About Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life.

My name is Sally Cronin and I am doing what I love.. Writing. Books, short stories, Haiku and blog posts. My previous jobs are only relevant in as much as they have gifted me with a wonderful filing cabinet of memories and experiences which are very useful when putting pen to paper. I move between non-fiction health books and posts and fairy stories, romance and humour. I love variety which is why I called my blog Smorgasbord Invitation and you will find a wide range of subjects. You can find the whole story here. Find out more at https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/about-me/

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Summer 2020- Pot Luck – Darlene Foster Interviews Author Mary Smith


Welcome to the current series of Posts from Your Archives… and I will be picking two posts from the blogs of those participating from the first six months of 2020. If you don’t mind me rifling through your archives… just let me know in the comments or you can find out the full scope: Posts from Your Archives – Pot Luck – 2020

This is the first post from Darlene Foster and an opportunity to showcase two lovely authors in the same feature..Darlene interviews Mary Smith in March of 2020.

Darlene Foster interviews writer and blogger, Mary Smith

I’ve been blogging for almost ten years and I love it. It’s a great way to communicate with like-minded people, and I’ve made wonderful friends all over the world through my blog. The blogging community is so supportive, sharing ideas and providing encouragement.

One friend I’ve made is Mary Smith from Dumfries, Scotland. She has written some wonderful books including a guide to her hometown. When I finally get to Scotland, I will be taking this book with me.

She has also written a couple of books based on life in Afghanistan, where she lived and worked for a number of years.

This is my review of No More Mulberries.

I bought this book because I love reading stories that take place in the middle east. I was not disappointed. Mary Smith has written a wonderful story about cross-cultures, family, relationships and Afghanistan. The detailed descriptions of the land, people and culture are fascinating. The story is told through the point of view of Miriam, the main character, who is a wife, mother and medical practitioner. It is easy to identify with her as she struggles to maintain a home for her family in a culture so different from her life in Scotland. Miriam also has to deal with ghosts from the past and feelings she has suppressed for too long which are having a negative effect on her marriage. This well-written book takes place in a troubled time just before the Taliban take control. Since the reader knows what will eventually happen, but the characters don’t, it keeps you on your toes and turning the pages. I highly recommend this book.

During a book signing in British Columbia last fall, I had a most pleasant surprise. Mary’s cousin Grace hand-delivered a card from Mary to me! Grace had been in Scotland to visit Mary who knew I would be at a bookstore not too far from where Grace lived, so she sent a card along. How special is that?

What a lovely card, all the way from Scotland

And the perfect poem on the back.

I have asked Mary to be a guest on my blog and answer a few questions.

If you could choose a fictional character to be your best friend, who would you choose and why?

This one stopped me in my tracks, Darlene, and I found it difficult to pick one – so I’m afraid I cheated and chose two. I would have loved to be best friends with Jo March of Little Women. She is such a great character. She, like me, was a tomboy – I climbed trees, went fishing with boys because I didn’t know any girls who wanted to fish. I even played on building sites, climbing over the rafters of half-built houses (which makes me shudder to think about now). I think we’d have egged each other on to do ever more daring things and I think we’d have laughed a lot together. She was strong-willed, determined not to be bound by the conventions of the day. Best of all, she wanted to write. I’d never met a character – a girl at that – in a book who wanted to be a writer and was totally bowled over by this. If Jo could do it – which she did very successfully – then maybe I could, too. I was slightly less impressed with her in Jo’s Boys when she began to only write for family and stopped writing for money, saying “most of us (she was talking about literary women) write too much.” I don’t think my teenage friend Jo would have adopted such an attitude so I’ll go on believing the teenage Jo March and I are best friends.

The cheat of my second one is a bit quirky. I would love to be best friends with Flora. Flora is the main character in a wonderful novel called The Bees by Laline Paul – and Flora is a bee. She is born into the lowest class of the hive but she’s a brave wee thing and survives and thrives, breaking the rules of the hierarchy in what is a compelling thriller about the secret life of the hive. I think we could be great friends, Flora and me.

If you could personally see one natural phenomenon that you have never seen, what would it be and why that one?

I would love to see the Aurora Borealis. Growing up in Scotland I always loved the song, The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen, sung so often in school, at ceilidhs, on the radio, in which the lights are described as the “heavenly dancers”. I’ve seen amazing images of the phenomenon on the internet and would love to see it for real.

If you were to be paid to write a book about any subject you wished, what would it be about?

