Guest Post by Andrew Joyce

I recently got acquainted with Andrew Joyce when he helped me on a project. He is an accomplished writer and fascinating personality. If this weren’t enough, he is incredibly knowledgeable about the writing and publishing field. His generosity in helping a novice was impressive. I am so grateful I got to know Andrew. If you haven’t been introduced to his work, this is your chance. I just finished Resolution, a novel about the adventures of the mature Huckleberry Finn. I enjoyed every word. It is fast-paced, well-developed, and true to the character of Mark Twain’s Huck Finn. Though this is the third of a series, the story stood on its own. I will be getting the first two.


The Best Writing Advice You’ll Ever Get

There is one bit of advice that I have for aspiring authors. And that is, if you want to write well, you must read. Reading to a writer is as medical school is to a doctor, as physical training is to an athlete, as breathing is to life. Think of reading books as taking a writing course. I would suggest reading the classics: Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and, of course, Steinbeck, to name but a few. These three authors made up their own rules. Hemingway couldn’t get published at first because his writing was so different from the writing that preceded him.
Below are three examples of Steinbeck’s writing. If you read stuff like this, you can’t help but become a better writer. Please note that the first example is one long sentence that makes up an entire paragraph. That, of course, is a big no-no . . . or so “they” say.
• • • • •
“The concrete highway was edged with a mat of tangled, broken, dry grass, and the grass heads were heavy with oat beards to catch on a dog’s coat, and foxtails to tangle in a horse’s fetlocks, and clover burrs to fasten in sheep’s wool; sleeping life waiting to be spread and dispersed, every seed armed with an appliance of dispersal, twisting darts and parachutes for the wind, little spears and balls of tiny thorns, and all waiting for animals and the wind, for a man’s trouser cuff or the hem of a woman’s skirt, all passive but armed with appliances of activity, still, but each possessed the anlage of movement.”—The Grapes of Wrath
• • • • •
“The afternoon came down as imperceptibly as age comes to a happy man. A little gold entered into the sunlight. The bay became bluer and dimpled with shore-wind ripples. Those lonely fishermen who believe that the fish bite at high tide left their rocks and their places were taken by others, who were convinced that the fish bite at low tide.”—Tortilla Flat
• • • • •
“June is gay—cool and warm, wet and shouting with growth and reproduction of the sweet and the noxious, the builder and the spoiler. The girls in the body-form slacks wander High Street with locked hands while small transistor radios sit on their shoulders and whine love songs in their ears. The young boys, bleeding with sap, sit on the stools of Tanger’s Drugstore ingesting future pimples through straws. They watch the girls with level goat-eyes and make disparaging remarks to one another while their insides whimper with longing.”—The Winter of our Discontent
My first bit of advice is to read. My second: don’t pay too much attention to the “rules” of writing. And my third is, never, ever, ever respond to a bad review.
Thank you for listening to my morning rant,
Andrew Joyce



It is 1896 in the Yukon Territory, Canada. The largest gold strike in the annals of human history has just been made; however, word of the discovery will not reach the outside world for another year.
By happenstance, a fifty-nine-year-old Huck Finn and his lady friend, Molly Lee, are on hand, but they are not interested in gold. They have come to that neck of the woods seeking adventure.
Someone should have warned them, “Be careful what you wish for.”
When disaster strikes, they volunteer to save the day by making an arduous six hundred mile journey by dog sled in the depths of a Yukon winter. They race against time, nature, and man. With the temperature hovering around seventy degrees below zero, they must fight every day if they are to live to see the next.
On the frozen trail, they are put upon by murderers, hungry wolves, and hostile Indians, but those adversaries have nothing over the weather. At seventy below, your spit freezes a foot from your face. Your cheeks burn—your skin turns purple and black as it dies from the cold. You are in constant danger of losing fingers and toes to frostbite.
It is into this world that Huck and Molly race.
They cannot stop. They cannot turn back. They can only go on. Lives hang in the balance—including theirs.

Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written four books, including a two-volume collection of one hundred and forty short stories comprised of his hitching adventures called BEDTIME STORIES FOR GROWN-UPS (as yet unpublished), and his latest novel, RESOLUTION. He now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, YELLOW HAIR.

Barnes & Noble


Ten Things We Do For Our Kids by Cordelia’s Mom

Reposted in honor of Mother’s Day.  Thanks Cordelia’s Mom.  Please Check out her wonderful blog

The Things We Do For Our Kids! Guest Post By Cordelia’s Mom

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!

When you have a short break in today’s activities, check out my guest post over on Nutsrok:


Cordelia CardI am so proud to that Cordelia’s Mom did this Guest Post for Mother’s Day.  Please check out her lovely blog.  You will love it as well.

It was the mid-1950’s.  I was in first grade.

Mother’s Day was approaching, and my teacher decided to have us all make noodle necklaces for our moms.  She brought in a variety of dry noodles, along with string and water paints – and wrapping paper.  I was so proud of my creation!  Mom was going to love  it!

On Mother’s Day, I watched my mother open her precious gift. She oohed and aahed, and put the necklace around her neck.  I was so happy to see her wear it that day – I thought it was the most beautiful jewelry she ever had.

My mother didn’t work (back then, few did). Her only recreation was going bowling once a week in a league…

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I was a Young Tycoon Guest Post by Jacquelen Oby-Ikocha A Cookpot and Twisted Tales


I eagerly await the posts of my talented friend, Jacquelen Oby-Ikocha from A Cooking Pot and Twisted Tales. Please check out her lively blog. She is so full of life. I often think how I’d enjoy spending time with her. I am grateful to have the opportunity to exchange guest posts with her on the subject of our younger, naughtier days.

I Was a Young Tycoon
Daddy loved National Geographic and had quite a collection gathered through his bachelor days even before I was born. Like clockwork the pile grew each month with the arrival of his subscription. They were vivid with pictures and moved with us each time we moved house.
Then we lived in staff quarters that were made of blocks of eight blocks and eight three bedroom apartments for each block with servant quarters. Like you can imagine that was a lot of human beings.
One of the neighbours’ daughters was my good friend and I will call her A. A was two years older and seemed very World-wise to me. She always had lots of goody-goody rubbery chocolate, Bazooka Joe or Chat sweet which she gave at her whim and after following her around like a drooling young pup.
She was reluctant to divulge the secret to her young wealth, but I kept my eyes keenly open to observe her mercantile skills which paid off eventually.
The secret was that the garbage collectors that came around several times a week were also willing to buy broken/used household items and I daresay she sold a good bit of her family’s crockery. I got to learn that they collected old tins, gallons and newspapers which would otherwise be tossed into the trash.
So my triangular trade business started off very nicely. I began to exchange my dad’s old newspapers for some kobo’s and purchased goody-goody like an heiress.
Newspapers ran out and we graduated to the glossy National Geographic *I say we because I had unwittingly enrolled my younger sister whose eagle eyes were sharper than mine and the regular scent of sweet on my breath drew her in like an ant*
Unfortunately, during our trading days, my grandma moved to stay with us to help my mom care for a brand new brother and grandma was far too sharp and shrewd for an older lady.
Soon enough she took note of the refuse collectors that seemed to court our house far more than other locations and she burst my bubble gum.
The paddle that she gave me taught me a lesson or twenty and took age off my life.
Surprisingly, my dad was not as physically livid as I thought that he would be *it was just mom and grand-mom that heckled and made enough fuss*, but dad was pragmatic in his negotiations and I believe that I paid for those magazines with extra portions of chores till the day he handed me over to my husband in great relief.
Needless to say, I must have contributed a generous portion of mischief that expressly propagated the grey hairs on my parent’s heads.
© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

Tales From The Garden-Behind the scenes-by Sally Cronin


Tales From The Garden – Behind the scenes – by Sally Cronin


Thank you to Linda for offering me space on your blog today to talk about the behind the scenes action of Tales from the Garden.


Linda gives us a healthy dose of humour frequently so I thought that I would talk about the comedian of the tales.



Eager to impart some nugget of news to the head guardian, Fizzy the rabbit looked up adoringly at the lion. ‘He’s been seen, he’s coming, we have to do something, he is on his way, we have to panic.’

The lion looked down at Fizzy and shook his head slowly from side to side. Of all the creatures under his care this was the one who caused the most problems. Since a young rabbit, he had been a sugar addict; craving what was commonly called the Amber Nectar. If you wanted to find Fizzy you just had to head towards the nearest Amber joint and he would have his whiskers deep in the blooms.

Fizzy was found tucked away on a ledge at the front end of the house and away from the other rabbits in the garden. I felt there was probably a very good reason for that so I am afraid he became the resident laughing stock.. He does however he does redeem himself in the eyes of the head guardian in the story of The Winter Fairy; hopefully he will get help for his love of the Amber Nectar.




Tales from the Garden is a collection of fairy stories and 80 illustrations, for children of all ages, from five to ninety-five that will change the way you look at your garden forever.

