Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #New Bloggers on the Scene – Thank you, Donna C., Wherever You Are (Humour on body image/adolescence) by Linda Thompson

This series of Posts from Your Archives is exclusively for blogs that are under a year old. It is an opportunity to meet new readers and to show off your writing skills.. All the details are in this post along with some tips on how to make your blog more reader friendly.

Delighted to showcase another new blogger on the scene… meet Linda Thompson who blogs about Life lessons. Through anecdotes, memories or stories (some funny, others serious), several posts are about lessons learned because of something that happened in her life.

In her second post, Linda shares her encounter with Donna C… who matured faster than her fellow schoolmates and had two elder sisters to give her a head start. I did too and can remember helping myself to their wardrobe rather than mine!  Linda also has some wisdom to share on body image..

Thank you, Donna C., Wherever You Are (Humour on body image/adolescence)

Hippy girl clip art

There’s one in almost every woman’s memory. You know who I mean. The girl who came back to school after summer vacation one year with curves and hips while you were still in that awkward stage. For me, it was Donna C. I sometimes wonder about her. Is she still pretty? Is she a good person? I have no idea, but it once felt like she’d been put on my path for the sole purpose of making me feel inadequate.

In grade school Donna and I were in the same circle of friends and everything was fine – until seventh grade. When we returned to school that September, I’d grown a few inches and gone from pudgy to beanpole. Donna, though, was almost unrecognizable.

Somehow that girl got herself a shapely derrière that she showed off in hip hugger jeans so tight that I wondered how she got into them. (This was before jeans had any stretch fabric in them.) She later explained the technique learned from her two older sisters. 1) Lie down with jeans still wet from washing; 2) Wiggle into them while lying on your back; 3) Suck stomach in; 4) Zip and wear.

Donna also suddenly had funky belts, ribbed turtleneck sweaters that showed off her new curves and neat jewellery – all courtesy of her sisters’ closets. I envied her those “cool” older sisters because when it came to clothes and music, they gave her an edge. I had two younger brothers and, really, what good are they?

But the worst insult of all was the swell in just the right place under those great new sweaters she wore. “Don’t worry,” my mother told me. “You’ll be glad you’re tall, slim and small-chested when you get older. Women put on weight as they age and girls like you carry it much better.” Really? When you’re 12, who cares? I wanted boobs and I wanted them now!

I’m pretty sure Donna’s sisters were single-handedly responsible for ruining Wendy K.’s 14th birthday party for the girls who were there. The party was in Wendy’s basement on a Saturday afternoon in January. Chips and pop were laid out, the lights were dim, and “Hey Jude” was in the line-up of tunes to be played. Because it was seven+ minutes long, every girl hoped the boy she liked would ask her to dance when it came on. There we were in our party dresses and feeling pretty good about ourselves until Donna made her entrance.

The doorbell rang and we heard Wendy’s parents greet the newcomer. A few minutes later, Donna came down the basement stairs and instantly became every boy’s fantasy. She wore a tight-fitting black mini-dress, nylons and heels. She had rouge on her cheekbones, a thin line of expertly applied black eyeliner around her eyes and shiny pink gloss on her lips. This had to be the work of her sisters!

I went from feeling exhilarated about the party and my pastel dress to being completely miserable. What was I thinking? I looked like a kid, for God’s sakes! A look at the other girls told me they felt the same way. A glance at the boys’ faces told me that no matter who asked me to dance to “Hey Jude”, I’d be second-choice.

The following year Donna changed schools and we lost touch. I didn’t harbor any hard feelings; it wasn’t her fault the way she looked made the rest of us feel less than worthy. On the contrary, I should thank her for starting me on the road to accepting something that most girls, even Donna, have to. There’s always someone slimmer, prettier, better-looking or with better clothes out there and so what? Beauty’s only skin deep and first impressions are fleeting. The lasting impressions are the ones that count.

Even now, as a “mature” woman, there are times when I walk into a room, see someone who looks dazzling and feel momentarily off-balance. But then it passes. For the most part, I’m grateful for the healthy body that’s gotten me through life so far and hopefully has a lot more good years left.

©Linda Thompson 2019

About Linda

Writer, fundraiser, mother, wife, owner of one stubborn Canadian mare and one orange tabby and bona fide introvert who finds it easier to express herself in ink than out loud. For extroverts and Type A personalities, expressing themselves is a natural part of their charm and we mostly love them for it. It’s hard to know what goes on in the head of an introvert or how he/she perceives the world. Follow me to see the world through the eyes of this introvert and share your thoughts with me. Extroverts welcome too!

Connect to Linda


My thanks to Linda for allowing me to share her posts and I hope that you will head over to her blog to follow and enjoy her archives.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Your Universal Energy for October with Annette Rochelle Aben.

