Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Rum Cocktails, Blog Sitters and all that Jazz


I have had a lovely week with a birthday and Valentine’s Day and I am now about to pack my bags to head off for a girls week with my two sisters to celebrate all our birthdays which all fall in February. I will report on the activities they have planned on my return… at least those I can talk about!

I got very excited when I read the headlines in the Daily Mail online yesterday that promised hotter temperatures than Spain with a high of 16 degrees and sunshine.. As I was planning what to pack, I thought I better check a more reliable source than the DM!  Sure enough, apart from a couple of days with a glimpse of yellow behind the clouds there is a 45 – 55% of rain all week and a high of 10 or 11.

I have put away my swimsuit, shorts and flip flops again in the attic with the other summer clothes that I fear may never see the light of day again.

However, all is not lost as David bought me a therapy lamp with safe tanning for my birthday. I have been using as advised and retire upstairs to the spare bedroom and don goggles, my iPod and pretend for 15 minutes that I am on a tropical island on a sandy beach. It was not quite there…. but David solved that by buying a bottle of rum, and a dram of that in my coconut water and Bob’s your uncle.. (please drink responsibly with only one cocktail per tanning session and only at sundown)


I was going to put up a few regular posts during my absence just to keep things ticking over. I then thought that it seemed a shame not to use this as an opportunity to promote a few of my blogging friends and so posted a part-time blog sitter vacancy.

I know how busy everyone is with their own blog and projects so was very grateful to receive a wonderful response to the advert.  I have put together a programme of events for the week that I am away beginning Tuesday with posts from this group of talent writers.

Paul Andruss, Tina Frisco, Colin Chappell, Debby Gies, William Price King, Geoff Le Pard, Noelle Granger, Susan M. Toy, Mary Smith, Robbie Cheadle, John W. Howell and Linda Bethea.

The full programme details can be found here:

Time for some of the posts you might have missed during the week.

William Price King – Leontyne Price

classical music

As always my thanks to William Price King for his weekly music post and this week we follow the career and performances of Leontyne Price during the 1960s. Look out for William’s Creative Artist Interview on Wednesday March 1st.  It is an interactive interview and I hope that you will drop in and ask William questions about his life and career in the comments.

Paul Andruss

Thomas the Rhymer

Although Paul has contributed articles for the blog over the last couple of months I was delighted when he accepted my invitation to be a regular contributor going forward.. This is his official first post as Writer in Residence.

Personal Stuff

A short story for Valentine’s Day.. about love.. of course..

Weekly Image and Haiku


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update

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glimpsesCover Art by Jon Hunsinger51abcfiqqgl-_uy250_

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves





Smorgasbord Blogger Daily showcasing 25 bloggers and their posts.


Smorgasbord Health 2017Seasonal Affective Disorder

Food to pep you up a bit.. and not just for Valentines Day.

New series – Top to Toe – The Human Body – The Brain

A -Z of Common Conditions… nothing more common than the cold!



That’s me done for the week.. It is a bit early for a rum and coconut juice but I might take a cup of coffee up with me to the tropical paradise and listen to some calypsos!

N.B. If you would like to promote your books and blog here on Smorgasbord the details are here. If you contact me and I don’t respond immediately don’t worry I will get back to you on my return after 28th of Feb.

Thanks for dropping by and see some of you tomorrow for a few of the regular promotions before I head off.

Smorgasbord Blog Sitting Special 21st – 28th February – Programme of Events

blog-sittingNormally when I go away for a week I will leave a few regular posts scheduled and pop in from time to time. However, this time it struck me that an empty blog might be put to better use by sharing book and blog promotions.

When I advertised the part-time position of blog sitter, I had no idea that I would get such an amazing response, since I know how busy everybody is with their own blogs.  A special thanks to Paul Andruss for opening up his archives and providing seven posts for the Blog Sitting at Midnight slot all week.

There will be some regulars for you on Monday including the the second of the Top to Toe look at our major organs..The Brain part two… a Bookstore New on the Shelves and a Cafe and Bookstore Update.. Then from Tuesday it is over to you!

For your delectation… here is the programme of events for the week 21st – 28th February – Blog Sitting Specials

Tuesday 21st

Paul Andruss – The Conquerors

Tina Frisco – Time is an Illusion

Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – Lucy Brazier – First Lady of the Keys

Colin Chappell – Time for some Laffs – Thermodynamics of Hell and Cats vs. Pills.

Wednesday 22nd

Paul Andruss – Raft of the Meduse

William Price King – Finale of the Leontyne Price Series.

D.G.Kaye (Debby Gies) – I Spy

Afternoon Video.

Thursday 23rd

Paul Andruss – Walk on the Wild Side

Cafe and Bookstore Collaborative Anthology – Love in Times of War

Geoff Le Pard – A Wartime Romance

Tina Frisco – Time for some Laffs – Some Lessons in Management.

Friday 24th

Paul Andruss – Of Cabbages and Kings

Top to Toe – The Brain Part Three

N.A. Granger (Noelle Granger) – Maine is a Happy State.

Afternoon Video

Saturday 25th.

Paul Andruss – Cottingley Fairies

Weekly Image and Haiku – Midday Sun

Susan M. Toy – Sisters

Sunday 26th

Paul Andruss – Rosabelle: B.E.L.I.E.V.E

Mary Smith – Afghan Ceilidh

Monday 27th

Paul Andruss – Devil in Devon

Top to Toe – The Heart

Robbie Cheadle – Seven Ice-Cream Rainbow Fairies and Seven Fantasy Books.

Tuesday 28th

John Howell – My Sister

Linda Bethea – The Sinful Suitcase and the Common-Law Cows.

Afternoon video.

My thanks for the terrific posts that everyone has contributed and I hope those of you who drop in during the week will enjoy as much as I have when reading them.

I will be popping from time to time to make sure that everything has been scheduled okay.. hope to see you here. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Leyton, Hollywood, #Trysts, Llandeilo and DNA

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Welcome to the last Blogger Daily of the week and Monday’s will be the last until I return from my week away with my sisters.  So please help me out and leave the link to your latest post so that I can share…kicking off today’s episode is Jessica Norrie.

Jessica Norrie

Jessica Norrie had some technical issues with printers and cars this week that necessitated some free time spent in Leyton High Road.. a very multi-cultural part of London that demonstrates retail integration.

I lost two hours to a petulant printer which greeted the joyous news of my novel’s complete first draft grudgingly. It ground out crumpled disordered sheets and required intense therapy every ten pages. A charming (no, really: I asked for and value her knowledge) Gujarati speaking friend then pointed out everything that was wrong with the chapters featuring my Hindu family. Ten percent of the 300 hard won pages is effectively waste paper.”See?” crowed the printer.”I told you you should have waited.”

See some great photos of Leyton High Road and read the rest of the post:

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

A little detour from Leyton High Road to Hollywood as the fanfare and glitter that is the Oscars is nearly upon us.  I love to watch the awards.. but prefer to fast forward when I do get to see them passed the stuttering and the tears.. and the hurry up music.  But I do love to see the films I have enjoyed receiving their accolades.  Here is a guide to some of the main categories that might interest you if like me you love the movies.

Plagman writes for

The Academy Awards, I don’t believe I’m typing this, are next weekend, if you can believe it, so I thought I’d take a minute and isolate the hardest categories to predict. The BAFTA’s were last weekend, and the results there have caused a couple of shake-ups in some categories. So here’s a rundown of what I think the hardest categories to predict are.

Best Actor in a Leading Role

This is a mano y mano between Casey Affleck, who swept the board until late January when competitor Denzel Washington won the SAG Award, which has correctly predicted Best Actor at the Oscars since 2003. One other thing to consider, Manchester by the Sea seems like a film that reached its high point in popularity when nominations were announced. Since then, Fences seems to be the more popular film between the two, and with Viola Davis guaranteed a win for her work in the film, it feels like you can’t award one performance with award the other, yet Casey won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor, which has gotten 8 out of the last 10 Best Actors correct at the Oscars. Man, this one will come down to the wire, but I’m sticking with Denzel until I see some more evidence that Casey’s coming back out front.

Read about the other categories:

poetic-ritualsNow a response to one of Sue Vincent’s #WritePhoto.. This time by Poet Ritu Bhathal with #Tryst – Wartime and a young couple whose paths cross in a village….

Meet me!”

She looked at him, his eyes pleading with her as well as his words.

“Please, Rebecca, meet me tonight.”

It was Jake’s last night here before he left to join the rest of the local young men, joining up to fight for King and country.

For the last few months, their growing attraction to one another had been hard to control. She had fallen for his chocolate brown eyes, ever since she popped into Farmer Smith’s farm shop for her aunt to pick up any eggs he had available.

Even though she was not a child, her parents had sent her to the village where her aunt lived, as a precautionary measure, alongside her younger siblings.

Read the rest of the story:


The Llandeilo Lit Fest organised by author Christoph Fischer begins on April 27th through to Sunday 30th April.. There is a packed calendar of literary events that I have included a link to.. Even if you do not live locally there is some stunning scenery in the area and some great places to stay.

The festival is a four day programme of literary events running from Thursday 27th to Sunday 30th April. During the festival readings, discussions, workshops and literary talks will take place across Llandeilo including at the Cawdor Hotel, Horeb Chapel, Eve’s Toy Shop, the Fountain Fine Art Gallery, the Civic Hall and the Angel Inn. A book hunt will also take place in the town. There are children’s competitions to enter and the Lit Fest will be hosting a two day book fair in the Civic Hall.

Festival in chronological order:

Thursday April 27th, 2pm at Llandeilo Library
William Williams Pantycelyn
Yr Athro Densil Morgan ac Elinor Jones yn trafod bywyd, gwaith a dylanwad William Williams Pantycelyn yn nodi 300 mlwyddiant yr emynydd a’r bardd o Lanfair ar y Bryn.
Prof. Densil Morgan and Elinor Jones explore the work and life of the world’s most prolific hymn writer and Llandovery’s most famous son, in the year of his 300th anniversary.

