Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Monday, October 15th, 2018 – The Book Designer #Amazon Reviews – Leslie Tate with Kendra Olsen #Editing and Robbie and Michael Cheadle with James J. Cudney

Welcome to the first of the Blogger Daily posts this week. Apart from sharing posts that I have enjoyed (just a small selection) I also want to promote not only authors but writers across the board.

With 75 million bloggers on WordPress, it is a challenge to get noticed in the early days, despite the quality of the posts. I hope that the Blogger Daily does help boost at least 15 bloggers each week.

The first post was highlighted by Debby Gies  D. G. Kaye  and  was posted on Joel Friedlander’s website The Book Designer. It identifies the stricter Amazon approach to reviews and clarifies the issue as far as an author is concerned.

Understanding the Current “Dos” and “Don’ts” of Amazon Book Reviews.

Written by Author Amy Collins

Amazon and Amazon’s rules are changing so fast!

We would like to bring you up to date on the current rules and share some guidelines we have found most helpful when trying to get reviews for your book on Amazon.

Here you will find the most frequently asked questions around the Amazon review process and Amazon’s answers. I have gone right to the source and given you the Amazon rules right from the horse’s mouth.

Can Anyone post a review on Amazon?

Amazon’s Answer: You may post reviews, comments, photos, videos, and other content; send e-cards and other communications. To contribute to (sic) Customer Reviews, you must have spent at least $50 on using a valid credit or debit card in the past 12 months. Promotional discounts don’t qualify towards the $50 minimum.

Should I discount my book to get more reviews at the beginning of my launch?

Amazon’s Answer: You may not manipulate the Amazon Verified Purchase badge, such as by offering special pricing to reviewers or reimbursing reviewers.

Amazon’s position is that you are allowed to discount your book during your launch but you must offer the same price to everyone. You cannot offer special pricing just to reviewers.
May I ask people to write a review of my book?

Head over and read the complete post on all the issues regarding reviews on Amazon:

On the subject of books….Leslie Tate interviews author Kendra Olson who is also a ‘developmental editor’ working with writers. A fascinating behind the scenes look at this precise and often challenging (I would imagine) work.

What goes into an Edit?

I interviewed Kendra Olson about how she works with writers as a ‘developmental editor’. Kendra has an MLitt in Creative Writing and is the author of the historical fiction novel, The Forest King’s Daughter. She enjoys writing short stories and creative non-fiction, including book reviews. When Kendra is not writing she spends time with her cats and reading as many books as possible.

Leslie: You’re an author and developmental editor. What was the process of learning these two skills?

Kendra: My novel The Forest King’s Daughter was published by Pilrig Press in 2015. Prior to the novel being accepted for publication I’d taken several creative writing classes as well as having the novel edited.

Seeing my own writing go from a few scrawled ideas on a page to a published novel was immensely satisfying, and I wanted to help other writers feel this same sense of satisfaction with their work. I did an MLitt in Creative Writing with The University of Glasgow. In addition to the workshops and literary discussion, the programme included a module in Editing and Publication. Gaining a deeper understanding of what made for an effective and satisfying story, and figuring out what it took to get there, was a valuable learning experience. While I enjoyed all aspects of the degree, I discovered that my strengths lay in literary analysis and critiquing.

When I graduated, I looked for ways to practice my skills and to merge them with my desire to assist other writers. Eventually I settled on opening my own editing consultancy, specialising in developmental editing of fiction and creative non-fiction. To support my business practice I have taken courses with the Editorial Freelancers Association, of which I am a full member.

Leslie: What’s the difference between a development editor and a ‘standard’ editor? How much of your editing is about proofing for typos? What are the most important editing approaches you bring to bear on a text?

Head over and read the rest of this very interesting post and it will give you a deeper appreciation of the role of editing a book:

Leslie Tate, buy:

Robbie and Michael Cheadle interview author James J. Cudney about his new release.

Author James J. Cudney has a new book available today, Academic Curveball. I have already pre-ordered my copy and expecting delivery very soon. It really does sound exciting.

In honour of the exciting occasion of a new “book baby”, Michael and I have invited Jay over for an author interview.

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became an author

If there were ever a picture of a regular guy in the dictionary, I think it’d be me. We all have our talents, best features, positive traits, but we also have a few on the other side of that coin. When I add it all up, I just feel normal across the board. I like being normal because it gives me an ability to see, connect with, and interpret a huge variety of things in life. I’m an only child which I think shaped a lot about who I am today. I’m generally very quiet and introspective. I tend to look for like-minded people but also for approval on anything I do. I like to fit in and see the more positive sides of life and people.

This is a picture of Jay. I don’t think he looks ordinary at all.

When I’m not writing, I am usually researching, reading, watching television, or hanging out with Baxter (my dog). I have a few other hobbies (genealogy, cooking, gym) to keep me entertained, but ultimately, I’m such a creature of habit (90% of the time, the other 10% can be wild!) that it’s quite predictable where I am or what I’m doing. Writing became a way to express all those things in my head that I wasn’t personally experiencing. Whether it was the dynamics in a large family or a web of deception and mystery, images and stories flood my head constantly. I will never lack for ideas, just the time to write and edit them into discrete novels and posts for people to read. When I quit my job in 2016 to take a step back from a very complex and time-consuming career, I went back to my roots and started creating things using my words and imagination. Before I knew it, I had a whole novel ready to go and shared it with a few online readers who knew not even my real name. From there, confidence increased and the book improved, and within a year, I had found a publisher willing to take a risk on me.

Please head over and read the rest of the interview and find out more about Academic Curveball:

Robbie and Michael Cheadle, Buy:
Blog: Robbie Goodreads


Thank you for popping in today and I hope you will head over and read the complete posts… thanks Sally


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – St. Kitts, Mother Sauces, Family Drama, Music, Short Stories and Humout

Welcome to the weekly round up and October has raced in with high winds and very high seas in the Irish Channel… Thankfully not bringing the devastation suffered by residents in Florida and along that coastline. But in Ireland the weather does not get us down for long and wellington boots are to be found in all our porches, and sometimes put into service around the house.

