Welcome to Day 4 of the 2021 RWISA “REVOLUTION” Blog Tour! @WendyJayneScott @RRBC_Org @RRBC_RWISA @Tweets4RWISA #RRBC #RWISA

RWISA Revolution Tour Blurb

Have you written that book or short story you want the whole world to know about? Are you looking for a great way to promote your creative endeavors? Perhaps you’re seeking to add some prestige to your body of work! If this sounds like you, we invite you to come on over to RAVE WRITERS – INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS, otherwise known as RWISA.

At RWISA, we invite to membership only the very best writers the Indie community has to offer.

If your work is exemplary and speaks for itself, stop by the RWISA website today at RaveWriters.wordpress.com and find out how you can submit your sample of writing for consideration.

We’re an exclusive bunch but we’d love to have you join us!

NOTE:  If you’re looking to improve your writing while taking another route to membership into RWISA, while you’re at the site, visit RWISA UNIVERSITY!

Happy Ending by Wendy Jayne Scott

In March 2020, with only a few days warning, alongside the rest of New Zealand, I was plunged into total lockdown. Saying this was a surreal experience is an understatement. As none of us knew how long this altered state would last, what this meant for our jobs, or the financial or health repercussions. We’d become entangled into the twilight zone of Covid-19. UNPRECEDENTED, screamed from the headlines alongside worldwide body counts and estimated infection rates. No compass existed to guide us out of the pandemic fog shrouding our futures. We were confined to our specified people bubbles.

Teddy Bears sprouted up window ledges and letter boxes, a sign of hope and solidarity, signalling to passers-by that even though 2 meter distances and masks now ruled our physical world, we were together in our hearts. I remember gathering, with my son, at the end of our driveway, in the predawn, to pay homage to our fallen ANZAC soldiers. Dawn parades were cancelled for the first time in 104 years. The haunting bugle tone of ‘The Last Post’ filtered from an unseen neighbour’s gateway and shivers resonated along my spine.

During lockdown, I had a choice of how I would respond to my altered reality. Black voids of despair, conspiracy theories, and fake news plied for my sanity. Yet, sunlight glistened on the tall summer grasses in my yard, my son’s laughter trickled on the breeze, and my dogs’ tails wagged like helicopter rotors, ecstatic to have their human pals home 24/7. So, I chose to focus on becoming a healthier and happier version of me, and a positive role-model for my son.

Fast forward to February 2021, New Zealand is no longer in lockdown, but our borders are heavily restricted, and the new media buzz words are QUARANTINE and VACCINE. Uncertainty looms like a bloated storm cloud. Fears of further job losses and financial ruin taint our summer days. Staying positive is harder to maintain under this sustained assault of negative news.

Changes are happening. Although, I fight against the dismantling of my comfortable world, my will alone doesn’t curb the tidal jetsam from Covid-19, so I must adapt to this foreign landscape.

Since lockdown, I’ve embraced personal development, focusing inward, aware that I may not be in a position to influence external circumstances, but I can take responsibility for myself. Being positive is easy when life is rosy, yet it is how I react when life is battering away at my defences that define me as a person.

Here are my top tips for positivity:

  • Express your gratitude every day for what you do have
  • Show and tell your loved ones how much you care for them and hug them (if you can)
  • Use your creativity!!!! Keep feeding your creative addictions
  • Resonate with nature by strolling on the beach, sniff garden flowers, or listen to birdsong
  • Smile more, at everyone, this is the right kind of contagious! If a mask hides your mouth, then smile through your eyes!
  • Be kind, laugh, and dance – play music that lifts your spirit

So, smile, and join me in singing and dancing into the light. https://youtu.be/MOWDb2TBYDg

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RWISA Revolution Tour Page

RWISA Wendy Jayne Scott Page

Thursday Doors – The house on Nethergate Street

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).

Today I am sharing photographs from our visit to my Mom’s home town of Bungay, Suffolk. Bungay is the setting from my books, While the Bombs Fell, co-written with my Mom, and Through the Nethergate.

