Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Tuesday January 21st 2020 – #Sunshineblogger Karen Ingalls, #BletchleyPark Mike Biles, #AuthorSpotlight James J. Cudney with Zach Abrams

It is award season and it is a wonderful way to recognise fellow bloggers.. Karen Ingalls has responded to her two nominations and if you would like to know more about her books and her interests, please head over and enjoy the two sets of questions she has answered.

I have been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by two bloggers, D.L. Finn and Ron Yates. I am honored and thrilled. The award is given out by members of the blogging community in recognition of their inspiring, creative, and motivational blogs.

My thanks to both Ms. Finn and Ron Yates whose blogs are uniquely different and yet both well worth the time to read. Author D. L. Finn is one of my favorite blogs ( Her philosophy is Embrace your inner child by reading a good book. Ms. Finn has written biographies, children, poetry, paranormal, and short stories.

Mr. Yates blog can be found at His blogs often challenge the reader about certain social or historical issues as well as supporting authors and their books. He is an award-winning author of action books, historical fiction, and former foreign correspondent.

Part of the nomination process requires that I answer 11 questions. Here are the eleven questions, D.L. Finn has asked me to answer. You may well learn something new about me.

1. How long have you been blogging? I have been blogging?

To find out that and to enjoy the rest of the questions and find out who Karen has nominated in turn please follow the link: Karen Ingalls Sunshine Blogger Award

Karen Ingalls, buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Karen: Goodreads – Blog: Karen Ingalls

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Now for a post from Mike Biles of Bit About Britain, and it is Part One of the story of Bletchley Park from January 10th, and you will find Part Two published on January 17th

Bletchley Park, Station X

Part 1 – Enigma and Ultra

This is Bletchley Park. To all intents and purposes, it’s a nondescript, somewhat ugly, large Victorian mansion and estate just north of London. But what went on at Bletchley Park was extraordinary: it changed the course of the Second World War, and the world. From 1939-46, this was the Government Code and Cipher School (GC&CS), the place where enemy Enigma codes were broken which, as a consequence, saved countless lives and resulted in the war being shortened by at least two years. Some say. Of course, there’s far more to it than even that remarkable statement implies. Inevitably, the more you peel away the layers of the Bletchley Park legend, the more its complexities, connections and contradictions are revealed. I suspect that no one knows the full story and, probably, no one ever will.

Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire

Bletchley Park is now a thriving visitor attraction. But for years after the war, most people knew nothing about it. Renowned historians wrote entire histories of the Second World War without once referencing the vital part that Bletchley Park played. The landmark television series, ‘World at War’,(Amazon link), first screened in 1973-74 and still remarkable viewing today, doesn’t mention Bletchley at all. It made no appearance in my edition of ‘Total War’, a recommended book on the conflict when I was a history undergraduate, despite one of its distinguished authors, Peter Calvocoressi, having served at Bletchley Park as an RAF intelligence officer. One of the many astonishing things about the Bletchley Park legend is that it remained a secret from the public for so long. There was an understandably obsessive sense of secrecy at the time of course, but some of the families of those that worked there never had a clue what their loved ones did. Despite the fact that ‘Station X’, as Bletchley was referred to, grew from something of a cottage industry to a huge complex that, including outstations, employed perhaps 10,000 people, everyone had signed the Official Secrets Act and most kept shtum. Careless talk costs lives; and, anyway, they’d given their word. The first the world at large knew of Bletchley and what happened there came in 1974 with the publication of a book, ‘The Ultra Secret’ by ex-intelligence officer F W Winterbotham. But Winterbotham’s account was nowhere near comprehensive; nor, apparently, was it wholly accurate. Bit by bit, over the years, more details have been drip-fed into the public consciousness. Some of it makes you wonder. No one should be surprised if aspects of this beguiling chapter in our history remain classified even now.

Images ©Mike Biles

Head over to read the rest of this fascinating look at Bletchley Park and its significance in British history: Bletchley Park – Enigma- Ultra – Bit About Britain with Mike Biles

Mike Biles, Buy: Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Follow Mike on : Goodreads – Website: A Bit About Britain

And the final post today is the most recent author spotlight from James J. Cudney, and this week his guest is crime writer Zach Abrams.

Author Spotlight: Zach Abrams with James J. Cudney

Today’s post is an author spotlight. You’ll get to know the author and the author’s books, view book covers and marketing campaigns, read an interview between the author and me, and discover where to learn more about the author’s work, including social media contact links. Let’s meet…

Zach and I met through our publisher, Next Chapter. We’ve been catching up in the company chat rooms and sharing each other’s work on social media. I will be reading one of his books later this year too. We’re highlighting him in today’s blog post because it’s LAUNCH DAY for his latest stand-alone thriller, 133 Hours. Congratulations Zach! Below you’ll find an overview of the author, all the key social media contact information, the list of books he’s published, and an excerpt from his new release. Let’s get to know Zach a bit better…

Find out more about Zach Abrams and his books, including his most recent release 133 Hours: Author Spotlight James J. Cudney with Zach Abrams

James J. Cudney, Buy: Amazon US and:  Amazon UK  – Website/Blog: This is my truth nowGoodreads: James J. Cudney
N.B..Broken Heart Attack (recommended) is only 99c to download until 25th January.

