The Missing Pony

It was a warm day with a blue cloudless sky. Too nice a day to be cooped up indoors. Teresa had finished her chores and felt restless. She wandered around the house feeling listless.

“Would you like to run an errand for me?” Granny asked.

“Sure,” Teresa answered, as she gazed out the window.

“I have some apples and preserves for Mrs. O’Shea. Your father and Robert are busy in the field and won’t be able to take them,” Granny said.

“Can I take Blacky out with the pony cart? He needs exercise,” Teresa asked as she put the dishes away.

“Good idea. He doesn’t get enough exercise with Kat visiting at Aunt Mabel’s.” Granny answered. “You go get him ready while I put everything in a basket.”

In a few minutes Teresa had Blacky harnessed to the pony cart and headed to the house.

Blacky’s ears perked up and he nickered as he anticipated a gallop across the field. Teresa loaded the white pony cart and was on her way. She inhaled the scent of clover. The tall grass and wildflowers swayed in the breeze as Teresa guided Blacky along at a gentle trot. The black birds took to the air when they passed underneath the grove of willows. It was a peaceful ride and before long Teresa arrived at Mrs. O’Shea’s bright little cottage.

Teresa loved visiting Mrs. O’Shea’s  yellow cottage with red geraniums marching up the stone walk to her spotless stoop. Blue and yellow nasturtiums and petunias spilled over the edges of the green window boxes. Teresa paused in front of the white picket fence when Mrs. O’Shea walked towards her.

“Good to see you,” Mrs. O’Shea said as she opened the gate. “Let’s put your pony in the correl. There are fresh oats in the barrel and hay in the stable.”

“There is a basket of goodies from Granny. She sends her love,” Teresa said as she unhitched Blacky.

“Lovely.” Mrs. O’Shea said. “Just made a fresh jug of lemonade. I saw you a ways back.”

“Granny asked if I would bring these things over for you.”Teresa said as she closed the correl gate securely.

“Do come in,” Mrs. O’Shea said as she held the cottage door open. “It gets lonesome with the Mr. in the field all day.”

“How have you been?” Teresa asked as she accepted the frosty glass of lemonade.

“Oh, just fine,” Mrs. O’Shea answered. “The Mr. got new bantam roosters with a few hens this time. Those roosters kick up an awful racket early in the morning but they are beautiful.”

Teresa sipped on her lemonade while Mrs. O’Shea put chocolate chip cookies on a plate. “Oh yum my favorite.”

“Always have them for emergencies, you know. Never know when someone might drop by,” Mrs. O’Shea answered. “There is something in the back room you might want. Come have a look.”

“Okay,” What could she have? Teresa followed Mrs. O’Shea down the dim narrow hallway towards the den.

“I made these pink curtains for your attic bedroom. Thought you’d like them,” Mrs. O’Shea said as she unfolded the curtains. “They will look good in your window.”

“Thank you. They will match the quilt Granny made for my birthday. I don’t know where Granny found all the pink and white scraps.” Teresa said.

“Glad you like them. Knew you would,” Mrs. O’Shea said as they went back to the old fashioned kitchen

“I should head home. Thank you very much,” Teresa said as she opened the front door. She stopped short for a second. The corral gate was open. Blacky nowhere in sight. What am I going to do?

“Don’t worry. I will get the Mr. to look  for him if he doesn’t turn up. Looks like you have a bit of a walk, lass.” Mrs. O’Shea shielded her eyes from the sun.

“Blacky knows his way home and has done this before,” Teresa said as she started down the walk. “Blacky doesn’t like being away from home.”

Teresa walked down the narrow road between the two farms hoping to see signs of Blacky. As she walked she noticed a black cloud in the western sky and hoped she would make it home before a storm broke. She was just about home when she noticed Blacky drinking out of the creek. She was too tall to ride him so would have to lead him home.

“Blacky you rascal. You have done it again. You always outsmart me,” Teresa took hold of his halter. “The only person you stay put for is Kat but she’s away right now. So you have to put up with me. Let’s go home.”

Teresa walked along the path feeling much better now that she knew Blacky was safe. If anything had happened to Kat’s pony while she was away she would never forgive herself. When she reached the stable she put Blacky into his loose box stall. Blacky neighed and tossed his head. “You rascal.”  Teresa entered the house banging the screen door behind her. “Blacky played his usual trick.”

Granny looked up as she took bread out of the oven. “Found him though didn’t you?”

“Yes. The pony cart is still at the O’Shea’s. She made curtains for my bedroom. They’ll look good with my quilt.” Teresa said.

“Lovely. Wonder how she managed to match the fabric,” Granny  spread butter on the bread before it cooled.

“I am starving. It was a long walk home,” Teresa sliced a thick crust off a loaf of bread.

“What else is new,” Granny smiled as she watched her granddaughter devour the slice of bread.

“Will go hang up my curtains. Was tired of the white ones,” Teresa said giving Granny a hug. “See you in a bit.”







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Future Book Voices of Yesterday

I am currently editing and doing art work for my upcoming book titled Voices of Yesterday. There are two separate stories. Instead of writing two books I have written it as Part One and Part Two. Part one deals with her school assignment. Part two concentrates on family and hidden secrets.

Kate has a hard time accepting her parents divorce. Her social studies teacher gives the class an assignment which distracts her. When the story starts she is sitting in her family room with a classmate doing research. She has decided to research the famous Franklin family who used to live in the Franklin Manor where she lives with her mom. She finds some interesting things but reaches a dead end.

Her classmate Rose discovers information about Kate’s Gran and Great Aunt when she started her research about a fire near the railway station. Kate is curious but has to put that information to one side while she continues her research into the Franklins.

Kate sees shadowy figures in the house and when she goes into the turret she discovers a door inside the wardrobe. This door leads her back in time where she meets a former servant. This gives her an insight into what it was like for the family. Kate finds old journals written by a former resident. She continues her search in the turret and discovers many artifacts.

Once her assignment is completed she goes to Grans farm with her mom. There she continues family research and finds more journals and hidden family treasures. She helps her mom sort through the years of accumulated boxes of stuff. Gradually she comes to grips with her parents divorce and finds peace.

Will Kate discover all the hidden family secrets? Or will some things remain hidden forever?

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My pets Patches, Deliha and Odie


Delilah getting acquainted with Patches.


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Review by klbradley. The Mystery of the Hidden Cabin

The Mystery of the Hidden Cabin Wrap Cover 1For a mystery novella to grab my attention, it usually has to be something with an increasing build of anticipation, followed by some dramatic happenings along the way to pave the road for excitement. This is typically harder done in a novella than a novel, due to the short time span to build that suspense. Although The Mystery of the Hidden Cabin by M.E. Hembroff was a shorter read, at roughly 100 pages via Kindle edition, I was pleased with the building suspension throughout.

Published in late 2017, The Mystery of the Hidden Cabin features a main character known as Bess and several of her family members, peers and neighbors. The mystery in the story begins when Bess moves to the small town of Pineview after the loss of her father, where her cousin Megan and some other family members already live. While doing some home renovations, Megan’s father discovers an old cabin behind a kitchen wall. Contained within the small cabin walls are journals, a large trunk, and some other ledgers documenting the lives of former residents. Knowing how much of a mystery buff Bess is, Megan insists on bringing all the items to her to try to decipher.

Bess becomes totally enchanted by the mystery and story behind the former occupants and soon begins seeing a ghostly figure near her, as well as picturing herself in the past alongside the occupants. Will Bess be able to figure out the mystery of who the former residents were, and how will she be able to finally uncover their story?

It’s very obvious upon starting the story that the author has an impeccable eye for attention to detail, as numerous parts of the story seemed to transport me right into their world. With inclusive diary entries by Bess, the main character, followed by diary entries written by the former lady of the house, it’s clearly shown how much attention was put into the time-span of dates between the two characters. While the portion of entries by Bess occurs in the mid 1950’s, the discovered mystery diaries contain entries from the early 1900’s. It’s quite obvious while reading that  the author took careful consideration into how to depict the accurate description of the change in dates and atmosphere that would surround the characters during their specific lives.

Although The Mystery of the Hidden Cabin is the sequel to Bess’s Magical Garden, it was easily read as a standalone novella and I had no trouble with keeping up with characters and situations. The character development throughout the story was well displayed, especially when it came to the main character. The author carefully showed that although Bess was still a child, she cared about her studies and managed to maintain a mature enough personality to be interested in solving a mystery involving the discovered trunk and contents.

While I felt that the story-line presented as well as I could imagine in such a short read, I did feel like the suspension building throughout the novel did not match well to the resolution of the story. The ending seemed a bit rushed and didn’t allow as much of an insight as I was hoping for while reading. I was pleased with the editing of the novel, as I was able to read without any pause for grammatical or spelling errors. The story felt as though it read smoothly, and I would gladly recommend to others looking for a shorter read, while also enjoying a bit of mystery thrown in. I rate The Mystery of the Hidden Cabin 3 out of 4 stars. Although I would have liked to rate this one a full four stars, I felt that the ending didn’t suffice for my appetite for suspense.


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Writing update

Scan0008Scan0001 (2)The Mystery of the Hidden Cabin Wrap Cover 1

The above books: Gramma Mouse Tells a Story, Bess’s Magical Garden and the sequel The Mystery of the Hidden Cabin are available on

It has been awhile since I have posted anything. I have been working on my fourth book titled The Voices of Yesterday. So far I haven’t done a picture for the cover but have ideas floating around in my head.

Kate class is given an assignment to research and write about town pioneers and historical sites. She started researching the Franklin Manor and the Franklin family who lived in town over one hundred years ago. She lives in an apartment in this manor with her mom.

Her parents are newly divorced. Kate has a hard time accepting the changes in her life. She hopes her parents will reunite but her hopes are dashed when her dad tells her some unsettling news.

Kate is working with Rose, another new student, at her teacher’s request. Kate researched on line and in the turret where she finds old journals and other family items. The neighbors tell her interesting stories that she would never have heard otherwise. She gets information in an unusual way. Kate has dreams and is transported back in time. She gets to know the former inhabitants in an unusual way. While she is researching about Franklin Manor she also finds information about her gran and great aunt that she wasn’t aware of.

Kate puts that research to one side until she finishes her school project. She plans on talking to her family during summer vacation when she visits with her mom. She helps her mom dig through the pile of boxes that have accumulated in the farm house. Her great aunt and gran are hesitant about parting with anything. In the attic Kate finds journals and other treasures.

Rose’s grandparents are her gran’s neighbours. They invite her to take riding lessons which Kate eagerly accepts. She bonds with the pony and all her pain over her parents divorce starts to heal. Over the course of the summer she starts to see things differently. Her gran’s neighbors tell her interesting stories that she had never heard before which help her understand the changes that took place in her family’s history.


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Maretha Botha Author Spotlight

Scan0009Maretha Botha has an Italian background. She loves espresso, and she loves pasta- just with olive oil and a bit of grated cheese, or a tasty Pasta Vongole with a few clams, cheery tomatoes and olive oil-this is an easy dish when she is busy illustrating and stopping to cook a fancy meal for hubby, might destroy the image in her head.

However, when she hits a blank-either with illustrating or writing the next big adventure-gardening gives a welcome break, taking photos of what the garden has on offer or simply getting down and doing some digging. A variety of bulbs, especially blue bells are great inspires in Spring, and rose are in a class of their own!

She prefers writing for children between 9 and 14 years, but “even better readers in this age group still like to see a few pictures of their favorite character,” she says. With that in mind, here are a few illustrations from the fourth book in Fauna Park Tales, called “Trails and Trials: An African adventure, as well as a book description.Scan0016Four trails one destination, “Trails and Trials: An African Adventure”, “Fauna Park Tales” 4, is written from four different viewpoints, combining four smaller books into a complete book of 148 ages-each with its own title and subtitles, illustrations, descriptions and footnotes of foreign words-based on “African Adventures of Flame, Family, Furry and Feathered Friends”, a Harper Collins Authonomy Writers’ Website Gold Medal Winner.

Life continues to take strange turns for Flame, a working dog on a free-range cattle farm. He and three of his furry friends follow the trail of Tall Leader and his gang of poachers into the desert, after they kidnapped their beloved orphans and stole all the villagers’ cattle. To follow their enemies’ trail, the brave friends jump on and off trains, sleep under the stars, and find friends and foes while on their dangerous mission. Their loyal feathered friends-a martial eagle and a female eagle owl-are their scouts, helping them whenever they get lost, which is often. All the characters-both human, and furry and feathered-strive to reach the last waterhole at the Tukani River as soon as possible. Here, a cattle stampede, heroic deeds, finding long-lost family and solving secrets happen in quick succession.

“Hope’s Memories”-is a backstory summary of book three, “The Orphans’ Plight: An African Adventure” and gives the reasons why Flame and his friends are on this risky mission. Young and old will enjoy reading more about the African desert, how to survive its harsh climate and appreciate the importance of friendship, especially when facing difficult challenges.

Some illustrations below.





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RRBC Spotlight Author Maretha Botha


Follow the above link to view Maretha Gotha’s information about her life, books and more.


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