Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Post – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Rebecca Budd


I am sure like me, there have been times when you have wondered what difference might have been made to your life, if your younger self had been gifted with the experience and knowledge you have accumulated over the years.

I invited several friends from the writing community to share their thoughts on this subject which I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did.

Today in wonderful style, Rebecca Budd… a huge supporter of the creative community across her several artistic and promotional blogs, shares her thoughts on the prompt. And one of the key elements, is to live in the present and make every moment count.

Rebecca is on a ferry on her way to celebrate the retirement of her younger brother, and it is a perfect time for reflection on her own life and journey.

I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Rebecca Budd

 

 

My thanks to Rebecca for creating this wonderful video that shares her thoughts on her own youth and aspirations, but also reminds us that whatever time of life we might be in to make the most of the present and what is to come. I know she would love to hear from you.

 

About Rebecca Budd

I’m your host, Rebecca Budd.

I am a Blogger, Photographer, Traveler. Above all, I’m a life-long learner.

Tea, Toast & Trivia is about exploring the creative spirit within a dynamic, ever-changing global world. The pursuit of creativity is essential. It speaks to the soul of our culture and society. It allows us to celebrate our individuality and our togetherness. We live in a world that offers unimaginable possibilities.

My goal is to encourage a deep and profound awareness of our personal journeys. There is always a story to be read, an adventure to be imagined, and an idea to be understood. Our conversations and connections give meaning to the present while expressing the universal hopes and aspirations of humanity.

Sharing a cup of tea signals a pause, a breathing space.

Toast signifies bread – the staple food that has been with us since ancient days.

And trivia – those seemingly insignificant details that we soon forget – they are important. They influence our actions and define our lives. Isn’t it time to give relevance to what we overlook in our busy, even frantic schedules?

So put the kettle on and join me for Tea, Toast and Trivia.

I’m looking forward to sharing in our ongoing conversation.

Connect to Rebecca via her blogs includingTea Toast and TriviaClanmotherLady BuddChasing Art  – Facebook: Rebecca G. BuddTwitter: @ChasingArt

 

Thank you for dropping in today and it would be wonderful if you could share the post.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Post – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! #Shortstory by Jacquie Biggar


I am sure like me, there have been times when you have wondered what difference might have been made to your life, if your younger self had been gifted with the experience and knowledge you have accumulated over the years.

I invited several friends from the writing community to share their thoughts on this subject which I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did.

Today Jacquie Biggar shares a short story based on the prompt, that reaches out to those who are trapped in addiction and scared to reach out for help.

What I Know Now That I Didn’t Know Then
Jacquie Biggar
USA Today Bestselling Author

I was eighteen when we met on the night of my birthday bash. Sparks crackled and it wasn’t from the giant bonfire heating the night air and throwing cinders twenty feet into the sky, turning the teen party into a ghoulish spectacle. Maybe I should have run while I could, but it was too late—the hypnotic lure of ecstasy enticed me into his dark web.

Every minute we could eke out of our days was spent together, nights filled with hunger and passion, days with laughter and reckless abandon. Hours driving country roads, talking non-stop or singing eighties rock tunes at the top of our lungs. Life was good, maybe too good.

My friends took a backseat to my new obsession, but I didn’t care, I was happy. Delirious even. Living with my parents put a crimp in our relationship, so I picked up a second job cleaning businesses at night (I waitressed during the day) and found a cheap apartment to rent. It wasn’t much, one bedroom, a galley kitchen and minuscule living room, but it was ours—mine and my love’s.

I wasn’t getting enough sleep and began to lose weight. Makeup helped to hide the pale, pasty look of my skin, but nothing could cover the bloodshot eyes and flagging energy. Well, except for the time I stole from work to be with my sweetheart, then all that weariness fell away and we soared to the heavens together.

Money was tight. Even though I worked sixteen-hour days, there never seemed enough to go around. I couldn’t give up my car, it gave me the independence I needed, so regretfully, I said goodbye to the sweet little apartment and began sleeping in the backseat of the car.

Nights were chilly with autumn on the horizon, and it wasn’t always easy to find a place near public washrooms (I sponge bathed in the sinks) without the cops checking me out for vagrancy, but I mostly made it work. At least until the insurance and registration came due.

I didn’t have a choice, I screwed up the courage and drove out to my parents’ place to ask for help, though deep inside, I already knew what they would say.

Mom answered the door. She looked older—sadder maybe.

“You didn’t need to ring the bell, this is your home, too, or it used to be.” She turned and climbed the three stairs leading into the kitchen, tattered slippers slapping her heels. “I just made a cup of tea and toast, would you like some?”

The aroma of fresh bread filled the house, making me dizzy with hunger. My pride warred with my stomach—and lost. “That would nice, thank you,” I said, as sedately as I could with my salivary glands in overdrive. “How have you been, Mom? Where’s Dad?” I kind of hoped he was there, it would be easier somehow.

She cast me a searching glance before concentrating on cutting two thick slices of white bread with golden crusts and dropping them into the old Toastmaster.

“Dad’s at work, won’t be back until late, so if it’s him you need you’ll have to come back another day.”

Cool and distant—not at all like the mother who cuddled me when I fell and sang me to sleep at night. Shame scorched my core. I’d done that.