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to enjoy these posts in full.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – Comedian in Residence D.G. Kaye and some new material from Sally!

Debby Gies D.G. Kaye Writer Blog  and I are delighted to keep finding new material to make you laugh but we are very happy if you would like to join in and share your humour too..

If you would like to share your favourite joke.. and get a plug in for your blog or books.. then email it to me at (this is a family show!)

My thanks to Debby for finding the funnies….please give her a round of applause…

D. G. Kaye – Buy: Amazon USAndAmazon UK    BlogD.G. WritesGoodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads

Check out Debby’s new series here on SmorgasbordD.G. Kaye Explores the Realm of Relationships

And time for some new material from Sally…..who has also been out foraging

Having been in the hospitality industry for several years… these caught my eye….

A out-of-towner in New York at the height of the tourist season decided to revisit an uptown restaurant he’d enjoyed on a previous trip to the city.

Finally catching the eye of an overworked waiter, he said, “You know, it’s been over five years since I first came in here.” “You’ll have to wait your turn, sir,” replied the harried and now irritated waiter, “I can only serve one table at a time.”

What flavors of ice cream do you have? inquired the customer. “Vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate,” answered the new waitress in a hoarse whisper. Trying to be sympathetic, the customer asked, “Do you have laryngitis?” “No….” replied the new waitress with some effort, “just…erm…. vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate.”

And a couple of one-liners..

There’s a new pizza shop here called Good King Wenceslas. All their pizzas are deep pan, crisp and even.


I was in the local Karma Restaurant the other night. No main courses on the menu. Just desserts.

We hope you are leaving with a smile on your face… and feel free to pass these along.. thanks Debby and Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2020 – #AuthorToolboxBlogHop: 12 Survival Tips for #Writers by Jacqui Murray

Welcome to the new series of Posts from Your Archives in 2020 and if you would like to participate with two of your posts from 2019, you will find all the details in this post: New series of Posts from Your Archives 2020

This is the second post from author Jacqui Murray and you can find her post from last week on effective similes

This week survival tips for writers, something we will all find useful… and if you have others to add then please do, the more the merrier. This post from February 2019 as Jacqui prepared to launch an earlier book in her series, Survival of the Fittest (I can highly recommend)

 #AuthorToolboxBlogHop: 12 Survival Tips for Writers by Jacqui Murray

I’m excited to join Raimey Gallant’s #AuthorToolbox monthly blog hop (third Wednesday of each month) with the theme of resources/learning for authors. Post are related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful. We share our experiences as it relates to these topics. Interviews are also permitted as long as they provide valuable knowledge for authors (i.e. advice.) Straight book reviews are not permitted unless they are reviews of books about writing/publishing/etc.

As I get ready to launch my next fiction book, Survival of the Fittest, I can’t help but wonder how we-writers survive–keep publishing one book after another, hoping for that blockbuster but settling for whatever fate doles out. Clearly, it’s not about getting famous or rich. It’s something else I can’t quite quantify.

Having said that, what keeps me going? Here are twelve tricks I use when I get stuck, blocked, discouraged, or f****** p****** off that nothing is going as planned:

  • I HODL which is nothing like Yodel. It’s my husband’s acronym for Hold On for Dear Life. If I hang a sign around my neck saying, I’m HODLing. Leave me alone, he avoids me.
  • I remind myself that writing is like a race car with blinkers. I must move the plot quickly and aggressively but with purpose. Every once in a while, I must alert the reader (that’s where the blinkers come in) to what’s coming next.
  • Every book needs a Goldilocks character–one that is not too smart ( so s/he doesn’t overshadow the main character), not too dumb (so s/he doesn’t bore the reader), but extremely effective in keeping the plot going.
  • When coloring between the lines doesn’t work, I try a bigger paintbrush. What I mean is, when those multitudinous rules about genre writing bog my story down, it’s time to try breaking the rules.

  • I never forget  Mark Twain’s Critique of the famous James Fenimore Cooper: “A tale should accomplish something and arrive somewhere. But the “Deerslayer” tale accomplishes nothing and arrives in air.” Good reminder–I’m not talking about the writing criticism. I mean that one of the most accomplished writers ever still fell short in at least one reader’s eyes.
  • My husband used to kill flies by snapping them with his fingers. Then he got old(er), tired of his miss rate, and switched to a dishrag. Here’s what that metaphor means to me: If something that used to work no longer does, change it.
  • Every once in a while, I sit in a hard chair and reflect. I don’t do this one often.
  • Before I read reviews, I don my body armor. If it’s nasty, I dismiss it with, “Well there it is, the stupidest thing I’ll read all day.” Or, here’s a solution from one of my Tweeple: “Wisdom is difficult to define but I think I know it when I see it. I ain’t seeing it here.” Umm, if you wrote that, please tell me so I can give you credit.
  • I pick carefully who I trust about my writing. That’s also my attitude toward trusting boneless fish. Or (as another efriend once wrote), gas station sushi.
  • Few care whether I overcome or succumb. I just need to pick one and move on.
  • Writing is entertainment. It doesn’t make me famous, sell books, or make people like me better. Well, maybe that last…
  • For difficult days, I don my I Am a Writer t-shirt, take half a baby aspirin, and howl at the detractors.