I want to write a biography of a remarkable woman who was a mechanical engineer in the early 1920s. She had an amazing life: supervising thousands of women (who could build anything from a bicycle to a battleship) at Barrow-in-Furness during the First World War, running a car factory, which employed mainly women, taking part in car racing trials and then establishing a hugely successful steam laundry – they laundered the uniforms of the soldiers who took part in the D-Day Landings. I have done some research but it would be lovely to be paid to do further research and writing the book.

Tell us about your next writing project.

Well, until I’m offered a nice advance to write about my woman engineer, my current project is turning the material on my blog, My Dad’s a Goldfish, into a memoir. My father had dementia, bad enough in itself, but his wife of forty years decided she wanted a peaceful life and left him, just at the time he most needed stability and continuity in his life. I moved in with him and started the blog as a way of recording events – and to keep my writing muscle working – and from feedback it seems all sorts of people would be interested in reading it as a book. It’s not in any way a ‘misery memoir’ – it has a lot of humour – but it does tell it like it is, from finding way to engage my father’s interest in life to dealing with him cheating at dominoes, from dealing with what it’s like to have to wipe your father’s bum to sharing his joy in the countryside.

©Darlene Foster March 2020

About Darlene Foster

Growing up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, Darlene Foster dreamt of writing, travelling the world, and meeting interesting people. She also believed in making her dreams come true. It’s no surprise she’s now the award-winning author of Amanda Travels, a children’s adventure series featuring a spunky twelve-year-old who loves to travel to unique places. Readers of all ages enjoy following Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. When not travelling herself, Darlene divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca, Spain with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot.

A selection of books by Darlene Foster

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One of the recent reviews for Amanda in Spain

Balroop Singh 5.0 out of 5 stars Fun, adventure and values for children  Reviewed in the United States on July 2, 2020

Amanda in Spain by Darlene Foster recounts the charming adventures of a twelve-year old girl who goes to Spain to meet her friend, Leah. I enjoyed this book with my seven-year-old grand daughter who could read most of the story herself, as it is written in simple language to engage young children. Besides focusing on fun, this book highlights the spirit of curiosity, kindness and determination to succeed and fosters love for travel. The mystery girl Dona meets Amanda again and again and why does she get pulled toward her – a tale well told to keep children hooked till the truth tumbles out!

All the characters are realistic – a wonderful friend who stands by you, parents of Leah who encourage independence and a kind stranger who offers to help. While the wickedness of the world is revealed, it is kept within bounds so that it may not trouble tender minds. There is enough within the story to know Spain and its traditions. I’ve recommended the series to my grandchildren and they would be reading more of Amanda’s adventures.

Darlene Foster, Buy: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Website/Blog: Darlene Foster WordPress – Goodreads: Goodreads – Twitter: @supermegawoman

About Mary Smith.

Born on the island of Islay but grew up in Dumfries & Galloway from the age of seven. After school had a miserable year working in a bank, went hitchhiking round France and Italy, came back and worked for Oxfam for ten years. Went for a holiday to Pakistan and found a job so the next ten years were spent first in Pakistan then in Afghanistan working for an aid organisation. A freelance journalist, I also write poetry, fiction and non-fiction including local history.

Books by Mary Smith

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Mary Smith, Buy:Amazon US – and:Amazon UK –  Blog: Mary Smith’s PlaceGoodreads: Goodreads – Twitter: @marysmithwriter

Thank you for dropping by today and Darlene would love to read your feedback and if you would like to participate in this series here is the link again: Posts from Your Archives – Pot Luck – 2020

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – #Prehistoric – Against All Odds (Book 3 of the Crossroads Trilogy) by Jacqui Murray


Delighted to add the latest release from Jacqui Murray – Against All Odds (Book 3 of the Crossroads Trilogy) to her books in the Cafe and Bookstore.

About the book

A million years of evolution made Xhosa tough but was it enough? She and her People finally reach their destination—a glorious land of tall grasses, few predators, and an abundance that seems limitless, but an enemy greater than any they have met so far threatens to end their dreams. If Xhosa can’t stop this one, she and her People must again flee.

The Crossroads trilogy is set 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man populated most of Eurasia. He was a violent species, fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threatened his survival except for one: future man, a smarter version of himself, one destined to obliterate all those who came before.

From prehistoric fiction author Jacqui Murray comes the unforgettable saga of a courageous woman who questions assumptions, searches for truth, and does what she must despite daunting opposition. Read the final chapter of the People’s long search for freedom, safety, and a new home.

A perfect book for fans of Jean Auel and the Gears!

One of the early reviews for the book

D. W. Peach 5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating research of prehistory Reviewed in the United States on July 29, 2020

This book concludes the fascinating trilogy that began 850,000 years ago as Xhosa and her People begin their search for a new home, migrating across continents, meeting different peoples, and facing the harsh elements. They learn new skills, adapt, and develop strategies that help them survive. I recommend reading this series in order since it entails a single journey.

What I’ve enjoyed most about Murray’s prehistoric fiction is the meticulous research, which shines through and brings the time period to life. While the glimpses into prehistoric life were mesmerizing at the beginning of the series, this third installment focuses more on the characters and their personalities and how they adapt to situations. The natural landscape and elements continue to be a challenge but there are more encounters, both cooperative and aggressive, with other humans, including cannibals.

The cast of characters has grown over the trilogy and a glossary of names at the book’s beginning is worth browsing for a refresher. Murray also provides some research detail in a foreword that is interesting though not required to enjoy the story. The book moves along at a good pace, and the author does a great job envisioning the world through prehistoric eyes with terminology that creates an aura of the past. Highly recommended for readers of prehistoric fiction.

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

Also by by Jacqui Murray

Jacqui Murray, BuyAmazon US – And: Amazon UK –  Follow Jacqui: goodreads – Blog: WorddreamsTwitter: @WordDreams

About Jacqui Murray

Jacqui Murray is the webmaster for Worddreams, her blog about all things writing. She is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the upcoming prehistoric fiction, Born in a Treacherous Time. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for Ask a Tech Teacher an Amazon Vine Voice  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics.

Thank you for dropping in today and it would be great if you could spread the news of Jacqui’s new book.. thanks Sally.

If you would like to join Jacqui Murray and the other authors in the Cafe and Bookstore you will find out more: Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore FREE author promotion.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – August 2020 – #Intuition – Do you trust your gut instincts?


Welcome to my August edition of Realms of Relationships. Today I’m going to talk about our intuition, how to trust it, and how to sharpen our own intuitive skills.

Intuition

What is intuition? There are a plethora of descriptions and explanations for intuition. But the basic mechanics of how it works is with our natural instinctual reaction – memories usually trigger something from a past lesson, which the mind often overlooks. In the same way we know when there’s danger around, intuition or our 6th sense, is automatically activated within us.

The term ‘gut instinct’ is often associated with intuition. But did you know there is a physical connection between the brain and the gut? This is no myth. Deep within the tissue of our guts is what’s called the enteric system. There is a scientific explanation for the correlation of things we feel internally, which are connected from the brain to the gut. When my intuition is trying to get my attention, it feels like an intestinal tug in the stomach is how I explain it. Thus, the said correlation between the brain and the intestines is a sign for me.

We’ve all had that ‘familiar’ feeling, often labeled as a déjà vu moment when our instincts pick up on a remembered moment from the past – which doesn’t necessarily mean the triggered sense of familiarity occurred in our present life, but perhaps from a past life? Déjà vu translates to ‘already seen’ from French. It’s a common term we all use when we come upon a moment that feels so familiar, having us feeling as though we’ve already been in or experienced that precise moment, quite possibly from another place and time, as it’s an inexplicable feeling without an exact recollection of where the experience was first felt.

Intuition is often referred to as ‘non-conscious emotional information’. Einstein had referred to it as a gift. It’s a sense of knowing without a rational and sometimes inexplicable fact. Many say that only psychics and mediums are guided by intuition, but intuition is a culmination of all things we’ve learned in our experiences that are stored in the archives of our minds, which quite possibly become the catalyst for our heightened alert system, ignited by a situation that feels remembered. Material retained is deeply buried within us, although we’re unaware of the influence the sum of our memories have on us.

“Intuition is the voice of spirit within you.” – Morgan Llewllyn

It’s a delicate art to be able to home into and trust our intuition, sometimes with all the outside noise and confusion leaving us feeling conflicted with deciding between what our inner voice is telling us, and our self-doubting egos that can tend to get in the way.

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.” — Albert Einstein

Is our intuition learned or acquired, or are we born with it? The difference between rationalization and intuition becomes a quandary, leaving us having to decide if what we’re feeling is a sign to move forward, or leaving us to doubt our inner instincts.

This video below, helps to explain:

Everyday things we make decisions about are initiated by intuition, whether or not we follow through with the pushes from the universe depends on our own self-trust.

Signs that our intuition is trying to tell us something may not be a tug in our gut, but quite possibly whispers to self, and by synchronicities in our daily lives (when signs keep appearing in attempts to guide us). Premonitions and dreams may also portend messages about decisions that are weighing on us.

