Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Tuesday May 11th 2021 – #Review D.G. Kaye, #ReadingAloud Jennie Fitzkee, #DogBooks Jacqui Murray

A small selection of posts that I have enjoyed over the last few days that I hope you will head over to enjoy in full.

The first post is by D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies and is her Sunday Book Review.. this week No Happy Endings by Nora McInery

Bitmo Sunday book review

Sunday Book Review – No Happy Endings by Nora McInerny – #Grief and Loss

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. As I’ve explained before in other reviews for books I’m currently on a tangent with reading during my time of grief. Before and after losing my own husband, I couldn’t concentrate on reading any books as my mind was preoccupied with my husband’s welfare, then ultimately, his passing. But I have found that I can easily read books on grieving, and stories about life after death, in the literal sense, and as a grieving widow. Such books give me a bit of comfort right now in my life, books that equate with what is currently going on inside me, questions swirling around, the need for a kinship with those who’ve walked in the shoes before me in this journey, and a sense of ‘fitting in’ somewhere new. 

Head over to read Debby’s review of the book: No Happy Endings by Nora McInery review by D.G. Kaye

The next post is from Jennie Fitzkee who shares the benefits of reading aloud to children in concert with the written word.

Reading Aloud & Reading – There’s a Big Difference.

My greatest passion is reading aloud to children. I thought it was time to talk about the difference between reading and reading aloud, as I often post about good children’s books. While reading is the goal, the dream- reading aloud is the pathway to that dream. Jim Trelease, author of the million-copy bestseller “The Read-Aloud Handbook” says it best:

“People would stand in line for days and pay hundreds of dollars if there were a pill that could do everything for a child that reading aloud does. It expands their interest in books, vocabulary and comprehension, grammar, and attention span. Simply put, it’s a free “oral vaccine” for literacy.
~Jim Trelease~ 

Head over to read Jennie’s informative post in full: Reading vs. Reading Aloud There’s a big difference

The final post today is from Jacqui Murray who is a dog lover… and in this post she shares some recommended books featuring our canine companions. Sue Vincent – Notes From a Small Dog is a delight and two new ones to me now on the list – Leave No Trace by Sara Driscoll.. and The Keepers by Jeffrey Burton.

3 More Great Dog Stories

Other than Westerns, one of my favorite genres includes dogs–as intelligent human companions, devoted and loyal to human partners who feel the same. Here are three favorites:

  • Notes from a Small Dog–from the dog’s perspective; delightful vignettes from Small Dog’s life
  • Leave No Trace–no better partner for this FBI agent than her working dog, Hawk
  • The Keepers–the amazing Vira gets her handler in more trouble

–a note about my reviews: I only review books I enjoyed, that inspire me to write. That’s why many of my reviews are 4/5 or 5/5 

Head over to read the reviews in full: 3 More great dog reads reviewed by Jacqui Murray


Thank you for dropping in and I hope you will head over to enjoy the posts in full.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2021 – #Pot Luck – #Humor/Humour by Leon Stevens

Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine. The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics.

In this series I will be sharing posts from the last six months of 2020

It is an opportunity to showcase your writing skill to my readers and also to share on my social media. Which combined is around the 46,000 mark. If you are an author your books will be mentioned too, along with their buy links and your other social media contacts. Head over to find out how to participate: Posts from Your Archives 2021

This is the second post from poet Leon Stevens and Leon explores humour


I like to think of myself as a humorist/satirist. Making people laugh was a goal of mine from a young age. Many of my stories, blogs, and poems have a humorous tone to them. I’ll start this weekly segment with some reposts of my writings.

What is funny? Anything that makes you laugh, I suspect. Or chuckle, snicker, chortle, giggle, or smile. The measure of real humor is something that makes you laugh when you are alone. Think about it. When was the last time that you laughed out loud all alone? For most of us, it is rare, if non-existent. But, as they say, laughter is the best medicine. One feels contented after a good, long laugh.

I remember a time when I was sitting in the mall with my sister reading a newly purchased Calvin and Hobbes book. I remember it fondly because of the tears running down my cheeks from laughing so hard. There was the occasion when I couldn’t place my drive-thru order because I couldn’t talk through all my laughter (I don’t remember why, though). Then there was the time my mom said something that no one expected her to say…

You can’t feel angry when you are laughing. Or sad, or alone, or helpless…Pain disappears for a while (not counting the pain in your side). You can laugh so hard that you cry, and those tears can wash away any sad thoughts- at least for awhile. Laughing is contagious. Try to hold a straight face while others around you are partaking in the joy.

I like to make people laugh. It makes me happy. Most of my writing these days has a humorous edge to it, even with some of the more serious topics. Some of my ideas were the catalyst for my cartoon, The Miniscules.

People’s sense of humor evolves. What was funny as a child (farts) is not necessarily funny as an adult (notice that I said not necessarily, I bet you know someone who still laughs at them). Children get some of their sense of humor from their parents, and they also get it from peers and pop culture. Schools can be a breeding ground for hurtful humor, but I know that our educators do their best to teach what is acceptable.

Humor is constantly changing. What was thought of as humorous in the past is no longer acceptable. Many comedians went through times (some still do) of pushing boundaries and limits, using race, gender, sexual orientation, status, profanity, and taboo subjects in order to get a rise or laugh out of the crowd. People supported this hurtful, questionable content, demanding more profane, edgier routines.

I know. I was there. I admit, I laughed. Now I don’t.

Comedians now have to adapt their craft and evolve with the times. Many will fall and fade, while others will use their talent to give us the laughs we deserve.

One last thought: Has anybody ever actually laughed at a “Knock, Knock” joke?  – What do you find funny? I would love to know.

©Leon Stevens 2020

Books by Leon Stevens

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK –follow Leon:GoodreadsWebsite:Lines by Leon Twitter: @linesbyleon

About Leon Stevens

Leon Stevens is a writer, composer, guitarist, songwriter, and an artist, with a Bachelor of Music and Education. He became a writer out of necessity. Along with song writing, poetry has allowed him to make sense and accept events and situations in his life. He published his first book of poetry: Lines by Leon – Poems, Prose, and Pictures in January 2020 and a book of original classical guitar compositions


Thanks very much for dropping in and I hope you will head over to check Leon’s books and blog out.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Monday 10th May 2021 – #Poetry #Trees Rebecca Budd, #SnailMail Pamela Wight, #BookReviews Jan Sikes

A small selection of posts I have enjoyed in the last few days and I hope you will head over to read in full. Thanks Sally.

Rebecca Budd with a wonderful celebration of poetry, resilience and trees, including a reading by Rebecca  of Trees Need Not Walk The Earth by David Rosenthal..head over to enjoy..

Launched twenty-five years ago in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, National Poetry Month has been invaluable in igniting an awareness and appreciation of poetry. In Canada, we joined the party in 1998 and are commemorating our 23rd National Poetry Month

This year, the theme rests on the word resilience, which has come to symbolize the spirit of the past year. 

Head over to enjoy this lovely post: Trees Need Not Walk The Earth – Poetry – Resilience with Rebecca Budd

For anyone who misses the thunk of some personal mail hitting the welcome mat, especially for birthdays… here is a feel good post from Pamela Wight that I am sure you will enjoy.

Yesterday my guy received five crank calls that made no sense to him.

The phone calls originated from a CA town where we’ve never lived. The first two calls were hang-ups, then three voice mails, delivered in a shaky female voice: “I have your card. Please call me back.”

“My card? What card?” he worried. He checked his wallet; all of his credit cards were in place.

The next voice mail included more information: “I’m not Barbara, yet your card arrived here.”

My guy was even more confused. He doesn’t send cards. He pays bills, and that’s the extent of his use of stamps. Me? I love snail mail cards and send them often: birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, get wells, and any-excuse-to-send-this-cute-card-to-a-friend card. 

snail mail, birthday cards, mail, stamps

Head over to read this true story of serendipity: Amy Red – Snail Mail Snafu..

You can never have too many books… and Jan Sikes helps us load our TBR’s with her recommended reading from April. These include Cafe members Harmony Kent and Joan Hall.

I have had a month of fabulous reading and want to share the cream of the crop!

Bounty Hunted: Muddy River Mystery 5--a short read (Muddy River Mysteries) by [Judi Lynn]


Bounty hunters come to Muddy River to capture its amiable bartender, Derek Fang, Raven Black, a demon and the town’s enforcer, warns them off because the vampire hasn’t committed any crime. But a succubus who was Derek’s lover centuries ago has finally found him and wants him back–enough to pay big money to whoever brings him to her–alive. 

Head over to read Jan’s review for Bounty Hunted and the other recommended books:Jan Sikes Book Reviews April


Thanks for dropping by and  hope you will head over to enjoy the posts in full thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2021 – #Pot Luck – #Humour – Let Marcia Meara lift your spirits.

Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine. The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics.

In this series I will be sharing posts from the last six months of 2020

It is an opportunity to showcase your writing skill to my readers and also to share on my social media. Which combined is around the 46,000 mark. If you are an author your books will be mentioned too, along with their buy links and your other social media contacts. Head over to find out how to participate: Posts from Your Archives 2021

This is the second post from author Marcia Meara and is one of her regular humour posts to add much laughter to the day.

Okay, maybe not quite time for sparkling and shining, but how about
smiling or laughing? That’s doable, right?  So have at it!

Being a huge believer that duct tape can fix anything, that last one is my personal favorite. 😀  Hope you found a couple you enjoyed, too! And there you have it for this week, folks. Thanks for stopping by, and have a great Moon’s Day!

©Marcia Meara 2020

A selection of books by Marcia Meara

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US And : Amazon UK – Marcia Meara on: Goodreads – Blog:Marcia Meara WritesTwitter: @MarciaMeara

Marcia Meara lives in central Florida, just north of Orlando, with her husband of over thirty years, four big cats, and one small dachshund.

When not writing or blogging, she spends her time gardening, and enjoying the surprising amount of wildlife that manages to make a home in her suburban yard. She enjoys nature. Really, really enjoys it. All of it! Well, almost all of it, anyway. From birds, to furry critters, to her very favorites, snakes. The exception would be spiders, which she truly loathes, convinced that anything with eight hairy legs is surely up to no good. She does not, however, kill spiders anymore, since she knows they have their place in the world. Besides, her husband now handles her Arachnid Catch and Release Program, and she’s good with that.

Spiders aside, the one thing Marcia would like to tell each of her readers is that it’s never too late to make your dreams come true. If, at the age of 69, she could write and publish a book (and thus fulfill 64 years of longing to do that very thing), you can make your own dreams a reality, too. Go for it! What have you got to lose?


Thanks very much for dropping in and I hope you will head over to check Marcia’s books out.. I have read several and I can highly recommend them.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – May 2nd -8th 2021 -Jose Feliciano, Allergies, Magic Gardens, Book Reviews, Book Excerpts and Funnies

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

Time flies when you are having fun so they say, and I do think that applies. I certainly have no idea where this last week went, but here we are again with the round up.

I have had a good week in other aspects to as I am finally on the vaccination list with hopefully my first jab in the next three weeks. Being a similar age as each other means David and I are eligible at the same time. We have decided however that he will book his after I have had my first just in case one of us reacts which hopefully will not be the case. We hope to get away in September and at the rate of 2nds jabs we might just make it by the end of that month. We have moved a ferry booking three times so far and it would be nice to use it at some point.

The Tales from the Irish Garden finishes tomorrow with a formal palace announcement which should clear up the mystery about the Queen’s malaise…

I asked if there was a preference for the next book and since it was split between the original Tales from the Spanish Garden.. and What’s in a Name? I am sharing one book on Saturdays and the other on Sundays from next week. Meanwhile I am creating new stories for the Irish Garden to be released later in the year.

I am also putting together a poetry collection and working on another health that should keep me out of mischief.

There will be some new series coming up on the Book Promotion front in the next couple of months including Share an Excerpt from your current book and Meet the authors where I will feature every author in the Cafe at the time.  I will do promotional posts for those in the next couple of weeks so keep your eyes peeled..

Coming this week…

D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies is back with us on Monday 10th with her brand new Realm of Relationships. As you all know Debby lost her husband a month ago and this heartfelt post is very appropriate, as loss of a loved one in a relationship is devastating. Understanding the dynamics of the stages of grief can bring some comfort.

I have been out and about this week as a guest of author and poet Robbie Cheadle who posed some interesting questions.. we would love you to head over. Sally and Robbie.. Blogging, books and the future 

On with the posts from the week and as always many thanks to William Price King for co-presenting The Breakfast Show and this week special guest Malcolm Allen for sharing his funnies from Australia.

Thank you as well to you for dropping in, commenting and sharing the posts on social media.. it makes a huge difference and keeps me motivated.


The Breakfast Show with William Price King and Sally Cronin – Chart Hits 1968 – Part Two 

D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – Rewind – Calling All Fixers! 

Winter: Chapter Nineteen – Winterising the Palace 

Winter: Chapter Twenty – Betrothals and Surprises 

– Butterfly #Cinquain – #Sunflower by Sally Cronin 

Family Health A-Z – Allergies and Intolerances – Part One – The difference between them 

Monday May 3rd 2021 – #WATWB D.G. Kaye, #Injustice Jill Dennison, #Snippets Carol Taylor 

Tuesday May 4th 2021 – #Progress Mary Smith, #Family Claire Fullerton, #Writing Richard Dee 

Thursday 6th May 2021 – Books and Reviews from D.Wallace Peach, John W. Howell and Robbie Cheadle 

– Life During Lockdown – My Mother’s Story by Melanie Stewart 

In Pursuit of Fame – Part 1 by Barbara Spencer 

#Paranormal – The Emissary Trilogy; A Riverbend Spinoff by Marcia Meara 

Past Book Reviews 2020 -#Poetry – Rescue and Redemption (A Love Poetry Trilogy Book 3) by Frank Prem 

Past Book Reviews from 2020 – #Romance – Perfectly Imperfect by Jacquie Biggar 

Past Book Reviews 2020 – #Supernatural Adventure Eternal Road: The Final Stop by John W. Howell.

#Reviews – #Bilingual Dawn Doig, #Ghosts Emily-Jane Hills Orford, #Friendship Donald Lloyd Jr. 

#Dragons – Janice Spina, #Little Miss History Barbara Ann Mojica, #Redhair Joyce Murphy 

#Family #ComingofAge -The Stone in My Pocket by Matthew Keeley 

MayDay! (The Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery Series Book 5) by Amy M. Reade 

Wordcrafter #Poetry Anthology Compiled by Kaye Lynne Booth and Roberta Eaton Cheadle and featuring other talented poets. 

#Fantasy Sunset on Golden Wings (Swans Book 2) by Barbara Spencer 

#Paranormal Swamp Ghosts (Riverbend Book 1) by Marcia Meara 

#Christian #Mystery – Dangerous Sanctuary by J.Q Rose 

#Medical #Thriller – Going Home by Sharon Marchisello 

#ShortStories – We All Die in the End Elizabeth Merry 

#Memoir Pete Springer, #FamilySaga M.L Holton, #Family Lisette Brodey 

May be an image of text that says "Doctor to female patient:- You're looking so weak and exhause.e.........Are you taking the 3 meals a day as I had advised female patient Oh my god".. Your nurse wrote 3 males a day.!. 15:06"

May 4th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Age Benefits and Mothers 

May 6th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Hitch-Hiker and Groaners 

Open Mic Night – May 7th 2021 – Guest Malcolm Allen – Accordians and DIY


Thanks very much for dropping in and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2021 – #Potluck – In Pursuit of Fame – Part 1 by Barbara Spencer

Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine. The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics.

In this series I will be sharing posts from the last six months of 2020

It is an opportunity to showcase your writing skill to my readers and also to share on my social media. Which combined is around the 46,000 mark. If you are an author your books will be mentioned too, along with their buy links and your other social media contacts. Head over to find out how to participate: Posts from Your Archives 2021

This is the second post from author Barbara Spencer and in it she explores the pursuit of fame in the modern literary world… there is a part two and you can find that Here

In Pursuit of Fame – Part 1

Why does an otherwise normal person decide to commit their life to writing a book?

The answer to that question would form a vast mound of paper because we all have different reasons for setting pen to paper. For Daphne du Maurier, a foremost writer of the last century, it was to escape the unhappiness of a loveless marriage. For me, it was being forced to replace a sparkling career with the more mundane aspects of domesticity – cooking, cleaning and ironing. Maybe it was the tedium of housework that led me to writing for children, for whom the joys of domesticity, housework to you and me, remain undiscovered, somewhat like the river Nile, until they are at least 21.

Nevertheless, regardless of what we give as the reason for days spent peering into a notebook, typewriter or pc, the pursuit of ‘fame’ although strenuously denied is the most obvious goal, even if the words ‘and fortune’ do not accompany it. If someone says to me, I write only for myself, my retort is likely to be: ‘I confess the lady protests too much,’ something Shakespeare used about Hamlet’s mum in Hamlet. I mean, if they genuinely do only write for themselves, the book can live on a shelf or in a drawer – like Fagin’s ‘guilty secret’. (Dickens) It does not need the Internet.

I concede that the word ‘fame’ maybe too strong. Maybe recognition is more apt; the recognition of your peers who think it pretty damn good. That, for any would-be writer is the Everest of accolades. However, if in doubt as to your motives, apply the litmus test: why should someone buy my book? And does it matter if they don’t?
If your answer is: Like hell it does. Then, like the rest of us, you are seeking at the very least recognition as a writer, plus a wish and desire for fame.

Unfortunately, writing fame like snow leopards has become an endangered species, and far easier to achieve in, say, the last years of the nineteenth century than in these early years of the twenty-first. Maybe there were fewer aspiring novelists vying for the prize. For the vast majority, the idea of putting pen to paper was as bizarre as journeying to Mars is for me, especially for those for whom attendance at school happened only to others. Besides which, the word ‘leisure or spare time’, a basic requirement for any aspiring writer, had not yet formed part of their existence.

As for leisure pursuits … nope! And what the hell are those? People were either sleeping or working … no time for fancy embroidery or petite pointe unless it was an occupation to put bread on the table, in which case it was likely to occupy every waking hour. Candidates for writing fame grew from families who had a bob or two to spare, and who were able to educate their children and keep them at home without the family starving to death.

Although it is fair to say starving in a garret in Montmartre did become the in-thing for artists around this time. Never the most dependable of men, a good dose of cold and hunger went a long way in their search for fame and fortune, which brings up the point: how did they manage to live in squalor and never pay rent and yet spend all night in a bar drinking copious amount of brandy or wine? Be that as it may, once fame and fortune struck it was for many artists already too late to jettison the attic in favour of something warmer and more comfortable. Sadly, all too often the cold and damp, not to mention cheap liquor, resulted in TB which took them off at a very young age. (Look at La Bohême and La Traviata).

Surprisingly, this garret business did not apply to writers, mainly, as stated in a previous paragraph because writers needed a smattering of education which had to be paid for. In this regard the Bronte sisters might well be considered cool. Their father’s income was, or would have been, sufficient to keep them all handsomely had not their brother run up huge debts. However, having been fortunate enough to belong to the gentry who actually believed in girls being educated, and living in a picturesque part of Yorkshire, they were able to decide on a writing career as a way of providing for themselves, even if they did have to pass themselves off as men.(What a long way we women have come!) Indeed, it is likely there are more writers currently starving in garrets or basement flats than there were in the 19th century, although modern writers are often cushioned by a modest handout from the government, which presumably keeps the proverbial wolf from the door.

But I digress.

Even twenty years ago, becoming a household name as a writer was more readily achievable than it is today. However, if you want someone to blame for this downturn, I suggest you turn your attention to successive laws that have limited our working week in order to give us some much needed leisure time, adequate pensions that allow us to sit at home and twiddle our thumbs at the young age of 60 or 65, and Tim Berners Lee who created the Internet some twenty-eight years ago. (The jury is still out as to whether in the long run this will be considered evolutionary progress or a step backwards.)

As a result of this cataclysmic social change, a series of brilliant thinkers invented the play station, mobile phones, Facebook and virtual stores. Amazon sells its books in our sittingroom, children have become addicted to interactive games, independent bookshops have mostly disappeared, and the invention of Ereaders has given rise to free publishing on the web.

Did you know a million books were published on Amazon last year alone? I mean, what sort of odds can you give fame against that: a million to one against?

I still prefer the old-fashioned way of publishing a paperback because that may have a chance of finding its way onto the shelves in a bookshop or library. I remember vividly doing book-signings in Waterstones for one of my children’s books against the background of The Hunger Games, and seeing teenagers dragging their parents to the relevant shelf and exhorting them to read it.

(They probably still do this, but display the cover of the book to their parents on a mobile or computer screen.)

Of course fame is still possible as a small percentage of writers on Amazon have proved. Lightning does have a habit of striking in strange places – look at Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.

So … write your book and hold onto your dream of achieving recognition and fame. It’s a wonderful dream to have but the likelihood is it will remain just that, a dream, unless you do something about it.

And I mean something with a capital S.

©Barbara Spencer 2020

My thanks to Barbara for allowing me to share posts from her archives and I hope you will head over to follow her blog..

A selection of books by Barbara Spencer

One of the recent reviews for The Year the Swans Came

Lizzie Dee 5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully written story wth a hint of mystery Reviewed in the United States on December 31, 2020

What I most enjoyed about Barbara Spencer’s novel was the beautiful descriptions and the warm family scenes she created in a post-war city, which I presumed to be Amsterdam. With hints of the past occupation but a determination to carry on and try to forget about the past, it was still evident that the scars of the past were not quite healed. I kept thinking I must pass this on to my Dutch friend, who grew up in a Dutch town and now lives close to the Anna Frank house. I think she’ll love it for the memories it would evoke. I have walked along those streets and canals many times and so I felt close to the family. I could picture the father working down in his basement, making mirrors. There was a hint of mystery about the past, particularly about the main protagonist’s brother who returned to the family home after a long absence. This made me curious. What was going on here? And who were these beautiful young men who were in love with Maidy’s best friend, Ruth. There’s a tale of love, sadness and betrayal, wrapped in beautiful prose and a lingering mystery throughout. I honestly didn’t see the ending coming until the final couple of chapters. I am reminded of a similar bit of folklore involving swans and one of the lakes near where I grew up in Ireland.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Follow Barbara: Goodreads – Connect to Barbara Spencer: Blog: Barbara Spencer Author – Twitter: @BarbaraSpencerO – Facebook: Barbara Spencer Author – Facebook: Barbara Spencer

About Barbara Spencer

In 1967, Barbara Spencer hi-tailed it to the West Indies to watch cricket, the precursor to a highly colourful career spanning three continents, in which she was caught up in riots, wars, and choosing Miss World.

A regular visitor to both primary and secondary schools, in 2010, the publication of Running, a Y/A thriller, took Barbara countrywide, her travels eliciting a series of Blogs and short stories which were published in 2017 as Age and the Antique Sideboard. This marked her retirement from writing, since when Barbara has written several books for an older audience.

The first of these, The Year the Swans Came, a magical fairytale for adults/top teens, was published at the end of 2018.


Thanks for dropping in today and I know Barbara would love your feedback … Sally


Head over to find out how to participate: Posts from Your Archives 2021

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Thursday 6th May 2021 – Books and Reviews from D.Wallace Peach, John W. Howell and Robbie Cheadle

A small selection of posts I have enjoyed in the last few days and I hope you will head over to enjoy in full… thanks Sally.

The first post is from Diana Wallace Peach with some of her book reviews from April.. so if you are looking for your next book…head over.

Happy May! Time for some reading!

April was a month of catch up on my to-do list, which included resuming my Jane Fonda workouts from 1985 (before some of you were born!) That means I’m not reading on the treadmill anymore, but I still made time for some great books!

April book reviews include my 4 and 5 star reads of a western romance, a military romance, an afterlife time travel fantasy, a serial fantasy, and a horror anthology.

Head over to read Diana’s reviews for Jacquie Biggar, Sandra Cox, Teagan Geneviene, John Howell and Dan Alatorre: Myths of the Mirror April Book Reviews part two

Another book post, this time from John Howell who introduces us to Robert Hookey and his new book.

Into The Dark by Robert Hookey #newbook

Today I am delighted to welcome Robert Hookey (known in some circles as The Hook) to Fiction Favorites. I am happy for a couple of reasons. The first is I’ve been following Robert on his blog, and he has given me many hours of enjoyment with his humor. Second, Robert has a new book, and I’m excited to have him here to talk about it.

So, with that, welcome Robert. I hope you are comfortable. I would offer you a margarita, but I know that drinking alcohol is not one of your vices. I don’t do virgin drinks very well either. How about a cup of tea, eh?

First off, thank you for making this Canadian boy feel at home with the “eh?”, John. I’m currently enjoying some milk from a bag that I‘m using to wash down my Canadian back bacon. (It’s tastier than it sounds.)

Thank you, Robert. The bacon smells delicious. Now let’s get to the first question. I know you have written another book about your life in the service industry, but I’m curious about what caused you to venture into fiction?

Head over to discover more about The Hook and his book: Robert Hookey interviewed by John Howell

The final post today is from Robbie Cheadle who is combining her usual excellent reviews with an audio version to enjoy as well.

#Bookreview #Audioreview – The Seal’s Temptation by Jacquie Biggar – The SEAL’s Temptation: Wounded Hearts- Book 7 Kindle Edition

What Amazon says

DEA Agent Maggie Holt knows about Hell…

After eighteen months undercover in a Mexican cartel, Maggie is broken. The kickass agent she once was, is gone, leaving her riddled with guilt and nightmares. Forced to take paid leave, Maggie accepts the offer of a vacation on the ranch of the man who’d rescued her from an almost certain death.

Frank Stein knows the signs of PTSD, he’d suffered the symptoms himself as Chief Petty Officer of SEAL Team Five. Honorably retired from duty, Frank has found peace at the family ranch and hopes it will do the same for Magdalena. Ever since he’d first met her when she was interrogating his buddy, Jared, Frank has been fascinated by the raven-haired beauty and wants the chance to see where their relationship could go.

Head over to read and listen to Robbie’s review for Jacquie’s book:Audio review – The Seal’s Temptation by Jacquie Biggar


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to enjoy all these book posts in full.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Tuesday May 4th 2021 – #Progress Mary Smith, #Family Claire Fullerton, #Writing Richard Dee

A small selection of posts I have enjoyed in the last few days and I hope you will head over to enjoy them in full.. thanks Sally.

It is two week’s since Mary Smith’s last cancer update, and that is partly because she has been so busy with walks and visitors..Wonderful after months of cocooning because of Covid and treatments. However, a little too much activity which is tiring. However, Mary also shares some wonderful photographs taken whilst she has been out and about.

Well, it’s been a couple of weeks since I posted a cancer diary update. I was feeling a lot better thanks to the steroids and the weather was good (bright and sunny, if still cold) so I was able to go out most days for walks.

The walks became longer until I was managing two to three miles on the level and my step count, adding in time working in the garden, was reaching 10,000 a day. I even managed a couple of walks round Doach Woods which is a bit steeper. Yes, I was out of breath on anything steeper than flat but my pulse rate soon dropped down again, I was hardly coughing and really thought the pneumonitis was on its way out.  

Head over to enjoy the photographs and give Mary a bit of a boost: Cancer Diary #33 – A bit of a blip.

The next post is from author Claire Fullerton writing on The Dead Mule School website, and she shares the story behind an antique cabinet inherited from her mother and how it has settled into her very modern home.

Claire Fullerton: Essay: Memoir May 2021 

Southern Legitimacy Statement: There’s nothing that steeps a Southerner in their own Southerness quite like living outside of the South. Having grown up in Memphis, I now live in Southern California, where, every day, it seems, I have to explain my Delta accent. I hold fiercely to my Southerness as a way of being in the world and am peacock proud to do so.

My Mother’s Cabinet

There’s a saying you hear bantered about the South: “The past is never,” the reference pertaining to the South’s storied history. I’ll add an amendment and take it a step further by including what’s implied: A Southerner never forgets.

We Southerners have deep roots and oral traditions that make us gifted story tellers. We’re big on family connections and boast pride of lineage, which we wear as a badge of honor. It’s touching, really.

Head over to read this wonderfully nostalgic post about how important a piece of furniture can be as it passes through generations: Memoir – Claire Fullerton – Essay

The final post today is from Sci-fi author Richard Dee who shares his thoughts on the importance of animals in our writing..

Creating your own Menagerie. Writing About Animals.

Welcome back to another blog hop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.

Do pets (or other animals) play an important part in your books? Tell us about them.

Writing Science Fiction gives you the license to create entire worlds and their contents. Although my main focus in many of them is on the people and places, I have included animal life in several of my novels and used it to add another dimension to the plots.

In my Sci-fi adventure, Survive, I crash-landed a group of explorers on an unknown planet. When they started to explore, they found that it was in the early stages of evolution. I gave them plenty of wild animals to keep them on their toes as they tried to stay alive until they could be rescued. To add to their plight and sense of disorientation and helplessness, I kept the species close to things that we (and they) would recognise.

Head over to read the rest of this post and leave your thoughts on the question there: Animals in our writing with Richard Dee.. Fur and Feather


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to read these posts in full.. thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – May 4th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Age Benefits and Mothers

Welcome to laughter lines. We will be sharing some of our favourites from the archives over the next few weeks.

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May be an image of text that says "Doctor to female patient:- You're looking so weak and exhause.e.........Are you taking the 3 meals a day as I had advised female patient Oh my god".. Your nurse wrote 3 males a day.!. 15:06"


If you have not discovered the non-fiction books by D.G. Kaye: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK Blog: D.G. WritesGoodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads – Twitter: @pokercubster

Check out Debby’s column here on Smorgasbord D.G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships 2020

Now something from Sally

Confusion reigns…

A police officer at a speed trap pulls over a car he clocks creeping along at 22 miles per hour.

Approaching the car, he notices that there are four old ladies inside — two in the front seat and two in the back, the three passengers all wide-eyed and white as ghosts.

The driver, obviously confused, says to him, “Officer, I was going the speed limit! What seems to be the problem?”

“Ma’am,” the officer replies, “You weren’t speeding, but driving significantly slower than the speed limit can also be dangerous to other drivers.”

“Slower than the speed limit? No sir, I was doing the speed limit exactly: 22 miles an hour!” the old woman explains.

Chuckling, the officer explains to her that “22” is the route number, not the speed limit. Embarrassed, the woman grins and thanks him for pointing out her error.

Before he lets them go, the policeman asks, “Is everyone in this car OK? These women seem awfully shaken.”

“Oh,” the driver replies, “they’ll be all right in a minute. We just got off Route 148.”

Sons and their mothers..

Three old ladies are sitting around a table playing and boasting about their sons.

‘My Jack,’ said Lily, is such a wonderful boy, each week he visits me for two hours and brings me the most beautiful bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates.  Once a month he takes me out to a restaurant for Sunday lunch and anything I need, I just have to mention it and it is there.

‘Well’, said Mary a little tartly. ‘My Angus lives with me and every morning brings up a tray to my room with a fully cooked breakfast and a pot of tea with a white rose in a bud vase. He comes home from work every day to make me soup and a sandwich and then in the evening we watch television with a wonderful supper he has prepared’.

Molly held up her hand and smiled smugly at her friends. ‘I don’t want to take away from your love for your sons and what they do for you but I think that my son Michael is the king of sons. Three times a week he pays someone £150 an hour just so he can lie on their couch and talk to them about me.. and only me!’


Thanks for dropping in and we hope you are leaving with a smile on your face… Debby and Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2021–#Family – Life During Lockdown – My Mother’s Story by Melanie Stewart

2021 archives

Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine. The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics.

In this series I have shared posts from the last six months of 2020 and the series is now closed to new participants.

This is the first post from July 2020 by Melanie Stewart and she shares her mother’s experiences living in a senior residential facility and the challenges

Life During Lockdown – My Mother’s Story

Like so many of us who have elderly parents living in senior residential facilities, my 89-year-old mother Ginny has been on lockdown since mid-March because of the Corona virus.  This status has remained unchanged for an unprecedented 19 weeks. Since I have shared many of her stories here, I thought I would give an inside account on life during lockdown.

Ginny had only moved into the Independent living area of this facility in late October, so she passed the beginning weeks locating all three libraries in the two buildings and learning the checkout system. She enjoys reporting to me her newest “find” from the bookshelves. She also discovered that she likes walking out to the pool area and sitting, although she won’t go in the water. I am grateful that she has some freedom to take these daily walks. She is required to wear a mask.

Once management created a safe system for family and friends to “drop-off” items, my sister Hailey started to arrive every ten days or so with a load of groceries, and Ginny loves that. She stands in the lobby, waving madly while the guard sprays the exterior of the bags Hailey has placed on a table just outside the entrance. If Ginny gets too close, the guard gently extends his arm out as a reminder. During a recent phone call, she and I shared a good laugh when I joked “what would they do if you tried to make a run for it?” After the bags have moved through “customs”, mom is given a shopping cart and takes her delivery upstairs.

With no communal dining (they deliver food directly to the residents twice a day) mom has missed that social interaction. Sometimes she will walk to the front desk to “ask” a question, but we suspect it’s a way to get a conversation started. The staff is always polite. They probably receive a lot of “questions” a day. Sadly, one day a woman approached requesting if a staff car could please take her to her hair salon, her hair was “a mess”, and when she was kindly told “no”, she burst into tears. Interestingly, not long after that, they cautiously opened up the beauty salon for one day and took appointments.

Clearly, management is fighting a conflict on two fronts which is daunting. They must keep the virus out of their buildings and they must keep up the spirits of their residents. In terms of the virus, additional measures include checking the temperatures of their staff and screening them for symptoms before each shift. All employees must wear masks and gloves. As mandated by the state, their staff is tested for COVID every two weeks.


It was after one of these tests recently that a result came back positive.  The staff member works in the Memory Care section of the facility. Appropriately, they moved forward to test every resident in that section. So far, all results have been negative. Some of the tests for staff are still pending.

I feel their safety protocols have been effective.  To me, 19 weeks is an extraordinary amount of time in keeping the contagious COVID out of such a large complex. But I do have fears. I have heard the stories of nursing homes where once the virus arrives, it can spread quickly in a closed environment. And I would be naïve to think that another case won’t appear inside the retirement home, especially since cases have been rising exponentially in Florida. It is reassuring that they just completed a deep cleaning of the facility because of that one positive test result.

And as the start of week 20 approaches, how does the company keep up the spirits of their residents? First, they continue to provide small, frequent surprises. For instance, mom may hear a knock on the door, and someone is delivering a small chocolate treat or a pastry. Or, she may open the door to someone with a cart asking whether she would like a cocktail. Or, she may find a cheery note stuck on her door when she opens it. And of course, they are always willing to set up the popular “tablet virtual visit” between a resident and a family member.

They have also allowed a certain number of doctor visits. Ginny needed her Prolia shot (for osteoporosis) which is administered every six months. This is a two-step process where she needs a blood test first and then she returns a week later for the shot. Hailey was able to schedule “rides” for Ginny where the resident is driven by a staff member. Mom was almost giddy after those outings, so a side benefit is the psychological boost they experience when they get to leave, if only for a while.

During my last phone call, she told me that a supervisor had distributed a sheet of paper with the heading What I will Do When Things Return to Normal. Residents are encouraged to write down the things they want to see and do. Maybe they will read off some of the responses on their intercom system as a “group” activity. As Ginny and I discussed how much she misses her own hairdresser, she said “Oh, I’m writing that down” and she did. She’s listening. She’s engaging.

Mom has been phenomenal in this trying time. She just seems to roll with it which amazes me.  Unfortunately, she is showing some naivete (or maybe just wishful thinking) in regards to her upcoming birthday. She thinks they may let her go to her hairdresser because it is a for a “special occasion.” Per their protocols, this won’t happen because they need 30 days of no new cases before they even consider moving to their “Recovering” step. She forgets, I think, that family members won’t see her hair up close on her special day.

And it is special. She is turning 90! I am very disappointed that my altered chemotherapy schedule now has me having my next round three days before her birthday. I won’t be able to drive the couple of hours to wave and show my support from a distance. But we will only delay the celebration just long enough so we can do it safely. Maybe she will add “celebrating 90” on her sheet of paper. What a long, strange 19 weeks it’s been.

©Melanie Stewart 2020

About Melanie Stewart

In the 1990’s, I worked as a freelance writer for a local newspaper in suburban Chicago. I covered everything from cloning & measuring the risk of heart disease to my “Day in the Life” series where I spent the day at local businesses ranging from a veterinarian to a bakery (that was an early wake-up call.)

A few years later, I started working for which hosts online obituaries for newspapers around the world. I loved that potential for connection; that someone sitting in an army base in Afghanistan could sign a guest book for a relative who passed in Illinois (true story.) I remained there for many years until my husband and I made the decision to move to Florida. Most of our family is here including my mother, who in recent years, has needed more assistance.

I missed writing, so I started to write about those every day situations that come with an aging parent. The volume of stories grew. Should you take away the car keys? When? The checkbook? How? How do you navigate their determination to remain independent?

The stories evolved into the blog Leaving The Door Open which officially launched April 29, 2019 as a way to share how both my family and readers have solved these aging parent issues.

And just as the blog was attracting more attention, I was diagnosed with cancer. I found myself writing about that. Then, COVID struck our world.

I will continue to stick with non-fiction as it informs and shows us the tough and triumphant realities people face, but it became evident that it was time to leave the door open to new ideas and broaden my writing to include feature stories and creative writing.

Don’t write me off as too serious though! I love to laugh, relish a good pun, and love watching a good scary movie and baseball. I just have this thing about writing about the realities of life. It’s my passion. I think I remain a reporter at heart and I only want to cover more ground.

I am also widely open to writing or sharing the realities of your life. If you would like to share a guest post on just about any topic, or be “interviewed” through written questions, contact me at

Connect to Melanie: Blog: Leaving the Door OpenTwitter: @storiesonaging

My thanks to Melanie for permitting me to delve into her archives and I hope you will head over to discover more of her posts..Thanks Sally.