Smorgasbord Short Stories – The Flying Officer by Sally Cronin


The first time Patrick Walsh saw her, was as he wended his way slowly down the hill between the slow moving trucks on his motorbike. The road was lined with women and old men who were handing out hastily cut sandwiches and mugs of tea to the men in the trucks, whose outstretched hands gratefully received these simple acts of kindness. It was clear from the their faces that they found the peaceful summer skies overhead, and clamour of women’s voices, a much needed reminder of home and safety.

He knew where they had come from, as for the last six days he had been flying over them as they had scrambled into small boats to be ferried out to the larger naval vessels waiting to take them to safety. He and his squadron were a part of the massive air defence operaton. Thousands of soldiers were pouring off the beaches having gathered over the last few days from the surrounding countryside; exposed and being attacked by superior German forces. On the last run today his spitfire had received a direct hit to the cockpit from a persistent Messerschmitt Me 109; luckily missing his head by inches apart from a cut over his eye, earning him a few hours respite. His plane would be ready to fly first thing in the morning. The ground crews at all fighter squadrons were working around the clock to get pilots back in the air until the evacuation from the French coast was complete.

As he carefully maneuvered between the trucks he responded to the shouts from the men above him with a small wave. He knew that their good natured jibes were aimed at his uniform and the wings that it displayed, and that their friendly ribbing was their way of showing gratitude. He decided that it would be easier to wait until the convoy had passed to continue into the village square. He dismounted, standing by the hedge to watch the villagers as they persisted in their need to comfort these dispirited men with tea and offerings of food.

She stood out from the crowd of women. Tall with long red hair tied back with an emerald green ribbon, she was dressed in overalls and wore heavy boots. She had a natural elegance as she darted between an older woman, holding a tea tray piled with jam sandwiches, and the trucks. Despite the men’s exhaustion, eager hands grasped the food, winking and flirting with the prettiest thing they had seen for a long while.

Patrick leaned back against the saddle of his bike and let himself enjoy this brief moment of humanity that was so rare today. He had been flying since the first weeks of the war and his squadron had suffered huge losses; particularly in the last few weeks as they had provided air cover for the retreating British forces. They had been warned that far worse was to come as the enemy amassed both fighters and bombers for an all-out offensive on the country. Having already lost many friends, Patrick knew that it was only a matter of time before he became a statistic.

Some of his fellow pilots and aircrew decided that they would live as hard as they fought. There were plenty of pretty girls around the station that were delighted to dance the night away and bring some laughter and sometimes love into the young men’s lives. He had seen the results of these whirlwind romances at the Saturday night dance in the village hall. As the airmen arrived in an ever changing group of young men, expectant faces would be watching the door and it was not unusual to see a girl being led away in tears by her friends.

Patrick loved to dance but gently refused the invitations to take to the floor and over the last few months he had become regarded as something of a misery. His friends gave up on their attempts to persuade him that he should live for the moment, and with a wry smile he listened to the chat up lines that were guaranteed to pull the heartstrings of a pretty girl.

But now as he watched the red head flying back and forth and smiling up at the men in the trucks, he felt an overwhelming urge to hold her in his arms and waltz around a dance floor. He shook his head and reminded himself that it would only lead to heartbreak for her, and he couldn’t bear the thought of those beautiful green eyes filling with tears.

An hour later the last truck in the convoy disappeared through the village square and out of sight. There would be more coming through from the coast, and Patrick watched as the crowd of villagers gathered up their cups and trays and disappeared back into their homes. They would prepare more from their meagre rations for the next wave of returning soldiers and be waiting for them by the roadside. He remained by the hedge until the red headed girl had linked arms with her mother and entered her house before riding down to the square.

‘Patrick, are you awake my friend?’ The voice of his Polish friend Jakub intruded into his daydream about dancing with his stunning red head.

‘Just about, do you want to go to the Black Swan for a beer? He sat up and rested his head in his hands and tried to bring his mind back to reality.

He looked around the Nissen hut that was their home, taking in the four empty cots that waited for the new arrivals. They would be mostly teenagers with only a few hours flying solo, and none of them in combat. He was only twenty-four, but he felt like an old man compared to the fresh faced and eager boys that would come through that door tomorrow.

