Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up- 18th – 24th November – Storms, Malta, Thanksgiving Menu and Tributes, and Christmas Book Fair.

Welcome to the week round up of posts that you might have missed here on Smorgasbord.

For most of us in the Northern Hemisphere it has been a stormy week with flooding, high winds and lashing rain… and political highs and lows too!. I watched as four hardy workmen dug holes in a hail storm for our new fence posts, and had my wish for a swimming pool on the doorstep fulfilled. I even unearthed some of my dog walking gear from the depths of the wardrobe and was thankful that other shoppers in Tesco looked like they were heading out on an Antarctic expedition too.

As an antidote to the continuous downpour, I spent several days researching our destination for our 40th wedding anniversary next year. A month or two earlier than the actual date to ensure good weather, we are heading to Malta. I can recommend Oliver’s Travel who made the process very straightforward and were very responsive at every step.

My father was Commanding Officer of  Royal Naval WT station Rinella in Malta from 1959 to 1961 and whilst I have very happy memories of our time there being age 6 to 8 years old, my two sisters were 16 and 17 years old and remember a great deal more than I do. They will be joining us for a week and hopefully despite the amazing changes to Malta, we can still find some of their old haunts. We have an amazing villa booked, and as the wind and rain lash the windows, we do at least have some sunshine to look forward too. Hopefully after a good summer here to prime the tan.

We went to the movies yesterday, and despite being a wet Saturday afternoon, we and one other couple were the only occupants. The film was in its second week and the weather was atrocious and I suppose people had been out shopping all day. I do wonder how multiplexes will manage as more and more film streaming services come online with annual subscriptions. Even with a senior ticket you are still looking for £20 for two, multiply that by a cinema visit once a month and you would be able to stream a great many movies for a great deal less per year.

Anyway.. being into action films, we enjoyed 21 Bridges – a police drama set in Manhattan – great action, script, acting and production. If you are into that kind of film we can highly recommend.

Here is the official trailer for the movie..courtesy of Movieclips Trailers

It is Thanksgiving for many of you this week and in the spirit of being grateful, I have a few posts this week paying tribute to four of the contributors during the year who continue to create new content to entertain, inform and inspire you…

In this post today I am featuring my friend D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies who has been a supportive influence since I began the blog and who writes the Travel Column and co-presents the Laughter Lines and Afternoon Video.

A time to be thankful for friends and collatorators – D.G. Kaye

On Tuesday I am featuring William Price King in concert, celebrating over five years of the Music Column, on Wednesday a spotlight on Carol Taylor our food columnist but also an advocate for the environment, health and Thailand. And on Thursday the lovely Annette Rochelle Aben who for the last year has been introducing us to our universal energy with her numerology column… A talented poet and broadcaster, Annette is a wonderful talent.

I little bit earlier than last year, but with Thanksgiving not until 28th of November, I thought those of you having Turkey for that celebration might enjoy some of the dishes Carol Taylor created for this menu. Traditional Christmas Menu (and some ideas for Thanksgiving)

Carol Taylor’s Thanksgiving/Christmas Traditional Menu

I have saved up this repeat of Jessica Norrie’s Literary Column  to share as we move into the gift buying season… these books are timeless and the recommendations are never out of date. Picking the right book for the person you are buying for is an art. Jessica shares the books that she has gifted her daughter….

Christmas Book Gifts from Jessica Norrie

This week Mike Biles takes us to Oxford and shares a pint or two with literary greats who have frequented the ancient pubs of the city….How often do you walk into a pub mentally dwelling on things like wizards and talking lions? Be honest now. If you need help with this, try stepping over the threshold of Oxford’s Eagle and Child, because it was a favourite watering-hole of close friends JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis.

Eagle, Child, pub, Oxford, Tolkien, Lewis

Aslan and Gandalf Go for a Pint

Another one of my favourite movies with stunning soundtrack.. Gladiator.

Music from the Movies – Gladiator – Now We Are Free

Pneumonia – Appalling statistics – Six children per hour hospitalised in the UK

I was staggered and shocked when I read this headline . I cannot believe that in this day and age, in a country with access to one of the finest medical systems in the world, that people are so crass as to ignore the dangers to their children by avoiding vaccinations.

Shocking statistics on children with pneumonia in UK

Mirror Cinquain – Westward by Sally Cronin in response to Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 154

We wait
within the cave;
looking towards the east.
The sun rises to guide the way
We leave,
driven to pass on precious genes,
of strength and stamina,
humans will need
to thrive.

Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 154 – Mirror Cinquain – Westward

This week’s prompt for the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills  is Romance... in all its glory… It is the glue that keeps a relationship strong along with other elements such as laughter and respect. And your heart can flutter at any age when you receive a romantic gesture, grand or as brief as a touch of a hand on your cheek.

Flash Fiction – Romantic Gestures

My review for Vikings – Taken (The Great Heathen Army Book 1)

In the first part of the Sewing Circle, a group of elderly women are faced with a violent and devastating event.

Flights of Fancy – The Sewing Circle Part One.

Justice is on the agenda for the Sewing Circle and with a little outside help, they are determined to achieve it.

Flights of Fancy – The Sewing Circle – Part Two

Delighted to welcome author and book reviewer Kevin Cooper as a guest to talk about book reviews and I am sure you will find it very helpful as I did.

Kevin Cooper on Book Reviews

New book on the shelves

Doggerel – Life with a Small Dog by Sue Vincent

Examining Kitchen Cupboards by Stevie Turner

The Secret Life of Humans by Jo Robinson

Oh Baubles Romance Novella by Harmony Kent

Author updates and reviews

Anita Dawes, Chuck Jackson, Sharon Marchisello and Olga Nunez Miret

Denise O’Hagan, Christa Polkinhorn, Miriam Hurdle, Iain Kelly, Harmony Kent

Vashti Quiroz Vega, Mary Smith, Teri Polen, Karen Ingalls, Patty Fletcher

Jan Sikes, Janice Spina, D.Wallace Peach, Terri Webster Schrandt

Laura M. Baird, Lizzie Chantree, Colleen M. Chesebro, S.A. Harris

Mary Smith Afghan Adventure, WIP Jacqui Murray, Marketing Nicholas Rossis

25 books Patricia Furstenberg, 99p/99c Bette A. Stevens, Funnies Story Reading Ape

Christmas Carol Taylor, Dogsitting Debbie ‘The Dog Lady’, Blueberry Pie Dolly Aizenman

Crystals M.J. Mallon, Indies showcase Richard Dee, Blog comments Hugh W. Roberts

Free books James J. Cudney, Spotlight Valentina Cirasola with Robbie Cheadle, Hanging Curtains Beetley Pete

More fun and laughter from Debby and Sally

Even more fun from Debby and Sally


Thank you very much for dropping in during the week and today, and I hope you will join me again next week.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – AWOL – Benny Goodman – Magnesium – The Magic Carpet – Television Interviews and all that Jazz…

Welcome to the round up of posts that you might have missed this week on Smorgasbord.

On the news front I will be offline from this Thursday to Monday 28th October and for a few days in the first week in November. I have however left some posts for you… the regular book promotions and also some surprises.

Delighted to share the news of the start of a series by guest writer Mike Biles, author of A Bit About Britain’s History who will be joining us every Saturday until Christmas. His first post next Saturday is about the visit he made to author Rudyard Kipling’s home.

As Just an Odd Job Girl has now finished, I am starting a new serialisation, this time of my first short story collection from 2009, which has just received a lovely review. The first two stories from Flights of Fancy air next weekend.

And I would be grateful if you could pop in on Sunday when Eloise De Sousa will be my guest on the Sunday author Interview

I will be online again by Monday and will respond to any comments then… I will also catch up with any retweets etc on social media.

On with this week’s posts.

As always my thanks to the contributors and guest writers for the time and work that goes into preparing the posts for the blog and to you for keep coming back to read them.

William Price King shared the life and music of the renowned King of Swing, Benny Goodman.

Magnesium – Calcium’s BFF and a deficiency alert One of the minerals that most people focus on is calcium (the last column) but it is in fact magnesium or the lack of this mineral in our diet that may be the contributory factor in many of the diseases that we suffer from, particularly as we get older.

