Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Blog magazine for lovers of health, food, books, music, humour and life in general

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Reflections – The Domino Effect

Earlier in the week D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies posted a very thought provoking reflection on life, especially at this point in time..

Reflections – The Domino Effect


The Domino Effect


I’ve preached to many on occasion over the last decade as I observe the world around me –  God is angry at what man has done to his world. He did it before with Noah’s Ark, and he can do it again and Mother Nature is not one to be fooled with – everyone has their breaking point.

This now, what we are experiencing – the higher powers that be slowing down civilization a beat, forcing us to take a look, both, inside and out.

The Domino Effect – Life in pause, a time to reflect #Coronavirus


Definitely worth heading over if you missed…

Source: Reflections – The Domino Effect


D. G. Kaye – Buy: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK    Blog: D.G. Writes – Goodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads

Check out Debby’s new series here on Smorgasbord  D.G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships 2020

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – April 30th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin

Welcome to today’s Laughter Lines with some funnies from Debby Gies, followed by some jokes from Sally

D.G. Writes is where you will find an archive full of wonderful posts across several subjects including writing tips, social issues and book reviews.

Thanks to Debby for finding this treasures… please give her a round of applause..

D. G. Kaye – Buy: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK    Blog: D.G. WritesGoodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads

Check out Debby’s new series here on Smorgasbord  D.G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships 2020

And now a joke or two from Sally…..stop me if you have heard them before….


An old lady complains to the police about the man next door who walks around his house naked with the curtains open.

‘But, madam,’ says the police officer as he peers from the old ladies window at the offending house, ‘you can’t see into his house from here.’

‘No,’ replies the old lady, ‘you have to climb onto the bookcase and look through the skylight.’


“How’s the flat you’re living in in London, Jock?” asks his mother when he calls home to Aberdeen.

“It’s okay,” he replies, “but the woman next door keeps screaming and crying all night and the guy on the other side keeps banging his head on the wall.”

“Never you mind,” says his mother, “don’t you let them get to you, just ignore them.”

“Aye, that I do,” he says, “I just keep playing my bagpipes.”


So a couple of neighbouring farmers are standing around talking. One goes you know, “I had a bull who just wouldn’t breed anything, so I took him to the vet and she gave me some pills to give to him. Well he bred all of my cows and jumped the fence and bred all of the neighbors cows!”
The other farmer looked at him and asked what kind of pills they were and the first one responds, “I don’t know, but they kinda taste like mint.”

Cat cartoons | Grains of Sand

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you are leaving with a smile on your face.. thanks Debby and Sally.



Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Share an Extract #Mystery Finding David by Stevie Turner

Welcome to the new Cafe and Bookstore  New Series 2020 – Share an Extract with an opportunity to show one of your earlier books some love and attention by sharing an extract.. Check out the above link for all the details.

Today’s author is Stevie Turner and she is sharing an extract from her mystery Finding David.

About the book

When Karen and Mick Curtis attend a demonstration of clairvoyance for the first time, Karen is singled out by the medium, Rae Cordelle. Rae has a message from Karen’s son David, who passed over to the spirit world many years before. The message shocks Karen and sends her on a journey of discovery, rocking her previously happy relationship with second husband Mick, David’s stepfather.

An extract from Finding David – Chapter One – Rae

She risked a sneaky peep around the curtain; every seat in Croydon’s grandly named Athaneum was taken. Desperate for a miracle, rows of overweight middle aged women waited impatiently. A cacophony of chatter filled the air. Women laughed nervously or threw a few words to the odd unsmiling husband sitting in stolid disbelief with arms crossed as if to ward off evil spirits.

The usual high-pitched buzz of anticipation echoed off the walls. Rae Cordelle patted her black bobbed hair into place, stepped back into the wings, and took a deep breath. “There’s a good crowd tonight.”

Medicine Horse, six foot seven inches of calm serenity in loincloth and full Apache feathered headdress, emitted a comforting presence as he stood in quiet contemplation by her side.

“I am here to guide you, as always.”

