Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – New promotions, Leontyne Price, Myths and awesome talent.


Welcome to this week’s round up of posts that you might have missed. In particular I would like to draw your attention to these two new promotional series.

Although my Cafe and Bookstore is as yet, virtual.. it is still a platform for promotion. Apart from the twice weekly updates for new releases and outstanding reviews…You can now do a virtual book reading. To mix things up a little; I will not only send you a choice of questions to answer including some personalised ones about your work, but we will open the comments section up to questions from the audience.. i.e. those who pop in to read the post.  This does mean that the author in question will have to pop in on the day and perhaps the next once of twice to respond to the questions.  I hope that this little twist will bring a new element to boost the post’s promotional reach.  Here is the post with all the details.

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore

The second new series is for those who might not have published a book and are therefore not on the shelves of the bookstore. Bloggers, book reviewers, short story writers, artists, musicians, photographers and any other creative talent. The same format as the author book reading.. with personalised questions and the interaction with the audience. This is an opportunity to showcase your work and to meet new followers and possibly customers through the Q & A in the commments.  Here are more details.

creative artists

Look forward to hearing from you once you have read the posts.. I already have twelve authors lined up for the Book Reading posts and two for the Creative Artists…don’t delay.

As I am an author on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore I get to promote my latest book in the update tomorrow….I hope you will pop in and also take a look at the other two authors who will be sharing the post with me.

William and his music

In the meantime I would like to thank my two amazing contributors to the blog. William Price King and Paul Andruss who are amazing.  We are just coming to the end of the Classical Series in the next few weeks and this is going to be followed by a look at some of the iconic contemporary music artists. William is going to be starting this new series with an idol of mine and I am sure of many of you too.. The Boss.. Bruce Springsteen.

Finn Mac Cool

Paul Andruss has certainly made an impression on followers to the blog with his posts across different worlds… From Ancient Greece and the myths and legends of Ancient Ireland to the worlds behind the modern artists who have left their mark in history such as David Bowie and Mark Bolan.. You will find a wonderful and eclectic look at these worlds on Paul’s website.

Also thanks to all of you who have dropped in this week…liked, commented and shared. It is so appreciated.

On with the show.

Classical Music with William Price King


Part one of the American soprano Leontyne Price who not only enjoyed a stunning professional career but paved the way for other African American opera singers to perform in their rightful place on the world stage.

Guest Writer Paul Andruss


A stunning piece on the myth of The Birch Maiden with the most beautiful illustrations by Donata Zawadzka.. I hope you will visit both their websites to enjoy more.

Book Promotions

new-on-the-shelves-updateFour new authors will be on the shelves from today and I hope you will enjoy their introduction to the Cafe.. If you are not currently on the shelves with your books then please take a look at the details.

Click Cover for Amazon




author-update-jpgCafe and Bookstore Update

This week’s look at new releases and recent reviews from the authors on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.



Personal Stuff

A tongue in cheek look at our financial value.. and how we might perhaps encourage the universe to catch up to our expectations!


Weekly Image and Haiku


Special mention for Terri Webster Schrandt who has opened up her photography files for our use.. this was my reblog and the image for this week’s Haiku was courtesy of her generosity.

Blogger Daily – 25 more bloggers showcased in the week day look at some of the outstanding posts of the day.


A final look at how we change as we grow and age and some of the voluntary and involunatry emotions we experience.


When was the last time you had a really good laugh?

The second in the series of cancers that are most common… Prostate which is followed by lung and then bowel cancers.

smorgasbord health



Thank you again for making this a regular stop on your blog tours.. Look forward to seeing you again..Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Health – The Dynamics of Health – Emotional Being.


Part three of this short series on the dynamics of change and you can find the previous two posts in this directory

Today I am looking at some of the factors involved in our changing emotional responses through our lifetime that are hardwired and those that change with the influence of time and our experiences.

Involuntary Emotions

First a look at a couple of the hard-wired emotional responses that are activated by the chemical and hormonal balances in our brains and other organs.

Oxytocin is a neuromodulator in the brain that is stored in our master controller the Hypothalamus and then released by the posterior pituitary gland. In essence it is one of the most powerful triggers of emotions in humans and a primary trigger for some of our instinctive behaviour.

Whilst we may aim to be doctors, authors, space explorers or musicians, our bodies from before birth are programmed to do two things as well as possible. Survive as long into our possible lifespan as we can and to reproduce.

To this end at various times in our life cycle the brain will either increase or decrease levels of hormones that regulate both the development of certain cells and organs and also our fertility.

