Smorgasbord Time for some Laffs – What’s in a name? – Cafes getting creative and an odd town or two..

I was looking for some inspiration as I come to the end of the next volume of What’s in a Name and got distracted… Some creative restaurant names and a few places with an interesting name…

Source: Smorgasbord Time for some Laffs – What’s in a name? – Cafes getting creative and an odd town or two..

Smorgasbord Poetry – Self- Portrait by Carmen Stefanescu

I am delighted to share Self-Portrait by Carmen Stefanescu as part of the new poetry series. If you would like to share your poem here then please contact me on and we can talk about what I need to showcase you and your other work.


I am the seagull
whose wings have been broken.
I am the frail leaf
snatched by the gust.
I am the hour
that’s already wasted,
I am a dream
that belongs to the past.

I am the foreseer
that people mock at,
Or the guitar
that has no more strings,
I’m the dried well
that won’t quench the thirst,
I am the jester
scorned by the kings.

I’m not the bright rainbow
that shines after storms,
Or the swift eagle
high up in the sky.
I am not the oak tree
defying the time.
I am just a drifter
reluctant to die !

©Carmen Stefanescu 2017

Carmen Stefanescu was born in Romania, the native country of the infamous vampire Count Dracula, but where, for about 50 years of communist dictatorship, just speaking about God, faith, reincarnation or paranormal phenomena could have led someone to great trouble – the psychiatric hospital if not to prison.

Teacher of English and German in her native country and mother of two daughters, Carmen Stefanescu survived the grim years of oppression, by escaping in a parallel world, that of the books.

She has dreamed all her life to become a writer, but many of the things she wrote during those years remained just drawer projects. The fall of the Ceausescu’s regime in 1989 and the opening of the country to the world meant a new beginning for her. She started publishing. Poems first, and then prose. Both in English.

Books by Carmen Stefanescu

Read the reviews so far and buy the book:

Buy Dracula’s Mistress:

Connect to Carmen


If you would like to share your poetry and also your other written work then please contact me on

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book Reading and Interview – Sandra J. Jackson

Please give a warm welcome to Sandra J. Jackson who is joining us at the Cafe today for the book reading. Sandra is the author of Promised Soul and Forever an Echo and we will take a more detailed look at those shortly.

Source: Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book Reading and Interview – Sandra J. Jackson

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book Reading and Interview – Sandra J. Jackson

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore

Please give a warm welcome to Sandra J. Jackson who is joining us at the Cafe today for the book reading. Sandra is the author of Promised Soul and Forever an Echo and we will take a more detailed look at those shortly.

First however the official biography.

A graduate of a 3-year Graphic Design program, Sandra J. Jackson has always been creative, from drawing and painting to telling stories to her children when they were young. Her wild imagination lends itself to new and exciting ideas. Sandra’s debut novel, Promised Soul, was released in 2015 by Fountain Blue Publishing. A short story, Not Worth Saving, appeared in New Zenith Magazine’s 2016 fall issue. She also has had several sports articles published in a local newspaper. She holds a professional membership with the Canadian Author Association and is a member of Writers’ Ink.

Sandra lives with her husband and two young adult children in a rural setting in Eastern, Ontario. She is currently working on the third book of her first series.

Books by Sandra J. Jackson.

About Promised Soul

Just as Krista’s summer plans are finalized, she is suddenly plagued by strange dreams and intense feelings of déjà vu. Feeling as though she’s losing her mind, she visits a psychic medium, only to feel more confused. When Krista arrives in England, her dreams persist, and she finds herself at the doorstep of another psychic; she needs clarity. Finally, the words she was afraid to say out loud, are spoken. Now Krista has to figure out what it all means. Promised Soul is the story of the past, the present, and the future of two souls that have been bound together by eternal and transcending love.

One of the reviews for the book

Krista has disturbing dreams about a girl named Mary and her unrequited love for man named Thomas. As she prepares for a planned summer long vacation in England, her dreams grow stronger and more demanding. In an effort to discover what they mean, she seeks a Medium, who leads her to believe she’s had a past life. But who is this mysterious man Thomas, and what does he have to do with the charming British tour guide she meets across the big pond?