October! Can you hardly believe that we have gotten to the final quarter of 2019 without killing anyone?

What do you mean, speak for yourself?

The whole basis of Numerology, is to use the numbers 1-9 to define the type of Personal Energy we are experiencing daily, weekly, monthly or yearly. So far, it’s been easy because our months have had numbers between 1 and 9. Now, we complete the calendar year with 3 months that we have to add numbers together to reach a number between 1 and 9. But it’s not quite that simple.

You knew I was going to throw a curve ball at this point, didn’t you!

We will begin where we are, with October. October, being the 10th month of the year, needs to be reduced by adding the 1 and the 0 together, which gives us a 1. Now, just because January lays claim to the number one legitimately, doesn’t mean we can assume that October’s 1 has the same definition. We shall also use the power of the 10 along with that of the 1, thereby giving us some special energy.

I always knew you were special.

A 10 carries the energy of TRANSFORMATION. And not just any old TRANSFORMATION but GRAND TRANSFORMATION. This translates to October being able to help us with things turning around more than any other month. Wee changes? Not this month! Expect the delightfully unexpected. Looking for a few minor adjustments to the home, wardrobe, personality or job? Tut, tut, tut! Behold the magnificent to manifest out of the seemingly insignificant.

Ooh, but what about the Universal Energy of October?

I am glad you asked. Here is where the number 1 comes into play (just like in January) and when we add that to the 3 of 2019, we arrive at a 4 as the Universal Energy of October. This number represents the physical world, stability and all tangible things in general. That being said, look forward to some pretty cool transformations in your physical world this month. For many of us, this will be exactly what the Doctor ordered. After months of things seeming to drag, watch for some spectacular closure!

No 3-D glasses required.

As always, you will want to make sure to discern your own Personal Energy, in order to maximize that which is already in place for any month. I can help you do that. Contact me at innerchildart (at) yahoo. (dot) com and let’s set you up proper for the rest of this year and all of next year. Never too early to get this party started.

Thank you to Sally Cronin for allowing me to be a part of her awesome blog magazine. It has been my extreme pleasure to share my Numerology knowledge with everyone and to receive that terrific feedback. Cheers!

Always delighted to have Annette over to give us some direction for the coming month.. I wish our weather forecasts were so accurate…

©Annette Rochelle Aben 2019

About Annette Rochelle Aben

Annette has an attitude of gratitude that she spreads around on a daily basis… Annette’s Blog and also by interviewing authors on radio Tell Me A Story with Annette Rochelle Aben | The Magic Happens (TMH)

A love of writing, began for Annette when she was but a small child. Of course, she gives all the credit to her parents, who read to her and her siblings from the moment they were born. Once in school, teachers took over the roles of main influencers, as they required the students to do a lot of (wait for it… wait for it…) WRITING!

Over the years, Annette has been blessed with having both hobbies and jobs that required her to write. This resulted in her winning the admiration of peers and industry professionals alike. Publication lead to awards, which provided even more encouragement and now, Annette Rochelle Aben is a #1 Best Selling Author!

These days, Annette writes poetry books, coaches others through the writing of their books, and edits articles for the digital magazine The Magic Happens.

Along the way, Annette found time to explore the worlds of Aroma Therapy, Astrology, Bach Flower Essences, Crystal Therapy, Feng Shui, Hypnotherapy, Music Therapy, Numerology, Reiki, and Tarot. Guided by her Angels as to what to study and with whom, Annette turned many of her studies into sideline businesses.

Annette Rochelle Aben has been a professional numerologist for over 20 years. She offers readings and instruction using numerology. Contact her at innerchildart (at) yahoo (dot) com.

About Think Tanka

Throughout time, the poet has used words to convey feelings, share ideas and unite the reader with their vision. Think Tanka uses the traditional structure of Japanese lyric poetry to unite the reader to the vision of the poet. if you can “see” what she is trying to “say” in every grouping of 31 syllables, then she has done her job. Think Tanka is a book for those who appreciate poetry, those who enjoy short reads, people who like to smile and those who know what it is like to be lost in a world of imagination. Whether you are buying this book for yourself or someone else, you’ll want to make sure you get an extra copy so you’ll have one on hand to share.

One of the recent reviews for Think Tanka

At the beginning of this beautiful little book, the author writes, “Tanka means short song.” That describes this book completely. Not only is it in alphabetical order according to topic titles, but it provides a daily reference for inspiration, a thought for the day, or a chuckle. The author touches on every topic from the deepest spiritual aspect of “Quiet & Space,” to the frolicking “Dance Machine.” There is a large dose of magic sprinkled throughout this book of Tanka. There is homage to our beautiful panet, Mother Earth and even a nod to our traditions. If you are looking for a book to make your day sparkle, you will enjoy the amazing Tanka from Annette Rochelle Aben!  

