January 30: Flash Fiction

Get ready to flex your creative muscles for this week’s Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction set by Charli Mills.. this week the prompt is a mail carrier in extreme conditions… I look forward to seeing the recap.. I am sure there will be some great responses.

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

A wisp of tarragon grows from a small pot in my windowsill, a gentle summer monk on a cold winter path to enlightenment. Or maybe not. Maybe, a frail twig of indoor tarragon dreams that one day it might be a hardy spear outside rooted in real dirt. How about — the emergence of tarragon in winter was unexpected as a pregnancy at age 50. Even — the tarragon leaned like a colt on spindly legs toward the window, seeking sunnier pastures.

What am I doing here, you might be pondering? I’m characterizing the upstart of growth in my kitchen herb box, surprised by the frail determination of tarragon I thought dormant. You see, this term of my MFA focuses on character development. Not only do I get to be Dr. Frankenstein to Danni Gordon, but I’m also tasked to bring life to her novel-mates. Thus, I’m practicing on a…

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Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Friday January 31st 2020 – #Justice Peter Springer, #WATWB D.G. Kaye, #Grief When Women Inspire

A thought provoking post from retired teacher Pete Springer on the subject of exclusion from school due to a different opinion on acceptable hairstyles.

Standing Up for What’s Right

Equal Rights for All

I had never heard of DeAndre Arnold before today, but after learning of his story, I feel compelled to speak out on his behalf. DeAndre is a senior at Barbers Hill High School in Mont Belvieu, Texas. By all accounts, he is a good student who has never been in trouble.

Arnold has not been in school for weeks, but this is not a matter of illness or truancy. His absence is related to the decisions of the Barbers Hill Independent School District.

Arnold has worn his hair in dreadlocks for years. He is not just making a fashion choice; it is his way of expressing his support for his Trinidad culture and heritage. DeAndre has tried to observe the school’s dress code by tying his hair up and wearing it, so it is above his shoulders and out of his eyes. Even though he would prefer to wear his hair down, he has made this decision to follow the school’s rules. (I would like to show a picture of Arnold’s clean-cut appearance, but I do not have permission to publish his photo.)

Head over to read the rest of Pete’s post and leave your comments there: Standing up for What’s Right by Pete Springer

Pete Springer, Buy: Amazon USand: Amazon UK – Website: Pete Springer WordPress

Being the last Friday of the month it is time for #WATWB on D.G. Kaye’s blog…and she is showcasing a young guy who should be in the headlines….

#WATWB – We are the World Blogfest -One Man’s Journey to Speak With 10,000 Strangers

Welcome back to the first share for 2020 of the We are the World Blogfest – #WATWB. The community where each last Friday of the month, we share something good going on around the world to deflect from some of the bad news we get plenty of and promote good deeds and random acts of kindness. Today I’m sharing a wonderful idea this man has ventured into on a mission to ignite kindness, communication and compassion incorporated into his daily living.

I felt drawn to this particular act because I believe the world is so embedded in their technology and digital media world, and it’s not hard to notice in every public space that human relations: making eye contact with a stranger, common courtesy, polite salutations, seem to be eroding with time.

Head over to find about Rob Lawless, a 28-year-old extrovert from Philadelphia who is making a difference to strangers every day: WATWB One man’s journey to speak with 10000 strangers with D.G. Kaye

D. G. Kaye – Buy: Amazon USAndAmazon UK    BlogD.G. WritesGoodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads

There are not many of us, especially when you reach my age of 67, who have not experienced loss. Whilst accepting that it is a part of our life cycle does not lessen the grief  that can impact us in so many different ways, at home, work, health and in relationships.

In this post Christy Birmingham’s guest writer Stella Ryne shares some ways to help work through this natural part of our life’s profess.

After losing a loved one, 4 ways to get back on your feet

Losing a loved one: Grieving process

Losing a loved one is one of the hardest moments of a person’s life, explains Stella in this guest post. Something inside you breaks and you feel like it is never going to heal.

The period after the death of a loved one is very hard for those who remain behind. It takes time to adapt to the new situation and to move forward with that hole in your heart. It’s a slow process but certain things can help you get back on your feet a bit sooner.

1. Create a ritual

Traditional rituals like the funeral or going to the church aren’t what I’m referring to here. It’s about creating a ritual you will do by yourself, privately.

