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/

Smorgasbord Reblog – The Important Role for Writers to Help Preserve Democracy by D.G. Kaye August 13, 2019

There is no doubt that journalists and responsible members of the media make every effort to obtain and report the truth. And they are much needed as there are those media organisations who are part of the manipulation of those in power. It must be very difficult for investigative journalists to maintain their integrity in the face of the establishment.

In this post D.G. Kaye brings this into focus with a reminder to us all, that we too, as bloggers, poets, storytellers and when commenting on others work, have a responsibility to uphold the truth and not disperse the rhetoric without verification.

The Important Role for Writers to Help Preserve Democracy by D.G. Kaye
August 13, 2019

I came across this article at the Times, written by Jennifer Egan – Pulizter prize winning author on “Why we need writers more than ever, our democracy depends on it.”

If it weren’t for the press, who would keep us abreast in a world fuel injected with fake news and social media propaganda? It’s the press who keeps check on issues and people who are making the news for reasons both bad and good. It’s the reporters and journalists who speak out on what’s wrong, calling out leaders who aren’t doing their jobs, calling out propaganda in the mainstream social media used to sway and spin and stir up shit. Propaganda was Hitler’s initial method for instigating his extermination plan. Now we have social media to assist as a huge method to capture headlines – both fake and real.

Egan states in her article, “A mediasphere designed for spectacle can’t be expected to fix the oversimplification it creates. We need writers for that, and we need them badly. Literature, like democracy, is built of a plurality of ideas.” She continues to speak on how every form of literacy creates a perception for the reader, which helps to instill empathy and explains how writers throughout the ages have had the ability to help overthrow repressive regimes.

“Literature is an antidote to the blunt distortions—good vs. evil, us vs. them—that are so easily exploited by those who would manipulate us.”

How many times have we seen on the news journalists around the globe risking their lives to report on some of the atrocities going on around the world and getting jailed or even killed for reporting a truth? And the reason for these crimes against journalists is merely because those authoritarian governments or people holding power feel threatened when publicly exposed. Writers, reporters, journalists write to keep the wrongs in the forefront for the public to watch and listen to, giving the public the chance to judge for themselves so as not to be lured and eluded by untruths.

scales of justice


Writers need to be writing to exploit injustices and to preserve democracy. When free speech is compromised, so is democracy. When did a party difference of right or left begin to replace right and wrong? Why does a simple tweet of calling something a hoax make it so just because a leader thinks he can cancel out facts by standing on the highest soapbox and shouting out the loudest. This does not make it so. And this does not negate all the fact finding the journalists and their inside sources who put their lives on the line for every day do to educate the public.

Please head over to read the complete post: https://dgkayewriter.com/the-important-role-for-writers-to-help-preserve-democracy

About D.G. Kaye

Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.

When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.
I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.

“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”

                 “For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”

When I’m not writing, I’m reading or quite possibly looking after some mundane thing in life. It’s also possible I may be on a secret getaway trip, as that is my passion—traveling.

Books by D.G. Kaye


Read all the reviews and buy the books: http://www.amazon.com/author/dgkaye7

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/D.G.-Kaye/e/B00HE028FO

More reviews and follow Debby on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/dgkaye

Connect to Debby Gies

Blog: http://www.dgkayewriter.com
About me: http://www.wiseintro.co/dgkaye7
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/@pokercubster (yes there’s a story)
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/dgkaye7
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dgkaye
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/dgkaye
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/dgkaye7

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to read the entire post:  Sally


Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck – Serious poetry is art but is it too elitist? 2013 by Joy Lennick

Welcome to the  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

This is the last of the posts this series, from the archives of author and poet Joy Lennick, although certainly not the first post that we have enjoyed here on Smorgasbord from this entertaining writer. This post by Joy, written in 2013 is on the subject of poetry and explores the distinctions between what is considered serious poetry and that which is written by us mere mortals!

Serious poetry is art but is it too elitist? 2013 by Joy Lennick

While I personally know and have the utmost respect for Migel Jayasinghe and appreciate his intellectual mind and poetry tips, taste is subjective, whether one is reading poetry or a novel.

Unfortunately, not everyone lives on the higher plane more erudite folk occupy, and I have grown up in the knowledge that there are and always have been lesser and greater mortals and minds on our planet, and long may that be the case. Indeed, where would the world be without intellectuals!

However, it must be agreed that many of us, even those with the keenest desire to learn, assimilate and ingest knowledge, can only digest so much. And the point is, do us ‘others’ want to get bogged down in often dense, ‘difficult’ poetry that, even after three readings, remain a conundrum. Regardless of which level of poetry one aims to write or read, the subject is vast, especially for the really serious scholars, and this is where Migel scores.

However – while not quite the village idiot – my own intellect seems to hover somewhere in the middle…Loving words as I do, I am perfectly happy with that and enjoy writing fairly spontaneous, sometimes witty, sometimes serious poetry. That’s not to say that they all ‘just happen’ without thought – be they simple poems or those of a more complicated nature. However, while I always bow to the clever use of words – the poetry I mostly favour has a pleasing rhythm and musicality and either amuses, entertains or informs me.

