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Lockdown for Teenagers by Owain, Age 16 ....................................................................................................... 7
Myeloma Coach Keith Guernsey .......................................................................... 16 Ellie Midwood by Hannah Howe ......................................................................... 22 Alan Annand: Vedic Astrologer & Palmist by Val Tobin ................................ 30
Laughter is the Best Medicine! by Hannah Howe ............................................ 38
3 Minute,3 Ingredient Fudge by Poppy Flynn .................................................. 21
Mom’s Favorite Reads Author — T.E. Hodden .................................................. 24
I Try to Write by Stan Phillips .............................................................................. 17 Thoughts from an Aged Hippy by Stan Phillips ............................................... 35 Long Before by Stan Phillips ................................................................................. 47
Hannah Howe ...........................................................................................................27 Sylva Fae .....................................................................................................................36
The Problem on Carnavis by Calista (Age 9) .................................................... 10
Women of Courage by Hannah Howe .................................................................. 9 Modern Classic: Marriage Story by TE Hodden ............................................... 12 June: Things to Celebrate by Poppy Flynn ........................................................ 18 A Journey through the Golden Valley of Narnia Fame by John Greeves .... 24 Howie Saves the Day by Keith Guernsey .......................................................... 32 Modern Classic: Knives Out by T.E. Hodden .................................................... 43
Bold Maidens by Sue DeCrescenzo ..................................................................... 39
Mate in 2—Supplied by Chess.com ......................................................................15 Word Search by Mom’s Favorite Reads ...............................................................28
The Hermit of Hisarya Interviewed by Grant Leishman ................................ 29
20% OFF First Book Promotion with the Fussy Librarian ................................. 8 Connections eMagazine ......................................................................................... 42
Lockdown for Teenagers by Owain, Age 16 Now a good 20% of teenagers like to remain inside their homes so that’s not a problem for them. This article is for the other 80% who haven’t got the slightest clue of what to do. First, we start with the obvious and that is to stay inside and watch TV/play games. Yes, the very thing parents would commonly yell at you to do is now your prime solution to the crisis. It’s well known that anyone could spend a good portion of their lives on the internet so using websites like YouTube to watch videos is a good way to survive this event. Most people have games they haven’t played since their childhood and now is a good time to start playing them and relive the games.
With all the time you have, you can easily read 100 pages of whatever you are into and enjoy yourself. Perhaps you don’t want to read it yourself for some reason, if so an automated voice or narrator can read it out to you. Now speaking of listening to things there is plenty of music on the internet. There is a large amount to choose from, but you won't like everything and maybe you want new stuff. Well, fear not my short attention spanned friend for I bring great news. At this time companies are producing more and more stuff as it’s the perfect time. Nothing says capitalism like using a virus for profit! However, we don’t need to worry about that as for us that just means more stuff for us to do.
Now as humans we require some sort of social interaction and if getting yelled at by your teammates on online games isn't enough to satisfy your need for social stuff you can just use your phone. This technology allows you to communicate with your friends without ever having to be close to one another. You can also use it to communicate with a large group at once. With this, you won't feel lonely and can talk to your friends to catch up on everything. Another form of entertainment is reading. Thanks to the internet we don’t need to waste paper on books and can instead download them.
Now as humans we also require sunlight. Yes, we may not be plants but we do need to survive. This is a great excuse to get out in the garden with your family and enjoy the nice weather. Enjoy the sunshine and an ice cream! Now there is a big issue with panic buying. As teenagers, we don’t do the shopping but we can help to convince our parents that we won’t be needing enough toilet paper to last us till 2025. Panic buying leads to a shortage of supplies like food and some people like the NHS workers who make sure we can survive can’t -7-
get the stuff they need to survive themselves. Other people need things, it's just how life works, we can’t go taking everything then be surprised when people complain.
you use to keep yourself entertained and avoid touching anything for roughly two weeks. If the symptoms show, contact the NHS and wait for as long as possible until you’re sure you're safe.
Now if you follow these steps, the chance of you getting sick is meager, but as we all know, there is still a chance you or your family members may get infected. Now if you believe you are infected, you need to keep in one room maybe your bedroom and keep your technology with you, technology that only
As teenagers, the virus is generally less harmful for us. However, our grandparents and parents may be vulnerable so stay safe and keep social distancing for everyone's sake.
We are excited to announce that Goylake Publishing has teamed-up with the Fussy Librarian and in partnership we are offering you 20% off your first book promotion with the Fussy Librarian. To qualify for this promotion, your book must be either permafree or listed free during a special offer.
In our experience, the Fussy Librarian is the best book promoter in the business. When we promote with him, our free books always reach the top five of Amazon’s genre charts, most often they reach the top three. We promote with the Fussy Librarian every month and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future. Prices start from as low as $15, minus our special discount of 20%. Click here: https://authors.thefussylibrarian.com/?ref=goylake for full details. And, at the checkout, be sure to enter this code: goylake20 to claim your 20% discount. Thank you for your interest. And good luck with your promotion! -8-
Women of Courage Heroines of SOE by Hannah Howe
Jacqueline Nearne Jacqueline Nearne was born on 27 May 1916 in Brighton. She was the eldest daughter of an English father and a Spanish mother. Her family moved to France in 1923 then when France fell in 1940 she made her way to Britain via Portugal and Gibraltar. In Britain, Jacqueline applied to join the ATS, but was rejected due to her lack of experience driving in the dark and on the left-hand side of the road. In 1942, Jacqueline was recruited into the FANYs, the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry. This was common for many female members of the SOE.
Jacqueline carried spare parts for her radios inside a cosmetics bag. The average lifeexpectancy for a wireless operator was only six weeks. However, Jacqueline remained in the field for fifteen months, returning to Britain on 10 April 1944 via a Westland Lysander, an aircraft commonly used to deliver and rescue agents.
During the summer of 1942 she trained as a courier for the SOE. Her younger sister, Eileen, and brother, Francis, also served in the SOE. Jacqueline trained with Lise de Baissac, and the two became great friends. On 25 January 1943, after further training, as a radio operator, Jacqueline parachuted into France to work for the Stationer circuit.
After the war, Jacqueline spent some time nursing her sister, Eileen, who had suffered while in France. Then she moved to New York to work at the United Nations. In 1946, Jacqueline played ‘Cat’, a character based on herself, in the RAF Film Unit’s production of Now It Can Be Told, which was also released as School for Danger, a dramadocumentary about the SOE. As well as her daring exploits, the film also highlighted Jacqueline’s knitting.
The SOE provided agents with tailored clothing to suit the French fashions. Nevertheless, Jacqueline noticed that French and British knitting was so different that the Nazis could recognise the stitching. Therefore, she decided to knit socks for her fellow agents earning the nickname ‘Jackie Red Socks’.
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:
The Problem on Carnavis Submitted by Poppy Flynn Written by Calista Age 9
Once upon a time there was an 8-year-old girl named Ariana. One day Ariana was having a meeting with her 2-year-old sister, her name was Emilly and she did understand a little bit of what here big sister was saying. This is what she said, “Ok listen, anything that is bad, or not nice, is evil like sharks, pirates and, and, Oh aliens! So what I’m saying is anything evil is a big dummy.” “Bi doomy” said Emilly. “No no,” said Ariana. “Not Bi doomy. It’s big dummy.” “Bi doomy,” said little Emilly as she crawled away to her toys. “I give up,” said Ariana.
Meanwhile on the planet Carnavis there was a problem there were not enough children on Carnavis. If there were not enough children there, they would become extinct and there would be nothing left of them or their planet. The one who found this out first was the king's messenger Alfredo. One day Alfredo went to the king, Sir. Gobington. The king's messenger approached the king and said, “Oh my dear king, we no longer have kids running around everywhere. I did some research and we only have 23 kids on our entire planet!
When the king heard this he said to his messenger, “Find the explorer aliens, I'm going to send them to another planet where they will capture the children on it and we will raise them to be our kind so we will still have a planet and aliens to live on it.” So the messenger obeyed the king and went to find the explorer aliens. When he found them, he said, “Hello I’m Alfredo, I have come here with a message from the king.” “What's the message?” asked one whose name was Slog. “The message is, we need you to go to another planet to kidnap children, we are running low, and if you don’t, we may go extinct! The king suggests Earth.”
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“We will go but not now we need to find out more about this planet Earth, it could contain something deadly to us, not to them, but us. We may not go until research has been done on this planet,” said slog.
So Ariana went downstairs to get the snacks.
“Very well,” said Alfredo.
After a while Alfredo returned to Slog and his gang and said, “The research has been done earth does contain deadly food to our kind but other than that you will be safe on this planet Earth.” “Very well” said Slog, and off they went. They each packed a “s.r.g” sandwich. (s.r.g stands for space rock and goop) and they each packed a slug slime shake and set off. Back on Earth Ariana was still trying to explain evil to Emily.
