Smorgasbord Something to Think About Rewind – Putting restrictions on your happiness

Whilst I am off house and dog sitting (and reading) I am sharing some posts from the last few years as I celebrate my fifth blogging birthday this month. This post is one that I read from time to time, as I can utter the words ‘I will be happy when’ without thinking on occasion. For those who have read this post before… I hope you don’t mind….

I have been a nutritional and life coach for the last 20 years.  Having given myself a severe kick up the backside at age 43 to make the necessary changes in my own life.

I had mindlessly eaten for most of my adult life, and either starved myself or binged, depending on whims rather than well thought out decisions.  It was only when I was studying nutrition, that the light went on, that the food on my plate had more purpose, beneficial qualities, and determination to thrive than I did.

That is just one example of how we can drift through life. 

Great at some things, particularly those we enjoy, good at other skills that we have learned along the way and applied to keep us fed, watered and under a roof. But perhaps a bit slapdash when it comes to things that we neither enjoy or feel apply to us, even when they might be essential to our health and survival, such as deciding what food to eat.

The reality is that when we refer to happiness we tend to put the word ‘when’ in front of it.

When I have 10,000 in the bank I will be happy!

When I have lost a stone I will be happy!

When I meet the perfect man I will be happy!

When I have a bestselling novel!

Trouble is that we often find that when we reach what we consider to be that ‘happy’ moment it is not quite as fulfilling as we expected.

Which brings me onto expectations.  We are encouraged today to think big.  Naturally our parents will usually have some plan in place for what they perceive is the right path in life, and their expectations are usually the first that we will succeed or fail to meet or surpass.

This develops a tendency in us to expect certain events and experiences to happen in our lives with quite rigid targets attached.

Great job by 21

Married by 25

Children by 30 

Retired by 40 

Living in paradise by 50!

Apart from those types of targets slipping past very quickly, because our eyes are on the big and triumphant completion dates, we sometimes fail to recognise and celebrate smaller but just as significant milestones along the way.

Don’t get me wrong, having goals and dreams and the commitment to make them happen is terrific.  But you have to insert the smaller steps within your life plan and acknowledge their importance on getting to where you want to be. 

Also be prepared to deviate from the plan when an opportunity presents itself or to leave the plan, and come back to it when circumstances dictate.

I also know from my own experience, and from family, friends and those I have worked with that there can be dreadful times.  Sickness, loss, depression, and a feeling of being out of control. Realistically it can take a huge effort to come back from life’s interventions.

But you have to hold onto as many of the good things in your life as possible, and building a strong support team is essential for those times.  In real terms with family and friends, but also now with the Internet. The relationships you form with like-minded positive people, who might be experiencing the same setbacks, but who can positively guide you through it.

I noticed this during the last few weeks as three hurricanes battered islands in the Caribbean and the Florida and eastern coast of America. People reached out on Facebook to voice concern for the safety of the friends they had never met, shared experiences and offered practical advice, and were there to commiserate and to comfort when those affected returned online.

Putting off happiness

Rather than put off happiness until some distant pre-determined date or event, try making a balance sheet of your life at the moment.

On one side place all the benefits in your life including family, loved ones, friends, health, activities, jobs, money etc.  On the other side put the less beneficial – where you think things could be improved – however small.

Then you decide that what you have on the beneficial side makes you ‘happy’ already.

Happiness is not stuck in a rut – in can be increased through several levels until you are ecstatic.  Take the items on your list for improvement, one at a time, decide how you are going to achieve them, make a plan with incremental steps and celebrate each one that you take.

I know it sounds simplistic but over the years I have found that my clients have lost weight much more happily, have viewed their relationships with less expectation and more delight.

They have also discovered that life can surprise you with its ability to help you achieve your dreams in ways that you had not even considered.

Be happy today and enjoy your life and the journey you are on already.  If you live to 90 or 100, you have plenty of time to adjust your plan or take a detour and still achieve your dreams.


Thanks for dropping by today and look forward to your feedback…….. thanks Sally



Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Tuesday, September 4th, 2018 – Sue Vincent, Don Massenzio with Victoria Zigler and D.G. Kaye

We often hear the expression ‘follow your instincts’ which can be confusing advice, as most of our natural instincts have been suppressed by ‘civilisation’ and the rules of the society we happen to live in. Sue Vincent explores the value in opening up to those gut feelings or instincts when presented with something or somewhere new.

Have you ever done something completely illogical, just because it ‘felt right’? Chances are that you have, and that it turned out that listening to that inner, elusive prompt was the best decision you could have made. In bypassing the circuits of habit and the imposed logic of the everyday world we sometimes manage to tap in to a deeper understanding and a clearer vision, one that sees beyond the boundaries we tend to impose upon ourselves all our lives.

We build our vision of reality based on the interpretation of events, both through our own eyes and the filters we impose on ourselves, and through the interpretations we are taught as we grow and learn how to live in a society that has its own rules and preconceptions.

When we are taken out of our accustomed milieu, perhaps travelling to a foreign land where the culture, habits, manners and morality even are different, we notice things we would not have seen in our own habitual places. How we see them depends largely on our own reactions and choices. As a simple example, I remember well the reaction of someone I know to travelling as close to home as France. She found the French to be rude, unmannered and did not enjoy her time there at all.

Head over and read the rest of the post and open your mind to allow your gut feelings a go at the helm:

Sue is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore.

Sue Vincent and Stuart France, Buy: Blog:

Please visit Amazon or Sue’s blog to view all her books and those written with Stuart France.


The next post is from author Don Massenzio who interviews Victoria Zigler, children’s author and poet. Don is also looking for authors to interview, so if you have a new release coming out or would like to take advantage of his hospitality, I am sure you would be very welcome.

If you haven’t been interviewed, or even if you have and you have a new release coming out, please feel free to contact Don to be interviewed at He will send you the information and get you scheduled. You can check out the 2108 author interviews conducted thus far on his Author Directory page HERE.

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

I don’t really intentionally set out to do either, though I’d say I’m more likely to try to be original than to try and give readers what they want.

I obviously hope my stories and poems are what readers want, because then they’ll buy them, read them, and – if I’m really lucky – enjoy them enough to tell their friends and family about them. But I write what I want/need to write.

I don’t base my writing projects around what topics and themes are popular right now, or worry about writing in a genre that generally sells best.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Head over and read the rest of the interview:

Both Don and Victoria are authors in the Cafe and Bookstore.

Don Massenzio, Buy:
Blog: Please visit Don’s Amazon page or his blog to view all his books.

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Victoria Zigler, Buy:
Website: – Please visit Amazon or Victoria’s website to view all her books.

And last but not least…. a post from Debby Gies, D.G. Kaye on her experiences with Carbon Monoxide. One of which could have been fatal if Debby’s detector had not alerted her to the problem. The message needs to be repeated frequently, as far too many people do not have a detector in their homes.

I read a scary article last week over at Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord Invitation, about her near fatal experience of discovering carbon monoxide gas leaking in her home. Besides the frightening story, Sally has a added a great list of tips to follow in that post to ensure your home stays safe from this deadly gas.

While I was reading Sally’s article, it brought back two memories of my own where my own carbon monoxide and gas leak detectors went off in two of my homes. Gratefully, nobody was hurt, and equally grateful, both my situations ended up in laughter.

One Friday night back in early 2000, a girlfriend was visiting and we were in my basement drinking wine and gabbing in my fairly new home. It was approaching midnight and my husband had long gone to bed when I heard something beeping in the storage room where the water heater was hooked up in. I followed the sound and saw an alert button flashing as it beeped. I tried to read the tiny fine print on the sticker to look for some instruction if it were to beep but couldn’t make it out. Rather to be safe than sorry, I went back in the other room to pick up the cordless phone and came back to punch in the phone number listed for the gas company to call in case of emergency gas leak.

I reported what I saw and heard with the beeping and flashing warning light. The agent said it was good I called and the problem must be investigated pronto, and until the gas company and the fire department were to arrive I was instructed to get everyone out of the house. I knew my husband was snoring like a buzz saw upstairs and wouldn’t be a happy camper if he were to be awakened, but I wasn’t leaving him behind.

My girlfriend ran outside and I ran upstairs to shake my husband awake. As I alerted him to what was going on he mumbled back to me that he was going back to sleep. I was in panic mode and he couldn’t give a crap. He was adamant that he wasn’t getting out of bed and as I kept urging him to get up I could already hear the sound of sirens. So I left him in bed and ran downstairs to greet the crew.

Head over and read the rest of Debby’s story about this silent killer and make sure that you have a detector in both your home and any holiday accommodation, such as motor homes and boats:

D. G. Kaye is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore

D. G. Kaye – Buy:
Blog: – Goodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads

Thank you for dropping in and I hope you will head over and read the posts in their entirety..Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily #Review – Monday September 3rd, 2018 – T. E. Taylor with Lizzie Chantree, Anne R. Allen #Publishing 101, Sarah Higbee with #review for Rachel Vincent

Welcome to the Blogger Daily and a small selection of the posts I have enjoyed over the last couple of days. The first blog is that of Tim (T.E.) Taylor with his guest author Lizzie Chantree

Today I am joined by fellow Crooked Cat author Lizzie Chantree, whose latest romance novel was published last month.

Welcome Lizzie, tell us about your latest book, If you Love me, I’m yours.

Hi Tim. Thanks for inviting me onto your blog. My latest book is a romance read that is packed full of smiles. It’s just as much about the friendship of the two central characters, as it is about the romantic relationship that evolves during the story. Maud is oppressed by her parents and their views of the world on how a good daughter should behave, whilst Dottie is trying to find a voice in her own very eclectic and outspoken family.

This is not your first romance novel – would you like to say something about the others?

My books are about women who don’t necessarily know their own self-worth and who have to overcome obstacles to learn to be kinder to themselves and others. The stories are also full of humour and romance and often have one or two quite eccentric characters in them, as they are so much fun to write about and I have a few of those in my own family!

You’re also an inventor! I’m sure the readers would love to hear more about that.

Thank you! I was one of The Female Inventors of the Year as voted by The Patent Office and Fair Play London for my invention, Runaway Spray, which is a ‘run’ or ‘ladder’ stop spray for stockings and tights. It’s the size of a lipstick and is not tested on animals. My first customers were The Arcadia Group and Superdrug, which was fantastic!

If you lmiyNinja

Head over and read the rest of Lizzie Chantree’s interview with Tim:

T.E. Taylor’s Books can be found Amazon

Time now for some down to earth, extremely valuable advice from Anne R. Allen, for first time authors but also for authors who are still figuring out how to get their books noticed. There are no shortcuts in publishing, and the majority of us have to go through an apprenticeship. The one shortcut you can take with confidence, is to read the entire post from  Anne, and take her comments and suggestions on board.

9 Pieces of Bad Publishing Advice New Writers Should Ignore by Anne R. Allen

Social Media is both a boon and a curse to new writers. Online writing groups and forums are an excellent source of insider information on the publishing industry—stuff we once could only find at expensive classes and writers’ conferences.

But social media is also a major source of misinformation and dangerously bad advice.

I belong to a lot of Facebook writers’ groups where I see newbies ask questions that get a bunch of conflicting responses. Sometimes when I see misinformation, I jump in to correct it, but often I can tell that resistance is futile. There’s such a wealth of bad advice that I don’t know where to begin.

I know some people can only learn that fire is hot by getting burned. Nothing a more experienced person says will change their minds.

But if you don’t feel the need to jump in the fire, here’s some popular bad advice you can ignore.

1) If You Can’t Handle Rejection, Just Self-Publish.

This is one of the most common themes I see. Somebody asks a question about querying agents, like how long you should wait before you take silence as rejection (about 6 weeks), or is it okay to phone an agency to ask about the status of your query (no.)

Inevitably, somebody pipes up with a variation of: “I could never go through all that. Agent rejections are so painful. I’m just planning to self-publish when I finish my novel.”

I usually don’t say anything to these people. Bubble-bursting makes me feel like a meanie, and I can hope they’ll learn more about the process before they finish that book.

But if the poor dears do self-publish, they’d better pray they never get any reviews.

If you think agent rejections are hurtful, your first Goodreads review will send you into screaming agony.

Rejection is part of a writer’s job description. You’ll get it from reviewers, readers, editors, bookstore owners, advertising newsletters, and your brother-in-law. Get used to it.

In fact, learning to take rejection and criticism well should be listed as one of the top 10 skills every writer needs.

2) It’s Never Too Early to Start Marketing.

Head over and read the rest of this comprehensive article:

Anne R. Allen’s books can be found on Amazon and here is a small selection

And I am going to finish with a review of by Sarah Higbee on her blog. She reviews Menagerie – Book One of the Menagerie series by Rachel Vincent.

I like this author – see my review of Pride which also has something to say about the modern world within her escapist fantasy story. So when I saw the third book in this series featured on Netgalley, I requested it and when I was approved and realised that this wasn’t one I could crash into – I got hold of the previous two books in the series.

When Delilah Marlow visits a famous traveling carnival, Metzger’s Menagerie, she is an ordinary woman in a not-quite-ordinary world. But under the macabre circus big-top, she discovers a fierce, sharp-clawed creature lurking just beneath her human veneer. Captured and put on exhibition, Delilah is stripped of her worldly possessions, including her own name, as she’s forced to “perform” in town after town. But there is breathtaking beauty behind the seamy and grotesque reality of the carnival. Gallagher, her handler, is as kind as he is cryptic and strong. The other “attractions”—mermaids, minotaurs, gryphons and kelpies—are strange, yes, but they share a bond forged by the brutal realities of captivity. And as Delilah struggles for her freedom, and for her fellow menagerie, she’ll discover a strength and a purpose she never knew existed.

Sarah is the author of several books as S.J.Higbee on Amazon

Head over and read Sarah’s review:

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will head over and read the posts and enjoy. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Friday August 31st, 2018 – Marcia Meara, Christy D. Birmingham and Billy Ray Chitwood.

The first post is from Marcia Meara Website and features an excerpt from the latest release, Tortured Souls, by Staci Troilo.

Hi, Marcia. Thank you for opening your blog to me today.

I know you have an interest in the paranormal, in romance, and in thrillers. Today, I’m going to share an excerpt from my newest release, Tortured Soul, the fourth and final installment of the Medici Protectorate series. This book has all those elements (and then some). I hope you and your readers enjoy it.

(Note: These guys are battle-hardened and make free use of swear words, particularly when in the heat of action. To keep this post reader-friendly for all audiences, all instances of such words have been tamed or deleted.)

Tortured Soul Teaser

Mike? Where are you?”

“I do not know that ‘where’ is the correct term for what you are asking.”

Coz glanced around. No one reacted like they could hear him.

“They cannot hear me.”

Where the heck was he talking from? “Mike?”

“You do not have to speak aloud, Roberto. I am communicating with you, mind-to-mind.”

Coz started thinking his replies instead of speaking them. “Didn’t know you could do that.”

“I could not, before I died.” 

Head over and read the blurb for the book and the rest of this excerpt :

Marcia Meara is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore

Marcia Meara, Buy:
Bookin’ it blog:

Please visit Marcia’s Amazon page to view all her books.


My next blogger is Christy Birmingham who hosts a post from Linnea Tanner talking about mythology, Celtic Goddesses and her Curse of the Clansmen Series.

Today author Linnea Tanner is visiting to talk about mythology and her Curse of Clansmen and Kings series. Welcome, Linnea. I have known her for several years and watched her accumulate literary nominations and awards for her historical fantasy writing. Want to learn more about the Celtic goddess and how she is still relevant today? Then keep reading!

The female protagonist, Catrin, in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series is a Celtic warrior princess with mystical druidic powers in ancient Britannia. Her characterization is based on the complex archetypes of ancient Celtic goddesses whose functions embrace the entire religious spectrum from healing to warfare, from creation to destruction, and from nourishment to the Otherworld of the dead. Her Roman lover, Marcellus, is the great-grandson of Marc Antony. Interestingly, the Romans blended Celtic beliefs into their religion throughout the Romano-Celtic region.

In the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series, Catrin’s mythological odyssey will take her back and forth between first century Britannia and Rome. She derives powers from her dual nature of absolute love and loyalty countered by destruction and vengeance. She embodies the complex archetypes of Celtic goddesses who are described below.

Goddesses of War

Read more about Goddesses of war and the rest of this fascinating post :

Christy Birmingham is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore

And I will end with a short story from the charming Billy Ray Chitwood, who wrote this for the other charmer in our community John Howell, following his recent replacement knee surgery.

Comes the Dawn! by Billy Ray Chitwood – (For John Howell – Re-coup-knee-repl.)

The long night was over: no more voices whispering in the darker shadows of the bedroom; no more misshapen forms parading slowly past the end of the bed, blood pouring in ghastly lava-flows; no more screaming from my beloved wife, not knowing why, but screaming from seeing my white-blanched face, my red, tear-streaked cheeks, and my uncontrollable shaking.

The doctor gave me a mild pre-warning, but I will never forgive myself for the agony I put my good wife Jackie through that first night home from a knee-replacement surgery.

Dr. Driscoll told me that the pain medicine and its delivery system did not necessarily go well with the current pill regimen I was on. “Some medications collide with pain pills, Jeremy, so hallucinations are not out of the question. There is no way to predict the nature of the hallucinations, but I’ve heard some grotesque tales from patients in the past. You must take your medications, so it’s ‘pain or pain-pill’.”

The pain last night was excruciating, so I opted for the ‘pain-pill’, figuring the hallucinations could not be too much worse than the pain. Well, it was a ‘toss-up’! Still, that phantasmagorical experience was a ride down one of Hell’s terrifying roller coasters.

Okay, my pain threshold is weak to cry-babyish! AND, I’m about to take another pain-pill as I’m writing this because the pain is eating me alive – again! And, it’s daytime.

Head over and read the rest of this scary story…..:

Billy Ray is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore.


Visit Amazon or Billy Ray’s blog to view all his books.


I hope you have enjoyed today’s selection and will head over and explore the posts further… thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Thursday 30th August 2018 – Norah Colvin, Janice Spina and Alethea Kehas #EarlyReading and #Inspiration

Time to catch up with some of the blog posts I have read this week. With the music requests from the party out in the airwaves, I can turn my attention to the bloggers who consistently write amazing and inspiring posts. One of those is Norah Colvin on her Website

I learned to read at a very young age, thanks to my two older sisters. It ignited a life long love of books both to read and to write. Toddlers are the next generation of authors and the earlier they begin the better.

A sprinkle of this, a pinch of that, and poof! It’s reading — magic! by Norah Colvin

My children were early readers. Both began reading real books well before their fourth birthdays. Of course, the timing, whether early or late, matters little now that they are adults. What matters is that they are readers who read competently and confidently for a range of purposes including for information and pleasure. They are readers by choice as well as purpose.

The ability to read is something that most of us take for granted. Many have no recollection of learning to read, only of being able to do so all of a sudden, as if we just could, by magic.

But, as with any spell, there are certain essential ingredients that make the magic happen and others that inhibit the process. Creating readers of choice and not just purpose is the real magic. Creating non-readers is the effect of a spell in reverse, of a bad mix of ingredients, that sadly occurs all too often.

My children were readers of choice long before they could read anything for themselves. I wouldn’t say I set out to “teach” them to read. In fact, I didn’t at all. I set out to encourage in them a love of books and writing. Their learning to read was a by-product of sharing the love of words, language and reading.

Bec reading to herself at 12 months

Bec reading to herself at 12 months

Find out what the magic ingredients are for developing readers:

And here is another post on the subject from children’s author Janice Spina who shares some helpful tips on how to encourage children to read who might not be as interested as they could be.

What do you do when your child/children do not like to read?

First of all, find a subject that your children enjoy. It may be art, math, science, history, ghosts, mysteries, adventures or just plain cartoons and video games.

Go online to Amazon or Barnes & Noble and type in the subjects that they like under books. Once you find the books with these subjects in them, ask your children which books they would like to read.

If they still don’t appear to be interested, tell them that they must pick two books or more. Give them a goal of how many chapters you would like them to read each day or night. You must read them too so that you can discuss the story with them, thus insuring that they really are reading.

Find some more helpful tips by heading over and reading the rest of the post:

Janice is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore

Janice Spina, Buy:

Please visit Amazon or Janice’s blog to view all her books for adults and children.


Now time for inspiration of a different kind from Alethea Kehas prompted by Sue Vincent of The Daily Echo you nominated her for the 3-2-1 Me Challenge with the word ‘inspiration’ for her topic. Alethea explore the origins of the word, and notables who have quotes on the subject. Some of us find it difficult to find inspiration and other see it in a butterfly or on finding a feather… what are your thoughts on the topic?


Image Alethea Kehas – The seemingly inert forms of rocks inspire me, even those found in New England. In this photo, taken at Acadia National Park in Maine, I can see dozens of faces, each with a different story to tell.

Did you know “inspiration” not only means “that which spurs creativity and action,” but also the “intake of breath?” I rather like the link between these two definitions. What inspires you to breathe life in? Fully and completely, capturing its essence as you do so? Connecting your life to its life…Your form to another’s…

I think, perhaps, the key is a connection. Finding that which sparks the synapses to fire across the bridge of singularity. That moment when we inspire the breath and say to ourselves, “ah ha, there is a certain something here I need to explore,” and in that exploration don’t we inevitably discover something about ourselves? A deep-seated longing, perhaps, that we now cannot ignore?

While looking up quotes on inspiration, I came across these words attributed to Bob Dylan,”Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it.” I find this rather sad and tend to disagree with it. Are we really that disconnected from life, and, one could extrapolate, the source of the air we breathe?

Mr. Dylan seems to be implying that inspiration is an elusive object, which is hard to obtain. I tend to think of it as just the opposite. Inspiration, I find, is everywhere, waiting for us to take notice. To take in the deep inhale of its life into our cells and allow them to spark fresh awareness. It’s a sad thought to think most of us spend our time breathing stale, shallow breaths without any sense of wonderment, but maybe Bob is onto something here…

Head over and read the rest of the post and I am sure Alethea would love your thoughts on where and how inspiration can be found and also appreciated:

Alethea and Sue are both authors in the Cafe and bookstore.

Sue Vincent and Stuart France, Buy:  Blog:

Please visit Amazon or Sue’s blog to view all her books and those written with Stuart France.


Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will explore these posts further.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord End of Summer Party #Music Requests from Patricia Salamone, Carol Taylor, M.J. Mallon and Joy Lennick.

Unfortunately there was not the space or time to play all of the guest requests at the four meals over the weekend but I promised to do so during the week. Here were the missing tracks from Brunch.You can find more about these guests in more detail Saturday night dinner

My first request is from Patricia Salamone who was born in Queens, New York to her Italian mother and German father. The Italian influence always dominated in her home, and from that seed, and her tip to Sicily in 2002 to meet relatives, was born her first memoir The Italian Thing Amazon.. A wonderful lady who is an inspiration to us all. You can read some of her wonderful fiction serials on her blog The Writer’s Desk

Patricia requested I Hope You Can Dance by Lee Ann Womack, courtesy of LeeAnn Womack

Available from Amazon

Carol Taylor has been a fixture on Smorgasbord for over a year now with her first series that we wrote together, Cook from Scratch and now with The Food and Cookery Column. She is an amazing friend and collaborator and I am so pleased that she decided to join the club. You can catch up with Carol’s life in Thailand and many delicious recipes each week, as well as her travels in Thailand, on her blog Retired No One Told Me

Carol requested Puff Daddy and I’ll Be Missing memory of all that she has loved and lost over the years.. courtesy of Bad Boy Entertainment

Available from Amazon

Another request from  Marjorie Mallon who writes as M. J. Mallon, who I hope has been enjoying the oriental flavours that she loves with the previous courses of prawns, and Thai dishes. She is the author of the YA Science Fiction Fantasy novel The Curse of Time Amazon  

You can find out more about Marjorie on her blog Kyrosmagica

Marjorie requested The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd as it reminds her of her youth…I have selected Any Colour You Like from the Album which is available on Amazon

And as a special guest today Joy Lennick who I was unable to fit in for the party but who popped in and shared over the weekend. She is on the list for the next party. You can find out more about Joy at the blog Joy Lennick and all her books are available at Amazon

Joy has left the choice of music to me and so to end this post today here is one of my favourites by Canadian singer Anne Murray.

