Volume 2, Issue 5
IN THIS ISSUE... â€˘ An exclusive interview with
Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords, a must-read for all writers and readers
â€˘ Plus, articles, short stories, puzzles, humour, health, travel, interviews and a special promotional offer for authors
Promoting Literacy Parenting Tips Short Stories Recipes Activities for the Kids Exploring New Worlds Wellness and Well-being iscovering New Authors D and so much more... Momâ€™s Favorite Reads eMagazine is published monthly by Goylake Publishing and designed by Nicole Lavoie of www.JustSayingDezigns.com
All contents Copyright ÂŠ the individual authors and used with their permission. All rights reserved.
Founders Hannah Howe
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FEATURE Meet Mark Coker, Smashwords Founder Interviewed by Hannah Howe..................................................................................8 YOUNG WRITER Eighth-grader Writes and Publishes Best-Selling Book on Mental Toughness and Grit by Mary Nhin....................................................16
INTERVIEWS Poppy Flynn - Interviewed by Rachael Wright.........................................................32 Richard James - Interviewed by T.E. Hodden...........................................................42
POETRY Schoolgirl Love by May J. Panayi................................................................................39
SHORT STORY Orange Belt Opportunities, Part Two by Stephen Brayton....................................20 Aedammairâ€™s Choice by Val Tobin..............................................................................36
HUMOUR Laughter is the best medicine! Contributions by Anthony Randall & Hannah Howe........................................34
TRAVEL / OFF THE BEATEN TRACK Thompson Pass to Keystone Canyon by Cherime MacFarlane.............................28
ARTICLES Do horses really reflect us? by Anna Rashbrook......................................................18 Women & Weight Lifting – What are We so Afraid of? By Christine Ardigo..................................................22 Paul Glanville Remembered by Kate McGinn.........................................................26 “I versus Me” by Eileen Sheehan................................................................................30 A Hero by Hannah Howe .............................................................................................35 Carpal Tunnel by Cassandra DenHartog PTA, LMT,..............................................38 Classic Movies by Hannah Howe ...............................................................................40 The Swinging Sixties by Mansel Jones .....................................................................46
ACTIVITIES Checkmate in Three - Supplied by Chess.com.........................................................19 May Word Search by Mom’s Favorite Reads.............................................................25 What’s Your Fantasy World? by Roneas Aveela........................................................33 Nixe Coloring Page - Provided by Ronesa Aveela....................................................41 How to Win Wimbledon in Pajamas Coloring Page Provided by Grow Grit Press........................................................48
AUTHOR RESOURCES Meet Our Designer - Nicole Lavoie / Just Saying Dezigns.....................................29 20% OFF First Book Promotion with The Fussy Librarian.....................................31 Connections eMagazine.................................................................................................49
Meet Mark Coker, Smashwords Founder Interviewed by Hannah Howe
Smashwords is a wonderful platform for authors and publishers. What sparked the idea for Smashwords?
but to work with a traditional publisher. Our rejection came at a time when so-called “user-generated” content, in the form of blogs and YouTube videos, were disrupting conventional norms of publishing. These platforms helped ordinary people bypass traditional gatekeeping systems to share their talents directly with their audience.
Smashwords grew out of my personal experience trying to sell a novel my wife and I co-wrote. My wife is a former reporter for Soap Opera Weekly Magazine. About 12 years ago we wrote a novel titled Boob Tube that explored the dark underbelly of Hollywood celebrity. Despite enthusiasm from beta readers and representation from a top New York literary agency, traditional publishers rejected it. Our agent told us that previous novels targeting soap opera fans had performed poorly which made publishers reluctant to take a chance on our book. Our failure to land a publishing deal opened my eyes to what I perceived as a horribly broken publishing ecosystem that was no longer working for authors and readers. I realized that due to the limitations of their business model, publishers were artificially constraining the supply of books. Publishers were gatekeeping books based on perceived commercial merit. Publishers were deciding which writers became published authors, and which books readers could read. At the time we were shopping our book, there was no ebook market. Print books accounted for 99.5% of book sales, and ebooks weren’t a factor yet. The industry was print-centric. Publishers controlled access to retail distribution which meant that if you wanted your print book distributed to physical bookstores, you had no choice
I wondered: If anyone could selfpublish a blog or YouTube video, why not a book? And then I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if there was a publishing service that would let writers publish what they want at no cost and let readers decide what’s worth reading? And then I thought, what if I could provide that publishing service? So I created Smashwords. Our aim was to democratize publishing by creating free publishing tools that would help writers connect with readers. In my view, the power center in the industry needed to shift from gatekeeping publishers to independent authors. Smashwords offered a free digital publishing platform that empowered writers to publish and sell ebooks. Today, Smashwords is the world’s largest distributor of self-published ebooks, representing over 140,000 authors and small publishers around the world that collectively publish over 500,000 ebooks with us. Smashwords pioneered the free book, a stroke of genius in my opinion. What were your thoughts behind the free book and what role do you think the free book will play in the future of publishing? My advocacy for free ebooks has always been grounded in the desire to help authors reach more readers and earn more money. At first glance, the idea of “earning more with free” may sound counter-intuitive. Yet free is a powerful
marketing tool. A price of free eliminates the financial risk a reader must take when trying a new author. If a writer can earn the admiration and trust of a reader with their free book, that reader is much more likely to pay to read other books by the same author. This is especially true with free series starters. I came to respect the power of free during my prior career running a Silicon Valley PR firm in the 1990s. One of our clients was McAfee, the anti-virus software company that came out of nowhere to capture nearly two-thirds of the desktop anti-virus market within two years. They did this with almost zero marketing budget. Prior to them hiring their first marketing manager, they just had a fax machine that spit out orders all day.
also known as “indie authors” – demonstrated they had the talent to please readers, and the smarts to outpublish and outsell the traditional publishers. Indie authors proved that in the ebook realm, the playing field wasn’t just leveled; it was tilted to the indie author’s advantage. Indie authors achieved their success by publishing high-quality books faster and more affordably for readers. Early indie authors on Smashwords such as Amanda Hawking, Abbi Glines, Kristen Ashley, Jamie McGuire and Colleen Hoover broke out an achieved blockbuster success. Women led this revolution, especially romance writers.
Their secret? They gave their software away for free digital download and let customers pay on the honor system. This business model was known as “shareware.”
These and other early indie author successes inspired the next generation of writers to recognize they too could self-publish with pride, professionalism and commercial success.
Their founder John McAfee explained to me at the time that he imagined his company as an apple tree. He wanted people to steal his apples and enjoy them because it cost him nothing for someone to take his apples – he’d grow more. It was a wacky idea, but it worked magically because large corporations didn’t want to use software they hadn’t purchased. So these companies would subscribe to receive future automatic updates of the software.
Smashwords has transformed writer’s lives and brought some of those writers great success. This must be very satisfying for you. What have been the highlights of your career to date? As I look back at the last eleven years, my most favorite moments have been my face to face interactions with Smashwords authors, especially authors outside the US. Authors are amazing people. They’re world changers. They’re passionate, bold, creative and visionary.
McAfee was the first shareware company to go public, and in the process they pioneered concepts now central to digital bookselling including digital distribution, freemium and subscriptions.
Many times I’ve been brought to tears as authors described how thanks to Smashwords, or thanks to a workshop I presented, or my Smart Author podcast, or one of my free books on ebook publishing best practices, the author was able to realize their dreams.
Initially, people were skeptical about independent publishing and independent authors. Do you think this attitude has changed? Yes, everything has changed. The prevailing attitude in the publishing industry a decade ago was that selfpublished authors were low-quality “vanity” authors. Within the writing community, the stigma was so strong that writers often persecuted fellow writers who dared self-publish. The prevailing wisdom back then – which we now recognize as total hogwash in hindsight – was that only traditional publishers deserved the divine power to judge which books were worthy of publication. This attitude has changed because you can’t argue with the commercial success achieved by selfpublished authors. Self-published authors – now
There was one author, a single mom – and this was a definite tear jerker for me – who described how thanks to Smashwords and the support of our retailers she was able to pay for her daughter’s lifesaving heart surgery. Other authors have described the joy of becoming a published author, or the thrill of earning their first sale, or their first review from a stranger. I always tell these authors that their success was their accomplishment, and thanks to their writing talent. We just provide them the tools to express this talent. It always warms my heart to know our free publishing tools, and our work to open up large retailers to self-published ebooks, have allowed so many writers to achieve dreams.
You are also an author. Which do you prefer, running a highly successful company like Smashwords or writing?
from this day forward, authors will face increased competition as an ever-increasing supply of books compete for a relatively fixed number of readers. The good news is that we’ve identified many of the secrets to raising visibility and sales, and these secrets are called best practices. I teach best practices in all my books, workshops, at the Smashwords Blog and of course in the Smart Author Podcast.
Luckily, it hasn’t had to be an either/or decision for me. I enjoy doing both. It’s fair to say that any success Smashwords has had is largely thanks to my background as a writer. Before Smashwords, I was an unpublished author. With the launch of Smashwords, the novel my wife and I wrote (Boob Tube) became the third book published at Smashwords.
It’s important for authors to understand that there isn’t one single magic bullet to success. The most popular shortcuts usually lead to dead ends. There are dozens of best practices that are critical to an author’s long term success, and there are many best practices yet to be discovered. Best practices work as catalysts to make your book more discoverable, more desirable and more enjoyable to readers.
Once Smashwords was up and running, I put my fiction writing on hold and turned my attention to helping Smashwords authors achieve their dreams. This involved writing too! It allowed me to explore non-fiction writing. To support our authors, I wrote three ebooks on ebook publishing best practices – The Smashwords Style Guide, The Smashwords Book Marketing Guide, and The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success. These books been downloaded nearly one million times. Wow! I still can’t believe that!
Some of the most impactful best practices are common sense, yet you’d be surprised how poorly the vast majority of authors implement these best practices. Examples include the importance of professional editing, beta readers, professional cover design, preorders, pricing strategy, and broad distribution. The truth is that the vast majority of self-published authors fail to take full advantage of best practices. This means that those who do make the effort to implement best practices are the authors that rise above the crowd, reach more readers, and build lasting careers.
And then when I launched the Smart Author podcast, I quickly realized that this too also required writing. The episodes I scripted in advance were the best episodes and the most fun to produce. Who knew that podcasting could also exercise my writing muscles? The podcast has exceeded over 200,000 downloads. It still gets thousands of downloads per week, and that’s without a new episode in almost a year. It’s exciting for me to imagine that the podcast might help some of these listeners achieve their dreams too.
It’s one thing to have a dream, another to make it a reality. What qualities are required to turn a dream into reality? Also, can you offer any advice to people who are looking to develop a business?
I do dream of getting back to fiction. I’ve got over a dozen story ideas for sci-fi novels I want to write. What can be done, or what can authors do, to raise the profile of their books in a crowded marketplace? This is a huge challenge for all authors. With the advent of ebooks and online retailing, books can remain in print forever. This means that every day
My advice to anyone with a dream is to always sprint in the direction of your dreams. To do otherwise is soul crushing and a waste of one’s life. - 10 -
Whether you dream of self-publishing a book or starting a business, the challenges inherent in both are remarkably similar. If you self-publish, you’re starting a publishing business that you own and operate.
There are many reasons not to start a business, and many reasons not to write a book. But only those who pursue their dreams will achieve their greatest potential. To the smart and courageous entrepreneur, fear of failure is not a detriment. Instead, failure is a problem to be solved, and a risk to be mitigated. As I mention on the podcast, failure can light the way to what works, what doesn’t, and what can work better. The secret here is to make many small survivable failures, and then iterate your strategy as you learn what the market wants.
Ideas are a dime a dozen. What really matters is execution. Most people dream of writing a book, but few make the effort to make that dream a reality. Writing a book is difficult! The key is to just do it, but also to be sensible in your approach. For example, don’t quit your day job to write a book if you need that day job to feed your family and pay the rent or mortgage.
My advice to anyone who dreams of starting a business is to start with education. When I was in high school, I read business magazines like Forbes and Fortune for fun. Yes I was a strange bird. I was fascinated by articles about business strategy and how different companies overcame adversity to achieve success.