“I’m hungry,” said Ariana. “I’ll be right back, I’ll bring something for you too, ok?”
Emily was glad to take a break from listening to her big sister trying to explain to her about evil, but right after that thought, Slog and his gang of explorers came jumping through the window. “This will be good; this child will last us a long time,” said another one of the aliens whose name was Hesk. “Yes,” said slog. “But I don't see any other children here. We will go to another home, there we will kidnap the children. Grab the baby, and let us continue our quest.” “Emmy, I've got the snacks,” said Ariana. But Emilly didn’t answer. “Emmy!?” called Ariana but no Emmy. “She’s gone!”
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Modern Classic: Marriage Story by T.E. Hodden Perhaps the most unexpected contender of the 2019 festival season, Marriage Story seemed to appear from nowhere, funded through Netflix, but gunning for a full theatrical release, with a stellar cast, and some hefty talent behind the camera. Along with the Report (which also starred Adam Driver), it was part of a wave that made the new model, of streaming service studios synchronising their theatrical and streaming releases, to capitalise on the publicity and draw attention away from the pirates. More importantly, it is undeniably a damned good film. Written and directed by Noah Baumbach, and drawing from his own divorce experience, the drama follows Charlie (Driver) a theatre director, and Nicole (Scarlet Johansson) a talented actress, through a divorce that begins as an amicable parting, without lawyers, until Nicole’s latest role goes from pilot to series, and what she expected to be a short stay in LA, becomes a full time move to Hollywood.
Exhibit A: The Protagonists
One of the script’s major strengths is that it avoids falling into the trap of making this a film about a good parent saving the kid from the bad parent. This is a film about loving parents, struggling with their own lives, and not always dealing with it right. Neither is blameless, but neither is made into a villain. The acts that win our sympathy for either parent are genuinely likeable, but the flaws, the mistakes, the attempts to win small victories, are all too believable, as the characters act through pain, grief, and loss. We also get to see great moments of love, of kindness, and some truly touching moments of decency and respect that underpin that no matter how pitched the battles, there are lines that neither character can cross, and there remain connections and understanding that don’t die simply because they fell out of love.
Caught in the middle of both parents, in cities on different coasts of the US, is their son Charlie (played by talent to watch, Azhy Robertson), too young to understand or appreciate the drama growing around him. With strong laughs, heart breaking flashes of anger, and some moments that made me blub like a baby in a crowded cinema, I intend to convince you that Marriage Story, is worthy of being seen as a Modern Classic. Fair warning: I will be discussing the film in some detail, and there will be spoilers. If you haven’t seen the film yet, you may want to come back to this article once you have seen it.
In the final act of the film, as dust settles and both characters adjust to the new normal, it is the small acts that suggest what has been forgiven, what has been forgotten, and what they have learned to live with. In lieu of a grand
Still here? Good. - 12 -
speech, we instead see Henry finding the letters from the opening narration, and are reminded that none of the words are any less true, despite all that they have been through.
full weight of their physical presence behind each word. The cinematography is excellent, the action framed beautifully, and the edits feel smooth without jarring.
Johansson and Driver give powerful performances, throughout the rocky terrain of the movie, that go right down to the bone, with a real depth of emotion, and some subtle touches that make it all feel real and raw, rather than dramatic.
The tension in the scene is unrelenting. Whichever side your loyalty may lean towards, the stakes are high, and we have no doubt that whatever results wont be just the signing of a paper, and a finalised divorce won’t be an ending, it will be the defining of the lives that follow. Neither parent is going to be abandoning Henry, and these moments will dictate the role he plays in the rest of their lives.
Exhibit B: Bert Spitz
Alan Alda’s turn as a low rent, kind hearted solicitor, Bert Spitz, is never short of a delight to watch. If Laura Dern’s Nora Fanshaw is the pragmatic procedural expert, and Ray Liotta’s Jay Marotta is the ruthless case winner, then Bert represents the spirit of the law. Played with wry humour and making no attempt to disguise Alda’s Parkinson’s disease, he represents everything a family law solicitor aims to be, and everything we hope they will be. Pay close attention to the scene in which he reminds Charlie that victory is not measured by who earns more from the settlement, but by which outcome is best for Henry.
Every ounce of pressure that has steadily built over the course of the film threatens to boil over, and we can’t look away.
Exhibit D: Halloween
The Halloween night sequence is almost painful to watch. Robertson’s performance is perfect, not because he is trying to be obstructive, but because he hasn’t picked up on why his Dad is still trying to salvage even a little of the Halloween experience with his son. Then, on their return to the hotel, as he begins to grasp something of the frustrations he flounders to understand, asking questions, reaching the wrong conclusions, and letting slip that Nicole’s move will be permanent, with consequences that spiral rapidly for Charlie.
Exhibit C: The Courtroom Battle
Dern and Liotta may be in supporting roles, but let’s make no mistake: their confrontation in the courtroom is an absolutely outstanding piece of cinema. Both have brought their A-Games to their performance, and throw themselves into the moment like forces of nature. The rapid fire back and forth, point and counterpoint, is played as a duel, with the full weight of their physical presence behind each word. The cinematography is excellent, the action framed beautifully, and the edits feel smooth without jarring. - 13 -
Exhibit E: Wallace Shawn
The veteran actor, playing the theatre company’s veteran actor, is a great comic foil. He only appears in a few scenes, but is a much needed release valve, letting the pressure out, and adding a dash of sharp humour. He gets some of the best lines, and unashamedly steals the scenes.
about it, arguing about it, wondering whose side we are on, at which point. For these reasons, and more, I suggest that Marriage Story should be considered a Modern Classic.
Make Mine A Double:
To pair with Marriage Story, I have chosen “My Dinner With Andre” (1981), the perfect comedy drama to come down from the tension. Starring Andre Gregory, and Wallace Shawn, as Wally and Shawn, a two hander, set over one meal, follows the witty, playful, conversation that begins to build into something more when one, asks the other, about his morals and values.
Exhibit F: The Score
Marriage Story is a film that uses its score sparingly. When it does make itself known, it is often lurking just under the surface of a scene, never overwhelming the action or becoming bombastic, instead adding gentle layers of tone and emotion as punctuation to the scenes.
This is a warts and all, no holds barred story of a collapsing marriage, but it is a story of love, kindness and human spirit, tested to their limits, without skimping on either drama, or heart. We feel the jeopardy and anguish of both sides of the story, but so to do we feel the compassion, the sweetness, and the hope. It is a rough ride, but when we come out the other side, it feels like it was a journey worth taking.
It’s a very different film, in a very different setting, exploring some of the same themes in a very different way. It too is a film that draws heavily from the nuances of the performances, and one that I think will make a satisfying second half to an evening.
I feel that not only will we still be watching this film in years to come, we will still be discussing
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:
https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/t-e-hodden/ - 14 -
Chess: White to Move Supplied by Chess.Com With the rooks aligned on the g file this position screams ‘queen sacrifice’. After that can you see how the bishop mops up?
Supplied by https://chess.com the #1 chess website. Used with permission. For more chess puzzles please visit https://chess.com You can find answers for this activity on the Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/magazines/activities/ - 15 -
Meet Myeloma Coach Keith Guernsey When Keith Guernsey of Gainesville GA was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018 he had no idea the trajectory his life would take. His prostate cancer was successfully treated with a robotic surgery and he moved forward eager to embrace his full, healthy life. His momentum was short lived when a follow up blood test showed abnormal results. He was quickly referred to a hematologist and diagnosed with stage two multiple myeloma. He had experienced no symptoms indicative of myeloma which may have gone un-detected without his prostate cancer diagnosis and follow up work.
and now cancer (twice). He found writing so therapeutic he returned to it during his myeloma treatment and recovery. He is currently working on his fourth book that shares his myeloma story. You can learn more about or purchase Keith’s books here. Regardless of the challenges he has faced Keith is determined to face them with a positive attitude, hard work and to help others along the way. This strong desire to give back and help others led him to become a Myeloma Coach. As a Coach, Keith strives to genuinely listen to others facing myeloma and empower them by sharing what has helped him. For more, please visit us on the web at:
Keith went on to complete induction therapy, and autologous transplant. He is currently in remission and works hard to remain strong and healthy. He credits his health to: •
• • • •
Working with a qualified myeloma specialist and following their recommendations Taking all medication as prescribed Getting regular exercise: find something you enjoy and keep moving Eating nutritiously Getting/maintaining a positive attitude
http://tinyurl.com/u/m006v0 eMail — firstname.lastname@example.org
He also credits his wife (who he describes as “the best wife and caregiver ever”) as helping him get through his treatment and transplant. Another tool he used was writing. Keith had talked about writing a book for over 20 years. After retiring in 2013 his wife encouraged him to just DO IT!. He went on to write not one, but three books. His first two center around his love for all Boston sports and his experiences with his father playing and coaching sports while growing up in Beantown. His third book is about overcoming odds. Keith is no stranger to overcoming hard things as he has triumphed over brain surgery (twice), severe obesity - 16 -
I Try to Write... by Stan Phillips I try to write something every day, But from time to time the muse sits quietly mute. Hidden silent behind it's wall of words, Stubbornly refusing to share it's unspoken poems with me. And I too, am forced into silence, staring at the blank page with my useless pen unmoving in my hand. So rather than write, I sit dreaming in my late evening, a beverage steaming in my cup, and music playing soft in the background, notes dancing, a honeyed adagio, dripping like audible jewels upon the still air.