Tursday April 27th 7pm at the Angel Inn
Is romance dead? Bringing depth to romance novels – a discussion with Kate Glanville and Brenda Squires

Read the rest of the packed calendar:


Now for a very useful post by Noelle Granger on DNA.. fascinating stuff.. having traced my (maternal) mitochondrial DNA back 20,000 years, I gave my husband the gift of the ‘Y’ chromosome DNA test for his recent birthday..Looks like he walked more than a few thousand miles to get to me. Anyway Noelle has laid it all out for us.. do read you will find very interesting especially if you are an author and need to include in your stories.

It seems like you can’t read a newspaper or online news about anything related to medicine (not to mention some novels) without running into terms such as DNA, RNA and protein, all sorts. I thought maybe I could provide a primer, in bite-sized bits, which you could use to follow along. The information I will begin with DNA.

DNA is deoxyribonucleic acid, the material that makes up our genes, and it is composed of nucleotides. Each nucleotide contains a phosphate group (phosphorus and oxygen), a sugar group and a nitrogen base. The four types of nitrogen bases are adenine (A), thymine (T), guanine (G) and cytosine (C). They pair up with each other to make a single strand of nucleotides into double stranded DNA: cytosine with guanine, adenine with thymine.

Read the rest of the article:

Thanks for dropping by and don’t forget to leave the link to your most recent post in the comments.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – 16th February 2017 – Valiant Blogger, Angel’s Wings, Runners Stretches, the Classics and Columbian Roses

Smorgasbord Blogger DailyDolly of Kool Kosher Kitchen was nominated for a Valiant Blogger Award by Daily Warrior Liz C who created the award. A nominator only chooses one nominee and here is an extract from Dolly’s response to her award.  Dolly shares not only her admiration for her chosen nominee but also part of her own story which is very compelling.

If anyone deserves this award, it’s Frida Kahlo, a great Mexican artist famous for her self-portraits and paintings of flowers. She is the one from whose life I’ve drawn inspiration and strength throughout the years. At the age of six, as a result of polio, Frida ended up with one leg shorter and thinner than the other. Bullied by kids, she developed special closeness with her father, himself a victim of epilepsy, who gently pushed her towards sports and physical exercise.

Read the rest of this amazing post:


Children’s author Bette Stephens is interviewing Stephanie A. Collins about her book With Angel’s Wings.


Happy Love Month! I can’t think of a better way of spreading love than by sharing my love of reading and writing with you. So, today, I am sharing with you a fellow author, hard-working mother of four, loving wife, and the unsuspecting author of a true medical drama/unconventional love story called With Angel’s Wings. Stephanie is a member of Rave Writers – International Society of Authors (RWISA). Join me in welcoming award-winning author Stephanie Collins and learn more about this amazing gal in our interview.

Read the interview:


Let me state right out of the gate that I will not be doing any running.. I walk fine and my knee just about tolerates that, but my days of heading out for a five mile run are behind me. However, if you are a runner you do need to be diligent about preparation, and that includes stretching beforehand.  I have also find that before a long brisk walk that is a very good idea.

Carissa Rea of The Urban Mile talks you through some stretches that we can all be doing to stay supple and ready for exercising.

Aside from eating healthy, resting and sleeping stretching is another crucial factor playing an important role in your overall running performance. Stretching helps prevent injury and prepares your muscles for high impact performance. Aside from helping during a workout, regular stretching helps improve blood circulation through the body which increases your energy levels and sharpens your concentration. Below, I put together some of my favorite stretches before a long distance run: 

Read the rest of the post and see the stretches:


Irish author David Jordan on the subject of reading the Classics Ancient and more Modern.. I remember having a fascination with Leo Tolstoy as a teenager and when laid up for three weeks at age 11 with a bad case of Chicken Pox.. I worked my way through War & Peace.. followed by Anna Karenina. I understand where David is coming from.. For months afterwards every book that I picked up to read by a modern author (in the 1960s) seemed to be filled with trivia and a quick read.  I am out of practice and must go back and read again especially as some are in E-versions (the print in the originals are way to small for me to read now) Very interesting post.. recommend.

How to Approach the classics.

Many people have trouble reading the Classics, both ancient and modern. This is because we live in a culture of instant gratification. We are used to reading passively. The key to understanding literature prior to the age of instant gratification is ‘active’ reading. People must change the way they approach these works. They need to change their mindsets. They need to read actively.

Read the rest of the post:


Mention the country Columbia and many of us might just think about drugs and cartels.. But you could not be more wrong as one of major exports from Columbia from late January onwards is 150 metric tons of flowers.. red roses in time for Valentine’s Day.. Well you might be a little bit right….. as you will see  when you read this post by Leafy Pine Flowers.

How Columbia stopped Cocaine from spoiling Valentine’s Day

Cocaine is probably the last thing most people think about when buying roses.

But every year, police and growers in Colombia must work around the clock to make sure that the romance of Valentine’s Day isn’t spoiled by the drug, the nation’s other major export along with flowers.

As much as 330,000 pounds (150 metric tons) of flowers leave Colombia on 30-plus jumbo cargo planes daily starting in late January, presenting an opportunity for the country’s ingenious drug cartels to penetrate the frenzied, overworked chain of suppliers and stash drugs amid the roses.

I recommend you read the rest of this post:

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – 15th February 2017 – Devil story, Ruby Wedding, 1960s, Kathmandu, #RRBC

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

We kick off today with the very flash fiction writer Teresa Karlinski who delights us weekly with her responses to challenges..  Tess has also contributed to several anthologies..Here is her latest short story.


Find the Rules at Rachael Ritchie’s blog:   Genre:  Realistic Fiction – Prompt:  Cowboy

The Devil is in the Details

Anita picked up the cordless and counted down the speed-dial list with a finger. No wooing, nor scheming, nor monetary enticements had worked. She had made the effort each time with high hopes. Nothing had changed in five years. She drew in an unsteady breath. The phone chirped in her ear. Once. Twice. And again. A tired female voice answered.

“Hello, Grandma, that you?”

I’m not your grandma, darnit. Simmer down, Anita. She rolled her shoulders and pasted a smile on her face. Everyone knew a smile traveled through the telephone and out the other end. “That you, Sylvia? How are you? How are the boys? What about Emma?” Her face hurt but she maintained the smile though her jaw quivered and her eyes leaked.

Read the rest of the story here:


Valentine’s Day continues to weave its magic as Darlene Foster and her husband revisit York to celebrate their 40th anniversary.

Forty years ago, this farm girl took her first ever trip on an airplane to York, England, where I married my dear hubby. We recently celebrated our ruby anniversary by returning to York. We had a marvellous time retracing our steps in his hometown, enjoying the history, walking the cobblestone streets, relaxing in the many teashops and visiting relatives we hadn’t seen for some time. We’ve been back a few times since January 1977 but it had been awhile since our last visit. I fell in love with the city all over again.

See the city of York and read the rest of the post:


If you are old enough to have memories of the 1960s, then Eugenia of would love to hear from you.. She reminds us of some of the new trendy tag lines for the advertisers at the time.. some still being used today ‘because you’re worth it’.  I have added my memories.. head over and add yours.

It’s time to chat and nothing old hat, please. The coffee is hot, bold and strong. Let’s sit a spell and discuss what’s right and what’s wrong. I have a feeling this is going to be one of those chats.

1967 was an interesting year and in fact, the 1960s were a decade of growing and movement. More than that, these were times of revolution and reform. There was The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and The Voting Rights Act of 1965. The 1960s was an era of slogans like “stop the war”, “New Frontier” and “Great Society”. 

Read the rest of the post and add your memories:


At this time of year many of us are looking at the holiday destinations and I will be honest…. I always try to be…. but my idea of a holiday these days is a good hotel or private villa.. big pool (preferably to myself) and great local produce.. My days of trekking are over as one of my knees is very uncooperative.. I do however enjoy loitering in front of the computer and enjoying other bloggers travels.  Anya Carion of Unexpected Occurrence shares her recent visits to Kathmandu

My first trip to Nepal, when I had decided to check Everest Base Camp off the bucket list, I had two days (total) to explore Kathmandu. Initially, I didn’t like it. After being in the mountains for two weeks, Kathmandu seemed so polluted, loud, and chaotic.

Upon my second trip to Nepal, the time I had decided to trek the Annapurna Circuit, I had really started to like the crazy city.

Third trip here, and I’m sold. I really enjoyed my quick little stay in Kathmandu. The dirty chaos because vibrancy and liveliness. The pollution smelled like adventure, like the entirety of my whirlwind trip in the beautiful country. The loud horns, shouts, and construction became white noise.

See Anya’s amazing photographs and her tourist tips:


I am sure that many writers will be familiar with the Rave Reviews Book Club.. Mae Clair is delighted to interview the president of the RRBC Nonnie Jules.


Hoy, boy! Do I have a special guest for you today, gang! I am honored to be hosting Nonnie Jules, the woman whose vision became Rave Reviews Book Club. Please welcome the president of RRBC and the founding member/president of the Rave Writers International Society of Authors! I’m thrilled to have her here today for an awesome Q&A and personal post!

Read the interview:

Thank you for dropping by today and please leave the link to your latest post in the comments section. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – 14th February 2017 – Upcoming Release, Daisies, Love Poetry, Free Books, Frank Immersed and Sir Chocolate

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Welcome to the Blogger Daily and a quick look at some of the posts I have read in the last couple of days. It is Valentine’s Day and have tried to find a flavour of that amongst the selection… but all the posts are from talented writers.  There are also some FREE books on offer to take advantage of.  Don’t forget to leave the link to your latest post in the comments section so that I can share.


First is author D. Wallace Peach who is looking forward to her latest release in March.. Diana has shared some of the characters in recent weeks but today introduces us to The Goddess.. The Rose Shield is a four book fantasy series and the first book is Catling’s Bane. Here is an excerpt from Diana’s post where she introduces us to The Goddess.

 Meet the Goddess
(Raker’s voice in the fog is no longer simply a voice)

Raker poled the raft through the narrow channels, wandering his way toward the floating village deeper in the swamp. Morning mists hovered as a forbidding sky scudded eastward, promising sheets of rain. The goddess caressed him, twirled in languid circles, veils of dew flowing from her arms like wings.

She stroked his back with a fingertip. “Your indifference is as disputable as your madness.”

Read the rest of the post:

51p3tby-elBrigid Gallagher is celebrating International Book Giving Day and a year of blogging with a great offer…

Today is International Book Giving Day, thus I am making “Watching the Daisies” FREE on Amazon Kindle for two days – 14/15 February. This is my way of thanking you all for your support through my first year of blogging – I started this blog on 19th February last year.

Read the rest of the post:


Now for more than a touch of romance.. a poem and a tribute to love from N.N. Light on her blog Princess of the Light.  And her book  Poetry of Love: The Engagement Year is FREE today.

Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s time to talk about romantic love and I dedicate this day and inspirational thought to the man who taught me the real meaning of love, Mr. N.

From the time I was three, I dreamt of my Prince Charming, the handsome man who would love me and make all my dreams come true. I know it sounds like the total cliche but that is exactly what Mr. N did. 

Read the rest of this loving post:


Next Aurora Alexander interviews Don Massenzio in her Author Spotlight post.


  1. Are you still writing in the same genre as you did before, and if not, why did you switch – or would you ever think to change genres?

Interestingly enough, a couple of months before last year’s interview, I had released a terrorist thriller Blood Orange which, after writing three detective mystery novels, was a change in genre. I have since released another two detective mysteries, but I am writing a follow-up to that thriller as readers seemed to like the main character and his team. It will, however, crossover into the universe of my detective novels.

Read the rest of the interview:


Last but not least Vicki (Author Sojourner McConnell) hosts from Robbie Cheadle and her son Michael who are the authors of the Sir Chocolate series of books.


Robbie and Michael are the co-authors of the Sir Chocolate series of books which are all about a little man, Sir Chocolate, who lives in a land where you can eat everything, even the flowers and the trees. Sir Chocolate and his lady love, Lady Sweet, have a number of little adventures, sourcing ingredients for their fabulous chocolate creations and helping their friends in Chocolateville out of various scrapes and problems. Each book contains illustrations made from fondant, biscuits, and cake and also includes five simple recipes that children can do under parental supervision. Each book also features a poem about life with children by Robbie and a fondant creation by Michael, aged ten years.

Read the rest of the guest post:

I hope you have enjoyed the selection today.. please don’t forget to leave the link to your latest post in the comments section.

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – 13th February 2017 – Love, Haitian Healing, 50 words, Reviews

Smorgasbord Blogger DailyWelcome to the first of the blog promotion posts this week..I hope you will enjoy the varied articles from around our community and that you will pop over and introduce yourselves.

Wendy MacDonald

Meet Wendy MacDonald who is a writer, poet and nature lover.. who also enjoys expressing herself through some wonderful photography of her home Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, Canada… as she says.. Creation has a lot to say. In this post Wendy explores the belief that is evident across most faiths, that we should ‘love one another’.

Step Into His Will for You: Love One Another

I don’t know if you ever find the “love one another” command difficult to step into–I know I do sometimes. It’s not that I don’t want to, but it’s tricky when the ones I know I’m struggling to love are not exactly as easy to love as #naturephotography on Instagram or Twitter. And I do wish it was as easy to love everyone as I love watching the trumpeter swans that visit our Comox Valley each winter. 

Read the rest of the post:


I spend a great deal of time reading other people’s blogs and also comments on facebook and other social media and there is no doubt that there are a huge number of people who have suffered deep hurt of one kind or another in their lifes. It is also clear that there is a postive effect to writing about that pain through blog posts and memoirs. I think that this post by author Mira Prabhu sheds a very healing light on our pain, and with the help of a Haitian Healer she discovered a very simple but effective strategy to overcome it.


As for India, after enjoying the exuberant frenzy of life in Manhattan, I was finding it difficult to re-adapt, especially since my beautiful new home was located in the suburbs and it was a real chore to drive all the way to the city on a regular basis where I could engage in new activities. I had reached a mental and emotional stalemate and panic about the future was driving me pretty crazy.

I guess this woman she felt sorry for me. One sunny morning she led me to the terrace and handed me an empty notebook. “I want you to write down all that is bothering you, and please don’t ask why,” she ordered peremptorily.

