Smorgasbord Blog Sitting Special – Maine is a Happy State by N.A. Granger


I have been to Maine a couple of times, once when we lived in Texas and once on a return trip to visit friends.. I particularly remember the lobster dinner that we enjoyed on evening and that must be memorable as it was 25 years ago!  For an expert opinion on the state, here is Noelle Granger whose popular books are set in this scenic part of America.

About Noelle Granger.


Noelle A. Granger grew up in Plymouth, MA, in a rambling, 125 year old house with a view of the sea. Summers were spent sailing and swimming and she was one of the first tour guides at Plimoth Plantation.

She graduated from Mount Holyoke college with a bachelor’s degree in Zoology and from Case Western Reserve University with a Ph.D. in anatomy. Following a career of research in developmental biology and teaching human anatomy to medical students and residents,the last 28 years of which were spent in the medical school of the University of North Carolina, she decided to try her hand at writing fiction.

Apart from the three Rhe Brewster Mysteries, Noelle has also had short stories, both fiction and non-fiction,published in Deep South Magazine, Sea Level Magazine, the Bella Online Literary Review, and Coastal Style Magazine.

Maine is a Happy State by Noelle Granger.

As most of my followers and readers know, I have set my books in the seaside town of Pequod, Maine, which I created as a chimera of Boothbay Harbor, Camden and Bar Harbor. Maine is a wonderful state, aside from the winter months, with quintessential New England summers – great weather for swimming, sailing, hiking and camping, not to mention the many things to see – and eat! – there!

I’ll tell you about a few things to see, based on my A-Z Challenge from two years ago, but first I want to tell you about why Maine is a happy place. It is ranked fourth after Hawaii, Alaska and South Dakota. According to Maine Biz, that ranking was announced as part of the Gallup-Healthways State of American Well-Being series, and Maine is up nearly 20 spots from last year.

States were compared for five elements of well-being:

  • Liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals
  • Having supportive relationships and love in your life
  • Managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
  • Liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community
  • Having good health and enough energy to get things done daily

Here are a few great places in Maine to visit:

boon-island-lightBoon Island Light is located on the 300-by-700-foot Boon Island, off the southern coast of Maine, nine miles from the beach at York. It is not open to the public, but from land, it can be seen from Cape Neddick. It is the tallest lighthouse in New England at 133 feet, and has a beacon that flashes white every 5 seconds. The idea of building a lighthouse on this tiny bit of land began in 1710, when the ship Nottingham Galley ran aground there, stranding the crew. The crew had to resort to cannibalism before they were found. A station and a day marker were established on the island in 1799, but granite tower with its light were not constructed until 1811, authorized by President James Madison.

harriet-beecher-stowe-houseThe Harriet Beecher Stowe House can be found on Federal Street in Brunswick. Stowe and her husband, Calvin Ellis Stowe, lived in this house for a short while. The house is also remarkable for having been the home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow when he was a student. Today it is owned by Bowdoin College and is a National Historical Landmark.  The Greek Revival style home was built in 1806 for Franklin and Mary Chamberlin.


Fort Western in Augusta was built in 1754 built by the Kennebec Proprietors, a Boston-based company seeking to settle the lands along the Kennebec River that had been granted to the Pilgrims more than a century earlier. It is America’s oldest surviving wooden fort – a reminder of a clash of cultures that dominated New England life 250 years ago.  This company, along with the Province of Massachusetts, wished to expand their interest in the area as part of the British and colonial effort to take political control of North American and sever the ties between the local Abenaki Indians and the French in Canada. The Fort was named for Thomas Western of Sussex, England, a friend of William Shirley, the longest-serving governor of the Province of Massachusetts (1741–1749 and 1753–1756) – crony capitalism in the 1700s.

plaque-indicated-benedict-arnold-was-at-fort-westernFort Western served as a fortified storehouse to support Fort Halifax, 17 miles to the north. Supplies were shipped from Boston, unloaded there and then taken by a flat-bottomed boat upriver to Fort Halifax. Benedict Arnold stayed at the Fort with his Quebec Expedition in September of 1775. Some of Arnold’s officers, including Daniel Morgan, Aaron Burr, and Henry Dearborn, lodged in the Fort’s main house. The Fort’s military role ended after that, although the Fort itself survived because of the trading post/store.

mount-katahdinMaine has mountains! Maine occupies the northern part of the Appalachian Highlands region of the United States. Its physical features were determined by continental glaciers more than 10,000 years ago, which eroded and smoothed the hills and in places leveled the land. When the glaciers receded, they dammed rivers to created lakes, and left widespread debris in such forms as moraines, eskers, and drumlins.

There is a wide variety of gentle mountains in Maine, which range from the eastern White Mountains to the peaks of the Rangely area to the remote Baxter State Park. Within these regions lie 14 of New England’s 4000 foot peaks.


The Longfellow Mountains contain the terminus of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, a 2,155 mile footpath that runs from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mt. Katahdin in Baxter State Park in Maine. Maine is considered by many to have the most difficult, rugged, and beautiful part of the trail.

So why am I not living in Maine? Probably the winters. I grew up with New England winters and survived four years of Chicago winters. If Hubs and I had not moved to North Carolina for our careers, and put down taproots while our children were growing up, we might have returned to the northeast. But Hubs is from upper New York State, which also has severe winters, and by the time we left Chicago, he’d had enough.

I recommend a summer trip to this state – in addition to lobster, seafood, Maine blueberries, the weather is, for the most part, fantastic for sightseeing, sailing, hiking, and camping. Plus you will be among some of the happiest people in the country!

©N.A. Granger 2017

About Death by Pumpkin


At the annual Pumpkin Festival in the coastal town of Pequod, Maine, Rhe Brewster, an ER nurse and Police Department consultant, responds to screams at the site of the Pumpkin Drop. Racing to the scene, where a one-ton pumpkin was dropped from a crane to crush an old car, Rhe and her brother-in-law, Sam, Pequod’s Chief of Police, discover the car contains the smashed remains of a man’s body.

After the police confirm the death as a homicide, Rhe embarks on a statewide search to identify the victim and find the killer. During the course of the emotional investigation, she survives an attempt on her life at 10,000 feet, endures the trauma of witnessing the murder of an old flame, and escapes an arson attack on her family’s home. There is clearly a sociopath on the loose who is gunning for Rhe and leaving bodies behind.

With Sam unable to offer his usual support due to an election recall and a needy new girlfriend, Rhe realizes that the only way to stop the insanity is to risk it all and play the killer’s game.

Maine’s most tenacious sleuth is back, this time to confront a menace that threatens to destroy her life and those closest to her. The latest installment of the Rhe Brewster Mystery Series, Death by Pumpkin, is a murder mystery and thriller that tests the limits of Rhe’s strength and resolve like never before.

A recent review

on January 27, 2017

Death by Pumpkin is the third novel in the Rhe Brewster Mysteries, set in Pequod, a fictional town located in the coast of Maine. It can be read as a standalone, but the main characters are so engaging you’ll enjoy the series more if you start reading from book one, Death on a Red Canvas Chair, I loved them all!

In book three, Death by Pumpkin, Rhe is recovering emotionally from her husband, Will’s unfaithfulness and murder, while she’s coping with two jobs, as a nurse at the local hospital and as a police department consultant, where her brother-in-law, Sam is the police chief. She also has a son, Jack, with ADHD, who is her priority.

However, Rhe doesn’t wait for life to happen, she is a Rhe is intelligent, resourceful, brave, adventurous, determined, resilient and very loving and generous. In fact, she only has one negative quality is that she’s a terrible cook, although she’s learning!

There’s lots of adventure in this instalment, too. A near plane crash, kidnapping, murder, being stalked by a deranged childhood friend. Rhe will also have to cope with Sam’s unusual emotional coolness due to his new girlfriend, as well as student protests leading to a recall of his job as chief of police, which he’ll have to reapply for, with uncertain results.

The plot is neatly wrapped up at the end, but how will Rhe’s emotional life move forward? And which new crimes will she have to solve? Looking forward to book four, Death in Mudfat.

Anyone who likes crime fiction set in an American town with engaging characters and a great plot will enjoy this novel.

Also by N.A. Granger

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Read all the reviews and buy the books:

Connect to Noelle via her blog:

My thanks to Noelle for her guided tour of Maine and its definite attractions..Please show your appreciation by sharing. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Sitting Special – Desmond and Barbara Le Pard – A Wartime Romance by Geoff Le Pard


My parents met in 1939 and married in 1940 and saw each other infreguently for the next six years.. Courage and a very strong love is needed in times such as these..

I am delighted that Geoff Le Pard has chosen to share his own parent’s romance with us as part of the Blog Sitting series.


About Geoff Le Pard.

Geoff Le Pard (not Geoffrey, except to his mother) was born in 1956 and is a lawyer who saw the light. He started writing (creatively) in 2006 following a summer school course. Being a course junkie he had spells at Birkbeck College, twice at Arvon and most recently at Sheffield Hallam where he achieved an MA in Creative Writing.

And what did he learn?

That they are great fun, you meet wonderful people but the best lessons come from the unexpected places. He has a line of books waiting to be published but it has taken until now to find the courage to go live.

He blogs at on anything and everything. His aim is for each novel to be in a different style and genre. Most people have been nice about his writing (though when his brother’s dog peed on the manuscript he was editing, he did wonder) but he knows the skill is in seeking and accepting criticism. His career in the law has helped prepare him.


Desmond and Barbara Le Pard
A wartime romance

My parents were just teenagers (dad turned 13 in November 1939; mum was 13) when the WW2 started, not that they knew what that meant back then. Dad was at a public school, having won a full scholarship there whereas mum had already left school to nurse her dying father and care for her two much younger brothers while her mother went out to work.

On the face of it, my father’s circumstances were the better but that would deceive. My paternal grandfather, Gordon, was a tailor, whose carefully built up business collapsed into bankruptcy in the early 1930s. To make ends meet, he moved his family to north Surrey while he went to work for a tailoring business in London. They lived in a council house and, in Dad’s words, downplaying the truth no doubt, ‘about managed’. The stress on his father was such that by the end of the war he’d moved to Croydon Technical College to teach tailoring, mostly to men returning from the forces, often carrying horrendous injuries that rendered them unfit for whatever they had previously done.

By contrast my maternal grandfather, Percy, came from a more affluent family; he drove racing cars at Brooklands and had learnt to fly before WW1 started. However, he fell out with his family and set up his own business, in electronics and motorcycle maintenance, in particular getting involved with installing the new-fangled cat’s whisker radios.

Both my grandfathers were seriously injured in WW1 but Percy’s injuries were the worst. He was entitled to an Army pension but refused the constant and, to him, humiliating medicals that, he felt, suggested he was making up the extent of his physical problems. By the start of WW2, while they still owned some property in Brixton and Streatham and enjoyed such rents as they paid, to survive more money was needed. Consequently, my grandmother, Grace, joined the RAF branch of the NAAFI, based in central London while my mother and her dependents stayed in their house in Herne Bay.

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Both my parents wanted to ‘do their bit’ as was the expectation. Dad had aspirations to fly; as well as being part of the ATC (Army Training Corps) he joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve after finishing school in the hope of joining the flyers. Mum volunteered for the ATS (Auxiliary Transport Service) and would eventually drive all kinds of military vehicles wherever she was stationed: including at one point tanks.

Before they could start, however, they had a wait and, by 1944, with mum’s father dead and her two brothers away at a boarding school arranged by a friend of my grandfather’s, they both found themselves at the London County Council, doing administrative work.


The LCC was based in County Hall which, for those who don’t know London sits diagonally opposite the Houses of Parliament on the south bank of the Thames.
They were young and carefree but mum, being a year older than dad and having joined the LCC months earlier was superior to him. She was shy and I can well understand that my boisterous, rather jokey father, with a public-school education intimidated her somewhat. She may even have thought him rather crass save only he wrote poetry and displayed, in the oddly coy way he had, a sensitive side.

These jobs were place-markers; people wanted to move on. They weren’t looking to form meaningful friendships or relationships. And the differences in temperament and background as well as in the hierarchy of the office would have kept them distant but for one intervention by Adolf Hitler.

By the middle of 1944, Hitler was losing the war. It was a case of when not if, in truth, now that a second front had opened following the June Normandy landings. He launched a ferocious assault on London using his latest weapons of terror: unmanned rockets.
The V1 or ‘doodlebug’ had a distinctive engine noise. Londoners heard them coming, watched the skies and learnt that if the note cut out the bomb would land seconds later and it was time to get your heads down.

One hot summer afternoon a wave of V1s churned their way across Surrey heading for London. The weary clerks at the LCC, having opened such windows as they could to encourage a breath of air on an oppressive day, heard the flotilla and made for the windows. I suppose that seems ghoulish, knowing that death, possibly, and certainly destruction awaited those unfortunate to be caught up in the blast.

The young men and women chatted excitedly. One woman climbed on a table and others were pushed to the windows as more women were hoisted up for a better view.

The rattling sound of one V1 grew and grew. Necks were craned to try and see it against a peerless blue sky. Then silence.

There is, for some, an instant reaction; for others, a hesitation as if the mind cannot compute the changed circumstances. County Hall for all its grandeur has one feature that sat uneasily with such a bombing campaign: it is full of windows; huge ceiling height things. Mum stood by one, frozen as she stared skywards.

Then in a flurry of hands and legs, Dad grabbed her waist and pulled her, less than decorously to the floor and rolled with her under the table. Seconds later the rocket impacted close the river. The force of the impact blew out several panes of glass and the shards showered down on the tables and floor. Anyone standing on that table would have been grievously injured.

Was it then he asked her out? Or later? Knowing the man, to do such a thing and risk rejection would have been huge. Possibly his action lent his spirit wings and he took a punt right then. I like to think so, and anyway the offer was accepted.

And perhaps, in a forerunner to the happy, sometimes hysterical marriage that eventually followed, that first date turned into a disaster; they went to the flicks – the cinema – in Leicester Square. The platforms were crowed as they headed on to wherever was next and dad managed to push mum onto the train only to find himself left on the platform. The girl of his dreams and he had lost her already. But not for long and never again, not for 70 years.

97210005PS once they were separated by the Forces they wrote to each other regularly. Neither my brother nor I knew anything of this until after mum died (dad had died 5 years before) but we found a shoebox full of all his letters, from August 1944 until he was demobbed on the summer of 1948 (he spent two years in Palestine as part of the British forces standing between the Jews and the Palestinians, prior to Partition but that is another story).

I have posted them on my blog (a long while ago) but this is a Link to the earliest in that box which gives you an idea of how two youngsters, in the late summer of 1944 and who were dancing around the early stages of a relationship, behaved. Mum was 18, dad 17.

©GeoffLePard 2017

Salisbury Square by Geoff Le Pard


About the book

Jerzy Komaza is adept at turning a blind eye. He has allowed his father’s beatings of his sister, Maria, to continue for years. Yet one hot summer day he finally snaps, and it is Maria who sends him away from their home in Białystok in rural Poland, fearing the consequences if he stays. Desperate and unsure, Jerzy heads for London where his old friend Jan has promised him work.

At first he is completely disorientated. Worse, there’s no sign of Jan. Feeling lost and adrift in the strange city, Jerzy overhears a young woman’s cries. Memories of his sister stir him into action and he intervenes.

The woman is Suzie Thomas, a drug addict dependent on local thug Paul Rogers for her supplies and for whom she turns tricks. Rogers also runs gangs of workmen around the city, and Jan works for him. Gradually Jerzy is dragged into Suzie’s world, a violent dog-eat-dog existence of the underclass living next to but separate from London’s affluent citizens.

Jan has his own problems with Rogers, and when his cousin Ola Nowak is slashed with a knife while trying to sort out Jan’s debt, he is bent on revenge. Jerzy is torn between stopping his friend and, because of his own growing hatred of Rogers’ casual violence towards Suzie, helping him.

Suzie’s family are hunting for her. Her grandparents hear she has moved to London and seek her out. In doing so they too find themselves pulled into Rogers’ orbit. As the heat builds and the rain pours down, various forces begin to drag these desperate individuals together into a violent confrontation. And into this mix comes Lech Komoza, Jerzy’s half-brother intent on his own violent retribution.

This story contains elements of revenge, love, the clash of classes and cultures, the isolation of large cities and the single-minded determination to survive. Set against a backdrop of one of the most affluent cities in the Western world, it is a modern parable about the lure of redemption and how hope can be corrupted by despair.

A review for Salisbury Square.

Powerful on September 29, 2016

This is a harrowing and powerful story of a Polish immigrant’s life in London. Wronged at home he follows the trail of his friend to London, where he gets involved with a drug addict and some dodgy characters.

Le Pard portrays the ‘dog eats dog’ society of that layer of society very well, also the mind set of Jerzy as he makes choices that often don’t pay off.

This is a gripping and very haunting tale, told in a beautifully simple prose with good pace and clever plotting. A very accomplished novel with much food for thought. 

Also by Geoff Le Pard

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Read the reviews and buy the books:

Connect to Geoff through his Blog:

My thanks to Geoff for this delightful story and please show your appreciation by sharing it with others. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore -Collaborative Anthologies -Love in Times of War by Twelve best-selling, award winning authors

collaborative anthologiesToday’s anthology has stories of love in wartime written by some exceptional authors and available at a fantastic offer price.  Love in Times of War brings together stories from many of the major conflicts in recent history from the American Civil War to The Persian Gulf.

indexAbout the Anthology

At no other point is passion put to the test as in dire times of war. From the American Civil War to WWII, from Vietnam to the War in Afghanistan to the Persian Gulf, the stories in this boxed set summon the strength of true lovers.

Written by bestselling, award-winning, and USA Today authors, the novels and novellas in this collection tell of overcoming the odds to celebrate the victory of love. If you like Military Romance, Wounded Warrior Romance, Historical Romance, Contemporary Romance, or Romantic Suspense, this anthology invites you to triumph over the worst of conditions.

Together with these unforgettable lovers, go through coping with loss, struggling with injuries and rehabilitation, and facing difficult homecomings. And just like them, inspired by desire, find the courage to bring forth the best in us.

Here are the authors and their Amazon pages

Dancing with Air by Uvi Poznansky – In WWII London, Lenny is involved in a covert intelligence ploy. His task must remain confidential, even at the risk of Natasha becoming suspicious of him. Will their love survive the test of war?

Two Hearts Unspoken by Tamara Ferguson – Beth Bowen is a single mom of an autistic son. Zach Logan is a wounded warrior searching for a life after Iraq. Can two lonely people discover that love is that something unspoken, missing from their lives?

The Rebel’s Redemption by Jacquie Biggar – When an old enemy follows him from Iraq and causes mayhem in Tidal Falls, can Jared overcome the odds to protect the woman he’s always loved?

Broken Wings by D.G. Torrens – Joshua, a bomb disposal expert in Afghanistan. Angelina, an editor of a local newspaper. Both avoiding love at all costs, until they are unexpectedly thrown together. Tested beyond belief… Can their love survive?

A Soldier’s Promise by Angelica Kate – Ryker is most comfortable in the regulated world of the military. When he is sent to Darby’s doorstep to keep a promise to one of his fallen team members, every rule he holds will be challenged!

Returning Home by the Sea by Traci Hall – Brayden and Zoe wed before he went to Iraq. Once united in passion, a lot has changed in the six years he’s been away. Will their love survive his homecoming?

A Weldon Family Christmas by Jennifer St. Giles – A frightening event with an uncertain outcome sends Emma and John’s memory to the past, where her helicopter went down in Vietnam enemy territory, and he risked everything to save her. Can she save him now?

The Magic of Snow by Regina Puckett – When Staff Sergeant Charlie Prince’s letters stop arriving from Afghanistan, Sarah White waits in agonizing suspense to discover what has happened to the man she loves.

Mademoiselle by Suzanne Jenkins – To Philipa, working at Mademoiselle Magazine is more important than anything, even love. Her friend, Walter, hopes for a change, but not until his trip to the Persian Gulf does she begin to listen to her heart.

Genteel Secrets by S.R. Mallery – In 1861 America, can the love between a Confederate female spy and the Pinkerton detective hired to shadow her survive, or will their story become just another casualty of war?

Moving to Forever by PJ Fiala – Danny Schaefer returns from Afghanistan broken in body, battered in soul. Tammy Davis, betrayed in a most personal way, struggles against her tormentor. She and Danny must help each other heal, by the power of love.

Lovin’ Those Navy Games by Susan Jean Ricci – Michael Burke has two passions: his high-school sweetheart and baseball. When someone dear to him perishes in Vietnam, will the shock alter his future goals? Will it isolate him from Ellie or deepen their love?

Here are just two of the 24 excellent reviews for this anthology.. Many are very detailed and are worth heading over to read.

Great romance bundle of books readers will enjoy.  By P.S. Winn on December 27, 2016

This is a collection of stories by an assortment of authors with a special theme. The love, life and struggles of war are told in the amazing stories lucky readers will find between the covers of this collection. Some of the author’s I have had the privilege of reading before and I also found some new writers I am going to be looking at. The stories will touch the heart and make you thin. Hopefully they will also make readers aware of what war is and what an impact it has on so many. This is a great collection to have and take time to savor.

There is nothing that puts love to the test like war By Amanda Donoho on February 3, 2017

There is nothing that puts love to the test like war, add in the Christmas theme, and this box set does not disappoint. This anthology about the men and women serving their country and their relationships surviving the hardships and trials of war and coming home is sure to please anyone. This set consists of 12 stories that show the testament of love surviving through war from the American Civil War through the War in Afghanistan. Each tale is historically accurate and will pull at your heart strings. The authors of these stories have taken their character and made them jump off the pages and made them real. They are great romance stories that will have you reading until they are done.

At only 99 cents for 12 books written by 12 authors you are sure to find something for everyone.

Read all the reviews and Buy the collection:

Thank you for dropping by today and please share this anthology about love in as many places as possible. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Sitting Special – I Spy by author D. G. Kaye

blog-sittingI am delighted to welcome author D.G. Kaye (Debby Gies) to the Blog Sitting team and Debby has been very much a part of Smorgasbord since I began posting in 2013. Hugely supportive of all those that she follows, her presence is a constant reminder that virtual friendships are as real as those that are face to face.

D.G. Kaye Author

D.G. Kaye is a nonfiction memoir writer who writes about life, matters of the heart and women’s issues. She writes to inspire others by sharing her stories about events she’s encountered, and the lessons that come along with them.

In her post today Debby explores how the innocent childhood game of I Spy that we would play in the car on long journeys has become a monster…..

I Spy – Is There Any Privacy Left Anywhere?

Remember that little game we used to play when we were kids in the car to keep us entertained on a long drive—I spy? Back in the day, it was a game. In today’s world, it’s not so much a game as it has become an invasion of privacy.

I spy, is all around us, from governments knowing every detail about us, down to the color of our underwear when going through airport security. Public places abound with cameras—our every move caught on tape. Be careful not to be caught picking your nose in public, for surely someone is watching.

All these cameras were initially intended for theft surveillance, but have been taken to some extremes to a point where there are no sacred private moments left, and that can be held as evidence somewhere—should the need arise.

If it isn’t a store or a public place photographing our existence, we have to be leery about someone randomly snapping a photo of us with their cell phone, whether for pure entertainment or with bad intentions to be used for evil purposes. We must also be aware of photos snapped to copy our banking pin numbers when making a purchase. I wish I knew why every good technological invention is transformed into yet another means for evil-doers to seek out new avenues of deception.

How about those pop-up ads we see that are tailored specifically to our interests when surfing the web? I’m sure many of you can identify. I spend half of my waking hours on the computer. My writing, reading, social media and blog take up the better part of my days, and sometimes when I want an escape from everything, I may visit some of my favorite shopping sites and browse. The next time I go back to visit one of my personal social pages, I find a sidebar or pop-up ad displaying the exact items I previously looked at on a shopping site. Who is this? Who the heck now surveys my personal shopping habits? Where do we draw the line? There’s nowhere left to hide!

I feel this technological era has surpassed its scope of being informative and graduated into the extremely invasive. I can’t help but think about those microchips they can place in dog’s collars to track them in case they stray and get lost. Even cars have them for theft purposes to find a signal to locate a stolen car. We’re not alone when we think we are.

I’m wondering how long will it be before our governments will want to insert microchips into us to make their tracking methods on us more simplified.

© 2017

P.S. I Forgive You by D.G. Kaye

About D.G. Kaye’s latest book P.S. I Forgive You.

“I hurt for her. She wasn’t much of a mother, but she was still my mother.”

Confronted with resurfacing feelings of guilt, D.G. Kaye is tormented by her decision to remain estranged from her dying emotionally abusive mother after resolving to banish her years ago, an event she has shared in her book Conflicted Hearts. In P.S. I Forgive You, Kaye takes us on a compelling heartfelt journey as she seeks to understand the roots of her mother’s narcissism, let go of past hurts, and find forgiveness for both her mother and herself.

After struggling for decades to break free, Kaye has severed the unhealthy ties that bound her to her dominating mother—but now Kaye battles new confliction, as the guilt she harbors over her decision only increases as the end of her mother’s life draws near. Kaye once again struggles with her conscience and her feelings of being obligated to return to a painful past she thought she left behind.

One of the recent reviews for the book.

P.S. I Forgive You: A Broken Legacy is a journal of a rollercoaster of emotions displayed by this author as she deals with a narcissistic mother. This is journey through life to survive without love and care from a mother who was incapable of loving anyone but herself.

The author opens her heart to the reader as her emotions pour out. She does all she can to make amends but to no avail and is forced to forgive her unfeeling mother and repair the damage done to her and her siblings.

This book is a catharsis to anyone who has had to live with this kind of parent. It helps them deal with the myriad emotions that continue to bubble up inside and threaten to suffocate oneself.

My heart goes out to this child and her siblings who somehow managed to be strong and resilient even though they were never taught the essentials of parenting and the love that is needed to bring up a child. The author has shown remarkable strength and courage to face head-on the torments that continually threaten her very soul. I recommend this book to anyone who has yet to feel closure from an unhealthy relationship.

Read all the reviews and download the book: P.S. I Forgive You


Read the reviews and buy all of D.G. Kaye’s Books:

Connect to D.G. Kaye through her website.

My thanks to Debby for sharing this post in by absence… It should give us all pause for thought as we divulge the intimate details of our lives in grown up I Spy…. Please share the message. thanks Sally

Sally’s Bookstore and Cafe – New on the Shelves – A PorterGirl Novel- First Lady of the Keys by Lucy Brazier

new-on-the-shelves-updateToday I am delighted to welcome Luzy Brazier to the bookstore. Lucy has converted her very successful blog into a debut novel that is already receiving wonderful reviews.  Here is A PorterGirl Novel – First Lady of the Keys.


About PorterGirl: First Lady Of The Keys

‘Porters are not the carriers of bags, they are the keepers of keys!’

As one of the most ancient and esteemed establishments of the academic elite, Old College is in for something of a shock when it appoints its very first female Deputy Head Porter. She struggles to get to grips with this eccentric world, far removed from everyday life. PorterGirl, the proverbial square peg in the round hole, begins to wonder quite what she is doing here.

PorterGirl – First Lady Of The Keys is a touching, and at times laugh-out-loud funny, glimpse into a world that is usually reserved for the upper echelons of society. Whether she is chasing after naked students, drinking copious amounts of tea or getting embroiled in quaint, polite murders, Deputy Head Porter is never far from adventure.

Two of the excellent reviews for the book

A captivating read in a highly original setting!   By Hugh Fraser on 25 Nov. 2016

When our heroine enters the hallowed portals of Old College to take up her post as Deputy Head Porter she is introduced to the ancient traditions, arcane practices, and sacred rituals that have underpinned the existence of this revered seat of learning since medieval times. As she progresses through her first year among her highly idiosyncratic colleagues, some of whom appear to believe that time stopped somewhere around the fourteenth century, and that academic life is only sustainable by the consumption of industrial quantities of English Breakfast Tea, she begins to suspect that the sudden deaths of two members of staff may not have been from natural causes.

Her subsequent investigations, and her discovery of a macabre legacy of dark deeds performed many centuries ago, take the reader on a frightening but wonderfully entertaining journey to a breathtaking climax.

A literary phenomenon I believe  By EDC on 1 Nov. 2016

A debut, a blog become novel, imaginative fiction underpinned by unique experience, a literary phenomenon I believe, Lucy Brazier, an author to look out for.

No spoilers here, her guile layering intrigue, mystery, tension, threat and the bizarre laced with humour all the more enjoyable, more involving, more gob-smacking good when you think you know but don’t know what’s coming, Lucy tells a very good story.

A woman, against the odds, Deputy Head Porter, the first of her kind amongst Fellows of Old College, a world steeped in tradition and when deemed appropriate, the darker arts. She’s dressed the part, bowler hat atop buttoned curves, not unnoticed, but more an inquisitive mind, kindness live-wired and the disturbed peculiar give cause to fear for her. Atmospheric prose create images of tranquillity, touching philosophical moments have you thinking too, then with a quite literal ‘bugger this’ she’ll take you places she can’t resist, but decidedly best not to be.

I thoroughly enjoyed this, the first of the PorterGirl novels, may they long continue, and Lucy have the success her talent deserves.

Read all the reviews and buy the book

About Lucy Brazier


Lucy Brazier is in her 30’s and lives in the university city of Cambridge, England.

She started writing from the age of ten when her primary school teachers were at a bit of a loss as to how to contain her effervescent personality. They tasked her with writing stories for the younger children in a bid to keep it from disrupting her peers. Lucy developed her skills throughout her teenage years, when she was inspired to read the words of Homer, Livy and Virgel. These formative years also saw her develop her other great passion of music, where she threw herself into several years of misbehaving and playing bass guitar in unsuitable rock bands.

She winded her literary horizons through the works of Terry Pratchett, Oscar Wilde and Flann O’Brien – the latter of which remains to this day her favourite writer. Lucy develop a penchant for the unusual and the absurd, something which was exacerbated by her time serving in the Police where the many varied experiences and character she met had a profound effect on her outlook on life.

After 7 years on the front line and driven by fascination with Inspector Morse, on a whim Lucy applied for the job of Deputy Head Porter at one of the foremost colleges of Cambridge University. To her great surprise, and that of many others at the time, she landed a role as the first female to don the iconic bowler hat in the colleges six hundred year history. Having left formal education at the tender age of sixteen with little to show for it, being thrown in among the academic elite was something of an eye opener.

Documenting the quirks and fables of College life on social media, Lucy was soon persuaded to start a blog – Secret Diary Of PorterGirl. Acutely aware of the dim view taken by College officials of any slight upon their reputation, she wrote anonymously and in such a way as to disguise the true identity of the now notorious Old College. However, being quite possibly the worst Deputy Head Porter of all time made her decide to hang up her bowler hat and peruse her dream of becoming a writer. Lucy considers this is the best decision she has ever made.

In December 2015 Lucy signed with Kensington Gore Publishing and Secret Diary Of PorterGirl was rewritten and republished in the summer of 2016 as PorterGirl The First Lady Of The Keys. KGHH Publishing see this book and others to follow a great glimpse into the unique world of college life. A world that never seems to change, more evolve into a world of its own.

Connect to Lucy Brazier


Please help spread the news of Lucy’s debut novel as far and wide as possible.. Thank you for dropping in today.. Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Scream Anthology, John Fioravanti, Bette A. Stevens and Annette Rochelle Aben

author-update-jpgAs I am not going to be posting a Cafe and Bookstore update until I get back from my break on March 1st.. I am adding an extra author today with her new release.. more later about Annette Rochelle Aben’s latest book.

A couple of weeks ago I featured the collaborative anthology Run – A collection of Dark Tales and here is the follow up Scream...Time to get behind the sofa as these talented writers take darkness to a whole new level.


About SCREAM: A Collection of Dark Tales

Biohazard by Kathy Love
Jenny knew when she took a job working for a crime cleaning company, she would experience some weird situations. But she never thought one of her co-workers, David, would fall in love with her, and man, does he have a strange way of showing it. Hearts drawn in blood spatter and notes out of body tissue? That takes weird to a whole new level. Add to that, with a serial killer on the loose, she finds herself spending a lot of time at work—and with David. Soon, she can’t help wondering if he could be the one killing these people. Just so they can spend more time together.

Undying Love by Kristine Mason
Till death do us part does not apply…Morgan Smithwell’s first love is killed in a car accident, leaving her devastated and heartbroken. When she claims his ghost has visited her, Morgan’s parents and psychiatrist believe she’s had a psychotic break. But Morgan knows the truth. Death cannot come between her and the boy she loves. Now, to keep their love alive, Morgan must find her lover a new body. Again and again…

No Eulogy for a Stranger by Caleb Pirtle III
Easy Eddy Dollar is not quite sure where he is when he awakes on a park bench with a bullet wound in his stomach. And just who are all these people entering his life? With only twenty-four hours to find out, Easy Eddy Dollar knows he’s a stranger among strangers, and nobody has a prayer to recite at the grave of a stranger.

The Woman of My Dreams by Joe Broadmeadow
The cut of a truth long hidden is quick, deep, and painful. Yet, life has a way of never missing a beat, even when breaking your heart. Is there such a thing as loving too much?

The Hunter by Drew Jordan
Not every woman is fortunate enough to be married to a serial killer like I am. Why is that lucky? Because he will protect me from everyone and anyone…and never ever hurt me.

Follow The Hunter from Alaska to Canada to reclaim his wife, Laney. Or to make her his final victim. The Hunter is a short story related to the dark and sexy CRASH trilogy, which includes Crash, Hide, and Expose.

The House That Weeps by Elle J Rossi
Andrew Stevens has one shot left to do something good with his life. But will the horrors inside the house that weeps be his savior or his ultimate demise?

The Silent Widow by Kimberly McGath
Eight-track tapes and bell-bottoms were all the rage in the late 1970’s. Citizens had become familiar with serial killers such as Zodiac, but nothing prepared them for this sweetheart killer. Valentine’s Day will be red with blood in this rural town. Author Kimberly McGath will keep you guessing in The Silent Widow, with many twists and turns that will make you Scream. But will you be able to?

Chimes at Midnight by Paul Dale Anderson
Never play blind man’s bluff with a blind man. Never play games with an old man entering his second childhood. And never ever play for keeps or bet your life because the odds are not in your favor.

A Sultry Abyss by Sue Coletta
Crime Writer Sydney Slaughter has spent her life researching serial killers. What she never expected was to find herself at the center of a brutal murder spree. When visions hit too close to reality, Syd goes to a hypnotist to tap into her subconscious. What she envisions shakes her very core. Can she use her skills to expose the killer? Or will fate turn the table, reveal things she never wanted to know?

Buy the collection:

The previous collection RUN.


One of the reviews for RUN

A fabulous collection of stories that will keep you riveted and reading, Run, is a collection of short tales that are alternately, disturbing, surprising and chilling. The authors in this collection have done a bang-up job of looking at the darker side of human nature. From crime fiction and espionage, to tales of psychological terror and even supernatural horror, this gem of a collection will appeal to a diverse variety of readers. These authors know their craft. The writing is polished and I was blown away by the twists and turns in several of the tales. Highly recommended! I look forward to reading more of their individual books.

 Read all the story summaries, reviews and buy the anthology:


Time to look at John Fioravanti’s book Reflections – Inspirational Quotes & Interpretations; published in late December last year. Have you read quotes from both classic and modern thinkers.. and wondered what they actually mean.. particularly to those of us living in this modern age?


About Reflections – Inspirational Quotes & Interpretations

Does this question engage you or take you out of your comfort zone? Does it put you on the spot? REFLECTIONS is award-winning author and former educator John Fioravanti’s answer.

Offering his interpretations of fifty quotes by contemporary and ancient thinkers alike, John dives deep below the surface of words and explores the deeper meanings that shape his view of the world.

Deeply personal and presented in a self-effacing manner, these self-aware reflections will encourage you to dig deep within yourself and to discover more about the underlying truths that guide you.

Without trumpets or fanfare of any kind, John Fioravanti aspires to inspire you!

 One of the early reviews for the book

REFLECTIONS was a perfect book to read over the holidays. Each chapter focuses on an inspirational quote from such notable people as Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, and Anne Frank; and, because of this approach, the book can be read non-linearly. The reader can move from one reflection to another, as interest dictates.

There are 50 quotations included in the book, each of which author Fioravanti provides his interpretations, a practice he adopted for his weekly blog. His thoughts, measured and insightful, spur the reader to consider his or her own. This book earns my endorsement and support with Five well-deserved Stars.

Buy the book:

Also by John Fioravanti

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Read all the reviews and BUY the books:


Connect to John via his website:


One of my guests for the Book Reading at the Cafe starting in March is children’s author Bette A. Stevens.. She has an offer starting on Wednesday for her book Pure Trash.. so let’s take a look at the book first.

51td5gvajel-_uy250_About Pure Trash

It’s PURE TRASH (Historical Fiction/short story), a Compelling Prequel to the novel DOG BONE SOUP.

The year is 1955. Remember the Good Old Days? You know, the 1950s and ‘60s, when America was flying high. The All American Family lived a life filled with hopes and dreams and life’s necessities too. Shawn Daniels isn’t your typical American Boomer Boy. No, Shawn is a poor boy. He can’t join Boy Scouts or sports teams. There’s not even enough money for necessities. Besides, Shawn doesn’t have time for that. But when chores are done, there’s always fishing!

In this short story, Shawn and Willie Daniels are off on a Saturday adventure in search of trash to turn into treasure. It is going to be a great day. Shawn is sure of it. No school and no bullies to remind him that he’s not one of the crowd. This is a story about bullies and what it’s like to be bullied (and not just by kids). It may redefine your definition of bullying.

If you were a child who was thought of as “different” in some way, you know what bullying is about: torment, persecution, intimidation, to name a few of its synonyms. For Shawn and Willie, their difference was based upon the social status of a dysfunctional family and the alcoholism and abject poverty in which they grew up.

One of the reviews for Pure Trash

How can so much imagery fit in such a small space? A host of human emotions and an entire era are crammed within a handful of pages. What’s even more impressive, this is all accomplished from the point of view of a a simple boy.

This short story speaks volumes about Stevens’ writing skills and her ability to pick the seemingly insignificant details that make all the difference – such as the self-made metal basket on the hero’s bike, or the casual measuring of his father’s drunkenness level, in order to ascertain whether the old man is ready to take the boys fishing.

The hero’s voice is all the more poignant for his innocence. He knows what he loves and hates, but is content to describe; not judge. This makes Pure Trash all the more compelling, as any judging is left to the reader.

All in all, a powerful short story, and a great introduction to the novel.

Read the reviews and take advantage of the #FREE offer from February 22nd to 26th:

 Also by Bette A. Stevens

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Read all the reviews and buy the books:


Connect to Bette via her website:


And last but definitely not least is Annette Rochelle Aben with her latest release, hot off the press..Go You: Some encouragement when you need it.


About Go You.

If you follow Annette on social media you will know that she gives us daily nuggets of encouragement and inspiration. Apart from a very talented poet, Annette has the knack of bringing a smile to your face, even when you are at your wit’s end.

Encouraging words raise the spirit and provide strength. Find some encouragement when you need it in this book. You ARE SPECIAL! You ARE WONDERFUL! You ARE A TERRIFIC PERSON! So, GO YOU!!

There is already a review in.

Thank you, Ms.Aben. This is just what I needed this week. I now keep this by my bed and read one passage every morning when I get up.

Buy the book:

Also by Annette Rochelle Aben

5147hosyntl-_uy250_ 51-rxnjutkl-_ux160_ 51lqko58wql-_uy250_ a-haiku-perspective choose perspectiveRead all the reviews and buy the books:


Connect to Annette via her blog:

Thank you for dropping by today and please help spread the news of these author’s work far and wide. Thanks Sally

N.B – I will be off on a jaunt with my sisters from tomorrow and whilst I will be checking in here and also my emails from time to time.. I might be a little slow in responding. If you are interested in joining the 150 other authors in the Cafe and Bookstore or you are already in the Bookstore and have news to share.. here is the link.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves -A Sinister Six by Steve Boseley


Today I am welcoming Steve Boseley to the shelves of the bookstore. His latest release, A Sinister Six was published on February 6th.  A collection of six darkly disturbing stories.. a treasure trove for those of you who enjoy your stories edgy.


About the collection.

A Sinister Six’ is a collection of darkly disturbing stories, where the ordinary and mundane become extraordinary and fantastic. Come along, as we journey to the edges of reality and glimpse what lies just beyond our reach. Discover that nothing is quite what it seems, and explore the horrors that travel with us throughout our lives.

The characters you will meet within have been forced beyond the boundary of their reality and have encountered what lies beyond.

Die, Blossom Bloom is the story of TED HARRIS, an old man who feels a yawning chasm of grief and guilt from the loss of his wife and the way her life ended. Keeping these details secret leads him to commit acts he never thought himself capable of.

The Girl in the Park tells the tale of a boy who encounters an enigmatic young woman in the park. As he grows, he begins to fall in love with her, but it is only at the end of his life that he discovers how he can be with her.

A Snap of The Fingers asks the questions What would you do for a loved one? Would you die for them? Would you kill for them? Ten-year-old SETH ROGERS is asked that very question by a stranger that offers to save his mother from the cancer that is killing her.

The Photograph. A photograph is rediscovered decades after it was lost, only now the picture has several new faces in it, faces that were not there when it was taken.

The Book demands to be read. It needs to be read. Doctor MONTE HILTON is tasked with helping a man that believes The Book is urging him to read it and that the very existence of our universe is in danger if he does.

I’m Watching You is the story of one man’s descent into insanity. Long hours and late nights force MIKE to question what is real and what is imagined. Some people can only be pushed so far before something breaks.

**Please note – the paperback version of ‘A Sinister Six’ contains and additional TWO stories*** 

An early review.

Six incredible stories! 1 Feb. 2017 By Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews Published on

There are six incredible, magnificent, and horrifying stories. Yes, they truly are sinister. Not just the stories. Not just the characters. But the way the stories bring in the reader and add twists. Boseley is a master of designing these perfectly horrid stories, and brings the reader into his mind. I was intrigued when I saw the quote from Poe in the beginning of the book, and I can see why. There is a lot of “Poe”-ishness within this story. The titles of the stories just bring you in and then … the story keeps you shivering. “He could hear her voice, muffled by the pillow, which he tried to block out and failed. Her voice weakened and then was silent.”

I received this book free in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. ~Amy’s Bookshelf Reviews

Buy the collecton:

Also by Steve Boseley and as a contributor to an anthology.

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Visit Steve Boseley’s author page:


About Steve Boseley

Steve is a horror and dark fiction author, living in Nottingham, UK. His dark fiction and horror short stories have appeared in several online webzines, and the anthologies The Asylum Within and Dead but Dreaming Halloween Edition. Most recently, Steve was a guest author for the short story collection Deathly Musings.

In 2016 Steve published his first novella, ‘Die, Blossom, Bloom.’ It’s the story of a old man whose love for his wife led him to take some actions he never thought possible.

His latest book, ‘A Sinister Six’ is a collection of darkly disturbing stories, where the ordinary and mundane become extraordinary and fantastic.

Connect to Steve.

Website book link

Thank you for dropping by and if you would like to join Steve and 150 other authors on the shelves of the bookstore.. here is how:

And if you are already in the bookstore and have a new release of a fantastic review you would like to share.. let me know.  Thanks Sally.

Reblog – Paul Andruss celebrating the work of Illustrator Donata Zawadzka.

Here is an extract from Paul’s post today celebrating the work of illustrator Donata Zawakska.

Wrapped in Light was the second drawing Dona did for Thomas the Rhymer. This time I wasn’t shocked because I knew what her remarkable talent could bring to the book. But I was still delighted by her creativity and insight.

If you look at Dona’s Fairy Queen Sylvie, there is something not quite human about her. The beauty is other worldly. This is due to what Dona cleverly did with the spacing of Sylvie’s eyes. The other thing that Dona instinctively grasped was the Celtic costume and the runic symbols Sylvie is standing over – almost as if they are carrying her.


Read and extract from Thomas the Rhymer and discover more about Donata:

If you are looking for an illustrator for your books you will find details in my author services directory for Donata.. but here is a reminder of her links.

Buy her work




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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

The full programme details can be found here:

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

William Price King – Leontyne Price

classical music

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

Paul Andruss

Thomas the Rhymer

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

Personal Stuff

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

Weekly Image and Haiku


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update

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glimpsesCover Art by Jon Hunsinger51abcfiqqgl-_uy250_

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves







Smorgasbord Blogger Daily showcasing 25 bloggers and their posts.


Smorgasbord Health 2017Seasonal Affective Disorder

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

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

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



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

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

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

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – Keys of the Origin: Book 1: The scions of balance. (Aeldynn Lore) by Melissa A. Joy


Today the featured author is Melissa A. Joy a new fantasy author who has already impressed her readers with Keys of the Origin: Book 1: The scions of balance. (Aeldynn Lore)

61jgxmsp-sl-_uy250_About the book

The time has come for the Keys of the Origin to play their part in restoring balance to Aeldynn; but how will their choices affect the outcome?

Two young men; one a righteous law-abiding servant to the people, the other a distinguished outlaw, don’t yet realise they are to play a part in a foretold bid for the future of Aeldynn.

Fate leads them down a road they would never have dreamed of following; a road that leads them into a struggle to bring the world back into a state of balance from the precipice of madness and desolation.

It is not only Zehn and Larkh who are fated to take on the malevolent forces of Aeldynn; there are others who must join with them as they are coaxed into the embrace of the ancient Nays and the fabled Drahknyr, who are also entangled in the masterful puppeteering of a renegade sorceress hell bent on reviving the greatest threat of all; Alymarn.

Two of the reviews for the book

a must read  By Amazon Customer on 26 Aug. 2016

A land that is out of balance and the journey of those who have the chance to save it, the Keys of the Origin, the first book in this saga by Melissa A. Joy.

The book was a little slow to start, I normally prefer to be gripped by the story almost straight away, but I am very glad I stuck with it. The story is complex, and that coupled with exceptionally detailed and descriptive writing has made for a wonderful start to this series. The descriptive writing enabled me to immerse myself in the story and in some places, like the fair in Almadeira; I could almost hear the music and feel the atmosphere whilst still being sat in my living room.

There are lots of twists and turns throughout and jumping between places and characters, but it in this case I felt that it worked really well because you get a well rounded view of the story as it happens. It was very difficult to figure out what was going to happen next, which made it a brilliant page-turner. If you stick with it as I did, you will find yourself unable to put the book down!

The characters are very well thought out, so much so that I found myself cheering on some, while strongly cursing others, and each have many layers to them. I found them very believable and in some cases relatable. They also link in and contrast extremely well, creating brilliant doses of tension and humour throughout the book, that add a little something extra to the story. My favourite character is Melkhar, one of the Kaesan’Drahknyr. A fierce redheaded warrior with a dark past, that everybody fears and admires.

I thought that the maps and glossary included in the book are also a wonderful touch. I could use the map to see where everything actually was during the story, which really helped with picturing the land in my mind, and in doing so, added to the story itself, and the glossary so I could easily look up what was being said when there was not a footnote to translate.

Overall, I would say this is an exceptional book that I would happily recommend to readers young and old that enjoy a good fantasy novel. Very well thought out, brilliantly written, and I eagerly await the next installment!!

An interesting and promising fantasy epic!  By Chris Isaaks on 10 Nov. 2016

A very groundbreaking and interesting read; a new fantasy series by a promising new author. As expected of a fantasy epic world, Aeldynn is highly complex and interlinked, and I was very impressed with the author’s attention to detail with developing the lore, characters and particularly the language within the continuity. At times it can be very easy to become lost in the complexity of the narrative and lore (hence the need for a re-read) but it’s indicative of the amount of thought and effort that has gone into it.

The main characters have very distinct personalities (I love Larkh in particular!) and it is clear that there is a common quality that binds them all together. I feel at times that different characters seem to represent different aspects and moral views of the author, sometimes very strongly so. In some parts this can become consuming but the strength of the plot, setting and characters maintains the link between this and the story. It is clear that the author has invested a lot of time, effort and emotion into tying all of the many details of the story together into a focused narrative.

Ultimately, the book shows a lot of promise for future instalments! It is clear that it has the potential to be an epic new fantasy series, and I look forward to seeing where the author is going to take it next.

Read all the reviews and buy the book

Also by Melissa A. Joy


This was terrific. I enjoy the fantasy and piratical/nautical elements that …  By ChilliDog on 10 Jun. 2015

I bought this taster book to prepare myself for the wondrous world building that Melissa has been dedicating herself to for so many years. This was terrific. I enjoy the fantasy and piratical/nautical elements that she has infused the overarching story with, it is an eclectic mix and one I strongly believe worth persevering with, since it has a charm all of its own. Melissa deftly provides backstory at a gentle pace, all the while mixing human elements within her narrative, so that even if we are presented with unique and unfamiliar themes, it is her enthusiasm and passion for her subject matter that help bind us to the tale.

We want to be taken along for the ride and to explore this richly evocative and interesting world, the characters are enigmatic and mysterious and I could easily find myself wanting to know more about them. I cannot wait until the full debut novel comes out, as this will mark the beginning of an exciting new series for us to sink our teeth into – I’m done with the taster, please bring on the main course!

Read the reviews and buy both books


About Melissa A. Joy

Melissa A. Joy is a new fantasy author who challenges the conventional expectations of fantasy and takes them to a whole new level. It is no secret that she believes in the existence of all things fantastical, and that anything is possible.She began building the world of Aeldynn and started writing seriously aged approximately 13, and has since developed it into something truly magical worth sharing.

From the glorious winged Drahknyr and wise and fearsome dragons to pirates of the high seas and a world rich with history and lore, her imagination could be said to be limitless.

When she isn’t locked in a reverie about what’s going on in the world of Aeldynn, she’s probably out sailing the high seas on a tall ship, or perhaps dressed up in costume at an anime convention.

Connect to Melissa


If you would like to join the 140 authors on the exclusive shelves of the bookstore.. walk this way....

Thanks for dropping by and it would be great if you could spread the news of Melissa’s books around. thanks Sally