Moving, Catching Up And All  That Life Stuff

Moving, Catching Up And All  That Life Stuff

Evening all! Well, it has been a while since I wrote a post or even had a guest or two on this blog. Mainly because everything has been packed in boxes and it has been an emotional few months for me. My boyfriend finally got his visa and was able to fly to the UK amidst all the worries about this pandemic… But he is fine and completed his quarantine in the house we rented..

I meanwhile wrestled with the emotions of moving out of mum’s home and all the changes which had already been overwhelming for me. I knew moving would be both hard and adventurous, but packing and leaving took a lot of emotional energy for me.  Soon enough my many boxes were delivered to the new house and I was on my way to Leeds with Smokey and Holly, my two cats.

Now we’ve been a good few weeks here in Leeds, Smokey is settling better and drinking, eating, and playing in the evening. He still hides under the covers of our bed when anyone knocks at the door or walk too loud up the stairs, but even he takes time to get used to change. Holly however has become the boyfriend’s cat, she loves to follow him, play with him and snooze with him. She seems pretty happy and content..

I’ve now finished unpacking my things and found my laptop and kindle to start reading and writing again. I’ll soon be back to enjoying a good story and writing more. But while in the process of moving, I did enjoy Patricia Asedegbega audio series At Arm’s Length. I will put the link below for anyone who wants to binge-listen.

Also since being at Leeds, I’ve enjoyed writing letters to my mum and reading hers and chatting with family on WhatsApp. Also, I reunited with my Great uncle Keith and as he lives not too far from me he came for a day which was so nice just to see him well and spend time with him. It felt like old times and he’s great at knitting and made me some beautiful tree Christmas baubles that I will treasure.

I’ve found I’m good at putting together flat packs even without the right screwdrivers and have now got my art/ writing table put together and the boyfriend’s office desk also done so we both can get on with being our creative selves.

Even through Covid has made this year very different and overwhelming and a new kind of life to get used to, I think we all should be proud of how we have tried to adjust. I really hope you all are staying safe, adjusting, and living the days the best you can.

Katrina.

At Arm’s Length by Patricia Asedegbega https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvfCv5TVE9w&t=4s&ab_channel=PatriciaAsedegbegaNieto

My Review of Who Hides Here? Footprints in the forest. By Rachel Coverdale. Illustrated by Shelly Oyston.

My Review of

Who Hides Here? Footprints in the forest.

By Rachel Coverdale. Illustrated by Shelly Oyston.

Who Hides Here? Footprints in the Forest is a beautifully illustrated book. The pages with all the different animals in the forest is enough to delight any child as they discover each one through the descriptions and footprints. I think even parents will enjoy the artwork while reading this book with their child.

The story seeks out the discovery of all kinds of woodland animals from their hiding place. Who is hiding in the bushes? Who is hiding in the field? You’ll have to put your explorer mind to good use and find out.

I also loved that the author left space for a mirror or photo of the child reading the story so they too can find themselves in the forest. I thought this was a special idea and one that parents and grandparents could even get creative with and take a photo of their child when exploring a walk for the book.

I also liked that this book has a few little games at the end, like spot the difference and how many snakes of different colors. But also nice advice on the country code for young children to learn.

I would recommend this book for young children and parents to read together and take in all the beautiful images and creatures we have in our woods and around us. If you like books about animals and the adventure of finding where they are hiding, you’ll love this book.

Amazon Link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Who-Hides-Here-Footprint-Forest/dp/1916108032/

Willow Valley Historical Romance by Linda Weaver Clarke

Willow Valley Historical Romance

The Willow Valley series has humor, adventure, romance, and mystery. Set in the 1800s, each book is family-friendly for teens and adults. The first book is One Last Dance, which will keep you guessing until the end of the book. In this historical romance, there is a mystery to solve.

Felicity Brooks is a talented watercolor artist but her career is cut short when her father passes away, so she travels home to care for her mother during this difficult time. When Felicity meets their charming new neighbor, a fine-looking bachelor, she soon discovers that he is hiding his true identity. Nicholas Adams is on a quest. But that is not all. When she finds out that someone is after a valuable heirloom…a precious treasure that her father discovered in his attic, her life takes a new turn. After realizing how much she misses her father, will one last dance heal her broken heart?

