Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – 21st – 27th February 2021 – 1960s Pop Music, Short Stories, Poetry, Blog Stars, Books, Reviews and Funnies


Welcome to the weekly round up with posts that you might have missed during the week.

I don’t have a great deal to report this week which in many respects is a good thing. We are waiting to hear the government decision regarding lock down today or tomorrow but it looks like it has been extended to the end of April with certain services such as hairdressing being one of the last to open.

Just as well my husband has become so deft with the scissors and clippers and as my hair is short anyway it has not been too bad.  I take the clippers to his hair too and after nearly a year we may continue after the restrictions are lifted.

I have been out and about however in the virtual sense which was a lot of fun. This week I was delighted to be the guest of author Hugh Roberts where I shared the story of my acting debut….I hope you will head over to read..

Watch Out For The Matador! – A True Story

As always my thanks to William Price King and delighted that the Breakfast Show is going down well, despite the fact that it is a little early for many of you to remember the songs.. If you do have memories and a favourite track from the 1960s we would love to include you in the Breakfast Show Special at the end of March.. details here The Breakfast Show 2021

Thank you also to you for all the visits, comments and shares again this week.. I do appreciate the support very much.

On with the posts from the week….

The Breakfast Show with William Price King and Sally Cronin – Chart Hits 1963 – Part Two

Jane Risdon shares the background to one of her favourite tracks of the 1960s

What’s in a Name? – Prince Charming by Sally Cronin

Return to Tales from the Irish Garden.. Previously

Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly #Tanka #Poetry Challenge No 213 #Badger Hexastich x two – Beacon and Umbrella by Sally Cronin

#Paranormal #Romance – Ghostly Interference: (White Rune Series Book 1) by Jan Sikes.

#Cancer #Journal – Apple Blossom: my Hope…my Inspiration by Jaye Marie

Past Book Reviews 2020 -#Poetry Inner Rumblings: by Joyce Murphy

Past Book Reviews 2020 – #Thriller -Deep Cover by John L. DeBoer

chicken sandwich

Recipes that Pack a Punch – A Chicken Sandwich and how your body extracts the nutrients

Turning Back the Clock 2021 – Part Seven – Anti-Aging and Attitude of Mind

Archives 2021 – #Pot Luck – #AfghanistanAdventures #54 Winter travel by Mary Smith

Archives 2021 – #Pot Luck – #Writing – Author Bio Dos and Don’ts by K.M. Allan

Going West: The Accidental Tourist by Sue Vincent

Monday 22nd February 2021 – #Food Carol Taylor, #Home Chantelle Atkins with Jessica Norrie, #Bookreview Harmony Kent

Wednesday 24th February 2021 – #LakeDistrict Mike Biles, #AlooGobi Sowmya’s Spicy Corner, #Publishing Alison Williams

Smorgasbord Children’s Reading Room – New Book on the Shelves #Ghosts – Brody Cody and the Haunted Vacation House by Toni Pike.

Smorgasbord Children’s Reading Room – Author Update – #Nature Joyce Murphy, #Fantasy Maria Matthews

New Book on the Shelves – #Thriller – Shattered Lives: A Jo Naylor Adventure by Allan Hudson

New Book on the Shelves – #YA #Fantasy – Rites of Passage (The Rites Trilogy Book 1) by Doug Parker

New Author on the Shelves – #Family – Sisters of the Undertow by Johnnie Bernhard

#Reviews #Family Lisette Brodey, #SouthernCulture Claire Fullerton, #Fantasy Tyler Edwards

#Murdermystery Terry Tyler, #Meditation Sue Vincent, #Fantasy D.Wallace Peach

#Lockdown M.J. Mallon, #Poetry Balroop Singh, #Paranormal Marcia Meara

February 23rd 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – After Surgery and Shopping for a Husband

February 25th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Lost Glasses and Best Beer in the World

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines Extra – Host Sally Cronin – We are all going to the dogs!

 

Thanks very much for visiting today and I hope you will join me again next week.. have a great weekend.. Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2021 – #Pot Luck – Going West: The Accidental Tourist by Sue Vincent


Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine. The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics.

In this series I will be sharing posts from the last six months of 2020

It is an opportunity to showcase your writing skill to my readers and also to share on my social media. Which combined is around the 46,000 mark. If you are an author your books will be mentioned too, along with their buy links and your other social media contacts. Head over to find out how to participate: Posts from Your Archives 2021

This is the second post from the archives of Sue Vincent who has more than one blog to select posts from and this week a post from the co-authored site with Stuart France. You will find amazing travels, exploring ancient Britain in all its glory.

Going West: The Accidental Tourist

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Frankly, I thought it appallingly bad planning. Could the town not have chosen a different day to ceremonially install their new mayor? It isn’t as if we hadn’t advertised our itinerary for the weekend, culminating with a visit to the Cathedral at St Davids and lunch in the refectory. In that order. But no… the Cathedral was otherwise occupied and would be for some time to come. It was still occupied by the time we had finished warming up with pots of tea… and still too busy after I had wandered round the outside of the church with the camera, trying to get a few good shots in spite of the rain that was now beating a steady tattoo on the lens. We were at a loose end.

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“Another twenty minutes or so,” said the gentleman manning the door. Some chose to stay in the warmth of the refectory. Others disappeared, planning to gather again shortly. I wandered off over the little stream to be a tourist. Tourism is not the point of these weekends and although we have a plan of where we will go and what we want to see, we have learned to be flexible in our approach, shunning rigorous timetables in favour of time to savour the sites we visit. Sometimes, though, there is nothing wrong with a little tourism. The Cathedral is not the only thing worth visiting in St Davids and, with little time at our disposal, the Bishop’s Palace is a good place to while away a few moments. To be fair, it deserves a lot more than I had to give it, being part of one of the oldest and certainly most important Christian sites in Wales.

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We’d had our first sight of the ruined palace as we approached the cathedral from St Non’s, watching the remarkable architectural details reveal themselves through the mist and rain. Fifteen hundred years ago, a monastery grew up here. It was not then the peaceful spot we know today and the monks who lived there saw their home sacked by Norse raiders, then quietly rebuilt it, at least ten times over the course of the next four hundred years. It was only after the Norman invasion of 1066 that the monks began to know peace. The strong presence of the Norman barons imposed fortifications on the growing town, protecting the monastery and the relics it housed.

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St Davids was already recognised as an important spiritual centre. William the Conqueror himself came to pay his respects to the relics of St David in 1081. Later, in 1284, King Edward I would also make the pilgrimage. The remains of the current palace reflect that later date; the building was begun around that time, and work continued until the middle of the following century. The Reformation saw the demise of the palace; its fall into ruin much hastened by Bishop William Barlow, who sold the lead from the roof in 1536 to pay the dowries of his five daughters… the equivalent of twelve years income from the episcopal see!