Read the reviews and buy the book:

and on Amazon UK:

Other books by Annette Rochelle Aben

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And Amazon UK:

Find more reviews and follow Annette at Goodreads:

Connect to Annette


My thanks to Annette for sharing the energy of the month and we would be delighted to receive your feedback.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer – Robbie Cheadle – The York Chocolate Series Part Four – Chocolate in wartime First World War 1914 – 1918 –

It has been so interesting and informative to find out about The York Chocolate story and the treat everyone enjoys. Author Robbie Cheadle has been sharing  The York Chocolate story with us, following her recent trip to the UK..  You can find part three HERE

The York Chocolate Series Part Four – Chocolate in wartime First World War 1914 – 1918

At the start of the Great War, the city of York sent a gift of a tin of Rowntree’s chocolate to all of its residents serving in the forces. Each tin contained a solid block of Rowntree’s chocolate wrapped in paper. The tin was made of pressed steel and had a hinged lid. It was also printed with a design incorporating the flags of the Allied nations and had an inscription which read as follows:

The Lord Mayor of York, John Bowes Morrell and the Sheriff, Oscar F. Rowntree, send best wishes for a Happy Christmas and a bright New Year to all York men who are serving their King and Country. Christmas 1914.

The purpose of the gift was to give the soldiers a taste of home while they spent Christmas far away from their family and friends. The gift also included postcards, pencils and similarly practical gifts and was intended as a moral boaster as many people had expected the war to be over by Christmas 2014.

The gift was organised by the Lord Mayor, John Bowes Morrell and the Sherriff of York, Liberal politician Oscar Rowntree, a member of the family behind the Rowntree & Co chocolate factory. The gift was greatly appreciated by the York servicemen and over 250 “chocolate” thank you letters were written to the organisers.

During the Great War, Rowntree’s turned its large dining hall into a makeshift hospital with enough room for over two hundred injured servicemen. The Rowntree’s also set up the Friends Ambulance Unit which was used to assist the injured and also to deliver medical supplies. This service provided other pacifists with an alternative from serving in the forces.

Following the gift to York servicemen for Christmas 1914, there was a larger national campaign whereby the families of personnel serving in the war collected cocoa coupons in order to send tins of chocolate to their men fighting abroad. The campaign was so popular, that for Christmas 1915, every member of the military abroad received one of the King George Chocolate Tins.

During June 2018, a 103 year old tin, containing nine bars of chocolate of the original ten, was found among a collection of items belonging to Leicestershire Regiment soldier Richard Bullimore.

Troops serving in France during the first Christmas of the war were given the Colonies Gift Tins, made in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.

©Robbie Cheadle 2019

One of the reviews for the book

Sir Chocolate is “round and fat” and his wife Lady Sweet is described as wearing ” a stripy skirt and top.” They live in Chocolate land, where they “sell confectionery in a shop.” Their story is told in verse, as they search for “the amazing bean with flavours of strawberries.”
Robbie and her son Michael Cheadle have created a children’s book that is a delight to read, and beautifully illustrated with Robbie’s exquisite baking and fondant creations. Both children and adults will love this book.

The recipes at the end include Jolly Gingerbread Boys and Sir Chocolate Brownies.
The illustrations will compel the readers to bake…

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And on Amazon UK:

A selection of other Sir Chocolate stories co-written with Michael Cheadle and other books by Robbie Cheadle

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And on Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Robbie on Goodreads:

About Robbie Cheadle

Robbie, short for Roberta, is an author with five published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with her son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about her mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with her mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of Robbie’s children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications. Robbie has recently branched into adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential her children’s books from her adult writing, these will be published under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. Robbie has two short stories in the horror/supernatural genre included in Dark Visions, a collection of 34 short stories by 27 different authors and edited by award winning author, Dan Alatorre. These short stories are published under Robbie Cheadle.

I have been drawn to the horror and supernatural genres of books all my life. At the age of ten years old I embarked on reading Stephen King’s books including The Shining and Salem’s Lot. These books scared me so much I had to put them aside by 6P.M. in the evening in order to get a good night’s sleep but they also fascinated me. I subsequently worked my way through all of Stephen King’s earlier books as well as those of Dean R. Koontz.

I have read a large number of classics, in particular, I enjoy Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Charles Dickens and the works of the Bronte sisters.

I am hugely interested in the history of the United Kingdom as well as the mythology and tales of the paranormal that are abundant on this intriguing European island.

Connect to Robbie Cheadle

Website/Blog Roberta Writes:

My thanks to Robbie for sharing this series with us and please join us again next Monday for Part Five of York’s Chocolate Story..

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates #Reviews – Miriam Hurdle, Jessica Norrie, Cynthia Reyes and Gwendolyn Plano

The first book today to receive a recent review is Miriam Hurdle for her collection Songs of the Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude

About  Songs of Heartstrings

Human being has the willpower to travel through an exhausting journey, win a tough battle, and heal a deep wound. Strength from hope keeps us going until the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight and striving until the storm is over.

This poetic memoir comprises themes ranging from the suffering through an undesirable relationship, surviving an aggressive cancer, to the happiness in true love, the joy of parenthood, and gratefulness toward the Maker. Hurdle reveals the honest self-talk and reflects a heart filled with optimism, faith and trust. She illustrates the poems with her beautiful photos and paintings.

A recent review for the collection on Goodreads

Sep 14, 2019 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude is the first book of poems I’ve read by Miriam Hurdle. This collection was published in 2018 after the poet found hope through the many lessons she’d experienced in the previous years of her life. Nature inspired her, pushed her to conquer all the obstacles thrown in her path. Though not a frequent reader in this genre, I do review these works a few times each year, as I studied poetry in college and find myself interested in reading it on occasion. I am glad I chose this one and encourage others to give the author a chance too.

The collection is organized in a few manners: by type of poem and by category. In fact, to me, some were mini stories and not necessarily a poem. That said, the author clearly shows us that poetry comes in all forms. It’s not just about rhyming or repetition. Nature is the first focus, aptly titled Songs of Nature. I feel like Ms. Hurdle wrote her poems while sitting in nature, witnessing the great beauty of animals, insects, weather, trees, and other naturalistic parts of our world. Frequent photographs, some the author took herself, accompany the sections, showing us the inspiration of what led to the poem.

Rooted with some religious beliefs, the author connects with God to openly ask for help and thank the Creator for all that she’s been given. There is raw pain and innate fear in the words, but there is also hope and promise. At just the right moments, Ms. Hurdles takes a swift turn to share something more light and funny, almost poking a bit of amusement at something that tickles her in nature. It fits, almost matching the surprises in store for all of us throughout the day.

One of my favorites, A Tiny Spider, is simple but deep:

A tiny spider labors
every night to
spin his web in
perfect symmetry.
What an innate architect is he!
patiently watches for
his prey to volunteer.
Meal for the night and
reward for the
labor and wait.
Before dawn, down
his trap and hides away.
When the night is nigh
he starts his day.
Spins his web
again, again.

Covering other basic human emotions and complex dreams, we experience dissonance, physical healing, marriage, parenthood, tribute, reflection, challenge, and inspiration. I personally enjoyed the conversations with her parents, learning about how she connected with them from two continents so far apart. Kudos to the author for a wonderful opportunity to express herself and wade through the pain and sacrifice we encounter in life, only to find the ray of light through words and expressions. 4.5 stars for the full collection.

Read the reviews and buy the collection:

And on Amazon UK:

Read reviews and follow Miriam on Goodreads:

Connect to Miriam via her website:

The second author with a review is Jessica Norrie for her recently released book The Magic Carpet.

About The Magic Carpet

Outer London, September 2016, and neighbouring eight-year-olds have homework: prepare a traditional story to perform with their families at a school festival. But Nathan’s father thinks his son would be better off doing sums; Sky’s mother’s enthusiasm is as fleeting as her bank balance, and there’s a threatening shadow hanging over poor Alka’s family. Only Mandeep’s fragile grandmother and new girl Xoriyo really understand the magical powers of storytelling. As national events and individual challenges jostle for the adults’ attention, can these two bring everyone together to ensure the show will go on?

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

I must admit that I got an expected but completely welcome surprise when I read this book. The magic carpet is an intricate and beautifully told tale of a school project and several families involved. Each child in the class has been allocated a fairy story to take home and make their own any way they wish.

The narratives switches between each family and each chapter is dedicated to a different class member. Diverse, intriguing and almost voyeuristic, we are allowed to peep into the lives of each family as they tackle the homework project in very different ways. All the adults in the story are increasingly distracted by events in their own lives and it’s up to the children to bring everyone together.

I adore that Jessica Norrie has given each family a very unique identity through circumstances. culture and race. Each relationship and situation is delicately written and issues are tackled with sensitivity but bring he characters to life. I became invested in every single child in this novel.

This is a breathtaking and addictive story about stories, families and children.

Head over and buy the book:

And on Amazon US:

Also by Jessica Norrie in English and German

Read the reviews buy the books:

and on Amazon US:

Find more reviews on Goodreads:

Connect to Jessica via her blog:

The next author with reviews for her latest release is Cynthia Reyes, a gardening memoir – Twigs in my Hair.

