Monday 30 April 2012

#AtoZChallenge - Final BLOGGERS WERE CHILDREN TOO! post - Z is for Zan Marie


The final day! This has been fun and I've enjoyed learning more about my fellow bloggers from around the world and seeing some of their childhood pics. Yesterday's combo of Lynda Young and Roland Yeomans broke all records for viewing for me - over 90 at last count. If you missed it, scroll down after you  read Zan's fabulous post.

Today and finally:

Z is for Zan, (Zan Marie) from In the Shade of the Cherry Tree

Zan at 4 years old in 1960

I was born in Carrollton, GA, USA where I lived my entire childhood in the same house—a house that my builder/carpenter father was always remodeling. I slept in every room at one time or another. I lived in the same, ever changing house for 21 years until I married. We met at the local university in a political science class titled “Foreign Relations.” We still laugh about the “foreign relations” between Carrollton and Temple, my husband’s hometown.

My favorite home is the 90+ year old house I now share with my husband in Temple, GA. It was built in 1920 for his grandparents. I’ve only lived in three houses and this one is the one I’ve lived in the longest. We remodeled it in 1980 and it continues to take a lot of our do-it-yourself time. Thank goodness, we’re both very handy. 

Built in 1920 the house was the first home in Temple to have electricity and had twelve foot ceilings that we lowered to ten to reduce the cost of heating and cooling. Even eight foot tall windows are little help with the deep, sultry heat of Georgia summers. Both Carrollton, my hometown, and Temple, John's hometown, are in the same county in the western metro Atlanta area. When we were kids it was much more rural, but now the area is definitely part of a large city's metropolitan area.

My best childhood memory is playing outdoors in the side yard under the large pecan trees. The high, dense shade shielded us from the hot summer sun. When sister, brother and I were small, we would make mud pies in tuna cans and turn them out on paper plates when they were dry. The decorations were a combination of pecan blooms and pecan shells. My brother usually played in the sand pile with his G.I. Joes and Tonka trunks. When his “crew” got tired, they would come to the kitchen of stove and refrigerator that our daddy had built for us in his woodworking shop, and “eat” mud pies. 
Zan as a teenager with her Siamese, Etcetera  

My worst childhood memory was when I get my brother his worst spanking ever. I was only seven and had just learned how to write cursive L’s. For some reason, I thought practicing the loopy letter on the sofa with a pencil was appropriate. My brother got the blame. He was five and had been carrying a ballpoint pen in his sock as a gun. Daddy was not amused by my practice and my brother got the punishment. I didn’t come clean until ten years later. My brother had a tough time forgiving me and I don’t blame him at all.

Zan on her wedding day!

Random fact about meI was named for my daddy's fifth-grade girl friend. (Zan also made her own wedding dress and her husband's shirt and tie! Go Zan!)

More about Zan:
I’ve always loved words and have written since I realized that the words I love were written by someone. Poetry, prose, verse, lyric—it doesn’t matter what form or genre the words are. Words inspire, entertain, and enlighten. After teaching history and Latin for twenty-five years, I finally have the time to take delight in writing. My writing explores many wonderful forms—fiction, poetry, devotional literature, and history.
That's it folks! Childhood bloggers from A - Z. I hope you've met some lovely people, learned more about those you'd already met. I really enjoyed putting this series together. I hope through the A - Z Challenge we have all made rich connections with our fellow bloggers. Thanks so much for visiting during this challenge. I've had a great time visiting so many of you!

Now, for a well-earned rest...zzzzzzzz Ah, no, no rest for the wicked as they say. I'll be busy getting RomanticFridayWriters on the road again with special blogger friend, Donna Hole!

Saturday 28 April 2012

#AtoZChallenge - BLOGGERS WERE CHILDREN TOO! - Y is for Young, Lynda Young, W.I.P it...AND....Yeomans, Roland, from Writing in the Crosshairs.


BLOGGERS WERE CHILDREN TOO! is going in for a double whammy post today - Australian Lynda Young and Roland D Yeomans from the US. Both super bloggers with over 1,000 followers. I count myself lucky to call them my blogger friends. I'm sure many of you do too! Excuse the long post (Roland is not known for brevity) but I think you'll be rewarded if you manage to read both entries...

