Weathering Old Souls: New release and my review @jamescudney4 @Didi_Oviatt #NextChapterPub

Weathering Old Souls

by James J. Cudney & Didi Oviatt

Genre: Metaphysical, Spiritual Historical Fiction

Blurb

Abigail has always struggled with the voices. From the relentless tyranny a woman faces on an antebellum plantation to the unknown prison camps in America during World War II, our heroine discovers the past in a way that changes her future.

Moments from the past serve as guiding posts for the country’s growth, and also mark the transitions for Abigail’s own personal history. Her best friend, Margaret, partners with Abigail to discover the identity of the mysterious voices, while focusing on her passion and quest to become a United States senator.

Through it all, a serial killer torments the country, romance blossoms between people they meet during the journey, and long-buried secrets come to light in devastating ways. As elements twist, numbers align and spiritual powers connect, no one will be the same again.

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Giveaway

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

https://www.silverdaggertours.com/sdsxx-tours/weathering-old-souls-book-tour-and-giveaway

Didi and James are giving away 4 prizes as part of this marketing campaign. Winner will be drawn the week after release:

  • $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • $40 Psychic Services
  • 1 eBook of Weathering Old Souls
  • 1 physical book of Weathering Old Souls (US Only)

A Rafflecopter giveaway

Extract

One morning as winter should’ve been transitioning into spring, an eight-year-old Abigail awakens with a piercing scream. She bolts upright and snails herself to the edge of her bed, placing a heavy hand on her chest to help steady herself and catch her breath. Her body twinges as though she’s fallen down a flight of stairs or been slammed by a double-decker trolley. The agony starts in the muscles behind her shoulder blade. From there it feels like a rocket exploded, escaping through her chest, leaving only traces of burning gases to snake their way through the rest of her fragile body. She coughs violently as her system tries to rid itself of unknown toxins.

The bedroom is dark and frigid because the pipes broke the previous day and her father was too busy sleeping off a hangover to call a contractor to fix them. Oliver has no mechanical knowledge or experience with home repair, but he tells Abigail that the Stauntons will address the issue since their heating system has also experienced problems with the winter storms that year. It’s been an unpredictable season, much more so than the usual winter in South Carolina. Some days Abigail has played outside all afternoon, hardly catching a chill. Others she wakes to a beautifully ominous layer of frost clinging to every blade of yellow grass as if its very life depends on it. 

A thin glint of light pushes through the crack between the bottom of the broken shade and the splintered windowsill. Abigail watches as the sparkly dust settles on the foot of her bed and shines brightly. It reminds her of the quartz necklace dangling on the neck of the woman in her scary dream. It was gorgeous and made the woman feel safe and comforted as it has in every dream where it made an appearance. Abigail’s told Margaret about the necklace many times, wishing she could hop out of bed today and do it again. It’s only been two months since she saw Margaret, but missing her is more than just a faint feeling. It’s soul crushing. She aches for Margaret’s companionship like any other child would her own sibling who’s grown up and gone on without her. 

In her nightmare, Abigail was stuck inside the body of an old lady running through a field, sweat pouring from her head down the curves of her hollowed and withdrawn cheeks. It was pitch black, and there were trees all around her, the wind shaking the branches such that they whispered secret directions in an unknown language. They resembled monsters with claw-like arms and vicious teeth, ready to bite her flailing limbs. Someone had been chasing her, but Abigail never saw the figure’s face.

Confusion rocks her body. Part of her is the small innocent child who wants to scream for Elizabeth, but a stronger piece of her feels much older, more mature, as if she’s lived for decades, maybe even centuries. She shakes through the aftermath of terror, unable to make sense of what happened in her sleep. All she knows is that it was horrific and made her fear something awful was destined to happen. Abigail wonders if her nightmares relate to the bits of conversation she’s overheard between Elizabeth and Bradford in the past. Elizabeth once said something about a killer coming after them again, but they’d ultimately agreed they were much safer now.

After deliberating with Imaginary May for a few moments, Abigail announces, “I can handle this on my own. I am a big girl. Margaret’s gone, but she taught me to be strong.”

She cuddles the teddy bear that Elizabeth gifted her last month for Valentine’s Day. Elizabeth had always bought one for Margaret when she was a child, the kind of mother and daughter tradition that Abigail has always yearned for. This is the first year that Margaret has been away for Spring Break during Valentine’s Day. Elizabeth missed her daughter immensely, so she purchased two identical teddy bears at the local toy store. One for Margaret, who would be home on Spring Break soon, and one for her favorite little neighbor and second daughter.

With a heavy sigh, Abigail stretches her arms above her head, extends her legs, and spreads her toes apart. Then she drops her chin to her chest, before rolling her head around in big circles. Four times each direction, one for every major element. She studied them in school that year. With each round of her neck, Abigail breathes in and counts to ten, then she lets out the air and reminds herself of everything she has to be grateful for. Margaret once taught her this morning routine, to help her ease the body tremors brought about by a nightmare, as the last doctor she saw refused to give any pain medication or advice. The stretching and breathing exercises help, and her pains slowly evaporate like a faint mist over a swamp.

An oblong mirror that’s mounted to the wall across from her window offers Abigail a dust-clouded view of her messy hair as it knots and sticks out in every direction, along with her worn-out unicorn covered nightgown. She chuckles at the sight of herself, and the last of her anxiety and spasms disappear. She imagines the body aches to have a color, a dull shade of lilac, as they lift in a swirling pattern like hazy smoke and exit out of the beam of light coming through the window.

“Stay away, you filthy bloke,” she chastises the imaginary swirl of colorful pain. 

Purchase links

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08ZHQPFKD

Books2Read:https://books2read.com/WOS

My review

This book starts with the vicious murder of a man called Edward Smythe. The reader quickly learns that the victim has a young daughter and that he is an abusive husband. It is also clear that the murderer has committed the crime to appease an unnamed other person.

Abigail Perry is born during an electrical storm in an ill-equipped hospital in a small town called Concepción in South Carolina. The power fails intermittently, and Abigail’s mother dies moments after her birth, leaving her motherless.

On the same day, a family of three had moved into the twin house joined to Abigail’s parents’ home. This family take over raising Abigail and become her extended family.

It soon becomes evident that Abigail is not an ordinary child. She is haunted by disturbing memories of her past lives which are so powerful, they insert themselves physically into her daily life.

The only way Abigail can find her own spiritual peace is by unravelling the stories of her four past lives which seem to interlink with the activities of a serial killer, called the Fashionista.

Abigail is an interesting character, intelligent but very conflicted and confused by her terrible memories and poor health. Her father, Oliver, never recovers from the death of her mother and is not able to adjust to caring for a child until Abigail is much older. As a result, Abigail’s care falls to their kindly neighbours and their twelve-year old daughter, Margaret.

Oliver does not believe his daughter’s stories about her past lives and the ‘people’ who take over her mind and body. This attitude, together with his poor fathering, leave her feeling unloved and rejected. These feelings are compounded when the neighbours, who have cared for her all her life, have to move away.

She shows incredible strength and overcomes all the disbelief and dislike that come her way from her fellow students, teachers and eventually her father, learning to control her ‘difference’ in public and becoming an excellent student. Abigail’s determination and strength of character are demonstrated several times during the book.

Margaret is also a strong and determined female character with a quick mind and an excellent work ethic. She pursues a career in law and then politics. Margaret’s intelligence come to Abigail’s aid during her childhood as she researches ways of helping Abigail control her frightening and physically threatening memories. Margaret gives Abigail a quart’s necklace which keep these tormentors at bay while she is wearing it. Margaret is a devoted friend and is Abigail’s supporter, confidant, and protector.

This story is unique and clever, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There are so many twists and turns you have to pay attention while reading this story. This is not a book you can semi snooze through. The ending is complex, and I found myself quite amazed at how neatly all the threads were tied up into a complete picture.