About Twigs in my Hair

Author Cynthia Reyes returns with Twigs in My Hair, a book about her lifelong passion for gardens and nature and the surprising relationships and events involved. Gorgeous photographs by Hamlin Grange complement a humorous and profound story. A beautiful gift for gardeners and non-gardeners. Readers will meet a variety of interesting creatures, both human and animal, some of whom compete for gardening produce or gardening glory. You may conclude, after reading Twigs in My Hair, that the gardener’s love for growing things swings from reverence to mania. But there is also a deeply emotional side to this story about what happens when a passionate gardener can no longer do what she loves.

One of the recent reviews for the book

K. Pickering 5.0 out of 5 stars A Book to Savor September 7, 2019

I intended to take my time with this book… To read a few pages every day…make it last. I did not succeed. Every time it caught my eye it beckoned me back and just under 4 days later I was finished.

I would highly recommend “Twigs in my Hair” by Cynthia Reyes. She invites us into her world through her gardens, past and present. Her beautiful stories are accentuated by her husband’s (Hamlin Grange) striking photographs. Photographs that give us a glimpse into their gardens and their lives.

Thank you for allowing us to sit awhile in your gardens. Thank you for introducing us to your neighbors and friends. Thank you for sharing part of yourself, warts and all. We are richer for it. – Karen Pickering

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

Also by Cynthia Reyes

And co-written with Lauren Reyes-Grange – Illustrated by Jo Robinson

Read the reviews and buy the books:

And on Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Cynthia on Goodreads:

Connect to Cynthia via her website:

And the final author today with a recent review is Gwendolyn M. Plano for her memoir Letting To into Perfect Love.

About the book

Inspiring and unforgettable, Letting Go into Perfect Love is a riveting account of a journey through the terror of domestic violence to a faith that transforms all. As a college administrator, Gwendolyn M. Plano lived her professional life in a highly visible and accountable space–but as a wife and mother, behind closed doors, she and her family experienced unpredictable threat. The statistics are staggering–every 9 seconds in the United States, a woman is assaulted or beaten–but to Gwen, this was her secret; it was her shame. When her husband eventually turned his brutality on her son, she knew she could no longer remain silent.

Alternately heart-wrenching and joyful, this is a story of triumph over adversity–one woman’s uplifting account of learning how to forgive the unforgiveable, recover her sense of self, bring healing into her family, and honor the journey home. Accompanied by glimpses of celestial beings, Gwen charts a path through sorrow to joy–and ultimately, writes of the one perfect love we all seek.

The story that unfolds is not a blow-by-blow account of savagery hidden within a twenty-five-year marriage; rather, it is a walk through innocent dreams betrayed–to courage found. “Tragedy spares no one;” Gwen points out, “it just courts each of us differently. One way or another, it finds a path into our hearts, and there we do battle with the intruder.” As a survivor who came out of her unhealthy relationship determined to start over, Gwen artfully depicts the challenges of balancing the obligations of motherhood and career with her family’s healing process, while offering hope to anyone facing monumental challenges.

Integral to Gwen’s journey is her faith. Because of her Catholic upbringing, she struggles with the scandal of divorce, but finally makes her peace. When her daughter reveals her molestation by clergy, however, her fragile sense of serenity dissolves. We walk with Gwen as she tries to make sense of this horror. The agony experienced by the entire family is devastatingly palpable. Against all odds, Gwen emerges confident of her faith and begins to see the threads of meaning in even the darkest moments.

This is a book for all. But, for those who have been in a destructive relationship, Gwen’s story will be heartbreakingly familiar. For those who have been spared such diminishment, it will provide insight into the often misunderstood phenomenon of domestic violence. Since one in every four women will experience such threat in her lifetime, understanding that murky world may provide the reader with the skills needed to help his or her sister or friend or neighbor. Whether victim or friend, though, readers will be inspired by the author’s courage and ultimate resolution of her predicament. And, you may see your own challenges a little differently.

One of the recent reviews for the book

In her book Letting Go, Gwen Plano recounted her two abusive marriages in honesty and courage. She married the first husband after he had a mental breakdown. The psychiatrist gave her hope that Bruce could recover. She married him intending to help him and saved him from being admitted. She couldn’t handle his outrage and filed a divorce. She married Ron six months after they met. There were signs of Ron’s disturbed behavior, but Gwen stated that she was in a fantasy world of young love. In the years to come, Ron uprooted the family on minutes of notice and moved across the country and even to Japan. After they came back to the US, he was getting more violent, demeaning and controlling. He physically abused young son when the baby was seven months old. When the daughter was sexually abused at age five by clergies and complained about that years later, Ron didn’t want to deal with it.

During the twenty-five years of abuse, Gwen studied and taught. The workplace was her escape. The busyness kept them going for twenty-five years. At one point, she realized Ron made her feel “small.” In an abusive relationship, women kept the abuse in secret, fear the reporting results in more abuse. These women may fear of not being able to stand on their own feet.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

Also by Gwendolyn Plano and co-written with John W. Howell.