For example, maybe you can continue doing errands you did with your loved one to keep the memory alive. Or you can wash the car every weekend, just like your family member or friend did.

The point is that this ritual that you choose to do helps you go through grief without feeling a deep loss and hopeless sadness. In a way, you gain control over your life and you are also able to reflect on the memories of your loved one without getting too upset.

Every ritual is deeply personal, so find an activity or an event through which you can honour the person who died. It will help you conjure positive memories about that person, the ones you shared, and you will also be reminded of the person’s positive qualities.

Head over to read the rest of strategy #1 and the other three important elements: After Losing a Loved One – Christy Birmingham

Stella Ryne is an art historian, traveler, conscious consumer, and a proud mother. When she is not trying to improve the things around her (and herself, for that matter), she likes to lose herself in a good book.

She’s deeply into green practices, cherishing the notion that sustainable living and sustainable travel will not only make us far less dependent on others regarding the dwellings we inhabit and what we eat, but also contribute to our planet being a better place to live on. Stay in touch with Stella via Twitter and Facebook.

About When Women Inspire

Are you looking for inspiration? Hope? Do you want to learn about how women are changing the world every single day? Then you’ve come to the right place.

When Women Inspire is dedicated to showcasing the efforts of women around the world to change the world in positive ways. These are women making social, economic, literary, political or educational waves – in a great way.

Christy Birmingham is also available as a freelance writer and is a published poet – to find out more visit: About When Women Inspire

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope that you will head over to read these posts in full.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2020 – Jan Sikes Top-Ten Book List for 2019

Welcome to the current series of Posts from Your Archives in 2020 and if you would like to participate with two of your posts from 2019, you will find all the details in this post: New series of Posts from Your Archives 2020

This is the first post by award winning author Jan Sikes  and she shares her top ten of books that she read in 2019.

It is always a challenge to pick just ten books from the many books I read each year. Because it was so difficult this year, I have listed a Bonus book and also some fabulous short stories. I hope you enjoy my Top Ten, and if you see a book that catches your interest, click on the purchase link and add it to your TBR list!












Purchase Links:


©Jan Sikes 2019

About Jan Sikes

Multi-Award winning author, Jan Sikes, began her writing career as a young girl. Her first work was a gospel song. She had an uncle whom she loved dearly, but he was an alcoholic and his drinking caused such family discord that at times, resulted in him being banished from their home. So, she wrote a song about Uncle Luke finding Jesus. That is her first memory of feeling the passion deep down to her toes for writing and for music.

When her husband passed away in 2009, she thought someone would come along and write the story of his unique and inspiring life. She awoke one morning to realize she was the only one who could write it, since she was the only one there with him through it all. So, she took several Creative Writing courses at local community colleges and went to work.

Her books are true stories about the journey of two people moving through adversity in order to grow and learn to become better humans. She believes with all her heart there is something worthy of sharing in these stories. Bits and pieces of wisdom, hard-learned lessons and above and beyond all, love…True love that you read about in fiction stories and yet this is truth. The old saying that truth is stranger than fiction fits these stories.

She also releases a music CD of original songs along with each book that fits the time period of the story. Why? Because the stories revolve and evolve around a passion for music.

Jan has also developed several writing workshops that you can get more information about on her website.

She is widowed, lives in North Texas, volunteers at music festivals, has five incredible grandchildren and serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas Authors Institute of History, The North Texas Book Festival and the Texas Musicians Museum.

A selection of  books by Jan Sikes

One of the recent reviews for Jewel

BookLover1013 4.0 out of 5 stars Jewel Brightly Shines January 7, 2020

This story parallels one of my favorite tunes — an entertaining variation. Born poor white trash, Jewel is scared, and her momma’s sick. They don’t have money for food or rent, but Jewel and her sister are handed over to others who will change their lives: Jewel’s in a far different way than her sister’s. Confused, Jewel must trust her mother to do what’s right to save them. How sad to leave what you know, even if lacking comfort and necessities, for an uncertain future. A great short read with a consistent tempo, I finished it in one sitting and enjoyed it thoroughly.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And Amazon UK: Amazon UK

And find more reviews and follow Jan: Goodreads

Connect to Jan

Website: Jan Sikes
Blog: Jan Sikes WordPress
Facebook: Author Jan Sikes
Twitter: @rijanjks

My thanks to Jan for sharing her recommended reads for 2019 and I hope you will head over to explore them on Amazon… More from Jan next week… Thanks for dropping by…Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves #Pre-Order and my advance review for Little Tea by Claire Fullerton

I was delighted to be asked to read and review an advance copy of the new novel, Little Tea by Claire Fullerton which is now on Pre-Order on Amazon for May 1st.

