About Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life.

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

Smorgasbord Blogger Weekly – July 2nd 2022 – #Writing D.G. Kaye with Wendy Van Camp, #Review Olga Nunez Miret, #Stress David Kanigan, #Idioms Janet Morrison, #WIP Stevie Turner, #Personalities Cheryl Oreglia


Just a small selection of posts I have enjoyed this week and I hope you will head over to enjoy in full.. thanks Sally.

Debby Gies is the guest of Wendy Van Camp exploring the Epistolary writing style that addresses the reader through a diary format (think Bridget Jones’ Diary) or in journal or letter format. Very interesting.

Head over to read Debby’s post: Epistolary Writing D.G. Kaye with Wendy Van Camp

Olga Nunez Miret shares her review for Dream Town (Aloysius Archer Series Book 3) by David Baldacci set in 1950s Hollywood.. It is the third in the series but Olga stresses it is a standalone as well.

Head over to enjoy Olga’s review: David Baldacci Dream Town Review

The world is certainly in turmoil across many areas of conflict. Wars, ideology, human rights and increasing levels of civil unrest and deprivation for millions. How do we as individuals deal with the stress of life around of us. David Kanigan explores this in his post Monday Morning Wake Up Call.

Head over to add your thoughts on this issue: David Kanigan – Morning Wake Up Call

Have you ever wondered where the idioms ‘Pleased as Punch’ or ‘Horse of a different colour’ originated? Janet Morrison shares their background. Fascinating.

Head over to discover the origins of these idioms: Janet’s Writing Blog

Stevie Turner asks if you miss your WIP when you have finished writing it.. head over to share your thoughts and also get a look at Stevie’s cover reveal for her next book.

Do you miss your most recent WIP and characters.. Head over to share: Open Book Blog Hop – Stevie Turner

Cheryl Oreglia explores the decoration of an appliance that most of us have in our kitchens….What is on the front of your fridge? And do you fit into one of the personality types lol.. You may be surprised….

Head over to see which personality your fridge gives away: Cheryl Oreglia That’s My Life

 

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

Smorgasbord Book Reviews – #Romance #Music – Flowers and Stone by Jan Sikes


My review today is for the first of four biographical novels by Jan Sikes based her own life and lifelong love story. Flowers and Stone.

About the book

The epic love story begins here!

A hot Texas summer, dim-lit honky-tonk bars, a young naïve fledgling go-go dancer, and a wild rebel Texas musician set the stage for this true story.

1970 in Abilene, Texas finds young Darlina Flowers trying to figure out how to fit into the world she is most attracted to – the nightlife, live music, and go-go dancing. Luke Stone, a veteran Texas Musician has lost all reason to care about his music career, his health, and most especially his heart. A chance meeting with Darlina changes everything. Yet, it seems it’s too little too late, as fate has already determined the outcome.

Join Luke and Darlina on a passion-filled journey down Texas roads while Luke and his band entertain crowds along the way, as Darlina Flowers struggles to adjust to this strange new world. Can she trust Luke Stone with her heart?

Luke Stone, a good man who has made a career of bad decisions, falls as completely in love with Darlina as she does with him. Will their unyielding love survive the test of time, distance and iron bars?

My review for the book July 9th 2022

This is the first chapter in the passionate love story of a young woman enjoying the freedom of having left a restrictive upbringing with a bad boy of country music.

Although Darlina has tasted the joys of a more liberated lifestyle dancing for extra cash in a nightclub, there is still an air of innocence about her that attracts the much older  and charasmatic Luke Stone.  Wiser heads warn her of the dangers of becoming involved with a man who has long history of playing fast and loose in relationships, but she is in love.

That love will be tested in several ways over the following months and yet through it all Darlina is totally committed to being there for Luke in every way possible. His demons become hers as she watches him battle through a physical and mental crisis and yet there are still secrets that have the potential to rip them apart.

Despite his approach to women and previous relationships, Luke finds himself deeply connected to this young girl and her convictions. Secrets have a habit of being exposed to the light and in a desperate attempt to protect Darlina, Luke may have to make a major sacrifice.

You can tell that this story is written from the heart and is deeply personal. Even fictionalised the strength of the love and commitment to the relationship shines through and as the onlooker you find yourself hoping against hope things will work out. The love of a good woman can redeem a man who has fallen by the wayside, but the road is going to be long and hard.

The 70s and the setting for this story is also authentic and captures a time in music history that is legendary.

I look forward to reading the second book in this love saga soon.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

A small selection of other books by Jan Sikes

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Website: Jan SikesGoodreads: Jan on Goodreads – Twitter: @rijanjks

About Jan Sikes

I’ve been an avid reader all my life. I can still remember the excitement that surged through me the first time I realized I could decipher words. Many summers, I won the highest award possible from the Hobbs, NM Public Library for reading the most books.

There’s nothing I love more than losing myself in a story.

Oddly enough, I never had any ambition to be a writer. But I wound up in mid-life with a story that begged to be told. Not just any story, but a true story that rivaled any fiction creation. Through fictitious characters, the tale came to life in an intricately woven tale that encompasses four books. Not satisfied to stop with the books, I released music CDs of original music to match the time period of each story segment.

In conclusion, to bring the story full circle, I published a book of poetry and art. I was done.

Wrong!

The story ideas keep coming, and I don’t intend to turn off the creative fountain.

I am a member of the Author’s Marketing Guild, The Writer’s League of Texas, Romance Writers of America, and the Paranormal Writer’s Guild. I am an avid fan of Texas music and grandmother of five beautiful souls. I reside in North Texas.

 

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

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives -#Memoir #Waterford #Ireland 1920s – The Colour of Life – My Grandfather’s Story 1930 by Geoff Cronin


My husband’s father Geoff Cronin was a raconteur with a encyclopedic memory spanning his 93 years. He sadly died in 2017 but not before he had been persuaded to commit these memories of his childhood and young adulthood in Waterford in the 1920s to the 1940s.

The books are now out of print, but I know he would love to know that his stories are still being enjoyed, and so I am repeating the original series of his books. I hope those who have already read will enjoy the stories again and that new readers will discover the wonderful colour of life in Ireland nearly 100 years ago.

