Monday 27 February 2017

Mother and Son - FFAW

Guide for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers
1. A prompt photo will be provided each Tuesday to be used as a base to your story. Please include photo prompt with your story.
2. Linking for this challenge begins on Tuesday and runs to the following Monday evening.
3. Please credit photo to photographer.
4. The story word limit is 100 – 150 words (+ – 25 words). Please try and stay within this limit.
5. Pingback to the challenge post in your story's post.
6. This is a flash fiction challenge (stories in 100-175 words or less) and each story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Therefore, no serial (continuation) stories. They become too complicated for our readers.
7. Add your story to the InLinkz Link-up (Blue Froggy button). Please let me know if you need link-up instructions.
8. Please keep stories below R rating.
9. Please respect the diversity of our readers and writers in regard to race, religion, and life style choice when writing your stories.
10. Remember, half the fun is reading and commenting on each other's stories.

This week's photo prompt is provided by Dawn Miller for our photo prompt this week!

Mother and Son

Laura entered the control centre ready to start her shift.  Scanning the monitors quickly, her eye was drawn to one particular screen. 

As Joe handed over to her he pointed out the screen in the right hand corner.

‘She’s been there for a couple of hours,’ he said.  ‘She doesn’t move, just keeps looking up every now and again as though she’s expecting someone.’

‘That is Dot,’ explained Laura.  ‘She hasn’t been here for a while but she used to come every week for a couple of months.  I’ll give her son a call.’

Ben arrived quickly, Laura met him at the entrance and escorted him to his mother. 

‘Oh, there you are my dear. Shall we go home now?’ Dot smiled lovingly at her son.

Ben hid his tears as he prepared to take his mother back to the nursing home.

Laura patted his arm in sympathy as they left the waiting area.

Word count: 154

Friday 24 February 2017

Cephalopod Coffeehouse: February 2017

Cephalopod Coffeehouse: February 2017

Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the works they enjoyed most over the previous month.  Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.  If you wish to add your own review to the conversation, please sign on to the link list at the end of my post

I’ve read many books by Philippa Gregory and in my opinion she is one of the best writers in historical fiction and she really is a 5* writer. 

I love her Tudor series and my 5* review for 

The Boleyn Inheritance
(The Tudor Court Series Book 3)


Philippa Gregory

531 pages


From the bestselling author of The Other Boleyn Girl, Philippa Gregory, comes a wonderfully atmospheric evocation of the court of Henry VIII and his final queens.
The king will decide who will live and who will die; he has the power of God now.
1539. Henry VIII must take his fourth wife and the dangerous prize is won by Anne of Cleves. A German princess by birth, Anne is to be Henry’s pawn in the Protestant alliance against Rome, but the marriage falters from the start. Henry finds nothing to admire in his new queen, setting himself against his advisors and nobles to pay court to young Katherine Howard.
The new queen begins to sense a trap closing around her. And Jane Boleyn, summoned to the inner circle once more by her uncle the Duke of Norfolk, finds a fractious court haunted by the Boleyn legacy of death and deceit.
Nothing is certain in a kingdom ruled by an increasingly tyrannical king.


Philippa Gregory is one of my all time favourite writers.  Her books are always well written.  You feel as though you are part of the times she is writing about.  Her characters come alive as real people and not just some dusty person from past times.

Henry VIII is coming towards the end of his reign and becoming more and more tyrannical.  In 1539 he takes Anne of Cleves as his wife and then his eye is taken by one of her maids, 15 year old Katherine Howard.  He annuls his marriage to Anne of Cleves. Jane Boleyn, lady-in-waiting to first Anne of Cleves and then Katherine Howard is young and impressionable.

We hear the stories of these three women from their own perspectives of their lives trying to please Henry.

This is a brilliant book, well written and well told, fantastic.

Don’t let the length of the book put you off – it really keeps you gripped and 500+ pages will just disappear very quickly as you are quickly immersed in to  life at the Tudor court. 

