Guest Feature – Author, Anita Hunt, MA

My Tuesday guest today is not only a great friend but also a great writer. I believe Anita has come up with something quite unique to help adults with learning disabilities.

Anita’s come along today to talk about it.

'Adults with learning disabilities'

The Memory Sessions series for Adults with Cognitive Disorders.

Anita Hunt MA

For about twenty years I have worked in the care sector. In that time, I have worked with just about every form of physical and mental disability there is. They have all been challenging, they have all been rewarding and they have all taken a little piece of my heart.

For the last eleven of those years I have been pretty firmly ensconced within the sphere called ‘adults with learning disabilities’ and even from the outset I was shocked by how little resources were available for this sector of our society.

How did I find this out?

Because one day, I went looking for something that was appropriate for their needs that we could use for reminiscence and memory recall sessions.

 Guess what?

I found nothing. Nil. Nada. Absolutely zilch of anything that was on the quiz front that wasn’t either aimed at children or at those with the brains of Mensa graduates. Ok, I may be exaggerating a little on that last bit, but not by much. There certainly wasn’t anything in the four line stanza ‘what am I?’ poems that I was looking for, or a suitable quiz that would back up the poems and give the participants an ‘easy win’ that would enable them to feel successful and feel they’d achieved something. Empowerment and self-confidence are all any of us wish for, why should it be any different for those that need just a little bit of help to get there?

So, what did I do?

I stopped being lazy. I am a published poet after all, and I started to write my own. The participants in our group loved them and the poems and quizzes were often asked for.

Each book has a selection of memory ‘what am I?’ poems such as this from the On the Farm book:


I’m big to see and my boyfriend is scary,

He uses his horns when he sees red.

I eat hay and grass and go to the Dairy,

To give you the butter to spread on your bread.

A. Cow

Following this is a thirty-question quiz with a wide-ranging selection of questions that range in difficulty – From ‘What is a group of geese called?’ To ‘What noise do cows make?’ (the noises always bring fun to the session!)

We then have true or false questions such as: ‘Baby chickens are called puppies’ – true or false?

Next is a set of discussion points about the theme and this is followed by song lyrics and relevant song titles that can be found on social media sites for everyone to sing along. Music is brilliant for raising any mood and for bringing cohesion into a group.

Finally, there are  word search puzzles and either dot to dot or colouring pictures, depending on the book. The word searches and pictures can be photocopied for use within your own setting only.

There are currently three titles available on Amazon:

all three books



On the Farm


At the Zoo


Food and Drink 


all four

The fourth book – ‘About the sea’ – is currently being written and will be available soon.








Anita’s books certainly look inviting as the colouring draws the eye straight to them. What do you think? Do you know anyone that may benefit from these great books?

If you’d like to purchase any of the above books click on the links to go directly to Amazon.


Let’s find out a bit about Anita.


Anita Hunt lives in the middle of beautiful Cornwall and has somehow managed to acquire an MA in Creative Writing whilst working full time with adults with learning disabilities and running around after her three adult sons. She has two dogs who are appropriately nicknamed ‘fluffy butt’ (the elderly westie) and Psychopooch (the black lab x cocker spaniel). As well as writing the Memory Sessions, she is a published poet, published theatre reviewer and is writing her first novel – ‘Behind the Curtain’. She relaxes by playing with her camera or a ball of wool and by singing with the Rock Choir. When asked how she fits everything in, she shrugs her shoulders, gives you that ‘I don’t know look‘ and is heard to mutter – ‘sleep is for wimps…’

To find out more about Anita and her writing, why not pop along to her blog, Pixie Dreams, and check out further musings and random discussion points.


Thank you for coming along today, Anita, and sharing your book contents. If you have any questions for Anita, please leave a question here or contact Anita via one of her links below.

You can find Anita on





A story in less than 100 words

Our latest challenger to write a story in less than one hundred words is Lynn Johnson. Lynn’s response to the challenge comes in the form of The Best of the Best which you can read below. So why not pop the kettle on, make a cuppa and enjoy this coffee break read?

The Best of the Best

Life on the farm was perfect until one morning the farmer said, ‘I need to choose the best of the best for a special assignment, someone to help sell our produce.’

Sharon and Tracy were vain. Each thought they should be chosen. They argued and fought.

‘You’ll spoil your looks,’ they were warned.

The farmer couldn’t decide which to choose. Sharon looked bedraggled from the fight, so he chose Tracy. Tracy preened and beautified herself and looked magnificent.

She was first prize in the Christmas raffle.

That year the winner said his family had their best Christmas dinner ever.


99 words


Guest Feature – Isabella Muir

Copy of Isabella Muir Chindi's Author of the week 9th - 15th September 2019

Today I’m pleased to welcome back Isabella Muir to the blog but this time as Chindi’s Author of the Week. Isabella has agreed to talk about Agatha Christie and the Sixties.

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 Isabella Muir 

With Agatha Christie’s birthday coming up and with my long-held passion for all things sixties, I thought I would combine the two and reflect on what Agatha might have been doing during the 1960s…

Agatha Christie was born on 15th September 1890, making her seventy years old when that iconic era started.  She began working on her first detective novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, (where we first meet the wonderful Hercule Poirot) during time spent on Dartmoor in 1916, with it being eventually published in 1920.  Forty years on and she had more than fifty published novels to her name, as well as sixteen short story collections. She had created Miss Marple and Tommy and Tuppence and written romance titles under the pen name of Mary Westmacott.

But there was no stopping her …

From 1960 onwards until she died in 1976, there were another fifteen novels and at least four short story collections.  She even tried her hand at poetry and wrote her own autobiography, which was published in 1977, after her death.

Agatha was also involved in the many radio, television, film and stage productions of her stories.

By the sixties she had received a CBE and was accredited as a ‘phenomenon’.  By 1950 she had sold fifty million books worldwide and the sales just kept rolling in.

Literary critics were fascinated by her approach to storytelling.  The author, editor and journalist, Francis Wyndham, said of Christie, ‘Agatha Christie writes animated algebra’. Readers are intrigued by the puzzles and enjoy pitting their wits, alongside Poirot or Marple, until the whole tangled ball of clues is unravelled.

Agatha Christie studied people, which is what made her characters so vibrant on the page and so interesting to portray on the small or large screen. Her observations didn’t just include the people around her, but also the changing times.  Think for a moment about the social changes that took place throughout her life, which started in one century and ended in another.  She lived through two world wars, six monarchs and some twenty Prime Ministers.  When she was born female suffrage had barely been  considered, by the time she died the voting rights for the entire adult population were part of everyday life.

So, I was intrigued to re-read Hallowe’en Party, a Poirot novel published in 1969 as there are several instances where she reflects the social changes that have taken place, in her descriptions of characters, setting and plot.

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Following a death at the Hallowe’en Party, Poirot is asked to investigate and is told:

after all, you read the papers as much as I do – that there have been very many sad fatalities with children all over the countryside. They seem to be getting more and more frequent. Mental instability seems to be on the increase, though I must say that mothers and fathers generally are not looking after their children properly, as they used to do. Children are sent home from school alone, on dark evenings, go alone on dark early mornings. …

‘Someone walked into the house – not a difficult thing to do under the circumstances – someone of highly disturbed mentality, I suppose, the kind of people who are let out of mental homes simply because there is no room for them there, as far as I can see.’

Later in the story we are told by Poirot:

‘Nobody is born to be hanged nowadays. You do not hang people any longer in this country.’

And we also discover:

‘Nowadays nobody cares whether they receive hand-written letters or typewritten ones.’

These snippets and others throughout the novel depict some of the changes that Agatha has noticed in family life, healthcare and legislation, as well as attitudes that have become commonplace and would be so very different to those surrounding her as she grew up in the early part of the 20th century.

It has been fun researching all that happened in the sixties as I developed my Sussex Crime series, which introduces readers to the fictional world of Janie Juke, the young librarian and amateur sleuth who sets out to solve the crimes and mysteries.

It is Agatha’s wonderful detective, Hercule Poirot, that Janie Juke sets out to emulate as she develops her sleuthing talent in the sleepy seaside town of Tamarisk Bay.

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This blog post is one of a series, which leads up to Agatha Christie’s birthday and national #cozymysteryday on 15th September, as I enjoy the opportunity to be Chindi’s ‘Author of the week’.  Chindi is a network of authors, both traditionally and independently published, based largely in West Sussex. Between us we publish a wide range of books, from historical and crime fiction to romance and children’s books, from humour to self-help.

To find out more about the great Queen of Crime and to help celebrate Agatha Christie’s birthday, then look out for the other blog posts in the series:

Agatha Christie and Isabella Muir  click here

Agatha Christie – a child of her time  click here

What is a cosy mystery?  click here

The good, the bad and the ugly  click here

Investigating the past  click here

Agatha Christie and Janie Juke click here

And as a present to you, on Agatha’s behalf, I am pleased to announce that the first book in my Sussex Crime series – The Tapestry Bag – will be available on Kindle for just £0.99p for one week only – grab it while you can!

And there’s more! Receive the FREE Sussex Crime novella, Divided we Fall when you sign up to receive Isabella’s newsletter, with cozy mystery news and views, special offers and so much more. Just click here.

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Isabella Muir is the author of the Sussex Crime Mystery series:

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Thank you Isabella for joining me today and talking about Agatha Christie and the sixties. I found it very informative to read, as I’m sure, will my readers. 

If you have any questions for Isabella then leave a question at the end of this blog or contact her on one of her links below. 

About Isabella 

Isabella Muir is the author of a popular crime series – the Sussex Crime MysteriesThe stories are set in the sixties and seventies and feature a young librarian and amateur sleuth, Janie Juke, who has a passion for Agatha Christie. All that Janie has learned from her hero, Hercule Poirot, she is able to put into action as she sets off to solve a series of crimes and mysteries.

Her latest novel – The Forgotten Children – takes her writing into another genre.  Still focusing on events in the 1960s, The Forgotten Children tells the story of the injustices experienced by thousands as a result of the British child migrant policy.

Isabella has been surrounded by books her whole life and – after working for more than twenty years as a technical editor and having successfully completed her MA in Professional Writing – she was inspired to focus on fiction writing.

Aside from books, Isabella has a love of all things caravan-like. She has spent many winters caravanning in Europe and now, together with her husband, she runs a small caravan site in Sussex.

Find out more about the whole range of titles from Isabella Muir: 




Her latest novel is: THE FORGOTTEN CHILDREN




Amazon author page





Guest Feature – Allison Symes

I’m pleased to announce my guest writer Allison Symes. Allison is a flash fiction writer and blogger. Allison has come along today to share her experiences around short fiction writing.

Allison Symes and published works (002)

Hi, I’m Allison Symes, flash fiction writer and blogger. Many thanks to Patricia for hosting me. We share a love of Swanwick Writers’ Summer School and 100-word stories. I was glad to take part in her challenge with my story, Views.

In case you missed Allison’s story, it can be found here.

Flash Fiction and Me – Allison Symes 

I write flash fiction across various word counts, and blog on Chandler’s Ford Today, an online magazine. My topics are usually relevant to writers (e.g. Creativity is Good For You, What Makes a Good Writing Conference etc), but flash fiction has become my writing passion. I never anticipated that when I started writing for publication. Only a few years ago if  someone had said I’d be writing stories to tiny word counts and reading them at Prose Open Mic Nights, I’d have laughed. A story in 100 words? Can’t be done. Yes it can… As for standing up in public…

Of course we all know that a story can be written in 100 words as participators of my challenge have been creating stories in 99 words or less.