While my particular poems, which are varied, may not satisfy the elitists or academics in our midst, I have had numerous poems published in newspapers, magazines, anthologies and in book form over the years, so they must have appealed to someone. I dislike distinct ‘divisions’ – after all we share this unique planet whatever bright or low wattage our brains transmit and should all try to work together to make it a better, happier place to live – but it cannot be denied that there are intellectual divisions. When it comes down to it, it’s a bit like an intellectual teaching a dog to dance. The dog may be able to master quite a few steps, but he will never manage the tango. More’s the pity…

Fully aware that we are all as different as night is to day and tastes vary enormously, there is a need and room for IT ALL. But heaven save me from having to constantly thumb through a dictionary (or ‘ask Google’) while I’m dissecting a dense poem! Viva la difference!

Sally here:  On that note here is a poem also written in 2013 that has all the right words in the right order for me…..I watched with shock and horror on that day in 2001, thinking that it was a very strange time of day to be showing a war movie… all around the world people still remember..

Anyone who cares about humanity – and there are, fortunately, billions of people who do – couldn’t fail to be horrified by the terrible acts of terrorism which happened in New York on that dreadful September day in 2001. To all survivors, families and friends of those affected, take heart that many people really do care, and still remember. My own ‘unbelieving’ reaction was to write the following poem”:Joy Lennick

THE AFTERMATH OF 9/11 by Joy Lennick

Long after eulogies have been said;
guilt and recriminations have been put to bed –
cherished memories float on battered minds
that lift the spirit, and a kind
of healing process then begins.
Dry-eyed: the well is spent –
a limerick is found…
a loving note he meant to send.
A breeze-born waft of jasmine
and she is there…
A burnished copper leaf
reminds you of her hair.
A favourite walk, café, a tune…
memories held so dear.
You pray that time will not prune
too much and leave the futile fear
that one day, the memory of their
earthly presence will all but disappear.

©Joy Lennick 2013.

About Joy Lennick

Having worn several hats in my life: wife, mum, secretary, shop-keeper, hotelier; my favourite is the multi-coloured author’s creation. I am an eclectic writer: diary, articles, poetry, short stories and five books. Two books were factual, the third as biographer: HURRICANE HALSEY (a true sea adventure), fourth my Memoir MY GENTLE WAR and my current fiction novel is THE CATALYST. Plenty more simmering…

A selection of books by Joy Lennick

One of the reviews for My Gentle War

I found this book totally enchanting, not just for the way it was written (which was completely original being unfettered by any rules on writing and therefore delivered with great feeling). It evoked some long lost memories from my childhood, of family forgotten or misplaced by faulty memory. I thought of my grandmother clasping a homemade loaf of bread under her arm, giving it a good buttering, then with a large bread knife, sawing it off and setting a ‘doorstep’ sized slice free for jam or honey to follow. I wasn’t born at the time of the war, which doesn’t spoil any of this account and although I know it from history books and oft heard tales, was not a good time to live through, yet I’m left thinking there was another side to these times, told here with great fondness. Sometimes I think we’ve lost a great deal for all our modern ways. This is a lovely book and worth a read. Pat McDonald British Crime Author.

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Joy-Lennick/e/B00J05CJLY/

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Joy-Lennick/e/B00J05CJLY

Find all the books, read other reviews and follow Joy on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3124773.Joy_Lennick

Connect to Joy

Blog: https://joylennick.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joy.lennick

My thanks to Joy for permitting me to share more of her wonderful posts from her archives and I hope you will head over to enjoy many more…Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Short Stories – Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction – Strawberry Jam by Sally Cronin

I hope you will enjoy my flash fiction in response to Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills  This week the prompt was sweet jam… and here is my 99 words, no more no less.

Strawberry Jam by Sally Cronin

Margaret sat in the sitting room of the nursing home, in a chintz covered chair by the window. She couldn’t remember why she was there, but perhaps the family had brought her out for tea. She tried to think of her daughter’s name; a pretty girl in a blue overall who spoke gently with a lovely smile. Margaret looked at the plate on her lap, lifting the contents to her lips, it tasted delicious with something red and sweet that stirred distant and happy memories. Jam, strawberry jam, on scones, with butter and cream. How could she have forgotten?

©Sally Cronin 2019

If you would like to participate in this week’s challenge here is the link: https://carrotranch.com/2019/08/15/august-15-flash-fiction-challenge/

I have a number of short story collections and you can find my books and their reviews: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2019/

Thanks for dropping by and I hope you have enjoyed my story….thanks Sally.

Just an Odd Job Girl – Serialisation – Chapter One- Reflections on the Past – Sally Cronin

This was the first novel that I wrote back in 2001 when I first moved to Spain to live. I had written short stories before and non-fiction health books, but felt the need to bring a little romance and humour into my writing.. the result was Just an Odd Job Girl.

About Just an Odd Job Girl.

At 50 Imogen had been married for over 20 years, and was living in a big house, with money to spare. Suddenly she is traded-in for a younger model, a Fast-Tracker.
Devastated, she hides away and indulges in binge eating. But then, when hope is almost gone, she meets a new friend and makes a journey to her past that helps her move on to her future.

Chapter One – Reflections on the Past

‘Mirror, mirror on the wall,
who is the daftest of them all?
Imogen is!’

I’m nearly fifty years old and suddenly alone. I’d often sympathised with others, over the state of newly divorced forty and fifty-something’s, never really believing that it could ever happen to me. One never does. I was sideswiped by what I call a ‘Fast Tracker’ and never knew what hit me.

My husband Peter is a banker, that’s banker with a B! We had been married for just over twenty-five years when he suddenly announced that he had met someone else.

We had actually been together from the age of twenty and had shared so much over the years that I genuinely thought he was my best friend. We’d met when Peter was at college and we were broke for much of the first ten years. It didn’t seem to matter. We were in love and even when the children came along, Elizabeth, Andrew and Kate, we still managed to have fun with the little money we had to spare. Peter worked long hours to provide for us and I felt we were a team. He was now a highly successful merchant banker and we had been enjoying the good life for the last fifteen years.

Then one day, suddenly, out of the blue, it was over. I’ll spare you the hours, days, weeks of recriminations, crying, begging and generally demeaning behaviour that accompanies such an announcement since I’ve already been through the process and have no wish to repeat it. But I will share with you my definition of a Fast Tracker.

A Fast Tracker is a girl in her late twenties or early thirties, who is on the lookout for a middle-aged, successful, wealthy, powerful man. This girl has no interest in going through the early years of poverty, screaming babies, mortgages and doing without. She has no desire to train a man into being the perfect husband; she wants one that someone prepared earlier. My husband was ripe for the picking. He was all that a Fast Tracker could desire, and being of an age that is easily flattered by a younger, toned, available female, he fell – hook, line and sinker. Incidentally, something he swore would never happen to him.

He was most generous, as he kept reminding me. Although I hadn’t worked during our married life, he conceded graciously that I’d brought up the three children more or less single-handedly and had done a fair job of it. He also appreciated my efforts around the home and the fact that his shirts had always been ironed, his cleaning collected and his meals cooked.

The subject of sex was not mentioned, although I was tempted to point out that it was usually he who suffered the headaches after a long difficult day at the office. By the time he had outlined my leaving package, I felt like a redundant executive who, whilst applauded for past efforts, should really throw himself on his sword for the good of the company.

It all came as rather a surprise to me, which made me feel exceedingly stupid. How could I have missed the signs? Basically, there were none. He had been getting his cake and eating it too. Life at home had been no different including our Saturday night lovemaking. He’d been as ardent as ever. How could I have been married to someone for twenty-five years and not known him at all. Apparently, he had been seeing this girl for over a year. I suppose, in hindsight, that it could have gone on for years, except that she had got pregnant. Completely by accident, of course.

Would I be cynical in suggesting that it was all part of the grand design, and a determination to get her man won the day? She should have been a Mountie. She wanted the house, of course. It was beautiful and I had spent the fifteen years since we’d moved in, making it the house of my dreams. It became a nightmare instead. I had no independent means of support. Peter agreed to pay me a one-off sum to enable me to buy a home and still have an adequate income.

The children had left home, and were now independent, so it left just me. He said that if I were difficult that he would simply sell the house and give me half the proceeds, so I would lose it anyway. In the end, for a quiet life, I agreed. It broke my heart, but I did manage to negotiate for most of the furniture and household appliances, as the Fast Tracker had decided that she wanted all new accessories for her recently acquired home. She didn’t mind a used husband but she was not into second hand furniture.

I managed to find a very pleasant little house, backing onto Epping Forest, in a suburb of Northwest London. The central line station was only a few minutes walk away and I was half an hour from my old neighbourhood and friends.

For the first six months though, I filled my days with decorating and transforming my new home into a haven. I had no wish to see anyone from the past as it reminded me so much of what I’d lost, but gradually, I began to pick up the pieces and face life as a middle-aged single woman.

The children were angry, confused, bitter and then resentful in turn. Much of their negative feelings were directed at me. Why had I driven him away? What had I done to upset him? It must be my fault that he turned to another woman. After a few months of recriminations, I snapped and told them that they could think what they liked. This surprised them as I had followed a very conciliatory line of parenting with them. Always reasoning problems out and hopefully dealing with them fairly when they went through the inevitable stages of teens and early adulthood.

They were as shocked as I was, and after a few months of spending time with both their father and Stephanie (the Fast Tracker), and myself in my new home, I believe that they began to appreciate that there had been an external, unstoppable force at work that had simply cast aside the complacency that accompanies all those years together. This was combined with the fact that when they did visit their father he was usually busy changing nappies and feeding their new half-brother called Adam.

I must say that, not having received any help in that department during our own children’s infancy, I was very surprised to hear of his current involvement. Stephanie obviously possessed far stronger powers of persuasion than I did, and in more departments than I had thought. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall during the first nappy sessions; I sincerely hope that he did not come out of the experience unstained.

Thankfully, my children are sensible, bright individuals and have their own lives to lead. They rang me and visited me in my new home frequently, and I was thankful that our love survived. Peter tended to throw money at them, in an effort to overcome the guilt he felt, and being practical they took it, but with a knowing smile.

After six months of decorating and curtain making and now being well ensconced in my bright little haven, I started to get bored. With only myself to look after, there were long hours to fill. This is where the comfort eating comes in!

I had satellite television installed and sat in front of the movie channels for several, unhealthy hours a day. I worked my way through multi-packs of chocolate bars and the large tubs of rich ice cream that tasted sinful. As this was the nearest I was ever likely to get to sin again in my life I decided to take it to extremes, with devastating effects on my body and morale. The forest beckoned, offering long walks through its leafy paths but it was ignored. My hips spread and gravity began to pull my body down along with my spirits. Eventually when the last of my skirts failed to fasten, and not wanting to spend my limited capital on completely replenishing my wardrobe, I decided that action was required. I would get a job.

I had avoided the thought like the plague. The main reason that I had not worked for the past twenty-five years was because Peter felt that I should be at home with the children. A pity he had not been quite so conservative when it came to infidelity.

I had no idea where to start, so I rang my eldest daughter, Elizabeth, who was a legal secretary in the centre of London. She suggested that I go to the local temp agency and see if I could find something that did not require modern technology, just plain old-fashioned common sense – such as filing.

