Bob’s Diary: Maria’s Kindle Deal

Hi, I have been asked to remind everyone that

 

E-Book Cover

 

Maria’s first book is on Kindle Countdown deal from the 10th of November to 17th November.

Amazon.co.uk : Here

amazon.com : Here 

 

 

 

 

Not that I would be caught reading it.

(Though she said I’m in it – so where is my picture?)

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Snow Dogs Part 1 & 2

The leader

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part 1

‘I could do with a change of scenery’ Luna decided.

For the last two hours they moved at a nice steady pace but she was tired. Too much racing in my life, was her verdict as she trudged along. April was a month she loved, snow plentiful but the sun was warming up, adding a glossy glamorous touch.

‘I could do with lunch’ the idea landed in her head hours before lunch was due and it wouldn’t budge, ‘it’s probably bloody chicken stew again.’ That certainty didn’t stall her longing for lunch, it made it harder for her to concentrate on the path ahead of her.

Snow swirled gently about her face. Luna never thought of stopping. Stopping was a sign of weakness and that would never do. Today’s team leader was two years older. His gruff manner hid a gentle heart. He was the most experienced of the team.

Like a soft veil snow speckled her face and body. Luna lowered her head, hunched her shoulders and plodded on. ‘Hopefully this will get worse, we may have to stop.’ She smiled. Then lunch would be early. A rest would be appreciated.

On they went. Snow was kicked up as they sped along searching for a place to shelter. At last they heard the cry, ‘Stop, here will do.’

It wasn’t too soon for Luna as with head bowed and tongue protruding she stood panting, waiting for the mushers to come and release her and the rest of the team from the sled.

Part 2

It was near the end of the second day of sled racing. Luna was upset she wasn’t lead dog again. But today’s lead dog was a sheep in disguise in her mind.

‘If that eejit slams on the brakes once more I’ll ram into him.’  Luna cast a wary glance back at their Australian Musher. Rob’s face was hidden but from the set of his broad shoulders she knew he was not pleased. Yesterday they were leading, today they were struggling to keep third place.

‘And it’s because you put butt face in front of me. I should be leading.’ Hunching her narrow frame she leaned into the wind pulling on with the rest of the pack as her mind mulled over the problem of how to get that useless lump to pick up his pace.

When they stopped for the night, they were right beside the leading race team. Luna couldn’t believe her luck. Her blue eyes sparkled in the firelight as she talked loudly to Ollie beside her. He opened one eye and closed it again wondering why she was talking rubbish about Bandit’s fear of a mascot.

‘Bandit is scared of everything,’ Ollie thought as he fell asleep.

Luna prayed the team of dogs listening to her were as stupid as they looked.

It was a cold crisp morning as they set off at four o’clock. The first place dog team left minutes before Rob’s team. The prize money was big but the prestige for the winning team would be huge. There was a cold glint in Luna’s eye as Bandit pranced by her whispering, ‘guess I must be doing something right to have stolen the lead dog from you!’

Lunar turned her head and with a brisk shake of her coat snow flew in his direction.

They set off at a gentle pace. It was apparent Rob was putting in more effort than Bandit. ‘If I had my way, you wouldn’t be on this team,’ he roared in frustration wondering what had led him away from golden beaches and luscious babes to this frosty wilderness. Bandit was the owner’s pride and joy. Everyone else believed the dog to be useless.

Luna’s eyes were fixed on the path before them. The snow was soft. The first place team tracks were right in the middle where it was softest. Bandit had some sense and was on the higher hard packed snow.  ‘Good, ‘ she thought, ‘they won’t be able to make much progress. We will gain some ground here.’

Rob was shouting encouragement and abuse at Bandit in an effort to get him to move faster.

Rounding the next bend they spotted the back of the first teams sled. With a howl of rage Bandit woke up. The other dogs had trouble keeping up with him. Snow was shooting from the side of the sled as Rob applied the brakes every now and then in an effort to keep the sled on the track. ‘Are you a lunatic or what? Why now?’

They were closing in on the winning team by the second. She and the others in the team could see the reason why. They would have been howling with laughter but they were too busy huffing and puffing as they attempted to keep up the pace.

 

It was a surprise to the lead team when Rob’s team came charging by them on the downhill run into the finishing line.  There was only two individuals who were fully aware of the reason for the chase, one was Luna and the other was Spats, the fat ginger cat who was the other teams mascot who for some peculiar reason had sat at the back of the sled instead of under the covers at the front.

Ollie congratulated Luna when he was able to breathe again. “You are one smart dog. I thought you said, Bandit was afraid of cats.”

“I did and lucky for us those dumb dogs believed every word I said.”

 

 

 

Maria’s Stuff: An Introvert Living in a world of Extroverts

My side of the tale.