About Didi Oviatt

Didi Oviatt is an intuitive soul. She’s a wife and mother first, with one son and one daughter. Her thirst to write was developed at an early age, and she never looked back. After digging down deep and getting in touch with her literary self, she’s writing mystery/thrillers like Search for Maylee, Justice for Belle, Aggravated Momentum, and Sketch, along with multiple short story collections. She’s collaborated with Kim Knight in an ongoing interactive short story anthology, The Suspenseful Collection. Most recently, she published her first romance novella titled Skinny Dippin’ which was originally released as a part of the highly appraised Anthology, Sinners and Saints. When Didi doesn’t have her nose buried in a book, she can be found enjoying a laid-back outdoorsy lifestyle. Time spent sleeping under the stars, hiking, fishing, and ATVing the back roads of beautiful mountain trails, and sun-bathing in the desert heat play an important part of her day to day lifestyle. 

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

Author links

Website: https://didioviatt.wordpress.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Didi_Oviatt

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/didioviatt/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/didi-oviatt

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Didi-Oviatt/e/B00HVJJTLE

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7207389.Didi_Oviatt

About James J. Cudney

James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College, an historic but small liberal arts school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with a degree in English literature and minors in Education, Business and Spanish. After college, I accepted a technical writing position for a telecommunications company during Y2K and spent the last ~20 years building a career in technology & business operations in the retail, sports, media, hospitality, and entertainment industries. Throughout those years, I wrote short stories, poems, and various beginnings to the “Great American Novel,” but I was so focused on my career that writing became a hobby. In 2016, I committed to focusing my energies toward reinvigorating a second career in reading, writing, and publishing. 

Website * BlogFacebook * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

Author links

Website: https://jamesjcudney.com/

Blog: https://thisismytruthnow.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamescudney4

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jamescudney4/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/james-j-cudney

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/James-J-Cudney/e/B076B6PB3M

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17128817.James_J_Cudney

A Ghost and His Gold – Guest post about the Siege of Ladysmith during the Second Anglo Boer War

Debbie De Louise from Ruff Drafts hosted a post for my Great Escapes virtual book tour about the Siege of Ladysmith which took place at the beginning of the Second Anglo Boer War. Thank you Debbie.

Guest Post: The Siege of Ladysmith by Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Background

The siege of Ladysmith, a town in British controlled Natal, was a lengthily engagement between the British and the Boers during the Great South African War (Second Anglo Boer War).

When the negotiations between the two Boer republics and Britain broke down and war was declared on the 11th of October 1899, 21,000 Boers advanced into Natal from all sides. By way of a countermeasure, Lieutenant Sir George White deployed his British troops around the garrison town of Ladysmith. As the Boers surrounded Ladysmith, White engaged in the Battle of Ladysmith with ended in disaster for the British with 1,200 men killed, wounded or captured.

The town was then besieged for 118 days from 2 November 1899 to 28 February 1900. On the 15th of December 1899 the first British relief force under General Redvers Henry Buller was defeated at the Battle of Colenso.

On Christmas Day 1899, the Boers fired into Ladysmith a carrier shell without a fuse. It contained a Christmas pudding, two Union Flags and the message ‘compliments of the season’.

Following repeated attempts by Buller to fight his way across the Tugela River, he finally broke through the Boer positions on the 27th of February 1900. On the evening of the 28th of February, the first party of the relief column, under Major Hubert Gough and including Winston Churchill, rode into Ladysmith.

Continue reading here: https://debbiedelouise.com/2021/05/06/guest-post-and-blog-tour-for-a-ghost-and-his-gold-by-roberta-eaton-cheadle/

Thursday Doors – A visit to the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria

Welcome to Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).

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This is what Wikipedia says about the Voortrekker Monument

The Voortrekker Monument is located just south of Pretoria in South Africa. This massive granite structure is prominently located on a hilltop, and was raised to commemorate the Voortrekkers (Dutch-speaking pioneers) who left the Cape Colony between 1835 and 1854.

You can read more about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voortrekker_Monument

Voortrekker Monument
Close-up of the main door
Doorways at the top of the monument – climbing the stairs was a killer, if you visit, take the lift.

You can join in Thursday Doors here: https://nofacilities.com/2021/05/13/springfield-doors/

A Ghost and His Gold – Character interview with Mosiko and a review

Quote from A Ghost and His Gold

A Ghost and His Gold has been on tour again and I am extremely grateful to all the lovely hosts who have supported my tour. I was in two minds about whether I should share any of the posts to my blog as I don’t want to swamp my readers with details and information about this book, but I have decided to share some of the posts as they do reveal some interesting insights into the characters in this book and the circumstances of the war.

This post, hosted by talented author James J. Cudney who blogs at https://thisismytruthnow.com/, includes a character interview with Mosiko, one of the secondary characters. Mosiko is a native African and, even though this war was largely viewed as being between Britain and the South African Boers, it had a huge impact on the native African population living in the two Boer republics at the time. Their stories are, sadly, not documented and it was difficult to find reliable sources of information about the role played by native Africans in this war and their plight in the concentration camps. I did, however, manage to glean some reliable details which I wove into my story.

I was also fortunate enough to receive a lovely review of this book by James and this is included in his post.

Character Interview

  • What is your character’s name?
    • Mosiko – Mosiko is never referred to with a last name in the book.
  • Can you share some personality traits about Mosiko?
    • Mosiko is one of Pieter van Zyl’s trusted farm managers on his farm in Irene.
      • When it becomes obvious that war is inevitable, Pieter travels to join up with his brother and their commando in the region where they both grew up, and Pieter leaves Mosiko in charge of the farm and the security of this wife and three daughters. Pieter trusts Mosiko explicitly after his many years of service to the van Zyl family.
      • Mosiko had joined the van Zyl family when he was 10-years old and Pieter’s father, Hendrik, had found him hungry and abused, hiding in the veld from his abusive carers. Hendrik had offered the boy a home and he had become particularly attached to Pieter and accompanied him when he left to establish his own farm.
      • Pieter’s oldest daughter, Estelle, is also attached to Mosiko and regards him as her trusted caregiver. Pieter’s wife, Marta, also relies on Mosiko as is demonstrated by this paragraph from the book:
        • During the months when her father was away, Mosiko proved himself to be exceptionally devoted and Estelle was relieved that her mother had someone competent who she could rely on to help her. Mosiko had worked for her father his whole life and knew exactly what needed to be done. Stepping into the role of overseer, he supervised the work of his fellow labourers and ensured it was done properly.
  • Where does Mosiko live?
    • When we first meet Mosiko, he is living with Pieter’s family on the van Zyl farm in Irene. When the family flees the approaching Khakis [British] soldiers, Mosiko and his family accompany them to Pieter’s brother, Willem’s, farm. Mosiko knows his role is to look after Pieter’s family in his absence.

Continue reading here: https://thisismytruthnow.com/2021/05/04/blog-tour-a-ghost-and-his-gold-by-roberta-eaton-cheadle-w-review-giveaway-character-interview/

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Picture of a Boer officer and his agterryer (after rider). You can read more about the native African concentration camps here: https://samilhistory.com/2017/09/03/to-fully-reconcile-the-boer-war-is-to-fully-understand-the-black-concentration-camps/

Open Book Blog Hop – Amazing word usages in books

Discuss: It never fails to amaze me that ALL the books ever written are made up of just twenty six letters.

When I saw this prompt, my first thought was how amazing the word usage is in some books and how some authors are so extraordinarily talented at weaving the 26 letters available to all of us into the most vivid and memorable descriptions, concepts, and thoughts.

We all have the same tools for writing, 26 letters, its how we string those letters together that makes all the difference. We add other writing tools to these basic building blocks and focus on showing and not telling, dialogue, avoiding filter words, and other learned techniques, but at the end of the day, the quality of our stories boils down to the words on the page.

