About Maria Matthews

A published writer and avid reader, who likes to take a quirky look at the world about her. Bob is the steady anchor in a house governed by the mayhem of two parents and two grown children who have left home but frequently drop by to either check out the fridge or check in with Bob and Ellie. Maria's free time is divided between family, work, writing and volunteering.

The long and the short of it.

A very short story featuring Bob and his friend Maxwell

It was looking like snow. This was a special event in Ireland.

Bob was sitting staring out the kitchen window. He suspected it might snow but more importantly the oven was humming along with the cook who was rolling out biscuits.

“Hmm, biscuits,” Bob thought and set off to tell Max who lived a short distance away.

Cold, wet weather never bothered him because his thick coat kept everything from touching his skin. The extra bonus was fleas usually died before they fought their way through his coat.

Bob arrived at Max’s door. “Where is Ellie?” Max was peering over Bob’s shoulder.

“Didn’t bring her she is on cookie guard duty.”

Max didn’t linger. His short legs worked hard to keep up with his taller stocky friend.

“What happens if we get lost in this snow,” Max asked Bob as he pushed his way through the deepening snow.

“Trust me,” said Bob, “we won’t.”

However when they passed a tree they had marked some minutes earlier they sought shelter and had a meeting. “We are lost, aren’t we?” Max nudged Bob as he spoke.

“Maybe we should have a nap?” Bob suggested.

Max objected to this and they continued on for a while until they arrived back at the tree once more. “We are lost.” Bob said.

“What can we do?”

Bob sighed. “I was hoping it wouldn’t come to this? How is your singing voice?”

“Superb” Max boasted.

So together they began to sing, their favourite, – who let the dogs out.

Within minutes they heard a familiar bark and Ellie trotted up to them.

She looked at both dogs covered in layers of snow and simply said, “hurry up the biscuits are cool, well not as cool as you guys” and she led them home.

Much later, Bob and Max sat beside the fire munching on lavender dog biscuits.

“Do you know Bob it was worth the trip. But perhaps we shouldn’t go out in it again. What do you think Ellie?”

“Please don’t, your singing almost knocked the tiles off the roof.” She mumbled as she rolled over for a snooze.

They simply joined her in their favourite competition; snoring.

(Future trouble lay in the fact that Bob was dreaming of digging a tunnel to Max’s house.)

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Maria’s Kindle Deal

Starting today and running for seven days Moving On is on Kindle deal on Amazon.com 3DBook-Promo-Mockup

The first two chapters are available on Bob’s site to read. The links are: Chapter 1

And Chapter 2

For readers, writers or those who prefer Author.

Writing tips from author and pop culture writer Jennifer Keishin Armstrong.

via Advice from Bestselling Author Jennifer Keishin Armstrong — Discover

Odd things you see on Irish Country Roads.

The world might be full of technology but for some people having a conversation and socialising are more important.

This thought stuck with me when I was taking the road to my dad’s house and all traffic was brought to a stop… by a family who were locked out of their farmyard home.

Oddly most of the car drivers (women) were very busy taking pictures, along with oohing and ahhing to worry about the safety of the family of hens. I smiled and tried not to give them a lecture about helping or #RAOK, as I set about returning hen family to their house.

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I began to search for their owner. My first house call was  not appreciated as I woke the home owner judging by his sleepy appearance and his pj’s and slippers. Eventually the lady who owned the hens were found and peace was restored along with traffic flow, as chicks and hens were let in to their yard (through the blue door).

Since then I have noticed most people drive with care on this particular section of road.

How Children Learn From Dogs.

A very commonsense and logical post,

Waggy Tales

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 A relationship with a well trained dog  can teach a child

Manners

Caring

Trust

Gentleness

Responsibility

Empathy

Patience

Compassion

However, some important points need to be considered before introducing a pet to small children.

The child must be old enough to respect the dog’s space and to not accidentally hurt him by pulling fur etc . Never leave a child and dog unsupervised no matter how much you feel you know your dog. Animals are unpredictable, accidents happen. Also, a young child can’t understand a dogs behaviour and body language like an adult can.

Dogs have a pack mentality. Usually, they would consider an adult in the family the pack leader, with children lower down the family hierarchy. A dog may perceive a child to be on the same level, or even lower in the pack order, as himself. This might mean that the dog has difficulty taking instruction from a child.

Teach the child…

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Say Yes and …

I was asked to enter Ellie in a contest called Nose of Tralee. The idea behind the contest is to let people see the amazing lives these animals who are re-homed or rescued can have with their new forever families.

Saying yes, was the easy bit because then I learned that a photograph or photographs of her were needed. That meant giving her a bath, which means I have to catch her, bath her, blow dry her and then clean the bathroom and finally clean me.