Grandfather’s Story 1930 by Geoff Cronin

Geoffrey Spencer

Geoffrey Spencer, my maternal grandfather, born of a farming family in County Waterford about 1830, was not the eldest son of that family, and as such, he could not expect to inherit the family farm, and instead he would be “fortuned off”. He would be given a cash inheritance, the size of it being determined by the amount of money available at the time, and after due consideration was given to the rights of other family members. Since most of a farmer’s cash would be locked up in livestock, land and crops, actual cash would not be plentiful at the best of times. However, family history has it that in or about 1850 Geoffrey Spencer came into Waterford City with £100 in his pocket to seek his fortune in some area other than farming.
When he walked down the quay, and bear in mind that ships of all shapes and sizes would have been tied up three abreast for some miles up river waiting to unload, he came upon a group of merchants having a heated debate about a particular ship which was for auction that day. The point at issue was that the ship, a 200 ton Barquentine, was moored in the river and it was rumoured that her bottom was not sound and she was to be sold “as she stood”, as nobody was prepared to pay the cost of pulling her up on the graving bank to examine the bottom, least of all the owner. This fact served to strengthen the rumour that “she had worm in the bottom”.

In any event, the auctioneer arrived on the scene and set the auction in train, and the young Spencer, knowing nothing whatsoever about ships and sensing the possibility of a bargain, bid £100 for the ship. There was no other bid and she was knocked down to him.
Now there was such interest and controversy about the ship that a group of merchants offered to have her pulled up on the graving bank and examined, and they would share the cost. Geoffrey Spencer offered no objection to this, as it was very much in his interest to know if he had a sound ship, and she was duly hauled up. After minute examination by the port surveyor, she was pronounced sound. The gamble had paid off!

A Barquentine has three or more masts with square sails only on the foremast. The “Madcap” is shown above.

One man who had shown a keen interest in the proceedings was a Mr. Nelson, a local bank manager, who congratulated my Grandfather on his purchase, and told him the ship was worth at least £400, and that he could use her as collateral to finance a voyage cross-channel. I must assume that he gave my Grandfather advice on how best to make use of the ship, because he subsequently engaged a Captain Cummins as skipper, a crew was hired and she sailed off to Wales with the young Spencer on board to bring back a cargo of coal. The cargo he sold piecemeal on the side of the quay and thus began his career as a coal merchant and ship owner.

In the course of his travels to the Welsh coalfields, my Grandfather learned how the mine operated, and he realized that there were many mines and they all needed two things to function. They needed pit props to support the mineshafts, and also ponies to draw coal from the face to the loading points. These were the early days of mining and the needs were basic.

Pit Ponies at work. From “The Penny Magazine”

Armed with this information, he set up a trading arrangement with the Welsh mines, and I only know the name of one of them – it was the Powell Duffryn Coal Company (Originally started by Thomas Powell around 1837). He would bring over a cargo of pit props and ponies, and bring back a cargo of coal.

This worked out very well, as he knew all about horseflesh from the farming, and also there was an abundance of suitable timbers to be had, so he was soon showing handsome profits, there being a strong market for coal at the Waterford end. Over time the balance or trade swung so much in his favour that he was able to acquire shares in several mines, which subsequently would prove to be very valuable indeed.

As the Spencer business grew, he purchased a berth in Waterford Harbour, just above the bridge on the Waterford side of the river. He engaged the services of a Captain Furness to skipper a second ship, called (I believe) The Zada. His first ship was the Madcap, and he had at least four other ships, but I don’t know all their names. They were mainly Barquentine sailing ships of about 200 tons. This was the common size of coasters of the period, and they would have been two or three-masted schooners.

There are paintings of some of his ships in one of Waterford’s Museums – in the Waterford Municipal Art Collection.

Geoffrey Spencer was married twice. His first wife was Johanna Lyons, and his second wife was Minnie O’Keefe from Lisnakill, Co. Waterford. Only two sons from his first marriage survived to adulthood, and they were David and Jim.

The “Oriental”

David worked in the coal business with his father, and died in his thirties. Jim worked a farm in Kilcohan, which his father had acquired. He later set up a dairy business in Johnstown, Waterford, which was still going in the 1960s, run by his family.

My grandfather was a born entrepreneur. He lived on the corner of John Street and Waterside, and his premises consisted of a large coal yard, big enough to hold two or three cargos of coal, and a pub with living quarters, where he raised two families. His second family by Minnie O’Keefe consisted of Joe, the eldest, Frank and a daughter, Claire, who was my mother.

His second wife died when my mother was three years old, and she recalled, even in her old age, the horror of being lifted up to kiss her dead mother good-bye, as she lay in her coffin.
At age four my mother went into the Ursuline Convent as a boarder, and because her father was “in trade”, the nuns were reluctant to accept her. However, I guess that, because of his considerable wealth at that stage, he probably made them an offer they could not refuse. I believe that the Ursuline nuns, at that time, were recruited from families who held titles and such like. At any rate, they were regarded very much as “top drawer”. My mother was a boarder there until she left school.

To get back to Spencer the entrepreneur, he built a row of houses, including “the dairy” in Johnstown, as an investment. He owned a limekiln, and a large piece of land in Poleberry, which his son David sold (while drunk) to a local builder who shall be nameless.

I should tell you that in those days, owning a limekiln was equivalent to owning a cement factory today. More building was done then using lime mortar than cement, which was still a novelty. Part of the business of a lime-works then was the supply of fresh-water sand, and the source of this was an inexhaustible series of sand banks in the river Suir, about ten miles up-river at Fiddown. “Lighter men”, who owned dumb barges – they had no engines – would pole their way up-river on the flood tide and anchor at the sand bank of their choice.

The Lime Kiln

They lived on the barge, or lighter, as they were sometimes called, and during the hours of daylight, they would single-handedly shovel sand into the hold of the barge until she was full – I think they held up to sixty or seventy tons – which took almost two weeks. They then cast off on full tide, and poled the barge down river in stages whenever the water was slack. When they got to the Scotch Quay, they poled their way up the tributary, through the park, and moored at John’s Bridge on the Waterside, and there they would unload on the quayside, which meant a week or ten days shovelling again. Incidentally there was a limekiln just at this point. The river was, however, navigable for lighters up to where the Spencer limekiln was situated. This was a strategic advantage for that kiln, as limestone – the raw material – as well as fresh-water sand could be delivered onto the actual site of the lime works.

The same river, being tidal, powered a grist mill situated just above John’s Bridge. There was a tunnel running under that mill, which had a sluice gate on it. The gate was open while the tide was coming in, allowing the water to flow through to the Millers Marsh, and thence up the water lane, which went up the back of St. Ursula’s Terrace, and formed the headrace for the mill. The sluice gate was closed at full tide, locking in the full of the headrace, and as the tide receded, the gate was opened and the outflow of water drove the mill wheel, which was undershot.

Geoffrey Spencer lived at the pub/coal-yard until his death in 1917 at the age of 80 years. He went to seven o’clock Mass every day of his life, and never wore an overcoat. When he died, apart from his property, he left £60,000 in cash, his shares in the Welsh mines, a full yard of coal and a concrete barge full of coal on the berth at the quay, and his ships. He was the last man in Waterford to own a fleet of sailing ships. His total estate, with the exception of £1,000 and the family silver left to my mother, was left to his son Joe.

A farm of approx. 100 acres at Ballindud, Co. Waterford, which my grandfather had inherited from his brother-in-law John Lyons, went to the youngest son Frank, and is still in Spencer ownership. The smaller farm at Kilcohan, was assigned to Jim Spencer, the only survivor of the first marriage, and up to recently, was in Spencer ownership, when it was sold for some millions to a supermarket chain.

Here ends my knowledge of Geoffrey Spencer, a man of great business acumen, who made his mark on Waterford of the Ships in no uncertain way. He is buried in Ballygunner Cemetery, and over his grave stands probably the most impressive monument there – a white marble figure of Christ carrying his cross. R.I.P.

The inscription reads
Erected
In grateful and affectionate
Remembrance
of
our Dear Father
by the loving children of
Geoffrey Spencer
Waterford
Who died 9th April 1917 in his 80th year

Unique Historic Pictures Recently Discovered No. 7 – A Quayside Scene

Newspaper clipping from “The Munster Express” – July 11th 1952

Note: Although the article states that the lighters were “oar-propelled”, they were actually “pole-propelled”.

 

About Geoff Cronin

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

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

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

Thank you for visiting today and I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse of Waterford in the late 19th century courtesy of Geoff Cronin. As always your feedback is very welcome. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Book Reviews Round Up – June 2022 – #Shortstories Stephen Geez, #Malaya Apple Gidley, Fantasy C.S. Boyack, #Thriller Simon Van de Velde, #Poetry Balroop Singh


The first review in June was for a collection of short stories reflecting the human condition in all its glory and potential for loss – Comes this Time to Float: 19 Short Stories by Stephen Geez

My review for the collection June 4th 2022

This is a collection that touches hearts, brings old memories to the surface and provides thought provoking moments. Enhanced by images and individually introduced by the author, creating anticipation for the enjoyment to come.

Stephen Geez has a rich writing style that treats the reader to a beautifully detailed narrative bringing the settings of the stories and their characters into focus.

“Magician’s-box swords of sharp sunlight stab the gloom. Leaves turn and reach. An urgent rivulet slaps rocks. Water falls”.

‘The vapors would rise strong and true on this rare night when neither of the two moons dared show a shiny face to warn the emboldened tingle-winds back into the chasm where they bide.’

From the first story, about an unlikely sidekick of a superhero, to the poignancy of a red tractor in the middle of a field, the author ensures that you are fully engaged and ready to believe his characters have something to share that will reflect something in your own life.This makes the stories personal and relateable as we feel the loss, joy, love and the humour within them.

It is tough to suggest particular favourites, but Sidekick, Holler Song, Blind is Love, The Age-Eater and Time and Space touched me deeply.

Highly recommended as a collection of stunningly created vignettes about the human condition.

Read the reviews and buy the collection: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

Next my review for a highly interesting novel set in Malaya post WWII which is both an adventure and a love story. Have You Eaten Rice Today by Apple Gidley – on pre-order for September 6th.

My advance review for the book June 11th 2022

This is a book I found difficult to put down. Excellently written with memorable characters faced with the dangers of guerrilla warfare, interlaced with a once in a lifetime romance.

There are many books and films written about World War Two, but few about the conflict in Malaya from the late forties and throughout the fifties. A time of a rejection of colonial administration in India echoed around the British outposts, and before the advent of worldwide broadcasting and the Internet, the public was dependent on newspaper articles based on official statements that were veiled in secrecy.

The author lived in Malaya as a child, and clearly absorbed both culture and language which provided an authentic and fascinating background to the story. Well researched, the activities of the Ferret Force and the local Malay and Chinese who supported them, offered heart stopping action as they moved through dense jungle, battling the natural elements and diseases, as well as the communist activists hiding in its depths. Without modern communications and only carrying the barest of supplies, young men and women put their lives on the line, often for just scraps of vital information.

Those civilians living on plantations, or working within the interim government preparing for independence were also in great danger of reprisals. This included Dee Cunningham in her role as a Red Cross nurse, moving along the rivers to bring aid to villagers along the edge of the jungle. Her upbringing in the outback of Australia definitely gave her remarkable resilience even under extreme pressure and danger. Simon and his unwillingness to settle back into the life on a farm in Dorset, and determination to work towards bringing peace to the region even at the risk to his own life, is the perfect match for her spirited personality.

The romance was beautifully choreographed and written against the backdrop, of not just the jungle and its dangers, but the stunning scenery along the coast and in the mountains.

Just when you begin to wonder where this story will lead we are time shifted 60 years to 2010.

There is now a younger generation eager to find their place in the world and part of that journey will involve their discovery of the past and revelations that will change their lives forever. We return to Malaya to bring all the threads together in a wonderful climax to the story in the hands of a master storyteller. There were times when I was reminded of the writing of Pearl S. Buck and Nevil Shute, two of my favourite authors.

I can highly recommend this book to everyone who loves well written modern history novels and heart-warming love stories.

Head over to pre-order the book: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

Another terrific read from C.S. Boyack and here is my review for the 5th book in The Hat series Good Liniment.

My review for the book June 14th 2022

Another colourful and creative fantasy adventure with Lizzie and The Hat working together to seek out monsters and help others within the supernatural world to remain secret and safe.

The band is back together after a brief hiatus as Lizzie comes to terms with previous events that have shaken her confidence in the path chosen for her. Into that path come new characters to add to the fantastical ensemble always present in these stories.

We neet the rather world weary witch Cyrus and his apprentice Dash, the wonderfully playful Noodles and ethereal but feisty Destiny. The local coven is full of visually disturbing but colourful members who the author describes in quite nightmarish detail in some cases…Humour however is never far away and even the most outlandish become endearing.

We are treated to the art of trog hunting, not for the faint hearted, an introduction to the precious elements needed to create the spells and magical potions to enhance and heal, and a glimpse into the secrets of witchcraft.

The coven and Lizzie have lost a dear friend who it appears is victim of a killing spree with witches the target. This monster is the first human that Lizzie and The Hat have hunted and it brings an additional element of danger that could be fatal.

As always the author has created a fantasy that flows and engages with wonderful characters, plot and humour that I can highly recommend.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

I was delighted to share my review for the literary thriller The Silent Brother by Simon Van der Velde

My review for the book June 18th 2022

There is an expression – ‘It if was not for his bad luck, he would have no luck at all’. That seems to sum up Tommy’s unforgiving and relentless passage through life.

Family is Tommy, his younger brother Benjy, and a mother who seeks comfort in a bottle, and in relationships that are addictive and dangerous; for herself and her children.

Like a row of dominoes one event sends Tommy’s life crashing. The only glimmer of light in his dark childhood is a scrap of a girl with a love of chocolate caramel.

There is no escape from the path Tommy finds himself on, guilt and a need to find his place in this uncertain world he inhabits, deliver blow after blow.

This book is set in Newcastle at a time when major industries, the lifeblood of the city, closed down leaving a generation of hard-working men and women without purpose. Lacking adequate support, the heart of a community dies, leaving the young with no future to work towards and a vacuum filled by those happy to take advantage. When criminal organisations are the only ones hiring… what is a lad to do?

This is not a cosy mystery but an edgy and gritty look at a life at the mercy of circumstances, poverty and criminal dominance. It is also compelling and filled with characters that are vividly drawn and whose every thought, word and deed ooze the menace that comes with ingrained hardship and deprived upbringings.

As a reader you are drawn into the turbulence of Tommy’s life. You absorb his desperation and also his passion for his brother and Annie whose life he becomes enmeshed in again as an adult.

Risks have to be taken, trust has to be given and a plan must be carried out to drag Tommy and Annie away from the precipice they are clinging to. Secrets long hidden offer a chance at a future and redemption.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. The author brings all the threads of this story to a close masterfully with revelations and hope. A reward not just for the characters, but for the reader who has become so engaged in their story.

I recommend this book to those who enjoy gritty novels about ordinary people who strive to fight their way out of difficult circumstances.

Head over to buy the book: Amazon UKAnd: Amazon US

Delighted to share my review for the latest poetry collection by Balroop SinghHues Of Hope: Selected Poetry

My review for the collection June 25th 2022

Balroop Singh writes poetry not just from her heart but verse that touches the hearts of those who read it.

There are so many elements in her verse we can all relate to. The love of nature with its emotional and physical impact on us with its raw beauty and power, the variations on the theme of love and relationships, and the chains that bind us created by expectations of our own or others. The author shares her thoughts on finding our own identity, conquering pain, finding forgiveness and the sanctity of family. Each tells a story and all highlight the author’s ability to appreciate and understand human nature.

The collecton is divided into these areas of nature and the human condition and that provides a flow that moves you seamlessly from one poem to the next. Some of my favourites include Tread Softly Here, Magic, A Concert, When Love Whispered, and Don’t Dwell On It! Really?

One poem in particular struck me with its emotional elements. The Golden Cage

Trapped in the golden cage
The cage of unfulfilled desires
The cage of love and expectations
The cage with vast vistas
Each door so welcoming
Yet so deceptive

This is a lovely collection of poems and I can highly recommend.

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

 

Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Summer Book Fair 2022 – First in Series – #Romance Linda Bradley, #Paranormal Thriller Mae Clair


Over the course of the next three months I will be sharing the authors who feature in the Smorgasbord Bookshelf with the books that I have reviewed and can personally recommend.

In this first part of the summer fair, I am sharing books that are the first in a series in both adult and children’s books along with one of their five star reviews. I hope that this will encourage you to enjoy the series in full. I will feature every author on the shelves by the end of the summer. I hope you will enjoy.

The first author today is Linda Bradley and the first in her popular romance series – Maggie’s Way (Montana Bound Series book 1).

About the book

Middle-aged, Maggie Abernathy just wants to recuperate from cancer during the solitude of summer vacation after a tiresome year of teaching second grade. Maggie’s plans are foiled when precocious seven-year-old Chloe McIntyre moves in next door with her dad, John. Maggie’s life changes in a way she could never imagine when the pesky new neighbors steal her heart. With Maggie’s grown son away, her ex-husband in the shadows, her meddling mother’s unannounced visits, and Chloe McIntyre on her heels, somehow Maggie’s empty house becomes home again.

My review for the book February 24th 2022

It is refreshing to read a romance story about a woman who is in her forties with a little more baggage than in many love stories. Clearly Maggie has come up against some difficult life experiences including her marriage break-up, her son moving away and the devastating diagnosis of cancer, but the author has created a fiesty and strong-willed lead character for this story.

Many of us choose to isolate ourselves when faced with deeply impacting events, and the irritation and sense of intrusion that Maggie feels when she is adopted by the new neighbour’s seven year old Chloe is understandable. As is her growing acceptance of this persistent little girl and the unnerving presence of her attractive father.

When you are not feeling at your best, and your self-confidence has plummeted. it is not surprising that Maggie feels this is unlikely to lead to anything permanent. The story develops over the course of her radiation treatment with more intrusions that force her to reassess the past, present and future. These include previously held convictions about life, love, ex-wives, an unruly but lovable dog and a growing desire to let it all go.

The author did a great job in setting the mood and pace and created engaging characters.She also brought the end of this book to a satisfactory conclusion whilst still leaving the door open for the next book in the series, which I look forward to.

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

Also by Linda Bradley

Linda Bradley, Buy: Amazon USAnd : Amazon UK – Follow Linda :Goodreads website: Linda Bradley Author – Twitter: @LBradleyAuthor

About Linda Bradley

Linda’s inspiration comes from her favorite authors and life itself. Her women’s fiction highlights characters that peel away outer layers of life to discover the heart of their dreams with some unexpected twists and turns along the way. Her writing integrates humor found in everyday situations, as well as touching moments, thus creating avenues for readers to connect with her characters.

The next author today is Mae Clair with the first in the Point Pleasant series of paranormal thrillers – A Thousand Yesteryears.

