Showing posts from September, 2021

Review: The What On Earth Institute of Wonder

Lisa Nicol’s whimsical way with words is becoming the stuff of legend. Her narratives are an intoxicating mix of wonderment, cheek and incredible heart; a strange combination but one that makes her middle grade novels fulfilling and memorable. The What on Earth Institute of Wonder perpetuates this premise while managing to incorporate an African forest elephant and a New Zealand Kakapo into the same sentence, never mind the same Kombi van! And yes! I knew I was in for something special once a Kombi was mentioned. At its heart, this story is a vigorous nod towards biodiversity and the need to repair the ‘magnificent jigsaw puzzle’ of Earth and all its creatures. It is also a rollicking tale of adventure, misfortune, villainous wrong-doers and the extreme force of friendship. We are cautioned by Nicol’s that this is a strange story, the type that is often hard to believe but of course, for most children that is of little consequence. So when Sal befriends a talking parrot and then di

Turning Points: New Anthology Short Story - KISMET'S ODYSSEY

There comes a time in everyone's life where a split second choice, an extreme of nature, a fork in the road prompts a unique turning point . Some of them we recognise for the epiphanies that they are; shocking, incredible, visionary. Others, we barely notice. Nearly all are life altering.  Earlier last year, I was fortunate enough to access a challenge that got me up and writing again , to paraphrase Exisle Publishing CEO and editor of The Turning Point Anthology , Gareth St John Thomas. The catalyst was a writing competition describing a turning point in one's life. This competition took place during the peak of our global Covid pandemic and as Gareth points out, was the stimulus that allowed me to reconnect not only with my fatalistic past but also my waning creative verve.  My tale,  Kismet’s Odyssey , is a true-life, deeply affecting account of my experience as a young bareboat charter courier on the sunbaked Ionian island of Corfu. It was a time of kissing summer breeze