#Review By Lou – Together Behind Four Walls – an anthology compiled by Francis H. Powell – A Book Supporting Marie Curie Nurses @Dreamheadz @lovebooksgroup

Together Behind Four Walls
Compiled By Francis H. Powell
Written By Various Well-Known People

Poignant and heartfelt, Together Behind Four Walls will delight and pull at heartstrings. The book supports Marie Curie Nurses. Thanks to Love Books for inviting me to review on the blog tour and for the gifted book. Find out more in the blurb and a bit about some of the contributors as well as my full review below…

Behind Closed Doors


Behind Closed DoorsWith the sudden arrival of Covid 19 and the introduction of a lockdown, many people might have wondered how they would spend their time.

Writers, poets and artists decided to express their feelings in words and pictures during this turbulent period. From humour to deep thoughts Together Behind Four Walls captures the many facets of the human spirit during the pandemic.

Proceeds from the book will go to Marie Curie nurses who continued their great work during this crisis.

The book includes some well-known contributors including:

Wendy Cope pictureWendy Cope: among other accolades, the author of five collections of adult poetry, a judge of the 2007 Man  Booker Prize, and was voted the listeners’ choice in a BBC Radio 4 poll to succeed Ted Hughes as Poet Laureate in 1998.

Lynne Reid BanksLynne Reid Banks: is a British author of books for children and adults. She has written forty-five books, including the best-selling children’s novel The Indian in the Cupboard, which has sold over 10 million copies and has been successfully adapted for film.


Roger Robinson: a  celebrated writer, musician, and performer, who has won the T.S. Eliot Prize and the Ondaatje Prize.

Peter Finch 2Peter Finch: an author, historian, poet, and former Chief Executive of First Academi, the Welsh National Literature Promotion Agency and Society of Writers.



John HegleyJohn Hegley: a  performance poet, comedian musician and songwriter, who was the presenter of the Border Television series “Word of Mouth”, and has appeared on Never Mind the Buzzcocks.


Arrthur Smith_0310_photo by steve ullathorneArthur Smith: an alternative comedian, presenter and writer, who famously turned down a lifetime achievement award in 2005 from the Perrier Award organisers, and won the Panel Prize at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2007.


Neal Zetter: a comedy performance poet, children’s author, and entertainer. He has nearly 30 years of experience performing in locations such as West End comedy clubs and the Royal Festival Hall. He uses the writing and/or performing of poetry to develop literacy, self-expression, confidence, creativity and presentation skills.

Sally Kindberg: a contemporary award-winning Swedish artist, living in London. Sally kindly donated two original drawings for this campaign.

The book also includes other contributors from around the world.

Please support the book by following it on Facebook:


or Instagram:



Together Behind Four Walls, thanks careworkers and keyworkers in the world of care, which is lovely. It also delves into 2020, when people couldn’t get together the same, nor visit loved ones, even when they were unwell and dying. This book has a lot of heart to it. It has love and warmth as well as bucketfuls of poignancy. Amongst the sadness and anger, there is also shiny bits of hope. There are moments that come across as raw memories flooding back and throughout a sense of absolute truth and honesty about how each writer feels/felt and then that is reflected in a wider society as in some sense, and this makes everything within this relatable because whether you’ve been through similar experiences as those contributing to this anthology, the likelihood is you may well know someone who is or has experienced similar, or perhaps you’re a carer a keyworker, this is an anthology that in essence, captures moments of time, moments like a fabric, creating and documenting social history in a sense, but in the writers own words and in short verses, creating what is a fundamental snapshot for now and into the future.

The writing itself is exquisite, in short verses for people to dip into as they please. There’s life and realism in each and every contributor’s writing. Each person has their own story to tell and each person has used their power of writing to touch a heart, bring a respect, bring a part of life that each and every person was touched by one way or another, and for many, what is written will be relevant, a shared, yet apart experience in a way.

With proceeds going to Marie Curie Nurses, this is a book that could also make a difference and also shows some generosity in giving their time (of which we know they had lots of), to a worthy cause, even though there were other things they could have been doing.

Something Different – I said to watch this space. Now I’ve the latest news and you can help

I signed up for the Kiltwalk to walk their longest walk with my friend Kelley for MS society. In September we will walk 16 1/2 miles. That is on average 6 hours worth of walking, alongside the River Clyde in Glasgow. I have a Just Giving Page below. I have always used my blog as a source of good and would like to show you, now you know I do a lot of volunteering work from a previous blog post, where I am taking this volunteering to now.

My mum has MS with No remission. So many people have MS. Symptoms are very wide-ranging and no one is experiences exactly the same. I am part carer with my dad for her. I have been for years and I will be for many more. She is youngish you see, and should be enjoying retirement so much more than this degenerative disease allows. So, this is my motivation, that and so many people have this disease, some people experience pain, eyesight loss, mobility problems and even more. The list is huge. I knew I wanted to do something. I’m doing the walking, so you don’t have to do this part, but there are ways you can help.

Please help spread the word and if you can, donate. Every bit will make a difference.
Justgiving link is:
You can Retweet on Twitter on – https://twitter.com/Lou_Bookmarks
On Twitter, it will always be top of my Twitter Feed until I’ve done the walk.

Thank you!

#Review by Lou – Poems to Please by Debbie Milner #DebbieMilner #Poetry #PoemsToPlease #Nature #Humour #UpliftingPoetry #ContemporaryPoetry #Charities

Poems to Please
By Debbie Milner

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Poems to Please

Debbie Milner has written an uplifting poetry book full of humour, great observations about life and nature with proceeds going to 2 charities – The local Foodbank and Hailsham 95.9 FM, a radio station run locally by volunteers, where they call her their resident poet.
I am excited to say that I have reviewed some excellent poems that are fun, uplifting, atmospherically beautiful. First of all, find out what the author/poet says about her book and then my review and finally a bit about Debbie Milner herself.
Thanks to Debbie Milner for getting in touch directly and requesting a review.

Debbie Milner says “During this ever-changing time, in the last ten months, I have put together some Poems to Please to follow my novella last year. Some of the poems are about love and nature and I hope you will find a lot that will make you smile. Writing has been a great outlet in these challenging times. I have enjoyed doing a podcast and two radio interviews and hope to do another one soon. After being chosen for an entry to The Hailsham Festival 2020 Anthology with Coronavirus days, this gave me a real boost.”


Poems to Please

The poems I have read for review – Lost My Glasses, Again – A River Flows – Pigeons Fly are just the tonic as they are uplifting and packed full of nature and everyday humour. There’s something for everyone to enjoy.
I only had time to review 3, but if these 3 are anything to go by, readers of the whole book are in for a real treat!


Lost My Glasses, Again has a mix of humour and an experience that many people would be able to relate to, rather in a way that Pam Ayres has in her poetry, with humour and sharp observation.

A River Flows comes complete with a beautiful photograph of the river. The poem also brings the river and its nature alive. It is wonderfully observed with its nature and dark undercurrents, bringing atmosphere, beauty and truth.

Pigeons Fly is a small poem, which is amazingly packed full of life and imagery of homing pigeons and makes you care about them, in its own beautiful way.

About the Author

 I am Debbie Milner, a modern day poet, story teller and author of Poems to Please and Grey Days in Naples, my second Novella, but now with a writing course behind me and lots of creative thinking and encouraging words. I think that having great support is very important.
Amy was my character, who in 1977 goes to be an Au-pair in a very different time from the times we live in now and the era I grew up in. I was born in 1960 and I grew up in a leafy suburb of Surrey. My favourite subject was Anthology at school, story writing and also a love of poems.

My first poem was published in a book in 1995, called Growing Up Edited by Andrew Head and called Teen Girl Blues by Deborah Milner. I mainly write love and nature poems. After my poem Coronavirus Days, was published in the Hailsham Festival Anthology in 2020, I set about writing Poems to Please, which after ten months, has just been published in 2021 on Amazon. Some are in rhyme and some are not, but I hope these modern poems including Lost my glasses,Again!, in a simple and effective way, will make you feel positive and some will make you feel joy. Poems to Please has enjoyed great promotions with ‘shout outs’ throughout the day on local radio. I have also followed this with two radio interviews about the book.
The most exciting thing has been working with a lady in America to publish my poem book on Audible next month.

Before that, I wrote a very raw Novella about being a starstruck teenager in the 1970s.

I hope everyone enjoys my Grey Days in Naples and finds something to make them smile. It just so happens that I did travel to Naples about that time too!
I write with a local group and enter poetry contests and before coronavirus, I helped with a little local news guide on my local Hailsham FM radio station.
Walking in fields by the sea with my little dog is also a love of mine along family and friends and popular music.


Something Different by Lou – Books by Lorraine Johnston for various charities – Dive in to discover more #ChildrensBooks #WhiteleysRetreat #ScotlandsCharityAirAmbulance #WildlifeTrust

Charity books picI have something different today. It’s something quite wonderful and joyous! It’s something that you, the reader, can really get involved in. Today I am writing here about 3 books. Not just any 3 books The money raised for these books will go to very well-known Scottish Charities – Whiteley’s Retreat, Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance and Scottish Wildlife Trust. The books are full of humour and friendship. There are added extras for children to amuse themselves with as they can get creative with bookmarks and puppets. You don’t need to have children to be able to assist the charities, I have provided info and links to each charity so you can find more info about them.
First let me tell you about the author and then let’s get back to the books and the charities.

Author Raine picEach book is written by Lorraine Johnston. Supporting Scottish Charities through book sales is incredibly important to her. When her and I spoke over video call, she shown real passion for charities. This is definitely not some vanity project she is doing, she shown real knowledge of the charities and a true care for them.
She went on to tell me how she used to support them in all sorts of physical and energetic ways, before being diagnosed with MS. Writing has allowed her to have a purpose again, but to write so that other people from all different walks of life as well as wildlife as she has a passion for people and nature.
Website: www.writerlorrainejohnston.com   Now onto discover the wonderful books and charities…

Each book has humour, adventure, friendship, courage, facts about the animal they’ve read the story about and an extra fun activity they can do. Each book has bright, bold illustrations accompanying the story.

Whit of Whiteley’s Wood – 100% of All Proceeds go to Whiteley’s Retreat – offers free short breaks for families who have children with life-altering illnesses.

Later Tartan Gator – £1 from each book sale will be donated to Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance

MacMoley Moves Home – £1 from each book sale will be donated to The Wildlife Trust.

All books can be bought from her website www.writerlorrainejohnston.com  OR Foggie Toddle Books – An Independent bookshop Located in Wigtown.
Find out more about the books and the charities in turn, below.

Whit of Whiteley’s Wood

Whit of Whitelys WoodsFull of humour and empathy, young readers can fly in to join Whit, a young Long-Eared owl, who finds herself in a bit of a pickle to say the least. In excellent rhythm, she soon discovers that, thankfully, she discovers immense friendship in a horse, a mole, a mouse, a fox and birds, who all do their bit to help her and save her from what was almost a completely disastrous flight. There is much warmth and courage in this uplifting and cheering story amongst the wildlife. Continue further than the story’s end to discover the most uplifting quote by Oscar Wilde that is perfect for these times we are living in. Further still, discover how to make a paper bag puppet and fun facts about owls. All perfect to keep children amused.

May be an image of text that says "WHITELEYS RETREAT"Whiteley’s Farm Retreat – 100% of all proceeds of this book will go to this charity.

Whiteleys offers amazing spaces for the whole family to enjoy and explore, both on the doorstep and in the surrounding area. We have two high quality, five star assisted catering cottages where families can enjoy short therapeutic breaks complemented with a variety of animal, art, horticultural, holistic, music and recreational therapies. There is a Sensory Hub, a Play Park, Animal Therapy Area, a Wellbeing Garden.

Once a farm, Whiteleys has many exciting opportunities for development: we have plans to create a Sensory Play Barn, Outdoor Recreational Areas, Woodland Pathed Walks and ultimately a Centre of Excellence for children and young people with cancer and life altering illness. We are developing our Young Shoulders Programme, Bereavement Breaks and Sibling/Carers Weeks throughout the year. You can follow these on our social media channels, too.
Find out more about them on their media below:
 Websitewww.whiteleysretreat.com    Facebook: WhiteleysRetreat     Twitter: @whiteleysayr         Instagram: whiteleys_retreat/   LinkedIn: whiteleys-retreat-2733b6164

Purchases can be made from www.writerlorrainejohnston.com  OR Foggie Toddle Books

Later Tartan Gator

Later Tartan Gator pic


A visit to Audubon Zoo in this rhyming book, brings much fun and unexpected effects, when the visitors ignore the “Do Not Feed The Animals At Any Time” signs and feed an alligator a whole haggis. A girl then buys some blue chocolate frogs to help with the unintended consequence of eating the haggis as he feels sad. Children will have much fun as they watch surprising changes in the alligator. At the back of the book, they will also find bookmarks to have fun, personalising for themselves.

Crocodile pic




Scotland's Charity Air Ambulance | SCAAScottish Charity Air Ambulance £1 of all proceeds of this book will go to this charity.

Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA) saves and
                                    improves lives across Scotland every day. 

SCAA currently operates two helicopters, both EC135-T2is, and one rapid response vehicle – taking expert paramedic care to the scene of time-critical emergencies, whether it be on a road, in a field or at someone’s home.  SCAA then transports patients to specialist hospitals to receive the most appropriate advanced care.

SCAA makes a difference – a patient’s chance of survival and full recovery are greatly increased if they receive the right medical care within the first hour of injury or illness.  The fast response of SCAA and its ability to reach Scotland’s most remote and rural areas saves vital minutes when every second really does count.

SCAA can be airborne within five minutes of receiving an emergency call and can reach 90% of Scotland’s population within 25 minutes.

As Scotland’s only charity air ambulance, SCAA is funded by the people of Scotland, primarily through donations, fundraising, events and our life-saving lottery.

Website: https://www.scaa.org.uk/     Twitter: @ScotAirAmb   Instagram: scaa_charity/   YouTube: ScotAirAmb

Purchases can be made from www.writerlorrainejohnston.com  OR Foggie Toddle Books

Moley MacMoley

MacMoley CoverMacmoley has too much stuff in his home, so he decides to find another one. He packs his porridge bowl and bagpipes and sets off to tell his friends – Fox, Rabbit, Vole and Shrew, who are all very busy. Children can have fun as they follow Moley MacMoley on an adventure through the tunnels he digs, to see if he can ever find a home that is big enough for him and all his belongings. It has a surprise and fun twist at the end as Moley MacMoley realises something about what home means.
Then children can learn fun facts about moles and see photos. There is a section about cute collectables. The book is dedicated to all those who care for wildlife.

Springwatch Competition - The Scottish Beaver TrialScottish Wildlife Trust – £1 of all proceeds of this book will go to this charity.

For over 50 years, the Scottish Wildlife Trust has worked with its members, partners and supporters in pursuit of its vision of healthy, resilient ecosystems across Scotland’s land and seas.

The Trust successfully champions the cause of wildlife through policy and campaigning work, demonstrates best practice through practical conservation and innovative partnerships, and inspires people to take positive action through its education and engagement activities. It also manages a network of around 120 wildlife reserves across Scotland and is a member of the UK-wide Wildlife Trusts movement.
Find out more on their media below:

Website: https://scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk/    Twitter: @ScotWildPolicy   
Facebook: Scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk/social     YouTube: https://scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk/social/#youtube

Purchases can be made from www.writerlorrainejohnston.com  OR Foggie Toddle Books

Hot Off The Press…. Walter’s Wonkey Web…

Walter's Wonkey Web


Discover more about it on the website:



Foggie Toddle Books

Walter's Wonkey Web 2

#Interview by Lou with Backstories Author – Simon Van Der Velde @SimonVdVwriter #ShortStories #Backstories #Charities

Interview with Simon Van Der Velde
Author of Backstories

Today I welcome Bestselling author – Simon Van Der Velde, whose new book, is Backstories for a Q&A session. It is already becoming a success story in itself for this debut short-story teller with his book rapidly reaching Amazon no 1 bestseller – for lit shorts new releases. The book is available now.
What a priveledge to be able to interview him.

is a highly original collection of 14 intimate short stories about famous and infamous people who you may know. These tell their stories, fictionalised, but with enough fact so you, the reader, can guess who the narrator is. I rated it 5 stars and was hooked into each story from beginning to end.

You can find out more  Here First, check out what he has to say in his interview/Q&A session with me as we talk about Backstories, Writing, Desert Island Books and Music and Emerging From Lockdown. You can also find buy and social media links and the charities this book supports at the end.


What or who inspired you to write short stories and do you have a particular routine to your writing day?

There were always books in our house, so I guess writing is an ambition that goes right back to childhood.  I do love novels too, but sometimes I feel there’s greater power and truth in the shorter form.

Backstories (2)The best ideas come in that fuzzy place between wake and sleep.  Ideally, I roll out of bed and start writing – often in my ‘office kimono’, with those ideas still fresh in my mind.

You are clearly fascinated in the human soul and bearing all, what inspired you to delve into the deeper and sometimes darker corners of life to create your characters?

I’m not much use at parties.  I find the superficial boring. Give me the truth every time.

You have a particular writing style and don’t let on too easily who the narrator is of each of the stories. Was there a particular reason or inspiration for this?

The longer I write, the more I see that a story is a collaboration between reader and writer.  Readers aren’t interested in writers showing off how clever they are, readers want to be engaged – to be an active part of the process, and in Backstories they absolutely are.  Let’s call it an interactive reading experience.

What was your favourite short story in this collection to write and why?

I love the Guitar which was the inspiration for the collection – and Past Time and Jive Talkin – but in the end I think All Over Now is my favourite, probably because it was hell to write and rewrite and throw away and start again over and over and over, but in the end I really feel I did the character justice – and at is what I aim to do – to do justice to these great men and women – and give a human insight into the bad guys too.

In couple of sentences, how would you describe your book?

Let’s call it an interactive reading experience – or as someone said – the thinking person’s masked singer.  Certainly, I’d say it’s the most original book of the year.

Music notesWhat are your top 3 Desert Island books and music?

Waiting for the Barbarians, The Heart of The Matter –
and for music – Springsteen’s Thunder Road
                                 gets me every time

What is your next writing venture?

Backstories II, Backstories Musicians, Backstories Leaders.pen and paper pic

And last question, because let’s face it, it’s hard to avoid…. What is the main thing you are looking forward to getting back to, when it is safe to do so?

A few glasses of decent whisky with friends

Thank you very much to Simon Van Der Velde for giving me the opportunity to interview. It was a pleasure having you on my blog.

Buy and Social Media Links

This book is dedicated to the victims of violent crime, the struggle against discrimination in all its forms and making the world a better place for our children. That is why 30% of all profits will be shared between Stop Hate UK, The North East Autism Society and Friends of the Earth.

Amazon – Backstories              Audible