If you are a regular visitor to the blog you will be familiar with Jessica Norrie and her Literary Column which ran in 2018 and has enjoyed a revival this year too. We also get to enjoy an extract from Jessica’s latest release – The Magic Carpet

 Last week I covered the basics of the preparation needed before a radio and podcast interview  This week preparing for an interview on camera.

This week in the Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 145 we are being asked to write in response to the photo prompt selected by last month’s winner of the challenge, Diana Wallace Peach.. I have composed a double Etheree – The Moonlight Concerto

This weekend the last two chapters of my novel Just an Odd Job Girl. A surprise visitor changes Imogen’s future.

The final chapter…a new life

In the UK according to overall cancer statistics from Cancer Research UK there were 363,484 new cases in 2016, and 164,900 deaths in 2017. There is now a 50% survival rate over 10 years but, 38% of cancers are preventable.

This week I am share the the impact on a child’s body of a high sugar diet and lack of nutrition in relation to their brain development and hormone production as they head into puberty.

In her final post Linda Thompson shares the sadness of loss. In this case when a relationship dies and we have to leave elements of our previous life behind. Thankfully most of us find another safe haven.

New Book on the Shelves

Author Update #reviews


Thank you very much for dropping in and all your support this week. I hope you will pop in next week thanks Sally.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates #Reviews – Miriam Hurdle, Jessica Norrie, Cynthia Reyes and Gwendolyn Plano

The first book today to receive a recent review is Miriam Hurdle for her collection Songs of the Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude

About  Songs of Heartstrings

Human being has the willpower to travel through an exhausting journey, win a tough battle, and heal a deep wound. Strength from hope keeps us going until the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight and striving until the storm is over.

This poetic memoir comprises themes ranging from the suffering through an undesirable relationship, surviving an aggressive cancer, to the happiness in true love, the joy of parenthood, and gratefulness toward the Maker. Hurdle reveals the honest self-talk and reflects a heart filled with optimism, faith and trust. She illustrates the poems with her beautiful photos and paintings.

A recent review for the collection on Goodreads

Sep 14, 2019 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude is the first book of poems I’ve read by Miriam Hurdle. This collection was published in 2018 after the poet found hope through the many lessons she’d experienced in the previous years of her life. Nature inspired her, pushed her to conquer all the obstacles thrown in her path. Though not a frequent reader in this genre, I do review these works a few times each year, as I studied poetry in college and find myself interested in reading it on occasion. I am glad I chose this one and encourage others to give the author a chance too.

The collection is organized in a few manners: by type of poem and by category. In fact, to me, some were mini stories and not necessarily a poem. That said, the author clearly shows us that poetry comes in all forms. It’s not just about rhyming or repetition. Nature is the first focus, aptly titled Songs of Nature. I feel like Ms. Hurdle wrote her poems while sitting in nature, witnessing the great beauty of animals, insects, weather, trees, and other naturalistic parts of our world. Frequent photographs, some the author took herself, accompany the sections, showing us the inspiration of what led to the poem.

Rooted with some religious beliefs, the author connects with God to openly ask for help and thank the Creator for all that she’s been given. There is raw pain and innate fear in the words, but there is also hope and promise. At just the right moments, Ms. Hurdles takes a swift turn to share something more light and funny, almost poking a bit of amusement at something that tickles her in nature. It fits, almost matching the surprises in store for all of us throughout the day.

One of my favorites, A Tiny Spider, is simple but deep:

A tiny spider labors
every night to
spin his web in
perfect symmetry.
What an innate architect is he!
patiently watches for
his prey to volunteer.
Meal for the night and
reward for the
labor and wait.
Before dawn, down
his trap and hides away.
When the night is nigh
he starts his day.
Spins his web
again, again.

Covering other basic human emotions and complex dreams, we experience dissonance, physical healing, marriage, parenthood, tribute, reflection, challenge, and inspiration. I personally enjoyed the conversations with her parents, learning about how she connected with them from two continents so far apart. Kudos to the author for a wonderful opportunity to express herself and wade through the pain and sacrifice we encounter in life, only to find the ray of light through words and expressions. 4.5 stars for the full collection.

Read the reviews and buy the collection:

And on Amazon UK:

Read reviews and follow Miriam on Goodreads:

Connect to Miriam via her website:

The second author with a review is Jessica Norrie for her recently released book The Magic Carpet.

About The Magic Carpet

Outer London, September 2016, and neighbouring eight-year-olds have homework: prepare a traditional story to perform with their families at a school festival. But Nathan’s father thinks his son would be better off doing sums; Sky’s mother’s enthusiasm is as fleeting as her bank balance, and there’s a threatening shadow hanging over poor Alka’s family. Only Mandeep’s fragile grandmother and new girl Xoriyo really understand the magical powers of storytelling. As national events and individual challenges jostle for the adults’ attention, can these two bring everyone together to ensure the show will go on?

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

I must admit that I got an expected but completely welcome surprise when I read this book. The magic carpet is an intricate and beautifully told tale of a school project and several families involved. Each child in the class has been allocated a fairy story to take home and make their own any way they wish.

The narratives switches between each family and each chapter is dedicated to a different class member. Diverse, intriguing and almost voyeuristic, we are allowed to peep into the lives of each family as they tackle the homework project in very different ways. All the adults in the story are increasingly distracted by events in their own lives and it’s up to the children to bring everyone together.

I adore that Jessica Norrie has given each family a very unique identity through circumstances. culture and race. Each relationship and situation is delicately written and issues are tackled with sensitivity but bring he characters to life. I became invested in every single child in this novel.

This is a breathtaking and addictive story about stories, families and children.

Head over and buy the book:

And on Amazon US:

Also by Jessica Norrie in English and German

Read the reviews buy the books:

and on Amazon US:

Find more reviews on Goodreads:

Connect to Jessica via her blog:

The next author with reviews for her latest release is Cynthia Reyes, a gardening memoir – Twigs in my Hair.

About Twigs in my Hair

Author Cynthia Reyes returns with Twigs in My Hair, a book about her lifelong passion for gardens and nature and the surprising relationships and events involved. Gorgeous photographs by Hamlin Grange complement a humorous and profound story. A beautiful gift for gardeners and non-gardeners. Readers will meet a variety of interesting creatures, both human and animal, some of whom compete for gardening produce or gardening glory. You may conclude, after reading Twigs in My Hair, that the gardener’s love for growing things swings from reverence to mania. But there is also a deeply emotional side to this story about what happens when a passionate gardener can no longer do what she loves.

One of the recent reviews for the book

K. Pickering 5.0 out of 5 stars A Book to Savor September 7, 2019

I intended to take my time with this book… To read a few pages every day…make it last. I did not succeed. Every time it caught my eye it beckoned me back and just under 4 days later I was finished.

I would highly recommend “Twigs in my Hair” by Cynthia Reyes. She invites us into her world through her gardens, past and present. Her beautiful stories are accentuated by her husband’s (Hamlin Grange) striking photographs. Photographs that give us a glimpse into their gardens and their lives.

Thank you for allowing us to sit awhile in your gardens. Thank you for introducing us to your neighbors and friends. Thank you for sharing part of yourself, warts and all. We are richer for it. – Karen Pickering

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

Also by Cynthia Reyes

And co-written with Lauren Reyes-Grange – Illustrated by Jo Robinson

Read the reviews and buy the books:

And on Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Cynthia on Goodreads:

Connect to Cynthia via her website:

And the final author today with a recent review is Gwendolyn M. Plano for her memoir Letting To into Perfect Love.

About the book

Inspiring and unforgettable, Letting Go into Perfect Love is a riveting account of a journey through the terror of domestic violence to a faith that transforms all. As a college administrator, Gwendolyn M. Plano lived her professional life in a highly visible and accountable space–but as a wife and mother, behind closed doors, she and her family experienced unpredictable threat. The statistics are staggering–every 9 seconds in the United States, a woman is assaulted or beaten–but to Gwen, this was her secret; it was her shame. When her husband eventually turned his brutality on her son, she knew she could no longer remain silent.

Alternately heart-wrenching and joyful, this is a story of triumph over adversity–one woman’s uplifting account of learning how to forgive the unforgiveable, recover her sense of self, bring healing into her family, and honor the journey home. Accompanied by glimpses of celestial beings, Gwen charts a path through sorrow to joy–and ultimately, writes of the one perfect love we all seek.

The story that unfolds is not a blow-by-blow account of savagery hidden within a twenty-five-year marriage; rather, it is a walk through innocent dreams betrayed–to courage found. “Tragedy spares no one;” Gwen points out, “it just courts each of us differently. One way or another, it finds a path into our hearts, and there we do battle with the intruder.” As a survivor who came out of her unhealthy relationship determined to start over, Gwen artfully depicts the challenges of balancing the obligations of motherhood and career with her family’s healing process, while offering hope to anyone facing monumental challenges.

Integral to Gwen’s journey is her faith. Because of her Catholic upbringing, she struggles with the scandal of divorce, but finally makes her peace. When her daughter reveals her molestation by clergy, however, her fragile sense of serenity dissolves. We walk with Gwen as she tries to make sense of this horror. The agony experienced by the entire family is devastatingly palpable. Against all odds, Gwen emerges confident of her faith and begins to see the threads of meaning in even the darkest moments.

This is a book for all. But, for those who have been in a destructive relationship, Gwen’s story will be heartbreakingly familiar. For those who have been spared such diminishment, it will provide insight into the often misunderstood phenomenon of domestic violence. Since one in every four women will experience such threat in her lifetime, understanding that murky world may provide the reader with the skills needed to help his or her sister or friend or neighbor. Whether victim or friend, though, readers will be inspired by the author’s courage and ultimate resolution of her predicament. And, you may see your own challenges a little differently.

One of the recent reviews for the book

In her book Letting Go, Gwen Plano recounted her two abusive marriages in honesty and courage. She married the first husband after he had a mental breakdown. The psychiatrist gave her hope that Bruce could recover. She married him intending to help him and saved him from being admitted. She couldn’t handle his outrage and filed a divorce. She married Ron six months after they met. There were signs of Ron’s disturbed behavior, but Gwen stated that she was in a fantasy world of young love. In the years to come, Ron uprooted the family on minutes of notice and moved across the country and even to Japan. After they came back to the US, he was getting more violent, demeaning and controlling. He physically abused young son when the baby was seven months old. When the daughter was sexually abused at age five by clergies and complained about that years later, Ron didn’t want to deal with it.

During the twenty-five years of abuse, Gwen studied and taught. The workplace was her escape. The busyness kept them going for twenty-five years. At one point, she realized Ron made her feel “small.” In an abusive relationship, women kept the abuse in secret, fear the reporting results in more abuse. These women may fear of not being able to stand on their own feet.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

Also by Gwendolyn Plano and co-written with John W. Howell.

Read the reviews and buy the books:

and on Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Gwen on Goodreads:

You can find out more about Gwen on her website:

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books under your arm..thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Weekly Round Up – A Fairy Story, Evergreen, Chocolate, Health, New Books and Reviews oh and a lot of laughter..

Welcome to the round up of posts that you might of missed this week on Smorgasbord.

September 29th each year is a very special date for us… and I thought I would share with you a fairy story that explains its significance.

Once upon a time there was a red-headed girl who was assistant manager in a hotel in a small hamlet in Mid-Wales.  Bontddu ( the dd is th in Welsh and the u is ee so pronounced Bontthee) I mention this as my mother insisted on telling everyone that Sally was working in a hotel in Bonteedudu!

I had been there for 18 months and to be honest, the little time I had between shifts was spent either sleeping or walking (I had no car) to the two towns equal distance 5 miles each way. Dolgellau and Barmouth a delightful seaside resort with a long sandy beach.

I had been married before for seven years and that had foundered around the four year mark but dragged on for another three (I must have broken a mirror). I was quite determined that I was never getting married again after this experience, and to this end I still wore a wedding ring to deter any possible overtures I might have been lucky enough to receive.

On one sunny Snowdonia morning (rare at certain times of the year) I intercepted a phone call in reception from someone wishing to book two rooms for two weeks.  I will admit that I was quite taken with the soft Irish accent of the man on the other end of the phone, and having reserved the two rooms, I put the receiver down and turned to one of the receptionists and uttered the famous last words ” He sounds rather nice, I think I’ll marry him!”  Much hilarity ensued and a week went by.

On the day of the reservation I had been off for a few hours and returned to assume restaurant management duties.  In those days I was required to wear a long dress in the evenings at dinner and guests were formally accompanied to their tables.  It was not long before I identified the Irish accent as Room 40.  Tall, dark haired and very handsome, a veritable Prince Charming.  To be honest I was all of a twitter (not the 140 character kind) and during the course of my duties I enquired of room 40 if he had been given sufficient crackling….

To cut a short story even shorter.  I arranged a number of meetings and dinners for Room 40, and two weeks went by without so much of flicker of interest from said resident.  If not for the opportune intervention of a couple who were regular guests at the hotel it may well have remained a disappointing encounter.

They enquired, obviously in earshot of Room 40, if my divorce had been finalised.  I replied that I had received that particular gift on my birthday back in February, and that I was officially free again.  Well, talk about Speedy Gonzalez…. before I could say I was not that kind of girl, the next day I was taken out on my day off for lunch, treated to a Chinese Takeaway when I got off duty that night, and presented with a Celtic pendant for all my assistance..

There must have been more than MSG in the Chinese because I suddenly heard the words “I think there is only one thing for us to do, will you marry me”

I think my flabber must have been well and truly gasted because before I could laugh at this insane proposal, on our first date, barely past first name terms, I said yes.

That was 29th September 1980, 13 days after his arrival at the hotel and into my life. And forget the long engagement.  He found us a flat in Dolgellau, posted the bans at the local registry office and 39 years ago on November 15th, we were married on a wild and blustery Welsh morning.  Even more shocked than the bride where her parents, the groom’s parents and my boss.

After the proposal David left to get the flat organised whilst I went into the hotel for the normal busy Saturday.  My boss was enjoying his morning coffee with the local paper when I announced casually I was getting married… “Who the hell to”…was the response and mine ” Room 40″

We have travelled the world together, lived in 17 homes both temporary and permanent, worked side by side and on occasion in separate countries.  We have had our moments but they have been brief and usually down to me being a bit of a handful! We are best friends and have shared laughter, loss and humour, and somewhere I believe there is a very smug fairy godmother….

Time to get on with this week’s posts that you might have missed….

As always my thanks to contributors and guests who take the time to write such amazing posts, that are informative, entertaining and inspiring.  And to you for dropping in and being part of the week.

Jessica Norrie is exploring books that are set on the coastline in various places around the world. I love the sea and hope that when we buy our final house it has a view of the ocean and all its changing moods.

Today my guests is Abbie Johnson Taylor who shares her inspirations and writing with an excerpt from her latest release The Red Dress.

The York Chocolate Series – Part Three – Chocolate in wartime Second Anglo Boer War 1899 – 1902 – In 1899, war broke out for the second time between the British Empire and the two Boer Republics in South Africa. In advance of Christmas 1899, Queen Victoria asked Cadbury, which held a Royal Warrant as suppliers of cocoa and chocolate products, to produce tins of chocolate to send to the British men fighting in South Africa as a gift..

A combined post today with a new book promotion and my review for The Quest for Home, the second book in the Crossroads Trilogy by Jacqui Murray.

Previously  Imogen takes a temporary job selling advertising for a local paper and ends up running a very interesting section … selling personal services! Chapter Thirteen – Makeover and the art of buying a car.

Previously  Imogen went into Central London for a much needed makeover and shopping trip, which brought to mind her friends escapades when buying a new car. She now moves on to a private school where she finds more interesting characters. Chapter Fourteen – Mayhew School for Boys and Girls.

Time for this week’s response to Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 146 and this week we are tasked with finding synonyms for the words ‘Fall and Give‘.. and I have chosen ‘Drop and Gift’..

