Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Carol Balawyder, Kim Cox, Darlene Foster and Sally Cronin

Welcome to the first of the author updates this week and the first author with news is Carol Balawyder with a brand new book released on 6th October. The Longest Nine Months – A Getting to Mr. Right Series.

About The Longest Nine Months

In Getting to Mr. Right, Campbell debunked the Prince Charming myth, only to meet a special man who turned all her assumptions upside down.

Now she’s married to Chand..

But Happily-Ever-After turns out to be another illusion.

Campbell deals with job burnout and struggles to find her place in the world. An unexpected pregnancy and its complications undermine her relationship with Chand and take her to a difficult crossroad. No matter which way she decides to go, nothing will ever be the same!

Buy the book:

and Amazon UK:

Also by Carol Balawyder

A review for Not by Design book four in the Getting to Mr. Right Series

Not by Design Works  on September 2, 2016

Not by Design” is the latest offering from multi-published women’s fiction author Carol Balawyder. It is a sequel to “Getting to Mr. Right,” which you should read if you haven’t. “Getting to Mr. Right” is the story of four women who meet at a support group (the focus of which is women who have men/father issues) and form lasting, sincere friendships.

“Not by Design” is Felicity Starr’s story. She is one of the women in the support group, and she has it all—looks, youth, a rich father, talent, true-heart friends and the love of a handsome, successful man. She is living a fairy tale life in France, studying art and pursuing a career in art, while enjoying an active social/love life. But even fairy tales are wrought with obstacles and that’s exactly what our heroine encounters—one setback after another. There’s the death of her father, a dwindling bank account which brings on financial woes, an art career that has stalled, and the painful decision to end her relationship with her fiancé and call off the wedding. But that’s not all. The biggest blow of all—a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). With all this dumped on her, Felicity makes the hard decision to release her dream of being an artist and living in France. She returns home to Canada to try and piece a life together.

The move back home is met with more bitterness. She fights to recover her reputation in the work world. She has disagreements with her mother and step-mother. She gambles on several romantic interests and loses. And, she must make a slew of difficult choices in regard to her living arrangements and medical treatment, decisions made more difficult because of her limited funds. One wonders if Felicity will ever catch a break when…help arrives. At the strong suggestion of her doctor, she attends a MS support group meeting and finds the support and acceptance she so desperately needs. With the encouragement of the group, she shares her medical condition with her friends, who surround her with love, care and acceptance. The end of the story details the good life Felicity has finally secured. No, it’s not the one she would have designed for herself, but it works. She’s happy.

This is a story that will take you low on the scale of human emotions and then pick you up. You will feel despair, then happiness; fear, then joy. This emotional seesaw is achieved in part by the story’s conflict—dreams and desire versus medical and financial worries, a situation many readers may relate to. I certainly did. And then there’s the overall story question: are we willing to release our version of our dream or life in exchange for an uncertain version? This is the question Felicity struggles with throughout the story but I dare say it is one many readers struggle with as well.

There are many things to appreciate about this story. It is inspiring, well written and has relatable characters. But the one aspect I appreciated the most was the focus on MS. Reading about the symptoms, the various treatments, the expense, and how it requires life adjustments was a real education. Thank you Carol for that.

I finished reading the book and shut down my e-reader thinking, I can’t wait to read the remaining sequel. The other three—“Café Paradise,” “Missi’s Dating Adventures” and “Not by Design”—have been purely enjoyable. Check ‘em out and see for yourself.

Read the reviews and buy the books:

And on Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Carol on Goodreads:

Connect to Carol via her website:

The next author with a new release and also news of a giveaway to celebrate is Darlene Foster with Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind. There is a giveaway currently running for the book with prizes linked to New Mexico and you can find details at his link. a Rafflecopter giveaway 

About Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind

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

One of the early reviews for the book

This is the latest installment in a series about a 6th grade girl who is lucky enough to travel, this time with many in her class on a school trip to Taos, New Mexico. They are all students who are artistic, write blogs, take photographs or express themselves in other ways that they are producing each evening after their sightseeing. Taos is a place I have visited and enjoyed so I find it exciting to see it used for the setting of a young adult novel. I also read mysteries when I was young and enjoyed the opportunity to see what is being produced today in this area,and with that hint of the paranormal.

Amanda’s character seems likable to me, smart, but not off-putting. She is also friendly and able and willing to be friends with an outsider. She is adventuresome but also loves learning. I enjoyed the way the author sprinkled the elements of education carefully throughout this novel, providing information on Taos Pueblo and the people who live there. There are also tidbits on cowboys who populated the Southwest and their culture as well as elements of the lives of the many current residents.

Were there ghosts in the Taos area? Did Amanda or her friend Cleo actually see or experience one or more? Well that’s a difficult question to answer. This story combines a good young adult adventure story with hints of the paranormal while also providing some well placed educational material lightly in the text and great ideas for other young people to aspire to.

Read the other reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

Also by Darlene Foster

Read the reviews and buy all of Darlene’s books:

and Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Darlene on Goodreads:

Connect to Darlene via her website:

The next author with a new release is Kim Cox with Haunted by her Past – Book Five in the Lana Malloy Paranormal Series.

About Haunted by her Past

Abused and scared, Jena runs away only to be haunted by her abuser.

Paranormal Investigator, Lana Malloy, is faced with the task of helping a domestic abuse victim escape the ghost of her dead ex-boyfriend.

Jena Edwards escapes a bad relationship in Georgia only to be ambushed one night in her new Charleston home. When she’s attacked, her only option is to protect herself. Her ex is killed in the struggle. She’s beside herself with guilt. What’s more, her now-dead boyfriend is haunting her and he’s more abusive now than he was when he was alive.

Demi Lancaster, Charleston’s Police Chief, calls in a very pregnant Lana to help with the situation. Knowing Tony will worry if she tries to help in her condition, she tries to help from afar. She soon discovers it’s vital for her to be on the scene—stuck in the middle of an impossible situation.

How can Lana convince a man who was abusive in life to move on so his ex-girlfriend can find the peace of mind she deserves?

An early review for the book

What a powerful book, scenes so intense I felt I was there in the room with furniture flying but so poignant was the conversation between the mother and son spirits my heart was breaking a bit.

It’s so easy to walk away and close our eyes to abuse but here is Lana stuck on bed rest seeing these visions of abuse and she just has to help. A quick call to her BFF gets the ball rolling. So much happening in this book fun new characters to meet and of course the welcoming of a new baby. Welcome Aidan! I can’t wait to watch you grow up.

I’d like to remind anybody if your stuck in a bad situation there is help out there.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

and at Amazon UK:

A selection of other books by Kim Cox

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Kim Cox on Goodreads:

Connect to Kim Cox via her website:

This week I received a wonderful review for Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story from Tina Frisco.. delighted that the old boy is still touching hearts.

About Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story

The true story of Sam, a rough collie, written from his perspective. A tribute to a true friend and a genuine family member.