“Mom, I came to see you.” A white lie, but the way her eyes brightened made me glad I did.

“Well, then,” she said, shuffling into the dining room with a pint of homemade strawberry jam and toast slathered in margarine. “This is nice—unexpected.”

The tea was hot and the toast mouth-watering, but guilt made it hard to swallow. How could I ask for money I knew they needed? Instead, I’d taken off the second I could and ignored the very people who gave me life. Shame washed over me, and I nervously scratched at my inner arms, the craving a constant hunger I couldn’t escape.

Noticing Mom’s worried gaze on my movements, I forced myself to rest my hands on the scarred table, after making sure my sleeves were pulled down. “Yes, well, I thought it was time and I had a day off, so…” Another lie. I’d been let go from my jobs—one for stealing cash from the register, and the other for not being reliable—Dad would be so proud. Not.

“Beth, is there something you need to tell me?” Mom reached across and grasped my frozen fingers. “Your father and I are always here for you, honey. Everyone makes mistakes, it’s what you do about it that counts.”

Could I betray my love and tell Mom the truth? Panic turned my veins to slush. Her voice came to me through a tunnel, the sound far-off and muffled. I couldn’t lose him, could I? “You need me,” he whispered, a cobra’s hiss that hypnotised and made my mind go blank.

But then Mom rose from her chair and came around the table to lean over and take me into her arms. The scent of yeast and lemon rose from her skin and her graying hair tickled my cheek.

“I’ve got you, Bethany. You’re not alone, baby girl. I’ve got you.” she whispered, tears from her—or was it me?—dampening our skin.

I was scared and embarrassed, and worried about what was to come, but I knew what I had to do. Leaning back, I looked into her beautiful, compassionate, green eyes and admitted my addiction.

“Momma, I need help.”

Heroin is taking our sisters, brothers, fathers, and mothers. It is highly addictive, and if cut with other toxic chemicals such as fentanyl, it’s a killer.

In British Columbia, Canada six people die per day from opioid overdoses.

If you, or someone you know, needs help reach out now:Canada -Health Campaign – Drug Prevention

©Jacquie Biggar 2022

My thanks to Jacquie for writing this story, carrying such an important message, in response to the prompt, and I know that she would love to hear from you.

About Jacquie Biggar

Jacquie Biggar is a USA Today bestselling author of romance who loves to write about tough, alpha males and strong, contemporary women willing to show their men that true power comes from love. She lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and loves to hear from readers all over the world!

Connect to Jacquie, read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Jacquie : Goodreads – website: Jacquie Biggar – Twitter: @jacqbiggar

A small selection of Jacquie’s books

My review for Love Me January 22nd 2022

Having read other books by the author I fully expected that this story would be heartwarming and in keeping with the spirit of Christmas. The characters are always relateable and being a romance they also tend to have attractive personalities which makes them likeable too.

The interactions between those falling for each other are subtle, and much is left to your imagination, which is something I prefer when reading about love. In this particular case you are left with the wonderful feeling that love is alive and well despite the global troubles impacting us all at this time.

At the heart of this story is also the issue of childhood leukemia which the author adds details of at the end of the book. A difficult subject to cover, particularly in a feel good romance novel, but Jacquie Biggar handles it very sensitively.

A book to curl up in front of a roaring fire, with a large mug of hot chocolate and a couple of hours free for some lovely escapism. Recommended for lovers of romance and those who enjoy a heartwarming reminder that there are good things in the world.

 

Thank you for joining us today and it would be great if you could share Jacquie’s story… Sally.

Smorgasbord Bookshelf 2022- Share an Extract from your latest book – #Pre-order #Scifi #GeneticEngineering We are Saul by Richard Dee


In this series you are invited to share an extract of 500 words from your most recent book published within the last 12 months. Details at the end of the post.

The aim of the series

  1. To showcase your latest book and sell some more copies.
  2. Gain more reviews for the book.
  3. Promote a selection of your other books that are available.

Today an extract from  Richard Dee’s latest release, on pre-order until June 1st, and my advance review for this intriguing science fiction thriller. We are Saul.

About the book

When Saul is paralysed in an accident, he thinks it’s the end of his life. In fact, it’s just the beginning.

While he’s contemplating what he can do with what remains of his existence, the mysterious Dr Tendral offers him a way to make a difference. All he has to do is join his project. There are no other details until he agrees, he’s either in or out.
What choice does he have?

Agreeing is just the beginning. Saul undergoes drastic surgery, only then is the full depth of the project revealed.

Or is it?

As time goes on and he learns more about Tendral’s scheme, Saul’s new life becomes increasingly difficult.

In the end, he has to abandon everything as he learns the truth.

All second chances come with a price.

And extract from We Are Saul

“And how are you going to do that, map my brain?”

“We need to connect you to our equipment first.”

I had visions of people shaving my head and attaching wires, I asked Tendral if that was what he intended.

“Not exactly,” he said, “we’ve moved on since those days. What do you know about nanobots?”

“Not a lot, they’re tiny machines or something. Aren’t they sci-fi?”

“Sort of, it’s an area with a lot of research, there’re two types, nanobots and xenobots, nanobots are made from metal and plastic, the xenobots are made from stem cells. They do the same thing, they can be programmed for a specific function, like destroying cancer cells or delivering drugs precisely. That’s where the problem with people like McGee come in, because they’re built from living tissue, they see xenobots as unethical.”

