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#RRBC #Poetryreadathon – Timeless Echoes by Balroop Singh

Poetry readathon

What Amazon says

Certain desires and thoughts remain within our heart, we can’t express them, we wait for the right time, which never comes till they make inroads out of our most guarded fortresses to spill on to the pages of our choice. This collection is an echo of that love, which remained obscure, those yearnings that were suppressed, the regrets that we refuse to acknowledge. Many poems seem personal because they are written in first person but they have been inspired from the people around me – friends and acquaintances who shared their stories with me.

Some secrets have to remain buried because they are ours
We do share them but only with the stars
The tears that guarded them were as precious as flowers
Soothing like balm on festering scars.

While there are no boxes for grief and joy, some persons in our life are more closely associated with these emotions. Their separation shatters us, their memories echo, we grieve but life does not stagnate for anyone…it is more like a river that flows despite the boulders. When imagination and inspiration try to offer solace, poetry that you are about to read springs forth.

My review

I started reading this collection of poetry by Ms Singh without reading the blurb and I soon picked up the subtle undertones of wistfulness and almost melancholy that run through these poems, linking them all with this common theme. This did make sense to me as the book is called Timeless Echoes. After I had finished the book, I looked up the blurb and knew that the emotions I had sensed were indeed a vital part of the book as the poems are intended to reverberate with the reader in the manner of the echoes of past loves, yearnings and regrets.

This is not to say that the poems are sad or depressing as there are many delightfully uplifting ideas that support the fact that who we are is a factor of the events and circumstances of our lives. The echoes of past joys, pains, trails, failures and successes are woven through the fabric of our souls.

“The dew on my dreams is still fresh

Sunbeams add a sparkle” is one of these inspirational lines from a poem called Echoes Of Life.

Some of the poems dwell on a love lost in the past:

“I know I made a wrong choice

Intoxicated by the wine of youth” from Silent Echo are lines from such a poem.

The poem reflects on life’s fleetingness and impermanence:

“Echoing within her … nothing is permanent from Captive.

There are reminiscences of love lost or unworthy:

“Dark despotic attitude…

Arguments I could never win” from Sardonic Shadows

I enjoyed these deep and meaningful freestyle poems and recommend this book to lovers of poetry and life.

Purchase Timeless Echoes by Balroop Singh

Sunshine Blogger Award

A huge thank you to Mark Bierman for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. You can read Mark’s lovely post here: https://markbierman.wordpress.com/2020/01/13/sunshine-blogger-award/. Mark has a great book about child traffic called Vanished. He has handled this disturbing topic every well. You can read my review of it here: Goodreads Review

For accepting the Sunshine Blogger Award nomination, there are a few rules:

• Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and link back to their blog.

• Answer 11 questions the blogger asked you.

• List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your blog post.

• Nominate 11 new bloggers & their blogs. Leave a comment on their blog to let them know they received the award and ask your nominees 11 new questions.

I love to know what makes people ‘tick’ so here are 11 questions for you. I promise, nothing embarrasing. If there are any questions you do not wish to answer, please feel free to give them a pass.

1. What is the most extreme “sport” you’ve done (if any)? 

I used to instruct spinning at the local gym. I taught 10 classes a week. I also used to cycle and I road the Argus Cycle Race in Cape Town a few times. It is just under 100 km. We also cycled in a number of other cycling races.

I have also tried skiing when I visited South Korea. I had an accident, but wasn’t injured badly.

2. Do you have a favorite travel destination? If so, where?

Yes, I like to go to the UK. It is so full of places of historical and literary interest. We went to York and traveled through the whole of Scotland last year. We have also been to London, Essex, Canterbury, Dover, Suffolk and Reading.  We are going to Bath, Glastonbury and London this year.

3. What is your favorite blog topic? 

I don’t really have a favourite topic. I blog book reviews for children and poetry books mainly, fondant art and occasionally recipes, as well as poetry and some fictional prompts on Robbie’s Inspiration.

I blog book reviews of horror, science fiction, classics, paranormal and other adult novels, extracts from my WIP’s, thoughts on reading and writing, dark poetry and writing prompts and anything else that takes my fancy on Roberta Writes.

I post promotional material and reviews of mine and other people’s books on Robbie Cheadle which is my flagship website.

4. Do you have a prefered time of day to blog? When?

I usually blog in the early mornings, 5.30am to 6.30am and again in the evenings from 6.30pm to 8pm. After that I check my sons homework and read with them until 9.30pm. We usually go to be at 10pm. On weekend days, I write in the mornings from 6am to 8am and again in the afternoon, if possible. I blog in between and on a Sunday evening.

5. Do you drink coffee while you blog?

No, I drink tea and water.

6. Do you have pets?

We have two cats, Push-Push and Smudgy. Push-Push is a clever cat and often visits me in the mornings.

I am not a big dog person as they damage the garden. Sorry friends, but this is the truth.

7. If you were trying to fix a broken shovel handle and a 500 pound gorilla came up to you with a roll of tape, what would you do? 

Take the tape, of course. We don’t have gorilla’s in South Africa, we have baboons. They are very naughty and steal food from the resorts in the bush. They have large teeth and can be dangerous.

8. Do you prefer to swim in a pool or a natural body of water? 

I don’t like water and I am highly allergic to sea water. I don’t swim as chlorine in swimming pools also effects my skin and we have Bilharzia, or schistosomiasis in many of our natural rivers and bodies of water so it isn’t advisable to swim just anywhere in South Africa.

9. It’s Thanksgiving- turkey, some other type of meat, or no meat?

We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here. We celebrate Christmas though and we usually have chicken and gammon (eaten cold). Sometimes we have cold roast lamb or beef. It is very hot here at Christmas time which is why we have cold meats and salad for Christmas. Sometimes I host Christmas in July and we have a hot roast lamb, potatoes and vegetables meal.

10. Given the choice, would you prefer a spider or a snake in your home? 

Haha, we get spiders in our home all the time. Great big rain spiders as big as Terence’s hand and tiny jumping black spiders. We also get Daddy-long-legs spiders here. Sometimes we get snakes in the garden too, but none of our local ones are poisonous. You get Mozambique spitting cobras sometimes in Pretoria and surrounds, but I haven’t heard of one hear. We had a crocodile in the local dam and a hyena in the local park once too.

11. What type of music do you listen to? 

I like ’80’s music. My favourite music is from Broadway and theatre productions and my favourite musicals are Cabaret and Mame.

I nominate the following bloggers for this award:

Beth from https://ididnthavemyglasseson.com/;

Smitha from https://lifeateacher.wordpress.com/about/

Ritu from https://butismileanyway.com/

Lorraine from https://blindwilderness.wordpress.com/

Marcia from https://marciamearawrites.com/

Ellen from https://ellenbest24.wordpress.com/

Willow from https://willowdot21.wordpress.com/

Janet from https://tidalscribe.wordpress.com/

Kamal from https://boundlessblessingsblog.wordpress.com/

Patty from https://campbellsworld.wordpress.com/

Esther from https://esthernewtonblog.wordpress.com/

Dan from https://nofacilities.com/about/

Annette from https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/

Teagan from https://teagansbooks.com/

Traci from https://tracikenworth.com/

I realised that I forgot to include questions. Haha, I think that is quite amusing. Anyhow, I am now being a bit lazy and using Mark’s great questions.

1. What is the most extreme “sport” you’ve done (if any)? 

2. Do you have a favorite travel destination? If so, where?

3. What is your favorite blog topic? 

4. Do you have a prefered time of day to blog? When?

5. Do you drink coffee while you blog?

6. Do you have pets?

7. If you were trying to fix a broken shovel handle and a 500 pound gorilla came up to you with a roll of tape, what would you do? 

8. Do you prefer to swim in a pool or a natural body of water? 

9. It’s Thanksgiving- turkey, some other type of meat, or no meat?

10. Given the choice, would you prefer a spider or a snake in your home? 

11. What type of music do you listen to? 

#Writephoto – Keep

The idea for this story originated from one of Sue Vincent’s photo prompts a few years ago and I wrote this story which was intended to form part of a new book for middle school children called Silly Willy goes to London. It won an Honourable Mention in one of Dan Alatorre’s Word Weaver short story competitions. It fits perfectly with Sue’s current prompt of Keep, so I thought I would share it here again as this book seems unlikely to ever be finished now. You can join in Sue’s latest prompt “Keep” here: https://scvincent.com/2020/01/16/thursday-photo-prompt-keep-writephoto/

An encounter with a suit of armour

Willy charged onto the platform, sword drawn and mouth wide open. A great roar came from his throat as he spotted the suit of armour in the stairwell, tucked behind a great lantern. Willy bounded forward and smashed his sword into the metal figure. The head fell off with a loud clang and rolled across the floor.

Willy’s roar turned into a wail of anguish as he looked at his toy light saber. The impact had shattered the plastic and the dangling blue shards hung on by a delicate thread.

The racket attracted the attention of some other tourist, who glared in Willy’s direction. Mom was a deep shade of red at all the commotion Willy was causing and quickly picked him up. Trying to sooth him with promises of a replacement sword if he stopped yelling. Dad looked angry, he doesn’t like a fuss. I was annoyed, Willy always ruined everything. His noisy howling always seems to get him a reward instead of the punishment he deserves.

Willy likes to dress up. He wears some very funny stuff and it makes people stare at us which I hate. Today, Willy is Anakin Skywalker. Star Wars is his latest craze. He is wearing white long johns and a long-sleeved white vest and over this he has on a pair of silk Spiderman boxer shorts and his Peter Pan shirt. His blonde hair is tied into a ponytail on top of his head and is sticking up like a curly pig’s tail. Does he have any idea how silly he looks?

We set off for the gift shop straight away to get Willy a new sword. The gift shop was outside the castle on the other side of the courtyard. Willy’s idea of England is gift shops. Everywhere we go he pesters to go to the gift shop so that he can look at the swords. They really do have great swords here, made of wood and really strong. Willy wanted his new sword now and Willy never waits for anything! The gift shop didn’t have any swords. They had shields and knight outfits with shiny chainmail fronts, princess dresses with long and flowing skirts, mugs, books, fridge magnets and lots of other lovely things but not a single sword. Mom asked and the man in the shop said that they had sold out of swords. Willy was sad. Mom had to promise to take him to a toy shop later in the day to find a replacement sword.

We left the gift shop and headed back to the great tower in the middle of the courtyard to continue our visit. Dad had told us earlier that this tower was called a keep. The keep was the most important building in the castle. If the castle was attacked, the defenders would retreat to the keep as a last resort. The keep at Dover Castle was square and was eighty three feet high with walls twelve feet thick. Dad said that the square shape of the keep showed how old Dover Castle was as the more modern castles had round keeps.

We passed back through the great stone arch and into the dingy, cold disarming room. Dad said that the disarming room was where visitors to the castle had to surrender their weapons. So why hadn’t someone taken Willy’s sword away when we came in earlier? We climbed up the steep stone steps and back onto the platform above the vast kitchen. The knight’s head had been replaced on his metal body.

In the kitchen, a scrumptious banquet was being prepared and there were piles of interesting foods on every wooden countertop. The room was a hive of activity with people of all shapes and sizes scurrying everywhere. There was a fireplace that was so wide and tall that I could have stood in it quite easily. There were also massive iron pots hanging from hooks over the fireplace, one was so big you could have boiled a person in it, just like in the song about cannibals I was listening to in the car. The song was all about the son of a cannibal who didn’t want to eat people. His father was very upset and the song was very funny. Willy liked it too and laughed and clapped his hands. It would be quite fun to put Willy in one of the big pots. Not to boil, of course, but just to give him a fright. I would put the lid on so it was dark.

We left the kitchen and climbed up another, much longer, flight of stairs. The stairs went up and up. There were all sorts of interesting little rooms built into the stone walls. Some of them were really creepy and they were all freezing cold. England is cold and we have to wear jackets, gloves and beanies every day.

In one tiny little side room, there was a funny toilet. It was a wooden plank with a hole cut in it set on a stone seat. It was old and cracked and I didn’t like it at all. My silly brother thought it was very funny. He wanted to sit on it and look out of the tiny window. He wasn’t so pleased when he saw there was no flusher and no basin and soap. Willy loves to flush toilets and wash his hands, splashing water everywhere and making a big mess. At least the toilet took his mind off his broken sword. I am very interested in castles and I know that there were no flushing toilets in the time when castles were built. There was just a long shaft built into the castle wall that led down to either the castle moat or a pit, just like a long drop toilet. I have never seen a long drop toilet at home but I have heard about them at school. They don’t sound at all nice!

We carried on up the stairs until we came to a huge room that had long, thick red curtains hanging all around it. In front of the curtains all along the walls were benches that people could sit on. The room was a long rectangle and two very wide chairs stood at one end. Dad said these were thrones. This room only had a few small windows at the end where the thrones were. The windows were built into the outside stone wall and I could see from the window ledge how thick the stone walls were. There were electric lights in the room to make it lighter but it was still quite dark. The lack of windows made me feel a bit weird, as if the walls were closing in around me. There were a lot of children in this room and there was a castle guide who was allowing the children to sit on the thrones and have their pictures taken. Willy was very excited about this and, when our turn came, he didn’t want to get off his throne. Willy is like a jellyfish when he is being naughty, he wriggles and squiggles and Mom had to grab him in a bear hug and carry him out of the room.

We climbed up some more steps and went into an enormous bedroom. The bed had curtains – how very strange! Mom said that all the important people had beds with curtains during the time when people lived in castles. They used to draw the curtains to help keep them warm at night. That makes sense to me, it is even colder in this castle than outside. This room was interesting and it had a bigger window so I felt much better. There were small steps right up to the window so we could climb up them and look out of the window which was great fun. Mom was hanging on to Willy as he stood there so that she could pull him back if she wanted to. Good idea, she should get a child leash for Willy.

There was a small chapel let into one of the great walls which had stained glass windows. Mom wanted to look at it but Willy was tired of looking at old things. Mom decided to stay behind and look at the chapel while Dad took Willy and me up to the roof. That was really great! We were up really high and could see all around. The countryside was so pretty and green, not like the countryside at home which is very brown and dry as we are having a drought and there has been little rain for over a year.

The roof of the castle was flat and very big with lots of space for Willy to run around. The walls around the edge of the roof were also built from stone. In places there were higher parts to the wall with slit-like gaps in between all the way around the roof top. Dad said that these were part of the castle’s fortifications. People could stand hidden on the roof top and see all around the castle through the gaps. Defenders of the castle could shoot arrows through these gaps.

Willy was running around like a hooligan and I think he was making Dad nervous. Dad isn’t nearly as nervous about him as Mom is but he was wary as Willy always finds a way to get himself into trouble. Dad decided to take us back down the stairs and out into the castle courtyard. We waited down in the courtyard for Mom for absolutely ages. Dad tried to call her on her cell phone but it went to voicemail. Oh dear, Mom was not going to be very happy when she couldn’t find us.

Dad looked around uncertainly. If we went back up to the castle roof we could miss Mom if she used the stairs on the opposite side of the castle. Willy lay down on the ground, determined not to climb any more stairs. He was tired of dark castles. Dad picked him up and then set him back down again. Willy is a cubby boy. Dad decided to wait. Eventually Mom appeared. She was out of breath and looked frazzled. She glowered at Dad, having climbed all the way up to the roof top to find us. When we weren’t there, she had looked all over the castle to find us before finally coming outside. Luckily, Mom was worn out from all those stairs so she didn’t say too much to Dad about it. Mom did decide, however, that it was time to leave.

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#RRBC #Bookreview – Guest post by Teagan Geneviene

Teagan Riordain Geneviene

Teagan Geneviene has a fabulous and fun blog, Teagan’s Books, where she shares interesting posts including her innovative “three things” stories in a serial format. Teagan is visiting me today to share a bit about her latest non-fiction book, Speak Flapper – Slang of the 1920s, and the three other books in her “Three Things” stories about flapper, Pip, and her friends.

Over to Teagan

Hi Robbie. Thanks so much for letting me visit your blog.

Many of your stories are written in the “pantser” way, Teagan. Could you tell my readers about that?

I’d love to, Robbie. A Ghost in the Kitchen – Three Ingredients 2 originally appeared on my blog, Teagan’s Books. As with the first two serials, The Three Things Serial Story, and Murder at the Bijou ― Three Ingredients 1, it was a spontaneously written, “by the seat of your pants” ( or pantser) tale.

Everything in it — characters, setting, plot, was driven by random things left by readers of the blog, episode by episode. However, this time the things were “ingredients.” Readers also gave me an unexpected challenge when many of them requested a particular event happen in the story. I won’t say what because that would be a spoiler. It was quite a challenge, but a fun one!

3 Pip Ingredients covers (1)

Teagan, I know you are a diligent researcher, but with such a strong supernatural element in this book, does it have much history?

It actually does, Robbie. Two of the ghosts were inspired by real-world people in history. However, their time was long before the Roaring Twenties! One of those is the pos-i-lutely potent poltergeist of the title, Maestro Martino. His real-life counterpart was Martino de Rossi (or Martino of Como, or Martino de Rubeis, called Maestro Martino). That Maestro was an Italian culinary expert of the 15th century. He was also the Western world’s first celebrity chef.

