Saturday, 18 September 2021

Breaking news – Introducing an exciting Anthology – Autumn Paths - by the Seasonal Collective.


Autumn Paths

Coming in October!


I am so pleased to be part of a dedicated group of authors who have worked diligently over the last nine months to create a unique compilation of short stories following the theme of autumn paths.

We all travel different roads, share different stories but the love of writing brings us together and we are beyond pleased with the final results.

Now we want to tell everyone.



“these well-crafted works of short fiction will whet your appetite for more”

James Fisher -Editor in Chief – The Miramichi Reader.


Nine writers – Seasonal Collective – from both sides of the Atlantic, including best-selling and award-winning authors, have created this miscellany of stories.

These tales of family, mystery, intrigue, adventure, and suspense will take you across continents, through time and space in this world and others. With a linking theme of autumn, discover new landscapes, encounter new and intriguing characters, uncover secrets and lies, and witness the resolution of old enmities.

Take the first step on this roller-coaster of an emotional journey, and you won’t be disappointed.


All the authors have been guest on The Scribbler and you can learn about them and the genre they write in by following the links below.


Sandra Bunting

Sandra’s publications include two books of short fiction, a poetry collection, a non-fiction book besides articles, poems and stories in numerous literary magazines. Sandra is on the editorial board of the Irish-based literary magazine, Crannóg, and worked at NUI Galway where she set up the Academic Writing Centre and taught Creative Writing and TEFL teacher training. Now living in Atlantic Canada, she is a member of The Writers Union of Canada, New Brunswick Writers Federation, Words on Water Miramichi, the Grand Barachois group Women Who Write and the Galway Writers’ Workshop.

Scribbler visit – go HERE.


Pierre C. Arseneault

The youngest of eleven children, Pierre grew up in the small town of Rogersville New Brunswick. As a cartoonist, Pierre was published in over a dozen newspapers. As an author, he has five titles published so far.
Dark Tales for Dark Nights (2013)
Sleepless Nights (2014)
Oakwood Island (2016)
Poplar Falls – The Death of Charlie Baker (2019)
Oakwood Island - The Awakening (2020)

Scribbler visit – go HERE.


Chuck Bowie

Chuck graduated from the University of New Brunswick in Canada with a Bachelor Degree in Science. His writing is influenced by the study of human nature and how people behave. Chuck loves food, wine, music and travel and all play a role in his work.

His publisher has just launched his latest novel, set in Ireland and England, entitled Her Irish Boyfriend, fifth in the international suspense-thriller series: Donovan: Thief For Hire. He has just completed and published the second novel in a new cozy mystery series, set in a fictional town in New Brunswick, and is now finishing the follow-up in this series.

-         Chuck recently completed tenure on National Council of The Writers’ Union of Canada

-         Acted as Writer in Residence at Kingsbrae International Residence for the Arts, 2019

-         Acknowledged as an author of note in the Miramichi Literary Trail installation, 2021

Scribbler visit – go HERE.



S.C. Eston

Steve always had a conflicting love for the fantastical and the scientific, which led him to write both fantasy and science-fiction. He has three published books: Deficiency, The Conclave and The Burden of the Protector. He lives in Fredericton with his wife and children.

Scribbler visit – go HERE



Angela Wren

Angela is an actor and director at a theatre in Yorkshire, UK. An avid reader, she has always loved stories of any description. She writes the Jacques Forêt crime novels set in France and is a contributing author to the Miss Moonshine anthologies. Her short stories vary between romance, memoir, mystery and historical. Angela has had two one-act plays recorded for local radio.

Scribbler visit – go HERE.



Monique Thébeau

Monique is retired and lives in Riverview, NB. She has published a murder mystery ‘In the Dark of Winter’ (which she is currently translating) and a French historical novel of her hometown, Saint-Louis-de-Kent. She is as passionate about building suspense in her stories as she is about gardening and being a grand-parent.

Scribbler visit – go HERE.



Jeremy Thomas Gilmer

JEREMY is a writer of short fiction and nonfiction. He has been longlisted for the CBC Canada Writes Short Story Prize, won the inaugural Short Story Day Africa Flash Fiction Prize and was selected as the writer-in-residence at the KiRA residency in 2018. Jeremy is the Art and Literature editor-at-large for The East magazine.

Gilmer has spent over twenty-five years as an Engineering Consultant on environmental, energy, and mining projects. Born in New Brunswick, Gilmer grew up in Nigeria, Northern Ireland, and Canada and has lived and worked in over forty countries. He splits his time between Eastern Canada and Brazil.

Scribbler visit - go HERE.

Allan Hudson

Allan was born in Saint John, New Brunswick. Growing up in South Branch he was encouraged to read from an early age by his mother who was a school teacher. He lives in Cocagne with his wife Gloria. He has enjoyed a lifetime of adventure, travel and uses the many experiences as ideas for his writing. He is an author of action/adventure novels, historical fiction and a short story collection. His short stories – The Ship Breakers & In the Abyss – received Honourable Mention in the New Brunswick Writer’s Federation competition.

He has stories published on, The Miramichi Reader, The Golden Ratio and his blog - South Branch Scribbler.


Angella Cormier


Angella grew up in Saint Antoine, a small town in south east New Brunswick, Canada. This is where her love of reading and writing was born. Her curious nature about everything mysterious and paranormal helped carve the inspiration for her passion of writing horror and mystery stories. She is also a published poet, balancing out her writing to express herself in these two very opposing genres.

Previous titles include: Oakwood Island - The Awakening (2020), Oakwood Island (2016), A Maiden's Perception - A collection of thoughts, reflections and poetry (2015) and Dark Tales for Dark Nights (2013, written as Angella Jacob). 

Scribbler visit – go HERE.


Watch for more news about Launch, Book Signings and where you can purchase the paperback or eBook.

Saturday, 11 September 2021

Branching Out with Poet/Author Linda Barrett of Florida, US


It is with great pleasure the Scribbler presents this week's guest, Linda G. Barrett. A shout out to editor Karin Nicely (a regular contributor to the Scribbler -- see here) for introducing us.


When you take a peek at Linda’s website -

Author of Release Me – Linda G. Barrett (

one sentence I was impressed with is as follows:

Linda Barrett delves into the soul's journey toward peace and examines the human reaction to pain, grief, love, longing, and despair in her unique mix of captivating, poignant poetry and genre-bending short stories.


Linda has kindly agreed to a Branching Out interview and is sharing some of her writing.


Let's have a chat with Linda.



Allan: Thank you for joining us this week, Linda. Before we begin, please tell us about yourself, where you live, your rescued pets and home life and anything you’d like our readers to know about you.


Linda: I live in North Central Florida with my husband, two dogs, and one cat—all rescued. I am a firm believer in giving love, hope, affection, and a better quality of life to an animal, either young or old, that needs us. I love seeing them happy and “smiling” with their wagging tails.

I have been told I’m an enigma: deeply spiritual, inspired by the wonder and beauty of life, intuitive and ‘sensitive’ to the soul or spirit, while also intrigued by the occult, all things gothic, witchy, and other wonderful topics. All of these themes are woven into most of my poems or short stories.


Allan: I'd like you to address the following statement taken from your website: My books are about the soul's journey through despair, pain, grief, and love, struggling to find peace.


Linda: Release Me created a way for me to purge my own pain and feelings of being alone, unseen and unheard. Others are often too caught within their own pain to notice yours. The intention of this book is for the reader to, upon reading these written words, realize they’re being given a lifeline to hold onto and know they are not alone on their journey.

I have always walked the road to that dark place within us all, looking at it, feeling the emotion, and deciding if there is a desire for healing. Or not. Living through the deep purging from within the core of my own being, choosing the path of light or darkness. Sometimes it’s both. I know the pain and anguish of those choices.

Save the Sinner’s title was influenced by a personal event. Its poetry continues with similar themes to those poems in Release Me. But the short stories in this book feature many different types of characters who deal with their own unique situations and internal struggles, whether in this world, other worlds, or even other dimensions.


Allan: You also mention how much Karin Nicely was instrumental in your decision to publish. There is nothing more encouraging than having someone tell us how much they enjoy our writing. Can you tell us about this experience?


As fate would have it—literally—I met Karin through one of my marketing networking meetings. What are the odds that I would know an editor! I told her my story; she looked at my work, and said my writing was unique and print worthy. Karin has given me her insight, encouragement, guidance, and mostly her patience. She is remarkedly talented.

Even though my style of writing is distinctive, what interested many of my readers the most is the ‘why’ I began my journey. Not only was I so relentlessly compelled to write Release Me to save her life (with her referring to a particular girl, one I did not recognize and one who was in obvious distress, that I had seen in a very vivid vision), but in so doing, saved mine as well.



Allan: You have two books published. The first being a book of poetry--Release Me--and the second a collection of poems and short stories--Save the Sinner. Please give us a brief glance at what to expect when we pick up our copies.


