Smorgasbord Health Column – Time to revisit the #BedBug Infestations! – Unwanted bedmates!


It is time to update the bed bug post from last year, as this longer and dryer summer has resulted in a rise in reported infestations in the US and in the UK.

Here is a look at some of the statistics on Pestworld.org for the US compiled from the  2018 Bugs Without Borders survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association

  • Almost all (97 percent) pest professionals have treated bed bugs in the past year. A majority of them say that overall bed bug service work (69 percent) and the prevalence of these pests (66 percent) are increasing.
  • Bed bugs may be easily confused with other pests, as 84 percent of pest control professionals were initially contacted about a different type of pest before identifying them as bed bugs. The majority of these contacts (71 percent) were about fleas, followed by cockroaches (28 percent).
  • More than half of pest control professionals noted that they receive the most bed bug complaints during the summer, as increased travel during this time of the year may help spread bed bugs from vacation destinations to homes or even college lodgings to homes as students go on summer break.
  • The top three places where pest professionals report finding bed bugs are single-family homes (91 percent), apartments/condominiums (89 percent), and hotels/motels (68 percent). Past surveys have shown these environments to consistently be the top three where bed bugs have been encountered.
  • Bed bugs are also found seemingly everywhere else and in higher numbers, such as nursing homes (59 percent), schools and daycare centers (47 percent), offices (46 percent), college dorms (45 percent), hospitals (36 percent) and public transportation (19 percent).
  • Bites are the most commonly reported sign of an infestation (92 percent) and more than half of people reach out for treatment after discovering bites and welts on their bodies. Although some people immediately develop a skin reaction to bites, others may take two to three days before showing obvious symptoms or any symptoms at all, meaning that people could be unaware of a bed bug problem until a full-blown infestation has taken root.
  • Typically found in couches and bed frames, bed bugs can also be found in some of the most unexpected places, including stuffed animals, wheelchairs, airplanes, school buses, purses and even inside bedside lamps.

And this article in the UK Guardian a couple of months ago Bedbug plague hits British Cities

The UK is facing an exponential increase in bedbug infestation as a result of this summer’s hot weather, which is exacerbating a major problem in densely populated cities, experts are warning.

In higher temperatures, the reproductive cycle of the bugs – Cimex lectularius – shortens from 18-21 days to eight or nine days, according to David Cain, of extermination company Bed Bugs Limited.

The problem is compounded by social stigma which often results in a reluctance to seek help, and because a significant proportion of the population have no physical reaction to bedbug bites so may be unaware of an infestation. “The problem has been spreading globally since the late 1990s, and there is literally no country on the face of the planet that hasn’t had a bedbug problem,” said Cain.

You can read the rest of the article here: Bedbug Plague

I must admit to being paranoid about sleeping in beds other than my own. Before everybody becomes hot under the collar I do mean this in in terms of hygiene…..

Unfortunately, many of us are sharing our bed with more than the partner of our choice and these invisible bedfellows are very much more difficult to get rid of…

Bed bugs have been part of our human life cycle for hundreds of years if not thousands. They love warm blood and will infest areas close to that source of nourishment including in seams and cracks in the mattress, in furniture and soft furnishings close to a bed and in seams of duvets and bed-linen.

I am paranoid about staying hotels when travelling and part of my luggage is my first defence…this video should not be watched before you eat… or before going to bed!!!

The infestations are on the increase, and even the swankiest of hotels are not guaranteed to be without these freeloading guests. Our modern travel habits ensure that suit cases and clothing, travelling with us between continents, can carry the bugs without detection from one bed to another. We now travel to more and more destinations, some of which have extremely high incidences of bed bug infestations particularly at the lower end of the accommodation price range such as hostels. Whilst the cost may be attractive you may be taking away more than the complimentary soap and shampoo.

Most of the pesticides from the early 50’s that were used against these pests were banned, quite rightly, because of their effect on humans. Although more modern extermination methods have been developed, in the intervening years the bugs have had time to develop resistance to certain chemicals.

If you have unexplained rashes particularly that you cannot identify it might be worth checking some of the sites for photographs of bedbug bites. Usually uniform in size and rather random they will have a conformity to the groupings.

There is no evidence that the bites themselves have any long term health implications but they are very itchy and after several nights of disrupted sleep you will be putting yourself at risk of general health problems such as minor infections.

Bed bugs  live in the rest of the house too – particularly where you might sit all the time to watch television or eat meals etc. The expression spring clean, where the whole house was turned upside down once a year, is still a great idea but I do suggest that you also do an autumn clean, because with the colder weather other bugs will find your house an attractive and warm hideout for the winter months.

What can we do to prevent bed bugs in the home?

It is a good idea to keep your bedroom as clutter free as possible. Get the vacuum out regularly even with wood floors and move the bed so that you can suck up all the dust and bugs that might be living in cracks. Make sure that you include soft furnishings such as curtains.

When you wash bed linens do so in a hot wash with a good quality detergent but insure you have an adequate rinse cycle.Then dry on very high heat in the tumble dryer for 40 to 45 minutes.

I try to time the linen change with sunshine and spread out both bottom sheets, duvet covers and pillow cases over the backs of metal chairs (without soft cushioning) in the direct sunlight for an hour.

Before replacing linen I suggest vacuuming the mattress taking care around the seams. It is also good for the life of a mattress to turn over from time to time.

Make sure that you do all the beds in the house at the same time so that you decrease the risk of them travelling throughout the house from one bedroom to the other.

It is at this point that I should mention that those of us who adore our animals and allow them to get on the bed with us from time to time or to sleep on the bed at night are at risk of also inviting their particular companions into bed too. Fleas and mites love a little human snack from time to time and keeping your pet free of them is important for their health and yours. This makes the laundering of bed linen even more important and I also find that the following natural product that I use helps with both bed bugs and other parasites.

I am not keen on chemical based household products unless absolutely necessary. For the last 20 years I have been using Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) an oil made from the crushed seeds of the grapefruit. I use all the time and recommend to others as it has anti-bacterial, and microbe properties and is great for fungal infections internally and externally. Its household uses are as varied including as a water purifier and a natural vegetable and fruit wash.

For a bug spray you need to use a garden spray bottle with a fine nozzle. Mix 20 to 25 drops with water to fill the bottle. Spray the mattress including the seams, soft furnishings including curtains every couple of months – let it dry and remake the bed with the clean linen.

Here are a couple of links to sites with information both on bedbugs and GSE.

http://citricidal-gse.com/history/
http://www.bedbugs.org/

You can find a number of brands of Grapefruit Seed Extract on Amazon or in your local health food store.

I hope this has not put you off your breakfast or whichever meal you might be indulging in right now….

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998- 2018

My nutritional background

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse by health books and fiction you can find them here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2018/

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – St. Kitts, Mother Sauces, Family Drama, Music, Short Stories and Humout


Welcome to the weekly round up and October has raced in with high winds and very high seas in the Irish Channel… Thankfully not bringing the devastation suffered by residents in Florida and along that coastline. But in Ireland the weather does not get us down for long and wellington boots are to be found in all our porches, and sometimes put into service around the house.

The nights are drawing in, and just as the sun goes down we are treated to a visit from hundreds of crows who gather on the electricity lines. We had to take out three 30 foot trees that were undermining the outside wall to the garden facing the road, with roots beginning to cause the pavement to crack. We think these trees might possibly have been a roost for many years for one of the murders of crows in the area and they still return to glare through the windows at us.

Unfortunately from a safety perspective we had no choice, and certainly after the hurricane last year when many trees like ours fell across roads and caused damage, it was necessary. However, they have got their own back by stomping around, cackling and picking the moss of the roof and throwing it all over the back yard at sunrise.. which in the summer is about 5.00 am.  Here they are gathering at dusk. In the next week or so this patch of ground, will welcome a brand new lawn and the garden will be finished.

Anyway.. on with the posts from the week. And as always my thanks to the regular contributors and guest writers who have shared their talent. And to you for dropping in and supporting the guests and my posts. It is much appreciated.

Over the last few months the news that the 5.0 WordPress release would include the Gutenberg editing platform, has caused a lot of uncertainty with recommendations to upgrade to be able to install a plug-in so you could still use the Classic Editor etc. I asked for clarification this week and was delighted with the response.. including a screenshot, that for WordPress.com bloggers at least.. there will be the option to choose when adding a new post. Thank goodness for that..

