Lost Dogs

by Karen J Mossman

In 2015 I was involved in an ill fated Round Robin. This is where a group of cross stitchers get together, choose a theme, and stitch one square each. They then pass it (post it) to the next person to stitch and eventually it arrives back with the original owner.

My chosen subject was dogs, particularly because I have a Yorkie and had seen a lovely pattern I wanted to stitch. So I chose some other dogs to go with it, and stitched all the outline for the squares to match the number of people taking part.

I stitched my own over the month, as did everyone else with third. Then we posted to the next person along with the accompanying chart, thread and fabric.

Each person had their chosen subject, and these are the ones I stitched for the others in the group. It was fun because they were all different.

All was going well until I stopped receiving them. Gradually everybody was asking the same question. Where is the Round Robin? Weeks passed and we began to worry. Two of the girls went back through messages on a group Face ok chat. Eventually, they traced them back to a stitcher in London. She seemed to have all of the Round Robin, all of our work, threads and charts, and stopped communicating. Trying many times times to get hold of her, it was all to no avail.

We were scattered around the country and one of the stitchers was in the States. Luckily, she was able to stop hers being sent to this girl.

All looked lost until I spoke to a work colleague who lived in the capital often returning to the office we worked at in Manchester. He agreed to help out. I wrote  a registered letter telling this girl that someone would call round at a specific time and date to collect the Round Robin.

We waited with bated breathe, and he eventually sent a me a message to say he had got them. I was relieved but didn’t say anything to the others until I had them in my hand. Three weeks later I went to his house taking him a bottle of wine for his trouble. Although it was well worth it, it turned out be costly with the wine, registered letter, and returning the items to their owners.

When he handed it over, I opened the packet and mine was the only that wasn’t there. The Yorkshire terrier I’ had stitched had disappeared. When queried, the girl said she posted it, but it was never received by the next stitcher. I had to accept that after everything of mine was gone for ever. It was so upset.

The girl who originally organised the Round Robin asked me to post them all to her and she distribute them. She also said that she would arrange to have my Round Robin stitched again. Three of the girls volunteered to help and I supplied the chart and the three other dog charts, along with and the fabric once again. They said not to send the threads as they would use from their own stash.

I was thrilled they were doing this for me, and I couldn’t wait to receive it back.

Weeks turned into months and nothing arrived. I began to get that lump in my throat again. After everything that had gone on, I felt like I had been forgotten. I didn’t know who had my stitching and posted in a stitching group to see where it was. It turned out the girl who organised it, had lost her stitching mojo and hadn’t stitched and not passed it on. I began to wonder whether I would ever see it again.

The other three girls all agreed that they still wanted to to do it, so she posted it off and it landed with a lady called Amy, who was seemed really excited to receive it. She was so pleased, she asked if I would mind if she stitched all four of them! We continued to correspond through Facebook, as she gave me updates of her progress, but I wasn’t allowed to see it until it had finished. She felt like a surrogate mother to my babies!

Twelve months later the package finally arrived.

The colours are amazing and I loved the paw prints she added, too. I sent her the photo of me below, hoping she could see my huge smile.  I did wonder about making a cushion with it, but on seeing it, I feel a frame would do it justice and then it can be viewed frequently by everyone.

So thank you Amy Broadhurst.

Foster Children

When I was two years old, my mum fostered two boys called Norman and Paul Rhodes, When Dad got a job in the Manchester police force, we had to leave them behind with my grandparents.

Nana & Papa with Norman and Paul Rhodes

This is them in the gardens of the house called Woodcoate, in Oswestry, Shropshire. They were beautiful blonde haired boys and I have fond memories of them.

It was 1962, when our family moved as Dad got a job with the Manchester and Salford Police. Mum began working for Social Services and continued until she died aged seventy five in 2010.

I grew up with foster children, it was normal to me. I don’t recall a time when we didn’t have other children. It enabled Mum to be at home with her own four, but more so because she just loved children.

Hatherley Rd, Susie and foster boy Ian about 1970

Many of them passed through our door. If I remember correctly, the little boy above was called Ian.  The little girl is Susie, and she came to us in sad circumstances at the age of two. She was a long term foster child, as there was no plan in place for her and nobody who could take her. Susie soon became our sister, and we four became five. She is now over fifty, and still part of the family.

