Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2020 #Family and #Friends – Meeting People for Reasons and Seasons by D.G. Kaye | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Sally Cronin is currently running a Post from the Archive Series at Smorgasbord Invitation. We were invited to share a post from the past that relates to Family and/or Friendships. Sally has generously featured my article on People We Meet for Reasons and Seasons.


Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2020 #Family and #Friends – Meeting People for Reasons and Seasons by D.G. Kaye



Welcome to the new posts from your archives with a theme of family and friends. Very important as our support system at the moment as many of us are isolated and out of physical touch. If you would like details on how to participate here is the link: Posts from Your Archives April 2020 Family and Friends

In this post D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies explores why we meet people – some who stay in our lives and some that fade.



Ever wonder why some of the friendships and relationships we once may have considered important in our lives at one time suddenly disappear from our lives?

Often, times we reflect back on our life relationships and catch ourselves wondering ‘whatever happened to so and so?’. Sometimes we remember why those people have exited our lives, and other times we can go back and analyze these relationships, looking back on what the significance was that person played in our lives. I refer to these short-term relationships as seasonal relationships for reasons – blessings and lessons.

These people who come into our lives for brief stints appear for reasons, and because they don’t remain in our lives indefinitely, they are classified as seasonal.

The universe has a way of knowing what we need in our lives at different times. There’s a popular phrase – What we focus on, we attract. For example, if we are focusing our attentions on something we wish for, we will eventually meet people who may possibly introduce us to avenues that we are focusing our attentions on. Similarly, if we focus on negative things, we may also be introduced to people who come into our lives who can teach us lessons.

We don’t meet people by accident . . . please continue reading at Sally’s blog.


Source: Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2020 #Family and #Friends – Meeting People for Reasons and Seasons by D.G. Kaye | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine




Reflections – The Domino Effect


The Domino Effect


I’ve preached to many on occasion over the last decade as I observe the world around me –  God is angry at what man has done to his world. He did it before with Noah’s Ark, and he can do it again and Mother Nature is not one to be fooled with – everyone has their breaking point.

This now, what we are experiencing – the higher powers that be slowing down civilization a beat, forcing us to take a look, both, inside and out.


The world is in over-drive,

We’ve lost control of the gears.

Now our earth requires a pause

Mother Nature pumps the breaks

Inhaling deep breaths,

She clears her lungs and dulls the noise.


The everyday pace of life taxed to the max.

Doctors squeezing in more patients,

Causing longer wait times,

Life in hurry up mode,

Human empathy evaporates in the trickle- down effect,

Life in the fast lanes had people forgetting to look up from their phones.


Human connections severely impaired,

Digital takeover of human jobs,

Companies contracting out work,

Avoiding add to payroll for decent benefits,

Forgetting our fellow man.


Greed, greed, greed everywhere you go,

A price gouge here, no mercy over there,

A fee for this a fee for that,

Money, money, money, profits matter most,

We’ve seen the face of money in all its green glory.


The universe is calling,

Instructing us to open ears and eyes,

Reminding we are we collective not me,

Urging us to take this pause in reflection,

Breathe in the glorious air that sustains us.


Pull up the sunken compassion from our hearts,

Notice the beauty in all the world’s stillness,

Back to basics.

Reminder of smiles, kindness and gratitude,

Imperative to indulge in this pause and reflect.





Sunday Book Review – Father Figure by James Cudney

My Sunday Book Review for James Cudney’s – Father Figure is an engrossing read into two lives – Amalia Graeme and Brianna Porter. Amalia’s abusive upbringing inspires her to get far away from home as she can’t wait to move away to college. Brianna  is relentless when it comes to finding out who her biological father is and her determination to find answers becomes a sore spot between her and her mother as her mother continues to deny telling her daughter any information from her past, until Brianna discovers her mother’s diary.




Between the fast-paced New York City, a rural Mississippi town and a charming Pennsylvania college campus filled with secrets, two young girls learn the consequences of growing up too quickly.

Abused by her mother, Amalia Graeme longs to escape her desolate hometown and fall in love. Contemplating her loss of innocence and conflicting feelings between her boyfriend and the dangerous attraction for an older man, Amalia faces life-altering tragedies.

Brianna Porter, a sassy, angst-ridden New York City teenager, yearns to find her life’s true purpose, conquer her fear of abandonment, and interpret an intimidating desire for her best friend, Shanelle. Desperate to find the father whom her mother refuses to reveal, Brianna accidentally finds out a shocking truth about her missing parent.

