About Judith Barrow

Pattern of Shadows was my first novel, the sequel, Changing Patterns was published in May 2013. The last of the trilogy, Living in the Shadows was published July 2015. In August 2017, the prequel to the trilogy, A Hundred Tiny Threads,was published. In March 2010, The Memory was published by Honno, a contemporary family saga. I also have an eBook, Silent Trauma, a fiction built on fact novel, published as an eBook. I have an MA in Creative Writing, B.A. (Hons.) in Literature, and a Diploma in Drama and Script Writing. I've had short stories, poems, plays, reviews and articles published throughout the British Isles, notably in several Honno anthologies. I am also a Creative Writing tutor and run workshops on all genres and available for talks and workshops.My blogs are on my website: https://judithbarrowblog.com/ where I review mainly for #RBRT. and also interview other authors. My personal posts are on, https://www.judithbarrow-author.co.uk/ . It would be great if you could check me out there. When I'm not writing or teaching creative writing I spend time researching for my writing, painting or walking the Pembrokeshire coastline

My Review of TimeSlip by Phil Rowlands #Crime #Thriller #WeekendRead

Book Description:

Ian Chambers is in trouble and under pressure, guilt ridden and struggling to complete the first draft of his novel.

On a stormy night on a Yorkshire beach, he experiences something so terrifying that he questions his sanity.

In a desperate search for a rational explanation, he risks losing not only reality as he knows it… but his very existence.

My Review:

I really enjoyed TimeSlip, both for the narrative and for the Phil Rowland’s writing style.

This is a book that runs on two timelines that merge and separate throughout the story. In 1943, during a raging storm, a policeman is stabbed to death on Bridlington Beach whilst on a stakeout – fast forward almost eighty years and a writer experiences an attack on his life in the same place. This turns out to be a dreadful flashback – one in which his experience duplicates that of the policeman. Or was it himself in another lifetime? Whatever the truth, he can’t escape the terror that haunts him every day.

The protagonist, Ian Chambers, an author, is a multi-layered character who comes alive in the page – so much so that I became alternately exasperated and sorry for him as he wrestles with both his emotions and his lack of an ability to, “just sit down and write the book he is being paid for, before his agent sacks him”. That and his infidelity tempered my sympathy for him at times.

And he is supported by an excellent cast of minor characters, both from the story in the past, and from the contemporary narrative that adds an interesting complexity to the plot.

The brilliant descriptions of the settings give a good sense of place to the dangerous time during WW2, and of the sometimes frenetic changes of background as the protagonist strives to find answers to his dilemmas in his present life.

TimeSlip is a fascinating and thought provoking psychological  thriller, and I recommend it to any reader who enjoys a book that crosses genres. This is a contemporary story of a man struggling with marital and work problems of his own making , and a preternatural mystery. One that almost costs him everything he holds dear  – including his own life.

About Phil Rowlands


I am a screenwriter, author and producer.

After many years as a ‘safe pair of hands’ actor, mainly in film and television, I moved into the production side as a freelance writer and producer. I’ve written feature films, TV and radio dramas, documentaries and animation series and worked on productions as a script doctor and consultant.

In 2009 I was one of the co-founders of Funky Medics, a production company focussing mainly on innovative health education. Its projects have included heart disease, diabetes, smoking and drug abuse.

Currently, I have four screenplays under option, one for production in 2023, the other three at various stages of draft development.

Siena, my first novel, was revised and republished by new indie publisher Diamond Crime along with my second, Single Cell in April 2021. A new book, TimeSlip, was released in late March 2022

I write in a shed at the bottom of my small garden.

Originally from Pembrokeshire in West Wales, I now live near Cardiff and have British nationality and Canadian citizenship.

Find Phil here:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PhilRowlands2

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/phil.rowlands.906

Five on Friday with Roisin Meaney @roisinmeaney

A lovely Five on Friday with Roisin Meaney – and oh…The Swan by Saint-Saëns – a long-time favourite. And a great choice of brilliant books! Thanks both

Jill's Book Cafe

Today I’m delighted to feature author Roisin Meaney who was shortlisted this year by The Library Association of Ireland in their nominations for Author of the Year. This is supported by the fact that her books consistently make the Irish top ten bestseller list. Several have been translated (Polish, Slovenian, Norwegian, Danish, German, Italian and Russian) and she has also been published in Australia and the US. Her twentieth novel, Life Before Us, was published in June 2022 and she is currently dreaming up her next.


