Sir Chocolate Children’s Books – by: Robbie and Michael Cheadle

This delightful series of Children’s books teaches many things: kindness, community,  acceptance, environment and more.

Resa – I believe the above is the first book in the series.

Robbie – It is the first book in the series. It was the first children’s book my publisher, TSL Publications, published too, so it was a learning curve for all of us.

Resa – On page 22 there’s a roaring fire. It looks delicious. What is it made out of?

Robbie – Ah yes, that fire was fun to make (and eat). The logs are made of a chocolate bar we get in South Africa called a Flake. It is quite crumbly and does look like it’s made of wood. 
The fire is made from yellow buttercream piped using a large star nozzle and the earth is made from crushed, dark Oreos. Very delicious.

Resa – So, your son and husband are both named Michael!

(This is a bit embarrassing, but I thought Robbie wrote these books with her husband.)

Robbie – My husband’s name is Terence. Both my sons have Dean as a second name which is my father’s first name. It is a family name that has been passed down for a number of generations.
Resa – “Sir Chocolate and the sugar dough bees” is quite pertinent and important in my mind. Bees are so important to our survival. Did you and Michael do this tale as a teaching story?
Robbie – Yes, all the books have a subtle teaching point about teamwork, friendship, acceptance or the environment. The Sugar Dough Bees and The Condensed Milk River are both about environmental issues and I have been pleased that lots of the children do pick up on them. It shows that the schools and their parents are giving them good guidance about our planet and looking after it.

Resa – Yes, last night I read “The Condensed Milk River”. It’s great that you feature environmental issues.

Resa – Your son was 10 when you wrote these books based on some of his ideas.  That was in 2016. He must be 16 – 17 now. Does he still help with ideas?

Robbie – Michael is turned 17 on Monday, 30 January. He does still help with ideas for the stories, he has a wonderful imagination. Most of the Sir Chocolate books were written in 2014 and 2015 although I am only publishing some of them now.

I haven’t had to change them much as we still like the stories. My artwork has grown though and I’ve tackled more difficult projects like fondant dogs and a gingerbread caravan.

Michael assisted with a number of the ideas and themes for Haunted Halloween Holiday which we wrote and published last year.

He is very open minded and there is a strong theme of acceptance of difference in that book. A Vampire (Count Sugular) is married to a witch (Witch Honey) and their male baby is a banshee (I’ve only heard of female banshees before). I have been delighted to see child readers picking up on this and making remarks about a vampire married to a witch.

Resa – I see in “The Sugar Crystal Caves” that the recipes are not cooked or baked, but are created out of biscuits, wafers and other already made treats that are glued together with icing sugar.

This seems fun for younger children, that are not ready to bake, even with mom’s help. Is this what you intended?

Robbie – The instructions on how to make boats, cars, and other fun things from biscuits and icing was just an idea I had when I wrote that particular book. I had been remembering making sugar crystals and racing cars out of boudoir biscuits when I was a kid and I wanted to share that knowledge. I don’t think kids are shown how to do these sorts of activities any more and they are such fun. I did a few of these activities with my Sunday School class and they loved it. Biscuit art is an alternative to baking and is also a fun and bonding exercise for children and caregivers.

This particular book has done well with the pre-schools. I think the biscuit art is easier for teachers to do with their classes than baking.

Resa – I like the biscuit art. It’s like food LEGO. Kids get that.

What a great suggestion – biscuit art is like Lego. I didn’t think of it like that but your are right, it is all about construction.

Resa In “Sir Chocolate and the Fondant Five”, you teach about African animals. It seems there is more to this than just teaching about animals. After all, they have to be saved from the lazy elves. What was your & Michael’s objective in this story?

Robbie – The objective of this particular book was partly to teach children about the “Big Five African Animals”, but it was also about teamwork and formulating a plan to solve a difficult problem. Sir Chocolate and the other animals all work together to find and rescue the Fondant Five. They derive a plan and implement it. 

Resa – After I read “Sir Chocolate and the Ice Cream Fairies”, I thought….. Kindness and understanding bring personal rewards. Am I on the mark here?

