Monday, 30 September 2013

A Poem a Day (44): Where she sleeps

Morning! It's 9.58am here and I just wrote this poem. The character in this poem is a guy, and I was thinking him waking up at the crack of dawn... perhaps because I got up at 8am, which is pretty early for me, being a wee bit lazy... plus I went to bed at 2! Have a groovy day. Happy reading & writing to you! :)

Where she sleeps

Departing night’s shade
I find myself stirring
beneath the split fine nets
floating like a spider’s web
falling gracefully between;

I stare up at the waking sky
where the sun is breaking;
yet another new day begins,
seamlessly striding in after
the parting of the other

A yawn of yesterday’s bliss
escapes me as I slide upward;
curved, lying still, she breathes;
memories so delicate linger
on the easy breeze drifting in,

Surprising me with the scent
of rich, heady hyacinth
caressing the song of the robin
perched way up on high
unseen by me in his creativity

I lean back, completed,
listening to this rising tide,
nestled in this timeless place
where she sleeps
in echoes of the night

Silently, I sit and gaze
upon her morning eyes
turning their warmth upon me
with a smile of knowing
who I am

copyright Vickie Johnstone

Friday, 27 September 2013

A Poem a Day (43): It's funny how

Today's poem is a little one; one of those flash poems that you write in a couple of minutes. A little rush. Have a gorgeous Friday :) 
Be well, be happy, be free. 

It's funny how...

It’s funny how we
sink and slide
only to rise again
in waves of never-ending
something stirring
when I see black
where the myriad colours rolled
swept aside
by the aching roar of the sea
i know
in waiting for tomorrow
that the sun will blaze
like egg yolk
or the rain will trickle
endlessly dripping down
so being reminded
of a new day dawning
in the ripe echo
of the old
departing on the breeze

copyright Vickie Johnstone

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

WOW Wednesday: Wendy & Charles Siefken

Hi guys and girls! Welcome to WOW Wednesday. My sixth guests are the writing duo Wendy Siefken and her son, Charlie, whose pens have created Kai's Journey, a tale of zombies, werewolves, dragons and a young hero. Kai's Journey is now on sale for 99c/75pWhat's it all about, I hear you ask? Well, read on to find out more...

An awful mistake… an unlikely companion… 
Kai’s journey to save the human race!

Book blurb

After his father accidentally releases a killer virus into the world, Kai is left alone to battle the creatures it created. While fighting for his existence in the barren post-apocalyptic world, Kai runs into an unlikely ally in the form of a young woman named Clover. 

Fuelled by a flicker of hope, the two teenagers join forces with a rag-tag band of survivors in a heroic journey. Can the human race endure?

How Kai’s Journey came about

This is our first publication, with many more to follow. It started as a school project for my youngest son and now business partner, Charles Siefken, which grew into a desire to be published. Our publisher is Master Koda Select Publishing.

The book is a journey into the fantasy realm of what ifs. What if zombies took over the world? What if werewolves were real? What if dragons were really not from earth, but from another planet? I hope you enjoy this YA book. This book is ideal for a young reader who you might not want reading a book full of blood and gore. This novel doesn’t have that. It has a story without all the graphics of a battle. I hope you take a look and enjoy!

About the authors

Charles Siefken (1992-present) is a recent graduate of high school. This is his first book of many to be published. He currently resides in rural central Iowa, where he enjoys reading sci-fi books and playing video games, among other things. Christopher Paolini was his inspiration to become a writer.

Wendy Siefken (1966-present) is currently working from home full-time, writing stories and acting as a virtual assistant to those in need of an extra pair of hands online. She lives on a farm with her family, and enjoys reading, gardening and other activities with relatives and friends.

Wendy’s proudest moment

That moment when someone noticed us for the unique persons we are is etched in both of our minds. It was when the principal and teachers were getting together to have an Individual Education Plan for Charlie’s school year, and they realized he had written a book and published it as well. He had set up websites and actually sold books too. That was the day when one of the teachers, Mr. Kozak, was really impressed that we had come up with a cover, published it, and done the marketing and everything that went along with it.

Mr. Kozak had brought his laptop, so he went to the Amazon web page and looked at the book. He looked at the websites, as well as our Facebook pages. He asked Charlie what we had done, and I was so proud to listen to him tell the man all about our marketing and what worked best for us. Mr. Kozak and the other teachers were very impressed.

