Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Buy a Book for Christmas #Mystery #Adventure #Fantasy – Andrew Joyce, Daniel Kemp, Teagan Riordain Geneviene and Linda G. Hill

We are now over two thirds of the way through the authors in the Cafe and Bookstore with plenty more books that would make great Christmas gifts. I grew up with a father who loved Westerns, even more so if they had John Wayne in them. They are not making as many these days in Hollywood, but don’t worry because Andrew Joyce has a series that would satisfy the cowboy in all of us!

About Redemption

The Winner of the 2013 Editors’ Choice Award for Best Western

Three men come together in the town of Redemption Colorado, each for his own purpose. Huck Finn is a famous lawman not afraid to use his gun to protect the weak. He has come to right a terrible wrong. After his wife’s death, Tom Sawyer does not want to live anymore; he has come to die. The third man, the Laramie Kid, a killer Huck and Tom befriended years earlier has come to kill a man. For these three men Death is a constant companion. For these three men it is their last chance for redemption.

One of the many outstanding reviews for the book:

Andrew Joyce is a fabulous storyteller. After reading his second novel, Molly Lee, I knew I had to read the first. Serendipitously, I was gifted the book and was thoroughly entertained once again.

Action-packed, chock-full of adventure, and easy to read, Redemption is a book that the reader will find difficult to put down.

Huck Finn doesn’t seek notoriety, but from Missouri to Mexico to the Colorado Territory, he finds himself amidst situations that eventually give rise to fame. And even though he doesn’t fancy himself a lawman, destiny has a badge with his name on it that he wears for many years. Grit and an iron will provide him the fortitude necessary to establish order in many a lawless town. But he also has a kind and just heart that intermittently reveals itself without emphasis or fanfare.

Tom Sawyer has an unrelenting itch to sail to China. But when the journey proves longer and more arduous than anticipated, he jumps ship and ends up in Hawaii, where he falls in love and begins to settle down. But as it was for Huck, so it is for Tom; destiny has designated him a different fate. A series of misfortunes compels Tom to go stateside and once again partner with his old pal, Huck.

The two men team up with Jed Bevins, a young and now infamous man they’d met early on. Jed sets out to avenge the deaths of his adopted Pawnee tribe and, over time, garners fame as a gunslinger. However, the notoriety is ill-placed, because his intention is to kill only those who slaughtered his people. And, yes, destiny intervenes for Jed as well; the title “Laramie Kid” sticks and will not be dismissed.

These three men join forces to fight a corruptive and treacherous power in the town of Redemption. As tempers flare and bullets fly, farmers and ranchers find common ground, adding a sensational element to the spectacular showdown.

For those who enjoy a well-written adventure that trumpets the victory of good over evil, Redemption has it all. You won’t be disappointed.

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The other novels in the series – Molly Lee and Resolution and other books by Andrew Joyce

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Now time for another series that would make a perfect gift- starting with the mystery, What Happened in Vienna Jack?, by Daniel Kemp.

About the book

A robbery in London’s Charing Cross Road. The murder of a catholic priest at the end of World War Two. A genocide in Namibia. The discovery of the remains of Hitler’s personal secretary.

Something connects all these things, and former British spy Jack Price knows the answer. He’s willing to die to keep the secret, but the problem is… he’s not the only one who knows.

It’s the lies that are not heard, but kept as secrets, that own us all. Deep in the world of espionage, lies and deception, how far is Jack willing to go to fulfill his mission?

One of the reviews for the book

Truth and lies, lies and truth and which is which? Can the truth be hidden in a lie and a lie be veiled in the truth?Suppose there are secrets too? Just the knowledge that something is hidden, well, reality can become a little blurred and obscure. When Patrick West meets Jack Prior in Daniel Kemp’s “What happened in Vienna Jack?” an investigation into police corruption in Soho leads, indirectly, to what could become a world ending catastrophe.

“What Happened in Vienna Jack?” Is a thriller, a tale of espionage and deceit, a story where a turn of reality can change with the turn of a page. I am constantly amazed by Daniel Kemp’s ability to not only keep control over a vast array of characters but, simultaneously, weave an erudite absorbing narrative that leaves me confounded. It was difficult to harness what I was reading. Daniel Kemp is meticulous in his research and extremely knowledgeable about Europe’s political landscape of 1933-1970.

In November of 1937 a violation, somewhere in Europe and prior to WW2, precipitates the unfolding narrative. Like any violation it is cruel, humiliating…just by reading about it, I felt dirty. The violation involves a prominent Nazi and a member of the British monarchy…see what I mean about secrets? This secret is so controversial (and “controversial” here is a massive understatement) that it is hidden, even to the point of murder, for fear of the secret being divulged. It’s an adroit piece of writing.

When I’ve posted this review I shall be reading “What Happened in Vienna Jack?” again. I think that most lovers of the thriller genre will feel the same. I’m not ready to leave either the characters, or this compulsive, gripping narrative…I’ll linger over every paragraph. And I’m pleased to learn that this book is just part one of a book series. If I haven’t made it clear enough, this book is highly recommended.

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The other books in the series – Once I Was a Soldier and Percy Crow and other books by Daniel Kemp

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Now time to revisit the town created by Teagan Riordain Geneviene in the second book of her series Atonement in Bloom which was released in October this year.

About Atonement in Bloom

“Atonement in Bloom” continues the urban fantasy from the point where “Atonement, Tennessee” ended.The quaint town was stranger than Ralda Lawton could have imagined. The local population included supernatural beings of the fae variety. Although only she and a few others knew about that.In a past life, Ralda ― Esmeralda had been involved in something with those supernaturals and it had carried into her present life. In Atonement, Tennessee, that almost got her killed. Now she has new problems, and new supes to complicate matters.Atonement in Bloom continues the misadventures of Ralda, her friends, and neighbors in the small (but far from peaceful) town of Atonement, Tennessee. Her old house and cemetery are still there, along with Lilith the cat, quirky townsfolk, and assorted supernaturals.Now Lilith the calico sniffs out a strange beast.Fae foolery backfires. A friend is abducted.On a cold December day, Atonement, Tennessee comes into bloom.

One of the recent reviews for the book

When pigs fly… Even for Tennessee, the little town of Atonement is different. Of course Esmeralda—Ralda to her friends and, well, everybody except a few flying pigs and misinformed fae—already knew that. Her (now missing) next door neighbor occasionally has giant black wings, the handsome local florist does magic but then makes people forget it, and don’t even get her started on those glowing pigs with wings. But what really has Ralda worried is the house that just appeared, the same one everyone else seems to think has been there forever. Then her worry turns to fury when fae magic takes a decidedly dark turn, disturbing the balance of winter. Flowers appear in the snow, and further manifestations endanger Ralda’s friends. When one of them is attacked and another disappears, Ralda realizes it’s up to her to save Atonement. She just wishes she knew how to do it when all those things that go bump in the night turn out to be real.