About the book.

Southern Culture … Old Friendships … Family Tragedy

One phone call from Renny to come home and “see about” the capricious Ava and Celia Wakefield decides to overlook her distressful past in the name of friendship.

For three reflective days at Renny’s lake house in Heber Springs, Arkansas, the three childhood friends reunite and examine life, love, marriage, and the ties that bind, even though Celia’s personal story has yet to be healed. When the past arrives at the lake house door in the form of her old boyfriend, Celia must revisit the life she’d tried to outrun.

As her idyllic coming of age alongside her best friend, Little Tea, on her family’s ancestral grounds in bucolic Como, Mississippi unfolds, Celia realizes there is no better place to accept her own story than in this circle of friends who have remained beside her throughout the years. Theirs is a friendship that can talk any life sorrow into a comic tragedy, and now that the racial divide in the Deep South has evolved, Celia wonders if friendship can triumph over history.

My review for Little Tea January 26th 2020

Little Tea is a simple title that belies a story that is both complex and compelling. Beautifully written, the novel moves seamlessly between the 1980s Memphis and the present, as we become fascinated by the family dynamics, and events that would change the lives of those touched by them. It is a book you will be reluctant to put down, and with some unexpected twists to the story it will keep you captivated to the end.

The story begins with three friends who arrange to meet in a lake house at Heber Springs Arkansas, a few hours outside Memphis. They are coming together in support of Ava, who is experiencing a crisis in her marriage and nomadic lifestyle. The other two women are very different, with Renny the self-sufficient and straight talking veterinarian and Celia, who the author describes as the ‘the friend in the middle, neutral ground, the interpreter’. She is also the narrator of the story as it unfolds.

Others from the past arrive at the lake house, stirring up long forgotten emotions, resulting in Celia in particular, to revisit her childhood and teenage years, despite it raising painful memories she has chosen to bury for over twenty years.

We return at pivotal moments in her story to the 1980s, and begin to see faint cracks appearing in both family relationships and key friendships, as long accepted social mores continue to fade into the past. Just because a law changes, adherence does not happen overnight, particularly when a family is multi-generational, and the young are quicker to adopt the new and more inclusive approach to the way they interact socially.

This is where we meet Little T or Thelonia, daughter of the foreman of the Wakefield cotton fields and plantation, whose family has been in service to the Wakefields for generations. Little T and Celia at age ten are best friends, and with Celia’s brother Hayward two years older often in attendance, they have the freedom to roam the plantation and surrounding countryside together.

All the strands of this compelling story come back to Little T at the centre. She is the catalyst of the events that unfold and will change the lives of the Wakefield family forever. What is acceptable at ten years old is frowned upon in adulthood, and even those who appear to have embraced the new future, hide deeply ingrained prejudices.

The book is beautifully written with a flow that is not disrupted by the time shifts within the story. The characters are wonderfully crafted and even those with more than their share of human flaws, are easy to visualise and connect to. It is a book you will be reluctant to put down, and with some unexpected twists to the story it will keep you captivated to the end.

Pre-Order the Ebook and Print edition at a special price: Amazon US

And : Amazon UK

Also by Claire Fullerton

Read the reviews and buy the books : Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

Read other reviews and follow Claire on : Goodreads

About Claire Fullerton

Claire Fullerton hails from Memphis, TN. and now lives in Malibu, CA. with her husband and 3 German shepherds. She is the author of Mourning Dove, a coming of age, Southern family saga set in 1970’s Memphis. Mourning Dove is a five-time award winner, including the Literary Classics Words on Wings for Book of the Year, and the Ippy Award silver medal in regional fiction ( Southeast.) Claire is also the author of Dancing to an Irish Reel, a Kindle Book Review and Readers’ Favorite award winner that is set on the west coast of Ireland, where she once lived. Claire’s first novel is a paranormal mystery set in two time periods titled, A Portal in Time, set in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.

