Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – 26th September – 2nd October 2021 – Autumn, James Bond, Donna Summer, Podcast, Book reviews, Stories, Health and Humour

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

Welcome to October, and we certainly got there fast. I nearly knocked over the display of tins of Quality Street and Heroes ready for Halloween yesterday in the store, and it will be a permanent fixture now as it will remain there until after Christmas…

Autumn has swept in with a vengeance with high winds and lashing rain but the lawn is lovely and green. The birds are better than the weather forecast as they gather on roof and in the tree by the garden shed and make a racket at feeding time.. The last few days they have gone through almost double the normal rations and I have come to recognise that bad stuff is coming in.. and sure enough it did.

Some excitement in the coming week. I am having my flu jab on Monday so that I have that extra bit of protection when Ireland opens up fully (more or less) on 22nd October. With two years since most people had a flu jab it is expected to be a bumper year and whilst I shall be retaining my mask throughout the winter months, nothing like a little bit more insurance.

And secondly we will have our first trip to the cinema in two years later in the week to see the latest Jame Bond movie.. mixed reviews in the press but having watched every single one again during lockdown, and some of them were pretty corny… I am sure we shall enjoy very much. We will be masked, have had to book seats in advance so that everyone is socially distanced. No hanky panky in the back row then!  I will review of course.

The new series of Posts from Your Archives begins this Monday, kicked off my blog guru Hugh W. Roberts.. delighted to have some great bloggers signed up already.. look forward to hearing from you.

Before I share the posts from the week, a quick thank you to the wonderful contributors who spend a great deal of time putting together posts for us all to enjoy.. This week William Price King, D.G. Kaye and Daniel Kemp.

Thanks very much for your support and visits… I love to hear from you and I am grateful for all the shares on social media…

This week I was the guest of Rebecca Budd on the Tea, Toast and Trivia podcast and it was all about short stories.. and I read one of mine from Flights of Fancy – A New Beginning..

Head over with a cup of tea or coffee (or a margarita) and listen to our chat and the story: Rebecca Budd and Sally Cronin on short stories.

Chart Hits 1979 Part One – Donna Summer, The Doobie Brothers, Gloria Gaynor, Rod Stewart

Sonia – In Search of Prince Charming by Sally Cronin

Theresa at the Checkout

Memories, Music and Movies – 1964 – West Side Story – Maria – Tonight

#Paranormal #Thriller – Pre-Order Blood Mark by JP Mclean

New Review #Family # Murder #Mystery – Going Home by Sharon Marchisello

Smorgasbord Book Review Rewind – #WWI – #Historical – Sheep On The Somme: A World War I Picture and Poetry Book by Frank Prem

Smorgasbord Book Reviews Rewind – #Dystopian #Scifi – Megacity (Operation Galton Book 3) by Terry Tyler

Interview Size Matters (Especially when you weigh 330lbs) by Sally Cronin with Kelli Brett The Main Ingredient

Smorgasbord Podcast – Poetry and Flash Fiction – A celebration of Autumn – by Sally Cronin

Women’s Health Month – Cardiovascular Disease – Heart Attacks and Strokes by Sally Cronin

Women’s Health Month – The Heart – Connecting the Dots by D.G. Kaye

#Romance #Revenge – A Broken Promise – A Hunger by Jan Sikes

Tuesday 28th September 2021 – #OnlineSafety Jacqui Murray, #NurseryRhymes Robbie Cheadle, ‘Quotes John W. Howell, #Literacy D.G. Kaye, #Peaches Dorothy New Vintage Kitchen

Thursday 30th September 2021 – #Reviews D.L Finn, #Statistics Jim Borden, #Facebook Pete Springer, #Spotlight D.G. Kaye with Stevie Turner, #Pavlova Eat Dessert First Greece

#Poetry B.C. Byron, #NewMexico Darlene Foster

New Author on the Shelves – #History #JewishFiction – Why Didn’t They Leave? by Eva Hnizdo

New Book on the Shelves – #History #NorthernIreland – Stones Corner Volume Two – Darkness by Jane Buckley

New Author on the Shelves – #Historical #Music Beautiful Dreamer: A Fictional Biography of Stephen Foster by Sarah Taylor

#Romance Linda Bradley, #Anthology Sarah Brentyn, #Family Judith Barrow

#Vaudeville Elizabeth Gauffreau, #Scifi #Crime Natalie Cammaratta, #Poetry Colleen M. Chesebro

#Reviews – #Memoir Cynthia S. Reyes, #Poetry Harmony Kent, #Contemporary Anne Goodwin

September 28th 2021 -Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Windows and Magic

September 30th 2021 – Host Sally Cronin – What do you mean I can’t park here?


October 1st 2021 – Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp – Take the Bus and Wildlife..


Thanks very much for joining me this week and I hope you have a great weekend…Sally.

Smorgasbord Short Stories – Authors in the Sun – #Romance #Revenge – A Broken Promise – A Hunger by Jan Sikes

When I worked on radio in the south of Spain I presented and recorded four series of Authors in the Sun showcasing local writers and their short stories. I ran a series here on the blog in 2017 which was much enjoyed and showed off the skills of some amazing writers.

There have been some wonderful stories shared in this summer’s series, and I hope you have enjoyed them as much as I have.

Today a story about love and revenge….

A Broken Promise – A Hunger by Jan Sikes

Image by Catherine Stovall from Pixabay

Emily poured a fresh cup of coffee, and for the hundredth time, strolled to the end of the sturdy wooden dock her money had built. Where was he?

Perhaps he’d been involved in an accident.

She sipped the hot coffee and scanned the brilliant blue tranquil lake, searching intently for any sign of a boat, a ripple, a sound.

A pang of guilt crawled up her spine.

Leaving a note was a piss-poor way of saying goodbye. But the thought of a confrontation and one more fight with Malcolm was more than she could handle. By noon, after he’d left for work that morning, she’d retrieved her packed suitcase from the back of the closet, left her keys and checkbook, along with a note by the door where he wouldn’t miss it.

As she turned out the lights, she gave one last backward glance at her life, then tossed her suitcase in the backseat of her Mercedes and drove away.

It hadn’t been hard to walk away from a twenty-year marriage. Strangely enough, it had been one of the most natural things she’d ever done.

She’d skipped and twirled across the front porch like a giddy school girl when she’d arrived at Levi’s cabin. The truth was, she’d been there many times over the past few months.

It was there they’d made plans for her to make her escape from a loveless marriage, for the two of them to be together forever.

Lying in the circle of his strong, tanned arms, Emily found her center. He made her feel like a beautiful goddess, and when they made love, the earth tilted on its axis.

Minutes ticked by and turned into hours. She sighed deeply and tugged her cashmere sweater closer. Despite the warmth it provided, she shivered.

“Where are you, Levi?” Unable to sit still, she left the comfort of the cabin and paced the length of the dock that stretched out over the water. The sun’s rays cast an orange glow across the still water, almost as if the lake had caught fire.

Levi had never stood her up, but he should have been here hours ago.