I absolutely love the setting. Small towns in the South are already so full of idiosyncratic characters and moody locations that they fit perfectly into a southern gothic setting. In true gothic style, Ralda lives in Sunhold, a huge wreck of a mansion with its own graveyard. Her new neighbor, the owner of the mysteriously appearing house, is properly dapper and charming, but his eyes give him away.

“Then I saw it. I accidentally made eye contact with the man in the purple pinstripe suit. There was intensity in his eyes that did not match the gentle face. I don’t mean evil or anything over the top. However, something was definitely off kilter. I had to wonder if he was mentally stable.”

Add in an antique silver locket, attractive yet mysterious men, supernatural beings, a sheriff who speaks in Shakespeare quotes, and one small cat who seems to know more about the situation than anyone else, and you have it: a seamless southern gothic paranormal mystery genre mashup. Then if you stir in a sense of fun and humor that includes flying pigs and even a grocery store, Hogley Wogley, that echoes the South’s iconic Piggly Wiggly, and you have a recipe for a great addition to the Atonement Tennessee’s story.

I recommend this book to readers who enjoy a bit of Southern wit and humor with their tales of magical mystery. But Atonement in Bloom is definitely not a standalone. The large number of characters and prior events mean you should treat yourself to the first book, Atonement Tennessee. Although both books’ story arcs are nicely resolved, there are so many questions remaining. What really brought Ralda to Atonement? What are the supernaturals atoning for? Of course, Ralda’s cat Lilith probably knows the answers, but since she’s not talking, the rest of us will have to wait for the next installment of Atonement’s story.

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Also by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

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And last but by no means least today another writere with a second book released in a series, award- winning author Linda G. Hill, and her modern-day Gothic romance series, The Magician’s Blood: A Paranormal Romance- The Great Dagmaru Book Two.

About the Magician’s Blood

Herman Anderson is in love. Thrilled to travel across Canada with her boyfriend as his assistant onstage, she returns to her hometown—the first stop on the Great Dagmaru magic tour. Anticipating a reunion with her brother, instead she finds her family has moved without a trace.

Stephen Dagmar’s career as a stage magician is taking off. With Herman by his side, his only concern is her father’s dislike for him. But as Herman’s father makes a prediction and resolves to come between them, Stephen’s family curse returns to haunt him.

Darkness descends as the reality of the Dagmar’s incubus bloodline surfaces for the first time in over a generation. Can Herman and Stephen’s relationship survive this new trial? Will Herman survive at all?

A sinful tale of beauty and romance, love and determination, The Magician’s Blood will chill you and leave you breathless for more. *18+ Contains explicit scenes.

One of the reviews for the book

Stephen Dagmar is travelling through Canada with Herman his assistant. Herman is excited because one of the stops is her hometown and she can’t wait to see her brother Chad only when she arrived it is to learn that the home has been sold.

She is forced to call her father who hates Stephen to get the information she needs on her mother and brother’s whereabouts. Her mom is in a nursing home and her brother is living with an aunt so she is able to visit them both. Her father George and Stephen hate each other and her father wants Herman to leave him. She finally discovered what her father did for a living which was to dress as a woman and act as the assistant to another magician even though he had more magic in him than the man he worked for.

George has the ability to read minds and see into the person’s future and he is convinced that Herman’s life is in danger if she stays with Stephen. Nina Curry is pregnant with Stephen’s child but she wants him and wants Herman gone. In spite of what George says Herman has no intention of leaving the man she loves and Stephen is willing to do whatever is necessary to protect the woman he loves.

It is finally discovered about the curse that has plagued Stephen’s family and the Curry family for generations, he has demon blood in him and it is an incubus answering the question why woman all throw themselves at him. Herman has a lot to accept living with Stephen, his numerous affairs with just about every woman she meets, his actual gift of real magic including being able to levitate and move from one place to another, but the one thing that bothers her is that Nina is going to be the one to bear Stephen’s first child, a daughter.

Herman like her father has inherited the gift of seeing into someone’s future and she can’t get over the fact that Stephen will betray her with his agent and best friend and past lover, Margaret. When Stephen’s demon presents itself what Herman saw comes to pass but it is not mere sex it is an invasion, a violent invasion. For the first time Herman has seen the demon first hand has she finally had enough?

This is not an easy review to write because there is so much going on that I could easily give away something I shouldn’t so I am trying to be very careful. There is sex, violence,true love and an interfering father determined to break up Herman and Stephen. There are so many secrets and surprises not only about Stephen but about Herman’s family and particularly her father but there is no cliffhanger.

I know that this was supposed to be the second and last book in the series but I am hoping for more I don’t think Herman and Stephen’s story is over yet, but then I am not the author just a reader who loves this series.

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Also by Linda G. Hill

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Thank you for dropping in today and I am sure there was a book or two that might have caught your eye.


Book Review: Encourage a Child to Watch Birds, by Denzil Walton

Audrey Driscoll reviews a wonderful book for children from Denzil Walton Encourage a Child to Watch Birds.. if you have a child in your life this book will open up the natural world to them. Denzil has two more books in the series coming out next year..#recommended

Audrey Driscoll's Blog

I’m not a birdwatcher, except in the sense of noticing who’s hanging around the bird feeders in the back garden. I don’t have a life list, nor even a decent pair of binoculars. And as can be seen from the two photos accompanying this post, I’m not that great at taking pictures of birds either. (That blurry shape in the featured image is a robin (American type) landing on a cotoneaster bush full of berries. Robins have been feasting on those berries for the past week.)

Despite the above, I like birds, and I’m keen on helping out the ones that live around here. A pair of Bewick’s Wrens nested in an old shoe on my back porch in 2015. So I hope that gives me some credibility for this book review.

This is a short, well-organized, and clearly written book intended for adults with a child or children in…

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Smorgasbord Christmas Celebrations – The Food Column – Carol Taylor – Traditional Christmas Menu

Welcome to CarolCooks2 @ Smorgasbord Magazine and this week it is my Christmas menu for carnivores…lol

Thank you to everyone who made such lovely comments on my vegetarian Christmas menu it was a first for me I cook but apart from devising a menu for home I don’t publish a menu.

