Interview with Diana Milne from The Review Group


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Ripples 3


Many thanks to Diana Milne for inviting me to The Review Blog Page for an interview.


My Review of My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout


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My Name is Lucy Barton


It’s been a couple  of days since I finished reading this book and I have been thinking about it since. What makes this book so gripping, almost haunting? It’s certainly not the plot, but definitely the voice of Lucy Barton that conveys the feelings of loneliness and isolation, and her attachment to her past, her family, her parents, and her present, her marriage and her daughters. Written in sparse language, accentuated with repetition to deliver her state of mind, her stream of consciousness, we get glimpses of Lucy’s life, her relationships or lack of relationships, and read between the lines. What is not said is poignant, as well as what has been said. A childhood deprived of love from her parents, poverty, and isolation from  the main stream of life. Lucy begins to read books to escape into another world and stays at school to do her homework to keep warm, rather than go home to the cold garage where her family lived during most of her childhood. Lucy is a good student and she breaks free from her past after her college education.

From Amgash, Illinois to Manhattan, New York, Lucy’s life changes, but the past remains with her as we gather from her conversations with her mother at the hospital where Lucy stays after an operation that has gone wrong. Lucy’s mother spends five days with her while they talk about the people in her hometown. Lives that have gone wrong, people who did well, yet experienced unhappiness in the end. Lucy hasn’t seen her mother for many years and she doesn’t see her for many years afterwards, until she visits her mother at the hospital where she dies. Lucy loves her mother, but her mother is unable to say “I love you.”

As well as the many characters from Amgash, Illinois, there are two important people in Lucy’s life that shape her career as a writer. Sarah Payne, the writer, and Jeremy, the sophisticated neighbour who dies of AIDS. Lucy loves her daughters and does not divorce her husband until they leave home. Yet, what her daughter, Becka, says afterwards is something that will stay with her all her life.

Her past is what makes Lucy. The fact that she comes from ‘nowhere’ is something her mother does not accept. It is also the reason that isolates Lucy from her new surroundings, and her husband. Jeremy says she needs to be ruthless to be a writer. Sarah Payne says, “You’ll have only one story. You’ll write your one story many ways.” Lucy knows if she doesn’t divorce her husband, she will never write another story. She finds another man who comes from ‘nowhere’ and embraces her life, her traumas, her dark side.


Locations from Ripples on The Pond Söğüt (Soghut), Marmaris


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Soghut, a pretty seaside village on the eastern coast of the Southern Aegean, beguiles newcomers with its stunning views of the islands in the cove, and the Greek island of Symi in the background.” 1




Söğüt (Soghut), a sleepy fishing village on the shores of the Southern Aegean is one of my favourite places in the greater Marmaris area. The scenic route to get there from Marmaris is well worth the ride, as the flora slowly changes from pine forests to shrubs, olive groves, and almond trees.


Söğüt 11


“A well-kept secret, with exquisite villas on the hills, it had been recently featured in Exclusive Escapes.  The article gushed:  the unspoilt beauty of its shoreline boasts of a small restaurant called The Octopus Man, renowned internationally for Ali’s unique recipe.2


Sogüt 1


It is the setting of a story called Selma of Soghut. An inhabitant of the village I came across on one of my visits became my inspiration for Selma.  I don’t have a picture of her and I’d like to keep her identity secret because the story is a figment of my imagination.


Sögüt 10


I met Selma during a walk on the pebble beach after my first scrumptious grilled octopus lunch at Ali’s. An old woman with striking blue eyes, a small, upturned nose and delicate features on her weathered face. In a printed dress that swayed with the warm breeze and a white scarf wrapped around her frizzy, grey locks, she greeted me with a toothy smile.

“Hello, are you visiting?” 3


Söğüt 9


Söğüt is still innocent, laid-back, and peaceful. It’s one of the few places in the area where mass tourism hasn’t taken its toll. There are only a handful of small hotels, fish restaurants, and modest village shops.


Sögüt 8


I hope it will continue to preserve its unique charm and remain as a tranquil spot for the yachters and visitors who come by land to enjoy its natural beauty and friendly inhabitants.


Söğüt Marmaris


123- Excerpt from Selma of Soghut, Ripples on the Pond

Ripples Thumbnail smaller

Ripples on the Pond

Contributors Corner; blog post from Euphemia Hood.


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Loriya literature

I couldn’t re-blog this, so I copy pasted the blog post and gave the link at the end, to continue reading.  Many thanks to Rachel Sarah Glasgow for the lovely review of Ripples on the Pond.