I did remind Mr. Kozak that since Charlie was still a minor at the time, for most of the process I had spearheaded the queries for agents and publishing houses. Together, we discussed the options available to us with each company that happened to contact us back and made our decisions. Finances played a very large part in what we could and couldn’t do. That is how we managed to stay out of quite a few of the vanity presses and other places that wanted money up front.

When the teachers and Mr. Kozak glanced at us with that look on their faces of ‘they really did it’, that was our moment – one of our greatest compliments.

Snippets from Amazon reviews

“The story is one of survival, but also zest for life – still finding happiness through the most difficult of times. 
It reminds me to appreciate what I have and to be grateful. This book is full of twists and turns, 
and just knows that you will enjoy it as much as I have. If I could give it 10 stars I would, 
but Amazon only allows for 5 stars… so Star, Star, Star, Star, Star!!!”
Bruce Goldwell

“This was an amazing story of zombies, werewolves and alien dragons, wrapped up with a love-story and a mystery ending that made me grumble! I’d love to understand more about the werewolves 
and what Kai was doing before he met Clover!”
Dominique Goodall

“Not only did I enjoy this book, my teenage daughter fell in love with it and Kai. 
I highly recommend it. If you enjoy zombies, surviving all odds, living with guilt and falling in love, 
you will enjoy this book. I can’t wait for more.”

Where to connect with Wendy and Charles

Book links

 Thanks for reading - look out for another WOW writer next Wednesday!
Happy reading & writing! :) 

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

RIP Kofi Awoonor and victims of violence

I'm supposed to be editing a customer's book right now, but I just feel numb. Working from home, sometimes I find myself in a vacuum where the outside world isn't looking in and I can miss the news for days. Today I went to read it and I'm still shocked. I'm referring to the coverage on the BBC website about the shootings in Kenya.

Unbelievable. I feel shocked and numb.

I just read through the entire list of victims mentioned. The gunmen threw grenades at people, including children. How could anyone do this? It is beyond me. What happened to their humanity? They said only non-Muslims would be targeted. How I wish people did not act in an aggressive manner to others because they are different - whether it is due to their sex, sexuality, clothing, colour or religion. It is always wrong... as any sane person knows.

Why do we still live in such a violent world? Where is the sense in violence? There isn't any. And there will never be any.

Why do children as young as 8 have to be cut down by a stream of bullets or torn apart by grenades for some nonsensical cause when there is no cause? There is no sense. It is just pure hatred.

In a way it makes you almost ashamed to be human - the sheer wastefulness of violence. The only reaction I have is one of sadness and disgust.

I'm sharing one of the poems by poet and writer Kofi Awoonor, who died on September 21. From 1990-94, he was Ghana's Permanent Rep to the UN, where he headed the committee against apartheid - fighting for peace and unity, against violence, and promoting the view that we are all equal.

This Earth, My Brother

The dawn crack of sounds known
rending our air
shattering our temples toppling
raising earthwards our cathedrals of hope,
in demand of lives offered on those altars
for the cleansing that was done long ago.
Within the airwaves we carry
our hutted entrails; and we pray;
shrieks abandoned by lonely road-sides
as the gunmen’s boots tramp.
I lift up the chalice of hyssop and tears
to touch the lips of the thirsty
sky-wailing in a million spires
of hate and death; we pray
bearing the single hope to shine
burnishing in the destiny of my race
that glinting sword of salvation.
In time my orchestra plays my music
from potted herbs of anemone and nim
pour upon the festering wounds of my race,
to wash forever my absorbent radiance
as we search our granary for new corn.
There was that miracle we hoped for
that salvation we longed for
for which we said many prayers
offered many offerings.

In the seasons of burning feet
of bad harvest and disastrous marriages
there burns upon the glint edge of that sword
the replica of the paschal knife.
The sounds rounded our lonely skies
among the nims the dancers gather their cloths
stretching their new-shorn hides off offered cows
to build themselves new drums.
Sky-wailing from afar the distant tramp
of those feet in rhythm
miming underneath them violence.
Along the roads lined with mimosas
the mangled and manacled are dragged
to the cheers of us all.
We strew flowers at the feet of the conquerors
beg for remission of our sins…

…He will come out of the grave
His clothes thrown around him;
worms shall not have done their work.
His face shall beam the radiance of many suns.
His gait the bearing of a victor,
On his forehead shall shine a thousand stars
he will kneel after the revelation
and die on this same earth.