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Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair 2022 – #Fantasy Dan Antion, #Biography John Cornelius Rogers and Sue Bavey, #SocialMedia #Cyberbullying Alex Craigie

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair with a selection of books from personally recommended authors on my bookshelf I believe will make wonderful gifts for friends, family and for you.

The first book is by Dan Antion with his second novel. I can highly recommend you read the first book in the series and then follow up with The Evil You Choose: Dreamer’s Alliance – Book 2

About the book

Zach Amstead has kept his ability to participate in lucid dreams a secret for over fifty years However, in the high-tech world of the 21st century, he has been discovered by an FBI Special Agent who has a corrupt agenda and who is willing to employ illegal tactics while working toward his goal.

Thomas Slocum gives Zach a choice – cooperate in an illegal operation or be treated as a terrorist. Slocum’s plan puts Zach on a collision course…

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My Review of The Nesting Place by Jacqueline Harrett #TuesdayBookBlog #TuesdayBook Review #crime #DiamondPress #crimefiction

I gave The Nesting Place 5*

Book Description:

Megan Pritchard is reported missing during a party in an isolated house in the Vale of Glamorgan.

A short time afterwards, her body is found. It looks like an accident, the result of consuming too much alcohol. But DI Mandy Wilde is suspicious. And Megan’s friends are hiding something.

As Mandy and the team dig deeper, they uncover a catalogue of secrets, and reasons why being friends with Megan could be difficult.

My Review:

I love Jacqueline Harrett’s writing style, the excellent narrative of The Nesting Place slots seamlessly into the crime genre, with a main plot that moves along at a steady pace and has enough twists and turns to keep the reader engrossed. And, threaded throughout is a subplot that strengthens the story by revealing the emotional stress that the protagonist, Detective Inspector Mandy Wilde, is battling with as she and her team struggle to uncover the truth of the mysterious death of a young woman.

Mandy Wilde is a many layered character, her professional façade, shown through both the spoken and internal dialogue as curt, stubborn, often irritable, sometimes cracks to reveal a more sympathetic and empathetic personality… when earned by any of the other characters. And also reveals a conflicting familial wish to concentrate on a search for her missing twin sister and taking care of her deserted niece.

This is a distinct contrast to the ambiguous emotions of the four friends of the victim, Megan Pritchard, who is discovered dead after she has walked away from a party in a house in a remote area of Wales. Each of them has an unresolved issue with the dead woman. Each of them could be responsible for her death. Or not…

A good plot, characters that evolve as the story unfolds, dialogue that identifies every character, descriptions that bring instant images to the settings, and themes of love and loyalty juxtaposing distrust and suspicion. I couldn’t have asked for more.

 Except more was what I wanted when I reluctantly left the world of Mandy Wilde. So I was delighted to discover that Jacqueline Harrett has written a second Detective Inspector Mandy Wilde novel, The Whispering Trees.

 I’m looking forward to reading it.

In the meantime I thoroughly recommend The Nesting Place to readers who enjoy well written crime drama.

About Jacqueline Harrett


Former teacher and lecturer with a passion for storytelling. Retired from education but still loves learning. Writes in different genres. Crime series with DI Mandy Wilde as the detective. Women’s fiction with Janet Laugharne as J. L. Harland – What Lies Between Them.

Our Walk Around lake Vyrnwy (With a bit of History Thrown in) #photography #walks #memories #humour #MondayBlogs

‘Let’s go to Lake Vyrnwy,’ Husband said. ‘Take some photos.

“Take some photos”, is a phrase that has been used many time down the years of our marriage. Sometimes it makes my heart sink; it often means I carry on walking along a chosen trail, before realising I’ve left Husband behind, oblivious, and capturing, “just the right shot” and have to retrace my steps. I have complained that this means I have walked miles more than him, but he, (“quite reasonably,” he says) means I’m burning more calories off. I ignore the implication of this… normally… but make sure I eat his chocolate bar as well as my own, when we stop for lunch.

Anyway… Lake Vyrnwy...

Just on the edge of The Snowdonia National Park and south of Lake Bala, Lake Vyrnwy is set amidst the remote and beautiful Berwyn Mountains. With spectacular waterfalls, and unspoilt open countryside. Except that, although the scenery is, as always, fantastic, the waterfalls are sadly depleted. As is the reservoir. However, since these photos were taken in August, and we’ve had such downpours, with fingers crossed, an inch or two may have been added to the water level. One can but hope!

We parked in a designated area that was supposed to be on the edge of the lake. It wasn’t; the water was so low we could have walked quite a few metres on shingle that should… would … in ‘normal times’ be submerged. It reminded us that, underneath, was a village, lost many years ago.

Llanwddyn was a village on the hillside next to the Cedig river. There were thirty-seven houses, three chapels and a Church of St John, and, in the surrounding countryside, ten farmsteads. Farming was the main occupation of the people in the valley, they ate simple food, such as mutton broth, porridge, gruel, and milk and burned peat from the moors in their fireplaces.

But, with expanding industries in the the Midlands and the north-west of England, and the prospect of higher wages, many people left. To make matters worse for those still trying to make a living from the land, in 1873 the local vicar,Reverend Thomas H. Evans published a report that the area was useless for agriculture, because it was waterlogged for much of the winter.

Seeing this, made us realise how many streams must has poured down the hills. Imaging the rush of water, I suppose it’s easy to understand the Reverend’s statement. Yet it has left me wondering why he wrote the report. Was he paid? Were the villagers aware of what he’d done? If they did find out, what was the reaction? I haven’t been able to discover that. The writer in me is itching to research that time. It did coincide with a time when the authorities of Liverpool were exploring the country for sites to build a new reservoir to cope with the growing population on both sides of the Mersey. So who’s to say!

Various sites were under consideration in northern England and Wales, but in most cases there were snags By 1877 a group of engineers arrived in Llanwddyn. Their visit was to look into the possibility of damming the river Vyrnwy. A survey revealed a large area of solid rock, just where the valley narrowed, two miles south of the village, which could act as a base for creating a large, artificial lake that had the potential for holding many millions of gallons of water.

It brings a feeling of awe, of sadness, almost, to be walking on land that is normally submerged under water, on land where a village once stood, where people once lived.

Driving further around the lake we pass a sign at the side of the road – “Track to impressive hillside view. Not to be missed”. Well, if ever there was a challenge to a photographer, that was it. Husband got out of the car and disappeared for a few minutes, soon to return. ‘It doesn’t look too bad. Come on.’

And indeed the first few steps were not too bad. And then we turned a corner… to be faced by an almost vertical path, a rocky vertical path. I stopped; why do I always let myself be fooled?

‘Come on, it’s not far!’ He said that numerous times for the next ten minutes. Hauling me from bend to bend. ” Think of the view!”

I couldn’t think of anything, except how to get my next breath.

But I had to admit, the view was worth it. The coniferous forests planted around the lake by the Forestry Commission are impressive.

On the way back, Husband found two stout branches to use as walking sticks, to scrabble down between mossy rocks and sliding muddy stones. It was either that or an undignified descent on my backside.

In 1880 the Liverpool Corporation Waterworks Act was passed by Parliament, and received the Royal Assent. Preparations were at once put in hand to gather the work-force and equipment necessary for the construction of what was to become the first large masonry dam in Britain and the largest artificial reservoir in Europe at the time. Work on the site began in July 1881.

The stone for the masonry was obtained from the quarry specially opened. All other materials were brought by horse and cart from the railway station at Llanfyllin, ten miles away. Stabling for up to 100 horses was built in Llanfyllin. The labour force topped 1,000 men at the busiest stage of the work on the dam. Many of them were stone masons working in the quarry, dressing the stone which was not easy to handle.

In a very short time the dam was completed. The village of Llanwddyn, and all buildings in the valley that were designated to be covered by the water, were demolished.

©Martin Edwards

St Wddyn’s church was built on the hill on the north side to replace the parish destroyed by the flooding of Vyrnwy valley. Many of the graves were relocated from the graveyard of the old church to St Wddyn’s before it was flooded. It was was consecrated on the 27 November 1888, the day before the valves were closed. It took a year before the water reached and spilled over the lip of the dam.

On a previous walk, some years before, we witnessed a wedding procession coming from the church, led by a chimney sweep in all his glory. Apparently it’s considered lucky to see a chimney sweep on your wedding day, the belief being they bring good luck, wealth, and happiness. The bride and groom did look joyous. I would have loved to have tagged onto the procession, but, that day, we were looking for “a good view of the water”, further along the road.

On the same hill as the church a monument was erected in memory of ten men who died in accidents on the site during the building of the dam and another thirty-four who died from other causes at the time.

