Category Archives: short stories

The hidden History Contained in Pages

There is much history in books, if one looks carefully enough. By this I do not mean those works concerned with history itself, nor am I refering to historical fiction. Rather I am referring to passing references, such as that contained in the 4-volume edition of John Buchan’s “The Thirty-Nine Steps”, which resides on the top shelf of the tall pine bookcase in my bedroom. The book’s title page reads
“… printed and published by the National Institute for the Blind, Great Portland Street, London W” and carries the date of 1938.

The National Institute for the Blind has, for many years, been the Royal National Institute of Blind People, and its head office is today located in Peterborough.

On turning over the title page, the reader comes across the following
“The price given for this book in the National Institute’s books catalogue represents the actual cost of production. The book is sold to libraries and institutions for the blind in the British Empire, and to blind persons resident in the United Kingdom, or in any part of the British Empire at one-third the catalogue price”.

The British Empire has, of course long ceased to be. However contained within the pages of the braille edition of “The Thirty-Nine Steps” I find a reminder of a vanished age.

I would be interested to learn of any books owned by this blog’s readers which contain interesting historical data. Please do comment below.


“How To Trust Your Human”, by Victoria Zigler – Book Spotlight

Title: How To trust Your Human
Author: Victoria Zigler
Genres: Children’s Stories – Animals / Children’s Stories – Social Issues – Death And Dying
Release date: July 3rd 2017

“Losing a sibling is hard. Losing three of them is even harder. Repairing a broken bond of trust is harder still.

After his three brothers disappeared, one after another, gone to a mysterious place known only as The Rainbow Bridge, Buddy the degu is all alone in his cage.

Confused and frightened, he knows only one thing for certain: he last saw his brothers in the hands of the human caretaker.

That knowledge breaks the bond of trust forged between Buddy and his human in the years since he was a pup, and leaves him convinced that letting her get her hands on him will mean he disappears too.

Somehow, she has to convince him he’s wrong, and earn back his trust.

Based on actual events that took place in the life of one of the author’s own degus, and told from the point of view of a degu, this is the story of how patience and love taught a confused and terrified rodent how to trust again.”

Find the book on…
Barnes & Noble

Available in paperback soon!

Author bio:

Victoria Zigler is a blind poet and children’s author who was born and raised in the Black Mountains of Wales, UK, and is now living on the South-East coast of England, UK.

Victoria – or Tori, if you prefer – has been writing since she knew how, has a very vivid imagination, and spends a lot of time in fictional worlds; some created by her, others created by other authors.

When she remembers to spend some time in the real world, it’s mostly to spend time with her hubby and pets, though sometimes to indulge in other interests that capture her attention from time to time, such as doing crafts, listening to music, watching movies, playing the odd figure game or roleplaying game, and doing a little cooking and baking.

To date she has published 8 poetry books and more than 40 children’s books, with more planned for the near future. She’s also contributed a story to the sci-fi and fantasy anthology Wyrd Worlds II.

Author links:
Facebook author page

You’re Barred!

On 27 June, I wrote a post entitledIts My Blog and I’ll Swear If I Like,

In that article I expressed my dislike of swearing on blogs and stated my disinclination to share content which contains expletives.

I did, however state that there exists a place for swearing in literature where this is intrinsic to the characters/plot being portrayed.

In addition my article states that some factual content (rightly) will use expletives (for example a report of a court case will, of necessity document any expletives used by the defendant).

Given my recent post I was interested to read that the owner of the Sameul Smiths Brewery, Humphrey Smith, has banned swearing in all his UK-based establishments.

According to The Guardian several pub managers have been sacked by Smith for allowing swearing in his pubs and customers have been barred for indulging in such behaviour.

The newspaper toured several Sam Smiths establishments and found no pub goers in favour of the prohibition. Typical of the views expressed was that of Craig

“Craig, 38, a cable jointer from Oldham, thought the ban was immature. “To be honest if you banned everyone who was swearing in a pub you wouldn’t have a business,” he said. “Are they going to send you outside to swear?””

Despite my dislike of swearing, I am inclined to agree with Craig that this ban is unworkable.

People in pubs should, of course be aware of their surroundings and should, for example never knowingly swear when children are present as it sets a bad example.

I also think it reasonable for bar staff to tell customers to “tone it down” when swearing is occurring at a high volume.

To my mind a muttered expletive overheard by a member of staff who is in close proximity to the swearer, is significantly different in nature from a man (or woman) swearing at the top of his (or her) voice.

One can not, in short, police swearing out of existence in pubs or other similar establishments.

As always I would welcome the views of my readers.


Its my blog and I’ll swear if I like …

Licence to use obtained – Copyright nazlisart at 123RF

I recently read a post in which the author liberally employed the use of expletives/swear words. The article was on the subject of marketing and made a number of valid points. However the utilisation of foul language detracted from the points being made (to my mind at least) and had it not been for the employment of swear words I would have shared on Twitter.

I don’t consider myself to be a prude. There is a place in factual articles for the employment of expletives. For example a report of court proceedings will (quite properly) report that the defendant swore at a police officer and repeat the words used. I am frustrated when certain newspapers refuse to print expletives in full. Adult readers know what foul language is and are perfectly able to cope with reading it when it is necessary to their full understanding of a court case or other similar situation.

I also believe that the utilisation of swearing is justified in the context of literature. For instance a novel portraying the lives of gangsters would, in my opinion be wholly unrealistic where all the criminals in it to speak as though they where monks or nuns. In short what I am objecting to is the employment of 4 letter words for no good reason. To my mind the utilisation of such words merely to provoke a response conjures up an image of a person with a limited vocabulary (they use foul language due to their inability to find other words to express themselves). In many instances this may not be the case. None the less the liberal use of expletives gives that impression to me at least.

I am not in favour of banning things. Each blogger is entitled to write as he (or she) sees fit. It is, however a matter of regret to me that a minority of people seem to believe that it is somehow “cool” or “clever” to sprinkle their posts with bad language for the sake of doing so. I for one find it offensive. As always I would be interested in my readers views.


Poet Kevin Morris interviewed for Rhyme

I was honoured to be interviewed by Victoria, for her excellent site Rhyme. My interview covers a variety of topics, including what inspires me to write poetry, together with those poets who have exerted an influence on my writing. To read the interview please visit

Anyone Can Write Like Shakespeare

Often do I sigh
On hearing the old lie
That anyone can write like Shakespeare.
Sensible people know it isn’t true
Yet through fear
Of being labelled with that dread
Word “elitist”, which cuts debate dead,
All but the brave withdraw into their shell
For they know full well
That the roof
Frequently does fall
On he who has the gall
To tell the unvarnished truth.