Smorgasbord Blog Sitting Special – Aging and Wisdom – The New Perennial Age of Women by D.G. Kaye


A welcome back to to Debby Gies with one of the posts from her archives to share with us today.  When this post appeared last year it was met with rave reviews and for weeks on Facebook we were all announcing to the world our new status.. A Perennial Woman..

Perennial years

Aging and Wisdom – The New Perennial Age of Women by D.G. Kaye

How many times have we said we don’t feel or look our age? When did middle-age sneak into our lives? Where did the years go?

I’m sure we’ve all begged the answers to those questions once or twice as we women approach our ‘Perennial’ years.

What comes to mind when women use the terms ‘the new 40 or 50′, even 60 or 70? Here’s a clue: it encompasses so much more than just looks.

In my opinion, looks have changed since the last generation, without discounting so many other changes that have occurred through the decades to empower women. Women in their 40s and 50s look much younger than those from decades past. I’m not referring to the advent of cosmetic surgery, but when I look back on decades past, I notice some interesting hairdos and fashion statements. Looking back at the women in my own family and even movie stars with the styles of yesteryear, it’s not hard for me to compare a woman of today in her 40s or 50s appearing younger looking than those before us at the same age. Was it the hairstyles, a more sedentary lifestyle which gave the impression a women in her 30s back when of 30 or 40 years ago looked similar in age to women now in their 40s or 50s?

Back in those days, women didn’t lead lifestyles like they do now, some with powerful jobs, being the bigger bread winner, many working what used to be considered, jobs for only men, or raising a family while carrying a job. “We’ve come a long way baby,” as the old cigarette ad used to say. (Am I giving away my age?)

I have to laugh at the many times me and my sister would bring up the subject of our dreaded childhood weekends we were forced to spend at our paternal grandparents’ house. We’d remark to one another about how even when we were small, our grandmother looked like . . . well, a grandmother. We only envision her old from as far back as we can remember. But lol, I digress.

What made me write this post on women then and now was prompted by a conversation I had on the weekend with one of my sister-in-laws. She shared a topic of discussion that came up between her and her yoga teacher. Her teacher had referred to women in the age group of 40s and 50s as ‘perennials’. Have any of you heard this term used before? I haven’t. But I love it.

I’ve heard of some more unflattering terms such as menopausal, even cougars, but not perennials.

According to the yoga teacher’s preferred term, perennial, it represents this age category because many women are reaching their full potential, ‘in full bloom’ as they enter their 40s and 50s. This age bracket is where many women enter new phases of life such as: the empty nest stage where their kids are finally moving out or getting married, making new lives for themselves or raising families. This is a time where women begin to re-evaluate their accomplishments and desires and come to realize they want to do things that either they may not have thought about doing when they were younger, or were too busy raising their families or building careers, choosing to put their own desires on hold.

I can identify with this wonderful choice of word, perennial, representing a time period of continuation of our evolving. We are still evolving and learning and doing. Every year we bloom with more knowledge from our experiences and eventually, the new bloom leads to desires of the ‘me time’. A time for us to focus on the things we enjoy whether it be travel, new hobbies, furthering our education, or even writing books.

So much can apply to this ‘new age’. The possibilities are endless if we allow ourselves the entitlement to flourish and bloom to complete ourselves for ourselves.

I absolutely adore the term ‘perennial’ and it does sound so much better than ‘the change’. In fact, there may even be a book from me down the road on the subject.

How do you feel about the term ‘perennial’?

I am sure that Debby would love to hear your answer and receive your feedback, and I look forward to reading both on my return tomorrow.  Thanks to Debby for another wonderful post.

About D.G. Kaye

Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.

When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.
I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.

Quotes:
“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”

                 “For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”

When I’m not writing, I’m reading or quite possibly looking after some mundane thing in life. It’s also possible I may be on a secret getaway trip, as that is my passion—traveling.

This is D.G. Kaye’s latest release in December 2017.

About Twenty Years: After “I Do”.

May/December memoirs.

In this personal accounting, D.G. Kaye shares the insights and wisdom she has accrued through twenty years of keeping her marriage strong and thriving despite the everyday changes and challenges of aging. Kaye reveals how a little creative planning, acceptance, and unconditional love can create a bond no obstacle will break. Kaye’s stories are informative, inspiring, and a testament to love eclipsing all when two people understand, respect, and honor their vows. She adds that a daily sprinkling of laughter is a staple in nourishing a healthy marriage.

Twenty years began with a promise. As Kaye recounts what transpired within that time, she shows that true love has no limits, even when one spouse ages ahead of the other.

Here is one of the recent reviews for the book

“Twenty Years After I Do” is a love story, all the more compelling because it is true. Kaye shines a light under the table, exposing those things many of us prefer to keep out of sight. For all of the unpleasant topics in the book, this is not a depressing journey. She doesn’t say that love concours all, but she shows us, through her own life, that it so often does. More accurately, she explains that love will help us face whatever outcome life gives us.

The author is one of the decreasing number of people who understand that marriage is “ti deathl do us part.” Staying together is not optional, it’s not a choice to be made. That choice was made with the speaking of the words, “I Do.” She shows us that love and humor are tools we can use to overcome obstacles we would have thought unsurmountable.

This is a good read. Reading it has made me feel like I’ve made a friend.
 

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077V386TL

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B077V386TL

Other books by D.G. Kaye

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Read all the reviews and buy the books: http://www.amazon.com/author/dgkaye7

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/D.G.-Kaye/e/B00HE028FO

More reviews and follow Debby on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/dgkaye

Connect to Debby Gies

Blog: http://www.dgkayewriter.com
About me: http://www.wiseintro.co/dgkaye7
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/@pokercubster (yes there’s a story)
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/dgkaye7
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dgkaye
Google: http://www.google.com/+DebbyDGKayeGies
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/dgkaye
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/dgkaye7

Thanks again to Debby for sharing this very popular post from her archives.

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Smorgasbord Blog Sitting Special – Interviewing an Editor – Judy Penz Sheluk interviews Lourdes Venard


Today in the blog-sitting special, you get two authors and two editors. Author and Freelance Editor, Judy Penz Sheluk interviews fellow editor and author Lourdes Venard. This is great, since editors are always busy, and it is useful to make new contacts. It is also helpful to find blogs, such as Judy’s, where you can be interviewed.

Interviewing an Editor – Judy Penz Sheluk interviews Lourdes Venard

It’s my honor to introduce Lourdes Venard. I have worked with Lourdes during pre-publication of The Hanged Man’s Noose, as well as in her role as Editor, First Draft, a newsletter for more than 600 members of Sisters in Crime, Guppy Chapter.

Lourdes is the founder of Comma Sense Editing, LLC, which provides services to individual authors, magazines, and other clients. Before founding Comma Sense, she was a writer and editor at major American newspapers, including Newsday, The Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and The Washington Post. In addition to her other duties, Lourdes teaches copyediting through online courses at the University of California, San Diego, and through the Editorial Freelancers Association.

Judy: What steps should a writer take before hiring an editor, and is hiring an editor really necessary?

Lourdes: Whether you are looking for an agent or self-publishing, you need to present your best writing. But before hiring an editor, here are five steps I recommend you take:

1) Don’t hire an editor the day after you’ve typed “The End.” Put your manuscript in the drawer, figuratively speaking. Stephen King waits six weeks between the first and second drafts. Others recommend two to three weeks.

2) During those weeks, read books on the craft of writing, especially on dialogue, pacing, and tension. You may have already read dozens of books, but it never hurts to read a few more or to refresh yourself with books you’ve already read. I recommend Revision & Self-Editing by James Scott Bell. Read other books in your genre to see what they do well.

3) Now, with the detachment you’ve gained from having your manuscript in the drawer and with the knowledge you’ve gained (or have been reminded of), pull your manuscript out again. Read through once, making a list of issues that need to be addressed—scenes that don’t work, weak characters, and plot holes, for instance.

4) If you haven’t joined a writing group yet, do so. Get critiques from writing partners or trusted beta readers. If several readers point to the same problems, take note.

5) Revise again. How many drafts is enough? This is different for every writer, but even seasoned writers like King complete three drafts. Others, even best-selling authors, craft 12 or more drafts before the manuscript is ready.

By this time, you may be so enmeshed in the manuscript that you lack the distance that is needed to look at it with a more critical eye. This is when you turn to a professional editor, who will guide you through any additional changes that the manuscript needs.

Judy: You do copyediting and content (developmental) editing. Can you explain the difference?

Lourdes: This is a good question, as many beginning writers don’t know the difference. Copyediting is mostly a look at grammar and spelling, as well as inconsistencies, factual errors, and large plot holes. This should be the second step of the editing process. The first step should be content or developmental editing—a thorough edit that looks at characterization, point of view, tone, pacing, dialogue, and the overall structure of the book. Most editors provide a critique, or editorial letter, in their developmental edit.

Judy: I often hear writers say that they can’t afford to hire a professional editor, that they have a critique group/partner to help them. What are your thoughts on this?

Lourdes: Critique groups and beta reader are good places to start, and I recommend them. But they shouldn’t replace an experienced editor who has knowledge of the business and knows what acquiring editors and publishers want. Also, some critique partners hesitate to point out all the flaws, or may be too busy with their own work to give the deep look that an editor does. As a developmental editor, I may spend months with an author in a collaborative process that goes back and forth. My intent is not to change an author’s voice, but to enhance and polish their manuscript so that it’s marketable.

Judy: You also offer other services, such as help with synopsis, author bios, agent and publisher query letters, and critiquing. In your experience, which of these services has the greatest demand?

Lourdes: Most of my clients also ask for help with synopses and query letters. I come from a journalism background, where we write to fit a certain space, so I enjoy crafting a one-page synopsis! Query letters are also essential and I work closely with authors to tailor something that will catch an agent’s eye.

Judy: You’ve worked with a lot of beginning writers, myself included. Are there common errors/mistakes that most beginners make?

Lourdes: Yes, I and other editors see the same errors. It’s not surprising, as crafting a book is something one learns with practice. The most common errors are wordiness and including unneeded information, stilted dialogue, head-hopping (suddenly shifting from one point of view to another), telling rather than showing, inconsistencies, narrative issues (from lack of tension to dumping too much backstory), misplaced modifiers, and a manuscript that is either too long or too short. Another very common error is not beginning the story in the right place; writers often want to “set up” the story. But an author only has five pages—and sometimes fewer than that—to grab the eye of an agent or publisher.

Judy: You published a novel, Publishing for Beginners: What First-Time Authors Need to Know, in October 2014. What prompted you to write it, and what sort of information can readers expect to find in it?

Lourdes: This grew out of questions I kept getting from clients—questions that went beyond editing. Many of them had written good books and self-published, only to see small sales. Others were hoping to publish traditionally and wanted to know how to find an agent. Others were conflicted about which route to take: traditional publishing or indie publishing. So my book covers the differences in publishing routes, as well as querying, editing, marketing, and even financial matters (a chapter written by my husband, an accountant).

Judy: You also edited an anthology of short crime fiction, Mystery in Paradise: 13 Tales of Suspense. How does that process differ from editing a novel?

Lourdes: I’ve edited several collections of short stories, and I love working with shorter fiction. In some ways, writing short is even harder than a novel. You need to create full characters that grab the reader immediately, you need to hide your clues in far fewer words, and your story needs to pack a punch at the end. I love “gotcha” stories that surprise me with their endings. As an editor, I’m working with the author to make sure those elements are in place.

Judy: What’s next for Lourdes Venard?

Lourdes: Because I mostly edit mysteries and crime thrillers, I’m looking to expand Publishing for Beginners, with a focus toward crime fiction authors.

Connect to Lourdes

Website: http://www.commasense.net/
Amazon author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Lourdes-Venard/e/B00OQI5A02
Twitter: https://twitter.com/lourdesvenard
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Commasense/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8584825.Lourdes_Venard

Now time to find out more about Judy Penz Sheluk.

 

An Amazon International Bestselling Author, Judy Penz Sheluk’s debut mystery novel, The Hanged Man’s Noose, the first in the Glass Dolphin Mystery series, was published in July 2015. The sequel, A Hole In One, is scheduled for Spring 2018.

Skeletons in the Attic, Judy’s second novel, and the first in her Marketville Mystery series, was first published in August 2016 and re-released in December 2017. Past & Present, the sequel, is scheduled for early 2019.

Judy’s short crime and literary fiction appears in several collections.

In her less mysterious pursuits, Judy works as a freelance writer and editor; her articles have appeared regularly in dozens of U.S. and Canadian consumer and trade publications.

Past editorial responsibilities have included the roles of Senior Editor, Northeast Art & Antiques, Editor, Antiques and Collectibles Showcase, and Editor, Home Builder Magazine. She is currently the Senior Editor for New England Antiques Journal.

Judy is also a member of Sisters in Crime International, Sisters in Crime – Guppies, Sisters in Crime – Toronto, Crime Writers of Canada, International Thriller Writers, Inc. the South Simcoe Arts Council, and the Short Mystery Fiction Society. In addition, Judy has been elected to the 2017-18 Board of Directors for Crime Writers of Canada, as a Director, and as a Regional Representative for Toronto/Southern Ontario.

She lives in Alliston, Ontario, with her husband, Mike, and their golden retriever, Gibbs.

Books by Judy Penz Sheluk

Skeletons in the Attic – A Marketville Mystery which is now available in audio for those who love to listen to their books as well as read them.

About the book

Calamity (Callie) Barnstable isn’t surprised to learn she’s the sole beneficiary of her late father’s estate, though she is shocked to discover she has inherited a house in the town of Marketville—a house she didn’t know existed. However, there are conditions attached to Callie’s inheritance: she must move to Marketville, live in the house, and solve her mother’s murder.

Callie’s not keen on dredging up a thirty-year-old mystery, but if she doesn’t do it, there’s a scheming psychic named Misty Rivers who is more than happy to expose the Barnstable family secrets. Determined to thwart Misty and fulfill her father’s wishes, Callie accepts the challenge. But is she ready to face the skeletons hidden in the attic?

One of the recent reviews for the audio book

Review originally published at Lomeraniel dot com Audiobookreviews.

After reviewing The Hanged Man’s Noose by this same author, and thinking that it was one of the best cozy mysteries I have ever read, I was looking forward to this one.

Calamity Barnstable’s father just died, and she inherits several documents, a house, and a mission: finding who murdered her mother when she was still a child.

After having listened to two books by Judy Penz Sheluk, I can say that she builds interesting and intricate stories with fully fleshed characters. I think this is why her stories work so well. Callie is a woman who I can perfectly relate to, in search for the truth, and trying to make her way in a new place. I especially enjoyed her friendship with Shantal, and the fact that nothing in this story seemed to be just black or white, and no one was what they seem. There are several twists and turns in this book, and I enjoyed it from beginning to end, unable to stop listening and find out the truth.

I have to say that the end was completely unexpected, and after all the buildup I felt a little bit underwhelmed. I don’t know how to explain it but it seems that the story suddenly deflated at that point. It is just a personal impression, and except for that I really loved the book.

Clayra Jordin did a decent job with the narration of this book, but honestly, I think Suzanne T. Fortin, who narrated The Hanged Man’s Noose did much better. Jordin inflected the right amount of emotion to the characters’ interpretations, and her voice was clear, but sadly all characters sounded exactly the same, which made several dialogs quite confusing.

This is the first book in a series, and I hope Judy Penz Sheluk hurries up and writes the sequels. She has me really hooked up to her cozy mysteries.  

Read the  reviews for the book and buy in print and audio: https://www.amazon.com/Skeletons-Attic-Marketville-Mystery-Book-ebook/dp/B01IQ0N3X6

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Skeletons-Attic-1-Marketville-Mystery/dp/1772232645

Also by Judy Penz Sheluk

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Read the reviews and buy all the books: http://www.amazon.com/Judy-Penz-Sheluk/e/B00O74NX04

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Judy-Penz-Sheluk/e/B00O74NX04/

Read more reviews and follow Judy on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8602696.Judy_Penz_Sheluk

Connect to Judy

Blog: http://www.judypenzsheluk.com/
Facebook: https://business.facebook.com/JudyPenzSheluk/about/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JudyPenzSheluk

My thanks to Judy and to Lourdes for blog sitting today and I am sure they would love your feedback and questions. Thanks Sally

 

Smorgasbord Blog Sitting Special – The Wedding Dancer by Jennie Fitzkee


I have another treat for you with the next blog sitting post. Jennie Fitzkee has a wonderful blog where she shares stories of her life as a pre-school teacher. But in this post Jennie shares a hidden talent… well hidden from us up to now!

The Wedding Dancer by Jennie Fitzkee

Friends. Good friends. There are seven of us. Lucky Seven, I’d say. We met when our children were quite young and sang together in a premier children’s choral group. The group made two trips to England, including singing at Harrods and at St Martin-in-the-Fields. We stuck together through years of rehearsals and performances, a brilliant choir director who drank too much, and an organist who was as kind as Father Christmas to the children. The choir flourished, and so did our friendship.

I never really experienced diversity before. My southern upbringing where everyone was alike abruptly changed when I moved to New England. These ladies, good friends, were different from me. Our commonality was music, and that was the foundation for a life-long friendship.

Paula was the smart one, the leader, and a math genius.

Jane was the voice of standing up for what is right and wrong. She could have led the woman’s suffrage movement back in the day. She was also the chef.

Carolyn was the witty one and a brilliant writer. She reviewed all the theater performances in Boston.

Kathryn was the accomplished musician and an excellent nurse.

Alice was the outstanding teacher, working with blind students in Boston.

Elaine was the savvy one, the techy one. She also owned the great outdoors.

Death and illness intervened and brought us closer together. Alice’s husband died, and Paula’s husband became very ill. We started meeting for dinner every month. Then, we started meeting for a weekend every summer at Paula’s house on Lake Winnisquam in New Hampshire. Meanwhile, our children were going through teenage years and prep school applications. We cried. We laughed. Oh, how we laughed! We swam in the lake and became the Mermatrons. Too old to be mermaids, so matrons seemed to fit the title.

That humorously came to be pronounced merm-A-trons. Yes, we have a title. Our children are jealous, hoping that they find such a lifetime group of friends.

Music was always the bond, the glue. We shared our love of opera. I shared my love of R&B. We talked about the concerts we went to in college, and the great music of the 60’s and 70’s. I always said, “I want to be Aretha Franklin’s back-up singer.” I did, and I meant it. We played music at Paula’s on the lake, loud. Really loud. We sang and danced as if no time had passed since college.

Then, our children were older. Kathryn’s daughter was getting married. Kathryn said, “Jennie, you have always wanted to be Aretha Franklin’s back-up singer. Let’s do a performance at the wedding reception. You can lead us in a song and dance.”

Whoa! Me? Leading a R&B song and doing a performance? I protested, but finally caved.
I had to pick a song and decided on “One Fine Day” by the Chiffons. Costumes were white gloves. Picture a hand in the glove, and a finger waving and hips moving as we sang the words, “one fine day.”

Our practices were… hysterical. We were so bad that we laughed more than we sang. Wine helped, or maybe it didn’t help. Dancing to music looked like snow shoveling. At one practice, a client of Carolyn’s husband arrived, just in time to see us in all our glory, or less than glory. Paula’s son was there to help. Oh, we needed help. He clapped his hands together saying, “Ladies in the back row.” We knew we were bad. We’d never had so much fun.

We dubbed that as one of our top-ten Mermatron moments.

The wedding reception arrived, and so did we. I was (gulp) front and center. Carolyn and all her wit announced us, and… we were a big hit. Standing ovation. The audience asked for an encore. Encore? Carolyn’s parting words to the crowd at the end of our performance were, “Ladies and gentlemen, as we speak, Federal Agents from the Witness Protection Program are waiting to escort the performers…”

Out first wedding performance was a smash!

Paula’s younger son was the next to get married. After the success that happened at the previous wedding, we were asked to perform. This time, I had to be prepared for a song AND an encore. Clearly the 60’s female groups were our thing, at least for weddings. I picked “Heat Wave” by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. We wore white boas, long white gloves, and white cat-eye rhinestone-studded glasses. This was far more costume than the short white gloves we had worn before. The movements to the words would have topped any 60’s group. We had it nailed!

Then came the encore, “Gimme Some Lovin” by the Spencer Davis Group. I knew it had to be good, and not a female R&B song, as it was the encore! We practiced. More wine and more laughing helped. Well, sort of. Before the wedding, my husband and I attended a friend’s wedding. The DJ at the reception was taking requests for songs, and I knew I needed a practice in front of an audience. He played the song, I sang and danced… and everybody was watching. Everybody, including the kitchen help. Yes, they came out of the kitchen to watch.

 

I danced in front of a group of hundreds of people. Alone. I brought the house down. I had to practice for my friend’s wedding. Afterwards, a new acquaintance said, “Jennie, I didn’t know you were, uh, like that.” Little did he know I’m not. The power of music is remarkable.
At the Mermatron’s wedding reception we slipped away to “dress” in our boas, glasses, and long white gloves. “Heat Wave” has a long instrumental introduction with plenty of rhythm and soul- perfect for walking onto the stage. You could have heard a pin drop except for the music. I think the Mermatrons were relieved I was up front in case they screwed up, or had a sudden fit of hysterical laughter. Oh, we were good! Swinging hips and shoulders, waving arms up high, or open wide, with great exaggeration, of course. I think Martha Reeves and the Vandellas had real competition.

As soon as the song ended, and all the clapping and cheering died down, we turned our backs to the audience, took off the boas, glasses, and gloves, and grabbed dark sunglasses. Time for “Gimme Some Lovin”, the encore! Turning around to face the audience, we stood stone-faced, feet apart, and holding sunglasses behind our backs.

The music began with the heavy sound of five, do-do-do-do-do beats. We slowly put on our sunglasses at the second round of beats, keeping rhythm to the music. That was our killer opening move. This dance was heavy rock, not the smooth beats of R&B. We shook our hair, bent over shaking our shoulders, and pulled in an imaginary rope. Remember Dan Aykroyd in “The Great Outdoors”, dancing at the end of the movie and pulling his wife in with a ‘rope’? Yeah, that was the (great) move we did.

Just when wedding dancing seemed like a distant, lovely Mermatron memory, Kathryn’s other daughter married, and of course she wanted us to perform at her reception. The Chiffons came through again with “He’s So Fine.” Love that R&B. No boas, just long white gloves and the rhinestone studded white glasses. As we had a last rehearsal in the wings, Paula’s son remarked, “The ladies in the back row now have separate movements. Wow!” Can you picture 60-year-olds orchestrating and actually dancing to a hit song, with separate movements? We did, and we made The Chiffons proud. Carolyn introduced us as the Merm-a-tones. The audience roared their approval, and we danced the night away.

Paula’s oldest son was the next to marry. Mr. Ladies in the Back Row probably knew us better than any of our children. Naturally, we decided on the best wedding song ever, “Chapel of Love”, by the Dixie Cups. As with all the wedding dancing events, I spent the previous month singing the song under my breath at every moment, and unconsciously working on ‘cool moves’. Yes, in public. The stares were priceless. My husband did not feel the same way, though. I spied bling rings at the checkout counter at Pier One and lost it. I turned into a four-year-old on Christmas morning. I grabbed seven rings and tried to tell the sales lady how perfect they’ll be on top of the white gloves. She didn’t respond. I tried to explain the song and dance while trying on every ring, then noticed the silence around me. My husband clenched his teeth, paid for the rings, and pulled me out of the store.

Since this was the wedding of the hip, cool child, we went all out and decided to finish the song by immediately going into the latest, greatest, coolest music of the day- Gangnam Style! Well, first we had to learn that dance. So, two YouTube videos to the rescue, and lots of wine. One video was instructional. We followed along, or at least tried to. That was a sight not to behold. Laughter caused serious bladder control issues. A friend aged twenty-something watched us jump and cross our wrists, the key dance move, and commented that we looked like scarecrows. Now that was encouraging. Although, rolling our derrieres was a move we got down pat. Pun intended?

At the wedding reception, we entered the stage walking in a line, each with a hand on the shoulder of the lady in front of us. We flashed those bling rings at the audience and nearly brought the house down. But, no time to pause, as we immediately transitioned to Gangnam Style, including wearing singer PSY’s sunglasses. The audience enthusiastically whistled and clapped along to the beat. That certainly helped, and we pulled it off, beautifully.

Fast forward to today. One of our children has been friends with Meghan Markle for quite a while. If he is invited to the Royal Wedding, don’t you think he should suggest the Mermatrons as entertainment? Wait! We could ask Her Majesty the Queen to join the ladies in the back row!

Laughter makes the world all the better. So do good friends. Hats off to the Mermatrons and our wedding dancing adventures.

©Jennie Fitzkee images 2018

Wasn’t that a wonderful post of friendship, music and laughter and I know that Jennie would love your feedback..

About Jennie Fitzkee

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It’s the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That’s what I write about.

I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease’s bestselling book, “The Read-Aloud Handbook” because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.

Connect to Jennie

Blog: https://jenniefitzkee.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jennie.fitzkee

I look forward to checking up on your comments when I get back next Wednesday and thanks again to Jennie for a lovely post.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Open House Sunday Interview – Author – Non-Fiction – Memoirs – D.G. Kaye


This week my lovely friend Debby, D.G. Kaye is taking over the hot seat and will sharing the background to why she rights non-fiction and memoirs, her publishing adventures, favourite music and the one big adventure she would like to experience.

d-g-kayeDebby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.

When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.
I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.

Quotes:
“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”

                 “For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”

When I’m not writing, I’m reading or quite possibly looking after some mundane thing in life. It’s also possible I may be on a secret getaway trip, as that is my passion—traveling.

Time to find out more about Debby’s chosen subjects.

Thanks for having me over here today Sal. It’s always a pleasure to be featured on your esteemed blog.

Tell us about your genre of books that you write and why.

I’ve always been a ‘tell it the way it is’ kind of girl. In fact, I’m pretty sure I should have been a reporter. I’m a nonfiction/memoir writer and no matter how hard I try to get around that by dabbling into the odd fiction writing piece, it always seemed I was writing on factual incidents, so I decided why bother packing it as fiction, why not just own up to it and tell the truth. All my stories have lessons in them that others can take from them. And when a story isn’t about a serious topic, I’ll always try to inject humor whenever I can. Why? Because sometimes we all just need to look for the funny.

What adventures have you had publishing your work?

Seriously? I could write another book with my adventures and mishaps of self-publishing, but I’ll share a few here.

Before I began writing my first book, I spent a year trying to learn the business of publishing. I signed up for many newsletters from some of the pioneers in the biz to learn the essentials about how editors worked, what formatting entailed, the importance of good, professional book covers, and marketing. I was overwhelmed to say the least but my passion to write books was stronger than my fear of the publishing process. Through the course of writing and publishing 6 books, I learned a lot about what makes a good book cover, a painful lesson on hiring the wrong editor, what a properly formatted book entails (without learning the actual process of formatting myself, but I give good directives, lol), and the importance of sharing, caring and giving back where I can.

I am humble. And I never forget how intimidating it was for me to publish my first book and the people who reached out to give me great advice and a helping hand when I was eager to learn and grateful for any help anyone could offer me. That help came in ways of suggestions for editors, formatters, cover artists, promotional opportunities and friendships I slowly made along the way with other writers who had generously given of their time to help me solve many dilemmas along the way.

What kind of music do you listen to and who are your favourite musicians?

I enjoy quite a few genres of music, depending on my mood. It’s funny, there was a time in my life where music was always on wherever I went – home or otherwise, until the writing bug set in and I can’t concentrate with any distractions including music. But when I do listen I love 70s music the most. Oh, I enjoy pop music from all decades, but something about the music of some of the great musicians from that decade just make me want to sing – The Eagles, America, The Guess Who, ELO, Earth Wind and Fire, well you get my drift.

But I also happen to love R & B, and preferably tunes from the 80s and 90s in that genre. And these last few years I’ve also become a big Country and Western fan. I think that grew along with my love for the Southwest USA – Luke Bryan, Sam Hunt, Lady Antebellum, Vince Gill, Tim McGraw and many more.

What is the one big adventure that you would like to experience?

I would love to participate in some writing conferences, author get-togethers, The Blogger’s Bash, and a girl’s holiday on a cruise-ship vacation one day! Writing can be a solitary life and I know that I’m so grateful to have many wonderful friends I’ve made through my writing and blogging and many of you live in different countries – predominantly the US and the UK. I really feel it’s time to meet some of my far away friends in real time. I shall see what this new year brings. These are bucket list wishes. 😊

Tell us about your WIP, plans for your blog and any special events coming up.

I wrote a post in January, outlining my plans for what I intend to share on my blog this year.

They are as follows:

• Sunday Book Reviews
• Guest Author Interviews (one scheduled for January, more to resume come April)
• Inspirational Posts
• Informational Share Posts
• Opinionated Posts
• Monthly #WATWB Contribution Posts (We are the World Blogfest)
• More Guest Post Features

These are my plans so far. As we all know, plans can change, but intentions are good, and plans help us be accountable. I’m also hoping to get involved in some Podcasting to expand my authorly horizons. And I think it’s time to venture into some freelance writing to supplement income. As far as book writing goes, I’d like to take a year off publishing another book because it eats up a good few months of my time doing so, and I want to explore new marketing avenues and activities to engage my readers and followers. I say I won’t publish another book this year, but I don’t know if I believe myself, lol. Let’s just say I’ve started a new journal with some new book ideas. I think my next book will be geared more toward the self-help genre than memoir. And I really want to write a humorous book too, so this may be a combined effort. I have a rough outline of ideas only for a book on ‘The changes after the change’. Probably won’t be pretty, but hopefully, plenty of laughs.

Okay, I know my time is up here, but I just wanted to leave you with one of my favorite quotes:

“Life is not measured by the amount of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away.” ~ Author Unknown

And I’d love to share one of my favorite songs here in a video clip because I love the artist, the melody and the message:

Thanks Debby for sharing your adventures in publishing which have resulted in some wonderful books, and also your plans for the future.

This is D.G. Kaye’s latest release in December 2017.

About Twenty Years: After “I Do”.

May/December memoirs.

In this personal accounting, D.G. Kaye shares the insights and wisdom she has accrued through twenty years of keeping her marriage strong and thriving despite the everyday changes and challenges of aging. Kaye reveals how a little creative planning, acceptance, and unconditional love can create a bond no obstacle will break. Kaye’s stories are informative, inspiring, and a testament to love eclipsing all when two people understand, respect, and honor their vows. She adds that a daily sprinkling of laughter is a staple in nourishing a healthy marriage.

Twenty years began with a promise. As Kaye recounts what transpired within that time, she shows that true love has no limits, even when one spouse ages ahead of the other.

Here is one of the recent reviews for the book

“Twenty Years After I Do” is a love story, all the more compelling because it is true. Kaye shines a light under the table, exposing those things many of us prefer to keep out of sight. For all of the unpleasant topics in the book, this is not a depressing journey. She doesn’t say that love concours all, but she shows us, through her own life, that it so often does. More accurately, she explains that love will help us face whatever outcome life gives us.

The author is one of the decreasing number of people who understand that marriage is “ti deathl do us part.” Staying together is not optional, it’s not a choice to be made. That choice was made with the speaking of the words, “I Do.” She shows us that love and humor are tools we can use to overcome obstacles we would have thought unsurmountable.

This is a good read. Reading it has made me feel like I’ve made a friend.
 

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077V386TL

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B077V386TL

Other books by D.G. Kaye

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Read all the reviews and buy the books: http://www.amazon.com/author/dgkaye7

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/D.G.-Kaye/e/B00HE028FO

More reviews and follow Debby on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/dgkaye

Connect to Debby Gies

Blog: http://www.dgkayewriter.com
About me: http://www.wiseintro.co/dgkaye7
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/@pokercubster (yes there’s a story)
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/dgkaye7
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dgkaye
Google: http://www.google.com/+DebbyDGKayeGies
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/dgkaye
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/dgkaye7

Debby would be delighted to receive your feedback and any questions and I will be back on Wednesday to check out the comments. Thanks for dropping in.. Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Sitting Special – The Kelpies, a pink bus shelter and two taxi drivers by M.J. Mallon


Very pleased to hand you over to another blog sitter this afternoon. Author M.J. Mallon. (Marjorie). An adventure in Scotland when Marjorie and her mother visited the famous Kelpies on their trip to Edinburgh.

The Kelpies, a pink bus shelter and two taxi drivers by M.J. Mallon

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I’ve been longing to see the Kelpies, two enormous horse sculptures that live in Falkirk, Scotland. This had been on my bucket list of things to do whilst up in Edinburgh. Not only did I come face to face with the Kelpies I also met two entertaining taxi drivers and came across a bright pink bus shelter with no buses. Such is Scotland, it has a charm you can’t hope to find anywhere else in the world and that is why I love it so.

Mum and I set off the day after I arrived in Edinburgh. The weather seemed fair, so I wasn’t about to take any chances. In Scotland when it’s dry you go out, you don’t wait for the next day!

We travelled by train and arrived at Falkirk High hoping to take the bus to the Kelpies. As we went off in search of a bus we walked past three taxi drivers having a chat. I sensed that these three were not your ordinary run of the mill taxi drivers. The nearby bus stop had a timetable that stated a half an hour wait so mum and I decided to opt for a taxi.

This is when the fun began!

We asked the three taxi drivers if one of them could take us to see the Kelpies. They greeted us with enthusiasm, told us the price and suggested that we take the taxi at the front. It turned out that our driver had a dual career. He’d grown tired of plumbing and now worked as a taxi driver/plumber. He had a fine line of chat that could win him a job as a chat show host or a comedian at the Edinburgh Fringe. I’m not joking! His banter started as soon as we asked him the price to take us to the Kelpies. He said Scottish folk get a special rate of six or seven pounds but the English have to pay ten. Obviously, he had heard I live in Cambridge!

Thereafter, his commentary continued in a steady flow of detail about local tourist attractions such as Callandar House – Visit Scotland, as well as unexpected details such as taxi drivers not being able to use the toilet in the station. But, his pièce de résistance came in force towards the end of the journey. He suddenly waved his mobile at us, revealing a photo of him in a kilt. Obviously, this must have been set to that exact spot on his mobile for effect. I have to say he cut a very fine figure in his kilt! Mum and I were gob smacked. I have never had a taxi driver show me a photo of himself in a kilt before and this is when the conversation took an unexpected direction. He mentioned his surname, (which I’ll keep to myself,) and asked us if we knew how to check whether a kilt belonged to a McDonald clan member. We said no. His exact words escape me but he said something like: ‘You put your hands up the kilt, and if there are two quarter pounders up there, then you have your answer.’ We had to laugh at his crude joke – there was nothing else we could do!

Mr Kelpie reared up in shock!

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Thereafter, he mentioned how he always wore his kilt during the festival. Mum asked him what he did whilst wearing his kilt during this busy time and he replied, ‘I get pissed.’

What a laugh! Oh my goodness, we were nearly there! The Kelpies were in sight.

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He dropped us off and suggested that he could pick us up on the way back from the pink bus shelter and gave us his business card with his plumbing details on one side and his taxi service on the other. We wondered what the return journey would entail…. More banter about his kilt, perhaps?….

The Kelpies were magnificent. We took lots of photos, had a lovely cup of tea and cake and wonder of wonders we sat out in the café and had a walk around before it started to rain! Soon, it would be time to go home but not before we took some more photos. My mum, bless her, isn’t a fantastic photographer – this is her photo of me and the Kelpies!

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She tried again and again and finally succeeded in taking a tiny photo of me beside the Kelpies. Unfortunately she cut one of their ears off, and the other one lost his nostrils but at least this photo gives you an indication of their mighty size!

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Here’s my mum with the Kelpies doing their thing…

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We returned to the very freshly painted bus stop shelter by the exit. A large poster said THERE ARE NO BUSES FROM THIS STOP (another peculiarity of Falkirk, a bus shelter posing as a bus stop with no hint of a bus in sight.) The nearest bus stop was at Falkirk Stadium. I wondered how far away this could be… a football kick away? Five minutes, or a mile? I asked a local lad directing traffic for advice and he said it was twenty minutes’ walk. This would have been great if it had been just me but my mum is getting older and a younger person’s twenty minutes’ walk is more like an elderly person’s mini marathon so we decided to get a taxi. The young man offered to book us a taxi so we accepted his kind offer. Of course this meant that we didn’t have a return trip with our taxi driver/cum plumber/kilt wearer which was somewhat disappointing…. But perhaps recommended!….

Our return journey taxi driver turned out to be a silent chap and mum and I sat at the back of the taxi waiting patiently for his much anticipated line of banter. I kind of missed Mr Kilt Taxi Driver but eventually Mr Strong Silent Taxi Driver spoke. He received a message telling him that his last pick up had left their phone in his taxi. Boy, the flood gates of speech opened! He said he gets the blame for stealing people’s phones and added that it was their fault as they can’t remember where they’d left their mobiles because they’re drunk. This led to a conversation about kids never admitting to doing wrong, and his daughter damaging his new flooring with her high heeled shoes. She said she didn’t do it, and his wife doesn’t wear high heels so I concluded that if his daughter and his wife are innocent then he must be a Taxi Driving Cross Dresser! But, of course I didn’t dare mention that to him as he was a big burly bloke who probably wouldn’t be seen dead in a dress or a kilt.

So, what an adventure the Kelpies turned out to be! Don’t you agree?
If you’re ever in Falkirk don’t miss out, go and see the Kelpies. You must and make sure you visit the pink bus shelter and take a taxi! Who knows who you might meet?

©M.J. Mallon images 2017

About The Curse of Time: Book One – Bloodstone – a YA fantasy and science fiction adventure.

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

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

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

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

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

One of the reviews for the book on Goodreads

Nov 19, 2017 Shelley Wilson November 19th 2017

The Curse of Time is a young adult fantasy novel set in Cambridge, England.

This book has a complex mix of themes running through it, and at times my head did spin as I tried to keep up. Amelina is a likeable character. She receives enchanted gifts and dreams about an elusive cottage. Her parents can’t offer her the support she needs, and instead, she turns to Esme, a friend who lives in the mirror.

As a qualified crystal therapist, I liked the inclusion of crystals throughout the story.

Our clasped hands shook with fear. I waited, afraid to witness the effect the Black Obsidian would have on my friends and me next. Our eyes met, and we strengthened our hold, clasping our hands tighter. The blackness of the moment grew. A flowing ribbon of dark, velvety light encircled our hands and bound our palms together sealing our bond.

There is also a strong personal development theme running through the book which I enjoyed.

As with all coming-of-age stories, Amelina grows as the story unfold. Learning who to trust, and how to use her gifts.  Enjoyable novel.

 Read the other reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B074CDJPY9

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L

Follow M.J. Mallon on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon

About M.J. Mallon

I am a debut author who has been blogging for three years: https://mjmallon.com. My interests include writing, photography, poetry, and alternative therapies. I write Fantasy YA, and middle grade fiction as well as micropoetry – haiku and tanka. I love to read and have written over 100 reviews: https://mjmallon.com/2015/09/28/a-z-o…

My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheros! I was born on the 17th of November in Lion City: Singapore, (a passionate Scorpio, with the Chinese Zodiac sign a lucky rabbit,) second child and only daughter to my proud parents Paula and Ronald. I grew up in a mountainous court in the Peak District in Hong Kong with my elder brother Donald. My parents dragged me away from my exotic childhood and my much loved dog Topsy to the frozen wastelands of Scotland. In bonnie Edinburgh I mastered Scottish country dancing, and a whole new Och Aye lingo.

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

After such an upbringing my author’s mind has taken total leave of its senses! When I’m not writing, I eat exotic delicacies while belly dancing, or surf to the far reaches of the moon. To chill out, I practise Tai Chi. If the mood takes me I snorkel with mermaids, or sign up for idyllic holidays with the Chinese Unicorn, whose magnificent voice sings like a thousand wind chimes.

Connect to Marjorie Mallon

website: https://mjmallon.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Marjorie_Mallon
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marjorie.mallon

My thanks to Marjories for sharing her day out and I would certainly love to visit these magnificent statues. I am sure that Marjorie would love to receive your feedback. thanks Sally

 

Smorgasbord Blog Sitting Special – Top Ten Things Not to Do If You Have a Winning Mega Millions Ticket by John W. Howell


The entertaining John W. Howell is going to share what not to do if you suddenly come into a windfall.. such as the mega-millions from a lottery win… I am off to spend my fiver!

Top Ten things not to do

Top Ten Things Not to Do If You Have a Winning Mega Millions Ticket by John W. Howell

The inspiration for this post is the fact that this week there were single winning tickets sold for the Mega Millions and Powerball Lotto games. You and I don’t have to worry about how to handle these winnings so I guess this post is dedicated to those two winners of over $400 million each.

10 If you have a winning Mega Millions ticket, do not tweet “Yay I just won $400 million. If you do at best, you’ll only have ten followers. At worst, your tweet will go viral, and you will now have a million close and personal friends. (Looks like everyone needs a loan huh, Carmichael?)

9 If you have a winning Mega Millions ticket, do not hire Tiny the WWF champ as a bodyguard. If you do, at best you’ll have to hire another to watch Tiny. At worst, Tiny will not be able to resist helping himself to your winnings even though he is a graduate of an intensive self-help course for kleptomaniacs. (You should have known when he showed up at your door offering his services, Carswell.)

8 If you have a winning Mega Millions ticket, do not give a press conference on national TV. If you do, at best it will take you hours to get home because of the traffic jam around your house. At worst, you will be asked for money everyplace you go since you are now well-known. (Who’s bright idea was that conference, Casimero? Oh yeah the lotto company.)

7 If you have a winning Mega Millions ticket, do not answer your phone. If you do, at best it might be your aunt, Mary. At worst, it will be your cousin Vinny reminding you of the five dollar bet you had back in high school. (Vinny believes that the interest on the bet now makes it worth $500,000. Told you not to answer the phone, Cassian.)

6 If you have a winning Mega Millions ticket, do not claim your prize without consulting a tax attorney. If you do, at best you can afford the tax hit. At worst, the new tax laws will put you in a bracket called the 110 percent bracket. (Good luck in raising the extra $4o million you owe, Caster.)

5 If you have a winning Mega Million ticket, do not go out and buy everything on the planet. If you do, at best you’ll come to your senses while there is still money left. At worst, you’ll realize too late that there is no return guarantee on yachts, planes, castles, jewelry, and art. (Now that you have all this stuff, Cavan maybe it is time for a garage sale.)

4 If you have a winning Mega Million ticket, do not let the ticket out of your sight. If you do, at best it will still be where you left it last. At worst, the ticket will ride in your shirt pocket through the wash. (Those tickets sure come out clean don’t they, Chadburn? You would hardly know it used to be worth $400 million.)

3 If you have a winning Mega Million ticket, do not quit work. If you do, at best the ticket is genuine. At worst, though some computer error your ticket is not the winner. (So much for telling the boss where he could shove your job, huh Chiko?)

2 If you have the winning Mega Millions ticket, do not forget to look both ways before crossing the street. If you do, at best the traffic will be light. At worst, your heirs will be enjoying the fruit of your lotto win. (Hard to tell where that truck came from right, Cal?)

1 If you have the winning Mega Millions ticket, do not fail to set aside some for charity. If you do at best, you’ll be labeled a cheap skate. At worst, you won’t get a charitable deduction, and the world will be no better off having you in it. (You wonder why dogs growl and cats hiss when you come by, Scrooge?)

©John Howell 2018

$400 million. Wow…..that is some jackpot and would take a few hours of serious thought on the subject of spending it…!!! Thank you John  for sharing.  Just as a matter of interest. Have you ever won more than £100 or $100 on the Lottery? 

Here is John’s latest book

About Circumstances of Childhood.

When a former pro football star and broadcaster, now a Wall Street maven is accused of insider trading, will he be able to prove his innocence and expose those who are guilty?

Greg and his boyhood pal dreamed of big success in professional football and then later in business. Greg was the only one to live the dream. Now the founder of an investment fund Greg is faced with a routine audit finding by the SEC. The audit points to irregularities and all the tracks lead to Greg. The justice department hits him with an indictment of 23 counts of fraud, money laundering, and insider trading. His firm goes bust, and Greg is on his own.

His best friend knows he is innocent but has been ordered under penalty of eternal damnation not to help.

If you enjoy stories of riches to rags, redemption, brotherly love, and a little of the paranormal, Circumstance of Childhood will keep you riveted.

One of the recent reviews for the book

A Great Tale on January 12, 2018

If John Grisham, Dean Koontz, and Dan Brown got together and decided to collaborate on a book, Circumstances of Childhood would be the result. The book has three distinct components that John Howell blends together seamlessly.

First, there is the friendship that blossoms out of tragedy between Greg and Keith. This part of the book is reminiscent of John Grisham’s YA Theodore Boone series or Stephen King’s The Body (inspiration for the movie, Stand By Me). The book then transitions into more of a Dean Koontz vibe with some other-worldly interaction that is very poignant and fascinating. It then transitions into a fast-paced courtroom drama ala Grisham. This part of the book had me on the edge of my seat. This is then followed by some Dan Brown type computer forensics and good old-fashioned hacking intermingled with more spiritual aspects.

This is a well-rounded book that compelled me to write an email to John while sitting in the Atlanta airport reading the book to tell him I was enjoying it. I look forward to John’s next effort. This was a worthy follow-up to his John J. Cannon trilogy.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Circumstances-Childhood-John-W-Howell-ebook/dp/B075SKWHCR

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Circumstances-Childhood-John-W-Howell-ebook/dp/B075SKWHCR/

Also by John W. Howell.

Buy all of the John Cannon Series and find our more about John W. Howell: https://www.amazon.com/John-W.-Howell/e/B00HMRWO6C

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/John-W.-Howell/e/B00HMRWO6C

Read more reviews and follow John on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7751796.John_W_Howell

Connect to John via his website: http://www.johnhowell.com

My thanks to John again and I am looking forward to your feedback.. and if you have won 100 or so on the lottery please include your address so that I can send a begging letter. Thanks Sally

 

Smorgasbord Blog Sitting Special – Royal Wedding – Carrot and Banana by Dolly Aizenman


Welcome to a treat straight from the kitchens of Dolly Aizenman along with the history behind the recipe. As we anticipate a royal wedding in the UK in the spring perhaps I should forward this to the parties concerned. Details of Dolly’s recently released cook book later.

Royal Wedding – Carrot and Banana by Dolly Aizenman

February – the stores are decked out in red and pink hearts, furiously marketing in the name of love. Jewelers and bridal salons are having their best time of the year, measuring love in carats and yards of lace. It was in February, cold and gloomy, that King Henry VII, the first Tudor king, proposed to his widowed daughter-in-law, sixteen-year-old Princess Catalina of Aragon, known in England as Catherine.

Little more than a year has passed since a teenage Infanta, the proud and somewhat spoiled daughter of Their Most Catholic Majesties Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain (yes, those Isabella and Ferdinand!) stepped on the slushy English soil as a bride of Prince Arthur, Henry’s son and heir. As befits a princess, she was accompanied by a retinue of attendants, some of whom looked so exotic that commoners, gathered to welcome her entrance into London, ran into two opposite directions: some were pushing closer to get a better look, while others were trying to get away from the black faces of the Moors, never seen in England before. Was the future Queen a golden-haired angel or a vile sorceress who brought unthinkable evil creatures into the land? Both versions were hotly debated, especially when the poor Prince Arthur suddenly became ill and died just a few months after the wedding.

King Henry, the grieving father, was in a quandary. By all rights, the little widow should’ve been sent home to momma, but there was a matter of her dowry, or, to be exact, half of it that had arrived together with her, the other half to be paid.. well… to be paid. At some point in the future. Or so King Ferdinand had assured King Henry, and between the two of them, it’s hard to say who was a more tight-fisted, miserly manipulator. To be politically correct, let’s call them frugal and parsimonious. However, if Catherine were to be sent back, the half already paid would have to be refunded, and Henry just couldn’t bring himself to part with the money. Meanwhile, his wife, Queen Elizabeth, died, and suddenly, he saw a window of opportunity! If he marries his son’s widow, not only would he not have to return the first half of the dowry, but he’ll also be entitled to the balance – wow!

The temptation was great for a sixteen-year old widow: to become a queen, instantaneously. It was King Ferdinand who stopped this train in its tracks. “Wait a minute, – he said, – you have that little ten-year-old show off, that carrot-top kid with no civilized manners, who has now become your heir. What will happen to my daughter after your death? May you live long and prosper, Your Majesty, of course! Oh no, if my daughter is to marry anyone in your G-d forsaken, pardon me, great country, it will be your little pipsqueak, Henry-whatever-his-number-will-be!” Several years of haggling and bickering between the two monarchs allowed Catherine to swear that the marriage to Arthur was never consummated, and thus receive a dispensation to marry Arthur’s brother. “The little pipsqueak,” who has been proclaiming his love and devotion to the golden-haired Infanta ever since he had escorted her to join his brother in holy matrimony, has come of age.

The wedding was kind of understated, by the standards or those times. It was understood, though, that both the bride and the groom were still in mourning, as Catherine’s mother, the all-powerful Queen-militant Isabella has just passed away as well. Henry, however, had a sweet tooth, and being in love with his bride, he offered her some of his favorite treat, carrot pudding. It was quite a novelty, since puddings were mostly meat-based, rather than vegetable-filled, and making a royal pudding that looked more like manchet bread found on a commoner’s table, was unheard of. Catherine, most probably, smiled in her customary reserved infanta-like manner, and took a small bite.

Having grown up in the decadent luxury of the Alhambra palace, captured by her mother from the Moorish king, she was used to a variety of Middle Eastern fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices, and certainly sweets. As a good and dutiful wife, in time she would start an herb and vegetable garden and encourage the exotic fruit and spice trade. It would be a good and reasonable guess that at some point during the sixteen years of her marriage to Henry, her Moor cooks have happily married carrot pudding with bananas to create a delicious offspring – carrot banana bread.

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Since I have not been able to find any information about the origins of banana bread, and since all sources seem to agree that carrot bread had evolved from carrot pudding (Henry VIII’s favorite), I have taken all kind of liberties with the recipe. And why not? Look at the liberties Henry has taken with all his wives, starting with Catherine! I am using spelt flour (if you have an allergy to gluten or a celiac disease, please consult your physician), brown sugar, olive oil, baking powder, a dash of cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Most importantly, I am abiding by My Own Rules of Dessert: Rule # 1. If it’s not chocolate, it’s not a dessert. Therefore, cocoa powder goes into it. I also add finely chopped walnuts or pecans, whatever I have on hand at the moment.

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I have fallen in love with aquafaba. It’s that liquid stuff you get when you cook chickpeas, and it whips into a foam almost like eggs, but it has no cholesterol. Just to think that for years I’ve been pouring it down the drain!

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Contrary to all the established routines, we mix the dry ingredients first: spelt flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

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Then we whip aquafaba into a foam, whisk it with olive oil, and mash ripe bananas into it. I prefer to leave them somewhat chunky, but it’s up to you.

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And here it comes, the marriage of carrot and banana! Introduce the wet ingredients to the dry, add grated carrots and walnuts, and gently mix, just until moistened.

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It will be a thick, dense bread dough, rather than cake batter. Don’t worry, just place it into a greased loaf pan and bake it for about an hour.

Henry VIII might have been a notorious womanizer, a great scoundrel and a wife-murderer, but, if the legend is true, we have to be grateful to him for this delicious idea.

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Just look at what came out of my oven, crusty on the outside and moist on the inside – fit for a royal table! But I have to remember the second of My Own Rules of Dessert: Rule # 2. The more chocolate, the better.

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I served it drizzled with chocolate syrup and garnished with raspberries. That was one of the best Sunday brunches my husband and I have ever had, or so he claims every Sunday!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • A dash of salt
  • 1 cup aquafaba (alternatively, 2 large eggs)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 1 cup grated carrots (1 large or 2 medium carrots)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • Optional: chocolate syrup and fresh berries to garnish

PROCEDURE

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease loaf pan.
  • Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Put aside.
  • Whip aquafaba to foam consistency, whisk with oil, mash bananas into it.
  • Stir into dry ingredients, add carrots and walnuts, mix gently until moistened.
  • Bake for 1 hour, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Serve warm, drizzle with chocolate syrup, garnish with fresh berries.

Enjoy!

©Dolly Aizenman 2018 images.

Dolly Aizenman has recently published a cookbook – Kool Kosher Kitchen. Many of you may be familiar with Dolly’s blog where she not only shares amazing recipes but the fascinating history attached to them. Dolly published the cookbook in the middle of December, and it is in both print and eBook version.

eBook version

About the cookbook

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

Print version US only

Head over and buy the book in paperback or Ebook: https://www.amazon.com/Dolly-Aizenman/e/B0789FDS7W

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kool-Kosher-Kitchen-Collection-Recipes-ebook/dp/B0787F3N35

About Dolly Aizenman

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

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

Connect to Dolly Aizenman

Website: https://koolkosherkitchen.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SoBeDolly/

It would be fantastic if you could help blast Dolly’s cookbook out into the world. And I am sure that she would love your feedback. Thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Sitting Special – Who are you? by author Cage Dunn


A warm welcome to a new contributor Cage Dunn, an Australian author who shares thoughts on the life and commitment of a storyteller. Even if at times we may not receive remuneration for our efforts does this mean that we do not have the right to call ourselves a writer, keep putting our books out into the world?

Who are you? by Cage Dunn

Well, I’ve just started on my one and only coffee  for the day, and … just how difficult things can be before that moment. Coffee doesn’t save me, it doesn’t perk me, it doesn’t actually do anything, but the day will not kick into gear without it. I’m not a junky. It’s only one. But it has to be at the right time. This time, or everthing goes off-key for the rest of the day.

And that’s not how I want it to be. It can’t be. I have a job that defines how I see myself, who I am. I need to find inspiration at ‘this’ time every day. It’s my job. An important job.

Not a paying job. Not earning enough to pay tax. But it’s my full-time professional output based on years of experience and learning and continual updating of skills.

What do I do?

I write. My job label is writer, author, fool. It’s what I do.

Is it who I am?

Not a silly question, not a play with semantics, not being pedantic. I write, therefore, am I a writer? What is it that makes a writer?

What are the important things to consider? I read this Advice to a Young Writer (Chuck Wendig), and thought about it. If I’d received that advice at 24, would I have believed it, acted on it? Would I have the courage to put out novel after novel after novel just to feel/fulfil that need to tell stories?

Well, short story long (the bane of reading something by a writer), I did keep going. One was published, almost no sales, disappointing, and then it changed. Fear crept in. No one liked it.

I didn’t keep sending stuff out to the world. I didn’t let anyone else read them (foster-kids don’t count because they owned the stories too) and I didn’t take it seriously. Why not?
It didn’t earn me money. It wouldn’t earn enough to keep the garden alive, let alone the kids and animals.

Who was I then? A variety of labels for the jobs I undertook to provide cash-flow. A carer to kids and animals, a provider of provender and shelter, a sounding board and ironing board and cheque-book, as well as the driver, teacher of skills of same (even without a licence – but don’t tell anyone!), tutor, hugger (based on different rules for each kid), animal trainer, front-man to the world. Lots of other things.

Notice one thing missing?

At that time, I didn’t put the label of writer on my life. I wasn’t then a writer, even though I penned stories, spoke stories, dreamed and scribbled and planned stories.

I didn’t put them out there for the world to see.

And, to me, that’s the single most important thing a writer needs to do. If I were a bard or a nomad or a shaman or any other form of storytelling person, would I keep the words to myself? Would I be allowed to do that?

Not even going to answer it. You know the answer.

And the writer doesn’t have just one story to tell. You can’t be a writer with only one notch on your belt. No one will see the story if there’s only one among millions.

The question remains: Who am I? How do I answer it now:

I am a writer who writes several books each year, publishes them, and then goes on to write another.

Why do I call myself a writer if it doesn’t earn me enough to keep me fed?

Because I love it; I can’t not do it; the obsession doesn’t end with the first story – it gets worse! There are so many more stories that now clamour at my door because they found someone who wants to tell stories! So, in they come, drop their ideas and plans and little twisty bits because they know the words will find a way to the world.

In the words of the Musae, ‘It’s brill, chicken, so tell my story first.’

I am a storyteller, a writer, an author.

Who are you?

©Cage Dunn 2018

About Cage Dunn

Australian author Cage Dunn was born in the scorching desert-like landscape of the West Midlands of Western Australia; lived all over this startling and disparate country; worked at everything from sewerage collection to computer programmer; graduated with a BA (Prof. Writing) and Grad Dip Computing. Met a few people along the way, who all have something to say; all contribute to the knapsack of stories Cage carries around, to draw on when the words are ready to become real. Now it’s time to put all that life experience into writing fiction.Purpose in life: to tell stories, to publish stories, and to ponder … everything. Cage is a storyteller, a dreamer, an imaginer. Some would say Fibber, Fabricator, Teller of Tall Tales. Yep – that’s a storyteller. Writes spec fiction in all its forms. You’ll find Cage in the city of Adelaide, in the sunny window where the ideas flow in with the sun, birds argue about territory, and dogs and people wander at will. Cage writes and writes and weaves and wefts until the story is ready. Enjoy.

About Agoness

The rules of kingship have been lost with lack of care and the passing of time, but when the Prince retaliates against the Daughter of the Holy when she refuses to marry him and ensures she is sentenced to death by pyre for refusing him so publicly, the old ways reawaken, and the people remember and enforce the word of rule. Landis must ensure the Daughter of the Father Holy lives. Not an easy task when she speaks up in the wrong places at the wrong times and says the wrong things to annoy the wrong people. When the laws of the land have languished and staled into cruelty, Landis, RSM, an ordinary soldier, is given the task to ensure the Daughter of the Father Holy, brought forth to renew the Faith of the Scriptures, lives despite the sentence of Death by Pyre. Can he succeed against an arrogant Prince and an evil Queen?

One of the recent reviews for the book

iArtichokeu 4.0 out of 5 stars Huge battle! November 17, 2017

Agoness is a story following a military leader named Landis, who is tasked with protecting a religions daughter, named Agoness. Even with the religion now forbidden within the kingdom, Agoness must stay alive, and fend off the loud mouthed evil Queen and her snotty, arrogant son. There are some pretty big battle scenes, lots of strange magic, and chaotic surprises.

This was a read that didn’t shine for me until about half way through. I had quite a difficult time understanding the beginning of the book. I was actually pretty confused. I’m glad I made it to the end though, because it gets exciting. After a few chapters I started to understand a tiny bit more about what was going on, but still lacked understanding when it came to the story. I would say it wasn’t until after chapter seven that I grasped the situation and enjoyed the story more. Speaking of chapters, there are many chapters within this book. I found it interesting seeing each chapter being so short, but the authors made it work somehow.

Descriptions were plentiful, though I felt there was a bit too much at times. I also misunderstood many scenes. I’m not sure if my brain wasn’t awake, or the story didn’t grab my attention in the beginning. I also assumed there was going to be some trigger warnings with the way some scenes were worded, but my assumptions turned out to be false, and no trigger warnings activated. Instead some strange rituals were done, which is a relief. It also would have helped to have the exact age of Agoness. Well, actually the age of Landis would have helped as well.

The battles are what caught my eye, as well as the unexpected baddies. Though I wondered how enemies obtained such chaotic magics, and how magic even came to be in this world. This book showed an exciting display of how battles can keep us entertained. The battles beyond half way through the book were pretty exciting. I felt a sense of chaos and disorder in this Kingdom, and I loved it. I do hope the authors continue on with their fighting scenes in future books, because they sure hit the spot.

I enjoyed how real Landis was. He’s brave yet he clearly has anxieties, worries, and fears that normal humans posses. He is a leader amongst his men, and does a good job at inspiring them. He’s made many sacrifices for his men and the people around him. Agoness is a character I didn’t particularly care for, though her having a divine type personality lacking emotion made it hard to get attached to. Though, it fits her role well. Every other character had unique personalities, and I enjoyed the dialogue.

Despite its slow start and its confusing descriptions at times, I enjoyed its chaotic battles and uniqueness. The villains were extremely hate-worthy, making you hope they get destroyed, which I appreciate when it comes to the baddies. I also loved how the authors kept it real when it came to emotions and dialogue.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Agoness-Cisi/dp/1977553370

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Agoness-Cisi-ebook/dp/B075T6C1ZR

A selection of books also by Cage Dunn

Check out all the books: https://www.amazon.com/Cage-Dunn/e/B01DBJFSQC

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cage-Dunn/e/B01DBJFSQC

Follow Cage on Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15108975.Cage_Dunn

Connect to Cage Dunn via his blog: https://cagedunn.wordpress.com/

My thanks to Cage Dunn for sharing this post that most of us who tell stories can relate to. Throughout history storytellers have been revered as they passed on the origins and tales of their people.

We are storytellers and whichever medium we choose to demonstrate that does not matter.

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Bad Bentheim: Castles, Dungeons and Apple Strudel by Darlene Foster


Sadly we have come to the end of the current series of posts from the archives of Darlene Foster, but hopefully she will share more with us in the future. This week a trip to Germany to the town of Bad Bentheim.. a spa town.

Bad Bentheim: Castles, Dungeons and Apple Strudel by Darlene Foster

On our recent visit to Holland, we took a day trip to Germany to the charming town of Bad Bentheim, just across the border. Bad in German means bath, and this is a popular spa town. In the middle sits a fabulous medieval castle. You know how much I love castles, and this was a great one to explore. Castle Bentheim is the largest hilltop castle in northwest Germany with a recorded history from 1050. For the past five centuries, it has been owned by the Counts and Princes of Bentheim and Steinfurt.

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Burg Bentheim

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The castle keep called the Pulverturn or powder tower

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As we approach the entrance to this massive fortified castle, we are greeted by sheep grazing on the grounds.

Kronenburg Castle

Kronenburg Castle

No one resides in Kronenburg Castle anymore, but it is now a museum depicting how the lords of the castle lived. Both Otto von Bismarck and KaiserWilhelmI once stayed here as guests.

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The Hall of Knights

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A guest bedchamber

My favourite part included the castle keep which holds the dungeon. One of the oldest buildings in the castle, it dates back to the 11th and 12th centuries.

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In the interior of the tower is a small opening in the floor called “the hole of fear.” It is the only entry to the windowless dungeon 12 meters below. In the Middle Ages, this was the Castle jail. Entrance to the dungeon is only accessible by means of a rope winch installed above the “hole of fear”. A bit creepy!

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At the top of the tower are panoramic views of the town and countryside.

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The simple Gothic chapel features a two-sided Madonna, carved in 1503, hanging freely from the ceiling. Both sides depict the front of the Madonna.

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In the courtyard is an early Romanesque stone cross of the Crucified Christ discovered in 1828. Called the “Herrgott of Bentheim,” it was created around 1000 A.D. and is considered one of the earliest portrayals of Christ in Central Europe.

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The library holds copies of old books, Bibles, and music sheets. Fascinating.
Happily exploring a medieval German castle

Happily exploring a medieval German castle

Happily exploring a medieval German castle

Schlosspark

Schlosspark

Schlosspark sits beneath the castle with well-manicured gardens and a lovely fountain in the middle. The entire setting is from a fairy tale.

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We couldn’t leave Bad Bentheim, and Germany, without sampling the apple strudel. It was as good as it looks! A great day trip and a chance for me to practise the little German I know.

©Darlene Foster 2016

Thanks to Darlene for sharing some of her amazing travels with us and I am know she would love to receive your feedback.

About Darlene Foster

Darlene Foster is a writer, an employment counsellor, an ESL tutor for children, a wife, mother and grandmother. She loves travel, shoes, cooking, reading, sewing, chocolate, music, the beach and making new friends. Her 13-year-old grandson called her “super-mega-woman-supreme”.

She was brought up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, where she dreamt of traveling the world and meeting interesting people. She currently divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca in Spain, with her husband Paul.

“Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask” was her first published novel. Once bitten by the travel bug, Amanda travels to other interesting places, sticking her nose in other people’s problems and getting herself in trouble. Read “Amanda in Spain – The Girl in the Painting”, “Amanda in England – The Missing Novel”, “Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone”, and “Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music” and “Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind”  to find out the adventures Amanda has as she travels the world.

Here is Darlene’s latest book –  Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind.

About Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind

Amanda Ross is on a school trip to Taos, New Mexico with several of her fellow creative students. Join Amanda, Cleo and their funny friend, Caleb, as they visit an ancient and beautiful landscape where a traditional hacienda, an ancient pueblo, and a haunted and spooky hotel all hold secrets to a wild and violent past. Does Cleo really see ghosts? Can Amanda escape the eerie wind that follows her everywhere? Perhaps the Day of the Dead will reveal the mysteries of Taos in this latest adventure of Amanda’s travels.

One of the recent review for Amanda in New Mexico

Quiet Riley 4.0 out of 5 stars Psychospookalicious! December 28, 2017

Amanda in New Mexico is a young adult novel about a world-traveling student named—you guessed it—Amanda. Her 10th grade teacher (and most suspect chaperon ever), Ms. Bowler, leads her class on a haunted field trip to Taos, New Mexico. Here, Amanda’s eccentric friend, Cleo, has many encounters with “ghosts.” Then, Amanda starts having many encounters with “ghosts.” Trying to enjoy her time in a foreign land, Amanda shrugs off these hauntings as coincidences and carries on, snapping photographs and writing travelogues for her site, Kidsblog. In the meantime, Cleo is going through serious psychological distress and is on the brink of a mental breakdown while their suspect chaperon keeps checking boxes off their itinerary (how about a box for mental clinic, Ms. Bowler? Your student has major issues!). From here, the narrative turns into a spooky whodunit filled with mystery, mayhem and dialogue straight out of a Saved by the Bell episode.

Amanda in New Mexico is the perfect read for teenagers interested in any of the following: ghost stories, adventure, southwestern history and geography. Author Darlene Foster portrays past and present life in New Mexico with great vibrancy and accuracy, even using Spanish terms to draw the reader into Amanda’s charming and elaborate surroundings. Overall, I like Amanda in New Mexico and give it an 85/100 on the Quiet Scale.
 

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Amanda-New-Mexico-Ghosts-Travels/dp/1771681209

Also by Darlene Foster

Read the reviews and buy all of Darlene’s books: https://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Foster/e/B003XGQPHA

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Darlene-Foster/e/B003XGQPHA

Read more reviews and follow Darlene on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3156908.Darlene_Foster

Connect to Darlene via her website and social media.

Website: www.darlenefoster.ca
Blog: https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DarleneFosterWriter
Twitter: https://twitter.com/supermegawoman

If you are interested in joining Darlene and the other writers who are sharing posts from their archives and showcase your books or blog….. here is the link to the new series beginning in March: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/happy-new-year-and-the-start-of-the-2018-series-of-smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives/

 

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Ringing Around by Janet Gogerty


Remember the days when it was a weekly telephone call home or a chat with a friend once in a blue moon. As Janet Gogerty points out, the email has taken over for convenience sake as well as to avoid those awkward silences…

Ringing Around by Janet Gogerty

When I was in my last year of The Brownies and aiming to get my Golden Hand badge, part of the test was to make a phone call; a far cry from this week’s news of a major revamping of badges with Rainbows, Brownies and Guides encouraged to take part in new challenges involving app design, entrepreneurship, “speaking out”, upcycling or vlogging.

But my little task was still a big challenge for me. We did not have a telephone at home and it was about this time that my friend and I were sent up the road to the phone box with some coins, a set of instructions and a mission; to phone my father at the office. To this day I have no idea what was so urgent that could not wait till he came home from Waterloo with all the other commuters. My friend was sensible and two years older than me, but still we did not achieve our task; the mysteries of Buttons A and B defeated us.

Meanwhile, back at the house of a complete stranger, a respectable middle aged woman, my task was to phone Brown Owl. I was as terrified as anyone going for a driving test or important job interview; I failed, probably the only Brownie in history to have to do a re-sit for her Golden Hand.

A letter in the paper the other day suggested we had forgotten how intrusive the telephone was, how wonderful emails are and how infuriating people are who refuse to use them. I heartily agree, emails were made for me. I have never liked phone calls; they always come at the wrong moment, or the phone stops ringing just as you race in from the garden with muddy hands. Hands free phones are a help, but still interrupt your favourite programme.

I admire people who efficiently get on the phone the moment something breaks down or a letter arrives in the post requiring action; I’m more inclined to write on my list of things to do – phone insurance co. ring boiler repairs. When it comes to personal calls I procrastinate… they might be cooking/eating their dinner, feeding the baby, making love, watching Eastenders, I’ll call later… later they might be having an early night… I’ll call tomorrow…

Emails can be written any time and the receiver can read them when it suits and not be caught off guard; with time to think of a good excuse not to come to your coffee morning. The other advantage is to message all your friends, club members etc at the same time, but there is always one person in every club or group who does not do email and constantly complains ‘Why can’t you just ring round.’ We should not rush to judge; how many decades passed between the phone being invented and everyone having a telephone in their homes? Even people who are on the internet forget to check their emails and miss important messages.

Technology rolls on rapidly; we don’t use our mobile phones as phones, but to read our emails. Emails themselves are being superseded by What’sApp and Facebook Messenger. How easy it is to message six people at once on the other side of the world and send them photos. On your computer you can follow Facebook and have several message boxes open in the corner of your screen…

And then there’s Skype and FaceTime etc which bring us round full circle to actually talking personally to someone. Ironically ‘Televisionphones’ have been invented, but they are not the screens attached to our immovable house phones that we once imagined. Now we can wander around in our pyjamas showing relatives on the other side of the world what our new house looks like.

But emails are so useful if you wish to avoid eye contact or awkward conversations.

©Janet Gogerty 2017

Books by Janet Gogerty

About Times and Tides

Twenty five stories starting with a blind date and ending on Xmas Eve, with no clue as to what you might expect in between. In this third collection of short stories are some real places and experiences plus much that could happen or should never happen.

One of the reviews for Times and Tides

Yet another delightful collection of short stories from the irrepressible Janet Gogerty. This time twenty five stories on almost every subject imaginable.

The variety of themes are astounding and I will only mention a few in this review.
The opening story, Blind Date tells of just that, a blind date between Michael and Jessica accompanied by Michael’s guide dog Bella. Not a dog to tangle with.

I loved ‘Solar Power’ with its idea of a solar powered hat for elderly Daphne. It certainly put a spring in her step. I chuckled over Ms Gogerty’s comment of ‘Burger Syndrome Spectrum thingy.’

‘Up, up and away’ was an eye opening story involving a hot air balloon disaster – the method of dealing with the rogue balloon was quite shocking. ‘Making an Entrance’ Wow!

Never upset a fellow thespian.
‘Restoration Project’ had a very spooky ending…I loved it.

The last story, ‘Christmas Eve’ has all the elements of just how traumatic Christmas can be especially when guests descend with little warning.

I have only mentioned six of the total twenty five stories but all were very enjoyable reads. A highly recommended collection.

Find all of Janet’s books and read the reviews: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Janet-Gogerty/e/B00A8FWDMU

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Janet-Gogerty/e/B00A8FWDMU

Read more reviews and follow Janet on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7236471.Janet_Gogerty

About Janet Gogerty

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

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

Connect to Janet

Blog: https://tidalscribe.wordpress.com/
Websitehttps://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Beachwriter/

My thanks to Janet for sharing the posts from her archives and I do hope you will head over to her blog to follow her more current articles. Thanks Sally