic will be a hundred per cent confidential about my treatments.’
‘Here son, have a hot meal and this warm coat.’ The young man looked up and a tiny sparkle of hope showed in his eyes as he took the proffered gifts.
‘Of course, Dame Cartier. We pride ourselves in discretion at Featherstone’s.’ It was two months later that Marcus was reading through the Sunday papers that he saw the Cartier scandal. Dame Cartier had been running a charity to help the homeless and been awarded her Damehood on the basis of all the good work she was supposedly doing, but it turned out that at least half the money had gone missing. Dame Cartier had been stripped of her title and her account books had been seized.
‘If you need a job, come to our offices tomorrow,’ Marcus said handing him his card. Marcus Featherstone felt good inside for the first time in ages. He realized what a privileged position he was in. He had skills, money and respect and he decided in that moment that he would find ways to help the homeless. Nobody would know, but one way or another, he would repay the money the Cartiers had stolen.
Marcus Featherstone admired the picture in the paper. She was still looking good. He was going to the computer to delete all references to her attending the clinic, but at the last minute he just changed the name to Jones and then went through all the photographs and made sure she was not recognizable in any of them. There was no way he was having all those fees seized. When the case came to court both the Cartiers were given seven year sentences for defrauding the charity. Idly Marcus wondered what she’d look like after her time in jail.
Penny Luker is a writer and artist from Cheshire. She writes novels, short stories and poetry for adults, and also writes children’s stories. You can find her work at www.pennyluker.wordpress.com or http://author.to/PennyLuker
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Writing Prompt By Angela Abraham
Descriptionari Quotes and Descriptions to Inspire Creative Writing
Discover, Share, Connect
With that is real cleverness comes as a great updraft that coaxes the wings to spread wide. Now that's intelligence.
Creativity is the weaving of random into a new and wonderful dish. Descriptionari helps you to fill up your idea cupboard with new ingredients, unleashing your inner Masterchef! And so, in keeping with our fantastic flash fiction theme ‘humour’, tongue firmly in our extended -pun-cheek, here are a few nibbles!
Angela Abraham, @daisydescriptionari, December 24, 2020.
Word play is my play ground, my joy hound, my rocket fuel and starry, starry night.
By Angela Abraham, @daisydescriptionari, April 26, 2021
When you laugh I see your child self. We all need that for all our lives. So, keep on laughing. It is the best medicine for yourself and society. By Angela Abraham, @daisydescriptionari, March 20, 2021.
Angela spent the past 10 years building Descriptionari one flash of inspiration at a time. She is now focusing on the creation of fiction novels. Her dog Oliver says it is all a complete waste of time and can he go for a walk now? - 18 -
Sounds by Stan Phillips I have listened to the violin concerto of Max Bruch hundreds of times down all my years and am astonished at how fresh and new it is every time I hear it. It was on again this evening and I was moved almost to tears once again by the slow second movement. It made me think of sounds we hear through life of which we never tire never get bored with. Like the rush of waves upon a sea shore. Or the soft rustle of leaves in the treetops, with the chuckle of wood pigeons sighing softly within them as the night closes in. The long gone laughter of a child, grown now, but which still echoes around a lonely heart. The final chords of 'Bridge over Troubled Waters' that resonate and resurrect the youthful passions for life that once we felt. The breath of a sleeping lover hovering like a quiet zephyr on the night air. And perhaps the comforting throb of a heartbeat echoing - just audible enough to fill your dreams. Those are some of the sounds that make my life special, that reverberate along the pathways of my life. What I wonder, are yours?
Stan Phillips is a poet, musical podcast maker, part-time wannabe male model, and occasional stand up comedian. “I used to be a psychotherapist/counsellor when I had an honest job. I was born into prewar London, and attended 17 schools (my father believed they couldn’t hit a moving target) and I eventually finished up here in Ireland. Still wondering what I will be when I grow up — but enjoying writing my quirky poetry as I do so.” Discover more about Stan on Mom’s Favorite Reads website: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/stan-phillips
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Recalling The German ‘Great Escape’ by John Greeves Ask anyone about the ‘Great Escape’ and they’ll probably think of the epic war film starring Steve Mc Queen, James Garner and Richard Attenborough that was based very loosely on Paul Brickhill’s book of the same name. On the 24th March 1944, 76 prisoners escaped from Stalag Luft III in Sagan now in Poland. Perhaps far less well known, but equally as daring was another Great Escape a year later when 70 German prisoners of war performed the same feat from Island Farm, PoW Camp 198, near Bridgend in South Wales. This made it the largest escape from any German PoW camp in Great Britain to have taken place during World War II. Island Farm Camp is situated on the outskirts of Bridgend and was originally built as a hostel for women who worked in a large munition factory,
Aerial view showing the outlay of the POW Camp
Island Farm POW Camp 128 near Bridgend - 20 -
affectionately known as the ‘Arsenal’ or the ‘Admiralty’ by the locals. At its peak the Royal Ordinance Factory employed 40,000 people, mainly women who filled shells for the front line and the Navy. Staff travelled from as far as Carmarthen and Monmouth and the authorities decided it would be wise to build a camp to house many of these women who travelled great distances and so reduce their burden. It was a massive miscalculation with the women refusing bluntly to live there, preferring instead to travel into work and home every day.
Island Farm POW camp
Nearly one million PoWs were being held in Britain and Island Farm assumed a new role.
This meant the camp lay empty until the arrival of American troops to Bridgend and the surrounding areas ahead of D-Day in 1943. In January 1944, Island Farm became home to the Second Battalion of the 109th infantry regiment. During this period, it’s known that General Dwight D Eisenhower inspected various units in the locality in April 1944 including Island Farm where he addressed troops from the back of an Army Jeep.
It was decided that Island Farm, designated Camp 198 would then become a low-level security prisoner of war camp in 1944. Its inmates were a mix of lower ranking German and Italian prisoners who were soon put to work on the local farms. Security at the camp in the beginning was inadequate because of the lack of materials and there were no raised guard towers or searchlights.
The Americans stay was short lived and they departed from the camp in June 1944. The war in Europe took another turn after D-Day and resulted in the capture of thousands of German Prisoners.
Life in the camp was geared very much to a routine: of early morning rising, breakfast, parade and head count followed by various jobs such as general maintenance, gardening and cooking. Free time existed between 6.00 pm and 10.30 pm and the prisoners were able to pursue their own interest. Some used chalks to make paint and created nostalgic murals of castles, maps of Europe, pin up girls, while others engaged in singing, putting on shows or playing football. The noise from the camp was very loud and the defiant singing never stopped night after night much to the annoyance of Bridgend residents. Many of the 1600 prisoners were in the SS, the Nazi paramilitary group which were fiercely loyal to Hitler. The camp was officially under the British command of Lieutenant Colonel Edwin Darling but it was the SS who really exercised control behind barbed wire where extreme ideology still manifested itself
Open day at Island Farm American Jeep credit Hannah Howe - 21 -
in outbreaks of violence against fellow prisoners. Two naval officers for example were severely beaten up and hospitalised when they refused to send Hitler a birthday card. Within days of their arrival on 2 November 1944, the German PoWs begun plans for escaping. Colonel Darling, British Commandant had himself been a prisoner during the First World War and was aware how noise and singing could be used to cover up the sound of digging. In January 1945 the British discovered a tunnel in Hut 16. While others of his command were jubilant, Darling was acutely aware that a second tunnel probably existed, as escape tunnels usually came in pairs. Darling's reasoning proved to be sound although the second tunnel wasn’t discovered until it was too late. This thirty foot tunnel began under a bed in Hut 9. An opening had been cut through the concrete and this was carefully concealed. A graphic image of a scantily dressed female was painted on the wall to distract the guards. The tunnel was approximately 3 foot square with an opening that went down four or five feet and before turning towards the fence and running under a concrete path outside the hut. This formed part of its roof before the tunnel branched out under the wire to a neighbouring farmer’s field.
Escape Tunnel_Scanner_HIRES credit Terra Dat
Digging implements were fashioned from metal bars and wooden benches with the tunnel roof propped up with bed legs cut to the same lengths so the guards wouldn’t become suspicious. An ingenious system was devised to remove the excavated soil which differed in colour (a vibrant orange in colour) to the compound’s soil. After the earth was dug from the tunnel, it was taken by sled and then rolled into balls before it was disposed behind a false wall. Ventilation for the tunnel was provided by a system of milk cans slotted together and fresh air was fed through using a hand operated pump. The tunnel was illuminated using the camp’s own electricity supply and the lighting was also used as a warning signal during the escape that took place on the 19th March 1945. The escapees were divided into groups; each being equipped with a map, home made compass and food and identity papers produced in the camp. The escape began around ten o’clock after the final roll call. Look outs were posted to watch the guards who patrolled the escape exit section of the wire and the lights were switched off when it was necessary to warn the men in the tunnel not to proceed until they came back on.
Fallen_Maddonnacredit Terra Dat
Further precautions were taken with the tunnel floor lined with old clothes to prevent the escapees - 22 -
Exterior view of Hut 9. The only remaining hut in existence now at Island Farm POW Camp 128. Credit Hannah Howe
Hut 9 from where the escape took place. Credit Hannah Howe
being covered in mud. Curry powder was sprinkled around the inner perimeter of the two fences to put the guard dogs off the scent. Various diversions were devised on the night, a choir was formed in a neighbouring hut to divert attention and prisoners also performed a rowdy play in the camp theatre. The clamour from the play not only deadened any noise but provided a great opportunity to break into the British food store that night and gather additional provisions for the escape.
