Thursday – A Little personal – New Arrival

To end this Saturday night a story that will melt your heart.. Lucy and Bailey are getting a baby sister… John Howell and his wife are adopting another rescue dog.. this time from an organisation that rescues mums and pups from puppy farms.. I am sure we will be introduced to the new arrival next week… what a feel good story.#recommended Happy Easter

Fiction Favorites

“Hey, Boss.”

“Hi, Lucy. How are you today?”

“Not sure.”

“What’s the problem?”

A New Puppy

“There’s a pile of stuff over there that I don’t recognize.”

“Mom is putting the things she will need for the puppy arrival.”

“I know you mentioned a puppy, but are you actually going to adopt one? Look at this stuff Bailey.”

I see it. Yeah, Pops. Come clean. What’s going on?

Okay, Girls. Here’s the deal. You know Mom, and I believe in the rescue of animals?”

“Yes, Boss and Baily and I love you for that.”

“Well, there is an organization named Dog Ranch Rescue who have as a mission to rescue enslaved dogs from puppy mills.”

“This story could take a while, so I’m going to go and lay down.”

“Okay, Bailey. You can listen from the couch. As I was saying, the rescue people go to auctions and buy as many puppy mothers as…

View original post 288 more words

Smorgasbord Short Stories – Tales from the Garden – Chapter 4 – Pearly Girl and the Dwarves Stone Band by Sally Cronin

Fairy Stories for children of all ages from five to ninety-five that will change the way you look at your garden forever.

Tales from the Garden – Chapter 4 – Pearly Girl and the Dwarves Stone Band by Sally Cronin

Pearly Girl and the Dwarves is a stone band that plays at all the fairy balls, weddings and birthday celebrations. To the human inhabitants of the villa, they were also playthings for the children who have grown up over the last fifty years and were loved by many.

Unfortunately, like many of the stoned rock bands of the past, the dwarves had not always behaved well. There were a couple of incidences when one or two of the band, who will remain nameless, sniffed a little too much of the pollen of the sneezeweed that grew at the bottom of the garden. They had been banned from playing at any of the fairy events in the kingdom of Magia for the last fifteen years.

The children of the house had also grown up and left and the band found themselves huddled on the windswept ledge on the back side of the house gathering moss and covered in swallow poop as the birds used them for target practice.

via Smorgasbord Short Stories – Tales from the Garden – Chapter 4 – Pearly Girl and the Dwarves Stone Band by Sally Cronin

Thistledown – Midsummer Bedlam 29 — A Hummingbird

At the weekend I travel to two other dimensions… one created by Teagan Geneviene in Thistledown and the Other World that mirrors it but is colourless… this week Bedlam and those in the other world are trying to figure out how to enable her travel back to her world… but there is danger from an ancient artefact.. Bob the Humminbird is elsewhere in this colouless world trying to summon as much magic together as he can muster..

Smorgasbord Short Stories – Tales from the Garden – Trouble in Paradise – Part one by Sally Cronin

In the summer I will be releasing Tales from the Irish Garden.. stories of magic and fantasy. It is the sequel to Tales from the Garden published in 2015 and I am going to share the stories from that collection with you in the next few weeks.

About Tales from the Garden

Tales from the Garden reveals the secrets that are hidden beneath hedges and trees. You will discover what really happens at night as you sleep unaware in your bed. Stone statues and those hidden worlds within the earth are about to share their stories. The guardians who have kept the sanctuary safe for over fifty years will allow you to peek behind the scenes of this magical place. They will take you on a journey through time and expand your horizons as they transport you to the land of fairies, butterflies and lost souls who have found a home here.

Fairy Stories for children of all ages from five to ninety-five that will change the way you look at your garden forever.

Tales from the Garden – Trouble in Paradise – Part one by Sally Cronin

In special gardens you may be lucky enough to find that fairies have set up home. Since ancient times they have preferred to build their invisible houses beneath the shade of a magnolia tree. This was the case with the Kingdom of Magia in this secret garden.

