I’m over with fellow Torontonian, artist, and gown designer, Resa McConaghy at her blog, Graffiti Lux and More. We collaborated and are reminiscing about an #historical and iconic landmark bargain basement colossal store in downtown Toronto, Honest Eds, and its rich history, sadly torn down in 2017.
Only the floors are crooked!
I had moved to Toronto to attend College. I was a student, working my way through and living hand to mouth. Someone told me about this place where I could stretch my money.
In 2017, they tore it down. Please join me and my special guest, D.G. Kaye, a fellow blogger, writer and Torontonian, while we take a look at what was, and the creature it has become! First a bit of history.
D.G. Kaye – Honest Eds was an iconic landmark to the people of Toronto. It was one of our first bargain basement type structures that sold a lot of low-end stuff with everything from food to vacuums. It was pre, our Dollar Store days, even pre, Bi-way (what was known as a bargain franchise that came along after). Honest Eds was erected in 1948 and was torn down for yet, more condo buildings in 2017.
The store took up two blocks, facing one of our famous streets, Bloor St., as well as the side street, Markham St. where Mirvish bought up homes to expand the store. Originally, Honest Eds had the front door of the business on the Markham St. side because the taxes were cheaper than having the entrance on the front of Bloor St. Through the years of buying up surrounding properties, Ed Mirvish eventually extended Honest Eds two blocks long to the corner of Bathurst and Bloor streets, complete with a walkway, known as the Honest Ed Alley.
Resa – I adored walking down Honest Ed Alley, pictured above. I always found street art on my way there. Below, Honest Ed Alley today.
D.G Kaye – Besides the iconic structure, the people who shopped there, and its vast size that grew through the decades, Eds was also known for its great signage, just one of many, ““Welcome, don’t faint at our low prices, there’s no place to lie down”, full of cleverly written puns as advertising lure, and vast lighting that made one feel like they were entering a carnival – or Christmas.
Resa – I’ll never forget the first time I saw Honest Eds. It was like a midway without rides. My heart pounded, as my eyes widened. Debby, do you remember the first time you saw Honest Eds? How did you react?
D.G. Kaye – Do I remember? In some of my books I write about my childhood, having to spend every weekend at my grandparents’ house. When I became observant by the age six, I remember passing that corner when my Jewish-Orthodox grandmother (we were not) would take me and my two younger brothers at the time, for a Saturday afternoon longgg walk from her house, just west of Spadina, near Casa Loma, where we’d walk to Bathurst St. and pass Honest Eds as we walked down to see my grandfather at the family business, further south from Bloor.
D.G. Kaye -My grandmother wouldn’t use anything electrical on the Sabbath, so it was a long walk, lol. But my eyes lit up at the glitz and the feeling of amusement park, many Saturdays, it was always a busy corner. I always wanted to go in, but no shopping or money used by her on Sabbath, lol. Only after I moved away from home at 18, did I venture into Ed’s bargain basement prices, a place of everything and anything. Those were golden days.
Above- the way it was just after closing. Below – The way it is now.
Resa – How did you react when you saw the new Honest Eds corner above?
D.G.Kaye – It’s sad to look there when you knew what was there for your whole life. A lot of what’s become of our city makes me sad. It doesn’t have the same anything anymore. Like many other things in life that seem to be fading from our city, it’s another end of an era, the golden days of past. So I’m happy to be reminiscing about it here today with you.
Resa – Likewise! You mentioned the funny signage on the building. It sure made me laugh. My fave was “Don’t just stand there buy something!”
D.G. Kaye – I loved their marketing. I didn’t think about the marketing aspect of it when I was younger. But looking back at those hand-made signs, I have to admit how clever the advertising was for back then using puns in their marketing. Very clever and entertaining.
Resa – Markham Street was like a throwback from hippy daze. It was lined with cool cafes, handicraft shops and of course, Mirvish Books, one of Canada’s oldest and most popular independent bookstores.
D.G. Kaye – Exactly. It’s those little nook and cranny places that we knew about and visited that were part of the interest that our city had with its diversity. Places where people could meet other people with similar interests. Now it’s condo mania and people attached to their cell phones. The social aspect has diminished in so many ways.
Sometimes it’s best not to look back just because of things like this, the big teardown of an era.
Resa – Gate 3 is Markham Street now. There is a house with art on it, but I couldn’t get in. Looks like there are still a few houses left, and looks like they are being torn down.
Resa – It was a crazy up and down labyrinth inside. I always got lost, and I always had fun. Debby, I feel sad. I have a sense of loss, and not just loss. I have a feeling of impending doom about the future. Am I over reacting? Do I make any sense?