Robbie – This little book had a few subtle themes. Obviously, colours was one, as well as different flavours and tastes and being adventurous about different taste combinations. Kindness and being helpful and thoughtful if people are sick are unable to attend to their jobs and needs for a period, was also a theme. 

Resa – In “Chocolate Fudge Saves the Sugar Dog”, Sir Chocolate’s son is the hero. You teach about some dogs, but there is more. Tell me about the main lesson in this book!

Robbie –  Chocolate Fudge is intended to be a good example to children. He is smiley,  always polite to teachers, and does his work and achieves good marks. The dogs, on the other hand, are naughty and undisciplined. They chase the ducks and scare the frog. When Lord Humbug calls for the little dog who is struggling in the water, he doesn’t listen, but choses to carry on playing. As a result of his disobedience, he ends up in trouble and nearly drowning. Chocolate Fudge is brave and becomes a hero by saving the little dog.

I’ve also read “Haunted Halloween Holiday”. I reviewed it on my Hallowe’en post. Click on the book cover & go to that post. Scroll to near the end and find the review!
Diana from “Myths of the Mirror”blog reviewed Robbie’s new children’s Christmas story. Click on the above image, and go to the page of reviews. Diana writes the best book reviews!

Resa – I adore all of your fondant characters & cake castles & scenes etc. Personally, your fondant flowers blow my mind. Is the day lily on the shortbread in “the strawberry cream berries” a fondant or real flower?

Robbie – Yes, that flower is made from fondant. It is a wired flower which means that I run a narrow piece of florists wire through the base of each petal when I made them (each petal is made separately, of course). When they are dry, I then twist the wires together to form the flower. Wired flowers are challenging to make.

I modelled the pink one you referred to on a similar coloured flower in our garden. I love animals, birds, flowers and nature in all its shapes and forms. I usually study flowers, and other creatures for a few weeks before I attempt to model one. I like to get the small details right in each creation.

Resa –  Robbie, I’m all into details. Thank you for patiently answering my many questions. It allowed me to write a detailed post on the marvellous creation of a son and his mother.

To learn about making fondant sculptures from Robbie, click on the cake above!

On top of everything there are recipes to go with the stories. Most are classic treats. Robbie shows us how to make Choc Chip Cookie & Choc Cupcakes.

The videos are edited by Gregory Cheadle, Michael’s brother older by 3 years.

Click on Robbie’s profile above, and go to her books on Amazon.

OR buy paperbacks directly from her publisher –

River Ghosts – Merril D. Smith

“In memory of my mother, Sylvia L. Schreiber … your laugh still echoes.”

Merril D. Smith’s mother passed away in the early days of Covid, in the days when there was no holding of hands, no kisses, no embraces and a veil of lonely shrouding all hearts.

Nonetheless, Merril does not pour a bucket of inconsolable tears into her poems, but rather flows with a river, a river that has many rocky climbs to solid land and ancient trees reaching over its waters. It is upon this river she reflects.

I was 10 poems into the book. Then, on one of my street art hunts, I came upon this mini-mural. There is a constant flowing of blue, with abstract flowers and leaves. I thought, this is like Merril’s book.

To me the blue ribbon is the river, with all its tributaries. Everything else, each flower and leaf is a poem, an insight, or a ghost washing the shore.

The author uses many styles of poetic writing, to effectively create messages. Combined with familial love & experiences, her knowledge of history and adoring appreciation of nature, this book is a rendering of heart.

Always sincere, never maudlin, Merril’s poems have swept me onto the river of ghosts.

With the author’s permission, I get to include 1 short poem or part of a longer poem, in my review. After much deliberation, I have chosen:

One poem titled – In Memoriam: Their Names is “Inspired by the plague graffiti found on the walls of Cambridgeshire church”. I found the impetus evoking and the poem shivering my eyes.

Click on the ghost pic below and go read a fabulous article about this graffiti from 1515.