For several hours the escape continued unimpeded. Once an escapee had exited from the tunnel they made there way to a rendezvous point by a large tree 150 yards away. By 4 am on the morning of the 11th March the escape was discovered when PoW Tonnsmann was spied by a guard carrying a white kitbag that showed up in the dark. In all 70 escaped prisoners were now on the loose. Brett Exton who has researched this subject for many years states, “Sadly, several authors and newspapers have tried to tell the story of the escape….I have read figures of 67 and over 80 but the confirmed figure is definitely 70 Germans escaped making it the largest escape from any PoW camp in Great Britain.” The escapees took to road and field, some boarded goods trains while one ingenious group posed as Norwegian engineers and stole an Austin 12 car belonging to a local doctor. They had trouble starting it and calmly asked four guards from Island Farm Camp to give them a push. Unfortunately for the PoWs, the petrol ran out in the Forest of Dean and the escapees were forced to board a goods train where they were arrested near Castle Bromwich. Two early captures were SS officers Karl Ludwig and Heinz Herzle. They were apparently planning to
Replica guard tower that would have been positioned around POW camps - 23 -
board one of the trucks that ran past Island Farm to the Cardiff Docks. No trucks were sighted, so the pair decided to head for the train station. En route they saw a drunk man coming towards them and they hid in a garden. Unluckily for them the garden belonged to the man heading back from the pub who relieved himself over the bush in which Ludwig was hiding. The Germans eventually boarded a train for Llanharan before being captured by PC Philip Baverstock.
were transferred to Camp 181 at Carburton in Nottinghamshire leaving the camp empty. The camp was then designated as Special Camp XI and another phase of its history took place with nearly 200 notable prisoners including Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt, Commander-in-Chief of the German armies in the campaign against France, Field Marshal Eric von Manstein, as well as admirals and General Major Dr. Walter Robert Dornberger, a rocket scientist, who were based in the camp awaiting Nuremberg trials.
Road block after the escape Western Mail
The majority of prisoners were rounded up over the following three days, although some had put considerable distance between themselves and the camp. One group was apprehended in Swansea in search of a ship out of Wales, while another prisoner was found stowed away on a freight train heading towards Southampton. All the prisoners were recaptured and then the ‘blame game’ began. The media cited the incompetence of the guards and the military. The military refuted these claims and blamed under-manning. The outcome resulted in stricter procedures being introduced but this wasn’t for long. Within three weeks just over 1600 PoWs (including those not involved in the escape)
Images supplied by Terra Dat - 24 -
Today, little remains of the camp. Although, Hut 9 and the tunnel still remains. In 2003, a company called Terradat used its equipment to locate and uncover the escape tunnel. It was found largely intact. In 2013, Brett Exton (Chair person of the Hut 9 Preservation Group) welcomed John Craven and the BBC Country file to the site and again the tunnel was unearthed, but this time laser-imagining modelling in 3D was used to produce an accurate record of the tunnel. Hut 9, is now a listed building and the preservation group hostsseveral “Open Weekend” events on Armistice and the March anniversary. The events are very much in demand and places fill very quickly. (See booking details on http://www.islandfarm.wales/). Entry is free to the events but the preservation group relies on the generosity of donations from its visitors and supporters to maintain and improve the site. The visit includes a talk, a tour of the infamous hut where re-enactors portray the story and opportunities to view artefacts and many wall paintings removed from the rest of the site prior to
Perspective view of hut9 credit Terra Dat
demolition. Future plans include raising enough money to insert a periscope devise so visitors can see from above what it would have been like to crawl through the tunnel and provides a comparable example in many ways to the ‘The Great Escape’ of Stalag Luft III. Here too, PoWs felt it their solemn duty to try to escape from their enemy captors. Links http://www.islandfarm.wales/ https://www.bracklaordnance.co.uk/ introduction.htm https:// hannah-howe.com/anns-war/the-prisonerof-war-camp/ https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/ full/10.1080/15740773.2017.1357900 Books The German Great Escape by Peter Phillips Come Out, Wherever You Are - The Great Escape in Wales by Williams, Herbert
John Greeves originally hails from Lincolnshire. He believes in the power of poetry and writing to change people’s lives and the need for language to move and connect people to the modern world. Since retiring from Cardiff University, Greeves works as a freelance journalist who's interested in an eclectic range of topics.
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Antelope Island, Great Salt Lake — Utah by Melanie P. Smith
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© MPSmith Publishing
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Mom’s Favorite Reads Author Jenny Sanders Dancing Through Chaos is my blog space for unpacking aspects of life which grab my attention. https://dancingthroughchaos.wordpress.com/ about/
For the last few years I’ve been living wherever I hang my proverbial hat, currently between the UK and South Africa. It can look chaotic; it’s certainly not ‘neat and tidy’, but I’m learning to dance within this space rather than fight it – hence the name. I’m a writer, speaker, imperfect follower of Jesus, wife, and mother of four grown-and-flown children, and a thousand other things besides. My passions are for authenticity, integrity and justice. I love to ‘see the lights come on’ for people when they grasp truth that makes a daily difference. Writing takes up more of my time these days. For twelve years I had a monthly column for a local newspaper. I’ve also written a series of four themed devotionals – the sea, the city, the countryside and the mountains – each with six weeks of material. Contact me if you’d like to order a copy. My book, Spiritual Feasting, was published in May 2020. Based on Psalm 23:5, it explores how it’s possible to take our assigned place at God’s table and ‘feast’ even when life serves us a bitter or sour ‘menu’. It’s for those who ‘recognise that Jesus never promised a trouble-free life, but want to experience the reality of living life to the full with Him.’ With Biblical and contemporary examples of those who’ve done just that, it’s a book
that will challenge assumptions and comfort zones while encouraging you to pursue authentic intimacy with the Host of the banquet. Questions alongside each chapter give an opportunity to dig in to the nourishment of the sections more fully – ideal for small groups or an individual reader. Published by Instant Apostle, it’s available through good bookshops and on-line; you can find it here: https://instantapostle.com/books/spiritual-feasting Relaxing for me means reading, watching movies, walking (preferably through green fields and by a river), laughing, exploring or a good wallow in the bath. Pet dislikes include liver, sprouts, maths challenges and finding places for the first time… You can find me on Facebook at Jenny Sanders – writer https://www.facebook.com/dancingthroughchaos or on Instagram at jennysanderswriter https://www.instagram.com/jennysanderswriter
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The Magnificent Moustache and other stories’ is a collection of six delightful tales full of wit, quirky characters and an abundance of welcome nonsense.
Are you spiritually satisfied or hungering for more? Psalm 23 pictures the Father preparing a table where we can feast in intimacy with Him, victorious in the presence of our enemies. An innovative guide, Feasting encourages us to take our assigned places, to enjoy spiritual nourishment and to engage with the Holy Spirit as we eat. The menu may not always be to our taste, but the exquisite privilege of dining with Jesus can turn even a bitter dish into a feast.
These innovative short stories will take you from a national moustache-growing competition to the Queen’s vexation when her usual cuppa fails to appear; and to the challenges of having a name so lengthy that it takes forever to simply introduce yourself. A 200-year-old business faces imminent collapse unless a solution can be found; a kingdom has been cut off from civilisation for 100 years; and what happened in that bitterly cold winter of 1740 in north west Wales?
So if you recognise that Jesus never promised a trouble-free life, but want to experience the reality of living life to the full with Him, then pick up your spiritual knife and fork and tuck in it s time to stop snacking and to start feasting!
https://bookgoodies.com/a/B088FZZVBD - 29 -
Living with Coeliac Disease by Wendy H. Jones I was delighted when I was asked to write an article on Living with Coeliac Disease as, although many people now follow a gluten free diet, not all are diagnosed with coeliac disease. In a quirk of fate that highlights the difficulties faced by those who do have this autoimmune disorder, this article should have been in the July issue of the magazine, but I was unfortunately ill as I had accidently eaten gluten.
the gut correctly. In severe cases this can lead to malnutrition. More common symptoms include: Diarrhoea, Constipation Bloating Excessive flatulence Abdominal pain Itchy rash Exhaustion Weight loss
What is Coeliac Disease? According to Coeliac UK (2022) the definition of Coeliac Disease is:
“A serious illness where the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues when you eat gluten. This causes damage to the lining of the gut and means the body can’t properly absorb nutrients from food. Coeliac disease is not an allergy or food intolerance.”
There are other auto-immune disorders which are allied to Coeliac Disease, including Lichen Planus. This is a condition which affects the mucous membranes in the mouth and is extremely painful. This was how I was diagnosed – it was picked up by my dentist when I asked for an emergency appointment due to pain in my mouth.
