Sally’s Drive Time Playlist – #Music to get the weekend started with Christina Aquilera and Katie Melua


Music has always been a vital element of my well-being and I often state that in my opinion music is another food group. I have a number of different playlists on my iPod for every mood and activity from walking on my treadmill, driving short and long distances and just when I need a shot of energy or some restorative downtime.

I played guitar a little and wrote some songs full of angst as a teenager. I have sung quite a bit in private and also in public over the years – I love country and will sometimes be coaxed into a little jamming.

55 years later and I have as much music on my computer as books on my shelves as I am still equally passionate about both. Whilst the older tracks bring back memories of places, people and events, modern music brings back life to aging bones, puts zing in over stretched cartilage and produces pain killing brain chemicals that make you forget the years.

During the years I was involved in radio broadcasting and presenting my own shows, I was able to explore various styles of music. It also brought me up to date with new artists just appearing in the charts that I might have missed otherwise. That is how Katie Melua came to my attention with the track I have chosen today.

Music is a very personal pleasure and I am sure if you were to list your own favourites you will find they fall into natural playlists to suit your every mood.  Some bring back memories of younger days, important events in our lives, falling in love and even when our hearts are broken. Interesting research is showing that one of the last memories to be lost in dementia patients is their music and it is also being used in therapy to slow the progression of the disease. Not only to aid memory recall but to lift depression and alleviate anxiety: http://www.todaysgeriatricmedicine.com/news/story1.shtml

Each Friday I share a couple of pieces of my favourite music with you, with buy links should you like to explore the artist’s work further.

My first choice is a song that I would play on radio at every opportunity and almost became my signature track for the shows. Christina Aquilera with Candyman.. such a catchy tune for driving and also exercising. It is hard to believe that Christina is now 37 as I always think of her a ‘Pop Princess’ but she has won several Grammy Awards and sold over 40 million albums and 33 million singles worldwide.

Courtesy of Christina Aquilera Youtube Channel

For news and performances check out : http://christinaaguilera.com/
The next song is a track that will bring back all those memories of being in love for the first time. Katie Melua has such clear and stripped back vocals that bringing the emotions to the surface.
Originally from Georgia in the former Soviet Union, Katie Melua moved to Northern Ireland at the age of 8 and then to England. The Closest Thing to Crazy was the lead single from Katie’s first album Call of the Search in 2003.  One of my other favourite tracks is Nine Million Bicycles from her 2005 Piece by Piece album.

Courtesy of official Youtube Channel Katie Melua  
Buy Katie Melua Musichttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B01JTQNTUI
Thanks for joining me today for some of my favourite music and looking forward to seeing your choices in the comments… Keep dancing. Thanks Sally
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Smorgasbord Posts from You Archives – Beware of inconsistency when publishing your books. Christopher Graham, The Story Reading Ape


Another post from the extensive archives of Chris, The Story Reading Ape. This one is something that most of us have to be aware of when marketing our books. I know from personal experience… having been Sally Georgina Cronin and Sally Cronin… finally got my author pages sorted out. But still need some tidying up to do as I am guilty as charged.

Beware of inconsistency when publishing your books. Christopher Graham, The Story Reading Ape

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In my travels through various online ebook outlets and Goodreads, I have noticed more and more instances of some potential sales losing tendencies.

Author name inconsistency when publishing or listing books.

When uploading your books and details, please ensure that your authors name is always EXACTLY the same across ALL your books, unless you intended to reinvent yourself.

If you don’t, not all your books will show up under your name!

In the case of Goodreads, you may find some of your books listed on another author(s) page(s).

In the case of Amazon, they will appear under a general list, with a seemingly different authors name, and will not be included with your authors page(s) – if you have these on Amazon UK & USA (recommended)

Let me give you some examples using my own name:

C. GRAHAM

C GRAHAM (Note – only the period is missing)

CHRIS GRAHAM

CHRISTOPHER GRAHAM

So if there are four books published, each with my name recorded differently as above, you can see what will happen.

Take a few minutes out of your busy schedule and check that you have been consistent, not only on Goodreads and Amazon, but also any other online outlet you have used.

Another trend I’ve noted (with despair):

When authors are promoting their books on their blogs, or sending them to me for promoting, they give only the Amazon UK or USA links, forgetting that the internet is literally World Wide.

Give ALL the relevant links, or the universal link that will take the interested reader to their local Amazon Store.

If you don’t know where else your books are being displayed, go to the bottom of the Amazon page, see all the areas listed, then go to those sites and check.

Finally – someone throw that heckler out please – thank you.

If your book(s) are not being shown in an Amazon area you feel it should be, e.g., Australia, then contact Amazon and request it be displayed there.

©Story Reading Ape 2014.

About The Story Reading Ape

It does not matter if you blog once a week, once a day or several times a day but it does matter that it is consistent. We all love the fact that people who have dropped in on the off chance keep coming back for more. In my opinion it is down to the quality of the posts and also the expectation that readers will find something of interest.

The Story Reading Ape has this down to a fine art and the list of subjects that adorn his enclosure is lengthy. He is certainly a huge supporter of Indie authors across all genres and stages of their career and offers articles and information that is invaluable.

Chris has also published a volume of his mother’s poetry

One of the reviews for the collection

A charming book that reflects a woman’s life and times in verse…and humour. Rosie and Willie had me chuckling, especially as I can see just where Willie is coming from! The poems are written from an Irish perspective, but there is much a Yorkshirewoman can recognise.

The verses about the Troubles made me think. I could feel the pain in the words. “What matters is the depth of God’s sighs.”

There are memories that I seem to remember through my own mother and grandmothers’ tales, of a time now gone and a world awakening before a young woman’s eyes.

And the story of the Old, Old Man had me in tears.

Published by her son as a labour of love, in tribute to his mother, Agnes Mae Graham’s work stands up all on its own. 

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/My-Vibrating-Vertebrae-other-poems-ebook/dp/B01HA8Q116

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Vibrating-Vertebrae-other-poems-ebook/dp/B01HA8Q116

Part of Chris’s immense enclosure is given over to The Great Hall of Fame… This is where Indies can exhibit their work by penning an article talking about themselves and their work. (Talk about a writers dream!) Once posted the author is then elevated to the Hall of Fame to reside with hundreds of other authors from around the world, who have taken that exciting but challenging step of being a published author. http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/halls-of-fame/tsras-hall-of-fame/

Connect to Chris

Blog: http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/15359652-chris-the-story-reading-ape
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PromotionOfNewAuthorsAndBooks?ref=hl
https://twitter.com/Storyreadingape
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Storyreadingape

Thanks for popping in today and I it would be great to get your feedback. Thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Alexis Rose, Angie Dokos, Annika Perry, Paulette Mahurin and Geoff Le Pard


Welcome to the Cafe and Bookstore update and the first author with news is Alexis Rose with If I Could Tell You How It Feels released on 16th January.

About the book

If I Could Tell You How It Feels is a series of essays and poems about living authentically with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Alexis Rose takes us on a journey into the reality of living with triggers, flashbacks, and the challenges of working through trauma. She writes with intimate vulnerability about the tough subjects of family, friendships, loss, grief, parenting, and therapy.

With a sense of universal hope and honesty, the author collaborated with artist Janet Rosauer to add a dramatic and soulful dimension to many of the chapters.

Whether you are a survivor, someone living with a mental or chronic illness, a professional working within the mental health industry, or you are simply interested in learning more about the intricacies of living and thriving with PTSD, this book will provide new insights and an appreciation of this invisible illness that affects millions of people around the world.

Buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0792P9ZB9

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0792P9ZB9

Also by Alexis Rose

A recent review on Goodreads for Untangled.

Oct 20, 2017 Didi Oviatt rated it Five Stars

This is hands down the hardest memoir I’ve ever read. The life that Alexis Rose survived is so completely unfathomable. It’s hard to even imagine, let alone begin to comprehend, the pain both physical and psychological that she was forced to endure. To be put through such trauma by the hand of those who should have loved, shielded, and protected her, is utterly heart wrenching. Parent’s should nurture, love and support their children. What Alexis’ parents did was so completely opposite of that. It is, in my opinion, practically impossible to even put into words how horrible the things are that Alexis was subjected to.

This book shattered my heart into a million pieces. Despite it being such a short easy read, it took me a few days to get through because I had to put it down quite a few times to process. And to cry. I had to take breaks to hug my kids and to stare blankly at the wall for minutes at a time, just to make any sort of failed attempt to understand how people out there can be so cruel and twisted.

Not only was Alexis abused by her parents, but they willingly passed her over to others to abuse her in ways that are arguably worse than most people could even come up with in their worst nightmares. Heart wrenching!

Luckily, Alexis’ story isn’t only one of such unfathomable abuse. It’s an inspiring tale of resilience and a deep rooted strength. Alexis is by far the most admirable woman who’s story I’ve read. Not only do I recommended this book (and have), but I feel like it’s quite possibly a necessity to anyone who may be taking their own lives for granted. I know for a fact that I will never look at my own troubles the same. I’m actually grateful for them, and all their minuscule quirks. I’m grateful to have a life full of love, and I’m positive that I will hold my children closer for as long as I’m alive to do so.

Thank you Alexis, for sharing your life’s story. Thank you for your example of how a human can have such a wholesome and compassionate heart despite everything you’ve been through. And most importantly thank you for giving me such a live changing prospective on the value of the life of my loved ones!

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Alexis-Rose/e/B013RU85PG

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Alexis-Rose/e/B013RU85PG

Read more reviews and follow Alexis on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7448942.Alexis_Rose

Connect to Alexis via her website: https://atribeuntangled.com/

The next author with an update is Angie Dokos with a recent review for her first novel MacKenzie’s Distraction.

About the book

Mackenzie’s Distraction is a New Adult Romance about a young lady with a rough past and a promising future. Just when he career is within reach, tragedy strikes. A terrible accident and a family secret turn Mackenzie’s world upside down. She’s sure her life can’t become any more complicated, then she meets Trevor. Will he be just what she needs or the distraction that pushes her over the edge?

This book is not erotica, but does have sexual content. It includes some curse words, but not many. It doesn’t have any major violence.

A recent review for the book

I give this book 5 out of 5 Heartfelt Stars! From the very beginning of this book there was twists and tragedy. I loved the characterisation in this book and felt that I could really relate to Mackenzie in so many ways. This book shows you what can come out of tragedy and the pursue of young love.

I have been reading pieces of this book and when I got a lot of time on my hands I completely devoured it, even though I should be focusing on all of my ARCs! This story was what I needed while I am facing a crossroads in my life and could look back and see the hardships I survived. I felt like I could feel the author’s passion through the pages and it was a truly heartfelt experience.

I loved Angie Dokos’ style of writing and can’t wait to read her next adventure! I will hold Mackenzie and this book close to my heart and she won’t soon be forgotten!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Mackenzies-Distraction-Angie-Dokos-ebook/dp/B01BL4H20E

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mackenzies-Distraction-Angie-Dokos-ebook/dp/B01BL4H20E

Also by Angie Dokos

Visit Angie’s Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Angie-Dokos/e/B01BLPOZEY

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Angie-Dokos/e/B01BLPOZEY

Read more reviews and follow Angie Dokos on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14905574.Angie_Dokos

Connect to Angie Dokos via her website: https://angiedokos.wordpress.com

And another author who is celebrating this week is Annika Perry with the print edition of her short story collection The Storyteller Speaks hitting the shelves with some more excellent reviews.

About The Storyteller Speaks

It only takes one event to change a life. What is that action, decision, occurrence? Whose life is affected? Changed forever?

In this eclectic mix of 21 short stories, flash fiction and poetry the pendulum swings between first love and murder, from soul-destroying grief to reconciliation. The tales veer from the sweet satisfaction of revenge to new beginnings, from heart-breaking miscarriages of justice to heart-warming Christmas misadventure.

One common thread binds them all; the belief that there is no such thing as an ordinary life; they’re all extraordinary.

Open your hearts and minds as The Storyteller Speaks.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Balroop Singh 5.0 out of 5 stars Each story in this book is riveting! January 14, 2018

‘The Story Teller Speaks’ by Annika Perry brilliantly illustrates how short stories can capture your heart, transport you to the scene of action and submerge you in the emotional journey of the characters. Her stories are a little above your expectations…a lot has to be discerned, which she leaves unsaid and therein lies their magic. Only few can create it.

The symbolism of Chillies in my Handbag is chilling, the agony that the words hide slowly spills out as Perry writes in the style of dual timeline, lending a touch of realism to the story, keeping a firm grip on the reader’s attention, actually hinting at profound matters of domestic strife. Carl’s loss too unravels itself gently as you keep wondering where is he heading in snow and who is constantly whispering “keep safe” in his ear. It is the style and the exquisite language that raises this book above an average storybook.

My heart missed a beat when Jake and Ellie got lost in the shroud of mist and snow and it sank with each shout for them. Such is the effect of Annika’s style of writing! It is difficult to pick up a favorite one from this collection of stories because all of them strike some chord somewhere as they are based on varied themes, each one connects us with the complexities of life, giving a subtle message that we are mere puppets or mute spectators in many situations that we wish to control.

Read the reviews and now buy in print: https://www.amazon.com/Storyteller-Speaks-Powerful-Stories-Heart/dp/198188372X

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Storyteller-Speaks-Powerful-Stories-Heart/dp/198188372X

Read other reviews and follow Annika on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17498437.Annika_Perry

Connect to Annika via her blog:   https://annikaperry.com

The next author that has some wonderful recent reviews is Paulette Mahurin with her recent release The Day I Saw The Hummingbird.

About the book

On the eve of his tenth birthday, a young slave’s life is turned upside down. The unthinkable events that led up to the day Oscar Mercer saw a hummingbird test the limits of this young boy’s body, mind and soul. Gripped with fear and filled with anger, Oscar faces raw, crushing hatred aimed at him and everyone he loves. In a time when a nation was ripped apart geographically, economically, politically and morally, comes a story of a courageous boy who began life as a slave on a sugarcane plantation in Louisiana and escapes via The Underground Railroad.

Through the efforts and good will of kind, brave people determined to free slaves, Oscar faces devastating obstacles and dangers. Struggling with his inner impulse to seek revenge for the injustices and violence levied on his family and friends, he discovers that in bondage you pray to God, but in freedom, you meet Him.

From the award-winning, best-selling author of The Seven Year Dress comes a story that brings another cadre of memorable characters alive on pages that pulse with hatred and kindness, cruelty and compassion, despair and hope. Oscar’s journey on the Underground Railroad is a heart-pounding ride that the reader will remember long after this story ends.

One of the recent excellent reviews

Recommended  on 11 January 2018

This is the second book I have read by this author and I have to say I am fast becoming a fan. Deeply poignant, difficult to read at times, this historical novel possesses a depth of emotion that comes from some place special. It takes skill to write a book but talent to tell a story and this is a superb story told with flair. I am often distracted by small things in books I read but in truth I couldn’t have been distracted in the case of this story. The narrative simply grabs you and never lets go. A great read, highly recommended.

Read all of the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Day-Saw-Hummingbird-Novel-ebook/dp/B075QMKXQS

Also by Paulette Mahurin

51i68gzmu9l-_uy250_51kctenodfl-_uy250_51q0487ggfl-_uy250_Read all the reviews and BUY the bookshttps://www.amazon.com/Paulette-Mahurin/e/B008MMDUGO/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Paulette-Mahurin/e/B008MMDUGO/

Profits from Paulette’s books go to help rescue dogs from kill shelters.

Read more reviews and follow Paulette on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5895757.Paulette_Mahurin

 

Connect to Paulette:https://thepersecutionofmildreddunlap.wordpress.com/

Time to check up on Geoff Le Pard and his short story collection Life in a Flash published at the end of November 2017.

About Life in a Flash

Life is fast, life is short. In a series of short fiction pieces, most under 500 words, we explore the world, its inhabitants and their trials and tribulations, their ups and downs and sideways shifts, all with humour and decent grammar. You’ll find something to amuse and intrigue here and if, unlikely as it is, one piece isn’t for you, well, turn the page and start again.

A recent review for the collection

Geoff Le Pard’s book is a collection of 157 pages filled with short stories. Each one has 500 words or less. Geoff Le Pard is a master in bringing out the irony of life in his special way. He has this dark British humor, adds twists, and always leaves something to ponder. What I loved most are the stories in which he combines Greek Mythology with the modern world.

This is a book made for those who like to be into the story quickly… but you won’t stop with one story because it makes you want more!

The book is available here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Life-Flash-Geoff-Pard-ebook/dp/B076T96M2Y

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Life-Flash-Geoff-Pard-ebook/dp/B076T96M2Y

Also by Geoff Le Pard

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Geoff-Le-Pard/e/B00OSI7XA0

And Amazon US:https://www.amazon.com/Geoff-Le-Pard/e/B00OSI7XA0

Read more reviews and follow Geoff on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9791177.Geoff_Le_Pard

Connect to Geoff via his blog: http://geofflepard.com/

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will explore these authors and their books further. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Gardening Column with Paul Andruss – About the New Gardening Column


Welcome to the first of Paul’s Gardening posts and you will discover that not only is Paul Andruss is an exceptional writer, he also has a very great knowledge of plants. I know you are going to enjoy these posts as much as I have when scheduling them.