Linda: Release Me is a small collection of poems that allowed me the freedom to release those raw emotions I had held so tightly for so long. When you are in that lonely, dark place within your heart, this book can be the catalyst for your own healing.

In Save the Sinner, I continued with more poetry but also included six short stories. All of my stories are deeply personal to me. As I write, I don’t just tell a story. I was there with each character, becoming them, to learn who they really are.

For example, with “The Forest,” I sat in Crow’s mahogany chair and felt the cold hardness of the seat. I felt Shadow’s feathers when he gently stroked them while she sat quietly on his shoulder as he gazed out over his vast, dead forest. I went deep into his heart to feel his desperate longing and lost love for his beautiful Genevieve, the vengeance that it created, and felt his guilt and grief for what he had done to the Ancient Ones.



Allan: Please share a childhood memory and/or anecdote.


Linda: I grew up with airplanes as a part of my everyday life. My dad was an aerobatic pilot for fun and an airline captain as his profession. My favorite childhood memory was flying with him in his open-cockpit biplane, his favorite being his 1930s Great Lakes. I could look above and see the top wing close enough to reach up and touch it, and I always did. Then right below me was the other wing. The entire outer skin of the plane is fabric, by the way--special, but it’s fabric that I could feel when I ran my hands over any part of the plane. Very cool. There just isn't any other experience like flying in the open air, slow and close to the ground, with the wind in your hair. There’s just no other feeling like it.

Oddly enough, however, even though I have flown my entire life, over time, I have become terrified to fly…and I have no logical reason for this. But in keeping with these memories, I can still feel the wind in my hair, and I still smile.


Allan: If you could only write either poems or short stories, which would be your choice and why?


Linda: Definitely short stories. I love having an idea of a story, creating the characters, and seeing how the adventure unfolds. My fictional stories are wide-ranging and uncommon, as I try to open my imagination to endless possibilities. Even more exciting for me!

Allan: Again, from your website, you tell us: My interests are varied and diverse. I studied with a Native American teacher for many years, learned from Tibetan monks, met with Orthodox priests, and studied with a Shamanic teacher. I've been fortunate to have met diverse cultural leaders from around the world, and I love a good philosophical conversation. Will we find evidence of this journey in your writing?

Linda: Here are a few examples.

“Ancient Dance of Women,” in Save the Sinner, is directly dedicated to my shamanic teacher, who taught me to remember my ancestors and showed me there can be trust rebuilt from hurtful and negative experiences. This was a profound awakening for me. I hold her in my heart with the greatest respect and in honor of her wisdom.

The short story “The Forest” (Save the Sinner) conveys the intensity of the power of love and loss. There is a depth of despair so strong my heart aches with Crow, yet there is also the promise of hope.

Allan: You are working on your first novel -- Soul Collector -- inspired by one of your short stories. Is it nearing completion? Can you tell us what to expect?


Linda: I’m still in the creation process, but I will keep you updated as I get closer to its release! I’ve introduced new characters, added many twists and turns, and we learn much more about the motivation and background of Breena, the dark protagonist of the story.


Allan: Favourite book? Author? Movie? Dessert?

Linda: Always start with dessert first! Hot fried donuts (glazed, of course) with chocolate and raspberry sauce drizzled over them and topped with a ton of powdered sugar. Now that’s a dessert!


Apollo 13 is my first go-to movie. My favorite line is when Lovell’s mom says, “If they could get a washing machine to fly, my Jimmy could land it.” I hold my breath every time as I watch them come home.

My second favorite would be Independence Day. I mean, defeating the evil alien while your spaceship is stuck into their mother ship! How can you not like that!?

Then would come The Bird Cage--It’s light, it’s fun, and it makes me laugh.


My attention is drawn to many different topics and styles of writing. Some of my favorite writers include Anne Rice, Kim Harrison, Laurell Hamilton, Dan Brown, Dean Koontz, and Jacob Nordby, to name a few. World mythology and religion, especially of indigenous tribal cultures, fascinate me, and I’m intrigued by gothic and Renaissance art. My interests may be unusual, but I’m never bored!



Allan: Anything else you'd like to tell us about?

Linda: I saw Release Me as timidly dipping my toe into the vast ocean of authors, Save the Sinner as slowly putting my whole foot into that ocean, and now with my first novel, Soul Collector, I’m jumping in headfirst! These books, albeit very different, have allowed me to spread my wings and fly. I am having the best time ever!





 Linda is sharing samples of her writing.