So it was done. Then to my surprise many people voted for her and she is now her County Nose of Tralee. Great I thought, until the sash arrived and more photographs were needed, which meant another bothersome bath. Being Ellie each photo session meant more and more items were gathered by me to persuade her to sit still until I ended up with this…

 

It took forever to get her to look at me but when it was done, I went in search of the main man -Bob. He had given up waiting for his photo to be taken and was snoozing. I woke him and this is the awful look he gave me!

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Go away, I am not moving.

 

If you have a moment, because after all the washing and bathing I would appreciate a vote, the link to vote for her is: Ellie

Thank you,

Ssshh, Don’t tell Fred!

I help out in a local kennels as some of you know. Last time the owner was going was on holidays a problem developed with one of the pups, he had a mild skin condition. “Don’t worry, ” we were told, ” he has finished his medicine and he will be fine.”

He was correct the pup was fine, because – Peggy and me held a conference which entailed the dietary needs of a young dog who was getting over the trauma of losing some of its hair. The result was a special diet and a bath in oatmeal water. It worked, the pup’s coat was the softest we had ever felt. He moved on to his forever home and from what we hear he is never leaving.

Last week just before Fred took off on a few days break, one of the labrador’s was very ill. His weight plummeted. He visited the vet, was diagnosed and antibiotics prescribed.

When the antibiotics were finished, he still  had no appetite,

” Don’t worry,” Fred began. Peggy and I – looked at each other, and tuned out.

The plane hadn’t taxied out of Dublin airport when the debate started.  This time we tried coaxing him to eat by trying tasty foods first.

That is by working our way through all the things we did to coax our kids to eat. The result was a visit to our local health shop, butchers, organic vegetable grower and fishmongers.

A little scrambled egg, no go. Special vegan dish featuring broccoli and carrots – no.

Yoghurt and Manuka Honey, separately then mixed together still didn’t get a result. (Why Manuka? Well we couldn’t find any local honeycombs for sale.)

Organic beef stew – (no onions of course) No.

We were desperate but Peggys last suggestion was a tad different – Jelly but no icecream?

Needless to say, the lab eventually gave in to our coaxing (demands?) and began to tuck into his hot roast chicken dinner, even if it looked a little like an all you can eat buffet for one.

Still It worked. So we admit we are both relieved that this four legged friend is now eating a little more each day.

burst

burst

 

I know we sound a little bit nutty, (Crazy) but if it works ??

Princess Cora and the Crocodile

We all need humour and I love the idea of this book. I have put it on my reading list.

Chapter Book Chat

cora cover

Princess Cora and the Crocodile

By Laura Amy Schlitz, Illustrated by Brian Floca

 

Published by: Candlewick (March 28, 2017)

Available in: hardcover, audible

At the time of this review this was a standalone book.

 

Disguised.

Princess Cora and the Crocodile is a lovely chapter book that masquerades as an elegant, long picture book. Truly, it could work as either, with the end result being children who are utterly delighted.

Newberry Medal winner Laura Amy Schlitz writes a contemporary tale based on historical fantasy and fairy tales. The text is deft, spare, hilarious, and told with a firmly modern sensibility that keeps it from feeling like a tired old story. To wit: “The crocodile peered out from behind his claws. ‘This is what I’m telling you,’ he said.”

Like fairy tales of old, the story powers through actions and words that are usually considered too violent or inappropriate. Which…

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Opportunity Abounds for Romance Writers

Some help for every author who wishes to write romantic novels

The Road to Romance

I was doing research for work, and found myself going down the romance rabbit hole. Publishers seem to be proliferating. It’s great that there are so many avenues to becoming a published author, but it’s also kind of intimidating. There’s just so much to take in. In any case, I thought I’d share some of the resources I found.

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Free Kid lit Chapter book on Amazon

I am searching for reviews and have in the past given away 25 copies of my first book in the hope that reviews, good or bad would be given on Goodreads or Amazon or even here. I have received 10 from UK readers, thank you all very much and 9 from those in the USA, again thank you.

So I have put the book on Kindle for free for the next few days in the hope that more people will read and review.

The links are for Uk:

and for USA 

And here is a recent review from an Amazon customer

on June 29, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What a terrific children’s chapter book! A fun and unique storyline, accompanied by interesting, funny, endearing characters. I loved the tale of Clearie, the sweet schoolhouse yearning to venture to France. I also loved the characters of twins Sara & John, the crab family, and Aldo that the author created alongside Clearlie. The author also provided good morals in the story, but not in a preachy way. Grade-school kids who can already read (as well as younger kids who enjoy being read to) will definitely be entertained by this charming tale.