Scan 5 (2)

This is my mum with her sister Mavis, who later also became a foster mum. You can read more about her here. The photograph above, shows my sister, my cousins and a foster child. This is what Mum and her sister loved – being surrounded by children.

1979 Police Families Day (6)

This is me in 1979 with two children, I expect people thought they were mine. In fact, they did one day when I took one of the boys above, and his brother Robert to town one day. Kevin was two and Robert four. We walked round the shops and finally caught the bus home.

I was sitting at the front of the bus, with Kevin on my knee. Robert wandered off toward the door the driver had left open. It was dangerous. I wanted to call him back. I could hear people muttering – What kind of mother is she? Why doesn’t she call him ? There was daggers in my back and their eyes burned a hole in my coat. The reason I didn’t say anything was because I completely forgot what he was called! Luckly, he returned to his seat safely.

Another story was about two sisters whose names I’ve forgotten and were under five years old. Mum organised a birthday party for my eight-year old sister. All the food was in the front room, I was upstairs and apparently, according to Mum, everything went quiet, then I heard her shout  Oh no! (or something similar!) I came downstairs and the sisters had gone into the front room and eaten most of the party food!

One little boy was called Elliot and suddenly had a bad odour about him. His breath got worse everyday. When it showed no sign of improving, Mum took him our local hospital. The doctor looked into his mouth and nose and then produced a pair of tweezers and pulled out a long piece of fetid newspaper.

Generally, after a child had left us, we never heard of them again. However, with two of them we saw their names in the newspaper.

One was eighteen month old Leroy, who we christened, Lee-Lee. We loved that child. He was a fighter. He came to us suffering from Rickets, Malutrition and Scabies. Social Services back then always thought the best place for a child was with its mother.

People used to think that he was my dad’s son because they looked alike. I love this photo.

Dad in the hall of 94 with Lee Lee


Three times they tried and failed to get him back with his mother, and each time he came back to us.

Scan 9 (2)

Lee-Lee eventually thrived and he left us a happy boy.  When he left for the final time, Mum saw him holding his mother’s hand walking through town. She couldn’t approach him, even though it had been nine months since he was in her care. He turned and saw her. She knew he recognised her and desperately wanted to go to him. When he held out arm to her, she said it really upset her and she had to go home.

Lee made his way through the care system in the end living in various children’s homes. One day when he was fourteen, he and a friend were playing in a culvert in park and they got into trouble and shouted for help. A passer by when in to try and rescue the boys. He saved one, but he and Lee drowned.

Another sad story was Elliot, he had an unusual surname and thirty years later it was in the newspaper where a 32 year old man with the same name, and the father of two children had been shot dead in a gang killing.

I often wonder what became of the other children we had. If they spent their early years in care, they probably wouldn’t even remember us. They wouldn’t have any photographs of themselves as children, there would be no stories, nothing about their childhood and I find it sad, I can’t share them.

A few years ago I rang Manchester Social Services after watching a programme where a women who had been brought up in care approached them asking for information on herself. She was thrilled to find out where she was and to fill in details of her past. My parent’s files were in an archive, so there was no information available. I agreed to put all my photographs together along with stories about children I could remember in a file and send it electronically. Then if anyone came looking, they would at least know what they looked like as a child.

Some months later, I put the info together, sent it to the email address and it came bouncing back. It seemed she had left and no one was doing her job. I couldn’t get any help or anyone to pick up the phone. So now I have this information and nowhere to pass it on to, which I think is sad.


I Despair!

When my son lived at home, he was extremely forgetful. Even today, he suffers with remembering things.

I found this entry in an old diary and it me wonder if he had a hole at the side of his head where sense falls out.

On Saturday morning I asked Ian to put a small table up in the loft for me as there is no space for it and I didn’t want to throw it out.

I reminded him Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and now Wednesday as he showed me a hammer he’d bought at the pound shop.

“That’s handy,” I said, “Can you hammer down the nails that have risen on the door grip in the kitchen?”

“Sure,” he said, still examining his new purchase.

“Oh and don’t forget that table.”

“I’ll do it later.”

Later on that day, he was in the kitchen running the hot water for three dishes he’d taken to his room on consecutive days. The cereal in them had dried hard, so they were soaking before he washed them. As they did, he was making sandwiches for his dinner as he was on a late shift.

“I’m taking butties today, Mum, and some fruit. I was caught short yesterday with nothing to eat and no money.”

“Good idea. I’m just nipping out to the shop, now,” I said, putting on my coat and grabbing a bag.

“Ok, I’m going to work in minute.” He was licking the fork with the tuna and salad cream which he then tossed into the hot water with the soaking dishes.

“Don’t forget the washing up, and, oh and will you turn the washer off before you go?”

“Sure, ” he said. again.

I went out the door and paused on the step, should I remind him about the washing machine? No, I’ve just this second told him.

I returned after half and an hour and he had gone. As I opened the door, I saw the little table at the bottom of the stairs and I heard the washing machine spinning. I walked towards the kitchen and tripped over the nails on the carpet grip tearing my trousers. As I catapulted myself towards kitchen sink, I saw all the washing up, he’d not done.

Swearing, I turned round and there were his sandwiches, all packed and ready to go!

August Electric Press now live…

There are plenty of superb articles, short stories, and books to share in this magazine. My book Toxic is featured and look out for Victory75, a VE day anthology, I’ve written an article based on the story in the book. All reblogs of this will be gratefully appreciated.

Electric Press

The August 2020 edition of Electric Press – Literary Insights magazine is now online. Read for FREE by following this link



We welcome contributions and submissions for the next edition of Electric Press magazine, the November 2020 edition. Click HEREfor details

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Don’t You Love A Wedding!

By Karen J Mossman

We all love a good wedding and I like to give the bride and groom something different for their special day. Back in 2002 one of the popular crossing stitching magazines produced a wedding sampler. It was simple, but effective and I loved the colours. As a result, I’ve stitched it a total of seven times.

The last one was for a wedding in July. Because all the squares are lined with each other, I did make an error, not that it can be seen. I think I went wrong on the count of the bells in the middle. This resulted in the gap between one set of squares being slightly smaller than the rest. I don’t think it matters too much, though.

Over the seven times I’ve stitched these I’ve made some right blunders and as I was about to go into the framers with this one, I had to double check I’d not put Brain instead of Brian. How many times have you seen this mis-spelt? Luckily though, I’d done it correctly.

Which is more than I can say for this one for my son Ian’s wedding.

I had it beautifully framed and when I got it home someone pointed out I had spelt December wrong. I had actually put Decemember. How I didn’t notice, I don’t know. It was glaringly obvious. So I had to take the strip off the back and very carefully unpick the weaving and re-stitch it. It turned out to be a good job because you can’t tell.

However, that wasn’t the only error. The centre bell on the right was elongated and this meant the squares at the side wouldn’t line up and I had a gap in the centres ones. It was too much for me to unpick it. So I placed the name of the venue there to hide it. I think its very unique!

Another was for Chris and Karen, a girl from the office. It was the week before her wedding and I had it framed ready to be wrapped. It was only in a conversation I overheard she mentioned was marrying on the 4th. I had stitched 5th September. So again I had to carefully take the back off, unpick the weaving stitches and re-do the date. She never knew and I don’t think you can even tell.

There weren’t any errors on this one and it turned out as planned

I wrote to a cross stitch magazine and had my letter published, which was fun.

This was the second one I did in 2004 and there was one other another where the couples have split up.

I’m glad most were error free. I have one more to for next year now.

Pictures telling Stories, The Ghost on the Stairs

by Karen J Mossman

Untitled design (1)I don’t really know whether I believe in ghosts. I’ve never had an encounter, nor do I want one. I’m open-minded and believe that others have seen them and they believe.

The one thing I do know is that I love to write about them.

With this book, I had such great fun because I love my main character. Cassie, who is a clairvoyant. She is fun and sassy at times. Before I knew it I had mixed up two elements that generally don’t go together, or do they?

