Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Share an Extract from your Latest Book – #Familysaga – The Memory by Judith Barrow


Welcome to the series where authors in the Cafe and Bookstore an extract from their most recent book. If you are in the Cafe, and would like to participate you can find all the details here: Share an Extract

Today bestselling author of the Howarth Family Saga, Judith Barrow shares an extract from her compelling family drama The Memory. A book that I can highly recommend.

About the book

Mother and daughter tied together by shame and secrecy, love and hate.

I wait by the bed. I move into her line of vision and it’s as though we’re watching one another, my mother and me; two women – trapped.

Today has been a long time coming. Irene sits at her mother’s side waiting for the right moment, for the point at which she will know she is doing the right thing by Rose.

Rose was Irene’s little sister, an unwanted embarrassment to their mother Lilian but a treasure to Irene. Rose died thirty years ago, when she was eight, and nobody has talked about the circumstances of her death since. But Irene knows what she saw. Over the course of 24 hours their moving and tragic story is revealed – a story of love and duty, betrayal and loss – as Irene rediscovers the past and finds hope for the future.

An extract from The Memory

The baby was in the old blue carrycot that had been mine and stored in the attic. I’d helped Dad to clean it up ages ago.

‘What’s she called?’ Mum didn’t answer. When I glanced at her she’d come out of the covers and was looking away from me, staring towards the window. Her fingers plucked at the cotton pillowcase. ‘Is she okay?’ I asked. The baby was so small; even though I could only see her head I could tell she was really little. I leaned over the carrycot. ‘Can I hold her?’

‘No,’ Dad’s hand rested on my shoulder, warm, gentle. ‘She’s too tiny.’ He paused, cleared his throat. ‘And she’s not well, I’m afraid.’

That frightened me. I studied my sister carefully; tiny flat nose between long eyes that sloped upwards at the outer corners. A small crooked mouth pursed as though she was a bit cross about something. I could see the tip of her tongue between her lips. ‘She doesn’t look poorly.’

I tilted my head one way and another, studying her from different angles. Nope, except for the little twist in her top lip, which was cute, she looked fine. ‘What’s she called?’ I asked again, watching her little face tighten and then relax as she yawned, then sighed.

Turning on her back, Mum slid down under the eiderdown. ‘Take it away,’ she mumbled.
At first I thought she was she talking about me. Had I done something to upset her or the baby? But then I thought perhaps having a baby made you cross so I decided to forgive her. In the silent moment that followed I heard the raucous cry of a crow as it landed, thump, on the flat roof of the kitchen outside the bedroom window.

‘What’s she called?’ I whispered to Dad, determined one of them would tell me. When there was still no reply I looked up at him and then back at my sister. ‘I’m going to call her Rose, ’cos that’s what her mouth looks like; a little rosebud, like my dolly’s.’

Dad gathered both handles of the carrycot and lifted it from the stand. ‘I’ll take her,’ he said and cocked his head at me to follow.

‘Do what you want.’ Mum’s voice was harsh. ‘I don’t want that thing near me.’

Then I knew she meant the baby; my baby sister. I was scared again. Something was happening I didn’t understand. But I knew it was wrong to call your baby ‘it’. It made me feel sick inside.

‘That’s mean,’ I whispered.

Mum held her hand above the covers. ‘Irene, you can stay. Tell me what you’ve been doing in school today.’ She pointed to the hairbrush on the dressing table, pushing herself up in the bed. ‘Fetch the brush; I’ll do your hair.’

The words were familiar; it was something she said every day. But her voice was different. It was as though she was trying to persuade me to do it. Like in school when one of your friends had fallen out with another girl and she was trying to get you on her side.’ It didn’t seem right; it didn’t seem like the mum I knew.

‘No, I’ll go with Dad.’ Suddenly I couldn’t bear to be anywhere near my mother. I held the end of the carrycot, willing Rose to wake up. And then she opened her eyes. And, even though I know now it would have been impossible, I would have sworn at that moment she looked right at me and her little mouth puckered into a smile.

That was the first time I understood you could fall in love with a stranger, even though that stranger is a baby who can’t yet talk.

And that you could hate somebody even though you were supposed to love them.

One of the recent reviews for the book

DGKaye 5.0 out of 5 stars Mothers and Daughters  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 20 June 2020

Barrow paints a complex emotional story written in first person where Irene tells her story in two time-frames. One is in present 2002, depicted in a 24 hour time-frame, and the past in flashbacks about what transpired in her life and lead to that one day.

Three women under one roof – Irene, her mother Lilian, and her Nanna, and Sam, Irene’s ever faithful and compassionate boyfriend, are the central characters, as well as little sister Rose, born with Down Syndrome, who dies at the age of 8 years old, and the secrets about her death that keep Irene connected to the house they grew up in together. The burning secret Irene carries will take a monumental twist near the end of this book. Rose is an embarrassment to her rotten mother Lilian, and Irene and Nanna are the ones who look after Rose.

Rose’s death creates a bigger distance between Irene and Lilian, spurring Irene’s anticipation to finally move away from home and finish her schooling for her dream to become a teacher. Only, there are obstacles at every milestone for Irene from her demanding, needy and lacking of compassion mother.

Lilian is a complicated, moody, miserable bitch, whose husband has left her, leaving Irene to put up with Lilian’s antics on a daily basis – seemingly no matter how far Irene flees does not stop Lilian and her demands. Thank goodness for Sam. Sam knows Lilian well and knows how she gets under Irene’s skin and staunchly supports Irene’s decisions, despite them often leaving Sam in second place to Irene’s worries concerning her mother and the indelible bond that remains between Rose and Irene even after her death.

Irene is the designated carer for everyone in this book – first Rose, then her Nanna, then Sam’s sick father, then her sick father, then her sick (in more ways than one, mother) – a modern day Florence Nightingale.

Sam is the ideal boyfriend and then husband who adores Irene. He’s been through a lot with Irene and her family woes, causing delays for them to make a life together. When they finally do make their life complete, once again ‘mother’ calls in her neediness. The mother who never had the time of day for Irene makes her a lucrative offer, which once again turns into a bad deal and should have had Irene running like a dog on fire. But instead, she flees back to her mother leaving Sam disappointed and dumbfounded.

The twist at the end focuses on the painful secret Irene has carried with her since Rose’s death. A lot of drama ensues between Irene and her terrible, ungrateful, undeserving mother as Irene once again sacrifices her happiness with Sam in order to pacify her mother. Irene is a great character of strength who takes on all the family problems in her selfless good and compassionate nature, even risking losing the love of her life, but does she? You’ll have to read to find out!

Read the other reviews and buy the book : Amazon UK

AndAmazon US

Also by Judith Barrow

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Judith: Goodreads

About Judith Barrow

Judith Barrow,originally from Saddleworth, a group of villages on the edge of the Pennines,has lived in Pembrokeshire, Wales, for forty years.

She has an MA in Creative Writing with the University of Wales Trinity St David’s College, Carmarthen. BA (Hons) in Literature with the Open University, a Diploma in Drama from Swansea University and She has had short stories, plays, reviews and articles, published throughout the British Isles and has won several poetry competitions..

She is a Creative Writing tutor for Pembrokeshire County Council and holds private one to one workshops on all genres.

Connect to Judith

Blog: Judith Barrow
Twitter: @judithbarrow77
Facebook : Judith Barrow Author

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed this short extract from The Memory and will head over to buy the book. If you are an author in the Cafe and Bookstore and would like to share an extract from your most recent book.. there is the link again: Share an Extract

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Share an Extract from your Latest Book- #Memoir – Twenty Years After “I Do” by D.G. Kaye


Welcome to the series where authors in the Cafe and Bookstore an extract from their most recent book. If you are in the Cafe, and would like to participate you can find all the details here: Share an Extract

Today’s author, D.G. Kaye (Debby Gies) will be very familiar to regular visitors to the blog as the long-term contributor to the blog with The Travel Column, D.G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships 2020 and the twice weekly Laughter Lines.

The exract is from Debby’s most recent memoir Twenty Years After “I Do” : Reflections on Love and Changes Through Aging

About the book

May/December memoirs.