This week’s menu is a mix of the traditional with a couple of other dishes thrown in…I always like to make at least one new dish every Christmas some I never make again as they were ok..Just not that memorable…You know what I mean don’t you…

Prawn Cocktail

As far back as I can remember Prawn Cocktail has been a must-have for our Christmas starter…..One year I fancied a change and we had a fantastic fresh seafood platter with Oysters, Langoustines everything you could think of and some Thai dips made by the daughter in Law…The only way to eat Oysters. But we also had to have Prawn Cocktail….I think I would get lynched if I didn’t make it and the sauce has evolved over the years. I now add horseradish for that extra bite. Some add Tabasco or Worcestershire sauce but we like it with just horseradish and I use Salad cream instead of mayonnaise. Sometimes I mix the two it just depends on how I feel on the day. But as with anything it is personal taste so play with the sauce and find how you like it best.


• 500gm of Cooked Prawns, peeled.
• 4 tbsp Tomato Ketchup
• 5 tbsp Salad Cream or mayonnaise
• 2-4 tsp hot Horseradish Sauce.
• Salt and freshly ground Pepper.
• 3 tsp Lime Juice.
• Shredded Iceberg lettuce
Garnish: Tomatoes sliced, Paprika pepper, Extra prawns …I leave the tails on these.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Mix tomato ketchup, salad cream together. Add horseradish sauce, lime juice, salt and black pepper.
  2. At this stage, I taste and adjust the seasoning and add more of whatever I need to…. generally horseradish.
  3. Chill in fridge until ready to serve.

To serve: Put some shredded lettuce in individual serving dishes with cucumber if using. Put a generous serving of the cocktail sauce on top. Sprinkle with Paprika. Garnish the dish with Prawns, A slice of lemon and tomatoes if using.

Crab, Coconut, Chilli and Coriander Soup.

I use fresh crab for this soup as it is readily available and picked here but you could use tinned crab.


• 500 gm crab meat
• 4 cups of crab or fish stock
• 1 large tomato chopped and peeled
• 1 cup of coconut milk
• 1 onion finely chopped
• 1 celery stick chopped
• 2 cloves of garlic crushed
• 1 fresh red chilli , chopped and seeded ( if req) I don’t
• 2 tbsp of olive oil
• Juice of 1 lime
• Salt to taste
• 3 tbsp of fresh chopped coriander
• Lime wedges and hot chilli oil to serve.

Let’s Cook

  1. Heat the oil in a pan over a low heat. Stir in the onions and celery and saute for about 5 mins until the onion is soft and translucent.
  2. Add the garlic and the chilli stir to combine well and cook for a further 2 mins.
  3. Add the tomato and half of the coriander and turn up the heat and cook stirring for 3 minutes then add the stock. Bring to a soft rolling boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the crab and the coconut milk and simmer for a further 5 mins.
  5. The soup should be thick but not too thick so add some water if required.
  6. Stir in the lime juice and remaining coriander and season as required with salt.
  7. Serve in hot bowls with the chilli oil and lime wedges on the side.

Beetroot Tartare.


• 160 gm of cooked beetroot.
• 1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tbsp of double cream

For Fried Capers:
• 10 capers
• Oil to fry about 3 tbsp.

For the crisp bread:
• 2 very thin slices of stale bread
• 1 tbsp of olive oil.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Make the crisp breads by cutting the bread into squares allow 3 to 4 squares per person.
  2. Heat the grill on its highest setting and put the bread on a tray and drizzle with the oil. Grill on each side for 1-2 mins until crisp and golden being careful not to burn (like I did)
  3. To make the tartare, finely chop half the beetroot and blitz the other half with the olive oil to make a rough paste, and then combine with the chopped beetroot and cream and season to taste.
  4. Rinse the capers and pat dry then heat the oil in a frying pan over a high heat add the capers and fry for 30 seconds until they have started to open up then drain on kitchen paper.

To serve: Place a 6-8cm ring on a plate and put in some beetroot mix then remove the ring.
Garnish with capers and the crisp bread.

Pigs in Blankets. – Christmas dinner would not be complete without them would it?

• 8 thin slices smoked bacon
• 16 chipolata sausages
• I tsp Worcestershire Sauce
• 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
• 2 tbsp clear honey.

To prepare

  1. Mix honey, thyme and Worcestershire sauce in small bowl, add sausages and make sure they are coated in the mix. Cut bacon down the middle long ways. Wrap bacon around sausages.
  2. To freeze now put in a container and separate the layers with greaseproof then remove from the freezer on Christmas morning and cook as below
  3. Put sausages on a baking sheet well spaced apart.
  4. Cook on 180 for about 30 minutes until nicely browned and bacon is crispy.

Crispy Roast Potatoes.

I always par boil my potatoes and give them a good shake before putting them into a hot pan with some duck fat and roast…Basting and turning every 30 minutes until nice and golden.

To jazz your roasties up a little add some herb butter, garlic and or rosemary sprigs.

Brussel Sprouts.

Christmas dinner would not be the same without a bowl of Brussel sprouts and there are many ways you can cook these lovely little cabbages and even people who don’t like sprouts …Love them!

My spicy pan fried Brussels come very close or top depending on whether you are bacon or a chilli fan…

I love just plain little Brussels lightly steamed or boiled with my Christmas dinner. Sautéed with bacon they are to die for…

This recipe serves 4 people.

• 1lb of Brussel sprouts trimmed and halved
• 1 tbsp of olive oil
• 1-2 garlic cloves
• 1 tbsp of cumin seeds
• 2 tsp of balsamic vinegar
• 6 shallots peeled and quartered
• Chilli flakes and chopped fresh chives to garnish.

Let’s cook!

  1. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the garlic and shallots and stir fry for 3-4 minutes until the shallots just start to turn golden.
  2. Sprinkle in the cumin seeds and add the sprouts. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes over a medium heat then reduce the heat and cover the pan, cook for a further 4-5 minutes or until the sprouts are almost tender.
  3. Sprinkle over the balsamic vinegar and let it cook just for a few seconds. Season the sprouts to taste with salt and cracked black pepper.
  4. Garnish with chilli flakes and chopped chives.

A beautiful side dish with your Christmas dinner.

Broccoli with red chilli and anchovies.


• 300 gm tender stem broccoli, trimmed and cut lengthways
• 3 tbsp Olive Oil
• 1 Onion finely chopped
• 2 cloves of garlic crushed
• 2 anchovy fillets drained and finely chopped
• 1 red chilli finely chopped
• Juice of half a lime
• Parmesan shavings

Let’s Cook

  1. Blanch the broccoli for 3 minutes in boiling water and then drain. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat add the chopped onions and cook for 5 minutes or until the onion is golden brown.
  2. Add the garlic, anchovies and red chilli and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add the blanched broccoli and fry for 2-3 minutes or until broccoli is tender.
  4. Squeeze over the lime juice and season to taste with salt and pepper and toss together.
  5. Top with parmesan shavings

Bacon, Chestnut and Cranberry Christmas Stuffing.