She checked her cell phone for the umpteenth time.

Malcolm would be home from work by now. How would he react to the note? She could picture him sinking into his favorite chair and dropping his head in his hands. Well, she’d set them both free, and he should thank her.

“Levi will be here,” she said to no one. “He just got hung up somewhere.”

The first time she’d laid eyes on Levi, desire stronger than anything she’d ever felt swept the length of her body, leaving her knees weak and the sweet spot between her legs moist.

It had been a rare girl’s night out.

Malcolm had grumbled that she’d failed to fix him dinner. And while she should have felt some remorse, she’d tossed a TV dinner in his direction and headed out the door.

The crowded club was the perfect backdrop for Levi to stroll onto the stage and serenade the ladies.

He was a gorgeous specimen of a man. Long legs, tapered waist, bulging biceps, and the most striking blue eyes she’d ever seen. And when a lock of his wavy brown hair fell over those mystifying eyes, women swooned.

She wanted him.

That had been three months ago.

Now she’d walked away from her stable life. The home she’d built with Malcolm meant nothing anymore. She’d trade it all a hundred times over to be with this tanned god who made her feel alive.

The sun began to drop below the horizon, and she turned back toward the cabin.

“Surely, he’ll be here soon,” she told the birds. “He promised.”

Minutes ticked away.

Emily wrapped a soft blanket around her shoulders and lay on the sofa. Her eyes took in every detail of the love nest where she’d spent many blissful hours.

A lump of forboding formed in the pit of her stomach.

Something had happened.

Maybe he’d gotten cold feet. Or, perhaps he’d met someone else younger, prettier, and richer.

Emily thought back over every conversation, searching for a clue.

She tried for the umpteenth time to call him. It went straight to voice mail.

What to do now?

Bitter bile rose in her throat as stark reality took over.

What a fool she’d been to believe she’d found her one true love — to think she mattered to him.

While her life crumbled around her, she squared her shoulders and walked the length of the dock one last time.

A plunge into the deep waters would end it all.

Her cell phone buzzed, and she grabbed it with shaking hands.

The text lit up the screen.


That was all she got? What a piece of work!

She turned and sprinted down the length of the dock.
Inside the cabin, she grabbed her suitcase, and without bothering to turn off the lights, she hurried to her car.

She sat for a long minute, staring hard at the cabin. A red can of gasoline on one corner of the porch caught her eye.

She jumped from the car, doused the dried wood, lit a match, and drove away without hesitation.

By the time firefighters showed up at the remote location, there would be nothing left but smoldering ash, just like her life.

And while a tiny spark of satisfaction settled in the center of her chest, it didn’t make up for the weight of guilt. Her foolish hunger for something more had destroyed everything she valued.

Where would she go? What would she do? She couldn’t return home. Malcolm deserved better.

Tears streamed down her cheeks as she pictured her lovely home.

She drove on, not caring where she went.

One thing was for sure. Never again would she believe an empty promise.

©Jan Sikes 2021

My thanks to Jan for sharing this story of misplaced trust and revenge…. I know she would love your feedback.

A small selection of books by Jan Sikes

A recent review for Jonah

D. W. Peach 4.0 out of 5 stars A tale about personal growth  Reviewed in the United States on August 20, 2021

Jonah had a choice: prison or abandonment on an island. He opts for the island and finds himself in an inhospitable environment that he’s not sure he’ll survive. Then Titus shows up, an unusual boy with webbed fingers and glowing eyes who offers hope and a way out if Jonah is willing to change his life.

This short story, in some ways, works as an allegory for the process of finding self-acceptance, integrity, fellowship, and redemption. It relies heavily on the books The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz, and The Dark Side of the Light Chasers by Debbie Ford, both which Jonah studies while trapped on the island.

Magic also comes into play, perhaps allegorical for the real “magical” transformation that comes with self-discovery and owning one’s choices. Overall, the story worked and kept my attention with its unique setting and relatable characters. Recommended to readers who enjoy allegories and a fictional overview of the steps leading to personal growth.

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

About Jan Sikes

Jan Sikes is an award-winning Texas author who has been called a wordsmith by her peers. She openly admits that she never set out in life to be an author. But she had a story to tell. Not just any story, but a true story that rivals any fiction creation. You simply can’t make this stuff up. It all happened. She chose to create fictitious characters to tell the story through, and they bring the intricately woven tale to life in an entertaining way. She released a series of music CDs to accompany the four biographical fiction books and then published a book of poetry and art to complete the story circle.

And now that the story is told, this author can’t find a way to put down the pen. She continues to write fiction and has published many short stories with a series of novels waiting in the wings. She is a member of Authors Marketing Guild, The Writer’s League of Texas, the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB (RRBC), the RAVE WRITER’S INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHOR (RWISA), sits on the RWISA Executive Council and hosts a monthly RAVE WAVES blog talk radio show, ASPIRE TO INSPIRE.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up -19th-25th September 2021 – Excursions, Free Book/blog Promotion, 70s Hits, Stories, Poems, Book Reviews, Health and Humour

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

I hope all of you are well…and had a good week.

On the home front 4 tons of stone and 16 tons of topsoil are now waiting for new lawn to be laid and after spreading and raking all of the materials my husband is looking decidely lean and mean.. beats running a marathon. He is supplied with regular infusions of liquid and food and has gone through several audio books in the process.

I have been working on a few projects and begun a declutter process starting with my clothes, handbags and shoes. Most of which have not seen the light of day since we moved in… which implies that I don’t really need them… do I???? I have to bite the bullet and pass them along to someone else who might enjoy using them instead.

I have been out and about…(including later today)

Author Sandra Cox who creates the most wonderful western romances, featured me on Friday and also separately wrote a lovely review for Life is Like a Mosaic…a great boost to the week, which can be viewed Sally’s Books and Reviews

Head over to read the feature: Sandra Cox – Friday Great Read..

Tonight I am reading a poem and flash fiction for an amazing event being broadcast by Showtime TV… Jane Risdon is also on the programme and it promises to be a great night. Starting at 7.30 p.m UK time it will be available to watch free and you can catch up wherever you are at your leisure – Equinox event 7.30 pm. onwards

Before we get into the posts from the week.. a reminder of the new series of Posts From Your Archives due to start in October. I already have 10 authors who have agreed to let me poach two posts from their archives…so if you want to get on board.. get your skates on.

Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1100 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine.

The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics. This series is along the same lines… but is a ‘Lucky Dip’

In this series I will be sharing posts from the first six months of 2021

It is an opportunity to showcase your writing skill to my readers and also to share on my social media. Which combined is around the 50,000 mark. If you are an author your books will be mentioned too, along with their buy links and your other social media contacts.

How to feature in the series? Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives -#NewSeries October 2021- ‘Lucky Dip’ and Do You Trust Me??

This week I have been joined by William Price King in the Breakfast Show, Debby Gies in the Laughter Lines and Malcolm Allen with his usual great funnies in the Laughter Lines Extra.. as always I am very grateful for their contributions. And thank you for dropping in, liking, commenting and sharing the posts.

On with the show…

Chart Hits 1978 – Part Two – Bonnie Tyler, George Benson, Eagles, Bruce Springsteen

Queenie – Coming back to Life by Sally Cronin

Rosemary – The First Date by Sally Cronin

– #Etheree – Kinship by Sally Cronin

Podcast – Turning Back the Clock – The pH Balance – by Sally Cronin and Kelli Brett

New Review – #Poetry – Son of Booku: More Halloween Haiku by Annette Rochelle Aben

Book Reviews Rewind – #Military #Romance The SEAL’s Temptation: Wounded Hearts- Book 7 by Jacquie Biggar

Book Reviews rewind – #Mystery #Thriller- The Vanished Boy by Harmony Kent.

Memories, Music and Movies – 1963 Part Two – South Africa, South Pacific, Younger Than Springtime

– #WWII – Butterflies of Dunkirk by Claire Plaisted

Free vector graphic: Pink, Ribbon, Awareness, Cancer ...

Women’s Health Month – Breast Cancer by Sally Cronin

Women’s Health Month – Guest Post – Judith Barrow – Breast Cancer Survivor.

Tuesday September 21st 2021 – Jacqui Murray, Jan Sikes, Robbie Cheadle and Harmony Kent, John Howell, D.G. Kaye with Frank Prem

Thursday 23rd September 2021 – D.Wallace Peach, Valentina Cirasola and Robbie Cheadle, Olga Nunez Miret, Colleen Chesebro, Jennie Fitzkee

New Book on the Shelves- #Fantasy – The Legend of the Taken Ones: Gateskin Chronicles Book 1 by Janice Spina

New Book on the Shelves – #Baking #Bread – The Hearts of Bakers and Artists by Antoinette Truglio Martin.

#Reviews – #Adventure Annika Perry, #TreeFairies D.L. Finn

New Author on the Shelves – #Fantasy #Romance – The One Discovered (Chronicles of the Diasodz Book 1) by Yvette M. Calleiro

New Book on the Shelves – #Crime – Presumed Missing (Foxy Mysteries Book 2) by Fiona Tarr

Reviews – #Poetry Robbie Cheadle, #Historical #WW2 Paulette Mahurin, #History #Communism Mark Lee Myers

#Reviews – #Autism Karen Ingalls, #Poetry Jude Itakali, #Family #ComingofAge Matthew Keeley

#PsychologicalThriller Emiliya Ahmadova, #Romance Jacquie Biggar, #Family Lisette Brodey

September 21st 2021 -Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Lessons and inflight service

September 23rd 2021 -Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Bread and Pin Numbers

September 24th 2021 – Malcolm Allen – Acupuncture and Online Scams


Thank you very much for dropping in today and I hope you will join me again next week…Sally.

Smorgasbord Short Stories – Authors in the Sun – #WWII – Butterflies of Dunkirk by Claire Plaisted

When I worked on radio in the south of Spain I presented and recorded four series of Authors in the Sun showcasing local writers and their short stories. I ran a series here on the blog in 2017 which was much enjoyed and showed off the skills of some amazing writers.

There have been some wonderful stories shared in  this summer’s series with the last being shared next week.

Butterflies of Dunkirk by Claire Plaisted

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

All shapes and sizes of vessels left the English ports. Any seaworthy boat went to rescue those from the French shores and the horror of the massacre on Dunkirk. The boats approached the French shoreline, horror on the faces of the captains and seamen, as they watched the slaughter continue. The boats powered ahead to rescue as many men as they could, praying for the souls of those they couldn’t.

Close enough now, men were running towards them, guns were firing at them, some toppling dead in the water, having been shot before they could get to the boats. Big black bursts of smoke overhead, where Spitfires and Messerschmitt’s fought aggressively in a massive dogfight. The Spitfires in protection mode, the Messerschmitt’s doing what damage they could. British, American and Canadian men fell in their thousands. The captains hauled those they could into boats of all shapes and sizes.

Their vessels full, they began to pull away as other boats took their places. It was a constant movement on the ocean waves.

Some of the men looked back, watching the massacre, many knowing they’d never see some of their comrades again. They saluted these comrades. It was as the salutes ended they saw thousands of different coloured butterflies rise into the sky, disappearing into the horizon.

The souls of men.

©Claire Plaisted 2021

A small selection of  books by Claire Plaisted

One of the reviews for Hidden Secrets

Jan 31, 2020 Pamela rated it four stars really liked it

Hidden Secrets works in many ways. As a combination of both romance and espionage books, it has a great combination for the readers who love both. I read this book some years ago and posted my review on Amazon. The author has revised and edited the book with good results. The preface leaves you guessing but the first chapter introduces the reader in a timely manner. The book picks up pace in Chapter One and you are drawn into a world of spies and a dark secondary plot that will give you chills.

The story involves the science of genetics both in the past and the present. The romance is good between the two characters of Anastasia and Malachy. She is the arch spy for him in the field and he is the “boss.” The sex is pretty graphic so just be aware of that. The plot and the ending are both well-formed and deliver a satisfying conclusion to the first book while leading into a sequel. I will read it soon! 

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon US – And : Amazon UK  – Read more reviews and follow Claire: Goodreads – Website/Publishing/blog: Plaisted Publishing House –  Facebook: Claire Plaisted Author – Twitter: Plaisted Publish – LinkedIn: Claire Plaisted

May be an image of 1 person and smiling

About Claire Plaisted

Claire Plaisted was born and brought up in Cheshire, England. Today she is living in New Zealand with husband and three children and loving it.

Claire is a Family History Researcher turned writer and self publisher. Claire is a prolific writer of many different genre’s. Adult Romance, Regency, Detective, Erotic, Young Adult, Sci-fi, Paranormal, Thriller, and Young Children’s adventure stories with a learning curve. Some of these are yet to be published.

Claire also helps other Indie Authors get there books online by formatting them into eBooks or Print. Sharing all book on social media, local newspapers and bookstores.

Thanks for dropping in today and I am sure Claire would love your feedback.. thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – September 12th – 18th 2021 – Queen, Self-Care, Book Reviews, Bloggers, Health, Humour

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

Another week over and we have had a few visitors. The electronic gate died and required a couple of days of CPR.. and then we had the first delivery of stones for drainage as part of the final landscaping.. topsoil and turf to come soon.  The inside of the house next as it is 5 years since we bought and decorated and it needs a touch up before it goes on the market next year. I am going to start a decluttering process soon as there are items in boxes that have not been unpacked or used since we moved in. I think if we have not felt the need to use them in five years they need to be passed along.

On the blog front …

I am going to be starting the new Posts from Your Archives in October and as well as giving you the details.. I am also sharing a post from the last series to show you how the post will look.

Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1100  Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine.

The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics. This series is along the same lines… but is a ‘Lucky Dip’

In this series I will be sharing posts from the first six months of 2021

It is an opportunity to showcase your writing skill to my readers and also to share on my social media. Which combined is around the 50,000 mark. If you are an author your books will be mentioned too, along with their buy links and your other social media contacts.