It was now August and the skies were filled with formations of enemy bombers most nights. His plane was grounded again having the undercarriage repaired after a problem on his last landing. His mechanic said he had the ‘luck of the Irish’. Patrick was well aware that he was now one of only a handful of pilots remaining from the original group a year ago; he knew that his luck was bound to run out sooner or later. There was just one thing that he needed tonight, and that was the sight of Red, and she would be helping out her dad behind the bar at the Black Swan.

Two hours later he and Jakub sat quietly at a corner table with their glasses of beer. One beer was the limit as both of them would be back in the skies tomorrow; a cockpit was no place for lack of concentration. Jakub was married and expecting his first child and was happy to sit quietly in the warm and welcoming atmosphere thinking about his next leave in a week’s time. Patrick however spent his time watching Red as she served customers and laughed with the regulars. That laugh was in his head and was added to all the other pieces of her that he carried with him as he flew missions. The thought of those green eyes helped dispel the voice of the other constant companion that was by his side each time he buckled himself into the cockpit. Her presence in his heart and mind had helped him control his fear; bringing the realisation that he was in love for the first time in his life.

Over the weeks since that first day on the hill, there had been moments in the pub, when he would catch her eye and they would both smile then look away. By sitting at the bar when he popped in alone, he had gathered more information about her. She wasn’t called Red of course, but Georgina and Georgie to her friends. She didn’t seem to have a boyfriend amongst the regulars who frequented the pub, and one day he overheard that she had been engaged to a soldier who had been killed within weeks of the war starting.

He would watch as she gently refused all attempts by eager young warriors to take her on a date, realising that her heart had already been broken. This reinforced his resolve not to give in to the growing need to tell Georgie of his feelings; convinced it would only bring her further sorrow.

Through the rest of the summer months missions intensified, with both daylight and night bombing raids on the docks and major cities; almost bringing the country to its knees. In the October the tide began to turn, but not without the loss of thousands of fighter pilots and bomber air crews. It was then that Patrick’s luck ran out as he limped home with a badly damaged plane and shrapnel injuries in his chest and arm.

Patrick fought to stay conscious as the plane shuddered and bucked as he flew using his one good hand. Blood from a head wound almost blinded him, but as he saw the runway rushing up to meet him, he managed to bring the nose around and head for the grass to the side. The last thing that he thought about as the world went black was Georgie’s face and laugh.

A month later Patrick got one of the pilots to drop him off at the Black Swan and he walked into the early evening quiet of the bar. He had just received his new orders on his return from the hospital. From Monday he would be moving into an intelligence role where his experience in combat could be put to use. He was making a good recovery, but the extensive injuries to his arm meant the end of his flying career; now he would be ensuring that he kept others safe in the skies. In one way he felt that he was abandoning those that he regarded as family in their close knit squadron, but he also knew that it offered him the opportunity to fulfil a dream that was equally important.

Georgie was polishing glasses and looked up to greet the new customer with her usual smile but instead she took a deep breath. As he moved closer Patrick could see that there were tears in her glorious green eyes. Georgie stepped out from behind the bar and walked towards him, glancing at his arm in its sling and the scar that was etched into his forehead. She stood in front of him and neither spoke for a moment until he reached out his good arm to take her hand.

‘Is there any chance that you might let me take you to the dance tomorrow night?’

She smiled through her tears. ‘How are you going to be able to dance with only one free arm?’

He pulled her into him and looked down at the lips that he had imagined kissing so many times in the last few months.

‘Don’t worry Red… I’ll manage just fine.’


©sallycronin 2017

Thank you for dropping in and I hope you enjoyed the story. Thanks Sally


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Collaborative anthologies – The Posse – Guest Post – Lyn Horner

Today I am delighted to welcome author Lyn Horner to the blog with a guest post on the recently published collaborative anthology The Posse perfect for romance and western fans.

Sally, thank you for hosting me today on Smorgasbord. I’m grateful for this chance to introduce your lovely readers to THE POSSE, a collaborative anthology containing eight tales of the American Old West.

Early in the fall of 2016 I received an online call for short stories in the western genre to be part of an anthology. The request came from a micro publisher located in Alabama, USA. Eight stories were needed, each to feature a posse. Intrigued, I submitted a story idea, and to my delight, it was accepted.

