Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Wednesday 18th July 2018 – Frank Parker, Alexis Ryder and Kristina Stanley

Welcome to my small selection of blog posts I have enjoyed this last couple of days and the first is from Frank Parker who has a date with author Ceri Bladen.

A Date With… Ceri Bladen

My date this time describes herself as “a Welsh girl who now lives in Turkey with her family.” When she is not writing or drawing, she loves to cook with fresh produce from the market, and look after her “thirty-odd street cats and one street dog”.

I was curious about her choice of Turkey, given it’s poor human rights reputation, as a suitable place to bring up a family. Her experience gives the lie to that reputation:

“I enjoyed many years teaching primary-aged children in beautiful Swansea. Although I never dreamed of giving up my chosen career, my life shifted focus when I had a set of twins and another child just seventeen months later. My husband and I had waited seven years to have children so when we were blessed with them, they became our main priority. I decided to take time away from my profession to enjoy time with them.

While they were toddlers we spent a couple of weeks a year in Turkey on holiday. After a while we decided to move there for a couple of years.

Turkey is a friendly, family-orientated place, as anyone who has visited will know.

In our twelve years living there, we found the Turkish people welcoming and have never once thought it a ‘far from ideal’ place to raise a family; in fact, quite the opposite. They have been able to experience an idyllic outdoor childhood; they have acquired another language; learned about a different religion, and culture; and have had the opportunity to travel. Our focus in life has always been the children, and we are proud that our Turkish lifestyle has enabled them to grow into socially adaptable, polite teenagers.”

Head over and find out more about Ceri Bladen and her Viking books:

Frank Parker is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore

Frank Parker, Buy:

A new blog to me but one I am sure I will enjoy...Stories I have Never a collection of moments that have shaped Alexis Ryder’s life…


Shortly after my grandmother was diagnosed with the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s, my mother decided we should take a trip to her home country; Uruguay. Her doctor said it might benefit her to see familiar sights and people from her past. The timing was good; she was lucid enough to know what was going on most of the time, and she was definitely still lucid enough to complain, which is one of her favourite activities.

On the third day of our family vacation, we took a road trip across the tiny South American country. The six of us piled into this rickety old van that we’d rented and hit the open road. Throughout the ride, when she was not asleep, my grandmother complained abut my father’s driving and of the various potholes we hit.

Around midday, we stopped at a tourist attraction that my cousin had recommended. It was about three hours out of the capital city. We took a few wrong turns before arriving at this huge metal bull, whose brass balls we had to rub for good luck. My grandmother complained about the steep hill that led to the bull and of the lewdness of the tradition.

Read the rest of this delightful post:

And last but not least… a post from Kristina Stanley whose guest is author Tracy L. Ward talking about Canadian History.

You Can Bet Your Bottom Dollar I Did My Research by Tracy L. Ward

If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say, “Canadian history just isn’t that interesting,” I could retire a very wealthy woman. It seems, in comparison to the oft romanticized aspects of American history (a rebellion for liberty from British rule, a civil war to free the enslaved and multiple presidential assassinations) any history Canadians have been a part of feels downright yawn worthy.

How did we become a county? We held a meeting and signed some papers. Yawn. How did slavery in Canada end? Well, Britain ended their involvement in the slave trade and we just kind of followed suit. Both these major events seem passive on our part, nothing revolutionary, nothing to write home about.

A lot of our apathy toward our own history comes down to how it’s taught. It’s standard practice to focus on dates, politician’s names and outcomes of battle. But what if I told you this is exactly the WRONG way to approach history?

I certainly had my fair share of “read this, fill in the blanks on this” history classes. If this is the only type of history class that young people are exposed to no wonder adult Canadians aren’t that particularly interested.

How did I get hooked on history?

Read the rest of this interesting guest post:

Kristina Stanley is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore

Kristina Stanley, Buy

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


Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Tuesday 17th July 2018 – The Story Reading Ape, Linda Bethea and Christy D. Birmingham

Welcome to a small selection of blog posts I have enjoyed in the last couple of days.

The first post is from The Story Reading Ape and his guest author Jaq D. Hawkins with her thoughts on writer’s block and some strategies to over come that inability to get the words onto a page.

What makes me a writer is the need to write. It’s an incessant driving force characterised by a series of scenes from stories constantly animating through my mind. Not just one, I always have several stories playing out in my head. So when articles come out talking about what to do when you get writer’s block, I wonder how that can work with a host of characters continually clamouring for attention in a creative mind.

We’ve all faced the blank page. There are times when words flow quickly and other times when they take a little more plumbing, but once an idea has manifested, the words to express it fully exist somewhere in the aether, we just have to access them. Sometimes they can be elusive and the person who panics will hit a block.

Take an article like this for example. What could a person who doesn’t suffer from writer’s block possibly have to say about it? Well, the answer is in the question. As soon as you ask a question, it creates a void that must be filled with an answer, or at least another question. In this case, WHYdon’t I suffer from writer’s block?

Having given that question some thought, my analysis is that:

Head over and read and check out what Jaq’s analysis is:

Next it is time to catch up with A Hog Day Part 19 by Linda Bethea… a wonderfully irreverent look at the downside of getting your own way and thwarting your father…

Between the two of us, Billy and I complained bitterly about having to march in like a row of ducks to line the pew every Sunday. No other kids our age sat with their parents. We looked like real doofuses. It was a social disaster. Finally, I decided I’d have to work up the nerve to ask permission to sit somewhere else. After the super ball incident, there was no way Billy would ever bring up that topic again. I knew I had to approach the subject delicately or there would be big trouble. At our house, a question could reap consequences as serious as an actual sin. It showed intent. I suppose it followed the same principle as “having lust in your heart.” Not only that, but whenever Daddy got news that a neighborhood kid had done something horrible, We got a preemptive lecture, just because. “Your FRIEND, Eddie, was smoking and burned down the preacher’s barn last night. THAT’s why I don’t let you …….”. It didn’t matter that I’d never spoken two words to Eddie and despised smoking, only Daddy’s total dedication to lecturing and haranguing kept me on the straight and narrow. But for his rigid control, I’d have been smoking, drinking, and fornicating on the back pew every Sunday.

Head over and read the rest of this entertaining post:

Linda Bethea is an author in the bookstore.

Linda Bethea, Buy:

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And my third selection today is a post from Christy Birmingham on the subject of improving your relationships. I have been married for 38 years and am only too aware of how easily habit and familiarity can sometimes make you complacent. We still have surprises in our relationship.. good ones. And we laugh a lot which is great. We also know when something is wrong. Apparently I stop talking! Anyway we could all use a refresh from time to time, and Christy has five empowering suggestions.

5 Empowering Ways To Improve Your Relationship

To achieve a successful relationship, it is essential that you are willing to put the work in. If you are going to avoid getting set in your ways, you will need to have an open mind about what the future holds. Rather than putting up with the negative aspects of your pairing, you should be striving for more. There are so many empowering ways for you to improve your relationship, so there is no need to hold back. Working together, you and your partner can create a wonderful union that is positive, fulfilling, and enjoyable. It will require a substantial amount of time and effort, but eventually, you will get there. Below are 5 tips to help improve your relationship.

Boost your confidence and encourage your partner to do the same

The first tip is to boost your confidence, whilst encouraging your partner to do the same. This is an excellent way for you to strengthen your relationship. Instead of relying on your loved one for an endless amount of support and praise, you will find it easier to know your own worth. Of course, it will still be nice to receive compliments from your other half, but you will no longer be dependent on this kind of attention. That is why you should endeavor to overcome your insecurities until you have successfully enhanced your self-esteem.

Help your loved one to work through their own insecurities too. Perhaps they feel terrible about their weight. Why not assist them in getting fit and active? Or, maybe they are troubled by hair loss. Why not go online to review options that could be suitable?

Head over and read the rest of the post and find out more strategies to give your relationship a boost in an empowering way:

Christy is an author in the bookstore.

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will head over and explore these posts further.

Smorgasbord Something to Think About – Summer holidays – Who is watching your house?

This is not the first time that I have posted this but it is perhaps time for a reminder. The summer holidays where people are away for a couple of weeks at a time is the busiest time of the year for criminals. Especially when so many of us kindly leave the door open in the virtual world, by announcing our departure and then posting photographs of our fun in the sun!

We assume that it will only be the rich and famous who are posting on Instagram and have a house full of expensive items John Terry Footballer – but there are plenty of opportunistic petty thieves who are happy with some electronics and any jewelery lying around.

These days in our capital cities, even hanging your arm out of the window of your car with a half-way decent watch on your wrist is asking for some thug on a moped to relieve you of it!

Party, Party Party!!

We have all read the stories in the press of teenagers planning a get together whilst parents are away for the night and five thousand turn up on the doorstep and then trash the house.. Every parent’s nightmare.. Yet we adults also have to be careful about what we post on Facebook that might invite unwanted guests into our home. We also have to be savvy about what we post while we are away as this too might end up costing you thousands.

We are going on holiday……yeah!

As we head towards the summer holidays and millions of us board planes and ships to travel around the world, the first thing that we want to do is share our wonderful experiences. With the world-wide web you can post your images to Facebook and other sites every day as you glow in the bask of the sunset with a cocktail in hand.

First and foremost of course is the little matter of telling the world that you are on holiday and that your house is more than likely empty except for all your worldly possessions. Not only that, in your ‘farewell and be back in touch in two weeks’ final message to all your ‘friends’ on social media you have also given potential thieves the time scales so that they can schedule you in to their calendar.

These days you only have to pay a small amount to a site that provides addresses such as or even the online telephone directory to track your house down and then criminals have all they need to go on their own little spree.

My house has been robbed….here is my insurance claim!!!!

Your home insurer will probably check your social media and if they discover that you have announced to everyone that you are going to be leaving your house vacant they are likely to quibble over your claim.

What do you mean you won’t pay for my stay in hospital???

Secondly, travel and medical insurance is a large expense today and the natural inclination is to get the basic and hope for the best.  With ski holidays you have to be fairly specific about your risk factors which is understandable, but what about your lovely two weeks in the sun where you might lose your luggage or your wallet but not your health or even life.

We have all had that moment when that last cocktail has provided the courage to sky-dive, para-glide, wind surf, scuba dive, swim with dolphins or sharks, jump off the high board or any other activity that we thought we would never attempt….After all we are only young once and life is for living!

Here are a few who won’t be able to claim….. all recorded on a lovely smart phone! Does not seem they got much sympathy either!

And you can be sure that if you have a pre-existing condition that this will be taken into consideration when your claim is assessed. And if you have thrown yourself out of a plane and have a history of angina which results in an episode requiring medical treatment you will find yourself paying the cost of it.

Recently, there have been a number of prosecutions of people claiming that they suffered food poisoning when staying in hotels abroad. Trouble is when allegedly incapacitated, they were pictured at the swimming pool or eating heartily in other restaurants or even in the hotel!  I am sure that the fines and the prison food will be a little less palatable!

Many insurance companies have a No John, No John, No John No  policy where they will refuse three times as a matter of course.  They will also be taking a keen look at your social media and those photographs of you enjoying a few cocktails by the pool with your family and friends and they may be used against you.

This is particularly important if you have teenagers heading off on holiday with a bunch of friends. They are far more likely to post photographs of everything that they do on holiday and not just on Facebook but across the board. They are at greater risk of doing themselves harm and also of having problems with their insurance.

So, if you are going on holiday, do not tell the world on Facebook or on any other blog or social media site, unless it is absolutely clear that you have left people in charge in your absence.  Post your holiday photographs when you return safe and sound and no longer have need of your medical insurance and then you can share that amazing moment you threw yourself out of a plane at 15,000 feet.

Some signs that your house may be targeted year round.

On the subject of housebreaking. Be careful of putting death and funeral notices in the paper. If you live in the house you may find yourself getting late night or early morning calls that are hang-ups. Someone is trying to find out if after a bereavement the house is empty and vulnerable. Also check outside for anything out of place in the front garden or any strange marks on garden walls, gates or even on the walls of the house, probably in chalk.  These are signs left to indicate that the house is empty. My advice is to leave someone at the house during a funeral and after a bereavement for a couple of weeks at least. The same applies when you are on holiday.

When we had Sam we had a wonderful house/pet sitter and if we are both away at the same time we always have someone in the house. You may find that a family member would love a bit of a break themselves and move in for your time away and it saves a fortune if you have pets rather than put them in kennels.

Here are a couple of sites you might find useful. Established sitters come with references and in some cases are bonded. Many are people who have retired and want to see the world will cover their travel expenses and in most cases do not charge as they are happy not to pay accommodation costs.

The key is to be safe on holiday and make sure that all your activities are covered by your insurance.. Look at the small print and only post your party shots and extreme sports when you get home safely!

©Sally Cronin 2018

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Monday 16th July 2018 – #Reviews #Blogging Tips Cathy Ryan, Linda Hill and Fantac Cisse

Thanks for dropping in and I hope you will find the three blog posts I have chosen to share interesting today..

You will notice that many of the posts that I share relate to or are written by authors in the Cafe and Bookstore, however I also enjoy posts on travel, food, cookery, health, lifestyle and personal experiences. If I have missed your post then please put the link in the comments below.. thanks Sally.

Cathy Ryan

The first post is by Cathy Ryan of Between the Lines with her review of Twisted Truth (Peter Hatherall Book Five) by Diana J. Febry.

Category: Crime, Murder, Mystery, Contemporary, Book Review

It’s hard to defend yourself when you have memory lapses, and everyone thinks you are crazy.

Journalist, Megan Roach, is given a story by an old man in a nursing home that could make her famous. When her carefully constructed life starts to unravel, she is forced to confront her childhood demons and the possibility she could be a murderer.

Megan Roach is a journalist working with her University photographer friend, Rob, for a local newspaper. Not quite what Megan had envisaged as a career. Their present brief is to show care homes in a good light after the recent scandals. While packing up the equipment, Megan’s attention is caught by an elderly man in a wheelchair. She was amazed when the man jumped out of the wheelchair and shut the door, before handing her a package, saying he had evidence of a murder. Megan was skeptical but the man was insistent, and Megan was still searching for her big break. What could she lose by taking a look at the package?

Head over and read the rest of Cathy’s review for the book:

Diana J. Febry is in the Cafe and Bookstore

Diana J. Febry, Buy:

The next post is by Linda Hill of Linda’s Book Bag and is a guest post by Mary Smith, sharing some of the intriguing stories behind her latest book Secret Dumfries.

Earlier this year I had the privilege of staying in with lovely Mary Smith to discuss her book No More Mulberries in a post you can read here. I have also been lucky enough to read and review (here) Mary’s short story collection Donkey Boy.

I have so enjoyed Mary’s writing and she is such a wonderful supporter of Linda’s Book Bag, that when I heard she had a new book out with photographer Keith Kirk, Secret Dumfries, I just had to invite her back to the blog. Today Mary has kindly written a guest post all about writing what you know and even better, it’s Mary’s birthday today so happy birthday Mary!

Secret Dumfries is available to buy on  Amazon or directly from the publisher, Amberley Publishing.

Dumfries, in south-west Scotland, has a long history, much of it well recorded. However, as with most places there are more than a few secrets hidden away.

First referred to as the Queen of the South by local poet David Dunbar in 1857, the name stuck and was later adopted by the local football team. Not many know that this makes it the only football team in the world mentioned in the Bible.

Darker aspects of the town’s history include the burning of nine witches on the Whitesands in 1659 and the last public hanging of a woman in Scotland, Mary Timney, was held in Dumfries in 1862. There are tales of plague victims being exiled to Scabbit Isle, of murderers and grave robbers.

Not all its secrets are so dark: there’s Patrick Miller and his introduction of turnips courtesy of King Gustav III of Sweden, and the exiled Norwegian Army making its home in Dumfries during the Second World War. And what is the significance of the finials depicting telescopes and anchors on the railings along the Whitesands?

Local author Mary Smith and photographer Keith Kirk take the reader on a fascinating journey through the town’s past, unearthing tales of intrigue and grisly goings-on as they provide a glimpse into some of the lesser-known aspects of the town’s history.

Write What You Know – A Guest Post by Mary Smith

All writers are familiar with the ‘write what you know’ adage. It doesn’t mean you have to have been confronted in real life by an axe-wielding murderer to know how such a situation would feel. We’ve all experienced fear (whether it was being bullied at school or being driven round corkscrew bends up a mountain by a heroin addicted driver) and a writer’s imagination can take that emotion, gear it up a few notches and slip it into the axe-wielding murderer scene.

Head over and find out more about the stories behind Secret Dumfries:

Mary Smith is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore.

Mary Smith, Buy:

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

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And last but certainly not least… is a post from  on the subject of taking a break from blogging.. in this case just for two weeks, but Fantac Cisse shares her observations of this brief hiatus and the benefits.

What A 2-Weeks break From Blogging Taught Me | Blogger Tips

Creative people tend to put an unreasonable amount of pressure on themselves.

With that pressure comes the feeling of failure when the result of their hard work does not produce the success they expected.

Being a writer, an artist, a vidder or a blogger can be incredibly taxing even if you are doing it because it’s your true passion. Whether you are trying to make a living out of it, wanting to express yourself or both, if you are like me, everything you do, everything you write, everything you post and every image you edit has a meaning behind it.