A Thousand Yesteryears (Point Pleasant Book 1) by [Mae Clair]

About the book

A woman’s homecoming is met with death threats, a treacherous killer, and a legendary monster in this supernatural thriller series opener.

Behind a legend lies the truth . . .

As a child, Eve Parrish lost her father and her best friend, Maggie Flynn, in a tragic bridge collapse. Fifteen years later, she returns to Point Pleasant to settle her deceased aunt’s estate. Though much has changed about the once thriving river community, the ghost of tragedy still weighs heavily on the town, as do rumors and sightings of the Mothman, a local legend. When Eve uncovers startling information about her aunt’s death, that legend is in danger of becoming all too real . . .

Caden Flynn is one of the few lucky survivors of the bridge collapse but blames himself for coercing his younger sister out that night. He’s carried that guilt for fifteen years, unaware of darker currents haunting the town. It isn’t long before Eve’s arrival unravels an old secret—one that places her and Caden in the crosshairs of a deadly killer . . .

One of the outstanding reviews for the book

A Thousand Yesteryears is the first book in the Point Pleasant series, but somehow I read books two and three before it. Guess that answers your question about reading them in order. Each can serve as a standalone but share many of the same characters.

I’ve read several novels by this author, and she has such a talent for creating characters you love or hate. These are no exception. You want Eve to grapple with her tragic past, put it behind her, and settle her deceased aunt’s estate – and maybe even take over the hotel left to her and stay in town. You want Caden to realize he’s not responsible for the death of his sister and shed the blame he carries about that night. You also have a deep desire for the killer who ended the lives of their friends and family to get what’s coming to them because these characters feel like your own family.

Of all the subgenres of suspense, supernatural suspense is my favorite. I’m always a fan of the otherworldly, and basing a series on the Mothman and setting the story in the town where he was reportedly seen intrigues me even more. Is he a good guy or a bad guy? He makes appearances in this novel, so you’ll have to decide for yourself.

Small towns, long held secrets, sweet romances, dark mysteries, and strong characterization make this series a must read and will enthrall supernatural suspense fans. The Mothman is just a bonus. 

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

A selection of books by Mae Clair

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Mae on: Goodreads Website: Mae Clair – Twitter: @MaeClair1

About Mae Clair

A member of the Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers, Mae Clair is also a founding member and contributor to the award-winning writing blog, Story Empire. She has achieved bestseller status on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble, with several of her novels chosen as book club selections.

Mae writes primarily in the mystery/suspense genre, flavoring her plots with elements of urban legend and folklore. Married to her high school sweetheart, she lives in Pennsylvania and is passionate about cryptozoology, old photographs, a good Maine lobster tail, and cats.

 

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

 

Music Column 2022 – William Price King meets the Music Legends – Roberta Flack – 70s and 80s Collaborations


It is eight years since William Price King joined Smorgasbord to share music across the genres. It is six years since we have featured some of the music legends and delighted to showcase them again in 2022.

Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway remastered

Roberta Flack – The 70s, 80s and collaborations.

Following on from her success with The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face in 1973 Roberta Flack also celebrated that year with her second No 1 hit with Killing Me Softly With His Song.

The song, originally performed by Lori Liebermann in 1972 was written by Charles Fox, a composer who worked mainly in television and film. The lyrics were written by Norman Gimbel a veteran in the music industry whose English lyrics to the Brazilian hit The Girl From Ipanema made the song a global success.

Roberta’s version of Killing Me Softly was awarded Record of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female artist at the 1974 Grammy Awards and her album that featured it was her biggest selling record earning Double Platinum Certification in the same year.

That year Huckleberry Finn the film was released and Roberta Flack sang the lead on the opening and closing track Freedom written by brothers Robert and Richard Sherman.

1975 saw the release of the album Feel Like Makin’ Love which Roberta Flack produced despite the misgivings of Atlantic Records. Collaborating with musicians including Bob James and Patti Austen she brought an edgier jazz element to the tracks. It would become her third No 1 album. Here is Roberta performing Feel Like Makin’ Love from a later live album Roberta Flack in Concert. The song was written by singer/songwriter Gene McDaniels

During the 80s and following the sad loss of Donny Hathaway in 1979 Roberta Flack would perform with two other artists and their collaboration would help her stay in the charts throughout the decade.

Peabo Bryson (Robert Peapo Bryson) is an R&B and Soul singer-songwriter who is known for his ballads particularly performed with female singers such as Roberta Flack. He has contributed to several Disney animated feature soundtracks and his solo hits include If Ever You’re In My Arms which was a Top 10 pop single in 1984 and Can You Stop The Rain in 1985. He went on to win a Grammy in 1992 for his performance of the song Beauty And The Beast with Celine Dion and again in 1993 for A Whole New World from Aladdin.

In 1983 he recorded the album Born to Love with Roberta Flack that featured Tonight I Celebrate My Love For You. RHINO 

Another successful collaboration was with Maxi Priest the British reggae vocalist. He is recognised as one of the most successful Reggae Fusion artists combining his musical roots with an R&B influence. His first major release was Maxi Priest in 1988 and his cover of Cat Steven’s Wild World helped establish his success. His duet with Roberta Flack Set the Night To Music reached the American Top Ten in 1991. The song written by Diane Warren, was originally recorded by the American group Starship on their 1987 Album No Protection. The song was the title track for Roberta Flack’s 1991 album released by Atlantic.

In 1988 Roberta released her album Oasis which featured And So It Goes which was co-written by poet Maya Angelou. Maya had enjoyed a brief musical career in the 50s and had released an album of calypso music in 1957. She then spent the next 30 years focusing on her successful writing career. In a tribute to Maya Angelou after she died in 2014 Roberta Flack said this about her close friend in a statement to TIME.

“Thank you for your wisdom, for your unfailing strength, your courage and your honesty which have moved people around this world to a better place. We all have been inspired by you to not give up when we otherwise might have.”

And So It Goes was composed by Barry Miles with Maya Angelou and Roberta Flack.Roberta Flack 

Next week in the final part of this series we will bring you bang up to date with some of Roberta’s more recent live performances. You will find her tour dates in the link below and if you are lucky enough to live close by I hope you will book your tickets to this amazing artist’s shows.

Please join us next time for the last part in the Roberta Flack story with her more current work.

Buy Roberta Flack’s music : Amazon

Additional Sources
Roberta Flack

Photographs
Wikipedia

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

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

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

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

 

Thank you for dropping and as always William would love to receive your feedback… thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Laughter is the Best Medicine – June 30th 2022 – Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp – Law Suits and Pit Stops


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

Careful what you wish for!

Sadie, a 54-year-old woman had a heart attack and was taken to the hospital.

While on the operating table she had a near-death experience. Seeing God she asked, “Is my time up?”

God replied, “no, you have another 43 years, 2 months, and 8 days to live.”

Upon recovery, Sadie decided to stay in the hospital and have a face-lift, liposuction, breast implants, and a tummy tuck.

She even had someone come in and change her hair colour and brighten her teeth! Since she had so much more time to live, she figured she might as well make the most of it.

Having finished all her treatment she was released from the hospital. While crossing the street on her way home, Sadi was killed by an ambulance.

Arriving in front of God, she demanded, “I thought you said I had another 43 years? Why didn’t you pull me out of the path of the ambulance?”

God replied:

”I didn’t recognise you.”

Customer Service

I experienced the WORST customer service today. I don’t want to mention the name of the shop because I’m not sure how I’m going to proceed.

Last night I bought something from this shop. I paid cash for it. I took it home and found out it didn’t work. So today, less than 24 hours later I took it back to the shop and asked if I could get a refund.

The girl in the shop told me “NO” even though I still had the receipt. I asked if I could get a replacement instead then. Again this person told me “NO.”

I asked to talk to a manager now as I’m really not happy and I explained that I had just bought the item, had got it home and it didn’t work. The manager just smiled and told me to my face that I was “OUT OF LUCK.”

No refund.

No FREE replacement. Grrrrrrrrr. .

I’ll tell you what…I am NEVER buying another Lotto Ticket from there again …

Last words

In Ireland, the 99-year-old Mother Superior lay quietly.
She was dying.

The Nuns had gathered around her bed, laying garlands around her and trying to make her last journey comfortable.

They wanted to give her warm milk to drink but she declined.

One of the nuns took the glass back to the kitchen, then, remembering a bottle of Irish Whiskey that had been received as a gift the previous Christmas, she opened it and poured a generous amount into the warm milk.

Back at Mother Superior’s bed, they lifted her head gently and held the glass to her lips. The very frail Nun drank a little, then a little more and before they knew it, she had finished the whole glass down to the last drop.

As her eyes brightened, the nuns thought it would be a good opportunity to have one last talk with their spiritual leader.

“Mother,” the nuns asked earnestly, “Please give us some of your wisdom before you leave us”. She raised herself up very slowly in the bed on one elbow looked at them, and said:

“DON’T SELL THAT COW!”

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

About Daniel Kemp

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

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

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

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

A selection of books by Daniel Kemp

A review for The Story That Had No Beginning

Reviewed in the United States on February 23, 2021

This book is an interesting and complex story about twins, Tom and Alice Collins, who enter the foster care system at a young age and are raised separately. The book starts with Alicia Collinson, aka Alice Collins, and her sophisticated boyfriend hosting two friends for a dinner party. Unknow to the dinner participants, the ghost of her brother Tom, known as Bobby Brown among his peer group, is also in attendance. It is obvious from the start that Alicia is a woman of good financial circumstances who mingles with the elite of London’s society. It also becomes evident quite early on, that Tom’s life has followed a very divergent path and he was a member of the mafia-styled criminal class.

The book follows the paths of the twins and how they come to end up in their different circumstances and lifestyles. Alicia is a well-know and talented photographer who owns her own home in London and has plenty of money. Tom has money, albeit ill gotten, but he dies the death of a criminal.

Tom is a conflicting character as he is a man involved in high class prostitution and other shady and illegal dealings. Despite being a seasoned criminal, his narration of the story reveals a different side to his character. One that questions the life he lived and celebrates the good fortune and success achieved by his sister.

Alice or Alicia has the great good luck to become the protegee of a wealthy single woman with no children who effectively adopts her and sets her on the road to success in her chosen field of photography. Unknown to the naïve Alicia, her benefactor isn’t everything she appears to be and some of the people she socialises with are infamous for their continuous promiscuous behaviour with the same, or the opposite, sex. In a contrast to her brother, Tom, who is in the centre of the debaucherous lifestyles led by the wealthy upper classes of London, Alicia hovers around the edges, not realising what is right in front of her.

The author has an in-depth knowledge of the illicit behaviour of the British upper class and paints a detailed picture of how greed, selfishness and a complete disregard for the values and ethics of society lead to the downfall of people.

This book will make you question what success is all about and whether it leads to contentment as the stories of the many characters unfold. This is thought provoking tale as despite the huge difference in the siblings financial and social positions, both of them end up with money but neither of them have good reliable partners or simple and happy lives. 

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

Thanks for visiting and I know Danny would love your feedback.…Sally

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Post – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! #Life #Loss by Staci Troilo


I am sure like me, there have been times when you have wondered what difference might have been made to your life, if your younger self had been gifted with the experience and knowledge you have accumulated over the years.

I invited several friends from the writing community to share their thoughts on this subject which I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did.

Today author Staci Troilo shares her thoughts on the prompt…..

I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now by Staci Troilo

Ciao, amici! Sally, thank you for asking me to participate in this segment and welcoming me here today.

I’d have submitted something sooner, but I couldn’t settle on what to say. Some of the advice I’d give my younger self is intensely personal and wouldn’t benefit anyone other than me. Then there were other words of wisdom I considered, but they’re so common… I’m pretty sure everyone knows those lessons. (I just wish I’d learned them sooner.)

This is my fourth attempt. I decided if I couldn’t nail it this time, I wasn’t sending anything. (And yes, I recognize the ridiculousness of an editor not being able to revise her own work into something usable.) For better or worse, I was satisfied enough with this one to send it. I hope it’s neither too specific nor too generic.

Here we go.

When we’re born, we’re basically little ids. (In that, I agree with Freud.) There’s no use in me offering advice to my infant self, as I wouldn’t understand it or follow it. Babies simply want what they want, and no amount of reason will make them understand they can’t necessarily have it (or have it that instant). At least at that age, what we want is easy to obtain. We’re hungry, we cry, we get fed. We’re cold, we cry, we get swaddled.

As we get older, we start to develop a conscience. It’s still incredibly difficult to reason, but we’re learning right from wrong and therefore, we’re learning priorities. Mine at that age were simple. I desperately wanted things like a picnic at the park, a trip to the library, a specific toy, or a visit with family. When I didn’t get my way, there was disappointment, ranging from a mild pout to a full-blown tantrum. But I learned pretty quickly that what my parents said was what would be. That meant my priorities, though basic, needed to take a backseat to those of my mom and dad.

As I got older, my desires took on more weight. I’m pretty sure I uttered variations of “If I don’t get X, I’ll just die!” several times a day, where X was anything from a good grade to a specific article of clothing to the affections of my latest crush. Hormones make teenagers completely illogical (and often overdramatic), and everything seemed like a life-or-death situation. Some of what was going on was, in fact, important. A few instances ended up being seminal moments. But now I know most things very much weren’t, though I thought they were at the time.

When I graduated college, I embraced adulthood in all its glory. That meant my concerns had become “grown up” concerns, complete with deep-seated fears of failure in its many forms. I worried about finding the right job, and once I did, I agonized over my performance. The first three jobs I left required two people to replace me because I’d done so much work in those positions. But as I climbed the corporate ladder, I still fretted and feared every little thing in my professional life. And I did the same in my personal life. I bent over backward to please the people most important to me. In so doing, I lost myself and became what other people needed.

I wish I could tell my younger self not to sweat the small stuff. But everything that’s important to us in any given moment seems like the biggest deal of our lives. It’s a matter of perspective, I suppose. In school, getting an A instead of a B seemed like the most crucial thing in the world. (It certainly mattered to my parents.) Ask me how many people these days even ask about my degrees or what university I went to…

That would be no one.

I’m not saying good grades didn’t matter, but they certainly weren’t worth the hours of tears I shed over trigonometry and calculus. And as for being a people-pleaser? There’s nothing wrong with trying to make people happy, especially loved ones, but not at the expense of your own happiness. Certainly not at the expense of your identity.

So where am I going with all this?

We always have wants and desires. We’re born with them, live with them, and will have them until we die. And I’m a firm believer that we should pursue them passionately. But also with reason and prudence.

Hindsight and perspective have taught me not every decision is a dire one, not every tense situation is life-altering, and not being true to myself is costly. Tragic, even.

My advice to my younger self would be to not take life (be it people or situations) so seriously all the time. That old adage about the things that don’t kill you making you stronger? It’s a popular saying because it’s true.

For most of my life, I thought losing something or someone I treasured would be the death of me. And as I suffered one loss after another, I failed to learn that wasn’t true. But a few years ago, I suffered a monumental loss and truly believed the pain would kill me. Even wished for it at one point. But surviving makes you strong. No loss is insurmountable. And if you allow yourself to move past the agony and the shame and the guilt, you’ll be better for it.

At least, I think I am.

I wish I could have told myself all this sooner, but I don’t think I would have listened if I did. I tried to impart this wisdom to my son and daughter, and they didn’t grasp the concept. Maybe I’ll have more luck teaching my grandkid(s), though I suspect it’s a lesson that’s wasted on the young. Could be it’s something we all have to learn on our own.

What I do know is I’m not going to beat myself up over it.

©Staci Troilo 2022

My thanks to Staci for sharing her early years. Also such a poignant reminder that loss is inevitable in our lifetime and yet we can survive stronger and more resilient. I know that she would love to hear from you.

About Staci Troilo

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

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

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

Books by Staci Troilo

One of the reviews for Between the Vines

Mae Clair 5.0 out of 5 stars A fun and breezy romantic story  Reviewed in the United States on March 16, 2022

Elena is a wedding planner who doesn’t believe in love thanks to the jerks who have been sniffing around her door since high school. Aaron is her cousin Rick’s longtime friend, a cop who’s recently been dumped by his fiancée, Heather.

Heather is now engaged to Jarod, a one-time friend of Rick, until he tried to take advantage of Elena. Sound like a romantic merry-go-round? Oh, just wait until the complications/fun begins!

From the start, the underlying attraction between Elena and Aaron is clear, but several obstacles stand in their way—foremost, Heather, who decides she was hasty in leaving Aaron once she sees him take down a robbery suspect. This woman is the pinnacle of self-centered and shallow. Troilo writes her in such a way that the moment she appears in a scene, you cringe. Heather is a character you love to hate.

But all Troilo’s characters are well developed. Elena is a walking bundle of doubt buried under a core of outer strength. Aaron seesaws between exasperation and attentiveness. Poor guy has his work cut out for him, but bring out the pom-poms because you’ll be cheering for him and Elena from their very first spark of chemistry.

This is a fun novella with snappy dialogue, perfectly paced scenes, and breezy writing. It leaves you with a warm feeling and a happily-ever-after smile. All three Keystone Couples stories are superb, but I think this clever gem might just be my favorite. 

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

 

Thanks for joining us today and it would be great if you could share Staci’s guest post… Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Health Column Rewind – Size Matters: The Sequel by Sally Cronin -#Obesity #Weightloss Introduction.


This is the updated and fifth edition of Size Matters and I had intended to release in 2021 for the 25th anniversary of my initial weight loss. However, with everything else going on in the world it did not seem appropriate to celebrate when people’s minds were fixed on survival in lockdown. Although this serialisation ontains much of the original material in relation to my own personal story, the programme has evolved over the last 25 years.

Although I studied nutritional therapy back in the mid-1990s, I have continued my studies and developed new programmes for healthy eating that are tailor made for the individual rather than a one size fits all. I still believe that the key elements of this basic weight loss programme I will share with you in this updated version works. Even when I work with clients who have arthritis or diabetes, I still approach their programmes from the three dimensions that I outline in this book.

Our physical approach, our mental attitude and our emotions are all factors in how we overcome disease and obesity, and should all be addressed when looking for the right programme that will work for each individual.

I used to weigh 330 lbs and was given a death sentence 27 years ago. I had very high blood pressure, cholesterol levels through the roof and my blood was awash with sugar. I took this swift kick up the backside to heart and did something about it, losing 154 lbs in 18 months and regaining my health in the process.

I am now 69 years old, have a moderately active but busy lifestyle as an author and blogger,and thankfully, do not need medication other than the specific supplements when required. I think about those days 27 years ago, when even climbing the stairs to bed were a challenge and left me breathless. My story, and the programme that I have adapted over the years, is still relevant today, as we face a massive increase in obesity and in the associated health problems – Cardiovascular disease, Diabetes and Dementia.