She is a contributor to the book, A Southern Season with her novella, Through an Autumn Window, set at a Memphis funeral ( because something always goes wrong at a Southern funeral.) Little Tea is Claire’s 4th novel and is set in the Deep South. It is the story of the bonds of female friendship, healing the past, and outdated racial relations. Little Tea is the August selection of the Pulpwood Queens, a Faulkner Society finalist in the William Wisdom international competition, and on the long list of the Chanticleer Review’s Somerset award. She is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Literary.

Connect to Claire

Website: Claire Fullerton
Blog: Claire Fullerton WordPress
Twitter: @Cfullerton3
Facebook: Claire Fullerton

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will head over and enjoy the pre-order price for this wonderful novel. thanks Sally.

Life Stories of a Bench

A wonderful selection of flash fiction involving a park bench gif that time shifts throughout the day… Head over to Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch to read this weeks stories… #recommended

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

In a single timeline, a clock ticks off the day in a life of a bench. It stands alone until people emerge and interact. The stories this bench could tell from dramas to tragedies to comedies to everyday people doing everyday things.

And that’s what writers got to do this week — capture those life stories of a bench. Who are the women in conversation? Why was the man left standing with roses? Some writers had fun with the word bench in its different variations. Gather around the bench for some tales!

The following is based on the January 23, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a park bench.

https://66.media.tumblr.com/5f96e62c4e0801ac15197bb4696d4afd/tumblr_pmwougFDsl1rcicodo1_540.gifv?fbclid=IwAR1b4djHeZpZ9cE4hASngWsF39GV_uymXOTi9LZaa7HanZOtRQe2YVQEVjYPART I (10-minute read)

Secrets and Momentsby DG Kaye

If I could tell you I would. It’s my job here to offer a place to rest your weary selves. All knowing, listening…

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Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Poetry Balroop Singh, #Children Janice Spina, #Poetry Bette A. Stevens

Welcome to the third update this week for authors on the shelves of the bookstore with recent reviews.

The first author today is Balroop Singh with a review for her poetry collection Timeless Echoes.

About the book

Certain desires and thoughts remain within our heart, we can’t express them, we wait for the right time, which never comes till they make inroads out of our most guarded fortresses to spill on to the pages of our choice. This collection is an echo of that love, which remained obscure, those yearnings that were suppressed, the regrets that we refuse to acknowledge. Many poems seem personal because they are written in first person but they have been inspired from the people around me – friends and acquaintances who shared their stories with me.

Some secrets have to remain buried because they are ours
We do share them but only with the stars
The tears that guarded them were as precious as flowers
Soothing like balm on festering scars.

While there are no boxes for grief and joy, some persons in our life are more closely associated with these emotions. Their separation shatters us, their memories echo, we grieve but life does not stagnate for anyone…it is more like a river that flows despite the boulders. When imagination and inspiration try to offer solace, poetry that you are about to read springs forth.

A recent review for the collection

Robbie Cheadle 5.0 out of 5 stars Deep and meaningful freestyle poetry January 22, 2020

I started reading this collection of poetry by Ms Singh without reading the blurb and I soon picked up the subtle undertones of wistfulness and almost melancholy that run through these poems, linking them all with this common theme. This did make sense to me as the book is called Timeless Echoes. After I had finished the book, I looked up the blurb and knew that the emotions I had sensed were indeed a vital part of the book as the poems are intended to reverberate with the reader in the manner of the echoes of past loves, yearnings and regrets.

This is not to say that the poems are sad or depressing as there are many delightfully uplifting ideas that support the fact that who we are is a factor of the events and circumstances of our lives. The echoes of past joys, pains, trails, failures and successes are woven through the fabric of our souls.

“The dew on my dreams is still fresh

Sunbeams add a sparkle” is one of these inspirational lines from a poem called Echoes Of Life.

Some of the poems dwell on a love lost in the past:

“I know I made a wrong choice

Intoxicated by the wine of youth” from Silent Echo are lines from such a poem.

The poem reflects on life’s fleetingness and impermanence:

“Echoing within her … nothing is permanent from Captive.

There are reminiscences of love lost or unworthy:

“Dark despotic attitude…

Arguments I could never win” from Sardonic Shadows

I enjoyed these deep and meaningful freestyle poems and recommend this book to lovers of poetry and life.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Also by Balroop Singh

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Balroop on: Goodreads

Connect to Balroop via her blog: Balroop Singh on WordPress

Now a recent review for the third book in the Abby and Holly Series: Secrets of the Trunk by award winning author Janice Spina..

