Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up -Herbie Hancock, Gems from Your Archives and Talkative Parrots.

Welcome to the round up of posts on the blog you might have missed this week.

We currently have a digger in the back garden, a cement filled trench awaiting blocks for a retaining wall and mounds of earth, that I am sure will be turned into a wonderfully landscaped vista by the end of the week.. that’s the plan anyway.

I had to do a complete replant of my pots this week as the ones I bought from a supermarket as good value, turned out to be duds.. I did think when I put them in that they were too dry and watered them and gave them some feed but after two weeks of TLC… most had died. Anyway… I went to my usual garden centre and paid a bit more and they are all thriving. Just goes to show sometimes bargains do not work out. It is the first year out of about 50.. that it has happened so I should count myself lucky.. All the pots are round the side of the house at the moment with equipment coming in and out and I will have fun putting them back later in the week.

We have old friends arriving Tuesday for two days. They are currently touring south and west Ireland finishing in Dublin over the weekend before coming down to us.. we are only an hour from their return ferry so handy… This is their first time in Ireland and I am looking forward to hearing how they got on..

The Posts from Your Archives is going well. I am so enjoying browsing and reading everyone’s posts to select the four I am going to publish… I feel I am getting to know people a little better and I am discovering some hidden gems to share as you will see later in the post. If you are on the list and have not heard from me… I am just about to begin scheduling the June spots and will get in touch with dates shortly.. It looks like this series is going to run into July which is terrific.

Time to get on with the round up and as always I am very grateful for all the contributions, shares, likes and comments..

William Price King shares the music of American Jazz Pianist, Keyboardist, Composer, Band Leader and Actor Herbie Hancock.

Another two part series from Paul Andruss on Poetry… with some iconic examples from the masters.. According to the Muse….

This week I reviewed Devil in the Wind: Voices from the 2009 Black Saturday Bush Fires by Frank Prem.

This week in early June 1986 we drove the 7 hours to reach South Padre Island on the Gulf of Mexico.. fabulous place (those shrimp were to die for) and also I up my exercise routine (makes my knees ache just reading about it!)

Delighted to welcome guest writer, singer/songwriter guitarist Michelle Monet to the blog today who explores the concept of fame and the inclusion of ‘big names’ in memoirs to catch the public’s eye.

Robbie Cheadle with a short story in response to one of Sue Vincent’s Photo Prompt Challenges  Memorandum left by Dr Thompson

Jacquie Biggar with a delicious recipe for soup that can be adapted for everyone’s tastes and would make a great starter or main course.


This week D.Wallace Peach back to nature, and if you think you have bats in your belfry… you might not be crazy.

photo by John Pearce via Flickr

Finance expert Sharon Marchisello shares some of the ways you can pay off your mortgage early.

Our resident foodie, Carol Taylor, shares the stray dog and welfare issues in Thailand and how one mum and her pups enters their lives


Miriam Hurdle takes us on a trip to Yellowstone National Park and Alaska with some amazing photography.


Pete Johnson, Beetley Pete, takes us on a ride in his time machine to ancient Rome.. where would you like to travel to.. the past or the future..

D. G. Kaye – Debby Gies has a wonderful book review feature every Sunday and here is an example where she reviews Midlife Cabernet by Elaine Ambrose.

This week I am sharing a guest post by author A.C. Flory from the archives of Chris Graham, The Story Reading Ape.

A heartwarming and poignant short story from Darlene Foster…The Special Date.


Author Christine Campbell shares the first part of a tour of Scotland when she and family drove whilst her husband cycled from John O’Groats to Embo..

surf 1

Another wonderful episode in the linked flash fiction family saga.. The Fold by D. Avery

Charles Yallowitz takes a look at the art of ‘Banter’ the exchange between two people… usually comedic. The Art of Bantering: Not as Easy as You Think

This is the third post from author Jane Risdon and since you enjoyed the audition posts last week.. here is part two…The Auditions Part Two: Let’s Play Rock ‘n’ Roll by Zeppelin

Red Corvette rear end

This post by Mary Smith, illustrates that sometimes the hardest part of caring for a person who has dementia can be leaving them to have some much needed respite… even when they are never far from your thoughts.

October 2014 028-800

New Book on the Shelves

Author update #reviews



Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up

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

A quiet week on the home front, with a couple of days of sunshine and more today, so I will be out in the garden for much of the day…not so much making hay as getting rid of the rust in my joints!  David has been working to level off the back garden which was left as a weedy slope, and once the workmen have completed the pathway and resurfaced the back patio, we shall have a lovely spot to eat out which gets the sun in the summer until 10.00pm.  Also another step to getting the house ready to go on the market next spring.

I have also managed to find dry enough days to finish by pot plants. We then had three days of torrential rain and I am afraid some of the younger plants drowned.. you have to be hardy around here!

As always thank you for your support during the week and to the contributors who continue to share such wonderful articles.

I am so thrilled by the amazing response to the new Posts from the Archives series with over 40 bloggers allowing me access to their archives, to select four posts to share with everyone. This means I will be doing a lot of reading of posts, which is wonderful and it means that we have about three months worth of posts. Apologies if you have just gone on the list, but I will respond to you and get in touch when I have selected your posts… The first of those later in the post..

Now for the posts from the week……

This week William Price King shares the life and some of the work of jazz trumpeter, bandleader, and composer Miles Davis

Two posts this weekend from Paul Andruss on Glastonbury and King Arthur.

In this series we look at cooking and your diet from a different perspective. Usually we emphasize the health benefits of food and how they can be incorporated into your diet. But, what happens if you do NOT include them in your diet.

We wanted to share with you what happens if your body is deprived of individual nutrients over an extended period of time.

Carol Taylor takes the ingredients that contain good sources of the nutrient and creates dishes that the whole family will love..this week Vitamin B6.. and delicious Chicken and prune tagine, tofu and honey bites and spicy sweet potato balls.

Annette Rochelle Aben with the Universal Energy for May and what that could mean for you as an individual…

I trot this post our once a year as a reminder that you are being watched… even when you are not in front of your computer screen. It is not only thieves and vagabonds you need to worry about who might have designs on your empty house, but also trying to claim on your health insurance for some unfortunate mishap that took place while you were having fun in the sun.

My review of the anthology to raise funds for cancer research compiled by Stevie Turner : Understanding: An Anthology of true and significant life events

I unearth one of my poems on the culinary delights of holidays

This week’s carrot ranch flash fiction challenge In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about sisu. It’s a Finnish concept of enduring strength, the ability to consistently overcome. Sisu – DNA.

The majority of us who are losing weight will hit a plateau some weeks into the diet.. In this post I explain why and how to work through it.

You can find details in this post…love to hear from you, and as I mentioned if on the list it could be a few weeks before you feature :

Christopher Graham began the new series and I selected one of his guest posts from Emily Gmitter with a wonderful post that I recommend you read.

Here is the first of the posts I have selected from the archives of D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies. Every month on the last Friday, those who participate in a global We Are The World Blogfest, (#WATWB) share inspiring stories of random acts of kindness, or projects that are making a difference to people around the world.

Inspirational Rocks

Children’s author and travel writer Darlene Foster is a regular visitor to the blog and has shared some amazing posts. The first post that I selected was from 2013…about a wonderful organisation in Canada that raises funding for the Children’s Hospital.

Elizabeth Bennet and Anne of Green Gables

Author Christine Campbell has given me permission to browse her extensive archives dating back to March 2013… and the first post I have selected is from May 2013… and is about crafting, and in particular those delicate handkerchiefs that have been usurped by the paper tissue in many of our homes…


The next contributor to the series is fantasy author Charles E. Yallowitz who has a wonderful blog where you can find stories, thoughts on life, book related posts and poetry. This week a poem on the journey of an Indie author.

I am delighted to share the first post from the archives of D.Avery who is the author of three short story and poetry collections. I have selected a wonderful serial that I am going to share over the four posts from D’s archives

This is the first post of four from author Jane Risdon… Jane loves to go on a ‘jolly’ for those of you who are unfamiliar with the expression… It is taking a road trip and having fun.. basically. The first post from her archives of 2016 is an example of that.

My next guest in the new series of Posts from Your Archives is author Mary Smith.. I have two blogs to select the four posts from and the first is from her blog My Dad’s A Goldfish, where Mary shares here experiences caring for her father as his dementia worsened. In this post however, she shares the tragedy of the dementia of a school friend who she has remained in contact with, who developed the disease at a much earlier age. Very poignant…

New books on the shelves

Author Update – Reviews

I have often highlighted the inconsistencies of medical studies and the profound and sometimes downright dangerous statements made that vilify or extol the virtues of either a food or medication. This was the case in 2012 when a Professor, labeled one of the UK’s leading experts stated that everyone over the age of 50 should be prescribed statins to reduce their cholesterol levels.  In this post I look at the latest research into Statins and their long term impact on our health.

Thank you again for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed catching up with the posts. Take care and hope to see you next week too. Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up- Glenn Miller, Roses, Mexico, New Books, Reviews and Guests.

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

Some stand out moments from the week that I would like to make a special mention about.

The first was the nomination for the blog for the Versatile Blogger Award by Brigid Gallagher which I was very honoured to receive. I know that many bloggers are now award free. I quite understand, as when you are at full tilt, it is tough to take the time to respond to an award and also to draw up a list of willing nominees.

However… even after six years, I still get a kick out of awards and I have met so many wonderful bloggers through other people’s nominees, that it is well worth the effort. And also it is an opportunity to showcase newer bloggers who are still finding their feet or deserve to have some promotion.

Anyway.. this was my response with 7 more secrets about me…..and some nominees who are terrific bloggers.

The second highlight is the release of Understanding: An Anthology of True and Significant Life Events… Compiled and contributed to by Stevie Turner and 18 other authors including myself and quite a few of our blogging community.

The proceeds from this anthology will be going to Cancer Research and it is a very worthy cause.

Over the next week I will be posing a number of author profiles of those who have contributed and I hope that you will follow those authors and also support their work in this collection.

About the anthology

The following authors and bloggers kindly answered questions posed by Stevie Turner regarding significant life experiences they had undergone. These events include sexual abuse, a near death experience, alcoholism, being diagnosed with cancer, depression, losing weight, getting married, being a mother to many children, being the daughter of a narcissistic mother, and many more!

In this first post I share the authors who have contributed with a profile on Stevie Turner, D.G. Kaye and in the coming two weeks will feature the other authors in separate posts.

All proceeds will be donated to Cancer Research:

You can buy the anthology for only 99c:

And on Amazon UK for 99p:

Now on with the other posts this week.

This week William Price King shares the life and music of the legendary Glenn Miller whose music is still loved over 70 years since his untimely death during the Second World War.

In his final gardening post, Paul Andruss shares the beauty and background to the rose.

In the second part of her posts on Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, D.G. Kaye shares the fundamentals that you need to know about renting, shopping, tipping, exchanging your cash, dining and how to drink safe water.

This week my guest is author Ann Chiappetta who shares where she would love to live in the world, the animal she would most like to talk to and her favourite season.

My review for Small Town Kid by Frank Prem – recommended

This week Carol Taylor and I join forces to share the foods that contain good amounts of Vitamin B3 and the recipes that the whole family will enjoy.

A lovely guest post from Joy Lennick in tribute to her mother…

Sally’s personal stuff

This week in the R’s of Life,  I look at the true cost of retail therapy and the waste associated with our drive to own the latest and the most fashionable.  And also the mountains of food that goes uneaten in most of our countries when millions are starving.

This week I share the abundance of food that you can enjoy as you lose weight… starving the body is not an option, and cutting out food groups is counter productive.

Being the first week of the month… .Colleen Chesebro allowed us to pick our own words as prompts…My Etheree is entitled ‘April’


Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction – the Prompt this week is ‘Fire’

Donna W. Hill is a breast cancer survivor and in this week’s inspiring post she shares her motivation and also encounters with butterflies and knitting.

Blue butterfly on milkweed: photo by Rich Hill

This week Jen Moore, shares the delightful character who is her son, and the warm and embracing way that the family manages his dyslexia.

This week Norah Colvin shares all things berry.. which resulted in a lot of discussion about what is a berry and what is not, and how to get hold of our favourites…


A new contributor this week and the first post from the archives of Susanne Swanson who shares her return to her kindergarten school, celebrating its 100th anniversary.

New Book on the Shelves

Author Updates


Thank you very much for visiting this week and for all your support, it is always appreciated.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – Good intentions by Grandmas, Bird Watching and Halley’s Comet

Doesn’t time fly when you are having fun. Well I am anyway and I hope you are too… It has been a busy week offline with various projects and also taking advantage of the cold but sunny weather. It is hard to believe that it is January 20th already but it is great that the evenings are growing lighter by a few minutes each day.

My thanks as always to you for dropping in so often and keeping me motivated and here are some of the posts you might have missed..

This week Linda shares the delightful!! coat that her Grandmother managed to find at the charity shop for her..

Getting to know you – Sunday Interview with author Denzil Walton.

The first part of our trip from Houston to Carlsbad Caverns and to see Halley’s Comet on its once in a lifetime visit.

The title of this series came about as I dipped into a Thesaurus to find some words for a poem I was writing. I noticed that a great many words that reflected (see what I mean) key elements in our lives began with the letter ‘R’. In this first post quite a bit about what I think about RESPECT

Chapter one of the sequel to my first book written 20 years ago which followed my 18 month challenge to lose 150lbs. I am told at 42 that I am unlikely to make 45!

This week I look at the nutritional elements of Asparagus and Carol Taylor turns this very healthy vegetable into some delicious meals.

Colleen Chesebro’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge.

I have chosen ‘Secret and Draw’ for my key words this week and I am also trying my hand at a Haibun… here is the link  where you will find a description of this form which is a combination of prose and poetry.


I have discovered the secret to eternal youth. I stand before the mirror. With eyes almost closed the image blurs. Wrinkles disappear. Hair regains its colour. The extra pounds fall away. I am tall and strong. A reflection of how I used to be. I draw the image towards me absorbing its essence.

Do not be deceived
Challenge the silver backed mirror
Remain young at heart.

New book on the shelves

Author Update -Reviews

Thanks for dropping by and hope to see you again next week… Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – Who is referring others to your blog? Guests, music and laughter

Welcome to the weekly round up of posts you might have missed.

This week I got back into the swing of things and began the 2019 book promotions and the first of the Sunday Interviews. It was a terrific break but very happy being back to normal.

As always a huge thank you to my regular contributors and guests as well as the support on social media. Whilst managing the various platforms is time consuming and sometimes distracting, it was interesting to see, when I looked at the year’s analytic data, where the most referrals were generated from.

At the top end of the list and accounting for approximately 50% of the referrals out of 221,000 views:

  1. WordPress Reader.
  2. Facebook
  3. Twitter
  5. Other search engines.

The other 50% were referrals from individual bloggers.

This confirms a few things to me:

  1. That WordPress Reader is a very powerful promotional tool for promoting not just our own posts but also when we reblog and ‘press’ posts we enjoy by other bloggers. Since people browse the Reader looking for posts that are interesting, it is well worth making sure you titles and the short summary at the top of your post catch their eye.
  2. That my time spent on Twitter and Facebook is not wasted!
  3. That using key words and tags on blog posts gets results from search engines. (but need to do better)
  4. That connecting and becoming part of a supportive community is essential to the success of a blog.

A huge thank you to everyone who took the time to share the posts this year directly to their own blogs which resulted in referrals and to all of you who took the time to like, share on social media and comment.

This week William Price King shared the life and music of the legendary Duke Ellington.

This week Carol Taylor shares her favourite recipes of 2018… and they look delicious.

D. G. Kaye – Debby Gies shares a recap of her 2018 travel column with a reminder of the places you might like to visit on vacation.

Welcome to the first of a new season of Getting to Know You and my first guest for 2019 is Australian author Frank Prem who has recently released a collection of poems and short stories about his childhood – Small Town Kid.

I was delighted to review Fairies, Myths & Magic: A Summer Celebration by Colleen M. Chesebro.

I wrote the original Size Matters in 1998 about my 150lb weight loss… I did update when the book went digital but that was several years ago. After working as a nutritional therapist for the last 20 years, and having continued to research and study food and its role in our health, I decided that it was time to write the sequel.