In this personal accounting, D.G. Kaye shares the insights and wisdom she has accrued through twenty years of keeping her marriage strong and thriving despite the everyday changes and challenges of aging. Kaye reveals how a little creative planning, acceptance, and unconditional love can create a bond no obstacle will break. Kaye’s stories are informative, inspiring, and a testament to love eclipsing all when two people understand, respect, and honor their vows. She adds that a daily sprinkling of laughter is a staple in nourishing a healthy marriage.

Twenty years began with a promise. As Kaye recounts what transpired within that time, she shows that true love has no limits, even when one spouse ages ahead of the other.

An extract from the memoir.

In this chapter, I’m talking about the familiarity of moments in silence, when we grow to understand a loved one so well, often words aren’t necessary.

Knowing

In his quietest moments, I can hear him thinking. He’s always thinking.

There’s no silence in Gordon’s head. Even while watching TV, his mind is busy spinning. His thoughts may be focused on anything from the customer who’s coming in tomorrow to an item he’s remembered to remind me to pick up at the grocery store—or, often, he’s thinking about me, some old memory he’ll feel compelled to remind me about.

Often when speaking to him, I’ll notice his concentration focused on something other than me. He’ll claim he’s listening to what I’m saying, but his attention is on something else within. I call it attention-span lapsing, not quite ADD but more like brewing an idea while in the midst of a separate conversation. These little moments used to drive me crazy in the early stages of our relationship because I felt as though he wasn’t paying attention to our conversation, but he was. He always did. I hadn’t yet learned how his mind worked.

I’ve had plenty of years to study my husband and can read his thoughts just by a certain look on his face, a silence between us, or sometimes from the first word of a sentence when he speaks. Even the manner in which he’ll call out my name prompts me to know what he’ll ask me. When he calls me Cubby with a higher pitch and an emphasis on the y sound, I know he’s in a jovial mood and eager to share good news or something funny. When he calls me Cub, I know he’s going to ask me a question or has something pressing on his mind he wants to share. Deb is reserved for his pissed-off moments.

We’ve always been so in tune with each other, spoken words or not. Many times, I’ll walk into his man cave, and he’ll be watching TV, not even noticing I’m there as he focuses with eyes glued on whatever he’s watching. I’ll announce myself after standing to his left with one of my usual smart-ass comments, “Earth calling,” and he’ll turn after I startle him, chuckling because he knows the thought police is on to him.

Based on whatever may be currently going on in our lives, I have a reasonable idea about what he may be dwelling on in his moments of silence. I’ll remind him he’s home now and it’s time to turn off his brain and relax. He’ll smile with that familiar twinkle in his blue eyes and once again ask how I always seem to know what he’s thinking. I don’t know how I know. I just do. After spending so much time together, we grow an inherent understanding of the silent language interpreted by eye contact, a lack of it, body language, silence, temperament, or sometimes even by the bang or the silent closing of a door.

The thought police in me is always on duty, ready to dissect Gordon’s brain. It’s become second nature. In this past year since Gordon’s health suffered, I have noticed how much more he likes to remind me about some of our best times we’ve shared. Sometimes I know he’s trying to get a rise out of me with laughter. Other times I can’t help but feel he’s thinking about his mortality. I don’t dwell on it, nor do I let him know I know what he’s thinking about.

Nobody ever wants to think about the end of existence. But trust me, as we age, we all have many of those days when we feel the hands of time ticking by. Gordon’s brushes with death have somehow opened the curtains of a window he never previously cared to look out of, a window he never talked about—one we’ve never talked about. But I know that window revealed to him how close the end almost came for him in the past year, causing him many pauses for thought. He doesn’t say so, but I know.

Once in a while, when Gordon breaks a silent moment between us and says in mere passing, “We’ve been together twenty years,” I know where his brain goes. I never ask him to elaborate on where those thoughts come from, but I know when he’s in a reflective mood, when he feels the urge to relive tender moments, when he’s fearing his mortality. In those exact moments, I know.

One of the reviews for the book

L. Carmichael 5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Study in Married Life  Reviewed in the United States on February 3, 2020

Twenty Years: After “I Do” is an autobiographical non-fiction book about the author’s experience with marriage and relationships. I’ve previously read another of her autobiographies about her relationship with her mother, and it was such an emotionally charged and well-written book, I decided to keep reading more from her every few months until I caught up on all her works.

In this one, Debby tells us what happened almost twenty years ago when she debated whether to marry the man who is now her husband. Given he was twenty years older, she had a lot of decisions to consider when it came to how her life would change. At the core of this book, and her approach to life, is her commitment and honesty in all that she achieves. Debby knew… if she married him, she would have to accept all that came with it in the future. From there, she dives into key aspects of married life: emotions, sex life, personal time, separation of couple and individual, fighting, decision-making, and death. Lessons we all need to consider.

Debby’s writing style is simply fantastic. It’s easy to devour in a short sitting, but it always makes you feel like part of her life. She openly shares so much (the good, the bad, and the ugly) while holding back in all the appropriate areas to allow for proper balance, e.g. we learn about the impacts to her sex life when one partner is ill but she doesn’t go into the details. She tells us how she and her husband tackled the issues from a day-to-day perspective and moved on… because they loved one another (to the moon and back).

There is a refreshing honesty and truth in her words, and readers will quickly find themselves a path to compare their own lives to that of the author’s. What have I done well? What could I do better? What needs to change? Excellent questions to consider, but Debby doesn’t directly tell us to do this–her actions show us why this is at the core of a good marriage. I’m thrilled I had the chance to read this one today. Although I’ve only been with my partner for 8 years, it’s easy to track where things are and what we could do differently.

Debby bravely tells us her story, allowing us to interpret for ourselves what everything means, especially in this ever-changing world where people live longer and have access to more things but it’s harder to get them. I highly recommend this book to nearly anyone in a relationship, or those who want to know how to handle one when they are. Debby shares a few secrets, some hints, and a few suggestions to consider. It’s not just for newbies or long-term couples… there’s a bit of everything for how to co-exist and still be who you are. Great work!

Read the reviews and buy the memoir: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Books by D.G. Kaye

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

More reviews and follow Debby: Goodreads

About Debby Gies

Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.

When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.
I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.

Quotes:
“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”

                 “For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”

When I’m not writing, I’m reading or quite possibly looking after some mundane thing in life. It’s also possible I may be on a secret getaway trip, as that is my passion—traveling.

Connect to Debby Gies

Blog: D.G. Kaye Writer – About me: D.G. Kaye –
Twitter: @pokercubsterLinkedin: D.G. Kaye
Facebook: D.G. Kaye – Instagram: D.G. Kaye – Pinterest: D.G. Kaye

Thanks for dropping in and if you are an author in the Cafe and Bookstore and would like to promote your most recent books then please check out the post: Share an Extract

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Share an Extract from your Latest Book – #Southern Little Tea by Claire Fullerton


Welcome to the series where authors in the Cafe and Bookstore an extract from their most recent book. If you are in the Cafe, and would like to participate you can find all the details here: Share an Extract

The next author to share an extract is Claire Fullerton for her novel Little Tea a book that I can recommend. Claire also shares some location shots from the novel.

About the book.

Southern Culture … Old Friendships … Family Tragedy

One phone call from Renny to come home and “see about” the capricious Ava and Celia Wakefield decides to overlook her distressful past in the name of friendship.

For three reflective days at Renny’s lake house in Heber Springs, Arkansas, the three childhood friends reunite and examine life, love, marriage, and the ties that bind, even though Celia’s personal story has yet to be healed. When the past arrives at the lake house door in the form of her old boyfriend, Celia must revisit the life she’d tried to outrun.

As her idyllic coming of age alongside her best friend, Little Tea, on her family’s ancestral grounds in bucolic Como, Mississippi unfolds, Celia realizes there is no better place to accept her own story than in this circle of friends who have remained beside her throughout the years. Theirs is a friendship that can talk any life sorrow into a comic tragedy, and now that the racial divide in the Deep South has evolved, Celia wonders if friendship can triumph over history.