Gluten is a protein which is found in Wheat, Barley and Rye. One would assume this would be easy to eliminate but more of this later. When gluten is eaten the villi and microvilli in the gut become flattened which means there is less surface through which nutrients can be absorbed and the food does not move through
As you can see from the list of symptoms, Coeliac Disease can be difficult to diagnose as many of these symptoms can be seen as a - 30 -
normal part of everyday life. Sometimes it is misdiagnosed as Chron’s or Ulcerative Colitis.
negative meaning you do not receive a definitive diagnoses.
In Scotland if you get a diagnosis of Coeliac disease you are referred to a dietician and are entitled to some gluten free foods on prescriptionThese include:
When I was diagnosed there was a two-step process. 1. A blood test which looks for excessive antibodies which are trying to fight off the gluten. 2. If the blood test came back positive a gastroscopy was carried out to do a gut biopsy. In my case both of these came back showing I had coeliac disease. The NHS in the UK are more and more moving towards using blood test only meaning treatment can be started so much more quickly. Treatment The treatment consists of eliminating gluten from your diet. Many people will try eliminating gluten from their diet before seeking medical help. This is not recommended as they miss out on the medical support from dieticians and the NHS. If you eliminate gluten from your diet then it is likely your tests will come back
Bread Bread rolls Crackers, Pasta Breakfast cereal Pizza bases. This helps enormously because Gluten free foods can be expensive. I know families where every member of the family has been diagnosed with Coeliac, placing an enormous burden in terms of cost of everyday foods. So, receiving help is important. Eating out can sometimes be problematic as you must ask the restaurant if they can provide Gluten Free meals. Thankfully, this has improved, and many restaurants now provide food. Airlines will also provide gluten free food although what they provide varies from airline to airline. Most of what I have been given has been beautifully prepared and tasty. There is always a lurking fear the meal may not make it to the plane
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resulting in gluten free cereal bars being carried in hand luggage. Eating out abroad can also cause concern but Coeliac UK provide sheets in most of the major languages explaining about coeliac disease which can be given to the wait staff in restaurants. On a recent trip to Antigua, I booked an all-inclusive hotel after checking they could cater for gluten free. They were amazing and there were so many things I could eat. There are ways around everything.
test for coeliac disease. It could change your life. If you are diagnosed it is well worth joining Coeliac UK. They run a network of local groups most of which run events where you can meet up with other people who are in the same situation. This usually involves food, all of which is guaranteed to be gluten free. It is also a great way to meet new friends. The link for Coeliac UK, where you can get more information, is below.
Another thing to bear in mind is checking all tins, bottles and packages bought from the supermarket. You would be amazed at the number of products which have either flour or barley malt extract in them. Fortunately, in the UK, all allergens must be on the labels in bold. That helps enormously.
I may have given you the impression that living with Coeliac disease is hard. I would like to assure you it is not. I eat well and enjoy my food. Living with coeliac disease is a way of life, one to which you very quickly adapt. Supermarkets carry a wide range of Gluten Free products and I never need to do without biscuits and cakes. My friends also quickly adapted and when I visit or stay with them provide gluten free food. I would urge you, if you have any of the symptoms above, please ask your doctor for a blood Wendy H. Jones is the award winning, international best-selling author of the DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries, Cass Claymore Investigates Mysteries, Fergus and Flora Mysteries, Bertie the Buffalo children’s books and the Writing Matters books for writers. She is also a writing and marketing coach and the President of the Scottish Association of Writers. As copy editor for Mom’s, she works hard to ensure content is appropriate and free of grammatical and spelling errors. You can learn more about Wendy on her website: https://www.wendyhjones.com/ - 32 -
Imaginary Friends By Chantal Bellehumeur For her “whole entire life”, as she developed the habit of saying, three-year old Anna had several friends her parents liked to call imaginary. Apparently, it was perfectly normal for a child her age to make up playmates; especially if they didn't have any siblings or many real friends. At least, that's what she kept hearing grown-ups say. The young girl never understood why people thought she was making anything up, and most importantly, why nobody aside from her grandma could see or hear her indoor friends. She called them that because they never went outside like her few neighbourhood friends. When she played in her yard, they just watched from one of the many windows.
It made Anna feel relieved when her mother or father's severe tone inadvertently put the other children in their place, although she could not figure out why they could all hear her parents but not be heard. Their screams and cries could be earpiercing at times. On the flip side, their combined laughter could be quite pleasant; especially when it echoed throughout the home.
Inside the large house, Anna’s friends often ran around creating chaos and were never quiet about it. During those times, Anna would have to raise her soft voice and authoritatively tell them to stop misbehaving. Her parents usually became quite irritated at Anna's sudden outbursts, as it seemed to startle them. They would always order Anna to lower her voice, and encourage her to go play more quietly in her bedroom.
Anna didn't think about it too much though. She would usually lead the group of six children upstairs and they would all play together as quietly as they could until they got tired of it. Jacob, the oldest boy, would usually be the first one to break the whispered conversation by talking in his normal voice and suggesting a more active game like tag which would eventually get the children all riled up again. Anna realised neither her mother nor father minded her talking and giggling with her indoor friends all that much, but they did not accept Anna - 33 -
blaming any of them for things in the house getting damaged. It angered Anna when her parents refused to listen to her excuses, as they called them, and she would end up sulking. Her guilty friends would always apologize for getting her into trouble, but it never stopped Anna from getting punished. At least they continued keeping her company during her time-outs.
As Anna stomped upstairs with Jacob tailing guiltily behind her, her grandmother arrived. Anna thought her grandma would be able to help her case, so she rapidly explained her predicament. But, when the older woman spoke up from the entrance hall she was told to stay out of it. Shortly after, Anna overheard her parents telling her grandma to stop encouraging her delusions. They gave her a similar speech to what they had previously told Anna in her bedroom.
When Anna was five, she got an earful because Jacob chased little Mindy into the half-painted guestroom, causing a stepladder with buckets of blue coloured paint to be knocked down.
"Actions have consequences," her father sternly said. "Anna needs to start taking responsibility for what she does, and you're not helping by playing along with her. It's not okay for her to blame imaginary friends for misbehaving. She also needs to start making more real friends now that she’s in school."
"It wasn't me!" Anna angrily yelled, as she usually did when she was unfairly accused of something. As always, her parents didn't believe her. She pointed at a guilty looking Jacob, who even confessed to his crime, but she was still sent to her room.
Anna heard her sweet grandma desperately trying to tell them the friends were real, but they were not receptive. - 34 -
The young girl overheard her father use the word senile in a private conversation with only her mom. By that point, Anna's grandmother had been brought back home. She became very ill shortly after, and it was decided that she would move in with them so that Anna's parents could take care of her.
thought her grandma looked in much better shape, yet her parents and everyone who came to the house looked so sad. Anna believed they were all playing a game, although she didn't see the fun in it. Apparently, they didn't find it amusing either because when she told them what grandma was up to she was scolded for making things up.
Anna enjoyed having her grandma around because of the fact that she could see and hear the other children. They could all play together more often, although they had to keep their friends a secret.
“You’re too old for this!” Anna’s father yelled. “I’m only eight…” she replied with attitude. That got her sent to her room, but she didn’t care because of the good company.
What Anna loved even more was that her friends usually behaved more with her grandma constantly present. It made her get into less trouble.
Anna refused to give up her indoor friends or grandma, so she had to go speak to a special doctor about them every week.
When Anna's grandmother passed away, Anna could see her walking around the house without her usual walker and still hear her talk. Anna
The doctor asked her a lot of questions, but mostly Anna just talked and he listened while writing in a
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notebook. He seemed to believe her, so she liked him.
on grandma!" as her mother was about to be seated, and getting hysterical when her mother sat down anyways. But, while they were eating Anna randomly asked what an orphan was which started a shocking conversation.
On top of seeing the special doctor, Anna was given some weird vitamins every morning with her breakfast. She thought they looked similar to headache medicine and said as much one day, adding her usual dramatic “yuck” and causing a big scene to swallow. It was Jacob’s idea and he laughed every time.
"Where did you hear that word?" her mother casually inquired. "Grandma said you were an orphan now like some of my friends."
After a few months of taking the vitamins, Anna was asked by her doctor if she could still see the friends who were invisible to her parents. She said yes, and was given an extra vitamin the next morning. Two vitamins became the norm for a while.
When Anna was given a disbelieving look she knew too well, she glanced at her grandma for guidance, nodded, and resumed talking. "Grandma said you're an orphan because her and Grampa died. She also said to tell you about Mikey."
Anna became suspicious of the bad tasting tablets. When she overheard her mother saying they should have helped Anna stop seeing her imaginary friends and grandma, she tried to hide them.
Anna saw her mother's eyes widen and her face go pale at the mention of the name Mikey. Her father’s expression changed too. They both seemed to recognise the name. "How do you know Mikey?" Anna curiously asked. "You said you couldn't see or hear any of my indoor friends." When Anna was asked what Mikey looked like, she happily described him to her parents as a little boy with short brown hair and big brown eyes. She added that he always wore the same blue overalls, striped shirt, and worn sneakers. Their eyes began to tear up. It didn’t take long for Anna’s mother to start crying.
Anna’s parents became upset with her when they realised what she was doing, but they eventually stopped forcing her to take the weird vitamins.
"What's wrong?" the girl asked her parents in concern. Her grandmother answered in their place, and Anna repeated the information to her parents.
The visits to the nice doctor stopped too, after Anna inquired about something her grandmother whispered in her ear during Sunday lunch. It made her parents finally start believing her indoor friends were real.
"Grandma said Michael, that’s Mikey’s real name, died in the car accident. She also said that I was hurt really bad and almost died too but I was too little to remember. I was a baby." At those truthful words, both of Anna's parents became even more emotional. Still teary eyed, they
They first got upset with her for shouting "don't sit - 36 -
hugged their daughter and apologized over and over again for not believing her about her friends before. "Are all my indoor friends my brothers and sisters? Did they all die in the car accident too?" Anna's grandma shook her head no. "They’re friendly ghosts like me and Mikey. This house was built where an orphanage used to be. Your friends lived in it, then became very sick like me." "What's an orphanage?" Anna curiously inquired. This time, her mother answered her question and followed her explanation with several questions of her own. Anna was more than happy to tell her all about her non-imaginary friends, and even happier that her parents finally believed her.
her. As Anna grew older, her interest in the orphan children and “big brother” evolved. She became more of a mother figure to them rather than a playmate. She read them stories and sang lullabies like she did for the children she babysat. Most importantly, she gave them the daily affection they seemed to crave.
In all the excitement, Anna noticed a bright light, that wasn’t the sun, suddenly start shining brightly into the dining room. She heard her grandma say it was time for her to leave for good, and watched her blow a final kiss as she slowly disappeared into the light. It vanished moments later.
Her parents were the only people in her life who knew about them. Anna knew she could not tell a soul, at the risk of sounding crazy. She never had any of her high school friends over at the house; not even her bestie.
Anna told her parents what had just happened and they smiled. She didn’t understand why they were happy about her grandma being gone when they had been sad before. Grownups were complicated.
Mikey and the other children eventually disappeared together into a beam of bright light, just like Anna’s grandmother. Anna understood that they no longer had unfinished business, and were finally able to move on.
During the weeks that followed, Anna often helped her parents communicate with Mikey. She liked seeing them happy, and having them not angry with
Chantal Bellehumeur is a Canadian author born in 1981. She has several published novels of various genres as well as numerous short stories, poems and articles featured in compilation books, magazine, plus a local newspaper. For a complete list of publications, including free reads, visit the following website: https://author-chantal-bellehumeur.webnode.com/products-/ - 37 -
Coloring Page By Adrian Czarnecki Though I love dreaming up and putting together my Siberian Husky themed children’s illustrated picture story books, Adventures of Hot Rod Todd, I don’t think of myself as an ‘author’ or as a ‘writer’. ‘Story teller’ sounds better. My books are so dependent upon the illustrations. That’s where illustrator Cameo Anderson http:// www.cameoanderson.com/ comes in. Cameo really can see into my mind’s eye interpreting my often rambling page descriptions into works of art; there’s a saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words” and with a children’s book that is so important and Cameo nails it every time and then some. So, for your enjoyment, here is a page from the Coloring Book featuring some of the characters and scenes from the books.
Coloring Book FREE PDF download available via website www.adventuresofhotrodtodd.com
Adrian S. Czarnecki is a semi-retired writer of Siberian Husky oriented children’s books based on an actual litter of 6 puppies born to his Dam Empress Maya and Sire Damien Czar on March 14th 2019. Born in Huddersfield, England, Adrian has travelled the world extensively pursuing careers in journalism, photography, PR / Marketing as well as print and sales. Adrian now lives in Idaho, USA with his wife Meta and their Siberian Huskies who keep them on their toes. - 38 -
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Funny Flash Fiction by Allison Symes Funny fiction has a powerful impact so let’s have more in flash fiction. With the short word count, you could argue the impact of funny flash is stronger, and the reader gets the “pay-off” quicker. A story ending with a punchline and the flash fiction word count restriction are a good match. Flash stops you from going on for too long. A punchline makes a natural story ending.
Bear in mind the characters won’t find their situation funny. Rightly so too as it is for the readers to decide if it is funny. You are your own first reader here. If you find something amusing, after a break away from your draft, it is likely “real” readers will do so too.
Humour is subjective so it can be one of the most difficult things to write well but if you can get your humour to arise naturally from the character and the situation you’ve put them in, you’re more likely to succeed. I find short punchy sentences work best too.
How to go to about writing a funny flash tale then? I use the random question or theme generators to provoke ideas. Having a look at one of the latter, what came up was before the fall.
When I have an idea for a punchline, I write that first and then work out differing ideas for a starting point. I use spider diagrams to help me work out possibilities and then go with the one I like best. I always go for what makes the most impact on me. I figure other readers will react in the same way!
Now various possibilities can come from that but for humour, we could use a metaphorical fall or a literal one. So what could I do here?
This is otherwise known as writing from B to A rather than the usual way around but other writers do this. It’s not unknown for crime writers to know how their story ends first, for example.
He walked in to find the biggest banana milkshake imaginable. How could that tie in with before the fall?
I find it helpful to know who my character is and what their major trait is as some of those lend themselves well to humour. Pomposity is a good one. You can set the character up for a fall and the readers will be rooting for that fall, the character will have deserved it (at least in the readers’ eyes).
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Here I knew the ending first and then worked out how I could make him fall on banana peel. The fact his mother was fretting about his clumsiness gave me my structure. Looking the Wrong Way Alan was fed up. His mother nagged him to look where he was going. It was useless telling her he did. She refused to believe him. So what if he had the odd accident? He wasn’t the first to walk into a lamp-post. He wouldn’t be the last. He got fed up with telling her he was fine; his eyesight was fine; his hearing was fine; everything was tickety boo and fine, fine, fine. Just a pity then he failed to spot the banana skin and ended up flat on his back in the middle of the High Street. He cursed. He wasn’t telling his mother about this. His latest embarrassment would be for him to forget. He vowed to never have anything to do with bananas again. He walked home and went in to find, on the ancient kitchen’s formica worktop, the biggest banana milkshake imaginable.
It is also true, by the way, humorous tales can come across as poignant. There is no way Alan would find this situation funny. It is for us to laugh here (and I hope feel some sympathy for poor Alan). Humour can often arise from sympathy for the character (as we’re often glad the situation is happening to them rather than to us).
Knowing the pay-off first then is a great place to start. So the challenge for you this time is to come up with a funny flash piece - maximum 300 words and, as for the recent all dialogue challenge, if you find your tale works best at 100 words or less, leave it there. You can always write a second funny piece and send that in too! There is always time and room for humorous stories. The world could do with more of them. Have fun!
Ends. Allison Symes, who loves reading and writing quirky fiction, is published by Chapeltown Books, CafeLit, and Bridge House Publishing. Her flash fiction collections, Tripping The Flash Fantastic and From Light to Dark and Back Again are out in Kindle and paperback. She has been a winner of the Waterloo Arts Festival writing competition three years in a row where the brief was to write to a set theme to a 1000 words maximum. Website: https://allisonsymescollectedworks.com/ - 41 -
My Poor Shoes by Chantal Bellehumeur An after-work event motivated me to dress up. Wanting to remain comfortable, high heels were not an option. I decided on a pair of black Romanlooking leather sandals I hadn’t worn in years. On my way to the bus stop, I walked on wet sidewalks and stepped into a few puddles. I didn’t notice the damage this was causing to my old shoes until it was too late. As I rushed down the stairs of the crowded metro station, my left shoe broke. I realised the thin sole had separated in three, and a few straps had become loose in consequence. The back zipper was still intact, so part of the shoe remained on my foot while the rest dangled. I struggled to reach the bottom step; annoyed, yet laughing to myself at the same time. The metro arrived seconds after I removed my broken shoe and I rushed in. - 42 -
As I ran across the platform to catch my next metro, my right shoe broke just like its twin. I continued my route barefoot, receiving odd looks from other passengers. One of my co-workers met me at my final metro station with a pair of flats I kept under my desk. ‘’Here, Cinderella’’, she said as she handed them to me. She could not believe the condition my other shoes were in. They were ruined! They looked like they’d just been dug up from an archeological site. Although my shoes looked in perfect condition when I put them on that morning, something told me to wear something else instead. I should have listened to my gut feeling. Now I carry an extra pair of shoes with me, just in case.
No Stranger to Conflict by Jenny Sanders Elizabeth Bennet was no stranger to conflict. After all, she previously withstood the wrath of her mother after rejecting the odious Mr Collins; bearded the sardonic disdain of Caroline Bingley at Netherfield when dear Jane was taken ill; remonstrated with Lydia in her reckless pursuit of the regiment, and stood firm in the face of Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s belittling tirade. Now, even her father, venturing from the sanctuary of his library, was goaded into expressing an opinion by her unexpected vehemence. For the first time in his recollection, he was uncomfortably at odds with her. “My dear Lizzie, I am confounded. Fitzwilliam Darcy is the wealthiest man in Derbyshire. His intervention has saved the reputation of our family. I
know you admire him. Why would you now refuse such a splendid offer of marriage?” Elizabeth’s eyes glittered with barely restrained fury as her family gathered in stupefaction to witness the unprecedented standoff. “Is it beyond your understanding to see that Mr Darcy has simply bought us off for his own benefit?” Elizabeth’s stertorous breathing betrayed her passion. “Can you truly believe that this was an entirely altruistic act? I do not see it that way. In spite of his wealth, social reach and standing, it seems to me this was done for no other reason than to impress me. I do not see nobility or self-sacrifice here. It was entirely self-serving and I will not be used as a pawn. It is a game I refuse to play.” So saying, Elizabeth swept past her open-mouthed siblings and weeping mother, her jaw set in a grim determination familiar to them all. This was neither pride nor prejudice; this was persuasion. - 43 -
Breadsticks & Custard by Sylva Fae
thinking how much trouble I’ll be in from our Brenda if her slices get smushed. I grab the breadstick and whack him round the head!