Read the reviews and buy the books:

and on Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Gwen on Goodreads:

You can find out more about Gwen on her website:

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

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Weekly Round Up – A Fairy Story, Evergreen, Chocolate, Health, New Books and Reviews oh and a lot of laughter..

Welcome to the round up of posts that you might of missed this week on Smorgasbord.

September 29th each year is a very special date for us… and I thought I would share with you a fairy story that explains its significance.

Once upon a time there was a red-headed girl who was assistant manager in a hotel in a small hamlet in Mid-Wales.  Bontddu ( the dd is th in Welsh and the u is ee so pronounced Bontthee) I mention this as my mother insisted on telling everyone that Sally was working in a hotel in Bonteedudu!

I had been there for 18 months and to be honest, the little time I had between shifts was spent either sleeping or walking (I had no car) to the two towns equal distance 5 miles each way. Dolgellau and Barmouth a delightful seaside resort with a long sandy beach.

I had been married before for seven years and that had foundered around the four year mark but dragged on for another three (I must have broken a mirror). I was quite determined that I was never getting married again after this experience, and to this end I still wore a wedding ring to deter any possible overtures I might have been lucky enough to receive.

On one sunny Snowdonia morning (rare at certain times of the year) I intercepted a phone call in reception from someone wishing to book two rooms for two weeks.  I will admit that I was quite taken with the soft Irish accent of the man on the other end of the phone, and having reserved the two rooms, I put the receiver down and turned to one of the receptionists and uttered the famous last words ” He sounds rather nice, I think I’ll marry him!”  Much hilarity ensued and a week went by.

On the day of the reservation I had been off for a few hours and returned to assume restaurant management duties.  In those days I was required to wear a long dress in the evenings at dinner and guests were formally accompanied to their tables.  It was not long before I identified the Irish accent as Room 40.  Tall, dark haired and very handsome, a veritable Prince Charming.  To be honest I was all of a twitter (not the 140 character kind) and during the course of my duties I enquired of room 40 if he had been given sufficient crackling….

To cut a short story even shorter.  I arranged a number of meetings and dinners for Room 40, and two weeks went by without so much of flicker of interest from said resident.  If not for the opportune intervention of a couple who were regular guests at the hotel it may well have remained a disappointing encounter.

They enquired, obviously in earshot of Room 40, if my divorce had been finalised.  I replied that I had received that particular gift on my birthday back in February, and that I was officially free again.  Well, talk about Speedy Gonzalez…. before I could say I was not that kind of girl, the next day I was taken out on my day off for lunch, treated to a Chinese Takeaway when I got off duty that night, and presented with a Celtic pendant for all my assistance..

There must have been more than MSG in the Chinese because I suddenly heard the words “I think there is only one thing for us to do, will you marry me”

I think my flabber must have been well and truly gasted because before I could laugh at this insane proposal, on our first date, barely past first name terms, I said yes.

That was 29th September 1980, 13 days after his arrival at the hotel and into my life. And forget the long engagement.  He found us a flat in Dolgellau, posted the bans at the local registry office and 39 years ago on November 15th, we were married on a wild and blustery Welsh morning.  Even more shocked than the bride where her parents, the groom’s parents and my boss.

After the proposal David left to get the flat organised whilst I went into the hotel for the normal busy Saturday.  My boss was enjoying his morning coffee with the local paper when I announced casually I was getting married… “Who the hell to”…was the response and mine ” Room 40″

We have travelled the world together, lived in 17 homes both temporary and permanent, worked side by side and on occasion in separate countries.  We have had our moments but they have been brief and usually down to me being a bit of a handful! We are best friends and have shared laughter, loss and humour, and somewhere I believe there is a very smug fairy godmother….

Time to get on with this week’s posts that you might have missed….

As always my thanks to contributors and guests who take the time to write such amazing posts, that are informative, entertaining and inspiring.  And to you for dropping in and being part of the week.

Jessica Norrie is exploring books that are set on the coastline in various places around the world. I love the sea and hope that when we buy our final house it has a view of the ocean and all its changing moods.

Today my guests is Abbie Johnson Taylor who shares her inspirations and writing with an excerpt from her latest release The Red Dress.

The York Chocolate Series – Part Three – Chocolate in wartime Second Anglo Boer War 1899 – 1902 – In 1899, war broke out for the second time between the British Empire and the two Boer Republics in South Africa. In advance of Christmas 1899, Queen Victoria asked Cadbury, which held a Royal Warrant as suppliers of cocoa and chocolate products, to produce tins of chocolate to send to the British men fighting in South Africa as a gift..

A combined post today with a new book promotion and my review for The Quest for Home, the second book in the Crossroads Trilogy by Jacqui Murray.