Having now lived for 50 odd years on this planet I have acquired a disguise of being a sociable person.  Truth is I hate big parties, weddings and events.

Bliss was found at an early age in between the covers of books, old or new I didn’t care. I would home in on a book shelf and find a cosy quiet corner and lose the world and myself in a book. The reasons are not generally known by those I hang out with these days but truth is I seemed to have been born with a sign on my head saying kick me, or target for bullies.

Primary school was a nightmare, I would have been happy to sit in a corner and read or dream but everyone was expected to play with everyone. Teachers were relentless in their coaxing, cajoling and often scolding if you were seen to be not mixing.  When I was spotted writing with my left hand this was blown up into an insufferable event. Teachers tried to convince me to do the normal thing and write with my right hand. A conversation overheard by two teachers about my lack of writing skill still stays with me today, 49 years later.

I found freedom and happiness in unexpected places. The two I loved most were my grandfathers company and the library. Both were a fountain of knowledge about different worlds and experiences.  I learnt to let callous taunts and scathing remarks go in one ear and out the other. I sought refuge in my mind. I learnt that not everyone has to conform to the boxes set out for them.

The point of this post.

Is to ask parents not to push or prod their children into doing the socially acceptable thing. Some of us need time alone, time to explore, learn and most of all let the creative side flow.

If a child asks for sketch pads and crayons don’t feel obliged to run out and buy the newest version of paint for the computer. Let them be themselves.

In Ireland last week a couple were fighting the system regarding home schooling and educating children.  Their eleven year old daughter appeared with them on TV and I admired her for her well-chosen comment. She spoke quietly and well. I sat back and thought, I would vote for her.

I would love to know other introverts feelings on how society functions and how they fit  or didn’t fit into the world they were growing up in. More importantly how did it make you feel? And how did you cope?

Flash Fiction: Aya’s flight.

Aya clung to the rock.  Her thoughts were bleak. Is this it? The end?  She was tired of running.

Her vision was spectacular. A trait she cursed now as she watched the red spectre creeping relentlessly towards her. It was hungry devouring everything in its path.

Worse she could smell the acrid smell of death. So strong it hit the back of her throat making her gag.

Aya supposed this must be how her victims had felt before she ended their lives. But, she argued, my act had been one of self-defense not one born of hunger and greed.

Her eyelids fluttered, she wobbled a little as she clung to the rock. I mustn’t sleep yet, she whispered though there was no one to hear.  Aya was thirsty, hungry and exhausted.

She looked to the sky. The dark clouds mirrored the color of the charred earth but no rain had fallen.

She offered a prayer to the Gods for a quick end.

A tear escaped.

Then she heard it. A flutter. Ears straining she wondered if she was imagining it. A wishful thought converting a whispering wind to an animal’s movements.

Shoulders slumped as she decided to stay and prepare for death.

Aya flinched when she felt the slightest tingling touch along her back. Turning she saw a bright blue and green flicker darting along her back. The kingfisher moved like a flash of lightning as it danced in the air above her.

She opened her mind and heart to it demanding, “What do you want of me? Death?”

“No. Life. Follow me you are close to a spring which leads to a river many miles from here. ” The kingfisher darted away.

Aya watched him leave. Tiredness dictated she check this out before she moved. Swiveling about she took a deep breath. Her lips quivered as a tentative smile formed. She decided green river reeds never smelt this good.

Summoning the last of her energy, Aya loosened her grip on the rock. Then spreading her wings, the last dragon took flight into the dark sky with a heart burdened with hope.

 

dragon

 

Maria’s Stuff: Free on Amazon – Kindle Deal

As many of you know I have taken a giant step for me and self published my 1st book. It was a tough decision to make but I knew I had to start somewhere. Self publishing like blogging is a journey. And I decided the only way to thank those who support me in my blogging journey was to make the book available to you.

The book is available free on Kindle from August 27th until August 30th. The link for American readers is simply: http://www.amazon.com/Moving-On-Maria-Matthews

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The first  chapter is available here to give you a taste of it.

 

As my two readers pictured here are not good at giving reviews, I am asking for reviews on Amazon or Goodreads.

 

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Once again thank you all for encouraging me to keep writing. (I promise I will get better at it as time goes by.)

E-Book Cover

Maria’s: Moving On

E-Book Cover

Illustration by:  Constantinos Thersippos Karentzos –  “Field”, a digital sketch of an original artwork, with model Sofia Doulgeraki

Moving On

 

Ally O’Brien s world has been knocked sideways by the death of her father. The breakup of her marriage leaves her feeling disillusioned about love.  For this romantic Irishwoman being a divorcee is not a trophy.

Ally wishes to move on with her life.

Trouble, she believed had arrived into her life via her inheritance.  Her inheritance consisted of her family home which was in need of repair and her father’s five dogs. Four of the dogs were part of his racing team. Ally returns to the sport of dog sledding, on wheels. She rediscovers the joy of competing and occasionally winning.

Tom Lynch is everything Ally should avoid, handsome and charming, with a different woman beside him each day of the week. He is used to winning. A woman who is indifferent to his charm creates a challenge.

Ally is certain of one thing, love is not for her.

However, Ally is everything Tom has been searching for.

 

It is available on Amazon  in paperback and on kindle.

 

Bob’s Diary: Why me?

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The trouble with being such a sociable charismatic dog is simple, Maria keeps putting me in stories. Here is a short one. ( I’ve met Molly. She is cute and she feeds me jelly babies.)

Children’s Story: 500 words.

 

Chasing the snow dragon.

 

Snowflakes twirled and danced about Molly. ” I love snow,” she said.

“Woof” Bob said jumping around her.

Molly whispered, “Quiet Bob. A  Snow Dragon might hear us and run away.”

The dog nudged her hand with his nose. He tickled Molly, making her giggle.

They began their search in the garden.

No Snow Dragon.

They walked through the gate, looking right and left. Molly walked past Gran’s kitchen door. They looked in the garden shed, even behind the coal bags but didn’t find a Snow Dragon. They did meet many birds and Gran’s fat cat.

They walked to the front garden. They met the postman. “Hi Molly. Where are you going?” he asked.

“We are going to catch a Snow Dragon.” She whispered.

“Well – don’t let him catch you.” He said.

“No. We won’t.” Molly told him.

Bob looked behind every tree.  Molly looked at the bare branches.

No Snow Dragon.

“Not even a squirrel, Bob.” She said.

Molly looked behind them. The snow was falling onto the ground covering her footprints. She couldn’t see her house. “Let’s go home,” She said.

Molly made a snow ball. She threw it. “Go get it Bob,” She said.

He sat and watched it land.  Molly sighed. Bob never chased tennis balls.

“Lets make a snowman instead.” She began by making a small ball and then dropped it on the ground. As she rolled it along the ground the snowball changed from being a round ball into a wobbly, wonky shape. It was big and getting bigger.

Bob helped by staying out of Molly’s way. She pushed her snowman into the garden saying, “I’ll finish you after tea.”

It was warm inside. Molly felt tired. She forgot about her snowball but told dad about her search for a Snow Dragon.

“I think there are no Snow Dragons,” she said. Molly felt sad.

“Maybe they are shy, creatures. Perhaps you should send an email to one and see what happens.”

“What would I say?” She liked this idea.

“That you believe in them but you would love to know what they look like. Wait then and see what happens. Granddad always said, they were magical creatures.”

Molly wiggled her nose as she thought about this. “Let’s do it, can you help please?”

The email was sent and Molly went to bed.

Next morning she got up and peeped out the window.

Her heart jumped for there in the garden was a large dragon. He was white and very still. Molly raced outside to see him. “Its a Snow Dragon.” She said to her dad who came to look at it.

“But Dad, how did he get here?”

“Molly you did say you would love to know what they look like, didn’t you?”

Molly nodded her head. “I did. Now I know they are amazing.And he chased my snowman away. ”

Dad took a picture of the snow dragon.

It hangs on Molly’s bedroom wall in case she forgets what they look like.

 

A prisoner beneath Tara of the High Kings

Macha, The Morrigu, a witch, a warrior of legends long past. She is a prisoner  in the valley beneath the shadow of the sacred mountain of Tara where High Kings flourished, fought and died.

Time means nothing to Macha. Years slip by her, as do the many who come out of curiosity to visit the ancient site at Tara. They wish to catch a glimpse of an ancient magical atmosphere to help them create a better vision of what had been.

Macha pays them no heed for mirroring their curious state will only wreck havoc with her energy levels. She knows what she is: an unseen shadow lurking behind the tiny hillock that Tara has become.

She delights in her dreams, filled of greatness, people and feats. She longs to hear the battle cries, the demented wailing of those mourning. To smell the air after battle, acrid and heavy with the stench of death.  A time like no other, she chortles.

The present holds no meaning for her unless she is handed the key to her freedom. Thinking of this her much sought,  promised freedom brings far too great a pain for her. She knows it will happen, but when? The words roll around her mind.

She drifts for a second or is it centuries? Here time has lost all meaning to her. Despite her intentions, entombed in this non-existent world of hers a tiny hope flares. If only he would come, she muses on that ecstatic moment when her freedom will erupt like a fountain eager to catch its first glimpse of all above the crust of the earth.

This freedom, which this ancient druidess craves holds so much promise and here she stops her dreaming, freedom is beyond her comprehension after so many years of captivity.

This state of captivity irritates her. These binding unseen chains of magic which keeps her trapped in the depths of the earth.  Here there is darkness but not solitude for the earth spinning on its axis is like a tired old machine and deep within its mechanical depths it grinds and groans in an ever ending interlinked spiral made of hope and despair.

Since her birth Macha was enchanted by stories. Tales of human accomplishments and disasters are her favourite, languages are another and she longs to hear her native tongue spoken again.  When I was young…. The words only remind her of her useless state and she resorts to humour. Oh’ how fickle we are when youth holds us in its enthusiastic grasp, she chortles. Tired now from all the, what iffing she succumbs to the mind numbing darkness muttering her mantra, “I will be ready for you when you set foot on Tara, I will know.”

The Dragon’s Secret. (Children’s story)

Finn hated being the smallest dragon in his village.

If I can’t be big then I will be famous. I will be a magician, Finn thought.

He gave magic a try. He set his magician’s hat on fire.

Finn tried hip-hop dancing.

“I’m dizzy” he moaned bumping into his mum. The pot of potatoes she was carrying, flew high into the air and landed on his dad’s foot.

With a roar dad flew into the sky and returned with a piece of a cloud. He wrapped his burning foot in the cloud.

Finn tried singing. “He sounds like a fire alarm,” mum said. Finn stopped singing when the lolly pop factory burned down.

“I’ll be a champion swimmer,” he said jumping into the pond. He splashed about so much he emptied the pond. Finn was followed home by a row of squawking, honking, homeless ducks and swans.

“If I were the biggest dragon then no one would laugh at me.”  He moaned.

Finn ate more vegetables, and exercised everyday but he didn’t grow.

Granddad went to visit Finn. “I know how you can be as big as a house.”

Finn asked, “why doesn’t everyone do it?”

“Because their surname is not Nogard” Granddad said. Bending close to Finn he whispered the secret of how to become a large dragon.

“I don’t think I could do it.” Finn said with a shake of his head.

“Don’t think Finn – just do it.”

Finn flew high into the blue sky searching for a cloud.  It was hard work beating his wings.

He remembered Granddad’s words,” keep going especially when you feel you can’t.”

Finn found a perfect small cloud.

He wrapped a silver thread around it by flying in a circle close to the cloud. He counted as he went, “one, two, three, four…” On the thirty third circle a large rumble shook the sky, followed by a flash of lightening.

Finn was thrown to the waiting stars.

“A dragon to play with,” the stars cried bouncing him between them.

The noise brought the other dragons out of their homes. “Where is Finn, how did he disappear?”  They watched the sky and waited.

“He’s gone,” sobbed mum.

“He will be back perhaps we have time for tea,” Granddad said.

Everyone agreed. Tea and cakes were eaten before they heard a light whooshing noise. It grew louder until it became a rumble like a jet plane.

High in the sky they spotted a swooping, diving spot growing bigger.

“It’s Finn,” Granddad said. Everyone began to cheer as Finn came to land.

Finn smiled and spewed flames into the sky.

Looking at his mum he said, “sorry I will need a bigger house.”

She just squeezed his foot, “it’s nice to have you back, I’ll go make an extra large dinner.”

Granddad said, “You will go down in our village history as being the largest dragon in the realm.”

And this was only the beginning of Finn’s fame, for he returned to the land of giants on many more occasions.

Bob’s Diary: The Lighthouse Award.

We are all smiling (Kevin included,) because belsbror has kindly awarded us :

the-lighthouse-award

If you are looking for a short post that will put a smile on your face check out belsbror’s site. I enjoy his anecdotes especially: I like it Hot

The accompanying rules and guidelines for this award are:

  1. Display the Award certificate on your blog.
  2. Write a post and link back to the blogger that nominated you.
  3. Inform your nominees of their award nominations
  4. Share three ways that you like to help other people.
  5. There is no limit to the number of people that you can nominate.
  6.  HAVE FUN!!!

Three ways we like to help others people

1.  Training Ellie for search and rescue work.

2.  Volunteering as an athletics coach

3. Volunteering on a committee which might help others find or create work.

There is a fourth (Bob’s idea): to give cuddles to kids and help put a smile on peoples faces.

Those I would like to nominate are:

http://esthernewtonblog.wordpress.com/

http://lifein64squarefeet.com

http://letitcomefromyourheart.wordpress.com

http://patinspire.org

http://rubytheblacklabrador.wordpress.com

http://dcardiff.wordpress.com

http://gettingbitzyfit.wordpress.com

http://miartedoris.wordpress.com

http://lisalanserrose.com

http://friendlyfairytales.wordpress.com

http://rachelmankowitz.wordpress.com

http://autisticandproud.wordpress.com

http://advocatemmmohan.wordpress.com

http://hillsofherchastity.wordpress.com/

http://thosewhofeedthebirds.wordpress.com

http://colliesofthemeadow.wordpress.com

http://irenewaters19.wordpress.com

http://solopress2.wordpress.com