Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Tuesday January 21st 2020 – #Sunshineblogger Karen Ingalls, #BletchleyPark Mike Biles, #AuthorSpotlight James J. Cudney with Zach Abrams

It is award season and it is a wonderful way to recognise fellow bloggers.. Karen Ingalls has responded to her two nominations and if you would like to know more about her books and her interests, please head over and enjoy the two sets of questions she has answered.

I have been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by two bloggers, D.L. Finn and Ron Yates. I am honored and thrilled. The award is given out by members of the blogging community in recognition of their inspiring, creative, and motivational blogs.

My thanks to both Ms. Finn and Ron Yates whose blogs are uniquely different and yet both well worth the time to read. Author D. L. Finn is one of my favorite blogs ( Her philosophy is Embrace your inner child by reading a good book. Ms. Finn has written biographies, children, poetry, paranormal, and short stories.

Mr. Yates blog can be found at His blogs often challenge the reader about certain social or historical issues as well as supporting authors and their books. He is an award-winning author of action books, historical fiction, and former foreign correspondent.

Part of the nomination process requires that I answer 11 questions. Here are the eleven questions, D.L. Finn has asked me to answer. You may well learn something new about me.

1. How long have you been blogging? I have been blogging?

To find out that and to enjoy the rest of the questions and find out who Karen has nominated in turn please follow the link: Karen Ingalls Sunshine Blogger Award

Karen Ingalls, buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Karen: Goodreads – Blog: Karen Ingalls

photo on 2-14-16 at 139 pm-crop-u613351GERUMF7FL._UY250_51q05nsoi7L._UY250_51wBeydFoBL._UY250_

Now for a post from Mike Biles of Bit About Britain, and it is Part One of the story of Bletchley Park from January 10th, and you will find Part Two published on January 17th

Bletchley Park, Station X

Part 1 – Enigma and Ultra

This is Bletchley Park. To all intents and purposes, it’s a nondescript, somewhat ugly, large Victorian mansion and estate just north of London. But what went on at Bletchley Park was extraordinary: it changed the course of the Second World War, and the world. From 1939-46, this was the Government Code and Cipher School (GC&CS), the place where enemy Enigma codes were broken which, as a consequence, saved countless lives and resulted in the war being shortened by at least two years. Some say. Of course, there’s far more to it than even that remarkable statement implies. Inevitably, the more you peel away the layers of the Bletchley Park legend, the more its complexities, connections and contradictions are revealed. I suspect that no one knows the full story and, probably, no one ever will.

Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire

Bletchley Park is now a thriving visitor attraction. But for years after the war, most people knew nothing about it. Renowned historians wrote entire histories of the Second World War without once referencing the vital part that Bletchley Park played. The landmark television series, ‘World at War’,(Amazon link), first screened in 1973-74 and still remarkable viewing today, doesn’t mention Bletchley at all. It made no appearance in my edition of ‘Total War’, a recommended book on the conflict when I was a history undergraduate, despite one of its distinguished authors, Peter Calvocoressi, having served at Bletchley Park as an RAF intelligence officer. One of the many astonishing things about the Bletchley Park legend is that it remained a secret from the public for so long. There was an understandably obsessive sense of secrecy at the time of course, but some of the families of those that worked there never had a clue what their loved ones did. Despite the fact that ‘Station X’, as Bletchley was referred to, grew from something of a cottage industry to a huge complex that, including outstations, employed perhaps 10,000 people, everyone had signed the Official Secrets Act and most kept shtum. Careless talk costs lives; and, anyway, they’d given their word. The first the world at large knew of Bletchley and what happened there came in 1974 with the publication of a book, ‘The Ultra Secret’ by ex-intelligence officer F W Winterbotham. But Winterbotham’s account was nowhere near comprehensive; nor, apparently, was it wholly accurate. Bit by bit, over the years, more details have been drip-fed into the public consciousness. Some of it makes you wonder. No one should be surprised if aspects of this beguiling chapter in our history remain classified even now.

Images ©Mike Biles

Head over to read the rest of this fascinating look at Bletchley Park and its significance in British history: Bletchley Park – Enigma- Ultra – Bit About Britain with Mike Biles

Mike Biles, Buy: Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Follow Mike on : Goodreads – Website: A Bit About Britain

And the final post today is the most recent author spotlight from James J. Cudney, and this week his guest is crime writer Zach Abrams.

Author Spotlight: Zach Abrams with James J. Cudney

Today’s post is an author spotlight. You’ll get to know the author and the author’s books, view book covers and marketing campaigns, read an interview between the author and me, and discover where to learn more about the author’s work, including social media contact links. Let’s meet…

Zach and I met through our publisher, Next Chapter. We’ve been catching up in the company chat rooms and sharing each other’s work on social media. I will be reading one of his books later this year too. We’re highlighting him in today’s blog post because it’s LAUNCH DAY for his latest stand-alone thriller, 133 Hours. Congratulations Zach! Below you’ll find an overview of the author, all the key social media contact information, the list of books he’s published, and an excerpt from his new release. Let’s get to know Zach a bit better…

Find out more about Zach Abrams and his books, including his most recent release 133 Hours: Author Spotlight James J. Cudney with Zach Abrams

James J. Cudney, Buy: Amazon US and:  Amazon UK  – Website/Blog: This is my truth nowGoodreads: James J. Cudney
N.B..Broken Heart Attack (recommended) is only 99c to download until 25th January.

