The Last Post?

As with all her posts even before her diagnosis of cancer a few months ago, Sue Vincent has always projected a sense of grace and an ability to see the beauty in everything that she saw, be it an ancient monument, a pile of stones left by some ancient Britain, or the simple stained window in a small unremarkable stone church. She has spread the love in her posts, books and poetry as she and her small black dog Ani shared their thoughts. Despite the fact this might be her last post (hopefully not), and the sadness that this is a farewell, she will live in our hearts always. I am so pleased that our paths crossed and thankful to have the time to be included in her community. Such a privilege. If you know Sue then please head over to share your thoughts.

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Sunday 28th February 2021 – #AncientBritain Viv Sang, #Writing Sian Turner, #Walks #Cancerupdate Mary Smith

A small selection of posts I have enjoyed in the last few days and I hope you will head over to enjoy in full.

The first post takes us way back down the road of history to one of ancient Britain’s queens and her story of loyalty to the Romans, loves and betrayals.. exciting stuff from Viv Sang.. and also a note about a book offer…From next Sunday, 28th February, for a limited time, Vengeance of a Slave will be only 0.99 ($ or £). It is set in Britain in the area where Cartimandua reigned, shortly after her defeat.

Image by Jo-B from Pixabay

I think most people will have heard of Boudicca and her revolt against Roman occupation of Britain, but how many have heard of Cartimandua, Queen of the Brigantes?

Here is a bit of what is known of her life.

The Brigantes were a Celtic tribe that lived in the North of England. Their territory covered what is now Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cumbria, Northumberland and a little bit of Derbyshire. It was a large territory. 

Head over to enjoy the post in full and check out Viviene’s books: Cartimandua Queen of the Brigantes

The next post is from author Sian Turner who asks “Where do you get your ideas?”

Where do you get your ideas?”

My books always begin with the tiniest seed of an idea: a single thought consisting of a ‘what if?’ question. For example, ‘Finding the Falling Man’ is based on wondering ‘What if I actually knew, when trying to make a decision, which course of action would lead to the best result?’ From this question sprang Drew Dawson, a young man who had visions, along with his leveller – and the story’s protagonist – Drew’s twin sister Faye. Drew and Faye were the roots of my story.

The next question was, of course, why would such a marvellous, useful super-power get these two characters into strife? The answer was that Drew would see a situation in a vision and have to decide between saving his own selfish skin or saving a stranger. Thus ‘The Falling Man’ – the stem of the plot – was created.

Head over to read the post and share where you get your ideas from for your writing: Where do you get your ideas from? by Sian Turner

The next post is the weekly update from Mary Smith about her cancer treatment a must read for anyone currently going through treatment as being as informed as possible is vital, but also Mary shares a stunning walk she managed with her sister with some stunning photos.

MarySmith’sPlace ~ Fatigue & other side effucks Cancer Diary #25

Wednesday, 24 February: It’s grey and wet here and has been for the last two days which may account for the dip in my mood. I suspect, though, more than the weather blues, it’s caused by trying to deal with the seemingly endless fatigue and lack of energy.

On Sunday, the weather was lovely following several days or torrential rain, and my sister and I met for our first socially distanced walk in – well, I don’t even know how long it’s been since we saw each other. We met at the car park at Rockcliffe, a small village on the Solway coast. I’ve written before about the circular Rockcliffe/Kippford walk when I really struggled, post-chemo, pre-radiotherapy.

We decided to walk in the other direction to Castle Point, site of an Iron Age fort. It’s not particularly strenuous and – I’m guessing here – the circular walk is only about 2.5-3 miles.

Head over to read the post in full and leave your comments for Mary; MarySmith’sPlace ~ Fatigue & other side effucks Cancer Diary #25


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

Smorgasbord Poetry – Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly #Tanka #Poetry Challenge No 214 #ThemePrompt – Dreams by Sally Cronin

This week Colleen Chesebro’s #Tanka Tuesday Challenge 214 – #ThemePrompt is ‘Dreams’… I have written a stacked double etheree which I hope you will enjoy.

at night,
serve to clean
and de-clutter
the mind of surplus
information and thoughts,
to sweep the neural pathways
and rejuvenate the brain cells,
leaving them eagerly awaiting
new data and emotions to process.
our daydreams
fill the cleared mind
with vibrant visions
and possibilities,
stretching into the future
and changing our lives forever,
creating a permanent record
unaffected by nightly spring cleaning

