Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up -Summer Jazz, Photoshop, Moreish Mince and Interviews, Music, Health and Humour

Welcome to this week’s round up of posts that you might have missed.

After almost five weeks there the day is partly cloudy and it is only temporary as we do not have rain forecast until 16th of July. I know we moan about the weather, but this is the first time in the years that I lived here previously and in the last two, that you can say with certainty that you are having a BBQ next week!

We are renowned for the amount of our rain here but in some parts of the country treated water for drinking has become a problem.. including in Dublin where it is tough to keep up with the demands of millions of hot and thirsty people.

You may not know this but in Ireland we are not charged for our water usage. They did bring in charges in 2015 and many homes had meters fitted, but in 2016 this was repealed and a new system of thresholds for usage were introduced. The first 213,000 litres per year are fee of charge per household, and an additional 25,000 litres per person, for homes with more than four residents.

Clearly there are business premises who will be paying for water, but as yet there is no definitive plan that I have heard, to pay for all the necessary renovations to the existing pipe work.  In the cities, such as Dublin this is Victorian and of course leaks like a sieve in places! This led to headlines last week of a possible shortfall in drinking water as the current equipment is unable to keep up with the demand.

We do however pay for waste water removal which of course requires treatment before disposing of.

Thankfully, despite the fact that we have been basking in sunshine and high temperatures, as sure as there are Leprechauns, there will be rain again soon and everything will be back to normal.

Anyway I know many of you will be off now on holiday or taking breaks from your online life for a while.. have a great time and look forward to hearing about your adventures.

Anyway.. thank you for being here and I hope you enjoy browsing the posts from the week. As always my deepest thanks to my contributors who work so hard to bring you entertaining, informative and creative posts.

The Music Column with William Price King.

The first in a Summer Jazz series beginning with the incomparable Ms Roberta Flack. Part One the Early Years.

Writer in Residence, Paul Andruss with a Photoshop Tutorial for book covers and marketing material.

As a follow up to Paul’s post last week on how to engineer a book cover to maximise interest and therefore sales…he is kindly demonstrating how to accomplish this with photoshop.

The Cookery and Food Column with Carol Taylor

This week Carol shares some great recipes to elevate this family favourite to spicy new levels.

Esme’s Party Piece – July Forecast by sign.

Getting to Know You Sunday Interview

My guest today probably needs little introduction to most of you who are regulars to the blog. Debby Gies…D.G. Kaye is a very popular blogger and non-fiction author who generously supports us all across social media.

Posts from Your Archives – Sanctuary in Saint-Céneri-le-Gérei #Normandy by Sherri Matthews

A fabulous tour around the idyllic village of Saint Ceneri Le Gerei in Normandy with Sherri Matthews.

St-Ceneri-le-Gerei (77) Edited

Sally’s Personal Stuff.

This week I was very honoured to be interviewed by two very lovely writers – the first is Joy Lennick who invited me over on Monday.  Please pop over.

And later in the week I was interviewed by Esme  over on Esme Salon… I hope you will head over and find out more of my secrets…

Letters from America – Hawaii part one.

Odd Jobs and Characters – My employment history that provided me with an endless list of characters..

Sally’s Drive Time Play list.. Music to get the weekend started. 1976

Sally’s Book Reviews – Mourning Dove by Claire Fullerton.

Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story

Chapter Five – Henry’s New Family

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Summer Sale

I notice that the summer can be a little flat for some of us on the book selling front and that many of you will be putting our books on offer at a reduced price for a week at a time or longer.

What I am proposing is that authors in the bookstore who are planning on doing an offer this summer, schedule it between 9th and 20th July to cover four of the Cafe Updates. Discounted books will be linked directly to Amazon to purchase.

Monday 9th July, Friday 13th, Monday 16th,  Friday 20th July

I currently have  4 slots available on Monday 16th of February and 2 for 20th.

Check out the details:

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves

Author Update #reviews

New Series of The Blogger Daily – Monday to Thursday.

Smorgasbord Health Column

Nutrients the body needs – Calcium the most abundant mineral in the body.

Last week my post was on the kidneys and how they function. I also looked at one of the most painful conditions… Kidney stones. Today I want to continue with the urinary tract as problems with kidney function have a direct impact on the health of this essential waste pathway out of the body.


Health in the News – Natural influenza immunity, prostate cancer breakthrough and mangoes for gut health.

Some Summer chilled soups and salads with some alternative dressings and homemade mayonnaise.



A series of videos on how animals know how to have fun.



Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – Music, Food, Travel, Legends, Books, Special Guests and Stories

Welcome to the weekly round up and some posts that you might have missed. It has been another glorious week here weather wise and I will admit to having put off some of the writing tasks that I set myself, in favour of being in the sun. You only live once….

It looks like a mostly sunny week again next week so I guess I will continue to be distracted.

This week saw the last in the Josh Groban series and William Price King will be taking his usual Summer break. He spends some time in the mountains with his family but is also wrapping up work on a new series of videos with his new accompanist.. I shared a taster a couple of weeks ago, and I am certain that you will enjoy the full length versions when available.

In the meantime I will be sharing a couple of previous series in a new time slot of just after midnight on Tuesday mornings. When William returns we have a new theme for you to enjoy as we introduce you to the top jazz instrumentalists. From accordion and banjo to the violin, fabulous artists who have evolved the style and backed the top names in the business. We hope you will enjoy learning more about this wonderful expression of music.

The Music Column with William Price King – Josh Groban up to date.

Writer in Residence – Paul Andruss #BookCovers – Persuasion.

This week Paul explores the increased sales that result from a perfectly executed book cover. One that engages, connects and perhaps titillates. What would Ms. Jane Austen say about her makeover??

The Cookery and Food Column with Carol Taylor

This week Carol elevates the delicious duck to new levels with some piquant sauces. Also an interesting way to preserve duck eggs…. really!!!

The Travel Column with D.G. Kaye.

And last but definitely not least, a warm welcome to author D.G. Kaye – Debby Gies, with the first post in the brand new Travel Column. To get you into the swing of things, Debby will post three articles on the popular vacation on the high seas. In the first post she looks at types of cruises, cabins and where the best place to sleep is in choppy seas. Plus some of her usual tips and strategies.

The Sunday Interview – Getting to know you with John W. Howell.

Posts from Your Archives – Travel – This week Sherri Matthews gives us a guided tour of Lake Garda in Italy with some stunning photographs.


Personal Stuff

Letters from America – short hair, hurricane Danny and trivia pursuit.

Odd jobs and characters…. behind the scenes of my various occupations that provided me characters and events for my short stories. This week hotel assistant manager and a whirlwind romance.

Sally’s Drive Time Playlist – Hot Chocolate and Judy Collins.

Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story – Chapter Three – My First Real Friend

Chapter Four – Henry’s Story

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves

Author Update #reviews

Meet the Reviewers

Cathy Ryan

Smorgasbord Health Column -Nutrients the body needs – Vitamin K1 and K2

Research is identifying that Vitamin K2 deficiency could be contributing to higher rates of dementia, prostate cancer and kidney disease.

Ancient healing therapies – Tai Chi.

Great for posture and for strengthening the core whilst losing the stress.

Organs of the body – The Kidneys – function and structure

Kidney - macroscopic blood vessels

Humour and afternoon videos

Thank you so much for dropping in this week and being so supportive here and on social media.. I am very grateful. Enjoy the rest of your weekend and the coming week.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – #Music, Nessie, #Thai Curry Pastes, New Books, #Reviews, #Health and #Humour

Welcome to the round up of the week’s posts. It only seems a couple of days since I posted the last one! However, we have had a busy week with plenty going on off screen including the renovation of the front garden. All the tree stumps are now all dug up and David survived the process. I have been supervising…. and providing sustenance of course in a timely fashion. He has also dug over all the ground, removed smaller roots and raked it over.

Hopefully the lawn man who promised to come in a couple of weeks a month ago will appreciate that 75% of the job he quoted for is now done and he only has to lay the lawn.

We are also waiting on the guy to come and fix our electronic gate.. He said Wednesday but neglected to tell us which Wednesday. It is frustrating when people say that they will turn up and then do not bother. We have stayed in three times now in the last couple of weeks in anticipation and it is disappointing and frankly unprofessional. The papers are full of how business is not as good as it should be…. I wonder why!

Anyway.. sorry for the little rant!  One thing I can never complain about, is the consistency and commitment by those who contribute to the blog each week with columns and to those of you who tune in regularly to like, comment and share. I really am very grateful.

Time to share the posts from the week that you might have missed…..

The Music Column with William Price King – Josh Groban Part Four.

More hits from this exceptional artist with some of his most recognisable hits that William has provided background to.

Paul Andruss – Writer in Residence.

No post from Paul this week but I always like to reblog from his own site as it is always interesting.. this week.. Nessie… the Loch Ness Monster has been the subject of many scientific studies.. but it is it a myth or a reality?

From the film ‘The Water Horse- Legend of the Deep’

The Cookery and Food Column with Carol Taylor – Thai curry pastes from scratch.

The Literary Column with Jessica Norrie – Blast Off! – Memorable first lines of books.

Getting to Know You Sunday Interview with Annette Rochelle Aben

Welcome to Getting to Know You where guests pick five questions that reveal a little more about their personality and background. This week my guest is Miss Personality as far as I am concerned. You don’t have to be in the same room with Annette Rochelle Aben to know that she is funny, compassionate, empathetic and generous. That all shines through in her blog posts, social media comments and radio podcasts. And as you will find out… it also shines bright as day in her interview.

Personal Stuff – Odd Jobs and Characters

I leave my job as housekeeper/cook of the boarding school and hop a train all the way to North Wales where I start a new position at a swanky hotel. Arriving late at night at this gothic mansion was not the best start to a new job I have had!

Letters from America – 100 degrees, Key Lime Pie and Adverts

Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story – Serialisation

Chapter One – In the Beginning

Chapter Two – My New Home.

A new story written as a guest post for Noelle Granger’s blog – Charlie the Junkyard Dog.

Charlie was a junkyard dog and had the scars to prove it. He was head of security of this fenced off mass of scrap metal, dotted with mounds of old tyres he called home, and he took his job very seriously. During the day, he was chained up next to the beat-up old trailer, where his human would shout loudly at other humans; sometimes throwing things at the thin metal walls. In bad weather Charlie would retreat into a rough scrap wood shelter; resting his bony body on a ragged old corn sack on the hard concrete floor as the water dripped in through the roof.

Poetry – Haiku

Sally’s Drive Time Playlist – 1974

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves

Cafe and Bookstore Author Updates

Meet the Reviewers

Smorgasbord Health Column – The Summer Fruit Salad

fruit and veg banner

The Candida Albicans Shopping List

Alternative Therapies – The Alexander Technique

Humour and Afternoon Videos


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine -Weekly Round Up – Josh Groban, Legendary Irises, Lucious Lamb and Shark Diving!

Welcome to the round up of posts you might have missed. Another week of beautiful weather here and apart from taking time out to sit and read in the sunshine…David has been removing the stumps left after the tree felling last summer, so that we can lay a lawn. It will change the whole aspect of the front garden. We then have wall repairs and new fencing and another major job off the list. We have been in the house two years next week and it has certainly been an amazing time. The biggest problem with renovating a property here in Ireland is the weather, especially for the outside work. Hats off to the tradespeople who have to contend with all the time.


Delighted to welcome author D.G. Kaye (Debby Gies) as the latest regular contributor to the blog. I am sure many of you will have enjoyed Debby’s travel archive posts, and like me read and reviewed her book Have Bags Will Travel. Now she will be sharing her expertise with a monthly Travel Column. To get the column off to a flying start (or should I say sailing!)…

Debby will post three articles on cruising the high seas beginning 18th June with parts 2 and 3 going out every fortnight.

As always my thanks to the other contributors who provide wonderful content and bring such variety to the blog.

On with the rest of the posts.

The Music Column with William Price King.

William  shares the hits of the early to mid 2000s of the phenomenon that is Josh Groban.

The Gardening Column with Paul Andruss

This week Paul brings us the beauty and legend of the Iris.

The Food and Cookery Column with Carol Taylor

More fabulous recipes from Carol Taylor and this week her focus was on lucious lamb.

The Sunday Interview – Getting to Know You with author D.Wallace Peach

Diana Peach is my guest today on Getting to Know You.. She shares her fashion sense, encounters with sharks (the ones with fins not legs!) Waterskiing, and her love of country life… head over and discover more about her.

Personal Stuff – Letters from America

Odd Jobs and Characters – Some of my quirky employment opportunities – This week I cook 3000 meals a week.

Sally’s Drive Time Playlist

Smorgasbord Nature Reserve – When Starlings hit the swimming pool.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves

Meet the #Reviewers

Author Update

Smorgasbord Short Stories – The Sewing Circle Part three and four – Flights of Fancy

Part Three

Part Four

Albert the Perfect Candidate

The Psychic Parrot

Health Column – The Alexander Technique – #Posture, #Backpain #Ergonomics

Candida Albicans Series

Humour and Afternoon Videos




Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the #Book #Reviewers – Chuck Jackson for Paul Kalanithi, Olga Nunez Miret for Guillermo Stitch and Robbie Cheadle for Teagan Riordain Geneviene.

Welcome to the post where I celebrate those who take the time to review books that we write. The other posts are usually focused on the authors and their reviews, so you are most welcome to contact me at with a link to your review on your blog or on Amazon. I will make every effort to feature you.. thanks Sally.

  • If you click the images of the books you will be taken directly to Amazon.
  • Where an author or reviewer is in the Cafe and Bookstore I will include their entry.
  • If a review has been posted to Amazon directly without a blog post, I will share the entire review with a link to the reviewers blog.

The first author with a review of a book that sounds amazing is Chuck Jackson with his views on Finalist for the PulitzerWhen Breath Becomes Air by Dr. Paul Kalanithi. Here is an extract from Chuck’s post and I do recommend that you click the link to read more.

When I studied and enhanced my writing, I found successful writers’ advice was to expand my reading of books. I always have loved reading books, but it had been for relaxation and enjoyment. An escapism from career stress and life’s challenges. Now I have added another aspect to my reading. I am learning techniques, styles, and methods to gain writing credibility and reader’s attention.

If you are an avid reader, periodically you come across a book that talks to your psyche and leaves you emotionally moved. Sometimes it will be joyful, anger, or sadness. Whatever the emotion, it stays with you for days or months. I finished such a book and I want to share my feelings. If you haven’t read it yet, I wholehearted recommend you put it on your must-read list.

When Breath Becomes Air details Dr. Paul Kalanithi’s life as a neurosurgeon and his fight against advanced lung cancer. Yet it goes beyond his struggles, it challenges us to look at our own mortality and contemplate the way we look at our life. Does our life have the significance that will continue after we are gone? Did we spend our days, months and years on meaningless self-serving ambitions?

Dr. Kalanithi writing talent is formidable and belongs alongside the best authors of our time. Often I had to reread a passage to make sure I understood its deep meaning. What astounded me most was his desire to understand death and its respective placement in life. He felt it would enhance his career if he could help his terminal patients handle their mortality and convey the meaning of death

Please head over to Chuck’s website to read the rest of the review:  Review When Breath Becomes Air

Chuck is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore

Chuck Jackson, Buy:
Website Blog:

The next reviewer is Olga Nunez Miret who  has a regular feature on Tuesdays. This week a novella by a new author Guillermo Stitch – Literature

An extract from Olga’s Review for the book.. please follow the link to read the rest..

Today I bring you a book that is due for release early next month (the first of July) but is already available in preorder, and as there is a Goodreads giveaway you can access here, if you live in the USA, I thought I’d share it ahead of time, so you can be prepared. I hope to read more books by this new author, and I wonder if there will be more books about this very peculiar world he introduces us to in this novella.

I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team (author, check here if you’re looking for reviews) and thank Rosie and the author for providing me an ARC copy of this novella, which I freely chose to review.

It is difficult to describe the reading experience of Literature. I have read reviews comparing it to noir novels (absolutely, especially the voice of the characters and some of the situations), to Fahrenheit 451 (inevitable due to the plot, where fiction has been banned and nobody can possess or read books) and 1984 (although we don’t get a lot of detail of the way the world is being run, the sense of claustrophobia and continuous surveillance, and the way terrorism is defined are definitely there), and even Blade Runner (perhaps, although Literature is far less detailed and much more humorous). I did think about all of those while I read it, is true, although it is a pretty different experience to all of them.

Billy Stringer is a mixture of the reluctant hero and the looser/anti-hero type. The novella shares only one day of his life, but, what a day! Let’s say it starts badly (things hadn’t been going right for Billy for a while at the point when we meet him) and it goes downhill from there. The story is told in the third-person but solely from Billy’s point of view, and we are thrown right in. There is no world-building or background information. We just share in Billy’s experiences from the start, and although he evidently knows the era better than we do, he is far from an expert when it comes to the actual topic he is supposed to cover for his newspaper that day. He is a sports journalist covering an important item of news about a technological/transportation innovation. We share in his confusion and easily identify with him. Apart from the action, he is involved in, which increases exponentially as the day moves on, there are also flashbacks of his past. There is his failed love story, his friendship with his girlfriend’s brother, and his love for books.

Read the entire post and review: Literature by Guillermo Stitch – Revew by Olga Nunez Miret

Olga Nunez Miret is also in the Cafe and Bookstore.

Olga Nunez Miret – Buy:

Please visit Olga’s blog or Amazon to view all her books


The third reviewer today is Robbie Cheadle who has enjoyed The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story by Teagan Riordain Geneviene.

Here is an extract from Robbie’s post.

Teagan Geneviene is an amazing writer and has an incredible blog where she shares highly entertaining episodes of her latest “pantser” story. Here is a link to a recap of her latest story, Hullaba-lulu

The Three Things Serial Story: A little 1920’s story has a little bit of everything in it – a touch of a romance or two, stolen goods, a kidnapping, a gang of ruthless men and a satisfactory ending. Teagan manages to achieve all of this in a well written and interesting way based on three word prompts provided by readers of her blog each week. I am frankly quite incredulous that a writer can weave three prompts into each episode and still come out with a story that makes perfect sense, entertains and flows. This approach has the added appeal of resulting in quite a unique story line.

Head over and read the entire post and the review: Robbie Cheadle – Review Teagan Geneviene – Three Things Serial

Teagan Geneviene is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore

Teagan Geneviene – Buy:


Robbie Cheadle is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore

Robbie Cheadle, Buy:


Thank you for dropping in today.. and if you have recently reviewed a book, then please let me know so I can feature both you and the author.. Thanks Sally (

Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – With friends – William Price King, Paul Andruss, Carol Taylor, Esme, Billy Ray Chitwood and other brilliant writers.

Welcome to the weekly round up and the posts that you might have missed.  I am finding it hard to believe we are into June already and I have to say we have had an amazing week as far as weather is concerned here in the south east of Ireland. A little overcast today but we have been spared the terrible thunderstorms and flash flooding suffered by our friends across the Irish Sea. Our first crop of sparrow babies is now fledged and that usually means that mum and dad will be producing a second clutch of eggs. Judging my the noise they are making at dawn, they have already made a start on that project!

We have a water bath for the birds and the starlings take full advantage, and no sooner than I have refilled it (several times a day) they are in their splashing and preening. The bird feeding tree and bath were our joint Christmas presents to each other this year, and I have to say that it is a gift that keeps giving. The view from our kitchen window is entertaining and heart warming.

As always a massive thank you to the regular contributors who share their expertise with us.  And to you for dropping in and showing your support by liking, commenting and sharing.

Here are the posts from the week.

William Price King shares the early successes of Josh Groban who won the hearts of his fans and stormed up the charts within months of his debut album being released.

Paul Andruss our Writer in Residence, with a post on his own blog which is well worth you reading, especially if you are a classical music lover… Frederick Delius

Please head over and read on Paul’s blog:

Carol Taylor took one of our most popular proteins and gave Chicken a makeover in her weekly column.. Thai Basil, Lemon, Jerk seasoning and Tarragon are the stars.

Esme’s Party Piece – Predictions for June

Getting to Know You – Sunday Interview with Billy Ray Chitwood.

Welcome to the Sunday interview and this week my guest is author Billy Ray Chitwood.  Before we find out which of the questions Billy Ray has chosen to respond to including something he lost, his favourite music, Mountains or Beach and his alternative career path.

Personal Stuff..

Odd Jobs and Characters – some of the jobs that were featured in my novel Just an Odd Job Girl. This week, I am  the landlady of a pub at the entrance to Cowes Harbour… Saturday nights the booze cruises would come over from Southampton with interesting results.

Letters from America – July 1985 – and a visit to Hanna Barbara Land with three young children and lilo racing!

Sally’s Drive Time Playlist. – 1972.

Sally’s Cafe and BookstoreNew on the Shelves

Author Update – Reviews

Smorgasbord Short Stories

Flights of Fancy – The Sewing Circle  Part one and Two.

A group of elderly women have formed a sewing circle that meet regularly. They offer support, friendship and love to each other on an estate that is being plagued by hooligans.

Part One

Part Two

Health Column

The five part digestive system series.

Nutrients the body needs – Vitamin E.

Food in the news – Research is showing that you do need the good carbohydrates that are whole grain and contain essential nutrients.

Alternative Therapies – The Alexander Technique – Introduction.

A technique used by performers all over the world to improve their posture and open up their lungs and strengthen muscles.

Humour and Afternoon Videos

Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Personal thoughts on the week’s events and Jazz, Tulips, Pork, Reading and the Himalayas

Welcome to the weekly round up and it has been a week of two extremes. The sadness and horror of more young people killed in a place where they should all feel safe in Texas, and the opulence and joy of a royal wedding.

The first is a problem that is not just confined to the United States, as violence and bullying in schools seems to be universal. We keep applying plasters to the symptoms, but do not seem to be able to resolve the underlying root cause of such anger, and the inability to communicate without aggression. I have no answers; only ideas, but surely some of the brightest minds in the world could get together, and come up with some constructive ways to prevent this sort of tragedy from happening in any of our educational establishments.

The royal wedding yesterday was an example of how centuries of tradition and customs that have been passed down within a constitution, can be modified and amended to enable new and more relevant inclusions which work. Proclamations and edicts issued 500 years ago and amendments to constitutions written in 1791 had their relevance in those times. Change is necessary and for those young people that are paying the price for our alleged ‘rights’, it cannot come soon enough. And that applies in the UK where our own capital has now become a murder hotspot, with acid and knives being the weapons of choice.

That change needs to take place not just in schools, and the way that we teach children, but in the home, where the fundamentals of socialisation need to be established by good parenting. How we achieve that will require a massive social and educational shift. I know from experience that there are amazing teachers and parents who inspire, motivate and prepare their pupils and children to enter the world as responsible adults. Many of them are bloggers here on WordPress sharing their expertise and ideas. Sharing their posts with your own readers is a very good start to the change process.

And the most important element for me towards this change, is that we need to stop giving those who perpetuate these acts of violence their 15 minutes of fame, and instead take every opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the millions of young people, who are inspiring and motivating.

Along with the usual videos of music and humour; I am going to share some videos of amazing young people.

I don’t often use my blog as a platform to share my views on politics or other social issues, but today I felt that I could not mention my enjoyment of the royal wedding without paying respect to the young people and their families in Texas, where David and I were so warmly welcomed back in the 1980s.

Now on with this week’s round up of contributors, guests and of course, not forgetting those of you who have kindly been in to like, comment and share.

On that subject, with the GDPR coming into force on the 25th, you will find a note at the end of each post about the subject.

Because of the actions of a few of the large Internet players, we are now all being held responsible for their actions. Our privacy online is a very hot issue. We all know that when we are online and interact with a website, that our data is being collected. With the responsible websites, such as WordPress, this is to ensure the smooth running of the platform.

I have a privacy statement in the menu:

This contains the links to both Jetpack and Automatic who provide services to WordPress, outlining what information is gathered and how it is used.

I have also added my assurances that I will not pass on your information to a third party, or misuse.

I do hope that this new regulation will not result in readers of blogs from leaving feedback on posts. It is one of the fundamental elements of blogging that allows interaction and communication between us all. Something we need more of and not less in this world.

Thank you for taking the time to read my views today… your visit is appreciated and here are the posts from the week you might have missed.

The Music Column with William Price King –

So far on the Music Column this year, William has featured Bono and U2, Madonna, Johnny Mathis and Aretha Franklin. Next week a new series with the music of Josh Groban.

Paul Andruss – The Gardening Column.

Paul Andruss treated us to an extra post this week with the history and varieties of the beautiful Tulip.

The Food and Cookery Column with Carol Taylor who shares a sure fired way to crisp up that crackling on your roast pork and other fabulous recipes.

The Literary Column with Jessica Norrie

For various reasons we can find ourselves in a reading desert.. too much going on at work, relationships and online! It can be tough to leap back into reading novels.. but Jessica offers hope in how we can revive that reading feeling…..

The Sunday Interview – Getting to Know You – Balroop Singh

This week my special guest is author, poet, book reviewer and blogger Balroop Singh.  Balroop is a wonderful supporter of other writers and I have been delighted to share her insightful and constructive reviews for authors in the Cafe and Bookstore.


Personal Stuff.

Get Caught Reading Month and another author who has inspired me.. Dorothy Parker was born before her time… and today I share two of her poems and some of her quotations that have inspired me to write.

This week on Odd Jobs and Characters, I share the events that took place when I was in my management training programme with a steak house chain. ‘The Night of The Mouse’ and the aftermath.

Short stories – another from my collection Flights of Fancy.

A woman in a farmhouse on a Welsh hillside offers kindness to another.

Letters From America – 1985 – 1987 – A baby arrives and I meet a new friend at the pool.

Finally Spring has arrived in my garden… some of the colour that has erupted with a few days of sunshine.

Sally’s Drive Time Playlists #Music to get the weekend started.

The last of the request shows… and back to the usual posts next Friday.  This week requests from Jacquie Biggar, John Rieber, Judy E. Martin and Janice Spina

Posts from your Archives – Travel

This week Debby Gies shares her photographs from her cruise to the Caribbean.. and coming back through Canadian Customs.. where they have a special lane.. just for her!

St. Kitts

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves

This week Craig Boyack.. C.S. Boyack celebrates the release of his latest book. The Yak Guy Project.

Poet Ali Whitelock introduces us to her latest release – And my heart crumples like a coke can.

A warm welcome to novelist Elle Boca and her Weeia series of novels.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Meet the Reviewers. 

A celebration of those who take the time to review our work and help us sell books.

Cathy Ryan

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Update – Authors in the cafe with recent reviews.

Smorgasbord Health Column

Food in the news… heart and stress – good news for dark chocolate lovers.

Heart health and stress – strategies to help save your life.

Vitamin D is a multi-functional nutrient that we need for some very important reactions with in the body to keep us health and our structure strong.

The next in the series of ancient healing therapies – Acupuncture..