Oxytocin plays a large part in this process and in particular at that moment before birth as a baby prepares to enter the harsh environment that is life. The release of Oxytocin makes for a smoother birth for both mother and baby and it also facilitates that magical and so vital first moments of bonding. This includes encouraging milk production and a baby’s ability to suckle aided by the instinctive need by a new-born to obtain essential immune boosting and detoxing elements of his mother’s milk, Colostrum.

A baby’s entire system has to be kick started gently to avoid undue stress and another very important role of colostrum is to cleanse the new-born’s body of any toxic build-up within the first few hours and days. None of this would be possible if the oxytocin had not been released during the last stages of pregnancy, during delivery and bonding.

So that is the first time that our body will regulate our emotions with the release of a chemical enhancer. Oxytocin however has been shown to have an effect on our emotions as we grow and develop, as it is at certain times released into the parts of the brain that are responsible for our emotional, reasoning and social behaviour.

There is some research that indicates that in fact the release of oxytocin could also be responsible for anti-social behaviour in the form of instinctive rejection of outsiders and aggressive behaviour. This may however also be linked to a break in the natural chain of events at childbirth where perhaps a baby is removed before it has a chance to bond with its mother and then is brought up without the accepted form of nurturing.

A baby will act on instinctive behaviour that can seem to be a voluntary emotional response but is actually nature’s way of keeping it safe. For example we know how powerful and piercing a baby’s cry can be, and in fact it is at a pitch that makes every woman of child bearing years in the immediate vicinity leap into action! There are many parenting advice columns that are happy to tell you to pick up the baby, ignore it, roll over and let your partner deal with, feed or change its nappy. It can be tough for a new parent to understand the variations of yelling and screaming that a new-born baby can utter but each has its own distinct meaning.

imagesThe one clear message is that the baby wants your attention and it wants it now….

Before being able to use language a baby will use verbal and non-verbal communication to make its feelings known. The terrible twos are an example where frustration and emotional intensity can become more voluntary as a baby begins to understand the power of manipulation to achieve an end result.. This is also a great time to bring in gentle but also persuasive strategies to encourage a more social element to a young child such as socialising with other children of a similar age where another form of bonding takes place and a better understanding of how to deal with your peers.

Children begin to identify objects with words and slowly language builds. Emotional responses die down accordingly and as a child goes to school, learns more and works within a group and has other adults to emulate, more voluntary emotional behaviour develops.

Social etiquette is one thing, but for many children this can also be a time when their natural personality can be repressed. Discipline is needed within a social environment so that we can exist side by side peacefully. Thankfully we have moved past the very strict discipline environment of schools 40 to 50 years ago but there are some who feel we have moved too far the other way.

Then we hit the teenage years when the sex hormones such as progesterone, oestrogen and testosterone begin to be released, maturing our reproductive organs and throwing both brain and body out of whack until our early 20s. To parents who have been through this phase with their offspring I probably do not have to say too much more.

quotesAfter about 24 years old things settle down again except for women who have babies and are affected by the oxytocin during and after pregnancy. There might also be postpartum depression caused by the reduction in oestrogen and progesterone, physical and emotional changes following the birth, and in some cases the stresses resulting from being a parent of a new baby. Women until their 50s are also subject to monthly hormonal changes that can have a very powerful effect on emotions at certain times of the month.

Then comes a gap until we hit our mid-40s when there is again a change in our hormonal make up. Changes begin to take place in our bodies and it can lead to a period of time when emotions fluctuate. The good news is that after about 55 for both men and women the instinctive drive to reproduce subsides as the hormonal balance reaches its new level which will last the rest of our lives.

This is not to say that you cannot fall in love, enjoy a physical relationship or feel all the normal range of emotions. It does mean that there is room for more voluntary participation in the process.

Although our hormone levels decrease in middle age they are still produced in other tissues of the body such as the adrenal glands. This means that new lovers will still be affected by oxytocin, and in fact it is still as important in bonding between two adults, as it is between a mother and child.


Fear is an instinctive emotion that triggers the body to produce a chemical response. Adrenaline is a hormone that is released by the adrenal gland as a response to the recognition by your mind or your body that something is dangerous, stressful or exciting. It is the body’s natural way of giving you the strength to deal with an extraordinary event. Honed over many thousands of years it is usually referred to as the ‘fight or flight response’

Adrenaline acts fast, it dilates our airways and blood vessels to make sure that oxygen is available to either face the danger head on or run like hell.. In the early stages of our evolution this reaction was probably activated regularly as we tried to survive a hostile environment. However, our modern lifestyle may not have rampaging herds of mammoths or cave lions but we do have the equivalents.