Wednesday 15 February 2017


This month Write Edit Publish (WEP) challenge is: Back of the Drawer

It's up to you! Create an artistic interpretation: a poem, a flash fiction piece of 1000 words or less, a non-fiction piece detailing your personal experience or someone else's experience, write a script, draw your dreams, or post a photograph or a photo essay. The genre is up to you. The artistic choice is yours. A scandal, a lost love found, a deed, a lottery ticket or the last will and testament naming you the sole beneficiary! Go for it!

What will you find at the BACK OF THE DRAWER?

Here is my entry:


Frank rushed into the house. 

‘Maggie, look what I found wedged at the back of one of the drawers.’ 

He held out a bundle of envelopes, tied up with string.

We sat at the kitchen table.  I read each letter, tears filling my eyes.

The family heirloom furniture, ready to be refurbished or upcycled, yielded up the story of Sarah and Walter, not a family myth any longer. 

Walter Kelly – photo credit Sally Stackhouse 

My darling Walter,

I dreamt of you last night.  Your arms were wrapped around me as we snuggled up in bed, your whiskers gently scraped against my cheek.  I heard your snores as you slept peacefully.

I reached out for you but I was alone. 

I reached out in my mind. 

I reached out my love. 

I felt my fingertips tingle. 

I know you felt me. 

I count the days until you are home.

Your loving wife,

Sarah. xxx

My darling Sarah,

My love, my heart.

I only have a few moments.  

I wish I had longer.  

I will not have you crying tears for me.  

I hold you tightly in my heart every moment of the day and night.

Walter xxx

My dearest Walter,

Every night I hold back my tears.  

Every night I peek out of the blackout curtains, one tiny corner, for one tiny, precious moment and send my love soaring across the sky to wherever you are.

Your ever loving wife,

Sarah xxx

My Darling Sarah,

Tonight we had time for a hot cooked meal. I feel a bit more human now.  The rumour is we have tonight to recuperate before we start marching again.

Today was a tough day. My Lieutenant asked me to go through Charlie’s things ready for him to send on.  I steel myself as I do this last thing for him.   We thought he was going to make it but God obviously had other plans for this young boy.  I remember he told me his dad was so proud when he joined up but his mum was very cross.  Now she has to accept he is gone forever. 

Sarah, you must move to the country.  The coast is not safe anymore.  

Stay safe so I can come home to you.

Love you forever and ever.

Walter Xxx

My darling husband,

We are to be relocated to Wells in Somerset.  It seems even further away from you, although I know you are thousands of miles away but if I think it is only a piece of sea separating us then I can cope a bit more.

We are only allowed one suitcase. We don't know how long we will be gone for.  It is a farm and I will work in the fields.  I am not afraid of hard work.  I am only afraid of the evil in the world. 

I am so proud of you my darling husband and all the men who risk their lives so that we can live freely but sometimes I do wonder if the price is too high.

Do you think I could write to Charlie’s mum?  Are you allowed to give me her address?

Waiting forever for you to return.

Love you more and more each day.

Sarah xxx

Dear Nora,

My deepest sympathies go out to you at this time.  My husband, Walter, served with your Charlie.  I hope you don’t mind me writing to you.  I met your lovely lad last summer. He didn’t have enough time to get to Wales to see you and his dad so he came home with Walter on a 24-hour leave.

We chatted and drank some tea.  He talked about you, he showed me your picture, you, his dad and two little brothers.  He kept the picture in a pocket next to his heart.   He gave me a lovely cuddle as he left and I felt all the love he had for his family which I now pass on to you.

I am working on a farm in Somerset so I think of you working on your farm, doing the same chores as I am, waking up early and retiring early, physically worn out. 
Let’s hope this horrible war is over soon, they say it will be over by Christmas.

My best wishes to you and your family.

Mrs. Sarah Kelly.

Dear Sarah,

Thank you for your kind words.

I cry every night for my boy.

Best wishes

Mrs. Nora Jones.


