This is the wonderful time of the year! Sallyat the Smorgasbord Magazine features my book, The Winding Road, at her Christmas Book Fair. Please head over to her blog to check out the book recommendations throughout the Book Fair.
Welcome to the Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair with a selection of books from personally recommended authors on my bookshelf I believe will make wonderful gifts for friends, family and for you.
The first book today is the poignant memoir by Miriam Hurdle…it is an inspiring read and I can recommend The Winding Road: A Journey of Survival.
About the book
In the summer of 2008, Miriam Hurdle was diagnosed with melanoma-an aggressive and invasive cancer in her internal organs. The survival rate before 2008 was low. Besides risking harsh treatments for a slim chance of survival, Miriam had hoops to jump through. By the time she received treatment at the beginning of 2009, her cancer had progressed from stage II to stage IV. It was a rough and uphill winding road. But alongside her was support and encouragement. Accompanied by the love of her family and community, this…
I’m delighted to welcome Robbie and Michael Cheadle to my blog today. They have a new book for your trick-or-tricking fun read with delicious recipes for the activities.
Haunted Halloween Holiday WordCrafter Book Blog Tour
For a chance to win one of three US$10 Amazon vouchers or one of three paperback copies of the Haunted Halloween Holiday, just leave a comment to show you were here.
Follow the tour and comment at each stop for more chances to win.
The prizes will be given away in a random drawing.
Robbie has been writing children’s books with her son Michael for years. It’s an admirable project between mother and son for such a long time. I invited Robbie to talk about Michael and their children’s books.
Hi Robbie, how did you begin writing children’s books with Michael?
Thank you for this question, Miriam. Michael and I started writing together when he was six years old and learning to read and write in Grade 1 at school.
We discovered that year that Michael has a processing learning barrier, and this made reading and writing a little more challenging for him. He is very imaginative and came up with the idea of a little man made of chocolate who lived in a world where you could eat everything. I started helping him develop his ideas, which always started with characters, into rhyming verse stories, and encouraged him to write them down. That was the beginning of the Sir Chocolate series of books.
As time passed, Michael’s enjoyment of sculpturing and baking came to the fore, and we started making 3-D illustrations for the books from fondant, cake, and biscuits.
My brother-in-law suggested we include the recipes and turn our story ideas into a series of first cookbooks for children. We did that and I was fortunate, the third small publisher I sent our ideas to loved them and agreed to publish the books.
That was a steep learning curve at the time for both Anne Samson, director of TSL Publications, and myself. The Sir Chocolate books were among the first children’s books Anne published, so we learned together. My photography and design skills have improved significantly over the past six years since Sir Chocolate and the strawberry cream berries story and cookbook were published in August 2016. Of course, my fondant and cake art skills have also improved year-on-year.
The haunted Halloween Holiday came about through discussions with Michael about acceptance of difference and depression. Generation Z is a lot more attuned to social and cultural issues than my generation was, and I learn a lot from him.
I have always enjoyed the concept of Halloween, which doesn’t really feature here in South Africa, so I had been making Halloween-related cakes and figurines for a few years. I put several of these creations into this book, and I think they are my best illustrations to date. I particularly like Jack Frost and his white wonderland.
It’s wonderful to hear that, Robbie! What you did with Michael has been empowering his growth and deepening your relationship with him.
Do you see your personality traits in Michael? What are they?
I see personality traits of both mine and my husband’s in both our sons.
Michael has a lot of my artistic characteristics. He is good with color and sculpture and has a good eye for detail and proportion, which is important for this type of art. He also has an amazing imagination. My favorite of his character ideas is the Ice-cream Rainbow Fairies which represent all sorts of different flavors of ice cream. We made up that story together when we were in New Zealand in August 2016. New Zealand is known for its dairy products and has superb ice cream and chocolate. The fairies’ idea developed after a visit to a local ice cream shop which had the biggest array of ice cream flavors I’ve ever seen.
Michael has always read a little slower than Greg and I, but I read every day with him until he was twelve years old. He has an average reading speed for his age group now, which I consider a great achievement.
Michael has suffered ill health all his life and during his long periods of illness, he listened to a lot of audiobooks. I had the entire Roald Dahl series, Enid Blyton Famous Five series, and several classic children’s books like The Children of the New Forest by Frederick Marryat and E Nesbit’s books including The Railway Children, Five Children and It, The Carpet and the Phoenix, and others.
I think both my sons’ love of reading comes from me. Terence isn’t a big reader.
Michael also enjoys writing poetry and has written some good pieces recently.
Michael also has my ability to completely disengage from anything that doesn’t interest him. This is also one of my less admirable characteristics, and I never learned to speak Afrikaans as well as I could have as a result. Thank you, Miriam, for these great questions and for hosting my post today.