Stress is not always bad as it makes life interesting but it becomes dangerous when it is so frequent your adrenal glands are pumping out adrenaline constantly. This leads to serious health and mental issues.

This requires the intervention of voluntary emotional responses that calm the body’s instinctive reactions. It might involve taking more exercise, changing diet, lifestyle choices and sometimes jobs and relationships. This takes us onto our voluntary emotional responses.

Voluntary Emotions.

As I mentioned earlier it is clear that we all learn from experience with regard to both the emotion that we offer others and also what we will accept.

There is also a driving force that confuses the issue.  Our expectations based on what we have been told by others, have experienced or have read that tells you what you should be feeling. Romance novelists and fairy stories do create the illusion that everyone will meet the perfect person and go on to live happily ever after!  Not always the case sadly, but if you have grown up expecting this outcome, it can be easy to feel excluded from others.

We build walls, boundaries, create rules, push away, avoid and develop other strategies that we feel will protect us from past events and hurt. We learn behaviours that we reinforce time after time verbally. For example: ‘Nobody would find me attractive anyway’- ‘I am happy as I am alone’ – ‘I prefer to keep myself to myself’ Etc. I have also seen physical barriers created to prevent emotional involvement. Obesity can be a great way to distance yourself from relationships as can wearing drab clothes and a plain appearance.

It is a complicated business and I have experienced this type of emotional behaviour myself. The one thing that has become clearer as I have got older is that no one person reacts the same way to events or trauma and that at best you can only generalise. Pain in the form of loss of some kind is very hard to overcome and many times we feel that we cannot open ourselves up to that again.

Instinctively we want to belong to a family or group and that is hard wired. It is therefore our own voluntary actions which prevent that from happening.

So how can we make changes to our voluntary emotional responses?

If you find yourself saying that you are lonely, nobody calls you, you find it hard to make new friends, you are bored, then perhaps it is time to think about how you might be putting up barriers to prevent interactions with others. And even though online relationships may lack that face to face element, they are no less valid and certainly I have known people who have gone on to meet people they have met online and to enjoy great relationships both platonic and romantic.

Listening to our instinctive intuition and taking into account common sense regarding our own safety means that we can change our voluntary emotional responses and perhaps get a great deal more out of life.

Having worked with many men and women over the years and listening to them talk about their lives it is clear that apart from the odd and rare narcissist who only loves themselves, most people’s emotional responses are based on their experiences.

It does not take a human long to learn responses that avoid emotional pain as it is as devastating as the physical kind. In fact where most physical pain subsides either with pain killers or time, emotional pain can last a lifetime. Especially when reinforced repeatedly when it  becomes hard wired into our personality. As I mentioned earlier part of this repetitive cycle of pain is in partly down to our expectations. After several failed relationships, instead of believing in happy endings, we assume that every relationship we are going to have is going to end badly.

The only way to interrupt this cycle of poor outcomes is to change not just expectations but the decisions we make.

Our happiness is not anyone elses responsibility. It is ours and if our decisions lead to our unhappiness we need to examine those decisions. Hard though it may be… without emotion.

This applies to our emotional investment in our work, family relationships, romantic relationships and the people we hang out with and who influence us.

Life is too short to be doing a job we hate, or to be around people who make us unhappy. And whilst I am not suggesting drastic action and an immediate walk out… I do suggest that you begin to look at solutions rather than the problems.

Do you need to sit down and have an honest talk with your boss, family members, lover or friend to work out how to make this relationship work for you both. Is it also time to look at what you are putting into the equation… none of us is perfect.  If all else fails, what are your viable alternatives.. retrain, look for another job, give your family and friends a bit more space or end a relationship?

This requires honesty and it is not easy. There is also the likelihood of pain, not just for yourself but others. But, if you move forward to a much more positive emotional place for yourself, you will find that it will impact your physical and mental well-being and importantly your relationship with others.

If you need help with your mental or emotional health then I recommend that you find a qualified counsellor to help your through the process of regaining your joy of life. It is amazing how just talking to someone you trust can clarify issues, enabling you to make better decisions.

You will find the previous two posts in this directory.

I hope that you have found this of interest.. would love to have your feedback.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Opera, bloggers, authors, health, Haiku and a few laffs


Welcome to the round up from a blustery and wet Ireland, apart from Saturday morning when we were beguiled into a sense of complacency… still as my husband says there is no such thing as bad weather, just inadequate clothing!