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It is always curious to begin to reconstruct in imagination a site that is now but a shadow of its former self. It matters little whether it is a stone circle, a tomb or a palace… it is the small, almost insignificant things that give the real clues, not to how a place looked… but to how it was. Here, the warm tones of the volcanic rock and local stone have been embellished by a chequerboard pattern. Great windows that perhaps once have held stained glass pierce the walls and arcades decorate every face of the palace, inside and out. Wide spaces, high ceilings, towers and turrets… this is a visible show of wealth and power, more temporal than divine. The little monastery that faithfully guarded its treasured relics against the invaders was obliterated by its own

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The ruined palace is now crumbling, its wealth generated by tourists, its fabric held tenuously together by those who seek to maintain the presence of a building that has itself become a relic. Its empty shell holds more than memory, it holds a lesson pertinent to why we had gathered for the weekend. We too start small, growing with the simplicity of a child that sees the world unclouded by the complexities of adulthood. As we grow, the malleable clay of our personality is shaped by choice, reaction and experience and the ego builds walls behind which it can hide from invaders. But the protective walls are stark and feel like a prison, so we add embellishments in an attempt to display an illusion of personal power… and, if left untended, those too will eventually crumble and decay becoming both a danger and a liability that can cost us dearly. Like the palace, what began in simplicity, grows beyond our ability to sustain it and beyond its true purpose.

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The first monastery here was a simple place, designed as a vessel to hold something sacred. Overlaid with the trappings of power and ambition, that purpose was lost. The clay of our being is ours to shape. It too holds something sacred… whether you believe in the soul or simply believe in the indefinable spark of animating life. We owe it to ourselves to make sure the vessel that we build is fit for its purpose. It is not in the walls that we build, but in the space within, where we live and have our being. It is not the vessel, but the space within that holds the wine.

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©Sue Vincent 2020

A small selection of  books by Sue Vincent with Stuart France and Ani

One of the recent reviews for Life Lines

Balroop Singh 5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite poetry  Reviewed in the United States on February 16, 2021

Life Lines’ by Sue Vincent highlights the paths of life we traverse – from innocent laughter to the snowy lanes of life, from the depths of sorrow to the light that beckons us, from the abyss of tears to the memories that pull us out; whether it is past or present, life is woven with delicate threads that bind us into a “purpose” and inspire us to “fall in love with life at every passing day.”

Sue’s poetry flows like a steady stream that takes in all the upheavals in its stride and absorbs them, keeping the hope alive. She has a unique style of playing with the symbols that reach your heart:
“flames caress the moon,” for the glow of sunset,
“scattered motes of possibility in the darkness,” for the stars,
“two ravens” for thought and memory, “winter leaf” for self,
“heart-beat of earth” for sea,
“shadows in the glass” for joy and pain.

While ‘Flowers’ brilliantly captures the journey of a woman, ‘I’ emphasizes how the choices of life are snatched away from us unawares! ‘Door of Dreams’ exhorts us to rise from our inner world to “face the demons of today” and look beyond. There are many such poems that would inspire you to keep the flame of hope aloft. I felt ‘Sunset’ could be one of my favorites but then ‘Just One’ mesmerized me with the thoughts of how many kinds of love encompasses us. Each poem exudes an emotion, profound yet subtle.

The poems in this collection need to be savored slowly, to be re-read with sips of your favorite tea, coffee or wine. Highly recommended.  

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UKand: Amazon USBlog: S.C. VincentGoodreads:Sue Vincent  – Twitter:@SCVincent – Ani’s Blog: The Small Dog’s Blog –  Blog: France And Vincent
Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire born writer, esoteric teacher and Director of The Silent Eye. She has been immersed in the Mysteries all her life. Sue maintains a popular blog and is co-author of The Mystical Hexagram with Dr G.M.Vasey. Sue lives in Buckinghamshire, having been stranded there some years ago due to an accident with a blindfold, a pin and a map. She has a lasting love-affair with the landscape of Albion, the hidden country of the heart. She is currently owned by a small dog who also writes at S.C. Vincent
Thanks for visiting today and I hope you will head over to Sue’s blogs to enjoy the other posts.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2021 – #Pot Luck – #Writing – Author Bio Dos and Don’ts by K.M. Allan


Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine. The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics.

In this series I will be sharing posts from the last six months of 2020

It is an opportunity to showcase your writing skill to my readers and also to share on my social media. Which combined is around the 46,000 mark. If you are an author your books will be mentioned too, along with their buy links and your other social media contacts. Head over to find out how to participate: Posts from Your Archives 2021

This is the second post by author K.M. Allan who shares some elements to consider when putting together your author bio.

Getting into the writing game doesn’t just mean composing entire books, dreaded synopses, and query letters, you also need an author bio.

Yep! As much as you might want the focus to only be on the art you’ve created, agents, publishers, and readers are going to want to know about the person behind the pen, and an author bio helps them do that. What will help you craft a worthy one are these dos and don’ts.

Author Bio Dos and Don’ts

Don’t Write Just One

While you can base your bios off the same info, using a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work for every place you’ll list it. For example, a bio listed on your own blog or website can be a few paragraphs long. A bio that goes at the end of a query letter needs to only be a few sentences.

The best thing to do is to write a bio that includes everything you want (your name, writing experience, competitions/short story publishing wins, previously published titles, something fun about you, where you can be found online, etc), and then strip it back to just the essentials (name, writing experience, where you can be found online).

Aim for at least 200 words as your standard bio, and 50 for the compact version.

Do Adjust For Each Audience

As well as making sure your length is right, adjust the tone of your bio. Professional sounding with all the relevant info is perfect for your website “About” page, “About The Author” section of your book, and a press release. While a fun, quirky sentence is ideal for social media.

Don’t Include Everything

If you’re lucky enough to have an extensive number of books or accolades to include, don’t fill up your bio with everything. List only the latest and greatest.
Do Include One Interesting Thing About Yourself

While it’s an author bio and should mainly revolve around your work as an author, make sure to add at least one interesting thing about yourself.

You might think you have nothing to include, but the world is a big place. You’d probably be surprised to know that mentioning the fact you collect animal-shaped pot plants resonates with others. On the flip-side, if you have no publishing achievements to list (I’ve been there!), list your passions or why you write.

Don’t Forget To Update Your Bio Regularly

It’s a good idea to revise your bio regularly, especially after every new release. While re-jigging the bio for your latest book is a given, don’t forget the other places your bio appears, which brings us to our final do…

Do Keep A List Of Where Your Bio Is Published

Even if you think you’ll remember, write down all the places it’s listed. That way, when you need to update your bio, you can easily tick off every place on your list and know you’re giving the world your up-to-date achievements.

I recently updated my bio after the release of my second book, and even though I thought I’d hit every place, I logged into Pinterest a few months after release and noticed the bio there was out of date. Now I do have a list, which is below to give you an idea:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Facebook Author Page
  • Pinterest
  • Goodreads
  • Amazon Author Page
  • Amazon Reviewer Page
  • About (Blog/Website)
  • WordPress Bio
  • Gravatar Profile
  • All Author Profile
  • BookBub Profile

A bio written and ready to post anywhere online, in your press releases, book releases, and with queries and publisher/submission correspondence is worth crafting, and I hope these dos and don’ts help you do that.

©K.M. Allan 2020

About K.M. Allan

K.M. Allan is an identical twin, but not the evil one. She started her career penning beauty articles for a hairstyling website and now powers herself with chocolate and green tea while she writes books and blogs about writing.

Her debut novel, Blackbirch: The Beginning, was released February 2020, followed in July by the second book in the Urban Fantasy series, Blackbirch: The Dark Half. Both books have been a hit with readers, receiving multiple 4 and 5 star reviews.

When K.M.’s not creating YA stories full of hidden secrets, nightmares, and powerful magic, she likes to read, binge-watch too much TV, spend time with family, and take more photos than she will ever humanly need.

Visit her social media to discover the mysteries of the universe. Or at the very least, some good writing tips.

Books by K.M. Allan

One of the recent reviews for Blackbirch – The Dark Half

Ms. Laurie J. Bell 5.0 out of 5 stars The twists just keep on coming.  Reviewed in the United States on November 14, 2020

There are new enemies, new mysteries, new secrets and new friends. And not everyone is telling the truth. The dark half explores what is dark in all of us. Everyone has two sides. What they show to the world and what they keep hidden. Well, what if you saw both sides?

Book two jumps in where book one left off. Josh has come into his magic but is desperate to learn more about it. Kallie, the girl he thought only existed in his dreams, is real and has come to show him how to use his magic. But she is hunted and haunted by her past. Now it is Josh’s turn to save her.

This is a terrific action packed book. Magic and spells and crystals abound. Someone is collecting magic and Josh and Kallie are on his list. Just when you think you have this story pegged you are hit with a new twist. Cleverly plotted, this story is well told and full of mystery. Author K.M. Allan will keep you hooked to the very end. Over and over I sat up and went, “Ooooo!” I can’t wait to read the next installment.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US –  And: Amazon UK – Follow K.M. Allan: Goodreads – Instagram: K.M. Allan Writer – Facebook: K.M. Allan Writer – Twitter:  @KMAllan_writer

 

Thanks for visiting today and I know that Kate would love your feedback.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2021 – #Pot Luck – #AfghanistanAdventures #54 Winter travel by Mary Smith


Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine. The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics.

In this series I will be sharing posts from the last six months of 2020

It is an opportunity to showcase your writing skill to my readers and also to share on my social media. Which combined is around the 46,000 mark. If you are an author your books will be mentioned too, along with their buy links and your other social media contacts. Head over to find out how to participate: Posts from Your Archives 2021

This is the second post from author Mary Smith and I have enjoyed all her adventures in Afghanistan and Pakistan over the last couple of years but there were a couple I missed and I am going to share those in this series. I highly recommend that you head over to Mary’s to read the others in this wonderful series.

Winter Travel Afghanistan, December 1989, Day Mirdad

The delay meant we were a long way from our destination, when darkness fell. At the next check post the mujahid guarding the chain, tried to persuade us not to continue our journey. Jon thanked him, but said we must ensure our patients reached the clinic in Day Mirdad. The mujahid played the beam of his torch into the back of the vehicle. When he spotlighted Zahir, without his turban, he jumped back hastily and waved us on. Poor Zahir, for once, we were grateful for the terrified reaction he provoked.

At the next check post Jon tried the same story. The mujahid peered into the back, saw Zahir and said calmly, ‘Oh, a leprosy patient. Never mind, we can give you a separate room for him.’ Jon requested permission to speak to the Commander who opened the window of his office a grudging few inches. We watched as Jon talked, gesticulating occasionally towards the vehicle. We saw the Commander shake his head and give a brief reply. Jon tried again – the Commander slammed the window shut. We were not going to reach Day Mirdad that night.

We were directed through a gateway into a large, bleak compound. Crunching over the frozen snow, we reached our room, unwilling guests of the Nasre Party for the night. The room was frigid, my head was hurting and we were all cold and cross. A man came in to light the bukhari around which we huddled, morosely sipping tea. We had to ask twice for food before we were eventually served a quantity of greasy, grey liquid with a few pieces of very stringy, dried up meat. Not even Zahir could find anything to laugh about.

When I awoke in the morning I discovered I’d lain on, and broken, my glasses, my head was throbbing worse than ever and, when I learned, despite the fact we’d not exactly been willing guests, we were expected to pay for our board and lodgings I was furious. Determined to tell the Commander exactly what I thought of his shabby treatment of us I headed across the compound towards his office. Rahimy talked me down – otherwise we might still be there. With bad grace I climbed into our vehicle.

At least the day was crisp and sunny, which helped lighten the mood, as we headed towards Day Mirdad. We left the snow behind us, but it would soon catch up with us again, and we would have to complete the work in Arif’s clinic as quickly as possible. For Jon, it meant examining the accounts and handing over the money required for the running of the project through the winter months. For me, it meant interviews with Arif to collect information, statistics and stories about his work, to be included in reports.

Day Mirdad is situated between Pashto and Hazara lands. Arif was Pashto. Before the Soviet invasion had forced him to abandon his studies, he’d completed two years in medical college in Kabul. Arriving in Pakistan as a refugee, he somehow heard about the leprosy centre in Karachi, and was accepted as a candidate in the training programme. Arif and Jon had been class fellows in Karachi but were not close friends. As a Pashto, Arif could never accept coming second to anyone in anything, while Jon, south-of-England-born, had a similar arrogance. Somehow or other at the end of the training, each was able to feel he had done better than the other, and honours were even.

As we approached the clinic the landscape became more desolate and barren. Grey, naked mountains rose on every side until it seemed there was no level ground anywhere. Everything was on a slope; the buildings, the fields – tiny handkerchief sized patches of brown – the few trees growing sparsely here and there. Houses were hidden behind very high mud walls in which heavy gates were set. Occasionally we had a glimpse, through an open gateway, of the mud built homes, constructed like fortresses. Pashto women are even more jealously guarded than Hazara women who, by comparison, are allowed tremendous freedom.

We drove through an imposing entrance into a large compound, on three sides of which was a two storey building. Arif came bounding down the steps to meet us, arms outstretched to embrace Jon in a welcoming hug.

Many are the tales of encounters between the soldiers of the British Raj and the fiery tribes from the Frontier Province, depicting the Pashto as tall, swarthy tribal chiefs, tangled black curls escaping from beneath their turbans, dark eyes flashing in challenge. Arif is nothing like those romantic heroes. Standing at barely five foot four he is stocky, has brown eyes which don’t flash particularly challengingly (well, maybe when angered) and a fair complexion. He is restless, excitable, unable to sit still for more than five minutes, and given to generous arm gestures when talking – which he does at great length and speed.

