CarolCooks2 weekly roundup…24th January-30th January 2021…Recipes, Whimsy, Music and Lifestyle Changes…

Time for Carol Taylor’s weekly round up with Tofu for meatless Monday, Coconut oil, foods and culinary terms ending in the letter (T), yoghurt, healthy body cleansers with Bael Tea or Juice and a walk around the block..Always a great selection.

Retired? No one told me!

Recipes, Whimsy, Music and Lifestyle Changes…

Welcome to this week’s edition of my weekly roundup of posts…Especially for you just in case you missed a few posts during this last week…It is a lovely sunny and still morning here…and the last day of the month…To say I am pleased is an understatement it’s just suffice to say January is proving to be my nemesis…the month where I am often lost for something to say when I just really want to curse but can’t…I also don’t like to swear and most swear words do offend me…I think it must be my age…Joe knows what to say…

Right…Unlike yesterday when the brain would not engage…my weekly catchup is a doddle brain required so here goes I hope you enjoy the roundup…x

Meatless Mondays …are going well and proving quite popular… I am enjoying my meatless meals and I wish to thank…

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Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Sunday 31st January 2021 – #Writing D.G. Kaye, #Blogging Pete Springer, #Zucchini Dorothy’s New Vintage Kitchen

Welcome to a small selection of posts I have enjoyed over the last few days and I hope you will head over to read them in full.. thanks Sally

The first post is on the subject of writing and is from Debby Gies…D.G. Kaye and she explores the differences between Non-Fiction and Fiction in relations to characters and events.

Let's Have a Look - series

Let’s Have a Look – About #Writing – Writing Fiction vs. Nonfiction

Welcome to my new series in this new year. I decided to call it – Let’s Have a Look. #LetsHaveALook

So what exactly will we be having a look at? How do I describe this? Random topics or incidence I come across in daily life – from reading or watching the news, to a blog I may have read that gives me pause, are things I’ll be looking at. A spontaneous thought if triggered about a why or that raises a question to myself – I’m going to bring discussion to the event or article here.

So, Let’s Have a Look!

Today’s post came about inspired by a reply from my author friend, #fantasy writer, Diana Peach, who mentioned in reply to my comment I’d left on her recent post when she shared about how one of her characters in her WIP sometimes directs where the story leads.

I had commented that I have enough trouble writing nonfiction about real people – implying that I could only imagine all that is involved in the creating of characters and fantasy storylines and Diana responded with this:

“Part of me thinks it would be harder to write real people, Debby, because a non-fiction author is writing from a particular perspective as well as making interpretations about others, all the while trying to represent the truth. It’s easier to just make everything up! Lol. A post from you about how you navigate that would be really interesting.”

Okay Diana, here’s the post! – Head over to read about the differences that Debby highlights: Let’s Have a Look – About #Writing – Writing Fiction vs. Nonfiction

Now for a lovely post on the blogging community by Pete Springer

Photo credit to Armin Rimoldi on Pexels

When I started writing less than two years ago, I had no clue what I was doing in the blogging world. I had written a memoir/advice book about my teaching career, They Call Me Mom, They Call Me Mom (something I hadn’t planned to do), and the logical follow-up question was now what?

Someone suggested starting a blog—an idea that had never entered my head. The more I thought about it, the better it sounded. I didn’t create one to become famous or try and sell a lot of books. That’s not a priority for me. I’m someone who enjoys learning. A blog would provide me with opportunities to practice writing. I’m not one of those people who has loved to write his entire life. In reality, I’m much more of an analytical, left-brain type. I was happier solving a math equation than keeping a journal. I know what many of you are thinking: “What’s wrong with you?” 😊

Head over to read the rest of this lovely tribute to the blogging community: Bloggers as Friends by Pete Springer

The final post today is a lovely recipe from Dorothy’s Vintage Kitchen for a vegetable that we eat a great deal of, but I may not be doing them as much justice as I should.

Zucchini with Garlic, Lemon, and Hazelnuts

The humble zucchini moves from quiet weeknight sidekick, to dinner party pretty, and it’s quick and easy too!

My grill has reappeared from the snow, and while I seldom hesitate to fire it up in the middle of winter, it was just been a little too cold this week to stand there for any length of time, especially since I never got my Bernie gloves ordered!

So, inside, the grill pan came to my rescue, and in just a few minutes I had a weekend special side dish for little money, little time, and lots of flavor.

A quick grill, followed by a quick sauce of olive oil, hazelnuts, garlic, anchovies, parsley, and lemon, and we were all set. The anchovies are optional if you want to make this vegetarian, and you can substitute dairy-free Parmesan if you want it vegan. It will still be delicious. You can use any summer squash you like in this as well.

Serve this hot, cold, or, my favorite, room temperature. Of course, if it isn’t 17 degrees outside, you can do this all on the charcoal grill.

Head over to read the delicious recipe for Zucchini with Garlic, Lemon, and Hazelnuts: Vintage Kitchen Zucchini with garlic, lemon and hazelnuts


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

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Music Column – The Breakfast Show – 1960s Hits Part Two – Special Guests John W. Howell and Jennie Fitzkee

Over the last four weeks we have been featuring the hits in the charts of 1960-1962. We have also included some of the notable events in those years for the up and coming stars who were centre stage at the time. You can find these posts:The Breakfast Show with hosts William Price King and Sally Cronin

We will be sharing the music of the 1960s until the end of May before moving on to the 1970s. Participate in the spin-off shows and share your memories of the music of the 60s. An opportunity to share your work and here are the details: The Breakfast Show 2021

The first guest today is John W. Howell who shares his wonderful memories of the 1960s and his time as a D.J on radio.

John in the 1960s

Thanks, Sally for allowing me to give my impressions of the decade of 60s music.

When I look back on the 60s, my memories always go to the very earliest part of that decade. I had graduated from high school and was off to college. I left a high school sweetheart behind, and of course, time and distance do not make suitable relationship binders. The relationship fell apart, and so there were plenty of songs to help balm the bruised heart. In May of 1960, Roy Orbison released his biggest hit, “Only the Lonely.” This song became my anthem for the rest of the year.

In addition to losing what I thought was the only love of my life, I was also serving as a class officer, so I tended to work hard to avoid thinking of my problems. The term ended, and it was time for the summer break. The biggest song that wouldn’t go away was “Theme from a Summer Place” by Percy Faith. I can still imagine us all at the drive-in restaurant with the radios up loud, trying to convince our dates that we were in love.

School came back into session, and around October 1960, Edith Piaf released her finest song Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien. Edith and I went way back. When I was ten, my father passed away, and I collected Edith Piaf records. They ended up almost unplayable after I listened to them hundreds of times. For some reason, her story and her songs gave me a lot of comfort. Her release of the record brought back the earlier sadness. More importantly, the song with Edith singing it had the effect of making me realize I had weathered the storm and had nothing to regret. So I offer as my favorite 1960’s song Edith Piaf and “Non Je Ne Regrette Rien.” ondrejtis 

John Howell turned to writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive career in business. John writes thriller fiction novels and short stories. His story Cold Night Out won an honorable mention in Writers Digest Popular Fiction contest this year. He also won first place in the Kurt Vonnegut Kilgore Trout novel contest, celebrating Kurt Vonnegut as an author. His short story Never Give Inn was selected to be published in the Miracle E-zine fifth issue published in April of 2014. Since then John has published three books in the John Cannon thriller series, a novel Circumstances of Childhood, a collaboration with Gwen Plano, The Contract a paranormal thriller, and his latest release Eternal Road an adventure in the afterlife.

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

Books by John Howell

Read the reviews for John’s books: Amazon USand : Amazon UK – Goodreads:John Howell Goodreads Blog: John W. Howell. com – Twitter@HowellWave

The final guest this weekend is Jennie Fitzkee who shares the music that she grew up with and which she now shares with the children in her class every morning.

A new generation discovering the music of the 1960s

My parents had a HiFi that was off limits to me and my sisters. I was fascinated by the record changer and being able to stack multiple records at one time. They loved playing albums, particularly Frank Sinatra albums. His music remains a favorite of mine to this day. Do you know that young children need to hear soft jazz in the background at school? Yup, I play Frank at school every morning.

And then it was 1962.

I discovered American Bandstand on TV. Every rock and roll song was played. Teenagers voted on the songs. And oh, the dancing! I was on my feet for the entire show. That fall I started in a new school, 7th through 12th grade. The lunch cafeteria was in the basement, and there was another room with a juke box. The juniors and seniors always played songs and danced. I walked in on my first day and listened to “Do You Love Me” by the Contours. That was it. I was in rock and roll Seventh Heaven, and still am. R&B was in my blood.

And then it was 1964.

The Beatles had made their first record album, “Meet the Beatles.” I remember going downtown to the department store and buying the album with my babysitting money. I have played it hundreds of times. I still play the album. It was “ I Want To Hold Your Hand” that sent me to the moon. I’ve been there ever since. February 9, 1964, I forced my parents to watch Ed Sullivan and even threatened anyone who dared talk. It was wonderful.

My love of rock and roll and R&B has never waned. As the music grew, I did too. From the Supremes to Janis Joplin, this was a decade of great music. Woodstock is still one of my favorites albums. I bring my 1960’s music into my classroom, playing my albums on a record player. This is fascinating for children. They love the music as much as I do. Most recently a Boston Massachusetts robotics company videoed their robots at Boston Logan Airport dancing to “Do You Love Me”. I nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw this! I showed this to the children many times, and we have written a letter to the company.
“One of my favorite songs is “Twist and Shout.” The original is by the Isley Brothers, and the redo is by the Beatles. Both are terrific! I danced and did the Twist in stocking feet till I had no stockings left on the bottom of my feet.”

Good music never goes away!

Here is the Beatles version “Twist And Shout” The Beatles

About Jennie Fitzkee

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It’s the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That’s what I write about.

I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease’s bestselling book, “The Read-Aloud Handbook” because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.

Connect to Jennie – Blog: Jennie Fitzkee – Facebook: Jennie Fitzkee – Twitter: @jlfatgcs


Thanks for joining us today and as always we would love your can all the Tuesday Breakfast Shows so far in the directory Here

Smorgasbord Short Stories – What’s in a Name? – Patrick – Love in a Time of War by Sally Cronin

At the weekends I will be sharing some of the stories from my collections and also new stories that have not been published before… I hope you will enjoy.

Patrick – Love in a Time of War

The first time Patrick Walsh saw her, was as he wended his way slowly down the hill between the slow moving trucks on his motorbike. The road was lined with women and old men who were handing out hastily cut sandwiches and mugs of tea to the men in the trucks, whose outstretched hands gratefully received these simple acts of kindness. It was clear from the their faces that they found the peaceful summer skies overhead, and clamour of women’s voices, a much needed reminder of home and safety.