Scary ghosts and humour, because this isn’t a comedic book, it’s deadly serious. I believe in writing about life as it is and so many people find humour in the things that frighten them most, Cassie is no exception.

The first photograph shows the book cover, which I absolutely love. I designed one myself but was never happy with it. Then, Paul White, from Electric Eclectic made this one for me and it says just what I needed it too, plus it is very clever having the book on the stairs, who’d have thought of that!

The second photo is the creature that haunts the house. It started out as a man but soon turned into something demonic. Here is a small excerpt.

I’d brought Damien into this and he was good enough to stand by me, the least I could do was to protect him. He was a non-believer; he shouldn’t be seeing this.

Screen Shot 2020-07-13 at 13.07.01

The picture underneath the ghoul is Cassie as she stares in wonderment around her. She sees more than she ever tells and has learnt to leave the undead to make their appearances on their own.

Finally, the biker is Damien, one of two sporting brothers who are also models. Winning cups and the hearts of girls is what they do. Daniel is married to discover the house he bought with his wife his haunted and she refuse to go inside.

Damien comes to Cassie to ask for help. She soon falls in love with him but is aware of his disbelief in all she does and fears their relationship may not last because of it.

Damien’s love for Cassie is severely tested, and it may be too much for him to stay with her.



Gifting a Book

by Karen J Mossman

Here’s what you do if you use Amazon.com:

  • Head over to Amazon UK or Amazon US
  • Find the eBook you want to send as a gift.
  • Click on the ‘Buy for Others’ button
  • Enter the personal email address of your recipient
  • Enter a delivery date and an optional personal message
  • Click Place Your Order

The buy for others button is country-specific. I get around that by asking someone in that country to buy for me, and if you both have Paypal, then it is easy.

Screen Shot 2020-03-29 at 16.16.04
This is where the option is.
Screen Shot 2020-03-29 at 16.16.21
When you click on it, this is what you get.




by Brian O’Hare

Have you ever considered having one of your books translated into another language? I never gave it a thought, or if I did, I just assumed I wasn’t famous enough, or rich enough to cover any costs. Books from both self-published authors and commercial publishers are usually only in one language due to the upfront cost of translation, they struggle to find a translator, and suffer the complexities of working with retailers in different countries.

So, that’s a ‘no’, then?

Actually, it isn’t. By pure chance, I discovered Babelcube. Babelcube is a platform that brings self-published authors and publishers together with freelance translators to create books in additional languages and sell them around the world. A writer simply contacts Babelcube, uploads a pdf copy of his/her book, together with jpeg of the cover, and sits back. Babelcube then gives the writer access to an extensive list of translators, offering details of the translator’s experience and background.  The writers then contact a number of these translators, making as impressive pitch of their books as they can, and then wait.

Eventually one … or two … or three … translators will get back to the writer and offer to translate the book. The writer makes a choice of translator … and the translation is off and running. Babelcube will the ensure that the book (eversion and paperback) will be made available from a large variety of outlets.

AND … there is no cost. It is a true partnership, as both the rights holders (author or publisher), freelance translators, and Babelcube,  are paid via a share of royalties from book sales.

Here is Babelcube’s pitch to writers:.

Sell Your Books in Other Languages!

Go ahead. It is risk free. It really is!

A Spanish reader who liked my book, The Miracle Ship, suggested that I have it translated into Spanish as she knew many people who would read it in that language. So I decided to try Babelcube and see what would happen.  Here is a photograph of two versions of The Miracle Ship that are now on my bookshelves:

Screen Shot 2020-07-12 at 18.32.57

And here is a link to Amazon’s Spanish version.

You might wish to give it a go.  It is all as easy as Babelcube says it would be.

Royalties?  Well, that’s a different story. I’m still waiting for the riches … and waiting.  Babelcube make no effort to sell the books.  They put them out there and wait for clients to take them up … or not.  I have no way of marketing in foreign countries, so I just have to wait until someone comes across the foreign version and decides to buy it

Still, you never know. I am now working with a very pleasant and well qualified Italian who wants to translate my mysteries series into Italian. I have only just met him, but the story here is slightly better.  He knows some publishers and has worked with them before.  Music to my ears. Fingers crossed.