Set in alternating chapters two decades apart, the parallels between their lives and the unavoidable collision that is bound to happen is revealed. Father Figure is an emotional story filled with mystery, romance, and suspense.

Praise from readers:

★★★★★ – “The book deals with abuse, identity, acceptance, overcoming obstacles, crime, sexuality, family secrets, and knowing who you are. Another great story to read, especially if you love emotive, suspenseful family dramas.”

★★★★★ – “Gripping and emotional… Mr. Cudney has written a book full of twists and turns that kept my eyes glued to its pages.”

★★★★★ – “Amalia and Brianna are fully developed characters with all the fears, naivety, anxiety and angst of teen, young adults; full of questions and doubts… Can’t wait for James Cudney’s next work.”


My 5 Star Review:

This book takes us into the life of Amalia Graeme in the mid 80s, a sweet teenage girl living in smalltown Mississippi. desperate to leave home and go to college to experience making friends, finding love, and most of all, getting away from her most deplorable excuse for a mother.

Amalia is pretty green when it comes to learning anything about love and life because she is taught nothing by her mother. We are taken through Amalia’s sad life at home, save for her father who dearly loves her, but somehow seems afraid of his own wife. Amalia meets her first boyfriend Carter, a friend of her brother’s who ends up going to the same college as Amalia.

We’ll discover how Carter is a bad boyfriend, and Amalia begins to find solace and then love with one of her professors – undoubtedly a father figure to console her as she desperately misses her father’s love. Then again, everything changes after Amalia is attacked.

As the book goes between Amalia’s life in the mid 80s and switches to present day New York, we’re taken into the confusing life of Brianna, where she attends the same college that Amalia attended some 20 years earlier. Brianna is plagued with needing to know who her biological father is while she also struggles to figure out her own identity as she questions her attraction to her best friend Shanelle, and her preference in gender when it comes to relationships.

Brianna spends a lot of time trying to corner her mother into telling her who her real father is, but her mother dodges at every opportunity, and the storyline continues creating curiosity for us readers wanting to learn too, who is Brianna’s father? Once Brianna finds her mother’s long lost and forgotten diary, Brianna is exposed to the people in her mother’s life, her relationships and why the paternal identity of Brianna’s fathering presents such a complicated mystery. But Brianna is determined to solve the mystery and hatches a plan with Shanelle to help her investigate what really did happen to her mother. Secrets are all revealed as the book comes to an end.

The past always finds a way into the present.




Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – #Free #Book Marketing – New Series 2020 – Share an Extract. | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

The always generous Sally Cronin has opened up a new series and now invites authors to submit an excerpt of one of our books to be featured at Sally’s Smorgasbord Invitation.


Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – #Free #Book Marketing – New Series 2020 – Share an Extract.



We put a great deal of effort into promoting our new, recent and upcoming books but often our previous releases get sidelined.

In this new series I am offering you a chance to promote an earlier book (not your most recent) by sharing an extract from the book.


The aim of the series

  1. To showcase a previous book and sell some copies.
  2. Gain more recent reviews for the book.
  3. Promote a selection of other books that are available.

I will top and tail in the usual way with your other books and links, bio, photo and social media. I will also select a review that I feel has the best selling pitch for the book.

  • This series is open to authors in the Cafe and Bookstore who have more than one book (as this already gets promoted on a regular basis) and have reviews for that book I can select from.
  • I suggest an extract of approximately 500 words or a poem that you feel best reflects the theme of your collection.
  • If you have an illustration or images you can attach to the email for me to include. No need to send the cover as I will have that or will access from Amazon.
  • I will check reviews on Amazon sites as well as Goodreads and select one I feel is a great advertisement for the book.
  • As an author in the Cafe and Bookstore I will already have all your details, links and covers of other books so need to send anything further.
  • Please send your extract and any accompanying images to

To give you an example of what it will look like I am sharing an extract from Tales from the Garden, one of my earlier books from 2015 Please head over to Sally’s to continue reading.


Source: Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – #Free #Book Marketing – New Series 2020 – Share an Extract. | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine



#WATWB – #Toronto Teacher Brings Fitness and smiles

Welcome to the last Friday of the month which means it’s #WATWB – We are the World Blogfest time where writers join in and share some of the good things going on around the world and communities to deflect from the negativity in the world. I am heartened to read about so many teachers helping their student through various methods of teaching and inspirations. Today I’m sharing a story about a gym teacher determined to keep his young class active.