Rae gave a nod of approval. “Many thanks. May God be with us tonight.”

Peter Jones, Spiritualist Preacher, raised a water jug towards her in salutation as he slipped through the curtain. All at once Rae heard silence from the discordant hell of many raised voices.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have a remarkable and gifted clairvoyant medium here with us tonight. I want you to give a big hand to … Rae Cordelle!”

The stagehand pulled back the curtains. Rae, already desperate for the soothing balm of water, walked towards the table to polite applause as the preacher ceased his theatrical posturing and sat down beside her.

“Thank you Peter.” She filled a glass and took a refreshing sip. “It’s lovely to be here.”

Arms folded and his features inscrutable, Medicine Horse stood sentinel at the back of the hall. Rae felt the burning stares of at least two hundred pairs of eyes.

“Has anybody seen me work before?”

A couple of hands shot up while a gabble of deceased spirits jostled for first position in a queue behind Medicine Horse.

“Well, for the others here that haven’t attended a demonstration of clairvoyance before, don’t worry. If you see anything scary I’ll be the first one out of the door, ahead of you all!”

Rae felt the tense atmosphere lighten a fraction, as a titter erupted amongst the cauliflower heads and bald pates. She took another sip of water, and carried on.

“And if your relative was a miserable old bugger in this world, you can bet your bottom dollar he’ll be just as miserable in the next!”

Rae perched on the edge of the table until the laughter had ceased.

“I’m clairvoyant. That means I can see Spirits.” She paused to let the effect of her words sink in. “I first became aware of this gift when I was eight years old. My grandmother came into my room in the middle of the night and woke me up. I thought it strange at the time, because I’d been told she was in hospital over a hundred miles away. She told me she had died, and to let my mother know that she was quite happy and no longer in pain.”

Rae looked around the room. Every pair of eyes were fixed upon her.

“I raced into my parents’ room shouting out what my grandmother had said. Mum sat up in bed just as the phone rang. It was the night staff at the hospital telling her that her mother had died ten minutes before.”

One of the recent reviews for Finding David.

Anita Dawes 5.0 out of 5 stars  Well written, but disturbing story…  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 17 March 2020

Hoping for a message from her son David, who disappeared years ago, Karen attends a Spiritual meeting with her husband, Mick. Through the medium, Karen receives a message from her son. This message shocks her and sends her on a journey of discovery, rocking the foundations of her marriage.

Her husband Mick is not a believer in these things and aggressively refuses to believe that David blames him for his death. This was a classic misunderstanding, for Mick is David’s stepfather.

Right from the beginning, I hoped the child would be found alive. I found myself wondering what I would do in those circumstances. The message would have to be convincing, like something no one else would know, for there are many so called mediums out there who prey on the vulnerable. I don’t understand what drives people to these meetings, surely it must only bring more heartache?

It was particularly distressing to witness the destruction of Karen’s marriage, although the husband’s attitude didn’t help. The author has done a brilliant job of creating a devastating story and believable characters, sometimes a little too realistic!

The medium in this story and the story itself, are remarkable, very believable, especially the effect this discovery had on the parents of the missing child. Finding David isn’t very long, but it certainly packs a punch…

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK

And: Amazon US

A small selection of other books by Stevie Turner

Special offer – Memoir: Waiting in the Wings 99p/99c until the end of May –  Amazon Universal

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Follow Stevie Turner on: Goodreads

About Stevie Turner

Stevie Turner works part time as a medical secretary in a busy NHS hospital and writes suspense, women’s fiction, and darkly humorous novels in her spare time. She won a New Apple Book Award in 2014 and a Readers’ Favorite Gold Award in 2015 for her book ‘A House Without Windows’, and one of her short stories, ‘Checking Out’, was published in the Creative Writing Institute’s 2016 anthology ‘Explain!’ Her psychological thriller ‘Repent at Leisure’ won third place in the 2016 Drunken Druid Book Award contest.

Stevie lives in the East of England, and is married with two sons and four grandchildren. She has also branched out into the world of audio books, screenplays, and translations. Most of her novels are now available as audio books, and one screenplay, ‘For the Sake of a Child’, won a silver award in the Spring 2017 Depth of Field International Film Festival. ‘A House Without Windows’ gained the attention of a New York media production company in December 2017.

Some of Stevie’s books are currently being translated into German, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.

Connect to Stevie Turner

Website: Stevie Turner Author
Twitter: @StevieTurner6
Blog: Stevie Turner WordPress
Pinterest: Stevie Turner
YouTube: Stevie Turner

Thanks for dropping in and if you are an author in the Cafe and Bookstore and would like to promote one of your early books then please check out the post: New Series 2020 – Share an Extract 

“Gloria” and National Superhero Day

I am sure that your children and grandchildren will love this… and to be honest we could all use a touch of the Jennie Fitzkee and Gloria words of wisdom at the moment…#recommended

A Teacher's Reflections

Today is National Superhero Day.  Gloria wanted to celebrate.  She dressed up for the big day.  She wanted to be a Superhero.


I had a talk with Gloria.  She needed to know that a real superhero doesn’t need a costume.  She didn’t understand.  Spider-Man and Wonder Woman wear a costume.  Yes, but they are pretend.  Real superheroes, like a dad, or a teacher, or a neighbor don’t always wear a  costume.  It’s what they do that makes them a Superhero.

Gloria was shocked.  She hadn’t thought about that!  We talked about what a real superhero does.  Gloria decided just what she wants to do, too.  It is touching.  I hope you enjoy our conversation.  Gloria really is the best.


P.S. For my new blog followers, Gloria is perhaps the most important person in my preschool classroom.  Over the years she has brought more joy and wisdom to children than…

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Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – #DystopianSciFi -Wasteland (Operation Galton Book 2) by Terry Tyler

Delighted to share the news of a new release a stand alone sequel to Hope by Terry Tyler.

About the book

“Those who escape ‘the system’ are left to survive outside society. The fortunate find places in off-grid communities; the others disappear into the wasteland.”

The year: 2061. In the new UK megacities, the government watches every move you make. Speech is no longer free—an ‘offensive’ word reaching the wrong ear means a social demerit and a hefty fine. One too many demerits? Job loss and eviction, with free transport to your nearest community for the homeless: the Hope Villages.

Rae Farrer is the ultimate megacity girl – tech-loving, hard-working, law-abiding and content – until a shocking discovery about her birth forces her to question every aspect of life in UK Megacity 12.

On the other side of the supposedly safe megacity walls, a few wastelanders suspect that their freedom cannot last forever…

Wasteland is the stand-alone sequel to ‘Hope’, the concluding book in the two-part Operation Galton series, and Terry Tyler’s twenty-first publication.

One of the early reviews for the book

Rae could be any young woman we know, earning her living with a reasonable job, seeing friends in her free time and constantly using the latest mobile technology. Except that she is living in an alternative Britain in 2061. Her diet and fitness is constantly monitored by a “Nusens” chip fitted into her body, while she spends many hours using her Smartcom, often recording experiences on iSync to be streamed later! The megacity in which she lives provides a pleasant small flat and easy access to her place of work but that doesn’t mean that she can travel freely outside the city.

In the wasteland people do not have their every move watched by the government, but houses and villages have been destroyed and food is scarce. When Rae is given the opportunity to look for her missing family, she discovers just how hard it is to live with no heating or entertainment. Helped by Ace, a member of the Link organisation to reunite families, she travels through East Anglia and Yorkshire.

Meanwhile we read about Dylan, Rocky and Emma who live unhappily in a Hope village for the unemployed and homeless. They try to escape the criminal gang in the village aiming for a self-sufficient off-grid community. Can things get any worse for any of them? Yes, the final phase of Operation Galton to clear the Wasteland is about to commence.

There are some amazing twists in the plot which really caught me unawares and the range of characters; strong, empathetic, evil, selfish etc are important to the plot as well as fascinating to encounter. This is the follow up to “Hope” but can easily be read as a standalone and as a warning in the parallels it shares with the world we are in now.

Head over to buy the book currently only £1.99: Amazon UK

And at $2.36: Amazon US

A small selection of other books by Terry Tyler

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK

And : Amazon US

Read more reviews and follow Terry Tyler: Goodreads

About Terry Tyler

Terry Tyler is the author of twenty books available from Amazon, the latest being ‘Blackthorn’, set in a post apocalyptic England, 115 years in the future. Proud to be independently published, Terry is an avid reader and book reviewer, and a member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team.

Terry is a Walking Dead addict, and has a great interest in history (particularly 14th-17th century), and sociological/cultural/anthropological stuff, generally. She loves South Park, Netflix, autumn and winter, and going for long walks in quiet places where there are lots of trees. She lives in the north east of England with her husband.

Connect to Terry Tyler

Blog: Terry Tyler Blogspot
Twitter: @TerryTyler4

Thank you for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share the news of Terry’s new book. Thanks Sally

Cover Reveal AND Reading Round-Up

Amy Reade with a cover reveal for her upcoming release which looks amazing and she also shares the books that she has read over the last two months. Amy recently reviewed one of my books and I was delighted to be included with some amazing authors..if you are looking for your next read then always good to get recommendations.

Reade and Write

First things first. Yesterday my newsletter subscribers got the first look at the cover of my next book, Cape Menace: A Cape May Historical Mystery, and now it’s time to share it here! This is the first book in my new Cape May Historical Mystery Collection, a collection of standalone mysteries set throughout the history of Cape May, New Jersey.

Here’s the blurb of the new book, which will be available for pre-order soon (don’t worry—I’ll get all the details to you!):

The year is 1714. Two years have passed since Ruth Hanover vanished into the wilderness of the New Jersey colony without a trace, leaving behind her husband, William, and their daughter, Sarah. Though William and Sarah have never stopped hoping that Ruth will return, as time goes by it becomes less and less likely they will ever see her again.

Now William is acting strangely. He won’t tell…

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Smorgasbord Health Column – Food Therapy – Watermelon – A quick way to hydrate by Sally Cronin

As a follow on from the recent series on the Weekly Grocery Shopping List of foods that contain the nutrients the body needs that contain the nutrients the body needs I am going to repeat my series from 2017 on the health benefits of some of our most common foods.

Food therapy is a broad term for the benefits to the body of a healthy, varied and nutritional diet of fresh foods.

Most of us walk through the fresh produce departments of our supermarkets without really paying much attention to the individual fruits and vegetables. This is a great pity because the vast majority of these foods have been cultivated for thousands of years, not only for their nutritional value but also for their medicinal properties. If you eat a healthy diet you are effectively practicing preventative medicine. A robust immune system, not only attacks external opportunistic pathogens, but also works to prevent rogue cells in the body from developing into serious disease.

NOTE – If you are on any prescribed medication do not take yourself off it without consultation with your doctor. If you follow a healthy eating programme and lose weight and are exercising you may not need the same dose and with your doctor’s agreement you may be able to reduce or come off the medication all together.

Watermelon – A quick way to hydrate

Before returning to Ireland four years ago we lived in Spain for 17 years with temperatures in the summer approaching 40 C…over 100 F which meant that keeping hydrated was very important. Particularly as it was a dry heat. Apart from drinking extra water, salads and other water dense foods were important as part of our daily diet.  However, when it was really hot there was nothing like ice-cold watermelon.

It took me a while to get around the pips in watermelon and learn the knack of spitting them out delicately rather than shooting them at the dog by accident. Once you master this quite simple dexterity, you will have access to not only one of the most thirst quenching melons around, but also a storehouse of health benefits.

Watermelons are obviously sweetest during the summer months but we were lucky enough that Spain has summer somewhere within its boundaries all year round and they are just as accessible at Christmas as in August. Here in Ireland we do get them in season although at the moment that may not be the case with closed borders and a focus on homegrown fruit and vegetables.

However, if you are lucky enough to be able to get your hands on some fresh watermelons, please do so.

Watermelons and health claims.

If you are an asthma or arthritis sufferer, eating this fruit year round may help improve the symptoms of your condition. Watermelon also has gained some recognition with regard to other medical problems too such as atherosclerosis, diabetes and colon cancer.

The history of watermelons.

Watermelons first originated south of us in Africa and were first used medicinally by the Egyptians but obviously the fruit was most prized for its water content in countries where rain was in short supply. Watermelons are now found in Asia, particularly in China and also in Russia where the fruit is a major crop for export. The United States is a major grower but you will find it growing in many desert countries or islands that have water shortages such as Iran and Turkey.

The health benefits of watermelon

Apart from being a wonderful fruit packed with vitamin C, watermelon has something in common with the tomato and that is it’s very high concentration of Lycopene.

Lycopene not only gives fruit that vibrant red colour but it also acts as an incredibly powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants protect us against the free radicals that cause oxidative damage to our cells, often resulting in serious illness such as cancer. It would also seem that healthy levels of lycopene in our fat tissues are also associated with reduced risk of heart attacks. This is due to the prevention of oxidation of cholesterol that so often leads to atherosclerosis and heart attacks.

Vitamin C and Vitamin A work on free radicals as well and are particularly linked to those that cause an increase in the severity of certain inflammatory diseases such as asthma and arthritis.

Vitamin A is essential for our healthy eyesight, especially at night. It helps cells produce normally which is why it is important in the first few months of pregnancy. It is also necessary for the health of our skin, the mucus membranes in our respiratory system (hence its benefits for asthma sufferers), bones, soft tissues and digestive and urinary tracts.

Other nutrients in watermelon that are beneficial.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) is a water- soluble vitamin, which means that it cannot be stored in the body. Any excess is excreted in our urine so it is essential that we obtain sufficient from our diet. Vitamin B1 helps to fuel our bodies by converting blood sugar into energy and also keeps our mucus membranes healthy. It is also needed to work with other B vitamins in maintaining a healthy nervous system

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) is the Master Vitamin for processing Amino Acids – the building blocks of all proteins and some hormones. It assists in the formation of several neurotransmitters and can therefore help regulate mood. It has been shown to help lower homocysteine levels in the blood linked to heart disease, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease. It produces haemoglobin the oxygen carrying pigment in the blood. It helps the release of carbohydrates stored in the liver and muscles for energy. It is involved in the production of antibodies and it helps balance female hormones. It is needed for the production of serotonin along with tryptophan and B12.

Magnesium is an essential mineral needed for bone, protein and fatty acid formation, forming new cells, activating the B vitamins, relaxing muscles, clotting blood and forming ATP the fuel the body runs on. The secretion and action of insulin also needs magnesium. It is needed to balance calcium in the body and too much can result in very low levels of calcium.

Potassium 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 also required for carbohydrate and protein metabolism. It is connected to normal heart rhythms.

Buying the best watermelons

There are about 1200 different varieties of watermelon and when you are picking one in the supermarket make sure the melon is symmetrical and firm with no cuts or bruises. The heavier it feels the better, as it is 92% water. If it feels a little light then it may be dry inside. If you are buying cut watermelon make sure the skin is bright red as pink flesh with white pith means it is past its sell by date. Eat within a couple of days. You can store at room temperature but it is best served chilled.

Some of my tried and trusted watermelon recipes over the years.

You can use chopped watermelon in salads and in desserts but I have a couple of recipes that are slightly different.

Watermelon Lemonade. A lovely refreshing drink at any time of day


  • 1 large watermelon seeds removed and cubed
  • I peeled cucumber.
  • 6oz of fresh raspberries
  • 8oz of water
  • 4oz of lemon juice.

Blend all the melon, raspberries and water until smooth. Strain through a sieve into a large jug that will fit in the fridge. Stir in the sugar and the lemon juice and mix well. Put into the fridge for about an hour. You can add more water if needed.

Watermelon and strawberry salsa. Wonderful with chicken dishes.


  • 8oz of cubed watermelon with the seeds removed
  • 6 oz of chopped strawberries
  • 3oz of chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1-tablespoon lemon or lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon of honey.

Mix all the ingredients together and put into the fridge to chill for about an hour before serving with your chicken or even pork dish.

I have edited the 2017 Cook from Scratch where you will find many more recipes for watermelon shared by Carol Taylor: Cook From Scratch – Watermelon

©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: My books and reviews 2020

Thank you for dropping in today and your feedback and questions are very welcome.. thanks Sally.

MarySmith’sPlace – Lockdown country walk


We live in the country but are walks close by tend to be more coastal, so a lovely walk with Mary Smith today, who shares some of the inhabitants of the fields who are equally as interested in Mary as she is in taking their photos.  Head over to enjoy both scenery and the residents..Enjoy

MarySmith’sPlace – Lockdown country walk

As wee change from Afghanistan, I thought I’d show some images from our lockdown walks. Our usual walks have become very congested so we’ve been seeking out quiet country lanes instead.

Path (Custom)

This path leads from the town to Threave Castle. There are places, usually at gates, where it opens out into the fields and people can pass each other, keeping a safe distance. However, while most walkers will wait at an opening for others to pass, some (most likely visitors come to hide out for lockdown) just barrel on down the path. Their sense of entitlement apparent.

I thought I’d share a few photos from recent walks. Apologies if you find photos of cows boring – I like cows. They are so wonderfully nosy and curious and friendly (as long as they don’t have calves with them)

DSC02868 (Custom)



Head over to enjoy the rest of the photographs, particularly if you have not been able to access the countryside for the last few weeks.. thanks Sally.

via MarySmith’sPlace – Lockdown country walk

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives #Family and #Friends – The Gift of a Wonderful Mother by Darlene Foster

Welcome to the new posts from your archives with a theme of family and friends. Very important as our support system at the moment as many of us are isolated and out of physical touch. If you would like details on how to participate here is the link: Posts from Your Archives April 2020 Family and Friends

Author Darlene Foster shares memories of her mother, a tribute on Mother’s Day 2015, which despite being celebrated on different dates around the world, is a very important day of celebration.

The Gift of a Wonderful Mother by Darlene Foster

Mother´s day is a special day in many parts of the world although is not celebrated on the same day. Today it is Mother´s Day in Canada and the US and it was Mother´s Day in Spain last Sunday. In the UK, Mothering Sunday, sometimes known as Mother’s Day, is held on the fourth Sunday of Lent, exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday. This year it was on March 15. Mother´s day in France is usually the last Sunday in May.

Mother´s Day has always been a special day for me as I was blessed with the gift of a wonderful mother. I am grateful for her everyday and especially on this day.

mom and baby me

Mom and baby me

She taught me so much. Not just how to cook tasty economical meals, sew my own clothes and keep a clean house, but how to be kind to everyone and to value friends and family. She worked hard on the farm when we were growing up; milking the cows, feeding the chickens, collecting eggs, growing a large garden, canning fruits and vegetables for the winter, cooking for large harvesting crews and branding parties, and so much more. She was an amazing cook and won prizes for her baking. Her German fruit kuchen was the best! There was always extra food for welcomed drop in guests. She never left the house without looking well put together when she went to town for church, meetings or shopping. Because she is such a perfect role modal, I think I turned out to be a pretty decent mom myself. At least my kids tell me I am.

She always made us feel loved and still does. Her love wasn´t limited to her own children but to her many nieces and nephews as well. Our house was often full of visiting relatives. She never forgot a birthday and sent hand written notes to those she didn´t see often. Now her love is extended to her grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren. That love is returned tenfold.

Mom and a great great granddaughterMom and a great great granddaughter

I found a note she sent to me at age seven, when she had my second brother. You can feel the love.


In 2009, I took my daughter and mother to meet my aunt in Sedona, Arizona for a holiday. We made dream catchers. Look how proud she is of hers.

Mom in Sedona with her sister, granddaughter and me

Mom with me and my brothers November 2013, her 85th Birthday pary

Mom with her kids, November 2013, her 85th Birthday party

DSCN1282 (2)

With Mom, April 2015

Whatever date you celebrate this holiday, Happy Mother´s Day to everyone who is a mother, step mother, special aunt or good friend to a younger person. It is an important job!

©Darlene Foster 2015.

About Darlene Foster

Growing up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, Darlene Foster dreamt of writing, travelling the world, and meeting interesting people. She also believed in making her dreams come true. It’s no surprise she’s now the award-winning author of Amanda Travels, a children’s adventure series featuring a spunky twelve-year-old who loves to travel to unique places. Readers of all ages enjoy following Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. When not travelling herself, Darlene divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca, Spain with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot.

A selection of books by Darlene Foster

One of the recent reviews for Amanda in Holland

Robbie Cheadle 5.0 out of 5 stars Action packed and filled with interesting titbits of information  Reviewed in the United States on February 6, 2020

Amanda in Holland is the latest addition to the exciting Amanda series of books written by Canadian author, Darlene Foster. Each book in the Amanda series is set in a different country and details some of the amazing cultural and historical sites as well as dishes, drinks and clothes that are specific to that country. This aspect of the series makes it unusual and appealing to young and older readers.

Amanda, who lives in Canada, travels to Holland to meet up with her best friend, Leah Anderson and her father, who live in England. Mr Anderson is in Holland for business purposes and the two teenage girls are free to enjoy themselves seeing all the wonderful historical and cultural sites Holland has to offer. The story starts with a bang when Amanda is nearly ridden over by a woman on a bicycle on her first morning in Amsterdam. The woman’s behaviour is a bit odd and this event is followed by Amanda and Leah discovering a young puppy which has been abandoned in a box next to a rubbish bin around the corner from a cheese shop they are visiting.

Mr Anderson agrees for the girls to keep the dog until it can be taken to an animal shelter and this decision sets in motion a series of occurrences that draw Amanda and Leah into an exciting adventure involving selling animals from puppy farms and stealing rare tulip bulbs. While the two girls investigate the mysterious circumstances of the abandonment of the puppy and the strange behaviour of various individuals who keep turning up, like the woman who nearly ran Amanda over, they also visit a number of interesting places such as the hide out of Anne Frank of The Diary of Anne Frank fame, the Keukenhof Botanical Gardens and a Canadian war-memorial cemetery. Amanda has the picture of her great uncle Harold who disappeared in Holland during the war and whose grave she is hoping she might find. The two girls meet a number of interesting people and get to spend time with a number of Dutch people who introduce them to some delicious Dutch treats.

The book is action packed and filled with interesting titbits of information about life in Holland, WWII and perseverance and determination in unraveling a mystery.

Amanda is a clever and kind girl who will appeal to middle school and young teenagers who will admire her pluck

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Darlene: Goodreads

Connect to Darlene

Website: Darlene Foster
Blog: Darlene Foster WordPress
Facebook: Darlene Foster Facebook
Twitter: @supermegawoman

My thanks to Darlene for sharing this post with us and as always your feedback is very welcome. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews – #Childrens Janice Spina, #Romance Teagan Riordain Geneviene, #Poetry Sue Vincent

Welcome to the Wednesday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author with recent reviews is author Janice Spina for her children’s book Drystan the Dragon and Friends Series, Book 2: Damara Helps Drystan Find His Roar

About the book

This the second book in the magical series about Drystan the dragon and his friends. These dragons are colorful, engaging and fun to read about. They teach children the importance of friendship, caring for one another, being kind to others, and it’s okay to be different. All dragons are of different colors and their names begin with the letter ‘D’ – a fun way for young children to learn the letter ‘D’ and colors.

In Book 2 a new dragon is introduced – Damara, a different dragon who does things her own way. As she is traveling by one day she spies a dragon, Drystan, in distress. She flies down to see what is wrong. It appears that Drystan has lost his roar. What caused Drystan to lose his roar? Can Damara help him get it back? Read this book in rhyme for a comical story that will delight your children. Watch for more books in this mystical series.

One of the reviews for the book

Sara123 5.0 out of 5 stars To Be Different is Okay!  Reviewed in the United States on April 13, 2020

Author Janice Spina’s second book in her new series, “Drystan the Dragon and Friends” is a fine addition to her ever-growing list of books written for enriching the lives of young readers.

In the second volume, “Damara Helps Drystan Find His Roar”, Damara, a green dragon who is different than others, does not worry about what people say. She knows she’s not like everyone else, but owns her differences and is proud of who she is. This terrific message intertwines nicely with the little tale of Damara’s encounter with Drystan, who is also taught a lesson, courtesy of his new friend.

The illustrations are lovely, created by the author’s partner in life and work, Mr. John Spina. The terrific team’s growing library is impressive and recommended.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

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 on her blog: Jem’s Books

The next author is Teagan Riordain Geneviene with a recent review for the romantic novelette Fiona Finch & the Pink Valentine

About the book

Put your feet up and enjoy a whimsical break with this quick, lighthearted story. There’s some romance, and a lot of silliness. It’s a steampunk/Victorian setting. You might call it a long-short story or a novelette.

This is a tale of an old lost valentine and the shenanigans that ensue when it turns up. Fiona Finch and her brother Steele – along with a helping “wing” from Quellie the duck, work to bring two long ago sweethearts back together. Even though it is a Valentine’s Day story, it does not include sex or passionate romance. It does, however, include a lot of imaginative fun.

One of the recent reviews for the book

tpolen 5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet HEA Reviewed in the United States on April 11, 2020

I’ve read several books by this author and her creativity never ceases to amaze and delight me. This tale of a lost valentine from years ago and amusing matchmaking efforts at a masquerade ball is guaranteed to leave you with a smile. Although a quick read, character development certainly isn’t lacking, and you’ll feel as if you’ve spent time with friends by the end of this whimsical novelette. And did I mention the pet duck? An absolute scene-stealer. If you’re in the mood for a light read with a sweet happily ever after, look no further.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

Read the reviews, buy the books : Amazon US

and : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Teagan : Goodreads

Connect to Teagan via her blog: Teagan’s Books

The final author today is Sue Vincent with a review for her poetry collection Life Lines: Poems from a Reflection

About the collection

“The pen paints the souls longing in jewel tones.”

A collection of fifty-two poems of life, love and inspiration.

There are joys for which we cannot find expression, moments that have a depth of emotion that can only be shared in images. It is here that poetry comes into its own, for the pictures we paint with words can conjure all the emotions of the human heart. From solitude to passion, from aspiration to the quest for the soul’s inner light, we seek to find ways to share our journey through life, to witness our footsteps as we pass through its shifting sands and cast a reflection on time itself. The poet is both mirror and reflection, framing the images of a human life and giving them a beating heart.

One of the recent reviews for the poetry

Reviewed in the United States on February 24, 2020

This collection of 52 poems by Sue Vincent is a gem. I’d give this book 6 stars if I could. It’s hard to put into words how moving I found Vincent’s poetry. The poems are free form reflections on the profound moments of life, the deep emotional wells of love, loss, and memories, the rhythms of nature reflected in our journeys, and the poignant journeys themselves.

It was almost impossible to pick out a few favorites, but I’m giving it a try: “I See You” is an exquisite poem about aging and the lasting echoes of youth that we carry inside our memories. “Flowers” (which makes me weepy just thinking about it) chronicles a woman’s life-stages in flowers from birth through death. Two touching poems are told from the point of view of someone watching a loved one sleep. They’re both gentle and heartachingly beautiful. “Just for a Moment” is a rare syllabic poem in the collection about the peace of love, and “Memory” about love lost.

Though the poems can be read in an hour or so, I would suggest savoring them. Highly recommended.

Read the reviews and buy the collection: Amazon UK

And: Amazon US

A small selection of other books by Sue Vincent

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK

and: Amazon US

And you can find more reviews and follow Sue: Goodreads

Connect to Sue via her blog: S.C. Vincent

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

Priyanshi shah

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