About the book

Join Abby and Holly in Book 3 as the cousins discover a new presence in their old Victorian while they are cleaning out the library of old books. They are not sure if this specter is benign or otherwise. This being leads them to the old trunk they discovered in Book 2 which holds many secrets and puzzles that they feel compelled to solve.

They enlist the help of their ghost friend, Felicity, who inhabits their home. She is a benevolent entity that once lived in their house from a century ago. She watches over the girls and vows never to leave them unless they request her to do so.

There will be surprises and ghostly visits that will keep readers enthralled as Abby and Holly work together to uncover the secrets of the trunk.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Nov 24, 2019 Victoria Zigler rated it it was amazing Five Stars

This was an excellent read for middle graders, and those who are grown up but still enjoy children’s stories – especially fans of paranormal mysteries. The whole series teaches valuable life lessons children should be taught – and even some of us adults could sometimes do with a reminder of – but in a fun way. As with the previous books, this one has a fantastic plot, and a wonderful cast of well-rounded and relatable characters.

A very small selection of children’s books by Janice Spina

Also as J.E. Spina

Read the reviews and buy the booksAmazon US

and on: Amazon UK

Find more reviews and follow Janice: Goodreads

Connect to Janice via her blog: Jem’s Books

The final author and poet today is Bette A. Stevens and a recent review for her poetry collection My Maine.

About My Maine

Inspired by The Pine Tree State—Maine’s diverse landscape, natural beauty, rural communities, and independent people—the author’s 150 haiku poems, along with her photographs, reflect the Maine she knows and loves. Bette A. Stevens’s imagery draws the reader into her world of wonder and delight. My Maine takes readers on a poetic journey through Maine’s four seasons. Whether you’re a native Mainer or from away, Stevens’s short story poems and photographs will resonate.

The collection opens with a haiku tribute, “Maine Pines and People.” The journey continues with the rejuvenating spirit of “Spring Awakenings” and “Summer Songs”; then on to more of the magic and majesty of the places and people of Maine in “Autumn Leaves” and “Winter Tales.” This is a poetry collection to be slowly savored, made even more delectable with the author’s original drawings and photographs. In addition to its poems and photographs, My Maine includes state symbols and interesting facts about The Pine Tree State.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

‘My Maine’ is a gem of a poetry book celebrating the state of Maine through 150 haikus. Bette A. Stevens captures the essence and heart of Maine with wonderful and evocative poetry that flows easily from one to the next. Divided into four seasons each page is accompanied by a photograph taken by the poet, all stunning, reflecting the brimming beauty of her words. I am in awe how the poet has not only managed to bring alive the grandeur of the landscape, its mountains, pine trees and lakes but also writes with skill and a sense of humour about the minutiae of life in the state! The writer’s keen observation of life is evident throughout and her passion for nature and the wildlife is extraordinary and she conveys this to the reader with exemplary skill. This is a book I treasure and which I’ve read many times. I’m absolutely captivated by the ‘story’ of Maine, a state I feel I can now rightly call, every so slightly, ‘My Maine’!

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And : Amazon UK

Also by Bette A. Stevens

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and Amazon UK: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Bette: Goodreads

Connect to Bette A. Stevens via her blog:  4 Writers and Readers

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

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Thursday January 30th 2020 – #DeltaPearl Teagan Geneviene, #VirusOutbreak Janet Gogerty, #1917Movie Geoff Le Pard

The first post is for all Delta Pearl fans with the post from Saturday by Teagan Geneviene. We left the ship in a cloud of noxious smoke and fumes and the Captain severely compromised… we pick up the story as the smog clears and the casualties are attended to by the crew members and a very helpful passenger.

Photo by Dan Antion

Photo by Dan Antion

The #steampunk riverboat is back, my chuckaboos!

My Writing Process

From the beginning, back in the original version of The Delta Pearl, I wanted to give the story two unique characteristics (along with the magical riverboat setting). One was the gemstone names for the crew. The other was having the crew be from many different places.

Agate, the Cook, is from Scotland. I had been wanting to give her more dialogue. When Carol left bloomers as a “random reader thing” I knew how I wanted to use it.