D.G. Kaye – It was like a funhouse lol. I’m 100% with your feeling. It does feel sad because it was a symbol and part of the times, our times. We lived in such a great time, and the city was much different back then. I found the city much more interesting back then. I loved Bloor/Bathurst area through my twenties. They had great authentic international restaurants, especially, a few great Hungarian restaurants I frequented often. It feels like the little great hotspots we both knew in our heydays have been taken over by condo buildings everywhere and big businesses, with now traffic laden streets and crime. … Please continue reading at Resa’s beautiful blog.
I think this may be a rant. But after the day I had Monday with more technical madness in the midst of mad mercury retrograde, I should have known better than to book such a major move-over in this phase of madness.
After all the problems I’ve had with Rogers, I’d been promising myself to move over to Bell. After spending a few hours with a Bell rep, they finally put together a satisfactory package for me for all my services. The install date was this past Monday.
An installer, minus a personality, showed up. He had little interest in my questions and made an electrical room out of my kitchen without explanation, didn’t make a new box in a more appropriate area to put the wifi and the rest of the wiring mess, set up TVs that didn’t have my programs I ordered and no idea where to even look with over 1500 channels, told me ‘they’re there’, didn’t test my landline, finally just walked out without saying he was leaving, and no info, contract number, anything. By this time, he’d been there 4 hours – minus the 2 hours he disappeared somewhere.
I then proceeded to call Bell and tell them how horrid my experience was, no TV working, and they asked if my ‘new’ phone number was working? What?????????? I didn’t order a new phone number, they were supposed to port over the old number – again, terrible service. I was screaming at this point telling them I want their shit out of my home and I’m going back to Rogers, and then after 2 hours with nonsensical people who clearly don’t know their jobs. I hung up on someone.
I immediately dialed Rogers. I had to make sure they didn’t put through the cancel order, and they gratefully, hadn’t yet. I rehooked up my Roger’s equipment – TV, Wifi, landline and told them my grief, adding that I’d already added the Bell Sim card to my mobile, but I wanted to come back to Rogers if they could match the Bell price I got. They matched it minus 5 more dollars, plus more gigs and unlimited data and are sending me a new Rogers Sim card tomorrow.
I think I lost some (more) hair over this event that finally finished after 11pm. I missed lunch and dinner, took a Valium, and finally passed out reading. Needless to say, I will put up with the outages more than I can put up with incompetent people. In fact, I noticed, my last Roger’s Bill was $50 cheaper than the regular bill. Turns out that was a credit for the July outage debacle. As my husband would say, “It’s better than getting kicked in the ass with a frozen boot.”
I was invited over to Judith Barrow’s blog as a guest in her Places in our Memories series. I’m sharing a simple moment in time.
There are places that remain in our memories, the details may become slightly blurred, nostalgia may colour our thoughts, but they don’t fade. And how those places made us feel at the time is the one thing that remains.
Today I’m welcomingDebby Kaye, one of my online friends whom I seem to have known forever, and who is going to tell us about one of her forever memories.
Thank you so much Judith for inviting me over today to share a fleeting memory so dear to my heart.
A memory is a snapshot in one moment of time that locks in a forever imprint engraved in our minds and hearts.
Forever moments are the forever memories that will continue to live with us long after they occurred. All memories aren’t always good ones, but they are there despite, to remind of places we have been to and mark events experienced in our lives. To live on peacefully, it’s the happy memories we choose to keep at the forefront of our minds.
Having recently lost the love of my life, my beloved husband, I’ve been working diligently to push the tragic moments of the last few months of his life from my forefront of videos playing on in my head, instead, trying hard to focus on the so very many good times in our life together. Besides the many milestones of beautiful events that stick out in my mind, sometimes it’s just the simple moments we remember most clearly that can warm our hearts.
Memories. As I sit here right now and think of him in this moment, I’m listening to the sound of a riding mower in the back park of my condo; it took me back to a simple moment of just one of our happiest times when life was good and simple where I’d drink my second cup of coffee on a Sunday morning after our breakfast together and my hubby would put on his big straw hat and Wellie boots, and hop on his big John Deere riding mower and circle the trees in our vast back yard, complete with one of his favorite Cuban cigars hanging from his mouth as he proudly trimmed his pride and joy, his green grass he laid, mostly by himself at our beautiful newly built home. He’d notice me watching as I sipped my coffee in front of the big kitchen patio window, and he’d give me his special wink full of love and acknowledgment of our perfect life. His smiling eyes could tell me so much.
Oh, what I wouldn’t give to be able to transport back to one of those what seemed ordinary Sundays that turned out to be not so ordinary, but a beautiful reminder of love and joy in simplicity. Those were the days most of us think were unremarkable, but just another day. Looking back at that snapshot of bliss taken for granted, I can see how those were far from ordinary days, but a culmination of days that were part of a patched quilt of days which became the pattern of a happy life together.
My Sunday Book Review is for Stevie Turner’s latest release – Falling, now on pre-order. This is a story of both the literal falling and everything else that falls around James Hynde’s world after his intended demise falls apart, leaving poor 19 year old, Olivia Benet to take ‘the fall’. As always, Stevie always delivers a good story in the women’s fiction category.
Take advantage of Stevie’s pre-order sale now, only 99 cents! Limited time offer!
Death seems preferable to wasting what remains of his youth in prison.
James Hynde, fortified by several tots of whiskey, climbs up onto the roof of Parker Mews’ multi-storey car park and peers over the parapet. The game is up. The police will soon seize his millions, the Maserati, the London townhouse, and the Caribbean mansion on Windjammer Island.
Should he jump feet first or hold out his arms and topple over and over like a somersaulting gymnast? He closes his eyes, feels the breeze on his face, and pitches forward into the unknown.
Sixty feet below, Olivia Benet, a budding ballerina, rushes along Parker Mews towards the entrance to the multi-storey. Her interview for the Royal Ballet had taken much longer than expected, and she has but a few short minutes left before her parking ticket expires.
James has no idea of the consequences his action will have on his and Olivia’s lives.
‘Falling‘ made the finals of the 2022 Page Turner Writing Award.
My 5 Star Review:
This is a story of both the literal falling and everything else that falls around James Hynde’s world after his intended demise falls apart, leaving poor Olivia Benet to take ‘the fall’. As always, Turner always delivers a good story in the women’s fiction category.
James Hynde was in a world of trouble due to his greed and decides the only way out of his mess is to commit suicide – but he couldn’t even get that right because when you’re running bad, the streak continues. Sadly, James’ lame attempt of jumping off a building landed him right on top of poor, innocent 19 years old, Olivia Benet, below. She broke his fall and got the brunt of injuries and paid the price by ending up in a wheelchair and losing her dream to join the ballet company.
Olivia decides to visit James in jail before she began her suing endeavor, to see if she can detect any remorse. Her visits became more frequent to the jail as the more James was rude, the more she felt she had to hear something compassionate. On one of her visits, he finally opens up to her and apologizes. This broke the ice, and we see an ‘interesting’ relationship develop between them. James eventually bares his soul to Olivia, telling her some juicy scoop about some of the money he’d swindled and where it was. This interested Olivia.
When James gets out of jail, his relationship with Olivia heats up. They get together, and then again separate. Later when they reunite, they decide to start up a new business together, out of the city, away from the competition. Some new shady characters are introduced in the new business, along with some baggage from James’ past – mainly, a greedy ex wife.
So, what happens when ex-wife Fiona shows up? Well, you’re going to have to read on to find out what exactly she is after!
Stevie’s books never disappoint. With engaging characters and wonderful plot lines, this book is a lovely escape read.
Visit Stevie’s author page and check out her vast array of engaging books (many of which I’ve read). #Womens Fiction
Welcome to my September Q & A. Today I’m happy to be featuring, friend and author Trish Power who writes under the pen name of Alex Craigie. Her recent release, Means to Deceive, a psychological thriller, which I’ve read and reviewed, is her latest release.
Alex Craigie is the pen name of Trish Power.
Trish was ten when her first play was performed at school. It was in rhyming couplets and written in pencil in a book with imperial weights and measures printed on the back.
When her children were young, she wrote short stories for magazines before returning to the teaching job that she loved.
Trish has had three books published under the pen name of Alex Craigie. The first two books cross genre boundaries and feature elements of romance, thriller and suspense against a backdrop of social issues. Someone Close to Home highlights the problems affecting care homes while Acts of Convenience has issues concerning the health service at its heart. Her third book. Means to Deceive, is a psychological thriller.
Someone Close to Home has won a Chill with a Book award and a Chill with the Book of the Month award. In 2019 it was one of the top ten bestsellers in its category on Amazon.
Eighteen months ago, Gwen Meredith left the job she loved and came back to Pembrokeshire to help support her irritable and increasingly confused grandmother. But someone is pursuing a vendetta against her.
As the attacks become more malicious, her old anxieties begin to build. She’s attracted to her new neighbour who is keen to help…but can she trust him?
When those closest to her are threatened, her desperation mounts. Who can she trust?
Gwen has a dark secret of her own. Can she even trust herself?
Gwen is having a bad day, many bad days. She is a teacher’s assistant who does not like the school principal, Ian, yet someone snapped a shot of her shaking his hand at an event and it became taken out of context, big time – internet big time, and a smear campaign ensued.
Gwen noticed an alcoholic, abusive father physically abusing his child. She tried to intervene and the man drove off with his child. Her alerting authorities angered this man and he began harrassing Gwen.
Dyleth has a crush on married principal Ian and believes Gwen is hot for the two timing married principal and spreads gossip.