I’ve self-published twelve books and had stories included in two other anthologies, but this is my first time with a traditional publisher, so I’m quite excited. Finding myself in the company of several acclaimed western authors makes the endeavor that much sweeter.

The project evolved into a western historical romance anthology. Meeting deadlines, editing and collaborating to promote the upcoming book launch on March 15th hasn’t always been easy. Especially while working on my contemporary series, Romancing the Guardians, at the same time. But I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

My short story, “The Schoolmarm’s Hero,” is set in 1880 Colorado. It stars Mattie Schoenbrun, a spinster schoolmarm, and Trace Balfour, the handsome marshal who sees past her spectacles and drab brown dress to the shy, lovely woman underneath. He has just come to realize how much he respects and desires her when she is kidnapped by a pair of drunken cowboys.

Here is an excerpt to whet your appetite.

Arriving at Sunday’s church picnic on Trace Balfour’s arm, Mattie imagined she floated over the ground. Could this be real? Did she dream strolling beside the most handsome man in town, the man she adored in secret ever since he arrived to serve as the town marshal a year ago? Her emotions reeled as if she lived one of the fairytales her grandmother once enthralled her with as a child.

To please Trace, she wore her hair down, held back by a blue ribbon that matched her blue calico dress, the prettiest one she owned. She’d also left her spectacles in her room at the boarding house where she lived. She needed them only for reading, but wore them every day since accepting her teaching position in Lentzburg four years ago. They made her look more studious, a desirable quality when facing a roomful of fractious students, or their parents. The eyeglasses also served as a barrier between her and the world, a blessing for a shy spinster.

“Where do you want me to spread the blanket?” her tall, raven-haired escort asked.

“Maybe under the trees along the creek?” Away from the people who stared at them, at her, to be more precise.

“Un-uh, we’re not gonna hide. I want to show off my pretty gal. How ’bout over there in that sunny patch?” He pointed to a spot surrounded by picnickers, then led her through the crowd, nodding and greeting townspeople, thereby forcing Mattie to do likewise. She didn’t want to appear unhappy beside him.

Once they settled on the blanket, she opened her picnic basket. She lifted out a tin pan of fried chicken before gathering a clay bowl of potato salad she’d prepared, along with smaller side dishes.

“Mattie, this is a feast,” Trace said, his eyes bright.

“I hope you like it.” Smiling, she loaded a plate, handing it to him.

He bit into a drumstick, closed his eyes, and chewed blissfully. “Delicious,” he declared after swallowing. “Woman, not only are you beautiful, but you can cook. You’d do a man proud as his wife.”

Dumbstruck, she choked on a mouthful of potato salad, dropping her fork on her plate with a clatter. Coughing, she dabbed at her watering eyes with the cuff of her sleeve.
Trace chuckled, patting her back. “Didn’t mean to make you choke, honey.”

I’m sorry,” she wheezed, unable to look at him. “Y-you took me aback. I’ve never thought of myself that way.”

“You mean as becoming a man’s wife?”

Nodding, she retrieved her fork, pushing food around on her plate.

“I don’t know why not.” He used two fingers to lift her chin, urging her to meet his caressing gaze. “You best start thinking about it, Matilda Schoenbrun, because–”

Gunshots rang across the churchyard.


The summary for all the stories in the anthology

“One Way or Another” By Frank Kelso
A bitter water dispute twists two Texas cattle ranches one way or another after the son of one rancher takes a shine to the other rancher’s daughter, new from the east.

“The Schoolmarm’s Hero” By Lyn Horner
The Sheriff leads a posse after two drunken cowboys who kidnapped the spinster schoolmarm. The chase forces him to realize how much he loves her.

“Bad Day at Round Rock” By cj petterson
The pursuit of stolen gold culminates in a “Bad Day at Round Rock”–a story of greed, death, and love torn from pages of West Texas history.

“The Reckoning” by Charlene Raddon
A half-breed boy seeks his place in the world—with the Shoshone who raised him, or his white aunt and uncle where he has been sent for an education.

“Headed for Texas” By Chimp Robertson
Rowdy Hawkins’s been shot, stabbed, and caught in Custer’s attack on Black Kettle, but it’s the first time he’s ever been in love—with Black Kettle’s granddaughter.

