About Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life.

My name is Sally Cronin and I am doing what I love.. Writing. Books, short stories, Haiku and blog posts. . I move between non-fiction health books and posts and fairy stories, romance and humour. I love variety which is why I called my blog Smorgasbord Invitation and you will find a wide range of subjects. Free Book Marketing, Music, Health, Book Reviews, Short Stories, Poetry and Humour. Find out more at https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/about-me/

Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Meet the Authors 2022 – Personal Recommendations – #Memoir Pamela S. Wight, #Romance Staci Troilo, #Childrens Janice Spina


In this first feature for the Smorgasbord Bookshelf I am sharing authors whose books I have read and can personally recommend along with one of my reviews for their books.

The first author today is Pamela S. Wight and I read and very much enjoyed her collection of flash fiction based on events and experiences in her life. She is also the author of children’s books.

Meet  Pamela S. Wight

Pamela Wight is a successful author of romantic suspense novels as well as two illustrated children’s book, BIRDS OF PARADISE and MOLLY FINDS HER PURR, enjoyed by readers ages 3 to 93.

Her first book, THE RIGHT WRONG MAN, got rave reviews for taking readers “on an exciting adventure with lots of intrigue, unexpected plot twists, and romance.” A year later, Wight published her second novel, TWIN DESIRES. “Lots of suspense, plot twists, romance, and excellent character development makes this a fun read!”

The gorgeously illustrated BIRDS OF PARADISE, finalist in the 2018 International Book Awards, has received many enthusiastic reviews: “This creative, compassionate story about birds will inspire children to notice the everyday adventures of backyard birds.”

Wight’s second picture book, MOLLY FINDS HER PURR, published Fall, 2019, follows Molly the Cat, who can’t find any friends. And almost worse, she can’t find her purr. After looking for friendship in all the wrong places, Molly learns that making friends is as easy as looking up in the trees and on the ground, where other lonely creatures are hiding in plain sight. Whether hard-shelled or soft as a bunny, everyone needs friendships that help them find their purr.

Pamela earned her Master’s in English from Drew University, continued with postgraduate work at UC Berkeley in publishing, and teaches creative writing classes in Boston and San Francisco.

She lives in the Boston area with her “right man” and hikes the New England trails while concocting her stories. Wight travels frequently to the San Francisco Bay area for additional inspiration. She speaks to book clubs, schools, and libraries in both locations.

Books by Pamela Wight

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My review for Flashes of Life October 2021

How often do we hear the expression, or even use it ourselves, ‘I am just an ordinary person.’ In reality that expression could not be further from the truth.

This collection of flash stories is a delightful walk down memory lane with Pamela S. Wight, who shares moments from her childhood through to being a grandmother with humour and an appreciation of the small things that make up an extraordinary life.

Made extraordinary by finding an elusive middle initial,a dog who stood watch during a crisis, a small granddaughter who disrupts sleep delightfully, a fear of being in a steel cylinder in the air, a love of walking on beaches, a fiesty mother and a guy who makes a calming playlist for times of stress.

This is a reminder of family, empty nests, leaving homes and coming home, friendship, love of music, good food and the fears that might keep us awake at nights.

This collection of memories is a wonderful way to pay tribute to a life well lived, and I can recommend as a way to reconnect with the special moments in our own lives with a deeper appreciation.

Pamela S. Wight, buy: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – follow Pamela : Goodreads – website:Rough Wighting – Twitter: @pamelawight

Meet Staci Troilo

Staci Troilo grew up in Western Pennsylvania writing stories and poetry in her free time, so it was no surprise that she studied writing in college. After receiving creative and professional writing degrees from Carnegie Mellon University, she went on to get her Master’s Degree in Professional Writing, and she worked in corporate communications until she had her children. When they had grown, she went on to become a writing professor, and now she is a freelance writer and editor.

Staci is a multi-genre author. Her fiction is character-driven, and despite their protests, she loves to put them in all kinds of compromising or dangerous situations.

You can find out more about her on her website. Staci Troilo

A small selection of books written by Staci Troilo

My review for No Such Luck December 2021

There is nothing like a feel good romance and a reminder of family and friendship at this time of year and No Such Luck by Staci Troilo delivers all of those elements. A short heart-warming read to add some glitter to the holiday.

As time passes. it is often the case memories can cast a rosier glow on relationships, events and expectations than in reality. We also evolve emotionally and mentally based on our experiences of life, and going back to our teenage years and our hometown, can put the spotlight on those memories with intriguing results.

This is the case for Piper Seidel, a feisty journalist who speaks her mind which can land her in trouble. Returning home for the holidays between jobs, she is faced with realisation she may have been pinning her hopes and dreams on a talisman that is not as lucky as she thought.

The characters are distinctively drawn and the story gathers momentum towards a very satisfactory outcome. Recommended

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK –Follow Staci: GoodreadsBlog: Staci Troilo WordPress – Website: Staci TroiloTwitter@stacitroilo –

The next author is award winning Janice Spina who writes beautiful children’s books as well as novels for adults..