The second book in this series is Angel’s Serenade. You will learn about the infamous River Pirates, the remedies for illnesses of that time period, the effects that music has on a person, and you will fall in love all over again.

Emmeline Scott is raising her sister’s two children and is surprised when she finds out the new doctor in town is helping her nephew adapt to his surroundings. It is not easy to be uprooted and have to start a new life. Each day when Emmeline practices the piano, she doesn’t know the doctor secretly sits on his porch to listen to her music. As Emmeline gets to know the charming doctor, Lucas Golden, they become intrigued by her neighbor’s mysterious behavior. Will they discover his secret? And who is the leader of the River Pirates, who is causing so much havoc?

The third book has many surprises. In A Pleasant Rivalry, Angelica Davis is surprised when she finds out that an old school chum has returned to Willow Valley to take over his grandfather’s business. Since she writes articles for the Chronicle and Simon Morgan owns the Willow Valley News, they just happen to be rivals. The competition is on. Who will be the first to discover the identity of the jewel thief or the arsonist? Will it be Angelica or Simon? Gradually the feelings she once had for him return as they both search for the same stories. To her surprise, Angelica realizes she is losing her heart to her rival.

Now for book four! I decided to try something new and different. Since I have never written short stories before, I took upon myself the task of writing six short stories for the Willow Valley series. Before I knew it, I realized that writing short stories was a pleasure and quite fun. It’s called Holidays in Willow Valley. This book is full of surprises.

What were the holidays like at Willow Valley, Illinois, in 1840? Relive life in the “olden days” in each of these stories, featuring the characters from the Willow Valley Series. How will Emmeline and Felicity celebrate Valentine’s Day? Do Sam and Josie believe in leprechauns and the pot of gold when St. Patrick’s Day comes around? Is it common to play jokes on one another on April Fools Day? Nicholas and Lucas find out first hand. How will Simon and Angelica celebrate Independence Day and Christmas? When the Irish and Scottish came to America, they brought their Halloween traditions with them. Will Willow Valley accept these traditions? Find out as you share their experiences.

“I have enjoyed all of Linda Weaver Clarke’s books. You can be assured that they are all clean and sweet. This book contains six short stories of various characters and different holidays celebrated in the 1840 time period. These are enjoyable stories to read any time of year, not just in holiday times. The book carries Christian values, which I love. These are very entertaining stories and I hope you will take the time to read them!” –Sunny Reviews

About the Author:

Linda Weaver Clarke was raised among the Rocky Mountains of southern Idaho and now lives among the red hills of southern Utah. She is the author of Historical Romance, Cozy Mysteries, Swashbuckling Romance, a Children’s Book, and Nonfiction. Linda teaches a class about writing your family history that is free to the public at the Family Search Center in Southern Utah. She is also a missionary at the Family Search Center where she helps people find their ancestors and learn about their heritage.

One Last Dance is available at Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GVNWSP9

Angel’s Serenade is available at Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RV79LDN

A Pleasant Rivalry is available at Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Z49N2LJ

Holidays in Willow Valley:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089CQL6NB

Order any of my books from Amazon at both my websites below.

Linda’s Website:

www.lindaweaverclarke.com

My Book Blog:

https://lindaweaverclarke.wordpress.com

 

 

 

Spotlight feature: The Day Henry Died.

The Day Henry Died

I’m delighted to be featured on Katrina’s blog.
It has been a while since I released a new novel so I am quite excited
The novel titled ‘The Day Henry Died’ is slightly unusual. The idea came to me after something my neighbour said. It’s taken me some time to write but I very much enjoyed it. The main character is Henry Booker Frazer. Henry is your everyday chap. He has his routines, right down to eating certain breakfasts on certain days. Henry is married to Imogen and they have no children. A choice they made before they married. They have an immaculate home and Imogen works part-time as Henry likes to come home to his wife. One morning Henry wakes up and follows his routines as usual, until he reads the daily paper and finds himself reading his own obituary. From that moment on, Henry’s life changes when he discovers he is dead. Rita works at the supermarket as a product demonstrator. Henry had been trying her products for some time and they have become friends. No one else can see Henry that day and just as he reaches the end of his tether, he is stunned to find that Rita can see him. Together they embark on a journey to discover just what happened to Henry and how they can reverse things with shocking results. Meet Billy and Imogen along the way. If you like supernatural stories then you will enjoy this. There is a surprising twist at the end. Do let me know what you think.