• 450g sausage meat
• 2 rashers unsmoked back bacon, cut into strips
• 100g dried cranberries
• 50ml ruby port
• 1 small onion, chopped
• 50g butter
• 2 garlic cloves, chopped
• 140g fresh white or brown breadcrumbs
• 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
• ½ tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
• 140g peeled, cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped
• 1 medium egg, beaten

Let’s Cook!

  1. Soak the cranberries in the port for an hour.
  2. Fry the onion and bacon gently in the butter, until the onion is tender and the bacon is cooked.
  3. Add the garlic and fry for another minute or so.
    Cool slightly, and then mix with all the remaining ingredients, including the cranberries and port, adding enough egg to bind I find it easiest to use my hands so get those hands in and mix thoroughly.
  4. Next, I do a little tester; in fact, I generally do that with all my stuffing as it is the only way to tell if the seasoning is correct. Fry a knob of stuffing in a little butter, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  5. This stuffing can be baked in a dish or rolled into balls that will be crisp on the outside and moist inside.
  6. Bake in a greased dish at 190C/gas 5/fan 170C for about 40 minutes, until browned and, in the case of sausage meat stuffing, cooked right through.
  7. Alternatively, roll into balls that are about 4cm in diameter. Roast the stuffing balls in hot fat (they can be tucked around the turkey or done in a roasting tin of their own) for 30-40 minutes, until crisp and nicely browned on the outside.

Cranberry Sauce.


• 3 cups or 12oz of cranberries.
• The juice of 2 large Oranges.
• A cup of sugar.
• 1 stick of cinnamon.

Let’s Cook

  1. Put all the ingredients in a heavy bottomed pan, bring to the boil and turn down so it is still a rolling boil and cook for 10 mins if ( using) frozen berries or 20 minutes if using fresh cranberries as they will take a bit longer to pop.
  2. Allow mixture to cool and put in an airtight container and refrigerate.

Bread Sauce

Freeze the breadcrumbs ready to use (I always) keep a bag of frozen breadcrumbs in the freezer. The sauce can be made the day before and reheated on the day… I have been surprised living here that many people have not heard of bread sauce my mum always made it at Christmas we couldn’t have turkey without bread sauce…


About half loaf of good quality stale white bread either broken into smallish pieces or can blitz into breadcrumbs if you like a smoother sauce.
• I brown Onion peeled and studded with cloves.
• 2 bay leaves.
• Salt & Pepper.
• About half pint milk.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Pour milk into a saucepan and add studded onion. Slowly bring to boil and turn down and let gently simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  3. When cool remove Onion and bay leaves. This can be reheated to serve or made the day before and kept covered in the fridge. It is quite a thick consistency so if too thin add some more bread if too thick some more milk.

Roast Turkey with Proper Gravy.

We always have a turkey and this year it will be a home reared one so we are looking forward to that. We had Beef the year before last as we couldn’t get a turkey here which is why we now grow our own Turkeys.

How to Roast a Basic Turkey

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. In a large roasting pan, place thawed turkey, breast side up and tent with a piece of aluminium foil.
  3. Bake turkey using the chart below.
  4. Remove foil during last hour of cook time.
  5. Cook until meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 170°F.

Here is a link to a calculator Turkey Cooking times

Proper Gravy

  1. When you cook a roast, whether it’s turkey, chicken, beef, or lamb, you should end up with plenty of browned drippings and fat from the roast when it’s finished.
  2. The “drippings” are browned juices and fat. All of the flavour gravy you make from the drippings comes from those browned bits. You need fat as a base for the gravy.
  3. If you have pan juices, but they haven’t browned at the bottom of the pan after the roast is done, you can put the empty pan back in the oven. Set the temp to 450 or 500°F and cook until the juices evaporate and begin to bubble and brown at the bottom of the pan.
  4. In this approach to making gravy, I break up the drippings as well as we can with a whisk, but don’t worry about any browned bits in the gravy itself. If you want, you can pulse the gravy in a blender to make it smoother, but I never bother. The browned bits are the best part!
  5. Remove all but 1/4 cup of fat from pan:
  6. Remove the roast from the pan. Remove excess fat leaving 4 tbsp of fat plus juices and browned drippings in the pan.
  7. Scrape up drippings and place pan on stovetop on medium heat:
  8. Use a metal spatula to scrape up any drippings that are sticking to the pan. Place the pan on the stovetop on medium high heat.
  9. Sprinkle 4 tbsp flour onto the drippings. Quickly stir with a wire whisk so that the flour gets incorporated into the drippings. Let the flour brown a bit if you want, before adding liquid in the next step. (You can also start with a slurry of flour and water if you want.)
  10. Whisk while slowly adding liquid: Slowly add stock or a combination of stock and water to the pan, whisking vigorously to dissolve the flour into liquid.
  11. Allow the gravy to simmer and thicken, and continue to slowly add liquid until you have about 2 cups of gravy. (You’ll probably need to add 3 to 4 cups of liquid.)
  12. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Always taste first before adding more salt! It may not need it.

If it was down to me and there were only two of us for Christmas Dinner then I would have something like this lovely quail with Juniper Sauce.

Juniper Berry Sauce:


• 1 banana shallot peeled and finely chopped.
• 8 juniper berries very lightly crushed.
• 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped.
• 1/2 tsp sugar
• 200 ml white burgundy or a dry white wine.
• 4 tbsp white wine vinegar
• 40 gm butter
• 25 gm flour
• 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves.
• 3oo ml venison stock
• 100 ml double cream
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Put the shallot, garlic, sugar, white wine vinegar, juniper berries, white wine and the fresh thyme in a pan and bring to the boil.
  2. Lower the heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes this needs to reduce to about 2 tbsp.
  3. In another pan melt the butter and whisk in the flour to make a roux. Strain your wine reduction through a fine sieve and still whisking…we don’t want a lumpy sauce now do we? Add the wine reduction….keep whisking!
  4. Pick out the juniper berries from the strained mix in your sieve and add to the sauce. Keep whisking and add the stock slowly ….to the sauce a ladle at a time. Cook the sauce for 10 minutes or until it coats the back of a spoon.
  5. Finally, pour in the cream and bring to a very slow simmer. Remove from the heat and season. The sauce can be used immediately or reheated when it is needed.

This is a beautiful sauce over when poured over a luscious piece of beautifully cooked venison or my favourite quail… if you have guests for dinner or just for the two of you for that special occasion.


Christmas Pudding

Christmas Dinner would not be complete without a little bit of Christmas Pudding and I love to see the Christmas Pudding flaming as we pour over the brandy it looks so nice.

For those of you who don’t like Christmas pudding or want a lighter dessert this lovely crème caramel fits the bill perfectly.

Crème Caramel.

For the caramel
• 160g/6oz sugar
• unsalted butter for greasing the ramekins

For the custard
• 4 free-range eggs
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 25g/1oz caster sugar
• 600ml/1 pint full-fat milk
• pouring cream, to serve ( optional)

Let’s Cook!

  1. Pre-heat oven 150C/300F/Gas 2.
  2. Warm the ramekins in the oven, so they are warm when the caramel is poured in.
  3. First make the caramel. Pour the sugar and six tablespoons of water into a clean stainless steel pan.
  4. Dissolve the sugar slowly, stirring with a wooden spoon over a low heat.
  5. When there are no sugar granules left, stop stirring and boil until the sugar turns a dark copper colour.
  6. Remove immediately from the heat to ensure the caramel does not burn. Quickly pour the caramel into the warmed ramekins.
  7. Set aside to cool and become hard. (Do not put in the fridge because the sugar will absorb moisture and go soft and tacky).
  8. Once hard, butter the sides of the ramekins above the level of the caramel.

For the custard

  1. Whisk the eggs, vanilla extract and caster sugar together in a bowl until well mixed.
  2. Pour the milk into a saucepan, gently heat over a low heat until you can still just dip your finger in for a moment, then strain the milk through a fine sieve onto the egg mixture in the bowl.
  3. Whisk together until smooth, and then pour the mixture into the prepared ramekins.
  4. Stand the ramekins in a roasting tin and fill the tin half-way with boiling water from a kettle.
  5. Cook in the oven for about 20-30 minutes or until the custard has set.
  6. Do not overcook the custard – check around the edges of the dishes, to make sure no bubbles are appearing.
  7. Take the crème caramels out of the oven, remove the ramekins from the tray and set on a cooling rack. When cool, transfer to the fridge overnight so that the caramel is absorbed into the custard.
  8. To serve, loosen the sides of the custard by tipping the ramekin and loosen with a small palette knife round the edges. Place a serving dish on top of the ramekin and turn upside down. Serve with pouring cream or decorate with some fruit…

I hope you find something to like about this menu and that one of these dishes will be your addition to your Christmas menu xxx

The other posts in the Food and Cookery Column can be found in this directory:

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:

Connect to Carol


I am astonished at how many amazing dishes Carol has come up with for our traditional Christmas dinner and I will have to include all of them this year to do honour to all her hard work… Please share.. thank you Sally

#PoetryReadathon – The poetry and other great things bloggers


Poetry does not get enough publicity and as what I class a dabbler…I am very grateful when a poem of mine is given positive feedback.. Here is another of Robbie Cheadle’s Poetry Readathon post, and today she is featuring three of us who write poetry on our blogs.. Delighted to be in the company of The Story Reading Ape and Dan Alatorre

#PoetryReadathon – The poetry and other great things bloggers

Poetry readathon

There are a significant number of great bloggers out there who write poetry among all sorts of other great posts. I thought I would use today’s post to share a bit about three of the part-time poetry bloggers. I consider that I fall into this category of poetry blogger too.

Sally Cronin

Sally has a lovely blog called Smorgasbord where she shares everything from posts about gardening, food and recipes, history and mythology and health and diet. Sally also has Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore where she show cases the books and reviews of an enormous number of her fellow writers and authors.

Sally is a wonderful writers and I have read a number of her books. You can read my reviews here (you’ll find a couple of reviews for other great books featured too):

Tales from the Irish Garden

Just an Odd Job Girl

Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story and What in a Name?

You can purchase Sally Cronin’s books here: Sally Cronin’s Amazon Page

From time to time, Sally also writes a lovely poem, like this one below:

You can find Sally’s blog here:

Christopher Graham (aka The Story Reading Ape)


Please head over to enjoy the entire post with poetry from Agnes Mae Graham and Dan Alatorre. Thanks Sally


via #PoetryReadathon – The poetry and other great things bloggers



Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenges No. 114, 115, & 116 #SynonymsOnly

Colleen Chesebro is taking a well earned break for the holidays from now until the New Year. Kindly she has left some challenge prompts for those who would like to continues with the “Synonyms” only prompts… Happy Holidays Colleen..

Colleen Chesebro ~ The Faery Whisperer


Hi! I’m going to take some much needed time off to celebrate Yuletide, starting today, December 11 – December 31st, 2018. There will be NO challenges or recaps until January 1, 2019.

However, I know some of you will want to continue writing your weekly poetry. So, I’ve listed out the challenge words for the next three weeks.

12/11/18: Try & Life

12/18/18: Fly & Sing

12/25/18: Belief & Joy

Remember your participation is optional. I won’t be doing any more recaps for this year.

HERE’S THE CATCH:You can’t use the prompt words!SYNONYMS ONLY!Except for the first challenge of the month ~ then, the poets get to choose their own words. ❤

PLEASE support the other poets by visiting their blogs and leaving comments. Sharing each other’s work on social media is always nice too.

This challenge is for Tanka, Haiku, Senryu, Haibun, Etheree, Nonet, Shadorma…

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Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – Time to get the Party Started – Christmas Funnies.

Time to get the Christmas ornaments, decorations, crackers and funnies out and here is something to get you started.

Thanks for dropping in today… Guest Comedian Debby Gies has been scouting out some festive fun and will be here on Thursday. Please feel free to pass along.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Buy a Book for Christmas – #thrillers #short stories Luna Saint Claire, Jan Sikes and Kristina Stanley

Some more books on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore that would make great gifts this Christmas, and the first is a psychological thriller The Sleeping Serpent by Luna Saint Claire

About the book

Whether by free will or fate, Luna’s encounter with Nico provokes a storm that shatters her perceptions of identity, duty, morality, and self-worth. The storm didn’t blow in from the outside. She was the storm. Its turbulence within her, forcing her to confront the darkness, uncovers her secrets and her pain.

Luna Saint Claire has a loving husband and an enviable career as a Hollywood costume designer. Still, something is gnawing at her. Bored with her conventional and circumscribed existence, she feels herself becoming invisible. When she meets Nico Romero, a charismatic yoga guru, his attentions awaken her passions and desires. Dangerous, but not in a way that scares her, he makes her feel as if anything is possible. Infatuated, she becomes entangled in Nico’s life as he uses his mesmerizing sexuality to manipulate everyone around him in his pursuit of women, wealth, and celebrity.