You have to believe in yourself and your vision, even when others don’t. Creative people will often abandon their dreams when they don’t receive encouragement or endorsement from well-meaning friends and family. As I discuss in Episode 8 of the Smart Author podcast, the episode titled The Art of Delusion, I talk about how the greatest dreamcrushers are often those who love us the most. They don’t understand our vision because they can’t see the vision inside our heads. It’s like how do you explain a 100,000-word story in a single sentence your family will grok? You can’t. Often, to do something really great in business or writing means that you’re doing something different. You’re bringing a new vision or perspective to the table that others don’t see yet. The challenge here – whether you dream of writing a book or starting a business, is that it’s always easier to find reasons not to try something new. The majority of new books will fail to meet author expectations for sales. The majority of new startups will fail, even when the idea is great. In both cases, the probability of failure is high. None of us like failure, yet failure is a gift if we learn to harness its power. To overcome the high probability of failure, you have to be brutally honest with yourself. You have to be open to learning new things and learning from mistakes. You have to be aware of your surroundings, and study the competing cross currents of different trends and perspectives. You need to learn when to listen and when to ignore (both are equally important!). You also need a healthy dose of luck.
In high school one summer I took an introduction to marketing class at my local junior college. It inspired me to apply for business school after I got into UC Berkeley. In business school I learned economics, finance, statistics and accounting. All these same classes are available at your local community college. I’ve forgotten far more than I remember, but the key principles that matter most will stick with you. My advice to aspiring authors is also to start with education, but here you want to focus primarily on the craft of writing. Just because someone’s already a great writer doesn’t mean they’ll be a great author. There are rules to the craft. Craft helps you unleash your full potential as a writer. Also write for the right reasons. If your goal is to make a lot of money, get a job at McDonalds instead. It pays better. But if you write for the love of writing, you’ll find that every sentence nourishes your soul. This will give you the strength to power on long after the quick-buck writers have given up. This will give you the strength to persevere until your day in the sun arrives. Despite your personal success you remain grounded and approachable. What are the keys to balancing a happy life with a high-profile career? Awesome question, but also difficult to answer. I can share my approach but understand what works for me may not work for everyone. I’ll take these powerpacked concepts one at a time.
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On remaining grounded and approachable – It’s kind of you to imply this, because it’s certainly a conscious goal of mine and it’s how I’ve always tried to conduct myself throughout my career. I don’t always succeed. As a natural introvert, there are times when I feel ungrounded and unapproachable. Sometimes we introverts need time alone to recharge our batteries!
Challenge authority and fight for what’s right. Just because something’s always been done this way or that, doesn’t mean it’s right.
My view of the world is that every person is special, and every person has unique talents they can contribute to the world. I try not to prejudge. I give everyone I meet the benefit of the doubt, and assume they’re sincere, intelligent, and coming from a good place. I’ve always believed it’s better to trust and have lost than to have never trusted. Great relationships are built on trust. If someone makes the effort to contact me, I always try to reply and point them in the right direction. I try to be the humble servant. My job is all about helping people. On a Happy life – Everyone wants happiness, but none of us can achieve it all the time. Joy and heartbreak are two sides of the same coin. Happiness is something you work toward, and once you have it you work to bolster and protect it. I think the key to happiness is to find it within yourself first. In my 53 years of life experience, I find that those who allow their happiness to be dependent upon the continuous validation or approval of others will always struggle to achieve lasting happiness (listen up my fellow authors!). You are the cake and the people and partners around you should be the icing on your cake. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people. Surround yourself with people who will tell you the truth, even when it’s difficult to hear. Avoid sycophants! See the good in people, and treat everyone with respect. Everyone you meet is struggling through life just like the rest of us. You don’t need to see eye to eye on everything, or share the same politics or religion. Find areas of common cause and help those around you achieve their dreams too. Own your mistakes, forgive your mistakes, and embrace your potential for good. You must know and believe that you are a valuable, worthwhile contribution to humanity. You belong here. You’re not perfect – none of us are – but our imperfections don’t make us bad people. Often, our imperfections are sources of creativity, strength, understanding, and compassion.
Avoid negative people who only see the worst in people. These people are toxic and broken. Also avoid putting negativity out into the world because it’ll come back at you like a destructive boomerang. If you put love and positivity out into the world, that’ll come back as a boomerang too, but as a happinessreinforcing boomerang. Choose your boomerang! On a High Profile Career – At various times in my long career I’ve been both visible and invisible. Each has its pros and cons. One of my first “real” jobs out of college was working at a large Silicon Valley PR firm where my job was to make our clients famous. We did this by getting our clients high-profile media coverage on television and in major newspapers and magazines. I remember one client CEO telling me that he didn’t want any press coverage about himself – he wanted it all about his company and products. Although his modesty was admirable, it wasn’t the right attitude for a CEO. My counsel to him was that as the CEO of this company, he had a duty to his company and its shareholders to elevate his personal stature in the industry because with greater stature he could achieve more for his company. From PR I transitioned into doing my own startups where I had to assume this CEO role. The natural introvert in me wanted to lay low and just do my work. But my inner publicist and my inner entrepreneur doesn’t care what the introvert wants. It’s my duty to put myself out there, to state my opinions and vision, and to subject myself to both the criticism and praise that might come. I have the scars of thousands of arrows on my back. Our motto at Mom’s Favorite Reads is ‘Dream Big and Make It Happen’. Is there a motto or strategy you apply when faced with a problem or a doubt? One of my personal mottos is, “If you want to hit the moon, aim for the stars. If you aim for the moon you’ll probably miss.” What I mean here is that there are always natural forces that act like gravity to alter the trajectory of your arrow. You have to aim high. Yet this motto is insufficient for answering the question of facing problems or doubts. I have different strategies for problems and doubts.
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For problems, I try to study the problem from all angles to discover how to untangle it. What are the internal and external factors – the facts – that have created this problem or challenge? What degrees of influence do I have, or can I have, over these factors? This requires an open mind and the willingness to modify or abandon long-held beliefs. But you also need to know when to hold your ground and be stubborn. Flexibility and stubborness are two sides of the same coin as well. The challenge is to calibrate the two. If you’re always flexible, you’ll end up bending to someone else’s whims and pursuing a dream that is not your own. If you’re always stubborn, you can’t adapt to the changing world. You also need to know when the problem can’t be fixed, and when to quit. I fail at quitting all the time, but this is probably a common characteristic of most entrepreneurs.
Although we’ve been innovating non-stop for 11 years now, I still feel like we’ve only just begun. There’s so much more we want to do for our authors that we haven’t yet accomplished, and that’s frustrating to me. Every cool innovation we introduce gives us a dozen more ideas for other things we can do. When I’ve spoken with executives at large corporations, they share the same frustration with their businesses. Any business can only do so many things at one time. Every business is resourceconstrained, even if they have billions of dollars in the bank. In terms of what comes next, our guiding light will always shine in the direction of empowering writers to control their own destinies as truly independent authors.
For doubts, it’s a matter of reaching deep inside oneself to understand what is true and what’s not. Sometimes our doubts are informative and help light the way to a better path, and other times our doubts can divert us from our proper path. I suppose the best advice I can give for overcoming doubts is to have confidence in what makes you good, but also understand your limitations. Never stop learning and growing. Be open to facts that light the way for you to become better at everything you do. If a problem feels too overwhelming to be solved, break the problem down into smaller elements and whittle away at it piece by piece. A couple of years ago you stated: “We (Smashwords) want to create the world's single best ebook publishing and distribution platform for our indie authors and publishers. Have you achieved that aim? If not, what is the next step in attaining your goal? I’m incredibly proud of what the Smashwords team has created, and I’m even more proud of what our authors have created with our tools. I honestly believe that authors who work with us will be better off than those who don’t. Yet I’m still not satisfied with what we’ve achieved. The goal I set, which you referenced in your question, is more a statement of intention rather than a goal that is simply achieved as an end point. It’s a neverending goal. The day we start resting on our laurels is the the day we starting going out of business. My view is that whether you’re an author or an entrepreneur, you should always remain in startup
mode. Always strive to make everything you do better and better.
You once said that, “The value of books to humanity, in my opinion, cannot be measured by dollars alone. That is a statement I strongly agree with. Would you care to expand on that statement please? Traditional publishers judge books based on perceived commercial merit. They want to publish books that will sell. That’s how they stay in business. This means there’s a strong inclination within traditional publishing to measure a book’s worth based on sales. This leads publishers to take fewer risks on unknown authors. It leads them to publish more celebrity drivel. It causes them to reject books that serve smaller audiences. And it causes them to trade short term gains for long term losses. My view is that if your book has the potential to change one person’s life, your book is just as important as some New York Times bestseller. Even if that one person is your mom, son, daughter or future grandchild. Many books and authors aren’t fully appreciated for their genius until long after the author is dead. Books are meant to be immortal. Books that are ahead of their time won’t sell well, but they’re no less valuable to humanity. If anything, these books are gifts to the future of humanity. One of the most exciting things about the rise of indie authorship is that thanks to ebooks, distribution is now democratized. This means every author now has the ability to get their book on the virtual shelf
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of retailers, and it means that readers now have the power to discover and read an amazing diversity of books. Ebooks make it possible for indie authors to make their books discoverable to a global audience, and because virtual shelf space is unlimited, these books can be forever discoverable and purchasable.
A few things. Both of my grandfathers served in the Pacific theater of World War II. One grandfather was a gunnery officer on the USS Arizona, and his battle station was in the tower where he directed the turrets. He had shore leave the day of the Pearl Harbor attack. If he’d been on the ship that day, he wouldn’t have survived and my father never would have been born. My other grandfather spoke fluent Japanese, so he was assigned to Naval intelligence where he interrogated Japanese prisoners from his base in Honolulu. I’ll never forget how he told me how his job was to treat them kindly, feed them well and keep them alive, because most captured Japanese felt incredible shame at the capture and wanted to commit suicide.
You also said, “If you want to understand the future of publishing, keep an eye on indie authors! What inspired you to make that statement? Authors are the center of publishing universe, because authors are the magicians that create books. Ten years ago, the ebook market entered an exponential growth phase that lasted about five years. Ten years ago, the rules of ebook publishing, distribution and marketing hadn’t been written. Invariably, it was self-published authors that trailblazed this brave new world. Indie authors were the first to offer low-cost ebooks at a time when traditional publishers were trying to charge $15 or more for an ebook. Indie authors were the first to embrace the use of free as a powerful marketing tool. Indie authors invented many of the best practices for book marketing that now guide traditional publishers as well. In my view, all authors are now indie authors. This is because every writer now has options. You can start writing your first book today, and have 100% confidence that one way or another, your book will be published. It’s your choice. You can pursue a traditional publishing deal or you can self-publish. Ten years ago, most authors aspired to land a traditional publishing deal. Today, there’s a growing number of authors who aspire to self-publish and have no interest working with traditional publishers. I’m a fan of both self-publishing and traditional publishing. Both options create new opportunities for authors. The changing attitudes toward self-publishing are guided by opportunity. Indie authors are asking what a publisher can do for them that they can’t already do faster and more effectively for themselves. If an author is unsatisfied by what a publisher can do for them, they can self-publish! I understand that you have an interest in WWII and collect books from that period. What attracted you to that era?
On the other side of my family, recently I learned I had distant relatives I’ll never meet who perished in the Nazi gas chambers. What has always fascinated me most about the story of WWII is how humans could commit such atrocities. I’m sure before the start of the war, every German and every Japanese considered themselves good, patriotic citizens of their country, and decent people. So how is it that the people in these countries found themselves so manipulated, misguided and transformed to believe in their causes? How could they become such bad people? My interest in WWII was amplified by my interest in public relations, and how what we know and think influences our reality. Propaganda played a big role in the leadup and continuation of WWII. Propaganda is simply PR for political purposes. PR and propaganda can be used for good or evil. Why such evil? We humans are fragile, and easily manipulated and misguided. It’s important we take the time to study how this happened in the past because humans today are not much different than humans before WWII. You can’t undo million of years of evolution in one generation. I don’t view WWII through a lens of patriotic superiority. Sure, it’s a source of American pride that we helped liberate innocents in WWII. Yet I’m afraid we also forget our country has a long history of committing atrocities as well, from the genocide of native American Indians, to slavery, to our misguided war in Iraq which contributed to the deaths of nearly 500,000 souls, to our hypocritical present-day support for repressive regimes that don’t support the values we claim to support.
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The main lesson I draw from WWII is that humans have enormous capacity for cruelty and compassion. The question is, how do we harness what’s good without summoning the bad?