 

Welcome to the October edition of the Travel Column with D.G. Kaye. This month we’re going to another small, beautiful and still developing Caribbean island – Saint Kitts.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/08/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-travel-column-with-d-g-kaye-welcome-to-saint-kitts-caribbean/

This week Carol Taylor takes us through the five basic or mother sauces that every cook will find useful.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/10/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-food-and-cookery-column-with-carol-taylor-the-5-mother-sauces/

Linda Bethea shares the lengths to which her two grandma’s would go to annoy each other…delighted that Linda will be sharing more about her family on a more regular basis.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/11/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-linda-bethea-it-was-a-wonder-to-see-my-two-grandmas-in-combat/

Getting to Know You Sunday Interview – Author Jaye Marie

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/14/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-sunday-interview-getting-to-know-author-jaye-marie

A lovely poem from Joy Lennick on the Third Season ( A Poem for Autumn)

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/10/smorgasbord-poetry-guest-poet-the-third-season-a-poem-for-autumn-by-joy-lennick/

Talent runs in the Lennick family, and Jason Lennick shares some entertaining recollections of life growing up.

Jason is halfbananas

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/12/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-life-with-the-lennicks-by-jason-lennick/

A short story with a very important message from author Andrew Joyce

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/12/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-andrew-joyce-short-story-one-word/

I am enjoying gathering my syllables and participating in Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 105.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/11/smorgasbord-poetry-colleen-chesebro-weekly-tuesday-poetry-challenge-number-105-haiku/

Smorgasbord Book Reviews

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/07/smorgasbord-book-reviews-the-glowing-pigs-snort-stories-of-atonement-tennessee-by-teagan-riordain-geneviene/

Smorgasbord Short Stories What’s in a Name? Volume II

Kenneth – A Love for Life

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/13/smorgasbord-short-stories-whats-in-a-name-kenneth-a-love-for-life-by-sally-cronin/

Lily – The Collector

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/14/smorgasbord-short-stories-whats-in-a-name-volume-ii-lily-the-collector-by-sally-cronin/

Houston and Chester 1986/1987 and Dirty Dancing… also requests from Robbie Cheadle and D.G. Kaye.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/09/the-music-column-houston-and-chester-1986-1987-dirty-dancing-hurricanes-requests-robbie-cheadle-and-d-g-kaye/

New book on the shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/08/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-pre-order-price-she-who-comes-forth-by-audrey-driscoll/

Cafe updates

 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/08/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-janice-spina-deanie-humphrys-dunne-and-john-quinn/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/12/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-judy-penz-sheluk-robbie-cheadle-and-elsie-hancy-eaton-billy-ray-chitwood-and-diana-j-febry/

Blogger Daily and Meet the #Reviewers

Jennie Fitzkee, Balroop Singh and Nicholas Rossis

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/08/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-monday-october-8th-2018-jennie-fitzkee-balroop-singh-and-nicholas-rossis/

D.G. Kaye, Carol Taylor, and Jane Bwye.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/09/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-meet-the-reviewers-d-g-kaye-carol-taylor-mac-and-cheese-and-jane-bwye-with-lucinda-e-clarketuesday-9th-october-2018/

Sue Vincent, Judith Barrow and Lizanne Lloyd.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/10/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-meet-the-reviewers-wednesday-10th-october-2018-sue-vincent-judith-barrow-and-lizanne-lloyd/

Jean Lee, Shehanne Moore, Beetley Pete and Nicholas Rossis.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/11/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-thursday-11th-october-2018-jean-lee-with-shehanne-moore-beetley-pete-and-hitchcock-nicholas-rossis-amazon-author-page/

Anne Copeland, Carol Taylor and Evie Gaughan

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/12/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-friday-12th-october-2018-anne-copeland-youthful-fashion-carol-taylor-chilli-evie-gaughan-with-review-types/

An immune boosting eating programme to help prevent and recover from the flu.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/09/smorgasbord-health-column-immune-boosting-diet-to-beat-the-flu/

One of the herbs that may help you ward off the flu and other infections is goldenseal.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/10/smorgasbord-health-column-influenza-the-herb-goldenseal/

Humour and afternoon video

Cat humour and a joke..Part One.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/09/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-funny-cats-and-a-joke/

Cat Humour and a joke Part Two.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/11/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-funny-cats-and-a-joke-part-two/

 

Smorgasbord Short Stories – What’s in a Name Volume II – Lily: The Collector by Sally Cronin


Welcome to the second of the stories this weekend from What’s in a Name Volume II and this story begins with ‘L’

Lily – The Collector

Lily dusted off her hands. They had been covered in soil from planting the three little primulas that she and her mother had picked up at the nursery today. Her mother always let Lily pick the colours and this year the purple petals with their golden centres danced in the soft evening breeze. She picked up her small watering can and gently moistened around the base of the plants like her mum had shown her.

‘There you go Daddy, I promise to look after them all summer, watering them every day and picking off the dead flowers to let others grow like mum showed me.’

It was Easter and tomorrow, Lily and her little brother Owen would race around the house looking for the small cream eggs that her mother had bought at the supermarket yesterday. Both of them were very excited and it was really the first year that her brother understood what the egg hunt was all about. Mum said that three each was more than enough, especially as they were going to the dentist soon for a check-up.

However, the real prize was the two large chocolate eggs that were hidden in very special places. In her father’s wardrobe perhaps, or his study where he would read them a story before they went up to bed, or even the garden shed that her mum laughingly called his man cave.

The next day Lily and Owen got up early and began searching the house. It took them an hour to find the six small creamy eggs and by the time they had rushed into the kitchen to show off their finds, two of them had already been eaten. Their mother looked at the smeared evidence of their successful hunt around their mouths and took the remainder off them for later.

‘You need to eat your breakfast and then you can find the other eggs, I am going to hide them now so no peeking.’

The children hurriedly ate their bowls of cereal and drank their juice eager to get on with the hunt. After about ten minutes their mother returned to the kitchen and clapped her hands.

‘Okay, let’s see how quickly you can find the big prizes.’

Lily took their dishes to the sink and the two children ran off hand in hand heading for their father’s study to continue the search.

They found one egg after about five minutes. It was beneath the big oak desk in a waste basket hidden by some crumpled paper. There was a card attached to the egg with ‘Owen’ written in big letters and he clasped the colourful box in his small hands as they raced from one room to the other. Finally they gave up on the house and headed out to the garden shed. There hidden under a cloth in a large plant pot sat a beautiful egg nestled in its packaging with a note perched beside it.

‘The flowers are beautiful Lily and your daddy’s favourite colours.’

From the kitchen window their mother saw her nine year old daughter lead her brother up the path to the house. Owen was clasping his egg to his chest and beaming from ear to ear. Lily looked up as they entered the kitchen and smiled gently at her mother as a look of understanding passed between them.

That night Lily placed the egg on her bedside cabinet next to the photograph of her daddy in his army uniform surrounded by other men in his team. He was smiling and looked happy. It was the last picture taken of him two years ago and Lily stared at it for a long time before switching off her light.

Tomorrow the Easter egg would join the other one on the shelf in her wardrobe and would never be eaten.

©Sally Cronin

I hope that you have enjoyed this story and as always look forward to your feedback. Thanks Sally

My latest book, released on September 24th, Tales from the Irish Garden,has received some early reviews… Yeah..

About Tales from the Irish Garden

The queen of Magia and her court have fled their sun filled Spanish homeland and the palace beneath the magnolia tree. Arriving on the backs of geese and swans, they seek sanctuary in the magic garden of The Storyteller who welcomes them to the Emerald Island, a place where rain is almost a daily feature.

Grateful for their safe haven and the generosity of their host, the queen and her courtiers embrace their new surroundings with delight. As the seasons change throughout the year, they come into contact with many of the human and animal inhabitants of the garden and the surrounding forest, all of whom have a story to tell.

This is a magical fairy story infused with fantasy and romance, as well as opportunities for mischief in the company of goblins, witches and Lerpersians. Suitable for ages 10 to 100 years old…..

 Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tales-Irish-Garden-Sally-Cronin-ebook/dp/B07HMXTFKG

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Tales-Irish-Garden-Sally-Cronin-ebook/dp/B07HMXTFKG

Here is a selection of my other books… an amazing gif designed by Paul Andruss… thanks Paul

You can find details of all my books in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2018/

Smorgasbord Short Stories – What’s In a Name? – Kenneth – A Love for Life by Sally Cronin


Welcome to the first of this weekend’s short stories… I am now moving on to What’s in a Name.. Volume Two. The first story begins with ‘K’.

Kenneth – A Love for Life

Kenneth Fitzgerald looked across the crowded ballroom at the woman that he had loved for a lifetime.

Georgina was surrounded by attentive male admirers, and was holding court as she always did, with elegance and grace. He watched as she tilted her head to one side to listen to the young man sitting next to her, cupping her hand delicately behind her ear, to better hear his comments over the sound of the band.

The handsome companion was her grandson Timothy, and even at first glance you could see the resemblance; the same blue eyes, golden hair colour and a long refined nose. Georgie was 90 years old and yet her beauty was undiminished. Kenneth knew he was biased. He remembered his stunned reaction to meeting her for the first time over 70 years ago, in this same ballroom on New Year’s Eve 1935.

Georgina Crowley was the daughter of a millionaire financier who had managed to survive the Wall Street crash in 1929, by converting his wealth in previous years, into a renowned art collection. Malcolm Crowley was an astute businessman and had never squandered his money on the trappings of wealth. He had also salted away cash and jewellery on his various international travels, providing a comfortable buffer for the family, and those that had worked for him loyally over the last thirty years.

He was as canny with his three children as he was with his wealth. His two sons had followed him into the firm after studying for business degrees, and Georgina had also been encouraged to go to college, where she was now training to be a teacher. Malcolm firmly believed that all his children should have skills that could support them, should the financial climate not improve significantly in his lifetime. That is not to say that his youngest child did not also enjoy the benefits of being part of a wealthy family. Georgina was known to have exquisite taste, and her slim figure was the perfect shape to model the latest fashions. To be fair, many of the designs were copied from the leading fashion magazines, and recreated on her treasured Singer sewing machine

Kenneth brought himself back to the present and felt his heart pounding in his chest. It was the same every year, when he remembered that first New Year’s Eve, when he had fallen madly in love at first sight with Georgina Crowley. It had not been a one-sided infatuation, and at that first touch of her delicate hand in his own, he had felt a tremor that caused him to look up into her face. Her pink lips had parted in surprise and her smile dazzled him.

They had danced all night circling the floor; perfectly matched in their love of the foxtrot and quickstep. The other partygoers had moved to one side to watch this golden couple as they seamlessly moved from one dance to another, and Malcolm Crowley paused in his discussions with a group of men, to watch his daughter’s delight in this young man’s embrace.

Kenneth had wanted to kiss those pink lips at midnight but was aware of the scrutiny from those around them. He had whispered in Georgina’s ear as they waltzed to the final tune of the old year.

‘Shall we slip away at midnight and find some moon and starlight?’

She had looked into his eyes and smiled, nodding her head in agreement.

As the clock struck midnight, Georgina rushed to her parents at their table and kissed and hugged them both. In the ensuing rush as the other guests did likewise, the two of them had slipped out of the large double doors at the end of the ballroom and Kenneth had guided her to his car parked along the drive. He grabbed a blanket from the back seat of the roadster and placed it around Georgina’s shoulders before helping her into the front seat. He raced around to the other side of the car and within minutes they were roaring down the hill from the house into the dark night.

Kenneth drove carefully as the road was slick with ice and he was aware that he was responsible for a very precious cargo. Although it was a cold night he knew just the place to take Georgina on this magical occasion. A spot high above the city, where the lights and sounds of New Year’s Eve would provide a backdrop for their first kiss.

He looked across at Georgina as she clasped the plaid blanket around her bare shoulders, and smiled at her obvious delight at this adventure. His eyes were only off the road for seconds, but it was still long enough for him to miss the broken down car around a curve in the road.

He regained consciousness and raised his hand to his forehead; it came away wet and sticky. He wiped blood from his eyes and tried to move his body. Finally he was able to push himself into a sitting position against the upturned roadster and he desperately looked for Georgina. The moon came out from behind a cloud and he took a sharp intake of breath as he saw her crumpled form by the rear bumper of the car. He crawled across and managed to pull her crushed and lifeless body into his arms… his heart was pounding in his chest and he tried to wake her by touching her face and calling her name. After several minutes he rested his head back against the car and he knew that she was gone.

‘Please, please do not take her … it is my fault and it should be me… take me… please take me and save her.’

On New Year’s Day, Georgie asked her youngest grandson to drive her to the cemetery. She came here often to visit her husband’s grave. Phillip had been a wonderful man and she had grown to love him during the long summer of 1942. They had twin sons born in 1944 but tragically Phillip had been killed in the last weeks of the war. He had been brought home and buried in the Crowley family plot close by her house and their sons. She still missed his loving kindness. However, she admitted to herself that it was a different kind of love to the one that has swept her off her feet that magical New Year’s Eve in 1935.

Whilst her grandson watched from the car, Georgina spent some minutes at Phillip’s monument. Then walking carefully, leaning on her stick, she moved down the icy path until she stopped before another gravestone. Tears gathered in her pale blue eyes as she read the inscription.

Kenneth Fitzgerald

Beloved son and brother.

1910 – 1935 Killed in an automobile accident.

It was 70 years ago, and yet every New Year’s Day, Georgie relived those dreadful first moments when she had woken in the hospital. She had a dreadful headache but thankfully didn’t seem to have any other major injuries. Her mother and father were sitting by her bedside and Malcolm gently took her hand in his. Her first words were asking for Kenneth, and she still remembered the look of anguish on her father’s face as he braced himself to tell her the news.

She touched the top of the headstone and smiled to herself. He had been there again last night at the family ball, watching from the shadows as he had done every year, and she had felt that same giddy feeling as that first New Year’s Eve. She suspected that this time however it was more likely that her medication was no longer effective in keeping her failing heart beating.

She felt a touch on her shoulder and looked up into the smiling face of her grandson.

‘Time to go Gran… It is getting cold and I need to get you back home.’

Georgie took his arm and they moved carefully up the path. She turned for one last look at Kenneth’s grave.

She whispered to herself. ‘Next year my love, next year we will dance again on New Year’s Eve.’

©Sally Cronin

I hope that you have enjoyed this story and as always look forward to your feedback. Thanks Sally

My latest book, released on September 24th, Tales from the Irish Garden,has received some early reviews… Yeah..

About Tales from the Irish Garden

The queen of Magia and her court have fled their sun filled Spanish homeland and the palace beneath the magnolia tree. Arriving on the backs of geese and swans, they seek sanctuary in the magic garden of The Storyteller who welcomes them to the Emerald Island, a place where rain is almost a daily feature.

Grateful for their safe haven and the generosity of their host, the queen and her courtiers embrace their new surroundings with delight. As the seasons change throughout the year, they come into contact with many of the human and animal inhabitants of the garden and the surrounding forest, all of whom have a story to tell.

This is a magical fairy story infused with fantasy and romance, as well as opportunities for mischief in the company of goblins, witches and Lerpersians. Suitable for ages 10 to 100 years old…..

 Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tales-Irish-Garden-Sally-Cronin-ebook/dp/B07HMXTFKG

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Tales-Irish-Garden-Sally-Cronin-ebook/dp/B07HMXTFKG

Here is a selection of my other books… an amazing gif designed by Paul Andruss… thanks Paul

You can find details of all my books in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2018/

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – Book Launch, Birch Maidens, Sausages and Spies by the Sea..


Welcome to the weekly round up and for me it has been an exciting week with the launch of my latest book. And also from a renovation perspective…the weather stayed dry enough for David to paint the outside wall of our garden facing the road. The lawn goes down this week and work will begin on the back patio… it has been two and a half years, so you can see why this is a watershed moment.

I know we are only just into October but I have been making plans for the Christmas promotions starting November 12th.. Primarily to make sure that every author in the Cafe and Bookstore is included, and to that end if you are not in the Cafe and Bookstore yet… here is a post to get you started.  Also if you are in the Cafe already, please let me know if you have a book out in the next few weeks so I can set up your New on the Shelves promotion.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/05/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-free-book-promotion-have-you-a-new-book-available-before-christmas/

As always I am very grateful for the amazing contributions of talented writers who spend time and a great deal of effort to put together posts for us.

