Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Stevie Wonder, The Neanderthals and other legends

Thanks for dropping in and a quick review of the guests and posts this week in case you missed.

The Blogger Daily returns next week and to help me out it would be great if you would email me the link to your most recent post in the last week so that I can share from tomorrow.

My thanks as always to contributing guests for their hard work. William Price King shares the 1970s and Stevie Wonder’s amazing music with us and Paul Andruss delights with news of our distant relatives – The Neanderthals and a doyen of the kitchen.. Mary the woman behind the Marie-Bain.

A poem that touched everyone’s hearts from Carmen Stefanescu and some cook from scratch Eggs and a bit of a disaster.

If you are in the bookstore and have a new release, review or offer then get in touch so that they can be included in the two Cafe and Bookstore updates on Monday and Friday..

Even if you are not in the bookstore you can join the 200 other authors with your books by emailing me

The new Air your Reviews post is doing well and this is open to any author even if you are not in the bookstore to share your latest great review.

I do check as many authors and blogs but I do not use a crystal ball so please help me out and let me know  Thanks

Hope you enjoy the post and thanks again for all your tremendoous support.. It keeps me motivated.

William Price King meets some Legends.

Writer in Residence Paul Andruss

Thomas the Rhymer

The Colour of Life by Geoff Cronin

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore

The Updates

New on the Shelves

Book Reading and Interview

Air Your Reviews

Smorgasbord Health 2017

Cook from Scratch

Nutrition in the news

Top to Toe


Smorgasbord Poetry

Smorgasbord Short Stories

Tales from the garden volume two

I have just finished writing the stories for the second volume.. You have not read them all and I am giving you the choice to read one of the stories beginning with the following letters. Q  V W X Y Z… put your choice in the comments section and the story will be posted on Tuesday.. The selection ends at midnight tonight.

Thank you so much for keeping me company.. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.. Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book Reading and Interview – C.S. Boyack

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore

Welcome to the Saturday book reading and interview. My guest today is fantasy, science fiction and paranormal author C.S. Boyack. As well as novels, Craig has released a number of collections of speculative fiction and co-presents a series of guest interviews with Lisa Burton.. one of his most alluring characters.

First let’s have a look at the official biography and Craig’s books before we put him in the hot seat. This is an interactive interview and Craig is looking forward to responding to your questions and comments in the next couple of days.

About C.S. Boyack.

I was born in a town called Elko, Nevada. I like to tell everyone I was born in a small town in the 1940s. I’m not quite that old, but Elko has always been a little behind the times. This gives me a unique perspective of earlier times, and other ways of getting by. Some of this bleeds through into my fiction.

I moved to Idaho right after the turn of the century, and never looked back. My writing career was born here, with access to other writers and critique groups I jumped in with both feet.

I like to write about things that have something unusual. My works are in the realm of science fiction, paranormal, and fantasy. The goal is to entertain you for a few hours. I hope you enjoy the ride.

Books by C.S.Boyack

About The Experimental Notebook of C.S. Boyack

A speculative selection of micro-fiction and short stories. These were designed to be short reads for your commute, coffee break, and other times when readers are pressed for time. This book contains a bit of science fiction, some fantasy, and paranormal stories.I’m excited to see short fiction returning in popularity. I hope you will enjoy these stories as much as I did.

A recent review for Volume One.

May 10, 2017 Don Massenzio rated it 5 stars

I am a huge fan of short stories, both creating and reading them. The problem is, not many writers do them well. Stephen King has published several collections and even his stories are sometimes hit and miss.This is not the case with C.S. Boyack. In his Experimental Notebook he scores with one great story after another. Many of them have a pattern of reeling the reader in and then leaving you breathless with a surprise ending. From the very first story, Jack O’ Lantern, to gems like The 50 Gallon Drum, Boyack sets up the reader and then delivers some surprise that leaves you smiling.For anyone who enjoys short stories, this book is a must.

One bit of false advertising appears in the Goodreads blurb. The author states that the book was designed to provide short reads. I stayed awake in my hotel room telling myself, “just one more” until I had finished the book and then downloaded the second one.I highly recommend this book and will be reading more by this author. He shows a depth and breadth to his writing seldom found in the indie author community. Please give his stories a try and spread the word like wildfire.

And a review for the second volume on Goodreads

Karen rated it 5 stars

This anthology comprises fifteen different stories, taking you on fifteen very different trips; some will make you happy, some will make you sad, others will make you wonder. There is one thing that they all have in common: They are unforgettable. I cannot tell you more about this anthology as it would spoil the fun of reading it yourself.With The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II, C. S. Boyack presents us with fifteen little gifts. Each story is skilfully elaborated, has its own great flow. Ernest Hemingway once stated “When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.”

C. S. Boyack shows this masterly with every story – he created living people instead of mere characters. I was drawn into the stories right away, close to the protagonists – sometimes too close for comfort. I could easily envision the characters and locations. I had a great time reading The Experimental Notebook of C. S. Boyack II. It is a very enjoyable read.This is for you if you like short stories, adventures with a humorous streak, paranormal events, horror stories, a remarkable science fiction story, very likeable characters to cheer on, surprises and food for thought – all packed in micro-fiction and short stories.This is a book to read again. Highly recommended!

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Time to turn this over to Craig and don’t forget to leave your questions in the comment section.. this is your interview too.

I’ve said before that I’m kind of like a creature of the night – you have to invite me inside. I love getting invitations, and am excited to do this interview. Thank you for asking me.

You are very welcome Craig and can you tell us about your chosen genre of books that you write and why?

That’s kind of funny, because I’m in denial. I call myself a speculative fiction author. This means all of my stories have something fantastic about them. I claim that’s my genre, but it isn’t true. I’m a multi-genre author, because I bounce from science fiction, to fantasy, to paranormal. Sometimes I mix them together.

To make matters worse, I write novels, short stories, and micro-fiction. These are all different animals, and it’s the challenge that motivates me. It’s a challenge to write a fantasy short story, but I’ve done it.

What appeals to you about writing short stories?