At Mom’s Favorite Reads we ask our interviewees if they would like to mention a charity or worthy cause. Would you like us to highlight a charitable organisation?
How do we stop the atrocities that continue to happen at the tip our country’s spear?
There are so many to name, but one of my favorites is Heifer International which empowers women and helps fights poverty and starvation. It enables people in developing countries to become more self-sufficient. For just a few dollars or Pounds or Euros, you can help a family buy a family a goat other livestock and ancillary training to improve their lives. Most years for Christmas I’ll ask family members who want to buy me a present to donate to Heifer International instead. I don’t need more stuff.
How do you see the future of Smashwords and publishing in general? The future is uncertain on both counts. Some people say that the only certainties in life are death and taxes. Few things last forever. At Smashwords, we’re fighting to put authors at the center of the publishing universe. We’re fighting to help authors preserve their independence at a time where there are dark forces seeking to steal this independence. We’re fighting to resist censorship in all its forms, because free expression is powerful, valuable and essential to the future of mankind. Not all authors and publishing industry participants share my views and concerns, and not all want to join us in this battle. But it’s a battle we cannot fight alone. It’s a battle we are losing. As far as the future of publishing, my biggest concern is that authors are losing their independence. In episode nine of the Smart Author podcast, the episode titled, The Indie Author Manifesto, I went back in history and traced the origins of the indie author movement to the introduction of Gutenberg’s printing press, and I shared how throughout history there have always been political, religious and commercial forces that seek to control what writers can write.
And finally, what are your favourite Reads? I’m a big fan of sci-fi, especially post-apocalyptic dystopian fiction that has a happy ending. I’m drawn to these stories because ultimately they’re about owning the mistakes of our past and taking direct action to build a kinder, gentler more compassionate world. These are the stories I want to write when I return to fiction. My two all-time favorite authors are both British – Douglas Adams and John Christopher. Both grew up in the post-apocalyptic world that was the aftermath of World War II.
Ten years ago, thanks to the rise of ebooks and democratized distribution, authors finally gained control over their destinies. But in recent years, authors have been surrendering their independence piece by piece. If you’re getting all your sales from a single retailer, and you can’t leave, you’re no longer an independent author. You’re a dependent author. It’s heartbreaking to witness.
You can discover more about Mark on: Twitter: http://twitter.com/markcoker Blog: http://blog.smashwords.com Publish with us: https://smashwords.com/about/ how_to_publish_on_smashwords Smart Author Podcast: https://smashwords.com/podcast
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 audio books, and are being translated into ten languages. You can discover more about Hannah on the Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/hannah-howe/ - 15 -
Eighth-grader Writes and Publishes Best-Selling Book on Mental Toughness and Grit by Mary Nhin
The first childrenâ€™s book in the Grow Grit series focuses on 5 tips to help you overcome obstacles and achieve goals. Heâ€™s 14 and heâ€™s already accomplished what most of us only dream of. Middle-schooler, Kobe Nhin has written and self-published a book titled, How to Win Wimbledon in Pajamas on Amazon. His book was funded through Kickstarter in 6 days. On May 17th, Nhin launched his book on Amazon and it quickly became a #1 new release and best seller. In the first book of the Grow Grit series, Nhin presents 5 mental tips that help you conquer performance anxiety, negative self talk, and frustration. The self-help guide for kids provides the skills necessary to overcome adversity and achieve success. The book aims to help children defeat negative self-talk, anxiety, frustration, and anger. The books in the Grow Grit series help teach kids the techniques used by business leaders and top athletes of the world.
Kobe Nhin, 14 years old
The story from How to Win Wimbledon in Pajamas took Kobe a few months to write, despite maintaining his National Junior Honor Society status and juggling a competitive tennis schedule that includes two tournaments a month. His mother helped him refine his ideas and is listed as a co-author. Nhin points to his own struggles as a particular source of inspiration for his book. He has played competitive tennis since he was 10 years old. In the beginning, he won a lot but then as he reached new levels it became more and more difficult to close out matches. Nhin went through a phase where he was losing the really tight matches.
and spent time to work with coaches to overcome his plateau. The investment paid off. He started winning again, but more importantly the love of the sport came back to him. He enjoyed playing after learning how to be calm and carefree. Nhin was motivated to help others overcome their own self-limiting beliefs during a high school course he took during eighth grade. The course required Nhin to write a research paper. He chose the subject of finding the zone and increasing mental toughness so that he could further his understanding of key concepts. From his research and from what he had learned firsthand on the court, he wrote How to Win Wimbledon in Pajamas.
His goals for this book series include: Encourage a growth mindset: We believe it is important for kids to develop intrinsic motivation and autonomy through the development of long-term goals. Setting our sights on performance goals, rather than outcome
He began researching mental toughness through books, took a course to help him develop necessary skills, - 16 -
goals provide a basis for long-term satisfaction. We hope these books give children a love for battling new challenges and that they grow up eager to explore what this big, beautiful world has to offer. Cultivate kids' self-confidence: We believe it is important for kids to learn how to practice positive self-talk and positive body language. The more they understand that even mistakes and failures teach us, the more they can focus on celebrating their journey, mistakes and all. Our books will teach kids to be courageous enough to take risks and trust that the dots will someday connect. We want to teach kids how it feels to be scared and brave all at once, and how to move past fear and learn to jump.
Kobe Nhin, Eighth-grader from Edmond, OK
Increase kids’ focus and attention: We all get sidetracked and that's why it's important to have rituals to reset oneself. Our hope is that these stories will help kids get back on track and focus on the task at hand. Life itself is overwhelming. We want to help kids see that everyone faces hurdles and that we can stay focused with habits and mantras.
The ambitious teen has a lot more stories to tell. He is receiving editing for books two and three of the Grow Grit series titled, How to Win the World Cup in Pajamas and How to Win Olympic Gold in Pajamas.
Develop perseverance and grit: Setbacks and failures teach us how to be graceful in the face of adversity. The books aim to encourage diligence and a hard work ethic.
Currently, he is in talks with a literary agency for distribution rights in Korea, Germany, Russia, China, Vietnam, and other countries.
“We believe this book fills a huge gap in children’s literature to help prepare children mentally when pressure and anxiety build up,” says Mary Nhin, coauthor and Kobe’s mother.
Bonus: - Includes a Mental Growth Plan where kids can rate current skills and state goals - Makes a perfect gift for any kid who likes sports - Free resources to accompany this book can be found at kobenhin.com
It cost Kobe about $6000 to publish his first book, which he paid with his own money.
8.5”x8.5”, 32 pages Perfect for ages 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and up.
“I’ve never been to Wimbledon before but I go there in my head sometimes when I’m visualizing my strokes and strategies. I’d like to go there one day,” says Kobe Nhin.
The book is an easy to read, instruction guide with simple, actionable tips to help develop grit and achieve success.
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Do horses really reflect us? by Anna Rashbrook
All of my writing has horses in there somewhere and that’s not just because of a lifelong obsession with them! I have worked for a long time in horse based therapy and they do indeed reflect how we are feeling. In Challenger, Joanna, Diane and Ray find the answers to a lot of their problems and begin healing the rifts between them on an equine-assisted therapy weekend. But is this really true? Can this happen?
talk from the girl's distress and moved on. This was a course, not therapy, but many times when I've been in training, it's turned into a counselling session for more than one student.
Horses pick up on our body language, actions and voices, reflecting things we are not aware of, the most common expression being mirroring our souls. Maybe it’s a product of domestication or selfpreservation. If the humans are happy, the horses are happy. They work for us and are our partners. Let me give you an example. We were a group of twenty or so people in an introductory workshop and had just finished an exercise working together to move some horses over an obstacle, working as a team, no touching or making any noises to the horses. We were standing together to make an evaluation with the trainer and the horses came over to join in and were being stroked. After all, they had taken part too. The trainer suddenly turned to one of the girls and said, 'I see that you have a horse standing beside you. He seems to be nudging you and shoving you to move you out of the way.' He was, with his nose firmly pushing her aside. The girl looked a bit sad. 'Yes, this is how people treat me in life, I've had a drug problem and people use me and ignore me.' We all stood for a moment, gobsmacked. The trainer then skillfully redirected the
Before I began my formal training in this area I had to justify it, due to costs and time although I did feel that God wanted me to work for him in in this way. So, I sat and reasoned. Right, he created horses, and they're his gift to us; they have a unique place in our society through domestication. They need to understand us to survive. Then I read an article which I can’t credit because it was anonymous, but it answered my dilemma. This woman is a therapist and says that even most spiritually resistant people open their hearts and minds when they experience a moment of wonder with horses. They suddenly understand something about themselves or gain an insight into their behaviour. She believes that horses are equipped to carry God's message through the unconditional forgiveness and tenderness they can give to an aching soul. God has made another way to express his love and character to his wounded ones. That was it! What I had been trying to pinpoint. As I read further, she quoted one client saying, 'each day I go back and work with the horses, and despite how I may have been mean or rough to them, they are there again, all forgiven and forgotten, without judgement.’ Horses are in the here and now and react to us accordingly. This was why I wanted to work with in this therapy, to show people God's unconditional love through the relationship with a horse.
Anna Rashbrook was born in Winchester (UK). Married for 36 years, she has two adult children who wouldn’t move to Austria when she moved there in 2007. She teaches English and is concentrating on her writing novels. You can discover more about Anna on the Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/anna-rashbrook/ - 18 -
Checkmate in Three Supplied by Chess.com
Time to test your checkmate skills! This problem focuses on forcing moves, checks and captures.
Supplied by https://chess.com/ the #1 chess website. Used with permission. For more chess puzzles please visit https://chess.com/ You can find the answers for this activity on the Momâ€™s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/magazines/activities/ - 19 -
Orange Belt Opportunities, Part Two by Stephen Brayton
Trying to assist an abused woman in a grocery store, Mallory Petersen encounters a baseball pitcher high on steroids and alcohol. After a chase through the store, Mallory is trapped in the storage room.
on a drain grate. Nylon sweat pants ripped and skin peeled. I winced and warm blood trickled down my leg.
I hurt. The short run around the fruit bins, down one aisle, and into the back room hadn't exhausted me. However, I empathized with any batter at the plate who'd suffered from one of Carl Yazel's wild pitches. He'd thrown everything from oranges to tuna cans at me and each impact promised a bruise and days of soreness. Cornered in the storage room, I faced the possibility of worse injuries. I didn't want to imagine my condition if Yazel was able to get his hands on me. He sneered with madness and his pectorals twitched in readiness for the inevitable attack. I might block and counter with punches and kicks, but I feared their ineffectiveness. Hopped up on drugs, Yazel's pain threshold hovered in the stratosphere. He didn't need to be further enraged. I considered my options-few in number what with only pet supplies and a metal push dolly within reach. In my self defense courses I learned (and later taught) that sometimes you use what is available to the best of your ability. In the seconds it took him to advance the ten steps, I hefted a sack of kitty litter and tossed it at him. Instead of batting it away, his instincts kicked in and he caught it. I grabbed the handlebar of the dolly, aimed, and speared the sharp edge of the flat steel support into his shins. More strangled profanity spewed from his lips before he toppled to the floor on top of the litter. I rushed to escape but he stuck out an arm and caught my ankle. I fell to my knees and scraped my knee
No time to assess or tend the latest injury. I scrambled up and ran to the exit door. When I pushed on the bar latch, the door opened...only three inches. I shoved again, but something blocked the door from the outside. If a careless employee had stacked supplies in front of the door, and a manager discovered the safety hazard... Yazel grunted and regained his feet. With no time to wrestle with the door, I raced back into the grocery store. Those shoppers who hadn't been cleared by the first go round scattered in our wake. I cut left up the third aisle-soda, bottled sports drinks, and juices. Would he follow? I needed to keep his attention until help arrived. I waited until he came into view then started for the cross aisle. A glance over my shoulder saw him pluck a six pack of boxed grape juice from a shelf. I tried to time my evasion but one corner of the box speared my hip. I reached the aisle and stepped out of sight. Muscles tightened and my body contorted in an effort to gain relief. My head and shoulder throbbed and the searing pain in my knee threatened to minimize flexibility. I needed to end this entire ordeal. I'd started out trying to help another woman but the situation had turned more serious than I'd intended. No more. This guy had to go down. I faced a metal rack of two liters of Dr Pepper, my favorite soda. A yellow tag listed them on sale for a buck each. I'd have to put a couple in my basket when this nonsense ended. Meanwhile, one of these bottles might be useful. I pulled one from its slot and turned it sideways. Then I stepped back into view of Yazel. He was twenty feet away and coming fast. I reared back and like I'd seen
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my dad do numerous evenings, bowled a perfect strike. Yazel tripped and fell to his knees.
