Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck #Dessert – Kind of Purple Peach Upside Down Cake by Dolly Aizenman

Welcome to the  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post:

This is the third post in this series from the archives of Dolly Aizenman, who not only shares amazing recipes from around the world, but also shares the history behind them. We recently had some amazingly sweet and juicy peaches… and so this dessert immediately caught my attention…

Dessert – Kind of Purple Peach Upside Down Cake by Dolly Aizenman

This post is dedicated to two lovely ladies: my dear blogofriend Melinda and my new friend Lilly, the sweetest peach ever to come out of Georgia, together with her adorable husband.

This beautiful song has been performed by many great artists, but it is the legendary Ray Charles’ rendition that prompted the great State of Georgia to adopt it as the official state song.

Upsdwn peach cake 1.jpg

It was Melinda, my favorite purple person, who had mentioned that she loved peach pies, and thus challenged me with a task of making it purple. Having successfully made a purple cake once (see here), I did not expect any problems, and – oh! – was I wrong! But we’ll get to that point shortly; meanwhile, I confess: I cheated by using packaged cake mix (something I do very rarely). My kitty measuring cups correspond to ingredients required to be added to the mix. Note: to keep it vegan, simply substitute aquafaba for eggs listed on the box. If you are so inclined, you can also use any gluten free cake mix or your own cake batter recipe.

Upsdwn peach cake 2.jpg

These are sweet Georgia peaches, skin bursting with juice to the extent that my husband had to be very careful not to mangle these beautiful slices, but make them uniform. Transfer them to a bowl, sprinkle some brown sugar on them, and add a splash of rum (if you are adventurous). Leave them be for a few minutes, while you grease a baking pan.

Upsdwn peach cake 3

Lay the best looking peach slices in any pattern you like on the bottom of the pan, covering the entire pan. Chop up the rest of them and put aside. The best is yet to come!

Upsdwn peach cake 4

Based on my previous “purple cake experiment,” I thought that simply using beet juice instead of water will do the trick. But you know what happens to “the best laid plans of men and mice” – as you can see, the batter came out sort of orangy hot pink. The peaches were screaming for attention, the oven was preheated, I didn’t have another box of cake mix, nor the time to make my own batter, so – sorry, Melinda! – I proceeded to dump the chopped up peaches into the cake batter and pour the whole mess on top of nicely arranged slices. Into the oven it went. While it was baking, I found this great clip from one of the best movies of all times, and was once again deeply touched by the lyrics:

Sister, we’re two of a kind… Oh sister, have I got news for you

I’m somethin’

I hope you think that you’re somethin’ too

Upsdwn peach cake 5.jpg

Dear friends and sisters, Melinda and Lilly, and all the rest of you wonderful ladies in the blogosphere, you are not only “somethin’,” you are something else! I can just flip sometimes when I read some of your stuff (especially Melinda’s Monday Memes!), but meanwhile, I flipped the cake, which came out kind of not really purple, but delicious nonetheless. I did plop a blueberry on top, in a feeble attempt to add a purple touch.


  • 4 large or 5 medium ripe peaches
  • 1 box of yellow cake mix or equivalent amount of cake batter of your choice
  • Ingredients required by instructions on box
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Optional: splash of rum or any liqueur


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Mist baking pan with oil.
  2. Slice peaches into uniformly thin slices. Transfere to bowl, sprinkle brown sugar and splash rum on top. Put aside.
  3. Arrange peach slices on bottom of pan in pleasing pattern. Chop up remaining peach pieces.
  4. Mix cake batter according to instructions, replace water with beet juice, add chopped peach pieces. Pour into pan on top of arranged peach slices.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, invert.


©Dolly Aizenman 2018

About Dolly Aizenman

It wasn’t easy to keep kosher in communist Russia, where I was born and lived for 27 years, until I was allowed to leave. You couldn’t go to a kosher store and buy anything, from soup to nuts, with a Hecksher (kosher certification), the way it is in the US. Here, chicken is already shechted (slaughtered) for you, and cows conveniently label their own parts as “beef for stew.” As Yakov Smirnov used to say in the eponymous TV sitcom, “What a country!” After teaching for almost 40 years, I am now semi-retired, I love to cook, and I have time on my hands to share recipes and exchange new food ideas.

My recipes are different from traditional American Jewish food in that I literally adapt recipes from “the four corners of the world” to the guidelines of kashruth (Jewish dietary laws). I invite you to explore with me, to experiment, and by all means, to get your kids involved in the magical fun of transforming this-that-and the other into something spectacular to grace your table.

Kool Kosher Kitchen

From the four corners of the world – international fusion cuisine the kosher way! Cook Indian, cook Italian, cook Chinese and Japanese, or cook traditional Jewish; make it vegetarian, pescatarean, or vegan, make it festive and nutritious, always easy to make and delicious, for holiday and every day, but above all, have fun in your kitchen and make your kitchen a fun place to be!

One of the reviews for the cookbook

A beautiful cookbook… I loved the stories running throughout and I feel that I now know Dolly the cook, her glorious telling of her family history and the history of Kosher Cooking were enchanting and I learnt much.

The excerpt from The boyhood deeds of Fionn one of my favourites being ” Light swallows dart aloft, loud melody reaches around the hill, the soft rich mast buds, the stuttering quagmire rehearses ” added to the stories which wound themselves around Dolly’s recipes.

Two of my favourites Satsivi a spicy walnut dip which I could just see myself with my sundowners enjoying and the second the Kartofel Niki sweet potatoes encasing lovely mushrooms and lightly fried sounded just awesome. This was not just a cookbook it was a lovely journey through Kosher cookery which included how to store herbs and it all just meandered through her kitchen recipe after recipe with the stories.

Dolly Aizenman is another lady like me who cannot just write a recipe and it makes the dishes come alive and you so want to just sit down and eat them. If like me you want more than just a recipe then this is the book for you and why I gave it 5 stars.

Head over and buy the book in paperback or Ebook:

and Amazon UK:

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My thanks to Dolly for allowing me to raid her larder.. I mean archives and share these great recipes with you… I hope you will head over and raid them too. Sally.


Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck – Major Accident – The #Horse Came Back Alone… by Laura M. Bailey

Welcome to the  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post:

This is the third post from the archives of Laura M. Bailey who blogs on a number of subjects including history, family, horses, Southern lifestyle and cookery. This story is a testament to Laura’s fortitude, warrior spirit and her faith… a long road back from this accident.

Major Accident – The #Horse Came Back Alone… by Laura M. Bailey

He was one tall drink of water and I could not keep my eyes off him as he sauntered into the stable. My husband and I both were like a couple of cartoon charters. You could practically see heart bubbles popping over our heads and within a couple weeks, he was ours!


A tall black & white paint with a striped coon tail. First to Fly, was his name but we called him Jet…well, my husband called him Jet, I called him Big Sexy. As I’ve stated in my ” Mud Boots” posts, I know nothing about horses and have never been on one but I am as my family calls me, Cinderella. I both love and attract all kinds of animals and I loved this guy. We really didn’t know anything about him except his new owner needed rent and sold him to us cheap.


A few days later, Clay saddled him in the paddock and set me on his back. We’d both seen small children on him so Clay was confident that I’d be fine. Weirdly, I had the worst feeling about it. It was the sickening feeling of foreboding. I couldn’t explain it and felt silly so I kept my mouth shut and choked back my anxiety. (More than anything, I didn’t want Clay to think I was a sissy!)

