North Door 37 Publishing

What Was the Question Again?

    ALWAYS interesting to read opinion pieces from the those who do NOT live in Hong Kong as to what the protests are about and why they will not succeed. So far on my live feed: one from a French guy (not one sentence on the French Revolution and why France is now a Republic), one from an expat American hiding out in Scotland (apparently did not do any history on the American revolution)... this dude from Shanghai (who can offer the reader a brief history of places like Kiev and the Ukraine, but not how the Communists of China came into power ~ also, originally a movement by students...) ----->


Each of these individuals talk about how free Hong Kong is currently, but none of them are willing to talk about the students real concerns: what happens in 2017 when they are voting-in only individuals approved by China? Unlike the American system, and the French (the Canadian one leaves a lot to be desired), when a leader is obviously corrupt ~ the press have no hesitation in saying so and insisting there is room for change. (Here in Canada we may insist but it is a bit like Hong Kong, businesses are sidelining the future for today's profit....)

Yes, currently Hong Kong students and press can say what they truly think of CY Leung, but what happens in 2017 and after? This question is not being answered, not even by the pro-Chinese.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International is going on the line to say the police not only condoned attacks on the peaceful protestors, officers stood by while pro-establishment individuals sexually assaulted female protesters, and did nothing. Read:

The argument that the police can choose not to protect protestors because they are the ones who are causing the problems is sad indeed. Already, then, the mindset is that peaceful protest should never happen. One should accept one's fate and do nothing because whoever is in power is always right. With current day arguments for why those in power should stay there, it is clear that someone like Hitler would have been left alone so long as Germany did not invade any other country.

So long as China does not attempt to crossover to Russia, or take 'back' Taiwan and Japan, its leadership is equally benign. We can ignore the question of Tibet because who really cares? The Dali Lama is free. Final read:

Now back to other writing...


Originally posted on Facebook.  For more opinionated reading click HERE


The Number 22

       INSPIRED by the news of missing flight MH370, The Number 22 looks to numerology for clues as to what happened to the missing airliner, and finds itself connecting the dots with other air disasters.  Are events in the news random happenings, or all interconnected?  And if so, what is the big picture?  Author Lo Mun-Yee explores. 

Feel free to add your thoughts on this study of numbers in the 'comments' section.



which cover would you pick?

"The story is very captivating and enjoyable..." ~ Nikki Gosch, Jan 27, 2014

THIS SHORT story was started at the beginning of 2012. To all appearances, looking like it was headed in the direction of a dirge. And then one morning something changed. In dealing with the question: where should it go from here? — it decided to create life-forms of its own: Grief, Despair and Denial. After introducing themselves in black leather jackets and Harleys, the story stalled.

Things were going from bad to worse...
It needs some levity, I thought.
And then it stalled again.
I gave up.

I shelved it and worked on something else that needed completion. Forget Heels! made it to the finish line in August of 2012. Hallelujiah.

This November (2012), while working on the diversion, Deceit, I hit a bump. Not again?!? I went in search of the cats. Nope, no inspiration there. So I went into my cyber file and revisited other projects that I might finish and came across the Diabolical file. Nah! But everything else offered up "Stop Work" signs. I clicked on Diabolical to see where it was at...

I found myself laughing. It said to me: here is how it finishes. So I did.

It is probably one of my favourite stories. ~ H.
(This 'blog' originally posted on Goodreads, November 25, 2012)

 DIABOLICAL is also available in Italian.

Malice in Goodreads

I HAVE HEARD of authors falling foul of Goodreads participants who post just to be malicious. Today, I got to see it in action on checking the progress of a title. It had managed to get a one-star from a "Roger." No review; just a rating.
So I clicked on the link to "Roger" and discovered he had rated pretty much all my books with one-star; begging the question: if you hated the first book so much, why bother buying the others? The answer of course is he didn't.

I am betting "Roger" doesn't have a single digital download of any of my titles, but Goodreads appears to not to care about the anomaly of an individual who has opened an account specifically to bring down an author, because of course "Roger" is not that stupid — he has rated two other books.


CONSIDER the heart of the individual who, in 29 books rated, needs to give an account for eight of ours, all on the same day.  That's almost one-third of what "Roger" has supposedly been reading.

If any author can open up a bogus account in order to sabotage another author for a less than glowing review, it means there is no point in giving reviews. Period.
The author who expects a glowing review needs to write a book worthy of that review. While personal response is a very subjective thing, I am pretty sure my response to "Roger's" work was not offering him anything new in terms of why his book was not completed.

Now that I see how the dynamics work for this author, it becomes clear where all the glowing reviews for his work come from. Presumably from as many bogus accounts required as the one created to bring my ratings down.

All writing is personal, "Roger," and we all have our egos, but what you just pulled tells me I wasn't wrong about your book. And, hey, I actually paid for my copy — read it, attempted to continue to read it, even offered it up as a good reading on Facebook based on the first chapter. My mistake.

I hope Goodreads doesn't allow you to continue to sabotage other authors because they bothered to review your book, but if it does — it's Goodreads reputation you're spoiling (yours also); not mine.


Originally posted on Goodreads.


I WILL be the first to tell you that math is just not my favourite subject.  Given a choice between doing alphabet or doing sums, I'm going to go for the alphabet every time.  Even when the only choice is math.  I suspect that this may be true of all who choose to write over a career in engineering.  But, we still have to do Math to say that our education was complete.

So now let's talk Math with some alphabets:

Did you know that a .99 cent digital book in the United States is $2.99 when downloaded in Hong Kong?  I bet you didn't.  Want to know something more interesting?  An author who sells their book for  anything under $2.99 with Amazon is entitled to only only 35 percent of the royalties.  So now here is the Math.

Author list price:        .99 cents

Amazon retails:     $2.99  (outside of the USA)

Author receives:    $0.35 cents

Okay class, now can you tell me what happened to the $2?  Anyone?


Here's another Math formula for you:

Grandma goes digital and gifts a book to Penny Pickles.  Penny does not like Grandma's choice of book because it looks like it might match that Christmas sweater from 2009.  She ignores the invitation to download.  Grandma happens to be tech savvy and notices, whoa nelly, that Penny has not picked up her book.  She informs Amazon.  Amazon replies: "No problem.  We will re-send the notice."  Penny ignores it.  Grandma tells Amazon to re-send again.  Penny continues to ignore it.  In the meantime, Grandma's credit card bill comes in the mail.  It shows a purchase for $9.99 on Amazon.  In fact that is the only purchase Grandma has made on Amazon because the ebook was written by Grandpa for Penny.

Over dinner, Grandma asks Grandpa, "How are book sales?"

Grandpa replies:  "Terrible.  Haven't sold one."

Here's the question, class: where did the $9.99 go?


Final one for the day.   Pandora sees a book she would like to download.  It is over the $9.99 mark — in fact it is $10.89.  Must be good, she thinks.  She clicks.  She is brought to an entirely new digital page that tells her: "This is book is $18.95 in your country."  Pandora lives in Canada and the site she is navigating is in the neighbouring region known as the United States of America.  Pandora's finger goes into shock and freezes in the air because just earlier in the day, she traded one hundred US dollars into Canadian money and landed up with $93.  Please write in less than 500 words how the distributing company came up with an $8 increase on the digital title for Pandora.


Next week in New Math, we will discuss how to make a living as an author while selling your book for zero dollars and zero cents.  ^_^


The Young Widows

 Eliza Barrett Pritchard Dorling

WITH THE EXCEPTION of her circumstance being caused by war, the young widow is often regarded in that supernatural realm of being cursed and unlucky for any future beau.  It is not a coincidence that one of the more feared arachnids is known by the name the Black Widow.  The general  consensus (however incorrect) is not only that this spider is poisonous, but she is truly frightening because she eats the male after mating with him.

     Eliza DORLING married actor John PRITCHARD on March 26th, 1867.  On December 24th, 1868, John Pritchard died from typhoid, leaving Eliza a widow and with child.  Nine days later, on January 2nd of 1869, she gave birth to a son and named him John Nightingale Cooke Pritchard.

     In John’s obituary, published in 1900, it is written that she was “left a widow before she was 20 years of age” ; however, most legal documents found on, including a marriage registration with her signature, put Eliza’s year of birth at 1847 – making her 21 when she becomes a widow.

     Far from having any spoils to enjoy with the passing of her husband, we find  Eliza, in an 1871 census, boarding at the Dickinson house in Sunderland, Northern England; and working as a dance teacher to pay her way.  A single mother, she has her two-year-old son John boarding with her.  

     If you have been reading the updates to this site, none of this will be news to you.  What you might have guessed but not had confirmed is that Eliza came from a far larger family than that of second husband Oscar’s,

     Given the facts, the obvious question is where is this family during Eliza’s hour of need?