Millions of families around the World believe that their pet, dog or cat is the most intelligent, beautiful and loyal friend that anyone could have. And they are absolutely right.

From the first moment that I met Sam, when he was just three weeks old, his personality and charm shone from his button eyes. Like many pet owners, we were convinced he understood every word we spoke and he actually could say one or two himself. Rather than tell his story from our perspective I have given him a voice and let him tell his own.

I can only imagine what he really thought about his two and four-legged friends but I do hope he loved us as much as we adored him and the time he spent with us shining brightly in our lives.

If only our pets could talk how much richer the world would be, and funnier.

The most recent review for the book

Sam: A Shaggy Dog Story is one of the most delightful books I have ever read. Sally Cronin gives her Rough Collie a voice, allowing him to narrate his own tale.

A few of the things Sam tells us about are his friends (cat, dog, and human alike), his favorite things (sausages, cheese, ice cream, snow), his job as security consultant, car rides while singing along with Sally, and walks along the beach.

Sam is very observant and intelligent. He learns to understand both cat and human vocal sounds. He also learns to speak a few human words! Mawgh is more; heyoo is hello; and Orh, Ee, Va is Oliver. ‘More’ and ‘Oliver’ are interchangeable, as they both indicate he would like ‘mawgh’ of a delicious treat he had just enjoyed.

Sam’s introduction to cats is very positive. When he is still a puppy, Sally and her husband David – the alpha humans in Sam’s pack – adopt a feral cat whom they dub ‘Henry.’ Henry teaches Sam many worthy things about life, and they become great friends. Also, a feral mama cat has kittens on Sam’s property, and he dubs himself their guardian. These experiences prepare Sam for when Sally brings home two kittens. He readily steps up to the plate, nurturing and protecting them.

Sam’s story is heartwarming and humorous, sure to amuse and delight adults as well as children. I read this book in one sitting and was disappointed when it ended. I wanted more, and so will you.

What I appreciated most about Sam’s story is that it leaves the reader with a heightened respect for nonhuman animals. They think and feel as we do; and anyone who thinks otherwise will be hard-pressed to hold on to that opinion after meeting Sam. I would like to see this book offered for sale through animal rights and humane organizations around the world. And for me, that is the highest praise…

Read all the reviews and buy the book:

and at Amazon UK:

A selection of other books by Sally Cronin

To read all the reviews and buy the books:

And Amazon US:

Read more reviews and follow me on Goodreads:

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you explore these books and their authors further. Thanks Sally


Smorgasbord Media Training For Authors – Advertising – Gather around the right Waterholes.

I am continuing the series on media training and marketing for authors which is adapted from my media training course for small businesses and charities. Authors are small businesses with a product that needs marketing to obtain sales. Once you start thinking of yourself as a business it tends to focus your mind differently.

Gathering at the right waterholes.

Have you ever been to one of those parties where it appears that everyone is speaking a foreign language or where everyone is talking about something that is completely unknown to you? I have. When my husband was offered his job in Spain, he went ahead for the first three or so years, and I would go over every six weeks for five days. His company directors generously took us out to the Madrid hotspots in the first few visits, and in those days I didn’t understand a word of Spanish (still not great even after fifteen years of living there!).

However, I would nod and smile and get David to translate direct questions, and the waiters would usually bring me a menu with a translation (although sometimes this was not necessarily helpful, and as in Spain, some parts of the animal are relished when deep fried, I would rather have remained in ignorance!).

My point is I was completely and utterly out of my comfort zone, embarrased to open my mouth with my newly acquired Spanglais leading me to rely a little bit too heavily on the comforting notes of a good Rioja.

I use this snippet to demonstrate the way many authors that I have come into contact feel when it comes to marketing themselves and their books. I mentioned in an earlier post that I almost had to drag authors into the radio studio, kicking and screaming to do an interview.

Let us be clear.

If you want what is termed ‘Traditional’ publishing, and more importantly readers, to take you seriously, you have to get over yourselves. You are in the Indie publishing business, and as with all businesses that have spent time in research and development, beta testing, human trials and production process, you need to sell your product with the same amount of commitment and effort.

At this point I must just add a note of caution.… going back to the party analogy….. there is something worse than not being able to understand what everyone else is staying… and that is being sat next to the bore. You know the one who never stops talking about themselves and their job, life, family, travels, successes and latest medical problem. Every time you try to get a word in to change the subject, they are back again with something else about their latest run in with their boss and how they won a bronze medal for life-saving at age ten.

What do you normally do? Usually if you cannot move seats, you turn to the person on your other side and completely ignore them for the rest of the meal.

And this is what usually happens on social media to authors who only ever promote themselves and their books. There are ways to mute those who follow you on the various social media platform, and whilst I am a paid up member of the Indie author movement, and love promoting other authors, I will hit that mute button if you fill my timeline with several self-promoting posts each day and sometimes several times a day. .

You should absolutely promote your work from time to time, but I tell you what is the most effective way to market yourself and your books, and that is sharing another author’s work.

  • Every time you promote another author you are promoting yourself and therefore your books.
  • Each time your reblog another author’s posts and share your space with them you are bringing future readers of your books into your place of business.
  • Every time you retweet another author’s tweet it appears in your timeline and brings future readers of your books into your place of business.
  • Everytime you share another author’s post on Facebook you are bringing potential readers into your place of business.

I think by now you have gathered that I consider your blog, website and social media platforms as your place of business and important watering holes where you can meet other authors and potential readers.

Exclusive watering holes for like minded writers and readers.

These are the number one watering holes where authors and readers gather and exchange information about books. However, you can split off from these main watering holes and make an even more effective impact by joining groups where your specific genre is appreciated and sort after.  Let me give you some examples.


Romance Reader Group on Facebook with 15, 229 members:

Horror & Paranormal readers and writers 2,000 members:

Fantasy & Sci-Fi Fans, Artists, Readers, Writers, Filmmakers & Cosplayers 16,500 members:

Google +

Readers Meet Authors And Bloggers 8,800 members:
A place for authors and bloggers to share their work with readers. One on one communication with the writers of your favourite books.
 London Writers Cafe with 7,300 members –
NaNoWriMo – One of the biggest with 160,000 followers for writers completing the November book writing challenge:

You get the idea. These are the specialist watering holes and most platforms have similar groups to check out. I suggest that next time you are on social media that you search for your particular genre on non-fiction subject and find yourself an exclusive spa to hang out on.

Why you need an Amazon Author Page, especially if you have more than one book on the largest watering hole for books and readers. (You need three actually, one for your country of origin and then one on Amazon US and UK)

One of my frustrations as a book promoter, is to find that an author has two or more books scattered across Amazon. I don’t just feature one book, I will also include the other books and a link to buy them all. So whilst I will link to the specific book I am showcasing, I need to send potential readers to a central point where they can view all the books, and click on each one to view and buy.

This is a fundamental advertising and selling element of marketing your books.

Remember you are in business, and if you were selling shoes, or paint or lipsticks you would not have them spread up and down the highstreet, and make your potential customers hunt for them. The Amazon author page is another of your places of business and needs to have a good shopfront and be kept up to date.

You need a decent photograph, as however shy you might be, unless you are on the run from the FBI, your readers would like to see you and that personal touch can help you sell books.

Obviously you need to think carefully about the photograph you put up there if you want to be taken seriously as a writer. This does not involve you spending hundreds of pounds or dollars, getting a professional photographer to do a portfolio. These days even camera phones take excellent shots and I suggest you take a look at the profile photos of some of the authors you follow and find what catches your eye.

Thinking you can get away with a 20 year old, fuzzy round the edge photograph and get away with it is also not helpful. Especially if you gather round some of the real life watering holes I will be featuring next week.

It is not conceit, but good marketing to present a professional if relaxed face to the world and your potential customers.  And even for the guys a little makeup does wonders as does a little photoshopping!! Also you need a high resolution photograph to begin with so when it is shrunk down it does not blur.

Your bio beneath your photograph will be viewed by potential readers, and do not forget it is an example of your writing, and as such it is part of your marketing drive. Get someone else to read before you post and take your time over it. People buy People first.. trust me I was a telesales trainer! Your photograph and bio is part of your marketing package, and since this is your business and not your hobby, you do need to give this careful thought.

At the end of your bio you can add you blog link and one or two social media links so that potential readers can connect. On my Amazon author page… my twitter feed also shows and if you choose this option do remember that potential readers are going to be seeing what you really think about Trump, the human race and your neighbours tom cat!

If you would like to know how to set up your Amazon author page here is a link you will find useful:

Amazon takes money from you to sell your books. They are the shop but you own a retail unit in the complex and need to make sure you make the most of it.

One of the other major watering holes for readers and writers is Goodreads.

Personally I have tried a number of sites that promise to feature your books and there are some paid sites that will promote your books. However, I tend to stick to social media, Amazon, social media and Goodreads. One of the reasons being is TIME.

I try to spend at least an hour or so a week keeping my own promotions going even if that means tidying up my author pages (as a book sells they move it in your line of books on the page and in the process your bio photo can disappear and you have to log on to Author Central and reclick it). With Goodreads I am still working my way through connecting with those that follow me on my blog and social media. It is quite a slow process but well worth it. I need to do better so whilst I am encouraging you to make the most of this combined platform... I am also giving myself a good talking to.

Here is my Goodreads page if you are there and would like to connect:

This brings me onto the subject of reviews which are hugely important as they are the word of mouth that is always the best tool in a sales person’s tool box.

This is a post that I wrote earlier in the year and I have now included the page requesting a review at the back of my last two ebooks and my print versions:

Recently a post by a blogger caused quite a sensation when she declared that ALL reviews for Indie books were left by friends and family and were not worth taking into consideration. She also said that most of the Indie books that she read were rubbish.

Fine, we are all entitled to our opinion however, having been an avid reader for the last 60 years I have paid good money for books that were so called ‘traditionally’ published and were dreadful.

There are great, good and awful books from both sides of this publishing divide, but unlike the days when you walked into a bookstore and only had the cover and blurb to go on, (unless you stood there brazenly and read the first chapter under the glare of a shop assistant) you can now read the first chapter or most of it before you buy.

In fact if you go to my latest book What’s in a Name Volume Two you can read three of the 17 stories before you buy the book.  As most of us now have our books in both print and ebook format there is absolutely no reason why you would buy a book without checking it out first.  (I did say that you should promote your books when the opportunity arose!)

So next time you are promoting your book.. don’t forget to include with your link to Amazon, a reminder that readers check out the first chapter or initial stories etc for FREE before they buy.

Which brings me back to Goodreads. Because readers are also members of Goodreads they often leave reviews there rather than on Amazon, especially if they have bought in a bookstore.

  1. Amazon and I have been having conversations for some time on the fact that reviews from one country are not shown on other countries accounts for your books. It looks like if you make a bit of a commotion they will put your reviews from the US onto the UK account and other Amazon franchises with a note that it was first posted on the other account. But at least readers in the UK going in to buy a book with only two reviews can see there are another 10 from the US.. 12 reviews have to be better than 2 any day.
  2. If you ask readers to review and that they be kind enough to put onto Goodreads too, it means that whichever country they put the Amazon review you will have them all together on Goodreads. This brings them together and gives the reader a wider range of review to judge your book on.
  3. If you are not on Goodreads yet then do create an author’s page… attach your books and make sure that when you are promoting your book you add your Goodreads links as well as other bookstores.
  4. When I do a promotion for another author, I am now giving the link to the author page on Goodreads so don’t miss out and get that in place as soon as possible.
  5. Make sure that when you are promoting your books to put the Goodread links so that readers can see more reviews and they can link directly to Amazon from there.

Blogworld is probably the largest watering hole of them all. With millions of bloggers on WordPress alone it can take time to establish your community of writers and readers.

It is also an amazing opportunity to show off your writing skills. If a reader likes your post, or short story, they are more inclined to buy your books.

Branding your blog.

My blog is Smorgasbord Invitation and my avatar is Sally G. Cronin. I always put Smorgasbord in the title, and when it is Googled it comes up as Smorgasbord and Sally G. Cronin together. When the posts go into the reader, anyone who follows the blog can immediately see that it is a new post from my blog.

Originally I set up my blog to be a magazine style drop in centre, covering a number of subjects such as health, humour, music and posts on general interest, hence the name Smorasbord. I then began to post book and author promotions and in addition to the Smorgasbord brand, in mid 2016, I added Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore as my second level branding. I did that so there was a consistent promotional platform for authors appearing on Google, and when it comes up in a search, it always has the authors names attached in the first line.  That is good for me too, because I can use that vehicle to promote my own books from time to time.

As I scroll down my reader which contains the posts of all the blogs that I follow there are only a handful of posts with something in the headline to brand it. One of two bloggers are recognisable such as Colleen’s Weekly Poetry Challenge (Colleen Chesebro) or Sue Vincent – Daily Echo Photo Prompt (Sue Vincent is part of the blog name) and other popular bloggers.

If you do not have a consistent name in your post titles such as your blog name or your own name then you will find it hard to establish your brand.

Many authors have a website too, which is easier to brand with their name, but if they do not have a blog attached and only post about their books, they will not get the traffic through need to sell them.(Unless they are J.K.Rowling).

So – the formula is – You in the headlines or an identifyer that turns into a brand name + Blog – Creating news in various formats to encourage readers to enter your place of business and once there to take a look around, particularly at your books.

After four years people ask me why I am not going to a paid platform on WordPress where I could have much more functionality. The answer is that I keep it simple. I am posting four or five times a day and I don’t need all the bells and whistles. I want a clean post that people can read and then take action. Head over to Amazon to buy a book, drop into another bloggers posts to look around, leave a comment and share.