He knew where they had come from, as for the last six days he had been flying over them as they had scrambled into small boats to be ferried out to the larger naval vessels waiting to take them to safety. He and his squadron had been a part of the massive air defence operation over the coast of Northern France. Thousands of soldiers had been pouring off the beaches having gathered over the last few days from the surrounding countryside; exposed and being attacked by superior German forces.

On the last run today his spitfire had received a direct hit to the cockpit from a persistent Messerschmitt Me 109; luckily missing his head by inches apart from a cut over his eye, earning him a few hours respite. His plane would be ready to fly first thing in the morning. The ground crews at all fighter squadrons were working around the clock to get pilots back in the air until the evacuation from the French coast was complete.

As he carefully maneuvered between the trucks he responded to the shouts from the men above him with a small wave. He knew that their good natured jibes were aimed at his uniform and the wings that it displayed, and that their friendly ribbing was their way of showing gratitude. He decided that it would be easier to wait until the convoy had passed to continue into the village square. He dismounted, standing by the hedge to watch the villagers as they persisted in their need to comfort these dispirited men with tea and offerings of food.

She stood out from the crowd of women. Tall with long red hair tied back with an emerald green ribbon, she was dressed in overalls and wore heavy boots. She had a natural elegance as she darted between an older woman, holding a tea tray piled with jam sandwiches, and the trucks. Despite the men’s exhaustion, eager hands grasped the food, winking and flirting with the prettiest thing they had seen for a long while.

Patrick leaned back against the saddle of his bike and let himself enjoy this brief moment of humanity that was so rare today. He had been flying since the first weeks of the war and his squadron had suffered huge losses; particularly in the last few weeks as they had provided air cover for the retreating British forces.

They had been warned that far worse was to come as the enemy amassed both fighters and bombers for an all-out offensive on the country. Having already lost many friends, Patrick knew that it was only a matter of time before he became a statistic.

Some of his fellow pilots and aircrew decided that they would live as hard as they fought. There were plenty of pretty girls around the station that were delighted to dance the night away and bring some laughter and sometimes love into the young men’s lives. He had seen the results of these whirlwind romances at the Saturday night dance in the village hall. As the airmen arrived in an ever changing group of young men, expectant faces would be watching the door and it was not unusual to see a girl being led away in tears by her friends.

Patrick loved to dance but gently refused the invitations to take to the floor and over the last few months he had become regarded as something of a misery. His friends gave up on their attempts to persuade him that he should live for the moment, and with a wry smile he listened to the chat up lines that were guaranteed to pull the heartstrings of a pretty girl.

But now as he watched the red head flying back and forth and smiling up at the men in the trucks, he felt an overwhelming urge to hold her in his arms and waltz around a dance floor. He shook his head and reminded himself that it would only lead to heartbreak for her, and he couldn’t bear the thought of those beautiful green eyes filling with tears.

An hour later the last truck in the convoy disappeared through the village square and out of sight. There would be more coming through from the coast, and Patrick watched as the crowd of villagers gathered up their cups and trays and disappeared back into their homes. They would prepare more from their meagre rations for the next wave of returning soldiers and be waiting for them by the roadside. He remained by the hedge until the red headed girl had linked arms with her mother and entered her house before riding down to the square.

‘Patrick, are you awake my friend?’ The voice of his Polish friend Jakub intruded into his daydream about dancing with his stunning red head.

‘Just about, do you want to go to the Black Swan for a beer? He sat up and rested his head in his hands and tried to bring his mind back to reality.

He looked around the Nissen hut that was their home, taking in the four empty cots that waited for the new arrivals. They would be mostly teenagers with only a few hours flying solo, and none of them in combat. He was only twenty-four, but he felt like an old man compared to the fresh faced and eager boys that would come through that door tomorrow.

It was now August and the skies were filled with formations of enemy bombers most nights. His plane was grounded again having the undercarriage repaired after a problem on his last landing. His mechanic said he had the ‘luck of the Irish’. Patrick was well aware that he was now one of only a handful of pilots remaining from the original group a year ago; he knew that his luck was bound to run out sooner or later.

There was just one thing that he needed tonight, and that was the sight of Red, and she would be helping out her dad behind the bar at the Black Swan.

Two hours later he and Jakub sat quietly at a corner table with their glasses of beer. One beer was the limit as both of them would be back in the skies tomorrow; a cockpit was no place for lack of concentration.

Jakub was married and expecting his first child and was happy to sit quietly in the warm and welcoming atmosphere thinking about his next leave in a week’s time. Patrick however spent his time watching Red as she served customers and laughed with the regulars. That laugh was in his head and was added to all the other pieces of her that he carried with him as he flew missions. The thought of those green eyes helped dispel the voice of the other constant companion that was by his side each time he buckled himself into the cockpit. Her presence in his heart and mind had helped him control his fear; bringing the realisation that he was experiencing the very emotion he had desperately wanted to avoid; he was in love.

Over the weeks since that first day on the hill, there had been moments in the pub, when he would catch her eye and they would both smile then look away. By sitting at the bar when he popped in alone, he had gathered more information about her. She wasn’t called Red of course, but Georgina and Georgie to her friends. She didn’t seem to have a boyfriend amongst the regulars who frequented the pub, and one day he overheard that she had been engaged to a soldier who had been killed within weeks of the war starting.

He would watch as she gently refused all attempts by eager young warriors to take her on a date, realising that her heart had already been broken. This reinforced his resolve not to give in to the growing need to tell Georgie of his feelings; convinced it would only bring her further sorrow.

Through the rest of the summer months missions intensified, with both daylight and night bombing raids on the docks and major cities; almost bringing the country to its knees. In the October the tide began to turn, but not without the loss of thousands of fighter pilots and bomber air crews. It was then that Patrick’s luck ran out as he limped home with a badly damaged plane and shrapnel injuries in his chest and arm.

Patrick fought to stay conscious as the plane shuddered and bucked as he flew using his one good hand. Blood from a head wound almost blinded him, but as he saw the runway rushing up to meet him, he managed to bring the nose around and head for the grass to the side. The last thing that he thought about as the world went black was Georgie’s face and laugh.

A month later Patrick got one of the pilots to drop him off at the Black Swan and he walked into the early evening quiet of the bar. He had just received his new orders on his return from the hospital. From Monday he would be moving into an intelligence role where his experience in combat could be put to use. He was making a good recovery, but the extensive injuries to his arm meant the end of his flying career; now he would be ensuring that he kept others safe in the skies. In one way he felt that he was abandoning those that he regarded as family in their close knit squadron, but he also knew that it offered him the opportunity to fulfil a dream that was equally important.

Georgie was polishing glasses and looked up to greet the new customer with her usual smile but instead she took a deep breath. As he moved closer Patrick could see that there were tears in her glorious green eyes. Georgie stepped out from behind the bar and walked towards him, glancing at his arm in its sling and the scar that was etched into his forehead. She stood in front of him and neither spoke for a moment until he reached out his good arm to take her hand.

‘Is there any chance that you might let me take you to the dance tomorrow night?’

She smiled through her tears. ‘How are you going to be able to dance with only one free arm?’

He pulled her into him and looked down at the lips that he had imagined kissing so many times in the last few months.

‘Don’t worry Red… I’ll manage just fine.’

©Sally Cronin 2015

I hope that you have enjoyed this story and as always look forward to your feedback. Thanks Sally

My latest short story collection is Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries: Sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet.

About the collection

Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries: Sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet is a collection of short stories with scattered poetry, reflecting the complexities of life, love and loss.

The stories in the collection dip into the lives of men and women who are faced with an ‘event’ that is challenging and in some cases life changing.

Even something as straightforward as grocery shopping online can be frustrating, and a DNA test produces surprise results, the past reaches out to embrace the present, and a gardening assistant is an unlikely grief counsellor. Romance is not always for the faint-hearted and you are never too old for love. Random acts of kindness have far reaching consequences and some people discover they are on a lucky streak. There are those watching over us who wish us well, and those in our lives who wish us harm.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Jan 13, 2021 Jaye Marie rated it Five Stars

Reading Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries, Sally Cronin’s new book, was time well spent, it was a breath of fresh air in a what had become a very stale world.

Each beautifully written story and the interwoven poems reminded me of what life is really like, far away from all the sadness and disappointments that 2020 has dumped on us all.
I loved all the stories, but I know that some of them will be remembered better than the others. These are the ones that struck a familiar chord with me personally.

Like The Wedding Day, with its message of hope. The sadness of Long-Lost Love and the Gaffer Tape, so satisfying! My favourite must be The Nanny, I needed tissues for this one!

I can thoroughly recommend this book as the perfect escape from life and all of its problems!

Read the reviews and buy the collection for £3.50: Amazon UK – And $4.65 : Amazon US –  More reviews : Goodreads

You can find out about my other books and their most recent reviews: Sally’s books and reviews 2019/2021

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – 24th – 30th January 2021 – 1960s music, America, Book Reviews, pH balance, Anti-Aging and funnies

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

A quick intro today as I have very little to report on the home front.. the weather is the same, lockdown extended to March 5th and more travel restrictions in place. On the bright side, we did binge watch the last four James Bond’s to get ourselves ready to watch the new one when it eventually gets released.

We are also enjoying our foreign language series,particularly the Scandinavian shows, and amazing how quickly you forget the subtitles. They are also very well made and thankfully missing so much of the unnecessary chit chat that the English speaking series seem to contain.. in one show we watched last week 20 minutes of a murder mystery was spent with two of the detectives bickering in a car on their way from one scene to another.. I must be getting old…or grumpy… or both.

Anyway.. thankfully there are some great people around to cheer me up including William Price King and the hits of the 60s.. four guests join us this week in the special shows.. the first today and one tomorrow.. Hopefully more of you will join us with your memories of the music of the time as we move through the decades.

Also of course Debby Gies who has been sending funnies my way to share with you.. she does a great job.. And thank you for visiting and sharing the posts, it is very much appreciated.

On with the posts from the week..

The Breakfast Show with William Price King and Sally Cronin – Chart Hits 1961 – Part Two

– The Breakfast Show – 1960s Hits Part One – Special Guests Ann Patras, Darlene Foster

– Houston – June 1986 – June 1986 – Kittens, sit ups and water volley ball!

#Rescue Dogs – The Sanctuary

What’s In A Name – Theresa at the Checkout

Some clarification on the book promotion and my own book reviews here on Smorgasbord.

Book Promotion and Book Reviews 2021 Guidelines

#Thriller #Sci-fi- The Hitman and the Thief by Richard Dee

#Western #Romance – Gwen Slade: Bounty Hunter by Sandra Cox

Past Book Reviews 2020 – #Mystery – Examining Kitchen Cupboards by Stevie Turner

– Past Book Reviews 2020 – #Romance – Marriage Unarranged by Ritu Bhathal

-Anti-Aging and pH balance Eating Plan


– Main Meal – Brown Rice Pilaf – Multi-Vitamin on a plate

The Children’s Reading Room – New Author – The Runaway Schoolhouse by Maria Matthews

#TeddyBear Sue Wickstead, #Historical Antoinette Truglio Martin, #Traveladventure Darlene Foster

New Author on the Shelves – #Paranormal #Thriller Crescent City Moon: Book 1 in the Crescent City Series by Nola Nash

#Humour Lizzie Chantree, #Design Valentina Cirasola, #Writing Harmony Kent

New Release – #Romance #Saga The Heartstone by Judith Barrow, #Myths Barbara Spencer, #Teaching Pete Springer

Hugh W. Roberts

#Guestpost Hugh Roberts, #Sociamedia Chuck Jackson, #Guestpost Marcia Meara

#WritingPrompts Frank Prem, Q&A D.G. Kaye, #Review by Claire Fullerton

Wednesday 27th January 2021 – #Coconutwater Carol Taylor, #Life Jane Sturgeon, #Release Stuart France and Sue Vincent.,

#FullMoon Joan Hall, #Poetry Robbie Cheadle, #CoAuthorship John W. Howell

January 26th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Roomba and Skipping

January 28th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Spiders and Gravestones

Thanks for dropping in and enjoy the rest of your weekend.. I hope you will join me again next week.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Book Reviews – #Thriller #Sci-fi- The Hitman and the Thief by Richard Dee

This week I have read the science fiction thriller The Hitman and the Thief by Richard Dee and enjoyed the action packed adventure very much.

About the book

Assassination can be a messy business, especially if you’re having a bad day.

Dan Jones is the ultimate problem solver, the hitman for crime boss Fliss Bauer.

Fliss has a rival, Kalindra Dallin. She runs a particularly unpleasant planet. Dan is told to arrange her demise. It’s just another job; until a random event means that it all goes horribly wrong.

To save his skin, Dan is forced to try again, only this time he has to work with a partner. He doesn’t want to but it’s the only chance he’s going to get; if he wants to put things right.

Can the hitman and the thief get the job done, more importantly, can they keep each other alive?

My review for the book Saturday 30th January 2021

This is an action packed thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end as it races across a number of planets at some point in the future.

I have read a number of science fiction books over the years and there is a tendency to over complicate the story with extraterrestrial beings and technological wizardry which can distract from the story. However, the author has created a world that is familiar enough that you understand the environmental differences and methods of interplanetary travel whilst enjoying the basis of the story which is a good old fashioned thriller.

Having just watched the last four James Bond films back to back, it occurred to me that the central character of Dan Jones, an assassin who rarely allows his emotions to cloud his judgement, would fit very well into the role. Despite his preference to work alone he finds himself partnered with a thief who might assist in the near impossible task he has been set, and their relationship develops very satisfactorily throughout the story.

Of course things don’t go smoothly and it gets to a point where it is difficult to know who to trust and you are kept guessing right up to the last page.

I thoroughly recommend this for sci-fi and thriller readers who enjoy a fast paced read with plenty of surprises.

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

A small selection of other books by Richard Dee

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US And: Amazon UK Website: Richard Dee’s ScifiGoodreads: Richard Dee at Goodreads – Twitter: @RichardDockett1

I’m Richard Dee and I’m from Brixham in Devon. I was never a writer, at least not for ages. I made up stories in my head, based on dreams and events in my life, but I never did much with them. Life, a wife, three daughters and now three grandchildren have kept me busy.

I spent forty years in shipping, firstly at sea, then in Port Control and as a Thames River Pilot, with adventures to match anything I could imagine. When I retired, I just moved them out into space, changed some of the names and wrote them down.

I write Science Fiction and Steampunk adventures, as well as chronicling the exploits of Andorra Pett, reluctant amateur detective. When I’m not writing, I bake bread and biscuits, cook delicious meals and walk the Devon coast.

My first novel Freefall was published in 2013, followed by Ribbonworld in 2015. September 2016 saw the publication of The Rocks of Aserol, a Steampunk adventure, and Flash Fiction, a collection of Short Stories. Myra, the prequel to Freefall was published in 2017, along with Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Café, a murder mystery set in space, the first of a series featuring Andorra Pett, an amateur detective.

Sequels to most of them have either followed or are in production. I also contributed a story to the 1066 Turned Upside Down collection of alternative history stories. I’m currently working on more prequels, sequels, and a few new projects.


Thanks for visiting today and I hope you have enjoyed my review of Richard’s book and will head over to check his others out.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Music Column – The Breakfast Show – 1960s Hits Part One – Special Guests Ann Patras, Darlene Foster

Over the last four weeks we have been featuring the hits in the charts of 1960-1962. We have also included some of the notable events in those years for the up and coming stars who were centre stage at the time. You can find these posts:The Breakfast Show with hosts William Price King and Sally Cronin

We will be sharing the music of the 1960s until the end of May before moving on to the 1970s. Participate in the spin-off shows and share your memories of the music of the 60s. An opportunity to share your work and here are the details: The Breakfast Show 2021

Our first guest today is Ann Patras who shares her love of music from an early age and a track that is close to her heart.

