Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Monday 31st May 2021 – #Bookreviews D. Wallace Peach, #planes Jim Borden, #Travel Pete Springer

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

A review from Diana Wallace Peach is always cause for a celebration and in this post Diana shares her May reviews for Colleen Chesebro, Harmony Kent, Jude Itakali, Vashti Quiroz-Vega, Joan Hall, D.L. Finn and Teagan Geneviene.

Summer is Coming (or Winter)! Time for some reading!

Summer is always a busy time of year here in the Pacific Northwest. The rain stops and we all spill outside. My husband and I named our deck “vacation.” So every afternoon we go outside on “vacation” to read.

May book reviews include my 4 and 5 star reads of a lot of poetry, two installments of a serial fantasy, a fallen angel fantasy, a thriller, and a prequel to a new mystery. I hope you enjoy them.

Head over to read the reviews: D.Wallace Peach May Book Reviews

Project management is very underrated especially in the technical industries where multi billion dollar and pound projects are planned. Jim Borden brings this sharply into focus with this post that makes you hold onto your seat arms during take-off.. hoping that there is not a loose screw rattling around in the fuselage….

The above is an image that depicts the global supply chain for Boeing’s 787 aircraft, often referred to as the Dreamliner.

I often use the image as the opening slide for my lecture on operations management since I think it captures so much about what operations are like these days.

I never knew so many companies were involved in making a Boeing aircraft; I just assumed they made most of the parts themselves. And the image really brings home the global nature of operations. Not only does it show that Boeing has operations around the world, but that the company partners with companies around the world.

Head over to discover more about this mammoth task and the global commitment required to get it off the ground (so to speak): Jim Borden – Getting a plane off the ground…

And for those of us looking forward to the freedom of visiting family again… a post from Pete Springer about a family reunion long overdue… and a lovely guided tour of Helena, Montana where his son is located for his job. And a little music to get you in the mood.

It’s hard to find many positives anytime we experience something as devastating as a pandemic, but I’m going to offer one possibility. My experience is that when people experience tragedy, it makes us pause and be thankful for some of the things that we take for granted in our daily lives. My wife and I just experienced one of those simple pleasures again for the first time in more than a year—the opportunity to get on an airplane and fly across the country to visit new places.

Like many other people worldwide, we have been at home for most of the past fourteen months. We took the pandemic seriously from the start, realizing that life as we knew it would change forever. We took all the safety precautions we could, seldom going anywhere without a facemask, always maintaining the suggested social distance, and trusted the scientists and other health professionals to provide us with the best information. 

Head over to enjoy the trip and also the lovely town of Helena, it is great to be traveling again even if it is only virtually: On the road again with Pete Springer


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

Smorgasbord Posts from the Archives 2021 – Pot Luck – #Huguenot #History -11 September: A Date to Remember– A Date to Mourn by Joyce Hampton

Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine. The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics.

In this series I have shared posts from the last six months of 2020 and the series is now closed to new participants.

This is the second post by Joyce Hampton who has chronicled the history of the Huguenots and following on from last week shares another date that will be remembered for its infamy.

11 September: A Date to Remember– A Date to Mourn

Following on from my blog last month about the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, I am now going to tell you about the next chapter in this sorrowful event.

When news of the massacre reached the Vatican in Rome, Pope Gregory XIII decided to ‘celebrate’ with a jubilee day of public thanksgiving. The date set was the 11th September 1572, it was to be a double celebration for the defeat of the Ottoman troops by the Holy League at the Battle of Lepanto on 7th October 1571, and for the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of the Huguenots in France, in August 1572. The celebration included guns being fired in salute of these events.

It seems distasteful of the Pope to be ordering celebrations for the massacre of thousands of Huguenots, but he viewed it as divine retribution on heretics. When Pope Gregory had heard news of the massacre, he ordered the singing of a Te Deum and ordered a commemorative medal to be struck. This medal depicted the Pope’s head on one side and an image of an angel, holding a sword and a cross, standing over the fallen Huguenots with the motto UGONOTTORUM STRAGES or “Huguenot Bloodbath”.

Pope Gregory XIII’s medal

Later, the Pope commissioned a mural by Giorgio Vasari of the ‘wonderous St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre to hang in the Vatican.

©Joyce Hampton 2020

About Joyce Hampton

I was born in Stratford E15 and moved around various areas of London before finally settling in Surrey with my husband John and our two cairn terriers.

I began writing in 2012 and my first book was: Looking back – A century of life in Bethnal Green, this book evolved from tracking other people’s recollections as the primary source material, partly family anecdotes, of the amusing, sad or serious into a written record. This research was supplemented by cross-checking documented events, in London libraries and archives to ensure that the book is both easy to read as well as being factually correct. I gradually found that I had created a walk through time account of the Bethnal Green area of the 19th and 20th centuries, which includes the Bethnal Green tube disaster of 1943.

My newest book is The Story of the Huguenots: A unique Legacy. It is a 500 page book but with a difference as it is a FACTUAL NOVEL in other words it has the factual history of the Huguenots but written in the expected format of a novel in the belief that the reader will find it more engaging and will want to discover more about this amazing group of people. The book is divided into four parts (all within the one book). I also take bookings for talks and lectures on the subject, including, as an example, a slot at the annual Write Idea Festival in London which was to a very appreciative audience of over 100 people.

Books by Joyce Hampton

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Follow Joyce : Goodreads – Website:Not Just Another Book Twitter: @NJABOfficial


Thanks for dropping by and to Joyce for allowing me to share her posts. I hope you will head over to browse in her archives.. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors 2021 – #Supernatural Mae Clair, #Contemporary Jessica Norrie, #Scifi Richard Dee

Over the summer I will be updating author’s details in the Cafe and Bookstore and also sharing their bios, books and recent reviews with you in this series…

Meet Mae Clair

A member of the Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers, Mae Clair is also a founding member and contributor to the award-winning writing blog, Story Empire. She has achieved bestseller status on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble, with several of her novels chosen as book club selections.

Mae writes primarily in the mystery/suspense genre, flavoring her plots with elements of urban legend and folklore. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and is passionate about cryptozoology, old photographs, a good Maine lobster tail, and cats.

A selection of books by Mae Clair

One of the recent reviews for End of Day

Reviewed in the United States on April 14, 2021

Author Mae Clair demonstrates rare skill in this second book of the Hode’s Hill series. Particularly noteworthy is the ease with which she travels between the late 1700s and the present. The seamless intertwining of the storylines is, at times, breathtaking.

End of Day not only grabs at the heart, it opens doors to alternative ways of seeing. Readers face questions and possibilities, at times unsettling, at times reassuring. The story is a mystery that is full of contrasts — of time, of characters, of reality itself. And interwoven throughout is the supernatural – sometimes heart-stopping, sometimes calming, but always well-captured through Clair’s able hands.

I’m left wondering about my ancestors and the secrets buried through time. I suspect other readers might feel the same. Bravo author Clair. This was an amazing journey!  

Mae Clair, Buy: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Mae on: Goodreads
Website: Mae Clair – Twitter: @MaeClair1

Meet Jessica Norrie

Jessica Norrie studied French literature at Sussex University, and trained as a teacher at Sheffield. Then she wandered into parenthood, told her now grown up children stories, and heard theirs.

A qualified translator, she worked on an eclectic mix of material, from health reports on racehorses to harrowing refugee tales. She taught adults and children, co-authored a textbook and ran teacher training. In 2008 came the idea for “The Infinity Pool”, which appeared in 2015 (and in German in 2018). Her second novel “The Magic Carpet”, inspired by teaching creatively in multicultural schools, was published in July 2019, and she is working on a third.

She divides her time between London and Malvern, blogging, singing soprano, and walking in the forest and hills.