Sometimes it is great to be wrong.

It is, isn’t it? 

I began writing standard length short stories (which I still write), but when my online publisher, Cafelit, issued a 100 word challenge, I thought I’d try it. I was intrigued by the idea of writing a story in so few words. What happened? I became addicted.

What I love most is because flash fiction must be character led, I can put them in whatever setting and/or time I like. I love the challenge of inventing new characters and dropping them right in it. So far I have written flash tales in the following genres:-




Reflective/character studies


Based on nursery rhymes

Based on films I’ve loved

Based on books I love.

Poetic justice tales.

My flash fiction collection From Light to Dark and Back Again was published by indie press Chapeltown Books in 2017.

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Another aspect of flash fiction I love is you can set a theme and word count and different writers will devise wildly varying stories. I had proof of this in June when my tale The Professional was one of 15 winning entries to the Waterloo Arts Festival’s writing competition. The theme was To Be…To Become, which was the title of the ebook that followed. Every winning writer took a different take on this theme and it is a wonderfully mixed collection.

I also love the challenge of producing maximum impact on a reader in the fewest words. It isn’t always about word count. You’ll have images in mind if I say she wore a red coat. Little Red Riding Hood, maybe? You’ll have different images if I say she wore a moth-eaten red coat. No fairytales here I suspect. I love how single words make such a difference and how hyphenated words can be the flash fiction writer’s best friends.

Flash fiction was a happy accident for me. Perhaps I should hope for more…

Thank you Allison for coming and talking to our readers today. I’m sure everyone’s found it interesting and helpful, as I have. 

Author Bio

Allison Symes loves writing and reading flash fiction. She is published by Chapeltown Books, Cafelit, and Bridge House Publishing.  Alison is a member of the Society of Authors and Association of Christian Writers. She blogs for Chandler’s Ford Today.

A round-up of Allison’s writing may be found on her website.

Where can you purchase Allison’s Books?  

Pop along to Allison’s page on Amazon.
















Please accept my apologies



Hi Everyone

Earlier today, due to technical problems, a draft blog was published in error. This has now been sorted. However, you may have clicked on the link and found ‘page not found’ so please accept my apologies for this error.

The link sent in error is scheduled for Tuesday 10th September 2019 as I agreed with my guest in the article.


Challenge – ‘Story in less than 100 words’

Today I’m pleased to welcome another Swanwick Writer, Tiggy Hayes, who has taken up the challenge to write ‘a story in less than one hundred words. Tiggy’s response comes in the form of Thorben. You can read Thorben below.

Thorben Tiggy Hages correct one

He hadn’t been known as Thorben for years.

He hung up. He’d denied it on the phone. A cold shiver ran down his spine. Thorben was dead; he lay with friends in a graveyard near Ypres.

Elsie was the only one who knew, and now she was dead. She’d guessed his deceit, but their relationship had always been a complex triangle.

Elsie was in the family way when they had gone off to war. Arthur had died, and Thorben’s face was injured enough to take on his friend’s identity.

Now someone knew.

92 words


Ooh, I liked that. What did you think? 

You can find out more about Tiggy and her writing by visiting her website




Challenge – Write a story in less than 100 words

Today’s challenger is another Swanwick writer, Julia Underwood, that I was lucky enough to meet a couple of weeks while at Swanwick. Julia’s response comes in the form of The Hat which may be read below.

The Hat (1)


Emma pressed her face against the window like a child drooling at a sweetshop. There it was: the loveliest hat. She drank in the beauty of fine straw; sweeping brim; tumbling gauze flowers. Perfect for showing off at her best friend’s wedding.

But she could never afford such expensive headwear. She had to find someone rich enough to pay for it, and she knew who that would be.

She sought him out. Charmed, cajoled and, in time, seduced him.

Her friend discovered them together and, heartbroken, ended the engagement.

Now Emma had no need to buy a hat.

98 words


Ooh ah. I wasn’t expecting that, were you?