Music in my Life – Ann Patras

This was taken on the veranda of the Atlantic Hotel adjoining Magaluf beach, Mallorca in 1968. I first went there with my grandmother when I was 11, when the Atlantic was the ONLY hotel there. (I wouldn’t go to Magaluf now if you paid me!)

Like you, Sally, my life was filled with music from the year dot. We had a Radio Relay speaker in our living room which played all the BBC channels, but from 7 o’clock at night we had to use the transistor radio to get Radio Luxemburg, which was the only radio source of pop music for years.

We had a cabinet Décor record player in our front room, which was then joined by a reel-to-reel tape player. We played anything from big band crooners and popular soloists to early pop music.

I was seventeen when I recognised the need for quality stereo equipment. I was at my cousin Tony’s house who was/is a ‘sound expert’ and we were listening on his amazing set-up to Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band when the track ‘Good Morning, Good Morning’ came on. I couldn’t believe it when at the end of the track I heard a hunt galloping across the room from the left speaker and disappearing off behind the right one. For my 18th birthday I was given a proper hi-fi system.

Apart from regular stuff, we used to buy ‘Sampler’ LP records which contained tracks ranging from soloists, through groups to film theme tunes. I used to love these LPs as they introduced me to so many artists in different genres that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise come across.

Although I have hundreds, there are two songs in particular which remind of those sixties music days. Obviously Good Morning is right up there at the top, but the other is by my dear departed mum’s favourite artist, Tony Bennett. (Who is still singing live, aged 94 at the time of writing!) I absolutely love his original rendition of “A Taste of Honey” Tony Bennett

These days my preferred listening is 70s/80s rock music, although occasionally something current can grab my attention, as proven when I gave my son a lockdown haircut earlier this year while dancing to Uptown Funk. (A must see video)

Ann Patras has written three memoirs of her life in Africa..What started out as a two-year contract in Zambia, resulted in her living in Africa for 31 years.The onset of those 31 years came with some surprises. She didn’t know anything about the place they were moving to (1980 was light years before the internet), if she had known she might not have agreed to go. Within days of arrival in Zambia she was horrified to find they didn’t have English-type pubs, toilet rolls were an endangered species, ants were the size of small cats and there was a fly whose larvae ate you from the inside out if you didn’t iron all your laundry. Yes, even socks!

Maintaining the sunshine theme she now lives in Spain, with the same weird-sounding husband and writes books about all their crazy experiences.

Read the reviews and buy Ann’s books: Amazon UK –  And:Amazon US – Follow Ann:  Goodreads – Website: Ann Patras Author – Facebook: Ann Patras Author

The second guest today is Darlene Foster who shares her memories of music on the radio and listening to Country and Western Music.

A teenage Darlene

I was raised with music in the house. We didn’t have a TV so the radio was on all the time. My cowboy dad loved country and western music so the likes of Johnny Cash, Roy Rogers and Gene Audrey is what he enjoyed. Then Elvis came on the scene, initially as a country singer, and introduced rock and roll to our house. My first album, Blue Hawaii, was a gift from my parents. I was heartbroken when he had to join the army. As a teenager in the 1960s, I became aware of the anti-war movement and felt strongly about it. It was reflected in my choice of music at the time. Where Have All the Flowers Gone, was a favourite of mine. Although many performers have recorded this meaningful Pete Seeger song, Peter Paul and Mary’s version is the one I love the most. I was delighted to see them perform this and many of their great songs years later. This song still makes me emotional when I hear it as it is as relevant today as it was back then.

Here is my choice for the 60s songs. “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” by Peter Paul and Mary recorded in 1962. I could not find a video from back then but here is one from a performance later. I was lucky to see them perform this song, and many others I love, when they were at this age.


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


Find out more about Darlene’s books and read the reviews: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Website/Blog: Darlene Foster WordPress – Goodreads: Goodreads – Twitter: @supermegawoman

Join us tomorrow for special guests John W. Howell and Jennie Fitzkee with their memories and favourite music of the 1960s

Thanks for joining us today and as always we would love your can all the Tuesday Breakfast Shows so far in the directory Here


Smorgasbord Short Stories – What’s in a Name? – Theresa – At the Checkout by Sally Cronin

At the weekends I will be sharing some of the stories from my collections and also new stories that have not been published before… I hope you will enjoy.

Theresa – The Checkout

‘Come on let’s whip into that lane over there.’

‘No, I am fine here, look the line is moving already.’

‘Are you kidding me?’ He glared at her in frustration. ‘We are going to be here till Christmas at this rate and the game starts in twenty minutes.’

She shrugged her shoulders. ‘It’s only football for goodness sake, just be patient.’

‘Patient, patient!’ Hands in pockets he made a face.

‘I came shopping with you didn’t I? He put a hand on her shoulder.

‘Come on Theresa, please we only have three items and that line is much shorter.’

She shrugged his hand off and took a deep breath.

‘She doesn’t like me.’

‘Who doesn’t like you?’

‘The woman in that checkout.’

‘Excuse me!’ He looked at her in disbelief. ‘What are you talking about?’

I have been through that checkout several times when I was in a hurry and each time she has made rude comments.’

‘Love, you’re losing it babe, big time.’ She glared at him.