The novel is currently available for the promotion price of 99p on Amazon.

Book link to amazon.co.uk https://amzn.to/2Aq28gl

Book link to amazon.com  https://amzn.to/2T73LGp

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/lynda.Renham

Twitter  https://twitter.com/Lyndarenham

Blog http://www.renham.co.uk

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/lyndarenham/?hl=en

Lockdown, Life, and Hobbies.

Lockdown, Life, and Hobbies.

It has been a very strange and heartbreaking time in our lives with Covid-19 spreading in the world and changing the course of our lives. I never thought I’d see this day and especially not now when my boyfriend and I were about to start our lives together. But now life feels in limbo, scary, and full of anxiety. Not only because we don’t know what the future hold, but I’ve found those around me have made these trouble times so much harder by doing what they want and not what they should at time which puts them and those around them in danger. It makes me very sad how all this has affected the world and human relationships. But also, it makes me proud of all of you who are following the rules, staying safe, and caring for your loved ones.

Lockdown has left me struggling to see the light in the future I had been stepping towards… It doesn’t mean the lights not there and I never stop having hope for life to somehow get us back on a good path we were on. But most days it’s not easy to get up and do things, However, while trying to battle these feelings I have started some new hobbies and tried to keep up with some of the ones I enjoy.

Firstly a  new hobby DIY Miniature Dollhouse kits. Honestly, they are very addictive and I wanted to do more after I first did a tin version during Christmas. I found the craft to be both fiddly but relaxing and nice to do in stages where on days when you just can’t focus on anything big doing a small part of the project soon adds up and I finished with lights and music my woodland dome a week or so ago. It did look pretty and now I’ve started a new miniature project. The nice thing about these is that the instruction in English and you can tweak parts to make them the way you want while following the guide.  If you are looking for a nice project to slowly complete this might be one to try.

Secondly, Diary writing: This s not a new hobby but with the lockdown and so much reflection and perspective about what’s going on in the world, I’m writing it frequently. Keeping a diary really does help put some of those emotions in one place and later might even help bring out emotions in future novels. But for me, diary writing has always helped my mind work through things and come to a place where things feel clearer,  or putting an end to relationships that just leave me drained, or writing to remember the fact my boyfriend is great a Ludo and racings. Overall writing has a positive effect on my emotional health. So, if you have lots of bottled up thoughts and emotions during this time, writing them down might help things feel clearer for the future.

Thirdly Reading is one of the best pass times and even when you feel like you’re on the go slow. Just a few pages of a book can move your mind forwards and take you somewhere new and exciting even just for a few moments…

Fourthly Meditation my boyfriend and I started doing meditation together over skype every day. It’s one of those times you have to work very hard to keep your mind quiet and your thoughts from wandering. I think for me that is a work in progress as my mind always wanders moves and stresses. But doing meditation does create a sense of inner calm I’ve found.

I’m sure all of you have your own ways of coping with the lockdown, spending moments with loved ones you live with, and looking to the future and what is best for your health and well being. I think the lockdown has done that for me, it’s helped me see what is and isn’t good for my emotional health and well being and in many ways how things have to change in the future to make life better. Especially letting go of those toxic and unpleasant relationships that the lockdown has helped me reflect on and made me realize just how unhappy being around that kinda energy has made me at times. But also, I feel very blessed to have friends, my boyfriend and cats, and some family who love and care for me as much as I do them.

What hobbies have you all been doing in the lockdown? I hope you’ve all kept well, stayed safe, and kept in contact with those you care about and who cares equally about you in the best ways.

Lastly thank you to all key workers who have put their lives on the line to try and keep us safe medically, and connected with food, mail, and needs must travel… You all have done a great job around the world and we will not forget your bravery, care, and compassion.

Stay safe, stay home, and Spread the love.

Katrina.

