New Series – Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Book Reading and Interview


Sally's Cafe and Bookstore At the beginning of the year I said that I was going to focus the author promotions in 2017 around Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore.. which you will note has had a bit of a refurb.. this is my new library that we created in a previously closed up corridor on the ground floor of the house.. We have book cases in various places around our home but these shelves hold my most precious possessions.. such as my entire collection of Wilbur Smith that I have accumulated since the age of eleven, and many of my non-fiction buys over the years. They also hold some of the first books that I read such as Black Beauty and Little Women as well as my favourite authors from the last 50 years.

You will just have to imagine that they are in my virtual Cafe and Bookstore…along with all the wonderful 155  authors who have been added to the shelves in the last year.

Author Book Reading and Interview.

Now that I have a few of my own projects done and dusted… I can focus on the next promotion for the bookstore.

If this was a real cafe and bookstore I would set up regular book readings and interviews with the authors on the shelves.. But they is no reason why we cannot do that here.. The only thing missing of course is the customers who would be listening to the reading and asking questions of the author.

But I have that covered.

Here is how it works…

The author will answer four of my questions that I send to them out of twenty… They will also select a short extract from their book to share in the post. They will then also choose their favourite review for the book that we can add.

I will then do the introduction, the book blurb, about the author and the book links.

Then I will ask those who read the interview to add their questions to the comments section of the post for the author to answer.

This way we do manage to get some interaction, a wide range of questions and a chance to meet the author is a slightly different way.

First and foremost — authors who would like to be interviewed have to be already on the shelves of the bookstore (don’t worry if you are not.. there is a way to get there).

Also the authors must be willing and able to be around on the day or next day of the interview (Saturday and Sunday) to answer the questions.

I already have several authors lined up and if you are interested in joining the list then please contact me on

For those of you who are not already in the bookstore.


If you are not on the shelves then that is easy to fix.. I will do an individual promotion for you first and the details are in this post.

Look forward to hearing from you… and if you are a blogger I have a new promotion that will be posted tomorrow. Thanks Sally


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – A Symphony of Dragons by Lisa Shambrook

Today’s featured author is Lisa Shambrook who released a collection of dragon stories this week. A Symphony of Dragons is also the prelude to her next release Seren Stone Chronicles.

About A Symphony of Dragons

Lose yourself in the enchanting worlds of fantasy, contemporary, steampunk, and post-apocalyptic, and let your imagination soar on a chorus of dragon wings. This lyrical collection of tales embracing change and desire, love and belonging, passion, sacrifice and triumph are composed with gossamer threads of dragon fire.

Seven bewitching stories, including a Hope Within finale and a prelude to the forthcoming Seren Stone Chronicles.

Let the song of dragons lead you…

Find out more about the inspiration for the new collection of stories:

Links to buy A Symphony of Dragons on Amazon and other bookstores:

Also by Lisa Shambrook A Hope Within Series

A review for the series

Beneath the Distant Star is a wonderful conclusion to Shambrook’s “A Hope Within” series. Jasmine has never felt good enough for her mother who is still clinging to the grief of losing her first daughter. The emotions Jasmine experiences and the antics she carries out to get attention are spot on for a confused teenager and I really sympathized with her throughout the story. The writing and imagery were beautiful and the story kept me turning the page.

But it was the ending that really pulled it all together for me. It was such a beautiful, emotional, perfect ending that I had to re-read the second book in the trilogy as soon as I’d finished the third, just to experience the whole thing all over again! Writing a trilogy is not an easy task and I applaud Shambrook’s ability to tie up all the loose strings and give us a wonderfully satisfying ending that would make anyone cry tears of joy.

Read the reviews and buy all the books:

About Lisa Shambrook

I began weaving intricate stories inside my imagination from a young age, but these days my words find themselves bursting forth in the forms of flash fiction, short stories and novels.

I’m a sensory writer and I delve into sensitive subject matters that will lift your spirit and steal your heart.