©Sally Cronin 2021

There is still time to participate in this week’s challenge: Colleen Chesebro’s #Tanka Tuesday Challenge 214 – #ThemePrompt

If you have time to browse my fiction, poetry and non-fiction books and reviews: Here


Thanks for dropping in and as always your feedback is very welcome…Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – New Author on the Shelves – #Memoir #NYPolitics – Community: Power Politics and Democracy in Hell’s Kitchen by Mary Clark

Delighted to welcome Mary Clark to the Cafe with her latest release, a memoir – Community: Power Politics and Democracy in Hell’s Kitchen

About the book

An arts coordinator at a midtown church in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, Mary Clark began a fifteen-year journey through New York City politics. From the volatile streets to the halls of power, she experienced the triumphs and defeats of the Hell’s Kitchen community as it fought “development fever.” Her actions fed into the successes and failures of her community work, as this memoir describes in a nod to Rousseau’s The Confessions.

The AIDS epidemic was at its height. Homeless families were placed in midtown hotels, which resembled refugee camps. Crime associated with the illegal drug trade threatened one of the oldest communities in the city. Meanwhile, ambitious politicians vied for dominance behind the scenes. She had a grassroots view of the fall of Ed Koch, a working relationship with David Dinkins, and the rise of Rudolph Giuliani.

Three years into her years as a community activist, she met James R. McManus, Democratic district leader and head of the last Tammany Hall club in New York City. In a twist of irony, the “radical liberal” found with the McManus Club the opportunity to have the most productive time of her life.

There is a fire in Hell’s Kitchen, and you are invited to sit by its light and hear in its flames the prayer, the song, a cautionary tale, and an echo of love and rage.

Head over to buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

Also by Mary Clark

One of the reviews for Tally; An Intuitive Life

When a young poet stumbles into the life of a Greenwich Village recluse, she meets a bearded old man living in a garret. Surrounded by manuscripts in which he has attempted to comprehend the meaning of life, PJ has entered a time of failing eyesight, physical frailty, and economic uncertainty. Quiet and observant, the young poet Erin, or “Eyes” as PJ soon calls her, begins to help him put his life in order.

“No one is ever conscious of what he is doing or why he is doing it,” PJ said, “even a person who is aware of everything he is doing and after pondering it, can perceive the reason or motivation for it.”

The above is just one of many sentences I underlined last February while I was doing a writing residency at the Vermont Studio Center for the Arts. Anyone who makes her or his life in the arts risks winding up like PJ, which is to say not wealthy, except in matters of the spirit.

“PJ’s long bony fingers swept over drifting stacks of books, papers, paintings, typewriter ribbons, photographs and found objets, all jumbled together, everything melting into some other form…’Dali would have had an idea of the melodramatic squalor in which I live,'” PJ told her.

PJ’s intellect and humor makes him an utterly fascinating subject. Some of his musings are brilliant; others, wildly off-the-wall. Genuinely curious, Erin plays along, but occasionally she says, Hey, wait a minute. Her doubts often mirrored questions that came up for me.
As Erin pitches in and begins to go through boxes of PJs manuscripts, she learns about his intuitive approach to life, thus the subtitle. Several chapters develop his idea of the “perceptive intellect.” In others, PJ talks about one of his personas, The Professor of Love.

The book exposes the layers and contradictions.

I’ve reread this book twice since I purchased it, underlining or drawing new smiley faces. If you have ever had an elderly packrat-of-a-relative whose care fell to you, then you will surely love this book and understand the pull-and-tug that confronted Erin on almost every visit to PJ’s garret. It’s not a book you can race through, but one that will make you think a lot about how anyone assembles the flotsam of life into a coherent story.

Lest you think PJ was some kind of eccentric and amusing kook, a chapter near the end will prove you wrong. The book also made me wonder how any of us could explain the principles and assumptions by which we’ve lived our lives. I’m not sure I could do what PJ managed to do, and what Mary Clark has so lovingly presented in this biography/memoir.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Mary: Goodreads – Website: Literary Eyes – Facebook: Mary Clark Books – Twitter: @mceyes

About Mary Clark

Mary Clark was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, in 1949, to parents who lived on the Rutgers University campus. Her family moved to Florida, where she spent her formative years, and was infused with a deep awe and respect for the natural world. She was also aware of the lives of migrant workers, segregation, and the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. Her book, Covenant, a coming-of-age, historical fiction novella, is set in Florida (Kindle only). Children of Light (Ten Penny Players’ BardPress) is a modern mythical chain of poems also set in Florida.

She graduated from Rutgers-Newark College of Arts and Sciences in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She had a strong sense of being a misfit, which propelled her to find her own place and occupation.

Mary moved to New York City in 1975 and worked at the Poetry Festival at St. Clement’s Church in the then outcast wilds of the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. For many years she worked for community organizations. In 1993 she started a monthly community newspaper, combining her two loves: the neighborhood and writing. Her memoir, Community: Power Politics and Democracy in Hell’s Kitchen, tells that story. A creative memoir, Tally: An Intuitive Life (All Things That Matter Press), is the story of a Bohemian artist she knew in NYC’s Greenwich Village.


Thanks for visiting today and it would be great if you could share the news of Mary’s latest book.. thanks Sally.

CarolCooks2 weekly roundup…21st February-28th February 2021…#Recipes, Whimsy, Music and Lifestyle Changes

Another packed week in the Thai kitchen of Carol Taylor with wonderful recipes for Meatless Monday, Banana bread and dog biscuits, Culinary alphabet featuring foods and terms ending in Y and Z, Homemade Fajita mix from scratch, chocolate pudding fruit and Saturday Snippets.. grab a coffee and head over…#recommended

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’s also the last day of the month and then we will be in March… the time just flies…

Let’s go and see what goodies I had for you last week…so snuggle up in your favourite corner with your favourite drink tea/coffee or hot chocolate although depending on where in the world you live it could be a glass of wine…Cheers!

Meatless Monday’s…is going well…personally I prefer either just vegetables as in a vegetable curry, I love anything mushroom-based, made with beans, I don’t mind lentils I am getting better at cooking them…practise makes perfect I guess…We all loved those pancakes with mushrooms and leeks and will definitely make them again…

Tuesday was National Banana Bread Day…

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Smorgasbord Stories – A return to Tales from the Irish Garden – Winter: Christmas Under the Magnolia Tree by Sally Cronin

As I am going to be in full on writing mode for the next couple of months and it is a over two years since I last shared Tales from the Irish Garden.. I thought I would it bring it out of mothballs for those of you who might have missed the first time around..

Yesterday we left Queen Filigree, and her magic kingdom of Magia, recovering from an attack from the Winter Fairy who had threatened to disrupt the final summer ball of the year. Although the danger has passed an even more perilous situation is developing. These are stories for ages 10 to 100+

Winter: Christmas Under the Magnolia Tree

By December, high in the mountains, the rain fell as snow and lay deep on the ground in the magic garden. Christmas was just two days away and beneath the roots of the old magnolia tree preparations were well in hand. The bees, that had been forced to hibernate in the special honey-chamber when the Winter Fairy brought early snow; hummed festively in the background.

Queen Filigree was very excited, not just because she adored Christmas, but because her favourite son, Prince Zachary, was coming home for the holidays. He had married a princess who lived in the gardens of a Royal Palace many miles to the north and she had not seen him for many years. They were due to arrive tomorrow and the ladies of the chamber were bustling around in the guest apartments, preparing the beds for the visiting royalty and their two young children. All the activity and noise were giving her majesty a headache. She wrapped herself in a spider-spun silk cloak and popped out to get some peace in her snow- covered kingdom.

She was invisible to humans, but the stone statues, which were the guardians of the garden, could see her and were delighted that she had taken this opportunity to visit them. As Queen Filigree made her rounds; wishing the Stoned Band, Fluffy, Fizzy and the other creatures a Happy Christmas, she caught sight of the old owner of the villa at the edge of the garden. He was wearing a shabby coat and tattered scarf, and his mittens clearly would not keep his shaking hands warm. He was also visibly distressed; tears rolling down his cheeks as he stared off across the valley to the distant mountains, glowering under the dark snow-filled skies.

The Queen was deeply saddened that the man who had taken such care of their sanctuary for so many years should be so unhappy, and intent on finding out the reason, she headed for the font of all knowledge here in the kingdom. Sir Gregory was one of the two head guardians of the magic garden and could be relied on to have the facts to hand.

She perched lightly on the shaggy stone mane and whispered in her knight’s little ear. ‘Your majesty,’ the guardian bowed his head. ‘I have indeed sad news to impart about the
master of the house we protect.’

Tears filled the queen’s eyes at the sadness that had overwhelmed the old man. ‘Did you manage to ascertain the cause of his distress?’

‘It would seem that he has not seen his son and family for many years and they have written and told him that they will be here tomorrow to spend Christmas with him.’

‘Well surely that is joyous news for him, as is my own son’s visit with his family?

‘Apparently, he has little money now, and it all goes on the upkeep of the house and
garden. His needs are few but he has not sufficient money for a tree, decorations, food or
presents for them and he is ashamed.’

The queen shook her gossamer wings beneath the warmth of her spider-thread cape.

‘Well we cannot have that, he has been a wonderful caretaker of our garden,’ she rose in the air and zoomed off back to the magic kingdom beneath the magnolia.

All the courtiers and servants were summoned to the throne room and stood chattering about the urgency with which they had been taken from their duties.

Queen Filigree clapped her hands and the room fell silent.

‘Listen carefully! We have work to do and not much time to accomplish it!’

The next morning the old man rose as usual to light a fire and prepare some simple bread and vegetables for the arrival of his family.

He walked into the cold and sparse living room and a sight awaited him that brought tears to his eyes. The floors and the furniture shone with wax whilst the candles on the chandelier sparkled like diamonds. The sight that took his breath away however was to be found in the corner of the room. There stood the most beautiful Christmas tree with lights that sparkled; with many gifts at its base with gold and silver wrappings.

Unable to believe his eyes, and fearing that he had passed into heaven overnight, the old man wandered the rooms of the house. Every room sparkled and new bedclothes adorned the guest bedrooms. The kitchen tables were laden with festive foods of every kind, including several bottles of his favourite honey mead wine.

As he stared in wonder at the transformation of his humble home, he heard the large brass bell at his gate chime, and with a sprightly step he rushed to open the front door. Standing outside in the wintery sunshine, stood his son and family beaming with delight at the sight of him; bearing hampers of food and brightly wrapped gifts. Within moments he was wrapped in their loving embrace.

Many hours later, Queen Filigree sat with her own son Prince Zachary as they watched through their magic portal into the house above them. The old man was sitting contentedly by his fireplace, sipping from time to time from a glass of the finest brandy.

From now on her majesty would keep a better eye on the old man. He had served them well, and deserved every bit of magic that had been woven about him this last night and day. She looked across as her son and saw that he wore a troubled expression.

‘Whatever is the matter Zachary, you look like you’ve seen a ghost?’ She laid her hand on her son’s blue velvet sleeve.

‘Mother, I have had some bad news, and I wanted to wait until after today’s festivities to tell you.’ He paused, closing his eyes as if to put off delivering this devastating announcement for a few minutes longer.

Queen Filigree waited patiently as she could see this was clearly painful for her son but coldness settled around her heart.

‘We have discovered from a trusted source within the human world, that this house is to be sold, and the old man to be taken to live with his son and his family. Like all properties that have provided sanctuary for our kingdoms over the millennia, this house was earmarked in the records so that we would have forewarning.’ He looked across at the ashen face of his mother as she covered her mouth with her delicate bejewelled fingers.

‘But surely Zachary, the new owners will not know we are here, and whilst I would be sad to see our old friend leave to live with his family, it should not impact the magic garden.’

‘I am afraid mother that the news was not just about the sale of the house, but also that the new owners have submitted plans to demolish the property and everything within the boundaries. This includes cutting down all the trees, and removing the vegetable and flower gardens to make way for a massive new house.’ He smiled sadly at the queen. ‘That will of course include the magnolia tree and the destruction of your palace.’

With tears pouring down her face, Queen Filigree retired to her chambers where she paced the floor all night. She declined her usual glass of warm nectar from the royal bee chamber, and instead helped herself to a glass of the liqueur made from the poppy petals that sharpened the mind and enabled visions of the future.

The next morning, the queen gathered her two remaining unmarried daughters, Princess Narcissus and Persephone, and her special advisors around her for an emergency summit conference, the first since the threat from the Winter Fairy. This fact was not unnoticed by her faithful and loyal courtiers, and they stood before her with solemn faces. Their concerns were confirmed when their queen delivered the message from Prince Zachary; many taking to the seats in the chamber and reaching for their own glasses of poppy liqueur.

