Smorgasbord Book Reviews – #Mystery #Paranormal A Boy Named Rabbit (Wake-Robin Ridge Book 2) by Marcia Meara

Following on from my review of Wake-Robin Ridge Book 1 by Marcia Meara I was looking forward to book two of the series.. A Boy Named Rabbit.. and I was not disappointed.

About the book

In Book 2 of the Wake-Robin Ridge series, Marcia Meara, author of Swamp Ghosts and Finding Hunter, returns to the rugged beauty of the North Carolina mountains, introducing a little boy whose remarkable gift will change the world for everyone he meets.

“Evil’s comin’, boy…comin’ fast. Look for the man with eyes like winter skies, and hair like a crow’s wing. He’s the one you gotta find.”

The remote mountain wilderness of North Carolina swallowed up the ten-year-old boy as he made his way down from the primitive camp where his grandparents had kept him hidden all his life. His dying grandmother, gifted with the Sight, set him on a quest to find the Good People, and though he is filled with fear and wary of civilization, Rabbit is determined to keep his promise to her. When he crosses paths with Sarah and MacKenzie Cole, neither their lives nor his, are ever the same again.

The extraordinary little boy called Rabbit has the power light up the darkness, and the resourcefulness to save himself from the one person his grandparents had hoped would never find him. His dangerous and bittersweet journey will touch you in unexpected ways, and once you’ve let Rabbit into your heart, you’ll never forget him.

My review for A Boy Named Rabbit August 31st 2020

Having met Sarah and MacKenzie Cole in the first book I was looking forward to catching up with them, and having read the reviews for the second book, I knew that I was in for something special.

The blurb can often be misleading for a book, but in this case when the author promised that this little boy would touch us in unexpected ways and find a place in your heart, it was true. She has created a wonderful character who despite a different and challenging start in life, blossoms before our eyes. He has a gift that will transform lives and he is also the gift. And for Sarah and Mac a chance for healing and completion.

As with any good story, the road is not all plain sailing, with danger hovering to take advantage and ruin the sense of belonging Rabbit is desperate for. Mystery surrounds his origins. It takes a great deal of research to unravel the evil that resulted in his upbringing with his grandparents in the isolated wilderness of the North Carolina mountains. An upbringing that has prepared this ten year old to survive on the land, even when threatened, and the ability to give love in abundance.

The element of the paranormal in the story is subtle and believable, especially when in the context of the region and its acceptance of special people. The characters of Sarah and Mac develop through the book and events reach a climax that end this particular episode in their lives very satisfactorily. There is an epilogue which hints at the next phase in the story of this wonderful family, and I am looking forward to finding out how. I recommend that you do begin with Wake-Robin Ridge so that you don’t miss out on another terrific read.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

A selection of books by Marcia Meara

Marcia Meara, Buy: Amazon US And : Amazon UK – Marcia Meara on: Goodreads – Blog:Marcia Meara WritesTwitter: @MarciaMeara

Marcia Meara lives in central Florida, just north of Orlando, with her husband of over thirty years, four big cats, and one small dachshund.

When not writing or blogging, she spends her time gardening, and enjoying the surprising amount of wildlife that manages to make a home in her suburban yard. She enjoys nature. Really, really enjoys it. All of it! Well, almost all of it, anyway. From birds, to furry critters, to her very favorites, snakes. The exception would be spiders, which she truly loathes, convinced that anything with eight hairy legs is surely up to no good. She does not, however, kill spiders anymore, since she knows they have their place in the world. Besides, her husband now handles her Arachnid Catch and Release Program, and she’s good with that.

Spiders aside, the one thing Marcia would like to tell each of her readers is that it’s never too late to make your dreams come true. If, at the age of 69, she could write and publish a book (and thus fulfill 64 years of longing to do that very thing), you can make your own dreams a reality, too. Go for it! What have you got to lose?


Thanks for dropping by today and I hope you have enjoyed meeting Rabbit and will check out this book and the others by Marcia Meara. Thanks Sally


You can find all my other reviews for books I have enjoyed: Smorgasbord Book Reviews

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives -2020- Pot Luck – Angela’s Journey #Fundraiser#ServiceDog by Patty Fletcher

Welcome to the current series of Posts from Your Archives… and I will be picking two posts from the blogs of those participating from the first six months of 2020. If you don’t mind me rifling through your archives… just let me know in the comments or you can find out the full scope: Posts from Your Archives – Pot Luck – 2020

This is the second post from author Patty Fletcher and is a post from Patty’s WordPress Wednesday Feature and is an interview with an inspiring lady and her journey.

Angela’s Journey #Fundraiser#ServiceDog

Hello campbellsworld visitors. Today, I’d like to bring to your attention a problem that most are probably not aware of, and that is, the need for ‘service dogs’ which are trained to do multiple tasks.

My friend Angela is disabled in a way that causes her to need such a dog.

Now, you’re probably thinking…

“OK. There’s a school for that, and it’s a nonprofit, so, like ‘Guide Dogs’ that’s free, right?”


Here’s Angela to tell us more…

First, tell us a little about you, who you are, where you live, and anything else you’d like to share about your life.

Angela and Verona1

Hello to all. My name is Angela Latessa and I’m 37-years-old. I’m from Cleveland Ohio. I live with my roommate. I have 5 cats who are all rescues and a retired Seeing Eye dog.

What is your disability, and what caused it?

I have 2 brain injuries which resulted in my sight loss and epilepsy.

I was born 3 months early at only 2 lbs. I had birth trauma from umbilical cord strangulation and had to be resuscitated twice. Throughout most of my life I had low vision.

i didn’t find out about the epilepsy until I was a freshman in high school when a school nurse saw me in the hallway having a seizure and told my parents.