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




I feel my poem, “The Lies of Childhood,” speaks for itself. (Release Me)


The lies of childhood / Stories continue in life / If there is a God / I've been forgotten / A life of solitude / Standing within many / Love fleeting / Happiness scarce / Heart broken and bleeding / It hurts to be forgotten / Just wanting to be loved



And here is a short excerpt from “Soul Collector” (Save the Sinner):

“Jack!” Billy gasped, out of breath. “I saw him! He’s dead, Jack! She killed him!”

“Billy, what the heck are you talking about? Who’s dead? Come on. Are you telling tales again?”

“You have to believe me! Please.” He gulped in some air. “Just listen. I swear it’s the truth.”

“Okay, Billy-boy. This better be good,” I said.

“You know those big old oak trees behind Breena’s house that have all those jars hanging in the branches?” asked Billy.

“Sure,” I said. “Everyone does.”

“Have you ever wondered what those screams are that everyone hears at night?” asked Billy.

Some people say that the screams heard from the old house at night are from the jars that hang from the old oak trees’ branches. Folks say when the wind blows, those jars bump against each other, causing that unholy screeching that can be heard through the whole town.

“It’s just the wind,” I said.

“No, Jack. It’s not the wind. I’ve got to tell you…” Billy trailed off as he started to sob.



But not everything I write is dark and soul searching. There are also some elements of romance, as in this excerpt from my short story, “The Crow,” in Save the Sinner:

At the same time, Crow emerged from the dust cloud and stopped when he caught sight of his lost love. Their eyes locked. Her beauty and his undying love for her overwhelmed him, and he dropped to his knees beside her. They held each other tightly, both sobbing deeply, purging all their pain, allowing the old memories and emotions to wash away what had been held for so long.







Thank you, Linda for being our guest this week. Wishing you continued success with your writing.



For all you devoted readers wishing to discover more about Linda and her writing, please follow these links:


Facebook https://LindaGBarrettAuthor



Photo copyright belongs to Linda Barrett.



Saturday, 4 September 2021

Branching out with Award-winning Author Diana Stevan of West Vancouver.


The Scribbler is pleased to welcome Diana back as our featured guest this week. It will be her third visit, and hopefully, not her last.

If you missed the previous visits, please go HERE to read an excerpt from her debut novel – A Cry From the Deep. Her second visit was an interview and an excerpt from Sunflowers Under Fire. Please go HERE.

Today we are going to be discussing Diana’s captivating new novel – Lilacs in the Dust Bowl. A terrific follow-up to her successful novel - Sunflowers Under Fire.

Please go HERE to read my review on The Miramichi Reader for Lilacs in the Dust Bowl.


Let’s chat with Diana.


Allan: Welcome back Diana and thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts this week. Before we chat about your novel, can you tell our readers a bit about yourself, hometown, family, what makes you happy.


Diana: Thank you for inviting me to be on your blog again. I live with my husband, Robert, in Campbell River, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. It’s a lovely community of about 35,000 overlooking Discovery Passage and Quadra Island. As well, beautiful walks in forests are only a ten minute drive away. It’s a great place to write. I’ve been a member of a writers’ critique group here ever since we arrived 24 years ago.

I was born in Winnipeg, a great cultural city, and that was where we raised our two daughters. We were both trained as clinical social workers, and when the opportunity came to move west came in 1979—great jobs were opening up in Greater Vancouver—we took the leap. I worked for twenty-five years, counting my time in Winnipeg, as a family therapist in a variety of clinical settings. Because I’m such a curious person, and also because I burned out twice in my profession, I took breaks and developed some other skills, like becoming a professional actor and a freelance sport reporter for CBC television. I feel blessed to have dipped my toes in various fields of work. I have much to draw on for my writing.

What makes me happy now is doing things with Robert, whether it’s golfing with friends, cycling together, stretching with yoga and pilates workouts, walking in the forest, travelling, or watching a movie or sports on TV.  And I sprinkle time in with our two wonderful daughters and families. My passion is writing, but I also enjoy painting, playing my violin and gardening. I feel very blessed.



Allan: The real treat of the two novels is the fact that the stories are a fictional account based upon your grandmother’s plight at the turn of the century, the difficulties she faced, the heartbreak and the love of family and resilience which kept her going. Has this been an emotional experience for you?


Diana: Yes, it’s been very emotional for me on so many levels. Baba—the Ukrainian word for grandmother—shared a bedroom with me for the first fifteen years of my life. She never talked about her past, so I only learned about what she went through from my mother, who was a natural-born storyteller.

Mom didn’t know everything that went on in Western Ukraine (then Russia) and later in Canada so I had to research those times. What I discovered—through Mom’s stories and the history I uncovered—was my baba’s incredible spirit and how much her faith had supported her in her quest to ensure her family was safe and secure. I recall crying at the computer when I wrote certain scenes. It was as if she was talking to me, guiding me to tell the truth of what she’d experienced. I also found myself laughing for she was a woman who had a good sense of humour.



Allan: Please tell the readers what to expect when they pick up their copy of Lilacs in the Dust Bowl.


Diana: This is Book two of Lukia’s Family Saga, but it can be read as a standalone. It’s an immigrant story and picks up where the first book, Sunflowers Under Fire ends.

In 1929, Lukia Mazurets and her remaining children make the arduous journey from their village in Volhynia (today’s Western Ukraine) to Winnipeg, Manitoba, just before the stock market crashes and the Great Depression begins. She’d been lured by the promise of rich and abundant farmland for a tiny fraction of what it would cost in then Polish-occupied Ukraine. Though she and her children are met with hardship, they persevere in what to them is a strange land with strange customs. Lukia also discovers love again, which takes some interesting twists. As well, her children, now grown, face new challenges of their own. Another love story brews, one triggered by an old folk tradition.

Lilacs in the Dust Bowl gives the reader a sense of what it means to be an immigrant in a new country, one facing its own questions of survival. It’s a heartwarming tale of one strong woman who keeps going, aided by her faith, because of her love and desire to take care of her family.


Allan: Is there a third installment in the life of Lukia Mazurets coming?


Diana: Yes, I’m working on the third installment now. It continues Lukia’s family saga on the Manitoba prairies as the world enters into World War II. The Great Depression comes to an end, but in its place, a new uncertainty arises with young men going off to war. As Lukia and her family grapple with these changes, problems on the farm threaten all that Lukia has worked for.



Allan: When we visit your website – – and read the About section, we discover the varied and interesting life you’ve led. Considering your stories, are there characteristics of Diana Stevan in any of your characters? Do you see yourself in your novels?


Diana: Absolutely. I don’t know of any writer who doesn’t convey some of their feelings and thoughts into their characters. In my first novel, A Cry from the Deep, my concern about the environment showed up in my protagonist’s thoughts and actions. As well, her questions about faith were questions I’ve had myself. And in The Rubber Fence, the passion that Dr. Joanna Bereza shows for her work is a passion I had when I worked as a family therapist.

However, Lukia’s Family Saga—Sunflowers Under Fire and Lilacs in the Dust Bowl—took me in another direction. I felt at times that I was channeling the voices of my grandmother, mother, and uncles. So, there’s less of my voice in these stories.



Allan: We know when you are not writing, you are an avid gardener. Let chat about your Work-In-Progress (WIP) – Along Came a Gardener.  Your website tells us – It combines her thoughts from her career as a family therapist with her love of gardening.


Diana: This is a book I’m anxious to get back to. I’ve discovered so many lessons in my garden, lessons that complement the ones I learned and imparted in my years as a family therapist. I’m fascinated by what Nature is trying to teach us. If only we would listen. We could learn much from the way plants co-exist—how and why they thrive or wither is very informative.



Allan: Favorite novels. Authors. Movie and dessert.


Diana: Ah, there are so many great books. Some of my favourites: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery, Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates, Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx, Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, and You Went Away, a novella by Timothy Findlay.

Some of my favourite Movies: Casablanca, Pride and Prejudice, Moonlight, Moonstruck, Mudbound, The Godfather, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Terms of Endearment, Dr. Zhivago, The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Scrooge with Albert Finney, It’s A Wonderful Life, Gone with the Wind, Cinderella, My Fair Lady, and my grandson Michael Stevantoni’s Salton Sea (available on Amazon Prime 😊)

Dessert: I’m not a big sweet person, but I like tapioca pudding and enjoy small pieces of cheesecake, pie and I love dark chocolate.


Allan: Anything else you’d like to tell us about?


Diana: I feel so grateful to have had a life, that exposed me to all kinds of work and people. It’s made me appreciate the diversity in our country. As we head into an election, I’m hopeful that we will continue to grow in kindness and tackle the problems in front of us with courage and ingenuity for the sake of our children and grandchildren.




Excerpts from Lilacs in the Dust Bowl.

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


The first excerpt takes place during the throes of the dust storms, when Lukia and her children and living on a Manitoba farm, in a house with two other families.