This Toronto gym teacher is helping kids get off the computer and get some exercise as he rides his bicycle around student’s homes, encouraging and reminding with his loudspeaker to get on your porches or backyards and exercise. Complete in bird costume to add to the entertainment, Patrick is getting in his exercise and still inspiring his students.


” … Murtaugh has adopted the slightly silly persona to deliver a more serious lesson: “Kids are used to running around at recess, lunchtime, being able to go on long bike rides. And right now they’re not. So we really have to push them to keep doing that.”

Murtaugh says he got the idea from seeing other teachers on social media posting drive-by visits from their cars.

So he decided to use his bike, and added the costume.

His first visit was Monday, on what was supposed to be the first day back to school, and it was a hit for both parents and students. Today he planned a different route to visit and dance with other students, including the Berry family. All four children were outside waiting for what looked like a caped canary as he biked up the hill to their house.

“I thought it was pretty awesome” … Continue reading


Source: Toronto teacher brings fitness and smiles to students’ front doors | CTV News

Scott Lightfoot

Scott LightfootVideojournalist, CTV News Toronto

@SLightfootCTV Contact


This month’s cohosts are: Eric LahtiSusan ScottDan AntionDamyanti BiswasInderpreet Kaur Uppal.




The #Corona Diaries- Observations on my Recent Outing


I hadn’t been out for 2 weeks – the last time I bought groceries. I try to make my grocery runs last 10 days to 2 weeks before I have to go out again. And when I do, I plan a route to cover groceries, pharmacy and health food store. But our prescriptions are up in the burbs where we used to live, and I wasn’t feeling inspired enough to drive all the way up there, and knowing I have to go up there in the next few days anyway, I decided just to pop into my local independent pharmacy to pick up a a few things that couldn’t wait and I happened to luck into his freshly stocked boxes of masks and disposable gloves. He even had a small amount of N95 masks for sale. I felt like it was Christmas!


And there’s a good tip for everyone who may not be able to find items in big box and brand retail stores because everyone is looking for the same things. It’s a good idea to try your smaller local independent stores, both pharmacies and food stores, places you may not suspect would have masks or rice or pasta sauces. You never know what you’ll come across.




While in the pharmacy, a woman turned to me and asked how do I keep my hair so vibrant without grey roots in this time, I laughed and told her I dye my own hair for 35 years, comes in handy LOL. Hey, just because I’m in seclusion doesn’t mean I have to let everything go. I may live in pajamas and/or sweat pants, and my hair may be in desperate need of a cut (even more so desperate since I attempted to crop my own top), but the crowning glory is always vibrant and my skincare beauty routine remains in full-force. These are considered essential non-negotiables for me. Exercise comes next – okay, I may slack sometimes but never on skincare.



Next, I headed for the supermarket. I’d last gone to 2 weeks prior and noticed quite a few changes since the last visit there. As I pulled my car in to park, I noticed ‘the line’. Oye, was this the line I’d heard others complain about but had been lucky enough to not yet have encountered?

I did a mental count of how many would be ahead, now lined up 6ft apart standing outside as only so many people allowed in the store at a time for distancing. At first I thought I should just get back in the car and come another day. Then I thought, as I put the car in reverse to pull out, who knows how many will be next time, better get her done.

There were 25 people ahead of me standing on our designated tape marks on the sidewalk, and it was a tad chilly for me in a spring coat, thinking it was 60 degrees out like my prior shopping day, but more like 40, oye! Only half hour wait went by til I entered. I read on my phone and was happy to find I could type on my phone with a latex gloved finger. It was nice and spacious inside and I even found toilet paper (which I bought as a top up), The shelves were all full, although I noticed I still couldn’t find raw chicken wings – anywhere, and a few items such as pasta sauces, some other canned goods, had limits.

I have to say I was impressed with the whole set up to protect both workers and shoppers. Plexi- glass now separated the cashiers from the customers. Some wore masks, all wore gloves. No using our own bags, back to the plastic they’d already taken away and now no charge for those plastic bags – go figure. Checking out was one line with taped marks for 6ft apart, but only 2 people ahead with only 2 cashiers opened and only so many shoppers at a time, it went fairly smoothly.



Four hundred dollars later I checked out.

I was exhausted from that venture of pushing and schlepping my over-stuffed buggy and 6 more bags tucked on my arm as I plowed through the underground to the elevator, down the longggg hallway to home, then unpacking it all. Oh ya, I definitely wasn’t making two trips. That would have entailed waiting for an elevator, maybe a few times, as signs are posted only one person (or family) on at a time for safe distance. Those waits can be long. I’m pretty sure what I pushed and carried today is right up there with some of my airport wheelchair stories with my husband and 4 carry-on bags, lol. I’m just about ready to move park benches I tell ya!


Have a Corona observation you’d like to share?

stay home





Sunday Book Review – Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens

My Sunday Book Review is for Delia Owens’ NYT Best Seller-Where the Crawdads Sing. A most beautiful book I didn’t want to end. I’m not sure I would have picked up this book on my own, but while on vacation, many of us book-swapped at the pool, and this book was getting a lot of attention. So when my friend offered it to me when she finished it, I grabbed it quick.

In this coming of age story about a girl, Kya, abandoned by her family while a mere young child, living in the marsh off the Northern Carolina coast, left to learn about the cruelty of the world she’d been sheltered from, yet, comforted by nature. A story about abuse, neglect, survival, nature, love, friendship, loneliness, social prejudice, maybe murder, and finally redemption. The New York Times said it best ‘painfully beautiful’.






#1 New York Times Bestseller
More than 4 million copies sold
A Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick

“I can’t even express how much I love this book! I didn’t want this story to end!”–Reese Witherspoon

“Painfully beautiful.”–The New York Times Book Review

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.


My 5 Star Review:

A beautiful. and at times, heartbreaking story of survival and awakening from a sheltered life among the marsh lands to a realization of a cruel world. Kya grows up alone in the camouflaged world of nature and as she ventures out into the ‘outside’ world, learns tough lessons about the lack of societal acceptance and injustice.

Left alone to fend for herself, a beautiful and clever, self-reliant child grows up in the peaceful wild. We grow to love this child as we turn to every next page. Kya teaches us through her discoveries about how nature can tell us so much, and a deep look into how one can survive in isolation with nature providing most food and shelter.

Kya is the youngest of the poor Clarkson family, and one-by-one her family all disappeared until she was left to fend for herself to survive at the ripe old age of 6 years old. The story is written beautifully with Owens grabbing our hearts as we become engrossed into this little girl’s life, praying she will be safe as we turn the pages. Kya is smart and learns life through nature and begins her journey of lone survival paddling out the old family raft to the town pier. The only person she’d ever known other than her immediate family – Jumpin’, the kind old black man, sold gas and supplies at the pier, and he developed quite a soft spot in his heart for this child.

Kya knew she could survive fishing and such but still needed staples and her quick mind prompted her to start digging oysters so she could trade them at Jumpin’s for gas and staples. Jumpin’ and his wife Mabel took a shining to this unusual and independent child and they showed her the only kind of love she ever knew since her mamma had left home. Anyone else in the town shunned the poor child.

As she matures into a young woman, she finds friendship with very few, save for Jumpin’ and nature. Later she will meet Tate who teaches her love – until a complication arises, leaving Kya feeling hurt and falling into another relationship with the wrong boy – Chase.

In this book there is a wealth of life lessons shared through Kya’s life. We start off with abandoned children, abusive father, societal racism not only for the color of skin but social standing. We learn about survival, our heartstrings are pulled along as Kya experiences life – fears, confusion, abandonment, love, loneliness, growth, becoming a woman with no warnings, and later on becoming an accused victim targeted because of her lifestyle.

This is the first book I’ve read by Owens and certainly will not be the last. If you’re looking for an engrossing read that will grab your attention and heartstrings as well as teach a lot about nature and humanity, read this book.




Q & A with D.G. Kaye with Guest Author Richard Dee

Welcome to this edition of Q & A with D.G. Kaye. Today I’m featuring Sci-Fi and Steampunk author Richard Dockett, who writes under the pen name Richard Dee. Richard is going to treat us to some insights on his writing and introduce us to his latest book The Sensaurum and the Lexis.



Richard Dee


About Richard:

Richard Dee is from Brixham in Devon. Leaving school at 16 he briefly worked in a
supermarket, then he went to sea and travelled the world in the Merchant Navy, qualifying as a Master Mariner in 1986.
He has also worked as an Insurance Surveyor, Lockmaster, Harbourmaster and Ships Pilot, taking over 3,500 vessels up and down the Thames, passing through the estuary, the Thames Barrier and Tower Bridge.
Since the publication of his first Science Fiction novel, Freefall, in 2013, Richard has written another twelve novels, a textbook and a selection of short stories. He has been featured in several anthologies, including 1066 Turned Upside Down and Tales from Deepest Darkest Devon.
He writes Science Fiction and Steampunk adventures and also chronicles the exploits of reluctant amateur detective Andorra Pett.