Yesterday was Deniz Bevan...

Firstly, today:
Y is for Young, Lynda R Young from W.I.P. it

I WAS BORN IN:  Sydney, Australia

A cutsie little girl with flowers in her hair

I GREW UP IN: I grew up in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney and moved to the southern suburbs when I was 19 after my parents split up and I went to live with my mum. It's the one and only time I moved. I never actually moved out of home because I simply bought my mum's place from her after she moved out. I have lived here ever since with my hubby and cat.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge - the biggest 'coathangar' in the world
 and the place to see the best fireworks on New Years Eve!
Image - Sydney Rocks!

MY FAVOURITE HOME WAS IN: My current home is my favourite even though it's so dated and is in bad need of renovations. I'm not a big fan of my childhood home because it was haunted with both bad memories and...other things. This is not to say I had a bad childhood--it was brilliant--it's just that some bad stuff happened that will always be connected with the house.

Aussie beach babe

MY BEST CHILDHOOD MEMORY IS: I can't possibly pick just one. There were so many. I have great memories of long talks with my mum, reading and creating artwork, making chocolate cakes, exploring new places, bushwalks and camping. Oh, and Christmas. I loved everything about Christmas and still do.

MY WORST CHILDHOOD MEMORY IS: Hmm, second worst childhood memory involved a book that moved on its own and a nightmarish visitation. To understate it, it creeped me out. lol.

A teenaged Lynda, first day of high school. Cute uniform!

TODAY I LIVE IN: The Shire--God's Country, as the residents say.

RANDOM FACT ABOUT ME: Disaster follows me when I travel. Nothing happens to a place while I'm there, but soon after I leave there's been massive hurricanes, tragic crashes, and other disasters. So when you travel, make sure I haven't been to your destination in recent times ;)


Lynda R. Young has been married for thirteen years. She has found success as a writer of speculative short stories, an artist and an animator. She is currently writing novels for young adults. In her spare time she also dabbles in photography and all things creative.You can find Lyn's blog here:

I hope you enjoyed reading about Lynda. She is approaching 1,000 followers (UPDATE: Past that milestone now) so I know many of you know her. 

Now, here is Mr Mystery Guy...

Y is for YEOMANS ... you know Yeoman as in all those unlucky red-shirted Away Team members on STAR TREK!

     All my memories of Detroit are of knee-caps and hub cabs since I left when I was ten.  I had double pneumonia thrice.  Living in that cold basement apartment wasn't an aid to great health to a sickly child.  Although my first bout of it when the ice storm hit was the catalyst for the tales my mother created of Hibbs, the cub with no clue, who grew into the bear with two shadows.  She was certain I would die that frozen-in weekend and wanted my head to be filled with wonder not fear.

Yes, I am the model for the young 
Victor Standish fighting Shamblers in a 
nightmare Detroit.

         My mother married an airplane mechanic, one who read poetry and studied science in his free time.  My family left Detroit when I was ten as I said earlier. The further south we went, the hotter it got.  So I was glad when we stopped in Lafayette, Louisiana.  I was real sure the next stop would have been Hell.
         A year there taught me to say "Sir and Ma'am" and to pronounce David and Richard in really strange ways when they were last names.  And it was not a pretty sight when I said Comeaux for the first time.
          Lake Charles was the next stop.  I remember standing in the front yard of our new home, watching the drunken neighbor across the street beating in his front door (his wife had locked it) with a fence post.
          I looked up to Mother and said, "You know if I had a degree in Psychology, I would bet I would probably understand what's going on there."
           She ruffled my hair and smiled down on me.  "Lots of luck with that."
           Mother was right.  A master's degree in psychology hasn't unlocked the why's of the pain I see.  It has just helped me put fancy labels on it.


"There is a garden in every childhood --
an enchanted place where colors are brighter,
the air softer,
and the morning more fragrant than ever again."
- Elizabeth Lawrence.
     Its first sentence : "The place was silent and aware."  Mystery.  A desert fortress manned by the dead.

     Every French Foreign Legionnaire was standing at his post along the wall. Every man held a rife aimed out at the endless sands. Every man was dead. Who stood the last dead man up?
     That question drove me to check out a book as thick as the Bible.
     I remember sitting down that April 1st with my four junior high chums in study hall. They couldn't get over the size of the book. They looked at me like I was crazy. Then, I told them the mystery.
     Tommy and Gary snapped up the remaining two copies in the school library. Raymond and B.J. (we called him Beej) had to go to the two different branches of the city library for their copies.
     And then, my four friends, sluggish students at best, were racing with me through the pages to discover the solution to the mystery.
     But then came stolen jewels and desert danger. We were hooked.
     Mid-way through the book, I discovered the classic movie marathon that Saturday was going to show BEAU GESTE, starring Gary Cooper and Ray Milland.  The five of us roughed it that night in front of the TV.
     After the movie, we planned on sleeping on the floor of my front room. It would be like we were French Foreign Legionnaires on a mission. We were enthralled. We booed the bad guys. We cheered on Gary Cooper. And we sniffed back embarassing tears when he died.
     But with the mystery solved, my four friends didn't want to go on.
     The solution fizzled the fun of the reading. We all moped. A throat was cleared. We turned around.
      Mother sat with a leather-bound volume in her hands, and with her voice blessed with the magic of the Lakota Storyteller and the lyrical beauty of the Celtic bard, she smiled, "Let me read you five something --
     Mother, in her rich, deep voice, read low like distant thunder :
     "Imagine a person, tall, lean and feline, high-shouldered, with a brow like Shakespeare and a face like Satan,
a close-shaven skull, and long, magnetic eyes of true cat-green.
     Invest him with all the cruel cunning of an entire Eastern race, accumulated in one giant intellect, with all the resources of science past and present, with all the resources, if you will, of a wealthy government-- which, however, already has denied all knowledge of his existence.  Imagine that awful being, and you have a mental picture of Dr. Fu-Manchu, the yellow peril incarnate in one man."
     She put down the book on her lap and intoned, "That, young men, is the insidious Dr. Fu Manchu. Do you want to hear more?"
     Man, did we! And so the League of Five was born.
     For every Saturday night for the rest of that year and all through my last year of junior high, we sat cross-legged on the front room floor and listened to all thirteen of the Fu Manchu novels ...
along with the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, starting with "The Adventure of the Speckled Band." I never went to sleep after that without looking at my headboard!

     It goes back to Detroit.  Mother divorced my biological father for reasons we shall give Mother her privacy.  He was a charmer.  He persuaded my babysitter when I was six that he and Mother had reconciled.  I was so happy to see him again.
     He drove me to the roughest, most dangerous street in Detroit.  He promised me an adventure if I would get out.  Then, he drove away without looking back once.  I know I watched as I watched stunned.  I ran after him, screaming, "Daddy!  Daddy! Come back! Pleeease!"
     That was the last time I saw him.  Six weeks of nightmare followed.  A street woman in a wheelchair noticed the silently sobbing young boy sitting on the curb.  Her little dog, Tufts, licked at the tears on my cheek.  She was not totally sane.  But hers was a great heart.  The two of them are immortalized in the beginning of my FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE.
     It took six weeks for her to overcome her paranoia of uniforms to take me to the closest Salvation Army Center.  They reunited me with my frantic mother.  Hence, my Christmas donationg of all my books' profits to the Salvation Army.  100% of THE LEGEND OF VICTOR STANDISH still goes to them.


Lonely roads as a blood courier
     In an enchanted world ... if you believe some of my fellow blood couriers at Lifeshare Blood Centers in Lake Charles.  I sometimes get to travel the fabled Creole Nature Trail on my blood runs.  I try not to think of my home burning down around my ears, killing my cat, Pebbles, and Norwegian Elk Hound, Hercules.
My favorite run is along the Creole Nature Trail
      Hibbs, Victor Standish, Alice Wentworth, and Samuel McCord crowd around my keyboard in my new two bedroom apartment.  Each are eager for me to tell THEIR story.  The ghost of Gypsy just yawns and purrs, "He'll do whatever tickles him.  Writers!  Give me mice anytime!"