40233557_10212341225945036_6829941355846828032_nThe Miracle Ship

Amazon UK
Amazon US


YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT YOU’RE READING BUT EVERY WORD IS TRUE!! Do you believe in miracles? Do you believe in demonic possession? Do you believe in exorcism? A little girl with irreparable brain damage was pronounced dead by two hospital specialists. Today she is a healthy teenager.

A teenage boy whose spine was crushed by a lorry was diagnosed as permanently paralysed. He now plays football with his friends.

A curse that brought death over five generations has been lifted. People tormented by demons have been set free. How were such miracles wrought? What do they have in common?

They have John Gillespie in common. Who is he? How has he been gifted with such extraordinary power? The Miracle Ship tells John’s story. But it does so much more than that. Yes, the book essentially focuses on miracles. Yes, it contains many extraordinary stories of healing and deliverance. Yes, it focuses strongly on the spiritual warfare that so many Christians are engaged in without any awareness of its dangers. But the book goes to the very heart of what is needed to find healing and deliverance. It tells of the obstacles and difficulties that get in the way of true healing prayer. It reveals the many pitfalls that lie in wait in seemingly innocent healing practices. It spells out in detail the serious dangers that underpin many apparently beneficial New Age therapies. And it offers many examples of the kinds of prayers and life-styles that can bring healing to the body and to the mind.

It can even turn around lives that are falling apart (and this has already been several times communicated to the author or John Gillespie by people who have already read this book on Kindle.) This is a book that should be read by all Christians. John’s message is profoundly insightful and, if it is uncompromising, it is laced with faith, forgiveness and truth.

Many who have already read the book have described it as ‘life-changing.’ This true account of his life, of the miracles and deliverances that follow his prayers, will amaze you. Millions of people love to hear and read about miracles. Sr. Briege McKenna’s book Miracles Do Happen has sold all over the world in its millions. If you read and liked Miracles Do Happen, you’ll love The Miracle Ship .

Not born an Artist, but am trying!

In the nineties, I taught myself to cross stitch because I wanted to make pretty pictures and didn’t have any talent for drawing. At the beginning of the year, my WI (Anglesey Federation of Women’s Institute) held a drawing course, and so I thought I would try it. Unfortunately, by the time I got to hear of it, it was fully booked. A friend of mine suggested I take a look at YouTube as there are lots of tutorials on there.

I hadn’t thought of that and initially drew a few from there. Mainly I learnt a lot, and that there were technical aspects of drawing, I hadn’t even thought of before.

I moved on to paperbacks, then. I bought a book called How to Draw with Photorealism, Drawing and Shading Techniques from Beginner to Advanced by Jasmina Susak. An excellent book that taught me so much.

Another was called How to Draw Anything by Mark Linley. That gave me a wide experience of trying many things, including cartoons. That was really fun.

So I’ll be sharing some of my drawings using the hashtag #drawings. By clicking that from the bottom of the homepage will bring them all up.

This is the one I’ve done today. A friend of mine once said even if it doesn’t look like the person it’s supposed to be, it is a person. Although, I would prefer them to look like who they’re supposed to be. When I showed him this, he said he didn’t know who it was and then came back saying it looks a bit like ….  can you guess?




This is one of the cartoons I copied from the book, then changed it up by adding a few more elements.

They may not be that good, but for someone who really couldn’t draw any better than a five-year-old, I think they are okay and they seemed to be getting better.


I’m pleased with my horse and at some point, I’d like to draw it in colour.


Then I drew my dog sleeping as she looked so angelic!




Leap of Faith

By Denna Holm

I’m terrified of heights, like freeze up, can’t move, can’t breathe, type of terror. As a teenager, I remember standing on a cliff above the river with a bunch of my friends. It was a popular swimming hole in the summer and everyone but me was leaping off that cliff into the cold water, screaming and laughing. I probably walked back and forth twenty times between the sandy beach and the cliff that day, trying to build my nerve, but every time I got close to the edge and looked down, my heart would leap up into my throat, and I’d freeze again.

I can’t! I can’t do this! And on shaky legs, I’d slowly back up and walk down to the beach, disappointed in myself.

I didn’t jump that day, but it was always on my mind. Why? What am I afraid of? Intellectually, I knew it was safe enough. Hundreds of kids had jumped from that cliff. The water was deep. There’s no debris to hit. I could swim well enough. Fear, it’s such a strange thing. It affects people in different ways. Some can easily overcome and push through it. Some, like me, can’t.

I remember when my daughter was five years old, just this little itty-bitty girl. We’d gone on a family rafting trip down the Rogue River and came to a swimming hole where people were jumping off a cliff, this one a little higher than the swimming hole back home. I watched them, some diving, some jumping feet first, and I just shook my head. I didn’t even bother to walk up the trail to the top of the cliff, knowing I would never be able to jump.

Then my daughter says, “Mom, can I jump? I want to jump.”

Before I could open my mouth to say no, her dad pipes up with, “Sure, sweetie, go ahead. I’ll walk up there with you.”

I looked over at him, my eyes blazing with worry and anger, and said, “Are you out of your ever-loving mind? She could get hurt.”

He just looked at me and said, “No, she won’t. I’ll be with her up top. You’ll be down here, ready to help if she starts to panic in the water.”

I don’t know when I’ve ever been more scared, the day I’d stood on the cliff as a teenager with my heart in my throat, or the day I swam below while I waited for my daughter to leap off that cliff. I remember looking up at her sweet little face. She’d grown so pale, so scared, but trying so hard to hide it. I had to face my own fear that day. It would have been easy to talk her out of it. Instead, I forced myself to smile and said, “It’s okay, sweetie, you can do it. Just jump. I’ll be right here waiting for you.”

And she jumped. No hesitation. A big grin on her face.

I’m older now, my daughter is grown with kids of her own. I’ve faced many challenges over my life. I’ve had many people tell me I couldn’t do something, which only made me more determined to try. One of them was learning to write. Though I’d been a life-long lover of books and stories, I didn’t start to think about writing until I retired from training and showing horses. A riding accident had left me physically and emotionally crippled and I knew I needed to find something worthwhile to do with my time. So I went back to school and started to study creative writing, and relearn grammar and punctuation. Was it easy? No. I hadn’t been to school for over twenty-five years. But I was determined to try.

It took several years to finish my first novel, a lot of trial and error, and a lot of constructive criticism taken in from great instructors and other experienced authors, but I finally had a finished manuscript in my hands. Now, what to do with it?

What if people didn’t like it?

What if I was a terrible writer?

Was I going to let fear of failure, fear of ridicule, keep me frozen on that new cliff?

What if they do like it?

A question that would remain unanswered unless I took the plunge and let someone else read it.

I remembered looking up at my daughter’s sweet face as she faced her fear on that cliff, so much braver than me at only five years old.

You can do this, I told myself. Take your own leap of faith.


Soul of a Warrior was my first book, a science fiction action adventure. It helped set my imagination free, taking me to new worlds, meeting wonderful, fascinating people and creatures at a time when I felt at my lowest point. I thought my life had ended when I was forced to give up horses. In reality, it was just a new beginning. I now have four different science fiction/fantasy series in the works with Crimson Cloak Publishing. I can’t wait to wake up every morning to see where the next adventure will take me.

Screen Shot 2020-07-10 at 18.50.23Description A handsome blond stranger shows up at Kimi Wicker’s place of work claiming to be her mate. But he also claims to be from another world. She does what any sane woman would do in her situation. She runs. Tagging along are her two best friends and a feisty tabby cat. No one could anticipate the second stranger showing up, one with a completely different agenda.

Kimi and her friends are abducted by the second man, a vampire, then tortured and abandoned on a hostile alien world. Given only the clothes on their back, they must now try to find a way back home again.

One man will do everything in his power to see Kimi and her friends are brought safely back home, even sacrifice his own life. The second man wants Kimi and her mate to suffer, alive, but forever out of reach of each other. Kimi and her friends must work together against astronomical odds for any hope of surviving this nightmare.

Link to Book


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