Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2020 – #Convents: the Religious Life of Medieval Women by Patricia Furstenberg

Welcome to the current series of Posts from Your Archives in 2020 and for the next week it will be running parallel with the new series which is all about Family and Friends and if you would like to participate here are the details: Posts from Your Archives April 2020 Family and Friends

This is the second post by author Patricia Furstenberg who shares her research into the religious life that became an option for women in the middle ages, as the founding of convents offered an alternative to marriage.

Convents - religious life of Medieval women

Convents: the Religious Life of Medieval Women

I am researching again, a task both exhilarating and overwhelming as I have to sieve such fascinating information and only retain the story bits that I need. I want to learn about Medieval women, especially, in the belief that women can write about war as well as take part in it. Mark Twain said: “The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice.” Hmm. So, here’s a bit of my research: Convents, the religious life of Medieval Women.

While most of us live in an era where women have freedom of speech, the right to education, to own a property, to a fair and equal wage and a life free from slavery and discrimination, let us remember that this wasn’t always the case.

After centuries-old prejudice against education for women the beliefs that women were not capable of learning or likely to use an education, medieval women had few choices and little support with regards to their own lives. When the average life expectancy was only 31 years, girls as young as 14 years were considered ripe for marriage, having no say no matter their intellectual or religious aspirations. Still, a few women resisted.

Convent of Christ in Tomar convents religious life medieval women

Convent of Christ in Tomar

Why Convents?

Convents were the first institutions to rise in the Early Middle Ages, mimicking closely the rise of monasticism in the West of Europe, from a desire to enhance celebrations of God and to expand Christianity. They came at the right time to meet the women’s need for education or for furthering their religious aspirations.

Saint Scholastica, the sister of Saint Benedict, dedicated herself to God from an early age. She spent her life in the company of other religious women and is considered the founder of the first convent during the 5th century, the women’s branch of Benedictine Monasticism.

Scholastica came from a wealthy family, having the means to support herself while pursuing her religious dreams without the shadow of a forced marriage looming over her youth.

Benedict and Scholastica, Klosterkirche Elchingen. Wikipedia. convents religious life medieval women

Benedict and Scholastica, Klosterkirche Elchingen. Wikipedia

Two centuries later the Canon laws, a set of ordinances made by the Church leadership, supported furthering the education for girls and women, directing the abbesses and the abbots to cultivate a love of reading in their communities and all members of its religious societies, male and female, to be literate in Latin.

Why join a convent?

During the Middle Ages, girls of seven years of age were sent by their families to a nunnery to gain an education until the age of 14 when they were expected to get married. Few girls dedicated their life to God to pursue a calling, like Christina of Markyate, a 12th century religious Englishwoman with visionary powers who, having made a vow of virginity in her youth and determined to resist marriage, fled to the protection of local hermits. A community of virgins grew around her, while through her spiritual and managing abilities she became the prioress of a flourishing Benedictine convent.

Some women saw in convent life the only way of pursuing their learning interests. There were also those who joined a convent to escape the dreary prospect of death through childbirth backed by marriage, often denigrated in favour of virginity. A virgin was respected more like a man than a married woman was.

And convents didn’t disappoint.

Scholarly nuns who rose to the rank of an abbess were treated as equals by men and their social class. Their voice, once silenced in their whisper, was suddenly heard through writings of treaties on logic or rhetoric, through music, even as advisors to popes, kings, and emperors, such as Hildegard of Bingen.

©Patricia Furstenberg 2019

My thanks to Pat for this fascinating look at religion for women and a look behind the doors to the convents of the time.

A small selection of other books (some in Afrikaans) by Patricia Furstenberg

One of the recent reviews for Silent Heroes

 Gina R Mitchell 5.0 out of 5 stars An intense, well-written war story  Reviewed in the United States on February 9, 2020

Silent Heroes is a thought-provoking story of a Marine K-9 unit serving in Afghanistan. The storyline is graphic and intense, yet, filled with the underlying beauty of the country.

I can not imagine the hours of research Ms, Furstenberg invested in writing such an in-depth book. She crafted every word to evoke the struggles the characters endure. The pacing is excellent. Just when you lose your breath due to the intensity, you are offered a respite through interactions with the elderly, women, and children.

The K-9 members of the unit are equally as important as the humans. Their job is dangerous, deadly, and essential to the survival of all. Each dog’s personality shines through the author’s words.

I learned quite a bit about the history of Afghanistan, and it’s people through the author’s well-crafted story.

This book should be required reading for everyone. I highly recommend this book to fans of fiction, drama, war stories, and history.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Patricia: Goodreads

About Patricia

Patricia Furstenberg is a multi-genre author, poetess and mother. With a medical degree behind her, Patricia is passionate about history, art, dogs and the human mind. “Silent Heroes” is her 13th book and her first contemporary fiction novel. So far Patricia wrote historical fiction, poetry and children’s books. All her books have one common denominator, dogs.

What fuels her is her fascination with words and coffee. She is the author of the bestseller Joyful Trouble and a prolific writer working on her next novel already, a historical fiction. Will it feature a dog as well? Only tme will tell. Patricia lives happily with her husband, children and dogs in sunny South Africa.

Connect to Patricia.

Blog: Alluring Creations
Twitter: @PatFurstenberg
Facebook: Patricia Furstenberg Author
LinkedIn: Patricia Furstenberg Author
Pinterest: Pat Furstenberg

My thanks again to Pat for allowing me to share her post, and I hope you will head over to browse through her archives.. thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives #Family and #Friends – Chess by Stevie Turner

Welcome to the new posts from your archives with a theme of family and friends. Very important as our support system at the moment as many of us are isolated and out of physical touch. If you would like details on how to participate here is the link: Posts from Your Archives April 2020 Family and Friends

Author Stevie Turner shares her memories of being taught to play chess by her father and the subsequent losses and victories over the years as she mastered the game.

Chess by Stevie Turner

My father unfortunately died far too young at only 49. However, he was a great teacher, and when I was about 8 or 9 he taught me how to play Chess.

20487182 - young boy playing chess on the competitions

Licence Obtained Copyright: photozi / 123RF Stock Photo

Most early evenings we would sit opposite each other at the chessboard after I had finished playing outside. Internet, together with mobile phones and iPads pinging and buzzing were a thing of the future, and there were no distractions. Mum liked to read, we didn’t have a landline phone, and the TV stayed off unless there was something interesting to watch.

Over a period of time I became rather better at planning my next move on the board. I never did manage to win any game against my father though, despite Mum telling Dad to let me win sometimes so that I wouldn’t want to give up. It didn’t occur to me to give up, because I always thought that someday I would beat him.

He taught me well enough for me to beat my uncle when I was 12. Dad was as proud as proud could be, although my uncle was somewhat less enthusiastic. This spurred me on to challenge Dad again and again, but with just the same disappointing results.

I was pleased to discover that my future husband-to-be also played Chess. After beating Sam at least 5 times in succession, he refused to play against me any more. Likewise both our sons refused as well, when they became teenagers; it was just too embarrassing to be beaten by a girl. Hey ho, it was all down to challenging the computer; I couldn’t win at all on the higher level, but managed a few victories on the less cerebral ones.