©Jacqui Murray

About Jacqui Murray

Jacqui Murray is the webmaster for Worddreams, her blog about all things writing. She is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the upcoming prehistoric fiction, Born in a Treacherous Time. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for Ask a Tech Teacher an Amazon Vine Voice  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics.

Books by Jacqui Murray

One of the recent reviews for The Quest for Home

Jacqui Murray has released another book in her prehistoric man series: The Quest for Home. With this volume she’s managed an extremely difficult trick—a sequel that picks up where the last book left off, and yet a reader who’s new to the series can start with this story and be totally engaged. If you’re not an author, maybe you don’t know how hard this is, but picture me bowing very low in homage. This constitutes a real writing victory. Trust me on this.

I call it a prehistoric man series, but the tale actually focuses on a woman—Xhosa, a strong female protagonist if there ever was one. When the story opens, Xhosa is yanked back to awareness by sheer blinding pain. She had no idea it was possible to hurt this much. And when she recalls the events that led to her torment, it only gets worse. Hawk, the warrior and leader who was going to be her mate, is gone, lost in the battle that led to her wounding. And as she tries to pick up the pieces of what her life has become and carry on, it becomes clear that she doesn’t know who she can trust now.

Meticulously researched and so vividly portrayed, The Quest for Home chronicles the Homo Erectus tribes as they spread across Eurasia in search of a new place that they can make theirs and theirs alone. We might tend to root for Homo Sapiens since that’s what we are, but our direct ancestors were relentless persecutors of Home Erectus. And that’s not even counting to formidable difficulties of weather, predators, treachery from within, and simply finding enough to eat. Our prehistoric ancestors were tough, facing challenges that would overwhelm most of us. I developed a serious sense of respect for these long-ago characters. That’s how real their portrayal is.

All lovers of the bestselling Clan of the Cave Bear should check out this book. You can thank me later.

Read all the reviews and buy the books:   Amazon Author Page US

And: Amazon UK

 Read more reviews and follow Jacqui: goodreads

Connect to Jacqui Murray

Blog: Worddreams,
Twitter: @WordDreams
PinterestAsk a Tech Teacher
Writing website:

My thanks to Jacqui to sharing her survival tricks with us and if you have some that you have developed then please share with us… you can never have too many….

If you would like to participate in the series, check out the link: New series of Posts from Your Archives 2020

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves #Non-Fiction – Speak Flapper: Slang of the 1920s by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

A change of genre for Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene with her new non-fiction guide to the 1920s. Speak Flapper with a wonderful cover.

About the book

This is a dictionary of slang from the Roaring Twenties, also called the Jazz Age. I collected these terms while researching my various fictional stories set in the 1920s.The book is intended for entertainment purposes. It is also peppered with history and trivia about the era. You might use it in preparing for a 1920s costume party, or for a gathering to watch a favorite movie or TV show set in the Roaring Twenties. Or use it for the simple personal fun of speaking flapper!You’re the cat’s pajamas!Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

Buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

A recent review for Thistledown

Callaway, PhD, CCA 5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely place to visit!  January 11, 2020

Lighthearted fun for Midsummer or Any time of year. This is probably the most imaginative, most whimsical story I’ve read in years. The author did a superb job of presenting the “tale of faeries” in a way that appeals to both adults and children.

Our children are always smarter than we realize, but still I liked that there was a recap when the story reached a rather complicated part. That was helpful when I read it to children. Ms. Geneviene painted a bright, beautiful world that I enjoyed visiting. Can the faeries of Thistledown save their world of color and wonder? Read this uplifting story to find out. What a lovely place to visit!

Read the reviews, buy the books : Amazon US

and : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Teagan : Goodreads

About Teagan Geneviene

Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene lives in a “high desert” town in the Southwest of the USA.

Teagan had always devoured fantasy novels of every type. Then one day there was no new book readily at hand for reading — so she decided to write one. And she hasn’t stopped writing since.

Her work is colored by her experiences from living in the southern states and the southwest. Teagan most often writes in the fantasy genre, but she also writes cozy mysteries. Whether it’s a 1920s mystery, a steampunk adventure, or urban fantasy, her stories have a strong element of whimsy. There are no *extremes* in violence, sex, or profanity.

Her blog “Teagan’s Books” contains serial stories written according to “things” from viewers.

Major influences include Agatha Christie, Terry Brooks, David Eddings, Robert Jordan, and Charlaine Harris

You can watch the trailers for Teagan’s books on Youtube

Connect to Teagan Geneviene


Thank you for dropping in today and it would be great if you could spread the news of Teagan’s new book.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Music Column with William Price King – Charles Mingus 1922 – 1979 #Jazz

This week William Price King shares a selection of music from Charles Mingus and here is an extract from his official website where you can find out more about this versatile musician.

One of the most important figures in twentieth century American music, Charles Mingus was a virtuoso bass player, accomplished pianist, bandleader and composer. Born on a military base in Nogales, Arizona in 1922 and raised in Watts, California, his earliest musical influences came from the church– choir and group singing– and from “hearing Duke Ellington over the radio when [he] was eight years old.” He studied double bass and composition in a formal way (five years with H. Rheinshagen, principal bassist of the New York Philharmonic, and compositional techniques with the legendary Lloyd Reese) while absorbing vernacular music from the great jazz masters, first-hand. His early professional experience, in the 40’s, found him touring with bands like Louis Armstrong, Kid Ory and Lionel Hampton.

Eventually he settled in New York where he played and recorded with the leading musicians of the 1950’s– Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Bud Powell, Art Tatum and Duke Ellington himself. One of the few bassists to do so, Mingus quickly developed as a leader of musicians. He was also an accomplished pianist who could have made a career playing that instrument. By the mid-50’s he had formed his own publishing and recording companies to protect and document his growing repertoire of original music. He also founded the “Jazz Workshop,” a group which enabled young composers to have their new works performed in concert and on recordings.

Mingus soon found himself at the forefront of the avant-garde. His recordings bear witness to the extraordinarily creative body of work that followed. They include: Pithecanthropus Erectus, The Clown, Tijuana Moods, Mingus Dynasty, Mingus Ah Um, The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady, Cumbia and Jazz Fusion, Let My Children Hear Music. He recorded over a hundred albums and wrote over three hundred scores.

Although he wrote his first concert piece, “Half-Mast Inhibition,” when he was seventeen years old, it was not recorded until twenty years later by a 22-piece orchestra with Gunther Schuller conducting. It was the presentation of “Revelations” which combined jazz and classical idioms, at the 1955 Brandeis Festival of the Creative Arts, that established him as one of the foremost jazz composers of his day.

You can read more about Charles Mingus and find out more about the Mingus Bands preserving his legacy for a new legion of fans: Official site Charles Mingus

“Pithecanthropus Erectus” is a four-movement tone poem* written by Charles Mingus portraying the first upright human being who, being proud of standing up, saw himself as the ruler of the world, going from pride and accomplishment to hubris and slavery, all of which finally led to his extinction. This composition is haunting, with a repeated theme, sound effects, and interludes that grow darker as man’s spirit sinks lower.

This avant- garde piece (unlike any other in jazz at the time) was a turning point for Mingus’ career. It presaged free jazz and even liberated jazz quite a bit. The symmetrical chord progressions that once dominated jazz were replaced by what Mingus referred to as the ‘extended form’- a long sequence of pedal points, scales and be-bop harmonies which he taught by ear, tailoring the arrangements to the personalities of his musicians. “ Pitchecanthropus Erectus” is a composition full of sumptuous tone colors, and rich in sonic details.

• Tone poem – A piece of orchestral music, usually in a single continuous movement, which illustrates or evokes the content of a poem, short story, novel, painting, landscape, or other source.

“Fables of Faubus” is from the album “Mingus Ah Um”, the first album Mingus recorded on the Columbia Records label and was released in 1959 featuring a painting by S. Neil Fujita, an American graphic designer known for his innovative book cover and record album designs. Mingus is joined on the album by heavyweights John Handy, Shafi Hadi, and Booker Ervin on saxophone; Jimmy Knepper and Willie Dennis on trombone; Horace Parlan on piano; and Dannie Richmond on drums. “Mingus Ah Um” is a tribute to Mingus’ musical forbears, most noteworthy are ‘Goodbye Pork Pie Hat’ which references saxophonist Lester Young who died shortly before the recording; ‘Open Letter to Duke’ a homage to Duke Ellington which draws on three of Mingus’s earlier pieces (‘Nouroog’, ‘Duke’s Choice’, and ‘Slippers’); pianist Jelly Roll Morton;’ and Sonny Rollins.

Another important piece on the album is the controversial ‘Fables of Faubus,’ a mockery of segregationist Orval Faubus (the Governor of Arkansas infamous for his 1957 stand against integration of Little Rock, Arkansas schools) portrayed musically as a bumbling vaudeville clown. “Mingus Ah Um” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2013.

“Passion of a Man” is the from the 1962 album “Oh Yeah”, on the Atlantic label. Mingus was replaced on bass by Doug Watkins as he accompanies the band on piano while at the same time adding bluesy vocals. Mingus chants, scats, shouts, and wails, pushing the band toward an ecstatic fervor while taking them into the depth of the blues. Mingus doesn’t really sing but makes exuberant bluesy punctuations that serve as a non-stop commentary on the music as well as delivering lyrical content. This is just another element for Mingus to play with, and against the rest of the band. There is an infectious enthusiasm that weaves itself throughout where the blues meets jazz, resulting in a steamy concoction that Charles Mingus created with expertise. The Penguin Guide to Jazz awarded “Passion of a Man” a ‘Crown’ token, the publication’s highest accolade, as well as a four-star rating. Q Magazine said the album was ‘a mixture of haunting bluesiness, dancing vivacity, and moments of Andalusian heat…’ and also awarded it four stars. “Passion of a Man” was included in Robert Dimery’s 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

“The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady” is a six-part suite, partially written as a ballet by Charles Mingus and recorded with an 11 piece band in 1963. Mingus referred to its orchestral style (which he perfected using studio overdubbing techniques, a first for a jazz album) as ‘ethnic folk-dance music.’ He also gave each song a subtitle. This suite is a masterpiece of rich, multi-layered texture and swirling tonal colors and spotlights many virtuoso performances.

The Penguin Guide to Jazz awarded “The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady” a ‘Crown’ token, the publication’s highest accolade, as well as a four-star rating. Steve Huey of ‘AllMusic’ gave it five stars out of five and said the album was ‘one of the greatest achievements in orchestration by any composer in jazz history.’ Q Magazine said the album was ‘a mixture of haunting bluesiness, dancing vivacity, and moments of Andalusian heat…’ and also awarded it four stars. And finally, “The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady” was included in Robert Dimery’s 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.  You can listen to the complete album: The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady

Buy the music of Charles MingusAmazon US – and:  Amazon UK

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

His debut jazz album was entitled “Home,” and was a collection of contemporary compositions he composed, with lyrics written by his wife Jeanne King. His second album was a Duo (Voice and Guitar) with Eric Sempé on the guitar. This album included original songs as well as well known standards from contemporary jazz and pop artists. The “King-Sempé” duo toured France and thrilled audiences for more than three years before going their separate ways. King has formed a new duo with French/Greek guitarist Manolis, and is now exploring new ideas, in a smooth jazz/soul/folk direction.

In addition to singing and composing, King has been collaborating with author Sally Cronin over the past few years on her blog “Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life,” with the series “A Man And His Music – Jazz, Contemporary, Classical, and Legends” and now, the “William Price King Music Column.” Working with author Sally Cronin has been an exhilarating experience in many ways and has brought a new dimension to King’s creative life. King has also created a micro blog, “Improvisation,” which features and introduces mostly jazz artists from across the jazz spectrum who have made considerable contributions in the world of jazz; and also artwork from painters who have made their mark in the world of art. This micro blog can be found on Tumblr.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Tormé. King has a distinctive wide-ranging voice which displays a remarkable technical facility and emotional depth.

William Price King on Tumblr – IMPROVISATION

Buy William’s music ITunes

Connect with William

Regular Venue 

You can find all of the Music Column series in this directory:

My thanks to William for selecting this great example of the music of Charles Mingus and as always your feedback is much appreciated.. thanks Sally

#BookReview- Life's Rich Tapestry by Sally Cronin #Booktalk @sgc58

A generous post and lovely review from Jacquie Biggar for Life’s Rich Tapestry. Jacquie has shared two poems that are close to my heart, and so delightful that she would choose these two in particular.

Jacquie Biggar-USA Today Best-selling author

Life’s Rich Tapestry is a collection of verse, microfiction and short stories that explore many aspects of our human nature and the wonders of the natural world. Reflections on our earliest beginnings and what is yet to come, with characters as diverse as a French speaking elephant and a cyborg warrior.

Finding the right number of syllables for a Haiku, Tanka, Etheree or Cinquain focuses the mind; as does 99 word microfiction, bringing a different level of intensity to storytelling. You will find stories about the past, the present and the future told in 17 syllables to 2,000 words, all celebrating life.

This book is also recognition of the value to a writer, of being part of a generous and inspiring blogging community, where writing challenges encourage us to explore new styles and genres.

I am one of those people who has led an eclectic life. My father was in…

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Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Monday January 20th 2020 – #Recycling Carol Taylor – #Movie Alien Beetley Pete, #Q&A D.G. Kaye with Jane Sturgeon

The first post today is the Climate Change and recycling regular from Carol Taylor. This week some interesting news from Supermarkets on the plans to tackle single use plastic, a shipping line making efforts to reduce the amount of waste in the ocean and how do you feel about taking your own containers to the store to carry your purchases? Not to forget bees…


Recycling and Climate Change…20th January 2020…The Worlds 1st Plastic Free Shipping Line

The headlines have been dominated by the terrible bush fires in Australia and my heart goes out to those killed, injured and missing those who have lost homes and property, the wildlife and the brave emergency services who in many areas are fighting a losing battle…There has been a little respite in some areas as rain has fallen…There have now been some alarming instances of dust storms…

Australia really is having such a tough time of it…One does wonder what the health implications are going to be as well as environmental concerns.

After my little rant last week which I am not going to apologise for one iota as it has to be said…HOWEVER…

Time for some good news

There are many factors which all intertwine and make the bigger picture there is no one single cause of Climate Change it is a chain of events…

There are also certain practices and animals which feature in man’s survival on this planet…One of these is Bees…A tiny little flying insect which is vital to the continuation of this planet…

honey bee

Head over to read more about the various projects we can all get involved in: Carol Taylor Recycling and Climate Change 20th January

Enjoy the new series for 2020 : Carol Taylor – A-Z of Food

Time for a movie review from Beetley Pete, Pete Johnson and if you loved Alien and other films that involve other world creatures then this might be the film for you.. I have seen and can echo Pete’s views on the movie.

Just Been Watching…

I loved the original ‘Alien’ (1979). Then along came ‘Aliens’, seven years later. Still good, more action, but in my opinion it wasn’t as breathtakingly original at the first film. Well it couldn’t be, I know that. We had already seen the ‘monster’.

‘Alien 3’ (1992), and ‘Alien Resurrection’ (1997) looked to be in danger of milking the franchise, proving that you can have too much of a good thing.
(They even mixed things up, with ‘Alien versus Predator’, in 2004)

Then along came ‘Prometheus’, in 2012. This had more story, less terror, and some interesting ideas. The critics panned it, and the fans didn’t much like it either.

But I LOVED it.

When they made a sequel to ‘Prometheus five years later, I was sniffy about it.
I didn’t go to see it, and thought they had started that ‘milking’ all over again.

This week it was on TV, and I thought ‘Why not? It won’t cost me anything’.

Head over and read Pete’s thoughts about the movie and watch the trailer: Beetley Pete – Just Been Watching Alien Covenant 2017

Get in touch with Pete and discover more about his writing – Blog: Beetley Pete WordPressTwitter: Beetley Pete

A great place to drop in on a Friday as a guest and a reader is the Q & A with D.G. Kaye and this week her guest was Jane Sturgeon talking about her recently released non-fiction book on self-awareness.

D.G, Kaye Book Promotions

I’m delighted to be featuring here the Lovely Jane Sturgeon and her new book – Writing on Water, today at Q and A with D.G. Kaye. In this nonfiction book, Jane writes about self-awareness, reflection, and getting in tune with our inner selves. Jane is a pure delight to be around. Her goodness and content heart shine through in all her writing. I’m thrilled to have Jane over here today spreading her inspiration.

About Jane:

Jane has been a systems analyst, trainer, technical author, painter, psychic medium,
furniture restorer, de-clutterer, therapist and creative. She has lived in Africa and The
States, looked after many farms, loved through two marriages, is Mum to an
extraordinary young woman and loves making things. She lives next to the Mersey
River where it meets the Irish Sea and shares her life with loved ones and an
impressive collection of yarn.

Self-awareness is the first book in her Writing on Water series.

Please head over to enjoy the interview and find out more about Jane’s book: D.G. Kaye Q & A with Jane Sturgeon

D. G. Kaye – Buy: Amazon USAndAmazon UK    BlogD.G. WritesGoodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads


Jane Sturgeon, Buy: Amazon UK And : Amazon US – blog: Jane Sturgeon WordPress

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will head over and enjoy these posts in full..thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts From Your Archives 2020 – #Shortstory – Clarifying Shampoo by D. Wallace Peach

Welcome to the new series of Posts from Your Archives in 2020 and if you would like to participate with two of your posts from 2019, you will find all the details in this post: New series of Posts from Your Archives 2020

This is the first post by author Diana Wallace Peach...and it is a short story, and for those of you (us) who sometimes get into a bit of a dither, it is very clarifying…..

Image Pixabay combo

Betsy over at Parenting is Funny was recently musing over a bottle of clarifying shampoo (yes, it’s a real thing). Her blog is a hoot, and I encourage you to visit. Her post popped a story into my head. I hope you enjoy.

Clarifying Shampoo by D. Wallace Peach

Clara was born a Libra. Not the normal kind of Libra with a smattering of other signs in her chart to balance her scales. She was an anomaly, an astrological case study, solid Libra from her Sun all the way across the galaxy to Pluto. She vacillated like a seesaw and simple decisions were intolerable with all the second-guessing.

Worst of all, she was the epitome of annoying. Potential friends stopped calling after a week, and romantic relationships unraveled before they had a chance to knit. She frustrated counselors. Even her mother had stopped answering the phone.

Clara had to do something, and the only thing she hadn’t tried was consulting a psychic.