We regret to inform you
Sergeant Walter Kelly severely wounded.
Receiving treatment at the Royal Free Hospital.


Dear Walter,

I will catch the train tomorrow. 

I will be at the hospital Wednesday. 

I will look after you always.



Dear Sarah,

Do not come.


Dear Walter,

I came all this way to see you.  Why won't you see me? 

I love you with all my heart. 

I have found some lodgings two streets away. 

I will come to the hospital every day until you see me.

Always yours,


Oh my darling Sarah,

I am not the man I was when you saw me last. 

I can't be the man you married. 

I won't make you look after an invalid for the rest of our life.

I do love you. 

With all my heart.


Darling, darling Walter,

I leave this letter by your bedside.
I know you can't see it.

I know you can’t pick it up.

I leave it with all my love.

I leave it with you for all eternity.

As a soldier you did your duty.

As a man you honoured your country

As my husband you had to go.

As your wife I understand.

As your wife I wanted you to stay.

My husband

My lover

My friend

My heart breaks

My soul weeps

My mind shrieks

I scream in the night

I scream in the daylight

Why do humans fight?

Who was right?

 Sarah, yours for always and forever.

Photo credit: Sally Stackhouse

Walter and Sarah’s love waited a long time to be found, now their love story could be told. 

Wednesday 8 February 2017


Writing Prompt for Wednesday Stories 2/8/17
·       February 2, 2017

This prompt is simple:  write a story or an opinion piece about all the photos shown below.  Just try it!  And did you know — a story can be as short as three lines?  Word limit:  500 (It will always be this unless noted otherwise.). Send your piece to by Monday noon, please.


She made it to the top of the hill.  The lone tree had stood there for hundreds of years.  What changes had it seen?  The sky above was dotted with scudding clouds, the expanse of space above took her breath away or was that just the hike up the hill?  This getting older business was beginning to get on her nerves.  Her knees gave her gyp, her hips ached, let alone the calf muscles in the back of her legs.  Panting slightly, hoping to regain control of her breathing Emma set her back pack on the grassy mound and plunked down beside it. 

Now this was the life, no cell reception, no interruptions just her and nature, she could connect with the universe.   Oh get over yourself said her inner voice.  Who on earth do you think you are?  You are just plain Emma, middle aged, frumpy, your children have flown the nest and their lives are too busy to keep in touch, your husband left you for a younger, more nubile female and here you are convening with the elements.

Inside her mind came a louder voice, loud but gentle.  An image of her granddaughter swinging in the garden made Emma smile for a moment and then reality hit.  She couldn’t see her granddaughter’s face.  It was hidden from her.  She tried to send thoughts to the little girl she may never see, closed her eyes and willed the face to come to her but no luck.  She’d just have to make do with sending Christmas and birthday cards to little Marie and hope she got them. 

Emma dozed off in the peace of the hillside, the sun’s rays warmed her upturned face.  How long she had been asleep she really didn’t know when a strange noise alerted her senses.  She couldn’t place the sound.  Was she dreaming or was she now awake and back in reality?

Whoosh, whoosh, the air was moving in wafts around her.  She opened her eyes and quickly shut them as she was assaulted by a myriad of colourful images.

Colourful hot-air balloons were floating in the sky above her replacing the clouds.  Miniature people started waving at her as she heard the popping and whistling of air being inflated and deflated from the balloons. 

Emma looked down towards the village seeing a smorgasbord of colour, so many more balloons were getting ready to sail up in to the air.  She’d completely forgotten this weekend was the annual hot-air balloon festival.

She felt her spirits lift, her life wasn’t really so bad, she was reasonably healthy, apart from those aches and pains mentioned earlier.  She had friends and she vowed she would make more of an effort to stay in touch with her children and grandchildren.

Thank you, kind soul, she sent up silent thoughts of gratitude to whoever was beyond the universe for making her see her life was in her own hands, she just had to grab it and go with it.

Word count: 500