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. My previous jobs are only relevant in as much as they have gifted me with a wonderful filing cabinet of memories and experiences which are very useful when putting pen to paper. 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. You can find the whole story here. Find out more at https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/about-me/

A non-fiction selection box


Jessica Norrie introduces us to some thought provoking non-fiction reads that she recommends.. They cover a diverse range of subjects including the human body, race, Jack the Ripper’s victims, the royal family and the law… Sounds like a great gift package for those who enjoy exploring today’s issues in more depth than the sensational media headlines..#recommended

Words and Fictions

I mostly get my non-fiction fixes from news and media, but by mid 2020 I’d become tired of Covid related items. I wanted more varied food for thought, and entertainment. Also Novel 3, despite wonderful, polite, positive comments (“a beautiful and bracing read” said an editor from one top publisher) wasn’t finding a contract. I needed to reconsider what makes a book readable and saleable, whatever the subject. So I turned to five popular non-fiction bestsellers published or revised since 2018.

In my school chemistry and biology lessons, I pushed worms aimlessly round Petri dishes, larked about with Bunsen burners and stayed ignorant. Now being stalked by Covid rang alarm bells. I’ve passed (my) existence in this warm wobble of flesh and yet taken it almost entirely for granted. It was time I learned how my body works and I decided Bill Bryson’s The Body: A Guide…

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Smorgasbord Short Stories – Life’s Rich Tapestry – #Fantasy- The Enhancement Project by Sally Cronin


I have a new collection of poetry and short stories coming out later in the year, and as Life’s Rich Tapestry is now one year old, I thought I would share some stories from the collection over the next few weeks. This story was inspired by the photo prompt as part of a challenge curated by author D.Wallace Peach on her blog: Myths of the Mirror

Pixabay image by Brigitte Werner

The Enhancement Project

They had been working through the night to save his life. The atmosphere in the operating theatre was one of frenzied concentration, with only clipped instructions from the lead surgeon as he worked to stem the bleeding. Scrub nurses moved around the three doctors in an orchestrated dance, slapping instruments into waiting hands, or wiping a brow of its sweat.

Doctor Shanda Graham watched from the gallery and clenched her hands in front of her. If she was religious she would have prayed, but all she could do was focus on the skill and experience of the surgeons working on the man on the table. His enhanced body armour had protected him from the blast on his right side and his robotic arm was undamaged. However, he had extensive and catastrophic injuries to the left side of his head that had likely caused severe brain damage.

Shanda had been part of the cyborg project for the last five years, designing and implementing the enhancements to the selected participants of the project. All were members of elite military units who had been severely injured in combat, and following the world war of 2080, there had been no shortage of applicants. They were men and women ideal for the task, being physically and mentally honed for war, and now for the protection of the survivors from remaining external threats and those closer to home.

Solar power had been installed across the city rooftops in 2050 and with foresight the governing body had stockpiled medicines and other essential staples in the years leading up to the final conflict. However, strict rationing was in place and this had created a criminal element that was determined to take control of the dwindling supplies. Unlike the rest of the population, striving to survive peacefully, they were unwilling to participate in the projects that brought water and food to the 50,000 inhabitants of the city; taking what they needed with violence instead.

The streets of the city were unsafe to wander, as roaming gangs preyed on anyone careless enough to be caught out after dark. During the day, the ringleaders and their followers, barricaded themselves into the high rise office blocks, vacated when the world markets crashed, and financial institutions ceased to exist overnight.

To counter this threat to the lives of the people in their care, the city elders had formed a civilian militia from adults over the age of sixteen who were not employed in other essential work. Each unit was commanded by a six man team from the Cyborg regiment who undertook the training needed for the militia to be effective. This strategy had been partially successful, as even the feral gangs feared the enhanced capabilities of the Cyborgs.

However, the battles for the streets were fierce, especially as the gangs had obtained discarded weapons in the early days following the war, when the city was in chaos.
Until tonight the governing body had thought that they were making progress in clearing the city of this threat to peace. The present riot had begun outside one of the food growing centres that had been established in all the former green areas of the city. Heavy metal fencing and guard towers protected each unit, and the thousands of citizens who would arrive each morning to work the fields and water processing plants above the aquifer deep underground. Workers were unpaid but had identification chips in their arms that entitled them to enough food for themselves and their families.