When I was classified as morbidly obese it was very uncommon in the UK, although having lived in Texas in the mid-1980s, it was evident that the obesity epidemic had already begun.

When we arrived in Houston we were met with a wonderful abundance of food, huge portions when out for a meal, and a bewildering array of industrially produced foods in the aisles of the supermarket. In the UK at that time we had fish and chip shops, Chinese and curry takeaway, but we were mesmerised by the amount of fast food available 24 hours a day. It was also clear that manufacturers were already catering more than food for the growing population, with outsize fashion for both men and women making billions of dollars a year.

When I look at group photographs taken at work with other people back in 1995, it is clear that I stand out from the crowd, and not in a good way. I usually avoided photographs like the plague especially when standing next to what I considered to be normal sized people. That sense of being alone as the one obese person in the room has changed dramatically in the last 27 years.

Here are some statistics that are very sobering about obesity today in the UK and I know from doing some research that a similar set of statistics is causing grave concern in most Western countries that are literally the lands of plenty. UK Obesity statistics

• 1 in 4 adults are classed as obese and a further 62% are overweight.
• This makes Britain has the 2nd highest rate of obesity in the world and the largest in Europe.
• 48 billion is spent managing the social causes and healthcare of obesity.
• There are 7 million cases of diabetes, 6.5 million cases of heart disease and stroke and 500,000 cancer cases linked to obesity.
• Hypertension (high blood pressure) was twice as common in obese adults compared to those with a normal weight.
• A BMI of over 30 can reduce life expectancy by 3 years.
• Approximately 68% of men and 58% of women are classed as overweight, however, there are more hospital admissions linked to women.
• Obesity is generally more prevalent in the north of England.
• Morbid obesity rates have almost triple since 1993. This is a BMI of over 40.

This is an epidemic of catastrophic proportions. Unless action is taken in the next few years, these statistics will increase to the point where not only will more and more individuals become crippled and diseased, but so will the health services who will be attempting to repair the bodies at great cost.

I wrote this book over 22 years ago to share my story and some of the strategies that I developed to take back control of my life, body and importantly my addiction to food, particularly a combination of fat and sugars. That combination lies at the heart of the obesity epidemic and if you look at the profile of industrially manufactured foods, they are the leading ingredients.

Another thing you will discover is that I am very anti crash and fad dieting. I starved my body into submission for over thirty years and my body responded by storing everything I ate. I will explain this process in more detail later in the book, but for the moment I just want to reassure you that this programme is about eating and not starving. You need to provide your body with the nutrients and energy it needs to function and be healthy. This means eating the right food, and plenty of it.

My journey began in despair, with a long road stretching ahead of me. Luckily I had a wonderful team to support me and I would have achieved very little in those first few months without my husband’s love and support. My family, friends loved me whatever weight I have been but I know that they were tremendously relieved when I gave up my self-destructive behaviour and changed my life so drastically.

I still communicate with people around the world who have severe obesity problems as well as those people who want to improve the standard of their health or support their body as it deals with certain medical problems. I believe passionately in the power of food to help you lose weight and regain health and I am on a constant mission to learn more about all the wonderful varieties that are available to us.

This book is not just about promoting a healthier lifestyle. It is a personal story that I hope will inspire other people who are desperate to find a solution to their weight or health problem.

This was my journey and I hope that after reading the first few chapters you will relate how I felt, to your own story, and be motivated to take control of your weight and health. Whether you need to lose 14 lbs. (6 kg), 50 lbs. (23 kg) or 150 lbs. (68 kg), it is still necessary to understand how you managed to become overweight in the first place.

As I have become less active and become more desk bound the weight has a tendency to creep up, so I can assure you that I am not a paragon of virtue. And in fact over the last twenty years, when encountering stressful experiences, I have all too gladly dived back into the sugar and fats that bring such comfort. Thankfully, it does not take long for me to remember how I felt when trying to navigate doorways and stairs, and I give myself a good talking to and get back on track.

The physical, mental and emotional elements of obesity.

There are physical, mental and emotional elements that influence our lifestyle and diet, and remembering those difficult and sometimes distressing times in our lives can be painful. I hope that like me that you also have many happy memories to help bring things back into perspective. When you finally succeed in achieving a state of balanced state of health it gives you an amazing sense of achievement and for me that feeling persists today.

My journey to health was not all smooth sailing and I have climbed a very steep learning curve. For instance, I came to appreciate the power of that little word NO. Instinctively we want to fit in, to have people like and accept us, and so we say YES, but trying to please everyone is stressful and unrewarding.

The satisfaction of eating a bar of chocolate is nothing compared to the satisfaction I feel now when I say NO to eating one. I can now say NO to many things that have caused me harm, though I have had to learn to say it graciously without offending well-meaning family and friends.

My reason for sharing some of the most challenging experiences of my life, is not to gain sympathy but to demonstrate that it does not have to define you and that you can move through it to a much better sense of worth. If you don’t and you find self destructive ways to comfort yourself, the experience or the people who caused your pain have won.

A brief overview of the programme in part two of Size Matters.

I believed in working with people on a one-to-one basis, rather than in a group, helping them to achieve their desired weight loss. In a way that is also achieved today as you read this book or read my health posts on my blog. The program that many have followed over the years when I was in practice, forms the second part of this book. Everything is there for you to design your own healthy eating program around your personal likes, dislikes and lifestyle.

If you are overweight, you need to take back control of your life and your eating habits, and this program is a tool to do just that. No gimmicks, pills or special diet foods, just good healthy eating, several times a day, with some walks thrown in. Nothing hard about that. We all possess the ingredients to ensure the success of this program – determination, willpower and patience. All that remains is to discover how to activate those particular skills and start using them.

My life has been transformed, and there is no way in the world that I will go back to the old life however many times I have been tempted over the last 25 years. Particularly when I remember that my life expectancy at the time was counted in just a few years. If this book makes a similar difference for just one person, then it will have been worth it.

If I can communicate a single message to you it is that obesity, and the misery attached to it, need not be for life.

Next time Chapter One…Life or Death… I am told by a doctor that at 42 it is likely that my obesity related health issues would make it unlikely I would reach 45.

©sally cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2022

A little bit about me nutritionally. .

About Sally Cronin

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-four years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain.

Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 21 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.

You can buy my books from: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow me :Goodreads – Twitter: @sgc58 – Facebook: Sally Cronin – LinkedIn: Sally Cronin