Gwen had a boring, quiet life before these incidents happened. She moved in with her ailing, demanding, grandmother Edith less than two years ago to take care of her. The only good thing that has happened in Gwen’s life lately, was meeting her new next door neighbor, Ben. Ben becomes her shining knight in armor when all the weirdness, attacks and chaos begins. Is Ben too good to be true, or should we now begin suspecting him?
Strange and evil things are taking place at Gwen’s home. The abusive man is doing drive bys and knock knocks, someone lurks in her garden at night causing damage and painting vile words on her car and lawn. Gwen feels like she’s losing her mind when even the police aren’t doing much with her many complaints.
Gwen’s brother Gethin is having relationship problems at home and decides to come visit his sister and grandmother to help figure out what is going on around that house. He too is attacked one night, and once again, neighbor Ben manages to save his life.
A lot is going on in Gwen’s life and she begins to question her own sanity when too many strange things keep happening. Gwen also struggles with a childhood incident where she blames herself for her parents’ deaths. We’ll later discover that everything Gwen thought happened wasn’t really as it seemed.
If you are already curious as to what is going on, trust me, you will continue to feel that way as you will be eager to keep turning the pages to find out what is going on. Who done what? Is there a traitor among family? Is the principal or the abusive man responsible for all the chaos and accidents? Could Gwen’s developing relationship with Ben the neighbor be real or does he have ulterior motives? You will want to find out as Craigie takes us on a carefully plotted out story that won’t give us a hint until the very end.
Let’s Welcome Alex and get to know a little more about her.
Hi, Debby! I’ll begin by thanking you from the heart for for this great opportunity to share something about myself and my writing with all of your followers.
D.G. – I’m thrilled to have you over Trish. ❤
Do you have an interesting writing quirk or habit that helps you with your writing?
I suspect my whole life is a bit quirky!
There are several practical things I do to try and keep the words coming. For instance, I have a small pile of paper on my desk that has only been used on one side. I fold each sheet in half, blank side outermost, and when a new idea comes to me when the flow is going well, I grab one of these pieces of paper, scribble the idea down and then forget about it to stop it intruding. When I’ve written myself to a standstill, I come back to peruse the idea and decide what to do with it.
In a similar vein, some of my best ideas come to me in the night. Sadly, come the morning I’d remember I’d had a wonderful line or brilliant way to tie-in a new section but had forgotten the details! Turning on the light to write them down certainly meant that I remembered them, but didn’t make for a great night’s sleep for me or my husband… Now, I have a similar stack of used paper on my bedside table with a pencil resting on top of it. When an idea surfaces, I write it down in the dark. Quite often, I’ll have several different things occur to me and I have to try to recall how far down the page I’d reached with the last comment. It doesn’t always work and it’s well nigh impossible to untangle two or more lines of writing scrawled on top of each other.
The ‘half asleep writing’ frequently extricates me from a tricky dilemma I’ve written myself into. My other method is to go into the garden and do some weeding. There’s plenty of weeding to be done and so I never run out of material! There’s something about mindlessly pulling stuff out of the ground that sets the subconscious free to untangle things.
D.G. – Lol Trish, I had to laugh because I use a similar method. When I’m writing and following thought and think of something else I want to add, I add it in the margin – don’t forget, I write longhand. As for night thoughts and not wanting to disturb, you could open your Kindle and use the backlight to shine upon your paper without disturbing hubby. That may work better. Tip: I keep my Kindle on low light at night so it doesn’t keep me wide awake when reading late at night.
Do you find your writing is geared towards a specific audience or do you just write what inspires you to write?
Frequently, my writing is driven by a need to share experiences that concern me. That does sound self-indulgent and “worthy”, but it’s what was behind many of the short stories for magazines that I wrote when the children were tiny. I wrote about peer pressure, domestic abuse, inequalities – that sort of thing. There were others that I wrote simply for fun and they were well-received, too, but those were a pleasure to write and there wasn’t that driving need to pen them.
My first novel, Someone Close to Home, was written because I’d been visiting family and friends in the generation above me in a variety of care homes and what I saw was so upsetting I found myself crying at one point, not in sorrow but in rage. This book crossed so many genre boundaries it was a nightmare to categorise. I decided that my next book would sit nicely withing a recognized niche. It was a romantic suspense/psychological thriller about a young woman damaged by guilt from the past who found herself in increasing danger from someone in the community. Means to Deceive was started when the first book was being sorted for publication. But… … it was the end of 2015 and the situation in our health service was bothering me. Our NHS has been a gold standard model throughout the world, but parts of it were being hived off to private companies and the core of it wasn’t being maintained. So, I stopped the second book and went off on another social grouse! This was Acts of Convenience, but it had to be shelved for several years because my mother developed two different forms of dementia that made writing impossible. When I did get back to it, I ended up with another published book that didn’t sit nicely in a category. So I dug out Means to Deceive again.
D.G. – No doubts our connection is kindred spirits. We are both people bothered by social injustice. Although I say it out loud in nonfiction, you work those issues beautifully into your fiction.
Do your books have messages in them? If so, what are the messages you feel are well received by your readers?
Well, after that last answer, I’m sure you can guess my response!
Someone Close to Home was written in the first person because I wanted readers to be able to identify with the situation where you leave your home and all the possessions you’ve acquired over your lifetime and end up in one cramped room totally dependent on the goodness of others. Most of the staff I came across on my visits were absolutely brilliant, but all it takes is someone who treats you like a commodity – or worse – to turn it into a nightmare. I’ve had so many people write to me about their shared experiences that I know this situation isn’t restricted to the UK. I wrote about residents who were unable to feed themselves, having their food left on the tray in front of them only for it to be removed untouched by someone (tutting) later. That resonated far too often with people. The concerns I’d classify as abuse were also horribly familiar to others.
Acts of Convenience takes the central character Cassie from 2017 to 2055. She’s a nurse and she and the family are at the sharp end of the consequences of expedient legislation made by successive governments. It reflects my concerns about cutting funding for the treatment of the elderly and chronically sick, working conditions, the exploitation of our information and privacy by unscrupulous companies, the manipulation of media, our exposure to foreign hacking – loads of things that concern me! Because Cassie eventually joins a group to expose the corruption she’s witnessing, the book begins as social description and ends as a thriller. I was so unsure of it as a format, I haven’t tried to market it but I’ve had some terrific responses from people and may decide to do so some promotion in the future.
In similar vein, I realized that my romantic suspense/psychological thriller, Means to Deceive, was becoming hijacked by my concerns about social media and so I made a conscious decision to nip that in the bud and stay within the traditional genre. Instead, I’ve transferred my concerns about the abuse of social media into a novella called The Bubble Reputation which I’m polishing at the moment to get it ready for publication.
D.G. – I am looking forward to eventually reading your two other books, which currently are resting on my reader. As you pointed out the content, and had previously warned me of the content, and due to the too much I myself have witnessed with my husband’s frequent hospital visits, I’m not yet ready to read such content. But I am looking forward to your new, upcoming book!
What’s your favourite mode of writing – computer, hand written, dictation, and why?
My mode of writing has evolved through the years. When I was six, I wrote with a stubby pencil in an exercise book. The pencil was replaced with one of those “new-fangled” biros when I was a bit older.
The short stories for magazines were hand written in a big notebook and then transferred to my portable typewriter to send for publication. Typing then was considerably tougher than it is today! For a start, you had to properly jab the keys to get the letters to hit the paper. There was also the dismay when you reached the last line of a page and made a mistake. I never feltI could send a copy with the offending error blotted out in that bright “Bay Watch teeth white” corrector, and so I’d roll another page in place and take it from the top again.
We bought a secondhand electric typewriter in an auction and it was so touch sensitive, I’d written a whole line of “T”s before I managed to add the “h” and “e” of the first word. It was so easy to use but it didn’t remove the irritation of making mistakes. Writing by hand was less frustrating.
Then we come to computers. Oh my! To be able to correct errors was a delight in itself, but it’s also blessedly easy to move things around, change vocabulary, check for overused words and insert new material that improves a section.
When mapping out a novel, I always start with a pen and paper because it’s easier to brainstorm that way, but for the actual text it has to be my trusty laptop.
(Here I must add a caveat: when saving my precious work at the end of the day, I add the current date to the title. This prevents me uploading an older version or, worse, overwriting one. Learn from my bitter experience!)
D.G. – So nice to learn that you too write longhand, even to start. As you know, I’m a dinosaur who writes her books, reviews and blogs in longhand first. Lol. And thanks for your last tip, adding the date. Don’t get me started how many times I found myself creating new copies with edits. Oye! ❤
How do you promote your work? Do you find marketing and social media overwhelming?
Overwhelming doesn’t come close!
I’m from that generation that was castigated for “blowing their own trumpet”. I find it really hard to sell from that point of view alone.
I’m only on Facebook. (I tried to get to grips with Twitter but reading the guides to it were like wading through molasses in concrete boots.) Everyone who knows me also knows what an eejit I am when it comes to Facebook. I feel anxious every time I have dealings with the site (daily) because I don’t know if I’m following etiquette correctly or posting where I should. I could do with someone to go through it with me in short sentences composed of simple one-syllable words. An example of my stupidity is that I haven’t had any notifications for at least four days. I wondered if everyone was on holiday (!). When I dug deeper today, I discovered hundreds of posts, some of which were important. I’ve been on the help site but, despite thinking I’m fairly competent in the English language, I still don’t understand what’s going on – or what on earth a push post is.
It’s also a source of shame to me that I don’t have my own blog where I can post other people’s reviews. I don’t know how you do it and still find the time to exist. Our three children and seven grandchildren all live within a few miles of us and can drop in any time (still socially distanced) in our garden. They fill my days with delight. I also have several health issues that mean that when things are bad I need to slope off to bed. These are my excuses, but I know that others who manage blogs have families, full-time jobs and other commitments.