I’m sure you are piqued by In Memoriam: Their Names. So, to read this coup de maître, and the rest of Merril’s masterpiece, click on my last ghost offering below. It will take you to her book on Amazon.

OR, if you are boycotting Amazon (like me), you can buy a PDF, Print or Kindle copy from “Nightingale & Sparrow”. Just click on their moniker below, and you will be on its page. (They take PayPal!)

MAYDAY – by Mike Steeden

Genre: SciFi-Horror-Adventure-Adult-Romance-Fantasy

There is no way to pigeon hole Mike Steeden’s writing, both in style and genre. Then again, my reviews are unorthodox. So, let me get on with it!


Mayday was not born, she was made by a male professor/scientist. Her body is perfection, her blonde hair is to her waist. She is an adult without a childhood. She will never age. Her cerebral prowess is unfathomable, and grows during the course of the story. She can heal the ill, feed the hungry, make people forget or make them remember something different. That’s just the tip of it.

 Her name means “help me”, but no one can; at least not for long, and not in the end.


As knowledge of Mayday spreads throughout the world, there are 2 elemental societies that desire her. One is the religious fanatics that want to torture then crucify, or burn her at the stake. The other is the Nazis, who would use her to their advantage in securing the Master Race.


Rescued from prison, her safe keeping falls into the hands of a wealthy French man, Andrei Voland. It was just pre WWII and Andrei Voland, with a home in Paris and one in Lille, could afford all of the trappings, conveniences and more.

Andrei Voland hires Edith to give Mayday a makeover. Her hair is cut short, dyed black and Marcel waved. Make-up is a wise addition, as Mayday has been au naturel for her entire existence. Although Edith chooses smart fashions of the day, Mayday has her own take on the new her. She is given the name Nadele for public ventures.

Disguises & alter egos are Mayday’s reality.

For her part, Edith’s life is now in danger. Mayday, Edith and Andrei Voland move to his Lille home to hide.

Good friends, Eloise & Thunderman are let into the Mayday secret. Eloise joins them, living in the home in Lille. Thunderman, a large man, becomes security.  They start “Looking Glass Vacations”, as a lucrative cover.


Just for fun, Mayday takes Edith, Eloise and Andrei Voland mentally into a harem, for a taste of that life. Although only gone moments, the 4 experience hours of harem life. Mayday accidentally brings back a black slave. They name her Princess, and she joins the household.

When Andrei Voland and Mayday return from an investigative trip to the Vatican, Thunderman is dead at the Nazi’s hands. Princess has been kidnapped.

After rescuing Princess, Juliette and Esme are hired to help with the agency. Now Andrei Voland has 6 women & his brother Henri, security replacing Thunderman, living with him. As with the harem experience, there is nothing obscene; however the story is quite suggestive of a sexually free bohemian lifestyle. This bohemian lifestyle prevails throughout the story.


Love and romance evolves and flourishes in Lille, France. Mayday, Edith, Eloise, Princess, Juliette, Esme, Henri and Andrei Voland live under the radar of the religious fanatics and Nazis. During this time life is wonderful. Until the Nazis near Paris!

It’s at this point  that Juliette & Esme must flee, as they are not to the Nazi’s liking and will surely end up in a camp. When Mayday must leave to protect herself and others, Andrei Voland’s heart is shattered.


The ending of this tale is different from anything I’ve ever read. To see how this image applies, you’ll have to read the book.

To buy Mayday, or any of Mike Steeden’s books click on the book cover and go to Mike’s Amazon page.

The Author – in his own words – An aging old fool devoid of common sense and incapable of changing a light bulb. A ‘lefty’ at heart; an atheist by nature; I have no desire to be taken seriously!

The Author – in my words – Mike Steeden is a published prolific writer based in the UK. His mind is like the USS Enterprise in the sense that he goes where no man has gone before.

Eternal Road – by: John W. Howell

It’s the road trip of a deathtime.

I’d say lifetime, but both lead characters, James and Samantha, have already passed. Where are they going? I can’t tell you. However, a few brief glimpses of their journey are in order.

Of course I was keen on knowing why John had picked this particular car.