Read the rest of this fascinating post:

The Eternals books series by Richard M. Ankers

I know that I can be long-winded.. nay.. I hear you cry.. Oh yeah.. I reply. One of the reasons that I began to write Haiku was to curb my inclinations to wordiness (see what I mean!) Anyway here is a very skilled writer of short (50 words) stories Richard Ankers to show us how it is done..

We heard the geese flying high in the sky long before we saw them…

Read the other 36 words…


From the Rosie Amber Review team, this look at Turn of the Tide by Margaret Skea.. reviewed by  Cathy Ryan who  blogs at


Initially, I wasn’t too sure about this book. There are a lot of characters, and their allegiances, to keep track of, which I found it a little confusing at first. Writing them down as a quick reference helped as it’s not so easy to keep referring back on a kindle. The more I read, the easier it became and the story took hold. Set in Ayrshire in the sixteenth century it tells of a notorious feud that lasted almost two centuries, between the Montgomeries and the Cunninghames. In the middle of these two warring clans is Munro and his family. Munro owes his loyalty to the Cunninghames, even as he is ever more uncomfortable with their actions and behaviour, and his understandable failure to comprehend the reasoning behind the feud.

Read the rest of the review:


And to finish this short selection of blogs that I enjoyed over the weekend here is another book review.. this time from Marina of Minds Wanderlust

Warning: This one in a million boy broke my heart in a million pieces.

If you haven’t read this book yet, get out of here and just run to your nearest bookshop, cause I think it’s better not knowing anything about its plot.
Well, for those of you still here, we are going to talk about Monica’s Wood novel. She’s telling the story of an 11-year-old boy who is obsessed with lists and world records, and his unusual friendship with Ona Vitkus, an 104 years old amazing lady.

Read the rest of the review:

I hope that you have enjoyed today’s selection of posts and will head over to meet their authors.. Thanks Sally..

Smorgasbord Round up – Eagles, Irish Fairies, Opera and thrills and spills.


Welcome to this week’s round-up of posts you might have missed. It has been a fairly busy week as I prepare for the new series of interviews beginning in March and I am thrilled with the response. Twenty five talented authors, poets, musicians and other creative people have come forward to take part in either Book Reading at the Bookstore or The Creative Artist Interview.

Whilst there are some set questions there are also three personalised questions that I am including in each interview so as you can imagine I am taking my time with that. I hope to have them all out by Monday… It looks like I may go to two posts a week to make sure that nobody is hanging around for weeks waiting for their interview to go live. That being the case if you have not already volunteered.. here is the link which includes the format for the interviews.

Here are all the new promotional opportunities, with something for everyone, all on one page.

On the subject of promotions.

On the 21st I am off on a girls week with my two sisters to celebrate our three birthdays that are all in February. I will be taking a break from writing posts for the blog but the blog will be handed over to some fabulous and talented members of the blogging community who will be filling in for me in my absence.

I have no worries about leaving the blog for the week to fend for itself but I thought it was another promotional opportunity for you all. As well as the guest post.. I will make sure to top and tail with an intro, feature books, blog, art etc as well as links. Definitely good for the blog and perhaps a little boost for you. Especially as I will not be doing the usual book promotions that week.

If you would like to apply for the job of part-time blog sitter please come back to me by Thursday so that I can get it scheduled in time.

As always I am hugely grateful for your wonderful support, comments, shares and motivation. ♥♥

Enough of the mushy stuff.. and on with the posts from the week…..

Classical music with William Price King

William and his music

So pleased that so many of you are enjoying the last in the classical music series and the story of American soprano Leontyne Price. This week a look at her performances in the 1950s and the bigotry that she endured in her early career.

Weekly Image and Haiku

I am so lucky to have some wonderful co-hosts on occasion for the blog and one post this week seemed to touch the hearts of many of you. Wayne Barnes of Tofino Photographs has been a blogging friend for the last three years and he sent me some recent photographs of the eagles Romeo and Juliette.. he very kindly agreed to let me use one of the images for this week’s Haiku.. You can see the full sized version in the post.


Short Story – After the Festival 

Another collaboration with illustrator Donata Zawdska with After the Festival. I was very privileged to be able to use the artwork for my short story..a new one from my upcoming Tales from the Irish Garden later in the year.. I hope you enjoy.


The new interview series if you missed them last week.

Book Promotions

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore New on the Shelves






Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update

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Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Another 25 bloggers promoted this week.

If you would like to be included in the Blogger Daily then just leave a link to your most recent post in the comments section of the round up today..

Smorgasbord Health – series Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)


Smorgasbord health – A – Z of Common Conditions – Lung Cancer.

smorgasbord health

Humour and Afternoon Video


That is it for another week on Smorgasbord.. Couldn’t do it without you.. Please remember that it saves me time if you volunteer your news about new book releases, fantastic reviews or share your blog post link.. Help me share your work.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.  Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – 10th February 2017 – Multi-culturism, Drinking, War correspondent, Snow Cream and Dog Rescue

Smorgasbord Blogger DailyWelcome to the last Blogger Daily of the week and we start the posts off with a regular contributor Jessica Norrie.  Jessica is writing a book following the lives of families within a   multi-cultural community. In this post she explores the difficulties of writing authentically when you have only viewed from outside or partially such as with children in school.  She has received valuable feed back from the Punjabi community but would like some assistance from anyone who is a UK born Somali, or anyone who is of Hong Kong Chinese heritage

Jessica Norrie

I posted recently about how well an author must know their characters. Much of my time since has been spent trying to make mine authentic. I’m nearing the end of a first draft of a novel set in multicultural London. My story follows five families, but only one reflects my own heritage.I’m pressing ahead with this, because although there are increasing numbers of wonderful books exploring the experience of specific individuals and communities, there are not yet enough that show us together, looking at how we all participate in and contribute to our institutions, our schools, hospitals, local government, commerce,the arts, sport, the media.

Post Brexit, it’s essential to depict our cities as the relatively successful melting pots they had begun to be. By that I don’t mean to belittle the disadvantages experienced through racism, class or poverty. But in the UK, compared to some parts of world, I think we were, pre Brexit, tentatively moving in the right direction in terms of rights and opportunities for all. (If you don’t have a right in the first place, how can you defend it?)

Read the rest of the post:

marilyn ArmstrongMarilyn Armstrong of the collaborative blog Serendipity touches on a … touchy subject. I can remember as a child and teenager watching movies where everyone had a lit cigarette, and smoked in the cinema, office and even hospital!  It was the same with drinking and Marilyn talks about the accepted drunken behaviour and boozy events that infiltrated most films. Whilst you rarely see anyone smoking in films or on television unless it is a period piece, it is still quite common to see the hero or heroine opening the door after a hard day at the office and pouring themselves a very large glass of wine.. So what is acceptable and are you and I drinking too much?


We watch a lot of old movies. We also have been following a CBC series called “The Murdoch Mysteries” which is a co-production with the BBC. In it and in almost all those old movies we love, everyone has a drink in his or her hand all the time. No matter what happens, from murder to emotional crisis, to epic human tragedy, to it simply being noon on a Thursday, the fix is simple. Drink. Have one. Have two. Just drink up, ladies and gents.

Freshen your glass? – Check it out:


 I had some adventures in my career but I think that the physical danger was reasonably low down the risk scale. (except as a landlady in the 1970s dealing with drunk skinheads).. But here is an interview with Melissa Burch that might make you grateful for our 9-5 office job!!  Interviewed by author Linda Parkinson-Hardman


Melissa Burch was a filmmaker, producer and former war journalist for the BBC, CBS, and other networks. Her team was one of the first documentary crews in the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War, and a story about her in Afghanistan was featured in The New York Times. She was in her twenties when she traveled with the mujahedeen, filmed an attack on a Soviet convoy, slept with an Afghan commander, and climbed 14,000 foot mountains in the Hindu Kush.

Read the rest of this fascinating interview:


 Angie Quantrell has contrituted a couple of recipes in the past along the lines of ‘cook from scratch’.. Today she takes that to a whole new level by using fres snow… to make Snow Cream.. About twenty years ago… or slightly longer we met some of our Texas friends in Verbier… I don’t ski but I do apres ski pretty well plus I did the food shopping and the odd meal. However, one night we ran out of ice to go with our favourite tipple.. Tequila.. so we filled the washing up bowl with fresh snow that had fallen that afternoon.. emptied a bottle of Cuervo Gold on top and allowed to infiltrate the drift.. stuck ten straws into the middle and let the fun begin!!  The concoction was named Verbierita..

No way I could do that now…. not enough snow!

Today is it, folks. At least for the Yakima Valley. Maybe.

Time to get out there and grab a bowl full of clean fresh snow before the rains hit tomorrow. Let’s make snow cream!

Anyway read the recipe for the healthier stuff.. courtesy of the lovely Angie:


To finish off the week… a story that shows the amazing kindness of one writer who has made a difference to man’s best friend… If only we all treated them so…

All the profits from Paulette Mahurin’s book The Persecution of Mildred Dunlop goes to animal rescue, the first and only no-kill animal shelter in Ventura County, CA (Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center).

As you will see over 500 dogs have been saved since the beginning of 2015. That is an amazing achievement. You can find Paulette’s books on Amazon:  and Amazon UK:

I’m deeply grateful to everyone who has purchased, read, and taken the time to review one of my books. All profits from my books go to help get dogs like Armando, Lawrence, Regina, Samson, Bessie, Chelsea, & her 8 puppies, Trudi, Midnight, Evander, Lorne, Daisy, Charlie, Maggie, Jordan, Emerald, Madison, Banjo, Watkins, Shadow and Bruiser (photos below) out of kill shelters. We’re off to a good start in 2017 with the freedom of 135 dogs. In in 2016, 250 dogs were freed. In 2015, 148 dogs were freed.

AND please for everyone who’s purchased a book could I humbly ask you to write a review when you’ve completed the read. Amazon promotes and ranks books according to number of reviews in addition to sales. Every voice helps spread the word and that is an energy that can help a dog.

Read the rest of the post and see the photos of some of the dogs saved:

Thank you for dropping in today.. Your feedback is always welcome.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – 9th February 2017 – Smoking, Dickens, Leftovers, Water Shortages and Children’s Illustrations

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Welcome to today’s Blogger Daily and I hope I have found a mix that will suit you. Some new to me blogs today and I have enjoyed discovering new talent.  Please leave the link to your most recent post in the comments section.. just in case I have missed on my travels and so I can share all across the world.. well most of it anyway…

On with the posts.

This morning I posted an A-Z of common conditions looking at the statistics for lung cancer.  You might also be interested in this indepth article if you are attempting to stop smoking or would like to help someone close to you give up. Nicotine and self-medication NOT what you think this post is going to be about! by Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC – Another post in the Walking A Mile in Another’s Shoes Series

A relatively new study on nicotine and self medication (linked below in the Related Content) prompted me to revisit the topic of smoking.

Why do so many of us continue to do it?

WHY does it seem to be so difficult to put those smokes down — despite the black-box warnings that now come on every pack sold in the USA?

Read the rest of this important post:


Now time for a little Mark Twain and Dickens.. a post by Nicola Auckland on the subject of ‘Writing what you know‘.  I often say to new writers that it is a good idea when starting out to write about something you are familiar with. As Nicola points out this is not always feasible depending on the genre and your own experiences in life. After all not many of us have orbited the earth or travelled at the speed of light… nor have we fought dragons in a fantasy world.  I believe that writing is a combination of all we have learned, seen, heard, read, watched and absorbed.. then our imagination kicks in. Anyway read this interesting post and offer Nicola your views on the subject.  By the way Nicola has a great challenge for you..

Mark Twain famously left us writers a nugget of advice – ‘write what you know’. He was eluding to the fact that if you write about places you’ve been and experiences you’ve had then your stories and characters will have a depth and believability about them difficult to achieve without visceral experience to draw on.

I accept that this does not apply to all facets of storytelling, after all, if I were to write about my real-life experiences you would read an extremely dull monologue about going to work and raising children, I would be a supporting character at best, the funny friend or shoulder to cry on. Even authors with more interesting lives than me may struggle to hold your attention. I’m willing to bet that Ian Fleming was not a spy with a licence to kill, Arthur Conan Doyle was not a high functioning sociopath and Jules Verne did not go to the centre of the Earth (as far as we know). But they each drew on formative experiences from their own pasts to add extra dimensions to the adventures they conceived.

Read the rest of the article


Van by the River has served chicken three nights in a row but managed to get another meal out of it for the fourth night.. I cannot bear to throw food away and manage to freeze it to use again.. We have had some interesting concoctions in our time.. have you a leftovers recipe that you can share over at Van’s … she has a few ideas that you might like.. I have never had Sliders… somebody please tell me what they are!

I promised I’d throw it out this morning. I just could not do it. Something in the genetic code will not allow it. (Thank you, Grandma.)

I can’t waste leftovers. That $5. rotisserie chicken from Sam’s Club is making its 4th appearance at dinner tonight.
In line with what could be called “Super Bowl Food”, I used the 4 lb. bird to make BBQ pulled-chicken sliders on Sunday.

We have become fans of those amazing Hawaiian sweet rolls, and I keep finding ways to use them.

Check out the rest of the post:


Katharine Everson of Teachez Well blog experienced something that can be devastating especially for the elderly who perhaps cannot get out to buy provisions.  In Spain water is scarce and there have been times when our water might come out of the taps a slightly more bronzed colour than it should.. the local reservoir was also home to ducks and in the dry summers I would wonder what else might be coming down the pipes.. Hence we drank a lot of filtered water!  Anyway I will let Katharine tell her story.

Whew! After our city had declared a state of emergency due to a fluoride issue-water main break, we are now back to taking showers and flushing toilets. How much we take water for granted! I had to tape off the faucets because I automatically reached for one all the time. Who knew I washed my hands so much? What an adventure we had Friday evening with about 25 folks in our home group, sharing toilet tanks that had to be filled by hand. We resurrected Jerry Brown’s poem (governor of California during a serious water rationing period): Yellow is mellow, brown goes down.

Find out more:


I found this very interesting..Interview with NY Times bestselling children’s book illustrator Tim Bowers by children’s author Henry Herz. Children’s books are so dependent on illustrations to bring a story alive and to help a child visualise the words they are learning. Tim Bowers must be in huge demand.


Tim Bowers is a children’s book illustrator. His first picture book was published in 1986. Since then, he has illustrated over 45 other titles. A couple of the titles have landed on the New York Times best seller list. His art is usually filled with animals and humor…and people, when needed. Tim currently lives in Granville, Ohio with his beautiful wife. They have four talented grown children and are proud grandparents.

Read the rest of the interview: