My recent guest post and interviews.

As much as I love writing my own posts for the blog, it is always lovely to go visiting. Here are some of my recent interviews and guest posts.

I was the guest of author and poet Leslie Tate  on September 24th  and here is a short excerpt from Part One of the interview (as you know I can talk for England and Ireland, so part two is next Monday)

I interviewed Sally Cronin who runs Smorgasbord, a lifestyle blog with 32,000+ followers, and has twenty years of published writing behind her. Sally says about herself: “In 1996. My first book ‘Size Matters’ was a health and weight loss book based on my own experiences of losing 70kilo. I have written another ten books since then on health and also fiction including three collections of short stories. I am an indie author and proud to be one.”

In part one of the interview I asked Sally about her highly successful blog.

Leslie: You publish Smorgasbord an online blog magazine for ‘lovers of health, food, books, music, humour and life in general’. It has 32,000+ followers and you blog several times a day. How did it begin, grow and develop?

Sally: In 2008 I moved back to the UK to look after my mother full-time when she was 90. (She was not really care home material as she was a bit of a character!) In the beginning I was able to combine my nutritional therapy work with radio presenting, something that I had been doing in Spain for the last four years. However, all that went on hold by the time she reached 93 and developed dementia which meant she needed someone with her 24/7.

My husband David joined us to provide much needed support and for the next two years we focused on making my mother as comfortable and happy as possible. She slipped away peacefully overlooking her garden at almost 95; still as feisty as ever. Naturally there is the sorrow of losing a parent, but we all felt a sense of relief that she was no longer suffering the confusion and fear associated with dementia. It had been a very intensive two years, and I had not really appreciated the stress that had accumulated for both of us. Thankfully we had plenty to keep us occupied, and with the rest of the family, we spent the next few months dealing with the official side of bereavement and preparing her house for sale.

I hope you will head over and join us…I know that I am an open book! But you might find out something new…..Sally’s interview with Leslie Tate

Last week Leslie Tate kindly posted Part One of my interview and being such a chatabox, here is an extract from Part Two I hope you will head over and read the whole post.


In part two of my interview with Smorgasbord blogger and indie author Sally Cronin, I asked about her upbringing, her love of language, and the differences between blogging and writing books.

Leslie: Can you describe the kinds of imaginative language you loved when you were growing up, please? Where did you get your ideas and help from?

Sally: My two elder sisters were ten and eleven years older, and introduced me to imaginative language when they would tell me bedtime stories, made up and from books. As a small child we lived in Sri Lanka, or Ceylon as it was then known as. When my sisters were at school I was left in the charge of my Amah. I doubt that at two and three that I was aware that she spoke no English but I certainly remember my feeling of being loved and cherished by her. All those early years are infused with the aroma of spices, the earthy smell of the surrounding jungle and the pong of poop left on the veranda by the smaller monkeys who invaded the house. All those experiences I consider develop your imagination and the language that you use as an adult. It is made up of so many elements including smell, touch, images and emotion that are individual for each of us.

We lived abroad or away from our home in Portsmouth until I was 14 years old and I changed school seven times. Including two years in South Africa where I attended an Afrikaans speaking school where to make friends I had to learn to their language. It was not easy at first and I spent a lot of time on my own and it was books that I considered to be a constant. I read every book that I could get my hands on, and whilst I loved The Famous Five and Hans Christian Anderson, I also developed a taste for the epics such as War and Peace that I read when I had Chicken Pox at age 11. I then began to borrow my father’s library books, learning a great deal more than I probably should have, about language and writing style, from authors such as Harold Robbins and Wilbur Smith. That led to me buying my own copy of ‘When the Lion Feeds’, Wilbur Smith’s debut novel, at age 12 and the beginning of a lifetime of collecting every book he has written.

Leslie: What happened to your love of language as you grew up? How did that finally lead you to becoming an author?

Please head over to Leslie’s to read the rest of the interview – Thanks: Sally’s interview with Leslie Tate part two

In early October I was the guest of Sue Vincent and if you missed it, here is a snapshot with a link to the rest of the post..