Some examples of great writing that have remained with me long after I finished reading a particular book are as follows:

A short extract from The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

“But this morning was different. Disturbingly because mysteriously different. No wheels rumbled, no buses roared, no sound of a car of any kind, in fact was to be heard. No brakes, no horns, not even the clopping of the few rare horses that still occasionally passed. Nor, as there should be at such an hour, the composite tramp of work-bound feet.

The more I listened, the queerer it seemed – and the less I cared for it. In what I reckoned to be ten minutes of careful listening I heard five sets of shuffling, hesitating footsteps, three voices bawling unintelligibly in the distance, and the hysterical sobs of a woman. There was not the cooing of a pigeon, not the chirp of a sparrow. Nothing but the humming of wires in the wind …”

Opening paragraph of War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

“No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same. No one gave a thought to the older worlds of space as sources of human danger, or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as impossible or improbable. It is curious to recall some of the mental habits of those departed days. At most terrestrial men fancied there might be other men upon Mars, perhaps inferior to themselves and ready to welcome a missionary enterprise. Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us. And early in the twentieth century came the great disillusionment.”

Passage from The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough

“She was very dead, must have died within minutes of retiring, a good fifteen hours earlier. The windows were closed fast, and the room humid from the great flat pans of water she insisted be put in every inconspicuous corner to keep her skin youthful. There was a peculiar noise in the air; after a stupid moment of wondering he realized what he heard were flies, hordes of flies buzzing, insanely clamouring as they feasted on her, mated on her, laid there eggs on her.”

Extract from A Ghost and His Gold

I have tried hard to mimic some of the great writing I have read during the course of my life to date.

The following is an extract from one of the battle scenes in my book, A Ghost and His Gold, that I was pleased with:

“I ran, legs pumping and bayonet held at the ready, to the discordant notes of the supporting artillery guns and the Maxim which intensified the din and swirled around me like an insane orchestra. I was conscious of the men of my squadron around me, as well as those of C Squadron about three hundred yards ahead of me.

A great surge of comradery surged through me as these men, my brotherhood, charged forward through the smoke, directly into a hail of bullets from the Boer musketry. Death seemed certain, but, at this precise moment, this did not matter to me; a cloud of red anger and lust for blood having descended over my mind.

The anger prevented fear and grew in its intensity as the occasional figure, including that of Captain Fitzclarence, dropped around me in small explosions of red.

C Squadron reached the fort, which was hidden by bushes, and the guns roared; the sound of the discordant orchestra growing and swelling. My men and I slowed our forward momentum as we watched more ghostly forms falling, to lie in ghastly bleeding piles on the ground.

The few men still standing started to fall back, shouting at my squadron to follow suit.

“The walls are too high … Impossible to mount without scaling ladders.”

Their shouts filled the air, mingling with the gunfire and moans, groans and cries of the wounded.

One of my men, William, and I picked up Captain Fitzclarence as we slowly and deliberately retraced our steps. The blood lust had faded from the men’s eyes and their moods had turned sullen. Expressions of dejection had settled on some faces.”

You can see what other writers think about this topic here:

Rules:
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.

https://fresh.inlinkz.com/party/d2fe7b5a64dd45ee99c2b6e275b9de74

Conversations with characters

Author, Charles French, asks “which 2 or 3 fictional characters I would like to sit down with over coffee, tea, or beer and with whom I would like to have a conversation.”

You can read Charles choices here: https://charlesfrenchonwordsreadingandwriting.com/2021/05/05/conversations-with-characters/

Upon reflection, I would not choose a mythical character from a fantasy novel to invite around for tea and a chat. My choices would be characters who have gone through personal trauma and experience growth and personal development as a result. I think my choices would reflect the elements of fictional novels that interest me the most: What makes the character tick? Why did the character make the choices or decisions he/she made? Were their choices and attitudes influenced by their background?