 

An extract from Little Tea

“Hey, Little Tea,” Hayward called as she and I sat crossed-legged on the north side of the verandah. “I bet I can beat you to the mailbox and back.” It was a Saturday afternoon in early June, and we’d spread the church section of the Como Panolian beneath us and positioned ourselves beneath one of the pair of box windows gracing either side of the front door. The front door was fully open, but its screen was latched to keep the bugs from funneling into the entrance hall. They’d be borne from the current of the verandah ceiling fans that stirred a humidity so pervasive and wilting, there was no escaping until the weather cooled in early November. The glass pitcher of sweet tea Elvita gave us sat opaque and sweating, reducing crescents of ice to weak bobbing smiles around a flaccid slice of lemon.

Little Tea stood to her full height at Hayward’s challenge, her hand on her hip, her oval eyes narrowed. “Go on with yourself,” she said to Hayward, which was Little Tea’s standard way of dismissal.

“I bet I can,” Hayward pressed, standing alongside Rufus, his two-year-old Redbone coonhound who shadowed him everywhere.

Little Tea took a mighty step forward. “And you best get that dog outta here ’fore he upends this here paint. Miss Shirley gone be pitching a fit you get paint on her verandah.”

“Then come race me,” Hayward persisted. “Rufus will follow me down the driveway. You just don’t want to race because I beat you the last time.”

“You beat me because you a cheat,” Little Tea snapped.

“She’s right, Hayward,” I said. “You took off first, I saw you.”

“It’s not my fault she’s slow on the trigger,” Hayward responded. “Little Tea hesitated, I just took the advantage.”

“I’ll be taking advantage now,” she stated, walking down the four brick steps to where Hayward and Rufus stood.

At ten years old, Little Tea was taller than me and almost as tall as Hayward. She had long, wire-thin limbs whose elegance belied their dependable strength, and a way of walking from an exaggerated lift of her knees that never disturbed her steady carriage. She was regal at every well-defined angle, with shoulders spanning twice the width of her tapered waist and a swan neck that pronounced her determined jaw.

Smiling, Hayward bounced on the balls of his feet, every inch of his lithe body coiled and ready to spring. There was no refusing Hayward’s smile, and he knew it. It was a thousand-watt pirate smile whose influence could create a domino effect through a crowd. I’d seen Hayward’s smile buckle the most resistant of moods; there was no turning away from its white-toothed, winsome source. When my brother smiled, he issued an invitation to the world to get the joke.

Typically, the whole world would.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Christi F 5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Read!! Reviewed in the United States on June 9, 2020

Little Tea packs a powerful punch, especially reading it in light of the Black Lives Matter movement. I do not tolerate prejudice of any kind, and reading about southern prejudice, even in fiction, makes my skin crawl, but Claire Fullerton paints a picture that I was not expecting, and left me with all the feels.

Celia, the main character, is a peacekeeper by nature, and has gotten really good at suppressing her feelings about life’s circumstances, and running away from it all. It’s been years since she’s been home, but when one of her best friends needs her help, she immediately flees home. Oh, to have friends that have your back like that. One of the things I admired about this novel is the friendships, the loving despite flaws, and backing the other person even if you don’t quite see eye to eye on certain actions.

While Celia’s mission during her trip is to help her friend, she finds herself facing her own tortured past that she has fought to run away from. Written in Celia’s own words, she parallels her past story with her present situation in a seamless way, telling a tale of growing up on a plantation in a privileged family in the deep south, alongside her brother and her best friend, Little Tea. Little Tea’s family have worked for Celia’s family for generations, and to Celia they are like family, though not everyone in her family shares her sentiments, some continuing to hold onto outdated racial discrimination.

Reading about Celia and Little Tea growing up was hands down my favorite part of the story, the innocence as sugary sweet as tea on a hot summer day. I especially loved the races, and how Little Tea and all her sass just shine. It was in those moments that I fell in love with this character, and admire how strong and independent she was, even at a young age.

Incredibly written, Claire Fullerton takes you into the life of a woman struggling to find closure, yet fighting the past at the same time, painting a vivid picture that I think we all can relate to. The character development is splendid, and while I do not understand southern traditions, or this world described, I felt it was true to life.

My only beef, if you can really even call it that, is the ending. Though there is a resolution, I was still left with questions, and actually groaned, “No…” when I realized it was the end. I craved to know more at the final revelation, but alas I must use my own imagination.

Despite feeling unfinished (most likely only to myself), Little Tea is a wonderfully written memoir with enviable friendships, excruciating heartache, and courage to face the past to better your future.

 

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And : Amazon UK

Also by Claire Fullerton

Read the reviews and buy the books : Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

Read other reviews and follow Claire on : Goodreads

About Claire Fullerton

Claire Fullerton hails from Memphis, TN. and now lives in Malibu, CA. with her husband and 3 German shepherds. She is the author of Mourning Dove, a coming of age, Southern family saga set in 1970’s Memphis. Mourning Dove is a five-time award winner, including the Literary Classics Words on Wings for Book of the Year, and the Ippy Award silver medal in regional fiction ( Southeast.) Claire is also the author of Dancing to an Irish Reel, a Kindle Book Review and Readers’ Favorite award winner that is set on the west coast of Ireland, where she once lived. Claire’s first novel is a paranormal mystery set in two time periods titled, A Portal in Time, set in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.

She is a contributor to the book, A Southern Season with her novella, Through an Autumn Window, set at a Memphis funeral ( because something always goes wrong at a Southern funeral.) Little Tea is Claire’s 4th novel and is set in the Deep South. It is the story of the bonds of female friendship, healing the past, and outdated racial relations. Little Tea is the August selection of the Pulpwood Queens, a Faulkner Society finalist in the William Wisdom international competition, and on the long list of the Chanticleer Review’s Somerset award. She is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Literary.

Connect to Claire

Website: Claire Fullerton
Blog: Claire Fullerton WordPress
Twitter: @Cfullerton3
Facebook: Claire Fullerton

Thanks for dropping in and I hope the extract from Little Tea has tempted you to read the book… thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Share an Extract from your Latest Book – #Crime #Mystery – Secrets of the Galapagos by Sharon Marchisello


Welcome to the series where authors in the Cafe and Bookstore an extract from their most recent book. If you are in the Cafe, and would like to participate you can find all the details here: Share an Extract

Today’s author is Sharon Marchisello with an extract from her novel, a crime mystery- Secrets of the Galapagos.  Sharon has also included some amazing photographs from her own trip to this extraordinary place

About the book

Shattered by a broken engagement and a business venture derailed by Jerome Haddad, her unscrupulous partner, Giovanna Rogers goes on a luxury Galapagos cruise with her grandmother to decompress.

At least that’s what her grandmother thinks. Giovanna is determined to make Jerome pay for what he’s done, and she has a tip he’s headed for the Galapagos.

While snorkeling in Gardner Bay off the coast of Española Island, Giovanna and another cruise passenger, tortoise researcher Laurel Pardo, both become separated from the group and Laurel is left behind. No one on the ship will acknowledge Laurel is missing, and Giovanna suspects a cover-up.

When the police come on board to investigate a death, Giovanna is sure the victim is Laurel. She’s anxious to give her testimony to the attractive local detective assigned to the case. Instead, she learns someone else is dead, and she’s a person of interest.

Resolved to keep searching for Laurel and make sense of her disappearance, Giovanna finds that several people on board the cruise ship have reasons to want Laurel gone. One is a scam involving Tio Armando, the famous Galapagos giant tortoise and a major tourist attraction in the archipelago. And Jerome Haddad has a hand in it. Thinking she’s the cat in this game, Giovanna gets too involved and becomes the mouse, putting her life in jeopardy. But if she doesn’t stop him, Jerome will go on to ruin others.

An extract from Secrets of the Galapagos

Laurel tugged at my flipper and pointed. I pivoted through the stream of bubbles in time to see a six-foot hammerhead shark, its flat head barely rippling the water it displaced. I could have touched its coarse gray skin had I dared. My heart pounded. In our dark wetsuits, did we look like seals? The guides said these Galapagos sharks were not dangerous unless provoked, but who knew when one might decide to add a little tourist delicacy to its diet of fish and crustaceans?

Her dark hair floating around her face, my new friend Laurel gave a thumbs-up. I returned the gesture. I sensed her radiant grin through her mask.

The shark glided away almost as quickly as it had appeared, replaced by a school of surgeonfish, their yellow tails and silvery bodies shimmering in the sunlight. I lost sight of Laurel as I floated among them like a mermaid.

I kicked my way to the surface and lifted my head to drain my snorkel tube. As I pushed a strand of wet hair out of my face, I glimpsed the band of white skin where my engagement ring had been—until last month. Don’t think about that jerk, I scolded myself. Focus on enjoying this incredible cruise. And the mission: justice. Our group had been snorkeling in the chilly waters of Gardner Bay for about an hour, and all I wanted to do now was get back on board the ship, dry off, and tell everyone over a tasty lunch of fresh seafood about our close encounter with the shark. Laurel would have shot some great pictures.

I pulled off my fogged-up plastic mask and rinsed it in the ocean. The sea had grown rougher since we’d started snorkeling, and dark clouds gathered. A wave slapped my face, sending salty water into my nostrils. I held up my right hand, the symbol for, “I’m ready to come in.”
Where was everybody?

“Laurel?” She’d been swimming beside me moments ago, snapping photos of the vast display of marine life.

I scanned the water for my fellow snorkelers and the guides hovering in the inflatable black boats called Zodiacs. Laurel and I had not strayed that far from the group … had we?
I put my mask back on and ducked underwater to see if anyone was still swimming beneath the surface. Nothing but fish. I didn’t care about the fish anymore.

The sudden sensation of being alone in the cold ocean sucked my energy. I took off my mask again, struggling to hold my head upright and tread water while I regained my bearings.

The steep volcanic outcropping where we’d congregated was on my left. It had been on my right before. I must have drifted to the other side. Seabirds squawked at me as if I had plans to disturb their nests wedged into the jagged, guano-coated crevices.

“Laurel?” She must wonder what had happened to me.

I dog-paddled around the volcanic rock and then sighted one of the Zodiacs—at least thirty yards away and headed back to the ship. A black speck in the distance must be the other boat.


One of the recent reviews for the book.

Reviewed in the United States on March 21, 2020

This is an entertaining murder mystery with a large dollop of romance. The story is set on a cruise ship which is travelling around the idyllic islands of the Galapogos. The author weaves some lovely and interesting information about these island, the conservation programmes they have in place as well as the amazing wildlife that is found there, into the story which I really enjoyed.

Giovanna has recently had some bad experiences. She lost all the money raised from investors to build her dream non-profit veterinary clinic to a clever con artist and, as a result, her fiancee and business partner, Tim, has broken off their engagement. To make matters even worse, her best friend, Connie, is married to the conman, and helped entice her into his trap. Giovanna’s youthful looking grandmother, Michelle, talks her into going on a cruise to help her recover from these losses and move on with her life. Giavanna decides on the Galapagos as a destination because she has learned, via Facebook, that this is where Connie and the conman have gone and she hopes to somehow get an opportunity to confront him and get the stolen money back.

Giovanna is in for some more hard knocks. While snorkeling with her new friend, Laurel, the pair get separated from the group and Giovanna is nearly left behind by the boat. Laurel disappears and no-one will acknowledge it except for Michelle and a few other guests who notice she is missing. Other unusual things are also happening on board the ship: Michelle gets hit over the head in the ship’s library, a memory stick with photographs of animals on it belonging to Laurel goes missing and one of the guides turns up dead in the swimming pool. Giavanna is determined to get to the bottom of it all and also to confront the conman if the opportunity presents itself.

Into this whole mix enters a gorgeous local policeman, Victor, who is investigating the murder, the disappearance of Laurel and who is interested in Giavanna.

This is a fast paced book with lots of action and some romance. I found it a bit hard to follow in a few parts because there was just so much happening and so many different sub-plots but on the whole this is an entertaining and interesting read.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Other books by Sharon Marchisello

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

Read other reviews and follow Sharon: Goodreads

About Sharon Marchisello

Sharon Marchisello is the author of two mysteries published by Sunbury Press, Going Home (2014) and Secrets of the Galapagos (2019). She is an active member of Sisters in Crime.

She contributed short stories to anthologies Shhhh…Murder! (Darkhouse Books, 2018) and Finally Home (Bienvenue Press, 2019). Her personal finance book Live Well, Grow Wealth was originally published as Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy, an e-book on Smashwords. Sharon has published travel articles, book reviews, and corporate training manuals, and she writes a personal finance blog called Countdown to Financial Fitness.

She grew up in Tyler, Texas, and earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Houston in French and English. She studied for a year in Tours, France, on a Rotary scholarship and then moved to Los Angeles to pursue her Masters in Professional Writing at the University of Southern California.

Retired from a 27-year career with Delta Air Lines, she lives in Peachtree City, Georgia, doing volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society and the Fayette County Master Gardeners UGA Extension.

Connect to Sharon

Blogspot: Sharon Blogspot
Blog WordPress: Sharon Marchisello
Facebook: S.L Marchisello
Facebook: Live Cheaply Be Happy
Twitter: @SLMarchisello

Thanks to Sharon for sharing this extract from Secrets of the Galapagos and I hope you will add to your TBRs.. thanks for dropping by.. Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Share an Extract from a Previous Book – #Memoir – No One Comes Close by J. A. Newman


The last post in the series where authors have shared an extract from a previous book  and today author J. A. Newman shares a passage from her memoir No One Comes Close

About the book

Many women dream from time to time of the man they would have married if only circumstances had allowed, but very few attempt a solution.

No One Comes Close is a true story of how one woman, unhappy in her marriage, set out to find her first love and the consequences it incurred.

An extract from No One Comes Close – MONDAY 20 FEBRUARY 1967

There was no remedy for a fractured pelvis – they couldn’t plaster it in that awkward place – I just had to wait for it to mend. Whenever I tried to sit up the pain beat me back, so I had to be fed like a baby. Added to this was the indignity of the bed pans and the bed-baths. I hadn’t had anyone to wash me ‘down there’ since I was a toddler. The ward was full of old women with fractures who had been there for weeks and who screamed for the nurses every night.

I felt very lonely.

I had been in hospital five days when Mum told me that Ron would be coming to see me.

On the one hand I couldn’t wait, but on the other, I didn’t want him to see me like this. I asked one of the nurses to take out my powder compact from the locker so I could apply some make-up. Not an easy task whilst lying down – gravity dictated that bits of make-up fell onto my face.

I lay with my eyes fixed on the clock above the double doors. At seven-thirty they suddenly burst open and the visitors poured in. But no Ron. Another twenty minutes dragged by,

‘Gee, sorry I’m late. What a dead ‘n’ alive place Dartford is!’

His eyes scanned my vulnerable body clad only in a pink nylon nightie, the sheets pushed down to my waist. He handed me a box of Black Magic chocolates and a get-well card; but I felt helpless when I couldn’t reach the locker. I put them on the bed and managed a smile.

He sat awkwardly at my bedside. His grey eyes crinkled. ‘I still haven’t seen you in that royal blue nightie.’

If he was trying to make me feel better it didn’t work. Oh, how I wished I could see him under different circumstances! He talked, mainly about work, but I felt so proud to have him there. I kept glancing at the clock, willing the hands to stand still. He asked what had happened to Marie; I hadn’t seen her since the night of the accident.

‘She’s in another ward; a few cuts on her face and mild concussion, but she’s fine apart from that.’

If she can walk, why hasn’t she been to see me?

He was going to see if he could find her but I gripped his hand – I wanted him to stay with me.

At eight thirty the bell rang signalling the end of visiting time. I ached for him to stay. He leaned over and kissed me goodbye. ‘I’ll try and get over next Sunday. Look after yourself.’

I watched him walk through the doors and wished away the hours and days until I saw him again.

Two young Irish nurses came to make me more comfortable.

‘Was that your boyfriend, Julie?’ asked one.

I nodded.

She winked. ‘Very nice! Very nice indeed!’

One of the reviews for the book

Candyman 5.0 out of 5 stars Memories are made of … this?  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 1 June 2018

What if?

What if someone contacts you after several years: someone to whom you’ve been attracted, someone you’ve often wondered … what if?

Julie Newman’s memoir takes that as its starting point: a message out of the blue she’s received. Her marriage to Mel is colourless, uninteresting. Ron, all the way out there in Australia, seems to have settled on his feet. It’s very beautiful out there and he’s done well for himself. But is he really happy with Claudette?

Is his contact with Julie more than just a hello and how are you? Could there really be a future with him: one that could make them both happy until death us do part?

Ron’s the opposite of Mel and the full colour version of everything that Julie is missing from her bland everyday routine, or so she thinks. The wheels are set in motion as Julie responds to his request to re-establish contact, even if it means a long journey for one of them. She needs to be sure of its final destination, doesn’t she? What if?

Newman’s journal style book is an easy read in attention-span chunks. As Julie and Ron circle each other her writing becomes ever more intimate, to the point where the reader feels they are intruding in an almost voyeuristic way. Diaries are after all meant to be read only by their composer: a way of pouring out their emotions to the one person they always turn to for advice – themselves.

In drawing us in to the plot of the will-they-won’t-they we become even more entangled in the cups of tea and stolen moments, eagerly watching for the final moments, to discover whether love will find a way. Or just head for the exit.

What if?

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK

And: Amazon US

Also by J.A. Owens

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK

And: Amazon US

About J.A. Newman

J.A. Newman was born in Kent. As a young child she relied heavily on her imagination to amuse herself. At primary school she was repeatedly told off for daydreaming and at senior school she filled her rough note books with comic strip stories. On leaving school she enjoyed a career in hairdressing and owned her own business whilst living in Hertfordshire. In 2008 she retired to Cornwall with her husband where she found inspiration for much of her writing.

J.A.Newman has kept a diary for most of her life, the inspiration for her memoir titled ‘No One Comes Close’. This is an emotional roller-coaster set in 1966 and 1987, published in 2017.

Her second publication, published in 2018, ‘Where There’s a Will’, is a lighthearted tale of rags to riches.

And last but by no means least ,’Bay of Secrets’ is a haunting novel of intrigue, love and loss set in her favourite part of Cornwall.

She is currently researching for a historical novel set in the English Civil War.

Connect to Julie Newman

Blog: Julie Ann Newman WordPress
Facebook: J.A. Newman author
Twitter: @julie3wwn

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to explore Julie’s books in more detail… thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Share an Extract from your Latest Book – #Children’s – Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action by Darlene Foster


Welcome to the series where authors in the Cafe and Bookstore an extract from their most recent book. If you are in the Cafe, and would like to participate you can find all the details here: Share an Extract

Today’s author is Darlene Foster sharing an extract from her most recent book in the Amanda travel series – Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action.

About Amanda in Holland

Amanda is in Holland to see the tulips with her best friend, Leah; as well as travelling the canals of Amsterdam, visiting Anne Frank House, checking out windmills and a wooden shoe factory, and taking pictures of the flowers of Keukenhof Gardens. She is keen to find out what happened to her great uncle who never returned from WWII and was declared missing in action. What she doesn’t expect to find and fall in love with is Joey, an abandoned puppy. While trying to find a home for him, she meets Jan, a Dutch boy who offers to help, a suspicious gardener, a strange woman on a bicycle, and an overprotective goose named Gerald. Follow Amanda around the charming country of Holland, filled with colourful tulips, windmills, and more bicycles than she could have imagined. Once again, intrepid traveller Amanda encounters danger and intrigue as she tries to solve more than one mystery in a foreign country.

An extract from Amanda in Holland.

Amanda enjoyed the scenery as they drove along the highway. “It is so flat and very green.”

Jan explained how Holland is actually below sea level in many places and dykes were built to keep the water out. “No doubt you have heard the story of the little boy and the dyke?”

“No, I haven’t.” Amanda shook her head. “Please, tell us the story.”

“Well,” Jan began, “a long time ago a small boy was on his way to school when he noticed a leak in the dyke. He saw the seawater trickle through the opening and knew that even a small hole could eventually become bigger. If too much water flowed through, the village could be flooded. So, he poked his finger in the hole to stop the water, even though it meant he would be late for school and get into trouble. He stood there with his finger in the hole for a long time until eventually someone saw him and got help. The hole was repaired and the boy became a hero for saving his village.”

“That is such a cool story. Is it true?” asked Amanda.

“It is more like a legend. The story is told to children to show them that even a small child can prevent a disaster if they use their wits. Actually an American author, Mary Mapes Dodge, first wrote about it a hundred and fifty years ago in her book, Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates.”

“That´s so interesting, don’t you think Leah?”

“Ya, sure.” Leah turned the page of her fashion magazine. “I heard that story when I was a little girl. What do you think of this outfit?” She turned around and held up the page.

Amanda smiled. “That’s very nice. It would look good on you.”

Everyone kept quiet as they passed more farm buildings and neatly tilled fields.

“Turn left,” said the GPS woman.

Mr. Anderson turned the corner and slammed on the brakes. A large, angry goose stood in the middle of the road with its wings flapping and neck stretched forward as it honked.

Amanda laughed. “What a silly goose!”

“That’s my grandfather’s goose. He likes to think he is protecting the property,” said Jan.

“You mean he’s like a guard goose.” Amanda grinned.

Jan got out of the car and spoke to the goose in Dutch. The irate bird finally left the road and waddled into the field, his eye still on them.

Leah’s dad rolled down the window. “Thanks, mate. I wasn’t sure how we would get past him. Get back in and we’ll take you to where you need to be.”

Jan climbed back into the car. “You can drop me off over there.” He pointed to a farmyard in the distance.

As they neared the farm, Amanda noticed the rustic house had a sloping roof that looked like a large slouched hat pulled over its eyes. “Is this where your grandparents live?”

“Yes, they have always lived here, and so has my great-grandmother. It is her family home,” answered Jan.

The place looked inviting and cozy.

Someone pulled aside a lace curtain and peered out the window. Grey eyes met Amanda’s.

The curtain dropped.

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

Apr 18, 2020 Hayley rated it Five Stars

Amanda in Holland was such a fun read! I’ll admit I was a bit bias in picking this title — my family is Dutch, so the title caught my eye instantly. I learned more about the culture there than I’ve ever learned from my family (sorry, Dad!). But my favorite part is the way Foster seamlessly ties history, culture, and mystery all in one. This book also makes the location its own character, which I love. Overall, the story had a very Nancy Drew feel to it.I didn’t realize that this book is part of a series, but now that I know, I’ll definitely be reading the others in the series.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A selection of books by Darlene Foster

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Darlene: Goodreads

About Darlene Foster

Growing up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, Darlene Foster dreamt of writing, travelling the world, and meeting interesting people. She also believed in making her dreams come true. It’s no surprise she’s now the award-winning author of Amanda Travels, a children’s adventure series featuring a spunky twelve-year-old who loves to travel to unique places. Readers of all ages enjoy following Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. When not travelling herself, Darlene divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca, Spain with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot.

Connect to Darlene

Website: Darlene Foster
Blog: Darlene Foster WordPress
Facebook: Darlene Foster Facebook
Twitter: @supermegawoman

Thanks for dropping in and if you are an author in the Cafe and Bookstore and would like to promote your most recent books then please check out the post: Share an Extract

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Share an Extract from your Latest Book – #Afghanistan – Silent Heroes by Patricia Furstenberg


Welcome to the series where authors in the Cafe and Bookstore an extract from their most recent book. If you are in the Cafe, and would like to participate you can find all the details here: Share an Extract

The first author in the new series is Patricia Furstenberg with an extract from Silent Heroes, set in Afghanistan where families, troops serving their country and service dogs, face daily dangers. A book that I can highly recommend.

About Silent Heroes

Silent Heroes’ is a highly emotional read, action-packed, a vivid story of enormous sacrifice and bravery.

*’Silent Heroes’ is the ideal read for the fans of ‘The Kite Runner’ and ‘Dear John’!*

When Talibans descends in the village of Nauzad and discover girls can read, a woman accepts the blame and is killed on the spot for breaking the Islam law. Her teenage daughter witnesses the sacrifice and swears revenge, her life and that of her brother becoming intertwined with those of the US Marines serving at FOB Day nearby. But the Taliban is infiltrated everywhere and friends or foes are hard to differentiate.

The U.S. Marines fight with bravery to protect the civilians of Nauzad and to fend off the Taliban at Qala-e-Bost, thus protecting Bost Airport, a vital strategic point for the allies. Faced with questions about the necessity of the war, with the trauma of losing their platoon-mates and the emotional scars of battle, the US Marines race against time in one last battle of eradicating the Taliban before it is too late.

The War in Afghanistan is a contemporary, vitally important conflict whose meaning needs to be understood by the public worldwide. ‘Silent Heroes’ is a narrative about the value of life and the necessity of combat; the terror of dying; the ordeal of seeing your loved ones and your platoon-mates killed in front of your eyes; the trauma of taking a human life.

Read about very well trained MWDs, military working dogs, capable of detecting the smallest traces of explosives, working in the extreme weather condition environments, under the stressful battlefield situations that is the War in Afghanistan.

Smart and agile, at the end of the day what these dogs are looking forward to is the close bond they developed with their handlers, which call themselves the dog’s partners, brothers, daddies.

From the storyteller of the Bestseller “Joyful Trouble” comes a riveting, fictional account inspired by the War in Afghanistan, a battle that spanned centuries and has affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.

“Light, knowledge, they bring the courage to look at the people around us, accepting them for what they are.”

“Do you ever think that history speaks of victors and captors, of battles and soldiers whose lives have been lost and history even counts them, but of the casualties on the civilian side?”

“When soldiers grieve, time takes a screenshot and a new star rises in the sky.”

An extract from the book

One of the favourite pastimes of the U.S. soldiers deployed to FOB Day was soccer.
In this lonely outpost situated in the middle of hostile territory, where the only links with home were through the language they spoke and the short Skype video calls to families left behind, taking part in activities outside their daily routine of physical training and killer missions, like soccer, was relished by all.

Even the dogs from their K9 unit were watching the display of unbound testosterone and childish banter.

Seb’s dog Tara, a three year old Belgian Malinois with fawn fur and a black mask over her nose, a combination that made her look more like a fox than a dog, was lying with her head on her front paws, only the subtle lift of her inner eyebrow and the movement of her eyes revealing that she was actually watching the game. Every now and then she would puff with gusto through her nose, as if saying ‘they act like a bunch of kids playing.’

Honda, next door, was Dunn’s dog, a seven years old German Shepard with a classic black and tan coat and black saddle, an IED and human sniffer dog, especially of hidden Taliban insurgents. Honda slept now. She would keep her legs extended, save for her front right paw that was bent and would spring with the cheers of the soccer crowd as if she, too, chased the ball.

Next to Honda, awake and alert, was Kent’s dog Rambo. He was a black German Shepard with tan socks, an IED and human sniffer dog. His thick, luscious coat shined with his every move. He sat now, eyes trained on the ball, ears perched, only to stand every now and then and approach the fence of his enclosure, tail low, wagging in support. He would have spotted Kent’s tall frame among the players.

Covered in sweat and dust the Marines relished in the general buzz, the homely feel of a hassle-free game of two halves. For these young men, some of them not even 21 years old, so intent on finding IEDs and hidden Taliban fighters, so set in their army ways, the only purpose now was to get a turn at kicking that ball around. It didn’t matter that their entire field of action was an 18-yard box. It was their sixty minutes ticket out of reality.

The fourth MWD was Xena, Conde’s tireless Belgian Malinois with tan fur and an all-black face. Xena was trained to sniff explosives, but right now she sniffed some action past the group of football players. The door of the briefing room pushed open and out strolled Captain Marcos.

Xena jumped forward, alert. Tara and Rambo followed while Honda half opened an eye. There was going to be some action.

By the time the agile frame of Captain Marcos reached the football players, the game had already ceased, all eyes trained on him. There was still a cloud of brown dust hovering around the Marines’ khaki shorts, tinting the scene in shades of sepia; a herd of stallions panting, their ears attend, nostrils quivering in expectation. One of the Marines had picked up the ball, popping it between his arm and hip. Tara’s tail wagged, recognizing her partner and human handler, Seb. Another Marine slapped Seb’s shoulder in a friendly manner and it was Xena’s turn to snort, recognizing Conde. Dancing on the spot, Tara blew air through her nose and yapped at Honda in the next cage. Rambo spun around, pacing along the fence. Will Kent get a turn at holding the ball? Will he? Only Honda cracked a sleepy eye, her tail sweeping the ground once before rolling over onto her back, snorting. Honda enjoyed action as much any dog, but she also knew that the humans did a lot of talking before any action would begin. Until she would sniff Dunn approaching her cage, Honda couldn’t be bothered.

One of the recent reviews for Silent Heroes on Goodreads

Apr 24, 2020 H.A. Leuschel rated it Five Stars it was amazing

This was a fabulous read. I normally shy away from books that are set in war zones or describe life in the military. However, I also love challenging myself and learning about countries and characters that will teach me how different their lives are to mine. This book is perfect in all aspects!

I admire the author’s beautiful pen, her way of describing Afghanistan, the day to day fear and stress that soldiers have to go through as well as the local population. She offers vivid descriptions of the difficulties in staying alert while also staying human and empathetic towards the communities where the military staff are stationed. The underlying plot that kept the narrative going added to the gripping scenes that flowed off the page.

Another aspect I loved about this book was the friendship between soldiers and their dogs who worked as a team on site. I had no idea just how clever these dogs were, so sensitive and perceptive and their presence seemed to help all of the military staff to feel emotionally stable. The author opened my eyes to a new world that of course I hear about in the news but am never quite able to really understand. I walk away having read a great book and having learned a lot along the way. Throughout the narrative I always felt it was very realistic so have to add that the book was extremely well researched in the details provided about Afghani culture, the political conflict and ensuing devastating recent history. Highly recommended if like me you’d like to know what it’s really like to be stationed as a solider in a war zone.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A small selection of other books (some in Afrikaans) by Patricia Furstenberg

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Patricia: Goodreads

About Patricia

Patricia Furstenberg is a multi-genre author, poetess and mother. With a medical degree behind her, Patricia is passionate about history, art, dogs and the human mind. “Silent Heroes” is her 13th book and her first contemporary fiction novel. So far Patricia wrote historical fiction, poetry and children’s books. All her books have one common denominator, dogs.

What fuels her is her fascination with words and coffee. She is the author of the bestseller Joyful Trouble and a prolific writer working on her next novel already, a historical fiction. Will it feature a dog as well? Only tme will tell. Patricia lives happily with her husband, children and dogs in sunny South Africa.

Connect to Patricia.

Blog: Alluring Creations
Twitter: @PatFurstenberg
Facebook: Patricia Furstenberg Author
LinkedIn: Patricia Furstenberg Author
Pinterest: Pat Furstenberg

I hope that you have enjoyed this extract from Silent Heroes and will head over to buy the book thanks Sally.

If you are in the Cafe, and would like to participate you can find all the details here: Share an Extract

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore -Share an Extract – Bubba Tails:  From the Puppy Nursery at the Seeing Eye (Tales from King Campbell Book 1) by Patty Fletcher


Welcome to the Cafe and Bookstore. There are still one or two authors who will be sharing extracts from their previous books over the next couple of weeks, but the new series is running in parallel with an opportunity to share an extract from your most recent book. You can find all the details here: Share an Extract

Today Patty Fletcher shares and extract from Bubba Tails:  From the Puppy Nursery at the Seeing Eye (Tales from King Campbell Book 1) as told by her Seeing-Eye dog King Campbell

About the book

NOW INCLUDES ‘WISH OF THE WEE GOLDEN ONE’ A CHRISTMAS STORY. A charming story about Christmas and Santa Paws and how the pups help deliver the Christmas gifts.

In this magical and love-filled tail, King Campbell AKA Bubba travels to the puppy nursery at The Seeing Eye to help ready a group of puppies who are just about to embark on the fabulous journey of learning to become Seeing Eye dogs. Just as he is about to finish his tail, a wee pup becomes very frightened of all that lies ahead, and one frightfully stormy night she runs away! Will King Campbell hear the urgent call from the puppy nursery in time? Will they find her and save her so she can fulfill her destiny?

The use of Tail instead of Tale for story and Magik instead of Magic is intended for these short stories. A great play on words from King Campbell

An Extract from the book

One stormy night a few weeks later King Campbell and his mother had just gone to bed, and just as he was about to drift off to sleep, he heard again the tinkling of dog tags off in the distance. They had an urgent sound to them.

“Something is wrong.” He thought.

So, after making certain his mother was fast asleep, checking the house, King Campbell stretched himself comfortably and once again let himself fade away. As he appeared in the nursery he noticed that there was much confusion and he could smell fear.

“What’s the matter?” He said to one of the mother dogs standing nearest him when he appeared in the room.

“Oh! King Campbell! We have an awful problem!” She howled.

“Why, whatever is wrong?” He said with some alarm.

“Oh! That little pup that snuggled with you last time, you were here! She heard that soon it would be her time to leave her mother and go with her first family and she’s hidden herself someplace and we have looked and looked, but we cannot find her!”

Now, it had been storming when he had left his human mother, and it was storming there as well.

“Well, now, she’s such a wee thing. She can’t have gotten far. We will split up and search the grounds.”

Soon, King Campbell, had all the pups gathered together, along with their mothers, and he gave each of them an assigned place to look. He remembered many things about the nursery and the land around it, and he was ever sure they would find her without much trouble at all. He made sure to keep the wee pup’s mother close to him so she would not be too afraid, and off they went into the storm.

The lightning flashed! The thunder crashed! And how the wind did blow! The rain was falling hard, yet all the dogs and pups looked and looked. Sniffing here, sniffing there. They looked inside and outside too. They sniffed under bushes, and around trees. They looked under furniture in the nursery, and even in toy boxes, closets, and drawers. A bunch of little Labrador pups even tried to look in the food bins, and when they did not find her they decided to stop for a quick snack.

King Campbell chased them out saying, “No! No! She is not in there! You leave! It! Stop that!”
Pretty soon though, they had looked everywhere they could think of and still there was no sign of her. It was getting later and later, the storm was worse than ever, yet still, they had not found her. As King Campbell stood with his head down, trying to think what to do, an idea suddenly came to him. He raised his head and barked very loudly!

“Woolf! Woolf! Woolf!” The room fell still and he said, “Listen! Listen! Everyone! I have an idea! It’s magik, and it just might work! At home when my human mother is missing special people in her life and wishes to draw them to her in some way, she sings a special song. I am going to sing it, and when you think you have the words join me! Now, come on! All gather round! Let us make a circle. All grasp paws! That’s right, come on! All together now! And remember, when you have the words sing.” He began to sing.

“Listen to the bird’s sing.
Listen to the chimes ring.
Listen to King Campbell’s bell ringing.
Listen to the rain fall.
Listen to my heart call.
Listen to King Campbell’s bell ringing.”

Soon all the mothers and pups were singing, but the wee pup’s mother was still crying and had not yet begun to sing. King Campbell turned to her. “You must sing! You must! You must sing and you must believe! Now sing!”

One of the recent reviews for the book

Robbie Cheadle 5.0 out of 5 stars  A lovely book that all ages can read and enjoy  Reviewed in the United States on February 23, 2020

Bubba Tails: From the Puppy Nursery at the Seeing Eye is a delightful story for all ages, told from the perspective of King Campbell, an older and more experienced Seeing Eye dog (trained to guide the blind). King Campbell appears at night to the puppies at the Seeing Eye School, and their mothers, and tells them stories about how he came to be selected for the school, his training process and meeting his forever mother. His stories help to allay some of the puppies own concerns and anxieties about the future when they undergo their training to be Seeing Dogs and eventually become companions to a blind person.

This is a most insightful book about how Seeing Dogs are selected, including the qualities they need to have to do this job, as well as the training process they go through before they are matched with a blind person. I say matched because that is exactly what happens, the person is paired with a suitable canine companion. I thought this was very interesting as I had never really thought about how close the relationship between a blind human and their Seeing Dog is prior to reading this book.

The second part of the story when Campbell meets his new forever owner was the most meaningful for me. It was a wonderful experience for me to learn about how the Seeing Dog and their new owner must adapt to working together. The Seeing Dog needs to learn to read their human owner’s body language and respond to subtle signals. The human must also learn to trust their dog and this is quite a difficult thing to do. I can understand that putting your faith in a dog, no matter how much you love it, must initially be difficult when you are unable to see and protect yourself. I loved reading about how this amazing trust developed between Campbell and his owner.

This is a book that everyone can read and enjoy for the story and also appreciate for its detailed insight into the relationship between Seeing Dogs and their owners, and also the world at large.

Read the reviews and  buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Also by Patty Fletcher

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And on : Amazon UK

Books also available on: Smashwords

About Patty Lyne Fletcher

I’m a single mother with a beautiful daughter, of whom I am very proud. I have a great son-in-law and five beautiful grandchildren. Three girls, and two boys. I hope to be able to write more about them later. I own and handle a Black Labrador from The Seeing Eye™ named Campbell Lee–a.k.a. Bubba Lee or King Campbell, to give just a couple of his nicknames. King Campbell is now retired and I hope to return to The Seeing Eye in spring of 2020 to obtain a successor guide.

I was born in Kingsport, Tenn., where I also grew up and now live and work.

About my blindness: I was born one and a half months premature. My blindness was caused by my being given too much oxygen in the incubator. I was partially sighted until 1991, at which time I lost my sight due to an infection after cataract surgery and high eye pressure. I used a cane for 31 years before making the change to a guide dog.

Connect to Patty

Blog: Campbell’s World 
Twitter: @Bubbalee04
Facebook: Patty Fletcher

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to find out more about Patty and her books. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore -Share an Extract – #Memoir #Drama – Miedo 2: A Reckoning With Fear by Kevin Cooper


Welcome to the Cafe and Bookstore  New Series 2020 – Share an Extract with an opportunity to show one of your earlier books some love and attention by sharing an extract.. Check out the above link for all the details.

Today Kevin Cooper shares and extract from his memoir  Miedo 2: A Reckoning With Fear

Miedo 2: A Reckoning With Fear by [Kevin Cooper]

About the book

Miedo’s story continues in this chilling sequel to Meido: Living Beyond Childhood Fear. As Miedo comes into young adulthood, he is confronted with new demons while he searches for answers to his past through Spiritualism. But, rather than finding answers, he is left with more questions as a plethora of paranormal experiences occur in his life once again…

An extract from the book

Recollections of torment during his childhood, of the attic ceiling and walls closing in on him, the shaking of his bed and the demons that leered at him, among other horrifying experiences he couldn’t explain, rekindled the desire within him to conquer evil so no other child would have to suffer as he did.

The fire burns within and leads him to ask his aunt if she thinks he might have what it takes to become a medium, like her. Encouraged by his interest, she gets out some cards, the like of which Miedo has never seen before and holds the back of the top card up to him,
“What is on this card? I don’t want you to guess, I want you to empty your thoughts, focus on the card and tell me what comes into your mind.”

Miedo stops thinking about everything and focuses on the back of the card facing him. He imagines some sort of transparency through the card, but can only make out some wiggly lines.

“The only thing that comes to mind is some wiggly lines. I thought I saw them through the card.”

His aunt smiles and turns the card over to reveal four wiggly lines. She holds up another one saying, “And this one?”

“A square?”

She smiles again and reveals the black outline of a square. “One more…”

“A star.”

Once again he is correct. His aunt puts the card face-up to the light, but nothing can be seen through it.

“Would you like to start coming to the spiritualist meetings with me?”

“Yes!”

“Ok, I have one this Saturday, come here first and we’ll go together. You can learn more about it then and meanwhile we can practise with the cards to help your mind grow stronger. You definitely have something, but you need a strongly focused mind if you’re going to be a spiritualist. Whether you become a medium or not remains to be seen.”

At the first spiritualist meeting, Miedo sits amongst others who have come to the meeting which is in a church-like setting but much smaller. There are rows of seats to either side and it is quite full. His aunt is introduced and then she welcomes everyone and looks around the room a bit. All is quiet.

“I’m getting a message for Sally…” she pauses, “is there a Sally in the room?”

A small trembling hand is raised and a timid voice says, “I’m… called Sally.”

“Sally, did you know somebody called Joe?”

“Yes, oh my god, yes, is it my Joe?”