‘We have just a very few weeks to find another location for the palace,’ the queen held her hands upwards in despair. ‘We have been invited to go to the North to live with my son’s family, but it would mean living in the court of his mother-in-law, and I am afraid that this would only make his life more difficult.’ Some of the courtiers stifled their giggles as they had all heard tales of the mad Queen Megan and experienced her rather strange notions. Serious though this situation was, they remembered the last time she had accompanied her daughter and Prince Zachary for a state visit. The Stoned Band had played their usual popular playlist, but Queen Megan, who rather fancied herself as a singer, had decided to accompany them.

To say that her majesty could not carry a tune was putting it mildly, and in fact to this day, Wiffy who played guitar was still too traumatised to play.

Anyway, the courtiers knew that living under the same roof, and being beholden to Queen Megan, was not going to be possible and suddenly all humour was sucked out of the chamber. Where on earth were they going to go? They had been here thousands of years with the present queen now 700 years into her reign with many hundreds of years left of her life. All the kingdoms to the south had been similarly affected by the modern building boom, and as forests and countryside were swallowed up, there was no likelihood of finding a new palace.

Prince Zachary informed them that the old man who lived in the home above them would be leaving at the end of the week, and the new owner was taking possession in three weeks’ time. To move the entire kingdom, and as many of the guardian statues that lived in the garden as possible, they would need to locate a new garden and palace in the next two weeks. An impossible task without some magic to make it happen.

The senior advisors, their queen and Prince Zachary, sat for many hours over the next two days and finally a plan was laid on the table for consideration.

©Sally Cronin 2018…

I hope you have enjoyed and next time…..messengers of peace are sent out in the hopes of finding a new home for Queen Filigree and the court.

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

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Feb 12, 2021 Pamela rated it Five Stars

Short stories have become “the thing” now. Until recently, short stories didn’t receive that much respect, particularly compared to novels. But in the past few years, more readers are appreciating the sharp intake of breath that can be delivered by a well-written short story. And that is exactly what Sally Cronin delivers here in her Bowl of Short Story Cherries. Like life, each story does not end up happy. But neither do they all end up bitter or sour. In fact, Cronin offers her readers a glimpse into “real life” with characters who could be your next store neighbor. Characters who search for love or money or happiness and find it, perhaps, in the least likely places. A few of Cronin’s stories caught me with a tear or two, as well as with a burst of laughter. That’s the kind of stories I like, where the characters’ emotions mirror mine, and we all learn our lessons in unexpected ways

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

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 – 21st – 27th February 2021 – 1960s Pop Music, Short Stories, Poetry, Blog Stars, Books, Reviews and Funnies

Welcome to the weekly round up with posts that you might have missed during the week.

I don’t have a great deal to report this week which in many respects is a good thing. We are waiting to hear the government decision regarding lock down today or tomorrow but it looks like it has been extended to the end of April with certain services such as hairdressing being one of the last to open.

Just as well my husband has become so deft with the scissors and clippers and as my hair is short anyway it has not been too bad.  I take the clippers to his hair too and after nearly a year we may continue after the restrictions are lifted.

I have been out and about however in the virtual sense which was a lot of fun. This week I was delighted to be the guest of author Hugh Roberts where I shared the story of my acting debut….I hope you will head over to read..

Watch Out For The Matador! – A True Story

As always my thanks to William Price King and delighted that the Breakfast Show is going down well, despite the fact that it is a little early for many of you to remember the songs.. If you do have memories and a favourite track from the 1960s we would love to include you in the Breakfast Show Special at the end of March.. details here The Breakfast Show 2021

Thank you also to you for all the visits, comments and shares again this week.. I do appreciate the support very much.

On with the posts from the week….

The Breakfast Show with William Price King and Sally Cronin – Chart Hits 1963 – Part Two

Jane Risdon shares the background to one of her favourite tracks of the 1960s

What’s in a Name? – Prince Charming by Sally Cronin

Return to Tales from the Irish Garden.. Previously

Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly #Tanka #Poetry Challenge No 213 #Badger Hexastich x two – Beacon and Umbrella by Sally Cronin

#Paranormal #Romance – Ghostly Interference: (White Rune Series Book 1) by Jan Sikes.