Example: It’s sunny outside, but we take an umbrella because we have a feeling it’s going to rain, despite what the weatherman says, because we have a hunch it may rain, as opposed to the cautious person who will take that umbrella just in case, without intuition being the motivator, just caution.

Our world is complicated and noisy, and if we were to listen to our inner guidance, solely, without the influences of our own ego getting in the way, we’d be on our way to getting in touch with our intuition. Remember, when we are faced with making a decision and our gut sends us a message and we in turn begin to question what we are feeling, bringing in doubt and fear and questioning our own inner guidance, we are bringing ego into the equation, which will sabotage the whole point of following our initial instincts.

Dr. Judith Orloff says in her book, “A highly developed intuition is a “secret weapon”, Guide to Intuitive Healing, on intuition says: “It gives you all kinds of information you wouldn’t normally have. This isn’t the brain analyzing; this is nonlinear knowledge. It’s a second kind of intelligence. You want to use both.” Dr. Orloff adds that anyone can learn to fine-tune their intuition, adding that many of our intuitive messages are stored in the right side of our brains.

If you’d like to hone in on learning to understand and trusting your intuition, these steps will help:

• Listen to your gut without the outside noise and ego and pay attention to your gut reaction because of the neurotransmitters linked between the gut and brain. For example: If someone is telling you a story, or trying to entice you into doing something and you get a twisted knotty feeling in the gut, pay heed and take a timeout to feel out the situation, as opposed to jumping in because it sounds tempting.
• Keep track of your energy levels – feelings and synchronicities. This goes back to an earlier post I wrote on Energy Sucking Vampires, if you are constantly feeling drained or uncomfortable around someone, that is intuition informing you with a physical message to exit the situation.
• Pay attention to those insightful flashes that come to you – An idea out of the blue, a person that pops into your head that can help you with a nagging problem or even a positive project. Write down the ideas, and get in touch with that person.
• Meditation can help to calm the noise in our mind and eliminate the thoughts from ego. We only need to take a few minutes by ourselves to mediate and un-cloud our brain. Meditating is like doing the dishes, clearing them out of the sink, only we’re clearing our heads so we can easier receive and become more in-tune with what self, not ego is telling us.

Do you trust your own intuition? Do you have something to share here where you know your intuition has guided you to making a good decision?

©D.G.Kaye 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

Books by D.G. Kaye

One of the recent reviews for Conflicted Hearts

Mar 07, 2020 Miriam Hurdle rated it Five Stars it was amazing

In her book Conflicted Hearts, Kaye recounted her vivid memories of painful experience growing up with a narcissist mother whose interest was partying, smoking, gambling and getting male’s attention to herself. Her mother threw out her father frequently and had male companions in the house with the children’s presence. Kaye’s father returned home long enough to make babies but had no guarantee to stay. She felt sad for her father. She couldn’t concentrate at school. Instead, she expected the disappearance of her father or anger from her mother. She did not receive the nurturing needed for a happy childhood. Instead of being a child, she felt responsible and be the parent to her father. Later, she found out that the paternal grandparents didn’t like her because her mother was pregnant with her and caused her parents’ marriage. She felt it was her fault, and that she was the reason for her father to marry her mother. She considered herself as the black sheep, the accident. If her father married someone else, he would have been happier. Her mother was never home and had babysitter watching the four children until Kaye was twelve and became a babysitter.

Aunty Sherry was the only adult to show her guidance, concern and attention. Sherry got married in her forties and didn’t have children.

Kaye moved to an apartment at age eighteen. She went to university part-time studying classical music and singing, but never made it. She then supported herself by working in the Casinos dealing cards. During those years, Kaye had relationships with married men. Eventually she married a loving, thoughtful husband. Eventually she got married to a love and caring husband.

As a mother and a grandmother, I couldn’t imagine such a person as Kaye’s self-centered mother. I felt horrified when Kaye’s baby brother wandered off a mile away while the mother was asleep late in the morning recovering from the late-night party. Children are the ones who suffer the most in a dysfunctional home. Kaye’s parents had problems with their marriage, yet four babies were brought into the world. I feel that Kaye’s mother had sex for pleasure and didn’t understand the consequence. Kaye should never feel responsible for causing the parents to get married. Regardless, Kaye became a sensitive person and led a happy life.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – More reviews and follow Debby: Goodreads

