Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up- William Price King sings, Paul Andruss and Hellebores and Carol Taylor and Mustard.


Welcome to the weekly round up and I hope that your weekend is going well. We have had a very special visitor from America who arrived on Friday and it did David and I the power of good to be in the company of such a delightful, articulate and successful young woman. We have known her parents for over 30 years and have seen her grown from a beautiful baby into this accomplished adult.. What a pleasure.

Anyway… In honour of the visit, the sun came out on Thursday and I was able to get some of my pots refurbished…the job is not finished yet.. I have some more planting to do next week… provided we get a little dry weather.

Anyway.. time to get on with the week and as always my thanks to William Price King, (look out for a special post in thanks to William for all his amazing contributions… Drive Time this week features two of his own performances). Paul Andruss and Carol Taylor who have, as always provided outstanding columns for music, gardening and cookery.

The Music Column with William Price King – Johnny Mathis up to date.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/11/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-with-william-price-king-johnny-mathis-up-to-date/

The Gardening Column by Paul Andruss – Heavenly Hellebores.. or should that be Devilish?

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/13/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-gardening-column-with-paul-andruss-heavenly-hellebores/

The Food and Cookery Column with Carol Taylor – It is all about the mustard.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/11/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-carol-taylors-food-and-cookery-column-mustard/

The Open House Sunday Interview – Gregg Savage – Daily Tales

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/15/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-open-house-sunday-interview-the-daily-tales-by-gregg-savage/

Personal Stuff – Tales from the Garden – The Goose and the Lost Boy.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/14/smorgasbord-short-stories-tales-from-the-gardenthe-goose-and-the-lost-boy-by-sally-cronin/

Letters From America 1985 – 1987 – Trip to Las Vegas – Part One #Hilton, #Dunes

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/12/smorgasbord-letters-from-america-1985-1987-las-vegas-part-one-the-hilton-slot-machines-dunes-hotel/

Sally’s Book Reviews – UK2: Project Renova Book Three by Terry Tyler

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/14/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-sallys-book-reviews-uk2-project-renova-book-three-by-terry-tyler/

Sally’s Drive Time #Playlist – Music to get the Weekend Started – William Price King.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/13/sallys-drive-time-playlist-music-to-get-the-weekend-started-william-price-king-roxanne-and-the-show-must-go-on/

Esme’s Party Piece: Prediction for the two weeks April 12th – 26th.. and your Flower Power.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/12/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-esmes-party-piece-predictions-and-flower-power/

 

Smorgasbord Guest Post – Leslie Tate – Growing up as an author.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/12/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-post-growing-up-as-an-author-by-leslie-tate/

Posts from Your Archives.

Posts from the Archives… new series… travel themed blogs posted before October 2017. And to kick the series off.. traveller and author Darlene Foster with a surprise visit to the home of Jane Austen..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/10/smorgasbord-new-series-of-posts-from-your-archives-visiting-jane-austen-on-a-motorbike-by-darlene-foster/

Smorgasbord Poetry – Dorothy Cronin – Tuffy

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/10/smorgasbord-poetry-dorothy-cronin-1949-2006-tuffy-a-much-loved-family-pet/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Spring Showcase – Final post

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/09/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-spring-showcaseterri-webster-schrandt-jann-weeratunga-pamela-s-wight-charles-e-yallowitz-yecheilyah-ysrayl-and-victoria-zigler/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/13/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-updatereviews-for-sandra-j-jackson-d-g-kaye-and-teagan-riordain-geneviene/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves

 https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/14/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-war-of-nytefall-loyalty-by-charles-e-yallowitz/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/15/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-new-book-on-the-shelves-holding-the-lines-book-2-the-first-level-of-hell-by-joelle-legendre/

Smorgasbord Health Column

Nutrients A-Z  that we need to be healthy.

 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/09/smorgasbord-health-column-nutrients-we-need-vitamin-b3-is-also-known-in-different-forms-as-niacin-nicotinic-acid-nicotinamide-and-nicinamide/

Part three of the Brain series… this week a brief overview of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/09/smorgasbord-health-column-the-brain-part-three-dementia-and-alzheimers-disease/

Turning Back the Clock – Chapter Ten – Maintaining your Health Advantage.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/10/smorgasbord-health-column-turning-back-the-clock-chapter-ten-maintaining-your-health-advantage-by-sally-cronin/

Aromatherapy – Eucalyptus oil – usage and safety.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/11/the-medicine-womans-treasure-chest-aromatherapy-eucalyptus-essential-oil-origins-uses-and-safety/

Humour

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/09/smorgasbord-afternoon-video-bathtime-for-dogs-is-just-a-bundle-of-joy/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/10/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-a-multi-international-cast-two-cats-a-dog-and-wi-training/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/11/smorgasbord-afternoon-video-words-of-wisdom-from-the-head-of-the-household-dear-kitten/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/12/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-in-the-courtroom/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/13/smorgasbord-afternoon-video-dancing-dog-size-does-not-matter/

Thank you very much for all your support this week and look forward to seeing you again soon.

 

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Open House Sunday Interview – The Daily Tales by Gregg Savage


Welcome to the last in the current series of Open House Sunday Interview. In the next week or so I will be letting you know about the next theme for the interviews.

To end this series with a creative flourish, Australian writer Gregg Savage shares the background to his popular daily stories that has now reached the staggering 176 (by my count by today). That is true commitment and an amazing achievement. Gregg will also share is writing influences and his favourite movie and music. I am sure you will enjoy and as always… please let our guest have your questions and comments.

The Daily Tales by Gregg Savage

 

My name is Gregg Savage and, every day for the next year, I  write and publish a free children’s story for everyone to enjoy.

The stories are finished only minutes before being shared with you. There are no ‘backup’ stories, with the narrative being inspired by something interesting I have thought about or experienced that day. Each story is designed to entertain and encourage acceptance while providing a fresh perspective to children on their daily experiences.

I have ended up here, because I managed to earn myself a bonus year of life.

Somewhere between October 13, 2016, and October 13, 2017, I convinced myself that I was 37, and not 36, years old. During a trivia game with some friends, I was asked my age. Having never been one to shy away from repeating the figure, I confidently replied that I was 37, to which my astutely mathematical friend responded that, since I was born in 1981, this was incorrect. In line with modern customs, I promptly asked my smartphone assistant to tell me my age. “You are 36 years old, Gregg,” the assistant responded in a slightly unsettling, motherly tone.

OK. So, I was never going to be a late-blooming mathematician, but, I did score a bonus year and that was pretty neat. It was August 2017, so I had up until October to figure out how to spend the additional 365 days that had been gifted to me. Although I jog and ride my bike regularly, I’m not an adrenaline junkie by any measure, so all the usual suspects such as bungee jumping or skydiving were out. I do love to hike, though, so maybe I could tick a few overseas hiking trails off the wish list; Iceland, the U.S.A, Japan? Although an enticing idea, hiking didn’t fit with the whole ‘bonus year’ theme, since it was an activity I might only commit to for a month or so. Also, working full time as a teacher of students with disabilities meant taking time off work, which I wasn’t willing to organise at that stage, either. Then came the camping trip.

My step-daughter, Ruby, usually sends herself to sleep with frightening ease following a story reading each night, so, while camping near our house in Tropical North Queensland one night, she asked me to read to her before going to bed. We’d neglected to pack any of her picture books and it was therefore left to me to tell her a story. The plotline my mind conjured up was about a young girl who, “Lived in the most beautiful castle in the world. Her name was Princess Ruby and her castle was so large that, one morning, she woke up and didn’t know where she was!” This story would later become The Tale of Princess Ruby and would be the first tale uploaded to my website: The Tale of Princess Ruby

Read more on Gregg’s Facebook: Facebook About Gregg

Tell us about your chosen genre of books and why you chose to write in that genre.

150 days ago, I decided to write a unique story every day and, once complete, upload it to my webpage, Daily Tales. Aside from simultaneously being rewarding and challenging, I also viewed this project as an opportunity to share the process of a writer trying to find his voice in a meaningful and engaging way. One of the lessons I’ve learned over the past three months is that I enjoy writing stories that emulate the styles and themes of the authors I learned about while studying to be a teacher at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. One author’s work I passionately share with my students is Margaret Wild.

I was introduced to the mesmerising stories of children’s picture book author, Margaret Wild, by my English lecturer in my first year at university. As a group of students in our late teens and early twenties, we thought we weren’t too unreasonable when we let out a collective groan after the lecturer informed us she was going to read a children’s storybook before each of her presentations.

Without hesitation, the lecturer projected a copy Margaret Wild’s, Woolvs in the Sitee, on the screen at the front of the auditorium and proceeded to read an illustrated children’s storybook focusing on the struggles a young boy attempting to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. The boy had never been to school, and, since the boy’s perspective informs the story, Margaret Wild deliberately littered the text with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. This approach, we were told, not only produced a narrative that is intensely captivating while exploring themes of loss and materialism but also provided the perfect opportunity for students to practice some spelling skills without the process feeling too much like a chore.

The teacher in me admired the links to developing the students’ core skills, but the human side of me was deeply impressed that this story explored themes otherwise reserved for young adults. Before hearing of Margaret Wild, I had considered these themes to be out of bounds and, therefore, out of reach for younger readers. Since then, I’ve tried to discover other children’s authors whose work extends beyond the more familiar narratives which, while important, tend to make quick work of the overarching feelings and morals they are exploring. I find myself regularly drawing on their styles while attempting to craft my own voice.

Which author would you have to dinner, why and what questions would you ask them?

Without question, Australian children’s author and illustrator, Shaun Tan Amazon.

Shaun’s unorthodox storytelling is what initially got me hooked on wanting to write children’s stories. I am in awe of his ability to craft narratives that border on poetry while telling an alternative, yet parallel story with the accompanying pictures. Although hope is a recurring theme in his stories, I also admire the courage Shaun has to explore some darker topics such as grief (Tales from Outer Suburbia), depression (The Red Tree) and displaced people (The Rabbits (illustrator) & Eric), subjects not usually associated with your typical children’s picture books. As a teacher, it’s refreshing to delve into these relatable and often ignored themes through Shaun’s compelling storytelling. Shaun’s style involves using words and phrases that can be taken both literally and metaphorically, so it’s a great feeling watching the students have a lightbulb moment when they figure out the “actual” plot to the story.

One of my regrets in life is missing Shaun’s exhibition hosted at the various modern art galleries in Australia’s major cities in 2016. I was teaching in western Queensland at the time and couldn’t make it back to Brisbane while the exhibition was on, so having him over for dinner would more than compensate for the jealousy I felt while listening to my friends and the media boast about how fantastic the exhibition was.

During the dinner, I would ask the following questions:

Q1. What’s a memorable response a reader has had to one of your stories?

Q2. What were the most significant hurdles you had to overcome to become a successful children’s author and illustrator?

Q3. Aside from children’s stories, what are some other projects you’ve enjoyed working on as an artist?

Q4. And, lastly, would you like to collaborate on a picture book? Seriously, though…

You can learn more about Shaun (and the TWO new books being released in 2018!) by visiting his website: http://www.shauntan.net

Do you have a favourite quote? What does it mean to you as an individual?

A young monk asks his master what life’s purpose is both before and after enlightenment. His master responded:

“Before enlightenment: chop wood, carry water.
After enlightenment: chop wood, carry water.”