When we were discussing gemstone names, Dan Antion, who also lets me use a lot of his photographs, mentioned Malachite. Since I was already aware of the hazards of working with the gem, I knew it was perfect. I should have listed it as a thing last time, but the simple truth is, I forgot. This chapter’s other random thing is crochet hook from Resa.

Thanks to everyone who responded to my “call for things” last weekend. I’ve added them to my story matrix. Everyone is still welcome to leave a random thing — that existed in the Victorian or Steam Era, please do so in a comment. I love to give shout-outs for the things.

Are you ready?

All aboard! The Delta Pearl Chapter 21 — Poison

Bloomer-Club-cigars-satire Wikipedia

Bloomer Club Cigar 1890, Wikipedia. Cigar box illustration meant as satire of “athletic bloomers” for women

Head over to read this entertaining episode of The Delta Pearl: The Delta Pearl – 21 – Poison by Teagan Geneviene

Teagan Geneviene – Buy: Amazon US – and : Amazon UK – Blog: Teagan’s BooksGoodreads: Goodreads


It would be difficult not to miss the headlines on the latest virus to catch planes and spread like wildfire. Janet Gogerty shares her concerns, which I am sure are ones that are in all our minds. Especially if you have plans for several flights in the coming few months. Janet shares her experiences working at Heathrow during the SARS outbreaks in 2002 and 2004.

Worrying on Wednesday

The coronavirus has brought back memories of SARS and other health scares:
SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) is caused by the SARS coronavirus, known as SARS CoV. Coronaviruses commonly cause infections in both humans and animals.
There have been 2 self-limiting SARS outbreaks, which resulted in a highly contagious and potentially life-threatening form of pneumonia. Both happened between 2002 and 2004.

Hmm, it looks like coronavirus is SARS replayed. For those of us who are not scientists what the initials stand for is the scary part – you can breathe it in, it floats in the air.

Thinking of SARS reminded me of a visit to my doctors at that time, as an afterthought I asked him about TB. A while before, I had a medical for a job application for a council run playgroup ( for my sake or the children’s I’m not sure ) and passed, but was told I had no immunity to TB. I don’t think we were immunised when I was a teenager in Australia, TB was a thing of the past? Up until then it had not occurred to me to be worried about TB, now I asked what I should do.

You can read the rest of Janet’s post on TB and SARS: Worrying on Wednesday by Janet Gogerty

Janet Gogerty, Buy: Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Goodreads: Goodreads – Blog: Tidal Scribe WordPress

Now a review for a movie we have been talking about going to see. After reading Geoff Le Pard’s review for 1917, we will stop talking about it and go and see.

Mud And Cherry Blossom #filmreview #1917

I suppose there have been one million films about the First World War, covering the battles, the human cost, the losses, the stupidity, the heroism and everything in between.

So why would Sam Mendes, brilliant director as he is, think he had a unique take on the subject? Why would we?

As usual partly it’s the story, this one set over a few hours in April 1917; partly its the acting. But mostly I think it’s the cinematography.

It’s filmed as if in real time. We meet the two heroes resting in a field. Their Sergeant calls them to come with him, to see the General, to receive orders. One has a Brother in a regiment, far ahead of the British lines. Received wisdom has it the Germans are retreating and this regiment is after them, intent on undertaking a devastating attack. But it’s a trick. Aerial evidence shows how well dug in the Germans are. If the orders to attack at dawn aren’t rescinded the whole regiment might be lost. 1600 men including the brother.

Head over to read Geoff’s compelling review of 1917: Mud and Cherries – Review 1917 by Geoff Le Pard

Geoff Le Pard, Buy: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Website: Geoff Le PardGoodreads:  Geoff on Goodreads

71oYPlm6ZdL._UX250_My father and other liars v 4

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to read these posts in full.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #WritingCommunity – We all need help and advice…paying it forward by Jane Risdon

Welcome to the current series of Posts from Your Archives in 2020 and if you would like to participate with two of your posts from 2019, you will find all the details in this post: New series of Posts from Your Archives 2020

This is the first post from Jane Risdon who share the generous spirit of the writing community and how it is a great feeling to be able to help a fellow author when they need advice or to tap into a special skill set, as it is usually reciprocated in turn.

We all need help and advice…paying it forward

It’s always good to be able to call upon other authors for help and advice when writing a story which might well require specialist knowledge.

I am always grateful to other authors and members of the Police and other related agencies for their advice and help if I am particularly stuck or in need of expert input when writing. It never ceases to amaze me how generous and helpful people can be when I want to pick their brains.