The whole prospect was terrifying, after all this time; I wasn’t even sure if I even had any common sense. It was certainly something Peter always assumed I was lacking. I went back to my daily movies and popcorn and put the whole subject ‘on the long finger’, as my Irish friend Mollie says.

A few weeks later and I was down to the last two items in my wardrobe. I was going to have to find some common sense from somewhere and pretty quick. Thankfully some arrived in the form of the local free newspaper, and instead of throwing it straight in the bin, and not having visited the video shop that afternoon, I sat down and read it from cover to cover.
There, in the appointments section, was a small advertisement:

Specialising in the mature applicant.
Call for an appointment today.
Free consultation and no fees.

I called the number listed and got a very nice woman who told me to put a C.V. together, and to come in on Thursday for an appointment with Mr. Jenkins himself.

The next day, I let out the waistband of my last remaining decent skirt, unearthed a jacket that only just met across my middle, and forced myself into a body shaping girdle – their words, not mine! Unfortunately, the body shape it achieved was not quite what was on the packet, it pushed most of the problem areas upward into the bra cups, and I had difficulty breathing.

However, it was the first time in my life that I actually had a cleavage. At least I could button my blouse without leaving gaps, and popping the buttons. With any luck, Mr. Jenkins would be so entranced with my new womanly shape that he would not notice the rest of the outfit.

Wednesday evening was spent writing out my record of previous work. I had never sat down and really thought about all the jobs that I had undertaken before the children came along, and I was honestly surprised to see how many different positions I had held. I included the weekend and holiday jobs that I had when at school, and college, because they were all experience. Right?

My parents had insisted that I go to secretarial college, so that I would always have something to fall back on. I obtained my typing and shorthand qualifications at the end of the year – although in those days we only had manual typewriters, so our speeds were not great.
After college, I really was not sure what I wanted to do. I had applied for a number of positions in offices, and remembering those early interviews made me smile for the first time in ages. I seemed to have had a new job every nine months or so. It might not look too good to a prospective employer, but I reasoned that the temp agency would want to know everything I had ever done, so that they could accurately assess where to place me. So, I wrote down everything, even the jobs I had been fired from. With any luck, if they did take up references, there would not be anyone there who remembered me.

Thursday morning arrived. I dressed, applied my make-up and practiced smiling in front of the mirror. I looked like a cornered rabbit, with a nervous tick, rather than the sophisticated mature woman looking to return to useful employment. I just hoped that Mr. Jenkins would see the raw potential underneath.

©Sally Georgina Cronin Just an Odd Job Girl

Tomorrow the appointment at the Temp agency and the Curriculum Vitae…

One of the reviews for the book

Feb 24, 2019 Colleen M. Chesebro rated it it was amazing

When fifty-year-old Imogen Smythe (Baxter) is replaced by another woman (a fast-tracker), the reality of her divorce to Peter sends her life into a tailspin. For the last twenty years or so, this middle-aged woman has dedicated her life to raising her family.

After the divorce, Imogen’s left with too much time on her hands. After all, how many cartons of ice cream can one woman wallow in? Don’t answer that question!

An industrious sort, the divorcee decides to get a job, even though her resume shows she hasn’t worked in years. She visits a temp agency and proceeds to fill out her resume which sends the reader on a hilarious romp into Imogene’s past employment history. I’m a night reader and a few times I laughed so hard I woke up my husband!

At the office, Andrew, a placement agent, is charmed by Imogene’s pleasant personality as she details the jobs, locations, her bosses, and many of the customers she took care of. This journey into her past causes her self-worth to skyrocket and her confidence blooms. Not only does Imogene find herself, but she also finds true happiness.

I thoroughly enjoyed this read. The author is a consummate storyteller and her writing skills are evident. The premise was brilliant and from start, to finish, the story is told with enough pathos and humor to make Imogen a role model for all middle-aged women who find themselves starting over from scratch.

I did receive this story as a gift. I enjoyed it so much, I wanted to share my thoughts.

Character Believability: 5  Flow and Pace: 5 Reader Engagement: 5  Reader Enrichment: 5 Reader Enjoyment: 5 Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 Fairies

If you would like to browse my other books.. you can find their reviews https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2019/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

More reviews can be found on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin

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

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives -#PotLuck #BookReview – Educated by Tara Westover Reviewed by Chuck Jackson

Welcome to the series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

This is the final post for author Chuck Jackson and I have selected a book review that he wrote for Educated, a memoir by Tara Westover

Educated by Tara Westover Reviewed by Chuck Jackson

“If [J. D.] Vance’s memoir offered street-heroin-grade drama, [Tara] Westover’s is carfentanil, the stuff that tranquilizes elephants. The extremity of Westover’s upbringing emerges gradually through her telling, which only makes the telling more alluring and harrowing. . . . By the end, Westover has somehow managed not only to capture her unsurpassable exceptional upbringing, but to make her current situation seem not so exceptional at all, and resonant for many others.”The New York Times Book Review

When a book makes the New York Times Best Seller, I take notice. I don’t have the opportunity to read all best sellers, but they are on my ‘to be read list.’ If you are an author or blogger, you know reading is one of the best ways to enhance your writing. Experts tell us to read books within our genre. I’ve read and reviewed several memoirs and Educated ranks high on my list.

All three of my books are memoirs, yet I list one of them as fiction based on real-life events. My memoir What Did I Do?, is the account of the abuse I received as a child. There were so many times while reading Educated, I could relate to Tara Westover’s emotional state because of similar abuse. Her feeling of helplessness and confusion as to the reality of the world around her was familiar feelings for me.

I was shocked that in the ’90s children in America could be raised in a societary vacuum. How did children not have some birth records? How did a family go unchallenged for keeping their children from schools? How did their family and neighbors allow the abuse without intervention?

Unfortunately, child abuse proliferates today as it did when I was a child. My family, neighbors, and teachers turned their heads to my abuse and refused to intervene. It is not difficult for me to understand Tara Westover’s narcissistic father and how he controlled his family. I found it difficult to comprehend how someone known in their community could be as anti-establishment and radically religious as the Westover family and not bring intervention from the authorities. How did Tara’s brothers sustain the severity of injury without medical treatment and not have law enforcement investigate?

I remember my struggles of guilt when I left home. I remember the confusion of what was reality and how my parents explained it was their duty to teach me right from wrong. They called it ‘tough love,’ and it was to prepare me for adulthood.

Tara Westover in Educated felt sinful when she turned against the teachings of her father. She felt her faith challenged if she sought medical attention. She felt insecure and unworthy of success when she began her separation from the family and initiated her education. I wanted to scream at her when individuals offered assistance, and she felt it was wrong to accept it.

The story in itself was captivating, but the writing style and expertise of Ms. Westover was an enlightenment for me. Her ability to draw the reader into the emotional reality of her world kept me turning pages. I kept recognizing the proficiency of using the senses ‘to show and not tell’ with her writing. However, she does have a doctorate from Cambridge.

When I read a book that touches the reality of my life, it becomes memorable. Tara’s challenge to overcome the low self-esteem and self-conscientiousness was a familiar feeling. Her determination to survive and break free from the oppressive family was exhilarating.

If you read books for entertainment, then Educated won’t be an enjoyable read. However, if true human interest stories with emotional highs and lows enthrall you, don’t miss reading this book. It has to be a top shelf memoir of our times.

© Chuck Jackson 2018

About Chuck Jackson

Chuck Jackson is a retired accountant living in South East Florida. He graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a BBA in Accounting. He spent the last 25 years of his career working as the Budget Manager for a Special District in Palm Beach County. He was a member of Government Finance Officer’s Association (GFOA) and Florida’s GFOA.

Since his retirement, Chuck has spent his years studying and enhancing his love for writing. In June 2016, he released his first book: One Month, 20 Days, and a Wake-Up. In July 2017 he released: What Did I Do?. May 2018 he released: Guilt — My Companion. All three books are available as an e-book or paperback.

Books by Chuck Jackson

One of the reviews for Guilt- My Companion

I happen to know Chuck Jackson, and I consider him a fine man and a wonderful friend. How he has turned out so well with the traumas and betrayals he has endured is a miracle. How he could even write this book is amazing. It is a page turner and reminds me of the book, UNBROKEN, by Laura Hillenbrand. It is difficult to imagine that a boy, growing into manhood could even survive what Chuck endured. Given the times we live in with abuse and harassment so pervasive, Guilt–My Companion, is a book of encouragement for those who are going through terrible times with a dysfunctional family, workplace abuse or especially for those who have been told they were worthless and won’t ever amount to anything. It is an account of suffering, struggle, hopelessness that turns out to be a story of a tough life with a beautiful outcome. Inspirational!

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Chuck-Jackson/e/B01IX2PBEG

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chuck-Jackson/e/B01IX2PBEG

Read more reviews and follow Chuck on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18190755.Chuck_Jackson

Connect to Chuck Jackson

Website Blog: http://www.chuckjacksonknowme.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/chuck_cljjlk
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/cljjlk/?ref=bookmarks
Flipboard –  https://flipboard.com/@ChuckJackso2017

My thanks to Chuck for inviting me to share some posts from his archives. I hope you will head over and explore more yourself.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck – Sunshine Blogger Award – An Opportunity to get to know Cathy Cade a little more.

This is the final post from retired librarian and author Cathy Cade, who has been blogging since early 2018. She shares posts on a variety of topics, including some excellent grammar and self-publishing tutorials. I thought that now you have been introduced to Cathy we might find out more about her in this post, where she was awarded the Sunshine Blogger Award.

I was surprised and delighted to be nominated for a Sunshine Blogger Award. Many thanks to Lily Pierce of  Retrospective Lily , which was one of the first blogs I discovered on my blogging journey. I never fail to be inspired by her positive attitude. The blogging tips are helpful too for us beginners.

The Sunshine Blogger Award is peer recognition for bloggers who inspire with positive, creative and motivational content.

Each nominee answers the interview-type questions set by their nominator and passes on the compliment to eleven of their favourite bloggers, setting eleven new questions for them to answer.
Sunshine Blogger Award

My answers to Lily’s questions…

1. Why did you start blogging?

Writing gurus recommend that wannabe writers build up a web presence before publishing anything. I prevaricated, having nothing to publish as yet. The catalyst for me was joining a local writing group, where I found myself line-editing for our first self-published anthology (plug alert: Where the Wild Winds Blow by the Whittlesey Wordsmiths).

Since I’d forgotten most of what I learned (it’s an age thing…) from a proofreading course I took in early retirement, my editing required research, which I shared with the group as blog posts.

To my surprise, I enjoyed writing these, and interacting with other bloggers.