By April, the worst of the winter was over. A gentle breeze, coupled with the fresh smell of the earth awakening after a long sleep, brought renewed hope for a better year. The Karpinskys, who had threatened to leave in the spring, decided to stay. Prospects in the city were no better, they said. But as the days got longer and warmer, the three families faced new challenges. The improvement in weather also brought unexpected dust storms. Thick clouds of black dust swirled across country roads and through farmhouses. The air was so bad, Anna and Elena worried about their children’s lungs. Especially when one started coughing. It got so dark in the afternoon; lamps were lit two hours ahead of time. It seemed the sun had taken a holiday and wasn’t about to return until the dust clouds dispersed.

The three families did what they could to keep the dust outdoors. They covered up the edges of windows and doors with any rags they could find. Venturing out to feed the livestock, they covered their noses and mouths with handkerchiefs. Trips to the outhouse involved going with heads lowered to avoid eating debris as it flew around. Their eyes smarted from the dirt flying in, and they often had to stop and get the specks out before their eyes turned red.

Lukia found the air so foul it was impossible to work in the garden and the fields. The dust continued to blow until midnight. It blew with a rustling noise, as if all the demons had sprung from hell and released a long, raspy sigh together.

After days of flying dust, the storm abated but left behind dirty houses, dirty barns, dirty chicken coops—in fact, dirty everything that stood in its way. Lukia held her head in her hands and bemoaned her lot. What hell is this?


The second is later in the novel when Lukia is surprised by a visit from a local farmer.


Lukia was coming out of the chicken coop with a basket of eggs when she heard a car drive up their road. Harry, who was at the pump filling a few jugs with water, turned towards the sound of the approaching engine. It was a car she didn’t know. Her youngest son, always excited about any vehicle, picked up the jugs and hurried back to the house.

As the car came to a stop, Lukia recognized Orest behind the wheel of the shiny blue automobile. She was thankful that, having gone to church that morning, she had her good dress and beaded necklace on.

“Good day, Orest. What brings you here this afternoon?”

“I promised you deer meat.”

“You didn’t have to.”

“Yes, I did.”

He opened the trunk and pulled out a package wrapped in brown paper and tied with a thin rope. It was as neat as his dress. He wore a white starched shirt with a striped tie, wool gabardine trousers, and a matching tailored jacket; even his shoes were polished.

Lukia said, “Orest, this is my son. Harry, this is Pan Parochnyk.”

Harry couldn’t take his eyes off the car.

Smiling, Orest said, “It’s a 1933 Chevrolet.”

“Harry’s learning how to be a mechanic. He’s working as an apprentice at a garage in Winnipeg.”

“Can I see the motor?” asked Harry.

“Harry, Pan Parochnyk’s only arrived and he has his hands full. That can wait.”

“It’s fine,” Orest said. He gave Lukia the package and opened up the hood for Harry to have a look.

Lukia clucked her lips, but Harry didn’t notice. He was busy inspecting the engine.

“Will you stay for lunch?” she said. “We just got back from church. It’ll only take a few minutes.”

“Thank you. I could use a bite.”

“Were you at church today?”


“You’re so nicely dressed.”

“It’s Sunday,” he said with a grin.

He followed her into the house, with Harry close behind, and took off his straw hat at the threshold. She took a quick glance in the mirror by the door. She fixed some strands of hair that had come undone from her bun, then went to the stove where a pot of borscht was simmering.

“Orest, please sit down at the kitchen table.” She took the pot off the stove. “Harry, unwrap the meat Pan Parochnyk brought.”

Lukia quickly wiped the crumbs off the oilcloth-covered table and got a bottle of homebrew out from the cupboard and some shot glasses. As she set the table for lunch, she noticed Orest glancing around the room. Breakfast dishes were stacked by the sink and a pot with bits of porridge on the bottom was on the stove. Tiny clumps of dirt speckled the floor by the door where they’d taken their boots off. She hoped he wasn’t judging her too harshly. What with feeding the livestock and getting dressed for church, she hadn’t tidied up beforehand, but that was the least of her concerns. Rather, she wasn’t used to men calling on her. The last time she’d had a man come around was in the old country. Mike had become so agitated when he learned his uncle wanted to marry his mother that he’d stood in the doorway, shaking. Now her son was seeking a girl of his own, so surely, he wouldn’t protest in the same way.





Thank you, Diana, for being our guest this week… and thank you for your stories. Wishing you continued success with your writing.


For all you wonderful visitors wanting to discover more about Diana and her novels, please follow these links:  @DianaStevan  diana.stevan