“Look who it is! Hero of the hour.” “Oy, Gerry, you too famous to sit with us now?” His mates clapped him on the back and heckled as Gerald settled into his usual pub seat.
He goes straight down, pulling me down on top of him - custard everywhere! I’m sitting on the lout trying to get my breath back and untangle my bag… and that’s when the cops show up.
“Buy us a pint and I’ll tell you the tale…
So, our Brenda sends me t' get her custard slices and a breadstick from that new bakery. I’d just set off, when, BAM! This scruffy lout comes running full pelt across the road and slams straight into me – I nearly lose me footing and think, ‘oh shit, I’m going down,' but suddenly, I’m jerked up again. I don’t even have time to shout. Next thing, I’m being dragged along – the handle of my bag's caught on the kid's jacket buckle.
Turns out, Scruffy Lout just robbed the corner shop. And in my mission to save the custard slices, I’d single-handedly apprehended the little thief.” Gerald paused to gulp a few mouthfuls of his pint, and enjoy the moment. “What happened next, Gerry?”
“Well, everyone comes out cheering my heroic capture, then this young copper wanders over and grabs me…”
‘Oy, STOP!’ I yell, but do you know what that cheeky oik shouts? ‘Bog off, granddad!’
He shoves me and keeps on running. Well, I have no choice, I’m still attached, custard's oozing through the bag, breadcrumbs are flying everywhere… I’m
“Now, we’re both in custardy and I’m done for assault with a breadly weapon!” - 44 -
Chess Supplied by Chess.Com White to move. Checkmate in two.
Supplied by https://chess.com the #1 chess website. Used with permission. For more chess puzzles please visit https://chess.com
You can find answers for this activity on Page 69 - 45 -
Silence by Becky Hemsley
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Silence A poem by Becky Hemsley, taken from the book Talking to the Wild Talking to the Wild is a poetry collection, the bedtime stories that we were likely never told as children but that can bring us comfort, joy, healing, peace and gentle reminders as we grow. Some days you’ll need comfort, some days you’ll need joy, and some days you’ll just need to feel heard. Validated. Seen. And I hope that’s what this book gives to you. I hope you get lost in the words and find yourself.
You can hear Becky reading her poems on TikTok. @talkingtothewild https://vm.tiktok.com/ZM87scaJe/ Or see more on her Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/talkingtothewild/ https://bookgoodies.com/a/B09JM7KJRQ
Becky Hemsley is an empowered romantic with a hint of magic. She is from middle England and writes her poetry with her own accent in mind. Wherever, or however you read her poems, the message is the same; the story is about you.
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Europe by Book by Hannah Howe
Notre-Dame: A Short History of the Meaning of Cathedrals by Ken Follett ‘Two days after Notre Dame burned, I flew to Paris to appear on the TV programme La Grande Librairie for a discussion about cathedrals. The following morning I had breakfast at the Hotel Bristol with my French publisher and she asked me to write a short book about Notre Dame and what it means to all of us. She said she would donate the publisher’s profits to the rebuilding fund and, if I wished, I could do the same with my royalties. Yes, I said; of course, I’d love to.’ - Ken Follett. In aid of the crucial restoration work to restore Paris’s great cathedral, Notre-Dame: A Short History of the Meaning of Cathedrals is a moving, short piece of non-fiction celebrating the stunning history of this beloved building, from Ken Follett, author of the multi-million copy selling Kingsbridge series. This edition contains an exclusive extract from The Evening and the Morning, a prequel to The Pillars of the Earth, publishing Autumn 2020. A minimum of 50p per copy on each sale of this book will go to the charity La Fondation du Patrimoine.
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The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin A.J. Fikry, the grumpy owner of Island Books, is going through a hard time: his bookshop is failing, he has lost his beloved wife, and his prized possession-a rare first edition book has been stolen. Over time, he has given up on people, and even the books in his store, instead of offering solace, are yet another reminder of a world that is changing too rapidly. But one day A.J. finds two-year-old Maya sitting on the bookshop floor, with a note attached to her asking the owner to look after her. His life – and Maya’s – is changed forever. Gabrielle Zevin’s enchanting novel is a love letter to the world of books–an irresistible affirmation of why we read, and why we love.
Hannah Howe is the author of the Sam Smith Mystery Series, the Ann's War Mystery Series and the #1 international bestseller Saving Grace. Hannah's books are published by Goylake Publishing and distributed through Gardners Books to over 300 outlets worldwide. Her books are available in print, as eBooks and audiobooks, and are being translated into ten languages. Discover more on Mom's Favorite Reads website: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/hannah-howe
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Joyce On Holiday By Jenny Sanders My goodness, I’m not sure next door are ever going to get their car out of the driveway. They’ve still got two suitcases and a picnic basket to fit in as well as three children and a beach ball. It’s loaded up like those donkey carts you see on programmes about Africa. Perhaps they’ve got 6 chickens and a cow in there as well. Oh dear; it certainly looks like the kitchen sink has been squeezed in somehow. Goodness knows where the kids will sit. This is what happens when people go on holiday, I suppose. Oh yes, the school holidays are well and truly here. I know that, because no-one has kicked an empty can past my house at 8.20am for a couple of weeks now. It’s always the sign for me to make a cup of tea and turn the radio on to find out what new outrage is spilling out across the planet. Tom never allowed it. The radio, not the can kicking. “There’s enough suffering the other side of this front door,” he would say to anyone who’d care to listen, “I’m blowed if I’m having it this side of the door too.” He read all the news he wanted to know about in the newspaper at work. I had to rely on catching a glimpse of the headlines as I passed the papers at the shop, or from the neighbours’ chat of course. Although, truth to tell, I did sometimes listen to the news at 1pm while he was out. I’m not proud of that.
Holiday. Wouldn’t be much of a break otherwise I suppose. My friend Viv’s off on holiday this week; I said I’d water her plants for her. I hadn’t realised she had rows of runner beans, carrots and lettuce up there. Anyway, it’s been lovely to pick a few for myself; it’s alright, she said I could. She has sweet peas growing up poles which give off the most wonderful scent. I pick those too – the more you pick, the more they grow. I’ve had them in the lounge and in the bedroom; what a treat! I expect she’ll send me a post card from Bournemouth. Bless her, she’s sent me the same one three years in a row. Maybe they’re a bit short of postcards now everyone takes pictures on their phones.
Anyway, that’s not really relevant now he’s passed on, but I often think he had a good point. Of course, these days I see it on the television too. No wonder people are depressed! Thank goodness I don’t have a fancy phone that would scream ‘Crisis!’ and ‘Catastrophe!’ at me at all times of day and night too. I’d never sleep again for worry. Perhaps they turn them off when they go on - 50 -
front room! Truly, it was all on the telly. Cost me absolutely nothing, and there were no queues, no language problems, no messing about with different money wondering whether you’ve been conned. I was fit as a flea throughout – no dodgy stomach upsets from unfamiliar food, no sunburn and no trying to pack souvenirs I didn’t really want into a suitcase that was far too small. Though I say it myself, it was a genius idea. Still, she’ll be glad she’s not going abroad. I’m not sure how everyone’s getting on what with all the strikes at airports and train stations and what not. Must be a nightmare, crammed together with hot, grumpy crowds when all you want to do is get away from all of that. I had the best holiday last year. Really, I went all over: Europe, Singapore, Thailand, Tanzania, Egypt, Jordan, Australia, and a trip across the USA. You’d think I’d be exhausted, but no. Fresh as a daisy I was because I did it all from the comfort of my own
Honestly, these series they make nowadays are amazing. I went deep sea diving, swam with dolphins, enjoyed a safari seeing elephants and lions, a trip to a theme park on rides you couldn’t make up unless you’d had a serious fever, and took in some remarkable sightseeing. I explored the pyramids at Giza, floated down the Nile to the Valley of the Kings, and saw that place carved out of rock in Jordan. What’s it called now… The Treasury. They’ve used some of these places in films, so you feel like you’ve already seen them and then, they take you right there and explain it all to you.
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I absolutely loved it. Imagine trying to adjust to all those different places and time zones, worrying whether you’d brought the right clothes, or what the rules are about whether you can show your ankles, or shoulders or whatever. And then, those big groups! How do you manage to hear if you’re stuck at the back; how can you see if someone in front of you is wearing one of those huge, floppy sun hats? Not a problem from my front row seat, I can tell you. Just thinking about how much money I’ve saved makes me quite dizzy. I just splash out on some fancy lemonade to treat myself.