2. What is your favorite blog post you’ve written and why?

That’s a difficult one. I’m enjoying the current Novice Self-publishing posts, partly because it’s helping me organise my thoughts before I get to grips with the next writing group anthology (A Following Wind, in case you’re interested). I’m also helping a member of the group to prepare a manuscript for publication, and this seems a good way to reprise what we’ve covered.

The post that affected me most was Leaving Us. I wrote it after our youngest dog died suddenly. There’s nothing in it to enlighten or entertain the reader, but writing it was cathartic. I later changed the whole thing into present tense (it was written in narrative), which was something of an experiment for me. I was never a fan of present tense in fiction, but it seemed to fit this post. I’m now more likely to consider this as an option when writing, so the post turned out to be instructive as well as therapeutic – if only to me.

3. How long do you edit or agonize over a post before you press “publish”?

I’m getting better about this, but however many times I re-read it, I’ll find more to change in the Preview screen, and maybe again after I’ve published. The worst case was when I published my post on apostrophes and found a grocer’s apostrophe in the emailed post – which had gone out to my followers.

Since then I put a break in my posts – when I remember – so the emails only contain the first paragraph or so .

4. Writers’ personalities are often different than their writing portrays. How would you describe your personality?


I hope that, as my confidence improves, I’m coming across as more like me, but I’m not sure I know who “me” is.

5. What is your favorite social media platform and why ?

I only use Facebook. It’s less foreign to me as I’ve used it to keep in touch with my family. Messenger is an instant way to communicate without phoning at inconvenient times, and it seems to get their attention quicker than text messages.

I finally got around to putting up a Facebook Page recently, but I keep posting on my normal account by mistake. Since my Followers are currently people I know anyway this is not yet a problem (note to self: must interact with more writers).

I did sign up to Twitter but life’s too short. Why spend all that effort thinking up bon mots for something that will disappear later today (and nobody will see anyway unless I build up an audience).

I signed up to Instagram and Pinterest but I rarely go there. WordPress takes as much time as I can spare. When would I find time to write?

6. If you are willing to share your social media links/handles, what are they?

https://fb.me/cathycade.wordsmith. That’s it really.

I also post on Commaful at https://commaful.com/play/cathycade/. I enjoy playing with the pictures.

7. What tools do you use to “beef up” your blog?

All suggestions gratefully received.

I use free pics from Pexels, Pixabay, Unsplash and still have some credit left on Shutterstock from when I self-published The Year Before Christmas last year. (Free pics aren’t high enough resolution for a print publication). I downloaded Gimp around then (a free open source image editor). One day I will read the manual and learn how to use it properly for more than resizing.

I’m just getting into Canva, and there’s one video that I made on Flexclip, which was fun. I may try more of those.

8. What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned from blogging?

To stop prevaricating and get on with it. The world doesn’t end when I get it wrong. It’s been heartening to find how supportive the blogosphere is in general.

9. What advice would you give to a prospective/new blogger?

Visit other blogs and add your comments (it took me too long to start doing this). It builds your confidence and supports your fellow-blogger..

The blogging gurus will tell you to post frequently, but I have unsubscribed from several blogs because I got fed up with finding their posts in my inbox several times a day. If you are posting often, make sure it’s something people want to read.

Have patience. Building readership can be a slow process but, hey… who’s counting?.

10. Have you ever been nominated for and/or won other blogging awards?

No – this has been a lovely surprise. It’s validation that someone’s reading my ramblings. It doesn’t feel as if I’ve been blogging for long. (When I look at my list of posts there seem more than I remember writing.)

11. Are you satisfied with your blog’s progress?

Is anyone ever satisfied? I’m not in a hurry though; I’m not selling anything (yet). It’s all a learning curve.

And there is still a life to be lived offline, when I can find the time.

©Cathy Cade

Cathy published a book late last year and it would make a great gift for the younger members of the family – never too early to buy books for Christmas (there.. I have mentioned the C word!).

About The Year Before Christmas

Emmie the Elf, works hard, running errands and sweeping out reindeer stalls, but Santa’s newest helper still finds herself grounded on Christmas Eve. Can Emmie prove she’s capable of higher things in time for next Christmas

A review for the book

A lovely story, well written and illustrated.
An ideal read book to read with young children.

Available in print: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Year-Before-Christmas-Cathy-Cade/dp/1916481728

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Year-Before-Christmas-Cathy-Cade/dp/1916481728

About Cathy Cade

After a career in libraries, I began writing in retirement and have had stories published by Scribble and Flash Fiction Magazine, and in the anthologies To Hull and Back Short Stories 2018 and Where the Wild Winds Blow from the Whittlesey Wordsmiths. My verse The Year Before Christmas, recounting the story of Emmie the elf, is available from Amazon and Smashwords.

I hope to publish a collection of my short stories later in 2019. Watch this space.

I live in the Cambridgeshire Fens most of the time, surrounded by flat but ever-changing fields. At other times I live across a garden fence from London’s historic Epping Forest.
please share

Connect to Cathy

Website: https://cathy-cade.com
Facebook: https://fb.me/cathycade.wordsmith.

Thanks to Cathy for permitting me to share posts from her archives and I hope you will head over there to discover more for yourselves.. thanks Sally.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – Celebrity Corgi Romance Series – Charming the Chef: Sweet Promises – C.A. Phipps

Delighted to welcome USA Today bestselling romance author C.A. Phipps to the Cafe and Bookstore with the fourth book in her Celebrity Corgi Romance Series – Charming the Chef: Sweet Promises, released on August 2nd 2019.