A Cozy Mystery Series by Linda Weaver Clarke

A Cozy Mystery Series

In this mystery series, Amelia Moore is the founder of the Moore Detective Agency and specializes in missing persons. Her cases have taken her to some very interesting places and put her in some dangerous situations. With the help of Rick Bonito, her business is flourishing. This series is available as seven individual novels or as a three volumes.

In Amelia Moore Mysteries, Volume 1, they travel to exotic places such as Bali Island in Indonesia, Ireland where she gets to kiss the Blarney Stone, and Mexico where she experiences what a rain forest is really like. Volume 1 includes three cozy mysteries.

If you have longed to visit an exotic island, The Bali Mystery will take you there. When Mrs. Brody hires Amelia and Rick to find her missing brother, they find themselves in Bali, Indonesia. They are mystified why her brother quit his job, put his home up for sale, and ran off to this mysterious and exotic island without telling a soul.

Ireland is the next place you can visit with Amelia and Rick. When Amelia is hired to search for her client’s grandparents in The Shamrock Case, the case takes them to Ireland. Kate must learn about her heritage. Who are her grandparents and could they still be alive after all these years? Why did her parents leave Ireland suddenly and move to America? Is there more to this case than meets the eye?

The last place Amelia was thinking of visiting was Mexico. In The Missing Heir, Dell Murphy has passed on and left a fortune to his nephew. He wants his nephew to continue his work at the orphanage in Mexico, but there is one problem. Neal Woods is missing! If Amelia and Rick can’t find him soon, the fortune will be turned over to Dell’s brother and sister who intend to close down “Uncle Dell’s Orphanage.” If that happens, where will the children go?

In Amelia Moore Mysteries, Volume 2, they travel to the haunted Stanley Hotel at Estes Park in Colorado and Color Country in Southern Utah where they visit Zion National Park. Volume 2 includes two cozy mysteries.

In The Mysterious Doll, Pauline Jones is confused why her boyfriend took off without telling a soul where he was going. But that isn’t all. Sam Whitaker is accused of stealing a valuable porcelain doll from the museum. His disappearance makes him look guilty, but Pauline is convinced he is innocent. When Amelia finds Sam, she realizes they need to prove his innocence. Where is the antique doll and who has taken it?

In Her Lost Love, Julie Anderson feels a need to find the man she fell deeply in love with during her youth. That was twenty-five years ago. When Julie went off to college to become a lawyer, she lost contact with her high school sweetheart. She now wants to know what became of Joey and why he stopped writing to her? This is an assignment that intrigues Amelia. The thought of finding a long-lost love seems quite romantic.

In Amelia Moore Mysteries, Volume 3, they travel to the beautiful Louisiana Bayous and visit many intriguing lighthouses along the coast. Volume 3 includes two cozy mysteries.

In Mystery on the Bayou, Amelia is approached by a woman who is concerned about the son she gave up for adoption sixteen years ago. Millie fears he has inherited Marfan’s Syndrome from her side of the family. Not only that, but she has been having nightmares that make her fear he is in danger. She petitioned the court to view the sealed records but was refused. Will Amelia and Rick be able to convince the courts to help them? If her son is in danger, will they get there in time?

In The Lighthouse Secret, Rick Bonito’s uncle supposedly drowned five years ago and his body was never found, but something did not seem right about the report. Uncle Antonio was an excellent swimmer. His disappearance seems quite suspicious to Rick’s father. He never felt the complete truth had come out about his brother. It is now up to Amelia and Rick to find out the truth about his uncle.

“This is a cozy mystery, but there is also suspense, danger and, of course, romance. You have all the makings of an exciting novel.” —Library of Clean Reads

“Amelia and Rick have the makings of being a lasting couple that readers will adore and root for. Clarke knows both her characters and locations well and it shines through each word she writes.” —Socrates Book Review

 

Amelia Moore Mysteries Volume 1: https://www.amazon.com/Amelia-Moore-Mysteries-Book-1-ebook/dp/B087ZS8FJZ

Amelia Moore Mysteries Volume 2: https://www.amazon.com/Amelia-Moore-Mysteries-Book-2-ebook/dp/B087ZS56FY

Amelia Moore Mysteries Volume 3: https://www.amazon.com/Amelia-Moore-Mysteries-Book-3-ebook/dp/B0881893F4

Author Bio:

Linda Weaver Clarke was raised in the Rocky Mountains of Southern Idaho and now lives among the red hills of southern Utah. She is the author of Historical Romances, Swashbuckling Romances, Cozy Mysteries, Mystery Suspense, a Children’s Book, and Nonfiction. Linda is a missionary at the Family Search Center where she helps people find their ancestors so they can learn about their heritage. To learn more, visit www.lindaweaverclarke.com.