Thanks for dropping in today and The Blogger Daily will return on Friday.. I hope you will drop in to listen to more tracks tomorrow with the Sunday Lunch guests. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord End of Summer Party – What is on the Menu Today?

The End of Summer party starts later this morning, with three meals each with a table full of special guests, great food (even though I say so myself) and music chosen by some of the guests.

It is also an opportunity for you to pop in and mingle with the guests after their meal… stay with me here… I know it is virtual!  And you can sign the visitors book before you leave with your name, a little about yourself, link to your blog (good idea to leave a link to your latest post) and to your Amazon author page.

And tomorrow I will be serving Sunday Lunch.

Each meal has several course, plenty to drink, great music and of course interesting guests.

This is your opportunity to meet new contacts, introduce your books to new readers and to hopefully have some fun as well.

Here is just one of the dishes being served at brunch – made by my own two fair hands

Hoping for sunshine but if not this might get you in the mood. Courtesy of Katrina and the WavesAmazon


Look forward to seeing you there.. Sally

Smorgasbord Reblog – How the Anthology ¡Que entre la luz! Raises Awareness about Domestic Violence by Christy D. Birmingham

Christy D. Birmingham very kindly invited Olga Nunez Miret and myself over to talk about the recent anthology we were involved in. ¡Que entre la luz!  is a project by the cooperative of Spanish writers called Ediciones Proust, in aid of victims of domestic violence.  I hope you will head over to Christy’s blog and read the entire post. Thanks Sally

¡Que entre la luz!

How the Anthology ¡Que entre la luz! Raises Awareness about Domestic Violence

When I heard about the anthology When I heard about the anthology ¡Que entre la luz! that author and translator Olga Núñez Miret is involved in to raise awareness for domestic violence, I knew it was a project I wanted to help get the word out about. As many of you know, I was in an abusive relationship and realize the toll it can take on mental health in additional to physical health. I approached Olga about a guest post, as well as renowned blogger and author Sally Cronin, who contributes her short story Diana to the Spanish book. The anthology is in aid of a few Spanish charities that work with survivors of domestic violence and raise awareness of the problem. Thank you again to Olga and Sally for sharing about the project in the joint guest post that follows here.
Can you please explain about the anthology, Olga?

Hi, Christy. Thanks so much for your kindness in inviting us to your blog and for your interest in ¡Que entre la luz!, a collection of short stories, poems, and articles published in aid of two Spanish charitable organisations that support the survivors of domestic violence and violence against children, Fundación Ana Bella and Asociación Bekoz Beko.

I am a member of a cooperative of Spanish writers called Ediciones Proust, created a couple of years ago to offer support and a variety of publishing services to independent authors. We have a couple of groups on Twitter where we share tweets that we think deserve to be promoted and shared, mostly about books or cultural events, but also about important issues. Several of the writers in the group, and the CEO, Lusa Guerrero, had personal connections and had worked to help organisations against domestic violence, and would regularly share news about initiatives and events taking place. Several authors suggested that we could publish an anthology and donate all the profit to relevant projects.

After some discussion and a fair deal of organising, we made a call, not only to members of the cooperative but also to other writers, for their contributions. The stories, poems, or essays had to be about the subject of domestic violence and there was a length limit, but otherwise, each author was free to approach the subject as s/he wished. We were overwhelmed by the response. We had well-known authors like Alberto Vázquez-Figueroa (whose work has been adapted to screen many times), Blanca Miosi (Amazon’s number one best-selling author in Spanish), Enrique Laso (an Spanish author well known both for his fiction and for his non-fiction books), sending their work, but also less known independent authors, and even members of international organisations, like Alok Dixit founder of Sheroes Hangout, from Stop Acid Attack, in Agra.

Please head over and read the rest of the post:

Christy D. Birmingham is on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore

Thanks for dropping in today Sally.

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Something to think about with Vashti-Quiroz-Vega, Nicholas Rossis and Stevie Turner

Welcome to the Blogger Daily, and today I am popping into the Cafe and bookstore to check on posts from the authors. The first I would like to share is from Vashti Quiroz-Vega with an update on the Red Algae off southwest Florida which has resulted in the governor declaring a state of emergency.Vashti took the opportunity to write a poem about the disaster for #PoetryFriday.

Poetry Friday ~ Love & Time (Synonyms)

I don’t know if you’ve heard the news about the ‘Red Tide’ algae affecting southwest Florida, but what’s going on here is a real tragedy.

Toxic algae, called ‘red tide’ are killing the marine life in the southwest coast of Florida. Sea creatures have been washing up on our shores. The situation is so bad that our governor has declared a state of emergency.

red tide-toxic_algae-Florida-Poetry_Friday-Vashti Q-The Writer Next Door-Vashti Quiroz Vega-marine_life

Images Vashti Quiroz-Vega

This kind of thing upsets me beyond belief. Scientists are trying to figure out how to get rid of these tiny creatures and there has been some wild speculations as to how they had come to be. Well, I have a theory of my own. I believe The Deepwater Horizon oil spill (BP oil spill) in the Gulf of Mexico, April 20, 2010 is one of many things to blame. Nature always tries to protect itself and that includes marine life. All the garbage and oil in the water have killed many aquatic creatures and vegetation. Maybe, some of the gulf’s algae mutated into what are now known as ‘red-tide algae’ to protect itself long ago and maybe they plague us for disrespecting their environment. Yes, I know this reads like something out of an M. Night Shyamalan movie, but it makes perfect sense to me. When a life form is placed in a toxic environment it will either die or change to adapt to its new surroundings. Only this algae has mutated into a monstrous form that kills off every other creature around.

Please head over and read the rest of the post, Vashti’s poem and watch the National Geographic video:

Now for another hot topic which is the blatant use of personal information by Facebook for targeted advertising. This is not new as back as far as 2010 when I was browsing for sites selling stair lifts on Google and began to get adverts in my Facebook feed for stair lifts but also other elderly aids such as toilet risers and incontinent knickers.. I kid you not…At this time they have clearly decided that I am in need of a break, as I am getting weekend breaks and spa days in my timeline.
Anyway as always Nicholas Rossis has the up to date information, and if you have taken out ads for your books, then head over and read what you should think about in regards to how you manage them.

Unless you spend most of your time under a rock, you will have heard of Facebook’s troubles regarding its cavalier use of its user’s personal data. Zuckerberg was grilled in Congress and they were recently fined £500,000 for their role in the big Cambridge Analytical data scandal, which saw some 87 million Facebook users have their data exposed and used to influence political elections.
Facebook’s Response

As reported by Ron Douglas, Facebook has responded by quietly taking away targeting options that were based on sensitive data they don’t want people to know they had in the first place.

These include options built on the data provided by third-party companies like Axiom or Experian. These options are called Partner Categories and are very powerful when trying to target users based on the behaviors they take outside of Facebook. This explains why you may search for shoes on Google and have Ads for shoes appear on your timeline a moment later.

Using Partner Categories, advertisers were able to target people who were frequent buyers, in the market for a new vehicle, in certain job roles, or likely to relocate. This behavioral data was super valuable when trying to meet users with the right marketing message at the right time during the consideration process.

What does this mean for you? Head over and find out:

Nicholas Rossis, Buy:
Blog: Goodreads:

Please visit Amazon or Nicholas’s website to view all his books.


And now on the subject of exams and the recent announcement of A- Level results in the UK.. from Stevie Turner. I have to admit to being as mystified as Stevie at how the statistics and pass rates appear to have been fudged, although as Stevie points out, if you want a full school and funding you cannot have a low pass rate.

Anyway in whichever country you live in you will have your own education system and can pass comment on that. But it strikes me, having been on the receiving end of the education systems school and university graduates, that some of the grass roots subjects, such as Reading, Writing and basic arithmetic might be quite useful. Apparently 17% – 20% of 16-19 year old students are leaving school functionally illiterate and unable to cope with the challenges of everyday life: Teaching Times

I expect this post is not going to be popular with young people who have just had their A Level results, but do stay with me for the rest of this blog because I need to say something about the examination system in England, which I have had some past experience of, having worked in the examinations department of a college.

On my BBC News app, it says A Levels in England have been moving away from coursework and instead are graded on final exams. This is how it used to be when I was at school, but wait a minute… I also read that this year A Level students have been awarded the highest proportion of As and A* grades since 2012 (97.6% was the overall pass rate for all grades), and that the exams’ regulator had promised grade boundaries could be lowered once papers were marked if it transpired that the new exams were tougher than expected.

I don’t have an ‘ology’ so correct me if I’ve missed something here, but I assume the students had been studying the proper course content for 2 years, they knew they’d be tested at the end, and they’d had the chance to take a few mock exams beforehand? What is the point of making the exams tougher if the grade boundaries then get lowered because not enough students achieve top grades? Surely it’s how the subjects are taught and the teachers’ control of the class that should be checked? It’s pointless lowering grades, as very soon you’re back to square one where everybody passes and university clearing houses and prospective employers cannot then root out the wheat from the chaff.

Head over and read the rest of this thought provoking post:

and the follow up post:

Stevie Turner, Buy:

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

Thank you for visiting and I hope you will explore the posts further and add your comments there. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Tuesday 21st August 2018- #Caregivers – Karen Ingalls, Lifelong Metamorphoses, Cynthia Reyes

I was one of billions who had no idea what it was involved in caregiving until I began looking after my mother full-time. You are on constant alert, even when sleeping, always keeping an eye open in changes in behaviour or physical issues, and often in the case of elderly parents, reversing roles, losing some of your identity in the process. Here is a post from Karen Ingalls and her guest Harriet Hodgson, and I suggest that even if you are not currently in a care giving role that you read and absorb.

Harriet Hodgson has been a freelance writer for 38 years, award-winning author of several published books, member of Rave Reviews Book Club and Rave Writers International Society of Authors. Her work is cited in Who’s Who of American Women and World’s Who’s Who of Women Contemporary Authors.

This is my 21st year as a family caregiver. I’ve learned a lot along the way and one of the most important things I learned is that I need to take care of myself. Although I was familiar with burnout, I wasn’t familiar with compassion fatigue, so I decided to learn more about it.

What is it? Compassion fatigue is a form of burnout—spiritual, emotional, and spiritual exhaustion—caused by never-ending caregiving tasks. Compassion fatigue happens to doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, social workers, clergy, and others who have service jobs.

There’s one big difference between burnout and compassion fatigue and it’s timing. Burnout develops slowly and it can take years to develop, whereas compassion fatigue comes on quickly. Its onset can be so quick it takes you by surprise. “I can’t do this anymore,” is your immediate response.

According to the American Institute of Stress, compassion fatigue has a faster recovery time than burnout if it’s recognized and managed early. If you’re a caregiver, be on the lookout for symptoms and keep track of them.

The American Institute of Stress says there may be lots of blaming. You may bottle up your emotions and keep them to yourself, process called “stuffing.” You may feel isolated and alone, get complaints from others, and take less care of yourself. People with compassion fatigue may have nightmares and flashbacks. Stomach problems may develop and you may be more susceptible to colds.

Read the rest of this important post for caregivers

Karen Ingalls is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore

Karen Ingalls, Buy:
Website Two:

photo on 2-14-16 at 139 pm-crop-u613351GERUMF7FL._UY250_51q05nsoi7L._UY250_51wBeydFoBL._UY250_

On the subject of caregiving I read this post that highlights the change in role that is necessary to ensure that someone you love receives the best care possible. This post is from Carolyn of Lifelong Metamorphoses

Welcome. I’m Carolyn, an actress, teacher and director based in Atlanta, Georgia. I’m passionate about the arts, travel, and my amazing family. I have spent my adult life seeking ways to balance rich personal relationships with a fascinating and challenging career. I hope to explore creativity and change in myself, in those I love, and in the world around me. Come along.

The Act of Caregiving

I like to say that actors are the luckiest people on earth, because we get to play for a living.

I’m not saying my profession is all fun and games. Acting takes a lot of work — learning the craft, mastering technique, using your voice and body effectively, auditioning, getting rejected over and over again, and then — if you’re lucky — getting cast, rehearsing, memorizing lines, crafting a performance, and pouring your heart out for an audience night after night.

This work takes focus, energy, and a willingness to live in the moment. It’s similar to sports or music — you can prepare and practice for years (and you’d better, if you want to be any good), but when you’re in the middle of a performance, you have to turn loose and play. Nothing matters but what’s happening right now. You’re prepared, yet flexible; grounded, yet utterly spontaneous.

Actors never forget how to play. Even as adults, we hold onto our childhood ability to pretend, explore, and experiment. We embrace the full range of human emotions. We don’t judge the characters we play, we relish them — the villains as much as the heroes, the clowns as much as the tragic victims. Our job is to step into someone else’s reality and behave as if it were our own. We imagine what it’s like to live in another person’s skin, to deal with their frustrations and celebrate their joys. We learn to give ourselves over to their truth, while never completely losing sight of our own.

Does that remind you of anything? Maybe dementia caregiving?

Head over and read more about this interesting perspective on caregiving:

And whilst we are on this subject, there are other members of our family who extend additional love and support when needed. When my mother was bedridden in the last few weeks, my sister’s Staffie, normally a boistrous little thing, would get up into the chair by mother’s bedside and gently reach across to kiss a hand before curling up to keep a watchful eye. Cynthia Reyes shares her experiences with the cats in her family.

We’ve heard it said: pets often sense when something is wrong, especially when their human companions are ill.

Blog Photo - Jerome on injured knee

Our family has observed this in action recently. Our son-in-law broke his leg while skiing, requiring surgery and weeks of recuperation. Our daughter takes great care of him, of course. They’re a very caring couple. And they both noticed that their cats, Jerome (above) and Simon (below), have been extra attentive.

Blog Photo - Simon on lap3

What’s even more interesting: Simon tends to be reclusive, and Jerome tends to be edgy at times. But they have both been showering our son-in-law with attention and affection.

Head over and discover more of the caregiving by Cynthia’s cats and also their canine nursing assistant. I am sure you have your own stories to share with Cynthia:

Cynthia is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore

Cynthia Reyes, Buy:


Thanks for visiting today and please head over and enjoy these posts in full. thanks Sally