And I pray
That my hills shall be exalted
And he who washes me,
breathes me
shall die.
They led them across the vastness
As they walked they tottered
and rose again. They walked
across the grassland to the edge of the mound
and knelt down in silent prayer;
they rose again led to the mound,
they crouched
like worshippers of Muhammed.
Suddenly they rose again
stretching their hands to the crowd
in wasteful gestures of identity
Boos and shrieks greeted them
as they smiled and waved
as those on a big boat journey.
A sudden silence fell
as the crowd pushed and yelled
into the bright sharp morning of a shooting.

They led them unto the mound
In a game of blindman’s bluff
they tottered to lean on the sandbags
Their backs to the ocean
that will bear them away.
The crackling report of brens
and the falling down;
a shout greeted them
tossing them into the darkness.

and my mountains reel and roll
to the world’s end.

Monday, 23 September 2013

A Poem a Day (42): Crashing

Today's poem is a dark one, even though I'm in a cheerful mood! Really! Happy reading & writing!


Yellow reflects the blue
Yearning anew
Piecing together the wave
Turning the lights low
It rises
A crash upon the scream
Dull ache in the dark
A vision of empty
And so it falls
Plunging into the silent rain
Gushing blood in the scrawl

Compounding all
Only to curl up so quiet
Consuming no space, so small
Breathing but a little
Stretching out its fingers
Searching, only to grasp nothing
Darkness engulfs
Spreads a blanket so dim

Footsteps, they echo thin
In this pitch-black maze
Seeming to point a way
Gesturing toward an escape
Where faith waits so patiently
But the scream pretends
It grows restless in the night
Blows an eerie calm overall
Yet it knows
How silence cannot buy this
It can only disperse

And so she rises
Only to fall once more
Unprotected to the bitter end
Snowflakes rustle upon glass
Making the sharpest cut
Offering something never seen
While the knife plunges within
And hope lies bereft

copyright Vickie Johnstone

Saturday, 21 September 2013

A Poem a Day (41): Star Bright

Hi, today's poems were written on Thursday night, at the same time as Poem 40. I was pretty sleepy and I think my mind was already in dreamland or getting there. 
Happy reading & writing to ya! Vickie

Star bright

With stars leaping in the dark
I find the way of magic
Tripping brightly by the moon
Where it yearns and flies

Soaring high into the never sky
We wish upon a starlit verse
Imagining fairies in the fields
Trivial things of innocent days

Perched a-top a red mushroom
Green-clad elves chatter free
Where I wander in this dream
Barefoot beneath a silver birch

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Help animals in need with these cool books: only $0.99!

September Sale! All titles just $0.99 each!
Linda Deane is a South African author who is actively involved in the rescue and rehoming network
She takes in abused and abandoned cats and kittens, fostering them until their forever homes are found. 
Her writing royalties go towards the sterilisation and feeding of the animals in her care. 

Ice Angel is a fictitious tribute to one of her very special rescued kitties – 
an imagined account of one of her nine lives.

Buy it here: Amazon  Amazon UK
or here: Smashwords
From best-selling author Sibel Hodge comes an inspirational coming-of-age novel...

"A percentage of the royalties from the sale of this book will be contributed to Panthera, 
a leading international conservation organisation dedicated to protecting and preserving the world's big cats, 
plus other wildlife conservation groups." - Sibel Hodge

Buy it here: Amazon Amazon UK
 or here: Smashwords

Have you ever wished your cat could talk or wondered where he/she goes when you are not around? 
Kiwi in Cat City is the first book in a fun six-book series of adventures. Furry fun for ages 9-99.

Vickie Johnstone supports Hillside Animal Sanctuary, UK, 
where unwanted and abused animals are given a much needed sanctuary. 

Buy it here: Amazon Amazon UK
or here: Smashwords

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to three 
of my favourite animal charities.” Marie Symeou

This is the story of a cute tabby kitten (my Athena) as she awaits her fate at an animal rescue shelter. 
Will she find her forever home? A heartwarming story for both children and adults alike. 