As the gangs were not eligible for the chips, and the water and food they guaranteed, attacks in the green zones were frequent and often bloody. As work in the processing plants went on day and night, citizens were at increased risk coming and going from work, and cyborg units were stepped up to protect the perimeters of the compounds and in the main streets.

The commander of the cyborg regiment was Colonel Brandon Saks, and he had been the first of the enhanced humans that the implementation team had transformed. He had been a special forces major, on the front line with his team in the final battles of the war. Severely injured, he lost not only his right arm, but also a considerable amount of his rib cage. Robotic prosthetics had already been employed for over fifty years, with military personnel acting as guinea pigs. The advancements in that time had been extraordinary, and confidence was high that continuing the project would save the lives of experienced soldiers who would be needed to survive post war.

As one of the senior surgeons undertaking the ambitious project, Shanda had focused her attention on the progress of the first of their participants; the handsome and stoic Major Saks. This led to a closeness that was not permitted, as fraternisation with patients was strictly forbidden. Over the many months that he was in recovery and re-training, they had fallen in love. They had to keep it secret even when he moved into his role as head of the militia, as technically he was still a participant of the project under her continued care. Five years later they still only met infrequently when their duties permitted, in safe houses dotted around the city.

As she thought about his smile and touch, Shanda buried her head in her hands, knowing with his head injuries he would be lucky to wake up, let alone have his memories intact.She stood, resting her hands on the glass of the gallery, looking down into the operating theatre, to see the lead surgeon stand back from the table and turn away. Brandon was alive, but Shanda could see that he now carried a great deal more metal on his left side, reaching from his chin to his forehead. Clearly there had been no way to reconstruct his face and skull with organic material. It was now a question of time and healing, and they would not know the extent of the brain damage until they woke him from an induced coma.

She walked passed the staff in the dimly lit corridor to the intensive care unit, nodding at the doctor in charge, approaching the raised bed where Brandon lay attached to tubes and monitors. They would expect her to be there, having been part of the team that had completed the original enhancement and worked with him so closely; she sat on a stool and reached out to hold his remaining hand.

The battle to rid the city of the feral gangs raged for the next four weeks. Fuelled by anger, the militia and their cyborg commanders were driven to succeed in honour of their fallen commander. Their orders were not to kill unless unavoidable, but to expel those who had committed violence outside the city walls; to fend for themselves in the wastelands. In some cases however, when brought before the magistrates, younger men and women, who had not participated in the violence of the insurrection, were given the option to join the militia or the food plant workers.

In the intensive care unit, Colonel Saks was considered healed enough to be brought out of his coma and to have his brain damage assessed. Shanda had been at his bedside every minute she was not working, and there were knowing looks between the medical staff at this devotion. But she didn’t care. It was time that everyone knew how she felt about this handsome and extraordinary man, and she would bear the consequences.

She stood in the corner of the room as the surgeon checked the new enhancements one more time for infection or instability. Satisfied he motioned for the sedation to be lightened and watched the monitors as his patient resurfaced into the world again. Shanda closed her eyes and held her breath, convinced that the man she loved was gone from her completely.

Then she heard a sound, and looked up to see that the surgeon had turned to look at her, as had all the medical staff. He was smiling and as her eyes moved to the man lying in the bed; she could see him looking at her, saw his lips moving, and above the rapid beating of her heart, heard him say her name.

©Sally Cronin 2019

About Life’s RichTapestry: Woven in Words.

Life’s Rich Tapestry is a collection of verse, microfiction and short stories that explore many aspects of our human nature and the wonders of the natural world. Reflections on our earliest beginnings and what is yet to come, with characters as diverse as a French speaking elephant and a cyborg warrior.

Finding the right number of syllables for a Haiku, Tanka, Etheree or Cinquain focuses the mind; as does 99 word microfiction, bringing a different level of intensity to storytelling. You will find stories about the past, the present and the future told in 17 syllables to 2,000 words, all celebrating life.

This book is also recognition of the value to a writer, of being part of a generous and inspiring blogging community, where writing challenges encourage us to explore new styles and genres.

John Maberry – 31st October 2020Reviews of five books we recommend.

My review of Sally Cronin’s Life’s Rich Tapestry: Woven in Words, is short. We will add a few lines from the book after the review, for your consideration. 

The book lives up to its title–indeed, Sally Cronin has woven a rich tapestry of life in words of many kinds. A variety of poetry–in forms unfamiliar in name to me, microfiction and short stories. What’s more, the graphic imagery of the short poems is inspiring to a person like me who has never really found poetry either appealing or easily understood. This time, for a change, the words grabbed me. I found meaningful passages that could be useful as well in prose writing as in poetry. Examples I must return to in settings or other places where showing and not telling is essential.

The microfiction and short stories were equally compelling. [As noted in the promo for the book coming up next from Eagle Peak Press, we will consider a combination of ingredients as Sally Cronin did—and more in this book]. She is a writer worth reading.

Here a poetry excerpt (not necessarily representative of the content of the whole):

Memories

“Memories are sharp

and as clear as the blue sky

smiles etched on my heart.”

Or consider this brief excerpt from the intro to a short story titled, “The Junkyard Dog.”

“Charlie was a junkyard dog and had the scars to prove it. He was head of security of this fenced off mass of scrap metal, dotted with mounds of old tyres he called home, and he took his job very seriously.”

Amazon £3.50 :Amazon UK – Amazon US $4.53: Amazon US

A selection of other books

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Sally Cronin, Buy: :Amazon US – and:Amazon UK – Follow Sally:Goodreads – Blog: Smorgasbord InvitationTwitter: @sgc58
Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed these stories from Life’s Rich Tapestry.. as always your feedback is much appreciated.. Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – November 22nd – 28th 2020 – Friends and Collaborators, Thanksgiving, Food, Book Fair, Alexander Technique, Music and Funnies


Welcome to this week’s round up of posts you may have missed on Smorgasbord.

I hope all of you are well, in some countries there does seem to be a decrease in the daily infection figures but this week saw those daily figures rising to over 500,000 a day.  Here in Southern Ireland the return to a full lockdown for six weeks has seen the numbers drop from 1200 a day to just over 200 which has prompted the government to lift many of the restrictions on small businesses and restaurants, but pubs that don’t serve food will not be allowed to open. Obviously the hospitality trade has been severely hit, but the economic picture is more positive with increased online spending and restaurants converting to takeaway.

I have been using the time in isolation to finally get to grips with my WIPs… fingers crossed there will be another eBook short story collection out before Christmas, and in the spring I will be celebrating the 25 year anniversary of my weight loss and training to be a nutritional therapist.  I have spent most of the year updating my first book Size Matters and writing an additional segment on the obesity epidemic and where in the life cycle we should be focusing our energies.  It will also feature the programme that I designed for myself and also the clients I went on to work with, plus an easy to use nutritional guide at the back of the book.This one will be in print and eBook and I am excited to get this three year project completed in time for a milestone year personally.

In the meantime there are books to promote and if you are a regular visitor you will have noticed I have made a start on the Christmas Book Fairs with the intention of featuring everyone on the shelves of both Cafes before Christmas.

Every year I like to have a party and I think after the year we have had, I am going to dedicate the weekends from mid-December to some fun and frivolity.

This year the Christmas party is going to be held over two weekends (or more posts if enough guests respond) .. 12th/13th and 19th/20th of December. The theme is our pets, past and present, who usually love the activities at Christmas, especially the extra treats going around at the time.

Most of us have photographs of our dogs, cats and other cuddly members of the family.(A Christmas theme would be great but not essential).. but if you don’t have any photographs of your own pets, then you can borrow one for the occasion…there are plenty of funny images of pets at Christmas on the web that are free to use. Or you might find a friend or family member willing to lend you one for the party.

There will be food and drink of course and a video or two and I will make sure to add your details including bio, books or blog and social media. Those who don’t attend the party in person are very welcome to add their links in the comments.