It is 1996 and it is a year of change with a move to Brussels and Anthony Robbins Life Mastery.

I am had fun with Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 118 with the synonyms this week of ‘Begin’ and ‘Fresh’

It is now 1986 and both David and my father have their birthdays back to back. We are also making plans for a day trip and a much longer road trip over to New Mexico.

New on the shelves this week.

Author update with recent reviews

The Gentle Detox

As part of a gentle detox it is useful to employ the power of nature as a cleanser for your liver and kidneys. Dandelion is powerful and has many health benefits.

It is a good idea to complete a gentle detox to find out what food triggers or environmental contaminants might be causing you to suffer from allergies or health issues.

Thank you very much for dropping in today and for your continued support. It keeps me motivated to keep writing.. thanks Sally.



Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – Brussel Sprouts, Fire Ants, music, books, health, humour and a full guest list

Welcome to a round up of the posts from the week that you might have missed. And also a reminder of some of the Christmas Promotions coming up later in December.

The main one is a 12 Day party beginning on 13th of December until 24th December. I have some special guests appearing each day, in the form of contributors to the blog, and I am delighted that many of you are already signed up for one of the days. Out of the original 40 spots I just have 15 left. This is an opportunity to showcase your blog or books, even if you have already or will be featured in the other Christmas promotions. All I am looking for is 100 words (approx) about your favourite Christmas Gift ever… full details are here Twelve days of Christmas Party

I am also working my way through the Cafe and Bookstore and will be featuring every author on the shelves either with a New book on the shelves for Christmas or in a Buy a Book for Christmas feature.

The only thing that I need from you if you are in the bookstore is the link to any new releases between now and Christmas.

If you are a new author to the Cafe and Bookstore then email on and I will let you know what I need. (it is FREE)


And here are the Christmas promotion posts so far…they will now go in a directory in the menu until the New Year.

The Story Reading Ape

My review for Legacy; Book Four Project Renova by Terry Tyler

Other posts in the week.

This week we take that ‘marmite’ of the vegetable kingdom, Brussel Sprouts and I showcase their many health benefits and Carol Taylor cooks them in several ways to delight your family.

This week Linda Bethea gets up close and personal with feisty Houston residents.

Smorgasbord Short Stories from Volume 2- What’s in a Name

Walter is a scruffy customer, along with his dog at the local pub. Nobody seems to know his story…..

Xenia… two special family members never to be forgotten.

This week our lives in 1991 and Always Look on the Bright Side of Life and Bohemian Rhapsody

Smorgasbord Poetry – #Etheree in response to Colleen Chesebro’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge

This week a look at the difference between and allergy and an intolerance..

Guest comedian D.G. Kaye Debby Gies with more finds on the Internet and a joke from the archives.

Guest standup comedian.. D.G. Kaye.. Debby Gies gets us in the mood for Thanksgiving

Thank you for dropping in today.. and don’t forget that there are a few places left for the Twelve Days of Christmas parties… and if you have a new book release between now and Christmas, please let me know –

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Sunday Interview – Getting to Know You with Jean Lee

Delighted to welcome author of Young Adult Fantasy, Jean Lee to Getting to Know You. Jean Lee also blogs from her Website. You will find posts on the writing process and character development and Author Interviews: Shehanne Moore

Before we find out which of the questions that Jean has chosen to answer.. here is the official word….

About Jean Lee

Jean Lee is a Wisconsin born and bred writer excited to share her Young Adult Fantasy fiction with those who love to find other worlds hidden in the humdrum that surrounds us. Her first novel, Fallen Princeborn: Stolen, has recently been released by Aionios Books. Stories from her short fiction collection, Tales of the River Vine, have also been published at varying intervals in 2018.

Stories are the fire that warms the soul. They melt fear, ignite hope, and spark relationships like nothing else. I’m honored you seated yourself here by my hearth to enjoy my fiction’s light. Please feel free to visit often, for there are many treasures bizarre and fantastic in my imagination waiting to speak with tongues of flame. Then we can talk about the writers that refuel us, as I do on my site

Welcome to Smorgasbord Jean and to start us off today can how would you describe your fashion sense?

I can sum it up with this question: “What’s at the thrift store today?”

See, I grew up on hand-me-downs and church clothes sewn by my grandmother, so spending more than ten dollars on any item irks my Midwestern Frugality. In the early years of motherhood, it made no sense to spend more than a few dollars on clothes bound to be burped or shat on. Even today, I try to only purchase items on super super clearance, while taking care to only buy new when all the kids can use it, or I can get several years out of it. So my closet ends up being a hodge podge of oddball tshirts, quirky blouses, ill-fitting skirts, and jeans. I am who I am, and I see no need to fit in with trends or styles. So long as I’m comfy, I’m good.

What is your favourite holiday and why?

Christmas Eve. Yes, I specify Eve.

My parents both worked in the ministry all my young life, so December was the most intense month of the year. Constant meetings, rehearsals, practices, concerts—it all kept building up and up and up until at long last it was Christmas Eve, a loooooong day of church services and caroling, but after THAT—at last! Despite the late hour, my family would sit together around the Christmas tree, share presents and snacks, and be together in a season that always pulled everyone a thousand different directions. We’d all stay up past midnight despite the demands of services Christmas morning, but that didn’t matter—we were together around the tree with carols and candles soft in the background.

Then came Christmas Day.

