Sunday 30 June 2019

One Bedroom Ark - Part 2 by allan hudson

Like short stories?

 I do too. One of my favorites is The One Bedroom Ark, which has recently been published in my latest book – A Box of Memories – which is a compilation of short stories I’ve written over the years. I had the pleasure of reading this story at my recent book launch. It seemed like it was time to do a follow-up story and Part 2 was born.

** Please note that this is an unedited version and I would be happy to hear any comments.


The beginning is posted today. Watch for the second and last installment on Wednesday, July 3.


One Bedroom Ark – Part 2

(Copyright is held by the author)



Clair Callahan begins her day by counting the float. She’s running a little late and Coyne’s Confectionary always opens sharp at 8 a.m. The flashing of the crosswalk light on the corner causes her to look up. Her reflection in the store’s front window outlines her slender face, a loose strand falling on her forehead, the sharp nose and wide happy eyes of the faintest green, stare out at the busy street in front of the store. The pavement, wet and slick from a drizzling rain, shines yellow and black, yellow and black, until the warning light suddenly stops. She wonders if the person crossing the street might be coming this way – the first customer of the day.

The float balances. She shoves the cash drawer shut and grabs the Specials sign to prop it outside where it’s squatted for sixty-three years. She had to replace the chalkboard last summer much to Noah’s chagrin, said it was fine. When she first started working for Noah, she pestered him for new hinges, reminding him that it might fall over. Appealing to his sentimentality, she hinted that his father wouldn’t have liked that. Extending the board open until a chain holds it in a perfect triangle, she takes a piece of chalk from her jeans pocket and with sweeping curves and precise letters; she marks the day’s specials on both sides.

Welcome to Coyne’s


$0.52 / lb.


Fresh bread from Bonnie’s Bakery

Sliced and unsliced - $0.89 / loaf


She’s only wearing a short sleeved blouse, her favorite pink one, and the first of June is still cool. Rubbing her arms, she looks up and down the street, thinking she’s glad the drizzle has stopped and the sun is blinking on the horizon. There’s not as much traffic since the city built the bypass. She prefers it this way, safer for kids and business is still good. She likes the smell of wet asphalt the rain leaves behind. The couple that crossed the street are heading this way. She squints because she needs glasses for distances and recognizes the Barclays, Fred and Diana.
Since Clair convinced Noah to add a small breakfast nook, they come every morning for what they call their treats, as does Bobby Belliveau and the Gillespies. Coffees, tea for Joanne Gillespie, Bobby and Fred will each have a donut or a Vachon cake, Diana has toast and cigarettes, so slips out back a couple of times for a smoke. They chatter like myna birds on uppers. Bobby’s the joke teller and usually brings two or three so there’s always gaiety in the gathering. They stay for roughly an hour, eyeballing, and no doubt, criticizing the other patrons.

Normally Noah looks after the café but this morning, Marsha Kershaw, their part-time helper looks after it. A retired widow, she comes whenever they need her. Anna woke up with sweats and a high temperature this morning and Noah offered to look after her. He looks for every chance to be with her, spoils her rotten. Walks her to kindergarten and picks her up every day. Clair can’t imagine what she would’ve done without Noah. Nowhere to go, no one to turn to when Anna was a baby, Noah took her in, gave her a roof, gave her a job, gave Anna a home. Her heart is heavy this morning because she has to tell Noah that she needs to find another place to live because the one bedroom apartment is too small. She has other disappointing news for him and hates to tell him but knows she must.

The first lull in the store traffic comes around 10:30 and she straightens up the cash in the register, wipes the fingerprints off the glass on the counters, stocks the shelves with new product which came in yesterday. She can hear Marsha emptying the dishwasher; the pinging of the glassware pleases her. A calendar hangs on the narrow wall to the left of the cash register. Compliments of Eddy’s Service Station, it has a new picture of the Maritime Provinces every month. The Rocks at Hopewell Cape remind her that it’s not May anymore. In fact it’s the first Monday of the next month. She flips it over and clips it on a brad nail protruding from the wall. The white sand of Cavendish Beach in Prince Edward Island glows orange in a glorious sunset over New London Bay on the new page.1990 is looking good she thinks.

She glances up when she hears the ringing of the bell by the front door and sees Noah and Anna coming in. Anna is wearing her butterfly costume with the small wings sticking from the back. It’s her favorite dress and always gets Noah to dig it out for her. She can mostly dress herself now but needs help with the buttons. Noah is beaming as usual. Once inside she releases Noah’s hand and rushes to her mother.

“Hi Momma, Grampy Noah let me wear my butterfly dress today. He told me he would teach me to fly but I told him only birds and angels can fly. Isn’t that right Momma?”

Clair hugs her daughter, holding her tiny body close.  Noah has a big grin.

“Yes, that’s right honey. Don’t you believe everything Grampy Noah tells you. Are you feeling okay?”

Anna’s already focused on the lollipops and not listening. Her nose and hands on the glass front.

“She’s feeling much better now Clair. I gave her some scrambled eggs and orange juice, didn’t affect her appetite it seems. I don’t know where she tucks it all in.”

Anna turns to the two of them.

“Can I have a purple one Grampy Noah?”

Noah raises his brows at Clair who smiles and nods.

“Sure sweetie, c’mon in behind the counter with me and you can pick one out.”

Clair watches them. Noah takes out the glass jar full of colored sweetness and holds it while Anna digs in. She has to take out two or three and even though they are all the same, she makes an issue out of picking the right one. Anna’s short brown curls flounce around when she shakes her head or nods at Noah. She can’t help but marvel at the two of them, Noah with his gray wavy hair and gentle lines around his eyes, the darkest blue she’s ever seen.  A warm and gentle man, he’s still as handsome as ever. His grandchildren are young adults now and live so far away. She knows he misses his daughter and the two kids but travels to Vancouver every six months for a couple of weeks and always says that’s about as much as he can tolerate his boastful son-in-law. Clair has never met them but she will meet the grandson soon, he’s coming to spend a week with Noah. Her thoughts are interrupted by customers.  Noah, Anna and a purple sucker wave goodbye.

When Clair questions him with open hands, he says, “Going to the park on Dufferin Street, Anna wants to go on the swings. I’ll bring her back at lunch time.”

The customer is a regular, buys his smokes here often, and knows who Anna is and how much Noah dotes on her. Clair is shaking her head as she bags the purchases.

“I swear if Anna asked for a purple dragon, I think Noah would find one for her.”


At noon, Marsha takes over in the store so Clair can go eat. The café is self-serve for the rest of the day. Clair will keep the coffee fresh. To access the apartments, you have to go out of the store.  A door to the second level is on the far left of the building. The large windows of the store are separated by the main entrance, where the sandwich board is perched. When Clair comes out, she sees Noah and Anna at the crosswalk waiting for the light. Anna must be telling Noah a story because her little hands are waving and circling in the air. She’s laughing when she looks up at Noah and Noah gives her his full attention, his shoulders moving in the quiet way he laughs. Clair waits for them.  She meets them at the doorway to their apartments.

“Oh Momma, I was flying on the swings, Grampy Noah was pushing me real high.”

This causes a frown and Clair confronts Noah.

“I asked you not to push her so fast, she might slip off.”

Noah looks like a boy being scolded for peeking in the girls’ room, he knows he’s guilty.

“I just did it for a little bit, isn’t that right sweetie?”

Anna is looking up at them with open mouth knowing when her mother is upset. She doesn’t want Grampy Noah to get in trouble. Puts on a pretend smile and nods.

“Un-huh. Just a little.”

Clair purses her lips and tsks at them.

“You two, one’s as bad as the other.”

She wags her finger at them.

“No more high pushes. Now Noah what are you having for lunch?”

“I put minestrone in the slow cooker this morning when I got up and it’ll be done now. You two can join me if you like. I made lots.”

Anna makes a puckered face.

“What’s Missusstrony?”

“It’s a soup dear, you like soup. Okay then Mr. Chef, we’ll do that.”

Unlocking the door, she lets Anna head up the stairs first and she turns to Noah.

“There’s something I have to tell you.”

Noah sees bad news written all over Clair’s face. He thinks he knows what it’s about and has a solution.

“I have something to tell you also. Let’s go eat. I’ll put cartoons on for Anna after and we can talk, ok?

Later Clair and Noah are sitting at the kitchen table in Noah’s apartment sipping their coffees and finishing up the blueberry pie Clair made yesterday. She’s comfortable here, likes the way he decorates, lots of orderly clutter. Rooms are large, holding many antiques. She puts on her best smile and starts to tell him what’s on her mind. Before she starts, Noah holds up his hand.

“I know what you’re worried about. 

………… to be continued Wednesday, July 3.
Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.

Coming soon! A new detective series - The Shattered Figurine.


Saturday 22 June 2019

Guest Poet Donna Allard of Aldouane, New Brunswick.

International Beat Poet Laureate

An impressive achievement and recognition. The Scribbler is beyond pleased to have Donna as our guest this week. She has agreed to a 4Q Interview and sharing some of her work.


I am the voice of my life.

Donna Anne Allard is a Canadian author based in New Brunswick, Canada. Beginning at a young age, Donna began to explore her rural countryside―first on road trips with her parents, then on her own by van. The landscape, with its roadside truck stops, restaurants, and wanderers, figure prominently in her poetry. She is the author of 8 books of poetry.


Donna Allard’s poetry has appeared for the past thirty years in literary publications across Canada, as well as a number of other countries around the world. She is the founder and organizer of the Sojourner Literary Festival - next festival 3rd weekend July 2020 theme - “perfect vision”.


Donna Allard: “acadianrose”—Acadian-born, New Brunswick-based poet, and peacemaker. She became inspired by Canada's Peoples' Poet Milton Acorn, and poet-editor Libby Oughton. Her mentor was poet-activist Valerie LaPointe.



4Q: It is wonderful to have your work recognized by the National Beat Poetry Foundation whose roots go back to the 1940’s. Tell us about this Donna.


DA: Well Allan I was surprised, shocked, and humbled to be nominated by such a prestigious organization. Apparently, they were watching my every move online for a few years. When the Co-founder Colin Haskins wrote I said yes without hesitation. It is very difficult to get recognition in our own country so I jumped like a salmon for the fly! On Valentine's Day 2019 I received an email stating I was accepted. What a lovely gift! I cried because I was about to quit writing 100% by March 1st.  I cannot say how proud I am to be the 1st and maybe the only person to represent Canada, and of course, my small fishing town of Richibucto. Even now I am still in disbelief lol.


National Beat Poetry Laureate Foundation Inc., CT, USA


4Q: You will soon be publishing your 7th book of poetry titled Ghost in the Window, a poetic journal.  What can you tell us about it?


DA: Yes, my 7th book of poetry and a few more manuscripts awaiting to be published. ‘Ghost at the Window’, was difficult to write, since I usually keep my personal life private. There maybe another two books to follow this one with the same theme. I am too close to it to say how I feel so here are my editors' words...

In this personal collection Donna Allard provides her readers with a snapshot of her years growing up, time missed with parents while away at high school during her mother’s battle with cancer and the continuing love that both demonstrated during moments of reprieve. There is a sense of the everlastingness that comes from moments when her memories flood in and then abate repeatedly. She doesn’t shy away from addressing the awkwardness of youth or the feeling of sometimes being talked about and watched, perhaps judged, by people who have no business doing so.

The entire collection can be read as a chain-work of thought as life progresses and is presented in an interesting mixture of poems and prose that read much like a journal.

As the editor, I found this book a joy to read and work through, very nearly coming to tears of my own at one point where I not only related but experienced a certain depth of the despair Donna must have felt at that point in her life. It’s a very intimate offering!

~ Ronda Wicks Eller journalist & publisher




4Q: Please share a childhood memory or anecdote.


DA: Summer excerpt:

...She was a very strong woman with a dry wit, clever as a

fox, loving and kind and a great cook. It was difficult

to see her in her favorite chair– she used to tower over it

at 5’ 10” but now she sat like a child awaiting an abusive


That is what cancer is…


4Q: You are the founder and organizer for the Sojourner Literary Festival. The next festival is scheduled for 2020. What can you tell us about this?


DA: Yes Allan, 3rd weekend in July - Sojourner Literary Festival 2020 “perfect vision”. Held during the Scallop Festival. I received a lot of slack for picking these dates, as I see it scallops, fireworks, arts & crafts, music... poets and writers from around North America can see what we have to offer and savor the deliciousness of our piece of God’s country.

Sojourner Official Website (best viewed on a laptop/computer):


4Q: Who is your favorite poet(s) and who or what inspires you?


DA: Canada’s Peoples’ Poet Milton Acorn who I met when I lived in Charlottown, PEI. After he passed away, I was asked by the National Milton Acorn Festival to be a board member, I said YES...  that salmon & fly thang....

I met so many poets it is hard to pick just a few but I will try: Rita Joe, Harry Thurston, Richard Doiron, bill bissett, Yukon Poet Laureate PJ Johnson, Poet Laureates George Wallace & Ron Whitehead, Paulette Dube, Nicole Brossard, Sheree Fitch & Ronda Wicks…. I can go on and on lol. GG Award winner Don McKay (I attended a workshop with him in the 90’s), editor Libby Oughton and poet-activist Valerie LaPointe inspired me.