A cozy romance, filled with hope and belief beyond the living world, “Promised Soul” plumbs the depths of love between two star-crossed souls who will not be denied a reunion.

As a reader, I found the beginning to be a bit choppy in that the author switches between first and third person point of view. And there were times when I was thrown off a bit by flashbacks, as I didn’t know I was in one until I had read a third of the way in. This could’ve easily been rendered more comprehensible with a bit of formatting (i.e. use of italics). But once I became comfortable with the characters and the style, the story rolled along.

I look forward to more works by Ms. Jackson.

About the short story Forever and Echo.

Only three weeks into college and Abby has found the guy of her dreams, but sometimes dreams just aren’t meant to be.

Read all the reviews and buy the book:

Amazon author page:

Follow Sandra on Goodreads:

Now it is time to put Sandra in the hot seat. She is looking forward to your questions in the comments section.

Welcome Sandra and can you tell us what genre do you read and your favourite authors?

I read many genres, but my favourites have touches of the strange and unknown, the unexplained, paranormal, magic and fantasy. I enjoy stories that stretch the imagination and make you wonder – what if…?

My favourite authors are Diana Gabaldon, J. K. Rowling, and Suzanne Collins, to name a few.

If you could be a character in any book you have read. Who would it be and why?

I went back and forth on this one. There are a few characters that I’d like to be, but they all have faced some rather unpleasant situations. So, if I could be any character it would have to be without the bad stuff. Anyway, I think Claire Randal from the Outlander Series (Diana Gabaldon) would be an interesting character. She travels back in time 200 years (from the 1940’s) to Scotland. And while I don’t think I would like to live in the 18th century, I’m sure Jamie Fraser (also from the books) would make the transition much easier.

Do you have a favourite quote? What does it means to you as an individual?

As a child, Winnie the Pooh was my favourite animated show. When I grew up and had children of my own, Winnie the Pooh was the theme for the nursery. So it is fitting that my favourite quote is from A. A. Milne, author of the Winnie the Pooh stories.

If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.” ― A.A. Milne – Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh

I sometimes get teary-eyed when I read this quote or at the least it gives my goosebumps. These words are powerful to me; they make me believe in myself.

As well as your novel you have written many short stories. What do you consider to be the key elements in creating a story of that length?

At first, I found writing short-stories difficult. I wasn’t sure how to tell a story with a limited amount of words. With practice and a little research, I learned the best way to write a short story is to start as close as possible to the climax. The shorter the story the closer you have to be. When I write novels, I usually just come up with an ending first and then the story seems to write itself. With short stories I need to have a basic idea for the beginning, middle and end.

You graduated from a graphic design programme and you enjoy drawing and painting. Can you share one of your artworks and tell us why it holds particular significance?

Funny thing is, I don’t have a lot of my artwork around. I usually end up giving most of my art away as gifts to family and friends. I do have a few things but the most recent is a mural I did on the wall of my “office” (really our storage room but I rearranged it and set up a desk in front of a small window). I wanted to give my office an outdoor / jungle like feeling so I decorated with a few things and painted a waterfall on the wall. It’s peaceful and great place to work.

Can you tell us something more about your next writing project?

I am working on the 3rd book of my first trilogy. Originally it wasn’t supposed to be a trilogy and in fact, the first book has changed quite a bit since the first draft.

My editor has labelled the genre as YA, mystery, but it will have a bit of an apocalyptic feel in the other novels. I also think it’s suited for a broad audience and not just YA. The first book Playing in the Rain (Book 1 of the Escape Series) is due out sometime this year. I have sent in my revised galley edits, and I am waiting for the next step. I have also been working on the book trailer which I hope to release soon.

Sandra has selected and excerpt from the upcoming Playing in the Rain for her book reading.

From Chapter 17

His raspy voice brought my attention to the folded piece of metal he pushed into the room with a mattress stuffed in the middle. Bethany and I stood by the table as he rolled it towards our mats and unfolded the cot. The worn mattress looked inviting.