After embracing Jon he clasped my hand warmly, grinning, ‘Welcome, sister. I have many stories to tell you, but first we will drink tea.’ We followed him upstairs to the guest room which was large and sparsely furnished – a gilim which barely covered the floor and a pile of bedding. A Kalashnikov stood in one corner of the room, and when Arif saw me eyeing it, he rushed to give an explanation, ‘For protection, sister, for protection. When I go on tour Ashraf, you know Ashraf? My field assistant. He carries the Kalash – just in case. There are many thieves about, and maybe they think Arif has a lot of money because he works for a foreign organisation.’

We had stipulated weapons should not be kept on clinic premises by staff, a rule we suspected was frequently broken, although usually they had the sense to hide the thing before we appeared. I knew Hassan kept a Kalashnikov in Sheikh Ali, despite having made a big drama once about returning it to the local Commander. Now, he ensured we didn’t see it, but occasionally forgot, as when telling a story of being attacked by a wolf, which ran away when he fired his gun. He’d suddenly stopped talking as he realised he’d given himself away – then made matters worse by trying to say that he was just taking the gun home for a friend.

If Arif felt he needed the protection of a Kalashnikov while on tour, often on foot, I felt there was little we could say against it but I could never really see the justification in having one in the clinic itself. If thieves broke in to steal the medicines, they would surely be well armed. There would be a bloody shoot out which would most likely result in our staff being seriously injured, or killed – and the medicines would still be stolen. In this part of the world, however, men, from when they were still young boys, carried guns. It was expected. Only it used to be an old Lee Enfield which somehow seemed less of a killing machine than an AK-47 assault rifle.

©Mary Smith 2020

About Mary Smith

Mary Smith has always loved writing. As a child she wrote stories in homemade books made from wallpaper trimmings – but she never thought people could grow up and become real writers. She spent a year working in a bank, which she hated – all numbers, very few words – ten years with Oxfam in the UK, followed by ten years working in Pakistan and Afghanistan. She wanted others to share her amazing, life-changing experiences so she wrote about them – fiction, non-fiction, poetry and journalism. And she discovered the little girl who wrote stories had become a real writer after all.
Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: Real Stories of Afghan Women is an account of her time in Afghanistan and her debut novel No More Mulberries is also set in Afghanistan.
Mary loves interacting with her readers on her website.

Books by Mary Smith

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A recent review No More Mulberries (I can highly recommend the book too)

Jan 25, 2021 M.J. Mallon rated it 4.5 stars really liked it

I really enjoyed No more Mulberries. The story’s strength lies in its cultural detail, and in its great variety of characters. The tale transports you away to Afghanistan to a country we all have heard a lot about, but few have ever been there. It doesn’t shy away from mentioning the truth of living in Afghanistan where losing face and a woman’s place and freedoms are far different than in the west. It also touches upon the stigma of leprosy. And yet, with all the trials and tribulations there is a sense of how much Miriam loves this adoptive country, so much so, that she decides to convert her faith and become a muslim.

It is a slow burn of a story, with much detail in the beginning explaining the path that took Miriam from Scotland to living in Afghanistan. It is also a love story, and in some ways a love triangle between the ghost of her dearly departed first love, who was killed, and her new husband Iqbal with tensions apparent especially towards the end of the story.

The ending was emotionally powerful and brought all the threads of the story to a satisfying conclusion. I began to understand Miriam’s motivations.

A well-written, engaging story which I would highly recommend especially to those who appreciate cultural stories about family, marriage, love and honour. 

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and:Amazon UK –  Blog: Mary Smith’s PlaceGoodreads: Goodreads – Twitter: @marysmithwriter

 

Thanks for visiting today and I know that Mary would love to receive your feedback.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – February 14th – 20th 2021 – Romance, Songs 1960s, Chilled soups, book reviews, videos and funnies


Welcome to the update of posts that you might have missed from the week here on Smorgasbord.

I hope all is well with you. Quiet here except for the noise of the wind howling around the house and the six inch puddle stretching across the front of the house. I know I wished I had a swimming pool but clearly the genie was having an off day.

The garden birds have been having a tough time of it with the winds and driving rain making it difficult to fly, particularly for the small birds such as the sparrows and tits. I usually buy my birdseed and fat balls at the garden centre or at a push smaller packs as the supermarket but of course the centres have been shut since the New Year and the supermarket shelves are bare of both seed and other products. One store has at least got some sunflower hearts and I have mixed that with sultanas and cooked brown rice.. They can at least digest that easily and it has nutrients for them.. The sunflower hearts provide the good fats and protein.

I have taken to put some on the ground as well as on our platform feeder and hanging baskets and hopefully they will get enough nourishment.

They are staying in the thick hedge in our back garden but when I got out (dressed in full wet gear) there is a sudden chorus of song and I can feel hundreds of eyes on me… as soon as the back door closes they are in the feeders and on the ground which is encouraging.

Anyway.. on with the posts from the week and as always my gratitude to William Price King, D.G. Kaye and Carol Taylor for their terrific contributions and to you for visiting, sharing and commenting.. it keeps me motivated..

The Breakfast Show with William Price King and Sally Cronin – Chart Hits 1963 – Part One

D. G. Kaye Explores the Realms of Relationships – February 2021 – Online Dating – Staying Safe

Bread, Homemade Peanut Butter and Home Grown Vegetables and Herbs.

St. Valentine’s Day – The Meaning of Romance to Me by Sally Cronin

Charlie the Junkyard Dog

 

 

Barbados and the last letter home 1986. Sally Cronin

#WWI – #Family Saga – The Heart Stone by Judith Barrow

#Children’s – A Beechworth Bakery Bears e-Book (too) by Frank Prem

– Past Book Reviews 2020 -My Name is Danny – #Doglovers – Tales from Danny the Dog assisted by Andrew Joyce.

Butterfly Cinquain – Fate’s Voice by Sally Cronin

Your Own Opinions And Feelings #selfaware by Toni Pike

#Finance – Working with a Financial Planner by Sharon Marchisello

– #Spying – The Story about House Hunting While Being Watched by D.G. Kaye

#Q&A D.G. Kaye, #Valentines Carol Taylor, #Interview as guest of Amy Reade

#Swearing The Story Reading Ape, #Deserts Cindy Knoke, #Speedreading Robbie Cheadle

-#JulesVerne Carol Seidl, #Waves Melanie Stewart, #Medication D.G.Kaye

#Reviews by V.M.Sang, #Cookbook Marian Beaman, #IrishMyths I.E. Kneverday

#Teaching Pete Springer, #Betrayal Abigail Johnston, #Hitching Andrew Joyce

Turning Back the Clock 2021 – Part Six – Anti-Aging and Oxygen

Salads are not just for Summer

New Book on the Shelves – #Fantasy Dead of Winter: Journey 2, Penllyn by Teagan Riordain Geneviene

#Psychological Thriller Lucinda E. Clarke, #Thriller Alex Craigie,

#Thriller Gwen M. Plano, #WIIDrama Marina Osipova, #Paranormal John W. Howell

February 16th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin

February 18th 2021 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – Vows and Good Deeds

February 2021 – Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp – Flying first class and Shakespeare insults

 

Thank you for all your support and I hope you will drop in again next week… enjoy your weekend.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives -#NewSeries – ‘Pot Luck’ #Finance – Working with a Financial Planner by Sharon Marchisello


Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine. The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics.

