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. https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/about-sally-cronin/

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Music Column – The Big Band Era with William Price King and Sally Cronin – 1940s – Lionel Hampton, Glenn Miller, The Conga

Welcome to the 2023 series of the music column where I am joined as always by Jazz singer and composer William Price King.  We hope you will join us every Tuesday for some of the chart hits of the big band era from the 1930s through to the 1950s.

Some of the earlier videos are not of the best quality however where possible we have sourced remastered copies to share with you. Considering some are almost 100 years old, it is remarkable that they exist at all.  A testament to the love of the music of that era. Along with our selections each week we will also be showcasing one of the dance crazes from the 1920s onwards and as with the music videos some are not of the highest quality and in some cases I have substituted more modern versions.

Here is my next selection from the Big Band chart in the 1940s from Lionel Hampton

Lionel Hampton “Flying Home” (1940)

“Flying Home” was written by Benny Goodman and Lionel Hampton with lyrics by Sid Robin. It was developed while Hampton was in the Benny Goodman band. A gig in 1939 required the band to fly from L.A. to Atlantic City, the first time Hampton had flown. He began whistling a tune while waiting for the plane to taxi. Goodman asked him what it was, to which he replied “I don’t know, we can call it ‘Flying Home,’ I guess.”

Hampton later confessed that he was humming the tune as a way to keep his mind off of the impending flight. It was first recorded by the Benny Goodman Sextet in 1939, featuring solos by Hampton and Charlie Christian. The tune charted twice, in two different versions by the Lionel Hampton Orchestra. The first version, which rose to #25 in 1940, featured Ziggy Elman on trumpet. The second and most renowned version, with Dexter Gordon on tenor sax, featured an outstanding saxophone solo by Illinois Jacquet and charted in 1942, rising to #23.  Michael Zirpolo

Here is my next selection from the 1940s from Glenn Miller

Glenn Miller “Pennsylvania 6-5000” (1940)

“Pennsylvania 6-5000” (also written “Pennsylvania Six-Five Thousand”) is a 1940 swing jazz and pop standard with music by Jerry Gray and lyrics by Carl Sigman. It was recorded by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra as a Bluebird 78 rpm single.

Many big band names played in Hotel Pennsylvania’s Cafe Rouge in New York City, including the Glenn Miller Orchestra.The hotel’s telephone number, Pennsylvania 6-5000, inspired the Glenn Miller 1940 Top 5 Billboard hit of the same name, which had a 12-week chart run. The instrumental was recorded on April 28, 1940 in New York. The 78 single was released in June, 1940 as RCA Victor Bluebird 78 B-10754-A backed with “Rug Cutter’s Swing”. The song was also an advertisement for attendance at the band’s live performances, as a call could be put through to Hotel Pennsylvania’s venue the Cafe Rouge for a reservation. Classic Mood Experience

Other sources: Wikipedia – And: Jazz Standards

The conga line is a novelty line dance that was derived from the Cuban carnival dance of the same name and became popular in the US in the 1930s and 1950s. The dancers form a long, processing line, which would usually turn into a circle. It has three shuffle steps on the beat, followed by a kick that is slightly ahead of the fourth beat. The conga, a term sometimes mistakenly believed to be derived from the African region of Congo, is both a lyrical and danceable genre, rooted in the music of carnival troupes or comparsas

The conga dance was believed to have been brought over from Africa by enslaved people in the West Indies, and became a popular street dance in Cuba. The style was appropriated by politicians during the early years of republic in an attempt to appeal to the masses before election. During the Machado dictatorship in Cuba, Havana citizens were forbidden to dance the conga, because rival groups would work themselves to high excitement and explode into street fighting. When Fulgencio “El Checho” Batista became president in the 1940s, he permitted people to dance congas during elections, but a police permit was required.

Your Hosts for The Big Band Era

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

Sally Cronin is an author, blogger and broadcaster who enjoyed four years as part of the team on Onda Cero International’s English speaking morning show in Marbella and then for two years as a presenter on Expressfm the local radio station in Portsmouth. She co-presented two ‘Drive Time’ shows a week with Adrian Knight, hosted the live Thursday Afternoon Show and The Sunday Morning Show guests including musicians and authors. Following this she became Station Director for a local internet television station for two years, producing and presenting the daily news segment, outside broadcasts and co-presenting the Adrian and Sally chat show live on Friday evenings.

She and her husband David have now returned to Ireland where they live on the Wexford Coast where she blogs and continues to write books.

Books :Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – More reviews: Goodreads – blog: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Twitter: @sgc58 – Facebook: Sally Cronin – LinkedIn: Sally Cronin

Thanks for tuning in and as always we love to hear from you.. thanks William and Sally.