Meet Janice Spina

Janice Spina is a multi-award-winning author. At this writing she has 18 children’s books for ages PS-Grade 3. She also writes for MG/PT/YA and 18+.

She has been writing since the age of nine in the form of poetry and greeting cards. She has always wanted to be an author. She also had dreams of being a singer, dancer, actress, etc. Don’t all children like to dream? But at least she accomplished one of those dreams.

All her children’s books are written in rhyme with valuable life lessons. She wants to encourage children of all ages to read daily to help foster a love of reading that will stay with them for a life time.

Janice’s husband, John, is her illustrator and cover creator. He has a Doctorate in Educational Administration and knows how important it is for children to read daily. Together they strive to encourage all ages to read to help promote good health and wellbeing.

Her logo is Jemsbooks for All Ages! Her Motto is Reading Givings You Wings to Fly! Soar with Jemsbooks!

A small selection of books by Janice Spina

My review for Drystan the Dragon and Friends Series, Book 6: Dragana Helps a Fairy October 2021

This book is a lovely example how giving those from a different background, even if they come with a fearsome reputation, a chance to become friends is a good thing. Dragons are not normally cast in such a friendly light, but these colourful creations by Janice Spina and her illustrator husband will delight small children with their vibrant colours and easy to read rhyming stories.

In this last book in the series Dragana in all her burgandy and cream glory, comes to the aid of a fairy queen in trouble who has dared to enter the realm of the dragons in desperate need of help. Despite her misgivings she puts her trust in Dragana and together they find a solution.

As this is the last book in the series, the author brings all the other dragons together at the end of the story with a recap of their own adventures which is a lovely link to the other books in the series.

I can recommend these stories for young children to ignite their imaginations and show them how kindness to others is so important.

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon US – and :Amazon UK – Follow Janice: Goodreads – blog:Jem’s BooksTwitter: @janice_spina

 

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

 

Smorgasbord Laughter is the Best Medicine 2022 – January 25th 2022 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin… Pithy one liners and Breakfast in Bed


Firstly, some one liners from Debby Gies whose neighbour Marilyn has donated for our enjoyment followed by some images to make you smile…hopefully from Sally.

D.G. Writes is where you will find an archive full of wonderful posts across several subjects including writing tips, social issues and book reviews.

THE CYNICAL PHILOSOPHER

Just read that 4,153,237 people got married last year, not to cause any trouble but shouldn’t that be an even number?

Today a man knocked on my door and asked for a small donation towards the local swimming pool. I gave him a glass of water.

If I had a dollar for every girl that found me unattractive, they would eventually find me attractive.

I find it ironic that the colors red, white, and blue stand for freedom until they are flashing behind you.

When wearing a bikini, women reveal 90% of their body… men are so polite they only look at the covered parts.

A recent study has found that women who carry a little extra weight, live longer than the men who mention it.

Relationships are a lot like algebra. Have you ever looked at your X and wondered Y?

America is a country which produces citizens who will cross the ocean to fight for democracy but won’t cross the street to vote.

Did you know that dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish?

My therapist says I have a preoccupation with vengeance. We’ll see about that.

I think my neighbor is stalking me as she’s been googling my name on her computer. I saw it through my telescope last night.

Money talks …but all mine ever says is good-bye.

You’re not fat, you’re just… easier to see.

If you think nobody cares whether you’re alive, try missing a couple of payments.

I always wondered what the job application is like at Hooters. Do they just give you a bra and say, “Here, fill this out?”

I can’t understand why women are okay that JC Penny has an older women’s clothing line named, “Sag Harbor.”

My therapist said that my narcissism causes me to misread social situations I’m pretty sure she was hitting on me.

My 60 year kindergarten reunion is coming up soon and I’m worried about the 175 pounds I’ve gained since then.

Denny’s has a slogan, “If it’s your birthday, the meal is on us.” If you’re in Denny’s and it’s your birthday, your life sucks!

The pharmacist asked me my birth date again today. I’m pretty sure she’s going to get me something.

On average, an American man will have sex two to three times a week. Whereas, a Japanese man will have sex only one or two times a year. This is very upsetting news to me. I had no idea I was Japanese.

The location of your mailbox shows you how far away from your house you can be in a robe before you start looking like a mental patient.

I think it’s pretty cool how Chinese people made a language entirely out of tattoos.

Money can’t buy happiness, but it keeps the kids in touch!

The reason Mayberry was so peaceful and quiet was because nobody was married. Andy, Aunt Bea, Barney, Floyd, Howard, Goober, Gomer, Sam, Earnest T Bass, Helen, Thelma Lou, Clara and, of course, Opie were all single.
The only married person was Otis, and he stayed drunk.

 My thanks to Debby and her neighbour Marilyn for expert foraging…

D. G. Kaye – Buy: Amazon US And: Amazon UK Blog: D.G. WritesGoodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads – Twitter: @pokercubster

Check out Debby’s latest Travel Column: Winter Sun destinations

 Now for some funny pics from Sally

 

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

Smorgasbord Book Review – #Ireland #Music #Romance – Dancing to an Irish Reel by Claire Fullerton


Having read and enjoyed two more recent books by Claire Fullerton, I am now exploring her earlier books and this week my review is for a delightful book set in Ireland, Dancing to an Irish Reel.

Dancing to an Irish Reel by [Claire Fullerton]

About the book

While on sabbatical from her job in the Los Angeles record business, twenty-five-year old Hailey Crossan takes a trip to the west coast of Ireland , where she walks into the Galway Music Center and is offered a job too good to turn down. Friendships are formed quickly with her fellow, Irish employees, and Hailey lives thirteen miles “up the road” in the wind-swept, seaside area of Connemara, a land steeped in traditional music, where Irish is the first language.

When Hailey meets a famous local musician named Liam Hennessey, a confusing relationship begins, which Hailey thinks may be the result of differing cultures, for Liam is married to the music, and although curious about Hailey, won’t come closer nor completely go away. And so begins the push and pull of a relationship Hailey struggles to decipher as a stranger in a strange, and Hailey comes to love a land and its people with more heart and soul than she ever imagined, during a year that becomes the most pivotal of her life.

Her new job comes with one major complication—Liam Hennessey. He’s a famous Irish musician whose entire live has revolved around performing. And Hailey falls in love with him. Although Liam’s not so sure love is in the cards for him, he’s not willing to push her away completely.

And so begins Hailey’s journey to a colorful land that changes her life, unites her with friends more colorful than the Irish landscape, and gives her a chance at happiness she’s never found before.

My review for the book February 12th 2022

This is a love story. Not just between a man and a woman. It is also the slow falling in love with a culture rich in history, language and music, which can be confusing to the uninitiated who arrive expecting only to be there for a short visit.

The Irish have a way of embracing and drawing you into their way of life, and the author clearly absorbed all this richness during her time in the country in her twenties.

Traditional music is at the heart of communities throughout Ireland and Galway is the perfect setting. Nothing quite like dark smoky bars late on in the evening, when the musicians pick up their instruments and the magic begins.

The characters are beautifullly embellished with little details that immediately bring them into focus. Handsome enigmatic musicians, dapper elderly gentlemen imparting wisdom, free spirited craftsmen who have poetic souls, family dynasties where music runs in the blood.

Add in a young American conscious of being an outsider, trying to find her way through the complexity of adapting to the ebb and flow of this cultural colour, and you have a delightful reading experience.

The pace of the story is not rushed, for you would lose much of the detail and richness of the descriptions in the book. Life in Ireland is meant to be savoured. That can be an interesting and sometimes disconcerting concept for those who arrive for a quick holiday.

Expect to make some assumptions of how the relationship between Hailey and Liam will evolve through the story, but according to the cards all will be well, someday.

Other books by Claire Fullerton

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow Claire : Goodreads – website: Claire Fullerton – Twitter: @Cfullerton3 

Meet Claire Fullerton

Claire Fullerton hails from Memphis, TN. and now lives in Malibu, CA. with her husband and 3 German shepherds. She is the author of Little Tea, set in the Deep South. It is the story of the bonds of female friendship, healing the past, and outdated racial relations. Little Tea is the Goodreads, 2021, July Book of the Month, the August selection of the Pulpwood Queens Book Club, a Faulkner Society finalist in the William Wisdom international competition, 1st place winner in the Chanticleer Review’s Somerset award, a finalist in the International Book Awards, and the Independent Authors Network 1st place in Literary Fiction winner and 2nd place winner for 2020 Book of the year.

Claire is the author of 12 X award winning Mourning Dove, a coming of age, Southern family saga set in 1970’s Memphis. Claire is also the author of 3X award winning, Dancing to an Irish Reel, set on the west coast of Ireland, where she once lived. Claire’s first novel is a paranormal mystery set in two time periods titled, A Portal in Time, set in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. She is a contributor to the book, A Southern Season with her novella, Through an Autumn Window, set at a Memphis funeral. Claire is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Literary.

 

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

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Breakfast Show with William Price King and Sally Cronin – Chart Hits 1987 Part One – Whitney Houston, U2, Rick Astley, Aretha Franklin and George Michael


Welcome to our show and we are excited to share decades of music with you in 2022.

Here is my first selection of top 1987 hits which I hope you will enjoy.

Whitney Houston – I wanna dance with somebody (who loves me) –

“I wanna dance with somebody (who loves me)” is from Houston’s second studio album entitled “Whitney.” The song became a worldwide success, topping the charts in eighteen countries including Australia, Italy, Germany and the UK. In the US it became her fourth consecutive #1 single and won a Grammy Award for the “Best Female Pop Vocal Performance,” marking Houston’s second win in the category. It also won the award for “Favorite Pop/Rock Single” at the 15th American Music Awards. Additionally, in 2015 the song was voted by the British public as the nation’s fifth favorite 1980s #1 in a poll for ITV. Whitney Houston 

January 3rd Aretha Franklin is the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

U2 – With or without you

“With or without you” is the third track on U2’s fifth studio album, “The Joshua Tree.” The song was the group’s most successful single at the time, becoming their first #1 hit in both the US and Canada by topping the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks and the RPM national singles chart for one week, with a further three weeks at number two. “With or Without You” is U2’s second most frequently covered song. In 2010, Rolling Stone magazine placed the song at #132 on their list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

January 21st B.B. King donates his 7,000 record collection to the University of Mississippi

Here are my first picks from 1987.

Rick Astley – Never Gonna Give You Up

“Never Gonna Give You Up” is the debut single recorded by English singer and songwriter Rick Astley, released on 27 July 1987. It was written and produced by Stock Aitken Waterman, and was released as the first single from Astley’s debut album, Whenever You Need Somebody (1987). The song was a worldwide number-one hit, initially in the United Kingdom in 1987, where it stayed at the top of the chart for five weeks and was the best-selling single of that year. It eventually topped the charts in 25 countries, including the United States and West Germany.  The song won Best British Single at the 1988 Brit Awards. Rick Astley

March 9th U2 release their fifth album “The Joshua Tree” (Grammy for Best Album 1988)

Aretha Franklin and George Michael – I Knew You Were Waiting For Me

“I Knew You Were Waiting (for Me)” is a song released by American singer Aretha Franklin and English singer George Michael as a duet in 1987. The song was a number one hit in the United States and the United Kingdom. Billboard listed “I Knew You Were Waiting (for Me)” as Franklin’s all-time biggest Hot 100 single. Franklin and Michael won a 1987 Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group. georgemichael

April 6th 22nd Academy of Country Music Awards: Hank Williams Jr, Randy Travis, and Reba McEntire win 

Additional sources: On This Day – Music – Hits of the 80s: Playback FMWikipedia

Your Hosts for The Breakfast Show

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

Blog– IMPROVISATION William Price King on Tumblr – Buy William’s music: William Price King iTunes – FacebookWilliam Price King – Twitter@wpkofficial
Regular Venue – Cave Wilson

Sally Cronin is an author, blogger and broadcaster who enjoyed four years as part of the team on Onda Cero International’s English speaking morning show in Marbella and then for two years as a presenter on Expressfm the local radio station in Portsmouth. She co-presented two ‘Drive Time’ shows a week with Adrian Knight, hosted the live Thursday Afternoon Show and The Sunday Morning Show guests including musicians and authors. Following this she became Station Director for a local internet television station for two years, producing and presenting the daily news segment, outside broadcasts and co-presenting the Adrian and Sally chat show live on Friday evenings.

She and her husband David have now returned to Ireland where they live on the Wexford Coast where she blogs and continues to write books.

Books :Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – More reviews: Goodreads – blog: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Twitter: @sgc58 – Facebook: Sally Cronin – LinkedIn: Sally Cronin

Next week 1987 Part Two. We hope you will tune in.. as always we love to hear from you.. thanks William and Sally.

Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Meet the Authors 2022 – Personal Recommendations – #Mystery Sharon Marchisello, #Paranormal Marcia Meara, #Mystery James J. Cudney


In this first feature for the Smorgasbord Bookshelf I am sharing authors whose books I have read and can personally recommend along with one of my reviews for their books.

The first author today is not just an accomplished writer but a financial wizard as well, sharing her commonsense approach to making, saving and keeping money on her blog. I have enjoyed both books I have read by Sharon Marchisello and can recommend them both.

Meet Sharon Marchisello

Sharon Marchisello is the author of two mysteries published by Sunbury Press, Going Home (2014) and Secrets of the Galapagos (2019). She is an active member of Sisters in Crime.

She contributed short stories to anthologies Shhhh…Murder! (Darkhouse Books, 2018) and Finally Home (Bienvenue Press, 2019). Her personal finance book Live Well, Grow Wealth was originally published as Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy, an e-book on Smashwords. Sharon has published travel articles, book reviews, and corporate training manuals, and she writes a personal finance blog called Countdown to Financial Fitness.

She grew up in Tyler, Texas, and earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Houston in French and English. She studied for a year in Tours, France, on a Rotary scholarship and then moved to Los Angeles to pursue her Masters in Professional Writing at the University of Southern California.

Retired from a 27-year career with Delta Air Lines, she lives in Peachtree City, Georgia, doing volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society and the Fayette County Master Gardeners UGA Extension.

Books by Sharon Marchisello

My review for the Going Home September 2021

This is a well written and thought provoking story that combines a care crisis that many of us face with elderly parents who have developed dementia, and the unravelling of the mystery surrounding a murder in a family home.

It is clear the author has experience of the challenge of communicating with someone who has short term memory loss, and brings in a cleverly crafted murder plot with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader interested.

There are flashbacks to the past and events which have a bearing on the present, and the reader is witness to the fallout that revelations result in as the search begins for a viable suspect amongst the outsiders who have access to the family home. It would seem that the authorities have only one suspect in mind, and without the ability to communicate coherently, an elderly woman must rely on her extended family to prove her innocence.

The author does a great job in keeping all the various strands of the plot running smoothly in parallel and brings the story to a satisfactory climax.

I recommend to those who enjoy well written murder mysteries and family sagas.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – follow Sharon: Goodreadsblog: Sharon Blogspot – Twitter: @SLMarchisello

The next author is Marcia Meara who writes wonderful paranormal mysteries with endearing characters… in particular a little boy called Rabbit, which engage and capture your imaginations.. Marcia is also a wildlife expert and you can find amazing posts on her blog.

Meet Marcia Meara

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

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

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

A selection of books by Marcia Meara

My review for The Light January 2021

A delightful addition to the Wake-Robin Ridge series and as always the star of the story is a little boy called Rabbit. An old soul who sees far beyond human comprehension, he still retains his gentle and loving nature. He also sees far more than a boy of eleven should, and yet his determination to help those in limbo and their living loved ones, is too powerful to deny.

In this chapter in the series, Rabbit’s family extends to new friends and those who have lost their way. Collaborations and combining ‘The Sight’ with modern technology takes this current investigation into the depths of the stunning Appalachian mountains building the suspense as the story behind the light runs parallel.

As always the author engages us with her scenic descriptions and charming characters, weaving an intriguing mystery which unfolds with some surprise revelations. Heartwarming and thought provoking this series is a must read. I do recommend that you begin with Wake-Robin Ridge, followed by A Boy Named Rabbit and Harbinger.

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

The final author today has created a series that combine family and mystery located in a college town that you begin to think of as home. James J. Cudney also has written some compelling family sagas and I have enjoyed his books in both genres.

Meet James J. Cudney

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

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

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

A selection of  books by James J. Cudney

My review for Frozen Stiff Drink: A Kellan Ayrwick Cozy Mystery (Braxton Campus Mysteries Book 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you are leaving with some books… Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – January 17th – 23rd 2022 – Hits 1986, Nat King Cole, Winter Sun destinations, Healthy Eating, Book Reviews, Funnies


Welcome to the round up with the posts from the week you might have missed.

A grey overcast day here in Ireland but at least it is dry and in fact I might have to water the pot plants in the front of the house which is almost unheard of during the winter months!

Not a great deal to report on the home front. I am just waiting until the end of the month to book my hotels for my planned trip to the UK for my sister’s 80th. We are still around the 6,000 mark here and the UK hovering around the 100,000. Hopefully that downward trend will continue in the next couple of weeks. Some of the paperwork, tests etc are being lifted from Monday.. they were put in place to prevent the spread of Omicron but that ship has sailed. There are murmurs about other variants but the general premis is that we are going to have to live with it. I am as boosted as I can be including the flu jab and have my travel permit, fingers crossed.

I did get out and about during the week and was delighted to be the guest of award winning author Janice Spina for an interview. Janice also very kindly reviewed Life is Like a Mosaic… so a double pleasure.

Interview with Author Sally Cronin

It is such a pleasure to welcome a fellow author to Interview an Author on Jemsbooks.blog. Today, please help me welcome talented author/poet/nutritionist Sally Cronin!

Thank you so much, Sally, for coming today to share a little bit about yourself and your lovely books. I am excited to have you here! The floor is yours! 

Head over to join us: Interview and review with Janice Spina

As ever I am very grateful for the contributions by William Price King, Debby Gies and Carol Taylor and I hope you will check out their posts and enjoy the music, travel and food.

And thank you for dropping in and reading, liking, commenting and sharing the posts.. it keeps me motivated.

On with the show….

Chart Hits 1986 Part Two – Peter Gabriel, Billy Ocean, The Bangles, Lionel Richie

William Price King meets the Jazz Icons – Nat King Cole – The 1950s

Three Winter Sun Destinations – Kauai, Hawaii, Malta and Martinique

Cook from Scratch to prevent nutritional deficiency – Vitamin B1 – Wholegrains, Mackeral, Pork, Pineapple, Eggs, Asparagus

#Winning Streak – The Charity Shop

Winning Streak – The Date

Tales from the Garden – The Santuary

The Gentle Detox – Part Three – Pre-Weight Loss – Willpower booster

#Interview Annika Perry on Priorhouse, #Writing Traci Kenworth, #Characters D.Wallace Peach, #Review Robbie Cheadle, #Writerlinks D.G. Kaye, #Stories Allan Hudson

Oh Baubles: A Christmas Romance Novella by Harmony Kent

#Christmas #Romance – Love Me by Jacquie Biggar

New Book on the Shelves – #Biography #WWI, Queen Victoria, #Adventures, Lucky Jack by S. Bavey

Personal Recommendations – #Paranormal Robbie Cheadle, #Western #Romance Sandra Cox, #Fantasy C.S. Boyack

Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Pizza, Coffee and Breaking and Entering

January 20th 2022 – Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp – Eye openers and Husbanding

 

Thanks for dropping in and have a lovely week ahead   Sally.