Stone houses, matching the stone of the dam, were built on either side of the valley for the people whose homes had disappeared under the lake. I suppose there must have been a lot of opposition to flooding the valley to provide Liverpool with water at the time, and since, but records have apparently shown that it brought prosperity and stability to the area.

Our final excursion on our walk was to the waterfalls.

One of the highest is the Rhiwargor waterfall at the northern end of Lake Vyrnwy. From the car park I was relieved to see the relatively flat path along the valley of the river Eiddew. There was a trail leading up and up along the side of the falls. Despite much attempted persuasions, I declined, and opted for a coffee and a picnic at a nearby picnic table. And I ate his chocolate bar! Well, after that impromptu climb earlier, I thought I deserved it. Who said I hold grudges?!!

N.B. The Lake Vyrnwy Nature Reserve and Estate that surrounds the lake is jointly managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Hafren Dyfrdwy (Severn Dee). The reserve is designated as a national nature reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Special Protection Area, and a Special Area of Conservation.

Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair 2022 – #Fantasy D.Wallace Peach, #Memoir D.G. Kaye, #Familysaga Judith Barrow

With many thanks to Sally for including myself and my book, The Memory, in her Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair 2022, alongside brilliant writers D.Wallace Peach and D.G. Kaye,.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair with a selection of books from personally recommended authors on my bookshelf I believe will make wonderful gifts for friends, family and for you. 

The first book today is from fantasy author D.Wallace Peach who creates amazing worlds to set her stories in and amazing characters. The Sorcerer’s Garden.

About the book

Recently fired and residing with her sweetly overbearing mother, Madlyn needs a job—bad. In a moment of desperation, she accepts a part-time position reading at the bedside of adventurer and amateur writer Cody Lofton. A near-drowning accident left the young man in a vegetative state, and his chances of recovery wane with each passing day.

Cody’s older brother, Dustin, and eccentric grandmother aren’t prepared to give up on the youngest son of Portland, Oregon’s royalty.

Dustin’s a personable guy, bordering on naïve, and overwhelmed by familial corporate duties and cutthroat partners…

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Places in our Memories: With Marjorie Mallon #MondayBlogs #Memories #Gardens and Sculptural Treasures

There are places that remain in our memories, the details may become slightly blurred, nostalgia may colour our thoughts, but they don’t fade. And how those places made us feel at the time is the one thing that remains.

Today I am so pleased to welcome MJ Mallon. I have known Marjorie through her great support of other writers, especially with her work as poet, a blogger, and a book reviewer. She is also founder of the Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club. I have long admired her work.

Welcome, Marjorie.

Thank you so much to Judith for inviting me to talk about my places in our memories.

There are so many precious memories in our lives gathered from childhood to adulthood and beyond. In this series,  I would like to talk about my love of botanical gardens – in particular Cambridge Botanical Garden in UK, and my respect for sculptural/artistic and wonders of engineering science.

In particular, nature has been a wonderful inspiration in my writing… I visited the Botanical Gardens in Cambridge often, working nearby – and being in the lucky position of having a free pass from my work!  My employer encouraged us to attend an in-house mindfulness course which further enhanced my sense of awareness, allowing me to utilise all my senses on my daily walks.

I am a visual writer gaining ideas from immersing my consciousness in the world around me. I remember our first task in Mindfulness training was simply to eat a raisin slowly, savouring it, and noticing any sensations as we did!

The mindful magic of the garden kept me enthralled, with the leaves of the trees gently rustling in the breeze, or shedding, or colour changing their welcome celebrating all the seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter, the changes in colour delighting me.

Let me introduce you to some of the  unexpected animals and birds who greeted me there… one day I spotted a ginger cat who became one of the inspirations in Mr. Sagittarius Poetry and Prose as did the cute robin and the dragonfly.

Here are some poems and photos from the collection…

Red, Devil’s Needle,

Or luck bringer with kind eyes?

Ancient, sweet fellow,

Secret magic bestower,

Change tumbling on fragile wings.

© M J Mallon

Bench,

A bird,

Red-breasted,

So, tame you rest,

Beside me robin,

Two friends on a park bench,

One human, one of nature,

I appreciate your kind time,

Until you away… exploring far,

Hinting at possibilities you go. 

I wonder what you notice in your world.

And why you choose that ground to explore,

When you could have stayed here with me,

In mindful meditation.

Maybe you’ll visit me,

Christmas day, perhaps?

To bring good cheer,

Until then,

Peace to,

You.

Tree and nature poems are also the focus  in my latest poetry collection: The Hedge Witch and The Musical Poet and nature will also feature in my soon to be published Do What You Love.

I have to say I miss the gardens now I’ve moved away from Cambridge. I am currently spending time in Portugal in a long stay holiday residence and the rest of the time in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Whilst  I was in Edinburgh I was delighted to be asked to provide copies of two of my poetry collections: Mr. Sagittarius and  Prose and Lockdown Innit Poems About Absurdity to prestigious libraries in the UK: National Library of Scotland, The Bodleian Library Oxford University, National Library of Wales, Cambridge University Library, The Library of Trinity College Dublin, and The British Library in London. And… my Curse of Time fantasy series, (which is with a Japanese Publisher,) are now held at my old school FP library at George Watson’s College, Edinburgh. It’s nice to know a little piece of me is to be kept for posterity for people to read in the UK!

So, with regards to poetry, my botanical delight has served me well! Giving me a chance to explore a happy place in my writing.

Further memories… sculptural and artistic in nature… drew my attention and captured my heart in Cambridge, England… the Corpus Christi grasshopper clock in King’s Parade and Juniper Artland’s Anya Gallaccio’s crystal grotto provided the initial inspiration for dark fantasy The Curse of Time series, Bloodstone and Golden Healer which are published by Next Chapter Publishing. And… I was so lucky to meet and be invited to lunch with the world renowned inventor of the clock, Dr. John C. Taylor, OBE  in Cambridge, UK, which was definitely a highlight of my life in 2017! There was such synergy in the meeting as he loves clocks and crystals too! Talking to him has given me such a respect for the wonders of engineering innovation.

More about the three clocks on his blog – the grasshopper, the midsummer fly and the dragon! https://www.johnctaylor.com/the-chronophage/

Just to add – exciting news on Marjorie’s behalf. Her next new book is out to preorder.

Blurb

Do What You Love Fragility of Your Flame Poems, Photography & Flash Fiction is a personal poetry collection celebrating how the fates may have a part in all that we do.

With special poems and short reflective moments inspired by family, flowers and nature, love, scrumptious morsels, places I’ve visited, lived and intend to live in, the friendships and hopes I have for the future.

The overarching theme is to live a life well lived… And to do what you love.

float along with me

create clouds of sweetest joy

to do what you love

hold fate’s hand as we venture

near and far on life’s journey

Release Date: 25th November 2022, able to preorder via the following links.

Until we meet again… sweet robin, dragonfly, cat and scary grasshopper… and all the other creatures both real, created or imagined… Goodbye, adeus, tchau!

Next Chapter Publishing

Acclaimed YA Fantasy series, The Curse of Time:

Bloodstone and Golden Healer

For details of publications please visit:

https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/mj-mallon

Kyrosmagica Publishing

Acclaimed Poetry and Flash Fiction

Poetry and Flash Fiction: The Hedge Witch and The Musical Poet

https://bookstoread/u/mv1oev

Poetry, Prose and Photography: Mr. Sagittarius Poetry and Prose http://mybook.to/MrSagittarius

Pandemic Poetry: Lockdown Innit Poems About Absurdity

http://mybook.to/Lockdown Innit

Pandemic Anthology: This IsLockdown

http://mybook.to/Thisislockdown

Kyrosmagica publications are available on Amazon kindle, Kindle unlimited and paperback.

Short Stories in Anthologies:

Bestselling horror compilations

Nightmareland compiled by Dan Alatorre

“Scrabble Boy” (Short Story)

Spellbound compiled by Dan Alatorre

“The Twisted Sisters” (Short Story)

Wings of Fire compiled by Dan Alatorre

“The Great Pottoo” (Short Story)

Ghostly Rites 2019 compiled by Claire Plaisted“Dexter’s Creepy Caverns” (Short Story)

Ghostly Rites 2020 compiled by Claire Plaisted

“No. 1 Coven Lane” (Short Story)

For all my publications and contributions to anthologies please refer to my Author Blog: https://mjmallon.com and my Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L/

All my links are available via: https://linktr.ee/mjmallonauthor

Author Bio

MJ’s favourite genres to write are fantasy YA, Paranormal, Ghost and Horror Stories, various forms of poetry and flash fiction. She celebrates books, the spiritual realm, love of nature and all things magical, mystical, and mysterious at her blog home: https://mjmallon.com

She’d describe herself as a reading, blogging and photography enthusiast!
M J Mallon was born in Lion city Singapore, a passionate Scorpio with the Chinese Zodiac sign of a lucky rabbit. She spent her early childhood in Hong Kong. During her teen years, she returned to her father’s childhood home, Edinburgh where she spent many happy years, entertained and enthralled by her parents’ vivid stories of living and working abroad. Perhaps it was during these formative years that her love of storytelling began bolstered by these vivid raconteurs. She counts herself lucky to have travelled to many far-flung destinations and this early wanderlust has fuelled her present desire to emigrate abroad to Portugal. Until that wondrous moment, it’s rumoured that she lives in the UK, in Edinburgh. Her two enchanting daughters have flown the nest but often return with a cheery smile to greet her.

She writes fantasy/magical realism because life should be sprinkled with a liberal dash of extraordinarily imaginative magic! Her motto is to always do what you love, stay true to your heart’s desires, and inspire others to do so too, even it if appears that the odds are stacked against you like black-hearted shadows.

ABOUT M J Mallon

My favourite genres to write are Fantasy YA, Paranormal, Ghost and Horror Stories, various forms of poetry and flash fiction. I celebrate the spiritual realm, love of nature and all things magical, mystical, and mysterious at my blog home: https://mjmallon.com

I’d describe myself as a reading, blogging and photography enthusiast!

M J Mallon was born in Lion city Singapore, a passionate Scorpio with the Chinese Zodiac sign of a lucky rabbit. She spent her early childhood in Hong Kong. During her teen years, she returned to her father’s childhood home, Edinburgh where she spent many happy years, entertained, and enthralled by her parents’ vivid stories of living and working abroad. Perhaps it was during these formative years that her love of storytelling began bolstered by these vivid raconteurs. She counts herself lucky to have travelled to many far-flung destinations and this early wanderlust has fuelled her present desire to emigrate abroad. Until that wondrous moment, it’s rumoured that she lives in the UK, in the Venice of Cambridge with her six-foot hunk of a rock god husband. Her two enchanting daughters have flown the nest but often return with a cheery smile.

I write fantasy/magical realism because life should be sprinkled with a liberal dash of extraordinarily imaginative magic! Her motto is to always do what you love, stay true to your heart’s desires, and inspire others to do so too, even it if appears that the odds are stacked against you like black-hearted shadows.

Book Review: Making Waves by Thorne Moore (@ThorneMoore)#RBRT #science fiction #thriller

SaylingAway

I truly believe Thorne Moore could write a five-star book about a paper bag. She has challenged herself by writing in books of different genres and her readers (including myself) have found them all compelling. I did not read the first book in this series (Inside Out) but no matter, this book qualifies as a stand-alone. I chose it because I wanted to see how the author fared with science fiction, and she fares very well indeed.

The setting: Two hundred years into the future, human civilization has populated various moons and planets in what is collectively called the Outer Circle. Triton station, the Outer Circle headquarters of Ragnox, Inc., on the moon of Neptune, is as far as the intrepid can go unless exploring. Ragnox is the unassailable villainous corporation ruling over the territory with its psychopathic boss, Pascal. One of the activities he oversees, in…

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Five on Friday with Deborah Carr @DebsCarr @GeorginaTroy @drummondella1

Oh, do love Jill’s Five on Friday – today with with Deborah Carr @DebsCarr @GeorginaTroy @drummondella1. And, for a treat Do You Hear the People Sing – Les Miserables. memories of seeing this in London years ago. I cry every time I hear this song.

Jill's Book Cafe

Today I’m delighted to feature author Deborah Carr who as well as self-publishing several books is also traditionally published. Deborah writes historical fiction in her own name for HarperCollins One More Chapter; contemporary romance series as Georgina Troy for Boldwood Books; and has written two psychological mysteries for Hera Books written as Ella Drummond. Her historical novels each have a connection to Jersey and her contemporary romance series are all set on the island.


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Guest Feature Flashback 2

Some really interesting and informative interviews here. And I need to thank Patricia for giving me the chance to talk about my own writing journey.

Patricia M Osborne

Guest Features on Patricia’s Pen – April 2022 – July 2022

Last week I invited you to read some of the previous guest features on Patricia’s Pen from this year. This week check out these further twelve guest features that ran from April 2022 – July 2022 (inclusive).

Martin Lott, fantasy author, kicked off April with his new novel Aldred. Definitely worth a visit and check out the book if you haven’t already. You can read Martin’s Blog HERE

Next up came author, Angela Fish, blogging about The Fractured Globe. Read more HERE

May brought fellow Swanwick writer, Angela Johnson, with Arianwen. Find out more about Angela and Arianwen HERE

Next up in May was the lovely and talented poet, Karen Mooney with Missing Pieces and Penned In. If you haven’t read these pamphlets read more about them HERE and contact Karen to…

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Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair 2022 – #Poetry – Annette Rochelle Aben, Harmony Kent, Bette A. Stevens.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair with a selection of books from personally recommended authors on my bookshelf I believe will make wonderful gifts for friends, family and for you. 

Poetry is an art form and has been enjoyed by readers for thousands of years. Today I am sharing some of the collections on the bookshelf that I am sure you will enjoy too.

The first is A Tanka Picture Book by Annette Rochelle Aben.

A Tanka Picture Book by [Annette Rochelle Aben]About the collection

Life is alive with poetry; all the sights, sounds and smells. Blend it all together in your mind and you will begin to sing songs in your heart. You deserve a reason to smile, to feel good while pondering the magic of your world. You are closer than you think.

Open, A Tanka Picture Book! Consider the story each picture shares through its visual. Enjoy how each is enhanced with…

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – November 7th – 13th 2022 – Remembrance,1940s hits, Tony Bennett, Foods ‘K’, Far East 1946, Podcast, Book Reviews, Health and Humour

Many thanks to Sally for including Jane’s Places in our memories in her Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – November 7th – 13th 2022 – Remembrance,1940s hits, Tony Bennett, Foods ‘K’, Far East 1946, Podcast, Book Reviews, Health and Humour

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the round up of posts you might have missed this week on Smorgasbord.

I hope you have had a great week. I know that some of you in Florida and adjacent states have been in the path of the latest hurricane and that caused extensive damage along the coast. Hopefully you have not suffered too much damage and that there is some respite from the weather fronts. We have had extremely high winds and torrential rain this week but we are lucky to only get the tail ends of the big storms across the Atlantic here on the East Coast, whilst those in the West of Ireland get the brunt of them.

The annual remembrance services have been held this week in the UK on November 11th and today with Rembembrance Sunday. Around the world veterans and those who did not return are remembered at different times of…

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Children in Read – Auction

Patricia M Osborne

For those of you who aren’t on Twitter you may have missed that a signed copy of House of Grace and a poetry bundle consisting of (limited edition) signed copies of Taxus Baccata, Symbiosis, and Spirit Mother are up for auction in Children in Read to raise money for Children in Need.

The auction ends in six days. My LOTS are 534 and 535.

Pop over if you fancy a bid. Signed copies. FREE DELIVERY (UK Only).

MAKE YOUR BID HERE

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Five on Friday with Gráinne Murphy @GraMurphy

Five on Friday with Gráinne Murphy @GraMurphy Only two days late … which, for me, is quite good these days. And, having read the blurb on Grainne’s books, have bought Winter People. And so the TBR pile… topples. But, hey, always have something to look forward to, I say!

Jill's Book Cafe

Today I’m delighted to feature author Gráinne Murphy. Gráinne’s debut novel, Where the Edge Is, was published in 2020 by Legend Press, followed by The Ghostlights in 2021. Her third novel, Winter People, was published in October 2022, also with Legend Press. Winter People started life as a short story, Further West, which was longlisted for the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award in 2021.


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Places in our Memories: With Liz Hinds #MondayBlogs #Memories

There are places that remain in our memories, the details may become slightly blurred, nostalgia may colour our thoughts, but they don’t fade. And how those places made us feel at the time is the one thing that remains.

Today I’m really pleased to welcome Liz Hines to Places in our Memories. She brings to life her memories of growing up in a house that was once a public house, and living in a strong matriarchal family.

Home

It took the builders three days to knock through the wall of my bedroom to put in a window. Day after day, they chipped and hammered and swore until the hole in the four foot thick wall was big enough to let in the sun, but bigger than the view of Polly Garter next-door’s garden deserved.

The slate steps that led up to the always-open front door featured in countless family photos

My bedroom was at the back of the house in the part that had already withstood eight generations. In my great-great-great-grandfather’s day it had been a public house. Years later, when it was finally rid of the smell of ale and gin, my great-grandmother wanted the front, which at that time still bore the legend, ‘Albert Inn’, fashionably pebble-dashed. The work had scarcely begun before the local bigwig, Harry Libby, came thundering to the door, ‘What are you doing, woman? This is sheer vandalism, destroying the heritage of the village.’ My great-grandmother didn’t give birth to twelve and raise eight children to be told what she could or couldn’t do with her own home — especially not by an upstart village boy — and she told him so.