It is always a pleasure to have Sally over as a guest, especially when she is writing about an issue so close to my heart:

My thanks to Sue for the invitation to write a post for her today… always lovely to be over on her spectacular and eclectic blog.

Sally aged 7 years old – looking forward and not back

Why I am skipping Old Age and embarking on my Second Childhood instead.

I have researched the delights of Old Age rigorously, in an effort to determine if I want to actually accept the title. I looked after my mother for several years in her late 80s to her mid-90s, and I would say that she was young at heart until dementia robbed her of that at age 92.

She said that she felt the same inside as she had as a young woman, despite the wrinkles and failing body. She proved to me that Attitude is the key to anti-aging not botox or other miracle wrinkle busters.

I was 60 years old when she passed away and I felt that it was my obligation to carry on the family tradition she had established, to maintain at the very least a young outlook on life. I have spent the last five years attempting to achieve this desired state.

The first stage is to determine if you are already in danger of becoming one of the Old Age Brigade!

I use a little check list to identify where I am on the scale of maturity and I call it the Old Fogies Alert Test... It is a little bit of fun but it is amazing how closely I can identify with some of these statements for myself and friends and relatives who are over a certain age.

via Guest author: Sally Cronin ~ Why I am skipping old age and looking forward to my second childhood instead

I was very honoured to be invited over to author Janice Spina blog for an interview last Friday. And here is an extract and it would be great if you popped over and read the interview if you have the time.. thanks Sally.

Please help me welcome, author Sally Cronin, to Segment, Interview an Author. Sally is a dear online friend who is a kind and generous supporter of her fellow authors. I am thrilled that she accepted my invitation to be interviewed.

It’s wonderful to have you here today, Sally. Feel free to begin and delight us with your books and story of how you became an author. It’s your turn to shine. The spotlight on upon you, my friend!

Please tell us something about yourself.

Thank you so much for inviting me to join you today Janice lovely to be here.
I am an author, blogger, and a nutritional therapist for the past twenty years. Previously I spent 25 years in the hospitality, retail and telecommunications industry. In my mid 40s I decided to retrain in nutrition, which was something I had been very interested in, and I wanted to find something I could do in my 90s if needed. I had always written poetry and short stories, but as I was going through this period of change physically, mentally and emotionally in my life, I decided to write about it in a journal. That became my first book Size Matters in 1998, and I have not looked back since. I love every aspect of blogging, writing fiction and non-fiction as well as supporting other authors. I have lived all over the world both as a child and in the last 38 years of being married to David, and we now are living in Ireland, closer to family.

Jjspina: You have had such a fascinating life with all your traveling. It’s no wonder that your stories are full and rich and delightful!

When did you know that you wanted to be an author?

I can remember thinking in my early teens, as I devoured the books by authors such as Nevil Shute, Wilbur Smith and Stuart Cloete, that one day I would love to be read by others. At that age I was not sure how to make that happen, but I was an avid reader, absorbing as much as I could, by reading the best of classic and modern writers. It took me another 25 years to make it happen, but it is never too late to start.

jjspina: Yes, it’s never too late, Sally.

How do you come up with ideas for your stories?

You can find out the answer to that by heading over to Janice’s post:

D. G. Kaye – Debby Gies featured and reviewed Tales from the Irish Garden on Sunday along with a short extract…and put me on the spot with a few questions.

Featured author of the week

My today’s Sunday Book Review and something more! Today I’m featuring Sally Cronin from the Smorgasbord Invitation here to share in the news of her newest book launch – Tales from the Irish Garden.

Sally’s storybooks are known for her beautiful short stories and her always interesting characters whether they be stories about people or her garden statues she brings to life in her books – Tales from the Garden written while she was living in Spain, to her newest book Tales from the Irish Garden inspired by her move back to Ireland. And of course, Sally wasn’t moving without taking her garden friends and guardians with her.

Sally is a generous sharer and promoter of the works of other writers. She always has something for everyone on her daily blogs whether it be music, recipes, health articles, laughter lines, and especially her tireless promoting of others in her virtual Bookstore and Cafe. If you are an author looking for a place to promote your books, please visit Sally’s promotional offers on her blog, and if you’re in time, you may still make it in with your books to her Christmas Grotto!

Sally Cronin

About Sally Cronin:

I have lived a fairly nomadic existence living in eight countries including the Sri Lanka, South Africa and USA before settling back here in Ireland. My work, and a desire to see some of the most beautiful parts of the world in the last forty years, has taken me to many more incredible destinations around Europe and Canada, and across the oceans to New Zealand and Hawaii. All those experiences and the people that I have met, provide a rich source of inspiration for my stories.

I have been a storyteller most of my life (my mother called them fibs!). Poetry, song lyrics and short stories were left behind when work and life intruded, but that all changed in 1996. After a long and very happy career, I took the step to retrain as a nutritional therapist, a subject that I was very interested in, and to make the time to write my first book. Size Matters was a health and weight loss book based on my own experiences of losing 70kilo. I have written another ten books since then on health and also fiction including three collections of short stories. I am an indie author and proud to be one. My greatest pleasure comes from those readers who enjoy my take on health, characters and twisted endings… and of course come back for more.

As a writer I know how important it is to have help in marketing books.. as important as my own promotion is, I believe it is important to support others. I offer a number of FREE promotional opportunities on my blog and linked to my social media. If you are an author who would like to be promoted to a new audience of dedicated readers, please contact me via my blog. All it will cost you is a few minutes of your time. Look forward to hearing from you.

Tales from the Irish Garden

Get this book on Amazon!

Click  HERE for Amazon UK


The queen of Magia and her court have fled their sun filled Spanish homeland and the palace beneath the magnolia tree.

Arriving on the backs of geese and swans, they seek sanctuary in the magic garden of The Storyteller who welcomes them to the Emerald Island, a place where rain is almost a daily feature. Grateful for their safe haven and the generosity of their host, the queen and her courtiers embrace their new surroundings with delight.

As the seasons change throughout the year, they come into contact with many of the human and animal inhabitants of the garden and the surrounding forest, all of whom have a story to tell. This is a magical fairy story infused with fantasy and romance, as well as opportunities for mischief in the company of goblins, witches and Lerpersians. Suitable for ages 10 to 100 years old…..

Queen Filigree

Queen Filigree created by Donata Zawadzka

Please head over and read D.G. Kaye’s review, read the extract and the interview:

I was delighted to be the guest of USA Today Bestselling author Jacquie Biggar on Friday 19th October – Jacquie let me share my views on romance…..

Keeping the magic of romance alive – Sally Cronin

My thanks to Jacquie for inviting me to share my views on romance. It is one of the elements of our lives which is universal, and much sort after. People often ask what the secret to a happy relationship is… darned if I know. All I can offer you is some of the little things I have come to appreciate over the last 50 odd years of dating and relationships. Make that 55 as I had a crush on Peter Birch at primary school age ten which resulted in my first broken heart!

Because many of you who are reading this are writers, I thought you might be interested in a few statistics on the billion-dollar-a-year Romance book industry via Romance Writers

  • The annual total sales of romance novels per year is in excess of a billion dollars.
  • Romance novel share of the U.S. fiction market is 34%.
  • 82% of romance readers are women.
  • Average age is 35-39.

What interested me about these statistics is that romance is a hot ticket item. It is also evident that romantic stories are very much sought after by women, but clearly not as high on the list for men. Something that those who feel men are sometimes not as romantic as they might be, would find interesting!

Another statistic is that the average age of those seeking out romance stories is between the ages of 35-39… which begs the question… Do women in their 40s, 50s, 60s give up on romance, or they are simply not catered for by the romance writers?

Like most young girls of my generation, I was infused with the myths surrounding love and romance at an early age. Between fairy tales and my mother’s desire to make the goal of romance clear cut in my mind, I surmised that at some point a Prince Charming, on a white horse, would sweep into my life, whisk me off my feet, and we would ride off into a future of bliss, children and Happy Ever After.