In this series I will be sharing posts from the last six months of 2020

It is an opportunity to showcase your writing skill to my readers and also to share on my social media. Which combined is around the 46,000 mark. If you are an author your books will be mentioned too, along with their buy links and your other social media contacts. Head over to find out how to participate: Posts from Your Archives 2021

This is the second post from author and finance expert Sharon Marcisello with a post that is shares her concerns about turning over out assets to a financial planner.

Working with a Financial Planner by Sharon Marchisello

A friend of mine just took an early retirement package and immediately turned all his savings over to a financial planner. He’s ecstatic. I’m worried for him.

I’m not saying he shouldn’t work with a financial planner. Unlike me, he has no interest in managing his investments. He can rebuild a car’s engine; I don’t even change my own oil.

But whether you do the work yourself or hire someone to handle it, you still need to know what you’re getting, and how much you’re paying.

For Christmas, I gave him and his wife a copy of my personal finance book, Live Well, Grow Wealth. They have yet to read it. (The problem with writing about personal finance is, the people who could really use the advice aren’t interested, and the people who are interested already know about most of it.)

Before my friend visited the financial planner, I suggested he ask some questions. The most important one: how does the adviser get paid? I reminded him that in Chapter Six of my book, I cover working with a financial planner/adviser/broker/whatever and provide a list of questions/points to consider. If he and his wife didn’t want to read the whole book, they should at least skim those few relevant pages before their meeting.

Right. He barely wanted to talk about what questions to ask, much less read about them.

The adviser came highly recommended. His parents and all their friends have been using the guy for years. He’s a vice president at a major financial firm.

“Did you find out how he gets paid?” I asked, after my friends had signed over their nest egg.

“Oh, he doesn’t charge us. We didn’t pay him a cent.”

Really? Is he a relative, doing them a favor? How does he stay in business if he doesn’t charge his clients for his services? “Are you sure he doesn’t charge anything? Maybe his fee comes out of the investments?”

“Yeah, it just comes out of the investments. We don’t pay anything.”

“Do you know what percentage he takes for managing your investments? One percent? One and a half?”

“I have no idea. I don’t pay attention to any of that stuff. He’s a genius, so whatever he charges, it will be worth it.”

“Do you know what he’s having you invest in? Mutual funds? Individual stocks? Bonds?”

My friend shrugged. “He had us move everything out of Fidelity over to his firm. I guess it’s a mutual fund. My parents have been in it for years.” (I couldn’t help thinking about Bernie Madoff.)

“He sold everything?” I suspect the broker earned some hefty commissions from all those transactions.

“Yeah, he said it’s better to sell everything and start fresh.”

“Does he use publicly traded mutual funds? Or something proprietary to his firm?” (With publicly traded products, you can track performance independently. And if you ever decide to change brokerages, you can transfer the securities in kind, rather than having to sell everything at once, when it might be an inopportune time for some of them.)

Another shrug. “I don’t care about that. He said we’re on track to retire at 65 and we don’t have to worry. He said we’ve done pretty well with Fidelity, but it’s good we came to him when we did, because now we have the right mix going forward.”

My friend is happy, and I hope he’s right about being on track. He’ll never know whether he could have saved money… or how much.

What are your thoughts about working with a financial planner? I’d love to hear your comments.

©Sharon Marchisello 2020

About Sharon Marchisello

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

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

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

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

Books by Sharon Marchisello

One of the reviews for Live Well, Grow Wealth.

Katherine Kinlin 5.0 out of 5 stars Easy Read  Reviewed in the United States

Sometimes it can be hard for me to read books due too much going on with content, but Marchisello’s book was a really easy read for me. I can’t do complicated when it comes to books. She was really relate-able, because I didn’t grow up as a math centric person, and I also came from what would be considered a middle-class family. As a 27-year-old, her advice made me think about my life, and what I could be doing differently (therefore better!) with my money. She also changed the way I think about money. I don’t think a lot of people grow up to consider things like a big picture, or what’s going in and out. It kind of gave made better sense of what’s going on around me. A good perspective shift.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – follow Sharon: Goodreadsblog: Sharon Blogspot – Twitter: @SLMarchisello

 

Thank you for joining us today and I know that Sharon would love your feedback… thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives -#NewSeries – ‘Pot Luck’ – Your Own Opinions And Feelings #selfaware by Toni Pike


Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine. The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics.

In this series I will be sharing posts from the last six months of 2020

It is an opportunity to showcase your writing skill to my readers and also to share on my social media. Which combined is around the 46,000 mark. If you are an author your books will be mentioned too, along with their buy links and your other social media contacts. Head over to find out how to participate: Posts from Your Archives 2021

This is the second post by author Toni Pike and is from her series about authenticity, validation, self-belief and personal power.

This is a series about authenticity, validation, self-belief and personal power.

I’ve already mentioned self-validation, but I wanted to talk more about respecting our own opinions and feelings.

I realise now that for my most of my life I have been extremely reactionary. If someone said or did anything that concerned me in any way, I would immediately react and try to fix things up or do something about it. If I thought someone had a poor opinion of me for any reason, I would react and try to plead my case.

Trust your own opinions and feelings

Now I realise that I needed, instead, to trust and believe in my own opinions and feelings.

For instance, someone said to me recently that a letter I had written created some confusion because of a contradiction in it. Previously, I would have immediately reacted, trying to explain and justify myself. If the other person didn’t respond the way I wanted, I would keep trying to sort things out and possibly get into a flap, or be “jumping through hoops” with that person if they continued to disagree with me. I would also be upset that they had a bad opinion of me. But by doing all that, I was handing my power away to them.

But now, when that happened, I instead took a deep breath and thought about my own opinion. I knew that the letter was very clear, and that the other person was highly manipulative and merely trying to get a negative reaction from me. I chose to trust and believe in myself, knowing that I did not need to give them any explanation. I told them that I would not discuss it any further.

It’s easy to get into the habit of avoiding our own feelings and opinions. Instead, we should listen to them first and foremost, and believe in ourselves. You can even become “hooked” on focusing on what other people are thinking, and becoming upset or reactionary in response.

Our feelings are so important

I can’t stress enough how important it is to listen to our own feelings, rather than trying to think about and analyse every situation. We experience feelings in our body – which is why, when we’re scared or upset, we have all sorts of physical reactions such as headaches, intestinal cramps, trembling and aches and pains.

Here is a simple exercise to try. I know many of us have trouble getting to sleep because we get into bed and start thinking about all the worries in our life. When you start to do that, instead try listening to and experiencing your feelings. Calm yourself by focusing on feeling tired, sleepy, warm, relaxed, and cosy and safe in bed. Close your eyes and let your feelings help you drift off to sleep.
Trusting our own opinions and feelings

Here are some ways that show we’re not trusting our own opinions and feelings.

Do you worry far too much about what other people are thinking or feeling?

Wherever you are, ask yourself if you’re thinking about the way you think and feel – or are you thinking about other people’s thoughts and opinions? Try to focus on yourself, and have confidence in yourself.

Are you being reactionary?

Do you keep jumping in and reacting to any situation, trying to fix things up or alter another person’s opinion? Instead, stay calm and think about how you see the situation, and how you feel about it. When you react to something, you are handing your power away to the other person. Keep that power with yourself.

How do you comfort and calm yourself?

When anything happens, listen to your own feelings or emotions. How do you feel about the situation? Truly allow yourself to experience that feeling. Then, ask yourself how you comfort and support yourself. Do you immediately want to talk to someone to get their support, or do you try to numb the feeling with something like food, drink, drugs, cigarettes, or even by working hard or just trying to keep busy?

Try a different approach. Instead, talk to yourself with your inner voice, support and comfort yourself just like a loving parent would do to their beloved child. You’ll be amazed what a difference it makes.

Do you listen to and trust your own opinions?

We should try to believe in and trust both our own opinions and feelings. By doing that, we’re learning to love, support and care about ourselves the way we deserve.

Have you thought about focusing on your own opinions and feelings, rather than those of other people? I’d love to hear about it.

Here are my other articles in this series:

©Toni Pike 2020

Toni Pike is a multi-genre author who enjoys writing exciting thrillers for adults, non-fiction, and hilarious books for children. She also loves travelling and being with family and friends. She lives in Australia and firmly believes that coffee and long walks are an essential part of any day.

Do you like books that you can’t stop reading? Pike is the author of DESOLATION BLUFF, DEAD DRY HEART and The Jotham Fletcher Mystery Thriller Series: THE MAGUS COVENANT, THE ROCK OF MAGUS, THE MAGUS EPIPHANY and HOLY SPEAR OF MAGUS. Her latest release is for children aged 6-9: BRODY CODY AND THE STEPMOTHER FROM OUTER SPACE.

She’s also the author of two non-fiction books. THE ONE WAY DIET is a no-nonsense guide to losing weight and coping with the journey. HAPPY TRAVELS 101 is a short book of travel tips with great advice for anyone who wants to travel overseas.

Books by Toni Pike

One of the recent reviews for Desolation Bluff

D. W. Peach 5.0 out of 5 stars Quick and thrilling read  Reviewed in the United States on December 4, 2020

Oliver is a successful romance writer and happy newlywed. His wife, Vanessa, is his writing assistant, and his best friend Ray handles promotion. But Oliver is also blind, and what he doesn’t see is the way Vanessa and Ray roll their eyes at him and touch each other’s hands across the table. Then a freak accident returns Oliver’s sight. Before he can tell the two most important people in his life about the miracle, he discovers them in the throes of passion. His ability to see becomes his secret, and the tables turn.

The characters started off a touch flat for me, but they didn’t stay that way for long. As soon as Oliver gets his sight back, things get very interesting, very fast. Oliver is quite crafty and when a distant relative, Ferris, shows up at Oliver’s estate, she joins in the scheming. Things escalate like crazy and grow out of everyone’s control. The pace is great and the plot well-conceived.

The characters are varied and interesting, all of them flawed. Even Vanessa and Ray, despite their deceptions, don’t seem to start out with murderous intentions. And Oliver, in many ways the victim, makes vengeful choices with disastrous results. This book is a quick read that I polished off in a morning. Recommended for anyone who enjoys thrillers.

Read the reviews and buy Toni’s books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK –  Follow Toni:Goodreads – Website: Toni PikeTwitter: @piketoni

 

Thank you for joining us today and I know that Toni would love to receive your feedback

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2021 – #Pot Luck – The Small Dog and the Hoover Monster by Ani and Sue Vincent


Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine. The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics.

In this series I will be sharing posts from the last six months of 2020

It is an opportunity to showcase your writing skill to my readers and also to share on my social media. Which combined is around the 46,000 mark. If you are an author your books will be mentioned too, along with their buy links and your other social media contacts. Head over to find out how to participate: Posts from Your Archives 2021

This is the first post from the archives of Sue Vincent who has more than one blog to select posts from… Today a post from her little black dog Ani’s site where she shares her inner thoughts about life, tennis balls, cheese and in this case the monster in the room…

The Small Dog and the Hoover-Monster

She says that I am an unfortunate pup,

I shed loads of hair that she has to clean up;

When it’s summer the finest fur next to my skin

Makes its way to the floor so my top coat is thin.

*

Now, myself, I think that is a perfect design…

The fine stuff’s discarded, the top coat can shine,

She helps it along as she combs me each day…

Then I can go out, either sunbathe or play.

*

But she’s none too happy, and curses instead,

And says she could make up her own ‘feather’ bed

With the hair she removes from my coat and the floor

When she’s just hoovered up and she says, “Small Dog…more?”

*

It comes out in handfuls, she’s filled up the bin,

As if Nature’s management style is a sin,

I really can’t help it, it’s just how I’m made

That turns carpets hairy wherever I’ve laid.

*

So morning and night she will Hoover the hair,

And sweep in between with meticulous care,

And then turn around, see a new hairy trail

That’s wafting in furballs as I wag my tail.

*

“That’s it!” she says, “Small Dog, I’ve got it! Of course!

I should, without doubt, tackle hair at the source!”

So she tempted me over with treats to her knee…

And then, so unfair, turned the Hoover on me!

*

Well, honestly, first I just stood there in shock!

I just dare not move, stood as still as a rock,

She Hoovered my back and my tail and my side…

Until I shot off, seeking somewhere to hide!

*

And her, rotten two-legs, all she did was laugh

And go on to threaten a ‘nice’, soapy bath!

So today, if she grooms me with more than the comb…

I’m packing my tennis balls and leaving home!

©Sue Vincent 2020

A small selection of  books by Sue Vincent with Stuart France and Ani

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire born writer, esoteric teacher and Director of The Silent Eye. She has been immersed in the Mysteries all her life. Sue maintains a popular blog and is co-author of The Mystical Hexagram with Dr G.M.Vasey. Sue lives in Buckinghamshire, having been stranded there some years ago due to an accident with a blindfold, a pin and a map. She has a lasting love-affair with the landscape of Albion, the hidden country of the heart. She is currently owned by a small dog who also writes at S.C. Vincent

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK and: Amazon US Blog: S.C. VincentGoodreads:Sue Vincent  – Twitter:@SCVincent – Ani’s Blog: The Small Dog’s Blog –   Blog: France And Vincent
Thanks for visiting today and I hope you will head over to both Sue’s and Ani’s blogs to enjoy their posts.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2021 – #Pot Luck – #Writing – 7 Tips For Creating Awesome Characters by K.M. Allan


Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine. The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics.

In this series I will be sharing posts from the last six months of 2020

It is an opportunity to showcase your writing skill to my readers and also to share on my social media. Which combined is around the 46,000 mark. If you are an author your books will be mentioned too, along with their buy links and your other social media contacts. Head over to find out how to participate: Posts from Your Archives 2021

This is the first post by author K.M. Allan who shares some excellent tips for creating our characters.

7 Tips For Creating Awesome Characters

While a great storyline and an intense setting can make for an excellent read, what really creates a great book is awesome characters. After all, how many pages have you kept turning just to see what happens to the MC?

Getting your reader to care about your characters is a task every writer should aim for, and these tips just might help.

Perfect The Voice

There are some books where the character voice is immediate. I remember sitting at a writer’s festival listening to a publisher talk about the winner of their latest competition and how they won because the voice stood out from the first line. I’ve since read that book (It Sounded Better In My Head by Nina Kenwood) and it’s true. The character voice of the MC is on point from the first sentence and makes you want to follow her journey. So how do you achieve the same thing? With planning and practice.

Plan how you want your character to be. If you can’t do that from the start of your draft, wait until you’ve finished and then have a good look at what’s on the page. Define how your character acts, talks, and thinks, and make sure it’s coming across for your readers.

Give Them Distinctive Dialogue

Just like each character has their own voice, they should also have dialogue that’s specific to them.

If you do it well enough, readers should know who is talking just by the dialogue alone, no name attached. You need to know your characters really well to get to that level, to know exactly how each one would react to the same news. If something surprising happens in your story, they all can’t say “Oh my god!”. Establish distinctive dialogue that suits the personality of each of your characters and you’ll be on track.

Create Individual Mannerisms

Mannerisms also need to be as individual as you can make them (do you see a theme happening here?).

If every character fidgets when they talk, there’s nothing to separate them in the reader’s mind. You don’t need to include crazy mannerisms either, just basic ones like one character being the only person in the book who rolls their eyes. It’s enough to establish that that mannerism belongs to them and to set them apart from everyone else.

Ramp Up The Relatability

Infuse your characters with common traits and there’s bound to be a reader out there who identifies with them.

Give them popular interests or hobbies, and readers will feel connected. If you’ve got a character who sees every movie under the sun, loves tacos, and owns a cat, I’m going to root for them. Making your characters as relatable as possible, both in personality, past-times, hardships, and wins is going to give your readers someone they identify with and a character who they will want to follow from the first page to the last.

Paint Them In Shades Of Gray

People aren’t perfect, and your characters shouldn’t be either.

Even heroes need shades of gray to make them believable. Yes, your MC can be the good guy, but he also needs to have flaws. If all they do is run around winning, there’s no tension or reason for the reader to want to go on a journey with them or to care what happens. Paint them in shades of gray—with both good and bad flaws.

Back Them Up With A Backstory

It’s a good idea to give all of your characters some backstory.

Major characters should have a well-planned and executed story, minor characters can get away with something as simple as a paragraph mentioned in passing, and characters who pop up once don’t need one.

For your major characters, the backstory can be dripped throughout the book, with anything that mirrors their arc popping up in time to make an event or scene make sense. For example, an MC who suffered a near-drowning as a child is suddenly forced to enter the water to save a friend. With the backstory of the drowning accident in mind, readers will wonder if they’ll hesitate or step up, giving you tension and an interesting character.

Make Them Consistent And Believable

One final tip for awesome characters is to make them consistent and believable!

Everything they do should be in line with the character you establish at the start of the book, and any changes to that character should be something that follows a clear, believable arc.

If you have a character who’s been nothing but a team player in every event of the book and they suddenly don’t show up at the big climax, readers will notice. Unless you’ve foreshadowed a good reason for why this character wouldn’t be there, you’ve ruined their consistency and believability. No writer wants a reader to throw their book across the room out of frustration, so create characters with consistent and believable actions.

When you combine that with backstory, gray shades, relatability, individuality, and a voice that leaps from the page, you’ll have no issues creating awesome characters.

What’s your best character creating tip? Share it in the comments!

© K.M. Allan 2020

About K.M. Allan

K.M. Allan is an identical twin, but not the evil one. She started her career penning beauty articles for a hairstyling website and now powers herself with chocolate and green tea while she writes books and blogs about writing.

Her debut novel, Blackbirch: The Beginning, was released February 2020, followed in July by the second book in the Urban Fantasy series, Blackbirch: The Dark Half. Both books have been a hit with readers, receiving multiple 4 and 5 star reviews.

When K.M.’s not creating YA stories full of hidden secrets, nightmares, and powerful magic, she likes to read, binge-watch too much TV, spend time with family, and take more photos than she will ever humanly need.

Visit her social media to discover the mysteries of the universe. Or at the very least, some good writing tips.

Books by K.M. Allan

One of the recent reviews for Blackbirch – The Dark Half

Ms. Laurie J. Bell 5.0 out of 5 stars The twists just keep on coming.  Reviewed in the United States on November 14, 2020

There are new enemies, new mysteries, new secrets and new friends. And not everyone is telling the truth. The dark half explores what is dark in all of us. Everyone has two sides. What they show to the world and what they keep hidden. Well, what if you saw both sides?

Book two jumps in where book one left off. Josh has come into his magic but is desperate to learn more about it. Kallie, the girl he thought only existed in his dreams, is real and has come to show him how to use his magic. But she is hunted and haunted by her past. Now it is Josh’s turn to save her.

This is a terrific action packed book. Magic and spells and crystals abound. Someone is collecting magic and Josh and Kallie are on his list. Just when you think you have this story pegged you are hit with a new twist. Cleverly plotted, this story is well told and full of mystery. Author K.M. Allan will keep you hooked to the very end. Over and over I sat up and went, “Ooooo!” I can’t wait to read the next installment.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US –  And: Amazon UK – Follow K.M. Allan: Goodreads – Instagram: K.M. Allan Writer – Facebook: K.M. Allan Writer – Twitter:  @KMAllan_writer

 

Thanks for visiting today and I know that Kate would love your feedback.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2021 – #Pot Luck – Back in the saddle! Afghanistan Adventures #45 by Mary Smith


Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine. The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics.

In this series I will be sharing posts from the last six months of 2020

It is an opportunity to showcase your writing skill to my readers and also to share on my social media. Which combined is around the 46,000 mark. If you are an author your books will be mentioned too, along with their buy links and your other social media contacts. Head over to find out how to participate: Posts from Your Archives 2021

This is the first post from author Mary Smith and I have enjoyed all her adventures in Afghanistan and Pakistan over the last couple of years but there were a couple I missed and I am going to share those in this series. I highly recommend that you head over to Mary’s to read the others in this wonderful series.