Like most people, I find that I get the most satisfaction out of an activity when I know how it aligns with one of my life’s priorities. At the moment, my priorities are my relationships, my health, my job and my creativity. I am a thirty-six-year-old man in a long-term relationship with my partner, Rachel, and I am a step-father to her three amazing children. I hold a leadership position in a career I am genuinely passionate about, and I enjoy running and riding as a way to stay healthy and to clear my mind. Rachel and I love traveling and hiking whenever we can and, just because I don’t believe the decorations on your cake need to stop at the icing, I have also committed to writing a children’s story every day for a year.

It wouldn’t be possible for me to enjoy as much success in any of these areas without having my priorities in order, so this quote resonated with me from the moment I heard it. Although I’m not 100% sure I am interpreting the quote correctly, I find myself drawing on it for energy whenever my priorities demand it. At first, I used it as inspiration to make sure I was always willing to put in the hard yards, interpreting the quote as saying that ‘no matter how many projects you finish or goals you reach, the hard work is never done’. However, after enduring some trials and tribulations over the past five months while attempting to stay true to my goals and commitments (including a particularly tragic week where Rachel was admitted to hospital), I now draw on the quote to remind myself to dig deep in times where it would be easy to give up. That life itself doesn’t care whether or not I reach my goals, but that they are important to me and important to my family. The saying has become a humorous family motto we vocalise whenever someone is making excuses for why they shouldn’t live up to their commitments.

If we don’t chop the wood and carry the water, then our bodies can’t survive. If I don’t prioritise my life and work on my goals, then my character suffers.

What is your favourite movie and why?

Movie Review: Donnie Darko (2001)
Written and Directed by Richard Kelly
Jake Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Mary McDonnell, Holmes Osborne

The atmospheres portrayed in my favourite films heavily influence the stories I write. It’s an inspirational feat when all of the elements of a movie come together, leaving you with an often inexpressible emotion long after the credits have finished rolling. Richard Kelly’s 2011 debut film, Donnie Darko, was the first movie I watched that showed me the power of a well-designed film while teaching me that I tend to gravitate towards narratives exploring the less illuminated aspects of our existence.

The opening scene establishes that the thought-provoking events about to unfold will take place in the leafy neighbourhood of Middlesex County, Virginia. The film’s central character, Donald ‘Donnie’ Darko, wakes up after a night of sleepwalking next to his bike in the middle of a winding road, chuckling as he overlooks the ominous mountains and valleys below. An eighties timestamp is masterfully imprinted onto the film when Echo & The Bunnymen’s, The Killing Moon, becomes the soundtrack to which Donnie calmly rides his way back home. A series of beautifully directed slow-motion interactions introduces us to Donnie’s stable, nuclear family consisting of his mother, father an older sister and a younger sister.

The intense elements of human relationships are explored throughout the film, constantly making it difficult for the interdependent narratives to fit neatly into the “science-fiction psychological thriller” genre under which the movie is often filed. The writing comes into its own when events that would typically be the focus of any other Hollywood production of the same genre fade away into the background, guiding your curiosity towards the enigmatic relationships transpiring between the characters. Events such as the giant, talking bunny rabbit that visits Donnie in the middle of the night to inform him the world is going to end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds, become mere catalysts for the fact that every character is about to find themselves in an alternate, parallel reality, where their desires and dreams are eventually exposed and poetically shattered.

Despite his resistance to the evidence (narrowly missing death after a stray jet engine crashes into his bedroom), Donnie comes to accept his inevitable fate as the one who must make things right again by building a time machine powered by the cognitive dissonance of others. This revelation occurs without a single special effect distracting you from the undercurrent of distress flowing between the characters. To sow this discontent, Donnie is encouraged to commit some otherwise grave crimes while exploring both his demons and his romantic side in an all-too-relatable high-school romance with his new classmate, Gretchen Ross. All the while, Donnie is supported by a loving family and surrounded by a group of committed friends. This break away from the stereotypical “woe is me” hero makes the pain Donnie feels in uncovering the darker nature of the universe all the more relatable.

The film recklessly hovers over the edge of self-indulgence, but, thanks to the skilful editing of Sam Bauer and Eric Strand, it never makes the leap over this dreaded cliff (a fact reinforced when die-hard fans excitedly watched the Director’s Cut, only to be faced with an unrecognisable butchering of the carefully constructed and subtle plot lines of the original film). There are also several anecdotes that much of the cast had a very surface-level understanding of the movie’s plot even following the film’s initial screenings. Despite this, over the past seventeen years, I have kept returning to Donnie Darko, drawing on its tone to help me develop my own creative projects while taking pleasure in introducing the film to a newer viewership whenever the opportunity presents itself. The climactic ending alone is worth the investment of patience demanded by the film.

I rate Donnie Darko 8 out of 10 talking bunny rabbits.

Work in progress & plans for your blog in the next year

My current project is to remain focused on writing a story that I’m proud of every day. I’m also working with an extremely talented artist, Alisha Towers, who has contributed beautifully hand-drawn illustrations to over twenty-five of my stories. Alisha continues to amaze me with her dedication and talent. You can read about Alisha and her motivations by reading her guest post here:  Meet My Illustrator – Alisha Towers

I haven’t been able to resist the temptation to ‘branch out’ and attempt sub-projects such as uploading a YouTube reading of the stories, but I learned very quickly that fitting any more on to my plate that what is already there is a challenge to say the least. Having said that, however, I’ve found myself subconsciously decking out my writing space in preparation for recording audio of the tales and making them available for download either directly or as a podcast. I’m hoping that if I keep telling myself that it’s going to be easy then that will make it true!

Until then, I have more than enough to keep me busy and to hopefully keep you entertained.

What is your favourite piece of music?

When all else fails, I can draw on the following song for inspiration. I’d wager that even I’d be surprised by the percentage of my tales written to or at least inspired by the following song:

Starálfur by Sigur Ros: Amazon

©Images Gregg Savage

A taste of the tales..

About the collection.

First Everything, Now This is a collection of the 10 most popular short stories taken from The Daily Children’s Tales of Gregg Savage. Combining humour, philosophy and imagination, the tales are designed to entertain you while encouraging a fresh perspective on your daily experiences. Each story takes place in a world where things may not work out for the best and where the mundane can become the extraordinary in a matter of minutes.

A new tale is written daily and posted on greggsavage.net to allow the audience to interact with a story that was written only moments ago. Immerse yourself in the world every day by visiting the website and joining in the conversation.

Head over and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/First-Everything-Now-This-October-ebook/dp/B078GTXZX9

and at Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/First-Everything-Now-This-October-ebook/dp/B078GTXZX9/

Connect to Gregg

Websitedailytales.com.au
Email Subscription [Have a tale delivered every day]: eepurl.com/djHdK1
Facebookfacebook.com/greggsavagedailytales
Twitter – twitter.com/greggsavage
Amazonamazon.com/author/greggsavage
Mediummedium.com/@greggsavage
Redditreddit.com/r/DailyTales/

My thanks to Gregg for such an interesting glimpse into his writing background and influences and his future plans. Thanks to you for dropping in today and I know Gregg would love to answer your questions. Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Open House Sunday Interview – Writer, traveller and wild west nut Jo Clutton


Welcome to the Open House Sunday Interview and this week my guest is Jo Clutton.. who manages two blogs covering her eclectic range of interests from travel and adventure to Wild West enactment. Before we find out more let me introduce her to you.

About Jo Clutton.

I’m Jo – quirky artist, writer, traveller, mental health advocate, music lover, wild west nut intrigued by science. Renaissance soul with potty sense of humour. Pleasantly eccentric, I’m told. Five years ago I miraculously recovered from 30 years of depression over a period of three years. I’m blogging about the rebuild of my polymath life on Creating My Odyssey. Five years ago chance led Husband and I to the mental health team who brought me to where I am now. Which proves that provided sufferers of depression know where to look, help is available. That’s the hard part. My blog is a great vehicle for my creativity and life. I’m unleashing everything that was hidden under a bushel! I’ve been writing an epic Wild West novel forever, Alias Jeannie Delaney. Since my recovery I decided it’s time to get it out there. I’m blogging about it and Husband has taken me in hand and we’re slowly editing our way through it.

Now time to explore Jo’s blogs further and discover what other adventures she would like to tackle in the future.

Welcome Jo and could you tell us a little more about your two blogs?

Creating My Odyssey is my creative mental health blog. I’m chronicling the rebuild of my polymath creativity and life after recovering completely from thirty years of depression and anxiety. My posts cover my renaissance soul lifestyle.

Renaissance soul. What does that mean? It’s someone who has many disparate interests. Unrelated to each other. Polymath and scanner are other names for it. People who find it hard to settle for just one or two interests.

Many years ago I decided that I was a renaissance soul. I listed my main interests as ‘artist, writer, traveller and wild westerner’. I loved that thought!

Other interests that I write about are rowing, canoeing, the paranormal, architecture, archaeology, history of medicine and photography, space travel and research, films, reading, walking, yoga, archery and history.

For example my visit to the Victoria and Albert museum last year to see the Festival of Design. They’ve redesigned the museum and it’s fabulous

I would say that the whole blog sums me up! I’m anti-ageist, childlike, and have a potty sense of humour, and I’m pretty feisty!  Creating my odyssey

But here is an excerpt from one of my recent travel posts 

NEVER WALK A LEVADA…

…a bonkers thing to do.
You might fall off,
you might fall in –
it’s better to go to the zoo!

For those of you who do not know,
a Levada is like a canal.
It waters the fields,
the bananas and veg –
it’s good to walk with a pal!

You find them in Madeira,
they follow the lay of the land.
They’re beside the sea,
or scarily high –
hold onto the railings – both hands!

 You can read the rest of the post and see more photographs: Never walk a Levada

My second blog, Kitty Le Roy is dedicated to my wild west hobby.  I’ve been fascinated by the west forever, particularly the rough, tough, sharp shootin’ women of the west. I’ve researched many of these women over the years and did some living history camping in recent years, emulating my western heroines.

I have a cabin in my back garden. It’s well weathered now and filled with western artefacts (goat skull, steer horns, canned grub, whiskey bottles, art by me and western images). I’ve recently replaced the roof, with the help of JC, and intend, this summer to get it in shape again.

This interest has ‘spurred on’ (sorry!) my epic novel writing Alias Jeannie Delaney, the life story of a devastating cowgirl who’s the fastest gun in the west and also bisexual. I’m working on this as we speak, with the help of Husband.

Do you prefer television, film or theatre?

I love films (action, comedy) and television (the same. quiz shows, who dunnits, antique shows, some comedy, Neighbours!) Of the action films that I enjoy I would probably choose Star Trek – any one of the series. Love the characters and the humour, quite apart from the action.

Sally here:  I have found this fight scene between Captain Kirk and Spock… I am a Trekkie..too.  A lovely slice of Ham…..

What is the one big adventure that you would like to experience?

Two big adventures! The first one is to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef. I love water, particularly the tropics, would love to see Australia (we have friends there), and always wanted to try snorkelling. I’d love to have been a marine archaeologist, diving down to wrecks, but the idea of deep scuba diving in a mask is particularly scary, so snorkelling will do nicely!

Here is a short video from Queensland, Australia

And the second adventure would be to see the Aurora Borealis in colour.

Tell us about your work in progress, plans for your blog in the next year any special events that are coming up that are very special to you.

As I mentioned I have been writing Alias Jeannie Delaney forever, on and off for thirty years during depression and young parenthood to help keep me sane! My husband is finally helping me edit it chapter by chapter. I was too embarrassed by it before. I decided after recovering completely from depression that it was time to get it out there. I also want to extend my blog and post pieces about other creatives and renaissance souls.

What is your favourite piece of music?

That  is an impossible question because I love so many, and I enjoy many genres. Some pop, dance, heavy metal, some jazz, some opera, classical, rap, 80s, rock n’‘roll…

With such a wide range of styles to choose from I have picked a classic Western sound track from a film I am sure will fit in with Jo’s and Kitty’s love of the era. The Big Country.

 

My thanks to Jo for joining us today and I do hope you will head over and enjoy her two blogs. Certainly plenty of interesting topics to enjoy for everyone.

Just a reminder of the blogs and other places to connect to Jo.

Blog: www.jo-b-creative.blogspot.co.uk
Blog: http://www.kitty-le-roy.co.uk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/clutton_jo
Google + : Jo Clutton Google

Thank you for dropping in today and look forward to your feedback.. Thanks Sally

 

Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Johnny Mathis, Fish & Chips with Coffee, Cafe and Bookstore Spring Showcase and Boxing Cats.


Welcome to the weekly round up and it is Easter Sunday when around the world, millions will be celebrating the religious festival. Wherever you live and however you celebrate I wish you a Happy Easter and start to springtime.

It is also  April 1st…traditionally the day of the year where practical jokes are played on the unsuspecting around the world.

One of the first and best on television was shared by the usually very serious BBC programme ‘Panorama’ in 1957… absolutely brilliant….

If you have had a really good April Fool’s prank played on you.. please share in the comments…

Meanwhile, here on the blog it has been a busy week with wonderful contributions from our columnists William Price King with the first in the series on Johnny Mathis, Carol Taylor who shared some great ways to use Vinegar and to make home made Fish & Chips.. and to finish of this feast, Paul Andruss with a dissertation on one of the most popular beverages on the planet… Coffee.

Without further ado.. on with this week’s round up.. Thank you for dropping in and for all your support.. it makes my day.

The Music Column with William Price King and the first in the new series on Johnny Mathis and his career.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/28/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-with-william-price-king-meet-johnny-mathis/

Writer in Residence Paul Andruss shares myths, legends and things we take for granted… in a unique and illuminating manner.. today he expresses himself on the subject of coffee… (Sorry could not resist)…. Over to you Paul…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/30/smorgasbord-writer-in-residence-coffee-a-noxious-concoction-by-paul-andruss/

The Food Column with Carol Taylor – Find out all you need to know about Vinegar.. using ‘shrubs’ strawberries and how to make the perfect homemade fish & chips.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/28/smorgasbord-blog-magazin-carol-taylors-food-column-vinegar-home-cooked-fish-and-chips-and-strawberries/

Esme’s Party Piece – Two week prediction based on the charateristics of the zodiac signs. For fun only….

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/29/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-esmes-party-pieceeaster-lucky-numbers-and-a-touch-of-colour-predictions/

Personal Stuff.

Letters from America – 1985 – 1987 – A long weekend in San Francisco with an unexpected first night with strange encounters.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/29/smorgasbord-letters-from-america-1985-1987-beverly-hills-cop-sleepless-nights-in-san-francisco/

I was very honoured to have been nominated for The Sunshine Blogger Award… a lovely Easter surprise and an opportunity to nominate some of my new blogging contacts. My thanks to Laura Bailey of ‘All the shoes I wear’ and here is one of her recent posts.. at a dog show.. for all you dog lovers out there..https://alltheshoesiwear.wordpress.com/2018/03/25/im-still-alive/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/29/the-sunshine-blogger-award-a-lovely-way-to-start-the-holidays/

Tales from the Garden – Trouble in Paradise – Part One.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/31/smorgasbord-short-stories-tales-from-the-garden-trouble-in-paradise-part-one-by-sally-cronin/

Trouble in Paradise – Part Two

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/01/smorgasbord-short-stories-tales-from-the-garden-trouble-in-paradise-part-two-by-sally-cronin/

Smorgasbord Open House Sunday Interview.

Delighted to welcome author Stevie Turner to the Open House today. We will find out about those iconic figures in history that she would like to pop back in time to meet, her blog, the inventions that she wishes had never existed and the five experiences she believes we should all enjoy in our lifetimes.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/41cr21evdsl-_uy250_.jpg?w=276&h=409

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/01/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-open-house-sunday-interview-author-stevie-turner/

Posts from Your Archives

Sadly this is the last of the posts from the archives of Debby Gies (until she kindly delves back in again for the next series!). This is about things we miss… and take for granted… until they are no longer there.

Anyway.. Debby shares her thoughts on her house, garden and old shopping buggy.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/27/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-things-we-keep-by-d-g-kaye/

Welcome to the final post in the current series of posts from the blog of Susanne Swanson which she published in 2016. Seattle is a wonderful city and I have been a couple of times.. but it does rain a lot.  But if you are visiting and it should be a wet day, Susanne has a great suggestions to occupy you.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-another-rainy-day-in-seattle-means-mohai-by-susanne-swanson/

A warm welcome to Adele Marie Park who has sent a short story for the Easter and Spring weekend.  Tissue alert!

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/30/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archivesshort-story-easter-greetings-by-adele-marie-park/

Darlene Foster shares a post from her archives that brought back memories for me of our seventeen years in Spain. Easter is a big festival and is an occasion for all the family to take to the streets.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/31/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-semana-santa-easter-in-spain-by-darlene-foster/

Today Karen Ingalls shares a fable that carries a message to us all.. particularly at Easter and the beginning of Spring.. and a new cycle of life. A chance to perhaps change our perspective about the burdens we carry… Also two new reviews for Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir and Davida: Model and Mistress of Augustus Saint-Gaudens

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/01/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archivesa-fable-about-the-way-birds-first-got-their-wings-by-karen-ingalls/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Spring Showcase – a daily Easter parade of talented authors in the bookstore to showcase their most recent reviews.

Thomas the Rhymer

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/27/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-spring-showcase-spring-showcase-dolly-aizenman-dan-alatorre-paul-andruss-richard-ankers-carol-balawyder-andrea-balsara-judith-barrow-linda-bethea-ritu-bhathal-jac/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/28/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-spring-showcase-deborah-a-bowman-c-s-boyack-linday-bradley-sarah-brentyn-christine-campbell-anne-casey-luanne-castle-robbie-cheadle-colleen-chesebro-and-billy-ray-ch/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/29/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-spring-showcasemae-clair-lucinda-e-clarke-sue-coletta-kim-cox-sally-cronin-paul-cude-anita-dawes-and-jaye-marie-eloise-de-sousa-angie-dokos-k-d-dowdall/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/30/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-spring-showcaseaudrey-driscoll-matthew-drzymala-natalie-ducey-cage-dunn-jack-eason-mary-anne-edwards-m-c-v-egan-john-fioravanti-christoph-fischer-darlene-foster/

The Story Reading Ape

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/31/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-spring-showcase-tina-frisco-claire-fullerton-brigid-p-gallagher-teagan-riordan-geneviene-agnes-mae-graham-noelle-granger-malia-ann-haberman-sue-hampton-jena-c-henry/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/01/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-spring-showcase-amy-hoff-j-hope-suis-lyn-horner-john-w-howell-allan-hudson-deanie-humphrys-dunne-karen-ingalls-chuck-jackson-sandra-j-jackson-deborah-jay/

Smorgasbord Health Column

Part one on a series on the brain, its structure, dementia and the foods needed to supply the nutrients it needs.

Stem-&-Arteries-72dpi

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/26/the-smorgasbord-health-column-the-organs-of-the-body-the-brain-part-one-introduction-and-anatomy/

Aromatherapy – Chamomile essential oil.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/26/smorgasbord-the-medicine-womans-treasure-chest-aromatherapy-chamomile-essential-oil/

Vitamin B1- Thiamin

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) is a water-soluble vitamin. This means that along with the other B vitamins and Vitamin C it travels through the blood stream and any excess is eliminated in our urine. The body cannot store thiamin but it is found in tissues within the body such as in the liver, heart, kidneys and the nervous system where it binds to enzymes. This does mean that these types of vitamins need to be replaced from our food continuously.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/28/smorgasbord-health-column-just-food-for-health-nutrients-we-need-vitamin-b1-thiamin/

The next chapter in Turning Back the Clock – Taking care of the externals.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/27/smorgasbord-health-column-turning-back-the-clock-taking-care-of-the-externals-by-sally-cronin/

Humour and Afternoon video

A small and very frightened chimp is rescued and finally finds the hugs he needs.

The Lone Ranger and Tonto and a little Church Humour.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/27/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-the-lone-ranger-and-tonto-and-a-little-church-humour/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/28/smorgasbord-afternoon-video-seconds-out-and-in-the-red-corner-ginger-tom/

Men vs. Women in the Happiness Stakes and Marriage.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/29/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-men-vs-women-in-the-happiness-stakes-and-marriage/

Where does a bear sit? Anywhere he likes!

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/30/smorgasbord-afternoon-video-when-you-go-down-to-the-river-today-be-sure-of-a-big-surprise/

That’s it… thank you very much for helping to showcase the authors this week.. a few more of those posts to come as I move through the bookstore. Enjoy what is left of the Easter break and look forward to seeing you again soon…

 

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Open House Sunday Interview – Author Stevie Turner


Delighted to welcome author Stevie Turner to the Open House today. We will find out about those iconic figures in history that she would like to pop back in time to meet, her blog, the inventions that she wishes had never existed and the five experiences she believes we should all enjoy in our lifetimes.

First a little more about Stevie……..

About Stevie Turner

Stevie Turner works part time as a medical secretary in a busy NHS hospital and writes suspense, women’s fiction, and darkly humorous novels in her spare time. She won a New Apple Book Award in 2014 and a Readers’ Favorite Gold Award in 2015 for her book ‘A House Without Windows’, and one of her short stories, ‘Checking Out’, was published in the Creative Writing Institute’s 2016 anthology ‘Explain!’ Her psychological thriller ‘Repent at Leisure’ won third place in the 2016 Drunken Druid Book Award contest.

Stevie lives in the East of England, and is married with two sons and four grandchildren. She has also branched out into the world of audio books, screenplays, and translations. Most of her novels are now available as audio books, and one screenplay, ‘For the Sake of a Child’, won a silver award in the Spring 2017 Depth of Field International Film Festival. ‘A House Without Windows’ gained the attention of a New York media production company in December 2017.

Some of Stevie’s books are currently being translated into German, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. This includes The Donor that is now in Spanish.

I will now hand over to Stevie to share the questions that she chose to answer.

Who would you like to meet from the past who you would like to have a conversation with. What would you tell them about their behaviour that you admired or disapproved of?

When I’m walking over Tennyson Down on the Isle of Wight, I often imagine Lord Tennyson striding along his favourite walkway as well, with his black cape flowing out behind him. I’d love to go back in time to catch up with him and have a little chat as we march along the top of the cliffs. I’d tell him how much I enjoyed looking around Farringford House, his home on the Island, and how much I admire his poetry. Then we’d pop into Dimbola Lodge nearby and have tea with photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, who might even take a picture or two of us to hang on her wall with all the other Victorian creatives already there. We’d sit and chat about poetry, about life, and about how on earth I’d managed to inveigle myself into Farringford House 120 years into the future.

Tell us about your blog and your main features. With a link to what you consider best sums you up as a blogger.

My blog is primarily a source of writing tips for authors, but I also blog about life experiences, and re-blog other writing that I find interesting. I’m enjoying running a free monthly short story/poetry competition on my blog, where I share a story of mine, and then choose my favourite story or poem from the submissions each month and share it on my newsletter and a few of my social media sites. Authors leave a link to their story on my blog so that the submissions can be read by everybody. It’s proving very popular, and at the end of the year I plan to collect all the winning stories or poems together and publish them in a free anthology.  https://steviet3.wordpress.com/2018/02/01/share-your-short-story-february/

Is there any invention that is a major part of our lives that you wish had not been invented?

Oh yes, the mobile phone! I got along without it very well for a good 40 years. It’s caused a whole generation of young people to be addicted to social media. They walk around in a trance, looking down at their phones and unaware of what’s going on around them. Teachers must have the devil of a problem trying to engage children, because even the youngest ones are carrying these phones around all the time. They are a terrible distraction and should be banned in schools, and have caused no end of problems regarding on-line bullying and even sexting.

Mobile phones are great for an emergency, such as breaking down on the motorway, and in my opinion they should be left in cars for just this kind of emergency. I’m sick of seeing people walking about lost in their phones in case they’re missing a message. Mobile phones are turning people into zombies.

What are the top five experiences or activities that you feel that everyone should complete in their lifetime?

  1. Find a soul mate. It makes life worth living if you can find somebody to love who also loves you back, and is there for you in times of trouble.
  2. Become a parent. It ‘rounds’ you off as a person; you learn tolerance, patience, and selflessness. Also, teaching your son or daughter to read and watching them grow to have a love of books is very satisfying.
  3. Find enjoyable employment: Everybody needs to work and earn a living unless you are born rich. It makes sense to find a job that you actually look forward to going to. If you hate your job you will be miserable.
  4. Travel to another country to sample a different culture. You will be amazed how some folks live! A few of the many places I’ve travelled to are The Sambadrome in Rio, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, St. Lucia, Canada, Switzerland, Minorca, Majorca, Ibiza, Crete, France and Germany. However, to me there is no place like the UK. It’s home!
  5. Learn to drive a car. It makes you independent. When I was 17 my father told me he was going to teach me to drive. I remember answering in the negative, because I was too nervous to learn. Undeterred, he told me I would thank him some day. He took me to a quiet road and with endless patience taught me how to make a car do something other than shoot forward ‘kangaroo’ style. Now I live out in the ‘sticks’ and thank him every day for not giving up on me and letting me learn to drive at my own pace.

Can you tell us about your WIP?

I’m currently working on a contemporary crime novel, but have no idea when it will be finished!

What is your favourite piece of music?

Too many to mention, but one that stands out is Chopin’s Nocturne in E Flat Major, Op.9 No.2

Here is the very accomplished Valentina Lisitsa Youtube Channel music available from Amazon

One of Stevie Turner’s books to receive a recent review.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/41cr21evdsl-_uy250_.jpg?w=276&h=409

About the book

Dr Beth Nichols thinks she has been held captive by Edwin Evans for about 8 or 9 years now. Amidst her grief she often looks back and thinks about her fiancée Liam; theirs was the greatest romance of all. She lays awake at night staring at the one light bulb that is never switched off, and prays that he is still out there somewhere searching for her…

One of the recent reviews for A House Without Windows

This book has an unusual storyline with each chapter taking us into the minds and real life thoughts of each character, I could liken this story to the book/movie – Room, but the story isn’t only about ‘the room’ Beth is held captive in, but life after she is freed and the perspectives of every day life after being a victim.

A House Without Windows is the story of Beth Nichols whose compassion as a doctor leads to a scary nightmare in real life when Edwin Evans forms a ploy to kidnap her and keep her locked up all for himself. The story begins as a psychological thriller where Beth’s captivity in a tiny room with no windows becomes her life and the only home she will know for almost ten years,

Turner does a great job of giving us readers a ringside seat into what life is like for Beth, leaving us feeling uncomfortable, anxious, taking us in, almost as though we were that hostage, and wondering how on earth she will ever get out of her hell. Beth is a strong-willed and an intelligent woman, which has much to do with how she manages to stay sane while enduring solitude and the daily abuse, all the while remembering her love for her dear fiancee Liam.

I don’t want to reveal spoilers so it’s better I don’t talk about what happens in the second half of the book. Suffice it to say, I will plant some questions here that came to my mind as I read this captivating book:

Beth: How does one continue on back in the real world when it comes to love and sex and trust?

Beth: How does a mother keep love in her heart for a child who was born from rape?

Amy: How does a child born in captivity adapt to the real world after young childhood years in 4 walls?

Liam: Does true love ever die no matter the circumstance even after moving on and accepting the love of your life is dead?

Joss: Does being born of the spawn of a psychotic maniac carry through the genes?

These are just a few questions that came to mind and will no doubt come to any reader’s mind as they read this book, and as you continue to read those answers will be revealed. Turner has done a fantastic job of fleshing out characters, settings and mood. I would highly #recommend this book!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/House-Without-Windows-Stevie-Turner-ebook/dp/B00HUH6R7Q

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/House-Without-Windows-Stevie-Turner-ebook/dp/B00HUH6R7Q

A selection of books by Stevie Turner

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Stevie-Turner/e/B00AV7YOTU

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Stevie-Turner/e/B00AV7YOTU

Follow Stevie Turner on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7172051.Stevie_Turner

Connect to Stevie Turner

Website: http://www.stevie-turner-author.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StevieTurnerAuthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/StevieTurner6
Blog: https://steviet3.wordpress.com/
Google: https://plus.google.com/u/0/105747643789021738179/posts/p/pub
Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/stevieturner988/
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Stevie-Turner/e/B00AV7YOTU/
Email: stevie@stevie-turner-author.co.uk
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7172051.Stevie_Turner
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClWFuLQHDqGmOM3KbKJ-Z0g

My thanks to Stevie for joining us today and as always we would love to have your feedback and questions… Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Open House Sunday Interview – Author Joy Lennick


Please welcome my guest this week, author Joy Lennick who shares her love of the 20th century, her adventures she has encountered during her 30 years as an author, her favourite colour and music.

Before we find out more… a little bit about Joy.

About Joy Lennick

Having worn several hats in my life: wife, mum, secretary, shop-keeper, hotelier; my favourite is the multi-coloured author’s creation. I am an eclectic writer: diary, articles, poetry, short stories and five books. Two books were factual, the third as biographer: HURRICANE HALSEY (a true sea adventure), fourth my Memoir MY GENTLE WAR and my current faction novel is THE CATALYST. Plenty more simmering…

Supposedly ‘Retired,’ I now live in Spain with my husband and have three great sons.

Given a choice of centuries to live in which would it be and why?

As I’m fascinated by Georgian architecture and dress, plus something indefinable about the period, I decided -. as I’ve tried Time Travel before (don’t ask…) – to visit the 1700s. I found it most interesting for a while and even witnessed the writer Jane Austen stepping from her carriage in front of her home in………………. Then as luck, or rather bad luck, would have it, I suffered gnawing toothache and headed for a dentist. The screams emanating from a terrified patient in the surgery had me quaking in the waiting room, so I decided to – post haste –return once more to the 1930s, where I knew I could have my tooth painlessly removed. The relief which followed this strategy was immense, so I decided to re-experience the 20th century-

In 1932, the year of my birth, the United Kingdom was between two wars, so peace reigned. My parents worked hard and were loving; our garden was an oasis of flower-adorned green, and Sunday roasts boasted peas, beans and carrots from our treasured patch of earth.

Into this idyllic scene, came my brother Terence, two years later. He was such a quiet baby and child, Mum said “He’s there when he isn’t, and isn’t when he is!” which totally confused me. Two years afterwards, I helped the midwife bathe second brother, Bryan.
Life was sweet. The Ink Spots sang on the wireless, Mum danced to the music of Edmundo Ross while dusting and we played Snakes & Ladders, flicked cigarette cards down the hallway, made ‘objects’ out of Meccano, and read books..

Dad joined the Royal Air Force Reserves, while a lunatic with a silly moustache raved in Germany in 1938/9, and Dad fumed as he had to dig up his rose-beds and erect an ugly outdoor air-raid shelter when war was declared.

Mum, being Welsh, it was decided that Wales would be a safer haven, and we found ourselves in Merthyr Tydfil living with ‘The Jones family:’ relatives who were wonderfully kind. Hitherto not allowed to play outside the confines of our garden in flat Dagenham, in Esssex, the ‘great outdoors’ yawned, inviting, and blackberry-loaded bushes had me salivating… .

With Dad in France and Mum working in a munitions factory, we children had different, and many, fun adventures.

I joined the library: burning the candles to stubs at night, reading the Brothers Grimms’ (so what I had nightmares!) and Hans Christian Anderson tales, plus anything else with words on…

The freedom of movement in Wales was liberating, and I enrolled at a dancing school, which was what dreams were made of, until circumstances changed after my third, dear brother, Royce was born.

When in Wales, Mum’s young cousin Islwyn was killed by a coal-fall at the age of seventeen and my Dad’s youngest brother, my Uncle Bernard, a navigator in the Royal Air Force, was declared ‘missing’ at the age of 22. He never did return from the war.
Despite such tragedies, eventually, peace brought relief from the threat of bombs, and the celebrations on London Bridge were euphoric.

The 40’s and 50’s were a fabulous time to grow up, despite no central heating or TV sets…We were entertained by Big Band sounds via Glen Miller and Harry James, the cool jazz of Ella Fitzgerald, with crooners Sinatra and Crosby, et al, singing understandable lyrics….

Gradually, such boons as fridges, washing machines and central heating, brightened our lives too.

The strides forward in medicine were astounding. In my infancy, thousands died of tuberculosis; now almost eradicated, and the surgical advancement is mind-boggling. The last decades have been a time of revelation and the refinement of technological advancement has left me speechless. And that’s saying something!

What adventures have you had publishing your work?

“Life’s path has many twists”   Anon

In 1983, my husband and I sold the small hotel-business we ran in Bournemouth, and I received a letter from Kogan Page Ltd., of London ASKING ME (?!) to write a book. (The editor had approached my former boss, asking did she know anyone who could write about hotel life. .Bingo!) Right place, right time, or what? The book was accepted, and I was paid an advance fee and another on publication and had to pinch myself. Defying belief, it sold extremely well and was reprinted due to demand. My eldest son, being an artist, designed the covers and I received regular royalties. The company then asked me to update two of their books, and write another on Jobs in Baking & Confectionery.. This entailed interviewing young people in colleges and doing research, all of which I enjoyed. The first book was titled Running Your Own Small Hotel (1984/5).

I then ran a postal poetry group called Odes for Joy which was fun. (The five pound yearly fee was given back in prizes.) After winning a couple of poetry prizes myself, I had Celtic Cameos & Other Poems published.

‘Life’ then intruded, and eventually…my husband and I retired to the Costa Blanca region of Spain.