#Cancer #Journal – Apple Blossom: my Hope…my Inspiration by Jaye Marie

Past Book Reviews 2020 -#Poetry Inner Rumblings: by Joyce Murphy

Past Book Reviews 2020 – #Thriller -Deep Cover by John L. DeBoer

chicken sandwich

Recipes that Pack a Punch – A Chicken Sandwich and how your body extracts the nutrients

Turning Back the Clock 2021 – Part Seven – Anti-Aging and Attitude of Mind

Archives 2021 – #Pot Luck – #AfghanistanAdventures #54 Winter travel by Mary Smith

Archives 2021 – #Pot Luck – #Writing – Author Bio Dos and Don’ts by K.M. Allan

Going West: The Accidental Tourist by Sue Vincent

Monday 22nd February 2021 – #Food Carol Taylor, #Home Chantelle Atkins with Jessica Norrie, #Bookreview Harmony Kent

Wednesday 24th February 2021 – #LakeDistrict Mike Biles, #AlooGobi Sowmya’s Spicy Corner, #Publishing Alison Williams

Smorgasbord Children’s Reading Room – New Book on the Shelves #Ghosts – Brody Cody and the Haunted Vacation House by Toni Pike.

Smorgasbord Children’s Reading Room – Author Update – #Nature Joyce Murphy, #Fantasy Maria Matthews

New Book on the Shelves – #Thriller – Shattered Lives: A Jo Naylor Adventure by Allan Hudson

New Book on the Shelves – #YA #Fantasy – Rites of Passage (The Rites Trilogy Book 1) by Doug Parker

New Author on the Shelves – #Family – Sisters of the Undertow by Johnnie Bernhard

#Reviews #Family Lisette Brodey, #SouthernCulture Claire Fullerton, #Fantasy Tyler Edwards

#Murdermystery Terry Tyler, #Meditation Sue Vincent, #Fantasy D.Wallace Peach

#Lockdown M.J. Mallon, #Poetry Balroop Singh, #Paranormal Marcia Meara

February 23rd 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – After Surgery and Shopping for a Husband

February 25th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Lost Glasses and Best Beer in the World

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines Extra – Host Sally Cronin – We are all going to the dogs!


Thanks very much for visiting today and I hope you will join me again next week.. have a great weekend.. Sally.

Smorgasbord Book Reviews – #Paranormal #Romance – Ghostly Interference: (White Rune Series Book 1) by Jan Sikes.

Delighted to share the news of the latest release by Jan Sikes three days ago Ghostly Interference (The White Rune Series)

About the book

Jag Peters has one goal in his quiet comfortable life—to keep his karma slate wiped clean. A near-miss crash with a candy apple red Harley threatens to upend his safe world. He tracks down the rider to apologize properly. Slipping into a seedy biker bar, he discovers the rider isn’t a “he”, it’s a “she”, a dark-haired beauty.

Rena Jett is a troubled soul, who lives in a rough world. She wants no part of Jag’s apology, but even while she pushes him away, she is attracted to him. When he claims to see a ghost—her brother—can she trust him? And could her brother’s final gift, a magical rune stone with the symbol for “happily ever after” have the power to heal her wounds and allow opposites to find common ground—perhaps even love?

My review for the book 27th February 2021

This is a passionate love story with a gentle paranormal theme running through it. Whilst the central characters are Jag and Rena and is about the development of their relationship, the story also has other players who also create interest and mystery.

The author has done a great job of creating the world that they all  inhabit and you almost feel that you are riding pillion on a motorcycle, tapping your toes to the music and seeing something faintly familiar in the shadows.

There is also plenty of action as the lives of others intrude into the love story, and the author does not shy away from writing about tough issues such as domestic violence and life in the foster care system, both relevant to background story and as the plot evolves.

There are some terrific twists and turns in the story that keep you guessing and turning the pages.

I have no hesitation is recommending the book to lovers of well written romance, paranormal and family sagas.

Head over to buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

A small selection of books by Jan Sikes

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Website: Jan SikesGoodreads: Jan on Goodreads – Twitter: @rijanjks

About Jan Sikes

Jan Sikes is an award-winning Texas author who has been called a wordsmith by her peers. She openly admits that she never set out in life to be an author. But she had a story to tell. Not just any story, but a true story that rivals any fiction creation. You simply can’t make this stuff up. It all happened. She chose to create fictitious characters to tell the story through, and they bring the intricately woven tale to life in an entertaining way. She released a series of music CDs to accompany the four biographical fiction books and then published a book of poetry and art to complete the story circle.