My admiration and unbounded gratitude go to people like you, Debby, who give me the oxygen of publicity in a form that I can handle. Well, to be honest, I’m not handling it -you are! It must take considerable time and trouble to organize this promotion for me and I can’t stress how much I appreciate it, particularly as I know you have your own writing projects on the go.
Sally Cronin is also a tireless promoter of authors which must cut considerably into her own writing time. Diana Wallace Peach is yet another terrific writer who goes out of her way to review and boost those of us without big publishing companies behind us. There’s really too many supportive people to list here but I have to give another shout-out to Judith Barrow and Thorne Moore who give me a nudge when there’s a review about me on Facebook that I’ve missed, and who post those same reviews for me. I really do need that Facebook lesson!
D.G. – First, don’t beat yourself up about ‘fakebook’ (as I prefer to call it, lol). They are forever changing their set up. Most of us don’t get our notifications until days or weeks later. They have taken away all the easy ways for us authors to navigate our pages. I, along with several author friends have discussed this and have given up posting on our author pages, or our author pages, period. We are a supportive community, and I so appreciate the sharing and help from others when I too need it. I will second what you said about Sally. As for me, I’ve been a multi-tasker all my life and spent a lot of time learning the tediousness (Is that a word?) of social media. But trust me, I, along with others, have certainly had our share of technical blog issues. I am grateful to have Colleen Chesebro as a Sister/Friend who always comes to my rescue when things get out of control. It does take a village sometimes. I love promoting other authors and giving back, so it’s worth the work for me. ❤
It was a pleasure having you here today Trish. I do hope readers will check out your addictive books.
Excerpt from Means to Deceive
The blisters have burst and some of them are seeping blood. I’d been so desperate to obliterate the obscene writing that I’d worked through the pain but now the sensation is making itself known and I suck my lower lip between my teeth and clamp down on it.
Ben speaks quietly. ‘I didn’t appreciate the extent of the damage. This must hurt like the devil.’
I shake my head and release my lip. ‘It’s just a few blisters.’
‘Well, let’s get some antiseptic onto them and then see about covering them up. I’ll try to be as gentle as I can.’
He opens an antiseptic wipe and dabs my damaged palm. For someone with such large hands he has a remarkably light touch.
‘I’m afraid some of this is down to me.’ He continues dabbing at my palm which is now on fire. ‘That shower will have softened the skin allowing things to get this bad.’
I shake my head. I’m trying to keep the pain hidden and don’t trust my voice. He picks up the cream and applies a coating that quickly brings the fire down to a smoulder and then he fixes a clean white dressing in place.
‘Right. Time to do the other one.’
He takes my left hand and studies it. Mine is pale and tiny in comparison with his.
‘These don’t look so bad. They’re still raw but they’re not bleeding.’ He starts to dab at them. ‘I think you’ll get away with some plasters on these.’
I say nothing, watching as his hands continue to work methodically and efficiently. There’s something soothing, almost mesmerising, about the process and it comes as a surprise when he announces, ‘There. I think that’ll do.’
‘Thanks. You were right. It was quicker and easier this way.’ I don’t know what else to say and that familiar gaucheness overcomes me. ‘You’ve obviously done this sort of thing before.’
‘I’ve a younger sister who was always getting herself into scrapes.’ His mouth tightens into a straight line and he busies himself putting things back into the green tin.
The kitchen door opens and Claire bustles through. ‘Right. Well, that’s me finished, Gwen.’ She notices the two of us sitting together and adds, ‘Sorry, I didn’t realise you had your young man here.’
Our response is instant and she simply nods and carries on as normal. ‘Well, your grandmother’s comfy. She wouldn’t have a shower but she’s had a good wash, eaten most of her breakfast and she’s watching TV now.’ She heads for the door and turns to add, ‘Don’t forget she has an appointment with Dr Kumari at 4.30 this afternoon.’
A groan escapes me. ‘Thanks, Claire. It’d gone completely out of my mind.’
‘It ain’t surprising, my dear, after all the …er…’ The words drift off and I appreciate her tact but squirm at the knowledge that she’s aware of what’s happened. ‘Well, I’ll leave you to it then.’ She takes another couple of steps and then stops again. ‘Will you be able to get her there? Without your car, I mean?’
I can feel heat flame my face. ‘Yes. Don’t worry. We’ll be fine.’
‘There we are then. I’ll see you again on Tuesday. Bye’
Ben hands me the tin and I cross to the dresser and replace it in its drawer. I stand with my back to him, giving myself time to recover from this latest blow. How am I going to get her to the surgery without my car? Can I afford two taxis?
I turn back to Ben. ‘Many thanks for all your help. If there’s anything I can do to repay you, please let me know.’