Bonus Story
“The Savage Posse” By JS Stroud
A death-bringer, neither whites nor Apaches wanted her until they needed one full of venom to lead their Savage Posse in rescuing stolen children.

Set a Thief” By Chuck Tyrell
The man who stole Kimberly’s prize pinto returns the mare. “Let the man have his say,” her Pa says. “Don’t expect to come courting,” she warns.

“Tibby’s Hideout” By Frank Kelso
After the Civil War, Bess Newcomb, a single mother, wants to remarry, but Tibby, her eight-year old son, isn’t sure he wants a new dad—he decides to hideout.

The anthology has already received some excellent review and here are two of them.

The Posse, An Anthology of Historical Western Romances, by seven authentic western writers, is a romping wild ride into the wide open ranges of America’s west – filled with thrills and romance. Each of the stories in this anthology capture the essence of life back in the wild, as yet, untamed west. The Posse embraces the history of this rugged land and the lifestyle lived, the spirit and courage of the people who tamed its vast ranges, as well as the beauty and color of the flora, the wildlife and the sheer expanse, and even brutality, of its mountain ranges, arroyos and endless desert patches, all of which whisk the reader off to another world.

Each of the eight short stories in this book is unique. In true western style, they pit good versus bad, but they also remind us that this was a challenging frontier and age, and that death was just a gunshot away. The qualities and merits of virtue, nobility, principle and a man’s word are weaved throughout these stories – reminding us that civility and the essence of who we are as people played an important formative role during these rugged times. Pick up the book, read a story a night, and be entertained by great western storytellers, people who know these lands, whose very lineage springs from the great western frontier and who lived to tell the tale. If you like classic westerns with an historical and romantic touch, The Posse is the book for you.

If you like real life western events, this is the book for you. These are rough and tumble old west stories full of the true nature of the people who populated the western frontier before it became a civilized country. People get killed! People get hurt! People fall in love! Men do things out of greed that are incomprehensible. This book is not for the faint of heart. I enjoyed most of it. Some parts are hard to read, others were great. These authors tell it like it is. I’m just a fan of HEA books. This book was given to me. The review stated is my own.

Read all the reviews and buy the anthology:

Amazon UK:

Amazon Canada:

Amazon Australia:

A selection of books by Lyn Horner

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

Connect to Lyn.

FB fan page:
Sweethearts of the West:
Pioneer Hearts:

If you have been involved in a collaborative anthology then please contact me and you are very welcome to do a guest post in a similar format to Lyn’s to showcase it. Let’s talk about it first

Thanks for dropping by and please feel free to share. Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Collaborative Anthologies – Be Their Voice: An Anthology for Rescue Volume Two

I am an animal lover and believe very strongly that whenever possible we should by example, actions and words contribute to their welfare. An amazing group of authors have done just that by contributing to this second volume of stories in aid of rescue organisations. In this case B.A.R.K Minnesota who you will find out more about later.

Be Their Voice: An Anthology for Rescue: Volume Two

An anthology containing stories, poems, and artwork from 30+ contributors about cats, dogs, horses, pigs, gerbils, cockatoos, birds, pets, and all things companion animals. Proceeds go to animal rescue. This particular volume will help an organization called B.A.R.K. MN (Minnesota)


We rescue, care for, and rehome dogs in need. The majority of our dogs come from overcrowded shelters where they are in danger of being euthanized. We are an all-breed rescue and will accept dogs of any breed into foster care as long as we have a willing and open home available!

After locating and rescuing a dog, they receive quality veterinary care such as vaccinations, de-worming, a spay/neuter, and parasite control, as well as treatment for any other medical issues that are found. Every animal is altered prior to final adoption.
Adoption fees do not cover the care and maintenance that goes into each animal, but they certainly help offset some of the cost. We rely on donations from the public to help us continue to rescue. These donations can be monetary, food, leashes, toys, Frontline, and much more. New or used, we accept it all and put it to good use!

B.A.R.K.’s Prison Dog Program

B.A.R.K. has partnered with the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Lino Lakes to develop a fantastic program! Some of the B.A.R.K. foster dogs are now living and being “fostered” at the prison with the inmates. Since 2013, our prison pups have been playing, training, and getting ready for adoption every day with their handlers. This program has made it possible for us to save even more dogs and they are getting the best care possible!