Resa – Why did you pick the 1965 Oldsmobile? Why turquoise and white?

John – The 1965 Oldsmobile was selected since it represents my awakening in high school. I was born in Detroit and when I was 15 moved to the suburbs. During high school I used to wash and wax a neighbors 1965 Oldsmobile coupe. Yes, it was turquoise and white and had fancy hubs and white wall tires. The car represents the suburbs since the real item very seldom got very dirty and existed without the inner city grime, pings, and nicks. It always struck me as a symbol of innocence and purity. No one in the city would drive a car like that. If they did it probably would have been stolen or at least vandalized.

So, I hopped in the car. First stop I remember was the wild west.

Resa – Were you enthralled by tales of the wild west when you were a kid? Did you watch all the westerns on TV?

John – Yes I loved westerns when I was a kid. I used to watch the old shows. Hoppalong Cassidy and Roy Rogers were my favorites.

John – I should also add I held a history minor in College so my learning about the old west never stopped.

So crazy how John wove everything together in this story. In terms of suspension of disbelief; I was there, as John took me hither and yon.

Yon… the devil, evil, trickery and punishment can take on any and many forms. So it does in this saga.

He’s here, he’s there, he’s everywhere, so beware! He’s even in Las Vegas!

I loved when we were with the horses. They are gorgeous creatures and have helped mankind immensely.

Then the devil….AGAIN! In the form of War!!

We go back to the horses. Why? Mmm that would be a spoiler. Where do we go after that. Again, spoiler.

Resa – I used the search tool. I was systematic and careful. Eyes are mentioned on almost every page, mostly due to travelling, but I could not find the colour of Sam’s eyes. I also searched brown, blue, hair…no luck. Thing is, I was thinking of drawing Sam as an angel, maybe no wings. This way I could do a gown.

John – You are not crazy. You won’t find a color of Sam’s eyes since I very seldom describe the characters in terms of physical attributes. My reason for doing this is I would rather the reader form an image in their mind of what the characters look like. So you can make her eye color whatever pleases you. She is more your character than mine since you invested your time reading the book. You can do whatever you wish.

Resa – I see her with light brown hair, and green eyes.
I know she and James look totally human, not like angels for sure. I’m looking for a reason to draw her in a gown. I’m sure I’ll think of one.

John – Since she died when she was seven I think she would be thrilled to be dressed in a gown just like a princess she dreamed of being when she was little.

Resa – Okay first drawing is along the lines of a Disney Princess. If Sam was murdered in 2003 … then Belle from Beauty and the Beast (1991) and Aurora, and Cinderella, would all be an influence.

John – Sam was murdered in 2003 when she was 7. She certainly would have been influenced by Belle, Aurora, and Cinderella .

Did you ever look up the meaning of the name Samantha?

John – The name Samantha in Hebrew means “As told by God.” When my daughter was born we looked up a bunch of names and we selected another. I always liked the name and I wanted to use it. Also in this story and the next one Sam seems to be constantly telling James the rules of Eternity. I think she comes by being the mouthpiece of God quite naturally.

Resa – This second drawing, more straight from my imagination is partly based on one of the lesser known meanings of Samantha. My search yielded Flower. Another is Listener. “As told by God.” is the most listed. Sam has grown up, as has her idea of a princess.
I think both interpretations are valid.

John –  I agree with your statement that the interpretations are valid. Thank you for sharing these beautiful drawings.

Resa – My pleasure! John, thank you for writing this book!

Click on the cover of Eternal Road, and go to John’s Amazon page.

Visit John on his blog!

Pics taken by Resa – 2013 to 2021

Toronto & Winnipeg

The artists:

Horses – Mandy Van Leeuwen, War – Charlie Johnson, Horse & Cart – John Kuna, Devil Dude – Len Lone Child, Cowboy silhouettes – Joe Viera

The Sorcerer’s Garden – D. Wallace Peach

Wow! Fantasy adventure, mystery and reality all rolled into one. Lillian might be looking into a crystal ball, but all else can only see what she, the Dreamer, reveals.

