So where's the snow?

Muddling through in Austria; God, life and a small black dog


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Ducks! Romantic Short Stories for Animal Lovers

Yes, I’m shamlessly plugging my next opus.  This is just a little it of light reading to enjoy with a coffee, or even in the sun on the beach. Its only on Kindle at the moment but things will change.  Here’s a snippet of the first story, maybe you’ll want to read more!!!!! 

DUCKS

Waking up to a cacophony of bird song in a narrow, lumpy bed was not my idea of the best start to a summer holiday.  The sun was already burning its way through the gingham curtains, yet my watch swore it was only six a.m.  A hard shake didn’t change its mind, so I sank back beneath the quilt to try and recapture that evasive sleep.

It was no good.  From the next room I could hear rustlings, scrapes and muffled giggles. Why should I be overwhelmed with dread?  Surely I should be filled with joy, but the next two weeks yawned like an abyss in front of me.  The concept of quiet leafy woods and idyllic picnics had felt like heaven in a slushy February city, but the reality was as disheartening as the mud I’d trodden through to get into the cottage.  What do you do with two eight year olds for a fortnight when there are no playgrounds or burger bars?

Then I noticed the rustlings had grown ominously quiet.  I couldn’t believe they’d gone back to sleep and sat bolt upright, hitting my head soundly on a quaint oak beam.  Dazedly I staggered into the other room to find only a deserted bombsite.  They’d escaped before the day had even begun.  Rubbing my bump I went to the window to see if the horrors were in the garden.

At first I thought I was hallucinating, so I rubbed my eyes in the best film star fashion and looked again.  There really was a large white goat lying in a flower bed contentedly chewing on my best T-shirt.  I must have dropped it while unloading last night.  I didn’t know what to do – would the     T-shirt be swallowed before I could reach the garden?  As I dumbly watched, a tall dark haired man leapt over the wicket fence between the two cottages and grabbed the goat by a collar on its neck.  He pulled the sodden cloth from between the chewing jaws, then tugged the goat towards the back gate.  My blood began to boil, he could have at least left the T-shirt dangling on a bush rather than shoving it into his back pocket.  So much for honest country folk I snorted with indignation as I made my way back into my room to get dressed.  I was scrambling into my shorts when a loud screech came from the other side of the house. Leaving my nightdress on, I slithered down the steep stairs and into the back garden.

The children were huddled together on the path, slowly backing away from a monster which hissed and snapped at them.  Its black and white body had webbed, yellow feet, its head a fiendish red mask and gaping jaws.  The irate duck was bearing down on my terrified nephew and niece, who for once were silent, dumbly appealing for rescue. Overcoming my own fear, I ran towards the duck, shouting and waving my arms.  My actions only made it angrier, it now flapped huge wings and struck repeatedly at me.

‘Get off you brute!’ and various expletives had no effect either but at least I was between it and the children.


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Garden Time – rain, rain, rain

May 31st

We have had a spell of what is maybe normal spring weather, damp air, heavy thundery showers but thank heavens, no frosts.  Of course it means  that the plants are well watered but now we begin to panic about mould in the greenhouse!  Still, I’ve got everything planted out, even the emergency windowsill courgettes have been bunged out on a plot! I can sense the frustration of the farmers as it going to rain everyday for the next week according to the forecast, and its the start of hay and silage time.

The birds have mostly taken themselves off, but to my delight, this year a family of Greenfinches has stayed behind and are chomping on the few sunflower seeds I put out. The sparrows don’t argue with them like they do the Tits and they share the table together. We have a resident cuckoo for the first time, its worse than a clock you can’t switch it off!  The meadow below us is full of campion, ragged robin, daisies of course, Buttercups, Spreading bellflowers, and Meadow Bistort.When the sun shines, and I’m doing the ironing, I have the bedroom window open and the smell comes wafting in.  I often put the radio on and have found the Radio 4 extra, last week I had the joy of a Morecombe and Wise show, plus the Dad’s army radio show, quite a giggle or am I showing my age???????

I’ve met my share-dog, it’s a lovely golden retriever, the vet thinks about five years old, already spayed, how could anyone bother to buy a pedigree dog, have it done, then abandon it?  Lizzie and I are looking forward to our dog duties!

One thing I have noticed on my blogs – no mention of stress, hating job, sleeplessness, tiredness, I just go, do me cleaning, come home and forget about it.  Bliss, thanks God!


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Cup Cake by Mariah Jones


 

What a lovely, lovely, funny  tale for all those, like me, who’ve struggled with weight issues!  Darcy is successful with her Cupcake bakery, but she just doesnt see it!   I so identified with Darcy and her problems, and had a real giggle over what happened at the bakery raid. There is so much humour there that could happen to anyone, I loved that, I’m not going to say anymore!

