MarySmith’sPlace ~ #Books aren’t only for Christmas

I didn’t get round to putting up a post on Saturday because I was so gutted when the latest Covid restrictions came in which means I won’t be able to see my son at all over Christmas.

I thought today, instead, I’d post some photos of Mazar-i-Sharif but when I went searching through my picture and scan files I couldn’t find what I wanted. I know they are there, somewhere (usually spotted when looking for something else entirely) – a reminder I really must organise my filing system.

Oh, well, I thought, if I don’t up a post it’s not a problem – the world will still keep on turning, besides I still have to pack for the next few days in Edinburgh. As part of those preparations, I’m about to stock my Kindle. It suddenly occurred to me that perhaps some people out there might want to put one of my books on their own Kindle – so I offer a blog post which is a bit of shameless advertising!

Those of you who have enjoyed my posts about my first trip to Afghanistan may also enjoy Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: Real Stories of Afghan Women, a memoir which covers my later years in Afghanistan.

This is a unique portrayal of the lives of ordinary Afghan women before and after the Taliban regime. The reader is caught up in their day-to-day lives sharing their problems, dramas, the tears and the laughter: whether gossiping over tea or learning how to deliver babies safely.

As well as the opportunity to enjoy meeting the women, Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni takes the reader on a journey through some of the most stunning and dramatic landscapes in the world  And if you want to know why the chickens were drunk and the macaroni burnt – you’ll have to read the book! Only £2.99.
Find it on Amazon:

For those who prefer fiction, No More Mulberries is a novel, also set in Afghanistan.

Scottish-born midwife, Miriam loves her work at a health clinic in rural Afghanistan and the warmth and humour of her women friends in the village, but she can no longer ignore the cracks appearing in her marriage. Her doctor husband has changed from the loving, easy-going man she married and she fears he regrets taking on a widow with a young son, who seems determined to remain distant from his stepfather. 

When Miriam acts as translator at a medical teaching camp she hopes time apart might help her understand the cause of their problems. Instead, she must focus on helping women desperate for medical care and has little time to think about her failing marriage. When an old friend appears, urging her to visit the village where once she and her first husband had been so happy, Miriam finds herself travelling on a journey into her past, searching for answers to why her marriage is going so horribly wrong.

Her husband, too, must deal with issues from his own past – from being shunned by childhood friends when he contracted leprosy to the loss of his first love. £2.32
Find it on Amazon:

For lovers of short stories, I suggest Donkey Boy and Other Stories

Shot through with flashes of humour the stories here will entertain, amuse, and make you think. Mary Smith’s debut collection of short stories is a real treat, introducing the reader to a diverse range of characters in a wide range of locations. A donkey boy in Pakistan dreams of buying luxuries for his mother; a mouth artist in rural Scotland longs to leave the circus; a visually impaired man has a problem with his socks; and a woman tries to come to terms with a frightening gift – or curse. Only 99p (Paperback £4.99)
Find it on Amazon:

Several illustrated local history books are available in both ebook and hard copy. More details of those are on my Amazon page here.  

And finally, the most recent publication, to which I contributed along with 21 other writers, is Writedown: Lockdown in the Galloway Glens at the Time of Covid.

Blurb: Writedown provides a unique record of life in Galloway, south west Scotland during lockdown through the work of 22 writers in a collection of lyrical poetry, desperate rants, humour and quiet endurance. They tell the story of how a community dealt with unprecedented times. eBook £1.99
Find it on Amazon:

Hope you might find something that takes your interest.

55 thoughts on “MarySmith’sPlace ~ #Books aren’t only for Christmas

    • Big thanks for buying my books, Pete. Anxiety is kicking in big time – hope the red wine takes the edge off it when I try to sleep. I’m behind with your serial but hope to catch up when I’m confined to my room in Edinburgh.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I know you enjoyed No More Mulberries, Darlene and appreciated your commendation. I’m pretty gutted at not seeing David but we feel it’s not worth taking risks – we’re just postponing Christmas 🙂 All the very best to you x

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I have two of them but I have room for more! Thank you for posting this. I think it is only appropriate that we also gift ourselves a little something during the holidays. I am sorry about the restrictions. It is such a hard time and I know you really wanted to see your son. My thoughts and prayers go with you to Edinburgh. I send you love for the holidays, Mary.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We all watched Boris yesterday after being alerted by my daughter, messaging back and forth like families up and down the country. So daughter and family now locked in Tier 4 and not coming. Now my family is in three different tiers. Tier 2 son and fiancée still coming and I’m still in Tier 2. We had prepared for this scenario, but every family will have their own story. Best wishes for the next few weeks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Janet. I think most folk area bit stunned by it all – it feels so different from the first lockdown. I think then we all felt we could make a difference – not folk are not so sure. I hope you have as good a Christmas as it can be.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mary, I thought of you as the new restrictions came in and feel so for you that you won’t be able to see your son. I’m not surprised you were gutted. It felt a very dark day and we have no other problems. I so hope it isn’t too long until you can meet him again.

    Of course you should write about your books and No More Mulberries is a real gem which I loved and recommended to many family member and friends! I have a fascination for Afghanistan and I’ve just bought your Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni! (What a title and the mind boggles!!)

    You’re in my thoughts as you head to Edinburgh… hugs xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Annika. I was pretty low yesterday but it must be much worse for other people. At least David and I saw each other in September and we can talk on the phone. Some people haven’t seen loved ones for months.
      I loved your review of No More Mulberries. Thank you for buying Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni. Although it’s non-fiction, I hope you enjoy it as much as No More Mulberries.
      Thanks for your good wishes for Edinburgh, which is where I am right now 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My advice would be to go and see him anyway, or have him come to you. Life’s too short to let some crazy law stop you from being with people you love. If Twitter is anything to go by, many people will be ignoring it. And they can’t police everyone; even if they could, I think I’d take the fine!

    I hope you stay well and happy, whatever you decide to do. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • We won’t take the risk, Terry, not because of the fine, which I’d happily pay but because it has been made clear to me by the oncologist if I get Covid I’ll die. I kind of feel after going through the unpleasantness of chemo that would be a shame. Plus my son has been working in a school where there have been Covid cases and his partner is a doctor who has been working in a Covid ward. While there may not be another Christmas, I’m hoping I’ll still be around for a bit longer and we’ll have a postponed Christmas – possibly in a field somewhere between Castle Douglas and Glasgow 🙂


  5. No, my brother’s not coming to me, either, he thinks he’s doing the right thing by staying in isolation. I can’t see the difference it makes personally, since we’ve both been pretty much isolated save for hospital trips and my weekly supermarket trip. But as he’s developed a new painful problem, maybe its a let-out for him rather than saying he just wants to stay home. I’m not calling him on it.
    My other brother is planning a family get together on a blasted heath in the New Forest, where we can stay socially distanced and just pass round hot drinks and mince pies. Now, if it will stop raining sometime….
    Can I send some of my books to your Kindle? What’s your address?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thinking of you during your stay in Edinburgh, Mary such a lovely city although from the inside of a hospital room and the quarantine I am guessing you won’t be able to sightsee so sad you won’t be able to see your son but better to be safe than sorry and a delayed Christmas will be just as lovely…I have No more Mulberries already on the kindle(tbr) and chickens and burnt macaroni sounds like an interesting read…Fingers crossed all goes well while you are in Edinburgh Hugs x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Carol. Sightseeing isn’t likely. I did think about going to the Botanic Gardens but, though they are open, you have to book a time slot in advance. I’m gutted to not see David but at least we can keep in touch. I hope you enjoy No More Mulberries when it rises to the top of your kindle 🙂 First day of radiotherapy went well so onwards we go. x


  7. The first two are already in my TBR pile, but I’m ashamed to say I hadn’t got around to them yet, although as you know I adore your Afghanistan blog posts. However, I will do it ASAP, because by some incredible coincidence, I’ve volunteered to teach Greek on zoom to a group of 12 Afghan boys! They’re unaccompanied minors 15-17 years old, in a shelter in Athens. Half have never been to school, and now they find themselves in a foreign country, different culture, strange and difficult language with an alien alphabet, far from their families. We’ve had two lessons already, and they’re lovely – smiley and motivated. So I was planning to pick your brains, in case you have any tips – something I should know? I’m reading The Lightless Sky, which is the memoir of the journey of a 12 year old Afghan refugee, so that at least I’ve some idea of what they’ve been through (highly recommended, and extremely well written). It all came about because I interviewed a young woman for my blog, who is the CEO of the HOME project, for unaccompanied refugee minors in Athens. Will do a post about it soon. Anyway, your books have now become required reading! Warmest wishes for the New Year, hoping things will keep improving. 🤗🌹

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a wonderful project and I’m sure you’ll enjoy teaching your Afghan students, though I don’t imagine it will be easy. I’d be daunted if I had to learn the Greek alphabet and script. How long have they been in Greece? In my experience Afghans are usually very quick to pick up new languages to be able to communicate – even if they don’t understand grammar and can’t read or write it. If you are having conversation class, ask them about Afghanistan and I am sure they will be delighted to teach you about their country and its customs, which gives you an opportunity to talk about Greek customs. Some will be very different but I’ll bet many, especially surrounding hospitality, will be similar. It’s always good to find the similarities. Let me know how you get on. I’m going to look up The Lightless Sky, which sounds good.


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