Note from the author: "For this month only, I will be donating ALL ROYALTIES to my chosen charities."

 Buy it here: Amazon Amazon UK
or here: Smashwords

Thanks for reading! :)

A Poem a Day (40): Echoes

Last night I laid down in bed and started thinking about spooky things, like ghosts in the mirror, as I peeked in the dark - you know when you think you see things, but nothing is there? I hope! 
So then I had to get up and get my notebook, 
and I wrote 9 poems. This is the first of them. 

Happy reading & writing to you! :) Cheers.


Sweeping like ghosts
Echoes of the scenery
A past life
It rubs against the light
Stealing sanity
Imagining a little time
Feeling nothing
Having lived it all

Into the spaces
Hidden in between
Rumours murmur
Beyond this endless room
Of dark and light
The image disperses
Drifts away
On an icy breeze

Playing games
It flies past the door
So pitch, bereft
Black stealing the light
It sighs without a breath
Stealing away
And it aches so
Knowing this is no more

This flickering candle
Bleeds silken wax
Upon the floor
And I cannot touch it

Copyright Vickie Johnstone

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

#WW WOW Wednesday: KR Hughes & TL Burns

Hi guys and girls! Welcome to WOW Wednesday. My fifth guests are the writing duo KR Hughes and 
TL Burns, whose pens have created the What She Knew Trilogy with an interesting premise: what if 
Marilyn Monroe had lived and shared her secrets? What if 'what she knew' could have saved JFK and changed the course of history? Fateful Night, book 1 in the trilogy, is now on sale for 99c/75p. 
What's it all about, I hear you ask? Well, read on to find out more...

Fateful Night - book blurb

Did Marilyn Monroe commit suicide? Did someone get away with an elaborate plot to murder the famous sex goddess? On that 'fateful night' in August 1962, find out what may have happened to her and why she was killed. Many argue that she was involved in way too many secrets from different factions of the world. 

Marilyn was a smart woman who could play the dumb blonde to attain her stardom, yet she unwittingly learned of conspiracy plots and political threats that would not only end her life, but that of the current president, John F. Kennedy.

In this fast-paced suspense every major player of the early 60s is involved, from the world politicians to the Rat Pack, to Hollywood and the mafia. What if Marilyn Monroe had lived, and what if what she knew could have saved JFK? Fact or fiction? What if...

Samples of the 14 4/5-star reviews on

“Imaginative, intriguing and thought provoking are just three of the terms I would use to describe the masterpiece that is Fateful Night. I have never read a story quite like this and I recommend it to all 
readers who love a good mystery, historical fiction, and the idea of ‘what if?’” 
(hbird3 – 5 stars)

 “It does have truths and facts mixed in with it, which makes it realistic and plausible. 
Even the dialogue is written to match the way they spoke during that era. At times the story takes turns 
and involves players you might have never considered before as being involved in some rather unsavoury activity. You may even find yourself saying, ‘Holy sh*t!’ I know I did… What you read MAY disturb you, but I've no doubt, 
it WILL entertain you!” 
(Chasta Schneider ‘Chasta’ – 5 stars)

“The authors made the dialogue and setting so realistic you could almost see the Rolls Royces driving down the street and hear Frank Sinatra singing at the piano bar. I enjoyed the pacing of the novel as well; 
they were careful not to stick to any one subplot for too long. This technique helped to keep the reader 
on their toes; at the end of almost every scene there was a cliff hanger.” 
(S. Appleyard – 4 stars)

About the authors

K.R. Hughes (pictured right)

Hughes is an English major from Amarillo, Texas, who now resides near Atlanta, Georgia. She enjoys writing with her co-author T.L. Burns. They have just finished writing book two in the trilogy and are currently in the process of writing book three. 
   Hughes enjoys working with budding writers and tutoring English. Her passion is for at-risk teens. She volunteers to help them realize their potential and find their passion. Hughes has two grown-up children, Justin and Kayti, and two four-legged girls, MayZee and Ruthie.
    You can find other works by this author in the historical romance section, under the pen name of Kymber Lee: Treasured Love and Lord Tristan’s True Love are both fun romps, set in Regency England, 1811. Lee (Hughes) wrote these novels for her grandmother, who is a huge supporter of her work.

T.L. Burns (pictured left)

As Burns’ co-author puts it, "She is the foremost researcher and historical guru for the What She Knew Trilogy. Burns’ passion is for at-risk families. She volunteers her time to help the needy, not with a hand-out but with a hand-up. She is married and has two grown-up sons, the best in the whole world, Kenny and Deven, and one four-legged son, Digby. Burns is very proud of her boys. Her oldest, Kenny, is married with three kids and is the artist for all of their book covers.  Deven is at college, pursuing his degree in engineering.


Thanks for reading - look out for another WOW writer next Wednesday!
Happy reading & writing! :) 

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

A Poem a Day (39): Smoke

Today's poem was inspired by a prompt word - smoke - from Leland Hermit, author of many books starring doggie heroes. So, of course, a pooch had to wag his way into this tale below. 
Thanks, Leland! 
If you'd like me to write you a poem, just leave a prompt word or two in the comments. Cheers!
Happy reading & writing to you!


So it glides, chasing circles,
Twisting between the tables.
A man’s hand reaches for it,
Flicking ash into a glass bowl;
Breathing it, devouring it,
Sucking it in and blowing it out;
It yields, twisting, turning,
Darting to and fro in the air.

He recalls a solitary wandering
Lit only by the memory of her,
This pale, faint slip of a girl
Running with dark hair flying,
Her sharp heels clipping stone,
Skirt wrapping itself, closing in
Tightly around her taut waist
Where his arms yearn to be.

It carves itself anew each time
This blissful memory recorded,
Becoming ever sweeter still
As he dreams the unfulfilled.
He breathes in the scent of her,
Imagining where she ran to,
Yesterday, in the wet tumult
Surging down in a crystal rush.

He sucks in the woody smoke
Blowing it out in a ring of white
That seems fruitless to bubble
As it breaks and fades to nothing.
She dances here on the tabletop
Where he flicks the greying ash,
Singing of life – a glimpse of light;
Reminiscences make him smile.

Turning the packet in his hand
He taps it against the wood
To a distant rhythm in his mind
In striking contrast to the blues
That hums from the old jukebox.
The cigarette shrinks to naught;
It burns his fingers and he drops it,
Squishing it in the curving bowl.

Getting up slowly, he reaches over
To the sturdy stick always with him.
The Labrador rises, brushing his legs,
Inviting his hands to stroke his fur.
“Attaboy,” he murmurs, smiling,
Knowing that time has come again.
Stumbling forwards, he trails his dog
To the furthest end of the noisy pub.

Out into the cool air and the dark day
He clicks the stick along the street
And in his mind’s eye she runs ahead,
Her skirt blowing up to her knees
While he rushes forth to catch her,
To sweep her up in his open arms,
Her raven hair flying in the breeze,
Twisting like smoke, wild and free.

Copyright Vickie Johnstone

Sunday, 15 September 2013

A Poem a Day (38): Castle in the Sand

Today's poem is inspired by a picture from Greta Burroughs. 
I asked for some word or idea prompts because they help me to write. Greta suggested this beautiful picture. Greta is a writer of wonderful YA and children's books, including 
Gerald and the Wee People. If you would like me to write a poem for you, please leave a word or idea in the comments. Happy reading & writing to you! :)

Castle in the sand

electric pink mists streak the blue
like pastels rubbed by unseen hands;
dolphins leap in this cerulean escape,
their curved grey backs gleaming,
shattering the still image of the moon
rising beyond where eagles fly,
stretching up, reaching to the limits,
reflected in these once still waters.

the silvery glow of the restless moon
touches the tall peaks of a castle of old
hidden by green ivy creeping its walls
majestic in its beauty yet foreboding.
the dark windows yawn open, awaiting
any strangers who walk these shores.
a thin skit of pale wet sand invites,
carpeting where a drawbridge once hid.