B.A.R.K. | Being Advocates for Rescued K-9s | MN
Email –

A selection of reviews for the anthology.

I really love the diversity of the stories and poems in this anthology. I am an animal lover to the core, and was touched by the love that shines through each story and poem. You’ll need a tissue or two whilst reading this Anthology – just to battle the tears of sorrow and tears of joy.

Honestly, I bought this book because Elise Noble, my favorite author, wrote a short story for this anthology AND this volume helps an animal rescue in MN, but I truly enjoyed all of the stories I have read so far! Elise’s short story was the first one I read (shocking, I know) and it did not disappoint. I love reading full length novels, but it is nice to have a collection of short stories, poems, etc to mix in, especially when I only have a short time to read. Excellent collection for rescue! Thank you for contributing and recommending this book, Elise Noble! 🙂

Help support B.A.R.K, meet the contributors and buy the anthology:

Also available – Be Their Voice – An Anthology for Rescue – Volume One

An anthology containing 42 stories and poems by 26 contributors spread over 300+ pages (85+K words) about cats, dogs, horses, pets, and all things companion animals. Proceeds go to animal rescue. This particular volume will help an organization called Reggie’s Friends Animal Rescue (Houston, TX.)

ABOUT Reggie’s Friends:
Reggie’s Friends was founded out of our love for helping dogs. Living in a city of 1.2 million homeless animals, rarely a day went by when we didn’t see a dog in need of help. Instead of just wanting to do something, we figured out how to do something! Reggie’s Friends is dedicated to the health and welfare of dogs in and around the greater Houston, TX area. We focus our attention on helping dogs who have been abandoned in boarding facilities, shelter dogs, and street dogs find loving, forever families. We also believe in helping people with their pets by hosting low-cost vaccination and microchipping events. We live and love by our motto #streetlife2sweetlife!

Read the reviews, meet the authors and buy the book to support Reggie’s Friends:

Editor and author of the anthologies – Rogena Mitchell-Jones

Connect to Rogena Mitchell-Jones

If you have been involved in an anthology that you would like to promote then please let me know..

Thanks for dropping by today and please help spread the word of these anthologies in aid of a great cause.

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

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

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


About SCREAM: A Collection of Dark Tales

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy the collection:

The previous collection RUN.


One of the reviews for RUN

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

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


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


About Reflections – Inspirational Quotes & Interpretations

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

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

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

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

 One of the early reviews for the book

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

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

Buy the book:

Also by John Fioravanti

passionstruggle treacherytriumph apersonaljourney

Read all the reviews and BUY the books:


Connect to John via his website:


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

51td5gvajel-_uy250_About Pure Trash

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

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

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

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

One of the reviews for Pure Trash

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

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

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

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

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

 Also by Bette A. Stevens

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Read all the reviews and buy the books:


Connect to Bette via her website:


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


About Go You.

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

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

There is already a review in.

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

Buy the book:

Also by Annette Rochelle Aben

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


Connect to Annette via her blog:

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

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

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Collaborative Anthologies – RUN – A Collection of Dark Tales

collaborative anthologies

The featured anthology today is packed with tales of the darker side to human nature. There are three anthologies in the series of Run, Scream, Die… Scream is due to be released on 14th February 2017.


About the anthology

Sometimes we can only read dark tales of horror and evil deeds in small doses.. that makes this anthology a great bedside companion… sleep better (or not) after reading the stories in RUN

Collaborating authors in the three books series

Caleb Pirtle III, Rachel Aukes, Kimberly McGrath, Jennifer Chase, Kristine Mason, Paul Dale Anderson, Kathy Love, Joe Broadmeadow, Elle J. Rossi and Sue Coletta.

Here is a brief look at some of the stories in the anthology which was published in October 2016.

Resurrection Morning by Caleb Pirtle III: Ambrose Lincoln is a man without a memory. The government has erased his mind with drugs and electric shots. He is a more effective operative, the powers say, if he has no fear. A man without fear can accomplish assignments that others would be afraid to try.

Sweeton’s Shangri-La by Rachel Aukes: When a young couple discover a mythical paradise, they learn that a fantasy can all too quickly become a nightmare.