The nights are drawing in, and just as the sun goes down we are treated to a visit from hundreds of crows who gather on the electricity lines. We had to take out three 30 foot trees that were undermining the outside wall to the garden facing the road, with roots beginning to cause the pavement to crack. We think these trees might possibly have been a roost for many years for one of the murders of crows in the area and they still return to glare through the windows at us.

Unfortunately from a safety perspective we had no choice, and certainly after the hurricane last year when many trees like ours fell across roads and caused damage, it was necessary. However, they have got their own back by stomping around, cackling and picking the moss of the roof and throwing it all over the back yard at sunrise.. which in the summer is about 5.00 am.  Here they are gathering at dusk. In the next week or so this patch of ground, will welcome a brand new lawn and the garden will be finished.

Anyway.. on with the posts from the week. And as always my thanks to the regular contributors and guest writers who have shared their talent. And to you for dropping in and supporting the guests and my posts. It is much appreciated.

Over the last few months the news that the 5.0 WordPress release would include the Gutenberg editing platform, has caused a lot of uncertainty with recommendations to upgrade to be able to install a plug-in so you could still use the Classic Editor etc. I asked for clarification this week and was delighted with the response.. including a screenshot, that for bloggers at least.. there will be the option to choose when adding a new post. Thank goodness for that..


Welcome to the October edition of the Travel Column with D.G. Kaye. This month we’re going to another small, beautiful and still developing Caribbean island – Saint Kitts.

This week Carol Taylor takes us through the five basic or mother sauces that every cook will find useful.

Linda Bethea shares the lengths to which her two grandma’s would go to annoy each other…delighted that Linda will be sharing more about her family on a more regular basis.

Getting to Know You Sunday Interview – Author Jaye Marie

A lovely poem from Joy Lennick on the Third Season ( A Poem for Autumn)

Talent runs in the Lennick family, and Jason Lennick shares some entertaining recollections of life growing up.

Jason is halfbananas

A short story with a very important message from author Andrew Joyce

I am enjoying gathering my syllables and participating in Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 105.

Smorgasbord Book Reviews

Smorgasbord Short Stories What’s in a Name? Volume II

Kenneth – A Love for Life

Lily – The Collector

Houston and Chester 1986/1987 and Dirty Dancing… also requests from Robbie Cheadle and D.G. Kaye.

New book on the shelves

Cafe updates

Blogger Daily and Meet the #Reviewers

Jennie Fitzkee, Balroop Singh and Nicholas Rossis

D.G. Kaye, Carol Taylor, and Jane Bwye.

Sue Vincent, Judith Barrow and Lizanne Lloyd.

Jean Lee, Shehanne Moore, Beetley Pete and Nicholas Rossis.

Anne Copeland, Carol Taylor and Evie Gaughan

An immune boosting eating programme to help prevent and recover from the flu.

One of the herbs that may help you ward off the flu and other infections is goldenseal.

Humour and afternoon video

Cat humour and a joke..Part One.

Cat Humour and a joke Part Two.


Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Friday, 12th October 2018 – Anne Copeland – Youthful fashion – Carol Taylor – Chilli – Evie Gaughan with #review types

Welcome to the last of the Blogger Daily posts for the week. Which seems to have gone incredibly quickly. A recurring theme this week is aging and the fact that we can make a choice about our attitude to life, resulting in continued youthfulness. On that note, I enjoyed this post by Anne Copeland and I am sure you will too…

lady in funky clothes like Anne

I am not a fashion maven. I do not care for new clothes. New clothes are tabula raza; they have no life story, and for me, that is the most important thing I look for in life. Everything has a story, and if it doesn’t I will make one, but how can you make a story from something that is brand new and has not lived anywhere except on a clothes rack.

I have always loved thrift stores, garage sales, and swap meets of all kinds. There is such a sense of adventure, and what I like especially is that when you go to these types of places, all racial, all political, religious or spiritual or cultural differences seem to disappear. Everyone seems to blend into a wonderful mixture that looks like the clothes in this photo; there is a little of everything. And people sit down at the tables to eat their preferred foods – sometimes things from their own cultures, and sometimes people are just plain adventuresome with what they eat. But the key thing is that they all sit together at the tables, talking often in their native languages, and people doing their best to communicate with others who don’t speak the languages, everyone laughing at the antics of children, or pointing excitedly to a booth that might have extra good items.

Please head over and read the entire post, and of particular interest to me was Anne’s background in archaeology/anthropology to identify the background to the local residents:

About Anne Copeland

I am a young-minded senior mentor, advocate, and activist for physically, developmentally, and emotionally challenged adults and children. Sometime in the late 60’s, my younger and only sibling came home from Vietnam 100% disabled, and it gave me the heart to do this work, which I have been doing ever since. I am also an activist for anti-bullying of any age or race of person. I pretty much say what I me and mean what I say. I am the editor of a book filled with the writings of the lives of 23 physically challenged fiber artists, Artful Alchemy: Physically Challenged Fiber Artists Creating, and also Pumpkin, Pumpkin: Folklore, History, Planting Care, and Good Eating.

Now time to warm your cockles as they say in our neck of the woods.. and talking of necks… did you know that there are some Vampire societies that claim to have real vampires… You can find more Halloween trivia along with two very tasty recipes for Chilli Con Carne – Carol Taylor style..

Halloween-Pumpkins- witches-

I am sure by now that those of you who really go all out for Halloween have got all your porches and homesteads superbly decorated…..I would love to see some of your images here it is not celebrated only by the expats so there are some token decorations in the shopping malls and very pretty they look…But it is not like I imagine the real Halloween celebrations to look… It is too staged and perfect…

But I digress what have I got for you today?

A great chilli recipe as when its cold I think a lovely big pan of chilli goes down well with most, A lovely jacket potato especially if it is cooked in the coals of your BBQ or fire or my favourite what my mum used to do was to roast chestnuts in the ash pan underneath the fire…

Chilli Con Carne … Carol’s Way…

chilli-con carne-chilli peppers

Head over and get the recipe for both the meat and vegetarian chilli plus some interesting Halloween trivia:

Discover more fabulous recipes from Carol’s Food and Cookery Column here on Smorgasbord:

This post had me laughing and crying… as I recognised some of the review categories for my own books. Author Evie Gaughan shares some reviews that have delighted but sometimes mystified her.. and us..Evie lives on the West coast of Irland (quite a bit wetter than us on East coast!) and is the author of The Story Collector, The Heirloom and The Mysterious Bakery on Rue De Paris available on Amazon


You might think you need a degree in symbology or semantics to understand what the hell your book reviews reveal about your novels, but fear not lads and ladies, I’ve put a good half hour of research into some of my own books’ critical reviews and come up with practically no all the answers.