Check out the link to find out more: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Christmas Party 2020 – Invite a pet (yours or one you have borrowed)

As always some amazing contributions this week.. and a special thank you to William Price King as we celebrate his six years of the Music Column with a repeat of the interview that began our friendship in 2014.. We also have some amazing food and recipes in Carol Taylor’s A-Z featuring the letter ‘W’ and some funnies courtesy of resident comedienne author D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies. This week author Daniel Kemp returned for his fortnightly Open Mic night with funnies to get the weekend started in style.

William Price King – American jazz singer, crooner, and composer – Interview April 2014

Carol Taylor – A – Z of Food ‘W’ for Wakame, Wasabi, Walnuts, Watercress, and Wax Beans

Milestones Along the Way – #Ireland #Waterford – How I met Joan

Life’s Rich Tapestry – #Cats For the Love of Lily

Whatever else 2020 has been, it has not been short on Friendship and Community – by Sally Cronin

January 1986 – New Mexico, Mckittrick Canyon and the Living Desert – Part Two

Smorgasbord Book Reviews – #Haiti #Thriller – Vanished by Mark Bierman

Past Book Reviews 2019 – Braxton Campus Mysteries – Book 3 – Flower Power Trip by James J. Cudney

Past Book Reviews 2019 -#Prehistoric The Quest for Home Book 2 of the Crossroads Trilogy) by Jacqui Murray

Past Book Reviews 2019 -#Thriller Passport to Death by Yigal Zur

Christmas Book Fair – New Author – I’m Going to My First Comic Convention by Candy Keane

#Bedtimestories Doug Parker, #Wolves Elizabeth Jade, #Flamingos Wanda Luthman

#Release – #Nature Joyce Murphy, #Adventure Jemima Pett, #Stepmother Toni Pike. 

New Author on the Shelves

New Author – #Memoir #Travel Plunge: One Woman’s Pursuit of a Life Less Ordinary by Liesbet Collaert

#Supernatural Jessica Bakkers, #DieselPunk Teagan Riordain Geneviene, #Historical Allan Hudson

#Thrillers Carol Balawyder, Leyla Cardena, John L. DeBoer

#Memoirs – Marian Longenecker Beaman, Brigid P. Gallagher, D.G. Kaye

The Alexander Technique – Part Three – Standing, Sitting and Walking Correctly

November 24th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Birdseed and More Weird Facts

November 26th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin- Thanksgiving Special and More Weird Facts

November 27th 2020 – Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp

 

Thank you very much for all your support.. have a good weekend and week to follow.. Sally.

Smorgasbord Book Reviews – #Haiti #Thriller – Vanished by Mark Bierman


This week I have been reading Vanished the debut thriller set in Haiti by Mark Bierman.

About the book

Tragedy . . . heartache . . . how much more can Tyler Montgomery and John Webster take? This missions trip, the “healing” one, has only added fresh layers of pain. Construction of an orphanage in Haiti’s northwest . . . yes. But a doomed rescue operation, human traffickers, human anomalies, extreme personal danger . . . risk of death? They hadn’t signed up for those.

Turning their backs on the crisis, however, is unthinkable, it’s just not who they are.

My review for the book 28th November 2020

This book is a challenging read, not because of how it is written, but the subject matter. We tend to picture islands in the Caribbean as having sun swept sandy beaches, luxury accommodation and smiling faces of the inhabitants, happy to see tourists pouring into their paradise. However Haiti has had centuries of political, economic and social unrest and suffered devastating natural disasters. Following one such event, the earthquake in 2010, thousands of men, women and children were killed and many more thousands were left homeless. The population is left reliant on assistance from the outside world, including volunteers to help them rebuild. However, as well as the suffering caused by this natural disaster, there is  an underlying evil that thrives on misery, and manipulates parents in dire straits, to offer up their children under the pretense of a better life.

Two Americans Tyler and his father-in-law John Webster arrive on the island following a tragedy of their own, with the loss of Joy, Tyler’s wife and John’s daughter from cancer. Hopeful that the physical labour of helping to construct an orphanage, will bring them both a measure of peace, they find themselves caught up in the violent world of the human traffickers preying on children in particular. From mines to plantations the trade in cheap slave labour is thriving, and it is manned by thugs with money the motivator.

In a desperate search across the mountainous interior of the country, and forced to form alliances with those they cannot trust, and in some cases with those wishing them violence, the two men seek one child among thousands. Their story runs in parallel with heartrending accounts of others who have been caught up in the trafficking, who seek to escape, often at the expense of their lives.

The author has created strong characters across the spectrum of good vs. evil, and the story maintains its pace throughout the book. The mission Tyler and John have undertaken hurtles towards a violent climax, and consequences that will need to be faced. A thought provoking thriller that serves as a reminder of how fortunate we are to live in a kinder world.

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

50% of the proceeds from Vanished go to an organization that helps victims of human trafficking.

About Mark Bierman

Born and raised on a farm near Brockville, Ontario, Mark Bierman’s childhood consisted of chores, riding horses, snowmobile races across open fields, fishing trips to a local lake, and many other outdoor adventures. He was also an avid reader of both fiction and non.

Transitioning towards adulthood also meant moving from the farm and into large urban areas that introduced this “country boy” to life in the big cities.

After a short stint as a private investigator, he moved into the role of Correctional Officer, working at both Millhaven Institution and Kingston Penitentiary, until it closed.

Read the reviews and buy the bookAmazon US – And : Amazon UKFollow Mark: Goodreads – Blog: Mark Bierman WordPressTwitter: @mbiermanauthor

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed my review of Vanished by Mark Bierman… thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Children’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – New Author – I’m Going to My First Comic Convention by Candy Keane


Delighted to welcome a new author to the Children’s Cafe Candy Keane and her new release I’m Going to My First Comic Convention

About the book

An illustrated children’s book about a little boy excited to attend his first pop-culture comic con and all the fun things he will get to see. Whether its a stroll through Artist’s Alley, meeting celebrities, or choosing a cosplay for the big day, there’s plenty to see and do at the convention! Written for kids, but also a good resource for parents who might wonder what goes on at a comic con type event.

One of the recent reviews for the book

heather king 5.0 out of 5 stars Nerdy fun to start your child reading.  Reviewed in the United States on October 8, 2020

Cute book for your little. Colorful look into what to expect at a comic convention. My son likes trying to “read” this to me. Easy rhyming words to start your child reading.

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

About Candy Keane

Candy Keane is a former professional costumier and cosplayer, turned author and blogger. For over a decade she made custom costumes for cosplay, TV and movies in her Three Muses Inspired Clothing boutique. After the birth of her son in 2015, she decided to close her store to concentrate on family and writing projects. She now writes about “geek mom life” on her blog geekmamas.com. Her first children’s book, I’m Going to My First Comic Convention, was inspired by her son and her experiences at comic cons across the nation.

Author Pages: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK- Follow Candy: Goodreads

Connect to Candy: Blog: geekmamas.com  Facebook: Geek Mamas Blog – Twitter: @sewgeekmama – Instagram: Sewgeekmama

 

Thanks for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share Candy’s book.. Sally.

#WATWB – Toronto Carpenter is Building Insulated Shelters for the Homeless – Goodnet


We are the World Blogfest

Debby Gies spreads the positive news story as part of #WATWB about a determined young Toronto carpenter who is building insulated shelters for the homeless facing a harsh winter. Head over to find out more about this good hearted samaritan.

 

#WATWB, We are the World Blogfest, #RandomActsofKindness, Tiny house personal shelters for the #Homeless

Source: #WATWB – Toronto Carpenter is Building Insulated Shelters for the Homeless – Goodnet

Smorgasbord Short Stories – Milestones Along the Way – #Ireland #Waterford – How I met Joan by Geoff Cronin


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

This week how Geoff met David’s mother Joan … a wonderful mother-in-law with an infectious laugh and much kindness.

How I Met Joan

In the summer of 1944 I joined the boat club in Waterford. The headquarters of this club was situated on the Kilkenny side of the river Suir, opposite the Adelphi hotel. It was a wooden building and it was painted white and green and it housed several outriggers. These boats would be approximately 60 to 70 feet long and could be carried easily by eight men.

The club could be reached from Waterford by walking along the quay, across the bridge and down on the Kilkenny side of the river – which was would have taken a considerable length of walking time. But, for convenience sake, a member of the club could stand on the Waterford side of the bridge and whistle or signal to the boat club who would send a punt across the river to ferry the member over to the club.

In those years, my brother Dick, who was an expert musician, ran a small dance band, consisting of himself on the accordion, Ken McKinnon on tenor sax and Peerie White (The Gunner) on drums. They played for small club dances around the town. Well, my brother secured a booking to play at Sunday night ‘Hops’ in the boat club and, being a member, I always supported those dances for the joint reason that my brother was in charge of the band, and I was a member of the club.

About this time, I had returned from working in a timber gang, where I developed a considerable amount of muscle, I was also in the boxing club where I did not meet with great success, being too short in stature for my weight. Nevertheless, I stripped out at eleven stone and felt somewhat invincible.

In those days, anyone who had a respectable job went to work in a collar and tie, long-sleeve shirt which usually boasted some kind of cuff-links, and I was no exception. So, on attending the boat-club dance one particular Sunday night, I took off my coat and rolled up my sleeves until the fold was well above the biceps. This allowed me to show off my muscles and at the same time display my doubtful dancing prowess. I was at that age when, as they say, ‘a young man’s fancy turns to love’ and I had my eye on Joan Flanagan. Now this girl was probably the best looking girl in the in the city and I liked the way she walked with a very straight back, and when she looked at you her gaze was steady, and I was quite smitten.

However Joan was three years older than I was and I felt that she was beyond my reach. Imagine my surprise therefore when at this particular Sunday night dance she walked into the ballroom accompanied by a fellow who had been my junior at school and I felt a surge of anger the like of which I have not had felt since or before.

She was still taking her coat off when I walked up to her and asked her would she like to dance. This was very rude of me, really, but she agreed and we had a nice couple of rounds of the floor. During that time I was racking my brains to think how I might “anchor” the conversation.

 

Joan Flanagan, 1944

Joan Cronin, 1959

Again, on impulse, I said to her “by the way, do you do the Tango”? Now, to be honest, I hadn’t a clue how to do the Tango but I knew that she was interested in dancing because her cousin ran a dance studio and had a very large clientele.

Anyway, she said, “No I don’t do the Tango” but I wouldn’t mind learning.

Well, I said, “I’ve been taking lessons,” which was a downright lie, “and if you would like to come to the Atlantic, in Tramore, with me on, let’s say, on Thursday night of this week, and I can show you what I know and we could practice together.

So, she smiled deliberately at me and she said, “Well, yes, that would be nice.”

“OK,” I said. “I’ll see you on Thursday.”

Now, that was okay and to some extent it was a bit of a victory for me. But from that moment on her escort guarded her as if she was Fort Knox, and I realised that I hadn’t made any firm arrangement where to meet her, or how to get to Tramore, or whatever, and I was at pains to get back to speak to her again and I couldn’t because he kept hovering over her and blocking my entrance. Anyway, the dance came to a close and I was in a corner there, getting ready to put on my coat and I turned down the sleeves of my shirt and my cuff-links were dangling off the end of the shirt. And as I saw her getting ready to leave I went the length of the ballroom and I confronted her and I said to her, “Joan, listen, could you help me with something?”

“Yes,” she said. “What is it?”

And I said, “Joan, would you ever fix my cuff-links, I can’t get them right?”

So she smiled at me and began to fix my cuff-links.

And then I looked her straight in the face, and she looked back at me, and I felt myself sinking into those grey eyes with the feeling that I never had before. And I’m sure the angels felt a bang when I hit the ground, because I fell for her hook, line and sinker.

So, I arranged to meet her at the train station – there was a train to Tramore on a regular basis at that time – and we went to the Atlantic ballroom in Tramore together on the train, and back again and we had a most enjoyable evening. I arranged a further date with her and that continued on for four years and at the end of four years we were married.

In all we spent 50 years together, the happiest time of my life and in all that time we never had a cross word. So, there you are, that is the story of How I Met Her.

***

After a certain funeral, the following conversation took place:-
“So, how did the funeral go?”
“Oh, there was a big crowd there, but still it wasn’t great.”
“How’s that?”
“Well, at the graveside Jimmy Walsh tripped on a kerb and fell and broke his leg and spoiled the day for everyone.”

©Geoff Cronin 2008

Geoff Cronin 1923 – 2017

About Geoff Cronin

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

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

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

I hope you have enjoyed this series of stories from Geoff and I will be sharing more in the New Year.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines Extra – November 27th 2020 – Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp


Author Daniel Kemp entertains us again with his funnies from: Danny Kemp  .. Always a place to find funnies and jokes to cheer you up… plus some satirical political commentary on politicians at home and abroad.

About an hour ago I ran into the pub and shouted to my mate. “Dave! I’ve just seen your car being stolen.”
He said, “Didn’t you try to stop them?”
I said, “No, but don’t worry. I got the registration.”

There is to be no Nativity this year because the three Wise Men face a travel ban. The shepherds have been furloughed. The Innkeeper has shut under tier 3 regulations and had a slump in bookings. Santa won’t be working as he would break the rule of 6 with Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Donner and Blitzen. As for Rudolph, with that red nose, he should be isolating and taking a test

Just after the maid had been fired, she took five quid from her purse and handed it to Fido the family dog.

When her former employer asked why the maid gave the dog five quid she swiftly answered, “I never forget a friend. This was for helping me clean the dishes all the time!!

A farmer in the country has a watermelon patch, and upon inspection, he discovers that some of the local kids have been helping themselves to a feast.

The farmer thinks of ways to discourage this profit-eating situation, and he puts up a sign that reads:

“WARNING! ONE OF THESE WATERMELONS CONTAINS CYANIDE!”

He smiled smugly as he watched the kids run off the next night without eating any of his melons.

The farmer returned to the watermelon patch a week later to discover that none of the watermelons have been eaten, but finds another sign that reads:

“NOW THERE ARE TWO!

My thanks to Danny for allowing me to raid his Facebook: Danny Kemp

About Daniel Kemp

Daniel Kemp, ex-London police officer, mini-cab business owner, pub tenant and licensed London taxi driver never planned to be a writer, but after his first novel –The Desolate Garden — was under a paid option to become a $30 million film for five years until distribution became an insurmountable problem for the production company what else could he do?

In May 2018 his book What Happened In Vienna, Jack? became a number one bestseller on four separate Amazon sites: America, UK, Canada, and Australia.

Although it’s true to say that he mainly concentrates on what he knows best; murders laced by the mystery involving spies, his diverse experience of life shows in the short stories he writes, namely: Why? A Complicated Love, and the intriguing story titled The Story That Had No Beginning.

He is the recipient of rave reviews from a prestigious Manhattan publication, been described as –the new Graham Green — by a managerial employee of Waterstones Books, for whom he did a countrywide tour of signing events, and he has appeared on ‘live’ television in the UK.

A selection of books by Daniel Kemp

A review for A Covenant of Spies

Avid Reader 5.0 out of 5 stars It reminded me of “Bridge of Spies”  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 1 June 2020

Daniel Kemp’s A Covenant Of Spies deals with British Intelligence investigating Russian operative.

I enjoyed the clever, complex tale featuring a net of lies and political cover-ups that made me think twice about the daily news headlines.

An entertaining story of 21st century spies and tales of the Cold War sprinkled with clues till the end, it reminded me of “Bridge of Spies”.