Connect to Debby Gies

Blog: D.G. Kaye Writer – About me: D.G. Kaye –
Twitter: @pokercubsterLinkedin: D.G. Kaye
Facebook: D.G. Kaye – Instagram: D.G. Kaye – Pinterest: D.G. Kaye

My thanks to Debby for taking on the challenge this year of exploring the complexity of relationships, and sharing strategies to improve the way we manage those important to us.  As always your feedback is very welcome. Thanks Sally

Final Flurry & Fotos~

Quote


With so much negative news and the ongoing pandemic it is easy to lose sight of the wonderful things in the world, including these beautiful hummingbirds. Despite many being endangered they battle on, helped by humans who provide vital feeding stations for them, before they face thousands of miles of migration. Head over to recharge your batteries to enjoy all the images provided by Cindy Knoke.. a wonderful place to visit.

 

Final Flurry & Fotos~

Of flying fairies.

It’s a bit tricky to take a photo and feed a hummer at the same time!

Most of The Holler Hummers are packing on calories now to prepare for migration.

 

 

Please head over to enjoy the rest of the post.. thanks Sally

 

via Final Flurry & Fotos~

Q & A With D.G. Kaye Features Jacqui Murray and #NewRelease – Against All Odds


Two of my favourite authors on one page as D.G. Kaye interviews Jacqui Murray and showcases Against All Odds.. Book Three of the Crossroads Trilogy…

Q & A With D.G. Kaye Features Jacqui Murray and #NewRelease – Against All Odds

I’m happy to be having Jacqui Murray back to my blog with her hot new release, Book 3 in her Crossroads Trilogy series, Against All Odds. Jacqui has a magnificent blog tour currently going on in blogtown, and I’m happy to be part of it here in this edition of Q & A.

 

Jacqui Murray

 

About Jacqui:

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for  NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature, Book 2 in the Dawn of Humanity trilogy, Winter 2021.

 

 

 

Blurb:

A million years of evolution made Xhosa tough but was it enough? She and her People finally reach their destination—a glorious land of tall grasses, few predators, and an abundance that seems limitless, but an enemy greater than any they have met so far threatens to end their dreams. If Xhosa can’t stop this one, she and her People must again flee.

The Crossroads trilogy is set 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man populated most of Eurasia. He was a violent species, fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threatened his survival except for one: future man, a smarter version of himself, one destined to obliterate all those who came before.

From prehistoric fiction author Jacqui Murray comes the unforgettable saga of a courageous woman who questions assumptions, searches for truth, and does what she must despite daunting opposition. Read the final chapter of the People’s long search for freedom, safety, and a new home.

A perfect book for fans of Jean Auel and the Gears!

 

Head over to enjoy the Q& A with Jacqui and read an excerpt from her new book

 

Source: Q & A With D.G. Kaye Features Jacqui Murray and #NewRelease – Against All Odds

Smorgasbord Children’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Author on the Shelves – #Environment – That’s Our Home by Jude Lennon


Delighted to welcome Amazon best selling Children’s author Jude Lennon to the Cafe and bookstore, and you can also find Jude’s latest collection of short stories in the main Cafe. Today I am going to feature her recent release – That’s Our Home.

About the book

“Don’t do that! That’s our home!You’re just not being green.Use a bin or take it home.Keep the beaches clean.” Starfish, Crab and Seagull live on a beautiful beach which is being ruined by rubbish and plastic. Join them as they speak to the people on the beach and remind them about the importance of looking after the beaches and coastlines for everyone.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Adam Searle 5.0 out of 5 stars A strong message  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 5 July 2020

I love this book. – “That’s Our Home” is a charming story highlighting the trouble with littering and plastics and the damage it can do to the environment and nature. The story line is strong and the rhyming makes it a fun read and the illustrations are fantastic and colourful. The stars of the story: Starfish, Crab and Seagull are very likable and will appeal to children.

This book is ideal for children of any age who feel strongly about saving the environment and is a good read for parents and teachers to read out.

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

A selection of other books by Jude Lennon

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Other Reviews: Goodreads – Website and shop: Little Lamb Publishing – Facebook: Jude Lennon Author – Twitter: @JudeLennonBooks

About Jude Lennon

I am a children’s author and also run a storytelling business called Little Lamb Tales. I love the imagination and creativity involved in writing for children. Many of my stories feature my storytelling mascot Lamby who even has his own facebook page. My writing is branching out into Adult fiction and in November 2019 I launched my collection of short stories for the adult market. I am currently working on a full length novel. I am a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors, Team Author UK and I am the current Disney Winnie the Pooh Laureate for the North West of England. I am also a Patron of Reading whose main mission is to encourage and promote reading for pleasure. For 18 years I was a teacher who loved writing and now I’m an author who loves storytelling… how does it get any better than that?

Thank you for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share Jude’s books.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Coffee Time Haiku – Wexford, Ireland – Abandoned House by Sally Cronin


This photograph was the first that we took of our new home in Wexford in 2016. Repossessed and abandoned with furniture inside and out, and half the garden growing over the roof at the back of the house; it looked very sad but we saw the beauty and bought on the spot.

In fact it was pure serendipity that I found it in the first place. We had sold our house in Madrid and I began looking for a home to buy in the Waterford area, and on one particular site, in amongst the houses for sale, was one in Wexford!

I took a look at the details and we agreed that the price was very good and it was only a 45 minute drive to my father-in-law’s house in South Dublin. However, when I emailed the agent he said that the property was sold but if that changed he would let me know.

A week later we arrived in Dublin to stay with my father-in-law for a few months as we house hunted, and out of the blue, the next day the agent rang to say the sale on the sale had fallen through and would we like to view!  Oh yes.

In June 2016 we moved in to the house knowing that we had considerable work to be done to restore it to its former glory. We stripped out all the brown carpets, redecorated throughout and all the external walls, installed new boiler, insulation, replaced warped wooden floors,a couple of bathrooms and tiled the hall through the ground floor. All the windows were replaced along with the front and back doors. One of the last jobs was to build a retaining wall and expand the patio at the back. David is currently leveling and landscaping the area that used to be just a big slope down to the wall and hedge separating us from the next property.

Outside there were 15 dead trees that had spawned creeping ivy that had migrated to the roof and gutters at the side and back of the house. David who had become an experienced lumberjack in our home in Madrid which contained a lot of pine trees, took out the most precarious of the dead ones over the first year. The week after he completed the work we had a hurricane which would have taken some out, probably to the detriment to the house.

Anyway  – here is my haiku that I wrote at the beginning of our renovations.

And here are few up to date photographs during the renovations

The garden is still a work in progress but having installed a new fence and lawns we are now working on providing a welcome to the local wildlife.

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you enjoyed seeing our renovation project.  We are almost at that point where the house will get its wish for a dog to complete the transformation. Thanks Sally.

Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story – Chapter Two – My New Home by Sally Cronin


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

51uI0kWA+ML._UY250_Last time Sam had met his new mistress for the first time at three weeks old and had his first experience of the vet… not without blood being drawn!

Chapter Two – My New Home.

That was to be the last time I would be with my mother and sisters, as the next day my new mistress arrived to take me away. I was too excited at seeing and smelling her again to notice that we were leaving my family behind. I was a little afraid when I found myself on her lap in one of those large smelly boxes again,  but this one seemed to be not quite so odorous or noisy, and I found that if I tucked my nose up under my mistress’s chin I felt safer.

It was a longer trip this time and I dropped off contentedly after a little while. I woke when I felt a strange vibration under the box as if we were travelling across a very rough surface. We stopped and the man I now knew to be my new master got out of the box and came around to open the door for us.

“Well Sam, you’re home.” The ground crunched under their feet and we moved towards a bigger house than my home had been. The front door was opened and the man went in turning back towards us with a small box in his hand. A flashing light made me blink and then my mistress carried me across the threshold into my new life.

My new house was detached and stood in the middle of two acres of garden and wild meadow. I did not know it then, but the grounds surrounding us would provide me with not only a wonderful place to play and explore, but also would be where I met my first and best friend.

At first I was in awe of the wide spaces that made up the inside of my new home. Shiny lino floors in the kitchen and wooden floors throughout the rest of the house made it tricky to keep one’s feet; us Collies are not known for our ability to accept slippery surfaces underfoot. Some say we are too bright for our own good, and this is apparently obvious when you consider our reluctance to trust in anything new; be it surroundings or food.

Up to this point I had enjoyed 24 hour milk on tap, and because I was a growing boy and hungry all the time, had tolerated the hard and rather tasteless pebbles that my old master had served up three times a day for my sisters and me. Because Ireland is a little wet, an understatement I can tell you, our food was served in three small dishes under a plank laid across two oil cans. This kept the food dry and our heads as well when we ate.

My old master had given my new family a packet of the pebbles so that I could stay on the same food and not get an upset tummy.

Despite only being eight weeks old, I felt that perhaps it was time to establish my independence, and although I was now hungry and missing both milk and my regular meal, I declined the bowl of food that was put down in front of me and looked up at my new boss with a determined expression on my face.

This minor rebellion was to have long term affects, and I can tell you in the next few days I was delighted to be offered all sorts of new and tasty treats in an effort to get me to eat. One of the main issues was that I did not like being out in the open when I ate. In my old home I was used to being under the plank which was enclosed and rather dark. Finally in desperation my mistress, who I had heard my master call Sally, put a dish of chicken breast and scented rice in a bowl in the fireplace. Of course there was no fire in the grate and the smell of the warm chicken enticed me to clamber up onto the tiles in front of the chimney breast and sample this latest offering.

It was definitely found to be more acceptable than the pebble dash and previous offerings and I was hungry enough to concede defeat.

After eating my meal I backed out of the fireplace and turned around triumphantly to establish with my new family that this indeed was acceptable food for a Collie. Instead I was met with hysterical laughter and the sight of my new master and mistress rolling around on the floor. Unfortunately I was unable to see the funny side of this behaviour, but there again I couldn’t see my face, which was now covered in soot.

There were a few other events that I did not find particularly amusing, including Sally’s persistence in putting me outside the back door, rain or shine immediately after I had eaten despite my being very tired and ready for a nap. It seemed to please her enormously if I had a wee wee and she got ecstatic if I did a fragrant parcel as she called it. There was much hugging and kissing before I was finally allowed to retire to a warm spot in the house for a much needed rest.

I spent a great deal of time exploring the downstairs of my new home as at that time my legs were still too short to get up the stairs, but from the aromas that wafted down, I felt that in time this area of my territory was going to provide a wonderful playground for me.

My own room in the house was the utility room and I must say my first night I felt rather scared and concerned. I was used to curling up with my mother and sisters at night, waking occasionally for a drink of warm milk or a wee outside in the yard. However, Sally had done a fair job of fitting out my new bedroom. There were layers of the local paper on the floor that stretched to the back door of the house. I had a fleecy blanket in the corner with some chewable toys and a rather lovely soft jumper that exuded her particularly comforting scent.

There was a lattice gate across the door into the kitchen where a dim light had been left on. I was warm enough but very lonely and for the first half hour I must admit that I did have a little cry to myself before falling into an exhausted sleep. It had been a very long and tiring day.

My mother trained me not to wee or do any other business in the straw where we lay so during my first night I was at a loss what to do when I woke up in the middle of the night.

I had no idea how long I would be there before Sally and my master David came down in the morning and I hoped that they were not the sort of people who liked a lie in.

Of course I could not tell the time, but I do know that I tend to wake up at sunrise and go to sleep when it gets dark. It was mid summer so the sun came up very early and I stood by the back door somehow knowing that I needed to get through it to a yard or somewhere where I could wee. Eventually I could hold on no longer and I am afraid that I wet the newspaper on the floor. Just as I finished Sally appeared and viewed the pool in front of the back door.

“Never mind Sam, you have done very well and it is my fault for not getting up sooner.”

Quite right but very gracious anyway. With that she opened the back door and we had a very pleasant trot around the back garden and I thought I had better take the opportunity to complete my toiletry while I could.

The next morning I held on desperately and true to her word, Sally appeared just in the nick of time and I never wet in the house ever again.

Now a little bit about the garden. Our house was set in the middle of a two acre plot with a house next door and a field on the other side. The back of the plot was left to wild meadow that in the future would prove to be a delightful playground chasing butterflies and rabbits through the long grass. But because David and Sally thought I might get lost on my own out there, they had fenced off quite a large portion of the garden just outside the back door and this enabled me to be let out on my own in the warm summer sun.

Some enterprising school boys had a lucrative business making hand made kennels and misguidedly Sally thought that this would be top of my list of things to have. It was enormous in preparation for my adult my size but I never really liked it. David spent an entire afternoon climbing in and out of the dog house trying to entice me in but I felt that like my food I had to establish right from the start that I was not really a dog and would not be using this type of structure at any time in the future.

Sally used to come out with me in the afternoons and there were two sun loungers and my favourite toys and a paddling pool. Whilst she lay out in the rare Irish sunshine, I would sit in my pool and cool down. Instead of the kennel I would crawl under the sun lounger and snooze in the shade. It made for a very pleasant few weeks while we waited for my next set of jabs.

My humans had continued to experiment with various dog foods and fresh chicken and eventually we made an acceptable compromise. I even began to eat my meals away from the fireplace although I have to say that it was not until I was nearly eight years old that I tired of winding them up with my picky eating habits. Even today I have them very well trained and I have to say I am extremely well provided for.

Anyway, back to those first few weeks and next time some of the adventures that awaited me, and the friends that I would meet.

©sallycronin Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story 2009

About the authors

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

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

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

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

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

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – 2nd – 8th August 2020 – Music, Octopus and Oysters, Dog Stories, Waterford, Book Reviews, Children’s books and funnies.


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

It is finally a lovely sunny day and I intend to take full advantage and be out in the garden most of the day.

I have finally given myself a very good talking to and put into action a long overdue plan this week. It involves books and reviews and my unsuccessful efforts to whittle my TBR list down effectively. I was only reading at night and it was five pages and then lights out so to speak. Something needed to be done.

I now have a mandatory reading hour in the afternoon either in the garden or in our sitting room if the weather is not warm enough. I have finished two books this week instead of the usual one, and I feel far less guilty about the books sitting their so patiently waiting for my attention.

I am delighted that the new Children’s Cafe and Bookstore is going well with 5 new authors joining and you will meet them in promotions over the next week. One of the problems for children’s authors, especially with picture books for younger children, is getting reviews.  In part because many children’s books are given as gifts and parents may feel that there is no where for them to share a review if they have not bought from Amazon or other book sellers online.

This is why it is important to have a Goodreads author page as a Children’s author so that reviews can be posted worldwide and without having been bought.

Having said that, if the parents or grandparents don’t know that they can put a review on Goodreads, it is not as useful as it might be.

If you are an author of children’s books could I suggest that at the back of your books you put a short note asking for reviews and providing the link to https://www.goodreads.com/ and explaining that it is also a wonderful resource for other children’s books, often at special prices.

In the coming weeks I am going to be putting together some specific children’s book promotions to encourage reviews and it would be great if you help spread the word.  This includes a children’s review watering hole…where even if the books are not in the Children’s Cafe and Bookstore, reviews can be shared and I will add the blurb and the links to the books. The promotion post for this new series is scheduled for Tuesday at 18.00 UK time.

I cannot imagine my life without books and my love of reading began at age four. It is such an important skill to have in life and children’s authors deserve all the support we can give them.

And on the subject of reviews...I was delighted this afternoon to receive a wonderful 5* review from Marjorie Mallon for Life’s Rich Tapestry..If you have time I would be so pleased if you would head over and read in full..thanks Sally.

Marjorie Mallon Review Life’s Rich Tapestry

Here are the posts from the week and as always a huge thank you to the guest writers for their amazing contributions.. this week William Price King and Carol Taylor. And to you for dropping in, liking, commenting and sharing the posts, the support is very much appreciated.

William Price King – Josh Groban Part Four

– A – Z of Food – ‘O’ for Oats, Offal, Octopus, Oranges and Oysters.

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

#Ireland #History – The Colour of Life – The Dance Scene 1950

Some photos and a haiku from Lanzarote

Letters from America 1985-1987 – August 1985 – Hawaiian Luau and Trash Can Punch

Children’s – A Beechworth Bakery Bears (The Beechworth Bakery Bears 1) by Frank Prem

Past book reviews Book Reviews – #FamilySaga Judith Barrow, #Historical Tony Riches

#HaikuSequence – Rain by Sally Cronin

images

Herbal Medicine – Stinging Nettle and Scorpion Stings

Drystan the Dragon and Friends: Delbert Finds Himself by Janice Spina

Author Reviews – #YAAdventure Darlene Foster, #Children’s #Kindness Dawn Doig – #Horses Deanie Humphrys-Dunne

#ShortStories – #Ireland – We All Die in the End: Scenes from a Small Town by Elizabeth Merry

#Fiction #Community Phyllis Staton Campbell

#Shortstories – A String of Stories: From the Heart to the Future by Ann Chiappetta

#Anthology M.J. Mallon, #Fantasy D. Wallace Peach, #Memoir #Teaching Pete Springer

#Crime Jacquie Biggar, #FlashFiction Sarah Brentyn, #Contemporary #Humour Lizzie Chantree

#Finance – Should You Take an Early-Out Package? by Sharon Marchisello

#Personal – Twelve Questions From A Guy Called Bloke by Stevie Turner…

#Birth – On the Eve of Beltane by Sue Vincent

National Bunion Day by Mary Smith

Guns of Perdition: Interview and Review by D. Wallace Peach

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines –August 4th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines –August 6th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines Extra – August 7th 2020 – Funnies and Bad Dad Jokes Host Sally Cronin

Thank you very much for dropping in today and all the support during the week.. it is much appreciated.. Sally.

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