For starters, the star rating means different things to different people on different days. Do not attempt to find any correlation between high ratings and postive reviews (or vice versa). Sometimes the most critical reviews lie in ambush under a five star rating and likewise, a three star rating can often be accompanied by the most glowing review. Do not try to make sense of this – that way madness lies!

However, by using some examples from my own Amazon customer reviews (which I usually read with one eye through a tiny gap in my fingers) I’ve put together a highly scientific system of categorization to make things a little easier. Strap yourselves in!

Do head over and peruse the reviews yourself and see how many you can identify in relation to your own books:

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

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Meet the #reviewers – Wednesday 10th October 2018 – Sue Vincent, Judith Barrow and Lizanne Lloyd

On Monday I was the guest of Sue Vincent  on the subject of old age and the preferred state of Second Childhood.  What I did not know at the time was that I had missed a post of Sue’s on the same topic when I was unplugged in September… Just to confirm that great minds think alike (in contradiction to “Fools never Differ”) I hope you will head over and enjoy Sue’s take on this issue… take your toys and video games with you.

Frolicking Nick Verron

Frolicking ~ Nick Verron

With the unconscious wisdom of youth, my son decided that he would give me a games console. It is not, perhaps, the obvious gift for a woman about to enter her seventh decade, but then, he assures me that as I am a ‘tweenager’, it is entirely appropriate.

When the boys were young we always made sure they were up to date with the growing technological revolution. From the blocky arcade games of the ancient Atari to our first home computer, they soon became confident with consoles and keyboards and we played as a family, working out the puzzles, learning how to share, to be patient and to persevere in the days when games took ages to load and progress could not be saved.

Spatial awareness, hand-eye coordination, foresight, reaction times and logic were all well-served, Games that now look primitive were often complex and demanding and to complete them was a real triumph. We have fond memories of those times. The software available for the Commodore 64 and the old Sinclair Spectrum even allowed you, with a little vary basic knowledge, to build your own games. Such violence as there was tended to be of the ‘Tom and Jerry’ variety, with little or no relation to reality and gameplay was often as much of an intellectual challenge as a test of manual dexterity. We hoped that introducing the boys to technology early would stand them in good stead in later years and that has indeed proved to be the case.

I am decades behind the times where technology is concerned these days. Modern consoles do more than play games, it seems, allowing you to access your PC, play music and films and do much of what I now do at the computer from the comfort of the sofa, which can only be a good thing… as long as the dog lets me share. All the skills that early gaming honed for the boys are ones that need to be maintained in later years… and oddly enough, I kept the best of the old games. So, in an unexpected role reversal, my son is giving his tweenage mother a games console for her birthday.

Please head over and read the rest of Sue’s insightful post:

Sue Vincent and Stuart France, Buy:

Please visit Amazon or Sue’s blog to view all her books and those written with Stuart France.


The next blog post is from Judith Barrow who shares a story from one of her creative writing students, which will resonate with any of us who remember black and white televisions and snow on the screen… Meet Trish who is a very talented writer.

The Rat in the Python #MondayBlogs #Fifties #Memoirs #Humour

Many of you will have enjoyed Trish’s writing here before. She is one of my many talented students that I’m privileged to tutor each week. Hope you equally relish this dip into the past. For some of you it’s a small history lesson, for others, a memory. I am not saying which group I belong to!!

The following words belong to Trish…

If you haven’t heard of a liberty bodice, believe that half-a-crown is something to do with impoverished royalty and never had the experience of slapping a television to stop the grainy black and white picture from rolling, then this book is probably not for you.

It is intended for us Baby Boomers who, in the stability following the Second World War, formed a statistical bulge in the population python. It is a personal snapshot of a time that is as mystifying to my children as the Jurassic Era -and just as unrecognisable.

My intention is to nudge some long-forgotten memories to the surface, test your own recollections and provide statistics to put it all in context.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin…

The Rat in the Python

Chapter One The House

It would be fair to say that most houses in this country pre-date our generation and so this topic should present few surprises.

However the external appearance is deceptive. We’ve all seen old postcards of towns and can instantly recognise many of the buildings. But what of the insides?

They were different.

In my day none of my friends had fitted carpets and central heating was unheard of. We did have carpets, and the ones I remember were hideously patterned, but they were square or rectangular, circular or oval and housewives in a hurry could lift a corner and sweep the dust and dirt under them.


We had a coal fire downstairs and my mother would plait and weave strips of newspaper, lay them like a nest in the grate and build a carefully-constructed pyramid of coal in the centre in and around more of these strips. Then she’d light the paper. If it looked as though it was going to sulk and go out she’d produce a sheet of galvanised zinc like a flat shield that she’d hold over the front of the open fire to ‘draw’ it up and once it was going properly we’d feed it with great hunks of coal the size of bread loaves that you could later split open with the poker.

My father would hold the paper he was reading in front of a flagging fire to quickly perk it up. This wasn’t always successful. A dark patch would appear in the middle of the newsprint before the hastily dropped paper burst into flames. Occasionally we’d use a toasting fork to dangle bits of bread in front of the fire but conditions had to be just right. Too soon after the addition of fresh coal and you had a brittle piece of bread with smoked edges; wait until it was too hot and the bread itself would flame and char. There was also a knack to balancing the bread on the fork so that as large a flat surface as possible presented itself to the heat. I lacked this knack. The bread would tear around the prongs and slide down towards the handle or I’d have it so delicately balanced that it would fall off into the gritty ashes or the blaze itself

Paraffin heaters were also popular; ugly great brutes that reeked and smoked but put out an impressive bit of heat. When I first heard ‘Smoke Gets in Your Eyes’ I thought of these heaters and even now I can see the blue ring of flames that had to be set at just the right height to balance heat against pollution. And if you’ve lived in a house with a paraffin heater you won’t need me to remind you of that all-pervasive, oily smell. 

Carry on reading this very entertaining post and enjoy the nostalgia of remembering some of the things you don’t miss and those days:

Judith Barrow – Buy:
Blog: Judith on Goodreads

Now time for a book review from Lizanne Lloyd –  Gift Horse by Jan Ruth

A time-slip novel about the choices women make, the healing power of horses, and the devastating consequences of human error.

Imagine living eighteen years of your life around a mistake…

Caroline Walker’s daughter suffers a horrific riding accident. Her distraught parents wonder if she’ll ever walk again, let alone ride. And when Mollie’s blood group is discovered as rare, her husband offers to donate blood. Except Ian is not a match. In fact, it’s unlikely he’s Mollie’s father.

Eighteen years previously, Caroline had a one-night stand with Irish rock star, Rory O’Connor. Caroline fell pregnant. Deeply flawed boyfriend, Ian, was overjoyed. And Caroline’s parents were simply grateful that their daughter was to marry into the rich, influential Walker family. Never look a gift horse in the mouth.

Caroline turns to Rory’s friend Connor; and although his almost spiritual connection with his horses appears to be the balm she needs, Caroline cannot forget Rory, or her youth – both lost to a man she never loved. Eighteen years on and after surviving cancer Rory lives as a virtual recluse in the Welsh mountains. Through his well-meaning but interfering sister, he is shocked to discover he has a teenage daughter. Or does he? As the truth begins to unravel, Caroline finds herself faced with a complex trail of moral dilemma.

Someone has made a terrible mistake… someone is going to get hurt…

My Review

Caroline has it all, a rich successful husband, a large beautiful home and a daughter they both love. But Mollie’s terrible accident while competing on her horse, Sahara Sun, exposes cracks in their apparently happy life and Caroline’s past catches up with her. Can she take Mollie from Ian, the father she loves so much, and will Mollie ever forgive her secrecy?

Read the rest of Lizanne’s review for the book:

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Meet the #Reviewers – Friday, October 5th, 2018 – Jenny in Neverland #onlinefriends, Pamela Wight #shortstory and N.A. Granger #review

Thanks for dropping in and I hope you will enjoy today’s selection of blog posts that I have enjoyed. You are very welcome to add the link to your latest post in the comments section so that we can head over and read.. please don’t be shy. Thanks Sally.

The first post is from Jenny in Neverland and explores the reality of online friendships. Personally, I find there is only two difference between online and offline friends and that is face to face time (unless on Skype of similar) and that I get to speak to many daily, instead of the odd email or phone call. For me it is enriching, stimulating and at 65, a way to keep my mind active, learn new things, and expand my universe. As long as I can work a keyboard and remember by passwords….. I can do this until I pop my clogs…. what a way to go.

Online friendships: The pros of being social & making friends online *

One of the top things that people say about blogging – or being on social media in general – is that it’s a great way to make new friends and meet new people. Look at almost any “Reasons I Love Blogging” post and I guarantee at least one of the points mentioned will be surrounding online friendships or acquaintances they’ve made along the way. If I wrote that post right now, I know that would certainly be one of my top reasons why I love doing what I do. Then there’s the argument of “Are Online Friendships Real?” which I don’t really have to answer because it’s pretty obvious that they are. At least in my experience anyway.

Postcards, Creativity, Tisetas & Co, Small Business, Graphic Design

Thank you to Tisetas & Co for sponsoring this post!

As someone with very few real life friends, the relationships I’ve made with people online are incredibly important to me. I’ve lost friends in a number of different ways over the last few years; some my fault, the majority of them not but during that time, I also started my blog and started using social media so very gradually, one cancelled out the other and whilst all my real life friends and acquaintances were going off living their lives, a whole bunch of new online friends made their way into mine.

Not having many friends in your 20’s is difficult and it’s certainly not a position I thought I would find myself in when I was growing up and in my teens, surrounded by friends every single day. Charlene McElhinney wrote an amazing post about this in September, which pretty much sums up my thoughts perfectly and I’d definitely recommend giving that a read. She’s also one of the people that has prompted this post – which I’ll get onto in a bit!

The pros of being social and making friends online

Please head over and read the entire post, and I am sure Jenny would love your views:

Last week author Pamela Wight set us all a puzzle with part one of a short story. We had to guess what was in a gift wrapped box in the kitchen of Debra, from her neighbour Gene.. I got it all wrong…. as did many others but the winner was… will have to head over to find out!

Debra unties the ribbon around the mysterious box and slowly opens it. Her puzzled look doesn’t leave her face when the side door rams open and two men enter. (

“If you want to help your friend,” the stockiest man growls, “empty the box and show us the rest.”

Debra laughs, but not with humor. “Are you kidding me? You must be the agent Eugene told me about last week.”

The man’s face falls as flat as a bad soufflé. “He told you about me?”

The second man, tall and thin, walks into the kitchen with a scowl and sits in one of Debra’s mom’s old pine chairs. “How much did he tell you?” he asks.

Debra reaches for a bottle of Zinfandel in the corner wine rack and three glasses. “What kind of game are you playing with Eugene?” She pops the cork and pours a half glass for each of them. The two men shake their heads no, but they both take a large sip of the dark red wine.

Head over and read the rest of the story and discover who the best guesser was:

Pamela is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore

Pamela S. Wight, Buy: Pamela on Goodreads


The final post today is a book review from N.A. Granger.. (Noelle) for Finders Not Keepers by D.E. Haggerty

Great cover, yes?

The story: Terri, a divorced school librarian, is cleaning her ex-husband’s belongings out the attic of her home when she discovers an exquisite and obviously very expensive diamond pendant necklace. She wants to return it to its owner, but the previous inhabitant of the house was brutally murdered, and the murder is unsolved. The victim’s parents want nothing to do with the necklace and want her greedy brothers kept in the dark about it.

Terri resolves to find a charity to which she could donate the necklace and inadvertently puts herself in danger when she volunteers at the local women’s domestic abuse shelter, where the victim also volunteered. Enough strange things happen for Terri to want to solve the murder. Helping her in her investigation is her brash, loud and impulsive best friend Melanie and a way-too-handsome next door neighbor, Ryan, who happens to be a PI and who has been interested in Terri from afar for some time.