Smorgasbord Blogger Weekly – #Interview Annika Perry on Priorhouse, #Writing Traci Kenworth, #Characters D.Wallace Peach, #Review Robbie Cheadle, #Writerlinks D.G. Kaye, #Stories Allan Hudson


A small selection of posts I have enjoyed during the week and I hope you will head over to enjoy in full.. thanks Sally

First an interesting and revealing interview with author Annika Perry with Yvette Prior on the  Priorhouse blog

Good Morning Readers. Today I am featuring the Priorhouse Interview with blogger and author Annika Perry.

Hello Yvette and thank you so much for the invitation to take part in one of your interviews! It’s a joy to be here! The tagline to my website sums me up in a few words:

‘A writer influenced by her Swedish heritage and Yorkshire upbringing.’

It is this dual background that is the foundation of not only my writing but also my life. 

photo for blog

Head over to enjoy Annika’s interview: Annika Perry on Priorhouse

The next post is from Traci Kenworth with her reflections on writing and some recommended writing and book links.

The Beauty of Writing

I was probably twelve or thirteen when I began using makeup. Eye shadow. Liner. Rouge. Lipstick. Any and all of it. I wished in later years, that I’d taken it slower like my one friend in high school whose parents only allowed her lipstick for many years. Of course, I found out from another friend that she ditched that restriction when it came to parties and hanging out with friends. I just thought maybe less was more as I got older.

I guess that’s how we all start off with writing as well. Experimenting to see what worked best.

Head over to read the post in full: Traci Kenworth the Beauty of Writing

The next post is also on the subject of writing…. D. Wallace Peach, writing for Story Empire shares part one of her tips on crafting rich characters… having read her fantasy novels, Diana crafts memorable and unique characters and well worth heading over to read her thoughts on this important element of storytelling.

Crafting Rich Characters (Part 1)

Greetings to all the storytellers out there. Let me start out by first wishing you a peaceful Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Then by sharing how delighted I am to be part of the Story Empire crew. I never tire of chatting about the craft of writing and hope to share some observations and insights as well as hear your thoughts and learn from you.

Though I won’t turn down a book with a riveting plot, I’m a lover of great characters. For me, characters are the glue that keeps me stuck to a story. I thought I’d start my Story Empire stint with a series of posts about Crafting Rich Characters.

As a new story takes shape in my brain, character profiles dutifully tap across my laptop. Whether you write character bios down or store them in your cranium, this pre-work may pay off with greater character depth and more complex relationships. In addition, the process of writing may flow with greater ease. My characters are immensely cooperative in telling their stories when they know who they are.

Head over to enjoy Diana’s helpful and though provoking post starting with physical appearance: Crafting rich characters part 1

The next post is from Robbie Cheadle who has reviewed what I consider to be one of the most important books written about and for women in the early 20th century. Robbie very kindly included my recording of one of Vera Brittain’s poems.

Sally Cronin from Smorgasbord Blog Magazine introduced me to Vera Brittain, a feminist, writer, and poet, who lived through WW1 and lost her fiancé, brother, and two close friends. My own great aunt never married after losing her fiancé during WW1, so Vera’s feelings of loss and displacement after the war gave me a lot of insight into how many women must have felt whose lives were scarred by the Great War and who lived among youngsters who hadn’t experienced its devastation in such a personal way. 

Head over to enjoy Robbie’s review: Robbie Cheadle Testament of Youth

The next post this week is another for writers from D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies with her monthly round up of links to posts that celebrate the art of writing.

January 2022 – First Edition of Writer’s Tips

Welcome to my January Writer’s Tips. In this month’s edition of posts I hand picked from my reading trails, I’ve found some informative articles for writers from authors, Natalie Ducey – how to add weblinks on #Instagram, publishing predictions for 2022 by agent Laurie McLean at the blog of Anne R. Allen, ideas for promoting sequels on #Bookbub, book promotion blunders by Kathy Steinemann, and, how to use dashes in fiction by Louise Harnby. 

Head over to check out all these excellent resources: D. G. Kaye.. All the best writer’s tips

The final post today is from Allan Hudson who has just begun a new series of short stories from around the world.. delighted to be invited to feature with a story coming up in February.. as you will see in the post there are some wonderful writers included.

Welcome to the new addition to the Scribbler

I love short stories. Hope you do too.

Every two weeks from this date, you will find a new short story and as it suggests in the title – From Around the World.

I’m beyond pleased to have Professor Emeritus Roger Moore as the first contributor to the new addition. Mr. Moore is highly regarded in the world of writing, the recipient of many awards. The following short story was a winner in the Writers Federation of New Brunswick competition.

