Blog Post

Hello and welcome to the last blog post of 2017!

It’s that time of year when so many of us take time to reflect on the year that is almost over and we begin to plan ahead and think about things to come. What has made you happy and brought joy to your heart this year? What obstacles and challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them? Have your experiences changed the way you think or feel about certain aspects or people in your life? Perhaps you’ve lost someone dear to you. I’ve had highs and lows this year and I’m looking forward with a grateful heart that I am here to welcome 2018 with open arms, an open mind and an open heart. 

Life often just happens TO some of us while others have the attitude of I’M going to make life happen for ME. Either way I hope you enjoy this poem taken from my poetry collection SUNSHINE AFTER RAIN. ( )

It’s been a long while coming

But cannot stop moving, cannot stop running

Thoughts whirling round in my head

Kindly words, promises said, whispers unsaid

What happened to our forever after?

Our joyous days filled with laughter?

Did habit and comfort get in the way?

Forgetting too often ‘I love you’ to say?

Life rushes, demanding space and energy

Losing ourselves to imbalanced symmetry

Hollow kisses, vacant glances and hurried caresses

The ticking clock a reminder time on presses

Early dawn mornings and late night slumber

Aching bones and tired limbs outnumber

Hours spent in front of blue screens

Or idly watching television’s mundane scenes

But we must turn to each other anew

Make joint our efforts to be honest and true

To notice again beauty, joy and radiance

Breathe in rose perfume, amber fragrance

We unfold achingly, colours of a new bloom

Togetherness, unity in the same room

Holding tight, can’t let go

How did we almost let our ‘us’ away blow?

With one accord, in each other lost

Our bursting hearts’ passions embossed

We divert attention and feed love’s funnel

Rejoicing we found light at the end of the tunnel

Wishing you all a very happy New Year 2018 full of dreams come true and many blessings.

Big hug and much love, Soulla xxx

Christmas Morning

She woke, stretched arms above her head

A starkness, white, across the tiny room

It felt as though she floated in her bed

Her mind went whoosh and zoom

It was Christmas morning

And many a sound could be heard

Robins twittered without warning

Her eyes screwed against the light, blurred

She sat up and shivered against the chill

Wondered would the fires be roaring

Promised surprises awaiting gave her a thrill

Springing out from the covers, her heart adoring

Nimbly running down the stairs

The tree sparkled, adorned greeted her

Presents in abundance, stuffed teddy bears

The cat curled up meowing her purr

Mama and Papa awaited there

With orphaned Johnny and Little Rose

Bouncing blond ringlets, jet ebony hair

Lit wax candles cast their dancing glows

Within seconds hugs and kisses anew

The Christmas gifts were torn open

Wrapping and ribbons around the room flew

Wild whoops and yells of excitement spoken

The fire roared its orange and burning flames

While outside the snow blustery came

The children played, with echoed exclaims

Spreading out counters and a board game

Wonderland flurry wrapped the garden in white

A tiny robin at red berries nip and pecking

The garden a winter’s magical sight

An iridescent pure silver icy flecking.


Happy Christmas to you all. With love, peace and joy.

Soulla xxx



Welcome to Part 5 of this great blog series – Writers’ Favourite Writing Quotes. This week’s guest, Allison K. Garcia, has collaborated on this series with me before in Part 4 and she wanted to share another of her inspirational quotes with us. So welcome once again Allison, it’s lovely to have you back in the ‘Blog Seat’ once more! By way of introduction I have added one of my own quotes which particularly resonates with me right now and I hope that you can relate to it too. Take five minutes and let’s read on…

So, one of my own quotes which I go back to again and again is this:

‘People will never forget how you made them feel.’

                              Maya Angelou

The reason this is particularly inspiring for me right now, at this point in my writing journey, is that I have had many readers of BROKEN PIECES OF TOMORROW contact me directly or through social media about the feelings the story evoked in them. Many who have commented in their Amazon reviews of the book and their comments have included: ‘What an emotional rollercoaster…’, ‘It gave me the chills…’, ‘…had me laughing and crying…’. Direct messages to me have included: ‘…it brought a tear to my eye…’, ‘…I felt so sad I cried…’, ‘I whooped with joy at the end…so happy for Georgia!’

I must admit to you all that writing the book was quite emotional for me as it is partly based on my own personal experience of my marriage breaking down and the journey I found myself going on; often on auto-pilot! So I laughed and I cried writing the words as they literally, on some days, poured out of me with my tears.

To know that the story, MY words, have touched readers in this way is incredible and I feel sure that Maya Angelou is right when said this.

All my links can be found on my website, so please connect with me…I’d love to keep on sharing what I’m doing with you and look out for my next book THE SUMMER WILL COME – out on March 25th, 2018.


Allison K. García’s favourite writing quote:

“The pen is mightier than the sword.”

   Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1839

“To use my words to fight injustice.”

I’ve never liked physical altercations but being from an Italian family in New Jersey, I soon became a master at verbal altercations.

In school I started to learn about injustices towards different cultural groups and it soon became my own personal soapbox.

Later when I got my Masters in Counseling and began to work in this field, I heard so many stories of trauma and social oppression and injustice towards the Latino population. During that time, I was also learning from my brothers and sisters at my church about their traumatic border crossings and reasons they emigrated and what they had to endure here. Then a few years ago, when a prominent member from our church was deported, I decided that I needed to write a book about undocumented immigrants. And with everything that is going on in our country right now with racism and prejudice I decided that I wasn’t going to wait to get it traditionally published but decided to publish Vivir el Dream on my own. So far it has made a difference in some people’s mindsets regarding the undocumented population and to me that is worth everything, all the hard work I put into the book.

What are you writing at the moment/working on?

I am hoping to get Vivir el Dream translated into Spanish and hope to publish my next Latino Christian fiction book, Finding Amor, in 2018.

Social Media Links:

Twitter: athewriter

Instagram: allisonkgarciaauthor


Thank you Allison for joining us again and to you too! I hope that you will come by and visit again soon. And if you have a favourite quote, whether it be a writing quote or one which inspires you to write, and would like to be featured in the series, please contact me, I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time, happy writing, happy reading, happy you!




Amy was one of the first authors I connected with on Twitter a year ago and her down-to-earth, realistic, heartfelt and often emotional poetry struck me as some of the most authentic poetry I have read in recent times. Amy bares her most inner fears and hopes, her pain and her joy through her words and very often in such a way that I can’t help but want to hug her! So when she agreed to contribute to the Christmas Poetry blog post I was both delighted and a little anxious to see what take she would have on this. Her poem ‘A Christmas Confession’ has not disappointed me and is as true to her and Christmas as it could be. So whether you celebrate Christmas or not please read on…



A Christmas Confession


He looked in my eyes

With a slight grin on his face

He had a simple question

One filled with grace.

“The night before Christmas

—the blizzard of ’83

Remember the snow?

It’ll never leave me

You were only six.

We’d just moved back

The presents were at grandma’s

Dad couldn’t walk the path

Mom worried and panicked

She had to give you the magic

If Santa failed you

It would’ve been heartbreaking and tragic

So I bundled up

My mind set to be strong

Across the field I walked

Only a mile… it wasn’t long.”

He shrugged and chuckled

Like he’d stepped in the past

My heart swelled with love

For my brother at last

That night still fresh,

Memories flooded my mind

It was an adventure for me

All the chaos was fine

My room was freezing,

Snow all over the floor

Mom gasped in horror

Then slammed the door.

I felt her anxiety

As she ushered me away

With an arm full of blankets

My brother’s room, I would stay

The honor was mine

When I settled in my nest

My brother wasn’t there

I couldn’t fight the rest

Later I woke

And asked what was wrong

My hero simply answered

“Go to sleep—Santa won’t be long.”

In the morning I jumped up

And ran to the tree

Showered in lights

The sight was magical to me

At six years old

I had the best Christmas day

All because my brother

refused to let a blizzard get in the way.


