Sunday 18 June 2017

Guest Author Margaret (Meg) Sorick of Pennsylvannia.

I am always sort of stymied when someone asks me to tell them about myself. I haven't exactly figured out who I am I suppose, but I'll tell you what I've got so far...

I am a writer. I write because I love to read. In fact, I'm a book junkie. I need to read. I want to climb in books and live there. I want to meet the characters, walk in their shoes, fight their battles, fall in love with their heroes...Oh I do go on, don't I? Nevertheless, I imagine I share that same enthusiasm with most passionate readers. And likewise those readers dream about writing stories of their own. Does that mean I'm living the dream?

My father was a story-teller. It's only now, looking back, that I appreciate what a vivid imagination he had! He made up a whole series of adventures involving our neighbor's cat Mopsy, and another one with a little old man and a cuckoo clock that always saved the day. He would weave a tale out of thin air. And as a result, I came about my love of stories and books, naturally.

I loved taking notes in school and writing letters to my friends who moved to Florida when I was a little girl. I kept a diary from the time I was eight years old right up to about age fourteen. I still have some of the notebooks I filled with poetry when I was a teenager. I excelled in English, ignored it to the detriment of my other subjects, yet was never encouraged to pursue it as a career. C'est la vie!

I went to college, majored in marketing, learned to write ad copy and design polls and surveys. Graduated in a time of recession and couldn't get a job. I was floundering. I ended up working in a retail clothing store, which ultimately led me to pursue a career change. At twenty-one, I found myself with such back pain, I could barely walk. Long story short, chiropractic saved the day and I found my new calling, I went back to school, started working in my field, got married, etc. Suddenly I realized it had been a year since I thought about writing.

One day, a few years ago, I was sitting in the stylist's chair at the hair salon, touching up the blonde and reading my book to pass the time. My stylist said to me "You're always reading. Did you ever want to write a book yourself?" "Sure," I laughed. "Doesn't every reader want to be a writer?" "You should do it," she said. "Hmm," I thought. "But what am I going to write about?"

I bought a nice notebook, a collection of fancy pens, started following other writers on Tumblr first and then Wordpress. After what amounted to months of reading about writing, I finally started jotting ideas of my own and four years later....

I have published four books in a series on Amazon. This series of romantic suspense novels is set in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where I live. They are stories about ordinary people with families, people who fall in love and sometimes find themselves in outrageous circumstances. Add some suspense, humor, family dynamics and good conversation and voila!. I've just finished the first draft of a fifth novel in the series, which will hopefully be ready for publication this summer. In addition, I've written a collection of short stories, poems and dabbled in both art and photography, all of which are featured on my blog. I call it my mid-life renaissance. I also write about things I've learned along the way - including errors and blunders, bits of interesting research and the things that move and inspire me. I love the idea of connecting with other creative people who are trying to live their dreams, as well. I welcome honest feedback and above all else, know that I am happy to meet you!

See Margaret's books here 

An excerpt from: Here Lies a Soldier - by Margaret Sorick

 Copyright held by the author. Used with permission

December 26, 1912


The morning after Christmas was always a little glum. Especially this year with father so ill. There’d been no money for presents and our only treat was the honey cake Mama had made for dessert. Of late, we girls had had to find ways to contribute and for me that meant work at the manor house on the hill.  

The air was cold, I could see my breath. The warmth from the stove hadn’t made it to the upper room I shared with my two sisters. I quickly washed my face and hands in the icy water from the basin and pulled on my clothes. I’d brush my hair downstairs by the stove and talk to Papa while I braided it. We’d moved a cot next to the stove so that he could keep warm over night. 

Mama had gone out already, it appeared. She cooked for the vicar in the village and would have to get his breakfast for him.  

“Papa,” I said softly. I laid a hand on his arm. He came awake coughing so I helped him to a sitting position and pounded his back like the doctor had instructed. When the spams stopped, he signaled for a glass of water. I fetched it for him and held it to his lips. 

"Thank you, my dear," he rasped. "How's my girl?" 

I smiled. "I'm good, Papa. How are you feeling?" 

"Right as rain, Love. Right as rain. I'll be on my feet again before two shakes of a lamb's tail," he said with a reassuring smile. "Now tell me... How many pages did you read last night?" 

Papa was adamant that we girls continue learning. He had hoped that we would be able to train to become teachers or nurses. Of course, that supposed we wouldn't find husbands. And I always teased him that he thought the three of us were going to be 'left on the shelf.' 