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to enjoy these posts in full.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Monday January 20th 2020 – #Recycling Carol Taylor – #Movie Alien Beetley Pete, #Q&A D.G. Kaye with Jane Sturgeon

The first post today is the Climate Change and recycling regular from Carol Taylor. This week some interesting news from Supermarkets on the plans to tackle single use plastic, a shipping line making efforts to reduce the amount of waste in the ocean and how do you feel about taking your own containers to the store to carry your purchases? Not to forget bees…


Recycling and Climate Change…20th January 2020…The Worlds 1st Plastic Free Shipping Line

The headlines have been dominated by the terrible bush fires in Australia and my heart goes out to those killed, injured and missing those who have lost homes and property, the wildlife and the brave emergency services who in many areas are fighting a losing battle…There has been a little respite in some areas as rain has fallen…There have now been some alarming instances of dust storms…

Australia really is having such a tough time of it…One does wonder what the health implications are going to be as well as environmental concerns.

After my little rant last week which I am not going to apologise for one iota as it has to be said…HOWEVER…

Time for some good news

There are many factors which all intertwine and make the bigger picture there is no one single cause of Climate Change it is a chain of events…

There are also certain practices and animals which feature in man’s survival on this planet…One of these is Bees…A tiny little flying insect which is vital to the continuation of this planet…

honey bee

Head over to read more about the various projects we can all get involved in: Carol Taylor Recycling and Climate Change 20th January

Enjoy the new series for 2020 : Carol Taylor – A-Z of Food

Time for a movie review from Beetley Pete, Pete Johnson and if you loved Alien and other films that involve other world creatures then this might be the film for you.. I have seen and can echo Pete’s views on the movie.

Just Been Watching…

I loved the original ‘Alien’ (1979). Then along came ‘Aliens’, seven years later. Still good, more action, but in my opinion it wasn’t as breathtakingly original at the first film. Well it couldn’t be, I know that. We had already seen the ‘monster’.

‘Alien 3’ (1992), and ‘Alien Resurrection’ (1997) looked to be in danger of milking the franchise, proving that you can have too much of a good thing.
(They even mixed things up, with ‘Alien versus Predator’, in 2004)

Then along came ‘Prometheus’, in 2012. This had more story, less terror, and some interesting ideas. The critics panned it, and the fans didn’t much like it either.

But I LOVED it.

When they made a sequel to ‘Prometheus five years later, I was sniffy about it.
I didn’t go to see it, and thought they had started that ‘milking’ all over again.

This week it was on TV, and I thought ‘Why not? It won’t cost me anything’.

Head over and read Pete’s thoughts about the movie and watch the trailer: Beetley Pete – Just Been Watching Alien Covenant 2017

Get in touch with Pete and discover more about his writing – Blog: Beetley Pete WordPressTwitter: Beetley Pete

A great place to drop in on a Friday as a guest and a reader is the Q & A with D.G. Kaye and this week her guest was Jane Sturgeon talking about her recently released non-fiction book on self-awareness.

D.G, Kaye Book Promotions

I’m delighted to be featuring here the Lovely Jane Sturgeon and her new book – Writing on Water, today at Q and A with D.G. Kaye. In this nonfiction book, Jane writes about self-awareness, reflection, and getting in tune with our inner selves. Jane is a pure delight to be around. Her goodness and content heart shine through in all her writing. I’m thrilled to have Jane over here today spreading her inspiration.

About Jane:

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

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

Please head over to enjoy the interview and find out more about Jane’s book: D.G. Kaye Q & A with Jane Sturgeon

D. G. Kaye – Buy: Amazon USAndAmazon UK    BlogD.G. WritesGoodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads


Jane Sturgeon, Buy: Amazon UK And : Amazon US – blog: Jane Sturgeon WordPress

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will head over and enjoy these posts in full..thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – January 12th- 18th 2020

Welcome to this week’s posts on Smorgasbord that you might have missed.

I hope you have had a good week… I am in housekeeping mode both on and offline. At the moment the Cafe and Bookstore is in the middle of a facelift with the addition of both UK and US Amazon selling pages, Goodreads where the author has a page, and their website or blog. It is a work in progress so don’t worry if your entry does not reflect this change yet, it will soon.

You can help me out if you are an author on the shelves by letting me know in advance that you have a new book being released. That helps me keep your entry up to date but also ensures that you receive a new book promotion when your book is available or is on pre-order offer.

I do go through every week to check for recent reviews but with 150 authors it is easy to miss one. To keep the cafe at a manageable size, authors listed have reviews within the last six months.

A few statistics about the Cafe and Bookstore.

  • In 2019 there were 130 Cafe Updates including the summer features and Christmas book fair and 125 New book Promotions
  • The top viewed (220) New Book on the Shelves was A Bit About Britain’s History by Mike Biles
  • The average new book on the shelves promotion has over 100 views on the blog, multi-retweets on Twitter and shares on Facebook.
  • It is a free book promotion and all it costs is a little bit of your time, letting me know and responding to comments. Judging from comments, I am confident that the posts do result, in not only effective exposure for your books but also sales and more reviews.

If you are not already an author in the Cafe and Bookstore you can find all the details at this link: Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore FREE Author promotion

As to my offline decluttering… with the likelihood of a move and alleged downsizing this year, I am working through my depleted but still over subscribed clothes stash. Despite my continued weight loss, I doubt that the silver lame 1970s disco trousers that I have clung on to will see the light of day (or glitter ball) again… despite the pain it will cost me it is time to send to the charity shop and hope that some other young person might enjoy taking them for a twirl… along with the last of my stilettos….(I need a hoist to keep me upright).  Still I have my glory days to remember… and I still take to the kitchen floor when the mood takes me….

Anyway.. keep dancing

And as always my thanks to the wonderful team who keep coming up with amazing posts and to you for dropping in to read them.

A wonderful introduction to the new column from D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies who explores the Realms of Relationships. She will be on her winter retreat for February but will be back in March. In this column Debby explores our communication skills both verbal and behavioural and strategies for resolving conflict.

D. G. Kaye – Exploring the Realms of Relationships

Welcome to a new series from Carol Taylor, the wonderful A – Z of Food and I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge of wonderful ingredients across the food groups, spices and herbs.

Caroly Taylor’s A – Z of Food – Almonds, Arrowroot, Aubergines and Avocado

This week on the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills   the prompt was a husband carrying his wife…

Carrot Ranch – A Dream Home by Sally Cronin

Two more stories from this collection…

Francis – Forging New Bonds by Sally Cronin

George – Playing Away from Home

This week the prompt for Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 160 the prompt is ‘Calm and Present’… I have chosen the synonyms ‘Serene and Deliver’ for my Etheree.

Etheree – On the Wind by Sally Cronin

Movie Hits – Mrs Robinson – The Graduate by Simon & Garfunkel

My review for The Hat by C.S. Boyack

My thanks to Mark Bierman for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award

To start the new series, author Jacqui Murray who shares the wonderfully descriptive simile…very useful for all writers.

51 Great Similes to Spark Imagination from Jacqui Murray

#Canada, #Pottery and #Eagles by Darlene Foster

#Memoir Byte – Reminiscences of the 70s and 80s Fun and Fearless by D.G. Kaye

Scifi – The Magisters Book One by Jack Eason

Acts of Convenience by Alex Craigie

Vandana Bhasin, Smitha Vishwanath, Mae Clair, Miriam Hurdle

#Poetry Bette A. Stevens, #Fantasy Fiona Tarr, #Fantasy D.Wallace Peach

#SunshineBlogger Mark Bierman, #ReadingAloud Jennie Fitzkee, #IndieShowcase Richard Dee

#Karma D.G. Kaye, #Interview Patricia Furstenberg, #Afghanistan Mary Smith

#Guest Marcia Meara with Joan Hall, #Bookclub Amy Reade, #Q&A D.G. Kaye, #Review by Michelle Clements James

#Children’sfears Becky Ross Michael, #Nonverbal Communication Jim Borden, #Familyhistory Liz Gauffreau

#Publishing 2020 Nicholas Rossis, #Freebook Olga Nunez Miret, #Flash Charli Mills Carrot Ranch

In part two I share the best sources for vitamins C to K2 to ensure your shopping list reflects what your body needs to be healthy.

Shopping List by Nutrient part two Vitamin C to K2

More funnies from Debby and a joke from Sally’s Archives

Even more funnies from Debby Gies and Sally

Thank you for dropping in today and during the week. Your support is very much appreciated. I hope you have enjoyed the posts you might have missed and look forward to your feedback. See you next week.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Thursday January 16th 2020 – #Children #Fears Becky Ross Michael, #Communication #NonVerbal Jim Borden, #Familyhistory Liz Gauffreau

The first post is from Becky Ross Michael and is about the difficult conversation that we sometimes have to have with children about the state of the world. Becky recalls her own childhood during the ‘Cold War’ and shares some books that tackle the challenging subjects that children might hear about.

Talking with Kids about War

The drafty but beloved home of my Michigan childhood featured a rather dim and damp basement that was accessed through a trap door from our kitchen. That cement-floored space was divided into several separate rooms. During the winter, my mother hung washed clothing on lines to dry in the largest of those areas. One of the small rooms was fashioned almost entirely with rough, wooden shelving that held clear Ball and Mason jars filled with fruits and vegetables my mother had canned

Sometimes we played downstairs while she hung clothes on the line. Being a somewhat apprehensive, quiet, and rather OCD child, one would think I could have been most concerned with falling down the steps (my brother did, once!), about what was hiding in the dark corners, or with that large spider eyeing us from its web, overhead. No, this child of the Fifties and Sixties was silently pondering whether there was enough food for our family on the shelves in that little room, in case we needed to hide out in our basement if “the Russians” attacked!