Delighted that the new series are settling in and being enjoyed. I complain enough about the Happiness Engineers ‘fixin’ what ain’t broke’ but I hope that streamlining the promotional series has made it easier for everyone to get some limelight. With the current programme of events.. it means I can promote at least 30 bloggers a week in the Blogger Daily and at least 10 or more authors.

Here are the details… and one is for those of you who are in the Cafe and Bookstore already and another for those who are new to the blog.. For bloggers and writers across the board there is the Blogger Daily. And for those of you have contributed to an anthology there is a way to give the book a boost.

Check it out.. The only cost is a little of your time.

My thanks as always to everyone who has contibuted including William Price King.. we finished the series on Dame Kiri Te Kanawa this week and move to the last in this season of classical artists with American soprano Leontyne Price.  Following that series William will be looking at the lives and work of some of the most popular of contemporary artists such as Shirley Bassey.

I have been working on my own writing projects and should be able to do a cover reveal in the week.. and work begins on the next volume of Tales from the Garden…let’s hope they dont’ proof to be too waterlogged.

Thank you for all your support and for dropping in.. You are always very welcome to contribute a post as a guest..just get in touch with me at

Have a great week.  Hugs Sally

Classical music with William Price King

The last part of the Dame Kiri Te Kanawa series.. Thankfully we will be able to hear this fabulous soprano in the future as long as she continues to delight her audiences with concert performances.


Book Promotions – Cafe and Bookstore Author Update

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Book Promotions Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves



Book Promotions – Collaborative Anthologies.


Blog promotions

If you would like to join these bloggers who featured this week in the Blogger Daily then all you have to do is leave a link to your lates post in the comment section.


Smorgasbord Health 2017The last post in the Weight Reduction Programme with some meal options to help you stay on track

dsc_1737The dynamics of change.. the voluntary and involuntary changes to our body, mind and emotions as we develop from birth to old age.

smorgasbord A - Z

The first part of four on the subject of the most common cancers – Breast Cancer

Personal stuff


Kathleen must face the future and move on with her life.. but at what cost?

Weekly Image and Haiku





Thanks for dropping by.. don’t forget to leave the link to your latest blog post so that I can share.  Sally

Smorgasbord Health – The Dynamics of Change – Part One – Our Physical Being.


When we are younger and the world is our oyster we tend to feel that anything is possible. We have dreams and ambitions and with support and some luck we are often able to achieve at least some of them. However life has a way of intruding into our well laid plans and you find that some of those dreams have fallen by the wayside as we fulfill our role in our families and society.

When there is a problem with our computers which are also, like us, complicated, programmed and prone to the occasional virus… we do a reboot. This resets all the original content and is effectively a fresh start. With an older model computer we might think of increasing the memory or power and adding additional programmes that bring it up to date.

As a blogger on Word Press I will admit that sometimes I get a little irritated by some of the changes that are made to the platform.. Well make that very irritated.. But of course those people who have moved to mobile devices find the upgrades very much more useful. My desktop computer is where I am most comfortable, and I have to remember that it is down to me to make the change in attitude to accept that this is the future and get to grips with it.

I have rebooted my life a number of times.. Sometimes forced into it by circumstances and other times by choice. Often it has resulted in a new direction with opportunities and achievements and occasionally I have been up the proverbial creek without a paddle. Luckily since childhood I have travelled the world and lived and worked in countries where I needed to adapt to be included in society. I am not afraid of change and in fact everyone has laughed when I announced that this recent house move was the last!!

There are a number of reasons for a reboot including health or weight issues, financial restrictions, a toxic relationship, a feeling of life passing you by, disappointment in your job or realising that your formal working life is over. The question that usually gets asked is ‘What am I going to do now?’

The elements of change.

As we get older we do tend to become more entrenched in our lives and routine and disconnecting from that and floating off into space looking for the next harbour to anchor can be stressful.

There are varying degrees of change and there are also many different reasons for that change. The two main forms are those we decide to make and those that are thrust upon us.

I am going to be looking at three elements that are subject to both enforced and voluntary change. Physically, mentally and emotionally we are programmed for change as our body and brain develop and age.


 Physical changes

Firstly, I am taking a look at the enforced physical changes that effect us all. For many this natural aging of our bodies, is so unwelcome, it has fuelled a multi-billion dollar industry to try and halt the process. (And yes I am a contributor!)

We are set upon an inescapable course of events from the moment we are conceived. Our genetic makeup will determine many factors that contribute to the way we develop and mature including our eye colour and eyesight, hair colour and hair density, bone structure, height, skin tone, tendancy to forms of arthritis and other diseases and to a degree our lifespan.

We also carry genes from random pairings over thousands of years that contribute to the complex chemical makeup which is unique to everyone of us in the form of our DNA. This will result in family traits that are clear to see from each generations photographic contributions.

The fact is that we are born, live and then we die. Barring accidents, and with the help of modern medicine we should all look forward to living into our 80s, 90s and increasingly into 100s. Which of course fuels another industry – Pharmaceutical companies are delighted with the prospect of an aging population that requires copious amounts of pills to hold back the inevitable.

Voluntary changes.

This is the enforced part of the equation when it comes to physical changes. There is however the voluntary factor which can make a huge difference in the rate that we change physically and that is related to our diet and lifestyle choices.

Some of the genetic traits that I mentioned are carved in stone. But we can make a difference in a number of areas, particularly where there is a family connection to disease.

Previous generations who have contributed to our makeup may have had what I call ‘famine’ years that will have impacted their general health, immune systems and also their physical development.

If you look back 100 years to old family pictures it is clear that the majority of people in them are much shorter than we are today. I know that most of my grandparents and the next generation were all under 5′ 7″ with the women actually much smaller. I am almost six feet tall which would have horrified my grandmother who believed that petite was the only female form allowed! The vast majority of our ancestors, unless very privileged would have had simple diets and would have certainly not had access to as much fresh vegetables, fruit, and protein all year around that we have today.

There are a number of factors that determine life expectancy including the introduction of modern medical care and better living conditions, but diet will also have played a major role in the average life expectancy at birth in 1914 of 50 years for men and 54 for women.

Today in the western world the average is around 78 for men and 83 for women which is a huge leap in such a short space of time.

So this is definitely an area that we can impact physical change voluntarily not just for ourselves but also in future generations as they benefit from our choices today.

progression-of-osteoporosisThe good news is that a balanced diet does not just impact our physical health and longevity. Eating the right foods also improves skin tone and therefore reduces wrinkles, improves hair condition, and with a little help from the beauty industry one can banish those grey hairs that do infiltrate. A balanced diet with moderate execise will also help improve joint health and bone density and stimulating the brain will ensure that you keep mentally vital during your lifetime.

Giving up smoking not only improves the health of the lungs but will also improve your facial skin tone that ‘leathers’ in the bath of 4000 chemicals. Maintaining a healthier weight and exercising will improve muscle tone and improve posture. Drinking pure clean water every day will keep your body clear of toxins, hydrate your skin to look and feel more youthful and also improve hair condition.

We also can make the voluntary choice to see not just an aging face and body in the mirror but to also see a life well lived, the laughter lines, the wisdom and the character.

I have a strategy that works for me when I look in the mirror –

No glasses : Age 40 – Driving glasses : Age 50 – Reading Glasses : OMG!

For those of you who might have missed the Weight Reduction 2017 which looks at a balanced, highly nutritious eating programme that is healthy for all ages.. here is the link.

As with any project to make physical changes to our bodies, we need a project plan.

This requires that you measure where you are today in terms of your physicality. It includes what I consider to be the key indicators that identify health issues – Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar levels, Balance of LDL (unhealthy) and HDL (healthy) cholesterol and food and exercise.

It is always good to have a review of all of these and frequent intervals and certainly over the age of 50 I recommend that BP, Blood sugar levels and Cholesterol are checked annually and every six months after the age of 60. You can have this checked in many pharmacies today and at a reasonable cost which is well worth the money.. Or you can do what we do and have home kits which are available online.

I covered all aspects of being a healthy weight and making the changes to food and exercise in the weight reduction programme linked to above.

Once you have a start point you can set a reasonable target for improvement and I usually suggest six weeks for BP, Sugar and Cholesterol levels and you might find this of help.

Reducing excess weight by just 6kilos (14lbs) will make a difference and following the eating recommendations should also improve your results at the end of 6 weeks.

Having followed your plan for six weeks it is important to maintain those improvements by appreciating the benefits of looking great, having more energy and less age related aches and pains.

However, none of this will come into effect unless you make that decision to make the changes in the first place.

Next time the hard-wired changes in our brain as we age and the voluntary changes we can make to stay mentally young.

Thanks for stopping by as always your comments are appreciated.  Sally