above water.

A strong recommendation from Beth for a book that may appeal to many of you.

I didn't have my glasses on....

i first crossed paths

with this brave and amazing future author (trish kearney)

years ago on her blog:

“my thoughts on a page”

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/8642668

where she wrote about

her family, her careers, her loves and losses, her daily life in ireland

when i later traveled to ireland

we met in person

(even though her children warned her i might really be a male serial killer)

we spent a great afternoon at an outdoor pub

near the water on a beautiful day

getting to know each other

i had no idea what her whole story was

until she began writing posts about her childhood

 floating the idea of writing her memoir

including painful buried trauma she had endured

as a young championship swimmer

over time she gained confidence

decided to tell her story

to find personal peace

to hold her tormentor responsible

to no longer be a victim

to help others…

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Book Review: Sisters Of Shiloh

Some years ago, I bought a used hardback copy of this book. It is set during the American Civil War, a period that interests me. I decided to keep it in the car, something to read when waiting for things. Things like hospital appointments, a wife on a shopping trip, or being too early when arriving at the Doctor or the Vet.

It took some time to get even one third of the book read in that way. Not that there was anything bad about it, I just wanted to keep it handy in the car. Last week, a four-hour wait for my brakes to be replaced on the car provided the perfect opportunity, and I finally finished reading it.

This is the story of two sisters, as the title suggests. Beginning with their teenage years in Virginia, we see the younger sister Libby fall in love with Arden, much to the annoyance of Josephine, who doesn’t like the man at all, and is going to miss her now married sister. One month after the wedding, the civil war begins, and Arden joins the Confederate Army, assigned to Stonewall Jackson’s brigade.

As the fighting intensifies, they hear of a battle in nearby Maryland. Jackson’s brigade has been involved, and the talk is the fighting was bad, with heavy casualties. The sisters travel to Sharpsburg, (also known as the Battle of Antietam) the scene of the battle. On the grisly battlefield, Josephine fnds Arden terribly wounded, and by the time Libby joins her, he has died. In a rage, Libby cuts off her hair, and vows to join the army, to kill Yankees in revenge for her husbands death.

Fearing for her sister’s safety, Josephine does the same, and they volunteer for Jackson’s brigade, pretending to be young boys who are cousins. They call themselves Thomas and Joseph, and are readily accepted as recruits, due to the need to replace all those recently killed in battle.
(This may sound like a stretch, but it is worth noting that there are many contemporary examples of this happening, on both sides.)

The writing excels in the small details. The problems the girls face in concealing their gender from the rest of the troops in their unit. The harsh weather conditions of extreme heat and cold, with poorly-clothed and underfed soldiers having to undertake long marches then go straight into battle. The day-to-day routine and boredom of life in camp between campaigns, followed by the edge of the seat tension as the sisters find themselves on the firing line in the midst of some of the biggest battles of the civil war.

Along the way, one sister finds love, the other still searches for revenge and peace of mind. They argue, they make up again, and most of all, they display that unbreakable bond of family love, and specifically the unselfish love between the sisters Libby and Josephine that sees them through the worst times imaginable.

This is more than a war story, and much more than a love story. It is a great read, and highly recommended for lovers of historical fiction.

My Writing, In A Book!

I am very happy to have received a copy of a book today. A book containing a short article that was originally published on this blog.

Eating Out After Lockdown

Australian writer, poet, and blogger, Carolyn Cordon, compiled an anthology of poetry and prose from writers all around the world, chronicling individual responses to the Covid-19 pandemic. I was happy when she asked me if she could include my blog post.

She has now self-published the book, and kindly sent me a copy.

I have previously been published in magazines and on online review sites, but this is a first for me, to be included in a printed book, along with a short bio at the back too.

You can find out more about Carolyn, using this link.

https://carolyncordonwriter.wordpress.com

To buy a copy, please contact her at this email address.
(After covering her costs, Carolyn is using the book sales to raise money for a Multiple Sclerosis charity.)

kittycordo@gmail.com

Bloggers Books: Chaya Ubhayakar

I am very pleased to announce that Chaya has had her first book published. It is a nicely-illustrated book for chidren, ‘Different and Similar’.

This story is about the friendship between Missy, a Golden Retriever, and Billu, a cat, and their love for Jai, a ten-year-old boy.

Children will discover how Missy and Billu show love and kindness to each other by respecting their differences and appreciating their similarities.

Illustrated by Andrea Benko, the book explores how in a world where everyone is unique, similarities can always be found.
This is a tale of Jai and his dog Missy welcoming a new friend, Billu the cat. Follow how Missy and Billu discover the differences and similarities between each other.

Here is an Amazon link where you can find out more, and buy a very reasonably priced Kindle copy.

This is a link to Chaya’s blog, where you can read more about her and her work.
https://chayasheela.wordpress.com/

For Readers of Romance (FREE TODAY!)

FREE BOOK! ONE DAY ONLY!
A romantic novel by Stevie Turner available via a link on the original post. Free on Sunday the 10th only.

Stevie Turner

BookFunnel are running a promotion for January which features 53 books/free samples for fans of Romance. I have added a FREE sample of ‘A Rather Unusual Romance‘ to the promotion, which you can check out by clicking the link below. The book itself is FREE just for today on Amazon:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/january-all-romance-kindle/nhuvkpdqry

Description:

Erin Mason, divorced and with two teenage sons, finds her world begins to fall apart when she undergoes what is termed a “life event”, and is diagnosed with cancer. Not too far away somebody else, Alan Beaumont, is also suffering a similar fate. Their paths slowly come together in this inspiring and humorous tale which is partly based on actual events, and shows how love can flourish in the most unlikely of circumstances.

Review on Amazon by Thom Stark:

Stevie Turner’s A Rather Unusual Romance is exactly that. It’s unusual because its primary characters are middle-aged…

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48 Free Books and Samples for Fans of Women’s Fiction

A book promotion from one of our community bloggers, Stevie Turner.

Stevie Turner

This is a scheduled post as I’m now off the radar every Tuesday and Wednesday for the foreseeable future to enable me to reconnect with creative writing without any distractions from social media notifications.

However, BookFunnel promotions still run, and there are 48 Free books or samples of women’s fiction available on the link below until the end of January:

https://books.bookfunnel.com/janlistbuilder/h59mr928vo

My family drama ‘The Daughter-in-law Syndrome’ is part of the promotion, and by clicking on the link above you will be able to download a free sample.

The Daughter-in-law Syndrome investigates the complicated relationship causing much friction between Grandmother Edna Deane and her daughter-in-law Arla. In addition it focuses on the sometimes tumultuous partnership between Arla and her husband Ric.

Arla Deane sometimes likens her marriage to undergoing daily psychological warfare. Husband Ric will never voice an opinion, and puts his mother Edna up high on a pedestal. Arla…

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MarySmith’sPlace ~ Writing under lockdown

Please read the full link, to see if this book is something you would like to buy. In years to come, it will be a fascinating history of a small part of Scotland during the Coronavirus pandemic of 2020. (Kindle version available too)

Mary Smith's Place

I’m excited to be a contributor in a new anthology which provides a unique record of life in my Galloway, my own wee part of Scotland, during the first 12 weeks of lockdown.

Writedown: Lockdown in the Galloway Glens at the Time of Covid brings together the work of 22 writers, each with a Galloway connection. It is a collection of prose and poetry, hopefulness, hopelessness, anger, humour and quiet endurance in which the writers tell the story of a community dealing with life in unprecedented times.

The idea behind the project came from author Margaret Elphinstone, when her writing classes could no longer meet. Inspired by the Mass Observation project which encouraged ordinary people to keep wartime diaries, she invited anyone interested to contribute – 22 of us did.

Margaret said: “In times of trouble people want to be together but with lockdown people had to isolate, sometimes…

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Blogger’s Books: Jim Webster

Jim’s tales of Port Naain and the poet Tallis Steelyard are always a delight. He also includes so many memorable characters and their escapades, that it is very easy to become invested in them. His latest book features the delightful Maljie. At only 81 pages it is a short and easy read, costing just 99p in the Kindle version.

It is available from Amazon of course, where you can find more of his books to delight you.

If you would like to see more about any of the Port Naain adventures, here is a link to Jim’s blog. https://tallissteelyard.wordpress.com/

Blogger’s Books: Stevie Turner

I am very happy to feature the latest book from author and blogger Stevie Turner.

Here is her synopsis of the new novel.

Esme Jones and husband Aron have completed their family and have twin sons Jared and James. Esme’s older sister Eden Reece is desperate for a child, but a hysterectomy has put paid to any chance of her becoming a parent. When Esme offers herself as a surrogate, Eden and husband Billy are delighted. However, when Esme notices the first fluttering of life inside her and a scan reveals that she is carrying a girl, both sisters are not prepared for the outcome which threatens to tear the fabric of the whole extended family apart.

‘Barren’ is released on the First of October, and is available to pre-order now. For the whole of that month, it is on offer at just 99p/99c.
It is also free on Kindle Unlimited.


For readers outside of the UK, here is the Amazon.com link.

Stevie is a very engaged member of our blogging community.
To find out more about her writing, or to visit her blog and social media pages, please follow the links below.

Website: http://www.stevie-turner-author.co.uk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/StevieTurner6

Blog: https://steviet3.wordpress.com/

Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/stevieturner988/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Stevie-Turner/e/B00AV7YOTU/

Email: stevie@stevie-turner-author.co.uk

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7172051.Stevie_Turner

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClWFuLQHDqGmOM3KbKJ-Z0g

Featured Blogger: Pete Springer

American blogger and writer Pete Springer is a retired teacher. He has only been blogging for less than two years, but has already become a great asset to our blogging community.
https://petespringerauthor.wordpress.com/

He has published a book that he hopes will interest and inspire new teachers, based on his own memories of a lifetime as an educator.

Here is one of his recent posts, giving some idea of what you will find on his blog.

An Impressive Young Man

There are times in a teaching career when you wonder, “Was it all worth it? Would I do it again?” My answer has always been a resounding “yes” to those questions, but I don’t think there is a teacher alive who hasn’t wondered about those things on occasion. All teachers inevitably have bad days, and it can leave you feeling, “What am I doing? I must be the world’s worst teacher.”

One of the mysteries of teaching is that you can have one of these awful days from nowhere. With experience, you learn that these things can happen randomly for no apparent reason. Many times, it has nothing to do with you but difficult situations that are going on in your students’ lives that you are unaware of. Sometimes you discover why things went amiss, but many times you don’t. Just as often, the following day, everything goes according to plan, and you feel like the consummate professional. Such are the ups and downs of being an educator.

I’ve written previously about some of my favorite post-teaching moments. One post was entitled The Delayed Rewards of Teaching https://petespringerauthor.wordpress.com/2019/08/15/the-delayed-rewards-of-teaching/ and, most recently, an article called Our Future is in Good Hands. https://petespringerauthor.wordpress.com/2020/07/09/our-future-is-in-good-hands/

This past week I had one of those beautiful post-teaching experiences that reminded me why I became an educator. When you’re in the middle of a school year, you have these memorable experiences when you see a child accomplish something remarkable or observe a fantastic transformation in a child’s academics or behavior. While these accomplishments are rewarding, the big payoff often comes years later.

I taught Samy Awwad in third grade several years ago. He was a bright and sometimes mischievous (never mean) boy with a great deal of potential. I had the pleasure of teaching Samy’s brother the year before him, and his younger sister two years after I taught Samy. They all were exceptionally bright students with promising futures. Unsurprisingly, their parents set an excellent example by being educated, kind people, who put tremendous value on education.

Just because a student is intelligent is no guarantee of future success. I saw bright students get sidetracked for various reasons as they became young adults. The most common reasons were dysfunction in the family, childhood trauma, lack of motivation, hanging out with the wrong peers, or substance abuse problems.

Then there are students like Samy Awwad, who not only do well in school but take their natural ability and run with it. Imagine being a sixteen-year-senior, having already received preadmission to Stanford, and starting up a nonprofit organization for young people.

Awwad’s nonprofit is called IMMUNIGLOBAL. http://www.immuniglobal.org/ His primary focus is to bring education and awareness of the importance of vaccinations to the community in fighting preventable diseases such as the measles or flu.

Immuniglobal is not a small undertaking. Awwad built his nonprofit from the ground up, including website design and development, workshops, outreach, and phone education.

He approached the problem of vaccine education logically by first building his website from scratch to provide information regarding immunizations. A couple of the most startling facts on Awwad’s website are that according to the World Health Organization, between two and three million deaths are prevented each year by vaccinations. According to the CDC, a savings of an estimated 42,000 lives occur in the United States per year.

Awwad sees the big picture and comprehends that real change comes at the grassroots level while also understanding the need to work with huge companies. He has partnered with large organizations and institutions such as the CDC, CLOROX, and UCLA.

The level of thought and action that Awwad has taken is inspiring. He recognized the lack of immunizations that were happening in Humboldt County, his place of residence. Humboldt was recently ranked 54th out of 58 counties in California in terms of vaccination rates.

So why do some people choose not to get their children vaccinated? There appear to be several reasons. According to The Journal of Pediatric Pharmacology and Therapeutics, the four most prevalent anti-vax philosophies are:

Religious Reasons
Personal Beliefs or Philosophical Reasons
Safety Concerns
Desire for Additional Education
According to a National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) survey, the top reasons for not getting a flu vaccine are:

36% feel they are healthy and do not need the shot.

31% do not like needles.

30% do not think it works.

27% worry about the risks.

While 70% believe it is vital to get an annual flu shot, only 46% say they typically get vaccinated.

Perhaps what is most troubling is that diseases that were once mainly under control are becoming more prevalent again. Measles cases are on the rise. The majority of people who get measles are unvaccinated.

Beyond the probable life-saving gains, vaccines have an economic benefit and cut medical costs throughout the world. When diseases occur, more hospitalizations are the result. The COVID-19 pandemic has added considerable costs and added higher risk to medical professionals.

Awwad realizes that one of the most effective means of communication is to take his knowledge to the community directly. He has made several presentations in K-12 classrooms in Humboldt County. (Most of these have been at the high school level.) His approach helps young people become more educated about vaccines and encourages them to become involved in vaccine education and other current critical issues.

One of the most important local programs that Awwad became involved with was a vigorous vaccine education program at McKinleyville High School. He organized an Adolescent Immunization Poster Contest with the Humboldt County Department of Public Health and some local pediatricians.

With the outbreak of COVID-19, the importance of developing a vaccine has come to the forefront. Worldwide deaths have now reached over 600,000 people with several times more than that becoming ill. Even those who make a full recovery from the Coronavirus may have long-term health effects.

Awwad looks at the present and the future to see how he can use his talents and energy. Once a COVID-19 vaccine is released to the public, he would like to present a series of vaccine-related workshops and activities in schools and other places around Humboldt County.

As far as what comes next for Samy Awwad, the possibilities are endless. He is one of thirty undergraduate fellows selected recently at Stanford’s chapter of an organization called “Effective Altruism.” The goal for this two-month fellowship will be to identify the most pressing issues in the world and then decide how best to implement this resulting knowledge in his career.

Awwad plans to take a gap year to continue his work with ImmuniGlobal before enrolling full-time at Stanford. The most likely path for him will be a future in medicine as a physician. Another possibility is for Awwad to study and conduct research in the field of brain diseases. He is always thinking several steps ahead and has several other irons in the fire unrelated to vaccinations. He hopes to use his voice to help minorities and find ways to tackle important issues such as racism and classism.

I find great inspiration from Samy Awwad’s selfless acts to improve his community and make a difference throughout the world. I can’t wait for the next chapter in his life, and I know that his teachers are all proud of the young man he has become. If ever you doubt America’s youth, perhaps Samy and others like him will help change your mind.

Please find some time to check out Pete’s blog, and get to know him and his writing.