My efforts to keep Mrs. Yazel safe and the subsequent pain I endured paid off in the end.
I stepped forward and he came up swinging. I blocked, but the force of the punch and the brawniness behind it knocked me into the juice shelves. Boxes and bottles cascaded from the shelves and two mega sized plastic containers bounced off my shoulders. I dropped to one knee, shook off the pain and aimed a weakened palm heel into his right patella. The half-hearted strike still shocked his system and he staggered. I grabbed a juice packet, stood, and feeling ridiculous as if I'd become involved in a frat house food fight, stood, and slammed it into his forehead. The container split and cherry colored liquid splatted over his face and arms. Stunned, he looked at himself. Drugs and rage had muddled his mind, but the sudden wet over his body stopped him for the moment.
After the initial shock wore off and statements to the police were completed, she was able to discuss her situation with me in more detail.
“I'm bleeding!” “Not yet,” I said and popped a stronger palm heel into his nose. He backed up a step and I drove a front kick into his stomach. When he doubled over, I came down hard on the vulnerable back of his neck with an elbow. The pitcher was out. Because I kept my eyes on his prone form, I didn't see the two liter I'd thrown. When my foot landed on top of it, the bottle rolled backward. My various injuries flared up and I lurched forward. The heel of my shoe heel speared the soft cartilage and bones on the back of Yazel's right hand. I heard sharp pops and a bone crack.
“Carl changed last year when he faced his forced retirement,” she explained. “His whole personality turned darker.” The abuse, she continued, began when he started a regular diet of steroids. Too scared to leave, she suffered. “How were you able to defend yourself?” “I own a martial arts club on the south side,” I said. “One of the programs I offer is a women's only self defense seminar. Would you and your friends be interested in scheduling one?” After I explained the class, she agreed to make some calls to help organize it. Later, I'd learn that after surgery on his hand and a stint in jail, Yazel realized what a mess his life had become. He entered rehab and voluntarily moved out of his house until he could control his rage and start to redeem himself for the months of abuse he'd inflicted. A tertiary bonus was more personal. The store manager paid for my groceries, including the Dr Pepper.
His pitching hand. I hoped he wouldn't sue me for ruining any career he had left. Minutes later, the police swept Yazel from the store and I helped mop up the mess we'd created.
As a child, Stephen enjoyed reading books like The Hardy Boys and Encyclopedia Brown mysteries. He also read horror and soon started collecting books. Somewhere along the way he decided to write mysteries and Mallory Petersen was born, a martial artist who solves mysteries in Des Moines.
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Women & Weight Lifting – What are We so Afraid of? By Christine Ardigo
Many years ago, I belonged to an all woman’s gym. I’d strut in with my fluorescent orange leotard, tie dye bike shorts and perfect white Reeboks and head straight to the aerobics room. My friend and I parked ourselves in the front of the class to get a good view of the teacher. Freestyle music blasted from her Boombox and after carefully following her choreographed dance steps, our arms flailing overhead, we left thinking we transformed our bodies. One day, after many years, I strolled towards the aerobics room ready for my step class and spied the weight machines in the adjoining room. They laid there untouched, alone and abandoned. Why wasn’t anyone using them? I looked around, no one was watching, and crept over to a funky machine with a bar dangling from the top. Dust consumed the seating bench and also the black rectangular weights that encompassed this massive machine. A small card demonstrated the procedure for performing this exercise.
myself in the mirror. After reading the little card with instructions (picture included) I began using the machine. I pulled the bar up and down, watched myself in the mirror and could almost feel myself getting stronger with each pull. Not because I was lifting some enormous weight (actually I probably didn’t have any weight on it at all. I was clueless, remember?). But because, as I watched myself engage my muscles, pushed myself to yank down the bar, slowly released it, observed my muscles contracting in the mirror, I suddenly felt powerful, like I could take anything on. I never made it into the aerobics room that day. In fact, I hung out in the weight room more and more and watched as all the other woman tossed their arms around in the aerobics room to some Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam song. Before long I switched to a Co-ed gym, subscribed to Muscle & Fitness magazine, and Cory Everson became my idol.
Suddenly my friend tapped me on the shoulder, startling me. The conversation went something like this: Friend: “What are you doing?” Me: “Checking out these machines.” Unsupportive Friend” “Um, why?” Me: “No one’s using them.” Sarcastic Friend: “Obviously! They’re for men.” (I’ll remind you this was an all women’s gym.) “ Come on, we’ll be late for class.” My friend sauntered off, exiting with one last chuckle and shook her head. I glanced back at the machine and something pulled me toward it. I ran my finger over the layer of dust, sat down and examined
Flash forward fifteen years. One day, while working at the hospital and training a new intern, the twentythree year old whipped out an Oxygen Magazine. The women in the magazine weren’t the steroid induced Ms. Olympia’s I was used to. They were career woman, mothers of four, college students, grandmothers, and single moms, all ranging from age twenty to seventy, hooked on weight lifting and clean eating. I bought a copy of the magazine that day, read everything from the editor’s letter, to the exercise routines, recipes, success stories and articles written by women that woke up one day and decided to transform their bodies. The gym took on a whole new meaning for me. Not sure how it happened, but I went into this kind of Zone. Focused, determined, I went to the gym five days a week, ate perfectly (not even desserts) and followed the specific weight lifting
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routines provided in the magazine, separating my days into body parts. Mondays – upper body! I would shout. I performed slow, rhythmic movements, concentrating on what I was doing.
3| I don’t know what I’m doing (That’s why you
ask for the Free personal trainer session they give you when you join a gym. Try Googling exercise routines on Youtube)
4| Everyone will look at me (Listen, the people
that are serious about working out are there to WORKOUT, not look at you. If we glance your way, you probably got in our line of vision.)
5| I need to burn calories so I have to sit on the
treadmill for seven hours a day (Guess what? You burn a ton of calories while lifting weights too, possibly more than your cardio routine. Just because a cute digital screen doesn’t pop up with your “calories burned number” doesn’t mean you didn’t burn any calories. And check this out, while your muscles are trying to repair themselves and rebuild, you are still burning more calories. Try to get that out of your elliptical machine.)
The greatest advice I ever read was from Monica Brant. “You have to lift heavier and harder than you ever imagined.” And that I did. No cute little pink dumbbells. No five pounds weights. No sitting there for six months with the same weight, lightly pushing it over and over again. My goal was to grab a heavier weight every few weeks and even if I could only do four or five repetitions, that was okay. Next week I’d make it to six, then seven. After eight straight months of weight lifting, never missing a day, and eight straight months of eating perfect, I dropped my body fat down by 8%. One percent a month. I only lost two pounds though. Only two pounds? What a waste. Uh, No. Because you see, although I lost 8% of my total body fat, I gained a tremendous amount of muscle. And no I didn’t look like a steroid juice head. I went from skinny-fat to a woman with little triceps muscles popping out. Cut marks running down my thighs. Rounded shoulders. And a six-pack. The blobs of fat I lost, were replaced by tight muscle. (Remember, if it jiggles, it’s fat).
6| The only way to lose weight is by doing cardio
(Surprise! During those 8 months of weight lifting, I never once did any cardio. Unless you consider huffing & panting while lifting the heavy weights. If you do it right, if you don’t rest for five minutes in between each lame set, if you lift heavy, push yourself, keep moving, don’t stop, jump from machine to machine, you can get a cardio workout AND build muscle.
There are many women that still don’t lift weights. Why? These are some of the excuses I get:
1| I don’t want to get huge (I’d like to see one
7| It’s too hard (Really? Lifting a dumbbell up and
woman actually put in the time that’s needed to build a substantial amount of muscle.)
2| It will make me look bulky (Well, if you keep
down while sitting on a bench is too hard? What kind of exercise do you want?)
stuffing your face with cheeseburgers and doughnuts, then yes the lovely muscles will sit on top of your globules of fat.)
8| I want to lose weight first before I gain any muscle
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(Why? To waste more time?)
9| It’s boring (Want to know why guys stare at
themselves in the mirror at the gym? Because one day, after months of pushing yourself, dealing with muscle soreness, giving up junk food and happy hours with your friends, you will look into the mirror while doing a shoulder press and blow your own mind! Is that a bicep? Where did that cut line down my chest come from? Do I see the start of a six-pack? That is never boring. Seeing how strong you are, how strong you’ve become, how much weight you are capable of lifting, and then to reap the rewards of not only burning calories and losing weight, but to get the added bonus of building muscle so that when you do lose all that fat, your body is tight, toned and devoid of any jiggling flesh. You tell me how boring it all was. Being able to completely transform your body, by yourself, is astounding.)
No amount of exercise will undo a bad diet. You have to give 100% to both. So what is your excuse for not joining a gym, for not lifting weights? Let me know your fears. For those of you that do lift weights, are you pushing yourself enough, have you transformed your body yet? Please share your stories with me! I love hearing from you!
Christine Ardigo is a Registered Dietitian/Personal Trainer who writes contemporary romance novels in her spare time. When weight lifting, rock climbing, white-water rafting, and jumping out of airplanes wasn’t enough, she decided to fulfill a dream she had as a child: to write a book. She’s lived in New York her entire life and can’t imagine living anywhere else. She has the beaches, the bay and the city, all a half hour away. She’s built memories here with her husband, two silly daughters and a bunch of crazy friends, all whom she loves very much. You can discover more about Christine on the Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/christine-ardigo/
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May Word Search by Mom’s Favorite Reads
MFR - May 2019
How many of the words from this month’s magazine can you find below? B R M U I Q A I Y N F Z X N T Q S U B N M D Y F
B E V X I J N O I L L I M R T N Z M M D R C F F
F D D G G S C H O O L G I R L O K S E I T X I S
U F N H W Z X M W M P E E R C Z A N F H T P W K
X R Z X A Q D V P Q K C C N V S V I F M K P X H
R O B O T T B M X L A X C T S U E L X K G U A O
E Y Z O E Y T X O P O P B U K Q C Y A P F B S H
M R K O R L R E V T C Q A Q Q K M R B R Z L D A
E T Q R F E K I L C H D X D E B A A W E R I I S
M D I F A R A L G O S E C W D T U S N C I S S N
B C M K L V M H Z H D J R Z E X T I Z I G H N X
R K A C L Z L O G E E C N A M O R J O N X I M P
A W O Q J E P A K A Z K S H E R O O S C C N M X
N N S Y H O O W U J V E B T M G C E F T N G T N
C S L C W W Q Z Y G S R M Z E E V O V D V H U E
E U D M J U T H L R H W N D N R R C A G D F O V
P H R R K W R W O I Y T X H E Z A H Q L I P K C
S I G A O M D H I K S I E N K Y D E A L U K R A
E Q Q D M W T S O R I Y F R D L M C U Y T Y O N
I M C U Y M H H C O L F R W V P D K O N X Z W Y
V R Q D K E A S Y D L B N C S X E M H I S Z R O
O E G G K I Q R A X G K R A A A K A P O E O C N
M P I O H K J K G M B T U Q F J S T R B L K Q T
A J E D X B D B I F S P C A O T U E B W X E Y Z
You can find the answers for this activity on the Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/magazines/activities/ - 25 -
Paul Glanville Remembered by Kate McGinn
I had a friend named Paul Glanville. We were both authors and had connections to each other through Amazon’s writer’s forum, WriteOn, and later through Wattpad. I don’t know if I’d read any of his work before we began conversing on Facebook Messenger. He was working on his horror story, Mirage, and I had self-published two suspense/thrillers and was working on a third. He asked if I would read his work-in-progress and I agreed. Over a year or more, we would discuss writing, books, publishing, marketing, cover designs and a multitude of other topics related to our work. I knew he lived in California, and he spoke lovingly about his wife, Claudia. He considered himself a lucky man to have her in his life. I know he had a generous spirit. When he learned that I had recently traveled to Cali to see my son and his wife, he told me that the next time I planned to go to LA I needed to let him know. He wanted to invite my husband and I to dinner. Paul wrote his stories with courage, bringing the reader into a horrific world where sadistic people hurt the powerless for the thrill of doing it. It takes courage to write something some people would condemn as too graphic, too violent. He wanted his front cover to have a human skull on it. I thought it would be best to not have it be so obvious. He compromised and put it on the back cover. I believe I’m not as brave as Paul. His writing does what it should do -- it brings out an emotional response in his readers. I experienced revulsion, anger and sadness as I read his scenes. This is every writer’s goal. I wanted to see his characters get revenge and cheered his protagonist on. He didn’t sugarcoat the horror in his story. He didn’t skirt around the darkness that belonged to the serial killer who preyed on women in his book. He gave me a signed copy of his book, and I’m humbled at being included in the acknowledgments. I was shocked to learn of his death. I still have him included in my list of Facebook friends and miss his evening posts on Messenger looking to chat about writing.
