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 Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – #Shortstories – A String of Stories: From the Heart to the Future by Ann Chiappetta

Delighted to share the news of the latest short story collection from Ann Chiappetta – A String of Stories: From the Heart to the Future by Ann Chiappetta

About the collection

A demon deer and a ghost cat. Sibling rivalry and sexual awakening. Self-image and self-confidence. The chance for an offworlder to breathe free at last on a new planet. Those are just some of the diverse themes of these remarkable stories. Some endings are happy, some are sad, and some are intriguingly open-ended. But once you step inside the author’s world, you cannot emerge unmoved.

From the Introduction

This collection, my most diverse to date, includes general fiction, science fiction, suspense, and paranormal pieces. Some, like “Lafayette 10,” are crossovers. Others, like “Bad Medicine,” stay true to the genre for which they were originally written. There is a romantic theme to some, and all are character driven. The three paranormal shorts are based on personal experiences.

I’d like to think there are stories here that will appeal to many different types of readers, and that there’s at least one story for each reader. Short stories challenge the writer as much as, if not more than, a full–length book. There is no room for the unnecessary or superfluous, and this is probably why I love the form.

I hope this collection appeals to you. Thanks for reading

Head over to buy the collection: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Also by Ann Chiappetta

One of the reviews for Follow Your Dog

Kathleen L. Smith 5.0 out of 5 stars Well Done-Way to go girl!  Reviewed in the United States

A long time ago I decided to learn sign language, so I could better serve the public on my job.

Surprisingly, I discovered that deaf people were more comfortable with people around them that were also deaf, their friends, their children, etc.

Reading Ann’s story I realized the same is true of blindness to an extent. And for myself, now a sufferer of chronic pain, I feel a kinship to other chronic pain sufferers. Not only do we not have to explain, we find a kinship in our disability. A comfort, of you will.

Thank you for writing such a tender book, that not only celebrates your journey, but also your strengths. Allowing us a peak into your world. Well done-way to go!

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And : Amazon UK

About Ann Chiappetta

Ann is an artist and often refers to her love of words as a natural compensation after losing her vision in 1993. Once a designer of acrylic displays and furniture, Ann trained her creative senses to flow over from the visual to the literary arts. Years later, she has become a poet and author, honing her talent in various mediums, including web content for nonprofits, regular bylines for online literary publications, poetry, anthologies and guest editing in online literary journals, just to name a few projects of which she
has contributed.

Ann possesses a master of science in Marriage and family therapy from Iona College and an undergraduate degree from the College of New Rochelle, both located in Westchester County, New York. She is currently employed as a readjustment and trauma counselor for combat veterans and their families. A guide dog handler and advocate, Ann volunteers her time representing people with visual impairments and guide dog users on various National, State and local boards of directors. A consultant and guest presenter, Ann visits schools promoting awareness and equality for people with disabilities. She is the 2015 recipient of the WDOM Spirit of Independence award.

Ann is available for speaking engagements and is knowledgeable on the following topics: *writing and creativity * independent publishing * recovering and adjusting to vision loss for individuals/families * sheltering people with visual impairments
*sheltering pets and service dogs * pet assisted therapy * training and working with a guide or service dog * PTSD and combat stress related to veterans and families

Thanks to her retired guide dog, Verona, Ann also visits libraries and assisted living centers offering pet assisted therapy.

Connect to Ann

Website: Ann Chiappetta
Blog: Thought Wheel
Facebook: Verona Chiappetta
Twitter: @anniedungarees

Thank you for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share the news about Ann’s new collection of stories.. thanks Sally.

CarolCooks2…weekly roundup 26th July -1st August 2020…Climate Change, Recipes, Health, Whimsy, and Pretzel Bread…


This gallery contains 5 photos.

Originally posted on Retired? No one told me!:
Welcome to this week’s edition of my weekly roundup of posts…I hope you are all staying safe and well…and social distancing…I know many of you are on further lockdowns once again as…

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update -#Reviews – #Anthology M.J. Mallon, #Fantasy D. Wallace Peach, #Memoir #Teaching Pete Springer

Welcome to the first of the Cafe updates this week with recent reviews for books on the shelves.

The first review is for the recently released collaborative anthology with contributions from around the world, compiled by Marjorie Mallon, which also included her three month diary of life under lock down and some of her creative flash fiction and poetry.  I can recommend This is Lockdown which I reviewed a couple of weeks ago.

About the collection

An anthology and compilation of diaries, short stories, flash fiction, contributions from the ‘isolation writers,’ plus poetry written during the time of lockdown in the UK. This Is Lockdown is written from a writer’s perspective highlighting the simple pleasures of day-to-day life during such an uncertain and frightening time. It also gives a glimpse of the blogging, writing world. The book showcases several authors and their thoughts on what it is like to experience ‘isolation’ as a writer. I also discuss the handling of the pandemic and my thoughts on what might happen next. In the final part of the book I include my latest short story idea: a YA romance and various short pieces of poetry, and flash fiction inspired by the pandemic.