Paul Andruss is on a sabbatical at the moment so I am sharing some of his earlier posts from 2017 for you to enjoy. The Birch Maiden is a wonderful legend, and in this post she is brought alive by the illustration by Donata Zawadzka who is the illustrator for my latest book.

picture1

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/05/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-rewind-writer-in-residence-the-birch-maiden-by-paul-andruss/

Last week Carol Taylor identified some of the unexpected ingredients to be found in some brands off hotdogs. So that you don’t go off the delights of sausages totally, this week she gives us the recipe and spices to make our own.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/03/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-food-and-cookery-column-with-carol-taylor-homemade-sausages-and-spice-mixes/

Delighted that Jessica Norrie is back with us after the summer break with a post on novels from 1903 to the present day, which feature spies and criminals in a coastal setting. Some classics from authors such as Agatha Christie, Erskine Childers, Graham Greene and in a modern vein…Ian McQuire.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/06/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-literary-column-with-jessica-norrie-coasting-with-spies-and-criminals-1903-2018/

Linda Bethea shares the last of her Mixed Nuts family stories… and the good news is that we will see Linda here on a more regular basis as a guest writer.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/01/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-mixed-nuts-part-3-by-linda-bethea/

Esme gave us her predictions for the coming month….

Hi everyone and I hope you are looking forward to the month ahead. One of the main events, is that Venus is retrograde from this week until mid-November. People assume this means that love is going to fly out of the window… but in fact, what it does, is highlight areas of your relationships that could use some TLC.

October for me is an interesting month, in that I find it a ‘buffer’ month, between late summer, early autumn and winter in the Northern Hemisphere and spring and early summer for the heat of high Summer in the Southern Hemisphere.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/01/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-esmes-predictions-for-october-2018/

This week – what I was up to in 1985, music from Foreigner... and a request from Darlene Foster. This week 1986 and more requests.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/02/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-the-charts-1985-and-darlene-fosters-request/

A highlight for me….

This week was very special for me and my latest book was launched with some beautiful illustrations from Donata Zawadzka. I am very grateful to everyone for liking, reblogging and sharing across their social media. It was amazing and I cannot tell you how delighted I am by the response. I was also thrilled to find my first review for the book and that was wonderful. My thanks to Paul Andruss for creating a gif with the new cover and a selection of my other books which I share with you here and it includes some of the illustrations.

And the book’s first review

Appreciative reader 4.0 out of 5 stars Escape from the real world 6 October 2018

Fairy Queen Filigree moves her court from the dry Spanish plains to the Emerald Isle, where she and her courtiers soon need warm tweed clothing and fortifying amber nectar. But romance is on the cards to warm things up too. If you want a gently paced read full of enchanting detail, soothe yourself in the author’s carefully imagined world of fairy feasts, storytellers and ever so slightly petulant princesses. Like going back to childhood… This isn’t my usual thing but made a welcome change from real life – and there are some beautiful illustrations too.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/03/booklaunch-tales-from-the-irish-garden-by-sally-cronin/

Other personal ‘stuff’

I responded to Colleen Chesebro’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge with a haiku.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/04/smorgasbord-poetry-haiku-colleen-chesebro-tuesday-poetry-challenge-rose-hips/

This weekend’s short stories from What’s in a Name – meet Jane and Jack.

Jane – The Surprise

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/06/smorgasbord-short-stories-whats-in-a-name-jane-the-surprise-by-sally-cronin/

Jack – A VIP Visitor

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/07/smorgasbord-short-stories-whats-in-a-name-jack-a-vip-visitor-by-sally-cronin/

I am catching up with my reviews on the books that I have read over the summer… slowly but surely

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/06/smorgasbord-book-reviews-psychological-thriller-lies-by-t-m-logan/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/07/smorgasbord-book-reviews-the-glowing-pigs-snort-stories-of-atonement-tennessee-by-teagan-riordain-geneviene/

Part two of my interview with author Leslie Tate… childhood memories of jungles and monkey poop…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/03/smorgasbord-magazine-reblog-part-two-of-my-interview-with-leslie-tate/

New books on the shelves this week.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/03/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-pre-order-offer-son-of-the-serpent-fantasy-angels-series-by-vashti-quiroz-vega/

Cafe Update – Reviews and News.

 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/01/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-colleen-chesebro-jacqui-murray-and-sacha-black/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/05/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-covers-and-reviews-shehanne-moore-janet-gogerty-and-c-s-boyack/

If you are a regular visitor you will know that I consider Vitamin D to be one of the most essential nutrients for our health. More and more research is identifying new health conditions that improve with an increase in Vitamin D through absorption of our skin (Sunshine Vitamin) or in diet in combination with supplementation.

This article appeared last week which would suggest that migraine sufferers could decrease the number of attacks by supplementing with the vitamin.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/02/smorgasbord-health-column-nutrient-in-the-news-vitamin-d-could-reduce-number-of-migraine-attacks/

Starting to appear in the headlines across the media is news that following last year’s high death rates from the flu, and the ineffectiveness of the 2017 vaccine, a new maxi-strain format is going to be available this year.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/04/smorgasbord-health-health-in-the-news-flu-season-vaccination-alert-new-mega-vaccine-available-in-uk-and-boost-your-immune-system/

Humour and afternoon Videos

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/02/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-a-few-funnies-and-a-joke-or-two-its-a-dogs-life/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/04/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-its-a-dogs-life-funnies-and-a-joke/

A selection of blog posts each day that I have read and enjoyed. Sorry not to mention all that I have visited but I hope I have shared most on social media.

Debby Gies, Leslie Tate, Carol Taylor and Teagan Geneviene

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/01/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-meet-the-reviewers-monday-october-1st-2018-d-g-kaye-reviews-leslie-tate-carol-taylor-exposes-hot-dogs-and-teagan-geneviene-illuminates-the-1920s/

The Story Reading Ape, Claire Fullerton, Christy Birmingham and Jennie Fitzkee

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/02/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-tuesday-october-2nd-2018-the-story-reading-ape-with-claire-fullerton-christy-birmingham-40shealth-and-jennie-fitzkee-reading-preschool/

Sue Vincent, D.G. Kaye and Annette Rochelle Aben

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/03/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-wednesday-october-3rd-2018-sue-vincent-d-g-kaye-and-annette-rochelle-aben/

Charles E. Yallowitz, John W.Howell, Teri Polen, Mae Clair and Beaton Mabaso.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/04/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-thursday-september-4th-2018-charles-e-yallowitz-with-john-w-howell-teri-polen-with-mae-clair-and-beaton-mabaso-on-websites/

Jenny in Neverland, Pamela Wight and Noelle Granger.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/10/05/smorgasbord-blogger-daily-meet-the-reviewers-friday-october-5th-2018-jenny-in-neverland-onlinefriends-pamela-wight-shortstory-and-n-a-granger-review/

Thank you again for dropping in and your ongoing support… it is much appreciated.. Sally.

Smorgasbord Health – Health in the News – Flu Season Vaccination Alert – New Mega vaccine available in UK and Boost your Immune System


Starting to appear in the headlines across the media is news that following last year’s high death rates from the flu, and the ineffectiveness of the 2017 vaccine, a new maxi-strain format is going to be available this year.

Here is the summary of one of the articles.. this one by Jo Macfarlane for The Mail on Sunday

  • Experts reveal why you MUST have the new flu ‘mega-jab’ – after 15,000 people died from the virus in 2017 during worst outbreak in seven years
  • Government admitted last year’s jab only protected 15% of people from the virus
  • Last year marked worst flu outbreak for seven years with 15,000 people dying
  • New super-charged vaccine will be made available this winter for people over 65 – who are most likely to die from virus.
  • In July, the Government admitted that last year’s flu vaccine had failed to work for the vast majority of people.

Just 15 per cent of the 15 million who had their jab were fully protected against the virus, according to Public Health England, making it far less effective than the previous year’s. The figures were particularly poor in the over-65 age group – among those most at risk from flu – with just ten per cent protected.

It contributed to what became the worst flu outbreak for seven years: there were 15,000 deaths related to the disease – nearly double the average.

Public Health England’s medical director, Professor Paul Cosford, admitted the vaccine ‘wasn’t as effective as we would have liked it to be’ against one of the main strains of flu circulating last winter – H3N2, also known as ‘Aussie’ flu because it had caused chaos in Australia before it arrived on our shores. But the problems also stemmed from what is effectively an annual scientific gamble.

Experts from the World Health Organisation must predict in February each year which strains are likely to be dominant the following winter, and which therefore should be included in the vaccine, based on the best available information at the time.

The vaccines are then manufactured six months or more in advance. However, a characteristic of flu viruses is their ability to mutate.

In six months, even slight mutations can cause the vaccine to become far less effective – and that’s what happened last year with the Aussie flu strain.

You can find the rest of the article here: Daily Mail – New Flu Vaccine

Apart from a flu vaccination what precautions can you take to help prevent contracting the virus.

I am sure that you would not believe me if I told you that you touch your face including your mouth and nose up to three thousand times a day!

If you don’t believe me.. where are your hands right now?

The flu virus is becomes attached to everything you touch, left as a gift from the person suffering from the illness who has proceeded you to the public bathroom, the bus or plane seat you are sitting in, in using the shopping trolley you pushed this morning at the supermarket or on the keyboard in the Internet Cafe where you are reading this post.

One of the major elements in contracting the flu is touch and so it is very important to wash your hands frequently. Personally I use tea tree soap and a hand sanitiser boosted with tea tree oil and silver.. It is also very useful to have a packet of sanitising hand wipes with you when you go out.. Do not be embarrassed to wipe down the handle of the shopping trolley before using and as soon as you get back in the car before handling the steering wheel.  Then wash when you get home before unpacking your bags and preparing any food.

I also use a tea tree and silver infused face cream during the winter months although I cannot claim that it works… only that I have not had flu for some years now.

One of the worst time for infection transmission is Christmas and it is a flu virus festival, with lots of hugging and kissing, sometimes with complete strangers.  Whilst not nearly as much fun, imposing a kissing ban from October to March may save you a nasty bout of the flu or at least a common cold.

It is never too late to boost your immune system to help it fight off opportunistic pathogens and here is a shopping list that gives you an idea of the foods to be eating regularly during flu season.

Components of the immune boosting eating plan

This plan contains all the elements to help relieve symptoms and boost your immune system. The purpose is to boost your immune system as well as naturally support your body as it fights the infection on your behalf.

Fluids

  • Two litres of fresh water. Combats dehydration and helps flush toxins from the body.
  • Fresh squeezed grapefruit and orange juice. Use ½ grapefruit to one large orange. Juice of a whole lemon in hot water with some Manuka or ordinary Honey. Vitamin C and Manuka honey 15+ has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.
  • Cranberry juice –  Antibacterial and for Vitamin C.
  • Herbal Teas – Drink as many of these as you like.
  • Green tea with juice of ½ lemon & teaspoon of honey. Antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidants, Vitamin C and energy. Soothing for throat and chest.
  • Fenugreek & thyme tea with a slice of lemon and spoon of honey. Expectorant – ridding the body of mucous, tonic and soothes sore throats.
  • Camomile tea with a slice of lemon and ginger. Soothing and anti-inflammatory. Ginger also promotes sweating part of the bodies defence system for getting rid of toxins.
  • Elderflower tea – Immune stimulating, anti-inflammatory and relieves catarrh. You can mix this tea with Green tea and serve hot or cold with lemon.
  • Soups – Have three times a day with a small piece of wholegrain toast or mixed with a tablespoon of cooked brown rice. Garlic and onion soup might leave your breath less than fragrant, but the combination of these ingredients provides many health benefits. Garlic, like the onion is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral. With the current concerns that we have about potential ‘Super bugs’ it is interesting that garlic appears to be an effective antibiotic, even against some of these resistant strains.
  • Chicken and vegetable soup – Chicken contains Cysteine an amino acid that has a similar action to a drug called acetylcysteine, which is used to treat patients with bronchitis and respiratory infections. This soup relieves nasal congestion, reduces inflammation caused by active white blood cells, and provides most of the essential immune system nutrients and fluid and warmth.
  • Beef tea soup – This is an adaptation of the tea that has been used for hundreds of years to help invalids recover from most infections, particularly if they were bedridden for days or even weeks. This provides lean protein which the body needs to recover, the B vitamins essential to combat the stress of infection and rehydrates the body.

Light Meals

  • As I have already mentioned, it is a good idea not to overload the body with heavy stodgy meals while it is trying to fight infection. Salads tend to be unappealing which is why soups are so good at this time.
  • If you feel like eating something more solid then omelettes and scrambled eggs are light and easy to digest. Add spinach and onions to the omelettes to give you a nutrient boost and serve with a slice of toast.
  • A bowl of porridge with honey and a mashed banana and rice milk makes a creamy and nutritious breakfast or snack. You can also make a rice or semolina pudding with rice milk and add dried fruit or honey.

Fruits

  • Apart from the fluids and juices that I have mentioned, eat whatever fruit appeals to you while you are feeling unwell. Any will give you a great boost to the immune system.
  • One in particular though is great at this time and that is pineapple. Apart from the usual healthy properties it contains Bromelain which reduces inflammation in general but also in the glands that tend to be swollen during an infection.
  • Pineapple also works to cleanse the body and blood and increase circulation, allowing toxins to be moved from effectively from infected sites and out of the body.

If you do come down with the flu.

  1.  Rest is critical: your body, although great at multi-tasking under normal operating circumstances, needs to focus all its energies on fighting the invaders. Sleep is a great healer and you should just go with the flow. If you go to work you are going to pass on your cold or flu to everyone anyway and you will also extend the length of the illness and possibly develop a more serious chest infection. Go to bed or lie on the sofa with a box of disposable tissues and plenty of fluids to hand.
  2. Fluids are also absolutely essential as your body will not only dehydrate but will be forming thick mucus in great quantities, blocking airways. You are likely to have a slight fever, which will raise your body temperature and you will also suffer chills that will make you feel cold. A combination of fresh fruit and vegetable juices and soups, along with 2 litres of fresh water will help flush the toxins from the body efficiently.
  3. The body, as I have just mentioned, needs to focus on getting rid of the infection and it has not got the resources to digest large and stodgy meals during the first few days. Little and often is the key and this is where the soups come in. I will give you the recipes for a chicken and vegetable soup, onion and garlic soup and a beef tea that are great, packed with infection fighting nutrients and can be served with brown rice, a little fresh-baked wholegrain bread or toast. Easily digestible foods such as milk free scrambled egg or spinach omelettes are ideal during this time.
  4. Dairy products increase the production of mucous and therefore congestion and I strongly suggest that you avoid them during the early stages of an infection. Also if bronchitis or other lung problem develops you should also give them a miss. Calcium however is very important in the battle against infection so you need to include other foods that contain this vital mineral.
  5. Bacteria and viruses love warm, moist, sugary and acidic conditions and so processed and sugar based foods and drinks are definitely off the menu. This includes all fizzy drinks, sugar on cereal and in tea and coffee, chocolate and heavily processed meats such as ham.
  6. The symptoms of a cold, flu and of bronchial infections are a detox process, with your body working extremely hard to get rid of the bacteria or virus. Taking suppressive over the counter remedies therefore drives the infection back into the body – and this is one of the reasons why something that begins as a simple cold or even the flu, that the body can deal with, can turn into a more entrenched condition such as bronchitis.
  7. Use tissues rather than a material hanky and throw away after using – it may sound wasteful but if you continually apply infected nose mucus to your hands you will not only re-infect yourself but also others who your hands come into contact with. Put used tissues in a plastic bag and knot securely and dispose of safely.
  8. Wash your hands regularly or use a natural anti-viral hand lotion – mine contains tea tree and silver.
  9. If you are in bed or using a pillow on a sofa do remember that you will be sneezing and contaminating the pillow case during your infectious period. Change every morning and wash at high temperature.
  10. If you have a partner then if possible as soon as you have symptoms go and sleep elsewhere and do not share toothbrushes etc for the duration. Love might be blind but it is certainly not bug resistant!!
  11. If you feel a sneeze coming on then do cover your mouth and nose with a tissue so that you do not dispense germs across the universe.

Supplementation.

If take Vitamin C and Zinc, topped up with 15 drops of the herbal essence Echinacea daily throughout the winter. I also use a high potency Vitamin D3 spray once a day along with Turmeric daily oral spray.

