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Mom’s Favorite Reads eMagazine is published monthly by Goylake Publishing and designed by Melanie P. Smith of

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Adam Hart-Davis Interviewed by T.E. Hodden .................................................................................... 7

Santa Clause by Cole (Age 6) ................................................................................ 15 Christmas by Jessie (Age 9) .................................................................................... 42

Laughter is the Best Medicine! by Hannah Howe............................................. 10

Left Right by Sylva Fae ........................................................................................... 18

The Little Tree by Sylva Fae ................................................................................... 24 Jingle Moo by DM Wolfenden .............................................................................. 34

Stan Phillips .............................................................................................................. 57

20% OFF First Book Promotion with the Fussy Librarian .............................. 61 Nicole Lavoie, Graphic Design ............................................................................. 61 Connections eMagazine ......................................................................................... 63

Coloring Page: Christmas with Mom by Ronesa Aveela ................................. 25

Find the Differences by Sylva Fae ........................................................................ 30 Crafting with Lacey Lane ....................................................................................... 31 Defense—Supplied by ....................................................................... 52 Word Search by Mom’s Favorite Reads ............................................................... 53

A Homesteader Christmas Memory by Cherime MacFarlane ....................... 11

Why Art is Important by Denise McCabe .......................................................... 12 My Fertility Journey by Aviva Gat ....................................................................... 16 Movie of the Month: The Thin Man by Hannah Howe .................................. 21 Seeing the Woods for the Trees by Millie Slavidou ........................................ 22 Mermaids, Silver Butterflies, and Miracles by Ronesa Aveela ...................... 26 The Magic of Yule by Val Tobin .......................................................................... 28 Getting Your Child to Listen by Denise McCabe ............................................. 32 Postcards from Spain by Hannah Howe ............................................................. 38 Truly Thoughtful Christmas Gifts by Lia Manea ............................................ 40 Archimedes by Cyril Lucas ................................................................................... 43 Mom’s Favorite Charity: Christmas for CAMHS .............................................. 45 Little League Nightmare by Keith D. Guernesey ............................................. 46

Holiday Traditions by Melanie P. Smith ........................................................... 47 On the Origins of Winter by Millie Slavidou ................................................... 50 The Origins of Christmas by Poppy Flynn ........................................................ 54 December by Poppy Flynn .................................................................................... 58

Auschwitz Syndrome by Grant Leishman .......................................................... 62

Adam Hart-Davis Interviewed by T.E. Hodden Adam Hart-Davis is a writer, photographer and broadcaster, probably best known for his TV shows on history, science, and the history of science, such as What The Romans Did For Us, and Local Heroes, and a presenter on the last programme in the long running science and technology show Tomorrow’s World. I reached out to ask about his book on Fibonacci’s Rabbits, but before we got there, I had a few other questions… Your television career started at Yorkshire Television, as a researcher, do you mind if I ask how that came about? I had been working as a science editor for the Oxford University Press for five years, and was looking for a more dynamic job. I understand you worked on material for David Bellamy?

Many readers will have fond memories of Arthur C Clarke’s World Of Strange Powers, what was it like working on the show?

No. When I joined YTV we were making a series called Don’t Ask Me, with Magnus Pyke, Miriam Stoppard, and David Bellamy. My job was to find and organize items for Magnus. So although I got to know David Bellamy I never actually worked with him.

Fantastic. I was a researcher for ACC’s Mysterious World, and then the producer of ACC’s World of Strange Powers. Both series meant lots of travelling _ I went to 45 of the 50 states in the USA – and meeting strange and interesting people and seeing strange and interesting things.

From there you became a Producer? I was a researcher for six years, and was then made a producer.

Was there a particular way you would approach educational shows such as Me and My Micro, and Scientific Eye, that differed from other television?

Do you have a favourite show to have worked on? Yes.

Me and My Micro was fascinating. Home computers were just getting popular; the best was the BBC micro, although we focused on its younger brother, the Electron. Scientific Eye was entirely educational, aimed at 11-year-olds. It started when I was asked to write a textbook, which came to be called Scientific Eye, and won the first ever TLS Schoolbook Award. Do you have a favourite show you worked on before stepping in front of the camera? Arthur C Clarke’s Mysterious World. -7-

Was it a big change becoming the presenter for On The Edge and Local Heroes?

Your next series, What The Romans Did For Us, was the start of a long running franchise, that would go on to cover the advances in science, technology, and philosophy by the Victorians, Tudors, Stuarts, and Ancients. Where did the idea for these series originate?

Yes. To begin with these were simple shows, organized by me and the producer, Paul Bader. Being in front of the camera was different, and most enjoyable, and I got slowly better at it. Paul was enormously helpful – we both wanted the series to succeed.

Three of us sat in a small room in the BBC HQ, and they asked me what I would like to do. I suggested inventions that nearly worked, but they wanted something more radical. The boss lady said What about Victorians or Romans; so they decided on Romans. It took all of five minutes.

Local Heroes was one of those instantly identifiable show. Hart-Davis cycled around towns and cities, introducing the audiences to innovators, inventors, engineers and scientists, from throughout history, illustrating their work with experiments and props, often adapted from familiar household components. Was it a fun show to make?

Do you have any particular memories of making the shows? Far too many to recount here.

Yes, indeed; the most enjoyable of all the series I presented. We would have been happy to go on making programmes, but after eight years the BBC stopped it.

A question from the Moms: If you could visit one of the periods covered by the show, where and when would you take a holiday? In 2019. Going back to any period from Ancients, through Romans, to Stuarts, would have meant unheated houses, poor clothes, rotten food, and no proper sanitation. OK for an hour, but not for a holiday.

Is it okay to ask about the wonderful props? Who got to make them? In the early days Paul and I shared all the work. We each had a tiny workshop, and we made the props, usually at the last minute, using odd scraps of wood and saucepans pinched from our wives. Later Paul hired a researcher for each series, and the researchers made most of the props.

Another Mom has asked: Was it a particular challenge researching the Ancients series, where many of the civilisations covered were from before written language?

Did you have any favourite Heroes you discovered on the show, or got to introduce to a larger audience?

No. By the time we got to the ancients we had the Internet and Wikipedia, and mountains of information is readily available. In fact it has been there for ages, in encyclopaedias, as a result of studious historians.

Erasmus Darwin, Charles’s grandfather, was a wonderful man, and I often speak about him in my lectures. I would love to have dinner with him. -8-

Which of the shows in your career do you wish more people knew about?

What can you tell us about your books Pavlov’s Dog (and 49 other experiments that revolutionised Psychology) and Schrodinger’s Cat (and 49 other experiments that revolutionised physics)?

On the Edge (YTV). This was one series we made about the science of the sea shore. I learned a fantastic amount, about tides, and waves, and samphire, and sand dunes, mussels and cockles. We proposed a similar series to the BBC, but they claimed they were working on a related idea – and several years later they produced Coast.

I had to write each of them in six weeks, which was exceedingly hard work, and I learned a lot in the process. I then suggested a whole series, Adam’s Ark, which would include Fibonacci’s rabbits (maths) Darwin’s finches (evolution), Aristotle’s chicks (biological observation), Hooke’s fleas (parasites), and so on.

You have also had an incredible career as a published author. Has that always run hand in hand with your broadcast work?

The newest book in the series is Fibonacci’s Rabbist and 49 other breakthroughs that revolutionised Mathematics. What can we expect from it?

Most of my books came straight from tv series. I have a good memory; so when I had presented the shows I knew masses of stuff, and simply wrote it down.

It’s a lot of fun, and there are some wonderful stories, about the boring taxi number, and Penrose’s chickens, to name but two. Have you always loved science and maths?

Is there a difference in how you approach writing for the page to writing for broadcast? Not really, except that to work on camera, sentences must be short and simple and clear.


One of your books that is always going to stand out is Taking The P***: A Potted History Of Pee. Can you tell us a little about it?

Crime fiction; my favourite author is Lee Child.

What do you read to unwind? Where can readers go to find out more about you on the internet?

I had already written a book about toilets – Thunder, flush, and Thomas Crapper. After doing the research for that (all on the phone), I had enough material for four books – an encycLOOpedia, and encycloPOOdia, an encycloPEE dia, and enFARTa. The publisher wanted only the first one, but at least one of the others was bound to come out…

Just Google me. Are there any other projects we should check out? Spoonfest. Are there any charities or good causes you would like readers to check out?

Do you have a particular favourite amongst your books, you would like to tell us about?

WaterAid and Practical Action. Mr Adam Hart-Davis, on behalf of everybody at the Mom’s Favorite Reads community: Thank you.

The most beautiful are What the Tudors did for us, which had an utterly brilliant designer, and Very Heath Robinson, which is packed with glorious drawings.

T.E. Hodden trained in engineering and works in a specialized role in the transport industry. He is a life long fan of comic books, science fiction, myths, legends, and history. In the past he has contributed to podcasts, blogs, and anthologies. Discover more on Mom’s Favorite Reads website: -9-

A father asked his young daughter what she wanted for Christmas. She said, “What I want more than anything else is a baby brother.” And so it came to pass that on Christmas Eve her mother came home from hospital clutching a baby boy. The following year, the father asked his daughter what she wanted for Christmas. “Well,” the daughter replied, “if it’s not too uncomfortable for Mummy, I’d like a pony.”

The year you stop believing in Santa Claus is the year you start having clothes for Christmas! Why is Christmas just like another day at the office? Because you do all the work and the fat guy in the suit gets all the credit! What is Santa’s favourite pizza? One that’s deep-pan, crisp and even! What do you call Santa when he stops moving? Santa Pause! What goes, oh, oh oh? Santa walking backwards! Who hides in the bakery at Christmas? A Mince Spy!

If athletes get athletes foot what do rocket scientists get? Mistletoe!

Why did the politician avoid the church carol service? Because of the fake pews! - 10 -

A Homesteader Christmas Memory by Cherime MacFarlane Our very first Christmas in the wilds of eastern Alaska would be a sparse one. I was the only one working, jobs in the Copper Basin were few. But bless the old couple who ran the lodge on the Upper Tonsina River, they had a job for me. I can’t say I loved it. As the only cocktail waitress in the entire place, I had a bar full of men and a few women who worked to get the Trans-Alaska Pipeline finished in the bar every night. Hard working and hard drinking, they kept me hopping. In the early morning when I got home, worn out, I felt ready for a rest. But with the kids looking forward to Christmas, something had to happen. We decided with no money to spare to make gifts for each other. Keeping your preparations secret in a one-room cabin with a loft required some deft sleight of hand. The adult side of the loft curtained off from the kids’ side often saw an adult huddled with a child working hard to finish a project. Three adults and four kids hid things anywhere they could. The baby, too young to take part in construction that year was good at disrupting things. Finding a good hiding spot was half the fun in the cramped cabin. No easy feat, things freezing temperatures wouldn’t damage got tucked away in our old truck. Earrings and bracelets were all the rage for the females of the group. The guys were far more difficult. It seemed everyone had the same idea. Leather creations reigned with the guys. The tree came fresh from the woods surrounding the house. Paper chains and yarn decorated it along with ornaments cut from cans. The ornaments got painted with fingernail polish in a bright red.

Christmas came, and we exchanged gifts. Oranges and candy filled the stockings. With no fireplace, they got stapled to the logs behind the wood stove. But not too close. Melted candy in a stocking is no fun. We made it the best Christmas we knew how. I don’t know how the kids remember it; I’ve never asked. But, these days Christmas in our family is much the same, we make a lot of the gifts or find odds and ends here and there to exchange. That Christmas taught us to appreciate a warm fire and a family ready to step up to help each other. It was a broke homesteader Christmas; one I’ve never forgotten.

Cherime MacFarlane is an award-wining, bestselling, prolific multi-genre author. She has a broad range of interests that reflect her been there– done that life. Discover more about Cherime on the Mom’s Favorite Reads website:

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Why Art is Important For Children’s Development by Denise McCabe Curiosity is in the nature of children and so as soon they gain control over their limbs they are ready to explore the world. When the kids observe and imitate the world it helps in the development of their abilities and the connections in their brain gets stronger. This is the reason that we should let children get creative because it is the best form of exploration. While we focus on encouraging them to read and write, here we have a list of reasons that will help you understand why art is also important for them.

their expertise will improve. You will notice that how accurately they are filling the space with colours and there is no irregularity in the shades. Their movements will be more controlled and it would be easier for the child to grasp things. Neuron Development As the kids are in a growing age the neuronal development is very important. Otherwise, they might find it hard to experience many new skills and abilities. Art is the best way to help kids in their neuronal development in the following ways: • When the child will concentrate the pressure on the brain will cause the development of new neurons • The non-working neural pathways will be stimulated in such a way that they will help in the transmission of action potential • There will be development of neurons that cause transmission of impulse towards the hands and eyes because they are mostly involved in artistic activities

Promotes Creativity Art is the best way that will let the kids express themselves in the perfect way. Research has shown that if you will create a painting to help your kids learn it will allow them to have a creative mind. When kids will have a creative approach to everything, it will help them to learn and remember things quickly. The artistic approach will make creativity a natural instinct of the children and it will help them in the future. It will allow them to create things that come into their mind and it would be easier for them to select the path that they would like to pursue. Fine Motor Skills One of the biggest changes that you will notice in your kid is that his fine motor skills will be improved. When they will learn to grab the pencil or brush for the first time, they might make some random lines. However, with the passage of time,

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This is the reason that this approach is often utilized for the testing of a child’s mental approach. When the kids will be able to express themselves properly it would be easier to train and guide them for the future. Emotional Development The best thing about the artistic approach is that it will allow the kids to develop emotionally. • Most of the time kids will take all their anger our on the piece of paper. • When the children want to express their love for someone they would like to draw their figure and show the strong bonding. • Colouring will help kids learn how to control emotions with the help of a canvas and colours. Improved Academic Performances Art will not only develop the creativity of the children. It will also help them to learn the things quickly. Kids will turn the mathematics and scientific questions in the form of art and so they will remember them for a long time. Studies have shown that the kids who are good at arts often win the math and science competition.

Develops Problem-Solving Abilities When kids will be involved in the artistic activities it would be easier for them to enhance their critical thinking abilities. The reason is that when the kids will concentrate on the images that they have to colour or the shapes that they have to make it would develop the problem solving skills. Children would like to have perfection in their shapes and shades. So with practice they will develop such ways that will allow them to create perfect shapes. They might use a cover to create a circle but it would be their idea. So let them think and find solution because it is the most wanted skill in the business world. Express Themselves Art helps the kids to express their feeling. Psychologists have researched and proved that what a child feels inside he expresses it in the form of drawings and paintings. This is the reason that when the kids are stressed about their family or miss a member of their family they often describe it in the form of their paintings.

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Cognitive Development Bottom Line

With the artistic approach, the kids will learn to practice patterns. They will learn many new things like when they will press the colour it will provide them with a darker shade. As well as how they can merge several shades to create a new one. It will allow them to create mental plans that they can apply to their work. As well as their decision-making power will be improved. Inspiration

So as parents we should try to encourage our kids from trying many new things especially in the field of arts. In case that you are scared that your kids will ruin the walls, which I can safely say my house can be like a rainbow at times with evidence of little hand-prints on the wall of who are the culprits, get them a board but never stop their creative thoughts. As you never know that those doodles is a way to improve their abilities to think and open the horizons for the children. It will help them to think out of the box and your kid might be the next Picasso or Einstein.

When the kids will play with colours it will help them to focus on the patterns and colours that they would like use. It will inspire them to create many new things as well as they will share many new ideas with you. Most of the time parents are impressed with the inspirational ideas that kids have given. Apart from that, they will learn the skills of teamwork that they can utilize in their future. They will collaborate with other kids to learn new skills.

—Denise McCabe, Children’s Books author

Denise McCabe is a children’s book author and blogger. She resides in Dublin with her two children. Her favourite pastime is writing, and reading with a cup of tea at hand. Discover more about Denise on Mom’s Favorite Reads website:

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Santa Clause Submitted by Poppy Flynn Written by Cole age 6

Super excited about Christmas Day All my family are here with me. Naughty or nice, Santa will know. Trees decorated with tinsel, lights and baubles, A very happy time of year. Christmas cakes are all around, Lots of food for me to eat. A movie to watch with my family. Underneath the Christmas tree, my presents wait for me. Singing Christmas songs as loud as I can, Everyone is smiling a lot.

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My Fertility Journey by Aviva Gat Infertility affects 15% of couples, so why don’t we talk about it? Why isn’t it represented in literature, where accidental pregnancies or perfectly planned ones tend to be the norm? Most women who are unable to get pregnant within a year of trying are embarrassed to admit it. Instead they say they weren’t really trying or that they aren’t worried about it—even though the truth is that they are crying inside and angry with every person and animal that got pregnant before them. I want to tell those women that they are not alone. More than that, I want to tell them this is nothing to be embarrassed about and I want to help start the conversation. I suffer from infertility. I always knew I would have fertility problems. How did I know? Because at age 18 my period—which had been somewhat regular for two years—packed its bags and left. The obvious first thought was, was I pregnant? But I knew I couldn’t be. I was a freshman in college in a long distance relationship. I went to the college health center to meet with a doctor who said it was probably because I was a college athlete and my body fat percentage was fairly low. I was extremely thin and muscular. The doctor gave me birth control pills to regulate my hormones and told me that in the future when I did want to get pregnant, all I would need to do was gain a little weight and aunt flow would come back.

we needed to start right away and be done with baby making as early as possible. My husband thought I should go off it before—just to see if my body would regulate itself without the pills—but I was afraid of an accidental pregnancy before the wedding (how silly I was!). A year and a half, and countless pills and shots later, my husband and I did in vitro fertilization. My husband was skeptical of IVF—not that he didn’t believe that it could work. My husband is just one of those people who could make a living of coming up with worst case scenarios. And during those weeks of shots before IVF, he was working extra hard. What if they switched his sperm with someone else’s? What if they fertilized someone else’s egg with his sperm? What if they put our fertilized egg in someone else and put someone else’s in me? How would we know? Could we trust that the clinic wouldn’t make a mistake? These questions continued to swirl around when we did the egg retrieval. I had sixteen eggs retrieved. Twelve of them were good enough to move forward and of those, nine became fertilized. By the transfer date, only three were viable. We transferred one and the other two were stored to be frozen. The doctor said everything looked perfect and that he had a good feeling about us. We didn’t want to get our hopes up, but it was hard not to. Ten days later, I did a blood test at the clinic. I expected the result to be pregnant or not pregnant, so when I received the result of 200 hCG, I had no idea what that meant. I frantically texted the doctor and he called me back immediately. I will never forget that phone call. He was in the car and had yet to see my test results. When I told him my hCG was 200, he said, “Congratulations! You’re pregnant.” Tears immediately started running down my face.

I spent the next ten years loving my low hormones. No periods! No bloating and cramping! No awkward leaking through my tampon! Life was great! But then when I was 28 I got married. I was still on the pill and decided that I would go off it right after the wedding. We wanted a big family and decided

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If I had thought that getting pregnant was the goal, I was sorely mistaken. Getting pregnant was just the beginning. There were now nine months ahead of me where any number of things could go wrong. Then, after that, there is a year to worry about SIDs and a lifetime to worry about your child. But I was lucky, 41 weeks later (yes, my daughter was in no rush to be born!) my daughter was born. During all that time, my husband and I continued to talk about the what ifs. What would we do if we found out the clinic made a mistake? What if I was pregnant with someone else’s baby or a baby that was half ours? What if someone else was pregnant with our baby? We spent countless hours arguing about what we would do. These what ifs led to my second book, My Heart from Inside, which tells the story of two couples placed in this impossible situation. It was inspired by my fears and experiences going through IVF and having a baby.

Many readers of the book emailed me to thank me for writing it. Some said they knew nothing about IVF and thought it was a shame that it was never really written about in fiction books. Others told me their infertility issues and said they were happy to hear someone else had the same fears and feelings. There are many women and couples going through their own fertility journeys (many much harder than mine). Maybe by writing about it, I can make it less taboo. Maybe others can identify with my characters’ struggles. Mostly, I want to provide a little bit of hope.

Aviva’s lifelong dream was always to be a writer. From a young age, she wrote short stories that she shared with friends and family. When she went to college at Boston University, her love for writing led her to get two bachelor’s degrees in Journalism and Religion. She then moved to New York City and wrote for a financial magazine, where she wrote breaking news and in-depth analytical pieces about corporate bankruptcy. When her daughter was born, Aviva decided it was time to get back to her lifelong dream and be a writer fulltime. She lives in Israel, happily married with a daughter and a dog.

Learn more about her at

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Left Right By Sylva Fae With three children, I can’t risk one not receiving a gift, so I wrap up enough gifts for everyone. Don’t worry about the added expense – gifts are usually just candy canes, chocolate bars, or some small toy, but never anything expensive. The fun comes more from playing the game, than the gift at the end.

Our Left Right Christmas Tradition In our house, we have tried to keep the magic of Christmas alive. For us it is a time to put away mobile phones, turn off the TV, and spend quality time together. It’s not often we get chance to have everyone sitting around the table together so this is a special time. Our Christmas table is actually several tables, cobbled together and hidden under a Christmassy cloth. Random chairs are brought from around the house to accommodate the number of guests, and I always seem to get left with the uncomfortable wooden stool! Nobody cares though; it’s just nice to share a meal together.

So, imagine the scene…the family sat around the table, each with a random gift, me at the end trying to keep order as I start to read. My dyslexic mum doesn’t know her left from her right, and deliberately breaks rules to make my girls laugh…. My stepdad is hard of hearing and misses what was said - the girls nudge him and shove him in the right direction. My daughters delight at the parcels flying left and right at great speed, and poor Aunty Barbara struggles to hear over the giggles. My husband and brother learn to duck as my girls become more exuberant in their left / right passes… It turns into a manic passthe-parcel!

So, with a captive audience, it falls to me to entertain the family. A few years ago, I saw a Left / Right story on the internet and I set about writing my own to share with my extended family. Now, for those who have no idea what a Left / Right story is all about…it is a story which enables gifts to be passed around the circle. The story contains many occurrences of the words ‘left’ and ‘right’, and whenever you hear them, whoever is holding a gift, passes it in that direction. Whoever is left holding a gift at the end of the story, keeps it.

As I am writing the stories, I add in family names and local place names to make them more personal, but there a quite a few generic games on the internet if you search. If you want a more personal touch, why not try writing your own? Here is one of my stories you can adapt for your family. Have fun and have a happy Christmas.

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‘Twas the night right before Christmas, The lights twinkling and bright. The Christmas tree was sparkling, With gifts left and right. The turkey left thawing, The veggies prepared. The table left set, And the cocktails were stirred. Nothing left to do, Nothing left to wrap. All was done right, Without a mishap. So Nana Right, And Granpa Right too, Sat right down on the sofa, To admire the view. To the left of the fireplace, The candles were burning. To the right of the sofa, A record was turning. ‘Twas right quiet and peaceful, As they sipped their red wine, Nothing left to do but, Have a right good time. Then right down the chimney, Came a rattle and hum. Santa fell right down, And burnt his big bum. He rolled out the fireplace, Left soot on the rug, Grandpa Right ran to help him, Nana Right gave a hug. Oh what a disaster, A right calamity, A burnt bottomed Santa, Lay right under the tree. Then Santa stopped howling, Gave a whimpering cry, Shook his head left and right And said with a sigh, "I've been right round the country, To all but one town, Now, I can't ride a sleigh As I can’t sit right down. Oh what can I do? It's a right, right royal mess I can't miss one town." He said in distress.

"Right, I have an idea," Said Granpa Right with a shout. "Don't worry Mr Claus No child'll be left out." Right away Nana Right Made a quick call To the Family Left, And gathered them all. Mr Left donned Santa's hat, Jumped right in the sleigh Right beside him was Grandpa, They flew right away. They left with the reindeer, To the last sleepy town, And Santa looked on, With a right grumpy frown. Mrs Right and Left, Were left right at home, To look after Santa, Put cream on his bum! Nana Right called her son, To help on their quest. Right away he agreed, He'd do his right best. The right plan was made, They left right away, Right to the last town To meet with the sleigh. - 19 -

Left over the houses, Right over the shops, Left over the church, They did speedy gift drops. The Lefts and the Rights Travelled all over the town, They left presents in houses, Left, right, up and down. Then finally they landed, Right on last lawn "There's only one house left now," Said Mr Left with a yawn. While (insert names of your children) Snuggled asleep in their beds, The Lefts and the Rights Kissed their sleepy heads. Then quietly left the presents, Right under the Christmas tree. Wrapped up right and left, For the children to see. Now Misters Right and Left, Weary, right tired and aching, Said their goodbyes, took to the skies. Right as the new dawn was breaking. Santa soon was on his way, With a cushion for his bottom.

Right o'er (enter your town name) he soared, The drama soon forgotten. All the Rights and Lefts, Watched as he flew for miles, They poured a welcome drink, And raised a glass with smiles. Every child would get the right gift. They raised their glasses and waved. Santa had a right sore bum, But Christmas day was saved. And far away in (insert your town name) Boys and girls were fast asleep Dreaming of when they left their beds And crept downstairs to peep. Had Santa got their letter? Had he left a pile of toys? The magic of Christmas day Was alive for girls and boys. Then as they got to Nana Rights, They got a right surprise Santa Left had been there too, They couldn't believe their eyes. It all went right, on the day. Now all that's left to do Is share some Christmas hugs, And wish a right merry Christmas to you.

Sylva Fae is a married mum of three from Lancashire, England. She has spent twenty years teaching literacy to adults with learning difficulties and disabilities, and now works from home as a children’s writer and illustrator. Sylva has published several children’s books and also writes a blog, Sylvanian Ramblings. Her debut book, Rainbow Monsters won the Chanticleer Best in Category award. Discover more about Sylva on Mom’s Favorite Reads website: - 20 -

Classic Movies: The Thin Man by Hannah Howe One of my favourite comedy-detective stories is The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett. Hammett is probably better known for The Maltese Falcon, though The Thin Man was also very popular and spawned five additional films featuring the main characters, Nick and Nora Charles. In the films, William Powell and Myrna Loy play Nick and Nora. While William Powell is excellent as the hard-drinking, fun-loving Nick, Myrna Loy steals the films with her elegant beauty and her wonderful sense of comic timing. Whenever she appears on screen, your eye is drawn to her and the films are worth watching for her performances alone. The storyline of The Thin Man centres on former private detective Nick Charles who travels to New York for the Christmas season with his wealthy wife, Nora. There, they discover that a successful inventor has disappeared and a reluctant Nick sets out to find him. The twists and turns of the plot lead to a classic dénouement scene, a motif of The Thin Man series, where Nick gathers all the suspects together before identifying the culprit. Hugely successful, The Thin Man became one of the top ten films of 1934. While the film is worth watching for its mystery element, the real delight of The Thin Man, and its sequels, is the witty and sophisticated dialogue. Indeed, the interplay between William Powell and Myrna Loy was so good that many people thought they were married in real life.

and exclaims, “What’s that man doing in my drawers?” causing Nick to spit out his drink (in the first Thin Man film, Nick always has a drink to hand) and hundreds of theatre operators to censor the line – this was 1934, after all. My favourite lines from the film – Nick: “I’m a hero; I was shot twice in The Tribune.” Nora: “You were shot five times in the tabloids.” Nick: “It’s not true; he didn’t come anywhere near my tabloids.”

In a classic scene from the film, the police search Nick and Nora’s apartment. Nora observes a police officer rummaging through her possessions

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: - 21 -

Seeing the Woods from the Trees by Millie Slavidou Seeing the wood for the trees

in many ways. We are not talking just about the obvious fruits and nuts that you can pick and eat from a tree. First of all, did you know that many researchers have developed medicines based on substances found in the forest? The Amazon rainforest especially has contributed to saving our lives, or simply improving our quality of life.

Forests are areas with a thick concentration of trees, and often other vegetation. This does not mean trees that have been planted in neat rows in order to harvest their crops, such as an apple orchard or an olive grove. Instead, forests are places where nature is left to its own devices.

Besides medicine, we also use wood to make paper, which is made from wood pulp. Without trees, there would be no books, no newspapers, no magazines, no posters. Life, in short, would be very different.

There can be more than one type of tree in a forest, and the types of leaves, seeds, fruits and nuts may also vary. The trees may be of varying heights and lifespans. Trees may be divided into two main categories; deciduous trees, such as oak or beech which lose their leaves during autumn; and evergreen trees such as pine and cedar, which keep their leaves all year round. Frequently, trees are habitats for all manner of wildlife, from birds nesting in the uppermost branches to squirrels lower down, to other kinds of rodents, as well as foxes, voles and badgers. And that is without even mentioning the insect life that is anundant in a forest. Obviously, a forest does not consist only of trees, and the other vegetation also helps to provide homes and food for the animals that live there.

It is often said that human life depends on trees for oxygen. While this isn't strictly true, as a large percentage of the oxygen in the atmosphere comes from marine plants, it's certainly true that trees absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. On average, a single tree produces nearly 260 pounds of oxygen each year. They may not be the lungs of the planet, but even a small copse can be a lung for a city! The Christmas Tree Usually, a Christmas tree is an evergreen, most commonly a conifer. Even the artificial trees that are popular in many homes tend to resemble pines or fir trees.

Apart from being a nice place to go for a walk or have a picnic, forests are also very important for us

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But why do we decorate a tree at Christmas? This is a tradition that started in the Middle Ages, in an area of Europe that is now part of Estonia and Latvia, but which at that time was known as Livonia, as well as in parts of what is now Germany. Fir trees and other similar conifers were abundant in those regions, and it was natural to decorate them during times of celebration. At Christmas time, it became popular among the wealthier classes not only to decorate the tree but to bring it into the home.

Various theories have been put forward as to the origin of the Christmas tree. There are several different places that used evergreens in their traditions preChristianity, ranging from the ancient Egyptians to the Chinese, and of course, returning to Europe, preChristian communities in Europe were known to include trees in their religious rites and celebrations, with several species of tree regarded as sacred, or regarded as having special or magical properties. In Scandinavia, for example, evergreens were placed around the house to scare away evil spirits. Going further back and further south, the Romans celebrated their mid-winter festival of Saturnalia by decorating with evergreen wreaths.

The tradition gained notoriety during the Renaissance period in Germany, when Martin Luther, the famous Protestant reformer, chose to add lighted candles to his decorated tree. Previously, this had always been seen as an obvious hazard for causing fires. Ancient Origins? The tradition may have become associated with Christmas during the medieval period, but does it go back any further than that?

These may not have involved a whole tree, but it is not a large step from cutting a few branches, to using the whole thing.

Millie Slavidou, author of the Lucy Evans Instaexplorer adventure series for preteens, featuring little snippets of language, and Sparky, a first chapter book for early readers. Discover more about Millie on the Mom's Favorite Reads website:

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The Little Tree By Sylva Fae wide and mittened fingers pointing at the spectacle inside. Then the singing ended, one by one children shuffled forwards and placed a present at the tree's base then wandered back to their parents' outstretched arms. The pile of colourful parcels, adorned with curling ribbons and bows, grew and grew. Eventually the last group disappeared into the night and the little tree was alone again with the man.

The little tree was sad and lonely. Not long ago he'd been growing alongside hundreds of trees. Now he was sat outside a darkened shop window, alone. The man from the shop had come out and wound something round and round his branches and polished the tub his roots were sitting in but soon he left and the tree was alone again. The sun faded to darkness and the stars twinkled down on the little tree but they didn't cheer him up like they usually did. A distant church bell chimed and suddenly the shutters in the shop went up flooding the pavement with brilliant light. The man looked out from the magical window and smiled at the tree. As the little tree marvelled back at the glittered winter wonderland display, festooned with silver icicles and glistening tinsel, the man inside flicked a switch. The surprised little tree was instantly bathed in a hundred twinkling lights as sparkly as the stars above. Each branch shimmered with iridescent light and the little tree looked beautiful. The man made his way outside, "Well little tree you look amazing!" he said, smiling as he wandered around adjusting the lights till they were just perfect.

"We did a good job tonight little tree," he said stroking a twinkling branch. "Best collect these presents up before the frost gets 'em." He busied himself placing the presents in a large black bag. "Rest tonight little tree. Tomorrow we'll deliver these to the poorly children at the hospital and then you're coming home to live in my garden."

The sound of children singing drifted in on the icy breeze. "Right my little tree, we have a job to do," the man whispered, rubbing his cold hands together. The choir of voices got closer and closer and soon there was a crowd of people huddled around the sparkling tree. Parents snuggled in excited children, all wrapped up in their Christmas jumpers and woolly hats. Arms hugged their families tight and eyes sparkled with love and Christmas cheer. And all around the little tree people sung beautiful songs of glad tidings. The littlest children pulled free from their parents and ran to the magical shop window, eyes

Soon the lights went off, the shop window darkened and the shutters went down. The little tree was left alone with only the twinkling stars for company but now he didn't need fairy lights to make him sparkle. The little tree had helped make the world a happier place and found a friend. He was now a happy little tree and this was going to be a merry Christmas for all.

Sylva Fae is a married mum of three from Lancashire, England. She has spent twenty years teaching literacy to adults with learning difficulties and disabilities, and now works from home as a children’s writer and illustrator. Sylva has published several children’s books and also writes a blog, Sylvanian Ramblings. Her debut book, Rainbow Monsters won the Chanticleer Best in Category award. Discover more about Sylva on Mom’s Favorite Reads website: - 24 -

Christmas with Mom by Ronesa Aveela

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Mermaids, Silver Butterflies, and Miracles by Ronesa Aveela “My soul is full of longing for the secret of the sea, and the heart of the great ocean sends a thrilling pulse through me.” —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Mankind’s fascination with the sea has sparked imagination since the first person beheld its mighty waters. Curiosity led people to invent the means to travel across the great oceans and eventually explore beneath them, trying to discover their secrets. Throughout the centuries, millennia in fact, people have created myths and legends about creatures living within the sea’s depths. One of the most alluring and formidable beings to inspire writers, artists, children, and adults is the mermaid, who entices men to a watery death. Mermaids have been forever immortalized in stories such as Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, but there is more to them than that story tells.

On Rusalka Sunday, Rusalki leave the deep waters to walk in meadows, spreading dew upon the soil to fertilize the land. People don’t work in fields or vineyards during this week as a way to honor the nymphs for the life-giving waters they bring. Whenever anyone dares to venture out during the week, he tucks wormwood, garlic, and walnut leaves inside his shirt, or attaches them to a belt, to protect himself from the Rusalki, as well as other creatures or spirits that may be wandering about the forests, mountains, or water bodies. Sensitive to strong smells, Rusalki avoid those carrying such herbs and flowers. Just as important, people refrain from bathing or washing clothes on this day to prevent Rusalki from dragging them into the depths of the water and drowning them. On Wednesday and Friday of Mermaid Week, Rusalki gather in groves where their favorite flower, the Burning Bush (dictamnus albus) grows. Its Bulgarian name is rosen, which means dew. These places are holy and sacred to the Rusalki. They pluck the tips from the flowers to place in their hair. The flower’s fragrance is intoxicating like a drug. Thus adorned, the nymphs worship nature with their magical songs and dance.

John William Waterhouse [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

These sea nymphs exist in Slavic folklore as well and are called Rusalki. Believed to be the souls of young women who have drowned, they often appear as white or silver butterflies, which in many cultures symbolize the soul.

Although their sisters of the forests, the Samodivi, may be more popular in Bulgaria, it’s the Rusalki who have an entire week dedicated to them: Rusalijska Nedelya, or Mermaid Week, starts on Pentecost.

By Bois, D.; Frederick Warne (Firm); Herincq, B.; Step, Edward; Watson, William [CC BY 2.0

( or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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The Rusalki are not the only ones to perform healing during Mermaid Week. At one time, on Sunday, rusalii, men who got their name from Rusalki, went from village to village healing the sick with their ritual dance. In particular they healed those whom the Rusalki had cursed, often those who chose to work during their sacred week. It was taboo for the men to talk, make the sign of the cross, or step in water because they were in a semi-trance, linking them to both the human and spiritual worlds. Armed with a white flag decorated with herbs, a special colorful stick, caps with herbs entwined, bells attached to their ankles, and a pot of vinegar and garlic, they were prepared to cure the Rusalki-induced illness. (You can see a re-enactment of this ritual in Mystical Emona: Soul’s Journey.)

While wearing rosen, Rusalki become kindhearted and often heal those who sleep in the meadow. One famous place is the village of Resen, which gets its name from the flower. Sleeping in the meadow is not enough to ensure a cure, however. People perform a special ritual called “walking on the dewy rosen grass.” The sick go to the meadow in the evening, being careful not to let anyone see them. They each find an isolated place amidst the flowers and eat their evening meal. Then, before sunset, each one spreads a white handkerchief next to them. They cover their heads and remain silent, drifting off to sleep. During the night, the Rusalki arrive, bearing their queen on a chariot of human bones. Those who may still be awake claim they hear laughter and songs. If a person who has lost a limb is among those gathered, the Rusalki may say, “Restore (person’s name) leg.”

You can learn more Rusalki, in our book about these Slavic maidens, available at

At sunrise, the sick check their handkerchiefs. If empty, it means the Rusalki chose not to cure the person. For those the nymphs decide to grant the person a miracle cure, they leave various objects. The person mixes it with water and drinks it slowly. Dirt left on the handkerchief is a sign the person will die from their disease. Regardless of what the nymphs leave or don’t leave, everyone places pitka (ritual bread) on the handkerchief for the Rusalki when they return. Pitka holds a special place in all Bulgarian rituals and holidays. It is broken, not cut, because it’s believed the bread itself has a soul.

Rusalii, Serbian Tradition. Photographer unknown, 1901. [Public domain].

Ronesa Aveela is “the creative power of two.” Two authors that is. The main force behind the work, the creative genius, was born in Bulgaria and moved to the US in the 1990’s. She grew up with stories of wild Samodivii, Kikimora, the dragons Zmey and Lamia, Baba Yaga, and much more. She’s a freelance artist and writer. She likes writing mystery romance inspired by legends and tales. In her free time, she paints. Her artistic interests include the femal figure, Greek and Thracian mythology, folklore tales, and the natural world interpreted through her eyes. She is married and has two children.

Her writing partner was born and raised in the New England area. She has a background in writing and editing, as well as having a love of all things from different cultures. Together, the two make up the writing of Ronesa Aveela. - 27 -

The Magic of Yule by Val Tobin As Yule approaches, the days get shorter, the nights longer. In the northern hemisphere, winter is beginning to take hold, and it is getting colder. Yule is celebrated on the longest night of the year, which varies, depending on the year, between December 21 and December 22. This is the Winter Solstice and pagans traditionally celebrate the return of the sun at this time though it is only the beginning of winter and the coldest days are yet to come. Cutting Down and Using the Yule Tree

Celebrating the Return of the Sun At Yule (from the Norse word for “wheel”), the sun is reborn. According to Wiccan lore, the Goddess gives birth to the “Child of Promise” and the time of the Holly King ends while the time of the Oak King begins. This is a time of introspection when, in cold climates, everything in nature sleeps through the cold winter. It is also a time of hope as one becomes aware that as the sun eventually returns, so will everything in nature awaken and be reborn. The celebrations during Yule reflect all of this, and in the past, pagans would celebrate with rituals, feasting, and festivities. According to D. J. Conway, in his book Wicca: The Complete Craft, decorating the home with holly boughs at Yule is an ancient pagan custom. Holly was also used for protection and warding off harmful spells. Ivy was used to symbolize the endurance of life, mistletoe for fertility and love. The Yule tree is an important part of Wiccan tradition for many who practice the Craft, and it is done with respect and acknowledgement of the spirit of the tree. Jeff McQueen, Wiccan and Priest, 1st degree with the Wiccan Church of Canada, explains: “If you are following the pagan path and you believe that all plants, animals, rocks, and trees have a spirit of their own, you’re taking a living, breathing tree, and you’re asking to have it; you’re asking it if it can be displayed in your house in a place of honor for Yule.”

In the McQueen household, there is a process to cutting down the Yule tree that begins with asking the tree for permission to cut it down, followed by a ritual to “chase the soul down the roots of the tree.” The person cutting the tree might even leave some of his/her own blood on the tree in payment. There is also rejoicing that the tree agreed to give itself to the family. McQueen explains that this is important because, “If it doesn’t want to give itself to you, it can make life very miserable for you. It’s surprising how dull a saw can get.” The crux of the message is that the tree is to be cherished and loved. Traditionally, the family then takes it home and puts it in a place of honour and decorate it. When the celebrations for Yule are completed, the tree is not simply thrown out. The tree becomes the Yule log for the following year’s celebrations. In the McQueen household, the tree is saved each year, and the following year, the family cuts a section of the tree from the previous year to use as a Yule log. They carve three holes into the log to place candles in and decorate the log with ivy. The rest of the tree is burned in the fireplace or outside if there is a Yule fire during the celebrations. The Yule tree is never wasted, but used for light and warmth, and always treated with honour and respect.

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More Ideas for Celebrating Yule Some other activities you can do for Yule as suggested in The Book of Shadows: Participant’s Handbook for Paganism 101, by Louise Bunn are: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Placing a wreath on the front door of the home to attract blessings and wealth Hanging mistletoe Donating food and clothes Feeding the birds Burning yew sprigs to honour the goddess Hecate Ringing bells on the morning of the Solstice as greeting Tying ribbons on the fir tree to honour the goddess Artemis

McQueen provides some further suggestions: Exchange gifts on Yule morning Hang stockings over the fireplace Have everyone participate in decorating the tree Tell stories relating to Yule, such as about the Roman festivities of Sol Invictus (the celebration of the victory of the sun) and the story of the pagan Child of Promise (the Goddess as Life-inDeath giving birth to the Sun God) ♦ If you practice ritual, shut down all the lights to symbolize the sun going out during the ritual, and then light the sun candle to symbolize the return of the sun. Light the other candles from the sun candle, beginning with the source candle ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

There are many ways to celebrate Yule, but the point is to have fun, enjoy the season, and celebrate the return of the sun with friends and loved ones. Celebrating Yule is a fun and sociable thing to do when it’s so dull and cold outside. Any greenery left over from Yule celebrations can be saved to use at the next celebration as the Wheel of the Year turns again and brings us to Imbolc on February 2nd.


Image: Holly for Yule Pagan Celebrations — By Emilio del Prado from Valladolid, Spain, España via Wikimedia Commons Bunn, Louise, Book of Shadows: Participant’s Handbook for Paganism 101, Vancouver: Louise Bunn, 1998. Farrar, Janet and Stewart, A Witches’ Bible: The Complete Witches’ Handbook, Custer: Phoenix Publishing inc., 1996. Gallagher, Ann-Marie, The Wicca Bible, New York: Sterling Publishing Co., 2005. McQueen, Jeff, Priest, 1st degree, the Wiccan Church of Canada.

Val Tobin writes speculative fiction and searches the world over for the perfect butter tart. Her home is in Newmarket, Ontario, where she enjoys writing, reading, and talking about writing and reading. Discover more about Val on Mom’s Favorite Reads website:

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Find the Differences Supplied by Sylva Fae

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Christmas Crafting with Lacey Supplied by Lacey Lane

Christmas Crafting with Lacey ON SALE NOW


Do you love Christmas? Want to create crafts but need ideas and a plan? Do you have ten thumbs? Let Lacey guide you to Christmas crafting success. Learn how to make wooden snowmen, Santa sweet tubes, wool angels, no sew sock snowmen, pompom reindeer wreaths, and much more. Simple, beautiful, and practical crafts are just one click away.

Coming soon

Get your copy here:

Lacey Lane is an author who loves pole dancing, crafting, nail art, reading and karaoke. She writes horror and non-fiction. You can check out her books here: News letter:

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Getting Your Child to Listen to You by Denise McCabe Do you ever just get frustrated by the way you are ignored every time you have something important to say to your child? I feel like I’m talking to the wall at times. I think at one point, I actually did without realising the child had got bored listening to me and went to another room. There are so many reasons for this type of behaviour from your child followed by as many solutions, too. For starters, you need to make sure you use the right tone of voice – be positive and confident about what you are saying. Try to calm yourself down a little before venturing into an argument. Go over the words you want to use once, to make sure your words are kept simple yet firm. You also need to focus on building trust and speaking the truth. Don’t exaggerate outcomes for their behaviour – children are not as dumb as we think and you will just end up teaching them how to lie and not trust you. Let’s face it; they know their teeth are not going to fall out overnight by having that extra sweet for e.g.

Here are a few things you can adapt to and witness the change in your child’s behaviour, yourself: ♦

Wait till you have your child’s full attention Connecting before you start speaking is essential. If you wait for them to look at you while you’re talking, it will just give them the impression that it’s okay to ignore. You cannot even expect to shout across the room, and expect the message to reach the child. Try to move in close before you talk and ensure eye contact.

Be mindful of your words Try your best to avoid any words which might be confusing or difficult for your child to understand. Keep it simple and positive.

Share their point of view If they are doing something they like, or are really indulged in, sometimes, just wait for them to finish. Don’t make them forfeit their priority and interest for you. This will not only teach him respecting other people’s space, but he won’t develop a negative attitude towards your contact.

Making continuous eye contact with your child will also keep him attentive while you speak but make sure you’re not just repeating yourself and it just seems like you’re nagging. Like us all, that’ll just go over their head.

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Encourage cooperation No one, including yourself, likes getting ordered around. Make the communication a two way process and even make chores seem like fun by using positive words. Try giving options to your child so that it doesn’t sound like an order. Ordering only creates more resistance and you do not want that to happen.

Keep calm Children make mistakes. They’re still learning and you can’t expect them to be perfect. Even adults are not perfect. If they mess up, help them out of the mess instead of scolding them on why they didn’t do what you asked them to. Later on, when everything is cleared up, you can talk to them about how things got out of control and how they can improve their behaviour and actions in order to prevent it from ever happening again.

Patience is the key to parenting, yet a very rare one to find. It's all a journey with many different places. You need to learn to deal with children according to their own mind-set so that they are not overpowered by your presence and feel insecure about you. —Denise McCabe, Children’s Books author

Denise McCabe is a children’s book author and blogger. She resides in Dublin with her two children. Her favourite pastime is writing, and reading with a cup of tea at hand. Discover more about Denise on Mom’s Favorite Reads website:

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Jingle Moo By DM Wolfenden In northeast Scotland, at the foot of the Conval Hills, sits the village of Dufftown. In a field stands a barn where a young highland calf called Heidi stared out at the night’s sky. Her long orange fur whipped about in the wind. “Heidi, what are you doing?” asked her mother. “It will soon be time for bed, its’s almost seven o’clock.” No matter how hard she tried, Heidi could not get to sleep.

“I’m excited about tomorrow,” Heidi replied.

Her mind filled with images of children opening their presents, like in the Christmas movie she had seen through the window of the farmhouse.

The Mother cow walked over to her, “Now Heidi, you know it’s not for us.” “I had a dream last night that I got a lovely warm scarf for Christmas,” Heidi replied.

“Crack!” Heidi jumped up. What could have made that noise? She looked round to see if anyone else had heard the noise. Her father’s soft snores drifted around the barn. Her mother fidgeted next to him, but Heidi was sure her mother was asleep, just like the rest of the herd.

Her mother shook her head causing her wavy red fur to sway. “Humans celebrate Christmas, not cows.” She nudged Heidi gently with her horn. “Now come back into the barn.” “Yes mum” Heidi’s words were barely louder than her long, loud sigh.

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Santa looked at his reindeer as they grazed. “I’m afraid that wouldn’t do any good. Your mum isn’t a believer. And I don’t have much magic left. Only you can save Christmas for the boys and girls who live in your town.”

Heidi made her way outside and looked up at the night’s sky, its twinkling stars shining down on her.

Then she saw what had made the noise. Reindeer stood nibbling at the grass. A man in a red suit lay on the ground. His sleigh was on its side, spilling the contents of large white sacks all over the place.

Heidi’s eye went wide. “How, I’m just a calf.” “There will be a boy passing the field in a few minutes. Ask him to help.” Heidi saw a boy on a blue bike nearing the field. She ran over to the fence and called out. “Hello.” The boy looked around as if searching for the person shouting hello. Heidi stopped at the barbed wire fence and again said, “Hello.” The boy’s eyebrows scrunched up and he shouted. “Who’s there?” Heidi tried to look friendly. She fluttered her eyelashes and smiled. “It’s me, the cow.” The boy got off his bike and shook his head. “This must be a joke. Cows don’t talk!”

“Oh it’s you Heidi.” The man said.

“They do tonight.” Heidi said and wagged her tail.

“How do you know my name?”

“You really can talk?”

“Because I’m Santa.”

“It’s magic.” Heidi grinned, showing off her teeth. “I’m Heidi.”

“Santa…?” Heidi blinked. “Don’t act surprised, it isn’t as if you don’t believe in me,” He winked, then grimaced and rubbed his leg. “I’m not going to be able to walk for a while.” Heidi slowly approached him. She looked at the rip in his red trousers. “Does it hurt?”

“Magic?” The boy scratched his head. “I’m Liam, Liam Thompson.” Liam still looked a little confused as he scrunched his face up.

“I need to deliver all the Christmas presents. Can you help me?”

“A little.” Santa yelped as he tried to move. “Christmas needs you Heidi, will you help” Heidi stepped back a few paces. “Shall I wake my mum?” - 35 -

The reindeer soared high in the air, the bells jingling as they went over the clock tower in the middle of the village.

“Wow! Was that the flash in the sky? Is Santa okay?” He looked across the field, then back to Heidi. “Of course, I’ll help. but how can we deliver all the presents before morning, and on what? I only have a bike.”

Heidi found a list with names and addresses on it. She held it up to Liam. The first name on the list. Peter McDonald.

Heidi looked back over her shoulder, “We need to ask Santa.”

“How do we get into the houses?” Liam asked as he picked up a present that matched the name.

As Heidi and Liam approached the sleigh, Santa said, “Hello Liam.” “You know who I am?”

With a puff they appeared next to a Christmas tree in the living room of a house with a roaring fire.

“He’s Santa,” Heidi said. Santa stood up. He wobbled and nearly fell. Heidi rushed to his side, and he held on to her long fur.

“Wow!” Heidi said. They placed the presents under the tree and spotted the note on the table next to it.

“These are all the children’s presents. The reindeer will take you to all the houses.”

It said, For Santa. There was a glass of milk and a sweet mince pie.

When Heidi and Liam looked back at the sleigh it was in the upright position and all the reindeer were at the front of it, attached by jingling bells and straps with yellow glowing lights.

Heidi looked at the mince pie. “I am hungry.” “I could do with a drink, but they’re for Santa.” Liam said.

Heidi and Liam sat in the sleigh and Santa called out, “Don’t forget your bike, Liam.” And to their amazement the bike magically appeared at Liam’s side.

Heidi took a bite out of the sweet dessert. “Tonight, we are Santa.” She said, crumbs sprayed out of her mouth.

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Liam laughed and brushed the crumbs off his jacket. Took a sip from the glass of milk before saying. “We can’t eat all the pies and drink all the milk from every house. But if we don’t the little kids might be upset?”

The brothers ran downstairs, Liam got on his bike and Jayden sat on the back of it and they rode like the wind to catch up to Heidi.

For hours Heidi, Liam and Jayden grabbed presents from the sacks and magically appeared in living rooms all across the little Scottish village.

“Maybe the reindeer would like some?” “Good idea.” Liam said.

There was just one sack left and Liam took out the present wrapped in striped coloured paper. “Jayden, this is for you,” he said.

Liam and Heidi went to the rest of the houses on the street. At the last house Liam looked at his watch. “This is taking too long, we have at least twenty more streets to do.” Liam smiled. “My little brother, Jayden, will help.”

A big grin appeared on Jayden’s face as he read the label. “To Jayden Thompson, from Santa. Thank you for helping.”

Liam’s bike magically appeared before him. “Whoa, that’s cool. I’ll be right back,” he said and jumped on his bike

Heidi held a present out to Liam in her mouth, “I think this one is for you.” She mumbled. Liam smiled and the next thing the two brothers knew they were in their own living room, next to the tree they had decorated.

Liam rode as fast as he could and ran up the stairs to Jayden’s bedroom.

“Jayden, wake up,” he whispered full of excitement, shaking his brother’s shoulder. “Hey, wake up! You are not going to believe this. Santa had an accident and I’m delivering all the presents with a cow. We need your help.”

Heidi returned to the field. Santa was waiting. His rosy cheeks glowed with a smile.

Jayden blinked rubbing sleep off his eyes “What are you talking about, presents…. Did you say a cow?”

Heidi looked down as a large present appeared in front of her. She ripped it opened with her mouth and gasped.

Santa rubbed her neck, “Thank you, Heidi.” Then got into the sleigh and shouted, “Ho ho ho. Merry Christmas.”

“Yeah. It’s a long story, will you help?”

Heidi jumped up and down, showing off all her teeth as she grinned at the tartan scarf inside. “Merry Christmas everyone.”

“Okay okay,” Jayden jumped out of bed and put on his slippers and dressing gown.

Dianne Wolfenden writes under DM Wolfenden. I love all things dark and am a horror addict. I grew up watching the old British hammer horror TV movies. Most of my stories have a dark side and one of my friends said they represent me pretty well; a little dark with a lot of heart. Discover more on the Mom’s Favorite Reads website: - 37 -

Postcards from Spain by Hannah Howe During the Spanish Civil War, Wales welcomed many refugees, including Esperanza Careaga, pictured here in 1939. Espe, her name means hope, left Spain in April 1937, eight days before her sixth birthday. Her brother, Alberto, was transported to Russia and it took 50 years before Espe saw him again. Meanwhile, Espe settled in Barry, Wales. At the end of the war, most of the refugees returned to Spain. However, 35 children remained in Wales, including Espe. She married in 1958, had two sons and four granddaughters.

George was born in 1906 while Gertrude was born in 1905. This record, complied in September 1939, three months before Espe joined the family, suggests that George and Gertrude already had two children. Due to privacy laws their details have been blanked out. George was an assurance agent, which suggests a steady career and regular income, while Gertrude was a housewife. Espe escaped the bombs of Spain only to witness the Cardiff Blitz, a fascist reign of terror as brutal as that carried out on the towns and cities of Spain. For the first fourteen years of her life, Espe must have thought that war was the norm. In 1937 the Basque Government appealed to foreign governments to accept child refugees. Many governments agreed. However, the British government, led by the Conservatives, a party famous for its cold-hearted, soulless approach, refused to help the children. Therefore, it fell upon individuals and organisations to offer aid.

From tragic beginnings, Espe lived up to her name, and through her courage we can draw belief, strength and hope. Two days before Christmas 1939 Esperanza went to live with George and Gertrude Harris of Barry, South Wales. She changed her name to Espe Harris and lived with her adoptive parents until she married Alan James in May 1958. Espe and Alan had two sons and four granddaughters.

On the 21st May 1937, 4,000 children left Bilbao for Britain on the ageing SS Habana, a ship built to carry 800 passengers. Each child was tagged with a cardboard hexagonal disk. Espe was listed under her full name, Esperanza Careaga Galindez, passenger 2661. Her age was incorrectly recorded as seven.

The children disembarked at Southampton on 23rd May 1937. Waving, they boarded double decker buses, a new sight to them, and travelled to a makeshift camp. There, they received food and toys. - 38 -

The prevailing atmosphere was one of organisation, togetherness and relief. Amongst all the waving arms and smiling faces it’s amazing to realise that Espe was amongst them, about to embark upon a new phase of her life.

In May 1937, Espe arrived at Cambria House in Caerleon. There, she and her fellow Basque refugees raised funds for their upkeep. They held concerts, which included traditional Basque dances and songs. The boys organised themselves into a football team. They were so talented the locals nicknamed them ‘The Wonder Team’. The children were educated to a high level and many went on to higher education and university in Britain. Their diet was good with jelly, known as ‘glass pudding’ by the Basque children, a particular favourite. Cambria House also produced its own monthly journal, which sold for tuppence (1p) a copy. The children wrote for the journal. This entry dates from January 1939: If you come one day to visit Cambria House, you will see us very happy. If you come in the morning, you will see Mrs. Sancho holding a bell and making it ring; then we get up and we make our beds, and after we get ready to eat our breakfast and clean the house; after, Mrs. Sancho rings the bell again and we go to school; after, Mrs. Sancho rings the bell again and we go out of school; after we enter school again and after school we have our dinner ready and we eat it. We spend the afternoon in the same way, and we are really happy.

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:

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Truly Thoughtful Christmas Gifts by Lia Manea The masterfully wrapped presents under the Christmas tree are undoubtedly part of the Christmas magic. With the right approach you can take the stress out of gift shopping and make sure that everybody loves your gifts.

Should you find yourself in the position to choose a gift for someone that you know little about, just follow a few guidelines:

But the art of choosing truly thoughtful gifts that match the personality of the recipient is a different story altogether. There are too many people that actually buy the gifts for themselves, thinking that if they love that item so will the gift recipient. Generally, this couldn’t be further from the truth. I know, I know, we are taught that any gift is a perfect gift and that we should be grateful for receiving it in the first place. And of course, we should be gracious and show our appreciation for any gift we receive. On the other hand, too many gifts end up as clutter hidden in someone’s home. Such gifts are in fact a missed opportunity for actually making someone happy and not environmentally friendly by adding to the mindless consumerism and waste. Take 5 minutes and brainstorm That’s why we can take responsibility and take a little time to plan ahead and consider what the gift recipient might actually enjoy receiving. Think of his or her values, likes and dislikes, hobbies and interests. Maybe they mentioned needing or wanting something lately. Usually, just from a short 5 minutes brainstorming session you can come up with a few thoughtful gift ideas that will surely delight the recipient. Next, you can put on your detective hat and check if those ideas are viable by asking questions and snooping around. To minimize unwanted or ill-chosen gifts, encourage family members or friends to circulate lists or otherwise share what they would like to receive from Santa. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and fish for suggestions, people will be more than happy to share their wishes and then maybe reciprocate the whole process. - 40 -

make it Christmas themed and maybe even consumable such as a basket of goodies, a bottle of gingerbread gin and other seasonal items

it shouldn’t be anything too large (just in case she hates it and on top of that she has to carry it home and then struggle to find a place for the contraption)

it should be something that (at least in theory) can be easily re-gifted.

Random Gift Guides You could also donate a sum of money on their behalf to their favorite charity for instance – should you know that they take a special interest in that area.

Now, let me rant a little bit about the ubiquitous gift guides that you can find all over the Internet. There are even articles titled something like “The Perfect Gift for A Wife”. First of all, not all women are the same. Wait, what? Ok, this is in fact common knowledge, but somehow people imagine that all the wives in the world will suddenly like to receive whatever contraption it’s all the rage on the Internet right now.

Gift Wrapping The art of gift giving refers to both offering the gift with grace and to paying attention to the actual packaging. The perfect gift is thoughtful, creative and well-planned. That being said, do not forget about the wrapping.

This approach is wrong on so many levels. The chance to find a gift that your wife or husband would love to receive from Santa on a random gift guide on the Internet is just as slim as you winning the lottery this week.

Get creative with the packaging. Never, ever, underestimate the sheer fun of unwrapping presents. It doesn't have to be tons of wrapping papers and gigantic bow ties – a well-chosen gift bag can do the trick as well. It all depends of course on the recipient's “profile” and little details can go a long way.

The irony is that people waste far more time browsing random gift guides than just taking 5 to 10 minutes to actually think about their wife or husband and their unique personality and unique set of values.

Sometimes, quantity can mean quality, when it’s a bunch of small individually wrapped items. Guaranteed fun and something to remember and share with friends.

All these gift guides can be indeed useful, but only after identifying some actually thoughtful gift ideas and further going down the rabbit hole to find the perfect item from that category. Once you narrow it down to say bullet journaling or hiking gear or whatever he or she is really interested in, then you can start browsing the Internet or hit the shops for the actual gift.

Last but not least, do not forget to include a handwritten card, that is definitely the finishing touch of a thoughtful gift. A few words from the heart, or even just your signature on a well-chosen card printed with a funny message will do the trick. If you’d like to read more about choosing better gifts that people will love, check out my book titled “Find That Perfect Gift: Easy Steps to Quickly Find Great Gifts for Any Occasion”, also available on Amazon. It’s a short read, and for the price of a coffee it can save you a lot of trouble and even make a few future gift recipients very happy.

Gift Experience Don’t forget that you can gift an experience, especially for that person who has everything or who’s just not into more “things”. Spa retreats, rock concerts, sky-diving, chocolate making workshops, you name it. Just make sure it fits with their personal interests and it’s something they would surely like to experience.

Lia Manea wrote her first book, Find That Perfect Gift! Easy Steps to Quickly Find Great Gifts for Any Occasion" with the intention to sum up her knowledge in the beautiful and creative area of gift giving and with the hope of helping as many people as possible in their efforts to offer moments of happiness to their loved ones. She left the finance corporate world so she could better take care of her family, follow her interests and continue to learn and grow. She is currently an author, interior decorator, happy mother of one and part of a beautiful family. She loves reading books, going to the movies, making sure that nothing goes to waste and occasionally travels the world. Visit her website to find out more and instantly up your gift giving game by downloading her Free Checklist for Great Gifts: - 41 -

Christmas Submitted by Poppy Flynn Written by Jessie age 9

Christmas pudding is very yummy. Holly wreaths hanging on every door. Roast turkey with all the trimmings, piled on my plate. Ice cold snow, floating to the ground Santa Claus is bringing presents for all the girls and boys Tinsel wrapped around the tree, Mistletoe hung from the door for people to kiss beneath. All day listening to Christmas songs. Special time of year, spending time with family and friends.

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Archimedes by Cyril Lucas Dripping wet, tradition relates, Archimedes of Syracuse sprang from his bath and without hesitation rushed naked into the street shouting “Eureka!” After more than two thousand years since its occurrence it is difficult to check the truth of this account, but on the face of things, and whatever his delight in his discovery – the calculation of the volume of irregular objects by measuring their displacement in water - it does seem somewhat improbable. He was a thinker of extraordinary depth – possibly an inspirational source of Rodin’s famous statue? – not normally given to impromptu or hasty or even unconscious exhibitionism even though nudity was less socially offensive in classical days.

By contrast Wikipedia entry is not flattering to Erich von Daniken whose 1968 “Chariot of the Gods” I bought on publication at W.H.Smith’s bookstall on Waterloo station. It records a painful past including incarceration in a Swiss penitentiary and castigates his archaeological claims as mistaken and even fraudulent. None the less his books have sold 63 million copies and today he is the adored patriarch of the thriving worldwide community of Ancient Alien theorists and disciples – so there is no doubt who has the last laugh. I was making regular trips to London for committee meetings at the height of Science Fiction’s popularity and usually scanned the latest paperbacks. From E.E.Smith’s ‘Lensman’ series on through Asimov, Larry Niven’s superb ‘Ringworld’, Vonnegut’s ‘Sirens of Titan” where an extraterrestrial messenger travels the galaxy bearing a message which reads simply ‘Greetings’, to Alfred Bester’s derelict space freighter, I read them avidly not because I believed they truly represented future pioneers and their adventures but in delight and awe of their authors’ imagination.

Wikpedia, for whom I hold the highest regard, offers an immensely adulatory opinion of Archimedes as ‘the greatest mathematician of antiquity and perhaps of all times’. Anticipating modern calculus by applying concepts of infinitesimals he derived and vigorously proved the well-known range of geometrical theorems for measuring the area of a circle, the surface area of a sphere and an accurate approximation of the value of pi, and included in his inventions the screw pump which bears his name (and provides water to innumerable numbers of mankind to this day) and compound pulleys. As a mathematical dummy Archimedes’ proofs regarding the sections of cones and parabolas are complete Greek to me (ouch!) and I have to accept his brilliance in admiring incomprehension. - 43 -

The 2 year siege of Syracuse ended in 212 BC when the city surrendered to the Roman General Marcus Marcellus. Contrary to express orders Archimedes was slaughtered by the legionnaire sent to fetch him before the victor when he replied that he was too busy working on a problem. His insolence was punished with a single thrust of the angry soldier’s sword. Again – so it is said. A grisly climax to recount at Christmas. Best seasonal wishes to All! A principle tenet of today’s Ancient A’s creed is that epiphanies are not inspired by little madeleines but occasioned as revelations implanted in the minds of great thinkers like Newton, Darwin, Einstein, and presumably Archimedes too, by Extraterrestrials wishing to educate humanity in advanced technology and intelligence. Personally I have been greatly interested by von Daniken’s revelations regarding monumental Prehistory. He has popularized many genuinely puzzling archaeological sites all over the world. Bolivia’s Puma Punku - where gigantic masonry blocks are carved with a precision which seems to exceed the creative ability of humans using hand tools - and other sites on every continent are solid evidence that our history includes mysteries unexplained by conventional theory and extend further into the past than is currently believed. But as far as the education of individual human thinkers goes? If the aliens are so wise and solicitous why are they so incompetent in fixing the chaotic mess we have made of things down here? If they have discovered the majestic secrets of the universe why don’t they just spill the beans?

Cyril Lucas, author of ‘A Windy Night’. Please message me if you have a comment on my book or my vignettes in ‘Mom’s’ newsletter. I will be delighted to hear your opinion. - 44 -

Christmas for CAMHS Mom’s Favorite Charity Children are admitted to CAMHS units to receive support and treatment for mental health issues, such as depression or eating disorders like anorexia. There are no official figures regarding how many children will spend the festive season in CAMHS units across the country. While many members of the public and corporate donors give Christmas gifts to children’s hospitals or children’s wards in general hospitals, CAMHS units, which are usually based away from other services, are often forgotten, or not known about.

Christmas for CAMHS is a registered charitable company who provide Christmas gifts for children and young people who are inpatients in child and adolescent mental health (CAMHS) wards during the festive season. Their aim is to make the young inpatients feel thought-about, special and included. Christmas for CAMHS has been supported over the past few years by generous donations from the public and has received much gratitude from inpatient units. However, they are only able to provide gifts thanks to your charitable donations. To find out how you can donate money or gifts please visit

As a charitable organisation, Christmas for CAMHS relies 100% on fundraising and your generous donations. Each penny goes directly to buying beautiful and well thought-out gifts for units across the country.

Christmas for CAMHS was originally set up because volunteers saw a huge disparity in the way CAMHS units were treated over the festive period compared to other NHS services for children and young people. They wanted to do something to change that.

The organisers spend time contacting each unit to ensure the gifts are appropriate for the individual young people and to get an idea of what the young people like to do day to day on the wards. If you would like to donate gifts or money please visit the Christmas for CAMHS website Thank you.

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Little League Nightmare by Keith Guernsey Growing up 12 miles from Fenway baseball was a very big deal in Lexington and I was determined to give it my best shot. Opening day was a major event with a parade through the center of town and players from all the teams lining both baselines (think opening day at Fenway for all its pomp and circumstance and you wouldn’t be far off). There is where it went from bad to worse. My shiny, new all-white uniform had arrived in the mail. I was so excited to try it on and then so sad when the pants did not fit. My late mother, in her infinite wisdom, decided (glad you are not here to read this Ma) she could fix them; so I let her give it a shot, but all she had was gray material to use. So what ended up happening was that 100 Little League baseball players lined the first and third baselines at the Center Field in Lexington, and 99 had perfectly pressed sparkling white uniform pants. I had white pants with a large gray patch directly in the center of the posterior. With a last name of Guernsey (rhymes with cow) and being rotund in places where I shouldn’t have been, the laughter and humiliation were complete. This was my most embarrassing moment but surprisingly not by that much. In little league baseball there was a rule that everyone had to play. This made the coaches unhappy but the players

(especially the lousy ones like me!) ecstatic. My coach sent me out to right field (told you I was the bench warmer money can buy) with a great deal of trepidation and the sincere hope that no one would actually hit the ball to me. If you are unfamiliar with LL ball, it is where the coaches put their worst players in hopes nothing too awful will take place. Unfortunately for him it did. One of the first batters that came up to bat after I went in the game lined one way over my head and hilarity ensued. I ran (waddled?) back after the ball when my cap flew off. Instead of continuing to pursue the ball, I stopped and went back after my lid. Only after retrieving my hat did I resume my pursuit of the ball. Suffice to say that by the time I retrieved the ball my opponent had long since circled the bases and I was unceremoniously yanked from the game. The only saving grace is that there was no AFV or YouTube to record this monumental faux pas. 25 cents/copy of any of our books purchased through 5/1/19 will be donated to the American Cancer Society Thank you for helping us cure this dread disease, Keith and Sue

Keith D. Guernsey is retired and living on Lake Lanier with his lovely wife Susan and his four-footed son Harley (who really is the king of this castle!) witter=@thegurns

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Holiday Traditions by Melanie P. Smith It’s that time of year again. With cooler weather comes harvest festivals, ice-skating in the park, winter sports and a variety of holidays. As much as we might like to burrow in with a good book, a cup of hot-chocolate, and a blazing fire — most of us find our lives more complicated once the holiday season hits.

- coal or garlic to the bad ones. The child’s family usually leaves a small glass of wine and a plate with a few morsels of food common to the region for Befana. She is often referred to as the ‘Christmas Witch’ because she is portrayed as an old hag, riding a broomstick and covered in soot - logical since she gains entrance through the chimney.

Because holiday activities and traditions are an integral part of our lives during the winter season, I thought it might be fun to highlight traditions celebrated around the world that you may not have heard about. Instead of the usual tree lighting, mistletoe, and St. Nick — Let’s talk about chicken, witches and pickles.

Yes, I know it sounds an awful lot like a female version of Santa – ‘tis the season, I guess. There are slight variations, but basically the legend derives from a well-known biblical story, with a twist. As the story goes, three wise men (or magi) were traveling across the land on their way to witness the birth of the infant Jesus. It was getting late and they stopped at a modest home to ask for directions.

Hide the Pickle – America No, not that pickle. Some call it “Find the Pickle” but the game is the same. You buy a pickle-shaped Christmas tree ornament and hide it somewhere on the tree. The person who finds the pickle gets an extra present, a unique prize, or is said to have a year of good fortune. It has become a common American tradition. Many believe it originated in Germany, but that has been discounted. Nobody really knows where it started, but apparently families around the US have been searching for their pickle since the 1800’s.

I have to take issue with this part of the story. Does anyone know three men (wise or not) that would willingly stop and ask for directions when lost? I don’t — but I digress. Anyway, according to legend Befana provided shelter for the night. The following morning, the magi invited her to join them on their journey. She declined, but later had a change of heart. She set out in search of her three attractive new friends (Okay, I added the attractive part) but she couldn’t find them. To this day, she is still wandering aimlessly, searching for the baby (or maybe the irresistible men), hoping to deliver her gifts and make the child happy. Although unsuccessful thus far, she is persistent and each year picks up the search, determined to locate baby Jesus. Until she does, she will continue to leave gifts in each home she visits - believing the Christ Child can be found in all children.

La Befana - Italy

El Caganer - Catalonia, Spain

In Italian folklore, on the eve of the Feast of the Epiphany, Befana visits all the children and delivers clothing, toys, and candy to the good boys and girls

I apologize in advance because this one is a little different. Most of us have now heard about the ‘Elf on the Shelf’ Christmas tradition depicted in a 2005 - 47 -

children’s picture book. You may not have heard of the elf’s mischievous, defecating cousin - Caganer. The word El Caganer literally means ‘the crapper’. This holiday figurine was originally depicted as a peasant, often wearing a traditional Catalan red cap, with his trousers down - showing a bare backside, and defecating. Why? There are way too many guesses to list here, but; basically, nobody knows. The exact origin of the caganer is unknown but the practice has existed since the 18th century, some believe it started during the Baroque period. You can find this custom practiced in Catalonia and the surrounding region. There is even a sculpture of what looks like El Caganer inside the cathedral of Ciudad Rodrigo, Province of Salamanca - though it is not part of the nativity scene. Legend has it, farmers would be punished with poor crops and bad fortune if they failed to include El Caganer in their nativity scenes. The locals began creating elaborate exhibits that included the entire city of Bethlehem – not just the manger – in these nativity displays. Many included farmhouses, outlying areas, shepherds tending their sheep, handmaidens by the river, etc. creating a game of find the caganer. Kids have a blast trying to find the naughty elf.

These days you can find a wide variety of characters available. From cartoons, to famous athletes, singers, political figures and more. Again, you may be asking why? Well, because nothing says Christmas like your favorite role model taking a little potty break. Plus, you have the added benefit of seeing your guest’s reaction when they spot the undisciplined figurine hiding in the corner with his pants down.

Christmas meal. During the week leading up to Christmas, Venezuelans attend church daily and it is customary to travel to the church services on roller skates. This tradition is so widespread, many roads are closed to provide worshippers safe passage. In Austria, St. Nicholas has an evil counterpart — Krampus. He is a demon-like creature with one task; punish bad children before Christmas. Men dress in devil costumes and roam the street carrying chains and a basket for abducting bad children and hauling them to hell. Or, maybe it’s just a great way to keep delinquents off the streets for a few nights — you decide. In Guatemala, the locals believe the devil and other evil spirits live in the dark, dirty corners of your home. Therefore, they spend the week before Christmas sweeping up, collecting rubbish and piling everything in a huge heap outside. An effigy of the devil is then placed on top and the whole thing is set on fire — it symbolizes burning away everything bad from the previous year and starting new from the ashes. In Ukraine, they add an artificial spider and a web to their Christmas tree. The tradition comes from the tale of a poor woman who couldn’t afford decorations. She woke on Christmas morning to discover a spider had covered her tree with a glorious, sparkling web. These days, people add it to the tree hoping for good luck.

Other Traditions around the world - Various Norwegians believe that Christmas Eve coincides with the arrival of evil spirits and witches. December is the darkest time of year and superstition tells them mischievous spirits and witches roam the lands eager to cause unrest. To ward off trouble, they hide all the brooms in the house so the lurking witches can’t steal them and fly away on their annual Christmas night ride.

For many Japanese families, a traditional Christmas dinner is KFC. Due to tiny ovens and a clever marketing campaign, Kentucky Fried Chicken has become a yuletide feast on Christmas day. It has become such a popular custom, you have to order this festive bucket weeks in advance and people stand in long lines just to pre-order their scrumptious

On Christmas Eve, unmarried Czech woman stand with their back to the door and toss one of their shoes over their shoulder. If it lands with the toe facing the door, it means they’ll be married within the year. If it lands with the heel facing the door, they’re in for another long year alone. I’d be interested in hearing the stats on this one to see how often it works out. I guess it could be a great way to discover you’re dating a heel. - 48 -

In Spain it is customary to wear red underwear on New Year’s Eve. The small town of La Font de la Figuera has taken the tradition one step further; they hold a New Year’s Eve run with the participants wearing nothing but red underwear. The town has the highest rate of pneumonia in the country – I’m sure that’s purely coincidence.

Today the photos are digital, and the toy chute was replaced with a treasure chest and an automatic switch, but the magic is still the same and who better than a fairy to grant that one big, secret wish?

Hot Cockles — The holiday season is a time for family gatherings, parlor games and gifts. Hot Cockles is an 18th century game that is great for the whole family. One person is blindfolded. Someone else in the room hits them in the head. The blindfolded participant must guess the identity of the person that hit them. Once they do, it’s that persons turn to get hit. What a great way to alleviate all that family tension that’s built up over the past year. I’m pretty sure this would be dangerous in my family. Residents of the former Yugoslavia would tie their mother to a chair and sing “Mother’s Day, Mother’s Day, what will you pay?” demanding she give them presents in exchange for her freedom. I wouldn’t try this one at home — at least not with my mother.

*** It’s fun and entertaining to hear about other customs, especially those that are drastically different than our own. This is especially true around the holidays because there are so many cultures, religions, and observances to choose from. The holiday season presents many opportunities to try something different. Some are funny, some are somber and sacred, some are magical and help bring that enchanted sparkle to a child’s eyes. We all live in a world that is rich with diversity. We are all different and yet, the same. Embracing our differences, trying to understand diverse cultures and traditions, might simply be interesting or educational. On the other hand, who knows, it might be a great way to start a new cherished tradition. Our family tradition was to get together and chop down our own Christmas trees. We’d make an entire day of it with snowmobiles, sledding, and hot chocolate. Once it got dark, we’d head home with a fresh tree and a lot of memories. What Christmas traditions do you celebrate in your family?

Tired of the 12 Days of Christmas? You could have the 13 gnomes who come into your home during Christmas to steal your belongings. They either bring gifts for good children or potatoes for bad ones. Each has their own personality. I think I have heard this one. There’s Dopey, Bashful, Happy, Sneezy… oh, wait, never mind. In Kansas City, Missouri (USA) they have their own holiday icon. In 1936, Kline’s Department Store was owned and operated by a Jewish family. They were looking for a non-denominational holiday icon to promote the holidays and the Christmas Fairy Princess was born. For decades, the princess greeted shoppers in her white gown, gloves and diamond tiara. With the tap of her magic wand, a secret chute would open, and the child would receive a gift.

Long before she delved into the world of fantasy and suspense, Melanie P. Smith served nearly three decades in the Special Operations Division at her local sheriff’s office working with SWAT, Search & Rescue, K9, the Motor Unit, Investigations and the Child Abduction Response Team. She now uses that training and knowledge to create stories that are action-packed, gripping and realistic. When Melanie’s not writing, she can be found riding her Harley, exploring the wilderness or capturing that next great photo. Learn more about Melanie on Mom’s Favorite Reads website: - 49 -

On the Origins of Winter by Millie Slavidou As it gets colder, and winter makes us want to snuggle up next to the fire – or the radiator, these days – let's take a look at the word itself. Where did it come from? Has it always meant 'the coldest season of the year'?

But where did Middle English get the word from? The answer lies in Old English. Let's go back to the days of King Alfred the Great, he of the burning cakes, the first king to unify the various English kingdoms and domains under one rule. From the Metres of Alfred, dating to the ninth century, I have taken this simple quote:

Let's take a step back in time to find out. In Middle English, before spellings became standardised, we can find several versions of our word, such as wintere, wintre, whinter, wintirus and even vintir, which should give us a hint as to the pronunciation in various dialects spoken in the past.

Winter bringeþ weder ungemetcald Winter brings excessive cold. [The letter thorn þ is pronounced 'th' the same as in the modern word 'think']

The meaning is the same: winter. Let's take a look at a reference taken from the Peterborough Chronicle, dating to around 1121, a very early stage of Middle English.

One again, we can certainly echo these sentiments today! How marvellous to think that our forebears from so many centuries ago were using the same words in much the same way as we are today. But let's continue the tale of the word. Old English took the word from Proto-Germanic, the language which evolved into a number of languages including English, as its speakers migrated across the continent.

Dises geares waes swa strang winter mid snawe and mid forste. This year's was a heavy winter, with snow and with frost. A very recognisable sentence, that we can easily imagine being used today, as much as it was centuries ago!

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The proposed root in Proto-Germanic is *wintruz, which would have meant 'winter', and would also have been the source of numerous cognate words in other languages in the Germanic family, such as Dutch winter, Old High German wintar, Modern German Winter, Danish and Swedish vinter and others.

In Proto-Indo-European, the root is *wend-, a form of *wed, which meant 'wet'. You've probably already guessed it: our modern word wet comes from the same source, and it's interesting how little it has changed over the centuries. So winter is, in fact, the wet season. A final point of interest in our story is to look at the other words that derive from *wed, making them cognates, or distant linguistic cousins, of winter. We have already seen wet, and you may have guessed by now that water is another one. But there are more. Perhaps unsurprisingly, wash is on the list, but also my favourite cognate of 'winter': otter. Just think about the environment that the animal lives in, and you will see how it came to be cognate with a word meaning 'wet season'

But the story doesn't end there. Why use that particular word to mean winter? It seems that our linguistic forebears were logical people. What is the weather like in winter? Well, it is generally cold, wet, rainy, snowy. The ProtoGermanic word *wintruz can be traced back to Proto-Indo-European, the language from which the vast majority of European languages evolved. Here comes the logical bit.

Millie Slavidou, author of the Lucy Evans Instaexplorer adventure series for preteens, featuring little snippets of language, and Sparky, a first chapter book for early readers. Discover more about Millie on the Mom's Favorite Reads website:

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Chess: Defense Supplied by Chess.Com Sometimes an important defensive piece can be attacked and chased away, therefore exposing the squares which it formerly guarded. You play black. This position looks good for White at first - he has all his pieces developed and has two center pawns abreast on e4 and d4. But a closer examination shows that Black has serious pressure on the center - pressure which results in immediate gains if Black applies the right pressure...

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Word Search Supplied by Mom’s Favorite Reads

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The Origins of Christmas by Poppy Flynn So pretty much everyone knows, whether they actively participate in the holiday or not, that Christmas is celebrated to honour and remember the birth of Jesus Christ, who, according to Christian belief, is the Son of God. The name itself originates from the Mass of Christ, more popularly known today as Midnight Mass. A service where Christians celebrate the Nativity of Jesus. Since this was ‘Christ’s Mass it was eventually shortened to Christmas. However more and more often Christmas it is starting to be touted as a secular holiday, ie not connected with religious or spiritual matters. Indeed, some countries have actually officially declared it as a secular holiday, and it can’t be denied that Christmas is celebrated by people throughout the majority of the world, whether they are Christians or not. It has become a time when families and friends come together and remember the good things they have, prepare lavish family dinners and exchange gifts. Many of the people who celebrate Christmas do so without a specific interest in its religious roots. In fact there are those who would argue whether it truly has any.

With no date given in the Bible, why do we celebrate it on the 25th December? There is no mention of Christmas before the 4th century. The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine. He also happened to be the first Christian Roman Emperor and it was he who initiated the evolution of the Roman empire into a Christian state. However, at this time, it was not an official Roman state festival. While there is little doubt that Emperor Constantine’s intention was to initiate Christmas as a celebration of the birth of Jesus, there is some controversy and many theories over the choice of date.

So where does Christmas originate? The name might be a direct reference to Christ, but the holiday itself has a far less reliable origin. The simple truth is that no one actually knows the real birthday of Jesus!

One of the earliest beliefs is that it is linked to the Annunciation. This was the day when, according to the scripture of Luke 1:26 in the Bible, the angel Gabriel revealed to Mary that she would become the mother of Jesus Christ, the son of God. The festival of annunciation is held on March 25th and a full nine months after that comes the 25th December! - 54 -

The Roman Festival of Saturnalia took place between December 17th and 23rd and honoured the Roman god Saturn. It took a form that we might find familiar in our own Christmas traditions such as huge banquets, which were followed by gift-giving and continual partying in what was said to be a carnival atmosphere.

(In an interesting side note, all Christian antiquity held March 25th as the actual date of the death of Jesus too, which of course in our modern celebration of Easter, changes date each year)

That theory seems fairly simple and straightforward, but there were other things going on at the time that make people believe otherwise. For example, some think that December 25th might have been chosen because the Winter Solstice and the ancient Roman festivals of 'Saturnalia' and 'Dies Natalis Solis Invicti' were also celebrated around this date. Cynics would argue that rather than try and fight the pagan beliefs it was easier to simply ‘divert’ them.

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By comparison, the Roman emperor Aurelian created 'Sol Invictus' in 274. Dies Natalis Solis Invicti means 'birthday of the unconquered sun' and was held on December 25th which was when the Romans thought the Winter Solstice took place in accordance with the early calendars. It also coincides with the 'birthday' of the Pagan Sun god Mithra on the same day and it is in the roots of these pagan religions that we derive the word Sunday, which was their holy day long before it became a Christian one. Dies Natalis Solis Invicti was a popular holiday which celebrated the longer days which followed the winter solstice. It was seen as a sign of the resurgence of the sun, the casting away of winter and the beginning of the rebirth of spring and summer and it was a time when evergreens were brought in to decorate homes. After December 25th became accepted as the date of Jesus’ birth, it’s hardly surprising that people frequently made the connection between the rebirth of the sun and the birth of the Son. And of course, Christians also believe that Jesus is the light of the world, so there are some serious analogies here.

influenced by the idea that Jesus had died on the anniversary of his conception, during Passover, which was celebrated on 25th March, so that his birthday came nine months later.

And then there is Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of Lights, which starts on the 25th of Kislev – this is the month in the Jewish calendar which occurs at about the same time as December. Hanukkah celebrates the Jewish people being allowed to re-dedicate and worship at their Temple, in Jerusalem, after many years of not being allowed to practice their religion. Since Jesus was a Jew, this may be yet another reason why December 25th might have been chosen for the date of Christmas! Given that he became Pope so close to the time when Emperor Constantine had informally initiated celebrations of Christs birth on that date, it’s just as likely that he decided to simply go along with it. Whatever your belief, there is no denying that it pretty much kept everybody happy and tied everything up in a rather neat little Christmas bow.

It was Pope Julius 1 (337-352) who officially formalised that Christmas should be celebrated on December 25th. There is speculation that he may have chosen this date because he was trying to create a Christian alternative to Saturnalia or that he could convert more people to Christianity by allowing them to continue celebrating on the same day as Sol Invictus. Or he may have been

Poppy Flynn was born in Buckinghamshire, UK and moved to Wales at eight years old with parents who wanted to live the 'self-sufficiency' lifestyle. Today she still lives in rural Wales and is married with six children. Poppy's love of reading and writing stemmed from her parents' encouragement and the fact that they didn't have a television in the house. "WHen you're surrounded by fields, cows and sheep, no neighbors, no TV and the clostest tiny village is four miles away, there's a certain limit to your options, but with books your adventures and your horizons are endless." Discover more about Poppy on Mom's Favorite Reads website:

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Talking with the Past By Stan Phillips Talking with the Past They all have their stories to tell you know. All those old folk sitting quiet in corners there. Untold tales of long ago. They stare into space with a small twinkle in their eyes as they relive a far off memory in the privacy of an aging mind. And maybe smile a bit as they do so. Oh yes, they all have their stories to tell. Like old Uncle Tommy, with his undrunk pint before him, dreaming quiet. Stories of when he had a trial for Liverpool, or when he was a copper in London. And granny, dreaming in her special chair. What does she dream of? Young love perhaps? Or nursing in the war? And then we have Great Aunt Mary with tales to recount of days almost lost to time. My grandfather died long, long ago, with his fading life full of untold stories of times and places and people beyond my power to imagine. And I have wished and wondered down all the passing days about them. Yes, they all have their legends, the old ones. Why not ask them? One day you might wish you had.

Stan Phillips is an 80 year old 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: - 57 -

December by Poppy Flynn December is the twelfth, and final, month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars. It gets its name from the Latin word ‘decem’ meaning ten, which dates back to the Calendar of Romulus circa 750 BC where it was originally the tenth month of the year in a calendar which began in March. Interestingly, the winter period which followed December wasn’t actually included as part of any month. There was simply a nameless period which later became January and February, although the Anglo-Saxons did used to refer to December and January as Ġēolamonaþ which in modern English roughly translates to the Yule month. December contains the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere with December 21st (or 22nd) being the day with the fewest daylight hours and the beginning of the astronomical winter. At the same time, the Southern Hemisphere celebrates the summer solstice, the day with the most daylight hours.

There are now 195 countries in the world and over 160 of them celebrate Christmas, which is what December is most associated with. A few countries refer to the holiday as Family Day, including Angola and Uruguay, while others, like Jordan and Pakistan, designate December 25th as an official holiday only for Christians.

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Hanukkah, the eight day Jewish festival of light, is also celebrated during December. The zodiac signs for December are Sagittarius, running until December 21st and Capricorn, from there onwards.

December's birth flower is the narcissus, which might seem like a somewhat odd choice, since it tends to be more strongly associated with the Spring season, but it symbolises good wishes, faithfulness and respect and shouldn’t be confused with the daffodil, the birth flower for March, which is also a type of narcissus.

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The three birthstones for the month are turquoise, which is regarded as a love charm as well as a symbol of good fortune and success and it is believed that wearing turquoise will calm and balance emotions.

Then there is zircon, which is sometimes confused with synthetic cubic zirconia, but which is actually the oldest natural mineral on Earth, dating back 4.4 billion years. Although it is available in many colours, blue is the most popular and that is the colour which is most often associated with December’s birthstone. The gem was once believed to induce sleep, promote wealth, and protect from injury and evil.

The third birthstone is tanzanite which was discovered in Tanzania in 1967. It is in fact a blue version of zoisite but because tanzanite is available only from a small area, it is likely to be depleted in the next few decades.

An earthquake off the coast of Sumatra caused tidal waves which killed over 300,000 people in 2004, a terrorist bomb exploded on a Pan Am flight over Scotland in 1988 and the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour in 1941, pulling the US into World War 11. In 1857 Ottawa was declared the capital of Canada, and in 1922, the USSR was founded. Exactly 69 years and 1 day later, in 1991, the Soviet Union was officially dissolved.

Although December tends to be monopolised by Christmas, there are many other significant historical events which occurred in December.

In 1612, Galileo first observed the planet, Neptune, but it was almost 300 years before the Wright Brothers made their first aeroplane test flight in December 1903. By comparison it was only a mere 55 years later that aeronautics had developed enough that on Christmas Eve

Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself the Emperor of France in 1804, William the Conqueror was crowned King of England in 1066 and King Edward VIII of the UK abdicated the throne in 1936. Anti-apartheid icon and former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela died in 2013 and the singer/ song writer of Beatles fame, John Lennon, was shot dead in 1980.

1968, we saw Apollo 8 orbit the moon and take stunning photographs of the Earth rising. What an amazing Christmas present to the population of Earth that must have been.

Poppy Flynn was born in Buckinghamshire, UK and moved to Wales at eight years old with parents who wanted to live the 'self-sufficiency' lifestyle. Today she still lives in rural Wales and is married with six children. Poppy's love of reading and writing stemmed from her parents' encouragement and the fact that they didn't have a television in the house. "WHen you're surrounded by fields, cows and sheep, no neighbors, no TV and the clostest tiny village is four miles away, there's a certain limit to your options, but with books your adventures and your horizons are endless." Discover more about Poppy on Mom's Favorite Reads website:

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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: 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! - 61 -

Auschwitz Syndrome Reviewed by Grant Leishman

Ellie Midwood As a long-time fan of the genre (WWII - Historical Fiction) and a real fanboy of author Ellie Midwood, I'm always excited to hear when she has a new book in the marketplace, being first in line to grab it. Her latest story revolves around a survivor of the terrible Auschwitz-Birkenhau death camp in Poland.

backdrop is all about love, survival and the indomitable human spirit. I felt Midwood captured perfectly what must have been the mindset of so many young, idealistic SS Nazis. Raised to believe that their superiors could NEVER be wrong, many of them must have looked at what they were doing to, principally the Jews, and wondered... even known, that it was wrong... and yet, it was their orders and orders were never wrong, even if they didn't understand them.

Helena, a Jew, was transported to Auschwitz, from her home in Czechoslovakia after voluntarily surrendering to the German occupation forces, believing she was being sent to work in a factory to assist the German war effort. On arrival at Auschwitz, she was immediately to be sent to the gas chamber and murdered, along with her entire transport. A chance encounter with Rottenfuhrer Wolff, would see her, instead, chosen to sing a birthday song to one of the guards in Auschwitz - Franz Dahler. So taken by her singing and her beauty was Franz, he immediately ordered she be removed from the liquidation list and instead assigned to work in his section - the famous "Kanada" where the dead people's belongings (clothes, jewellery, money etc) were sorted and re-purposed for use by the German Reich.

As always, Midwood's research is impeccable and her descriptive prose takes us right inside the horror and the evil that was Auschwitz-Birkenhau. While it is true that the "Kanada" was, as they put it, "a right kosher detail" and the girls there were well treated in comparison to the regular inmates, Midwood doesn't pull any punches in her descriptions of the conditions faced by Helena and even the regular inmates. Her descriptions of the systematic murder of an entire race are compelling, absolutely realistic and incredibly hard to read. But, like all her work there is an overwhelming sense of the dignity of humanity and the power of love, even among such unspeakable tragedy.

The story switches back and forth between the Denazification Trial of Franz Dahler, in 1947, where he is accompanied by his "wife", the former inmate, Helena, from Auschwitz - to Helena's and Franz's actual time spent in Auschwitz and later Birkenhau. Overseeing the trial, from the sidelines is an American Psychiatrist, Dr Hoffman who is fascinated by the whole tale of the Dahlers' love affair and romance. How is it possible for an inmate of such a horrific place as a concentration camp to fall in love with the SS Guard appointed to oversee them? To Hoffman, it simply doesn't make any sense and he is sure there is something at play here, as yet undiscovered by modern psychiatry.

In my mind, Midwood is a superstar of this genre and Auschwitz Syndrome is just indicative of her immense talent at parading in front of our unsuspecting noses "that which we must NEVER forget". I can't recommend this read highly enough. It is thought-provoking and mind -blowing and not something I'll forget in a short time. To find Auschwitz Syndrome, or indeed any of this author's incredible novels, visit Ellie Midwood's Amazon page

As with all of Midwood's novels, this story (based entirely on true events), despite it being set against such a hateful and depressing

Grant Leishman is a fifty-nine-year-old full-time author and editor, domiciled in the beautiful island of The Philippines. After careers in finance and journalism, Grant finally found his true bliss in life writing. He is happily married to THess and they ahve two daughters, Rose and Angeline. Discover more about Grant on the Mom's Favorite Reads website - 62 -

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The November issue of Connections eMagazine is dedicated to the holiday season, new releases, sales and amazing authors. I hope you will take a minute to check it out.

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.

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: - 63 -

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:

Executive Editor | Graphic Designer—Melanie P. Smith The Executive Editor / Graphic Designer is responsible for developing the layout and design of MFR eMagazine. 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, Paranormal and Romance novels. Get to know more about Melanie, her projects and her work on Mom’s Favorite Reads website here:

Managing Editor—Ronesa Aveela & Denise McCabe Our Managing Editors oversee the physical content of the magazine and coordinates the production schedule. There are two Managing Editors for Mom’s Favorite Reads; Ronesa Aveela and Denise McCabe. Get to know our Managing Editor’s on Mom’s Favorite Reads website here:

Ronesa Aveela— A freelance artist and author of mystery romance inspired by legends and tales.

Denise McCabe— A children's book author and blogger.

Cover Designer—Nicole Lavoie Our Cover Designer works closely with Mom’s editorial staff to create a design that captures the essence of the each publication. Nicole Lavoie developed the initial layout for MRF eMagazine,. She specializes in book layout and design with an emphasis in Children’s books. Get to know more about Just Saying Dezigns on their website here:

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Art Director—Sylva Fae, Kelly Artieri and Christine Ardigo Our Art directors are responsible for organization and commission of all the art work that will be included in the publication We are lucky enough to have three talented and creative individuals who work hard behind the scenes to make our magazine creative and professional Get to know our Art Director’s on Mom’s Favorite Reads website here:

Sylva Fae—Mum of 3, fairy woodland owner & author of children’s books. Sylva is also the Copy Editor for our magazine.

Kelly Artieri— Western New Yorker, lover of animals (especially dogs) and author.

Christine Ardigo— Registered Diatrician/ Personal Trainer and author of contemporary romance novels

Feature Editor—T.E, Hodden As Feature Editor T.E. Hodden works diligently to provide content that is interesting, informative and professional. He is a trained engineer and a life-long fan of comic books, Sci-Fi, myths, legends and history. Get to know more about TE Hodden on Mom’s Favorite Reads website here:

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:

Content Editors—Rachael Wright, Poppy Flynn, Elizabeth Hull and Kate Robinson Our Content Editors are responsible for acquiring articles, short stories, etc for the eMagazine. We have four content editros who work hard to make our magazine interesting and professional. Get to know our Content Editor’s on Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: Rachael Wright—Journalist and author. Believes in Big Ideas, Helping Others and Soulful Conversations

Poppy Flynn— Mother of six, lover or readring and author of Romance, Erotica and Contemporary novels.

Elizabeth Hull— Blogger and author (CN Lesley) of Fantasy and Science Fiction books

Discover more amazing authors… - 65 -

Profile for Mom’s Favorite Reads

Mom’s Favorite Reads eMagazine December 2019