How to feature in the series? Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives -#NewSeries October 2021- ‘Lucky Dip’ and Do You Trust Me??

My thanks to William Price King, D.G. Kaye and Daniel Kemp for their wonderful contributions of music, wisdom on the subject of relationships and laughter.

And thank you for all the support, comments and shares during the week….

On with the show…

Chart Hits 1978 – Part One – Billy Joel, The Commodores, Bee Gees, Queen

D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – September 2021 – The Relationship with Ourselves -Self-Care

Owen – Face to Face by Sally Cronin

Patrick in a time of War

Snowdonia – Tanka Prose Above the World

Authors in the Sun – #Blackmail- The Millennial by John W. Howell

Advance Review #Teen/YA #Sci-fi #Fantasy – The Syk’m by Richard Dee

Book Reviews Rewind- #Fantasy #Supernatural – The Ballad of Mrs. Molony (The Hat Book 3) by C.S. Boyack

Smorgasbord Book Reviews Rewind – #Fantasy – Lords of Chaos (Unraveling the Veil Book 3) by D.Wallace Peach…

Memories, Music and Movies – 1963 Part One – Glen Miller and Lawrence of Arabia


Women’s Health Month – The Female Reproductive System – an overview of health issues

Women’s Health Month – Guest Post – Outshining Ovarian Cancer by author Karen Ingalls.

#Reviews #Fishing Dawn Doig, #Butterflies Bette A. Stevens, #Safety Miriam Hurdle

New Book on the Shelves – Sticks and Stones: Ten Canadian Short Stories by M. L Holton

New Book on the Shelves – Anarchy (War of Nytefall Book 7) by Charles E. Yallowitz

New book on the shelves – #History – Transylvania’s History A to Z: 100 Word Stories by Patricia Furstenberg

#Anthology – #Paranormal – Where Spirits Linger – Compiled and edited by Kaye Lynne Booth

#Reviews – #Crime Carol Balawyder, #History Mike Biles, #Fantasy C.S. Boyack

#Fantasy Barbara Spencer, #Fantasy P.L. Stuart, #Poetry Annette Rochelle Aben

Tuesday September 14th 2021 – Jessica Norrie, D.G. Kaye, Joy Lennick, Carol Taylor, The Story Reading Ape

Thursday September 16th 2021 – Colleen Chesebro, D.G. Kaye, Valentina Cirasola with Teagan Riordáin Geneviene, Balroop Singh, Rebecca Budd with Miriam Hurdle

Laughter Lines Rewind – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Truth and Passion

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines Rewind – One liners interrupted by comedic images by Sally Cronin

September 17th 2021 – Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp – #Eyesight and Old Rugby Players


Thanks very much for dropping in today and I hope to see you again next week…Sally

Smorgasbord Short Stories – Authors in the Sun – #Blackmail- The Millennial by John W. Howell

When I worked on radio in the south of Spain I presented and recorded four series of Authors in the Sun showcasing local writers and their short stories. I ran a series here on the blog in 2017 which was much enjoyed and showed off the skills of some amazing writers.

I would love to share your short stories here too this summer and details of how you can participate is at the end of the post.

The Millennial by John W. Howell

He sits at the counter eating what passes for oatmeal with an eye on his iPhone sitting next to the coffee cup. She said this was the day to talk, and the damn phone always rings twice and then to voicemail. He took it into the Apple Store, and they said they found nothing wrong. So today, he’s not taking chances. He will see the bright light blinking when the call comes in. One thing he learned if calls from her go to voicemail, she hangs up without a word. Calls back are not answered. It’s almost like she wants to punish whoever doesn’t answer their phone.

“More coffee?”

The words hit him like an open palm to the top of his head.

“U-uh, no, I’m okay.”


“Yeah, sure.”

He realizes he is staring at the phone with his thoughts a million miles away. This crowded diner might as well have been a rock out in the desert for all he knew about his surroundings. Yet, the words from the server behind the counter brought him back. The damn call, he thinks. Why won’t she just go ahead and place the same call?

“Here you go, sir. you can pay me or at the register upfront.”

“You can take it. Here’s a ten.”

“Yes, sir. You want change?”

He waves his hand. “No. No, go ahead and keep the change.”

“Is everything alright, sir?”

He glances at her. “Yes. I think so. why do you ask.”

“Your check came to three bucks and change. That would make the tip higher than the bill.”

He frowns. “You asked, didn’t you?”

“Well, yeah, but that’s just out of habit and before I saw the check. I’ll get your change.”

“Not necessary. You keep it. I insist.”

She rolls her eyes. “Sure, sir. You’re the boss. Thank you.”

He grabs his phone and walks toward the front of the diner. As he reaches the door, the phone rings. He fumbles for the slide to take the call, and his fingers are move in slow motion. One ring down. His shaking fingers finally get the slide to work and puts the phone to his ear.


“It’s me.”

“Hi, Chris. Is everything okay?”

“Doin fine. Can you talk?”

“Yes, I’m just leaving a diner. Let me get outside where it’s not so noisy.”

“Make sure no one is around.”

“Okay, I’m in the street. You said you wanted to talk.”

“I need more money, Skip.”

“What are you talking about? Our arrangement was for fifty thousand and you said that would cover everything.”

“Well, you see, Skip, a girl’s gotta live, and I simply underestimated how much living would cost.”

“W-well, we had a deal. Fifty is a lot of money, and I just don’t have any more to spare.”

“Oh, come on, Skip. You and I both know you’re loaded. Besides, I would hate to have anyone find out about our little secret.”

“Is that a threat, Chis?”

“It’s not a threat, Skip. I need more money is all, and I’m getting desperate.”

“How much money?”

“Another twenty-five would work.”

“Not possible.”



“How much then?”

“Nada, zip, zero.”

“You are forcing me into a corner.”

“Oh, I’m sure you’re used to corners.”

“Come on, Dad. Let me have ten.”

“Chris. When I gave you the fifty, you were supposed to make that last the whole school year. Your mom warned me not to give it to you, but I did. So now I suppose you are threatening to tell her that you’re broke. Is that what you meant by anyone finding out?”

“Well, yes.”

“Tell her I don’t care.”

“Dad, you don’t mean that.”

“Okay, I’ll give you ten. Next year is going to be different. Come to the house for dinner, and I’ll have a check.”

“Uh, dad?”

“What, Chris?”

“Could you make it cash?”

©John W. Howell 2021

Thanks to John for sharing one of his unique takes on life and I know he would love your feedback..

About John W. Howell

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the tension. The final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016 concludes the thriller series. John’s fourth book Circumstances of Childhood, launched in October of 2017 tells a different thriller story of riches to rags, football, Wall Street, brotherly love, redemption, and inspiration with a touch of paranormal to keep you riveted.

The fifth book is a collaboration with the ​award-winning author, Gwen Plano titled The Contract. Heavenly bodies become concerned about the stability of the Earth and send two of their own to risk eternal salvation in order to save the planet. The Contract achieved number one status in its genre. John’s latest book is titled Eternal Road – The final stop and launched in September 2020. In search of their eternal home, Sam and James discover a threat to human existence. They also encounter the prince of darkness. The question is; can they save humankind and their eternal souls. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

John lives in Lakeway, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

Books by John Howell

A recent review for The Contract

Bookworm 92 4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of Action  Reviewed in the United States on July 17, 2021

An easy read that is part thriller, part love story, a part supernatural. Peter and Teresa are two angels who are sent to earth to thwart an assassination attempt on the president. They assume the identities of Brad, a former Navy SEAL, and Sarah, a woman caught in an abusive marriage.

The action is fast-paced with a cast of characters that keep the reader guessing the identities of those involved in the assassination attempt. Coauthoring a book can’t be an easy task but this was well done so readers aren’t aware of different voices. There were places where the dialogue seemed a bit formal and out of character. Otherwise, an enjoyable book.  

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon USand on: Amazon UK – Goodreads:John Howell Goodreads Blog: John W. Howell. com – Twitter@HowellWave

If you have a fiction short story to share with us then here is what I will need. Please send to

  • A word document with your edited story. A new story or one you have written and published on your blog.
  • 1000 to 1500 words.. but if it is slightly shorter or longer that is no problem. It can be any genre except for erotica as I have younger readers.
  • If you are an author or blogger who has featured here before I don’t need anything else.
  • If you are new to the blog then I will need an Amazon page link, blog or website links,three main social media links and a profile photograph.

I look forward to hearing from you and sharing your writing here… thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – September 5th -11th 2021 – Crow Tales, Contributions, Chart Hits, Book Reviews, Podcast, Short Stories, Health and Humour

Welcome to the round up and the posts you might have missed during the week.

Hope you are all doing okay….Another week and already the second week of September. They joke about time speeding up as you get older seems to be true. Either that or I am losing the plot!

Update on Charlie the Crow (Rook)

Charlie has become more independent and is flying better and in fact the last couple of nights he has found himself a roost, we think in the hedge which is very thick around the back garden but enables him to climb up into the top branches out of the way of cats.

However, his beak is still not opening fully and finding food difficult.. so he arrives in front of the kitchen window looking expectant. He manages soft stuff and his favourite is seeded bread and butter, cut up in small pieces and soaked in raw egg or a half piece buttered that he can stand on and peck away..  Soft crumbly fat balls are acceptable as is a small pile of meal worms. No wonder he has put some weight on.

He took his first bath earlier in the week and has been going for a daily dip which is very important to improve the condition of his feathers and despite his beak problems is starting to preen a little.

Anyway.. I took some photos yesterday when he enjoyed a piece of bread and butter.

Denise Finn very kindly shared her recent review for Life is Like a Mosaic in a post, and I was in great company with Jacqui Murray and two of her books that I can also highly recommend.

D.L. Finn September Reviews Part 1

William Price King has returned from his summer break in the mountains and lovely to have him back. Carol Taylor gave us a lot to think about and a wonderful bread recipe in The Green Kitchen and Debby Gies and Malcolm Allen have brought smiles to our faces. As always very grateful for their contributions… Thanks to you for all your support and comments.. they do make my day.

Chart Hits 1977 – Part Two – Stevie Wonder, Manhattan Transfer, Elton John, Barbra Streisand

Banana Bread, Neem Oil, Homemade Beehive, Lemongrass, Snail Mail, Cider Vinegar and Reef Shampoo

Martha – The System Administrator by Sally Cronin

Norman An Old Soldier

Turning Back the Clock – The Guidelines by Sally Cronin and Kelli Brett

If you have five minutes to spare.. there is another short story – The Psychic Parrot on my podcast

Dogs #Mountains #Humour – Olive, Mabel and Me: Life and Adventures with Two Very Good Dogs by Andrew Cotter

Book Reviews Rewind – #Scottish #Historical – Fireflies and Chocolate by Ailish Sinclair

robbie a ghost and his gold

Book Reviews Rewind – #Paranormal #Historical #BoerWar A Ghost and his Gold by Roberta Eaton Cheadle.

Colleen Chesebro’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge Tanka Prose

Authors Pamela S. Wight and her guest Amy M. Reade

Authors in the Sun – #Hawaii #Family The Dolphin by D.L. Finn

#Influencers – A Tribute to One of My Role Models by Pete Springer

Tuesday 7th September 2021 – Patricia Furstenberg, Darlene Foster, Robbie Cheadle, Rebecca Budd, Terry Tyler, Jan K. Sikes

Thursday 9th September 2021 – D.G. Kaye, Elizabeth Gauffreau, Jim Borden, Pete Springer, Carol Taylor


Women’s Health Month – Hormones and the Endocrine System by Sally Cronin

New Book on the Shelves – Age 6-12- A Cat Named Lump: 48 Poetic Tummy Turners by B.C. Byron

New Book on the Shelves – #Scifi #Adventure – The Great Between (Happy Tales Young Reader Collection) by Doug Parker

New Author on the Shelves – #AlternateHistory Shakespeare’s Twin Sister by Richard Seltzer

#Reviews – #Fantasy Jan Sikes, #Historical Ailish Sinclair, #Poetry Balroop Singh

#Reviews – #Dystopian Teri Polen, #Mystery Amy M. Reade, #Historical V.M. Sang

#Dystopian #thriller Terry Tyler, #Fantasy D.Wallace Peach, #Shortstories Sian Turner

September 7th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Diet Tips and Life Observations

The Irish View on Life, Bars, Accents and Heaven and Hell with Sally Cronin

September 10th 2021 – Malcolm Allen – Confession and Operation


Thanks very much for dropping in and I hope that you will join me again next week.

Smorgasbord Short Stories – Authors in the Sun – #Hawaii #Family The Dolphin by D.L. Finn

When I worked on radio in the south of Spain I presented and recorded four series of Authors in the Sun showcasing local writers and their short stories. I ran a series here on the blog in 2017 which was much enjoyed and showed off the skills of some amazing writers.

I would love to share your short stories here too this summer and details of how you can participate is at the end of the post.

Today a lovely and heartwarming story of family and love from D.L. Finn… set in the warm waters of Hawaii

Image by Claudia Beer from Pixabay

The Dolphin

The cool winter sun reflected off the blue water, making it difficult to see. I blinked hard to clear my vision as I dove back into the ocean. Why were my children and grandchildren huddled together on the white, sandy beach? Didn’t they want to swim with me?

My oldest grandson, Peter, walked to the water’s edge. He tossed a lei of pink plumeria flowers into the waves. Those flowers reminded me of the wonderful day when Bob and I renewed our vows for our 50th Wedding Anniversary on a beautiful Hawaiian beach.

I jumped high into the air and called out. “Where did you get the flowers, Peter?”

An enormous wave crashed against the rocks, drowning out my words.

Peter stood with his arms folded over a black shirt and a dolphin tie that I’d bought him when he graduated from college last year. The incoming waves soaked the bottom of his black pants.

I shook my head and tried again. “The water’s great! Join me!”

Louder breaking waves masked my words, leaving only a whistle.

Right then, a small pod of dolphins approached and swam urgently around me.

“What’s wrong? Are you protecting me?” I scanned the area but didn’t see any sharks or other dangers.

A dolphin was studying me. A familiar chill ran through me as the dolphin gently brushed against my legs. I dove underwater to get a better look.

Was it? No. I smiled. It was just a silly dream to believe my beloved husband would come back as my favorite mammal.

Although the dolphin held my stare, it was just curiosity. I shook my head and kicked to the surface, only to find my family leaving.

“Hey! Where are you going?” But only a high pitch noise came from my lips that the waves didn’t hide this time. I’d lost my voice.

Peter was the only one left standing on the edge of the ocean. He met my gaze, smiled, and pointed to his tie. Then wiped the tears off his face and put on black framed sunglasses.

What he did next tugged heavily on my heart. My sweet grandson blew me a kiss just like he had as a small boy when it was time to leave grandma and grandpa’s house.

“Peter!” I yelled, yet nothing but that strange sound came out again.

He paused for a moment and offered a wave before picking up black shoes. Peter soon disappeared with everyone else I loved.

The lei was floating in a patch of grey powder that reminded me of when we scattered Bob’s ashes into the ocean last year. I swam to the flowers and found a plastic card attached.

Mother and Grandmother, You will be missed and forever loved.

I couldn’t catch my breath when it all came crashing back to me with the force of a spring-loaded trap, and I remembered. I was in an uncomfortable hospital bed, suffering through too many tests, and never had a moment’s peace with the forever beeping machines.

In my drugged haze, my doctor’s sad tone brought me the answer I needed. “There’s nothing else we can do, except make her comfortable.”

The cancer had won its battle, and it was time for me to let go. There was that moment when I hovered over my withered body, grateful to be free of the pain. Then there was a bright light, and I ended up here.

I smiled. It had happened. I turned in a circle and saw a dolphin’s tail, not legs.

The same dolphin who had been staring at me whistled and clicked—this time, I understood.

“Darci! I’ve been waiting for you!”

“Bob! I can’t believe it. I’ve missed you so much.”

“I’ve missed you, too, sweetheart.”

We’d found each other again. Words couldn’t come fast enough as we caught up. Then we swam comfortably in our blessing long after Bob’s pod had moved on.

It was just the two of us, and we happily explored the new world. We avoided humans, killer whales, and sharks, or maybe it was us they avoided. We were never sure, but time passed in the same blur as our human lives had.

One day when we were peacefully investigating the purple, pink, red, green, and blue colors that mingled in the coral reefs off the Big Island in Hawaii, a lone dolphin swam up. The eyes were so familiar I immediately knew it was Peter.

Our joy at that moment could only be expressed in high spinning jumps. After the celebration, we quickly caught up and learned our grandson was a famous author, had three boys, and happy marriage.

“You kept your promise, Grandma. You said when you left me, you’d come back as a dolphin. I knew that was you when we scattered your ashes.”

“Yes, it was me. Grandpa was there waiting for me.”

Peter blew out some bubbles. “They scattered my ashes in Hawaii, where Lacy and I got married forty years ago. It was cancer like you, grandma.” He turned away. “I’ll be right back. I’m going to say goodbye.”

As the years passed, our pod continued to grow as our family slowly joined us, including ones we’d never met in life, like Peter’s amazing wife and children. To this day, our family still explores the ocean. We offer gratitude with our high leaps that we’ve been given such a special gift. Maybe you’ve seen us and felt our joy?
©D.L. Finn 2021

I am sure that had your reaching for the tissues as it did me and thank you to Denise for this wonderful story.

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

A selection of books by D.L. Finn for adults and children

One of the recent reviews for Tree Fairies

Gwendolyn Plano 5.0 out of 5 stars A heartwarming read  Reviewed in the United States on August 13, 2021

D.L. Finn has a wonderful way of creating magical worlds that both enchant and educate. Tree Fairies and Their Short Stories is written for youngsters, but it quickly found a home in my heart as well. To sidestep reality for several hours was refreshing. I enjoyed seeing from a fairy’s perspective and I loved wandering around the trees and experiencing their life as well. Through fantasy, Finn conveys truths we all need to embrace – the need to protect our forests, to care for the wildlife, and the need to respect and honor the exquisite beauty of nature. Who knows, maybe there are fairies.  

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

If you have a fiction short story to share with us then here is what I will need. Please send to

  • A word document with your edited story. A new story or one you have written and published on your blog.
  • 1000 to 1500 words.. but if it is slightly shorter or longer that is no problem. It can be any genre except for erotica as I have younger readers.
  • If you are an author or blogger who has featured here before I don’t need anything else.
  • If you are new to the blog then I will need an Amazon page link, blog or website links,three main social media links and a profile photograph.

I look forward to hearing from you and sharing your writing here… thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – 29th August – September 4th 2021 – New Book Promotions, Out and About, Fleetwood Mac, Reviews, Health, Shortstories and Humour

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

Another week has flown by and I am extremely grateful for every drop of rain, little bit of sunshine and even the inevitability of the restrictions still placed upon us in Ireland for at least the next 6 weeks until October 22nd.

How very lucky we are to have such predictability, when so many have been faced with devastation and fear as they try to flee their homes in the face of violence and terror, or in the case of those on the east coast of America the natural malevolence of the weather.

It is good to see many nations reaching out to take in refugees but there are still millions who are left behind to face a very different future than they had wished for.

The Cafe and Bookstore New Book Promotions

If you are already in the Cafe and Bookstore please let me know if you have a new book coming out over the next few weeks either on pre-order or available on Amazon so that I can set up a new book promotion. I have a format for the post so only need a link for either Amazon US or UK and I will take care of the rest.

If you are not already in the cafe, please read the post at the following link to find out more about what I need from you: Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves 2021 – #Free book promotion

Over the next few weeks in addition to the book marketing podcasts, I will be sharing some pre-recorded posts from my time on The Main Ingredient radio show with Kelli Brett in Spain. They are based on my Turning Back the Clock book from 2005 which offers some anti-aging strategies. I thought you might enjoy the format as Kelli Brett is very entertaining and we had a love of fun with the shows.  Not all the series survived but I will record those again.

I hope you will join me in knocking off a few years and getting ready for the winter months. The first post goes out Monday.

I will also be recording the next series of book marketing and public relations for authors to share with you.

I was out and about this week with Annika Perry who did a lovely feature and review for Life is Like a Tapestry – Woven in Words…

Annika Perry – Review – Life’s Rich Tapestry 

I was very honoured to be invited by interior and fashion designer Valentina Cirasola to be her guest in her new series of author interviews. Valentina asked some interesting and thought provoking questions and I look forward to meeting her other guests in coming weeks. Please head over to read and also find out more about Valentina’s work and her books promoting colour in our lives.

Autumn with an Author – Sally Cronin with Valentina Cirasola

As always my thanks to William Price King (back from his summer break) D.G, Kaye and this week Danny Kemp in the Open Mic night slot.. I am also grateful to you  for dropping in and your support which is much appreciated.