Head over to read the rest of this balanced review from  Noelle:

Noelle is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore

Noelle Granger, Buy:
Website and blog:

Thanks very much for visiting and I hope you will explore this small selection of posts I have enjoyed further.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Thursday, September 4th, 2018 – Charles E. Yallowitz with John W. Howell, Teri Polen with Mae Clair and Beaton Mabaso on #websitess.

Welcome to another selection of blog posts that I would like to showcase… The first is hosted by Charles Yallowitz and features one of John W. Howell’s Ten Things Not To Do… in this case when visiting a fantasy author such as Charles. By the way Charles’s latest book is now available.

Now over to John Howell to entertain you with his countdown from 10 – 1 Things Not to Do..

The inspiration for this post was an invitation to join Charles for a guest slot. In thinking on what I could write about it came to me that he and I have two different worlds in which we write. He is an excellent fantasy author, and I do thrillers. I put on my imagination hat and started to think of all the characters and situations one could run into if you visited Charles’ place. If you get a chance to join Charles on his blog keep this list handy.

10 If you are guest posting on Charles Yallowitz’s blog, do not drink anything. If you do, at best it will really be water. At worst, it will be one of the potions that can cause a horn to grow out of your forehead. (Now don’t you look foolish Christopher. At least you have a place to hang your hat.)

9 If you are guest posting on Charles Yallowitz’s blog, do not bring Tiny the WWF champ along for the ride. If you do, at best he’ll want to stay in the car. At worst, he will come in and be confronted by a winged dragon. (Now you’ll have to pay for that missing wall, Caleb. You forgot that Tiny doesn’t use doors when he is afraid.)

8 If you are guest posting on Charles Yallowitz’s blog, do not touch any buttons. If you do, at best you’ll hit the deli delivery button. At worst, your button will cause the floor to fall away. ( And now, Cameron you can be heard screaming as you continue to drop through the seven layers of hell in the bottomless abyss.)

Head over and find out what else not to do when visiting Charles Yallowitz:

You can find both these talented authors in the Cafe and Bookstore..and here is a small selection of their work.. More for both of them on Amazon.

John Howell, Buy: John Howell Goodreads

Charles Yallowitz – Buy

Now for something to get you started on your preparations for all things dark and scary…

Teri Polen inteviews author Mae Clair about her writing and some of the scary stuff she has experienced… like the Ouji board (been there, done that and ran a mile).

Today’s guest is no stranger to this blog. I just hosted a cover reveal a few weeks ago for the new book in her Hode’s Hill series, End of Day, releasing in January – and it’s just as eerie and beautiful as Cusp of Night. I read also Cusp of Night and it gave this horror fan wonderfully warm fuzzies. Welcome, Mae Clair!

Teri, thanks so much for bringing Bad Moon Rising back again. I always enjoy following the posts and discovering new authors and books. It’s a pleasure to be here and I enjoyed answering your questions.

In the spirit of Halloween:

Have you ever played with a Ouija board?
When I was a kid, probably tween years or early teens. I remember being creeped out and intrigued at the same time. We stopped playing with it when it went to GOODBYE during one session. I don’t remember the question we asked. I do remember a friend’s parents being skeptics, so we all gathered at their table and just the parents used the board with the planchette. It took a while but the planchette did move and my friend’s parents grudgingly admitted there was something to it.

I had several of my characters use a Ouija board in A Cold Tomorrow, book two of my Point Pleasant series, but there’s no way I’d touch one today.

Head over and find out if Mae is superstitious and more about her writing:

Both Teri and Mae are authors in the Cafe and Bookstore.

Teri Polen, Buy:


Mae Clair, Buy:

Please visit Amazon or Mae’s website to view all her books.

I found this post today and it was a breath of fresh air, brilliantly presented by Beaton Mabaso, and it hit every nail about websites and blogs on the head…


Last week, I really, really wanted to comment on a blog post, but I got boxed in on the Captcha street signs and literally spent 10 minutes clicking on the damn things. Finally I gave up.

I get that people want to stop spammers and trolls off their websites but there are very much more simpler ways to do so. If you are on WordPress the spam control gets most of them, but moderate your comments instead, either by moderating the first one of someone new as I do, or moderate them all if you have to.  Please head over and read the entire article as it makes so much sense. And I particularly loved this little snippet on the subject of interactions.

“Make it easy to engage with you. Don’t add sign up procedures that require one to create an account and chant incantations on a full moon night, maybe howl a little, then verify they are human by making a small sacrifice……” Beaton Mabaso

As Beaton states….A Website is a conversation

Well if Code Is Poetry……Then A Website is A conversation.

I am a story-teller I come from a line of story-tellers its in my blood we used to sit round a fire and tell stories and now, we gather round our devices in this digital age stories are immortalized on the pages of the internet, I start digital fires.

Screenshot (53)

A Website just like a good story, tells not just a story but it’s a conversation; it captures the mind, it engages your audience and they ask those four words every story-teller loves to here…. And Then what happened next.

So you have a website its perfect everything is on fleek. The design is flawless, the seo is optimized so is the device compatibility….

Screenshot (54)

And then what happens next? What comes after:

Screenshot (56).png

The internet is where websites go to die, buried in the digital grave of the information superhighway… Here is how you keep it alive:

©Beaton Mabaso images

Please head over and read the entire post as Beaton has brilliantly hit the nail on the head:

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Wednesday October 3rd, 2018 – Sue Vincent, D.G. Kaye and Annette Rochelle Aben

Welcome to today’s small selection of posts I have enjoyed over the last couple of days. The first takes us far back in time, when Britain was a land of many kingdoms. Sue Vincent writing for The Silent Eye looks at the Arthurian Legends.

North-easterly: Legends

There are many stories associated with the castles of the Northumbrian coastline, some historical, others apocryphal, but it is often buried within the myths and legends that some fragment of truth may be found. Few tales will pique the interest as much as when dragons or the name of King Arthur are mentioned. Stuart has told the story of the Laidly Wyrm of Bamburgh, in which a princess becomes a dragon, and were that the only tale the castle had to tell, it would be enough. But the castle has not always been known by its present name. It was once at the heart of the ancient realm of Bryneich, or Bernicia, and the castle was known as Din Guarie, a name that comes down to us through the Arthurian legends as Dolorous Guard….

The Dream of Lancelot~ Study by Edward Burne-Jones

The Castle of Dolorous Guard was the home of Sir Brian of the Isles, who some call King Bran Hen… Bran the Old… a cruel and evil knight and the sworn enemy of King Arthur. Sir Brian had learned enchantments from the Lady of the Lake and turned them to sate his own vicious pleasures. He took great delight, so the story goes, in imprisoning and torturing both men and women alike.

Head over and find out more about the legends of King Arthur and his knights:

Sue Vincent is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore.

Sue Vincent and Stuart France, Buy:

Please visit Amazon or Sue’s blog to view all her books and those written with Stuart France.


Now a follow up to D.G. Kaye’s post last week on the #MeToo movement. This week she bravely describes one of her own experiences, and illustrates how a few minutes can impact you for life.

Memoir Bytes: Escaping a Sexual Predator and the #WhyIDidntReport Movement

Last week I posted an article about the #MeToo Movement. This courageous coming out of women all over the world got me thinking about my own encounters with sexual harassment and sexual abuse.

As a memoir writer I’ve questioned myself many times, wondering if I would ever become brave enough to talk about my own experiences on this topic. And if you’ve read any of my books, you won’t find any of those stories I’ve shared in them because, I, like many women, chose to keep my silence and those memories far away from myself. I’ve kept those secrets buried for decades and only a few select people know about their existence.

Perhaps I’m still not ready to talk about them because some of the characters were too close to home and in one situation, out of the goodness of my heart I voluntarily allowed a male co-worker to come to my place for a cup of coffee one blizzardy winter night to wait off the storm before he could drive his long journey home, eventually offering him the couch to stay over on because of the treacherous road conditions. I was young and naïve to think that would be the end of the story. It wasn’t. But I’m still not ready to share what happened.

If I were to share what happened back then on that blizzardy night almost 30 years ago, I was sure I would have been accused of ‘getting what I deserved’ because I openly invited it in. And so, only my best friend knew.

Please head over to read the rest of this compelling post:

D.G. Kaye is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore.

Please head over to Amazon to discover all her books

D. G. Kaye – Buy:
Blog: – Goodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads

Now a post by Annette Rochelle Aben as part of the team on Sisters of the Fey. It is on the subject of numerology, which is the ancient practice of prediction.  There was a part one that you can link to, but in this post Annette shows us how to determine our personal number for 2019…. I am hoping mine has a few 00000000 attached.. are no that is the lottery.. sorry Annette I drifted for a minute.

Anyway mine is Personal Year 9 which according to Annette means I need to clear out what is unnecessary and live life to the full……

Here is a snippet from the post and I suggest that you pop over and find out what your personal number is for 2019… you never know where it might lead

In yesterday’s post, we established what MY Personal Year is for 2019 and that I begin the New Year (in Numerology speak) at the beginning of October every year. What we need to do now, is to address ALL NINE options for Personal Years.

To discover the Personal Year, you add your birth month and day together and reduce it to the smallest number between 1 & 9. Mine was 8. Then you add that number to the number of the year in question. Add all the numbers of 2019 together, reduce and you will have a 3. I added my 8 to the 3 and came up with a 2.

So, add your numbers together… go ahead, I will wait.

Personal Year 1 – This is energy of your thoughts. You could find yourself worrying about what you don’t think you see happening. Remember that thoughts are powerful things, so use them to your advantage and you will have a bonzer year!

 Personal Year 2 – This is energy of your emotions. If you become blue over what the world is doing to you, taking a deep breath and relaxing will do you some good. Allow patience to be the order of the day and you’ll see life going your way!

Here is the link to the post… check it out:

Annette is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore.

Annette Rochelle Aben, Buy:

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


Thank you for dropping in and I hope you will enjoy reading the entire posts as much as I have.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Tuesday October 2nd 2018 – The Story Reading Ape with Claire Fullerton, Christy Birmingham #40sHealth and Jennie Fitzkee #Reading #Preschool

Welcome to today’s selection of posts from around the community that are just a handful of the articles I have enjoyed.

The first post is a guest post by Claire Fullerton, author of Mourning Dove, a book that I read and reviewed earlier in the year. Claire shares the almost serendipity chain of events that led to her writing the book. Her host is The Story Reading Ape.

Every writer has deep-seated motivation for writing a novel. It may be a person, place, or setting that resonates in their soul, and from this a story that won’t let them go. I was tentative when I began writing Mourning Dove, and by this, I mean to say that I tested the waters before I dove in head first to the full story. Mourning Dove started as a poem I never shared, but I liked its subject and rhythm. It spoke of a family dynamic, had movement and spoke of human nature in the face tragedy. In writing the poem, it occurred to me there is beauty to be gleaned in the worst of human affairs.

In one of those intuitive promptings that seems fateful in hindsight, I saw an online call for submissions to the 2013 San Francisco Writers Conferences’ contest. In looking at the categories, I thought narrative nonfiction might be the least entered, therefore giving me a better chance at placing. I looked at the wordcount requirements, titled my submission Mastering Ambiguity, and used my poem’s first stanza to begin my 3,000- word submission telling of a family story. Two months later, I received word that Mastering Ambiguity was a finalist in that contest, and, being as it is that I live in Southern California, I made arrangements to attend the San Francisco Writers Conference, where the contest’s winner would be announced. Mastering Ambiguity didn’t win that year, but it did come in as the contest’s runner-up. And the thing is, when I entered the auditorium where the winner would be announced, I told myself that if anything ever happened to my piece, I’d turn it into a full-length, Southern family saga. Confident, now, that I had a good story, after the conference, I went to my desk and got to work.

Head over and read the rest of the post.. I am sure you will enjoy:

Both Claire Fullerton and the Story Reading Ape are in the Cafe and Bookstore.

Claire Fullerton, Buy:

Agnes Mae Graham  Buy:

Mum B&W

The next post is from Caitlin, writing on When Women Inspire courtesy of Christy Birmingham.

