Thursday, 21 January 2021

Dementia - A Devastating Disease

Today, I have the amazing Debbie Johnston talking about her father-in-law, it is a story that will break your heart and lift your spirits in equal measures.


In Memory of John - My Run for Dementia


Dementia is just for old people. Right? Wrong! I discovered this when I first met my husband’s father John. Of course Tim wasn’t my husband then and we were just starting out on our relationship but when he told me his father had Early Onset Alzheimer's I didn’t fully understand what that meant. Looking back now, I realise that John was roughly the same age I am now when he was ill. I just turned 50 in July. It’s a sobering thought.

 As an outsider looking in on this lovely family I could see the devastation that this disease was having on them. Here was a much loved and respected man who was stolen away from them by a disease that robbed them of someone who meant so much. A man who had grandchildren, a wife and a son and daughter who loved him dearly. He had many friends and was a valued member of his church community.  By this stage he barely knew who they were and was a mere shell of the man I’d heard so much about. He’d aged overnight. I think the first time I ever met him was at a family dinner out. By this stage he was having problems with speaking and had difficulty managing a knife and fork to feed himself. Not long after that John had to go into full time nursing care and the further heartbreak this caused is something that's very difficult to put into words.  A family worn down by their heartache as they watched him deteriorate even further and yet their dedication to him was breathtaking. But, not only did the disease rob John of his life, it also robbed them of the future they might have had with him. John sadly died on 21st January 2006, aged just 58 years old.  And, this is why this year I am taking part in Run for Dementia.

 I never knew John when he was well and I wish I’d met him under happier circumstances. I love listening to the stories his family tell of him. Never was anyone more loved than John. Never was anyone more respected that he was. His funeral was testament to that with a massive gathering of people all mourning the terrible gap that was left in their lives now that he was gone.

 Run for Dementia, organised by the Alzheimer’s Society is a challenge to run either 50 or 100 miles in a month while gathering sponsorship. So, I took up the challenge and I’m hoping to run 50 miles in the month of January. I’ve set a target of £300 to raise and I’m just over halfway there. I’m a fairly fledgling runner, only taking up running in July but as it turns out I find it quite enjoyable so it seemed the most logical way to raise money. In order to reach my running goal I need to be running at least 5 kilometres 4 times a week in January which doesn’t sound a lot but when working in a fairly stressful job in the middle of a pandemic, or if it’s raining or freezing cold outside sometimes running just doesn’t seem much of an enjoyable way to spend time outdoors. Sometimes I’m just tired. But, I tell myself it's a small sacrifice for an amazing cause and absolutely nothing in comparison to the years of difficulty those families living with dementia go through.

 The Alzheimer’s Society offered support and advice to my mother in law and she valued it so much that she is now a volunteer with them. Hearing about the amazing projects she has been involved in to help support people with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and their carers has been inspiring. At times during John’s illness I felt helpless and unsure of what I could do to help. I was new to the family and was always worried about overstepping the mark. There was little I could do from a practical side except offer them support when I could. It's very difficult because there are no words that are going to change a diagnosis. But sometimes a listening ear is all people really need or someone to offer ideas on how to manage a situation. That’s what the Alzheimer’s Society does and that’s why it's important for me to support the charity. To be able to give something back. In the middle of a global pandemic many charities are not able to fundraise the way they used to so it’s even more important now to support them as much as we can.

 A couple of years ago I also co-wrote a children’s book with some amazing authors to help raise funds so go check out Little Kitty: The Cat Burglar. It’s  a fun read with your kids. All proceeds of the book went to Alzheimers Research UK. We know there is so much research still to be done in the quest to eradicate this horrible illness if possible. Since John’s death there have been advancements in medications but more still needs to be done.

The book can be bought on Amazon

 If anyone would like to sponsor my Run For Dementia cause the Just Giving page can be found at

Thank you all for taking the time to read about my running challenge. Even if you aren’t in a position to donate please find the time to educate yourself about Dementia and find ways to support those charities that are helping families who at times are struggling so badly. At the heart of every diagnosis of dementia is a person. A family member. A loved one. 


JB Johnston, real name Debbie is an aspiring writer. She is a member of the Romantic Novelist’s Association New Writers scheme and is currently working on her second novel which has the working title of The Road to You.  She’s still trying to find a publisher for her first novel Room Among The Stars but writing has taken a little bit of a backseat during the pandemic as she’s a frontline worker so has been kept fairly busy. JB is also a book blogger and runs Brook Cottage Books book blog. She’s been heavily involved in the writing community for some time now, including being a PA for an author, running virtual book tours, critiquing manuscripts and in the past has had her own column in an online magazine and had a slot on a book themed radio show. She’s also been an intern for a publisher where she had a stint as an editor. Back in 2013 she was shortlisted for Romance Blogger of the Year in the Romance Industry Awards. She’s passionate about supporting authors and publishers and is a member and co-founder of her local writing group The Bangor Scribes.


Twitter: @BrookCottagebks

 If anyone would like to sponsor my Run For Dementia cause the Just Giving page can be found at


Monday, 18 January 2021

Coincidence - And Did Those Feet? by Richard Tearle

Over the next month I will be adding some wonderful, coincidence, stories from amazing authors. Today's story comes from Richard Tearle.



Park House has gone now. Demolished just after World War II.

It had an interesting history. It stood on a small plateau, known as The Bulwarks, on the brow of North Hill, Highgate, north London. Once it would have been part of the great Bishop's Forest which stretched, in modern terms, from Muswell Hill, through Highgate and into Hampstead Heath.

Prior to its demolition, Park House and the grounds it stood in had been a succession of Institutes for 'Fallen Women' where the poet Christina Rosetti once served as a volunteer. Before that it had been a brewery and excavations on the present site revealed not only tunnels that were part of the brewery but also areas that had been used to hide troops in preparation for the very real threat of and invasion by Napoleon!

The brewery was founded and built by a man called John Cooper. Cooper was also the Lord of the Manor for Toddington (Bedfordshire) and his Manor House still stands today, albeit in private hands. Cooper eventually sold the brewery, which moved to a different part of Hornsey, and he built Park House as his personal town house. A succession of Coopers lived there until the last one died without issue in 1905 when the house was turned into an Institute 'for Idiots'. All of the John Cooper's successors were Lords of the Manor at Toddington as well, though, bizarrely, a son in law of his had to take the additional name of Cooper as part of the marriage agreement – giving him the magnificent (?) handle of William Dodge Heap Cooper Cooper! Those wacky Victorians, eh!

 My grandfather spoke rarely about his family, but I do recall that he mentioned, from time to time, his 'Uncle Mo'. Family research much later revealed that this was indeed correct. Moses Tearle was listed as an 'Agricultural Labourer' and worked for the Lord of the Manor of Toddington. So, pretty lowly in the general order of things.

And yet …

Moses Tearle married – under what circumstances we do not know – Amelia Cooper Cooper, granddaughter of John Cooper. They were married in Hornsey and would have spent much time at Park House, including, possibly, their wedding night.


As mentioned before, Park House was demolished and the land purchased by Hornsey Council. Just after World War II they built seven 'blocks' of flats on the land, leaving a number of green areas and even a small wooded section. It was an innovative project; it was intended to house families and ex-service men who had lost their homes during the bombings. The various houses were named after military commanders prominent in the war: Alexander, Montgomery, Tedder, Cunningham, Dowding, Mountbatten and Wavell. It was completed in 1948.

In 1949 my father, Leslie Tearle, moved into No. 6 Wavell House and I recall a very happy childhood there. We played football (illegally!) on the 'greens', cricket on the concreted 'playground'. We had bicycle races in the wooded area, massive bonfires on Guy Fawkes Day and there was a tremendous Community Spirit about the place.

 Little did we know then that nearly a hundred years before, one of our ancestors had walked around the very same grounds ….nor could Moses Tearle have known that we would tread in his footsteps so many years afterwards!


Today the estate has changed little, though the playground that we used is now fully given over to car parking, many of the flats are now privately owned and the entrance doors to each block need a security code to gain admission. In 1994, the estate featured in a couple of scenes in the spoof horror film, Shaun of the Dead.


The Hillcrest Estate features in my Short Story 'The Highgate Vampire' as part of my book, Melody Mayhem: 2nd Movement available on:

If you missed the other Coincidence stories, please click on the links ...

The Piper

An Hair Raising Coincidence

The Best Laid Plans

 Thank you as always for stopping by and please come back for more.

Take care of yourself and each other and I hope the sun is shining on your face and in your heart.




Thursday, 14 January 2021

Authors who help Authors....

 Today, I am talking on the wonderful Blog of, top selling author, Annie Whitehead about Chill Awards for independent authors, I hope you will join us...

Authors who help Authors: Pauline Barclay 

and Chill with a Book

The last post in this mini-series about supportive authors discussed

 reviews for historical fiction but of course, not all fiction fits into that category. 

This week I'm delighted to welcome as my guest Pauline Barclay, 

the instigator and owner of Chill Awards and a prolific author in her own right.


Welcome to the blog Pauline!


Hello Annie, a HUGE thank you for inviting me to your wonderful Blog

 and asking me talk about my other baby, Chill Awards for independent authors

I hope I don’t get too carried away... 😊


 I'm sure you won't! Enthusiasm is always catching so please feel free

 to tell us all about what you do. Firstly can I ask, what inspired you to set u

Chill with a Book Awards and how does it work?

Click HERE to read more

Monday, 11 January 2021

Coincidence - The Best Laid Plans by Jeannie McLean

 Over the next month I will be adding some wonderful, coincidence, stories from amazing authors. Today, we have a wonderful story from Jeannie McLean.

The Best Laid Plans

I was heading out the door one summer’s day and my twenty year old daughter asked where I was going. I said ‘out’ with a friend. I wasn’t yet ready to tell her that I was meeting a man I had met through work and I was going on a date. It did cross my mind that as a divorced woman of nearly fifty with adult children, I didn’t need to be secretive, but it was a new experience for me – my first ‘date’ since my divorce some years earlier.

She was preparing to leave the house as well and when I asked her where she was going, she replied as I had, ‘out with a friend’.

My date was my age, also divorced. I was joining him at a local park where a jazz band was playing as part of a summer concert in the park series. I mixed with few people who were interested in jazz and even though the park was local, I thought I was unlikely to come across anyone I knew.

I met him in the car park and together we headed towards the music. A little distance away were two people, their backs to us, but I recognised one of the people instantly. It was my daughter. She must have sensed something as she turned around.

She waved and began to stand up, but the young man she was with pulled her down and whispered to her.  She hadn’t mentioned that she was seeing anyone in particular and my first reaction was if this man objected to meeting his date’s mother, then he wasn’t good enough for her anyway.

I wasn’t going to be ignored so I indicated to my date we’d go over to my daughter. But he hesitated.

 What was it with these men?

I was about to introduce myself to the young man, when my date said “Hello James,” and the young man replied, “Hello Mr Barnes.”

It turned out that James was a very good friend of one of my date’s sons! So much for my daughter and I keeping our ‘new’ relationships quiet until we felt there might be something to mention!

After some awkwardness and laughter, we all enjoyed the music. Later, my date assured me that James was a very nice young man, just as my daughter’s date assured her, he liked Mr Barnes!  

Which was just as well, as within a few years, my daughter and I married those men.


By Jeannie McLean, author: her latest crime novel ‘Caught Between’

Is available on Amazon Kindle.

If you missed the other Coincidence stories, please click on the links ...

The Piper

An Hair Raising Coincidence

 Thank you as always for stopping by and please come back for more.

Take care of yourself and each other and I hope the sun is shining on your face and in your heart.




Monday, 4 January 2021

Coincidence - An Hair Raising Coincidence by Janet Few

 Over the next month I will be adding some wonderful, coincidence, stories from amazing authors. Today, we have a story that will send a shiver down your spine. Please meet Janet Few and this is her coincidence story...

In the early 1980s, I set off with my new-born daughter to house-hunt in Buckinghamshire, as my late husband had been posted there for work. Neither of us had any Buckinghamshire connections. As we did not have a car at the time, we concentrated our search on the town of Aylesbury, where my husband was to be working.  We viewed half a dozen houses. There was one that warranted a second visit but was on the main road, another older property that was opposite a school, one modern house on Bedgrove Estate, one that backed on to the wall of the local prison and one that seemed to have been built on a flood plain. None were quite right. Inevitably, estate agents ignored our ‘wish list’ which specified that we wanted to be in the town and also sent details of properties in the surrounding villages. At the last minute, one of my husband’s new colleagues offered to drive us to a viewing out of town and this one resonated. So, we moved into Green End Street, Aston Clinton, a few miles from Aylesbury. The road name always reminded me of something that Enid Blyton might have invented. We spent three years living there and my daughter was christened in the local church.

Then, another job move allowed us to return to the Isle of Wight, where our hearts were. Another daughter was born and was christened in a Devon church with family associations. My elder daughter was sad that her baptism had not been in a similarly significant ancestral location.

I had been tracing my family history for a number of years, researching families in London, Sussex, The West Country and Northumberland. This was long before genealogy was the online experience that it is today. Research involved visits to London and with two small children, was a protracted process. Imagine my surprise when, a few years after leaving Aston Clinton, I discovered that my great grandmother had been born in Buckinghamshire. This despite my uncle’s insistence that the family came from Cumbria. As I delved deeper into this family’s story, it became apparent that they did not just come from Buckinghamshire but from Aston Clinton itself. Gradually, I learned more about my great great grandmother, Ann Stratford, who was born about 1835 and who earned a living plaiting straw for bonnets. 

Eagerly I set off for a London research trip, planning to locate Ann in the 1851 census. In those days, census returns were accessed by winding one’s way through microfilms, impatiently scanning down the lists of names for the one that was sought. There she was! Ann Stratford, aged 15, a plaiter, born in Aston Clinton, living with her father and step-mother. I cast my eyes to the left-hand column. Would there be a precise address, or would this be one of those instances where it merely gave the village name? As I looked at the address column, hairs stood up on the back of my neck – Green End Street! My elder daughter had been baptised in the same church as her great great great grandmother and several ancestors from earlier generations.

Was it then coincidence that led us to live in Green End Street? Perhaps. Or was it some deep buried genetic memory that drew us there?

Janet Few

net Few is an internationally known family and community historian who has written several non-fiction books and two historical novels. Further details can be found on her website

Other Coincidence stories...

The Piper

If you enjoyed this story, please come back for more.

 Thank you as always for stopping by.

Please take care of yourself and each other and I hope the sun is shining on your face and in your heart.




Monday, 28 December 2020

Coincidences - The Piper

Over the next month I will be adding some wonderful, coincidence, stories from amazing authors. To start this exciting season, I will start with one of my coincidence stories that happened many years ago, The Piper. I hope you enjoy. 

The Piper

 The radio played in the background and the sound of bagpipes floated through the airwaves. ‘My goodness,’ my mum said, getting to her feet and turning the volume up. ‘This takes me back,’ she said returning to her chair. ‘When you were very young there used to be a piper who sat on the grassy bank at the side of York House and played the bagpipes. If I had the windows open you could hear him as clear as if he was standing outside the house. Sometimes, I would open the front door and just listen to him. This went on for weeks and then one day, he didn’t turn up, and despite listening out for him on a Sunday, I never heard him play again.’

 Years passed and the memory of the piper was long forgotten, until one evening. One, particular evening, my parents were out for a drink and during a conversation with others in the bar the subject moved to music. My mum found herself talking about the man who played the bagpipes all those years ago on the grassy bank. She explained how she had enjoyed listening and how saddened she had felt when he didn’t come back. An older man, close by, listened with interest to mum’s tale and, once she’d finished, he went up to her. ‘You have brought a memory back to me too,’ he said, ‘because, that piper you talk about, well, I was that piper and I stopped because we moved away. Funny, I never thought anyone would have taken notice of my practicing or even missed me.’

 My mum never forgot that evening and relayed the story often as she could never believe that such a coincidence could happen. And, yes, it is a true story.

 If you enjoyed this story, please come back for more.

 Thank you as always for stopping by.

Please take care of yourself and each other and I hope the sun is shining on your face and in your heart.




Thursday, 10 December 2020

Melody Mayhem with Richard Tearle

Today, I am delighted to have, Richard Tearle visiting PBHQ. Richard’s debut novel, short stories, was published earlier this year and his second, published in December 2020. Richard is going to share what inspired him to write.  So, please help yourself to a glass of bubbly, settle down on a comfortable seat and meet my lovely guest.

First of all, thank you Pauline for inviting me onto your Blog.

Melody Mayhem was my first properly published work and it came about in a rather strange and circuitous way. 

I had been reviewing Historical Fiction for Helen Hollick's Blog, Discovering Diamonds and at the end of our first year, she invited me, along with the other reviewers, to submit a short story on the subject of Diamonds. I was thrilled that it was accepted given the calibre of many of the reviewers. The following year, the subject changed to 'Stories inspired by a song' and this has stayed constant since then.

The whole process and the feedback was a tremendous boost for me as I had never written seriously before this. I didn't think too much on it apart from realising that I had caught the writing bug. But a meeting between Helen and her friend, Barbara Gaskell Denvil ended up with Barbara's daughter offering to publish my stories in a book. I was totally caught on the hop as I only had written a few other than those already published.

I went through the agonies that I think every new author suffers – the editing, proof reading, rewrites etc. – and the book eventually came out in May 2020.

By now I was writing many more stories and also had one accepted for an anthology of stories about Richard III, Right Trusty and Well Beloved, and this was published around the same time. It's one thing to have your book delivered directly to you Kindle, but quite another to have an actual Paperback version in your hands!

I don't write in any particular genre (apart from the fact that they are short stories), though historical fiction is largely my favourite reading material. Inspiration comes from a number of sources: one story tells the legend of the Rollright Stones in Oxfordshire whilst another is about my favourite football team, Tottenham Hotspur. I believe in diversity!

I try to create an atmosphere when I am writing but more importantly, I try and choose my locations and include things like street names, shops or pubs. I want people who know the area to recognise it.

Short stories often end with a hook: a single sentence can sometimes make the entire story become clearer or can explain what has been hinted at. First lines are also important. Something short and snappy that grabs the reader’s attention and makes them want to read on or something that immediately sets the time and place.

My second anthology, Melody Mayhem: 2nd Movement was published in December 2020 (so the entire year wasn't a complete wash-out!) and has more stories, dealing with ghosts, immortality and, yes, another football story.

In the meantime, I have been working on a novella called The North Finchley Writers' Group. In Melody Mayhem, I included a story about such a group and used some of the characters and the situation to expand it. Other writers may well recognise some of the discussions and situations that my characters encounter as well as the personal relationships they go through. They will not, however, recognise any of the individuals because I was extra careful with the names and characterisations! Readers who know the area will definitely recognise it; I grew up there and it is dear to my heart. This is due to be published at sometime during the opening months of 2021.

What can I say about myself that might be interesting? I grew up in the late 1950s and 60s and my love of music reflects that. Most of my working life has been in offices, firstly on the fringes of the music industry and later I spent the last 18 years before retirement as a very Civil Servant.

I am divorced and have 4 children – one boy and three girls – and they have provided me with four wonderful grandchildren. Oddly enough, in the same ratio. Though I love to travel it has been limited to the United Kingdom and I have totally fallen in love with Scotland where one of my daughters lives. I currently live in the historic city of Lichfield with a cat called Dickens.


 Melody Mayhem

Melody Mayhem: 2nd Movement

Previously unpublished short stories appear on my own Blog on the first Sunday of every month:




Saturday, 21 November 2020

The Haircut by Keith Bradley

Today, I have a wonderful guest, who over the coming months has become a good friend. Keith Bradley, yet to be published, writes fast action, edge of your seat, thrillers for the screen. When not writing about psychological killers, Keith also turns his hand to writing short stories that are guaranteed to put a smile on your face. So, please, sit back and enjoy, The Haircut by Keith Bradley.


‘Well you can forget about going to Blackpool with your brother if you don’t have a haircut,’ my mum said to me, after we’d been arguing about it for ages.

John, our kid, is going to take me and my best friend Colin, in his new company car, to Blackpool for my birthday. He gets a new company car every August and this time it’s a red, mark 4 Ford Cortina. I wish he still lived at home. Before he got married I spent loads of time with him. My mum was always telling me to stop mithering him. I’d say: ‘Where are you going our kid?’ ‘Can I come?’ ‘What time will you be back?’ He’d say: ‘I’m going to see a man about a dog’, ‘When you’re older’ and ‘Ask no questions, get told no lies.’ It was ace when John lived at home. He would have talked my mum out of making me go for a haircut.

‘Why do I need a haircut before I go to Blackpool?’

‘Because I say so.’

‘So, I’ve got to do everything you say because you say so?’

‘I’m your mother.’

‘So, if you told me to put my head in the oven, I’d have to put my head in the oven would I then?’

I’d got her here, because when I say I’m doing something because our kid does it she always says to me, ‘so you’d put your head in the oven if your brother told you to, would you?’

‘I haven’t got time for your lip, Kevin. Why can’t you just do as you’re told for once?’

She was starting to get annoyed, but she never really loses her temper, not really.

‘I don’t even need a haircut.’

‘Don’t need a haircut! What do you mean don’t need a haircut? Have you seen yourself in the mirror? Don’t need a haircut. Your fringe is nearly over your eyes and the sides are over your ears.’

‘No, they’re not.’

‘Kevin stop acting the goat. You need a haircut.’

‘Can I go with dad then?’

‘What’s wrong with Cindy? She always gives your hair a lovely cut.’

 ‘Nothing. But you said I could go to dad’s barber when I was older.’

‘What will I tell Cindy?’

‘Tell her I’ve gone to dad’s barber’

‘I can’t say that! She’ll be offended.’

‘Tell her I’m ill then.’

‘And what if she sees you in the street then? What do I say to her then, then? Hey?’

‘So, does that mean I’ve got to go to Cindy’s with you for ever?’

Click HERE to read more of  The Haircut.


About Keith

Keith Bradley left school at 16 and worked as a waiter, carpet cleaner, office clerk and systems analyst. In 1995 his passion for horse racing led him to become a jockeys’ agent. He was hugely successful and represented amongst others Tom Queally, the rider of Frankel and Seb Sanders, the 2007 champion.

In 2011 he became a mature student and obtained a first-class degree in French, Media and translation and then a masters degree on the renown creative write course at the University of East Anglia. His translation of Marilyn 1962 by Sébastien Cauchon was used to produce the script for the Hollywood miniseries, currently in production, of the same name. As a writer, he is tired of seeing the working class portrayed in a negative light and writes humorous short stories and scripts based on his childhood in Whalley Range. He has also recently written a full-length police procedural script with mainly female leads set in Milton Keynes and a situation com set in a betting shop

He has lived chronologically in Manchester, Nottingham, Newmarket, Milton Keynes, Clermont Ferrand and currently lives in Norwich with his partner Wendy and Ollie the wonder dog.

Friday, 13 November 2020

Helping our small Independents - The Butterfly Cafe.


With another national lockdown in England, restriction on who we can see, and the closure of thousands of hospitality venues and much more, life it once again hard for many. Whilst the large chains may survive another closure, the small independents will struggle to come out of this nightmare.

Where possible, we can help our independent shops and cafes. One such, small independent café, is the Butterfly in Norwich, Norfolk. Based close to the River Wensum and opposite, the historical, Dragon’s Hall, the Butterfly is well known for its aromatic, fresh ground coffee and sizzling bacon. Owner, Steve Kittle, knows that to survive this lockdown, he must offer as much on his menu for takeaway.

 “I’ve been in catering for over two decades and I love what I do. At the Butterfly you can expect traditional cooking with that professional touch. My full English breakfasts are legend in the area as are my, special, paninis. I offer an extensive menu from homemade soup to jacket potatoes. Today, everything on the menu is available for takeaway. I cook everything from the point of order so that the food is fresh and ready to eat in your own premises or sitting on one of the many seats overlooking the river. I want you to enjoy your food as much as I enjoy cooking it.”

If you would like to smell the coffee, the sizzling bacon then click on the links below to get your taste buds salivating!



Saturday, 7 November 2020

Written with great sensitivity and authenticity...


It doesn’t matter how many books you have written, seeing a review of one of your books never ceases to bring a huge smile. The review below was added on Amazon 2nd November for The Wendy House.

 “I won’t add any spoilers but this is an important subject which the author hasn’t shied away from but has written with great sensitivity and authenticity.”

 FIVE Stars – A Compelling Read by The Bub

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 2 November 2020

Nicola’s father has just died and she has something urgent to tell her mother Barbara. She is drinking too much and who is the man in the wheelchair she shows such disdain for?

The narrative of the past is woven into the present as we come to understand just what happened to Nicola as a child. The tension is skilfully built and the way her abuser grooms her when babysitting her is realistic and authentic. Nicola trusts him, why wouldn’t she? He is a kind and generous friend of the family.

What follows is a heartbreaking account of that betrayal and the effects on Nicola who is determined to protect her younger sister Becky at all costs.

Nicola’s bad choice of relationships is explored and her mistaking sex for real love after her early abusive relationship is very well done.

But what drives the suspense throughout the whole book is the conflict between mother and daughter: her mother seeing her as a rebellious and promiscuous daughter when we as the reader are privy to the truth. We want so much for the mother to know what the daughter has been subjected to but the shame, secrecy and blackmail have destroyed Nicola’s trust and confidence.

I won’t add any spoilers but this is an important subject which the author hasn’t shied away from but has written with great sensitivity and authenticity.

 The Wendy House is available in Kindle and paperback

The Wendy House has receive two distinctive awards.

Monday, 2 November 2020

Anecdotal - An Echo from World War II by Michael Reidy

There is nothing more entertaining than little tales that make you smile. So in an attempt to brighten up October / November I am running a special feature titled, Anecdotal. Anecdotal is where a few special peeps share a little story that has amused or left them speechless. Today, we have an entertaining tale from, Michael Reidy, An echo from World War II

 Please sit back and enjoy.

An echo from World War II

Both my parents were avid readers. They enjoyed good fiction and history, and dinner conversations were often about what they had read or were reading. My father also read math and physics books as though they were novels. He had shelves of them which was unusual for a real estate broker.

As an American officer, Dad was in the UK from February 1942 until March 1943. He was trained in radar with the British Army, and on his return the US  had time at Wright-Patterson Field and later at Fort Brady, Michigan, where the radar stations were protecting the Sault Locks from a possible German raid from Norway over the pole.

Those locks carried a huge percentage of American iron ore and steel, and a strike would have crippled production and extended the war by several years.

It was at Fort Brady that he met my mother who was a WAC aircraft plotting officer and the WAC company commander. Less than a year after they met, my father was sent to the Philippines where he trained radar operators and set up radar stations on islands shortly after the Marines had re-captured them. Often, he’d arrive before bodies were buried. This took him around the Philippines, to New Guinea, and to Pratas Island, China.

While my mother never knew exactly where he was or what he was doing, she followed the South Pacific news closely.

As a teenager in the 1960s, WWII was before the beginning of time. As a result, I had no idea how fresh in my parents’ minds it was. They talked about it, but mostly about friends they’d made; acts of kindness they’d experienced, and how even then, the history was becoming distorted or forgotten.

For example, on the fiftieth anniversary of D-Day, one of the UK tabloid newspapers ran a “sensational feature” about how many American soldiers had been killed during a pre-invasion exercise and were buried in Devon. The story was billed as one that had been supressed and was only now coming to light. The reality was that it had been fully published in several of the official histories in the late 1940s and early 50s. I was first aware of it when my mother told it to me on the way home from seeing The Longest Day in 1962, and I heard is several times afterwards.

My mother’s interest in history continued until the end of her life. One day when she was 102, she was at a committee meeting for an organisation she was still active in. (She was also still in a book club that had given her a Kindle for her 100th birthday. She loved it because she could enlarge the type.) At this meeting, one of her friends said:

“Janice, I’m reading a fascinating book about a plane crash in New Guinea during WWII. Only two soldiers and a WAC survived  and had to find their way down the mountain avoiding the Japanese and natives. You were a WAC, so I thought you might be interested.”

My mother replied, “Yes. That would have been Margaret Hastings. I was her commanding officer.”

Lost in Shangri-La (2012) is by Mitchell Zuckoff


Michael Reidy,


If you missed other great anecdotes, you can catch up by clicking the links...

 The Black Car

Health & Safety

The First Ride

Outdoor Loos in the Middle of the Night



Friday, 30 October 2020

A Spooky Read for Halloween.....


Top selling author, Suzy Turner, is celebrating Halloween with a brand new, spooky read. So  dust off your cobwebs and tumble into a Willow Tree Farm before you disappear….. aaaaaargh!


Little Shop of Borrows by Suzy Turner


After spending a year perfecting his knitting skills in the Peruvian mountains, Taren Winn-Jones returns to England to transform his late Nannas house into a yarn shop. But when he discovers it has quite literally vanished, he doesnt know what to do. Luckily for him, he has just befriended a strange young woman heading to the mysterious hamlet of Willow Tree Farm…

 Sadie Thornton is following her fathers instructions. If I disappear, you must find your way to the Winterbournes of Willow Tree Farm”. Well, her father has gone, so shes had no choice but to leave the Tibetan monks behind and fly halfway across the world to start afresh with a family harbouring a badly kept secret—that they are, in fact, witches.

 When it becomes apparent that a murder has been committed, a house has been stolen and ghosts are hanging around, three generations of the Winterbournes will do everything in their power to protect their new friends and if that means waging a war against Cinnamon Groves obnoxious Mayor, then so be it.

 Little Shop of Borrows is the first full-length novel in The Winterbourne Witches series. If you like quirky characters, magical mysteries and moments that will have you laughing out loud, then youll love Suzy Turners Little Shop of Borrows.




Youtube Trailer:


Amazon: Little Shop of Borrows -


A short, prequel novella, Willow Tree Farm is available on Amazon for FREE.

Willow Tree Farm -



Author Bio

 Suzy Turner wrote her first chick lit novel in her early twenties, but it wasnt until much later that she decided to focus on writing full time. It was during a visit to Canada in 2009 when the ravens within the dark eerie forests of British Columbia called to her. The story of Lilly Taylor was born soon after and the first novel in The Raven Witch Saga was created. Suzy has since published numerous urban fantasy books, contemporary women's and cozy mystery novels.

Having lived in Portugal since childhood, Suzy, who is originally from Yorkshire in England, loves to travel. She finds inspiration wherever she goes. Old decrepit buildings, graveyards, cathedrals and castles are just a few of the things that can be found within the worlds of her urban fantasy books, and her contemporary womens fiction novels are filled with fun friendships, ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances and quirky characters youd want as friends.

Suzy lives in the Algarve with her husband, three cats and a dog, where she meditates and does yoga every morning and then hangs out with her imaginary witches all day long.


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