Down the Rabbit Hole of British Politics

I’m honoured today to be a guest blogger on Robert Goldstein’s blog, writing about the ‘rabbit hole of British politics’. Rob’s is my go-to blog to help me understand what’s going on in American politics.

Art by Rob Goldstein

I asked fellow blogger, Mary Smith, to write about her experience of the chaos in the UK. The United States is not alone in its struggle to come to terms with an election outcome that may be the result of Russian Interference.

Sometimes, when I look at the UK’s current political picture, I feel as though I’ve fallen down Alice in Wonderland’s rabbit hole and ended up in a land where everything is topsy turvy and incomprehensible. Bizarrely, Prime Minister Boris Johnston says he’s proud of how the coronavirus pandemic has been handled – this in relation to the 40,000 deaths so far, the highest death rate in Europe. In fact, at the moment of writing this, the UK has the third-highest death rate in the world. When he boasts about being a world leader in defeating Covid-19, is this really what he means? This, from the Prime Minister…

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Do you care? #CarersWeek

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

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I wandered through into the kitchen, snuggled in my dressing gown, to boil my own kettle for my second coffee of the day… an unaccustomed luxury. I am usually at work by that time, dragged reluctantly from sleep by the alarm clock, woken by the cold pre-dawn walk with the dog and, seven days a week, drink my second cup of coffee perched on the end of my son’s bed. Last night, I had dressed and driven back to work when I should have been on my way to bed. Tomorrow, I will be at work before breakfast. These things happen in my job. While my son, quite rightly, objects to me calling him ‘work’, he is, after all, both my job and my employer (and it is better than some of the things I have called him…).

It has been a while since I wrote about being a carer…

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Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Share an Extract – #Afghanistan – On #offer until 18th May – No More Mulberries by Mary Smith

Do click the link to Sally Cronin’s blog where she shares a short extract from my novel set in Afghanistan, No More Mulberries, which is currently on sale until end of Monday 18th May at the bargain price of 99p (and US equivalent).

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Today the extract is from No More Mulberries by Mary Smith a novel of drama and adventure set in Afghanistan – I can highly recommend the book and it is on offer at 99p/99c until 18th May.

About the book

No More Mulberries is a story of commitment and divided loyalties, of love and loss, set against a country struggling through transition.

British-born Miriam’s marriage to her Afghan doctor husband is heading towards crisis. Despite his opposition, she goes to work as a translator at a medical teaching camp in a remote area of rural Afghanistan hoping time apart will help are see where their problems lie. She comes to realise how unresolved issues from when her first husband was killed by a mujahideen group are damaging her relationship with her husband and her son – but is it already too late to save her marriage?

And extract from No…

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Guest Post: Mary Smith

I’m a guest on BeetleyPete’s blog today, talking about why I love blogging – and letting people know No More Mulberries, my novel set in Afghanistan, is currently on sale for only 99p Do pop over to have a look – Pete’s blog is well worth a visit.


I am delighted to feature Mary, a published writer, local historian, and fully-engaged blogger who resides in Scotland. Mary has lived and worked in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, and her travels and experiences are fascinating to read about. She has special offers available on one of her her books from today, and I urge you to check it out.

**Please share this post on any social media you use, to help Mary**

Here is her own short bio.

Mary Smith has always loved writing. As a child she wrote stories in homemade books made from wallpaper trimmings – but she never thought people could grow up and become real writers. She spent a year working in a bank, which she hated – all numbers, very few words – ten years with Oxfam in the UK, followed by ten years working in Pakistan and Afghanistan. She wanted others to share her…

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D&G Poetry Lockdown Party – Number 13 – Mary Smith

This is a lovely wee blog, quite new, which focuses on writers and poets from around Dumfries & Galloway. I’m delighted to be featured today talking about favourite writers and places.

D&G Poetry


Name your three top writers. This turns out to be much more difficult than I thought it would be. As soon as I wrote down three names another three came to mind followed by three or four more …

I left it for a few days and tried again, deciding to stick with whichever names came to mind first. My top three writers – today – are:

Margaret Elphinstone for her historical fiction. Whether we are reading about Cumbrian Quaker Mark in Voyageurs, set at the time of the 1812 war between Canada and the United States or about the Auk People following a tsunami in Scotland 8,000 years ago in The Gathering Night, every word of her fiction rings true. Now, she is writing essays about our time and there can be no arguing that her words are vitally important for us all.