The first character I would like to chat to would be Van Helsing from Dracula. I would want to know more about his background and his Catholic faith and how his respect for the ancient customs and belief in superstitions and folk remedies fitted with his enthusiasm for modern medicine and understanding of the importance of science for the future of mankind. I would also want to know what he knew about vampires and how he came by this information.

Van Helsing 1931.png
Picture from Wikipedia – Edward Van Sloan as Van Helsing in Dracula (1931)
Picture from Wikipedia – Peter Cushing as Van Helsing in The Brides of Dracula

My second choice of character would be Oom Schalk Lourens from Herman Charles Bosman’s The Complete Voorkamer Stories. Given the difficulties I experienced with researching certain aspects of the lives of the Boers before, during, and after the Second Anglo Boer War in South Africa, I would love to chat to Oom Schalk and learn more about his life, especially during this war.

The Complete Voorkamer Stories Kindle Edition

One of the most moving concepts for me in this book related to Oom Schalk’s comments about his wife going into a concentration camp with their two children and coming out alone. I would like to learn more about both of their experiences, living conditions, and emotions. I would be interested in the small details relating to their lives that are so difficult to discover through research.

You can learn more about Herman Charles Bosman and his books here: https://www.amazon.com/Herman-Charles-Bosman/e/B001JS25GO

My thoughts about chatting to characters are that if the author has done a good job of showing the emotions of the characters and explaining the circumstances of the story and how the entire story lines comes together, there isn’t that much I would need to chat to the characters about.

Having tea with an author now, well that is something entirely different. There are dozens of authors I would love to talk to about their ideas and delve into the greater meanings of their storylines and underlying messages and meanings.

Do you have any characters you would like to chat to? Why? Let me know in the comments.

Thursday doors – Tour of the Jozini community (old Zululand)

Welcome to Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).

During our visit to Ghost Mountain we went on a tour of the local community. The guide was a conservationist and explained the issues the community is facing due to the dry conditions resulting in water shortages, lack of maintenance of chemical toilets in the schools, and issues with alien plants that are spreading like wildfire and which poison the cattle if consumed.

View from the road going up the mountain. You can see Ghost Mountain in the distance.
Giant caterpillar – the hairs are poisonous
Sunset over the Pongolapoort Dam
Sunset – a bit more advanced – over the Pongolapoort Dam
Burning the sugarcane plantation to get rid of foliage, snakes and cane rats.

You can join in Thursday Doors here: https://nofacilities.com/2021/05/06/march-april-leftover-doors/

Open Book Blog Hop – Pets and animals in my books

This weeks topic was easy for me to respond to.

Do pets (or other animals) play an important part in your books? Tell us about them.

Of course they do, pets and animals are a part of our world and they come into my books quite naturally.

How animals and pets are included in my books differs, depending on the book.

Pets and animals can be used to demonstrate certain qualities and personality traits in characters. For example, in my book for older children, While the Bombs Fell, the reader knows that little Elsie loves animals from the way she behaves, as illustrated by this short paragraph:

The morning after the birth, Elsie would rush to go and see the newborn calf and any other calves in the calf shed. She thought the tiny calves were pretty with their dark brown eyes and soft noses. She used to visit the calves and, if she put her hand out towards one, that calf would suck on her fingers. The strong sucking sometimes gave her a bit of a fright as she struggled to pull her hand free, but it didn’t stop her from repeating this fun over and over again.”

Animals can also be a way of showing the occupation of the characters. The father in While the Bombs Fell is a farmer and the importance of the well being of his livestock is illustrated by this paragraph from the same chapter:

Quickly, the weaning of the calf off its mother’s milk and onto a mixture of special calves feed, mixed with water, began. Calves ate this diet until they were old enough to be sold. Father cared for the calves well because they were valuable and, when sold, helped feed the family.

Animals can also be used for scene setting. Certain animals, like black cats, have a reputation for being associated with witches and evil. In my young adult book, Through the Nethergate, I have used a cat to increase the tension of certain settings and scenes.

Margaret didn’t see the cat lying on the sixth riser from the top. She tripped, grabbing hold of the banister to save herself.

