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 Blogger Daily – October 19th 2018 – Pamela Wight #Ballet, Geoffrey West #short story and Traci Kenworth reviews Stephen King.

Welcome to the Blogger Daily with a few posts I wanted to share with you. The first is from Pamela Wight and is not one of her fiction stories, but a delightful granddaughter/Madre life lesson… about ballet. (BTY – I did ballet for two years when it was suggested I take up basketball.. not because I was not graceful but I shot up in height and was a foot taller than all the boys!)


The Lesson

I want to follow her instructions. I want to blow her away with my flexibility and flair and fleetness of foot.

But she laughs gently, rolling her eyes in a sweet way. In a way that tells me I’m failing, but she thinks I’m pretty darn cute, trying to do what she does.

I try to explain to her – Look at my posture! Look at my pose and poise! But her reply is a tad condescending despite her touch of forgiveness.

“I’ve been doing this since I was 5, Madre. You’re just beginning.”

But, I want to sputter back, but I’ve been stretching and yoga-ing, running and walking miles, living for years and years before you were even born.

But I don’t say a word. I stand there in front of the mirrors, humble in my clumsiness, awed by her gracefulness.

Please head over and read about how the lesson went.... https://roughwighting.net/2018/10/19/the-lesson/

Pamela S. Wight, Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Pamela-S.-Wight/e/B00AYXT6R6 – Goodreads: Pamela on Goodreads


Now time for a short story from Geoffrey West... we have a saying here – If it was not for my bad luck… I’d have no luck at all!!  Here is a snippet and please head over and finish the story on Geoffrey’s blog.

Lucky Day

“May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back…”

“Thanks,” I told the woman who was sitting in the shop doorway, a cheap sleeping bag crushed up beneath her.

“It’s an old Irish blessing,” she went on, giving a beautiful smile that lit up her unwashed face below the scruffy uncombed hair. “In other words: Be lucky.”

“Thanks again.”

“Sure, don’t be thanking me, ’tis I should be thanking you.”

I didn’t need her blessing, for right now, luck was the one thing I seemed to have in abundance.

In fact it seemed as if my life just couldn’t get any better.

Three years ago I had come to the big city and I had made it big. I had a really good job with a prosperous PR agency, and my recent pay rise had allowed me to get a mortgage for a lovely flat not far from here. A flat that I shared with my girlfriend, Carrie, who was by anyone’s standards much higher up in the beauty stakes than I was. Indeed I had overheard someone muttering about me, grudgingly saying, “That ugly bastard John is really punching above his weight with a classy beautiful girl like that.”

Walking to work this morning I’d come across the girl. She was crying to herself. I passed her once, then walked back, for seeing how upset she was, was breaking my heart. This woman was about my own age, yet she was clearly destitute, sleeping rough, while I had everything I wanted in life. For a moment I couldn’t believe how unfair life was. I had a decent life, surely she deserved to have the same? What’s more, there was something familiar about her face, but I couldn’t work out what it was.

Head over and finish the story: https://coffeebreakstories870451870.wordpress.com/2018/10/18/lucky-day/

Now something for horror fans… Traci Kenworth reviews The Outsider by Stephen King.


An unspeakable crime. A confounding investigation. At a time when the King brand has never been stronger, he has delivered one of his most unsettling and compulsively readable stories.

An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad.

As the investigation expands, and horrifying answers begin to emerge, King’s propulsive story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can.

Head over and read Traci’s review for the book: https://tracikenworth.com/2018/10/19/book-talk-10-191-8-stephen-kings-the-outsider/

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to read the posts in full and leave your comments..the Blogger Daily will be back on Monday. Thanks Sally


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Judith Barrow, Jane Risdon and Christina Jones, Teri Polen


Three authors with fantastic reviews Judith Barrow, Jane Risdon and Christina Jones and Teri Polen.

Welcome to Friday’s edition of the Cafe and Bookstore and the first author celebrating a recent review is Judith Barrow for the sequel to her trilogy about the Howarth family – A Hundred Tiny Threads which I can also personally recommend.

About A Hundred Tiny Threads

It’s 1911 and Winifred Duffy is a determined young woman eager for new experiences, for a life beyond the grocer’s shop counter ruled over by her domineering mother.

The scars of Bill Howarth’s troubled childhood linger. The only light in his life comes from a chance encounter with Winifred, the girl he determines to make his wife.