Madam Bea’s Fabulous Fortunes occupied the basement below a hair salon. She specialized in Tarot, but the handmade poster on her sandwich-board advertised results, and that was exactly what Clara needed. Results.

At the bottom of the concrete steps, a peeling door led into a tight space cordoned off by red sheets tacked to the ceiling. A disorienting combination of odors—garlic, mildew, and sandalwood—assaulted Clara’s nose. A card table separated two folding chairs, complete with a sparkly glass ball on a plastic stand.

Madam Bea, a beak-nosed woman with painted eyebrows, sat at the table finishing off a pizza. She waved to the unoccupied chair while munching on the crust, and then tossed the pizza box behind the makeshift curtains.

Clearly, Clara had made another mistake, but she accepted the seat and laid out the saga of her peculiar horoscope complete with runny mascara—another miscalculation. She should have applied the waterproof variety.

The fortune teller listened intently while picking her teeth with a ruby fingernail. “I have joost the thing,” she said and disappeared behind the sheets. When she returned, she placed a half-empty bottle of shampoo on the table.

“Shampoo?” Clara frowned.

“Clarifying champoo.” Madam Bea’s eyebrows arched higher than already arched. “Trust me. I give you discount. That be fifty dollars.”

Clara forked over the cash with a sigh and drove home. Before dropping into bed, she washed her hair.

In the morning, she shuffled to her closet and ruminated over what to wear. Slacks or a skirt? Maybe a dress. Or slacks in case the office is cold. But what if it’s warm? A dress with a sweater? Although a skirt…

The lavender suit.

Clara froze. The whispered voice seemed to originate from somewhere above her head. She glanced up and then peeked over her shoulder. Alone. Was the voice real? Inside her head? She backed up and sat on the edge of her bed. Should she make another counseling appointment?

Ivory blouse and low pumps. Pearl studs but skip the necklace.

Clara jolted up with a yelp. She rifled through her closet and wriggled into the lavender suit. Studs in her ears, she dashed from her apartment to the sidewalk, the low heels a wise choice with all the running.

She inhaled a lungful of sunshine to calm her racing heart, shoved the morning’s weirdness from her thoughts, and wavered over whether to walk to work or take the bus. Or drive. Or walk. What if she got blisters? And then there was city parking…

Walk. It’s a nice day. You need the exercise.

Clara frowned and casually swept a hand over the top of her head. Was her hair giving her instructions?

I’m clarifying.

“Clarifying?” She wrinkled her nose. “Why? But what if—”

Clarity never hurt anyone. Now, no time for waffling or you’ll be late.

Still suspicious of her hair, Clara set off for work, and for the first time in three years, she arrived on time, a fact noticed by Harry, the tall, dark, and hunky cubical-occupant across the aisle. Her hair urged her to have tea instead of coffee and to check her emails before returning calls, decisions that would have taken an hour.

By the time the clock struck noon, her lips curved into a relaxed smile, the day’s decision-making handled entirely by her hair.

Harry cleared his throat. “Clara, would you like to join me for a quick lunch?”

“Oh, er, hm.” Clara didn’t know. Should she? What would she order? Maybe she shouldn’t. But then he might not ask again. So, she should. But what if she did, and he ended up being a creep, and then he’d ask her every day? She might have to quit her job. Or he could be nice. “Um, I…”

Gah! Just say yes!

“Yes,” she blurted.

Eighteen years later, while Clara unpacked her shopping bags, her daughter, Elizabeth, sauntered into the kitchen, phone in hand. “Mom, there’s a bonfire at the park tonight. Chantelle and I were planning to go, but her mom needs their car. Can I take ours? I’ll be home by nine.”

Clara wanted to say yes, but driving after dark… And what if there was beer? And boys? There would be boys. Was Elizabeth old enough? Should she say no? Eventually, she’d have to trust her daughter’s choices. She could drive the two of them. But that might be humiliating. Was it worth a fight?

She’s a responsible kid. She said she’ll be home by nine.

Clara sighed. “All right, you can go. I trust you to make good choices.”

“Awesome, mom. I have to hurry and hop in the shower.”

“Oh!” Clara perked up and searched through her bags. “I bought you some shampoo.”

© D.Wallace Peach 2019

About D. Wallace Peach

I didn’t care for reading as a child – I preferred Bonanza and Beverly Hillbillies reruns, Saturday morning cartoons and the Ed Sullivan show. Then one day, I opened a book titled The Hobbit. Tolkien … literally changed my life.

I love writing, and have the privilege to pursue my passion full time. I’m still exploring the fantasy genre, trying out new points of view, creating optimistic works with light-hearted endings, and delving into the grim and gritty what-ifs of a post-apocalyptic world. Forgive me if I seem untethered in my offering of reads. Perhaps one day, I’ll settle into something more reliable. For now, it’s simply an uncharted journey, and I hope you enjoy the adventure as much as I.