Peach has us looking through that crystal ball revealing window, always. Yet, are we looking into a garden filled with verdant life, or from the garden into a darkness? Perhaps death? In fact, the author takes us to both sides & then a third.

The saga opens in a time long ago. Two brothers, Dustin and Cody, slay a fire breathing dragon. It’s a well planned battle, and the brothers emerge heroes.

Peach quickly takes us to a second revealing window. We are in a different time. Place?  I was compelled to ask the author a few questions.

Peach – Well, I haven’t ever visited a catacomb or a crypt, though I’d like to! I tend to collect images randomly from the internet and use them to gather cool details – like the slant of light or the shape of columns or the pattern of tiles on the floor.

The Sorcerer’s Garden was a little different because it takes place in Portland, Oregon, near where I live. I used the Pittock Mansion, a real place, as Dustin and Cody’s mansion home. To prepare for the book, I took a private tour of the building (now a museum) and got to explore the areas the public doesn’t normally get to visit.

I took tons of notes, and collected photos and floor plans. Lillian’s music room in the book is exactly as it looked in the house. The tour included the basement, which was a little creepy and dusty and made for a perfect catacomb.

It was strange and disorienting going there for another tour after I completed the book. I felt like I’d stepped into the pages. I stood in Cody’s room, leaned on the counter where Pagan made coffee, and sat on Lillian’s sofa, looking out her picture window.

Resa – Quite cool, or in more modern words -that’s sick!

Resa – Our lead character, Madlyn, wears a black gown, the hem trimmed with onyx beads. It’s to a corporate dinner hosted by Dustin, head of the corporation. She is his social co-host. It sounds like a simple classic piece, no frills or poufs. She accessorizes with her mother’s elegant string of pearls.

 When we first see Princess Madlyn, in days of yore and gore, she’s in a black gown, its hem trimmed in onyx. Is she wearing any other jewels? A  different necklace, perhaps? Gloves?

Peach – I love your impressions of her gowns. I always envisioned the gowns as the same, since the story is already starting to overlap with the real world. But I never say that in the book, so her gowns are created by each reader’s imagination.
One of the coolest things about writing is that readers fill in the blanks, not only in clothing but in the general appearance of the characters and the setting. You’re the expert, so let your imagination create. Anything you do will be just right! I might even add some of your details to the book!
Resa – I imagined 2 gowns, as the story proceeded. One is her original black gown, with the addition of shoes and a sweater (scripted). The gown is now torn from horse riding through battles, the sweater disheveled.
Confession! First, I did create a gown that was not scripted. Yet, the era apparent of the story gave me way to come up with this gown. In the end I realize I created a fusion image. The image is Madlyn, The Queen & Lillian the Dreamer, all rolled into one.

So, to the battles. I engage emotionally when I write, so I hold my breath, make faces, grit my teeth, and cry when something bad happens.
My husband used to worry about me sobbing at my laptop, but knows to ignore it now.
I figure I need to immerse myself in a scene emotionally and feel all the feelings, because if I hold back, readers will sense the distance. I don’t feel bad about slaughtering monsters and bad guys, but it does hurt when I bump off characters I’ve grown fond of, and that certainly was the case in the book. The twist at the end changed the story, but in the moment, I was blubbering. I prepare by scheduling big chunks of time for tough scenes. That way I can give in, go where I need to go, process, and finish in one sitting.

Resa – There are some really bad guys in your story. I mean BAD, and not in the cool way.

The bad guys start off mean, greedy and willing to give into the Soul Thief. Once they give into the Soul Thief, they physically evolve into individual images of that evil. Peach, I bumped into this piece of alley art. I thought – OMG, it’s Warson, most of the way though his metamorphosis. His hair is evolving into horns, and he’s not dressed. Gross!

We find ourselves at the third revealing window. You’ll want to peer keenly through this window! It seems like there is a third entity, a spirit perhaps, writing another book. Nonetheless, it’s still this book. This is a brilliance of Peach’s writing. I’ve said lots, yet said nothing. You’ll just have to read the book!