“He said as much, without all the details. He also told me that people on your project have died.”

He frowned. “I’ll be totally honest with you, now and always. We had a problem with a few of the early volunteers, but it wasn’t due to the nano technology, they were down to problems in surgery. We’ve found a better way of doing things, less invasive.”

“I want to know all about it, before I commit.”

“You already have committed, but I’ll level with you. It’s very straight forward. We open a small hole in your skull, we call it a burr hole. They are normally used to relieve pressure after head trauma but we use the burr hole to implant a xenobot set under your dura, that’s the name for the membrane covering the brain. These xenobots have a single task and all they need to complete it. Their function is to construct a fine three-dimensional net in the body of your brain. The xenobots are like spiders, they spin a microscopic conductive thread that is woven between your neurons. Once they’ve done that, we introduce nanobots in a drip, through your PICC line. Their function is to detect your neurons firing as we get you to describe things to us. The nanobots attach to the neurons, without damaging the structure of the brain tissue and transmit the firing information back to the net.”

It all sounded pretty drastic. “This net, all the xenobots crawling around, knitting. Won’t it damage the structure of my brain, all those wires?”

He shook his head. “No, they’re so small, they can slip between the cells. Cells are fairly robust. The wire is fifty times thinner than a human hair, it’s fixed in position by a sort of chemical glue, to the glucose monomer of the cell membrane. Once it’s in position, it can’t move. You shouldn’t feel any sensation from what they’re doing.”

“That’s way above my level of understanding but I get the idea. I find it hard to imagine anything of that size being able to do anything useful.”

“These bots are good at what they do,” he said.

©Richard Dee 2022

My advance review for the book March 5th 2022

Having read other books by Richard Dee I was delighted to be offered an advance copy of his latest release.

There have been elements of what might be termed science fiction in stories going back hundreds of years. However it is only in the 20th century that reality caught up with the fantasy with space exploration, and humans not only landing on the moon, but orbiting the earth on a permanent manned station.

We are now faced with incredible possibilities both for the future of space travel, and in the advancements this brings to humans in the form of their capabilities.

The concept for this novel is very clever as it builds on the achievements in a number of areas including robotics and human enhancement, taking them to a whole new level.

Humans do have free will, but when you have lost everything that you have including your control over your own body, how desperate would you be to accept a radical and experimental lifeline?

Saul is about to find out. Whilst he may be paralysed, his mind and his heart still yearn for love and connection, the question is, will all of that still be possible in his future?

This is science fiction, but the author writes with such clarity that you find yourself believing that this too, like so many of the futeristic imaginings of the past, might well be feasible at some point in the coming centuries, if not decades.

Richard Dee has created wonderful complex characters including the enigmatic and secretive Dr Tendral, the nurses who assist Saul in his recovery and progress in the experiment, and others on the sidelines who will influence the success or failure of the project. He is known for his world building both in science fiction and fantasy novels and that is evident in this book too.

As a thriller prepare for some unexpected twists, dangerous revelations and some thought provoking questions about the morality of interfering with human mortality.

I can highly recommend this intriguing and fast paced science fiction thriller which is likely to leave you wondering how soon it will become fact.

Head over to pre-order the book for June 1st: Amazon UKAnd: Amazon USRead more advance reviews: Goodreads

A small selection of other books by Richard Dee

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US And: Amazon UK Website: Richard Dee’s ScifiGoodreads: Richard Dee at Goodreads – Twitter: @RichardDockett1 Facebook:Richard Dee Author

About Richard Dee

A native of Brixham in Devon, Richard Dee’s family left Devon when he was in his teens and settled in Kent. Leaving school at 16 he briefly worked in a supermarket, then went to sea and travelled the world in the Merchant Navy, qualifying as a Master Mariner in 1986.

Coming ashore to be with his growing family, he used his sea-going knowledge in several jobs, including Marine Insurance Surveyor and Dockmaster at Tilbury, before becoming a Port Control Officer in Sheerness and then at the Thames Barrier in Woolwich. In 1994 he was head-hunted and offered a job as a Thames Estuary Pilot. In 1999 he transferred to the Thames River Pilots, where he regularly took vessels of all sizes through the Thames Barrier and upriver as far as H.M.S. Belfast and through Tower Bridge. In all, he piloted over 3,500 vessels in a 22-year career with the Port of London Authority.

Richard was offered part time working in 2010, which allowed him to return to live in Brixham, where he took up writing and blogging. During this time, he also set up and ran a successful Organic bakery, supplying local shops and cafés. The urge to write eventually overtook the urge to bake but Richard still makes bread for friends and family. Richard is married with three adult children and two grandchildren.

Check out the videos on Richard Dee’s Scifi where you’ll find free short stories, regular features on writing, book reviews and guest appearances from other great authors.