“He says, ‘I’m ok now Sally, the pain is gone, it’s lovely here and I’m ok.’”

Sally breaks an almost inaudible, “Thank you.” The woman sitting next to her puts her arm around Sally with a knowing nod and teary eyes. Sally cries into her tissues.

Several other messages are given to different people, deep feelings are stirred, one person becomes so emotional she gets up and leaves, apologising all the way to the door. After an hour the service ends and people waiting outside for their taxis comment on how good the service was.

Miedo is in awe of his aunt and wishes he was gifted like her.

One of the reviews for the book

D. W. Peach 5.0 out of 5 stars A uniquely told and addictive story. Reviewed in the United States on July 6, 2017

I enjoyed Cooper’s first memoir, Miedo: Living Beyond Childhood Fear, and when I finally picked up this sequel, I liked it even more than the first. It continues the story of Cooper’s early life through his teens, including his struggle to find his place in the world, understand the role of faith in his life, and control the demons that continue to plague him.

Told in the 3rd person, the memoir reads like a story, and Miedo is a highly sympathetic character. I related to his feelings of displacement, and the rambling style of Cooper’s narration perfectly reflects that time of life when young adults are stumbling about and trying to define who they are. In some ways, the narrative reminds me of Frank McCourt (Angela’s Ashes) as it picks up on the day to day seemingly insignificant events that make up a life. People and jobs, plans and friends come and go like water through Miedo’s fingers. His sense of belonging never seems to have a strong anchor though there are some relationships that he relies on.

Cooper does an excellent job of telling his story in Miedo’s authentic “voice,” reflecting his age and education at the time events unfold. The narrative also happens in the moment. In other words, this is not a memoir that the authors relates with the benefit of hindsight, but one that unfolds for the reader as it happens.

Miedo 2: A Reckoning with Fear isn’t a long read. Cooper’s style is unique and his story is addicting. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys memoirs and stories about the struggle to overcome difficult childhoods. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by Kevin Cooper

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK

And: Amazon US

More reviews and follow Kevin: Goodreads

About Kevin Cooper

Kevin Cooper is an eclectic author & songwriter. His works are multifarious. He has published fantasy, sci-fi, memoirs and drama in the form of novels, novellas, short stories, poetry and song.

Some of KC’s major influences in literature are JRR Tolkien, Philip Pullman, C.S Lewis, Terry Brooks, and J.K Rowling.

KC was born in Hull, England. At 21 years of age, he moved to the USA where he first attended Western Kentucky University, but transferred to Asbury College where he graduated with a BA in Psychology. He then attended Asbury Theological Seminary for a couple of years before moving to Arizona where he enrolled at the Grand Canyon University, obtained a research fellowship and graduated with a M.Ed. His career in education spanned from tutor to teacher, to college lecturer. He later changed careers and went into management working for The Hertz Corporation. After almost twenty years living and working in the USA, he returned to England where his worked in the NHS for several years before giving up work to care for his wife, and focus on his writing and music.

You can connect to Kevin 

Blog
Kevin’s Music
Twitter
Facebook Author Page

Thanks for dropping in and if you are an author in the Cafe and Bookstore and would like to promote one of your early books then please check out the post: New Series 2020 – Share an Extract 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Share an Extract – #Romance #Suspense – Backstage by Harmony Kent


Today’s author is Harmony Kent who is sharing an extract from her novel Romantic Suspense (some adult content)  Backstage.

Backstage: Erotic Romance by [Harmony Kent]

About the book

SHE’S A HOPEFUL ACTRESS

Just when Emma thinks she’s found love. Just when her big chance comes. Just as she finds a little confidence at long last. Right then, it all goes horribly wrong.

HE’S HER MENTOR

John believed he had found ‘the one’. But the demons of his past wouldn’t allow him to break the leash, and when he gets the wrong end of the stick, it just confirms all his old prejudices and hurts.

THEN THERE’S THE BIG MAN WHO CAN MAKE OR BREAK A CAREER, AND THE DEMANDS HE MAKES

Derek Prentis is his name. Coercion is his game. He’s the man with the money. The big man who wants to keep Emma under his control and who will do anything to keep it that way.

THE PERFECT STORM OF ROMANCE, PASSION, AND GREED. AWAY FROM THE LIMELIGHT, IT’S ALL HAPPENING BACKSTAGE.

And extract from Backstage

Emma reached the wide glass-fronted doors of the hotel and pushed through at speed, but too late. The car that held John sped away in a cloud of powdered snow and exhaust, spitting out his anger in a visceral way that she couldn’t fail to feel. Distraught and utterly bereft, she sank to her knees in the wet snow and held her hands over her face, barely able to breathe, let alone cry or make a sound.

The hurt and grief made a vacuum that felt as though it must surely kill her. What had just happened? How had it just happened? She sucked in a great heaving breath on a sob. Her chest locked. Prevented her from exhaling. She just knelt there out in the cold, alone, and—quite uselessly—trying to suck in more air. Her head spun, and she fell forward onto all fours.

Firm, warm hands grabbed her shoulders and hauled her back to her knees. Emma’s lungs had turned her into a fish out of water. Then strong arms wrapped her from behind and pulled inward and upward, performing a Heimlich manoeuvre on her. She gasped, and then broke into a coughing spasm. Then she sucked in air greedily, sobbing and gasping alternately.

Those same strong arms pulled her into a comforting embrace and rocked her. Ian’s voice filtered through her panic while he made soothing noises by her ear, telling her over and over again that it would all work out okay. When had he turned into such a liar? How could anything ever be okay again? John had gone.

Then Ian lifted her to her feet. ‘Come on. Let’s get you inside.’

Numb, Emma let him lead her. Instead of turning right toward the lifts, he led them left toward the bar lounge. There, he got her a double whisky. Still standing, she downed it in one. Then she sank onto the nearest chair and shook from head to toe. Ian ordered another two doubles and pulled up a chair next to her. He sat quietly and held her hand, urging her to take another drink. Her throat burned from the first shot, but at least it had thawed that awful ice from around her heart and guts. With a trembling hand, she raised the tumbler and took a sip. Ian watched her, nodded, and then drank from his glass too.

‘Okay?’

Emma shrugged.

Ian sighed. ‘I’m sorry.’

She stared at him. ‘What for? You didn’t do anything.’ Her voice sounded all high and wobbly.

He took her hand. ‘I put you in that position.’

Emma shook her head. Took another swig. ‘All you’ve done since we met is look after me. I did all the cocking up myself.’

He looked grim. ‘The bloody pillock could’ve stuck around to hear you out.’ Emma’s eyes widened.

One of the reviews for Backstage

Mae Clair 5.0 out of 5 stars Fab story with great charactersReviewed in the United States on 9 May 2018

This is a fast-paced read that expertly shows the pitfalls a young actor faces as she tries to make a name for herself in the film industry. Emma is on the cusp of getting her lucky break when backstabbing and a sexual predator stack the cards against her. Matters grow even more complicated when she and her mentor become romantically involved.

Emma is such a well-drawn, believable character, that the reader experiences all of the ups and downs on her road to stardom, right along with her. She’s highly likable, as is her mentor, John, and you can’t help cheering for them from the start. All the earmarks of a good story are here—great characters, an engaging tale, fabulous dialogue, and superb scene setting. I also enjoyed the behind-the-scenes peeks at the acting industry. Harmony Kent clearly knows her stuff as a writer, including how to deliver a satisfying ending. Well done!

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK

And: Amazon US

A selection of other books by Harmony Kent.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK

And on: Amazon US

Read more reviews and follow Harmony: Goodreads

About Harmony Kent

After spending around thirteen years as an ordained Buddhist monk, living in a Zen Buddhist temple, and six years after a life-changing injury following a surgical error, Harmony Kent returned to the world at the tender age of forty.

Now, she is famous for her laughter, and has made quite the name for herself … she’s also, um, a writer … and fairly well known for that too. She’s even won a few awards. Harmony lives in rural Cornwall with her ever-present sense of humour, adorable husband, and quirky neighbours.

Harmony is passionate about supporting her fellow authors.

Connect to Harmony

Website: Harmony Kent
BookBub author page: Harmony Kent
Twitter: @Harmony_Kent
LinkedIn: Harmony Kent