Women after 40: Truths & Myths about Health

I cannot say I enjoyed the years 39 to 54 and I wish that there had been a great deal more information around at the time. There were limited options but as Caitlin points out, seeking a second or even third opinion today is well worth it.

Believe it or not, many women after 40 feel healthier and better than they were in their 20s. That’s what gaining some wisdom and taking care of yourself does for you, go figure. Maybe you’re one of those ladies? Find out the truths, myths, and everything in-between for women after 40 in this guest post from health writer Caitlin.

We don’t just seek to manage the changes our bodies go through as we age – we strive to be at our absolute healthiest so that we can feel our best. But there’s just so much out-dated women’s health information out there to watch out for. The intentions are good, but for the sake of our health and wellbeing, we have to ensure we’re up-to-date and properly informed about some common misconceptions.

Head over and read the entire article beginning with the deal with hysterectomies:

About Caitlin.

Caitlin is a bookworm and recreational dancer. She is also a medical student in love with science in all its forms. When she is not trying to find the meaning of life and Universe, Caitlin is researching and writing about various health-related and well-being related topics. She is happily addicted to art in all its forms, grilled tofu, and hiking. To see what Caitlin is up to next, check out her Twitter dashboard

Christy Birmingham is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore

The last post for today is from preschool teacher of over 30 years, Jennie Fitzkee. Jennie engages her students in a way that few in my own experience can. Reading and books in general are a key element in all that she shares with them… That and quilting… another story.

Language, Literacy, and Storytelling – Part 1 by Jennie Fitzkee

As a teacher, I want to grow readers. I want to help children develop a sense of understanding. I want children to become curious, and eager to discover. I learned early on that in order to do this, it all begins with language and hearing words. Fact: a child’s success in school in all areas, not just reading, is directly attributed to the number of words s/he hears. As a parent of young children, that fact alone made me want to run to the public library. And I did. As a teacher, I became an advocate for reading to children. I just knew that pouring all those words into their brains was filling the learning reservoir. It happens in this order – listening, speaking, reading, then writing.

Reading aloud became a passion and a constant in my classroom. The guru of reading aloud, Jim Trelease, visited my classroom to hear me read. He was curious that I read chapter books to preschoolers, and that they were glued to the story. He was also writing the latest edition of his million-copy bestselling book, The Read-Aloud Handbook. I am fortunate to be included in the book.

At chapter reading, children know that they make the pictures in their heads.  This week I said,

“The words go into your ears, and then into your brain and into your heart.  When that happens, you can see the picture in your head.  Can’t you just see Wilbur standing under Charlotte’s web?  Can’t you just see the morning dew making SOME PIG stand out?”

Please head over and read the rest of this very helpful post, especially if you have younger children or grandchildren:

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will explore these posts further. Thanks Sally



Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Meet the #Reviewers – Monday October 1st, 2018 – D.G. Kaye reviews Leslie Tate, Carol Taylor exposes Hot Dogs and Teagan Geneviene illuminates the 1920s

Welcome to the first Blogger Daily of October. Didn’t that come around fast. But whatever the month, there are always fantastic blog posts to share and here are just three from the many great articles I have read over the weekend.

The first post is the usual Sunday Book Review from D.G. Kaye, and this week she is reviewing Heaven’s Rage by Leslie Tate.

Today I’m reviewing Heaven’s Rage by Leslie Tate. This book is classified as an imaginative autobiography and I’d have to agree that’s an accurate description. Tate invites us in to his deepest thoughts and memories, giving us a ring side seat into fragments of his life.


HEAVEN’S RAGE is an imaginative autobiography. Reporting on feelings people don’t usually own up to, Leslie Tate explores addiction, cross-dressing and the hidden sides of families. Writing lyrically, he brings together stories of bullying, childhood dreams, thwarted creativity and late-life illness, discovering at their core the transformative power of words to rewire the brain and reconnect with life. A Robin Red breast in a Cage / Puts all Heaven in a Rage — William Blake

Head over and read Debby’s Five Star Review:

Both Debby and Leslie are authors in the Cafe and Bookstore

D. G. Kaye – Buy:
Blog: – Goodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads

Leslie Tate, buy:

Now another indepth look by Carol Taylor at the food we eat, usually without giving much thought to its origins. Hot Dogs are a fixture at ball games in the UK and USA and street vendors make a good living selling them to passers by. In her post today Carol takes us through the ingredients and whilst there are reputable hot dog manufacturers, the cheaper versions come with some disturbing additions.. such as human DNA.


I thought I knew much of what went into the food we eat and when I started this series quite by chance the other week I was shocked…And it takes quite a lot to shock me… I don’t eat Hot Dogs and never have … Unless it was a home-made sausage or a good sausage or I was at a BBQ and have eaten the occasional proper sausage… So rare for me I haven’t had one yet this year so that tells you how often I eat any sausage…

There are many processed sausages and balls here…All displayed and looking tempting.
Look at that display it is bright, colourful and I can see how it could tempt anybody to eat one…

sausages - fish balls

But, honestly, when I look at anything like that I feel sick… I have always had an aversion to any food when I don’t know the origin and couldn’t guess as to the ingredients…

So taking an educated guess I would say in one way or another that wherever you travelled to in the world you would see fast food brightly displayed…Shouting Eat me!

Before I go any further I will now tell you what shocked me the most during my research…

Head over to Carol’s to be disturbed….:

Carol Taylor writes a weekly food and cookery column every Wednesday here on the blog:

And last but not least… Teagan Geneviene with her ongoing serial story – Copper, The Alchemist and The Woman in Trousers. A 1920’s romp that includes a cast of wonderfully colourful and creative characters. If you have not read before do follow the links to start at the beginning.

Previously with Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers – Chapter 8.

The bobbing lights of torches in the night told us that multiple parties were moving toward the Hixon estate. Our heroes had to hurry. Copper over-burdened herself with a heavy bag of “necessities,” but the mindful moppet actually had chosen important things. Felicity and Copper headed back to Cornelis, where the alchemist was trying to get (the still missing) Calvin Hixon’s road locomotive in working order. And then…

All aboard! Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers 9 — Ceramic Statue

Ape Eyes 2

Composite Unsplash images, monkeying around by Teagan

A simian scream split the air. It came from the far end of the lawn, in the direction of the shade tree where I had tied my borrowed horse when I arrived at the Hixon estate. At that moment I could have wished for a fast horse, but Ignatius Belle had taken his dapple mare back into town with him. I heard simian screeching in the distance, growing closer and ever wilder. It made my skin crawl.