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books.. Sally

What will be in the post and how to get in touch

      • I will top and tail in the usual way with your other books and links, bio, photo and social media.
      • I will also select a review from Amazon or Goodreads that I feel has the best selling pitch for the book.
      • If your book is very recent and as yet has not received a review then I will share one from a previous book.
      • This series is open to all authors both those on the Bookshelf or new to the blog
      • I suggest an extract of approximately 500 words or a poem that you feel best reflects the theme of your collection.
      • If you have an illustration or images you can attach to the email for me to include. No need to send the cover as I will have that or will access from Amazon.
      • If you have not featured on the blog before then I will need Amazon link, Goodreads, blog or website plus your social media links (main three you use)
      • Please send your extract and any accompanying images to sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round up 9th- 15th May 2022 – Ella Fitzgerald, St. Thomas, Magnesium, Short Stories, Podcast, Health, Travel, Books, Reviews, Health and Humour


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

I hope you are doing well in your neck of the woods. In this one we have had some glorious weather this last week and I have taken advantage of the garden. Decorating is going well with the dining room now pearl grey and white woodwork.. Awaiting the floor to be sanded and I am off to buy new curtains during the week.

The young plants I potted a couple of weeks ago are beginning to flower and it is a bit of mystery as to the colours as I bought variety packs and in a week or two I will share the results.

On the blog front

I am delighted that I Wish I Knew Then series is being enjoyed and there are several more scheduled for the coming weeks and so grateful to those who are participating and sharing their stories. This week Jacquie Biggar, Rebecca Budd, Denise Finn and Jacqui Murray share their thoughts on the prompt.

As always I will be putting on a Summer Book Fair featuring all the authors that I have personally recommended who are on the Smorgasbord Bookshelf. In the first posts beginning in June, I will be sharing books that are the first in a series to encourage readers to start at the beginning and hopefully then read the following books. I will then continue with authors with stand alone novels, non-fiction, memoirs etc.  Look out for that from June 6th through to September.

As always I must thank these three amazing contributors as the blog would not be the same without them.

William Price King joined me on The Breakfast show this week for the second part of the hits from 1994 and for the last part of the series on Friday featuring Ella Fitzgerald. – On Friday William begins a new series about the legendary Aretha Franklin. You can also find William – Blog– IMPROVISATION– William Price King on Tumblr

Debby Gies took us to St. Thomas this week on the Travel Column… and on her own blog shares her thoughts on being back in Toronto after her Mexican winter break and adjusting to the solitude again, weather and how grief plays its role in her perspective on life and the future. How Am I Doing?  Head over to her blog to catch up on her posts including her Sunday Book Review D.G. Writes

Carol Taylor shared some amazing recipes this week to ensure we are getting sufficient Magnesium in our diet… on her own blog she reminds us about animals waking up after hibernation in our gardens and in particular what to and not to feed hedgehogs in her Monday Musings,

In her ‘My Kitchen Post, she shares some store cupboard basics, in her Food Review what constitutes ‘processed food’ and in Saturday Snippets her prompt is Glass.

Head over to catch up on Carol’s posts this week: CarolCooks2 weekly roundup… 8th -14th May 2022-Monday Musings, Health, Food Review “” and Saturday Snippets where “Glass” is my prompt.

Thanks to you for all the support, likes, comments and shares during the week and now on with the show….

The Breakfast Show with William Price King and Sally Cronin – Chart Hits 1994 Part Two – Celine Dion, Prince, Wet Wet Wet, Corona

William Price King meets the Jazz Icons – Ella Fitzgerald Part Five – Live Performances

The Travel Column Rewind with D.G. Kaye – #Caribbean Welcome to St. Thomas #Virgin Islands

Cook from Scratch to prevent nutritional deficiencies with Sally Cronin and Carol Taylor – Magnesium – Coleslaw, Pumpkin Seeds, Tom Yum Soup, Morning Glory

#Olive Oil…keeps your body moving by Sally Cronin

Butterfly #Cinquain – Blossom by Sally Cronin

Chapter Eight – The Steak House by Sally Cronin

Chapter Nine – Pub Landlady and Skinhead invasions

Chapter Seven – The Magic Garden comes to life by Sally Cronin

#Psychologicalthriller – Means to Deceive by Alex Craigie

I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Jan Sikes

I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Harmony Kent

#Western #Paranormal Mateo’s Blood Brother by Sandra Cox

#Romance – Love, Me – A Christmas Wish Novel by Jacquie Biggar

#Romance – Unbranded (Montana Bred Series 1) by Linda Bradley

Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Burgers and more Weird Facts

– Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Cures and more Weird facts

 

Thanks so much for dropping in today and for your visits and support during the week.. Enjoy the rest of the weekend and stay safe.

Smorgsbord Blog Magazine Podcast – Tales from the Irish Garden – Chapter Seven – The Magic Garden comes to life by Sally Cronin


Last time The Dapperman spent time with the Queen and her court, measuring them up for a suitable wardrobe to keep them warm and dry in the unpredictable weather.

Tales from the Irish Garden Chapter Seven – The Magic Garden Comes to Life

 

 

 

Image ©Tales from the Irish Garden

One of the recent reviews for the book

I adored this charming fairy tale for adults, which is also suitable for children. The fairy queen and her court needed to relocate and received an invitation from the Storyteller to live under a magnolia tree in his Irish garden. The imagery was beautiful throughout the book. I could easily imagine flying on a swan, exploring a castle under a tree, or running into lerpersians and goblins. The characters felt real, and I was worried about how they would adapt to the colder climate. It was a relief when they resolved that with beautiful new wardrobes. I loved not only how they made this place their new home, but the romance and new friendships mixed in, too. Many additional characters in the stories I treasured included a donkey, a fox, and mice. This is a world I’d love to find in my garden, and I highly recommend these magical tales

You can find out more about my books and reviews: Sally’s Books and Reviews

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you enjoyed the story.

 

Smorgasbord Bookshelf 2022- Share an Extract from your latest book – #Western #Paranormal Mateo’s Blood Brother by Sandra Cox


In this series you are invited to share an extract of 500 words from your most recent book published within the last 12 months. Details at the end of the post.

The aim of the series

  1. To showcase your latest book and sell some more copies.
  2. Gain more reviews for the book.
  3. Promote a selection of your other books that are available.

Today an extract from the latest release by Sandra Cox.. the paranormal western Mateo’s Blood Brother a sequel to Mateo’s Law.

In addition Sandra has a giveaway, in the form of a lovely bracelet for book lovers… I will be pulling a name out of a hat from those that comment in the first week after posting.

About the book

They were friends, close as brothers. Then they weren’t.

Mateo and Jesse are cautiously working their way back to friendship when Jesse discovers the unthinkable. Delilah, the sultry shifter who’d had affairs with both men, is still alive. The tumble she took over a mountain ridge—a fall that nearly killed Mateo—should have finished her.

Now, there’s no choice but for the two men to work together to take down a she-devil straight from hell. As the stakes escalate and the hunt becomes more intense, another wolf appears on the scene. Always where Jesse’s at. Always when he’s in trouble. Jesse is divided between ending Delilah, a new love interest, discovering the identity of a certain brown wolf and staying alive.

An extract from Mateo’s Blood Brother

A shadow fell across the desk. Unexpected. Eerie in the predawn gloom.

Nerves thrumming, Sheriff Mateo Grey’s head shot up and he reached for his gun.
A lanky man in jeans and a tan uniform-shirt, with coal-black hair pulled back in a tail, leaned against the doorframe of Mateo’s office. A shield attached to his brown leather belt. The scent of fresh air and earthy musk followed him in. He moseyed over and dropped boneless into the hard, wooden chair, in front of the desk.

“What the hell, Jesse? You sneak around like a—”

“Indian?”

“Cat was what I was about to say. Don’t try to snag me with political incorrectness.” Mateo shook himself, leaned back in his worn office chair and drilled the Chief of Police of the Blackfeet Nation with a hard stare.

Jesse snorted and handed him a paper cup, with Belle’s Beans printed on the side, then took a sip of his own. Not a drop had spilled when he collapsed into the chair, reminding Mateo of the man’s innate feline grace.

“Thanks.” Fragrant steam rose from the opening, the cup warm against Mateo’s hand. His tight jaws relaxed. Belle served the best coffee in the county.

He took a long swallow. The caffeinated liquid rolled down his throat, hit his belly and kick-started him into hyperdrive.

“Okay, Jesse, hit me.”

Tight lips set in a lean face twitched. “I’ve been wanting to for months.”

“Years more like.” Mateo flashed a grin.

Growing up, the men had been close as brothers. Best friends. Blood brothers. Then they weren’t. His fault.

Cautious and slow, they were working their way back to friendship.

Jesse grinned back, nodding in acknowledgement.

“Surprised to see you here. What can I do for you?” He and Jesse had a contentious relationship and even though they were moiling their way toward a more even footing, they weren’t there yet.

“What makes you think I want anything?”

“You know the old saying, beware law enforcement officers bearing gifts.”

“At least I didn’t bring donuts.”

Mateo gave a crack of laughter and, just like that, the lingering tension of a moment before broke.

“Where is everyone?” Jesse peered through the open doorway, a long gash on the worn, stained frame, left by a previous, unhappy visitor.

“It’s not seven yet. Nobody here but me and the dispatcher. But they’ll be streaming in any minute.” He pointed at the large-faced, black-rimmed, round clock that adorned the plain white walls of his office.

“How’s Blair?”

The question sidetracked Mateo as no doubt it was meant to, as a vision of his fiancée with tousled hair and covers pulled up to her nose rose in his mind, along with another body part. Having his fiancée as his chief deputy was both a blessing and a curse. Stubborn as a mule, she didn’t take kindly to being told what to do. But offsetting that, his chief deputy—his woman—was brave, smart and able to handle herself. Not to mention sexy as hell.

He squirmed in his chair and got himself back on track.

“She’s fine. Now, what is it you’re not telling me? It’s not like you to beat around the bush.”

Silence built. Tension swelled.

Mateo thrummed his fingers on the desk, waiting. The drumming echoed in the quiet.
Jesse stared over Mateo’s left shoulder as if waiting for divine intervention. None was forthcoming. Finally, he straightened his shoulders and turned his gaze to Mateo.

“She’s alive.”

©Sandra Cox 2022

One of the recent reviews for the book

D. W. Peach 5.0 out of 5 stars Unique shapeshifters and great action  Reviewed in the United States on April 27, 2022

I thought the first book in this series was great and couldn’t wait to get my hands on the second. It didn’t disappoint. Mateo, the wolf-shifter sheriff of Grizzly is still a major part of the story but the focus is now on Jessie, his fully human blood brother. After a long period of estrangement, they’re working on their friendship, and they haven’t much choice about sticking together since the shifter-she-wolf they’d thought was dead is back for revenge. She’s targeting them and everyone they hold dear.

I enjoyed the characters the first time around and did so again. Jessie and Mateo share the story’s POV. They’re believable, emotionally authentic, and distinct. I can easily say the same about the secondary characters, even those with small parts. The shifters, including a new and mysterious brown wolf, are appealing with their deep connections to the natural world. I enjoyed experiencing the action through Mateo’s animal senses as well as his human ones and was especially intrigued by his father.

The author is well known for her western romances, but in this series, romance is secondary to the other elements of the plot. I’d characterize the book as contemporary western, paranormal fiction, and there’s plenty of action to keep the pace moving along. I read the book in two sittings while ignoring everything else I had to do. I hope the author will write more for this series. Highly recommended to readers who enjoy paranormal fiction with great characters, a touch of romance, and a quick pace.  

 Head over to read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

A small selection of Sandra’s books

Read the reviews and buy the books : Amazon UK –And: Amazon US- follow Sandra Cox: Goodreads – Blog: Sandra Cox Blogspot – Twitter:@Sandra_Cox

About Sandra Cox

Sandra is a vegetarian, animal lover and avid gardener. She lives with her husband, their dog and several cats in sunny North Carolina.

Her novels consist of All Things Western and More. She is an Eppie finalist, award winner and category best-seller.

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books.. Sally

What will be in the post and how to get in touch

      • I will top and tail in the usual way with your other books and links, bio, photo and social media.
      • I will also select a review from Amazon or Goodreads that I feel has the best selling pitch for the book.
      • If your book is very recent and as yet has not received a review then I will share one from a previous book.
      • This series is open to all authors both those on the Bookshelf or new to the blog
      • I suggest an extract of approximately 500 words or a poem that you feel best reflects the theme of your collection.
      • If you have an illustration or images you can attach to the email for me to include. No need to send the cover as I will have that or will access from Amazon.
      • If you have not featured on the blog before then I will need Amazon link, Goodreads, blog or website plus your social media links (main three you use)
      • Please send your extract and any accompanying images to sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – May 2nd – 8th 2022 – Voice of Indie, Hits 1994, Ella Fitzgerald, Guest Posts, Short Stories, Poetry, Health and Humour


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

A slightly different location for this week’s round up as I am set up in the kitchen whilst our office (that is the official dining room) is given a full makeover. Because we set up our computers in there six years ago it has not been decorated as part of the renovation so a big job ahead for David. We plan to move all our dining room furniture in there and make the kitchen diner our office going forward, as we think it is important when the house goes on the market there is another fully functional reception room. So we are making progress and another job ticked off the list…

There are boxes everywhere, some already packed up to be taken away as we declutter and the next few weeks will be a bit chaotic, but it is exciting to be getting on with something we planned to do before Covid.

Apart from that, we now have a few sunny days and I am taking full advantage of the garden. Sitting in the back of the house I am treated to a revue show put on by the crows, starlings, blue tits, sparrows and the resident robin as they enjoy breakfast, lunch and high tea before they go to bed. There is a large swimming pool that is well utilised, and whilst the starlings love to get in there and splash around, the other birds often join in and it is as wild as any pool party I have ever gone to. Very entertaining and distracting, and if I sit quite still, they forget I’m there and get up close and personal.

As always I must thank these three amazing contributors as the blog would not be the same without them.

William Price King joined me on Monday to share his thoughts on I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now about his love of Tap Dancing. The Breakfast show this week for the first part of the hits from 1994 and for the next part of the series on Friday featuring Ella Fitzgerald. – You can also find William – Blog– IMPROVISATION– William Price King on Tumblr

Debby Gies has had another busy week on her blog D.G. Writes with a book review for the latest collection of poetry by Frank Prem – The Garden BlackA post on the ending of the positive blog series Goodbye We Are The World Blogfest And a powerful poem as part of Colleen Chesebro’s weekly challenge on Women’s Rights Taste the Rainbow Senyru

Debby will be taking us to St. Thomas this week in the Travel Column...and I hope you will join us for some sunshine and sparkling blue waters.

Carol Taylor has been to Cyprus this week to explore the wonderful fusion cuisine, shares a wonderful Chicken Pasanda recipe and one for pull apart garlic bread – do not eat all on your own…a food review on Ramen Noodles and should you be eating them…Monday Musings and Saturday Snippets featuring the word ‘candle’. You can catch up with all her posts by following the link to her Weekly Round Up. Carol will be with us on Wednesday with recipes to ensure you are getting sufficient magnesium

CarolCooks2 weekly roundup… 1st -7th May 2022-Monday Musings, Health, Food Review “” and Saturday Snippets where “Candle” is my prompt.

On Wednesday I was the guest on the Voice of Indie podcast with presenters Beem Weeks and Gary “Stephen Geez” great to talk about life, books and publishing. You can listen on Blog Talk Radio Voice of Indie Episode 92 – Sally Cronin and you can comment on Twitter @VoiceOfIndie – You can also listen to the podcast and the other editions and comment on Voice of Indie Youtube episode 92 – And Spotify

If you would like to get in touch with the team Website/Blog: Beem Weeks – And: Stephen Geez

On with the show…..