I was born and raised in vibrant Brighton, England, and living by the ocean heavily influenced my lyrical and emotional writing. I work with the senses, description and colour, and my readers will easily visualise the narrative. I’m a wife and mother, and I draw inspiration from my chaotic family, my faith, my memory and imagination. After I had my first of three children, we moved to Carmarthen, West Wales, another town rich in legend and lore.

I’m also highly creative and co-own an Etsy shop, Amaranth Alchemy, with my daughter Bekah, where we breathe new life into old pages and create bookpage gifts and art from old, worn, torn and abandoned books.

I love family time, walking our excitable German Shepherd, our cats, beaches, photography, art and last, but not least, writing.

Connect to Lisa


Many thanks for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share Lisa’s new release around the usual haunts.  Also if you would like to join Lisa and the 160 authors on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore and enjoy regular updates please follow this link. Thanks Sally

EDITING 101: 30 – Ellipses…

Time for our weekly grammar tutorial from Susan Uttendorfsky of Adirondack Editing who shares her expertise on the Story Reading Ape. This week one of the more interesting grammar terms to pronounce after a couple of glasses of wine… Ellipses… and if you are seeing dots its because…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Originally posted as the Dun Writin’—Now Whut? series on this blog, EDITING 101 is a weekly refresher series for some of you and brand new for others.

Courtesy of Adirondack Editing


Ahh, another point of grammar that’s frequently either overused or incorrectly used. And, in this case, it’s understandable! There are so many different ways to use ellipses.

First, we’ll start with the punctuation mark itself. Some authors use three dots in a row…which Microsoft Word will typically convert into an ellipsis character. An ellipsis character only takes up one character space, and can be deleted by backspacing one time. This ellipsis is scrunched together more than if there were simply three period/full stop marks.

Other authors like to use a space in between . . . like this. It’s spread out more and I think it looks nicer. The problem is when it comes at the end of a sentence…

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Notes from a small dog – The gloating mole

Here is a report from Ani the Dog… Sue Vincent has need of cooling treatments and Ani whilst being her usual attentive hand maiden has taken it upon herself to get rid of products passed their sell by date..namely the……find out what by heading over and reading the post.

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

Frankly, there is no doing anything with her today.  It doesn’t take much to make her happy… give her an ice-cream, a five minute break from tennis-ball-throwing or a whiff of heather and she’s content. Not that she is getting any of those…. and not that she should have anything much to be happy about at present. She’s wandering around looking like a sunburnt mole again…and she has all week.

Her eyes are all hidden in the pink, puffy stuff she calls skin. Well, when I say all, I mean both of them.  Even she is not weird enough to have more than two, though you would think she must have some in the back of her head sometimes…’specially when the fridge is open… You know, if she wanted that cheese, you’d think she’d have eaten it by now…

She keeps going in the fridge, though. Not for cheese…just…

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Writer in Residence Extra – Bonfire of the Vanities by Paul Andruss

Writer in Residence Paul Andruss is contributing posts for the blog every three weeks. I know that many of you look forward to those, so Paul has sent me a number of posts that he first published on his own blog to be posted between his contributions.

I watched the series of The Borgias and I must say that the expression ‘holier than thou’ does not apply. Of course it was a dramatisation and therefore carried the usual licence to elaborate but as Paul points out in his post they probably drew the line at some of the shenanigans..

I am sure you will enjoy and if you have any questions I am sure Paul would be delighted to answer them.

Bonfire of the Vanities by Paul Andruss

Bonfire of the Vanities (Andruss)

In 1494 a Dominican friar called Savonarola preached against the Vatican. He did not mince his words.

‘They preach chastity but keep mistresses; poverty and think only of worldly riches. They have made the church a prostitute whose poisoned breath rises to the heavens.’

He caught the public’s imagination by demanding the city of Florence become a ‘Religious and Christian Republic’. In a fit of excessive zeal the populace held bonfires of the vanities, burning anything that smacked of pleasure: mirrors, cosmetics, clothes, books, gaming tables, musical instruments and even painting by Michaelangelo and Botticelli.

According to Savonarola, the root of all evil lay with Pope Alexander IV, otherwise known as Rodrigo Borgia. Even today, the Borgia name is remembered as a by-word for treachery and depravity.