About the New Gardening Column

Bill & Ben the Flowerpot Men (with little weed) BBC-1952

via Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Gardening Column with Paul Andruss – About the New Gardening Column

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Gardening Column with Paul Andruss – About the New Gardening Column


Welcome to the first of Paul’s Gardening posts and you will discover that not only is Paul Andruss is an exceptional writer, he also has a very great knowledge of plants. I know you are going to enjoy these posts as much as I have when scheduling them.

About the New Gardening Column

Bill & Ben the Flowerpot Men (with little weed) BBC-1952

I was flattered when Sally offered me the Gardening writing position. Then I got a nervous thinking what I could usefully say. Gardening advice columns tend to be local.

Smorgasbord has a huge readership spanning the world north to south and east to west.
Readers and contributors are not only based close to home across the UK and Eire, and within mainland Europe, like Germany, but are as far flung as Australia, Thailand and South Africa, to say nothing of Canada and the entire width of the United States. How do you cater for all?

To give an example, if you transplant a cherry tree from England to Singapore, instead of deciduous tree producing blossom followed by lush fruit it will become evergreen and never flower. It is not for nothing gardeners the world over say it’s all about getting the right plant in the right place.
As Sally can attest from when she lived in Spain (hills outside Madrid), and I know from Turkey (both areas are roughly the same latitude), winter is short and mild. although Turkey gets cold Russian winds from the Steppes often bringing snow down to Istanbul. In Bodrum, the cold winter winds would see off most of the garden that was thriving a week before.

For us winter lasted from the last week in December to the middle of February, when the hillsides were alive with spring flowers. The big dead time was the height of summer. It was so hot and dry most foreign plants, no matter how much water they had, simply gave up the ghost.

English Garden plants that flowered all summer long in the UK would be flowering within weeks, live for a month and die. By November their seeds would have grown and be flowering until the winter winds cut them down.

This so called Mediterranean climate is found in California, South African Cape, Chile and the Southern Coast of Australia. Yet even in the Mediterranean, no two Mediterranean climates are the same. If you look at North America, California’s Mediterranean climate is not reflected in other states lying between the same latitudes such as Virginia, South Carolina Utah, Kansas, Colorado, Arizona and Kentucky, just to name a few.

So how do you know what to grow and how to extend the variety of plants in your garden?
Here is a table of plant hardiness zones based on minimum winter temperatures.

But as you probably guessed that is only half the story. For example some Mediterranean, South Africa and California plants are quite happy with the temperatures in a cold greenhouse, almost 700 foot up a hill in Wales: although none survive outside due to the wet. Winters here are mild, reaching 11C the past few days (or 52F) mostly staying above freezing and only betting below -5C around (21F) once or twice a year.

But my plants suffer from lack of sunlight in the short dull days; too little or too much water or sitting in cold damp soil, even though they have thrived in the same soil all summer long. Others rot when the damp greenhouse warms up during the day and a cold dew forms on the leaves at night.

So given I’ve not put you off gardening for life… when I talk about plants think about your local conditions. See what available in local market and garden centres.

And if you decide to go a bit more specialist there is plenty of information on the internet.

For example I grow some South African plants as annuals, either grown from seed or bought as plug plants from the garden centre each year because I can’t keep them alive over winter and I would rather use the space for plants I can nurture through.

Speaking to friends, I find they are scared to buy plants because they don’t know what they are. Hopefully this column will help you feel more comfortable with a wider variety of plants, so that when you see them for sale you will recognise them and want to give them a try. So let me tell you about different and unusual varieties of plants to brighten your garden and home. Shine some light on their romance and history so they become memorable.

And as for finding the right plant for the right place, plant families are pretty broad and many plants look similar, so if one particular plant won’t thrive where you are, there are bound to be alternatives.

©Paul Andruss 2018 Images.

I hope you are as excited as I am to be at the receiving end of Paul’s extensive knowledge and I know that he would love to receive your questions.

About Paul Andruss.

Paul Andruss is a writer whose primary focus is to take a subject, research every element thoroughly and then bring the pieces back together in a unique and thought provoking way. His desire to understand the origins of man, history, religion, politics and the minds of legends who rocked the world is inspiring. He does not hesitate to question, refute or make you rethink your own belief system and his work is always interesting and entertaining. Whilst is reluctant to talk about his own achievements he offers a warm and generous support and friendship to those he comes into contact with.

Paul Andruss is the author of 2 contrasting fantasy novels

Thomas the Rhymer – a magical fantasy for ages 11 to adult about a boy attempting to save fairy Thomas the Rhymer, while trying to rescue his brother from a selfish fairy queen

When Fairy Queen Sylvie snatches his brother, schoolboy Jack is plunged into a sinister fantasy world of illusion and deception – the realm of telepathic fairies ruled by spoilt, arrogant fairy queens.

Haunted by nightmares about his brother and pursued by a mysterious tramp (only seen by Jack and his friends) Jack fears he too will be stolen away.

The tramp is Thomas the Rhymer, who only speaks in rhyme. Lost and frightened Thomas needs Jack’s help to find his way home.

The race is on for Jack and his friends to save Thomas from the wicked Agnes Day (who wants to treat Thomas like a lab rat). And save Jack’s brother from Sylvie.
To do this they need the help of Bess – the most ancient powerful fairy queen in the land.
But there is a problem…
No one knows where Bess is… or even if she is still lives.
And even if they find her… will she let them go?