It’s a dismissal and he knows it. He clicks his fingers at Atticus who chooses to obey him and crosses to his side. But he’s hesitating.
‘What will you do without your car this afternoon?’
‘I’ll get a taxi.’ I’ve made my voice light and assured. ‘It’s not a problem.’
He heads towards the door, Atticus lolloping faithfully at his heels, but he pauses and then comes back. ‘Look, I need to book myself in with a medical centre and I may as well do that today as I have to be in town this afternoon anyway.’
‘No. It’s all right. We’ll manage.’
He runs a hand around the back of his neck. ‘Are you always this obstinate?’
I’m stuck for an answer. Part of me is bristling at the accusation while the rest of me is shouting that his help in this would be a godsend.
‘Gwen, I’m going into town later. It would be no bother at all to give you and your grandmother a lift to the centre. It’s up to you.’
I swallow my pride, audibly. ‘Thank you. It would be a great help.’
He gives a nod of his head. ‘Right. If I come round at about ten past four will that give you long enough?’
‘That would be perfect.’
‘And I’ll come in to the centre on my way back from dropping off some plans at the office, sign up and drop you back home again.’
I open my mouth to protest, notice the humorous challenge in his eyes, and meekly thank him.
Alex’s upcoming book:
Coming soon! – The Bubble Reputation! An unscrupulous editor does a hatchet job on Emmie Hobson, based on weasel words such as ‘our sources say’, ‘an insider confides’ ‘friends disclose’, etc. Social media picks up the baton runs with it, unleashing hateful rhetoric that threatens Emmie and all that she holds dear…
I finally did it! I’ve put up my first #podcast on anchor.fm, and Spotify, and Soundcloud. I’ve had pre-written episodes ready for over two months now, but had to spend some time learning some recording ropes on the anchor platform. I’m no novice when it comes to sharing my thoughts and experiences, but recording was a whole ‘nother experience.
Because I’m quite the amateur when it comes to recording, I am SO not well-versed in the editing part of recording. Editing, yes, this is the part when while recording and a blip comes out of my mouth that I don’t wish to share with the universe. This could be anything from a missed word, a missed pronounciation, a ding notification coming in from nearby computer, or anything. As it turns out, I attempted for hours to record from my laptop, but it just wasn’t working with interruptions. So I went to my phone and did the recording there. I was concerned the sound wouldn’t be that great, but was pleasantly surprised that the quality sounded just like my laptop’s recorder – despite my never liking the sound of my own voice. Okay, maybe not radio quality, but pretty acceptable, I think.
I hope you will take under eight minutes, when you have some minutes, to listen to my podcast. I’d be interested in comments about suggestions, or your opinions on how you felt about episode one, the context, and what you thought about the quality of sound.
Also, I wasted another few hours trying to do a simple thing like try and load the video to Youtube. At first it was because I had to convert the file to an acceptable form for Youtube, that entailed another hour or so looking for a good file converter. Then, for no valid reason it still wouldn’t download. I wasted more hours Googling the problem, to no avail. No solutions or helpful videos, wasted hours of my time. What I did see in support groups were angry people at Youtube’s changed downloader, giving them all the same grief, but no solutions. So if any of you Youtubers here have any ideas why it kept telling me ‘process abandoned’ while in the creating video download stage, I’d welcome your thoughts. The video is in the correct format, it’s under the fifteen minute mark and has all the right speeds, so I’m baffled.
Thanks for listening.
Episode One – Introduction to Grief – The Real Talk
I was introduced to the poetry of John Roedel by my lovely friend, Jane Sturgeon. Roedel writes heartfelt poetry from his soul. As a writer myself who writes raw from my soul, and as a griever, John’s poetry hits the mark with everything he writes. Upon Departure is his newest release I was eagerly awaiting to read. Roedel’s storytelling through prose and poetry is sure to touch anyone who has ever loved and lost.
From bestselling poet, storyteller and speaker John Roedel, comes a collection of poetry that explores the concept that our grief as a natural wonder that terraforms the landscape of our world in increments. It can take a lifetime to find peace when our loved one becomes an empty chair at our kitchen table.
let’s lace our hands as if eternity is opening up the veil into the great mystery right in front of us
let’s feel our fingers against each other as if this is the last time we will touch before we become celestial kites
let’s part our lips and say what we should have said to each other years ago:
“I love you. I love you so. I forgive you.
I’m sorry. I’m blessed to know you. I’m so grateful to you.”
My 5 Star Review:
Upon Departure is one of the best books I’ve read on heartfelt poetry, and on loving, life, and losing. After reading, Untied – the poetry of how knots become strings, also by Roedel, and as a writer myself, and one who is also living through grief, I will say that Roedel’s poetry speaks to me louder than some of the other many books I’ve read on grief. And this is simply because the rawness and realness of his pain jumps off the pages, especially to those of us who have also walked the walk – and are still walking through the haze of grief.
