Why Books And Libraries Can Be Terrifying Places

None of us who is not impacted by Dyslexia can appreciate the impact that it has on our ability to write but also to read. It takes a great deal of commitment to then write and publish collections of short stories. Hugh Roberts explains how a trip to the library can be daunting and even frightening for someone with dyslexia. Head over and read the very informative post and also find out more about Hugh’s latest collection of short stories – More Glimpses.

Hugh's Views & News  

Every time I walk into my local library to pick up some recycling bags, I feel like I’m entering a world that doesn’t want me there. Or is it that I don’t want to be there?

Photo by Janko Ferlic on Pexels.com

For me, libraries can be terrifying places. Just like picking up a book and opening it can be a terrifying prospect. As an author and writer, you’d think that both would be something I’d get a lot of pleasure from.

Why I’m terrified of libraries and books?

Dyslexia – that’s the answer. As somebody who is dyslexic, reading and writing are two things I have always found difficult. When I enter the library and am faced with all those books that can introduce me to new characters and transport me to different worlds, I feel like a big door is being slammed shut right in front of me…

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Smorgasbord Easter Parade Blog Party – Part One – Eggellent time to add your links!! – Music, Dancing, Food, and Behatted Guests..


If you have not heard that there is a blog party going on where you can drop your links for blog and books.. here is a taster… part two is on Monday with ten more guests.

Smorgasbord Easter Parade Blog Party – Part One – Eggellent time to add your links!! – Music, Dancing, Food, and Behatted Guests..

Welcome to the Smorgasbord Easter Parade with some behatted guests, music, humour and food. And since you have dropped in today.. please don’t leave without leaving the link to your latest post…. or your Amazon link and a little bit about yourself.

While you are all standing around waiting for the parade to begin.. here is the first of the entertainers…

Here we have Laura Ganley of the Ganley Sisters,  http://www.theganleysisters.com/ performing a Sean-Nos Barrel dance! All on a Wild West Irish Tour!

We have quite a few special guests today who have joined us from all over the world, wearing a hat of their choice or have brought a guest wearing one….and the first to join the parade is children’s author Darlene Foster who has travelled all the way from Spain to take part.

About Darlene Foster

Darlene Foster is a writer, an employment counsellor, an ESL tutor for children, a wife, mother and grandmother. She loves travel, shoes, cooking, reading, sewing, chocolate, music, the beach and making new friends. Her 13-year-old grandson called her “super-mega-woman-supreme”.

“Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask” was her first published novel. Once bitten by the travel bug, Amanda travels to other interesting places, sticking her nose in other people’s problems and getting herself in trouble. Read “Amanda in Spain – The Girl in the Painting”, “Amanda in England – The Missing Novel”, “Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone”, and “Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music” and “Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind” to find out the adventures Amanda has as she travels the world.

A small selection of books by Darlene.



via Smorgasbord Easter Parade Blog Party – Part One – Eggellent time to add your links!! – Music, Dancing, Food, and Behatted Guests..

Smorgasbord Blogs from My Archives – The House by the Sea Part Three by Paul Andruss

Welcome to the third chapter of The House by the Sea. We left Patrick Noone coming to terms with life with his Aunt Biddy and Uncle Pat. At seven years old he took over the chores for his ill uncle and has learned the value of hard work. Paul Andruss picks up the story.

THE HOUSE BY THE SEA – Part Three – Paul Andruss

At the age of fourteen, Biddy put a word in and Patrick got the gardener’s boy’s job up the big house. The gardener, an amiable old chap who headed a team of ten good natured fellas, took bright eager Patrick under his wing, intending to teach him all he knew. Perhaps he felt sorry for him because he was quiet. At the end of his second year the old man sat Patrick down, knocked out his pipe on the heel of his boot and slowly shook his head.

‘By the holy Jeasus an all o’ his saints lad, you’ve a aul rare gift. No matter what I gives yer, by Jeasus, if it don’t curl up an die. I might as well save meself the trouble an dip it in saltwater. Now I likes yer, I do, an there is no doubt yer can graft, but it can’t go on. I’m supposed ta be fillin the place like the Garden o’ Eden, not leaving it scorched as the hobs a Hell.

‘Now Paddy lad, don’t be lookin at me like a dog off to be whipped, I spake to Danny, that’s Mr McEnery ta yer, an yer fixed ta join is timber gang, if he likes the cut of yer jib. It’s a good life lad, an yer gift for killin plants ain’t such a handicap to them, what with the business the’re in,’ he chortled.

That afternoon the gardener took him to be looked over by the Estates Manager Mr McEnery, or ‘that miserable aul’ get’ as everyone else referred to him. The estate had a logging team and its own timber mill, each run by a foreman under McEnery. At first Patrick was put in the timber mill, which he hated; especially with McEnery living up to his nickname, barking out his orders with a puss on him like he’d been slapped round the face with an aul kipper.

Lucky for Patrick within a fortnight one of the logging men had an accident and he was sent to the team, temporary mind, to help load and drive the cart. It was a wet cold miserable week. None of the other fellas were keen on moving out of the comfort of the factory.