Chart Hits 1994 Part One – Collective Soul, The Cranberries, Bruce Springsteen, MC Sar & The Real McCoy

William Price King meets the Jazz Icons – Ella Fitzgerald Part Four – The Collaborations

Chapter Six – Ladies Fashions and shop lifters

Chapter Seven – The Cosmetic Department

#MirrorCinguain -Storm Front by Sally Cronin Posted on May 7, 2022

Tales from the Irish Garden.. The Dapperman

#Action #Supernatural #AncientEgypt She who comes forth by Audrey Driscoll

Food Therapy – #Mushrooms – The Egyptians believed they granted immortality

I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Darlene Foster

#Tapdancing by Jazz singer and composer William Price King

I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Gwen M. Plano

#Life #Change – Linda’s Midlife Crisis by Toni Pike

#Poetry #Memoir – More than Coffee: Memories in Verse and Prose by Lauren Scott

#Fantasy The Prince’s Heir (The Five Kingdoms Book 4) by Deborah Jay

May 4th 2022 – #Spotlights Winona Kent with The Story Reading Ape, Marcia Meara with John W. Howell, Robbie Cheadle with Colleen Chesebro, #Poetry Elizabeth Gauffreau

Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin -Bathtub test and more Weird Facts

Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Age and more Weird Facts

 

Thanks very much for dropping in today and I hope you will join me again next week.. Stay safe.. Sally.

Smorgasbord Laughter is the Best Medicine – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin -Bathtub test and more Weird Facts


Firstly, some funnies from Debby Gies followed by some more weird facts from Sally. Thanks to those who share the funnies on the internet.

D.G. Writes is where you will find an archive full of wonderful posts across several subjects including writing tips, social issues and book reviews.

My thanks to Debby for excellent foraging

D. G. Kaye – Buy: Amazon US And: Amazon UK Blog: D.G. WritesGoodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads – Twitter: @pokercubster

Check out Debby’s latest Travel Column: St. Kitts

Now for some more Weird Facts from Sally….

These weird facts..they may well be out of date in some cases and I cannot confirm or deny their veracity….just saying.,

Eighty percent of 10 year old girls in the USA go on a diet.

Girls have more taste buds than boys. (no wonder we love chocolate more)

In humans, the epidermal layer of skin, which consists of many layers of skin regenerates every 27 days.

In the United States, poisoning is the fourth leading cause of death among children.

Ironically, when doctors in Los Angeles, California went on strike in 1976, the daily number of deaths in the city dropped 18%.

Lack of sleep can affect your immune system and reduce your ability to fight infections

People over the age of fifty will start to lose their dislike for foods that taste bitter.

People that smoke have 10 times as many wrinkles as a person that does not smoke.

Research has indicated that approximately eleven minutes are cut off the life of an average male smoker from each cigarette smoked.

Smiling releases endorphins in the body, which makes people feel better.

The average ear grows 0.01 inches in length every year.

The eight most popular foods to cause food allergies are: milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts, soy, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish.

The human liver performs over 500 functions.

The lining of a person’s stomach is replaced every 36 hours.

The majority of American models are skinnier than 98% of American women.

The sensitivity of a woman’s middle finger is reduced during menstruation.

The slowest growing finger nail is on the thumb nail and the fastest growing is the finger nail on the middle finger.

The stomach can break down goat’s milk faster than the milk of a cow.

There are 400 species of bacteria in the human colon.

There are approximately 45 billion fat cells in an average adult.

There are approximately 9,000 taste buds on the tongue.

There are five million scent receptors located in a human beings nose.

There are more than 640 muscles in the human body.

Women carry more sweat glands than men but men’s sweat glands are more active.

Being unmarried can shorten a man’s life by ten years.

One billion seconds is about 32 years.

The average four year-old child asks over four hundred questions a day.

Ace two three four five six seven eight nine ten jack queen king. Excluding the joker, if you add up the letters in all the names of the cards in the deck (Ace, two, three, four,…,king). the total number of letters is 52, the same as the number of cards in the deck.

Each of the suits on a deck of cards represents the four major pillars of the economy in the middle ages: heart represented the Church, spades represented the military, clubs represented agriculture, and diamonds represented the merchant class.

There are 52 cards in a standard deck and there are 52 weeks in a year. There are 4 suits in a deck of cards and 4 seasons in a year. If you add the values of all the cards in a deck (jack=11 queen=12, etc.) you get a total of 365 the same as the number of days in a year.

Huckleberry Finn’s remedy for warts was swinging a dead cat in a graveyard at midnight.

If a person counted at the rate of 100 numbers a minute and kept counting for eight hours a day, five days a week, it would take a little over 4 weeks to count to one million and just over 80 years to reach a billion.

In order to sell his sets of Shakespeare door-to-door, David McConnell offered free perfume to his customers. He realized the perfume was more popular and began selling cosmetics door-to-door. This began the company that grew into Avon.

In the first month of the Bell Telephone Company’s existence in 1877, only six telephones were sold.

Roman statues were made with detachable heads, so that one head could be removed and replaced by another.

Since most people are right-handed, the holes on men’s clothes have buttons on the right – to make it easier for men to push them through the holes. Well, that’s easy, but aren’t women mostly right-handed too? Women’s buttons are on the OPPOSITE side so their maids can dress them. When buttons were first used, they were expensive and only wealthy women had them. Since a maid faces the woman she is dressing, having the buttons on the left of the dress places them on the maid’s right.