I joined The Torrevieja Writing group and won first prize for Worth Its Salt in the First International Short Story Writing Competition held in Torrevieja in 2005, and was a judge for the following two years.

And now a sour note…Well, life is not all buttercups and roses, is it?. I was introduced to an epileptic sailor, and immediately succumbed to his plea for a writer to pen his on-going sea adventures. The BBC had already given him coverage when he rowed, single-handed (strapped in) across the Atlantic in a small boat. He tried to row the Pacific but nearly died, and I had his salt-stained log books, scribbled in in pencil, smothered with expletives and bad English to decipher…While I frowned and typed, he was attempting to cross the Pacific again! He had to be rescued in a very bad state, but recovered and had quite a tale to tell…

Meanwhile, I eventually covered all three rows and took a draft copy of the book to show his mother who lived in Clacton, UK (a much nicer human being than her son!). I spent the next two years…trying to find a publisher (the BBC declined) which cost me a penny or two. Repeated assurances he would pay me, never materialized. I eventually found an excellent publisher in Spain: Libros International: and the book Hurricane Halsey become a reality. I was delighted, despite an empty pocket…as the photographs and covers were superb. Then Libros went out of business before a book-signing could be arranged! I sold several copies to friends and family (which I had purchased) after which I received threatening letters from said sailor that he would SUE ME?! (For buying and selling the books!!) Of course he had no grounds as I had signed on his behalf when the book was published, so I retained the copyright (not that I wanted it!). And there the matter rested. I put it down to just another of life’s experiences, bitter pill to swallow that it was.

(PS Because my early education was so abysmal (I attended seven schools!) I didn’t receive my A level English Lit. certificate until I was 66…)

What kind of music do you listen to and who are your favourite musicians?

“If music be the food of love play on Shakespeare.

Where to start? My husband and I both love an eclectic mix of music. We met at a ‘Jazz session’ held in the upstairs room of a public house in the East End of London, called ‘The Hayfield’ (he jokes he’s had the needle ever since…) I recall they played ‘Intermission Riff,’ ‘The Sabre Dance’ . to which we jived at half tempo…and one of Glen Miller’s latest hits. (As it was 69 years ago this autumn, I’m surprised I remembered.) We spent some of our courting time in the ‘Eleven Club’ in London and Ronnie Scott’s, plus The Lyceum ballroom, and Hammersmith Palace, cutting many a rug over the years. We admired Johnnie Dankworth’s playing and adored Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, and a whole talented group of singers and other musicians like Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong. My favourite instruments are the saxophone, piano and violin, and Ben Webster played a mean sax…while Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington were no slouches either. We also grew to love modern jazz.

I hope that Joy will enjoy this… Feeling Good… with Johnny Dankworth and Cleo Laine

I recall my parents playing records way back when and hamming it up – dancing a mock tango to Jealousy, and Dad played the powerful Bolero a lot, while one of my aunts played the piano beautifully. Her Rustle of Spring was memorable .During the war years, when on leave from the munitions factory, Mum pounded the ivories ‘by ear’- an expression I always found amusing. She played Roll out the Barrel and another war-time favourite: Kiss me Goodnight Sergeant Major.

I recall, as a child dancer, my teacher having excellent musical taste, and tap-dancing to the haunting strains of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, dressed to kill in silver and pale blue satin.

After marriage, we bought a smart radiogram, and apart from the delightful Nutcracker Suite , purchased several near soul-searing, beautiful recordings. We spent many lazy evenings listening to favourites like Scheherazade,and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons; and I was soon familiar with the music of masters like Shostakovich, whose 2nd piano concerto, in particular, is heavenly, with Tchaikovsky twanging the heart-strings in the wings…

In later years, I listened to several riveting concerts at The South Bank and adored musicals. I actually appeared in Carousel as a dancer (in an amateur production I hasten to add), and saw many West End productions such as Candide, Fiddler on the Roof, South Pacific, et al. And who, with blood in their veins, could not swoon with joy at the dancing and music from West Side Story?! Another treat was seeing The Gypsy Kings in London. Few people were seated once they got going! The atmosphere was electric.

It’s pleasing to note that, while each of our three sons has his own particular taste in music, they all appreciate a lot of the classical and jazz music we played to them over the years. At times though, my ears were ‘tortured’ by Punk, gently massaged by middle of the road stuff and excited by Reggae, which I enjoyed, and to which I ‘skanked’ (Oh MOTHER!) on occasion … ..

We have been extraordinarily lucky to have been fed such varied, fabulous music over the years. I was a great fan of the Three Tenors, and what an ear for music John Williams has, and Leonard Bernstein had! Nigel Kennedy also deserves a mention, and now we have settled in Spain, I love to listen to the passionate, soulful sound of the Spanish guitar. We have a delightful, small theatre in Torrevieja, and I heard the local youth orchestra play there, who were brilliant. During the last few years, another, larger theatre with excellent acoustics was built on the perimeter of our town. A cliché now – last but not least – a piece that ‘wrings me out emotionally:’ Joaquin Rodrigo’s The Concerto de Aranquezz, arguably one of the best guitar compositions of the 20th century.

What a gap there’s been since I played the triangle and tambourine at Infant’s school. Time is such a self-serving cannibal.

What is your favourite colour and why?

My favourite colour is blue, and on the world stage, BLUE stands tall and proud. One of the three primary colours of pigments in painting, it has been important over the years in art and decoration. In The 8th century in China, artists used cobalt blue and woad was used in clothing, until replaced by indigo from the United States in the 19th century. In the Renaissance period, the most expensive pigment was ultramarine. Dark blue was favoured for military uniforms, and because of its association with harmony, the colour blue was used for business suits in the 20th century, and for the flags of the United Nations and the European Union.

As a writer, I delight in all five senses, and despite maturity (lucky me), mine are still going strong. My hearing is so sharp, MO half calls me a bloodhound, and even my eyes are not too bad. As mentioned above, my favorite colour is blue, and on our modest, family stage -for are we not all minor players in the great play?? – the colour blue features markedly in our make-up. One side of the family is of Celtic origin: Ireland and Wales, and a larger proportion have bluey-grey through to deep blue eyes. Both parents had blue eyes, as do my surviving two brothers and myself. Two of my three sons also have blue eyes; the eldest having brown like his Dad.

And so, when it comes to what I wear: blue, MO half’s choice too, it’s often in the picture. From ‘powder’ to ‘baby, ‘‘petrol,’ through to ‘navy,’ ‘cobalt,’ or ‘Prussian,’ you’d find them all in my wardrobe at one time or another. I also love turquoise and lapis lazuli, the deep blue shade found in metamorphic rock used in semi-precious jewellery..

And then there are stained glass windows in churches and cathedrals. How many times have I stood, transfixed, as the light shone through one and the depth of the blue – often ‘Madonna’ – almost took my breath away in its rich and vivid splendour.

At school, I recall the particular smell of crayons as I coloured in a sky – always blue – of course, and the difficulty encountered trying to get the sea to look natural…And, on our various travels, I remember comparing the different skies and plumping for the Mediterranean ones…We lived in Canada for eighteen months before our children arrived, and – however cold it became – and it did… the sun shining against a brilliant blue back-drop always lifted the spirits. No wonder we love our Spanish skies so much!

Prussian, azure and cobalt blues again featured when I took up art in my fifties and struggled to make the sea look natural with my water colours, although my skies were passable. And looking in master Pablo Picasso’s direction, he had a very ‘Blue’ period between 1901 and 1904, at which time he painted essentially monochromatic paintings in shades of blue and blue-green, only now and then warmed by other colours.

What a rich, colourful, planet we live on. It’s a tragedy we don’t give it as much love as it deserves!

Tell us something about your work in progress.

On the back.burner… The Highs and Lows of Leticia Dombrowski

Being of the Jewish faith, the Dombrowski family are fated for the same, horrific treatment meted out to many others of their ilk. The head of the family: Daniel, an art restorer, is arrested and murdered by the Nazis when they march into Poland in 1939. His daughter, Rebecca, is sent to the safety of the UK, but the repercussions of her experiences affect her life and that of her illegitimate daughter, Leticia. The story follows Leticia through childhood to adulthood and highlights her strengths and weaknesses. She proves to be feisty, intelligent and something of a rebel, while having an innovative talent for jewellery design and art. Being wildly attractive often lures the wrong type of attention, but she battles on and – after a surprise ‘inflation of funds’ – and the fulfilling of a charitable desire, wins the day.

Joy’s latest book was released in November 2017

About the book

A little book, full of jokes, Limericks, poems, short stories and one-liners, from husband and wife team, Joy and Eric Lennick.

Both authors in their own “write”, they have collaborated to bring you this fun read.

One of the reviews for the book.

I had the privilege and pleasure of reading this book pre publication and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was full of fun – jokes, poems, silly one liners – just the thing for popping in a Christmas stocking, or buying for one’s own amusement. Excellent read for Boxing Day!
I hope Mr & Mrs Lennick collaborate again and bring out another little book of fun. 

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Moon-Wearing-Tutu-Joy-Lennick-ebook/dp/B0784TFVGH

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Moon-Wearing-Tutu-Joy-Lennick-ebook/dp/B0784TFVGH

Other books by Joy Lennick

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Joy-Lennick/e/B00J05CJLY/

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Joy-Lennick/e/B00J05CJLY

Read other reviews and follow Joy on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3124773.Joy_Lennick

Connect to Joy

Blog: https://joylennick.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joy.lennick

My thanks to Joy for sharing her childhood memories and her publishing adventures. We would be delighted to receive your feedback and thank you for dropping in today.. Thanks Sally

If you would like to be a guest on the Open House then here are the question choices and details: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/01/07/the-return-of-smorgasbord-open-house-interviews-for-all-writers-and-other-creative-artists/

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Open House Sunday Interview – Freelance travel writer and photographer Liesbet Collaert


My guest today is Liesbet Collaert who has a lifestyle that is very different to those of us who rarely stir from our comfort zones, except for the odd couple of weeks holiday.

Let’s find out more about Liesbet before finding out Belgium, her favourite leisure pastimes, the impact of modern technology and the five experiences we should all tick off our bucket list. Liesbet also shares some of her photographs from her travels which will certainly create wanderlust in most of us.

About Liesbet Collaert

Liesbet Collaert is a bilingual translator, proofreader, freelance writer and photographer from Belgium who has been writing and traveling her whole life. She specializes in sailing and cruising articles and has been published in all the major US, European, and Caribbean sailing magazines. Her (feature) stories and photos have appeared in Cruising World, Sail/Multihull Sailor, BWS/Multihulls Quarterly, Islands, Latitude 38, Latitudes & Attitudes (discontinued), Living Aboard (discontinued), Yachting World, Sailing Today, All At Sea, Caribbean Compass, Zeilen, and Varen. She has also been interviewed by IWAC (Interview with a Cruiser project), World Reviewer, Multihull Sailor, Infogem, and Flair, and has contributed to extensive cruising surveys for All At Sea and Caribbean Compass.

Books available: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Liesbet-Collaert/e/B073C9F8TW

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Liesbet-Collaert/e/B073C9F8TW

Liesbet published two walking tour guides of the Caribbean capital cities Marigot and Philipsburg when residing in St. Martin/St. Maarten on her sailboat Irie and is currently working on a memoir about her eight-year cruising journey in the Caribbean and South Pacific, incorporating her unique life’s experiences. While she is a very independent and free-spirited soul, her American husband Mark Kilty has played an important role in the last decade of her life. They are currently roaming about the United States while taking care of other people’s homes and pets.