Goodness me; their suspension looks as though it’s under serious pressure. I’m so glad I’m not worrying about breaking down on the motorway, or having to fix a spare tyre while lorries roar past my head. I’ll leave all that to the youngsters. No, no; it’s not for me. I couldn’t bear it. Good luck to Viv in Bournemouth! I’m off to brew a cuppa and find a slice of home-made fruit cake before I settle down in the armchair for my next holiday: a trip down the Amazon with a lovely looking young man. It’s going to be fabulous, I’m sure of it.
Ooh, looks like they’re just managed to cram the last child into the car. I can’t see this being a pleasant journey. Let’s hope they’re not going too far.
Jenny Sanders is a writer, speaker, encourager and mentor. She loves writing, reading and walking in nature whenever she can. For the past several years she’s lived between the beautiful cities of Bath, UK and Cape Town, S Africa. Her exciting and humorous new children’s book The Magnificent Moustache and Other Stories is now available published by The Conrad Press. - 52 -
The Woods by Stan Phillips
Up beyond the woods He made his home, the old tramp. Safe, away from town. And, beneath the trees, Spent his time with the foxes, The birds, and squirrels. And sometimes, I heard Him sing at twilight, his voice
Crooning on the air. He didn't speak to me, Intruding into Eden. Just smiled, and sang on. That man of the trees With his songs and his mystery. Oneness with the trees.
Stan Phillips is a poet, musical podcast maker, part-time wannabe male model, and occasional stand up comedian. “I used to be a psychotherapist/counsellor when I had an honest job. I was born into prewar London, and attended 17 schools (my father believed they couldn’t hit a moving target) and I eventually finished up here in Ireland. Still wondering what I will be when I grow up — but enjoying writing my quirky poetry as I do so.” Discover more about Stan on Mom’s Favorite Reads website: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/stan-phillips
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A Brief History of London, Part One by Hannah Howe The Dissolution of the Monasteries (1535 - 40) created great wealth for some, and more modest opportunities for others. The great religious land carve up started in London. With an influx of people from other parts of Britain, and abroad, the city grew from 150,000 inhabitants in 1580 to 500,000 by 1660. The ‘Copperplate’ map of London, produced from a survey conducted between 1553 and 1559, is the earliest true map of London. Sadly, only three of the original fifteen printing plates survived - the Moorfields plate, the Eastern City and the Western City. The printed word was seen as a threat to the Establishment (because people could form their own opinions). Nevertheless, by 1550, St Paul’s became the national centre of the book trade.
From the Copperplate Map of London, 1559, St Paul’s Cathedral.
Education in Tudor and Stuart London was centred on the ‘petty schools’. In the ‘petty schools’ children learned the alphabet and the Lord’s Prayer. However, they were not taught how to write. Teachers were often invalids and paupers, seeking means of support.
St Paul’s School, c1670.
Grammar schools, for boys, taught Latin and Greek, but not English. In theory, these schools were free, but most levied fees that went beyond the budget of the poor. City companies, such as brewers and coopers, also established grammar schools.
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Adults attended lectures on astronomy, divinity, geometry, law, music, physic and rhetoric. The upwardly mobile studied history, music and dancing. These subjects prepared them for their move into the ‘right’ social circles. What have immigrants ever done for us? From the late sixteenth century, women escaping religious persecution in Europe established schools in London and taught girls. Consequently, female literacy increased from 16% in 1590 to 48% in 1690. With 28 bookshops encircling its churchyard, St Paul’s Cathedral became the centre of literacy in Tudor London. In 1599 they even removed the ‘common privy’ to make way for a new bookshop. William Caxton established the first printing press in Westminster in 1476. Other presses followed, in Dowgate, Fleet Street, and St Dunstan’s in the West.
treatises and romances. By the time of his death in 1535 his catalogue listed over 800 books.
Wynkyn de Worde (his real name) was the most prolific printer and publisher in early Tudor Britain. He acquired Caxton’s impress and published bestsellers such as The Golden Legend and The Chronicles of England.
St Paul’s Cathedral with bookshops crammed between the buttresses. John Gipkyn, 1616.
Branching out, de Worde published marriage guidance manuals, children’s books, medical
Hannah Howe is the author of the Sam Smith Mystery Series, the Ann's War Mystery Series and the #1 international bestseller Saving Grace. Hannah's books are published by Goylake Publishing and distributed through Gardners Books to over 300 outlets worldwide. Her books are available in print, as eBooks and audiobooks, and are being translated into ten languages. Discover more on Mom's Favorite Reads website: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/hannah-howe
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Around America in 50 Books by Wendy H. Jones
Description In 1921 The Milford Publishing Company published the first edition of this book entitled "The Blue Hen’s Chickens' Cook Book". This title was understood to mean that the Blue Hens (Delaware state nick name) Chickens (ladies living in Delaware) compiled a comprehensive recipe book. The recipes are usually simple, and the ingredients are few, but the elegance and flavor are timeless. It has been renamed to reflect the historic significance of the book to today’s readers and chefs. For chefs of today, the interest will be both historic and practical. Historic to be able to see the evolution of some of today’s popular dishes, and practical because they can view the core of the recipe and build on that in their own unique style. An added bonus is the humor that was part of the book originally and is still entertaining today.
1920s Historic Delaware Cook Book This month sees us in Delaware in our literary tour of the USA. However, I’ve taken a literary detour in terms of genre and, following the culinary them of my posts this month, am reviewing a cookbook – 1920s Historic Delaware Cook Book
Review Why on earth would I want to review a cookbook from the 1920s? I hear you ask. Firstly, as I say, I’m on a culinary theme and secondly, this is so much more than cookbook. It opens with interesting facts and secondly it is also lots of fun. Let me expand on that.
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I find it fascinating. The introduction to the original book tells us these are recipes which had been handed down, mother to daughter, over 200 years. For historical value alone this book is worth the money you pay for it. While it is chock full of recipes, many of which could be useful today, it is also extremely funny. The first recipe in the fish section is – To Cook a Husband. It is brilliantly done. Take the opening sentence: “A good many husbands are utterly spoiled by mismanagement.” It carries on in this vein, and I could add many more quotes, but the interests of space in the magazine mean I should stop. As a recipe book there are some useful recipes which one could use today. Where the book comes into its own is as a historical treatise. Did I get a sense of Delaware – heck yes. I now know it lies on a peninsula shared with a little bit of Maryland and Virginia. I also know it lies on the Chesapeake Bay and I definitely know that, in the 1920’s anyway, they had a lot of humour and were expert cooks.
Where else would I find out that Blue Hens is the name of Delaware and that women living there were called chickens. Putting aside the fact this may not appeal to a more contemporary audience,
Wendy H. Jones is the award winning, international best-selling author of the DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries, Cass Claymore Investigates Mysteries, Fergus and Flora Mysteries, Bertie the Buffalo children’s books and the Writing Matters books for writers. She is also a writing and marketing coach and the President of the Scottish Association of Writers. As copy editor for Mom’s, she works hard to ensure content is appropriate and free of grammatical and spelling errors. You can learn more about Wendy on her website: https://www.wendyhjones.com/
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Columba’s Lasting Legacy by Father Ian Maher
Luke 12.32-37 On June 9 in the Church’s calendar, we remember the 6th century abbot and missionary, Columba. Born at Kilcrennan, Donegal, around 521, he was a son of the royal house of Ulster. Even as a child, Columba, whose name means ‘dove’, had such devotion to God that it earned him the nickname ‘Columcille’ – dove of church. Not surprisingly, Columba trained as a monk under St Finnian and founded monasteries in Ireland before leaving his homeland to settle on the island of Iona off the coast of Scotland. After the example of the Lord whom he served, Columba was accompanied by 12 companions, a number which grew as the monastic life attracted interest. Columba is remembered as an austere man, perhaps not easy to be around, though it seems he did mellow with age. His passion was to build up the monastery and its life so that it could be a centre of mission in a heathen, and sometimes hostile land. He did, in fact, convert kings and build churches, with Iona becoming a powerhouse for the expansion of Christianity throughout Scotland.
In the final years of his life, with his health fading, Columba transcribed books of the gospels to be taken out and used. He died on the 9th June in the year 597. To this day, Iona remains a place of Christian pilgrimage. In the gospel reading set for this day, we read of an encouragement from Jesus to his own disciples that must have resonated with Columba’s experience of his own call from God. St Luke writes:
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May Columba be an inspiration to us in our own journey of faith. We may not be called upon, like he was, to make a dangerous missionary journey to another land, but we can do our bit to help others discover something of the good news of God’s kingdom in which we, as today’s disciples of Jesus Christ have been called to share. Columba’s Christian legacy is plain to see some 1400 years after his death. Our own will be more modest and almost certainly more hidden, but if we are faithful to Christ, we will have made a difference.
‘Jesus said to his disciples, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”‘ This was about focusing life’s priorities. Had Columba not taken such words to heart, where else would he and his companions have found the courage to set out in their tiny boat to cross the Irish Sea and head into an unknown future? But they did, and their witness to Jesus Christ did much to help spread the Christian faith across these islands and beyond. I am a priest and minor canon at Sheffield Cathedral. My last post prior to retirement from stipendiary ministry was as the Multifaith Chaplaincy Coordinator and Anglican Chaplain at Sheffield Hallam University, where I worked for 12 years. https://imaherblog.wordpress.com/ Twitter @IanMaher7 - 59 -
Pantoum Promise by Maggie Cobbett A note from the author: For readers not familiar with the form, the second and fourth line of each verse in a pantoum must become the first and third line of the next.
At first the lockdown promised me Some respite from my working life; More time to write and watch TV, Or clean, just like a ‘50s wife.
Some Christmas cards from years gone by. We said we’d always keep in touch. I didn’t. Can’t remember why. Those friends who used to mean so much.
Some respite from my working life; Homemade cheese scones, banana bread, Or clean, just like a ‘50s wife, The hidden realm beneath the bed.
We said we’d always keep in touch No matter how our paths diverged Those friends who used to mean so much It’s not too late to keep my word.
Homemade cheese scones, banana bread Did satisfy me for a while. The hidden realm beneath the bed Gave up its secrets, made me smile.
No matter how our paths diverged I swore that I would not forget It’s not too late to keep my word. Thank goodness for the Internet.
Did satisfy me for a while Odd earrings, socks, a five-pound note Gave up its secrets, made me smile A leaflet urging me to vote.
I swore that I would not forget And now I have my own PC. Thank goodness for the Internet! In half an hour I found all three.
Odd earrings, socks, a five-pound note. Some Christmas cards from years gone by A leaflet urging me to vote I didn’t. Can’t remember why.
And now I have my own PC Through Skype or Zoom we chat each night In half an hour I found all three Post lockdown, we shall reunite.
A Yorkshire girl through and through, Maggie Cobbett lives on the edge of the Dales. With five books to her credit, she also writes short stories, features and even the occasional poem. Her many travels, as well as careers in modern language teaching and television background work, have furnished an inexhaustible supply of inspiration. http://maggiecobbett.co.uk/
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Natural Aroma by Sylva Fae © Sylva Fae
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The Pilgrim by Joy Margetts Reviewed by Wendy H. Jones
Description Driven by ambition and family expectation, young Henry de Brampton is determined to make his mark. Destined for a prestigious career in the Church, he readily embraces the chance to experience the world before taking his vows. But fuelled by selfish desire, he recklessly betrays those he loves, with devastating consequences. Overwhelmed with guilt, he seeks redemption among the Cistercians of Abbey Cwmhir and finds a new identity as Brother Hywel. Yet a further thoughtless betrayal will prove he cannot escape himself, and he is forced on pilgrimage to save his vocation. A reluctant pilgrim, can the unlikely company help him discover what it truly means to be great in God’s eyes, and will Hywel ever be willing not just to receive forgiveness but also to forgive himself? book to sublime effect. The characters are intriguing, especially that of Brother Hywel whose story this is. He genuinely leaps off the page and is so real you feel like you are walking alongside him. The spirituality is gentle and yet at the same time strong. I found myself re-evaluating my own walk with God with every page. Despite the fact this book is firmly Christian fiction, it could be read by anyone. From the fabulous cover to the last page, I was hooked and pulled into a story of a life so different to my own. I felt a real sense of loss when I finished it, as though parting from a dear friend. A definite five star read.
Review I will start by saying I loved Joy Margetts’s first book The Healing and was thoroughly looking forward to reading this one. Still, there is always a niggling feeling of worry at the back of one’s mind when reading a second book that it may not measure up to the first. I worried needlessly as this book is a triumph of historic writing. Both the story and the writing blew me away. Margetts is an extremely gifted writer, and she uses every single word in the - 63 -
Birthstone Crystal Grids by Lisa Shambrook August – Peridot Summer brings harvest, and this crystal grid for Abundance and Growth showcase Peridot and Carnelian being respectively birth and zodiac stones for the month. Smoky Quartz brings grounding and protection, Pyrite, known as Fool's Gold, also offers protection, and wealth, and symbolises the warmth of the sun. Green Garnet gives good health and prosperity. Carnelian boosts vitality, calm, and confidence, and ancient Egyptians used to call this stone 'the setting sun'. Peridot, also a stone connected to the sun, finishes the grid with healing, growth, and balance, complimented with the gorgeous fiery flowers of Crocosmia. Bathe in the Summer heat.
Crystal Grids made by Lisa Shambrook for mindfulness, meditation, and art. Prints of some grids are available at: www.amaranthalchemy.etsy.com.
You can find out more about the sensory author and artist, who will lift your spirit, steal your heart, and ignite your imagination at: www.lisashambrook.com. She also loves dragons and squirrels.
Lisa Shambrook is an author, artist, and dreamer who loves dragons. Born and raised in vibrant Brighton, England, living by the ocean heavily influenced her lyrical and emotional writing. She now lives in Carmarthen, West Wales, another town rich in legend and lore. A sensory writer, Lisa delves into sensitive subject matters that will lift your spirit and steal your heart.
Find out more at her website lisashambrook.com and her Etsy shop
amaranthalchemy.etsy.com - 64 -
Paul’s Puzzles By Paul Godding The Main Challenge Your task is to arrive at the target answer of 7 when using each of the numbers 0.7, 2, 7and 10 exactly once each, with + – × ÷ available.
The Lagrange Challenge Lagrange’s Four-Square Theorem states that every integer can be made by adding up to four square numbers.
The 7puzzle Challenge The playing board of the 7puzzle game is a 7-by-7 grid of 49 different numbers, ranging from 2 up to 84.
For example, 7 can be made by 2²+1²+1²+1² (or 4+1+1+1). Show how you can make 185, in NINE different ways, when using Lagrange’s Theorem.
The 4th & 7th rows contain the following fourteen numbers: 3 4 10 11 24 27 30 32 35 44 54 60 70 77
How many multiples of 3 are present?
The Target Challenge Can you arrive at 185 by inserting 5, 15, 20 and 30 into the gaps on each line?
The Mathematically Possible Challenge Using 3, 6 and 12 once each, with + – × ÷ available, which SEVEN numbers is it possible to make from the list below?
◯+◯×◯+◯ = 185
◯×(◯–◯)–half◯ = 185
1 3 6 10 15 21 28 36 45 55 66
Solutions: http://7puzzleblog.com/answers/ Hello, my name is Paul Godding. I am a full-time professional private maths tutor based in the south-east of Wales who delivers face-to-face tuition locally as well as online tuition to students globally. It would be lovely to hear from you, so feel free to click email@example.com if you wish to secure maths tuition for you or your child. Alternatively, you can ring/message/WhatsApp me from anywhere in the world:
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A Nice Afternoon By Geraldine Ryan This is my front door. The key’s a bit stiff but finally it turns and I let myself in. The first thing I do is wipe my feet, exactly as my mother taught me. I’d take my shoes off, but then I’d have to put them on again. There’s bending involved and I’m not sure if... But I know how to wipe my feet, so I do, for a long time, just to make sure. I don’t like dirt on my carpets. The next thing I do is the thing I’ve done all my married life. “Joe! I’m back,” I shout.
else’s order because I don’t know what half of this stuff is. And we’re only on a pension. How can we?
No reply. It’s a nice day out there. Warm, just right for pottering in the greenhouse. That’s where he’ll be. Either there or dozing in the chair. I’ll make him a cup of tea. A biscuit.
A glass of water. A sit still. I know that view from this chair. The garden. It’s changed over the years. There was a swing. There was a... The children played in it. Splashed water. Shouted. Ran. Screamed with laughter. Joe would spray them with the thing he used to wash the car. Hot days.
Straight ahead is the kitchen. I don’t look at the pictures hanging on the wall on the way there. My eyes aren’t good. Sometimes they get muddled. I was sure there was a picture of a lady in a crinoline there but no. It’s a mirror. I’m getting old. Tired eyes, tired feet, tired muddy feet. A cup of tea. Where was I?
And snow. We built snowmen. Stones for his eyes. A hat. One of Joe’s. A scarf to keep him warm. Warm. It’s lovely and warm sitting here. The sun comes in through the window and folds itself over me. Wraps me up. Dances along my arms. There’s something I was going to do.
This is my kitchen. Sometimes I don’t remember what it looks like when I am away from it. I had it in my head and then I got here and... Sometimes Joe moves things. He’ll deny it. He always does. But today. Today I’ve caught him out.
I must have dropped off. Because this is what happens sometimes. I’m sitting in a room I think I know. Except it’s not how I remember it. It’s too... It’s not... It’s like... Like someone lives here who is not me. And there’s a woman. And a... What have I done wrong? My mother used to tell me the coppers would come for me one day if I was bad.
I’m in every cupboard trying to find the tea. Heaven knows where he’s hidden it this time. Someone’s brought the shopping. There’s everything here. Tins. Packets. Fruit – yellow, orange, red. I think I’m going to have to have a word. No use leaving it to Joe. They’ll have given us someone
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“My daughter?” I say. “Are you really?” She takes my hand. Squeezes it. Squeezes warmth into it. Squeezes love.
The woman has kind eyes. A sweet face. She reminds me of... “It’s Jenny,” she says.
“I am,” she says. “Remember?”
Do I know a Jenny, I ask her. She’s wearing her coat. Her shoes. Did she wipe her feet? Him too. That policeman. Big feet policemen have. Size nines. My father was a... What was my father?
“Of course,” I reply. But no. But how lovely. “And him,” I say. He’s opening cupboards. Looking for. Something to drink out of. Something to put sugar in and stir. “What’s he doing here? Am I in trouble?”
The man, the Policeman, shuffles those feet. Scratches his head. He’s like a small boy who wants to be somewhere else. Kicking a ball outside with his friends, not here. He looks at the woman. The woman looks at him. She smiles at him. Be patient, her smile says.
Did I wipe my feet?
“You’re not in trouble mum.”
“I’m your daughter,” she tells me.
“Not in trouble at all, Mary,” he echoes.
“I’ll make a cup of tea,” he says.
They hold each other’s gaze. I know that sort of look. Hers says, ‘I trust you. Thank you. You’re kind.’ His says, ‘I’d like to get to know you better.’
Shuffles over to the kettle. That’s not my kettle. I don’t think is my kitchen after all. And the she... - 67 -
“The key,” she says.” I think perhaps…” It’s lying there on the table. Shiny still even after all these years. “I should have taken it the last time,” he says. “Only I didn’t want to upset her.” “Are you talking about me?” I say. “I’m not upset. And where’s that tea?” I’m tired now. And I want to go home. This place. It’s far too big. I don’t know why we have to sit here and drink tea. It’s not even very good tea.
“They called the Police. The people who live here now. They didn’t know what to do when they saw you sitting in their kitchen. Again.”
“Do you think you can take me home now?”
Again? What is she talking about? And what people? This is my house.
The woman and the man exchange smiles. I think they know each other. Perhaps they’re a couple. They certainly look like one.
“Mick – P.C. Tranter – had my number from last time. He called me. So here I am.”
“Up you get,” he says.
“Did you wipe your feet?” I ask her.
He takes my arm while she takes my other. It’s been a nice afternoon.
“I did. Though I can’t be sure about him.” Her eyes sparkle. She’s teasing him. His eyes sparkle back. He likes it. “You don’t live here any more, remember, Mary? You have another home now. When you’ve had your tea I’ll take you back,” he says.
But what about the...? What about her? https:// bookgoodies.com/a/ B09WLRM8PP
“Don’t worry, Mum,” she says and squeezes my hand again. “I’ll come too. Make sure you’re settled in.” There’s something else.
Geraldine Ryan is a proud Northerner who has spent most of her life in Cambridge. Her first published story appeared in My Weekly in 1993. Since then, her stories have appeared in Take a Break, Fiction Feast and Woman’s Weekly, as well as in women’s magazines abroad. She has also written two young adult novels. Keep up to date with Geraldine’s news, be the first to hear about her new releases and read exclusive content by signing up to her monthly newsletter Turning the Page. By adding your details, you’ll also receive a free short story. Use this link to subscribe: https://bit.ly/Turningthepage - 68 -
National Book Lovers Day by Melanie P. Smith
Shop for a new title, or discover a new author.
Cover design created to honor National Book Lovers Day
Visit an old book store and search for out of print books.
I have always loved a good book. I remember being a small child and getting hooked on the Boxcar Children series. From there, I graduated to Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. Later on, my go-to’s were Agatha Christie, John Grisham and Iris Johansen. Nora Roberts made a relaxing day an adventure.
Randomly Give a book to a stranger.
Pay a visit to your local library.
How about you? Do you enjoy relaxing with a good book? If so, National Book Lovers Day was established just for you. It’s a day set aside for those who love to read to encourages them to find a favorite reading place, a good book, and read the day away.
The first books used parchment or vellum for pages?
Book covers were made of wood and frequently covered in leather.
Straps kept the books closed.
There are many ways to celebrate. Here are just a few:
Public libraries appeared in the Middle Ages.
Libraries used to chain the books to a shelf to prevent theft.
There are tons of ways to share your love of reading. So on August 9th, take a day to relax and escape into the magical world of a good book. Did You Know...
Share your favorite childhood books with the youth of today or visit a rest home and read to the residents
We are excited to announce that Goylake Publishing has teamed-up with the Fussy Librarian and in partnership we are offering you 20% off your first book promotion with the Fussy Librarian. To qualify for this promotion, your book must be either permafree or listed free during a special offer.
In our experience, the Fussy Librarian is the best book promoter in the business. When we promote with him, our free books always reach the top five of Amazon’s genre charts, most often they reach the top three. We promote with the Fussy Librarian every month and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future. Prices start from as low as $15, minus our special discount of 20%. Click here: https://authors.thefussylibrarian.com/?ref=goylake for full details. And, at the checkout, be sure to enter this code: goylake20 to claim your 20% discount. Thank you for your interest. And good luck with your promotion! - 70 -
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Marketing seems to be one of those areas that every author struggles with. It’s the same struggle companies world-wide have been dealing with for decades. How do I get my product in front of my target audience? Connections eMagazine can help. The publication is free to readers, bloggers and to authors looking for a little extra exposure. Visit our website for details. https://melaniepsmith.com/ https://melaniepsmith.com/emagazine/
Connections eMagazine is a FREE quarterly publication founded by authors Melanie P. Smith and Rhoda D’Ettore. It is currently produced entirely by Editor, Melanie P. Smith. Over the years, the magazine has evolved and it now features promos, freebies, blog articles, and short stories in every issue.
Discover more about Connections eMagazine on their website here: https://melaniepsmith.com/emagazine-landing/ - 71 -
Editor In Chief—Hannah Howe The Editor-in-Chief is the key figure in every publication. Hannah Howe works closely with the editorial staff to ensure the success of each publication. She is the author of the Sam Smith Mystery Series, the Ann’s War Mystery Series and Saving Grace. Get to know more about Hannah, her projects and her work on Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/hannah-howe/
Executive Editor | Graphic Designer—Melanie P. Smith The Executive Editor / Graphic Designer is responsible for developing the layout and design of MFR eMagazine. She also works hard to create new covers each month that captures the essence of each publication. In addition to the editorial staff of Mom’s Favorite Reads, Melanie P. Smith also produces Connections eMagazine. She is a multi-genre author of Criminal Suspense, Police Procedural, Fantasy and Romance novels. Get to know more about Melanie, her projects, and her work on Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/melanie-p-smith/
Managing Editor, Art Director & Proofreader —Sylva Fae Our Managing Editor oversees the physical content of the magazine and coordinates the production schedule. She administers the day-to-day operations of the publication, manages submissions, sets realistic schedules and organizes each edition of the magazine. Sylva is is responsible for the amazing graphics that appear throughout the publication each month. She works hard to ensure the images capture the spirit and message our author's convey in their articles and stories. In addition, As Copy Editor, Sylva works hard behind the scenes to correct any grammatical, typos and spelling errors throughout the magazine. Sylva Fae—Mum of three, fairy woodland owner, and author of children’s books. https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/sylva-fae/
Copy Editors / Proofreaders — Wendy H. Jones and Sheena MacLead Our Copy Editors for Mom’s work hard to ensure content is appropriate and free of grammatical and spelling errors. Wendy H. Jones is also our Feature Editor and works hard to provide content that is interesting, informative and professional. She’s the award winning, international best-selling author of the DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries, Cass Claymore Investigates Mysteries, Fergus and Flora Mysteries, Bertie the Buffalo children’s books and the Writing Matters books for writers. She is also a writing and marketing coach and the President of the Scottish Association of Writers. You can learn more about Wendy on her website: https://www.wendyhjones.com/
Sheena Macleod lectured at the University of Dundee, where she gained her PhD. She now lives in a seaside town in Scotland. Reign of the Marionettes is her first novel. She currently has two additional books: Tears of Strathnaver and Women of Courage—A Forgotten Figure—Frances Connolly. You can learn more about Sheena on her website: https://www.sheenas-books.co.uk/
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Story Editor—Allison Symes Allison Symes works diligently each month to generate flash fiction writing prompts that will stimulate creativity in our authors and entertain our readers. As Story Editor, she also ensures each entry is professional and polished. Allison
Symes is an award winning, published flash fiction and short story writer. She also writes a weekly column on topics of interest for writers for online magazine, Chandler's Ford Today. Allison's fiction has appeared in anthologies (CafeLit and Bridge House Publishing) over many years. Allison judges competitions, runs workshops, and is always happy to talk/write about flash fiction writing. https://allisonsymescollectedworks.com
Marketing Director—Grant Leishman Our Marketing Director, Grant Leishman, oversees marketing campaigns and social media engagement for our magazine. After an exciting career in accounting and journalism, he now focuses on his true calling—writing. Get to know more about Grant on Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/grant-leishman/
Our Content Writers are freelance authors who contribute articles, short stories, etc. to the eMagazine on a regular basis. They work hard to make our magazine interesting and professional. Get to know our Content Writers here: T.E. Hodden — https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/t-e-hodden/ Stan Phillips — https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/stan-phillips/ Father Ian Maher — https://imaherblog.wordpress.com/ Alison Rasmussen — https://paynesgreyillustration.com/ Chantel Bellehumeur — https://author-chantal-bellehumeur.webnode.com/products-/ Joy Margetts — www.joymargetts.com Angela Abraham — https://www.descriptionari.com/ Lisa Shambrook — www.amaranthalchemy.etsy.com. Becky Hemsley — https://www.facebook.com/talkingtothewild/ Allison Symes — https://allisonsymescollectedworks.com/ Penny Luker — www.pennyluker.wordpress.com
Discover amazing authors… https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/
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