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Rhymer-Jack-Hughes-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00EPQL7KC

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Thomas-Rhymer-Jack-Hughes-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00EPQL7KC

Finn Mac CoolFinn Mac Cool – rude, crude and funny, Finn Mac Cool is strictly for adults only.

When the fairy folk deliver a soldier called Finn (the first outsider in plague-stricken Ireland for a decade) Erin believes he is Finn Mac Cool – returned to kill the tyrant King Conor Mac Nessa of Ulster. and free Great Queen Maeve – Ireland’s true ruler & Erin’s dying mother.

The druids kidnap Finn – planning to turn him into the hero Finn Mac Cool – who will save the world by destroying it.

Erin goes in looking for Finn – so he can kill Conor Mac Nessa before her mother’s dream of a free Ireland dies with her.

Erin’s quest draws her ever-deeper into Ireland’s ancient mythological landscape; a place…
… Where dream and reality merge
… Where a man’s fate is written fifteen hundred years before he was born
… Where books are legends & a library a myth
… Where people hate Christians for defying the gods
… Where phony druids use real magic

Find out more and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Finn-Mac-Cool-Paul-Andruss-ebook/dp/B018OJZ9KY

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Finn-Mac-Cool-Paul-Andruss-ebook/dp/B018OJZ9KY

Connect to Paul on social media.

Blog: http://www.paul-andruss.com/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/paul.andruss.9
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Paul_JHBooks
Google+  https://plus.google.com/s/+jackhughesbooks

 

My thanks again to Paul for this great start to his new series and we look forward to your feedback.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Liberation by Lori Bonati-Phillips


Welcome to the second post from the archives of Lori Bonati-Phillips. It was posted before the elections in the United States in November of 2016 and is definitely worth reading as it demonstrates that although some women in 1964 were pro a woman in the role of President, many still believed that a woman’s place was in the home. How far we have come in so many respects with placing women in high office. But it is clear that there is still some way to go still.

Liberation by Lori Bonati-Phillips

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While listening to NPR on the drive home from work today, and wondering whether or not I had anything to blog about, I heard these words: “Gloria Steinem is 82 years old.”

Not possible! the voice in my head argued. (I never talk to myself out loud while driving, at least not when other drivers are close enough to see through my window.) But then I reasoned that it must be true, because it was NPR, after all, and doesn’t that stand for Numerous Professional Reporters?

I let Ms. Steinem’s age (and, therefore, my own) sink in for a few flips of the odometer. And even though I was driving forward, my mind was spinning backward, to much younger versions of Gloria Steinem and myself. It was an era that many know about only from history books (the good ones), documentaries, or their mothers’ reminiscences. I’m talking about 1960s feminism.

I have to admit, though, with much chagrin, that even I (someone who shares a home town with Susan B. Anthony) was caught off-guard when my college roommate joined the women’s liberation movement of the 60’s. “But I like being the weaker sex,” I remember telling her. (It shames me to my core to reveal that here, but if I’m going to blog, I want it to be honest bloggery.) I’ll never forget the look on her face when I said that: pure disdain. We were never that close, but I think our friendship died that day.

Hearing myself utter those ridiculous words must have embarrassed me into rethinking my position, and I soon came to embrace feminism and to strive to live my life in a more liberated way from then on (although sometimes it’s been a struggle). But I’ve come a long, long way from the high school girl who once let her date win at bowling (by purposely throwing a gutter ball), to the woman who is incapable of doing that today. (And not just because I don’t know anyone who goes bowling.)

In my defense, the prevailing mode of thought in my teens was that girls should learn how to cook, sew, wear makeup, and catch a husband, and boys should learn how to fix things, build things, make out with girls, and settle down with a good wife. And, by the way, that wife could never, ever, dream of being President of the United States.

Just take a look at what my classmates actually said in response to a poll (“A Woman President?”) published in my high school student newspaper in 1964 (the year that Margaret Chase Smith ran against Barry Goldwater for the Republican nomination):

S.G.: “I feel that a woman could be a good president because of her natural ability of arguing for an idea until hoarse, yet easily changing her viewpoint for different people.”

D.W.: “In this time of crisis we need a strong president. Foreign leaders would not respect a woman especially in the Asian countries that still consider women inferior.”

B.F.: “I couldn’t respect a woman president. I think a man should hold such a position of leadership. If a woman were president, I’d feel responsible for all her mistakes.”

D.S. “I’d agree to having a woman president if they’d change the age requirement to between 21 and 30 years old.”

J.K.: “We have not yet reached the point of social equality. A woman could not be accepted in this country or in foreign nations.”

R.F.: “I would not elect a woman to the office of president since the job requires a rational, objective thinker. A woman does not possess these essential qualities.”

G.A. “A woman can hardly balance her own budget let alone that of a country.”

K.B.: “If she has the same qualifications as a male candidate I don’t see why we shouldn’t have one.”

H.R. “We might as well have a woman for president. The whole country is a matriarchy anyway.”

J.K. “I don’t think we should have a woman for president. Most women wouldn’t vote for her because of jealousy. She couldn’t handle world problems as efficiently as a man.”

N.B.: “Woman’s place is in the home. I don’t see how her marriage could work if her husband was continually subjugated to her duties as president.

B.A.: “I feel that a woman is just as capable as a man to handle the presidency. However, I believe that the woman to hold this office should not have the responsibilities of raising a family. A woman such as Margaret Chase Smith would probably do a fine job, I’m sure, but it will probably be quite a long time before the opposite sex really makes a race out of the Presidency.”

G.S.: “I can’t see a married woman in the White House. She couldn’t run national and world affairs and at the same time let her husband run the family. Not only would she have a press secretary, but fashion secretaries too. And one more thing, I can’t see her husband decorating the White House.”

J.K. “This country is not ready for a woman President. I think there are women capable of the job and I am glad there is a woman brave enough to pioneer in this field previously untouched by women. Perhaps the country is ready for a woman vice-president.”

D.C.: “This is a woman’s world anyway. Why not a woman President?”

That was 1964, when I was just a freshman. In 1966, that same paper published my anti-war poem. And the changes just kept on coming.

When I vote this November, I’m going to be thinking about Gloria Steinem, Susan B. Anthony, and my old college roommate, and uttering a deep and profound thank you to all three of them for raising my feminist awareness and giving me the gift of a liberated life.

©Lori Bonati-Phillips Image

Definitely something to think about and thanks to Lori for sharing.

About Lori Bonati-Phillips

I was born near Buffalo, New York into an incredible family. My mom is very wise and makes the best meatballs in the universe. My dad is word-smart and musical. He was the only kid in his class who knew how to spell “mosquito,” and he’s played trumpet on street corners and for British royalty. I probably inherited my dad’s love of words and music. At the age of three, I learned how to read, but my favorite activity was singing Nat King Cole songs to strangers in the supermarket. I once wrote a song about my parents, mentioning my mom’s meatballs in the chorus. I’ve lived in Buffalo, Vancouver, and Tucson … and over the years I’ve been married (twice), divorced (once), raised a family, recorded music, and had a career as a school psychologist. I just retired so that I could devote more time to the things I love.

About the Standing in the Surf

Come along with Lori as she discovers the beautiful Pacific Northwest area known as the Salish Sea. Over 130 full-color, high resolution photographs of beaches, parks, flowers, birds, buildings, and people are combined with informative text which blends humor with inspiration. You’ll learn about Whidbey Island, Vancouver Island, Stanley Park, Butchart Gardens, and more. And you might just hear the surf while reading this book.

A review for the book

There is a huge amount to enjoy in this collection, which is brimming full of life and passion, as it details Lori’s travels and what she encounters on her journey throughout Whidbey Island, Vancouver Island, Stanley Park, Butchart Gardens, and much more. Lori has a keen eye in her photographs, which are very well shot and capture the moments so well that I actually felt myself transported to the locations, enjoying the intimacy of nature and her surroundings. I was sad when it ended but enjoyed every minute of it, there is humour in there too and everything is laid out expertly as it tells its story loaded with easy charm to compliment the stunning visuals. A highly recommended experience. 

Buy the book:https://www.amazon.com/Standing-Surf-Lori-Bonati-Phillips-ebook/dp/B0764K2Z4K

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Standing-Surf-Lori-Bonati-Phillips/dp/154989238X

Lori is also a talented musician and vocalist with Pacific Buffalo

Chuck is from the Pacific Northwest, and Lori is from Buffalo, NY, so we are Pacific Buffalo.

Chuck Phillips’ Seattle and New Orleans roots have produced a spicy blend of rock, R&B, jazz, and just plain raw rock ‘n roll. He’s played keyboards –specializing in the Hammond B3 organ — in a variety of New Orleans rock and reggae bands, at venues like Tipitina’s and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. He’s opened for Talking Heads, REM, and others. Chuck writes meaningful lyrics, sings, plays keyboards and guitars, and provides programming for drums, bass, and other electronica.

Lori Bonati brings a folk and classical guitar background to her compelling lyrics, melodies, and vocals. She grew up in a musical family. Her father Ralph was a trumpet player and band leader, Uncle Joe was a pioneering jazz saxophonist in 50’s New Orleans, Uncle Al was a pianist, and Aunt Anne was a singer. It’s not surprising that Lori would sing Nat King Cole standards to strangers in the grocery store at age three and would later take up violin, guitar, and piano, and start writing her own songs.

We are often accompanied by Jack Kriendler on drums:

Jack Kriendler played drums in high school and college, then decided to get some serious training in mid-life and studied with the Tucson master drummer Fred Hayes, where he branched out from rock and roll to work on jazz, Latin, and world beats. It is with that eclectic interest that he approaches the music of Pacific Buffalo, hoping to add “groove and fire” to Lori’s and Chuck’s originals and to the band’s wide-ranging cover tunes.

You can find the link to buy Pacific Buffalo’s CD here: www.pacificbuffalo.com

Social media links to connect to Lori

Blog: www.loristory.wordpress.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lori.bonati
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LoriBonati

I am sure that Lori would be very interested in your feedback and look forward to hearing from you. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Tales of Our Holiday Lets. Or … Is it Really Worth it? Tai Chi Naturists by Judith Barrow


In the second of Judith Barrow’s recollections of visitors her holiday let apartment, we meet the Tai Chi Naturists… those of a sensitive nature please look away now!

Tales of Our Holiday Lets. Or … Is it Really Worth it? Tai Chi Naturists by Judith Barrow

Well, yes.looking back down the years and now we no longer let the holiday apartment attached to our house, I know it was worth it. We loved letting, despite the unexpected. It brought us many friends; visitors who returned year after year in the summer to enjoy the lovely Pembrokeshire coastline and all the other attractions this part of West Wales offers. We loved seeing them again. And we were fortunate to meet many new people as well. But there were downsides. Or should I say, occasions that made us think again about sharing our home.

Such as the Tai Chi Naturists.

via Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Tales of Our Holiday Lets. Or … Is it Really Worth it? Tai Chi Naturists by Judith Barrow

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – Be careful what you wish for.


 

A woman was walking along the beach when she stumbled upon a Genie’s lamp. She picked it up and rubbed it, and lo-and-behold a Genie appeared. The amazed woman asked if she was going to receive the usual three wishes.

The Genie said, “Nope … due to inflation, constant downsizing, low wages in third-world countries, and fierce global competition, I can only grant you one wish. So … what’ll it be?”