Two pinpoints of light seemed to stare at me from the high branches of the tree. I shuddered when I realized it was one of the chimpanzees. It must have come ahead of the others, like some kind of advance guard. I was amazed at how well the creatures were trained. Who could possibly train and control animals in such a remarkable way?

The chimp must have seen me looking back at him. It started wreaking havoc in the branches of the tree, jumping up and down and screeching bloody murder. His fellows in the distance screamed back excitedly. It sounded like there were a lot of them. I remembered nervously how strong they were. I hoisted the carpet bag, putting its strap over my shoulder so I could take Copper’s hand. I had to make sure we weren’t separated.

Head over and read the rest of this terrific episode:

Teagan Geneviene is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore.

Teagan Geneviene – Buy:

Thank you for visiting today and I hope that you will explore these posts further.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Meet the #Reviewers – Friday September 28th 2018 – Jill Dennison with John Fioravanti, Pamela Wight, Resa McConaghy with Shehanne Moore

Welcome to the last of the Blogger Daily posts for the week, showcasing a small selection of posts that I have enjoyed over the last few days.

The first post is from Jill Dennison  whose guest today is John Fioravanti with his views on the isolationism policy which is on the agenda for the US administration.

U.S. Isolationism: Then and Now by John Fioravanti

I thank Jill Dennison for her generous invitation to host me on her amazing blog site. Every day I read and enjoy Jill’s posts because she always gives her readers food for thought. I hope my offering below will do the same.

Those of us living outside the USA know how dangerous American isolationism is to world peace and prosperity. The current Trump administration is determined to turn the clock back more than a century in the realms of both domestic and foreign policy. The President emphatically denounced ‘globalism’ in his address to the United Nations General Assembly on September 25th this year. As a retired high school history teacher in Canada, I’d like to enlarge on my first statement that U.S. isolationism is a very dangerous path to follow.

Tuesday, President Trump addressed the United Nations General Assembly.

Some historians would argue that the United States was the most powerful nation on the planet in 1900 but no one knew that yet – not even the Americans themselves. While the great European powers of the day were engaged in a struggle for supremacy and jockeying for the most advantageous position by way of formal alliances, America remained entrenched in her isolationism. Her only concern with the looming European conflict was how it would impact trade and her own economy. Attacks on American shipping by German U-boats in European coastal waters roused the U.S. Congress to declare war in 1917.

President Wilson understood that America needed to adopt a global perspective in foreign policy and suggested the creation of the League of Nations at the end of World War I. The idea was embraced by the Allies but the U.S. Congress turned their backs on the world by refusing to ratify the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. Without American participation, the League was doomed to failure. The rise of Hitler, the fall of France, and near-defeat of Britain were not enough to compel Congress to emerge from the comfortable cocoon of isolationism. No, it took a direct attack on U.S. territory in Hawaii by by Japan to trigger American entry into World War II in 1941.

Please head over and leave your views on the post ( I did) as it is an important global issue:

John Fioravanti is the author of several books available on Amazon

The next post is some flash fiction from Pamela Wight.. there is a twist to the tale as there is a puzzle to solve and if you are right, and are the first to get it correct youwill get yourself a FREE copy of Twin Desires a romantic suspense novel.

Strangers in the Dark…by Pamela Wight

Debra races home, ready for a martini, a bowlful of nuts, and a good book. She’s halfway through that suspense she picked up two weeks ago. What’s the title? Ah, Strangers in the Dark.

As Debra’s Toyota slides into the driveway of her home (well, she muses, not really her home), she notices that neighbor Eugene’s car is not in its usual space near the front walk of his split level.

Darn. Debra had hoped to invite Gene in for the nuts and martini. He isn’t a dark stranger, but he certainly keeps her nights from being lonely.

The open carport curves in as if to greet her. Debra uses her parents’ key to open the side door. The door she sneaked in at midnight as a teen. Until her parents died six months ago in the car crash, Debra hadn’t used that side door for 15 years.

The yellow kitchen wallpaper hurts her eyes as she switches on the light. One of these days she needs to strip the walls and paint them. A soft gray sounds nice. But really, why not just sell the small three-bedroom ranch? It’s not her style. Never was, even as a kid.

Head over and read the rest of the story and who knows you might be the first one to get the solution to the puzzle and win a book:

Pamela is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore

Pamela S. Wight, Buy: – Goodreads: Pamela on Goodreads


Now a review and an author interview of Shehanne Moore over at Resa McConaghy who is a Costume Designer for film and television – Shehanne is releasing her books again under her own label… and this is a sneak preview of the cover of Splendor : London Jewel Thieves available from October 1st now on Pre-Order at Amazon

Much like a game of chess; this tale has moves, and counter moves. Is it checkmate, or stalemate? Read the book to experience the final play!

Although a woman in days when women were mostly property, Splendor finds a self chosen path. She will marry Gabe, the man of her breast’s heart. He will become a man of the cloth. Together they will help the poor.

Enter: the Earl of Stillmore, a chessboard, two Kings, two Queens, four Bishops, four Rooks, four Knights and sixteen Pawns.

Shehanne’s characters are vivid, interesting and all with purpose. I particularly adore the settings she recreates of time and place. I’m amused by the very appropriate, and humorously creative names Shehanne has given her characters. All throughout the novel her wry sense of humour prevails, but never assails nor assuages.

The thing is, it is romance. It’s romance with all the ardour lovers find in love’s wake. The main scene of passion is quite worth the reading and waiting for. It reaches just a tad deliciously beyond cutting to waves crashing on rocks, fireworks or a volcano erupting.

Head over and read the rest of the review and interview:

Shehanne is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore.


31hzuzubvgl-_ux250_ 51hcyukkqjl-_uy250_ 

Thanks for visiting today and I hope that you will drop into these blogs and enjoy the entire post – Thanks Sally.