About the book

Culinary student Lyra St. Claire can’t believe her luck when she becomes the face of America’s hottest new cooking show and an overnight sensation. For now, she’s loving the lime light and with her faithful corgi, Cinnamon, by her side she knows she’s on the cusp of achieving everything she’s ever dreamed of.

Kaden Hunter trained side-by-side with Lyra. While they once had a rock-solid friendship, he found himself left behind when she became a household name. Now, rising from the ashes of their one-time friendship, he’s determined to make it big—no golden ticket required.

When Lyra’s newest contract forces her to face her former friend turned rival, she can see all of her dreams burning up right before her. Can she and Kaden move past the bitter taste of their ruined friendship? And could the heat in the kitchen lead to something even more?

Each Celebrity Corgi Romance stands alone, but they’re definitely more fun if you read the whole series together. Get your copy of Charming the Chef and book your romantic escape today!

One of the early reviews for the book

Charming the Chef is another wonderful book in the Celebrity Corgi series. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the characters. Lyra St. Claire is a celebrity chef who has her own television show, A Lesson with Lyra and she has her own restaurant, La Joliesse in LA. She also has a cute corgi named Cinnamon.

Sexy Kaden Hunter studied with Lyra for three years when they were in culinary school together and dreaming about their future restaurants. They have not really talked since Lyra left Portland for LA until she ends up stopping in to eat at his restaurant in Portland before she returns to LA.

This book was so full of interesting characters, a cute corgi and a mystery to solve too. I also liked that one of the characters from the first book in the series had a small part in this story too. Great suspense to keep you reading although I do wonder what happened after the story ended. I received an advance copy of this book and I willingly chose to write an honest review. 

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07VBGKSQH

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07VBGKSQH

Charming the Chef by C.A. Phipps is one of a four book box set published by Celebrity Corgi Romances an the set can be found here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07W4CWZB2

A selection of other booksby C.A. Phipps

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/C-A-Phipps/e/B07D96GWWZ/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/C-A-Phipps/e/B07D96GWWZ

Read more reviews and follow C.A. Phipps on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18056267.C_A_Phipps

About C.A. Phipps

C. A. Phipps is a USA Today best-selling romance author from beautiful Auckland, New Zealand.

Cheryl loves a good mystery filled with feisty heroines and wonderful small towns with heart-warming tales of strong family ties mixed in with a little romance and humor.

She lives in a quiet suburb of New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, with her wonderful husband, whom she married the moment she left school (yes, they were high school sweethearts).
A lover of animals, with a few children, and even more grandchildren, who keep her young, she loves family times, dining out, and travel, in that order.

Connect to C.A. Phipps

Website: http://caphipps.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorcaphipps
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CherylAPhipps

Thank you for dropping in today and it would be great if your could spread the word of the release of Charming the Chef: Sweet Promises. Thanks Sally.


Friday Finds #writetips #humor #qotd

Another abundance of interesting and entertaining links written or sourced by Staci Troilo.. a great collection.

Staci Troilo

Ciao, amici! How was your week? Mine was a little bumpy, but that seems to be the case for many of my friends. Like my grandma would say, there must be something in the water.

I hope your week was better than mine. My days alternated between scrambling in a hurry and waiting impatiently. I don’t like to do either.

My company gave me my tentative calendar for next year. The good news is they believe in me and think next year will be my break out year. The bad news is they believe in me and have me all over the schedule. Roughly one publication every three weeks. Before your jaw drops (as mine did when I saw the calendar), you have to realize I already have some of these written and they’re just waiting on an edit, a cover, and a formatted layout for the different versions.


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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Jeanine Lunsford, Marcia Meara, Judy Penz Sheluk

Welcome to the second of the update posts this week for authors in the Cafe and Bookstore.

The first author is Jeanine Lunsford for her book Remembering First Love (The Rivera Sisters Series Book One)

About the book

20-year-old Carina Rivera is a prodigal daughter on her way back to her childhood relationship with God when she falls into the seductive trap set for her by her handsome supervisor, Aaron Mendoza.

“Remembering First Love” the first in the Rivera Sisters Series, takes the reader into Carina Rivera’s struggle to clean up the reputation she has acquired during her teen years as the “Bad Rivera sister”. Carina’s hopes of turning a new leaf are shattered when her mother loses her job and Carina becomes the sole breadwinner for her family.

When Carina is introduced to Aaron Mendoza, her handsome supervisor at the garment factory, she is captivated by his amazing looks and dreams of finding a meaningful relationship with him. But Aaron has a different kind of plan for Carina–a plan to lure her into his web of seduction.

Will Aaron’s allure continue to hold Carina captive or will God’s Hand of Providence and the prayers of her family help her escape from the dark shadows of Aaron’s world?

One of the recent reviews for Remembering First Love August 5th 2019

Remembering First Love is a charming faith based romance novel. Carina Rivera is 20 year-old single Cuban woman of faith living in southern Florida. She could be described as wayward, but contrite. On the day of her beloved older sister’s wedding Carina vows to return to God and correct her path. Due to some poor decisions within her control and some unfortunate incidents out of her control, Carina struggles with feeling of self-worth. Will she be able to repair her besmirched reputation? Will a handsome man’s inappropriate intentions sway Carina or will the pull of God’s love be enough to rescue her?

Jeanine Lunsford has written a truly inspiring novel. Carina is relatable in her imperfection. She falls for her supervisor and quickly finds herself in a compromised situation. It doesn’t take long for Carina to discover Aaron’s violent tendencies or his penchant for young attractive women. The story deals with her feelings of guilt balanced with mercy from above. The book also considers the long lasting consequences of child abuse. Although the dialogue feels forced at times, the transformation Carina makes is motivating. Christian readers will relate to the struggles of a modern day woman trying to retain chastity until marriage. Remembering First Love is a steamy novel that pushes the envelope. The drama will leave you breathless and aching for more!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Remembering-First-Love-Rivera-Sisters-ebook/dp/B07KRMNQD9

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Remembering-First-Love-Rivera-Sisters-ebook/dp/B07KRMNQD9

Also by Jeanine Lunsford

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jeanine-Lunsford/e/B07KV4S1QH

And on Amazon UK:https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jeanine-Lunsford/e/B07KV4S1QH

And read more reviews and follow Jeanine on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18646293.Jeanine_Lunsford

Connect to Jeanine via her website: https://www.jeaninelunsford.com

The next author with a new review is Marcia Meara for The Emissary – A Riverbend Spinoff Novella which follows the story of a previous character in the series.

About The Emissary

Was Gabe Angelino, the mysterious truck driver in Finding Hunter: Riverbend Book 2, really an angel, as Willow Green believes? Or was he simply a good man, determined to help a stranger in need? Find out, as author Marcia Meara reveals the truth in the first Riverbend spinoff novella, The Emissary.

An angel’s work is never done—that’s part of the gig. But angels hadn’t been created to deal with such a vastly over-populated planet, rife with misery, suffering, and general chaos. Helping souls in peril has become a nearly impossible job, and even angelic tempers are frayed.

The archangel Azrael has had enough. He believes he’s found a way to ease their burden while saving jeopardized humans, too—hired help.

When Jake Daughtry lost his life rescuing a total stranger from certain death, he was on the fast track to Heaven. But that was before Azrael pulled him right out of line at the Pearly Gates. Now, as an Emissary to the Angels, Jake is taking to the highway in a quest to help souls in trouble. But the innate stubbornness of human beings bent on self-destruction is a challenge unlike any he’s ever faced.

It’s up to Jake and Azrael to bridge the gap between humans and angels. Will they ever convince the Council of Angels this endeavor is worthwhile? Can Jake figure out how to play by Azrael’s complicated rules? Will Azrael ever master the use of contractions in general conversation?

To find out the answers, hop on board Jake’s big red-and-white semi and travel the roads from the Florida Keys to north Georgia on an adventure that will make you laugh hard and cry even harder.

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Jun 24, 2019 Darlene Foster rated it five stars

A delightful little book. The writing is clear and to the point with excellent dialogue that pulls you into the story. The characters are real and you care about them. I love the idea of a sort of angel, or angel’s helper, who drives a semi. Very clever. There is enough action to keep the story moving along. I’m pleased there are more books in the series.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Emissary-Riverbend-Spinoff-Novella-ebook/dp/B075Y2T3CL

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Emissary-Riverbend-Spinoff-Novella-ebook/dp/B075Y2T3CL/

A selection of books by Marcia Meara

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Marcia-Meara/e/B00EUCXRU4

And Amazon UK : https://www.amazon.co.uk/Marcia-Meara/e/B00EUCXRU4

Read more reviews and follow Marcia Meara on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7242441.Marcia_Meara

Connect to Marcia via her website: http://marciamearawrites.com/

The final author with a recent review is Judy Penz Sheluk for Past and Present

About the book

Sometimes the past reaches out to the present…

It’s been thirteen months since Calamity (Callie) Barnstable inherited a house in Marketville under the condition that she search for the person who murdered her mother thirty years earlier. She solves the mystery, but what next? Unemployment? Another nine-to-five job in Toronto?

Callie decides to set down roots in Marketville, take the skills and knowledge she acquired over the past year, and start her own business: Past & Present Investigations.
It’s not long before Callie and her new business partner, best friend Chantelle Marchand, get their first client: a woman who wants to find out everything she can about her grandmother, Anneliese Prei, and how she came to a “bad end” in 1956. It sounds like a perfect first assignment. Except for one thing: Anneliese’s past winds its way into Callie’s present, and not in a manner anyone—least of all Callie—could have predicted.

One of the recent reviews for the book.

As it happens, I read book one (audio!), but long enough ago I was gratified to find that any references to the past were adequate to the instant plot, making each a standalone. In this tale, our intrepid heroine Calamity sells her house and buys another, and then starts a new business. Sudden deja vu to Judy Garland’s “I have a barn; let’s put on a show!” as various characters are swept in to lend their talents to a new investigative service. But then the first case comes along and serious hard work and research are highlighted with flashes of psi concepts and tarot reading which seem to guide the discoveries. The characters are largely likable with hiss-worthy villains to keep it balanced and I enjoyed the journey and look forward to the next case (hinted at but not a cliffhanger).

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Past-Present-Judy-Penz-Sheluk-ebook-dp-B07FYZ6HPF/dp/B07FYZ6HPF

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Past-Present-Judy-Penz-Sheluk-ebook/dp/B07FYZ6HPF

A selection of other books by Judy Penz Sheluk

Read the reviews and buy all the books: http://www.amazon.com/Judy-Penz-Sheluk/e/B00O74NX04

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Judy-Penz-Sheluk/e/B00O74NX04/

Read more reviews and follow Judy on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8602696.Judy_Penz_Sheluk

Connect to Judy via her blog: http://www.judypenzsheluk.com/

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with a few books under your arms… Sally.