The woman didn’t hesitate. She said, “I want peace in the Middle East. See this map? I want these countries to stop fighting with each other.”

The Genie looked at the map and exclaimed, “Gadzooks, lady! These countries have been at war for thousands of years. I’m good, but not THAT good! I don’t think it can be done. Make another wish.”

The woman thought for a minute and said, “Well, I’ve never been able to find the right man. You know, one that’s considerate and fun, likes to cook and helps with the housecleaning, is good in bed and gets along with my family, doesn’t watch sports all the time, and is faithful. That’s what I wish for … a good mate.”

The Genie let out a long sigh and said, “Let me see that damn map again!’

A nursing assistant was doing a little cleaning on a quiet afternoon. She was polishing the old brass lamp that an old lady had donated to the ward in gratitude for the fine care she had received there.

One of the floor nurses and the head nurse were nearby as the lamp suddenly produced a cloud of dark smoke, from which stepped a lady dressed in nineteenth-century nurses’ uniform.

“I am Gina the Gray Lady of the Lamp,” she said. “I am so pleased with the way you have taken care of my previous owner that I will now grant you three wishes.” With a wave of her hand and a puff of smoke, the room was filled with flowers, fruit, and bottles of fine wine, proving that she did have the power to grant wishes – before any of the nurses could think otherwise.

Speaking up, the nursing assistant wished first. “I wish I were on a tropical island beach, with a single, well-built man feeding me fruit and tending to my every need.” With a puff of smoke, she was gone.

The floor nurse went next. “I wish I were rich, retired, and spending my days in my own warm cabin at a ski resort with a well-groomed man feeding me cocoa and doughnuts.” With a puff of smoke the floor nurse was gone.

“Now what is the last wish?” asked the lady. The head nurse said, “I want those two back on the floor at the end of their lunch break.”

 

 

Walking along the beach, John tripped over a half-buried kerosene lantern. He rubbed its side and sure enough, a Genie materialized.

“I can’t grant your wishes,” explained the freed spirit, “Due to poor connectivity with the seventh dimension. But I’ll give you three off-the-shelf gifts for releasing me: a potion to cure ill health, a very large diamond, and a dinner date with a famous movie star. By tomorrow afternoon, you will have received all these gifts.”

When John returned home from work the next evening, he excitedly asked his mother if anything had been delivered.

“Yes,” she replied. “It’s been an unusual day. At 2 pm, a 55 gallon drum of chicken soup arrived. About a half-hour later, a telegram came saying that a long-lost relative had left you a minor-league baseball stadium. Ten minutes ago, MGM called, inviting you to dinner with Lassie tonight.”

Thank you for dropping by today and if you enjoyed the laughs, please pass them on… thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Tales of Our Holiday Lets. Or … Is it Really Worth it? Tai Chi Naturists by Judith Barrow


In the second of Judith Barrow’s recollections of visitors her holiday let apartment, we meet the Tai Chi Naturists… those of a sensitive nature please look away now!

Tales of Our Holiday Lets. Or … Is it Really Worth it? Tai Chi Naturists by Judith Barrow

Well, yes.looking back down the years and now we no longer let the holiday apartment attached to our house, I know it was worth it. We loved letting, despite the unexpected. It brought us many friends; visitors who returned year after year in the summer to enjoy the lovely Pembrokeshire coastline and all the other attractions this part of West Wales offers. We loved seeing them again. And we were fortunate to meet many new people as well. But there were downsides. Or should I say, occasions that made us think again about sharing our home.

Such as the Tai Chi Naturists.

remix-245082-1801280__340

They looked a fit couple in their seventies; Mr and Mrs Wilson from Wigan, (actually not a made up name but it’s so long ago they really wouldn’t remember their holiday here… would they?) when they sprang from their dilapidated Ford Anglia.

‘Would you mind if we practised our Tai Chi on the lawn?’ the wife asked right away.

I sensed Husband’s tension and alarm. When I glanced at him I saw he was breathing rapidly and his eyes were bulging a bit. But his ears were still their usual pink; bright red is the ominous signal of him being overly upset.

‘Not at all,’ I said, intrigued. I’m a great people watcher and we’ve had some fascinating visitors over the years. Many have had picnics and parties on the lawn. Husband has accepted this… mainly. And we haven’t had any complaints from neighbours about noise; in fact some have joined in with the parties. We live off a small lane; there are only three more houses further along. A large bed filled with shrubs and a lilac tree and hedges all around the garden shelter the house from view. Which, sometimes has been a good thing!

We’d had many who’d stayed with us before and did various keep fit exercises on the front lawn. and even a couple who practised their judo . This latter was quite entertaining until the man did his back in (or should I say his wife did his back in for him with a particular enthusiastic throw). They’d had to leave early with the man lying across the lowered back seat with his feet pointing towards the boot and surrounded by suitcases. ‘Good job it’s an estate car’ Husband said in a casual way turning back to tend to his lawn where the husband had made a large dent.

I digress.

‘Tai Chi links deep breathing and relaxation with slow and gentle movements. See… ‘ the wife explained, taking in one long breath that made her nostrils flare alarmingly as, at the same time, she stretched out both arms. She felled Mr Wilson with one blow. I remember thinking at the time when her husband was smacked on the nose, that he should have known better than to stand so close. After all, from the way her nose whistled when she was taking in all that air, he must have realised she was going to demonstrate. ‘It’s a health-promoting form of exercise,’ Mrs Wilson said, cheerfully, as we all helped her husband back on his feet. ‘Sorry, love.’ She dusted him down. ‘It’s like a form of meditation, you know, exercises the whole of you, not just your body. Helps you to stay calm and gives you peace of mind, like.’

‘You didn’t do it right,’ Mr Wilson muttered.

