Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors – #Thrillers John W. Howell, #FamilySaga Judith Barrow, #ContemporaryIrish Mary Crowley

There are over 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I wanted to keep it to key pieces of information such as buying links, recent review, website and covers. However, I know that readers also like to know more about the background of authors.

In this series during June and July I will share the bios of all the authors in the cafe in a random selection. I hope that this will introduce you to the authors in more depth and encourage you to check out their books and follow them on their blog and Twitter.

Meet John W. Howell

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the tension. The final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016 concludes the thriller series. John’s fourth book Circumstances of Childhood, launched in October of 2017 tells a different thriller story of riches to rags, football, Wall Street, brotherly love, redemption, and inspiration with a touch of paranormal to keep you riveted. The fifth book is a collaboration with the ​award-winning author, Gwen Plano titled The Contract. Heavenly bodies become concerned about the stability of the Earth and send two of their own to risk eternal salvation in order to save the planet. The Contract achieved number one status in its genre. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

John lives in Lakeway, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

Books by John Howell

One of the recent reviews for My GRL

D. W. Peach 5.0 out of 5 stars Great character and lots of action Reviewed in the United States on March 4, 2020

John Cannon is on a sabbatical from his high-powered attorney job and decides to spend a year on Mustang Island off the coast of Texas working on his used 65’ boat. Then his friend ends up shot, and the sheriff suspects that he’s keeping secrets. Add to that, it turns out that terrorists want his boat.

This book moves along at a good clip as John deals with the sheriff and then gets embroiled in the terrorists’ plot. He’s a great character, and for me, he brought the book to life. He’s kind of an average guy, but he’s smart and resourceful (for the most part), and he has some attitude. I had a great time watching him deal with all the problems while completely out of his element.

The story didn’t bog down with description or backstory, and it had just the right amount of shipboard detail to lend authenticity to the setting, John’s capabilities, and the story’s resolution. I would definitely read more of this character and author. Though a thriller, the book was also a lot of fun. Highly recommended for readers of action novels and thrillers, and book-lovers who enjoy great characters. 

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon USand on: Amazon UK – Goodreads:John Howell Goodreads Blog: John W. Howell. com – Twitter@HowellWave

Meet Judith Barrow

Judith Barrow,originally from Saddleworth, a group of villages on the edge of the Pennines,has lived in Pembrokeshire, Wales, for forty years.

She has an MA in Creative Writing with the University of Wales Trinity St David’s College, Carmarthen. BA (Hons) in Literature with the Open University, a Diploma in Drama from Swansea University and She has had short stories, plays, reviews and articles, published throughout the British Isles and has won several poetry competitions..

She is a Creative Writing tutor for Pembrokeshire County Council and holds private one to one workshops on all genres.

One of the recent reviews for The Memory

Georgia Rose 5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent and thoughtfully written book I highly recommend  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 17 May 2020

I have been a fan of Judith Barrow’s work for a long time so bought, The Memory, her new release the moment it was available. I also chose it as the book of the month for my reading group because it would ensure I read it in a timely fashion.

I have struggled to read much at this time and I was concerned how I’d manage with what I anticipated would be a difficult subject matter but I need not have worried. I found the way this was written, with short chapters broken up consistently into two time periods, was ideal. The length of chapter meant I wasn’t put off starting another one and in fact I found I read far more as I was keen to know what would come next in this compelling story.

The first part of each chapter was the story told over a day or so in 2002 and consisted of the intensely grim life that Irene was living with her mother. The second part started in 1963 and was the story of Irene’s life from when she was eight when Rose, her sister, arrived in it. Her love for Rose was absolute and moulded the rest of her life. This second storyline was also very much a love story as Irene meets a terribly patient Sam.

Barrow’s writing is, as always, superb. Her attention to detail transports you so far into the story you could be in the room with Irene and her mother, even if you’d rather not be present at times. Her characters are terrific and descriptions vivid.

This book was thoroughly discussed at my reading group (held via Zoom) and the views of all were broadly along the same lines although many wished Irene had not given up on so many of her own dreams because of the responsibility she felt towards others. But of course these were different times.

