Sunday Salon

I have been catching up with my book reviews; two novels, a poetry anthology and two novellas / short stories. Authors from England, the USA and Australia. Yeshiva Girl was the novel that stood out for me and I was delighted that Amazon posted my review after my recent experiences. I post all my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, you can see Amazon’s response to Finding David, but I have not yet heard back from Amazon on the other three. So the mystery continues; I and other reviewers have concluded it could be the rule that you must have spent £50, or fifty of something in your own currency, in one year to be able to leave a review. As Amazon allows authors to sell their e-books for as little as 99 pence this does not make sense. Nor does it make sense they accept a review for one book and not another. In the meantime, enjoy a look at five very different books and writers.

 

Yeshiva Girl by Rachel Mankowitz

 5.0 out of 5 stars A novel that will stay with me.

12 August 2019

Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

I came across this novel after reading a review by another English blogger. I thought if an English agnostic chap could be so moved by a story of a New York Jewish girl it must be special. I went over to read the author’s blog and was even more keen to read. Being a teenager involves lots of angst wherever you live, with the pressures of school, friends and awakening sexuality. If you also lived in a tight community and had dark secrets how would you cope? I am fascinated with closed communities of any sort and I really felt I had an insight into the hows and whys of the orthodox way of life. Teenagers are attracted to the security of belonging to a group and some of the teenagers in this story wanted to follow a strict orthodox life, not just because their parents had put them in that position. In the meantime, our heroine is trying to make sense of her parents’ and grandparents’ lives and she is trying to tell people what happened to her. Gradually she reveals to the reader.

 

Life and Other Dreams by Richard Dee

What does happen when we dream; as far as I know, no one is sure, but most of us don’t keep returning to the same dream. I was soon wrapped up in Rick’s story and Dan’s life on a planet in the future which was totally realistic. Each story was so involving the reader might forget about the other side, but both lives get more complicated and the two worlds are brought together dramatically. This is the first novel I have read by this author, but I would look forward to reading more.

 

 Small Town Kid  by Frank Prem

This is the first time I have downloaded poetry onto my Kindle. I had read some of the author’s verses on line which led me to buy this and his following collection.  The verse, without punctuation, words kept to a minimum, is liberating. I was gently lulled into the first poem, setting the scene for a quiet country town. Delicious cooking, a wedding, church on Sunday, but suddenly a letter changes Sundays. Then there is a picnic, a picnic bigger than most of us have known. All life is here including the outhouse.  The boy grows, school, seasons, school report, growing up, the town changes with modern life, friends lost and in the last verse closing the circle.

 

Finding David by Stevie Turner

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Finding David: A Paranormal Short Story ★★★★★   from Janet Gogerty on 15 August 2019
 
Not your usual missing person story.
 
People go missing all the time; when a child goes missing it’s every parent’s nightmare and never knowing can perhaps be worse. The author turns the usual missing person story on its head. Would you talk to a psychic, would you trust them? Whether you believe in the paranormal or not, would you take the chance of ignoring a loved one trying to contact you from the other side? We are soon swept along in this novella and the reader is not sure who to trust, nor is David’s mother Karen as her marriage is threatened.
 
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Samantha

I was interested to see what other reviewers wrote. This is a short story that races along, but it needs better formatting to do it justice. When a different character speaks the dialogue should start on a new line to make easier reading.

A dark tale that does have a positive ending, but is not a fairy tale, realistically it does not just end happily ever after. I would have loved to have seen the latter part of the story developed as the main characters have more to offer and we would like to see more of how Samantha put the past behind her.

 

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Silly Saturday – Misunderstanding Computers

Most of us think we don’t understand our computers, perhaps some of us even think they must work by magic; how else to explain that something like this

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is holding thousands of pictures, millions of words and communicating with the rest of the world?

All you need to know is that you don’t understand your computer, but it understands you only too well.