This week on the  Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills   the challenge was to write a story in 99 words on the subject of someone unremembered…The Close Match

This week I am going to Facebook in relation to book marketing and also the benefits of joining an exclusive watering hole on social media platforms

This week a song that many of us remember and still love today.. Evergreen by Barbra Streisand from the 1976 film “A Star is Born

Linda Thompson’s first post is a wonderful, nostalgic look back through the years to special family dinners and how it is so important that our elderly parents are given the opportunity to still feel useful in our lives. A Place at the Table for All

This is the final post from educator and author Pete Springer .I think most of us who have finished our careers allegedly to retire, find there are elements of our jobs that are missed, and in this post, Pete shares the ones that he misses the most about teaching. What I Miss Most About Being a Teacher by Pete Springer

This is the second post of Melanie Stewart, she is faced with a logistical nightmare to get on the road for a trip and deal with a sudden change to her 87 year old mother, Ginny’s cable set up. The Cable Debacle.

This is the second  post from Peter Mohan who blogs at Cheers, Govanhill as his alter ego .. Boy David. I selected this post as we head into the late autumn and we get visitors both of the garden variety and field. Footprints in the Butter – Cheers Govanhill.

a collage of mice, all over the flat

New books on the shelves

Author Updates – Reviews and offers.

The major organs and systems of the body – The female reproductive system, the endocrine system and hormones.


The obesity epidemic and finding a point to intervene in the life cycle – this week the diet of two to seven year olds, can determine their health in adulthood.


Thank you so much for being part of the week here on Smorgasbord, and I hope you have enjoyed your visit.. please pop in again next week.. thanks Sally.



Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round-Up – 9th-15th September 2019 –

Welcome to the weekly round up of posts that you might have missed this week on Smorgasbord.

Things have been relatively quiet around here which I am grateful for. We have had some lovey sunny days and I have taken advantage of those. We both have some projects that are nearing completion so that has taken up a fair amount of time.

Coming up next week

  • Robbie Cheadle with the second part of The York Chocolate Story on Monday
  • Tuesday William Price King shares the life and music of Mary Lou Williams – American Jazz pianists, arranger and composer.
  • Carol Taylor’s food and cookery Column on Wednesday
  • The regulars will be here with book reviews and new releases for authors in the Cafe and Bookstore, The health column, funnies and afternoon video..
  • The health column continues with the major organs and systems in the body with the start of a series on the female reproductive system.
  • Some new bloggers who have been writing for under a year start their new series from the archives and some great posts to showcase.
  • The book marketing series on Saturday covers more of the online watering holes that are useful elements in promoting your work.
  • Just an Odd Job Girl with two more chapters Saturday and Sunday.
  • My guest next Sunday in the author interview is Darlene Foster.
  • And through the week the Blogger Daily will share some exceptional posts from the blogging community
  • And there will be some responses to poetry and flash challenges.

Just a reminder if you are in the Cafe and Bookstore and are planning to put any of your books on offer in coming weeks to let me know so that I can include in the updates. You can email me on or leave a message on Facebook.

On with the posts this week

As always a huge thanks to those who contribute with guest posts and columns…. as well as to you for dropping to read them.

My guest this week is author and proofreader Jo Elizabeth Pinto who has recently released her latest book Daddy Won’t Let Mom Drive the Car: True Tales of Parenting in the Dark. Jo Elizabeth shares the inspiration behind her love of books and her own writing and lets us peek into her latest book with a humour filled extract that definitely entices you to read more.

Jessica Norrie explores the legendary first lines of books we have read….Authors need a rocket, or at least a hook, right at the start. Dickens has the best opening line ever: “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times” (A Tale of Two Cities). What scope he gives himself, with that, for anything at all to happen, in any possible way

Delighted that over the next five weeks, author Robbie Cheadle will be sharing the The York Chocolate story with us, following her recent trip to the UK..

Chapter Nine – The Isle of Wight pub life and Skinheads prove to be both interesting and at times dangerous…Imogen recalls her adventures..

Chapter Ten – Imogen and Peter’s relationship hits a bad patch and a cat burglar does not help matters.. and then there is the matter of the insurances cheques.

A new series of the top songs from the movies in my book at least…..and the first song is Shaft by Isaac Hayes.. a blast from the past.

This week the importance your blog has as part of your book marketing strategy. And a checklist to make sure you have certain elements in place to be effective.

I was born on Friday 13th (February) and it has always been lucky for me… there are a number of variations, including Tuesday 13th and Thursday 13th, on the theme around the world and for various reasons..

This week, Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills was to create a story in 99 words not more, no less about the greatest gift of some kind… here is my response.. Life’s Greatest Gift….

This week’s prompt words for Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 144 were ‘Enchant and Fly and I have used the synonyms Charm and Soar for my double etheree

This is the third post from the archives of author and poet, Patricia Furstenberg . I love medical conditions.. not necessarily when afflicting me personally, but the causes, symptoms and treatments.. I know I need to get a life. However, some conditions have a literary origin…. 5 Medical Symptoms Named After Literary Characters (2017) by Patricia Furstenberg

Sleeping Beauty painting by Victor Gabriel Gilbert

This is the third post from the archives of author, fitness advocate and photographer Terri Webster Schrandt. I could not share some of Terri’s posts without including a photograph…. so whilst short this is also sweet, particularly as that is the favourite taste sensation of the subjects of the photograph. Photography – Never Ending Quest for Food (2016) by Terri Webster Schrandt

Male hummer finding food

This is the third post from the archives of Jim Borden who blogs on ‘Borden’s Blather across a variety of topics. This post from Jim reminds us all of what there is to life we might be missing out on. The Benefits of Having a Purpose in Life (2017) by Jim Borden

(copyright World Economic Forum),

This is the final post from the archives of the eclectic blog of writer Marilyn Armstrong and I have selected this one from a series of posts in 2015 – Sharing my World..Hugging the Dogs: Sharing My World 2015- Week 2 by Marilyn Armstrong


This is the final post of author Antoinette Truglio Martin who began blogging in 2018.. I am going to share four posts from her archives that were part of her A-Z challenge last year.  Pasta is a favourite in our household.. and Antoinette has a story about Pastina…

This is the final post from the archives of Anne Copeland, writer of nonfiction articles, books, and poetry, as well as a mixed media and fiber artist. This post is a poem that sums up how I feel about the world at times. Weltschmerz (2018)

pexels-Statue of Liberty

This is the final post from author and designer, Valentina Cirasola I have chosen this post because my mother was a Libra born on October 5th and I am sure several of you will have your birthdays in the coming month. #Astrology Born A Libra Under Venus (2018)

(Photo: – Artist: Kisslilly)

This is the final post of author Ellen Hawley who has enjoyed a wonderfully varied career before leaving the United States to settle in Cornwall. The opioid crisis in the USA and increasingly in the UK and other countries is not the first time in history that an addictive substance has become concerning. In this post Ellen explores Tea and opium.. care of The East India Company. History – Tea, opium, and the East India Company (2018)

This is the second post from educator and author Pete Springer who began blogging in April this year. I am sure you will agree that he has made a fantastic start to his new project. I know how many of you are dog lovers, and this one is for you… My Buddies by Pete Springer

Jake and Lulu

New Books on the shelves

Author update – Reviews and books on offer

I wanted to describe the passage of a very common and tasty snack that many of us enjoy. Usually with only one thing in mind. The taste.. However, perhaps after following this chicken sandwich through your digestive tract you might think about it in a different way.

Thank you for all your support this week and look forward to seeing you soon. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – The Literary Column with Jessica Norrie – Blast Off! -Opening Lines

Blast Off! – Opening Lines by Jessica Norrie. (2018)

At choir practice, rehearsing Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, there was a massive crescendo and the pianist stopped accompanying to announce: “That’s known as a Rossini Rocket.” It really is, apparently. Respect.

It set me wondering about Rossini Rockets in literature. Huge, telling moments when everything catches fire and the reader can hardly hear herself think. Battle scenes in War and Peace. Anything involving Bill Sykes or Becky Sharpe. The fire in the picture gallery at Soames Forsyte’s house. Fires anywhere – think of Jane Eyre and Miss Havisham. The 19th century may have been better at this. Presumably, something sparks somewhere in Fifty Shades of Grey, although I only got to around page 53 when I found it in my cousin’s guest bedroom. Nothing much was even smouldering by then, so I went to sleep.

Rossini could write a telling overture too, but authors need a rocket, or at least a hook, right at the start. Dickens has the best opening line ever: “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times” (A Tale of Two Cities). What scope he gives himself, with that, for anything at all to happen, in any possible way. The reader is agog. “It is a truth universally acknowledged…” is a Jane Austen opener we can all finish in our sleep, but fans of John Crace’s Digested Read  will note the whole plot is in that statement. With that sentence, Austen could have cut her words by 122,166 and still had the story (my thanks to My Particular Friend for the word count).

A weak opening line doesn’t have to be the end of sales and reputation though. Consider Marcel Proust’s “Longtemps, je me suis couché de bonne heure.” It loses a comma without gaining interest in translation: “For a long time I used to go to bed early.” Don’t expect nightlife or shenanigans in these nine volumes (though if memory serves even Proust got somewhere, if only with his grandmother, before page 53). Yet over time, sales have held up.

Moving on a century or so, authors can still get away with an apparently humdrum first sentence, if it implies something’s about to change. Here’s Eleanor Oliphant: “When people ask me what I do—taxi drivers, hairdressers—I tell them I work in an office.” The thick paperback in your hand is festooned with award stickers. Clearly, the next 380 pages aren’t going to dwell only on the malfunctioning photocopier and the daily email avalanche. Similarly, to avoid boring you with data, from now on I’ll give only the author’s name with the quote. The works they come from are easy to look up, and whether you do will be the proof of how enticing these first lines are.

An author can be explicit: “Let us begin with two girls at a dance” (Maggie O’Farrell) or you can begin at the end and work backwards: “I am nothing but a corpse now, a body at the bottom of a well” (Orhan Pamuk).

I tried to emulate this in my first novel – “Adrian Hartman wasn’t expecting to die that day, so he hadn’t thought to make a will.” But Pamuk’s corpse makes a bigger splash. (A note: Der Infinity-Pool was published in German today! If German is your mother tongue and you’d like to review it, please get in touch. Adrian Hartman hatte nicht damit gerechnet…)

Authority with a sense of conflict is good: as Jean Rhys tells us: “They say when trouble comes close ranks, and so the white people did.” Or a statement with immediate denial, preferably containing an emotive word: “People think blood red, but blood don’t got no colour.” (Marlon James).

Fitting in both terror and desire is daring: “I am standing on a corner in Monterey, waiting for the bus to come in, and all the muscles of my will are holding my terror to face the moment I most desire.” (Elizabeth Smart). But Jeanette Winterson gets away with dull facts, the better to put a rocket up the following two sentences: “Like most people I lived for a long time with my mother and father.”

Most authors would be wise to use emotive words more sparingly than the genius Smart.

Here’s a selection: blood, as above, and war (here’s Robert Harris who knows how to grab an audience: “Major Picquard to see the Minister of War…”). Also love, heart, sick(ness), death/die, swell, ballroom, gusto, wedding, child, dreams, dawn, waves, not forgetting oddballs with overtones: my personal favourites include boulevard, wisteria/lilies, pitcher/striker, klaxon. Words can combine to kick the reader awake: “All at once the flat was full of noises” (Nicci French) or “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen”(George Orwell). If anyone wants to explore this more deeply, the author Kit Whitfield wrote a series on opening lines that leaves this article at the starting blocks.

I’m tempted to follow next time with a post on endings (as a child, I always used to turn to the back and read the last line first. I must have found it reassuring. ) The trouble with that is, it might involve spoilers for anyone who hasn’t yet had the pleasure/excitement/horror of reading my recommendations. Let me know in the comments below whether you’d like me to go ahead anyway, and meanwhile I’ll leave you with the last word, as used by Rossini. I think we’ll have to call it a Rossini Cop Out, but the music is sublime. “Breathe after men”, was the conductor’s instruction to the sopranos. Maybe it does have something in common with Fifty Shades after all. Start on page 77 and sing: Amen. Amen. A-a–amen. Amen. A-a-a-a-m-e-e-en, men. Amen (repeat and enjoy for 8 minutes 30 seconds, and you can see us in action on October 20th).

©Jessica Norrie 2018

The Magic Carpet – Jessica’s new release.

Outer London, September 2016, and neighbouring eight-year-olds have homework: prepare a traditional story to perform with their families at a school festival. But Nathan’s father thinks his son would be better off doing sums; Sky’s mother’s enthusiasm is as fleeting as her bank balance, and there’s a threatening shadow hanging over poor Alka’s family. Only Mandeep’s fragile grandmother and new girl Xoriyo really understand the magical powers of storytelling. As national events and individual challenges jostle for the adults’ attention, can these two bring everyone together to ensure the show will go on?

One of the recent reviews for The Magic Carpet

Ms. Mary Smith 5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely, lovely book 2 September 2019

I enjoyed Jessica Norrie’s first novel, The Infinity Pool and had been looking forward to her next. I adored The Magic Carpet. It’s a lovely, lovely book which offers an authentic glimpse into multi-cultural society in London. A group of primary school pupils are given a homework project to retell, with input from their respective families, some familiar fairy stories. As would be expected in a story set in a multi-cultural society many issues from racism to domestic violence are touched upon. I enjoyed meeting the characters, both children and adults, who provide insights into their thoughts and feelings and even a week after finishing the book I find myself wondering what they are all doing in their lives and how friendships may be developing.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And on Amazon US:

Also by Jessica Norrie in English and German

Read the reviews buy the books:

and on Amazon US:

Find more reviews on Goodreads:

About Jessica Norrie

Jessica Norrie studied French literature at Sussex University, and trained as a teacher at Sheffield. Then she wandered into parenthood, told her now grown up children stories, and heard theirs. A qualified translator, she worked on an eclectic mix of material, from health reports on racehorses to harrowing refugee tales. She taught adults and children, co-authored a textbook and ran teacher training. In 2008 came the idea for “The Infinity Pool”, which appeared in 2015 (and in German in 2018). Her second novel “The Magic Carpet”, inspired by teaching language and creativity in multicultural schools, was published on July 22nd 2019, and she is working on a third. She also spends time blogging, singing soprano, walking in the forest and trying to move out of London.

Connect to Jessica


I know Jessica would love your feedback on the post and it would be great if you could share. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – New Author Interview, Music, Travel, Seasoning, Apple Coffee Cake and lots of other stuff

Welcome to the weekly round up of posts that you might have missed on Smorgasbord this week.

It is a time of great suffering and challenges for the thousands who have been devastated in the Bahamas and also those caught up in the hurricane as it moves up the Eastern coast of the USA. Whilst the majority of us are just spectators as these tragedies unfold, they do touch us and make us realise how lucky we are not to be in the path of the destructive force of nature so regularly. Especially when so many of those impacted had little to begin with.

I know that I bang on about the Irish weather from time to time, but it is still a moderate climate without the extremes normally, and we are very lucky.

This coming week sees a new feature for those authors in the Cafe and Bookstore, in line with my renewed focus on promoting this group of writers.

If you have a book that you are going to be offering free or for a reduced price, usually 99p/99c then please let me know a week in advance if you can, by email…or if you are on Facebook you can send me a message. I will add in its own section at the end of one of the Cafe Updates.. all it costs you is a few seconds of your time to let me know.

Also I don’t want to come across as a nag, but please remember to respond to comments individually, as it will encourage more sales, for your books and also for your blog to be remembered with more shares across social media.  Thank you for listening to this service message!!!

As always a huge thanks to the contributors to the blog, my aim to have a magazine approach originally has been fulfilled by their wonderful posts, offering a diverse range of subjects that I could not provide myself. Their knowledge and effort are very much appreciated. Also thank you for your support for their work and for my own posts, it helps motivate and inspire me.

Time to get on with the show…..

A welcome return to our musical columnist William Price King with a new series of posts on influential musicians.. this week American jazz-rock guitarist and composer John Scofield

The week D.G. Kaye takes us to one of the lovely islands in the Caribbean and provides us with all the information we need to visit...I’ve written about a few islands in the Caribbean so far, and today I want to continue the Caribbean theme and take us all to Saint Barthelemy, or the often abbreviated, St. Barths, the French prefer to call it, and, St. Barts in English.

This week Carol Taylor shows us How to add fuss free flavor to your food. To make delicious family food you don’t need to spend a fortune on fancy ingredients which cost a fortune. Most of us have access to a whole range of simple herbs, spices and aromatics which we can use to accentuate and bring maximum flavor to food.

This month a cake that will tempt you beyond all self-control from Silvia Todesco – a step by step guide to Italian deliciousness.  Fluffy apple coffee cake: irresistible!

D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies, kicks off the new author interview series in great style sharing the inspiration for her writing, the editing process and software, and books on our craft that she considers are must reads. I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did. You can also enjoy an excerpt from her memoir Twenty Years After “I Do”.

My review for The Magic Carpet by Jessica Norrie.. a lovely book and highly recommended.

Previously Imogen had regaled Andrew with her antics as one of the team in the Ladies Fashion department at Huntleys, and her run in with shoplifters. Chapter Seven – The Cosmetic Department.

Previously  Working in the Cosmetic Department of Huntleys was not all about nail varnish and lipsticks, there were also fascinating social issues to be discovered and embraced. Chapter Eight – The Steakhouse

Being the first Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 142 of the month, Colleen allows us the freedom to choose our own words…Double Etheree – The Summer Bids Farewell

This week’s Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills was to use the title of one of the greatest western’s of all time True Grit in one form or another.. Since is was my father’s favourite film (along with any John Wayne Western) I have responded with this.

Attracting your readers, Covers, Book Titles, Tag Lines and Key Words Authors are small businesses with a product that needs marketing to obtain sales. Once you start thinking of yourself as a business it tends to focus your mind differently. One of the key elements of marketing and selling is to attract the right customer for your product and in book marketing this is your readers.

New books on the shelves.

Author Updates

Kicking off the new series of posts from the archives of bloggers who have been blogging for under a year, is Pete Springer, sharing his story of getting fitter and healthier after retirement. Making Healthy Changes by Pete Springer

The current series of potluck posts continues for a couple of weeks and in this post Terri Webster Schrandt underlines the need to make sure that children and adults are safe in the water. Don’t Become a Memory: Three Easy Ways to Be Safe in the Water (2015) by Terri Webster Schrandt


This is the second post from the archives of author and poet, Patricia Furstenberg who as you can tell from some of her books is a dog lover. In this post Patricia shares the steps to igniting the love of reading in boys. Here’s How To Get Boys To Read In 5 Easy Steps (2017) by Patricia Furstenberg

Image courtesy Unsplash

Image courtesy Unsplash

This is the second post from the archives of Jim Borden. One of the areas I think we do not do well here is with a Community Alert System should there be a potential disaster.. along the lines of this post.  #Community First Night of CERT Training (2016) by Jim Borden – No, this post is not about how to properly take a breath mint, although I know many of us who could benefit from such training.

This is the third post from the archives of the eclectic blog of writer Marilyn Armstrong and I have selected this one because despite being written seven years ago…our lives are still run by batteries and power boards.Charge (Batteries) 2012 by Marilyn Armstrong

This is the third post of author Antoinette Truglio Martin who began blogging in 2018.. I am going to share four posts from her archives that were part of her A-Z challenge last year.  Since my downfall is and has always been food….I enjoyed browsing Antoinette’s challenge. This week, a food that immediately brings back memories of New England… Lobster.

This is the third post from the archives of Anne Copeland, writer of nonfiction articles, books, and poetry, as well as a mixed media and fiber artist. This post is heartrending and inspiring. As someone who has lost a late-term baby, I  found this very touching and it is a beautiful undertaking by an extraordinary woman. An Angel Among Us (2018) Anne Copeland

Garden of Angels Cemetery at Desert Lawn in Calimesa

This is the third post from author and designer, Valentina Cirasola. I have chosen this post from the Home Designs Blog and as I have always painted by kitchens Yellow… I thought you might get some inspiration from Valentina from September 2018 Yellow For Manifesting – Valentina Cirasola – Interior Designer

This is the third post from the archives of Lee who writes for her blog Woeful to Froful, where she shares about hair and skincare, beauty, positive thinking and music. This is from Lee’s second blog and I thought it was a lovely way to express a mother’s body….


This is the third post of author Ellen Hawley who has enjoyed a wonderfully varied career before leaving the United States to settle in Cornwall.  Here Ellen shares a recipe for another family favourite. Recipe – Peach or blackberry cobbler: an American recipe

cobbler, eddie 006

The new series of the blogger daily where I showcase some of our brilliant bloggers in the community.

Last week I began a series on The Immune System and how it works. This week I would like to show you how your role in your immune system’s efficiency is critical and possibly life saving.


Thank you for dropping by and for all your amazing support it is much appreciated. It would be lovely if we could connect on the following sites too. Thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round UP – Goodreads marketing, Numerology, Music, Health, Humour and more Book and Blog FREE Promotions

Welcome to the weekly round up of posts you might have missed here on Smorgasbord.

I hope you have had a great week and certainly it has been fun and a little hectic around here. The weather was very autumnal and it seems that this next couple of days will be the last for quite some time for a bit of sunshine. We are thinking of all of you who are dealing with Dorian at the moment and hope that everyone is safe, whilst acknowledging that we might get wet in Ireland but never to the extremes that many of you have to contend with.

One of the tasks this week was to plan the autumn overhaul of the blog and put some new series in place to keep you entertained and informed. My intention is to focus the book promotions on the authors in the Cafe and Bookstore to increase their visibility on a more regular basis.

One of these is the new Sunday Interview series exclusively for authors in the Cafe and to kick it off and to show you how it is done… D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies will be here next Sunday September 8th with her interview. I am now booking interview at the end of October and into November, so if you have a new book coming out then you might like to take advantage of this additional promotion. Details are in this link, including on how to get your books on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore in the first place.

Your regular contributors will be with us through the rest of the year – D.G. Kaye is here with the Travel Column tomorrow with another Caribbean gem, William Price King and the Music Column is back this coming Tuesday every two weeks, Carol Taylor will have more recipes with a touch of Thai spice every second Wednesday and Silvia Todesco will be wowing us with Italian Cookery once a month.

I have some guest writers lined up and author Robbie Cheadle whose popular children’s series Sir Chocolate story and cookbook, is contributing a five part series on the history of chocolate…beginning Monday September 9th.

I also want to continue to support new and established bloggers by bringing back the Blogger Daily at least two days a week if not more.

Help me promote you.

I would be grateful if you can help me out and hopefully give your books a boost by letting me know when you have a new release coming out. Some of you are doing pre-orders on your new books and I am happy to do the New Book on the Shelves promotions a week to 10 days in advance of publication date for readers to take advantage of any offers. I think that time scale adds a sense of urgency that encourages readers to buy whilst there is still an offer.

If you have a new review

There are 160 active authors in the Cafe at any one time and I do two review updates a week on Mondays and Fridays. It takes quite a lot of time to check each author and go into Amazon and Goodreads in search of a recent review and you would be helping me out if you give me a helping hand.

If you have a new review for a book that is on the shelves and are on Facebook, direct message me with the book title and I will do the rest, or you can leave in the comments on any of the Cafe and Bookstore posts. The posts receive on average 80 views and it does boost that if all the authors featured share on their own social media. It is free so all it takes is a little time and worth it if you make a sale or two.

Here is the link for the Cafe and Bookstore and you can check to see if you have your most recent review showing on your entry… if not let me know.

Another new series begins next week offering new bloggers whose blogs are 12 months or younger an opportunity to showcase their posts. Also a step by step guide to setting up your blog to be reader friendly. If you know any bloggers who are just setting out, then please pass this on to them.. thanks

The key element to all these promotion is you.. If you want to take advantage of my audience and blog and social media platforms, all you have to do is ask.

Now on with the posts from the last week.

As always a huge thank you to everyone who contributes, participates in the Archive post series and to you for dropping in and leaving a comment or sharing.. It is appreciated.

Annette Rochelle Aben shares the universal energy we can expect in September that will impact us all to one degree or another..

Jessica Norrie shares some tips on getting back that reading feeling, when  you hit a dry spot…You’ve lost that reading feeling…

A took a look at the ‘Quoted’ following of one of the paid for promoting book sites when they approached me on LinkedIn a couple of weeks ago, claiming to put my book in front of 200,000 potential readers.. what I found was considerably less that across their website and social media.. in fact they fell over 198,000 short!

Goodreads is another great platform to have your books centralised and where anywhere in the world can review your books, whether they have been bought from Amazon, been given as a gift or borrowed from the library. Getting your author page set up step by step.

Chapter Five of Just an Odd Job Girl.. and beware long hair pieces and the Rolling Stones.

Chapter Six – The Women’s Fashion Department and Shoplifters.

I have been reading a series over the last few months and am now reading the fourth David Slaton novel. I am reviewing the first in the series, The Perfect Assassin by USA Today Bestselling author Ward Larsen, as I cannot recommend the books enough…

In the last of the summer festival series, some of the music from the movies that have become iconic hits.. On Wednesday William Price King returns with more musicians in the spotlight.

This week’s Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 142  offered the prompts ‘Character and Wild’.. with our choice of synonyms.  I have selected Protagonist and Primitive in a double etheree.

This is the first post from the archives of author, fitness advocate and photographer Terri Webster Schrandt. I chose this post to kick off Terri’s series, since I need a severe kick up the backside with regard to fitness..I need to do better…Perspectives on Fitness (2014)

Go get fit by walking up stairs

photo by Unsplash

This is the first post from the archives of Jim Borden who blogs on ‘Borden’s Blather’ across a variety of topics –Wellness Wednesday: Take a Two-Minute Walk Before You Read This (2015)


This is the second post from the archives of the eclectic blog of writer Marilyn Armstrong and I have selected this one from 2014 because I think most of us have a favourite, stand out year. Marilyn’s Favourite Year – 1969 (2014)

Apollo 11

This is the second post of author Antoinette Truglio Martin who began blogging in 2018.. I am going to share four posts from her archives that were part of her A-Z challenge last year.  Since my downfall is and has always been food….I enjoyed browsing Antoinette’s challenge. Now who does not like a hamburger….

This is the second post from author and designer, Valentina Cirasola who has three blogs all under the same roof to enjoy.Friday Fashion Blog   Home Designs Master Blog and The Good Life Blog. I have chosen this post as it shares the creativity of the young designers of tomorrow, some as young as 14 years old. Artistry in #Fashion (2016)- Valentina Cirasola

Student's display

This is the second post from the archives of Anne Copeland, writer of nonfiction articles, books, and poetry, as well as a mixed media and fiber artist. Fashion Sense More of Who I Will be Today (2018)

lady in funky clothes like Anne

This is the second post of author Ellen Hawley who has enjoyed a wonderfully varied career before leaving the United States to settle in Cornwall. I love Cornwall and its unique place in our history and also its determination to retain its language and customs. So I thought you would enjoy this post as much as I did. A Cornish mile and a Cornish saint (2016)

New Book on the Shelves

Author Update

They are expecting an earlier start to the flu season and here is some of the recent news, plus some strategies to beat the virus.

As a follow on from the update on the post on the flu, the start of the series on the Immune system and how it works.

Thank you again for all your support this week and I look forward to hearing from you should you wish to participate in any of the current or future promotions.. Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from the Archives – The Literary Column with Jessica Norrie – You’ve lost that reading feeling…

You’ve lost that reading feeling…Jessica Norrie

A beautiful thing is dying (not quite the words of the Righteous Brothers hit because of copyright laws). You don’t care if the book slips down the back of the sofa or gets left out in the rain; the hero can whistle and the heroine’s dull. No other story or setting would grab you either; they’re just lines of senseless words. For some time now, you haven’t been in the mood.

Instead you’ve got that rotten feeling. A lifelong, reliable healthy habit is failing you. With it disappears your route away from stress, your imaginary version of worlds where anything can happen but all will be resolved, and your escape from situations and conversations you aren’t enjoying. Gone too are access to laughter, empathy, information and travel, new friends (and adversaries), intrigue, entertainment and the luxury of shedding tears over something that never happened. You’re stuck in the real world with the fire doors locked.
Why does reading loss occur, does it matter, and if so, what can you do?

For me it happens when I’m stressed, or worse – unhappy, grieving, in pain perhaps. I lose concentration. Even low brow pot boilers (for which I have great respect) demand a minimum level of focus, and I can’t give it.

It also happens when external demands force themselves into my consciousness – not always a bad thing. I couldn’t read (much) when my children were small. My life rerouted to their time zone and responded to their exuberant or crashed out states – there didn’t seem to be much in between but it had been in the between times that I read. The children are taller than me now, and I’m reading again. Occasionally I read a novel so good I don’t know how to follow it – like the day after a special, rich meal when nothing seems appetising. Nor could I read when my job was demanding and the management unreasonable, or when my to-do list had more pages than a Victorian novel. I missed it.

You may be unable to read because of snacking on social media? But concentration is sapped by gobbits of other people’s trivia, or even snatches of worthwhile information, complete with comments, trolls and links to yet more trivia (or worthwhile information). This article on using social media at work calls it the “pinball effect”; the effect on leisure can’t be very different.

Even before social media, I used to find I could read on holiday in peaceful countryside, but not on city breaks where my senses were already over stimulated by lights, noise, architecture, traffic, food, entertainment…So during city breaks I give myself up to the art galleries I came for and leave reading for the aeroplane. In the countryside – well, the landscape tells its own story. That distant hill is a chapter with the next one behind, the foreground sheep are (restful) characters, and the path winding along the river is the narrative. People watching on the beach is a pleasure too, sitting in parasol shade before an ever changing screen of small stories. Or watching the waves, research has shown, leads the mind to a calmer and more creative space. To read or not to read – it doesn’t matter.

Paradoxically, it can be wanting/having to read that stops us, as when our attention can’t make it to page two of a book prescribed by a course or book group. Bookbloggers, wonderful people who review and publicise books without pay and get a lot of undeserved criticism, admit sometimes to feeling snowed under by the stacks their “hobby” has sent their way, and longing to read “just for themselves”. I’ve no patience with sites like Goodreads that encourage you to set reading targets, numbers of books and genres you’ll read in a week/month/year. We all have enough targets at school and work nowadays.

Reading should be a pleasure.

It does matter when stress takes away the ability to read. It’s a vicious circle because books and stories are exactly the relief we need. When grieving, I might find empathy; when feeling guilty or defensive about my behaviour I might find my reactions mirrored (hence my joy in Rachel Cusk’s  books inspired by her family life, and Elizabeth Jane Howard’s about mothers and daughters).

A bereaved friend found comfort in Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking. Everyone has different books that speak to them thus, echoing thoughts and expressing feelings on their behalf. Everyone knows the rare clarity of being surprised by a phrase into a standing ovation: “I feel that! She’s telling my story!” Reading those books is as good as therapy (and cheaper). The account makes sense of our experience and we take another step towards recovery.

When the loss of reading does matter, how can you get the pleasure back?
If you are not reading because you’re stressed or depressed, don’t make it yet another thing to beat yourself up about (I’m saddened how often I come across this on social media.) Do yoga instead, or mindfulness, or walk in the park, better still on a beach. One day you’ll read again.

This blog post will appear at the end of UK Mental Health Awareness Week. Perhaps you need something channelled towards the feelings you’re experiencing. I’m not suggesting people with severe mental ill health should be palmed off with a book, but mild to moderate sufferers may have books prescribed  to complement medication. The Reading Agency has some good lists here.

If you’re not reading because you can’t find anything that interests you or the last book was a hard act to follow, try a change of genre. Forget novels: try travel, biography or history – they’re full of stories too. Perhaps you’ve read too much of the same thing recently. Try poetry – each poem is different – and relatively short!

If a book seems turgid, is there a film version? The film will give you entry points and help you visualise.

Remember old favourites. For my mother this was P.G. Wodehouse, for my daughter Harry Potter, for me it’s loved childhood books. If I keep mentioning the same names in these blog posts it’s for a reason: Laura Ingalls Wilder,  Joan AikenHester Burton.  But you will have your own. Bill Bryson makes me laugh, and the chapters are short, always helpful when concentration is poor. “...what is the use of a book,” thought Alice, “without pictures or conversation?” – so look for illustrated books. Magazines are lighter; good magazines lead you back to good books anyway. Try Good Housekeeping (and its supportive book group).

We don’t always do ourselves favours. Is your reading light strong enough, are your glasses right, are you sitting comfortably? Is your phone out of reach and earshot?
Above all, don’t fret. Those who worry about not reading are not the people who should be worrying. They’ll read again one day. It’s the others who need to get on board.

Jessica Norrie ©2018

My thanks to Jessica for offering strategies for those times when reading might be the last thing on our minds… but actually might be beneficial in so many ways. Have you a book or author you turn to when you need to get your reading kick started again?

The Magic Carpet – Jessica’s new release.

Outer London, September 2016, and neighbouring eight-year-olds have homework: prepare a traditional story to perform with their families at a school festival. But Nathan’s father thinks his son would be better off doing sums; Sky’s mother’s enthusiasm is as fleeting as her bank balance, and there’s a threatening shadow hanging over poor Alka’s family. Only Mandeep’s fragile grandmother and new girl Xoriyo really understand the magical powers of storytelling. As national events and individual challenges jostle for the adults’ attention, can these two bring everyone together to ensure the show will go on?

One of the recent reviews for The Magic Carpet

Neville Filar 5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Read 14 August 2019

Based on what is obviously a deep love for and knowledge of the teaching of young children, Norrie weaves an utterly engrossing tale of contemporary London life.

I was gripped from the outset by the vibrant reality of her characters and situations
The writing style is apparently effortlessly easy. Situations develop ,are resolved and all the time one is hungry for more . To learn how the lives of these people who I quickly came to love will turn out. And how the children’s plays will be received when performed

The book has obviously been very fully researched . Not once did I feel that she verges on cliche. I cannot recommend this book too highly

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And on Amazon US:

Also by Jessica Norrie in English and German

Read the reviews buy the books:

and on Amazon US:

Find more reviews on Goodreads:

About Jessica Norrie

Jessica Norrie studied French literature at Sussex University, and trained as a teacher at Sheffield. Then she wandered into parenthood, told her now grown up children stories, and heard theirs. A qualified translator, she worked on an eclectic mix of material, from health reports on racehorses to harrowing refugee tales. She taught adults and children, co-authored a textbook and ran teacher training. In 2008 came the idea for “The Infinity Pool”, which appeared in 2015 (and in German in 2018). Her second novel “The Magic Carpet”, inspired by teaching language and creativity in multicultural schools, is published on July 22nd, and she is working on a third. She also spends time blogging, singing soprano, walking in the forest and trying to move out of London.

Connect to Jessica


I know Jessica would love your feedback on the post and it would be great if you could share. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – New Sunday Interview, Old Protagonists, Classic Music, Distinquished Guests and Pick ‘n’ Mix.

Welcome to the the post on the blog for the week that you might have missed.

Firstly, I mentioned last week that there would be a new Sunday Interview beginning soon.. and the promotional post went out today. All authors who are currently on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore are invited… and there is also an opportunity for other authors to join them after their initial book promotions.   I hope you will take a look at the post and take advantage of the opportunity to promote your work.

Secondly…Nothing much of note going on around here on a personal level, as the weather has been autumnal and we have had a lot of projects on. I am also offline during the mid part of the day working on my WIP.. which has now turned into 4 WIPs… I just can’t help myself!

As always my thanks to the contributors who bring such interesting content to the blog, and of course to you for supporting and sharing so brilliantly.

Jessica Norrie asks the question Can your protagonist be too old to be interesting? And offers some examples of books where the protagonist’s age is a key element of the story. BTW.. Jessica is undergoing eye surgery and will be back to respond to any comments in a few weeks.

The serialisation of my novel. Just an Odd Job Girl – Chapter One – Reflections on the Past.

Chapter Two – The Curriculum Vitae.

This week for Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 140 she has given us the prompt words Light and Dark and I selected the synonyms Fair and Night’ As last week I paid tribute to the dogs in our lives.. this week I thought the least I could do was pay homage to our cats. Double Etheree – A Cat’s Life by Sally Cronin

I hope you will enjoy my flash fiction in response to Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills  This week the prompt was sweet jam… and here is my 99 words, no more no less. Strawberry Jam by Sally Cronin

Those of us who have books available on Amazon and other online book sites, particularly ebooks are also vulnerable to pirates, and Debby Gies, D.G. Kaye, shares an interesting possible action we are taking to enable this. Felony or Flattery? #Copyright Infringement and Content Scraping

This week some of the classics I listen to ..

This is the third post of Debbie the DogLady who lives in Toronto, Canada and posts about travel, music, life and of course dogs. Meet Max.

Image Wikipedia commons

This is the third post from Marsi, who with her husband Robert, embarked on a four month journey west. I will be sharing posts from their trip in addition to other posts in their archives. In this post Marsi takes us to the other Las Vegas…in New Mexico. With Film Camera in hand, I Explore Quirky Las Vegas (New Mexico) by Marsi

Parisian Dry Cleaners in Las Vegas, New Mexico 35mm Film Photography

For L.T. Garvin’s third post, I have chosen a poem that I am sure you will enjoy too. The Fisherman by L.T. Garvin


This is the third post from the archives of author Claire Fullerton, and I have selected another of her pieces on life in Ireland as I am sure you will enjoy as much as I doThe Thing about Galway (2016) by Claire Fullerton

The Thing about Galway

This is the third post from author K.D.(Karen DeMers) Dowdall’s archivesKaren features guest posts and I have selected this one as even writers such as myself, with bad habits…. will find it useful. Ten Tips for Proof Reading and Editing (2017) by Karen DeMers Dowdall

This is the third post from the archives of Smitha Vishwanath who shares poetry, wonderful travel posts and life experiences on her blog. This week I am sharing one of Smitha’s favourite posts about family and returning to her roots.

A Few of My Favorite Words 2017 by Elizabeth Gauffreau Do you spend much time thinking about your favorite words, calling each one to the forefront of your mind so that you can explain to yourself once again just how much that word delights you and why?

This is the final post from the wonderfully varied archives of poet and author Ritu Bhathal. This week I have chosen the celebration and lessons learnt by Ritu when she lost two stone back in 2017… a great reminder of how you can lose weight healthily. #Weightloss #HealthyEating – 13 Tips I Learned Over The Last Year 2017 by Ritu Bhathal

This is the final post for author Chuck Jackson and I have selected a book review that he wrote for Educated, a memoir by Tara Westover Educated by Tara Westover

This is the final post from retired librarian and author Cathy Cade, who has been blogging since early 2018.  I thought that now you have been introduced to Cathy we might find out more about her in this post, where she was awarded the Sunshine Blogger Award.

This is the last of the posts this series, from the archives of author and poet Joy Lennick, This post by Joy, written in 2013 is on the subject of poetry and explores the distinctions between what is considered serious poetry and that which is written by us mere mortals! Serious poetry is art but is it too elitist? 2013 by Joy Lennick

This is the final post from the lovely Linda Bethea (for the series anyway) Good Old Champ (A Children’s Story) (2014)

Horse and HatIllustration Kathleen Holdaway Swain

New book on the shelves

Author Update

Last time I looked at the structure and basic function of the liver and in this post I want to cover some of the conditions that can effect this major organ.

There have been some studies that have identified that there is an increase in nutritional deficiency in the diet and here are three articles that are worth reading. Including A physician’s warning on the keto diet – Doctor Shivam Joshi

I hope I leave you dancing around your office with the partner of your choice… thanks for dropping in and I look forward to seeing you again next week..Sally