We're all pretty exhausted, but I thought it was magical learning more about Roland and what gives his writing such depth and at times, pain. Visit him @Writing in the Crosshairs.
 But there's more as we limp towards the finishing line...on Monday final blogger childhood post is for Zan Marie. Be sure to come by.

A very lovely blogger, Ciara Knight has her book Rise from Darkness free today only. Click here to download...

Friday 27 April 2012

#AtoZChallenge - BLOGGERS WERE CHILDREN TOO! - X marks the spot where you'll find Deniz Bevan (The Girdle of Melian)


I'm using BLOGGERS WERE CHILDREN TOO! for my theme this year. I hope you're enjoying reading about bloggers, some you know and some you may not yet know, as they respond to some prompts I sent out. I've been so grateful for their responses as it helped me to get to know them better, admire their stunning cuteness as babes, and delighted me with random facts.

Yesterday was JJ from the now defunct Writers Block NZ.

Today I couldn't arrange an interview with Xena as Roland Yeomans had snaffled her for his X post. But I did manage to convince a sweet blogger friend to be my X!:

X marks the spot where you'll find Deniz Bevan, (The Girdle of Median)

B - Oguz Dayi and me.jpg
Deniz as a child with her great uncle 

I WAS BORN IN:  Istanbul, Turkey

I GREW UP IN: Well, my parents came over to Canada 
when I was a baby. We lived in London, Ontario and then 
moved to Montreal Quebec

MY FAVOURITE HOME WAS IN: Istanbul! My husband
 and I lived there for a year together, ten years ago. It was
 fun being a Canadian expat in the country I'd been born in

childhood, but I love looking back on my first visit to 
London when I was 17, with my father and sister. We were
 there for a week and we walked everywhere!

kitten all summer at my grandmother's and then having to 
leave him behind in autumn, when I had to come home. 
That, or breaking my sister's baby teeth (by accident!)
 when I was much younger...

TODAY I LIVE IN: Montreal, in reality, and Wales, in my dreams!

I've recently returned to Romance after a foray
 into Young Adult  and Middle Grade novels. I'm 
currently querying my latest romance,
 Out of the Water, set in Spain and 
Turkey in 1492 and editing a second
 romance set in the same time frame,
 Rome, Rhymes and Risk.
 My non-fiction work, including
 both travel articles and book
 reviews, has most recently
 appeared in the trilingual newspaper
 Bizim Anadolu. Visit me at 

I hope you've enjoyed meeting 
with Deniz. Tomorrow my guest
is double whammy! You're going
 to be amazed as I couldn't resist 
interviewing two mighty bloggers - 
Lynda Young and the mysterious 
Lakota, Roland Yeomans. Will 
we see a childhood pic of our 
mystery man? Tune in tomorrow 
and all will be revealed...  

Thursday 26 April 2012

#AtoZChallenge - BLOGGERS WERE CHILDREN TOO! - W is for Writers Block NZ

Symbolic Digger's slouch hat in the Flanders Fields
of Belgium

Before we get underway today, I must announce it was ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand yesterday, so it's fitting I have a New Zealander foregrounded. ANZAC stands for - Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, and celebrates the mateship between the soldiers from both sides of the Tasman Sea, particularly the campaign at Gallipoli in WW1. It was a public holiday here yesterday, where we attended dawn services, lit flames at the Cenotaphs, marched in parades, remembering the fallen - Lest we forget...

Regular followers and visitors to this site will know I'm using BLOGGERS WERE CHILDREN TOO! for my theme this year. I hope you're enjoying reading about bloggers, some you know and some you may not yet know, as they respond to some prompts I sent out. I've been so grateful for their responses as it helped me to get to know them better, admire their stunning cuteness as babes, and delighted me with random facts.

Thank you Adult Bloggers for your heartfelt responses. Thank you readers for visiting my posts. I hope you'll leave a comment and if you'd like to follow the link to my respondents' blogs they'd be delighted to meet you.

