#SoCS – Point – From My Own Book

This Saturday’s Stream of Consciousness prompt from Linda G. Hill is “Point”.  The instructions for this are to close your eyes, open a book, and put your finger on a page. Whatever word, phrase, or sentence, your finger lands on is what you are to write about.

So here it goes. But first I should say that the closest book to me is one of my own (Playing in the Rain) as I didn’t want to have to run upstairs and search for another. 

Eyes closed, thumbing through the book and…. “The first symptoms appear quickly,” he continued.

It’s fall and with fall comes the higher chance of contracting some cold or flu virus, and I don’t have time for that.

Last weekend I attended my first book conference. I prepared for it for about two weeks before hand. Picking up things I need, making bookmarks (the first time I’d ever had something like that and they turned out well.) Every time I got back into my car I used my hand sanitizer. I did not want to get sick before this big event. I even kept my excitement at bay. In the past, whenever I got excited about doing something or going somewhere I ultimately ended up coming down with something. 

The event came and went, and I managed to escape illness. I have another possible four events between now and Christmas. So, I will continue with the hand sanitizer and maybe throw in some exercise. A few years ago I got into the habit of a regular excercise routine and while everyone around me suffered from colds, I didn’t get so much as a sniffle. 

Anyway, I hope all of you are healthy and if a virus has darkened your door may you get well soon.

À votre santé!

Image from Pixabay


Author Interview – J. Craig Rice

Welcome J. Craig Rice – October’s author interview.

The answer to question 1 is inspiring, question 6 made me chuckle as I also have that talent (as I am sure so do many other creatives), and question 15 warmed my heart and put a smile on my face.

Thank you for sharing your fascinating (and sometimes humorous) answers to the interview questions.


1. Do you remember the first book you read that had an impact on you – in what way and what was the name of that book?

I love this question, because it had such an impact on my love of reading. I grew up in a house hold that had little education, my grandparents, who were raising me, were minimally educated and never found joy in reading anything other than the newspaper. I had a friend who was reading the book Gremlins, which had just been released in the theaters and he was talking about it a lot, and I was fascinated that a book had more details than a movie. I went out and bought my own copy and couldn’t put it down until I finished it. It took me from Friday evening until Sunday to finish, I barely slept, but I couldn’t get enough. After that, I was reading everything I could get my hands on.

2. When did you first realize you wanted to write?

I didn’t realize I had an interest in writing until after years of doing it. I was introduced to the game Dungeons and Dragons when I was in my freshmen year of High School. This was also during the time when playing or being involved in D&D was viewed as a cult and worshiping Satan. I found I loved running the games because I couldn’t stop being creative and I admit my mind wouldn’t shut down and some of my friends thought I was more than a little deranged. After I started reading the Dragonlance series, I realized I wanted to write similar books, but coming from a low education background, all my attempts was viewed as a waste of time and eventually, that passion crumpled under peer pressure from my family.

3. Who is/are your favourite author(s)?

This is hard to answer, I love Steven Gould, but I believe that is more for the content of the Jumper series than anything else, after that I try to stick to reading Indie Authors and haven’t locked down one I like the most.

4. What is your favourite thing about writing? What is your least favourite thing writing?

My favorite thing about writing is getting the ideas out of my head into written word, sharing my thoughts and dreams with anyone who will read them. My least favorite thing about writing is my lack of skill at it. I’ve always known I had the talent to write, but as I often got bored in school, I wasn’t the most attentive in my classes and the skills I needed, I didn’t pick up.

5. Where do your ideas come from?

Everything and everywhere. My favorite genre is always going to be science fiction/fantasy, but as I found my niche for writing comes from romantic comedy, I just look around, people I talk to, things I see, movies, television, books, ideas come from everything that crosses my path.

6. I’ve often found that creative people have more than one talent, what is yours?

I’m very talented at procrastination. I honestly haven’t thought about it much.

7. When you create characters are they completely made up or do they resemble or remind you of people you know?

All of my characters come from bits and pieces of people I’ve interacted with throughout my life. I try to use the good parts the most, and the villains of the story are modeled after the aspects of what I hate the most in people’s behavior.

8. How do you come up with titles for your books?

This is my biggest weakness. I honestly hate the titles of my books and want to change them, but can’t seem to come up with anything better.

9. What are you working on now and can you tell us about it?

When I wrote The Wright Life, I actually wanted it to be a one and done, and move on to something else, but as the book was much longer than planned, it turned into needing a sequel. I had planned to finish it within the next year, but life stood in the way of doing that, and nearly two years later, I’m still working on it. What I can tell, is that Jim getting shot, isn’t the worse thing that could happen to him.

10. What is one thing you haven’t done but would like to do?

Well, winning the lottery is high on that list. Honestly, I am pretty happy with my life, the ups and downs that come with breathing, gives me opportunity to learn and grow. My life isn’t perfect, but whose is? I have wonderful kids, a wife that hasn’t killed me yet, and a roof over my head. I think the only thing left, is to become a better writer.

11. Can you tell us about an embarrassing/funny moment?

Anything I ever did before having kids is truly embarrassing, anything after that was completely intentional.

12. Are you superstitious? Do you have any rituals for good luck?

I consider myself to be an open-minded skeptic. I’ve never seen a ghost or demon, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Until that time, to me there is no such things as ghosts, but if I meet one, I will be interested in having a chat about it.

13. What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten?

I once swallowed a fly, completely unintentional and definitely not planned.

14. Do you have a favourite vacation spot? Where?

I love history, and as such Washington DC has always been my go-to destination spot. I’m hoping that someday, I will get to take a vacation and go back and spend more than one day there.

15. What makes you happy?

Definitely my kids. My youngest daughter was born with 2 chromosome abnormalities, so rare, she is the only recorded person on the planet with them. She has similarities to children with Autism, learning disabilities and a whole spectrum of other issues. The fact that she doesn’t grasp the difficulties this causes her and that she is always happy, brings me the greatest joy. When I look at her and see her smile, nothing makes me happier.

16. If you aren’t writing (or doing anything associated with writing), what are you doing?

Working, I’m always working.

17. Have you ever met anyone famous – who?

That is a surprisingly large list. My favorite though was meeting Chris Claremont of X-Men fame. He is responsible for taking the X-Men comic books from a nearly canceled series to what it is today. I’ve also met Michael Dorn, Lt. Worf from Star Trek, I’m a big man, he makes me look tiny, met Drew Brees once, Donna Douglas, Elle May Clampet from The Beverly Hillbillies, and many others. I wouldn’t even suggest these people would ever remember me, but it was still cool. And those are the ones I can remember off the top of my head.


Craig’s links





Author Interview – Heather B. Moon

I am happy to have children’s author and illustrator, Heather B. Moon, as September’s author interview guest.

Heather’s books include the Tillie series,  Lottie series, Silly Trunk, as well as a short story for adults. 

Currently, Heather is working on releasing Tillie and the Golden Phantom just in time for Halloween. 

Welcome, Heather, and thank you for these great answers. (#9 should at the very least put a smile on your face). 🙂


1. Do you remember the first book you read that had an impact on you – in what way and what was the name of that book?

I love animals! Horses, dogs dolphins … all my books include animals of some kind. As a kid I read Black Beauty. It is written from the horse’s point of view. This really influenced my writing. My present work in progress is ‘Tillie and the Golden Phantom’. I love to include chapters which flick to the ghost horse’s point of view. This worked well with ‘Lottie Saves the Dolphins’ where I split the story by using the voice of the baby dolphin, Splash.

2. When did you first realize you wanted to write?

I’ve always had a passion for writing stories, and I have a passion for illustrating too. In my opinion they go hand in hand. As a primary school teacher I would make up stories and draw pictures on the blackboard using coloured chalk. It all sounds a bit antiquated now but the kids used to love that.

3. What is your favourite thing about writing?

The feeling I have when the character totally takes over. She comes alive …it’s as though I’m not really in control any longer.

What is your least favourite thing about writing?

Editing, editing and editing! Need I say more? It’s totally necessary though. Even if I think the manuscript is perfect my editor will pick up on some mistakes.

4.  Where do your ideas come from?

I suppose you could call me an eco-warrior.

My passion for caring for the environment and animals inspires my ideas.

I want to get the following messages across:

Don’t swim with dolphins in captivity!

Care for the bees!

Recycle plastic items!

Look after our planet!

Our planet is like an intricately woven tapestry. If one small thread unravels then the whole planet will fall apart.

5. I’ve often found that creative people have more than one talent, what is yours?

Definitely painting and drawing. I love to paint animals. People are always asking me to paint their pet’s portrait. I also paint animal portraits for various charities. Take a peek at my website under the header ‘My Art’.

6. What are you working on now and can you tell us about it?

I’m inspired by my environment mostly. I live part of the year in Cornwall and part in Lanzarote. The scenery is incredible in both. Also the lovely places I’ve travelled to. I had a motor home (R.V.) so travelling around France, Italy and Greece influenced Lottie Saves the Bees.