Linda’s Website: www.lindaweaverclarke.com

Linda’s Author Blog: https://lindaweaverclarke.wordpress.com

Cozy Mystery Blog: https://cozymysteryseries.wordpress.com

Historical Romance Blog: https://historicalromances.wordpress.com

Linda’s Audible Audiobooks: https://www.audible.com/author/Linda-Weaver-Clarke/B004P47EWO

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lindaweaverclarke

My Review of Nightmare Asylum and other Deadly Delights by Sonia Kilvington

My Review of

Nightmare Asylum and other Deadly Delights by Sonia Kilvington

Nightmare Asylum and other Deadly Delights is a book of short story full of dark fantasy, deep routed psychological fascinations, and the twisted times when asylums were full of people committed for disturbing acts and emotional states of mind. I really enjoyed each story because I think the author got into the mind of characters’ dark thought and emotional attachment and helped the reader not only see the terrible acts some committed but also what brought their mindset to that point.

The book itself starts with Nightmare Asylum where a midwife dreams of being stuck in the hospital she works at when it was an Asylum. She’s lost and scared, but one night after waking from her dream she is needed by the hospital to deliver the baby of Evelyn Green a well-known child killer. However, this delivery changes her life for the worst now and no one wants her near their children. What could be so dark that mothers fear there midwife.? Does she really belong in an Asylum after all? You’ll have to read this collection of stories to find out.

Though there are many stories I enjoyed, one that stuck in my mind was about a man who was fixated on a young girl because of her dress. It was interesting because although he was clearly mentally unstable, the reasoning behind his need was to recreate the person he’d lost long ago, however, I think his story told that no matter how close to memory you feel it will never be the real thing and therein lies the darkness the drove him forwards.

Also, the story about the android made me see the future in a new light. This one was rather interesting because being in love and attached completely was what the bot was programmed for and yet the actions, he took to never leave his intended made me shiver.

The author does an amazing job of looking at how far a person can go down a dark road and the horror people leave behind the lives of the others.

I would recommend this book if you like dark stories, scenes, and characters that will take you down the darker side of the human mind. I also think anyone who has watched the American horror series would really enjoy this collection of short stories…

Link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nightmare-Asylum-other-Deadly-Delights-ebook/dp/B083R5YMX2/

My Review Of Secrets and Shadows Of The Missing: Living Dreams 3 by E.MG Wixley

My Review Of

Secrets and Shadows Of The Missing: Living Dreams 3 by E.MG Wixley, 

Secrets and Shadows Of The Missing: Living Dreams 3 has heart wrenching, gripping and heart-warming moments all rolled into one story. I could feel the nightmare of Eleanor’s parents and friends throughout this book, but also the closeness of those trying to help. I also loved the supernatural and powerful feel to this book, as well as the twist and turns within each character and the changes in their lives.

The story itself follows Eleanor, Leo, and William as they play in the grounds of their school. However, Eleanor misses her parents and goes off by herself leaving her friends behind. Little did they all know that it would be the last day they would see Eleanor. Now everyone looks for her, dreams about what could have happened. But the big question is who took Eleanor? And will she be found in time? Read this book to find out.

My favourite characters were Leo and William, being siblings they had this powerful mental connection, I thought their dreams to find their friend and how they linked to the supernatural world was really gripping.

I also thought Sophie was a great character with a warm heart and in some ways,  a saving grace throughout the story,

I thought E.M.G Wixley, did an amazing job of telling a story that not only was packed with so many emotions but expressed just how a missing child can affect everyone differently and families as a whole.

If you like stories with supernatural themes, amazing characters and a storyline that will keep you engaged until you know the end give this book a try.

Link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Secrets-Shadows-Missing-Living-Dreams-ebook/dp/B008N051FI/

 

Echoes Of The Asylum By Sonia Kilvington

Echoes Of The Asylum By Sonia Kilvington

The strongest influence on my writing, and the inspiration behind my short story ‘Winter Baby,’ in ‘Nightmare Asylum’ was the amazingly talented, Helen Dunmore. Her writing is beautiful and dark; it is uncompromising in its willingness to explore what it feels like to face a severe threat, only to discover, that the most deadly danger of all, is already lingering, malevolently, inside of you! Her characters often seem to be on the verge of disintegration, and so are many of mine.

The lead story ‘Nightmare Asylum,’ is based upon a reoccurring dream I had in my twenties. In the nightmare, I was trapped inside a Victorian mental asylum. I knew that I shouldn’t be there, but no one would listen to me or let me out. I had encountered several scary looking psychiatric hospitals to visit a close relative when I was young. I knew how creepy they felt and how much people in my family feared them. Electrotherapy was a popular treatment for most mind-related ailments at the time, and I remember listening to a description of how it felt to wake from this horror; not knowing your own name.

Some of my stories in the collection were inspired by places. A couple of years ago, I was a guest writer at the Alibi Crime & Noir Literary Festival in Slovenia. On the first evening, we chose a folded piece of paper containing a title and had the following day to write a story, reading it to a live audience, the next. I felt inspired by the atmosphere in Slovenia and wrote, ‘Happy Death Day,’ incorporating the town in which we were staying and some local names and customs. Two other stories, ‘Every Move You Make’ and ‘Every Smile You Fake’ are set in Ennis in the Republic of Ireland, where I stayed for a while. I loved the quaint but slightly seedy undercurrent it had. The place had a classic noir feel, and I tried to capture that in my writing.

Quite a few of my stories contain elements of truth. I tend to write in disguise, subjugating my life experiences into unrecognisable scenarios. My story ‘Paranoid’ was based on a feeling of being harassed when I was younger. It starts out innocently enough. Boy meets girl, their eyes lock, then she finds this attractive stranger belongs to an orange-clad cult. The stalking begins, groups of people with tambourines were following me everywhere around town, urging me to join. I remember slipping out of the back doors of shops so that they wouldn’t find out where I lived. It got so bad that I couldn’t go into town on my own… Just like the character in my story.

Many of the tales are in Nightmare Asylum are based on fear, guilt, shame and loss. I will often take a complicated feeling, push it to an illogical extreme and then see what happens. Writing is an adventure for me, and I never really know in which direction it will go.

Sonia Kilvington Bio:

Sonia Kilvington is a journalist and fiction writer from the beautiful Mediterranean island of Cyprus. She has published many articles, travel features, short stories and interviews in glossy magazines. She loves to write dark and disturbing short stories in genres such as noir, crime, ghost and Sci-fi. Her online writing credits include Out of the Gutter Online, Spelk fiction, Pulp Metal Magazine & Near to the Knuckle. Her new short story collection, Nightmare Asylum & Other Deadly Delights – published by Close To The Bone, is available on Amazon.

 Links

 Website: https://soniakilvingtonwriter.com/

Amazon author page https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sonia-Kilvington/e/B005FDXFQS/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

 FB writer’s page: https://www.facebook.com/soniafiction/

 Twitter: https://twitter.com/Soniacyprus   (@Soniacyprus)

 LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/sonia-kilvington-26b2b721/

 Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/soniakilvington/?hl=en

 Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4898959.Sonia_Kilvington

 Contact email: soniawriter@hotmail.co.uk

Amazon book links for Nightmare Asylum & Other Deadly Delights:

Amazon.co.uk. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nightmare-Asylum-other-Deadly-Delights-ebook/dp/B083R5YMX2/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=Nightmare+Asylum&qid=1578909796&s=books&sr=1-5

Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/Nightmare-Asylum-other-Deadly-Delights-ebook/dp/B083R5YMX2/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=nightmare+asylum&qid=1578910007&s=books&sr=1-5

 

Birthday Expectations by Patricia Asedegbega.

  1. Birthday Expectations by Patricia Asedegbega

“Today is different,” Balou thought as he stood at the foot of Rosario´s bed watching her sleep. He would give her a few more moments before waking her up properly.

“It is my birthday!”

Balou remembered Rosario´s last birthday. Flowers had arrived from all over, at one point, it felt like they were in a flower shop. He, of course, had had a great time sniffing every single one that had come in, it had become a game as Adela tried to get some out of his reach.

“No Balou, this one is poisonous for cats, it will make you sick.” She had said on various occasions, moving the offending plant out of his reach. But it hadn´t only flowers, a number of breakfast baskets had been brought, of which he had sampled some of the ham, for, of what use were they to him if he could not eat any of their contents? The fruit baskets he had completely ignored, the people that had sent those obviously needed a Master class on the art of buying presents.

The telephone had not stopped ringing all day, a few at indecent hours when Rosario had not even woken up! Good thing that there were two telephone numbers in the house and most did not have her private line. The staff wrote down a lot of messages that day.

However, the best part was when the doorbell rang at noon and the opened door revealed Rosario´s family that had come all the way from Sevilla to surprise her. He had positioned himself in the middle of the staircase to know if to flee or go down, depending on who was on the other side. As soon as he saw who it was, he had raced down to greet his human grandfather.

“Balou!” The man had bellowed as he had been flung in the air and he knew that somehow he would be caught, even though, he was a cat, he always landed well. The rest of the day had been very satisfying for him, Rosario´s mother had taken over the kitchen and that woman could work wonders, because barely an hour later, they had all found themselves seated to a splendid meal. Himself included! His high stool had been brought from the kitchen and placed as tradition dictated, next to Miguel, that shared his roast lamb with him, not just the main course, he was given the excellent jamón they had brought with them, shrimps, roast fish…Oh, what a beautiful day it had been! Full of chatter… and food, laughter…and food and then…food.

So what was in store for him today? A cake made entirely from tuna? A room full of treats he could dive into and not be found in days? a whole jamón? A T-bone? Fillet Mignon? The images kept popping in his head, as he started nibbling Rosario´s toes. She moved her feet mumbling something unintelligible and he advanced to her face. Nothing like water to wake one fully up, the next best thing to a glass of said liquid, was his raspy tongue. He proceeded to give her a thorough wash. That method had never failed in the past, there was no reason it would do so now.

“Balou! It´s 4 am!” Rosario exclaimed as she opened her eyes and looked at the clock on her nightstand.

Balou stared at her unblinking. He had been quite considerate and waited quite a bit, occupying his thoughts with of ways his birthday could be celebrated, he did not understand what she was complaining about.

“Oh you little monster! I can´t believe you are three years old today. My special little boy.” Before he could escape, he had been caught in a tight embrace and covered in kisses. He suffered the torment in silence for a few moments and then wriggled his way out. That birthday tradition he did not in the least bit care about.

“Well there is no going back to sleep now, so let´s go and see if there are any presents for you.” His ears perked up at the last part as he ran ahead of her wondering what he was about to get, he had to come back as his human was taking her time wearing her sleepers. Why could she not go barefoot like he did?

She opened one of the bedrooms and Balou peered suspiciously in, wondering what on earth could possibly be of interest to him there.

The room had been completely transformed, there was a gigantic cat tree that occupied a whole wall. Full of levels, ladders, scratching posts, dangling toys, condos, hammocks…Balou stood in awe, it was almost at the level of the ceiling. Suddenly, he caught the whiff of something very, very pleasant, he approached his new castle and discovered that there were treats inside some of what one could only call ” the rooms” in his mansion.

“This is the best birthday ever! I can go back to sleep and you can discover what surprises await you in every compartment.” Rosario chuckled, grabbed him just before he disappeared into his kingdom, and planted a few more kisses on his head. He let her, she deserved it today.

“I wonder what the staff has prepared for me”, was the last thought that came into his mind as he embarked on what could only be described as the best culinary experience ever.

From the “Rosario and Balou series.”

Buy Link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/stand-corrected-Rosario-Balou/dp/1499590156/

Book Trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQEddWJsJcE&fbclid=IwAR1-wRxg20pkMQhiHhJfHo7NJW7ru412rIDV70Lta1iCAB6Czf_3AGxr4HY

Blog Link:

https://pasedegbega.wordpress.com/?fbclid=IwAR2qA6ngsdTNi00EiQ5dAWmvQdhLhEKZM7unMFwYqkYgTD0tg7LMJB47bN4