Immensely erotic and psychologically captivating, The Sleeping Serpent is the compelling story of a woman’s obsession with a spellbinding guru and the struggle to reclaim her life. At its heart, it is a painfully beautiful exposition of unconditional love that makes us question what we truly want.

“She realized in an instant that being around him awakened her, stirring the sediment that had long ago settled at the bottom of her well. He made her feel a part of him–of something larger, and somehow more alive.”

One of the reviews for the book on Goodreads

Ellen Weisberg‘s review Mar 11, 2018

I thoroughly enjoyed reading THE SLEEPING SERPENT. The writing was excellent, vivid and detailed and effortlessly evoking empathy for each female character as they rapidly oscillated from intense passion to overt fear. I found the content very realistic and likely to be painfully relatable for anyone who has found themselves helplessly drawn to someone whose wants and needs come first and at all costs to those closest to them.

As an example, I could feel Olivia’s anguish after being abruptly dropped by Nico once she confided her news about the fellowship she had been awarded, and for the moment I was transformed into Olivia and experiencing her torment of being so sexually and emotionally attached to Nico that she was more than willing to give up her life’s dreams and aspirations to avoid losing him. And of course, Nico being Nico was unwilling to give her the option of having both her own life as well as a part of his, and no response to her final text was accompanied by her heart shattering into a thousand pieces.

Similarly, I was easily able to vicariously ride on the same rollercoaster as Sofia and Luna with Nico’s flattering sweetness and sensuality that would suddenly change to angry control and reprimand, sometimes insidiously interwoven with yet more sexual seduction that served to entice the women even further into his dangerous lair.

Luna Saint Claire and Virginia Bowen have created quite the fascinating page turner and eye opener that any woman with a breath and a pulse and who has found themselves under someone’s toxic, hypnotic spell can relate to.;

Read the many reviews for the book and buy:

And on Amazon UK:

Discover more reviews on Goodreads:

Connect to Luna Saint Claire via her website:

A recent review that would make a lovely gift is from award-winning author Jan Sikes with Two Shorts and a Snort

About Two Shorts and a Snort

This book consists of two short stories and one poem from award-winning author, Jan Sikes, in response to a writing challenge from the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

How far will one man go to satisfy an obsession? The price could cost him his life.

Is it possible to pray up a baby? Frank and Mary Pyburn are convinced that is what they’ve done.

Friends Instead of Lovers:
Sometimes it’s better to remain friends, instead of giving in to desires and crossing a line.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Sometimes when you’re gifted an Amazon card, you become like a child of the 1950’s who’s just found a $5.00 bill in the street, and you head over to buy as much candy as you can. [Back then with most candies/gum costing less than a nickel, you got a good-sized bag loaded to the brim with this stuff.] This is how I felt getting a $25.00 card.

Usually, I wouldn’t have bought a short book like this, but like an adult kid, I went on a shopping spree for KINDLE books I wound up buying this book, a purchase which wound up not being a disappointment, but a wonderful find.

Being an author of Flash Fiction, I love being able to read stories which cuts to the chase, and gets the message it’s trying to communicate readers without wasting time with a lot of unnecessary verbiage. And author, Jan Sikes, succeeds in doing this quite well with OBSESSED and MAGGIE.

If you’ve ever been in a relationship with a guy whose got an fixation on having to marry you, and is going to unbelievable lengths in seeing that you’ll say YES to his proposal; then you’re in Nelda Sue’s shoes being confronted with Charlie Riddle being OBESSED with you and you knows precisely how she feels. As I did.

In regards to MAGGIE, anyone who has a child know it’s essentially a God-given gift. But what happens when despite numerous attempts at having one, nothing has resulted. If you can understand how a woman might feel when this happens, then you can step into Mary’s shoes and feel the elation she gets when her husband Jackson finds an abandoned baby and brings it home; if this isn’t a God-given gift for his finding the infant then what is?

For giving her readers these two delightful stories and a bonus poem, I’m glad to give Ms. Sikes, the 5 STARS she’s gotten from this reviewer.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

Also by Jan Sikes.

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And Amazon UK:

And find more reviews and follow Jan on Goodreads:

Connect to Jan via her website:

Now for a real treat… a boxed set from Kristina Stanley at an extremely attractive price for three of her popular novels – Stone Mountain Mystery Bundle.

About the Stone Mountain Series.

A majestic mountain resort in the middle of nowhere, a newly-appointed security officer and malicious killers make this trio of thrillers a roller-coaster ride through ice and snow…

DESCENT – Book 1

When Kalin Thompson is promoted to Director of Security at Stone Mountain Resort, she soon becomes entangled in the high-profile murder investigation of an up-and-coming Olympic-caliber skier. There are more suspects with motives than there are gates on the super-G course, and danger mounts with every turn.

Kalin’s boss orders her to investigate. Her boyfriend wants her to stay safe and let the cops do their job. Torn between loyalty to friends and professional duty, Kalin must look within her isolated community to unearth the killer’s identity.

BLAZE – Book 2

Instead of exchanging vows, Kalin Thompson spends her wedding day running from a forest fire near Stone Mountain Resort, and the pregnant friend trapped with her has just gone into labor. Meanwhile, Kalin’s fiancé, Ben Timlin, hangs from the rafters of a burning building, fighting for his life. Can the situation get any hotter?

When the fire is declared as arson, finding the firebug responsible becomes Kalin’s personal mission. In the course of her investigation as Director of Security, she discovers that some people will go to extreme measures to keep her from exposing their secrets.


On a cold winter morning, the safe at Stone Mountain Resort is robbed, and Kalin Thompson’s brother, Roy, suspiciously disappears. As Director of Security, Kalin would normally lead the investigation, but when her brother becomes the prime suspect, she is ordered to stay clear.

The police and the president of the resort turn their sights on Kalin, who risks everything to covertly attempt to clear Roy’s name. As threats against her escalate, she moves closer to uncovering the guilty party. Is Kalin’s faith in her brother justified? Or will the truth destroy her?

One of the reviews for the series

Although Kristina Stanley says at the end of the novel that she wrote Avalanche first, this became the third book in the series. Having read and enjoyed the first two Stone Mountain mysteries, I recommend them all and suggest reading them in order. Once again, Kalin Thompson is the main protagonist, but characters from previous books return and previous incidents are cleverly referred adding to the backstory.

From the fast-moving opening when Kalin’s brother, Roy, suspiciously disappears, the plot twists and turns with enough clues and suspects to keep the reader thinking to the end.

There are multiple suspects when the safe at Stone Mountain Resort is robbed, but with Ray as the prime suspect, Kalin must act covertly to clear his name. How she handles her discoveries and her torn feelings about her brother’s guilt drive the main thread of the novel.

