Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – FREE book, Invitation to a Party and brilliant writers.

Welcome to the weekly round up and a reminder that What’s in a Name Volume one is FREE until midnight tonight. I am not part of the Kindle family although all my books are formated to be read on Kindles, Nooks and any other devices. So I don’t do the Kindle select promotions. However, most of you know we well enough to email me and that your information is safe.

About the stories

There are names that have been passed down through thousands of years which have powerful and deep-rooted meaning to their bearers. Other names have been adopted from other languages, cultures and from the big screen. They all have one thing in common. They are with us from birth until the grave and they are how we are known to everyone that we meet.

There are classical names such as Adam, David and Sarah that will grace millions of babies in the future. There are also names that parents have invented or borrowed from places or events in their lives which may last just one lifetime or may become the classic names of tomorrow.

Whatever the name there is always a story behind it. In What’s in a Name? – Volume One, twenty men and women face danger, love, loss, romance, fear, revenge and rebirth as they move through their lives.

Anne changes her name because of associations with her childhood, Brian carries the mark of ancient man, Jane discovers that her life is about to take a very different direction, and what is Isobel’s secret?

The book is available in Mobi (Kindle) Epub (other devices) and pdf for those of you without a reader.

Just email me on and I will whisk a copy over to you. I appreciate that many of you have TBRs that rival the Leaning Tower of Pisa… but that is okay and I also have no expectation of a review… unless you really want to!

You can read a number of reviews for the book:

and the latest review by Paul Andruss which is a story too:

End of Summer Party – August 26th – 28th – all welcome.

I will be roasting showcasing, those bloggers who have been with me since I began Smorgasbord four years ago.. and apart from these guests, I am inviting everyone to chip in with their details in the comments. I have some food and drink (virtually no calories) and there will be some music. I hope you will be able to pop in .

My secretary Mavis has reminded me that it is time to get on with the round up of the week’s posts that you might have missed.

I am of course very grateful to my guests this week who have provided us with entertaining and interesting posts. Thanks to Anne Casey, Julie Lawford and Carol Taylor who will be with us through the summer and beyond I hope.

William Price King is still on his summer break but I have been sharing a previous series that proved very popular the first time around.. Tony Bennett the ultimate performer.

Guest post from poet and song writer Anne Casey talking about the path to the publication of her debut poetry collection. Including her published work in the Irish Times.

Julie Lawford continues her summer of lifestyle articles with her top ten tips for maintaining your weight loss.

I was delighted to welcome Carol Taylor to the blog for the first of a collaborative series on my top healthy foods with some wonderful recipes from Carol.. This week delicious ways to prepare the king of fish.. salmon.

Milestones along the way by Geoff Cronin

I have posted another one of my entertainment reviews and this time for King Arthur: Legend of the Sword….

Book Promotion

For the next 12 weeks I am guest posting with a number of fantastic bloggers as part of the Odd Jobs and Characters, What’s in a Name launch series. I am posting the first three and then this Friday, Debby Gies is hosting the first of the guest appearances.. By all accounts she has added some Debby specials to the post so I hope you will head over and check it out.

This week was part one of my adventures as a dental nurse back in the late 1960s…haha.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves

Cafe and Bookstore Update

Air Your Promotions

Smorgasbord Short story

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Weekly image and Haiku

Humour and afternoon videos

Thank you for all your support and generosity in sharing.. Enjoy the rest of the weekend and hope you will visit again next week.




Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Tony Bennett, Houdini and Doyle, Bad Habits, Childhood and Greece

Welcome to this week’s round up of posts that you might have missed. As you know I recommend that you do not sign up for notifications about my posts.. it would drive you crazy.. but you might like to put Sunday in your diary for a pop in.

As always I am very grateful for those who have shared their thoughts, words and wisdom with us this week. William Price King, Paul Andruss, Julie Lawford, Kevin Morris and Ali Isaac

I have had some adventures of the dental kind this week having fractured a molar.. We had not signed up with a dentist as yet but were recommended to go to one in nearby Arklow.. You can always tell how good a dentist is by sitting in a waiting room. If people have their head in their hands are sweating it is not a good sign.. In this case everyone was enjoying a banter and talking about the weather.. I was reassured. Having been on the other side of the dentist chair over 40 years ago and witnessed some of the treatments then available you might understand why I am still nervous of going for an appointment.

I need not have been worried. Despite barely any of the tooth left, the dentist fitted me in for an appointment within two days because she did not want to leave me with a loose filling whilst she went on holiday. She took out the old filling painlessly and rebuilt it painstakingly… with composite. I am delighted to have found such a great practice and will be returning when needed.

The weather has turned autumnal and conkers are already on the trees. We have had a dry if cloudy summer and I take heart knowing that here in Ireland September can be a glorious month. In the meantime I may be getting the boots back out of their summer hibernation.. they have only been in there for six weeks…

Anyway on with the round up and thank you very much for your continued support.. It means the world to me.

Summer Jazz with William Price King

Whilst William is away on his summer break I will be reposting the series featuring the amazing Tony Bennett who is still performing in his 90s.

Here he is with The Way You Look Tonight by Jerome Kern

Writer in Residence

Thomas the Rhymer

This week Paul Andruss takes us behind the scenes of the real life relationship between two megastars of their day.. Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini.. Expect the unexpected with The Dream Team.

A reminder that you can enjoy the full book of essays by Horatio Grin (AKA Paul Andruss) with bonus features FREE by emailing me.. Details in the post.

Guest writer Julie Lawford Summer of Lifestyle posts

We all develop bad habits over time and this includes with our diet. Julie Lawford takes us through some strategies to make changes that benefit us.

Guest post Kevin Morris

Kevin  Morris is celebrating the release of his latest poetry collection, My Old Clock I Wind with a guest post on his childhood.

Milestones along the Way by Goeff Cronin

I new serialisation of Geoff Cronin’s books with Milestones along the Way.