Sure, the morning service was nice and boisterously joyful, but then we had to go to my aunt’s house. Kind as my aunt was, she had no toys of any kind, and no, we weren’t allowed to bring our own because that’d be seen as “rude.” Plus she always made ham, and I hate ham.

I still get a heavy “meh” attitude the minute Christmas Day services end. Hmm, maybe I should just bring some toys to play with at the in-laws’ this year…

If you could choose a different career, what would it be and why?

This is going to sound silly, but a librarian.

You’d think that teaching writing should be right up my street, but here’s the thing: remedial composition focuses on basic paragraph structures. For my students, writing anything coherent for more than a few sentences is a challenge. Now I don’t mind helping many students face this challenge; many are just trying to dust the cobwebs off of knowledge they learned 10-30 years ago, while others are in military service and are trying to get a head start on school during their service. I applaud those determined to write a new chapter to their lives after serving time in incarceration. I want to help.

But then there are the students who expect the A just for showing up, who want to follow the guidelines “their way,” refuse to heed any feedback, and then chew you out for daring to give them a “bad grade.”

These are the students that make me look at the librarian desk, and sigh wistfully.

These are the people who can help design reading programs for various age groups, organize activities to bring the community together. They are the gatekeepers between children and countless worlds of imagination and learning. They get to share their passion for books with other people for a living.

That is just. Plain. Cool.

Are you a morning person or a night person?

In the halcyon days of yore, I’d have said a night person. I wouldn’t start homework until 11pm. I’d do a pie run with friends at a local diner at 2:30am. Wake up, feel fantastic. 

Then came motherhood. Aaaaall ’s turned me into a morning person.

When I was a kid, I never understood why my mom would get up at least an hour earlier than the rest of us to just eat cereal and watch the news.

Now I toooootally get it.

Having a little peace in the house before the chaos of kids makes such a difference to my sanity. Mom must have felt the same way before going off to teach a couple dozen youths for several hours at a day. Cereal and news for her, coffee and blogs for me—it’s that peaceful moment of just, waking up to learn something new while giving the body the taste of smooth comfort. I love that.

So that’s why if a child wakes up mere minutes after me and insists on staying awake, I am a guaranteed crank ALL DAY.

Have you ever played a musical instrument or sang in public?

I studied piano for fourteen years, violin for five, clarinet for eight.

Being a preacher’s kid means finding some way to glorify God, and music is often that way. I began lessons at the mature age of four, and began participating in recitals shortly thereafter.

Playing for church, for chapel, for the classroom—it was all just a part of my godly duties.
I suppose I sound a bit jaded wording it that way. Honestly, I’m not. It takes a steady nerve to not only perform before hundreds of people, but a quick wit, too: when the pastor skips a verse; when communion takes FOREVER so you better find something else to play, when the choir repeats a page that wasn’t supposed to be repeated and you have to cut the interlude short and jump back three pages—you have to be ready for those moments, and you sure as hell better adapt or God’s service is going to suck.

I’d also like to think that studying music all this time helped me better appreciate what music helps inspire my storytelling. When you study music, you’re studying another medium of storytelling: the voices (instruments), the dialogue (harmonies), the pacing (rhythm), the tension (volume). It’s all there, and it all speaks to you, if you’re willing to truly listen.

Books by Jean Lee

About Book 1 of the omnibus, Fallen Princeborn: Stolen

Over the Wall, they came to hunt humans. But now, a human’s going to hunt them. This girl’s nobody’s prey.

In rural Wisconsin, an old stone wall is all that separates the world of magic from the world of man—a wall that keeps the shapeshifters inside. When something gets out, people disappear. Completely.

Escaping from an abusive uncle, eighteen-year-old Charlotte is running away with her younger sister Anna. Together they board a bus. Little do they know that they’re bound for River Vine—a shrouded hinterland where dark magic devours and ancient shapeshifters feed, and where the seed of love sets root among the ashes of the dying.

Fallen Princeborn: Stolen is the first in a series of young-adult dark-fantasy novels by Jean Lee. Watch for book 2 in Spring 2019

One of the early reviews for the book

Charlotte will rescue her sister, Anna, and nothing will stop her. Not abusive uncles. Not crazy bus drivers. Not wolves that might be humans. Not ravens that might be murderers. Not trees that might be vampires. But when Charlotte fails to save her sister, when she is taken from existence herself, she must cross the only thing keeping our world safe from changeling danger: The Wall. From Wisconsin to… someplace else, where all of creation is a predator seeking her heart, where her sister lies… somewhere.

Fallen Princeborn: Stolen is the first in a series of YA dark fantasy novels by Jean Lee, and it starts with menace. Charlotte reminds me in all the best ways of Miriam Black, the broken protagonist of Chuck Wendig’s Blackbirds. The opening scenes on a bus and immediately following drip with weird danger that caught my attention and didn’t let up.

I love how Lee took what could have been a fairly standard “Fae” race and made it her own. I’m stunned with the originality; she balanced “familiar” and “different” perfectly. You might guess where she’s going as the supernatural shenanigans begin, but you’d probably be wrong.

Her characters pop as well. Arlen, the noble protector, has that perfect balance of being a welcoming presence and yet holding back something dangerous within himself. Poppy has this manic crazy feel, as of Harley Quinn slipped into a fae story.

However, some of the characters are… too much in character for me. I found myself wanting to strangle Charlotte, our protagonist, more than once. She has a chip on her shoulder that keeps her from trusting anyone (which does become a major plot point), but that refusal got to be a bit tedious after a while. However, we really get inside Charlotte’s head – the chip on her shoulder is perfectly in character, and we know why she does what she does every time. Her self-talk creates an endearing character, even through the annoying tendencies to punch people. It reminded me of my love and frustration with Katniss in Hunger Games, actually.

If you’re looking for a good, complete story, you’ll find it here… kind of. The ending felt to me more like the pilot of a TV show: Setting up all the various plots that will be followed for the rest of the season. They do entice, but it didn’t feel like the first volume in a book series to me. So yes, it definitely tells a complete story, but it also very directly leaves a lot of threads unaddressed.

That said, the book isn’t short. You won’t be walking away unsated; it is a big chunk of good writing that will keep you entertained and rooting for the protagonist. You will know Charlotte and her new companions well before the end of the novel.

Overall, despite my criticisms, this is a solid novel and well worth your time. The originality of the world shines, and the menace is palpable, particularly in the opening and closing chapters. Check it out.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

Here is a selection of the six short story collections from Tales of the River Vine also published this year.

Read the reviews and buy all the books:

And on Amazon UK:

Jean Lee’s books are also available from Aionios books

You can find more reviews and follow Jean Lee on Goodreads:

Jean Lee’s serialised fantasy, Middler’s Pride, is now available on  Channillo with bonus character sketches on Wattpad.

About Middler’s Pride

After a humiliating dinner with a suitor, Meredydd sees only a dull life ahead, destined to crush her heroic spirit–that is, until she’s accepted into the Shield Maidens. Surely nothing but glory and adventure await, right? And they do…if Mer can first overcome the most dangerous enemy of all: herself.

Jean hopes to publish a serialized form of the second book, Beauty’s Price, sometime next year.

Connect to Jean on Social Media.


Thank you for spending time with us today and I know that Jean would love to receive your feedback… thanks Sally


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Sunday Interview – Getting to Know author Jaye Marie

Delighted to welcome author Jaye Marie to the Sunday Interview.. Jaye lives with her sister-in-law, author Anita Dawes and they team up and spend time and effort in sharing our posts on social media.

Before we find out which of the questions Jaye has chosen to answer.. here is a little more about her.

Most people may know me as one-half of the writing partnership, Anita & Jaye Dawes, and I have come to writing quite late in life. I always used to think I didn’t have an ambitious bone in my body, content to potter about with my many craft hobbies. Always preferring to be in the background and invisible if at all possible.

And for the last ten years since my retirement, that’s what my life has been like. I love books and have read my way through stacks of them, so when my sister-in-law Anita needed someone to edit and type up her manuscripts, I was happy to help and that’s when I discovered my vocation.

Then one day everyone was talking about “Indie” or self-publishing. Now, I knew only too well how hard it was to be published the traditional way, so I became very excited at the prospect of being able to do it ourselves.

At first, I concentrated on publishing Anita’s books. It wasn’t quite as easy as they made it sound, but with my usual stubbornness I kept at it, learning more and more as I went along, and somewhere along the way I starting thinking about a story that had been nibbling away in the corner of my mind for months.

I tried to ignore it, but before too long, The Ninth Life demanded to be written and turned out to be a Mystery/Thriller. I am reasonably pleased with the outcome, basically to be honest, because my characters took charge and practically wrote it for me! They had quite a say with the sequel too, and I am proud of our achievements!

I also enjoy running a website/blog and all the wonderful people I continue to meet from all around the world. I learn something new every single day and it is much appreciated.

More about Jaye’s books a little later… but first time to get to know her better.

Welcome Jaye and perhaps we could start by finding out what you consider to be your favourite Book

As a child, I was a prolific reader. I would read anything, including several things I shouldn’t have. When I was in the hospital with appendicitis, I read every book in the ward.
The one book that still haunts me, is an illustrated copy of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.
The story enthralled me, but it was the beautiful illustrations that filled my dreams. They brought the story to life so well, that the nightmares in Jane Eyre’s life quickly haunted my dreams too. I have tried to find another copy of this book, as the drawings were exquisite, but so far I haven’t managed to track one down. There were so many illustrated versions, so surely the one I remember so well must be out there somewhere?

Sally here:  I found this one on Amazon Jaye..I loved the cover… link is attached…

What was the one thing you could never learn how to do no matter how hard you tried?

I grew up listening to tales of my father playing the piano. How he would come home on leave from the army, and still in uniform and huge army boots, he would pound out all the popular tunes of the day.

By all accounts, I was supposed to be the image of my dad, tall and cheeky, and always optimistic. So in the beginning, I assumed I would be able to play the piano too. But despite countless lessons from some of the best teachers, I just couldn’t do it. I could pick out a tune with one hand, but that wasn’t enough for me.

I wanted to play like the classical pianists. All those powerful pieces that had always stirred my heart, and had my blood racing, but it wasn’t to be. The desire has never left me though…

Sally here: sorry that didn’t work out for you Jaye, but to cheer you up here is that incredible pianist and humourist… Victor Borge.

If you could choose a different career, what would it be and why?

When I was a child I wanted to be many things when I grew up. I hovered between being a film star, a doctor or a hairdresser. I honestly thought I could be any of them, given a following wind and a liberal amount of determination.

It wasn’t until much later that I narrowed it down to the medical profession. Probably because I had exhausted most of the others. The desire to be a famous actress quickly faded when I realised I didn’t have any of the necessary qualifications, like good looks and a modicum of acting ability.

In my heart, I still want to be a doctor and I think I would have been a good one, just a shame that life got in the way!

What is something you look forward to when you retire?

I always imagined my retirement would be a time of peace and tranquillity, a welcome change from the chaos of my working life.

I would be living in a delightful cottage in the New Forest, surrounded by trees and wildlife.
My days would be spent tending my garden or making jam or other preserves. There would be plenty of time for reading, sewing or knitting. Maybe a little watercolour painting.

But I don’t have the cottage in the forest and my days are busy with writing and blogging a completely different retirement from the one I planned.

We have had to make the best out of what life has given us, even though it was difficult in the beginning.

The joke is on me; for I prefer the retirement I have now. The dream will have to wait for me…

Sally here: In the meantime Jaye… here is a cottage you can pin on the wall…

If you were granted three wishes what would they be?

This is the stuff that fairy stories are usually made of.

Without giving it too much thought, I would probably wish for a lovely house, enough money in the bank and be slim and healthy.

But are these wishes good enough?

I mean, it’s not every day you get given three wishes, is it?

With a bit more thought, I might ask for health, wealth and happiness for my friends and family, but these sound too flippant as though I hadn’t given the matter any thought at all.

I just asked Anita what she would choose, and straight away she said that good health was important, for without it nothing else would matter.

She then said that harmony was important too. If everything in your life was in harmony, you wouldn’t have many problems.

Finally, she said that she would ask for good fortune, for unlike money or wealth, good fortune in all things would create a wonderful life.

I could agree with all of this, although I might ask for a peaceful end when my time runs out…

Wishing you everything that you have on your list Jaye and thank you for sharing your life with us today.

A selection of books by Jaye Marie

One of the recent reviews for Out of Time

I hadn’t read the previous novel about Kate, so knew nothing about her, but Kate knows nothing about herself either when she wakes up. This is a thriller with no heroes, the Snowman is desperate to help her and it seems at last he can., but it is not to be. If this was a television thriller the Snowman would save the day, but the story becomes more complex. We follow the killer’s thoughts as well as the other main characters, an advantage of books over screens. The reader will never sympathise, but we might comprehend what’s going on in Jack’s mind. Michael is another character who we think might save the day, but he is a mix of flaws and must face up to the grief he has caused the woman he loved and the other woman who loves him.

This is not a novel for the faint hearted; what starts as a mystery of unconnected murders is also the story of those unfotunate enough to be in the path of a killer or know his intended victim. We know from the news that bizarre killings can occur when a murderer becomes obsessed and this murderer is obsessed with Kate.

Read the reviews and and buy the books:

and Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Jaye Marie on Goodreads:

Coming soon…..

FIN PB Template xx.png

Connect with Jaye on Social Media.


Thank you for visiting today and I am sure that Jaye would love to receive your comments. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord End of Summer Party – What is on the Menu Today?

The End of Summer party starts later this morning, with three meals each with a table full of special guests, great food (even though I say so myself) and music chosen by some of the guests.

It is also an opportunity for you to pop in and mingle with the guests after their meal… stay with me here… I know it is virtual!  And you can sign the visitors book before you leave with your name, a little about yourself, link to your blog (good idea to leave a link to your latest post) and to your Amazon author page.

And tomorrow I will be serving Sunday Lunch.

Each meal has several course, plenty to drink, great music and of course interesting guests.

This is your opportunity to meet new contacts, introduce your books to new readers and to hopefully have some fun as well.

Here is just one of the dishes being served at brunch – made by my own two fair hands

Hoping for sunshine but if not this might get you in the mood. Courtesy of Katrina and the WavesAmazon


Look forward to seeing you there.. Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Getting to Know You #Interview with D. G. Kaye

My guest today probably needs little introduction to most of you who are regulars to the blog. Debby Gies…D.G. Kaye is a very popular blogger and non-fiction author who generously supports us all across social media. We have been connected for nearly four years and that initial contact has turned into a friendship that is treasured. There is a lot of talk about online relationships not being as valid as offline friendships, but I disagree.

The wonder of our modern age is that when you meet someone like minded, who lives thousands of miles away, you can communicate both in writing and visually. Of course publicly on social media but also privately in direct messages, emails and face to face using Skype or similar.

For me that offers so many amazing ways to enjoy a friendship.

Debby has recently become a columnist here on the blog with her new Travel Column… and as a double treat this weekend, you can read her second post on the subject of cruise ships tomorrow morning.

About D.G. Kaye

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.

“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.

Now time to find out which of the questions Debby has chosen to respond to and more about her books later in the post.

How would you describe your fashion sense?

I love this question and love fashion. I’m very up to date on trends in fashion. I’ve been a fashionista since I was a young girl. That doesn’t mean that I would wear all the fashions I love, not everything looks good on everyone. There are plenty of styles and trends I adore, but know instinctively that not all styles are made for my body shape. Some trends are more suited toward a particular body type despite them being advertised in a wide array of sizes.

Fashion sense isn’t only about what’s on trend but being aware of what is stylish and knowing how to put ourselves together with what looks best on us. I’ve had several years of experience in the retail and wholesale end of the clothing business and besides what I learned in the biz, I am gifted with an eye for style. I have a style of my own. I wear what pleases me, and I look for styles that will accentuate my finer qualities and keep the eyes drawn off the maybe-not-so finer qualities. I’m often complimented on my outfits and flair for style. I love wearing bright and bold colors, which I can pull off with ease because I have a big personality that can carry it.

Sally here:  one of my favourite photos of Debby dressed for her Mexican vacation… fabulous.

Puerto Vallarta

What are 5 things you would find in your handbag?

Whew, I’m glad you only asked for 5, lol. I have a standing joke that if I ever went on that (old) TV game show – Let’s Make a Deal, I’d never be without something they’d asked the audience to produce from a purse.

  • Ok, I’ll start with gum. Gum is numero uno priority in my purse – always
  • Next, lipstick. Oh yes, even if I dared to venture anywhere without make up on, never will you find me without wearing lipstick
  • Kleenex – self explanatory
  • Sunglasses. As long as the sun is shining, I’m wearing them. Not only are they fun and fashionable, but mine are all prescription so they are functional and good for watching people without being detected
  •  Mobile phone. I don’t leave home without it. Not that I’m much of a phone talker, but good for emergency calls, Google maps if I get lost, and of course my trusted built in camera for capturing memorable moments.

beautiful beach sunset

One of Debby’s memorable moments when in Mexico recently.

Do you have a favorite childhood song?

Yes, I do. Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World. That song just brings warmth in my heart every time I hear it. When I was a child while in the car with my dad, I remember that song being popular and played often. I don’t even know why it resonated with me so much as a child, but I can say how big that song became with me since my father passed away. I don’t hear that song played too often, but when I do, I stop in pause and look up above to acknowledge my father, feeling as though he’s saying hello to me, letting me know he’s still around.

What’s your favorite TV show and why?

My favorite TV show has been Grey’s Anatomy since its inception 13 seasons ago. I’ve never missed an episode. I’ve always enjoyed watching medical series on TV going all the way back to the Dr. Kildare days. I may have watched every doctor series through the years, but I was instantly hooked on Grey’s because of the interaction with the doctors and their relationships with both, patients and in their own personal lives. Despite the show being based in a hospital environment, the stories involve a compassionate look into patient/doctor relations, doctor/doctor relationships, and love relationships among the doctors.

Grey’s is a heartfelt show with a cast of characters who have become like friends and family to me over the years. I laugh and cry with them and can’t recall too many episodes I didn’t need a Kleenex to watch whether for happy or sad tears. The show’s writers know how to entertain and touch our hearts and there are plenty of Grey’s fans around the world, unsurprisingly.

Sally here:  I have also watched Greys since the start.. and I used to sneak down and watch Dr. Kildare through the crack in the door.. had a massive crush on Richard Chamberlain.

Have you ever played a musical instrument or sang in public?

I sure have done both. When I was a child I took piano lessons. That was organized by my paternal grandmother, who despite there being no real love between us, I know she tried to compensate for the lack of activities any of us children were enrolled in. Sadly, my stubbornness not to conform to anything she wanted for me, had me bailing from piano lessons as though they were a punishment.

Ironically, I was born with an ear for music and gifted with a lovely voice. My dream was to become a singer. Once I left home at 18, I pursued by dreams of ‘stardom’. I actually took 3 years of voice training at university, hung out with musicians, was in a band for a couple years, made some demo tapes hoping to be discovered, but getting discovered in Toronto, Canada in the late 70s/early 80s was a tough situation as the music industry was hot in the US, but more difficult to get anything going in Canada.

I had several auditions, hoping to go to New York and latch on to an agent, but once again my stubbornness ended that when I discovered there was a lot of sliminess in the music industry. I began to feel as though it wasn’t about how talented we were, but more about connections – who we knew that could further us ahead. And of course, there were those who dangled promises of advancement for a price. I wasn’t about to use my body to get ahead. I realized I’d given that industry my best shots, had some fun years doing the club circuit, and finally packed it in.

Sally here: I am sorry that there is no video of Debby singing.. but I am sure that had this been today with all the platforms to share music, that she would have been a star in the music industry too.

More about Debby and her books with a recent review for  her memoir P.S. I Forgive You.

About the book

“I hurt for her. She wasn’t much of a mother, but she was still my mother.”

Confronted with resurfacing feelings of guilt, D.G. Kaye is tormented by her decision to remain estranged from her dying emotionally abusive mother after resolving to banish her years ago, an event she has shared in her book Conflicted Hearts. In P.S. I Forgive You, Kaye takes us on a compelling heartfelt journey as she seeks to understand the roots of her mother’s narcissism, let go of past hurts, and find forgiveness for both her mother and herself.

After struggling for decades to break free, Kaye has severed the unhealthy ties that bound her to her dominating mother—but now Kaye battles new confliction, as the guilt she harbors over her decision only increases as the end of her mother’s life draws near. Kaye once again struggles with her conscience and her feelings of being obligated to return to a painful past she thought she left behind.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Heartfelt on May 13, 2018

The author’s honest account of her relationship with her mother is a deeply emotional read. The unresolved longing of being loved by the person who, by nature, is the most capable of it.

A thought itself of such a mother D.G. Kaye was unfortunate to have is disturbing. Yet I can’t help but express my sadness about her mother’s plight while she, herself, was a victim of the unloving family.

The scene where the mother wanted to console her daughter at the news of her (daughter’s) upcoming heart surgery and was denied by her broke my heart.
I think the book will appeal to the broad readership – who suffered in a dysfunctional family may find inspiration in the D.G. Kaye’s story, who grew up in a loving family may appreciate it even deeper.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

Other books by D.G. Kaye


Read all the reviews and buy the books:

and Amazon UK:

More reviews and follow Debby on Goodreads:

Connect to Debby Gies

About me:
Twitter: (yes there’s a story)

Thank you for dropping in today and I know that Debby would love to receive your feedback.. It would be great if you could share the interview on your social media as well. Thanks Sally.