Smorgasbord Book Promotions – New Book on the Shelves – #Scifi The Final View (The View from Here Trilogy Book 3) by Leon Stevens

Happy to share the news of the latest release by Leon Stevens. The third book in his Sci-fi trilogy – The Final View (The View from Here Trilogy Book 3)

About the book

“We have to go back.”

That’s what April said as we sat at the bar. Now, I regret the choices.

April texted me. “When are we going back?”

I’ve thought about it constantly. We could have gone back right away, but we both decided to come home to take care of some things here first. Would the entrance still be there in the future? It had to be. We didn’t destroy it like the last time—although, I don’t think it was anything we did on purpose to seal the cave at the end of the trail. There was an earthquake, but did we do that? I don’t think so.

There is some connection that both of us feel about that place. Maybe it’s the shared experience, maybe it’s the residual ‘gift’ Flick gave us, or as April puts it:

“I think we have a higher purpose, Thomas.”

I don’t know what that is. Neither does she.

One of the early reviews on Goodreads for the last book in the trilogy

The last book in the series gave me all the feels; adventure, tension, excitement and bittersweetness (yes I made up that word). I have loved getting to know these characters throughout the books and will miss them. A wonderful series – you should read them all 🙂 

Head over to buy the book: Amazon USAnd:Amazon UK

Also by Leon Stevens

One of the reviews for the first book in the triology The View From Here

Roxsanne Lesieur VINE VOICE 5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic short dystopian story!  Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on 4 February 2022

Thomas is a man with a lot of life experience under his belt and now all he wants to do it hike the trails around where he lives and absorb the nature around him and that is exactly what he sets out to do, however on this particular day, it is the one thing that doesn’t happen.

The hike starts off as any other does, apart form the car in the car park with a note saying it is “not abandoned”, he admires the viewpoint and makes his way up to the part of the trail with a wall around it and the decision to either follow the trail and either go up or down. This changes when he spots a footprint on the top of the wall and he has a decision to make, but in the end he makes a discovery and takes a leap of faith following where he thinks the person may have gone.

What Thomas finds when he follows in another’s footsteps is nothing like he has seen before, but the friendships he creates will leave a lasting effects on him. If you were in his shoes, somewhere you have never been before and with only your skills and those of another to keep you going, would you be able to take the same leap of faith and be brave enough to create the friendships it may lead to? This is a dystopian adventure where science fiction becomes a new reality and nothing is what it seems. 

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK –follow Leon:GoodreadsWebsite:Lines by Leon Twitter: @linesbyleon

Author Logo

About Leon Stevens

Leon Stevens is a multi-genre author, composer, guitarist, and artist, with a Bachelor of Music and Education. He published his first book of poetry in 2020, followed by a book of original classical guitar compositions and a short story collection of science fiction/post-apocalyptic tales. His newest publications are the sci-fi trilogy, The View from Here, The Second View, and The Final View, and a new collection of poetry titled, A Wonder of Words.


Thanks for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share the news about Leon’s latest book..

Smorgasbord Book Promotions – Meet the Authors 2023 – #Pilgrims #History Noelle Granger, #Fantasy #Africa Chris Hall, #Memoir #Cancer Miriam Hurdle

Welcome to the 2023 series of meet the authors. This series offers me the opportunity to not just share my personal recommendation for the author, but to also check for new books I might have missed, changes to biographies and profile photos and check links.

I also I hope will introduce you to previously unknown authors to you and their books. As the curator of a towering TBR like most of you, I hope it will also encourage you to move books waiting in line up the queue.

The first author today Noelle Granger has recently released the fifth book in the Rhe Brewster mysteries and has also recreated the world of the early pilgrims in a fantastic book The Last Pilgrim that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Author Logo

Meet Noelle Granger

Noelle A. Granger grew up in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in a rambling, 125-year-old house with a view of the sea. Summers were spent sailing and swimming. She was also one of the first tour guides at Plimoth Plantation. Granger graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a bachelor’s degree in Zoology and from Case Western Reserve University with a Ph.D. in anatomy. Following a career of research in developmental biology and teaching human anatomy to medical students and residents, the last 28 years of which were spent at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, she decided to try her hand at writing fiction. The Rhe Brewster Mystery Series was born.

The series features Rhe Brewster, an emergency room nurse, as the protagonist. Rhe lives in the fictional coastal town of Pequod, Maine, (similar to Plymouth) and Granger uses her knowledge of such a small town, her experiences sailing along the Maine coast, and her medical background to enrich each book in the series. In the first book, Death in a Red Canvas Chair, the discovery of a wet, decaying body of a young woman, sitting in a red canvas chair at the far end of a soccer field, leads Rhe on a trail that heads to a high-end brothel and a dodgy mortuary operation.

The second novel in the Rhe Brewster Mystery Series, Death in a Dacron Sail, was released in 2015, and finds Rhe responding to a discovery by one of the local lobstermen: a finger caught in one of his traps. The third book, Death By Pumpkin, begins with the sighting of the remains of a man’s body in a car smashed by a giant pumpkin at the Pequod Pumpkin Festival. Up next? Death in a Mud Flat.

In addition to the Rhe Brewster Mystery Series, Granger has had short stories, both fiction and non-fiction, published in Deep South Magazine, Sea Level Magazine, the Bella Online Literary Review, and Coastal Style Magazine, and has been featured in Chapel Hill Magazine, The News & Observer, The Boothbay Register, and other local press. Granger lives with her husband, a cat who blogs, and a hyperactive dog in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She spends a portion of every summer in Maine.

Books by Noelle Granger

My review for The Last Pilgrim

This book is amazing. Not only is it wonderfully written with a great flow that carries you through the events of Mary Allerton Cushman’s long life, but because you feel you have stepped right into the lives of those first settlers to the New World four hundred years ago.

It is a novel that fictionalises the true story of Mary Allerton and her family, from the age of four aboard the Mayflower, through her long life to 1699, first in the words of her father Isaac and then Mary as she takes over the narration in her early teens.

It is a chronicle of a journey begun in Germany, as those who were persecuted for their beliefs made the decision to move to the Americas where they were promised they could practice their religions as they wished. Arriving in England they wait for passage with several failed attempts due to weather and unseaworthy vessels, before finally boarding the Mayflower. Of course even in the 1600s, money was also involved, and a deal was struck to fund the pilgrimage, with the expectation that trade goods would flow back to England in repayment of the loan. This placed an enormous burden on the fledgling communities on the east coast of America that was to last generations.

We travel with the 102 pilgrims aboard the Mayflower, where below decks families were crammed in to any available space with little food, no washing facilities or fresh air. This led to many deaths through disease and malnutrition with scurvy rampant. Babies were born and died, as did their mothers, and a much depleted group of men, with only a handful of women and their children landed in this unexplored New England.

This was not the good life, and without the help of the local native Indians it is unlikely that the remaining pilgrims would have survived. Sickness and their primitive living conditions led to more losses and it took several years for the colony to begin to thrive.

We share in their failures and successes through the next 75 years as demands from England continue to drain the economy. Relationships with both the Indian tribes and newcomers intent on land grabbing are tenuous, and their strict beliefs are tested on many occasions. There is no doubt that their presence in some areas displaced the indigenous people, and the introduction of European diseases resulted in thousands of deaths. But the author also shares the benefits of this coming together of two cultures, and the fact that a great many settlers formed long lasting friendships and trade agreements with their Indian neighbours.

The author knows the area intimately and even took part in the historical re-enactments of the period when she was a teenager. Combined with exhaustive research into the available writings of the time, Noelle Granger has recreated the life of this incredible group of migrants in great detail.

I particularly enjoyed the wonderful inclusion of the details such as the herbal remedies used for sickness and childbirth, the methods for preparing wild and cultivated crops, the making of candles and soaps and beer. The food was simple but the recipes for the dishes were enhanced by the many herbs that were grown for medicinal and seasoning purposes.

This is an intimate and detailed glimpse of the life of these early settlers and serves to remind us how privileged we are today with all our modern technology and medical advancement. Immigrants to a new country, particularly in this day and age, are looked upon by many with distrust and even hostility. But where would all of our countries be without these original settlers, who were not looking for adventure, but a safe sanctuary? Millions of Americans today can trace back their family trees to these early arrivals, and that is a testament to their forebears’ fortitude.

I can recommend the novel to anyone who enjoys well researched and written historical adventures based on true people and events.

Head over to read more about Noelle A. Granger and buy her books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK Blog: Sayling Away – Goodreads:Noelle A. Granger – Twitter: @NAGrangerAuthor

The next author Chris Hall lives in South Africa and I enjoyed her fantasy novel Song of the Sea Goddess and can highly recommend.

Meet Chris Hall

Chris describes herself as a compulsive story-teller, cat slave and hen keeper. Originally from the UK, she now resides in the Western Cape of South Africa.

Her most recent novels, ‘Song of the Sea Goddess’ and it’s sequel, ‘Spirit of the Shell Man’ were inspired by the charm and beauty of her adopted country where, in Chris’s vivid imagination, myth and reality collide on the southern shores of Africa.

Other novels:

‘You’ll Never Walk Alone – Thrills and Spills in 1980s Liverpool’

‘Following the Green Rabbit – a fantastical adventure’

‘The Silver Locket’ (published under pen name, Holly Atkins)

‘Song of the Sea Goddess’ and ‘Following the Green Rabbit’ are also available as audiobooks.

A selection of her poetry is included in ‘Creation and the Cosmos – a poetic anthology’, published by Raw Earth Ink in 2021.

She has also published a tiny taster of her work in a short story collection, ‘A Sextet of Shorts’.

More of her short fiction has appeared in ‘Adler’s Writing’ and ‘One Minute Wit’. Her work also appears in the ‘Writing My City’ anthology, published in Cape Town in 2019.

Books by Chris Hall

My review for Song of the Sea Goddess

A wonderful magical tale that is a fusion of ancient myths and the modern world.

The author has created a world where both these elements can exist together embodied in the delightful characters who share their story with us. They each are on their own paths with differing ambitions and hopes for the future and some escaping the scars of the past.

Despite this sleepy fishing village appearing to be a haven for those who find themselves living there, it becomes the epicentre for an act of revenge from the depths of the sea in response to the greed and destruction of man. The environment is under attack as are those mythical beings who live in within its shadows.

Where has the golden treasure tainted by dark magic come from? As those who touch it will discover, its hold on humans and creatures who cross its path is compelling and addictive, resulting in actions that become increasingly dangerous as the story races to the explosive climax. 

The Sea Goddess is on a mission to restore the natural order of the land, and to retrieve the coins that do not belong in the earthly realm. She is also prepared to take drastic action to right the devastating impact of this assault on the land before it is too late, putting the lives of Sam, the mystical Sasha, the Professor, Jannie and Dawid at great risk as they seek to solve the mysteries unfolding around them.

There some lovely humour threading its way through the story as we meet the other inhabitants of the village. I loved the two aunties Rose and Grace with their homespun wisdom and approach to life. The colourful Albertina who captures the heart of all she enounters as she attempts to fulfil her ambitions in life. The myterious and gentle Abdu who has a secret that will astonish all who know him and the little monkey Toti who will play a pivatol role in the adventure as it unfolds.

A wonderful fantasy adventure that I can highly recommend and I am looking forward to reading Spirit of the Shell Man soon.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US –  and: Amazon UK – Follow Chris: Goodreads –  Facebook: Chris Hall Author – Twitter: @ChrissyH_07

Then next author is Miriam Hurdle who has written both poetry and a delightful book for children. Recently she published her memoir sharing her breast cancer treatment and recovery which is inspiring.

Meet Miriam Hurdle

Miriam Hurdle is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She published four children’s books at twenty-six years old. Her poetry collection received the Solo “Medalist Winner” for the New Apple Summer eBook Award and achieved bestseller status on Amazon.

Miriam writes poetry, short stories, memoir, and children’s books. She earned a Doctor of Education from the University of La Verne in California. After two years of rehabilitation counseling, fifteen years of public-school teaching and ten years in school district administration, she retired and enjoys life with her husband and daughter’s family in Oregan, and when not writing, she engages in blogging, gardening, photography, and traveling.

Books by Miriam Hurdle

My review for The Winding Road

This is a brutally honest journal that takes the author from her initial and unexpected diagnosis of a rare cancer, through the gruelling treatment plan and her survival against the odds.

Despite the difficult subject matter, there are many elements in this story that shine through, such as the strength of faith, support of not just extended family but from kind friends within the local church fellowship, and the extraordinary courage it required to keep going despite the trauma.

Not all challenges were medical by nature, as there were hoops to jump through with regards to work, finance and obtaining the necessary approvals from health insurers. This can only have added a layer of stress totally unwelcome on top of the need to be positive about the prognosis.

Family and so many people came together to support, provide transport, meals and after treatment comfort in the form of emails and online messaging. This was a community at its best, and as important as the chemotherapy and surgery were in achieving the final outcome.

Family is key, and the love of her husband and her daughter with her growing family, are clearly a wonderful incentive for Miriam Hurdle to overcome not just the diagnosis and treatment, but the subsequent after effects that still have to be managed.

At the end of the book there are some wonderful photographs of the author and her family travelling around the world, celebrating life to its fullest. Perhaps with a new awareness of just how precious life is and should be celebrated every day.

At times this book lies heavy on the heart, but it is also an uplifting reminder of the human spirit. It is recommended reading for those who may be facing the challenges of cancer treatment to illustrate that there is hope, but also everyone who respects courage in the face of devastating adversity.

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon USAnd:Amazon UK Goodreads: Miriam Hurdle – Blog: The Showers of Blessings – Twitter: @mhurdle112


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

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – May 15th – 21st 2023 – Twitter, Starlings, The Jive, Diana Krall, Soul Mates, Zabaglione, Personal Power,Book Reviews, Health and Humour

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

Glad to report that the final small bits to the kitchen and the new counter top in the utility room are complete and we are back to normal which is great. I went shopping yesterday morning and when leaving the store I knew immediately that something was wrong.. I sounded like I was competing in a drag race with a revved up engine… and clearly my exhaust had cracked.. Thankfully our usual garage can take it on Monday morning… just when you think you have finished spending….. still it could be worse.

The baby starlings have fledged. They have been making a bit of a racket for the last couple of weeks in the hedges surrounding the house but on Wednesday they took flight and joined their parents at the Birdseed Cafe and Spa. They have learnt very quickly that the water bath is a fun way to play while waiting for mum or dad to fetch a dried mealy worm or seed from the buffet and the noise is horrendous, but satisfying to see such a wonderfully healthy crop of youngsters. Makes the feeding everyday, especially during the winter months worth it..Here is Mum on guard whilst two babies try out the swimming pool.

Just a note to remind those of you who have twitter accounts and whose posts were automatically uploaded there too. That option is no longer available which means that you have to manually link your posts to Twitter by using the sharing link. And readers can do likewise. Apparently to compensate they are bringing in an automatic instagram link which is great for those who are members and share a lot of photos.

I have been out and about again this week with crime writer Sue Coletta, who shares one of the stories from Variety is the Spice of Life… The Neighbourhood Watch a story of revenge with a bit of a twist at the end…

Please head over to enjoy on Sue’s blog:Short Story – The Neighbourhood Watch by Sally Cronin

Author Allan Hudson very kindly interviewed me back in 2017 along with an excerpt from Just An Odd Job Girl… this week he reshared the post and it was lovely to revisit his questions and the comments.

If you have time please head over if you missed it back in 2017: Allan Hudson with Guest Author Sally Cronin

As always my thanks to my friends who contribute to the blog…

William Price King joined me this week for the Big Band Era with Artie Shaw, Coleman Hawkins and The Jive.  On Friday William finished the series featuring Diana Krall.  On Friday William begins a new series… get ready to dance… with ABBA..You can also find William Blog– IMPROVISATIONWilliam Price King on Tumblr

Debby Gies​ was here with her series Spiritual Awareness on Monday exploring Soul Mates and Life Partners and the difference between them.. and of course Debby shared some great funnies for our laughter spot. On her own blog you will find her Sunday Book Review for The Widow by Valerie Keogh and a terrific post about Florence, Italy and the great flood of 1966 that devastated the city and its wonderful collection of artwork…and the amazing recovery operation. Head over toD.G. Kaye

Carol Taylor was here on Wednesday with the final in the current series of A-Z of food and the letters ‘X,Y,Z’. Carol’s next series is the original Green Kitchen which will be posted every three weeks starting on June 7th. Carol has been in Australia but returning soon to her blog, but you can catch up with her archives at Carol Cooks 2

Toni Pike will be here on Wednesday with her series on Personal Power and this week, Don’t Give Your Power Away… something it is easy to do. Head over to check out Toni Pike’s Books

On Thursday author Daniel Kemp shared some of his off the chart funnies with us including an hysterical letter from a new army recruit in Australia…you can catch up with Danny on his website and blog The Author Danny Kemp

Thank you very much for your visits, comments and shares to social media, as always it is appreciated ♥

On with the show…

The Big Band Era with William Price King and Sally Cronin – 1940s – Artie Shaw, Coleman Hawkins, The Jive

William Price King Meets Music Legends – #Jazz – Diana Krall Part Four – 2010s and Beyond

Spiritual Awareness – Soul Mates and Life Partners by D. G. Kaye

Carol Taylor’s – Culinary A – Z Rewind – X,Y,Z for Xawaash Spice, Yams and Zabaglione.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Podcast Rewind – Tales from the Garden – The Guardians of the Magic Garden by Sally Cronin

Free No Rubber Stamp photo and picture

Something to think about – The R’s of Life – Rejection – A Fact of Life Part One by Sally Cronin

The Body our Greatest Asset – The Circulatory System – Part Two – Common problems with blood-vessels by Sally Cronin

Book Review – In the Tree’s Shadow: A collection of stories that exist in your dreams… and nightmares by D.L. Finn

New Book on the Shelves – #WWII #Netherlands – The Girl From Huizen by Paulette Mahurin

#Crime #Alzheimer’s The Lilac Notebook by Carol Balawyder

#Motivational – Prisoners without Bars: A Caregivers Tale by Donna O’Donnell Figurski

#Nostalgia #BabyBoomers The Rat In The Python: Book 1 The Home by Alex Craigie

#Mystery #Paranormal D.L. Finn, #Malaysia #WWII Apple Gidley, #Supernatural #Adventure John W. Howell

Smorgasbord Blogger Spotlight – 26th May 2023 #Laughter Pete Springer, #Poetry Elizabeth Gauffreau, #Texting John W. Howell, #Chess Stevie Turner, #Eurovision Janet Gogerty, #Genres Jacqui Murray, #Florence D.G. Kaye

Hosts Sally Cronin and Debby Gies – Petty Theft and paraprosdokians

Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp – May 2023 – Facebook Friends and Orchestral manoeuvres


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will join me again next week.. Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Podcast Rewind – Tales from the Garden – The Guardians of the Magic Garden by Sally Cronin

I have been experiencing problems accessing my Anchor account through spotify and there have been a few issues since Anchor moved across. I am going to be recording more material in a few weeks to upload to Soundcloud but in the meantime I hope that new readers to the blog and those who have heard these stories before will enjoy the rewind.

Tales from the garden is a collection I wrote in tribute to our home in the mountains to the north of Madrid where we lived from 1999 to 2016. We inherited a number of statues from the previous owners that were too big to take with them, and I also found some discarded around the garden. Perfect characters for stories, some of whom moved on with us to Ireland and appeared in Tales from the Irish Garden.

This first story is about two very large lion statues that had pride of place in front of the house.. definitely in charge of all those who lived there.



Images ©Sally Cronin

I hope you have enjoyed the first story in the series and will join me again next week for another.

©Sally Cronin 2023


One of the recent reviews for the book.

D.L. Finn‘s review Five Stars   May 16, 2023

Thank you for listening and if you would like to know more about my books and their reviews you can find them on my books page My books and reviews 2023


Smorgasbord Book Promotions – New Book on the Shelves – #Nostalgia #BabyBoomers The Rat In The Python: Book 1 The Home by Alex Craigie

Delighted to share the news of the latest book by Alex Craigie which I know I will be able to relate to and look forward to reading. A nostalgic trip down memory lane for those born in the post war years. The Rat In The Python: Book 1 The Home

About the book

If you haven’t heard of a liberty bodice, believe that half-a-crown is something to do with impoverished royalty and never had the experience of slapping a television to stop the grainy black and white picture from rolling, then this series might not be for you. Please give it a go, though – I suspect that most of it will still resonate no matter where you were brought up!

The Rat in the Python is about Baby Boomers who, in the stability following the Second World War, formed a statistical bulge in the population python. It is a personal snapshot of a time that is as mystifying to my children as the Jurassic Era – and just as unrecognisable.

My intention is to nudge some long-forgotten memories to the surface, test your own recollections and provide information and statistics to put it all in context.

Are you sitting comfortably?

Then I’ll begin…

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

Also by Alex Craigie

My review for Means to Deceive May 14th 2022

You know you are in the hands of a master storyteller when you are so engaged by the story that you want to reach in and offer hugs to the main character and some swift justice to others!

Alex Craigie writes very good books and this is no exception.

Gwen Meredith is between a rock and a hard place at work and at home where intimidation, misunderstandings, secrets and childhood memories cloud judgment. It is even worse when it is played out on social media in a town where everybody feels they have a right to voice their opinions on the situation.

With a grandmother’s dementia developing rapidly, there is little time to sit and work through the evolving mystery and at times the interference of others, though kindly meant, creates more havoc.

This is probably not the best time to fall in love especially if you don’t know who to trust but it does offer a glimmer of hope in the dark place Gwen now finds herself in.

Clues are dropped in, and events point in a number of directions, but the puzzle is missing a lot of pieces until the final chapter. This is a clever mystery which will have you on the edge of your seat and wondering if you are perhaps not going a little crazy too.

The climax is dramatic and comes with surprising revelations. A fabulous ending to this highly recommended book.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Follow Alex: Goodreads – Alex Craigie via: Facebook

About Alex Craigie

Alex Craigie is the pen name of Trish Power.

Trish was ten when her first play was performed at school. It was in rhyming couplets and written in pencil in a book with imperial weights and measures printed on the back.

When her children were young, she wrote short stories for magazines before returning to the teaching job that she loved.

Trish has had three books published under the pen name of Alex Craigie. The first two books cross genre boundaries and feature elements of romance, thriller and suspense against a backdrop of social issues. Someone Close to Home highlights the problems affecting care homes while Acts of Convenience has issues concerning the health service at its heart. Her third book. Means to Deceive, is a psychological thriller.

Someone Close to Home has won a Chill with a Book award and a Chill with the Book of the Month award. In 2019 it was one of the top ten bestsellers in its category on Amazon.


Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you are leaving with some books… Sally


Smorgasbord Book Promotions – Book Review – In the Tree’s Shadow: A collection of stories that exist in your dreams… and nightmares by D.L. Finn

Delighted to share my review for the latest release by D.L. Finn –  In the Tree’s Shadow: A collection of stories that exist in your dreams… and nightmares.

About the collection

A collection of short stories where dreams and nightmares co-exist.

Nestled inside these pages, you’ll meet a couple in their golden years who take a trip with an unexpected detour, a boy desperate to give his brother the Christmas gift he asked for, a girl with a small glass dragon who is at the mercy of her cruel uncles, or a young mother who has the same dream about murder.

You’ll be introduced to worlds where people get second chances and monsters might be allowed their desires while angels and dragons try to help. Happy endings occur, but perspective can blur the line between good and evil in these twenty-seven tales.

Since the stories vary between 99 to 12k words, whether you have only five minutes or an entire evening to settle into reading, there is something that will suit your time and taste.

My review for the collection May 27th 2023

I have enjoyed stories by this author before, and this new collection is just as delightful, even though some stories have you checking under the bed before switching off the light.

We all have had nightmares and rarely do they survive the light of day, unless they are created by a master storyteller who knows just which buttons to push to make you shiver. Supernatural events and evil monsters battle for supremacy over humans and there are some wonderfully crafted characters deserving their time in the spotlight.

Alongside these stories are families who have drifted apart, parents who did not include kindness or inspiration in the upbringing of their children, and men and women seeking a new life away from their memories. There are also some dystopian reminders of why we need to take better care of our world, and how love survives loss.

Many stories touch the heart such as The Bike which showcased the kindness of strangers and The Bench which showcased the authors love of animals and their healing power.

The collection ends with a longer story, Stranded, with a retired couple seeking to recapture the sense of purpose and hope of their early relationship now that the children are grown and moved far away. They certainly get more than they bargained for and their adventure holds dangers that are out of this world as well as an amazing opportunity they would never have imagined.

I highly recommend this collection and be prepared to be drawn into the web created by D.L. Finn…

Read the reviews and buy the collection: Amazon UKAnd: Amazon US

A selection of books by D.L. Finn

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow D.L. Finn: Goodreads – Connect to D.L. Finn – Website: D.L. Finn Author – Facebook: D.L. Finn Author – Twitter: @dlfinnauthor

About D.L. Finn

D.L. Finn is an independent California local who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to the Sierra foothills in Nevada City, CA. She immersed herself in reading all types of books, but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, being surrounded by towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations vary from children’s books, young adult fantasy, and adult paranormal romance to an autobiography with poetry. She continues on her adventures with an open invitation for her readers to join her.


Thanks for dropping by today and I hope you will be leaving with some books.  Sally.


Smorgasbord Blogger Spotlight – 26th May 2023 #Laughter Pete Springer, #Poetry Elizabeth Gauffreau, #Texting John W. Howell, #Chess Stevie Turner, #Eurovision Janet Gogerty, #Genres Jacqui Murray, #Florence D.G. Kaye

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

Peter Springer​ shares his thoughts on Birthday Cards and humour, a much needed ingredient in our modern world.. and there is a dog video.. a much watch..

Head over to read and watch: Pete Springer – Laughter is still the best medicine

Elizabeth Gauffreau reads a beautiful poem “Instructions on Not Giving Up,” by Ada Limón, 24th Poet Laureate of the United States and shares some wonderful photography from her garden.

Enjoy Liz’s reading of this lovely poem: Reading Instructions on Not Giving Up by Ada Limon/

John Howell informs and entertains as always with his Ten Things Not To Do When Texting.. have had my own adventures I appreciated his advice….

Head over to make sure you are not getting yourself into trouble: Top Ten Things not to do when Texting by John Howell.

Stevie Turner has returned to a board game she enjoyed as a child and as an adult but this time online.. Chess a game of strategy and definitely great at keeping the mind firing on all cylinders..

Discover more about online Chess: A New Pastime by Stevie Turner

If you don’t know much about the Eurovision Song Contest and would like a review of this year’s event in Liverpool, head over to Janet Gogerty who shares her round up…

Head over to enjoy Janet’s recap: Eurovision 2023 by Janet Gogerty

Jacqui Murray​ shares how important that writers follow the rules of genre’s (Jacqui links to another post of hers which lists 70 of them and tips on how to write within them effectively) very interesting.

Find out more: Why follow genre rules by Jacqui Murray

Italy has been suffering from torrential rainfall this week with flooding and loss of life, but this is not the first time. Back in 1966 the great flood in Florence devastated the city and its population but also countless priceless pieces of art. Debby Gies​ has written a wonderful post about the incredible response from the world of art and volunteers who have spent years restoring the city’s art and its legacy.

In The Know – When the world answered – 1966 Great Flood in Florence, Italy and Women in the Artworld


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will enjoy reading these posts in full….


Smorgasbord Book Promotions – New Book on the Shelves – #Motivational – Prisoners without Bars: A Caregivers Tale by Donna O’Donnell Figurski

Delighted to welcome a new author to the shelves here on Smorgasbord…Donna O’Donnell Figurski with her poignant memoir – Prisoners without Bars: A Caregivers Tale

About the book

“Laugh! Cry! G-A-S-P!”

This heart-wrenching and triumphant love story is a tale of advocacy and caregiving. Donna’s husband, David, stumbled into their bedroom, his hand covering a blood-filled eye from a brain hemorrhage.

Donna called 9-1-1. David slipped into a coma. At that moment, Donna was thrust onto the path of caregiver for her best friend and the love of her life.

In her debut memoir, Donna shares how a neurosurgeon said that David would make a “great organ donor.” She writes of arrogant doctors, uncaring visitors, insensitive ambulance drivers, and problematic nurses. She also tells of the many compassionate doctors, nurses, therapists, staff, strangers, family members, and friends who helped them on their journey.

Donna compellingly describes her ability to appear positive as she experiences the horror of making life-or-death decisions. As her world crashes, she credits laughter as her lifesaver. More than thirteen years later, Donna and David are living a “new normal” together.

One of the many reviews for the book

Martha Graham-Waldon 5.0 out of 5 stars Love Conquers All Reviewed in the United States on December 23, 2022

Prisoner without Bars so closely mirrored my own life experiences, it was uncanny. Because I also faced a life threatening health crisis with my husband, I could definitely relate to Donna’s story. Even though ours was not a TBI, my husband was also in a coma and required rehabilitation once he survived his illness. The bizarre experience of basically living in a hospital with a family member for so long is something you never forget and caregiving for someone so helpless reveals the true meaning of love.

Donna’s fierce devotion to her husband David touched my heart. She also translated medical jargon and explanations into understandable terms. I enjoyed following their journey with a deep appreciation for how they were able to live in the here and now and how they have been able to make the most of their lives together, despite the limitations and obstacles placed in their way.

The short, engaging chapters made the book easy to read and hard to put down. I truly loved this book and I recommend it to anyone who is inspired by a love story that overcomes all the odds and celebrates the joy of life. 

Head over to read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US And: Amazon UK

About Donna O’Donnell Figurski

I am a wife, mother, and granny, a teacher, playwright, actor, director, picture-book reviewer, jewelry designer, photographer, and writer.

​You might have guessed, I spend a lot of time juggling my time to fit everything in. Of course, I don’t do them all at once.

​If you asked me which activity I like best, I couldn’t answer. I love them all. But, if you pushed me to choose, I’d admit that writing rules.

​Each day I write for hours. I write articles for online or print magazines or manuscripts that will one day turn into books. I write pieces, stories, and reviews for my blog. I write interview

questions for my guests and my panelists that appear on my radio show, “Another Fork in the Road,” on the Brain Injury Radio Network.

If I don’t get my daily fix of writing, I’m lost. I feel undone. So, what do I do? I write!

I’ve published four children’s stories with Scholastic. I was a winner in the 2013 Essex County (NJ) Legacies Writing Contest, and I was recognized by the National Education Association for my Teacher’s Pets review column for children’s books. I was honored to be nominated and be a finalist in the Caregiver Visionary Award. I was presented with the HOPE Hero 2019 Award for my work as a advocate for brain injury, and I jumped for joy when my blog, SurvivingTraumaticBrainInjury.com won a Top 30 Brain Injury Blog Award.

I am published in two anthologies on brain injury, The Resilient Soul and Surviving Brain Injury: Stories of Strength and Inspiration, and with my New Jersey writing group in the volumes, Montclair Write Group Sampler 2014, 2016, and 2018. I am frequently a contributor to online/print journals and magazines (TBI Hope Magazine, Lash and Associates Publishing Blog, BrainLine.org, and Disabled Magazine).

BUT, my greatest accomplishment is being caregiver to my husband, David, who had a traumatic brain injury in 2005. David and I currently live in the desert – where it never snows!

Connect with Donna: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK – Read more reviews and follow Donna: Goodreads – Bookbub: Donna O’Donnell Figurski – Website: Donna Figurski – Brain Injury Blog: Surviving Traumatic Brain Injury – Twitter: @DonnaFigurski


Thank you for dropping in today and it would be great if you could comment and share and I am sure Donna will be happy to answer any of your questions…. Sally.