Sure enough, Jett started toward the loafing shed. I gently pulled back on the reins but, nothing! He just kept going! He was so tall that the tin roof caught me across the ribs, scraping me right off his backside and I hi the ground flat on my back! Sweet mercy, that hurt but I darn sure wasn’t going to show it so I just laughed it off. (Found out much later that I fractured the S1)


Clay took this just shortly before…

The next day, Clay put me on him again, first in a round pen then this little arena area. All went well except that nagging feeling just wouldn’t go away. The only way I can describe it was a fight or flight sensation and everything in me screaming to…STOP! DON’T! RUN! But, there was no way on earth I’d tell Clay what I was feeling. I didnt want to sound foolish…I should have trusted him to understand. They say pride goeth before the fall.

With me assuring him that we were fine, and we were, Clay left to let our mares out in another 80 acre pasture to graze. Jet and I wandered around the stable, strolling down the lane between the pipe and cable paddocks. The next thing Clay knew … the horse came back alone!


Literally the very next picture on his phone! I made him take it. Even like this, I could see the humor in it! Lol

One moment we were walking along then suddenly, Jets hoof dropped into a deep hole in the ground! He started scampering backward, head back and eye’s wide! He was spooked! I tried to pull back hard on the reins to stop his flight but he jolted forward flying into a sprint. I pulled so hard his head was back almost to my chest, his eye’s wide with terror and barreling down the lane towards the end. He’d have to cut left or right at the crossroad so I braced myself and called out, “Oh Father!”

I regained consciousness on my final bounce…in an overgrown, empty paddock at the end of the lane. I knew immediately my back was hurt badly. The pain was exquisite, so exquisite that I didnt feel that both of my arms were broken too.

We had been in a long draught, the sun beating down and 110°. I knew I needed help but Clay had no idea where I was, couldn’t see my form beneath the tall grass, my location or even that I was in trouble so I made a decision.

I decided to try to stand. I rolled slightly to one side, attempting to push up into a sitting position but couldn’t seem to push up. Glancing over, I realized my arm was broken though I didn’t feel it at all. I rolled to the other but caught sight of the arm and how it formed a Z.

Plan C…I clawed my way up with my elbows and began walking toward our truck at the front of the stables. It’s the funniest thing how right before you pass out, everything begins to sparkle. I didn’t want to fall so I squat to the ground and laid back. Afterwards, I took on plan C again the continued toward the parking lot.

Mid way, Clay finally saw me. He’d seen the horse running loose and caught him. From across the stable, he yells “What happened?” I could barely breathe much less yell so I just shook my head and kept walking. He’s a horseman, can ride anything into the dirt and like all horsemen, “ya fall off a horse, ya get back on!” I still die laughing at the thought that he was literally bringing me back the horse!

As he neared, he asked “are you ok?” I whispered “hospital.” He looked shocked! “You kidding me?” he said. I held up my arms that now formed the letter Z. “What do ya think?” Just then you would’ve thought I’d said my water broke! He screamed for me to (get this) “get to the truck!” So I muttled along. He went to put the horses up.

Once I arrived at the truck, I also became aware that my hands didn’t work so I had no way to open the darn door and was not looking forward to climbing up into it either. I plodded to the back and leaned against the tailgate like a plank.

Just then a lady pulled up right in front of me, hoped out of her SUV with a big smile and chipper greeting. “Can you help me open my door? I had an accident.” The emotions scrolled across her face in rapid dawning, first confusion then her eyes honed in onto my arms, then horror. She burst into tears and helped me into the truck just as Clay arrived.

Bless his heart and damn my pride. He put on the emergency blinkers and he wanted to speed to the ER but they way to the hospital from where we were was non-stop 4way stops at every block! I sat silently, too afraid to put what I knew into words, as if saying them put loud would make it real.

It wasn’t until he had to apply the brakes and I screamed that I was forced to tell him about my back. The look on his face was a mixture of heartbreak and terror.


The shortest end to this tale is this…Jet threw me, back first into a steel pole at between 35-40 mph, 21 days in ICU. I had a shattered L1 vertebrae, fractured S1, both arms at the wrists, ( 1 had to be sawn off and reattached later) tons of metal to put me back together, 3 year full recovery. My husband, my mom, and God held me up through it all. It’s a miracle that I can walk and live a perfectly normal life. I have some bad days of course but on those days I remember how very blessed I am.w

Note: It was also through This that we discovered who and what Jet was. He was an own son of Texas Hero and the next years top racing prospect! Race horses dont whoa when you pull the reins. They’re trained to fight against the bit. In effect, my attempt to stop him was actually telling him to GO! And he did! This is how I began “My life In Mud Boots”, became a Racehorse owner, breeder and rancher! Lol


© Laura M. Bailey 2018

What a story… and inspiring….

About Laura M. Bailey

This blog is my attempt to write down the bones of a crazy, random, uncharted life and all the shoes I’ve worn along the way… From beach baby to city girl, wife. Mother, grandmother. Daughter, sister, coolest Aunt ever, construction worker, grease monkey, writer, poet, Publicity director, public speaker, tattoo studio owner and artist, crafter, cook, music promoter, race horse owner, breeder, Rancher and above all a flawed human profoundly in love with God. Within these stories I hope you’ll find the sorrows , joys, inspiration in ordinary places, sheer hilarity of life and all the common threads that connect us all.

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My thanks to Laura for allowing me to share posts from her archives and I recommend that you head over to explore for yourselves.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck – #Elections – Casting a Vote 2016 by Stevie Turner

Welcome to the series  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post:

This is the second post from the archives of author Stevie Turner who has an extensive and eclectic archives and it is easy to get yourself lost in there for an hour or so. I chose this post because this is where our Brexit journey began. As we now attempt to cross the finishing line one way or another, it would seem, I thought it would be interesting to see how it might have turned out differently if everyone had exercised their right to vote. Certainly for women a long and hard fought right.

Elections – Casting a Vote 2016 by Stevie Turner


The sun was blasting out from behind the rain clouds at last, as I stepped outside earlier to amble down to the village hall and cast my vote in the EU referendum (I’m not going to tell you which way I voted!). Birds were warbling above my head, horses were galloping about in the field opposite, and the cow parsley along the side of the road was now almost as tall as me and waved about in a slight breeze.

As I skirted around larger puddles and breathed in the earthy scent that follows a rainstorm, I thought back to how hard the suffragettes had fought in the early part of the last century for the right of women to vote. Jailed for their militant tactics and also using prison as a means of publicising women’s suffrage, they had undergone hunger strikes in prison resulting in cruel force feeding by prison wardens who had held them down and poured liquid food into the women’s throats via long rubber tubes.

Suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, founder of the Women’s Social and Political Union, was horrified by the screams of women being force-fed, and in her autobiography she wrote “I shall never while I live, forget the suffering I experienced during the days when those cries were ringing in my ears.” In 1909, fellow suffragette Emily Davison was sentenced to a month’s hard labour in Strangeways Prison in Manchester after throwing rocks at the carriage of chancellor David Lloyd George. She attempted to starve herself, and resisted force-feeding. A prison guard, angered by the fact that Emily had blockaded herself in her cell, forced a hose into the room and nearly filled it with water. The door was subsequently broken down, and she was freed. After suing the wardens of Strangeways, Emily eventually became a martyr for the cause, running out to her death in front of the king’s horse at the 1913 Epsom Derby.

It saddens me considerably when I hear of young women saying that they cannot be bothered to vote. Emmeline and her cohorts must have been writhing in their graves if they had been watching a particular TV programme from on high a couple of nights ago. One woman shrugged her shoulders and said that she wasn’t going to vote because ‘It has nothing to do with me’.

A genial crowd of village folk were standing about chatting at the other end of the village hall, which also doubles as a café and sub- post office on Thursdays. You can cast your vote, buy your stamps, post your parcels, buy a cup of coffee at the same time, and generally have a good old natter about Mr Cameron, Mr Farage et al. I have no idea what the result of the referendum will be, but I do know one thing… if Emmeline Pankhurst was perchance looking over my shoulder in the polling booth she would have been very proud of me!

© Stevie Turner 2016

It would be interesting to hear your views on this….

About Stevie Turner

Stevie Turner works part time as a medical secretary in a busy NHS hospital and writes suspense, women’s fiction, and darkly humorous novels in her spare time. She won a New Apple Book Award in 2014 and a Readers’ Favorite Gold Award in 2015 for her book ‘A House Without Windows’, and one of her short stories, ‘Checking Out’, was published in the Creative Writing Institute’s 2016 anthology ‘Explain!’ Her psychological thriller ‘Repent at Leisure’ won third place in the 2016 Drunken Druid Book Award contest.

Stevie lives in the East of England, and is married with two sons and four grandchildren. She has also branched out into the world of audio books, screenplays, and translations. Most of her novels are now available as audio books, and one screenplay, ‘For the Sake of a Child’, won a silver award in the Spring 2017 Depth of Field International Film Festival. ‘A House Without Windows’ gained the attention of a New York media production company in December 2017.

Some of Stevie’s books are currently being translated into German, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.

A selection of books by Stevie Turner

A recent reviews for Finding David on Goodreads

D.G. Kaye‘s review Jul 13, 2019  Five Stars.

Stevie Turner’s latest was a great escape read, and by the second page I had to find out what this psychic was going to tell Karen, and then I became absorbed and wanted to just keep reading.

Karen and Mick’s happy life was shaken and stirred after a chance outing to a clairvoyant’s public show where Medium Rae focused her attention on Karen, offering her a message from beyond from Karen’s deceased son – gone missing years before. Rae offers Karen her card, inviting her to contact Rae to learn more if she chose. What mother of a missing child wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to connect with their missing/dead child?

What Rae reveals to Karen sets the tone for the journey to seek out what happened all those years ago when David just a boy then, completely vanished – never to return. The search to find David’s never been found body ensues, and as clues develop and possible suspects for David’s death appear, a great strain weighs between Karen and Mick’s marriage.

Turner always has rich characters who draw us into her stories. I also enjoyed how the story carried through with a tiny crumb given in each chapter, leaving me anxious to turn to the next chapter while still kept wondering – Who the heck killed David – until near the very end. I also enjoyed reading in this genre, which is not a usual one for me. If you enjoy a shorter book with all the meat of a story wrapped up nicely, you will no doubt, enjoy this book!

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And Amazon UK:

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My thanks to Stevie for allowing me to browse her extensive archives and I am sure you will enjoy them if you head over to explore for yourselves.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck – Nonfiction Essay with Bonus | 7 Tips for Preserving Family Memories 2014 by Sherrey Meyer

Welcome to the series  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post:

This is the third post from the archives of writer Sherrey Meyer whose blog is titled Life in the Slow Lane. This week I have chosen a post about the preservation of family history, much of which is divulged in conversations with elderly members of the family. It is so important to discover and save this living hisory.

Nonfiction Essay with Bonus | 7 Tips for Preserving Family Memories 2014 by Sherrey Meyer

Today I am sharing with you a recent experience which started my husband and me thinking. Thinking about family, memories, storytelling, and how to share that history with the next generation. On the Meyer side of our family, the work is somewhat up-to-date. But who will carry the torch after our generation is gone? Our generation is slipping away slowly one by one. What about your family history?

She isn’t the sister I knew,” my husband says when he returns from driving his sister, Mary Ellen, home after lunch.

I don’t know what to say. I understand what his words mean. I still don’t know what to say.

This is the second sibling I have heard him make this comment about, the other a brother who died almost two years ago.

“As long as you can remember the good times, the days in Outlook, Mary Ellen seems to have good recall.” Words I use to encourage him.

In fact, it happened over lunch.

When Bob arrived to pick Mary Ellen up and bring her to our home, she asked her now routine question, “Have you been here before?

And the answer is always yes as one of us visits weekly, if not more. Since her assisted living community is only eight blocks away, we often make it our daily walk to visit.

But her short-term memory has lost its bearings.

We visit for a time, and then lunch calls us. It is our first time to sit with only the three of us around the table. Mary Ellen’s husband died a couple of months ago, and her move near us and a nephew is relatively recent.

We join hands for grace. Her skin has the feel of thin paper, and her hands are cold. It’s in the upper 80s outside.

We chat amiably while eating. Mary Ellen jokes about her unreliable memory, and we commiserate that our collective memories aren’t much better some days.

Bob recalls receiving an invitation recently from their grade school in Outlook, WA, a tiny space in the road in the Yakima Valley. He mentions the name of the woman who sent it and with whom he has talked. He asks Mary Ellen if she remembers Dorothy Cullen from their grade school days.

She looks up and furrows her brow. Finally, she says she doesn’t, her now nearly gone eyesight trying to focus on him.

And then she says, “Oh, there was a Dorothy Ross in Outlook.

Yes, this was the woman Bob was talking about but he had used her married name since he couldn’t think of her maiden name.

That recalled memory is from decades ago, but our visits with Mary Ellen recently have only been in the last two months. She doesn’t remember us visiting or others calling or coming by. She doesn’t remember her husband is dead.

We sit later that day talking about family and memories. Bob and I know with certainty that we too are growing older daily, and our memories aren’t always as sharp as they used to be.

Mary Ellen is the oldest of the six Meyer siblings and the genealogist in the family. She has researched, traveled, and visited with family members all over New England and the Midwest. Her travels include trips to cemeteries, old schools and churches, and the family history we have is amazing.

Not only that, Mary Ellen, a retired school teacher, is among the best storytellers in the family. Up until now, her mind was never faulty on a single detail about farm life, grade school teachers, preachers in the country church, music lessons, and life in tiny Outlook, WA.

But this record keeper and researcher is nearly blind, her mind is failing, and she turns 90 in a few weeks. Who will take up the torch and tread the course in keeping the family history and the stories moving generation to generation?

We haven’t been the best stewards of the Meyer history. At least the record of the Meyer clan is in many hands now, thanks to the Internet. But will it continue to spread as our family continues to grow?

We encourage our children to slow down, make treasured memories, memories that will last, and to write them down for future generations to read and share on and on. And we ask them to make sure they label photos on their Smartphones and computers with names, dates, places so someone will know a bit of the story held in the images decades from now.

Otherwise, a family’s legacy can be lost in time and age. 