That house, the place of my birth and my home for twenty-five years, stands in the middle of a terrace in the heart of the village. It was a matriarchal household: throughout my childhood there were four generations of women living there, my grandmother being the dominant force. My grandfather was a quiet gentle man, content to sit in his chair by the window, listening to the wireless and smoking his cigarettes. The room he sat in we called the kitchen, though all cooking, and washing of clothes, dishes, and bodies, was done in the scullery under the corrugated tin roof.

The kitchen was a low-ceilinged room where the light was always on and the fire always lit. The one window looked out onto a limed wall, eight feet high and three feet away. It was a small room crowded with furniture  – a settee, two armchairs, a bureau, and a dining table with assorted chairs. Shabby but clean and polished.

I see my grandmother now, bustling in.

“Put some more coal on, Jack, the fire’ll be out in a minute.”

Her husband chooses to not hear her.

“I suppose I’ll have to do it myself. Wait till I see that coalman, giving me this English rubbish, I’ll tell him.”

She rakes the fire and shovels on more coal. Standing up she wipes her hands on her pinny and then stops in her tracks. She picks up a candlestick from the mantelpiece and tuts.

“I’ll have to clean these tomorrow.”

It will take her all morning to polish the candlesticks and horse brasses and souvenirs of trips to Tenby, and when she’s done, the house will smell of Brasso for the rest of the day.

It is she who is largely responsible for my upbringing, my mother having to go out to work in order to keep me fed though I was clothed in hand-me-down dresses from my conveniently six-month older and much richer cousin.

My grandmother’s father had died the year before I was born leaving a legacy of legend. He – almost single-handedly if family history is to be believed – built Ford’s first factories in America. When the hiraeth became too strong, and he returned home to Wales, Henry Ford himself – again, the stuff of family myth – came to our village and begged him to return, offering to transport the whole family back to the States. But the women wouldn’t go and a good thing too else my story would be completely different.

 As I said, my great-grandmother had eight surviving children and her presence in my growing-up home meant a constant flow of visitors. The encompassing of me within this extended family provided a shelter, the walls of which were stronger than bricks and mortar, and it was easy to ignore the non-existence of one person, to have only a vague awareness that something was missing but that it didn’t really matter much. I was surrounded with love and its Welsh synonym, good home cooking. When there were lots of us, the family, there for dinner we would pull out the table and I would squeeze onto the bench next to the wall. This was my favourite place, where the bricks I leaned against were warmed by Mr Shires next door’s fire. I sat quietly in the glow of conversation and knew that here I was safe.

Back in the late 1920s, two of my gran’s sisters were married from Albert House in a double wedding.

In 1964 I passed my eleven plus and the door to the another world, to Glanmor Grammar School, a more precarious world of Latin and physics, was opened to me. There was one other fatherless girl in the class but her father had had the decency to die. I lied to those who wanted to know that my father worked abroad. The summer of love was still to come and, in any case, free love only applied to the beautiful people out there, not the parents of good grammar school girls in South Wales.

My French teacher was called Miss George. She was soft-spoken with a gentle face and greying uncontrollable hair. In her lesson she asks around the class the question, “Est ce que faites votre pere?” Thirty three girls sitting in rows waiting for their turn, or in my case, praying for the bell to ring, please, before Miss George gets to me, please don’t let her ask me. Shall I lie, make up an answer? “Il est un medecin. “”Tres bien,” where does he work? No, I’d blush, stutter, be caught out. “Mon pere est mort.” Convenient but they all know. The bell rings, the problem goes away for today, and I go home to steak and kidney pie and rice pudding.

 So was that it? The worst I had to bear? It stands out in my memory but when I stop and think, try as I might, I cannot recall one unkind comment, not one slur on my parentage through the whole of my childhood and adolescence. If that was as bad as it got, then surely the family did its job well.

When I enter the house that is now my home, I breathe in the same sense of security that my first home gave me; I hope my children feel it here too.

Albert House has been in a state of disrepair for a few years now

I was the last of the family to be born in Albert House and I linger over the link with the past. I’ve looked on old maps, tried to locate the public house that was to become my home. I’ve never been able to find it.

About Liz:

Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/3njxzep4

https://www.facebook.com/liz.hinds1

Twitter: @LizHindsAuthor