Books by Jessica Norrie

One of the recent reviews for The Magic Carpet

Gail Aldwin  5.0 out of 5 stars Stories of a community  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 7 March 2021

I admire Jessica Norrie’s skill in creating a novel with so many wonderful characters and viewpoints. (I had my favourite, Mr Chan, a widower from Hong Kong.) Using a light touch, Norrie explores issues of racism, domestic violence, belonging, isolation, identity and much more. Her ability to keep the voices distinct allowed me to tune into a range of personal histories and experiences. The Magic Carpet provides the opportunity to celebrate cultural differences and at the same time it draws upon the shared experiences of families from a range of backgrounds. An entertaining, informative and worthy novel.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Website:Jessica Norrie on WordPress Goodreads: Jessica Norrie – Twitter: @Jessica_Norrie

Meet Richard Dee

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.

A small selection of books by Richard Dee

A recent review for The Sensaurum and the Lexis.: A Steampunk adventure.

marjorie mallon 5.0 out of 5 stars Steampunk, Spies, Secrets and Fun!  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 May 2021

I was curious to discover more about steampunk… and this has confirmed how interesting and different this genre is.

The Sensaurum and The Lexis is a Steampunk Spying mission story set in Norlandia with lots of fascinating details, secrets and discoveries.

You can expect… unscrupulous scientific experimentation, artificial limbs, flying machines, The Watchmen, (law of Norlandia,) a beast called the Drogan, spy accouterments, (007 for orphans!) the Rotaplane, walking exo-men, and other such imaginative wonders. Oaths to be made, secrets and lessons to be learnt, the ever-present fear of discovery, or dying on duty, as well as shameful moments to boot!

The main character Jackson Thwaite’s father and mother die in a terrible accident in a factory whilst making artificial limbs for the government. Intriguing, or what? Fellow spy Jessemine Batterlee is plucky and resourceful!

Relationships are forged and questioned – Is it a good idea to fall in love if you are a spy?

Richard Dee does a great job world building and creating wonderfully engaging characters.

Really loved this. Great story and great fun! 5 stars.

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


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books..thanks Sally.

CarolCooks2 weekly roundup…May 23rd-29th May 2021…#Kool-Aid Pickles, Whimsy, Music and Lifestyle Changes

Time for Carol Taylor’s round up of the week with something for everyone from homemade chilli powder to an exploration of pickles..take your appetite and enjoy.. #recommended

Retired? No one told me!

Recipes, Whimsy, Music and cooking a mammoth…

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…Time is marching on…It is now officially rainy season here so there will definitely be some dancing in the rain…we are now also nearing the end of May and will soon be welcoming in the month of June…

Just in case you missed any posts this week or love to catch up like I do… snuggle down in your favourite place… get comfy 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 or two…Cheers!

Let’s get the party started then…

Meatless Mondays are proving to be popular and I must admit I am enjoying trying new products…we love veggies…

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Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – #Scifi #FirstContact – The Amazon Encounter by John L. DeBoer and Jean Jacques

Delighted to share the news of the latest release by John. L. DeBoer and Jean Jacques.The Amazon Encounter

About the book

A shaman in the Amazon rainforest has a problem: children in his village are dying of an unknown ailment. When a large disc-shaped object falls from the sky onto a river bank, he enters the object through a gash in its wall.

A prominent Beverly Hills plastic surgeon is staying in the house of his pediatrician cousin, who is away for the weekend. He goes to sleep that night in the guest room and awakens the next morning lying on the ground in a jungle.

Thus begins a story of aliens, teleportation, and telepathy involving unwitting physicians, the Pentagon, international scientists, espionage agents, a Las Vegas gangster, and a psychic. A colorful cast of characters takes the reader on an exciting, and often amusing, journey from the Amazon jungle to southern California, and eventually to the NBC television studios in Manhattan. Side trips along the way include Moscow, Beijing, North Korea, Sao Paolo, Brazil, and the infamous Area 51 in Nevada.

Enjoy the ride!

Wow, now that’s a great story! Bagelpb 5.0 out of 5 stars Good story April 30, 2021

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

A selection of books other by John L. DeBoer

One of the recent reviews for Queen of Diamonds – Mafia Madame Book 2

christina5.0 out of 5 stars 👍🏻👍🏻 2 thumbs up!🥰☺️💯  Reviewed in the United States on April 15, 2021

I LOVED Mafia Madame, the prequel to Queen Of Diamonds and I thought that would be the only book about the amazing Cyn Spagnoli because it was such a roller-coaster ride and reads like a memoir, but this book is just as good in a different way. First of all, it was just as fast-paced as the first book. Well-written, interesting characters inhabit Cyn’s world. Characters like Nick Nicoletti, her adopted uncle, Aldo Leonetti. Her loyal ally, and Jack Rossi, her new, hot lover, still live in my head, days after I read the book. Great story, great characters, twists, this book has everything! Just don’t plan to do anything else but read this book through when you get it, because it’s tough to put down.

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 and began a new career as a writer.

Dr. DeBoer, a member of International Thriller Writers, has published more than ten novels. The father of two grown sons, 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.


Smorgasbord Poetry – Colleen Chesebro’s Tuesday Tanka Challenge – #ButterflyCinquain – First Steps by Sally Cronin

This week on Colleen Chesebro’s #Tanka Tuesday Challenge 227 it is all about the journey.. I have created a butterfly cinquain.. around the theme.

Image by Daniela Dimitrova from Pixabay

First Steps

First steps
new beginnings
hesitancy and fear
one foot in front of the other
deep breath
Focus on smiles and hands outstretched
for you are not alone
on this journey
through life.

©Sally Cronin 2021

There is still time to participate in this week’s challenge: Colleen Chesebro’s #Tanka Tuesday Challenge 227

Smorgasbord Short stories Rewind – What’s in a Name? Volume One – Beatrix – Behind the Mask by Sally Cronin

There are names that have been passed down through thousands of years which have powerful and deep-rooted meaning to their bearers. Other names have been adopted from other languages, cultures and from the big screen. They all have one thing in common. They are with us from birth until the grave and they are how we are known to everyone that we meet.

Beatrix – Behind the Mask

Beatrix De Carlo took her final bow before the audience that filled the theatre to capacity. There had been four curtain calls, as those who had watched her last performance of this critically acclaimed production, showed their appreciation and adoration.

Beatrix remained in character, gently smiling and waving her arm regally at both cast members and audience in turn. Her silver hair shone in the stage lighting and the fake diamonds around her neck sparkled as if to deny their false nature.

Finally, the curtain came down for the last time and members of the cast rushed forward to clasp her hands and utter niceties to her. One after another they politely offered their thanks before heading off to embrace their fellow actors.

Beatrix could hear them making arrangements to meet up for drinks in the pub around the corner.

‘So privileged to have worked with you Miss De Carlo,’ whispered the leading man whose breath smelt of mints. She smiled graciously and disengaged herself from his sweaty hands.

‘You too Gerald and please give my regards to your lovely wife.’ Discouraged, the elderly actor turned and sauntered across the stage intent on joining the younger generation for last orders.

She glided away through the stage crew as they cleared the set, and made her way to her dressing room.

She closed the door behind her and looked at the cluttered space. Two costume changes lay untidily across the sofa and armchair, and instead of the usual welcoming tray of sparkling mineral water and chocolate digestive biscuits, there was a dirty coffee mug containing bitter dregs. She leaned back against the door and closed her eyes wearily. How she missed Mabel.

The theatre management had offered the services of one of their experienced dressers for this last performance, but that would have been unacceptable. Mabel was the only person who knew exactly what Beatrix needed, and had been by her side for the last fifteen years without missing a single performance. She moved towards the dressing table and sat on the worn velour stool and looked at herself in the mirror.

Removing her bouffant silver wig, she placed it carefully on the foam model head beside her. She then began the painstaking task of removing the make-up that had transformed her into a seventy year old dowager queen. Finally she was bare faced and viewed her reflection. Having removed one face she must now apply another.

As she slipped her arms into her leather coat and patted her platinum blonde hair into place there was a knock on the door.

‘Miss De Carlo, it’s Jack Smith, can I come in for a moment?’

Beatrix went across and opened the door for the theatre director and smiled at him.
‘Hello Jack,’ she laid a hand on his arm. ‘I hope you were happy with the final performance this evening?’

He stepped into the dressing room and took in its untidy appearance.

‘Sorry to hear about Mabel,’ he perched on the back of the armchair. ‘Spraining her ankle like that was a great shame, but I’m sure she will be back on her feet again very soon.’

Seeing that Beatrix was ready to leave, Jack escorted her to the stage door where she signed out for the last time. She slipped Tony the porter an envelope and he winked back at her in thanks. Leaving the two men behind she walked into the cold night air and slipped into the back seat of the waiting taxi.

For a moment Jack stood with his hands in his trouser pockets before turning to Tony. ‘She really is an amazing woman isn’t she,’ He paused for a moment and shook his head. ‘It is hard to believe that she has stayed at the top of her game for the last forty years.’ Tony nodded his head in silent agreement as he slipped the envelope into his pocket.

The taxi driver opened the back door of his cab and assisted the elegant middle aged woman onto the slick pavement. She paid the fare and tipped him generously with a gracious smile. She let herself into the luxury mews cottage where she had lived for the last seventeen years. Carefully she closed the door behind her and let out a sigh of relief.

She could see that there was a light still on in the living-room and she popped her head in and viewed the occupant.

Hi mum,’ she smiled at the woman with her foot up on a stool in front of her armchair. ‘Can I get you anything before I get out of this clobber?

‘No Brenda love, clean that muck off your face and get into your PJs,’ she smiled at her daughter mischievously. ‘I want to hear all about the last night, I was so gutted to have missed it.’

Ten minutes later her daughter sat on the sofa with her bare feet up on the coffee table… Her auburn hair in a short bob framed her youthful face and she held the cup of hot chocolate between her clasped fingers.

The two generations of the acting legend known as Beatrix De Carlo then shared the glory of their latest triumphant performance.

©Sally Cronin 2017

One of the reviews for the collection.

Mar 15, 2019 James rated it Five Stars it was amazing

There are many topics that will draw my attention to a book. In Sally Cronin’s collection ‘What’s in a name?’ I found a whole bunch that piqued my curiosity: short stories, genealogy, and how first names are chosen. On top of that, it’s the first volume in this series, which means I have another to read soon. Now this made my weekend!

Cronin shares ~20 short stories covering the letters A through J in volume one. She lists a male and a female name for each letter, then contributes a story ranging from five to ten pages each. Short, but not simple, and I mean that in a good way. Cronin packs an immense amount into each brief tale… whether it’s personality traits, complex plots, or comparisons between two people over different periods of time, I found everything from nuggets of glory to hilarious banter.

One of my favorite aspects of this work was the varying time frames, locations, and genres of each short story. Cronin deals with normal life events, everything from death to pregnancy, marriage to sickness. How she manages to pack such a punch with so many characters in so few pages is astonishing! I kinda want a sequel to cover what ends up happening to many of the people we’ve met.

If you’re looking for something fun, clever, and easy-to-digest in short samples, this is definitely for you. I recommend it for those interested in learning about how personalities sometime echo the name chosen for an individual… and perhaps vice versa. Kudos to the author for finding a new fan… and I’ll be reading volume two next month, so be prepared!

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

I hope you will join me next Sunday for the next story in the collection… thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – 23rd – 29th May 2021 -1970s hits, short stories, book reviews, Bloggers, health and funnies

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

Nothing really of great interest to report around here this week. I am trying to keep calm and avoid overdue excitement as there is a promised whole day of dry and sunny weather tomorrow from 5 a.m to 10 p.m – no guesses as to where I am going to be and I will be taking photographs as proof of the sunshine to pin on the wall in case it is the only summer we get!

I will be applying for a hair appointment this week as they have been open since 16th May and hopefully all the ladies who wanted their colour and streaks done have been accommodated and I can get in for a cut and blow dry. Last year I managed two appointments in the brief hiatus between full lock downs and I have been cutting my own hair now since July!  David has been tidying the back with the clippers and all in all we have managed quite well.. But it looks like I have been pulled through a hedge backwards.

I will celebrate with a new profile photo when it is done… I know you can’t wait! lol

Just a reminder that Meet the Authors begins tomorrow featuring current authors in the Cafe and Bookstore through the summer..

My thanks to William Price King, Debby Gies, Daniel Kemp and Malcolm Allen for providing the music and laughter.. and to you for all your support, comments and shares during the week.

1970 Part One. The Carpenters, Jackson Five, Edison Lighthouse, Brotherhood of Man 

Chapter Three – The Last Emperor  

Anne – Favour and Grace 

©Image Trent McDonald

Etheree – Cascade by Sally Cronin

Past Book Reviews 2020 – #WWII – While the Bombs Fell by Robbie Cheadle and Elsie Hancy Eaton. 

Past Book Reviews 2020 -#Murder #Mystery – Secrets of the Galapagos by Sharon Marchisello 

Past Book Reviews – #Memoir #Hitchhiking – A Backpack, A Chair and A Beard by Eamon Wood 

Laughter is the Best Medicine – The health benefits 

Family Health A-Z – Anemia – Foods to boost your blood health #Anaemia #Fatigue

Allergies – Scratching, itching, sneezing – Industrial Pet food vs. Homecooked  

#Huguenot #History – A massacre which will always be remembered – St Bartholomew’s by Joyce Hampton 

#Hawaii – My Aloha experience by D.L. Finn 

carol bio_thumb

Le Périphérique, Congested Beltway Of Paris To Become Greenspace by Carol A. Seidl.

Book Reviews: Their Importance and How to Write Them by J. Q. Rose 

Monday May 24th 2021 – #Tributes Stevie Turner, #Authors Donna Parker, #WritingTips D.G. Kaye 

#Photographers Cindy Knoke and Wayne Barnes Tofino 

#Profiles – Bloggers – Motivators and Inspirers – The Story Reading Ape, Annette Rochelle Aben

#Travel #Mystery Darlene Foster, #Fantasy Maria Matthews

#Contemporary The Gilded Beaver by Margaret Lindsay Holton 

#Historical – Turn of the Tide (The Munro Scottish Saga Book 1) by Margaret Skea 

#Fantasy – Lunar Boogie (The Hat Book 4) by C.S. Boyack 

New Book on the Shelves – Pre-Order Price – #Crime #Thriller Death Beneath the Covers (Foxy Mysteries Book 1) by Fiona Tarr 

#Afghanistan Mary Smith, #Poetry Elizabeth Merry, #Historical J.E. Spina, #Psychological Joan Hall

May 25th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – The Glories of Maturity Part One 

May 27th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – The Glories of Maturity Part Two

Malcolm Allen – #Literature – A Novel Approach and Fighting Words

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines Extra – May 28th 2021 – Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp – Extra Cash and Army Life 


Thanks very much for joining me today and I hope you will drop in again next week.. enjoy your weekend.. Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – Past Book Reviews – #Memoir #Hitchhiking – A Backpack, A Chair and A Beard by Eamon Wood

In December 2020 I read the memoir of an extraordinary man. I had followed Eamon Wood on his blog – Wayward Wheeler – back in 2017 as he hitchhiked around New Zealand, UK, Europe and America. Eamon Wood has just released A Backpack, A Chair and A Beard and it is an inspiring read.

About the book

A paraplegic since the age of four, Eamon found ways to give his wheelchair wings. He became the number one seed in the Kiwi men’s wheelchair tennis rankings, and represented his country on the men’s wheelchair basketball team, travelling the world. But that was in a safe, predictable team setting. He wanted more.

At twenty-eight, he set off on an epic journey, with little more than his backpack, his guitar, and an open mind. He hitchhiked around New Zealand’s southern island. The travelling bug took him to the UK and the USA, then along the fjords and lakes of Europe.

He slept rough, did odd jobs, busked in thoroughfares and made friends with oddballs. He wheeled his way through cities and small towns, searching… and found himself.

Join the Wayward Wheeler on his epic adventure, detailed with sincerity and humour in A Backpack, A Chair and A Beard.

My review for the book

This is a memoir and a journal of a trip of a lifetime. After a tragic accident at four years old leaving Eamon Woods confined to a wheelchair, and following a nomadic childhood, he developed a passion for achievement. Becoming a professional sportsman in the New Zealand Basketball team, travelling the world to compete, and completing a seven year apprenticeship in engineering.

If that was not inspiring enough, he decided in 2016 to take on a trip that would have the majority of us terrified. We tag along, trying hard to keep up, as Eamon completes a two week practice run around New Zealand, with a backpack and money for essentials and a hope that he would find the kindness of friends, family and strangers along the route.

Following the trial run, and having ironed out some of the issues of hitching in a wheelchair, carrying a tent, camping stove and crammed backpack, he decided to tackle a much bigger adventure around the world.

Armed with limited funds and contact details of friends scattered around the countries he intended to visit, Eamon took his first flight to the UK. He spent several weeks in Brighton before embarking on a whistle stop tour of England and Scotland before heading to America and then back to Spain, France, Switzerland and Scandinavia. He provides a wonderful snapshot of each of the countries that he travelled through, and shares the highlights of the scenery and people he met that he emotionally connected to. This connection is shared through the lyrics to the songs he wrote on the journey.

Along the way he worked for accommodation, met friends via websites and in hostels where other world travellers gather. He was met with kindness most of the time, with people stopping to pick him up as he hitched, some offering a bed for the night and a hot meal. He also met indifference in some countries but always people would find their way to him and restore his faith in human kindness. With money running out he found ingenious ways to conserve his cash such as busking and renting cars as mobile bedrooms.

He returned to New Zealand as the pandemic took hold in Europe but I am sure when the restrictions have been lifted and his professional sports commitments allow, he will be off again exploring the world via the less travelled paths, inspiring us all to open our hearts and minds.

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

About Eamon Wood

Born in Nelson, Wood has been in a wheelchair since the age of four-and-a-half, when a car accident left him with permanent damage to his lower spinal cord.

Now 31, he’s spent a lifetime pushing himself to his physical and mental limits; representing New Zealand in wheelchair tennis and basketball, and becoming the first person in a chair to complete an apprenticeship in engineering, helping, as he says, to “deconstruct a few roadblocks for people using wheelchairs who want to become fabricators”.

In December 2016 Eamon embarked on a worldwide journey about which he said:

‘I’m just a guy in a chair, travelling around the world. Expanding my culture, learning about myself and other people. I want to inspire other people, not just people that are disabled. Inspire them to do what they want to do. Follow me on my own journey for beauty and growth.’

Read interviews: – And: NZ Herald – Read more about Eamon’s travels: blog – Wayward Wheeler – Follow Eamon: Facebook

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed the review and will head over to buy Eamon’s book.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Short Stories – Tales from the Spanish Garden – Chapter Three – The Last Emperor by Sally Cronin

This is the prequel to Tales from the Irish garden and shares the stories of statues we inherited when we bought the house, and for the magic kingdom beneath the Magnolia Tree. The book is also available in Spanish translated by
Olga Nunez Miret

Tales from the Garden – Chapter Three – The Last Emperor

High above the garden, our feathered cousins soar on the updrafts caused by the scorching summer heat on the peaks and valleys of our mountain. They search diligently for their preferred prey which is anything that dares to fly beneath them or scuttle out of the undergrowth in search of food.

Majestically they accomplish what we cannot, and have never been able to. From our place guarding the main entrance into the building that now stands on this ancient site, we watch enviously with our own wings fixed in stone.

We are the last of the stone eagles that have watched over this magical place. The first were made by a slave of the Roman merchant who built his villa on this mountain over eighteen hundred years ago. He and his countrymen had swept across and settled on the now peaceful sunlit Iberian Peninsula after many centuries of war. He supplied olives, figs and grapes to his fellow Romans and delivered casks of wine to the garrison of soldiers in the camp down by the river. He was a rich man with many slaves collected and bartered during the long journey from the coast to this central part of Spain.

For two hundred years the merchant’s family prospered and enjoyed the life so far from their original home. The skill of stone carving was passed down from the original slave to his sons and their grandsons as the seasons rolled through the decades. But then it all changed as the Visigoths invaded from the north and violence once more shattered the peace of the land.

The merchant’s family left and retreated back towards the south and eventually began a new life far away. Slaves were left behind in the panic, but being essential to work the land, were allowed to settle on farms and in small villages. But the stonemason of that time remained in the crumbling ruins of the old villa, and built a modest dwelling where he continued to work and pass on his craft.

Finally his large family scattered across the surrounding area as towns and cities lured them away from the rural life. But always one remained to learn the trade and instruct another to take his place. The very last stonemason who had no sons, crafted us before he died, and as he smoothed our stone wings and hid us within the leafy folds of the boundary hedge, he muttered final words to us.

“Wait for the last Emperor, he will come and find you.”

We waited and the protective hedge grew around us. The stonemason’s humble home crumbled in the heat and snow filled winters, until it too joined the grand remains of the Roman villa beneath the soil.

Finally, fifty years ago, the sound of modern machinery woke us from our sleep and we watched between the large green leaves of the hedge as a new villa emerged in front of us. We heard human voices for the first time in many years and the sound of laughter as children played in the gardens.

But still we waited.

Thirty-five years passed and the children grew and left the home leaving an elderly couple rattling around its vast empty rooms. Soon they too left and all was quiet again.

One bright morning, as we lay in our hiding place, we were startled and shocked by the sudden intrusion of a long canine nose that pushed aside our overgrown covering. We stared into a pair of eyes that sparkled gleefully upon us. From this creature’s mouth came forth a high penetrating noise; enough to awaken even us stone bound creatures. Two human hands reached around the canine and pulled him gently back by his dark purple, imperial collar. They then returned and each one of us was lifted clear of the entwining stalks and leaves and we were placed in the sunlight for the first time in over a hundred years.

I won’t go into the indignity of being cleaned with brush, soap and hot water in places left untouched since our stonemason fashioned us. But finally we were pristine again and placed on our ledge to guard the house as was our duty.

We remembered what our old master had said as he had hidden us from sight. And, within a short time, we knew indeed that the last Emperor had arrived, as he came before us wearing his wreath of office and informed us of his imperial title of Moyhill Royal Flush. We and his courtiers were permitted to call him Sam, but only in private.

Our joy was beyond comprehension as the prophecy was fulfilled and we took pride and delight in guarding our new master. We remained alert over the next many years as our Emperor roamed the grounds on his daily inspection, supervised the garden workers and reigned over his house slaves.

Each night, he would hold court from the front balcony of the villa, listening to his canine subjects in the valley as they recounted the day’s events in his domain. He would wait until they had completed their report and then respond for several minutes, encouraging them to be vigilant and valiant.

He would then wait for his house slaves to bring him ice cubes to cool his parched tongue and platters of his royal repast in the form of chicken gizzards and sweet smelling Basmati rice.

We, as his loyal cohorts were not forgotten. As he passed us each day he would delicately sniff our bodies to check our health, and if he felt we were dehydrated, he would anoint us with his regal blessing.

We treasured our role as his elite royal guard and although, to our great sadness, he has now passed from our sight, we still stand sentry over him today. It is in a place where he can continue to view his great domain and listen to his many canine minions in the valley below. The last emperor has left his mark on this place, on us and on his people and will never be forgotten.

©Sally Cronin Tales from the Garden 2015

About Tales from the Garden

Tales from the Garden reveals the secrets that are hidden beneath hedges and trees. You will discover what really happens at night as you sleep unaware in your bed. Stone statues and those hidden worlds within the earth are about to share their stories. The guardians who have kept the sanctuary safe for over fifty years will allow you to peek behind the scenes of this magical place. They will take you on a journey through time and expand your horizons as they transport you to the land of fairies, butterflies and lost souls who have found a home here. Fairy Stories for children of all ages from five to ninety-five that will change the way you look at your garden forever.

One of the reviews for the collection.

Robbie Cheadle 5.0 out of 5 stars An enthralling book Reviewed in the United States on May 1, 2021