I miss him, but I’m not the only writer I know who feels his absence. Below are some others…
Douglas Debelak I never met Paul in the real world, nor did we discuss much about our personal lives, but it is the same for many of us who consider one another friends far more than just FB friends. I think that I can say that I was a friend of Paul's and felt a deep sense of loss, hearing of his passing. In addition to our interaction through Amazon WriteOn, we had a number of personal conversations through email. Paul read and critiqued many of the short stories I wrote for the Weekend Write In. In addition to Mirage, I read many drafts of Paul's books and short stories, about which we had some deep and honest exchanges. Paul sent me a printed and signed copy of Mirage, for which I'd just started writing a review when I heard that he'd passed. I'll happily pass that on. I've had no interaction with Claudia, other than her acknowledgment of comments I left on Paul's FB page following his death. I think his novel Daphne was excellent. It was as provocative as Mirage in its own way, as explicit, while not as dark as some of his other material. Paul wrote some dark stories about the monsters that are real, but most us shy away from, the human monsters. He did not shy from looking into the souls of those monsters. Mirage was only one of those. I don't know whether any of Paul's other short fiction
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are still online anywhere, but he wrote one that ended with a woman, still alive, in a lobster trap as bait. One of those most chilling and vivid images I recall reading. I never felt I had to soften anything in my discussions with Paul. I could be as dark as I wanted, without ever being judged. Although Paul wrote about evil, I sensed he was a good man. I liked him and miss him. The text for the draft of my review of Mirage is below:
he first thing I’ll say about Mirage is that it is a finely T crafted story. It is riveting. It is dark. It is edgy. It is graphic. It is disturbing. It is not for everyone. But the author makes that crystal clear in his disclaimer in the front of the book. Could he have backed off on the graphic content just a smidge? That’s a hard call and it was his to make. I think that may have made the book more accessible to a wider audience and possibly more commercial. But, if you are into stories about serial killers, who, if you haven’t figured that out, are sick, sadistic animals who care nothing about their victims and do sick, horrendous things to them, then perhaps a less diluted and sanitized offering is in order. I think this author provides you exactly that.
Christine Larsen I, too received a signed copy of Paul's book 'Mirage' as thanks for a small part I played in advising about some Aussie-isms. In between help and advice we shared about our writing, I discovered a side to Paul that not so many may know - his love and knowledge of music... particularly Latin American. In his book 'Mirage' he had his beautiful MC, Celeste, softly singing a popular song to her rescuer. We are all familiar with the traditional version of Cielito Lindo, played by mariachi bands everywhere and Paul sent me a link to a fine rendition, but he wanted a sweeter version and went searching. I still have his words from a private message That's the only way I ever heard this tune, although for Mirage, I imagined it sung as a ballad. And then I found this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMIdNmxISms Such a beautiful version has an added dimension to its poignancy now that Paul's gone.
I found this a short compelling and interesting read. I highly recommend it.
That's what I have.
Kate McGinn loves a good story. An avid reader, she enjoyed writing short stories and would begin writing a few chapters of a longer work only to set it aside. Two years ago, she decided to begin her first novel, “Exodus”, a romantic suspense story and the first book in the Clare Thibodeaux series. Book Two, “Winter’s Icy Caress” was published in June 2017. Her third book in the series was published in November 2018. Her current works in progress include a humorous tale about a young woman, Natalie, who is one of the main characters in some of her short stories (Natalie is the main character in “Mucking Around” which can be found in the short story anthology, Bite-Sized Stories V. 2 and also in the recently published “One Million Project: Fiction Anthology” for charity.) Kate pulls from her own life experiences when writing. She has worked over the years as a registered nurse, an Army Reserve officer, and ran a Bed & Breakfast Inn. Born in New York City, Kate grew up in the Midwest and lived along the Gulf Coast and in Italy for many years before moving to Wisconsin. In her free time, she enjoys reading, golf, hiking, camping, travel and hanging out with a crazy yellow Lab. She and her husband have two adult sons, a lovely daughter-in-law, and live near the Mississippi River in a c. 1855 Greek Revival home. You can discover more about Kate on the Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/kate-mcginn/ - 27 -
Thompson Pass to Keystone Canyon by Cherime MacFarlane
If Denali is the cherry on top of Alaska, Keystone Canyon is one of the yummy little nuts scattered on top the ice cream. Near the town of Valdez, and formed by the Lowe River, its walls are almost perpendicular.
Bridal Veil Falls is on the opposite side of the canyon wall. Tall and narrow, it is every bit as lovely as Horsetail Falls. But is slightly more difficult to capture photographically due to being in shadow most of the day.
The gorge, 3 miles or (4.8k) long, is rife with water. It spews from high and low places all along its length. At an elevation 307 feet (94m), it is close to sea level. But to get to it and the town of Valdez, you must negotiate Thompson Pass. The pass, at 2,805 feet (855m) is not the highest pass in Alaska, but can see snowfalls of 62 inches (162cm) (*1). After reaching the top of the pass, be sure to stop at the Blueberry Lake turn out to take pictures of the surrounding landscape. Different organizations and businesses have held extreme skiing and snowboarding competitions here. For the very adventurous, heli-skiing is available in the winter. From the top of Thompson Pass, in a little over 11.3 miles (18.2k) the road will drop 2,498 feet (761.39m) to the head of Keystone Canyon. Not named for it shape, but for the motto of the State of Pennsylvania, the sheer walls of the canyon keep the interior cool unless you are in direct sunlight. Taking a jacket is an excellent idea. The Richardson Highway crosses the Lowe River before it cuts down into the canyon. There are several turnouts for safe photo opportunities if you wish to get pictures of the spectacular falls. Horsetail is a broad waterfall with a divided section which resembles a horse's tail.
On that side of the gorge you will also find the remains of the railroad tunnel cut into the rock of the canyon. Teams of men cut the tunnel by hand during the heyday of the copper boom up the Copper River toward Chitina and McCarthy where the Kennicott Mine was located (1907-1911). An interesting bit of history, the tunnel was the scene of a gunfight as several entities fought to gain control over access to the interior. The Copper Spike, written by Lone E. Janson, gives an insight into a fascinating era in an interesting place. Another book which give the history of the times and those who lived through them is Sisters, Coming of Age and Living Dangerously in the Wild Copper River, written by Samme and Aileen Gallaher. The two sisters lived in the area in the 1920s with a miner who had stayed behind when the Klondike gold rush failed. In one anecdote they explain how the engineer driving the train had a special whistle configuration he used when law officers were on the train. He warned the moonshiners to hide the liquor stills. If you come to our awesome state, make sure you are prepared to take lots of photos. There is a beautiful view around every corner.
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Copyright © 2015
Cherime MacFarlane is an award-winning, bestselling, prolific multi-genre author. She has a broad range of interests that reflect her been there-done that life. You can discover more about Cherime on the Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/cherime-macfarlane
Meet Our Designer
Nicole Lavoie / Just Saying Dezigns
Nicole Lavoie is the Graphic Designer responsible for bringing the Mom’s Favorite Reads magazine to you every month. She also designed our book catalog that is published quarterly and will be designing our upcoming cookbook that is on track to be published later this year. Along with her dedication to Mom’s Favorite Reads she also offers website design services, book cover design and specializes in Book Layout and Design for children’s books.
Whether you need help with your book, your website or could use a designer to help you finish off those creative tasks on your to do list, Nicole can help! You can discover more about the services Nicole offers on her website at: www.JustSayingDezigns.com or by emailing her directly at Nicole@JustSayingDezigns.com - 29 -
“I versus Me” … What do we do when mistakes become the norm? by Eileen Sheehan
Lesson: “I versus Me”
As a published author of over 35 books, a 2001 playwright finalist at Madison Square Gardens, a freelance magazine writer, a former magazine editor, and now a freelance editor, I have a special connection with words. Because of this, I take notice of how they are used, caressed, or abused. For the most part, over the years, the abuse has come primarily from the general public, but with technology making publishing something as easy as uploading it to Kindle, Smashwords, Digital to Digital, etc., the abuse has spread to the literary world as well.
"I" is a nominative pronoun, which means that it is used as the subject of a sentence, or as a predicate nominative. For example: I went to the movies. In this case, "I" is the subject of the sentence. It depicts the person who performed the action of going to the store. This sentence is correct because it uses "I" as the subject. You also use "I" as a predicate nominative after a "to be" verb. For example: It is I who went to the movies.
In the old days, this article would have been reserved for writers of various modalities, but in today’s times, I feel it needs to be read by people of all walks of life as a reminder of the dangers of permanent alteration to something as beautiful as the English language. What am I talking about? For starters, the use of “I” versus “Me”. It seems to not only be a confusion for the everyday conversationalist, but it has spread to writers of all media types as I’ve heard an abundance of misuse in movies as well as read them in books. I cringe when I hear a sentence such as “Me and him” or “Me and her” in a film, an interview, or read it in a book. Yikes! Have we completely lost touch with grammar? I believe that there are times when the misuse of good grammar is appropriate; such as when a writer is depicting a specific type of character with a specific type of speech pattern. But, that’s where it ends. In everyday life or when creating a character of wisdom, education, and knowledge wouldn’t it make sense to have them sound that way? With the misuse of words so prevalent today, I can understand how easy it is to get confused so I’m going to share a lesson that I learned back in grade school that I still refer to today.
This may sound odd and flow with difficulty from the tongue since many people have developed the habit of saying, "It is me," but using "I" in this way is grammatically correct and preferable in formal English.
Now: "Me" is an object pronoun, which means that it serves as a direct or indirect object to the verb or as the object of a preposition. For example: In this sentence, "me" is the direct object of the verb "given" because it receives the action of giving. This sentence is correct because it uses "me" as the direct object.
It was given to me.
This next example sentence uses "me" as an indirect object. These are often sandwiched between a verb and its direct object to indicate who is benefitting from the action.
Ralph bought me a gift.
In the following sentence, "me" is the object of the preposition "for" and is also correctly used. The sentence conveys the same meaning as the previous one, but it's constructed a bit differently.
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Example of correct usage: “He and she ate peanuts.” If you remove “He” you have “She ate peanuts.” If you remove “she” you have “He ate peanuts.”
Ralph bought a gift for me.
Still confused? The easiest way to check if you are using a pronoun correctly is to remove one of them from the sentence and see how it sounds. Example of correct usage: “He and I went to the store.” If you remove “He”, you have “I went to the store.” If you remove “I”, you have “He went to the store.” Both create a correct sentence. Example of incorrect usage: “Me and him went to the store.” If you remove “Me”, you have “Him went to the store.” If you remove “him” you have “Me went to the store.”
Get the picture? Let’s do another one.
Example of incorrect usage: “Him and her ate peanuts.” If you remove “Him” you have “Her ate peanuts.” If you remove “her” you have “Him ate peanuts.” It’s a simple method to catch the misuse of words that we’ve grown so accustomed to abusing that sometimes the correct way sounds odd to us. If you have fallen into the trap of word abuse, it will take a little consideration and effort to undo it and think about whether you are working with the subject or the object in a sentence. In time, you won’t have to think about whether you should be using "I" or "me" as the subject in your sentence. It will just come naturally. They say that it only takes one person to change the world. I say the same about saving the integrity of our beautiful language. Saving it starts with you.