Picture of the doors of a barn with a door into the loft
The farmhouse where my mother grew up
The shed that Old Fiddledee Dee used for his goat’s when my mother was a girl
Sign for Nethergate Street

This is a short extract from While the Bombs Fell which describes my Mom’s home and the goat shed:

“Many other cottages along “back lane,” or Nethergate Street, were small and shabby, the same as
Elsie’s home. They all looked similar and featured an outside toilet.

In the yard of the cottage next door stood two dilapidated wooden sheds. A fat, elderly man lived
alone in that cottage. The local people called him Old Fiddledee Dee. He wore a worn calico shirt, an
old waistcoat buttoned over his large belly and a pair of tatty, brown pants.

Old Fiddledee Dee kept goats in his sheds which he milked every morning. People said he lived on
goat’s milk and bread. The thought of drinking milk from smelly goats disgusted Elsie.”

You can join in Thursday Doors here: https://nofacilities.com/2021/02/11/katharine-day-house-thursday-doors/

Welcome to Day 2 of the 2021 RWISA “REVOLUTION” Blog Tour! @Jinlobify @RRBC_Org @RRBC_RWISA @Tweets4RWISA #RRBC #RWISA

RWISA Revolution Tour Blurb

Have you written that book or short story you want the whole world to know about? Are you looking for a great way to promote your creative endeavors? Perhaps you’re seeking to add some prestige to your body of work! If this sounds like you, we invite you to come on over to RAVE WRITERS – INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS, otherwise known as RWISA.

At RWISA, we invite to membership only the very best writers the Indie community has to offer.

If your work is exemplary and speaks for itself, stop by the RWISA website today at RaveWriters.wordpress.com and find out how you can submit your sample of writing for consideration.

We’re an exclusive bunch but we’d love to have you join us!

NOTE: If you’re looking to improve your writing while taking another route to membership into RWISA, while you’re at the site, visit RWISA UNIVERSITY!

A light in the tunnel! by Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko

I don’t know about the rest of you, but my new year started on November 3, 2020, when Biden was pronounced the winner of the presidential election. I went to bed that night early because I needed to be alone in prayer for God to rid America of the worst four years of this country’s political life. I did not want to see the results trickling in, especially as the first results did not favor Biden.

This has always been my practice. Even when the team I’m rooting for is playing, I never watch the game. I would rather wait for the end of the game to know the results. The live game always gives me something near to a heart attack. This was why I didn’t wait up to watch the results of the election as they came in. I wanted to wake up in the morning to the news that Biden had won!

It was with great trepidation that I woke up the next morning, November 4, 2020., to find out who won.  First, I turned my Television to CNN, and saw Van Jones in tears. I didn’t know why he was in tears, but I joined him. In my head, I had concluded that anything that would cause Mr. Jones to cry could not be good. Slowly, it started to dawn on me that his tears, my tears, were tears of victory. Biden had won! Glory to God for He had answered my prayers! I forgot my aches and pains and did a jive! What a glorious day it was!

For me, Biden’s win opened up for people of goodwill, many positive possibilities. The first thing I felt was that the gloom which hovered over everything sane, the sense of despair that dogged the last administration’s tenure, the fear about where all the damaging rhetoric was taking us, and the danger of the divide, had all dissipated. I felt the sun shining again. My hopes for the future of this great country returned. I knew that all would be well again.

When Trump threatened the results of the election by refusing to acknowledge defeat or concede, at first, I thought it was a passing whim. Somehow, deep inside me, I was strong in my belief that God had spoken. The deal was done. Nothing and no one could overturn the results of the election!

The funny thing about all this, is that while we were rejoicing here in America about Biden’s win, in Nigeria, some misguided individuals were carrying about banners of a Trump’s win. I couldn’t understand how the business of the American elections had become the business of Nigeria. Relatives from Nigeria started texting me to sympathize with me. A cousin from London texted to warn me about an impending war in America. I texted him back asking him where he would want me to run to. The cousin humorously replied, from frying pan to fire! That’s a Nigerian idiom meaning from bad to worse.

I remember that day very clearly. In fact, we were having a fun time on the RRBC chat forum when I turned on my Television and saw, in horror, Trump and his cohorts moving to the USA Capitol. Well, he promised to march with them, then he snuck away. I alerted the RRBC chat members who were still talking about everything mundane on WhatsApp. It was horrible! How could one man hold this country to ransom? Why was Trump trying to ruin my new year’s resolutions?

There is a saying that goes, our happiness is in our own hands. Then and there I decided that Trump or no Trump, this election was done. Biden won! God had spoken, and thanks be to God! The whole world, and I mean, the whole world was in jubilation!

Before Biden’s win, I prayed to God for him to win. After his win, I upgraded my prayer. This time, I prayed that the two outstanding seats in the Senate should go to the Democrats so that Biden would be able to do a good job for the country without being blocked by the Republicans. I still remember what they did to the Obama administration, so I prayed night and day for those two seats to go to the Democrats, and now that they have those seats, my prayers have changed again. I have started channeling my prayer for Biden’s safety and good health. I am sure he needs both. I’m sure you will all agree with me that he looks so frail every time we see him, and his voice sounds so tired when he speaks. May God sustain him!

This year is looking good already. I am able to write again. Last year was one of my worst writing years. I couldn’t write at all, and this had nothing to do with writer’s block. I could see my stories. Sometimes, I would jot somethings down, and then, that feeling of hopelessness … like the end was near, would overwhelm me. I would ask myself, why bother? Rather than write, I would sit and stare into space, and dream. Although I was not putting anything down on paper, I would rehash everything in my head.

With the country calmer now, my worries have started to melt away. I can now focus more and stay on course. I can’t believe that in just two days, I have written two blog posts. In short, I am back!

I am happy that Biden is on course, too. He is not allowing anything, to distract him. When the country is on course, we are all on course. I pray that God will help him to heal America and pull America back from the hole which the last administration had plunged it. America deserves better. We deserve better.

Amazon US

RWISA Revolution Tour page

Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko RWISA page

Open Book Blog Hop – Story Ideas

Do you get story ideas that you know you’ll never write?’

Realisation of my idea for a gingerbread and chocolate house diorama

I have lots and lots of story ideas. Everywhere I go, every time I do research, and every time I read a snippet of history, I get stories ideas. There are so many fascinating places, people, and innovations out there, but there is only limited time to write stories. I work full time and have a family so time is my most precious commodity and I have to decide which story ideas to pursue and which to leave for the time being.

I have a number of half written manuscripts on my computers including another middle school book called Silly Willy goes to London, a cli-fi book about genetic engineering and the fourth industrial revolution (I wrote the first 40 000 words and plotted out all three books in a planned series), a memoir about my experiences with raising children with chronic illnesses and dealing with OCD and PTSD in family situations (direct and indirect), and three or four Sir Chocolate Books stories.

I also have three stories currently on the go: one short paranormal story for an anthology, The Soldier and the Radium Girl about the First World War and the radium girls who painted the glow-in-the-dark watches for use by the American troops in the trenches, and the sequel to my mother’s story about her life growing up in an English town during WWII. I have a great new idea for a book about the Anglo-Zulu war in South Africa and am planning a trip with my family to Ghost Mountain in Kwa-Zulu Natal to visit more historical sites [I’m very excited].

I know I will never finish Silly Willy goes to London or Silly Willy goes to Knysna (also started but only 17 000 words in). I doubt I will return to the cli-fi book having lost interest in researching genetic engineering and the expected impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution when Covid-19 hit. I decided it was better to write historical novels and not forward looking novels until the new normal is clear to me. It is difficult to try and predict the future while we are in the middle of a pandemic and don’t know when it will end or how it will impact the world economically. Financial crisis have a habit of leading to conflict and war, just saying.

I have decided not to publish any more Sir Chocolate Books because Michael is 15 years old now and has lost interest in a chocolate man who lives in a world where you can eat everything and my memoir is to painful to write so that has also been abandoned for the time being.

My plan for this year is to write three or four short paranormal stories for anthologies, produce a poetry anthology with Kaye Lynne Booth of Writing to be Read blog, finish After the Bombs Fell with my mother, finish The Soldier and the Radium Girl which is intended to be a novella and plot the outline for my new South African war novel, the title of which has not yet revealed itself to me. The title always comes to me when I have the end of the book in sight [which is relatively early in my plotting process, as I’ve mentioned before].

It sounds like a plan for 2021!

What do other blog-hoppers think? Click on the link below to find out:

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.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Thursdaydoors – Hever Castle

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 original castle was built by William de Hever in 1270 and consisted of the gatehouse and walled bailey. In 1462, Anne Boleyn’s great-grandfather, Geoffrey Boleyn, purchased the castle. He extended it and converted it into a private home. When the Boleyn family moved into Hever in c. 1505 they converted it into a comfortable Tudor home.

Anne Boleyn, together with her siblings Mary and George, is likely to have spent a good deal of her childhood here prior to being sent to join the court of the Archduchess Margaret in 1513.

After the demise of Anne and Thomas Boleyn, the castle became the property of Henry VIII. In 1540 he gave it to his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, as part of a very generous annulment settlement.

After this, the castle had several owners including the Waldegraves, the Humfreys, and the Meade Waldos. In 1903 the American millionaire, William Waldorf Astor, purchased Hever. He went about restoring the castle, building the Tudor village, and creating the beautiful gardens and lake.

Entrance to Hever Castle
A picture of Hever Castle from a distance
Doors to a bookcase inside Hever Castle
A medieval suit of armour – the visor is like a metal door
Gardens at Hever Castle

You can join in this challenge here: https://nofacilities.com/2021/02/04/author-author-thursday-doors/

#SpiritsoftheWest #Blogtour : Day 2 – The Thirstyland Journey

Day 2 of the Spirits of the West book tour hosted by WordCrafter Press sets out some background to my short story, The Thirstyland Journey. You can find out more about the tours WordCrafter is offering here: https://writingtoberead.com/wc-book-blog-tours-2/

Background

My story, the Thirstyland Journey, is based on the Dorsland Trek (Thirstyland Trek) which is the collective name for a series of treks by groups of Boer (farmer) settlers from modern day South Africa in search of independence from Britain and better living conditions.

The first group of trekkers under the leadership of Gert Alberts set out on the 27th of May 1874. This initial trek was followed by other groups, all taking different routes. The primary destination of the Dorsland trekkers was the Humpata highlands of south-western Angola. In order to get to Angola, the trekkers had to cross large parts of the Kalahari desert in Bechuanaland (now called Botswana) and South West Africa (modern Namibia). The trekkers suffered greatly due to lack of water and it is believed that 3,000 trekkers died during the journey.

Map from Wikipedia here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorsland_Trek

Extract from The Thirstyland Journey

“Exhaustion yaps at Elsbet’s heels as she holds Johannes’ hand tightly, helping to pull him along through the deep sand. Her thirst and rash from the prickly heat torture her and not a word passes by her swollen and dry throat. The drifting sand fills her shoes and makes lifting her feet hard work.

After a few hours of walking, one of the Hottentot shepherds lifts his nose and says: “I smell water.”  The others all spread out and presently a cry of “Water, here is water,” causes everyone to rush over and see what the Hottentot, Tom, has found. It is water, but only a small amount which had filled a natural rocky depression during the last rainy season and been covered by the drifting sand. Everyone gets to enjoy a few sips of this filtered and cool water. I need more. Two sips is just not enough.

There is not enough to share with the animals and they continue to go without. As they continue walking through the arid environment broken only by the odd patche of scrub, the Hottentots discover similar small pools of water. Elsbet, looks all around carefully, doing her best to spot these water filled depressions but she doesn’t have the sharp eyes of the Hottentots.

When the convoy finally stops, soon after the devil sun starts its march across the bleached sky, the family suck down their allotment of water and pass out into a heavy and unfulfilling sleep. “We need to be extra careful about water,” says Papa.

On the third evening in the desert, Elsbet wakes and rubs her dirty face with dry and flaking hands. Her lips and eyelids are stuck together and she pries them open with her fingers. Aletta and Johannes are in a similar state and she helps them in the same way. Aletta’s small face is pinched and her chubby cheeks seem to have melted away, leaving a skin covered skull with the sharp contours of a much older person. Sheer exhaustion has allowed the children to sleep longer and the sun is already dropping behind the horizon.”

Purchase Spirits of the West anthology

Amazon USA

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Spirits of the West Book Blog Tour

Kaye Lynne Booth has shared Day 1 of the WordCrafter Spirits of the West book tour. There are some great stories in this anthologies as well as two South African pioneer stories written by yours truly.

Writing to be Read

Spirits of the West Book Blog Tour

Welcome to the first official WordCrafter Book Blog Tour featuring the WordCrafter western paranormal anthology, Spirits of the West. We’ve got a great tour lined up, so let me tell you a little about this unique anthology and the stories featured within. I hope you’ll all follow along with the tour as the week progresses, to learn more about this colorful story collection.

It’s no secret that I love ghost stories, which is why the theme each year for the WordCrafter Short Fiction Contest always seems to lean toward the paranormal genre, although other genres may be involved. It’s also no secret that my first novel was a western and I enjoy writing and reading this genre, so it shouldn’t be surprising that the 2020 theme was western paranormal. I didn’t get a lot of submissions, but the ones I did get…

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#ThursdayDoors – The Battle of Rorke’s Drift

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 recent trip to Fugitive’s Drift Lodge in Kwa-Zulu Natal, one of the battle sites we visited was Rorke’s Drift. This site is better know it seems than Isandlwana although the battle occurred on the same day, 22 January 1879. May this is because of the movie, Zulu, featuring Michael Caine which presents a [slightly inaccurate] version of this battle.

Rorke’s Drift was a Swedish mission station that was commandeered by the British Army prior to its invasion of Zululand. The rectory was in use as a hospital and the church as a store room for ammunition and supplies.

On the afternoon of 22 January 1879, after the successful Battle of Isandlwana, a force of approximately 4,500 Zulu warriors, crossed the Buffalo River into Natal and attacked Rorke’s Drift. The station was defended by just over 100 British troops and there were 29 men recovering in the hospital. 300 Basuto troops assisted with building the fortifications of the station, but fled when the attack began.

Here are some of my photographs from the day:

The British troops built a makeshift fortress out of sacks of mielies and biscuit boxes as part of their defence.

You can join in Thursday Doors here: https://nofacilities.com/2021/01/28/trinity-church-et-al-thursday-doors/

If you are interested in South African history, my new historical paranormal book about the Great South Africa War is now available here: https://tslbooks.uk/product/a-ghost-and-his-gold-roberta-eaton-cheadle/

Dark Origins – Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

I am very excited about my new series over at Writing to be Read called Dark Origins – Nursery Rhymes and Fairytales. My first post looks at the dark origins of the nursery rhyme, Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary. There are three theories and they are all fascinating. Thank you for hosting me, Kaye Lynne Booth.

Writing to be Read

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary is an English nursery rhyme which is believed to have religious and historical significance.

Picture from Origins – What Does History Say?

The most common modern version of this nursery rhyme is as follows:

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,

How does your garden grow?

With silver bells, and cockle shells,

And pretty maids all in a row.

The oldest known version was first published in Tommy Thumb’s Pretty Song Book in 1744 and the lyrics were a little different.

Mistress Mary, Quite contrary,

How does your garden grow?

With Silver Bells, And Cockle Shells,

And so my garden grows.

The origins of this nursery rhyme are disputed and these are the three most popular theories.

Religous origin

One theory is that this nursery rhyme is a religious allegory of Catholicism as follows:

Mary is Mary, the mother of Jesus,

The bells are the sanctus or altar bells…

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