There was just the right amount of dramatic tension, and love.  The only thing I felt was that Thorne was just too gorgeous.  As he was the object of Darcy’s love, ok , he would seem so, beauty is in the eye of the beholder,etc, etc  but maybe if the others didn’t think him so attractive, it would  gel a little better.  After all such knock out blokes would have an array of females, although he has his reasons. Then again, he falls for Darcy, amidst all the stuff at the moment about big women, a real man who can see her heart from the start.  Lurvely!


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My way home by Cynthia Lee Cartier

I pushed the wrong button on Amazon.com and bought this by mistake, so felt I’ll have to read it on principle.  It started out with yet another marriage break up, but something in the style kept me going, and I’m so, so glad I did!

Here’s a couple who get back together again and work through it – how completely refreshing, and its well described with all the pain and doubt.  Then Cammy decides to move to Saint Gabriel, an Island somewhere off the USA. Now I have absolutely no idea where it could be, I can’t find it on the Internet, so it’s another place, someone enlighten me?   I loved the descriptions of the Island, which usually is a thing that easily bores. I think the difference is that its set in reality which makes writing so different compared to when you are creating a place in your mind’s eye.

The way the text was written made us know that Cammy settles here, for example saying Sara is her friend rather than became a friend, see what I mean. The book really does read like a personal account of someone doing a move and settling in a new place – now that’s not easy to achieve.  Cammy’s character, for example her love of lists is so simply displayed, cos there are lists in the story!

The only bit that didn’t quite gel for me was her finding her relations, I don’t think there were enough hooks earlier in the plot, but it did explain her fascination for the Island!

I’ve always loved stories of someone moving to a new place, making a new start, and can’t for the life of me imagine why. I looked back to books such as the Little White Horse, and the Herb of Grace by Elizabeth Goudge,  and The Black Hunting whip by Monica Edwards, and this is also a theme in Howard Spring‘s work, another favourite of mine.  maybe its the excitement of the new and they are all set in real places too.  Anyway, this book had it all for me!

PS.  The author herself says its Mackinac Island, Michigan , so I’m off to explore on the net.  I’m so smitten with the descriptions in the book, I just have to see!


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Charlotte Figg Takes over Paradise by Joyce Magnin

Click on the picture for more!

This book was a real pleasure for me and also quite a culture shock.  I know that I don’t go for thrillers and who dunnits and like my books at a reasonable pace, but not predictable.  I caught this while it was on free and thought I really ought to read some mainstream American Christian Fiction as I seem to spend so much time on Amazon.com at present.

At first reading I thought oh no, not another dead person as Charlotte Figg’s husband croaks in the first few pages.  On impulse she buys a trailer or what we Brits would call a mobile home, which turns out to be a wreck.  In her new life she meets some incredible people, a tattooed lady, a midget and a guy with one arm.  Now I know  from popular culture than Trailer park people are looked down upon, but are these guys representative?  Certainly there are plenty of ignorant red-necked husbands about, but there mix is really amusing, but fortunately doesn’t detract from the story.

However, what I liked about this book was its unapologetic Christianity.  It’s in the culture if the characters and the book part of life, and not overstated, though one character can always be relied upon to be praying. Its how life should be, not part of culture like here in Lungau where its more tradition than meaning, or England where every Christian is fair game. 

The tale has great drama, sadness and humour and I loved it.  Within its gentle frame it deals with real issues and real people. Should I also admit in the past I’ve read the Miss Read stories from England and this is a cultural contrast that  I loved? I certainly couldn’t see any of the Vicars or characters in  her books being so upfront about their belief.

Most of all though, what made it for me was Lucky, he rescues people, knows just whats going on in people’s head, and almost speaks – yes of course, he’s the dog!


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Tom’s success

Another view of the house from Tom

I fully admit that I’m staggered by the number of downloads of Tom.  As I write its over 1,400 – maybe in the next few days I’ll actually get some stars and feedback!    So many people have my book!  Mostly in the USA as expected.  I hadn’t really been thinking about the money, until my brother pointed out how much I’d have made if this was sales.  I hadn’t even gone there till then.  The greed monkey then pointed the figure out, and it would mean I wouldn’t need to look for another job this year.

Until then, I’d just been rejoicing.  Some time ago when I was desperately trying to get published, I offered God all the profits from the book, just so it would be published, and that stood.  I did ask God when all this was in the offing, what should I do but had no clear direction,  so I just priced it and left it. I was also thinking with it going out free, how this would satisfy us both.  Now I keep on dreaming of earning enough from Tom to live.  Then I think of how God has prospered us since we’ve been here, we’ve never been so financially secure, we have more than enough. I just think of having the extra to print Tom in hardback and pay for our trip to the UK this autumn. It’s my guilt with Dave working so hard and me not for once that’s driving me.  Then again, as Andrew Wommack says, let your inaginaton pray for what you want.

At the moment, I only have a vague idea for a new book, but I do have a collection of short stories, which surprisingly I find still a lot available and popular on Kindle………………