Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Weekly Round Up – Social Media Shenanigans, Spring Flowers, Mexican Getaways, Italian Food, music, humour and Fabulous Guests

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

Firstly, an update on the Facebook debacle which only gets worse I am afraid. I know that several of you have been hit by blocked posts that contain links and are still having issues. I can comment, and share posts internally on Facebook but post links are still being blocked.

Disturbingly today that included the link to Debby Gies Sunday Interview which I sent to her in a Direct Message… supposedly private! It was blocked and in bold red told me that it did not meet community standards. I have appealed of course but it does have a warning for us all. Do not disclose private information in a direct message. For example if as they say Facebook is selling our data to health insurance companies, and we mention in a private message about a health issue we have to a friend, and then apply for insurance! Does that sound paranoid? Probably. What about your email address that you send in a message, or your postal address and the dates you will be away on vacation.

I had no illusions about Facebook but they have now embarked on a wholesale censorship programme that is unacceptable. They want you to have a page where they can bombard you with messages to boost your post to thousands of others at a cost. And they want to encourage you to buy from one of their advertisers and when you do, by all accounts you never hear the last of them.

I have friends and family on Facebook and I can at least for the time being share your posts from there. But over the next few weeks as MeWe grows and develops and the author’s group which now has nearly 50 members – I will be only using Facebook sparingly to stay in touch and to share others work internally. Eventually, I will be closing my account as I won’t be blackmailed or have any more of my private messages intercepted.

On a brighter note.. I have done the sums and the statistics show that the referrals to the blog is approximately 10%…thankfully most of those who share from Facebook are also contacts on Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or other sites that I am a member of such as MeWe. My main concern was for the book promotions that I post for other authors but after two weeks there has been no change to the response which is a relief.

Thank you for all your support and I appreciate all the shares to FB from here in the past, but I have now permanently removed the share button, as I don’t want you to be faced with messages from FB telling you that it is not allowed. They are intimidating and offer not recourse so I am done.

And as an aside.. new users are asked for a photograph before they are allowed to sign up for an account. It can take several days to get back to you. But in the meantime with facial recognition they can have mined a great deal of information about who you are and your history online. Whilst this does mean that the fake generals and other trolls will not be accepted, it also means that they can pick and choose who they admit to the site and if you do not fit their profile as a potential buyer of the advertising that they send your way… who knows where it will lead!

It is now affecting millions of users and you might find this post interesting sourced by Carol Taylor:

On with the posts from the week, and as always I am very grateful to the contributors who spend time and a great deal of effort to write columns and guest articles.

Welcome to Debby Gies March edition of her Travel Column where she shares the first part of her trip and two month vacation in Puerto Vallarta in Mexico.. and the flight did not go as planned!

This week Paul Andruss shares the bulbs that will make your late spring garden abundant with colour.

This week my guest is regular contributor non-fiction author D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies who reveals her contents of her purse, fashion sense, strangest dream and her love (hate) of the vacuum!

This week Silvia Todesco shares a fabulous recipe for oven baked, bacon wrapped cod which has to be a family favourite..

This week we look at the health benefits of honey… and Carol Taylor uses this as an ingredient in some stunning dishes.

A new series looking at ‘One Hit Wonders‘ from the 1950s onwards….this week ‘Lollipop’ by Ronald and Ruby…who were they, were are they now?

My response to Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 127 and this week the prompt words are ‘Follow and Lead’…. I have chosen ‘Succeed and Hint’ as my synonyms.

A further look at the rights as laid down by the United Nation that we should all be entitled to, but have an obligation to protect.

It is March 1986 and we drive back from Atlanta in one day.. and attend a BBQ cookout in Conroe Texas, this is my letter home to my parents in the UK.

This week’s Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills involves a chisel…as a noun or a verb… you will also enjoy Charli’s description of the thaw that is occurring on her finger (or thumb) that reaches out in to Lake Superior- here is my response – The Dancer.

Before you Get Started on your weight loss programme– Managing People, Environment and your expectations

This week Balroop Singh shares her experience of arranged marriages and her own happy relationship.

This week Darlene Foster finds and visits the grave of her great-great-grandmother.


In this post Jennie Fitzkee shares the connections that she was able to make between reading Little House on the Prairie and her own grandfather from a similar era and his experiences of mining.


This week Robbie Cheadle shares a wonderful poem that she wrote on 9th of February 2017 which was her sixteenth Wedding Anniversary…


Sharon Marchisello shares the strategies that her mother employed to make the most of every penny.

Bette Stevens shares a moving poem in tribute to her mother.

New book on the shelves

Author Updates – Reviews

Thank you very much for all your support and I would love to hear from you about any of the posts or if you would like some book promotion. .Have a great week.. thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Sunday Interview – Getting to Know author Ann Barnes

This week my guest is Ann Barnes who shares the animal she would like to have a conversation with, her weirdest dream, what is in her handbag, and what she would have done differently.

First a little more about my guest..

My name is Ann Harrison-Barnes. I am a blind author whose blog posts, published books and stories come straight from my heart. I am the proud mother of a precious little girl named Sharen. She is the inspiration for many of my stories, especially the ones that feature children as characters in them.

I have found music to be a great source of healing throughout a rough and painful time in my life. For the past seven years as a writer, I have found, and still find, music as a source of inspiration to this day. In many of the various blog posts on this site, I have written essays about music as it pertains to healing, everyday life, writing and much more, along with essays about winter, snow, and other reflections about my belief system.

I also review audio books and eBooks that have touched my heart, or affected me in a unique way. I will also review books for authors, in exchange of a review of my own books.

From time to time, I will also interview my characters and sneak in on character conversations about upcoming novels I’m working on, so you can learn more about them from behind the scenes.

Welcome Ann and If animals could talk, which one would you have a conversation with?

I would have a talk with a dog, especially if I owned and handled it as a guide dog. I had a guide dog named star; therefore, I wonder what stories she’d tell. I hope she wouldn’t tell bad things about me, but I do want to know about her puppy raisers and what other animals she’s been around. Maybe if guide dogs could talk, we blind handlers could give them much more explanation about why they shouldn’t do certain things. How about telling the dog where I want to go instead of giving basic commands such as forward, left, right, sit, down, stay, etc. I wonder what my mom’s dog would have told me before she passed away.

What are the five things that you would always find in your handbag or briefcase?

First of all, I’d always find my check book. I keep it in my purse so I can get help writing a check as needed while I’m out and about with my parents or friends. The second thing I find in my purse is a miniature first aid kit, full of Band-Aids. I keep those on hand in case either my daughter or I get a minor injury while we’re on the go. The third thing I find in my purse is a pair of ear buds that came with my phone. I keep those for listening to either a books or podcasts on long road trips. I’ll find my newly acquired signature stamp for autographing books and quickly signing other documents. Finally, although this isn’t the very last thing I’ll find, in the front zipper pocket I carry a tube of ointment that was prescribed to me to prevent staph infections, since I had one back in October of last year.

Describe the strangest dream you’ve ever had.

I could tell you several, but the one dream that is strange, yet has recurred from time to time over the past few years is one in which I am climbing. This dream takes on many forms; however, the one form that I remember most is that of me climbing up a moving ramp. From what I remember, this ramp looked like a treadmill, but you moved uphill as the tread moved in the opposite direction.

When I climbed to the top, I reached out to touch the wall or door in front of me. As I did so, an evil man came out to the top of the ramp where I stood. He spoke in a deep rumbling voice. He reached toward me and stuck a sharp object into my shirt collar. I don’t mean that he stuck a knife down my shirt; however, this felt like a cactus or something similar.

Before I woke up, I found myself back at the bottom of the ramp. I remember begging and pleading a familiar figure for forgiveness. I guess I was mortified for boldly reaching out at the top of the ramp to orient myself to my surroundings. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to leave the ramp unbidden, but I don’t know why. It stuck with me most of the day and inspired me to come up with a writing prompt for my writing group. Anyway, she hugged me and we prayed together. That’s the last thing I remember before the dream faded away. One more thing I want to say, before I move onto the next question is this, when I have dreams of climbing, I can never climb down the ramp, stairs, ladder etc. I always have to climb all the way to the top and find another way back to where I started.

Do you prefer the big city or country life?

I prefer to live in the country. I’ve lived in Atlanta and Athens, GA before, and I find that I don’t get much inspiration for my writing from the noises of the city. However, now that I’m back home near my family, I find that sitting on the front porch swing on a warm sunny day is the best spot for brainstorming. I love to listen to wind chimes and let their melodious tinkle sing out inspiration to me. My characters often talk to me while I’m outside. However, even when I stay inside, the country is much quieter than the city and I can listen to my music and let my imagination run wild.

Sally here: I have found a short piece of wind chimes… hopefully a reminder to Ann of sitting on her porch courtesy of Syd’s Room

Knowing now, what you didn’t know then, what would you have done differently?

If I knew that both my first and my second husband would have been emotionally abusive as I do now, I probably wouldn’t have gotten married in the first place. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I love my daughter and she’s the most precious gift I could have received from God, but her life would have been significantly different if she’d had a different father or if I’d have taken her with me when I got a divorce.

The one thing I can say about my second husband, is that I noticed the warning signs of abuse and “saw” the red flags flying in the wind, before I got seriously hurt. I’ve always heard people say “If I knew then, what I know now…” when I was a kid. Now I can honestly say I know what that phrase means.

My thanks to Ann for being so open with her responses especially about the personal issues she has faced

Books by Ann Barnes

About the book

When a young girl takes a ride on a gravy train with her mother, she finds unexpected adventures and mysteries waiting for her as they glide down the cookie track. What happens to the track, and why do the biscuit wheels crumble at one point, and turn to mush near the Ferry Land station? Who is behind the mayhem in the land of Eat-a-Lot? Find out as this charming children’s adventure unfolds before your very eyes.

One of the reviews for the book

Elizabeth Horton-Newton, Author 5.0 out of 5 stars An Imaginative and Fun Book May 28, 2018

I purchased this book for my seven-year-old granddaughter who is well above her grade level in reading. Together we discovered a delightful story by Ann Barnes, “Maggie’s Gravy Train Adventure: An Electric Eclectic Book.”

The story begins with little Maggie Walker and her mother Marie setting off an adventure to a magical land called Eat-a-lot. Boarding a train powered by gravy with wheels made of biscuits they meet a conductor named Thomas who is made of gingerbread. The train runs along tracks made of cookies. Everything in this story is related to tasty treats. Soon they are waiting to be served their breakfast by their waiter Chocolate Chip.

Unfortunately, the biscuit wheels begin to crumble. Rosy the baker, with help from a fairy named Sprite, begins to hurriedly make fresh biscuits. Soon the train is moving again.

Colorful adventures follow as the train makes the journey to Eat-a-lot. As they pass through an ice storm and Fairyland, Maggie and her mother meet a little girl named Mandy and her mother.

There are mysteries that the girls solve along the way. Finally arriving in Eat-a-lot, they meet Rosy Posy’s sister, Betty Spaghetti. They stay in the Cake Batter Inn and get to explore the land of Eat-a-lot.

All in all, this is a cute story for children. Independent readers will appreciate learning some new words, and younger readers will be able to follow along easily as they are read to. I recommend this book to children five and older. Younger children may need a parent to read to them, but older children and children who read early can enjoy this imaginative story with no trouble. In my granddaughter’s words, this is a fun book.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

and on Amazon UK:

Also by Ann Barnes

Read the reviews and buy the books:

Connect to Ann


Thank you for dropping in today and Ann would love to hear from you.. thanks Sally.

If you would like to join the other participants and be interviewed here then please take a look at this post:

If you are interested in moving away from Facebook to a more user friendly site, then perhaps you would like to join us on MeWe, where a new group is being formed for authors to promote their books and reviews:


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Sunday Interview – Getting to Know author Audrey Driscoll

This week my guest is Canadian author Audrey Driscoll who shares the contents of her purse, her phobia, love of Tofino and how she would love to be invisible for a day….

First a little bit about Audrey Driscoll

I grew up reading books, and became interested in making stories myself. I worked out scenes and bits of dialogue, and made my friends act out little dramas based on my favourite book at the time – Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book.

With that background, it was inevitable I would become a writer. It just took a while. After establishing a career as a librarian – first at the University of Saskatchewan and then at the Greater Victoria Public Library in British Columbia – I had a meaningful encounter with H.P. Lovecraft’s character Herbert West.

Strangely fascinated by HPL’s corpse-reanimating physician and his friend the nameless narrator, I built a set of stories around them. In 2000, I was compelled to write them down. The result was The Friendship of Mortals and three more novels, which constitute the Herbert West Series. Self-publishing became respectable and relatively easy just in time to rescue me from the sad fate of the Unpublished Writer.

Reluctant to abandon the characters I had spent so much time with, I wrote and recently published several short stories as supplements to the Herbert West Series. I am currently at work on a sequel to the series.

My other interest is gardening a patch of earth on southern Vancouver Island. I post about that at least as often as I do about books and writing — with pictures! To me, writing and gardening are forms of alchemy — a mysterious process of creating excellence from the chaos of the world.

Time to find out what questions Audrey has selected to respond to…..

Welcome Audrey and perhaps you could begin by telling us what are the five things that you would always find in your handbag or briefcase?

Well, let’s have a look… Aside from the obvious, such as wallet, keys, and phone, I always have the following:

One. My Laguiole knife.  It’s an elegant folding knife made in France. You never know when you might need to slice an apple, cut a string, or… deal with an awkward situation.


Two. A bright red shopping bag that, rolled up, is no bigger than a hot cross bun. Now that plastic bags are banned where I live (a move I agree with), it’s come in handy on many a sudden shopping occasion.

Three. A tiny flashlight. Everyone knows you need a light in dark places.

Four. A piece of string. Well, actually it’s a boot lace, but it can do anything a string can. This is another of those “You never know” items.

Five. A notebook and pen, for writing down brilliant ideas. Of course, they’re never as brilliant as the ones that get away.

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

I’ve never managed to learn to swim properly, despite taking lessons several times. I can float, tread water, and execute a half-decent back stroke and breast stroke. I can’t for the life of me do the crawl. Sticking my face into the water to exhale just feels wrong. I end up holding my breath, which kind of limits endurance. For the most part this hasn’t been a problem. We live a short walk from a nice beach, but the water is almost always too cold for swimming, and I have to admit I’m not keen on swimming pools. You just never know what’s in that water.

Sally: Perhaps these guys might persuade you to change your mind about swimming pools Audrey

Where is your favourite holiday destination and why?

For relaxation-type holidays (as distinct from challenging ones), my number one choice is Tofino, on the west coast of Vancouver Island. It’s a half-day’s drive from Victoria, where I live, but getting there feels like a journey rather than a mere trip. You travel from the built-up, suburbanized east coast of the island, over its rocky spine, into what’s left of the temperate rainforest with clear, fast-running rivers and streams, and finally to the long beaches on the fringe of the world. The town has all the amenities you need, but the feeling of having reached the end of the road pervades the place. Many people have come for a visit and stayed forever. Whether you like surfing, kayaking, or just walking the beaches and watching the endless waves, it’s a wonderful, spiritually renewing place. Many WordPress bloggers get to enjoy photos of its birds, wildlife and scenery through Wayne’s blog, Welcome to Tofino

Sally: I have long been a fan of Wayne Barnes and his stunning photography and Tofino is on our list of ‘Must See’ places… here is a short promotional film by Tracker Productions

Do you have a phobia and do you remember how it started?

I’m not sure this is an actual phobia, but I have an irrational and uncontrollable fear of being in a sailboat that’s heeling over. This is a natural and expected behaviour of sailboats when sailing close to the wind. You really can’t sail without experiencing it. Most people think it’s great fun when the boat tilts at 20 or 30 degrees, water washes over the bow, the rigging clangs, and the wind screams. Me? I’m clinging to handholds and praying to get back to shore. This was a real disappointment, because after reading Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons books I thought sailing would be wonderful. My terror definitely put a crimp in several sailing expeditions, until I gave up and declared myself a landlubber by nature.

If you were to become invisible for a day, what is the one thing you would do?

Spy on people, what else? I’d mingle with crowds, people-watching and eavesdropping, without being suspected of creepiness. In my trusty notebook (which would, I hope, share my invisibility), I would record impressions and snippets of conversations for future writing projects. I’m thinking outdoor venues would be best, to avoid awkward collisions. And unless I could be certain the invisibility would last for the entire day, I’d have to be ready to look uninterested in case I suddenly popped into view. In fact, this scenario in itself might make a good story!

Books by Audrey Driscoll

About She Who Comes Forth

The novel is a standalone sequel to the Herbert West Series. Readers who enjoy a combination of realistic adventure and supernatural elements in an exotic setting — Luxor, Egypt and the Theban Necropolis — may wish to have a look.

October 1962. The developing nuclear missile crisis in Cuba is of no concern to Francesca “France” Leighton. Recently turned 21, France travels from her home in Providence to a job at an archaeological dig in Luxor, Egypt. She takes with her two legacies—an emerald ring from the grandfather she never knew, and an antique cello from his friend, a man she loved like a grandfather.

The dig disappoints. France is relegated to sorting chunks of stone, the dig’s director makes unwanted advances; rivalries and mistrust are everywhere. And it’s too darn hot! Tasked with playing her cello at a gathering of archaeologists, France meets the enigmatic and fascinating nuclear physicist Adam Dexter. She’s smitten, especially when he promises to show her the secrets of Egypt, including a hitherto undiscovered tomb.

After a risky balloon cruise ends in a crash landing, France is forced to leave the dig. Despite warnings against solo explorations on the west bank, she finds herself with Adam Dexter in an eerie house near the Theban Necropolis. Adam’s promises are alluring, but he is both more and less than he seems and his motivations are disturbing. Fleeing his house, France makes a horrifying discovery.

Through an image of Osiris, France discovers the true reason for her presence in the Theban Necropolis. As the world teeters on the brink of nuclear war, she must call upon resources both within and beyond herself to meet the perils that await her in the world of the dead beneath the Western Peak.

One of the recent reviews for the book

I absolutely loved the Herbert West series, and ‘She Who Comes Forth’ kind of picks up where the 4th book ends.

The protagonist is related to Herbert West and shares some of his occult ability. It is this ability, and a mysterious ring, that cause young France Leighton to become involved in a supernatural tussle of wills…in Egypt.

Along the way she meets an intriguing stranger who is not at all what he seems.

But before you think this will be a standard romance set in an exotic location, think again. There’s that twist, right?

I found She Who Comes Forth to be a very enjoyable read and I highly recommend it.

Read the reviews and buy the book :

And Amazon UK :


A selection of other books by Audrey Driscoll

Read the reviews and buy the books:

And Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Audrey on Goodreads:

Connect to Audrey

Barnes & Noble:”Audrey%20Driscoll

Thank you for dropping in today and I know Audrey would love to hear from you.. thanks Sally

If you would like to participate in the Sunday Interview Series and share your blog and books, then please check out this post:

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – Jazz, Chicken Poop, Chopped liver, Old Age, Australia and Sheep farming!

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

Despite some grey and misty starts to the days, there has been a trending upward curve in the temperatures and the hedgerows and gardens locally are beginning to show signs of spring. For someone who does not do short days, devoid of sun, and usually wet, this is a great shift in the weather. All my years as a child and adult living in sunnier climates makes it a challenge. I must admit to becoming a bit of a hermit from October to March and guess in a previous life I must have been a bear!  I can be be grumpy enough at times, especially when I wake from a long sleep and am hungry and thirsty.

Thankfully there have been some offline activities this week that have been great fun and people and laughter make all the difference.

Apart from that…. it has been a great week here online with a new job for me, having been invited to be an administrator for The Literary Diva’s Library on Facebook, alongside Colleen Chesebro and D.G.Kaye… and Colleen has added me into the group banner and if you click that, it will take you to the page where you can share book reviews for yourself and crucially for others, and also author interviews and news. The more members we have the more effective the group will be in supporting authors.

If you are an author and would like to be part of a group that supports and promotes other authors then please head to Facebook by clicking the image.

As always I would like to thank the contributors to the blog who inform and entertain you. This includes those participating in the new Posts from Your Archives series which is all about the family.. If you click on one of the posts it will give you the details on how to share your posts to a new audience. You can also become a guest writer with any new material that you would like to share… you can email me for details if you are interested sally.cronin(at)

Welcome to the music column with William Price King and this week the featured artist is Ted Nash, Saxophonist and Composer  and his work Portrait in Seven Shades.

In this week’s re-run of Paul Andruss’s gardening column, he promotes the beneficial properties of chicken poop for the garden…

A new series of Cook from Scratch with myself and Carol Taylor. This time looking at nutrients and the symptoms that you might be deficient in them.. I share the signs and the foods to include to avoid becoming deficient, and Carol turns them into delicious meals for all the family. This week Vitamin A..

In this week’s chapter I look at the amount of sugar that is hidden in our diet and how Candida Albicans thrives on this food, fueling the overgrowth in our gut.

My guest today is author Sheila Williams who lives in France, but in the past has enjoyed several careers, including that of sheep farmer (more about that later!). Sheila shares a mortifying experience in a restaurant, her fashion sense, the contents of her handbag and a tussle with a persistent romeo ram (of the sheep variety!)

This week Linda shares ‘Family Talk’ the expressions that become a code that every member of the family understands.

Australian author Frank Prem shares his love of his hometown, and the inspiration behind his recently released collection of poems and stories.. Small Town Kid.

Joy shares a poem that expresses the joys of being young at heart at eighty-three years old…

As a follow on from the Valentine’s Day post of romantic ballads, here are some of the requests with more to come on Tuesday.

My guest today is poet Miriam Hurdle who wrote a post in 2017 at Thanksgiving. It was an eventful time with Miriam in recovery from an operation for cancer and her daughter about to give birth.


D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies, shares the signs that you are in an abusive relationship, and from personal experience, she inspires those who are trapped in a cycle of abuse to break free.

Delighted that author Sue Vincent is sharing a post from her archives, particularly as it is all about dogs that have been a part of her family, going back generations.

In respect of this series, where I explore some of the key elements of our modern lives, I take a light-hearted look at love and romance. Well partly light-hearted, as there are some elements of this universally sought after state of bliss that can be from the dark side.

New book on the shelves

Author updates

This week my etheree is on the Joys of Spring….in response to Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 124

Thank you for all you support and look forward to seeing you again next week.. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Sunday Interview – Getting to Know author Abbie Taylor

Please welcome my guest this week, author and poet Abbie Taylor and let’s find out a little more about her.

About Abbie Taylor

I live in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, I cared for my late husband Bill, totally blind, who was partially paralyzed by two strokes soon after we were married. Before that, I was a registered music therapist and worked for fifteen years in a nursing home and other facilities that served senior citizens. I have a visual impairment, and during this time, I facilitated a support group for others like me. I also taught braille and served on the advisory board of a trust fund that allows persons with blindness or low vision to purchase adaptive equipment and services.

I’m the author of a romance novel, two poetry collections, and a memoir and am working on another novel. My poems, short stories, and essays have been published in various journals and anthologies. I belong to several writers’ organizations and a women’s singing group and take water exercise classes at the YMCA

Welcome Abbie and can you tell us about your partner’s likes and dislikes?

I no longer have a partner, but when my late husband Bill was alive, he loved sports. The Colorado Rockies and the Denver Broncos were his favorite baseball and football teams respectively. Although he was totally blind for most of his life and partially paralyzed most of the time we were married, he enjoyed sitting outside, listening to a ball game or audio book. He liked to eat meat, potatoes, and sweets but hated most vegetables. He preferred country and bluegrass music and couldn’t stand classical or opera. My Ideal Partner is a memoir I wrote that tells our story.

What are the five things that you would always find in your handbag or briefcase?

In my fanny pack, I carry my billfold, a package of Kleenex, my medication list, in case, God forbid, I’m in an accident and paramedics are called, a pen, and a tube of Blistex. Because of my visual impairment, when I attend writers’ group meetings or writing workshops, I wear a back pack which contains my braille tablet, a portable magnifier, a folder with copies of pieces I’m submitting for critique plus braille paper in case my tablet quits working, a slate and stylus for writing in case I need them, and a bottle of water. Actually, that’s six things, but they’re all important. When I go to my water exercise class at the YMCA, my backpack contains water shoes, a towel, a plastic bag for my wet swimming suit, another bottle of water, and other essential items.

What is your favourite childhood song and why?

That would be “Joy to the World” by Three Dog Night. When I was in the fourth grade, I fell in love with a boy who was a year younger. We went to each other’s houses after school and on weekends where we listened to music and dreamed about launching a rocket together. He played the piano, and we sang this song for a school talent show with him accompanying us. A year later, his family moved away, and we eventually lost touch. I recently heard he’d passed away.

Where is your favourite holiday destination and why?

I enjoy traveling to Jupiter, Florida, to visit my brother and his family during their spring break. He and his wife both teach, and they have five teenagers between them, so most everyone’s out of school, and we can all have fun together as a family. They have two dogs, so we take plenty of walks. We also go to the beach and otherwise spend time outdoors. Last year when I was there, I participated in my first ever protest march, against gun violence. My trip there is a great escape from winter in Wyoming.

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

Yes, I play the piano and guitar. When I was about twelve, I dreamed of being a singer like Olivia Newton-John or Debbie Boon. Now, when I’m not writing, I take my guitar to nursing homes and other facilities and sing for the residents, and they love it. I also sing in a women’s choral group. We perform at church services, ball games, and other venues.

Sally Here: As Abbie likes the music of Pat Boone’s daughter Debbie, here is her 1977 hit You Light Up My Life. Amazon

About My Ideal Partner

In September of 2005, Abbie Johnson married Bill Taylor. She was in her mid—forties, and he was nineteen years older. Three months later, Bill suffered the first of two strokes that paralyzed his left side and confined him to a wheelchair. Abbie Johnson Taylor, once a registered music therapist, uses prose and poetry to tell the story of how she met and married her husband, then cared for him for six years despite her visual impairment. At first, there was a glimmer of hope that Bill would walk again, but when therapists gave up on him seven months after his second stroke, Taylor resigned herself to being a permanent family caregiver.

She discusses learning to dress him and transfer him from one place to another, sitting up with him at night when he couldn’t urinate or move his bowels, and dealing with doctors and bureaucrats to obtain necessary equipment and services. There were happy times, like when she played the piano or guitar and sang his favorite songs, or when they went out to eat or to a concert. She also explains how she purchased a wheelchair accessible van and found people to drive it, so they wouldn’t always depend on the local para-transit service’s limited hours. In the end, she describes the painful decision she and Bill made to move him to a nursing home when he became too weak for her to care for him in September of 2012. He seemed to give up on life and passed away a month later.

One of the reviews for the book

A great telling of the struggles of a young woman doing her best to cope with husband’s chronic illness which eventually took his life. A must read for anyone dealing with the issues related to caregiving and staying positive and strong throughout the process and recovery afterwards.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

Also by Abbie Taylor (please click the image to buy)

Connect to Abbie


Thank you for dropping in today and I am sure that Abbie would love to hear from you… thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – Bloggers Bash Nominations, Winter Warmers, Arizona, Spring Bulbs and all that Jazz

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

We are actually enjoying some sunshine despite very cold temperatures and we are hoping it is a sign spring is on its way. I know for many of you in the UK and USA, this has been a very tough couple of weeks with snow and storms, so hopefully you too will have a more settled week ahead.

It is hard to ignore the turmoil going on in the world, especially as the press is having a field day with fake news, assumptions, predictions, fear-mongering, pot-stirring and allegations. There may be a reason that we as yet have not been invaded by an alien species. I suggest that they have popped in from time to time, to the excitement of the UFO buffs, and exited rapidly when they see what they might be getting into.

The actions of those in power are completely at odds with the promises made in their wonderful election speeches, and at the very least they should be prosecuted for false advertising and misrepresentation.

Meanwhile, in the real world, all we can do is keep doing what we are doing and try to stay as positive as possible.

If all else fails………..

My thanks to my regular contributors who continue to spread a positive message and to your for dropping in and liking, commenting and sharing..

And on that note……

I was very honoured to be nominated for the Best Book Blog award, and my thanks to those who put my name forward. Voting begins at the end of March and you still have time to nominate your favourite bloggers in the new categories. The links are in the post.

This week William Price King shares the life and music of legend Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker

Paul Andruss with some suggestions to bring colour to your garden with early spring bulbs.

Carol Taylor shares some recipes that are easy to prepare and that will warm the cockles of your heart…..

Debby Gies is still on vacation in Mexico and busily creating future travel posts about this fantastic vacation spot, but in the meantime, she gives us a guided tour of Jerome, Arizona which is a preserved copper mining town that generated billions for investors.

Joy Lennick shares two poems that bridge the end of winter and the start of spring.

Welcome to the blog for the first time to romance author Laura M. Baird who shares her love of country, music and tattoos, as well as one of the craziest and most detailed dream

I am now participating in is Diana Peach’s monthly speculative fiction challenges and this month she had a delightful photo prompt. My story is called ‘The 1812 Overture”

Another of my weekly challenges is the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills

It is that time of the week when I get my syllables in lines in response to Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 122.

It is February 1986 and we are preparing for my birthday and I get a new car.

Relationships – So far I have covered respect, recognition, relations in Previous Chapters, which leads me very conveniently into relationships. In this first part, I am looking at the socialisation of children before and during school that form the basis of their relationship skills in the wider world.

Author Updates and reviews

Every year, 4.2million people die worldwide within 30 days of surgery. This is a staggering 1.23million more deaths than HIV, TB and malaria combined makes up 7.7% of all fatalities – with only heart disease and stroke killing more. You can make a difference to this statistic by preparing for elective surgeries in the weeks before the operation.

The next chapter in my rollercoaster weight gain and loss history, with a pattern emerging that linked a number of physical events in my life, antibiotics, candida albicans and stress together.

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have an amazing week……

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Sunday Interview – Getting to Know author Anne Goodwin

Welcome to this week’s Sunday interview and my guest is author Anne Goodwin whose latest short story collection Becoming Someone was released in November 2018.

Anne Goodwin loves fiction for the freedom to contradict herself and has been scribbling stories ever since she could hold a pencil. During her career as an NHS clinical psychologist her focus was on helping other people tell their neglected stories to themselves. Now that her short fiction publication count has overtaken her age, her ambition is to write and publish enough novels to match her shoe size. Her debut novel, Sugar and Snails, was published in July 2015 by Inspired Quill and shortlisted for the 2016 Polari First Book Prize. Her second novel, Underneath, was published in May 2017.

Before we take a look at Anne’s books, let’s find out more about her.

Welcome Anne and thank you for joining us, can you share what was the one thing you could never learn how to do no matter how hard you tried?

Swimming front crawl. I didn’t learn to swim until I was almost in my teens, but I managed a reasonable breaststroke. For several years, I would go to the swimming pool a couple of mornings a week before work. It took me a while to realise – well it was early morning – that the pains in my knees were due to that breaststroke kick. So I switched to front crawl, but found myself exhausted after just one length. I wasn’t uncomfortable putting my head in the water, and could more or less manage the sideways breaths, but I covered the distance almost as fast floating on my back. After a few years, I lost interest and don’t even have a swimming costume now.

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

There was a time I might have answered “singing” to the above question although, in all honesty, assuming I couldn’t sing, I didn’t try very hard to learn. It wasn’t until my late 40s that I plucked up the courage to enrol for individual lessons. While they helped enormously, I wanted to sing classical, but my teacher thought my voice wasn’t good enough. Nevertheless, a few years later, after early retirement, I approached an all-comers choir and, despite my incompetence and inexperience, I was welcomed in. Although I’ve definitely improved, I still consider myself a struggling soprano (and would never want, nor would I be good enough, to sing solo), singing with others brings out the best in my voice. I’m so grateful to be part of it and I love the classical repertoire. The sound quality isn’t great but I have a YouTube clip of what might have been the first performance I took part in, and still one of my favourite pieces:

Sally here: That is wonderful Anne and how fabulous to have found such an all inclusive choir that sounds to amazing.

Do you prefer the big city or country life?

If only I could have both on my doorstep! At the moment, we live in a small town which sometimes feels like the best of both worlds and sometimes the worst. I’ve never lived in the countryside, but get out there walking as often as I can. I often fantasise about moving to a small village, but I also fear I’d find it claustrophobic. When I lived in a city I appreciated the culture and a choice of restaurants within walking distance of the house. But it could be a pain having to drive through snarls of traffic to get out to the hills. My first two novels are set in cities, driving strongly in places I know, but my next will be set in a small town with a rural backdrop.

Do you have a phobia and do you remember how it started?

It’s not exactly a phobia, but I’m very sensitive to particular types of noise; for example, I can’t stay out in the garden if a neighbour has a radio on. I used to try and stick it out, but I get quite distressed and lose the connection with my own mind. I also feel it physically in my gut. These days I can often work around it and, of course, for a writer everything is material and I do have a WIP about a teenager with phonophobia, which I’m finding interesting, especially as I don’t find my own situation easy to explain.

What are the five things that you would always find in your handbag or briefcase?

I rarely carry a handbag or briefcase: it’s partly about protecting my posture, something I learnt about through the Alexander technique. If I’m not out for long, I’ll put a purse, key or whatever in my pocket. (However, I must admit that this backfired this summer when I carried home blackberries in a pocket, leaking colourfully through a plastic bag into my trousers.) If I’m going to be away from home for a couple of hours or more I’ll take a small backpack with a water bottle; migraine medication; bank card; phone and a couple of business cards, because you never know when you’ll have the opportunity to tell people about your books! Also, a dear friend whom I first met in cyberspace sent me a lovely lightweight foldaway shopping bag, so that goes in my pocket now too, just in case I need to carry anything more. (But I’ll never risk ruining it with blackberry juice.)

And here is Anne’s latest release

About Becoming Someone

What shapes the way we see ourselves?

An administrator is forced into early retirement; a busy doctor needs a break. A girl discovers her sexuality; an older man explores a new direction for his. An estate agent seeks adventure beyond marriage; a photojournalist retreats from an overwhelming world. A woman reduces her carbon footprint; a woman embarks on a transatlantic affair. A widow refuses to let her past trauma become public property; another marks her husband’s passing in style.

Thought-provoking, playful and poignant, these 42 short stories address identity from different angles, examining the characters’ sense of self at various points in their lives. What does it mean to be a partner, parent, child, sibling, friend? How important is work, culture, race, religion, nationality, class? Does our body, sexuality, gender or age determine who we are?

Is identity a given or can we choose the someone we become?

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Rachel Poli 4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Collection December 28, 2018

I absolutely love the cover. The colors are so pretty together, the font of the title is simple but makes itself known, and the birds have a sense of symbolism to them. This cover was well done.

First Thoughts:  I enjoy short story collections. I love seeing different perspectives from different characters and this was no different. I’ve enjoyed Anne Goodwin’s work in the past and didn’t want to pass up this opportunity to read her latest.

Plot: The plots vary from story to story and they’re very different from one another. There are a few that have similar themes, but each story is unique from the one before it and they were all interesting backgrounds.

Characters: As the title and summary suggests, each of these stories showcase the characters “becoming someone.” Everyone goes through their own struggles and battles and we all have good times and bad times. The characters in these stories had their own troubles to deal with and life kept moving on for them. Some were easier to get through than others, but the characters were becoming their own within their short tales.

Writing Style: This is a collection of 42 short stories and no two are the same. The writing style for each differed as well, depending on the character. The POV varied and there was even one story where the narrator spoke in first person and wouldn’t give their name. It kept the book interesting and made me wonder what sort of story and character would await me on the next page. Overall, they were all well written.

Overall: This book is well written and is a good length at nearly 300 pages. There are definitely some stories that I enjoyed more than others, but they were all an experience nonetheless.

Favorite Quote: “Loitering with a raspberry milk-shake in yet another coffee-bar, she was afforded multiple glimpses of men with flowing golden curls, but none adorning the head of her prince charming.” -Anne Goodwin, Becoming Someone;

Read the reviews and buy the book

And Amazon US:

Also by Anne Goodwin

Read the reviews and buy the books:

And on Amazon US:

Find more reviews and follow Anne on Goodreads:

Connect to Anne

Website and reviews:

My thanks to Anne for sharing some of her interests outside of writing and I know that she would love to hear from you.. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Sunday Interview – Getting to Know author Karina Bartow

Delighted to welcome American author Karina Bartow to the Sunday Interview. Before we find out which questions Karina had chosen to respond to, here is her official biography.

Karina Bartow grew up and still lives in northern Ohio. Though born with Cerebral Palsy, she’s never allowed her disability to define her. Rather, she’s used her experiences to breathe life into characters who have physical limitations, but like her, are determined not to let them stand in the way of the life they want. She may only be able to type with one hand, but she writes with her whole heart

Welcome Karina and can you tell us about your craziest experience?

I was scouting the older part of Glendale, Arizona to see if I wanted to set part of my debut novel there. The town’s businesses’ hours were unusual, and we had to spend most the afternoon in the area so I could go into the shops and restaurant I was interested in using. We parked in a two-hour space, making my dad have to move our vehicle during dinner.

After we finished, we strolled out to it, finding that he’d moved it a few spaces farther away. We had to pass a dark alley, but given the innocent feel of the historic square, we didn’t expect any of the unscrupulous activity associated with such. Thus, we looked down it, and to our alarm, a menacing figure sat against the building. When he saw us, he stood, put down the bottle in his hand, and came walking toward us.

In a wheelchair, I expected my dad to pick up his pace as my mom was, but he slowed down in case he needed to protect us. Thankfully, the man didn’t try anything, but it rattled us all, nonetheless. On the bright side, it gave me good writing material!

Sally: That must have been very scary Karina.. sounds like your Dad had it under control..

Do you have a phobia and do you remember how it started?

Ever since childhood, I’ve had a phobia of hotels. I attribute it to several causes. For one, I grew up staying with friends, so I was accustomed to sleeping on sheets of people I knew rather than strangers. I’m also allergic to certain detergents—sadly a very popular one, to boot—which added to my anxiety.

The most likely trigger, however, is an incident I don’t remember but my subconscious must.

When I was a toddler, a snow storm forced my family to rent a room in a budget hotel for a night instead of traveling home. I’m told it was clean, but the door’s insecure seal wouldn’t allow it to close. We could hear sounds from the outdoors all night long, including the cars going through the McDonalds next door. Apparently, blizzards make people hungry for Big Macs! I cried the entire night. I suppose it traumatized me.

Sally: It is amazing what experiences in our toddler years remain with us for life.. especially strange and noisy environments.

On a more cheerful note…What was the funniest moment of your life?

One could call this horrifying, too, but I look back and laugh.

On a spring evening when I was around six, my grandma offered to take me on a walk. Since I’m disabled, I rode in a big wheel type of jogging stroller, but I enjoyed such outings. Our typical route was the side road near our house, which boasts a pretty steep hill. When my teenage sister was pushing me, she’d let go of the handles and let gravity give me a fun thrill. Of course, she could keep up and catch me before the ride turned disastrous.

I never thought my sixty-something-year-old grandmother would try such a feat, with her age and short legs against her. Well, she surprised me and sent me on a free fall. I was tickled and laughed with glee…until I landed in the ditch. Still halfway up the hill, Grandma scurried to me, and when she finally made it, I let out an emphatic, “Ow!”

Sally: If you still fancy a bit of speed Karina.. then perhaps if you get some of this snow that is around at the moment you could build a back yard sled run like these two brothers.. there were quite a few ‘Ows!’ in the video too…

How would you describe your fashion sense?

I’d like to say it’s classically chic. I wasn’t much of a girly girl growing up, but like many teens, I came into my own throughout middle and high school. I’m typically in jeans and a nice top and always have my heels. I only wear sneakers to exercise. I’m also a big fan of jackets, which bodes well living in the northern U.S.

When I have the opportunity to dress up, I enjoy it but still am not frou-frou type. Sure, I like a gown, but spare me the taffeta and beading. As a child of the ‘90s, I’ve come to appreciate that less is more!

Do you prefer the big city or country life?

Being raised in a rural community, I used to daydream about living in the city. I envisioned the excitement of going out frequently and being able to visit new places often without having to travel an hour. Now, however, I’m fond of country life.

While I still look forward to going downtown on occasion, I realize making it a home would be quite a culture change. I like the space and scenery the country provides. I also appreciate the safer environment. The fact that everybody knows everybody can be bitter sweet, but most times, it creates for a supportive, family-like atmosphere.

Sally: I am with you on that Karina.. I love visiting the big city for a weekend but love being back home in the country.

Here is Karina’s latest release Forgetting My Way Back to You.

About the book

At one point or another, everybody finds themselves wanting a second chance, whether it be missing the mark on an investment, failing to live up to a certain goal, or letting a true love slip away. It’s very seldom, however, that one receives the proverbial do-over.

Charlee Stoll and Hunter Jett become the modern-day exception. After a decade-long estrangement, the high school sweethearts reconnect when Hunter, fresh off a career in arena football, returns to his hometown. Their reunion catches both of them by surprise, and they quickly recapture the love they once shared. When Hunter begins to rethink his choices, though, tragedy strikes. During a heated confrontation, Charlee’s thrown off a horse and sent into a week-long coma.

When she awakens with no clue who he is, he seizes the chance to right his wrongs, but it proves more challenging than he expects. On top of romancing her, he must overcome her father’s displeasure, another ex-boyfriend vying for her love, and her own mission to regain her memory. Through charm and deception, can he win back her love…before she discovers the truth?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Forgetting my way back to you is a wonderful story of young love lost, found, and lost again. It keeps you on the edge of your seat with many twists and turns and takes your emotions on a rollercoaster ride. It is well written and is laced with humor and quick wit that keeps you guessing what will happen until the end. I wish I could give it 10 stars!!! I can’t wait to read more of Miss Bartow’s work!

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

Also by Karina Bartow

Read the reviews and buy the books:

And on Amazon UK:

Connect to Karina


My thanks to Karina for sharing more about herself and I am sure she would love to hear from you.

You are very welcome to participate in the Getting to Know You Series…. if you have been a guest before… no worries, just answer a different five questions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Colleen Chesebro’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge.

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


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

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

New book on the shelves

Author Update -Reviews

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

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Sunday Interview – Getting to Know You with #children’s #wildlife author Denzil Walton

Please join me in welcoming children’s and wildlife author Denzil Walton who has recently published his latest in a series of wonderful books for children to encourage them to participate more in the natural world.

We will find out more about Denzil’s motivational writing a little later.. but first more about the author himself.

I am a freelance writer living near Leuven in Belgium. Originally from the UK, I have lived in Belgium for over 30 years. I am the author of four “Nature Walks Near Brussels” books and the creator of the popular Discovering Belgium blog. Most of my writing work is in the industry sector, but I am now working on a series of books under the theme “Encourage A Child”. The first ones focus on nature study, with titles such as Encourage A Child … to watch birds, study wild animals, enjoy creepy-crawlies, learn about trees, care for the planet.

Time to find out which of the questions Denzil has selected

Welcome to the blog Denzil and can you tell us about your craziest experience

When I was 22 years old I was unemployed, living in Manchester in an old and cold rented house, while trying to make a living as a freelance journalist. I wrote to my sporting hero, the Manchester United and England footballer, Steve Coppell, asking if I could interview him. To my total surprise not only did I get a reply, but he agreed to meet me! We met in the Old Trafford Grill Room, where we were served a pot of tea and scones. Mr. Coppell turned to me and said “Shall I be Mother?” and poured me a cup of tea. Sitting opposite my idol, drinking tea from fancy teacups and eating buttered scones was just too overwhelmingly surreal for me. I totally froze, and had great difficulty getting my questions out and noting down his replies. It wasn’t a total disaster though. The article was published in the Manchester Evening News and was one of my first journalistic successes.

Describe your worst online experience?

My day job is a technical copywriter, which involves, among other tasks, writing product brochures. Occasionally I will ask permission from a client to display a brochure on my website as an example of my writing skills. One particular client gave his permission for a certain brochure, which I put online. The next day he rang me up. He was furious! I had put the wrong brochure online. Instead of a brochure of an older product, I had put online a brochure I had just written – of a product that had not yet been launched! He was so angry because that product was due to be launched at a major – and expensive – press event; not on a freelance writer’s website. There would also be problems if the competition were to see it too. Of course I immediately removed it from my website, but getting Google to remove it was another thing altogether. Actually it was a nightmare. I had visions of being sued for millions of euros of lost sales. Thankfully the brochure eventually disappeared from online searches, without too much harm being done. But I had more than a few sleepless nights!

What is your favourite childhood song and why?

It’s the theme tune to my favourite children’s TV programme, “Tales of the Riverbank”. This involved live animals such as Hammy the Hamster and Roderick the Rat enjoying various adventures on toy boats or cars, with their voices narrated by the great TV presenter Johnny Morris. The original series ran from 1960-1963, and was in black-and-white. What’s interesting about the theme tune is that it’s not what you now normally associate with a theme tune for a children’s TV programme (i.e. something jolly, upbeat, with kid-friendly rhymes). It was a lovely piece of classical guitar music! Enjoy:

Do you prefer cats, dogs, or neither?

Dogs, most definitely, mainly because cats can be extremely harmful to the environment! Harsh words, but let me explain. The Mammal Society estimates that cats in the UK catch up to 275 million prey items a year such as mice, voles, shrews and birds. This is an extraordinary figure, and only relates to the number of prey items known to have been caught: not the additional number that cats didn’t bring home. I am not referring to house cats that seldom set foot outside, but to the ones that roam outside for much of the day. These are natural born killers, and their predative instincts are causing havoc to native wildlife. For this reason I will also take the opportunity to encourage parents to really think seriously before buying a cat for their children.

What is your favourite music genre and why?

Recently I rediscovered my love of music from the Alternative/Indie scene. I used to listen to a lot of bands in this genre when I was younger, but over the years I lost touch with the music scene. Now though, thanks to Apple Music and a pair of Bluetooth headphones that one of my daughters bought me for my birthday, I have been able to get up-to-date with the latest groups in this genre, which I love for its freshness, energy and vitality, as well as its originality. On my playlist at the moment are Tennis, Young The Giant, The Wandering Hearts, Local Natives, Real Estate, The Strumbellas, Saint Motel, and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, whom you can see in this video:

Encourage a Child to Watch Birds

“What’s that bird?” asks a child. “What’s it doing? Why are its feathers so colourful? Can we feed it? Where does it nest?” You would love to encourage the child in their interest … but you are not a birdwatcher, so how can you? Or an older child wants to learn birdsong, or study owls – but you are lost for ideas.

This is why “Encourage A Child To Watch Birds” is so valuable. It includes 10 Non-Screen Ideas to inspire a child to discover nature through watching birds. From studying the ducks in the park, through which books to read, how to choose a pair of binoculars, what food to put out for garden birds, why nest-boxes are necessary, how to listen to and learn birdsong, discovering what owls eat and other topics, you will now be able to inspire a child in the fascinating hobby of watching birds.

Why are the ideas “Non-Screen”? Children are active on screens for an increasingly large proportion of their lives. This book aims to activate children, sharpen their senses and show them the fun to be had AWAY from the screen.

Putting the ideas in this book into practice could help to develop a child’s powers of observation, improve their aural skills, introduce them to ecological concepts, teach them basic nature conservation practices – and increase their enjoyment of the natural world.

The book is backed up by Resources on the Encourage A Child website for each of the 10 Ideas, including photographs, hints & tips, links, reading lists etc.

One of the early reviews for the book

This little gem of a book is designed to help adults encourage children to get away from their computer screens and outside to watch birds. The book gives some good, basic facts about the birds you and your child might see and provides questions you can ask to encourage the child to watch the birds and talk about what they’ve seen. I know a bit about birds and still learned new facts, but this book makes it easy to start even if you know nothing at all about birds. The activities and discussion points are open enough that they’re suitable to use with a child of any age and you don’t need to live in the countryside to use this book – it focuses on parks and gardens, even apartment buildings. It begins with the easiest of activities – watching ducks on a pond – and progresses to things like how to use binoculars and dissecting owl pellets! The book is well-written, easy to understand and there is a sense of great enthusiasm for the subject throughout the pages. Thoroughly recommended to share with a child.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And on Amazon US:

Read more reviews and follow Denzil on Goodreads:

Other books in the series available on Smashwords

Connect to Denzil Walton.


My thanks to Denzil for joining us today and I am sure he would be delighted to receive any questions and comments.. thanks Sally