Smorgasbord Short Stories – Guest Ali Isaac

Ali takes us to the heat of Greece in this heart warming story of a mother and daughter preparing for the future and letting go of the past.

Book Promotion

Over the next three months I will be posting a new series Odd Jobs and Characters to celebrate my latest short story collection in ebook and a printed edition containing both volumes of What’s in a Name? The first three posts are on my blog and then the other twelve are being featured on some wonderful writer’s blogs..

Smorgasbord Reblogs

These are stand alone reblogs for certain bloggers who have something a little extra that I would like to share.

Finn Mac Cool

Jessica Norrie

Just a reminder that all promotions for bloggers and authors on Smorgasbord are FREE… I can offer to showcase your work in front of nearly 30,000 across the blog and social media and give you regular updates every few weeks.

The only thing that I ask is that you participate by responding to comments of those who have taken the time to make them, and to share across your own blog and networks. This also involves responding to those who share on Twitter as I tag you in any retweets. Most who share on Twitter are authors themselves and are part of a very supportive community who welcome new members.

It does make a huge difference to the response. Not just for the initial promotion but those that follow. People buy people first..

A great example of participation this week was Vashti Quiroz-Vega whose enthusiasm for promoting her New on the Shelves post resulted in over 150 views and 50 retweets.. I did a quick count up of the number of followers who retweeted the post or the original tweet. Vashti’s book had the potential to be seen by half a million readers. Of course this does not necessarily correspond with books sold or downloaded but those people now firmly have Vashti on their radar.

As an author I love providing this promotional opportunity but it is a collaboration.

Here is how you can join over 200 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore…

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore New on the Shelves

A warm welcome to two new authors to the bookstore this week.

Author Update

Some new releases and great reviews for those already on the shelves of the bookstore.

Air Your Reviews

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Some of the wonderful blog posts I have read this week.. Sorry not to be able to showcase everyone.. but you can always send me a link for your most recent post for me to share.

Smorgasbord Short Stories

A wonderful story from Ali Isaac which takes to a Greek Island and sunshine.


Weekly image and Haiku

Thank you again for joining me here on Smorgasbord.. Keep an eye open during the week for a new interview series beginning in September in the Sunday Morning slot.

Smorgasbord Short Stories – Aphrodite’s Rock by Ali Isaac

Good stories are always worth repeating and so delighted to repeat  this one by author Ali Isaac and her short story Aphrodite’s Rock that she wrote for Authors in the Sun in 2015. You can find out more about Ali and her books and blog at the end of the story. Enjoy the sunshine……


Aphrodite’s Rock

“It’s just as splendid as I remember,” she says with a sigh, a rare smile playing on her lips. “Thank you. I never thought I’d see it again.”

I gaze at the rock; although the sea is calm, water foams and gnaws at its base. Here, they say, Aphrodite, Goddess of Love was born, and the magic of the moment is so intense, I half believe it.

The evening sun bathes the scene in soft gold, and we hang there between sea and sky, crying gulls and the ocean’s soft murmur filling our ears as we rock in our cradle-like boat, and drift with our memories.

Her voice is little more than a whisper. “Do you remember the last time we were here?”

I nod, and think back to that day; we stood hand in hand on the headland, eyes fixed on the rock, mum with tears in hers, and acknowledged there was more to life than love.

“You’ll know love one day,” she had said to me.

“Not me,” I had declared emphatically. “Love is for wimps.”

Mum had turned her face away at that. “You’re too young to be so angry.”

“Anyway, I’ll be much too busy digging treasure out of the ground,” I had added. And that, at last, had made her smile.

“Just you and me from now on,” she’d said, turning her back on Aphrodite, and I had done the same. We had never gone back. Until now.

A male voice breaks into our reverie. “Is Aphrodite… she is Goddess of love. You swim all way round her rock, you blessed with beauty all your life.”

I frown at his intrusion, and look up into disconcertingly deep brown eyes. “We know the legends,” I say in perfect Greek.

His eyes widen in surprise.

“We lived here for many years,” mum explains.

“Ah… with British Air Force.”

“No,” I snap, feeling inexplicably annoyed. “Not with British Air Force.” I don’t elaborate, and ignore his enquiring glance at my mother.

She shrugs. “My husband and I… we were free spirits, in those days. We met in Paphos, we loved Cyprus, we stayed…”

“Ah, love…” He nods vigorously, looks at the rock, then says to me, “You very beautiful lady. You swim here before?”

Mum stifles a grin, and I shoot her a murderous glare.

“Take us back to Paphos,” I tell him. “The wind’s getting up. I don’t want this bucket to capsize.”

Without a word, he revs up the engine, and turns the boat for the harbour.

“Do you have to be so rude? He was only complimenting you,” says mum. “And he’s very handsome.”

“Please don’t start match-making again,” I groan. “Anyway, the good-looking ones are the worst. Look at Dad.”

Her face hardens. “Not all men are like your father.”

The little boat bounces over the top of the waves, and we cling on in silence. Our boatman expertly guides his little craft into its mooring, and helps us alight onto the jetty. He presses something into my hand. I hurriedly snatch it from his grasp.

“A boatman with a business card?” I say in surprise.

His eyes meet mine, and for a moment, I feel my knees turn to water. “My family own many business in Paphos. Boat, Taxi, hotel, taverna, whatever you want. You want go in boat tomorrow, I know nice beach, no one else there, I take you.”

“No thank you.” I laugh. “No more boat trips for us. Once in that thing was quite enough.”

Mum tucks her arm in mine, as we make our way down the jetty. She stops at the first taverna. It’s early, and there are lots of empty tables. “Let’s eat here. I’m too exhausted to cruise the promenade tonight.”