Lottie Saves the Dolphins is set on a fictitious island, Canario Bonito, which I based on Lanzarote. I’m currently writing

Lottie Saves the Turtles is set on a beautiful fictional Caribbean island of Wadadidily. I based this on St. Kitts. I found that Wadadidily was the original name the first inhabitants gave to St. Kitts. What a lovely discovery!

I’m never working on just one book though. I’m currently writing ‘Tillie and the Golden Phantom ‘. The launch date is 1st October, 2018. Just in time for spooky-wooky Halloween!

7. Do you have a favourite vacation spot? Where?

My friends call me International Heather! (That is why I chose the series title ‘Lottie Lovell International Investigator). I have been fortunate enough to travel to some amazing places.

Micronesia was a favourite of mine. As a scuba diver it was the ultimate experience. Truk Lagoon (sometimes spelt Chuck) is the Japanese equivalent of Pearl Harbor. Diving amongst the many military ship wrecks was amazing but very emotional at the same time. Not a subject I could use in a children’s book! But on the same trip, to Palau, I swam through a jellyfish lake. Ugh! Now that experience will definitely be used in my next book, Lottie Saves the Turtles.

Yes, I have travelled the world over and driven throughout Europe and New Zealand in an R…V. I could go on but Sandra would have to cut it short!

8. Are you superstitious? Do you have any rituals for good luck?

I’m a crazy-mad Manchester City supporter! From an early age I have always wore City blue knickers on match day. If I wear any other colour, City loses the game.  (In my time City has lost a lot anyway but I still believe my blue knickers help them win!

9. Can you tell us about an embarrassing/funny moment?

I was once skiing with a school group in Austria. I desperately needed a little tinkle so I stepped slightly to the side of the piste (no pun intended!). I thought I could get away with a sneaky little tinkle behind a tree managed to wiggle my bulky ski gear around my ankles but unfortunately, and rather lazily, kept my skies on. As I turned, my skies pointed parallel to the slope and I began to move slowly backwards.

There’s nothing quite as scary as whizzing past a crowded restaurant doing a Moonie whilst producing a stream of yellow snow!

10. What makes you happy?

Kids’ happy smiling faces beaming at me when I read my books to them!

Heather B. Moon Contact Details

Sign up for my Newsletter http://www.heatherbmoon.com/contact-me.html

Website http://www.heatherbmoon.com/

Moonbeams http://www.heatherbmoon.com/moonbeams.html

My Art http://www.heatherbmoon.com/my-art.html

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/heatherbmoon1  

Twitter https://twitter.com/Heather_B_Moon1

Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com 

Lottie Saves the Bees https://goo.gl/TNgQg8

Lottie Saves the Bees Manchester Special Edition https://goo.gl/Myq8CZ

Silly Trunk https://goo.gl/RRVyoz


Heather B. Moon was born in Royton, Lancashire and is married with two grown up children and three beautiful grandchildren.

      After teaching for some time in the Oldham area, Heather acquired her own school in the north of England. She now spends time at her villa in Lanzarote and walking the South West coast path close to her home in Cornwall.

      Heather’s passion for animals is greatly expressed in her writing.

     ‘I believe that wild animals should enjoy their freedom and not be held in captivity for entertainment purposes. I also believe in signing every petition there is for banning certain pesticides that harm our insects and birds. We all have a responsibility. Our world is like a tapestry…if one little thread becomes unravelled then the whole planet may fall apart.’


Mini Vacation to Algonquin Park

There were no big vacation plans for us this year, but my husband and I did manage to get away for a few days. Back in August we planned a little get away to Algonquin Park a place we haven’t been in 17 years. 

Algonquin Park is a Provincial Park located in southeastern Ontario, Canada. The park covers 7653 sq kms (2955 sq miles). It is larger than Prince Edward Island (the smallest province in Canada) and about the same size as the US states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined. It is the oldest provincial park in Ontario and was established in 1893. (Thank you www.algonquinpark.on.ca for the information)

We booked into a motel (more about that later) just outside the park checking in on Monday, Sep 17 and leaving on Thursday, Sep 20. As it is a five hour drive to the park we decided to get away a day early. So we headed to Peterborough on Sunday night.

On our drive to the park on Monday we stopped at Dorset Tower Trail. The idea was to hike the 2.3 km trail then to climb the Dorset Tower which stands 30 m hight (100 feet) tall. What we ended up doing was climbing the tower first as our GPS lead us to the tower and not the trail head. That ended up being a good thing.

I always forget how much I don’t really like heights until I start climbing. Going up wasn’t so bad, I just kept my focus ahead of me. Going down, however, was a little slower as I made sure my feet firmly planted on each steel grating step and both hands gripped the handrails.

Back at the bottom our legs felt like jelly. And then we went on the hike which was a loop that started and ended at the tower. First down a steep hill, across the bottom of the trail, and then back up an even steeper incline over rocks. Literature on the trail says that the hike should be completed by people who have a reasonable level of fitness. I’m not sure if we have a reasonable level of fitness, but we didn’t die.

Looking back up the trail as we hiked down
The hike back up the trail

Later that afternoon we checked into our motel, which was a bit of a dissapointment. We had stayed there the last time we visited the park and it was beautiful. The dining room served amazing meals and you had to make reservations because it was so busy.

Today the motel is run by a new owner and without going into too much detail the place is very run down. Grass hasn’t been cut all summer, overgrown gardens, roof shingles need replacing. Our first room had a leaky toilet (needed a new wax gasket) so we were upgraded to a much bigger room. The rooms are clean but are still decorated in the 1980-1990 style. Our second room only had one of three lamps working, the crank on a window was broken and we had to remove the screen and pull the window shut with our hands, the bottom track for the shower door was behind the bathroom door and we put it back on the shower. Plus many more other things but the owner would rather line his pockets with profits instead of putting it back into his motel. It really is a shame. Despite the “meh” accommodations we had a fantastic time enjoying the park.

On Tuesday we spent the day hiking and completed 8 trails with a total of 14.6 kms.

On Wednesday we ended up renting a canoe instead of hiking (my husband’s knee was bothering him), and we spent 4 hours paddling on Canoe Lake inside the park.

If you ever get a chance to visit Algonquin Park, do it. It is a beautiful place. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see any moose this trip. Fortunately, we didn’t run into any black bear as the first trail we hiked had some bear droppings here and there.  (Pictures without timestamp were taken with my cell phone).

Pictures with timestamp (forgot to turn it off) and the canoeing pictures after the turtle were taken with Canon wifi digital camera. The rest of the images were captured with my cell phone.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Sandra J. Jackson and Alethea Kehas

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome the Author update… a day later than usual as I got myself organised on my trip.

And the first author with a recent review is Sandra J. Jackson with a great review for Promised Soul.

About Promised Soul

Just as Krista’s summer plans are almost ready, she is suddenly plagued by strange dreams and intense feelings of déjà vu.

Feeling like she’s losing her mind, Krista visits a psychic, only to feel more confused. When she arrives in England, her dreams persist, and she finds herself at the doorstep of another psychic. She needs clarity.

Finally, the words Krista was afraid to say out loud are spoken. Now, she has to figure out what it all means.

Promised Soul is a story of the past, present and future of two souls, bound together by eternal and transcending love.

One of the recent reviews for Promised Soul

James J. Cudney…

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Book Review – Hurry Up Nurse!

Hurry Up Nurse!: Memoirs of nurse training in the 1970'Hurry Up Nurse!: Memoirs of nurse training in the 1970′ by Dawn Brookes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Author, Dawn Brookes, leads the reader through her personal journey as she trains to become a nurse in England during the late 1970s to early 1980s.

I usually read fiction; however, I thought I would try something different. And since this book is about becoming a nurse and I am not a nurse nor ever trained to be one, I thought what could be more different than that?

This is a good read with some funny and some not-so-funny times. It was interesting to learn about a nurse trainee’s experiences and perspectives in various areas of nursing such as geriatrics, psychiatry, and paediatrics to name a few.

There were little, if any, grammatical errors or typos. I did think there was a need for an extra space between paragraphs when the story changed from the account of one patient to another. Much like in a fiction novel when there is a scene change within the same chapter.

While this story would probably not be of interest to many it certainly is to anyone who has trained as a nurse no matter what country they are from. And maybe to those who are curious and enjoy learning about new things.

View all my reviews

The End of Summer

While I realize it isn’t officially the end of summer it sure does feel like it, especially since my husband and I drove our son back to Ottawa today for another year of university.

Ever since my children started school, I have found “back to school” a little sad. I think it’s a combination of things – kids getting older, kids leaving, end of summer – winter is coming. In any case, I feel like when he is finished with school only then will summer seamlessly merge into fall instead of feeling like such an abrupt ending.

Wishing all kids and parents a happy, healthy, and safe school year.