  • 21 Jan, 2018

Ripples on the Pond, Ruta, and, The Rymor and I; part 1.

      I, along with Loriya Literature, am incredible lucky to have such a list of talented contributors present for the magazine and other forms of literature. I will tell you about the expertise of three of these contributors today, two of which I hold a connection to in regards to the origins of my adult writing. I wonder will know of the Authonomy site, aside from the members that is; it was indeed a very useful and exciting platform for writers.

Around six years ago I joined this site, and it was this act that gave me the confidence to go full force into the world of writing and publishing and everything that goes with it: Sebnem. E. Sanders and Kit Masters were also member and they are the two I talk of. Joseph Ippolito being the third contributor to be discussed today, a law unto himself.

Throughout this blog post I will take three pieces of work and begin to review them; however, to do these works justice this is the first part of the review, I will continue to post about these works, part one being the first quarter.


Sebnem. E. Sanders:


Sanders is offering a plethora of short stories up unto the magazine and newsletter which will only go to enhance the quality, if the fast pace and entrancing style of the anthology Ripples on thePond is anything to go by. Which, indeed it is.

You can find Ripples on the Pond via this link:


The reader is thrown straight into the deep end of literary excellence with Ripples on the Ponds first offering, Through the Wings of Time , the subject matter concerns a journey through space and time, examining the differences and similarities between the ages: My Pagan nature very much appreciates the delve into the wonders of the broad expanse of time.

      I dip into time and try to exercise timelessness .

From, Through the Wings of Time.

      The reader is left pondering the question of who they are. It is easy to know who we are whilst tied to the shackles of gravity but once we experience the spirit and see past our own present life; then, who do we become? What now is our identity?

      The End and the Beginning, seems to finish off the anthology. Yet, once you have read this strange and unusual spiritual message you will understand that reality dictates that there is in fact no beginning and no end. Death is birth, and birth is death, to paraphrase the tale, we only think to the contrary through what we are taught and conditioned to think.

Forever eternal

spiral ripples


Spreading outward

forming bigger circles

 round and round

blending into the stardust

Forever eternal.

From, The End and the Beginning .

      The body of the book does not disappoint, not least the gut wrenching tale Mummy’s Torchlight, so easily read yet so hard to take in, it paves the way for the title line whilst following the reader into their subconscious thereafter. It highlights in stark honesty Domestic Abuse and the dangers faced by the victims; but to add to the tragedy of Mummy’s Torchlight it also looks to the side of the abuser and the reasons why: Mental ill health and the lack of the appropriate resources to treat an individual quite often lead to an escalation of events. This is not to say that all who suffer mental ill health are to become abusers. I would never make such a rash generalisation. But, when the system fails the patient, it also fails everyone around them.


Please click on the below link to continue reading the rest of the article:



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How to hold on to my


in the middle of


Should I ignore the


despite the overwhelming


Maybe direct my thoughts to

puzzles and crosswords

instead of

the troubles and the theatre of the absurd


calm and composed

rather than


vulnerable and disposed

Does that make me blind

or wise and unexposed?

 I wish to change things

but lack the power to pull the strings

Rather than sulking and arguing

I plot secret steps to alter

the course of events

despite various

counter -arguments

In the end virtue prevails

though the virtuous suffer

and expire

in the dungeons of greed and fire

who wins is a question of time

while sanity versus insanity

become partners in



matrix media.caspianmedia.comimagedcd44a372ff811a0f0e1a4b32302bf38-217d5b1db10af881b072e2c1b119c0a7d23866a1


Photos from The Matrix,

Mummy’s Torchlight

I’m re-blogging this because #OMP is featuring #MummysTorchlight from the soon to be published #OMPThrillerAnthology, today via #Wattpad.


Mummy's Torchlight IX

Cover by David J. Meyers

Here’s the link and the blurb to a short story I posted on Wattpad and submitted to OMP, One Million Project, for their Thriller Anthology.  (2,700 words) 

Toby waited for Mummy, but she never came back. Uncle Jim and Aunt Doris told him she was in Heaven. Why did Mummy go there without him? Why couldn’t he go to see her?
He kept Mummy’s torchlight safe, to guide him through the darkness, knowing she’d watch over him.

Mummy’s Torchlight

View original post

The Winning Stories of the Flash Fiction Year-end Special Competition at Scribblers – Story Number 1 by Matteon, M.E. Lucas


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Over this weekend, I’m delighted to share with you the top three stories of the Year-end Special Competition at the Flash Fiction Group I host on Scribblers.