Thank you so much Amy…so real and I imagine emotional to write too. It’s been wonderful having you on my blog dear friend and I hope you will be a guest again!

Happy Christmas to you and your family and to all of my wonderful readers here…I hope you all have a beautiful, peaceful time full of love and the happiest of memories.


Amy J. Markstahler is a poet and author of two novels. She lives in Central Illinois with her husband and two children in a cabin near the river.

Social Media links:






I wanted this week’s post to fit in with the festive spirit that comes with Christmas whether you celebrate or not. I remember being at school with Jewish children, Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims and they all still looked in awe at the wonder that seemed to surround Christmas time even though they didn’t celebrate.

So this week I hope you enjoy the festive story starters. These are for those of you wanting a break from your own writing but who still might want to snuggle in front of an open fire, notebook and pen in hand, maybe a glass of mulled wine or Baileys, and just write.



1. She didn’t believe in angels, she never had but then how could she explain what had just happened?

2. He wandered round the huge shopping centre wondering where to start. He had exactly one hour to buy seven presents and all he could focus on was the huge candy cane hanging from the ceiling in the middle of the concourse…

3. The smell of brandy hit the back of her throat. Just one wee glass would be alright. I mean how would she get drunk on one glass? Two hours later, her apron dusted with flour, her fingers sticky with the fruit mixture, she looked at the bottle. She hiccupped and realised it was half full. How would she explain this?

4. ‘Charity begins at home,’ said her sister in no uncertain terms.

     ‘But I want to do something. Do something that makes a difference,’ whined Freda.

      ‘Well, go and do it somewhere else and don’t you go spending money we haven’t got!’

5. Jonathan had wanted to be one of the stars in the school play. Then he changed his mind and the teacher kindly swapped him across to be a snowball. Then he changed his mind again and so he was playing the part of the nutcracker…but then he changed his mind again.

6. He looked through the recipe…one piece of coal, popcorn string, half a carrot, two tangerines, a sprig of holly…a box, ribbon and a candle. He had everything he needed. Now, to get started…

7. He knew he shouldn’t but having crept down in his pyjamas there was no going back now. He took down the cake tin and opened it. The last mince pie stared back at him. He reached his hand into the bottom of the tin and pulled it out. Its top sprinkled with sugar and glazed with egg seemed to shine at him. He brought the mice pie up to his open mouth and just as he was about to take a bite…

8. Everything was pristine and in its place. The wooden reindeer adorned the fireplace, the firewood was cut up and filled the log basket, the bright red sleigh covered in fake snow decorated the middle of the mantel piece, a red bowl overflowed with gilded cones. But there was something missing…

I truly hope you have fun with these…perhaps use them with your family and loved ones on Christmas Day to have a storytelling session. Whatever you do and however you celebrate and spend the time I hope you and your families have a wonderful time. Happy Christmas to you all and a Very Happy New Year.

Thank you for joining me for A Cup of Conversation today as I chat to Anne John-Ligali on what is her much awaited Launch Day for The Big Event! So many of us have friends on Twitter and other social media sites…friends we often think about meeting in real life…well I’ve met Anne and she’s bolder and brighter than ever and always has a smile on her face. But what if meeting up doesn’t quite work out as you imagined? This is the theme of the first in her Friendships Online Short Story Series which is available today on Amazon.

 So before you rush off to have a read of The Big Event let’s chat with her in A Cup of Conversation.

1. When did you start writing creatively?

I started writing creatively around 2007 when I was temping as an administrator for an architectural firm.  It was a very small firm and the phone hardly rang allowing me lots of time to read. I had just come to the end of reading a Victorian murder mystery by Anne Perry and I loved it. I remember trying to recreate my own scenes from the same era and had so much fun doing it.  Writing scenes, creating my own characters and experimenting with dialogue soon became a hobby of mine and I began writing about everything I possibly could. This interest lead me to eventually seeking out blogs and books on creative writing, books that I still have on my shelf today, my favourite being Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell.

2. Which author has most influenced your own writing style?

It’s hard to pick one author as I have read so widely. I would say authors who write women’s fiction and contemporary romance have had the greatest influence on my work. I adore stories about women and their lives with humour or the ones that tug at your heart strings.

3. Are any of the characters in your novel/s based on yourself?

There’s definitely a piece of me in some of the characters I have created. I can imagine how difficult it would be to create a character that does not carry one of my traits or have experienced something I have.

4. What are you working on at the moment/what’s next?

Apart from my short story series, of which The Big Event is the first story, I’m working on a women’s fiction sweet romance novel set in the Caribbean. It starts off in London but the majority of the story takes place on the island of St Vincent. This story is very special to me in so many ways. I used to live on the island and although I have not been back for many years, it’s been lovely to revisit in my mind, browse through old photo albums and talk to my parents. I have also had a few very helpful vloggers who vlog about the island to assist me with things that may have changed on the island over the years. I’m so grateful for the feedback and time that the vloggers have given to me.

5. Where do you write and do you have a writing routine?

I’m lucky to be the sort of writer that can write anywhere, anytime. I don’t get easily distracted, even when my son and daughter are singing at the tops of their little voices. I wouldn’t say I have a routine. I write mostly at night and during any days I have to myself. At the weekends I love visiting my local Costa; it’s so comfortable, I adore the smell of fresh coffee and the cheery music in the background as I work away.

6. What’s your favourite go-to snack when writing?

Pomegranate, cashew nuts and sparkling water, which I have beside me right now as I type. If I don’t have any of that, then a microwaveable cup of Nescafé latte will do nicely.

7. Is there any aspect of the writer’s life you least enjoy and why?

Grasping the amount of information that is available online for writers wanting to self-publish has been an overwhelming experience. Another thing is that feeling of fear I felt especially in the early days of writing; a feeling that I’d be missing out on something. So to ensure I’d never miss a thing I would opt into every newsletter going, and before I knew it, there would be 2000 unread emails in my inbox! However, I am very grateful for the wealth of data, the mentors, courses, blog posts and books that are available to teach people what they need to know. What I have also learned about a writer’s life is that no amount of reading, meet-ups or webinars can truly prepare you 100% for what’s to come. It’s not until you become hands-on that you see the amount of work that’s involved. Nowadays I tend to follow six key people who are my go-tos for self-publishing and creative writing and of course, my dear friend Khardine Gray. Their advice is all I need. 

8. Sum up The Big Event in 6 words.

Witty, contemporary, feel-good, engaging and glamourous.

 9. Are you a planner or a pantser?

Definitely a planner. I love planning every stage of my stories. For me it’s so important to know where I’m going to avoid writing myself into a hole.  The process of planning gives me a thrill because it’s not just about getting my story down, it’s about how it gets written down that matters to me. It’s sort of like putting your favourite jigsaw puzzle together, and seeing all of the pieces connected to complete the bigger picture. That’s how I know being a planner is meant for me.


10. What’s on your current to-do list?

To send some new ideas over to my cover designer for part four in my short story series. Oooh, if only he knew what’s coming next.

To draft up my to-do list for all things writing for 2018, God willing.

To get round to listening to the number of e-books and audio books that have been on my Kindle for a while.

And to get my hair and nails done…of course.


Thanks so much for joining me and let’s raise a glass of champagne to Anne on her Launch Day as we wish her huge success today and in the future too!


 The Big Event, part one of the Friendships Online Short Story Series is out now.



You are cordially invited to the party of the season where you’ll meet Constance and her friends in action.

Constance Jeffries is excited when she gets the chance to meet up with virtual friends at a get-together in a London hotel. She’s been tweeting and messaging her lovely friends for years and feels they must be just as excited to finally meet her in person too.
Or so she hopes.

The Big Event is first part in a short story series about the importance of ‘real’ friendships and how it’s the little things that matter the most.


Pre-order your copy here on Amazon today


Watch the short story trailer for The Big Event here on YouTube



Author Blog:

Author Twitter:


AUTHOR Facebook:

Books and Authors UK Blogsite:

Blog Twitter:

Blog FB:




Welcome to A Cup of Conversation with the wonderfully creative poet and author Rebecca Lynn Bardelli. I connected with Rebecca when I read one of her poems on Twitter and subsequently downloaded her poetry collection Dancing Through the Flames which I found to be warm, heartfelt and very real poetry I could connect with on so many different levels. So without further ado let’s meet Rebecca! 

1. When did you start writing creatively?

I have enjoyed creative writing since I was in middle school. I found it freeing and still do. I didn’t like many subjects in school, but writing was my favorite. I write poetry for several reasons. I feel like I’ve created a piece of art when I finish a poem, and it is an amazing feeling. I love being able to create something with words. I also write to heal and to inspire others.

2. Which author has most influenced your own writing style?

That is an easy question. I absolutely love Emily Dickinson. She is my all-time favorite poet.

3. Are any of the characters in your novel/s based on yourself?

My personal experiences that are reflected in my poetry include overcoming addictions, learning to love myself, the loss of loved ones, depression, fear, mood swings, and hitting rock bottom and going up from there. The overall theme is learning from my experiences and striving to make the best of life.

4. What are you working on at the moment/what’s next?

The title of my debut poetry book is “Dancing Through the Flames.” The flames are symbolic for life’s hardships. I felt the title was fitting for what I was trying to get across in the book, which is that life can be painful, but we must dance through the flames.

5. Where do you write and do you have a writing routine?

I write and post my writing and samples of my writing on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. I don’t have a writing routine, but I do try to write daily.

6. What’s your favourite go-to snack when writing?

I don’t know if you can consider coffee, tea or soda a snack, but they definitely make their way to my table while I’m writing. If I need a quick snack without being interrupted, I grab a bowl of pretzels.

7. Is there any aspect of the writer’s life you least enjoy and why?

That’s actually a difficult question, but I can’t really think of anything off the top of my head. So I’m going to go with no.

8. Are you a planner or a pantser?

I would say a little bit of both, but I’m definitely more of a planner.












Amazon link to books:




Do you need to relax after a long, focused session writing or are you suffering from writer’s block?

Then Meditation could work for you.

I asked my long-time friend Corinne Schurink to write a piece on meditation and she was delighted to share her knowledge, having been practicing meditation for many years.

Meditation is about being with your inner self, tapping into your intuition, being more present in the moment that is here and now, connecting with your heart space and enjoying the essence and peace surrounding who you truly are.

Through cultivating this practice you will become more calm and centred, giving your mind some space so that words may flow more easily, to allow characters and storylines to reveal themselves.

Contrary to what many people may think, that they don’t have time or patience to sit still and shut their mind off, there really is no difficult process to follow.

The most important thing is that you have a straight back whilst meditating, sit up straight in your chair, imagine you are a mountain.  This allows the prana or chi, life force energy, to flow more easily up the spine and allow the mind to find its true state of rest.

Now focus on your breath.  Breathe in and out deeply through your nose or mouth.  Keep your eyes open and your gaze slightly down your nose.  You may also have your eyes closed if you prefer.  Notice the space between the out breath and the in breath. When you become aware of your breathing and feel relaxed enough, you may notice that you become one with your breath.

Don’t worry about thoughts still occupying your mind, the more you do this, the more they will calm and if they don’t, just by being more aware of your thoughts shows how your mind has finally slowed down enough to notice.

If emotions or feelings arise within you, just sit with them, they will pass just as everything in life passes, it’s only for a moment.  Think of your mind as muddy water and when left alone the particles will finally settle and reveal the water’s true nature, totally clear and spacious to  ‘allow the now’.

If you have difficulty focussing on your breath another way to relax is to focus on an object such as a flower, a tree, the sky, something beautiful that is true to you.