Highly recommended, this is an excellent, thoughtfully written read I’d recommend to all who enjoy realistic, well told tales of family life.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow Judith: Goodreads – blog: Judith Barrow – Twitter: @judithbarrow77

Meet Mary Crowley

Mary Crowley is a Contemporary Irish Literature Novelist and Freelance Writer. Author of Under a Dark Cloud and A Sweet Smell of Strawberries, she is also the winner of The Waterford Writers’ Weekend Short Story Competition (2016) with her story entitled The Three Sisters’. Mary’s work focusses on strong emotional relationships, adding humour, hope and most of all heart.

Mary lives in County Waterford, on the South East Coast of Ireland, with her husband and three children. Having worked for many years as a qualified dental nurse, and dental health educator whilst bringing up her family. She is now concentrating on her love of writing. She has had stories published in Writing.ie, one of which was inspired by her literary heroine Maeve Binchy. Several short fiction pieces published in Flash Fiction Magazine, along with articles in Woman’s Way, the Irish Times and local newspaper The Munster Express. Having studied courses in creative writing and journalism, she is currently working on several writing projects along with doing freelance writing.

When she is not writing, she loves reading and spending time with her husband John and their three children Damon, Steven and Katie, though they are growing up too quickly. Her most favoured way of family time is travelling to new and interesting places in her beloved VW Camper.

My review for Under a Dark Cloud 4th April 2020

I read and enjoyed A Sweet Smell of Strawberries and was looking forward to reading Mary Crowley’s second novel and was not disappointed.

There is some continuity from the first book which featured characters on the edges of the main story, who now take centre stage in this novel. This did help bring me in to the story right from the start and although a stand alone book, you would gain a great deal by reading the first book.

The women in this story all have fractured pasts, trauma, loss and challenging personalities. Kelly and Nessa have secrets and unresolved issues that are now influencing their relationships and their futures. Their families are also going through challenging times and those who you would expect to be supportive and trustworthy are holding on to their own darkness.

In this small town evil is lurking and it will take strength of character, resolve and courage to confront it and move on from the devastating repercussions of its impact on individuals and the community.

Mary Crowley has created wonderful characters and even those who are dark and unlikeable are compelling. The threads of each character’s story from the past to the present, are woven into a complex and interconnecting web of lies, mystery, trauma and secrets. The reader is left guessing who might be the perpetrator of the actions that have resulted in both Kelly’s and Nessa’s turmoil, and there is a surprising ending that brings the story to a satisfactory close.

It is a well written family saga, with twists and turns that will keep you guessing and I am sure that like me, you will enjoy reading Under a Dark Cloud.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And on : Amazon US – Follow Mary : Goodreads – Blog/Website: Mary Crowley WordPress – Twitter: @marycrowleym

Thank you for joining me today for this series and I will be sharing another three authors and their work every weekday during June and July. It would be great if you could share. Thanks Sally.

80 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors – #Thrillers John W. Howell, #FamilySaga Judith Barrow, #ContemporaryIrish Mary Crowley

  1. What a great group today, Sally! I’ve followed Judith’s blog for several years, and have her latest book waiting on my Kindle, even as I type. And John has been super at following and supporting bloggers and writers ever since I’ve been doing this, too. My GRL is already on my Kindle as well. Mary is new to me, but I’ll be checking out her books, too. Fantastic post! Sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Wonderful series Sal. I enjoy reading about our writing community and learning more about our friends. Currently reading Judith’s book, have 2 more of John’s on my Kindle and just bookmarked Mary’s books. So great choices, and congrats John, Mary and Judith ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great idea, Sally! It’s great to get a little more information about the authors we so regularly see at The Smorgasbord. I’m sure many others will enjoy this series as well.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Goodness me, Sally, I am honoured to have been included here, thank you so much. I have yet to read any of John’s work but after all these great comments about his books , must seek him out. Mary I have known a long time and love her writing. Hope the week is a good one for everybody. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A lovely idea, Sally, to introduce some of the authors in the cafe and bookstore. 🙂 I need to pick up another book from John (thanks for sharing my review). I just got my first book from Judith in the mail yesterday. And thanks for the introduction to Mary – another author to add to my list! Happy Reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – 31st May – June 6th 2020 – #Waterford, Elvis, Foxes, Lamaze Classes, poetry, books, reviews and Health | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  7. These are wonderful reviews. I’ve read The Memory by Judith Barrow and it’s a powerful and gripping read by one of my favourite authors. She understands family dynamics and her characters are very real to me. Judith’s also another of those authors who goes out of her way and dedicates precious time to supporting others. Many thanks for these reviews, Sally.

    Liked by 2 people

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