Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – Singled Out by Julie Lawford

Please welcome a new author to the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore. Julie Lawford is author of Singled Out set on an idyllic slice of Turkish coastline, but all is not as it seems.

About the book

There’s something delicious about not being known, don’t you think?’

Brenda Bouverie has come on a singles holiday to Turkey to escape. Intent on indulgence, she’s looking for sun, sea and … distraction from a past she would give anything to change.

But on this singles holiday no one is quite who they seem. First impressions are unreliable and when the sun goes down, danger lies in wait. As someone targets the unwary group of strangers, one guest is alone in sensing the threat.

But who would get involved, when getting involved only ever leads to trouble?

Singled Out subverts the sunshine holiday romance, taking readers to a darker place where horrific exploits come to light, past mistakes must be accounted for and there are few happily-ever-afters.

A simmering psychological suspense laced with moral ambiguities, for fans of Louise Doughty, Sabine Durrant, Gillian Flynn, Elizabeth Haynes, S.J. Watson and Lucie Whitehouse.

Two of the reviews for the book

Singled Out explores the relationships that develop between a group of people on a singles’ vacation in Turkey. Brenda, a fantastic character and my new favorite heroine (such a cool lady!), forays out on her own for the trip while dealing with a personal issue she must come to terms with. But her life soon becomes intertwined with the others at the vacation resort, and she finds herself caught up in something she’d rather not be. What follows is a great combination of who-dunit and psychological suspense.

The writing in this debut novel is impressive with descriptions so rich, you’ll feel like you’re touring, sunbathing, and feasting on delicious meals in Turkey yourself. Mystery cloaks every page, and answers are doled out in a page-turning manner. But a caution to sensitive readers–the subject matter deals with sexual assault (that’s not a spoiler as the opening scene depicts this) and misogyny, sometimes in quite graphic detail. Normally I would shy away from material like that, but I felt comfortable in the author’s hands given the strong female lead who carries the novel, and the important message that’s unveiled.

An impressive debut novel for fans of psychological suspense. I look forward to more of this author’s work.

Don’t let the fact that this is Julie Lawford’s debut fiction novel fool you… this lady truly knows how to write! Not only does she demonstrate a brilliant grasp of the English language but the entire book is beautifully written with fantastic descriptive passages that will transport you to the sights, sounds, tastes and fragrances of Turkey, where this story takes place.

I had other stuff to take care of today, but did it get done? Not a chance. I was locked away with ‘Singled Out’ until I finally finished it, wishing there was already a sequel. The way she writes her characters throughout the book is nothing short of masterful and I have a new favourite heroine in Brenda Bouverie; the twists in her personal tale made my jaw drop. I seriously can hardly wait for Lawford’s next book.

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About Julie Lawford

Always engaged with the written word, Julie Lawford came to fiction late in the day. Following a career in technology marketing she has been freelance since 2002 and has written copy for just about every kind of business collateral you can imagine. By 2010, she was on the hunt for a new writing challenge and Singled Out – her debut psychological suspense novel – is the result.

Julie is based in London in the UK. Whilst penning her second novel, she still writes – and blogs – for marketing clients.

Connect to Julie Lawford at her website and on social media.


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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – Kritsotopoula: Girl of Kritsa by Yvonne Payne

Delighted to welcome Yvonne Payne to the bookstore with her book Kritsotopoula: Girl of Kritsa.

About the book

Throughout her childhood exploits, the feisty daughter, Rodanthe, of Kritsa’s pappas (priest), yearns for her father’s approval without appreciating his efforts to keep her safe under Ottoman oppression.Years later, the ruling Pasha orders Rodanthe’s kidnap intent on making her his wife. Determined not to yield, Rodanthe tricks the Pasha, and then flees to the mountains dressed as a young man.

After joining rebels as Spanomanolis (Beardless Manolis), she draws on her unusual experiences and rare education to maintain her disguise throughout daring raids.Now, honored as Kritsotopoula (Girl of Kritsa), villagers celebrate Rodanthe’s exploits annually in front of a poignant stone carving. This monument portrays the moment in 1823 when brave Rodanthe’s secret was exposed – a point mirrored as this story culminates with a twist.

Infused with myths and local flavour this historical adventure gives insight to customs that still shape many lives in Kritsa today.

Two of the reviews for the book

A prodigious amount of work must have gone into this work of historical fiction. I notice from other reviewers that some have read the work more than once and I am not surprised. I suspect that this might be because the geographical detail and beautiful scenery create a ‘real’ world that cannot be absorbed on a first reading unless you know Eastern Crete very well or that the historical background which is both so graphic and so overwhelming a single read would not do the author justice. So this is not a criticism rather it is admiration for the huge amount of research which must have gone into the excellent writing of this book.

The story, based on truth, begins with the life of a young girl Rodanthe, in Ottoman occupied Eastern Crete, in the early 19th century. Loved by her mother, in awe of her father the Priest, her tale enfolds as she is forced, badly injured to take refuge in a cave occupied by another fugitive, a disfigured shepherdess, Thea. Brought back to health by Thea, Rodanthe must leave the cave and finds herself with nowhere to hide except in the world of young warriors, intent on taking Crete back from the Turks and with no option but to fight as a young lad. Until the last page, the reader will not find the last piece of the complex jigsaw that is Kritsotopoula. A huge number of realistic battle scenes may not be to everyone’s liking but the scenes of family life and stunning scenery will soften it!

And a review from Goodreads

Kathryn Gauci rated it four stars

The fearless fighting spirit of Cretans against foreign oppression is legendary. We only have to look at the fear resistance groups instilled in the Germans in WWII. In the first half of the 19th century, when this story is told, Crete was still under Ottoman domination and revolutionary bands hiding out in the mountains wreaked havoc on Turkish authority. In “Kritsotopoula”, author Yvonne Payne tells the story of the brief but heroic life of a young girl – Rodanthe – whose innocence is shattered by the brutality taking place in and around her village, Kritsa. Filling in the gaps of what is known about Rodanthe’s short life, she weaves a credible story of her life as a young girl, her kidnapping and intended marriage to a Turk, and her escape to the harsh and often inhospitable mountains of Crete’s Lassithi Province.

The women of Crete played an important role in standing side-by-side with their menfolk in the many uprisings but in Rodanthe’s case, she shed her feminine attire to dress and fight like a man. When the realization hits home that their Russian allies have abandoned them, the revolutionaries are faced with the inevitable. Determined to put down the revolt and aided by the Egyptian troops of Mehmet Ali, Viceroy of Egypt, the Turks set out to take their revenge.

To the battle-cry of “Freedom or Death” Rodanthe, known to her men as “the beardless one”, makes one last stand against the oppressors, ultimately losing her life.
Poignantly told, the author gives us a glimpse into Rodanthe’s thoughts. The writing style flows and I found myself drawn into Rodanthe’s cause. From a personal point of view, I would like to have seen more from the Turkish perspective, but that aside,, “Kritsotopoula” was an enjoyable read and for anyone interested in this turbulent period of Cretan history I highly recommend it.

Read all the reviews and buy the book on Amazon:

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About Yvonne Payne

In 2001, Yvonne Payne and her husband bought a house in the back streets of Kritsa, a village that nestles in the foothills of the Dikti Mountains in the east of Crete. From their small balcony their breath-taking view looks out across cluttered rooftops, a huge church, olive groves, and the distant sea, all framed by the Thripti Mountains.Over the next ten years, Yvonne explored eastern Crete extensivly, read up on local history, myths, and legends while experiencing village customs to gain inspiration to write creatively.

Luckily for Yvonne, this coincided with the opportunity to watch a fellow Kritsa resident, the English sculptor Nigel Ratcliffe, work on his beautiful stone monument dedicated to ‘Kritsotopoula, Girl of Kritsa, who along with her rebel comrades, fought against Ottoman oppression in 1823. This carving became Yvonne’s ‘muse’ as she researched and wrote her first novel. Yvonne continues to find local inspiration for further novels

Connect to Yvonne Payne on her website and social media.

Amazon Author Page:

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – The Fantastic Travel Tales of William and the Monarch Butterfly by Christina Steiner

Delighted to welcome another author to the Cafe and Bookstore. Children’s author Christina Steiner with an adventure for a small boy in the world of the Monarch Butterfly.

About the book

The Fantastic Travels of William and the Monarch Butterfly, Christina Steiner’s newest children book with illustrations from Mary Manning, focuses on the incredible life of the fourth generation, eastern Monarch butterfly. Steiner’s chapter book, a fantasy story, offers a look into the lives of Monarch butterflies through the eyes of William.

When William captures a butterfly for a show-and-tell at his school, he has no idea how special his trophy will become. Much to his surprise, the captive girl butterfly, Anka, is able to speak. With a sad, trembling voice, Anka, pleads for freedom so she may fulfill her life destiny. Worried to show up at school empty handed, William resists her pleas. But clever Anka bargains for her freedom by enticing William to accompany her as a passenger on a fantastic journey. There is one catch, though: William has to shrink in size and become a miniature boy in order to ride on Anka’s back. William faces a dilemma. Should he set Anka free and show up at school empty handed? Or should he join this girl butterfly on an adventure to an unknown destination?

Intrigued, he agrees to join Anka on her special trip. Whisked away on the wings of a butterfly, a whole new world unfolds for William. Together, he and Anka soar south-southwest from North Dakota to the Oyamel fir forests in central Mexico. A strong friendship develops as they depend on each other for survival. They stay for five month at their destination high up in the mountains of central Mexico – the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve.

There, William learns much about Monarch butterflies, about survival, and about himself. But most notably, it is during their return travels in the spring that the true purpose for Anka’s urgency for freedom reveals itself. It is then that William personally witnesses nearly the full life-cycle of Monarch butterflies – from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to stunning Monarch butterfly, the ultimate tale of the circle of life.

Two of the reviews for the book.

A uniquely told story about a boy and a Monarch butterfly. A story that encompassed nature, friends, adventure, risk, choices, and gave an overview of the cycle of life itself. The illustrations were sweet and colorful. I would have liked more illustrations to enhance the learning for children. The complex weaved itself through fantasy as it revealed facts about the butterfly’s life purpose and journey. The book was easy to follow and understand. Although I realize it was meant to be instructional, somehow I kept wanting it to be more fun. It seemed serious and grownup. Maybe more kid-type dialogue between Anka and William, just a thought. I would recommend this book as a good teaching tool for parents to use with their children.

I loved this story. Christina Steiner’s smooth writing style combined with the storyline took me to a peaceful place. The story is about a young boy named William saving and then going on a journey with his new found friend Anka the Monarch Butterfly. Steiner’s prose makes you feel as though you are riding the butterfly too. Kids will love learning about the Monarch Butterfly’s life-cycle and the magical places they travel through this fictional story. Steiner intertwines biological science so creatively kids will not know what hit them.

Personally, this was the perfect read for me as I am currently dealing with health issues. So many of the images toward the end of the book ironically put things in perspective for me. Sometimes we have to be reminded that as we age our body (wings) start to break down as we move closer toward our ultimate destiny.

This book is amazing and I look forward to reading more books by Christina Steiner.

Read the other reviews and buy the book:

Also By Christina Steiner

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About Christina Steiner

I love nature and have a passion for horses and dogs.

As the youngest of five children, I learned from observing my brothers and sister. We grew up in central Switzerland in a relatively small town where most families knew each other. This way of life kept us all on the straight, should we misstep our parents were informed before we even made our way home.

At an early age I read any book the local library had to offer. The stories provided endless entertainment, pleasure and knowledge. (We didn’t have a television until I turned sixteen years old.)

The different cultures and descriptions of places by many writers made me want to travel and experience first hand what the world is about.

In the mid twenties I made California, Southern California my home and raised two daughters.
I’m an avid reader, I can submerge myself into a good story and forget about most anything, except my horse and my dogs. My home now is in Ventura, California, where I write and ride and hike and help my partner make wine and raise Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. I do have my own dog, a big, fluffy Hungarian Kuvasz named Sentry

Connect to Christina

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – Project Brimstone: Book One of the Endless Realms by Paul B. Spence

Today’s featured author is Paul B. Spence with his latest release Project Brimstone: Book One of the Endless Realms a science fiction/fantasy thriller.

About the book

Major John Michael Harrison, USSOCOM, discovers a dark secret: an invasion from another Earth, a world like, yet unlike, his own. An Earth where resources are so scarce that its people are willing to raid other worlds to attain them, releasing enhanced bioweapons with no remorse for the people who die.

Thus starts a war like none before. A war between worlds, between universes. Two United States waging war against each other through a series of raids and counter-raids.

Major Harrison is at the tip of the spear-point taskforce assigned to stop the war at all costs. He volunteers to take a nuclear weapon deep into the heart of the enemy’s defenses and end the war once and for all.

Two of the early reviews

PROJECT BRIMSTONE tells a deep and nuanced story in a fast-paced, action oriented 1st person style. I read more than half the book in one sitting, and polished off the rest in two more. If I had to give it one sentence hook, I’d call it “Amber meets Fringe.” Good writing, believable characters, smart action and (as usual) polished editing. Highly recommend.

Bonus: If you have read other novels by Spence (THE AWAKENING series featuring Hrothgar Tebrey) you will be pleased with the easter eggs, connections and name dropping contained herein.

Solidly Fun Read  on May 2, 2017

A solidly good read, a little dry writing but the story more than makes up for the voice of the author. I’m interested in seeing where this story goes.

Buy the book:

Also by Paul B. Spence

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About Paul B. Spence

I’m an archaeologist and writer, currently living in New Mexico.
I’m an avid fan of anything science fiction, books, tabletop RPGS, PlayStation games, LARPing, SCA, and lots of other things that take up too much time.

I get asked a lot about my inspirations, well, that could take a while. I’ve read thousands of books. My strongest inspirations would have to be the works of Roger Zelazny, Andre Norton, H.P. Lovecraft, and E.E. “Doc” Smith. I also love the stories of Robert A. Heinlein and Anne McCaffrey among many others.

Like most authors, I’ve had an eclectic career path. I’ve worked as a retail gofer, a food service monkey, brute laborer, a rennie, a writer for the RPG industry, and many other rewarding jobs that didn’t pay enough to feed me or my cats.

I have degrees in geology, cultural anthropology, and archaeology. I love science.

I really love archaeology, and no, I haven’t found any tombs with ancient evils lurking.
I plan to keep it that way!

Connect to Paul B.Spence

Amazon Author Page:
Website book page:
Facebook Page:

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – 1066 by Jack Eason

I am very happy to welcome Jack Eason to the Cafe and Bookstore with his new historical novella 1066. I am also delighted to include my review for the book.

About the book

Down the centuries the British Isles has always been seen by invaders as a legitimate target for exploitation. This novella concerns the last few weeks of Anglo-Saxon occupation, ending on the 14th of October, 1066. In Autumn 1066, author Jack Eason gives a great sense of ‘place’, of detail. The reader is right ‘there’ in that poignant year, marching, shivering with September cold (as ‘…no warming fires were allowed lest ‘enemy spies would soon spot their approach.’) From the very first few lines, Eason, practising his unique drycraft, begins to weave his particular brand of magic on his reader. Eason glamour’s with well-crafted dialogue, drawing his reader into the time and into the action. To accomplish this, the author proffers a gentle blend of informative nomenclature coupled with familiar speech, to ease the reader into his story without distancing with words too unfamiliar, which is a criticism frequently made of Bernard Cornwell’s epics. I long to read more Martin Bradley
My review for 1066 May 18th 2017.

Prepare yourself to stand in the shield wall.

This novella may be a short read, but it so packed with authentic detail and action, that you feel you are reading a much longer book.

Our heritage is founded on the backs of ordinary men such as Aldred and his nephew Cynric pressed into service as were thousands of farmers and craftsmen who were sworn to the feudal Anglo-Saxon lords. The story is factual but told through the eyes of these two fictional characters as warring armies battle to gain control of Britain.

One army is led by the barbaric King Harald of Norway or Hardradå as he is known by his men. He has formed an alliance with the Anglo-Saxon Tostig, claimant to the throne, now held by his brother King Harold, following the recent death of Edward the Confessor. This invasion force has the backing of Duke William of Normandy who has made promises to Tostig should there be victory.

With all the various factions identified, the story then takes us through the build up of forces led by the Norwegian king in southern Scotland, the defeat of the army entrenched in York and the significant and decisive victory by the forces of King Harold at Stamford Bridge.

This leads to the battle that was to change the life of every man, woman and child in Britain on October 14th 1066.

The main characters are portrayed vividly, and their backgrounds and involvement in this pivotal time in history, demonstrate how human traits such as greed, revenge and jealousy leads to the deaths of thousands who follow them.

The battle scenes and the acts of barbarism are very realistically portrayed both through the eyes of Aldred and Cynric, as well as those leading the various forces. The action maintains its pace throughout the story and Jack Eason has recreated the terrifying and brutal results of hand to hand combat and archery.

This was a dark time in our history and 1066 was a turning point for a Britain about to move into the Middle Ages, Jack Eason has captured this moment excellently.

If you enjoy a fast paced story and historical accuracy then I recommend you read 1066.

Buy the book – Amazon US –

Amazon UK

A small selection of other books by Jack Eason

One of the reviews for Turning Point

I have been brought up on the legend of Mu and Atlantis, the secrets of the Giza Pyramid, universes that exist and contain intelligent life, planetary travel etc. It was therefore easy to appreciate the breadth of vision of Turning Point, a fable and a science fiction novella by Jack Eason. The story is based on the legend that planet earth had been seeded by intelligent life from other planets and universes. So we have here an alien race of people known as the Drana, and a subordinate race they seeded known as the Khaz, to rule over our ancestors, and who still control our very existence by manipulating our governments (the cartel who call the shots on earth?).

We have here an explanation for ancient secrets like the electromagnetic grid which surround the earth, the reason for the pyramids, the seeding of the earth, the limited use of our minds capacity. We have here remnants of a peaceful people known as Nephile (Mu) who want to contain the Khaz and the secret designs of Drana to return to earth and form armies and slaves to conquer and colonize other planets. But they find that they are incapable of performing that task, without the supporting DNA of earthlings who have acclimatized themselves to the pollution and life on earth. This can only be accomplished by choosing earthlings who is more conducive to their needs (traces of Shambhala here).
Enter Tom, a man on a holiday in New Zealand, who does not know that he is being watched and manipulated, so that he finds the entrance to their homeland.
You will be enthralled by this story as I was, and appreciate the deeply researched book, the scientific mind of Jack and a possible explanation for the seeding of man on planet earth, and other scientific folklore.

I highly recommend Jack’s book, Turning Point. It will a turning point in your life, from the mumbo-jumbo that is today passed off as science fiction.

Discover all of Jack Eason’s books and read the reviews:

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About Jack Eason

Jack Eason lived in New Zealand for forty-two years until 2000 when he returned to his birthplace in England. As far as he is concerned he will always consider himself to be a Kiwi. After military service in the 1960’s, he travelled the world, visiting exotic lands and making many friends. Now in his mid-sixties he is content to write and travel via the Internet. Besides writing novels and short stories, he contributes to his own blog “Have We Had Help?” Some of his short stories and numerous articles appear in the No: 1 online E-zine “Angie’s DIARY”.

His literary interests include science fiction, history, both ancient and modern, and humorous tales like those written by his fellow writer Derek Haines, such as “HAL”. He lives in semi-retirement in his home town surrounded by his favourite books, ranging from historical fact to science fiction. His literary icons are J.R.R Tolkien, George Orwell, Arthur C Clarke and John Wyndham.

Connect to Jack


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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – 13 Steps to Evil by Sacha Black

Delighted to welcome a new author to the bookstore today with her new release 13 Steps To Evil: How to Craft Superbad Villains by Sacha Black

About the book

Your hero is not the most important character in your book. Your villain is.

Are you fed up of drowning in two-dimensional villains? Frustrated with creating clichés? And failing to get your reader to root for your villain?

In 13 Steps to Evil, you’ll discover:

+ How to develop a villain’s mindset
+ A step-by-step guide to creating your villain from the ground up
+ Why getting to the core of a villain’s personality is essential to make them credible
+ What pitfalls and clichés to avoid as well as the tropes your story needs

Finally, there is a comprehensive writing guide to help you create superbad villains. Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned writer, this book will help power up your bad guy and give them that extra edge.

These lessons will help you master and control your villainous minions, navigate and gain the perfect balance of good and evil, as well as strengthening your villain to give your story the tension and punch it needs.

If you like dark humour, learning through examples and want to create the best villains you can, then you’ll love Sacha Black’s guide to crafting superbad villains. Read 13 Steps to Evil today and start creating kick-ass villains.

An early review on Goodreads

Lucy Mitchell rated it 5 stars

LOVED this book! It gets you feeling excited about writing. After reading a couple of chapters you find yourself getting strong urges to create some villains. Love the author’s witty and engaging tone. She tells you how it is and puts in such a way you can’t help but smile. It’s very readable and the exercises are fun. I am hoping she will bring out a workbook as that would be ideal. A must read for aspiring writers!

And one on Amazon

it takes the unusual approach of presenting the ideas through the lens of writing better villains, on May 13, 2017

I have probably read over a hundred books on writing craft as well as hundreds of blog posts, so I was dubious about whether I would find anything new in “13 Steps to Evil”.

The book does cover a lot of what will be familiar material if you’re well read in this area, but it takes the unusual approach of presenting the ideas through the lens of writing better villains, meaning many ideas are combined and emphasised in novel ways. As a result, I think most readers are likely to get some valuable take-aways.

Having said that, the book is likely to be most useful for novice writers. As well as some more advanced material, it covers many important points that are often overlooked by novice writers, eg villains need to be hard to beat.

Because the whole book focuses on villains, reading it will make you think harder about how (and if ) you characterise your villain (assuming you have one). What Sacha says is true—many writers put effort into developing their protagonists at the expense of developing their villains.

The tone of the book is irreverent and entertaining, and the reader should be prepared for some bad language.

I found the chapter on the mental health of villains most interesting. Villains are frequently written with various mental health disorders, and if this is something you’re considering then this chapter provides some excellent information on things to watch out for: cliches, common inaccurate representations of mental health disorders, and potentially stigmatising representations. Because of the length of the chapter, the information on the disorders themselves is not comprehensive, but the chapter a very good starting point and references for further reading are provided.

Buy the book:

About Sacha Black

Sacha Black has five obsessions; words, expensive shoes, conspiracy theories, self-improvement, and breaking the rules. She also has the mind of a perpetual sixteen-year-old, only with slightly less drama and slightly more bills.

Sacha writes books about people with magical powers and other books about the art of writing. She lives in Hertfordshire, England, with her wife and genius, giant of a son.

When she’s not writing, she can be found laughing inappropriately loud, blogging, sniffing musty old books, fangirling film and TV soundtracks, or thinking up new ways to break the rules.

Connect to Sacha Black


Connect to Sacha.

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – Made For Me by Pamela Schloesser Canepa

Welcome to author Pamela Schloesser Canepa and her novella Made For Me the first in the science fiction and fantasy Made For Me series.

About Made For Me.

An unusual, futuristic romance. What will the search for love be like in the future? The year is 2032, and Abrielle is looking for true love. In a world ruled by technology, where computers make much of our decisions for us, Abrielle is about to meet the man of her dreams, thanks to a guaranteed matchmaker website. What she encounters on that first date will be a tale to rival any first date story you’ve ever heard.

Sampson is also looking for love. Open-minded, spontaneous, and financially stable, he seems to be the perfect man. Yet, underneath it all, he harbors a glaring secret. Sampson has spent his lifetime passing for something that he is not, yet his love surpasses that of any human Abrielle has known. Though they seem to be a match made in heaven, Abrielle and Sampson are breaking many rules and will certainly face some unique challenges. In order to live a life with him, Abrielle must decide which rules are actually worth breaking, and in the process, learn a lot about herself.

The latest review for Made for Me.

Made For Me, by Pamela Schloesser Canepa is a futuristic romance that demonstrates the true strength of love. When Abrielle finds Sampson via a dating website (yes, they still use them in 2032), she is surprised to learn that he holds a secret that will impact them both.

I got a certain love conquers all type feeling from this tale. Not in a cliché way, but in a tender way that spoke to my heart. The relationship between the two main characters showed a charming and at times cheeky bond that blossoms into life.

The words flowed well and made for a delightful read that unfolds naturally.

Can Abrielle and Sampson keep their secret? I recommend that you give this a read and find out. Rated 5/5 stars.

Read all the reviews and buy the novella:

Also by Pamela Schloesser Canepa

One of the reviews for the third book in the series From Bedlam to Ben

Ben is considered a second class citizen. In a racist society, he’d be the oppressed minority. I personally believe that many common religious identities/groups create this superiority mindfulness in humans, therefore fostering this sense of disrespect for all other living things. This is one underlying theme that I gathered from this novel. Norrie on the other hand, was brought up learning to respect all, specifically Ben’s android type. The author brought this across this theme very subtly, which I really loved. Blending this theme with Sci-Fi is quite rare, and it was an interesting plot development. Great style of writing, smooth, and a nice easy pace that at the same time keeps you absorbs with the story.

Read all the reviews and buy the books:


About Pamela Schloesser Canepa

Pamela had a childhood full of travel and moving, and started writing poems and stories as a child to provide entertainment for long trips. After a while, her family settled in the southeast. Writing provided an outlet for private thoughts and emotions for years, until she decided she was ready to share her ideas with the world. Pamela’s genres include science fiction, realistic fiction, and poetry of all types. “Made for Me” is Pamela’s first published work of fiction. Her sequel, “Seeing through Sampson’s Eyes”, has been published as of June 6th. Pamela is now working on editing a full-length time-travel novel for publication in e-book and print, hopefully in the next year!

Connect to Pamela


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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – A Minger’s Tale by R.B.N. Bookmark

The new author for the bookstore today is R.B.N. Bookmark who has written a memoir that shares his childhood growing up in Manchester in the 1960s. A path that was not always easy but clearly from the reviews, humour also played an important role. A Minger’s Tale: Beginnings  was released in March 2016 in print and Kindle.

About the book

If only he knew where God lived, he would urinate in his letterbox! Growing up is a difficult time in the life of Ribban Bookmark, this book traces his journey down a Minger Highway, signposted with humour and littered with roadkill oneliners.

Two of the most recent reviews

Hilarious! ByAmazon Customeron April 5, 2017

“Hilarious! I was pulled into this book right from the beginning by the funny prose and the stripped-down style of writing. It paints a picture of growing up in the mid-20th century in England that reminds me of a classic sitcom or something. But one of those that you had to sneak downstairs and watch after your parents went to bed.

Ribban Bookmark ( a pseudonym that was so hilarious that I chuckled every time I read it, honestly) had a hard life. The son of two Irish immigrants, Ribban grew up in Manchester, England in the 1950’s and 60s. He had a very hard scrabble childhood but the stories don’t come across as grim since he brings out the more comedic moments of them wonderfully. Being American and much younger than the author, I was worried going into this book that I wouldn’t understand a lot of the lingo but he brings the reader along for the ride, explaining things when they might be more confusing and HELPFULLY explaining a lot of the language that would have been impossible for me to understand otherwise. I had heard the word, ‘Minger’, however, before reading this and the title was what actually made me pick it up in the first place (or download it, as it were).

I did not know, as Ribban illustrates, that the word apparently means: “Someone who fell out of the ugly tree at birth and hit every branch on the way down.” Like I said, that kind of self-flagellating humor that had me dying laughing throughout the book. I loved all of the characters, (especially his mother. She was a riot) but the witty, gritty prose was what sold this as 5 stars to me. Like Bookmark says in the beginning, “If only I knew where God lived, I’d show my dissatisfaction by pissing in his letterbox.”

Well written, full of humor, and tragic By Teddy on April 7, 2017

Wow, I thought I had a rough time as a kid. What I endured was not much compared to what R.B.N. Bookmark (Ribban) endured. First, it’s important to know the definition of a “Minger”. “A minger is a male or female who fell out of the ugly tree at birth and hit every branch on the way down.” When I read that, I envisioned the old ‘Road Runner’ cartoons. That poor Coyote always got hurt in the end. He hit every rock, fell off cliffs, exploded, etc. It was funny! The different was that Coyote got what he deserved for going after Roadrunner. Ribban did not usually go looking for trouble but it found him. He was born into it.

With humor, Ribban tells his story of growing up in one of the poorest parts of England, Manchester. Life was hard and the people in it did not make it any easier. The entire neighborhood seemed like one big dysfunction from the way Ribban describes it. I laughed so much at his expense and antics, he wants the reader to. He lightens the load while still telling his truth. Sure, there were times he got to laugh as a kid but not as much as I laughed reading his story. I felt sad for what he had to go through.

It takes a lot of talent to make comedy out of tragedy but that is just what Ribban has achieved. I admire his courage and his ability to make a better life as an adult. ‘A Minger’s Tale’ is well written, full of humor, and tragic. It reminds me somewhat of ‘Running With Scissors’ by Augusten Burroughs. I highly recommend ‘A Minger’s Tale’!

Read all the reviews and buy the book:

About R.B.N Bookmark

“Do greener pastures exist for the colour blind – and how would they ever know?”

I grew up in the city of Manchester in north west England.

The eldest of 3 siblings to Irish immigrants, my story has at times resembled that of a blind man piecing a jigsaw puzzle together….. with bits missing!

It has taken me many years to find those missing pieces, and it is only now in my late 50`s I`m finally able to write an account of that turbulent period in english history I unwittingly found myself a part of.

The story of Ribban Bookmark begins in the 1960s in post war Manchester, he fails brilliantly at school… of the class even – depending ofcourse on which way you are looking up.

His approach to life is haphazard and unfocussed…..he is a dyslexic in denial.
Like a dog looking for a lamp post in a blackout, his search for paradise results in damp feet and foot fungus.

A Minger´s Tale-Beginnings is the first part in this tale of meandering mayhem, misery and mirth.

# In 2016 I had my first short story published in an anthology by Bridge House publishers –

 Connect to R.B.N. Bookmark

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I am sure you will join me in welcoming RBN to the bookstore and it would be great if you could share please.. thanks Sally

If you wish to join the other authors in the bookstore then please check this out.

Smorgasbord Round Up – Divas, dastardly devils, and dedicated wordsmiths

Welcome to the week’s update of posts that you might have missed. As always I am very grateful for the time that you spend here, your comments and support in general. Whilst I have been known to talk to myself… I do prefer to converse with you.. please do even just say ‘Hi’ in the comments.. it is appreciated.

Our garden looks like a lumber yard with seven trees despatched into logs and kindling. they were not trees that provided nesting sites for any of our lovely wild birds and many were on their last legs. Three more have to go however; but they are more of a challenge.. they are 60 foot tall and were planted within two feet of the wall.. Their roots have damaged both the wall and the pavement as well as encroached into the road and so need to come out. Sad in some ways but they cannot be allowed to do more damage.

David is doing the tree climbing and chopping – taught by his father Geoff who if you have been reading The Colour of will know worked as a lumberjack when a young man. I do help occasionally with stripping branches to be put through the mulcher.. Music required and I have written a couple of short stories when working as pretty mind numbing.

I am really pleased that so many are participating in the marathon challenge.. (more later in the post) Several people are now knitting together their exercise programmes so that they can celebrate when they have completed 26 miles or the equivalent. I am half way thorugh my second marathon and hope to shave 30 minutes off my last one…

It is the #BloggersBash 2017 in London on June 10th that several of you are attending.. If you live in the UK and have not got your tickets yet then you need to get a twerk on… they are going fast.  You can buy them through Sacha Black’ site. Only £10 for the ticket.. and the fun of finally putting faces to the names that you know so well..

On with the posts from the week… thanks again for dropping in…. Sally

William Price King meets some legends.

Shirley Bassey did not have a great time during the 1960s and spent time in tax exile in Italy. However, the 1970s saw her career back on the fast track and it was a wonderful decade for her.

Writer in residence extra – Paul Andruss – Venus in Furs

Finn Mac Cool

Another brilliant post from Paul’s archives that looks at the origins of the words we commonly use today ‘sadism’ and ‘masochism. Unlike the way it is portrayed (badly) in books and movies such as 50 Shades of Grey, it has a dark and sinister background that Paul uncovers in this informative article.

The Colour of Life – The Memoir of Geoff Cronin

Author Promotion – Book Reading at the Cafe.

Cafe and Bookstore – New Author on the shelves

Cafe and Bookstore Update

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air Your Reviews

Personal Stuff

Weekly Image and thoughts…

Smorgasbord Poetry

I am working my way through my poems that were written in my teens onwards and left to languish in a drawer.. this was written in 1998 following my first visit to my grandfather’s grave in Northern France where he died on November 2nd 1918. Just days before peace and having served since 1914 and been wounded three times.

Time for some laffs..

Afternoon video

Three videos for the price of one.. cat being a jerk, cat doing the washing up and a bulldog on a motorbike.

Blogger Promotion – Some outstanding blog posts from the week.

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Health: Let’s Walk a Marathon.

This is not about completing 26 miles in one go.. It is however a target that is meaningful. I was walking regularly but felt that apart from measuring the time and distance it was not leading anywhere. I know I felt better for it but I wanted to challenge myself more. I have no ligaments in my right knee so walking briskly is the most I can hope for. To make it more interesting I decided to use my new treadmill to walk a marathon. My first one took 10 hours over 14 days. I am now half way through my second marathon and have shaved a little time off.

In the weekly posts I am not just talking about walking but also the other areas of fitness that will help you achieve your own marathons.. including how to get more oxygen into your system with breathing exercises and the right fuel.

Coming up tomorrow.. how to burn fat more efficiently and some equivalents in terms of other exercises so that you can still complete a marathon if you swim, go to dance classes or zumba.

The posts so far.

Smorgasbord Health

Smorgasbord Health 2017

Important new research into the link between Vitamin D deficiency and austism.

Thank you for all your support this week and don’t forget that you are always welcome to promote your book, blog or other creative work here.


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Heartstone: The Drowned Tower by Nicholas Rinth

Todays’ author Nicholas Rinth and released the debut novel, a science fiction fantasy Heartstone – The Drowned Tower on April 18th.

About the book

“If the future was bared before you, would it still be yours? If the past could chase you, would you run from it? If the world crumbled tonight, would you carve your own?”

Freedom is out of the question for practitioners of the Institute, and any supporters otherwise are dealt with violently. A system Sylvie Sirx neither refutes, nor endorses—born from an enviable family, talented in her skills, and entirely too content with her position, her path has always been a straight one… until now.

Her qualifications backfire when an elder from the north descends upon her home for a Choosing. He calls upon the Drowned Tower’s most sought after practitioners for a simple job that ends in blood, and then Sylvie’s blissful world erupts. She finds herself in the company of the Elementalist, Jacques Dace, an insufferable but deadly enthusiast of personal reform. Together, they’re swept into a spiral of powerful magic and ancient grudges. Where truth bends, stones whisper secrets of the past, and their home lies at the heart of what could very well be Ferus Terria’s next recorded war.

And for once, she is forced to choose a side, learning for herself what it means to master fate.

An early review from Goodreads  Apr 18, 2017 Stu Richard

Without a doubt, this is a book for fantasy lovers. There’s proper lore, a brand new world, deities, classes, religion, and of course, magic… everything you need for fantasy tbh. But with that said, there’s also nothing crazy new about it that hasn’t already been done by the thousands of fantasy novels that have come before it. Old and true. It was a good read, regardless.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the romance in this book to be just a sub-genre. Usually when its listed, there’s so much focus on it that it ruins the rest of the story by giving the characters less time to shine. But here the author gives subtle hints that show you which direction the relationship is going, yet doesn’t focus on romantic relationship building during the story. While reading the first book, I found it to be more about personal growth for the characters, either showing their dreams and aspirations or giving them some. The author also sheds light on the characters’s backgrounds and the overall plot of the story—as well as what’s to come. I hope the relationships get expounded on in the future though. If done right, they could be perfect.

If you’re looking to read this, be sure to be a good fantasy reader and read every bit of world-building because you need to pay attention to certain names or else you won’t get the VERY subtle twist near the end. There are some plot points touched upon in this book like the Mentalists and the First Zenith that I would like to know more of. From the ending, I can tell that the author will (hopefully) explore them in the future.

I eagerly await the sequel

The book is available from Amazon:

Universal book link for all bookstores:

About Nicholas Rinth

Now, where to begin? If it wasn’t obvious by my picture to the left, then Nicholas Rinth is actually just a pseudonym—defeats the purpose when I say it, huh?—but this is more for my sake since I’m not a fan of constant reiteration. I prefer writing under a nom de plume, there is comfort in anonymity, however little that may be with the internet nowadays.

I’m the author of a fantasy series called, Heartstone, which you can find more information on in my Books page on my blog. I’m also a huge fan of everything and anything Noel Gallagher. I like the manga, Berserk, and I have a terrible weakness for sweets and coffee. It’s my diet and all I run on. Wont to trance, the only thing that’s really held my attention throughout the years is writing.

I tend to binge write when the mood strikes and procrastinate when it doesn’t. I read books when I can and I like to think I’ve read a lot, but life gets in the way most days, so writing has been my only past time as of late. Though I will make time for the authors that I love. (Erin Morgenstern, David Gaider, JRR Tolkien, Leo Tolstoy, Rainer Maria Rilke, a dozen others.)

Connect to Nicholas Rinth.

Amazon Author Central

It would be great if you could help spread the word of this brand new author across your own networks.. thanks Sally

Join Nicholas Rinth and 200 other authors on the shelves of the bookstore.