Head over to read the rest of this post and find out more about the books Becky recommends: Talking with Kids about War, Becky Ross Michael

Becky fountain 2018

About Becky Ross Michael

Originally from Michigan and now living in Texas, Becky’s writing has appeared in the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, U.P. Reader, and Mystery Readers Journal.

Besides attending several critique groups and creating her personal writing pieces, Becky, a former teacher, also works as a freelance editor. She enjoys spending time with her family, along with reading, gardening, sight-seeing, collecting vintage items, and healthy cooking.

The next post is from Jim Borden and shares his experiences being welcomed in Singapore and the power of the look of confusion… I think we can all relate.

The Hidden Power of the Confused Look

I’d like to say it’s taken me 62 years to master having a confused look on my face, but in reality, I think it’s the default facial expression I was born with.

And while there may be times when having a confused look may not be a good thing (such as when a student asks me a basic question, or when I am taking a math test, or when I am looking at my monthly bank statement), I’ve learned that my look of utter confusion is usually quite beneficial.

And it’s never been truer than my first week in Singapore. I’ve been finding that the people here are incredibly helpful when they see that befuddled look on my face. Here are some examples:

Head over to find out more about the reactions to Jim’s bemused expression: The Hidden Power of the Confused Look by Jim Borden

About Jim Borden

Husband, dad, brother, uncle, nephew, friend, teacher, ex-swimmer, blogger, vegan, juggler, learner, introvert.

Now that I’ve reduced myself to a cultural stereotype (with a hat tip to Woody Allen), who am I when I take away all the labels?

This blog has given me a chance to think more deeply about many things, and to share those thoughts with the world (well at least a really tiny part of the world). And in sharing those thoughts, I’ve started to understand a little bit of who I am. A 60-something guy trying to figure out the world, and his place in it.

The third post that I recommend that you head over to enjoy in full is from Liz Gauffreau and is the story behind the book Leora’s Letters by Joy Neal Kidney and Liz’s review.

I am very pleased to be featuring my review of Leora’s Letters, written by Joy Neal Kidney. I have been following Joy’s family history blog, Joy Neal Kidney – Family Family and local stories and history, favorite books, for a few years now, and I was thrilled to see the history of her mother’s family during World War II compiled in book form. I immediately purchased it, read it, and reviewed it! Joy was gracious enough to provide me with some personal photographs with captions to accompany my review.

Head over to find out more about the background to this book, view some original photographs and read Liz’s review: Digital discoveries – Review of Leora’s Letters by Liz Gauffreau

Elizabeth Gauffreau, BuyAmazon US – and : Amazon UK – Follow Elizabeth: Goodreads –  blog: Liz Gauffreau

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to read the posts in full.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Wednesday January 15th 2020 – #Guestpost Joan Hall hosts Marcia Meara, #Bookclub Amy Reade, Shameless self-promotion!

The first post today is a guest post by Marcia Meara on the blog of  author Joan Hall and it is an excellent way to find out more about Marcia’s Wake Robin Ridge Series, and in particular Book Four – The Light.

Hey everyone! I’m over the moon excited to welcome Marcia Meara as my guest today. She recently released The Light, the fourth in her Wake Robin Ridge Series. Marcia is a very talented author, and if you haven’t read any of her books, I highly recommend you doing so.

Today she’s going to talk about her new book and a mysterious phenomenon called the Brown Mountain Lights. You may recall some time ago I wrote about the Marfa Lights which are found in far west Texas, so I’m very intrigued.

Take it away, Marcia!

Thank you so much for having me here today, Joan! I’m pretty excited to be sharing the release of my latest book, The Light: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 4, with your readers, and I hope they’ll enjoy checking it out, along with the first three books in the series:

 Head over an enjoy finding out more about Marcia and her latest book: Joan Hall Blog – Marcia Meara

Marcia Meara, Buy: Amazon USAnd : Amazon UK – Marcia Meara on: Goodreads – Blog:


And now a job for you.. Amy Reade has joined a book club and they are choosing the next book to be read.. there is a choice of five and I was hard pressed to pick just one to read… I hope you will head over and help Amy out.

I need your advice

Some of you may know that I’ve recently joined a book club. I love being part of this group and I’ve enthusiastically embraced the duties of membership (i.e., I have to be ready to discuss each book we read and I’ve agreed to host the club at my house at least once a year–where we discuss the book of my choosing).

So here’s where I need your help. It’ll be my turn to host the book club in March, and I need to be thinking about which book I’m going to choose. I’ve narrowed it down to five books, and I’d like you to vote on which one you think our book club should read (many thanks to blogger and author James J. Cudney for sharing this idea–click on his name to be redirected to his site, which I think you’ll love).

Whichever book you choose, we’ll read. I won’t tell you which one I hope you pick! Scroll down through the choices to the poll at the bottom of the page.