     Perhaps the answer lies in the profession of Eliza’s father, Robert Dorling, who was a Tallow Chandler (look it up; it’ll do you a world of good.)  It required that his wife, Eliza senior, also worked.  She was a “Bonnete Milliner.”  We learn this from an 1861 Census, when the Dorlings were living at 18 William Street, Shoreditch, Hackney. 

     This census also shows that the Dorlings have six children: Eliza, then 14; Robert, 12; William, 10; Emma, 7; Thomas, 3; and Walter, 1.  

     In 1864 the Dorlings had another girl, Florence.  I suppose, given this, and the fact that 20 years later two of the boys and Florence were still living with Robert Dorling at 202 Finnis Street in Bethnal Green, not much help could be forthcoming to Eliza.

     Given her experience, Eliza, one imagines, would have had much empathy and sympathy for Clara Lydia, who became a relatively young widow at the age of 32, with the death of her husband John Pritchard in 1900 – that’s right, Eliza’s son.

     Almost mirroring Eliza’s experience, Clara Lydia gives birth to Michael Stanley Pritchard Barrett  two weeks after his Father’s death.

     What happens to a family when their son dies relatively young?  What happens to the family he leaves behind?  


THIS is what we know: from John Pritchard’s Obituary, he was living with his parents Oscar and Eliza Barrett when he died.  The assumption at this point is that Clara Lydia lived there too, with their son John Oscar Pritchard; however,  England’s 1901 Census has Clara Lydia back home with her father, at 19 Nelgarde Road in Lewisham, along with newborn Stanley Michael. 

     The Census does not list John Oscar Pritchard as part of this household.  A cross-refence with Oscar’s household does not find the young boy there either.  From an original search of, a John Oscar Barrett  had turned up in 48-year-old widow Elizabeth Dowling’s household in Wandsworth, but I assumed he was not related because he was listed as aged 6, a “boarder” and very obviously from the other names provided in the household not with any Barrett’s.  With the information we now have on hand, this John Oscar Barrett is undoubtedly Clara Lydia’s son... Eliza and Oscar’s grandson.  Why he is in the Dowling household, we can only guess; although a partial reason may be Mrs Dowling’s 22-year-old daughter, Sarah, also an inhouse resident, who is listed as a “school mistress” working from home.  It still has all the feel of a Dickens novel, as the only other “boarder”/student is 14-year-old Gladys Mc Kespime from Plymouth.


How at odds did things get?    


From the dots we have been provided of another life and time, we do know that Clara Lydia remarried in November of 1902, Sir Nevill Gunter, Bart.,; that this relationship likely found its roots in the trip first husband John Pritchard took to the West Coast of Africa to seek a cure from his ills in 1899.   

     In fact and fiction the woman does not seem to have a secure place in society unless she is married in this era.  This is reflected in what is registered about the marriage of each couple: the Father’s name and occupation are required but there is no interest or space for information about the Mother – this, inspite of England having a Queen who ruled for 45 years without a husband by her side 300 years earlier.

    The upside is that despite the handicap of having fatherless children and the innate superstition that people hold for those who have the young die around them, the young widow seems to always end up with another husband, who, one might argue, at his own folly dares to laugh at Death.

     Here is where Eliza and Clara Lydia’s stories part ways: Eliza predeceases Oscar by some 30 years.  Clara Lydia, on the other hand, survives son John Oscar Pritchard and second husband, Sir Nevill, who both die in France in World War I.   No longer a young widow, but without a doubt feeling cursed,  she herself dies shortly after “from a broken heart”,  leaving two sons behind.


THERE is no moral to this story.  There is the question of whether Oscar and/or Eliza were long term carriers of typhoid from their association with the original John Pritchard.  There is the question of how John Pritchard junior got tuberculosis given his socioeconomic status.  There is the question of whether we, in the 21st century, are better representatives of ‘family’ than those in the 19th century; or whether we, like our predecessors, would fail an “Eliza” or “Clara Lydia” in this time because –whatever century– our only interest is in ourselves.


from a blog originally posted on the site Discovering Oscar, October 25, 2009.  Eliza and Clara's stories feature in the e-Book DISCOVERING OSCAR


 OSCAR'S story in book format (as opposed to blog) has taken two years in the writing, because the information on his life has been scattered everywhere (and no doubt there is still more to be discovered.)  To get it into a comprehensive and properly readable format has taken three years.  I think I’ve finally put most of the big pieces of the puzzle together.

Oscar was my great grandfather, but as happens with subsequent generations, I had no real idea of what he did, or who he was.

In 2008, my Mother decided she would like to sell the family home and dispose of some of the treasures within, and this is how I first started  to discover Oscar as more than a framed picture and a name etched in silver. 

The journey has been an amazing one because along the way I have discovered cousins I never knew, and of course the stories I have learned about those who have passed is riveting; none more so than Oscar’s, whose passion for music, theatre, and family have been inspirational.

That none of what we do is without some criticism is surely what teaches us to grow.   My thanks goes to Jonathan-Pritchard Barrett for some of Oscar’s funniest (if less than flattering) reviews by George Bernard Shaw.

Shaw’s promotion for a different kind of stage-production would see an end to Oscar’s rise in theatre;  but, as with fashion, everything comes in cycles, and much of what Oscar and Augustus Harriss brought to the stage is emulated today, and —dare I say it?— perhaps not half as well done.

It is my great pleasure to be able to have completed a part of Oscar’s story for others to discover.  I hope you will find it as interesting to read, as I did in writing it.

From a blog originally published August 24, 2011.

Sucking Lemons




AT A CERTAIN point the gambler who holds a losing hand once too many times knows it’s time to call it quits.  Those who haven’t committed suicide already are inclined to consider the merits of getting “professional” help at least once in their gaming life.  This “help” is offered in-house by British Columbia’s Lottery Corporation’s (BCLC) in the form of its Voluntary Self Exclusion (VSE) program, or in casino-speak, banning oneself.

To ban oneself is actually a big deal for the gambler because it means saying goodbye to people who are almost like family.  After all, what else is family if not the people you spend 12 hours a day with, and more if you could?

So when Joyce May Ross and Mike Lee said goodbye to their families for three years it was not a moment for celebration.  Before long both realised that saying good-bye was not what they wanted.  They needed their family; however, documents had come into play so that there was now essentially a restraining order in place for these two from seeing family.   Of course, these kind of things happen to the best of families.  Look at Dennis Hopper and Victoria Duffy.   Alex Baldwin and Kim Basinger.  It didn’t mean there wasn’t love there, did it?

Joyce and Mike decided love was more important than restraint.  They ran back into the arms of their respective families and felt alive again.  Love is a wonderful thing until money comes into the picture, or the lack thereof.  Joyce’s pseudo family continued to sponge off her, and at the end of three years she was out $331,000.  “What kind of family was this?!” she asked herself.

They sucked.

In the normal dysfunctional family where one member has money and the other’s are waiting for moneybags’ eventual demise to inherit, the first thing to do is to write the little sponges out of your Will.  Unfortunately in Joyce’s case the little sponges had taken so much of her money there was nothing to disinherit.   She called her lawyer, anyway. The rest is now a byline story in the news, awaiting only a judge to decide whether Joyce can rightfully squeeze some juice out of the little sponges that were once family.

We call that making lemonade out of lemons.

Mike’s family actually treated him a little better.  Mike would treat his family and they would treat him back.  In fact, one day, Mike’s family decided to surprise him by stopping his heart with a $40,000 win.  What an adrenaline rush!  Mike was so happy he wanted to kiss someone and probably did.  But remember what I said about love and money?  

“April Fool’s!” said Mike’s family, pouring a bucket of ice on his happiness. “The joke is on you, because we’re really not going to give you $40,000.”  What?  Why? said Mike, although he knew the answer.

Pseudo families suck.

Mike’s pseudo family was punishing him for abandoning them.  It didn’t matter that he had returned and continued to support them when he legally said he wouldn’t.  In their mind, he should never have said he would leave in the first place; and if he was going to, then he should do it – you know, go to to Timbuktu.   

You might say Mike’s pseudo family had abandonment issues.  Mike pointed out that he loved them – after all, had he not returned after saying goodbye?  Say goodbye again, said his family.  

“What the....” thought Mike.  “These little *$#@&.  I’ll show them love.”

And so he is: in a courtroom. Before a judge. With a lawyer.

Love sucks.

Some might say – and in fact they have – that Mike and Joyce are just sour lemons, who should have respected their restraining orders.  But those of us who share Mike and Joyce’s extended family know better:  when you know a member of the family is not well, you don’t prey on them.  Not knowing any better means you are an animal; and even certain animals know to care for their sick.  How sad to realise that Mike and Joyce’s pseudo families are not actually run by a pack of salivating wolves or blood-sucking leeches but, supposedly, the most evolved of human species, government.


from a blog published July 27, 2010.  Mike and Joyce feature in the eBook Somebody Get Me A Hammer!!