The story is tightly plotted, well-structured and, as I noted down while reading, it’s ‘edge of my snowmobile tense’. There are various suspects when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police begin investigating from Ray to Kalin via other employees at Stone Mountain Resort. I kept wondering, ‘Who will be next?’, ‘Who is guilty of what?’ and ‘Who do you trust?’. Not only Kalin needed to be wary but others caught up in the events as the threat level escalated.

The suspects were gradually narrowed down, although there were enough remaining as the end drew near. Plus, the accusations against Kalin were ongoing, adding to the tension. Twists kept coming, leading to the final confrontation that I only half-guessed in advance. Key elements were cleverly foreshadowed.

The author’s characterisation is excellent in that everyone has something to distinguish them – even the lift-girl from New Zealand. The reader sees the other characters through Kalin’s eyes and through other characters’ viewpoint. The use of various POVs enhances the story and adds to the subplots, diversions and to the red herrings that I always enjoy in a mystery.

The resort offers an evocative setting and Kristina Stanley’s knowledge of that world rings true without creating unnecessary detail. From my time in Canada and my winters skiing on different hills, Stone Mountain Resort and the intrigues came alive for me.

Avalanche was a fast-paced and easy read, and, as I’ve come to expect from Kristina Stanley, and from Imajin Books, it’s well-edited. A definite recommendation if you want a pacey mystery. But read Descent and Blaze first for maximum enjoyment – not vital but best.

Buy the boxed Set for just $7.32 :

And on Amazon UK for £2.35 :

Buy the novels individually and other books by Kristina Stanley.

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Kristina Stanley on Goodreads:

Connect to Kristina via her website/Blog:


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves for Christmas – Alchemist Gift (Alchemist Series Book 1) by Mark D. Giglio

Please welcome Mark D. Giglio to the Cafe and Bookstore with his books. Today I am featuring Alchemist Gift (Alchemist Series Book 1)

About The Alchemist Gift.

★★★★★”Reminiscent of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s magical realism” – Red City Review

Time travel to the age of alchemy.

The life of grad student Roland Hughes changes when he cheats on his long-term girlfriend Liz. Soon after, specters of Renaissance men and women pull him back to a time of witchcraft, magic and curses.

Roland pays dearly for his fling, and desperately wishes for another chance. The cosmos hears and delivers him – with the help of the enchanted Alchemist Cabinet – to a new life and time.

But will he redeem himself, or chase the same temptations?

One of the reviews for the book

As essentially a thriller writer-reader, I took a while to get into the flow of the highly descriptive writing style and magical-realism of “Alchemist Gift” and enjoy the journey. Since I love history in general, I grew to appreciate a story set in mainly in Renaissance Italy with connections to the present through his protagonist, Roland; one that entertains and educates.

Transporting Roland back five hundred years to Italy through to his discovery of an alchemist’s cabinet, the author, Mark Giglio, also a professional Renaissance furniture maker, uses his knowledge of and enthusiasm for the time to paint Roland into a turbulent time when nobles squabbled; religions fought for supremacy; superstition ran rampant; disease and famine could claim their victims into the millions; and peasants simply struggled to survive. A rich setting for the interaction of a myriad of characters: the good, the bad and the very ugly.

As the author points out, he is “interested in the ways people connect with each other and ultimately how they are all connected and, how tenuous our existence is”. His story reflects this: it wanders unpredictably from one character to another. What does the future hold for Roland? It’s unpredictable. As it is for every one of us. Enjoy being transported back to the Renaissance. A great read for lovers of magical realism.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

Also by Mark D. Giglio

Read the reviews and buy the books:

And Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Mark on Goodreads:

You can also find other books and Mark’s short stories individually on Smashwords and here is a selection

Discover all the books and buy:

About Mark D. Giglio

Mark Giglio has always been fascinated by the connections people have with each other and the world around them. What we do or what we say is a result of our most recent and our forgotten ancestors. Like our ancestors, we will have that same effect on countless people yet to be born. He has always loved history, the humanities, art, philosophy, anthropology, world religions and the natural world. All of these things have been a fountainhead of inspiration.

He spent the first nine years in upstate New York and the next ten in southern California.   He started his adult life when he joined the USAF and got his discharge after four years. He then went to SDSU and earned a degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing. At that point, he didn’t quite know what to do with himself. Somehow that Great American novel didn’t materialize, not for want of trying.

Life gifted him with a wife and in no time a little boy then another and another. Not able to wait around for those huge royalty checks to roll in, he fell back on his family heritage and became a craftsman. He needed something he could do to make a living, cabinet and furniture making to be specific. He worked for an outfit called California Design Group for a couple of years; then decided to go it alone.

Over the years he kept up his writing with little vignettes or the occasional short story for his own amusement. It wasn’t until he made a specific piece of furniture, The Alchemist Cabinet, that he felt inspired to write seriously. He had entered his art furniture in contests and came away with first and second prize ribbons.

His latest novel is “The Patron’s Wife,”  The novel involves a love triangle.  The setting is on a sprawling plantation in the Ecuadorian highlands and the Amazon jungle below.  He has also been working on the next installment to the Alchemist trilogy, “Curious Journey”, and has a toehold on the last novel.

Mark has three grown sons.  He lives in Escondido, California with his partner, Mary Ellen Cavanaugh-Wilson. His other interests include painting, piano improvisation, and interior design.

Connect to Mark D. Giglio


Thank you for dropping in and it would be great if you could spread the word about Mark’s books.. thanks Sally


Mercury Retrograde 101

Debby Gies.. D.G. Kaye.. with a reminder that Mercury is retrograde until later in the month and that it causes all kinds of glitches with electronics and our interaction with others.. It things have been going pear shaped for you since November.. you know who to not Debby.. she is just the messenger and doing a good job…..

The Sisters of the Fey


How’s the Mercury Retrograde doing for you guys? I can’t recall a more schizophrenic retrograde in my life, and I’ve sure had enough.

Mercury retrograde has sucked out every last ounce of my patience. Every day since the first week of November the planets have been doing a dance, particularly with technology and communications – make that miscommunications! Nothing has gone smoothly: important emails were lost, some of my Christmas online orders were lost, phone communications misinterpreted, and computer and techno issues abound. Thank goodness I have no travel plans till just after the madness ends Christmas Eve! Certainly, I can’t be the only one enduring this madness?

On November 16th, Mercury went into its 3rd and most powerful retrograde of the year in the fire sign of Sagittarius. The ‘pre’ retrograde began approximately 2 weeks before when things began going wonky. This phase will end on December 7th, but…

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Music Column with William Price King – Alice Coltrane #Pianist #Harpist

Welcome to the last music column of the year with William Price King who will return in the New Year with more Jazz instrumentalists.

Today, William shares the life and music of pianist and harpist Alice Coltrane (née McLeod, August 27, 1937 – January 12, 2007), also known by her adopted Sanskrit name Turiyasangitananda or Turiya Alice Coltrane, was an American jazz musician and composer, and in her later years a swamini. One of the few harpists in the history of jazz, she recorded many albums as a bandleader, beginning in the late 1960s and early 1970s for Impulse! and other major record labels. She was the second wife and the widow of jazz saxophonist and composer John Coltrane.

Alice McLeod was born on August 27, 1937, in Detroit, Michigan and grew up in a musical household. Her mother, Anna McLeod, was a member of the choir at her church, and her half brother, Ernest Farrow became a jazz bassist. With the motivation of Ernest, Alice pursued music and started to perform in various clubs around Detroit, until moving to Paris in the late 1950s. Alice studied classical music, and also jazz with Bud Powell in Paris, where she worked as the intermission pianist at the Blue Note Jazz Club in 1960. Following the breakdown of her marriage to Kenny Hagood Alice moved back to Detroit with her daughter.

She continued playing jazz as a professional in Detroit, with her own trio and as a duo with vibist Terry Pollard. In 1962–63 she played with Terry Gibbs’ quartet, during which time she met John Coltrane. In 1965 they were married in Juárez, Mexico. John Coltrane became stepfather to Alice’s daughter Michelle, and the couple had three children together.

In January 1966, Alice Coltrane replaced McCoy Tyner as pianist with John Coltrane’s group. She subsequently recorded with him and continued playing with the band until his death on July 17, 1967. After her husband’s death, she continued to forward the musical and spiritual vision, and started to release records as a composer and bandleader.

“Ptah, the El Daoud” recorded and released in 1970 is the third solo album by Alice Coltrane and her first album with horns. All of the compositions were written by her. This is a great album consisting of four tracks featuring an all-star cast including Ben Riley, Ron Carter, Pharaoh Sanders, and Joe Henderson. From the first moments of the title track to the last moments of « Mantra, » the album resonates with beauty, clarity, and emotion and demonstrates that Alice was a strong composer and performer in her own right, with a unique ability to impregnate her music with spirituality and gentleness without losing its edges or depth.

From 1968 to 1977, she released thirteen full-length records. As the years passed, her musical direction moved further from standard jazz into the more cosmic, spiritual world.

“Journey in Satchidananda”, a transcendental blend of modal experimental Jazz and Eastern spirituality, is Alice Coltrane’s fourth solo album whose title and title track reflect the inspiration she received from Swami Satchidananda, with whom she had a special relationship while, at the same time, being one of his followers. In the liner notes for this album, Mensah Demary wrote “listening to Alice play is to hear what love, and the love of life, sounds like—it is a love that is for John, but is also clearly a love for something higher, something far less flawed and temporary than another human being.” Though the arrangements are pared down, there is a myriad of bells, oud, tamboura, and other exotic instrumentation and she shares the spotlight with a group of legendary musicians such as Pharaoh Sanders, Charlie Haden, Cecil McBee, and Rashied Ali. This album was recorded at the Coltrane studio in New York and released on the label Impulse in 1971.

Albums like Universal Consciousness (1971), and World Galaxy (1972), show a progression from a four-piece lineup to a more orchestral approach, with lush string arrangements and cascading harps.

“Universal Consciousness,” Coltrane’s fifth solo album, is a tribute to her spiritual principles. Ornette Coleman did the arrangements, featuring guest stars Jimmy Garrison, Rashied Ali, Jack DeJohnette and Leroy Jenkins. The avant garde “Universal Consciousness “ transcends free jazz by its reliance on deeply thematic harmonic material. The music, whether composed or improvised, perfectly unites the kingdoms of body, speech, and mind for the listener to take into his/her own experience.

The death of John Coltrane was devastating and led to Alice turning further towards a spiritual path. In 1975 she established the Vedantic Center in California and became the director or swamini of Shanti Anantam Ashram in 1983 near Malibu.

This Alice Coltrane recording of “Transfiguration“, featuring Reggie Workman and Roy Haynes in the rhythm section, was recorded live at UCLA in 1978. Here, her keyboard work is greatly influenced by African and Indian music. There is a strong resemblance with the organ playing of minimalist Terry Riley, who is also one of her devotional figures. “Transfiguration” highlights her virtuosity and improvisational prowess, which is particularly noticeable on John Coltrane’s “Leo”, divided into two parts, in which she uses twelve tones which play off each other to represent each sign of the zodiac. A powerful piece of music.

Alice would perform formal and informal devotional Vedic ceremonies at the ashram. She performed solo chants, known as bhajans, and group chants, or kirtans. She developed original melodies from the traditional chants, and started to experiment by including synthesizers and sophisticated song structures. This culminated in her first spiritual cassette, Turiya Sings, in 1982 and through the mid 1980s into the mid 1990s, she released three more cassettes, Divine Songs in 1987, Infinite Chants in 1990, and Glorious Chants in 1995. New York-based label Luaka Bop released a compilation of tracks from her ashram tapes as World Spirituality Classics 1: The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda in May 2017.

The 1990s saw renewed interest in her work, which led to the release of the compilation Astral Meditations, and in 2004 she released her comeback album Translinear Light. Following a 25-year break from major public performances, she returned to the stage for three U.S. appearances in the fall of 2006, culminating on November 4 with a concert for the San Francisco Jazz Festival with her son Ravi, drummer Roy Haynes, and bassist Charlie Haden.

“Translinear Light “, Alice’s last studio album, was produced by her son Ravi Coltrane who accompanies her on the saxophone and percussions. This was her big comeback album with a little help from her friends, Charlie Haden on double bass and Jack DeJohnette on drums. In addition to the original compositions, this album includes two works by John Coltrane and four covers, showcasing the many influences she had during her career as well as, from time to time, fusion. The tracks « Satya Sai Isha », “This Train”, “Triloka”, and “Leo” where there’s an awesome interplay with her son Ravi, are mind blowing.

Alice Coltrane died of respiratory failure at West Hills Hospital and Medical Center in suburban Los Angeles in 2007, aged 69. She is buried alongside John Coltrane in Pinelawn Memorial Park, Farmingdale, Suffolk County, New York.

Additional sources:

Buy the music of Alice Coltrane :

About William Price King

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

Connect with William

Regular Venue 

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

And here is a reminder of the magic of William Price King’s own voice.. a teaser with his new accompanist Manolis…