A non-gardeners Guide to Brightening your Garden

I love outdoor living but gardening is not really my thing so I decided to brighten up the garden by other means.

After a trip to Budapest, I was inspired by the colourful and quirky ruin bars, particularly Szimpla Kert, pictured below.

Szimpla Kert Ruin Bar BudapestSzimpla Kert Ruin Bar Budapest upper levelSzimpla Kert Ruin Bar flags, BudapestI purchased some spray paints in a variety of colours and gathered some items to spruce up. I already had dining room chairs, terracotta pots, a hammock stand and a lantern and I picked up a child’s bike (purely for decorative purposes) and a table from the local recycling centre.

Our rabbits like to eat the grass in the back garden and probably wouldn’t like the taste or toxicity of spray paint so I lay down a sheet in the front garden, moved my car well out of the way, and started spraying.

Plain pots before spray painting Chairs, hammock stand, lantern and pot Table and bike from the scrap yard

I was really pleased with the results.

Colourful chairs Colourful table Colourful table, bike and pots

I found an unusual plant pot  to add extra decoration but Fozzy, our mini-labradoodle, did not approve.

The newly painted furniture was arranged in the corner of the garden and flags added to brighten up the wall.

Colourful garden with flags

The garden was now ready to be enjoyed by friends and family at the barbecue of the year.

Party at Fort Bull-Knox

Book Tour: Poppy by Clarissa Johal

Welcome to the Blog Tour for POPPY by Clarissa Johal.

Follow the tour for reviews, interviews, guest posts, and book spotlights.

Make sure to enter the giveaway below!

Book Details:

Title: Poppy
Genre: Paranormal
Author: Clarissa Johal
Editor: Kathryn Galan
Publisher: Faeriemoon Press
ISBN-13: 978-0692708873
ISBN-10: 0692708871
Number of Pages: 234

About POPPY:

A red-headed, pink-loving mortician who speaks to the dead.
A moody, unsociable funeral director.
Poppy and Dante from Struck are back.

Something is lingering around Skyview Funeral Home—and it’s stealing souls of the dead.
With Dante in tow, Poppy is determined to put a stop to it.
Can she protect those who are trying to cross over, or will her soul be next?

Amazon Link:

http://amzn.to/23e4QJn

Read an Excerpt:

The root cellar was a small space with a low ceiling. At one point, it probably smelled of apples and potatoes, but now, there was nothing but the scent of lawn mower gas, dirt, and cold stone. Poppy reached into the darkness, searching for the light bulb string. Her fingers connected, and she pulled it on with a click.

“Gladys?”

Weak light illuminated the usual garden-equipment clutter. Rakes and shovels were piled against a stone wall. Several cans of gasoline sat next to an old lawn mower. Bags of fertilizer and garden fungicide sat beside them. Gladys was nowhere in sight.

A rustle sounded from a darkened corner. Fully expecting to see a rat or trapped bird, she held the bulb in such a way to throw light on it. The door slammed shut behind her.

“Geez!” Poppy lost her grip on the light. The swinging bulb cast rising and falling shadows on the walls. She made a move to push the door open when the lightbulb suddenly shattered, leaving her in darkness.

“Gladys?” Poppy kicked herself for not waiting until morning, when Dante could have accompanied her. The grating sound started up from the corner of the room. It ran slowly along the ground until it stopped in front of her. That’s not Gladys. You walked right into this one.

She clutched the jar to her chest, her heart thumping. “I have the locket, if that’s what you want.”

The answering silence lay across the cellar like a shroud.

“I’ll make you a deal. You leave my dead alone, and I’ll leave the locket right here.” Her voice sounded against the close confines. “Good luck with the sea salt, if that matters.” Poppy inwardly cringed as she felt a trickle of blood from her nose. Dammit. She attempted to put up her barriers, but it was too late.

A heaviness descended upon her shoulders like a mantle. Something lashed out and scratched the skin of her throat.

Meet the Author:


Clarissa Johal is the bestselling author of paranormal novels, Poppy, The Island, Voices, Struck and Between. When she’s not listening to the ghosts in her head, she’s dancing, taking pictures of gargoyles, or swinging from a trapeze. She shares her life with her husband, two daughters, and every stray animal that darkens their doorstep.

Find Clarissa Online:

Author Website
Blog
Facebook
YouTube
Twitter
Goodreads
Amazon Author Page
Pinterest

Enter the Giveaway:

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Eleven Things I Learned at Glastonbury 2015

I’m not going to Glastonbury this year but here are my tips for those who are.

Jojo Debrazza

They say you learn something new every day. Here are some things I learned at Glastonbury 2015:

  1. Baby wipes are your friend but they don’t taste very nice.
  2. Weather apps lie.
  3. Lionel Ritchie is, a) popular, and b) American.
  4. The stinky unwashed feeling eases after a few days.
  5. A pint of Brothers cider is cheaper than potato wedges.
  6. A bit of mud never harmed anyone.
  7. If a sign says don’t enter, do enter. Especially if a mud caked Irish man guards the entrance while hurling abuse in a friendly manner.
  8. Cardboard shewees are not to be trusted.
  9. Backwards is forwards, up is down, and fun is to be found in the rabbit hole.
  10. Holding an inflatable sperm high in the air while navigating the crowds is an effective way of keeping a group together.
  11. Glastonbury rocks!

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This Night Sucks – Book Tour

Welcome to the Book Tour for Elizabeth J.M. Walker’s new novella, This Night Sucks!

Follow the tour each day to read reviews, guest posts, and exclusive excerpts.

Book Details:

From the author of She Dreamed of Dragons

Title: This Night Sucks

Author Name: Elizabeth J.M. Walker

Genre(s): Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy, Vampires, Comedy

Release Date: June 17, 2016

Publisher:  Mirror World Publishing 

Mirror World Publishing Link:  

Amazon Link: 

Link to the Tour Schedule:

About the Book:

Lana is a high school senior enrolled in Vampire Education – a class to teach students about the very real presence of vampires in the world. Lana and her classmates don’t really expect to meet up with any undead bloodsuckers. Vampires are a lot like other scary things that supposedly exist but you hope you’ll never come across: nudist colonies, mad cow disease, and your parents’ sex life.

What is part of Lana’s everyday reality is navigating through one last year of high school while desperately trying to be less nerdy. She still loves spaceships, fantasy novels, and cat stickers, but she also recently got her braces removed, grew boobs, and is working on the makeup thing. She never expected her crush-of-a-lifetime Pete to even notice her – let alone ask her out on a date. 

The date is going great until Pete’s ex-girlfriend Katy shows up, all bloody and pissed off. Lana quickly realizes that Katy is not just her ordinary bitchy self – she has been turned into a vampire. After a near death experience, Lana learns that she is changing into a vampire too.

Lana needs answers, and the only way to get them is to find the vampire who started the chain of events – and to find him before sunrise… 

Meet the Author:

Elizabeth J. M. Walker lives in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. She has always loved books and writing. As a teen she discovered zines, which inspired her to publish her own litzine of odd fairy tales for over a decade.

Make a Movie on Your Phone and See it on the Big Screen

St Neots Film Festival is calling for submissions. And with the amazing technology in smartphones, and a little bit of imagination and creativity, you can shoot a great movie.

Film makers can be any age and do not need to be experts. Why not press record and have a go?

Once you have an idea, write out a script, assemble your cast and get filming. Practise makes perfect so don’t expect to film a BAFTA winner first time around. Experiment with your phone, try filming in different lights and test out the settings on your camera.

It’s possible to edit your film on your phone and there are many apps available. However, you may find it easier to edit on a PC using Windows Movie Maker or another programme. Again, there are plenty to choose from. Check out techradar’s article: Best free video editing software: 2016’s top movie making applications.

Submit your short film (up to 20 minutes) online here: http://stneotsfilmfestival.co.uk/ and you could see it on the big screen at St Neots Film Festival this Autumn.

Happy movie making.

Weird Ways Your Country Could Win Euro 2016!

UEFA Euro 2016 kicks off on 10th June 2016! Excitement is mounting as football fans wonder if their team can actually win it this time.

The answer is, yes they can! Games can be won by wonder strikes, super saves or creative passing. Even top-class teams occasionally win by a fluke goal or dodgy decision. And there have been some even weirder ways teams have won important matches:

By winning a coin toss – Italy got through to the 1968 UEFA Euro final by winning a coin toss after the semi-final ended in a draw. The final also ended in a draw but this time it went to a rematch and Italy won to lift the trophy!

By scoring an own goal – Barbados deliberately kicked the ball into their own net to qualify for the 1994 Shell Caribbean Cup. They were winning 2-1 but needed to win by two goals. Time was running out so they booted the ball in their own goal to take the game to extra time. They then scored in extra time where goals counted twice and qualified!

By failing to qualify – Denmark failed to qualify for the UEFA Euro tournament in 1992. However, they were offered a last minute place when the Yugoslavian team was kicked out due to a war in their country. Denmark went on to win the tournament.

So, whoever your team, there is always a chance! Enjoy the tournament.

Dog Friendly Pub Crawl in St Neots

Gone are the days when we attempted the legendary Crown to town pub crawl through Eaton Socon to St Neots town centre. Not only have we attempted and failed this many times but we also have responsibilities now. These responsibilities come in the shape of a fluffy white dog named Fozzy. This Saturday, in honour of Lemming’s birthday, we decided to try a dog friendly pub crawl instead. Here is the route we took:

Map of Dog Friendly Pub Crawl in St Neots
The route

The Rivermill

The Rivermill pub, St Neots
First stop, The Rivermill

We often walk Fozzy from St Neots, through the campsite and along the river to this pub. Dogs are welcome downstairs in the bar area, and a jar of treats can be found on the bar. If it’s a nice day it’s great to sit outside and look out at the boats on the river. Doggie water bowls are available and most of the benches are smoke free (which to me is an unusual bonus for an outside area) but there are a couple of benches at the end for smokers.

Dog pulling person across grass
Fozzy taking Abi for a walk

The White Horse

The White Horse pub, St Neots
The White Horse

A short trot across the green took us to The White Horse. The outside bar was open but the music was way too loud and the decked area around it was empty. Small people played on the bouncy castle and ran around with toy guns. The beer garden is huge so we found a relatively peaceful bench on the grassed area. Dogs are welcome in the bar area which is quiet and traditional.

The Old Sun

The Old Sun pub, St Neots
The Old Sun

Not far down the road is The Old Sun. Dogs are welcome in the bar and football is often shown on the many TV screens. The decked area at the back of the pub tends to be in the shade but the pub has created a roped off, astro-turfed area with benches and doggie water bowls next to the car park. Although it’s not particularly scenic it did allow us to sit in the sun a little longer.

The Waggon and Horses

The Waggon and Horses pub, St Neots
Food stop at The Waggon and Horses

Across the road is another regular haunt, the Waggon and Horses. This is a Cask Marque pub which apparently is good news for ale drinkers. There are a couple of benches outside in the sun but they are next to the main road. The sun was starting to drop now anyway so we headed inside where dogs are welcome in the bar area. By this time we needed food and this was a good place to get it.

The Barley Mow

The Barley Mow pub, St Neots
The Barley Mow

We walked along the Great North Road towards town and dropped in at the George and Dragon, where dogs are usually allowed. However, a live band was due to play so dogs had to take a night off. We carried on down to The Barley Mow where treats were immediately offered to Fozzy. This is also a Cask Marque pub and was showing the Champions League Final.

The Barley Mow pub, St Neots
The Barley Mow

The Bridge House

The Bridge House pub, St Neots
The Bridge House

We made it over the bridge and into town where we finished our pub crawl with a couple of games of pool in The Bridge House. Dogs are welcome in the bar and the landlady brought a treat over to Fozzy. It was dark and chilly by now but this is another good place to sit outside and look out across the river on a nice day.

We thought about continuing on to Ye Olde Sun, where dogs are allowed in the bar, but made a rare but wise decision to call it a day and head home.

Please feel free to comment with any other dog friendly pubs near St Neots.

Exclusive Excerpt – Black Lightning by K.S. Jones

About Black Lightning:

Life moves on — no matter what…

Following his father’s puzzling disappearance and his mother’s death, ten-year-old Samuel Baker goes through the motions of living in a world turned upside down. He wears an Apache talisman, a long ago gift from his father, in hopes its promise of strength and guidance is true. But what he truly wants is the power to bring his parents back. 

Heartless Aunt Janis is elated at the prospect of becoming Samuel’s legal guardian. She is sure an orphan boy will elicit such an outpouring of public sympathy that her husband will win his Senate bid by a landslide. But when Grandpa Tate arrives, things don’t go as expected, especially when black lightning strikes!

From the award-winning author of Shadow of the Hawk

Title: Black Lightning

Author Name: K.S. Jones

Genre(s): Middle Grade, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Length: Approx. 132 pages

Release Date: May 17, 2016

Publisher:  Mirror World Publishing (www.mirrorworldpublishing.com)

Follow the Tour for Reviews, Guest Posts, Exclusive Excerpts, and Spotlight Posts:

Read the Exclusive Excerpt:

After his mother’s car accident, Mrs. Abel had driven Samuel to the hospital and stayed until Aunt Janis and Uncle Jack arrived. “Don’t worry,” is all she would say to him. “You must have faith.”
But when Samuel saw the doctors and nurses rush to the Critical Care unit where they had hidden his mother, he worried anyway. He had paced the long hospital hall from end to end while Mrs. Abel read one magazine after another.
At nightfall, Dr. Reed, a frail middle-aged man wearing blue medical garb, emerged through the double doors marked Authorized Personnel Only. With a determined gait, he walked straight to Samuel. Reeking of antiseptic, he asked, “Are your aunt and uncle here yet?” When Samuel shook his head, the doctor stiffened then announced, “Your mother is still in serious condition. We’re doing what we can.” Then, without waiting, he turned and walked back through the double doors as if his job were done.
“What did he mean?” Samuel asked Mrs. Abel.
But instead of explaining, she said his mother was in God’s hands. Then she promised Uncle Jack and Aunt Janis would be with him soon.
Samuel hoped, prayed, and paced. He put all his trust in God to heal his mother.
As the full moon rose high into the night sky, Mrs. Abel fell asleep on the waiting room couch. She was still sleeping when the doctor returned.
“I’m sorry,” Dr. Reed announced. “Your mother passed away.”
With one shove, Samuel slammed the wire magazine stand to the floor, sending the bound pages sliding across the linoleum like racing sleds. “NO!”
He hated the drunk driver who had slammed into his mother’s car and he hated the doctors and nurses who couldn’t heal her. He was especially angry with God for taking her, but the fury that burned most seared straight through his own heart. Why hadn’t his prayers been strong enough to save her?
A fiery pain burned deep inside him, so clear and sharp it almost drove out his sorrow. Raging against faith, Samuel looked up and shouted, “You can’t take my mom!” But when no reply came, he slammed one foot and then the other against the floor. He envisioned cities and people beneath his soles. Bad people. Monsters. He would murder them all as payment for taking his mother. But as he stomped, the truth slowly settled. He was powerless to do anything at all that mattered. Feeling his strength drain, Samuel dropped to his knees, sobbing. His mother was dead.

Purchase Links:

Mirror World Publishing
 http://mirror-world-publishing.myshopify.com/products/black-lightning-ebook

Amazon
http://amzn.to/24H7yrY

Barnes & Noble
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/black-lightning-ks-jones/1123660287?ean=9781987976120

Quote:

“If you’ve forgotten the magic that lives in a child’s heart, this book will remind you. Black Lightning is a rare and beautiful mythic journey about one boy’s struggle with paralyzing grief and the powerful bonds that can carry a person through this world and beyond…” W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O’Neal Gear USA TODAY and NEW YORK TIMES bestselling authors of People of the Thunder

Meet the Author:

Karen
(K.S.) Jones grew up in California, but now lives in the beautiful Texas Hill
Country northwest of San Antonio with her husband, Richard, and their dogs Jack
Black, Libby Loo, and Red Bleu. Black Lightning is her first middle-grade
novel. She credits her love of fantasy to the early influences of authors
J.R.R. Tolkien, Jules Verne, and H.G. Wells. Her award-winning first novel, Shadow
of the Hawk
, a Young Adult Historical, released in 2015.

Cover Reveal – This Night Sucks by Elizabeth J.M. Walker

I am excited to present the cover for Elizabeth J.M. Walker’s upcoming novella, This Night Sucks!

First, here is what This Night Sucks is all about:

Lana is a high school senior enrolled in Vampire Education – a class to teach students about the very real presence of vampires in the world. Lana and her classmates don’t really expect to meet up with any undead bloodsuckers. Vampires are a lot like other scary things that supposedly exist but you hope you’ll never come across: nudist colonies, mad cow disease, and your parents’ sex life.

What is part of Lana’s everyday reality is navigating through one last year of high school while desperately trying to be less nerdy. She still loves spaceships, fantasy novels, and cat stickers, but she also recently got her braces removed, grew boobs, and is working on the makeup thing. She never expected her crush-of-a-lifetime Pete to even notice her – let alone ask her out on a date. 

The date is going great until Pete’s ex-girlfriend Katy shows up, all bloody and pissed off. Lana quickly realizes that Katy is not just her ordinary bitchy self – she has been turned into a vampire. After a near death experience, Lana learns that she is changing into a vampire too.

Lana needs answers, and the only way to get them is to find the vampire who started the chain of events – and to find him before sunrise… 

Are you ready for the cover?

Book Details:

From the author of She Dreamed of Dragons

Title: This Night Sucks

Author Name: Elizabeth J.M. Walker

Genre(s): Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy, Vampires, Comedy

Release Date: June 17, 2016

Publisher:  Mirror World Publishing 

Meet the Author:

Elizabeth J. M. Walker lives in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. She has always loved books and writing. As a teen she discovered zines, which inspired her to publish her own litzine of odd fairy tales for over a decade.

She Dreamed of Dragons is her first novel.

Just saying…

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