Eileen Sheehan writes hot, steamy romances with a sexy male and strong female. The majority of her novels are paranormal, but some are straightforward love stories. Her screenplay, ‘When East Meets West’, was a finalist in the 2001 Independent International Film and Video Festival. You can discover more about Eileen on the Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/eileen-sheehan/
20% OFF First Book Promotion with The Fussy Librarian
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! - 31 -
Interviewed by Rachael Wright
Welsh erotic-romance author Poppy Flynn is a force to be reckoned with. Flynn grew up in Ceredigion, a rural part of Wales where the village school had only 30 children and only boys in her class.
“This is actually one of the reasons I am able to dedicate what free time I have to writing. I have always been a positive thinker and I like to see it as triumph in the face of adversity.”
“It was so off the beaten track that none of the children in the local school spoke English as a first language and I got a fairly fast track immersion into the Welsh language which is very commonly spoken in the deep parts of Wales,” Flynn says. “My love of reading was born there … plus my mother decided we didn’t need a television.”
Flynn has not always been so relaxed about her career. After signing with Blushing Books, Flynn said she felt like she’d been thrown in the deep end as far as marketing went. “I got caught in a spiral of marketing, promotion, writing, housework, laundry, etc,” Flynn remembers, “until I ended up doing none of it well because while I did one, I felt guilty I wasn’t doing something else.”
Flynn began writing at a young age but only submitted her novels to a publisher at age 21. She submitted four manuscripts in Mills and Boone style. All four were subsequently rejected. “I didn’t submit them anywhere else, because I didn’t know where else to send them or now to find out that information. In the end I gave up writing for over twenty-five years, which is truly my biggest regret,” Flynn said. After years of waffling Flynn finally submitted her books to US erotic romance publisher, Blushing Books after weeks of research on the best publisher for her genre. Blushing Books offered her a conditional contract within two days of submission. “After that the sluice gates were opened and I have been swept along on a tidal wave of new experiences and some very steep learning curves,” Flynn said.
It was not only until she was invited to a writer’s retreat by a fellow UK Blushing Book author that she began to be able to settle into and create a schedule for herself. Flynn set up an Author’s Sprint and Support group on Facebook with two other authors and says it gives her the camaraderie which is so often missing from the life of an author. Flynn and her husband joke that she turned to writing so as not to break-the-bank with her voracious appetite for books. “There’s more than a hint of truth in that,” Flynn laughs. “When you’re surrounded by fields, cows and sheep, with 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.”
Flynn is not only an established author but a mother to six children, who range in age from 32-11. Two of her sons are disabled and her youngest, suffers from a congenital failure of his digestive system which results in the constant blockage of his bowel. “I’m sure readers can imagine what it’s like to have a child of that age getting through three or more changes of clothes every single day,” Flynn recounts. “The sheer volume of clothing we need to have, the copious mounds of laundry.” With two children in desperate need of full-time care, Flynn was left unable to go outside the home and work, even part-time. - 32 -
You can discover more about Rachael on the Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/ moms-authors/rachael-wright/
What’s Your Fantasy World? by Roneas Aveela
What’s Your Fantasy World? Fantasy worlds can be magical, terrifying, and brutal all at once. The Unborn Hero of Dragon Village by Roneas Aveela tells the tale of a 12-year-old boy named Theo who journeys to a mystical land called Zmeykovo (Dragon Village) to rescue his sister. The map below shows all the places he visits as he tries to find a way to rescue his sister from the beastly 3-headed dragon called Lamia who lives high on top of Cherna Mountain.
If you could write his journey, what would it be? Submit your stories (and drawings) to “Mom’s Favorite Reads” at firstname.lastname@example.org and Ronesa will publish them on her website: www.ronesaaveela.com. Be sure to include your name and age.
You can download this activity to print out on the Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/magazines/activities/ - 33 -
Laughter is the best medicine!
Contributions by Anthony Randall & Hannah Howe Exercise.
My wife’s just told me that making love is so much better when you are on holiday. To be honest, it’s the most depressing post card I’ve ever received.
You have to stay in shape. My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She’s 97 today and we don’t know where the hell she is.
How do men exercise on the beach? By sucking in their stomachs whenever they see a woman in a bikini.
If you jog backwards, will you gain weight?
I said to the doctor “I feel like a dog.” “Get up on the couch,” said the doctor. I said “I’m not allowed on the couch.”
All the loo seats have been stolen from the local constabulary; the police say they have nothing to go on!
The other evening, I went out jogging. My partner asked me how long I’d be gone and I said, “The whole time.”
If swimming is good for your figure, why do whales look like that
A thousand inflatable beds have been stolen from a warehouse in town. The police believe the thieves are lying low.
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by Hannah Howe
Daniel Morgan, my advocate in Saving Grace, was influenced by Sir William Garrow (13th April 1760 – 24th September 1840). Garrow was a barrister, politician and judge who radically reformed the judical system. Indeed, his reforms ushered in the adversarial court system used in most common law nations today. He introduced the phrase “presumed innocent until proven guilty”, and insisted that defendants’ accusers and their evidence should be thoroughly tested in court. William Garrow was elected to Parliament in 1805, a phase of his career he did not greatly enjoy. However, while in Parliament he campaigned in favour of more liberal laws and championed legislation that condemned animal cruelty. Later, he Pictured, Sir William Garrow. spent fifteen years as a judge. He began his career as a prosecutor. On the 14th January 1784, he prosecuted John Henry Aikles for obtaining a bill of exchange under false pretences, a case he won. However, in September 1785 Garrow defended Aikles and secured his release due to ill-health. In the late 1700s and early 1800s many, often trivial, crimes carried the death penalty therefore William Garrow sought to limit the punishment for his convicted clients. In 1784 two women were arrested for stealing fans worth 15 shillings, a crime that led to the death penalty. Garrow defended the women and convinced the jury to convict them of stealing 4 shillings worth of fans instead, thus reducing their sentences to twelve months hard labour.
Pictured, The Old Bailey.
presented with the opportunity of managing the sugar planters legal and political business, he replied, “If your committee would give me their whole incomes, and all their estates, I would not be seen as the advocate of practices which I abhor, and a system which I detest.” William Garrow led an unconventional private life. He had a relationship with Sarah Dore, wife of Arthur Hill, Viscount Fairford. Sarah clearly loved Garrow and despite the social pressures of the time she left the Viscount. Her relationship with Garrow produced two children, David William Garrow, Pictured, Sarah Dore. born on the 15th April 1781, and Eliza Sophia Garrow, born on the 18th June 1784. William and Sarah finally married on the 17th March 1793.
During this era the sugar planters of the West Indies held large amounts of power in Parliament. This power allowed them to maintain a monopoly on the marketing of sugar, which in turn led to great profits. These profits were cultivated through the use of slave labour, a practice William Garrow abhored. When - 35 -
You can discover more about Hannah on the Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/momsauthors/hannah-howe/
Aedammair’s Choice by Val Tobin
Tangled bodies blocked Aedammair’s path through the gorge and almost made her turn around and run back to what remained of her home. She was less than a league from it, and it would be so easy to return. No one would notice.
But mostly, Aedammair wanted babies and love, and she imagined herself rocking an infant while Eric worked his way up through the government ranks. She had no idea what he’d do, but they’d be wealthy—wealthier than even her parents had been.
No one would notice if she kept going, either, so she screwed up her courage and picked her way through the corpses of her friends and neighbours.
Harsh cries had crashed through her romantic musings, followed by screams from the house servants. And then, bone-chillingly, the shrieks of her mother and sister.
She couldn’t resist counting them. Seven. A lucky number, but not for these Alfar. Arrows protruded from the bodies. What broke her heart was that the killing arrows belonged to other Alfar—rebels wanting to wrest control of the state from the King to rule in his stead. To them, it didn’t matter that they were all tall, fair, and slim with slanted eyes and pointed ears. What mattered was where their allegiance lay. Aedammair held her breath and stepped quickly through the jumble of heads, torsos, and limbs, avoiding looking directly at the faces she passed over. She stepped on something soft and yielding twice, huffed out a breath of air, and gagged when she took another fetid gulp. The moment her feet hit the ground on the other side, she fell to her knees. Doubled over and clutching her long, pale hair in one hand, she vomited onto the clay soil. Afraid of wasting time, she forced herself to stand, swiping a hand across her mouth as she rose. If she didn’t make the border by nightfall, rebel soldiers would catch her. They’d keep her as a slave—as they’d done with her mother and eighteen-year-old twin sister. Her brother, barely twelve, they’d taken for their army, but not before they’d murdered her father. Aedammair had watched it all from a hiding place in the family’s fruit orchard.
Ashamed to recall it, Aedammair had run away from the din and had cowered under a pile of straw behind the storage shack while the rebels looted the estate. All she could do was bear witness as her loved ones were snatched from her. But what choice had she? If they’d found her, they’d have taken her as well. Nevertheless, guilt at her inaction plagued her. To console herself, she vowed to return one day and rescue them. Nonsense, of course. What could one girl do against an army of rebels? But she refused to let them steal her hope as well as her family. *** The sun blazed down, and a trickle of sweat wove a trail down Aedammair’s back. After she’d left her home forest, the land had turned to rock and sand. She carried one small pack of belongings, which included a flask of water. She’d have no opportunity to refill it until she reached the Dvergr country on the other side of the border. She picked her way across the sere landscape, scurrying from boulder to boulder to maintain some sort of cover. Since she’d left her home four hours ago, she hadn’t seen another living soul, which worried her.
She’d been picking limes to make a special drink for their afternoon tea and dreaming about her upcoming marriage. Since childhood, she’d been betrothed to Eric, the handsome, young male her parents had chosen for her. They’d live together, grow to love one another, and have children. At the same time, it would strengthen the bonds of their respective families.
Where were the others seeking asylum from the Dvergr, the squat, gruff race who inhabited the neighbouring country? Was she going the wrong way? Had no one else escaped the rebel attack? After another hour of hiking, relief flooded through her when she spotted greenery in the distance. She made out tall, elegant palm trees, verdant grass, and the glitter of water. All she’d have to do is reach the
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fort nestled there.
The air left her lungs and she fought to breathe. The girl was so young. How could she, when it was in her power to prevent it, allow a small child to fall to the rebels?
But that would be the challenge of her life. The borders were watched. Aedammair crouched behind a cluster of boulders. Best to attempt the crossing at night, so she’d wait. She opened her pack and dared another sip from her flask. The sight of the clear, blue lake in the distance gave her hope she’d replenish her water supply within hours.
Shoving the flask back into her pack, she pulled out a knife. If she thought more about it, she’d freeze with fright and the girl would suffer. She leapt from her hiding place and raced at the child.
She scanned the area, searching for the King’s army’s guard tower, and found it. If they caught her attempting to escape, they’d execute her. East of the tower ran a trench filled with rebels. That direction held enslavement.
The girl froze.
As the sun sank below the horizon, she plucked an orange from her pack and ate it, savouring each juicy segment. That’s all the food she’d allow herself until she was a free woman on the Dvergr side.
The girl ran then, legs pumping as if demons chased her.
“Run, you fool,” she shouted.
The young Alfar waved her arms, the knife in her hand flashing in the sun, and screamed, “I’ll kill you! I’ll cut out your eyes and eat them.”
While she ate, she scanned the area, watching for any sign of life. Movement in the guard tower verified it was manned. The odd glint of the setting sun on helmets did the same for the trenches. Her heart leapt into her throat when she spotted a young girl creeping from the shelter of the rocks towards the border and the Dvergr fort. Too soon. Foolish girl. But she was just a child, only ten years, by the look of it, and ignorant of her blunder. How had she gotten there alone? They’d catch her—the rebels or the army. Voices from the trench revealed which side was the more alert. So it would be slavery for the poor girl. Before dawn broke, she’d be passed around by more than one male for pleasure. Unless someone intervened. But the girl was a stranger, and Aedammair hadn’t even intervened for her own family.
Aedammair tore after her. Perhaps she could outrace the rebels already pouring from the trenches. At least she’d boosted the girl’s speed with extra terror. The girl drew near the other side, and Aedammair’s heart pounded with the effort to close the distance between them. She flung her pack to the ground, but lightening the load didn’t help. Her legs grew heavier with each step. The flowing dress that adult females of her kind typically wore wrapped around her calves and slowed her down. Her lungs ached, and the dry dust that blew up with every step she took made her eyes water and her nostrils clog. An arrow breezed past her, but she ignored it. Better to die escaping than be captured by the rebels. Pounding footsteps behind her told her she was losing the race. She forced her legs to run faster and blinked to clear her eyes. As cruel arms grabbed her and dragged her to the ground, she glimpsed the little girl reaching the Dvergr side. Thank the goddess, the girl, at least, would be free.
Val Tobin, formerly a software/web developer, now spends her time writing. She is also a Reiki Master/Teacher and Angel Therapy Practitioner® with advanced training, certified by Doreen Virtue in Kona, Hawaii. She has written numerous novels and some short stories, available at various retailers. In April 2016, Val received her master’s degree in parapsychology. You can discover more about Val on the Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/val-tobin/ - 37 -
by Cassandra DenHartog PTA, LMT,
Carpal tunnel is a condition where structures of the carpal tunnel put pressure on the nerves. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway in the wrist, about an inch wide. The floor and sides of the tunnel are formed by small wrist bones called carpal bones. The median nerve and flexor tendons that bend the fingers and thumb run through this structure. Tingling, pain, numbness, and burning can all be felt when pressure is put on the median nerve. This can vary in severity from mild discomfort to fiery pain and total loss of function. So how does this happen? Usually it’s caused from inflammation and irritation in that area. The carpal tunnel is small, so it does not take a lot of irritation to start putting pressure on the median nerve. Every time you grip something, use your thumb, or bend the wrist you are moving those flexor tendons. Now imagine the fan belt, or any belt for that matter, in your car. It’s made to move, constantly. But it can fray and sometimes wear down and become damaged if it’s been used a long time. The same goes for the flexor tendons. Overuse often cause irritation, inflammation, and sometimes damage can occur. When this happens, increased pressure is put on the median nerve causing the symptoms of carpal tunnel. A lot of times this can be diagnosed by a doctor. Tests, such as the Tinel sign, where the Doctor presses down or taps along the median nerve at inside of your wrist to see if it causes any numbness or tingling in your fingers, can indicate weather you have Carpal Tunnel or not.
and irritation. Wrist stretches can also help relieve symptoms. This helps decrease muscle tightness and reduces the pull your muscles have on the tendons of the carpal tunnel. In some cases, having a chiropractor or therapist perform carpal mobs (mobilization of the wrist bones) can help relieve pain as well and reduce symptoms. So, will this cure my carpal tunnel? The answer is complication. Think of it like sandbagging by a river. When the river rises, then the need for sand bags arises as well. More water, more sandbags, and sometimes you don’t have enough. The same can be said for carpal tunnel. Pain from over use arises, so the need for more self care and stretches arises as well. More use requires more self care and sometimes there is not way to prevent the symptoms on your own.
Nerve conduction studies and electromyograms may also be performed. These tests allow a Doctor to measure how well your median nerve is working. Thinks of nerves like electrical wires in a house and having carpal tunnel is like having a mouse chew through one of these wires. That means when you turn the light switch the light no longer goes on. The same type of thing can be measured all over the body. So, what should you do if you have of suspect you have carpal tunnel? Besides speaking with your Doctor, which you should always do, try resting for three days. Since carpal tunnel is often caused by overuse, resting a few days can relieve the symptoms. Use ice over the wrist area will reduce inflammation - 38 -
Should I just have surgery? My recommendation, as it most likely will be for many doctors, is to use this as a last option. The reason being is this is a small area and relief of symptoms after surgery is not guaranteed. Often scar tissue can bind back down on the tendon and give off the same problems. Sometimes contractures develop and hand motion can be lost.
With all this, the best recommendation is rest, ice, and stretches. If this does not relieve symptoms consult your doctor.
Cassandra DenHartog is an author of Paranormal and Fantasy Romance. Lover of fairy tales and dreams. Hospital worker and business owner. Often referred to as the crazy bird lady. You can discover more about Cassandra on the Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/cassandra-denhartog/
Schoolgirl Love by May J. Panayi
I wake up, I get up, Another long day. I run down the road, As the bus pulls away. In the middle of first lesson, It comes back to me, I still haven't done Maths, or Biology. Doing History homework In the middle of R.E, I usually get caught, Sent to the Deputy. While she juts out her chin, Turns a pale shade of blue, I just stop for a while, And think of you. May J. Panayi has been writing since 1967, when she had her first poem called ‘In a Rage’ published in the local Gazette newspaper. That was the point at which she decided she wanted to write, and has been scribbling in one form or another ever since. She’s had poetry, short stories, articles and fillers, published in a variety of magazines, two book anthology collections, fanzines and websites. You can discover more about May on the Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/may-j-panayi/ - 39 -
Classic Movies by Hannah Howe
Laura Starring Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews and Clifton Webb, Laura is a romantic detective story with an original plot. It is also one of my favourite films. The film was released in 1944 with a storyline adapted from Vera Caspary’s (1899 – 1987) novel. The plot centres on hard-boiled detective Mark McPherson and his attempts to solve the murder of Laura Hunt, whose face has been rendered unrecognisable after a shotgun blast. The suspects are wealthy snobs who annoy McPherson as much as he annoys them. Apart from their wealth, the one thing these suspects have in common is that they all loved Laura.
As the story develops McPherson gets to know Laura and, captivated by her portrait, he falls in love with her, her apparent demise notwithstanding. The film has been placed in the noir bracket, and the shotgun blast and McPherson’s growing obsession with a corpse might justify that category, though the stamp of a traditional noir film is the stereotypically bad girl using the man who falls in love with her, and that doesn’t happen in Laura. With a brilliant and credible twist, Vera Caspary turns McPherson – and the story – upside down and we head off in a new direction. The assortment of eccentric and intriguing characters hold your attention throughout and you feel a strong empathy for McPherson as he tries to solve the murder. The author, Vera Caspary, was a career-minded ‘modern’ woman who showed great determination to succeed in a male-dominated profession. She wrote twenty-one novels and several screenplays and received a Screen Writers Guild Award in 1957. She also held strong political views and was hounded by the McCarthy witch-hunts. But to her great credit she rose above all that and forged a successful career. A favourite line from the film: McPherson is asked, “Have you ever been in love?” He replies laconically, “A dame in Washington Heights once got a fox fur out of me.” YouTube clip showing the trailer for Laura http:// youtu.be/u6f8jRplej8.
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 audio books, and are being translated into ten languages. You can discover more about Hannah on the Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/hannah-howe/ - 40 -
Nixe Coloring Page
Provided by Ronesa Aveela
Nixe - Germany. These shape shifting water spirits are often recognized in human form because the hem of their clothes are always wet. You can download this coloring page to print out on the Momâ€™s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/magazines/activities/ - 41 -
Interviewed by T.E. Hodden
Richard James is a man of many talents. You might recognise him as a playwright of some acclaim, or an actor of stage, and screen (both small and large), or as one of the presenters of the astoundingly popular Gerry Anderson Podcast. I caught up with him to discuss his literary creation, Bowman of the Yard.
Bowman inhabits a fascinating corner of history, the London of Jack The Ripper, and the Thames Torso Murders. Has it always been an interest of yours?
Would you mind introducing us to your upcoming novel? The Head In The Ice is the first novel in a series featuring Inspector George Bowman of Scotland Yard. It opens with him just being released from a lunatic asylum following treatment for an extreme melancholia. Upon his release, he’s thrown into an investigation surrounding the discovery of a severed head in the frozen waters of the River Thames. This would be enough to contend with, but Bowman is also battling his own personal demons. Throughout the course of the novel, we learn exactly what the events were that led him to being held in the lunatic asylum and the unwitting part he played in his wife’s death. You are offering a free taster in a short story. Would you like to tell us a little about that? The Smithfield Murder takes place a couple of weeks after the events of The Head In The Ice – but there are no spoilers! There are, however, a few mentions of the events that take place during the novel, if only to whet the reader’s appetite for when the novel is released. The Smithfield Murder concerns the discovery of a body hanging among the cuts of meat at Smithfield Meat Market. It’s rather a gruesome idea that really appealed to me! It is my intention to write more short stories to fill in the gaps between the novels as I go. As a short story, it moves at quite a pace, whereas I think a novel gives you the opportunity to stop, take stock and look around a little more.
Yes, absolutely. I love Victorian London, or at least the literary version of it. I’m not sure it was ever quite so dark and foggy a place, but it’s the perfect time and place to set a mystery. It’s also something of a pivot point for British history with the Empire at its full height and power, but with so much squalor and suffering at home. Britain was never quite so powerful yet so unequal again. As a writer, I find that juxtaposition very attractive. So many wonderful writers from the period have inspired me, from HG Wells to Dickens and, naturally, Arthur Conan Doyle. Jack The Ripper, of course, casts a long shadow and I deliberately set my stories a good few years after the Ripper murders to neutralise their effect. Otherwise everyone in the books would just say ‘Oh, it’s The Ripper again!’. How did you research Bowman’s world? Well, the internet is a wonderful thing! I’ve found so many resources online that have proved to be invaluable, from censuses to maps. I found a fascinating interactive map that lays a map of Britain in 1891 over on an up-to-date Google map. You can adjust the transparency to see how much, or how little, has changed in the last hundred and thirty years. Of course, there’s no substitute for pounding the streets, so I often take myself off to London and walk the streets that Bowman would have walked. It’s important that everything adds up in my books but I’m not hidebound to facts. If I need to bend them a little to fit the story then I will! I think that’s my prerogative as a storyteller. Is there a secret to a good mystery? Predictability is deadly to a mystery! As soon as the reader thinks they know what is going on, it’s my job to pull the rug away from under them. However, the
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denouement should be logical and, perhaps looking back, pleasingly apparent if only you knew what to look for. Above all though, I think it’s important that the reader cares for the characters. Otherwise what would it matter to see them in peril or even murdered? One of your plays features another sleuth of the age, in The Death Of Sherlock Holmes. Are you a bit of a Sherlockian? Oh yes. I have been on the road a lot over the last three years (I’m an actor too and have spent time touring in a couple of plays based on the books of David Walliams) and I always take a battered copy of the complete Sherlock Holmes with me. The characters are like old friends or, even more than that, they’re like family. In fact, I feel I know Holmes and Watson better than I know some of my own family! The stories are so redolent of a particular point in history and exciting too. And of course, they became my touchstone when writing the Bowman Of The Yard series. How does writing a novel compare to writing for stage? Are they different challenges? They are like chalk and cheese. I’ve written almost thirty plays of different lengths that are performed all over the world. As a playwright, I am aware that I need to leave space in my writing for the actors and the director to join the dots and build their own performance. You can’t be too prescriptive or there will be no room for their ideas. In writing a novel, however, I get to show you the things I want to show you. I have absolute control about how you might feel about a particular event, because I will carefully choose the right words to convey that feeling. There’s no ambiguity – I’m in charge!
Pinewood Studios filming twenty-four episodes as a regular character, the alien police officer Orrin. It was just about my first job out of drama school and was something of a baptism of fire – not least because my part required me to wear some rather extensive and uncomfortable prosthetic makeup! As is the way with many of these shows, it has gained something of a cult following over the years and I realised there was almost nothing detailing its production. So, I wrote Space Precinct Unmasked, and put my experiences down on paper. It was great to relive those memories and think a little about the series’ legacy in the hearts and minds of early nineties sci-fi fans. You have a role in another Gerry Anderson project, bringing Firestorm to the screen. Is there anything you can tell us about that? Ah yes, Firestorm is based on an original idea by Gerry Anderson. Following his death in 2012, his son Jamie ran a crowdfunding campaign to produce a pilot ‘minisode’ as proof of concept. Following its successful launch at last year’s London MCM Comiccon, it’s been greenlit for a full series entering production later this year. It features all the elements that Gerry Anderson fans will love; practical effects, models and of course, puppets! Jamie asked me to provide a voice for the pilot and I was delighted to do so. The Anderson shows have a fandom quite unlike any other. What do you think gives the shows their unique appeal? Gerry Anderson’s work occupies a very special place in lots of people’s hearts, and it’s more than nostalgia. This goes back to the point I made earlier about characters feeling like part of the family. Many people grew up with the likes of Parker and Brains or Captain Scarlet and they feel they know them. And, of course, Gerry Anderson knew how to tell an exciting story where good always triumphed over evil. They were stories told on an epic scale, each episode looking and feeling like a mini movie, and all done on a budget. There’s still really nothing to touch them.
You’ve also written about your experiences as an alien in a bit of a cult classic. Would you mind telling us a little about Space Precinct Unmasked? I wrote the book to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the series in 2014. Space Precinct is one of the lesser-known productions from the legendary Gerry Anderson (responsible for the likes of Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and Space: 1999). I spent a year at
The Gerry Anderson Podcast is nearing fifty episodes now, with a growing army of followers. How did you get involved? - 43 -
I have been good friends with Jamie Anderson for the past six or seven years (although we first met at Pinewood during the filming of Space Precinct when he was a nine year old boy!). He wanted to produce a podcast for Gerry Anderson fans the world over and asked if I would host it with him. Although my knowledge isn’t quite so encyclopaedic as Jamie’s, I suppose I bring something to the party because I actually worked with Gerry.
I’m a bit of a control freak, and I suddenly realised that I was in charge. I could make my characters fall in love, or die, or win the lottery. It was all up to me! Almost thirty plays later, my scripts are performed the world over and frequently win awards. It’s very gratifying. Where can we find out more about your work? The best thing would be to head over to my website, richardjamesonline.com where you will see photos from my plays and a showreel of my film and TV work. There is also a little of my family history, in particular the story of my Grandfather who fought in the First World War. You can also follow my on Twitter, @RichardNJames.
What can we expect if we tune in? Mayhem! It’s been described as a party for Gerry Anderson fans, and that’s just how we feel. We read out listener’s emails and talk about the latest Gerry Anderson news because there’s always something happening somewhere. We also have celebrity interviews every week – so far everyone from Chris Packham and Gary Numan to Pat Sharp and Sophia Myles have joined us to tell us of their love for all things Gerry Anderson!
And where can we buy your book?
Do you have a favourite FAB fact? That the top of a lemon squeezer was used to dress part of the Thunderbirds set. As Thunderbird 1 blasts off from its launch pad, you can clearly see it stuck to the wall, albeit painted grey to make it look like a piece of futuristic tech. Would you mind telling us a little of how you became an actor? I suppose I was always the class clown, but never dreamed there might be a way to turn it to my advantage. I grew up in a small Cambridgeshire village and no one in my family had ever done anything similar with their lives. So, after doing a little digging around, I discovered there was such a thing as a drama school. I completed (and failed) my A levels, then started treading the boards in local amateur productions while auditioning for the likes of RADA, Central and The Bristol Old Vic. I was eventually offered a place in Bristol and spent three very happy years there learning my trade.
The Head In The Ice is available to preorder on Kindle, Kobo, Nook and Apple Books and will also be available in hard copy from June 4th. You can find out more by visiting bowmanoftheyard.co.uk, where you can also download your free short story, The Smithfield Murder. Is there anything else coming up we should be looking out for? Having been on the road since 2015, I am enjoying my time at home and getting stuck into the second book in the Bowman Of The Yard series, The Devil At The Dock. It’s my intention that it’ll be available to preorder when The Head In The Ice is released in June, so readers can order the next instalment of Bowman’s story as they read the first.
Did the play writing follow the acting bug, or are they part of the same passion? I very quickly learned that, as an actor, I have very little control over my life. I sink or swim purely on the whim of others and, when the work isn‘t rolling in, it’s wise to find other streams of income. About ten years into my career I realised I had read a good few scripts and would like to have a go myself. So, I just sat down and started writing. You may have noticed - 44 -
T.E. Hodden trained in engineering, and works in a specialised 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. You can discover more about T.E. on the Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/ moms-authors/t-e-hodden/
The Mother by May J. Panayi
Children are great for playing jokes on. Well, pre-teen children, anyway. They're at that stage where you can just mess with their heads and get away with it. As soon as they hit teens, bang, they're wise to you, and if you don't see that, and continue with the same old jokes, you become stupid and sad to them, overnight. Of course, embarrassing them becomes much easier when they reach teens. Just hang round at the school gates to meet them, and spot them at a distancepreferably while they're still with all their mates, and haven't seen you yet. Put on your best, mentally deranged person voice, full volume, and call their name. For extra special embarrassment, call their name, followed by; 'I love you, you're so special' -pronounced thmeshell. A camcorder is an essential tool for parenthood, no, not to capture their sweet little faces at milestone events, but to capture the kind of stuff that will be useful later. Classic shots like, picking their nose and eating it, excavating their arse in church, eating worms, or rolling in the mud naked. These should be carefully collected and secretly spliced onto one tape, to be kept hidden until that momentous occasion when they bring their first boy/girlfriend home for tea. Of course, it's tough being a parent in this techno era, that most of us thirty-somethings are limping along behind, shouting; 'wait for me',while our sprogs master the pc pre-school. Whilst trying to maintain the illusion of most intelligent family member.
I recently bought a new computer game, one of those adventure jobbies. In order to retain my all knowing parent image, my partner and I secretly sat with this game for two nights, prior to letting my teenage daughters loose on it. We thought we were doing quite well, we hadn't got off level one, but it seemed quite difficult. Within half an hour of the girls sitting down to it, they had found things, and done things, we just hadn't managed. I stood there nodding sagely; 'ah yes, the knife, of course we found that straight away.' and such comments, all the while, mentally noting the locations for later. As soon as they were in bed, we loaded the game up, trying desperately to catch up and cover new ground. After two days of this, and very little sleep, I was a wreck. It was clear I was going to be beaten by my children, at a game. Fortunately for my credibility, I know how to find the 'cheats' on the internet. Every night, we would surreptitiously read the cheats, to keep ahead. Honestly, it was more clandestine than trying to watch a porn movie! It was a close call regardless. If this all sounds a bit cruel, just cast your mind back to all those sleepless nights, stinking nappies, and puddles of puke, and remember, it is
a parents right to have the last laugh.
May J. Panayi has been writing since 1967, when she had her first poem called ‘In a Rage’ published in the local Gazette newspaper. That was the point at which she decided she wanted to write, and has been scribbling in one form or another ever since. She’s had poetry, short stories, articles and fillers, published in a variety of magazines, two book anthology collections, fanzines and websites. You can discover more about May on the Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/may-j-panayi/ - 45 -
The Swinging Sixties by Mansel Jones
The 1960s opened with the Shadows and Cliff Richard dominating the charts. The Shadows, who began as the Drifters, only to change their moniker because of the American band of the same name, had their first hit with Apache. However, even that success pales when compared to Cliff Richard, who had six hits in 1960. A year later Elvis Presley had five top twenty hits, including four number ones, and Chubby Checker got everyone on the dance floor doing the Twist. By now, trad jazz was in full swing with hits for Acker Bilk, Kenny Ball and Dave Brubeck. By 1962 Lonnie Donegan’s twenty-six-hit chart career had come to a close. Newcomers included the Four Seasons with Sherry and the Tornados had a hit with Telstar, which stayed on the charts for the best part of five months. On the 15th December, the Beatles entered the charts with their first hit, Love Me Do. The record was a modest success and only stayed in the charts for two weeks, peaking at number seventeen. With more households acquiring television sets, television themes became popular with melodies from Z-Cars, Dr Kildare, The Man with the Golden Arm and Cutty Sark all making the charts. Meanwhile, Bernard Cribbins kept the comedy record tradition going with Hole in the Ground and Right Said Fred. In 1963 the Beatles released Please Please Me, which was a hit, though not a number one. However, their next eleven singles all reached the top of the charts. With the Beatles in the vanguard, groups and singers from Liverpool became popular, including Billy J Kramer, Gerry and the Pacemakers and Cilla Black. In America, the Beach Boys were making waves and Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ in the Wind was a hit for Peter, Paul and Mary. Mods arrived on the scene with their Caribbean, American and British music augmented by their French clothes and their Italian scooters. Mod scooters clashed with Rocker motorbikes at seaside resorts throughout the land while, on television, Ready, Steady, Go, hosted by Cathy McGowan, catered for the Mods’ musical needs. Meanwhile, the Rolling Stones entered the charts with Chuck Berry’s Come On. The following year saw the Beatles and the Rolling Stones continuing their success. The Beatles had three number one hits while the Stones had two chart
toppers. However, the Bachelors outshone both with five top ten hits. Female singers captured the public’s attention with Dusty Springfield, Lulu and Cilla Black establishing themselves. Furthermore, the Animals arrived on the scene with House of the Rising Sun, Manfred Mann started on the hit trail with 5-4-3-2-1 and the Beach Boys announced themselves with I Get Around and a two-month chart residency. Ballads made a comeback thanks to Julie Rogers, Frankie Vaughan, the Four Pennies, the Four Seasons, Dionne Warwick, Doris Day and P.J. Proby, while promising new bands included the Zombies, the Hollies and the Kinks. A new sound, Tamla Motown, also graced the airwaves thanks to the Supremes.
Many of the big names who had established themselves in the early 1960s continued to have hits in 1965 and newcomers, such as the Who, the Yardbirds, the Moody Blues, Donovan, the Righteous Brothers, the Seekers and the Walker Brothers, joined them. During the year, the Kinks achieved their high-water mark with five top ten hits and in April, Bob Dylan achieved success with The Times They Are A-Changing. Ken Dodd’s ballad Tears remained in the top twenty for twenty-one weeks, while the Beatles, the Kinks and the Rolling Stones maintained a chart presence for twenty-nine weeks, twenty-eight weeks and twenty-seven weeks respectively. The Shadows also had a successful year with five hits before fading from the charts until 1974. Although they failed to trouble the charts in 1965, the Beach Boys returned in 1966 with a number one hit, Good Vibrations. Meanwhile, the Small Faces had four hits, including their first number one, All
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or Nothing, and the year ended with Tom Jones at number one for five weeks with the Green, Green Grass of Home, a song that remained at the top of the charts for six weeks in total. The bestselling single of the year was Distant Drums by Jim Reeves, which reached number one in late September and remained there for most of October. Strangely, Tom Jones’ Green, Green Grass of Home is not listed in the top twenty bestsellers of the year, possibly because the song achieved popularity over the New Year period. Buoyed by the success of Good Vibrations, the Beach Boys were the bestselling album act of the year, followed by the Beatles and the Walker Brothers.
In 1967, Flower Power and the West Coast of America became the focus of attention, as illustrated by Scott McKenzie’s San Francisco and the Flowerpot Men’s Let’s Go to San Francisco. Drugs were ‘in’, while it was cool to ‘drop out’. Concerts became ‘loveins’ and some people maintained that peace and love were all around. During the year, the Beatles released Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Procol Harum, with A Whiter Shade of Pale, dominated the summer singles charts. Jimi Hendrix arrived on the scene with Hey Joe along with three more hits, but that success was surpassed by the Monkees, who had five hits, commencing with I’m a Believer. Meanwhile, Pink Floyd graced the singles charts with See Emily Play and Arnold Layne. Despite the Flower Power movement there was a
conventional feel when it came to the bestselling artists of the year. The most popular singles artists of 1967 were Engelbert Humperdinck, Tom Jones, Sandie Shaw, Petula Clark, the Monkees and the Supremes. Meanwhile, Dusty Springfield and the Beach Boys joined Tom, Engelbert, Petula, and the Monkees as the most successful album artists of the year. Flowers, beads, love, peace and drugs were still dominant themes in 1968. The Beatles had a substantial chart presence with Hey Jude and Lady Madonna, to name but two, and the Herd, led by Peter Frampton, threatened to become a major force until Frampton became wary of the trappings of fame and retreated from the band, only to emerge as a solo artist in the 1970s. Andy Fairweather-Low’s Amen Corner recorded two hits, as did Donovan. Progressive music was the main flavour of the year with lengthy guitar solos to the fore, yet, once again, the leading artists of the year were Tom Jones and Engelbert Humperdinck along with the Beatles and Aretha Franklin. The sensation of 1969 was Je T’Aime, Moi Non Plus by Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg; the couple simulated the sex act on record and duly reaching number one. Johnny Cash was in the top five with A Boy Named Sue, Credence Clearwater Revival announced their arrival in June with Proud Mary and the Beatles signalled their departure in December with the double A-side Something/Come Together. Leading artists of the year were Stevie Wonder, Elvis Presley, Clodagh Rodgers, Cilla Black and Fleetwood Mac.
Mansel Jones has been researching and writing about medieval history for the past forty years. He is an acknowledged expert in his field and academics and universities seek his views. He is the author of A History of Kenfig, Pendragon and Tangwstyl. You can discover more about Mansel on the Mom’s Favorite Reads website here: https://moms-favorite-reads.com/moms-authors/mansel-jones/ - 47 -
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