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Tattoo or not to by Kirsten Bett

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       Image by  Gerhard Lipold  from  Pixabay . Ever since Crime Reporter Peter R. de Vries was killed in Amsterdam, I have been thinking about the meaning of tattoos, and if I should get one. M y main reason for not having a tattoo is my fear of needles. I only started giving blood in my forties after a good friend in the Netherlands had been diagnosed with leukaemia. Living in New Zealand at the time, I was guttered I could do so little to help so I decided to go give blood. In theory that blood could have gone to people with leukaemia  over there.  But I do love tats and all the mystery and history behind them. Peter R de Vries had an impressive one: 'On bended knee is no way to be free.' He lived by this conviction and refused police protection. He was a super hero, standing by the loved ones of murder victims and often getting cold cases back into the spotlight, and solved.  It is very sad that Peter R de Vries is dead. His family posted a death notice for him filling a n

A Great Disruption for Writers by Andrew Crofts

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  Gotham Ghostwriters, the leading ghostwriting agency in New York, is setting up Gotham Publishing Solutions, in partnership with publishing expert, Mike Shatzkin, who has been writing recently about “The Next Great Disruption” in the publishing world. Following the disruptions caused by Amazon, and then by the rise of self-publishing, the next disruption that Shatzkin is predicting is an explosion of “enterprise self-publishing”, where companies and business leaders of every type make use of providers of custom publishing and editorial services, like Gotham Publishing Solutions, to produce books which will enhance their reputations and promote their businesses. It is a message that I have been trying to get across to potential clients for many years, but it has become much more viable recently, now that there is no requirement to convince a traditional publisher to help with the process. It can be a very satisfying way to write. You don’t have to worry about getting into any be

A tiny protrusion

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Ignore the chipped nails, please! Notice, instead, the middle finger... do you see something? I am not sure whether it has come out in the photo, but it is very much there, I can assure you... a slight protrusion, just below the rim of the nail, on the left side of the finger. It used to be a solid tiny ball of swollen flesh once, with distended skin, abrasive to the touch. A gift from Exams taken 25/30 years ago. Those were the most defining Exams of my life – Higher Secondary, Honours and Masters. HS was the toughest of all, as it entailed writing two 3-hour papers on a single day. Every day. Yes, 6 hours of writing, with a one-hour break between the two papers – in which I gulped down small tetrapacks of Frooti (mango juice), or a daab, while hurriedly going through notes a final time, with Baba persuading me (mostly unsuccessfully) to have some food. Exams days were his duty: he would take me, hair dripping with oil and a curd-dot on my forehead, to the Exam centre and then back ho

Aww! Bless! --- by Susan Price

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After Rembrandt - Wikimedi a  In recent months, several Authors Electrics have written about growing old. I grow old also and, in recent years, have been increasingly met with a particular attitude from younger people, and I wondered if fellow Electrics were also familiar with it. I first fell foul of it when I was a mere slip of a thing of 60. I went to the dentist, where I was treated by a very likeable and friendly dentist and nurse. The conversation (when my mouth wasn't full of implements) was perfectly normal. The kind you might have with any adult person in the world. I can't remember the details of the treatment -- it was some kind of filling or tooth-repair. As I was collecting my things to leave, the dentist apologised because the repair would only last about twenty years. Oh, that's okay, I said. It will probably see me out. Oh no, she said. In another twenty years, it would have to be done again. She was sorry about it, but that was the best she could do. Well,

A TALE MOST TRAGICAL by Joy Margetts

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  Last month I had a week where I felt decidedly ‘under the weather’. I had no energy or capacity to write, or to do much else, so I turned to binge watching on Netflix. I wanted to watch something that was comforting and reassuring and just ‘nice’, and found myself drawn to Netflix’s dramatization of Anne of Green Gables : ‘Anne with an E’. It is beautifully shot and the lead actors are well cast, especially Geraldine James as Marilla Cuthbert, and for the first episode I smiled with contentment as the story unfolded in line with my memory of the book, introducing us to the feisty, imaginative, and irritatingly verbose red -haired heroine. Soon, however, I was dismayed to find characters being introduced that I had no memory of, themes and storylines being woven in that were definitely not consistent with the period and tone of the original book. For example, Gilbert Blythe has a year out (age 16!) to travel the world employed as a stoker on a steam boat, where he meets, befriends a

Coming for a Walk? by Mari Howard

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  For July, writing in what we call a heat wave here in the UK, I’ll take you around a nice cool nature walk. We going to the Nature Reserve very near to where I am busy writing, with the Venetian blind pulled down, almost obscuring the sun outside baking the garden in its midday heat. Entering the nature reserve, we turn to the left, and ducking under the low branches of several hazel trees, approach the pond. Today I am hoping to see that the swan pair, who sadly lost their eggs, probably due to unseasonal snowfall in late April, have not only returned but decided to stay.   White feathers float on the surface of the pond today, which might look alarming but is completely normal, indicating that it is the Swans’ seasonal moulting time. And there they both are, paddling around towards the back of the pond. As we emerge from the shade of the trees onto the flat, dry, muddy preening place, we hear the chirping sound of small ducks, and the call of a Moorhen. On the shore stands a brown

Mongolian Books for Girls - Katherine Roberts

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Mention fiction about Genghis Khan, and you're probably thinking fierce Mongolian horseman, bloodthirsty battles, and books for boys along the lines of Conn Iggulden's acclaimed 'Conqueror' series. But that would only be half the story. The saying "behind every great man there is a great woman" is as true of the Mongol people who roamed the steppe in Genghis Khan's time, as has so often been proved true throughout history. So where are all the books about these great women? In September, author Starr Z Davies launches a brand new saga starting with the powerful story of Mandukhai, blood of Genghis Khan, forced into marriage with a man she does not love in an attempt to restore the Khan's great empire, which has fractured during the 200 years following his death. But when she falls passionately in love with one of her husband's young warriors, how long can her head rule her heart? For adult readers. Daughter of the Yellow Dragon (Fractured Empire Bo

Bugs producing poems by Sandra Horn

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  Once, years ago, we were at a party which seemed to have more than its fair share of irritating people. I had been working in a special unit for people with what would now be called severe learning disability (assuming I’ve caught up with current thinking). A woman asked me what I did and when I told her, responded with ‘Oh, I couldn’t do that. I’m far too sensitive.’ Major tooth-grinding!   Tight-lipped response from me: ‘In fact, I think one has to have a degree of sensitivity to do this work.’   Then a step away and   a mad avoiding-her shuffle all evening in the overcrowded room. Then there was this man who kept creeping into conversations with ‘I wrote a poem about that.’ – ‘That’ being anything from the price of eggs to existential angst. We laughed, not kindly, about him for years. ‘I wrote a poem about that’ was a silly catch-phrase we often used. Well, it has all caught up with me now. Serves me right (my mother used to say, ‘serves you glad’, which is odd but satisfying,