Long before Jean Luc Pickard was even thought about

One of my favourite actors in a previous role…

Have We Had Help?

I wonder how many of the millions of Star Trek fans worldwide realize that the Shakespearean actor, Sir Patrick Stewart, OBE, aka Captain Jean Luc Pickard once played Vladimir Ilyich Ulanov (Lenin) in the 1974 star studded BBC mini series about the collapse of the Russian Empire – Fall of Eagles? I used to sit glued to the spot when it was on tv…

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Self-Isolated Blogging: An offer

From our man in Beetley – Ollie’s dad…


With doom and gloom all over the news, and a lot of very worried people unable to get out even to go to work and socialise, I am trying to think of something positive to offer via the platform of blogging. Facebook and Twitter can be a diversion, but they are also sadly also packed with negatives, scams, and sometimes downright meanness and offensive remarks.

So, back to blogging. Here is my offer, which is of course completely free, and has no catches.

(To contact me for any of these, use petejohnson50@yahoo.com )

Guest Posts.
If you are writing more than usual and hoping to reach a new community or a wider audience, send me a guest post to be published here.
Under 2000 words please, with a short personal bio, and a link to your site.

Book Promotions.
Many people may now have more time to read, so if…

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What it takes to write a book

A few thoughts on writing…

Have We Had Help?


I’m taking one of my frequent breaks while writing my latest story to reveal how I go about doing it. I’ve spent the last twenty-five years honing the particular method that works for me.

First I write a paragraph. Then I take a cold hard look at the words I’ve written, in particular their order as I’m doing right now while writing this post. It is at this point that I begin to edit the words written, not only for ease of reading, but also from the point of view of spacing, capitalization when required, spelling, grammar and punctuation. While at the same time asking myself what other words can I use that mean the exact same thing, but still clearly convey my meaning to the reader, bearing in mind that there is alway more than one way to say something.

There is only one method when it comes to…

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They wouldn’t let me use the first title I had in mind for this

More from our Jim…

Jim Webster


Obviously I’m an expert epidemiologist, I’ve read three facebook posts on the topic. To be fair I did farm through foot and mouth so I’ve learned one thing. Matters go better when the politicians shut up, back off, and let the epidemiologists run it. One of the big problems back in 2001 was that the Prime Minister wasn’t listening to his epidemiologists, he wanted his general election and was trying to say the outbreak was beaten so he could hold it on his preferred date.

But one thing I learned, unfortunately the hard way, was that back in 2001 social media was full of people who knew infinitely more about virology and similar sciences than those who’d merely spent their entire careers in these fields. Every political nutcase and every single issue pressure group was sure that everything was a conspiracy and that it could all be sorted in an…

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Last Days

A sci-fi story just for you…

Have We Had Help?


The Discovery

Our ship took up its stationary orbit above the planet; it had taken six thousand years for us to answer the call. The day when the ancient battered space probe was brought aboard our orbiting space station by its tractor beam, had been a momentous one for all concerned. To learn that there were more sentient beings out in the vastness of space caused great excitement for both the scientific community and the general population.

Over the next several months, our scientists worked at fever pitch in an effort to unravel the secrets of the probe’s departure point. Here was a clear invitation by an alien civilization across the other side of the galaxy to come and visit.

Many hours of careful analysis had gone into the strange markings on the plaque attached to the side of the probe. There were clear engraved representations of both male and…

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my muse

my muse

Love this!!!!

The Lonely Author


Grateful for all the warm messages and wishes. Doing much better now. Thank you.

Now, let’s get back to poetry………my muse deserves that.


my muse


My muse
is a prism
for when she writes
I see the other side of light
As I read her words
I become an unraveling knot
That slowly comes undone
If she knew
how she brightens my darkness
with her inspiring poetry
my muse would understand
she is a prism
illuminating a spectrum of love
deep inside of me



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I wonder…

See what you think…

Have We Had Help?


… how many readers of our books realise how much of ourselves is contained within the pages? Reality dictates that in all probability the answer to my question is less than the number of fingers on one hand.

Yesterday I watched a video of my friend the best selling author Michael Jecks and Karen Maitland discussing what goes into any story for a gathering of book lovers.

Unlike the first timer we don’t just sit down and start writing thousands of words in the vain hope that something might work. Those who think that NanoWrimo is best are fooling themselves. No book worth reading ever emerged from that approach.

Long before we begin we start by researching the idea that just won’t go away. As a consequence, during a protracted period of time the original idea may be forgotten in favour of something far more interesting. Ask Michael, he knows…

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Quantarelli’s Formula

More from our Stefie in Italy…


I have always been of the opinion that even in the worst sistuations, just like this Covid-19 pandemic, there is something positive, a hope. The experience of disasters, somehow, often promotes social changes and, why not, the coming together of communities in order to help one another. Quantarelli explained this through a simple formula: the worse the situation is, the better people become.

Enrico Quarantelli was not a utopian, but an American sociologist, specialized in the study of reactions to disasters. He started with a tornado in Arkansas in 1952 and went on with dozens of cases.

It was after the great earthquake in Alaska in 1964 that, having noticed the same recurrent behaviors, he drew the first conclusions: catastrophic events bring the best out of humanity. It is not true that we react hysterically. Solidarity prevails over conflict. Society becomes more democratic. Class inequalities and distinctions vanish, at least…

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Writing Habits to Be Avoided At All Costs

Everyone is a critic!!!

Have We Had Help?


As an author, it wasn’t until I took up writing seriously back in 1995 that I finally appreciated just how many of today’s books are the end product of lazy writing practises. A classic example is the endless use of things like, ‘he said’ or ‘she said’ when your characters are speaking. This is perfectly acceptable when writing the initial draft of your book. But never ever let them endlessly appear in the final draft. Once you have been picked up on it and other examples of literary lazyness by your harshest critics (your readers), until you mend your ways and the use of tools like your Dictionary and Thesaurus becomes second nature, don’t be surprised at the loss of your potential readership. The harsh reality of the writing world is that readers either make or break you! If one person likes your work, they will soon tell their…

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Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews #Historical Apple Gidley, #Fantasy Jack Eason, #Africa Ann Patras

Amnother review…

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the Friday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore author updates with recent reviews for books on the shelves.

The first author with a recent review is for Fireburn by Apple Gidley who recently joined the cafe with her books.

About the book

The Danish-owned island of 1870s Saint Croix vibrates with passion and tension as Anna Clausen, a young Anglo-Danish woman, returns to her childhood home after her mother’s death. Her heart sinks at what she finds on arrival. Her father is ailing and desolate and her beloved plantation, Anna’s Fancy, which has been in the Clausen family for three generations, is in shambles.

The unwelcome lust of one man and forbidden love for another makes Anna’s return to Saint Croix even more turbulent. Despite the decline in the sugar industry she is determined to retain Anna’s Fancy but must first win the trust of her field workers…

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