Here are the choices:

Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini. Here’s the Amazon blurb:

“In a life that spanned nearly a century and witnessed some of the most momentous events in American history, Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley was born a slave. A gifted seamstress, she earned her freedom by the skill of her needle, and won the friendship of First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln by her devotion.

A sweeping historical novel, Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker illuminates the extraordinary relationship the two women shared, beginning in the hallowed halls of the White House during the trials of the Civil War and enduring almost, but not quite, to the end of Mrs. Lincoln’s days.”

Head over to discover the other four books and make your selection, and I am sure you find it as difficult as I did: Amy Reade – Book Club Choices

Amy Reade, Buy:Amazon US  – And: Amazon UK – Blog: Amy Reade WordPress  Goodreads: Amy Reade Goodreads

2013 154851dikCmd-RL._UY250_House of the Hanging Jade cover with USA Today

And now for some shameless self promotion…. firstly a lovely review from Michelle Clements James yesterday for Life’s Rich Tapestry.

Here is a snippet from Michelle’s review

Life’s Rich Tapestry: Woven in Words is a beautiful collection of various types of poetry, 99-word flash fiction, and short stories that the author has written in response to various blog challenges within her circle of blogging friends. These are thoughtfully penned poems and stories that reflect upon life experiences and imaginings. That Sally Cronin is a master storyteller is evidenced in this heartwarming collection.

You can read the rest of the review: Michelle Clements James – Book Review Life’s Rich Tapestry

and if you missed my Q & A with Debby last Friday…please head over to find out what my secret career dream was!: D.G. Kaye Q & A with Sally Cronin

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to enjoy these posts in full.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Monday 13th January 2020 – #SunshineBlogger Mark Bierman, #Readingaloud Jennie Fitzkee, #Indieshowcase Richard Dee

The first post is from author Mark Bierman and is his response to The Sunshine Blogger Award. I am delighted to be nominated, but that is not why I am sharing.

In the first couple of years of my blogging I was thrilled to be nominated for an award and I still am. It was an amazing way to meet new bloggers by following the others who were nominated and it also gave my blog a huge boost in new readers. It is an honour to be nominated, and it is also an opportunity to nominate other bloggers, some of whom might be just starting their blogging and would appreciate being showcased and a chance to meet other writers. I know that many of you are award free, and appreciate the time it does take to respond, but I hope that you might reconsider the odd one or two in 2020 and use it as a chance to put your favourite bloggers in the spotlight… we all love a bit of recognition from time to time.

I came off a few long days of work to find a wonderful surprise when I checked the comments on my blogsite.

I’ve been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award! I was pleasantly surprised and honored!

The award is given out by members of the blogging community in recognition of their inspiring, creative, and motivational blogs.

I would like to thank Chris, whose informative and motivational blog Living Healthier  and Happier   is full of helpful articles that give great advice on diet, mental/physical health, financial issues, and everyday challenges. I highly recommend a visit, just click on the link above.

Chris has asked me to answer eleven personal questions, so here goes:

Head over to find out more about Mark Bierman via his responses and who are the eleven blogs he has nominated: Mark Bierman – The Sunshine Blogger Award

Find out more about Mark’s novel Vanished and read the reviews: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

Next is a post from teacher Jennie Fitzkee with more reasons why books and reading is so important.. especially when reading aloud..

A Free ‘Oral Vaccine’ for Literacy

Yes, there really is a free oral vaccine for literacy. It is reading aloud. No, not reading. Reading aloud. Because, in order to become a reader (and a lifelong reader) you have to hear the words – first – over and over again.

When hearing those words becomes a pleasure, like the constant sound of the ocean, the magic has begun. And those words grow more words. And you fall in love with words, the sound of words.

You look at words and pictures in books that are read to you and make a connection with the printed word. By the time you are six, you are eager to read those words on your own. And you do. You do well in school, too. All of those words you have heard for years contributed to your academic success. You love reading books on your own, yet you still enjoy reading aloud.

Head over to read the post in full and share your experiences of the joy of reading aloud: Jennie Fitzkee – Reading Aloud

The next post is the first of the Indie showcases on Richard Dee’s blog and if you have not been a guest yet it is a great place to get noticed. Meet author P.J.MacLayne

At the age of eighteen, thanks to the Irish Rovers, I met the unicorn that inspired my first attempt at writing a book. It was high fantasy, but of course, I didn’t know that back then. I also had no idea about writing in chapters, the number of words expected, head-hopping, all the usual hazards. All I knew was that I wanted to get a story down on paper.

And I did. With paper and pen and pencil. I was in way over my head and knew it. I did it anyway. Justifiably, I was proud of myself, even though I knew the finished product lacked a good opening and was burdened by a few weak plot points. I still have that manuscript, somewhere.

I didn’t try to write another book for—let’s just say lots of years and leave it at that. I had some minor success with poetry and it fed my creative spirit for a long time. At least one of my poems survives in an internet archive of a magazine.

One day I heard about this thing called NaNoWriMo, a challenge to write 50,000 words—a book, basically—in one month. I had a story bumping around in my head that wouldn’t fit into a poem, and the challenge sounded like fun, so I decided to give it a try.

Well, fun may not have been the right word for the experience. And I didn’t “win’ by getting 50,000 words on paper. At least I tried. And it got me hooked.

Three books later and I finally wrote one that I thought was worth publishing. Which led to the inevitable question—how the heck does that work? I knew the basics about agents, publishing houses, and cover letters, but not the nitty-gritty details.

Head over to find out more about P.J. MacLayne and her books: Richard Dee’s Indie Showcase with P.J. MacLayne

Richard Dee, buy: Amazon US And:  Amazon UK   Website: Richard Dee’s ScifiGoodreads: Richard Dee at Goodreads

Please go to Amazon or Richard’s website to view all his books.


Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to read these posts in full… thanks Sally.



Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – 5th – 11th January 2020 – Count Basie, Phosphorus, Reviews, New Books, Bloggers and Funnies.

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

It seems to take longer each year to get back to normal after the holidays. Almost the middle of January and at least spring always appears to be around the corner once we get into this part of the year. Nothing startling happening around the house as we are waiting for dry weather to get in stones for drainage and topsoil to finish the piece where the new fence has been erected. We have adopted a much more relaxed approach to these jobs now, as nothing we do or say is going to make the weather more amenable to our needs!

Never mind, there is plenty of warmth and friendship online to enjoy and we could have it a great deal worse. As the fires in Australia continue, we can only be grateful for days of rain and the ability to live safely. The devastation and loss of life and wildlife is something that will take decades to fully recover from and it must be a huge worry for relatives of families in the areas under attack.

As always my thanks to the regular contributors and to you for dropping in and supporting us with your comments and sharing of posts.

This week William shares the music of the legendary Count Basie – 1904 – 1984

William Price King with Count Basie

In the final post of this series Carol Taylor and I team up to share the symptoms of a deficiency of Phosphorus and the foods you need to include in your diet regularly.

This week cooking from scratch to prevent a deficiency of phosphorus

This month Silvia Todesco shows us how to make authentic pesto sauce, and essential ingredient in pasta sauces.

Pesto alla Genovese sauce, ten tricks for the best result

What I wish I knew then by Pete Springer

My review for Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney

My review #Mystery Watching Glass Shatter by James M. Cudney

Two more stories from this collection…

Eric – Just Making Do

Fionnuala The Swan

For the first Tuesday in the month for Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 159 it is poet’s choice.  I have selected a Butterfly Cinquain…

Butterfly Cinquain – Friendship

Unarranged Marriage by Ritu Bhathal on pre-order February 9th.

Beck ‘n’ Call Lands of Exile Book 2 by Stuart France and Sue Vincent

The Old Gilt Clock by Paulette Mahurin

Thriller Carol Balawyder, Mystery Diana J. Febry, Afghanistan Patricia Furstenberg

Poetry Lynda McKinney Lambert, Thriller Don Massenzio, Prehistory Jacqui Murray

Book Review Michelle Clements James, Book Launch Tips Mary Smith, Climate Change Carol Taylor

Movie Review D.G. Kaye, Funnies The Story Reading Ape, Measurements Beetley Pete

Recipes Amy Reade, Tarot Jan Sikes, Interview Jane Risdon

Carol Taylor – Whimsical Wednesdays – Robbie Cheadle Book review, Marcia Meara with a marketing opportunity

Aurora Jean Alexander – Books, Inspiration Charli Mills, Japanese Poetry Colleen Chesebro

Here is part one of an alternative shopping list that your body might write if it was capable. It does try to tell you that it is missing elements that it needs which is when you are sick. This list contains the top sources for the nutrients our bodies need to be healthy.

Shopping List by Nutrient – Vitamins A- B

More funnies from Debby and a joke from Sally’s Archives

More funnies and an invitation to join in the fun

Thank you for all your support and wishing you a great week ahead. Look forward to seeing you here again.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Friday 10th January 2020 – #BookRecommendations Aurora Jean Alexander, #Inspiration Charli Mills, #JapanesePoetry Colleen M. Chesebro

Welcome to some blogs I have enjoyed over the last couple of days that I think you might enjoy too. The first is from author Aurora Jean Alexander and she shares her top ten favourite books of all time.

Picture courtesy of

I once owned many, many books – shelves full of books. But lately, things have changed for me. I moved – and if I had taken everything with me, only my loads and loads of books would probably have filled an entire shipping container. I, therefore, decided on a handful of my favorites and I donated the rest of them. (that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re lost, after all, I have most of them electronically on my e-reader).

But a few books had to travel with me – books that are antiques – books that would have been lost if I hadn’t taken them… favorite books – MY favorite books, to be precise. Let me tell you what books I’m talking about – and why…

Head over find out the ten books that Aurora Jean considers her favourite including Shogun – James Clavell; Aurora Jean Alexander’s favourite 10 books of all time.

A.J. Alexander, Buy:  Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Website: Aurora Jean Alexander

This week on the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills   the prompt was a husband carrying his wife… interesting…

Also Charli shares her studies and the basis of the thesis she has written… And you can also read the fascinating story of  almost 100 year old Sirkka Tuomi Holm who is blind in one eye and can hardly see out the other. Born five days before women had the right to vote in the US, her foreign-born Finnish parents raised her to fight for what is right. She stood on picket lines as a child with the working class, joined the Army as a WAC in WWII, and stood up as a hostile witness under the hysteria of McCarthyism. She writes a column in the Finnish American Reporter monthly and says history will always repeat itself. She should know. She’s lived through it. A veteran and a woman born before the Vote. Yet living, breathing, and showing how the past informs the present 

Head over and find out more about this week’s prompt but also read the wonderful story of this remarkable woman Sirkka…: Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills January 9th.

A little about Charli Mills and find out more at Carrot Ranch

Good to meet you! I’m Charli Mills. From riding horses to writing stories, I’m a born buckaroo wrangling words. I once won a trophy for goat-tying and later, one for story-telling.

With over two decades in freelancing, publications, sales, marketing, editing and speaking, my writing is published in magazines, anthologies and online. I use my worldly experience to consult with organizations, schools, entrepreneurs, writers, and independent authors in the art and business of story-telling.

My byline has appeared in Montana Outdoors, Colours Literary Magazine, Edible Twin Cities and online at USA Today. I used to write wellness columns, and foodie features about turmeric and cheese-makers. I published over 200 print articles and managed the award-winning Living Naturally for 16 years.

For the final post today I have a short snippet from Colleen Chesebro that might help you out if you are unfamiliar with Japanese poetry forms… and today Colleen sheds the light on Haiku and Senryu…

#Haiku & #Senryu Poetry Forms

Now that I’ve got the 2019 Poet of the Week Compilation sorted, I wanted to talk more about writing and creating Haiku and Senryu in English with the traditional rules and what I call the “current” rules. Read my post here: 5/7/5 vs 3/5/3 & 2/3/2 Haiku & Senryu Styles for more information.

My challenge post for this week is Poet’s Choice, so this gives me an opportunity to go over the different forms.

HAIKU IN ENGLISH is written in these forms: Traditional form 5/7/5, Current 3/5/3, and Current 2/3/2 syllable structure. A Haiku is written about season changes, nature, and change in general.

I’ll write a Haiku in each form to illustrate. First 5/7/5 – traditional form:

Head over to read examples of the various forms of Haiku and Senryu styles and I can highly recommend the weekly challenge for flexing your syllabic muscles: Colleen Chesebro explains Haiku and Senryu Poetry forms

Colleen Chesebro, BuyAmazon US –  And:  Amazon UK   –   Goodreads: Colleen at Goodreads –  Website: Colleen Chesebro

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to read these posts in full.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Thursday January 9th 2020 – #WhimsicalWednesday Carol Taylor, #BookReview Robbie Cheadle for Mark Bierman, #MarketingOpportunity Marcia Meara

The first post is from Carol Taylor and is this week’s Whimsical Wednesdays is a lovely mixture of varied subjects and usually a short story or an episode of one. Well worth heading over to enjoy.

Good morning everyone to the first Whimsical Wednesday of 2020…I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas and New Year and 2020 will be all you wish for…

Have you heard or seen one of these Suvie’s…I hadn’t until I read Scott Anderson’spost it is very interesting and I know a few people who would love one as they love all that is new in gadgets…I would love to test one if the manufacturers wanted me to…I have an open mind but suspect they are more for the busy working person rather than someone who is retired however that may not be correct they may be the best thing since sliced bread…They certainly sound interesting and innovative…

Scott also provided this link to the wonders of a Suvie…Have a look it is nothing if not quite fascinating

Did you know? On the 3rd January, 1870 construction began on the Brooklyn Bridge. Brooklyn Bridge is a suspension/cable-stay hybrid bridge in New York City that connects Manhattan and Brooklyn. It is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States (completed in 1883) and a first steel-wire suspension bridge in the world.

brooklyn-bridge-999916_640 Head over to enjoy the whimsy in full: Carol Taylor – Whimsical Wednesdays

The next post is one of prolific book reviewer and author Robbie Cheadle with a review for Vanished by Mark Bierman.

Book reviews

What Amazon says

Tragedy . . . heartache . . . how much more can Tyler Montgomery and John Webster take? This missions trip, the “healing” one, has only added fresh layers of pain. Construction of an orphanage in Haiti’s northwest . . . yes. But a doomed rescue operation, human traffickers, human anomalies, extreme personal danger . . . risk of death? They hadn’t signed up for those.

Turning their backs on the crisis, however, is unthinkable, it’s just not who they are.

Head over to read Robbie’s review of Vanished, looks like a riveting read: Robbie Cheadle reviews Vanished by Mark Bierman

Robbie and Michael Cheadle, Buy :Amazon US And:Amazon UK – Robbie on : Goodreads – blog: Robbie’s Inspiration


The final post today that I recommend you head over to read in full is from Marcia Meara who will be resuming her ‘Share a Review Day‘.. A wonderful opportunity to share a review for either a new book or an older book you would like to give a boost to..

I know I said I was going to be resuming #ShareAReviewDay starting tomorrow, 1/7, but I was a bit over-optimistic. I’m still trying to catch up with a ton of stuff, while trying to pace myself by not over-doing. And my local presentations are starting up again this coming Saturday, so I’m not totally organized yet.

Okay, who am I kidding? I’m never totally organized! But I’m usually closer to it than I am right now. With that thought in mind, I’m going to resume #ShareAReviewDay Tuesdays (one of my favorite regular features) on Tuesday, 1/21, and I’ve already got one review set up for that morning. I like to do two per Tuesday, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and it’s always on a first-come, first served basis.

Head over and check out the submission guidelines and take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to showcase your work: Marcia Meara – Share a Review Day

Marcia Meara, Buy: Amazon USAnd : Amazon UK – Marcia Meara on: Goodreads – Blog:


Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to enjoy these posts in full, thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Wednesday January 8th 2020 – #Recipes Amy Reade, #Tarot Jan Sikes #Interview The Naked Reviewers with Jane Risdon

As the wind howls around the house today and it is allegedly going to be below freezing in the next few days, this first post from author Amy Reade is very appealing… Some warming recipes from around the world…looks like a place to drop into on Tuesdays.

Happy New Year! Welcome to another installment of my monthly First Tuesday Recipes series. This month we’re going international. I’ve got an Eastern European comfort food, a French-inspired entrée, and a German side dish.

Let’s get cooking!


Chicken Babka

For the dough:

  • 1 1/4 c. flour
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 c. solid Crisco (do NOT use butter)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 T. milk

For the filling:

  • 2 c. cooked chicken breast, chopped
  • 1/2 c. chopped celery
  • 1 T. chopped parsley
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup, undiluted and divided (do not substitute another cream soup) chicken broth

Head over for the directions to make this dish and also Chicken Monte Cristo and German Potato Salad: First Tuesday Recipes of 2020

Amy Reade, Buy:Amazon US  – And: Amazon UK – Blog: Amy Reade WordPress  Goodreads: Amy Reade Goodreads

2013 154851dikCmd-RL._UY250_House of the Hanging Jade cover with USA Today

Another place to drop in to on Tuesdays is author Jan Sikes when she reveals this week’s Tarot Card.. #TarotTuesday – Nine of Pentacles

Welcome to another Tarot Tuesday!

If you are just joining me, let me explain the inspiration to begin these posts. In Texas, and all across the country, Taco Tuesday is a popular day when Tacos are usually 99 cents. So, I had the inspiration, or Angel nudge as I like to think of it, to create a Tarot Tuesday. Each Tuesday I will post a different Tarot card and give its meaning. I pray and ask for the right card that will bring a universal message.

I created a short video to demonstrate how I pull the card for the posts. If you’re interested, here’s a LINK.

Today’s card and message for us comes in the form of the Nine of Pentacles!

Head over to find what is in store for us this week with this card: Tarot Tuesday – Nine of Pentacles

Jan Sikes buy : Amazon US And : Amazon UK –  Follow Jan: Goodreads Website: Jan Sikes

The next post is from the Naked Reviewers and is their interview of author Jane Risdon.

With a bio like Jane’s, we are excited we found her, and that she agreed to do an interview with us. We would like to introduce you to another new author for us, Ms. Jane Risdon.

Author Bio:

Jane Risdon has spent most of her life working in the International Music Business rubbing shoulders with the powerful and famous, especially in Hollywood. Married to a musician and later working alongside him managing singers, musicians, songwriters, and record producers, she’s also facilitated the placement of music on successful television series and move theme. ie soundtracks. Her experiences have provided her with a unique insight into the business and her writing often has music which is set in the UK music scene of 1968/69. Recently Jane completed a collection of her first short crime stories – Undercover: Crime Shorts – published in both eBook and Paperback 2019 (Plaisted Publishing House Ltd). Jane is working on the sequel to Only One Woman as well as a series of crime novels – Ms. Birdsong Investigates – featuring former MI5 Officer Lavinia Birdsong – which she plans to complete in 2019. Her experience of working at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in her pre-music days has given her plenty of material for her crime/thrillers. Jane writes for online and print magazines and has contributed to 16 anthologies. She also has a blog and often hosts guest authors. Her books are available in Waterstones and all good book stores as well as via various digital platforms.

You can stalk Jane on her social media by friending her on Facebook, follower her on Twitter, and see all of her books on Goodreads. Also, check her out on The Author Show and her blog.

Interview conducted by Sherry Terry

TNR: Is there anything you find particularly challenging as a writer as far as content?

To read the answer to that question and all the others in this very interesting interview head over : The Naked Reviewers interview Jane Risdon.

You can find out more information about the team at this book review site and find out how to submit your own book: The Naked Reviewers

Jane Risdon, Buy:Amazon UK – AndAmazon US–   Blog:Jane Risdon WordPressGoodreads:Jane Risdon Goodreads

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will explore these posts in full thanks Sally.