‘Okay last time I went through that checkout with a pizza and ice-cream; she said that she could see why I was fat.’

‘You must have imagined it doll.’ Laughingly he grabbed her waist fondly. ‘I love every inch of you and you are not fat just cuddly.’

‘Alright, I’ll prove it to you.’ She turned and stomped off to the now empty check-out and waved the first item, which happened to be a packet of fish fingers, under the scanner.

A slightly metallic female voice spat out of the speaker. ‘Oh my, still picking the fat options I see.’

Theresa turned to her husband and gave him a glare…. ‘Well, do you believe me now?’

‘It must be a wind up… Candid Camera or one of those stupid programmes. Put another item through.’

Theresa put the two other items under the scanner one by one. The voice smugly pronounced. ‘That will be four pounds and eleven pence and half a stone madam.’

Fuming Theresa put her debit card into the reader and completed the transaction. She threw the offending items into her bag for life.

‘Okay Theresa let me have a go.’ Her husband picked up some gum from the stand next to the checkout and passed it under the scanner.

‘Hello handsome,’ spoke a silky sexy voice. ‘What are you doing for the rest of my life?’

©Sally Cronin 2015

I hope that you have enjoyed this story and as always look forward to your feedback. Thanks Sally

My latest short story collection is Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries: Sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet.

About the collection

Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries: Sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet is a collection of short stories with scattered poetry, reflecting the complexities of life, love and loss.

The stories in the collection dip into the lives of men and women who are faced with an ‘event’ that is challenging and in some cases life changing.

Even something as straightforward as grocery shopping online can be frustrating, and a DNA test produces surprise results, the past reaches out to embrace the present, and a gardening assistant is an unlikely grief counsellor. Romance is not always for the faint-hearted and you are never too old for love. Random acts of kindness have far reaching consequences and some people discover they are on a lucky streak. There are those watching over us who wish us well, and those in our lives who wish us harm.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Jan 10, 2021 John W. Howell rated it Five Stars

I always enjoy a good short story and have been known to write a few myself. I guess you would call me a particular guy when it comes to short stories. I generally am turned off if I can detect that there will be some cute, contrived ending designed to bring the reader to tears. You know the type. Husband and wife fall on hard times. She sells her hair to buy him a watch fob. He sells his watch to buy her a comb. Wait, that is an O’Henry story. Well, anyway, you get the idea. The stories in Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries has no such contrived circumstances.

These are stories from the heart. They are about some people you come to care about what happens to them. There are also stories of people who you get the feeling need a karma hit. In each case, Ms. Cronin does an excellent job developing circumstances that are just right for both.

I liked the fact that the book has convenient headings. In this way, the stories are all grouped into Technology, Connections, Winning Streak, Animal Magic, and Falling in and Out of Love. These headings alone will give the reader an idea of the kinds of stories in the book. Suffice it to say, there is a wide range of stories that should appeal to everyone.

I thoroughly enjoyed these stories and highly recommend the book to anyone who enjoys reading well-written work.

Read the reviews and buy the collection for £3.50: Amazon UK – And $4.65 : Amazon US –  More reviews : Goodreads

You can find out about my other books and their most recent reviews: Sally’s books and reviews 2019/2021


Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Friday 29th January 2021 – #FullMoon Joan Hall, #Poetry Robbie Cheadle, #CoAuthorship John W. Howell

Welcome to a small selection of posts that I have enjoyed in the last few days and I hope you will head over to enjoy in full..thanks Sally.

The first post is from Joan Hall who shares the wonderful myths and legends behind the various Full Moons throughout the year.

January – The Wolf Moon

Hey, everyone. Hope the first part of this new year have been good for you. It’s no secret that I have a fascination with full moons. I think it runs in the family. My brother once hiked through Grand Canyon by the light of a full August moon.

Also, the original concept for my upcoming Legends of Madeira series was inspired by, you guessed it, the moon. I thought it would be fun to feature a monthly post with some facts, myths, or maybe even a legend or two.

For years, I’d heard the term Harvest Moon, but did you know Native Americans had names for each of the full moons? These varied from tribe to tribe and were often relative to the area in which they lived. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, these names traditionally applied to the entire lunar month, beginning with either the new or full moon.

January is known as the Wolf Moon. This has nothing to do with mythical werewolves. It came about because on cold January nights, packs of wolves are often heard. It was once thought wolves howled because they were hungry. However, wolves use howls to define their territory, locate members of their pack, and gather for hunting.

Head over to read the rest of this fascinating post about the legends of the full moons: Joan Hall with January The Wolf Moon and other legends

Robbie Cheadle, hosted by Kaye Lynne Booth, interviews fantasy author and poet Diana Wallace Peach about her favourite poems and the post also features a review by Robbie of Sunwielder.

Treasuring Poetry – Meet fantasy author and poet, Diana Peach and read my review of Sunwielder: An Epic Time Travel Adventure


Head over to find out more about Diana’s favourite poetry and her books: Treasury of Poetry – Diana Wallace Peach and a review of Sunwielder by Robbie Cheadle

Welcome to the first Treasury Poetry post of 2021.

Today, I am delighted to welcome fantasy author and poet, Diana Peach, who is sharing one of her own poems and discussing poetry.

Which of your own poems is your favourite?

Thanks so much for the invitation to participate in your Treasuring Poetry series, Robbie. I’m honored. I think of myself as a writer of prose and a dabbler otherwise, but I love poetry and believe no creative effort is ever wasted.

This is a super hard question! I have poems that I think are well-crafted, poems that evoke personal feelings or memories, and poems that reflect a particular time in my life. Since “I don’t know” isn’t an acceptable answer, I’ll go with this one:
Flight of faith

When I was a child, I could fly
you and I hopped in dirt-road afternoons
and the dust-wind flung us over seas of wheat
scuffed shoes skimming the feathered awns
we whipped around the corners of the barn
in a home-sewn world of farm-hewn hands
our secret futures soared.

Read the rest of the poem and enjoy the rest of the interview and review: Treasuring Poetry – D.Wallace Peach with Robbie Cheadle

The next post is the third in a series on Story Empire by John Howell and Gwen Plano on the complexities of co-authoring a book..very helpful if it is something you are planning to do in the future.

Unsplash Image KOBU Agency

Hi SE ers, The Last two posts on co-authorship covered the informal and formal elements needed for a successful co-authorship relationship and how to create a shared vision. If you missed them, you can go HERE and HERE. Today I am covering the subject of writing coherency.

Creating writing coherency (in other words making the story appear to have been written by one author) with two writers is critical. Without writing coherency, the book authored by two separate individuals will appear disjointed and confusing. Gwen and I were elated when a couple of our beta readers commented about the coherency of our story, saying that it was “seamless.” This was most encouraging. We worked towards writing coherency through three means.

1 Follow one character through the story: Our story is centered on a male character and a female character. Each of us wrote from the point of view of both characters. But once we completed the book, I took the male character, and Gwen took the female character and followed them through the entire book to ensure that the dialogue and descriptive material were consistent.

Head over to read the post in full as this series does provide a comprehensive guide to co-authorship: Story Empire, John Howell, Writing Coherency in co-authorship part three


Thanks for dropping in and I hope you will head over to enjoy these posts in full… thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – Past Book Reviews 2020 – #Romance – Marriage Unarranged by Ritu Bhathal

I read some amazing books in 2020 and I would like to share them again with you, updated with the authors most recent releases and their biography.

Today I am delighted to share my review from March 2020 for this lovely and engaging romance, Marriage Unarranged by Ritu Bhathal.

About the book

It all started ended with that box…

Aashi’s life was all set. Or so she thought.

Like in the Bollywood films, Ravi would woo her, charm her family and they’d get married and live happily ever after.

But then Aashi found the empty condom box…

Putting her ex-fiancé and her innocence behind her, Aashi embarks upon an enlightening journey, to another country, where vibrant memories are created, and unforgettable friendships forged.

Old images erased, new beginnings to explore.

And how can she forget the handsome stranger she meets? A stranger who’s hiding something…

My review for Marriage Unarranged from March 12th 2020

What a lovely story and one I enjoyed very much.

This is a romance and an exploration of life in families where parents are striving to maintain cultural traditions, as the younger generation adapt and engage in the environment they were born into. For Aashi’s parents and those of her fiancee Ravi, the drama that unfolds is unthinkable, but love and a realisation that losing face in the community is not the end of the world, opens the door to a new beginning.

With the support of her brothers Sunny and Bali, her friend Kiran and a fellow traveller Arjun, Aashi finds the strength to move on.

The central part of the story is set in India where the five friends set out to discover their roots without the guiding hand of parents on previous visits, and for Arjun for the first time. Simple pleasures such as watching a Bollywood movie in an authentic Indian cinema with all the trimmings and exploring the colourful markets. Then taking the train to Amritsar to celebrate the harvest festival of Vaisakha along with thousands of pilgrims, and on a more emotive visit to pay their respects at Jallianwala Bagh garden the site of the infamous Amritsar massacre.

A the end of the two week trip which has been a mixture of business and pleasure, and with a deeper sense of family and tradition, love is also in the air. As the group leave India and return to Britain, it is clear that life will be different for them all.

The author has created characters that are engaging and memorable. The story is told from each of their perspectives and this enables the reader an opportunity to get to know them better and to witness their growing awareness of their strengths and how their futures will unfold.

The novel is well written and flows with a wonderful sense of humour.  Bhathal also offers the reader an opportunity to participate in the multi-cultural world we live in, a privilege and a reminder of how our lives are the richer for it. Highly recommended.

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

Also by Ritu Bhathal

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK andAmazon US- Blog: Ritu Bhathal WordPress Follow Ritu: Goodreads – Twitter: @RituBhathal

About Ritu Bhathal

Ritu was born in Birmingham in the mid-1970’s to migrant parents, hailing from Kenya but with Indian origin. This colourful background has been a constant source of inspiration to her.

From childhood, she always enjoyed reading. This love of books is mostly credited to her mother. The joy of reading spurred her on to become creative in her own writing, from fiction to poetry. Winning little writing competitions at school and locally gave her the encouragement to continue writing.

As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and teacher, she has drawn on inspiration from many avenues to create the poems that she writes.

A qualified teacher, having studied at Kingston University, she now deals with classes of children as a sideline to her writing!

Ritu also writes a blog, a mixture of life and creativity, thoughts and opinions, which was recently awarded The Best Overall Blog Award at the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards in 2017.

Ritu is happily married and living in Kent, with her Hubby Dearest, and two children, not forgetting the furbaby Sonu Singh.


Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed my review of Ritu’s book … Sally.