We sit at a tiny table by the water’s edge and order calamari, Greek salad, and two bottles of Mythos. The sun descends rapidly into the sea, a huge ball of red fire, leaving little transition between day and night. The notes of a bazouki trail through the air, and a cool breeze blows in off the sea.

Mum shivers, and sets down her beer. “I’m not going back.”

“It’s ok, Mum. We can stay as long as you like.”

“That’s not what I mean.”

“I know what you mean.”

She sits back with a sigh. “Some of the happiest days of my life were lived here.”

“And some of the worst,” I remind her sourly, but she will not be goaded.

“I don’t have many left. I’m glad I could spend them here, with you.”

I force a smile. “Me too.”

She stares out to sea. I know she doesn’t see the empty darkness, for that belongs to me. She dusts off only the bright years of her life, those filled with youth, freedom, joy, before sorrow stole them from her.

“You know, you could look for your father after I’m gone… he might still be here.”

I snort laughter. “After all these years, he’s probably moved on to some other poor victim. Anyway, I don’t need him.”

Mum sighs. “Still so angry. You need to forgive, and enjoy your life. I just don’t want you being on your own when I’m gone.”

“Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine.”

“You could stay here, there’s plenty of good archaeology.”

“Enough to occupy a lifetime,” I say, quite tempted. “But I don’t think so; too many sad memories.”

But mom isn’t listening; her attention is captivated by someone sitting at the bar. He waves at her and smiles. It is our boatman, cleaned up and wearing jeans and a white shirt. I look away crossly.

“He’s stalking us,” I mutter, but mum laughs.

The waiter brings us two more beers. “From Yanni,” he says, placing them on the table.


“My cousin, at the bar.”

Mum giggles. “His family really do own all the businesses in Paphos.”

I scowl at her.

“Come on, he’s nice. And you’re going to need a friend when I’m gone.”

“Stop talking like that. I don’t want to think about it.”

“Ok, let’s go back to our room. I’m tired, and I want to get lots of rest for tomorrow.”

“Why, what’s happening tomorrow?”

“Well, I’ve got quite a fancy for a nice little boat trip…”

©Ali Isaac Aphrodite’s Rock 2015

About Ali Isaac


Who is Ali? I’ll tell you who I’m not. I’m not an archaeologist, or a historian. I’m not a scientist, or a scholar. I’m not an expert in anything, and don’t claim to be. The more I learn, the more I realise how little I know.

I’m just me, and I’m inexplicably drawn to the places of the past, the really ancient places of Ireland, where the ghosts of those who lived there once still cling, their voices sighing on the breeze. They are legend. They are myth. They want their stories known. So that is what I do.

Who is Ali? I am a conduit between past and present, a writer, a storyteller. I am the Guardian of Irish Mythology.

Books by Ali Isaac

One of the reviews on Goodreads for The Four Treasures of Eirean

Aug 06, 2012 Jay Howard rated it amazing  ·

Do you remember, with nostalgia, reading adventure stories full of youthful courage, heroes and villains, humans and fantastical creatures? Did you enjoy Narnia? If so, this book will have you doing everything in your power to read it in one sitting.

It’s firmly grounded in well researched Irish folklore and history, a sophisticated fairy tale of epic proportions that will appeal to children and adults alike. Ali Isaac cleverly leads us between the present and events of 4,000 years ago. Fourteen year old Conor, confined in his wheelchair, is fated to be the saviour of his ancestors, the Sidhe, and is led back to his kin by the intermediary, Annalee, through the Cloak of Concealment. When he learns of their plight he agrees to seek their lost four treasures, stolen from them by a power hungry traitor. Naturally, the treasures have magical powers of which mere humans are unaware.

Annalee returns with Conor from Tir na Nog to the present to help in the quest. But is she all she seems? Many trials and dangers are overcome together. In the best traditions of fairy stories, in helping the Sidhe, Conor finds his own power, and the final battle is very satisfying.

Don’t be put off by the plethora of Irish names. There is a pronunciation guide if you want to enter the spirit of it. It’s too awkward to flick back and forth on a Kindle but a print of those few pages does the job nicely. Alternatively, you can invent your own pronunciations – say it as you see it. Personally, I think a bit of work at the beginning is well worth it.

I am so looking forward to books 2 and 3.

She has also co-written a book of love stories with author Jane Dougherty, called “Gra mo Chroí, Love of my Heart, Love Stories from Irish Myth”.


Read all the reviews and buy the books:

Read more reviews and follow Ali on Goodreads:

Ali regularly posts on topics of Irish interest on her blog:

Find out more about Ali’s fascinating interests.

Social Media
Google+ –

Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Tony Bennett, new releases, reviews and series

Welcome to the weekly round up from blustery and very wet Wexford. Hopefully just a short reminder of the fact we are not in control of our fate or the weather and that the sun will be out again before the end of summer.

I have been at the computer most of the week getting ready for the release of my book on Friday.. more about that in the posts. But as always I have made time for one of the most important jobs of the day… reading other writer’s blogs and posting my own.

My thanks to my guests this week.. even those who are absent. William will be back in September with a new series and hopefully he is on the receiving end of better weather.

My thanks to Julie Lawford who will be making a regular weekly contribution with lifestyle posts through the summer and her previous posts can be found here.

Also this week the reposting of a very important article from author John Maberry with his story of prostate cancer and the symptoms to be aware of. He also outlines some of the treatment options.

WordPress happiness Engineers appear to have been messing around with the media settings again and I am now unable to centre multiple images which used to happen with one click… I do wish they would pay attention to the old adage.. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I have not wasted my breath contacting them.. after all they know best.

Anyway on with the posts you might have missed and thank you again for your contribution to keeping me motivated.

William Price King a man and his music

William is on an extended break until September and I will be repeating the popular Tony Bennett Series from 2015.

Horatio Grin.

Reminder that you can receive Fairies the Hidden History by Horation Grin (Paul Andruss) FREE as an Epub or pdf.

The Black Bitch and other Tales by Geoff Cronin

The last in the serialisation of The Black Bitch with Geoff’s last book beginning next weekend.

A shaggy dog story from Geoff about Pavarotti and one his most devoted fans.

Guest Posts

John Maberry shares his experiences with prostate cancer, the symptoms and the treatments.

Julie Lawford shares how positive affirmations can bring huge benefits physically and mentally.

Book Promotions.

I have just released Volume Two of What’s in a Name? in Ebook with the combined print version available in a few weeks.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Update

New on the Shelves

Air Your Reviews

Smorgasbord Reblog posts.

An important message from D.G. Kaye… Debbie Gies on emotional bullying that can as damaging as any other.

The first of two posts by Paul Andruss on his own site on the history and myths surrounding the skilled craft of weaving.

Thomas the Rhymer Paul Andruss

Blogger Daily


Short Stories

Smorgasbord Invitation Entertainment Review – Movie Dunkirk

A new series with reviews for the small and cinema screens.


Thank you for popping in today and for your support during the week.. All of which is very much appreciated.



Smorgasbord Book Promotion – What’s in a Name? Volume Two by Sally Cronin

I am delighted to say that Volume Two of What’s in a Name: Stories of Life and Romance is now live on Amazon and shortly on Smashwords in EPub.

Also in by the end of the summer there will be a print version of both volumes together with a total of 37 stories.

The theme is still related to the names that we are given.. In the first volume the stories were about people who were given names that were already famous or had significance within a family that they felt they needed to live up to.

In this volume the names are ordinary but their owners are anything but.

There are 16 stories and a bonus story to promote a new collection of stories in 2018.

About What’s In a Name – Volume Two.

Our legacy is not always about money or fame, but rather in the way that people remember our name after we have gone. In these sixteen short stories we discover the reasons why special men and women will stay in the hearts and minds of those who have met them. Romance, revenge and sacrifice all play their part in the lives of these characters.

Kenneth watches the love of his life dance on New Year’s Eve while Lily plants very special flowers every spring for her father. Martha helps out a work colleague as Norman steps back out into the world to make a difference. Owen brings light into a house and Patrick risks his life in the skies over Britain and holds back from telling a beautiful redhead that he loves her.

Meet Queenie and Rosemary who have both lost their husbands and must face a very different future. One that will take courage and the use of new technology.

Sonia is an entitled princess whose father has reached the end of his tether and Theresa has to deal with a bully in the checkout. Usher is an arrogant narcissist with a docile wife and is used to getting his own way and Vanessa worries about the future of her relationship with her teenage son.

Walter is a loner and is happy with just his dog for company, Xenia is the long awaited first baby of a young couple. Yves is a dashing romeo who has the tables turned on him unexpectedly and Zoe… Well she can see into the future.

In one way or another all these characters will be remembered by those whose lives they have touched.

You can buy the Kindle version here:

Volume One of What’s in a Name

One of the recent reviews for Volume One.

Deborah Bowman rated it it was amazing  Recommends it for: EVERYONE!

What’s in a name? Would you expect a dry rendition of the ancient origins for names? NO! Sally Cronin would not write something that would put you to sleep. What’s in a Name? is Sally’s newest book, published in February 2017.What’s in a Name?

In What’s in a Name? Sally wrote simple stories about people named Anne, who preferred to be called Annie, Alexander Winterbottom, Beatrix, and David. She gave them all interesting lives. Beatrix was a beautiful actress. Even after 40 years, she retained her regal demeanor and her audience appeal. Only at the end do you find out how. Celia buried herself in work for twenty years and then had to leave the nunnery and find a new life outside. Clive had a life-changing run-in with a cobra at age three. Diana Grace, courted by a handsome merchant banker, fell in love and married him in short order. When she got pregnant three years later, her husband did not react the way she expected he would.

Many stories, each with their plot twist that often made me smile, even when the protagonist murdered someone. Yes, there are a couple of murders and a few deaths. Four-year-old Grace went on a hunger strike when a loss broke her heart. I cried at that story. Hector accidentally killed a man who attacked his buddy and had already killed two security officers.

You will not be bored. It is an easy book to put down because each person has their own chapter. However, you will not want to. Can you tell I loved this book?

Also by Sally Cronin

All my books are available on Amazon UK:

Amazon US:

Since Amazon does not always transfer reviews from one country to another you can find most of the reviews on the individual books on Goodreads:

If you are not already connected to me on social media here are my links and would love to connect.


Promotion for the launch of What’s in a Name Book Two.

I am preparing a series of twelve posts titled Odd Jobs and Characters. Each individual post will share one of the several whacky jobs I have done in the past whilst between jobs or on the move. This ranges from chasing post card thieves at age 14 when working along the seafront in Portsmouth to selling advertising to ladies of a certain reputation!

I have these twelve posts available as guest posts for those who are happy to host them and an example will be posted on Monday on my blog. If you like what you see then I will send you one of the other posts ready to to go except for the illustrations which I will attach.

I would love to spread the posts out over the next 12 weeks or so that I don’t overload the system.

I know that many of you have your own formats for author interviews or spotlights so if you would rather keep to that format then I would be delighted to work with you on that. I am easy as they say.

The example post will go out on Monday morning – and if you like what you see or have any other ideas then you can contact me on

Smorgasbord short stories revisited – Blue Jay Cay by Colin Peck

When I worked on radio in the south of Spain I presented and recorded four series of Authors in the Sun showcasing local writers and their short stories.

Colin Peck who is an established author of several books kindly contributed two stories, one of which I am featuring today. You will find the link to his Amazon author’s page at the end of the story where you will find his novels.

Blue Jay Cay

Blue Jay Cay was a beach like no other they had seen. At least a mile of golden sand stretching before them, underneath a clear blue Caribbean sky. A line of coconut palms swayed in the gentle breeze, standing like soldiers on parade just above the shoreline. It was paradise.

Arnold raised his camera to eye level to photograph the wonderful vista and spoke to his wife, Caroline.

‘If we could get that run down chalet bungalow just behind the beach, we could renovate it completely. Ideal for all the family and friends to visit. I bet a few from the office will be out as well!’

‘Perfect location,’ Caroline agreed. ‘And you could build a patio just like the one we had on the house in England. And that garage could be converted into another bedroom. And I could completely change the garden.’

‘Yes, I think we’ve certainly found the right place to retire. Let’s get back into Nassau town and see the agent, before someone else snaps it up! I shan’t sleep tonight if the money hasn’t arrived!

Then Arnold spotted some more property seekers. ‘Look, there’s another car pulling up over there, I bet they’re looking for a bargain property as well!’

They hurried back to their car and then went speeding off down the dusty track that led to the main road into Nassau.

An old local man, Winston had hoped to greet them as they drove past his old shanty house and perhaps sell them some bananas, but as he raised his hand to wave he was showered in a cloud of dust and sand. They had not even glanced his way.

Momentarily blinded, Winston lost his balance and fell straight out of his hammock, scattering the squawking yard chickens. His old mongrel, ‘Bonzo’ woke from a deep slumber and dutifully started barking.

‘Gee whiz! Them folks is in a hurry!’ he said to himself as he stood up and brushed the sand off of his threadbare shorts and torn shirt. He looked along the road but the car had long since disappeared in a cloud of dust.

‘Oh never mind. Come on, I guess it’s time we went fishin, Bonzo.’

Winston was back in his hammock at the same time the next day but on this occasion he decided he would keep a sharp watch out for approaching cars. Sure enough, Arnold’s car appeared and roared past and then stopped near the old bungalow nearby. The same two people got out and wandered off, armed with what appeared to be plans and stopping every few yards to take snapshots.

An hour later they had finished, but this time their car did stop outside the shanty when they saw Winston’s weather beaten old sign, ‘Coconuts and Bananas for Sale.’

Winston was half-asleep but listened from underneath his straw hat, which was covering his face, as the couple got out of their car and approached.

‘I say there,’ Arnold said in a slightly raised voice, ‘Do you know of any plans to build more houses here?’

Winston stayed put with his hat still covering his eyes. ‘Well, let me see. Good afternoon, by the way,’ Winston paused and thought for a moment as they waited anxiously for his reply. ‘No, no plans I know of. Why d’you ask?’

‘Well, we’ve just bought that old bungalow behind the beach,’ Caroline replied. ‘We wondered if we might eventually be surrounded?’

‘No. Only by all this lovely peace and quiet, Ma’m. Us folks around here just like to let the world go by. Actually, the Cay is designated an area of natural beauty.’

‘Oh,’ Arnold replied as he and Caroline stood closer and looked over the garden fence. Bonzo got up and began to wag his tail.

‘My word, you have a lot of old empty bottles piled up there!’ Caroline pointed at a carefully arranged heap of old rum and beer bottles surrounded by a flower border.

‘Can’t you throw your rubbish away properly?’

‘That’s not rubbish, that’s Uncle Vernon,’ said Winston.

‘How do you mean?’ Arnold was puzzled.

‘He’s buried under there.’

Caroline gasped in horror. ‘What, under there…?’

‘Sure, six feet under, that’s he’s final restin’ place. Ninety one years of age, he was. We all think it was the relaxin’ way of life he enjoyed. So here he is, still relaxing. That’s how we bury our folks in this part of the world!’

‘Good gracious, are you allowed to do that?’ she asked.

‘I hope so, Ma’am. He’s been there for two years now!’ Winston said, finally rising out of his hammock and ambling slowly over to them.

‘So now, what are you good folks doin’ looking at property around here? Holiday home, retiring?’

‘Retiring actually,’ Arnold announced.

‘Good for you! Life’s too short. Just look at all this tranquillity!’

‘We thought it was an ideal opportunity,’ Caroline added.

‘Sure is Ma’am, what are you gonna do with all your spare time?’

‘I like painting,’ said Arnold.

‘That’s great, just look at the scenery around about. Mind you, oddly enough, I’ve never seen a Blue Jay around here! What do you use, oils? Watercolours?’

‘Oh no, I meant painting the house,’ Arnold replied.

‘Gee mister, we don’t worry too much around here. Jus’ look at this old shack behind me.’ Winston gestured at the old flaking timbers of his home.

‘You just never seem to catch up with the rainy season in this climate.’ Then he smiled at Caroline.

‘So, how about you, lady? I’ll bet you’ll be relaxing and reading on the verandah! Catching up on all those great books you folks collect back in Europe?’

Caroline appeared to be slightly shocked at Winston’s direct manner. ‘Oh no, I’ll be far too busy getting the house ready for visitors.’

‘Visitors!’ Winston shouted in disbelief. ‘Boy, you must be wealthy people if you don’t mind me sayin’ so! Them devils cost a fortune, did you know that?’

‘Well I’m sure ours won’t,’ Caroline snootily replied.

‘In fact folks, that is why that old bungalow is like it is now!’ Winston exclaimed.

‘What do you mean?’ said Arnold.

‘The couple in there had so many visitors, they went broke!’

‘I don’t believe you,’ said Caroline.

‘It’s true!’ Winston continued, ‘That guy did so many airport runs it turned his car into a wreck. His lady wife wore out so many washin’ machines and steam irons they could start a scrap yard! There was even a rumour they had to run four chest freezers and- they had to buy a bread making machine! Broke up their marriage in the end!’

‘We think you’re exaggerating,’ Arnold said testily.

‘OK, just check it out. By the way, would you folks like to buy some bananas?’

‘Not today thank you,’ Caroline snapped and they both turned away to walk toward their car.

‘Suit yourself. They are very good for stress,’ Winston called after them, ‘So is coconut milk!’