You’re welcome, Robbie. It’s my pleasure to have you.
About Haunted Halloween Holiday
Count Sugar is delighted when the Sugarpop Bats invites his family to a Halloween party at the Haunted House. He and his wife, Witch Honey, decide to hire a caravan and enjoy a weekend away with their family.
Includes some fun limericks to introduce the various characters.
Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with eleven children’s books and two poetry books.
The eight Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions that children can make under adult supervision.
Robbie and Michael have also written Haunted Halloween Holiday, a delightful fantasy story for children aged 5 to 9. Count Sugar and his family hire a caravan to attend a Halloween party at the Haunted House in Ghost Valley. This story is beautifully illustrated with Robbie’s fondant and cake art creations.
Robbie has published two books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.
Robbie has two adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories, in the horror and paranormal genre, and poems included in several anthologies.
Robbie Cheadle contributes two monthly posts to https://writingtoberead.com, namely, Growing Bookworms, a series providing advice to caregivers on how to encourage children to read and write, and Treasuring Poetry, a series aimed at introducing poetry lovers to new poets and poetry books.
In addition, Roberta Eaton Cheadle contributes one monthly post to https://writingtoberead.com called Dark Origins: African Myths and Legends which shares information about the cultures, myths and legends of the indigenous people of southern Africa.
I’m over at Smitha Vishwanath, the blogger, painter, artist, and poet’s blog. She shared a heartwarming review of my memoir. Her review stirred up my emotions about my journey all over again. It brought happy tears into my eyes because I’m alive t share my story with you. Please go over to read her excellent review.
I want to thank Miriam for writing this book which is a real-life account of her battle with cancer in 2008. In the foreword, she says, ” Life is precious and it’s worth fighting for. If I died, my pain went with me, but I would leave pain with my loved ones. My life is worth living.’ This very honest, straight-from-the-heart line, sets the tone of the book and forms the backbone of her fight against cancer. It was this line that made me read on. It reminded me of my very recent brush with the hospital and how I felt when I was wheeled into the operation theatre. I thought, ‘Well if it ends, the pain is gone. But, there’s so much love to live for.‘
Miriam recounts her experience with the dreaded ‘C’- the chance identification of it, the subsequent tests, and adjusting her life so…
I’m excited to be at Denise’s blog today. She generously shares her blog with me to host my launch tour. She is a prolific writer and poet. Her publications include but are not limited to: Just Her Poetry, The Button, This Second Chance, No Fairy Tale, Dolphin’s Cave, Elizabeth’s War, Things on a Tree, An Unusual Island, and Tree Fairies.
I continued to talk about memoir writing and discussed the role of research today. Please head over to join me for the discussion and browse around all the wonderful books by Denise L. Finn.
I’m honored to have Miriam Hurdle here today to share her story. This was a heartfelt story and my review is below.
Thank you for hosting my launch tour today, Denise. I’m thrilled to be here to share my new book with your friends.
During the launch tour, I want to talk about memoir writing. Here is my topic for today.
The Role of Research in Memoirs
Memoirs always require research. They are stories based on real-life events. Fact-check everything can be fact-checked, such as names, dates, places, weather, and events. One person wanted to write a family memoir, but she was not sure if her great-grandmother’s name spelled Emily or Emely. Her research shows Emely was the correct spelling. You can’t make up this information. The inaccuracy takes away the credibility of your story.
Example: In The Winding Road, I wrote I was holding the “10 feet” tall IV stand as my cane to walk on the hospital floor after my surgery. My writing group laughed. One said, “The IV stand feels like 10 feet tall to you because you’re short.” I then Googled the height of IV stands and changed my story to “The IV stand looked like 6 feet tall.”
I’m over at Robbie Cheadle’s blogfor Day 5 of The Winding Road launch tour. I talk about how I wrote my memoir. Please head over to join me for the discussion.
Robbie has a new children’s book Haunted Halloween Holidaysreleasing soon. You can find out more about this delicious book while you’re there.
Thank you for hosting my launch tour today, Robbie. I’m thrilled to be here to share my new book with your friends.
During the launch tour, I want to talk about memoir writing. Here is my topic for today.
How did I write my memoir?
During my fifty-three weeks of the cancer journey, especially the six months of full-time bio chemotherapy, I was so sick that all the days blended in together.
Emails – As soon as I found out about my cancer, I emailed the updates to my family and friends. They emailed back to show me their support. I saved all the emails.
Records – I kept all the medical records in a binder with tabs to organize the doctor’s referrals, doctor’s appointments, visit summaries, insurance authorizations, testing instructions, testing results, lab results, treatment schedules, and discharge summaries.