And now that the story is told, this author can’t find a way to put down the pen. She continues to write fiction and has published many short stories with a series of novels waiting in the wings. She is a member of Authors Marketing Guild, The Writer’s League of Texas, the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB (RRBC), the RAVE WRITER’S INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHOR (RWISA), sits on the RWISA Executive Council and hosts a monthly RAVE WAVES blog talk radio show, ASPIRE TO INSPIRE.


Thanks for visiting and I hope you have enjoyed the review and will head over to buy the book.. thanks Sally.




Smorgasbord Stories – A return to Tales from the Irish Garden – Previously in the Magic Garden by Sally Cronin

As I am going to be in full on writing mode for the next couple of months and it is a over two years since I last shared Tales from the Irish Garden.. I thought I would it bring it out of mothballs for those of you who might have missed the first time around..

In the first volume of stories (Tales from the Garden), we left Queen Filigree, and her magic kingdom of Magia, recovering from an attack from the Winter Fairy who had threatened to disrupt the final summer ball of the year and here is a reminder of the danger the court faced. These are stories for ages 10 to 100+

The Winter Fairy inhabited a garden deep in the heart of the Emerald Island. It had been his kingdom for a hundred years, and in a fit of pique, a number of winters ago, he had frozen everything within his realm, including the humans and animals. He was now bored, but on the grapevine, he heard of a place where the sun shone for three hundred days a year, and this fired up his imagination. Timing was perfect, as he was told that if he could freeze the ancient fairy kingdom on the night of the summer ball, when all were dancing above ground in the gardens, they would be frozen into statues and visible to humans for all eternity.

Although it was only October, he had left his kingdom and blown on westerly winds towards this sun-filled country. The lands that he passed over experienced bitterly cold winds and frosts that made the people huddle in their homes around hastily lit fires. Weather experts predicted that this unusual early freeze was without a doubt, the sign that a new ice age was imminent.

The Winter Fairy however, had underestimated the power of a secret underground movement in his own kingdom. There was a rat in his organisation and a rabbit and a vole.

The rabbit and his family, had cousins who enjoyed the patronage of Queen Filigree in the magic kingdom, in fact one of them played in the royal band. He was a bit too fond of the Amber Nectar, but a good sort all the same. On the outskirts of the frozen lands was a forest that had refused to be turned to ice and, to be honest, the place was a thorn in the Winter Fairy’s side. The Elms and the Oaks claimed superiority and rights over the land, erecting a barrier of pollen that made the Winter Fairy sneeze and his eyes run. Finally his discomfort had encouraged him to look in other directions for his fun.

In the forest, the birds and animals that had been driven out by the cold from their homes, lived and thrived. Among them were the Messenger Birds, an elite flock of white and black pigeons who carried notes around the globe for the price of a handful of seed. As soon as the Winter Fairy left his kingdom, icicles began to melt and slowly the long frozen land began to thaw. The rabbit whistle-blower had overheard the evil being muttering to himself about his plans to invade the sunny south, and knew that he had to warn Queen Filigree and her Guardians of the danger approaching. He went around the underground folk and managed to scrape together a handful of seed, although he had quite a job getting the rats to give some out of their plentiful store, most of which had been stolen from travellers passing through the forest.

The head messenger came down to the sorting office, which was set up at the boundary of the forest and listened carefully to the rabbit’s message. Within minutes, a young and eager pigeon was winging his way by the express route across the mountains, to get ahead of the Winter Fairy, and warn those he intended to freeze. Worn out, and almost at the end of his strength, he reached the Kingdom of Magia a few hours before the last summer ball of the year, just in time for the Queen and her Guardians to put a plan in place to thwart the frozen- hearted demon.

With the help of Fluffy the Dragon, who blew hot winds to the north, The Winter Fairy arrived to find the garden deserted, and his intended victims partying the night away beneath the old magnolia tree. Despite his best efforts, he failed to breach the defences to the palace and was left stamping his foot in frustration as the snow fell all around him.

In a huff, he flew ever southwards, only to find himself in the middle of a desert so barren of life, it refused to freeze. Harsh sandstorms pummelled him, whisking him skywards where his wings melted, and he fell to ground on top of a waterless dune. He found an abandoned lizard’s burrow, and sat at the entrance, with all eternity stretching before him to contemplate his wickedness.

Meanwhile… Back at Magia the snow melted and the weather returned to its normal windy autumnal pattern. The guardians settled down for a quiet few weeks until the Winter Festival, when the fairies and the inhabitants of the garden would again be out-and-about to celebrate.

To be honest they needed little excuse for a party. However, little did they know that more changes were on their way, and that this time the Queen, and her guardians would be unable to stop the resulting devastation.

The story continues in Tales from the Irish Garden…tomorrow…..

©Sally Cronin 2018

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

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Feb 12, 2021 Pamela rated it Five Stars

Short stories have become “the thing” now. Until recently, short stories didn’t receive that much respect, particularly compared to novels. But in the past few years, more readers are appreciating the sharp intake of breath that can be delivered by a well-written short story. And that is exactly what Sally Cronin delivers here in her Bowl of Short Story Cherries. Like life, each story does not end up happy. But neither do they all end up bitter or sour. In fact, Cronin offers her readers a glimpse into “real life” with characters who could be your next store neighbor. Characters who search for love or money or happiness and find it, perhaps, in the least likely places. A few of Cronin’s stories caught me with a tear or two, as well as with a burst of laughter. That’s the kind of stories I like, where the characters’ emotions mirror mine, and we all learn our lessons in unexpected ways

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

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

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – Past Book Reviews 2020 – #Thriller -Deep Cover by John L. DeBoer

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 my review is from May 2020 and is a thriller from John L. DeBoerDeep Cover.

About the book

As his 40th birthday nears, former Navy SEAL Adam Taylor faces a desk job in the paramilitary security firm he works for – a sedentary executive position devoid of the exciting missions he’d craved during his entire professional life. So he joins the U.S. Marshals Service, hoping to get selected for the elite Special Operations Group of the Service. Soon thereafter, he finds himself involved in a hunt for Russian spies.

Espionage agents trained to pose as Americans in a secret base near Irkutsk, Russia have been inserted into the United States. Their mission: gather information concerning the political and social views of their neighbors and manipulate them to affect U.S. elections in disinformation campaigns. When this program is discovered by serendipity, the FBI, U.S.Marshals Service, and the NSA combine forces to weed out the spies as the 2018 midterm elections approach.

Adam and a cast of characters take the reader on an action-packed, suspenseful journey in which Russian agents scramble to keep ahead of the hunters by eliminating those who can expose the spymasters.

My review for the book May 2nd 2020

As promised in the blurb for the book, this is an action-packed thriller with a plot that is current in its realistic threat to American politics and alleged meddling by foreign powers.

Being fast paced, and with a full cast of characters, some with two or even three names as undercover agents or those with criminal pasts in WITSEC, you need to keep your wits about you. The Russian sleepers are not all dedicated hard liners and have found that their 15 years in the USA, building their cover, forming relationships, and being successful in their professions, are not something they want to give up.

Unlike most popular fiction and television dramas, where the various law enforcement agencies are territorial, it is refreshing to see that the Marshalls Service, FBI and NSA can actually work well together to get things done to thwart the moves by the Russians. On the other side of the operation there is a race to stop sleepers from exposing their handlers so that they can stay in WITSEC in the USA rather than be deported, and that includes assassinations.

Some of the Russian agents have now infiltrated the two main parties in the mid-term elections and exposing them is a double edged sword that could derail international relations. This results in some interesting chess moves by law enforcement to negate bogus politicians from winning votes without upsetting the leadership at home and abroad.

There are several threads to the story that cross paths with each other during the plot and are brought to a satisfactory close at the end of the story, but I am sure that the characters themselves have more to offer in future books, and some would have interesting back stories to share.

I recommend the book to lovers of espionage thrillers, who enjoy complex and clever plots.

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

A selection of books by John L. DeBoer

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK –  Follow John: Goodreads – Twitter: @Johnldeboer

About John DeBoer

After graduating from the University of Vermont College of Medicine, John L. DeBoer, M.D., F.A.C.S. completed a surgical residency in the U.S. Army and spent three years in the Medical Corps as a general surgeon. Thirty years of private practice later, he retired to begin a new career as a writer.

When not creating plot lines for his novels, Dr. DeBoer pursues his interests in cooking, films and film history, politics, and the amazing cosmos. Although he’s an avid tennis player, his yet-to-be-fulfilled goal is to achieve a level of mediocrity in the frustrating game of golf.

He lives with his wife in North Carolina


Thanks for dropping in today and if you enjoy thrillers then I am sure you will enjoy this and other books by John.L. DeBoer.. thanks Sally.