Back in the saddle! Afghanistan Adventures #45

I discovered some more slides, handed them over at the print shop – they say at least three weeks! Photos included this week, while relevant to the post are taken on different times.

three horses

Lal-sar-Jangal – early winter 1989

It was time for the trip to Waras which I was anticipating with trepidation. Not only would my equestrian skills be sorely challenged by two days on horseback – each way – but, so too would my conversational abilities. Although my Dari had improved, my vocabulary was very much women orientated. I wondered how far lines such as “Does the back pain come just before your monthly bleeding?”, “Does your bleeding come regularly?” or, “Is there any smell or itching?” would take me.

IMG_0004 (Custom)

Ibrahim’s brother, Hassan, arrived to accompany us on the journey and early one morning we assembled outside the clinic. All the staff, several patients plus curious onlookers gathered to watch our departure. My horse was a pretty little thing, brown with a white star on her forehead. Outwardly displaying a degree of confidence, inwardly belied by the nervous churning of my stomach, I mounted, waited for Ibrahim to adjust the stirrups, mount his own horse and give the signal, “Y’Allah”, to be off.

IMG_0005 (Custom)

He and Hassan trotted off. I stayed put. It was acutely embarrassing, in front of so many people, all much too polite to laugh, but who must have found the situation hilarious. On previous occasions, the horse had at least started out. After much kicking of my heels and frantic tugging on the reins, I had to suffer the ignominy of being led by Haboly for the first fifty yards, until the horse finally accepted that she was part of the expedition.

IMG_0006 (Custom)

Probably 1994 with son, David and ‘his’ horse

Despite having reluctantly agreed to carry me, there was no way that she was going to put herself out any more than was strictly necessary, and I could not coax even a gentle trot out of her. Resorting to the method used on our way to Haboly’s village, Ibrahim rode in front with Hassan close behind me, occasionally giving my horse a flick with his whip. After about an hour of this Hassan decided enough was enough, and that if he did not teach me something about riding, it was going to take us a week to reach Waras.

IMG_0001 (Custom)

He connected with horses like a horse whisperer!

His method was simple and direct. Riding up alongside me he handed me his whip with the command, ‘Bezi – Beat!’ Reluctantly I took the whip and, feeling acutely self-conscious, attempted to do as ordered but only succeeded in striking the saddle bag behind me. My second attempt connected with the horse’s rump. This so astonished her, she was galvanized into charging forward in a fast trot for all of a hundred yards. As she began to recover from this surprise action on the part of her soft-touch rider and slow down again, Hassan was right beside me yelling in my ear, ‘Bezi!’ There were a few more fits and starts but, at last, she understood, and accepted, that her novice rider actually meant business. She settled down into a steady trot. Flushed with success, I grinned my thanks to Hassan and patted the horse’s neck at which her ears pricked quizzically. I began to feel quite fond of her.

Ibrahim and Hassan sat loosely in their saddles, completely relaxed. I felt like a sack of potatoes lumping around in the saddle, and with every step my spine connected with the wall of my stomach. Progress may have become speedier, but it was excruciatingly uncomfortable. When, after two hours of trotting, Ibrahim suggested a stop for tea I was extremely grateful. Dismounting gingerly, I winced as my cramped muscles protested, but the tea and boiled eggs revived me and when Ibrahim said, ‘We must go.’ I remounted, eager to continue. It was nerve-racking when everyone else in the chaikhana came out to watch how the foreigner rode a horse. To my relief she responded instantly to the dog calling sound, which means “gee up”, and trotted off beautifully. I loved her. I decided to call her Zeba, meaning beautiful.

We were to break our journey at Ibrahim’s uncle’s home in Kirman and Hassan rode ahead to alert the family to expect guests for the night. I watched enviously as his horse galloped over the flat grassland on which we were riding, wondering if I would ever attain such confidence and proficiency on a horse. Ibrahim rode alongside and showed me how to gather the reins in my left hand, Afghan style, my right arm, holding the whip, hanging straight down by my side. I felt that at least I was beginning to look the part.

IMG_0031 (Custom)

Never thought I’d be so comfortable on horseback!

The family had gathered outside to meet us. As soon as we were led inside Ibrahim’s aunt pounced on me and proceeded to massage my aching legs until the muscles relaxed and the pain melted away. Bliss. Later we played cards until dinner was served. Ibrahim never travelled anywhere without a pack of cards in his pocket. On this occasion he offered to teach me a new game but every time I thought I had grasped the rules, he seemed to change them. By the time dinner arrived, I owed him forty five chickens.

I slept little that night, devoured alive by an army of fleas sharing my blanket. In the morning Ibrahim caught me scratching furiously at my ankles and asked, ‘Fleas?’

Not wishing to offend anyone by saying their bedding was flea infested I muttered, ‘Perhaps I got them from the horse.’

Ibrahim was shocked by such a suggestion, ‘Oh, no, the horses don’t have fleas. They must have been in the blanket.’ When his uncle appeared and was told about the fleas he apologised for my disturbed night, but otherwise seemed to take the philosophical attitude that flea infested bedding was just one of those things in life with which we must cope. I escaped outside to find some privacy in which to enjoy a good scratch at the bites in less accessible parts of by body.

©Mary Smith 2020

About Mary Smith

Mary Smith has always loved writing. As a child she wrote stories in homemade books made from wallpaper trimmings – but she never thought people could grow up and become real writers. She spent a year working in a bank, which she hated – all numbers, very few words – ten years with Oxfam in the UK, followed by ten years working in Pakistan and Afghanistan. She wanted others to share her amazing, life-changing experiences so she wrote about them – fiction, non-fiction, poetry and journalism. And she discovered the little girl who wrote stories had become a real writer after all.
Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: Real Stories of Afghan Women is an account of her time in Afghanistan and her debut novel No More Mulberries is also set in Afghanistan.
Mary loves interacting with her readers on her website.

Books by Mary Smith

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A recent review No More Mulberries (I can highly recommend the book too)

John W. Howell VINE VOICE  5.0 out of 5 stars A Sophisticated Story of Human  Relationships Reviewed in the United States on September 21, 2020

I was drawn to this book by reading Mary Smith’s internet posts about her time in Afghanistan. From the first page, I was mesmerized by the descriptions of the county and its people. Yes, there is a story here, and the narrative is crisp and clear. But there is another significant feature of the book. This book gives a first-hand account of the struggles of living in a country ravaged by war, disease, and poverty. The people and the country’s conditions provide a backdrop to a very complicated relationship between a Woman born and raised in Scotland and her second husband, a native Afghan. The woman had given up her religion and homeland to follow her Doctor husband back to his home country. We find out early that this is the second time the woman has done this.

The main story deals with the relationship between the woman and her husband. Since returning to Afghanistan, she finds that his need to save face and follow the local community’s rules and mores supplants his love and respect for her. She contemplates what lie would be like without him and does defy his wishes and go off to the town where her first husband is buried.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and:Amazon UK –  Blog: Mary Smith’s PlaceGoodreads: Goodreads – Twitter: @marysmithwriter

 

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