Nothing is random, nothing is hazardous.

Your blog is your home but it’s also a true representation of yourself, the best of yourself.

You write about what you love with honesty and always make sure that the design and the aesthetic of your blog reflect your tastes.

You take pride in making sure that your blog is perfect in your eyes. Blogging with consistency makes you happy, it’s one of the highlights of the week and it definitely brings you a wonderful sense of accomplishment.

If all of this sounds familiar, then we are alike and guess what? We have the same weakness: Not knowing when to clock out.

Seriously, how hard is it to take a break from blogging?

Do head over and read through the rest of the post including the list of reasons why you taking a break from blogging might be beneficial and does not mean you will come back to an empty folder.. As I will not be around as much in the next couple of weeks… it was a timely reminder:

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Wednesday 11th July 2018 – Don Massenzio, Jacquie Biggar and Dolly Aizenman

Welcome to my small selection of blog posts I have enjoyed in the last couple of days. I hope it encourages you to head over and read the entire article….You will notice that all of the posts today are from authors in the Cafe and Bookstore. Part of book promotion is sharing more about the authors and showcasing their writing and personalities. No better way than through their blog posts.

The first post is by author Don Massenzio who has just returned from a trip of a lifetime to Italy with his family.. the first in a series sharing their experiences and photos of the trip.

My wife, daughter and I just experienced the trip of a lifetime to Italy. It was memorable on several levels.

First, as Catholics, we were able to journey to the ‘home office’ and experience the rich history and tradition of the religion we’ve belonged to since birth.

Second, as an Italian, I was able to get a glimpse into the history of my ancestors and understand my background just a bit better.

Third, as a musician, I was able to sing with a top-notch choir in some of the most historic churches in Europe.

Last, but certainly not least, I was able to experience the trip through the eyes of my 10-year-old daughter.

I’m going to break the trip down by each day with pictures and anecdotes. As I lost my phone on the third day of the trip, I’m relying on photos taken by many of my co-travelers.

I hope you enjoy reliving the trip with me.
Day 1 – Departure and Rome

We were traveling from the beautiful village of Skaneateles, New York nestled in the Finger Lakes region southwest of Syracuse. The choir from St. Mary’s of the Lake Church, under the direction of Michael (Mickey) Kringer and his son Daniel, has a reputation for excellence. After reviewing the music, I must admit I was intimidated to try to fit in with them. After all, I’m just a piano player with a lounge lizard voice. Luckily, I read music and was able to fit in at our farewell concert in the church on the Friday before the trip.

‘Here we are posing for a group photo before boarding a motor coach for the 5-hour trip to JFK airport in New York City.


Head over and enjoy the first in this series.. it sounds memorable especially for Don’s ten year old daughter:

Don is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore

Don Massenzio, Buy:

Please visit Don’s Amazon page or his blog to view all his books.

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The next post is a review by Jacquie Biggar for Atonement, Tennessee by Teagan Geneviene.  I have included a snippet about the book and then you can head over to read Jacquie’s review…

Esmeralda Lawton is sick of the big city. “Ralda” was betrayed until trust became a theoretical concept. So it’s a dream come true when she buys an old estate, complete with historic cemetery. Okay, she isn’t excited about the cemetery, but she’s strangely drawn to the estate. Atonement, Tennessee, a quaint town, seems like the perfect place for her. However, her new life isn’t quiet.

The house is full of antiques. Some have extraordinary properties — a brass bed causes strange dreams, and a mirror shows the truth of who you are.

A mysterious neighbor secretly watches over the graveyard. There’s more to him than meets the eye, but what? Then there’s Gwydion, owner of Fae’s Flowers. She stubbornly resists her feelings for him.

Ralda suspects that people are drawn to Atonement to, well — atone. She wonders what sins led her there. However, her ancestress made the mistakes.

Atonement is home to more than humans. Supernaturals go there too. Some have fallen far.

Please head over to read Jacquie’s review:

Both Jacquie and Teagan are authors in the Cafe and Bookstore

Jacquie Biggar, Buy:

Please visit Jacquie’s Amazon page of website to view all her books.

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Teagan Geneviene – Buy:


I am going to leave you with one of Dolly Aizenman’s recipes from the Kool Kosher Kitchen.. firstly because it sounds delicious and secondly it is a good excuse to let you know that her cookbook is now in print. I do like my cookbooks in a physical form as I have a stand in the kitchen that allows me to work on the preparation and still check the recipe.. have you ever had your hands in the pastry and need to swipe your Ereader- not a pretty thing!

The links to Dolly’s book are below the post.


 Here is Dolly’s Recipe for Turkey Patties in Red Wine with Green Tahini

All my ground turkey dishes start out the same and then go out their separate way. Just like people, perhaps, who all start out the same way, then acquire different fillers, different seasoning, challenges, experiences, and finally, emerge as distinct individuals. I am only waxing philosophical because I have ground turkey, and I am bored with same old stuff, so I have to come up with some new ideas.

A while ago I saw a fabulous recipe on a great food blog Tasty Eats by a fantastic chef Ronit Penso. It was a recipe for Green Tahini, to accompany skirt steak with a spicy eggplant salad. Could it be adjusted to go with my ground turkey, and what should I make of that ground turkey that would go well with tahini?

Trky Ptts Wn 6

Head over and get the recipe:

Dolly Aizenman, Buy:

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope that you enjoy the posts as much as I did.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Tuesday 10th July 2018 – Sharon Marchisello, Robbie Cheadle and Billy Ray Chitwood

Welcome to the daily post where I share some of the blogs I have visited. Apart from featuring articles that I found interesting, I am also sharing book review posts to entice you to buy more books…..

The first post today is from finance expert Sharon Marchisello who shares her expertise on making the most of your money when traveling especially in relation to booking transport tickets in advance.

The Link Between Fitness and Frugality

Being healthy and physically fit is a blessing. Not everyone has the capability or stamina to walk significant distances. But, as we realized on our recent vacation, taking the “shoe-leather express” whenever possible can save a lot of money.

We just returned from a 16-day cruise along the coast of Norway, stopping in many small to medium-sized towns with compact historical districts. The ship usually docked within a mile or two of the city center if not within easy walking distance of the major attractions. Yet in two of our ports, the ship’s tour desk sold tickets for a shuttle service at $8.50 per person, each way. Tickets had to be purchased in advance from the cruise line; we were warned we couldn’t decide on the spot to buy them from the bus driver once on shore. So, most passengers signed up to buy the transfers before we arrived.

After looking at maps and listening to talks from the destination port lecturer, my husband and I figured we could find better ways to spend $34. So, we walked into town. In both places, there were sidewalks and crosswalks to accommodate the locals and the more adventurous visitors traveling on foot. The areas we traversed seemed relatively interesting and perfectly safe, making the treks reasonably pleasant.

And what were most people who bought the transfers planning to do once they got off the bus in the main square? Walk around and explore the city. Some fellow passengers ended up not using their return tickets because when they’d finished sightseeing, they were closer to the ship than to the pick-up point for their bus.

Head over and read the rest of this useful and interesting post:

Sharon is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore

Sharon Marchisello, Buy:
Blog :

Now time to celebrate an award.. Robbie Cheadle was nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by Robert Goldstein...


The very talented Rob Goldstein nominated me for this award. You can read his entertaining post here: While you are visiting be sure to enjoy some of Rob’s wonderful artwork.

I liked Rob’s questions. Here they are with my answers:

Why do you blog?

I blog because I really enjoy the interaction with other, similar minded people. I have met so many wonderful writers, poets, artists, quilters and other artistic people through my blog. I enjoy the array of viewpoints, thoughts and creative outpourings that I read every day as well as all the lovely book reviews which have raised my TBR to house roof height.

What most frustrates you about blogging?

I don’t find blogging frustrating. If I did I probably wouldn’t do it. I sometimes feel annoyed by my own lack of technical expertise when I can’t get something right on my blog.

What do you enjoy most about blogging? I enjoy the lovely bloggers I meet and their interesting posts and ideas.

Head over and discover what else Robbie has to say for herself:

Robbie and Michael, her son are in the Cafe and Bookstore

Robbie and Michael Cheadle, Buy:


Now for a special treat from Billy Ray Chitwood… an excerpt from his latest book ‘Hammer’s Holy Grail’ due out later in July.

Hammer’s Holy Grail” is a relatively short read of 36,000-+ words. It will be published without launch, without fanfare (except for this blog post!) later this month! The book is about a kid who has an emotional family situation – angry father, his critical Appalachian uncertainty, gifted with football talent and a beautiful girlfriend he’s known since junior high.

Wesley Walton is a sophomore at Garden View University in Knoxville, Tennessee, has a great passing arm and faces a great future. The pro-football scouts are already looking at the kid with a golden arm.

Wesley meets a man named ‘Hammer’ who is both a decorated veteran and a person of great wisdom and with a unique hobby. Wes and Hammer become immediate friends.

The short tale follows Wesley’s football season as well as his parental love and woes. The book is not a ‘thriller’ or destined to be a classic by any means, but the pages do carry some interesting moments, and I believe it to be well-written… In any event, it will be an inexpensive read and one I hope the book buyer will like, PLUS, I’m giving you the first chapter free of charge in this post. Feel free in letting me know what you think.

So, no launch, no parades and graffiti, just my usual ‘do nothing’ marketing campaign with a hope some of you will buy the book, give me some ‘reviews’, and ‘PUSH’ it forward.

Here’s the first chapter (working on the cover):


Chapter One

The darkness and fog are palpable viscid sweat things crawling all over my flesh! A gentle wind stir comes and my skin does shiver dances. I swallow and it’s like I’m somewhere between passing out and regaining my breath.

My eyes cannot be trusted. I rub my eyes and they project things that are not really there. My mind questions the logic that brought me to that decision. My concentration is drawn to these vague flashing images that keep popping up in spaces to the front, sides, and back of me… I figure it’s the mind doing its reckoning! I’m likely trying too hard to see and my brain is trying to accommodate me.

Okay, I admit it. I’m a big boy, scared. I mean, there is no way this world can be this dark and foggy.

“Why?” Someone might ask, “are you so stupid to be standing where you’re standing?”

Head over and read the rest of the excerpt of Billy Ray’s latest book:

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 this small selection of blog posts and will explore them further  thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Monday July 9th 2018 – Jean Lee, Marjorie Mallon and Barb Taub

Welcome to the first of this week’s Blogger Daily posts, where I share some of the blogs that I have visited in the last couple of days. I wish I could share everyone’s but hope you will enjoy this handful…

The first post is on Jean Lee’s World and is an exploration of  Michael Scott’s writing style and an interview with the author on how to write a #Page Turner..

Readers expect a world created from our words, a place of wonder and depth. If they get bored–and as a reader, I know I’ve gotten bored–they will tune the story out. They will shelve it among the “did not finish” works in Goodreads, and they will bid our titles adieu. There are, after all, a gazillion other writers out there.

So how do we keep readers in the story? How do we get them to whisper, “just one more page” for the seventeenth time?

After reading Michael Scott’s The Alchemyst, I can safely point out two elements that kept me reading: the cliffhangers between each chapter, and the book’s antagonist. In this post, we’ll focus on the first.


Let’s consider Chapter 1. We’ll have to start with the first line in order to fully appreciate the chapter’s end. (I’ve already covered story starts in other posts about Holly Black and Diana Wynne Jones, if you care to look.)

“Ok–answer me this: why would anyone want to wear an overcoat in San Francisco in the middle of summer?”

Nothing outrageous. Just a little oddity that might call attention to a casual passer-by, as it calls the attention of teen Sophie. She sees a few coated individuals and “small, rather dapper-looking man” enter the bookstore across the street where her twin brother Josh works. They’re kind of weird, but that should be it, right?

Scott then takes us to Josh’s perspective. When foul odors suddenly permeate the bookstore’s basement, he decides to go up for some air.

He popped his head out of the cellar door and looked around.

And in that instant, Josh Newman realized that the world would never be the same again.

End of chapter.

Head over and read the rest of this illuminating and useful post:

The next post is a review by Marjorie Mallon for Wisp, by Adele Marie Park.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Edra; a world where magic flourishes and where dark secrets are concealed by those who rule. Secrets which can get the innocent killed without a thought. When the body of an elf is discovered in a treacherous area of the city, Wisp a young Law Enforcer is assigned the case. He soon realises the case is far from simple. As soon as he finds one thread another one leads him to unravel a tapestry woven from lies, secrets, corruption and evil. When friendship turns to love, Wisps life, as he knew it will completely change. What started out as a murder case ends in a grisly battle which Wisp and his companions seem to have no chance of winning. 

Head over and read Marjorie’s review for Wisp:

Both Marjorie and Adele are authors in the Cafe and Bookstore

M.J.Mallon, Buy:

Adele Park, Buy:

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And now for some humour from Barb Taub, although you may feel that the title of the post belies that….however, it is one to enjoy… to the last drop!

An excerpt from Barb’s latest book…. The Day I Killed Mom #ThrowbackThursday #humor

When she turned fifty, my mother took up a new career: dying. It was a family tradition, she explained. “People in my family don’t make it out of their fifties. So we have to be ready to go.”

Each Christmas, she announced, would probably be her last—no point in a real tree or all that decorating. Her grandchildren would nod, and go right on dragging in and decorating a huge tree, around which our even more huge family would celebrate as usual, with Mother baking, making up beds, passing around Baileys Irish Cream, and loving every second of the noise and mess and confusion.

After pursuing dying for a few decades, it was time for her to think about retiring. But since there were really only two ways (ruling out vampires and/or zombies) to move on from that career choice—a coffin, or coming back three days after being nailed to a cross—she was naturally a bit hesitant.

Finally, though, we could all see that her big promotion was getting close. My father had moved to the fold-out sofa in the living room while Mother mostly stayed in the hospital bed that held pride of place in the family room. Grandchildren and great-grandchildren sat on the ends, dangling their feet and watching the large screen television, or wandering in and out from the backyard pool. After the little ones were asleep, the rest of us sat around her big bed, drinking pitchers of margaritas or tom collins, and playing pinochle/accusing each other of cheating, while Mother sucked down spoonfuls of Baileys and morphine.

Head over and read the rest of this entertaining story:

Barb is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore.

Barb Taub, Buy:

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed the selection… tune in again tomorrow.. and don’t be shy.. email me with the link to your latest post..…. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily and Meet the #Reviewers – Olga Nunez Miret, Darlene Foster and Thom Hickey

Welcome to some of the blog posts that I have enjoyed over the last couple of days. The first is Olga Nunez Miret, author and translator, who writes detailed and thoughtful reviews for books. Today she is featuring Karen M. Cox with a guest post and Olga’s review of  her latest book Son of a Preacher Man.

Cover reveal Son of a Preacher Man by Karen M. Cox

I’m repeating an author today and I bring you a book that’s definitely not of this time although the book was just published. I became aware of this book thanks to Rosie Amber and her fantastic Book Team Review (you must check her out if you haven’t yet, here). Karen M. Cox has kindly offered readers the opportunity to enter a giveaway (and note, this is an international giveaway, readers, so not excuse not to have a go) and after reading her book I was pretty intrigued by how she felt about writing from a male perspective, and she has sent me a guest post that will be of interest to readers and writers alike. But first, let me tell you about the book:

“I forget that you’re a fella sometimes.”

“Gee, thanks.”

I never forgot that she was a girl. Not for one second…

The long, hot Southern summer gently bakes the small town of Orchard Hill. Billy Ray Davenport, aspiring physician and only son of an indomitable traveling minister, is a young man with a plan. Handsome, principled, and keenly observant, he arrives in town to lodge with a local family. He never bargained for Lizzie Quinlan—a complex, kindred spirit who is beautiful, compassionate, and scorned by the townsfolk. Could a girl with a reputation be different than she seems? With her quirky wisdom and a spine of steel hidden beneath an effortless sensuality, Lizzie is about to change Billy Ray’s life—and his heart—forever.

A realistic look at first love, told by an idealist, Son of a Preacher Man is a heartwarming coming of age tale set in a simpler time.

Head over and read the rest of the review and Karen Cox’s guest post:

Olga is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore

Olga Nunez Miret – Buy:

Please visit Amazon or Olga’s blog to view all her books.


The next post is an interview of author Stevie Turner by Darlene Foster...with a photo of Stevie with Jim Hendrix.. never knew he went to the Isle of Wight!!

I am pleased to have as my guest today, author Stevie Turner. I have been following Stevie’s blog for a couple of years and her posts are fun, interesting and informative. She also holds a short story contest most months. She is a prolific writer as you can see and enjoys attending rock concerts. Stevie and her husband love spending time at their holiday home on the Isle of Wight, a place I love and included in Amanda in England.

Stevie and Jimi Hendrix at Dimbola Lodge, Isle of Wight

Stevie Turner grew up in the East End of London and was fortunate enough to attend an excellent primary school which encouraged creative writing. After winning an inter-schools’ writing contest, Stevie began to keep a diary and often added little stories and poems to it as the years went by. However, she did not take up writing seriously until 2013. By this time her two sons had left home and she had more time to herself.

Stevie has now written 10 novels, 6 novellas, 1 memoir, and 18 short stories, winning a New Apple Book Award in 2014 and a Readers’ Favorite Gold Award in 2015 for her third novel ‘A House Without Windows’. You can find details of all her books on her website

Stevie still lives in the same picturesque Suffolk village that she and husband Sam moved to in 1991 with their two boys. One of her short stories, ‘Lifting the Black Dog’, was recently published in ‘1000 Words or Less Flash Fiction Collection’ (2016). She has also written an article ‘Look on the Bright Side of Life’ which was included in the 2016 book ‘They Say I’m Doing Well’ which are articles about mental illness, proceeds of which go to the charity MIND. Her screenplay ‘For the Sake of a Child’ won a silver award in the Spring 2017 Depth of Field International Film Festival, and gained interest from an independent film production company based in New York.

1. What made you decide on the type of books you write?

I write realistic women’s fiction with a psychological twist, also suspense and darkly humorous books. These are the genres I like to read, and the type of books I am interested in. I couldn’t write a fantasy novel even if you paid me to do so!

Head over and read the rest of the interview and discover more about Stevie Turner:

Darlene Foster is an author is the Cafe and Bookstore

Darlene Foster, Buy:

Please visit Amazon or Darlene’s blog to view all her books.


And so is Stevie Turner

Stevie Turner, Buy:

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

And the last post today is from Thom Hickey who is heading off on a road trip with his son… who is also a Tom to the far north…and Thom has some other pilgrimages he is planning including the Santiago de Compostella…. if you head over to the post you will find out why those places are drawing him in ….and some great music from Van Morrison.

Van Morrison : Coney Island (Epiphany) – Posted on July 4, 2018

My son and I – The Two Toms – are about to set out on a trip, actually a Pilgrimage to the Far North.

To God haunted Northumbria.

The land of Celtic saints and the Roman Wall.

The land of St Cuthbert, St Aidan, St Oswald and Bede.

Oak Groves, high moorland, the Cheviot Hills.

Bluebells, Campion, Hawthorn.

The rushing sibilant waters of the Tyne, the Tweed, the Coquet and the Rede.

Lindisfarne and the Farne Islands – thin places where eternity whispers in the wind.

Ringed Plovers, Redshanks, Turnstones and Oystercatchers.

It’s a Pilgrimage I’ve made many times now drawn by History and deep friendship.

I’m by nature a Pilgrim.

I need to be physically present in those places, landscapes, which have challenged and nurtured the Souls of Pigrims for thousands of years.

There are two other Pilgrimages I’m planning.

Head over and find out where else Thom is planning to visit:

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed this small selection as much as I did. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily and Meet the Reviewers – Georgia Rose, Cheche Winnie and Jenny Fitzkee

Welcome to the first of blogger daily, with the added feature of book reviews that have been posted on blogs.

The first blog post today is on Rosie Amber’s site and is a review for Terry Tyler’s book Dream On by Georgia Rose as part of the Rosie’s Book Review Team.

15981437Dream on by Terry Tyler

Dream on is a work of contemporary fiction telling the story of various people in and connected to the members of a band in a town that could be yours. I bought Dream on a long time ago now and it has been languishing on my kindle, but I was delighted when I eventually got to it to find it filled with rich, meaty characters that feel as real as if they’d just greeted you when you walked into the pub. I should have known it would be as having read other books by Tyler this is what I’ve come to expect.

Dave Bentley believes he was born to be a rock star and having come up with the idea that he’s also a reincarnated Viking warrior forms a band, Thor, with other band members Shane, Richie and Boz. The problem is that Dave isn’t entirely free to live the rock’n’roll lifestyle he’d maybe like because of his on-off girlfriend, Janice, who also happens to be the mother of his son. I say ‘maybe’ because I think really he likes it that way. He is a nice guy and a restless dreamer, and whilst one part of him can’t quite give up on his musical aspirations the other likes the settled life. That is until singer- songwriter Ariel Swan walks back into it. She is his one true love and has already broken his heart once. Janice understandably struggles with this blast from the past making a reappearance (and I don’t blame her) because Dave is the love of her life.

Head over and read the rest of the review by Georgia Rose:

Terry Tyler is in the Cafe and Bookstore

Terry Tyler, Buy:

To view all of Terry’s books please head to Amazon.

Time to find out more about a predator that is not always portrayed in any positive light.. that is until you read Cheche Winnie I knew that they were actually very clever but you will find a comprehensive guide to the various breeds and behaviour.. Fascinating.

Image Cheche Winniw

What do you know about hyena? Or what comes to you mind when you read this name?

In African culture, hyenas are mistaken to be greedy and coward. This is because of how they tend to consume everything from bones, feathers, meat, etc. Their walking posture is mistaken for being sneaky hence seen as coward.

Their physical features especially the female hyenas. Make them seen as feminist. The female hyenas are bigger compared to the male ones. They also have extremely enlarged long clitorises that look almost perfectly like penises, complete with what appear to be testicles.

In Kenya, this name has been used a very funny manner. Hyena are known as Fisi in Swahili. And Kenyans have coined a term Team Mafisi. It is used to describe a group of men who would chase literally after every kind of girl either on the street or off the street.

Maybe you too have you own version of hyenas. Personally, I love hyenas and they are amazing animals to pay attention too. They are full of surprises and can be amazing pets to adopt while young. And good to release them into the wild later. They rarely forget you and make great friends.

Hyenas belong to the family Hyaenidae. They are carnivorous. Mostly found in the African ecosystems. They are also found in other parts of the world such as the Middle East, Asia and Indian subcontinent.

There are several species of hyenas. Namely: Head over and find out :

Now time for a post from my favourite kindergarten teacher who I would have loved to have been taught by when I was in primary school. Find out more about Jennie Fitzkee

The Legacy of Milly, Part 1

Every good story has a great backstory. To know how Milly came into my life and tell you about her early years in my classroom, I have to back up and tell you what really happened. It’s a great story, and began what would become a legacy. Hang onto your hat!

“It happened like this…”

My husbabnd and I were at a fall wedding in Philadelphia. We had an hour to spare, and went to the historic district to visit Carpenters Hall. After the tour, we had ten or fifteen minutes until all the museums closed. Directly across the street was the National Liberty Museum, so we headed over. Walking into the museum I was thunderstruck by a magnificent Peace Portal. I stood underneath, soaking in all the beauty. The museum was closing, and I hadn’t moved from under the Peace Portal.

Image result for national liberty museum peace portal

“I can do this!” I told my husband.  “I need to do this in my classroom. We can build this on top of the loft.  It will be a place for children to go, to just be. Children need Peace.”

And so it came to pass.  I contacted the National Liberty Museum to get permission to recreate their Peace Portal.  They were thrilled.  Little did I know that Peace would become an enormous part of the lives of children.  They loved being on the loft- sitting, thinking, reading and playing under the Peace Portal we had made.  Children felt the same way that I felt under the “real” Peace Portal.

Please head over and read this lovely inspiring post:

I hope that you have enjoyed this small selection of the posts I have enjoyed over the last couple of days.. thanks for dropping in.. Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up -Summer Jazz, Photoshop, Moreish Mince and Interviews, Music, Health and Humour

Welcome to this week’s round up of posts that you might have missed.

After almost five weeks there the day is partly cloudy and it is only temporary as we do not have rain forecast until 16th of July. I know we moan about the weather, but this is the first time in the years that I lived here previously and in the last two, that you can say with certainty that you are having a BBQ next week!

We are renowned for the amount of our rain here but in some parts of the country treated water for drinking has become a problem.. including in Dublin where it is tough to keep up with the demands of millions of hot and thirsty people.

You may not know this but in Ireland we are not charged for our water usage. They did bring in charges in 2015 and many homes had meters fitted, but in 2016 this was repealed and a new system of thresholds for usage were introduced. The first 213,000 litres per year are fee of charge per household, and an additional 25,000 litres per person, for homes with more than four residents.

Clearly there are business premises who will be paying for water, but as yet there is no definitive plan that I have heard, to pay for all the necessary renovations to the existing pipe work.  In the cities, such as Dublin this is Victorian and of course leaks like a sieve in places! This led to headlines last week of a possible shortfall in drinking water as the current equipment is unable to keep up with the demand.

We do however pay for waste water removal which of course requires treatment before disposing of.

Thankfully, despite the fact that we have been basking in sunshine and high temperatures, as sure as there are Leprechauns, there will be rain again soon and everything will be back to normal.

Anyway I know many of you will be off now on holiday or taking breaks from your online life for a while.. have a great time and look forward to hearing about your adventures.

Anyway.. thank you for being here and I hope you enjoy browsing the posts from the week. As always my deepest thanks to my contributors who work so hard to bring you entertaining, informative and creative posts.

The Music Column with William Price King.

The first in a Summer Jazz series beginning with the incomparable Ms Roberta Flack. Part One the Early Years.

Writer in Residence, Paul Andruss with a Photoshop Tutorial for book covers and marketing material.

As a follow up to Paul’s post last week on how to engineer a book cover to maximise interest and therefore sales…he is kindly demonstrating how to accomplish this with photoshop.

The Cookery and Food Column with Carol Taylor

This week Carol shares some great recipes to elevate this family favourite to spicy new levels.

Esme’s Party Piece – July Forecast by sign.

Getting to Know You Sunday Interview

My guest today probably needs little introduction to most of you who are regulars to the blog. Debby Gies…D.G. Kaye is a very popular blogger and non-fiction author who generously supports us all across social media.

Posts from Your Archives – Sanctuary in Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei #Normandy by Sherri Matthews

A fabulous tour around the idyllic village of Saint Ceneri Le Gerei in Normandy with Sherri Matthews.

St-Ceneri-le-Gerei (77) Edited

Sally’s Personal Stuff.

This week I was very honoured to be interviewed by two very lovely writers – the first is Joy Lennick who invited me over on Monday.  Please pop over.

And later in the week I was interviewed by Esme  over on Esme Salon… I hope you will head over and find out more of my secrets…

Letters from America – Hawaii part one.

Odd Jobs and Characters – My employment history that provided me with an endless list of characters..

Sally’s Drive Time Play list.. Music to get the weekend started. 1976

Sally’s Book Reviews – Mourning Dove by Claire Fullerton.

Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story

Chapter Five – Henry’s New Family

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Summer Sale

I notice that the summer can be a little flat for some of us on the book selling front and that many of you will be putting our books on offer at a reduced price for a week at a time or longer.

What I am proposing is that authors in the bookstore who are planning on doing an offer this summer, schedule it between 9th and 20th July to cover four of the Cafe Updates. Discounted books will be linked directly to Amazon to purchase.

Monday 9th July, Friday 13th, Monday 16th,  Friday 20th July

I currently have  4 slots available on Monday 16th of February and 2 for 20th.

Check out the details:

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves

Author Update #reviews

New Series of The Blogger Daily – Monday to Thursday.

Smorgasbord Health Column

Nutrients the body needs – Calcium the most abundant mineral in the body.

Last week my post was on the kidneys and how they function. I also looked at one of the most painful conditions… Kidney stones. Today I want to continue with the urinary tract as problems with kidney function have a direct impact on the health of this essential waste pathway out of the body.


Health in the News – Natural influenza immunity, prostate cancer breakthrough and mangoes for gut health.

Some Summer chilled soups and salads with some alternative dressings and homemade mayonnaise.



A series of videos on how animals know how to have fun.