The seizures became so bad by the time I was in my 20s I had 1-4 a day, for 5-7 days a week. So, they quickly added up. I finally decided enough was enough and wanted to go through brain surgery, so I didn’t have to have them anymore.

In 2013, I had almost the entire right hemisphere of my brain removed and haven’t had a seizure since. But the surgery was complicated by bacterial meningitis and that caused me to have more problems.

I understand that you’re raising funds to acquire a Service Dog which will be able to perform multiple tasks. Tell us about the place from where this dog will come, and what it will be trained to do for you?

SIT Service Dog

I have had 3 dogs from The Seeing Eye in the past, so I thought getting another dog would be a piece of cake. However, things didn’t turn out as I thought they would.

I tried several different guide dog and a few Service Dog schools and had lots of problems due to my brain injury. Either some places would train for brain injured Veterans but not the average citizen, or they didn’t know how to train for guide work. I couldn’t find anywhere that would train for both brain injury and blindness.

It was my roommate Stephen who found Sit Service Dogs for me. He kept saying, “There must be a place that bridges the gap between blindness and brain injury.”

We talked with them, and they said they could help us since they like complex cases which is exactly what I have.

They said we had to fund half of the cost of training. They pay for the other half. In total, the cost of the training of the dog is $30,000. They said we could either save or fund raise. So I chose the fundraising route.

Sit Service Dogs is located in Ava Illinois and they train dogs for people who have neurological and physical disabilities.

My dog will be trained in specific tasks relating to my brain injury and blindness. These tasks are, neurofeedback loop for ongoing seizure detection, changes in terrain as part of guide work. This is for things like curbs, steps, and low obstructions. They don’t train for overhanging obstacles, but I believe I have enough knowledge to train that part of the dogs learning myself after working as many years as I have with guide dogs. The dog will also protect me from traffic and will help me cross the street safely. Routine regulation, brace work, deep pressure therapy, and alerting another adult in the event of a medical crisis such as seizure or a fall.

If you’re able to obtain such a dog, how will it enhance your life?

I will be able to travel safely again. I had used my limited sight for so long and had remembered most of my routes with no problem. Now that I have problems with memory, cognitive mapping issues, no usable sight, vertigo, and going out with too much noise at one time, this dog will help me to feel independent again since I know I won’t fall, and I can get help in case of an emergency, and I can do as little or as much as I want and I don’t have to meet anyone’s expectations but my own.

How much funding have you raised, and how much do you still need to raise?

So far, we have raised $9,500, so we’ve a way to go. After we pay our portion, the remainder of the cost will be covered by a generous grant from The Chelsea Hutchison Foundation in Colorado.

Before we go, is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your situation that I’ve not asked about?

Just that anything is possible. This was so overwhelming in the beginning since I didn’t know if I could raise the needed funds, but with help from my friends, family and others who didn’t know me, this dream has begun turning into a reality for me when I didn’t know if I would ever work with a dog again. So, I just wanted to tell others not to give up on their dreams.

Angela, I agree with you. ‘Anything is possible.’ This is so exciting! Thank you for sharing your situation with us. Please do write often to keep us updated on your progress.

The best way to know what’s happening is to follow the Fundraiser over on Facebook. Here’s that link for an update on 30th August:  Angela’s Facebook Donation page

And to visit the main site for SIT Service Dogs seeSIT Service Dogs

Thanks to everyone in advance for reading and contributing.

©Patty Fletcher 2020

About Patty Fletcher

I’m a single mother with a beautiful daughter, of whom I am very proud. I have a great son-in-law and five beautiful grandchildren. Three girls, and two boys. I hope to be able to write more about them later. I own and handle a Black Labrador from The Seeing Eye™ named Campbell Lee–a.k.a. Bubba Lee or King Campbell, to give just a couple of his nicknames. King Campbell is now retired and I hope to return to The Seeing Eye in spring of 2020 to obtain a successor guide.

I was born in Kingsport, Tenn., where I also grew up and now live and work.

About my blindness: I was born one and a half months premature. My blindness was caused by my being given too much oxygen in the incubator. I was partially sighted until 1991, at which time I lost my sight due to an infection after cataract surgery and high eye pressure. I used a cane for 31 years before making the change to a guide dog.

One of the recent reviews for Bubba Tails

Robbie Cheadle 5.0 out of 5 stars  A lovely book that all ages can read and enjoy  Reviewed in the United States on February 23, 2020

Bubba Tails: From the Puppy Nursery at the Seeing Eye is a delightful story for all ages, told from the perspective of King Campbell, an older and more experienced Seeing Eye dog (trained to guide the blind). King Campbell appears at night to the puppies at the Seeing Eye School, and their mothers, and tells them stories about how he came to be selected for the school, his training process and meeting his forever mother. His stories help to allay some of the puppies own concerns and anxieties about the future when they undergo their training to be Seeing Dogs and eventually become companions to a blind person.

This is a most insightful book about how Seeing Dogs are selected, including the qualities they need to have to do this job, as well as the training process they go through before they are matched with a blind person. I say matched because that is exactly what happens, the person is paired with a suitable canine companion. I thought this was very interesting as I had never really thought about how close the relationship between a blind human and their Seeing Dog is prior to reading this book.

The second part of the story when Campbell meets his new forever owner was the most meaningful for me. It was a wonderful experience for me to learn about how the Seeing Dog and their new owner must adapt to working together. The Seeing Dog needs to learn to read their human owner’s body language and respond to subtle signals. The human must also learn to trust their dog and this is quite a difficult thing to do. I can understand that putting your faith in a dog, no matter how much you love it, must initially be difficult when you are unable to see and protect yourself. I loved reading about how this amazing trust developed between Campbell and his owner.

This is a book that everyone can read and enjoy for the story and also appreciate for its detailed insight into the relationship between Seeing Dogs and their owners, and also the world at large.

Patty Fletcher, Buy: Amazon USAnd : Amazon UK – blog: Campbell’s WorldTwitter: @Bubbalee04


Thank you for dropping by today and Patty would love to read your feedback and if you would like to participate in this series here is the link again: Posts from Your Archives – Pot Luck – 2020

Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story – Chapter Five – Henry’s New Family by Sally Cronin

By special request I am sharing Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story as the next book for Sundays and I hope those of you who have not read his adventures will enjoy…

51uI0kWA+ML._UY250_ Last time we heard Henry the cat’s story of life on a farm and then on the road until he arrived in Sam’s garden.. the two hit if off immediately and they partook of the sunshine in Costa del Sam.. with pool and loungers.

Henry’s New Family

Henry would live with us for another three years and he had a wonderful life. When I was about a year old a wild black and white female cat who was only about a year old arrived in the garden.

By this time Henry was plump and healthy although he still looked as though he had been dragged through the mud and a hedge backwards.

He was obviously however a smooth operator and within a few weeks we had a new family of three kittens living in the garden and Henry made sure that despite his lady friend’s reluctance to go near the boisterous, year old, hairy monster I had become, his offspring were introduced early and became my friends too. This gave me even more opportunity to practice my Cat vocabulary and I actually became quite proficient.

Mate, you need a little more aftershave!

His mate would keep her distance from my mistress too despite Henry taking every opportunity to solicit massages and affection. However, when the kittens were about four weeks old they all developed eye infections despite the fact that my mistress had begun supplementing their mother’s milk with kitten food.

By this time Sally was working in the mornings at her business in the local town and she would get home about lunchtime. She never left me for more than three or four hours at a time and even though I am nearly ten now she still makes sure that I am never left for too long without company.

She arrived home this one day to find the three kittens on the doormat. Henry came over as usual to greet her and she could see his mate pacing back and forth on the grass by the side of the garage.

A little bemused by this turn of events she went over to the kittens and realised that all their eyes were gummed up with infection. She opened the door and went inside for a cardboard box and she scooped up the three hissing and spitting offspring and popped them inside.

In the meantime I was desperately waiting to be greeted. I was now very aware of my place in this loving home and I knew that I was not supposed to leap up and down and shout loudly when either Sally or David came home. Instead we would go into the lounge to the ‘greeting rug’ where I would get hugs and a fuss made of me. I knew that the word hello meant a greeting and although I have no voice box and I used to try and do my best to respond in kind.

Sally put the box down on the draining board in the kitchen and then came into the lounge where I was waiting impatiently. After this greeting ritual was finished we both went back into the kitchen and I sat and watched the proceedings with excited anticipation.

“Well Sammy – I think I am supposed to do something about these guys and their eyes,” she smiled down at me.

She filled a small bowl with warm water and then tipped some fine white grains into it and stirred it with a spoon.

“Stay and watch your friends Sam, I’ll be back in a moment.”

She left the room and went upstairs to her bedroom and returned a few moments later with some fluffy white stuff in her fingers.

This went into the water in the dish and she gently picked up one of the kittens out of the box.

This was its first contact with a human. I had been introduced by Henry to the new family but had not been allowed to get too close. The kitten was not impressed by being separated from the warmth of its mother and chose to express this displeasure by hissing and trying to scratch Sally’s hand. Despite this blatant display of ingratitude she gently squeezed the warm liquid across both its eyes and then wiped away the accumulated crusted infection.

She repeated this process with the other two kittens and finally satisfied that she had done as much as possible she took them out in the box to the garden and placed them next to Henry under the bush. She stroked his head and he licked her hand in thanks.

For the next three days the kittens were waiting on the mat when Sally came home. On the last day she saw the mother deposit the third one on the mat before retiring to the bush where Henry waited. By this time the infection had nearly cleared from the young cats’ eyes and the next day there was no sign of them.

Apart from Henry the family stayed away from all human contact and when the kittens had grown they like their parents would occasionally leave gifts for Sally on the doormat. Usually a large rat and my mistress wondered if they wished her to roast for them their dinner or her own. Instead she would give them extra chicken on the next supper and hope that was gratitude enough for their kind thought.

During the winter months, the four cats availed themselves of my empty kennel as their home and would wait in the flower pot outside Sally’s office when it was time for supper. When the two kittens reached 18 months old they left to find mates and territories of their own, but would sometimes return for a visit.

Henry and his mate lived happily without any further kittens for the next three years until one day when my dear friend became ill. My mistress came home from work and Henry was on the doorstep. He crawled across to her and she picked him up into her arms. Although he had never been to the vet’s she placed him on the front seat of her car and raced him to the surgery.

The vet told her that Henry only had three teeth left and was at least fourteen years old. A very good age for a domestic cat let alone one that had spent so many years running wild in a farmyard and the countryside. The good food and affection that Henry had received in the last four years had made a huge difference and I know from my friend that they had also been very happy years spent with human contact for the first time, his friendship with me and his mate who had stayed with him despite their being no further kittens.

When my mistress returned I could tell that she was very sad. She greeted me on the rug as usual but there was intensity to her hugs and her emotions that I had rarely seen. There was water coming from her eyes and it made me feel sad too. She was kneeling on the rug and I lay down and put my head across her knees. We sat there for several minutes as she fingered the fur behind my ears.

“He was so brave Sam,” she began to talk as the tears dried.

“At the end he perked up and lay in my arms purring with his eyes wide open. I felt he was trying to say something but I felt the love in him and suddenly he was gone.”

I did not understand death as I had only known life and love with my pack and my assorted friends but I understood her sadness and it made me sad too.

The next day the black and white cat was gone too as if she knew Henry would not be coming back. For many weeks I would patrol my territory and expect my old friend to pop out from under a bush and accompany me as I checked the long grass in the meadow or the hundreds of bushes and trees in the garden.

©sallycronin Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story 2009

About the authors

Sally Cronin waited until she began working for herself, and had the time to commit to the welfare of a dog. before she fulfilled a dream of having another Lassie Collie. From the moment that Sam came home at 8 weeks old they were inseparable, and travelled thousands of miles together and with her husband David, exploring Ireland, Wales, England and Europe. Finally they all ended up in a large house up a mountain to the north of Madrid.

Sam could charm the birds out of the trees and assumed that every human that he met was more interested in him than his humans that were tagging along. He developed a vocabulary and non-verbal clues as to his needs, cheese and sausages being the main ones.

They collaborated on this book, with Sam dictating his recollections and Sally correcting some of his more flamboyant claims pertaining to his adventures.

You can find out more about Sally’s books and their reviews: Sally’s Books and Recent Reviews

I hope you have enjoyed this chapter and will join us again next Sunday.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Poetry – Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Tanka Challenge -#Themeprompt – #ButterflyCinquain The Maps by Sally Cronin

This month Kerfe Roig from last month’s challenge picked the theme ‘Maps’…for Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Tanka Challenge 192 themeprompt

I have written a butterfly cinquain for the occasion.

Reef, Heart, Shape, Island, Corals, Atoll, Sea, Ocean

The Maps

The Maps
etched on my heart
stop me losing my way
any time that we are apart
in life.
They always guide me home to you
to safety in your arms
and the warmth of
your love.

©Sally Cronin 2020

If you would like to participate in this week’s challenge here is the link again: Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Tanka Challenge 192 themeprompt


You can find recent reviews for my latest release and other books: Sally’s books and reviews 2019/2020

Thanks for dropping by and I hope you have enjoyed.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Short Stories – Milestones Along the Way – #Waterford 1930s – The Banks (of The Suir) by Geoff Cronin

Following on from The Colour of Life, my father-in-law Geoff Cronin wrote two more books with stories of life in Waterford and Dublin from the 1930s. He collected the stories on his travels, swapping them with others in return for his own and then treating us to the results of the exchange. Geoff also added some jokes overheard just for the Craic…Over the next few weeks I will be sharing selected stories from  Milestones Along the Way.

The Banks (of The Suir)

In the 1930s, when I was a boy there were five banks in the City of Waterford. The Munster and Leinster, The Bank of Ireland, The Provincial, The National and The Penny Savings Bank. The population of the city at that time was approximately twenty five thousand.

The bank manager was regarded as a very important man in those days and in fact his employees, clerks and typists etc., were held to be a cut above the ordinary. The clerks were required to join the golf club and to be seen in all the best places – they were paid about thirty shillings a week!

Banking then was seen as reserved for wealthy people, shopkeepers, property owners, solicitors, big farmers and the like and people who could boast a cheque book or a bank account were thin on the ground. In general business was done in cash and wages were invariably paid in cash.

In the previous century, powerful families founded their own banks and produced notes for one pound, one guinea, two pounds, three pounds and fifty pounds and these were signed by family members or partners as guarantors. The prominent Waterford banks of the time were Newport’s Bank and Roberts Bank. Samples of their bank notes, now quite rare, are illustrated in this book and I learned that a Waterford Bank note for nine shillings was recently sold at auction in Canada for £800 sterling.

But back to the 1930s – at that time there was a bank in every town and village in the country, some of them in remote parts, and a story is told of one such bank in a small town. At this point I must tell you that the standard minimum staff in such an establishment would consist of a manager, a cashier and a porter. Bank Inspectors were employed by the head office to visit the branch offices without prior notice to check up on the operations of same. Needless to say the branch staff did not welcome such visits.

However, a visit from an inspector was scheduled by head office for this particular bank and he arrived at 11 o’clock on a Tuesday morning. The little town was not fully awake at that hour and there was nobody about as the inspector approached the bank. He checked the time as he walked purposefully through the entrance noting that the porter was not “on the door”.

There was nobody to be seen in the bank. No porter, no cashier and no manager! No customers either! The inspector was perplexed and as he pondered the situation, he heard faint voices coming from the manager’s private office. He went quietly towards and opened the office door a crack and saw the three boys engrossed in a game of poker. He retreated quietly and passing the cashier’s box he pressed the alarm button.

Well the bell went off with a deafening volume and the inspector stood in the middle of the foyer and waited for the inevitable panic to erupt. But nothing happened. No movement from the manager’s office. Nothing!

But while he stood there, perplexed and dumbfounded, the bar man from the pub across the road appeared carrying a tray with two bottles of stout and a large whisky, entered the bank and vanished through the door of the manager’s office. Almost immediately he re-appeared carrying the empty tray and as he passed the cashier’s box he reached in and switched off the alarm.

When he was dead level with the open mouthed inspector, he said “The manager wants to know what are ye havin’ ”?

One Pound note from Waterford Bank, 1880

Three Pound note from Roberts Bank, 1809

Just for the Craic.

The assumptive close…

On his way home from school a boy, the extent of whose finances was one halfpenny, went into a cake shop and asked for “A halfpenny stale penny cake!”

The Bed to Beat All

Lady Lushington had died and there was an auction of the contents of her mansion, which was near Waterford City, and it attracted a large gathering of people including some members of the then wealthy pig buyers from Ballybricken.

Some days after the auction one of these men was telling his friends in the local pub about the magnificent furniture etc. which had gone under the hammer – “And there was a bed,” he said, “the biggest I ever saw and it must have been seven foot across.” There was a gasp from his audience.

In the moment’s silence that followed, the barman/ owner said “Sure that’s not a big bed! Did ye ever see the size of the bed upstairs where me and me brother slept for years?”

Heads shook and one guy said “Well, how big is it?” “Well I don’t know the exact measurements” he replied, “but I can tell you that when my brother died I didn’t find out about it for a week – that’s how big it is!”

©Geoff Cronin 2008

Geoff Cronin 1923 – 2017

About Geoff Cronin

I was born at tea time at number 12 John Street, Waterford on September 23rd 1923. My father was Richard Cronin and my mother was Claire Spencer of John Street Waterford. They were married in St John’s Church in 1919.

Things are moving so fast in this day and age – and people are so absorbed, and necessarily so, with here and now – that things of the past tend to get buried deeper and deeper. Also, people’s memories seem to be shorter now and they cannot remember the little things – day to day pictures which make up the larger canvas of life.

It seems to me that soon there may be little or no detailed knowledge of what life was really like in the 1930s in a town – sorry, I should have said City, in accordance with its ancient charter – like Waterford. So I shall attempt to provide some of these little cameos as much for the fun of telling as for the benefit of posterity.

I hope you have enjoyed this weeks stories from Geoff and I hope you will pop in again next Saturday. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – August 27th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Appropriate Dress and Airline Marketing

Firstly, with the results of sleuthing on the Internet are 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 USAndAmazon UK    Blog: D.G. WritesGoodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads –  Twitter: @pokercubster

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

Now for a joke or two from Sally

Inappropriately attired.

Be careful what you wear (or don’t wear), when working under your vehicle…especially in public.

From the Sydney Morning Herald, Australia comes this story of a central west couple who drove their car to a busy shopping centre only for their car to break down in the parking lot. The man told his wife to carry on with the shopping while he fixed he fixed the problem.

The wife returned later to see a small group of people near the car. On closer inspection, she saw a pair of male legs protruding from under the chassis.

Although the man was in shorts, his lack of underwear turned private parts into glaringly public ones.

Unable to stand the embarrassment, she dutifully stepped forward, quickly put her hand UP his shorts and tucked everything back into place. On regaining her feet, she looked across the hood and found herself staring at her husband who was standing idly by.

The mechanic, however, had to have three stitches in his head.

Airline Marketing

In an effort to boost sales United Airlines announced that for two weeks only, any business executive who travelled on a midweek flight could take his wife along with him for only 20% of the normal fare. In order to judge the success of this campaign, they emailed all the wives concerned, asking them if they had enjoyed their flights.

Ninety percent of the wives emailed back asking ‘What Flight?

And if you have time to spare here is a selection of my Books and reviews

Sally Cronin, Buy: :Amazon US – and:Amazon UK  –  Follow:Goodreads – Twitter: @sgc58

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


Smorgasbord Book Reviews – #Mystery – Frozen Stiff Drink: A Kellan Ayrwick Cozy Mystery (Braxton Campus Mysteries Book 6) by James J. Cudney

This is my review for Frozen Stiff Drink: A Kellan Ayrwick Cozy Mystery (Braxton Campus Mysteries Book 6) by James J. Cudney

About the Book

A winter blizzard barrels toward Wharton County with a vengeance. Madam Zenya predicted the raging storm would change the course of Kellan’s life, but the famed seer never could’ve prepared him for all the collateral damage. Nana D disappears after visiting a patient at Willow Trees, leaving behind a trail of confusion. When the patient turns up dead and a second body is discovered beneath the snowbanks, Kellan must face his worst fears. What tragedy has befallen his beloved grandmother?

Kellan’s brother Hampton learns essential life lessons the hard way after his father-in-law accuses him of embezzlement. While trying to prove his innocence, Hampton digs himself a deeper hole that might lead to prison. Sheriff Montague wants to save him, but she receives the shock of her life as the past hurtles forward and complicates her future.

Between locating Nana D and solving the scandalous murder of another prominent Braxton citizen, Kellan and April’s worlds explode with more turmoil than they can handle. Too bad neither one of them knows what to do about the psychic’s latest premonition. The suspicious deaths happening around town aren’t ending anytime soon.

My review for the book 27th August 2020

It is hard to believe that Kellan Ayrwick has only been back at the Braxton Campus for a year in this series of mysteries. In that time he has solved several murders and other criminal activities and either charmed or alienated family and residents. Just when the poor guy thought he could relax with his daughter and nephew away in Florida with his parents, and his developing romance with the town sheriff April on track, a storm front races in.

It is not just the snow that Kellan is up to his eyes in, with his fiesty grandmother going missing, corruption allegations rocking the judicial office, accusations piling up against all his family members and bodies being discovered on an alarmingly regular basis.

As always the author keeps us on our toes with fast paced action and a growing list of suspects; all well drawn with their own quirks and characteristics. Some are familiar from other books and others new to the town.. including the irritatingly arrogant Fox Terrell who seems to turn up when he is least wanted or expected.

James Cudney writes a very good murder mystery and leaves the reader guessing to the last minute as to who could be the killer. He also unravels the other mysteries very satisfactorily in the final chapters, although we are left with a cliffhanger guaranteed to encourage you to buy the next book in the series, which of course we will.

Recommended for murder mystery readers who enjoy second guessing the author right to the last page.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

Also by James J. Cudney

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US  andAmazon UK  – Website/Blog: This is my truth nowGoodreads: James J. Cudney – Twitter: @Jamescudney4

About James J. Cudney

James is my given name; most call me Jay. I grew up on Long Island and currently live in New York City, but I’ve traveled all across the US (and various parts of the world). After college, I spent 15 years working in technology and business operations in the sports, entertainment and media industries. Although I enjoyed my job, I left in 2016 to focus on my passion: telling stories and connecting people through words. My debut novel is ‘Watching Glass Shatter,’ a contemporary fiction family drama with elements of mystery, suspense, humor and romance. To see samples or receive news from my current and upcoming books, please subscribe with your email address at my website:

What do I do outside of writing: I’m an avid genealogist (discovered 2K family members going back about 250 years) and cook (I find it so hard to follow a recipe). I love to read; between Goodreads and my blog at, I have over 500 book reviews which will give you a full flavor for my voice and style. On my blog, I started the 365 Daily Challenge, where I post a word each day that has some meaning to me, then converse with everyone about life. There is humor, tears, love, friendship, advice and bloopers. Lots of bloopers where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dog has a weekly segment called “Ryder’s Rants” where he complains about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real and show how I live every day.

A bit of humor: Everything doubles as something else when you live in NYC. For me, it’s the dining room, my favorite space in the apartment, where more than just my cooking is on display! As I look out the windows onto a 12th floor terrace, various parts of nature (trees, bushes, flowers, bugs & animals) inspire me to write. Ryder, my 10-year old shiba inu, usually lays on my feet, growling when I shift positions too many times or when I forget to share my food! Although he’s only 20 pounds, he’s quite strong and pushy. But how else can you pen the best story possible without these things by your side?


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed the review… Sally.

Smorgasbord Health Column – The Medicine Woman’s Treasure Chest – Herbal Medicine – Saw Palmetto – #Men’sHealth – Hormone Imbalance by Sally Cronin

What is Herbal Medicine

Herbal medicine has been part of our ancient and more modern history for thousands of years. Unfortunately there is no money to be made by the pharmaceutical companies when only a plant is processed. Therefore in the last twenty years particularly there has been a focused effort, at a very high level, to downgrade all alternative therapies including herbal remedies to quackery.  We can only now suggest that an alternative therapy MAY help you.

A commonsense warning about herbal medicines.

Herbal medicines should be treated with respect and should only be used if you have read all the contraindications, possible side effects and never with any prescribed medication unless you have cleared with your doctor first.

This is particularly important if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant as taking specific herbal medicines can cause harm.

Go to a qualified herbalist or if you buy over the counter on online read all the instructions beforehand or enclosed in the packet. I always buy the more expensive and professionally prepared tinctures and have stayed with that brand for the last twenty years.

Having established that; I want to introduce you to herbs that can be taken as a prepared tincture but also those that you can include in your diet which may improve and maintain your health. Today a look at another common herb that has been used for thousands of years by many cultures.

In recent years Saw Palmetto has been primarily recommended to men but it is an herb that can also be used by women especially if they are suffering from oestrogen dominance throughout their reproductive years.

Saw palmetto is a small palm tree with large leaves and deep red/black berries. The berries contain an oil comprising a variety of fatty acids and phytosterols (plant cholesterol that blocks our body’s production of cholesterol).

Like many of our herbal remedies, Saw Palmetto has been used for thousands of years by Native American Indians as a remedy for urinary tract problems, impotence, testicular and prostate disease and reduced sex drive. They also used the berries as a general tonic and to stimulate appetite after illness. Women were also treated with Saw Palmetto for painful periods and to increase levels of breast milk.

As with all supposed folk remedies this herb has come under increasing scrutiny and in some cases poorly conducted research products that tend to confuse the public as to its medicinal benefits.

There is growing evidence however that Saw Palmetto may have very definite benefits for a condition that affects many men over the age of 40 and at least half the men over the age of 60 years old.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)

BPH is an overgrowth of the cells in the prostate gland probably due to hormonal changes that begin to occur in men over the age of 40. It is not cancerous but it causes the prostate to enlarge and press onto the urethra, the tube carrying urine from the bladder. This causes frequent urination and the feeling that the bladder is never quite empty. In most cases doctors prescribe alpha blockers such as Tamsulosin, but there is increasing evidence that Saw Palmetto can also relieve the symptoms but without the side effects of the drug. These might include loss of sex drive, semen production, dizziness due to a drop in blood pressure and a runny nose.

It is not fully understood how the herb works but it is thought that the fat-soluble extract of the berries may block the conversion of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which can stimulate the growth of prostate cells. The herb also exhibits an anti-inflammatory effect, which will also help relieve the swelling and urinary tract discomfort.

Obviously if you are currently taking prescribed medication for this condition you cannot simply stop taking it or start taking Saw Palmetto in tandem. Do consult your doctor beforehand.

Oestrogen Dominance in women

Though we think of declining oestrogen as the hallmark of menopause, it’s actually common for women to experience surges of abnormally high oestrogen levels during the menopausal and pre-menopausal periods, as well as earlier in life. It is believed that an excess of oestrogen, coupled with a deficiency of progesterone (the counter hormone to oestrogen), is the common denominator for a lot of female reproductive problems as well as other apparently unrelated conditions.

Because of our modern diet we are exposed to a huge amount of additives in our food chain and these include hormones which are given to livestock to promote heavier meat yield. This is supposed to be regulated but it was particularly prevalent in the 70’s and 80’s and affected teenage girls who reached puberty during that period.

Even today there is still a lack of regulation about what is put into the feed for animals we are eating and certainly it is my theory that it is not only affecting young women but increasing the menopause symptoms for older women. What is not considered is the effect on men who also experience a reduction in testosterone in middle age and are exposed to oestrogen.

Oestrogen dominance can build up before puberty leading to periods beginning later at 14 and 15 years old. Typically these will be painful when they do start and it is common for doctors to simply prescribe the birth control pill which can lead to more problems than it solves as it further destabilizes the hormone balance.

Symptoms that are associated with excess oestrogen and deficient progesterone are as follows:-

  • Allergies,
  • breast tenderness,
  • cold hands and feet,
  • decreased sex drive,
  • depression,
  • dry eyes,
  • fat gain in abdomen,
  • hips and thighs,
  • fatigues,
  • headaches,
  • poor hair quality,
  • irregular, heavy and prolonged bleeding,
  • endometriosis,
  • insomnia,
  • foggy thinking and memory loss,
  • sluggish metabolism,
  • water retention and bloating.

Other health benefits of Saw Palmetto

Saw palmetto has also been used in the past to heal chest infections as it acts like an expectorant helping the body eliminate mucous from the lungs and bronchial tubes. Native athletes would have taken the herb to increase stamina, muscle and strength as well as an anti-inflammatory for injuries. Allegedly it is a mild aphrodisiac, probably because of its hormone balancing properties, and may also help treat urinary tract infections.

Add its mild sedative effect and its alleged ability to stimulate the thyroid and you have a versatile and useful herb to keep in the medicine cupboard.

The herb is available in tincture and capsule form and you should always follow the directions for use. If in any doubt do consult a qualified herbalist to ensure that you are taking the correct remedy.

The usual dosage for the tincture is 10 – 20 drops; two or three times per day in a little water and if in capsule form take once a day after meals.

Contraindications for the use of Saw Palmetto

  • The herb is a medicine and should therefore be used with caution when taking any prescribed medication.
  • In particular any medication that contains oestrogen such as the birth control pill, as the Saw Palmetto may decrease the effectiveness.
  • Also should not be taken with anticoagulants and the herb may slow blood clotting.
  • This includes aspirin widely taken as a preventative to thin the blood.
  • ©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

    Your feedback is always welcome and if you do find that following any of the posts that I have shared are beneficial then it would be great to hear about it.. you can email me on


Smorgasbord Health Column – Nutrients that work better together – Part One -Vitamin C, D, K , Calcium and Magnesium by Sally Cronin

The health supplement industry is worth billions of dollars and pounds annually. However, there is a danger that we will turn to the magic of pills or sprays to provide us with the nutrients that should be provided by foods as we restrict our diets in line with the latest official edicts.

The reality is that your body absorbs the nutrients that it requires from food, because over the last few hundred thousand years, that is how we have evolved. Not just humans but every animal across the millions of species, has also evolved that way. Which is why, however enriched a dry dog or cat food might be, it can never take the place of real meat, fish, fowl and some plants that animals would consume in the wild.

Put aside the fact for a moment that we are intelligent human beings, and look at your body as a fine example of thousands of years of fine tuning. Part of our problem with health and obesity is that we have gone from foraging and hunting and being opportunistic eaters, to being able to walk into a supermarket and pick stuff off the shelves all year around.

The body requires a wide range of nutrients to obtain what it needs, and up until the food industry began importing foreign produce and canning foods, we would have eaten seasonally. Do you get into May or June and start to crave crisp salad leaves, tomatoes, cucumber and spring onions? Do you get to October and suddenly want to dive into root vegetable stews and soups and mashed swede or parsnips with a pudding of berries on porridge? That is your ancestral instinct for seasonal foods.

Now that we can pick and choose our food to buy rather than gather… it does mean that sometimes we are not getting the right combination of nutrients together to be effective. Some nutrients require other vitamins or minerals to be absorbed by the body and this applies not only to the food that we consume but any supplements that we take.

Let me give you some examples.

You will usually see calcium supplements sold as either Calcium and Magnesium or Calcium and Vitamin D3.

CALCIUM: The most abundant and essential mineral in the body. There are approximately two to three pounds mainly found in the teeth and bones. Apart from its role in the formation of teeth and bones it is also required for blood clotting, transmission of signals in nerve cells and muscle contractions. There is some indication that higher dietary calcium intake protects against cardiovascular disease particularly in women. If you are at risk of kidney stones consult your doctor before taking in additional calcium supplements. This also applies if you are suffering from prostate cancer where there may be a link between increased levels of dietary calcium in dairy products and this form of cancer. It is thought it is thought that excess calcium causes lower levels of Vitamin D, which helps protect against prostate cancer.

The best dietary sources for calcium are dairy (moderate intake) milk (semi-skimmed is good), yogurt, cheese such as Feta and cottage cheese sardines, canned salmon (the bones), green leafy vegetables such as watercress, broccoli, kale and spinach; soy products such as tofu and nuts such as almonds. Figs and oranges, fortified oats and other cereals, almond or rice milk and even tinned baked beans.

Although an excess of dietary calcium is indicated as lowering levels of Vitamin D it actually requires Vitamin D to be absorbed efficiently from the stomach and for the various calcium functions within the body. Which means that you would need to increase foods that contain Vitamin D or obtain adequate amounts of sunshine to allow your body to produce effectively to help boost your immune system and to prevent diseases such as prostate cancer.

VITAMIN D: CHOLECALCIFEROL; Essential for maintaining blood levels of calcium by increasing absorption from food and decreasing loss from urine. This maintains a balance preventing calcium from being removed from the stores in the bones. It also plays a role in maintaining a healthy immune system and blood cell formation. It may protect against prostate cancer. It is needed for adequate levels of insulin and may protect the body from Multiple Sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile diabetes.

Why Vitamin D is essential for healthy bone density

A network of collagen fibres forms the base of bone and they are then overlaid with minerals. The strength of the finished bone is dependent on the amount of mineralisation that takes place. Osteoclasts will remove old bone when needed and this results in a need to produce new collagen matrix to attract new minerals for the repair process.

Here is an example of healthy bone.


Vitamin D is essential to ensure that sufficient calcium and phosphorus is attracted to the new matrix and that strong new bone is produced. It begins its work in the intestines where your food is processed and assists in the absorption of calcium. If you are deficient in Vitamin D the bone becomes calcium depleted (osteomalacia) increasing your risk of fractures.

Unfortunately, if you are deficient in this vitamin more bone is discarded than replaced leading to soft and malformed bones.


Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and is mainly synthesised by the body during exposure to sunlight although it is also found in Cod liver oil, oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna and free-range eggs. It is also added to fortify milk and cereals including in bread.

As you can see from the above calcium and Vitamin D work together.

However, during the winter months when sunlight is restricted there is a danger that the relationship will become one sided with the constant intake of calcium in everyday foods but a decrease in available vitamin D.

If you cannot get enough Vitamin D through the winter months from eating an increase in oily fish or eggs, then you can opt to take a Vitamin D3 supplement. For example I take it in a spray form that is absorbed quickly into the body through my cheek membranes..

But taking a Vitamin D3 supplement adds another wrinkle.

To activate the D3 supplement and to prevent the calcium build up in the bloodstream, you need to make sure that you have adequate intake of both magnesium and Vitamin K2.

MAGNESIUM: It is 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.

The best food sources are whole grains such as brown rice and oats, almonds, bananas, beans, pumpkinseeds and sesame seeds, wheat germ, dried apricots, dark green vegetables such as spinach and kale, Brussel Sprouts, mushrooms, egg yolks soybeans and fish. Chicken, lamb and turkey, white fish and tuna.

VITAMIN K: PHYLLOQUINONE; Necessary for proper bone formation and blood clotting, and has been largely ignored until relatively recently, as not just necessary, but essential for bone health and cardiovascular health because of its working relationship with calcium.

The vitamin is fat-soluble and is stored in the liver. Studies indicate that approximately 50% of the stores come from our diet and the balance from bacteria in the intestines. We need healthy bile production for efficient absorption of Vitamin K and our lymphatic system circulates it throughout the body.

Vitamin K1 is mainly found in leafy green vegetables such as spinach and dark lettuce, raw cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, and olive oil. It is also produced by the body from bacteria in the intestines.

There are two forms of of the Vitamin and the other is K2 (MENAQUINONE) and since the focus on Vitamin K has always been on blood clotting, it is only recently that the significance of inadequate amounts of K2 has been identified.

Without adequate K2 in relation to Vitamin D (particularly as a supplement) there is an over absorption of calcium leading to deposits in the arteries and heart disease.

Therefore K2 is essential to help maintain the calcium in our bones and prevent it leaching into the bloodstream; resulting in not only harmful calcium deposits but also osteoporosis.


Best food sources for K2 are in organ meats such as liver, egg yolks and  butter, milk, cheese such as Brie and Gouda and fermented foods such as Sauerkraut etc. (Fermented foods help maintain a balance of healthy bacteria in the gut and as Vitamin K is also produced in the gut it is a great addition to your diet)

Here are some ideas and you can mix and match from each of the groups to vary your meals. Depending on your usual routine you can swap lunch and dinner around.

Breakfast – A bowl of porridge with semi-skimmed milk and a chopped banana. Glass of fortified orange juice.

Snack – Handful of pumpkin seeds.

Lunch – A two egg omelette made with milk, cheese and spinach, served with a spinach, tomato and avocado salad and a slice of wholegrain bread and butter.

Snack – An orange

Dinner – Roast pork with broccoli, brown rice, carrots and a dessertspoon of sauerkraut or other pickled vegetables. Followed by a yoghurt with chopped dried apricots.

If you are taking these nutrients in supplement form.

If you are taking a Calcium and D3 supplement, then I suggest that you look at changing to a Calcium and Magnesium combined supplement, and during the winter months particularly when sunlight is in short supply, a Vitamin D3 and a separate K2 supplement.

Part Two next Wednesday

©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

Your feedback is always welcome and if you do find that following any of the posts that I have shared are beneficial then it would be great to hear about it.. you can email me on

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – August 25th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – A Helping Hoof and Inflight Service

Firstly, with the results of sleuthing on the Internet are 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 USAndAmazon UK    BlogD.G. WritesGoodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads –  Twitter: @pokercubster

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

Now for a joke or two from Sally

A helping hoof

A man was driving down a country road in the middle of dairy farm country when his car stalled inexplicably. He got out and raised the hood to see if he could find out what had happened. A brown and white cow slowly lumbered from the field she had been grazing in over to the car and stuck her head under the hood beside the man. After a moment the cow looked at the man and said, “Looks like a bad carburettor to me.” Then she walked back into the field and began grazing again.

Amazed, the man walked back to the farmhouse he had just passed, where he met a farmer. “Hey, mister, is that your cow in the field?” he asked. The farmer replied, “The brown and white one? Yep, that’s old Daisy.” The man then said, “Well my car’s broken down, and she just said, ‘Looks like a bad carburettor to me.’” The farmer shook his head and said, “Don’t mind old Daisy, son. She don’t know a thing about cars.”

Inflight service

On a long distance flight on British Airways to Australia a mother took her young son to the toilet and told him she would be back in five minutes for him. He was finished in two minutes and headed off by himself down one of the aisles in the opposite direction to where his mother was sitting.

In the meantime a business man entered the toilet and locked the door. After the five minutes were up, the mother went to the toilet and knocked on the door and called out, ‘Do you need a hand with your zipper?’

From behind the door, a startled male voice said, ‘Good heavens, that’s what I call service!’

And if you have time to spare here is a selection of my Books and reviews

Sally Cronin, Buy: :Amazon US – and:Amazon UK  –  Follow:Goodreads – Twitter: @sgc58

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