Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up.. Travel Safe, Chicken Kiev, Classic Italian Rock Legends and all that Jazz


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

I hope you are all well and thank you for dropping in to see me this week, and as always it is much appreciated. Nothing much to report on a personal level as the week has flown by and the weather has not been very conducive to being out in the garden.

There are however some upcoming events on the blog. Next Sunday 18th August I will be posting about the new Sunday author interview. This time it is specifically for the authors in the Cafe and Bookstore, as my intention over the next few months is to ramp up the book promotions. The Cafe and Bookstore has around 150 authors at any given time whose books are receiving reviews or they have a new release in the last six months.

I would like to give those authors another opportunity for promotion with an interview – answering five questions from a selection of twenty.. and excerpt from the book they wish to promote.  Please drop in next Sunday to find out all the details.

I am also putting together the next Archive post series. This time it will be for authors who have only been blogging in the last 12 months. An opportunity to give new bloggers a boost and to welcome them to our community. It can be tough going those first few months and I would love to share the amazing posts that should have a wider audience.

This week sees the end of the serialisation of Tales from the Irish Garden and I am delighted at the lovely comments it has received. Next week I am starting a new book that has not been shared since 2016. Just an Odd Job Girl.. I know that many of you read the first time around, but I am hoping that new readers of the blog will enjoy.

Time to get on with the posts from the week… and as always my thanks to the contributors who spend time and effort to write such interesting and informative post.

D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies reminds us that preparation is key if you want to have a safe and secure holiday.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/05/posts-from-my-archives-the-travel-column-with-d-g-kaye-preparing-for-a-safe-trip/

If you enjoy chicken to delicious recipes for you.. and for dessert lovers.. apple and mulberry crumble.. Courtesy of Carol Taylor

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/07/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-food-and-cookery-column-with-carol-taylor-chicken-kiev-multi-coloured-chicken-breast-and-apple-and-mulberry-crumble/

A wonderfully simple but flavour packed Italian classic from Silvia Todesco.. Summer Fresh Tomoto Fettuccine…

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/08/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-italiancookery-with-silvia-todesco-summer-fresh-tomato-fettuccine-bring-on-the-tomato-bounty/

This week author Karen DeMers Dowdall shares her very special gift.. a sixth sense that is highly developed.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/11/smorgasbord-sunday-interview-human-in-every-sense-of-the-word-my-sixth-sense-by-karen-demers-dowdall/

Those of us who have books available on Amazon and other online book sites, particularly ebooks are also vulnerable to pirates, and Debby Gies, D.G. Kaye, shares an interesting possible action we are taking to enable this. Felony or Flattery? #Copyright Infringement and Content Scraping by D.G. Kaye

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/11/smorgasbord-reblog-felony-or-flattery-copyright-infringement-and-content-scraping-by-d-g-kaye/

Some rock ‘n’ roll this week to get your feet tapping. Status Quo, Queen, Bruce Springsteen, Tina Turner and Eric Clapton and Creedence Clearwater Revival.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/06/smorgasbord-summer-music-festival-get-your-rock-n-roll-boots-on-with-my-top-five-picks/

This week in Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 139 being the first challenge of the month, is for the poet to choose their own words. I hope you will enjoy my double etheree…A Dog’s Life.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/08/smorgasbord-poetry-colleen-chesebros-tuesday-tanka-challenge-double-etheree-a-dogs-life-by-sally-cronin/

The last two chapters for Tales from the Irish Garden this weekend… Queen Filigree is delighted to announce the betrothals of both her daughters and accept the gifts that are offered by their future husbands… Plus concerns about her health are getting the court into a bit of a lather.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/10/tales-from-the-irish-garden-serialisation-winter-chapter-betrothals-and-surprises-by-sally-cronin/

The final chapter of Tales from the Irish Garden… the court’s first Christmas in their new home and an announcement from Prince Ronan.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/11/tales-from-the-irish-garden-winter-chapter-twenty-one-the-first-christmas-by-sally-cronin/

Another wonderful tale of dog sitting from Debbie the Doglady.. This week meet a Dalmatian with a wonderful nature.. JJ.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/05/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-dogsitting-chapter-two-j-j-the-dalmation-by-debbie-the-dog-lady/

This is the second post from Marsi, who with her husband Robert, embarked on a four month journey west. I will be sharing posts from their trip in addition to other posts in their archives. Due to the number of photographs I suggest that you head over to the blog to view them all.. Olympic National Park

View of Lake Quinault from our campsite, Willa Campground Olympic National Forest

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/05/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-olympic-national-park-part-1-quinault-hoh-rainforests-by-marsi/

A little retro summer magic from 2016 for L.T. Garvin’s second post.. and a little rock music. Summertime, Gnomes and Rock Music (2016) by L.T. Garvin

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/06/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-pot-luck-summertime-gnomes-and-rock-music-2016-by-l-t-garvin/

This is the second post from the archives of Claire Fullerton, and this week a birthday celebration for renowned author Pat Conroy. An event over several days that clearly was a highlight for Claire. Notes on Pat Conroy’s 70th Birthday Celebration in Beaufort, South Carolina (2015)

Notes on Pat Conroy’s 70th Birthday Celebration in Beaufort, South Carolina

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/06/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-notes-on-pat-conroys-70th-birthday-celebration-in-beaufort-south-carolina-2015-by-claire-fullerton/

This is the second post from the archives of Smitha Vishwanath who shares poetry, wonderful travel posts and life experiences on her blog. I have selected this poem as it brought back memories of all the times I have stood behind a podium to give a presentation or speech…The Speaker’s Ordeal…by Smitha Vishwanath

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/07/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-poetry-the-speakers-ordealby-smitha-vishwanath/

This is the second post from author K.D.(Karen DeMers) Dowdall’s archives and she also has some news, with The Captain’s Witch, her latest book being released on September 1st…A short story, that might have its roots in truth… anyone’s worst nightmare when walking in the woods. Fire in the Sky or The Black Bear and Me (2017) by Karen DeMers Dowdall

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/07/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-short-story-fire-in-the-sky-or-the-black-bear-and-me-2017-by-karen-demers-dowdall/

This is the third post from the wonderfully varied archives of poet and author Ritu Bhathal. Today the joys of being a kindergarten teacher…. things I am sure they don’t share during the career advisory days at secondary school when you are faced with so many options! Kindergarten Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! 2015 by Ritu Bhathal

weeeeee

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/08/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-kindergarten-weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-2015-by-ritu-bhathal/

This is the third post from the archives of author Elizabeth Gauffreau who has some wonderful posts, including an interesting look at her genealogy journey, seeking out her family history. This week a post by William Wordsworth, which reminds us of those moments when life or nature takes us by delightful surprise. Poetry – Surprised by Joy”

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/08/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-poetry-surprised-by-joy-2018-by-elizabeth-gauffreau/

This is the third post from retired librarian and author Cathy Cade, who has been blogging since early 2018. This week a poem about a much loved old friend. Fred’s Legacy by Cathy Cade.

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/09/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-poetry-humour-freds-legacy-by-cathy-cade/

This is the third post for author Chuck Jackson and this week I have selected a post that Chuck wrote about editing software that I am sure you will find helpful if you are looking to buy a package. Do you use Editing Software

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/09/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-editin-do-you-use-editing-software-by-chuck-jackson/

This is the third of the posts from the archives of author and poet Joy Lennick, although certainly not the first post that we have enjoyed here on Smorgasbord from this entertaining writer. This week a post from 2017 on the subject of fascinating and mostly long forgotten words… some I must really work into both conversation and story..thanks Joy. The Phrontistery revisited (2017) by Joy Lennick

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/10/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-the-phrontistery-revisited-2017-by-joy-lennick/

Linda Bethea is a regular contributor here on Smorgasbord, but this time I get to select the posts from her archives to share with you… I am sure you will enjoy her stories as always. This is the third post and I have selected and it was one that Linda posted about a patient of hers, who inspired her as a nurse. Lessons from MIchael 2014

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/11/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-lessons-from-michael-2014-by-linda-bethea/

New on the Shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/06/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-cold-cream-murders-book-four-sun-scream-by-barbara-silkstone/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/08/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-shortstory-jewel-by-jan-sikes/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/09/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-roads-a-journey-with-verses-vandana-bhasin-and-smitha-vishwanath/

Author Update

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/05/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-d-wallace-peach-terry-tyler-and-fiona-tarr/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/09/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-linda-bradley-john-w-howell-and-gwen-plano-and-deanie-humphrys-dunne/

The liver is the largest waste organ inside the body (the skin being the largest overall). This week, a look at the role it plays in keeping us healthy and alive.

Liver

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/07/smorgasbord-health-column-major-organs-and-systems-of-the-body-the-digestive-system-part-three-the-liver-largest-waste-organ-inside-the-body/

 

 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/06/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-spiders-asthma-eyesight-and-chihuahuas-amongst-other-things/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/08/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-one-liners-interrupted-by-comedic-images/

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Tales from the Irish Garden – Winter: Chapter Twenty-one – The First Christmas by Sally Cronin


Welcome to the final chapter of Tales from the Irish Garden. I hope you have enjoyed your visits to the magic garden to meet all the characters who live there.

Winter: Chapter Twenty-One – The First Christmas

On Christmas morning, the queen awoke and luxuriated in the warmth of her goose-feather mattress and cover. Beside her, she felt Prince Ronan begin to stir, and she reached out and touched his hand. He raised himself up on one elbow and smiled down into her beautiful face.

‘Are you sure that you have the strength for the long day ahead my love?’ He gently moved a stray lock of hair that covered her eyes.’

‘I will be fine my darling, my appetite is much improved and in fact I think that I could even manage a quail’s egg omelette and some oat cakes this morning.’

Ronan leant over and rang the bell on his bedside table, and within seconds there was a discreet knock on the door, before one of the ladies of the chamber entered with a fresh pot of chamomile tea and ginger nuts.

Half an hour later the couple relaxed with a last cup of tea before dressing in their red and blue finery for the Christmas celebrations. The Storyteller had invited the couple, and their courtiers, to a special service with his family at the chapel of the forest. Out of respect for their dearest friend and their new country’s customs, they accepted and were looking forward to the experience. They collected the old man and his family in their coach drawn by two pink and white rats and headed off deep into the woods with winter sun and crisp air invigorating the whole party.

The large clearing was surrounded by trees that were hundreds of years old and stretched to the sky with strong and gnarled branches. If they could talk, they would have astounded the congregation now staring up in awe, by tales of dark and golden days, kings and queens who scorched the earth and those that tended it. Suddenly there was a rustling in the undergrowth and slightly alarmed, the queen and prince turned to the Storyteller for reassurance.

‘Please do not worry your majesties,’ he smiled at them with a twinkle in his eye. ‘It is just the forest dwellers arriving to give thanks on this day for all that we have been gifted.’

He began to walk around the perimeter of the clearing and parted bushes and long grass to beckon out the inhabitants. Slowly, all varieties of creatures from furry foxes to slithering earth worms gathered in a circle around the humans. Once all were assembled, a gap appeared, and an old man with a long white beard and simple linen shift walked into the centre, holding high a long staff which he banged three times on the ground.

‘We gather today to give thanks for the protection of the forest, the warmth of the sun, the life giving rain and the bountiful food in the forest and magic garden.’ He paused and cast his eye at those surrounding him. ‘There is a season to all things, and this is a time of short days and long dark nights, but it heralds a time of rebirth and reflection. Give thanks for our bounty and vow to preserve the wondrous environment we have been blessed with to ensure that the circle of life is unbroken.’

As the gathering bowed their heads, the birds in the trees began to sing a joyful chorus that filled those listening with emotion and delight. Queen Filigree clasped the hands of both her husband and the Storyteller; filled with renewed hope for the future. She also knew that it was time to inform the court of the reason behind her recent ill health and face the future whatever it may hold.

Back at the palace the preparations for the Christmas lunch were in full swing. The princesses’ betrothed were coming to stay along with their parents, so the guest chambers had been touched up with paint and dusted thoroughly. Bedding was aired out in the winter sunlight on branches of the magnolia tree, and mattresses and pillows pummelled with paddles to ensure no unwelcome visitors had crawled into the feathers.

Chef Marcelle was beside himself with stress, and Doctor Doesugood had been dosing him with various calming and soothing potions for the last week. Thankfully there were excellent stores of dried fruits, grains, plant oils and nuts, and provided the quail’s egg and goat’s cheese soufflé, which was the main dish of the feast, rose to the occasion, there would be no problem.

Dessert was a deep and rich pudding made from fruit and nuts served with custard flavoured with vanilla. Traditionally little gold nuggets were placed in the pudding mix and were much sought after by the diners, however Doctor Doesugood was dreading the aftermath and two or three days of dentistry before him.

As always, the generous Storyteller had provided bottles from his stores. In honour of his host’s Spanish connections he had arranged for two bottles of the finest Jerez to be sent from a cousin who lived in the region. A warm amontillado, it was the perfect aperitif for a cold bright Christmas morning. There were three bottles of white wine which had been chilling overnight outside the Storyteller’s cottage, and three bottles of Rioja, decanted into small but perfectly blown cut glass crystal pitchers that would be placed on the table. There was plenty to go around the 200 guests that were expected, and there was always the Amber Nectar to fall back on.

In the last few weeks the seamstresses and the Dapperman had been working overtime to get all the outfits ready in time, and the royal party would all be in blue and red velvet whilst the staff would be wearing white and black with red tasselled hats. Then there was the small matter of the gifts! Being the first Christmas in their new country had made this quite a challenge, as their normal suppliers were thousands of miles away.

However, with a little ingenuity and some sneaking off to the local markets by the younger royals, parcels of all shapes and sizes had been carefully wrapped and placed beneath the pine tree that had been brought in from the forest. It was a first year sapling, and reached high up into the vaulted ceiling of the chamber. It sat in a large gold pot that was filled with the rich earth from the magic garden, as this tree would be planted back in the forest once its glorious decorations had been removed.

When the royal family arrived back from the ceremony in the forest, they gathered in the anteroom for a glass of sherry and the distribution of private gifts, as well as an opportunity to meet the parents of the two young men now joining the family. They seemed as delightful as their sons, and there was much laughter and chatter as they got to know each other.

The queen was feeling a little fatigued by the morning’s activities, but she was determined to make it through the day and not spoil the fun. She sipped on some cold ginger tea to invigorate and settle her stomach whilst prince Ronan stayed by her side, one arm protectively around her waist. The gong sounded for the main event to begin and the royal party filed into the dining room and took their places at the top table. The guests had already been seated and before the first course, the Storyteller was invited to say a few words.

‘It is with great honour that I invite you to join us today to eat and drink and be merry. We give thanks to the forest and to nature for this wonderful bounty. And to our gracious hosts, Queen Filigree and Prince Ronan.’

Two hundred guests picked up their knives and forks of silver and tucked into the first course of roasted mushrooms with fried courgette flowers stuffed with almonds and truffles.

The magnificent meal took two hours to enjoy, and there was much merriment around the table as voices got louder and louder. As the last spoonful of custard was scraped from the plates, Prince Ronan clinked his spoon against his crystal glass. It took a few shouts from various guests down the long tables to get the chatter to stop, but eventually they all looked to the top table expectantly.

The handsome prince stood and invited his wife to stand beside him. With a flushed face and look of love she took his hand and faced her court.

‘We have some news that we wish to share with you.’ The prince was clearly very emotional and took a moment to compose himself.

‘You will have shared our concerns about the health of our beloved queen in recent weeks.’

He looked out across the sea of faces, clearly anxious about what he was about to say next.

It is with great joy that we announce that her majesty is expecting a baby to arrive in the summer and we hope that you will join us in celebrating this greatest gift with us today.

Queen Filigree gazed up into her husband’s face and found it hard to believe that it was less than a year since she and her court had fled Spain to this suspiciously green island. Little had she known then, she would find love and such deep friendship. Her happiness at her daughters’ upcoming marriages and alliances with other fairy kingdoms were completed by the news that she, at her rather advanced age was to have another child.

She reached down and asked the Storyteller to stand beside her, and she kissed him gently on his cheek. If it was not for this kind, wonderful old man, none of them would be standing here today. She looked out across the room at the smiling and laughing faces, and felt deep joy, knowing that the future was bright with new dreams and possibilities.

The End.

©Sally Cronin Tales from the Irish Garden.

A recent review for Tales from the Irish Garden

Jul 31, 2019 James rated it  Five Stars

Tales from the Irish Garden is the third book I’ve read by Sally Cronin. There is a connection with this book to one of her earlier ones (that I haven’t read yet) but the author does an excellent job at covering what happened in the first publication so that you you’re not missing out on anything critical to the story. After enjoying this magical fantasy novella, I’ll be sure to check out the original Tales from the Garden in the future. Let’s chat more about this story…

There is an entire world beneath a beautiful magnolia tree where our characters have lived for a very long time. Unfortunately, the tree will be chopped down and the land will be re-purposed by its new owners. What will Queen Filigree and her fellow creatures do without a home? She and her many wonderful friends (and perhaps a few not so friendly) take us through the seasons on their journey to find a new home and re-build their lives. Among the travels are romance, friendship, and hilarity. We meet fantastic characters such as the Storyteller, royal pigeons, Jacamo the pigeon master, butterflies, the Dapper Man, the donkey, foxes, piglet, mice, and so many more.

Toss in various holidays and seemingly normal events for humans, and you’ll have have a grandiose (in a good way) tale about a new romance for the queen, a marriage, and a surprise. Each mini-story adds up to the larger world of all those who live in the magic land. What they experience might feel like a metaphor for what us humans go through in life. The imagery is beautiful, and the settings are stunning. I felt like I was in the fountain or traveling through the gardens… whether I was a tiny mouse, a bird in flight, or a furry animal gallivanting around. There is levity too, so the entire piece is well-balanced. It’s the kind of writing that easily reads itself– simple yet descriptive, immersive, and crafty. If you enjoy fantasies and the charming world of our animal, insect, and fairy friends, then you will love this one;

If you would like to browse my other ebooks.. you can find their reviews and Amazon links: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2019/

Thank you for reading Tales from the Irish Garden and I hope you have enjoyed.. Sally.

The previous chapters of Tales from the Irish Garden can be found here : https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/tales-from-the-irish-garden-serialisation/

Next week a new serialisation – Just an Odd Job Girl – a novel of rejuvenation and some laughter.

Tales from the Irish Garden – Serialisation – Winter: Chapter Twenty – Betrothals and Surprises by Sally Cronin


Last time we left Queen Filigree, lying on the floor in a faint….Chapter nineteen

Winter: Chapter Twenty – Betrothals and Surprises

Prince Ronan was summoned to the queen’s dressing room and rushed to his beloved’s side. ‘Darling heart, please wake up, my love please.’ He was beside himself as he looked down at his wife’s ashen face. The door slammed open, and Doctor Doesugood raced into the room as fast as his bunions allowed.

‘Clear the way, out of the way you buffoon… oh… sorry your highness.’ He gently pushed the prince to one side, kneeling gingerly on the floor by his queen’s side.

‘Please leave me alone to tend to my patient; I will call you immediately I have a diagnosis Prince Ronan.’

Bewildered and trembling the prince was led away by the ladies in waiting as the doctor produced a vial of essential oil from his waistcoat pocket. As the smell of sandalwood filled the queen’s nostrils, she gasped and opened her eyes.

‘Ah thank goodness your majesty,’ the doctor patted her hand. ‘For a minute there I thought you were a goner!’

He called to one of the hovering ladies-in-waiting to assist him up from the floor, whilst others gently lifted their queen on to a red satin-covered day bed. There he completed a thorough examination which involved tongue pulling, ear tweaking, eye rolling and a good thump on the chest. After asking some impertinent questions about bodily functions and other activities, he prescribed an hour’s nap followed by a chamomile and honey infusion.

He patted his patient’s hand and whispered in her ear, eliciting a gasp from the royal lips, and tears to roll down her cheeks. The prince was summoned who knelt beside the day bed, whilst the doctor explained his prognosis. Sobbing, Prince Ronan gently kissed his wife’s ashen cheek and prepared to sit with her whilst she slept.

After the prescribed tea and nap, Queen Filigree rose from the couch and told Prince Ronan that she must attend the party that night to allay the fears of the courtiers. Before he left to don his own finery for the evening, they enjoyed a tender embrace that brought comfort to them both.

There was another reason that the queen’s presence was required at the gathering tonight, as her daughters were eager to introduce their two suitors to the court. Persephone and Narcissus both hoped that these two handsome princes from neighbouring kingdoms, might be on the verge of requesting their hands in marriage. With stomachs fluttering in excitement they sashayed across the red carpet behind their stiff-backed mother, bowing and smiling at the courtiers that lined the way. They sat in blue velvet chairs either side of the queen and her consort, watching with anticipation as two handsome Irish princes walked down the centre of the chamber, kneeling in front of the royal party.

Prince Frederick rose first and approached the dais holding a golden casket which he opened and placed at the feet of Queen Filigree.

‘Your majesty, with these precious pearls from the East of the lands, I humbly request the hand of your daughter, Princess Persephone in marriage.’ He paused and smiled at his intended fiancée. ‘I am to be given my own lands and substantial income on my marriage and I am first in line to the throne of Wexdonia.’

The queen glanced at her husband and her very eager daughter who was muttering ‘please, please, please’ to herself with her fingers crossed in the lap of her lilac coloured ball gown.

Queen Filigree smiled at Prince Freddie as he was usually known, and gestured for him to rise and stand behind Persephone on the dais. He placed his hand on his beloved’s shoulder and she smiled fit to burst.

It was now the turn of Prince Nathan to plead his case, and he gestured to a footman at the door of the chamber, who nodded in turn to another out of sight. The whole court turned to the entrance, wondering what an earth would appear that was suitable as a gift to the queen in return for the hand of her daughter.

With a clip-clop of hooves, the tiniest horse you can imagine was led through the doors towards the prince who gathered the silver reins in his hand. He turned to the queen and approached with the little steed high stepping by his side.

‘Your majesty I wish to present you with one of our miniature horses that are bred for their ability to dance.’ Enthralled the queen forgot her recent collapse and walked forward to take the reins from the young man. He gestured to the court musicians who began to play a light and frothy waltz, and the little horse bowed to the queen on one exquisite little foreleg, gliding around her as she stood still in amazement.

Queen Filigree began to mirror the creature’s fluid movements and it was clearly a magical moment. For a few minutes the queen and her new companion circled the dance floor until the music stopped. Reluctantly she handed over the reins to one of her grooms to take the little horse to the royal stables, where she ordered it to be housed in the finest of stalls.

She announced to the gathering that she accepted Prince Nathan’s request for the hand of Princess Narcissus, and to the cheers of the assembled guests he joined his betrothed with the rest of the royal family.

Despite still feeling a little queasy, Queen Filigree felt a sense of great happiness at not only forming two very critical alliances here in their new home, but also securing two kind and adoring husbands for her much loved daughters. She clapped her hands to announce that the guests should retire to the dining chamber to enjoy the stupendous meal that had been prepared by Chef Marcelle, knowing that all would require fortification before dancing the night away.

All through the evening Prince Ronan remained as his wife’s side, and they only took to the floor once to gracefully circle the floor. The courtiers were relieved to see that the colour had returned to their queen’s cheeks, and Doctor Doesugood remained close at hand in case of a relapse.

Not wanting to spoil her daughter’s celebrations, Queen Filigree and her husband retired to their chambers earlier than usual, but not before whispering in the Storyteller’s ear. He nodded gravely and watched as the couple slipped away before resuming the Viennese Waltz with his daughter Dorothy. Having been parted from her for so long, when she was transformed into a fox by the evil goblin, he treasured every moment that they now spent together. He was truly blessed, and he smiled as he thought about the lovingly hand-carved rocking horses that he was now creating for his three red-headed grandchildren.

The night was a huge success, and weary and rather the worse for wear after consuming several barrels of Amber Nectar, the court slipped away, one by one to their comfy feather beds.

©Sally Cronin Tales from the Irish Garden.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Jul 31, 2019 James rated it  Five Stars

Tales from the Irish Garden is the third book I’ve read by Sally Cronin. There is a connection with this book to one of her earlier ones (that I haven’t read yet) but the author does an excellent job at covering what happened in the first publication so that you you’re not missing out on anything critical to the story. After enjoying this magical fantasy novella, I’ll be sure to check out the original Tales from the Garden in the future. Let’s chat more about this story…

There is an entire world beneath a beautiful magnolia tree where our characters have lived for a very long time. Unfortunately, the tree will be chopped down and the land will be re-purposed by its new owners. What will Queen Filigree and her fellow creatures do without a home? She and her many wonderful friends (and perhaps a few not so friendly) take us through the seasons on their journey to find a new home and re-build their lives. Among the travels are romance, friendship, and hilarity. We meet fantastic characters such as the Storyteller, royal pigeons, Jacamo the pigeon master, butterflies, the Dapper Man, the donkey, foxes, piglet, mice, and so many more.

Toss in various holidays and seemingly normal events for humans, and you’ll have have a grandiose (in a good way) tale about a new romance for the queen, a marriage, and a surprise. Each mini-story adds up to the larger world of all those who live in the magic land. What they experience might feel like a metaphor for what us humans go through in life. The imagery is beautiful, and the settings are stunning. I felt like I was in the fountain or traveling through the gardens… whether I was a tiny mouse, a bird in flight, or a furry animal gallivanting around. There is levity too, so the entire piece is well-balanced. It’s the kind of writing that easily reads itself– simple yet descriptive, immersive, and crafty. If you enjoy fantasies and the charming world of our animal, insect, and fairy friends, then you will love this one;

If you would like to browse my other ebooks.. you can find their reviews and Amazon links: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2019/

Thank you for dropping in and I hope you join me tomorrow for the final chapter in the story…Sally

The previous chapters of Tales from the Irish Garden can be found here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/tales-from-the-irish-garden-serialisation/

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round UP – July 29th to August 4th 2019


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

Thanks for dropping in today, and I wanted to share some news on the current series. The posts from the archives has been a wonderful series with 70 authors trusting me to delve into their archives and select four posts to share with you.. That is 280 posts reaching new readers. The series is not over yet, but I have scheduled the dates for those remaining on the list through to the end of September which is another 48 posts for you to look forward to.  If you have not seen your posts yet, don’t worry if you asked to go on the list you will be featured.

However, a new series begins in October – This time with the choice of the four posts to be shared, down to you. I will do a formal post nearer to October, but in the meantime you might be browsing your archives to find the ones that you feel deserve another airing and a fresh audience. As of this week, that audience across the blog and social media is 45,000.

Please don’t send any links right now, but I will do a specific post in September giving you the guidelines.

The summer Sunday Interview Series – Human in Every Sense of the Word will be finished  next week and the following Sunday I will do a post about the next series which will be author interviews of those on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.

I want to develop the promotions for the authors on the shelves and this is just one new series that will accomplish that so stay tuned.

Time to get on with the posts from the week….thank you again for your support, it means a great deal to me. 

My thanks also to those who contribute to the blog on a regular basis, such as Annette Rochelle Aben and Jessica Norrie this week.

Gotta love August! Well, may be not but it sounds so regal, doesn’t it? Guess it depends on the way one pronounces the word, August.

Okay, August rocks because being the eighth month of the year, it is packed with energy. Not only the energy of the season but the Numerology Energy of the 8 as well. 8 calls to us to go for the gold, reach for all the brass rings and keep looking to and for the next opportunity. As this is the Personal Energy of this month, it holds a lot of weight regardless of where you are with Universal Energy or Personal Energy.

Do you want to know how this works?

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/31/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-numerology-your-universal-energy-for-august-by-annette-rochelle-aben/

Jessica Norrie explores Loneliness in fiction and also in recently published articles on the subject in leading business and science journals. When you have read the article, Jessica would love to have your views on the subject. O is for Loneliness

https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1405259930l/18774964.jpghttps://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/01/smorgasbord-posts-from-my-archives-the-literary-column-o-is-for-loneliness-by-jessica-norrie/

Today my guest is Mary Hiland author of a book that everyone who has cared for or will care for elderly parents in the future would benefit from reading. Find out more about The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living: A Daughter’s Memoir and read a review later in the post.

Mary shares a memory of a wonderful summer day when despite being sight impaired, she enjoyed the freedom and fun of being a teenager aged 14. A Whiff of Chlorine on a Happy Summer Day by Mary Hiland

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/04/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-sunday-interview-human-in-every-sense-of-the-word-a-whiff-of-chlorine-on-a-happy-summer-day-by-mary-hiland/

My review for Mahoney by Andrew Joyce.. Five Stars..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/03/smorgasbord-book-reviews-mahoney-by-andrew-joyce/

This week more country music… Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline, Glen Campbell and Elvis.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/30/smorgasbord-summer-music-festival-a-little-bit-country-part-two-willie-nelson-patsy-cline-glen-campbell-and-the-king/

Autumn – Chapter Eighteen – All Hallow’s Eve – Part Two – Freakish Village prepares for the Zombies

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/03/tales-from-the-irish-garden-serialisation-autumn-chapter-eighteen-all-hallows-eve-part-two-freakish-village-prepares-for-the-zombies-by-sally-cronin/

Winter: Chapter Nineteen – Winterising the Palace

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/04/tales-from-the-irish-garden-serialisation-winter-chapter-nineteen-winterising-the-palace-by-sally-cronin/

And I was delighted to receive a lovely review for Tales from the Irish Garden this week from James J. Cudney

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/02/book-review-tales-from-the-irish-garden-by-sally-cronin/

My response to Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 138 The two prompt words this week were ‘Clear and Nature’ and I have selected the synonyms ‘Unclouded and Character’

Double Etheree – Enchantment  by Sally Cronin

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/01/smorgasbord-poetry-colleen-chesebros-weekly-tanka-challenge-double-etheree-enchantment-by-sally-cronin/

My response to the prompt this week by Charli Mills of Carrot Ranch. Rock Star.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/03/smorgasbord-short-story-carrot-ranch-flash-fiction-rock-star-by-sally-cronin/

This is the first post from Marsi, who with her husband Robert, embarked on a four month journey west. Days 11 to 13 (August 9-11) Black Canyon of The Gunnison National Park, Colorado.

Vista along the Million Dollar Highway near Silverton

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/29/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-travel-photography-black-canyon-of-the-gunnison-national-park-colorado-by-marsi/

This is the first post of Debbie the DogLady who lives in Toronto, Canada and posts about travel, music, life and of course dogs. Chapter One: Luke

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/29/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-pet-sitting-chapter-one-luke-by-debbie-the-dog-lady/

The first post by L.T. Garvin is a book review, for The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy, which is in my top 50 book list.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/30/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-bookreviews-revisiting-the-prince-of-tides-by-l-t-garvin/

This is the first post from the archives of author Claire Fullerton whose book Dancing to an Irish Reel is set in Ireland, where she has family links. On an Irish Bus (2015)

On an Irish Bus

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/30/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-on-an-irish-bus-2015-by-claire-fullerton/

This is the first post from author K.D.(Karen DeMers) Dowdall’s archives and she also has some news, with The Captain’s Witch, her latest book being released on September 1st…For Karen’s first post I have chosen a poem…which I am sure you will relate to. Beyond Tomorrow (2016) by Karen DeMers Dowdall

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/31/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-poetry-beyond-tomorrow-2016-by-karen-demers-dowdall/

This is the first post from the archives of Smitha Vishwanath who shares poetry, wonderful travel posts and life experiences on her blog. This week I have selected a travel post from 2016 to share with you and the wonderful Kerala Temples. Kerala Temples (2016) by Smitha Vishwanath

thriprayar-temple-thrissur

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/31/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-travel-india-kerala-temples-2016-by-smitha-vishwanath/

This is the second post from the wonderfully varied archives of poet and author Ritu Bhathal. Conversations with random strangers (2017)image

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/01/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-conversations-with-random-strangers-2017-by-ritu-bhathal/

This is the second post from the archives of author Elizabeth Gauffreau who has some wonderful posts, including an interesting look at her genealogy journey, seeking out her family history.  This week a post on the art of writing a short story that is believable but does not come across as a documentary. The Chet Arthur Five Play Jeffersonville: Some Thoughts on Verisimilitude 2017

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/01/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-the-chet-arthur-five-play-jeffersonville-some-thoughts-on-verisimilitude-2017-by-elizabeth-gauffreau/

This is the second post for author Chuck Jackson and he shares his journey of discovery of his heritage having been adopted at a young age. My Heritage by Chuck Jackson

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/02/smorgasbord-post-from-your-archives-potluck-memoir-my-heritage-by-chuck-jackson/

This is the second post from retired librarian and author Cathy Cade, who has been blogging since early 2018. She shares posts on a variety of topics, including some excellent grammar tutorials. This week I have selected a post that is close to my own heart. Distractions….I love Codewords….and also online solitaire, which I have been playing for over 20 years. Puzzling It Out 2018 by Cathy Cade.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/02/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-puzzling-it-out-2018-by-cathy-cade/

This is the second of the posts from the archives of author and poet Joy Lennick, although certainly not the first post that we have enjoyed here on Smorgasbord from this entertaining writer. Carrying on from Last week Joy and Eric face challenges as does Joy in her jobs! Thumbnail sketches – 1950: Hebrew, motzas and ‘Brown Boots’ (2014) by Joy Lennick

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/03/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-thumbnail-sketches-1950-hebrew-motzas-and-brown-boots-by-joy-lennick/

Linda Bethea is a regular contributor here on Smorgasbord, but this time I get to select the posts from her archives to share with you… I am sure you will enjoy her stories as always. Here is another of her fabulous family stories. Cousin Barbie Gets Married by Linda Bethea

image

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/04/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-cousin-barbie-gets-married-by-linda-bethea/

New Book on the Shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/02/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-writersguide-creating-a-sci-fi-world-by-richard-dee/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Special..Do No Harm – 17 Medical Thrillers.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/29/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-special-do-no-harm-seventeen-medical-thrillers-published-tomorrow-only-99p-99c-for-one-more-day/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Author Update

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/29/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-jacquie-biggar-c-s-boyack-mae-clair/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/02/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-jacqui-murray-james-j-cudney-and-teagan-riordain-geneviene-and-d-g-kaye/

The Digestive System Part Two – The Oesophagus, Acid Reflux and Stomach We continue the journey through the digestive system – not as exotic as an ocean cruise but far more critical to your health.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/30/smorgasbord-health-column-major-organs-and-systems-of-the-body-the-digestive-system-part-two-the-oesophagus-acid-reflux-and-stomach-by-sally-cronin/

What causes your Cravings – Part Four – Coal, Dirt and other strange stuff

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/31/smorgasbord-health-column-what-causes-your-cravings-part-four-coal-dirt-and-other-strange-stuff-by-sally-cronin/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/30/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-comedian-in-residence-d-g-kaye-and-some-one-liners-from-sallys-archives/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/08/01/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-comedian-in-residence-d-g-kaye-and-some-one-liners-from-sallys-archives-2/

Tales from the Irish Garden – Serialisation – Winter: Chapter Nineteen – Winterising the Palace by Sally Cronin


Winter: Chapter Nineteen – Winterising the Palace

As the stores beneath the palace began to accumulate under the watchful eye of Chef Marcelle, other preparations needed to be made to ensure the palace remained dry and warm in the coming rainy season.

The Queen was not looking forward to her first winter in her new home. She was a fairy who had lived for hundreds of years in almost year-round sunshine, where she could sit in a branch of her magnolia tree, soaking up the rays.

Of course she appreciated that, to maintain her beauty, she needed to take care not to get burnt, but with the fountain of youth to hand she was secure in the knowledge that her face was unlikely to ever wrinkle. She did not like rain in the slightest, and during their first year they had experienced the vagaries of the Irish weather system; which seemed to be the reverse of her native home, with 300 days of rain and 60 days of sunshine.

However, do not imagine for one minute that Queen Filigree was not grateful for the safety of her new abode or the wonderful people she had met. She couldn’t imagine not having the dear Storyteller in her life, and she would have never have met her dashingly handsome new husband, Prince Ronan. Still, the coming months filled her with dread, and she summoned Doctor Doesugood to consult on a preventative diet to assist in maintaining her joie de vivre.

He prescribed a diet of a quail’s eggs, served on an oat and almond bread toast and a baby spinach leaf for breakfast, wild salmon fishcakes with marjoram and dill sauce for lunch – courtesy of the Storyteller’s recent poaching expedition. And for dinner Cremini mushrooms cooked in butter and strawberry yoghurt, especially fortified with sunshine from Michael’s dairy farm.

The doctor had an apothecary’s shop providing herbs and spices, and he gave the queen a large box of assorted teas to drink during the day, including ginger with raspberry, and frankincense with chamomile. He had also handmade a very special gift for his queen, which when revealed startled her majesty into admiring gasps. It was a firefly feeder with 20 vertical rows of tiny cells that were filled daily with amber nectar. In the evening the fireflies that the queen had brought with her from Spain, would now gather on the feeder and after one sip of their favourite beverage they would create a bright light for her to bask in the glow of. The doctor assured the queen that just twenty minutes each evening would maintain her healthy glow and she was thrilled.

He did however warn his patron that after the allotted time the fireflies would be rather tipsy, and would fall off into the padded tray conveniently placed. He told her not to worry as they would sleep it off and be ready for action the following night, since the amber nectar was addictive.

With her own health and that of her family now taken care of, it was time to make sure that the palace was water tight. To this end she requested the presence of Jacobi the old pigeon keeper who slept in the roof with his charges. The royal pigeons with their feathery legs were one of her joys, and she could often be found in the rafters, stroking their soft feathers and cooing in harmony with them.

Along with Jacobi, she also asked for the master web maker to be brought up from the dark recesses of the palace basement, along with the spit master. These three creatures were bred from special ancient stock, and whilst the pigeons had flown ahead of the main party when leaving Spain, the precious spider and the spitter frog were carefully placed in moss lined baskets and transported on the backs of the swans.

The web maker was reverently placed on the table in a wicker basket of the finest quality as befitted his standing in the court. The queen carefully lifted the lid and reached inside and scooped the creature into the palm of her hand. Two very large eyes opened and two spiny arms reached out to tenderly caress her wrist.

The giant spider sat happily as the queen explained her requirements. Occasionally there would be a nod of the giant head and a quick tickle with its forelegs on her delicate skin that made her giggle.

‘So we have that clear then Sir Arachnid?’ The queen paused to await acknowledgement.

‘You will encourage your team to spin 100 large webs which will be stacked ready for use between the oak leaves provided, and have them ready in the next five days.’ Two taps on her wrist, and a little wiggle of the spider’s back end confirmed the instructions. She placed her most revered servant back in his basket, and he was whisked away by a footman to his lair where his 200 troops awaited eagerly for the challenge.

The spitter frog master arrived in the throne room under his own steam. He enjoyed the run of the palace along with his team of expert fly catchers. This was especially important in the summer months when the bluebottles, fat and bloated from feeding on dead things, would push their way into any cracks and crevices in the magnolia tree’s defences. They would scoff anything they could find including the delicious honeycomb which was created in the rooftop hives. Two spitter frogs guarded the entrance to the apiaries and it was a much requested duty, as bluebottles make a stupendous treat for a frog.

‘Good morning Sir Spitface and I hope you are well today.’ The frog hopped up and down and gave an enthusiastic croak.

‘I need your team’s assistance on a special project,’ she gestured that she wanted him to hop onto the table in front of her.

She indicated a large piece of parchment in front of her, and explained that she had asked the drones from the hives to conduct a survey of the roof of the palace; identifying areas where rain might find its way in.

‘As you can see there many places, where the roof is aligned to branches of the tree and water might seep through. I have asked Sir Arachnid to provide a hundred web patches, and Jacobi to collect the fragrant parcels dropped by the royal pigeons, to provide the filler of the smaller cracks. I need you and your frog support team to use your saliva to seal them in place.’

The frog hopped around the parchment for several minutes, studying the various problem areas, and then gave a croak of assent. ‘Excellent,’ the queen gently tickled the amphibian’s knobbly head.

Over the next few days, the worker bees, fairy handymen and the frogs gathered around spots where the roof met the magnolia branches, placing the web patches, filling in small cracks and sealing all in place with frog spit. Jacobi and the Queen Bee inspected the repairs and announced their satisfaction to her majesty, who commented that the proof was in the pudding!

Sure enough, two days later there was a deluge as a front swept up from the south. Apart from one little spot that needed a little more spit, not one single drop made its way into the palace, and this of course provided a perfect excuse for a bit of a party. However, as her ladies in waiting slipped the pale pink silk dress over her head and patted it into place, Queen Filigree began to feel quite unwell. She wondered if she had overdone the ginger and raspberry tea earlier, but the next minute her ladies gasped as she slipped to the floor.

©Sally Cronin Tales from the Irish Garden.

Tune in next week to find out what ails the fairy queen…..

One of the reviews for the book

In the frequently confronting context of contemporary literature, how delightful to be lured into quite another territory and immerse yourself in a fully-fledged fairy story! With royal pigeons lovingly reared over centuries, minute messages written and rolled up on onion paper, the symphony of fairy gossamer wings as fairies dance around in a panic, and diets of quail’s eggs, served on oat and almond bread toast and more, this is indeed a magical feast.

Yet ‘Tales from the Irish Garden’ is far more than a fairy story …

In this stand-alone sequel to her introduction to the magical world of Magia, author Sally Cronin tells the story of Queen Filigree and her court who, obliged to flee their sunny Mediterranean home, seek refuge in the very different landscape of the ‘Emerald Island’. The characters they meet there, and the stories they in turn tell in their quest for personal and collective happiness, deftly hook us in from beginning to end.

Supernatural her characters may be, but they share some very ‘human’ traits – from minor squabbling to dealing with dressing for a cooler climate or the ramifications of property development and building like many of us! Seeing their struggles, their imperfections, and their all too human tendencies is a sobering experience, as we recognise ourselves in them. Thus, the tales function at one level as a myth about the human condition, leaving us that much more self-aware, as well as entertained. In lively and whimsical fashion, the author skilfully blends elements of traditional folklore with a sensitivity to contemporary issues; the result is an enchanting and enriching fictional journey.

The fanciful nature of the story and the sometimes capricious nature of its characters is perfectly complemented by the beautiful illustrations by talented artist Donata Zawadzka.

The author’s flair for story-telling and her innate sense of humour ensures that the book will delight anyone with an imagination, of any age and background.

If you would like to browse my other ebooks.. you can find their reviews and Amazon links: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2019/

Thank you for dropping in and I hope you enjoy the rest of the book.. Chapter Twenty next Saturday Sally.

The previous chapters of Tales from the Irish Garden can be found here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/tales-from-the-irish-garden-serialisation/

Tales from the Irish Garden – Serialisation – Autumn – Chapter Eighteen – All Hallow’s Eve Part Two – Freakish Village prepares for the Zombies by Sally Cronin


Last Sunday I introduced you to the alternative folk who lived at the edges of the Storyteller’s magic garden...Chapter Seventeen – Part One All Hallow’s Eve

Autumn – Chapter Eighteen – All Hallow’s Eve – Part Two – Freakish Village prepares for the Zombies

Down in the village of Freakish, the villagers had been preparing for this night for the last week or so. Mothers slaved over costumes for their children, often biting their lips to prevent a slip of the tongue when pricking their tender fingertips with a needle. Every year one of the residents of the community on the hill would act as consultant, and this year Zenia and Zoran had both volunteered.

With pegs on noses, the mothers had gathered for a meeting to discuss the best way to make the costumes, and as an outcome, all the rags and old unwanted garments were gathered together and picked over by the consultants and placed into piles. They explained that some of the clothes would need to have cuts placed in strategic places, such as over the knees and thigh parts of the trousers for the boys. They also suggested taking already tatty shirts and ripping the sleeves and collars off and perhaps a couple of buttons. For the girls, they suggested that the mothers sew together oddly assorted coloured rags into shift dresses with ragged hems.

With the main costume out of the way, the committee moved onto the decoration phase. Mrs Dumphries, who made the dyes from the local plants, said she would take care of the reds, greens and dark browns required. Mrs Stipple who was married to the local butcher promised to get thin strips of cow hide to dye and hang from arms and legs. The thing that made them all scratch their heads was how to find a way to copy the dollops of flesh that hung so decoratively from Zenia and Zoran’s faces. Miss Fortescue, who acted as backstage makeup artist for the local dramatic society, said that she would take care of that little problem on the night.

Well pleased with the progress of the Freakish village preparations, Zenia and Zoran assured their friends that the night was going to be one of the most successful in decades.

As the sun set and the moon rose high in the sky, the villagers dressed their children in their costumes; with some taking the extra precaution of placing garlic amulets around their necks. They knew that those who were different from them, meant no harm, but just in case one of them got a bit carried away, four strong men were provided with sprays of frankincense and marjoram, which whilst not fatal, was known to give 99% of all zombies and ghouls the heebie-jeebies.

If past Halloween nights were anything to go by, these precautions were unnecessary, and as the villagers laid out tables of pumpkin fritters, apple pie, goat’s cheesecake and fresh cream, they chatted and laughed excitedly. Around them the children of the village, hideous and foul smelling, raced around trying to pick bits of artificial skin from each other’s bodies. The odd squeal indicated where an unfortunate child had some of his own ripped off over enthusiastically.

The church bell began to toll and a figure was seen to flit in and out between the gravestones. The game was on, and suddenly screams and howls of terror filled the village square. Dressed in robes of white, with a flaming torch in one hand and a dismembered head in the other, a man raced towards the knot of families as they stood frozen outside the community hall.

With a fearful screech, the creature skidded to a halt in front of the terrified villagers and threw the head at their feet. In the light of the torch a diabolical face could be seen glowing gruesomely with green and red slime. With a cackle a disembodied voice lashed into them.
‘Gotcha, gotcha, gotcha….’

Mrs Dumphries, with her hands on her hips advanced towards the rotund prankster, noting in passing that the bodiless head was made of papier-mâché.

‘Father, you nearly frightened us all to death, whatever were you thinking, we weren’t ready yet!’ She wagged her finger in his face, and with a collective sigh of relief, everyone surrounded the priest and patted him on the back.

It was now time for the real fun to begin, and everyone piled back inside the large hall and sat cross-legged in a circle. Miss Fortescue and the committee blew out all the candles and joined their friends on the floor. You could have heard a pin drop, and even the children sat quietly in petrified silence. After what seemed like an hour, but was only really a few minutes, they all heard the creak of the main door as it was pushed open by an unseen hand. A window at the back of the centre banged shut, and a sudden rush of soot was heard as it settled with a thump into the grate. There was a sharp intake of breath as a cold slimy hand brushed against a man’s cheek, and Mrs Dumphries shrieked as she felt the gentlest of bites against her neck.

The children were of course completely delighted by the whole shebang, and the ghouls and pranksters paid particular attention to making their parents scream and cry out for mercy. Small packets of sweets were left in the laps of the youngsters along with little practical jokes for use during the rest of the year. If you have ever wondered where itching powder and whoopee cushions came from, now you know!

An hour later and every one of the villagers had been scared half to death, and Bethany decided that they would indeed be much more grateful for their lives in the year to come. She relit the candles, and with a massive sigh of relief, and nervous laughter, the villagers got to their feet, with one or two stalwart men required to get the fat little priest upright.

Cecil the black cat sat on the mantle above the fire yawning with boredom, having seen it all before many times. Bethany and her friends went from person to person shaking hands and hugging some of those they had known for decades; patting eager children on the head, complimenting them on their magnificent costumes.

It was time to hit the party food and whilst Zenia and Zoran did not usually partake, they gladly passed amongst the guests, topping up glasses with the amber nectar. The Storyteller had been hiding in the community centre kitchens for the main festivities to finish. To be honest he had a bit of a dicky heart, and was not sure he could take all the frivolity. However, he had brought a surprise for the gathered villagers and their visitors, and huge cheer went up as he appeared followed by his band of musicians.

He asked Bethany if she would join him for the first dance and with grace and much admiration they executed a Viennese Waltz perfectly. The Storyteller gestured to everyone to take to the floor and soon there was a heaving mass of men, women and children prancing and reeling, rockin’ ‘n’ rollin’ and twerking in time to the beat.

As the church clock struck midnight, the visitors shambled away to the hills where they would remain out of sight for another year. Bethany was cornered by one or two of the ladies, and with Cecil waiting impatiently by her broom; she dispensed some pre-prepared potions that she knew were always in demand. Miss Fortescue in particular was very keen to find a fragrance that she could wear behind her plump little ears to attract Jack Hammer the local blacksmith.

©Sally Cronin – Tales from the Irish Garden 2018

One of the reviews for the book

In the frequently confronting context of contemporary literature, how delightful to be lured into quite another territory and immerse yourself in a fully-fledged fairy story! With royal pigeons lovingly reared over centuries, minute messages written and rolled up on onion paper, the symphony of fairy gossamer wings as fairies dance around in a panic, and diets of quail’s eggs, served on oat and almond bread toast and more, this is indeed a magical feast.

Yet ‘Tales from the Irish Garden’ is far more than a fairy story …

In this stand-alone sequel to her introduction to the magical world of Magia, author Sally Cronin tells the story of Queen Filigree and her court who, obliged to flee their sunny Mediterranean home, seek refuge in the very different landscape of the ‘Emerald Island’. The characters they meet there, and the stories they in turn tell in their quest for personal and collective happiness, deftly hook us in from beginning to end.

Supernatural her characters may be, but they share some very ‘human’ traits – from minor squabbling to dealing with dressing for a cooler climate or the ramifications of property development and building like many of us! Seeing their struggles, their imperfections, and their all too human tendencies is a sobering experience, as we recognise ourselves in them. Thus, the tales function at one level as a myth about the human condition, leaving us that much more self-aware, as well as entertained. In lively and whimsical fashion, the author skilfully blends elements of traditional folklore with a sensitivity to contemporary issues; the result is an enchanting and enriching fictional journey.

The fanciful nature of the story and the sometimes capricious nature of its characters is perfectly complemented by the beautiful illustrations by talented artist Donata Zawadzka.

The author’s flair for story-telling and her innate sense of humour ensures that the book will delight anyone with an imagination, of any age and background.

If you would like to browse my other ebooks.. you can find their reviews and Amazon links: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2019/

Thank you for dropping in and I hope you enjoy the rest of the book.. Chapter nineteen tomorrow. Sally.

The previous chapters of Tales from the Irish Garden can be found here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/tales-from-the-irish-garden-serialisation/

 

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up


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

Short and sweet this week.. well my introduction to the post anyway.. I know for many of you the school holidays have just begun and you may be already on your way to a vacation and just hope your transition by road, rail and air is smoother than it has been for those leaving the UK in the last few days.

My thanks to all those who have contributed this week.. and every week… also to everyone who has liked a post.  I still have that button and when people are busy and cannot comment on all the post that they read, it is a sign of appreciation. Please don’t get rid of the like button on your blog.. it is there for a reason.

Reblogging has become a two step process since the last upgrade, so thank you to those who have gone the extra mile… if you find you cannot reblog a post here or on anybody else’s blog.. refresh the page. I have a sneak suspicion that WordPress are trying to cut down on traffic, and hoping that most people will give up when the reblog button does not work.

Press This.. is a very useful way to share a post. You can add your own introduction and cut and paste an extract from the post as well as schedule for a time ahead.  This is a great way to schedule content for overnight to reach an audience in other time zones, without having to write a post yourself. This is useful if you are too busy that day or week and also promotes another blogger at the same time.

Time to get on with the posts you might have missed this week….

More wonderful recipes from Carol Taylor.. including Chinese Chicken or Pork with Water Chestnuts.. and if you have a glut of cucumbers.. get pickling..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/24/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-food-and-cookery-column-with-carol-taylor-chinese-chicken-pork-with-water-chestnuts-quick-pickling-and-bread-rolls/

Patty Fletcher shares her experience of the bond between her Seeing Eye Dog Campbell and herself, including when there is something wrong that he cannot communicate.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/28/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-sunday-interview-human-in-every-sense-of-the-word-ignoring-vs-acknowledging-and-obeying-my-6th-sense-by-patty-fletcher/

A miller and his family repay the kindness shown to them in dark days by mice.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/27/tales-from-the-irish-garden-serialisation-chapter-sixteen-autumn-the-kindness-of-mice-by-sally-cronin/

Part One of a Halloween Tale about special residents of the Magic Garden….

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/28/tales-from-the-irish-garden-serialisation-chapter-seventeen-autumn-all-hallows-eve-part-one-by-sally-cronin/

My fifteen year old niece comes to spend three weeks with us from the UK and we get up to a lot of mischief.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/25/smorgasbord-letters-from-america-a-nieces-visit-astroworld-rafting-south-padre-and-a-royal-wedding/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/23/smorgasbord-summer-music-festival-a-little-bit-country-dolly-parton-kenny-rogers-john-denver-anne-murray-and-crystal-gayle/

Time of the week to respond to Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 137 and this week the prompt words were Kind and Shift‘ and I have selected the synonyms ‘Genial and Change’

Etheree – To Better Understand by Sally Cronin

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/26/smorgasbord-poetry-colleen-chesebros-tuesday-poetry-challenge-etheree-to-better-understand-by-sally-cronin/

Another wonderful prompt and post from Charli Mills for this week’s carrot ranch flash fiction challenge And I do suggest you head over to read about a loon chick who lost its way and the kindness of human strangers determined that it should have a chance to survive. The prompt this week was For One Day’

Retail Therapy by Sally Cronin

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/27/smorgasbord-short-stories-carrot-ranch-flash-fiction-challenge-retail-therapy-by-sally-cronin/

This week I have chosen a post by Sherrey Meyer, that I am sure all of us who miss their fathers will relate to.. This was for Father’s Day June 16th 2013 so I am not too far out date wise. Memoir – Remembering Dad 2013 by Sherrey Meyer

Clockwise L-R: Dad sitting at a linotype machine, Dad at 16, and Dad showing me how to use my new tricycle

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/22/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-memoir-remembering-dad-2013-by-sherrey-meyer/

This is the final post that I have selected from the archives of author Janet Gogerty. In the last few weeks Europe and the UK has been hit by the very hot weather courtesy of North African prevailing winds, and this was last year. Australia Some Like It Hot 2018 by Janet Gogerty

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/22/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-australia-some-like-it-hot-by-janet-gogerty/

This is the final post from the archives of author Stevie Turner who has an extensive and eclectic archives and it is easy to get yourself lost in there for an hour or so. I have selected this post as it is that time again….school summer holidays…..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/23/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-school-summer-holidays-2017-by-stevie-turner/

This is the final post from the archives of Laura M. Bailey who blogs on a number of subjects including history, family, horses, Southern lifestyle and cookery. With the tinder dry grass that these long hot summers are producing, there is always a risk of a bush or wildfire. Laura shares the terrifying moment she saw a wall of fire heading for their homestead and livestock.

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/23/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-ranching-my-life-in-mud-boots-2016-wildfire-by-laura-m-bailey/

This is the final post from the archives of children’s author Annabelle Franklin who lives in a lovely part of South Wales. She blogs from the Literate Lurcher..or should I say Millie and Pearl do….Millie has sadly passed away now but lives on in the hearts and minds of her pack. Millie goes to Uni 2017 by Annabelle Franklin

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/24/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-therapydog-millie-goes-to-uni-2017-by-annabelle-franklin/

This is the final post in this series from the archives of Dolly Aizenman, who not only shares amazing recipes from around the world, but also shares the history behind them. I use a lot of herbs in my cooking and I love animals and the people who rescue and keep them safe….  Saving Animals and Herbs by Dolly Aizenman

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/24/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-animalwelfare-herbs-saving-animals-and-herbs-by-dolly-aizenman/

Ritu Bhathal has an eclectic range of subjects on her blog, and I am going to share a poem that I think will resonate with anyone with teenage children. Of Teen and Tweenage Angst 2018 by Ritu Bhathal

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/25/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-of-teen-and-tweenage-angst-poem-2018-by-ritu-bhathal/

This is the first post from the archives of author Elizabeth Gauffreau who has some wonderful posts, including an interesting look at her genealogy journey, seeking out her family history. This post will strike a chord with many who have, like me got a drawer where previous creative ideas lie waiting for rejuvenation… 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/25/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-failed-novel-anyone-2017-by-elizabeth-gauffreau/

This is the first post from retired librarian and author Cathy Cade, who has been blogging since early 2018. She shares posts on a variety of topics, including some excellent grammar tutorials, but  this week I have selected an early post about her writing journey. We often seek other’s opinions on our writing but it can be very daunting putting it out there on a site and invite criticism.  Swimming with Sharks by Cathy Cade

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/26/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-newwriters-swimming-with-sharks-by-cathy-cade/

This is the first post for author Chuck Jackson and I have selected a post from last year that I enjoyed very much at the time… Working in a funeral home… A True Story From my Past by Chuck Jackson

Sandra West – Photo – San Antonio Express-News

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/26/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-memoir-a-true-story-from-my-past-funeral-home-by-chuck-jackson/

This is the first of the posts from the archives of author and poet Joy Lennick, although certainly not the first post that we have enjoyed here on Smorgasbord from this entertaining writer. This week Joy shares the wonderful moment she met her husband Eric, who sounds, in her recent posts, not to have lost an ounce of his charm or humour. Thumbnail sketches of the past – 1949 (2014) by Joy Lennick

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/27/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-thumbnail-sketches-of-the-past-1949-2014-by-joy-lennick/

Linda Bethea is a regular contributor here on Smorgasbord, but this time I get to select the posts from her archives to share with you… I am sure you will enjoy her stories as always. For her post I am going back to 2014 and Linda’s recollections of bringing her new baby home and the ensuing mayhem.. I am sure that many of you can relate! Baby Blues

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-baby-blues/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/22/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-what-about-love-the-rivera-sisters-series-book-two-by-jeanine-lunsford/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/23/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-tallis-steelyard-a-guide-for-writers-and-other-stories-by-jim-webster/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/25/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-silent-heroes-by-patricia-furstenberg/

Author Updates

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/22/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-mary-smith-and-bette-a-stevens/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/26/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-upate-reviews-sally-harris-angie-dokos-and-andrew-joyce/

The start of a series on the digestive system.. beginning in the mouth… a very important place to start.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/24/smorgasbord-health-column-major-organs-and-systems-of-the-body-the-digestive-system-part-one-the-mouth-by-sally-cronin/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/23/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-lets-hear-it-for-the-dogs-shaggy-and-otherwise/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/25/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-comedian-in-residence-d-g-kaye-and-a-joke-or-two-from-sallys-archives-4/

Tales from the Irish Garden – Serialisation – Chapter Seventeen -Autumn: All Hallows Eve – Part One by Sally Cronin


Autumn: All Hallow’s Eve Part One.

You have now met some of the more prominent residents in the magic garden, and forest, but it is now time to meet those who are members of a community of rare and often maligned creatures. Those that write horror stories, delight in scaring young children, (and adults too if truth be known) with blood, decay and things that go bang in the night. Even those who practice the art of healing, are not excused from the propaganda of those who are ignorant and cruel.

The Storyteller had been their protector for centuries, providing them with lands, unwanted by farmers or other locals, where they could live in peace. There was one condition to this arrangement, and that was they must work in harmony with their nearest neighbours in the village of Freakish. Over the last couple of hundred years, an understanding had been reached between the villagers and those who preferred to walk in the shade. I would like you to meet a special friend of the Storyteller who has a tale to tell about Halloween.

Bethany looked around her cosy cottage and smiled with satisfaction. The lanterns around the walls glowed eerily; candlelight flickering through fangs and gaping wounds in the flesh of the pumpkins. The table was laid with fresh baked treats; the result of many hours toiling over her wood stove. A large pot now bubbled away on top of the said appliance. A wonderful aroma of rosemary and thyme filled the air with an enticing promise of tender meat and dumplings.

Of course you could not have a Halloween party without lots of sweet pastries and candies, and these too added atmospheric colour to the festive table. Blood red velvet cupcakes competed with the dark chocolate of the Devil cake, and green whipped cream glistened in a skull shaped bowl.

Her friends would be arriving shortly; making their way carefully along the path in the forest in the dark, and then through the narrow opening in her protective hedge. A woman living alone in a remote cottage needed to be careful of intruders, human and creature. The poisonous oleander was perfect for that purpose; both beautiful and deadly.

Those who were welcome and came to her for remedies, and for the mushrooms that she grew so abundantly in her garden, were given the knowledge of safe passage. Those who were uninvited or strangers, were warned by a sign along the path; ‘Minefield’. That usually did the trick!

Bethany turned her attention to her outfit. She loved her little black dress that came out for parties. For her age she had very good legs, even though she said so herself, and whilst her hips were a little wider than they used to be, she still looked spell-binding. She laughed to herself; her cat Cecil stirred and stood up from his preferred position in front of the wood stove. She walked across, stroking his arched back as he wound around her aforementioned legs as if agreeing with her assessment.

‘I hope you’ve rested up Cecil, it will be a very busy night,’ she gently massaged the cat under his chin. ‘Lots to do yet before the guests arrive so we had better get a move on.’

The cat moved over to the red velvet sofa and leapt nimbly up onto the soft cushions. With his paws tucked beneath him, and a gleam in his eyes, he watched as his mistress continued her preparations.

The first to arrive, as the sun set below the mountain behind the cottage, was Viktor looking stunning in a black velvet tuxedo with a cape that swung from his shoulders. He walked in without knocking as was his want, and did a twirl just inside the door.

“What do you think you ravishing creature,’ he flashed his pearly white fangs. ‘Do I look terrifying or just incredibly handsome?’

Bethany cocked her head to one side and felt a slight stirring of interest. No, best not go there as it would only end in tears; hers. Besides it was probably the result of drinking too much ginger and honey-mead whilst she was putting on her makeup. She thought she had overdone the potent root a little and it tended to make you feel a little saucy.

She went over and gave Viktor a hug. ‘You look stunning as always my friend,’ extinguishing the look of yearning in his eyes as she emphasized the status of their relationship.

He smiled ruefully. ‘The others are right behind me all dressed up in their most appropriate Halloween finery,’ he laughed as his fangs flashed in the lamplight. ‘We will certainly give the villagers their money’s worth this year.

Just then the door was pushed open and her other friends arrived in a group. Zenia and Zoran in their decaying Zombie outfits emerged into the room first; emanating an aroma that competed with the smell of the stew rather unfavourably.

Bethany wrinkled her nose and reached behind her for her homemade deodoriser made from geranium and peppermint. The two lovers entwined their bony fingers protruding from the end of their tattered costumes, and oblivious to the mist of floral scents that encased them, went over to admire the food laden table.

Behind them came her best friend. Geraldine was not beautiful by any stretch of the imagination but she was the life and soul of the party. Bubbly and a teller of tall tales, she was not in the slightest bit ghoulish as her makeup and costume would suggest. Bethany gave her a huge hug and stroked her friend’s green and red highlighted long hair.

‘Ger… You look stunning tonight,’ she stepped back to admire the entire ensemble. ‘That purple and blood stained dress suits you so well.’

Arm in arm the two women headed for their other friends who were already sipping mead and chatting away by the table. As the evening wore on, the food, and probably too much elderberry wine, was enjoyed. Laughter filled the small cottage as their plans for this Halloween night were discussed and enhanced.

As the clock struck nine times, Bethany clinked her empty glass and called for order. With some delay her friends ceased their inebriated conversations and stood waiting for her pronouncement.

‘It is time good friends, to wend our way through the oleander and the forest to the village and pay our respects. You know the terms of our agreement with these good people. We live safely here amongst them, but we must, this one night within the twelve months, frighten the life out of them, so that they appreciate the lives that they have for the rest of the year.’

Costumes were straightened and her friends assumed their most fitting expressions for the occasion. Glasses were put down on the table and one by one they filed past Bethany who was now holding the front door open to the cold night air. Apart from Zenia who gave a little hiccup as she passed by, the group was silent.

However as Viktor sidled past he flashed his fangs at Bethany and whispered close to her delicately pointed ear. ‘You needn’t think that clove of garlic on a chain around your neck is going to stop me.’

Bethany smacked him on his shoulder and he laughed as he exited the cottage.

Exasperated, but not totally immune to his charms, his proposed conquest moved to the cupboard by the door and extracted her broom. Checking that her hat was on straight, she draped a long cloak over her mini-dress and turned to the red sofa.

‘Come along Cecil, you lazy moggy, hop on; we have places to be and fun to be had’.

©Sally Cronin image Tales from the Irish Garden.

To find out just how the friends will frighten the life out of the villagers.. tune in next Saturday.

One of the reviews for the book

Step into the enchanting fantasy world of Sally Cronin’s Irish garden where beneath the roots of her Magnolia tree resides a magical kingdom filled with fairies, witches, goblins, and leprechauns protected by the wisdom of the magical Storyteller.

This book is part of a continuing saga called “Tales from the Garden,” which originated in the author’s Spanish garden. However, I feel that this book stood alone quite well on its own, as there was a chapter dedicated to catching the reader up with past fairy events.

The story is told in sections denoting each of the four seasons. Each segment of the story shares the lives of magical creatures who with help from the Storyteller and the inhabitants of the fairy kingdom manage to overcome insurmountable odds.

In its way, this book is a triumphant celebration to acceptance and getting along with others who are different from you. It also reinforces the creed that you should love your neighbor as thyself. These are fabulous themes to teach children and as gentle reminders for the rest of us who are enjoying our second childhood.

I spent a blissful three nights reading about Queen Filigree and her magical kingdom beneath the Magnolia tree. The ending was sweet and fulfilling, filled with new dreams and possibilities.

In addition, the reader will find exquisite drawings by the artist, Donata Zawadzka, to make this lovely book complete.

As a Fairy Whisperer myself, I can only say this book gratified my continuing belief in the fairies and all things magical.

MY RATING: Character Believability: 5  Flow and Pace: 5  Reader Engagement: 5  Reader Enrichment: 5  Reader Enjoyment: 5  Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 Stars

If you would like to browse my other ebooks.. you can find their reviews and Amazon links: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2019/

Thank you for dropping in and I hope you enjoy the rest of the book..chapters eighteen and nineteen next week..

The previous chapters of Tales from the Irish Garden can be found here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/tales-from-the-irish-garden-serialisation/

Tales from the Irish Garden – Serialisation – Chapter Sixteen – Autumn: The Kindness of Mice by Sally Cronin


Chapter Sixteen – Autumn: The Kindness of Mice

After the piglet race, the leaves in the forest and the magic garden began to turn brown and cold winds whipped across the treetops with a whistling that alerted all who lived in this special place. Stores were being collected and added to special chambers in the bowels of the royal palace. Seeds, dried summer fruits, flagons of amber nectar and small hessian bags of the finest flour, milled along the river to the south of the forest. The Storyteller had recommended this particular mill because of fine qualities of Herbert who ran it with his son Calum.

One night as he joined the queen and her husband for a light supper, he related the story of how mice, which are usually the much preyed upon pests in most mills, were actually protected and revered in this particular grain crushing establishment.

It is common for mice to be caught up in the hand threshing at harvest time, and be swept into the back of horse drawn carts that transported the grain to the mill. Usually several cats, and rat-catching dogs, would patrol the building and its surroundings; grabbing any unsuspecting rodent silly enough to hitch a ride.

However, Herbert was a very kind and gentle man, and did not want to cause unnecessary suffering to these little creatures. Before any crushing of the grain was begun, he removed small stones, leaves and other unwanted materials through giant sifters. There were usually four or five of the little rodents left running around looking for an escape from the high sided prison. They were scooped up by a leather gloved hand and placed gently into a wooden box with holes drilled into the sides. At the end of each day, the miller’s son Calum would harness their horse Ned to the cart, and head off to the next county. There he would open the lids, tipping the mice out into a wild meadow that would never be mown, and was covered by luscious wild grains and flowers.

You might think that this is rather laborious, and that a couple of feisty farm cats, would have made short shrift of the forty or so mice that the miller caught every day. However, there was a special reason for his thoughtfulness.

When he was a small boy, his parents had been very poor. His father had broken his leg badly during harvesting one year and could no longer work. His mother would toil in the fields instead, but if they didn’t save enough or grow enough in their small garden, it would be a very lean winter. One Christmas night the little boy was huddled in his cot, shivering with hunger and the cold. In the flickering candlelight he saw movement on the old stool by his bed. At first he thought he was dreaming, but rubbing his eyes in amazement, he saw three mice scurrying back and forth up the legs and down. When he looked closer he saw that they were leaving little morsels of bread and bits of apple.

As you can imagine he wolfed down the food, and through the night it kept coming. In the morning he told his mother of this strange event and she felt his forehead fearing that he had caught a fever. She went down stairs to boil some water to give him, and was astounded to see that the kitchen table was laden with all sorts of crumbs and bits and bobs of fruit, including some late blackberries. By the fire were hundreds of small pieces of coal and with a shaking hand she placed some on the fire with a few sticks collected from the forest. She went out to the shed where their one hen was kept safe at night to find an egg still warm to the touch.

She found a little drop of brandy in the bottom of a long discarded bottle, and took out the packet of lard and a small pack of flour she had managed to buy for their Christmas dinner. Putting all the offerings and the scraps she had found into a large bowl, she mixed it together with the egg. She used a little lard to grease an iron pot and poured the mixture in, tying muslin over the top to seal it. She put a large pot of well-water on to boil and placed the bowl over the top to steam.

That Christmas lunch was the best ever, and the pudding was delicious. The family sat back with full stomachs for the first time in weeks and all of them gave thanks to the little rodents that had showed such kindness to them. It was clearly a change-of-luck gift, as the day after Christmas, a knock on the door startled them as they sat eating the leftovers in front of the fire.

Herbert’s father limped across the stone floor; partially opening the door so as not to let the cold wind into the house. He found a tall man, finely and warmly dressed, on the doorstep carrying a large hamper and who, smiling at the bemused man, asked if Betty was home.
On hearing her name she ran to the door and flung herself into the stranger’s arms. ‘Oh my goodness, can it really be you, Ciaran… I thought you had been lost at sea?’

The tale took two hours in the telling, but to cut things short, since I know you are keen to know more about the mice. It turns out that Ciaran was Herbert’s uncle, who had been shipwrecked many years earlier and given up for dead. In fact he had been washed up on a beautiful desert island, and in the course of his explorations, had discovered a chest of treasure. He had been rescued this summer and had returned to Ireland a wealthy man.

You see what I mean about the change-of-luck gift from the mice. Ciaran bought and renovated the local mill and Herbert’s father worked alongside him. Once he left school he joined them, and when they passed away he was left with this excellent business. As his father had done before him, he swore never to harm a mouse, and over the years thousands had been rescued from the grain instead of being put through the hopper onto the grinding stone.

Eventually, fewer and fewer mice found their way to the mill. The areas that Calum deposited them in were left wild and undisturbed, with plenty of food all year round and plenty of safe places to nest and bring baby mice up safely. Offers were made to buy the land by the farmers in the area, but they were always told that the land was not for sale at any cost.

If you are wondering where the rest of the treasure went that was found on that far of desert island, wonder no more. It bought many acres of meadow where not just mice, but animals, birds and insects thrived whilst enriching the surrounding countryside with their pollen gathering and droppings.

©Sally Cronin image Tales from the Irish Garden Donata Zawadzka

One of the reviews for the book

Step into the enchanting fantasy world of Sally Cronin’s Irish garden where beneath the roots of her Magnolia tree resides a magical kingdom filled with fairies, witches, goblins, and leprechauns protected by the wisdom of the magical Storyteller.

This book is part of a continuing saga called “Tales from the Garden,” which originated in the author’s Spanish garden. However, I feel that this book stood alone quite well on its own, as there was a chapter dedicated to catching the reader up with past fairy events.

The story is told in sections denoting each of the four seasons. Each segment of the story shares the lives of magical creatures who with help from the Storyteller and the inhabitants of the fairy kingdom manage to overcome insurmountable odds.

In its way, this book is a triumphant celebration to acceptance and getting along with others who are different from you. It also reinforces the creed that you should love your neighbor as thyself. These are fabulous themes to teach children and as gentle reminders for the rest of us who are enjoying our second childhood.

I spent a blissful three nights reading about Queen Filigree and her magical kingdom beneath the Magnolia tree. The ending was sweet and fulfilling, filled with new dreams and possibilities.

In addition, the reader will find exquisite drawings by the artist, Donata Zawadzka, to make this lovely book complete.

As a Fairy Whisperer myself, I can only say this book gratified my continuing belief in the fairies and all things magical.

MY RATING: Character Believability: 5  Flow and Pace: 5  Reader Engagement: 5  Reader Enrichment: 5  Reader Enjoyment: 5  Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 Stars

If you would like to browse my other ebooks.. you can find their reviews and Amazon links: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/my-books-and-reviews-2019/

Thank you for dropping in and I hope you enjoy the rest of the book..Chapter Seventeen tomorrow Sally.

The previous chapters of Tales from the Irish Garden can be found here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/tales-from-the-irish-garden-serialisation/

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – Children’s books, Crooners, Cravings and Cartoons.


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

I hope that for those of you in North America are getting some respite from the searing heat of the last few days. The weather is certainly unpredictable at the moment although here in Ireland it is usually more so… in fact there is this which sums it up.

Before we get into the posts this week I just want to remind anyone who has a date for when their book is available either on pre-order or recently released, to let me know.  There is still room for more books on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore, either from existing authors or new to the promotions.