Donna’s Poetry

(Copyright is held by the author. Used with permission)


war musket grasses (Bay of Fundy)

1st Place Award Canadian Poetry Association 2006


I see no soldier’s uniform as I walk along these shores

but fresh blood cliffs, musket grasses,

and a labyrinth of our relics,

the unfolding of this puzzle to figure out a broader picture,

as rose clashed with la fleur de lys

like an arcane shared by a friend

who said to follow water trails

like a pirate in search of chest, as magnet speaks closer to sand…

He said many have found treasures under the sheet of their own graves.

Yet I favour its peaceful clay to dye denim & origin,

as I connect with those who fell for their flower & sleep inside

this bay of mud.


Today hooves flirt in Fundy sun,

safe & watchful over my eyes

and I wonder if that story was ever passed to their offspring's,

since man conquers on a saddle.

Come walk with me, sense a presence, their memory

dancing with tides, like a final oratory

along red cliffs & grassy shores.


Let me retreat from time & fog, as I fear ghosts & bellwalkers,

they swear the land still smells powder.



Dedicated to my sister Victorine who passed away 2008


Tu as vu ma soeur dans la mer

Ses yeux bleus et verts

Sa bouche boit l'océan

un soleil se glissant dans le feutre des

rivages déserts rouges

Tu as vu ma soeur explosive

Ses yeux oranges et rouges

à présent un oiseau [pohénix?]

garde le ravage


Ma Soeur Océanne © 2009 Donna Allard



Thank you, Allan for this opportunity to share to my community.  So many have wondered what I have been up to so now they know.


Thank you, Donna, for taking the time to be our guest. Wishing you continued success with your writing.

For you readers interested in knowing more about Donna and her work, please follow these links;

Saturday 15 June 2019

Six Great Books - Six Great Authors

Who doesn't love a good story?

There are so many great books to read, so many great authors that love telling stories. 

Here's a few I recommend. These authors have been featured on the Scribbler and you will find links to their interview.

I did this a few months back and if you want to check those out go HERE

#1 - Messandrierre by Angela Wren.

A cozy mystery by Angela. I discovered this book on a reading recommendation page from Susan Toy on FB. I like the main character and I love this series.

Goodreads - Sacrificing his job in investigation following an incident in Paris, Jacques Forêt has only a matter of weeks to solve a series of mysterious disappearances as a Gendarme in the rural French village of Messandrierre. 

But, as the number of missing persons rises, his difficult and hectoring boss puts obstacles in his way. Steely and determined, Jacques won't give up and, when a new Investigating Magistrate is appointed, he becomes the go-to local policeman for all the work on the case.

Will he find the perpetrators before his lover, Beth, becomes a victim?

Messandrierre – #1 in a new crime series featuring investigator, Jacques Forêt.

See Angela's visit to the Scribbler HERE

#2 - Guilty Innocence by Maggie James

I like thrillers and this one won't let you down. Twists and turns that are unexpected. I'm looking forward to reading more from this author. 

Goodreads - A letter that reveals a horrifying truth…

Natalie Richards finds more than she bargained for when she snoops through her boyfriend’s possessions: evidence that Mark Slater was once convicted of a brutal killing. Heartbroken by what she’s discovered, Natalie’s dreams of a future with him collapse.

Only the other person jointly sentenced for Abby Morgan’s murder, the twisted and violent Adam Campbell, knows the truth. That Mark played no part in Abby’s death.

Meanwhile, circumstances have thrust Mark back in contact with Adam, who, aged twenty-five, is more domineering and chilling than ever. Can Mark rewrite history and confront his nemesis?

A gritty novel examining child murder and dysfunctional families, Guilty Innocence tells of one man’s struggle to break free from his past.

See Maggie's visit to the Scribbler HERE

#3 - The Conclave by S. C. Eston.

This is a captivating story by a exceptionally talented author. I enjoy fantasy and this one is a fine example of this genre. I highly recommend it.

Goodreads - It all came down to this. A traitor. ~

The city of Telstar has been freed and the enemy defeated. In the streets, the townspeople is celebrating, singing and drinking to the promise of better days to come.

Yet, at the top of an abandoned tower, a secret meeting is about to take place. Although victory was attained, questions remain unanswered. Some of Telstar’s deepest secrets got out and the impregnable city almost fell. It is unclear who betrayed the city and some will not sleep until the culprit answers for the betrayal.

Onthar, a high warrior dedicated to Tyr, deity of courage, takes it upon himself to call on emperor and queen, wizard and warriors, elf and orc, all heroes of the battle, to meet in secrecy and find out who among them betrayed his city.

But these are serious charges and these are powerful individuals. The meeting could easily turn into a confrontation, and if it does, it could achieve what the enemy could not: destroy the very city they all want to protect.

See Steve's visit to the Scribbler HERE

#4 - Harbinger by Ian McKinley.

I read a previous novel by Ian and was hooked. I wanted to read more of his work and it led me to Harbinger which I truly enjoyed as much as his earlier book. I am looking forward to his next one and will be first in line to pick it up.

Goodreads - Rulla, Dealer of Fates, has seen fit to bestow Her blessing on four babes - Cairn, Lars, Lora and Thay - for they are all born on the same night to different mothers. None of the folk of the Darnok clan have ever heard of such a thing. The birthing is made even stranger yet, for once they are safely delivered, the village seeress falls into a trance and chants a verse that hints at future glory. The mothers, finally lying asleep after their ordeals, might have tried to strike a different bargain with Rulla, for She is known as a hard bargainer who stains each rune of glory She hands out in blood.

As the children grow, the townsfolk see only hints of a possible remarkable fate. At sixteen, they are finally accepted into the rite of passage to adulthood; they are offered in tithe to the Sea Wolves, the clan that defends the folk, sails the world’s seas, raids foreign shores, and brings back plunder. Their spirits are high as they venture through the Demon’s Teeth and discover the world beyond the Boldring Mountains.

Ah, but other Gods also have a role to play in any great saga and Tanat the Rogue turns their world on its head one afternoon. The youths are cut-off from their new clan and must survive on their own wits. As they make for home, they encounter Elkor, a mis-shapen outcast who forces them to re-evaluate everything they ever understood about their identity.

Pursued by Korgash, a Straelish lord whose hatred of Elkor and Thorn People (what the Straelings call the Fjordlanders) is only surpassed by his ambition, they discover that they are ill-equipped to inherit the fate supposedly reserved for them and they wonder if prophesy is not all lies.

See Ian's visit to the Scribbler HERE

#5 - One Woman's Island by Susan Toy.

I've enjoyed Susan's short stories since we first met online. She's been a guest several times. I enjoyed this novel very much. You can't go wrong with any of Susan's stories.

Goodreads - Running away from Canada, Mariana hopes to forget a failed marriage and the death of her husband by embarking on a whole new life. She moves lock, stock, and two cats to the small Caribbean island of Bequia. But the move brings more than she could have imagined. New friends ask her to help solve a recent murder in the expat community. And then there’s the problem of her neighbours, a young woman and her children. Seemingly abandoned by family and friends, Mariana believes they need her help! By becoming involved, Mariana is carried along from wanting to simply “live with the locals” to being overwhelmed by their culture, one so vastly different to what she had left behind in Canada that she doesn’t know who among her expat friends she can turn to for advice. So she carries on regardless and discovers that Bequia isn’t exactly the tropical paradise it had promised to be.

One Woman’s Island is the second novel in the Bequia Perspectives series that picks up again a few months in time after the first novel, Island in the Clouds.

See one of Susan's visits to the Scribbler HERE

#6 - The Hummingbird by Stephen Kiernan.

Mr Kiernan is a wonderful read. All his books are highly entertaining. I featured one of his other novels previously and this story is probably my favorite. I recommend anything by him and you won't be sorry.

Goodreads - From the author of the acclaimed The Curiosity comes a compelling and moving story of compassion, courage, and redemption

Deborah Birch is a seasoned hospice nurse whose daily work requires courage and compassion. But her skills and experience are tested in new and dramatic ways when her easygoing husband, Michael, returns from his third deployment to Iraq haunted by nightmares, anxiety, and rage. She is determined to help him heal, and to restore the tender, loving marriage they once had.

At the same time, Deborah's primary patient is Barclay Reed, a retired history professor and expert in the Pacific Theater of World War II whose career ended in academic scandal. Alone in the world, the embittered professor is dying. As Barclay begrudgingly comes to trust Deborah, he tells her stories from that long-ago war, which help her find a way to help her husband battle his demons.

Told with piercing empathy and heartbreaking realism, The Hummingbird is a masterful story of loving commitment, service to country, and absolution through wisdom and forgiveness.

I've not had the pleasure of a visit by Mr Kiernan but please follow this link to his website.

Pick one of these up when you have a chance, or better yet, pick them all up.

Thank you dear reader for visiting this week.