‘We shan’t have any stress, we’re retiring, remember!’ Arnold shouted back.

Winston watched their progress with growing interest over the following weeks and months. First of all, Arnold got an old trailer to pull behind his car and then a new cement mixer arrived. Hardly a day went past without a delivery of bags of cement or timber, or gravel. New window frames and literally hundreds of tiles. Bonfires of garden rubbish were a daily occurrence and both Arnold and Caroline appeared very tired as they toiled in the heat on their noisy and dusty building site.

Then after six months of hard work, it was Christmas and their first visitors arrived.

Winston saw Arnold driving past in his now well scratched and dented car, forcing a smile and waving a bandaged hand, as he returned with an assorted group of passengers from the airport. What a way to spend Christmas Eve, thought Winston as he watched Caroline greet the passengers on the porch and Arnold struggle into the bungalow with several large suitcases.

And the procession never ended. Hardly a week passed by when Arnold wasn’t on the airport run and Caroline wasn’t hanging out extra laundry, or weeding the garden. Even the small local supermarket could hardly keep up with the demand. The local gossips said they were doing ‘Bed and Breakfast,’ but it was not the case. Just constant visitors.

By Easter, they had worn out their second barbecue and Arnold had even bought some scaffolding to make window cleaning easier.

Theirs was a strange retirement; Winston could not help thinking. They must have really hated leaving work, he decided one afternoon as he lazed in his garden hammock. As though they were terrified at the thought of relaxing in the sun and taking a well earned rest. They were good folks and should be making the best of their new life of leisure.

Then it was time for his work. Winston had finished his afternoon nap and strolled down the golden sand to his little fishing boat moored at the pontoon. Arnold was driving slowly by with a load of building tools and an air conditioning unit strapped to his car trailer.

Winston waved to him and then cast off his boat into the gentle surf.

Hopefully, the Grouper fish would be biting this evening. Otherwise it was Cajun chicken for supper, while he listened with interest and fascination to the local radio station. Sipping a rum punch afterwards, while watching the glorious sunset was just another added bonus of life on the Cay.

He slowly motored the boat offshore, watching the fading gold streaks of light dance on the surface of the sea and then glanced back to the shoreline. He could just see Arnold and Caroline still bringing trays of drinks and snacks to their latest visitors, who were all relaxing on the bungalow verandah. The poor devils were still catering at this time of the day, as the guest’s laughter echoed across the water.

Then Winston suddenly had a thought. It was very easy for him to criticise well meaning folks and the way they lived their lives. But it was still a fact that so many of the new settlers could not help falling into a trap of a sort. Thinking that they were retired, but really still working.

More to the point, what on earth would HE do, when he decided to retire? He didn’t have to think twice of the answer. Then he began to laugh at himself as he got his fishing nets ready to cast, causing a slightly confused ‘Bonzo,’ to wag his tail.

©ColinPeck 2004

About the Author
Colin Peck was born in London in 1946 and grew up in a working class environment during the austere post war years. He was fortunate to get a place at Clarendon School and went on to study chemistry, working in his early career in the technical departments of an international oil company.

He started writing several years back, having some short story fiction published in the U.S. and has written factual articles on both nautical and espionage matters, published both in the U.S. and U.K.

‘Enrico Albyvendie’ was his first novel, inspired by his lifelong interest in London’s history and an intricate knowledge of the London taxi trade. Together with his wife Avril, he retired to live in Spain in 2000 and has written to further books in the Enrico Albyvendie series and recently published his sixth novel.

Books by Colin Peck


Buy Colin Peck’s books
Amazon Author Page –

I hope you enjoy and please feel free to reblog and share. Sally





Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – South Africa, Barbra Streisand, Judith Barrow and Horatio Grin revealed.

Welcome to the round up of some posts that you might have missed this week.  I have been offline more than on but I hope to reveal the cover of What’s in a Name Volume II in the next few days. It is done all bar the shouting (Amazon) which as an independent author and not part of KP can take a few days.


I would be really grateful for an opportunity over the weeks following the book’s release if I might do a guest post. Each one will be sharing the inspiration behind the main character of the story with a short excerpt.  If you feel that might fit in with your blog and schedule please email me and once I have a firm release dates I can let you have the weeks that are currently free.

William Price King is on his summer break now until September. He has gigs in the Nice region which as you know is a very popular tourist destination. I will be reposting one of his contemporary season from earlier in the year to make sure you don’t have withdrawal symptoms.

Horatio Grin caused quite a stir with his essays on the origins of Fairies and this week we revealed the last mystery behind the man…. Quess Who… and the initials are PA… If you would like a FREE Epub or pdf of Horatio’s book which contains additional bonus essays, then the details are in the post.

Robbie Cheadle takes us on a tour of Cape Town to celebrate the release of her latest children’s story and cookbook – Silly Willy goes to Cape Town with some traditional foods from South Africa that definitely brought back happy memories.

Judith Barrow shares the story of her treatment and survival of breast cancer. A must read for every woman.

My thanks to everyone who has contributed this week and of course to all of you for your ongoing support. Enjoy the rest of Sunday and see you soon.  Sally

William Price King meets some legends

I thought you might like to listen to one of my favourite tracks while you browse.

Guest post by Horatio Grin

The jig is up as they say and the mystery surrounding guest writer Horatio Grin is revealed.. with a FREE book with extras for you to enjoy.

Guest post by Robbie Cheadle 

To celebrate the release of the latest children’s book Silly Willy Goes to Cape Town, Robbie shares some of the delicious traditional food you can find in South Africa.

The Black Bitch and other Tales by Geoff Cronin

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Update

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves

Air Your Reviews

The Blogger Daily

The new series of Blogger Daily has begun again and please do not hesitate to let me have the link to your most recent post either in the comments section or by email.


Guest Post Judith Barrow – Surviving Breast Cancer

Top to toe – The Male Reproductive System.


Short Story


Well that’s all folks.. I hope you will pop in again next week and in the meantime.. be good.. and if you cannot be good… be careful. Thanks Sally


The Black Bitch and other Tales – He Who Laughs Last and Technique, Kerry Style by Geoff Cronin

He Who Laughs Last

A farmer and a shopkeeper in a small town were at loggerheads over a piece of land. Solicitors’ letters had been exchanged and a court case was imminent when the farmer called on his solicitor to find out how things stood.

“Well,” said the learned lawyer, “I’ve had counsel’s opinion, which you can read for yourself, and you’ll see he says that you haven’t a hope of winning the case.”

The farmer scratched his head and said, “surely there’s something we can do?”
But the solicitor shook his head and pointed to the counsel’s opinion.

At that point the farmer brightened up and smiling said, “how would it be if I sent a turkey to the judge?”

The solicitor was horrified at the suggestion of even the thought of such a move.

“If you did that,” he said, “you’d almost certainly land in jail for perverting justice and perhaps contempt of court as well.”

“Well anyway,” said the farmer, “let the case go to court, I’m not going to give in to a bloody shopkeeper.”

It was well known at that time that farmers thought that a shopkeeper had a soft job, with nothing to do but take money over the counter and put it in the till and he was in out of the weather too. At the same time, the shopkeeper felt that the farmers only came into town to run up bills, the payment of which always depended on the harvest, the price of cattle of some other damn thing and could be strung out from one harvest to another.

To sum up, the farmers and shopkeepers were, at best, uneasy bedfellows and this farmer was not about to ‘bend the knee’.

In the event, the case went to court and contrary to all expectations the judge found in the favour of the farmer. The solicitor was surprised, counsel was amazed but the farmer was not.

“How the hell did that happen?” The solicitor asked the barrister.

“I think I know,” said the farmer. “It was probably because I sent a turkey to the judge.”

“You did WHAT?” said the barrister.

“Don’t worry,” said the farmer. “I put the shopkeeper’s name on the gift tag!”

There are more ways to etc… etc.

* * *

Technique – Kerry Style

The motorist and his wife were touring around County Kerry and having spent a comfortable night in a Bed & Breakfast establishment they now partook of the ‘Full Irish’ and were planning their itinerary for the day ahead. A local map indicated a ‘Lake Drive’ within easy reach and it was decided to take that route.

The sun was shining as they set off and the winding road was easy driving and when they turned a bend the scene confronting them was really a picture begging to be taken.

On a hillock stood a single donkey held by a lad of about twelve and seated on the donkey’s back was a black and white collie dog. In the background and slightly to the right was a small lake shimmering in the sunlight.

The motorist grabbed his camera, checked the setting and took two shots of the scene delighted to have come upon such an opportunity. He was heading back to the car when the boy approached falling into step with the man and saying:

“Did you get a nice picture of us sir? I trained that dog meself and I only have to say “get up Rex and do your work” and he jumps up and sits on the donkey and do ye know sir, I’m training another dog too and next year please God, I’ll have the two of them on the donkey and wouldn’t that make a great picture?”

“Well,” said the man, “do you come here every day?”

“Seven days a week sir,” came the reply.

Now they were at the car and the man’s wife had the window open, listening to the soft Kerry voice.

“And,” continued the man, “do many tourists stop to take your photograph?”

“Well some of them do and some of them don’t,” said the boy, now standing close to the open car window and smiling shyly at ‘the wife’.

“So, do they pay you for your trouble?” said the man, walking straight into the trap.

“Ah God sir,” said the lad, “I wouldn’t ask anyone for money, but at the same time sir, you’d count a person very mean if they didn’t give you something!”

Half a crown changed hands, the boy doffed his cap and smiled broadly as he said “thank you sir, thank you ma’am.”

©Geoff Cronin 2008

About Geoff Cronin – 1923 – 2017

There were few jobs that Geoff could not turn his hands to, and over the years he mastered an impressive number of professional undertakings. Master baker and confectioner, mobile cinema operator, salesman, band leader, senior executive and master wood turner, storyteller and writer.

Geoff Cronin published his first book in 2005 at age 82. The Colour of Life is a collection of stories of life in Waterford during his childhood and early adulthood in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. This was followed by two further books that related tales of further adventures in Waterford and Dublin.

Thank you for dropping in today and you can read The Colour of Life and the previous chapters of The Black Bitch in this directory:

Smorgasbord Short Stories – Tales from the Garden by Sally Cronin – The Boy, his Dog and the Fairy Princess


This week I am beginning to write the stories for Tales from the Garden volume two.. set here in Ireland. I am sharing a small selection of the stories from the first volume which I hope you will enjoy over the coming weeks.

The toddler waddled across the damp grass, falling down from time to time with a resounding thump onto his backside. He giggled and struggled onto all fours until he could stand again. His blonde curly hair shone in the mid-morning sun and his old nurse looked on with pride as her young charge explored his domain.

There had been great joy at the boy’s birth. The owners of the house had waited many years and suffered terrible losses but finally, one bright winter’s day, the strong and healthy cry of a newborn was heard throughout the magic garden. The fairies beneath the magnolia tree held a celebration that night and as the statues that guarded the garden came to life, music could be heard tinkling through the snow covered branches.

Eighteen months later the boy was beloved by all he came into contact with. His parents would have been astonished to find out that even the magical inhabitants of the garden adored him too. In fact, as he had slept in his carriage in the shade of the magnolia tree, he had been sprinkled with fairy dust to protect him.

Now as the young master played in the grass he was unaware that a young fairy had ventured out into the daylight. Normally the folk who lived beneath the magnolia only came out at night after the humans had gone to bed, but lured by the happy giggling of the infant, an inquisitive fairy had sneaked out of the palace gates.

As she perched on one of the branches her glittery purple wings drew the eye of the child. He focused on the shimmering vision in the tree and pointed with his little fingers at the young fairy. The two of them stared at each other for a brief moment until the spell was broken by the nurse sweeping the child up into her arms. But that brief moment was profound. A bond was formed that would grow stronger and stronger as the years passed.

With no other children in the family it was decided on the young master’s fifth birthday that he should be given a companion in the form of a robust puppy. As he played with the furry ball of love, he glanced upwards to the tree to see if his secret friend was watching. She was not there and even though he was still only a child, he felt sadness that the fairy was not present to share this special day.

Many years passed and the young boy and his dog grew to adulthood. They spent every free minute of the day together when the boy was not in school. They roamed the mountainside around the house and the dog slept at the end of the bed each night. As they played in the garden they were often observed. Cloaked with invisibility, the now teenage fairy princess kept a watchful and loving eye from her perch in the tree.

When the boy was eighteen years old; disaster struck. War was declared and he was conscripted into the local militia to protect the town and farms in the district. His terrified parents watched him march away through the gate in his polished black boots with his heavy knapsack. His old dog now weary with arthritis whined as he lay at their feet.

Days and nights passed and the humans lay in bed listening to the sound of canon fire in the distance. After many months of fighting the enemy forces retreated and the militia followed them to the borders. It had been several desperate months since they had word from their son and they feared the worst. They could also see that the old dog was losing his will to live as he pined away.

It seemed that the magic garden and all the inhabitants were holding their collective breath. Then one spring morning, as the old and short-sighted dog wandered out to his position on the steps where he would lie all day watching the gate; a miracle occurred.

There before him was a pair of dusty black boots and excitedly the dog sniffed around the leather. He smelt his master and with his worn out heart beating like a bass drum, he followed the scent down the steps and around the back of the house.

Curled up in a ball beneath the magnolia tree was the body of a man with long dirty blonde hair and clothes that were torn and matted with filth. But the dog showed no hesitation as he licked the dirt from his beloved master’s face. The man stirred and reached out a hand to stroke the grey-tipped ears and tears streaked his mud covered face.

All night the man had been watched over by another creature whose own tears had fallen upon his body as he slept. The fairy princess had sat by his head as he tossed and turned in his troubled dreams, gently stroking his hair and whispering loving words to him. As he had calmed, she had gently snipped a lock of his long blonde hair and plaited it into a bracelet. She may never be able to love him in human ways but she would always wear this to keep him close.

The excited barking of the dog alerted the family and servants and they rushed out to the garden to find the reason for the uproar… As the delighted family embraced and then carried the young man into the house, the princess returned to the palace in the roots of the magnolia, where she found her stone-faced mother waiting for her in the throne room.

A few weeks later, when the returned soldier was fully recovered and peace had been declared, his parents decided to hold a ball for all their neighbours to celebrate. This was the first fiesta for many years and everyone dusted off their finery and the musicians from the town tuned up neglected instruments. The garden was festooned with garlands and tables were covered with a magnificent array of foods.

The handsome young host, now fully recovered greeted the guests but still glanced from time to time at the magnolia tree, wondering if perhaps he might catch a glimpse of his beautiful fairy. He began to move away to talk to his guests but a flash of turquoise caught his eye. As he turned his head a shimmering image appeared before him out of thin air and he caught his breath.

There, sat in a bower made of roses, was the most enchanting woman he had ever seen. She smiled and held out her hand to him. Around her delicate wrist he noticed a woven bracelet of blonde hair and gold that glistened in the sunlight. The instant they touched an electric charge raced from his fingertips to his heart and he knew who this beautiful stranger was.

‘How long can you stay?’ he asked in a desperate whisper.

‘Forever, my love,’ she smiled gently. ‘My mother has gifted me one hundred years to share with you. But only if that is what you desire?’

They lived happily ever after and as a reward for his long and loyal service the old dog became a guardian of the magic garden. And at night when his beloved master and his wife strolled hand in hand across the lawns, their friend would walk beside them, young and playful again.

©SallyCronin 2015

Tales from the Garden is available in all formats from my own publishing site at special discounted prices:

Or from Amazon where you can read some of the reviews and find all my books:

I hope you enjoyed the story and your feedback is always welcome. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Magic, Music and Master storytellers oh and a bit of a laugh

Welcome to this week’s round up of posts that you might have missed. I have been busy preparing next week’s posts in advance as much as possible because I begin writing Tales from the Irish Garden with the assistance of illustrator Donata Zawadzka who has created some delightful images for the stories. I will be in and out of course to boost posts and in particular the book promotions that are planned.

Apart from the regular author promotions there will also be some health, humour and music from Barbra Streisand.. so I hope to keep you entertained.  I also hope to pop in a couple of posts on how you can take best advantage of book promotions to reach a few more readers.

I find it hard to believe that it is July already. I have no idea where the first half of the year has gone. I have come to the conclusion that before the Internet, 24/7 media in our homes and mobile phones we measured time by when we ate and it went slower. Just a theory.

My thanks as always to those who have contributed to the blog this week including William Price King, Paul Andruss and Horatio Grin and of course my later father-in-law Geoff Cronin and his tall tales.  I know that in whatever dimension he is now in he will be entertaining the other occupants and would be delighted by your comments about his stories.

On that note.. on with the show and something to listen to while you read any posts you might have missed.

William Price King meets some legends

Writer in Residence Paul Andruss

Thomas the Rhymer

Guest writer Horatio Grin

The Black Bitch and other Tales by Geoff Cronin

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Update

New on the Shelves

Air Your Reviews

Smorgasbord Poetry

Smorgasbord Short Stories The Psychic Parrot by Sally Cronin


Smorgasbord Health 2017

Personal stuff.. in celebration of July 4th.


Thank you once again for your continued support.. I wish you a wonderful week of love, laughter and sunshine.