She ignored him. ‘We only took it up a month or two back,’ she said to us.

Husband carried their two small suitcases into the apartment, his shoulders shaking.

I clamped my teeth together. When I spoke I knew my voice was a couple of pitches higher than normal but there was nothing I could do about that. ‘Is that all you’ve brought?’ I peered into the boot of the car, hiding the grin.

‘Oh, yes, just the two bags. ‘Mrs Wilson linked her husband’s arm. ‘We travel light, don’t we Sidney?’

He nodded but said nothing.

There are two things I should mention at this point.

One, my mother was staying with us that week and her bedroom window looked out onto the front lawn.

And two, we quickly discovered that this elderly couple were Naturists.

On the second morning after they’d arrived I drew back the curtains of my mother’s bedroom to see the two of them on the lawn, practising their Tai Chi. Despite their years their movements were graceful, there was no doubt about that. They moved forward in one continuous action, their hands held out in front of them. But it wasn’t with admiration but in alarm that I watched them; both because they were completely naked, and because I was standing side by side with my mother. And Mum had a wicked sense of inappropriate humour and ‘foot in mouth’ syndrome. She’d be sure to offend them by one of her ‘funny’ jokes. I wasn’t looking forward to trying to keep her away Mr and Mrs Wilson for the next seven days.

It was when he turned towards the house, bent his knees and squatted that my mother made a choking noise and fell back onto the bed. Laughing!

Now I know this is totally out of context and misquoted (and I do apologise wholeheartedly to Shakespeare and Cleopatra) … but the words that sprang to mind when I gazed at him, were “Age cannot wither……”

Well it was a very warm morning.

©Judith Barrow 2015

And with that image in your minds…. and not easily disposed of.. a thank you to Judith for sharing this very enlightening experience..

About Judith Barrow

Although I was born and brought up in a small village on the edge of the Pennine moors in Yorkshire, for the last forty years I’ve lived with my husband and family near the coast in Pembrokeshire, West Wales, UK, a gloriously beautiful place.

I’ve written all my life and have had short stories, poems, plays, reviews and articles published throughout the British Isles. But only started to seriously write novels after I’d had breast cancer twenty years ago. Four novels safely stashed away, never to see the light of day again, I had the first of my trilogy, Pattern of Shadows, published in 2010, the sequel, Changing Patterns, in 2013 and the last, Living in the Shadows in 2015. The prequel, A Hundred Tiny Threads will be published in August 2017. Hopefully then the family in this series will leave me alone to explore something else!

I have an MA in Creative Writing, B.A. (Hons.) in Literature, and a Diploma in Drama and Script Writing. I am also a Creative Writing tutor for Pembrokeshire County Council’s Lifelong Learning Programme and give talks and run workshops on all genres.

Along with friend and fellow author, Thorne Moore, I also organise a book fair in September. This year we’ve changed venues. Here’s the link that tells all!! Narberth Book Fair. When I’m not writing or teaching, I’m doing research for my writing, walking the Pembrokeshire coastline or reading and reviewing books for Rosie Amber’s Review Team #RBRT, along with some other brilliant authors and bloggers.

Books by Judith Barrow

A Hundred Tiny Threads  is a prequel to the three books featuring the Howarth family.

About A Hundred Tiny Threads

It’s 1911 and Winifred Duffy is a determined young woman eager for new experiences, for a life beyond the grocer’s shop counter ruled over by her domineering mother.

The scars of Bill Howarth’s troubled childhood linger. The only light in his life comes from a chance encounter with Winifred, the girl he determines to make his wife.

Meeting her friend Honora’s silver-tongued brother turns Winifred’s heart upside down. But Honora and Conal disappear, after a suffrage rally turns into a riot, and abandoned Winifred has nowhere to turn but home.

The Great War intervenes, sending Bill abroad to be hardened in a furnace of carnage and loss. When he returns his dream is still of Winifred and the life they might have had… Back in Lancashire, worn down by work and the barbed comments of narrow-minded townsfolk, Winifred faces difficult choices in love and life.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Judith Barrow’s extremely well crafted, gritty, no-nonsense characters- a trademark in all of her novels – simply grab hold of the insides of your gut. In her stories so far, there always seems to be a strong, compelling well-written female protagonist and a strong, compelling yet deeply despicable man. Her characters stifle cries of outrage within the reader and in this particular book- which is the prequel to her family saga trilogy- she demands that you study the tiny threads, the origins that create the Duffy/Howarth family’s tapestry. Also, the tiny threads creating the flipside family rope that so often strangles hope – the hope of them ever breaking out of unhealthy family patterns, passed down through the generations, seen in the trilogy.

We observe the bravery of the Suffragette movement and the gear change in women’s thinking, bringing challenges on the domestic front through the eyes of Winifred and absorb the compelling backdrop of the dire First World War and the unforgiving callous behaviour of the Black and Tans. Judith pushes the reader into these frontlines and into these volatile worlds where we can, I think, surely comprehend- though with unease – that even the most undesirable character can be called nasty and a victim at the same time, and in the same breath.

The prequel and the trilogy make for a gripping read.

Head over read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/100-Tiny-Threads-Judith-Barrow-ebook/dp/B073W1LTSR

and at Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/100-Tiny-Threads-Judith-Barrow-ebook/dp/B073W1LTSR

Also by Judith Barrow

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Judith-Barrow/e/B0043RZJV6

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Judith-Barrow/e/B0043RZJV6

Read more reviews and follow Judith on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3295663.Judith_Barrow

Connect to Judith Barrow

Blog: judithbarrowblog.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/judithabarrow
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/judith.barrow.3/about

If you would like to join Judith and the other writers and submit posts from your archives here is the link: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/01/01/happy-new-year-and-the-start-of-the-2018-series-of-smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives/