Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – Woodlake (Images of America) by Marsha Ingrao

Welcome to the Cafe and Bookstore New on the Shelves and today the featured author is Marsha Ingrao who is enjoying her retirement from teaching and as History Consultant for the Office of Education for Tulare County in Central California.  Her local history book tells the story of the Western town of Woodlake.  Marsha also provides excellent ‘how to’ posts on blogging for newbies and experienced writers alike.

About the book

Known as the area “within the magic circle,” the Western town of Woodlake, along with its surrounding valley, is rich in both natural resources and hardworking citizens who are proud of their heritage. Most Tulare County towns sprang up along the Southern Pacific Railroad. Woodlake, designed as a tourist town, drew together farming communities, consisting of people too busy raising fruit and cattle to create a town. Starting with Thomas Henry Davis in 1853, settlers established farms and ranches, which attracted Los Angeles millionaire Gilbert Stevenson when he arrived in 1907.

Approved by the Tulare County Board of Supervisors on October 3, 1911, the world-class tourist town named Woodlake grew from Stevenson’s imagination into reality. Led by the strong sales personality of its founder, Woodlake grew quickly, yet it remained a Western town, retaining reference points to the early communities that visitors would not find on signs. Visitors to Woodlake today will find Woodlakeans still doing what attracted Gilbert Stevenson: raising cattle and growing citrus within protection of the Sierra Nevada and foothills.

All author’s proceeds from the sale of this book will go to the Woodlake High School Foundation.

One of the reviews for the book.

Wonderful book of Woodlake history. It’s a treasure! I bought three so my kids have their own copy. Grandson loves it! It’s heritage!

Buy the book from Amazon:

About Marsha Ingrao

Marsha is a retired teacher and History Consultant for the Office of Education for Tulare County in Central California.

My first novel, Girls on Fire, a romantic comedy about three women in their early sixties looking for new loves, will come out as soon as my editor sends me back the final edits to make. Three blogs keep me busy the rest of the time I sit at my desk.

In the past year, I have focused more on writing, blogging, and photography for newbies and non-professional bloggers. I write about those topics on this blog, Always Write.

Connect to Marsha

Websites: Blogging tutorials and personal posts:

Social Media
FB Page
Google +

Thank you for dropping by today and please feel free to share.. thanks Sally





Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – 29th March 2017 – Nicholas Rossis, The Story Reading Ape, Patricia Salamone and C.S. Boyack

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Welcome to today’s look at some of the blog posts I have enjoyed. I tend to have a wide taste in subject matter with books and writing obviously high on the list. But I would love it if you would share either one of your own posts or one that you have enjoyed by another blogger by leaving a link in the comments section of the post.

First is an opportunity to feature two bloggers author Nicholas Rossis with a post on the subject of Endbooks which make opening a print copy unexpected and a great way to segway into the writing. His post was inspired by the blog post by Sarah Laskow’s blog

In the endless eBook vs. print debate, one aspect is rarely mentioned: the art of endbooks. And yet, as Sarah Laskow—my favorite Atlas Obscura blogger—points out, these can deliver a small jolt of wonder that perfectly complements a lovely book. An over-eager reader can breeze by even the most striking endbooks, yet they’re an art form with a history all their own.

An ENDuring Hostory

For centuries, designers have taken the formal necessity of joining a book’s pages to its cover and turned it into an opportunity for creativity. When a book is made, one side of an endpaper (sometimes also called an endpage or endleaf) is pasted into the inside of the book’s cover; the other side is the first page of the book.

Read the rest of the post and see more examples of this wonderful way to embellish your books:

The next post is from The Story Reading Ape who invites a wide selection of guests onto his blog to promote their work.  Today he welcomed guests Al and Sunny Lockwood who have turned their travels into a series of fascinating books.

As I gingerly step into my seventh decade on planet Earth, I’m filled with dreams and ready for adventure.

When I was younger, I was eager to do it all — earn college degrees, travel widely, run a business, write books, try all sorts of exciting things. I felt a type of urgency, like if I didn’t do all this stuff right now, I’d never do it and I’d end up old and full of regrets.

Is that do-it-now urgency a typical aspect of youth? I think it may simply be part of a full and fulfilling life no matter what your age. We live in the now, don’t we. While we carry our past with us, and we look forward to tomorrow, the only time we really have is right now to do the things we long for.

In any event, I did all that I’d dreamed of doing. And more. I developed publications for universities, wrote for magazines and even worked as a newspaper editor for a while. I did some skydiving, produced a TV show called “Women Working” at Gill Cable in San Jose, California, and enjoyed interesting friends from California to Main.

Read more about Al and Sunny’s travels that have become fascinating travel books:

Next Patricia Salamone shares the story of her honeymoon over 40 years ago and some of the unexpected experiences encountered.  I am sure Patricia would love to hear your honeymoon adventures (within reason) so please head over and share.


I know many, many people that love to watch horror. I can’t, I have nightmares if I do. However, I can read a scary book without having nightmares but it sort of hangs with me for a while. Many years before I married I read a book called ‘Harvest Home’ by Thomas Tryon. Talk about scary. I’m posting this first for a reason.

When I got married years later and we were on our honeymoon it was January with over twenty inches of snow on the ground. We stayed in a Pocono, Pa. Resort. When we arrived we were taken to our cabin.

Read the rest of this entertaining post and share your own misadventures:

Author C.S. Boyack welcomed crime thriller writer Sue Coletta to his blog yesterday. Sue talks about The Mystery Surrounding Antlers. Sue is also about to release her latest book and antlers feature so great opportunity to find out more about them and her new book.

Fans of the TV show Hannibal know the cannibal psychiatrist and gourmet chef—although his ingredients are quite questionable—often uses deer antlers to create macabre crime scenes. Some may think the creators of the show stole the idea from HBO’s True Detective, but that isn’t the case. The original idea stemmed from Stephen King. In his 1979 hit Salem’s Lot, King impaled one of the characters with antlers. They say it takes three repetitions to create a trend, and perhaps there’s some truth to that.

Antlers intrigued me enough to write them into my new novel, CLEAVED.

Read more about the mystery of antlers and Sue’s new book:

Thanks for dropping by and hope you enjoy reading the posts in the selection.. Don’t forget to leave your link to your most recent post or one that you have enjoyed in the comments section.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book Reading and Author Inteview – John Fioravanti

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore

Please extend a warm welcome to my guest today on the Cafe Book Reading.. author John Fioravanti. I know that having read John’s interview you will have your own questions and please put those in the comments section of the post.

First something about John Fioravanti in his own words.

I taught high school history for thirty-five years in just two schools in the Waterloo, Ontario region. My wife and business partner, Anne, and I have been married for more than 40 years. We have three adult children and three grandchildren. In 2002, I wrote an educational book for high school students about writing skills in the discipline of History. “Getting it Right In History Class” is available in Canadian and International editions at Wintertickle Press.

In 2006, Iceberg Publishing commissioned me to write an inspirational book about my years in the classroom. “A Personal Journey to the Heart of Teaching” was published in 2007. The book won a Bronze Medal at the IPPY International Awards in Los Angeles in May, 2008. I retired from teaching the next month.

My wife and I decided to strike off on our own and founded our own publishing company in December, 2013. We called it Fiora Books. Our good friends at Iceberg Publishing turned my award winning book back over to us to publish under the Fiora Books imprint. The 2014 edition of “A Personal Journey to the Heart of Teaching” was released in May, 2014 on Amazon in paperback and eBook formats.

This was followed by Passion & Struggle Book One of The Genesis Saga in 2014, Treachery & Triumph Book Two of the series in 2015

One of the latest reviews for Book One of The Genesis Saga.

Mr. Fioravanti wrote a thought provoking science fiction story set in the year 2796. There is a lot of detail in the beginning of the story, that slowed me down at first. Although, once I got into the story, I was hooked. I found some chilling parallels with the story line and what is happening in our own world. Genesis is a tropical planet that humans inhabited after they had to leave Earth when a virus got out of control. Earth was left to evolve in new ways. A common enemy united both planets for a past war. This led to Genesis trying a new form of government modeling after Earth.

Implementing government reform does not go well, because Genesis is a society evenly split between religion and science/warrior classes. But, “Passion & Struggle” is about more than politics, war and religion. There is romance, adventure, hidden agendas, friendships, enemies and intrigue. The relationship between Earth and Genesis is fascinating within itself, but it’s the people that kept my attention. When I got to the last page, I wanted the story to continue and luckily it does! I will be reading the rest of the series!

Reflections: Inspirational Quotes and Interpretations in 2016.

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.

Find out more about John’s books and his latest reviews:

Now time to discover more about John and his life and work. He is looking forward to answering your questions and please pop them into the comments at the end of the post.

Welcome John and could you tell us about your chosen genre of books that you write and why?

My first chosen genre is Inspirational Non-Fiction. I entered the teaching profession in 1973 to help young people navigate the treacherous waters of the teen years, and my desire to help others has never gone away. I also write Science Fiction having been inspired by Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek TV series when I was in high school. I never lost my fascination for space exploration. My sci-fi books are best described as human drama in a futuristic society, as opposed to classic space battles with otherworldly technology.

Tell us about your blog and your main features. With a link to what you consider best sums you up as a blogger?

My blogs have fallen into three categories – the first two reflect the genres in which I write. In the MY INSPIRATION blog series, I select an inspirational quote by an author or well-known person and then write an interpretive reflection about the quote.

The second set of blogs are vignettes called GENESIS CHRONICLES. These are a set of 25 prequels to my current sci-fi series called The Genesis Saga.

My latest set of blogs reflects my interest in teaching History in the classroom for 35 years. JOHN’S ARCHIVES put forward five events that happened on the current date in history, as well as three famous people born on that date:

What do you believe is the most important event to have affected our lives in the last 100 years?

I believe the most important event that has affected our lives in the last 100 years is the advent of the World Wide Web in 1989-90. Although there were other networks established two to three decades earlier, the Internet has profoundly impacted just about every aspect of our lives. I won’t list all of those ways here, but there are a few that are most important to me.

First, the Internet allows families to connect regularly, keep those bonds of affection, and support alive and well. As well, The WWW has revolutionised the global economy allowing many people to support themselves through online businesses. Now we can shop from our computers and other devices! Finally, the Internet, through social media, has impacted world events like no other medium in history. Would the throngs of women who marched in most major cities around the world recently have happened without the linkage provided by social media? I think not.

As a history teacher for thirty-five years what do you feel has been the most significant change to the education system in that time?

The most significant change in education during my career (1973-2008) was the advent of the Internet coupled with the use of computers in the classroom. The Internet has revolutionised research for every level of education. In my day, we researched at the school library and the local public library. The use of computers at home and the classroom has given students an invaluable learning tool to use in every area of study across the curriculum. As a teacher, my effectiveness in lesson presentation, skill development for students and in assessment and evaluation – and reporting, was enhanced many times over by the computer and access to the Internet. The exciting thing is that these twin tools are still evolving!

You have written both non-fiction and fiction. Which do you prefer and why?

Of the two genres, fiction and non-fiction, I prefer to write my science fiction novels. Just as reading a great novel is first-rate escapism, so too is writing such a book. As the author, I love to escape my reality in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada in 2017 to write stories about people living on a fictitious planet in a distant galaxy, six hundred years into the future.

I devoured novels by the dozen as a kid growing up and always regarded the authors as special beings. How did they come up with these plots and characters? How did they weave subplots together? When I discovered later in life that I can do this too, I was thrilled! I also love the act of creation – bringing something into existence that was not there before. Writing fiction is exciting stuff!

Having been a history teacher, which era do you feel has been the most significant in terms of the nations we are today?

As a history teacher, I’d say that the most significant era that impacted the nations that we are today is the period of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. This period saw the decline and breakup of the global European empires, the rise of independence movements among colonies, and most importantly for all of us, the ascendancy of the United States to the #1 world power status by 1900 and super power status by 1945. The Americans have had more influence on the world regarding economics, culture, politics and the military than any nation in history. We were spared World War III because the USA assumed the mantle of “World Cop” and enforced Pax Americana with a military unparalleled in size and power.

Connect to John on his website and social media.

Fiora Books website
Twitter Accounts:  and
Facebook:  and

My thanks to John for his thought provoking answers to the questions and it is now your turn to take over the interview with your own questions. John will be popping into the interview over the next two days or so to respond.


Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – 28th March 2017 – Dan Alatorre, All Doggie, Judith Barrow and Jennie Fitzkee

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

It is that time of day again to share a small selection of blog posts from the ones I have read and enjoyed.  If I have missed yours then I am sorry but would love it if you would leave a link in the comments for me.

I have done a few book signings in stores and at events and there is always that moment when you see the daunting pile of books that you wonder if you will be taking you home with you again.. Never fear.. Author Dan Alatorre is here with some great ways to avoid that happening.

9 Ways To Avoid A Humiliating Public Failure At Your Book Signing Event

You finally worked up the nerve to ask a real, live bookstore to have you sign books at an event!

Okay, you emailed them.

But they replied and now you have a signing event! Woo hoo!

Uh oh…

A real live event.With people.

Or worse, maybe with NO people.

I can hear your heart pounding from here. You’ve heard horror stories about signings. Nobody came. Nobody bought a book…


It can happen even if you DO plan. So what do you do? After all, for the most part you tend to be humiliation-averse.

Good thing I was here!

It won’t be long before we will be setting out on trips and I remember packing more for Sam than for us when we did a road trip.. He also seemed to have more paperwork requirements too.. at least we do not need Rabies shots before going to Europe! Here is a very useful blog .. All about dogs…. And a checklist for your next trip.

It’s always a good idea to make a list of essentials to bring along when you’re going on a trip, and traveling with Doggie is no exception. Making a list of items to bring along well in advance of the trip allows you to remember commonly forgotten items and add them to list before you disembark. Here at we’ve done the work for you!

When traveling with Doggie, don’t forget these essential items to make Doggie as comfortable as possible! After all, she’s a part of the family, and has some special needs that could be commonly forgotten in the moment of departure.

Here is the checklist:

Over the coming months Judith Barrow will be interviewing fellow authors who write family sagas. If you have not read Judith’s three books then I do recommend them all having read and thoroughly enjoyed. Yesterday her guest was Jenny Lloyd author of Leap the Wild Water, Anywhere the Wind Blows and The Calling of the Raven.

My Series of #FamilySaga Authors. Today with Jenny Lloyd #MondayBlogs
Posted on March 27, 2017

Over the next few months I’ll be chatting with authors who, like me, write Family Sagas, (#familysaga) a genre that can cover many countries, years and cultures.I am thrilled that so many excellent writers have agreed to meet here with me. I’m sure you’ll find them as fascinating as I do. All I can say is watch this space. Your TBR list of books will be toppling over!!

Read the very interesting interview with Jenny Lloyd as she talks about the inspiration behind her writing:

I have often written in health posts that I think that music is another food group and I certainly could not imagine my life without it. But how about young children being introduced to classical music and fine art. Jennie Fitzkee has introduced the children in her class to both with stunning results.. This is a fascinating post and even if you do not have children it might inspire you to put Vivaldi whatever musical player you own and get some paints out.

Every year I am surprised when I bring to school my old record player, which looks much like a suitcase. I simply but it down on the floor in front of the children and look at it. Then, I wait for the wonder of what happens next. As children predict what they think it might be, I open the lid and start to carefully touch the turntable and the arm… and then turn it on.

See the results for yourself in this surprising post:

Thank you for popping by and please feel free to share the link to your lastest post in the comments. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Air your Reviews – Paul Andruss – Lori R. Lopez and Lucinda Blanchard

Welcome to the first of the Air your Reviews this week. This series is open to any author or book reviewer who would like to share their latest review. I am going to kick this off with a review of my own.

I have had Thomas the Rhymer by Paul Andruss on my TBR since before Christmas and my only New Year’s resolution for 2017 was to read through my TBR before buying any more books or offering to review any others.  Reviews are so important to us as authors and I hope that this new series will offer authors the opportunity to showcase their work and to give book reviewers an opportunity to boost their views too.

Thomas the Rhymer Paul Andruss

About Thomas the Rhymer (Jack Hughes Trilogy Book 1)

When Fairy Queen Sylvie snatches his brother, schoolboy Jack is plunged into a sinister fantasy world of illusion and deception – the realm of telepathic fairies ruled by spoilt, arrogant fairy queens.

Haunted by nightmares about his brother and pursued by a mysterious tramp (only seen by Jack and his friends) Jack fears he too will be stolen away.

The tramp is Thomas the Rhymer, who only speaks in rhyme. Lost and frightened Thomas needs Jack’s help to find his way home.

The race is on for Jack and his friends to save Thomas from the wicked Agnes Day (who wants to treat Thomas like a lab rat). And save Jack’s brother from Sylvie.
To do this they need the help of Bess – the most ancient powerful fairy queen in the land.

But there is a problem…
No one knows where Bess is… or even if she is still lives.
And even if they find her… will she let them go?

My review for Thomas the Rhymer March 2017

Challenge your senses with a rival to Harry Potter.

After 60 odd years of reading it is easy to get into bad habits. By this I mean sticking to the tried and tested with regard to genres and authors. This is not healthy when you are a writer yourself, as I have discovered when reading Thomas the Rhymer by Paul Andruss.

I read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K Rowling when it was released. Whilst I enjoyed it as a children’s story, I really did not find myself engaged or inspired to read the other seven books or watch the movies. I felt excluded from the millions who did and usually keep my silence in the face of fans.

However, Thomas the Rhymer had me hooked from page one and continued to keep me engaged the entire 319 pages.

This is an ensemble piece with a cast of characters that would be happy in starring roles in Alice in Wonderland or any Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale. Jack Hughes, Ken, Catherine and the delightful Rosie, along with Thomas with his foot in this world and that of the Fairies; draw you into their inner circle and hold you fast.

Each of these wonderfully drawn characters face challenges in their past or present that make them feel isolated until they join forces to protect the most vulnerable amongst them and bring a brother home.

The story will challenge your beliefs in spectacular fashion. Is there another world or worlds running parallel with ours, are fairies sweet and delicate creatures or demons; is that tramp outside the Post Office real or an illusion? As you travel with Jack, Ken and Catherine on their quest, hurtling along ley lines and battling fantastic monsters and evil temptresses, you will find your heart beating a little bit faster. And probably checking under your bed at night!

The scenes set in London that criss cross centuries are filled with historical facts distorted with fairy dust. Next time you are in the city and walking the streets you will be looking into dark doorways and wondering if behind that old oak door with chipped paint lies a nest of elfin waiting to rob you of your senses.

The writing is superb with wit, humour and an edge that turns this from a children’s fairy story into a multi-generational adventurous fantasy that I believe knocks Harry Potter into a cocked hat!

I recommend reading Thomas the Rhymer and at £1.22 it is a steal worthy of the elfin themselves with a value of very much more in my opinion. There are more books to come in the Jack Hughes series and I would love to see the movies.

Challenge you senses and pick up a copy today.

Buy Thomas the Rhymer:

Also by Paul Andruss

Finn Mac Cool

Find out more about Paul Andruss and his books:

The next review is for the collection of dark stories, Odds and Ends by Lori R. Lopez author of Speculative Fiction, Horror, Fantasy and more…

About Odds and Ends: A Dark Collection

What terrors lurk in the blackest regions of a cellar, amidst dusty cobwebbed shelves, in the glass jars and metal cans of a hopelessly abnormal mind? These odds and ends are both odd and contain endings. As in the real world, not everything ends well. Sometimes it is all about finding a glimmer of light in the shadows, or being forewarned. Sometimes, the candle’s flame blows out!

An assortment of the weird and wonderfully grim are displayed for your fear and amusement. Whether you like quiet horror, humorous horror, stark horror, monstrous in-your-face horror, you’ll find what scares you here. Twenty-six diverse tales and clusters of flash stories or drabbles fit together between dark poems and brief witfully pithy essays on women writing Horror like pieces of a macabre jigsaw puzzle devised by a single madwoman, Lori R. Lopez.

Among the “Odds And Ends” . . . a devilish jack-in-the-box helps a young woman get even. Two little girls face-off in “Nemeses”. A very old baby is released from its jar at a museum in “Jar Baby”. Spaghetti comes to life in “Bloodwyrm”. A trainride takes one fellow on a harrowing journey toward “Fate”. A man and woman are reunited by the same curse that tore them apart in “The Fruit Of Thy Womb”. A weakling finds a dreadful “Cereal Box Surprise” at the bottom of the package. Ladies play a lethal hand of cards in “Mindless”. A couple wakes up to discover an enormous cobweb filling the house in “Spider Soup”. Falling asleep could end the world in “Awake”, while painting portraits takes a nightmarish turn for an artist in “Deathbed”. A girl watches her friends disappear on a darkly sinister beach at “The Vanishing Point”, and much much more. The print edition features peculiar illustrations by the author.

The latest review for the collection.

NOT YOUR NORMAL! on March 12, 2017

This book is a collection of short stories, poems and some other writings of Lori Lopez. If you’re looking for stories with ‘happily ever after’ this isn’t for you. All stories don’t have happy endings. Ms. Lopez gives us characters that are of the strange lot, just a little on the odd side but isn’t life sometimes? Just a little on the odd side? The author gives you a variety of horror mixed with humor, just plain horror and then the horror that has a sassy side to it. Some of the stories are towards the realistic side. Did you ever think how mean and difficult we can be towards others and how they can be to us? Sometimes Ms. Lopez mixes in a little jab at society and our government. Sometimes that can easily be understood. This is when the humor shows through. You may find yourself smiling a little at how real it is.

Some of the stories have a dark, evil side to them, which makes you think of the dark alleys, the damp, dim cellars, the evil thoughts that we all think at times. Ms. Lopez has written stories that are far from your usual horror stories. Many are so alike but Ms. Lopez doesn’t do that. She give you the outer most, the unusual and yet, they are sometimes stories you can picture as real. If you’re looking for a different kind of horror world, then enter Ms. Lopez’s world and it will become yours. But, this isn’t for the faint of heart nor the squeemish. So BEWARE!

Read the reviews for the collection and buy the book:

A selection of books by Lori R. Lopez

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

The third and final review today is by author Jena C. Henry who recommends Swaying the debut novel by Lucinda Blanchard.

About the book

Charlotte has one desire in life – she wants a daughter. But you can’t choose what you have… can you? Desire soon turns to obsession as Charlotte embarks on a difficult and controversial journey to sway the odds to have a girl. How far is she prepared to go, and at what cost?

The review by Jena C. Henry March 2017

Swaying is the debut novel for the author, Lucinda Blanchard. Well-written, captivating, well-plotted and paced, with full and rich characters- it’s everything readers want in a book. Whether readers are interested in the topic is a different matter.

To some, “swaying” may be controversial. Other people may see “swaying” as a natural option. “Swaying” may also be viewed as a farce, or a rip-off. Some readers may see the heroine, Charlotte as plucky, brave and determine. Once again, other readers may find Charlotte and her new friend Bella to be obsessed and even crazy.

If you don’t know, “swaying” is the idea that a woman and man can “sway” the gender of their child before it is conceived by modifying their diet and by using ovulation times, and even more advance medical procedures.

The protagonist Charlotte has always dreamed of having a girl. She wants to have the same relationship with her child, as she did with her mother. When we meet Charlotte, she has given birth to her first child, a son. She learns to love him, but her desire for a baby girl grows. Thanks to the internet, she learns about swaying and meets a local woman on one of the chat rooms who is swaying, too. At first, Charlotte’s husband Ian goes along with the swaying procedures, but he gets tired of the odd diet, and the microscope and lab equipment needed to monitor sperm. Charlotte becomes more and more engrossed with the project. Bella, her friend, will stop at nothing.

Readers- even if you are conflicted about swaying, this is a fascinating story about “gender disappointment” and how a choice or desire can change many lives. The author has written an intriguing story with characters that will remain in your head. The locale is the Isle of Wight and the many descriptive scenes made for a pleasurable read. This would be a great book for a book club to choose and discuss.

Find out more about Lucinda Blanchard and read all the many excellent reviews for Swaying at Amazon:

Thank you for dropping in today and please consider sharing these reviews on your own networks it would be appreciated.

If you have just received a great review and would like to share or are a book reviewer who would like to promote a review you have written, then please talk to me at thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Update – Robbie and Michael Cheadle, Jena C. Henry and Effrosyni Moschoudi

Time for the first Cafe and Bookstore this week and delighted to feature the latest book by Robbie and Michael Cheadle released on Amazon this week. For children and their adults this fondant creation will be treasured by many.

About Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Dough Bees Story and Cookbook

A greedy snail damages the flower fields and the fondant bees are in danger of starving. Join Sir Chocolate on an adventure to find the fruit drop fairies who have magic healing powers and discover how to make some of his favourite foods on the way.

There is already an excellent review for the book.

If there is one thing I know, it is how a child is enjoying a book. When the 7-year-old and I read this book, she was enthralled with the delicious and sweet animals in this book. There are such adorable and realistically shaped animals and these illustrations look good enough to eat. The verses are well formed and well crafted. I have loved the books that came before, and this new book by Robbie and Michael Cheadle are the best and most intricate thus far.

One character had us buzzing in delight. This book is perfect for children and adults that like to share reading time with them. There are bonus additions in this edition that make it an even better purchase. I highly recommend this book.

Buy Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Dough Bees and Cookbook:

Also by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

Available from Amazon:


Connect to Robbie and Michael at their blog:

Next author to feature is Jena C. Henry whose book The Golden Age of Charli – GPS was released in January and has just received a great review.
About the book

Empty nesters Charli McAntic and her husband, Pud, have settled into their golden years. Although their early days of retirement were filled with disillusion and despair, they are now ready to relax and swing upon a star. Pud continues to golf most days and Charli still organizes her closets and rearranges her collectibles, but now they are a solid team. Or are they?

Charli and Pud are no strangers to the art of creating fun. These days they spend their time sharing gourmet meals with their nieces and nephews, attending Cleveland Cavalier basketball games, and rekindling their romance. But when a series of calamities suddenly rock their world, they each meet a new friend, leaving Charli to worry if she and Pud are heading in the right direction.

Press On! on March 23, 2017

In the third book of this delightful series, an empty nester is left to recalculate her path to happiness after she and her husband both discover that their golden years are full of more surprises.>I always enjoy reading about the McAntics, since their lives so parallel my own. Learning how to navigate days when a person is no longer punching a time clock or waking up to an alarm can be trying and confusing, but Charli’s outlook on life always gets her through the tough times with a sense of humor. “Press on,” she tells herself, and she does.

In the third book in The Golden Age of Charli series, when an unusual and shocking event happens in her neighborhood, Charli mentions that “bad things comes in threes,” and she begins to worry what will come next.

I laughed out loud when Charli decided to make a “death notebook,” being guilty of something similar myself. “Pud and I needed to get our affairs in order. As the past three sad events had showed us, you never knew when something bad would happen.” It’s not that Charli is a pessimist, in fact, she is quite the optimist, but she wants to make sure her life is in order so her sons don’t have to go through what she had to when she deatl with her parents’ home and documents.

With free time that was never before available, Charli cleans closets, and organizes drawers and cupboards. All the while her husband Pud continues to play golf, seemingly unaware of his wife’s dissatisfaction with her empty, quiet house. Wondering what is in store for her she comes to this conclusion: “This is my looking year, so I’ll keep looking.” As she searches for something to keep her interested in life and make sure she is still a contributing member of society, she encourages her husband to join her, and through traveling and volunteering she forges ahead, and proves that life is not over after retirement, but only just beginning.

Life in The Golden Years of Charli:GPS is a surprising and funny romp through life, as Charli proves to us all that the golden years can truly be golden.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

Also by Jena C. Henry

Read the reviews and buy all the books:

Connect to Jena via her website:

Two offers from Effrosyni Moschoudi for The Ebb (book 1): A Greek summer beach read (The Lady of the Pier trilogy) which is currently FREE on Amazon US and UK.  And The Amulet for 99c on Amazon US.

About the book

On a long holiday with her grandparents, Sofia Aspioti meets Danny Markson, a charming flirt who makes her laugh. Although she tries to keep him at arm’s length, worried that village gossip will get back to her strict family, she falls desperately in love. That’s when strange dreams about Brighton’s West Pier and a woman dressed in black begin to haunt her. Who is this grieving woman? And how is her lament related to Sofia’s feelings for Danny?

Dreaming of wealth and happiness, Laura Mayfield arrives in Brighton to pursue a new life. She falls for Christian Searle, a happy-go-lucky stagehand at the West Pier theatre, but when she’s offered a chance to perform there, her love for him is put to the test. Charles Willard, a wealthy aristocrat, is fascinated by her and pursues her relentlessly. Will Laura choose love…or money?

One of the most recent reviews for the book

Another great book by this author. After reading The Amulet I was ready to read another one of her books. I have not been to Greece but feel like I have now with the descriptive scenes and bits of Greek culture in these books. With the two stories in The Ebb well developed I am now drawn to need to read the rest of this trilogy to see how everyone fits together!

Read all the reviews and get this book FREE:


About the book

The Amulet is a romantic comedy of angel magic and tantalizing descriptions of Greek food. Read it at your own peril; it’ll make you feel ravenous (not to mention all loved-up!)

When Katie loses her Athens office job, a gypsy woman hands her an amulet for good luck. Next, she gets hired as hotel receptionist on the Greek island of Sifnos and everything seems perfect, except for the overbearing hotel owner, Mrs. Matina. One of the guests, heart-stoppingly handsome Aggelos, keeps saving the day whenever Katie needs help. As she falls in love, she grows all the more intrigued by him and his quirky friends, including a little girl who keeps turning up on her own. Add a psychic, half-mad elderly woman into the mix and you’re in for a few laughs. Things are not what they seem in this small, family hotel and get even more complicated when the gypsy woman shows up again. Will Katie ever work out that Aggelos is a guardian angel that came with the amulet? And if she does, will she be able to keep him? It may take a miracle. But on an island as magical as Sifnos, anything is possible!

A recent review for the book.

The Amulet is a lighthearted rom-com, a fun escape from the realities of every day life. With the series of mix-ups and confusions the characters had to endure, at times, it reminded me of a modern day Shakespearean comedy.

Although Moschoudi’s Lady of The Pier trilogy was more the genre I usually prefer, as I continued to read The Amulet I became more and more captivated by it. This simple and entertaining love story was so much more. It was a lesson in humanity, love and compassion. The subtitle of the book says it’s an angel magic romantic comedy. If this is a hint that there will be more to come, I will be waiting to read the next one.

Available for 99c on Amazon US:

Also by Effrosyni Moschoudi

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

Connect to Effrosyni via her website:

Thank you for dropping by today.. If you are on the shelves of the bookstore then please let me know if you have a new book, great review or an offer. Thanks Sally

If you would like to join these authors and the other 160 on the shelves then please check this out.

Smorgasbord Round Up – Bruce Springsteen, The Borgias, Illustrations and New Review series

Welcome to this week’s round up of posts that you might have missed. I don’t want to speak too soon but the sun has been shining for the last two days and it looks like the week might be good too. I have spent some time sitting in the wind shade the last couple of days and it has been wonderful. Let’s hope I do not upset the rain gods in the next few days.

As always I am very aware that the blog is a collaborative effort. Not just with guests who are regular visitors but those of you who have popped in, left comments and shared posts across your own networks.  You are much appreciated.

On with the show.

William Price King meets some legends and we join Bruce Springsteen as his career hits an all time high with such iconic albums as Born in the USA.

Thomas the Rhymer

Writer in Residence Extra –  Paul Andruss takes us back through the ages with an exploration of the religious penalties for disobedience!

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Book Reading and Interview with award winning children’s author Bette A. Stevens. Bette is still taking questions about her life and work and you can leave them in the comments section of the post. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Creative Artist Interview with artist and illustrator Donata E. Zawadzka who shared some of her stunning artwork and her life and training.

The Colour of Life by Geoff Cronin

My father-in-law’s book continues with some building advice and devilish behaviour

Book and author Promotion

If you would like to join the other authors on the shelves of the bookstore then please check out the details.

This week Lyn Horner introduced us to the Western Romance anthology The Posse.

Authors on the shelves of the bookstore enjoy regular updates including new releases, great reviews and offers on their books.

New series Air your Reviews – an opportunity for authors and reviewers alike to share excellent reviews. Open to everyone and not just those on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

The Blogger Daily – do leave your links to your most recent post in the comments so that I can share.

Personal Stuff

My thanks to Robbie and Michael Cheadle for a wonderful review of Tales from the Garden.

Book Marketing – Smashwords and its affiliates.

An offer on What’s in a Name on my publishing website – £1.95

The Soldier by Sally Cronin

An estate in London is being overrun by teenagers on the rampage. An old soldier feels powerless.


Health – Top to Toe The Digestive System

Smorgasbord Health 2017

Thank you again for being so supportive. Enjoy what is left of the weekend and look forward to welcoming you again next week. Thanks Sally

My two guests this week for the Cafe and Bookstore Book Reading are John Fioravanti on Wednesday and Darlene Foster on Saturday.. get your questions ready.






Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book Reading and Interview – Bette A. Stevens

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore

Welcome to this week’s Book Reading at the Cafe and my guest is award winning children’s author Bette A Stevens. I am sure that after reading the interview with Bette you will have plenty of our own questions to ask and please put them in the comments section of the post.

Inspired by nature and human nature, Bette A. Stevens is an author, retired teacher, wife, mother of two and grandmother of five. Stevens lives in Central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys writing, reading, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and childhood literacy and for monarch butterflies, an endangered species

Bette Stevens’s children’s activity book, THE TANGRAM ZOO and WORD PUZZLES TOO!, was first published in 1997 by Windswept House Publishing, Mt. Desert, ME; a second edition was self-published by the author in 2012.

AMAZING MATILDA, Stevens’s second children’s book, self-published in 2012 won a 2013 Purple Dragonfly Book Award (Honorable Mention for Excellence in Children’s Literature – Ages 6 and older category) and also placed #9 on The 2013 Gittle List for Self-published Children’s Picture Books. Stevens has written articles for ECHOES, The Northern Maine Journal of Rural Culture based in Caribou, Maine.

In 2013, the author published her first book for the YA/Adult audience: PURE TRASH: The story, a short story of a boy growing up in rural New England and prequel to DOG BONE SOUP, debut novel released January 2015. There is currently an offer on Dog Bone Soup and here is one of the many excellent reviews for the book.

Dog Bone Soup is an engaging tale set in the 1950’s and 1960’s and though Stevens indicates that the book will speak to boomers, in particular, the family drama and the emotional world of the characters are timeless and relatable. The story follows the oldest brother in the family, Shawn Daniels, a boy whose young life is burdened by dire poverty and an abusive, alcoholic father. His proud mother does the best she can for her children, and Shawn becomes a man before his time, helping to support the family.

Though the story deals with a struggling child in a tough situation, the book has many moments of childhood humor and delight, especially between the brothers. Shawn not only survives his rough start but comes through as a strong individual with solid values and high personal integrity.

Stevens writing is captivating, raw and sweet, with well-drawn characters. I read the prequel “White Trash” prior to this book, however, I feel that Dog Bone Soup easily stands on its own. A compelling read about childhood resilience and growth into manhood.

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

ONLY 99c / 99p from March 22nd through March 27th

Now it is time to hand over to Bette for her interview and book reading.

Welcome Bette and can you tell us about your chosen genre of books that you write and why?

Realistic fiction because, when told as a fictional account, both writer and readers have the opportunity to learn valuable lessons through the lives of a book’s characters— and to relate those lessons to their own lives in a personal way.

What genre do you read and who are your favourite authors?

My favorite genres are (1) Historical Fiction, through which I can travel back in time and rediscover the timeless themes that still make humans tick; and (2) Contemporary/Literary Fiction, because it allows me to travel the globe and see the world through the eyes of strangers, giving me the opportunity to walk in their shoes for a brief time.

Many favorite authors, but, I’ll list two of my favorites along with books I’ve read from each:

Harper Lee (To Kill a Mocking, Go Set a Watchman) Historical Fiction
Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, And the Mountains Echoed) Contemporary/Literary Fiction

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

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
Mark Twain, Innocents Abroad

As reader, a writer, and a concerned citizen of the world, I find that books continue to provide me both the luxury and learning that Twain attributes to such extensive travel without the cost.

What inspired you to write Amazing Matilda?

I was inspired by the plight of our glorious monarch butterflies. At the time (1999) monarchs were considered an indicator species, letting us know the health of our environment, which was rapidly in decline. I researched monarch butterflies and discovered that I had a story to tell, not only to my grandchildren, but to my fourth grade students in California as well. For me, the monarch remains a symbol of life and life’s growing and changing stages for all living creatures, including humans. I typed the story, read it to my students and sent copies to my grandchildren. By 2012, I was retired and my daughter encouraged me to illustrate Amazing Matilda self-publish it.

In Pure Trash you address bullying issues. This was based in the 1950s and 1960s—50 years later this is still a major issue. How do you feel we could address this better?

Literature and media coverage can certainly help raise awareness and encourage compassionate behaviours. However, the printed word and talk remain a poor substitute if the actions of adults are saying one thing and doing another. As parents, a teachers and neighbors, adults must take the lead in showing respect for and finding value in people of all ages, faiths, beliefs, social standings, race, customs…the list goes on.

As a teacher what are the key subjects that every child should be taught to help them succeed in the world today?

  • Academically
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Public Speaking

Teaching and following “The Golden Rule”

In fact, during my years in the classroom, one of the first things I would tell my students is that we have only one rule that must be followed in our classroom by everyone, including the teacher. Does anyone know what “The Golden Rule” says?

One brave young fourth grader raised his hand, stood and spoke:

“He who has the gold rules!”

Needless to say, a teacher’s work is never done. We talked about my school days and the sign that was posted in every classroom back in the day: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” We were all in this together: day by day—and some days moment by moment—learning and relearning that respect for everyone and accepting our individual responsibilities summed up what “The Golden Rule” is really all about.

Now it is time for Bette’s Book Reading.

PURE TRASH by Bette A. Stevens
(Historical Fiction/Ages 10-adult)

SUMMARY: Experience the joy of a carefree Saturday and the blistering pain of feeling not quite good enough as you hop on a bike and ride into town with two delightful young boys who find adventure at every turn. Shawn and Willie Daniels live in the woods with no indoor water or plumbing. Dad spends most of his hard earned money on beer. Prejudice, class division, alcoholism, poverty, injustice, and bullying are cleverly woven into this 1950s adventure short. PURE TRASH is the short story prequel to the author’s novel DOG BONE SOUP.

Excerpt from PURE TRASH

Willie was having a race with himself, thumping and thudding in his seat trying to get high enough to fly over that bar. Me, I was just enjoying some time to sit and swing and think. Didn’t have time for that during recess. I was always trying to figure out some way to make myself invisible. I sure didn’t want to be the target in a dodge ball game.

Sometimes I’d set up a game of marbles and practice on my own over near the building. One day Timmy Doyle asked me if he could play. I taught Timmy the rules and showed him how to shoot. The next week, Timmy gave me 10 puries in different colors, two aggies and two cat eyes―huge―a blue one and a gold one. Before that, most of my marbles were the old clay ones Grampa used when he was a kid. Last year for my birthday, Grampa gave me a soft cloth bag with a drawstring. It was filled with his painted clay marbles. He taught me how to play the game and told me that I was real good at it.

I liked Timmy, but no one else did. Timmy was what they called “a little slow.” I reckon that was likely about as bad as being called Eddie Daniels’s kid.

Willie was over on the jungle gym hanging from the tiptop. His knees hung over the metal bar and Willie was swinging his body for all it was worth, arms dangling and chubby tummy jiggling. Every now and then he’d lift up his back, grab the bar with his hands and flip himself upright and hoot like Tarzan. Willie sure did look like the king of the jungle perched up on that bar.

Read the reviews and buy Pure Trash:

Connect to Bette A. Stevens

Facebook FAN PAGE

My thanks to Bette for joining me today and she would be delighted to answer your questions if you could leave them in the comments section of the post.

Please feel free to share the interview on your own networks.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily 24th March 2017 – Brigid Gallagher – Seumas Gallacher – Yecheilyah Ysrayl – Jeff B. Grant

Smorgasbord Blogger DailyWelcome to today’s selection of blogs that I have enjoyed today and first is the post by Brigid Gallagher who took a road trip. Whilst the purpose of the drive was sadly for a funeral Brigid managed to visit the local area as well..

Fibromyalgia makes driving long distances a challenge for me; I am comfortable on short drives around home, but anything beyond that requires careful planning and extra rest, both before, during and after the journey.

Last week, an unexpected funeral around 60 miles away, took me out of my driving comfort zone.

However, I decided I was going to enjoy the journey regardless, as it would take me past some spectacular scenery -through the village of Dunlewey, The Poison Glen, and the foot of Errigal Mountain, then on through Glenveagh National Park where I once tended The Gardens of Glenveagh Castle.

Enjoy the photographs and the rest of the trip:

 I must admit that there are some mornings when I get up and view the grey skies outside my window and my joints creak that I would slap the next person who tells me that 60 is the new 40!  Seumas Gallacher is also posing his question about the subject..

…so when will 100 years old be considered the new ‘middle age’?

…it’s an extraordinary thing this age business… when Master Gallacher was creeping into his teens, emb’dy who was over thirty years old was regarded as ‘getting on a bit’… when my turn came to reach that same ripe milestone of 30, the horizon had stretched sum’what to ‘oldies’ being on the other side of fifty… galloping straight through my own ‘life begins at 40’ nonsense and ripping headlong through the half century, again the elasticity of the ‘seniority’ tag revealed itself… reserved then in my head for the 75+ bracket… what a moving target it’s been since 1948… yup, 1948, Lads and Lassies of Blog Land… the year the newborn Gallacher backside was smacked for the first time as the midwife prob’ly wondered ‘what the hell has this poor pregnant wummin produced’...

Carry on laughing and see if you can help Seumas out:

You might have noticed that I am on a tear this week about reviews. I think that they are so vital to our lives as writers that those that our paid to sell our books are doing a woeful job about them. We lay a great deal of responsibility on the shoulders of those who review our books and sometimes we are not as accepting as we might be about critical comments.

Writing a constructive well thought out and written review is as important as anything else we write be it short stories, novels or blog posts. Yecheilyah Ysrayl talks about this from a book reviewers perspective.

Why Reviewing Books is an Act of Love

Whenever I finish a book and prepare a review, I ask myself why I am doing this. Why I dedicate time reading books and time writing reviews and even more time structuring the blog post. Do you know how many times I revise a post before it goes public? Too many times. Some of the posts you love the most have been revised upwards to twenty times because I want it to be done to the best of my ability. It may not even be done right but at least I know I’ve done what I can.

Read the rest of this important post:

My last post today is one that reflects the opinion of what I hope is millions of those living in the United Kingdom, side by side despite language and cultural differences. I have been a guest in eight different countries since I was born for anywhere from two years to 17 years, and have always been treated with kindness and respect.

Jeff Grant shares this post which I think everybody should read and then reflect on their own approach to others in our multi-cultural societies. Jeff is correct in that if we are to survive into the next century we will need to find a way to live together in harmony.

Guns in Westminster

So here in the UK we have experienced another terrorist attack. Right alongside what is pleased to call itself the Mother of Parliaments. The first thing I want to say about that is that for any Muslim who may read this, for any native of another country living here who reads this – you are welcome here. I’m very happy to have you here. You and your different languages, your different dress, your different foods which our restaurants serve now on a daily basis all brighten up and broaden the collective mind of our society. I’m not exaggerating when I say I’m slightly humbled – and flattered – that you should think enough of this country and this society to want to make a life for yourself and your family here, or just to be resident here for a period of time. And you should know that there are millions of others like me whose voices you perhaps don’t hear often enough.

Read the rest of this message to us all:

Have a great weekend and the Blogger Daily will be back on Monday. Thanks Sally

Coming up on Smorgasbord this weekend.

Two chapters from The Colour of Life by Geoff Cronin on Saturday and Sunday.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Book Reading and Inteview with award winning children’s author Bette A. Stevens on Saturday.

Smorgasbord Round up on Sunday.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Update – Lucinda E. Clarke, Adele Marie Park, Sally Cronin and Bette A. Stevens

Welcome to Friday’s Cafe and Bookstore Author update and a quick note before I get started. Whilst I will be featuring reviews here for authors in the bookstore there is another opportunity to showcase your latest review in a new series that is open to all authors and also to reviewers of books.

Receiving reviews for our work is actually one of the key elements of our marketing efforts.  They make a difference and whilst it is important that those reviews are posted to Amazon I would also recommend that if you are a blogger you create a post to showcase your review too.

Here is the first in the series and my aim is not just to promote authors who have been reviewed but the work of the fantastic reviewers who assist our marketing efforts.

Now on with today’s update...

The first featured author today is Lucinda E. Clarke with an offer for you. This is just to let you know that the first book of my memoirs about writing and filming in Africa is on sale at the price of $/£ 0.99 until Monday, so you might like to grab a copy at this low price

About the book

Lucinda ‘fell’ into writing by chance, moving from radio to television, to running her own production company in South Africa. She lifts the lid on what really goes on behind the scenes in the media, often hilarious and not at all glamorous. She spent more time on rubbish dumps than in banqueting halls, although she got to meet many famous people.

One of the many reviews for the book

I found this memoir to be a fascinating account of the author’s time working as a writer for radio and television, mostly in South Africa. The behind-the-scenes stories of what actually happens compared to what is shown to viewers is quite eye-opening and I certainly learned some interesting facts that I never knew before. Told with honesty and humor, this is a story of how the author pursued her dream of becoming a writer, and of all the hard work and perseverance that was involved.

It is also a story of success, though she never claims it, I feel that she is a wonderful example of following your heart, no matter what it takes. The book has a sequel which I look forward to reading.

Read all the reviews and buy the book at the offer price of 99c/99p:

Also available at the following bookstores

B& N    
Apple itunes

Also by Lucinda E. Clarke

Read the reviews and buy all the books:

Now for a review for Wisp by Adele Marie Park by Colleen Chesebro

About the book

Edra; a world where magic flourishes and where dark secrets are concealed by those who rule. Secrets which can get the innocent killed without a thought.

When the body of an elf is discovered in a treacherous area of the city, Wisp a young Law Enforcer is assigned the case. He soon realises the case is far from simple. As soon as he finds one thread another one leads him to unravel a tapestry woven from lies, secrets, corruption and evil. When friendship turns to love, Wisp`s life, as he knew it will completely change.

What started out as a murder case ends in a grisly battle which Wisp and his companions seem to have no chance of winning.

Here is Colleen’s review of Wisp

Meet Wisp, a law enforcer in the land of Edra, where magic is encouraged to flourish and is often needed for sheer survival. A mages council rules Edra compared to the neighboring area of Finah, who prefers humans to control their resources. After a bloody civil war, many years ago, the two lands exist beside each other in a fragile peace.

Wisp is a marsh fairy (YES! Can you believe it?) with raven hair and pointy ears pierced with silver earrings. Marsh fairies are rare and possess special powers. Wisp keeps his real identity under wraps, known only to his superiors. Abandoned as a child, the “Senior” Law enforcement officer raised him ensuring his survival.

In a desolate area filled with putrefying rubbish, Wisp comes across the body of a High Elf, a member of the Thorns, who was a high-ranking council member found murdered in the circle. The elf’s throat had been brutally cut. Wisp sets out to solve the murder not realizing he is to play an integral part in solving the mystery.

Wisp meets Finn Redhaven, the lover of the murdered elf, Sammiel Thorn, and feels an immediate attraction to him. Wisp and Finn fall in love and discover a wealth of magical abilities enabled by their relationship. And, they are going to need all the help they can get to battle the evil that has descended on Edra.

As fantasy novels go, Wisp stands out to me in its originality and political intrigue. Ms. Park creates a world where love is considered to be one of the greatest powers of all. I enjoyed that the two main characters were male and embraced their love and desire for each other, which was a refreshing approach to solving a mystery in a magical land. The reader discovers along with Wisp the extent of his abilities which I anticipate will increase over time.

I’ve added Wisp to my Me Time category for Fantasy. I loved the story and the characters. The ending is a cliffhanger, and I can’t wait for the next volume to find out what happens to Wisp and Finn. Hopefully, Ms. Park won’t keep us in suspense for long.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

Adele has also contributed to anthologies which you can check out here:

Read the full review by Colleen Chesebro:

One of my own books has had quite a bit of attention this week. Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story was written as a tribute to a wonderful companion and the original print version was for family and friends who knew and loved him too.  However, Sam has proved to be one of my most popular books and this makes me very happy indeed. Those of you who come over here regularly will know that Paul Andruss is a regular contributor and his writing style is both distinctive and compelling. When he applies his talent to a review of your book it is one to treasure. Despite not being a particular dog person… he graciously offered to read Sam’s book and here is his review.

Paul Andruss Review of Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story:

To be honest, I am not a pet person. I think the only pet most people should be allowed is a tapeworm. It goes where you go, eats when you eat, and never bothers the neighbours.

It’s not I don’t like animals. I love animals. On the whole I prefer them to people. To me animals are children who never grow up. To some extent they always rely on you, which is why I don’t want one. They are a responsibility to be taken seriously and I’m not sure I could do that responsibility justice.

Sam a Shaggy Dog Story is the autobiography of Sally Cronin’s beloved collie, told entirely in the first person, and accompanied by selection of family photos that puts right in the heart of this delightful yarn. The voice Sally gives Sam is that of a likeable enthusiastic youngster. It endears him in much the same way, and appears ideally suited to the character of a rambunctious puppy. As Sam grows older his voices changes becoming more reflective, exactly the way it does in real life.

Her skill in giving an animal such an apt voice is not surprising when you consider Sally is a life coach, knowledgeable about psychological motivation and an acute observer of behaviour. She is also a storyteller of great talent and charm, who writes deceptively simple tales peppered with endearing characters, lashings of happiness and gentle humour: easy to read, and moreish as a box of chocolates

The writing makes the book accessible to all ages from 7 to 70. Actually this is a great book to be read aloud to kids at bedtime. The only problem is… they would never want to go to sleep!

Sally’s readers have already met Sam in her enchanting and amusing ‘Tales from the Garden‘. Part of Sam’s story deals with the move to Spain; for this is the tale of all Sam’s family, Sally and David, Henry the Cat, Henry’s kittens – who Sam adopts, and even Danny, the dog next door. The sequel to ‘Tales from the Garden‘, ‘Tales from the Irish Garden’ is out soon. Look out for it. I know I will.

Sam a Shaggy Dog Story begins with Sam’s birth and transfer to his new home with Sally and David (his pack-leaders as Sam calls them). These early chapters give you a real sense of a developing child trying to understand the world. And like any child, Sam quickly begins to develop a sense of identity, belonging and his own personality.

Sam comes to understand his place in the world; his relationship with Sally and David and his friendships with other animals, such as the half feral Henry the Cat. He experiences joy and wonder at seeing snow for the first time and his first lick of ice cream and develops a passion for car rides and cheese. I mean, who doesn’t love car rides and cheese? He has his dislikes too, mainly vets and his kennel!

One of the many funny parts of the book is Sam learning to talk human. He managed cat, partly because Henry speaks pretty good dog. Human he finds difficult and needs to concentrate, but does manage a few accurate approximations… much to Sally and David’s delight. At which point Sam comments the vet once said he might be able to understand around 20 words, adding: how wrong can someone be!

The beauty of Sally’s writing is Sam does not consider himself a dog, or Henry a cat, or his owner’s people. He realises they are different but essentially the same, all part of… well, the circle of life I suppose.

Although hard to believe, for anyone watching ‘Pets do the Funniest Things’, many scientists once considered animals no more than automatons. Religion taught man was given dominion over beasts because only he had a soul. Thankfully these days some of us are wiser, and realise while we think ourselves ‘top-dog’ other animals have the same feelings and share the same emotional range.

I believe this book should be compulsory reading for anyone wanting a pet, especially youngsters. Once read, when you look into those big brown eyes, you never forget what you are really looking at is another human, who should be treated in the same way you want others to treat you. That not only cruelty hurts, but also neglect, as with poor Henry the cat before he found Sally. We need to be raised to know animals are not toys but fellow beings that give love unreservedly, and deserve the same love back, without reservation.

You can buy Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story from all online bookstores but here is the link to Amazon:

All my books are available:

Thomas the Rhymer

You can find wonderful posts by Paul Andruss:

Finally a quick note about my guest tomorrow in the Cafe and Bookstore Book Reading. Award winning children’s author Bette A. Stevens will be joining me and will be answering your questions over the weekend.  Bette has one of her books on offer for the next few days.

One of the many reviews for the book.

A wonderful memoir about rural life living and surviving in poverty. As seen through the oldest boy’s point of view, Shawn, has to face bullies, older and younger, an alcoholic father a man from whom he has to protect his family, especially his mother. The kids are creative, learning to make money and turning them into an adventure–fishing, picking apples, milking someone’s cow, picking up empty cans a bottles for cash. He’s biggest aspect is using his God given brains and ingenuity and his charming disposition, which lends aid at every turn.

Bette Stevens is a wonder writer. I’m not generally a memoir reader, but this one had me hooked from the beginning to the end. Shawn has a bright future ahead of him as does Bette Stevens.

Read all the books and buy the book at the offer price:

I hope that you will join Bette and I tomorrow for her interview. Thank you for dropping in and don’t forget to let me know if you have a new book out, an offer for your readers or a wonderful review. With the new series Air your Reviews there is plenty of room. Thanks Sally