Yet Rodrigo was not such a bad pope. He had a slight issue with the 10 commandments – mainly the excessive use of the word ‘not’.

But he was an able administrator and unlike many of his predecessors absolutely never ever murdered anyone unless they stood in his way. Despite being a cardinal since the age of 25, Rodrigo had 4 children to his beautiful mistress. Two are notorious.

Lucrezia, allegedly a poisoner, was believed to have committed incest with her father and brothers. This is unfair. There is no evidence, only scandal. Married at 13, she was divorced on the grounds of non-consummation (despite being pregnant) when her husband outlived his usefulness and churlishly refused to be murdered. Then her brother Cesare killed her beloved 2nd husband. Lucrezia is often seen as her father’s pawn. Regardless, she was no bimbo. He twice left her in charge of the Papal Palace during absences.

If Lucrezia’s reputation is undeserved, Cesare’s doesn’t do him justice. His ruthlessness inspired Machiavelli to write ‘The Prince’ – the essential how to manual for the medieval noble on the make. At 22, he murdered his brother. It was never proved because his father prevented an investigation. Then it was his brother- in-law and eventually everyone else standing in the way.

Cesare also liked the girls. The family orgies would make any decent Christian blush. Fortunately there were not many decent Christians in the Vatican at this time so we know quite a lot about them. Cesare died at 31. Towards the end he wore a mask, due to being hideously disfigured by syphilis.

As for Savonarola, Rodrigo was far too laid back to give a toss about the ravings of some mad monk. But it was inevitable even his patience would eventually wear thin. In 1497 he excommunicated Savonarola, and when the monk ignored him demanded his arrest.

By this time the novelty of repentance had worn off with the Florentians. For once they not only obeyed the pope but took it one step further by burning the turbulent friar at the stake. I wonder if Savonarola appreciated the irony of his grisly end. Surely he knew the greatest vanity of all is pride.

©Paul Andruss

My thanks to Paul for another wonderfully constructed post that makes us view those in the past in a different light.

About Paul Andruss

If I were a musician I would be Kate Bush or the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson; but without the mental issues or dependency on prescription drugs. For Brian not Kate! I can talk about anything except myself, so let’s talk about my work.

Finn Mac Cool

I’ve written 4 novels, Finn Mac Cool, and the (Harry-Potteresque) Jack Hughes Trilogy. ‘Finn Mac Cool’ and ‘Thomas the Rhymer’ are available for free download. Hint! Hint!

Thomas the Rhymer Paul Andruss

About Thomas the Rhymer.

11 year old British schoolboy, Jack Hughes, sees a fairy queen kidnap his brother. With friends Catherine & Ken, Jack embarks on a whirlwind adventure to return Thomas the Rhymer to fairyland & rescue his brother

What’s been said about … Thomas the Rhymer

‘Fans of Harry Potter & Narnia will love Thomas the Rhymer’

‘Thomas the Rhymer leaves you feeling like a child curled up in a comfy armchair on a wet & windy afternoon, lost in a good book’

‘Spellbinding! An ideal Christmas read for young & old alike!’

Download Free from Paul’s website:

Connect to Paul

Facebook Page:

Please find the previous posts from Paul in this directory.. you won’t be disappointed.

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – 23rd March 2017 – New Series, Book People, The Drunken Cyclist and Joan Frankham


Smorgasbord Blogger DailyWelcome to my selection of blog posts that I have enjoyed today and I would like to take this opportunity to reshare my post earlier from today on the new series for authors and book reviewers.

I know that reviews are so important and whilst I do share recent reviews for the authors on the Cafe and Bookstore shelves I have noticed that there are a great many bloggers reviewing books prior to putting on Amazon etc.  I have been putting those I see into the Blogger Daily but have now provided a specific post for them.  Also this is open to all authors who might have just received a rave review and want to share in an additional spotlight.

Check out the first post in the series and then get in touch at the email address in the post. Featuring brand new reviews for Kevin Morris, D.G. Kaye and Tina Frisco..

Read the rest of the post:

This next post brought back memories.. We lived in Houston in the 1980s and spent a lot of time exploring the state including Austin and San Antonio as favourite destinations. This is the wonderful story of the bookstore started in 1970 and still thriving today having grown and expanded over 40 years.  I still hope to get my Cafe and Bookstore off the ground in reality and take inspiration from the fact that an independent bookstore can still be a driving force in the community.

Every March, we in Texas celebrate the history of our state: the Texas declaration of independence (1836), birth of Sam Houston (1793), and Alamo Heroes Day (1836) all occur this month. After over 40 years serving Austin’s bookish community, we’d like to reintroduce you to our own Texas history. In this series, we take a look at our unique relationship with our community.

On November 11, 1970, two couples opened a small bookstore on the ground floor of a duplex on West 17th street near the University of Texas campus. With a meager budget of only $5,000, they hand-picked their inventory from small presses and focused on alternative politics, political theory, metaphysics, and eastern religions. They named their store Grok Books, from Robert Heinlein’s A Stranger in a Strange Land to promote the idea that engaged reading can foster change and growth in the individual and society.

Read the rest of the story of the Book People:

Now onto the subject of Champagne and Sparkling wine.. Mary Smith and I were talking only this afternoon about enjoying some Cava when we meet at the Bloggers Bash in June and I must admit to enjoying the odd glass of bubbly.. Some of the best sparkling wine I have drunk in previous years is top of the range Cava which I could buy very reasonably for around 15Euro in the supermarket. Prior to that however it has to be Korbel sparkling wine that we used to enjoy when living in the States.  Here is a post by The Drunken Cyclist on the subject of American Sparkling wine and whether it is as good as Champagne especially when retailed at a similar price.

I have been around the wine industry for many years now and I hear a common refrain:

“Those who spend more than $25 on an American sparkling wine need to have their head examined.”

Never heard that? Well, you need to hang around me more often because I say it all the time. And I am not the only one. There are many in the wine world that apparently agree with me (I will not cite them here, but check the scores on champagne vs. American sparkling and you will see that I am right….).

Why do I feel that way? Simple. Champagne has marketed themselves very well. Quite simply, most people associate champagne with luxury, quality, opulence, and, well, “the good life.” While some might argue that it is all marketing, I would disagree. There is a reason that champagne has ascended to its rather lofty status: it is good. Very good. Outstanding, even.

For a long time, I have pontificated that American sparklers must compete not only on quality but also on price. In other words: Why buy a bottle of domestic wine unless it is both better and less expensive than its counterpart from the more prestigious region?

For me, that is the question when it comes to domestic sparkling wines.

Find out if American Sparkling wine can compete on taste and price:

As we start planning some trips for the better weather (haha…) I am keeping my open for posts on Ireland and recommended places to visit. Here is a post by Joan Frankham as part of the Thursday Doors series.. Waterford is David’s home town and his family history goes back several hundred years and we are looking forward to returning to explore more especially as only a couple of hours away from us here in Wexford.

This photo is of one of the doors into Lismore Castle in County Waterford, of course it’s not the main door of the castle, that door was open and I didn’t manage to get a good shot as there were many people milling around. This castle is one of the residences of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire,and has been in their family since 1753.

Read the rest of the history about Lismore Castle:

I hope you have enjoyed today’s selection and please feel free to share a link to your latest post in the comments.

The Writer and The Rake. Chapter one.

Coming soon another Smexy Historical hot off the press release from Shehanne Moore.. guaranteed no hamstahs! Shssssh don’t tell them they bite! Well done Shey.. look forward to showcasing..

shehanne moore

NOW DUDES  THAT IS NOT SO. What’s this then……

The Writer and The Rake. Chapter one the illustrated preview version.  Time Mutants series.

Chapter 1

Present Day. Dundee, Scotland.

If life was what happened as she dreamed, then what a bloody nightmare hers was right now. Flashlights pinged. “Sign this, Ms. Carter,” “Ms. Carter, over here,” “Brit-tany, Brit-tany,” screeched legions of adoring fans.