The tales reveal the secrets that are hidden beneath hedges and trees and you will discover what really happens at night as you sleep unaware in your bed. Stone statues and those hidden worlds within the earth are about to share their stories.

The guardians who have kept this sanctuary safe for over fifty years will allow you to peek behind the scenes of this magical place. They will take you on a journey through time and expand your horizons as they transport you to the land of fairies, butterflies and lost souls who have found a home here.


The book is available in print and Ebook  at a substantial discount via my own website:

Also at Amazon UK:


About Sally Cronin.

Sally Cronin spent a number of years in each of the following industries – Retail, Advertising and Telecommunications, Radio & Television; and has taken a great deal of inspiration from each.

She has written short stories and poetry since a very young age and contributed to media in the UK and Spain. In 1996 Sally began studying nutrition to inspire her to lose 150 lbs and her first book, Size Matters published in 2001, told the story of that journey back to health. This was followed by another seven books across a number of genres including health, humour and romance. These include Just Food For Health, Size Matters, Just an Odd Job Girl, Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story, Flights of Fancy anthology, Turning Back the Clock and Media Training.

All these can be found on Amazon or smashwords.


For the last two years Sally has written a daily blog covering the subjects close to her heart including writing, health and music: Smorgasbord Invitation – Variety is the Spice of Life. You can link to it from here:


Connect to Sally on social media.


Thank you very much Linda for inviting me to guest post today.

Guest Post All in a Day’s Work From Edwina’s Episodes

What a thrill!  I have been able to snag the lovely and talented Judy Martin from Edwina’s Episodes to Guest Post on Nutsrok.  This is particularly apropos, since we share being nurses and messing up a lot.  I am so happy to have her here.  Be sure to check her blog!

I had only been on my new ward less than a month and nobody really knew what to make of me. I was training to do a new job that nobody had heard of, as it was just being introduced (a similar role to the State Enrolled Nurse which had been disbanded 10 years before)! I was very quiet as I was still getting to know people, and getting used to the way the ward worked.

Patient care was still top priority and I was working in a bay, looking after six elderly ladies, one of whom had been given some ‘prep’ ahead of her scheduled colonoscopy. It duly did its job, rather too well, as the poor woman had little time to react to the explosion that ensued. I cleaned her up as best as I could as well as the chair. Unfortunately liquid, molten poo has a habit of getting everywhere and I was slipping around in it, as it was also on the floor.

Eventually I got the lot cleaned up, but did not realise that I had some of it spattered on my uniform, which did not go unnoticed by a senior nurse, so I was sent off to theatres to get some scrubs to change into. Immediately! I dabbed at the mess with a cleansing wipe trying to get some of it off before I went, but succeeded in making it look worse.

I arrived at theatres where it seems, part of the criteria of working there is a snooty, not to mention snotty attitude. I asked politely if I could have some scrubs, which I was then made to repeat, When asked why I needed them I explained, and gestured to the poo for good measure, which was met with such a look of disdain that I commented huffily that it wasn’t my poo! I don’t know why I thought it sounded any better, but the scrubs were reluctantly handed over, and I was ordered to return them ASAP.

I went off to the loos and changed into the scrubs. Great, she had given me a ginormous top (I know I am not skinny but this was massive) and long trousers (I am only 5ft 2”). I trotted back to the ward looking ridiculous and noticed a couple of sympathetic smiles aimed my way.

I went to put my soiled uniform in my locker (most people didn’t bother with lockers but I was new so thought it a good idea) and went rummaged around my outsized shirt but I couldn’t find the key! Panic! I scrabbled about frantically searching my person for it. Nothing! I asked the Ward Clerk if she had a spare key. She didn’t.

I retraced my steps to the loos and back to the dreaded theatres, who looked at my wild-eyed red-faced demeanour and desperate to get rid of me, didn’t even bother looking, just said they hadn’t got it. I was really upset by now and more than a little het up. It was now coming up for break time and I was told to go on first break. I was glad of this as I thought I could relax, have a cigarette (or three) as I was smoking then, and start the search for me key afresh.

Wonderful except that my cigarettes were in my locker! Sod it! I was nearly on the verge of tears, but one of the other nurses was a smoker and I bit the bullet and asked her if I could please have one of hers (I have never done that in my life before and felt awful). She was great and let me have one.

Anyway, suffice it to say, the key was not found. Estates had to be called, and when they came onto the ward were moaning about people losing keys and that they should have to pay for it blah, blah. I stayed out the way! They had to break the bloody lock off in the end. What a day!

Link to my guest post on Edwina’s Episodes

Little Lost Indian Girl!