A selection of  books by D.Wallace Peach

One of the recent reviews for Sunwielder

Avid Reader 5.0 out of 5 stars  Highly recommended to lovers of time-travel  Reviewed in the United States on December 20, 2019

If you would be granted the ability to travel back in time and redo some of your life choices, would you take it?

What if strings were attached?

Without giving any spoilers away, I loved the way D. Wallace Peach handled the plot and the magic she instilled in the time-travel charm as well as the twists she put in the past being relieved. The worlds she created were fascinating and very well developed as well as full of political intrigue. It was amazing to discover how Gryff’s new life options affected those involved and the heartache he went through was gripping, well balanced by lyrical descriptions.

I found it hard to put it down, so many chores were put on hold until I finished the book…

Sunwielder is a page turner with a super clever plot, highly recommended.

Read the reviews for buy the books: Amazon US

And Amazon UK: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Diana: Goodreads

Connect to Diana

Blog: Myths of the Mirror
Facebook: Myths of the Mirror
Twitter: @Dwallacepeach

My thanks to Diana for this delightful story and next time I have a decision to make I will make sure to listen for any advice from my hair… thanks for dropping in and we would love to hear from you… thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – #Memoir- Into Africa: With 3 Kids, 13 Crates and a Husband (Book 1) by Ann Patras

Delighted to welcome a new author to the Cafe and Bookstore, Ann Patras with her memoirs of life in Africa. I am going to feature the first book in the series, Into Africa: With 3 Kids, 13 Crates and a Husband,  to introduce Ann and her story, and there are two follow up books, with the most recent published on January 11th 2020.

About the book

When Ann and Ziggy Patras uproot from England in 1980 and head off with their three young children to live and work in deepest Africa, they have no idea what they are letting themselves in for.

While prepared for sunshine and storms 13º south of the equator, the Patras family are ill-equipped for much else.

Interspersed with snippets from Ann’s letters home, this crazy story describes encounters ranging from lizards to lions, servants to shopping shortages, and cockroaches to curfews.

One of the many reviews for the book on Goodreads

Claire Bates rated it Five Stars.

I really enjoyed this memoir. I’ve never read any by Ann Patras before,also I usually steer clear of books on Africa. Not my continent of desire.

I was so surprised at just how much I enjoyed Anns move from Burton on Trent in England to Kitwe in Zambia. With her husband,3 children and 13 shipping boxes of house hold stuff. The contents of which,after their long awaited for arrival,made me laugh so much,sorry,but I just would never have thought of transporting 90% of it for a 2 year work placement.

The system the Company her husband worked for implemented for their initial stay,then the big house,servants, security even. They thought of everything.

The holiday to the big game viewing was very descriptive. I found it very interesting,even though it wouldn’t be for me. So I was pleased to share that.

The day to day life seems hard for an expat,not at all what we are used to in the western world. Queues resulting in comparatively useless items only in the shelves. No washing machine. Flies laying eggs in your washing whilst it dries in the African hot air. The many challenges I’ve not read of before in Sunny Spain and France memoirs.

I shall be reading more of Ann Patras books. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and their determination to make things work in a diverse environment.

Read the recent reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK

And: Amazon US

The other books in the series

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK

And: Amazon US

Read more reviews and follow Ann on: Goodreads

About Ann Patras

A long time ago Ann Patras was born in Burton Upon Trent, England. Actually that’s a lie. Ann Johnson was born, but she married a weirdo named Ziggy and became Ann Patras in the mid 1970’s. She was quite normal until she married him, or that’s what she’d have you believe. At one point she actually went to live in Canada to get away from him but he dragged her back by the hair (well, maybe a slight exaggeration) to England to marry her. Then, after the rather rapid arrival of three kids he hauled her off, kicking and screaming, to Africa! Well that’s a lie too really, as she was quite keen to take on that adventure.

Apart from strange sounding men and three wild children she also loves dogs and horses. (Absolutely nothing should be read into the fact that all of the dogs have been named with an alcoholic theme). She wears garish-coloured nail polish, sings along to loud music when she’s driving and likes to live in sunny places which might account for why, what started out as a two-year contract in Zambia, resulted in her living in Africa for 31 years.

The onset of those 31 years came with some surprises. She didn’t know anything about the place they were moving to (1980 was light years before the internet), if she had known she might not have agreed to go. Within days of arrival in Zambia she was horrified to find they didn’t have English-type pubs, toilet rolls were an endangered species, ants were the size of small cats and there was a fly whose larvae ate you from the inside out if you didn’t iron all your laundry. Yes, even socks!

Because of all these oddities, as well as various strange, scary and hilarious things which happened to the family, she wrote scores of letters home to relatives and friends who all thought it was so crazy she must be making it up.

Maintaining the sunshine theme she now lives in Spain, with the same weird-sounding husband and writes books about all their crazy experiences.

Connect to Ann

Website: Ann Patras Author
Facebook: Ann Patras Author

Thank you for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share Ann’s books. Thanks Sally.