Some were trampled underfoot as she sashayed up stairs that dripped in red velvet, her carefully coiffed, exotically scented, chestnut hair framing her face, pink lips pouting, figure, slim as an ice pick in the little lime-green number she’d ordered from Saskia’s online. A snip at a thousand quid.

At least, in her fantasies people asked her for her autographs, her fans were being trampled and the dress cost that.

The truth?

Not even a mouse at her book signing in some shitty Scout hall.

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Time for some Laffs – Angels explained by children and out of the mouths of Babes

Angels as explained by Children – Tina Frisco  Children have a richer understanding of certain things than we do!

I only know the names of two angels. Hark and Harold. -Gregory, Age 5

Everybody’s got it all wrong. Angels don’t wear halos anymore. I forget why, but scientists are working on it. -Olive, Age 9

It’s not easy to become an angel! First, you die. Then you go to Heaven. And then there’s still the flight training to go through. And then you got to agree to wear those angel clothes. -Matthew, Age 9

Angels work for God and watch over kids when God has to go do something else. -Mitchell, Age 7

My guardian angel helps me with math, but he’s not much good for science. -Henry, Age 8

Angels don’t eat, but they drink milk from Holy Cows. -Jack, Age 6

Angels talk all the way while they’re flying you up to heaven. The main subject is where you went wrong before you got dead. -Daniel, Age 9

When an angel gets mad, she takes a deep breath and counts to ten. And when she lets out her breath again, somewhere there’s a tornado. -Reagan, Age 10

Angels have a lot to do and they keep very busy. If you lose a tooth, an angel comes in through your window and leaves money under your pillow. Then when it gets cold, angels go south for the winter. -Sara, Age 6

Angels live in cloud houses made by God and his Son, who’s a very good carpenter. -Jared, Age 8

All angels are girls because they gotta wear dresses, and boys didn’t go for it. -Antonio, Age 9

My angel is my grandma who died last year. She got a big head start on helping me while she was still down here on earth. -Ashley, Age 9

Some of the angels are in charge of helping heal sick animals and pets. And if they don’t make the animals get better, they help the child get over it. – Vicki, Age 8

What I don’t get about angels is why, when someone is in love, they shoot arrows at them. -Sarah, Age 7

Out of the mouths of babes!

A mother was telling her little girl what her own childhood was like: “We used to skate outside on a pond. I had a swing made from a tire; it hung from a tree in our front yard. We rode our pony. We picked wild raspberries in the woods.” The little girl was wide-eyed, taking this in. At last she said, “I sure wish I’d gotten to know you sooner!”

A mother and her young son returned from the grocery store and began putting away the groceries. The boy opened the box of animal crackers and spread them all over the table. “What are you doing?” his mother asked. “The box says you can’t eat them if the seal is broken,” the boy explained. “I’m looking for the seal.”

A number of primary schools were doing a project on ‘The Sea.’ Children were asked to draw pictures or write about their experiences. Teachers got together to compare the results and put together some of the ‘better’ ones:

Some fish are dangerous. Jellyfish can sting. Electric eels can give you a shock. They have to live in caves under the sea because I think they have to plug themselves in to chargers. (Christopher age 7)

This is a picture of an octopus. It has eight testicles. (Kelly age 6)

Oysters’ balls are called pearls. (James age 6)

If you are surrounded by sea you are an Island. If you don’t have sea all around you, you are incontinent. (Wayne age 7)

I think sharks are ugly and mean, and have big teeth, just like Emily Richardson. She’s not my friend no more. (Kyle age 6)

A dolphin breathes through an asshole on the top of its head. (Billy age 8 )

When ships had sails, they used to use the trade winds to cross the ocean. Sometimes, when the wind didn’t blow the sailors would whistle to make the wind come. My brother said they would be better off eating beans. (William age 7)

I like mermaids. They are beautiful, and I like their shiny tails. How do mermaids get pregnant? (Helen age 6)

Hope you have enjoyed and please feel free to pass on the smiles… thanks Sally