During the real Maestro’s career, he was the chef at the Roman palazzo of the papal chamberlain, the Patriarch of Aquileia. That fact led me to the fantasy idea of my ghost’s curse. It also brought another ghost to the story, inspired by the pope of Martino de Rossi’s time. Although there is not a religious element in this book.

Your research wasn’t limited to the ghosts.

That’s right. My other research included what roads and transportation would have been available in the 1920s from Savannah, Georgia to Tybee Island where a good part of the story happens. Additionally, in various stories of the “Pip-verse” I’ve investigated what public buildings existed in the Savannah area, as well as their architecture.

You have another new release about the Roaring Twenties too. How does it relate to A Ghost in the Kitchen? Is it a companion volume to Pip’s stories?

Yes and no. (Smiles) I just released a dictionary of 1920s slang, Speak Flapper – Slang of the 1920s. I don’t think of it as a true companion document, because I use slang so judiciously in my books. When I use slang, I try to put it in clear context – so that you don’t need to run to a dictionary to “get it.” However, I had been collecting the 1920s slang for six years, and wanted to share it as a book. It really is fun to speak flapper.

Speak Flapper - Slang of the 1920s Kindle Edition

Teagan, you’re a new member of the Rave Reviews Book Club, #RRBC_Community. I’m also a member and looking forward to your participation there.

Yes, Robbie, I took the plunge! I can’t be as prolific of a reviewer as you, but I look forward to doing a few reviews this year. I’ll probably do quarterly book review posts at https://teagansbooks.com/.

Thanks again for hosting me, Robbie. You’re the cat’s pajamas!

It has been wonderful to have you over, Teagan, and learn more about your writing process for these lovely books.

I have recently read A Ghost in the Kitchen and thoroughly enjoyed it.

What Amazon says

A Ghost in the Kitchen, Three Ingredients-2 continues the flapper adventures of Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka Pip. It’s a 1920s “pantser” story and a culinary mystery. This time Pip’s pal Andy (from The Three Things Serial Story) returns. Granny Phanny is there too. She’s still trying to teach Pip to cook. Granny is in a lather because of the supernatural goings-on in her kitchen. There’s also one pos-i-lutely potent poltergeist! New adventures abound as Pip and Andy unravel an old mystery. It’s all spontaneously driven by “ingredients” sent by readers of the blog, Teagan’s Books. Jump into the jalopy and enjoy the ride. There’s no telling where we’ll go, but it will be the cat’s pajamas!

My review

I really enjoyed this latest tale about Pip, her Grandmother and some new friends, as well as a few ghostly presences. Pip, a spirited and excitable flapper, is still living with her Granny and learning how to cook. She has also discovered that she has inherited her grandmother’s ability to see ghosts and spirits and has encountered a ghost called Daisy, the dainty dish, who cannot remember the circumstances of her death and desperately wants Pip’s help to discover what happened to her. Pip, being the kind and helpful girl she is, has agreed to help her.

Andy and Pip are sitting in the kitchen, about to enjoy a delicious meal cooked by Granny, when Andy opens a bottle of old wine that they found in a crate, and out pops a ghost, a bit like genie from a bottle. The spirit introduces himself as Maestro Martino, a chef. Pip shares Daisy’s story with the Maestro and he becomes embroiled in the investigation to uncover the details of her death.

As with all of Ms Geneviene’s book, this story is full of vivid characters including a parrot and a group of ghostly cowboy riders, who have their own curse to content with. The action comes fast and furious with Maestro developing a boyish crush on Granny and, being a powerful poltergeist, intervening to help Pip and bail her out of trouble in the nick of time on more than one occasion. The cowboy ghosts and Daisy herself keep popping in and causing all sorts of trouble with Andy and Pip’s investigation, but, in the end the truth must out, and the mystery starts to unravel with some surprising outcomes.

This is an entertaining, short and sharp read, that had mean glued to my kindle and giggling at all the crazy antics of the characters and ghosts.

Purchase A Ghost in the Kitchen

You can find all of Teagan’s lovely books here: Teagan Geneviene Amazon page

About RRBC and an invitation

I’d like to invite you to visit the ALL-NEW RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB at our new location > RaveReviewsBookClub.wordpress.com.

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