A few tips readily came to mind in keeping the family history alive as Bob and I talked:

  1. Take advantage of every family gathering by encouraging time for storytelling and sharing experiences and have someone take notes.
  2. Make sure you keep up a family record of births, deaths, and weddings. This information will be helpful to whoever is in charge of maintaining the family genealogy.
  3. Mark photos with names, dates, places, occasions, and any other information benefit recall. Stories can be written from photos as the images are great triggers for recall and memory.
  4. Take advantage of state and county records in researching family records.
  5. Sites now exist that are also helpful in researching family helped me uncover information on my father’s family; with three children tragically ending up in an orphanage in the early 1900s, I had almost given up hope of finding anything. Other genealogical sites include US GenWeb ,   US National Archives  Genealogy TodayUS Census Records  Ellis Island Records, and  Family Search (large database sponsored by the Mormon Church).
  6. When a family member passes on, and if you are able to do so, hang on to every slip of paper you might find among the individual’s effects. Recently, a search of the unemployment records in Nashville, TN for the years 1944-45 helped me confirm some information about my parents. I had found discharge slips issued to my parents from the same employer on the same date among my mother’s effects. But something just didn’t seem right. I checked and found I could get access to certain information about their unemployment. And I was right — my father’s service terminated a month after my mother’s.
  7. And lastly, I know that Mary Ellen was not shy about writing letters to people who had a similar last name and lived in an area where other family members had once lived, or who might have arrived at Ellis Island with ancestors, and these contacts provided the information she might not have uncovered otherwise.

It is never too late to begin tracking your family’s history. Whether you think you are a writer or not, you can write stories in a journal, on your computer, in a notebook, or by any method you choose.

Then pass what you have on to the next generation by sharing it with them from time to time so questions can be asked and answered. Leave it somewhere so when you are no longer around, it will be easily found and handed off to a family member.

This post isn’t intended to be about doom and gloom, but last Thursday’s lunch brought out the importance of what would happen to the Meyer family history now that Mary Ellen is no longer able to be the keeper of the work she so lovingly provided for us.

The tips here are some used in my research and gathered in talking with Mary Ellen over the years. I wanted to share this personal time in our life to provide, I hope, a clear picture of the importance of storytelling in the present.

©Sherrey Meyer 2014

About Sherrey Meyer

Sherrey Meyer, Blog Owner, Writer

Hi! I’m Sherrey, and I am a writer. I haven’t always been a writer but managed at all times to pursue my love of words through reading and writing. Sometimes I get so carried away with my love of words I also proofread and beta read for other writers.

I grew up the middle child but it doesn’t seem to have caused any difficulty in carrying out my roles as a wife, mother, grandma, and great-grandma. When opportunity provides, you’ll find me writing or reading. I love words!

My current work-in-progress is a memoir, the story of a Southern matriarch and how she ruled the roost with not so pleasant methods. On occasion, I have been lucky and written essays that actually were accepted for publication in anthologies.

My writing and proofreading experience reaches back to near age 12 when my publisher and printer father decided he needed some part-time help on several large government projects. He trained me to proofread and edit, and on weekends and during school holidays I had my own mini-office in my bedroom dedicated to my efforts.

Daddy was the source of my love of words. Words have always fascinated me, but life has inserted itself along the way. Now a retired legal secretary, where I used these skills, I now enjoy the time to focus on my passion for writing.

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Published Work:

My thanks to Sherrey for permitting me to delve into her archives and share with you.. Please head over and enjoy browsing them yourselves. Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck #FlashFiction Friday Flash Fiction 500 2018 – Biodegradable by Janet Gogerty

Welcome to the  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post:

This is the third of the  posts that I have selected from the archives of author Janet Gogerty. This week I have chosen a short story by Janet, which will give you an idea of what you might expect from her collections that are available on Amazon. At the moment the topic of plastic shopping bags is very much in the news… and here is an alternative!!

 Friday Flash Fiction 500 – Biodegradable by Janet Gogerty

Cauldrons bubbled, paddles stirred, pumps rose and fell. The dye selector scurried along seeking indigo and sunflower to make that special shade of green for Familyfresh.

Malcolm Rust loved machinery and money, in that order. Childhood visits to industrial museums had given him a love of pistons and presses. The only history he was interested in at school was of Victorian valleys filled with furnaces and engineering entrepreneurs making a mint, so they could build great houses on top of hills looking down on their wealth. His weekends as a teenager had been spent scouring the country for redundant factory equipment and thinking of money making projects to fund his hobby.

He had no interest in the environment, except as the provider of water courses to power mills, until he met Melissa. She worked with his mother at the new Veganarium that had replaced the cheese and bacon shop. His mother needed a job, but for Melisa it was her whole way of life.

As far as Malcolm was concerned food was fuel, the same as coal, wood and diesel for his beloved machines. But as Melissa chattered on about recipes for allergen free biscuits and biodegradable wrappers, he thought he might find a way to her heart. Why not make the biscuits and packets with the same recipe? It was time to investigate corn starch and fructose.

Now he was no longer Mr Rust, but Mr Green, inventor of the edible carrier bag and three days ago Melissa had become Mrs. Green. Channel Four was making a documentary about their plans for a perfect Ecohouse with living walls.

But no sooner had the carrier bags become familiar in every supermarket than the first criticisms began to appear on social media. Members of the public no longer had to feel guilty about plastic or litter; discarded sweet wrappers, takeaway boxes and shopping bags would all be eaten by wildlife, from snails to deer. In fact the carrier bags were so delicious, passing dogs were liable to take a bite out of your shopping.

Then came the first news story from the Familyfresh Fairtrade supermarket. Overnight, all the bundles of new carrier bags had disappeared from the store room. The first clue to the mystery came when three large rats scampered across the feet of the store manager. He ran out into the main store, only to see several more rats slip away from the checkouts. The second clue was the remnant of a carrier bag hanging limply, serrated with huge teeth marks.

A meeting of COBRA * was called after pest exterminators made urgent reports of supersized rats, gardeners posted pictures on Facebook of giant snails and a photograph appeared on breakfast television of a fox the size of a deer hound. Malcolm was summoned to reveal the ingredients of his carrier bags…


*Cobra stands for Cabinet Office briefing room A. Cobra meetings are held in Downing Street to plan government responses in times of emergency.

©Janet Gogerty 2018

About Janet Gogerty

I have been writing frantically for 10 years and still enjoy being part of two writing groups. I am inspired by anything and everything and enjoy writing about ordinary people; but usually they find themselves experiencing strange events! When I was encouraged to tackle a novel my daughter suggested I use my short story ‘Brief Encounters of the Third Kind’ as she wanted to know what happened to Emma, whose fate had been left in the air at the end of the story.

The novel became a trilogy, Three Ages of Man and finally Lives of Anna Alsop, published in March 2015.I enjoy writing fiction of any length and have had many short stories published online. I have just published my fourth collection of short stories Someone Somewhere which includes two novellas. I also write a regular blog ‘Sandscript‘ at Goodreads. My website long ago took on a life of its own with new words and pictures regularly; visit to read short stories and other items.

A selection of books by Janet Gogerty

One of the reviews for Brief Encounters of the Third Kind

Brief Encounters of the Third Kind is anything but brief. It is a meaty story that kept me entertained until the end. It left me wanting a sequel. I believe Janet Gogerty has a great story that could lead to further adventures.

The pace is moderate, but there is terrific character development. Each persona is different and robust. Emma is an unusual character and we can see the strain that she is placed under due to her uniqueness, which results in perfectly normal behaviour for someone who is anything but ordinary. We see her in a very human and fallible light.

At times, I was so engrossed in the story and the characters that I forgot that I was reading science fiction. With a few shocking moments toward the end, Brief Encounters of the Third Kind will keep you reading past your bedtime.

I’m rather hoping there are further adventures and that Janet Gogerty writes a follow up. I think we would all like to hear about little Adam. What happens to him? What does he become in time? I found baby Adam fascinating and well written.

If you are looking for a great story, with wonder character development, and a little bit of science fiction, then read Brief Encounters of the Third Kind.

Read the reviews and buy the books:

And on Amazon US:

Read more reviews and follow Janet on Goodreads:

Connect to Janet


Thank you to Janet for allowing me to share posts from her archives and I hope you will head over to explore them for yourselves.  Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck – #Poetry -Snow Day by Amanda Reilly Sayer

Welcome to the  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post:

This is the third post from Amanda Reilly Sayer and because Amanda has only begun blogging recently, the posts are from 2019. There is plenty to share in poetry, prose and wonderful artwork. I am sure you are going to enjoy. This week I have selected a poem to share with you…

Snow Day by Amanda Reilly Sayer

New snowfall through starless night
Laden trees with cotton tufts
Now, luminous tendrils
Against the dawn sky

“Snow Day!” cheers rang through the house
As kids, alert in their still warm pajamas
Danced with anticipated snow forts
And other forbidden weekday play

All whilst their parents, bent over for boot lacing
Felt their backs groan, remembering
The last storm, which wasn’t the last
Not nearly the last, after all

If they noticed anything
Beyond their full shovels
The rhythmic, industrious scraping
It wasn’t apparent to anyone

Until the laughter of their children
Rattled the glass panes
And impelled them notice
Breath-stained windows, mindful nudges

Look up and see!
The vast sky of carefree days
Your perception
Malleable as wet snow

Witness the very moment
When fading midnight embers
That blue-lit, sparkling tree line
Those inky nighttime remnants

Become the new day

©Amanda Reilly Sayer

About Amanda Reilly Sayer

My creative expression is fairly diverse, but I think there is a consistent thread which ultimately examines and encourages personal and artistic growth. The engagement with different art forms keeps me interested and in evolution. I hope my efforts will be meaningful for you too.

At least sometimes, I think we progress by stepping back and looking through different lenses. The contrast between different forms helps me do that, ever challenging me to see beyond the known. Watercolor encourages me to think about layers and transparency, which makes for some interesting effects when applied to acrylic paintings. Photography helps me focus on composition and light. Poetry trains me to be succinct and thoughtful about word choice.

There is always a risk of doing too much, of diluting quality. I may yet specialize. But for now, I’ll continue to aim for progression in process, to work towards ever better results. I hope you’ll join me!

Connect to Amanda


Thank you to Amanda for allowing me to share the posts from her archives and I hope you will head over and explore for yourself.. Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives #Potluck -Advice for aspiring #writers: Get Your Editor On 2015 by Donna W. Hill

Welcome to the series  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post:

This is the third post from Donna W. Hill who has let me loose in her archives. And another post on the writing process, especially for those about to begin the publishing process and those of us who might have got into bad habits! Originally posted in 2015

Advice for aspiring writers: Get Your Editor On 2015 by Donna W. Hill

Recently, a member of the Goodreads community asked for my advice to aspiring writers. My answer could have gone in so many directions — getting published, building your personal brand, incorporating time into your life to write — the list is endless. The following is based on my original answer.

One Writer’s Self Image

Verona Beach Light, one of 3 working lighthouses on NY's Oneida Lake: photo by Rich Hill

I’m a bare-bones, cut-to-the-chase sort of person in general, so my first thought is to suggest that you step back from the trappings of whatever your image of the writer is. Parading around in public with your notepad at the ready, skulking in the shadows of community with a drink and brooding may work for some writers, but make sure it’s working for you before you commit your entire identity to it.

After all, it’s what comes out on the paper that matters, and that depends on what goes on in your head and your ability to do the thinking, research and editing necessary to come up with a polished product. Before writing my novel, I wrote everything from music and publicity material to news articles, memoir and in-depth profiles. Most of it was nonfiction, and that has influenced my perspective on writing.

Fiction or Nonfiction: the Writing Process is Identical

In some fundamental sense, all writing is the same. Get the story, write it down and start editing. Reporters have to find the truth in the real world. Novelists find the truth in their imagination. Whatever the story is, go over and over it in your mind, searching for discrepancies, asking the difficult questions and viewing it from many perspectives.

Novelists, like journalists, are often well-served to do real-world research to add to the authenticity of their books. In The Heart of Applebutter Hill, our heroes are the only witnesses to a tractor accident. Despite having grown up as the daughter of a volunteer first responder, I read up on first aid before penning that scene. Similarly, exploring the occasional cave didn’t provide me with enough first-hand knowledge to authentically portray Abigail and Baggy’s planned excursion into the cave at Missing Creek.

Writing That First Draft

Butterfly on Bergamott in Pennsylvania's Endless Mountains: photo by Rich Hill

Your first draft should be a joyous regurgitation of the story within — free-flowing ideas, unfettered by concerns about anything. You won’t have included everything; allow yourself the freedom of assuming that other important ideas will come to you as you proceed — refinement of the details, ferreting out mistakes and inconsistencies as well as changing perspectives on how to tie things together. Once you’ve gone as far as you can, remind yourself that the reason they call it the “first” draft is that there are normally many more to follow.

Now, take a deep breath and get to work. Start the rewriting process by looking at how you have parsed out the details. Facts are a double-edged sword. If you tell the reader too much detail up front, you have limited how you can use that detail to create and sustain suspense.

Furthermore, some descriptions, which may seem insignificant to you at first, could place limitations on where the story is going. If you say that there’s no back door, for instance, there won’t be one if you need it. The only thing standing in the way of your changing things at this point is your attachment to the magic of your own words. Save those “not quite right” gems in another file for another day.

Find the Editor Within

Lock 24 on the Erie Canal in Baldwinsville, NY, mid September: photo by Rich Hill

A writer who is not his or her primary editor is a writer who entrusts the most important aspects of the work to someone else. Without significant editing, all writing is a collection of ideas, a shadow of its true potential. So, learn to love being an editor.

Consider word count, even if you don’t feel that you need to. Focusing on word count enables you to make your writing crisp, avoid repeating yourself and engenders in you an appreciation for your readers, who are there to be entertained or informed, not to get migraines from disjointed and cumbersome prose. Respect the conventions of spelling, word usage and grammar. Look at each sentence to see if it would be stronger if the information were presented in a different order or using different words.

The best editing is done with a scalpel not a hatchet. It takes much longer to figure out how to weave in a subplot than it does to hit the delete key. Sections that strike you as off-the-beaten track may simply be great ideas that you wrote out all in one place instead of weaving into the story.

Pre-publication Readers: Bracing Yourself for the Echoes Across the Canyon

Dove eggs in nest inside shelter near pond in Pennsylvania's Endless Mountains: photo by Rich Hill

Eventually, you will need others to read your work. Prior to publication, the worst reaction you can hear is, “Yeah, I liked it. It was great.” Don’t confuse encouragement with honesty. Find people who are willing to tell you the hard truth about the ways in which it falls short and listen to their intent.

If they’re not writers, they may not explain their reaction in terms that truly define the problem. “You lost me” at this or that point might mean that your writing was unclear or that you didn’t think through the scenario carefully enough or that you were too wordy. Take their comments to heart and see if you can determine what it is about your work that could have caused that reaction. Like the customers they are, readers are always right.

© Donna W. Hill 2015

About Donna W. Hill

Donna W. Hill is a writer, speaker, animal lover and avid knitter from Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains. Her first novel, The Heart of Applebutter Hill, is an adventure-mystery with excursions into fantasy for general audiences. Professionals in the fields of education and the arts have endorsed it as a diversity and anti-bullying resource for junior high through college.

A songwriter with three albums, Hill provided educational and motivational programs in the Greater Philadelphia area for fifteen years before moving to the mountains. Her essay, “Satori Green” appears in Richard Singer’s Now, Embracing the Present Moment (2010, O-Books), and her cancer-survivor story is in Dawn Colclasure’s On the Wings of Pink Angels (2012).

From 2009 through 2013, Hill was an online journalist for numerous publications, covering topics ranging from nature, health care and accessibility to music, knitting and chocolate. She is an experienced talk show guest and guest blogger and presents workshops about writing and her novel for school, university, community and business groups.

About The Heart of Applebutter Hill

Imagine you’re 14 and in a strange country with your camera, your best friend, her guitar and her dog. You uncover a secret and are instantly in danger. Join Baggy, Abigail and Curly Connor as they explore Elfin Pond, sneak around Bar Gundoom Castle and row across an underground lake. The powerful Heartstone of Arden-Goth is hidden nearby, and corporate giants unleash a spy to seize it. Compelled to unmask the spy and find the Heartstone, they can’t trust anyone.

As summer heats up, their troubled friend Christopher is viciously bullied and an armed stranger terrorizes Abigail and Baggy. The friends disagree about the spy’s identity, but are convinced it’s a teacher. When a desperate Christopher shows up one night with a terrified cat, the truth is revealed. Soon, police are involved.

One of the over 50 reviews for the book

This is a book about a blind girl without being a book about a blind girl….which is exactly the point. The main character, Abby, doesn’t trumpet her disability around the world as if it were her defining characteristic. She doesn’t have a sense of entitlement. The reader is never tempted to pity her, even for a moment. She is a driven, bright, gregarious yet measured girl who just happens to be blind.

Through her experiences we are exposed to a world that depends on the other senses, we find new ways to connect to the world around us. Mrs. Hill paints Abby’s thrill ride with her companion dog (Curly Connor) and best friend (Baggy Brichaz) in such a manner that the reader leaves the book better equipped to understand visual impairments without hitting them over the head with it. It took me a while to realize this because at first I was just writing this review on the merits of good vs. bad Young Adult fiction (and it is good, trust me). The feather in the cap of this book is that it stands as a great story that actually teaches you something, leaves you pondering your own disabilities vs. those of others.

I am a middle school reading teacher and I review and teach a lot of YA fiction. What separates the wheat from the chaff for me is well-developed characters that show humanness and overcome in spite of failures. You get the feeling that each of the characters in this book could very well survive on their own but the adventure is exponentially heightened because of the relationships they garner with each other. Mrs. Hill does a brilliant job of showing weaknesses, strengths and diversity as just a starting point to the basics of character interaction. By the end of this book, I felt like Abby, Baggy and Curly were my next-door neighbors and I still find myself looking out my window, waiting for the Cloud Scooper to swing by….

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Donna on Goodreads:

Connect to Donna.

Amazon author page:

My thanks to Donna for permitting me access to her archives to share and I hope you will head over to explore more yourself. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck – #Recording – The Future without a License 2016 by Bill Hayes

Welcome to the series  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post:

This is the third post by Bill Hayes who blogs at Matterings of Mind and there is definitely a treasure trove of posts to be found covering many subjects. This week an exploration of the history of recording… we take the music we hear for granted, and over the last 50 years I have carried around huge personal tape players, then disc players and now and iPod which carries 500 songs or more.

The Future without a License 2016 by Bill Hayes

It has been a long journey from the Stone Age till now; through the Iron age to Bronze and Steel and Steam and Electricity and we have most certainly arrived at the Information Age.

It’s who we are now. It’s what we do. Everywhere people carry their news, information and musical entertainment in pocket devices through which we also make telephone calls. Electronics has made Gods of us all! We are nowhere in time and everywhere in space. One can be talking with someone and their phone will ring (static or mobile) and suddenly physical presence is demoted in favour a of spiritual presence. We accept it without complaint. It’s how things are now.

Before these devices that can carry a thousand music albums in a match box, and which we now take completely for granted, we had tape recorders. Anyone remember those?


The first recorder was a wire recorder, which first saw the light of day in 1898. A reel of steel wire was run past an electro-magnetic head and the variances in the magnetised wire could be re-run past the same head to retrieve the information (sounds) stored on a reel of what looked like fishing wire. After 40 years the wire recorder was replaced by the far more efficient Tape recorder. These machines enabled the music industry to flourish and revolutionised broadcasting. Like all these inventions, they found their way into the domestic market. But they were cumbersome and large and didn’t really revolutionise people’s lives. Then in the `1960s, with the recent birth of the transistor – small and portability was what the population wanted. Transistor radios were everywhere. From the bathroom to the beach, people took their music stations with them. Tape recorders soon followed.

The idea was to bring the big reels of recording tape into a small plastic box. For about 5 years there was a kind of “Tape War” After many designs it came down to the 8 track indextape1cartridge verses the Compact Cassette or Cassette Tape. There were some other designs but they did not progress beyond proto-types. Various large corporations wanted to get a standard box tape agreed on, so that manufacture of the tape recorders/ players could begin, whilst at the same time wanting to be the company that gets to license their generic design, 8 track or Compact Cassette. The original designer of the Compact Cassette was Dutch Company Phillips. One day they made an astonishing decision – they gave to the world freedom to use their design, without paying any fees or royalties. Suddenly, the log-jam cleared and within what seemed months; cassette recorders were everywhere. For the first time people could make their own record compilations, and take it with them.

When cassette recorders were sexy

Then Sony introduced the “Walkman” and the rest is History.

The same thing happened with the video recorder. People wanted to record TV. They wanted to film their own lives and watch it all again later. Another system war was raging, with it all coming down to a choice between Betamax and the slightly inferior VHS. It wasn’t until JVC (Japanese Victor Company) gave free license to manufacturers that VHS became, overnight, the established system of domestic video recording.

Had both Philips and JVC doggedly clung to their ownership of a technological advance, then who knows where we’d be now.

In 1991 another technological advance happened that has transformed how information is accessed.

Twenty-five years ago today, Tim Berners-Lee posted the first web page on line. Rudimentary and uninteresting, insignificant to the untrained eye, this web page has changed human history.

Tim Berners-Lee before he knew he needed Google.Maps.

An early version of the internet was already established. I remember sitting at a computer terminal and dialing up and connecting to a University in the USA and was able to access some of their research documents. I can’t remember why I did this, but I do recall it being a slow painful experience. I would get lost in all the lists of directories and sub directories, looking for a document I wanted.

Tim Berners-Lee devised a software architecture that took all these directories and internet addresses and absorbed them into what became known as a Web Page. The web page did all that work for you and presented the destinations on the internet in a completely transparent and standard way. Every document had an electronic address. It involved a very sophisticated protocol called “Hypertext” which I can’t possibly go into at this time of night. Enough to say, it was very clever and in techincal terms put the horse and the cart together.

Tim Berners-Lee was working at CERN at the time as he was struggling to establish a usable front end environment to interrogate the growing number of documents available on line. He was allowed to develop his project by CERN bosses when others he had approached were not interested. (Always remember Decca Records turned down the Beatles)

CERN (Centre Européan de Recherche Nucléaire) the Swiss-based European research organization, which today is home to the Large Hadron Collider, recognized the potential of Berners-Lee’s ideas and released the entire package free to anyone who wanted to develop it further. The CERN organization was a not for profit body charged with the task of promoting scientific research and development. Had he worked for IBM or British Aerospace, his ideas would have been proprietorial and therefore the property of his employer and subject to potential monetisation.