Previously  Imogen takes a temporary job selling advertising for a local paper and ends up running a very interesting section … selling personal services! Chapter Thirteen – Makeover and the art of buying a car.

Previously  Imogen went into Central London for a much needed makeover and shopping trip, which brought to mind her friends escapades when buying a new car. She now moves on to a private school where she finds more interesting characters. Chapter Fourteen – Mayhew School for Boys and Girls.

Time for this week’s response to Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 146 and this week we are tasked with finding synonyms for the words ‘Fall and Give‘.. and I have chosen ‘Drop and Gift’..

This week on the  Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills   the challenge was to write a story in 99 words on the subject of someone unremembered…The Close Match

This week I am going to Facebook in relation to book marketing and also the benefits of joining an exclusive watering hole on social media platforms

This week a song that many of us remember and still love today.. Evergreen by Barbra Streisand from the 1976 film “A Star is Born

Linda Thompson’s first post is a wonderful, nostalgic look back through the years to special family dinners and how it is so important that our elderly parents are given the opportunity to still feel useful in our lives. A Place at the Table for All

This is the final post from educator and author Pete Springer .I think most of us who have finished our careers allegedly to retire, find there are elements of our jobs that are missed, and in this post, Pete shares the ones that he misses the most about teaching. What I Miss Most About Being a Teacher by Pete Springer

This is the second post of Melanie Stewart, she is faced with a logistical nightmare to get on the road for a trip and deal with a sudden change to her 87 year old mother, Ginny’s cable set up. The Cable Debacle.

This is the second  post from Peter Mohan who blogs at Cheers, Govanhill as his alter ego .. Boy David. I selected this post as we head into the late autumn and we get visitors both of the garden variety and field. Footprints in the Butter – Cheers Govanhill.

a collage of mice, all over the flat

New books on the shelves

Author Updates – Reviews and offers.

The major organs and systems of the body – The female reproductive system, the endocrine system and hormones.


The obesity epidemic and finding a point to intervene in the life cycle – this week the diet of two to seven year olds, can determine their health in adulthood.


Thank you so much for being part of the week here on Smorgasbord, and I hope you have enjoyed your visit.. please pop in again next week.. thanks Sally.



Smorgasbord Short Stories – Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction – The Close Match by Sally Cronin

This week on the  Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills   the challenge was to write a story in 99 words on the subject of someone unremembered…

Also Charli shares the news that the Carrot Ranch Rodeo contest is back from next week for the month of October. There is a chance to be critiqued by Charli and also a prize for the winners. Head over to find out more.

The Close Match

Isobel held her mother’s hand tightly as the door to the café opened, and a man walked in and looked around. It had been an emotional few weeks since the DNA close match had been found on the genealogy database. Her mother, abandoned as a toddler on the doorstep of an orphanage, had no memories of her family, long giving up hope of finding them. The man looked over to their table and her mother gasped as she saw his shock of red hair and green eyes. His face lit up and smiling he hurried towards them, twins reunited.

©Sally Cronin 2019

If you would like to participate in this week’s challenge, here is the link:

I have a number of short story collections and you can find my books and their reviews:

I hope you enjoyed my bit of flash and your feedback is always welcome.. thanks Sally.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Sunday Author Interview – Abbie Johnson Taylor with an excerpt from The Red Dress

I am delighted to welcome back author Abbie Johnson Taylor to the Sunday Interview and before we find out which questions she has selected, let me introduce her properly.

About Abbie Johnson Taylor.

I live in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, I cared for my late husband Bill, totally blind, who was partially paralyzed by two strokes soon after we were married. Before that, I was a registered music therapist and worked for fifteen years in a nursing home and other facilities that served senior citizens. I have a visual impairment, and during this time, I facilitated a support group for others like me. I also taught braille and served on the advisory board of a trust fund that allows persons with blindness or low vision to purchase adaptive equipment and services.

I’m the author of a romance novel, two poetry collections, and a memoir and am working on another novel. My poems, short stories, and essays have been published in various journals and anthologies. I belong to several writers’ organizations and a women’s singing group and take water exercise classes at the YMCA

We will take a look at Abbie’s books later in the post including The Red Dress with an excerpt from this latest release.

Welcome back to Smorgasbord Abbie. When you look back on your life, what key elements such as childhood, education, inspiration, experience motivated you to write?

My writing is mostly influenced by memories of my younger years and stories I hear. I was inspired to write my new novel, The Red Dress, after attending a memoir writing workshop where an elderly woman shared a similar true story about a red blouse. Her story’s ending isn’t the same as mine.

How long have you been an author, and how has your writing changed between your first and most recent book?

I started writing in 2000 as a hobby while I was a registered music therapist, working full-time in nursing homes and other facilities that served senior citizens. Five years later when I married my late husband Bill, he persuaded me to quit that and write full-time, which was what I wanted to do.