The magnolia is a tree that has seen thousands of years of history and survived the earth’s changes and turmoil. The fairies know that its strength will keep them safe and that its roots, so deep under the ground, will always gather fresh water to filter into their homes.

Other creatures within the garden bring their bounty to the tree as well. Bees seek out the sweetness in the blooms that form and die so quickly. But, not before little pouches of honey are stored within the heart of the flower for the fairies to collect at night. Honey is almost as ancient as the magnolia tree itself, and despite the short harvesting season, it never spoils, so can be stored in empty nut shells for the entire year.

Within the safety of the sweeping broad leafed branches, and with a plentiful supply of water and honey, the fairy colony in the garden grew and flourished. Eventually there came a time, centuries ago, when it was decided that a king and queen should be appointed. A palace was constructed within the roots of the magnolia, with linked gardens and passages with vaults of golden honey. Designed to shelter and nourish the new and precious royal family, it was staffed with a select number of senior fairies, who would act as servants and counsellors.

That was long in the past, and the present king and queen were now approaching middle age in fairy terms; which is about 450 years old. Their subjects adored them as they were both fair to look at and generous in temperament, but beneath the surface of this idyllic royal relationship trouble was brewing.

The king was handsome, wise and had a wonderful sense of humour. All the fairies eagerly awaited the mid-summer ball but none more so than their fun loving royal master. When the ball was officially opened on the arrival of the royal couple, with the stoned band playing up a storm, he was always first on the dance floor.

He whirled his many partners around like confetti in their gossamer dresses and sparkling shoes. Their fragile wings lifting them off the ground the faster they twirled. However, he was careful to never dance more than once with any particular lady of the court. He knew from experience that the queen, who was not an accomplished dancer, would be looking on with a watchful eye.

It was after this year’s summer ball that rumours of a rift in their beloved royal couple’s relationship began to circulate. Not just amongst the courtiers, but also the rest of the fairies in their homes beneath the magnolia.

The king had danced with one specific and beautiful lady-in-waiting twice during the ball. It was clear to all present at the time, that the queen had not been amused. In the weeks that followed it was also noticed that she spent more and more of the day in the palace courtyard surrounded by her beloved flowers.

Occasionally a tear had been seen to fall to the blossoms beneath her. They were bitter drops of sadness and soon the lovely petals began to shrivel and fall to the ground before their time.

Beneath his stony and sculptured handsomeness, the king was also troubled, and he could be found hanging around in his own personal garden staring into space as if wishing to be miles away from the palace walls. The fairies braced themselves for bad news.

Once a week the queen would rouse herself from her sadness and tour the rest of the garden that was her domain. She liked to check in with the guardians, eagles and her other more inanimate subjects, to assure herself that the humans were treating them with respect and kindness. She also liked to pop in on the seven dwarves that made up her royal orchestra and make sure they were practicing and not up to mischief. She skimmed across the grass towards their home beneath the canopy of an old evergreen tree with a quick visit in mind and then a return to her lonely courtyard.

Just as she was about to alight upon a conveniently placed mushroom, she bumped right into one of the dwarves who was running towards the centre of the clearing, hand in hand with a giant rabbit. Luckily for the queen her delicate body was unharmed and of course the dwarf barely noticed the brush as light as a feather as he was so distraught and excited.

When he realised who he had bumped into he started muttering away to himself… ‘Say nothing, say nothing, off with my head, off with my head.’

The queen look a little bemused… ‘If you touch my royal personage again in that manner, I will be happy to oblige’ she said rather acerbically.

The dwarf looked sheepish and with his arm firmly around his rabbit for support he tried to smile bravely.

‘I am so sorry majesty,’ he muttered getting redder and redder in the face. ‘We have just seen something shocking and we were just running to tell my brothers about it… it wasn’t anything important I promise you.’

He was having trouble in looking the queen in the eye and suddenly her magical powers locked onto his thoughts…. Oh no, it can’t be true…

The wavering image in the dwarf’s head began to take shape and the queen focused on the silvery figures that emerged.

Dread filled her heart, and even though she could not see their faces, she immediately recognised the figure of the man as he held another body in his firm embrace. It was the king, her one love, her husband of 400 years and the man who had now broken her heart.

©sallycronin Tales from the Garden 2015

Part Two – Tomorrow…..

Other short story anthologies.

You can find all my books at these links:


Amazon UK:

Smashwords for Epub:

More reviews can be found on Goodreads:

Thank you for dropping by and your feedback is always welcome hope to see you tomorrow.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Semana Santa: Easter in Spain by Darlene Foster

Darlene Foster shares a post from her archives that brought back memories for me of our seventeen years in Spain. Easter is a big festival and is an occasion for all the family to take to the streets.

Semana Santa: Easter in Spain by Darlene Foster

The week before and including Easter is called Semana Santa here in Spain and is the largest religious festival of the year. Elaborate processions take place throughout the week in most cities and towns. During Holy week religious sculptures are taken out of the churches and paraded through the town to the main cathedral. Some of these precious sculptures,created by well known Spanish artists, are hundreds of years old. They are mounted on floats called pasos, surrounded with flowers and candles. Portapasos (or float-carriers) wearing traditional costumes, carry the heavy floats through the streets lined with spectators. No large trucks transport these floats, only dedicated men and women. I was eager to see one of these parades so we took a bus to nearby Murcia city to witness the Good Friday procession.


Paso carried through the streets of Murcia

Jesus Nazareno, 1797

Jesus Nazareno, 1797

San Juan Evangelista, 1952

San Juan Evangelista, 1952

float 2

Descendimiento, 2001

Ahead of the floats, carrying lamps, candles or incense, are the Nazarenos, often called penitents. These are members of various religious brotherhoods known as cofradias, wearing robes, capes and capirotes, a type of conical hat that usually covers the face. These robes were once worn by individuals doing penance. As a sign of atoning their sins, they would walk barefoot through the town, their faces covered so as not to reveal the sinners. Although the hooded cloaks look similar to the Ku Klux Klan, they have nothing to do with them. Many of these brotherhoods date back to the Middle Ages and are recognized by the colours they wear. They are responsible for the parade, pasos and music and spend countless hours in preparation, ensuring everything runs smoothly. There were about a dozen floats in this parade, each represented by a different brotherhood.

Penitent with bare feet

Penitent with bare feet.

green robes

red robes

Each Brotherhood wears its own colour

Included in the procession are women wearing the traditional mantilla, a black lace veil worn high on the back of the head. Mantillas are meant to show morning and pain. Marching bands and drummers follow the floats providing stirring music. The entire scene is alive with colour and sound, and the air is filled with the sweet scent of incense and melted wax. As always in Spain, this is a family affair with all ages taking part in the spectacle.

Women wearing Mantillas

Solemn women wearing Mantillas

all ages

All ages take part in the procession.


Incredible embroideries of gold and silk on standards, cloaks and coats

Drummers are heard throughout the cities and towns

Drummers are heard throughout the cities and towns

Candies and pastries play an important role in the Easter festivities. The Nazarenos and other members of the procession carry candy around their waists and hand them out to children who wait patiently with outstretched hands. Occasionally they give a treat to an adult too. A small robed participant caught my eyes, ran over to me, and placed some sweets in my hand, with a huge grin. So sweet.

Handing out candy to the children

Handing out candy to the children

This person is not fat, he is carrying candy around his waist.

This person is not fat, he is carrying candy around his waist.

Easter candy in the bakery

Easter candy in the bakery.

I love the stockings of the float bearers

I love the stockings of the float bearers

It is difficult not to be moved no matter what your beliefs. A merging of art, culture and religion in a vital and poignant atmosphere, I found it to be emotional and exciting at the same time. I’m thankful I was able to witness the dedication and pageantry of this special event.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter, however you spend it.