Try to follow this practice, which is also a form of mindfulness, every time you come to the end of your working day.  It doesn’t matter whether you do it for 5 or 15 minutes, the key is consistency.  It is also a nice way to transition from your work routine to your social life or when settling down for the evening.  Another good time to meditate is early in the morning before starting any writing.  With consistent practice, I promise the creative juices will not only flow but increase your creativity too.

The skill of meditation is to relax, but remain alert, and you will experience the bliss of your true nature, your talents and the joy this wonderful gift of writing can bring to your life.

A little bit more about Corinne from her:

I am 52 years old and until I started practicing yoga and meditation I was studying and making my way in the world of work. 
First in the hotel industry for 15 years in the UK and overseas, then as a Personal Assistant for some large Corporates. 
In 2013 after the loss of both of my parents I have been on a journey of transformation, a sort of ‘awakening’.  Meditation and yoga really helped me and are now a regular part of my life with on-going reading and learning on the subject. I’m also working towards a yoga teacher training qualification.
Spiritual meditation helped me to see more meaning in my life and the essence of who I truly am.  It is an ongoing process that is constantly unfolding and for which I am truly grateful.  I’d say it’s never too late to start and can be both life changing and enhancing.
I just love it!
THANK YOU SO MUCH Corinne and to you wonderful writers for joining us this week…I hope you will make the time to connect with your inner self and may your creativity and words flow like a river!

If you wish to know more about meditation the Brahma Kumaris organisation

and the Amaravati Buddhist Monastery

run regular meditation workshops, for donations.

Writers’ Favourite Writing Quotes (Part 4)

Hello and welcome if this is not your first visit to the blog series Writers’ Favourite Writing Quotes. The series will be an on-going one and I’m delighted so many of you are reading the blog and visiting my website too!

In Part 4 of the series one of my author friends, Allison shares her favourite quote and her writing and creative journey. So take a break and enjoy reading.

Allison K. García’s favourite quote is:

“I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13


Allison says: For me, I have been writing since I was a little girl and I really feel God is who gives us our gifts. I’m a bit of a rebel in the Christian fiction world because I write from a liberal POV (i.e. Vivir el Dream is about an undocumented college student), and again I feel that the experiences I have been through and the people I have met throughout my life, happened for a reason and that there is a plan in all things from Him. But I can’t do it on my own, so I need God’s help. He also created coffee, so that helps me out, too. 🙂 Seriously, though, I really feel called to write about love and about loving each other and that’s what I tried to write in my books.

Check out Allison’s book Vivir el Dream on Amazon:

Vivir el Dream by [García, Allison K.]

Currently working on: I’m editing my second Latino Christian fiction book, called Finding Amor, which I plan to release in 2018. I also plan during NaNoWriMo to finish the last 2 books in an 8-book children’s fantasy series called Prince Miguel and His Journey Home.

If you would like to know more about Allison these are her LINKS:

Twitter: athewriter

Instagram: allisonkgarciaauthor


Thank you Allison for joining us and to you too for taking the time to read through this blog post! I hope that you will come by and visit again soon. And if you have a favourite quote, whether it be a writing quote or one which inspires you to write, and would like to be featured in the series, please contact me, I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time, happy writing, happy reading, happy you!

A man after my own heart.

We talked and laughed mutually

Everything I said he

agreed unusually

How can he be so similar to me?

In thought, in ideas, our planning in glee


When I revealed my biggest dream

He smiled and said what a great scheme

By your side with whatever you need

Don’t be alone, I can nurture the seed


And when I lost faith and began to doubt

He showed me the truth and did shout

He took my hand and yelled you’re a star

Don’t give up now when you’ve come this far


Exhausted and ready to give up

You re-focused me on the champagne cup

And you brought back my resolution

My energy and ambition, determination


We talked for hours and hugged and kissed

Warm and cosy eating ice cream and life missed

You looked into my eyes, knew with a start

We were one, you and me…a man after my own heart.

I hope you enjoyed my poem. I have written 30 poems inspired by old phrases and sayings. The collection ‘Sunshine after Rain’ is available on Amazon here:



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