He turned and stepped towards us, beads of sweat dripped down the sides of his face. I backed up as he approached and bumped into the table behind me. He stopped inches in front of me and glared down, a sneer fixed to his face. His breath was foul, and I could as much taste it as smell it. He reached up and brushed a lock of hair from my cheek.

Goosebumps rose on my skin. Had there been anything in my stomach it would have been all over the floor. Instead, only bile burned at the back of my throat. I swallowed it down and met his grey gaze. I was not going to allow him the satisfaction of knowing my fear.

“I’ll let him know you’re concerned.” He smiled; a small bit of some food had caught between two of his teeth. Before I could respond, a coughing fit racked Cecil’s body. Beth and I watched, and it wasn’t until he’d regained control that my eyes left his crumpled form.

My gaze drifted over to the wide-open door; we’d missed our opportunity to run.

©SandraJJackson 2017

My thanks to Sandra for joining us today and please connect to her if you have not already done so at these links.


Sandra would love to answer your questions so please leave them in the comments for her to answer over the next few days. Thanks Sally

Drifting on Still Water~

Off for a day of creativity (might be a little bit of compostition in the sunshine!) So will leave you with the beauty of swans courtesy of the fabulous photography of Cindy Knoke. Accompanied by some lovely words. #recommended

“But now they drift on the still water,
Mysterious, beautiful,” WB Yeats

Swans swim,

in synchronized,


Mama delicately rolls her precious eggs,

to keep them evenly warm,

and plucks her feathers to tuck them in.

Black swan,

slides in singular grace,

while Narcissus is bewitched by his own reflection.
Cheers to you from European swans in springtime~

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Meet Guest Author – Kathy Steinemann…

Meet The Story Reading Ape’s latest guest Kathy Steinemann with an impressive range of non-fiction and fiction to her name.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Kathy started scribbling stories in elementary school.

At eleven years of age she received her first writing award for a weed-awareness contest. Part of the prize package was an expense-paid trip to an agricultural college. She can’t remember the words, but her story opened with a dispatch to the weed-control police: “Calling all cars, calling all cars.”


A so-called rule is to avoid opening with dialogue, but Kathy has always been a nonconformist. Her primary rule is to write what readers want, not what “experts” tout.

She won more awards in her pre-teen and teenage years, including public-speaking and art contests. The family moved often, sometimes several times annually. Her earliest doodles were lost in misdirected packing boxes.

Her career has been reinvented multiple times, including stints as editor of a small-town weekly, computer-network administrator, and webmaster. She also dabbled in commercial art and cartooning, with a couple of…

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John W. Howell – A Tribute

It was John Howell’s birthday on Monday and John Fioravanti has paid tribute to his friend and colleague in this lovely post. #recommended

Words To Captivate ~ by John Fioravanti

It is May 22nd – Happy Birthday, John!

I have known John for almost three years and I can’t think of another friend that commands my respect like this man does. I met him online through Rave Reviews Book Club not long after I joined in July of 2014. Not only was I new to the club, but I was also totally inept in using Twitter which is the social medium of choice there. It was John who took pity on me and began to give me informal lessons to master “Twitterese” – a bastardized form of English. I learned – after a fashion.

Not long after I assumed the position of Producer of the club’s Rave Waves BlogTalkRadio shows, John joined us as a host of the SPOTLIGHT HONORS show. It turned out that John is a natural behind the mike after spending some time in his youth spinning…

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William Price King meets some Legends – Stevie Wonder – Part Two – The 1970s

Last week we enjoyed the music from Stevie Wonder’s teenage years as he established himself at the Motown label.. This week William Price King takes us through the 1970s and some of the most productive years for this talented artist.

Source: William Price King meets some Legends – Stevie Wonder – Part Two – The 1970s

William Price King meets some Legends – Stevie Wonder – Part Two – The 1970s

Last week we enjoyed the music from Stevie Wonder’s teenage years as he established himself at the Motown label.. This week William Price King takes us through the 1970s and some of the most productive years for this talented artist.

In 1971, Wonder negotiated a new contract with Motown that gave him almost total control over his records and greatly increased his royalty rate.

This concession was unheard of at the time, but it was the impetus that Stevie Wonder needed to produce an outstanding body of work in the next few years. For the first time Stevie received the credit for writing or co-writing every track on the Where I’m Coming From album producing a top ten single ‘If you Really Love Me’.

‘Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You),‘ an emotionally rich jazz-soul opus that highlighted Wonder’s pioneering work in synthesized/electronic sounds. It was the first single from Wonder’s Music of My Mind album (1972). This song chronicles the relationship he had with his first wife, singer-composer Syreeta Wright, and features Stevie Wonder as a virtual one-man band. The song peaked at #33 on the Billboard Pop charts.

Stevie Wonder’s fans were not to be disappointed with the next album released at the end of 1972. Talking Book contained some of his most popular tracks including ‘Superstition’ and ‘You are the Sunshine of my Life’ both of which hit #1. The release of the album coincided with a tour with the Rolling Stones broadening his appeal from R&B to pop, and it was instrumental in the success of both those iconic songs.

Stevie Wonder’s ‘You are the sunshine of my life’ won him a Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance (1973) and was nominated for both Record of the Year and Song of the Year. This song was Stevie’s third number one single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and his first number one on the Easy Listening chart. Rolling Stone ranked this song #281 on its list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”

Innervisions’ released in 1973, featured Higher Ground’ (No. 4 on the pop charts) as well as the distinctively stylish ‘Living for the City’, (No. 8). Both songs reached #1 on the R&B charts. Popular ballads such as ‘Golden Lady’ and ‘All in Love Is Fair’ were also present, in a mixture of moods that nevertheless held together as a unified whole. Innervisions generated three more Grammy Awards, including “Album of the Year.” The album is ranked # 23 on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” Wonder had become the most influential and acclaimed black musician of the early 1970s.

Unfortunately in August 1973, Stevie Wonder was in a serious automobile accident while on tour in North Carolina when the car he was riding in hit the back of a truck. He was in a coma for four days but despite this serious setback he was back and performing for his European tour in early 1974 in venues from Cannes to London. In March 1974 he returned to the US and played a sold-out concert at Madison Square Garden.

Immediately after this he returned to the studio and album Fulfillingness’ First Finale appeared in July 1974 and set two hits high on the pop charts: the # 1 You Haven’t Done Nothin, which railed against President Richard Nixon and featured The Jackson 5, and the Top Ten Boogie on Reggae Woman.  The album won two Grammy awards, one for Best Album and the other for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.

The next milestone in Stevie Wonder’s career was the double album with EP set Songs in the Key of Life, released in September 1976, which many consider to be not only his most legendary project but also one of the greatest albums of all time. The theme of the tracks covered elements of life in America in the 1950s including ethnic diversity and love in all its varying shades of light and dark. The album became the first by an American artist to debut straight at #1 in the Billboard charts, where it stood for 14 non-consecutive weeks and the album had two pop/R&B #1 singles.

I Wish‘ single from the album  focuses on Stevie’s childhood from the 1950s into the early 1960s. The single reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and the R&B charts.

Songs in the Key of Life won Album of the Year and two other Grammys bringing Stevie Wonder’s total for the 1970s to fifteen. The album ranks 57th on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

To end the post today ‘Isn’t she lovely’  another well known composition from the album Songs in the Key of Life. This song, which celebrates the birth of his daughter Aisha, was not released as a single in the US but received major air play across the country and around the world. Stevie Wonder performed this song “live” for Queen Elizabeth II at her “Diamond Jubilee Concert,” where he modified the lyrics to refer to the Queen.

Buy the music of Stevie Wonder:

Additional sources:

About William Price King

William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.

His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King
Download the new album.

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

Connect to William

Website –
Facebook –
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue –

Previous Legends can be found here:

You will find the previous artists..  Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, Kiri Te Kanawa in this directory.

And for the Jazz in this directory.

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed the show.. Please feel free to share.