The Sideshow by Kimberly McGath: Katie Cartwright is struggling with her memory and is haunted by flashbacks. Regressing to an evening at the circus, things are not as they first appear. Strange events, suspicious deaths, and eerie music set the stage for an unforgettable trip to the big top.

And here is an excerpt from BLACKOUT by Sue Coletta


You can run, but you cannot hide.

I snickered, leaning back in my chair, fingers laced behind my head as my gaze ran across the faces at Blu and Jake Carpaccio’s house. What a waste. If they’d minded their business and stayed the hell out of mine, none of this would happen. But after what they saw last night, I had no choice but to quiet them forever. Problem was, I wasn’t sure which one caught me in the act.
Eenie, meenie, minie, moe, who will be the first to go?

Hmm… Jake was fiddling with something, but his back blocked my view. It wasn’t unusual for him to tinker, and most times, he breathed life into items better suited for the junkyard. Because he might come in handy, maybe I should save him for last.

How about Blu? She’d made zero attempt to hide her disdain. On second thought, I had something better in mind for her. See you soon, my pretty. And your spoiled dog, too.

Eenie, meenie, minie, moe, shall Mark be the first to go? Big lug. Too bad he walked away from the accident. Next time, I’d have to ensure he wasn’t so lucky.

“Did you hear me?” Staring at me, Blu leaned over the table. “Are you all right? You seem…I don’t know…like you’re somewhere else.”

“Sorry.” I shook the fantasy from my mind. “I was just thinking about the power outage. I hope I have batteries for the flashlight. Has anyone called the electric company yet?”

Mark spoke up. “I did. Right after the sparks set the bush on fire.”

Typical. Mr. Perfect had everything under control.

“Blu’s got tons of candles if anyone needs some,” said Jake, before his wife’s head rotated like the girl from the Exorcist.

I was surprised she didn’t correct him. It wasn’t as though Blu’s Yankee Candle addiction was a secret to any of us who lived on Bear Cat Mountain. No doubt Jake would hear about this later, and I could hardly wait to listen in.

“Well—” I slapped my knees and rose— “I better get my house in order before we lose daylight.”

“Wait. I’ll walk out with you.”

Great. Just what I needed. An escort from Mark Maxwell.

Snickering up the walkway, I waved over my head. “Stay safe, you guys.”

That is, until I unleash my wrath. If they thought the thunderstorm was bad, wait till they score the starring role in my darkest fantasies.

A selection of reviews for RUN.

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

Read this!! on November 4, 2016

Wow! Wow! Wow! I read The Game by Elle J Rossi! She takes you on a trip! Not a vacation – not one like you’ve ever been on or would ever want to go on!! Father and daughter – and their very complicated relationship! And the Game they play. Woo. I have not had a chance to read the other tales yet, but if they are anything like The Game, lock your doors and leave all the lights on!!  I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*

on November 24, 2016

Recently I’ve fallen in love again with short stories, and have now read a fair amount of collections and anthologies, along with single shorts. This anthology, speaking from some experience now, is awesome! There is something for everyone and each tale has a decided twist. Good stuff! Well worth grabbing a copy for yourself!

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


The second anthology in the series, SCREAM is on pre-order for February 14th 2017.

Here is a preview of the stories in the book and for pre-order:

If you have participated in an anthology and would like to give it a boost then please take a look at the information that I would need to do it justice. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Collaborative Anthologies – A Quick Read – A-Z Stories from around the World.

collaborative anthologies

Welcome to the new series showcasing collaborative anthologies by a number of authors.

As a lover of short stories I feel that a collection of short stories is a wonderful way for writers to showcase their work, but is also an excellent and cost effective bargain for the reader.

If you have contributed to an anthology in the last six months or so and would like to give it a bit more publicity then do read the submission guidelines so that I can do it justice.

To get the ball rolling and to show you how the format for this series will look, here is a recommended anthology from Patricia Salamone, author of The Italian Thing.


Patricia was a contributing author to A Quick Read – An A to Z Stories from around the World, compiled by author C.A. Simonson.

The concept of the book was very clever… to write a story using 26 sentences all beginning alphabetically with the letters in sequence.

41mm4kpij2l-_uy250_About the Book

The challenge was given and authors responded. Can you write a story in only 26 sentences – each beginning with a letter of the alphabet in sequence?

Fifty-eight short stories, from warm and fuzzy feel-good stories to horror, romance to suspense, mystery to paranormal.”A Quick Read” is a book you can pick up anywhere, at any time, and have an enjoyable quick read whether waiting in line, riding on a commute, or taking a break. Talented writers from all over the world took the challenge of writing a complete story in twenty-six sentences – one for every letter of the alphabet.

Here is Patricia Salamone’s story in the anthology.. one of 58 for you to enjoy.

Getting Old.

Alone I sit by my window. I watch the world now with little participation.Befuddled in my thoughts at times, I smile to myself at some distant memory.Cradled in my heart is my life’s story.

Damn, why did I waste so much time being foolish? Envy took up a good part of it. Foolish choices made on the spur of a moment can turn out to cost you more than money.

Gratitude was short lived as I climbed the mountain to success. Humility was just a word on a sign posted on an old wooden board along the way. I paid little attention to it. Independence was my goal; I would never ask for help. How foolish….

Junctions in my life were ignored as my ego grew. Knowledge was what I craved; I knew it all, or so I thought. Love came and I let it go; it required too much of me and would take me off my path. Money was my goal, lots of money would give me freedom from the poverty that dwelled in my heart and soul. Narcissism played the music I danced to.

Often I would close myself up to kindness and humility as I had people to use and places to conquer. Passing through the doorways of life I never stopped to smell the flowers or feel the sunshine on my shoulders.

Quietly and swiftly time marched on, and so did I. Roads lay before me: the choice was mine to pick and boldly I traveled the road to success, or so I thought.

Success came and plenty of money lined my pockets; I could have the freedom I craved, I was happy, or was I?

Time passes faster as we age; it stops for no one – I realized that one day when I looked in the mirror. Up, on top of the mountain finally, but as I looked around I was all alone. Virtual silence filled my world, no one to share my success with, no one to love, no children, only material success.

What have I done and why didn’t I stop to read the signs along the way about love, laughter, help, humility, caring, sharing, and the many more were ignored. Exit is now the only sign I can see – a big sign I cannot ignore and I wonder what’s on the other side of it; I am frightened and alone.

Yesterdays are gone, and although I thought I made all the right turns, there are no more choices.

Zero is what I had coming into this world, zero is what I will leave with….

Buy The Italian Thing by Patricia Salamone:

The reviews for the anthology.

Great collection of short-short stories  By William M. on July 9, 2015

Great collection of short-short stories. Neetu Malik’s stories are particularly powerful. I can’t wait to read more of her work!

Great, unique premise!  By Allison Brooks on May 28, 2015

Hey there, C.A. Simonson — I liked this premise so much that I bought the book, even though the Look Inside portion, sadly, cuts off below the extensive front matter and doesn’t let a new reader taste these great stories. Maybe you could consider moving a story up higher into the preview?But now I have tasted (smile), and these are wonderful. Again, this is a very unique approach to a book, and I really enjoyed these. This must have been a tremendous amount of work to lovingly compile all of these. Bravo!

Buy the anthology:

About C.A. (Candy) Simonson


C.A. (Candy) Simonson has always had a love for words. She started writing stories as a child and even won a contest for writing in the third grade. Her first published piece was at age 17. She is an award-winning author, editor, and writer of fiction and nonfiction short stories, articles, and books. She has over 200 publications nationally in anthologies, newspapers, magazines, and other tabloids. She has been the editor of a monthly newsletter for five companies, is a frequent contributor to newspapers, and had a monthly column in a national magazine.She has been published in several anthologies. She lives in the Ozarks of Missouri, and besides writing, she enjoys crafting, painting, and fishing.

Books by C.A. Simonson

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Find out more about Candy and her books:

I managed to get the names of some of the contributing authors from around the world from the Ebook sample..If you also contributed to this anthology please leave a comment.

Tim Mooney, Texas, Randall Lemon, Indiana, Sue Fenton, UK, Sharla Matlock, Missouri, Ken Windsor, Australia, Neetu Malik, Pennsylvania, Mike Olley, UK.

I already have a couple more anthologies to post but I would really love to give these unsung heroes of our book world some serious attention.. They deserve it.

Please spread the word.. thanks Sally