You may not see this pathogen coming that wishes to take up residence in your body, but you can prepare a welcoming party that might just make it change its mind..

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to leave in the comment or contact me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com

©Sally Cronin – Just Food for Health 1998 – 2018

You can find all the 2018 health related posts in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-health-column-news-nutrients-health-conditions-anti-aging/

My nutritional background

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse by health books and fiction you can find them here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2018/

#BookLaunch – Tales from the Irish Garden by Sally Cronin…..


At last the day has arrived and Tales from the Irish Garden is now available.

The book has been three years in the writing, mainly because what began as short stories in line with the first collection, turned into a full-length book. As we moved back from Spain to Ireland, house hunted, and then embarked on a renovation project, there were breaks from  the process. However, the upside was that I had the time to adapt and create new characters and adventures with more freedom. It also gave me time to meet Donata Zawadzka, courtesy of Paul Andruss, and after seeing her wonderful illustrations, I commissioned a number for the book to showcase some of the lead characters. More about Donata shortly.

Many of those that lived in the palace in Spain in the garden of our house, followed me across land and sea to settle in a magic garden here in Ireland. The larger statues and guardians, sadly had to remain but as you will discover as you read the book, they were not abandoned but relocated. As an introduction to Tales from the Irish Garden, I included a Previously.…. so that those who have not read the original stories could get up to speed.

Here then is the blurb… and an excerpt from the introduction….

The queen of Magia and her court have fled their sun filled Spanish homeland and the palace beneath the magnolia tree.

Arriving on the backs of geese and swans, they seek sanctuary in the magic garden of The Storyteller who welcomes them to the Emerald Island, a place where rain is almost a daily feature. Grateful for their safe haven and the generosity of their host, the queen and her courtiers embrace their new surroundings with delight.

As the seasons change throughout the year, they come into contact with many of the human and animal inhabitants of the garden and the surrounding forest, all of whom have a story to tell. This is a magical fairy story infused with fantasy and romance, as well as opportunities for mischief in the company of goblins, witches and Lerpersians. Suitable for ages 10 to 100 years old…..

Here is a short excerpt from the introduction to Tales from the Irish Garden and please meet Queen Filigree as created by Donata Zawadzka

Previously…..In the first volume of stories, we had left Queen Filigree, and her magic kingdom of Magia, recovering from an attack from the Winter Fairy who had threatened to disrupt the final summer ball of the year.

The Winter Fairy inhabited a garden deep in the heart of the Emerald Island. It had been his kingdom for a hundred years, and in a fit of pique, a number of winter’s ago, he had frozen everything within his realm, including the humans and animals… He was now bored, but on the grapevine, he heard of a place where the sun shone for three hundred days a year, and this fired up his imagination. Timing was perfect, as he was told that if he could freeze the ancient fairy kingdom on the night of the summer ball, when all were dancing above ground in the gardens, they would be frozen into statues and visible to humans for all eternity.

Although it was only October, he had left his kingdom and blown on westerly winds towards this sun filled country. The lands that he passed over experienced bitterly cold winds and frosts that made the people huddle in their homes around hastily lit fires. Weather experts predicted that this unusual early freeze was without a doubt, the sign that a new ice age was imminent.

The Winter Fairy however, had underestimated the power of a secret underground movement in his own kingdom… There was a mole in his organisation and a rabbit and a rat. The rabbit and his family, had cousins who enjoyed the patronage of Queen Filigree in the magic kingdom, in fact one of them played in the royal band. He was a bit too fond of the Amber Nectar, but a good sort all the same.

The story continues across the four seasons as the fairy court spends a last Christmas in Spain and then seek sanctuary in the Magic Garden on the Emerald Island.

 

The book is now available in Kindle on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tales-Irish-Garden-Sally-Cronin-ebook/dp/B07HMXTFKG

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Tales-Irish-Garden-Sally-Cronin-ebook/dp/B07HMXTFKG

Here is a selection of my other books… an amazing gif designed by Paul Andruss… thanks Paul

All my books in Ebook are available for Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

You can read more reviews and follow me on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin

About illustrator Donata Zawadzka

My name is Donata Ewa Zawadzka. I’m Polish born artist living in Gravesend, Kent. After completing a Diploma in Interior Design in Poland I moved into United Kingdom and here I obtained a Diploma in Illustrating Children’s Books in London Art College in 2010. Since then I finished 2 ebook for children in collaboration with British and American writers. I took part in 2 exhibitions in Dartford and London. I’m continuing to work as freelance artist available for commission.

Connect to Donata Zawadzka

View her website : http://www.artdonataezawadzka.com
Buy her work on Redbubble: http://www.redbubble.com/people/donattien/works/7004053-the-birch-maiden?c=32080-ink-illustrations
Like Dona on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/donataewa.zawadzka?fref=ts
Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DonataEZawadzka

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this book launch. I would be very grateful if you would consider reblogging the post or sharing in any other way that you can.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews for D.G. Kaye, Sally Cronin and Don Massenzio.


Welcome to the first of the author updates this week and some reviews for authors on the shelves of the bookstore. The first author is D.G. Kaye with a recent review for her memoir Words We Carry.

About Words We Carry

“I have been a great critic of myself for most of my life, and I was darned good at it, deflating my own ego without the help of anyone else.”

What do our shopping habits, high-heeled shoes, and big hair have to do with how we perceive ourselves? Do the slights we endured when we were young affect how we choose our relationships now?

D.G. takes us on a journey, unlocking the hurts of the past by identifying situations that hindered her own self-esteem. Her anecdotes and confessions demonstrate how the hurtful events in our lives linger and set the tone for how we value our own self-worth.
Words We Carry is a raw, personal accounting of how the author overcame the demons of low self-esteem with the determination to learn to love herself.

One of the recent reviews for the book

I purchased this book months ago, and for whatever reason, let it languish in the dusty corners of my Kindle. What a mistake! My eyes have been opened…

D. G. Kaye bares her soul by sharing some of the experiences she endured as a child and onward into her adult years, at the hands of a narcissistic mother. It’s all there, in excruciating detail, the shaming and the harmful words used to inflict pain resulting in the author’s low self-esteem.

She says:

“Many factors contribute to the complexities we experience throughout our lives, all of which aid in shaping our self-perception. We tend to carry baggage from our wounded egos—from the slights, injustices, and teasing of our pasts—which, when harbored internally, can fester into a damaged soul.”

Needless to say, I can relate to her experiences from my own upbringing. I immediately felt an empathetic connection to the author as a person, and that is where this author excels in her writing. By sharing her experiences, she appears to have found the formula for how to deal with her own issues head on!

Words We Carry is jam-packed full of sound “girlfriend” advice for those of us who are ready to change our perceptions. In fact, D. G. Kaye suggests that we learn to “become uplifted and inspired by positive people instead of clinging to negative people who will suck us dry of energy and, in the process, take us down with them.”

Real change is brought about when we learn to deal with ridicule and rejection. The author stresses an attitude of “self-love,” something we all need a healthy dose of at least once a day.

I didn’t feel like this was a “self-help” book, instead, I found this book to be more inspirational in nature. It gave me hope that I can learn to let go of the hurt from my own past. This is the third book I’ve read by D. G. Kaye. The author touches a chord in me every time. 

MY RATING: Character Believability: 5 Flow and Pace: 5 Reader Engagement: 5 Reader Enrichment: 5 Reader Enjoyment: 5 Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 STARS

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Words-We-Carry-Obsession-Self-Esteem-ebook/dp/B00OQJGE42

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Words-We-Carry-Obsession-Self-Esteem-ebook/dp/B00OQJGE42

Also by D.G. Kaye

Read the reviews and buy all of D.G. Kaye’s Books: http://www.amazon.com/author/dgkaye7

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

Read more reviews and follow Debby on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7390618.D_G_Kaye

Connect to D.G. Kaye through her website.https://www.dgkayewriter.com

Colleen Chesebro is also an author in the Cafe and Bookstore.

Colleen Chesebro, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Stone-Chronicles-Swamp-Fairy/dp/1541015967Goodreads: Colleen at Goodreads
Website: https://colleenchesebro.com

This week I received a wonderful review for Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story from Paulette Mahurin.. 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

I’m in love with Sam  on September 21, 2018

What a wonderful find. Being that I’m an animal lover and have spent a great many years involved in dog rescue, I was instantly drawn to the cover of this book. The beautiful photo is of Sam, who I instantly fell in love with as the pages unfolded in this marvelous story. From puppy-hood to a new home, new friends, Sam’s first language is cat. And it’s understandable when in the story we meet Henry, the toothless, feral cat, that Sam’s mistress Sally rescued. This friendship was funny, and sweet, and poignant–everything that makes up a beautiful friendship. It also served as a vehicle to introduce us to Sally’s heart–one filled with compassion. I could go on and on and on but then this review would be longer than his sweet, short read. But I can’t leave without mentioning how this book made me smile: from Sam’s retelling of his first wee-wee in the house to that never happening again; to his going outside and along with the piddle leaving a “fragrant parcel” (he uses Sally’s words); to the soot on his snout from diving into the fireplace, etc. This book is an absolute uplifting treat.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Sam-Shaggy-Story-Sally-Cronin-ebook/dp/B00GM0HPQE

and at Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sam-Shaggy-Story-Sally-Cronin-ebook/dp/B00GM0HPQE

A selection of other books by Sally Cronin

To read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2/

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Read more reviews and follow me on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin

Paulette Mahurin is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore

Paulette Mahurin, Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Paulette-Mahurin/e/B008MMDUGO/
Blogsite: https://thepersecutionofmildreddunlap.wordpress.com/

Profits from her books go to help rescue dogs from kill shelters.

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The next author with a recent review is Don Massenzio for his latest book Extra Innings.

About the book

Joe McLean hates his life. A lonely, divorced, middle-aged man, stuck in a cramped apartment, the only bright spot in Joe’s life is cheering on his hometown baseball team. Now, the local stadium, the place of many childhood and adult memories is being replaced. Joe desperately wants a piece of this iconic venue to preserve his memories and have some memorabilia from his happier past. That’s when unusual things begin to happen, and Joe begins to rethink the direction his life has taken. Can Joe take a different path in life? Can he use the special ability that he has acquired to change the course of his life? Will he realize the truth about old adage, you can never go home again? Follow the twists and turns in this supernatural story, Extra Innings, to find out.

A recent review for Extra Innings on Goodreads

Hugh Roberts‘s review Aug 02, 2018

When I first saw that this book had a ‘baseball’ theme, my heart dropped. Being British, I know little, if anything, about baseball. However, the ‘time-travel’ theme kept me interested, and I opened up my kindle copy and started reading it.

Although the story is centred around a ‘baseball’ theme and plays an essential part in the whole book, my worries of not finishing the book soon disappeared as I became hooked by what was going on in the plot, and what barriers Joe, the main character had to overcome. Being dyslexic, I find many plots too challenging to follow, but Massenzio wrote this book in a natural smooth way that never once had me querying what was going on. Yes, I had lots of questions while reading the book, but they were all answered in the story by the time I got to the ending.

Joe was a loveable character, as was his brother Mike, and I could visually see them in a movie version of this book. The chapters were a perfect length, and the whole thing flowed perfectly while reading.

I loved all the trips Joe took back to his past. It was great knowing the exact dates he was travelling back too, although the author does not always give the exact dates.

The book certainly got me thinking about what would happen if being able to travel back to the past to alter your timeline. I always thought it impossible to do (even in stories) and still question plots and say, ‘that’s not possible.’ However, reading this book has shown me something different and that it is possible to do in fiction. For me, that showcases how excellent the writing is in this book.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Extra-Innings-Can-Home-Again-ebook/dp/B07DHZ1SQC

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Extra-Innings-Can-Home-Again-ebook/dp/B07DHZ1SQC/

A selection of other books by Don Massenzio

Read all the reviews and find all the books: https://www.amazon.com/Don-Massenzio/e/B00JJVN0UI

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Don-Massenzio/e/B00JJVN0UI

Read more reviews and buy follow Don on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8157756.Don_Massenzio

51w8ilqqnkl-_ux250_Connect to Don via his website: https://donmassenzio.wordpress.com

Hugh W. Roberts is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore.

Hugh Roberts, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Hugh-W.-Roberts/e/B01N40ZABP
Bloghttp://hughsviewsandnews.com/

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Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will explore these authors and their books further. Also you might find your next book to read on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore, and details of how you can add your books.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-free-author-promotion/

Smorgasbord Short Stories – What’s in a Name – Hector – The Homecoming by Sally Cronin


This weekend I am sharing two more stories from What’s in a Name Volume One.. and it is the time of the letter ‘H’. This is the story of Hector and his homecoming.

Hector – The Homecoming

Hector Gonzalez looked out of the plane window, over the wing and across the bright blue sky. Just in sight, dark clouds gathered beneath them and the captain had activated the seat-belt sign with a warning of possible turbulence. With two hours left of the flight from Mexico City to Las Vegas, and the airline magazine read from cover to cover, there was more than enough time to contemplate what was waiting for him on arrival.

The last time Hector had been to Las Vegas was thirty years ago as a college kid. He lived in San Francisco with his parents who had emigrated from Mexico when he was a baby. His dad had worked on one of the fishing boats that headed out into the bay each day, captained by his Uncle Pedro who had lived in America for twenty years. His mom had worked in his Aunt Maria’s restaurant and he certainly had warm memories of the fajitas and quesadillas that made their way home at the weekends. It was a great childhood and his parents never let him forget how fortunate they were to be living in this city, so different from their lives in Mexico where his grandparents still lived.

In the early days it was tough to keep in touch with the family that remained in Chihuahua, but letters and parcels were exchanged and when his grandparents had a telephone installed it was like Christmas to his mom and dad.

Hector turned to look at the man sat next to him but could see that he was not interested in a conversation. He was staring at his laptop screen; writing what looked like a report of some kind. The seat-belt sign was switched off which triggered the resumption of the refreshment service. Within minutes the attendants had reached his row and asked Hector if he cared for anything. He smiled, refusing politely and turned his head away to stare out across the never-ending sky.

Almost thirty years ago to the day over this holiday weekend, Hector and his friend Cesar had decided to use the break from community college to drive over to Las Vegas, picking up Cesar’s cousin Jorge in San Jose on the way. His mom and dad were not happy with the choice of destination. Las Vegas was a town that might appear cosmopolitan at that time, but whilst there were many Hispanics in the service industries, there were not so many at the gaming tables. However, the two boys promised that they would stay in a decent motel off The Strip and would avoid getting into trouble.

They threw their bags into the back of the car and headed out on a glorious spring morning to pick up Jorge and complete the nine hour trip in time for dinner. They arrived in Las Vegas and drove around the outskirts until they saw a reasonably smart looking motel with both vacancies and cheap rates for family rooms. They booked for four nights and were very happy with the large, clean room with three beds and set about getting ready for a night on the town. Jorge was twenty-one and the other two were big strapping lads; buying beer was not a problem in the bars off the main drag. After a few drinks they made a quick stop at the burger joint down the road then, with their saved cash burning a hole in their pockets, the three boys headed into one of the smaller casinos to hit the slot machines.

Two hours later they decided to move on having won a hundred bucks between them. Enough to cover their motel bill and some left over for food. Delighted they wandered down the main drag enjoying the bustle and lights that brought the place to life after dark. There was some debate about hitting more slots but both Hector and Cesar were tired from the early start and long drive, and they voted to return to the motel, starting fresh again in the morning.

They had just turned around to retrace their steps when they saw a commotion up ahead of them at the entrance to one of the bigger hotels. A man was waving his arms around and pushing a number of security guards who were attempting to eject him onto the street; the boys moved closer to watch the action. Force of numbers eventually ended the tussle as the uniformed men propelled the offending customer out of the big glass doors and towards the spectators who had gathered. There was a certain amount of laughter as the man tripped and fell to his knees but this turned to gasps of shock as he stood and pulled a gun from his pocket. Hector and his two friends froze in place on the side-lines as shots rang out on the now silent street; two of the security guards fell to the ground.

The crowd scattered and as sirens could be heard approaching from the north of the casino, the shooter turned and ran towards the south and right into the crowd including the three boys. For a moment he was face to face with Cesar as the boy stood in his path unintentionally blocking his escape route. He brought the gun up and stuck it into the terrified boy’s chest and smiled slightly as he began to pull the trigger. Instinctively Hector charged from Cesar’s right; punching the man hard in the side of his chest. He stumbled and before he could recover, Hector grabbed his gun arm and they struggled for possession of the weapon.