Rock on A- Z Challenge. (Click to read more posts...)


W is for Writers Block NZ (JJ McConnachie)

I WAS BORN IN:  New Plymouth, New Zealand
I GREW UP IN: New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga and Malaysia (pilot's daughter!)
MY FAVOURITE HOME WAS IN: New Zealand - less bugs!
MY BEST CHILDHOOD MEMORY IS: I was a bit of a clean freak so my favourite childhood moment was when I finally let this go. I learnt to ride a bicycle on the beach and got completely covered in sand and water - head to toe filth and I loved it!
MY WORST CHILDHOOD MEMORY IS: When my kitten, Daisy died, then my three turtles went missing. I was heartbroken and blamed my brother's cat, Ginger, for both (Ginger ate all the food so Daisy wasn't as healthy, and I'm sure he had his eye on those turtles too!)
TODAY I LIVE IN: Auckland, New Zealand
PROUDEST WRITER MOMENT: Getting my Master's in Creative Writing 
RANDOM FACT ABOUT ME: I now prefer dogs to cats!

About JJ:

I'm JJ and I'm a writerholic.  I write MG and YA fantasy, usually crossed with other genres like steampunk, romance, dystopian and humour.  I'll read anything that comes close to being classified as fantasy or young adult, but I love a good thriller and Dean Koontz is my hero.  When I'm not writing, or daydreaming about making friends with dragons, obtaining magical powers or skydiving from a zeppelin, I dabble in photoshop and flash design, and tutor English literature, which I studied at university (along with advertising and digital media).  I've also recently completed my Masters in Creative Writing.  I am a member of the New Zealand Society of Authors and SpecFicNZ, and a staff member of 

JJ is a recent convert to tumblr. She's shut down her awesome blog. She finds tumblr much more scintillating. You can visit her tumblr site, Book Smut here. She's recently posted a pic of her bookaholic daughter who's not yet one year old!

I hope you enjoyed learning about JJ. Join me tomorrow to discover more about Deniz Bevan.

Wednesday 25 April 2012

#AtoZChallenge - BLOGGERS WERE CHILDREN TOO! - V is for Vogt, Li Vogt from Flash Fiction


Regular followers and visitors to this site will know I'm using BLOGGERS WERE CHILDREN TOO! for my theme this year. I hope you're enjoying reading about bloggers, some you know and some you may not yet know, as they respond to some prompts I sent out. I've been so grateful for their responses as it helped me to get to know them better, admire their stunning cuteness as babes, and delighted me with random facts.

Thank you Adult Bloggers for your heartfelt responses. Thank you readers for visiting my posts. I hope you'll leave a comment and if you'd like to follow the link to my respondents' blogs they'd be delighted to meet you.

Rock on A- Z Challenge. 

Yesterday was Jen Daiker (Unedited)


V is for Vogt (Li Vogt) from Flash Fiction

Li as a disheveled child. She says nothing much has changed!

I was born, raised and spent most of my life in Lancaster County, PA, known as the Garden Spot and the Heart Of Pennsylvania Dutch Country.

Other places I've lived include Pomona, New Jersey and McLean, Virginia.

My favorite place to live will always be Lancaster;  I'm a bit of a country girl at heart. But I did enjoy living in McLean, Virginia. It's a suburban area with easy access to Washington DC via the Metro, so we could enjoy the Smithsonian museums and the Washington Zoo as well as symphonies at the Kennedy Center and events at Wolf Trap in nearby Vienna.  If only the traffic on the Beltway wasn't so horrendous.

Li driving a covered wagon in the Bicentennial
My worst childhood memory was having my tonsils out at age three. I remember that they clapped a gas mask over my face and I really did think I was suffocating.  I can still recall the sweet, sickish odor. Coming out of recovery, my throat was on fire and yet I couldn't have a drink, only a few chips of ice to suck on.  Crying, of course, made the pain worse.  I'm told I fought like a tiger coming out of it...

I have lots of wonderful childhood memories - so many that I couldn't pinpoint just one.  My beloved German Shepherd gave me many happy memories.  I loved the beach, and I can remember finding a $5 bill floating in the surf one year - to me, it was like finding $100. I consider myself lucky to have grown up in a close-knit family with two loving parents and - appreciated only later in life - a big sister, as well as a comfortable home with lots of open space to play. In those days, we could roam pretty far and not have to worry, unlike today.  I was also horse crazy, and during the Bicentennial I begged my way onto a covered wagon trip;  in exchange for helping to water and care for the horses, I got to ride along and learn to drive the wagons.  I also took guard duty and slept near the horses in a sleeping bag on the ground. I was just drifting off when one of them began to pee.  They were sturdy Belgians weighing about a ton each and it was like Niagara Falls.  I scrambled madly out of the sleeping bag and struggled to drag it uphill before the urine river reached me. 

Survival lesson number one.

I've written stories since I was kid, and several draw on childhood experiences, including the story Alpha (the first of my A to Z Challenge posts). If you're interested in reading stories or finding out more about me, feel free to visit my blog.  The "Published" page includes two other interviews I've done.

Thank you, Denise, for inviting me to be a part of your A to Z Challenge!!!
Wasn't it great to learn so much about Lisa's childhood. But there's more! Tune in tomorrow to find out more about Writer's Block NZ, aka JJ.

Tuesday 24 April 2012

#AtoZChallenge - BLOGGERS WERE CHILDREN TOO! - U is Unedited (Jen Daiker)


Regular followers and visitors to this site will know I'm using BLOGGERS WERE CHILDREN TOO! for my theme this year. I hope you're enjoying reading about bloggers, some you know and some you may not yet know, as they respond to some prompts I sent out.

Yesterday was the delightful Andy David, poet.

Seeing today's childhood post is so short compared to most of the previous posts, I'm going to share something else special with you. Jen's post cuts across our Anzac Day (April 25), which is our celebration of the mateship between Australian and New Zealand troops in WW1, especially at Gallipoli and the Western Front. I'm sharing more on my W day when I have a NZ childhood blogger post.

The ladies at home baked what became known as Anzac Biscuits and sent them overseas to our troops. Why these biscuits? They had nutritional value, they had keeping power and became synonymous with home love. Today I share one of the many recipes for these tasty biscuits which Aussies still bake and enjoy today.

A delicious combination of butter, oats, golden syrup and coconut, it's no wonder these biscuits are an Aussie classic! Go  here to learn more of the history of the Anzac Biscuit.

Note the Digger's slouch hat behind the bikkies. Photo from today's Australian newspaper.

Anzac Biscuits




  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
  • 125g butter
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tablespoon boiling water


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Sift flour into a bowl. Add oats, coconut, sugar and lemon rind. Stir to combine. Make a well in centre.
  2. Place butter and golden syrup in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high (100%) for 30 seconds or until butter has melted. Stir to combine. Combine bicarbonate of soda and boiling water in a bowl. Add to butter mixture. Stir to combine. Add to flour mixture. Stir to combine.
  3. Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls. Place balls, 3cm apart, slightly flattened, on prepared trays. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, swapping trays halfway during cooking, or until golden. Stand on trays for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve.


U is for Unedited (Jen Daiker)

I WAS BORN IN:  Katy, Texas, USA

I GREW UP IN: Monroe, Iowa & Des Moines, Iowa

MY FAVOURITE HOME WAS IN: Des Moines, across from the Elementary School

MY BEST CHILDHOOD MEMORY IS: Playing make-believe with my sisters

MY WORST CHILDHOOD MEMORY IS: I choose not to remember those.

TODAY I LIVE IN: Houston, Texas

PROUDEST WRITER MOMENT: Every time I have a new idea.

RANDOM FACT ABOUT ME: I don't eat condiments.

About Jen:

Hi, I'm Jen from Unedited and would love if you stopped by for a visit! I write in several different genres but my newest releases are chick lit, titled, Snowbanked, Latte Love, andWhen Love Aligns. Stop by SMP to check out my novels!

I hope you enjoyed this tiny peek into Jen's early life. Tune in tomorrow for Lisa Vogt.