Patrick loved the freedom, loved no one checking on you every five minutes. Most of all, he loved being in the woods with the scattered diffused light breaking through the dark green canopy and the rain on his face. He thought it was the closest he’d ever come to being underwater. It was like living in the sea.

Before long he was wielding an axe as good as any of them and loving every minute. The rest of the lads were like Uncle Pat, except fit and full of laughter. Even the foreman Ron, only got stiff when aul McEnery came sniffing round, which wasn’t that often as long as you got your quota to the mill on time.

In summer they would stay out for days on end, working dawn ‘til dusk and sleeping on canvass cots under tarpaulins stretched between branches like tents. They kept a roaring log fire on the go, cooking up a big aul frying pans a bacon, sausage, eggs n bread, n spuds roast in the ashes. With a big aul billie a tea, strong n sweet with condensed milk, stewing away night and day.

He worked six and half days, and it was hard, hard labour, but it filled him out. By the age of twenty he was weathered as seasoned oak, with muscles like ripcords, a strong back and broad across the shoulders. A quiet man, each Saturday afternoon instead of staying in the pub with the lads, he’d head back to Aunt Biddy to turn over the bulk of his wages and help out with the chores. On the way home he always made sure to pick up a couple a pint bottles of the black stuff from the pub and a pack of ciggies from the tobacconists for Uncle Pat along with a bag of boiled sweets for Biddy.

There was Mass on Sunday morning followed by a slap up breakfast and a slap up dinner. By suppertime he was heading back to camp with a week’s worth of clean clothes and a couple of large meat and potato pies in his backpack to share with the lads.

Winter was different. It was too cold to be sleeping rough. With the short days the lads headed off early to their homes or lodgings in the town. At one point, Patrick even suggested Auntie Biddy take in a few for the extra money, but by this time Big Pat wasn’t well enough. The poor aul sod looked like death, propped up in the big aul armchair by the grate day and night; asleep more often than not, with a burned down ciggie hangin’ from his lips.

He’d joke the doctor told him to stay away from the ciggies. ‘But I said to him,’ he’d say, ‘by Jeasus Doc, and where am I goin’ a get one a them fancy ciggie holders when I’m buggered walking ta the privy?’

Then he’d laugh, which would start the hacking cough, which wouldn’t stop. Biddy or Patrick would have to bend him forward and rub his back trying to loosen the congestion. Sometimes after a bad attack, Patrick saw Biddy bent over the stove, or doing the ironing, quietly crying. He knew better than to say something.

It was an early spring afternoon, one of them days with just a promise of what’s to come in the air. Patrick was walking home before twilight. There had been a filthy big storm the day before that left the logging camp like a sea of mud, with nothing movin’. The foremen sent them home saying they’d get an early start tomorra.

As Patrick hit the coast path leading down to the house, didn’t he see the strangest thing on the beach? At first, he didn’t know what to make of it. Then thought his eyes was deceiving him. There was something black and white caught in the surf. It couldn’t be; but it was. Jesus Christ and all his saints in heaven! There was a body washed up, all white, broken and naked: a woman judging by the long dark hair tangled by the crashing waves.

His first thought was she must have drowned. There were stories he’d heard, what with living by the sea all his life, how the riptide could strip a body naked. Holy Mary Mother of God, what a hideous way to go! He was debating what to do when he saw her move. He knew it wasn’t the waves, when she moved again. Jesus Christ she was alive!

Yelling like a mad man he tore down the cliff path. Within twenty or thirty wards there was a way down to the beach: he knew it well. He hit the sand running so fast he went tumbling arse over tip. As he struggled to his feet, he looked again. He was too late. She was gone.

A cry of anguish was ripped out of the heart of him. Patrick pelted into the crashing white surf, looking right and left, hoping to find some trace. Anything!

He was shocked to see the top of a head appear from beneath the waves. A slim pale hand wiped away the long dark hair plastered across her face to reveal large brown liquid eyes looking at him, full of curiosity.

He stared back uncomprehending.

‘You’re alive?’ he muttered after a moment.

Slowly the rest of her head emerged, a delicate nose and full lips, pinched and blue with the cold.

‘I heard you coming, I had no clothes.’

‘I thought you was dead!’

‘Me? No.’ she laughed.

‘You looked dead’, he protested, biting his lip, scared to offend her. But she had looked dead; lying white and broken; cast up like flotsam.

Slowly she rose from the water, her long sleek hair sticking like a pelt to her narrow shoulders as she broke surface. Under the water it floated like strands of kelp, obscuring the swell of her breasts.

Patrick blushed to see her rising naked. He turned away. He had never seen a woman and was desperate to look. But not like this. It wasn’t decent.

He felt a peck on his cheek. ‘You are gallant,’ she said, sounding as if she was laughing at him.

Before he could stop himself, he’d looked. She was holding something to protect her modesty, lank and dark like a wet blanket, or perhaps wet leather, or maybe moleskin, for it looked slick and glossy.

‘I was swimming.’ She took his hand in her icy one and led him from the water. ‘You will catch your death.’

‘And what about you?’

‘I never feel the cold’.

She saw him puzzling over this. ‘I swim every day.’

‘It must be marvellous… to swim’

‘Can’t you?’

He shook his head.

‘Perhaps I could teach you. Would you like that?’

They were out of the swell now. The waves crashing no more than calf deep still wanted to drag him under. She began to adjust her blanket, draping it over her breasts and torso, leaving her white arms and shoulders bare.

He must have been staring for she was laughed. ‘Go home. I have a long swim a head of me and you will catch your death.’

Obediently he waded out of the cold grey water. Reaching the beach he heard her say,


He looked back.

‘Your swimming lesson. When?’

Saturday,’ he hesitantly replied, ‘afternoon. Two?’
‘I am Muireann.’ She smiled. ‘And I will wear something more appropriate.’

‘I’m Patrick.’ He returned her smile.

‘What a lovely name.’

He walked up the beach, feeling her eyes on him. Reaching the dunes he turned to wave goodbye. She was gone.

©Paul Andruss 2018

©Images The Colour of Life Geoff Cronin

The mystery deepens.. who is the strange woman who is brave enough to swim in such wintery seas…. pop in tomorrow to find out more.

About Paul Andruss

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

Paul is the author of two books and you can find out more by clicking the image.

Finn Mac CoolThomas the Rhymer

Connect to Paul on social media.

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/paul.andruss.9
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Paul_JHBooks

Thanks again for dropping in and hope to see you tomorrow for the next episode…Sally.

Smorgasbord Easter Parade Blog Party – Part One – Eggellent time to add your links!! – Music, Dancing, Food, and Behatted Guests..

Welcome to the Smorgasbord Easter Parade with some behatted guests, music, humour and food. And since you have dropped in today.. please don’t leave without leaving the link to your latest post…. or your Amazon link and a little bit about yourself.

While you are all standing around waiting for the parade to begin.. here is the first of the entertainers…

Here we have Laura Ganley of the Ganley Sisters,  http://www.theganleysisters.com/ performing a Sean-Nos Barrel dance! All on a Wild West Irish Tour!

We have quite a few special guests today who have joined us from all over the world, wearing a hat of their choice or have brought a guest wearing one….and the first to join the parade is children’s author Darlene Foster who has travelled all the way from Spain to take part.

About Darlene Foster

Darlene Foster is a writer, an employment counsellor, an ESL tutor for children, a wife, mother and grandmother. She loves travel, shoes, cooking, reading, sewing, chocolate, music, the beach and making new friends. Her 13-year-old grandson called her “super-mega-woman-supreme”.

“Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask” was her first published novel. Once bitten by the travel bug, Amanda travels to other interesting places, sticking her nose in other people’s problems and getting herself in trouble. Read “Amanda in Spain – The Girl in the Painting”, “Amanda in England – The Missing Novel”, “Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone”, and “Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music” and “Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind” to find out the adventures Amanda has as she travels the world.

A small selection of books by Darlene.

Discover all of Darlene Foster’s books and reviews: http://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Foster/e/B003XGQPHA Find more reviews on Goodreads: Darlene Foster Visit her website: www.darlenefoster.ca

Please help yourself to a free coffee as you pass by.

The next guest is Science Fiction/Thriller author Richard Dee who has popped over from the South Coast of England..wearing his own version of an Easter bonnet…..

About Richard Dee

Richard Dee is a native of Brixham in Devon, England He left Devon when he was in his teens and settled in Kent. Leaving school at 16 he briefly worked in a supermarket, then went to sea and travelled the world in the Merchant Navy, qualifying as a Master Mariner in 1986.

Coming ashore to be with his growing family, he used his sea-going knowledge in several jobs, including Marine Insurance Surveyor and Dockmaster at Tilbury, before becoming a Port Control Officer in Sheerness and then at the Thames Barrier in Woolwich.

His first science-fiction novel Freefall was published in 2013, followed by Ribbonworld in 2015. September 2016 saw the publication of his Steampunk adventure The Rocks of Aserol and of Flash Fiction, a collection of Short Stories. Myra, the prequel to Freefall was published in 2017, along with Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Café, a murder mystery set in space and the start of a series featuring Andorra Pett, an amateur detective. He contributed a story to the 1066 Turned Upside Down collection and is currently working on prequels, sequels, and new projects.

A small selection of books by Richard Dee

Discover all the books and read the reviews: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Richard-Dee/e/B00CN4TTCG/ Read more reviews and follow Richard on Goodreads: Richard Dee – http://richarddeescifi.co.uk/ Connect to Richard via his website: http://richarddeescifi.co.uk/

Debby Gies will be joining the Monday Parade but in the meantime she has found all the funnies shared today. ..D.G. Kaye Writer Blog

Time for another guest and joining the parade is master storyteller Hugh Roberts who looks very Dapper in his boater and who has ferried it across from Wales this morning. Clearly prepared for the vagaries of the Irish weather!

About Hugh Roberts

My name is Hugh. I live in the city of Swansea, South Wales, in the United Kingdom.

My blog covers a wide range of subjects, the most popular of which are my posts on blogging tips. I’ve learned a lot about the world of blogging since I first discovered it in February 2014. All of the tips and advice I give are free of charge and will cost you nothing apart from, maybe, your time. To see all my posts that include blogging tips, click on the ‘Blogging Tips’ button on the menu bar.