The full list of authors are:

Richard Dee, (Sci Fi , Steampunk, Amateur Detective author,) Catherine Fearns, (Amazon Bestselling Author of Police Procedural/Mysteries and Music Journalist,) Lynn Fraser, (Humorous Dark Comedy,) Jackie Carreira, (Writer, musician, designer and aspiring philosopher,) Willow Willers, (Poet and writer,) Sharon Marchisello, (Murder Mystery, Financial non-fiction,) Fi Phillips , (Copy writer, Author,) Jeannie Wycherley, (dark stories, suspense, horror,) Chantelle Atkins, (urban fiction, teen/YA,)Tracie Barton Barrett, (Speaker/author,) Peter Taylor Gooby, (Crime, Love Stories, Political Fiction,) Ritu Bhathal, (Chick Lit romance, poet,) Alice May , (Author, Artist and Speaker,) Miriam Owen, (Reader, Blogger, Post Doctoral Researcher and Academic,) Drew Neary and Ceri Williams (Ghost Horror, Supernatural,) Katherine Mezzacappa, (Historical Fiction/Romance,) Sally Cronin, (huge supporter of indie community/blogger/author) Debby Gies (D G Kaye), (Memoirist/NonFiction,) Adele Marie Park, (Fantasy, horror, urban fantasy,) Marian Wood, (blogger, poet and writer.) Samantha Murdoch, (Writer, Blogger,) Beaton Mabaso (blogger, African storyteller.).Frank Prem (Poet, Author) Anne Goodwin (Author, Book Blogger) Sherri Matthews (Writer, Photographer, Blogger) Jane Horwood and Melissa Santiago-Val – Community Masks for The NHS .

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Jul 23, 2020 D.G. Kaye rated it Five Stars

MJ Mallon begins this heartening book with a stunning foreword to mark the times that are sure to become part of a testament of our times in history on the 2020 global pandemic Covid19 that has rocked our collective world.

The book is broken down into three parts – Daily diary entries from the author, writer’s testaments, and thoughts in flashfiction/nonfiction stories, and poetry. Each contributing author evoking their experiences and thoughts.

Mallon has covered and documented life in lockdown, tracking events as they happen and the human condition scrutinized for its affects with shared incidents, displaying fears, finances, health concerns, and what a potentially killer disease portends. Her diaries touch on emotion as MJ expresses her own fears and concerns and observations at the days and weeks progress in lockdown.

Common threads I noticed from all writers: Loss of writing muse and creativity, restructuring of family life and function, adjusting to lockdown, and for many – overwhelming online ‘everything’ now, cutting into a writer’s work time and creativity.

This book is for everyone, for we all share the same common Covid fears and adjustments in this very world we all live in. A recommended read for reflection and to reinforce, we are not alone.

Head over to read the reviews and buy the collection : Amazon UK

And : Amazon US

Other books by M.J. Mallon

M.J.Mallon, Buy:   Amazon US – And  Amazon UK Website: M.J. Mallon – Goodreads: Goodreads – Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon

The next author is D. Wallace Peach with a recent review for Soul Swallowers (The Shattered Sea Book 1)

About the book

When swallowed, some souls gift insights, wisdom, a path to understanding. Others unleash power, proficiency with a sword, and indifference to death. One soul assimilates with ease. But swallow a host of the dead and risk a descent into madness.

Estranged from his family over the murder of his wife, young Raze Anvrell wields his fists to vent his rage. Then a chance at a new life beckons, and he retreats to the foothills of the Ravenwood, the haunt of unbound ghosts. He and his mentor build a freehold, a life of physical labor and the satisfaction of realizing a dream. They raise horses and whittle by the fire until the old man dies, and Raze swallows his first soul.

When his brother reaches out, open wounds begin to scar. But the tenuous peace won’t last. While those who rule the Vales yield to the lure of their ambitions, slavers of Ezar roam the countryside, hunting for human chattel. While one man manipulates the law, another heeds the souls of violence howling in his head.

Raze too listens to his soul’s whispers, and as danger intrudes on his quiet life, he has no choice but to return to his father’s world and join the fight.

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Jul 01, 2020 James rated it Five Stars it was amazing

The title of this book and its series drew my interest: Soul Swallowers, the first in D. Wallace Peach’s The Shattered Sea collection. Though I’m not much of a fantasy reader, the story was intriguing. Would someone swallow a soul for a good or bad reason, perhaps both? How does a sea shatter? After checking out the author’s blog and reading some of her own book reviews, this seemed like a great opportunity, so I purchased the book and read it last week. Now I get to share my thoughts with you…

The first few scenes are amazing. I quickly connected with the characters and the potential for this story. Raze was a fantastic protagonist, and I’m a sucker for love. His father, on the other hand, was definitely not a man to admire–but as a character, he was spot on. Stuck between love and loyalty, he had to make a decision, and Raze unfortunately will suffer the consequences. Immediately, the book grabs your attention and confirms you’re about to embark on a wild ride. From there, the story spans several years of Raze’s life, where he swallows souls, meets new friends and family, and learns how to survive in a world he cannot stand. Life is tough for those struggling in these lands, and the epic battle to win the war has only just begun.

Peach writes thrilling descriptions and settings. I could feel many of the backgrounds surrounding me as I read each chapter. Sometimes they felt realistic, others I knew I’d been transported to some fantastical foreign place. Ultimately, the story is about character relationships and the need to protect the future. While there are elements of fantasy and science-fiction, there is a fine balance so that readers have a solid foundation to ground them. I found myself more interested in the bonds Raze develops, the need and desire to free those around him from servitude. There is something strong in the moral tones and ethics of these characters that is highly admirable.

The writing quality is strong, and it is easy to read and stay connected. I’m curious what will happen in the future books. The cover is brilliant, and I love the imagination Peach brings to each and every scene and character. I got a Game of Thrones feel in the beginning… I’ve watched enough of the tv series to get a feel for its style, though I’ve never read the books. I’m keen to learn more about the true nature of a soul, and how it develops once it becomes part of another human being. A good read, glad I sampled from a different genre, and I would recommend it for most fantasy lovers.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A small selection of of other books by D.Wallace Peach

D. Wallace Peach, Buy:  Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Diana: Goodreadsblog: Myths of the Mirror – Twitter: @Dwallacepeach

The final review today is for the memoir of retired teacher Pete Springer. They Call Me Mom

About the book

Who Will You Inspire Today? Teachers face this challenge and responsibility each day, but in the process, the author discovers that his students can also have a profound influence on him. Pete Springer takes you on his memorable thirty-one-year journey in education as an elementary school teacher and offers the many valuable life and teaching lessons he learned along the way. Get ready to laugh out loud at some of the humorous and memorable experiences that all teachers face, feel inspired by the inherent goodness of children, and appreciate the importance of developing a sense of teamwork among the staff.

Learn valuable tips for working with children, parents, fellow staff members, and administrators. This book is ideal for young teachers, but also a reminder to all educators of the importance and responsibility of being a role model. This book is a must-read for all new teachers and those teachers that need a reminder they are human! Mr. Springer educates others in his easy-to-read, story-like, first-hand manuscript. You will laugh, cry, and get motivated to be the best educator you can. After reading this, I have a better outlook on relationships with my colleagues and am reminded to savor every moment. -Tami Beall (Principal, Pine Hill School)

One of the recent reviews for the book

Avid Reader 5.0 out of 5 stars A book I wholeheartedly enjoyed  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 July 2020

Today, more than ever, children need role models and so do adults, parents too. And we need to re-learn basic responsibility and how this is a two way road.

Finding your inner voice and passion is what we all need to discover and Pete Springer paints us a vivid image in this book.

This is an entertaining read based on first hand experiences dripping with humor.

A book I wholeheartedly enjoyed although I already brought up two children.
A must read, wether you are a teacher or a parent. Grandparent too.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

Pete Springer, Buy: Amazon US and:Amazon UK – Website: Pete Springer WordPressTwitter: @OfficerWoof


Thank you for dropping in today and I hope that you have found some books to take away with you..thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Children’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – Drystan the Dragon and Friends: Delbert Finds Himself by Janice Spina

Award winning children’s author Janice Spina has new book to add to the shelves. Drystan the Dragon and Friends: Delbert Finds Himself.

About the book

Drystan the Dragon and Friends is a series of six books about dragons, friendship, being kind and respectful to one another, and helping others in need. Children will learn about colors and letters too with the help of the colorful illustrations and rhyming verse. All the dragons’ names begin with the letter ‘D.’

In this book Drystan meets a few friend, Delbert, who has some difficulty meeting others. He is shy and not at all happy that he can disappear from view and blend in with trees. Read how Drystan helps Delbert realize how important it is to like himself no what color he is – for all colors are beautiful!

One of the early reviews for the book

Michelle Clements James 5.0 out of 5 stars Even if we’re different, we’re still special. Reviewed in the United States on July 25, 2020

Delbert is a brown dragon who can turn blue. He is shy and likes to hide where no one can see him. He is a kind dragon. One day, he was blending in with a brown tree and moved behind a pile of stones and sticks to hide. He didn’t know that Drystan the red dragon was watching him from his cave. When Drystan approached Delbert and asked what he was doing, Delbert said, “I’m trying to hide from you.” When Drystan asked why he was hiding, Delbert replied it was because he was shy. Drystan, being helpful as a good dragon can be, told Delbert to eat blueberries. Delbert turned blue but decided he liked being brown better. He was worried that his family wouldn’t know him. Drystan told him how to turn back to brown. Delbert, being the polite and kind dragon that he was, thanked Drystan. Drystan told Delbert not to be shy because he would always be his friend and that, no matter what color he was, he would always be special.

Drystan the Dragon and Friends Series, Book 3: Delbert Finds Himself is a darling story that teaches young children to be friendly and kind and that no matter how different we look, we are still special. The author weaves all the books in this series into enchanting stories for the youngest book lovers while demonstrating an important lesson. Her books are beautifully illustrated with colorful pictures by her husband, John Spina. This book makes a perfect gift for young children in your life.

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

A small selection of books by Janice Spina

Janice Spina, buy:Amazon US – and :Amazon UK – Follow Janice: Goodreads – blog:Jem’s BooksTwitter: @janice_spina

Janice Spina is an award-winning author with 13 children’s books, Louey the Lazy Elephant, Ricky the Rambunctious Raccoon, Jerry the Crabby Crayfish, Lamby the Lonely Lamb, Jesse the Precocious Polar Bear, Broose the Moose on the Loose, Sebastian Meets Marvin the Monkey, and Colby the Courageous Cat, Jeffrey the Jittery Giraffe, Clarence Henry the Hermit Crab, Lucy the Talented Toy Terrier, The First Star, Drystan the Dragon and Friends Series, Book 1, and six MG/PT/YA books, Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series, Books 1-6, Abby & Holly Series BookS 1-4, copy editor, blogger, book reviewer and supporter of fellow authors.

Hunting Mariah is her first novel to be published under J.E. Spina. She published her second novel, a paranormal/mystery/romance, How Far Is Heaven, June 2016. Book 3 of Davey & Derek Junior Detectives was published in August 2016 and Book 4 of Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series in December on 2016. An Angel Among Us, a short story collection, was published in March 2017 and Jeffrey the Jittery Giraffe, a children’s book, in May 2017. Clarence Henry the Hermit Crab, Mariah’s Revenge, Lucy the Talented Toy Terrier and Abby & Holly School Dance, Books 1 & 2 in a series were published in 2018. Janice published her first fairy tale in 2019, The First Star.

Thank you for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share the news about Janice’s latest book.. thanks Sally.

If you would like to join Janice and the other children’s authors in the Cafe and Bookstore then please check out this link: Smorgasbord Children’s Cafe and Bookstore – FREE Book Marketing

Smorgasbord Coffee Time Haiku – #Lanzarote – Haiku – Mirador de Guinate by Sally Cronin

During the years we lived in Spain we made a point of exploring areas outside of the Madrid region. This included most of the coast from Cadiz in the south up to Barcelona and then along the French border and along the northern coastline to Portugal. We also flew out to Lanzarote for two weeks in 2000 and explored this windswept volcanic island.

One of the spectacular viewpoints in the north of the island is Mirador de Guinate which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and the Chinijo Archipelago. Below the Volcan de la Corona  there is rich and fertile soil created over thousands of years by ash from the eruptions.

Here are a few more photos from that trip.

The atrium of our hotel.

One of the caves open to tourists.

We went out of season in September which was quieter but weather is also more variable.. great place to visit though with plenty to do and see for all the family.

I hope you have enjoyed this brief tour… thanks for joining me… Sally.




Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story – Chapter One – In the Beginning by Sally Cronin

By special request I am sharing Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story as the next book for Sundays and I hope those of you who have not read his adventures will enjoy…

51uI0kWA+ML._UY250_Chapter One – In the Beginning.

I was only three weeks old when I first met my mistress on an unusually warm Irish spring day in May. I was busy drinking milk at the time and barely lifted my head when I heard voices in the back yard where I had lived since I was born.

It was warm and comforting lying next to my two sisters as we snuggled close to my mother’s fur and from time to time a gentle lick would dampen my fluffy coat lovingly.

I was already bigger than my sisters but my mother was determined that we should all be treated with the same care and attention as each other. She was an experienced mother and she knew how to raise strong and healthy babies. This would be her last litter and she lay quietly and contentedly in the straw lined kennel.

Full of milk and very sleepy, I sensed movement in front of our home and lifted my eyes blearily. I could just make out two very large shapes but was not afraid as the smell from one of them was familiar.

Since the day I was born I had been picked up daily and held high in the air whilst a deep voice rumbled into my small ears and a strong but unthreatening scent filled my nostrils. I have no idea what the voice was saying but it sounded kind and I had no fear of it.

I was also used to a smaller body with little hands that pulled at my fur and tickled my tummy. I loved these small hands and the chuckling sounds that the shape made as it played with me and my sisters.

This new being was different and despite my desire to fall asleep after my lunch, I pricked my ears up and turned my face in its direction.

I heard two voices making soft sounds and then felt myself lifted up in the air and held closely against warm and human scented skin that was different from the smells I was used to.

I snuggled in against this scent and fell asleep hearing a soft voice saying a word that seemed to echo in my head. This was the first time that I heard my name and I have been called Sam ever since.

The days passed quickly and my sisters and I became more adventurous with lots of rough and tumble and nipping at heels and tails. We were allowed into the kitchen of the house from time to time and we spent more time with the little person with the sticky hands who chased and cuddled us as many times as we let her. We soon learnt that there were certain behaviours that were not considered acceptable; most of which involved teeth and making puddles on the kitchen floor.

My mother was content to let us roam around the house as she lay in a sunny patch of the yard where she rested away from her noisy and growing brood. We still pestered her for milk from time to time even though we were now eating some small dried pellets as well. They tasted funny and we all still preferred lying side by side close to our mother whenever we could, but I sensed that she was beginning to get impatient with us and would often stand up and move away.

I was getting used to my new name as my mother’s master started using it whenever he came into the yard. One day I heard his deep laughter as his small daughter also called to me. I did not understand at the time but it seems Sam was the first word that she ever said bypassing Dada and Mama in favour of her best friend. Trouble was she called my two sisters Sam too; which must have been very confusing for them when they went to their new homes and were given different ones.

Anyway, back to my new mistress and her husband who had never seen me before. As soon as I heard my name I bounded over to the two of them and was made a wonderful fuss of. My new mistress picked me up and tucked me into her neck which I licked and savoured. I remembered her scent from her first visit but this time my eyes were open and I was able to look into her eyes as she gazed down at me.

“Hello Sam – you’ve grown so big.” She looked over to the man and held me out to him.

“Here you go darling, meet Sam,” she said passing me into his strong hands.

I looked up into a face with kind eyes and warm smile. I felt safe and secure high up off the ground and as they talked to each other, my mistress stroked my head and back gently, reminding me of the loving licks of my mother. I stayed happily being fussed over as the voices rumbled above and around me and almost dropped off to sleep but all too soon I was back on the ground and was soon involved in a rough and tumble game of tag with my sisters.

When I was eight weeks old my sisters and I were placed in a box with mesh over the front and taken away from our mother. As we left the backyard we cried out to her but she seemed to recognise that this was just a temporary separation and settled down into a patch of sunlight by the wall.

We were placed on a seat inside a bigger box that made a very loud noise and had too many smells to identify. I smelt my mother and also the man and child but there were also harsh scents that hurt my nose. My sisters and I huddled close together and shivered at the strangeness of it all, but thankfully within a short space of time the noise stopped and the man got out of his side of the box and came around and opened the door on our side. The movement as he carried us made us feel quite sick and we were pleased when we found ourselves on a floor looking out of the grating at several pairs of feet.

We also smelt dog smells and another smell that stirred up some instinctive sense of mischief. I edged towards the grating and looked through; straight into the eyes of a large furry bundle in a cage opposite me. To my surprise it arched its back and hissed at me through the bars and I shot backwards landing on top of my smallest sister who nipped me on the ear.

After what seemed like ages the man picked us up and we swayed into another room that had sharp pungent smells that tickled our nostrils. I sneezed and heard the man laugh as he opened the mesh door and took me out.

He held me firmly on a cold metallic surface that smelt sharp and acrid. I sneezed again and then felt a new pair of hands grasp me firmly and a strange object was placed against my chest.

A deep voice rumbled in my ears. “Sounds very good Patrick, he is a fine fellow, are you keeping him to show?”

“No, while I was away on a trip to the North a lady came to see him when he was only three weeks old, paid for him there and then and my wife promised she could have him.”

There seemed to be disappointment in the man’s voice but he was an honest man and had never cheated anyone in his life.

“Pity, I think he is going to be a very special dog when he is fully grown. He has a different look about him, almost as though he is listening to everything we are saying.”

I was actually, although I couldn’t understand the words they were using, I was getting a handle on tone and emotion in voices and I sensed more than anything else what was being said.

However, these senses of mine went into overload as I felt something very sharp go into my skin at the back of my neck. Ouch, that hurt and I turned round and nipped the hand holding me firmly across my chest.

“Ouch,” responded my master’s voice and both men laughed as they examined the small puncture wounds in his hand.

“Ye he is going to be a feisty one alright.”

Despite the sore patch at the back of my neck I began to feel a little sleepy from all the excitement and as one by one my sisters were taken out and put on the table, I curled up at the back of the box and only woke when we were placed next to our mother in our kennel.

©sallycronin Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story 2009

About the authors

Sally Cronin waited until she began working for herself, and had the time to commit to the welfare of a dog. before she fulfilled a dream of having another Lassie Collie. From the moment that Sam came home at 8 weeks old they were inseparable, and travelled thousands of miles together and with her husband David, exploring Ireland, Wales, England and Europe. Finally they all ended up in a large house up a mountain to the north of Madrid.

Sam could charm the birds out of the trees and assumed that every human that he met was more interested in him than his humans that were tagging along. He developed a vocabulary and non-verbal clues as to his needs, cheese and sausages being the main ones.

They collaborated on this book, with Sam dictating his recollections and Sally correcting some of his more flamboyant claims pertaining to his adventures.

You can find out more about Sally’s books and their reviews: Sally’s Books and Recent Reviews

I hope you have enjoyed this first chapter and will join us again next Sunday.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – 26th July – August 1st 2020 – Positive news, #Author Spotlight, Music, Short stories, Guest Bloggers, Health, Humour and Book Reviews

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

Another week has flown by, and like many of you, I have avoided reading the headlines and news stories on a daily basis. I am usually an upbeat positive person when it comes to life in general, but even I have to ration my exposure to the constant stream of negativity.

Thankfully our community of writers do share the positive aspects of life, and here are three posts I would like to draw your attention to if you missed.

Each month D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies participates in the #WATWB – We are the World Blogfest spreading positive news about people and events. This month an inspiring woman in the UK has been collecting an item usually scrunched up and thrown away. Her project is Keeping the Homeless a Little Warmer: D.G. Kaye WATWB – We are the World Blogfest – Keeping the Homeless a Little Warmer

Carol Taylor shares amazing recycling projects including this week The bad and the good in the story of plastic.. and on Tuesdays she has been sharing some of the positive outcomes of our recent isolation. In this post you can enjoy the wisdom of a wonderful man called Sadhguru, and a video of abandoned places being reclaimed by nature. Sobering thought and Nature’s resilience

Retired teacher and author, Pete Springer shares the inspiring story of a former pupil of his, Samy Awwad, who at the age of only 16 has already created an incredible reputation as a champion for millions of children around the world whose lives can be saved by vaccinations. A wonderful post that I recommend you head over to read: An Impressive Young Man

Before I share the posts from the week… here is the promotion for the new Author Spotlight beginning in September.. along with my story of a life changing moment in my life that set me on a different path after just one date!  I have already received some amazing stories and I am looking forward to sharing this new series.

A new series for authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I share my Life Changing Moment.

In this new series I am inviting authors in the Cafe to share what they consider to be a defining moment in their lives that resulted in a major positive change.

Here are a few examples, and I am sure you will have plenty to add:

  • Meeting a stranger with surprising consequences
  • Accepting an invitation that took you out of your comfort zone
  • Being fired from a job or resigning without another job lined up that turned out to be an opportunity.
  • Taking a wrong turn on a journey and discovering something about yourself.
  • Being in the wrong place at the right time when an opportunity presented itself.
  • Overcoming a challenging situation such as a failed relationship and finding happiness.
  • Taking part in a charity challenge such as a parachute jump and how it conquered a fear.
  • Accidentally walking through the wrong door and finding an uplifting experience
  • Moving to a new country and feeling immediately at home.

You can choose to stick to the facts or can write a fiction story that has ‘A Life Changing Moment’ as its theme.

If you follow the link beneath the image you can read my story and the post is an example of how your own will look.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Spotlight – Life Changing Moments

As always my thanks to guests and contributors who make blogging such a pleasure and to you for dropping in, commenting and sharing…here are the posts from the week.

Summer Music Festival with hosts William Price King and Sally Cronin – Headliners Madonna, Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman

A tribute I wrote for my mother Mollie (October 5th 1917 – July 28th 2012) and her gardens

#Spain – Tales from The Garden – Mollie (The Duchess) Coleman

#Memoir #Waterford #Ireland #History – The Colour of Life – Whiskey And Its Disciples – 1949 by Geoff Cronin

Some images of my feathered friends at the lake where bass were a popular attraction for local fishermen.

#Spain – Fish hide in branches

Double #Etheree The Wisdom of Trees by Sally Cronin

Two more book reviews from the past.

Book Reviews – #Memoir D.G. Kaye, #Children’s Robbie and Michael Cheadle

July 1985 – Hanna Barbara Land, BBQ and Lilo races

A round up of all the posts and pages in the series.

Project 101 – Resilience – An opportunity to get fighting fit – Round Up

The Medicine Woman’s Treasure Chest – Herbal Medicine – Lavender

#Finance – Investing in the Age of Coronavirus by Sharon Marchisello

– #School Closures – Lost? by Stevie Turner in Having a Rant

#Fear – The predator within by Sue Vincent

Fighting photo phobia by Mary Smith

#Writing – Why to avoid “ing” words in fiction by D. Wallace Peach

A new Cafe and Bookstore for children’s books up to the age of 12 years old.. already 21 authors but plenty of room for more..

Smorgasbord Children’s Cafe and Bookstore – FREE Book Marketing

Fantasy Adele Marie Park, #Fantasy Freya Pickard, #Paranormal Cecilia Kennedy

#Dark Humour Carol La Hines, #History Joyce Hampton, #Fantasy Paul Andruss

The Gilded Beaver by Margaret

#Reviews – #Fantasy Lorinda J. Taylor, #Contemporary M.C.V. Egan, #ScienceFiction A.C. Flory

#Paranormal Roberta Eaton Cheadle, #HistoricalRomance Christine Campbell, #Prose/Poetry Colleen M. Chesebro

#Thriller John L. DeBoer, #Scifi Richard Dee, #History Paul Edmondson

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – July 28th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – July 30th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin

July 31st 2020- Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp

Thank you for your support during the week and look forward to seeing you again soon. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Recent Authors in the Cafe -#Dark Humour Carol La Hines, #History Joyce Hampton, #Fantasy Paul Andruss

There are over 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I wanted to keep it to key pieces of information such as buying links, recent review, website and covers. However, I know that readers also like to know more about the background of authors.

There have been some new editions to the Cafe over the last few weeks and in the last two posts of the series I would like to remind you of their books.

Meet Carol LaHines

I am a life-long New Yorker. I went to New York University and St. John’s School of Law and now live in Tudor City, a charming neighborhood near the United Nations. I was a practicing musician and a lawyer before becoming a published author. While practicing law at a big law firm in New York City, I began writing fiction. I published short stories over a period of years, in journals like Fence, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Denver Quarterly, The Literary Review, Cimarron Review, redivider, Sycamore Review, and others.

Someday Everything All Makes Sense is my first published novel. I was able to mine my knowledge of the law and music theory in telling the story of Luther van der Loon, an eccentric harpsichord who has recently suffered the trauma of losing his mother. Luther is preoccupied with existential questions and questions concerning temperament, the mathematical ratios that govern how we hear music.

Like most of my writing, the novel might be characterized as tragic-comic. I believe, like the great Italo Calvino, that “lightness” — by which I mean to say a sense of playfulness leavening the serious — is a cardinal virtue of writing. (I love Calvino, Joyce, Nabokov, Woolf, Borges, Melville, Chekhov, Gogol, Pynchon, Cormac McCarthy, Sebald…

One of the recent reviews for the book

DJ Stram 5.0 out of 5 stars Great writing and a memorable main character!  Reviewed in the United States on June 4, 2020

Carol LaHines has created a unique and realistic character, and I hope this book becomes a film so I can see Luther van der Loon on screen! Luther is a lovably neurotic medieval music professor whose mother dies eating takeout from their favorite Chinese restaurant when a rubbery won-ton becomes trapped in her throat. There were many surprises, and I found myself suddenly laughing loudly along the way as I turned the pages, wondering what would become of Luther without his dear mother.

Luther is not unlike those of us who have lost loved ones, but he is unlike anyone I know in his obsessive observations as he moves through his grief–very slowly.

If you love quirky characters and humor, this book will not disappoint. In addition to Luther, there are sub-characters who contribute to the dark humor. Piccolo Fabrizzi, a visiting music professor deserves his own book–plenty of rich character and so aptly described by the author.

If you are looking for intelligent writing, highly amusing characters, and ample humor, Someday Everything Will All Makes sense is a great fit!

Carol LaHines, Buy: Amazon US – And:Amazon UK –  follow Carol: Goodreads – Website: Carol LaHines – Twitter: @CLahines

Meet Joyce Hampton

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

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

My newest book is The Story of the Huguenots: A unique Legacy. It is a 500 page book but with a difference as it is a FACTUAL NOVEL in other words it has the factual history of the Huguenots but written in the expected format of a novel in the belief that the reader will find it more engaging and will want to discover more about this amazing group of people. The book is divided into four parts (all within the one book). I also take bookings for talks and lectures on the subject, including, as an example, a slot at the annual Write Idea Festival in London (November 18) which was to a very appreciative audience of over 100 people.

Books by Joyce Hampton

One of the reviews for the previous edition of The Story of the Huguenots: A Unique Legacy

What I had been searching for some time was a concise yet comprehensive history of the origins, sufferings and contributions of these brave and industrious people. The author does not fail to deliver on any of these, and the writing style Joyce Hampton employs makes the entire story so easy to read that even if you knew very little about the subject beforehand, you will gain so much learning and enjoyment from reading this. I particularly enjoyed the way In which the major events, such as the Edict of Nantes, as well as the Revocation, are described and evaluated whilst simultaneously the reader is provided with personal accounts of people’s often horrific experiences of such religious intolerance. You’ll be able to feel what they went through, and of course, many of these lessons still resonate with us today. Sometimes neighbour helped neighbour; sometimes, they didn’t. The story is as up to date as any such story can be – twentieth century events are narrated, and you’ll learn of events that took place even in 2017 too. I do not hesitate to recommend this book to all.

Joyce Hampton, Buy: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Follow Joyce  : Goodreads – Website:Not Just Another Book Twitter: @NJABOfficial

Meet Paul Andruss

Paul Andruss returns to the limelight with a brand new edition of Jack Hughes & Thomas the Rhymer (Book 1). It has been published by Black Wolf Books

Born and reared in Liverpool, the city’s legendary Scouse wit and dogged stoicism left its mark on the young Paul Andruss. After dropping out of sixth-form, because he was keen to get out into the world, Paul took his A-levels at Bootle Tech Night School, while working for the local Tax Office. He applied to study Psychology at Liverpool University on the grounds that anything was better than work. Considering his grades (just plumb lazy) no one was more surprised than he when his application was accepted.

After graduation Paul worked in rugged Cumbria, Manchester and London before moving to Turkey. To finance his passion for exploring the heartland of the Ancient Greek Empire, Paul wrote short travel articles focusing on the history and myths of the ruined cities and temples he visited. He began illustrating the pieces, using Photoshop to remove power lines and the odd Esso sign.

Returning to the U.K. to focus on writing and illustration, he settled in rural South Wales in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons. Paul is the author of the Young Adult, magical realism, Jack Hughes trilogy and the forthcoming (very adult) Finn Mac Cool, a gritty, raunchy mythological saga. He has also written a number of short stories and novellas. All works are scheduled for release with Black Wolf Books, an exciting new, independent Scottish publisher.

One of the reviews for the previous edition

Robbie Cheadle 5.0 out of 5 stars A magical read  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 11 November 2017

Just about the worst thing that can happen to any family is the disappearance of a child. This is exactly what happens in Jack’s family and, worse still, Jack is a witness to his older brother’s sudden and troubling disappearance.

The facts of the disappearance are very peculiar and, subsequent to his disappearance, Jack receives strange telephone calls from his brother, Dan, on his cell phone. When he answers, Dan says nothing and the line goes dead. Jack finds himself unable to tell anyone about what his saw that day, as soon as he tries he starts to choke and can’t utter a word. Then a strange tramp appears who speaks only in rhymes. The tramp, whom only Jack can see, seems to be able to pass through walls and disappear at will. All of this is against a background of stress at home due to Jack’s mother suffering from a chronic illness.

Jack finds himself embroiled in the magical kingdom of the fairies and soon discovers that their failing world is tinged with evil. Jack and his friends experience an array of mystical and strange happenings including travelling by fairy ley lines and disappearing into a living tapestry.

Author Paul Andruss has an expert knowledge of mythical creatures and the world of the fairies which he shares with the reader using the most beautiful and expressive language. He pulls you into this fairy world, which exists in parallel to our own and which is fraught with difficulties due to human technology and progress. This book also shares valuable lessons about everything not being as it appears to be and the value of strong friendships.

Who is the strange tramp and what does he want from Jack? Can he help Jack to find his brother and bring him back before it is too late?

A few beautiful quotes from this book are as follows:

“Beautiful,” she signed, mesmerized by the shifting hues washing over the weave like skeins of mist.”

“Drifts of heady perfume left Jack heavy-eyed, yet giddy with recklessness.”

“The tramp was back on Mr Gibson’s wall. All he could think about was the poem. Yesterday upon the stair, I met a man who wasn’t there… He wasn’t there again today… I wish that man would GO AWAY!”

This book is suitable for readers aged from 11 years and older. Adult readers will also appreciate the delightful prose, beautiful imagery and clever story line.

Paul Andruss, Buy: Amazon UK – And: Amazon USWebsite: Jack Hughes Books  –  follow Paul: GoodreadsTwitter: @Paul_JHBooks

Thanks for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share…one more post to go in the series tomorrow with more recent authors in the Cafe and Bookstore.


Smorgasbord Poetry – Colleen Chesebro’s weekly Tanka Challenge – Double #Etheree The Wisdom of Trees by Sally Cronin

This week on Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Tanka Challenge 188 themeprompt  author Sue Vincent has provide a wonderful quotation to respond to.

“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth.” Herman Hesse

Double Etheree – The Wisdom of Trees

of history
have stories to tell
of man’s time on this earth.
Stored within each leaf and seed
the cellular memories wait
to be discovered by those that ask
for the gift of their infinite wisdom.
From green saplings to the giant redwoods
messages are carried on the winds.
Listen for the rustle of leaves
and the music that they make.
For as long as they sing
the world will be safe
but woe betide
should we cut
them all

©Sally Cronin 2020

If you would like to participate in this week’s challenge here is the link again: Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Tanka Challenge 188 themeprompt

You can find recent reviews for my latest release and other books: Sally’s books and reviews 2019/2020

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

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – Book Reviews – #Memoir D.G. Kaye, #Children’s Robbie and Michael Cheadle

Welcome to a new series where I will be sharing book reviews I have posted in the last few years. I would like to take the opportunity to showcase books that I have enjoyed and their authors and if you have not read the books, I hope it will encourage you to check them out.

My reviews for current books has now moved to Thursdays.

The first author today is D. G. Kaye and I was honoured to be asked to write the editorial review in 2016 for P.S. I Forgive You.

About the book

“I hurt for her. She wasn’t much of a mother, but she was still my mother.”

Confronted with resurfacing feelings of guilt, D.G. Kaye is tormented by her decision to remain estranged from her dying emotionally abusive mother after resolving to banish her years ago, an event she has shared in her book Conflicted Hearts. In P.S. I Forgive You, Kaye takes us on a compelling heartfelt journey as she seeks to understand the roots of her mother’s narcissism, let go of past hurts, and find forgiveness for both her mother and herself.

After struggling for decades to break free, Kaye has severed the unhealthy ties that bound her to her dominating mother—but now Kaye battles new confliction, as the guilt she harbors over her decision only increases as the end of her mother’s life draws near. Kaye once again struggles with her conscience and her feelings of being obligated to return to a painful past she thought she left behind.

My Five star review for the book in 2016

It is challenging to write about emotional pain and to revisit events, times when you felt powerless. Not everyone is courageous enough to undertake such a task. D.G. Kaye bravely faces her childhood and her relationship with her mother, sharing this complex experience with us in her memoir P.S. I Forgive You: A Broken Legacy. Kaye writes from a place of maturity and strength, bringing hope to others who need to find forgiveness to heal.

The book will resonate with those who have experienced a childhood marred by a narcissistic parent with its long term repercussions on self-esteem and the ability to develop a trust in relationships.

It is also a testament to the strength of character of the author to distance herself from this harmful relationship and thrive on her own terms.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

If you are a regular visitor you will have met Debby before as a contributor writing The Travel Column for two years and now The Realm of Relationships 2020. Debby also co-hosts the Laughter Lines twice a week.

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

D. G. Kaye – Buy: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK – BlogD.G. WritesGoodreads:D.G. Kaye on Goodreads – Twitter: @pokercubster

The next review was for  Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Dough Bees story and cookbook by Robbie and Michael Cheadle.

About the book

A greedy snail damages the flower fields and the fondant bees are in danger of starving. Join Sir Chocolate on an adventure to find the fruit drop fairies who have magic healing powers and discover how to make some of his favourite foods on the way.

My review for Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Dough Bees story and cookbook. 2017

This book will be a delightful read for a child, and their adult companions for that matter. A brightly coloured cast of characters, with Sir Chocolate himself created from one of the most favourite treats of all time.  Ten year old Michael Cheadle came up with the idea of this charasmatic character and also his lovely Lady Sweet. Robbie not only creates these characters from fondant icing, but composes the story in verse that takes us on this current adventure.

From a conservation perspective it is wonderful to see a children’s story that gently introduces the subject of creatures who are at risk, and whilst the villain of this piece is a greedy snail, there are parallels with our own encroachment into nature. However, the colourful fondant snail with long fangs is monster enough for this fairy story.  The other characters include sweet pink and apricot sugar mice, a cluster of endearing yellow and black sugar dough bees and very elegant fruit drop fairies.

In between the verses and illustrations are other gems in the form of recipes which are easy for both children (and some of us less proficient bakers) to make. Terrific Cheese Bread, Delightful Butter Biscuits, Jammy Scones, Rainbow Cupcakes, and one that will be made very shortly Bold Banana Bread.

This book may do little to reduce your waistline, but for children it will stimulate their imaginations and lead to some wonderful baking sessions with parents and grandparents.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by Robbie Cheadle and as Roberta Eaton Cheadle


Robbie, short for Roberta, is an author with five published children’s picture books in the Sir Chocolate books series for children aged 2 to 9 years old (co-authored with her son, Michael Cheadle), one published middle grade book in the Silly Willy series and one published preteen/young adult fictionalised biography about her mother’s life as a young girl growing up in an English town in Suffolk during World War II called While the Bombs Fell (co-authored with her mother, Elsie Hancy Eaton). All of Robbie’s children’s book are written under Robbie Cheadle and are published by TSL Publications. Robbie has recently branched into adult horror and supernatural writing and, in order to clearly differential her children’s books from her adult writing, these will be published under Roberta Eaton Cheadle. Robbie has two short stories in the horror/supernatural genre included in Dark Visions, a collection of 34 short stories by 27 different authors and edited by award winning author, Dan Alatorre. These short stories are published under Robbie Cheadle.

I have been drawn to the horror and supernatural genres of books all my life. At the age of ten years old I embarked on reading Stephen King’s books including The Shining and Salem’s Lot. These books scared me so much I had to put them aside by 6P.M. in the evening in order to get a good night’s sleep but they also fascinated me. I subsequently worked my way through all of Stephen King’s earlier books as well as those of Dean R. Koontz.

I have read a large number of classics, in particular, I enjoy Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Charles Dickens and the works of the Bronte sisters.

I am hugely interested in the history of the United Kingdom as well as the mythology and tales of the paranormal that are abundant on this intriguing European island.

Robbie and Michael Cheadle, Buy :Amazon US And:Amazon UK – Robbie on : Goodreads – blog: Robbie’s Inspiration – Twitter: @bakeandwrite

I hope you have enjoyed these reviews for Debby, Robbie and Michael and thanks for dropping by. Sally