From time to time I have been asked to contribute my experience in the music business to help writers who have a musical background to their novels, and it is always fun to revisit my past life and help where I can.

I’ve often been asked to provide some of my limited forensic knowledge to help other authors who want to kill off a character or investigate a crime scene and are not sure how things work in the British system.

If it hadn’t been for my interest in Forensics Science, Criminal Justice and Archaeology I would’ve been completely stuck every time I’ve started to write a crime story, having to pester others more often.

I decided some years ago to try to help myself and improve my knowledge. I enrolled in 7 different university courses covering these topics – specially designed for crime writers and run by world acclaimed experts – so, although I am not an expert in such matters by a long chalk, I possibly have a better than average knowledge of these subjects – enough not to make basic mistakes and, as I said, if I get stuck I can call upon valued expert advice from other authors who have first-hand knowledge of such matters.

There are so many generous people who have taken time to help me I am reluctant to name any for fear of missing someone out. They know who they are and have my sincere thanks and appreciation for the time they’ve taken answering my questions.


I always like to thank those who have helped me, possibly by featuring them on my blog, sharing their posts, book details and launch events, and therefore it is especially lovely to receive such an acknowledgement from those I have helped – sometimes by way of a mention in their latest book credits.

One of several authors I helped a while back – with two different books in two different genres – has written a lovely thank you to me which is on her website. Just click below to read it. I am so chuffed to read this and also to know that her latest novel (paperback version) has acknowledged my help. I wish her much success with all her books.

A belated thank you from Jo Lambert

We all need help and advice and it is such a pleasure to pay it forward, to return the favour if and when I can, as others have done for me.

©Jane Risdon

Books by Jane Risdon

About the book

Under one cover for the first time a collection of Crime Shorts from Jane Risdon featuring previously unpublished stories which will have you on the edge of your seat. There is an extract from Jane’s forthcoming novel (series) Ms Birdsong Investigates Murder at Ampney Parva: Operation Matryoshka – with the title of Undercover – for those who’ve been awaiting this series about a former MI5 Intelligence Office, Lavinia Birdsong. There’s something for everyone who enjoys a good yarn and more twists and turns than Spaghetti Junction.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

I really loved this book. I discovered this author several years ago and have avidly followed her ever since. She has the ability to draw you into her stories and keep you hooked. Undercover Crime Shorts is a delicious mixture of intrigue and fast paced page turning stories, with plenty of red herrings to keep you guessing. I highly recommend this collection. Do check out her other books.

Also by Jane Risdon

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK

And: Amazon US

Read more reviews and follow Jane:Goodreads

About Jane Risdon

Jane Risdon has spent most of her life working in the International Music Business rubbing shoulders with the powerful and famous, especially in Hollywood.

Married to a musician and later working alongside him managing singers, musicians, songwriters, and record producers, she’s also facilitated the placement of music on successful television series and movie soundtracks.

With long-term friend, award-winning, best-selling author, Christina Jones – one-time fan-club secretary for Jane’s husband’s band – Jane has co-authored Only One Woman (Headline Accent) which is set in the UK music scene of 1968/69.
Recently Jane completed her first collection of short crime stories for publication – Undercover: Crime Shorts – published in both eBook and Paperback 2019 (Plaisted Publishing House Ltd).

Jane writes for online and print magazines and has contributed to 16 anthologies. She also has a blog and often hosts guest authors.

She is working on the sequel to Only One Woman as yet untitled, as well as a series of crime novels – Ms Birdsong Investigates – featuring former MI5 Intelligence Officer Lavinia Birdsong which she plans to complete in 2020. Her experience of working at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in her pre-music days has given her plenty of material for her crime/thrillers.

Her books are available in Waterstones and all good book stores as well as via various digital platforms.

Connect to Jane Risdon

Blog:  Jane Risdon WordPress
Facebook: Jane Risdon
Accent Press: Jane Risdon
Twitter: @Jane_Risdon
Instagram: Jane Risdon Writer

Thanks to Jane for sharing this post which is a reminder that as writers, no man or woman is an island. It says a great deal about our blogging community that there is such a generous spirit… Jane would love your feedback.. thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Health Column – Weekly Grocery Shopping List by Nutrient – Part Four – Phosphorus to Zinc

Last week I posted Part Three of this alternative shopping list by nutrient, as well as types of vitamins, water or fat soluble, and a basic list of essential nutrients the body needs to be healthy. At the end of the the posts, I will collate the foods into nutritional groups so that you can print off and refer to when doing your weekly shop.