I’m a member of the committee of the Bloggers Bash, a group set up to organise annual get-togethers for all bloggers. The next event is 15th June in London and full details can be found on the website about tickets and the awards: https://annualbloggersbash.com/about-the-bash/

Hugh is the author of two multi-genre short story collections and I can recommend both.

Books by Hugh Roberts

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hugh-W.-Roberts/e/B01N40ZABP – Read more reviews and follow Hugh on Goodreads:Hugh W. Roberts Connect to Hugh via his blog: https://hughsviewsandnews.com/

Time for a little more entertainment in the parade and still in Ireland… some music…Celtic dueling violins Smith & Nesbitt. Live from Hyde Park London. Uploaded by AdriFlaherty

If you are now feeling a little peckish.. here are some fresh Hot Cross Buns..please help yourself…

My next guest is Children’s author Victoria Zigler whose delightful books on family pets are very popular. She lives in South East England and has sent over a representative her much loved Kero.

About Victoria Zigler

My name is Victoria, but most of my friends and family call me Tori. Feel free to do the same.

Born in the shadow of the black mountains in Wales, I now live by the sea in the south-east of England with my husband, Kelly, a degu named Joshua, a pair of chinchillas named Mollie and Maizie, and a West Highland White Terrier named Lilie.

Having battled with glaucoma since birth, I now find myself completely blind. But I didn’t let that stop me from chasing the dream I’ve had since I was a young child: the dream of being a published author. I’ve loved to read and write since I learned how, and always wanted to get my work published. Finally, in 2012, I made that dream come true by self-publishing eBooks via Smashwords. Three years later, I began using CreateSpace to make my books available in print. So now I’m a published author of children’s fiction, as well as a couple of poetry collections; all of which are available in multiple eBook formats, and as paperback books.

A small selection of books by Victoria.

You can read reviews and buy the books from Amazon in print and audio: https://www.amazon.com/Victoria-Zigler/e/B00BHS9DQ6 Victoria has many more reviews on Goodreads: Victoria Zigler Connect to Tori via her website: http://www.zigler.co.uk/

My next guest  is the entertaining author Geoff Le Pard whose humour overflows onto social media as well.. I hear that he had the flight crew from Gatwick in stitches on his way over for the parade. I have substituted Geoff’s original hat for this photograph which I think is far more Easter orientated…..and funny.


About Geoff Le Pard

I have been writing creatively since 2006 when at a summer school with my family I wrote a short radio play. That led to a novel, some more courses, more novels, each better than the last until I took an MA at Sheffield Hallam. I published my first novel in 2014 – Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle. In 2015 a second followed – My Father and Other Liars. In 2016 I have an anthology of short stories out, Life, in a Grain of Sand. I have now added ‘memoir’ to my list of genres with the launch of Apprenticed To My Mother. Other novels can be found here. I write in a range of genres so there is something for everyone..

Before writing, I was a lawyer, ending up at the London Olympics. Now I mix writing with a range of activities, often walking to find inspiration or taking in a variety of sports events.

A selection of books by Geoff

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Geoff-Le-Pard/e/B00OSI7XA0 – Read more reviews and follow Geoff on Goodreads: Geoff Le Pard  Connect to Geoff via his website: http://geofflepard.com/

Time to join in with the West Coast Swing dancers from Sydney just mind the puddles… thanks to Swing Skool

Following on behind the Easter Bunny we have our next guest in today’s paradeRitu Bhathal lives in London and has joined us with her feline companion today.. As you can see Ritu wears many hats.. including being a published poet.

About Ritu Bhathal

Ritu Bhathal was born in Birmingham in the mid-1970’s to migrant parents, hailing from Kenya but with Indian origin. This colourful background has been a constant source of inspiration to her.

From childhood, she always enjoyed reading. This love of books is mostly credited to her mother. The joy of reading spurred her on to become creative in her own writing, from fiction to poetry. Winning little writing competitions at school and locally gave her the encouragement to continue writing.

As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and teacher, she has drawn on inspiration from many avenues to create the poems that she writes. A qualified teacher, having studied at Kingston University, she now deals with classes of children as a sideline to her writing!

Ritu also writes a blog, a mixture of life and creativity, thoughts and opinions, which was awarded The Best Overall Blog Award at the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards in 2017.

The poetry collection by Ritu Bhathal

Read the reviews and buy:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Poetic-RITUals-Ritu-Bhathal-ebook/dp/B01H46DN5Q Read more reviews and follow Ritu on Goodreads: Ritu Bhathal Connect to Ritu via her blog: https://butismileanyway.com/

My next guest is one who is very familiar to most of you.. Chris Graham, The Story Reading Ape who has gone the extra mile with his Easter photograph… thankfully his Cites wildlife permit was up to date to enable him to join us in Ireland today.

About the Story Reading Ape.

My literature Hero is Terry Pratchett who, in one of his Science of Discworld books, postulated that Homo Sapiens Sapiens survived all the pitfalls that made other Homo Sapiens species become extinct, by being story telling apes.