I don’t want to make that process complicated, which is why I do not ask for name, email or website before someone leaves their comment. I want that process to be automatic. I don’t like leaving my email on other blogs, and since I do not send out emails to those who follow me I have no need for theirs. I also do not have any notifications turned on for emails. I used to get 200 + emails a day and I spent more time with those than I did with my own writing and author promotion. I have a system that I use via my social media sites and LinkedIn.. and I usually get around quite a few each day to read, like and share.

I also recommend that people do not have notifications for my blog since I post so much, instead I rely on them seeing Smorgasbord or Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore in their reader or they have got into the habit of popping in to my Smorgasbord Weekly Round up where all the posts are laid out and they can pick and choose which ones they read.

Clean colours, simple text with appropriate illustrations and don’t worry too much about the recommendation about not using coloured font… one or two will brighten up your post.

This is your place of business – put a sign over the door – your name or the brand name you have chosen and use it for all your posts – Smorgasbord Health, Smorgasbord Pet Health, Smorgasbord Laughter Academy, Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore New on the Shelves etc, etc. Keep those readers coming through the doors and once in you must have your mechandise on display..

Menus are there to guide your readers to your profile page, your books, your health posts, your guest posts, your challenges. They are there to tempt your readers into dipping into your archives when they find a subject that they enjoy.  Monthly archives down the side of your blog are fine, but much easier for a reader to view your menu with subject titles and click on William Price King – A Man and his music, My Books and Reviews, Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore and my most visited page in my menu… About Sally G. Cronin where readers can find my bio and my books and even see my tweets in live time.

There are many more aspects to your blog that you can turn to your business advantage as an author and even though as a blogger on the Free platform you cannot actually take money directly, you can certainly link to all the places who will take money for your books!

That is just some of the  online watering holes available and I have not covered some of the other platforms, as to be honest I spend more than enough time on the four that I use primarily, and managing the several posts a day on my blog. But there is plenty of information here in blog world on establishing yourself on social media, and you only have to Google a question to get some very helpful information.

Next time off line watering holes… OMG.. meeting your readers face to face!

You can find the other posts in this series in this directory in the menu:

Thanks for dropping and I would love your feedback as always.. Thanks Sally






Smorgasbord Weekly Round up – Sir Tom Jones, King Arthur and other VIPs..

Welcome to this week’s round up and a week of two halves. One half had failing internet, which like a dodgy hair piece, was all over the place for four days. On for 10 minutes and then off for 20 minutes and variations along that theme. Thankfully I had scheduled posts so that I could take a writing break, but it was frustrating to say the least.  The good half of the week is that I got on with Tales from an Irish Garden and made good progress.. A way to go yet, but it will get there in its own good time.

Apart from that I was lucky to have great guests and their contributions to entertain you, and I am very grateful for their time and effort.

William Price King provided us an insight into the career and music of Sir Tom Jones in the mid 1960’s for the rest of the decade. A very busy time for him both in chart success and his residency in Las Vegas.  Here is a later performance of Tom Jones and Pavarotti which you might enjoy as you browse.

Also this week we enjoyed the latest post from Carol Taylor who turned my post on the health benefits of mushrooms into a fantastic feast. Carol has put so much love and effort into her recipes that even those who don’t normally eat some of the foods we feature, are giving the a try.. Don’t miss…

Delighted to welcome Debby Gies with some posts from her archives and this week she took us through the various social media platforms available to us as writers, and the pros and cons

Also with a post for all dog lovers Pete Johnson of Beetley Pete, shares some tales of Ollie… fabulous face and the only creature who can wear wrinkles well…

Writer in Residence – Paul Andruss – Smorgasbord Reblog – A companion piece to the post on King Arthur last week.

On a personal note.

This week’s episode of Odd Jobs and Characters was very kindly hosted by Robbie and Michael Cheadle and thank you to everyone who went over and commented and shared. If you missed you might like to find out how I managed to cook 3000 meals a week in a boarding school.. and still have time to wave a feather duster.

The next episode next week will be on my own blog before resuming its travels around blogland.

A quick look at my WIP with a story that appeared earlier the year with an illustration by Donata Zawadzka

A new series – Media Training for Authors -ways to promote you and your books locally and on a national scale.  All four posts so far.

New Series – The Sunday Interview – The ultimate Bucket List

The first guest was our resident food expert Carol Taylor who shared the top two items on her ultimate bucket list. I am sure that they will both come true. Tomorrow the author, poet and fabulous blogger, Sue Vincent.

Book Promotions – Air Your Reviews

Cafe and Bookstore Author Update

Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves

New Series – Something to think about – this week volunteering – helping out charities, school, libraries can be both rewarding and teach you new skills.



Smorgasbord Health 2017

Pet health

Thank you for all your visits, likes, comments and shares during the week… it is so appreciated.




Smorgasbord Reblog – Odd Jobs and Characters – School Housekeeper/Caterer hosted by Robbie Cheadle.

I was delighted to be the guest of Robbie and Michael Cheadle on Monday with the latest episode of my Odd Jobs and Characters with the background to my book Just an Odd Job Girl.. This week I accept the post of housekeeper/caterer at a boarding school and find myself cooking 3000 meals a week.

Odd Jobs and Characters – Housekeeper/Caterer- Feeding the 5000 or so it seemed! by Sally Cronin

After a few unsuccessful attempts to keep our marriage together, my first husband and I finally split up. All our furniture and belongings were in storage, as our accommodation at the pub we ran was fully equipped. I headed off with two suitcases into a B&B for a few weeks and took some temporary jobs, as I looked for something more permanent. At the beginning of December, and now almost broke, I applied for the position of Housekeeper/Caterer at a public school in Sussex.

I went for the interview and my experience in steak house management, and also mass catering in the pub were very useful. Two days before Christmas I received a telegram asking me to report to the school on the 6th of January. My new living quarters were the ground floor of one of the farm cottages attached to the school, right opposite the pig sheds which infused my new home with an alluring aroma. The children were expected back on January 11th and my first job was to buy in the supplies to feed 120 children and 30 school and domestic staff.

I was lucky to walk into a brand new and purpose built dining hall and kitchen, which was a real bonus. I had one permanent assistant, and the housekeeping staff would also help at meal times. I spent the next few days ordering from the main dry goods supplier and local butcher and fish merchant. I also had to work out staffing rotas for the cleaning and maintenance of the residential areas of the main house and classrooms, which were my responsibility too. I planned the menus for the next four weeks so that I could buy certain foods in bulk which saved money. I also need to organise my own timetable, as I would be cooking four meals a day, seven days a week as well as checking on the housekeeping side twice a day. On Fridays one of my staff who had some cooking experience, would cook lunch, which to the delight of the children was always superb fish, chips and peas. That gave me some time to explore the local area and take a breather.

The children started the day with juice, cereal or porridge, and a cooked breakfast with a piece of toast with tea or milk. Let me tell you how daunting it is on your first day in the job to fry 150 eggs rotating through six large frying pans, watch flats with bacon in three ovens whilst toasting 150 slices of bread both sides, without burning, on two large wall-mounted grills which took 30 slices at a time. All dished up by 8.15 when juice, porridge or cereal was finished.

Table prefects would come and collect the serving platters and toast racks, allowing me to start my rounds of the dining-hall to make sure that each child ate all their breakfast. Twice a week, I would start half an hour earlier at 6a.m, so that I could crack 140 eggs into a giant Bain Marie to gently scramble. I would say the overall favourite breakfast was sausages and beans and fried bread, which disappeared in a heartbeat.

No sooner had the kitchen been cleaned and the crockery and cutlery sent through the washer, and it was time to do the lunch preparation. Even back then, I cooked food from scratch, instead of relying on the frozen entrees that were available for mass catering. The boys and handful of girls at the school soon became accustomed to eating Coq au Vin, Boeuf Bourguignon, Spaghetti Bolognaise, Lasagne as well as roast dinners with all the trimmings. There was always rice, potatoes or pasta and at least two vegetables. Dessert might be Apple Charlotte, Cherry Pie, Rhubarb Crumble, Spotted Dick all served with custard.

Read the rest of the story on Robbie’s blog:

All the previous posts in the series can be found in this directory with links to my host’s blog

Books by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

The latest review for Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Dough Bees Story and Cookbook.

This is a children’s story and activity book about food.

It contains two rhyming poems. The first and longest is mainly for the children. It is about Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet’s adventure to find the fruit drop fairies who have the magic sugar dust that can save the wilting flowers. The second is mainly for the parents reminding them that the moments spent with their children are wonderful and go by quickly.

These poems are illustrated with photographs of fondant artfully shaped like the characters in the poems.

The book ends with five recipes children can make with help from their parents: cheese bread, butter biscuits, jammy scones, rainbow cupcakes and banana bread.

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

Connect to Robbie and Michael at their blog:

My thanks again to Robbie for hosting my series this week and I hope that you will enjoy the full story and also follow Robbie if you do not already do so.. She has wonderful food, poetry and articles on life.


Smorgasbord Reblog – Colleen Chesebro my host for – My Guardian Angel by Sally Cronin

I was thrilled to be invited by Colleen Chesebro to be a guest as part of her Fairies, Myths and Magic Author Spotlight guest Posts.

I thought that my true encounter with a Gypsy and subequent acquaintance with my spirit guide might qualify for the theme of this illuminating series.

First a note from Colleen

“I have started a new feature on my blog, called Author Spotlight – Guest Posts. As you can see from the image above, I am looking for themed posts about fairies, myths, and magic. If you are an interested author and would like to be featured on my blog, please click HERE to find out more.” ~Colleen~

Image Credit:

“My Guardian Angel,” by Sally Cronin

My thanks to Colleen for creating this wonderful series, where we as writers, can share our more magical and other worldly experiences.

The way many view magic is that it is trickery, and a skill that is learnt. This also applies to other less logical events that all of us will experience in our lifetimes, including vivid dreams, strange encounters with others and deja vu. That feeling that you have already lived through an experience that is happening in the here and now.

They say that our memories are formed in the womb when we hear our mother’s voice or music. As we get older, we tend to discard memories that are non-essential, filing those that are embedded in us, by the intensity of the moment when they were formed.

I certainly have very clear memories from about the age of two as I grew up immersed in the sights, sounds, and aromas of other worlds. From a baby, until I was nearly four years old we lived in Sri Lanka, or Ceylon as it was in those days, and our house was filled with the smells of spices and sounds of the surrounding jungle. There were many dangers for a toddler including leopards, large monkeys, and snakes. My amah’s role, apart from being my nanny, was to protect and teach me how not to become dinner for other creatures!

We went on to live in Malta and South Africa returning to England when I was eleven, brimming over with the sights and sounds of these amazing countries. I had also become confident and adapted easily to new environments, which on reflection made me a little too cocky for my own good.

I have other memories that are definitely filed away in the ‘What in heaven’s name just happened?’ drawer.

Have you ever found yourself on the brink of committing to an act or words, and something seems to hold you back? Did you ever wonder why you misplaced the keys to the car and were delayed for ten minutes; head out, only to pass by a serious car accident along the route. Have you been asked to make a decision that is critical to your well-being, only to find yourself saying ‘yes‘ despite your reservations, and for it to turn out positively?

There are a large number of events in my life that fall into this strange vacuum between thought and deed, and I would like to share one or two of these experiences with you.

Despite my worldly confidence gained through my travels, I was not as clever as I thought. This became apparent when I got married at twenty to someone quite a bit older than I was and far more experienced. Despite friends and family trying to tell me that this was a mistake, I pushed forward determined to have my own way.

A few weeks before the wedding, I came out of a supermarket, to find an old Gypsy woman selling sprigs of heather in the rain. She was holding out her dirt encrusted hand to me and thinking that I probably needed all the luck I could find, I gave her sixpence and waited for my heather. Instead, I found my hand gripped very tightly in hers with the silver coin between our palms. She pulled me into her, and I can still smell the sweet slightly musty scent of this dishevelled old woman. She whispered to me as I tried to pull away.

‘You must listen child to your spirit guide. He is an ancient warrior from the Dark Continent, and he is trying to protect you.’
I hope you will head over to Colleen’s blog to read the rest of the saga (it is me after all) and comment and share from there:

About Colleen Chesebro

Colleen M. Chesebro is a writer of cross-genre fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Her debut novel, a YA fantasy series called, “The Heart Stone Chronicles – The Swamp Fairy,” was published January 2017.

The book reveals the story of Abby Forrester, a 14-year-old orphaned girl who is entrusted with saving a community of fairy nymphs from certain ecological destruction. Along the way, Abby learns about friendship, love, and what it means to actually belong to a family. Colleen’s writing explores ecological situations in the multicultural world of today. She combines real-life historical events into her writing to create experiences that will continue in the hearts and heads of her readers.

A veteran of the United States Air Force, Colleen is also a retired bookkeeper. She has an Associates Degree in Business Administration, and another Associates Degree in the Arts, which she uses to combine her love of writing with her passion for all things creative. When she is not writing, Colleen enjoys spending time with her husband, dogs, children, and grandchildren. When time permits, she also loves gardening, cooking, and crocheting old fashioned doilies into works of artistry. She lives in the United States with her husband and her two Pomeranians, Sugar, and Spice

One of the recent reviews for The Swamp Fairy

I am always looking for suitable books for my grand children and generally read some or all of the book myself first. Although I will say I don’t read many to the end. This one I couldn’t put down it is a beautiful story and struck just the right balance when anything was amiss or anything was about to befall one of the characters. I will be quite happy to send my grandaughter a copy of this book, it is a treasure and one which I am sure she will read from cover to cover and love.

My thanks again to Colleen for her kind invitation and I hope you will enjoy the whole post.

Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – End of Summer Parties, Great guests and Music

Good morning from Ireland and you might wonder what the round up is doing here at just after midnight on a Monday morning. After the first two party days of the rave on the blog I thought it might be better sent out after the revellers had gone home. However, there appear to be some who are in not just a time zone of their own but a world of their own.

It has been an amazing weekend and wonderful to see so many bloggers from the last four years dropping in with their links and music requests. So many requests in fact that I will be scheduling a couple of music posts later in the week for the tracks that I could not feature over the three days. Including of course everyone’s links and books etc.. Still time for you to put yours into the final party post later today.


If you head over to the posts you will see that my book Just an Odd Job Girl is FREE for the weekend.. You will need to email me for a copy and let me know if you would like a mobi for Kindle or epub for all other devices.

Also this week I will be introducing the new series of the author interviews. As always I have changed the theme and I will be interviewing myself to give you an idea of the format. I hope that you will be tempted to participate even if you have been interviewed before.

My thanks to my guests this week. William Price King and Paul Andruss for their regular weekly valued contributions and also to Carol Taylor and Julie Lawford who have become very popular guest in the last few weeks.

I need to get some sleep before the party post goes out at 10.00am.  so without further ado… here are the posts that you might have missed during the week.

Just a reminder of my recommended author services, design, formatting, publishing, illustration, translation and promotion.

Summer Jazz with William Price King – the 1990’s with Tony Bennett

Writer in Residence Paul Andruss get’s the party started.

Thomas the Rhymer

The party posts so far.

Milestones along the way by Geoff Cronin – Tales of Waterford and the culture of the 1930s and 1940s – my father-in-law’s final book written at 88.

Smorgasbord Guest Post – Size Matters by Julie Lawford – How big is your plate and how much are you putting on it?

The Odd Jobs and Characters Series- Guest Posts – this week The Cosmetic Department hosted by D.Wallace Peach

Each week I share the story of one of my quirky job that introduced me to the characters that now fill my stories.

Author and Book promotion – Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Update

New book on the shelves

Blogger Promotion – Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air your Reviews

I was so delighted to receive two reviews in the same post from Judith Barrow for What’s in a Name volumes one and two.

Cook From Scratch with Sally and Carol – Carrots from Afghanistan. – The health benefits and wonderful recipes from Carol Taylor

I was also invited to submit my recipe for brown rice pilaf – Vitamin Supplement on a plate to the Recipe Hunter…And Marjorie Mallon tried it out and sent a photograph..much better than mine and perhaps she might let me use in future.

Smorgasbord Health – Preparing for an Operation.

Smorgasbord Health 2017

Smorgasbord Pet Health – Herbal Remedies for Pets.

Smorgasbord Laughter Academy and Afternoon Videos

Thank you again for taking the time to visit the blog and you are definitly the reason I keep motivated to show up every day..



Odd Jobs and Characters – The Shoe Department – Hosted by D.G. Kaye

Up to now I have shared the first three posts in this series on my own blog. As part of my launch of my new short story collection – What’s in a Name Volume Two – the remaining episodes are kindly being hosted by some of my fellow writers.  I am very grateful for their ongoing support and I hope you will head over and read of my misadventures.

You will find all the episodes to date in this directory which includes my jobs along the seafront and two posts at the dental surgery:


This week I handed the next episode to D.G. Kaye (Debby Gies) who added some accessories to the Shoe Department in the form of a wonderful intro and the story Xenia which is from the new collection. One of the most difficult stories that I have written as it is very close to my heart.

My thanks to Debby for making me feel like visiting royalty… so touched and grateful.

Here is an extract from the post and I hope that you will head over and read my episode and the bonus story Xenia.

Now, without any further ado, Sally has generously offered to share one of her short stories for this post and she has cleverly picked out a story about shoes because she knew shoes are a subject close to my heart. Sheesh, my shoe-lovin’ reputation has certainly been made known, even in the virtual world. In one of Sally’s other books, Just an Odd Job Girl, Sally tells the story about a girl named Imogen, which includes many odd jobs she worked along the way, rising above many sticky issues. The book is written in the fiction genre, but it didn’t take me long to figure out that Imogen was indeed Sally! Today, Sally is sharing a story about one of those jobs she had from the real life version.

Odd Jobs and Characters – The Shoe Department by Sally Cronin

My thanks so much to the wonderful Debby Gies.. .D.G. Kaye for her continued and much appreciated support for my blog and books.

I loved working in the dental surgery, but I felt that I would like to take the medical side of my training further. I decided to follow in my father’s footsteps and join the Royal Navy as a nurse in the Queen Alexandra’s Nursing Service. I applied and was accepted for an interview which I attended at Haslar Naval Hospital. It was a bit of an ordeal as it involved a written exam, physical exam and an interview with senior nursing and naval officers. I returned home and waited for the outcome. A letter arrived a week later, to say that I had been accepted, but not for another eighteen months.

This left me in a quandary, and being the age I was, I felt that before I joined up I should see a little more of life. I handed in my notice at the dental surgery, applying to the local department store for a temporary job whilst I decided on my strategy for the next year or so.

I have to point out that I am one of three sisters, with a mother who loved shoes and handbags, and it appeared that she had passed those particular genes onto us. I can remember at a very early age spending many happy hours in the bottom of my mother’s wardrobe, rummaging through her high heeled dancing shoes and trying them out for size. Not very elegant at five years old, but habit forming.

Please head over to Debby’s for the rest of the post and bonus story – Thanks Sally:

Thanks again to Debby for such a wonderful start to the series tour and please check out her books available:

Next week – The Cosmetic Department – Hosted by Diana Wallace Peach.

Odd Jobs and Characters – Dental Surgery Part Two – Sally Cronin

As part of my book launch for What’s in a Name Volume II, I am sharing some of the sometimes quirky jobs that I have taken on over the years. This ranged from chasing schoolboy postcard thieves along Southsea seafront… to selling bull semen at agricultural shows (I won’t go into too much detail about that one!) Anyway for this week I will schedule on my blog and then I will be handing the posts over to 12 kind friends who will host them for me. The first of these is D.G. Kaye on August 18th when I will detail my escapades in the shoe department of our local department store.

You can previous posts in the series in this directory.

The Dental Surgery Part Two


After many years of not being able to have a baby… Miss Smith was pregnant and could not stand the sight of blood!  So began a very intensive training course and my career took a very different path.

I was now 18 years old and have been studying the dental nurse course at home and in quiet periods in the surgery. I had also been getting practical experience on the basic tasks required by a chairside assistant, and having done a first aid course I found that I slipped into this role quite quickly.  In those days on job training was common, and because there was not such a wide range of procedures carried out, it was intensive but thorough. Also in those days there were not the technical aspects to the profession to contend with. Poor patients were lucky to get an anaesthetic for minor fillings!

By this time Roland was 68 and he was a tough boss. He had been in the army during the second world war and after retiring at 50 had gone into private practice. He did rather treat me as a squaddie and this extended to the daily deep cleaning of the surgery. Apart from washing down all the surfaces with anteseptic wash, including chair and its attachments I was expected to sterilise all instruments after each patient in a temperamental boiler. I was also equipped with a toothbrush, and all cracks and seams on the chair and the cabinet that contained the instruments and drugs had to be cleaned with hot water and soap each Wednesday afternoon when Roland went out sailing.

Our equipment was not exactly state-of-the-art, and some of it actually had done service in the desert. For example, at that time, in the sixties, we had frequent power cuts during the miners strikes. This of course meant that the electric, high-speed drill was non-operational. So, out would come the ‘squeeze-box’. This powered a drill attached to a pulley. Roland would pump up and down on a pedal and this provided enough energy to operate the drill at a painfully slow speed. I operated another squeeze box that powered the suction pipe. Painful enough just watching, so I can only imagine what it was like for the patient.

Another of my jobs was to develop the X-rays, and on one occasion this led to a bit of a ‘miracle’. The developing was done in a small broom cupboard at the top of the stairs. It contained two tall, narrow, tanks, one for developing and one for fixing, and I had to wear elbow length rubber gloves to handle the chemicals.

For processing, the X-rays were clipped into a metal holder which had four metal clips each side of the main central shaft. A sticker was put on this shaft showing which patient each X-ray belonged to. On this particular occasion, when I was in a hurry, I inadvertently opened the clip at the top of the holder and released all eight X-rays into the fixer tank. You have to remember that I was operating in very subdued lighting and I had to fish around in the tank with my gloved hand to find these slippery little bits of film.

At last, I got them all out and because they were now developed and fixed, I could switch the main light on. But, whose X-ray was which? I did my best, and put all eight films back in the holder to dry.

Nothing happened for about two weeks. I was doing the accounts while Roland was taking impressions for some dentures when I got the call. I entered the surgery to find a lovely lady in her seventies in the chair. She smiled at me revealing her pink gums and nothing else. I turned to my boss who was holding an X-ray up to the window and examining it closely.

‘Imagine my extreme surprise to discover, on removing this patient’s  X-ray from her notes, that she has grown a complete set of new teeth and indeed has a whole jaw of second teeth to follow.’  Thankfully, the correct X-ray was located in one of our younger patient’s notes, but from then on, I always checked the X-rays in the notes before handing them over for the appointment.

There were still the odd times when I wished I was anywhere else but in that surgery, but looking back, even those times were amusing.

During an upper tooth extraction I would place two clasped hands over the patient’s head to keep it nice and steady whilst Roland applied pressure to the tooth before removing. On one occasion as I applied the necessary force, I felt the patient’s hair begin to move. I was terrified that I had scalped him but then realised it was a toupee. It slipped back and forth during the procedure and unfortunately the patient left with it askew as I was unable to get it back in its proper position. Do you know how hard it is for an 19 year old not to giggle in that situation!

After two years I felt that I would like to take my training further, and considered training as a State Registered Nurse. The Queen Alexandra Nursing Service was advertising for recruits at the time and the uniform was very attractive. However, fate was to take yet another hand in my destiny!

Some of the more memorable patients have appeared in my short stories..

Next week – The Shoe Department – Cheating and surprises….This post is being hosted on D.G. Kaye’s wonderful blog on Friday August 18th.. I will post a link on the day so you can head over and read.

My latest book – What’s in a Name – Volume Two.

Our legacy is not always about money or fame, but rather in the way that people remember our name after we have gone. In these sixteen short stories we discover the reasons why special men and women will stay in the hearts and minds of those who have met them.

Kenneth watches the love of his life dance on New Year’s Eve while Lily plants very special flowers every spring for her father. Martha helps out a work colleague as Norman steps back out into the world to make a difference. Owen brings light into a house and Patrick risks his life in the skies over Britain and holds back from telling a beautiful redhead that he loves her.In one way or another all these characters will be remembered by those whose lives they have touched.

There is also a bonus story introducing a new collection The Village Square to be published in 2018.

You can buy the book:

Everything you need to know about how to buy my books and connect to me on social media is here:

Thank you for dropping by and your ongoing support.. It means a great deal to me.. thanks Sally


Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – FREE book, Invitation to a Party and brilliant writers.

Welcome to the weekly round up and a reminder that What’s in a Name Volume one is FREE until midnight tonight. I am not part of the Kindle family although all my books are formated to be read on Kindles, Nooks and any other devices. So I don’t do the Kindle select promotions. However, most of you know we well enough to email me and that your information is safe.

About the stories

There are names that have been passed down through thousands of years which have powerful and deep-rooted meaning to their bearers. Other names have been adopted from other languages, cultures and from the big screen. They all have one thing in common. They are with us from birth until the grave and they are how we are known to everyone that we meet.

There are classical names such as Adam, David and Sarah that will grace millions of babies in the future. There are also names that parents have invented or borrowed from places or events in their lives which may last just one lifetime or may become the classic names of tomorrow.

Whatever the name there is always a story behind it. In What’s in a Name? – Volume One, twenty men and women face danger, love, loss, romance, fear, revenge and rebirth as they move through their lives.

Anne changes her name because of associations with her childhood, Brian carries the mark of ancient man, Jane discovers that her life is about to take a very different direction, and what is Isobel’s secret?

The book is available in Mobi (Kindle) Epub (other devices) and pdf for those of you without a reader.

Just email me on and I will whisk a copy over to you. I appreciate that many of you have TBRs that rival the Leaning Tower of Pisa… but that is okay and I also have no expectation of a review… unless you really want to!

You can read a number of reviews for the book:

and the latest review by Paul Andruss which is a story too:

End of Summer Party – August 26th – 28th – all welcome.

I will be roasting showcasing, those bloggers who have been with me since I began Smorgasbord four years ago.. and apart from these guests, I am inviting everyone to chip in with their details in the comments. I have some food and drink (virtually no calories) and there will be some music. I hope you will be able to pop in .

My secretary Mavis has reminded me that it is time to get on with the round up of the week’s posts that you might have missed.

I am of course very grateful to my guests this week who have provided us with entertaining and interesting posts. Thanks to Anne Casey, Julie Lawford and Carol Taylor who will be with us through the summer and beyond I hope.

William Price King is still on his summer break but I have been sharing a previous series that proved very popular the first time around.. Tony Bennett the ultimate performer.

Guest post from poet and song writer Anne Casey talking about the path to the publication of her debut poetry collection. Including her published work in the Irish Times.

Julie Lawford continues her summer of lifestyle articles with her top ten tips for maintaining your weight loss.

I was delighted to welcome Carol Taylor to the blog for the first of a collaborative series on my top healthy foods with some wonderful recipes from Carol.. This week delicious ways to prepare the king of fish.. salmon.

Milestones along the way by Geoff Cronin

I have posted another one of my entertainment reviews and this time for King Arthur: Legend of the Sword….

Book Promotion

For the next 12 weeks I am guest posting with a number of fantastic bloggers as part of the Odd Jobs and Characters, What’s in a Name launch series. I am posting the first three and then this Friday, Debby Gies is hosting the first of the guest appearances.. By all accounts she has added some Debby specials to the post so I hope you will head over and check it out.

This week was part one of my adventures as a dental nurse back in the late 1960s…haha.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves

Cafe and Bookstore Update

Air Your Promotions

Smorgasbord Short story

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Weekly image and Haiku

Humour and afternoon videos

Thank you for all your support and generosity in sharing.. Enjoy the rest of the weekend and hope you will visit again next week.



Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air Your Reviews – Janice Spina, Gigi Sedlmayer and Sally Cronin

Welcome to another post where you can showcase your latest reviews. I do try to catch your reviews but it does help if you let me know by emailing sally.cronin@moyhill. I am happy to share your news every four to six weeks to keep you in the spotlight.

The first author with a review today is Janice Spina for book five of her Davey and Derek, Junior Detectives series – The Case of the Sad Mischievous Ghost

About The Case of the Sad Mischievous Ghost

Twins Davey and Derek Donato are enlisted by two new characters, Abby and her cousin Holly, to assist them in finding and capturing the spooky beings that haunt their house.

When the boys visit Abby’s house they discover that this old Victorian holds many secrets and shocking revelations.

Davey and Derek soon find that they need the assistance of their Great Aunt Gigi to handle these mischievous phantoms.

The most recent review on Amazon

Once again, Davey and Derek are off on an adventure to solve a mystery. These two young detectives are on the trail of ghosts that are living in their friend Abby’s house. Abby and her cousin Holly are school mates of Davey and Derek and have more interest in them than just finding the ghosts. When they visit Abby’s home, a large old Victorian house, they discover the house holds secrets even Abby’s parents didn’t know about. Of course, once again, they enlist their Great Aunt Gigi to help them.

This was once again another delightful middle grade book in the Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series. Davey and Derek and their friends are delightful children who are respectful and considerate of others, but who don’t hesitate to do a bit of sleuthing under the nose of Abby’s parents.

As with the other books in this series, The Case of the Sad Mischievous Ghost is well written and meets the author’s criteria for instilling the love of reading in children.

I highly recommend The Case of the Sad Mischievous Ghost to all middle graders and to their parents. This would be a wonderful book to share, with parents taking a turn reading aloud.

This book was a gift from the author. I received no compensation for my honest review.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

Also by Janice Spina

Discover all of Janice Spina’s books, read the reviews and buy:

Find more reviews and follow Janice on Goodreads:

Connect to Janice via her website:

Another children’s author whose books receive excellent reviews continously is Gigi Sedlmayer and here is the latest for the first in the Talon Series – Come Fly With Me.

About Come Fly With Me

The adventure of a young girl will captivate your attention in this beautiful book. The words soar off the page and into your heart as you read this imaginative story.

Enjoy seeing the family dynamic from the first moment with her brother, to the gentle times with her mom, and the exciting scenes with her father.

A young girl, Matica, is jealous of her brother, Aiken’s ability to have friends. But Matica’s ability to form friendships is extraordinary. The trust and camaraderie between Matica and the condors is truly wonderful.

The way the author revealed each situation is fun to read and it made one anxious to see what’s next. Acceptance was eloquently woven into the story without being blatant. And the other thing I learned was that when certain things happen, you don’t always know why and just maybe something goodwill come of it.

Talon, Come Fly With Me is not only magical but inspiring. The author is expressive every step of the way and paint such vivid pictures with her words.

The most recent review on Amazon

This short story connects immediately to kids with its conversational tone. Matica is a girl who has grown up to be 9 years of age but physically is small. This leads her to feel isolated in her immediate circle. To add to the complexity, her parents – missionaries – relocate from Australia to South America to stay among the Indians.

Matica comes in contact with a pair of Condors – majestic birds which are close to extinction. She manages to develop a close bond with the birds and helps them through their travails when poachers try stealing their egg. In this attempt, Matica gets a huge round of admiration from the local Indians and is invited to various schools to share her story.

This narrative is a great example of story telling where the reader can bond with the main characters and get to understand issues like environment, conservation and diversity.

Full Disclosure : I had been provided a copy of the book by the author for an unconditional review (and I am glad I got to read her work)

There are 128 reviews for Come Fly With Me for you too browse and to buy the book:

Also by Gigi Sedlmayer

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

Read more reviews and follow Gigi on Goodreads:

Connect to Gigi via her new website:

And finally I am going to slip one of my latest review into the pile for Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story.

About Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story

The true story of Sam, a rough collie, written from his perspective. A tribute to a true friend and a genuine family member.

Millions of families around the World believe that their pet, dog or cat is the most intelligent, beautiful and loyal friend that anyone could have. And they are absolutely right.
From the first moment that I met Sam, when he was just three weeks old, his personality and charm shone from his button eyes. Like many pet owners, we were convinced he understood every word we spoke and he actually could say one or two himself. Rather than tell his story from our perspective I have given him a voice and let him tell his own.
I can only imagine what he really thought about his two and four-legged friends but I do hope he loved us as much as we adored him and the time he spent with us shining brightly in our lives.
If only our pets could talk how much richer the world would be, and funnier.

The most recent review on Amazon

When I read a book, I prepare for my review of it by highlighting the parts that I will want to quote in my review, ie. the sentences that are the touchpoints, or witty dialogue, the memorable moments, and lines that are the heart of the book. As I prepared to review Sam, I realized that I had highlighted the entire book. So many wonderful moments, funny stories, heartwarming scenes, and plenty of love are contained in this dog’s memoir.

Sam relates how he came as a young pup to live with Sally and David, in a lovely place near a beach in Ireland. Sam describes the large garden where he romps, his own splashing pool, his sun lounger, his rambles on the beach with his owners. Sam appreciates all this, but most of all he loves his pack and does his best to be a positive and helpful member of the pack. His only complaint is that he is never given enough cheese and sausages! (We hear you, Sam!)

Sam has many human and cat and dog friends. Sam and Sally’s adventures with Henry the cat, and his babies is quite amazing and touching. His Sally can speak Cat and Sam learns this language, too, along with a useful repertoire of words that he understands and words that he can say! He is also a very good listener.

Sam seems to be the typical smart, mature, only child. He is well-traveled (over 50,000 miles and several countries!) and interested and engaged in his world. As Sam writes, “There is no doubt that my pack could not do without me.” Adults, children, and worldly dogs and cats like Sam, will enjoy reading or hearing this lovely story. Highly recommend.

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Thank you for dropping by today and I hope you enjoyed the selection. Thanks Sally