New Book Promotions in the Cafe and Bookstore

I began helping authors market their books back in 2001 when I was an agent (unpaid but loved the job) for a Canadian self-publisher with offices in Ireland. As I was in Spain at the time, and living between Madrid and Marbella, I was tasked to find new authors amongst the expat community in the south. We got to meet some fantastic writers and help them get their books published. That is when David, who had already formatted two of my books, began helping other authors who were unfamiliar with the software, and long before Amazon offered Kindle or there were other ebook formats available.

In those days with only print copies to market, it was very much more a localised affair, with a great deal of money being spent to put on a physical launch, get the press interested and present, to get follow up pieces published. As with Amazon, print copies could be bought from the self-publishing company at a discount, and they would also have on their website with commission paid to the author.

One author Lucy Wright, published a novel about criminal gang on the Costa del Sol, and we held a book launch in a night club in Puerto Banus. There were a number of ex-cons on the guest list who had offered insights! And with an Elvis impersonator to entertain the crowd, and spicy Indian tapas to eat, we had a riot of an evening. This is me on the left as you look at the photo and Lucy Wright author of Coke on the Rocks.

Here is Lucy with a happy book buyer and Elvis in the background…

We held another book launch in Madrid for a book that David had formatted and designed where the main character of the book was present, including at the dinner after the launch.. on a perch at the end of the table. Carefully watching every mouthful of lamb consumed!

Today things are very different, with print, ebooks and audio available, and there is no doubt that Amazon has now cornered the market in publishing and selling books….however, like most self-publishers they do not market the books for you. In fact some of their practices, such as the removal of perfectly legitimate reviews are anti-marketing.

As an Indie author It is down to you to do the marketing for your book, and I can tell you that there are many authors who are being mainstream published, who are also being told to do their own marketing!

There are a large number of companies and individuals online, who will offer to market your books to a wide audience, anything from a few thousand potential readers to 150,000 or more according to my research. The charges tend to be range from an average of $5 to $50 a day per book, with multiple mentions on social media, allegedly reaching their thousands of followers.

Only the majority of those that I checked had only a much small percentage of claimed followers. They are using accumulative numbers based on retweets or shares, to entice you to part with your money.

5000 followers – 10% retweeting – 500 to their 5000 followers etc, etc.

Buyer beware – double check their figures and only go with a recommended firm that others you know can verify. If in doubt ask them for a trial run of one day for one of your books and if successful you will buy another day!  If they won’t play ball then ask them to give you the names of happy customers that you can ask?

In the meantime…..It might not be as glitzy as a bar in Marbella…..but it will actually reach a great deal more people, around the world, more effectively.

You can be promoted FREE here on Smorgasbord in the Cafe and Bookstore – and all the details are in the post – I do ask that you have a few essential elements in place.. and that you participate.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-free-author-promotion/

In 2017 I did a series on media training and marketing for authors based on my experience over the last 18 years, and I will be repeating that throughout August as a reminder of how you can establish yourself online to market your books effectively.

Now time to get on with the round up of this week’s posts.

A rewind of the Literary Column with Jessica Norrie, and in the first post, a reminder of the wonderful books of childhood.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/18/smorgasbord-posts-from-my-archives-the-literary-column-with-jessica-norrie-reading-from-the-very-start/

Today Robbie Cheadle shares every mother’s nightmare, when your child is diagnosed with a life-threatening disease and you have to put your trust and their lives in the hands of someone else.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/21/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-human-in-every-sense-of-the-word-a-sense-of-pain-by-robbie-cheadle/

This week I review Broken Heart Attack – Braxton Campus Mysteries Book 2 by James J. Cudney.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/19/smorgasbord-book-reviews-broken-heart-attack-braxton-campus-mysteries-book-2-by-james-j-cudney/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/16/smorgasbord-summer-music-festival-the-crooners-part-two-nat-king-cole/

This week there is a change to the usual Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 136 as instead of prompt words, we have a photo prompt… exciting.

#Haibun – Those we leave behind by Sally Cronin

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/18/smorgasbord-poetry-colleen-chesebros-poetry-challenge-photo-prompt-haibun-those-we-leave-behind-by-sally-cronin/

Chapter Fourteen – Summer: The Rescue Mission

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/20/tales-from-the-irish-garden-serialisation-chapter-fourteen-summer-the-rescue-mission-by-sally-cronin/

The Piglet Races

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/21/tales-from-the-irish-garden-serialisation-chapter-fifteen-summer-the-piglet-races-by-sally-cronin/

This is the third post from the archives of writer Sherrey Meyer whose blog is titled Life in the Slow Lane. This week I have chosen a post about the preservation of family history, much of which is divulged in conversations with elderly members of the family. It is so important to discover and save this living hisory. Nonfiction Essay with Bonus | 7 Tips for Preserving Family Memories 2014 by Sherrey Meyer

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/15/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-nonfiction-essay-with-bonus-7-tips-for-preserving-family-memories-2014-by-sherrey-meyer/

This is the third of the  posts that I have selected from the archives of author Janet Gogerty. This week I have chosen a short story by Janet, which will give you an idea of what you might expect from her collections that are available on Amazon.  Friday Flash Fiction 500 – Biodegradable by Janet Gogerty

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/15/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-flashfiction-friday-flash-fiction-500-biodegradable-by-janet-gogerty/

This is the third post from the archives of author Stevie Turner who has an extensive and eclectic archives and it is easy to get yourself lost in there for an hour or so. I chose this post because this is where our Brexit journey began. Elections – Casting a Vote 2016 by Stevie Turner

Vote

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/16/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-elections-casting-a-vote-2016-by-stevie-turner/

This is the third post from the archives of Laura M. Bailey .This story is a testament to Laura’s fortitude, warrior spirit and her faith… a long road back from this accident. Major Accident – The #Horse Came Back Alone… by Laura M. Bailey

IMG_0146-01

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/16/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-major-accident-the-horse-came-back-alone-by-laura-m-bailey/

This is the third post in this series from the archives of Dolly Aizenman, who not only shares amazing recipes from around the world, but also shares the history behind them. We recently had some amazingly sweet and juicy peaches… and so this dessert immediately caught my attention…Dessert – Kind of Purple Peach Upside Down Cake by Dolly Aizenman

Upsdwn peach cake 5.jpg

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/17/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-dessert-kind-of-purple-peach-upside-down-cake-by-dolly-aizenman/

This is the third post from the archives of children’s author Annabelle Franklin who lives in a lovely part of South Wales. In this post Annabelle pays tribute to the dogs who accompany soldiers into war and offer so much more than essential companionship. Mercy Dogs 2014 by Annabelle Franklin

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/17/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-servicedogs-mercy-dogs-2014-by-annabelle-franklin/

This is the final post from author Christa Polkinhorn who has been blogging since 2010.. This gave me access to her extensive archives. For this final post I am sharing Christa’s visit to Costa Rica in 2018 and if you explore her archives from May 2018 onwards you will find the other posts in the series on her blog Costa Rica, May 2018, Part 1 by Christa Polkinhorn

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/18/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-travel-pura-vida-and-coffee-in-paradise-costa-rica-may-2018-part-1-by-christa-polkinhorn/

This is the final post from the archives of poet Dorinda Duclos… and although there is a month or so to go… this is one of my favourite times of year.. celebrated with a poem, Her Signal.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/18/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-poetry-her-signal-by-dorinda-duclos/

This is the final post from author Marjorie Mallon (M.J Mallon) and this week a post from 2016 and a visit to Glasgow… Glasgow University, Hogwarts and Kelvingrove Park by M. J. Mallon

Image M.J. Mallon

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/19/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-travel-glasgow-university-hogwarts-and-kelvingrove-park-by-m-j-mallon/

This is the final post from the archives of Sue Vincent who wanders the land..in search of the ancient and modern to share with us. Sue always welcomes guest writers with open arms and here is one from 2018 from another popular blogger and author, Robbie Cheadle.  Living Lore: A nursery rhyme with an interesting history

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/19/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-sue-vincent-hosts-robbie-cheadle-living-lore-a-nursery-rhyme-with-an-interesting-history/

This is the final post by Bill Hayes who blogs at Matterings of Mind and there is definitely a treasure trove of posts to be found covering many subjects. This week a more recent post and a lovely look back at Miami Beach in 1988 Miami Beach Where Neon Goes to Die 2019 by Bill Hayes

MB-1-Opening

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/20/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-miami-beach-where-neon-goes-to-die-2019-by-bill-hayes/

This is the final post from Donna W. Hill who has let me loose in her archives and I am sharing Donna’s post from 2015 on the Equal Rights for Blind Americans, and I would be interested to find out how much progress has been made in the last four years. Equal Rights for Blind Americans? Author Says We’re not There Yet 2015 by Donna W. Hill

Blooming Amarilis with a print copy of The Heart of Applebutter Hill by Donna W. Hill, a fantasy adventure featuring some awesome flowers: photo by Rich Hill.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/20/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-equal-rights-for-blind-americans-author-says-were-not-there-yet-2015-by-donna-w-hill/

This is the final post from Amanda Reilly Sayer and there is plenty to share in poetry, prose and wonderful artwork. I am sure you are going to enjoy. This was Amanda’s first post on her blog, and I thought it a great reminder to everyone who is creative about the importance of sharing your work. Why Share Creative Work? by Amanda Reilly Sayer

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/21/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-why-share-creative-work-by-amanda-reilly-sayer/

 

New book on the shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/15/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-brother-love-a-crossroad-by-teagan-riordain-geneviene/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/17/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-are-we-there-yet-an-andorra-pett-adventure-by-richard-dee/

Author update

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/15/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-d-g-kaye-toni-pike-sarah-brentyn-and-stevie-turner-19-writers/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/19/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-mary-adler-julia-benally-lizzie-chantree-and-audrey-driscoll/

Last week I looked at the impact on the heart of acute and chronic stress, and some strategies to combat the effects including a link to my breathing exercises.: Heart and Stress Connection

This week I am looking at how including certain nutrients in your diet can support the body and the brain during stressful events.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/16/smorgasbord-health-column-major-organs-of-the-body-part-three-the-heart-and-stress-foods-and-nutrients-needed-to-support-you-by-sally-cronin/

In this series on the reasons behind our cravings I take a look at Salt and a lack of  trace minerals.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/17/smorgasbord-health-column-what-causes-your-cravings-part-three-salt-and-trace-minerals-by-sally-cronin/

 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/16/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-comedian-in-residence-d-g-kaye-and-a-joke-from-sallys-archives-drive-your-spell-checker-nuts/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/07/18/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-comedian-in-residence-d-g-kaye-and-a-joke-from-sallys-archives-3/

Thank you again for all your wonderful support…I hope you have enjoyed this week’s round up and look forward to seeing you again next week.. Thanks Sally.