This book deserves  all great reviews and accolades. It is in many ways about the age old struggles: peace and love vs. hate and war, bad vs. good; decency vs. cruelty. It is intense. Although good triumphs, it is not without loss. This is also an ancient reality.

A long-time reader, best-selling author D. Wallace Peach started writing later in life after the kids were grown and a move left her with hours to fill. Years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books, and when she started writing, she was instantly hooked.

In addition to fantasy books, Peach’s publishing career includes participation in various anthologies featuring short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. She’s an avid supporter of the arts in her local community, organizing and publishing annual anthologies of Oregon prose, poetry, and photography.

Peach lives in a log cabin amongst the tall evergreens and emerald moss of Oregon’s rainforest with her husband, two owls, a horde of bats, and the occasional family of coyotes.

Visit Diana on her blog!

You can buy D. Wallace Peach’s books on:

Amazon US

Amazon UK


All pics of street art taken by Resa – 2019 – 2022

Toronto, Canada


Dragon (manipulated) – from a mural by Allan Bender John Nobrega & Stacey Kinder

All other artists unknown

More Than Coffee – by Lauren Scott

As a person who enjoys poetry and coffee, the decision to read Lauren’s well written book was a no-brainer. As a matter of fact, I languished over every poem and bit of prose. For 33 mornings, I read one piece with my coffee.

Each day’s reading brought me warm thoughts, stirred feelings and created a desire to be creative. What a great and positive way to start the day.

In this intimate look at her and  her family, nature plays a huge part in stirring memories of irreplaceable experiences, both uplifting and occasionally heartbreaking. All emotions are expressed beautifully in positive light.

I couldn’t resist picking my favourite poem.

This poem is an experience I share with Lauren. She could have been writing about me and my mom. I am deeply moved.

There is no copy and paste from the ebook. I wrote this out, and proofed it many times. It seems the word program likes to correct non-mistakes. In the final proof, much to my amazement I saw the title was in blue. All the titles are in blue. Yet, I believed this title was in red. Lauren, I hope you are okay with me keeping the red!

So, what’s with all the sunflowers? How do they tie in?

The above sunflower was in my last street art post. Lauren left a comment. I responded.

L“I also love the sunflower which reminds me of my daughter.”

R – Sunflower; apologies if I missed this/don’t remember it in a post, or in your book! Why does the sunflower remind you of your daughter?

LAnd no, I don’t think I did a sunflower post, so please don’t worry, Resa. My daughter is 30 and loves sunflowers, but she exudes their sunny disposition, smiles all the time, loves to laugh, and practices optimism more than pessimism. 

She may have been speaking of her daughter, yet I see Lauren in those words. It’s as though I could have just used those words about her book, about herself.


(Abridged from “About the Author” in “More Than Coffee”)

Lauren is a writer of poetry and short memoirs. She resides in northern California with her husband of 32 years, and their lovable canine, Copper; they have two grown children. She has authored two collections of poetry; New Day Dreams (2013) and Finding a Balance (2015).

Lauren is inspired to write from her love of nature. Lauren marvels at how the world is interconnected and every living thing matters. She hopes her readers will find a little nugget of delight, comfort, or understanding in her poetry and stories – some detail that resonates with them beyond her words.

Find Lauren’s Books on Amazon:

OR “More Than Coffee” on KOBO:

Lauren’s Blog

The Snow White Tigress -by Mike Steeden




My words are in blue. Mike’s words are in black italics.

“Frenchie” sobriquet for the French Resistance hero of this tale, is one kick ass martial arts fighter. She can kill a nazi in the blink of an eye. She uses guns, knives and her head. Her head has two uses; thinking and butting. Fearless, she will use her sexuality, in more ways than one.

Sex born of choice, no matter one’s sexual persuasion, is nobody’s business but theirs. Yet, when the ‘I own the world’ male of the species hold sway: women young, old and in-between beware! Those male scum bag’s brawn trumps feminine delicacy and brains. It’s been that way ever since poor Eve copped the blame for tempting a namby-pamby Adam in the supposed Eden. The Nazi’s history in that regard is a classic example of contemptible lowlife abusing the fairer sex at will.

Although fiction, the whole nazi thing is difficult to read about. However, after a slow start, Frenchie got to me. I had to know her next move. 

I asked Mike a few questions, and in the end his answers serve better than any further review I could write. He provided two Leonard Cohen songs. The last question I ask, explains why.

1 – This tale is fiction set in the reality of World War II. We are predominantly in London and Paris. Where and/or how did you learn of: what London & Paris looked like, felt like and how people survived or died in those war years?

Born and bred in South London not that long after the end of the war, our two-up; two-down terraced hovel was on the opposite side of the main drag toward The Smoke. It scarred the already dubious, giant field of broken bricks, redesigned concrete slabs, shattered glass, bent pipes and later, dandelions by the millions. Oh yes, there were broken kettles, crushed teddy bears, lonely bed springs and crumpled shoes as well.

Prior to the bombing of said dubious field, it had housed many families most of whom died on impact. The view from my bedroom has never left me. It has a habit of creeping into both my dreams and nightmares. Because of this, its proximity to the city, its rebuilding of all things flattened and along with my day trips there, it has always had me imagining ‘what if I’d lived through that?’

As to Paris, I’ve visited more times than I can count. London I find bland and devoid of finesse. Not so The City of Love. It’s an ‘art versus science’ differential. The art of Paris always wins out insofar as I am concerned. What I know of Paris during the war was born of a combination of idle chat with its aging citizens and my research addiction.

To this day, given the choice and in the knowledge that the deadliest conflict in human history was shortly kicking-off, I would have no qualms about taking residence there.

The period twixt the two wars was, in Paris and particularly its bohemian district known as Montparnasse, a haven for free-thinkers and artists of all genres. They called it ‘The Crazy Years’…ask F. Scott Fitzgerald, Man Ray, James Joyce and Gertrude Stein, to name but a tiny few.     

2 – I first heard of the Nazis and the concentration camps as a child. I read “”The Diary of Ann Frank, when I was a young teen. Over the years movies and documentaries have added to my knowledge of the atrocities perpetrated.

Your story focuses in on certain detailed horrors the Nazis inflicted on young, pretty women that were not of the Aryan ilk. I am speaking of the women that were not sent to camps, but were kept for the Nazis own brutal form of enjoyment.

Where did you learn of these abominations?

‘People with dementia never lie’, so said the boss of the care home my father found himself in not long before his death aged 89. Fortuitously he only lost his mind in the last two years of his life.

The thing was, during his time in the ‘home’, he truthfully thought he was back in Stalag 8B POW camp near Kraków, Poland. Only a throw of a cricket ball away from the Auschwitz concentration camp, it doubled up as an extermination equivalent.

Aged 20 at the time, my father had been captured outside of Dunkerque when his lorry ran out of fuel. He’d spent the entire war banged up in said stalag. He never spoke of the war during his days of sanity. Come the madness he relived it. He saw the staff at the care home as armed guards, daily forcing him to dig for coal down the mines of Silesia, his ankles always tethered in chains. This initial talk of  his, of such hideous happenings, is a mere example; there were many more like it.

I took his chatter to be gobbledygook. However, since then I’ve been able to verify such evil, as was inflicted upon his person.

What pray has that got to do with ‘women that were not sent to camps’? In terms of what’s stored inside my head, everything. Dad got to speak passable German. He and others sometimes got to chat with a friendly sentry, sometimes with the local Polish girls who handed out meagre rations. More often than not it was ‘cat meat’, not that he knew that at the time.

What the old boy told me regarding the treatment of women from conquered lands, be it under the knife of sicko doctors seeking to sterilize those not considered worthy of the ‘master-race’ at one extreme, rape by selection of the Nazi hierarchy or ‘a treat for the troops’ for no other reason than ‘we can’, was…well I’ve not a ‘word’ that gets even close to describing my father’s account.

However, he had inadvertently sent me on an eternal quest. Probing for verification through printed books, apposite telephone calls and via Google searches it was clear my father was not delivering a sick man’s exaggerations nor bonkers induced fibs. Quite the opposite. I’d rather say no more regarding those abominations we speak of. My book, fierce as some of its contents may be, doesn’t come close to what’s stored in the library of my mind.

I should add, to this day I have a printed pile of research far bigger than the book itself…a pile I’ll likely never read again.

3 – In your author’s opinion, what percentage of your tale is factual, what percentage is extrapolation and what percentage is complete fiction?

Cruel deeds taken by the Nazi’s as a matter of perverse motive ‘true’ in method only. Places, events and characters, all fiction based on fact. Basically, the whole of this book is entirely fictional, including the imagined actions of prominent WW2 leaders. Only the generality of well researched Nazi cruel habits, along with just the names and places of towns and cities in Europe and beyond are truthful. The bit I have to say on pain of death is ‘any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events within this book is wholly coincidental’.

4 – Chapter 15 opens with the telling of French actress Arletty, and her affair with a Nazi officer. It ends with a quote of hers. Is this factual?

‘Tis all factual. Ms Arletty was a charming girl who loved life. A French actress, singer, and fashion model, she was found guilty of treason for an affair with a German officer. I understand she served out her sentence in her own house. Good on her! Her quote when being interrogated by the French Forces of the Interior just after the war, says it all, ‘My heart is French, but my ass is international’

Chapter 15 was prompted by her unfair…to my mind…ridiculous treatment. She, like many other French girls, chose to have an affair with the enemy. I see no crime in that, and would lay odds that had it been the other way around the males of France wouldn’t have given a tuppenny toss. As mentioned earlier, “Sex born of choice, no matter one’s sexual persuasion, is nobody’s business but theirs.” irrelevance that somehow irked both the religious and the jealous into making it a crime.

In this regard, certain French men were as bad as Nazi’s. Post the war, male patriots were prone to take matters into their own hands. Across the country you’d chance upon girls hanging dead from the branch of a tree as punishment for frolicking with a German soldier. Mainly, their hostile foes would shave off the hair on their heads and march them through the town in front of an audience. Also, it was not uncommon for the accused to be stripped naked, and like the shaved head girls dragged through an angry mob, humiliated. Plainly, The Snow White Tigress would have none of this in her tale. Indeed, she made double sure such thugs got their comeuppance.   

5 – As a matter of fact, chapter 13 opens with a report by Franz Mawick. Is this factual?

Franz Mawick, like Arletty, was genuine, his report also, his story heart-breaking.

6 – At the start of chapter 16, you quote 4 lines from “Suzanne”, by Leonard Cohen. Written 21 years after the war, it has  nothing to do with the war, yet it works for the story.

Why Leonard Cohen? Why not one of the many famous poets from the WWII years, Cecil Day-Lewis, Lewis Aragon, Ana Swir, etc.?

Well, Leonard Cohen was born in September of 1934, five years before the outbreak of war. He may have lived an ocean away, yet of Jewish heritage he would have been aware of the racism’s goings on. More importantly though, be it in song, as poetry or as a novel, his work is at its best when it’s reflective of life’s events. His song, ‘Dance Me To The End of Love’ is all about The Holocaust. Dipping deeper into his portfolio reveals another song, ‘The Partisan’  where he speaks of the plight of the French Resistance…a subject integral to my book.

For me, the main thing is that this book has added more to; what should never be forgotten to be remembered. Did I like it? Yes, but No. I hope Mike and all take this as the compliment it’s meant to be.


Find The Snow White Tigress and his 8 other books on Amazon by clicking on the cover of the Blue-Eyed Cat above. (A fab read IMHO)

George Blamey-Steeden made this promo for The Snow White Tigress. The music is original.

You can hear George’s music on his blog- George Blamey-Steeden

You can download his albums starting at £5 GBP by visiting George’s Bandcamp site. Just click on the cover of his album “Devil’s Kiss”, (above) and you will find yourself there!