Just vague echoes of something said before. Or wished I'd said. Or never will be said. Or never needed to be said.
And I abandon thoughts of words and rhyme, To another place, another time.
So I decide I shall write nothing on this barren day. Tick tock the clock sings soft. The coffee grows cold in the cup. Did I fall asleep as the music played?
No thoughts of Zen, or Haiku, or Tanka verse stir in the empty cavern of my mind.
But then I look again. Oops, I've written something! By accident. While I wasn't looking. How odd. Stan Phillips © 2020
Stan Phillips is an 80 year old poet, musical podcast maker, part-time wannabe male model, and occasional stand up comedian. “I used to be a psychotherapist/counsellor when I had an honest job. I was born into prewar London, and attended 17 schools (my father believed they couldn’t hit a moving target) and I eventually finished up here in Ireland. Still wondering what I will be when I grow up — but enjoying writing my quirky poetry as I do so.” Discover more about Stan on Mom’s Favorite Reads website: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/stan-phillips - 17 -
Things to Celebrate in June by Poppy Flynn June 4th Hug Your Cat Day – pretty selfexplanatory!
Every day of the month has some kind of official celebration and usually more than one! It might be big, it might be small…it might be wacky or downright bizarre!
June 5th World Environment Day - Focussing on important environmental issues, World Environment Day was created by the United Nations in 1974.
There are over 1500 National Days throughout the year, here’s just one observance of the many for each day in June 2020.
June 6th D-Day (WWII) - On this historic day in 1944, Allied troops mounted the largest amphibious assault in world history. This massive, bloody battle became the turning point of the war when 156,000 troops from the United states, Great Britain and Canada stormed five beaches in Normandy, France.
June 1st Dare Day – A dare, a challenge, a prank or an accomplishment. Dare day is always celebrated on June 1st
June 7th National Chocolate Ice Cream Day – no guesses for how this day is celebrated.
June 2nd National Bubba Day – Celebrating everyone called Bubba, the name made famous by the film Forrest Gump. It can be used as an endearment and is in fact the Yiddish word for ‘Grandmother’.
June 3rd National Egg Day – Celebrating the humble egg. #NationalEggDay on social media.
June 8th Best Friends Day – Appreciate those BFF’s. June 9th Donald Duck Day – celebrating his cartoon debut in 1934. June 10th Ball Point Pen Day – On this day in 1943 Argentinian brothers, Laslo and Georg Biro from filed the patent for the ballpoint pen. June 11th National Corn on the Cob Day – Always celebrated on June 11th, Sweet Corn originated in Mexico around 9,000BC.
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June 23rd National Pink Day – Wear something pink!
June 12th National Loving Day – An apt name, celebrating the Supreme Court’s 1967 decision to strike down laws banning interracial marriage. Americans were no longer prohibited from marrying someone they loved solely because they were of different races. The decision was sparked by the case of Loving v. Virginia, involving Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple who were arrested following their wedding.
June 24th International Faery Day – Created by Jessica Galbreth, fairy artist from Ohio. June 25th Log Cabin Day – Created in 1986 by the Log Cabin Society.
June 13th National Weed Your Garden Day – You know what you have to do. June 14th Flag Day – Traditionally an American observation, I’m sure we can all be a little patriotic today. June 15th Smile Power Day - This is a day for everyone to share the power of the smile. #SmilePowerDay June 16th National Fudge Day – Make your own with the 3 minute, 3 ingredient recipe at the end of this article!
June 26th Take Your Dog to Work Day – Celebrated on the Friday following Father’s Day, this was created by the Pet Sitters International in 1999.
June 17th Eat Your Vegetables Day – You know what this means… June 18th International Picnic Day – Dust off those picnic blankets and hope for good weather.
June 27th Sun Glasses Day – Summer’s in full swing so get out those shades.
June 19th Flip Flop Day – Celebrated annually on the third Friday in June, participation is simple! June 20th Summer Solstice – Celebrate Summer with the longest day. June 21st Father’s Day – Celebrated on the third Sunday of the month. June 22nd World Rainforest Day – Created in 2017 by the Rainforest Partnership to raise awareness of the importance of Rainforests.
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June 28th International Body Piercing Day – Celebrating the birthday of Jim Ward, known as the ‘granddaddy of modern body piercing’, who opened the very first body piercing studio in California in 1978, establishing methods, promoting education and setting safety standards. June 29th Camera Day – Best celebrated with photos. June 30th Meteor Watch Day – This is a day to watch the stars but if that’s not you thing then it’s also Social Media Day (Is there a play on words there?) so watch your favourite platform instead and post #socialmediaday
There are also several weekly and monthly observances including: Lightning Safety Week - Last full week of the month. Candy Month. Fight the Filthy Fly Month. Gay Pride Month. National Accordion Awareness Month.
Poppy Flynn was born in Buckinghamshire, UK and moved to Wales at eight years old with parents who wanted to live the 'self-sufficiency' lifestyle. Today she still lives in rural Wales and is married with six children. Poppy's love of reading and writing stemmed from her parents' encouragement and the fact that they didn't have a television in the house. "When you're surrounded by fields, cows and sheep, no neighbors, no TV and the closest tiny village is four miles away, there's a certain limit to your options, but with books your adventures and your horizons are endless." Discover more about Poppy on Mom's Favorite Reads website:
https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/poppy-flynn - 20 -
Three Minute, Three Ingredient Fudge Submitted by Poppy Flynn Basic Recipe 1 x 397g tin of Sweetened Condensed milk 340g of chocolate chips 1 tsp Vanilla Extract First of all, I need to make the point that you must use condensed milk and not evaporated milk. When this recipe goes wrong, it’s usually because the wrong tin of milk has been used. Apart from that it’s fairly fool proof.
prepared dish and leave to cool until set before cutting into cubes. Putting grease proof paper underneath makes it easy to lift out and slice. Of course it needs a little while to firm, usually at least an hour, but you can put in the fridge to speed up the process.
Just pop the condensed milk and the chocolate chips in the microwave and for about 1 minute or until the chocolate has melted. Microwave for further 30 second bursts as necessary but don’t stir in between.
Once you’ve mastered the basics you can get creative in all kinds of different ways; Dipping it in chocolate, dusting with cocoa powder, icing sugar, or desiccated coconut, rolling it into individual balls or using food colouring with white chocolate. The choices are endless.
Leave to stand for 1 minute so it doesn’t go grainy (this happens as a result of stirring before it is cool enough) Finally beat until its smooth.
In an airtight container fudge can last for 2 – 3 weeks (if you can keep your fingers off it that long!) and if it’s refrigerated you can extend that shelf life by another week. Use waxed paper in between the layers to prevent it sticking together.
Only after this process should you stir in the flavouring. This basic recipe uses vanilla, but fudge lends itself well to experimentation so go ahead and try-out any flavour you fancy. At the most basic level just switch the essence you use for orange, mint or almond. Or you could take it a step further by adding nuts, candy pieces, peanut butter, spices or even a drop of rum.
The good news is that it can also be frozen. For best results it should be frozen as a single slab and double wrapped, first by first covering it in plastic wrap and then putting it into a container or a freezer bag. Or you can wrap and freeze individual portions for when you fancy a treat.
You can also use white chocolate chips and decorate it with sprinkles for a different look. When you’re done, simply pour the mixture into a
In a clear bag with a pretty ribbon, Fudge also makes a great gift if you can bear to part with it.
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Ellie Midwood Interviewed by Hannah Howe What do you appreciate the most in your friends? – Our discussions about history and politics that last for hours; that we challenge each other and help each other broaden our horizons; that they’re incredibly sweet, honest people; that we always have each other’s back; and that they don’t get mad if we don’t speak for weeks when I’m on my writing spree What is your main fault? – Arrogance, I’d say. Every Leo’s fault, I have to note in my defense What is your favourite pastime? – It’s simple: reading, writing, doing my research and yoga. What is your idea of happiness? – In a physical sense – a remote cabin somewhere in the Alps with no people around where I can write my novels while enjoying the nature. In a more vague sense – if all people would stop fighting for their ideas and live in peace without trying to impose their laws/ideas/policies etc on everyone else. Simple like that, just living and minding their own business and contributing to the society in which everyone can coexist peacefully. That would be my ultimate idea of happiness.