 It is such an honor to have Ritu from But I Smile Anyway do a guest post for me.  I love this delightful story and pictures from her childhood.  Thanks Ritu.
Ritu's PicIRitu in Carndian weddings are big affairs, and in a Sikh temple the men sit on one side, and women on the other.  It was, and still is, the norm for young children to spend most of the 3 hours that the ceremony lasts, running from mummy to daddy, them back again. And then to do it all over again!
I was no different.  A child with far too much energy, and also far too much to say!
My mum told me a story of one wedding we had attended, where I was doing exactly this.  Sitting with Mummy, then getting bored and running over to Papa, then after exhausting his entertainment, running back to Mummy again.  They were used to this, and would glance over at each other periodically to make sure I was with the other.
At one such glance, they realised that Ritu was not with either of them!
A quick scan of the large prayer hall confirmed their fears; that I was not there…. They dashed downstairs to the main Langar (Food) hall and I was nowhere to be seen, not even in the kitchen.
Now this temple was on a busy main road, but I wouldn’t have gone out, would I?
They quickly rushed out and checked the car park, and surrounding area, but nope, I was well and truly gone.  Where would this little curly mop head of a girl have gone? I was possibly 2-3 years old at this time.
Little me!
Pops walked out of the gate to the main road, and they were scared by now. And lo and behold, there I was, coming back up the road, holding an English Man’s hand, happily chatting away!
The man saw my parent’s panic stricken faces and walked straight up to them.  He said “I assume this little one is yours. I saw her wondering down the road, all alone, and I had a feeling that as she was alone, she may have ventured from this her temple, so I was just bringing her back.” 
Obviously, my mum was almost delirious at this stage and grabbed me as my Pops profusely thanked the man.  I was still smiling, and chatting away to the man, to all intents and purposes.  I had found someone new to listen to my whittering on!
Had this been in the present day, what would have been the first thought?  Kidnap, child abduction, the poor man who returned me to my parents would have been called all manner of things like a pervert or a paedophile.
But he wasn’t.
He was just a genuinely good citizen, who, in all honesty, if he had wanted to take me, he could have…( but it was probably my chatting away that made him bring me back. I’d give anyone a headache!)
I’m still chatting away!
Hope you enjoyed my little story!

SOUTHERN FRIED CRAZY (Guest Post by Linda Bethea)

Reblogged my guest post from Cordelia’s Mom, Still. Please comment on her post.

Cordelia's Mom, Still

I am honored that Linda Bethea of Nutsrok  has agreed to guest post for me today.  Enjoy!


Holdaway Homestead

Southern Fried Crazy

by Linda Bethea

We love our crazy folks down South.  Oh, we may not want them right up in the house with us, not that it doesn’t happen from time to time, but certainly we need them to brighten up our holidays and remind us of how dull life would be without them.

My perenially pregnant Cousin Carol waddled into the family reunion this year with her nine kids and current live-in. He’d look like Willie Nelson if she cleaned him up.  Willie Albert Swain as toddlerExcepting her penchant for living in sin, Cousin Carol is fanatically religious, devoting herself to the food kitchens, fellowship nights serving evening meals, and community closets of all the local churches, though not their morning services.  “It’s hard to git nine young’uns dressed that early.”…

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The Things We Do For Our Kids! Guest Post By Cordelia’s Mom

Cordelia CardI am so proud to that Cordelia’s Mom did this Guest Post for Mother’s Day.  Please check out her lovely blog.  You will love it as well.

It was the mid-1950’s.  I was in first grade.

Mother’s Day was approaching, and my teacher decided to have us all make noodle necklaces for our moms.  She brought in a variety of dry noodles, along with string and water paints – and wrapping paper.  I was so proud of my creation!  Mom was going to love  it!

On Mother’s Day, I watched my mother open her precious gift. She oohed and aahed, and put the necklace around her neck.  I was so happy to see her wear it that day – I thought it was the most beautiful jewelry she ever had.

My mother didn’t work (back then, few did). Her only recreation was going bowling once a week in a league with other mothers.

Her annual bowling banquet was the week after Mother’s Day.  I watched my mother dress in her most beautiful (to me) outfit, high heels and all.  As she started to reach toward her jewelry chest, I told her she should wear the necklace I made because it was better than anything she had in that jewelry chest.  And she put that necklace on and left the house for her banquet.  I was so proud!

Fast forward approximately 25 years.  I was now a young mother whose girls often brought me hand made gifts.  One Sunday, I was visiting Mom, and we got to discussing little girls and how to raise them.  The subject of the noodle necklace came up.  I chuckled and told Mom that I was sorry I made her wear that necklace to her banquet, and that I now understood that she probably took it off as soon as she was out of eyesight.