On reaching the top of the stairs, Margaret stood for a moment, breathing heavily. The strange vision in the cellar, combined with the cat on the stairs, had scared her. Adrenalin pumped through her body. It made everything seem sharply focused and almost over bright.

The cat stood up and stretched. It sauntered past Margaret, brushing against her ankles. The feel of the cat made Margaret break out in gooseflesh.

Animals can also be used to illustrate the harshness of life in a historical time period. This scene from A Ghost and His Gold does that:

He reminds me of Hansie, he has the same trusting eyes. I miss that dog,” Pieter sighs deeply. “Shooting that dog was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but what other option did I have? He’d gone
blind from the snake venom and a blind dog cannot survive in the veld.”

Estelle visibly shudders. Since Hansie was hit in the eyes by the venom of a Mozambique spitting cobra, she has developed a horror of snakes and won’t go anywhere near them.

Pieter had desperately tried to save the dog’s eyesight by washing his eyes out using water and milk, but he had gone blind anyway. Marta has mentioned several times that she missed knowing Hansie was there to
protect them while Pieter was away. His loud and frantic barking acted as an excellent warning system if any humans or wild animals approached the farm.

Do you incorporate pets and animals into your writing and stories?

You can see what other writers do here:

Rules:
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.

https://fresh.inlinkz.com/party/e1e6679373014d03ae3ad227b7eecb71

Another Entry Into The U. L. S. , The Underground Library Society from Robbie Cheadle: A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

Thank you to Professor Charles French for sharing my thoughts about the classic novel, A Farewell to Arms, written by Ernest Hemingway. This is a love story set during the Italian campaign of World War 1.

Charles has some wonderful books to help aspiring and established writers improve their prose and also has some terrific novels of his own so do take a look while you are there.

charles french words reading and writing

Thank you so much to Roberta Eaton Cheadle for creating another entry into the U. L. S., the Underground Library Society! The U. L. S. is an unofficial group of people who are dedicated to the preservation of books and in complete opposition to censorship. The idea is based on the Book People from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.

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Copy of Roberta Writes - independent pub 2 theme.

A Farewell to Arms

A Farewell to Arms, written by Ernest Hemingway, is a love story set during the Italian campaign of World War 1.

The story is narrated by the main character, Fredric Henry, an American medic, who joined the Italian Army at the commencement of war in the capacity of a lieutenant in the ambulance corp. The book details the romance between Fredric and an English nurse, Catherine Barkley, but it is equally a story of Fredric’s personal growth from a young man with foolish notions about the purpose and…

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Thursday doors – Pongolapoort Dam

Welcome to Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).

The Pongolapoort Dam, also called Lake Jozini is located on the Pongola River in northern Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa.

Prior to the construction of the dam, the land was Africa’s first formally recognised conservation area. The Pongola Game Reserve was created in 1894 by the president of the Transvaal Republic at the time, Paul Kruger.

This move ultimately lead to the proclamation of the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, Mkuze and Ndumo Game Reserves as well as one of Africa’s greatest wildlife conservation parks, the Kruger National Park.

Here are a few pictures from our tour of this dam which contains a lot of hippos. Hippos are hard to capture in photographs as they only pop up for air every five minutes and their time above the surface of the water is very short. They spend up to 16 hours a day submerged under water to keep their bodies cool.

View of the pier with the cruise boats. The on the left has an enclosed area with access doors
A picture of the holiday flats on the shore with glass doors leading onto the balconies
Picture of Tiger Lodge, Jozini, where we met the guide for the cruise

I am busy finishing off a new collection of poetry called Behind Closed Doors. This amazing cover was designed by Teagan Riordain Geneviene.

You can find Teagan’s designed and ready to use covers here: https://teagansbooks.com/riordain-cover-designs-portfolio/

You can find out more about Teagan’s amazing books here: https://teagansbooks.com/home/

You can join in Thursday Doors here: https://nofacilities.com/2021/04/29/glastonbury-doors/