©images Darlene Foster 2016

Thanks to Darlene for sharing this celebration of Easter in Spain. As always we would love your feedback.

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”.

She was brought up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, where she dreamt of traveling the world and meeting interesting people. She currently divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca in Spain, with her husband Paul.

“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.


About Amanda in Arabia: The Perfume Flask

Amanda Ross is an average twelve year old Canadian girl. So what is she doing thousands of kilometres from home in the United Arab Emirates? It’s her own fault really, she wished for adventure and travel when she blew out those candles on her last birthday cake. Little did she know that a whole different world awaited her on the other side of the globe, one full of intrigue, mystery and folklore. A world with a beautiful princess, a dangerous desert and wonderful friends. Join Amanda on her first adventure as she discovers the secrets behind The Perfume Flask.

And a recent review for the book.

Jan 18, 2018 Eileen Carter rated it it was amazing  

Adventure on every page.

What a great book for a young girl who enjoys adventure. Darlene Foster has written a Nancy Drew like book set in UAE. Amanda is ready for adventure when she goes to visit her aunt and uncle. She makes a new friend, Leah. But what happens when she buys a perfume flash?

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

A selection of other books by Darlene Foster

Read the reviews and buy all of Darlene’s books:

and Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Darlene on Goodreads:

Connect to Darlene via her website and social media.


120 dogs rescued from kill shelters

Profits from Paulette Mahurin’s books go to help rescue dogs from kill shelters. In this post you will see just some of the 120 dogs rescued in the first three months of 2018.. safe and given the love they deserve. You will see from the reviews that Paulette’s books are much enjoyed and she is an inspiring example of how one person can make a difference. #recommended

The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap

I’m deeply grateful to everyone who has purchased, read, and taken the time to review one of my books. All profits from my books go to help get dogs like Dagwood, Albert, Opie, Bette, Salinger, Scarlett, Truimph, Brenda, Braden, Maggie, Archer, Snaggle, Blackie, Chester, (see photos below) out of kill shelters. So far in 2018, 120 dogs have been rescued. In 2017 we’ve helped free 904 dogs. In 2016, 250 dogs were freed. In 2015, 148 dogs were freed.

AND please for everyone who’s purchased a book could I humbly ask you to write a review when you’ve completed the read.  Amazon promotes and ranks books according to number of reviews in addition to sales. Every voice helps spread the word and that is an energy that can help a dog.

LINK TO PURCHASE ALL MY BOOKS and to see all reviews for all my books click on the books…

View original post 1,423 more words

Jazz Age Wednesdays 27 ― Hullaba Lulu 2

If you missed Jazz Age Wednesday this week on Teagan Geneviene’s blog, then here is your chance.. let me set the scene.. the three gals.. Rose, Pearl and Hullaba Lulu, have popped out the back entrance of Lulu’s grandfather’s speakeasy for a break from the festivities.. there to find a gorgeous hunk of few words.. and a rather scruffy guy who seems to know everything going on in town…the girls are agog.. there could be trouble afoot.. or fun….

Smorgasbord Writer in Residence – #Coffee – A Noxious Concoction by Paul Andruss

Welcome to the Friday spot where Writer in Residence Paul Andruss shares myths, legends and things we take for granted… in a unique and illuminating manner.. today he expresses himself on the subject of coffee… (Sorry could not resist)…. Over to you Paul…

Coffee – A Noxious Concoction

It is almost inconceivable to think once upon a time coffee was viewed in much the same way we view hard drugs, and disparaged using much the same language.



Grab yerself a cup a joe and dive in.

The origin of coffee and even its name is shrouded in myth. The word coffee comes from the Turkish Kavhe, which derives from the Arabic qahwah meaning perhaps ‘to lack hunger’, or ‘dark’, ‘sour’ or even ‘dark wine’.

via Smorgasbord Writer in Residence – #Coffee – A Noxious Concoction by Paul Andruss