Richard is married with three adult children and three grandchildren



Get this book on Amazon!




Is Jackson Thwaite ready to discover the secret of Makewright Orphanage?

Although he doesn’t know it, he has been selected to be part of something vital to the land of his birth.

Norlandia is a country under threat, as never before. The old heroes are but a memory, while evil forces gather, seeking power.  They are armed with the latest devices that perverted science has devised. Control of Norlandia and everyone in it is their ultimate aim.

Who will stand in their way?

Under the command of the mysterious Mortimer Langdon, all that stands between civilisation and anarchy are Jackson and the rest of The Orphan Detectives.

“A fantastical world filled with gears, pneumatics, airships, and intrigue aplenty that kept everyone on their toes. It has that rare ability to pull you deep into the story even when things are building and moving slowly, you sit down to read for a few minutes and all of a sudden; its hours later!”


Now let’s get to know more about Richard and his books and writing, and then he shares an excerpt.


My thanks to Debby for letting me loose on her website today. I’m
Richard Dee and I write Science Fiction and Steampunk adventures, as well as
chronicling the exploits of Andorra Pett, reluctant amateur detective.

D.G. – Welcome to my blog Richard, I’m delighted to have you over, and I’m sure my readers will enjoy learning about you and your books. 🙂


How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite of your
books and if so, why?

I currently have thirteen published novels, two collections, about 10
separate short reads as well as short stories in a couple of anthologies. And a
textbook on World Building. There are also about six or seven projects in
various stages of production. They can all be loosely categorized as Science
Fiction, but they vary between cosy crime, space opera, psychological thriller,
Steampunk adventure and just about everything in between. Most of them
started life as a single idea that grew into a short story and occasionally into a
novel. Some, like those featuring my amateur detective Andorra Pett, are now
series in their own right, while others have possibilities for sequels, prequels
and spin-off stories. My favourites are Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Café
and Life and Other Dreams, a cosy crime mystery set in space and a
psychological thriller respectively.

D.G. – Fascinating how you can write in blended genres.


What’s your opinion on self-publishing?

Personally, I’m a big fan, with the important condition that the product
must be produced to a similar standard as any traditionally published book. In
some ways, it almost needs to be better, due to the prejudice that still exists in
some parts of the industry. In other words, you should be unable to tell a self-
published from a traditionally published paperback when side by side on a bookshelf. So self-publishers need proper editing, formatting and cover design.
These may all cost money but their lack will impact on sales and reputation.
The great thing about self-publishing is that it has allowed so many stories,
separate from the latest trends and demands of the industry, to have a voice. I
read about 90% self-published books these days and have found some amazing
work; it upsets me to think that, without self-publishing, it might never have
seen the light of day.

D.G. – I wholeheartedly agree with all you’ve said Richard, from the stigma of self-publishing, to what’s involved to do it properly, to the amazing talent that wouldn’t have a platform otherwise.


What prompted you to write in your chosen genre?

This is a constant source of amusement to me. While I was always a sci-fi
fan, I initially started writing Sci-fi under the impression that you wouldn’t
need to do much research. All you had to do was invent a future and add a
story. In fact, I do a tremendous amount of research, just to make sure that,
while nothing is true, it all sounds true. I read technical journals, surf the web
for interesting facts and try to ensure that all the details in my future (and
alternative) worlds are based on facts. I might spend a morning getting to grips
with the technicalities of something, just so I can add a couple of paragraphs of
I have invented (if that’s the right word) a means of faster than light
travel (based on known electromagnetic effects), used quantum theory to
build galaxy-wide communications, square coffee cups (easier to carry four at a
time) and several other things, all based on sound scientific principles. Perhaps
I’m in the wrong job?

D.G. – Okay, these are definitely lovely insights we’re learning about your writing. Best description: “just to make sure that, while nothing is true, it all sounds true.”


Where do you believe your passion for storytelling originated from?

I have absolutely no idea! Maybe the years of travelling the world locked ideas
away in my head. Wherever it came from, I just got a thought in my head one
day that wouldn’t go away. I felt that I had to write it down. As soon as I did,
another one popped in to take its place. Before I knew what was happening, I
had written a novel, and then another one. And the ideas keep coming. It’s
strange because I never used to be able to write much. When I worked abroad,
I had trouble thinking of what to say in my letters home. Thanks to that one
random thought, I’ve become obsessed with creating, with realism, with
research and with telling the best story that I could.

D.G. – What a gift to have all that inspiration.


Would you like to share with us what upcoming projects and/or ideas
for books you’re working on?

As well as the Andorra Pett series, which has its fourth part coming soon,
I’m developing sequels to several of my novels, as well as some new projects. I
never really know when a new idea will strike, I get inspired by snippets of
conversation that I might overhear; or an item in the news. I try, in all my work,
to take the ordinary, a situation with which anyone would be familiar and give
it a new twist. By taking present days situations into the future (or an
alternative now) and seeing where they lead, I try to carry the reader with me,
so that they’re not sure where the truth ends, and the fiction begins.
My latest release is a Steampunk adventure, set in a place which is not
unlike Victorian England. There’s a mad scientist bent on world domination
and a motley band set against him. Featuring the latest devices powered by steam and clockwork, The Sensaurum and the Lexis is, according to one advance reader, “A fantastical world filled with gears, pneumatics, airships, and intrigue aplenty.”

D.G. – Amazing Richard. I look forward to reading some of your work. Thanks for being here with us today. 🙂


Richard is indulging us with an excerpt from his new release.


The Sensaurum and the Lexis, Extract

Here is a short extract, one of the orphans, a boy called Jackson, is introduced to a new



One of the wood panels on the far wall swung open. Alyious and the other man had returned. “Alyious you know,” said Langdon. “His companion is Mr Fairview.”

Alyious held out his hand. “No hard feelings, Jackson,” he said.

Hardly knowing what to make of the last few hours, Jackson shook it.

“We’re all prepared outside. Sir Mortimer, ma’am,” Fairview spoke in the accent of a man from the wild, forbidding northern parts of the country.

“Good. Come on then, Jackson, you’re about to find out what the boots can do. Did you feel the lump by your toe? It has a purpose.”

Intrigued and excited, Jackson fell in with the rest as they moved outside. He prodded at the lump with his toe, but nothing happened.

They went through the door in the panelled wall and arrived in a small courtyard, between the back of the house and the wall that encircled the orphanage. It was hidden by the shape of the building and Jackson had never guessed at its existence before now. The wall was at least fifteen feet high, of red brick with a small door set in it. Gas lamps threw dark shadows. It had stopped raining and a pale moon added to the illumination.

Jackson gazed about. He thought that he saw movement; a figure came from the shadows and moved towards them. Jackson saw that it was a girl; in fact, it was one that he recognised.
Tall and pleasantly rounded, she had long dark hair piled on her head and secured with an ornate pin, looking like two entwined swans. Jackson had often wondered how she had retained it from the lighter fingered among the females, now he was starting to understand a lot more of the hierarchy of the orphanage.

“Jessamine Batterlee,” he said. “What are you doing here?”

She smiled. “I’m to be your accomplice, Jackson. I see you have the boots, like mine.”

Jackson stole a glance at her feet. Peeping out from beneath her skirts were the toes of boots, highly polished like his. He had never noticed her wearing them before, and he had stolen more than a glance at her when he thought he was unnoticed. Now, she tugged at her waist and the skirts fell away. Underneath, she was clad in trousers not unlike his, except they were tighter. Jackson felt embarrassment, he had never seen a woman dressed so, never guessed at the shape that was revealed. The narrowness of her waist was emphasised by the wide black belt she wore, her hips full and shapely, the legs longer than he had supposed.

Jessamine was obviously unconcerned with her new appearance. “Follow me, Jackson,” she called, running toward the wall. Jackson was about to shout at her to be careful, it seemed that she could not stop before she dashed herself against the brick. She jumped at the vertical face, swinging her feet up to kick at the wall. Jackson fancied that he heard a click as she stuck fast, her feet three feet from the ground. Then she started to climb, moving up the wall as a babe crawls over the floor. It was as if the wall were horizontal. She swiftly reached the top and sat astride the bricks, her leg swinging.

“Well, Jackson?” said Mrs Grimble. “Your turn. What are you waiting for?”


To learn more about the world of The Orphan Detectives, you’ll have to read the book. You can find it at


Reviewed in the United States on March 26, 2020



Follow Richard on Social Media:

If you’d like to know more about my writing, visit my website Head over there to see what I get up to, click the FREE
STUFF tab or the My Novels and Short Stories tab to get all the details about
my work and pick up a free short story. Why not join my newsletter and get a
free short story, unavailable anywhere else.

I’m on Facebook at RichardDeeAuthor and Twitter at Richard Dee Sci-Fi

My Amazon author page is here.

My Goodreads page is here.