Yosemite National Park – California

If your country of birth is not the country you now live in, tell us about it and what you miss most.

My home country is Belgium, where I was born, grew up, studied and worked for a few years as a primary school teacher. One summer in 2003, at age 27, I set out on an overland adventure in the US and Canada with my then American boyfriend (whom I’d met in Australia in 2001). One thing led to another, and I never returned. I have been a full-time nomad and “world citizen” since then, traveling and living in campers, on a sailboat and – for the last 2+ years – in other people’s homes as a house and pet sitter, while making money as a freelancer along the way. Currently and in the near future, my husband and I will remain in the United States, until I get my citizenship. That will be my new path to freedom and less border hassles!

I try to go back to Belgium once a year, to visit friends and family, which are – as you can imagine – the “things” I miss most from my native country. There are certain local foods and delicacies that I crave when abroad, like pastries, fresh bread, wholesome dairy products, extra dark chocolate, Liege waffles, and, of course, our biggest specialty of all: Belgian fries, as they should be called instead of French fries. And, before you wonder why I’m not mentioning our world-renowned brews, I am, indeed, a rare Belgian who does not like or drink beer.

While Brussels is often called the capital of Europe, Belgium is a bit of an underdog. I always compare my country to New Zealand in relationship to Australia, or Canada in relationship to the US. I like it that way. Just like those countries, we pack a punch and are small, but significant. There are many historical cities worth a visit – my favorites: Bruges, Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp, and Ieper. But, if you ever visit this densely populated place on a European tour, don’t blink or you miss it!

Society Islands, French Polynesia

Which is your favourite leisure pastime?

I guess that would be travel. While I had a pretty normal European youth, where my parents would take me and my brother on annual summer vacations to Southern Europe, I have always had a desire for adventure and the unfamiliar. I’m curious, I want to explore. As a teenager, I saved my pocket money to travel, leading to a 5-week hitchhiking odyssey to Italy with a friend when I was 17, and summer getaways throughout Europe and India later on.

I was raised in a modest way, financially. Being frugal my whole life, meant I could mostly live it on my own terms, incorporating lots of budget travel. I wasn’t (and still am not) interested in gadgets or “stuff” and saved most of my income to explore the world. Back in Belgium, I rented an affordable apartment and biked to work. I used public transportation or borrowed my dad’s car to venture further afield. I have never owned a house or a car, but collected incredible memories instead. It is amazing how liberating it feels to just pack up your things and move on.

Grenada, Caribbean

Travel defines my life and lifestyle, but it is the act of flexibility and going with the flow that brought me to where I am now. After graduating as a teacher, I backpacked around Southeast Asia for a year. That’s when my real sense for adventure was awakened. After two years at work in Belgium, I jumped on a plane to SE Asia again, adding Australia and New Zealand to the itinerary. This year of backpacking, I’d set out on my own. It was incredible, and I learned that, with so many like-minded souls out there, I was rarely ever really alone or lonely.

I returned to Belgium for another two years, which brings me to that fateful July of 2003. A year and a half of RVing in the US and Canada led to another year of camping experiences in Mexico and Central America. My future husband and I contemplated moving to Belize after that, but settled for a 35’ sailing catamaran instead. We found our new floating home in Annapolis, Maryland, after two months of tent camping, with our two big rescue dogs. Yes, we had two dogs on our drive to Panama and back as well. Initially, we had the Bahamas in mind as a cruising destination, but, eight years later, we found ourselves in Tahiti, where we sold our trustworthy Irie in 2015. Since then, we have been roaming the US as full-time house and pet sitters.

Fatu Hiva, French Polynesia

What is next? Well… we recently bought a camper van. Think about the potential! We have a reliable roof above our heads in times of need again, and a means to explore… South America, maybe?

In your lifetime, what event or invention has most impacted your own life or work?

There is only one answer to this question for me: the internet. When I first started traveling, I kept “in touch” with post cards, letters, poste restante (general delivery at local post offices) and expensive international calls. My parents might have been happier about this invention than me! Thanks to email and Skype, my husband and I have been able to keep in touch with loved ones all these years. Blogging has made my life “easier” since 2007, when I started logging stories and photos online about our adventures on our sailboat Irie, instead of writing and emailing monthly reports to a group of friends and family in English and Dutch.

On a work level, the internet is and has been indispensable for me and my husband. It has allowed us to work from the most remote places. Yes, that need to work has restricted us in terms of where we could go or anchor, but we partly solved that by inventing a long-range WiFi (and now also cell data) device to grab weather reports, stay in touch, and work from the comfort of our boat. We turned this product into a business in 2009 from St. Martin. My husband has been running our Wirie business successfully ever since. I earn extra income as a freelance writer and translator. Without the internet, we could not maintain our nomadic lifestyle.

Barbuda, Caribbean

What are the top five experiences or activities that you feel that everyone should complete in their lifetime?

  1. Before getting married, I would suggest every couple to travel with their partner for a full year, being together 24/7. That will make or break any relationship! And, no, I’m not suggesting to do so on a 35ft sailboat. If this is not possible, you should at least live together for a few years and go on several vacations as a couple. Not only will this enlighten you about your compatibility level and give you quality time to really get to know each other, but, the shock of being in each other’s company full-time when retiring will be reduced.
  2. Do at least one thing to expand your horizons or get out of your comfort zone. For me, it was bungy jumping, but it doesn’t have to be this extreme. An unfamiliar yet invigorating experience will teach you a lot about yourself and your (lack of) limitations.
  3. Whether it is a bucket list, dreams or goals you have created with not-to-be-missed activities, sights or experiences-of-a-lifetime, make sure you do at least one of them before it’s “too late.”
  4. Which brings me to not necessarily an experience or an activity to be completed in your lifetime, but a general and foolproof suggestion: do not postpone what is important to you now if at all possible. Really. It might be a cliché, but you do only live once and there is no way of telling what the near future looks like. Enough with the excuses! If there is a place on this earth you are dying to visit, please, (please, please) don’t wait until you are retired. So much can change, and I’m not only talking about your health here. Although, until a life-threatening event happens to you or a loved one, it is hard to realize how meaningful this plea is. Believe me, you don’t want to wait until something drastic happens to understand the importance of my suggestion. Go. Now! Do it. Now!
  5. Travel, of course. It is mind-opening. It is enriching. It gets you out into the world, meeting extraordinary people, savoring exotic foods, experiencing different cultures, witnessing the most amazing natural sights and, my favorite, it provides unique opportunities for wildlife encounters in their natural habitat.

The Abacos, Bahamas

And, just for fun, since I know this question is probably on your lips… My favorite places in the world so far? The Galapagos Islands for wildlife, the San Blas Islands in Panama for its indigenous indians, French Polynesia for its hospitality and cultural celebrations, Barbuda for the beaches, the Eastern Caribbean for sailing, South East Asia for architecture and affordability, Australia for diversity, and the Western United States for its National Parks.

Work in progress, plans for the blog in the next year, any special upcoming events?

I am currently working on a memoir about a decade in my life (my thirties), incorporating the joys, trials, and tribulations of a life less ordinary on a 35’ sailboat. It is a story about love, loss and living in the moment, meant to entertain, inspire, and surprise the reader, and keep them wondering what’s next on this crazy journey called “my life”.

With my memoir and my other writing, I hope to encourage people to enjoy life in a way that might not be mainstream. Unfortunately, because of this desire to explore and the guilt of sitting behind my computer when it is a nice day out, and all other kinds of distractions, projects and unexpected circumstances, this memoir appears to be a long-term project. The first draft is finished, but I need to cut it in half and shape it into a compelling narrative. I do hope to finish this book by the end of 2018.

No upcoming plans for my Roaming About blog yet. I enjoy writing it and sharing my experiences and photos from the road and while house and pet sitting. I know my topics could be more informative, focused and themed, and the posts more engaging, but I find it hard sometimes to find the energy and time to create “perfect” blog posts.

Maupiti, French Polynesia

Favorite piece of music:

Anything from the Eddie Vedder album “Into the Wild” (the soundtrack of the movie with the same name) – the story, movie, location and music resonates strongly with me.

The soundtrack to the film: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Music-Motion-Picture-Into-Wild/dp/B000WDXNSQ

The film: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Into-Wild-Blu-ray-Emile-Hirsch/dp/B0028PIQEM

©Liesbet Collaert images.

Connect to Liesbet

Blogs:

Roaming About – A Life Less Ordinary – www.roamingabout.com (current)
It’s Irie – Cruising the World the Way It Is – www.itsirie.com (2007 – 2015)

Facebook:

Personal: https://www.facebook.com/liesbet.collaert
Roaming About: https://www.facebook.com/roamingsabout
It’s Irie: https://www.facebook.com/ItsIrie

I am sure that you have enjoyed this interview as much as I have and Liesbet is looking forward to your feedback. Thanks for dropping by.. Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Madonna, Hot Cross Buns, Chicken Poop and Houston 1985


Welcome to the weekly round up where I get the chance to say thank you to the contributors to the blog and to also share posts you might have missed.

This week the snow has gradually disappeared, except for mounds that were piled up by the diggers that have remained by the sides of the roads. It looks like that will be the last snow for us this year and I am looking forward to spring which is just around the corner.

This week it was International Women’s Day and as a footnote.. but a large footnote, I want to say a massive thank you to the men in our community who consistently support all of us… whatever our gender.

The Music Column by William Price King – The Madonna Story – Part Three.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/07/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-with-william-price-king-madonna-part-three/

The Gardening Column with Paul Andruss… Mary, Mary quite contrary, How does your Garden Grow? With liberally spread poop.. of different varieties, but none so effective as that provided by the Chicken….

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/09/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-gardening-column-the-best-thing-to-come-out-of-a-chicken-by-paul-andruss/

 

The Food Column with Carol Taylor..This week Hot Cross Buns… make your own.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/07/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-carol-taylors-food-column-hot-cross-buns-and-fish-balls/

The Open House Interview

The guest for today’s Open House interview is Traci Kenworth who does an amazing job sharing links to our blogs and has written an impressive 11 books that she is now hoping to publish.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/11/smorgasborg-blog-magazine-the-open-house-sunday-interview-with-traci-kenworth-of-when-genres-collide/

Personal Stuff

On Thursday I held a virtual coffee morning and there were some great comments and links to other blogs featuring posts in tribute to the day. The main focus of my post was on the increasing levels of domestic violence in the UK that results in TWO women a week dying.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/08/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-coffee-morning-in-honour-of-international-womens-day-pressforprogress/

Letters from America 1985-1987 – this week getting to know our neighbours and introducing them to our version of Spaghetti Bolognese and Irish Jokes.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/08/smorgasbord-letters-from-america-1985-1987-poolside-chats-spaghetti-bolognese-and-irish-jokes/

Sally’s Drive Time Playlist.. this week nostalgia for the musicals – South Pacific and The King and I

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/09/sallys-drive-time-playlist-music-to-get-your-weekend-started-south-pacific-and-the-king-and-i/

Tales from The Garden – Serialisation – The Sanctuary.

I am sharing my short stories from Tales from the Garden in the run up to the release of Tales from the Irish Garden in the summer. This week an imminent birth and a pack of wild dogs lead a stranger to the Magic Garden.

 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/10/smorgasbord-short-stories-tales-from-the-garden-the-sanctuary-by-sally-cronin/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Update

Thomas the Rhymer

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/05/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-paul-andruss-jann-weeratunga-sacha-de-black-terry-tyler-and-dolly-aizenman/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/09/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-lyn-horner-mae-clair-colleen-chesebro-annika-perry-jaye-marie-and-anita-dawes/

 

Posts from your Archives

Travel Writer John Rieber shares a memorable trip to Barcelona and a ride on the overhead cable network that provides a birds eye view of this beautiful city.

barcelona from tram

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/05/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-barcelonas-sky-high-view-flying-over-spain-by-tram-by-john-rieber/

D.G. Kaye with her exploration the corrosive form of bullying.. verbal abuse that aims to break the spirit and claim dominance.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/06/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-the-other-inconspicuous-form-of-bullying-emotional-bullying-by-d-g-kaye/

A warm welcome to Susanne Swanson of Cats and Trails and Garden Tails who is sharing four posts from her archives. The first is a trip down memory lane to a house where Susanne lived and the creek where she and her friends played together. Many aspects of the environment have now changed and from a conservation perspective for the better.. but what about those memories?

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/07/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-tales-from-longfellow-creek-by-susanne-swanson/

Welcome to the second of the archive posts from Billy Ray Chitwood.. This week Billy explores our perception of ‘Soul’.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/09/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-enigma-of-the-soul-by-billy-ray-chitwood/

Sarah Zama shares another post from her archives and this week although slightly out of season.. she explores the spooky which to be honest is good anytime of year. Devil and the Arena of Verona

Arena of Verona - Piazza Bra

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/11/spooktacular-challenge-the-devil-and-the-arena-of-verona/

Health

Things you might not have known were added in the processing of cheese!

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/05/smorgasbord-health-column-processed-foods-vs-industrially-manufactured-foods/

The new Aromatherapy series continues with the first part of a list of the most common essential oils used for skincare, bath and massage.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/05/smorgasbord-medicine-womans-treasure-chest-aromatherapy-oils-origins-uses-and-safety/

A guest post from Brigid Gallagher about her diagnosis of fibromyalgia and the long road to recovery. Brigid shares the alternative health therapy and strategies that help live as full a life as possible.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/06/smorgasbord-health-column-inspirational-health-stories-life-lessons-on-the-importance-of-slow-by-brigid-gallagher/

The next chapter in the series Turning Back the Clock.. a natural anti-aging programme. This week are you breathing efficiently?

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/06/smorgasbord-health-column-turning-back-the-clock-chapter-five-are-you-getting-enough-oxygen/

It is so important to keep a record of your own prescription drugs and those of your children and elderly relatives. Also a record of past illnesses that might have a bearing on your current diagnosis.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/07/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-health-column-prescription-drugs-and-medical-records-for-your-family-by-sally-cronin/

The latest news on the PSA test for Prostate Cancer and concerns that it is leading to unnecessary surgery and other treatment that results in long term side-effects.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/08/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-health-column-the-latest-on-psa-tests-for-prostate-cancer/

Humour

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/05/well-fancy-that-some-little-known-facts-sally-cronin/

 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/06/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-sherlock-holmes-and-the-stars-at-night-and-ginger/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/07/smorgasbord-afternoon-video-i-think-i-will-have-a-bit-of-that-animal-thieves/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/08/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-you-are-in-the-navy-now/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/03/09/smorgasbord-afternoon-video-the-cat-and-the-tortoise-playing/

Smorgasborg Blog Magazine – The Open House Sunday Interview with Traci Kenworth of When Genres Collide


Welcome to the Open House interview and this week my guest is Traci Kenworth who is currently hoping to publish the first of the eleven books that she has written. I am very grateful for her support of the posts on here, mine and my guests.

Traci lives in Northeast Ohio with her son and daughter and four cats. She writes YA Fantasy, Scary, and Historical Romances and is a a member of YAFF (Young Adult Fiction Fantatics). As you will see from Traci’s interview, there have been some dark and challenging times in her life, and she credits writing and her faith as being instrumental in giving her purpose and helping her move forward.

The heroines that she writes about are created from those times and are survivors surrounded by those that they love.

I want to give others hope, and a way back when they think everything is lost.”

Very importantly for many of us, Traci generously shares our blog links on a regular basis on her blog, Where Genres Collide.

Here is the most recent link to one of Traci’s treasure troves of blog links: https://tracikenworth.wordpress.com/2018/03/06/reading-links-3-6-18/

Traci has many favourite authors including Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Robin McKinley, Terry Goodkind. Tanith Lee, Dean Koontz, Ramsey Campbell, Brian Lumley.

 Traci writes detailed reviews on Goodreads and here is a link to her latest: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/651732.Your_Wish_Is_My_Command

Time to find out more about Traci’s life, her favourite television shows that have inspired her, the most useful invention and an adventure she would like to experience.

http://www.villageofburton.org/About/History

Where were you born, and can you tell us something about the history of your place of birth or any interesting historical fact.

I was born in the 18th century village of Burton in Ohio. We were the first permanent settlement in Geauga County in 1798. We were also the first in Ohio to have the telephone available. If it weren’t for the local Native Americans, the first residents would’ve starved to death that first winter. Today, we have many of the original settler’s homes in the Geauga County Museum grounds. This is where I played as a child and I even attended church there. Every summer, there are tours through the old homes and they have Civil War reenactments. The inside of one of the houses is like a log cabin that Laura Ingalls Wilder might’ve lived in. There’s a sheriff’s station, a dress shop, a tack shop, a barbershop, a train, and an old-time store that’s still open today. It has a lot of old candies that are favorites of the children.

All these lands were part of The Western Reserve lands owned by Connecticut originally. We were named after one of the pioneer’s sons. In Ohio, we have trees called Buckeyes. People can also be called Buckeyes. These were favorites for me to collect as a child as they’re said to bring good luck. They were also good wood to build with when the settlers arrived. Our State bird is a Cardinal. Our state flag resembles the country flag, but it has a diamond and two circles within instead of the square. The state tree is the buckeye. Ohio is known as the mother of presidents as Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William Howard Taft and Warren G. Harding are from here. We also have the third largest Amish settlement in the United States.

What is your favorite all time television series?

This is a hard one to pick. There have been a lot of favorites over the years. If I had to choose one though, I’d say: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I had just gotten married when it came on and I used to sneak and watch it as much as I could. I liked that it was scary. I marveled that it had a girl at its center and she could kick some serious butt. More the point, it was like the high school years I remembered: dark and mysterious and hard to maneuver through. I became secretly obsessed with the show.

At the point when Angel turns into Angelus and begins killing everyone, I had discovered some darker things in my marriage than just the abuse. I felt like we shared that time, the pain, the horror, and when she began to fight back, to find her strength in all of that, I discovered that I could do the same in real life. Each step along the way of finding myself after and during the court days, I have to say was inspired by her. Her struggles, her hope, it all began to bleed into me and give me a reason to think I might survive. Not only survive, but conquer.

When the series ended, I cried but in that final episode, watching the survivors leave the hellhole, I felt I could finally put my past behind me and move on. And I did, slowly, learning every step of the way that I, too, was a fighter and stronger than I ever believed. Not only that, the kids began to see my strength and find it in themselves to step off the eggshells and live again.

In your lifetime what event or invention has most impacted your own life or work?

I would say the biggest impact in my life has been the computer. I started off writing with a typewriter like most then when I started bringing in some money, I switched to the word processor. I remember how those three-to-four lines frustrated me. I wanted to see more of my story. I didn’t get a computer until after I was divorced. It was a desktop and I treasured the thing. It was my salvation for all the anger and poison that was within me. It gave me a way to get all the pain down and out of me. It helped to free me to move on. I got my first laptop in 2009 and I’ve been through a couple of those now. They were nice to have but viruses plagued them and the blue screen signaled death for them. I write with a desktop now and boy have desktops come a long way!

My monitor is almost the size of our TV screen. I LOVE it! It lets me see quite a bit more than those three-to-four lines I started with. My desk is kind of broke at the moment. I use an old model kit for a dollhouse from the fifties or sixties to hold it up or rather the section that comes out for my keyboard tray. I have a second desk but it’s mostly storage for my files and what I’m working on. I can’t put my pc on this desk as it’s a rolled- drawer top one and the monitor won’t fit there.

Anyway, I’m happy that files have switched from disks to flash drives. Although I’ve lost a lot of work because of it. I did have two external hard drives, but they got corrupted. Lost a lot of work there too. I love that the computer allows me to store things, though I don’t leave it just to flash drives anymore. I email my stories and such to myself as well. Yes, the computer is probably the single biggest invention that’s impacted my life. I couldn’t bring my stories to submission-ready without it.

What is the one big adventure that you would like to experience?

I would like to visit the castles around the world. I’ve been fascinated by them since I was about ten or eleven and Princess Diana and Prince Charles got married. I’ve read many historical novels with castles in them. I’m curious to know what they’re like, how many rooms are in them, what one of those towers actually looks like on the inside and how steep their staircases must be to climb up into them. I wouldn’t want to be locked away in one, mind you. Just experience what castle life was like once upon a time and then what its like in the present time to live in one.

I watched a video recently about Kincaid Castle and how it was almost in ruins when the present owners took it over. What it takes to restore it to former glory. I don’t want to live in a castle. I just would like to know about life within their walls. I’ve been researching them as much as I can and listening to videos about them since I can’t afford to visit yet. What must princesses and knights etc. been like in real life? I’m sure some were downright brutish. Even the princesses but still, castles are on my list of things to experience firsthand.

Tell us about your work in progress, plans for your blog in the next year any special events that are coming up that are very special to you.

This is going to be hard. I’ve read you shouldn’t reveal too much about your work if you plan to traditional publish. I’ve had trouble before when I put the blurb up for one of my former stories and the agent I queried said that I’d self-published. I hadn’t, and I couldn’t figure out why she would say such. All I’d done like I said, was post the blurb. Other friends who traditional publish told me not to relay too much info until I have a book deal so forgive me if I seem vague to you. My work in progress is set in biblical times. It’s a YA Fantasy where the boy is shunned in his home town and is befriended by a girl of legendary fame. Together, they battle to save her people.

Plans for my blog for the next year are to continue to grow it and hopefully, hold on to my established readers. I want to provide better info for all so that they can come and see the links to fabulous blogs that are a worth a read. I want to review more books this year. I don’t usually keep track of the number I read a year. I probably should. Maybe I should make that a goal. That way I can measure where to improve. I also want to add more of a variety this year, not just all one genre.

Please let me know what your favorite piece of music is so that I can include in the interview if possible.

This is hard too! Lol. I like all kinds of music. Country. Christian. 80s rock. Movie tracks. I like something haunted. Maybe “The Dance,” by Garth Brooks.

Connect to Traci.

Blog: https://tracikenworth.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TraciKenworth
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/traci.kenworth
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/4776151-traci-kenworth
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/tracikenworth/

My thanks to Traci for sharing more about her life and her hopes and ambitions for the future… and for her generous support of my blog and so many others. Please head over and follow her on social media. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Open House Sunday Interview – Romanian Economist and Author Marina Costa


Welcome to the Open House Sunday Interview and today my guest is Romanian economist and author Marina Costa.

About Marina Costa.

Hello! I am Marina Costa, almost 50, an economist with PhD in World Economics (the dissertation being, in 1996, about the European transport policy). I have worked for a whole career in EU Affairs/ EU projects management, meanwhile also having written for a lifetime. I have published several professional papers and 2 handbooks in the past (1999-2015), and, since 2016, 2 novels. Other 3 or 4 will appear this year. The most recent will be sent to printing next week and will have an official launching in March. I am writing mostly historical fiction/ swashbuckling adventures/ young adult novels.

My debut novel’s title can be translated into English as “The Wanderers of the Seas“. It was launched in June 2016 and it happens in the Viking Era. It is based on one historical theory of the years 1950s-1980s that the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, the Feathered Serpent who had taught them a lot of things, described as blonde and bearded, with whom the Conquistadors had been mistaken, might have been Viking.

So my characters, after a whole saga (a Byzantine young woman happening to be in a convent in Venice while her father was travelling, gets kidnapped by the Vikings, follows them on an island in now Norway, then, as her master gets killed in a local political intrigue and his defenders get banned, she follows them in their quest for a new homeland), end in now Mexico, with the Nahuatl. Sigurd, the ship captain, turns to become there Quetzalcoatl.

The second novel, launched in March 2017, in two volumes, can be translated into English as “Lives in turmoil” (Part 1 – “Bloodied lands“, Part 2 – “The New World“). It starts in the Napoleonic Era, in Italy under the Jacobine revolutions – “Liberty, equality, fraternity, democratic republic” (therefore the title of the first volume – the lands are bloodied by the wars). For my main character, the fights stop with the battle of Novi, in the summer of 1799, when she is taken prisoner. She succeeds to escape, but she has to lay low ever since.

When the Revolutionary Wars turn into dictature with the self-appointment of Napoleon as first consul, she and her fiancé decide to emigrate to the US, the only country who had preserved the democratic values. (Hence the second volume’s title). There they go west, with a convoy of Venetians, and settle on the shores of the Mississippi river (Venice, IL exists now too, and it is a part of Greater St. Louis, being just across the river from St. Louis). They make new friends there and they erect their village, with the name of the Serenissima Reppubblica they are deploring (The Republic of Venice being given by Napoleon to the Austrians in Campo Formio Treaty in 1797). They witness the Purchase of Louisiana, the development of Saint Louis (in parallel, but in quicker rhythm than their village). The second volume ends with Lafayette’s visit in 1825, making Roxana and Luigi, now Mayor of Venice, Illinois, reminisce their lives and fights in Italy, and with their firstborn son, now a young man in his 20s, returning to Italy, together with other sons of settlers of Venice, to fight on the side of the Carbonari, exactly how their revolutionary parents had fought in their youth for the same ideals.

The novel which will appear in February has also its place here, since it is finished and sent to the publisher already, not at the projects for the future. Its title can be translated into English as “Rightness’ Friends” (yes, I think rightness. Justice has a different connotation and it isn’t the right choice). It is also in 2 volumes, but no separate parts like for “Lives in turmoil”, only chapters in sequence. It happens in US, Arizona, in a frontier town named Nogales, which has a twin with the same name in Mexico, just across the valley. There is no clearly mentioned year when it happens, but it is sometime 1974-1982 (with a sort of an epilogue about 8-10 years later. Last chapter, not exactly an epilogue but similar). It is young adult, dealing with first love, jealousy, friendship, honour, but also good and bad choices, forbidden love, morals, gang wars, the high price of fame and young success (in sports and music) with the related high performance expectations and pressure which some can resist to, some can’t, carreer choices, suicide and those left behind with guilt, rage and depression for having not been able to prevent it. It also explores the worlds of mariachis and of bullfighters.

Where were you born and can you tell us something about the history of your place of birth or any interesting historical fact?

I was born and raised in Bucharest, the capital of Romania.

According to a legend, the city of Bucharest (București) was founded on the banks of the Dâmbovița River by a shepherd named Bucur, whose name literarily means “joy” (and it was a rather common name until 1900). His flute playing reportedly dazzled the people and after selling his sheep he settled on the riverbank, the new village receiving his name.

Located on a plain and crossed by two rivers, Dâmbovița and Colentina, and a necklace of 7 lakes, my city has an area of 88 square miles (587 square miles with the “greater” metropolitan area) and about 2 million inhabitants (2.27 with greater area). Bucharest is the sixth-largest city in the European Union by population within city limits, after London, Berlin, Madrid, Rome, and Paris. The place was inhabited since 500 BC, say the historians and archaeologists, and first documented in 1459, during the reign of Vlad the Impaler (so called Dracula, but never a vampire, just a prince as cruel as many others of his time). He chose the town as his residence and new capital. It became the capital of Romania in 1862 and it is the centre of Romanian media, culture, and art. In the period between the two World Wars, the city’s elegant architecture and the sophistication of its elite earned Bucharest the nickname of “Little Paris.”

The Palace of Parliament it is the world’s second-largest office building (floor area) and the third largest in volume (after Cape Canaveral Space Centre in the U.S. and the Great Pyramid in Egypt). It took 20,000 workers and 700 architects to build this massive structure that has 12 stories, 1,100 rooms, a 350-ft.-long lobby and eight underground levels.

What adventures have you had publishing your work?

My first publishing adventure was not literary. I published the first project management handbook ever in Romanian. The others, at Uni and at postgraduate courses, were starting with 2000, and in July 1999 my handbook, written in 1998, appeared. I had sponsors for publishing this book, but it had been a difficult endeavour. Also the fact that the dollar (main international currency then – EURO currency wasn’t in force until 2002, it was just a credit value calculated from the EU member states currencies) fluctuated severely in our country in early 1999, provoking huge price increases, made me find two more sponsors.

After I published it, most people in the ministries dealing with EU funds wanted it for free. Only the NGOs and some townhalls in little towns and villages which wanted to get the rural support funds bought it. So I didn’t get any richer, but I was somehow famous in my circles. Other papers followed, but not on the same publishing route. Most were in the ministry’s official journal. One more handbook was published (I was only a part of the collective of redaction) within an EU project, therefore funded within the project. But all these adventures had deterred me in seeking a publisher for my novels.

I have been writing for a lifetime. I remember a story in first grade about a witch who flew over a man and turned him into a rabbit. And my first attempt at a novel was Western, in sixth grade, lasting 2 notebooks of 100 pages, handwritten loosely. Nothing of any literary value, of course – a sort of pale imitation of Karl May and Fenimore Cooper. But five of the novels I have written in high school and Uni had a literary value, so much later I transcribed them on computer, correcting, completing/ re-writing them and hoping that some day they might be published.

“The Wanderers of the Seas” had been written, in a thinner version, in my first year of Uni, in 1987. It got transcribed on the computer in 2002, and corrected, then it got some completions in 2009. The first 12 chapters of the first volume of “Lives in Turmoil” were written in 1984, in the summer holidays between the tenth and eleventh grade. “Rightness’ Friends”, in a thinner version, was written in my last year of highschool. That got transcribed in 2007 on computer, completed and re-written. In 2017, it just underwent some editing and condensing for publishing.

I had the opportunity to meet an interested publisher in late 2015, at a literary presentation. We talked, exchanged e-mails, and I sent him “The Wanderers of the Seas”, which was the shortest among these three best ones, to tell me if it was any good. There had been a few months until he succeeded to read it, and he was enthusiastic about it. This is how I got to be published, and at the official launching of the book I was sitting like a bride, the happiest possible… (The photo of me with the flowers is right from that debut launching).

What kind of music do you listen to and who are your favourite musicians?

I listen plenty of folklore of all countries, with a liking to Greek, Italian, Spanish and Latino-American (and reggae and American country & western too, but I don’t mean the Nashville hits, I mean the old cowboy songs, tex-mex ballads included) as well as pop music and various others. Among my favourites are Beatles, Elvis, Abba, Modern Talking, but also Julio Iglesias, Nana Mouskouri, Demis Roussos and many others. I don’t generally like metal and rapp, but even there I like a few bands – the French MANAU in rapp, because they are special, with Breton influences, and for metal, Alestorm, Tierra Santa, Mago de Oz.

My novels reflect some songs in fashion then too, mostly folk songs of the peoples I am writing about.

Modern Talking was not a band that I was familiar with but after listening to some of their tracks I thought I would select this one and hope Marina approves.

No Face, No Name, No Number

Do you have a favourite quote? What does it means to you as an individual?

I have three at equal preference, just that I don’t know where one of them is from, namely “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” And yes, I abide to it. The other two are from songs – “Don’t worry, be happy!“, from Bob Marley’s song, and “Together we’re strong” from a duet by Patrick Duffy and Mireille Matthieu. I am a natural worrier, so yes, I need being reminded that “every time you have some trouble, when you worry, you make it double”.

What are your literary plans for future?

There will be a third volume of “Lives in turmoil” too, a sequel which can be read also separately, titled “Other turmoils of life“, that I have been working at during November 2017 NaNoWriMo season. It will be finished in March, most likely, and bound to appear in late summer or early autumn.

During Camp NaNo in April I want to edit for further publishing another of my old novels which had been found as having enough literary value to be worth transcribing on the computer some years ago, and in the July Camp NaNo, another one. These would be all the past ones.

The one scheduled for Camp April can be translated into English as “The Crew” and is also young adult, about a group of high school children (and their middle school siblings/ cousins). It is set in a city by the Danube, named Brăila. Again, the exact period is not specified. It might be early 1990s. They are dealing with first love, jealousy, forbidden/ lost/ unrequited love, friendship, temptations/ good and bad choices, prejudice, morals, honour, carreer choices and neighbourhood wars.

The one scheduled for Camp July can be translated into English as “The call of the sea”, but it is a preliminary title which surely will be changed in view of publication, because the alliteration in original doesn’t give the best auditive impression. It is historical, with swashbuckling adventures, so therefore still meant mainly for young adults. Set in the 1790s in what’s now Greece and Ottoman Empire – then it was an all-encompassing Ottoman Empire – my characters are born at sea, in a seafaring family, and the twists of fate bring the two girls in a harem in Istanbul, and the lad among the janissaries. After a couple of years, the girls succeed to escape, together with another prisoner, helped by that one’s brother, then they meet the janissary brother and decide to join the rebels in the Greek mountains, fighting against the Turks. The other girl is killed in a fight and the two girls’ brother is accused by the rebel leader that he was guilty of her death, by his mistake in fighting, so they have to leave. They get aboard a ship bound for Africa, where the crew gets through several adventures, and upon return, they settle in Brăila, on the Danube.

I have other plans too, but that’s for 2019. First, the priorities…

Marina’s books are only in Romanian at this time but I am sure that like me you look forward to their English versions being released in the near future.

Connect to Marina.

WordPress blog in English and Romanian: https://solpicador.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Marina-Costa-779203492216758/

Music by Modern Talking: https://www.amazon.com/Modern-Talking/e/B000APBYEQ

My thanks to Marina and I am sure she would be delighted to answer any of your questions.

If you would like to be interviewed on the Open House on Sunday then it is a wonderful opportunity to showcase your work, blog and also to make new connections. Full details are in this post. https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/01/07/the-return-of-smorgasbord-open-house-interviews-for-all-writers-and-other-creative-artists/