Meeting her friend Honora’s silver-tongued brother turns Winifred’s heart upside down. But Honora and Conal disappear, after a suffrage rally turns into a riot, and abandoned Winifred has nowhere to turn but home.

The Great War intervenes, sending Bill abroad to be hardened in a furnace of carnage and loss. When he returns his dream is still of Winifred and the life they might have had… Back in Lancashire, worn down by work and the barbed comments of narrow-minded townsfolk, Winifred faces difficult choices in love and life.

One of the recent reviews for the book

via Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Judith Barrow, Jane Risdon and Christina Jones, Teri Polen

Dragging my plot uphill like Sisyphus


Jessica Norrie, entertains and informs by sharing her experiences with novel number 2 known as NN2 which is doing the round of the publishers and NN3 which is in a transitioning phase between narrators and genders. Familiar ground for most of you who write but always interesting to watch someone else go through the motions and uphill challenge ( explained eloquently) with nose pressed against the windowpane. Please head over to enjoy and commiserate…

Dragging my plot uphill like Sisyphus

Novel Number Two, The Magic Carpet, has been well received at the publishers – the rejections are very kind and positive. Here’s a typical one from last month:

I thought the ensemble characters were great and all clearly had their own well thought out narratives, and it was really interesting to see a novel not sit in a typical middle class setting. Unfortunately however, that being said, I am going to pass on it for the moment, purely as I feel it doesn’t quite sit in a specific genre, and as such it might make for a tricky sell in the commercial fiction market.

I’m concentrating on Novel Number Three (NN3). I’m at that stage of a first draft when I have 90k words of material (picture Sisyphus aka me heaving my boulder optimistically uphill). I know I’m going to cut at least 20k words and add some other bits as yet unknown (boulder rolls about a third of the way down). I know what the end is – in fact I have several possible endings – up we climb, Sisyphus! But I can’t decide which scene should form the beginning (watch out below, boulder coming down). Different characters keep pushing to the fore and shouting “I’m important too!” (Broadly speaking, this is good news, so up goes Sisyphus with a boulder that seems lighter today.) But there are also some characters, who meekly admit: “I know I’ve taken up a a lot of your time and energy over the last few months, but actually I’m really, er, boring. Why not delete me?” Crash! Boulder hits base camp. Injuries reported.

Although all I’m actually doing is copying, pasting, cutting, repasting, rewriting  chunks of prose on a keyboard, I do feel as though I were pulling a boulder up hill. My ms has a  weighty quality, just as it would if it were a paper copy. I’m tempted to print out the whole lot and move it around physically. I’m sure it would reveal both structural weaknesses and restructuring answers. The only reason I don’t is my moody printer, which bears a grudge against me worthy of any Greek god. It rattles out union rules if I so much as change the settings and 350 pages would end our negotiations for good.

via Dragging my plot uphill like Sisyphus

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New book on the shelves – The Emissary 2: To Love Somebody by Marcia Meara

Delighted to feature the latest release by Marcia Meara – The Emissary 2: To Love Somebody.

About the Novella

In Marcia Meara’s second installment of The Emissary Trilogy, a Riverbend spinoff series of novellas, we find our three heroes at it again. Beautiful new places, exciting new adventures, and a whole assortment of new problems await them, bringing tears, laughter, and an extraordinary amount of love along with them.

Trouble never does a head count before showing up …

They’re back!

Jake and Dodger, the first (and so far, only) Emissaries to the Angels, are on the road again.

They’re looking for mortals about to take a wrong turn. You know the ones—the kid thinking about stealing from a corner market or the man planning to lie about a coworker and destroy her career. Yeah, them. People on the brink of making a mistake that could send them down that wrong road and jeopardize their mortal souls.

Of course, there are rules by which the emissaries must play, and the archangel Azrael stands ready to enforce them. First and foremost, a person’s free will must never be compromised. Emissaries are allowed to use only the smallest of mental nudges. Thankfully, a whispered suggestion here or images of a better course of action there is usually all it takes. The potential mugger walks on by. The thief drops the wallet back into the unattended purse. But whether the results are obvious or not, Jake and Dodger are fully committed to making a positive difference, even as they struggle with issues of their own.

Will Dodger get over losing his chance to learn what true love is all about? Will Jake survive the grueling angelic equivalent of Boot Camp? Will Azrael ever finish the Official Emissarial Guidebook—including the chapter titled Do Not Even Think About It?

One thing’s for sure—Jake’s and Dodger’s strengths are growing daily, as they help more and more people make better choices. But is the price for so much power higher than they’re willing to pay?

An early review for the book

This novella is beautiful. Its a very touching story and offers so much in development of the characters and their feelings. In this day and age, we can all enjoy a wonderful novella like this.

Head over and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JDP2B3D

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07JDP2B3D

A selection of other 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

About Marcia Meara

Marcia Meara is a native Floridian, and lives in Sanford, just north of Orlando, with her husband of 30+ years, four large cats, and two small dachshunds. When not working on her books and blogs, she spends her time gardening, and enjoying the surprising amount of wildlife that manages to make a home in her suburban yard.

At the age of five, Marcia declared she wanted to be an author, and is ecstatic that a mere 64 years later, she finally wrote “Wake-Robin Ridge,” her first novel. Making up for lost time, she has published five more novels and a spinoff novella over the last four years:

Connect to Marcia Meara

Website and blog: http://marciamearawrites.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MarciaMeara
Facebook: www.facebook.com/marcia.meara.writer
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/marciameara/

Thank you for calling in and it would be great if you could spread the news about Marcia’s new book.. thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Judith Barrow, Jane Risdon and Christina Jones, Teri Polen

Welcome to Friday’s edition of the Cafe and Bookstore and the first author celebrating a recent review is Judith Barrow for the sequel to her trilogy about the Howarth family – A Hundred Tiny Threads which I can also personally recommend.

About A Hundred Tiny Threads

It’s 1911 and Winifred Duffy is a determined young woman eager for new experiences, for a life beyond the grocer’s shop counter ruled over by her domineering mother.

The scars of Bill Howarth’s troubled childhood linger. The only light in his life comes from a chance encounter with Winifred, the girl he determines to make his wife.

Meeting her friend Honora’s silver-tongued brother turns Winifred’s heart upside down. But Honora and Conal disappear, after a suffrage rally turns into a riot, and abandoned Winifred has nowhere to turn but home.

The Great War intervenes, sending Bill abroad to be hardened in a furnace of carnage and loss. When he returns his dream is still of Winifred and the life they might have had… Back in Lancashire, worn down by work and the barbed comments of narrow-minded townsfolk, Winifred faces difficult choices in love and life.

One of the recent reviews for the book

A Hundred Tiny Threads, Judith Barrow’s prequel to her great saga about the Howarth family, is a brilliant read!

The characters are well-rounded and credible, the period detail first-class but unobtrusive, the prose masterful and compelling.

The central character is Winifred and she is so well-drawn we feel all her emotions as if they’re our own. She suffers under the spiteful control of her bitter mother but has the courage to make a stand for the things she believes are right. As in life, some of the people who impact on her are positive forces such as her father and grandmother, others are more destructive and malevolent. Winifred experiences hardship, tragedy, happiness and love and what happens to her matters because we know her so well.

The novel focuses on the decade that includes the fight for women to have the vote and some control over their own lives, the Second World War, the troubles in Ireland and the outbreak of Spanish Flu. These form the backdrop to the more personal story of a young woman and her struggles to cope with life in such tempestuous times.

I loved it and am surprised there aren’t more reviews here. I recommend you buy a copy now!

Head over read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/100-Tiny-Threads-Judith-Barrow-ebook/dp/B073W1LTSR

and at Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/100-Tiny-Threads-Judith-Barrow-ebook/dp/B073W1LTSR

Also by Judith Barrow

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Judith-Barrow/e/B0043RZJV6

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Judith-Barrow/e/B0043RZJV6

Read more reviews and follow Judith on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3295663.Judith_Barrow

Connect to Judith via her blog: judithbarrowblog.com/

The next authors with recent reviews are Jane Risdon and Christina Jones for their collaborative novel Only One Woman.

Two women, one love story.

June 1968. Renza falls head over heels for heartthrob guitarist Scott. But after a romantic summer together they are torn apart when Renza’s family moves away.

December 1968. On the night she believes to be her last, Stella meets Scott at a local dance. He’s the most beautiful boy she’s ever seen and if this one night is all they have, she’ll take it.

As the final colourful year of the sixties dawns, the question is: can there be only one woman for Scott?

One of the recent reviews for the book

An interesting read I wasn’t sure how it would work with two authors, but it is cleverly written like a diary of the two girls Renza and Stella who become involved with Scott the sexy guy from the band. Set in the late sixties there are lots of references to music and magazines and general things of these times. Renza can’t believe her luck when the band move in next door to her. Her life isn’t that exciting and she has to help her Mum a lot with the rest of her large family when all of a sudden she’s popular with the girls at school who want to hang out in her garden to see the boys. After falling for Scott Renza unfortunately has to move to Germany with her Dad as he is in the army. Stella comes into Scott’s life slightly older then Renza who will Scott choose. It was good reading the story through the eyes of both girls in their diary. I won’t give any spoilers to say who Scott ends up with. I wonder if there will be a second book following on so we can see if he made the right decision.

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Only-One-Woman-Christina-Jones-ebook/dp/B075D88JBP

Read more reviews and follow Jane on Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5831801.Jane_Risdon

Connect to Jane Risdon via her blog:  https://janerisdon.wordpress.com/

A small selection of books by Christina Jones.

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Christina-Jones/e/B001K8U57Y/

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Christina-Jones/e/B001K8U57Y/

Connect to Christina via her blog: https://christinajones-writing.blogspot.ie/

To finish off today a recent review for The Gemini Connection by Teri Polen.

About The Gemini Connection.

Teen twin brothers Evan and Simon Resnik are fiercely loyal to each other and share an unusual bond—they experience each other’s emotions as their own and can sense where the other is. On their dying planet of Tage, scientists work tirelessly on its survival. Like the twins’ parents, Simon is a science prodigy, recruited at a young age to work with the brilliant creator of Scientific Innovations. To the bitter disappointment of their parents, Evan shows no aptitude or interest in science. As a Mindbender, he travels into the minds of scientists to locate buried memories, connect ideas and concepts, and battle recurring nightmares.

When Simon mysteriously disappears, Evan is plunged into a world of loss and unbearable guilt. For the first time, he can’t ‘feel’ Simon—it’s like he no longer exists. Evan blames himself. No one knows that he ignored his brother’s pleas for help on the night he went missing. A year later, Simon is still gone. Evan lost his twin, but Tage might have lost its last hope of survival when it’s discovered that Simon’s unfinished project could be its salvation. Evan is determined to find him—somewhere—and bring Simon home. Their unusual connection might be more extraordinary than they know, and the key to locating Simon.

One of the recent reviews for the book

on September 1, 2018

This novel was fantastic. I’m not a big science fiction fan, but this one grabbed my attention and kept it through the whole story. (I was directing a play while reading this book, and I was often caught reading the book backstage before performances to see what would happen next.) I loved the complicated relationship between the twin brothers Simon and Evan and that the narrative goes back and forth between them AND back and forth in time. They also have a subconscious bond to each other that is explained well and essential to the plot. Simon is a pure genius. Evan is the athlete, and in this futuristic world, the parents value the brains over the brawn, which is an interesting twist. Another interesting twist to this book is the introduction of a LGBT plot line. It is shown in such a healthy, positive way, and I loved it.

I adored the fact that problem Evan had with the relationship when he discovers it was not that it was homosexual but that he didn’t like the guy because of a long-standing rivalry. There is a lot of emotional tension throughout the story, and the characters are fully formed. Evan has the coolest job. Through technology, he is able to go into the minds of people and eradicate their nightmares. This reminded me of an old 80s movie I loved called Dreamscape. I highly recommend this book for scifi and fantasy readers 12 and older.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Gemini-Connection-Teri-Polen/dp/1684330343/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gemini-Connection-Teri-Polen-ebook/dp/B07BFGFN66/

Also by Teri Polen

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Teri-Polen/e/B01MYOUA6V

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sarah-Teri-Polen-ebook/dp/B01NBIFRF4

Read more reviews and follow Teri on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16114393.Teri_Polen

Connect to Teri via her website: https://teripolen.com/

Thank you for dropping in today and I am sure that if you are looking for your next book to read you will find plenty to choose from these talented authors. Thanks Sally

There are approximately 500 books on display in the Cafe and Bookstore…and many authors have more than 7 releases that you can link to on Amazon to view and buy. So if you are stuck for your next book… then check them out.. 



The Curse of Time


A double treat today on Donna Parker’s blog Yadadarcyyada as she celebrates two of our community’s authors with reviews.. One for Marjorie Mallon for The Curse of Time and the other for Teagan Geneviene for The Glowing Pigs. Those of you who love Donna’s imagery and delivery, will love this post… Here is a snippet and I hope you will head over and read the lot.


The Curse of Time


Time shambles forward, clumsy, cumbersome cogs crushing us beneath its graceless bulk. At least that’s what it feels some days. Other days it feels like “Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.” (Groucho Marx?). We just have to hope for the best as the big ball of wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff (thank you Doctor Who, you always have right wordsies for every situation) drags us along on its universal joyride.


Spending time reading M.J. Mallon’s first book in the series, “The Curse of Time: Bloodstone”, I must warn you, could fill you with magic and mystery, intrigue and imagination, romance and possible fear of ruination and the worst part, you may not be able to put it down. Start reading only when you have time (hint: make time).



via The Curse of Time

Smorgasbord Writer in Residence Rewind – Of Cabbages and Kings by Paul Andruss

I must admit that I restrained from watching The Crown series as I was not sure that I wanted to see the nitty gritty on our royal family laid out with dramatic interpretations. But I finally got the boxed set and was hooked.. I am now eagerly awaiting the next series with its new cast.

In the meantime, here is a post from early 2017 from Paul Andruss on the less glamorous side of being a royal..especially when caught on microphone or television. And also tragically when forces are intent on your complete removal.

Of Cabbages and Kings by Paul Andruss

picture12Gore Vidal & Princess Margaret 1951

In one of her wire-tapped phone conversations Diana, Princess of Wales, referred to her in-laws as ‘that ‘king’ family’. Actually, there were three letters in front of the word KING; the first being F. But I left them out.

I have no axe to grind with the monarchy, but equally neither have I had the same provocation. While having no strong feelings either way, I will say that anyone who by their very existence prevented Tony Blair making himself lifelong President cannot be entirely useless.

Someone who did know royalty was American author Gore Vidal; bon vivant and member of the jet set. A term coined after the de Havilland Comet -the first purpose-built commercial jet airliner- made the world the playground of his generation’s rich and famous.

Vidal was great friends with Queen Elizabeth’s sister, Princes Margaret. He records their first meeting at a costume party where she wore the blood stained shirt King Charles I was beheaded in; borrowed from Kensington Palace for the occasion. When you think about Prince Harry turning up to a fancy dress ball in a Nazi uniform, it’s easy to see where he gets his sense of style.

picture13David & Wallis on their wedding day
(Getty Images 1937)

Vidal also knew the Duke and Duchess of Windsor during their exile in Paris. The Duke was Edward VIII (called by his 7th Christian name, David). He abdicated the throne to marry American Wallis Simpson. Vidal cheerfully admits to liking Wallis for her intelligence, and David because he was ‘deeply stupid’.

In 1936 Edward VIII abdicated because parliament would not approve his marriage to Wallis as she was divorced; or twice divorced to be pedantic. His speech contained the famous line so beloved of romantics: I cannot discharge my duty without the help and support of the woman I love. As they left England, his brother, Queen Elizabeth’s father, became king and the rest as they say, is history.

The British press always referred to the Duchess, somewhat disparagingly, as Mrs Simpson. They loved to portray her as a gold digger, who could not wait to slip the royal crown on her grubby colonial head. Vidal records Wallis remembering it differently. She was a wealthy divorcee who claimed never even wanting to get married. ‘It was all his idea,’ she told Vidal. ‘They act as if I’m stupid, not knowing who can be queen. But he insisted.’

‘I remember the morning after we were married,’ she continued. ‘There was David saying – And what do we do now? My heart sank. Every day of his life had been arranged for him and now I was the one who had to take the place of the entire British Government, trying to think up things for him to do.’

‘The Duchess took a long drink of vodka,’ Vidal finishes devilishly, ‘then began the denunciation of all the Royal ladies. And very entertaining it was.’

Like Diana, Wallis had a legitimate axe to grind.

picture14David & Wallis meet an avid fan
(Getty Images 1937)

Vidal records the exchange in his memoir Palimpsest. As he explains it, a palimpsest is a parchment, scraped clean by a medieval monk for re-use. Such finds are invaluable as the original text is still faintly visible – a bit like memories. Sagaciously, he adds memoirs do not need to be weighed down by historical fact. So perhaps one should not take Wallis’s protestations of innocence entirely at face value.

Vidal’s recounts a story from the Duke of Windsor that’s worth repeating.

‘I was there at breakfast with my father and mother, the King and Queen, when an equerry came in. The King was furious. I mean this was breakfast for heaven’s sake! Not done, you know, ever! But the man went straight up to him with this note which the king read and gave to my mother. She read it and gave it back saying ‘No!’

‘Later that day I asked her what it was about and she said the British government was willing to send a ship to rescue my father’s relations Tsar Nicholas and his family, but she did not think it would be good for us to have them in England. So the Bolsheviks shot the lot of them.’

picture15The unlucky Romanovs: intimate family portrait
(Archive Source)

Historically, a lot of reasons are put forward why Britain denied the Romanovs refuge. Explanations tend to focus on the fear of Bolshevism taking hold. Princess Margaret had another theory. She believed her grandmother was deeply resentful of real royalty. Even admirers describe Queen Mary as cold and hard.

Vidal tells the tale of Margaret’s outrage when reading Nicholas and Alexandra – the biography later made in to a film. ‘They were so perfectly ordinary. I mean it could be us!’ she bemoaned in stentorian Hanoverian.

Although that might leave you smiling or shuddering depending on your perspective, Margaret had a point. In private, the Romanovs lived the ‘simple’ secluded life of any upper middle class European, and fiercely guarded their privacy. Indeed, their daughters complained of a claustrophobic upbringing.

Yet politically, Nicholas was the supreme autocrat who could not bear to surrender an iota of power and focused much of his energy enforcing a medieval stranglehold on his deeply troubled and backward country.

picture16Nicholas & Alexandra
Father & mother of all the Russias
(Archive source)

His ineptitude and stubbornness consigned Russians to privation and doomed wars. He approved of anti-Jewish Pogroms, believing they unified the country behind his regime. He did nothing when his army slaughtered peaceful demonstrators. And he thwarted all attempts to introduce basic human rights, fearing it would erode his God-given authority as the ‘Father-of-all-the-Russias’.

All in all, Nicholas was rather like King Charles I, who also believed he ruled through Divine Right, ignored Parliament, caused a Civil War (between the Cavaliers and Roundheads) and was executed for his troubles.

So while Princess Margaret had a point about the Romanovs’ perfect ordinariness, perhaps she also needed to remember just whose shirt she was wearing at that fancy dress party. And exactly why it was blood stained.

©PaulAndruss 2017

About Paul Andruss.

Paul Andruss is a writer whose primary focus is to take a subject, research every element thoroughly and then bring the pieces back together in a unique and thought provoking way. His desire to understand the origins of man, history, religion, politics and the minds of legends who rocked the world is inspiring. He does not hesitate to question, refute or make you rethink your own belief system and his work is always interesting and entertaining. Whilst is reluctant to talk about his own achievements he offers a warm and generous support and friendship to those he comes into contact with.

Finn Mac CoolThomas the Rhymer

Buy Paul’s books: https://www.amazon.com/Finn-Mac-Cool-Paul-Andruss-ebook/dp/B018OJZ9KY

and https://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Rhymer-Jack-Hughes-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00EPQL7KC

Thank you for dropping in and please feel free to share Paul’s article around the universe… thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Meet the #Reviewers – Stevie Turner with Robbie Cheadle, Seumas Gallacher and Katzenworld #petsafety

Welcome to the blogger daily and a chance to meet some of the book reviewers who are posting on their blogs.

First is a review for Robbie Cheadle who has collaborated with her mother Elsie Hancy Eaton,on While the Bombs Fell – the reviewer is author Stevie Turner.

Description from Amazon:

What was it like for children growing up in rural Suffolk during World War 2?
Elsie and her family live in a small double-storey cottage in Bungay, Suffolk. Every night she lies awake listening anxiously for the sound of the German bomber planes. Often they come and the air raid siren sounds signalling that the family must leave their beds and venture out to the air raid shelter in the garden.

Despite the war raging across the English channel, daily life continues with its highlights, such as Christmas and the traditional Boxing Day fox hunt, and its wary moments when Elsie learns the stories of Jack Frost and the ghostly and terrifying Black Shuck that haunts the coastline and countryside of East Anglia.

Includes some authentic World War 2 recipes.

Head over to read Stevie Turner’s review of the book: https://steviet3.wordpress.com/2018/10/17/review-of-while-the-bombs-fell-by-robbie-cheadle

Stevie Turner, Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Stevie-Turner/e/B00AV7YOTU

Please visit Amazon or Stevie’s website to view all her books.

Robbie and Michael Cheadle, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ
Blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/Goodreads: Robbie Goodreads

Please visit Robbie’s blog or Amazon to view all her books.


Now a post from Seumas Gallagher which is in a similar vein as a number of posts in the last couple of weeks on keeping our ‘self’ functioning on all levels.. and also remaining more youthful in our attitude at the same time. Seumas shares his experience of a high power management training course at Harvard and some very wise words from one of the professors.

yes, yield to that temptation to do sum’thing different!…

…possibly mega-boring tale coming up… pass on by if yeez wish… I won’t mind… but I want to write and share this one anyway… if just to remind myself… 32 years ago, in 1986, my employers of the time felt the need to send me away to get my business brain recalibrated… they chose the Harvard Graduate School of Business – Advanced Management Program in Boston for me…

it’s like a two-year intensive graduate course condensed into only four months… I was the second youngest (a callow 38 years old) in the class of 160 high-powered executives from all over the planet… mostly from the C-suite… we were each allocated a small ‘can’ bedroom, so small and cramped, I felt I had unpacked my suitcase and packed the room… the case study method had us pumping 3 case studies per day, visited-on in three different ways… in our own ‘can’ groups of eight people as a team at night… the second iteration was the following morning after breakfast, with a different set of eight participants, then thirdly, into the class auditorium session with the professors and the full class… it was a guerrilla course in business and management learning…

Head over and read the rest of the post and I am sure that you will get the message… and hopefully act upon it, I know I am going to: https://seumasgallacher.com/2018/10/18/how-to-be-and-do-more-of-the-things-you-want-to-be-and-do/

Now for an important post for cat owners and other pets too… From Katzenworld


Keeping pets safe this autumn
PDSA offers advice on how to avoid toxic plants

Temperatures are starting to drop and that fresh, crisp autumnal feel is in the air. Autumn can be a brilliant time for you and your pets, and a time to enjoy the beautiful scenery as trees change from green to an array of rustic hues.

It’s also important to be aware of the seasonal dangers to our pets; there are a number of plants which can be very toxic, and in some cases fatal, if eaten, so it’s vital to know what to avoid.

“Our four-legged friends are naturally very inquisitive and will always want to sniff out new smells and objects”, says PDSA vet Olivia Anderson-Nathan.

“Knowing what to keep your pet away from this autumn will keep them safe –and prevent any impromptu visits to the vets if they eat something that could be toxic.”


Head over and find out more about the toxic plants in your garden that could be harmful to your pet: https://katzenworld.co.uk/2018/10/17/keeping-pets-safe-this-autumn-how-to-avoid-toxic-plants/

It is twenty years since I had cats around… the feral ones tend to be canny about what is toxic in their territory or not, but domesticated ones do not necessarily have the instincts. Here are my rowdy lot from the past.

Thanks for dropping in and I hope you will head over and check the complete posts out.. Sally


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Music Column – 1988 – Plane Drama, New Zealand, Kylie and request from Adele Marie Park


Welcome to my series where I share our adventures on a year by year basis and the music in the charts that are still on my playlist today.

I am also taking requests and all you have to do is either put the artist and track in the comments or the link to the music on Youtube..

1988 – Plane Drama, New Zealand and I Should Be So Lucky!

For the first few months of 1988 both of us were working hard at our individual jobs and getting know the people we worked with as well as our neighbours. I was promoted to Advertising Sales Manager at the paper where I worked which was gratifying, but added an element of pressure to the job. I enjoyed that and set about building the classified sales team for the weekdays and introducing a telephone sales team in the evenings and weekends for cars and property.

It was the end of the summer before we knew it and we both felt we needed to go for a really good holiday. We had spent time in the Alps both in summer and winter and loved it, but we suddenly realised that we had a huge amount of air miles accumulated with Continental Airlines. It was coming up to our anniversary so we decided to go as far as our air miles could take us first class.

Believe it or not we could go to New Zealand and back first class for free!  We decided that it was too good an opportunity to miss and duly booked our flights to coincide with our Wedding Anniversary in November.

via Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Music Column – 1988 – Plane Drama, New Zealand, Kylie and request from Adele Marie Park