I was encouraged to take the available wisdom to heart, and with hopes and dreams of my own, embarked on my own dating adventures. The trouble with ingrained expectations is that they are not always as revered by others, particularly the opposite sex.

However, after some false starts, at the age of 20, a more mature Prince Charming of 26 did arrive, in uniform and driving a classic American sports car. It seemed that expectations had been met and exceeded, and it was crowned with a spectacular wedding with matriarchal approval on both sides. We drove off into the sunset with clanging tin cans behind the steed… which proved to be tolling bells of doom!

Trouble is what you see is not always what you get! And when compounded with differing expectations of what a relationship is supposed to be, and a lack of commitment of one of the participants, things tend to fall apart. After four years, some interesting life lessons, and an expensive legal intervention which took three years, I finally managed to extricate myself with a vow to never marry again.

Then wouldn’t you know it, six months later, into my life walked a softly-spoken, unassuming guy who took me out on a date and asked me to marry him before the night was over. Five weeks later, without any ceremony, and with just our parents in attendance, we exchanged rings and our own vows.

The last 38 years have taught me that romance is not one-size fits all, is unique to two people who love each other, and is not always about red roses and chocolates.

Some of the elements that spell romance for me.  Please head over to Jacquie’s to read the rest of the post…thanks Sally

via Keeping the magic of #romance alive – Sally Cronin @sgc58 #Inspiration #WritersHelpingWriters

I was the guest of author Sandra J. Jackson on November 25th..

Please welcome, Sally Cronin, as my guest for November.

I first “met” Sally through her WordPress Blog, and I have to say I admire her work. She has a great blog and is always supporting and promoting other authors as well as writing her own books. So when I asked her to be my guest, I was thrilled she agreed to participate, knowing how busy she is.

1. Do you remember the first book you read that had an impact on you – in what way and what was the name of that book?

I read the usual fairy stories and Enid Blyton books and loved them, but I really only got excited about reading at about 8 years old when I began borrowing books from my two sisters, who were ten and eleven years older than I was. The first book that I remember really making an impact on me was Whatever Happened to the Corbetts by Nevil Shute. It was set close to my home town, along the coast in Southampton, and featured a family who take to their yacht following the bombing of the south coast and onset of disease and civil unrest. I was about 11 years old, and didn’t fully understand the significance of the book until later. The novel was actually written in 1938 before war broke out, but was so detailed in events that did occur, that 1000 copies were distributed at the onset of bombing, to the air raid wardens as a guide to what would happen. I went on to read all his books and particularly enjoyed those set in his adopted home of Australia

2. Where do your ideas come from?

My ideas from stories come from all over the place… literally. I have lived, worked and travelled abroad since I was a child, following my father from posting to posting with the Royal Navy and then with my husband in his career. I seem to have a pretty good memory going back to about three years old, particularly for people who have played a part in my development. From my amah in Ceylon, my first teacher Mrs. Miller, through to the elderly friends of my mother who loved to talk about their lives… and illnesses! Location is important but it is individuals and their stories that get me excited about writing. Sometimes the most unassuming person is holding onto a secret, or an experience that is out of the ordinary. Winkling those tales out of people is my favourite pastime.

3. If you could jump inside of a book for one day (as an observer) what book would it be?

It would probably be Clan of the Cave Bear by Jeanm. Auel. Provided I could steer clear of the cave bear and other such fearsome creatures. How amazing to walk in the footsteps of Ayla during her early days of learning to be self-sufficient, and to survive in such a hostile environment. Certainly would not mind popping into the other books in the series either… just for the day though… there are certain modern amenities I don’t think I could live without. However, it would be a huge privilege and a fascinating experience to see our early ancestors up close and personal. A book set further back than Clan of The Cave Bear is Born in a Treacherous Time by Jacqui Murray, but I think that would be far too tough an ask to visit. I don’t think you would get out of the book alive.

Please head over and read the interview: