Tag Archives: guest post

The Bright Side of Darkness – Guest Post by Jo Elizabeth Pinto

I’ve known I was destined to write even before I learned to read. I remember cuddling with my dad on the high-backed couch in our living room, feeling safe and loved, while he read aloud a library book about Osceola. The brave Seminole Indian chief fought the brutal attempts by the U.S. government to remove his people from Florida during the early 1800’s.

When my dad finished the book, I said sadly, “It’s all gone.”

“It’s not gone,” he told me, laying the book in my hands. “We can turn it around and start over at the beginning. Not tonight, though.”

From that moment on, when I discovered that words could be written down in books, captured and stored to be enjoyed over and over again, I knew I wanted to write stories of my own. Many times in school, when I was supposed to be solving math problems or studying spelling words, I’d be busy composing poetry or creating title pages and back cover descriptions for books I dreamed of one day publishing. My first poem was printed in “Jack and Jill”—a popular magazine for kids—when I was eleven years old—and after that, I caught an incurable case of author fever.

My novel, “The Bright Side of Darkness”, began as a short story assignment for a high school English class. I got an A on the assignment and fell in love with the scrappy, loyal, smart-mouthed teenagers who came to life in my imagination.

I never forgot those characters. In my twenties, in order to learn how to use a word processor, I dragged out that old short story and typed it into my first computer—a DOS machine with 5-inch floppy disks and no Internet. The writing needed a lot of work, but the characters still captivated me. I added to the story, changed and deleted weak parts and moved paragraphs and chapters around. I picked the project up and put it down many times over the next twenty-some years as life happened. I took advice and editing from countless people. I attended writing workshops and joined critique groups to hone my craft, and I never gave up on my dream. In June of 2015, I finally published my book.

In junior high, I interviewed a local author as part of an independent study project. Her advice has stuck with me for 35 years.

“When you write, think of yourself as a bird building a nest,” she said. “Your life gives you the materials for your stories. You take a twig from here, a tuft of grass from there, a bit of string from somewhere else. Keep living a life full of experiences so you never run out of building materials.”

I usually write fiction, so my characters and what happens to them is all made up. But some of the experiences and a whole lot of the underlying emotions come from what I know, what I’ve lived through, like that bird making a nest.

As a writer, I realize the importance of entertaining my readers while giving them something to think about. I want to empower my readers so they will know the deeds of one person can make a difference in the world. Drawing inspiration from my own experiences, I try to show everyday people that hope is always just an action away.

I wish writing full-time would pay my bills, but that’s not my reality yet. So till my novel hits the bestseller list, I freelance from home as a textbook proofreader. I’m also the mom of an eleven-year-old daughter–the greatest job ever!

Author Links:

“The Bright Side of Darkness” is my award-winning novel, Available in Kindle, audio, and paperback formats.

The paperback version of my novel is available at Barnes & Noble here:

Please see my author page on Facebook here:

Please see my author blog, “Looking on the Bright Side,” on Goodreads here:

To read guest posts about parenting in the dark, please click here:

To read guest posts on a variety of topics, please click here:

Guest Post: The Heart of Applebutter Hill, by Donna W. Hill


Picture showing Donna W. Hill and her dog

My thanks to Donna W. Hill for sharing the below chapter from her novel “The Heart of Applebutter Hill”. The below content is copyright of Donna W. Hill and may not be reproduced without the express written permission of the author.


The Heart of Applebutter Hill by Donna W. Hill

Author’s Note:

Writers’ Roundtable is manditory for all refugees at the Plumkettle Learning Center. Abigail is a fourteen-year-old legally blind songwriter who uses a guide dog named Curly Connor (aka, the Fluffer-Noodle).

Chapter 34

Christopher’s Poem

Tuesday’s Writers’ Roundtable was the most traumatic class Abigail and Baggy had ever endured. To begin with, they were still arguing over what to do about the clearing at Missing Creek. They were also nervous about sharing their poems. Thornhammer was at the table when they arrived, so they waited in silence.

Abigail reviewed a Braille copy of her poem and got out a typed version for Professor Thornhammer. Baggy drew a long breath and let it out slowly. The Fluffer-Noodle rolled over on his side, stretching his head under Baggy’s chair.

Christopher, the last to arrive, stumbled as he approached his seat to Abigail’s left. He sighed frequently, and his leg shook under the table.

After some introductory comments, Thornhammer asked Laurel to start. She stood up and cleared her throat.

“It’s a haiku,” she said, and brushing stray hair from her face, she read from her notebook in a soft, vulnerable voice.


“Hands clasped in friendship,

Till sleet comes and leaves me here,

Holding empty sleeves.”


A brief silence followed. Abigail heard Christopher fiddling with a sheet of paper.

“That’s really sad,” said Gabriele.

“Isn’t that always the way, though,” Tommy added.

Christopher fidgeted in his seat, his paper bending more frequently. Thornhammer called on Lester, who straightened himself and spoke in a strong, clear voice.


“They lead you around by the nose,

By the nose, I tell you,

With promises and dire warnings

From the pulpit, from the podium, from the page,

from the squawk boxes;

In person and pumped into your privacy

through wires and wind,

They lead you around by the nose.


And, you, who were once free to think,

to question, to wonder,

Having once chosen not to do so,

You follow, heavy with their leadings,

As they shape you with pats and squeezes,

Shape you to perform

oblations of assent and mimicry,

To wash your hands of us, your children.”


“Wow,” said Tommy, “That really gets to it, doesn’t it.”

“Les doesn’t pull punches,” said Laurel smiling.

Abigail wondered if Lester’s poem was directed at Adiaphora. She was too afraid to ask.

As the class shared several other comments, Christopher slipped his paper under his books.

“Miss Jones?”

Abigail felt her face flush and her heartbeat quicken as she struggled to sit up straight. How had her mouth gotten so dry?

“This is also a haiku,” she said before proceeding.


“Desperation fades,

A close companion shrinking,

A new summer dawns.”


“Hope,” said Laurel, “That’s cool.”

There was a discussion about the haiku form and how different Laurel and Abigail’s poems were. Tommy bemoaned the fact that summer images are always presented as hopeful, while winter images are associated with loss and sadness.

“Why?” he asked rhetorically, “There is a lot of good about winter, and summer can be dreadful.”

“Yeah,” said Baggy, “especially if you’re in the city.”

After the conversation ended, Thornhammer said, “Mr. Posterly?”

Christopher was squirming and fidgeting more than ever. He sounded as though he had been running.

“I d-didn’t … do it,” he squeaked.

“Indeed?” said Thornhammer getting to his feet and pacing, as alarm spread through the class, “You did not finish the assignment I gave you a week ago?”

“No, sir.”

“You didn’t write a short poem?”

“No, sir.”

“We get it,” Tommy whispered, “He didn’t do his homework.”

Thornhammer placed his hands on the table and leaned forward, surveying the tiny boy with the look of a cat ready to pounce.

“You’re saying,” he continued with sarcastic incredulity, “that, even though you had a full week, even though you were allowed to use any poetic form you wished, even though you could write on any topic, that you did not do the assignment?”

“Yes, sir.”

Christopher’s breathing was becoming more and more labored. The rest of the class shot furtive glances at one another. All of them were uncomfortable.

“Then,” said Thornhammer, retrieving the paper Christopher had hidden under his books, “What, may I ask is this?”

Christopher gaped at the paper in his hand, but did not answer.

Thornhammer, straightening himself, turned to the rest of the class and said with astonishment, “Mr. Posterly has earned the distinction of being the only student who has ever lied to me by saying that he did not do his homework.” Then, turning again to the terrified boy, he said, “So, Mr. Posterly. It appears that you would rather tarnish your character than read this” — he gestured with Christopher’s poem.

“Stop it!” Gabriele blurted out.

“I’m wondering,” Thornhammer continued, “is this a matter of being afraid to read to your classmates? If so, I would remind you that doing so hardly constitutes a significant risk. Every day, people all over the world are asked to do more dangerous things than this. Some are asked to risk their lives in wars; others must endure toxic chemicals and harsh working conditions.”

“Leave him alone,” cried Gabriele, “What’s wrong with you!”

“Gabby,” whispered Tommy in distress, “Be Careful!”

Thornhammer ignored them and commanded Christopher to stand. He then handed him his poem. Christopher swayed back and forth, holding the paper as though he thought it might explode. His mouth was scrunched up in an effort to hold back the tears, but they were falling anyway. The blood drained from his face, and the paper fluttered from his hand as he fainted.

Thornhammer caught the unconscious boy, carried him to the couch and elevated his feet. Laurel stood up and gestured toward the globe on the desk.

“Should I call the nurse?”

“No … Smelling salts, top drawer in the back.”

She rushed to the desk and found a packet which Thornhammer broke under Christopher’s nose. When he regained consciousness, Thornhammer helped him sit up. He removed the inhaler from Christopher’s pocket, and Christopher took it.

“It’s not fair,” Gabriele pleaded.

“Oh, shall I give up on Christopher? Is that what you would do, Miss Stein?” Thornhammer imitated her whining, “Christopher shouldn’t have to do it. He can’t do it. He’s too scared.” Turning to him, he continued, “Isn’t that right, Mr. Posterly. You get too upset, don’t you? I should let you off the hook.”

Thornhammer helped Christopher to his feet and led him to his chair. He then removed the poem from the table, where Baggy had placed it face-down, and stared at it for a long time.

Abigail heard Thornhammer draw breath as though he were preparing to read aloud. She couldn’t help remembering the picture which he had found so disturbing. Mortified at the thought of hearing what Christopher had written, she stopped breathing, waiting for the blow to fall.

“Don’t you dare,” said Gabriele. There was no pleading in her voice this time, only a cold, powerful anger.

Thornhammer’s mouth closed and he met her eyes. Then, turning his back on them, he sighed as he paced around the room. At last, he placed Christopher’s poem on his desk. Picking up a book, he returned to the table. He placed the book in front of Christopher and sat down.

“Now,” he said in a somewhat softer tone, “find something to read to us and read it. I don’t care if it’s the title page, but you are going to read something to us. You will not remain silent in my class.”

Christopher’s hands trembled as he opened the book. Stammering and coughing, he read the title page.

“Thank you, Mr. Posterly,” Said Thornhammer. Then, turning to the class he added, “We will continue with your poems on Thursday. Your assignment, for next Tuesday, is to write a short essay on what your poem is about and why it means something to you. Mr. Posterly, you will write about why you lied.”

With fifteen minutes left in the class, Thornhammer rose from the table without a word and sat at the desk. They all watched silently as he took out a tablet and began to write.

Lester and Laurel whispered back and forth to each other. Then, Lester opened a book and they took turns reading to the class.

Shortly before the bell rang, the sound of Thornhammer rummaging through the metal desk drawers distracted Abigail. She heard him fold the paper he had been working on and seal it in an envelope.


Picture of Donna’s book in front of some red flowers.


The Heart of Applebutter Hill is available in print and eBook through Amazon, Smashwords and other outlets. To get all of the links, go to


Accessible Formats & Special Libraries:



Learning Ally


Heart of Applebutter Hill – Migel Library

American Printing House for the Blind


To follow her blog:


Connect with Donna on

Facebook Mobil







Donna is also a songwriter. Hear clips from The Last Straw aon iTunes:




“Open A New Dorr – A collection of Poems” by Robbie Cheadle and Kim Blades

Open a new door – A collection of poems

The Blurb

Open a New Door is a poetic peep into the lives of the poets, Kim Blades and Robbie Cheadle, both of whom live in South Africa.

The book is divided into four categories: God bless Africa, God bless my family and friends, God bless me and God bless corporates and work. Each part is sub-divided into the good, the bad and the ugly of the two poets’ experiences, presented in rhyming verse, free-style, haiku and tanka, in each of these categories and include colourful depictions of their thoughts and emotions.

The purpose of this book of poetry is encapsulated in the following tanka and haiku poems:

What drives me to write?
To share my innermost thoughts
The answer is clear
It’s my personal attempt
To make some sense of this world.

Inspiration blossoms
Like the unfurling petals
Of the Desert Rose

Two poetic peeps into life in Southern Africa

The boys under the bridge by Robbie Cheadle

In the prayer position;
He crouches on the ground;
His dire need obvious;
Without his uttering a sound.

At this traffic light he begs;
Whether it’s shine or rain;
Hair prematurly greying;
Eyes darkened with pain.

Where does he come from?
This homeless youth;
What hapless encounter
caused the loss of a tooth?

He is one of a number;
That spend their lives this way;
Sheltering under the bridge;
At the end of each day.

Wrapped up in blankets;
Among the litter and the dirt;
With life-threatening illness;
Each day they must flirt.

No hope and no prospects;
It rents at your heart;
Will their poverty and ignorance;
Always keep them apart?


This poem was inspired by a group of young African boys, aged between 15 and about 18 years old, who beg at the traffic light outside a major shopping centre I frequent. It is a tragedy to watch them, crouching on the ground and begging for a crust of bread, week after week. Gradually their spirits and health deteriorate from the hard life.

When the sun comes up in Africa by Kim Blades

Against a rinsed blue sky
the sun comes up entirely gold
with no pink or purple streaks of dye
a new dawn is painted on a canvas bold.
The horizon’s a gleaming molten shield,
the sun a powerful ascending fist
it’s fire spilling over savanna and field
warming the earth and evaporating mist.
Light is spread, and darkness devoured
hot thermals rise high and owls go roost
Vlei-rats are safer, and fish-eagles empowered
leopards copy owls and wild-dogs run loose.
An event of raw, evocative power
An unblemished sky cradling a golden cup,
The pure, primal dawning hour –
when Africa’s sun comes up.


I am an early riser and, for me sunrise is a powerful inspirational tool and one of my most productive writing times. Dawn in the African bush is full of raw, evocative power and beauty.

Purchase Open a New Door at:

About the authors

Kim Blades

Kim Blades’ poetry is a written depiction of her life in Durban, South Africa. In 1966, at the age of three, Kim emigrated from England with her parents, material grandmother, older sister and nine-year old German Shepherd. She enjoyed a fantastic childhood on the Bluff, a relatively underdeveloped coastal suburb of Durban. Her house was only a ten-minute walk from pristine beaches as well as natural bush, where Kim spend a lot of time searching for snakes, chameleons and other wildlife; Gerald Durrell style.

Kim spend long weekends camping in the mountains of the Drakensburg, which was much more rustic then than it is today. It was a favourite place for her family to visit during the winter months when snow covered the highest peaks.

Kim wanted to become a game ranger after leaving school, but this was not open to women as a career until more than a decade after Kim matriculated from school in 1980, by which time Kim was teaching English and History at a high school.

Kim got married at 32 years of age and had two sons, both of whom are working now. Kim’s wonderful childhood in a country [South Africa] that she loves and her two children, have been and always will be, her greatest inspiration.

Robbie Cheadle

Robbie, short for Roberta, is an author with five published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with her son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series, one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about her mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with her mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton) and one book of poetry, Open a new door, co-authored with Kim Blades.

All of Robbie’s children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications.

Robbie has recently branched into adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential her children’s books from her adult writing, these will be published under Roberta Eaton Cheadle.

Robbie has two short stories in the horror/supernatural genre included in Dark Visions, a collection of 34 short stories by 27 different authors and edited by award winning author, Dan Alatorre. These short stories are published under Robbie Cheadle.

Books by Robbie Cheadle

Follow Robbie Cheadle

Blogs: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/; https://robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com/; and https://bakeandwrite.co.za/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/bakeandwrite; https://twitter.com/RobertaEaton17
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SirChocolateBooks/; https://www.facebook.com/robertawrites/

The Broke Author’s Secret Weapon – A Guest Post By Yecheilyah Ysrayl

Thank you to Yecheilyah Ysrayl for the below guest post:

Can we be real?

Self-Publishing has opened the door for writers to finally make their dreams come true. Dreams that were hindered by way of jobs that got in the way of writing, Traditional Publishing rejections, children that parents needed to raise first, a school that needed to be finished first and a slew of other reasons that has stopped the passionate writer from producing a book.

Not only all of this but finances also play a part.

Self-Publishing has allowed people who have always wanted to write books an easy way to do so. With the industry changing and demanding more in the way of excellence and professionalism for the Indie Author (stigmas are fading and authors can no longer afford to produce mediocre work), it is no secret that financial strain is what stops many writers from either finishing a book or publishing it.

With advice after advice on how we should invest in our careers, many authors feel that they simply cannot afford to do so and produce something professional at the same time.

For instance, I recently came across professional website building at $800. We know how important it is for authors to have professionally designed websites but let’s be real, who can afford to pay that much for a website unless they are already established enough to afford it?

Unless you were given a loan, grant, or someone blessed you with the money, $800 is as much as some people pay for rent and simply not the kind of money many Indie Authors can afford to invest in one website. A website that may not even bring them a return.

So, what does an author do? What is the broke author’s secret weapon to successfully and professionally producing books? TIME.

Simple, right?

The secret weapon is time. What you can’t afford in money you make up in time.

Although you may not get paid for hours put in the same way you would your hourly job (wouldn’t that be nice!) you will see a difference in the kind of material you put out.

How many hours a day do you spend working toward your books? By “working on” I mean either writing, blogging, promoting, networking, social media (real social media work not lollygagging), research, online classes, webinars, video tutorials, email list building, reading, email marketing, etc. So, how many hours?

On a good day, I spend anywhere between 8 – 12 hours on my work. I am a writer full time and have spent many nights in the office putting in the time long before my wonderful husband gets home from a job that actually pays him for hours put in.

The thing is, a return on time for an author is reflected in his work. Authors who put little to no work in their books (rushing to get them out) is bound to produce mediocrity. On the other hand, authors who invest time not only in the books they write but also in other aspects of the business (blogging, promoting) is bound to receive a much better turnout.

Let’s take a look:

30 Day List Building Challenge – After investing 30 days in a List Building Challenge I increased my list of email list subscribers by 40%. This took me passed my 100-subscriber mark (the first 100 subscribers are the hardest to get!)

Free Webinars— I can’t afford to pay for a writer’s conference. I know, I know, they are valuable but that’s not a realistic goal for me financially right now. I am not that cheap. I would love to invest that kind of money into my education. I would also love to take a publishing course at a University. Again, this just isn’t the reality for me right now. Instead, I take free webinars.

You know, those emails you get about a free webinar on some aspect of publishing that we skip through? STOP IT! I didn’t mean to yell, it’s just, they are soooo helpful!

I learn a lot from free webinars. Just last week I took a Leadpages Interactive Training and the week before that a training on building the Author Media Kit. The result is pages of notes and a head filled with ideas I can use to make my media kit better and ideas I can implement into my email list to help nurture it. (Growing a list is only half the battle. Now you gotta be sure people are interested enough to stick around)

In fact, the idea for this article came while listening to a webinar. They were offering something at the end that I could not afford, that is when I thought about time. I can now take this idea, turn it into an article and Guest Post on someone’s blog. That’s increased exposure for me, my blog, and my content and it only costs me two hours.

Guest Blog Posts / Author Interviews – Speaking of guest posting, we may as well go here next.

Time spent writing articles has resulted in over twenty articles that I’ve posted on someone else’s blog, author interviews, guest blog features, and a radio show appearance. This is free publicity for me and my content and all I had to spend was time.

Time drafting the email of inquiry (your emails should always be professional even when you are seeking to guest post on someone’s blog), writing the articles, and time answering the questions.

My radio show feature with Annette Rochel Aben only took 30 minutes as a matter of fact. It will forever be part of my author portfolio and it only costs me 30 minutes of my time.

Images / Promotional Ads – A few hours a day using Canva and PosterMyWall allows me to create my own professional images and Ads.

A few hours a day and you can never tell if I hired a professional or not. Using free mock-up templates from places like covervault allows me to create images for my books in Photoshop.

Just a $10/mo investment and I can purchase the cheapest package in photoshop CC to get this done.

Before I even had that, I used a free 3D image creator for creating 3D images of my books. It only costs me my time.

Book Cover Design – I have a Book Cover Design dream. My Book Cover Design Dream is to purchase a professional custom Book Cover from one of my favorite book cover designers. Thing is, he’s too expensive for me right now so I can’t support him like I’d want to just yet. I do however have time (time means you can support others too! Though I can’t afford him, I know others can. I follow him on social media and always like and share his work).

With the time I had on hand, I was able to research cheap custom book cover designers. The cover to The Aftermath, my first novel costs me less than $200. The cover of Book Three in The Stella Trilogy (The Road to Freedom – Joseph’s Story) costs less than $100. For the second book in The Stella Trilogy (Beyond the Colored Line) I paid less than $30. It just cost me the price of the stock photo (Winter Woman).

The rest I did from a free MS Word template offered by Derrick Murphy.

Broke Author…

But, we’re talking about the broke author so let’s take it all the way back.

My first poetry book cover cost $0.

I published with Lulu and used one of the templates they already had. You can do the same with Createspace. Sure, there are some hideous ones out there but we’re talking about investing time. If you’re not lazy and cheap with your time, then you can produce a nice cover from one of the free cover design templates or whichever POD you’re using whether that is Createspace, Lulu, or Lightening Source (IngramSpark), or whatever you use to publish your paperbacks.

Premades – If you’re looking for something more professional than a free one (or couldn’t find one you liked), you still don’t have to spend a lot of money. If you don’t have the money for a custom designed cover, you can purchase a pre-made.

Premade book covers are pre-designed book covers by professional graphic designers and sold at a lower cost than a custom made. The only drawback is that designers sometimes use the same stock photos across premade sites.

However, with a little time, this can be overcome by choosing a unique look. They are out there, you just need the time to find them. Don’t just pick the first pre-made you see that looks nice. Think about whether or not it speaks to what your book is about. (And don’t choose a pre-made cover that uses a stock photo you’ve seen lots of times.)

Websites – Hours a day spent building a website using Squarespace, WIX, Website.com or any less expensive option can result in a decent author website for those who don’t have the money to purchase an expensive one. If you don’t have money at all, you can create a website here on WordPress for free.

It will only cost you time.

Editing – Editing is expensive for the broke author. The thing is, editing should be expensive. I review books for free and it takes a lot of time. I can only imagine having to make corrections too.

However, there are different kinds of editing and not all of them are expensive. If you are willing to put off the release of your book a while, you can get your manuscript Beta-read first. Your Beta’s can help you with the overall story so you know if something is confusing or if there are major plot holes. Then, you can pay a copyeditor to help with those grammatical mistakes.

Over time you will need to invest in an editor but we’re talking baby steps. If in the beginning, you don’t have the funds, you can still have your work looked at by someone more knowledgeable than you.

There are tons of services out there to help those low on finances, you just have to take the time to look. You may also need to put off the release of your book. This means you can’t rush through it just to get something out there. You will have to take your time.

Offline Events – What if you want to run a book signing or offline event? Surely, you need money to do this.

Hosting a Book Signing is free at places like Libraries but your books are not.

Crowdfunding is a great way to raise money that you do not have, even if it means to purchase bulk copies of your book.

I did not have the money to host a book signing in Atlanta last year. The library wasn’t charging but I still needed money for books and promotional products. Instead of giving up, I set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for what I needed. I did have to invest time in setting it up and promoting it but that’s all it costs me.

We can go on and on. You can even discover editing services that are cheaper than most if you are willing to look for it.

The point here is time. If you are willing to invest time into your work, then not having the money is not a reason not to publish a book. Baby steps are key.

Should you invest finances in your writing? Of course, you should but that doesn’t have to mean right now. You don’t have the money right now. What you do have is what you woke up with this morning: Time.

Sometimes, all you need is the internet and books! There are tons of free webinars, blogs, and how-to books out there to assist in your education of the Industry. What are they? Where are they? That’s for you to find! It only costs you your time, the most valuable commodity out there and the broke author’s secret weapon.



Yecheilyah Ysrayl is the Historical Fiction author of Young Adult Black American Literature and Poetry. The author of nine books she attended Chicago State University, Robert Morris College, and Everest College. Yecheilyah is currently working on her next book series “The Nora White Story”. Book One is due for release July 15, 2017.

Yecheilyah will also be in attendance at The Tampa Indie Author Book Convention in Tampa Florida. Yecheilyah is a Blogger and Book Reviewer.

Originally from Chicago, IL, she now resides in Shreveport, LA with her husband where she writes full time. She is currently working on her memoir and BREATHE: Letters of Inspiration to Keep You Inspired, Motivated, and Writing.

Author Website





Guest Post: Secret Diary Of Porter Girl – How It All Began

Many thanks to the author of “Secret Diary Of Porter Girl” for the below guest post. If you haven’t visited her blog then you are missing out on much laughter and high jinks.


realDHPSecret Diary Of a Porter Girl began life, believe it or not, as a secret diary. It didn’t stay secret for very long, I’ll grant you, but sometime ago on a website far, far away I took to my laptop to share with close friends and family my exciting new adventure into the world of British academia.

After serving with Her Majesty’s Constabulary for seven years I decided that I rather fancied a quieter life and when I saw a job advertised for Deputy Head Porter at one of the most famous colleges in Cambridge, it struck me as imperative that I apply. Becoming the first female Deputy Head Porter in the College’s illustrious history was something of surprise. With my own education ending abruptly at the tender age of 16, I had no experience of University, let alone one of the finest academic institutions in the world.

As it happens, I was as much as an anomaly to them as they were to me. It is surprising how many remarkable ways of expressing the phrase “Oh, you’re a woman” there actually are. Quite apart from that, the College seemed to have its own unique vernacular. It took me several weeks to get my head around what people were even talking about and even then I didn’t understand what was going on half of the time. The endless fascination with keys and obsessions over flags became apparent quite early on, however. Suddenly, a whole heap of things I had never even heard of had become more important than life itself. Well, more important than the life of a Porter, anyway.

These anachronisms raised smiles and eyebrows aplenty as I recounted my strange new experiences with friends and family both through conversation and social media. Every day seemed to throw up some new unlikely occurrence – from the adventures of the Master’s Cat to the grand epic events that were mealtimes – and I soon found that I had a clamouring audience awaiting the next update. Suddenly, emails and social media statuses seemed vastly insubstantial for really setting the scene of the bizarre ceremonies, ancient traditions and downright inexplicable customs of College life. I had to come up with something rather more creative.

A blog seemed a likely solution but all was not quite so straightforward as it might be. Obviously, I was quite keen to keep hold of this unusual new position and I was sure that The Fellowship of College would take a dim view of me rambling along online about their treasured institution. I adopted the name of Old College and decided to leave almost all of my characters nameless, being known as they are by their titles or job description, in an effort to cover my tracks.

This worked well for quite some time. I found a knack for expressing the quirkiness of College life in my writing and discovered that this was something I really enjoyed doing. I was a prolific writer as a small child, spending hours at a typewriter creating worlds and creatures (usually based in outer space, for some reason) but my early teens heralded a new age of rock bands and chasing unsuitable young men and the typewriter was soon forgotten. Now, though, I had an endless source of inspiration and a captive audience.

There was also something very therapeutic about writing about my adventures at Old College. Amongst the Wonderland-esque wide-eyed bafflement, there was something of a darker side to the world of academia. The backstabbing and in-fighting both within the ranks of College servants and those of The Fellowship were widespread and, it must be said, fairly pitiful. Despite spending the better part of a decade dealing with the underbelly of society, it was within these cloisters that I came across some of the most devious and duplicitous specimens that I have ever known. I found a great degree of satisfaction in expressing some of this to my chums.


On the other hand, of course, I also met some of the most astounding and brilliant characters imaginable, the likes of which could surely never have existed outside of this eclectic environment. The ‘heroes’ of Old College have firm groundings in those astonishingly fabulous people who made my short time as Deputy Head Porter one of the most interesting and delightful periods of my life.

Indeed, it was but a short time. The blog was discovered (revealed to Head Porter by one such duplicitous individual) and was not met with quite the rapturous applause my small, but growing, online audience had expressed. By this point, I was far from Head Porter’s favourite person and I was hauled before the senior members of The Fellowship.

I was not sacked (although College folklore might like to tell you different) but was advised by the formidable Senior Bursar to ‘consider the wisdom of continuing with such an endeavour is quite so public a manner’. These stern words were balanced by a chuckling Junior Bursar, who had taken the time to highlight the bits he had enjoyed and to read back to me lines that had particularly amused him. But nonetheless, the Establishment was affronted. Needless to say, Secret Diary Of PorterGirl was swiftly deleted and abandoned. For now.

This revelation divided opinion within College and, despite my protestations that it was supposed to be an affectionate, wry take on the academic world, a collective sense of humour failure ensued. About six months later, I hung up my bowler hat for the last time and relieved Cambridge University of quite possibly the worst Deputy Head Porter it had ever seen.

I missed Old College and its colourful incumbents immensely and realised that I missed writing very much indeed. So I set up a new blog, began to repost my original pieces and resolved to continue with my little adventures. Unfortunately, I managed to upset the great and good of the University once more when several publications picked up on the blog and ran stories about it. The academic elite were particularly incensed by a headline claiming ‘Ex-Porter Reveals Sex And Drug Secrets Of Cambridge College’. Although, they were not half as annoyed as the many readers who headed over to the blog expecting salacious revelations in the style of the final days of Sodom and Gomorrah when, in reality, I had made only the briefest of references to a cannabis-smoking student and a packet of extra small condoms.

The Establishment well and truly riled, but my audience ever-growing and delighted, I decided that the only course of action was to come up with such ridiculous storylines that no one would ever consider them to be relevant to a real-life College. Inspired by my love of fictional detectives such as Hercule Poirot, Sherlock Holmes and Inspector Morse, I began cobbling together extravagant scenarios and posting them as a serial.

In an attempt to put further distance between Old College and the inspiration behind it, I embarked on a vicious cull of characters that were too closely based on real people. Some met a grisly end, whilst others simply disappeared. The only surviving Old College ‘original’ is The Dean, who is so well-loved by some readers that his survival was assured following a small but definite outcry. Also, he is my favourite. So there.

Problem solved? Well, not quite. Writing extravagant serials is complex and difficult. The storylines have so many holes you could go fishing with them. I think of interesting and intelligent themes but then get distracted by something else and tend to forget about them. The fates and fortunes of the characters are often subject to the whims of the readers, who usually come up with far better ideas than I do, sending the story off in unexpected directions.

The small matter of me not being a particularly proficient writer shall not deter me. The current storyline sees us embarking on a quest for the Holy Grail – an ambitious undertaking by anyone’s standards. How well it holds together, only time will tell. Next up is likely to be a tale of intrigue and conspiracy within the College choir. Possibly.

So then, Secret Diary Of PorterGirl isn’t really a secret any more and it isn’t quite a diary. What it is, I suppose, is an amateur attempt at an epic that appears to go down quite well with some people, whilst others consider it some kind of sacrilege. But whatever else it might be, it is certainly bloody good fun.

To get even MORE laughs, visit her at the blog: https://portergirl.wordpress.com/ 

Poetic Enrichment – a guest post by Kay Kauffman

Many thanks to Kay for the below guest post. If you are interested in doing a guest post please contact me at newauthoronline (at) gmail . com

Hello! My name is Kay, and I’m a poet. I don’t just love writing poetry, though – I also love reading it. My poetry habit began when I was a child and I discovered Shel Silverstein’s work (if you haven’t read A Light in the Attic or Where the Sidewalk Ends, add them to your to-be-read list pronto). When I was ten, I discovered Joan Walsh Anglund’s work; The Song of Love is one of my most treasured books.

As I grew older, so, too, did the poetry I read. Nineteenth century poets, eighteenth century poets – none were too musty or dusty for me. I finally worked my way back to Shakespeare, of whom I couldn’t get enough. I had to read his sonnets with a dictionary, but I didn’t mind. It only became a problem when I’d get caught up in reading the dictionary instead of the sonnets. 🙂

But there are worse problems to have. Reading the dictionary turned out to be a major boon to my own poetry by increasing my vocabulary. On the flip side, though, my husband now refuses to play word games with me. Learning about the history and formations of different words is fascinating, though, especially if, say, you’re trying to create your own language for the fantasy world you’ve spent a decade creating.

Not that I would know anything about that… 🙂

Poetry has enriched my life in countless ways, and I could no sooner choose a favorite poem than I could a favorite star in the sky. What about you? What are some of your favorite poems? How has poetry affected your life?

As a girl, Kay dreamed of being swept off her feet by her one true love. At the age of 24, it finally happened…and he’s never let her forget it. A mild-mannered secretary by day and a determined word-wrangler by night, she battles the twin evils of distraction and procrastination in order to write fantastical tales of wuv…twue wuv…with a few haiku thrown in for good measure.

The author of Tuesday Daydreams: A Journal in Verse and A Song for All Seasons: A Journal in Verse, Kay is currently hard at work on the first book in a fantasy trilogy. She resides in the midst of an Iowa corn field with her devoted husband and his mighty red pen; four crazy, cute kids; and an assortment of adorably small, furry animals.

Tuesday Daydreams captures the life and imagination of the author in vivid detail, touching on joy and loss, life’s everyday hassles, and the many faces of Mother Nature. A Song for All Seasons paints vivid pictures of the Iowa landscape in all its glory, in addition to intimate portraits of family life. From frost-covered windowpanes and snowy vistas to rolling green fields and bright blue skies, each poem is a peek into a fading world of untamed beauty. If you’d like to pick up your own copy of Tuesday Daydreams or A Song for All Seasons, you can find them at Amazon, Amazon UK, Createspace, Smashwords, iBooks, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble.

Care to save her from the chaos? You can find Kay in the all the usual places:

At her blog, where she shares random pictures and silly poems; on Facebook, where she shares things about cats and books; on Twitter, where she shares whatever pops into her head; on Pinterest, where she shares delicious recipes and images from her fantasy world; on Instagram, where she shares pictures of pretty sunsets; and on Tumblr, where she shares all of the above.

ASFAS-Ecover TD-Ecover wpavi

The Reverie – A New Poetry Journal

Thank you to Laura A Lord for her guest post announcing the launch of a new poetry journal, The Reverie. Good luck to Laura with her project and do please check out her site.




The Reverie is a poetic publication that features submitted original work in a biannual journal. A themed anthology is published once a year.

Which is a fancy way of saying, we are looking for your work! We will be hosting weekly prompts here to get the creative juices flowing, but during our reading periods you are welcome to submit work to us for potential publication.

Please check out our Prompts Page and our Submission Guidelines for information on both of these options.

Visit our anthology page for information on submitting for this year’s theme.

What are we looking for?

We are looking for poetry that is real, brutal, honest. We want the words you are afraid to speak out-loud. We want strong voices that cut through to the heart of the matter at hand. We want to step away from your poetry feeling a little raw. We want words that awaken emotion.

Check out our About page for more info!



Laura A. Lord





Guest Post: Who On Earth Is Ace Ventura, Anyway?

Many thanks to Alan (http://allyballysblog.wordpress.com/) for agreeing to write a guest post for newauthoronline.com. Please do check out Alan’s blog, it is a great site and I am a particular fan of his 10 sentence fiction.


If you would like to do a guest post for newauthoronline please send an e-mail to newauthoronline (@) gmail . com, (the address is given in this manner in an attempt to defeat spammers)!




Who on earth is Ace Ventura, anyway?

Two decades. Twenty years is a long time. Remembering things as far back as that can sometimes be hard to contemplate or even believe. I often try and remember back as far as I can and think about what life was like then. Where did I live? What did I look like? What were my goals in life? (if I even had any) Thoughts of technology and how far it had advanced is always a winner. Thinking of mobile phones when they first really came into the public’s hands to where they are now.
Taking photos and videos back then was usually always a gamble. After the photos developed, you had to live with the fact that you mum had chopped your head off, or dads finger was in the viewfinder.   Personally, I never had experience of videoing anything as a kid. That was usually something left for ‘the rich kids’.

Twenty years ago, I was eleven years old. Obviously, I was still at school and I lived at home with my parents and my younger brother. I owned a Commodore Amiga home computer and my brother had a Sega Mega Drive. Neither of my parents owned a mobile phone or any other kind of mobile data device. Come to think of it, nobody really did, unless you were a government or NASA official.

Actually, the very thought of ever owning such a device, especially something as advanced as the iPhone and iPads of today, certainly seemed like something out of a futuristic SiFi movie and way out of reach.

A big part of growing up for us all, are movies. The motion picture is something of a way of life for a huge portion of the world. Ultimately, it is a career and a lively hood for the Hollywood big wigs at the helm, but, for the average Joe like you and I, movies are a source of entertainment, a reason to go out at night, a reason to invite friends over and for others, an inspiration to go out and make it big.

I think most adults of my generation grew up with videotapes and video rental stores. Because of this, most of us will have grown up watching movies such as, The Mask, Dumb and Dumber and of course, Ace Ventura. This isn’t an article about the amazing success of Jim Carrey, the star of said movies. Nope, it’s about how something like a popular movie can shape your childhood and follow you all the way through your adult life.

I remember seeing a trailer for The Mask, during the commercial breaks of one of my mum’s god-awful soap operas, on TV one night. I was ten years old and utterly mesmerized with the special effects that were being demonstrated on this seemingly mind-blowing movie. Who was the guy with the green mask on? I had no idea. I also had no any idea who Jim Carrey was, either, if you’d had told me that’s who was wearing it.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to witness seeing The Mask on the big screen. Money was tight for a working class family of four in the city, and while my mother had taken my brother and I to the cinema several times in the past (Mr. Nanny and Home Alone 2), at ten years old, I was still profoundly shocked at the price of a cinema ticket.
My disappointment didn’t last long, however. You can imagine the smile on a ten year olds face on Christmas morning when he unwrapped a parcel to reveal a VHS tape of The Mask. From that moment on, the film was played to death in the VCR and I could easily rhyme off random parts of the script. In fact, I still can.

Like most kids, I was a fan of movies anyway, but, I had firmly established myself a fan of comedy and indeed, a fan of Jim Carrey. This naturally made me curious as to what other works he had completed, and it wasn’t long before I discovered Ace Ventura: Pet Detective on the shelf of the video rental store one Friday night.

While at school, kids talked about movies, they repeated lines from them, acted out lines from them. It appeared to be a part of most kids, and parents, lives.
The Lion King, D2: The Mighty Ducks, Little giants, Richie Rich and hundreds of others were all talking points.

The next year, when Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls was released, my parents ensured that my brother and I didn’t miss out, and a trip to see it was timed nicely with my eleventh birthday. I was over the moon and buzzing from watching my comedy hero act like a total buffoon on the big screen.

Almost exactly twenty years on, I still own these movies on DVD. I watch them if they happen to be on TV, I’ll laugh at them as I always have. Every so often, my friends and I will chat about our favourite movies, remember them and repeat funny lines from them.

I earn my living as a Manager at a national, blue chip retailer. I’ve done this for many years, after working myself to the bone and climbing the success ladder.
A huge part of my job involves recruiting new members of staff. Full time posts, part time posts, and often, school or college kids are recruited for a weekend position while they beaver away at the their studies.

Over time, when you get to know these kids and you build some rapport with them, you’ll chat to them and find out what they’re into.   Maybe even ask what they got up to at the weekend. The ones who didn’t get completely rubbered on cheap, gut melting liquor, talk about visiting the cinema. This generally starts a conversation about movies and actors alike.

I have been astounded at how many young people of today have never seen or even heard of The Mask, Ace Ventura or Forest Gump for that matter. Their argument is usually, ‘that’s old and before my time’. Very true. But, people of my generation are familiar and fans of movies that were out before our time aren’t we?
Predator, Die Hard, Rambo, Rocky, Midnight Run, See no evil, hear no evil? These films have lived on and remained popular due to us ‘kids’ growing up with them and starting a new fan base.

I often worry those films like The Mask and Ace Ventura will fade away. Some may say, yeah, but isn’t there a sequel to Dumb and Dumber due out at Christmas? Yes, there is, but, I wonder how many kids or young adults of today, have actually seen the first one and are there fore bothered about the second one.

I for one will ensure that my kids grow up enjoying and appreciating what made me laugh and fall in love with movies, such a long time ago.

Twenty years ago, to be precise.