Flash Fiction at Scribblers


The prompt was The End and The Beginning, with a 1000 word limit.


Here’s story Number 1 by Matteon, M.E. Lucas :

Matteon photo


Just Another Conversation


The weather Gods are frantic with their hailstorm task. The bouncy-ball-sized ice smash downwards through the flashing clouds. It’s a surprise they don’t crash into each other. I guess that’s why they are the Gods.

D.Q. Parker-Braithwaite Jr is deep in conversation, I expect he hasn’t even noticed the prostrate pedestrians in the street below his window, hands and heads bloodied and bruised from large frozen water droplets.

‘Oh, go on then, have your say mister bossy-pantaloons-ideas-man!’ He says.

‘You can’t do that, you know you can’t,’ comes the reply.

‘Will you stop being so bossy.’

‘You’re starting it at the end!’

‘Yyyyes,’ he breathes, ‘at the end. What’s your point?’

‘What do you mean at the end exactly?’

‘You know?’

‘No! I don’t think I do.’

‘It’s a time frame thing,’ he starts to explain, ‘a reminder of what’s to come. A snap shot of action to pique the interest the reader.’

‘Well, it could be action from any decent part of the story. So, why end it before you’ve started?’

It was an honest enough question. And D.Q. has an answer, he’d researched the structure.

‘Wwwwell,’ more lengthiness, ‘you introduce all the characters at a really interesting climax.’

‘Then you’ve nowhere to go?’

‘But you have to explain how you got there.’

‘Who cares, the reader now knows what’s going to happen.’

‘The reader will care, and no, you forget that bit anyways.’

‘So, why add it, if you forget about it.’

‘No, no, you don’t completely forget, only your recent memory, it becomes ingrained into your subconscious, and then at the end of the novel all re-revealed, your head pops and thinks Woah, what the hell! I remember this now, that’s amazing! And you suddenly realise what’s happened, and how it happened, and why it happened, and who it happened to, and when—’

‘That’s a lot of happening.’

‘Yeah, that’s the best part, it all comes crashing back to the readers memory, conscious and subconscious mind collide in a planet sized imaginational vortex of—‘

‘If … you can pull it off.’

‘If I can pull it off?’

‘Yeah, if!’

‘Oh man, don’t bring me down, I had this. All meticulously planned, interweaving the back story of my MC, his family, ex-lover, current love interest, the protagonist ulterior motive, and the—‘

‘Yap, yap, yap, too much woof of back story blunders. Action! That’s what you need, action, more action, platefuls of … restaurants full of … shopping malls full of, no, city centres exploding with action.’


‘If it works, big bangs, shards of sugar glass, why not?’

‘I don’t have a mall in this WIP.’

‘Then put one in.’


D.Q. ponders the inclusion of a high street shopping mall, the plush new finishes, free WiFi, ice-cream counter, could it work with the antagonists sweet tooth?

‘No, you plonker, I was being metaphorical. Just get with the action ASAP.’

‘Which is the end bit, at the start in this case.’

‘Umm …’

‘And! The best part is I can use a great piece of writing twice; at the start and then splice it in at the end.’



‘You really think so?’

‘Sure, dude, why the hell not?’

‘Because readers aren’t morons, some are pretty intelligent, and reading the same thing twice will feel odd, especially if you made them forget it by stuffing it into the old subconsciousness.’

He has a point, D.Q. thinks. He reaches out for his drink of half-drunk coffee in his favourite Hogwarts auto-stirring magic mug. He takes a long gulp of cold coffee until his cheeks are full, swallows, and gasps for air.

‘It’ll be ok,’ he says after inhaling enough oxygen to get his brain in gear.

‘It won’t, there’ll be queries.’

‘Such as?’

‘Such as, ‘… I’m having a Neo two glitching cats moment …’ or ‘… did the author write this bit twice? That’s a bit cheap …’ or ‘… I’m sure I’ve read this before, what a waste of my precious reading time …’ then they’ll close it and bin it, just paragraphs from the end. Chastising it as plagiarism!’

‘Don’t exaggerate.’

‘Well, your it’s your decision I suppose.’

‘It is my decision, thanks, and I’ll thank you not to interfere.’

‘Interfering now, am I? Well there’s gratitude for you, interfering indeed.’

‘You know what I mean.’

‘Yeah, you’re the boss and if I don’t like it then …’

‘Oh, don’t start that again.’


‘Yes, again, you always start with the boss nonsense.’

‘You mean the bit I started with.’

‘Yes, you started, you know, you where moaning at the start, telling me how to plan this novel, telling me I’m being bossy, when it’s you who are the bossy one, and now we’ve gone full donut back to the start-line again.’

‘Back to the beginning, huh?’


‘Like your story!’

‘Like my, no, you cheeky sod, not like my—‘

‘Yes, like your start stop end beginning twisty turny finish ending tale of repetition.’

‘Ah …’

‘You see, or rather you didn’t see it coming. And now it’s here it’s a bit of a—‘ there’s silence as D.Q. makes a movement behind his writing desk. ‘What are you doing with that large jewel encrusted dwarves sword?’

‘Changing direction.’

‘Changing what?’

‘Direction. Wait it’s too damn heavy. Ahhhh, this is a much better description.’

‘What the, where did you get that from?’

‘It’s an old one of yours, don’t you remember?’

‘Wait! Yes, let me see, of course. Ultra-pulse photon-clasp automatic firearm with omni-rotator and eyeball recog. That was a while ago. Let me just—‘

‘No! Oh, ho, ho, no you don’t, not this time. Prepare to meet your make, er, your imaginator!’

He points his weapon and the gun lets out a loud Zzzzongping, quickly followed by a ftomb!

‘Bet you didn’t see that coming did you, mate? Change in the plot, see. Little twist. Playing on the end-beginning-end-beginning-end sequence with a drop of sufficient darkness to make the reader—‘

D.Q. peers over the top of his glasses. Then stands and gazes down from his messy paper covered work surface, to the unfolding scene on the shaggy carpet.

‘Are you alright?’

There is no answer.





Matteon, M.E. Lucas,  is a regular contributor to the Flash Fiction thread at Scribblers.

Short Bio:

Matteon AKA M.E. Lucas is a fifty-something (but not too many) architect, who attempts flash fiction and poetry on a regular basis. He began his escape into storytelling through the sci-fi comic 2000AD as a young boy, however, only wrote his first fiction five years ago following the death of his father. He has finished one novel, but seems content to keep on re-editing it!

M E Lucas Blog




If you wish to take a look at the other great stories of the Year-End Special, here’s the link to the thread:

Year-end Special


Or better still, come and join our bi-monthly Flash Fiction thread at Scribblers. Newcomers are always welcome. Here’s the link to the current thread:

Flash Fiction January 2018





The Winning Stories of the Flash Fiction Year-end Special Competition at Scribblers – Story Number 2 by Jennie Ensor


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Over this weekend, I’m delighted to share with you the top three stories of the Year-end Special Competition at the Flash Fiction Group I host on Scribblers.

Flash Fiction at Scribblers


The prompt was The End and The Beginning, with a 1000 word limit.



Here’s story Number 2 by Author Jennie Ensor:

Three pears Raymond HuiPhoto by Raymond Hui on Unsplash



The End and The Beginning



‘Carl’, Catherine murmured, gazing at the dust jacket of Volume Four of Carl O. Nystrom’s distinctly autobiographical series of novels. She could change her name to Carla, perhaps. ‘Catherine’ was such a mouthful. And everyone spelt it wrong, with an ‘K’ instead of a ‘C’ or an ‘a’ instead of the middle ‘e’.

Come on, Catherine. This Carl thing is getting out of hand. A famous author with millions of adoring fans isn’t going to interested in you.

The author talk at the South Bank was tomorrow. Should she still go? It would only feed her… infatuation. That’s what it was, wasn’t it? She sighed and went downstairs.

‘You’re looking very nice this evening.’

Catherine considered her husband’s remark while crunching into a notquitecooked potato. Tom didn’t usually comment on her appearance these days, didn’t seem to notice her at all, in fact. But any pleasure at his having praised her appearance was immediately quashed by a profound regret at Tom’s limited vocabulary.

Very nice. Was that the grand total of her husband’s feelings for her? Carl would never have used such words to a woman he loved. He would have chosen with care, sensitivity and aplomb from his vast literary hoard.

She studied the decidedly fleshy droop of her husband’s face. Carl, as she had seen in his spot on Meet The Author, had a well-toned body (from various athletic pursuits, she imagined) and wayward wavy hair that hung around his shoulders in that scrumptiously bohemian manner. Unlike Tom, Carl wouldn’t scoff ice-cream straight from the tub during ad breaks, or stop cycling to work because he was worried about getting run over.


Her seat was closer than she’d expected. The sight of Mr Nystrom produced a pleasurable shiver, as if someone had traced a cool fingertip along her inner thigh. There he was, not ten metres away, his oh-so-expressive face crowned with a glorious tangle of blonde hair. She longed to be even closer so she could see his eyes properly.


Carl was seated on a L-shaped sofa behind a coffee table. This intimate cubbyhole felt oddly surreal, as if she were stepping into his living room.

‘Hello… Carl. I’m so glad to meet you at last. I’ve read all your books.’

His eyes were a mesmeric blue. Blood rushed to her cheeks, leaving her legs to fend for themselves. She swayed. He sprang up, catching her arm.

‘Come sit a moment.’

She almost fell onto the sofa.

‘How would you like me to sign?’

‘Put “To Carla”’.

‘That’s a coincidence.’

‘Isn’t it?’ She felt her eyes pulled into his; the dizziness returned. ‘You’re different to how I thought you’d be.’


‘Your eyes. They’re so… penetrating. And your body – I never realised how muscular you were.’ No, you can’t say that.

‘Thank you, Carla. You have a lovely body too.’ He put a hand just above her knee. If only this moment would last forever. But her time in the spotlight was ending – she hadn’t even taken a photo.

From the signing queue, a pointed cough. Carl removed his hand.

‘Do you mind if I take a photo of us?’ Catherine took her phone out of her bag. ‘Oh no. There’s no battery.’ What a dork. She’d meant to charge it at the hairdresser’s.

‘I’ll use mine,’ Carl offered, withdrawing a phone from his pocket.

Without thinking, she smiled and tilted her head towards his.

‘I’ll send it to you later. What’s your number?’

She wrote it down.

‘So, did you enjoy the interview?’

‘I didn’t think much of the questions, actually. I would have asked different ones.’


Do you sleep naked at night? What do you do to arouse a woman?

‘What colour is your cat?’

‘My cat?’

‘In your house in Sweden. I thought you had one. A cat, I mean.’

‘Ah!’ His face crinkled. ‘Sheba. She’s white with a black ring on her tail. She takes advantage though.’

‘Cats do, don’t they? What’s your house like?’

‘Big, modern. Very Swedish.’

‘How lovely.’ She stood, reluctantly. ‘It was wonderful to meet you, Carl.’

‘And you, Carla.’ He stood too, leaning towards her. For a crazy moment she thought he was going to kiss her.


Uncharacteristically, Tom came into the hall to meet her. ‘How did it go, love?’

‘Really well.’

‘You’ve changed your hair. You look… like you used to dress for me.’ Tom disappeared into the living room.

Catherine fled into the kitchen, then put her phone on to charge. What was she doing? Did she want her marriage to sink like a weighted corpse into the nearest river?

She was pouring two glasses of water when her phone beeped. She pounced on it.

Hello Carly, here’s your photo. Hope you enjoy the book. My fondest wishes, Carl

Thanks Carl, I am so grateful for this. I’m sure I’ll enjoy the book!

She hesitated, then added three kissing cat-face emojis.


For days, while snuggled under the duvet with Volume 5, or in the classroom struggling to convey the concept of irrational numbers to less-than-attentive teenagers, Catherine thought about Carl. She imagined him in his Swedish house, stroking the cat.

Inside her, a constant battle took place. She was determined to forget him, make the most of the life she had. The other half of her wanted to become engulfed by a liaison to rival any literary romance.


It arrived just before midnight, a week after the book event while Tom snored gently beside her. She reached over to switch off her phone, then saw the message.

Hello Carla, my apologies for this sudden interruption at such a late hour. The truth is – and I quake as I tap these words – I can’t stop thinking about you. I wish to see again, soon. Could visit me in Gothenburg? Your humble scribbler, C

The famous author wanted to see her! She sat staring at the screen, re-reading the words. Before she could change her mind, her fingers replied.

Yes, yes, yes! Oh please, yes!



Jennie Ensor is a regular contributor to the Flash Fiction thread at Scribblers. She is the author of  Blind Side, a psychological thriller published by Unbound.

Facebook page:

BLIND SIDE by Jennie Ensor
Publisher: Unbound


Paperback edition available from your local bookshop (UK only), including Waterstones, Blackwell’s, Daunt Books and independent booksellers

Amazon (paperback & e-book):
Apple iBooks (e-book only)
Unbound (e-book only)





If you wish to take a look at the other great stories of the Year-End Special, here’s the link to the thread:

Year-end Special


Or better still, come and join our bi-monthly Flash Fiction thread at Scribblers. Newcomers are always welcome. Here’s the link to the current thread:

Flash Fiction January 2018