Based on the Proust Questionnaire, Hannah Howe interviews Ellie Midwood. Ellie is an award-winning, bestselling historical novelist. Her books have been recognized by the New Apple Awards and Readers’ Favourite Awards.
If not yourself, who would you be? – Honestly, I wouldn’t want to be anyone else. I’m perfectly happy with my life/career choice/ time that I live in etc. Maybe I could remain myself but travel back to the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s though? That would be amazing, because I’ve always been fascinated with that period of time.
What are your favourite qualities in a man? – I like the so-called type A men: driven, hardworking, always trying to improve themselves; who are passionate about what they do; who can be both sensitive and yet firm and who of course will treat their girlfriend/spouse as an equal partner. What are your favourite qualities in a woman? – Same as in a man, actually, haha I like women who are strong, independent and can stand for themselves. - 22 -
What is your favourite colour and flower? – The flower is easy: I adore lilies! As for the color, it’s a tricky question. To wear, I love black, white and blush; I prefer gray/white colors for the interior of my apartment; and I like blue just to look at. So it depends I guess. Who are your favourite painters and musicians? – I love French Impressionism, so all the painters belonging to the movement would be among my favorites. As for musicians, I love classical music, so Beethoven, Mozart, Wagner, Tchaikovsky and other composers are on my permanent “to listen” list.
Who are your favourite heroines in fiction? – The “Anonymous” protagonist from “A Woman in Berlin” that tells a story of the atrocious rape of Berlin by the Red Army in 1945. That was actually a real diary of a real woman, and that made me admire her willpower and strength even more. I love tortured, broken characters who went through hell in their lives and yet remained so incredibly human. Those are my personal heroes. https://www.amazon.com/Ellie-Midwood/e/ B00MAZ2N30/
Who are your favourite prose authors and poets? – I can’t enumerate all of them because the list will be too long, haha! Russian classics writers of course: Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky; Irene Nemirovsky and her wonderful novels about France; Fitzgerald and his incredibly beautiful language; Nabokov; Hemingway; Maupassant; Remarque – I really can go on and on! I’m not that much into poetry to be honest, but Charles Baudelaire wrote poems about quite unorthodox ideas for his time that I loved. Who are your favourite heroes in fiction? – Elie Wiesel’s protagonists both in “Dawn” and “Day”. Those were novels unlike “Night”, so they considered to be fictional characters, however he wrote them with such raw emotion and feeling that I couldn’t stop thinking about them long after I finished both stories.
Six riveting stories commemorating the end of WWII. 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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A Journey Through the Golden Valley of Narnia Fame by John Greeves https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Abbey_Dore.jpg
When the author C.S Lewis was a boy in Belfast, he thought a painting of Herefordshire’s Golden Valley was a picture of heaven. This enchanted valley lies in the shadow of the neighbouring Black Mountains in western Herefordshire approximately ten miles from the centre of Hereford. The valley derives its name from the River Dore that flows through picturesque area of gently rolling countryside. When the Normans arrived in the area they thought ‘Dore’ or ‘dwr’ in Welsh was the French “d’or” meaning gold, a name well suited to this beautiful river valley with its mosaic of patchwork fields, limestone grasslands and cluster of time-worn villages. Leaving Hereford I drive south west along the A465 before turning off towards Ewyas Harold on the B4347 to enter the Golden Valley. This road will take me through the main villages at Ewyas Harold, Abbey Dore, Peterchurch, Dorstone before I terminate my journey at Hay on Wye, known as the ‘Town of Books’, but famed these days for its acclaimed Literary Festival. More exists here other than a literary reference to C S Lewis. At Ewyas Harold I view the impressive Ewyas Harold Castle constructed under Norman influence in the late Saxon period in the Golden Valley. Little remains today of this Motte and Bailey Castle but it’s an important site being only one of four castles to predate the Norman invasion and the golden age of castle building.
Philip Halling / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)
I decide to press on to Abbey Dore. The Abbey is an arresting building founded by the Cistercian order in 1147 until it was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1537 and sold to Lord John Scudamore. He dismantled large parts of the stonework for other purposes. Abbey Dore eventually came into the possession of his great-great grandson John Viscount Scudamore, a mournful man because all his sons had died in childbirth. Archbishop Laud suggested to atone for his ancestor’s sins, the family should restore the remains of the abbey and reconsecrate it as a parish church. This Viscount Scudamore did in 1634 and his wife subsequently gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Today Abbey Dore runs a summer programme of musical recitals, concerts, plays and community events. From Abbey Dore I journey on to Bacton another small village with the parish church of St Faith which dates from the 13th century and slightly off the main route. My interest lies inside the church where there is a memorial to Blanche Parry, the Chief Gentlewoman of Queen Elizabeth’s Privy Chamber. Parry was the Queen’s close friend and confidante and served as the official Keeper of the Queen's Jewels. The intrigue goes further with the Bacton Altar cloth considered now to be the sole surviving dress of Queen Elizabeth I. The cloth’s is a creationof highstatus ‘silver chamblet’ silk, embroidered with real gold and silver thread, and the distinct evidence of pattern-cutting similarly suggest that the item could well have formed part of Elizabeth’s lavish wardrobe and is not unlike the dress worn by the - 24 -
The Lost Dress of Elizabeth I exhibition (c)Historic Royal Palaces David Jensen
queen in the ‘Rainbow Portrait.’ Recently the dresswent on display along with the Rainbow Portrait at Hampton Court Palace with the exhibition closing in February of this year.
Bartholomew at Vowchurch in 1895. An intriguing collection of Lewis Carroll curios can still be seen at this tiny church which is sited down the hill, just before the bridge that goes over the river Dore.
Further up the valley there’s the peace and beauty of the churches at Vowchurch and Turnastone, only ½ mile a part. It’s said two sisters vowed that one could build a church, before the other could turned to stone.
Back in the car I soon spot Peterchurch in the distance with one of the tallest spires in England which reaches a giddy height of 186 feet. What’s more remarkable is this spire isn’t made of stone but of fibre glass and was lowered into position in 1972 by a helicopter to replace the stone spire that had become unsafe. This is not the first church to be erected, a Saxon timber church was founded on this site before the Norman church was built here in about 1130. A spacious church yard surrounds the church with a massive yew with a girth of 28 feet which is at least seven hundred years old in age.
What is more certain than this folk tale, is the connection with Alice in Wonderland and Charles Lutwidge Dodgson better known as Lewis Carroll who visited his brother Skeffington Hume Dodgson who was appointed vicar of St
One of the graves commemorates Robert Jones who won a VC in the Zulu War of 1879 and took part in the famous battle at Rorke’s Drift. What is not recorded is how he eventually died as a result of gunshot wounds. An inquest held at the “Boughton Arms Hotel” maintained he had taken his own life although some people still believe it was an accident and have made moves for the inquest decision to be rescinded. The Golden Valley is full of so many stories, some remain much darker than others. The church of St Faith’s in Dorstone lies just off the main road.
Alan Spencer / River Dore, Peterchurch - 25 -
(Arthur’s Stone Lane) which is little more than a farm track. Legend has it King Arthur slew a giant here, but I’m more interested in the Narnia connection and it being the inspiration for the Stone Table on which Aslan is sacrificed in The Lion, Witch And The Wardrobe.
Four churches have been built here since the 6th century. The most famous one contained a chapel built by Richard de Brito’s relatives in 1256 to atone for their ancestor's crime. Sir Richard le Bretonor Richard de Brito was one of the four infamous knights who in 1170 murdered Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury. It’s said Richard de Brito actually broke his sword while chopping off Becket’s head before the four knights fled to Scotland and were excommunicated by Pope Alexander III and ordered to undertake penitentiary pilgrimages to the Holy Land which lasted for 14 years.
It’s perhaps fitting that after this final stop off I head for Hay on Wye the Town of books and think about the 1993 film, Shadowlands, starring Anthony Hopkins as Lewis and his tragic love affair and marriage to the American poet and writer Joy Davidman who is dying of bone cancer. In the final stages of her illness Joy asks Lewis to drive her to the Golden Valley.