But Tim Berners-Lee worked for CERN and without charge to the users – for ever, the World Wide Web was born.

Thank you Tim. Thank you CERN.

©Bill Hayes 2016

About Bill Hayes

I am in my late 60’s, living in Plymouth (launching point of the Mayflower) with my wife and 3 great late teenage kids. I work in the film industry searching out and organising locations. Sounds exotic – but I spend most of my time parking cars.

I have been writing since school days, but not very well. I have written for newspapers and magazines. I wrote book on the history of Steam Railways published 30 years ago. Still on Amazon. 50,000 words and I used a typewriter – remember those? I have written a text for a book I worked up with photographer Barry Lewis:

8 years ago this month I started my blog. The title comes from an e.e.cummings poem…”all matterings of mind do not equal one violet” I could write what I liked, when I liked and how I liked. It was here that I finally found my voice. I also found a kind and interested audience and a source of great and varied inspiration from around the world.

Connect to Bill Hayes


My thanks to Bill for allowing me to surf his archives and I hope you will head over to read some of his recent posts.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives -#Potluck – Notes from a small dog – War and peace 2017 by Sue Vincent

Welcome to the series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post:

This is the third post from the archives of a regular contributor to the series and wonderful supporter of us all, apart from challenging us each week with photo and Haiku prompts Sue Vincent wanders the search of the ancient and modern to share with us. This week a post from her Muse and constant companion and contributor to her blog.. Ani.

Notes from a small dog – War and peace 2017 by Sue Vincent

Sparrows, she said. Ha! If only…

It’s been peaceful since we moved here. Apart from the cows and the postman… and a few odd visitors like the hedgehog. I was really starting to feel I could relax a bit. She obviously doesn’t need as much protecting here.

For a start, I don’t have all those bedrooms to worry about… in fact, no upstairs at all! It took me a while to work that one out, ’cause there is an upstairs. We live in a house with an upstairs… but that isn’t our house. She calls it a flat, because it is. And no-one walks down our little street… so I don’t need to bark so much.

We did have a problem with sparrows last year, but I sorted them out. They wanted to nest in the roof and one cock-sparrow would sit there and look at me, chirping, all day! I was obliged to have words with him about that…till he got a missus and they had babies. He was too busy then.

“It’s only a sparrow, girlie!” she kept saying. “I like sparrows.” Well, so she might…but she just doesn’t seem to understand. I am just doing my duty, keeping her safe. You never know…especially with sparrows…

It started with just one at the other place too…then there were forty and more, all living in the honeysuckle hedge! It was all I could do to keep up! She said I was a daft dog and that one or forty didn’t matter…they were all nice. She has some weird tastes that two-legs of mine. The racket those birds made, twittering about nests, worms and sunrises every morning! It’s not as if they are capable of holding an interesting conversation. It was a real noise! “…but I like it,” she says. And then, as soon as I barked at them to ask them to keep it down, “Shh,” she says. Inconsistent, that’s what she is…

But this year, we have trouble. I looked up at the window of the upstairs flat….that’s when I saw it. Well, straight away, I went into protecting mode… after all, she was just inside the door! “Shh,” she says, “it’s just a sparrow.” She obviously wasn’t paying attention. She knows my sparrow bark. And that wasn’t it.

I was obliged to resort to The Growl… the low growl that says there is a real threat. “What’s up, whirly girl?” she says…and she finally came out to have a look.

A cat. That’s what’s ‘up’. Up there, in the window above ours, looking down, all supersillyous snarky. It didn’t even move. Just looked at me. When did that arrive? It wasn’t there before… I would definitely have noticed.

Now it looks at me every day. They leave the blind up so it can look out. It sits there, all black and white, looking really pleased with itself. And she says I have to learn to get along with it! It’s bad enough having the little dog next door that won’t speak. To be fair, we can’t see each other over the fence. I’ve tried, but it must be too small to get its paws on the fence…and as we are both well-mannered, we can’t really speak till we’ve been introduced.

Hrmph. She seems to find the idea of me being well-mannered funny for some reason. There’s no call for that amount of laughter…

I tell you, she just doesn’t understand me.

So any way, that’s how things stand. A stand-off. I growl, it smirks. Unless Upstairs Cat gets a cat-flap. Then things might get interesting…

But she says I have to live and let live… and that just because Upstairs Cat is different from me, it doesn’t mean it isn’t doing its job. She says we should make friends! She says that even if it’s different it is still loved by its two-legses and that I have to behave.

I’ve said it before…she has some weird ideas… Me? Behave?

Ah well, she’s always been an optimist 😉

Much love, Ani xxx

©Sue Vincent 2017

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire born writer, esoteric teacher and Director of The Silent Eye. She has been immersed in the Mysteries all her life. Sue maintains a popular blog and is co-author of The Mystical Hexagram with Dr G.M.Vasey. Sue lives in Buckinghamshire, having been stranded there some years ago due to an accident with a blindfold, a pin and a map. She has a lasting love-affair with the landscape of Albion, the hidden country of the heart. She is currently owned by a small dog who also writes at

The Silent Eye School of Consciousness is a modern Mystery School that seeks to allow its students to find the inherent magic in living and being. With students around the world the School offers a fully supervised and practical correspondence course that explores the self through guided inner journeys and daily exercises. It also offers workshops that combine sacred drama, lectures and informal gatherings to bring the teachings to life in a vivid and exciting format. The Silent Eye operates on a not-for-profit basis. Full details of the School may be found on the official website,

A selection of books by Sue Vincent and Stuart France

One of the recent reviews for Sword of Destiny

An amputation of the soul
So dark, so final, yet I understand it.
I love the way you became a priest
Absolving Merlin of the sins written about him
None of which I believed
Arthurs birth is better told without the sting of rape
Robed in rainbows, like moonlight on water, FAB
I didn’t so much read this book as eat my way through it…

Read the reviews and buy the books from the following links: UKUSAFranceGermany

And you can find more reviews and follow Sue on Goodreads:

Connect to Sue

Silent Eye Website:
Website (books) :
Silent Eye Authors FB:

My thanks to Sue for permitting me to browse her archives and share some with you…Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck -#Book Review My Kyrosmagica Review of Nicholas Rossis’s Runaway Smile by M.J. Mallon

Welcome to the series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post:

This is the third post from author Marjorie Mallon (M.J Mallon) and this week I have selected one of the over 100 book reviews in her archives from 2015. This book is by another author in the Cafe and Bookstore Nicholas Rossis.. for Runaway Smile.

My Kyrosmagica Review of Nicholas Rossis’s Runaway Smile by M.J. Mallon

Goodreads Synopsis:

“I woke up this morning and I had lost my smile and it wasn’t my fault and I looked everywhere and it was gone. Then I met a workman and a king and the best salesman in the world and a clown and no-one wanted to give me theirs. At school, I asked Miss to give me hers, but she gave us a pop quiz instead, and then no-one was smiling and…”

A little boy wakes up in the morning and realizes he has lost his smile. After spending the entire day trying to find it, he learns the truth behind smiles: the only real smiles are the shared ones.

My review:

The title to this children’s book really intrigued me, Runaway Smile. How can a smile runaway? Nicholas did make this little boys smile runaway, but thankfully he returned it to him in the end!

It is a wonderful children’s book, an enthralling and heartwarming journey to search for one little boy’s lost smile. Nicholas introduces us to a whole host of eccentric characters. (What an imagination, Nicholas!!) The boy’s dog wears glasses, smokes a pipe, and drives a car but has lost his sense of smell, there’s a closet monster who eats all of the boy’s clothes, and even a bunch of surf boarding ants!

In his quest to find his smile the little boy talks to a bunch of characters who just can’t help him. There’s a workman walking his goldfish in a bowl on a small cart! Hey, I see this everyday too. Just regular workman kind of activity! A king with a wide smile. A salesman with an even wider one, and a clown with a painted on smile. I particularly liked the character of the salesman whose smile disappears, and ages, when he realises that he can’t sell the boy anything. “The salesman took a mirror from his pocket and stared at his image. All of a sudden he looked very old and tired, and the boy wondered how he could have missed the thinning hair, deep wrinkles, and expanding waistline.” That one’s for my husband he’s worked in Sales all his life and well let’s just say it’s tough. Being a Sales Manager, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!

I’m digressing here a bit. In desperation, the boy turns to his teacher hoping that she will be able to help him. But she doesn’t think that a classroom is the right place to keep a smile! So, by the time he gets home to his mum he is in tears and has given up hope of finding his smile. But of course his mother is the only person that can help him, because the only true smile that exists is a genuine one straight from the heart. The final reflection that greets the boy is not a false one like the salesman’s reflection. “The boys eyes opened wide. He ran to the mirror to check his reflection. She was right! A wide smile had finally appeared on his face!”

The secret to keeping his smile is to share it with those he loved. Absolutely. That’s the secret.

“She tussled his hair. Anything you give with love, multiplies. No-one can take it from you then.”

So the boy promptly goes off to share his smile with his dog. Of course!

The book finishes with a lovely Ode to a runaway smile.

So, definitely recommended, a very sweet book and lovely illustrations too.

My rating:


Nicolas C. Rossis From his About page on WordPress:

I was born in 1970 in Athens, Greece. I love books and write fantasy, children’s books and science fiction. Except for my books, I have had numerous science fiction short stories published in Greek magazines and in an anthology.

I hold a doctorate in digital architecture from the University of Edinburgh, where I lived for a number of years before returning to Athens, where I currently live with my wife, dog and two very silly cats, one of whom is purring on my lap as I type these lines.

Runaway Smile is his first children’s book. Mad Water, the third book in his epic fantasy series, Pearseus, was published in July 2014. He has also published The Power of Six, a collection of short sci-fi stories.

Authors Website:
Free book for those following Nicholas’s Blog:

Illustrator: Dimitris Fousekis

Dimitri Fouseki, is an artist of Greek origin who makes innovative illustrations. Since 2003 he has successfully focused on illustrating mainly children’s books. He already has numerous publications in Greece in this field (nine so far, with a number of further publications pending). Since 2010, Dimitri has been living on the beautiful island of Hydra, where he teaches art and works on his first major exhibition as a painter, when not illustrating.


© M. J. Mallon 2015

Have you read Runaway Smile? Please comment below Marjorie would love to hear from you, it certainly would put a smile on her face…


About Marjorie Mallon

I am a debut author who has been blogging for many moons: My interests include writing, photography, poetry, and alternative therapies. I write Fantasy YA, and middle grade fiction as well as micropoetry – haiku and tanka. I love to read and have written over 100 Book Reviews

My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheros! I was born on the 17th of November in Lion City: Singapore, (a passionate Scorpio, with the Chinese Zodiac sign a lucky rabbit. I grew up in a mountainous court in the Peak District in Hong Kong.

As a teenager I travelled to many far-flung destinations. It’s rumoured that I now live in the Venice of Cambridge, with my six foot hunk of a Rock God husband, and my two enchanted daughters.

When I’m not writing, I eat exotic delicacies while belly dancing, or surf to the far reaches of the moon. To chill out, I practise Tai Chi. If the mood takes me I snorkel with mermaids, or sign up for idyllic holidays with the Chinese Unicorn, whose magnificent voice sings like a thousand wind chimes.

About The Curse of Time

On Amelina Scott’s thirteenth birthday, her father disappears under mysterious circumstances. Saddened by this traumatic event, she pieces together details of a curse that has stricken the heart and soul of her family.

Amelina longs for someone to confide in. Her once carefree mother has become angry and despondent. One day a strange black cat and a young girl, named Esme appear. Immediately, Esme becomes the sister Amelina never had. The only catch is that Esme must remain a prisoner, living within the mirrors of Amelina’s house.

Dreams and a puzzling invitation convince Amelina the answer to her family’s troubles lies within the walls of the illusive Crystal Cottage. Undaunted by her mother’s warnings, Amelina searches for the cottage on an isolated Cambridgeshire pathway where she encounters a charismatic young man, named Ryder. At the right moment, he steps out of the shadows, rescuing her from the unwanted attention of two male troublemakers.

With the help of an enchanted paint set, Amelina meets the eccentric owner of the cottage, Leanne, who instructs her in the art of crystal magic. In time, she earns the right to use three wizard stones. The first awakens her spirit to discover a time of legends, and later, leads her to the Bloodstone, the supreme cleansing crystal which has the power to restore the balance of time. Will Amelina find the power to set her family free?

A YA/middle grade fantasy set in Cambridge, England exploring various themes/aspects: Light, darkness, time, shadows, a curse, magic, deception, crystals, art, poetry, friendships, teen relationships, eating disorders, self-harm, anxiety, depression, family, puzzles, mystery, a black cat, music, a mix of sadness, counterbalanced by a touch of humour.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Forget your vampires and the dystopian future worlds, where you have to do some strange stuff for an undisclosed reason, I prefer a story that starts from a known place. You can get as weird as you like but please, make it a logical progression, not just the lazy ‘we’re in the future; civilisation as we know it is dead, this (insert some random game or test) is what happens these days, for no apparent reason’, sort of premise.

So, we meet Amelina, she’s just your standard teenage girl, I had three daughters; I get the comparison. And she’s a very well written character, as they all are. A little family weirdness, parents who have changed, from her perspective at the start it’s hard to see why. There’s a black cat who appears and a girl trapped in the mirrors in the house. And the obligatory interesting relative.

Then we come to her peers, a wannabee rock band and the strange guy called Ryder, who saves her from a couple of potentially dangerous boys. As the story develops, we see him in different shades, is he a good guy or not?

It turns out that Amelina may have the solution to all the problems that seem to beset her family. It’s all to do with crystals and gaining the knowledge to use them.

The story never falters, set around Cambridge and its landmarks, we follow Amelina’s journey as she seeks to uncover the reason for her father’s disappearance, why is he so different now that he’s back? Surely, this must also hold the key to her mother’s behaviour, explain why she’s so uptight and unwilling to talk about anything.

She must learn to use the power that she discovers she has; while dealing with all the other things that your average teenager has going on. The narrative is well thought out and we can see the development of Amelina as we are pulled by the strength of the writing towards the final pages.

All the characters are all well drawn and fit together perfectly. The things that Amelina finds and uses, from her paints to her drums are well thought out and well described. There’s a bit of fantasy, as well as some beautifully written dream sequences.

The overall world-building creates a wonderful, spiritual atmosphere. There’s a bit of poetry at the start of every chapter, a nice touch which leads us into the action. The story bravely tackles issues of mental health and self-harm, but in such a sensitive way that it can only help improve understanding.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, it resonated on so many levels, I understand a sequel is in progress, that will be on my list.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And on Amazon US:

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My thanks to Marjorie for allowing me access to her wonderful archives and I hope you will head over and explore more for yourself. Thanks Sally.