Kate Atkinson. I…

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If you have shelves of books at home, author Jessica Norrie suggests lots of creative and fun ideas to do with them in her Bookplay blog post.

Words and Fictions

Still determinedly sticking to the positives about this p**ndemic, the creativity it’s brought out in some people is amazing. Have you seen the tableaux of famous art made in response to the Getty Art Museum Challenge? And last week this clever storytelling game appeared online (read the titles on the spines in order). If anyone can tell me  which clever librarians created this, I’ll happily credit them.Book games 4

Of course I rushed off to see what I could come up with. I found myself immediately in sinister realms – by the way it helps if you add punctuation:

bookgames 5 Missing, presumed a matter for the jury, invisible women vanish in an instant. Snap!

Some titles are easier to play with than others. Anything with that begins with “The” is tricky, but Invisible Women could have made multiple contributions, and I’m keeping an eye open for titles to go with, well, Keeping…

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Writer and Blogger, Mary Smith

I’m delighted to feature on Darlene Foster’s blog today, answering some interesting questions. Do pop over to read it – and have a browse round Darlene’s blog which has all sorts of fascinating posts.

Darlene Foster's Blog

I’ve been blogging for almost ten years and I love it. It’s a great way to communicate with like-minded people, and I’ve made wonderful friends all over the world through my blog. The blogging community is so supportive, sharing ideas and providing encouragement.

One friend I’ve made is Mary Smith from Dumfries, Scotland. She has written some wonderful books including a guide to her hometown. When I finally get to Scotland, I will be taking this book with me.

She has also written a couple of books based on life in Afghanistan, where she lived and worked for a number of years. This is my review of No More Mulberries.

I bought this book because I love reading stories that take place in the middle east. I was not disappointed. Mary Smith has written a wonderful story about cross-cultures, family, relationships and Afghanistan. The detailed descriptions of the land…

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From the Poetic to the Factual: Two Book Reviews

I’m sharing this post from Annika Perry in which she has given a wonderful review of A-Z of Dumfries: Places-People-History as well as Bette Steven’s book, My Maine, which sounds beautiful.

Annika Perry's Writing Blog

After a lifetime of New Year’s resolutions … and often failing to keep them, these last years I’ve steered away from making any.

However, one aspect of blogging weighs heavily upon me, my failure to review as many books as I would like, particularly indie-published ones. If my TBR pile was a real heap of books they would fill a room, I fear; luckily many are kept safe on my Kindle, hidden from immediate sight but never forgotten. I’m determined to share these books with you on my blog, a couple every month and I am happy to start with the two below.

Ironically, these are paperbacks, one a poetry book kindly gifted to me by Bette A. Stevens. The other by Mary Smith caught my interest as an unusual factual book about her local town.

“My Maine: Haiku through the Seasons” by Bette A. Stevens

‘My Maine’ is a…

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – New Collection – #Verse #Short Stories – Life’s Rich Tapestry : Woven in Words by Sally Cronin

Another new book to hit the shelves in time for Christmas is Tapestry of Life: Woven in Words by Sally Cronin. Not only is Sally the author of many titles – both fiction and non-fiction – she is a wonderful blogger and super supportive of other writers and bloggers across the globe. Pop over and read all about her latest title.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Delighted to share the news of my own new release today. Life’s Rich Tapestry : Woven in Words is a collection of verse, micro fiction and speculative short stories.

About Life’s Rich Tapestry

Life’s Rich Tapestry is a collection of verse, microfiction and short stories that explore many aspects of our human nature and the wonders of the natural world. Reflections on our earliest beginnings and what is yet to come, with characters as diverse as a French speaking elephant and a cyborg warrior.

Finding the right number of syllables for a Haiku, Tanka, Etheree or Cinquain focuses the mind; as does 99 word microfiction, bringing a different level of intensity to storytelling. You will find stories about the past, the present and the future told in 17 syllables to 2,000 words, all celebrating life.

This book is also recognition of the value to a writer, of being part of…

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