Humour and Afternoon Video

I hope that you have enjoyed the posts this week, and would of course love to hear from you. Thanks Sally

Before I finish I would like to congratulate all the winners of the Bloggers Bash Awards that took place in London yesterday. So sorry not to have been there but I hear it was a great day. I was very honoured to have been nominated in the Best Overall Blog Category.

If you would like to find out who the winners are in the various categories you can find them here:

and I will leave the last word to the Kid President 20 things we should say more often.

Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Aretha Franklin, Late Spring Bulbs, Corned Beef and Esme’s Party Piece.. and that’s just for starters…

Welcome to the weekly round up with the posts that you might have missed. I have been editing Tales from the Irish Garden and breaking that up with time in said garden, planting pots and (if I am honest) sitting in patches of sunlight reading! It is another lovely day here so will be doing the same, as around here one is not really sure if this is ‘summer’ and you need to make the most of it.

We have some major work coming up with contractors in to lay a lawn and add some new fencing. We have been in the house two years in June and these will be the last of the major renovations…really looking forward to having the garden in bloom again.

As usual the posts this week do not all originate from my keyboard, and a huge thank you to the contributors for their commitment to delivering fabulous posts.

William Price King finished his series on the legend, Aretha Franklin in style on Wednesday, with plenty of tracks to bring back memories and to dance to. There is a slight break this week but then from the 23rd, William will be sharing the story behind the talented singer and songwriter, Josh Groban.

Paul Andruss shared some stunning images of late Spring bulbs that brought some colour into our lives, especially those of us who have been waiting rather a long time for spring to even begin!  The gardening column is clearly popular and don’t forget that our resident expert is happy to answer your questions. Not just for those of us in the UK and Ireland but across the world.

Carol Taylor enticed us and informed us with her post this week on the glories of beef.. in a Strogranoff, Corned and in the fabulous Thai Salad Nam Doc Nua… again if you have questions about any of the recipes or any food or cookery queries then fire away.

Esme’s Party Piece… the health issues common to the specific zodiac signs and foods that are a good idea to include regularly.

The Getting to Know you Sunday Show.

My guest today is the generous, forthright and passionate advocate for civil liberties, The Militant Negro™. Not a day goes by when one or more of my posts are shared on his eclectic blog and I know that I am just one amongst many have reason to be grateful for his kindness. You will find the arts, poetry, fiction as well as down to earth and compelling documentation of the the many civil rights violations that are part of all our cultures.

Sally’s Book Reviews

If you are a frequent visitor to the blog you will have seen D.G. Kaye… Debby Gies here many times as a contributor, commenter and supporter. It is no secret that we are friends. This however, does not influence my views on her books, and this applies to her most recent release. Twenty Years: After “I Do” : Reflections on Love and Changes Through Aging.

Posts from Your Archives – Travel with D.G. Kaye – Debby Gies

Time for the third of Debby Gies, D.G. Kaye’s travel posts. I would love to be a fly on the wall when she is traveling. Apart from her usual finesse with the check-in and carry on bags, there is the matter of the toxic passengers and glares over protective masks.. You don’t mess with Debby that is for sure.. As to the bathroom facilities…..aghhhhhhhh.

D.G. Kaye Arizona

Personal Stuff – Letters from America

We were now into June of 1985 and getting the hang of things. We had met more people in the apartments and were planning our next trip later in the summer.  I also send photographs of our trip to Disney World to my parents.

Flights of Fancy – Short Story Collection

A woman is accused of murder.. and this is her response…..Getting Away with Murder

A recently purchased cottage is waiting for one more member of the family to arrive to make it perfect – The Other Side of Heaven.

Get Caught Reading Month – Authors who have inspired me – Jean M. Auel – Earth Children Series.

These books did not just inspire me to continue writing, but to explore my own heritage, back 20,000 years to a woman’s bones in a cave in the southern France, northern Spain region.

Another background story to my characters and jobs in Just an Oldd Job Girl. Originally hosted by Diana Wallace Peach. This week the cosmetic department.

Sally’s Drive Time Playlist – The requests from readers over the last few weeks.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves

Author Update – Recent Reviews.

Meet the Reviewers.. A celebration of those who take the time to review and support the books of authors.

Health Column

The right balance of LDL – Low density lipoprotein (potentially unhealthy cholesterol) and HDL– High density lipoprotein (healthy cholesterol).

One of the most common contributory factors to heart disease is stress… finding the right balance in our lives and diet is essential to reduce the risk of acute stress becoming a permanent state.

The next vitamin in the Nutrients we Need series is Vitamin C which is involved in over 3000 processes in the body.

The start of a new series of ancient healing therapies – this week Reflexology.


Sally’ Cafe and Bookstore – #Get Caught Reading Month – Authors who have inspired me -Jean M. Auel – Clan of the Cave Bear

Welcome to the second of my posts on authors who have inspired me to write to celebrate Get Caught Reading Month.

In fact the books of Jean M. Auel did not just inspire me to write beyond the short stories that were piling up in my desk drawer, but to explore my own heritage further.

Although the books were published in the 1980s it was not until the late 90s that I bought and read The Clan of the Cave Bear and was immediately hooked. As with Wilbur Smith, I began to buy the hard back copies so I could read the latest Ayla story as soon as possible and they hold pride of place next to his books in my library.

I found the whole subject matter fascinating and was delighted when Valley of the Horses was released at the end of 2001. I was now completely hooked, not only about Ayla and her life as it evolved in the story but the time it was set in, around 35,000 years ago. This led me to another book written by Dr. Bryan Sykes called the Seven Daughters of Eve.

The Oxford Ancestor DNA Project was just becoming available and David and I both submitted our DNA for testing. At that time the test traced the mitochondrial DNA against the seven sets of bones found during excavations from around 45,000 years ago.

When submitted, an individual’s DNA is tested against seven sets of bones. Each of the identified set of bones found in various regions in Europe was given a name. My results showed that my DNA came from Helena whose bones dated back around 20,000 years ago. My husband’s to a slightly later woman, Velda, 17,000 years ago.

Helena’s, and therefore my own DNA, is according to Dr. Sykes and his team, the largest and most successful of the seven native clans with 41% of Europeans belonging to one of its many branches. She was born somewhere in the valleys of the Dordogne in South Central France, but the clan is widespread throughout all parts of Europe, but reaches its highest frequency among the Basque people of Northern Spain and Southern France. (Perhaps explains my love of my former Spanish home in the mountains above Madrid combined with sunshine, olive oil, seafood etc.)

The ice-age was at its severest and stretched down as far as Bordeaux, and in Britain down as far as the midlands (Britain was still joined to continental Europe by dry land).   Helena’s diet would have consisted of meat, seafood from the shoreline such as oysters and possibly seaweeds, various plants and fruits, some tubers and mushrooms, seeds and grains. Recent research indicates that we may well have begun eating raw grains very early on when we left the forests for the grasslands, and that even 30,000 years ago we may have been processing existing grains for cooking. Rather negates the recent trend to take all grains out of our diet!

According to Helena’s bones, she was about 42 when she died and would have lived to see her grandchildren. That was a good age for the time. Life was very hard – apart from the cold and harsh living conditions, food scarcity, childhood was perilous and it was an achievement to reach 15. If you did, then provided you survived giving birth, avoided accidents and found enough to eat and store for winter months, you could look forward to perhaps another 20 years to your mid-30’s. In a time where survival of the fittest was the rule – Helena survived into her 40’s and produced daughters who were strong and fertile who resulted in not just myself, but my two sisters, and three granddaughters to carry on her legacy.

Which brings me back to the Earth Children Series. The books now held even more fascination for me as I felt a connection to not just Ayla but to all those she met, the descriptions of life and hardships they endured. I could easily imagine a few thousand years on my own ancestor living a very similar life and facing those same challenges.

I recommend the whole series which is now available in ebook as well as paperback in audio. The amount of research involved in the books is phenomenal and there were quite a few years between each book. Today you can download all six individually or as a complete set and read them back to back.

About Clan of the Cave Bear

Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read

Through Jean M. Auel’s magnificent storytelling we are taken back to the dawn of modern humans, and with a girl named Ayla we are swept up in the harsh and beautiful Ice Age world they shared with the ones who called themselves the Clan of the Cave Bear.

A natural disaster leaves the young girl wandering alone in an unfamiliar and dangerous land until she is found by a woman of the Clan, people very different from her own kind. To them, blond, blue-eyed Ayla looks peculiar and ugly—she is one of the Others, those who have moved into their ancient homeland; but Iza cannot leave the girl to die and takes her with them. Iza and Creb, the old Mog-ur, grow to love her, and as Ayla learns the ways of the Clan and Iza’s way of healing, most come to accept her. But the brutal and proud youth who is destined to become their next leader sees her differences as a threat to his authority. He develops a deep and abiding hatred for the strange girl of the Others who lives in their midst, and is determined to get his revenge.

One of the recent reviews for the book.

Set in during the last Ice Age, Ayla, a primitive human girl of five, loses her family in an earthquake. Starving, dehydrated, and mauled by a cave lion, she is found wandering by Iza, a medicine woman of the Clan. Not Cro Magnum like Alya, but Neanderthal at the waning end of their races existence, the Clan takes in the girl of the Others.

Ayla has to adapt to the similar but different Clan. Their customs, their behavior, and their social relationships are different from humans, but their emotions are so familiar. Ayla has to learn, bending her personality to their rigid practices. But if she can’t adapt, the Clan will punish her.

And Broud, the clan leader’s son, is eager to see that she fails. Consumed by jealousy, the young Neanderthal will do anything to hurt or degrade Ayla.

Clan of the Cave Bear is a brilliant book. Set in the ice age, Auel’s meticulous research into survival tactics, primitive technology, and megalithic wildlife now extinct brings to life the distant past of the earliest humans. Through Ayla, we can get a glimpse of how our ancestors lived and how their cultures developed. The fact she also has a very human story in the character of Ayla’s early childhood and coming of age as an adult only makes the story even more gripping.

With great characters, a moving plot, and a fascinating setting, there’s a reason that Auel’s Earth Children series is so popular! If you’re a fan of historical fiction then you need to read this amazing series!

Read some of the over 1300 reviews and buy the books in ebook, paperback and audio:

And on Amazon UK:

The other books in the Earth Children Series

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And Amazon UK:

About Jean M. Auel

“It started as a short story…”

Jean Marie Auel was born February 18, 1936, the second of five children of parents Neil and Martha Untinen. She is an American author best known for her Earth’s Children® books, a series of novels set in prehistoric Europe that explores interactions of Cro-Magnon people with Neanderthals. As of 2010 her novels have sold more than 45 million copies worldwide, with nearly half that total number sold in the United States alone. The series consists of The Clan of the Cave Bear, The Valley of Horses, The Mammoth Hunters, The Plains of Passage, The Shelters of Stone, and The Land of Painted Caves.

She grew up in Chicago. Following her marriage to Ray Auel—a man she has known since they were children together in grade school, and with whom she recently celebrated a 56th wedding anniversary–the Auels relocated to Oregon. She did her undergraduate work at Portland State University, and later earned an M.B.A. from the University of Portland, while working and raising her five children.

In 1977, at the age of forty and on the cusp of changing jobs, Ms. Auel was inspired by the idea of writing a story—a short story—that was as entertaining and informative as the books she enjoyed herself. She envisioned a young woman from mankind’s earliest history, who was the archetypal stranger, living with people who are physically and psychologically different. Ms. Auel began to write, until she realized something important: She had no idea what the world she wanted to write about was like. How did early people live? What did they eat? What were their relationships like? And what kind of a woman could not only live through the challenges of this harsh world and harsher prejudices, but triumph?

Always meticulous and a voracious reader, Ms. Auel began to research. She visited the local library and came home with two armfuls of books. She immersed herself in the available historical and scientific data, learning everything she could about life more than 30,000 years ago. Her extensive, precise research became a hallmark of her work, earning her the respect of archeologists, anthropologists, and paleontologists worldwide for her subtle interpretation of facts and artifacts. “Scientists have to be objective,” she has stated, “but as an author I have to be subjective. But it is an informed subjectivity, and true to the facts we have.”

She named her heroine Ayla (pronounced with a long “A”). Ms. Auel’s short story grew into an outline for a novel … and the outline grew into a plan for six epic novels. “I told my husband I had a plan for six books,” she laughs, “and he replied I hadn’t even written one!”

But she soon finished the first of the novels, entitled The Clan of the Cave Bear, composed in a burst of creative energy in just over one year. A chance encounter with a New York-based literary agent at a local writers’ workshop further sparked her success; the much-respected Jean Naggar expressed real interest in the manuscript. Impressed with the power of her storytelling, Naggar negotiated a deal for the novel … and the rest is publishing history. The Clan of the Cave Bear was published in hardcover in 1980, and The Valley of Horses followed in 1982. Her third novel The Mammoth Hunters (1985) broke records, being the first hardcover novel with a first printing of more than one million copies. In 1990, The Plains of Passage was published, and in 2002, her fifth novel, The Shelters of Stone, debuted at #1 on bestseller lists in 16 countries. The Land of Painted Caves will be published all over the world in late March, 2011.

Ms. Auel still lives in Portland, Oregon. She holds four honorary degrees from universities, and was awarded the French government’s Ministry of Culture “Officer in the Order of Arts and Letters” medal.


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope that if you have not as yet read one of these books that you will now do so. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Weekly Update. – Aretha Franklin, Restoration Women, Hot Soup and Texas Thunderstorms

Another week gone but one with some sunshine which is always worth celebrating. I have also finished writing Tales from the Irish Garden and phase one is over. Catching my breath and then back into each chapter to tidy up and elaborate before another run through for the first edit. I really don’t mind this part and at least I am on target to publish mid-summer.

I am so grateful for the amazing columnists who contribute to the blog each week and it would not be the same without them.

Great to have William Price King back after his week away and we just have one more post to come in the Aretha Franklin series. I am delighted that it has brought so many memories back and thank you for your comments.

Paul Andruss posted on his own site this week.. Plight of the Restoration Women.. when your money and assets belonged to the man you married. A companion piece to last week’s post here on Barbara Villiers.

Elizabeth Pepys by Rita Greer 2007 (Historical Painter)

Carol Taylor, like so many has been battling a chesty cough but still managed to get into the kitchen and produce some of her delicious soup recipes, it may be spring but the weather is still a bit cool and soups make perfect light lunches.

The Sunday Interview Getting to Know You.

Welcome to the Sunday interview and this week my guest is poet Ritu Bhathal who I enjoyed meeting at last year’s Bloggers Bash in London. And it was fantastic to be there when she won the Best Overall Blog Award 2017. Find out more about her phobias, her love of dusting!…. her passion for singing and meet her cat..

My personal stuff – Letters from America.

The weather becomes more turbulent in Houston. with the hot humid days and we experience our first thunderstorms and torrential rain. My friend Kelly’s due date comes closer.

Posts from my archives – Short stories – Odd Jobs and characters.

This week I work in the shoe department of our local store and find that I am still using x-ray equipment and some ladies do not wear knickers!

Get Caught Reading Month – Authors who inspired me to writer –  The books of Wilbur Smith.

Since my teens I have read and collected the books of Wilbur Smith. As part of Get Caught Reading Month, I will be sharing some of his work and three other authors who inspired me to write.

Sally’s Friday Drive Time Playlist – more of your requests. Howell, Annette Rochelle Aben, D.G. Kaye and Judy E. Martin

Short Stories – Tales from the Garden – Mollie’s Gardens.

My mother loved her gardens and in this post I share some of her memories spanning 94 years.

Posts from Your Archives

Debby Gies, D.G.Kaye shares another of her entertaining and informative travel posts. The joys of carry on luggage and the moving goal posts of their dimensions.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves.

Cafe and Bookstore Author Update

Meet the Book Reviewers

Smorgasbord Health Column

Aromatherapy – Marjoram essential oil – Muscles and stress.

Our heart is very dependent on us to provide it with the nutrient it needs to do its vital job of keeping us alive. It does not ask for much…just lots of fresh food, prepared from scratch and less packages, cans and bottles.

Our heart is only as good as the food we eat……


A-Z of nutrients that we need to be healthy – Vitamin B12.

Why we need cholesterol….


Thank you so much for dropping in today and as always my thanks for the amazing support and feedback. Enjoy your week and see you soon. Thanks Sally