I believe in eating, and eating all food groups, just moderating the amount that you eat based on your requirements. Your body knows how to process fresh food, raw and cooked from scratch. It is not designed to extract nutrients from manufactured foods which includes the majority that come in a packet, jar or can.

With that in mind here is part four of a shopping list that your body might write if it was capable. It does try to tell you that it is missing elements that it needs which is when you are sick.

Last year we ran a series on nutrients and the symptoms of deficiency.. and Carol Taylor provided very tasty recipes using ingredients to make sure you don’t lack certain vital vitamins and minerals. Cook from Scratch to avoid Nutritional Deficiency with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor

Minerals the body needs and the foods you should add to your shopping list.

Phosphorus: Essential for bone formation and production of red blood cells.   Also needed for the production of ATP fuel for energy. Small amounts are involved in most of the chemical reactions throughout the body.

Clinical studies have shown that calcium supplementation without enough phosphorus may actually lead to bone mass reduction. Although most calcium supplements are combined with Vitamin D to assist absorption, trials have shown that with the addition of phosphorus bone fractures in high-risk patients was reduced by 43% within 18 months. Not usually deficient but not usually in supplements to needs to be included the diet regularly.

Best food sources turkey and other poultry and meats, dairy products, beans Vegetarians need to include plenty of whole grains and nuts in their diet to ensure that they obtain sufficient phosphorus.

Potassium: This is the main cation (positively charged electrolyte). It reacts with sodium and chloride to maintain a perfect working environment in and around each cell. It allows the transmission of nerve impulses and helps maintain the correct fluid balance in the body.

It also regulates levels of acidity and alkalinity in the body. It is necessary for normal kidney function and it also plays a part in heart and bone health with a particular role in smooth muscle contraction. The heart muscle must maintain a smooth and regular heartbeat and correct levels of potassium in the body will help regulate this.

Deficiency is linked to high blood pressure and combined in a healthy diet with calcium and magnesium rich foods can go a long way to preventing this condition from developing.

A balance of potassium, calcium and magnesium is essential to maintain bone mass and a deficiency is linked to osteoporosis.

The best food sources are dried apricots, figs, bananas, pumpkinseeds, almonds, potatoes, green leafy vegetables, fish, avocados, beans, milk and most fruit and other vegetables.

Selenium: A very important trace mineral that activates an antioxidant enzyme called glutathione peroxidase, which may help protect the body from cancer. It is vital for immune system function and may help prevent prostate cancer. Selenium has a number of crucial functions within the body including playing a part in healthy growth and reproduction. It is also needed to keep some of your major organs healthy including the liver and the heart.

The best dietary sources are Brazil nuts, cashews, mushrooms soybeans, tuna, seafood, meat and whole grains. It is also found in yeast.

Sodium:This is an electrolyte (cation), which is a positively electrically charged atom that performs essential tasks within each cell. It is very easy to have too much sodium in your diet as it is added in too large quantities in cooking and in industrially manufactured foods. It is naturally occurring in vegetables, more than sufficiently for normal needs.

Excess sodium is related to elevated blood pressure levels when combined with chloride as common salt and should be reduced significantly in the diet. Sodium contents should be multiplied by 2.5 to identify the actual amount of salt being consumed and an area to look closely at if you have high blood pressure is the amount of sodium in any mineral water that you are consuming daily in quantity. If you are eating a diet rich in vegetables you will have sufficient for your body’s needs.

Zinc: A trace mineral that is a component in the body’s ability to repair wounds, maintain fertility, synthesis protein, cell reproduction, maintain eyesight, act as an antioxidant and boost immunity. It can be used topically for skin conditions. It is essential for a functioning metabolism and hormone production such as testosterone. It is also needed for the production of stomach acid. Too much zinc will depress the copper levels in the body.

The best food sources are seafood particularly oysters, pumpkinseeds, sesame seeds, wheat germ, egg yolks, black-eyed peas and tofu.

 ©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2020

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty- two years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2019-2020/

Next week Amino Acids, produced by the liver with some obtained from food… 

Thanks for dropping in and I hope you have found useful.. Sally