Since then, I’ve published five books. Through years of participation in writers’ groups and workshops and reading books on craft, I learned when to show and not tell and how to write effective dialog. I still need to work on description, but at least I know when it’s not relevant to a story.

Are your books indie or mainstream published and please tell us about your publishing process and the pitfalls you may have encountered?

Most of my books are self-published. Only my poetry chapbook was produced by a traditional publisher, Finishing Line Press.

My first two books were published by iUniverse. I found them hard to work with because they charged way too much for just the production of the book, which did not include copyediting. The proofs they emailed me weren’t accessible to the screen reading software on my computer. After my first novel was released, I kept receiving phone calls from the same person in the marketing department, trying to sell me this or that expensive promotion package, which I thought was inappropriate.

With Finishing Line Press, everything had to be submitted in both hard copy and electronically, which was inconvenient, time-consuming and, I thought, unnecessary. They also expected to receive a certain number of pre-orders for the book. When that didn’t happen, I was expected to pay the balance for the book’s production. This is ridiculous, and I doubt I’ll work with them again.

My last two books were produced by DLD Books in Denver, Colorado. David and Leonore Dvorkin are also authors with published books, and their business helps writers with copyediting and formatting books for Amazon, Smashwords, and other online retailers. The books are made available in print and eBook formats. For the benefit of those, like me, who have an impairment that makes reading difficult, the Kindle versions are text-to-speech enabled. They do great work, and their rates are reasonable. As long as they’re in business and willing to work with me, I won’t publish with anyone else.

What would be your advice for an aspiring author before they put pen to paper?

Do a lot of reading. Read books in the genre in which you wish to write. Also, you should read books on craft in your particular genre and subscribe to such magazines as The Writer and Poets and Writers. These offer advice and information about markets where you can submit your work. And of course, learning proper grammar usage is important, maybe not for fictional characters but definitely for narrative. Find local, state, and national writing groups in which you can participate, especially those that offer feedback on your work. Don’t feel like you have to do any of this before you start writing. I’ve published five books, and I still do these things.

What is your editing process, and do you use any software that you have found particularly helpful?

Because my late husband was a baseball fan, I’ve developed the three-strikes-and-you’re-out approach to editing. I read through a manuscript three times before submitting it. Why stop there? You can edit and edit and edit until the cows come home, but you’ll never get anything published. Even now, when I read something that has already been published, I see something I could have written differently.

I use Microsoft Word for most of my writing projects. Because of my visual impairment, I use screen reading software that tells me what I’m writing and helps me navigate the screen. I also use a braille display.

About the Red Dress

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

An excerpt from the book

“Oh, look at this!” said Charlene.

Eve turned and could only stare at the bright red dress she’d almost forgotten.

Charlene held the garment at arm’s length, admiring the three–quarter–length sleeves, low neckline, and gathered waist. “Oh, my God! This is beautiful! Where did you get it, and why do you keep it way off to one side in your closet?”

Eve then heard on the radio the mellow strains of “Lady in Red,” the song she’d pushed to the back of her mind and hoped never to hear again.

Charlene laid the dress on Eve’s bed and hurried to her side. Kneeling and taking her hand, she said, “Hey, what is it?”

Eve could hold back no longer. With tears streaming down her face, she said, “I wore that dress, and we danced to that song.”

“Oh, God,” said Charlene, leaping to her feet. She hurried to her side of the room and turned off the radio, then returned.

The next thing Eve knew, she was crying on Charlene’s shoulder as her roommate knelt on the floor next to her chair and held her. The incident had occurred several months earlier, but the wound was still fresh. Finally, when no more tears would come, Eve sat up and blew her nose.

Head over to buy the book:

and on Amazon UK:

Other books by Abbie Johnson Taylor

One of the recent reviews for My Ideal PartnerAmazon

After having just lost my husband 6 weeks ago to brain cancer and being his caregiver, I found myself in this book. Similar thoughts and feelings. I never knew before I was one how difficult it was to be a caregiver. Watching your big strong husband decline and doing everything in your power to try and ease their suffering is beyond difficult. This was a very good book and well-written. What a beautiful love they shared. Anyone who’s gone through a similar situation will relate and those that haven’t will gain some insight into our world.

Read the reviews and buy the books:

Read the reviews and follow Abbie on Goodreads:

Connect to Abbie


Thank you for dropping in today and I am sure that Abbie would love to receive any questions or comments that you might have for her.. thanks Sally

CarolCooks2…Weekly roundup…The world around us…Climate Change, health and more…


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Originally posted on Retired? No one told me!:
Welcome to this weeks roundup…I have lots of goodies you…something for everyone I hope…Recipes…A pie… it was National Pie Day, some health facts from Sally, of course, Whimsical Wednesdays when I indulge…