There was a silence as my mother thought fondly back to that day.  Then, she told me:

No, I didn’t.  I wore it all evening and told all the other mothers that my little girl made it for me.”

And that’s how I learned to be a mother. Mom was tough when it was called for, but she loved her kids and made sure that we all knew that.

Mom once read about a father who told his child, “You are my favorite, but don’t tell your brothers and sisters because it would hurt their feelings.”  After the old man died, the kids were comparing notes and discovered that he had made that statement to each and every one of them.  Mom thought that was a wonderful way to make a child feel special – and while neither she nor I ever tried it with our own kids, we both understood the philosophy behind it, and tried to love each child in the way that child needed to be loved.  I know she succeeded; I hope I did, too.

Happy Mother’s Day!  If you have children, give them hugs from me.  If your mother is still alive, give her a kiss on her aging cheek.  And if you are a mother, may you be showered hugs, kisses and homemade gifts from your own children.

Thanks, Linda, for allowing me to guest post for you today.  I will hold you to your promise to reciprocate on my blog!

I love to hear from my readers.  You may comment on this post, comment on my Facebook or Twitter pages, or email me at

Image by Cordelia’s Mom

Grandpa and I /Guest Post from Erika Kind

I am so delighted that my friend Erika Kind agreed to do a guest post for me.  I have read and enjoyed hearing of the wonderful, warm relationship she had with her grandfather.  Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if we all had a person with whom we share unconditional love and the bond that is never broken?

Grandpa and I

My grandfather was born 1927 as the only child of his parents. As far as I know he had a happy childhood. But his good times ended before he was even 20 years old when he was conscripted for WW II. He often told us about the war, his struggles in captivity and starving till he was just skin and bones. My grandfather was Austrian.   After Hitler invaded Austria they had to fight for Germany.  At the end of the war when all the horrible facts were revealed to the general public, he was shocked to no end to learn what he had been forced to fight for. Due to infections and lack of food, he developed cirrhosis of the liver which eventually killed him. My grandfather was a policeman all his life,. He was living and working in Vienna. Here is a photo of him with his father. Grandpa and Father

My “Opapa”, as we called him, was a tall, handsome man. He was married twice. His first wife was my mom’s mother. They got divorced when my mother (also an only child) was 11. When I was born, I was his pride and joy. I am sure that we are true soul mates. We had this certain connection. He was a young grandpa at the age of 43. When I was about 5 months old my parents moved with me to another part of the country about 600 km away from Vienna. Afterwards, I only saw my grandfather when he came for vacation for two weeks a year or when we went to Vienna for 3 weeks during the summer break. Grandfather Handsome That’s me and grandpa. Grandpa and Baby Erika My grandfather did everything for me. He always knew how to cheer me up when I was mad or sad. I loved the way of making me laugh, imitating voices and roles of popular comedians. He loved music. We always sang as we walked through the woods. He also kept me entertained imitating instruments like drums and trumpets. He built a huge model railroad layout for me, though it took him years since he could only work on it during his two week vacation with us. Grandpa knew everything about the Austrian history, really EVERYTHING! Whenever we walked around Vienna, went to a museum, or visited a castle or burg, he was like a historic almanac. Of course he not only knew about the historic persons and how everybody was related, but all the data of all happenings. Naturally, I did not appreciate it a bit. As a child or teenager, I did not listen, finding it boring.  Only days after he had died, a question about history came up. I reflexively thought I could ask Opapa… and started crying the next moment. During my teenage times I pulled back and didn’t talk a lot. I was in a lot of pain and didn’t let anybody in, not even my grandfather. I know that I was not nice at times and even mean. Grandfather never ever said one single word. He never acted hurt or annoyed. Never! I guess he was the only person in my whole life who never made me feel guilty. He just let me be. Five days before he died he called my mother. I was planning a visit a week later and he wanted to catch up with data. He wasn’t well at that moment and I am pretty sure he knew what was coming. When he called I was waiting for my sister to get ready for our Volleyball practice. We were already late. I did not take the call and just told my mom what to tell him. In the end I could have taken the call because they ended it before I left.  I missed my last opportunity to hear his voice. It took me many years to forgive myself for missing this chance. My grandfather died in 1990 at the age of 62.  In my mind, I still see his smiling face and  his curly grey hair going weird in the wind.  I still see the way he was dressed, the way he walked and moved and hear his special laughter.   Most of all I still feel his loving spirit!Grandpa         Erika for post