The name Wendy was made up for the book Peter Pan, there was never a recorded Wendy before.

Three teaspoons make up one tablespoon.

When Bell’s patent was sixteen months old, there were 778 telephones in use

Thanks for dropping in today and we hope you are leaving with a smile on your face…Debby and Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Post – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! #Tapdancing by Jazz singer and composer William Price King


I am sure like me, there have been times when you have wondered what difference might have been made to your life, if your younger self had been gifted with the experience and knowledge you have accumulated over the years.

I invited several friends from the writing community to share their thoughts on this subject which I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did.

Today jazz singer and composer, and permanent contributor to Smorgasbord, William Price King, explores dancing and its benefits, in particular tap dancing which he wishes his younger self would have taken more advantage of.

I wish I knew then what I know now by William Price King

As a performing artist I have always admired dancers. Their professionalism is unparalleled, and they are forever striving for excellence. In New York I had the pleasure of working with a few choreographers who encouraged me to take dance classes in my search for excellence on the stage. So, I signed up for classes at the Alvin Ailey Dance School

Apparently, I got off to a late start. Back in the 70’s, singers and actors were expected to  “move well on stage”, they didn’t necessarily have to move like dancers, but it would have been to their advantage if they had some semblance of dance technique, especially in musical theater. So, after quite a few classes and lots of hard work, I accepted the reality that dancing was not for me, it was not in my DNA.

As a child I was marveled by the dancing skills of the Nicholas Brothers, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, and Fred Astaire, all of whom were elegant iconic tap dancers. While living in New York, I saw every Broadway show that featured tap dancing. If I had had the talent to dance I think I would have chosen tap. Tap is a style of dance which requires precise and rapid footwork, and special dance shoes with metal plates screwed into the shoe. When you tap dance, the metal clangs on the floor and makes a sound that’s equivalent to a drum, which creates a beat.

I wish I knew then what I know now about the benefits you get from tap dancing: that tap strengthens your balance and posture, and has long-term advantages for your health; that tap also increases the flexibility in your hips, knees, and ankles. Had I known that way back then, and had been able to do it, I would probably have had less back pain, and the risks of age-related falls, which are more prevalent now at my age, might have been reduced. Had I taken tap classes, the exercises would have loosened my ankles to help prevent ankle sprains and sharpened my coordination. If I didn’t need that sort of help then, I certainly need it now, with all of the mountain climbing I try to do.

When I was in my late 20’s I did a bit of weight lifting at the gym to stay in shape and keep my weight down for the stage. Little did I know then that tap dancing was considered a weight-bearing sport, with the body weight being the load. Had I known that, and had I given myself the opportunity, that would have been a fun alternative to the ennui of lifting weights.

I never thought of tap as being aerobic, and had no idea that the movements from tap dancing could elevate the heart rate. I was also unaware that tap was considered a good cardiovascular exercise and that it was effective in lowering blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels. But at that time my focus was on performing. I was not at all preoccupied by health issues.

I remember hearing tap dancers say in interviews that the rhythmic aspects of tap were excellent for the brain, and could increase your cognitive abilities. But I never thought that concerned me. If I had trained as a tap dancer I could have developed communication between my brain, legs, and feet. Learning and memorizing dance patterns would have probably been a better mental workout for me than just memorizing lyrics, which were easy to do with the help of the melody. But I didn’t think of that then.

I also heard that dancing produces positive psychological effects and relieves some of the physiological symptoms of depression, as well as the negative impacts of stress. I guess one could assume that dancing is a natural anti-depressant. Why not? With tap, instead of punching that proverbial punching bag when you’re upset about something, you could strike the floor instead with your feet, create a few steps, and let your creativity alleviate that stress. That would have been a fun way for me to release tension. I wish I knew that then.

But I guess I really can’t complain. I was gifted with the art of singing and was able to make a career out of it without having to dance. I enjoyed being on the stage, and passing the art of singing on to others. If I had to do it all over again I would not hesitate. I would just try to find a little space for tap, just for the fun of it, to stay in shape. However, I’m trying to make up for it now by taking Gyrotonics and Pilates classes, which, at my age is not so bad.

The origins of tap dance can be traced back to the days of slave trade in America when slaves were forbidden by the masters to communicate through their traditional drums because they were afraid that the communicative power of drums could be used for rebellion. Consequently, they transferred their rhythmic messages to their feet. In the mid-19th century, their footwork merged with the jigs and clog dances of Irish and English immigrants, and tap dance was born. It became popular in 1921 in New York City, with  “Shuffle Along”, an all-black jazz tap musical starring Josephine Baker, and had its heyday in the 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s. Thanks to Avery O Williams 

©William Price King 2022

My thanks to William for sharing this wonderful look back at tap dancing and also exploring all the amazing benefits of this form of entertainment and exercise. I know he would love to hear from you..

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

Blog– IMPROVISATION William Price King on Tumblr – Buy William’s music: William Price King iTunes – FacebookWilliam Price King – Twitter@wpkofficial
Regular Venue – Cave Wilson 

 

Thanks very much for joining us today and it would be great if you could share William’s response to the prompt… thanks Sally.