10 Rules for Dogs

I could have sworn Bob was smiling as I read this to him…


  1. Never give up. If your owner (master, mommy/daddy) doesn’t get that you want to go out the first time you bring the leash, try and try again.  And if he (or she) still ignores you, begin dancing around like a bee providing GPS directions for the hive.  This will show him that it’s “high time” for a trip to the outside washroom.  Remember you know the right “time”.  You’re a watch dog.
  2. If another dog goes near your dish, growl (practise this with the family cat). However, if a dog urinates on your owner’s leg, pretend you didn’t see a thing.
  3.  If you have had a disagreement with a dog bigger than you, hide behind your owner when you see that dog coming. If, like Bean, you actually nipped the dog because he stood over you and pretended to be in love, hide behind your bigger brother who will be…

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So ..I have written a book for kids, what next?

The simple answer would or should be, write another one. And there are five or six books written but not edited sitting in a neat queue somewhere in my desk.

However, I am stuck on the marketing and shouting about the first one.

If I constantly blog about it, – am I seeming too pushy? I dither on this question. But you guys are truthfully the only ones who read my ramblings, and for that I am extremely grateful.  So please let me know if I am pushing it a bit.

Blogging, twittering, FB and G+ are very time-consuming events. Which limits time for other important stuff. The only one in my house who loves to see me head for the computer is – Bob.

He assumes his best-loved position. Sorry there are two:



Everyone else groans, (including Ellie) as they know I will be superglued to the seat until I have set up x amount of promotional posts.

And lastly for today my promotional push is:

The Runaway Schoolhouse is on Kindle for €0.99 ($0.99) for the next week, in the hope that a few reviews will float or clunk (be thrown) my way.

The purpose of the reviews for me is to help discover the fate of the other books gathering dust in my desk. Do I continue to publish or simply to blog?



A learning curve – being published.

As some of you know, The Runaway Schoolhouse is in print and on kindle for the past few months. (The first few pages are here on this site for you to read, if you like).runaway_schoolhouse_cover_Latest_151031

I believed, foolishly, that this achievement was 9/10’s of the job done.

I was wrong. It is the first step.

I have received much help, thanks to all who have offered advice and support to me. And I have learnt that in today’s world. a writer has to become a Jack-of-all-trades. The greatest hurdle is Marketing and in this I thank Emu Ink.ie and Laurence O’Bryan, the founder of BooksGoSocial.com

But I still have to spend time, marketing the book. I have also been told that book reviews are gold to writers. Hence the Giveaways and the pleading or requests for reviews on Goodreads and Amazon etc.

I have given away 15 books, in the hope reviews will result.  But I am curious as to how other children’s writers find book reviews. So any help, or advice will definitely be appreciated by me.

Blogging delights me and writing is a passion. I consider myself lucky if one or two people read a post and am amazed if the stats alert me that a post is doing well and 15 + readers have been on my site.

Life is funny isn’t it, some of us dream of winning the lottery but bloggers simply dream of being acknowledged and read.

Do books shape our lives?

It is a strange question with a million varied answers but I will be brief.

If books help shape our lives does this mean that our choice dictates the type of person we are… light weight romance – dreamer and not grounded?

Horror stories – hard skinned and insensitive?

I don’t think fiction shapes our lives but that is my opinion. However, non-fiction is a different story and I think it plays a bigger part.

What do you think?

And what is the one book from your childhood you remember most?

I read avidly and I loved re reading Roald Dahl to my kids – The Twits remaining a favorite of mine.a-roald-dahl-childrens-book-called-the-twits-on-a-white-background-dfxea2

Progression report from a 50 something gym attendee

Progression report from a 50 something gym user.

I was persuaded by a friend, Moira G, to take her Kettlebell classes a couple of years ago. I did, she was a tough but great teacher and I enjoyed it. Since then things progressed.

My husband became more health conscious and started coming to T-rex classes with me, then he went on to strength and conditioning. I was persuaded to try these classes and we enjoyed the classes. We thought we were doing well, getting fit, strong and more flexible.

Then we were persuaded to try  Crossfit…. which is another realm of fitness entirely. I thought, ‘what the heck, I’ll give it a go and no doubt they will snigger at this hopeless inflexible Irish eejit, I will blush and retire gracefully.’

The first class was an eye opener, learning how to lift correctly, learn new techniques, and learn what a WOD is (basically a fifteen intense – killer- workout). We left feeling very unfit and the next morning very sore. Far from being sniggered at we were applauded by the younger generations for trying it. Yes, we decided we need more of these classes.

Since then I have seen the world from a different angle (standing on my head).  Learnt the difference between clean, clean and jerk, snatch, dead lift etc. More importantly I have learnt my limits and accepted them. I am happy to achieve a level of fitness and attempt to stay healthy and fit.

Has anyone else become a crossfit addict?

Because we have and we are not the oldest members in the gym, though we often feel it.



Here is a picture of some of the younger enthusiastic members with the two coaches showing off either side of the group.

Maria’s Stuff: Mission Statement – Do we have one?

I have been reading a lot about blogging, and have stumbled upon a simple enough statement that makes sense on reading it – Every blog should have a mission statement. It, I am told, will help keep us on track towards our goal. This led me to ask: what is my goal? What is Bob’s goal?

I looked at Bob

Hisilicon K3

and smiled. His goals are simple; eat, sleep and be hugged.

Ellie’s are different, as everyone knows, her life revolves around tennis balls, socks, being busy and…. Bob.

ippellie large with socks in mouth

Which leaves me.  I sat at the keyboard fingers poised struggling to find the elusive mission statement.

Thoughts were flitting through my head working on a treadmill as I struggled with a mission statement.

I started blogging to get me writing, improve my photography skills and have fun. In the past ten years my children have flitted past the ages of 21, so I reasoned, I should have plenty of free time. However, time is being gulped up by many part time volunteering ventures, working part time, dog training for S & R, and all the usual wifely duties. I wonder if I am doing too much flitting and not enough focusing. Trouble is what do I cut out to make time for writing etc? They are all good causes, and worse still – I have fun attempting to do what I can.

So I will start again:  My blog is about finding fun while helping others and writing about it because at the end of the day age is simply a number it doesn’t define us neither should it limit us or stop us exploring this incredible world. Phew! It is a mouthful.

Perhaps I should try again?

Does anyone have a simple mission statement?

Besides Bob!



Guest Bloggers: 2016

Pearls Before Swine


I’m a busy bee. I travel a lot and have my hands in different projects all the time. For this reason I cherish my weekends. However, I would like to open The PBS Blog up to some diversity this year. I am currently looking for bloggers who would like to guest blog for me on Saturdays and Sundays. I am not a large blog, but for those of you just starting out this can bring lots of traffic to your blog. I get hundreds of views on a daily basis with a steady increase weekly. Currently we are holding steady at 19,242 hits (since I’ve drafted this post I have had to edit the numbers which have already gone up 10 views within the last ten minutes).

The post can be about whatever you would like it to be. I want readers to get to know you, your personality, perspective…

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Summer is over but Bob has found…a new love

Yes, Summer is definitely over, no more raspberries or blackcurrants to pick. The blackberries are rare to find these days but don’t worry he (Bob)  has moved on to bigger and greater things…








I am hoping gravity takes over and one (a small one) hits him on the head because they are very nice apples and we would like to have a taste of one or two.


The progression of a book cover.

Writing your novel or story is simply the start of a long process. The book cover was one I enjoyed and another lesson in the art and patience of an illustrator

Mudpile Wood

I believed, stupidly, that once I had the main story written that the other bits and bobs would fall into place in a matter of weeks.

How silly of me. (Naive I think is the word.)

Editing took a long time mainly down to me. But the evolution of the cover was the work of Sara. She asked for an outline of the book. I sent it on, along with a draft copy. Then there were a few telephone calls and much to my delight I received the first idea. Here it is:


The debate began. A few suggestions were made and this was the next idea,


which we liked but the problem was Harry the seagull had been cut from the story.

So back to the drawing board and then with Harry cut, deleted, the next debate was the title and the type face (font) colours etc.


Finally this was the…

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Reggie the Black Lab.

A post that tugs at hearts but reminds me why every dog and human deserves our kindness and help. If this true story doesn’t move you – you are stronger and cooler than me.

Learning from Dogs

To whomsoever gets my dog!

With thanks to Suzann Reeve who sent this on to me.

You all have a very wonderful Autumn weekend.


They told me the big black Lab’s name was Reggie,
as I looked at him lying in his pen.
The shelter was clean, no-kill,
and the people really friendly.

lab1I’d only been in the area for six months, but
everywhere I went in the small college town, people
were welcoming and open. Everyone waves
when you pass them on the street.

But something was still missing as I attempted to settle
in to my new life here, and I thought a dog couldn’t hurt.
Give me someone to talk to. And I had just seen
Reggie’s advertisement on the local news. The shelter
said they had received numerous calls right after,
but they said the people who had come down
to see him just didn’t…

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