My next port of call is Arthur’s Stone a Neolithic burial chamber (2000-3000 BC) consisting of massive slabs of sandstone 18 feet long and originally resting on eleven upright stones. It is situated north of Dorstone off the main road and up a steep hill
Critics of the film will acknowledge the beauty and pathos of the film but some will also acknowledge a number of failing in its realms of accuracy in the writing of the screen play by William Nicholson. One critic I read said that Lewis never learnt to drive and that in real life Joy Davidman (played by Debra Winger) never visited the Golden Valley although Lewis did. This doesn’t detract from the emotional and cathartic impact of the film and its worth remembering in many of CS Lewis fantasy novelsfor children, the use of illusion and metaphor often creates other far reaching insights that unbalance our everyday realities.
John Greeves is a creative writer who has published poetry, short stories and magazine features.
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June by Hannah Howe
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Word Search By Momâ€™s Favorite Reads
You can find the answers for this activity on the Momâ€™s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/magazines/activities/ - 28 -
The Hermit of Hisarya Submitted by Grant Leishman Private Detective Sam Smith has become somewhat of a staple in my reading material of recent years. Author Hannah Howe has created a realistic, hard-hitting female lead who also is capable of compassion, warmth and humour. For me, she is the perfect private-eye. In Book 5 of the Sam Smith Series - The Hermit of Hisarya we see Sam leaving her beloved Wales for a "holiday" in Bulgaria, where she accompanies her psychiatrist fiancĂŠ who is attending a conference there for two weeks of rest and relaxation in the European summer. Of course, trouble and potential cases seem to follow Sam with unerring certainty and this is no exception for the Hermit of Hisarya. Sam and her fiancĂŠ are staying in a small Bulgarian village with the conference organiser, her husband, their son and the woman's elderly mother. When Sam discovers that the grandmother's father was accused of betrayal during World War II and sentenced effectively to the lonely life of a hermit far from his family, before later being executed by the communist regime, Sam is intrigued. The grandmother's adamant protestations that her father was innocent of the betrayal stir Sam's inquisitive nature and before you know it, she is caught up in a web of intrigue from seventy years earlier, along with danger, violence, drugs and corruption in modern-day Bulgaria.
So much of this series revolves around the character of Sam Smith and each time I read one of the series, I discover new depths, new nuances and new experiences for this young woman. To me, that is the key to a successful characterdriven series and Howe has this down perfectly. All the Sam Smith stories are stand-alone cases and can be read in any order. That being said, I would still recommend any new reader to start at the beginning and work your way through this superb series. I mean, why wouldn't you? Howe is a master of this genre and Sam Smith is an endearing and captivating leading-lady. I can highly recommend this read and indeed any of the Sam Smith series books from this ubertalented author.
Author Hannah Howe has a writing style that just sucks you in and carries you along on a twisting, turning, plot journey that makes putting her books down a difficult proposition.
Grant Leishman is a fifty-nine-year-old full-time author and editor, domiciled in the beautiful island of The Philippines. After careers in finance and journalism, Grant finally found his true bliss in life writing. He is happily married to THess and they ahve two daughters, Rose and Angeline. Discover more about Grant on the Mom's Favorite Reads website
https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/grant-leishman - 29 -
Vedic Astrologer and Palmist Alan Annand Interviewed by Val Tobin
A Future Written in the Stars
Vedic astrology originated in India. It is also called “Jyotish” and is commonly referred to as the “mother of all astrology.” Proponents of Vedic astrology claim it is superior to the sun-sign-focused western astrology most people think of when they think of astrology.
Val Tobin: With astrology, is everything written in the stars? How much is within our control? Alan Annand: “That’s a whole discussion about karma, basically, and karma comes in different varieties … Karma can be fixed or unfixed, or somewhere in between. If it’s very fixed, you can smoke all you want, and you won’t get lung cancer, because you don’t have karma for lung cancer, and we know people like that. On the other hand, if you have a karma for lung cancer, it’s just your misfortune.”
Alan Annand, a Vedic astrologer and palmist from Toronto, talked to Val Tobin about how Vedic astrology lured him away from fifteen years of western astrology practice and why people can use it to guide them in making major decisions.
Val Tobin: So those people, such as people with a really dismal relationship chart, can they do anything to affect the outcome? Alan Annand: “Absolutely. Just like someone with poor health can say, you know what? I will never smoke, I will never drink, I will never eat processed foods, I will eat only organic food, I will take care of myself, I will get eight hours of sleep every night, I will take vitamins and supplements and all of that, I’ll find a low-stress job and environment, and surround myself with love, and take up religion — all the things you can do that are probably
Moving from Western Astrology to Vedic Astrology Val Tobin: How long have you practiced astrology? Alan Annand: “Astrology, thirty years. Fifteen years of western astrology. I was trained classically in western astrology with the British Faculty of Astrological Studies. I studied for three years and got my diploma after eighteen hours of exams. That was 1980. Then I practiced western astrology from 1980 until about the mid-90s.
good for your psychosomatic, and therefore your real, health.
“So yes, people can and should do things, because we should not feel helpless. Just because the odds are against [you] doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to succeed despite the odds.”
“But toward the end of that, in parallel, I discovered Vedic astrology, probably in 1993, and started to study it and began to work with it tentatively, then more and more seriously. By the mid-90s, I was pretty much using it and not western astrology anymore, because I’d done so much serious reading. I [entered] into my studies in 1999 with my teacher, and then [there] was really no looking back, and I just embraced it totally. So, now it’s been fifteen years of Vedic astrology as well.”
Astrology and Palmistry Val Tobin: When you also use palm reading, does what you see in people’s hands support what you see in their charts? Alan Annand: “Yes, and that’s why I love doing palmistry. It so often corroborates, not on a predictive level, because I find there is only so much you can do with palmistry, but as a touchstone for basic - 30 -
mundane stuff, like do you think I could sell my house this year, do you think I could change careers? So, there is nothing under the sun that you can’t address through astrology. People are constantly facing decision points. Should I marry this guy? Move to that city? Should I train for this career?
character, inclination for relationships, health, and career orientation. I find lots there to encourage me to keep on using it because it’s corroboration. “Often, I’ll even point this out to clients. I’ll say, ‘You remember me saying in the first half hour of our session this and that about your hand? Now I see in your chart some very similar stuff.’ When I see evidence of [someone] being a writer or a teacher or whatever, in coming from two totally different paradigms, I feel very encouraged that the universe has left its mark upon [that person] and this is what it means in [his or her] life.”
“But in the end, it can be very liberating for people. Who knows what people will hear, because no one size fits all. I always ask people a key question. Why are you coming to me at this point? Is it idle curiosity? I’ll satisfy that. I’ll just go through your chart and I’ll cover the waterfront about what I think about this, that, or the other thing.
Benefits of Vedic Chart Analysis
“But if you really want to get your money’s worth, think about why you want to [get your chart done]. Suppose for the moment that I could answer all your questions, and you’re going to spend all this time with me, what are your questions?
Val Tobin: What are the benefits of having a Vedic astrology chart done? Alan Annand: “All kinds of things. I’ll tell you what I really enjoy doing: I love to give readings to people who are still in university, who often, like me when I was at that age, don’t have a clue where they’re going in life. I like being able to advise people who are in a formative stage of life because really, going to university just kind of prepares you for something, not necessarily everything, or even your life’s work.
What do you want to know? Then [if] they sleep on it and decide what their burning questions are, then they can really get something out of it. I’ll be better prepared, and they will benefit by having me address their agenda.”
About Alan Annand
“I love doing that because I believe I can give people direction and clarity about career and all these possibilities — relationships too. In fact, this is where I spend eighty percent of my time and I always tell my students, if you’re going to do this, and master the nuts and bolts, concentrate on relationships and career, because eighty percent of the time that’s why people are coming to see you.”
Alan Annand lives in Toronto, reading palms and Vedic charts for clients, teaching classes on palmistry and Vedic astrology, speaking at conferences and writing novels and articles. Annand has two websites: Navamsa focuses on his client services and related blog. For interest, he has done chart analyses on his website for such famous personalities as Charlie Sheen (before his firing from Two and a Half Men), Osama bin Laden (after his death) and Prince William (providing a prognosis on his recent marriage). http://www.navamsa.com/
Help with Mundane Issues, Big Decisions
Sextile highlights his writing, which includes his many astrology books, a New Age Noir mystery series featuring an astrologer protagonist, and other novels.
“Similarly with health, choice of education, which is a precursor to career, things about parents — very
Val Tobin writes speculative fiction and searches the world over for the perfect butter tart. Her home is in Newmarket, Ontario, where she enjoys writing, reading, and talking about writing and reading. Discover more about Val on Mom’s Favorite Reads website:
https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/val-tobin - 31 -
Howie Saves the Day by Keith Guernsey It was a bright, sunny day in early spring of 2019 and I was starting to feel just a little better every day. My system was just starting to get used the RVD (Revlimid/Velcade/Dexamethasone) treatment regimen that Dr. Nadella had prescribed in treating my Multiple Myeloma cancer.