The Breakfast Show with William Price King and Sally Cronin – Chart Hits 1977 – Part One – Fleetwood Mac, Eagles, Carly Simon and Donna Summer

Volume Two – Kenneth – A Love for Life by Sally Cronin

– Lily – The Easter Eggs by Sally Cronin

– The Village Square September 3rd 1939 – by Sally Cronin

New Book Review #Children’s and #Parents – Lulubelle Loves to Bake by Dawn Doig.

Book Reviews Rewind – Word Craft: Prose & Poetry: The Art of Crafting Syllabic Poetry by Colleen M. Chesebro

Smorgasbord Book Reviews Rewind – #Paranormal – The Emissary Trilogy; A Riverbend Spinoff by Marcia Meara

Paws on the Street Part Nine – 29 Days and Counting By Patty L. Fletcher

This series is about the person you feel has had the most influence on your life and has shaped the person you are today, and what you have achieved. That might be in reaching personal goals or to do with your career. This is of course also a marketing opportunity for your blog and books, and a showcase of your writing skills.

New Series – #Nonfiction – Guest Posts – Who has influenced you the most in your life?

#Mystery – The Coin by Rob Shackleford

#Reviews – #Tractors Deanie Humphrys-Dunne, #Friendship Donald Lloyd Jr

New Book on the Shelves – The Tomato Smuggler: How One Man Stood Up To #Communism by Mark Lee Myers

New Book on the Shelves – #Poetry – Son of Booku: More Halloween Haiku by Annette Rochelle Aben

New Book on the Shelves – #Paranormal #Thriller – Pre-Order Blood Mark by JP Mclean

#Reviews – #Romance Jacquie Biggar, #Historical #Paranormal Roberta Eaton Cheadle, #PostApocolyptic Harmony Kent

#Reviews – #Paranormal Marcia Meara, #Sci-fi Thorne Moore, #Gothic #Supernatural Adele Marie Park

Reviews – #Mystery James J. Cudney, #Memoir Liesbet Collaert, #ParanormalThriller John W. Howell and Gwen Plano

Monday 30th August 2021 – #Bookclubs Rebecca Budd, Reviews D. Wallace Peach, #Review D.G. Kaye

Family Health – Dehydration – Headaches, skin conditions, fatigue and more


Women’s Health Month – Introduction and The Reproductive System by Sally Cronin

August 31st 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Sunscreen and Last Respects

September 2nd 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Eggs and Talking Dogs

September 3rd 2021 – Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp – Mistaken Identity and Appropriate Names

Thanks very much for dropping in and I hope you will join me again next week.

Smorgasbord Short Stories – Authors in the Sun – #Mystery – The Coin by Rob Shackleford

When I worked on radio in the south of Spain I presented and recorded four series of Authors in the Sun showcasing local writers and their short stories. I ran a series here on the blog in 2017 which was much enjoyed and showed off the skills of some amazing writers.

I would love to share your short stories here too this summer and details of how you can participate is at the end of the post.

Today Rob Shackleford, author of two time travel novels shares a story that will have you scratching your head…..

The Coin
By Rob Shackleford

When I was a kid, things weren’t as structured at school as they are now. Then, children would either walk or ride a bicycle to school and, rather than being met by crowds of paranoid parents carefully scrutinising the surroundings for paedophiles, at the ring of the school bell at the end of the day there would instead be crowds of children milling as they walked home, bare-foot, from their day of not only education, but also fun, laughter, and life.

My brand new school was at the bottom of our street. Built to cater to the needs of a rapidly growing working-class suburb at the edge of the Australian city of Brisbane in the mid-1960’s, the school consisted of two or three stark, steel and timber frames built on stilts. Underneath was a concrete play area and places to sit while eating ‘little lunch’ or ‘big lunch’, while above were the classes, framed with walls of louvers to encourage air circulation. The teachers, mostly men dressed in white shirt and tie, long socks and seersucker shorts, struggled to keep the attention of children who visibly wilted in the stifling heat.

The thing I remember most was the dust. In my second year of school I was one of the school’s first students. There were no fences, so many of the children would take off into the surrounding bush at their big-lunch to play. Compared to today’s standards, it is amazing how any of us survived.

What was most distinctive was the ‘Oval’, the flattering description for the sports arena upon which Rugby-League football and cricket were played. Like the rest of the school grounds, the oval completely lacked any vegetation. Bulldozers had torn the grounds from the raw Australian bush, leaving the skeletal remnants of trees in mounds about the borders of the school grounds, while the top soil, in the baking hot sun, became the finest, powdery grey dust.

The dust was fantastic!

We would walk barefoot through the dust and each footfall would puff up a little grey cloud. We were always bare-foot, not because of poverty, though most families struggled financially, but because everyone, even the girls, preferred to go barefoot. Shoes were a luxury worn when we went to church and I remember the joys of carefully polishing the family’s shoes to a mirror shine on Sunday morning. But at school, the uniform black church shoes were always removed, even in winter. It was what we did. We would run and play barefoot, big toes scabbed as the end was eventually stubbed off, to hand with a bloody, skin hinge. I still have old black and white school photographs of children with tufted hair and bare feet sitting, smiling proudly.

What was the best was that the dust was talcum powder fine and would catch even the slightest zephyr. Often a whirlwind or willy-willy would rise when the bare ground was heated by the baking sun. The swirling column would hungrily suck the dust into a dense, grey tower and into this the boys would run, screaming in excitement as the dust caked our hair and faces and completely impregnated our clothes. At other times a rapidly approaching wall of grey would be carried on a stiff breeze. The fun was to get in front of it, backs to the wind as the dust hit with a tickly sand-blast on our bare legs and arms.

My mother always complained at how filthy I was at the end of a school day as eyes peered racoon-like from my dust-caked skin. My shirt would smell of dust and sweat and, instead of being good for the required second day’s wear, would have to be washed in the old wash-tub and ringer in our outdoor laundry.

Good times!

The dust was also the place where we played marbles. Marbles was predominantly the game for boys and we would clutch our precious multi-coloured glass spheres in the pockets of our dull grey uniform shorts. On more than one occasion I would scab a marble off someone and end up with half a dozen to take home as it was a ruthless, winner-take-all affair. Games of runners, circles, and holesey were played. Scooping marble holes in the playground only added to the dust and aggravated the teachers whom I am sure had visions of a distant, more civilised, vegetated school. Sometimes marbles were banned because of the lunar landscape of the marble playing area. The bans never lasted.

One day, in the bare space that was the parade ground, I found a coin. The parade ground was between one of the school buildings and the marble ground and in the wisdom of the education department had been covered by bauxite. The small, rusty red spheres of aluminium ore packed the ground in a vain effort to alleviate the suffocating dust. From what I could tell, no-one thought to control the dust with vegetation. The bauxite stones were too small to throw at each other, but were the best ammunition for a sling-shot, or shanghais as we called them, as the small stones would fly true because of their spherical perfection. Many a ceramic power-line insulator fell victim to those babies, shattering when struck with a truly well aimed pebble.

Anyway, back to the coin.

I remember this well as it was only a couple of years after the Australian government had sacrificed one of the trappings of the British monarchy and initiated our own decimal currency. Giving away the Empire’s Pounds, Shillings and Pence in 1966, one of my first memories of school was that later in the year, new coins would be introduced. We marvelled over a tiny, shiny copper one cent coin and the bigger two cent coin. I could be forgiven for thinking, based on the doubling of coin size per cent, how massive ten or twenty cent coins were going to be.

It was big-lunch and was baking hot. I had consumed my lunch, which was dreadfully wilted, having been stored a semi-transparent Tupperware lunch box which, because our schoolbags were often in the sun, gently steamed my blue-cheese and lettuce sandwich into an almost inedible soggy mess. To make matters worse, my mother always placed a few sweet biscuits in the same lunch box, so they always took on the blue cheese taste. It could have been worse, as sometimes my mother inexplicably made liverwurst and onion sandwiches for us for lunch which, in the summer heat, created fumes that could kill cockroaches.

So it could be understood that I was rather … peckish.

In the dust of the parade-ground at Watson Road State School I found a two cent piece. The year was 1968 and I was in Grade 3 and about eight years old. I was not used to pocket money, and not really used to having coins at all. So on finding the precious copper coin I enjoyed studying the details, the stylised head of Queen Elizabeth and on the other side the crisp, artistic rendition of a ‘Frilly’ Lizard. I had never actually seen a Frill-Necked Lizard as the reptiles that inhabited our neighbourhood were actually bearded dragons; grey, spiky and rough, like the iron-bark trees that naturally forested the area. The bearded dragons would sit, unmoving, on the trees and were almost invisible. Once spotted they were great fun to catch and, as they swelled and opened their yellow mouths in threat, used to chase girls.

On examining the coin I was struck by what I thought was strange, that the date on the coin was all wrong. Here it was, 1968, and the date on the coin was 1972.

That could not be right!

I called over my friend, Tony Purser. He was quiet and placid, a good friend. When called over he looked at the coin, wrinkled his nose, and shrugged his shoulders. Not the response I preferred, so I called to another friend, Greg Blank. He was more vocal. “Ohhh bullshit Shack, how can a coin say 1972?”

That response was more like expected but did not satisfy me for long as, once proved and discussed for a minute or two, he also simply shrugged his shoulders and went back to his game of marbles.

What to do with such a coin? How could a coin from four years in the future be found in the year 1968?

I held on to the amazing coin for a few minutes, pondering the possibilities, on how such a strange thing could be. I have often thought about the coin since, for in my hand I held a coin from the future. Did someone from the future have the coin drop inadvertently from their pocket in a moment of carelessness or, just as improbable, were some coins prepared in advance by the government and accidentally released by the banks and given as a part of an unsuspecting worker’s pay-packet?

It was a conundrum.

Perhaps with the reasoning of an adult I would have approached a teacher on playground duty, or even taken it home to my parents so the newspaper could have been informed. It would have served me no useful purpose to keep the coin in storage as, in four years, the coin would be just another two cent piece. After all, I was only eight years old and with a limited capacity of fascination for such things, while a ball-bearing used as a marble was clearly much more interesting.

I recall sitting and thinking as I looked at the amazing coin. Yes, the date was absolutely certain. The 1972 was crisp and clear, the carved artwork easily defined.

It was only two cents. Not even worth much, even to me. It wasn’t long before I knew exactly what to do.

Forget about the mystery of how a 1972 coin could have been in possible 1968. The coin was soon traded at the tuck-shop, our school shop, for a couple of Jatz crackers spread with vegemite. They were the only worthwhile thing that two cents would buy and while I decided, in the stifling heat, that I was not particularly hungry, as a normally penniless eight-year-old I simply had to spend every cent that fell into my eager hands.

Snack consumed, the mysterious coin was forgotten and I went back to playing marbles in the grey dust.

©Rob Shackleford 2021

Books by Rob Shackleford

One of the recent reviews for Traveller: Incepto

Syd Henningsen 5.0 out of 5 stars Experience two worlds Reviewed in the United States on July 2, 2021

In accidental time travel books you usually have to put up with a lot of antics, but this one is more about exploring two worlds throughout history – the ancient and the modern, contrasting their ways of life. The life of scientific research is bolstered by detailed scenes and precise narration, grounding us in a relatable scenario.

Add to this atmospheric descriptions of far-flung characters’ travails, and I was more than a little intrigued.
The set up allows the reader to ponder the potential for traveling through time, and how it changes the perspective of the busy, often distracted modern consciousness.

While the storytelling is controlled and the authorial voice is subdued, it easily gets its point across and captures the majesty of its setting. Not only that, it possesses the intellectual depth I’m looking for in a piece of fiction. Primarily, it is a dramatic interweaving of ideas.

A requirement I have while reading time travel stories is that I must learn something about history along the way, or receive a poignant satire of history. The Saxon England encountered here taught me plenty. It managed to be entertaining at the same time.

In the beginning, we are presented with mysteries, and with a little patience will are rewarded with answers. It contains effective action and an engaging plot. The moment by moment experience offers a well-written alternative to a lot of similar books out there. Though I’ve seen the concept done before, I’ve never seen it done exactly this way. It is a book best jumped onto like a ride. A true reading experience.

I always find scientific aspects of a story to be of minor importance, except when they’re done masterfully. The sciency moments here were not overwhelming or intrusive, but functional and lent a cinematic quality to the whole. Clearly, some research has gone into it, which is always a plus.

Characters with challenging decisions to make, and a small learning curve for the reader to adjust to in the shifts in narration at the start, all require active participation from the reader. All in all, Traveller Inceptio is still a very safe bet for your S-F fix.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Rob: Goodreads – Website/Blog: Rob Shackleford – Facebook: Rob Shackleford Author – Twitter: @robshackleford LinkedIn:Rob Shackleford

About Rob Shackleford

An English-born Australian, Rob Shackleford has lived in New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, with a varied career that has included Customs Officer, Scuba Instructor, College Teacher and management roles in too many places.

With degrees in the Arts and Business, he is mad keen on travel, Scuba diving, Family History, martial arts, astronomy, and playing Djembe and Congas. Despite that, he is actually not that boring.

Rob is father of two and has made his green escape with his lovely lady into Australia’s Gold Coast hinterland.

Thanks for dropping in today and I am sure Rob would love your feedback.. thanks Sally.


If you have a fiction short story to share with us then here is what I will need. Please send to

  • A word document with your edited story. A new story or one you have written and published on your blog.
  • 1000 to 1500 words.. but if it is slightly shorter or longer that is no problem. It can be any genre except for erotica as I have younger readers.
  • If you are an author or blogger who has featured here before I don’t need anything else.
  • If you are new to the blog then I will need an Amazon page link, blog or website links,three main social media links and a profile photograph.

I look forward to hearing from you and sharing your writing here… thanks Sally.