In this new release of prose and poetry, the book begins with a short introduction to Roedel’s journey of losing his father, the whirlwind of emotions, the unacceptance and disbelief, till the final acceptance, the ‘what ifs’ of doing things differently he experienced, and how the lingering effects continue through his own journey through life. In this beautiful book, you won’t find a table of contents, nor will you find titles of each poem, rather a story in prose spoken through poetry of words that paint pictures of loss, loving, hope, and eternal love, in metaphors. For anyone who loves emotional poetry, looking for comfort in poetry, or seeks a path in understanding grief, this is a book for you.
poem #1 begins:
“I don’t care what form
you return to me
I just want you back”
The poem continues on with stanzas about how Roedel doesn’t care in which form ‘you’ appear to me in various appearances:
“If you come back to me
as our favorite song on the radio
I’ll pull the car over immediately
and let the music retell our love story
on 80s power ballad at a time…”
“If you come back to me
as a row of goosebumps on my bare arm
I will trace my fingers across my skin
Carefully so I can read the love letter
you wrote to me in spirit braille…”
“If you come back to me
As a passage in a book
I will grab the fattest eraser I can find
And get rid of all the periods so you
Can become a run-on sentence…”
One of my favorites, Poem #10, grief summed up in a post card:
“Your grief is the purest love letter that you can ever send to the one you have lost to death…every tear that rolls down the grooves on your face is the most tender postcard you will ever write…”
“…everybody that you have lost along the way
returns to you on your last day
-it turns out that
love is a boomerang.”
Roedel has another wonderful book titled, Hey God, and wrote another excerpt for this book:
#13 – Me: Hey God…
“Grief keeps sneaking up on me.
God: To grieve means that you have loved. Grieving is one of the truest human experiences that you will ever participate in. It often arrives without warning – like a late-day summer storm – obscuring the sun and drenching you in downpour. It’s a gift, isn’t it?”
“…Bereavement is the debt you must pay for having loved. There is no getting over the loss of a beloved who is now resting in the arms of endless love. Grief has no expiration date. Despite the pass of time, the phantom pain of mourning is always one memory away from returning.”
From poem #15
“Every tear of
Loss that we shed
Carries with it
The DNA-of the relationship
Of the love
Of the story
That two people
Poem #16 might be my favorite:
Tells about the writer stating he’s just a tourist in the world, and writes of all earthly experiences and possessions he’ll leave behind:
“…except for my
thoughts of you
-they are coming with me…”
Poem #22 – Where the author uses metaphors likening grief to a field of “rosebushes and bees”
“…Grief is a stretching field full
of thick beautiful rose bushes
and bees that you must travel
through to get to the other side…”
“…On the other side of the field of
grief is another – even bigger field
of grief that has even more beautiful
rose bushes and even angrier bees
and even more pointy thorns that you
must get through…”
“Being mortal means that we are all caught in a loop of meeting each other at Baggage Claim…”
Roedel goes on to say “To grieve the death of a beloved isn’t something that we check off in a box. Once we experience grief it changes us forever. Grief transforms us. Grief doesn’t just stay for a weekend, Grief moves into the loft of our hearts…”
“Grief isn’t an obstacle we overcome – it’s a masterclass in what it means to be human.”
“It can take a lifetime to find peace when our loved one becomes an empty chair at our kitchen table.”
“Life is life
there can be no after
for something that never ends…”
“…because love is the act of holding hands with
another person and counting to infinity by twos…”
“There is this unspoken call for us to have our wounds become scars long before they are ready to.”
“To grieve means that we have taken the risk to love without fear.”
“These tears are proof.
That I loved.”
“It’s okay, my love. Eternity is holding me. Death isn’t an end. Death is a threshold. I’m still here. I never left. Love doesn’t die. I remain. There is no afterlife. There is only life. I’m here wih you. Love doesn’t die.”
“…After somebody that you love dies, it feels as if you have lost a limb. Even years later there can be phantom pains that can send you to your knees…”
Welcome to my September edition of Writer’s Tips. This month I have collected a few goodies to share with you. Diana Peach had a great article with tips on how to write a great first chapter that hooks the reader, at the Story Empire. Jan Sikes with another great share on how to grow your email list, also featured at the Story Empire. Blogging guru Hugh Roberts has some important tips to prevent your blogs from being stolen and/or plagiarized. Also, as I am truly tired of being a target and thrown into Fakebook jail, a friend shared this great page which offers #socialmedia alternatives to Fakebook, definitely worthy of taking a look at by James Spencer at Make A Website Hub. Anne R. Allen also has another great article – updates on new scams and warnings for writers.
Writing Chapter One – Tips
Greetings, Storytellers! Diana here today. I hope you’re all writing up a storm.