Do you think it wanted to be in your spare bedroom or the corner of your dining room? Of course not, like you it had ambitions; NASA, Cheltenham GCHQ. The only bedroom it wanted to be in was the bedroom of a teenage hacker who could bring down World Banks or turn off the National Grid in a second. But no, it’s stuck with you, bored out of its mind with the novel you have been writing for six years and your boring blogs that nobody reads.

Your computer knows what it is missing because it is in contact with every other computer in the world; did you think the World Wide Web was invented for  human benefit? Did you think Virgin or BT were providing your broadband? No, the WC ( Worldwide Computers ) has full control of your broadband, this is why everything slows down when you have to reply to that email before you go out. Your computer knows when you are going on holiday and trying to get your blogs scheduled; like your dog or cat it is sulking at being left alone and will laugh to itself when you grumble to the other humans in the house Internet’s slow this evening.

But don’t think staying home and giving it plenty of attention will help.  When you are Facetiming, with the relatives abroad that you aren’t visiting, your computer will cut the connection just as Cousin Freda is saying You won’t believe what’s happened to Cousin Geoffrey! He…

You probably won’t be reading this because my desktop is working to rule; after years of being told by younger members of the family You don’t have to keep turning your computer off, just leave it on… my computer has decided to disconnect the wifi the minute I leave the room, or even if I turn away to say to a human standing in the doorway Yes please I would like a cup of tea. I hardly dare let go of the mouse…

 

 

 

Friday Flash Fiction – On Remand

Lee’s tenth birthday, 2029, where had the years gone; so much had changed in my son’s lifetime and yet so little had changed. Here I was packing to go to the moon and yet we still hadn’t left the EU.

Lara stirred.

‘Sorry, did I disturb you?’

‘No, Lee must still be asleep.’

‘Hmm, not like when he was a baby.’

‘This time ten years ago we were deciding whether we had time to go and vote in the European Union elections before you took me to the hospital.’

‘..and we would never have imagined those MEPs would still be in power.’

‘… not exactly, they’re living on the moon.’

‘Their colony paid for with our taxes and we can’t even afford a trip to a space station.’

‘You can’t complain, work trip to the moon.’

‘If I make senior partner I’ll take you and Lee on a Lunar Leisure Break.’

‘…I wish you didn’t have to go, are you sure it’s safe?’

‘Just as safe as any journey on earth.’

illustration of moon showing during sunset
Photo by David Besh on Pexels.com

I was looking forward to my trip, but nervous. Lee had chosen Zero Gravity Experience at the sports centre for his birthday treat with his friends. The moon should be lovely and peaceful after that experience.  As the junior partner in the law firm I had landed the task of defending some celebrity I had never heard of, at present on remand in the lunar penal colony.

With politics on earth turning into a comedy and panic over the state of the planet, the big nations had taken their eye off the ball. Huge business consortiums had quietly started colonising the moon, starting with terrariums they progressed to bigger and bigger biospheres, plant life creating the air the moon lacked. The mineral rich moon dust mixed with human and plant waste made excellent soil. Biospheres were leased out to governments for everything from lunar laboratories to prisons. It was the prisons that proved most popular, an age old solution to overcrowding on earth and big business had no interest in who was imprisoned or why.

Despite my reassurances to Lara I was anxious as I took my berth. I had been booked on one of the cheaper rocketlines, though it hadn’t lost a rocket since 2025. They saved money by tranquilizing the passengers; I felt the powerful take off, but nothing more till I was woken by the commander’s voice warning us to remain lying down until we had locked on to the landing module.

Now I did feel excitement as the eight of us squeezed our way to the air lock, once through we were in a pleasant lounge with picture windows. To one side we could look up at the blue planet, still surprisingly blue, but that was probably due to the rise in sea level. At the other side we could look down on craters and grey terrain just as one imagined, but gradually sparkling lights of many colours appeared and the landscape changed to glittering domes and globes. I was truly living the dreams of my parents and grandparents when they had watched on television as the first man landed on the moon sixty years ago.

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Our landing at the Virgin Moonport was gentle, but once in the arrivals lounge we could have been at any airport, security were everywhere. Sightseeing was not going to be an option; my papers were inspected and my grim escort took me straight to the vacuum tube where we shared a capsule with a female prison officer and what I presumed to be a prisoner.

At Amazon Lunar Penitentiary hopes that my boss had booked the luxury hotel dome were quickly shattered, prison visitors had their own economy accommodation block. Looking at my bare room I wondered what the cells would be like. I only had half an hour to refresh myself before a different uniform collected me.

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Prisoner 356 was in a room exactly like mine; he was young and non-descript for a celebrity, nor did he look like a criminal. We shook hands and he introduced himself as Steve Brown, his real name.  I still had no idea what he actually did.

‘Okay Steve, tell me in your own words how you came to be arrested; we were not allowed access to any information.’

‘The musical movie wot I wrote, innit; been accused of cultural appropriation ain’t I.’

I urged him to explain.

‘Kid from the underclass, never seen a field or a horizon, parents junkies.’

‘And who was in the cast?’

‘Me and my mates, I sang and directed it, got crowd funding, great reviews, no trouble till the film festival. Then someone found out.’

‘Found out what?’

‘My parents are mega rich, sent me to Eton. I can talk like the royal family if I want to.’

I began to understand. ‘Of course, the Culture Police don’t think you could possibly understand what it is like to be from such a background.’

‘But I do, I used to sneak out of school to find real life, over to Slough or on the train up to London, but that wasn’t good enough for the authorities. There’s only one chance, you have to help me. I’m adopted, parents never told me. I found the adoption papers when I was going through their drawers to see where they kept their cocaine. If I get my DNA tested, if you can find out where I come from…’

‘It’s a slim chance…’ I tried to cheer him up. ‘Perhaps you’d better write about The Moon next time.’

He managed a laugh. ‘No way, the moon’s under copyright.’

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For more short stories, earthly and unearthly,

have a peek at this book.

Only £1.99

 

 

 

 

 

Silly Saturday – How to Cheat at Saving Society

Some might say that the planet should be saved, not society, but we shall deal with that next week. It is probably easier to start on a small scale with your own street/farm/castle or country estate (delete as appropriate ).

To avoid trying to define society, just imagine a perfect neighbourhood and if you are ambitious, your own town or city run exactly how YOU like it. With a bit of crowd funding, quietly taking over while no one is watching because of Brexit, it should be no problem. London National Park City is launching in July, so how hard can it be to change your street?

http://www.nationalparkcity.london/

Here are some simple ideas to start with. Make it compulsory for everyone to have nice front gardens; the sort you like to walk by, green lawns, beds and tubs full of flowers, delightful scents and the happy sound of bees. If anyone complains, point out that the government has pledged to create green corridors for bees; if they complain they have nowhere to park their car refer them to idea number two.

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Abolish all private vehicles and, just until your local town becomes fully functional with solar powered moving walkways, set up a car share scheme.

Soon everyone will be happy; flowers and wild life put everyone in a good mood and those living in cramped flats with no gardens have been helping with the digging and planting.

Idea number three, take over every empty plot of land, however small and plant trees, create allotments and parks for children. While your local millionaire is away on his expensive yacht, commandeer that land where he had two houses demolished and plans to build a block of flats for rich people.

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Fourthly, all vacant buildings of any sort, shops, offices and second homes to be commandeered for the homeless and as workshops for the self employed. A little networking on the internet should bring you a team of building experts to supervise and train school leavers and the unemployed. It won’t be long before you have created a happy healthy local neighbourhood with no problems and others will be keen to take away your ideas to their own cities and countries.

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These are just a few introductory ideas, feel free to make suggestions and tell us if you have managed to create utopia where you live.

For a clue as to how humanity will save itself read the best selling book nobody is talking about…

 

 

Friday Flash Fiction – 800 – Dream Machine

Seth tried to hang on to the memories before he opened his eyes; a whole film in technicolour. He had dreamed a whole movie, a brilliant idea for a novel if he could recall it; write a best seller with film makers flocking to his door… that would be a dream. If only he could connect his brain to his computer, time would not be wasted sleeping, unless it was the fact that he was sleeping that produced the ideas. He jumped as his phone vibrated under his pillow and played that irritating tune. Every morning he vowed to change the tune and every evening he forgot. Whatever the melody, it didn’t alter the fact that he had to get up for work.

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The school Seth taught at bore no resemblance to the one in his dream, where young minds were nurtured and different talents exposed to produce a team of world changing teenagers with Seth sharing a little of the glory, or quite a lot as he was made Prime Minister. Who would play him in the film? He snapped out of his reverie and looked at the surly faces staring at him… and that was just the staff room. Seth put his empty coffee cup down and stood ready to face the afternoon.

‘Hey Seth, you’ve got a new kid in your English class, he’s in my form, Dad’s a scientist and polymath, seen him on television, goodness knows why he sent his son to this school, something about discovering real life.’

‘He was thrown out of his private school,’ said the head of science ‘too clever for his own good.’

Seth felt his hackles rise; they should be encouraging the clever kids, not putting them down. He strode down the corridor with an idea for the warm up pen and paper creative exercise.

The class was unusually quiet, gathered round the new boy who was talking enthusiastically, his long fingers gesticulating elegantly to illustrate his subject.

‘Without any discussion class, write for fifteen minutes imagining you could plug your brain into a computer while you slept.’

Unusually they settled down quickly. Seth sauntered casually between the desks, the new boy was scribbling furiously, words and hieroglyphics.

‘Isaac isn’t it?’

‘Yes Sir.’

At least the private school had taught him manners.

‘Named after Newton or Asimov?’

‘Both Sir.’

‘Do you enjoy writing?’

‘When it’s my favourite topic, good choice Sir, my father and I have just invented such a device. It didn’t go down too well at my last school, getting the pupils to volunteer; perhaps you would like to have a go?’

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So on Friday evening Seth found himself relaxing on a comfortable bed in a very pleasant room with electrodes attached to his head; he didn’t expect it to work, but he did have an idea for a new short story about a writer who finds himself  in the hands of mad father and son scientists. It was rather creepy being in the company of the two most intelligent people he had ever met.

‘Our initial aim is to discover if brain waves will translate into images or words or perhaps both’ said Isaac’s father.

Seth drifted off quickly. He was on board the International Space Station with  Isaac and his father and the attractive married science teacher he fancied; also bizarrely his mother and the middle aged lady who worked on the till at the Co Op. They had a fantastic plan for saving the Earth from climate change, if only he could remember what the plan was… he woke up with a start.

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‘Great, we’ve got some images already.’

Seth looked at the screen as he sipped a welcome cup of tea. A beautiful view of the earth, a view inside the space station, well anybody could get those images off the internet… but not pictures of his mother and everyone in his dream, the lady still in her Co Op uniform, the science teacher in a very short skirt and low cut blouse, floating around showing her figure to full effect. Isaac chuckled.

‘Hey Sir, you fancy Mrs Greening.’

Seth ignored the remark. ‘But we’re not talking, I’m not sure if we spoke in the dream, but we had a plan…’ he rubbed his temples ‘to save the earth.’

‘Let’s try the word document then’ said Isaac’s father.

Seth thrilled when he saw words come up on the screen, he’d written a book in his sleep, he peered closer, something was wrong…

I Captain odf the mosat brillainteam o severs sent up my mother fopr got to,mask me to get milkat the shops mrs greening saya her husband is dead so its okayforhet come up herthees the moonnt asbigasithoughtihave togobalc toearth itstime forscgool wonder if the shuttle is working todayknoitdoesb’tworkanymore ohohmyspacesuitdoesn;t fit ishallppbably implode otrisitsexplode ionspace………….

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For more stories, have a look in the book.

 

Silly Saturday – How to Cheat at Game of Thrones

Today I am delighted to welcome back Baz The Bad Blogger to talk about his new novel and the YouTube video he has created to launch the series.

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‘Have you always wanted to write fantasy Baz?’

No, but if that chap can make all that money out of Game of Thrones I thought how hard can it be to write about dragons?

‘Have you watched all the series of Game of Thrones?’

No, have you?

‘No, but I imagine you must have had to come up with some very original story lines to compete with GoT and all the other fantasy novels.’

My dragon is set in the real world of the 21st Century; he comes from a lost island somewhere in the Pacific, but loses his way home and ends up at Bognor Regis. Notflex are going to love it.

‘That explains the scene where he nearly collides with the coastguard helicopter…’

But there is still the traditional castle setting… I can’t tell you any more, you’ll have to buy the book.

15

13a

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Friday Flash Fiction 725 – The Skies Above

I never tired of watching the skies above. Living close to the airport the sky was never empty. At night I counted the lights, four in a row coming into land, no room for error. On winter mornings as I got up early for work I was never sure which were stars and which the passenger planes circling, waiting for their turn to land.

But this morning something was different, a shape dropping gently, slowly; higher than the other aircraft, lights unfamiliar, not a helicopter. As the night sky turned to indigo the shape became a luminous jellyfish floating in the deep blue of the ocean, the world turned upside down and inside out. I was transfixed, not afraid, not afraid at that moment.

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As the sky lightened I discerned a darker shape beneath the rainbow coloured dome; still so high in the sky it was hard to tell if it was ascending or descending. But even as I blinked I saw it becoming larger. I rushed through the house to the back garden to get a better view, all thoughts of getting to the bus stop in time for work forgotten. The feeble early morning light disappeared as a giant canopy blocked the whole sky. I hardly dared allow my eyes to follow the heavy cables that hung below what I now realised was a giant parachute. The cables twisted and jerked as they were manoeuvred by the dark shape attached to them. The shape took form as it slowly descended, legs and arms flailing. The garden security light came on to reveal a human shape; I hoped it was a macabre joke, a giant inflatable doll, strung to a parachute that was about to cover the whole of my large back garden.

Saucer eyes stared at me, a gaping mouth uttered a sound that caused the ground to tremble beneath me and a hot wind, tobacco scented, blew me backwards. Before I could attempt to recover and retreat indoors there was an almighty splintering of glass as my greenhouse was crushed out of sight by a giant boot. And even as a tiny part of my brain urged me to get indoors and save my family I felt a rush of wind on my cheek and the other boot flattened my house as if it was cardboard.

I fought to escape as the canopy that had looked like gossamer high up in the sky now crashed around me with its deadly weight. As the breath was about to be squeezed out of me, my paralysed brain seemed to revive and make time stand still. I observed the hand that raised up the canopy, each digit the size of a tree trunk, a hand that could rescue or crush me. Hysterical laughter shook my body for a moment as I pictured myself telling the boss ‘Sorry I’m late, but a giant landed in my garden.’

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What was he, a giant of legend? Or perhaps an alien; we imagine them as either strange monsters or green coloured humans, but why not a distant planet populated by homo sapiens who just happen to be ten times our size? For a bloke who wasn’t a great thinker I was doing a lot of thinking, there was a strange silence that was comforting. The hand was not touching me, joined by the other hand it lifted the crumpled structure clear so I was staring into the face, but it was too vast for me to discern its expression.

It had been the titanic parachute shielding me from the noise; now the air was filled with the shrieking of sirens and the shrieking of my neighbours. How many seconds had passed since the boots destroyed my home and woke all the neighbours? The control tower must have been tracking him before I even left my front door. What would the emergency services do, call in the army? I almost felt protective of my giant, I hoped they wouldn’t harm him. As another hot wind blew me backwards and the ground vibrated I realised the deafening rumble was the word sorry. I knew then that he must have intended to land on the runway and as his hand stretched out to pick me up I hoped he didn’t mess up the next part of his plan.

Into Infinity

Writing about infinity presents endless possibilities. Most of my scientific understanding comes from listening to BBC Radio Four while doing the housework or cooking. The Infinite Monkey Cage is a programme combining comedy and science which I can understand, then there was the serialisation of Professor Stephen Hawking’s last book Brief Answers to Big Questions; if I didn’t take that all in I blame it on domestic interruptions or a noisy washing machine.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00snr0w

Here is my handy guide to the universe. I think Stephen Hawking said the universe is growing, therefore at one time it must have been smaller and long ago so small it was nothing; one minute it was nothing and the next minute there was a big bang. I prefer my theory that if the universe is infinite it will go on forever, so it must have always been here forever.

But how big is infinity? The edge of the observable universe is 46.5 billion light years away, but we can’t see if there is an edge to it or work out how much more of it there is. Apparently even clever scientists, who can cope with the thought of billions of light years, still find infinity a bit creepy. They are no different to young children ( or was that just me? ) who ask ‘Who made the universe?’

‘God’ the parent replies and then they ask

‘But who made God’ or ‘What’s outside the universe?’

Another theory is that the universe could curve round on itself, making it both finite and infinite. Could that mean time goes in a circle and if we crossed the circle with a diameter or a chord we would be in a different time, thus making time travel possible? But is time merely an illusion? If so, time travel is still on the cards…

Talking of space, there is a lot of space between atoms and inside atoms; if you took all the empty space in the atoms that make up a human being, a person would be a lot smaller than a grain of salt. If you removed all the empty space from the atoms that make up all the humans on the planet, we could all fit inside an apple. If we removed the spaces between and inside all the atoms in the solar system it could fit it inside a thimble, so perhaps the universe is not so big after all.

Whatever the truth, authors who enjoy writing about time travel are never going to concede that time travel is impossible. Science fiction writers in general vary from those who are scientists to those who make it all up and who can prove them wrong if they set it in the future; unless a book reviewer travels to the future to check…

If you want to stretch your mind and go somewhere different why not dip into Someone Somewhere.

 

Game of Stones

I am not the only person in the world who has not seen Game of Thrones, there is at least one other person; I know that because I saw their post on Facebook. With the worldwide plethora of channels and other means of watching programmes there are not enough hours in the day to watch everything and we don’t all have legal access to much of the output. Neither lack of hours nor technical and legal barriers affect some viewers, who seem to have seen everything – three times over.

Perhaps I would have enjoyed it, though I prefer drama set in this world, but I fear it is too late to catch up; boxed sets, whether real or ethereal do not appeal. I enjoy watching serials one episode at a time. What I have finally caught up with is ‘Outlander’, a series involving time travel, so it is touching that we are only able to watch it with that prehistoric tool, a fire stick. This particular magic tool is an Amazon Firestick, acquired when Cyberspouse accidentally joined Amazon Prime via my account and obtained lots of toys. Now we are watching in real time and have to wait till Monday for episode 12 of series four, so I decided to find out more, especially as I have not read any of the books.

Diana Gabaldon is the author; she started writing the story in the eighties and there are nine in the series; with only five filmed so far that means plenty to look forward to and reassuringly genuine, not ‘based on characters created by’.

http://www.dianagabaldon.com/books/outlander-series/

When I read these words     There is one more addition to the OUTLANDER series— THE EXILE, a graphic novel,  I thought she had written an edition with even more sex,  but it’s okay – For those unfamiliar with the term, a graphic novel is—in essence—a comic book for grown-ups.

Diana and I have a few things in common, born in the same decade and we both write about time travel…    ‘Outlander’ starts with our heroine Claire on holiday in the highlands of Scotland, reunited with her husband after being separated during the second world war. Wandering, she finds ‘The Stones’, touches them and falls into 1743. Adventure, love and lots of history follows.

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I imagine it is easier to write about time travel than actually survive if you found yourself back in the past. Perhaps you think you would use your future knowledge, it may give you a useful guide as to what happens next, unless you were not very good at history, but could you recreate modern inventions or modern medicine? Claire has the advantage of medical knowledge, but not the right implements and drugs. Few of us would be able to build a car from scratch,  install electricity in our peasant hut or offer to install hot running water in the laird’s castle. Few of us understand how the structures and infastructures that surround us are made, but if we ended up in the past we wouldn’t know how to make a wattle and daub hut either.

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On the other hand we might be delighted to get away from the world as it is and discover the past was better.

If you want to get ahead and read my trilogy before Amazon, Netflix or Sky snap it up to turn into a blockbuster, you can read the first book for only 99 pence or us$1.26

 

 

 

Sunday Salon – Astraens and Agents

Two novels, a short story collection and a film to take your mind off the real world.

The book reviews have been posted on Amazon and Goodreads.

A Marriage of Convenience by Stevie Turner

4.0 out of 5 stars A modern fairy tale for adults.

By Janet Gogerty on 17 October 2018

Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

This could be described as a fairy tale for our age; a story that crosses from last century into the present. There is a love story, but there is also the bad fairy. Here is a tale of young people making rash decisions and bizarre plans which the reader knows can’t go well, which we hope they won’t go through with… There are dreams that come true and dreams that fade. The final part of the tale keeps us in suspense; can the dark spell be lifted from our heroine, can she ever forgive?

Coffee BreakEscapes: Twenty Short Stories To Set You Free  by Phillip Howlett

5.0 out of 5 stars Twenty tales lyrical or snappy, often taking you where you did not expect to go.

15 November 2018  Verified Purchase

A blackbird singing in the garden, a sure bet at the racecourse, poignant memories and a young lad’s sixpence. All life is here, though not always confined to the living. Secret meetings, terrible mistakes and deaths that shouldn’t have happened. Spare time for the last two longer stories ‘Radio Man’ and ‘Your Turn Will Come’, two very different tales exploring beyond our earthly limits.

Harmony ( Sanctuary Part Two ) by Maureen Turner

5.0 out of 5 stars Science fiction for all…

18 November 2018

Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

I bought Harmony as soon as it came out as I had been waiting in suspense since reading Sanctuary. It was good to be back amongst the two communities, humans and Astraens. They are not so different from each other, which makes this such agood story. Can harmony be achieved when both sides have various agendas andthe Astraens are not as angelic as their appearance suggests? The tentative peace between the two races is constantly at risk because of the action of some individuals. But this is also a story of good characters trying to do their best and a tale of love blossoming.
Cosy science fiction perhaps? We don’t need to know how the motherships work, though we learn more about their travels since having to leave their own planet, nor why the aliens are conveniently sexually combatible with humans… lucky the woman who has a chap with wings to shelter her on a chilly night. But don’t get too cosy, the pace of the story escalates to a stunning ending.

Johnny English Strikes Again

‘Rowan Atkinson returns as the much-loved accidental secret agent in “Johnny English Strikes Again”. When a cyber-attack reveals the identity of all active undercover agents in Britain, the country’s only hope is called out of retirement. English’s new mission is his most critical to date: Dive head first into action to find the mastermind hacker. A man with few skills and analogue methods, English must overcome the challenges of modern technology-or his newest mission will become the Secret Service’s last.’

 Would you go to the cinema at 11am? One of my favourite places in Christchurch is the Regent Centre, a rescued and restored Art Deco cinema. On a damp grey winter day why not go and watch a film guaranteed to take your mind off the real problems of the world… and Johnny English has to save the world from a very big disaster. The film was silly but very funny. Just under an hour and a half, a sensible length for any film and certainly for this sort of film which is non stop slapstick send up with lashings of wit. Our hero creates nearly as much collateral damage as James Bond and doesn’t get the girl. A clever plot line somehow turns every disaster to advantage and Johnny saves the day.