the ruins waste alone, but no one comes
save for the ghosts that glide by night,
searching for the souls of lovers past
until the warming hum of the waking morn.
tiny birds dive amid these rotting turrets
while spiders scurry between the floors
where once a young princess lived alone
unravelling her hair to the sands below

copyright Vickie Johnstone

Saturday, 14 September 2013

A Poem a Day (37): Rainbow

Hi, today's poem is inspired by a prompt word - rainbow - from Leland Hermit. Thanks, Leland! 
He loves doggies and is the author of the fabulous Angelo's Journey, amongst many others. If you'd like to leave me a word or image to write a poem about, please leave it in the comments. Cheers!
Happy reading & writing to you! :)


Streaks of brightest colour
Leap off the stark white page;
Pure light brought to life
As the paintbrush flickers
Back and forth, spinning
Memories frozen in time,
Picked forth for a moment
Of dreamful reminisce

Feather-like wisps catch
The lightest of touches
So carefree, yet careful;
Strokes fly across the canvas
Rousing the sleeping mind;
Love, laughter and heartbreak
They interweave, breathing
New life where the old died

Rainbows pouring sensation,
Leaping, floating, searing,
Giving shape and form
To the ethereal; it escapes
The brush, melting paper
Where the slick oil slides
Like mercury – a living,
Breathing form, so vivid

Red blasts from the white
Licking the yellow beneath;
Like fire it burns, slow, sure,
Breathing like a dragon
Only to shimmer in the silver
Caught by waves of blue
Surging below, now caught
In green serpent-like weeds

It races here, imagination,
Rolling across the canvas;
Finding but the briefest pause
In the birth of this picture.
Bearing no resemblance to life,
Yet mirroring its substance,
The rainbow surges, arching
Over this reality caught in paint

Copyright Vickie Johnstone

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Interview - BestSellerBound Recommends

Thanks to Maria Savva for inviting me on BestSellerBound Recommends :)

If you'd like to read the interview, here's the link:

Thanks :)

Happy reading & writing to you! :)

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

#WW WOW Wednesday: Kymber Lee

Hi guys and girls! WOW Wednesday is a new thing for, ahem, Wednesdays! Coinciding with 
Writer Wednesday (#WW) on twitter. My fourth guest is Kymber Lee whose novel,
Lord Tristan's True Love, is just 99c/75p right now. What's it all about, I hear you ask? 
Well, read on to find out more about Kymber Lee and her stories...

Book blurb

Did you know that the society of Regency England forced people to marry if they were seen in public together? The unescorted young lady’s reputation would be ruined otherwise. This book tells of Miss Caroline Denise Whittingham’s misadventures in trying to get her betrothed to ‘cry off’. Unfortunately, one of her schemes has her thrown out of the realm of society and her betrothed, Lord Tristan Darlington, refuses to end the engagement until she finds her way back into their good graces. The odds of regaining favour with the peerage are slim in 1820 London, but Lord Darlington is a great friend of the Countess Lieven and enlists her aid.

Book reviews

"I am a history enthusiast, and I found Lord Tristan's True Love to be very believable and charming. Reading it was an enjoyable romantic trip back in time" 
- DeEtte Anderton

"The characters were so engaging, the time period such an intriguing thing to think about, and the story so fun. I lost quite a bit of sleep not being able to put this tale down and wanting to know when Tristan was going to get over himself and when dear Miss Caroline was going to realize he was being silly and cared so deeply for her" 
- Alex Cartwright

"The author skillfully takes you inside the world of blushing young debutantes, sword fights, pride and plotting. Love at first sight and hidden passion, and you simply can't get enough of Caroline and Tristan's
ping-pong match with words" 
- Jennifer Loiske

All about Kymber

Kymber Lee is a Christian historical romance novelist. Her books include Treasured Love and Lord Tristan's True LoveShe is also co-author of the conspiracy novel, What She Knew (by K R Hughes and T L Burns). The twist is that Marilyn Monroe has been saved and it's a race against time to see if 'what she knew' can save JFK from that fateful bullet.

Kymber is a native Texan who enjoys mentoring new writers and editing advanced writing. She has an English degree with a minor in journalism from West Texas University. Kymber currently lives in Atlanta, GA, and owns a production company with co-author T L Burns. They are currently working on the sequel to the Marilyn Monroe novel, entitled, What She Knew Too... the saga continues, due to be released in this winter.

Where you can contact Kimber Lee

Book links

Lord Tristan's True Love

Treasured Love

Thanks for reading - look out for another WOW writer next Wednesday!
Happy reading & writing! :)