If this is the case, then in order to be effective, for every story telling ape there had to be a story listening ape.

I am descended from them, except I read stories instead of listening to them; and author’s are the tellers of the stories I read. I don’t so much read books as devour them, (sometimes re-devouring them several times), so I’ve set myself a long term task, to list all the books I’ve ever read on Goodreads – trouble is I’ve got the memory of a sieve and I must have read thousands of them!

The Indie author supporter.

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

Chris and his sister compiled his late mother’s wonderful poems written about growing up in Northern Ireland before, during and after the ‘Troubles’? My Vibrating Vertebrae and other Poems by Agnes Mae Graham

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Vibrating-Vertebrae-other-poems-ebook/dp/B01HA8Q116   Read more reviews on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30845724-my-vibrating-vertebrae Connect to Chris, The Story Reading Ape: http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com

And last but not least in the parade today is Carol Taylor who is the resident foodie here on Smorgasbord. I mentioned the word ‘Partee’ and the she whipped up a bunch of friends, chartered a flight from Thailand and landed this morning…..

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology:  https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS You can find out more about Carol and catch up with her Food and Cookery Column HERE Connect to Carol via her blog: https://carolcooks2.com/

Please help yourself to a chocolate bunny before you join in the dancing of the incredible Indlondlo Traditional Zulu dance group who have featured as guest here on the blog several times in the last six years. You can find more amazing videos via their YouTube Channel. Indlondlo Zulu Dancers

Thank you for joining us today for part one of the Easter Parade.. Part Two on Monday with more guests and entertainment.

Please drop your links to your latest blog post that you would like to share.. and your Amazon Author Page if you have one… Thanks Sally.


Conversations With Colleen: Meet Author, Deborah Jay, @DeborahJay2

In this week’s Conversation with Colleen Chesebro, fantasy author Deborah Jay shares the skills required to write a series and also about her wonderful job as a trainer of riders and horses for dressage. Interesting interview..

The Faery Whisperer

Hello everyone! This month I’m thrilled to bring you an amazing speculative fiction author, Deborah Jay. I asked her to pick three or four questions from my huge list HERE. We all aspire to be successful authors and the best way to learn some of the tricks of the trade is to ask questions.

Today is my birthday! Interviewing Deborah was great fun. I hope you’ll all join us for cake – it’s gluten free! Grab a slice and some coffee or tea (flowers optional). ❤

Please meet my guest, Deborah Jay:

Author, Deborah Jay

Deborah Jay writes fast-paced fantasy adventures featuring quirky characters and multi-layered plots – just what she likes to read.

Living mostly on the UK South coast, she has already invested in her ultimate retirement plan – a farmhouse in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands where she retreats to write when she can find time.

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Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Family #cats – In my dreams I soar by Susanne Swanson

Welcome to the third post from the archives of Susanne Swanson who shares something short and sweet this week….

In my dreams I soar  by Susanne Swanson

This is Benji and I am not what you call a big cat. From the beginning they called me the runt of the litter. (No thank you for that.) Sue even still doubts my birthday. Much too small to be that old she said to the vet who readily agreed.

But when I am asleep I show them all wrong. In my dreams I soar!

©Susanne Swanson

About Susanne

Hello! This is Susanne. After years of working in accounting and technology where rules are clear and numbers add up, I decided to explore the other side where roads are meant to be traveled, memories unfurl slowly and cats have been known to talk.

20180707_141950 (2)

In my blog you will meet my two favorite felines, Tiger and Benji, and see pictures and stories from my travels, especially in the Pacific Northwest where I live. Add in my garden, some rain (lots of rain it turns out), a few sunsets and reflections on life, and you have an idea of where we are headed. I hope you come along for the ride.

Connect to Susanne

Blog: https://catsandtrailsandgardentales.com
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/swansos/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/catsandtrailsandgardentales


Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – The Easter Bunny Came After All by Patty Fletcher

Being away from family and friends is hard when there are holidays and for Patty Fletcher, undergoing her training with her seeing eye dog Campbell, Easter was a challenge despite the kindness of those in the residential centre.

The Easter Bunny Came After All by Patty Fletcher

I have been asked over the years what my favorite Easter memory is. While I have many, and most of them are centered round my daughter and her growing up years the one I write of today happened while I was at The Seeing Eye training for my first dog guide.

Now let me tell you spending a holiday away from home is hard for me and that year was no exception. I was missing my grandchildren, my pets, and my then Fiancé, Donnie. We had no trips scheduled. It was of course Easter Sunday morning and the instructors were busy taking people to church, running errands and getting ready for a great Easter lunch.

I was in my room and was simply so home sick I could do nothing but lie curled in my bed and cry.

As I lie there feeling miserable and trying to think of something I could do to help myself feel better, I heard a soft knocking at my door. Not wishing to have anyone see me crying like a child away from home for the first time. I tried to ignore the one knocking in hopes they would simply think me out or asleep. That, however was not to be. Instead of going away whoever was knocking grew more persistent adding voice to their knock. I heard my instructor Drew’s voice from the other side of the door.

“Hey, I know you’re in there. Open up in the name of The Seeing Eye.”

I had to laugh despite myself. Throwing off the covers I’d been wrapped in I went to the door, trying to rub away the tears as I did so.

When I opened the door, Drew seemed to hop in to the room.

“OK Young Lady! Enough lying about like you’ve nothing to do! I have errands to run, and you need an extra trip to make sure you know all you need to know before I send you home with this big dog.”

I started to protest, we didn’t normally do trips on Sundays. but that would’ve only been a half truth. Drew and I had done several Sunday trips for just the reason he’d given. So, rather than argue with him, and risk a twenty-minute lecture while trapped in the van, I put on my shoes, washed my face, and harnessed up my pup.

Soon we were riding down the road with the windows open and music blasting, and I had to admit I felt better.

As it turned out Drew had some errands to run for students at the school, one of them being his own. Devin, the other first timer in our little group, was going to play a trick on Sue another instructor.

The two of them had been going back and forth playing tricks on each other all through class.

I knew some of the details but had decided to refrain from helping.

Once in the store my home sickness returned. As we walked through the aisles picking up the items on Drew’s list. I could literally smell the chocolate bunnies as we passed them. Something must’ve shown on my face because Drew asked me.

“What’s the sad face about? I thought we left that on the side of the road.”

I sighed.

“Sounds stupid I know, but I always get an Easter bunny and I didn’t this year. I thought for sure Donnie would’ve sent me one, but he didn’t even call today.”

“AWW Well, maybe the mail is just behind. Who knows? A package might come tomorrow.”
He began to talk to me about other things, but my sadness remained.

When we stopped by the flowers later in another store on our route, so he could pick out gifts for his wife Peggy, and his mother I was envious of the obvious love he had for both. It showed in the way he went about choosing their flowers. Once all our errands were done we headed back to the school.

“Thanks Drew.” I said. “I appreciate your taking me with you today. I needed to get out.”

“It was my pleasure. I couldn’t have you moping about all day on Easter. That is no way to get the Easter Bunny to visit.”

“I don’t believe in the Easter Bunny anymore.” I said, giving another sigh.

“Don’t believe in the Easter Bunny?”

I had to laugh. The way he said it made it sound like I’d said Campbell didn’t exist.

“Nope. Not anymore.” I couldn’t help it.

The feelings of sadness just wouldn’t let go.

“Now listen here! Young Lady! The Easter Bunny most assuredly does exist. He is like Santa, in every single one of us. So, you just dry your eyes and get rid of that pouty face, else he is gonna hop right on by you.”

I smiled. “Um? Drew? The Easter Bunny would’ve already come if he were going to. He is supposed to come on Easter Eve. You know? Like Santa comes on Christmas Eve.”

Drew just laughed and for a few minutes neither of us spoke.

Later that day as we settled in to our places round the tables set up for lunch I found a miniature Easter basket sitting by my plate. The server standing there explained that John Keane had played Easter Bunny and had made the baskets. I cannot tell you how that warmed my heart. Lots of people had spoken of Mr. Keane as being a man who was strict. Some even used the word militant, and while he could be that way at times I’d found him to be kind and caring. This act of kindness only strengthened my belief.

When Drew came round to say happy Easter to all of his students, and to let us know he was leaving for the day I said, “Look, baskets!”

He reached out and pulled a strand of my hair.

“See, the Easter Bunny.”

“No, Mr. Keane.” I said, while eating jelly beans.

“Hey! Save that candy for after lunch, you’re gonna spoil your appetite.”

He tried to move my basket away from me, but I held fast. “Leave! It! Gibbon!”
I said reproachfully, and he laughed again.

“So, you still don’t believe in the Easter Bunny huh?”

“Nope, but I do believe in kind people.”

“OK, good enough. Have a good day and behave yourself. The Easter Bunny might still be watching.” I sighed and began to work on the shrimp Cocktail the server had just placed in front of me.

“Classy appetizers.” I said round a mouth full of shrimp.
“Save room, there is steak too.”

“O! I don’t eat steak in public.”


“Because I do a crappy job of cutting meat.”

“How do you like your steak?”

“Medium rare, but…”

He was gone before I could say anymore, and when he returned he said,

“They’re cooking your steak and will bring it to you cut. You can’t not have some, it’ll be awesome, now have a good day, ok?”

I tried to give him my best smile, but despite all the happiness round me, and great things being done for me that darn sadness was still creeping round. He gave my hair one last tug wished us all a happy day and was gone. As soon as his presents was gone from the room my sadness deepened, but I worked hard not to show it.

Back in my room after lunch I closed the door, and after letting Campbell out of his harness and loving on him a bit, I went to my bed to lie down. There on my pillow was a miniature chocolate Easter Bunny. I sat down on my bed and cried. Not with sadness though, with joy. The Easter Bunny had come after all.

Image Pixabay.com

©Patty Fletcher 2018

About Patty Fletcher

Patty Lyne Fletcher in her own words (October 2017

I’m a 49-year-old single mother with a beautiful daughter, of whom I am very proud. I have a great son-in-law and five beautiful grandchildren. Three girls, and two boys. I hope to be able to write more about them later on.

I own and handle a Black Labrador from The Seeing Eye™ named Campbell Lee—a.k.a. Bubba Lee or King Campbell, to give just a couple of his nicknames.

I was born on November 9, 1967 in Kingsport, Tenn., where I also grew up.

I was born one and a half months premature. My blindness was caused by my being given too much oxygen in the incubator. I was partially sighted until 1991, at which time I lost my sight due to an infection after cataract surgery and high eye pressure. I used a cane for 31 years before making the change to a guide dog.

Read more about Patty Fletcher

Books by Patty Fletcher

One of the reviews for Bubba’s Tails

Wow! I loved reading this! What an amazing story about an incredible journey. This is about a journey from The Seeing Eye, Inc. in New Jersey to Kingsport Tennessee, but is also about the journey of a loving owner, and her special canine companion. I loved reading the story through King Campbell’s point of view, and how he is talking to the next litter of pups about to train as Seeing Eye Dogs. This is something the has always fascinated me and was the first time I was really allowed a look at some of what goes into training these special dogs. The book is made all the more exciting because the author and her dog Campbell went through this journey years ago. Such a creative way to share their story, and I can’t wait to read more of King Campbell’s Bubba Tails!

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B00Q9I7RWG/

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Patty-L.-Fletcher/e/B00Q9I7RWG/

Patty has also contrituted to two anthologies

December Awethology Light  https://www.books2read.com/u/3yPZvB

A Treasure Chest of Children’s Tales  https://www.books2read.com/u/bzaAML

Connect to Patty

Books: http://www.dldbooks.com/pattyfletcher/
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/PattyFletcher
Website: http://www.campbellsworld.wordpress.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/bubbalee04
Facebook: https://twitter.com/bubbalee04

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Author Update – Sue Coletta, James J. Cudney and Lucinda E. Clarke

Welcome to Friday’s edition of the Cafe and Bookstore with recent reviews for authors on the shelves. The first author with recent reviews on Goodreads is Sue Coletta, for her latest release Silent Mayhem.

About the book

Some things in life defy comprehension, but that doesn’t make them any less real. Or deadly.

When a familiar crow drops a cryptic scroll at Shawnee Daniels’ feet, she’s compelled to open it, even though everything in her power warns her not to. Mr. Mayhem—the most prolific serial killer the North Shore has ever known—claims her life is in danger. He “claims” he wants to help her, but just last year he threatened to murder everyone she loves.

While Mayhem taunts her with oddly-placed feathers, like The Creator left at his crime scenes, an interstate killing spree rocks Massachusetts and New Hampshire. A madman is decapitating men and women, dumping their headless corpses on two area beaches. But what Shawnee soon uncovers shatters all she’s ever known, her memories shredded, the whispers of the past in shambles on the ground.

Can she find the strength to move forward, or will the truth destroy her?

One of the recent reviews on Goodreads

Apr 15, 2019 Mae Clair rated it it was amazing

In the third and latest book in the Mayhem series, author Sue Coletta pushes the action to a fever pitch. Someone is leaving a bloody trail of murder behind by beheading victims and leaving cryptic clues. Former cat burglar and legit hacker, Shawnee Daniels, who works for the police department, follows the clues while being caught up in her own twisted web of problems. Notorious serial killer “Mr. Mayhem” has been leaving her messages, delivered by his ominous murder of crows, or posted a secret website.

All three books in this series are exceptional but this one is elevated to a new level of intrigue by the relationship Coletta weaves between Mayhem and Shawnee, threads that hint of joint family history. Brilliant! Mayhem is cultured, precise, and meticulous. Shawnee is a whirlwind of in-your-face action, tough as nails on the outside, with a vulnerable underbelly. The contrast makes for mesmerizing encounters with an odd give-and-take between these two dynamic personalities.

As someone who has read a great deal of books on Native American history and folklore, I found those tie-ins especially riveting. Skinwalkers, serial killers, vendettas—it’s all here. Mayhem’s relationship with his wife is tenderly portrayed. Crows, Poe, Edgar and Allan are given multiple spotlights to shine, and the ending leaves a deadly open thread for the next book in this fantastic series.

Head over and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PNK7SL6

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Silent-Mayhem-3-Sue-Coletta-ebook/dp/B07PNK7SL6

A selection of books by Sue Coletta

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Sue-Coletta/e/B015OYK5HO

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sue-Coletta/e/B015OYK5HO

Read more reviews and follow Sue on Goodreads : https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14078869.Sue_Coletta

Connect to Sue via her website/blog: www.suecoletta.com

The next author with recent reviews for his latest release James J. Cudney for the third book in the Braxton Campus Mysteries Flower Power Trip.

About the book

At a masquerade ball to raise money for renovations to Memorial Library, Kellan finds a dead body dressed in a Dr. Evil costume.

Did one of Maggie’s sisters kill the annoying guest who’d been staying at the Roarke and Daughters Inn, or does the victim have a closer connection to someone else at Braxton College?

As Kellan helps school president Ursula bury a secret from her past and discover the identity of her stalker, he unexpectedly encounters a missing member of his family. Everything seems to trace back to the Stoddards: a new family who recently moved in.

Between the murder, a special flower exhibit and strange postcards arriving each week, Kellan can’t decide which mystery in his life should take priority. But unfortunately, the biggest one of all has yet to be exposed – and when it is, Kellan won’t know what hit him.

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Apr 09, 2019 Dee Dee rated it five stars

Kellan Ayrwick and his quirky family are all back for this third installment in the Braxton Campus Mystery Series. Kellan, now professor Ayrwick, is assisting the Braxton College President, Ursula Power, who is receiving threatening messages. Ursula is worried that her dark family secret will be revealed, when a visiting professor is found stabbed to death during a college fundraising event. Kellan stumbles across the murder scene just as a family friend is discovered standing over the dead body. Unwilling to believe that this friend is a murderer, he now takes on the challenge of solving the crime, all the while continuing to assist Ursula to uncover her tormentor. Are the two incidents linked somehow?

Balancing his penchant for stumbling into crime scenes, along with teaching duties and single parenting his young daughter, is all the more difficult with his continuing battle with his former in-laws, the Castiglianos. How will he resolve his own marital problems, while helping his cantankerous Nana D win the mayoral election and keep her, and her friends out of trouble!

I am really enjoying this cozy mystery series as each story is entertaining, light-hearted (if you can label murder light 😉) and full of humorous personalities. I truly don’t know where the next twist will come from or how the resolution will play out. As any good series, each book could be read as a stand alone, but I strongly recommend starting from the beginning, as the characters become more vibrant, endearing and relatable as they navigate new challenges. I will be pre ordering Jay’s next book in this series, Mistaken Identity Crisis, ASAP!

Head over and read the reviews https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07NDK76WF

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Flower-Power-Braxton-Campus-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B07NDK76WF

Also by James J. Cudney

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/James-J.-Cudney/e/B076B6PB3M

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/James-J.-Cudney/e/B076B6PB3M

Read more reviews and follow James on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17128817.James_J_Cudney

Connect to James via his website/blog: https://thisismytruthnow.com/

The final author today whose latest release is receiving great reviews is Lucinda E. ClarkeAmie for Savage Safari (Amie in Africa Book 5).

About the book

Amie, the world’s most reluctant spy is back.

Amie is assured that her next assignment will be easy and very safe. How could a safari camp in the African bush along with the President and international representatives from several countries possibly be dangerous?

She has no choice but to do as they say.

Simon has flown back to England for a brief meeting and then disappears. Amie has no idea where he is.

But not everyone is pleased about the rare and precious minerals discovered in the north and they are prepared to do whatever it takes to disrupt the safari and stop the auction even if it causes an international incident and people are killed.

Amie now has two lives to save and faces a bleak future on her own.

Fans of Wilbur Smith, Peter Rimmer and Tony Park will love this series by award winning author Lucinda E Clarke set in the modern day in the African bush.

One of the recent reviews of the book on Goodreads

Apr 13, 2019 Kim McDougall rated it Five Stars

Not having read the other books in this series, I went into this story blind. But the author backtracked just enough to get me up to speed without dragging the story down. I was quickly drawn into Amie’s story. She’s a strong willed and passionate character. And the exotic settings were really interesting. Most of the story is set in a small African country, and the culture was vividly drawn. Then came the drama, ramping up page after page as Amie faces obstacles that most of us could never imagine. Highly recommend this one and I’ll be looking for others in the series now!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07NCDKF8P/

And more reviews on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Amie-Savage-Safari-Africa-Book-ebook/dp/B07NCDKF8P

A selection of other books by Lucinda E. Clarke

Read the reviews and buy the books:  http://www.amazon.com/Lucinda-E-Clarke/e/B00FDWB914

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lucinda-E-Clarke/e/B00FDWB914

Read more reviews and follow Lucinda on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7996778.Lucinda_E_Clarke

Connect to Lucinda via her blog: http://lucindaeclarke.wordpress.com

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with a few books under your arm…. thanks Sally.

The wounded heart of Paris

A wonderful tribute to Notre Dame and to Paris from Sue Vincent who first visited the city as a schoolgirl.. then working there and exploring the entire cathedral… It was and will be again I am sure a magnificent building and part of the iconic Paris skyline. And if reports are accurate, this devastation has brought unity to the French people at a very crucial time. Well worth reading to perhaps give us a greater appreciation of some of our ancient monuments that we consider part of our national identity and survival.

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

Notre Dame de Paris.
The three images of the Cathedral are photographs of postcards in my Parisian diaries.

The white dome of the Sacré-Cœur, floating like some fairy tale castle against the blackness was my very first glimpse of Paris. It was a school trip, we were no more than children… and I fell in love with the city there and then. My eyes filled with tears, my heart with memories and emotions that should not have been mine, I felt that I had come home.

We stayed at the Lycée Henri-IV, just behind the Pantheon. Sneaking out, illicitly, before breakfast, very early next morning, I found myself wandering down the Rue Mouffetard. A tramp was curled around his wine bottle in a doorway. Market stalls were being set up. Everything smelled of coffee and new bread… and I determined that one day, when I was old enough, I would…

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