Conversation with my father was always easy. Most men would rue the lack of a son to carry on the family name. Not so my Da. He loved his three daughters more than the best of the sons he could've sired. My younger sisters hadn't yet lived up to his expectations, but they were still young. Clara was just 14 -three years younger than me, and Grace another year younger than her. They would, in time, flourish under Papa's guidance. Which was why he just had to get better. He just had to... 

I sat on a stool beside his cot and brushed out my hair while I told him all about the book I was reading. I plaited the long dark tresses into a single thick braid and then wound that into a bun. There was just enough time to fix tea and a slice of toast for the both of us before I bundled into my coat and set out for Prentice House, the manor on the hill. 

The day dawned grey and cold, with just a hint of snow in the air. At least I was assured of abundant warmth in the Prentice home. The family had a houseful of guests for the holidays. Normally, I worked with the cleaning staff, but with the extra mouths to feed, I'd been reassigned to help in the kitchen. 

When I entered through the servants' door on the ground floor, the kitchen was already bustling with activity. Simmering pots of porridge, fresh loaves from the oven, pans of eggs, sausages and bacon were keeping warm until the guests assembled for breakfast. It would be up to Nancy and me to wash and scrub all those pots and pans as they were emptied onto platters to be taken up to the dining room.  

I hung my coat and scarf on the peg, tied my apron around me and got to work. The butlers and maids scurried about delivering and returning dishes for refill. My hands were raw from scrubbing and scouring by the time the last pan was clean. We had a precious hour to rest before we'd need to start on the pans that were already in use for the next meal. Nancy and I helped ourselves to a cup of tea and sat side by side at the servants' table in the dining area next to the kitchen.

"What'd you do for Christmas, then?" she asked.  

I looked into my cup, embarrassed. "My ma made us a stew. We had a honey cake for dessert. That's it." I shrugged. "How about you?" 

"Made a goose, my ma did." 

"Shut up, Nancy. You're lying," I snapped. 

"It's true," she boasted.  

I ignored her and sipped my tea.  

We sat in uncomfortable silence till the tea was gone and our break was over. I stood, pushing my chair back and taking my cup to the sink to wash. Nancy was always putting on airs. A goose, indeed. Likely as my Da being elected Prime Minister. 

Mrs. Cooper was herding the rest of the girls into position when the head butler appeared in a panic. "Quickly!" he gestured, as he gasped for breath. "It's a disaster! The table...  it's collapsed... food everywhere... hurry!" 

Every free hand was put to work cleaning up the mess as the Prentice family and their guests looked on. Mr. And Mrs. Prentice appeared embarrassed and horrified, while their two haughty daughters looked like they'd just sucked lemons expecting them to be sugar cubes. Only young Hugh Prentice gazed upon the scene with a twinkle in his eye and a smile threatening on his lips. When he caught me looking at him, he set the smile free and winked. I averted my eyes, blushing, but couldn't keep my own smile from turning up the corners of my mouth. I busied myself with the cleanup until every scrap and spill was dealt with. And as I stood, wiping my hands on my apron, I looked up to find the blue eyes of Hugh Prentice still staring at me.
Thank you Margaret for being the guest this week on the Scribbler.
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Saturday 10 June 2017

Guest Author Debbie Jinks of Great Britain

I am a UK girl, dragon lover, wildlife lover, fanatic reader and now writer also, and a bit of a dreamer. Coffee and chocolate are my downfall, but I enjoy walking and running so that kind of makes up for it. That’s my excuse anyway!

I never set out to be a writer, well not stories as such. I was a professional singer/songwriter for 15 years, singing was always my passion from childhood. It took a major change in my life to take me in the other direction. I suffered a head injury which left me with no sense of smell or taste, this is called Anosmia. It was such a devastating and life changing condition that I began a blog as a way of releasing my sadness and loss. As I wrote I realised, not only was it a therapeutic thing for me to do, but also that I loved writing. My writing slowly came to life from there and as this happened I came back to life too.

I now have a writing website, and also continue my Anosmia blog alongside it. I am in the process of writing a fantasy novel and have written some short stories in that genre also. Having taken a fantasy writing diploma in which I achieved a distinction, I truly feel I have found my writing niche. In a crazy way if my Anosmia had never occurred my writing wouldn’t have either. I suppose even though I could have done without all that pain and heartache, had I not gone through it I would never have found myself at this point.

Now I try to write every day weather it turns out to be good or not so good I find it immensely satisfying. I want to take my writing to another level now which is why I’m writing a book, and I’m so pleased with my short stories. Maybe I’ll write an autobiography about my Anosmia one day. But for now my fantasy writing world is enough.

Now You See Me (copyright is held by the author. Used with permission)
The grass was damp under his feet as in his haste Rory had forgotten to put his shoes on. He walked over to the two Gnomes his feet already starting to feel cold. “What are you two playing at?” He whispered under his breath, “Are you trying to wake up mum and dad?”
“No, my grumpy brother here won’t let me play with this bracelet, even though I found it in the first place.” Lawrence said
“Let me have a look then,” said Rory. Len the oldest of the brothers reluctantly handed the bracelet to him. “I’ve never seen this before, where did you find it?”
“In the grass under the oak tree, where the farmer grazes those silly, illiterate sheep of his.”
“Don’t be mean” said Milly, landing on Rory’s shoulder, “they can’t help it if they don’t understand you, even I don’t sometimes”
“That’s because you are a scatty little Sprite!” said Lenny.  Rory ignored the bickering and put the bracelet into his jacket pocket. “I’ll give this to mum tomorrow maybe she can ask around and find out who it belongs to. But enough of this, my feet are freezing, it’s the middle of the night and I have school in the morning!”
Crystal rubbed up against Rory’s legs. “Where’s that dragon when you need him she purred, he could warm your feet up.”
“I’m not letting Casper near my feet he’ll burn them.”
“Oh well just a thought, I’m off to see if there’s anything to chase”.
“Did I hear my name being called Master Rory?”
“Casper where have you been, and don’t call me master you know I don’t like it”.
 “Ok”, Casper shrugged.
“His feet are cold” said Milly “do you think you could warm them up without burning his toes off?”
“No sweat, get it no sweat ha, ha, sit on the path master,….um Rory and I’ll soon have them warm as toast.”
 “I’d prefer them not to be toasted Casper, but ok my toes have gone numb now.”
“Well it probably wouldn’t hurt if he did burn them in that case,” Lawrence said.
Once Rory’s toes were warm enough for him to walk back to the house, he dashed in before they got cold again. Groaning inwardly he realized the whole entourage had followed him too. Crystal was still out chasing things however. “At least that’s one less for now”, Rory thought.
After a sleepless night Rory got ready for school. “Thanks to you lot I’m done in this morning” he said. “I did try to snooze but you were making such a racket even that didn’t happen.” They all looked at him sheepishly as he stomped out of the bedroom door. 
Downstairs his mum was making breakfast. “Did you sleep in this morning love? You’re late for your breakfast.” His mum couldn’t see Rory’s magical friends so he couldn’t exactly tell her the truth.
“Yes mum my bed was so comfortable, I didn’t want to move.” He knew that was a pretty lame excuse but it would have to do, he was too tired to come up with a more convincing one. After a rather rushed breakfast, he grabbed his schoolbag and dashed off to catch the school bus. “By mum,” he called hurriedly. In his haste he’d forgotten all about the bracelet in his pocket.
Focusing on his lessons that morning was almost impossible, but he tried to look interested before the school bell sounded for break time. He want and hid out at the end of the school playing field it was warm with a gentle breeze and he needed the fresh air to revive him. He hadn’t been there long when a girl he didn’t recognize walked over to him. She was small with short blonde hair and a stubborn look on her face. “I’ve come over here for some peace and quiet” she said. “Those silly giggly girls drive me mad!”
“Well you’re going to be popular with an attitude like that.”
“I don’t want to be popular” exclaimed the girl, “I want to be left alone!”
“Well don’t let me stop you” said Rory and walked further down the field.
He hadn’t been there long when Milly materialized on his shoulder making him jump. “Milly why did you make yourself invisible, you know I’m the only one can who see you, and you lot”, he said quietly as the others appeared out of the grass. “Why are you all here? I’ve told you before not to come to my school.”
“Well you just said yourself you’re the only one that can see us so there’s no danger” said Len.
“Anyway,” piped up Casper, “we felt bad about last night so thought we’d come and cheer you up a bit.” 
“Yes I suppose we are a bit sorry” admitted Lawrence reluctantly.
“Ok you’re forgiven, but you’d best go in case that grumpy girl over there thinks I’ve gone crazy talking to myself.”
“Ahh mmm too late” said Milly, “she’s coming over.”
Debbie's Social Media Links
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Monday 5 June 2017

Guest Photographer Sylvie Mazerolle of Moncton, New Brunswick

The Scribbler is very happy to have Sylvie as our guest this week. She has kindly agreed to share some of her beautiful photos and participate in a 4Q Interview.