Head over to enjoy Roger Moore’s wonderfully poignant story and discover more about the short story series: Short stories from around the world with Allan Hudson

 

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

 

 

Smorgasbord Short Stories – Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries – #Winning Streak – The Date by Sally Cronin


As is my custom, I am serialising one of my past books here on the blog, and over the next few weeks, stories from my 2020 collection, Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries, Sometimes Bitter, Sometimes Sweet. I hope you will enjoy.

Winning Streak – The Date

Elsie Windsor was just about to sit down to eat her sausages, mash and baked beans for her supper, when the phone on the wall by the kitchen door rang. She counted to ten, but when the ringing didn’t stop, she pushed herself upright and crossed the tiled floor to grab the receiver off the hook, betting it was another scammer.

‘Who is it?’ she barked down the line. She counted to three as the silence was a sure sign it was some automated solicitation call.

‘Hello Mrs. Windsor.’ That stopped her in her tracks, and she decided against using her favourite swear word and slamming the phone down just yet.

‘It might be,’ she said hesitantly.

‘My name is Antonio Carlucci and I am your date for Saturday night.’

‘I beg your pardon, but you are no such thing young man,’ highly indignant Elsie firmly put the caller in his place.

‘I assure you Mrs Windsor I am, you won me in last Saturday’s tombola at the church fair.’

She had to admit this Antonio did have a rather pleasant voice.

‘Young man, I am 95 years old and have not dated since 1945 when I met my late husband Frank, and I certainly am not going to start again now.’ She tried to remember back to last weekend when she had gone to the church fete with Ethel, her best friend.

She admitted to herself the couple of schooners of sherry she had imbibed before their weekly pub lunch may have befuddled her, but she was sure she would have remembered if there had been a date with a young man as one of the prizes on the tombola. She had bought a fiver’s worth of tickets and hoped to win the tin of chocolate biscuits.

‘Mrs Windsor, are you still there?’

‘Of course I am; where did you think I had gone?’

‘Sorry it just went a little quiet.’ She heard some papers rustling.

‘The reverend Johnson gave me your number to ring to set up the arrangements. The prize was donated by my father who has just bought the Italian restaurant in the village. It includes dinner with me on Saturday night if it is acceptable to you?’

‘Well, this is a fine thing. I have never won anything in my life and to think I was excited by the possibility of a tin of biscuits.’

There was a laugh at the end of the phone which made her feel quite perky.

‘I can promise you homemade chocolate ice-cream with our homemade Italian wafers if that is any good?’

Elsie looked at her sausages and mash going cold on the kitchen table.

‘You have a date young man. My address is No 2, Waterfield Park and I will expect you at six sharp, as I cannot be out later than nine o’clock.’ She paused as a thought came to her.

‘I am going to give you a password so I know it is you, and not some fly by night come to rob me.’ Satisfied she had covered all the bases Elsie put the phone down and began planning her outfit for the occasion.

On the dot of six o’clock, the doorbell rang, and Elsie tripped down the hallway in her high heeled shoes unearthed from the back of the cupboard in the spare room. They completed her outfit for the evening which included a black satin skirt circa 1946, a grey silk blouse from the 1950s and a bright pink jacket she had bought in the sale at Harkett’s department store and never worn. The outfit was set off by a large pink rose pinned to the jacket’s lapel.

She had telephoned her long-suffering hairdresser and manipulated her into fitting her in on a Saturday morning. Elsie patted her silver rinsed curls, swept up elegantly and set off very nicely by a little extra rouge and bright pink lipstick.

A little nervously she opened the door and looked up into the face of a very attractive young man with jet black hair, and a broad grin standing on the doorstep.

‘Password.’ She demanded as she held firmly onto the front door in case she needed to escape hurriedly.

‘Glen Miller, Mrs. Windsor.’ A large hand at the end of a navy suit jacket sleeve reached out and she placed her newly manicured fingers into his palm.

Fifteen minutes later having been whisked into a big black car with a driver which made her feel very posh, Elsie sat next to her escort feeling tongue tied.

‘Have you lived in the village all your life Mrs Windsor?’ She came out of her reverie with a start and turned to Antonio who looked at her attentively.

Lawd… this was going to be a story to tell at the next bingo evening.

An aperitif of something sparkling loosened her tongue, as they sat waiting for the first course in what Antonio promised was going to be a gastronomic delight. Not used to eating a great deal these days, Elsie took the precaution of asking for senior portions for her meal, and Antonio had made sure to inform the young waiter of her requirements. By the time the veal in breadcrumbs arrived, they were getting along famously, with Elsie regaling her escort with tales of life in the village over the last 95 years, and bless the boy’s heart he laughed in all the right places. She was getting a little flushed, as she had now consumed two glasses of a very smooth red wine, and she hoped the car would be available to take her home again too.

As they set about their chocolate ice-cream with the delicious wafers, an elderly man approached their table, took Elsie’s hand, raised it to his lips and whispered ‘Bellissima’.
Antonio laughed and pulled out another chair. ‘Now Nonno, Mrs Windsor is my date this evening.’

He turned to Elsie. ‘Mrs Windsor please meet my grandfather Enrico Carlucci who is just over from Italy to stay with us for a few weeks while we get the business up and running.’

Elsie was beside herself with excitement with such very attractive gentlemen paying her such attention. After about ten minutes Antonio excused himself and left the two of them to their deep conversation, sure only about half of what was being said was understood by either party.

He went over to the bar where his father was standing waiting for a report.

‘Well my son, do you think our prize of dinner and a date with you will help with marketing the restaurant?’

‘No worries papa, Mrs Windsor has promised to tell all her friends in the village at the next bingo night, and will make sure they tell all their children about the food and the service. And Nonno has not been so animated since Nonna died.’

The following Thursday, Elsie was escorted again by a very good looking man, as she entered the village hall to play bingo. She introduced Enrico to all her friends and he charmed them with his wonderfully accented English. He sat attentively by her side as she played the games during the evening much to the envy of all her friends. At nine o’clock he escorted her out to the taxi and accompanied her home.

Enrico stood by her side until she had opened her front door and then raised her hand to his lips.

‘Until tomorrow night mia cara Elsie.’

Sighing Elsie stood in the living room and looked up at the photo of Frank in pride of place on the mantelpiece.

‘I am sorry my love, but you have to admit two dates in a week is not bad for the old girl and that fiver was money well spent.’

She kicked off her heels and padded up the stairs to bed, dreaming of handsome Italians and chocolate ice-cream.

©Sally Cronin 2020

My Books

One of the reviews for Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries

Jun 02, 2021 Colleen Chesebro rated it five stars it was amazing

Short story and poetry anthologies are all the rage now, and Sally Cronin’s “Life is Like a Bowl of Cherries” does not disappoint. This eclectic mix takes the reader through a gambit of feelings that revolve around the themes of love, loss, humor, revenge, and life’s second chances.

A few of these tales brought tears to my eyes, such as “Long Lost Love,” which tells the story of Tom and Elaine, a pregnancy, and a visit from beyond the grave. However, the poetry is as exceptional as the short stories. The butterfly cinquain, “Ritual of Mehndi,” shares a glimpse into the traditional wedding custom of painting symbols in henna on the bride’s hands.

This author is known for an empathetic approach to her writing. She writes what she senses, sharing the ups and downs of her characters with love and compassion. A true storyteller, Sally Cronin’s stories will leave you wanting more feel-good moments

Amazon: Amazon US – Amazon UK: Amazon UK – More reviews : Goodreads

My latest book is a collection of poetry and was published on July 2021

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed the story.. I always love your feedback. Sally.

Smorgasbord Book Reviews – #Christmas #Romance – Love Me by Jacquie Biggar


I caught up over Christmas with some reading and selected books that were likely to be heartwarming and in the festive spirit.. and Love Me by Jacquie Biggar ticked all the boxes.

About the book

Will a Christmas wish bring two lonely hearts together and give a little girl the family she’s always wanted?

Single parent, Grace Donovan arrives in the small town of Emerson with the hope a trial program at the local cancer clinic will be the answer to prolonging her young daughter’s life. She doesn’t expect to fall for her handsome boss.

As principal of Emerson Elementary, Kyle Roberts is aware of the students’ medical issues and his heart goes out to little Cassie Donovan and her mother. When he learns Grace needs a job, he fabricates a childcare program, and is pleasantly surprised by its success. Now, if only he could help Cassie’s recovery and get Grace to give him a chance before she learns of his duplicity.

Cassie Donovan barely remembers the father who died when she was just a toddler, but she does know her mother is sad. Even though Cassie wants a puppy more than anything, she gives up her wish to ask for a daddy from Santa Claus, that way if she gets sick again, Mommy won’t be alone.

This Christmas, two families are brought together by a Christmas wish and a child’s need for a miracle.

My review for the book January 22nd 2022

Having read other books by the author I fully expected that this story would be heartwarming and in keeping with the spirit of Christmas. The characters are always relateable and being a romance they also tend to have attractive personalities which makes them likeable too.

The interactions between those falling for each other are subtle, and much is left to your imagination, which is something I prefer when reading about love. In this particular case you are left with the wonderful feeling that love is alive and well despite the global troubles impacting us all at this time.

At the heart of this story is also the issue of childhood leukemia which the author adds details of at the end of the book. A difficult subject to cover, particularly in a feel good romance novel, but Jacquie Biggar handles it very sensitively.

A book to curl up in front of a roaring fire, with a large mug of hot chocolate and a couple of hours free for some lovely escapism. Recommended for lovers of romance and those who enjoy a heartwarming reminder that there are good things in the world.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon USand: Amazon UK

A small selection of Jacquie’s books

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Jacquie : Goodreads – website: Jacquie Biggar – Twitter: @jacqbiggar

About Jacquie Biggar

Jacquie Biggar is a USA Today bestselling author of romance who loves to write about tough, alpha males and strong, contemporary women willing to show their men that true power comes from love. She lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and loves to hear from readers all over the world!

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