I’m getting known for my short form fiction. I love this medium for several reasons. I like the feeling of accomplishment. It might take me a year to write a novel, but it might only take a long weekend to whip out a short story. I enjoy the challenge of bringing an entire story in with the lower word count. You still have to have plot, characters, and environment to these stories. Take a shortcut on any one, and the story won’t work.

Where would you like to be in 5 year’s time?

My goal has always been to have enough writing income to supplement retirement. Even $500 per month would go a long ways. I’m ten years from retirement, so in five years, I’d like to be bringing in $250 per month from book sales.

It’s become kind of unrealistic to derive full time income from being self published. Any of us could catch lightning in a bottle, but to aim for supplemental retirement income seems fairly realistic to me. It becomes more realistic as my catalog grows, and it will continue to grow over that time.

Can you tell us more about Lisa Burton radio and how you came up with the concept, and perhaps share the link to one of your favourite interviews that gives us an idea of the format?

I had this really strong character just lounging around and doing nothing. I started including her in some of my writing posts, and she was really popular. I got the bright idea of using her as a spokesmodel to promote my books. I checked with her artist, and he was excited about the idea. These promos turned out to be more popular than the ones I appeared in.

An author friend, John Howell, proposed the idea of having Lisa interview him and we put that together. The post was so popular I couldn’t just stop. Then it dawned on me that maybe other authors would like to promote using their characters. About this time, I was writing a short story about a late night radio station, and the whole idea came together. Now Lisa interviews fictional characters on her radio show, and they have been super popular.

It’s hard to get enough guests to keep a regular schedule, but I generally manage every Thursday. I can’t single anyone out as the best one, so I’m going to give you the link to the Lisa Burton Radio category:

Explain more about the Idea Mill and what is the strangest prompt you have developed into a short story or character?

These posts may amuse me more than everyone else, but I still keep posting them. I have a collection of RSS feeds, and online magazines that let me customize content. I regularly get articles on archeology, cryptids, science breakthroughs, and more. These feed my Muse, because I like to have a tiny bit of realism behind the stories I write.

I started posting them as The Idea Mill whenever I get three good ones. My theory was they might inspire other authors too, since I can’t use them all. I’ve used several in short stories, and as elements in novels. I was most inspired by a group of posts about bio-hackers. These are people with basement labs that largely experiment on themselves. It all sounded so Jekyll and Hyde that I couldn’t resist. I have most of an outline of a science fiction novel I’m calling Grinders, which is the slang name they give themselves.

Can you tell us something about your next project?

I’m a sucker for a personal challenge, and set a personal goal for every story I’ve ever written. This time I want to write a couple of novellas. One is going to be a paranormal superhero origin story, and the other one is a science fiction based spin on the lifeboat story.

I have no idea whether they will come in as long short stories, or as short novels, but I’m going to try it.

Craig as chosen an extract from his novel The Yak Guy Project for his book reading. It’s sort of an alternate world fantasy with a coming of age story.  The book is due out later in the year.

Throbbing pain in my head.

Heat. Not like The Strip at two o”clock PM, more like a pizza oven.

The dirt burnt my face, and dust particles smelled like salt.

I rolled over, and the earth crunched under me. When I opened my eyes, everything swirled bright white, yellow, and blue. I rubbed my eyes, and my forehead was soaked with sweat.

My vision swirled again when I sat up. Salt encrusted flat as far as I could see, which wasn’t far. The heat waves turned everything into a swirl again.

Snow capped mountains rose above the heat waves when I lifted my head. There were no tire tracks around me, no footprints, nothing. How did I get here?

One black dot jumped back and forth in the heat waves. Maybe it was a Jeep. I forced myself up and waved. “Over here!”

I had no idea where to go, but the mountains looked cooler than this place. I made three weak steps. I felt like someone kicked me in the balls, and I went down.

I don’t know how long I was out, but when I pushed myself to my elbows, the dot was closer. It was moving, help was on the way.

I managed to move into a sitting position and crossed my arms. I winced at the pain. My arms were covered with blisters and hot to the touch. I looked at the sun. A vulture moved across the sky so high up I doubted he saw me, but I knew he had. It’s a race then, the Jeep or the vulture.

The Jeep resolved itself into a lone cow. Oh, fuck. How the hell was I going to get out of here now? The cow was coming straight at me.

I managed to stand again, but fell after a few steps. A tiny breeze picked up, but it only made things hotter.

The cow took on some detail. It was black with a white blaze on its forehead, white legs, and it had long hair that moved in the breeze. Ranchers put cows on the range, but one with long hair was unheard of here.

Still, it came closer. Long sharp horns resolved on the sides of its head the closer it got. They were nearly four feet from tip to tip. Would it hurt me?

“Shoo! Get out of here.”

The cow kept coming.

I curled up in a ball, and hoped it would keep walking. I couldn’t outrun it, and those horns looked worse than the scorching heat.

It stopped about five feet away and turned sideways. It wore a saddle and reins.

Then it said, “There’s a waterskin hanging on the side.”

©C.S.Boyack 2017

Connect with Craig.

And the delectable Lisa Burton


My thanks to Craig for joining us today and he is looking forward to answering your questions which you can leave in the comments section.  Thank you Sally

You will find the other interviews in this series in this directory

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Bette A. Stevens and Stevie Turner

Our first author update today is for Bette A. Stevens with two recent reviews for her book Dog Bone Soup.

About the book.

Whether or not You Grew Up in the 1950s and 60s, you’ll find DOG BONE SOUP (Historical Fiction) to be soup for the soul. In this coming-of-age novel, Shawn Daniels’s father is the town drunk. Shawn and his brother Willie are in charge of handling everything that needs to be done around the ramshackle place they call home—lugging in water for cooking and cleaning, splitting and stacking firewood…But when chores are done, these resourceful kids strike out on boundless adventures that don’t cost a dime. DOG BONE SOUP is the poignant tale of a dysfunctional family struggling to survive in America in the 50s and 60s, when others were living The American Dream.

The latest review for the book on Goodreads by  Brigid Gallagher  who rated it  5 stars on April 3rd 2017

 The poignant story of Shawn and his family opens as he leaves home to serve in the armed forces. Looking back over his childhood, he recounts his father’s struggle with alcohol addiction, and the poverty his family endured.

Shawn and his brother have daring adventures on their bicycles, collecting bottles along the roadside, exchanging them for cash, and buying pop, ice cream and other sweet delicacies.

As money becomes tighter, Shawn uses his ingenuity to put FREE food on the table, by milking their neighbours cows in early morning and taking windfall apples from a lady who refuses to give them these fruits, preferring them to rot…

The families money struggles force their mother to make soup out of bones that would otherwise have been given to dogs.

However, Bette’s book is never depressing. It is filled with the innocence of a childhood spent amongst the New England countryside, and a love of Nature.
I absolutely loved her writing style, and I have no hesitation in recommending it to others.

And on

An enjoyable read By Annabelle on 13 April 2017

A triumphant tale, skilfully told, of a boy’s battle with – and ultimate escape from – poverty in 50s and 60s America. The story is told in the first person, in authentic conversational style, which made it easy to identify with the main character. I really enjoyed this book – though I was glad the soup turned out not to be made from the actual bones of a dog!

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Also by Bette A. Stevens

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Time to revisit one of Stevie Turner’s previous books Repent at Leisure with a recent review on Goodreads.

About the book

Gripping psychological thriller from Stevie Turner, author of The Donor.

Paul wakes up to find a mysterious woman in his bed. With no memory of how she got there, Cat Taylor worms her way into his life and eventually moves into his flat. This arrangement suits Paul well — until he meets Anita Fairfax.

Soon after, they find Cat dead in Paul’s apartment. Despite little evidence, the police suspect him of murder. Anita stands by her new husband… but doubt soon creeps in as his behavior becomes increasingly erratic.
Reviewed By: Arlena DeanApr 01, 2017 Arlena rated it  four stars.

This read I must say left me on the edge of my seat with this psychological thriller read. There were so many of twist and turns the reader simply may not be able figure it out until the very end. I am simply not sure who I felt more sorrier for…Paul or Anita….definitely there was some help needed. What happens as someone comes up dead? What happens after Paul and Anita are married? Will she start regretting rushing into this marriage due to Paul’s strange behavior shifts? Will he seek help? What will happen after Paul gets in touch with his brother Terry who lived in Australia? What secrets will come out from that visit to Australia? After they return back home what will happen next between this couple.

This is where I will stop and say you will have to pick up “Repent at Leisure” to get all of these questions answered and so much more. I will say I was left shaking my head and saying I didn’t see that one coming. However, this author is noted for giving the reader surprises and that was one surprised ending for me.

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A selection of books by Stevie Turner

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Thanks for dropping by today and if you have any news about your books such as a review, new release or an offer please drop me a line. The Cafe updates go out Monday and Friday and it helps me out if you let me know. thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleton

Today the featured author is Robert Eggleton and his book Rarity from the Hollow which has been re-released with a new cover. It continues to receive excellent reviews.

Author proceeds have been donated to a child abuse prevention program operated by Children’s Home Society of West Virginia.

About the book

Lacy Dawn’s father relives the Gulf War, her mother’s teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in The Hollow isn’t great. But Lacy has one advantage — she’s been befriended by a semi-organic, semi-robot who works with her to cure her parents. He wants something in exchange, though. It’s up to her to save the Universe.

To prepare Lacy for her coming task, she is being schooled daily via direct downloads into her brain. Some of these courses tell her how to apply magic to resolve everyday problems much more pressing to her than a universe in big trouble, like those at home and at school. She doesn’t mind saving the universe, but her own family and friends come first.

Will Lacy Dawn’s predisposition, education, and magic be enough for her to save the Universe, Earth, and, most importantly, protect her own family?

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. It is a children’s story for adults, not for the prudish, faint of heart, or easily offended.

Robert Eggleton’s humorous science fantasy follows in the steps of Douglas Adams, Tom Holt and Terry Pratchett.

A selection of editorial reviews

…In the space of a few lines we go from gritty realism to pure sci-fi / fantasy. It’s quite a trip.” — The Missouri Review

…utterly compelling…a chilling, engaging verisimilitude that deftly feeds on both the utter absurdity of the characters’ motivations and on the progression of the plot…. In the spirit of Vonnegut, Eggleton takes the genre and gives it another quarter turn.” — Electric Review / Midwest Book Review

“…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse…tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…profound…a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.”Awesome Indies (Gold Medal)

“…sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved…a brilliant writer.”Readers’ Favorite (Gold Medal)

“The most enjoyable science fiction novel I have read in several years….” —Temple Emmet Williams,Author, Retired Reader’s Digest Editor

One of the 97 customer reviews for the book

Not everyone will read the story the way I did. In fact, wading through twenty or so of the at this point in time 94 reviews, I couldn’t find any others that were reading the exact same message.

This is a story that’s omnipresent voice explores the decent of an adolescent girl into madness. At the books end, I imagine her institutionalised, living her conscious life entirely in an invented world of her imagination, while kept ‘physically safe’ by psychiatric nurses.
The setting of West Virginia is irrelevant, other than that I read that it is a place where the author worked as a psychotherapist. One can read in the deprived corners of any state on Earth.

The book is comic, by line, sometimes treading in the deep crud of extreme social and physical abuse and poverty, by chapter. Lacy Dawn is the daughter of an abusive PTSD suffering father, and a down-trodden and objectified mother. We read about how, especially after the murder of her best friend she starts to tip over the edge, eventually losing even remote connection with reality. As she descends into the protective cocoon of her imagination she engages in a range of abnormal behaviour typical of traumatised children, and especially of those children that have being exposed to the very worst of adult behaviour. Drugs, guns, and sexual exploitation of all sorts are the bread and butter of everyday life in the neighbourhood of this poor child.

If one chooses to read that way, she ‘really’ goes on an adventure across space, engaged to marry a robot that is slowly turning into a physically ‘entire’ man. If you don’t, and I don’t. The distant shopping Mall is the furthest she ever gets from home.

For my perspective, this is book is conceptualised brilliantly, and executed well. The writing is good, as is the pace of the plot. Perhaps the ending is a little weak, but by that point where could Lacy Dawn’s mind go that could be more distant from reality, and more protective of what little is left of her sanity. The satirical plot, the harsh existence which became an escape to the stars, or the closed spaces of the mind, is very clever. The ending was appropriate, as Lacy builds her own sanctuary, one in which she is at last in control of her life.

Where could a sequel go? To rehab from drugs and mental recovery, or further into the stars?

The message: “however life shits on you, don’t shit on the children” is delivered so harshly that only the comical prose could carry the ‘normal’ reader to the stories psychotic conclusion. If we don’t protect and fight for wholesome family values, our societies will all decay into an impoverished, disease ridden, Hobbesian Hollow.

Lacy Dawns mental space may be unique, but unfortunately isn’t that abnormal. Well, that is the view of a relatively sane man who only understands one psychology, my own. Get well, Lacy Dawn and let Faith rest in peace, but never her death be hidden from the judgment of society.

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About Robert Eggleton

Robert Eggleton has served as a children’s advocate in an impoverished state for over forty years. He is best known for his investigative reports about children’s programs, most of which were published by the West Virginia Supreme Court where he worked from 1982 through 1997, and which also included publication of models of serving disadvantaged and homeless children in the community instead of in large institutions, research into foster care drift involving children bouncing from one home to the next — never finding a permanent loving family, and statistical reports on the occurrence and correlates of child abuse and delinquency.

Today, he is a recently retired children’s psychotherapist from the mental health center in Charleston, West Virginia, where he specialized in helping victims cope with and overcome physical and sexual abuse, and other mental health concerns.

Rarity from the Hollow is his debut novel and its release followed publication of three short Lacy Dawn Adventures in magazines: Wingspan Quarterly, Beyond Centauri, and Atomjack Science Fiction.

Author proceeds have been donated to a child abuse prevention program operated by Children’s Home Society of West Virginia. Robert continues to write fiction with new adventures based on a protagonist that is a composite character of children that he met when delivering group therapy services.

The overall theme of his stories remains victimization to empowerment.

Connect to Robert Eggleton

Amazon author page:

Thank you for dropping by today and please help welcome Robert to the Bookstore by sharing. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air Your Reviews – Karen Ingalls and Paul Cude

Welcome to the spot where you can showcase your latest review on Amazon, Goodreads or on a review blog. Karen Ingalls has received a five star review by Angela Kay on Lit World Interviews for her book Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir.

The memoir won first place at the 2012 Indie Excellence Book Awards in the the category of women’s health. It was a top three finalist for the Independent Publisher Book Award of 2012 in the two categories of health and self-help.

The purpose of the book is to provide information about this too often deadly disease, and offer hope and inspiration to women and their families.

All proceeds go to ovarian cancer research.

About the book

When Karen Ingalls was diagnosed with Stage IIC ovarian cancer, she realized ho little she knew about what is called “the silent killer.” As Ingalls began to educate herself she felt overwhelmed by the prevalent negativity of cancer. Lost in the information about drugs, side effects, and statistics, she redirected her energy to focus on the equally overwhelming blessings of life, learning to rejoice in each day and find peace in spirituality.

In this memoir, Karen is a calming presence and positive companion, offering a refreshing perspective of hope with the knowledge that “the beauty of the soul, the real me and the real you, outshines the effects of cancer, chemotherapy, and radian. It is a story of survival and reminds readers that disease is not an absolute, but a challenge to recover.

Review by Angela Kay for Lit World Interviews:

I found this story incredibly informative and inspiring. There is little greater fear than hearing you have cancer—no matter whether you have a long family history of those that battled the disease or if it’s completely taking you by surprise. Most, if not all, of us, knows someone that has or had cancer. We usually watch from the outside looking in at how the person fighting for their life chooses to deal. Karen Ingalls gives us her firsthand, raw experience with one of the leading causes of death: ovarian cancer.

It’s a short book and I finished it in one sitting, finding myself wishing there was more. I couldn’t set it down and I’m amazed at how uplifting people can be when dealing with cancer. For me, this book isn’t just about fighting cancer or even teaching others about the seriousness of the issue. It’s about how she not only relied on her family and friends for comfort, but she relied on Jesus Christ’s unconditional love and grace. As I read through Karen’s story, I could see how her faith in the Holy Spirit grew stronger. Sure, she had her ups and downs, but she’s human. Still, she leaned on her faith, rather than crying out “Why me, Lord?”

At the end of the book, she listed signs to look for in ovarian cancer (formerly known as “the silent killer.”) and question suggestions for the patient and their families. I highly recommend reading Outlook: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir. It’s a quick, easy read, tightly and well written. Although I found myself fighting back tears, there were places where I giggled at the humor.

Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

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Also by Karen Ingalls

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My next review is for Paul Cude whose first book Bentwhistle the Dragon in a Threat from the Past. If you love dragons and FREE books then you are in luck as you can download the Kindle version for Amazon and Epub from Smashwords
About the book

Ever been addicted? Most people have at some point, but it was different for these three. They’d become addicted to their respective sports: hockey, lacrosse and rugby. What’s wrong with that? Nothing, apart from the fact they’re DRAGONS, living in the present day, in a world in which dragons disguised as humans have infiltrated the human race at almost every level, to guide and protect them.

Three young dragons, a master mantra maker, and a complete dragon stranger with more than a little history attached to him, become caught up in an evil plot by a sinister newcomer to steal a precious commodity, vital to the dragon community. How will the reluctant hero and his friends fare against an enemy of his race from far in the past?

Fascinating insights into the dragon world are interspersed throughout the book. Ever wondered how dragons travel below ground at almost the speed of sound? Or how they use magical mantras to transform their giant bodies into convincing human shapes?
In an action packed adventure that features both human and dragon team sports, you’ll learn the true story of George and the Dragon, get a dragon-like perspective on human social issues and insight into what to do if you meet a giant spider grinning at you when you’re wearing nothing but your smile!  You’d be flamin’ mad to miss it.

The latest review for the book. 

Whatever flaws we might identify or frustrations we might feel are trivial in comparison to a reader’s pure joy in losing himself/herself in a narrative. When all the elements come together: an intriguing plot, thoughtful, profound themes, complex, troubling, characters, and language that make us shudder for its honesty, clarity, and confidence; we gratefully set all analysis aside and give ourselves up to the sheer magic of a great book. And for me, Bentwhistle the Dragon in A Threat from the Past is such a book.

The story had every element a good story should have. An exciting plot, attention to detail, but best of all fleshed out, well-written and well-rounded character development. There’s an abundance of well illustrated scenes that really make you feel like you are right there in the story, and that’s something I really look for in a good book.

The book synopsis says it all; “Ever been addicted? Most people have at some point, but it was different for these three. They’d become addicted to their respective sports: hockey, lacrosse and rugby. What’s wrong with that? Nothing, apart from the fact they’re DRAGONS, living in the present day, in a world in which dragons disguised as humans have infiltrated the human race at almost every level, to guide and protect them.

Three young dragons, a master mantra maker, and a complete dragon stranger with more than a little history attached to him, become caught up in an evil plot by a sinister newcomer to steal a precious commodity, vital to the dragon community. How will the reluctant hero and his friends fare against an enemy of his race from far in the past?

Fascinating insights into the dragon world are interspersed throughout the book. Ever wondered how dragons travel below ground at almost the speed of sound? Or how they use magical mantras to transform their giant bodies into convincing human shapes?

In an action packed adventure that features both human and dragon team sports, you’ll learn the true story of George and the Dragon, get a dragon-like perspective on human social issues and insight into what to do if you meet a giant spider grinning at you when you’re wearing nothing but your smile!…”

If that’s not enough to whet your appetite, I don’t know what will. But if you want to find out what happens next, you’ll just have to turn the pages yourself to find out!

This captivating and commendable work had me immersed from the beginning. The story flows from scene to scene with ease, and the author shows exceptional skill when it comes to storytelling. There are attention-grabbing moments in this page turner that will take the reader on a spellbinding journey!

It’s one of those stories that come along once in awhile that makes you want to read it non-stop until you get to the end. I’m giving nothing further away here. And this, I hope, will only add to the mystery and enjoyment for the reader!

I’ll certainly be looking forward to reading more from Paul Cude in the future. I would definitely recommend this book. Five stars from me.

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Also by Paul Cude

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Smorgasbord Short Stories – What’s in a Name – Volume Two – You get to pick the story!

I have just spent the last week finishing off the stories for What’s in a Name! Volume Two and this has resulted in a number of stories that I have not posted to the blog.

In this volume the theme of the stories is slightly different in that they reflect a name that will be remembered for one reason or another because of their actions. Also because there were 16 letters in the alphabet left, there is only one story per letter.

However, there is a bonus story at the end of the book to make up for it.

I will post one of the new stories next week and I thought I would leave the choice of which one to you from these letters.

Q…    V…     W….    X….   Y…    Z

The letter with the most mentions is the winner and I will post next Tuesday

Details for all my books including links to discounted copies can be found here.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book Reading and Interview – Sandra J. Jackson

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore

Please give a warm welcome to Sandra J. Jackson who is joining us at the Cafe today for the book reading. Sandra is the author of Promised Soul and Forever an Echo and we will take a more detailed look at those shortly.

First however the official biography.

A graduate of a 3-year Graphic Design program, Sandra J. Jackson has always been creative, from drawing and painting to telling stories to her children when they were young. Her wild imagination lends itself to new and exciting ideas. Sandra’s debut novel, Promised Soul, was released in 2015 by Fountain Blue Publishing. A short story, Not Worth Saving, appeared in New Zenith Magazine’s 2016 fall issue. She also has had several sports articles published in a local newspaper. She holds a professional membership with the Canadian Author Association and is a member of Writers’ Ink.

Sandra lives with her husband and two young adult children in a rural setting in Eastern, Ontario. She is currently working on the third book of her first series.

Books by Sandra J. Jackson.

About Promised Soul

Just as Krista’s summer plans are finalized, she is suddenly plagued by strange dreams and intense feelings of déjà vu. Feeling as though she’s losing her mind, she visits a psychic medium, only to feel more confused. When Krista arrives in England, her dreams persist, and she finds herself at the doorstep of another psychic; she needs clarity. Finally, the words she was afraid to say out loud, are spoken. Now Krista has to figure out what it all means. Promised Soul is the story of the past, the present, and the future of two souls that have been bound together by eternal and transcending love.

One of the reviews for the book

Krista has disturbing dreams about a girl named Mary and her unrequited love for man named Thomas. As she prepares for a planned summer long vacation in England, her dreams grow stronger and more demanding. In an effort to discover what they mean, she seeks a Medium, who leads her to believe she’s had a past life. But who is this mysterious man Thomas, and what does he have to do with the charming British tour guide she meets across the big pond?

A cozy romance, filled with hope and belief beyond the living world, “Promised Soul” plumbs the depths of love between two star-crossed souls who will not be denied a reunion.

As a reader, I found the beginning to be a bit choppy in that the author switches between first and third person point of view. And there were times when I was thrown off a bit by flashbacks, as I didn’t know I was in one until I had read a third of the way in. This could’ve easily been rendered more comprehensible with a bit of formatting (i.e. use of italics). But once I became comfortable with the characters and the style, the story rolled along.

I look forward to more works by Ms. Jackson.

About the short story Forever and Echo.

Only three weeks into college and Abby has found the guy of her dreams, but sometimes dreams just aren’t meant to be.

Read all the reviews and buy the book:

Amazon author page:

Follow Sandra on Goodreads:

Now it is time to put Sandra in the hot seat. She is looking forward to your questions in the comments section.

Welcome Sandra and can you tell us what genre do you read and your favourite authors?

I read many genres, but my favourites have touches of the strange and unknown, the unexplained, paranormal, magic and fantasy. I enjoy stories that stretch the imagination and make you wonder – what if…?

My favourite authors are Diana Gabaldon, J. K. Rowling, and Suzanne Collins, to name a few.

If you could be a character in any book you have read. Who would it be and why?

I went back and forth on this one. There are a few characters that I’d like to be, but they all have faced some rather unpleasant situations. So, if I could be any character it would have to be without the bad stuff. Anyway, I think Claire Randal from the Outlander Series (Diana Gabaldon) would be an interesting character. She travels back in time 200 years (from the 1940’s) to Scotland. And while I don’t think I would like to live in the 18th century, I’m sure Jamie Fraser (also from the books) would make the transition much easier.

Do you have a favourite quote? What does it means to you as an individual?

As a child, Winnie the Pooh was my favourite animated show. When I grew up and had children of my own, Winnie the Pooh was the theme for the nursery. So it is fitting that my favourite quote is from A. A. Milne, author of the Winnie the Pooh stories.

If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.” ― A.A. Milne – Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh

I sometimes get teary-eyed when I read this quote or at the least it gives my goosebumps. These words are powerful to me; they make me believe in myself.

As well as your novel you have written many short stories. What do you consider to be the key elements in creating a story of that length?

At first, I found writing short-stories difficult. I wasn’t sure how to tell a story with a limited amount of words. With practice and a little research, I learned the best way to write a short story is to start as close as possible to the climax. The shorter the story the closer you have to be. When I write novels, I usually just come up with an ending first and then the story seems to write itself. With short stories I need to have a basic idea for the beginning, middle and end.

You graduated from a graphic design programme and you enjoy drawing and painting. Can you share one of your artworks and tell us why it holds particular significance?

Funny thing is, I don’t have a lot of my artwork around. I usually end up giving most of my art away as gifts to family and friends. I do have a few things but the most recent is a mural I did on the wall of my “office” (really our storage room but I rearranged it and set up a desk in front of a small window). I wanted to give my office an outdoor / jungle like feeling so I decorated with a few things and painted a waterfall on the wall. It’s peaceful and great place to work.

Can you tell us something more about your next writing project?

I am working on the 3rd book of my first trilogy. Originally it wasn’t supposed to be a trilogy and in fact, the first book has changed quite a bit since the first draft.

My editor has labelled the genre as YA, mystery, but it will have a bit of an apocalyptic feel in the other novels. I also think it’s suited for a broad audience and not just YA. The first book Playing in the Rain (Book 1 of the Escape Series) is due out sometime this year. I have sent in my revised galley edits, and I am waiting for the next step. I have also been working on the book trailer which I hope to release soon.

Sandra has selected and excerpt from the upcoming Playing in the Rain for her book reading.

From Chapter 17

His raspy voice brought my attention to the folded piece of metal he pushed into the room with a mattress stuffed in the middle. Bethany and I stood by the table as he rolled it towards our mats and unfolded the cot. The worn mattress looked inviting.

He turned and stepped towards us, beads of sweat dripped down the sides of his face. I backed up as he approached and bumped into the table behind me. He stopped inches in front of me and glared down, a sneer fixed to his face. His breath was foul, and I could as much taste it as smell it. He reached up and brushed a lock of hair from my cheek.

Goosebumps rose on my skin. Had there been anything in my stomach it would have been all over the floor. Instead, only bile burned at the back of my throat. I swallowed it down and met his grey gaze. I was not going to allow him the satisfaction of knowing my fear.

“I’ll let him know you’re concerned.” He smiled; a small bit of some food had caught between two of his teeth. Before I could respond, a coughing fit racked Cecil’s body. Beth and I watched, and it wasn’t until he’d regained control that my eyes left his crumpled form.

My gaze drifted over to the wide-open door; we’d missed our opportunity to run.

©SandraJJackson 2017

My thanks to Sandra for joining us today and please connect to her if you have not already done so at these links.


Sandra would love to answer your questions so please leave them in the comments for her to answer over the next few days. Thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – 1066 by Jack Eason

I am very happy to welcome Jack Eason to the Cafe and Bookstore with his new historical novella 1066. I am also delighted to include my review for the book.

About the book

Down the centuries the British Isles has always been seen by invaders as a legitimate target for exploitation. This novella concerns the last few weeks of Anglo-Saxon occupation, ending on the 14th of October, 1066. In Autumn 1066, author Jack Eason gives a great sense of ‘place’, of detail. The reader is right ‘there’ in that poignant year, marching, shivering with September cold (as ‘…no warming fires were allowed lest ‘enemy spies would soon spot their approach.’) From the very first few lines, Eason, practising his unique drycraft, begins to weave his particular brand of magic on his reader. Eason glamour’s with well-crafted dialogue, drawing his reader into the time and into the action. To accomplish this, the author proffers a gentle blend of informative nomenclature coupled with familiar speech, to ease the reader into his story without distancing with words too unfamiliar, which is a criticism frequently made of Bernard Cornwell’s epics. I long to read more Martin Bradley
My review for 1066 May 18th 2017.

Prepare yourself to stand in the shield wall.

This novella may be a short read, but it so packed with authentic detail and action, that you feel you are reading a much longer book.

Our heritage is founded on the backs of ordinary men such as Aldred and his nephew Cynric pressed into service as were thousands of farmers and craftsmen who were sworn to the feudal Anglo-Saxon lords. The story is factual but told through the eyes of these two fictional characters as warring armies battle to gain control of Britain.

One army is led by the barbaric King Harald of Norway or Hardradå as he is known by his men. He has formed an alliance with the Anglo-Saxon Tostig, claimant to the throne, now held by his brother King Harold, following the recent death of Edward the Confessor. This invasion force has the backing of Duke William of Normandy who has made promises to Tostig should there be victory.

With all the various factions identified, the story then takes us through the build up of forces led by the Norwegian king in southern Scotland, the defeat of the army entrenched in York and the significant and decisive victory by the forces of King Harold at Stamford Bridge.

This leads to the battle that was to change the life of every man, woman and child in Britain on October 14th 1066.

The main characters are portrayed vividly, and their backgrounds and involvement in this pivotal time in history, demonstrate how human traits such as greed, revenge and jealousy leads to the deaths of thousands who follow them.

The battle scenes and the acts of barbarism are very realistically portrayed both through the eyes of Aldred and Cynric, as well as those leading the various forces. The action maintains its pace throughout the story and Jack Eason has recreated the terrifying and brutal results of hand to hand combat and archery.

This was a dark time in our history and 1066 was a turning point for a Britain about to move into the Middle Ages, Jack Eason has captured this moment excellently.

If you enjoy a fast paced story and historical accuracy then I recommend you read 1066.

Buy the book – Amazon US –

Amazon UK

A small selection of other books by Jack Eason

One of the reviews for Turning Point

I have been brought up on the legend of Mu and Atlantis, the secrets of the Giza Pyramid, universes that exist and contain intelligent life, planetary travel etc. It was therefore easy to appreciate the breadth of vision of Turning Point, a fable and a science fiction novella by Jack Eason. The story is based on the legend that planet earth had been seeded by intelligent life from other planets and universes. So we have here an alien race of people known as the Drana, and a subordinate race they seeded known as the Khaz, to rule over our ancestors, and who still control our very existence by manipulating our governments (the cartel who call the shots on earth?).

We have here an explanation for ancient secrets like the electromagnetic grid which surround the earth, the reason for the pyramids, the seeding of the earth, the limited use of our minds capacity. We have here remnants of a peaceful people known as Nephile (Mu) who want to contain the Khaz and the secret designs of Drana to return to earth and form armies and slaves to conquer and colonize other planets. But they find that they are incapable of performing that task, without the supporting DNA of earthlings who have acclimatized themselves to the pollution and life on earth. This can only be accomplished by choosing earthlings who is more conducive to their needs (traces of Shambhala here).
Enter Tom, a man on a holiday in New Zealand, who does not know that he is being watched and manipulated, so that he finds the entrance to their homeland.
You will be enthralled by this story as I was, and appreciate the deeply researched book, the scientific mind of Jack and a possible explanation for the seeding of man on planet earth, and other scientific folklore.

I highly recommend Jack’s book, Turning Point. It will a turning point in your life, from the mumbo-jumbo that is today passed off as science fiction.

Discover all of Jack Eason’s books and read the reviews:

Follow Jack and read other reviews on Goodread:

About Jack Eason

Jack Eason lived in New Zealand for forty-two years until 2000 when he returned to his birthplace in England. As far as he is concerned he will always consider himself to be a Kiwi. After military service in the 1960’s, he travelled the world, visiting exotic lands and making many friends. Now in his mid-sixties he is content to write and travel via the Internet. Besides writing novels and short stories, he contributes to his own blog “Have We Had Help?” Some of his short stories and numerous articles appear in the No: 1 online E-zine “Angie’s DIARY”.

His literary interests include science fiction, history, both ancient and modern, and humorous tales like those written by his fellow writer Derek Haines, such as “HAL”. He lives in semi-retirement in his home town surrounded by his favourite books, ranging from historical fact to science fiction. His literary icons are J.R.R Tolkien, George Orwell, Arthur C Clarke and John Wyndham.

Connect to Jack


Please help spread the word of Jack Eason’s new book and if you would like to join the other 200 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and enjoy regular updates then please take a look at how easy it is to do that. Thanks Sally


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Marcia Meara and Shehanne Moore

Welcome to the first of the cafe updates of the week and the first author to showcase is Marcia Meara with the third book in her Riverbend series, That Darkest Place.

About the book

In Book 3 of her popular Riverbend series, Marcia Meara, author of Wake-Robin Ridge, A Boy Named Rabbit,and Harbinger, takes another look at the lives of the Painter brothers—Jackson, Forrest, and Hunter. While Hunter is home again and on the mend, the same isn’t true for his oldest brother. Jackson’s battle has just begun.

“There are dark places in every heart, in every head. Some you turn away from. Some you light a candle within. But there is one place so black, it consumes all light. It will pull you in and swallow you whole. You don’t leave your brother stranded in that darkest place.”
~Hunter Painter~

The new year is a chance for new beginnings—usually hopeful, positive ones. But when Jackson Painter plows his car into a tree shortly after midnight on January 1, his new beginnings are tragic. His brothers, Forrest and Hunter, take up a grim bedside vigil at the hospital, waiting for Jackson to regain consciousness and anxious over how he’ll take the news that he’s lost a leg and his fiancée is dead. After all, the accident was all his fault.

As the shocking truth emerges, one thing becomes obvious—Jackson will need unconditional love and support from both of his brothers if he is to survive.

Just as he begins the long road to recovery, danger, in the form of a sinister, unsigned note, plunges him back into bleak despair. Scrawled in blood red letters, the accusation—and the threat—is clear. “MURDERER!”

Will the long, harrowing ordeal that lies ahead draw the Painter brothers closer together, or drive them apart forever?

Suspenseful and often heartbreaking, this small-town tale is a testimonial to the redemptive power of love and paints a story filled with humor, romance, and fierce family loyalty.

An early review

That Darkest Place, a mystery that looks at a family dealing with a variety of real-life problems – with angst, humor and love.on May 14, 2017

Having been one of Marcia’s beta writers on her last novel, I was unavailable for this one, but I so looked forward to her next Riverbend novel that, as soon as she posted her completed novel – I immediately ordered it, sat down and completed it in three evenings of reading. The characters’ lives picked up from where her last novel ended, and I was immediately drawn into the waiting game played by so many as they await the outcome of and recovery of a family member from a serious medical trauma. Add to that the tight relationship between brothers who, in spite of totally different personalities and perspectives on life, none-the-less stick together and support one another as they deal with their own unique troubles.

Hunter, Forrest and Jackson Painter, like all of us, struggle with getting it right in dealing with life, friends, and loved ones. Throw in a vindictive mystery letter writer and you have another great Riverbend story. I thoroughly enjoyed her book and look forward to her upcoming novella, as well as her next full novel. Way to go Marcia – you give us other old timers (Marcia and I are the same age!) a boost in confidence and incentive to follow our dreams no matter what.

Buy the book:

Also by Marcia Meara

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

Follow Marcia Meara on Goodreads:

Connect to Marcia via her website:

Our next author update is for Shehanne Moore who has a brand new release, Splendor (London Jewel Thieves Book 2) which hit the shelves on the 18th of May.

About the book

The only thing he hates more than losing at chess is marriage…

For Splendor, former servant to London’s premiere jewel thieves, pretending to be someone else is all in a day’s work. So when she learns of a chess tournament—a men’s chess tournament—with a ten thousand pound prize, pretending to be a man is the obvious move. The money will be enough to set her fiancé up in his own business so they can finally marry, and more importantly, it’ll pay off her bills and keep her out of debtor’s prison. But she doesn’t plan on her opponent, the rakish Kendall Winterborne, Earl Stillmore, being a sore loser—and a drunken one, at that. But before she can collect her prize, she finds herself facing the most merciless man in London across a pair of dueling pistols at dawn. Chess may be Splendor’s game, but she’s never fired a pistol before. And dressed as a man with ill-fitting shoes on the slippery grass and borrowed glasses that make it hard to see, she’s certain she’s finally tipped her own king.

Bitter divorcee Kendall Winterborne, Earl Stillmore, is the ton’s most ruthless heartbreaker. And he’s got three pet peeves: kitchen maids, marriage…and losing. So when he realizes the “man” opposite him has entered the chess tournament under false pretenses, he’s in the perfect position to extort the little chit. But that’s before the exasperating woman begins to slip beneath his skin, and soon all he can think about is slipping beneath her skirts. But the confounded woman is engaged to someone else, and worse—she’s nothing but a former kitchen maid, just like the one that lured his father into the marriage that ruined the family name. And his ex-wife taught him more than he cared to know about why marriage was the worst kind of checkmate of all…

Buy the book:

Also by Shehanne Moore.

One of the latest reviews for The Writer and The Rake

Give me an historical romance with pale, delicate heroines and alpha heroes flexing their six packs and I’ll hand it back to you. Unread. But give me a historical time travel romance by Shehanne Moore and I’ll grab it with both hands, dive in there and have a whale of a time. I certainly did with The Writer and the Rake, as I have with all the author’s previous books. 100% entertainment, with the ‘bad girl’ unwitting time traveller, Brittany Carter and the Georgian rake – Mitchell Killgower – sparring off each other… when he’s not stealing her cigarettes.

Add Francis Dashwood and his notorious Hellfire Club, a son Mitchell cannot stand, plus a distinctly dodgy ex-husband, and this novel takes the reader on an often hilarious journey with a heroine your mother would not want you to be friends with but with whom you’d be guaranteed a rollercoaster time. This is the second in series but reads as a standalone. Loved it and looking forward to her next book.

Discover all the books, read the reviews and buy:

Read more reviews and follow Shehanne on Goodreads:

Connect to Shehanne via her blog:

Thanks for popping in today and please help spread the news of these two new books by fantastic authors. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Stevie Wonder, Justice ‘East End’ Style, Skin and Bones

Welcome to the round up for the posts this week just in case you missed any. I feel a little guilty since I spent quite a bit of time off line and not spending time with your blogs but I promise that just another week to go and I will be more attentive.

The plan was to get the next volume of What’s in a Name finished.. I have two more stories to go Y and Z… already in my head and then I have some surprises to add that will be revealed when it is published.  A slightely different appoach to the names from K to Z with just ordinary people doing something they will be remembered for.. Even if it is only by those they love.

Some of you may remember that I wrote a story using an illustration by the very talented Donata Zawadzka.

This story along with 24 more make up the sequel to Tales from the Garden but this time set in Ireland. Queen Filigree is forced to escape from the palace beneath the magnolia tree in Spain and to seek refuge with her Irish cousin.

I am working with Donata who is producing four central illustrations that head up the four seasons in the book and I am very excited by the project. And I have to thank Paul Andruss for introducing us. It will be in print as well as Ebook and is the first book of mine to be written in Ireland since 1999.

You can find out more about Donata at her website and her sales site:
Buy her work on Redbubble:

I have managed to get some gardening done this week which has a duel purpose.. I pot plants and plot stories!  I am going to do the same this week whilst I finish the current projects but I will be in each day to check up on things and have a chat.

Thank you for all your wonderful support and wonderful comments… I am hugely grateful.

Now for a look at the posts from the week… with additional thanks to my two collaborators.. William Price King and Paul Andruss.

William Price meets the Legends

A brand new series and this time the artist is the amazingly talented Mr. Stevie Wonder who has entertained us for over 50 years. His first performances at age 11 propelled him to early stardom and some of his most iconic hits were written when he was a teenager.  To get you in the mood is one of my all time favourites.

Writer in Residence – Paul Andruss

Paul explores the origins of music and you might look at chimpanzees in a different light.

The Colour of Life – by Geoff Cronin

Just a few more chapters to go in my father-in-law’s memoir but since so many of you have enjoyed I will also be serialising his second book of tall tales.. This week too I pay tribute to my mother-in-law Joan who would have been 97 yesterday. A lovely woman with the most infectious laugh you will ever hear.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Book Reading and Interview

Just  a reminder that if you are in the bookstore you are welcome to do a book reading and interview. The details of how to do that are in this post.  My guest this week was Richard Ankers and next week Sandra J. Jackson and C.S. Boyack.

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore New on the Shelves

If you are not already on the shelves of the bookstore then please pop in and take a look at this post which has a link to what you need to send me.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update

If you are in the bookstore you can enjoy regular updates of new releases, great reviews or offers.. Just send me an email to

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air your Reviews

This is open to all authors on the bookstore shelves or not… just send the link to your latest great review to

Jessica Norrie

Smorgasbord Poetry

My thanks to Robbie Cheadle for her contribution to this post this week.. In a dilemma about which cake to bake for her husband’s birthday she took to verse…

Smorgasbord Short Stories

The Sewing Circle is about a group of elderly residents of an East London estate whose lives are devastated by the actions of a family of thugs.  Here are all three episodes. More stories from this collection next week.

Some personal stuff

I was delighted to be interviewed by two writers this week. The first was with Amy M. Reade.

And the second was with Lisa Burton.... courtesy of Craig Boyack.

I was also very honoured to be nominated in the Most Informative Category for the #BloggersBash this year and voting is now open. There are ten categories and some wonderful nominees.. Please head over and vote for your favourites.

Smorgasbord Health – Let’s Walk a Marathon Challenge

This week.. how to burn extra fat…

Smorgasbord Health – Top to Toe.

Smorgasbord Health – Cook from Scratch

I would love to hear from you if you have a recipe made from fresh ingredients that is a favourite..


Put your troubles away for a little while and enjoy the outlook of a pug who has a neural problem but does not let it get him down..

Thanks for showing up, commenting, sharing and being so supportive.. hugs Sally

Keep smiling