Read the reviews and buy the books also in audio: Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – follow Daniel: Goodreads – Website: Author Danny Kemp – Facebook: Books by Daniel – Twitter:@danielkemp6

 

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope it has make a good start to your weekend…thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – Past Book Reviews 2019 -#Thriller Passport to Death by Yigal Zur


Welcome to the last in the series where I have shared a selection of book reviews I have posted between 2017 and 2019.  I hope it will encourage you to check them out and you can find all my recent reviews Smorgasbord Book Reviews 2018-2020

This is a review from 2019 for the action packed thriller Passport to Death – Dotan Naor thriller series by Yigal Zur

About the Dotan Naor thriller series

DOTAN NAOR is an ex-Mossad agent, bounced out of the agency not just for a fatal miscalculation in Palestinian Jenin but for his inability to live within the bureaucracy and submit to authority. Dotan is now a private detective who uses his immense skills of persuasion and violence to rescue Israelis who are in peril throughout the world. Through his extensive travels in Asia, Dotan has developed a love for Eastern philosophy and lifestyle; his enhanced spiritual existence also happens to be good for business as many Israelis run off to exotic Asian locales to let off steam after their mandatory and often dangerous military service.

About Passport to Death

Dotan Naor, an Israeli private investigator, ousted from Shin Bet—Israel’s internal security service—goes to Thailand to find Sigal Bardon, a beautiful young girl from a wealthy Israeli family. Sigal has disappeared in Bangkok—completely. Dotan has connections in Thailand and he’s familiar with Bangkok’s dark side—the narrow alleys with bars and hookers, trenches of stagnant water, hotel rooms with illicit activity. This is where he intends to start his search. But when the passport of the missing Israeli girl ends up in his hands during his first taxi ride in the city, he’s suspicious that someone is playing him. But who? And why?

As Dotan searches for Sigal, police corruption blocks his every path. Every lead he pursues draws him closer and closer to a black hole in his “own” past—one intertwined with his pursuit of Sigal—one that leads him to Reuven—and the haunting failure that led to the dismissal of both of them from Shin Bet. The wound between Dotan and Reuven is raw and deep, but Dotan realizes it must be healed in order to save Sigal.

My review for Passport to Death November 2019

For book lovers with a leaning towards action thrillers, Passport to Death certainly ticks most of the boxes. Set in the seedier parts of Bangkok with a cast of characters who are various shades of dark, there is no dawdling as we get right into the intrigue surrounding the disappearance of Sigal Bardon who appears to have got on the wrong side of some very uncompromising individuals.

The mystery deepens as various interested parties insinuate themselves into  Dotan’s investigation, and despite his previous experiences in Bangkok, even he begins to question what is true and what is fake news.

The characters are drawn very well and few are likeable, including the missing girl whose family are desperate to find her. Unsurprisingly, Dotan’s actions reflect his previous work as part of the Israeli Secret Service and he brings his own darkness to the story..

This is not a cozy mystery and there is sex, drugs and quite a bit of violence in the book. Some of the young people who are spending their gap year travelling, are drawn into the dark alleyways of this City in search of adventure, away from the smiling faces and simple life to be found across most of Thailand. There are predators only too willing to take advantage and to hook them on their drug of choice. Some eventually struggle to the surface and find sanctuary at temples on the outskirts of the city until found and returned home, and others simply disappear.

It is not a place to send Miss Marples to find the lost. It needs someone edgy and familiar with the darkness to unravel the spider’s web of corruption and deceit. Dotan Naor is the man for the job and under the circumstances, should a child of mine go missing in a similar environment, his number would be the first I called.

The author has done a good job creating this chilling environment and the damaged characters inhabiting it.

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

Also in English by Yigal Zur

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – follow Yigal on : Goodreads –

About Yigal Zur

YIGAL ZUR is a noted writer and journalist who has written 13 books till now in Hebrew. His thriller Troubles in Paradise is the first to feature ex-Mossad agent Dotan Naor and takes place in Thailand. His second thriller Death in Shangri-la which was the first to be translated into English (published by Oceanview 2018) continue to feature Dotan Naor and takes place in North India. The third thriller in the same series is Lost in Lotus Land and takes place in Ko-Samui, Thailand and in Cambodia . ZUR wrote as well travel books and guides to India and China, a script for “Menelik – a black jewish prince” which was filmed in 1999. Amongst his published works are the novels Dark Prune, Spring of Almond’s Blossom, and The Monsoon’s End,. He has hosted successful tv travel shows.

 

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