Howie is a big, strong retired Navy man and police officer (he's actually two of the Village People rolled into one!), and she knew he would know what to do. He muscled up and lifted up my 200 pounds into a dining room chair. I sat there trying to shake the cobwebs out of my head while we decided what to do next. Susan and Howie wanted to call 911 and I said no, (I'm nothing if not stubborn) that I would be fine in a few minutes. But I was out voted and Susan made the call.
I bounded out of bed (something every doctor and nurse had told me not to do!) and headed out of our back bedroom, ready to start the day filled with vim and vigor. I made it all the way from the bedroom to the laundry room when disaster struck. As I was changing out of my t-shirt, I started to feel dizzy. I remember trying to steady myself by grabbing the edge of the washing machine but it didn't help. I went down like a sack of cement. The good news is that I didn't hit my head. The bad news is that I hit the wall with such force that I put my left elbow right thorough it. I sat there and tried to figure out what had just happened? I yelled for Susan. She heard the panic in my voice and came running over. In her cool, calm, collected manor she knew what she had to do. She called our neighbor and friend Howie Mueller. Fortunately he is an early riser and only leaves four doors down.
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EMS had radioed ahead and the ER was ready for me. The ER nurse put me in a bed and began running the exact same vitals that the EMS guys had just performed. They then started an IV and began to feel human again! Another nurse came and wheeled me down to the CT scan room even though I was very clear that I had not hit my head.
Hall County EMS arrived within minutes (having a station right down the street has its advantages.) One of them started vitals while the other performed the finger/eye test (as in "Mr. Guernsey please follows my finger".) They determined out of an abundance of caution we should take a ride to the hospital. We had a very nice chat about sports even after they found out I was a diehard Boston sports fan.
Once we entered the room, the young nurse changed her mind and wheeled me back out without completing the scan. No one was able to satisfactorily explain why they had done this? Even though I explained that I hit the wall with my left elbow that was the only part of my anatomy that they failed to check. I chalked it he to an inexperienced team. After several hours of tests and hydration, I told them that I was feeling better and ready to go home. Fortunately they agreed and I was discharged. Susan went and got the car of off we went. It finally dawned on how this all came about. I had received my chemotherapy (Velcade) just a couple of days before and wasn't anywhere near full strength when I attempted this fateful walk. Suffice to say I learned my lesson and won't try this again anytime soon!
For more, please visit us on the web at; https://books2read.com/u/m0O6v0
Keith D. Guernsey is retired and living on Lake Lanier with his lovely wife Susan and his four-footed son Harley (who really is the king of this castle!) email@example.com witter=@thegurns
https://www.amazon.com/Mr-Keith-D-Guernsey/e/B00PR51Q7Y - 33 -
Momâ€™s Favorite Reads Author T.E. Hodden T.E. Hodden trained in engineering, and works in a specialised role in the transport industry. He is a lifelong fan of comic books, science fiction, myths, legends, and history. In the past he has contributed to podcasts, blogs, and anthologies.
Capes And Robbers, the story of a super villain in love. Being a Bad Guy doesn't make me a bad guy...right? I used to be a super villain. I used to have a costume, a mask, and a family of crooks. Then I went to prison for a while.
NOVELS His kindle ebooks include the Fisher And The Bears trilogy (also available as paperback omnibus) in which a man called Fish must fight demons, monsters and all your nightmares with only his wits, his ghostly girlfriend, and a hotel full of teddy bears.
Now I'm out ...
Rags and Bones, a tense ghost story of sex, drugs, and the power of dreams.
Once upon as time there was a man called Fisher. Thanks to a family curse all the strange, weird, demonic and alien things that slip into our world will go looking for Fisher, and those who guard the gates between world expect him to deal with them. Luckily he does not have to work alone. He has a hotel full of bears helping out. The small kind of bear, with jammy paw prints and sensible coats. The kind who leave trouble and chaos in their wake. Sometimes luck is a very relative thing... This print edition collects the three Fisher and the Bears E-books: Eternity Pier, Clarumcoma Must Die (again), and Intelligent Declines.
Chronicle 31, a rip roaring, world saving, and high kicking adventure in a colourful future. And many, many more. https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/ t-e-hodden/ - 34 -
Thoughts from an Aged Hippy by Stan Phillips
And our dreams were corroded by time and struggle and disillusion. Till eventually my generation became the old ones as we morphed into the very people we had opposed. We became the misguided rulers. As smug and self satisfied as those who had gone before. However, circumstances have changed, and the world stands on the threshold of a new beginning as our present leaders (mostly) prove as incompetent as all the others. Back in the late 50s and early 60s the new youth realised that the old ways didn't work. That the old leaders didn't know how to rule. We saw that their ways brought war, prejudice, inequality, and political uncertainty. And we looked, and tried to change things with our music, our poetry, our philosophy of love and peace. And we came out in our hundreds and thousands to change the world. It didn't work.
And this old hippy realises that our dreams didn't die, they just slumbered till the time was right. It's too late for us who kept the flag flying down all the years. But not for our children and grandchildren. So how will you young ones fare? What sort of society will you create for yourselves and those who follow you? How will you choose to live your precious, unique lives? Just don't allow the misguided old ones to erode your vision, as we did before you.
They fed us drugs till we lost our vision.
Stan Phillips © 2020
They sent us to war to die and be maimed in unjust conflict.
Stan Phillips is an 80 year old poet, musical podcast maker, part-time wannabe male model, and occasional stand up comedian. “I used to be a psychotherapist/counsellor when I had an honest job. I was born into prewar London, and attended 17 schools (my father believed they couldn’t hit a moving target) and I eventually finished up here in Ireland. Still wondering what I will be when I grow up — but enjoying writing my quirky poetry as I do so.” Discover more about Stan on Mom’s Favorite Reads website: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/stan-phillips - 35 -
Summer in Bloom by Sylva Fae
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Contributions by Hannah Howe What do you call someone who hangs around with musicians? A drummer. How is a drum solo like a sneeze? You can sense them coming, but you can’t do a thing about it. What’s the difference between a drummer and a pizza? A pizza can feed a family of four. What’s green and sings? Elvis Parsley
What’s the latest crime wave in New York? Drive by viola recitals. I went to the opera once. I tell you what, they don’t like it when you join in... What happens when you play country music backwards? You sober up, your wife returns and your dog comes back to life. I wrote a song the other day. It’s called ‘Broken Alarm Clock Blues’. It starts like this...’Woke up this afternoon...’
I took a course last year, ‘Learn the piano in ten easy lessons.’ And do you know what, I did it! However, the first 180 were really hard. I’m not playing all the wrong notes. In fact, I’m playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order. - 38 -
Bold Maidens by Sue DeCrescenzo Glass Slipper Optional – Tale #1 If the Sooth Be Told – Tale #2 In the days of old, when knights were bold, and maidens were even bolder…
Glass Slipper Optional© - Tale #1 “Summon everyone, we must celebrate!" declared King Bernard. “My lords and ladies; a messenger just informed me that my son, Prince Jacob is victorious. After three years battling the Evil King James, King James is dead, and all our people are free.” Prince Jacob will return in three weeks hence and we must celebrate. The crowd cheered.
That night, Abigale couldn’t sleep. She tossed and turned. Finally, she came up with a plan. By early morning light, her maid was on her way to see the Queen.
And, my lords and ladies, we must summon the fairest maidens in the land. For its time my son chooses a wife. We will hold a contest and the most talented maiden will marry the Prince. After careful review of all the contestants, my Queen Victoria and her Court, we will narrow the search to three. The night of the celebration, after performances by all three, we will pick the winner and she will marry, Prince Jacob!”
The day before the Great Celebration, Prince Jacob and Lady Abigale arrived home. The palace was buzzing with activity and delicious smells of food being prepared. King Bernard was pleased with all that had been accomplished in just under three weeks. In addition, Queen Victoria and her Ladies in Waiting reviewed all the candidates and selected the three best: Lady Gwendolyn, Lady Marion and Lady Joan. However, unbeknown to the King and everyone else, Lady Gwendolyn was paid handsomely for her silence and a mysterious third woman took Lady Gwendolyn’s place and slipped into the finals the night before the celebration.
The crowd cheered and everyone started making plans for a huge celebration. To enter the contest, all talented maidens across the land; poor, rich and fair sent word to the Queen and her Ladies in Waiting.
The day of the celebration began with music, then Knights in Shining Armor competed in a jousting contest, and court jesters performed a play. After a huge feast, the three finalists for Prince Jacob’s hand in marriage came onto the stage. There was Lady Joan who sang like an angel. Lady Marion who modeled exquisite handmade gowns.
At camp, Prince Jacob heard of the contest, but thought it nonsense. He already picked a wife, Lady Abigale who had fought equally beside him for three years. Later that evening, Abigale’s maid came running into her tent. “My Lady, you must win this contest for Prince Jacob’s hand in marriage. Abigale explained, “I do not have any special talent. All I know is that I love Prince Jacob and I must win. Let me sleep on it. - 39 -
And finally, “Lady Gwendolyn”, wearing a veil on her face, came last. When it was her turn, she stood before The Royal Court and READ from The Great Book. The crowd gasped. No women ever read anything before, let alone from the Great Book. Prince Jacob, walked off, “Shouting, this contest is nonsense. I’ve made my decision long ago, it’s Abigale!” The crowd attempted to jeer “Lady Gwendolyn” off the stage. Just then, Queen Victoria, said, my good and fair King, may I speak? King Bernard stood and raised his hands to quiet everyone and said, Of course, dear wife, but no women in my court can read. The Queen said, “Now Bernard, Dear, before you say anything more, ponder this – From now on “The Lady Gwendolyn” would be able to read all important documents and you won’t have to enlist an interpreter. And she could teach your heirs to read too. Think how powerful you would become and what a legacy to leave.
true love, Lady Abigale. The Prince and Lady Abigale were so happy, no one, not even Kind Bernard could dispute they were a perfect match. Plans for the wedding began. Lady Joan would sing, and Lady Marion would make the gown. In all the joyful commotion, no one noticed the quick wink between Queen Victoria and Lady Abigale. The End.
If the Sooth be Told© – Tale #2
In another kingdom, not too far away…
Again, the crowd gasped in disbelief. However, the King Bernard nodded in agreement. My Queen, as always you are wise. The Queen asked her Maid to go fetch Prince Jacob immediately and return to the Great Hall. When the Prince arrived, Queen Victoria said, Prince Jacob, please come to me. “Lady Gwendolyn” has been chosen the winner. The Prince was about to storm off again when the Queen said, son please unveil the winner, your wife. The Prince did and a large smile came across his face. It was his
King George stood before his Queen Ariel, his most trusted Soothsayer, Lord Bryon, his court and his subjects for a Spring celebration to foretell the outcome of the Fall harvest. The sacrificial Lamb bleated in terror. With one sharp blow, one of the King’s Knights in Shining Armor, silenced it. The entrails spilled onto the ground. The Coliseum was full, but the crowd grew silent. Lord Byron, Soothsayer, stepped onto the stage to inspect the entrails. Suddenly, a bolt of lightning struck him dead. The crowd screamed. From the castle prison tower, Maiden Messalina yelled, “Lord Byron deserved to die. He was a fool in sheep’s clothing. I have stood in the shadows of his cape too long. Since I was a young girl, I have - 40 -
The King stood up and said, “Enough! We have angered the Gods. Let us all go now and return when the moon is full. If Maiden Messalina speaks the truth, we will witness this together. Afterwards, I will appoint her Lady Messalina, Royal Soothsayer of my court or I will execute her tonight. The crowd dispersed. The King said, under this breathe, this will never happen, I will be rid of this Maiden once and for all. Just then a bolt of lightning slashed across the sky. King George felt the Gods validated his words. However, Queen Ariel, his wife, knew Maiden Messalina spoke the truth, but feared for her safety. Secretly, she called her Ladies in Waiting to enlist their help. Later that evening, as everyone returned to the Coliseum, the full moon rose. Suddenly, a black sphere emerged at one corner of the moon; then slowly, it covered the entire moon. The crowd was astonished. King George sent a guard to the tower to kill Maiden Messalina. Queen Ariel anticipated this and had her Ladies in Waiting free Maid Messalina from the tower. In fact, when the moon reappeared from behind the sphere, Messalina was standing before the King.
been reading the entrails of the lamb; then foretelling the future. Lord Byron pretended it was him and King George was in on it. The crowd booed and hissed. Maiden Messalina continued, when Lord Byron decided he could no longer keep me silent and protect their lies, he had the King condemned me to the tower. The crowd gasped in disbelief.
Before the King could speak, Queen Ariel said, “My Dear King George, Messalina kept her word, you must keep yours.” The King reluctantly agreed, and reluctantly he appointed Messalina Royal Soothsayer of his Court. However, in his black heart, he knew some day he would end this.
Maiden Messalina continued, “Tonight, I will prove it to you. When the moon is full, it will be covered briefly by a dark sphere; then reappear.” No one believed a word she said. The crowd started to chant, Off with her head, off with her head.
As Lady Messalina walked away, she thought, be careful what you wish for my King. Just then, lightening lit up the night sky. The End Bold Maidens© by Sue DeCrescenzo 2019
Keith D. Guernsey is retired and living on Lake Lanier with his lovely wife Susan and his four-footed son Harley (who really is the king of this castle!) firstname.lastname@example.org witter=@thegurns https://www.amazon.com/Mr-Keith-D-Guernsey/e/B00PR51Q7Y - 41 -
Annual Reader’s Choice Awards
The 2nd Quarter issue of our eMagazine is now available. Find great books, articles on health, getting better sleep, travel, and so much more. https://melaniepsmith.com/emagazine/
Nominations are now open for our annual Reader’s Choice Awards. If you’ve read a good book lately… support the author by nominating their story. Winners will be featured in the next edition of Connections eMagazine. Find all the details on our website and while you’re there be sure to check out the previous winners. https://melaniepsmith.com/readers-choice/
Connections eMagazine is a FREE quarterly publication founded by authors Melanie P. Smith and Rhoda D’Ettore. It is currently produced entirely by Editor, Melanie P. Smith. Over the years, the magazine has evolved and it now features promos, freebies, blog articles, and short stories in every issue.
Discover more about Connections eMagazine on their website here: https://melaniepsmith.com/emagazine-landing/ - 42 -
Modern Classics: Knives Out by T.E. Hodden It’s a truism of cinema that the Awards Season is a fine measure of the moment, but a poorer measure of lasting appeal. If we look back a decade, the 2011/12 award season was largely a tussle between The Artist and Moneyball for the big awards, but as fine as those films were, I would argue that Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, or Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, are the films I more likely to take off my shelf when I have a few hours to kill. Although I enjoyed Joker, and have watched Marriage Story a good few times since it hit the streaming service, I suspect that Knives Out will be the contender from the last awards season that I will be re-watching the most in the years to come.
Fair Warning: This discussion will be going into some detail of the movie’s plot, and will likely spoil the odd twist. If you haven’t seen the film, you might want to come bookmark the page, and go watch it, before we carry on.
The film tells a near perfect mystery story. Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer), a best selling crime writer of many decades standing, is visited on his birthday by his squabbling, dysfunctional family (a grand ensemble cast including Jamie Lee Cutis, Chris Evans, and Michael Shannon), many of whom hold old grudges, hidden agendas, and outright contempt for the patriarch. When Thrombey is found dead, the next morning, his nurse Marta (Ana De Armas), a woman (literally) incapable of lying, is recruited by enigmatic detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig as a drawling Southern gent) to investigate if the apparent suicide might be the result of foul play.
Still here? Great! Let’s begin.
Exhibit A: Marta Cabera
Just as it is John Watson through whom we experience the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and Captain Hastings who is at the heart of Poirot’s cases, Ana De Armas’s nurse Marta is our guide through the tangle of mysteries. We spend the majority of the film looking over her shoulder, and when the first major twist pulls the rug out from under our feet, and we flashback to the events of the night, it is through Marta’s eyes that we see our most accurate version of the night’s events.
Ladies and Gentlemen, this month I will be arguing the case for considering Rian Johnson’s love letter to gentleman sleuths and cosy mysteries, being considered a modern classic.
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De Armas gives a masterful performance, making Marta smart, resourceful, and genuinely terrified as she is swept ever further out of her depth. Her chemistry with Plummer rings true, and when we realise her part in his death, we can see her having to struggle with her growing demons for every step to cover her tracks. The character is so engaging, and the performance so convincing, that our sympathies remain firmly in her corner, as the story cartwheels into blackmail and tested loyalties.
uncanny insight. He is a closed book, watching more than he talks, defining himself through many small gestures and moments, carefully orchestrating how he presents himself, cut from the same vein of ore as Albert Finney’s Poirot, or Peter Cushing’s Holmes. Johnson clearly has much love for cosy genre here, as he showed for Chandler-esque noir in his break out movie, “Brick”, once again showing his talent for dusting off a genre, and showing there are fresh new characters, and fresh new stories, that can still be told whilst playing to the old rules and conventions. And that, I feel, is the secret of Blanc’s character. He feels like he could belong in any number of classics, but still finding something new to do with it.
Exhibit B: Benoit Blanc
The majority of the characters in the film are quickly defined, with their actions, dialogue, and interactions giving us a fair depth to their characters in a few efficient scenes. The snippets of political conversations, for example, gives us the broad strokes of their own views, and what they think of others, but it is the varying descriptions of Marta (all of them guess where her parents were immigrants were from, and all of them give different -wronganswers) that suggest the fine detail, without clunky exposition or monologues.
Exhibit C: A Haunted House
The location of much of the action adds a lot to the feel of the movie. It isn’t just architecture. The sets have been dressed with props, furnishings, and background details that don’t just make it feel homely, but like the character’s home. Every time I watch the film, I spot new little details that add a little something.
The exception is Daniel Craig’s gentleman sleuth. There are suggestions of his being a known name, of people recognising his previous cases, but we come to learn very little of him, beyond his being an investigator, and more importantly, his being a genuine gentleman.
Harlan Thrombey may be deceased for the vast majority of the film, but there is a lingering sense of his presence over events, not only through the many signs of his life and habits presented in the background details, but often as an almost tangible presence.
Blanc’s character distils the essence of what makes the best of the classic detectives so engaging, beyond the spotting of small details and the spark of - 44 -
Take for example the large portrait of Harlan that is seen looming over much of the action, and the subtle change of expression by the end of the movie, the mischievous will reading, or the way that the house itself seems to conspire against different characters, through the bad luck of a trellis breaking, or a guard dog appearing with a vital clue, that at first appears likely to expose Marta’s part in the crimes, but is actually the key to exposing the true villain of the piece.
Exhibit E: Craftsmanship
Above all else, the film is just incredibly well made, on almost every level. From costume design that suggests something of the characters, before they even speak, but also add to the timeless aesthetic of the movie, to the cinematography that perfectly compliments the direction of the performances. The lighting feels natural, but perfectly frames the action, whilst allowing deep, rich, shadows layer the setting in atmosphere.
Which leads us nicely to:
The musical score knows when to punch up, and when to lurk in the background, complimenting the action without intruding on your attention. It comes into its own during the (low speed) car chase, finding the right level of tension to compliment the scene, and bring out the laughs, without stepping too far and becoming a farce. Consider the moment after will reading, as Marta flees the house, and is surrounded by the family members. Jamie Lee Curtis is terrifying in some shots, as she tried to block Marta’s escape, raw pain in her eyes. We get the feeling of being swamped by the family, from the dizzying, claustrophobic shots, the confusing maelstrom of glimpses of the ensemble’s reactions, a choreographed blizzard of movements, edited into a smooth, coherent shot, with a babbling sound design that closes over us, and gives us the sensation of Marta’s shock and confusion.
Exhibit D: Ransom Drysdale
There is an inherent problem with a twisting plot, that not every movie overcomes. Too often, even if the film has lain down some good clues to the big reveal, there remain inconsistencies and plot holes that simply make no sense after the reveal. (The first time I watched the Sixth Sense I was wowed by how well it slowly hinted Bruce Willis was dead, before the reveal. The second time, I was wondering how Bruce Willis got assigned a new case if he was dead the whole time). Chris Evans clearly plays his role with the twist in mind, and his masterful performance works on both levels. On a first viewing you see the big, brash, endearingly obnoxious character, stirring up trouble and revelling in the drama. On repeated watches, it still works, with turns of phrase, and undertones to the performance that fit with the lies, and secrets. The performance comes into its own when the secrets are revealed, and Evans shows the façade falling away. - 45 -
And there we have it. In my opinion Knives Out is one of the best mystery movies, and one of the best films full stop, of the last few years. With a strong cast, a characterful, playful presence, and a sense of fun that places it above any recent thriller or crime movie it remains enjoyable after repeated views.
Make Mine A Double.
If you enjoyed the movie, which genuine classic might you want to try? I turned to our classic movie correspondent (and mystery writer), Hannah Howe, for a recommendation of a murder mystery with which to pair Knives Out. She has suggested Sleuth, the 1972 two handed thriller, by Joseph L Mankiewicz, and Anthony Schaffer (from his own play), starring Michael Caine and Lawrence Olivier. When an aging author of murder mysteries invites his wife’s new lover to a remote manor, there is an intriguing offer, that quickly becomes a chess game of wits.
feature a crime writer at the heart of the action and invitations to guests, which drive the labyrinth plots. Furthermore, Rian Johnson, writer and director of Knives Out, stated that Sleuth was an inspiration for his movie.” I would agree. Both films share an eye for style, a sense of mischief, and a habit of playing merry with the conventions of the genre, making the movie an ideal foil to Knives Out.
Hannah, why did you choose Sleuth? “Sleuth would be an ideal pairing for Knives Out because of its setting, a manor house, creating a closed community of suspects. Also both films
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:
https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/t-e-hodden/ - 46 -
Long Before... by Stan Phillips Long before humans learned to make music on primitive instruments. Long before our distant ancestors discovered how to make pictures on the walls of caves lit by the flames of flickering firelight. Long before they found the freedom to dance their thanks for the sunshine of reborn springtime.
It has wrapped us soft in words of wonder and brought us love. It has exorcised us. Released us from our inhibitions And to this day it abides. And we rightly celebrate it's existence. Stan Phillips © 2020
There were created words. Those first faltering sounds that expressed thoughts. That communicated ideas from one mind to another. And there, lost in the mists of time, our poetry, our precious poetry, arguably the oldest of our art forms was born. That long gone moment when we began to play with words. Discovered how they danced, how they sang in dark nights when thunder roared, and winds howled, to still our thoughts, and bring comfort to those long dead forbears of ours.
And down all our days poetry has challenged us. It has amused us. It has delighted us. It has inspired us. And hopefully found us worthy
Stan Phillips is an 80 year old poet, musical podcast maker, part-time wannabe male model, and occasional stand up comedian. “I used to be a psychotherapist/counsellor when I had an honest job. I was born into prewar London, and attended 17 schools (my father believed they couldn’t hit a moving target) and I eventually finished up here in Ireland. Still wondering what I will be when I grow up — but enjoying writing my quirky poetry as I do so.” Discover more about Stan on Mom’s Favorite Reads website: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/stan-phillips - 47 -
Editor In Chief—Hannah Howe The Editor-in-Chief is the key figure in every publication. Hannah Howe works closely with the editorial staff to ensure the success of each publication. She is the author of the Sam Smith Mystery Series, the Ann’s War Mystery Series and Saving Grace. Get to know more about Hannah, her projects and her work on Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/hannah-howe/
Executive Editor | Graphic Designer—Melanie P. Smith The Executive Editor / Graphic Designer is responsible for developing the layout and design of MFR eMagazine. She also works hard to create new covers each month that captures the essence of each publication. In addition to the editorial staff of Mom’s Favorite Reads, Melanie P. Smith also produces Connections eMagazine. She is a multi-genre author of Criminal Suspense, Police Procedural, Paranormal and Romance novels. Get to know more about Melanie, her projects and her work on Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/melanie-p-smith/
Managing Editor—Ronesa Aveela & Denise McCabe Our Managing Editors oversee the physical content of the magazine and coordinates the production schedule. There are two Managing Editors for Mom’s Favorite Reads; Ronesa Aveela and Denise McCabe. Get to know our Managing Editor’s on Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: Ronesa Aveela— A freelance artist and author of mystery romance inspired by legends and tales. https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/ronesa-aveela/
Denise McCabe— A children's book author and blogger. https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/denise-mccabe/
Art Director & Copy Editor / Proofreader — Sylva Fae Sylva Fae—Mum of three, fairy woodland owner, and author of children’s books. 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. https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/sylva-fae/
Feature Editor—T.E, Hodden As Feature Editor T.E. Hodden works diligently to provide content that is interesting, informative and professional. He is a trained engineer and a life-long fan of comic books, Sci-Fi, myths, legends and history. Get to know more about TE Hodden on Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/t-e-hodden/
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Marketing Director—Grant Leishman Our Marketing Director, Grant Leishman, oversees marketing campaigns and social media engagement for our magazine. After an exciting career in accounting and journalism, he now focuses on his true calling—writing. Get to know more about Grant on Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/grant-leishman/
Content Editors Our Content Editors are responsible for acquiring articles, short stories, etc for the eMagazine. They work hard to make our magazine interesting and professional. Get to know our Content Editor’s on Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: Poppy Flynn— https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/poppy-flynn/ Val Tobin — https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/val-tobin/ Stan Phillips — https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/stan-phillips/
Discover more amazing authors… https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/
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In this issue... Lockdown for Teenagers Modern Movie Classics Photography Articles Poems Humour Puzzles Young Writers And an insight into t...
Published on May 30, 2020
In this issue... Lockdown for Teenagers Modern Movie Classics Photography Articles Poems Humour Puzzles Young Writers And an insight into t...