Hector was oblivious to everything around him. The screams from the crowd, the sirens, even the sound of his own breathing until the noise of the gunshot shattered the silence in his head. He expected to feel pain, but there was none. He expected to fall but he was held in the embrace of the killer who was staring into his eyes. But, suddenly the man’s gaze wavered and he slipped slowly to the ground to lie lifeless at Hector’s feet.

A day later Hector waited in an interview room for his parents to arrive. A detective sat across from him and asked him if he understood everything that he had said. Hector nodded silently. The door slammed back into the wall and his mom rushed into the room, around the table grabbing him tightly in her arms. His father stood helplessly by the doorway, white-faced and unmoving.

Within a week Hector was living with his grandfather in Chihuahua and working in his Uncle Julio’s garage. The house was basic but it was safe and it would be unlikely that the mob would find him here amongst his extended family and their community. His name had not been released but it was always possible that someone would be bribed to provide the name of the killer of the eldest son of one of the most powerful mob bosses in Chicago. Even the police in Las Vegas had not wanted to know where he was going. They were satisfied that it was self-defence and a murderer had been taken off the streets. He was slipped across the border into Mexico having said his tearful goodbyes to his parents and two friends.

It was hard to believe that it was thirty years ago and how much his life had changed. But not as he had thought as he had entered his grandfather’s house for the first time. At that moment all he could think about was what he had given up; having no idea how much he would gain. The family of aunts and uncles welcomed him with open arms and outside of work he found himself caught up in a whirl of fiestas and family celebrations where he met his lovely Maria. They had been married for over twenty five years and had three fine sons who all worked with him in his flourishing garage business in Chihuahua.

His parents had come back to Mexico when his father retired and lived close by in one of the new gated communities. Although so many dreamt of a better life in America; they relished in coming home to the warmth of their extended family and grandchildren.

Today Hector was going to a reunion. He had kept in touch with Cesar and Jorge over the years and this weekend they were going to be staying at one of the brand new resort hotels and casinos. It would be tough for him to revisit this place where his life had changed so dramatically. It had been several years before he had stopped looking over his shoulder and even now he occasionally felt he was being followed. However the mob boss was long gone and the world was a very different place. When he had received the email from Cesar he had almost refused, but Maria had persuaded him to go, meet his old friends and put the past to rest once and for all.

The captain announced that the plane was coming into land and illuminated the seat-belt sign for their descent. After a smooth touchdown the plane taxied to its stand and the passengers filed out of the front door. After passing through passport control and collecting his suitcase, Hector made for the exit into the concourse and into the toilets to freshen up before finding a taxi to the hotel.

A man followed him through the doors into the almost empty restroom. Hector went to wash his hands and turned his head to the man at the next sink. He was surprised to find it was the passenger who had sat next to him on the plane; now wearing a baseball cap and long black coat. The man turned to him and smiled and the next moment Hector felt a sharp pain in his side; looking down he saw his companions hand clenched against his chest. As his vision began to fade he saw the hand withdraw holding a long narrow blade. He clung to the sink as he felt the warm breath in his ear.

‘That’s for my brother Hector.’

© Sally Cronin 2015

I hope that you have enjoyed this story and as always look forward to your feedback. Thanks Sally

You can find details of all my books in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2018/

Smorgasbord Short Stories – What’s in a Name? – George – Playing Away from Home by Sally Cronin


This weekend I am sharing two more stories from What’s in a Name Volume One.. and it is the time of the letter ‘G’. This is the story of George who has been courting, where he should not have been courting!

George – Playing Away from Home by Sally Cronin

George Horsefield slowly pushed open the door of the garden shed and poked his head through the narrow opening. He slowly scanned the immediate vicinity to make sure that the dog who lived in the house behind him was not lying in wait. It was a motley small mongrel with sharp teeth and there had been a couple of occasions when those teeth had connected with his legs in a very unpleasant manner.

All seemed safe and George eased himself out onto the garden path that led to the wooden gate, but not before a quick glance behind him for a last look at his beloved. He and Mildred had been having a torrid affair throughout the summer months with secret assignations in her shed or his own. However recent events made them both aware, that for the time being, their trysts would have to come to an end.

Both structures had been cleared out, cleaned and prepared for the coming cold months. Lawnmowers had been taken apart and oiled after the final grass cutting of the year, and had been stored in one of the corners. The floors had been swept and mousetraps laid to protect the bags of seed stored on the top shelves. Old grain sacks had been pinned across the window to prevent the intrusion of any winter sunshine and the doors would be locked to prevent gale force winds from blowing them open; curtailing their delightful activities.

Mildred was sleeping peacefully, partially covered by the old plaid blanket that had kept them warm and protected their modesty should anyone enter the shed unexpectedly. George smiled to himself contentedly and could not help adding a little swagger to his walk down the path. No bad for an old codger he thought to himself as he poked his head out and checked the pavement for anyone who might know him.

The coast was clear, but he knew that any minute now, the mothers would be arriving to pick up their children from the primary school on the corner, and the area would become very busy. Hugging the hedge he moved carefully, lifting one uncooperative leg after another; muttering under his breath at the stiffness in his slightly bent knees. His earlier smugness at his athletic prowess began to fade as he struggled to cover the distance between Mildred’s house and his home. He had two garden lengths to go when disaster struck.

Ahead of him he saw the aforementioned dog sniffing her way along the pavement, lost in the scents that assailed her delicate nostrils. George knew from his previous encounters, that the monster would recognise his smell within the next few minutes; coming after him without mercy. He looked to the right and noticed that his next door neighbour’s gate was slightly ajar; with a gentle nudge he slipped rather ungracefully through the gap. He didn’t want to risk the dog following him so he pushed the barrier shut with his backside. Hearing a welcome click, he manoeuvred carefully behind the shelter of the hedge, waiting breathlessly for the animal to pass.

Outside on the pavement the dog had definitely got wind of her foe. She knew that George was up to no good in the shed and it was her job to protect the house, garden and family; including Mildred. She sniffed the air and her eyes were drawn to the closed gate. Barking madly the frenzied demon pushed and snarled at the obstacle. All it did was draw the attention of her master who was walking along behind her carrying the afternoon paper. She felt her collar being grasped firmly and was then frog-marched along the pavement and into her own garden. All she could do was whine in disappointment as she stuck her nose through the bars of the closed iron gate.

Meanwhile George was weak-kneed with relief and had to take a few minutes to recover. The pavement was beginning to fill up with mums on their way to pick up their children and rather than risk being seen, he decided to take a short cut through a large gap in the hedge that he had discovered recently. As he began to ease through the foliage he realised that it was only just in time; it was clear his absence had been noticed. He might have been a bit of a Jack the lad with Mildred, but he felt he had just cause. The mother of his children, boys he loved dearly, was a fire-breathing dragon of the worst kind and through the evergreen barrier he could hear her shouting.

‘George, come out wherever you are,’ she paused for a moment obviously scanning his usual hiding places. ‘Come along you dirty old devil, I have got better things to do than chase you about the place.’

The subject of her ire stayed stock still; poised in the middle of the hedge waiting until he heard the slam of the kitchen door. It was now safe to make his laborious way across the uneven lawn. Carefully he tip-toed into the gloomy garden shed and feigning sleep, he settled down waiting to be discovered.

A few minutes later he heard childish laughter and running feet heading for the house. He knew that after a tea of beans on toast and rice-pudding with strawberry jam he would be joined here in the shed by the three lads. Sticky fingers would nudge him awake and he would be given delightful cuddles and regaled with the adventures of the day.

He was dozing happily, dreaming of Mildred and their next encounter when he felt himself lifted up into the air and gently deposited into a large plastic box.. Beneath him he could smell fresh garden compost and he wiggled his toes as he settled himself down. A lid was placed over the container and through the holes above him he could hear the one of the children whispering to him.

‘Goodnight George, sleep tight and see you in the spring.’

Then the dragon spoke. ‘Thank goodness for that, at least we will know where the old boy is for the next few months. I swear I never knew that a tortoise could be so much trouble.’

© Sally Cronin 2015

I hope that you have enjoyed this story and as always look forward to your feedback. Thanks Sally

You can find details of all my books in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2018/