Mom’s Favorite Reads eMagazine January 2022

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Mom’s Favorite Reads eMagazine is published monthly by Goylake Publishing and designed by Melanie P. Smith of All contents Copyright © the individual authors and used with their permission. All rights reserved.

MELANIE P. SMITH (Executive Editor / Graphic Design )

SYLVA FAE (Managing Editor / Art Director)

WENDY H. JONES (Copy Editor)


Editorial Contributors

ALLISON SYMES (Story Editor)


POPPY FLYNN (Content Editor)


Discover more about us through our video:

Never miss an issue by subscribing to our FREE magazines: -5-

Sarah Grace Interviewed by Wendy H. Jones Please can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself and your background. I am a dyslexic pyschotherapist - oops look - don’t make me spell that!! (Psychotherapist) I also work in publishing running the Sarah Grace imprint of Malcolm Down Publishing. Finally, after four years I wrote my own book called Journey with Grace. Following this Journal with Grace , a journal to accompany my book was published. I also have an amazing creative eye, so oversee the cover designs of all Malcolm Down and Sarah Grace Publishing’s books. I love helping and mentoring young people, developing their creative talents and giving them a platform to move into their future careers.

Your book is the story of your journey, tell us about this journey, without giving the whole book away of course. Journey with Grace is partly my story, author stories and also clients. This is to demonstrate how we can journey into a more fulfilled life if we take time to look at ourselves and engage with our weaknesses and strengths. I demonstrate this with my own Secret Weapon of dyslexia.

I have two lovely grown up children and one lovely lassie collie alongside my four hungry hens!

How did you come to writing? I kept seeing areas in books that were not covered and worked with authors to bring more emotional depth in their story. Eventually, after being told so many times I should write my own I finally got there.

As well as being an author, you are also a publisher. How did this come about? I was first a publisher and then became the author. It is good to be able to be on both sides of the table. I came to publishing when discussing writing memoirs and children’s books for Malcolm Down. I could see there was a gap in what they offered. I started with one children’s picture book and now have a wide portfolio of books for both children and adults. Being able to publish others and bring books to the market which people enjoy is both a privilege and a joy.

You are very open about the fact you have dyslexia. How has this impacted on your writing? It was hard to write but at the same time very cathartic to put myself through the journey I was writing about and put it into words. I found it the most challenging yet rewarding experience. -8-

Your book, and indeed your journal, are written using a brand-new font called Grace Font. How did this come about and what is different about it?

What are your plans for the future? I have plans to run a writers’ retreat in Australia and New Zealand once travel is freer during the current pandemic. Also, to continue to grow Sarah Grace Publishing and bring more books to the market.

The story of Grace font is still unfolding, and I tell the whole story of how it came about in my book. It really was a dream come true to be gifted this and really, I had no idea how long it would take and how complex it is to produce a font. However, I absolutely love it and hearing how anyone can read it better, dyslexic or not, it’s an absolute thrill. In addition all the books under my imprint are dyslexic friendly, something about which I am passionate.

Let’s get personal for a moment.

If you were able to go anywhere in the world on a writing retreat, where would it be? Australia - the Hunter Valley

Are you a beach or mountain person? I love to be up a mountain looking down on a beach that I will be enjoying after the climb!

What is your favourite food? Salmon

Journey with Grace by Sarah Grace

And back to being an author.

Do you have anything you are writing at the moment?

Do you want to feel confident and comfortable in your own skin? When we decide to improve ourselves the ripple effect to others is contagious. When we feel comfortable in our own skin the benefit can be redemptive for those we love. What

I am writing for Waverley Abbey. It is a thrill and honour to be asked and I am very much enjoying the challenge. -9-

does your ripple look like? Unpacking your personal journey and seeing what is really going on emotionally at a deeper level, is a challenge, yet also a privilege that each of us can go through. Reading this book can turn confusion into clarity, fear into peace, anxiety into creativity, doubt into trust. You will discover confidence in your path ahead and find new freedom in your everyday life. Find out what limits you so you can choose to make the changes. So often we are afraid of appearing self-centred but who else is going to do it? Sarah had to go there and hopes you can go there too. Read Journey with Grace, so you don't have go there alone.

Journal With Grace This journal accompanies the book Journey With Grace but can also be used as a stand-alone. There are accompanying illustrations and snippets from the book alongside the journal pages. I believe this book could not only be used for journaling but also for jotting down private notes or feelings. As an author, I use mine to jot down ideas for future books or series. It could also be used for bible study or noting down prayer requests. This is a truly stunning journal which would make a fantastic gift for any woman for any occasion.

This is the story of one woman’s journey – she takes you on the journey alongside her. She also acknowledges and talks about those who joined her on the journey, making this both unusual and fascinating. The book brings both comfort and hope and would make a fabulous gift for any woman including yourself. The book does talk about the Christian faith, but this does not overwhelm and weaves into the story subtly. An easy-to-read book, yet it still makes you think. It is written in a brand-new dyslexic font, Grace Font, a plus point for the book. I have shown this to people with dyslexia and they have been able to read the book straight away and yet non-dyslexic readers also like it. This makes it versatile and useful for any woman.

Wendy H. Jones is the award winning, international best-selling author of the DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries, Cass Claymore Investigates Mysteries, Fergus and Flora Mysteries, Bertie the Buffalo children’s books and the Writing Matters books for writers. She is also a writing and marketing coach and the President of the Scottish Association of Writers. As copy editor for Mom’s, she works hard to ensure content is appropriate and free of grammatical and spelling errors. You can learn more about Wendy on her website:

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Happy New Year Submitted by Poppy Flynn Written by Morgan Age 12 New year has come A new month has begun.

What will it bring? Lots of new things?

Without being scared Or things being weird.

I hope we’ll be healthy That’s better than wealthy.

Because we can’t hug In case we get the bug.

And things can be normal again So we can travel in a plane.

And go away On holiday.

Or just go To see people we know.

So let’s have a cheer For a Happy New Year!

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Genealogy: Meet My Ancestors by Hannah Howe

Sir Henry Stradling The son of Edward Stradling and Joan Beaufort, Sir Henry (Harry) Stradling was born c1412 in St. Donats, Glamorgan. He married Elizabeth Herbert c1440 in St. Athan, Glamorgan, their marriage uniting the powerful Stradling and Herbert families. The marriage produced four children: Thomas, my direct ancestor, Charles, Elizabeth and Jane. Aboard the St Barbe, Henry, his family and crew, set sail from Minehead for the Welsh coast. They encountered Colyn Dolphyn, who transferred them to his barque, the Sea Swallow. Dolphyn demanded a ransom of 1,000 marks for Henry, Elizabeth and daughter Elizabeth’s release.

In 1449, Henry, his wife Elizabeth and their daughter Elizabeth, encountered a Breton pirate, Colyn Dolphyn. A native of Brittany, Colyn Dolphyn was based on Lundy, an island in the Bristol Channel. Five kilometres long and a kilometre wide Lundy was granted by Henry II to the Knights Templars in 1160. Over following centuries privateers took control of the island.

The ransom was not forthcoming so over a period of two years the price went up to 2,200 marks. At that point the Stradlings were forced to sell their manors of Bassaleg and Rogerstone in South Wales, two manors in Oxfordshire and the Lordship of Sutton in Monmouthshire. With the ransom paid, Dolphyn released Henry and his family.

Because of the dangerous shingle banks and the fast flowing River Severn with its tidal range of 8.2 metres, the second largest in the world, ships were forced to navigate close to Lundy. This meant the island was ideally situated for pirates to prey on merchant ships and their rich cargos.

While the coast of South Wales is beautiful it also contains some treacherous rocks, particularly the rocks off Nash Point, Glamorgan. Several years after kidnapping the Stradlings, Colyn Dolphyn was out pirating when a storm blew up. That storm drove his ship on to Nash Rocks near Colhugh Beach.

The chroniclers described Colyn Dolphyn as a tall, athletic, and mighty man, ‘like Saul in Israel’. He ‘towered head and shoulders’ above all men and was regarded as ‘a terror in South Wales’.

In 1449, Henry and his family spent a month visiting their estates in Somerset. Whenever possible, for passengers and trade, ships were the preferred mode of transport because the roads were often nothing more than dirt tracks. Therefore, Henry made the return journey by ship.

The locals alerted Sir Henry Stradling who raised his men. They captured Colyn Dolphyn and his men, and dispensing swift justice hung them the following day.

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In 1837, Taliesin Williams wrote a poem, The Doom of Colyn Dolphyn, which concluded with the following lines: The beach they trod, destruction there, Had stamped his footsteps ev’ry where. Above, below, were strown along, The fragments of a vessel strong. Here helm and shatter’d masts were seen, There lay the hull, the rocks between, With upward keel and crag-rent side. Thro’ which had pass’d the refluent tide. And, all around, appear’d in view, The bodies of a numerous crew. Whose course was run, confederates sent, Well armed on Colyn’s rescue bent. But, ere they reach’d the rugged strand, To ply the dirk, and light the brand. Justice ordain’d they should abide, The tempest’s ordeal, and they died!

Like his father, Edward, Henry Stradling visited Jerusalem, in 1475, where he became a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre. Also like his father, he died on his journey home, at Famagusta, Cyprus, in 1476.

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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Paul’s Puzzles By Paul Godding The Main Challenge Each of these three numbers is the product of three consecutive whole numbers: 120


The 7puzzle Challenge The playing board of the 7puzzle game is a 7-by-7 grid containing 49 different numbers, ranging from 2 up to 84.


What is the next number in this sequence?

The 2nd & 6th columns contain the following fourteen numbers:

The Factors Challenge Which TWO of the following numbers are factors of 333?

2 7 10 16 30 33 36 40 45 48 49 54 64 70

How many pairs of numbers have a sum of 100?

3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19

The Target Challenge

The Mathematically Possible Challenge

Can you arrive at 333 by inserting 1, 1, 2, 3 and 3 into the gaps below?

Using 2, 9 and 12 once each, with + – × ÷ available, which are the FOUR numbers it is possible to make from the list below?

((◯+◯)²+◯)×(◯³+◯) = 333

3 6 9 12 15 18 21 24 27 30 ***



Hello, my name is Paul Godding. I am a full-time professional private maths tutor based in the south-east of Wales who delivers face-to-face tuition locally as well as online tuition to students globally. It would be lovely to hear from you, so feel free to click if you wish to secure maths tuition for you or your child. Alternatively, you can ring/message/WhatsApp me from anywhere in the world:

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An Unequal Struggle By Maggie Cobbett Nightmare patterns dance across the ceiling as the first bus of the New Year passes by. Even the World Service on my new digital radio can’t drown out the beating of my heart. Calm down now! Think about something else! Mind over matter. Such a thoughtful Christmas present, that radio, and much better than the usual lavender gift set. Why do people always assume that elderly ladies adore lavender? I don’t particularly like the colour and the smell reminds me of our old black cat in all his glory. No free castration for pets when I was a child and my father used to threaten to do the job himself with the garden shears. Not that he ever did, of course, and pampered Tom continued to mark his territory and defend it against all comers. I’m not going to be able to get any more sleep. How can I, when I’m only delaying the inevitable? It really isn’t fair. After four decades at the chalk face and bringing up my own children as well, I think I’ve done my bit and deserve my retirement.

I wonder if there’s still a demand for chalk. Board markers seem to be the thing nowadays and teachers are advised not to use black ones if there are dyslexic pupils in the class. Is it just black on white that’s the problem, or have pupils of mine in the past struggled with my use of white chalk on a blackboard? No one ever said so and it was all I had anyway. Geography teachers were the only ones with coloured chalk in those days. All those maps to colour in. Even board markers are now under threat from something called an interactive white board. I watch programmes about education sometimes, although I’m not sure why. Is it schadenfreude or

nostalgia? I certainly wouldn’t like to start again. To be squeezed between the Scylla and Charybdis of ever increasing paperwork and children who know their rights. Retirement should include the freedom to plan my day. No more bells and certainly not being pressured to abandon a warm bed for the dark, wet streets. Scurrying past the silent office blocks, joining night shift workers and homeless people in the 24-hour supermarket. Ignoring the scornful glance of the bored girl on the Cash Only, Ten Items or Less (should be ‘fewer’, but the manager won’t listen) checkout. The water won’t be hot yet and I really don’t feel like putting on clean clothes until I’ve had my bath. Could I just take poor Harry’s golf umbrella and nip out in my dressing gown and wellingtons? Would the few people out on the streets at this time notice or even care? Probably not, but it would be just my luck to run into a bobby. He might take one look at the dowager’s hump under my pink candlewick and call for the boys with the guns. We’ve all got to go sometime, I suppose, and that would be less humiliating than being called Ma and gently escorted home as though I’ve lost my marbles. All right, so I don’t fit the profile, but how could he be sure? I might have been brainwashed or blackmailed into carrying a deadly backpack. Or bribed, maybe. Offered an irresistible lavender-scented eternity of bliss. - 15 -

could resist buying a bar of soap that wouldn’t only perk you up in the morning for less than the price of a jar of coffee but also improve your chances of success and romance?

If I’d done more exercise and less reading and stooping over piles of exercise books, I might still be walking tall. It can’t be a lack of calcium. I’ve always loved my cheese. I’ll blame it on the genes I inherited from my mother. After all, she passed on her bunions. Nothing from my father that I’ve ever detected. Well, just one thing, maybe, and I’m pushing that to the back of my mind. Thank goodness brother Eric was the one to get the receding hairline.

I wonder if the all-night chemist’s across the road sells Lifebuoy. Is it still open, in fact? If so, will it be full of the kind of ‘loafing oafs’ described by Graham Greene? Probably not. This isn’t Brighton and the queue might just as well consist of anxious young fathers sent out for fresh supplies of disposable nappies. Their home won’t feature well used squares of terry towelling airing by the fire. Come to that, they probably don’t have a fire. Or an airer.

How long can I put off doing what I know I’ll have to do in the end? It’s not as though I’m still afraid of finding the hairy hand of a bogeyman waiting for mine on the light switch. Thank you, Eric, for making me almost more afraid of leaving my little bed at night than soaking it. Oh dear! I wish I hadn’t thought of that, but if I give in now and get up then there’ll be no going back. It will be light in an hour or two and too late.

Does ‘all-night’ mean a twenty-four hour service like the supermarkets? Except on Sundays, of course. It’s been a long time since all the alcohol had to be covered up outside licensing hours, but the Sunday trading laws seem to be here to stay. Not that there’s much you can’t find on sale at petrol stations these days. Milk, flowers, newspapers, cigarettes... It’s a wonder they still find room for the pumps. Anyway, I doubt if either the chemist’s or the petrol station will have what I need. It will have to be the long walk to the supermarket. No time for dalliance by the freezers or thumbing through the magazines by the coffee machine this morning, though. Straight in and out and home.

What was that poem that Eric and I both had to learn by heart at junior school? In winter I get up at night and dress by yellow candlelight and then something about having to go to bed by day in summer. I must look it up some time. Yellow candlelight sounds quite cosy, but I don’t suppose it was. The thought makes me shudder and I pull my duvet round me even more tightly. It was bad enough getting dressed on January mornings in our old house. No use praying that our mother’s alarm clock wouldn’t ring. It always did and only something infectious would win us time off. I used to dream sometimes about arriving at school still in my warm bed. There were no fires upstairs unless someone was ill and we often pulled our clothes on while we were still under the blankets.

At least it isn’t icy at the moment. If it were, coming back down the hill would either take me ten minutes or ten seconds, with nothing in between. No more trips to casualty, thank you very much! Having my dislocated shoulder sorted out last winter was the closest I’ve come to medieval torture. No morphine either. The doctor told the nurse who suggested it that the patient needed to feel when the joint went back in and I certainly did. Too much to object to his use of the third person and lofty indifference to my agony.

We must have been quite niffy, I suppose, but personal hygiene wasn’t the obsession it is today. It all started when Lifebuoy invented B.O. Just imagine mouthing that at people nowadays! Still, it was one of the greatest advertising campaigns ever. Who

On the other hand, it jarred when the little nurse asked me gently if ‘we’ were feeling any better. - 16 -

Why is the darkest hour supposed to be just before dawn? Is it just a saying, or is it true we’re at our most vulnerable then? Something to do with blood pressure going up as we gird our loins to face whatever the day is going to throw at us. How often have I lain in a cold sweat at three or four o’clock in the morning and felt my heart racing? Wondered who would sort out all my affairs and what kind of turnout there would be at the funeral. I suppose it would depend on the weather and what was offered afterwards by way of refreshments. A cold, wet day in winter and a few plates of sandwiches would hardly entice crowds of mourners to my graveside. Gone are the days when even the lure of a ham tea at the Co-op could fill the pews.

A little gentle pressure on my throat and he’s won. I stare into triumphant green eyes. We both know what my father passed down to me. A healthy dose of ailurophilia. There’s a word to conjure with at this hour of the morning and one not included in every dictionary. Combine the Greek words ‘ailuros’ meaning ‘cat’ and ‘philos’ meaning ‘fond of’ and you end up with an old softie about to sacrifice a comfortable lie in for the sake of Tom VII. After all, it wasn’t his fault that supplies ran out last night. All right! I’m getting up now and going out to buy some blasted cat food!

Anyway, where exactly are our loins and how do we gird them? Not with the kind of girdles most women wore until the 1960s. Foundation wear giving them nipped-in waists and chests lifted to just below their chins. That style wouldn’t have suited Odysseus or Thor or even the Lady of Shallott, all famous girdle wearers. Some kind of belt, then, occasionally with magic powers. In the shadows, there’s a stirring that would terrify a believer in magic. A dark form is writhing towards me. Should I ignore him? I could, even now when he’s breathing right into my face, and his menacing rumble is making the bed shake. If I open my eyes, I know that I’ll see that uncanny glow. ‘The Devil’s fire’ they called it in the Middle Ages, when his kind was persecuted. It’s lucky I’m not superstitious. A battle of wills is beginning. I know I’m going to lose.

A Yorkshire girl through and through, Maggie Cobbett lives on the edge of the Dales. With five books to her credit, she also writes short stories, features and even the occasional poem. Her many travels, as well as careers in modern language teaching and television background work, have furnished an inexhaustible supply of inspiration. - 17 -

Winter Salad Submitted by Marissa Mortimer Cut the Apricots in small slivers. Put in a small container, like a cup, and cover in orange juice.

Ingredients •

1 raw white cabbage (small)

6 dried apricots

Some orange juice

Large handful of peanuts (can be chilli peanuts or cashews)

1 sweet apple

A small handful of raisins

5 tablespoons vinaigrette (The one with little red flecks in is the best)

Shred the cabbage in really fine shreds, the thinnest you can manage. I tried with a food processor, but that didn’t work. Cut the apple into small pieces (I leave the skin on, it adds colour). Add the apple to the cabbage. Add the peanuts and raisins. Drain the apricot and add to the salad. Add the vinaigrette and toss it all around so it’s evenly coated. This one is our favourite salad. My children love it and it looks lovely with the different colours. I often make two bowls, one with chilli peanuts and one with salted peanuts. It does keep for a few hours easily, after that the peanuts start to taste a bit soggy. I can’t tell you how long it will keep, as it gets wolfed in our family!

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Winter Snow by Sylva Fae © Sylva Fae

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Europe by Book by Hannah Howe

Murder in Mykonos (Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis Series Book 1) by Jeffrey Siger First in a series of “thoughtful police procedurals set in picturesque but not untroubled Greek locales” (The New York Times), revealing the wildly lucrative dark side of an internationally renowned Greek island playground for the world’s rich and famous, those battling for control of its vices, and the innocents affected by it all. Politically incorrect detective Andreas Kaldis, promoted out of Athens to serve as police chief for Mykonos, is certain his homicide days are over. Murders don’t happen in tourist heaven. At least that’s what he’s thinking as he stares at the remains of a young woman, ritually bound and buried on a pile of human bones inside a remote mountain church. Teamed with the nearly-retired local homicide chief, Andreas tries to find the killer before the media can destroy the island’s fabled reputation with a barrage of world-wide attention on a mystery that’s haunted Mykonos undetected for decades. When another young woman disappears, political niceties no longer matter. With the investigation now a rescue operation, Andreas races against a killer intent on claiming a new victim…

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From the bestselling author of Catching a Witch comes the continuing story of a brave, unwavering woman who defends the innocent. Set during a tumultuous time in history, Trailing the Hunter will captivate readers.

Trailing the Hunter: A Novel of Misconception, Truth, and Love by Heidi Eljarbo Opposition, courage, and determination. Not the most pleasing qualities for a young, eligible woman. But to some, her strength could mean life or death. 1661 in Norway. Clara Dahl has made a decision. She has seen the dread and sorrow witch-finder Angus Hill has caused in her hometown and sets out to find him. Her goal is to fight the wrongful and wicked misconceptions about witch hunting. But the witch-finder’s influence is strong. How can she warn the villagers of something they don’t understand? Clara’s heartfelt desire is to protect and rescue the women who are in danger without causing more harm. As Clara develops secret plots to thwart the plans of the notorious witch-finder and works to help the villagers, she finds friendship and the possibility of true love.

Hannah Howe is the author of the Sam Smith Mystery Series, the Ann's War Mystery Series and the #1 international bestseller Saving Grace. Hannah's books are published by Goylake Publishing and distributed through Gardners Books to over 300 outlets worldwide. Her books are available in print, as eBooks and audiobooks, and are being translated into ten languages. Discover more on Mom's Favorite Reads website:

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Birthstone Crystal Grids by Lisa Shambrook January – Garnet A crystal grid for Protection and Self-confidence showcasing the brilliant blood-red Garnet, January’s birthstone. All the stones in this grid offer protection. Silver Sheen Obsidian centres the grid with protective inner sight and lunar energies, surrounded by Garnet for love, passion, and regeneration. Bloodstone compliments Garnet and offers courage, confidence, and motivation. Black Tourmaline and Black Moonstone both give grounding and protection, and Hematite balances. Find your confidence this New Year.

Crystal Grids made by Lisa Shambrook for mindfulness, meditation, and art. Prints of some grids are available at:

You can find out more about the sensory author and artist, who will lift your spirit, steal your heart, and ignite your imagination at: She also loves dragons and squirrels.

Lisa Shambrook is an author, artist, and dreamer who loves dragons. Born and raised in vibrant Brighton, England, living by the ocean heavily influenced her lyrical and emotional writing. She now lives in Carmarthen, West Wales, another town rich in legend and lore. A sensory writer, Lisa delves into sensitive subject matters that will lift your spirit and steal your heart. Find out more at her website and her Etsy shop

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Consequences by Rhys (Age 14) Time slowly fades, As each day is made. All of us admire the sun, But we’ve become blind to the damage we’ve done.

Bears and penguins die in heat, While politicians take their seat. An action must be made, and fast, For the world will not last.

It all started here in Britain, In the crucible of the Industrial Revolution. We blew carbon into the sky, And watched as the plants died.

What ice will there be to find? What snow to cool the mind? How can we grow any corn? In this dreadful storm.

Heatstroke, sunburns, fire, It’s all treated as a satire! It’s all a joke, not really serious, Wrong! They’re all delirious!

Carbon emissions are too much, Do we really want to drown the Dutch? There is no ‘Planet B’, To save the world, that’s up to you and me.

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The Rainbow by Stan Phillips Every now and then life reminds me that it has so much more to offer than sly politicians, and battle hungry generals, and greedy merchants, and persuasive media barons.

all coming together to create the glory of a rainbow.

Every so often it encourages me to raise my eyes beyond this world and see the transient glory of an evening filled with light,

can remember the message of it.

With shifting clouds,

all really is well

with small rainfall,

if we allow it to be so.

I can't keep the ephemeral wonder of it. but I can hold it in my heart.

That silent song that echoes long after the moment has drifted into memory.

and the setting sun,

Stan Phillips is a poet, musical podcast maker, part-time wannabe male model, and occasional stand up comedian. “I used to be a psychotherapist/counsellor when I had an honest job. I was born into prewar London, and attended 17 schools (my father believed they couldn’t hit a moving target) and I eventually finished up here in Ireland. Still wondering what I will be when I grow up — but enjoying writing my quirky poetry as I do so.” Discover more about Stan on Mom’s Favorite Reads website: - 24 -

January Books by Mom’s Favorite Authors Talking to the Wild: The bedtime stories we never knew we needed A poetry collection by Becky Hemsley

Blurb A collection of poems which take us from the universe, through this sometimes-wonderful, sometimes-messy life and back to our true selves. Inspired by humanity and nature, this book was pretty much launched by a video on social media which resonated with so many people. It is a journey that starts with the whole world and ends with you. These are the bedtime stories we never knew we needed.

https:// B09M95CB16

https:// B08SJ4NYGW

Stranded with the Storm Chasers (Loved by Three Book 9) By Poppy Flynn

Already an Amazon #1 New Release A snow storm. An accident. A life and death situation. Being stranded in a tiny, one room cabin with three hot as hell brothers wouldn’t be so bad if one of them didn’t hate her. But as one day stretches to more they have to get creative with pretty much everything. Survival instincts kick in; intimacies born of necessity take over and they exist in their own private bubble. The trouble with bubbles is they usually burst.

Part of the ‘Loved by Three’ series. If you haven’t read this series yet, book 1 is Smokin’ Cowboys: A Contemporary Western Romance. - 25 -

Dragon Village Ouroboros by Ronesa Aveela Book 3 in the “Dragon Village” series Dragon Village lies in ruins. Theo’s diabolical aunt is on the loose. Can he stop her before she murders him? Demon attacks on Theo’s thirteenth birthday hinder his search for his father. Then, an unexpected present provides a clue to the whereabouts of the king of Dragon Village. But there’s a problem. Theo’s past decisions may jeopardize the rescue mission. He abandoned the people whose skills he now needs. Will he be able to convince them to help? If he can’t, the dragon king will perish, and the demon lord will rule Dragon Village. Forever.

About Dragon Village is known as Zmeykovo in Bulgarian folklore. This is the place where all mystical creatures live during the winter, only to return to the human world in the spring, on March 25, Blagovets. The Dragon Village series brings to life the creatures who live there and give readers a look at a mythology and culture the Western world is not familiar with.

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Tears of Strathnaver When your whole way of life is threatened, how far would you go to protect your family’s future? Set in 1814, in the Highlands of Scotland, Tears of Strathnaver is a story of family, fortitude and survival against the odds. It shows the resilience of Mhàiri, the wife of a tenant farmer, who faces losing everything she holds dear. The land they are on is leased, and the wealthy landowner, who has the law on her side, wants it back. In nearby townships, tenant farmers have already been forced from their homes and given no other option but to work in the new industries on the coast. Faced with two impossible choices, Mhàiri must choose the right path for her family. Their future depends on it. How can Mhàiri survive in a new way of life that threatens the very fabric of her existence?

Set against the background of the Clearances in the Highlands of Scotland, Tears of Strathnaver shows the hardships faced by women when their men are away at war and the change in relationships on their return.

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Life in the Wild by Melanie P. Smith

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© MPSmith Publishing

Silence by Becky Hemsley

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Silence A poem by Becky Hemsley, taken from the book Talking to the Wild Talking to the Wild is a poetry collection, the bedtime stories that we were likely never told as children but that can bring us comfort, joy, healing, peace and gentle reminders as we grow. Some days you’ll need comfort, some days you’ll need joy, and some days you’ll just need to feel heard. Validated. Seen. And I hope that’s what this book gives to you. I hope you get lost in the words and find yourself.

You can hear Becky reading her poems on TikTok. @talkingtothewild Or see more on her Facebook page.

Becky Hemsley is an empowered romantic with a hint of magic. She is from middle England and writes her poetry with her own accent in mind. Wherever, or however you read her poems, the message is the same; the story is about you.

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Travelling in Style By Joy Margetts

The car and his brass buttons were shined to perfection. She could picture it now. Him leaning nonchalantly against the pillar box red bonnet of the most beautiful car she had seen. The dark grey fenders curved gracefully to meet the footplates. The roof was black and the doors red, and everywhere chrome handles and grilles were polished to mirror finish, glass headlamps twinkling in the sunlight. He had driven it to the back of the house, just so she could admire it. It would be housed in the coach house that was now to be a garage. The poor horse-drawn vehicle was demoted to the old tithe barn for storage. Cars were the thing now. She had stepped out into the yard, away from the prying eyes of the other kitchen maids, and boldly wandered around the car. Longing to reach out and run her hands along the polished side, dreaming of what it might feel like to sit on those soft leather seats and be driven around in luxury. He laughed at her then, and coming to stand in front of her, had bowed dramatically and removed his peaked cap. His luscious dark hair had been slicked back with oil, his dark brown eyes sparkling in her direction. ‘One day’ he whispered conspiratorially. ’One day, I’ll take you for a ride.’

Bill had taken her for a ride, but not in that car. He had smiled his smile and stolen her heart. He had promised her everything and given her nothing. Except his name, drink fuelled rages, and then, towards the end, more bruises than she could keep hidden. He had lost the car – not that it had even been his – but a chauffeur that drank on the job was a liability. Having to further demean himself to accept work labouring on the land, coming home with filthy hands and his hair stuck to his head with sweat rather than pomade, was the final blow. He took it all out on her. When he bothered to come home at all. George had no car. George rode around on an old grocer’s bike. It might have once been painted racing green but the frame was more rust brown now. An old basket sat above the front wheel and the leather saddle was worn to the metal in places. One thing that did still shine was the small chrome bell on the handlebars, the bell that he would ring as he passed her in Hall’s Farm Lane, lifting his hand in a wave as he sped past her. Until the day he didn’t ride past. She was walking home even more slowly than usual, her back breaking from a day of cleaning out the ovens, and then baking fresh loaves, cakes and pies in anticipation for the house party guests arriving at the manor that evening. The fresh bruises on her ribs had not helped either. She

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was weary to the bone with it all. Dreaming of escape, of being carried away to another place and time. The old cycle came to a clattering halt beside her, the brakes screeching painfully. ‘Eve?’ She had stopped dead and dropped to her knees. The basket containing the stale bread and buns she had retrieved from the kitchen waste had fallen from her tired grasp and the contents were scattered in the mud. But in that moment she no longer cared. There in the middle of that narrow tree-lined lane, she had leant her head against the warm, strong chest of a young man that smelt of garden soil and pig manure, and wept like a baby. He had held her, the bike thrown casually away, until she wept herself dry. And then he had gently helped her to her feet, retrieved her food parcel, and lifted his bike upright. She had stood, like a lost little child, and let him lift her onto the bike’s saddle. He placed her bag of goods in the basket, and then came to stand beside her, one arm around her waist, the other on the handlebars. She had wondered at his strength, as he took the weight of her and the bike and pushed them both down the lane. After that, they had walked Hall’s Farm Lane many times together; George, Eve and that old grocer’s bike. Sometimes he made her sit on the saddle, and insisted on pushing them, other times they would just walk along together. They would part ways at the end of that lane, she to return to her husband’s home, and he to his mother’s. They longed for things to be different,

but at least for those few moments every day they could dream it was. It changed when she realised she carried a child. It wasn’t Bill’s. He had never touched her that way. There was the one fumbling attempt on their wedding night, when he was worse for wear with drink, that had failed to consummate the marriage. He never showed her any tenderness after that. She knew now that was why he drank, and why he did not share her bed. She had heard the rumours, not until long after he had married her to hide his secret. She knew now the places he would go to and the people he would meet, other men who shared his nature. No, this child within her belly was a child formed out of love, mutual care and tenderness. But now she was scared. Soon Bill would know; everyone would know. She was so slight of build her loose skirts could not hide her secret for much longer. And she felt her son move within her now and loved him to distraction. She needed to protect him. She could take the beatings, but not her unborn child. She had gone to Bill and begged him to let her go, to divorce her, or if not that, just to let her leave quietly. He stepped close to her, then, a strange smile on his face. He had lifted his hands to cup her cheek tenderly at first, before running his fingers through her dark curls and grasping hold of them to tug her head back painfully. ‘Never,’ he spat into her face, looming over her. He had not hit her that time. But the look on his face scared her more than what he had said, and despite the risks she had waited until he was passed out with whisky before creeping out and making her way down the moonlit street to where it met Hall’s Farm Lane. She did not expect to see George there, but he was. Pacing up and down, talking to himself, and then stopping to run his hands through hair. That blond fringe that usually flopped adoringly over his eyes now raked back so it sat up in unruly peaks on the top of his head. Then he saw her and after a moment of hesitation, half ran, taking her into his arms and cradling her against his chest. - 33 -

She loved how she fit tucked in beneath his chin, and how his long, strong arms seemed to smother her completely from the world that threatened her. ‘Eve. How did you know I was here?’ She didn’t answer, and he didn’t let her. ‘I was coming to you, trying to get a message to you. If I could have sent you a note…’

She put her fingers to his lips. It didn’t matter to her that he could not read or write beyond a few words. Would not have this wonderful, kind, selfless young man feel in any way inadequate about himself. ‘I am here now,’ she had said, ‘so you can tell me, can’t you?’ ‘Meet me here, in the morning, as soon as the sun begins to rise. Bring… well, everything that you want to. You will not have to go home to that man ever again. I promise you,’ he whispered into her hair.

So here she was standing at the end of Hall’s Farm lane. It was early and the air still held the night’s chill, but she was not cold. She wore both her dresses, a blouse and two skirts under her coat. In her basket was her mother’s Bible, a handkerchief her sister embroidered for her, and a small porcelain dish that had come from her grandfather’s home. All these were hidden under the cap and apron she usually took with her to work. It had to look like she was just going up to the manor house early, as she had done many times before. She wondered if she should have packed more, brought some food for the journey? She realised then she had no idea where they were going, how long it would take, and by what mode of transport. Surely, he would not come for her on that old bike? She smiled to herself. Excitement and apprehension warred within her, as she glanced nervously about.

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She heard the van before she saw it. In the early morning light it appeared, looming large. It was painted a smart shade of royal blue and she could see the words written in gold and black along its side, Bensons, Furniture Removers and Long Distance Hauliers. It roared to a halt beside her, and sat with its engine purring and occasionally spluttering. The driver wore a peaked cloth cap and a beige coat, with a blue bandana the same shade as the van tied around his neck. Beside him, his mate was similarly dressed. Eve self-consciously stepped back as the door creaked open and the mate jumped down to stand before her. He was grinning, and as she gazed up she recognised those deep blue eyes peaking out from under his cap brim. ‘My lady,’ he gestured towards the van, but not to the door of the cab. George walked her around to the back of the van and opened the door, reaching out to pull out a wooden box, which he placed on the ground by her feet. He took her elbow and helped her navigate the step, climbing easily up to join her in the back of the van. Eve could see the van was packed with furniture, the sides lined with cupboards, an old Welsh dresser, and a fine mahogany wardrobe. Towards the back, wedged between a chest of drawers and some tea crates packed to the brim with household items was a wrought iron bedstead, with a thick sprung mattress, several cushions and blankets scattered on it. He helped her up onto the bed, kissing her quickly on the lips and letting his hand rest briefly on the bump of her belly.

‘I will have to travel in the cab with Harry, but I’ve made sure it is as comfortable for you as it can be. We have a fair way to go, and it will take many hours. Will you be all right?’ ‘We’ll be fine.’ She touched his cheek tenderly and smiled. ‘But how did you arrange this?’ ‘Harry… my brother. And the less you know about him and how he did this, the better.’ ‘Your brother is a removal man?’

‘Yes … of sorts,’ George laughed softly. ‘And now I must leave you I’m afraid. We don’t want to be seen.’ He kissed her again sweetly, and then was gone, the door of the van closed firmly behind him. As the engine back- fired noisily and then roared back into life, Eve relaxed against the cushions, arranging them comfortably behind her back. She kicked off her shoes and rubbed life back into her cold toes, before pulling a blanket up over her legs. She felt the van move off and turn a sharp corner. Furniture shifted, but not alarmingly; it all seemed pretty well secured. There was a small clear glass window in the roof of the van which kept the space well lit, and through which she could see the clouds and the blue sky, and the leaves of trees as they trundled along. ‘Comfortable?’ She said to herself, with a deep sigh, finally feeling the freedom to breathe deeply. She rested her head back and closed her eyes, smiling to herself. ‘Now, this is travelling in style.’

Joy Margetts has loved writing for as long as she can remember. A retired nurse, mother of two, and a new grandparent, she also has a lifelong interest in history, and loves nothing better than visiting ancient monuments or burying herself in archive material. She was brought up in the South of England but for the last twenty five years has made her home on the beautiful North Wales coast. More information on Joy and her writing, and her personal blog, can be found here

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Curated Stories by Jenny Sanders preserved through the power and dissemination of stories from the past. How much is fact and how much now entwined with fiction may be hard to distinguish, but the stories can be as fresh and engaging as they have ever been.

‘Memory is the treasure house of the mind wherein the monuments thereof are kept and preserved.’ Thomas Fuller - English author Every now and then we catch the merest glimpse of a story from yesteryear.

There are stories that feature in my own shorter timeline because they were passed on by my grandmother. Without her, and my own mother’s retelling, I may never have known about the day Granny accidentally cut her brother’s finger off with a pair of garden shears (“He shouldn’t have put his hand in the way!” was her vehement response); the day they played a riotous game of cops and robbers in which the same brother had been punished for his fictional misdemeanours by being made to sit on the fence with a rope around his neck, and then foolishly jumped (fear not, dear reader, all was well); or the incident years later when, as a serving fireman, he was hosed down by colleagues after entering a burning house and subsequently stripped off both his protective suit and several layers of his skin… (Photo: My Great-grandmother,

My old, pine, kitchen table for instance, came from a barn shop somewhere in the English countryside, but its dints and grooves tell me something of its past use in a farmhouse where, I fondly imagine, loving hands mixed cakes and prepared meals around its friendly borders. What is the real story, I wonder, behind the chipped leg and that strange burn mark? I can’t know for sure, but the sturdy table with its secret past has passed into my care for however many years I may shelter it. Its pleasing grain and worn patina breathe in yet more memories with each daily use. Just as we are curators of objects which come to us through inheritance or acquisition, we are all curators or guardians of stories and memories. Each of us has a unique tale to tell of where we’ve come from and where we’ve been. Where we’re heading, of course, is a tale as yet untold.

Grace Caroline Murray)

In the same vein, I never met my great aunt Molly but know that she doled out thin slices of Mars bar from a dusty drawer and presented them as a treat to her nephews and nieces with the same aplomb as a monarch might bestow a beribboned medal on a battle-scarred soldier. My great-grandmother (pictured) is still with us through quotes

What do we do with our memories and stories? In times past they would have been handed down from parent to child, to grandchild. The oral tradition is well documented in cultures where a written language may not have existed for hundreds, even thousands, of years, yet this method has kept their history very much alive, and Diasporas far from home hold their stories like treasure that can never be stolen. Similarly, in cultures where literacy levels were low, history tells us how their heritage has been - 36 -

and stories that have trickled down the years and into the collective memory of her nine great-grandchildren, of whom she met only one before she threw off her mortal coil. This is the woman who, during the advent of the age of motor cars, would insist on crossing an increasingly busy street without much awareness of traffic, and announce with regal grandiosity: “They’ll have to go round me, dear.”

his untold story. Although we can never know that story, we still see him and somehow feel something for him: admiration, pain, an aching loss for a generic or symbolic soldier perhaps? In truth we can make him anyone we want him to be, filling in those data gaps that our brains dislike so much, however we wish. Perhaps he died on the wire early on; perhaps his lungs succumbed to the heinous effects of mustard gas, or perhaps he returned home unharmed and married his sweetheart after all. The locket will never tell, and how it came into other hands is a mystery we cannot solve; but you can be sure my new friend will never part with this treasure. She carries him safely in that locket until another generation is entrusted with his safekeeping. Perhaps they will weave their own narrative around him at which another generation can wonder.

The locket (pictured) was shown to me just recently, by an octogenarian lady in a small village in Wales. She told me that it was a gift she received on her 21st birthday. The chain is almost as precious to her as the locket; she loves them both. On the day of that particular celebration she opened the well-crafted clasp on the case and discovered inside the photograph of a man in uniform. Who was he? Neither a relative nor friend; no-one seemed to know. Unable to remove it however, she has kept it through the subsequent years of marriage, family, responsibilities and retirement. The nameless man still peers keenly through the years, his fixed expression unable to narrate the experiences he almost certainly had in France, or Germany during the first world war.

I find it comforting that in an era of so much change in our world – in our technology, our thinking, our lifestyle and outlook – that there are authentic voices from the past which not only raise a smile but which can remind us of what’s important and which call us back to plumb lines of truth which haven’t altered despite our insistent and headlong pursuit of the new, the exciting and the relentless (but so often destructive) pursuit of instant gratification. Inevitably there are truths which will be obscured by time, but to lose them all together would be tragic.

That this lady has treasured his photograph through the years warmed my heart. His name is lost but he is not forgotten. Time has passed and she feels a strange and mysterious affinity with him, and with

Some memories are worth their weight in gold.

Jenny Sanders is a writer, speaker, encourager and mentor and mother of four grown-and-flown children which gives her more time for writing, reading and walking in nature whenever she can. She’s married to an adventurous change -agent with whom she’s travelled around the world. For the past several years she’s lived between the beautiful cities of Bath, UK and Cape Town, S Africa.

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New Year, New You by Marissa Mortimer I want a new me. My old me was there last month. There is such a special bond, For every time I want change My head makes trouble. Maybe my heart is. I agree it’s strange.

Life is complex, so am I.

That’s why I put me on lists,

I want to belong to You.

Sign lots of good Intentions.

My head and my heart to merge

Nothing seems to move inside.

and to be at peace.

Do I have choices? A new year and I How can I change me?

Want to be new inside me

For I am me, or am I?

To wave fears and grief away

If my head does its own thing

To hold hands with hope and joy.

Is my head me? Could I turn?

To be me, complete.

Am I free to leave? To be me, special. The noise of changing;

To be me as intended

The noise of failing again.

By my Maker, Redeemer.

Is this year the chance of change?

To accept grace and kindness.

And what part of me needs this?

To be whole again.

Is my head broken? Maressa Mortimer is Dutch but lives in the beautiful Cotswolds, England with her husband and four (adopted) children. Maressa is a homeschool mum as well as a pastor’s wife, so her writing has to be done in the evening when peace and quiet descend on the house once more. She loves writing Christian fiction, as it’s a great way to explore faith in daily life. All of Maressa’s books are available from her website,, Amazon or local bookshops. - 38 -

Chess Supplied by Chess.Com White to move. Checkmate in four.

Supplied by the #1 chess website. Used with permission. For more chess puzzles please visit

You can find answers for this activity on Page 61 - 39 -

Winter Camping by Sylva Fae I love going to the woods in any season, but I am very much a summer camper. For me, wild camping means relaxing under shady trees, sunbeams sparkling through the gaps between the leaves… I like my comforts, the luxury of lighting my campfire with dry tinder, the warmth of the sun as I potter about and not having to worry about weather and packing additional clothing and bedding. I’m therefore slightly in awe of my hardier friends, who frequently share photos of their winter camping adventures, but I’m also rather unsure of its appeal. Surely battling extreme weather conditions and sleeping in the snow isn’t something you’d do out of choice, or is it? My bushcrafter friends explain why winter camping is a fun and rewarding experience.

answer for me. In the summer, if it’s sunny, your tent becomes a sauna. If you want to do anything, you sweat. You can't keep any food without it spoiling unless you have access to a fridge. You don't want a fire (Bush TV) because its already too hot... basically it's just too hot, which makes you lethargic and you can't cool down.

Mike Eracleous Mike explains why he prefers winter camping to summer camping.

If it's cold it's easy to warm up with clothing, activities like firewood collection and processing, making

“Comfort due to the temperature is the ultimate

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a bushcraft chair etc. When active, even in low single digits, I’ve normally just got a t-shirt on. It's only when night falls that you need to put some warmer clothing on.

Paul Harvey Paul is well known in the bushcraft community for his amazing outdoor cooking skills. He maintains it is better camping in the cold, providing you have the right gear to keep you warm and there are plenty of fabulous recipes to try.

Summer is the worst season to camp in my opinion. Autumn, you have the colour of the leaves in the trees, and spring you have the flora all coming out. There's just no advantage to camping in the summer over any other season from my personal point of view.” ***

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“There are less bugs trying to eat you and I’m not a fan of hot weather. There are a ton of recipes you can cook, but it depends on how much you want to get into it. Some simple one pot meals are great for cold camping. My favourite winter meal has to be a lamb or venison stew, with homemade flatbreads.” ***

Alexandre Da Rocha Alex is a skilled and experienced bushcrafter who enjoys camping at any opportunity, but prefers winter camping. He explains about the kind of kit you need for comfort in colder temperatures.

struggle. Plenty of warm drinks around a camp fire with the conversation flowing and you will soon love winter camping too. There are no bugs, and let’s not forget that we have a natural fridge so our food options are greater as little is spoiled.”

“Nothing better than winter camping for me, my preferred setup is hammock however ground camping under a tarp is just as welcome. If I’m in the hammock I’ll have the under blanket, an MSS sleeping bag that is rated to more than we would expect in the U.K.

Gray Durgan

For me winter camping is mostly about having the right frame of mind, and of course layers, and a good sleeping bag. No matter what gear you have, if your mindset is not conditioned then it can be a

Gray is another year-round camper with plenty of experience. Like Alex, he welcomes the different experiences a winter camp can bring, and is mindful of the safety measures he needs to take.


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“The fire is welcoming and you can’t beat that feeling of waking up early in the morning, looking out and everything is white, quiet and crisp. The air is clean and you can actually breathe properly. The winter wildlife is amazing too, the robins all puffed up, and the faint smell of wood smoke lingering in the air. •

Keeping warm is easy if you have the right equipment: warm sleeping bag, thermals, tent and stove. Eating the right food is also essential, such as complex carbs: wholegrain rice and pasta, porridge oats, foods that release energy slowly keeping you warmer for longer periods. Foods that kick start your metabolism which in turn keeps your core temperature constant. Oily/ fatty foods, peppery spicy foods are great for keeping your core temperature up. You should ration your sweat not your water intake, and watch your salt intake. Exercise for warmth, even the simplest camp chores can warm you up. Dress in layers, if you’re too hot, remove a layer and vice versa. Polyester is probably the closest to wool that I know of. It wicks away moisture, dries quickly and has excellent heat retaining properties. Decent headwear and footwear are a must too. Your sleep pad is really important. It’s a waste of time having an expensive sleeping bag if you’re losing heat through the ground. Thermal transfer to the ground is a weird one. You feel generally cold but not especially cold where you’re touching the ground.” ***

When I first enquired about winter camping, every single response was from a man. Given my own reservations about camping out in the cold, I enquired again, this time specifically of the women. It was interesting to see that just as many women enjoy braving the adverse weather to get out into nature. - 43 -

The difference being, most of the women, like Belinda Hard replied, “When I get the chance, I’d like to”. Perhaps like myself, considering the camping experience of taking along children and the additional provisions needed for safety, it makes it a very different consideration than for those men and women who are able to solo camp, only taking responsibility for themselves. (Plus, the moaning from my three girls about being cold would detract from my enjoyment.)

best to know your limits and the only way to test that is by getting out there and pushing yourself. That way, if you’re out and things go wrong you know you will be OK. Knowledge is survival. Follow the rule of three. In winter shelter is the most important, and the wind when you’re wet is your enemy.” ***

Toni Wardle

There do seem to be many positives for winter camping over summer camping. I can certainly see the advantage of a natural fridge and not being bitten by midges! I too love the winter landscape and the freshness of the air. Whatever the reasons people have given for choosing winter as their favourite camping season, they all agree that knowledge and having appropriate kit for the conditions is essential. Knowledge ensures your safety, but alongside that, a positive attitude makes it a pleasurable experience.

Toni is a great example, a solo camper, who likes to brave any weather conditions. She described herself as a hardcore camper. She makes it look effortless, but it was clear when chatting to her, she is very knowledgeable about the safety measures required. “I love winter camping, sometimes I even forget the tent. Lol. (In reference to the photographs…) That's me sleep in a Czechoslovakian bed roll, no sleeping bag just wool blankets and a waterproof cover. It's - 44 -

So, would I become a winter camper? As Toni Wardle said, it would be a good idea to test your limits while you are in control, to prepare yourself for true survival situations – a very sensible viewpoint. Given the choice, I think I’m still a sunny summer camper, I’ll leave the winter camps to my hardy bushcraft buddies.

• • •

If you do choose to go winter camping, make sure you are fully prepared for the environment, wherever you are in the world. Stay safe and happy camping all!

*** Toni Wardle mentions the rule of three. For those unfamiliar with this: •

You can survive for 3 Hours without shelter in a harsh environment (unless in icy water) You can survive for 3 Days without water (if sheltered from a harsh environment) You can survive for 3 Weeks without food (if you have water and shelter)

You can survive for 3 Minutes without air (oxygen) or in icy water

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: - 45 -

Iberian Journey by Stan Phillips Somewhere down there, Below the clouds, Where the edge of Spain melts into Biscay Bay Where the waters stretch out And the land fades away into memory, It is like a dream fading Falling away from outstretched fingers Never to return. And the sky so vast With dappled white smudges of ephemerality drifting aimless through another lost morning on the flight from there to here to somewhere else. Lost in my bubble of metal technology I peer out of my window at a world fading into do you remember whens? And wonder And wonder At the millions of lives I have flown above and will never know.

Or need to. As the silver bird flies on And on And on

Stan Phillips is a poet, musical podcast maker, part-time wannabe male model, and occasional stand up comedian. “I used to be a psychotherapist/counsellor when I had an honest job. I was born into prewar London, and attended 17 schools (my father believed they couldn’t hit a moving target) and I eventually finished up here in Ireland. Still wondering what I will be when I grow up — but enjoying writing my quirky poetry as I do so.” Discover more about Stan on Mom’s Favorite Reads website: - 47 -

Around America in 50 Books by Wendy H. Jones

Alabama A man who seems perfect… Eddie can give Jane everything she’s always wanted: stability, acceptance, and a picture-perfect life. A wife who just won’t stay buried… But what Jane doesn’t know is that Eddie is keeping a secret – a big secret. And when the truth comes out, the consequences are far more deadly than anyone could ever have imagined…

I love reading and I love travelling around America. With the current pandemic it is difficult to do the latter but thankfully the former is pandemic friendly. Therefore, I decided to set myself the challenge of travelling to all fifty states of the USA through the books I read. As the first state alphabetically is Alabama, it is to there we go in this month’s book. The Wife Upstairs is a modern-day retelling of Jane Ayre – with a twist. I am usually sceptical of books that say ‘with a. twist’ but in this case it is true.

The back of the book describes it as: A girl looking for love… When Jane, a broke dog-walker newly arrived in town, meets Eddie Rochester, she can’t believe her luck. Eddie is handsome, rich and lives alone in a beautiful mansion since the tragic death of his beloved wife a year ago. - 48 -


So, what of the setting? The book is set in Alabama withing the walls of an upper class gated community. In this, Hawkins has it spot on. The small community setting gave the tension an added dimension. What isn’t so well written is the setting of Alabama itself. This could have been any state in the USA, so for the purposes of my armchair travel, this was not a book which gave me any insight into Alabama itself. To be fair, although this was disappointing for me, it did not detract from the book and the author cannot be censured for this lack.

In some ways this was a difficult book to review as there were things about it I hated and other things I loved. I thoroughly disliked the main characters but in retrospect I think this was a deliberate ploy on Hawkins part. Love them or hate them, they are well written and extremely realistic. Aspects of their characters are teased out throughout the book. What I loved was the story itself which was truly unforgettable. At times it made uncomfortable reading, but this is a sign of a brilliantly written psychological thriller. The tension remained high throughout the book, and it had that just one more page effect in spadefuls. I consider myself quite good at guessing what is likely to happen in a book, but I have to say I did not work out any of it. The twists just kept coming and the final twist, or should I say twists, left me flabbergasted. They kept on coming right until the last page.

Overall, I would say this is an excellent book and as a psychological thriller it proved to be both chilling and readable. For this the author should be applauded.

Wendy H. Jones is the award winning, international best-selling author of the DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries, Cass Claymore Investigates Mysteries, Fergus and Flora Mysteries, Bertie the Buffalo children’s books and the Writing Matters books for writers. She is also a writing and marketing coach and the President of the Scottish Association of Writers. As copy editor for Mom’s, she works hard to ensure content is appropriate and free of grammatical and spelling errors. You can learn more about Wendy on her website:

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Title Review: Annette Film by T.E. StanHodden Phillips I am well aware, that for many of our readers here in the UK, this is a difficult film to see. It went almost unnoticed at the cinema, during a global Pandemic, and its January DVD and Blu Ray release is considerably after the rest of Europe. It is something of an underdog here, despite playing well at Cannes, and arriving at the same time that the Sparks Brothers are generating a lot of interest from Edgar Wright’s documentary of their life. So… allow me to make the introductions, Dearest Reader: Annette is a musical, and a dark psychological drama, following controversial stand-up Henry McHenry (Adam Driver), whose relationship with his wife Ann (Marion Cotillard) begins to buckle and crack, under the weight of her growing fame as an opera singer, his own career waning, after the birth of their daughter Annette. In the wake of a tragedy, Henry is given a second chance at fame, through his infant daughter’s amazing talent, but soon begins to question if Annette’s abilities are a blessing or a curse, as his guilt catches up with him, and the lines between reality and fantasy blur. Written by Ron and Russel Mael, of Sparks, with director Leos Carax (making his English language debut) the film is a pop opera with an emphasis on the opera. As well as Ann’s haunting aria (one of the stand out moments of the film, whose refrains echo throughout the events that follow), beneath the neon visuals and electrifying soundtrack, is a baroque plot, and a grand villain, of a truly operatic scale.

Driver excels in the role of Henry. Although not always a sympathetic character, he is painfully, disturbingly human. He grounds the performance in moments we will likely be all to familiar with: moments of anger flashing over, as he spirals ever further down through cycles of guilt and jealousy, regrets and anguish, that once again lead to anger flashing over… Cotillard impresses too, with a truly multi-facetted performance. We not only see Ann as she presents herself on stage, but her more relaxed self in private, and the way Henry sees her, skewered through the lens of his volatile moods.

Perhaps most worthy of note is Simon Helberg. His couple of talky-exposition songs clunk a little compared to the more natural flow of the numbers that surround them, but his performance in the moments of high drama is utterly engaging, with the kind of nuance and depth that no episode of Big - 50 -

Bang Theory would ever have afforded him.

dreamlike quality, that slips effortlessly and seamlessly between different styles. I already mentioned the operatic, but at other times we could be in a music video, or a kitchen sink drama. Visual notes and themes surface now and again, just as the music will call back to familiar melodies, without imposing or overbearing the action.

In pivotal moments of the movie, Helberg proves himself to be a likeable, and relatable foil to Driver’s more villainous performance.

Annette is a beautifully crafted and staged movie. Each scene is not just carefully framed, but painted in a pallet of coloured light, and rich shadows, blurring the lines between cartoonish studio sets, beautiful location work, and the theatrical sets of both Henry and Ann’s careers. The film is not without CGI or special effects, but wherever possible it eeks every possible ounce of value from practical effects, from stagecraft, which really does work in the film’s favour.

Yes, the film is a bit strange, and something of an acquired taste, but I like strange, and I have acquired the taste. Heck, I like Sparks, and I have had ‘Stepping Back In Time’ stuck in my head for three solid days now, haunting me in the shower, and annoying me at the day job. Just be warned that there are some unpleasant moments, some of them quite gruelling, on the journey, and it may not end up where you expected to be headed when the music starts.

Caroline Champetier’s cinematography and Nelly Quettier’s editing both give the film a flowing,

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:

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New by Allison Symes This is perhaps an obvious topic for a new year but I have left it open to cover anything new, which gives more scope. You could think along such lines as: •

Character making a new start in life - new relationship, new job.

Character having to make a new start - lost job they love, taking on care duties etc. Definitely didn’t want this in their life so how do they adjust?

Character goes shopping and picks something new to them, something they haven’t thought of buying before, so think about what they’ve chosen and why now. Does the object represent something new for them?

Not everyone welcomes change so that is an aspect to explore when your character is dealing with a situation new to them. You could get your character to come around to the idea of the new “thing” in their life after an initial struggle. You could have a character who is wary of nostalgia, who embraces anything new. Could that lead to humorous situations? There should be a good reason for the new “thing” to come into your character’s life. Readers suspend disbelief when reading stories but they won’t believe coincidence. It is a great irony we know coincidences happen in life. Just don’t put them in your fiction. So think ahead. Why is this “new thing” happening? In the case of a relationship breakup or lost job, the new relationship is going to be your character

looking for another chance at happiness. Most would. Readers will accept that. For a lost job, everyone needs to eat and pay bills, so the necessity for something new is obvious. Again the reader will have no problems with that. For a story about an object, it should be something that doesn’t come the character’s way by chance. If it is a magical object, you will need to set up the possibility that this could happen. Your character could’ve spotted something unusual going on in their neighbourhood, strange sights being spotted by others etc., or they simply live in a magical world where said objects are common, say. But the reader needs to know that picking up such an object is a possibility otherwise they might feel the writer has cheated a bit here. New can imply hope as in the saying “out with the old, in with the new” so your stories could take an upbeat look at the topic. At the start of a New Year, we are also aware of time (and usually how quickly it passes, with the exception of 2020 which dragged for everyone!). Could a new time be beginning for your character where they must make a break from their past? With 300 words to play with, there isn’t room for much detail. What I find helps is to focus on the most important point for your character. So if they are facing a new start in life which was forced on them, you need to decide whether to focus on how they handle that or on why this is happening to them (relationship breakup or redundancy - 52 -

are two ways to go). You won’t have room for both. (But you could always write two different 300-word stories!).

must be careful with my staff. Besides if that madam, Goldilocks wasn’t it, turns up again, you’ll need Matt back. No good is it if you return to your roots and eat the poor so-and-so.

Now for my take on this. I had a great deal of fun here with the idea of new furniture being needed. Hope you enjoy it.

‘Payment? Sorry, not in oats, please. Gold coins are fine as long as they’re not the chocolate ones. We will check. Okay, you’ll rob the dwarves, they won’t argue. Fair enough.

Getting the Workmen In

‘Pleasure doing business with you, sir.’

‘You want a new kiddie’s chair and bed, and decorators in because there’s porridge everywhere? Is this a hoax call? Sir, there’s no need to growl. ‘I’ll send Matt tomorrow. He’ll sort everything. Three Bears House? Yes. Got that. Yes, yes. We won’t overcharge and you don’t eat Matt once he’s done.

Ends—Allison Symes (first appeared on YouTube in July 2021). I look forward to reading your new stories! And I do hope this New Year proves to be a positive one for us all. Happy New Year!

‘I know you prefer oats but you are a bear, sir. I

Allison Symes, who loves reading and writing quirky fiction, is published by Chapeltown Books, CafeLit, and Bridge House Publishing. Her flash fiction collections, Tripping The Flash Fantastic and From Light to Dark and Back Again are out in Kindle and paperback. She has been a winner of the Waterloo Arts Festival writing competition three years in a row where the brief was to write to a set theme to a 1000 words maximum. Website:

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End of an Era By Penny Luker ‘Well, that’s thirty five years of teaching over! All that paperwork and stress finished. I’ll never have to do any of it again. Now is my time for a bit of relaxation.’ Bob eased himself into the large armchair, kicked off his shoes into the middle of the room, and picked up the newspaper. ‘So let’s just get this straight. You’re going to have time off because you’ve retired and I’m going to carry on waiting on you hand and foot for the rest of my ...’

‘Yes dear,’ Carol said in a thin voice, as she looked at the errant shoes in the centre of her spotless sitting room. ‘Tonight you can certainly relax and later we’ll sit down and work out the rota.’ She poured him a beer and left the room to see to dinner.

‘Oh, I wasn’t saying that.’ ‘Besides, it’s your mother who needs help. It’ll make her day, you popping in. She’s always talking about you, saying what a wonderful son you are, and how lucky I am to have you.’

Meanwhile, Bob was puzzling over the word, ‘rota’. What could it mean? Ah well, Carol’s thinking was often beyond his understanding, so he sipped his beer, happily contemplating the extra golf he’d be playing and the hours he would spend enjoying the pleasures of the 19th hole. He was going to clean out the garden shed and make it into a man-cave, where he could go and hide, when Carol found him jobs to do. If he added an electricity point, he could even have some heating for the winter months. He might invest some of his lump sum into some decent speakers, so he could listen to his beloved music.

Bob knew the argument was lost and carried on eating his meal. ‘You can stick your clubs in the car and pop into the club on your way back. I’ll have your dinner ready for you when you get in. Well, at least by seven. I’ve got a busy day tomorrow.’ ‘That means I’ll be out all day,’ Bob moaned. ‘Oh, for goodness sake, it won’t do you any harm; a few little errands and then a bit of exercise.’

Carol called him through for his meal. It was his favourite steak and kidney pudding.

‘I just thought if I got a game of golf in early, we could spend some time together in the afternoon. Oh well, I suppose we could do something, the day after tomorrow.’

‘This is a very nice meal, dear,’ he remembered to say. All these years of marriage had taught him to say the right words or he knew he’d have to cook for himself. Carol half inclined her head, acknowledging the meaningless and perfunctory compliment. She did look after him well, but she wasn’t a shy, obedient wife, by any means.

‘Well, that’d be lovely dear, but Mum’s got an appointment at the hospital for her hearing and it’ll take you a while. The parking is so bad you’ll have to get there at least half an hour early, and whatever time you arrive at Mum’s, it‘ll take an hour to get her out of the house.’

‘Now tomorrow, after you’ve picked up the vegetables from the market, you can pop into Mum’s because she needs a door handle fixed. You might as well take your suit to the cleaners and then we can pack it away clean. I can’t see when you’ll be wearing it again.’

‘I can’t take her to the hospital. I’ve never done it. I won’t know where to go and anyway medical things are best done by a woman. You’ll have to go. She won’t be wanting me along.’ Bob drew himself up in his chair. This was not how he had intended to spend his days.

‘Oh, you usually do all that. I was hoping to get in an early game of golf,’ Bob whined. - 54 -

Carol gave him the look. It should have warned him. ‘I don’t think you’re listening very carefully to me, dear.’ The voice held that little edge. ‘She’s not having anything female done to her. She’s having her hearing checked. Now, you’re not telling me that a man of your intellect, a retired teacher no less, can’t manage to take his own mother for a hearing test, are you?’

Carol couldn’t quite look Bob in the eye when she came back into the room. She took a deep breath and blurted out, ‘I’m starting work at St Jude’s Hospice Charity shop in the High Street, tomorrow. It’s my turn to go out to work now.’ It was a happy solution for Carol. They’d been married for a very long time. She picked up his shoes from where they’d been discarded and dropped them neatly on to his lap.

Bob carried on talking as they took their coffee through to the lounge. ‘But you’d be much better at it than me, Carol. And you’ve been before. You know the doctors and the right questions to ask.’

This story was first published in an anthology, called ‘Missing’.

‘Precisely.’ ‘What do you mean, precisely?’ ‘I mean since you explained to me, there was no way your mother was going in a home, I’ve spent most of my week looking after her. There’s the hairdresser on Monday and shopping on Tuesday. The chiropodist is every other Thursday and usually there’s two or three medical appointments a month. Sometimes they take all day. I’ve done them all for the last four years, without complaint. I’ve always understood how hard your job was, but now it’s your turn.’ ‘But...’ ‘There’s no ‘but’ about it. You’ll have plenty of time and it’ll keep you out of mischief.’ ‘I just thought we might be going out together more and enjoying ourselves, now I’ve retired.’ Bob paused in his speech as Carol went to answer the phone. ‘Yes, Mrs Harvey. I’ll be there promptly at nine in the morning. I’m so looking forward to it.’

Penny Luker is a writer and artist from Cheshire. She writes novels, short stories and poetry for adults, and also writes children’s stories. You can find her work at or

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Coloring Page By Adrian Czarnecki Though I love dreaming up and putting together my Siberian Husky themed children’s illustrated picture story books, Adventures of Hot Rod Todd, I don’t think of myself as an ‘author’ or as a ‘writer’. ‘Story teller’ sounds better. My books are so dependent upon the illustrations. That’s where illustrator Cameo Anderson http:// comes in. Cameo really can see into my mind’s eye interpreting my often rambling page descriptions into works of art; there’s a saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words” and with a children’s book that is so important and Cameo nails it every time and then some. So, for your enjoyment, here is a page from the Coloring Book featuring some of the characters and scenes from the books.

Coloring Book FREE PDF download available via website

Adrian S. Czarnecki is a semi-retired writer of Siberian Husky oriented children’s books based on an actual litter of 6 puppies born to his Dam Empress Maya and Sire Damien Czar on March 14th 2019. Born in Huddersfield, England, Adrian has travelled the world extensively pursuing careers in journalism, photography, PR / Marketing as well as print and sales. Adrian now lives in Idaho, USA with his wife Meta and their Siberian Huskies who keep them on their toes. - 56 -

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The Legacy of Teachers by Father Ian Maher

John 16.12-16 Much in the news at present, along with the doctors and nurses who are doing so much to care for those stricken with coronavirus, are teachers. They, too, are performing an incredible job in sustaining the education of our children. Whether face to face in the classroom or online, their role is invaluable in helping to maintain a sense of structure and balance in the lives of young people in a world turned upside down. In years to come, when looking back, no doubt many will recall those teachers who made a difference to them, perhaps especially through this pandemic season. Good teachers leave an indelible mark upon our lives and we remember them, even decades later. For me, it was a Mr Ferguson who taught maths, a subject I really struggled with. Yet, with his help and encouragement, and to my astonishment, I achieved a Grade 1 O-level. I wonder which teacher comes to mind for you?

Today (January 28) in the Church’s calendar, one of the great teachers of the Christian faith is remembered: St Thomas Aquinas, described by many as the foremost thinker and teacher of the mediaeval church. The publication Exciting Holiness says this about him: ‘Born at Rocca Secca, near Aquino, in Italy, Thomas was educated first by the Benedictines at Monte Cassino and then at the University of Naples. Against his family’s wishes, he joined the mendicant Dominican Order of Preachers. His profound theological wisdom and capacity to impart this, as well in homilies as in hymns, along with his gentleness of spirit in dealing with all, earned him the title “the angelic doctor”. He died on March 7 1274, en route to the Council of Lyon, and his feast has been celebrated on this day since 1970.’ Thomas’ teaching has had a profound effect on the thinking and theology of the western church. He could never have imagined the legacy that his life would leave for future generations of Christians. Even Thomas, however, was shaped and influenced by a teacher far greater than he: Jesus Christ, the one whom he served. We are reminded of Jesus the teacher in today’s gospel reading. - 58 -

The verses come from an extended section in John’s gospel, where Jesus is teaching his disciples. In essence, Jesus is saying to them that their learning as disciples would be the work of a lifetime. He could teach them so much while he was still with them but, after he was gone, through the Holy Spirit they would continue to learn from him as their faith in him deepened. Something that is true for all of us. through the writing and teaching of the likes of Thomas Aquinas, and through our fellowship with each other, we are drawn ever deeper into the mystery of God, and strengthened in God’s service. Today let us remember with thanksgiving the teachers who helped shape us during our school days, the great teachers of Christian faith, past and present, including Thomas Aquinas; and rejoice in the one who continues as the greatest teacher of all, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

We are lifelong learners as followers of Jesus Christ. Through our prayer and our worship, through our study of the Bible,

I am a priest and minor canon at Sheffield Cathedral. My last post prior to retirement from stipendiary ministry was as the Multifaith Chaplaincy Coordinator and Anglican Chaplain at Sheffield Hallam University, where I worked for 12 years. Twitter @IanMaher7 - 59 -

Writing Prompt By Angela Abraham

Descriptionari Quotes and Descriptions to Inspire Creative Writing

As the dragons dance upon the air, there is a warmth spreading in my soul, as if the new year is already removing the old and bringing in a more vibrant health and sense of prosperity for our community.

Discover, Share, Connect

Creativity is the weaving of random into a new and wonderful dish. Descriptionari helps you to fill up your idea cupboard with new ingredients, unleashing your inner Masterchef! And so, in keeping with our fantastic flash fiction theme, tongue firmly in our extended-pun-cheek, here are a few nibbles!

By Angela Abraham, @daisydescriptionari, October 12, 2020.

A new friend comes as a warming spring sun, a sense of brightness and light in the soul.


By Angela Abraham, @daisydescriptionari, March 16, 2021.

This New Year's Eve I see the coming year as a netting of fine pathways, of white silk in the moonlight. I get to choose each step, each choice is my own. Whatever comes, I'm ready. I am. By Angela Abraham, @daisydescriptionari, November 15, 2019.

On Descriptionari there are over 19k ideas all free to check out (taking the pun bow now, tee hee). Happy writing! Angela Abraham - 60 -

Mom’s Favorite Reads Author Ceri Bladen Connect with Ceri Bladen

Ceri Bladen originates from the lovely Welsh village, Caerleon, before she moved to Swansea to obtain her teaching degree. show/7082021.Ceri_Bladen

After having twins and another child, seventeen months later, her family moved to Turkey for a slower pace of life. Here, in between looking after numerous street dogs and a kindle of street cats, she enjoys researching history and writing.

Earl of Cavendish Regency Romance

Ceri loves romance, so most of her books contain elements of it, whether in the form of historical, contemporary, or fantasy. B09581HP6Q

Pirate Series Pirates: Joseline Book 1 Joseline Williams's life as a scullery maid changes forever when she starts work at a large Plymouth Estate and chances upon the handsome son of her employer.

Odin’s sons: Twe12ve Ragnarök Series Book 1 B084PFV71Q

Twelve Keys, One Secret B017EV5DW2

Pirates: Blackheart Book 2

Highlander: Secrets The Scottish Series Book 1

Captain Blackheart's life changes when Joseline chooses to join him aboard the Sea Serpent to lead a pirate's life after closely missing dangling from a noose.

A dangerous family feud threatens the life and moral safety of highborn Aileana MacAlpin B08965DYQB B07L46JY1Z - 62 -

The Great Heathen Army Series

Vikings: Taken Book 1 Rosfrith's childhood changes forever after war-loving Vikings capture her home. Frightened by the axewielding barbarians, and torn from everything she knows and loves, she is forced to forget her privileged life of an ealdorman's child.

Vikings: Deception Book 2

Vikings: Intentions Book 4

War-loving Vikings rip Rosfrith from her Dunwich fortress home while she is still a mere child.

Returning from Brytannia with her children and without her beloved Ubba, Rosfrith has to find the strength to carry on her life while ruling Ranaricii as its chieftain. a/B07179DNKN

https:// B07D3DS3YT

https:// B01MRJRB9D

Vikings: Conflicts Book 5 **This book can be read as a stand-alone and not part of 'The Great Heathen Army' series, if you wish... Arter Ubbasson never fully knew how broken his half-brother was until he travelled with Ragnar, overseas… a/B07X2CSZR9

Vikings: Revenge Book 3 This book continues Ubba and Rosfrith's tale…

After returning from Brytannia, Jarl Ubba Ragnarsson finds out the true extent of the deception and manipulations from those around him, designed to destroy him and his wife, Rosfrith. - 63 -

https:// B07X2CSZR9

National Pharmacist Day by Melanie P. Smith

January 12th Cover design created to honor Pharmacists everywhere

National Pharmacist Day was created to honor all pharmacists across the nation. Historically, pharmacists evaluated prescribed drugs from various doctors and checked for problems. These days, they advise patients, still check for adverse interactions and side effects, monitor health and progress of patients and even administer immunizations — which is a vital role for all of our health and well-being during this difficult time.

Benjamin Franklin and US President Hubert Humphrey were pharmacists.

Lipitor is the best-selling drug of all time.

RX is derived from the Latin word “recipe” but it actually evolved from the Eye of Horus, an Egyptian symbol believed to have healing powers.

The 1st drug reference book was created in England in 1618. It contained a master list of known medication, their indications, and their effects. It was backed by King James I and allowed by the Royal College of Physicians.

Listerine is named after Joseph Lister, an English surgeon who believed in the concept of sterilization in operating rooms. He took this practice and created a product that could kill germs in your mouth.

The first licensed pharmacist was a French immigrant living in the New Orleans in 1816. He offered traditional medicines as well as voodoo remedies, opium, leeches and a soda fountain.

Did you know — •

Agatha Christie was a pharmacy dispenser during World War 1? No wonder she knew so much about poisons and used them frequently in her murder mysteries. Coco-Cola, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper and Ginger Ale were all invented by pharmacists?

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! - 64 -

Brought to you by...

Get it Now—the 4th and final edition of 2021. November’s Connection eMagazine is dedicated to winter, the holidays, new releases and some amazing blog posts.

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: - 65 -

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. She also works hard to create new covers each month that captures the essence of each publication. In addition to the editorial staff of Mom’s Favorite Reads, Melanie P. Smith also produces Connections eMagazine. She is a multi-genre author of Criminal Suspense, Police Procedural, Paranormal and Romance novels. Get to know more about Melanie, her projects, and her work on Mom’s Favorite Reads website here:

Managing Editor, Art Director & Proofreader —Sylva Fae Our Managing Editor oversees the physical content of the magazine and coordinates the production schedule. She administers the day-to-day operations of the publication, manages submissions, sets realistic schedules and organizes each edition of the magazine. Sylva is is responsible for the amazing graphics that appear throughout the publication each month. She works hard to ensure the images capture the spirit and message our author's convey in their articles and stories. In addition, As Copy Editor, Sylva works hard behind the scenes to correct any grammatical, typos and spelling errors throughout the magazine. Sylva Fae—Mum of three, fairy woodland owner, and author of children’s books.

Copy Editors / Proofreaders — Wendy H. Jones and Sheena MacLead Our Copy Editors for Mom’s work hard to ensure content is appropriate and free of grammatical and spelling errors. Wendy H. Jones is also our Feature Editor and works hard to provide content that is interesting, informative and profession. She’s the award winning, international best-selling author of the DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries, Cass Claymore Investigates Mysteries, Fergus and Flora Mysteries, Bertie the Buffalo children’s books and the Writing Matters books for writers. She is also a writing and marketing coach and the President of the Scottish Association of Writers. You can learn more about Wendy on her website:

Sheena Macleod lectured at the University of Dundee, where she gained her PhD. She now lives in a seaside town in Scotland. Reign of the Marionettes is her first novel. She is currently working on two additional books: Tears of Strathnaver and Women of Courage—A Forgotten Figure—Frances Connolly. You can learn more about Sheena on her website:

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Story Editor—Allison Symes Allison Symes works diligently each month to generate flash fiction writing prompts that will stimulate creativity in our authors and entertain our readers. As Story Editor, she also ensures each entry is professional and polished. Allison

Symes is an award winning, published flash fiction and short story writer. She also writes a weekly column on topics of interest for writers for online magazine, Chandler's Ford Today. Allison's fiction has appeared in anthologies (CafeLit and Bridge House Publishing) over many years. Allison judges competitions, runs workshops, and is always happy to talk/write about flash fiction writing.

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:

Young Writer Content Editor—Poppy Flynn Poppy Flynn works hard each month to generate ideas, proofread submitted content, and provide stories, articles, poems and other pieces that are creative and relevant from young writers around the world. Get to know more about our Young Writer Content Editor on Mom’s Favorite Reads website here:

General Content Writers Our Content Writers are freelance authors who contribute articles, short stories, etc. to the eMagazine on a regular basis. They work hard to make our magazine interesting and professional. Get to know our Content Writers here: T.E. Hodden — Val Tobin — Stan Phillips — Father Ian Maher —

Discover more amazing authors…

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