Friday Roundup – 17th August

Thanks to the following authors and bloggers for their information for writers:

1.  Melissa Chan on creating book merchandise:

2.  Emily Harstone for these publishers open to submissions:

3.  Hugh’s Views & News for these 5 ways to save time when blogging, and 7 ways to get more readers to your blog:

5 Ways You Can Save Time When Blogging

7 Ways To Get More Readers To Your Blog

4.  Meg Dowell for 15 things that probably won’t improve your writing:

15 Things That Probably Won’t Actually Improve Your Writing

5.  Kathy Steinemann on deleted book reviews and waning KENP income:

6.  John Mulindi writes about Grammarly and blogging:

7.  Jean M. Cogdell gives advice on how to make writing in the first person easier:

How to make writing in first-person easier

8.  Jenny in Neverland gives advice on what to do before publishing a blog:

Things to do before you hit “publish”


RIP Aretha Franklin

I’m saddened today to read of the death of Aretha Franklin, my favourite soul singer who had been gifted with such a powerful voice.  She’d had health issues since 2011 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, but had continued to tour and perform, even up until November last year at the age of 75.

The daughter of a Baptist preacher, she sang solos as a child in her father’s church, and had given birth to 2 sons by the time she was 16, who were raised by Aretha’s grandmother so that she could focus on her singing career (two more sons followed in 1964 and 1970).  In 1987 she became the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 1994 she received a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement.  In 2005 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  Her voice was declared a ‘natural resource’ in 1985 by Michigan state’s Department of Natural Resources.

Her version of ‘Respect’  (originally penned by Otis Redding), which she sang  in the 1980 Blues Brothers film, became an anthem for women’s rights, shooting to No.1 in the US charts.

One of my favourite songs is the duet Aretha performed with George Michael;  ‘I Knew You Were Waiting For Me’.   Another – ‘You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman‘ – once reduced President Obama to tears when she sang it at a Kennedy Center Honours ceremony.  What a voice – what a talent! She will be sadly missed.

Rest in peace Aretha.

Nanny and Billy

My daughter-in-law is currently recovering from a knee operation, and asked me if I wouldn’t mind taking her 3 year old son to his swimming lesson and then perhaps staying on in the pool with him afterwards.  My little grandson Billy has no fear of water and I initially baulked a bit at the responsibility, but agreed so that he wouldn’t miss out on his lesson.

After his half hour lesson the teacher handed him over to me.  Right away he was off on his toes straight for the play pool where there were slides to splash down and a pirate ship to climb on.  Nanny grabbed hold of his hand to stop him running on the wet slippery tiles.  He pulled me along like a uncontrolled dog does that hasn’t learned to walk to heel.

I let go of his hand as I climbed into the pool, certain that he’d wait until I was in before he jumped.  No way!  He’d already jumped in by the time I’d turned around to catch him.  Up he came, spluttering and giggling, full of the joys of life and the excitement of the moment. Then he was off running up the slide the wrong way, with Nanny grabbing his hand ready for the inevitable downfall.  Yep, he slipped, but he didn’t really care.

Up and down the slides he went, and then he clambered over the pirate ship.  He pointed towards the adult flumes with a hopeful expression, but Nanny soon put a stop to that.

Mummy smiled at us through the glass window of the café, as she peacefully sipped on a hot chocolate.  Nanny gave her a wave and then turned back to her little tornado, who grabbed her hand and led her towards one of the smaller slides.

“Come on, Nanny!”

I wondered if my back could take the pace.

“You want me to go down there?”

There was an affirmative nod.  There was nothing for it but to hold Billy’s hand and slide down into the splash pool.  He looked up at me and giggled as we landed.  His chuckle was infectious, and suddenly we were both sitting in the water and laughing.  He gave me a cuddle, and I must admit it was rather a joyous moment in my day.   I suddenly remembered what Arletta had said to her son in the film ‘Cool Hand Luke’:

“Sometimes you just have a feeling for a child…”

Yes, sometimes it’s delightful to be a grandparent.  However,  on the way home the little bugger managed to wind down the car’s window and also lock the back door from the inside whilst still strapped into his seat.  I was rather relieved to be able to hand back a live and wriggling child to his mother at the end of the afternoon!

Patience is a Virtue

I was at the supermarket checkout this afternoon, and as I loaded my purchases into bags I could hear a bit of a commotion across the aisle at another checkout.  A young man did not have enough money to pay for his food.  The queue behind him was shifting about impatiently as he slowly decided which things he could do without.  What I took to be his support worker was helping him to decide, as he didn’t have much of a clue about prices.  He didn’t seem to be particularly bothered about the tutting and sighing emanating from behind.

This struck home with me, as I remember only too well being in a similar position when I had two young children and living on one wage.  I had one son bashing his head on the floor because he didn’t like shopping, and the other one screaming because feeding time had come and gone.   My face was as red as a beetroot as, stressed beyond belief,  I gave some things back to the checkout girl and hoped that the ground was going to swallow me up soon.

Oh the shame of it!

The chap I saw was not in the predicament I had been.  The woman with him was talking to him as though he was five years old, and so I came to the conclusion that perhaps he needed help to function in the big wide world.  Looking at the faces of the people in the queue behind him, it struck me how impatient some people can be when faced with this situation.

One of Sam’s sisters had learning difficulties, and over the years I saw how patient his family were with her.  It’s not until you have direct contact with somebody suffering from learning difficulties that you realise just how it impacts upon the main carer and the rest of the family, who gain patience they never knew they had.  Tina was a happy soul in her own little world, unaware of people’s attitudes and intolerance.  She died 10 years ago, but the family still talk of her with great fondness.  Tina never left home, but the chap in the supermarket was obviously trying to make it on his own.  It’s hard enough in this world without having learning difficulties,  so my heart goes out to him.

And while we’re on this subject, patience is also a virtue on the road.  White Van Man needs to learn some and stop trying to drive up my exhaust pipe…



Toddler Tantrums


, ,

I saw this question on Quora recently, and I thought I’d elaborate a bit on the answer I gave:

What should I do if my 2 year old kid hurt himself to get me to do what he wants?

My eldest son was (and still is) very strong-willed.  As a toddler he would drop to his knees and bash his forehead on the floor if he couldn’t get his own way.  He tended to do this in shops if he saw a toy he wanted which usually I couldn’t afford.  After a short while the act of bashing his head would obviously cause him discomfort and he would stop.  Instead he would begin to scream as loudly as he could.  All this would happen while other shoppers looked on in disgust.

I would stand there patiently and explain that no, he couldn’t have the toy and that no amount of bashing his head or screaming would get him what he wanted.  As hard as it was to do, I ignored other shoppers’ disdainful looks and stood there until he was all screamed out.  Then I’d pick him up and take him out of the shop.  I’d get him home, give him a cuddle, and reiterate the futility of throwing tantrums.

The head bashing stopped around the age of four, but the screaming carried on until he was about seven years old.  Neither Sam nor I ever gave in to his tantrums or demands.  His younger brother didn’t even bother screaming much at all, as he knew it wouldn’t get him what he wanted.  Our grandchildren tried the screaming tactic with us too, but gave up when we told them it would be a waste of time.  They talk to us quite reasonably about what they want, and we either give it to them as we now have a bit more disposable income, or explain to them why they cannot have it.

The first few years of a child’s life are an endurance test for the parents.  As the child grows he/she will push the boundaries of a parent’s patience to see just how much they can get away with.  They need firm guidance and need to know who is in charge so that they feel safe.  So many children I see nowadays are running rings around their parents, who do not want to endure and give the kids what they want for a quiet life.  That little rosy cheeked bundle of joy soon grows to be an out-of-control monster if they do not have parents willing to endure unpleasant tantrums, head-bashing, or even breath-holding until the child passes out (yes, one little girl I knew tried this tactic on her mother, which worked every time).

Enduring those childhood tantrums without giving in saves you having to be frightened of your 6ft 2in son 15 years or so down the line.


Interview with Author Darlene Foster!

Enjoyed this interview. I worked with a doctor who could also carry on several conversations at the same time. He could talk to one person and listen to what was being said elsewhere. Strange that a man could do that, lol!



Darlene Foster

Darlene Foster

Please help me welcome author Darlene Foster to Jemsbooks Blog Segment of Interview an Author. 

It’s lovely to have you here Darlene. Please step up on the soap box.

Please tell us something about yourself.

I’m probably considered a late bloomer as I didn’t start writing seriously until later in life. But I have always loved to tell stories and made up tales in my head growing up on a ranch in southern Alberta. I recall pretending I was in exciting, foreign countries having an adventure. I had two wishes as a child, one was to travel the world and the other was to be a published writer one day. I have been very lucky as I have held wonderful jobs over the years, raised two amazing children, and been blessed with four grandchildren and two great grandchildren. My dreams have come true…

View original post 1,518 more words

Open Book Blog Hop – August 13th

This week the topic is:

‘What is your biggest fear?  What random and innocuous thing makes your skin crawl?’

I have a few, which are equally fear-inducing.  The first one is any large dog running towards me that is not on a lead, after having been attacked aged 10 by an Alsatian.  Last week when out walking down a narrow footpath on the Island I was faced with this very situation, but decided to look down at the ground, ignore the dog, and keep walking.  The owners were not very far behind and the dog carried on walking past me without incident.  However, my heart rate had increased somewhat!

The next one is getting stung by a bee or wasp, as now after radiotherapy I am even more allergic to them than before.  My neck swells up making speech impossible and breathing difficult unless I have my steroids and anti-histamines to hand, which thankfully I did when I was stung recently.

The last one is ’emetophobia’, a fear of vomiting (I don’t want to see anybody else vomiting either!) Being born with an undiagnosed milk intolerance caused much vomiting as a child, until I had skin tests and sorted out my diet in my early thirties.  The last time I remember throwing up was in 1982!  Sam always dealt with sicky children (after our eldest son attended a friend’s birthday barbeque Sam once earned the accolade ‘King Sick’) but luckily for me neither of them threw up much or inherited my intolerances.

I have worked with many people, and some had really strange fears.  One lady had a fear of buttons, and could never touch one or buy any type of clothing with buttons.  Another couldn’t leave the office and had to be accompanied everywhere she went.  Somebody else felt like vomiting every time they saw baked beans (I stayed away from them at lunch times!).  I currently work with somebody who has a fear of needles, and feels dizzy or faints every time she has to have a blood test.

Let’s see what other blog-hoppers’ fears are.  Click on the blue button below to find out, or even add your own!

1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

LP Heaven

While visiting a rather delightful bohemian café in Ventnor, I saw an advert for a chap who would pay cash for old LP records.  For the past 35 years we’ve had stacks of them in our loft, sitting there in boxes and doing nothing.  I rang the number given and the chap seemed very keen, so I told Sam to bring the records with him when he returned on the ferry from taking the grandchildren home.  He thought it was a good idea to get some money for them, as practical as ever, he said that our sons would probably just chuck them in a skip after our deaths (yep, he is so right)!

Over to the Island came Sam on Thursday night with 3 large storage boxes of LPs – some of them 40 years old.  There were even duplicates, where we had each bought the same record before we met.  The album covers, especially the ones of Lynyrd Skynyrd,  Queen, Supertramp and Fleetwood Mac,  took me back to the time when Sam and I first got together.  Other ones such as my treasured Be Bop Deluxe LPs took me back even further to my early teenage years (remember Axe Victim?).  It was time for a nostalgia overload.

Some of the LPs my mother had cherished, and these took me back to being 8 or 9, especially Rimsky Korsakov’s Scheherazade.  Dot would play the haunting music and tell me the story behind it.  I knew I couldn’t part with that one!  There was also a Blues from the Deep  South LP I always liked, and some Spanish guitar music.  He wasn’t having those…

Right on time came the chap to the van to sift through our records.  Apparently he prefers vinyl, as he is an evening DJ and he says the records sound better on his music system.  Not sure how 35 years in a loft has added any sound effects apart from scratches, but he seemed pleased with the records and parted with £75.  He left all the classical music, and Rod Stewart and Neil Diamond LPs to be dispatched to LP heaven.  Poor old Neil has had to retire due to ill health – I always liked his voice.  Perhaps I’ll save them from the rubbish tip and play his LPs again one day if I can find a shilling to put on the stylus!





Friday Roundup -10th August

Thanks to the following writers and bloggers for these writing tips:

1.  K.M Allan on why writers need beta readers:

2. Kristen Lamb on targeting readers:

3.  Colleen Cheesebro with these 11 literary journals accepting prose/poetry:

4.  Sarah Pesce on how to protect yourself against plagiarism:

How to Protect Against Plagiarism If You Post Fiction Online

5.  Erica Verrillo for these 31 writing contests in August:

6. Tony Riches for this info on connecting with readers on Goodreads:

7.  Therese Walsh for these 13 ways to promote before publication:

8. Derek Haines gives advice on how to punctuate a book title:

9.  Serendipity for this info on Facebook and WordPress:


10.  Erica Verrillo for these 26 calls for  August submissions:

26 Calls for Submissions in August 2018 – Paying Markets – by Erica Verrillo…

11.  Thanks to Bailey Seybolt for these Facebook marketing tools:

12.  Hugh’s Views & News for these 7 ways to get more people to read your blog:

7 Ways To Get More Readers To Your Blog

13.  Debbie Emmitt on C.S Lakin’s site regarding publishers and an author’s online presence:

14.  Milly Schmidt on dealing with online trolls:

Ask the blogger: how do you deal with the trolls?

Twenty Years After I Do

Congratulations to D.G Kaye for this 5-star review of Twenty Years: After “I Do”.


By D.G. Kaye


In this personal accounting, D.G. Kaye shares the insights and wisdom she has accrued through twenty years of keeping her marriage strong and thriving despite the everyday changes and challenges of aging. Kaye reveals how a little creative planning, acceptance, and unconditional love can create a bond no obstacle will break. Kaye’s stories are informative, inspiring, and a testament to love eclipsing all when two people understand, respect, and honor their vows. She adds that a daily sprinkling of laughter is a staple in nourishing a healthy marriage.

Twenty years began with a promise. As Kaye recounts what transpired within that time, she shows that true love has no limits, even when one spouse ages ahead of the other.   (Blurb taken from Goodreads)

My Review

In TWENTY YEARS: AFTER “I DO”, the author talks about some authentic problems one encounters when the love of…

View original post 521 more words