Growing up in a New-Brunswick fishing village it didnt seem possible that someone could create a livelihood pursuing artistic expression. Being from a very practical family, she steered away from the deep longing to create. But eventually she just couldnt deny the hunger to live her truest self.

Make-up artistry was her first opportunity. While working as a dental assistant in Moncton, a TV producer landed in the dental chair. That’s where she got her first break landing a daily gig doing make-up on background cast.  “I wanted more. I wanted to live in that creative world and pursue my dream of becoming a full-time artist.” says Sylvie. But New Brunswick isnt exactly a mecca of media production. In her 30th year the opportunity arose to moved to Toronto and pursue make-up artistry more seriously. “I quickly learned that pursuing your dreams is damn hard work. It took me six months to find my feet and when I did I landed in the world of independent Canadian film. I appreciated the opportunity but I couldnt ignore the feeling that maybe I wasnt in the most ideal place for how I wanted to fully express myself. I felt the pull into the world of fashion.”


 Soon she was collaborating with photographers on everything from make-up & hair to artistic direction. This is where her true love of artistic expression found itssynergy. Earning a good living doing what she loved while growing as an artist in every way.

Just when she was peaking and finding her stride, everything changed. Pregnancy. Parenthood.

And like others who found themselves as first time parents away from extended family, the pull to go home was undeniable. Artistic expression would have to wait.


“I came home with my eyes wide open and knew that earning a living doing what I loved might not be possible. I tried jobs related to my career and knew, I was trying to recapture what I had instead of accepting the new reality.”


  After much introspection and dabbling in other mediums, her heart eventually settled on photography. After all she had stood beside many of the top photographers in Canada and felt confident it was the means most closely aligned to her artistic identity. But instead of a controlled studio space, she wanted to find compelling expression in the world around her. Reconnect with her environment. The more she practiced her craft the more she felt drawn to the world of abstraction & colour.


Instead of merely reflecting back the world around her, small, minute details caught her attention. The more she captured these solemn moments the more she started to find her creative self once again. The more she found her creative self the more opportunity she saw to give it a purpose. And so she did. “My work is about finding beauty in the mundane. And once again, I have found my artistic voice.”




4Q. When did you develop your interest in taking photos?

SM:  About 15 years ago. I was working as a make-up artist in Toronto. I had to take pictures of actors for continuity purposes. The industry was just starting to switch to digital from Polaroid and I bought myself a Canon Powershot G3.  It was love at first click. I still have it as a matter of fact.  The sets were always perfectly lit.  I would take advantage of it in my down time to snap away.  Plus the streets of Toronto always have something interesting going on at any given time.


4Q: Are your photos planned or spontaneous?

SM:  I would say 95% of my images are spontaneous. I have dabbled in still life and staging a few shots but it never looks like it does in my minds eye.  I prefer letting the subject speak and reveal its self to me. I do give myself themes sometimes like for example only shoot things that are yellow or round or 10 feet from the house.


4Q: Pleased share a childhood anecdote or memory.

SM: Wow a child hood memory.

So many to choose from like picking wild berries with my grandmothers and making homemade jams. Sunday drives down to the docks to get soft vanilla ice-cream from the dairy bar, swimming in the river from sun up to sundown with my feet all cut from chards of glass stuck in the mud, climbing the big pine tree in my back yard to the very top and swaying in the wind, listening to my mom play Fleetwood Mac songs on the guitar, canoeing with my dad, skating on the frozen river & ponds. These are a few of my favourites 

4Q: What should we know about your future in photography? Any shows planned?

SM:  My vision is to have gallery exhibits around the world but for now I have an exhibit in a local Gallery in Moncton:  “The Champlain Dental Gallery”. Yes you read it right. A dental office that also acts as an art gallery and support to local artists.

For a few Sunday’s this summer I’ll be at the local market in Shediac, New-Brunswick

People can also visit my web site and place orders:

Thank you Sylvie for sharing your exceptional shots and for being our guest.

 And thanks to you - the visitors. Please leave a comment below.