Dear old Dad. Every time I see a chessboard I think of him. I have a chess game on my iPad now, and if I get stuck I often think of what kind of move Dad might have made. I can even hear him in my inner ear telling me to ‘take that rook’ or ‘protect your king’. I’ve lost track of our old board and Chess pieces; I still remember the worn wooden box with its many scratches that we stacked the pieces in when it was time for my bath and bed. It had a special smell that made me think of my childhood and my dad. I think one of my sons might have it now, or possibly it might be right at the back of our loft.

Chess should be on the national curriculum for schoolchildren. It causes children to sit still and concentrate the mind, and it encourages lateral thinking. We could do with more chess-playing youngsters!

©Stevie Turner 2017

My thanks to Stevie for sharing this love post of memories and a great suggestion that children should be taught to play chess, I have not played for years but I imagine at this current moment in time, games are be brought out of the attic or taken out of cupboards and a new generation of fans might emerge.

A selection of books by Stevie Turner

One of the recent reviews for Finding David

Anita Dawes 5.0 out of 5 stars  Well written, but disturbing story…  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 17 March 2020

Hoping for a message from her son David, who disappeared years ago, Karen attends a Spiritual meeting with her husband, Mick. Through the medium, Karen receives a message from her son. This message shocks her and sends her on a journey of discovery, rocking the foundations of her marriage.

Her husband Mick is not a believer in these things and aggressively refuses to believe that David blames him for his death. This was a classic misunderstanding, for Mick is David’s stepfather.

Right from the beginning, I hoped the child would be found alive. I found myself wondering what I would do in those circumstances. The message would have to be convincing, like something no one else would know, for there are many so called mediums out there who prey on the vulnerable. I don’t understand what drives people to these meetings, surely it must only bring more heartache?

It was particularly distressing to witness the destruction of Karen’s marriage, although the husband’s attitude didn’t help. The author has done a brilliant job of creating a devastating story and believable characters, sometimes a little too realistic!

The medium in this story and the story itself, are remarkable, very believable, especially the effect this discovery had on the parents of the missing child. Finding David isn’t very long, but it certainly packs a punch…

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Follow Stevie Turner on: Goodreads

About Stevie Turner

Stevie Turner works part time as a medical secretary in a busy NHS hospital and writes suspense, women’s fiction, and darkly humorous novels in her spare time. She won a New Apple Book Award in 2014 and a Readers’ Favorite Gold Award in 2015 for her book ‘A House Without Windows’, and one of her short stories, ‘Checking Out’, was published in the Creative Writing Institute’s 2016 anthology ‘Explain!’ Her psychological thriller ‘Repent at Leisure’ won third place in the 2016 Drunken Druid Book Award contest.

Stevie lives in the East of England, and is married with two sons and four grandchildren. She has also branched out into the world of audio books, screenplays, and translations. Most of her novels are now available as audio books, and one screenplay, ‘For the Sake of a Child’, won a silver award in the Spring 2017 Depth of Field International Film Festival. ‘A House Without Windows’ gained the attention of a New York media production company in December 2017.

Some of Stevie’s books are currently being translated into German, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.

Connect to Stevie Turner

Website: Stevie Turner Author
Facebook: Stevie Turner Author
Twitter: @StevieTurner6
Blog: Stevie Turner WordPress
Pinterest: Stevie Turner Author
YouTube: Stevie Turner

Thanks again to Stevie and if you have stories about family and friends you would like to share then here are the details again: Posts from Your Archives April 2020 Family and Friends

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2020 – #Caribbean – Directionally Challenged! by Apple Gidley

Welcome to the current series of Posts from Your Archives in 2020 and if you would like to participate with two of your posts from 2019, you will find all the details in this post: New series of Posts from Your Archives 2020

This is the second post by author Apple Gidley and this week she shares a light-hearted look at driving on the island of St.Croix.

Directionally Challenged!

Pride is a sin, or so I’m told. But like most things, it’s moderation that really counts. And I’m not talking about pride in other people’s accomplishments – our children, our spouse and so on. No, I mean pride in ‘weself’. Although a little pride is what gets us out of our pajamas each morning. And as a writer, if I didn’t have an element of pride in my work, I’d never pluck up the courage to send it out and risk the plethora of rejections that inevitably come back.

I do confess to also being proud of my sense of direction and, on the whole, my ability to take directions. Do please note I wrote ‘directions’ and not ‘direction’ – I’m not so good at the latter. I am also a good map reader, which is why I despise Google Maps. Something to which I will not resort unless in dire circumstances – like I’m running very, very late… because I got lost!

But that’s all changed now I am spending more time on St Croix. I am now regularly totally and utterly directionally challenged. And that is on an island roughly 84 square miles in area, with the highest point being Mount Eagle at 1,165 feet. Roads numbers do not always tally with actual roads. Island maps show roads that once may have been passable but are no longer – you know those little dash-dash-dash lines that promise entry and egress but in reality peter out.

Like Houston, St Croix is afflicted with pot holes. Neither the powers-that-be in Houston nor on St Croix have not actually figured out the sense of ‘do it properly, one time’. But we have a sense of humour about it. My favourite bumper sticker here is also most comforting. It reads, “Not drunk, dodging potholes!” I almost drove off the road laughing.

I wasn’t laughing though a couple of weeks ago. We had visitors from Australia. Long-standing friends who are used to the vagaries of life – be it unplanned adventures, inclement weather or crazy hosts. Rorie is the epitome of a laconic Aussie farmer. Mary’s sense of humour has been, I’m sure, tested greatly throughout their long marriage, as has his. Be that as it may, they are great chums both to each other and us. We had decided on a driving day, and so our aptly named truck, Otto (Over The Top Off-roader), was geared up and taken for a spin.

I thought we were heading along Scenic Route East – a misnomer really, apart from the east bit. The tan-tan is as tall as an elephant’s eye and the glistening Caribbean Sea is merely a pencil mark through the scrub scrabbling up the hillside covered with creepers. Mainly Bride’s Tears, spaghetti vine and some kind of pea, all attempting to turn the bush into a palette of pink, yellow and purple. Pretty but invasive plants intent on strangling local flora. In any event, after the nails-on-a-chalkboard scratching of thorns along Otto, Mount Eagle seemed to be where we were heading. I wasn’t quite sure how we got there, but there was no turning back until we reached the summit.

I think I told you Rorie was a cool-cat, unfazed by the peculiarities of life in the left lane – oh, let me explain. The Virgin Islands, for some inexplicable reason, manouvre left-hand steering-wheeled vehicles on the left side of the road. It can at times produce, for those sitting in line of oncoming traffic, a dashboard-clutching drive. Anyway, Rorie was doing very well.

Until he wasn’t.

Mary was trying to catch glimpses of the ocean, or anything other than more tan-tan – and was rewarded with a flash of grey mongoose on the dusty red trail ahead. There was no left lane here. But she could afford some element of sang-froid. She and my husband, our driver, were on the hill side of the rapidly narrowing track, and her gaze skimmed over the bushes and through the trees, not down the hill where remnants of rusted vehicles peeked from under vines, giving testament to an ill-advised spin of the wheel.

“Steer left a bit, mate.” Rorie’s words were calm. I had lost the power of speech as I leaned out the window and saw an inch of rubbly road then nothing but a tangle of scrub waiting to claim us in the ravine below. Okay, maybe not a ravine exactly, but a steep gully that would not make any of us feel good should we flip into it.

“I’m in 4 wheel-drive,” John said, his voice soothing.

“Not much use if there’s only air under the wheels!” Rorie commented.

The view from the top was worth the drive and, taking the right fork, the road more travelled, on the way down the hill, we eventually found our way to where I had thought we were going….. It turns out my pride has been misplaced all these years. I am directionally challenged.

But then guidance on St Croix is a little vague. Landmarks long gone are still used as reference points. I have since learnt if we had only turned right, where the tall palm blew down in the hurricanes eighteen months ago, and not at the signpost that categorically stated Scenic Drive East, we would have been fine.

That’s another idiosyncrasy of Crucian driving!

©Apple Gidley

Thanks to Apple for sharing her driving adventure, I am sure you have your own to share with us in the comments.

Books by Apple Gidley

About the book

The Danish-owned island of 1870s Saint Croix vibrates with passion and tension as Anna Clausen, a young Anglo-Danish woman, returns to her childhood home after her mother’s death. Her heart sinks at what she finds on arrival. Her father is ailing and desolate and her beloved plantation, Anna’s Fancy, which has been in the Clausen family for three generations, is in shambles.

The unwelcome lust of one man and forbidden love for another makes Anna’s return to Saint Croix even more turbulent. Despite the decline in the sugar industry she is determined to retain Anna’s Fancy but must first win the trust of her field workers, of Sampson the foreman, and the grudging respect of Emiline the cook and local weed woman.

Fireburn tells of the horrors of a little-known, bloody period of Caribbean history. Anna weathers personal heartache as she challenges the conventions of the day, the hostility of the predominantly male landowners and survives the worker rebellion of 1878, 30 years after Emancipation.

Rich in description, Fireburn is a well-researched novel that shines a light on a historic period in Saint Croix that has received little attention in literature until now. Gillian Royes, The Goat Woman of Largo Bay

One of the recent reviews for Fireburn

David S. Williams –5.0 out of 5 stars Blend of cultures and customs was adequately written.  Reviewed in the United States on January 7, 2020

Great historical novel blending the local lingo and people with European settlers. Book was fair and objective. Good research on historical sites in St Croix and England.

Never got an explanation why the principal language in the Danish West Indies was English even though the Danes owned them for over 100 years before selling them to the U.S.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Also by Apple Gidley

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Apple: Goodreads

About Apple Gidley

A transient life has seen Anglo-Australian Apple Gidley live in countries as diverse as Papua New Guinea and Thailand, Equatorial Guinea and the USA, and another eight in between. Her memoir, Expat Life Slice by Slice tells of the highs and lows of that nomadic life – one she wouldn’t trade for all the proverbial tea in one of the places she hasn’t lived, China.

Gidley’s roles have been varied – editor, intercultural trainer for multi-national corporations, Her Britannic Majesty’s Honorary Consul to Equatorial Guinea, amongst others. She started writing full time twelve years ago.

Gidley writes a regular blog, A Broad View, and has two published novels, Fireburn and Transfer, which are set on St Croix, and she has stories published in various anthologies and is working on a book of short stories. A novel, set in 1950’s Malaya is currently with agents and she is now working on another historical novel set in Poland and India.

Connect to Apple

Website: Apple Gidley
Blog: Apple Gidley WordPress
Facebook: Apple Gidley
Twitter: @ExpatApple
LinkedIn: Apple Gidley
Pinterest: Apple Gidley

Thanks to Apple for sharing her post with us all and I hope you will head over to explore her archives in more detail..thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives #Family and #Friends – Brotherly Love by Jane Sturgeon

Welcome to the new posts from your archives with a theme of family and friends. Very important as our support system at the moment as many of us are isolated and out of physical touch. If you would like details on how to participate here is the link: Posts from Your Archives April 2020 Family and Friends

Author Jane Sturgeon starts the series with a lovely post sharing her own bond with her brother and that between his two small sons.

Brotherly Love

Tom and Jasper with love

My brother sent this picture of his two youngest sons Tom and Jasper, and with his blessing I am sharing it here.

I was seven and my sister five when our baby brother joined us. Mum says that I was delighted that her and Dad had brought a real, live dolly into our home.

I loved him from the first second and our bond has always been a strong one. Jon and I have a loving understanding that goes beyond words and although there have been years when we have been thousands of miles apart, our loving song never falters. His wisdom has caught me on a fair few occasions and our loving honesty and support for each other has been a constant grace.

Jon and Jojo are very creative and engaging parents and both boys have been articulate from a young age. Tom called on his recent birthday and we were having a lovely chat about his presents. Mid-stream he was telling me about some Doctor Who collectables he had been given and Jasper piped up in the background. Tom with practised wisdom passed the phone over to his younger brother and this is what followed…..

Jasper ‘Hello Jane, they are rreeeeeaaalllly scary’
Me ‘What’s scary Darling’
Jasper ‘Tom’s presents, they are rreeeeaaalllly scary’
Me ‘Are they? Which one’s Darling?’
Jasper ‘The Daleks, they are rreeeeeeaaalllly, rreeeeeaaalllly scary’

He handed the phone back to his brother muttering how rreeeeeaaallly scary they were.

Tom and I were giggling so hard it was tricky to finish the call properly. With luck, and some planning, I will get a pet care/house sit on The Isle of Wight so I can see and cuddle them all.

These two little boys are having a wonderful upbringing surrounded by love from all the generations and family ties. Our wish for them is to always have the special bond they share, as the love of my brother is a precious gift for me.

©Jane Sturgeon

About the book

Each one of us holds stories about ourselves and these drive our lives. Thoughts are attached to emotions and actions spring from how we feel. Old stories can be re-written, new stories can be crafted and discoveries are made along the way. It is the tapestry of life and yes, you can weave with whatever threads you choose. Loving support, fresh perspectives and new life tools can make all the difference.

A recent review for the book

Brigid P. Gallagher 5.0 out of 5 stars Words that Radiate a Beautiful Inner Wisdom  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 14 February 2020

Jane Sturgeon hopes her readers will “dip in and out as you need” and that her first book “gifts you a peaceful place to rest, reflect and find more self acceptance.”

She shares experiences from her life – unique moments of tenderness, the joy of Nature, of her two marriages, lessons on perfectionism, instinct, getting hijacked, staying small…
She has a beautiful gift for words. I particularly liked her creative writing exercise on sea glass:

“Because I am like sea glass; never perfect, never finished, and I have lived in so many places across the world that I have no roots. I carry my home in my heart. “

Although short in length, Jane’s book is not short on wisdom. It is indeed perfect for dipping in and out as you need.

Head over and buy the book: Amazon UK

And Amazon US: Amazon US

Read more reviews and follow Jane: Goodreads

About Jane Sturgeon

Jane Sturgeon has been a systems analyst, trainer, technical author, painter, psychic medium, furniture restorer, de-clutterer and life support coach. She has lived in Africa and The States, looked after many farms, loved through two marriages, is Mum to an extraordinary young woman and loves making things. She lives next to the Mersey River where it meets the Irish Sea and shares her life with loved ones and an impressive collection of yarn.

Self-awareness is the first book in her Writing on Water series.

Connect to Jane

Amazon Author Page: Amazon UK
Blog: Jane Sturgeon WordPress
Facebook: Jane Sturgeon
Twitter: @JaneSturgeon3

Thanks to Jane for her lovely post, and if you would like to share stories about your own family or friends, I would love to post them. Posts from Your Archives April 2020 Family and Friends

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – March 29th – April 4th 2020 – Musique Mechanaique, Finger Limes, Letters from America and all that Jazz

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

I doubt that there are many of you who are not in some form of self-isolation at the moment and I hope that you have everything you need to keep your spirits up. It is saving our lives and I must admit that even going out once a week for my fresh vegetables and fruit does have me spooked as I try to avoid the invisible serial killer roaming the aisles. Thankfully, the majority of people here are very good about self-distancing and being respectful. Some are wearing masks or scarves as I do, and latex gloves.

The supermarkets are taped for distancing and the checkout staff are behind perspex. Everyone is doing their bit and again, they and the healthcare sector are heroes for turning up each day.

I thought you might like to share a special moment. For the last couple of years, my lucky black ceramic cat has sat next to the front door looking out on the world. One morning just after I placed it there, a black cat came to visit. He still does from time to time, but as you can see he is observing social distancing. I have no idea why he keeps coming back as he gets no response from our cat, but I guess he might be determined to do so one day.

Stay safe and as I have previously offered, if you are struggling and would like to chat online then please email me at

And in the spirit of getting together and having a little fun, despite the circumstances, there is a party going on over Easter weekend 11th and 12th April. There are still some spots available and I hope you will participate…

This Easter most of us will be in isolation from family and friends and I know how tough that can be. However, as planned the Easter Parade will go ahead and I hope that you will join me over the two days.

Apart from an opportunity to share your blog and books, it is also a chance to meet others who will be featured or who drop in.

There will be food provided as always and something to drink as well as a bit of music. Since the theme is ‘Flashback’ – the music will be from the 1960s – 1980s.  All I need from you is a photograph taken any time in that time period along with a favourite song of the era.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Easter Parade Blog Party April 11th/12th 2020 – #Flashback Photos, food and music

William Price King -Carla Bley – American jazz composer, pianist, organist and bandleader

Carol Taylor – A – Z of Food – ‘F’ for Figs, Finger limes, Flambe, Fenugreek, Fruit Pectin,Fugu

The two final stories of this collection.

Yves – Be careful what you wish for

Zoe – Looking into the future

FamilySaga – Under a Dark Cloud by Mary Crowley

I wrote this piece about the dreaded driving test that we had to take to enable us to buy a car and get insured. We both had full licences from the UK but had to give this up and obtain a Texas licence…

Letters from America 1985-1987 – Adventures in the USA – The Driving Test Texas Style

Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge – #ButterflyCinquain -The Air

Smorgasbord Health Column – Food Therapy – The Banana – Pre-Wrapped nutrient boost on the go

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Special -Pre-order for May 5th – Anthology – The Road to Liberation – Trials and Triumphs of World War II

Shortstory Jonah: The hardest demons to face are internal by Jan Sikes

Mystery James J. Cudney, Family Mary Crowley, Cyberpunk C.S. Boyack

Poetry M.J. Mallon, #Mystery Sharon Marchisello, #Paranormal Marcia Meara

#Dystopian Teri Polen, #Poetry Frank Prem, #Horror Vashti Quiroz Vega

medieval stabbur in norway

#Travel – Numedal Valley in #Norway – Amanda McLaughlin of Forestwood Folk Art

Image result for bizet's carmen

SoCS 2019.09.20 – Two Unwrapped Gifts by Miriam Hurdle

Melancholy – Confusion by Apple Gidley

Life 16 Things We Can Do in Our 50’s that We Couldn’t in Our 20’s by Cheryl Oreglia

Bookreview by Kevin Cooper – Fallout by Harmony Kent

More funnies from D. G. Kaye and some new material from Sally

More funnies from D. G. Kaye and some new material from Sally

More seclusion humour from the senior team


Thank you for taking the time to visit today and during the week. It means a great deal…stay safe and I hope you will join me again next week for more fun and games…Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2020 -the #BTO GardenWatch – 30DaysWild | 4 – completing the missions by Jemima Pett

Welcome to the current series of Posts from Your Archives in 2020 and if you would like to participate with two of your posts from 2019, you will find all the details in this post: New series of Posts from Your Archives 2020

This is the first post from the archives of author Jemima Pett.. The British Trust for Ornithology has a number of science projects where they invite the participation of the public. One of these is the BTO GardenWatch – Jemima Pett conducted her own 30 Days Wild Watch last June, and here is a snapshot of what she discovered and achieved.

30 Days Wild

Week 4 of 30 Days Wild sees me completing the Gardenwatch missions, and adding in more Random Acts of Wildness. There are only four days left in June, as I’m writing this for Thursday. There’ll be a final round-up on Monday, with, hopefully, some pictures of the special event I’m doing on Saturday.

Back to the week just gone. Wild Days 21-26


After an exhausting day on Thursday (see last week) I missed the start to the Longest Day, only waking up at 8.30! Unheard of for me. It was a lovely day, warm, with plenty of sun and cloud in equal measure. Good for being in the garden, pulling out spent flowers and exposing those in flower, planting out more vegetables from seedtrays, and, between 21:30 and 22:00, doing a bat survey.

I wasn’t expecting much, so I was relatively pleased with six pipistrelles (two common and four soprano) and two whiskered bats. The whiskered decided to investigate me further as I stood in front of my house with my bat detector,. They flew along the front of our houses, turned at the trees on the other side and returned a couple of times. The pipistrelle were mainly flying over the millstream upstream of the mill itself, and flying over my garden in pursuit of insects too. The common pips were around the front of the house, over the gardens and up the side of my house over my wildflower patch.

This sounds good, but it is less than a quarter of what I might expect this time of year. I think over-zealous river management is to blame, but changes to the properties might also have disturbed their roosts. I’ll check back next month and see if there are more around then.

wild flowers at dusk

The white flowers in the wildflower garden were showing well at 10 pm 🙂


More of the same, weatherwise. I had started reading Mark Cocker’s Crow Country yesterday. Today I marked several passages worth further thought, and got several more ideas for a new book project I’m working on in the background.

His discussion on ornithologists (bird-watchers) as counters of birds rather than observers of birds struck me as very interesting. The general public see every birdwatcher as a ‘twitcher’ which is really only applicable to those who seek out rarities and dash off wherever they might be found, especially to add them to their lists. Mark’s premise seems to be that we all, unconsciously or not, are simply listers, because when we go for a walk, we don’t stop at the first flock of bluetits or bed of nettles and spend our allotted time studying them. We move on, in search of other sights and sounds.

He’s right, of course, but it’s still a sweeping statement. There are those of us who study patches (as he does himself with his rook studies), but recording the trends in birds present or absent, tying it in with food sources in some cases, is closer to the sort of ornithology of the old ‘natural scientists’ from whom Natural History developed.


To prove Mark right in some ways, and me in others, I was delighted to see a juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker on my seed feeder this morning.

Yes, I recorded it. But I also watched it for the ten minutes it was there (it couldn’t have been there much longer, since I’d been in the garden just before I came upstairs). Firstly, to spot its red head, which indicates juvenile plumage, but then to laugh as it clearly had not yet got the knack of feeding from the tube. Mine has ring-perches, which make it easier for forward feeders (like woodpeckers and robins) to perch and grab some food through the hole. This woodpecker pecked forward straight, supporting itself with its tail just fine. Then it decided to go for a seed at an angle through the hole, at which point its tail slipped sideways off the round tube, leaving it dangling. It didn’t seem strong enough to do what the adults do, which is to dangle from the lower rings without tail support.

It certainly managed a good feed, though. I apologise for not taking a photo of it.


A hot muggy day, with showers. Hot as in 27 deg C, which is about 80 F. Maybe not hot for you, but it was 8 degrees (C – 15 F) higher than yesterday, very humid, and fairly unpleasant.

I fitted in my last activity for Gardenwatch, the Worm Detective.

  1. Dig a hole 30cm x 30 cm x 5cm. The size of my washing up bowl, as it happens.
  2. Put the soil in the washing up bowl.
  3. Identify and record worms in length groupings, and also other minibeasts, as you sprinkle the soil back into the hole
  4. Put all the soil back and the turf on top and pat down.
  5. Record findings on the website.
  • Results: worms in size categories under 2 cm=2, 4 cm=7, 6 cm=2, 8 cm=1, 10 cm=1 and over 10 cm=0; woodlouse 1, millipede 1, grub 1.
  • I wonder how it would compare with a section done in a vegetable patch?


Golf at Caister, on the coast, with my friend Jean. We became friends when we discovered a shared love of birds, whilst working out what the strange ones on her course were one very wet April. They were whimbrel.

Despite Natural England requiring the golf club to cut a lot of their gorse down to allow a rare grass to grow more, the birds that liked the gorse are still around. Most of the course is a SSSI, a fact which Jean discovered and uses to lobby the management to ensure the course is looked after in an environmentally sustainable manner.

The birds were delightful. The flocks of Painted Lady butterflies were magnificent. The less said about the golf, the better.


More golf, this time at my regular course. I was very aware of the birdsong at the course in the Midlands I visited last week, so I noted the chiffchaff, dunnock, wren and blackbird singing on my home course. Not as much as there used to be, but unfortunately there was very loud building work going on in the neighbouring site. Maybe the birds are as aware of the changes afoot as the rest of us members.

Checked out my wildflower patch to see a huge patch had been flattened, possibly by cats jumping into it. But there are now three Bee Orchids, and a new blue spiky flower which I need to identify. The other tall stand of blue flowers near the front of the patch are Viper’s Bugloss, but this isn’t the same, and it isn’t plain Bugloss. It might be Spiked Speedwell, but I think the leaves are too strap-like.

The St John’s Wort is coming into flower, and some of the Ragwort, except for those hosting a lovely mass of cinnabar moth caterpillars! The Lady’s Bedstraw has establihsed itself in good numbers, having only started to gorow last year. I hope it will attract lots of caterpillars for nice moths.

It looks like the Meadowsweet has gone. I’m thinking of digging up a couple of tracts of soil in the autumn to see if it brings the poppies up again. They are at their best on soil which has been disturbed.

Some lovely very dark butterflies were around the wildflowers, probably Ringlets, since they are noted for flying in cloudy weather.


I’m torn between going for a walk, either one of my old regular patches, or to the pingo ponds which I’ve explained in the past, or getting a major piece of garden maintenance done. The weather is cool and overcast, and we’re just waiting for the superheatwave to hit us from the continent. I should do both before that heat hits.

See what my decision is on Monday!

©Jemima Pett

About Jemima Pett

When Jemima Pett discovered the words ‘portfolio career’ she realised she was an example of a new trend – having not only a number of different jobs, but in totally different fields. These included social work, business management, computer technology, environmental research. The thread running through all of them was communication – and that continued in her spare time with writing and editing club magazines, manuals, reports… Jemima loved words, loved to learn and to apply her learning to the real world.

Eventually the world just wasn’t big enough, and so she went back to inventing her own, as she had as a child. First came the Realms, a feudal England run by princes in castles who just happen to be guinea pigs – although you can read them as people equally well. Then came the Viridian System, a planetary area on the outskirts of known space where a frontier mentality mixes with big business and tourism. Her next project could be anything from a D&D fantasy type world, to a children’s picture book about the real adventures of her guinea pigs, who live with her in a small village in Norfolk, UK.

The latest release from Jemima Pett.

About the book

The Princelings of the East are now King Fred and Prince Engineer George. Gone are the years of innocence when they travelled for adventure and uncovered time tunnels and pirate plots.

Now Fred, assisted by his queen, Kira, has the responsibility for his people, his lands, and for persuading the lords and kings of the Realms to act together for the common good.

George just has to work on his inventions, always thinking of a final goal: to fulfil the promises made to Lord Mariusz so long ago.

Neither has an easy task.

Fred decides to write this history of his reign. He starts with the joy of his inheritance, but quickly shows us that developments in the Realms are not leading towards a settled and happy future.

Chronicles of Marsh is book 9 of the Princelings of the East series, and fills a gap between previous books and the final one, Princelings Revolution, due next year. It takes us from Fred’s first days as king, to the loss of the latest and most promising flying machine, a period of 8 years. The pressures of modern life will be familiar to readers, even if the princelings world doesn’t have the internet and mobile communications… yet.

A recent review for the book

A great recap of the adventures of King Fred and Princeling George, plus some new information the reader will need to know before the final book comes out.

Head over to buy to buy the book: Amazon UK

And:Amazon US

A small selection of other books by Jemima Pett

Read all the reviews for all the books and buy: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Jemima on Goodreads: Goodreads

Connect to Jemima

Blog: Jemima Pett
Twitter: @jemima_pett
Facebook: Jemima Pett

My thanks to Jemima for sharing her posts with us and I hope you will head over to explore her archives…thanks Sally

If you live in the UK and would like to participate in this important environmental study, check out  BTO GardenWatch

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – March 8th – 14th 2020 – Elephant Ears, Crispy Chicken, Funny Girl, Music, Guests, Books and Humour

Welcome to the Smorgasbord weekly round up with posts that you might have missed.

A tough week for everyone and even more difficult if you have family and friends who might be in the middle of the worst infection rates of the Coronavirus pandemic. Whilst we have been used to being in an isolated environment and with only two of us to worry about, my heart goes out to young families coping with not only making sure they have food to put on the table and other essentials, but with the childcare dilemma that they have to manage.

I also think that the healthcare staff who are exposed to the virus on a daily basis and who are working extra shifts to care for those infected should be recognised as being angels. Many of them are being infected themselves, and being overworked and probably not taking care of themselves as much as they should, they are at far greater risk than we are.

Also the staff in the supermarkets and pharmacies that are open and serving thousands of customers going through the checkouts. They have recommended that people use contactless cards, but they have a limit which is not sufficient for most weekly shops.

The keypads of ATMs and card machines are potential contagion sites and I have been using a sticking plaster on my index finger that I use to type in my PIN number and then carefully disposing of it in the nearest bin.

When I do the one shop a week now I am wearing latex gloves and peeling them off after shopping. Obviously there is a great deal of hand washing following any kind of outside contact.

We are slightly behind the rest of Europe here in Ireland, with new cases everyday but most associated with travel, or close contact with others on their return. All the schools, colleges and nurseries are shut until March 29th, and large gatherings, such as the renowned St. Patrick Day parades have been cancelled.

I hope that wherever you are that you are safe, supported and if you are on your own or worried and need to chat then please reach out and email me on… I may not physically be able to help, but very happy to support in anyway I can.

A note with regard to the Cafe and Bookstore…If you have a new book out in the next four weeks either on pre-order or available then please let me know. I am working a week ahead at the moment as I get on with my own projects, but I don’t want to miss helping launch your books.  All I need is the title of the book and the link on Amazon.

If you are new to the Cafe and Bookstore you will find all the details on how to get your FREE book promotion up and running: Cafe and Bookstore Free Author Promotion

Time to get on with the posts from the week…. I hope you enjoy.

Carol Taylor – A – Z of Food – ‘E’ for Egg Plant, Escargot, Elephant Ears and many more Eezee recipes and foods

Italian Cookery with Silvia Todesco – How to make crunchy Chicken Drumsticks

Romance – Marriage Unarranged by Ritu Bhathal

Another two stories from this collection

Sonia – In Search of Prince Charming

Theresa – The Checkout

Colleen Chesebro Tanka Tuesday Poetry No 168 – Shadorma – Memories

Butterfly Cinquain – Creatures of the Night – Sally Cronin

Don’t Rain on My Parade – Funny Girl

My Name is Danny – Tales from Danny the Dog – Andrew Joyce

Pre-Order for March 18th – Frozen Stiff Drink: A Kellan Ayrwick Cozy Mystery (Braxton Campus Mysteries Book 6) by James J. Cudney

Thriller Yigal Zur, War Romance Marina Osipova, Mystery Amy M. Reade

Family Christa Polkinhorn, Contemporary Jessica Norrie, Memoir J.E. Pinto

Paranormal Mae Clair, YA Darlene Foster, #Supernatural Don Massenzio


Poetry Borrow My Place by Miriam Ivarson

Promoting Literacy – Pete Springer

Poetry – Earth and Sky by Balroop Singh

Chinese Style Tea Pot

A tale of Two Tea Pots by Tasker Dunham

Memoir – Another chapter from my life book: Dodgy Guests, Ms. Groves & ‘Dr. Strangeglove’ by Joy Lennick

Food Therapy – The Exotic Carrot

Book recommendation Claire Fullerton, Freelance Nicholas Rossis, Flash Fiction Charli Mills

IWD Willow Willers, Retirement Jim Borden, Colcannon New Vintage Kitchen

More funnies from D. G. Kaye and some new material from Sally

Comedian in Residence D.G. Kaye and some new material from Sally

On Friday due to a senior moment you got two videos for the price of one…..

Thank you so much for dropping in today.. stay safe and I hope you will pop in again next week. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up March 1st – 7th 2020 – #Backup larders #Jazz, Books, Guests, Humour and Health

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

I hope everyone is doing well despite the ‘virus’, floods, tornadoes, fake news and politics. It is so easy to become panicked when you see what might be ahead and the papers are doing a very good job of keeping us informed but also creating a fear culture.

Healthy living has never been so important and a fully functioning immune system over the next few weeks and possibly months is vital. Especially for those with underlying health issues, such as the elderly. Apart from washing hands in hot water and soap frequently and avoiding crowds etc, we do need to make sure that we have a nutritionally balanced diet to maintain a healthy immune system system.

The governments are going to do their best to keep food and essential household products on the shelves and we are going to have to trust that it will happen without panic buying.

Having seen the images of what some people are grabbing off the shelves,clearly beer, chocolate and crisps appear to be classified as essential food groups for some.

Whilst I am not rushing out to buy food or these essentials, it is a possibility that as we are in our later 60s, we will be considered at risk and might have to self-isolate even if we do not have the virus.

We used to get snowed in when we lived in the mountains in Spain during the winter months, and it even happened here for over a week the first year in this house in Ireland. I have always kept a basic survival larder that is sufficient to keep us going for at least a couple of weeks.

If you are faced with self-isolation and still want to maintain a healthy nutritional diet for you and the rest of the household here are some of my basics for two weeks should we have to manage without shopping. As you know I do not recommend the use of industrially manufactured foods in a normal diet and prefer the cook from scratch approach. However, at times you might have to fall back on to some canned goods and cereals, but if you choose the ones that are low in sugar then it is not going to cause you harm in the short term.

For other posts on the immune system, supplements, and health you can find more information in the Health Column Directory

I keep a week’s worth of fresh vegetables and fruit topped up every shop that I make and if they start to wilt, I will cook off and they keep for another few days in the fridge.

In the freezer- depending on the size and ours is quite small.

  • I keep some frozen vegetables – carrots, broccoli and cauliflower mix, butternut squash, onion, mushrooms.
  • Protein in the form of chicken, beef mince and fish.
  • Butter and cheese (both keep for at least three months in the freezer if well wrapped)
  • Some pre-prepared meals that offer a full nutritional balance – Brown Rice Pilaf
  • Slow cooked stews of meat and vegetables in family sized portions.
  • Fresh eggs can last about three weeks after their best buy date in the fridge

In the larder

  • Tinned tuna, salmon and sardines.
  • Tinned soups that can be used as a base for a more substantial meal.
  • Marmite, honey and nut butter.
  • Brown Rice, whole grain pasta, brown bread (I make my own Irish Soda Bread but you can buy ready prepared mixes). Good quality muesli and porridge oats. Wholegrain rice cakes and oat cakes.
  • Dried beans and lentils
  • Tinned tomatoes, tubes of tomato puree and garlic puree, dried herbs such as basil, oregano and turmeric. Jars of pasta sauce.
  • PIckled vegetables such as beetroot.
  • Olive oil and coconut oil.
  • Jars of carrots, spinach and green beans (useful during power outages).
  • Canned pears and mandarins in juice.
  • Good quality fruit juice without added sugar I have cranberry, orange and apple.
  • Dried apricots and walnuts.
  • Long life milk – Dairy or coconut or almond milk.
  • Tea – Black, Green and lemon and Ginger
  • Water (although that is unlikely to be a problem)
  • Some 80% dark chocolate.

I hope that has been of some help with regard to having a back up in your larder that will provide you with foods that will help maintain your immune system over a hopefully short period of time without access to shops. As always if you have any questions please let me know.

Time to get on with this week’s posts and as always my thanks to my guests and their amazing contributions.

Jazz Pianist and Composer Thelonious Sphere Monk with William Price King

Two more stories from this collection.

Queenie Coming Back to Life

Rosemary – The First Date

Poetry and Prose Mr. Sagittarius by M. J. Mallon

Examining Kitchen Cupboards by Stevie Turner

Historical Caribbean – Fireburn by Apple Gidley

Eradication War of Nytefall Book 4 Charles Yallowitz

Mystery – Bay of Secrets by J.A. Newman

Dog Tales Patty Fletcher, Poetry Natalie Ducey, Paranormal Thriller John W. Howell and Gwen Plano

Poetry Balroop Singh, Thriller Lucinda E. Clarke, Memoir D.G. Kaye

Children’s Deanie Humphrys Dunne, Fantasy Deborah Jay, Historical Andrew Joyce


Poetry – The Paintbox by Miriam Ivarson

Family History Marian Longenecker Beaman

Humanity – Are We Selfish by Balroop Singh

Live Like a Millionaire by Sharon Marchisello

Looking back at 2019 by Judy Penz Sheluk

Food Therapy – The Humble Potato

Whilst we are all concerned about the spread of Coronavirus, there is a danger lurking in the food that we eat, particularly that prepared by rogue takeaway kitchens.

Food Poisoning on the increase 2.5 million cases in UK 2019

Cathy Ryan

March 2nd Book Recommendations from D.L. Finn, Annika Perry and Cathy Ryan

March 3rd Romania Pat Furstenberg, Review Liz Gauffreau, Fantasy Teagan Geneviene

Author Spotlight James J. Cudney, Book offer Darlene Foster, Funnies The Story Reading Ape

Legacy Sue Vincent, Afghanistan Mary Smith, Weather Carol Taylor

#Translations Miriam Hurdle, #Poetry Pamela Wight, #Books Jacqui Murray

More funnies from D. G. Kaye and some new material from Sally

More funnies from D. G. Kaye and some new material from Sally

Thank you for all the support which is very much appreciated.. I hope you will join me again next week .. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2020 – Reality Informs Fiction: Trails in the Sand by P.C. Zick

Welcome to the current series of Posts from Your Archives in 2020 and if you would like to participate with two of your posts from 2019, you will find all the details in this post: New series of Posts from Your Archives 2020

This is the second post for author P.C. Zick. Although the posts from the archives are not usually for self – promotion of books, in this case it is relevant to the story of an event that took place on April 20th 2010 when the oil rig Deepwater Horizon caught on fire with a tragic loss of 29 lives and creating a devastating impact on the environment and local wildlife.  The post also goes to show how reality plays a role in our own creativity.

Trails in the Sand (Florida Fiction Series) by [Zick, P.C.]

Reality Informs Fiction: Trails in the Sand by P.C. Zick

I published Trails in the Sand in 2013, three years after the disastrous oil spill after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion. From the first moment I heard about the explosion nine years ago and through my job as a public relations director with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, I was glued to the news on the struggle to contain the tar balls and greasy water approaching the Panhandle beaches of Florida.

When not working at my day job, I was also starting a novel about a dysfunctional family struggling to change generations of heartbreak. April 20, 2019 marks the nine year anniversary of this event.

Four years ago, I wrote about the disaster and how the book Trails in the Sand was born. Here is that post to commemorate both the oil spill and Earth Day and to remind us all the importance and fragility of our natural world.

Published originally on April 20, 2015 – Five years ago today, the oil rig Deepwater Horizon caught on fire. Even though the newscasters downplayed its significance at first, I felt a black cloud deepen. I’d just moved to southwestern Pennsylvania where news of the Upper Big Branch coal mine disaster a few hours away in West Virginia still dominated local news. Twenty-nine men died in that explosion on April 5, 2010, just ten days earlier.

We soon learned that BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico had blown its cap, which allowed gushing oil and killed eleven workers on the rig. As I’ve done for the past two decades, when something bothers me, I start to write. The result from my sorrow and unease with both disasters resulted in the novel, Trails in the Sand. The novel serves as a reminder of two preventable disasters that occurred within two weeks of one another in 2010. Forty men died and countless wildlife and their habitats were injured or destroyed. Both events touched my life in some way and both made their way into the writing of Trails in the Sand.

When the Upper Big Branch coal mine in West Virginia exploded, twenty-nine miners, doing their job in the bowels of the earth, lost their lives. Subsequent reports showed the company ignored safety regulations, which played an important role in the explosion. At the time, I was in the process of moving from Florida to western Pennsylvania. The mine is located several hours from my new home, so the local media covered the disaster continually for the next few weeks. The national news also kept its eye turned toward a small town in West Virginia where families mourned their husbands, sons, fathers, brothers, and cousins. After April 20, the lens of the cameras shifted to the southwest.

The news began as a whimper before erupting into cries of outrage. An oil rig somewhere off the coast of Louisiana caught on fire on April 20, 2010. Soon the whole rig collapsed, and eleven men never made it out alive. Oil gushed from a well several miles below the Gulf’s surface.

As I made the transition to Pennsylvania, I still held my job in Florida, although I was in the process of leaving. I was a public relations director for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. I made the trip back and forth sixteen times in 2010. I conducted meetings from a cell phone in airports, highway rest areas, and at a dining room table from our small temporary apartment in Pittsburgh.

Every time I started to give my two-week notice to my supervisors, something happened, and my wildlife biologist bosses pleaded with me to stay. During a crisis, the spokesperson for a company or agency suddenly becomes a very important part of the team. Scientists become speechless when looking in the face of a microphone.

Nothing much happened in those early days of the oil spill for the wildlife community, although as a communications specialist I prepared for worst-case scenarios, while hoping for the best. Partnerships between national and state agencies formed to manage information flowing to the media. By May, some of the sea turtle experts began worrying about the nesting turtles on Florida’s Panhandle beaches, right where the still gushing oil might land. In particular, the scientists worried that approximately 50,000 hatchlings might be walking into oil-infested waters if allowed to enter the Gulf of Mexico after hatching from the nests on the Gulf beaches.


An extraordinary and unprecedented plan became reality, and as the scientists wrote the protocols, the plan was “in direct response to an unprecedented human-caused disaster.”

When the nests neared the end the incubation period, plans were made to dig up the nests and transport the eggs across the state to Cape Canaveral, where they would be stored until the hatchlings emerged from the eggs. Then they would receive a royal walk to the sea away from the oil-drenched waters of the Gulf.


The whole project reeked with the scent of drama, ripe for the media to descend on Florida for reports to a public hooked on the images of oiled wildlife. Since I was in transition in my job, they appointed me to handle all media requests that came to the national and state agencies regarding the plan. From my new office in Raccoon Township, Beaver County, Pennsylvania, I began coordinating media events and setting up interviews with the biologists.

As the project began in June 2010, I began writing Trails in the Sand. At first, I created the characters and their situations. Then slowly I began writing about the oil crisis and made the main character, Caroline, an environmental reporter who covered the sea turtle relocation project. Then suddenly I was writing about her husband, Simon, who mourned the loss of his cousin in the coal mine disaster in West Virginia. I didn’t make a conscious effort to tie together the environmental theme with the family saga unfolding, but before too long, I realized they all dealt with restoration and redemption of things destroyed. As a result, the oil spill and the sea turtles became a metaphor for the destruction caused by Caroline and her family.

I’m a firm believer in the subject choosing the author. When that happens, it’s best to let the muse lead me to the keyboard and allow the words to find their way to the story. Trails in the Sand stands as my testament to the process.

©P.C. Zick 2019

About P.C. Zick

Bestselling author P.C. Zick describes herself as a storyteller no matter what she writes. And she writes in a variety of genres, including romance, contemporary fiction, and creative nonfiction. She’s won various awards for her essays, columns, editorials, articles, and fiction.

The three novels in her Florida Fiction Series contain stories of Florida and its people and environment, which she credits as giving her a rich base for her storytelling. She says her, “Florida’s quirky and abundant wildlife–both human and animal–supply my fiction with tales almost too weird to be believable.”

P.C. writes both sweet and steamy romances. The sweet contemporary romances in her Smoky Mountain Romances, are set in southwest North Carolina. Another sweet romance series, Rivals in Love, contains two books with four more in the works. All six follow the Crandall family of Chicago as the siblings find love despite their focus on successful careers.

Her steamy romances go from Florida to Long Island. The Behind the Love series, set in a small fictional town in Florida, feature a community of people who form bonds as they learn to overcome the challenges of their youth. Her Montauk Romances are set in and around Long Island and feature simple, yet sophisticated beach houses designed with romance in mind. The two books in this set are filled with steamy scenes as love grows and thrives.

No matter the genre of novel, they all contain elements of romance with strong female characters, handsome heroes, and descriptive settings. She believes in living lightly upon this earth with love, laughter, and passion, and through her fiction, she imparts this philosophy in an entertaining manner with an obvious love for her characters, plot, and themes.

A small selection of  books by P.C. Zick

One of the reviews for Trails in the Sand on Goodreads

Mar 09, 2013 Christoph Fischer rated it it was amazing

Trails In The Sand” by P.C. Zick is an emotional read about family secrets and making peace with the past. After her sister dies, Caroline reconnects with her family and with Simon, the man that her sister stole from her and married. Said widower Simon has an adopted daughter that needs to come to terms with her status and with the new relationship between her aunt and her father. Thrown into the mix are a few more family issues such as a drowning in 1956 and more revelations that come from diaries. As you can see that there are a lot of issues to be resolved in this family, making it an emotionally charged scene.

Zick uses several separate narratives for this story to bring different perspectives into the book and also includes several sub plots making for a rich reading experience. There is an important plotline which concerns the 2010 Deepwater Oil Spillage in the Mexican Gulf, a metaphor for hidden or covered-up tragedies and wrong doings that ultimately force their way to the surface and spill onto the shore. Caroline being a writer and journalist that concerns herself with environmental issues – not just the oil spillage – describes the horrific damage to the wildlife and the coast. She also writes also about a coal mining disaster in Virginia which helps to take the focus of just one or the other oversight or cover-up making it a more global theme. The family is under severe stress from both external and internal forces and as they unite to save sea turtles and work together on the present they let go of the past and begin to forgive and to heal.

The writing in this novel is immaculate and tight; for example, the Prologue begins in 1956 with the drowning of Alex, Caroline’s uncle, and the story ends in the same spot, a beautifully chosen way to complete the circle. The dialogue and the weaving together of the various plots and narratives works well to unfold the story and make this an interesting read. The characters are well composed and believable and make for an engaging and convincing portrayal of their inner struggles.

Zick writes with much empathy and insight into her characters, showing a very caring and committed attitude towards the environment and the human beings in it. The interplay between the story lines, private lives and newspaper stories that are woven into the narrative adds much depth to the book.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow P.C. Zick on :Goodreads

Connect to Patricia

WebsiteP.C. Zick
FacebookP.C. Zick

My thanks to Patricia for sharing this with us. Living history and its personal impact on us is important to pass on to future generations and including it in our fiction is one way to do that. Your comments are always welcome. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – 2nd – 8th February 2020 – Jazz, Italian Valentines appetizer, Guests, Books, Reviews and Funnies

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

I hope you have had a good week. Weather wise some sunny days with a promise of spring, but this weekend we are expecting storm Ciara to hit by lunchtime but we have got used to gale force winds this winter and fingers crossed they have passed through without too much damage. The same cannot be said of the west coast which gets the brunt of the weather when it hits from the Atlantic. We don’t plan to go anywhere and will be breaking out the movies.

Anyway hopefully these posts will brighten your day….

As always my gratitude for the wonderful posts written by the regular contributors and guests and to you for dropping by and supporting the blog.

William Price King with Grammy Winning Ramsey Lewis

This month a mouth watering appetizer perfect for Valentines Day created by Silvia Todesco.

Puff Pastry and Bacon hearts

Heart shaped puff pastry stuffed with bacon – Appetizer for Valentines Day

Robbie Cheadle shares the condition OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), her observations in those that suffer from OCD and how it has influenced her writing.

How interacting with OCD sufferers has influence Robbie Cheadles Writing

This week it is the turn of Amino Acids and how to ensure that you are eating the foods that promote a healthy balance in the body. This is a little less straightforward than the other nutrients, as most of the amino acids we need are manufactured in the liver. So this requires a shopping list to include the foods this organ needs to be healthy.

Part Five of the Shopping List by Nutrient – Amino Acids

Two more stories from the collection.

Isobel – Hiding in Plain Sight

Jack a VIP Visitor

This week for Colleen Chesebro Tanka Tuesday Poetry No 163 – Poet’s Choice we can decide our own format and theme. I have written a Butterfly Cinquain

Colleen Chesebro Tanka Tuesday Poetry No 163 – Poet’s Choice

Witch Way and Other Ambiguous Stories by Cathy Cade

Secrets of the Galapagos by Sharon Marchisello

Be My Valencrime (The Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery Series Book 3 by Amy M. Reade

The Player (Men of Warhawks Book 2) by Jacquie Biggar

Dumfries Mary Smith, Gardens Cynthia S. Reyes, Contemporary Jessica Norrie

Memoir Joy Lennick, Memoir Marian Longenecker Beaman, YA fantasy Jean Lee

Paranormal Marcia Meara, Thriller J.P. Mclean, Romance Ruth Larrea

This is the first post by author P.C. Zick and it is one that is both emotive and thought provoking. Patricia shares her own experience of PTSD, and that of a couple who she met who wanted their story told about their own traumatic experience.

PTSD its a real and present danger by P.C. Zick

This is the second post by Elizabeth Gauffreau and shares the trip she made to Vermont to share her book Telling Sonny with the P.E.O International Organisation, and to reconnect to the very special ties she has to the P.E.O through her grandmother.

Trip to Vermont connecting with the PEO Sisterhood by Elizabeth Gauffreau

Haiku Hound – Climate Change

When Stars Will Shine Anthology by Jane Risdon

Can we be replaced by AI.. by Jan Sikes

Poetry Colleen M. Chesebro, Mexico & Travel Insurance D.G. Kaye, profile photos Scott McCormick

Lifestyle Toni Pike, Blogging Pete Springer, Phone Safety ACFlory, Language Sue Vincent

Blogging Brigid Gallagher, Art Emma Cownie, Thailand Deventuretime

Swearing Alison Williams, Bread Irene Arita, Kookaburras Cindy Knoke

Hugh W. Roberts

Photos Hugh Roberts, Olive Oil Cake Eat Dessert First, Millennials Nicholas Rossis

Comedian in Residence and some jokes from Sally

More funnies from D. G. Kaye and some new material from Sally

Thanks for visiting this week and I hope you have enjoyed…have a great weekend and see you again I hope.. Sally