Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story – Chapter Three – My First Real Friend by Sally Cronin


51uI0kWA+ML._UY250_Last time Sam arrived at his new home and began to get used to managing his mistress and master to ensure that he had the appropriate food and attention due to him……

Chapter Three – My First Real Friend.

It may surprise you to know that I learnt to speak Cat before I fully understood human talk. When I was twelve weeks old Sally took me to the place with the strong smells again and I remembered the sharp pain that I had experienced last time and was ready this time.

I did not understand the word that the man who gave me the sharp pain said when I sank my teeth into the soft part of his hand but it was very loud.

By this time I had learnt quite a few words as Sally and David talked to me all the time. At first I only got the basics like ‘sit’ and ‘good boy’ which always seemed to be accompanied by a small piece of chicken and because this treat was my favourite at the time I made a point of remembering these words as it obviously pleased her.

What I did not understand at the time was the conversation that Sally had with the man with the sharp object. He apparently told her that I would end up with a vocabulary of about fourteen to twenty words. How wrong can a man be.

However, on our return from this visit, to what I now know to be the vet, I was allowed a little more freedom and was introduced to the front garden of the house.

The previous owners had built the house in the middle of a two acre plot with nearly an acre of garden to the front, half that again at the back as garden then the remaining left as wild meadow.

The cultivated part of the property was laid out with hundreds of bushes and trees as the previous owners both belonged to families with garden centres who had obviously been very generous. The one drawback was the size of the lawns which required the hire of a local odd jobber with a wonderful smelly monster that he rode up and down on and which belched regularly. One of my favourite games was slipping out of the front door unnoticed and barking encouragement to monster and driver as they drove slightly crookedly across the lawn.

It was a wonderful playground for a young dog but the reason I had not been allowed to play out there until now was because another dog was also using it as his territory. He would crawl under the flimsy fence whenever he felt like it and for months I thought his name was “That Bloody Danny” since that is what my mistress called him each time she saw him peeing on her begonias in front of the house. His name was actually just Danny and he was a rather daft Spaniel who was also rather lacking in manners but more about him later.

There were also other creatures that used the gardens and meadow at the back of the house, such as foxes, feral cats and rabbits all of whom might have been infected with disease. Hence my fenced off area by the kitchen door with my kennel, sun beds and pool, affectionately known as Costa del Sam and one of my favourite summer hangouts. Funny that I would end up living on the Costa del Sol when I was five years old.

Back to my new found freedom. I was due to have a final vaccination at about fourteen weeks but the vet said that I should be safe enough in the rest of the garden.

Sally and David had been living in the house for about a year when I arrived and I did not know that I was not the first four legged person on the premises.

One morning Sally left me outside the front door for a couple of minutes whilst she went back inside for one of my new balls to play with. The moment that she stepped through the doorway I heard a strange sound coming from around the side of the garage that was joined to the front of the house.

“Pzzt.” It was a sound that I was unfamiliar with and being young and foolish I immediately tottered towards the side of the house.

I poked my head around the corner and found myself nose to nose with a rather mucky, aromatic, white and ginger creature with one eye that seemed to move independently of the other.

I leapt in the air and shot backwards convinced that this very smelly individual was going to attack me.

“Calm down for goodness sake otherwise she will be out here.”

I got every other word of this because despite this creature’s efforts to talk Dog he was disadvantaged by only having two or three teeth and he lisped rather badly.

“I’ve been waiting for you to be let out here, you’ve got it cushy haven’t you in your little pad out the back?”

I was beginning to understand a little more of this garbled delivery and wondered how this strange creature had managed to learn to speak my language.

It was almost as if it read my mind because it turned around and waving a rather bedraggled ginger tail in the air he looked over his shoulder.

“I grew up around sheep dogs and learnt how to talk to them very early on.” The creature strode off around the back of the house with me in tow, totally mesmerised.

As soon as it got to the back garden it turned and sat motioning with its head for me to do the same.

“She gave me the name of Henry, don’t ask me why but as she saved my life it was the least I could allow her to do.”

I was fascinated but at that moment Sally began calling from the front of the house and she sounded rather panicky.

“Sam, Sam where are you?”

Henry cocked his head in her direction and winked at me.

“Don’t worry I will carry on with the story next time you are in your play pen, off you go now before she gets hysterical.”

I turned tail and raced around the side of the house and wagged my tail beseechingly at her.

“There you are, good boy, I was worried something had happened to you.”

I desperately wanted to please her and when she picked my up I licked her face noting that she had just eaten something sweet and tasty.

After we had played ‘roll around on your back and get your tummy rubbed’ and ‘chase the ball’ Sally put me in my play area behind the house whilst she walked around the house with a large animal that made sucking noises. I had already demonstrated that I found the long cord attached to this monster rather biteable so she put me outside whilst she played with it herself.

I had only just settled my self down with one of my rubber toys that I enjoyed impaling with my small teeth when a ginger and white blur leapt up onto one of the wooden posts of my enclosure and from there to the top of my kennel.

Thank you for coming to read my story.. next time Henry spills the beans on his dramatic life so far.

©sallycronin Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story 2009

If you would like to browse through my books here they are.

You can find all my books at these links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Smashwords for Epub: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SallyGCronin

More reviews can be found on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin

Thank you for dropping in and as always I value your feedback. Sally.

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair Extra… I nearly forgot to promote my own books!!!


Here are my some of my current books that I would like to share today.  I have also included some of the reviews for the books on Amazon and by bloggers.  The icing on the cake..

All except for Just Food for Health are available in E-versions for most readers. You can buy all my books from my own bookstore at the links beneath the titles below but also on

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SallyGCronin

More reviews can be found on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin

My latest book was published on July 27th 2017 – What’s in Name – Volume Two – Stories of life and romance. The print version of combined volumes one and two is available in the UK and Ireland

About What’s in a Name Volume Two

Our legacy is not always about money or fame, but rather in the way that people remember our name after we have gone. In these sixteen short stories we discover the reasons why special men and women will stay in the hearts and minds of those who have met them. Romance, revenge and sacrifice all play their part in the lives of these characters.

Kenneth watches the love of his life dance on New Year’s Eve while Lily plants very special flowers every spring for her father. Martha helps out a work colleague as Norman steps back out into the world to make a difference. Owen brings light into a house and Patrick risks his life in the skies over Britain and holds back from telling a beautiful redhead that he loves her.

Meet Queenie and Rosemary who have both lost their husbands and must face a very different future. One that will take courage and the use of new technology.

Sonia is an entitled princess whose father has reached the end of his tether and Theresa has to deal with a bully in the checkout. Usher is an arrogant narcissist with a docile wife and is used to getting his own way and Vanessa worries about the future of her relationship with her teenage son.

Walter is a loner and is happy with just his dog for company, Xenia is the long awaited first baby of a young couple. Yves is a dashing romeo who has the tables turned on him unexpectedly and Zoe… Well she can see into the future.

In one way or another all these characters will be remembered by those whose lives they have touched.

The most recent reviews.

What’s in a Name? Book 2 is a wonderful collection of short stories that will touch your heart. You will find romance, tragedy and heartache. Each story is titled with a male or female name which continues alphabetically from Book 1.

Sally Cronin is a consummate storyteller who has the innate ability to weave a fascinating tale that grips the reader from the first sentence. This reader felt lifted when the characters were exuberant and crushed when they had heartache. If an author can enable a reader to feel the joy and angst along with the characters she has created, she is an exceptional writer!

My favorite was the first story about Kenneth. This story touched me deeply as Kenneth watches the love of his life dancing on New Year’s Eve. I don’t want to give anything away by saying too much. Each story tells an unforgettable tale with a twist at the end. Surprises and twists abound in these fabulous stories. I couldn’t put the book down.

Sally Cronin has many other entertaining books to offer. Several of them I have read and highly recommend them all.

 You can buy What’s in Name- Volume Two: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0748MLZ1W/

and: https://www.amazon.com/Whats-Name-Stories-Life-Romance-ebook/dp/B0748MLZ1W

What’s in a Name – Volume One – Short Story Collection.

Twenty colourful stories of people who have been given the names of the great and legendary and find it a challenge sometimes to live up to them.

The latest review for the collection

What’s in a Name by Sally Cronin is an absolute gem of a book. Cronin is a gifted storyteller, and readers are sure to be moved and intrigued by this collection that was inspired by real-life occurrences. These are stories that will move you and stay with you long after you finish. I read through this collection in one day and have revisited it many times since. A book so enticing is a true testament to the skill of an author. To keep a book near, allowing one to relish in the many emotions it is sure to evoke, ultimately speaks to the treasures held within.

The characters come to life, and it’s impossible not to think of similar people we have met along our own journeys. I laughed and cried, found solace in heartfelt reflection.
A highly recommended read. This is a gift for the soul.

 You can read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Whats-Name-Sally-Cronin-ebook/dp/B01N6Y8BK1

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Whats-Name-Sally-Cronin-ebook/dp/B01N6Y8BK1

Also now in print available in the UK and Ireland only.

Amazon UK:https://www.amazon.co.uk/Whats-Name-Volumes-1-2/dp/1905597797

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Sam – A Shaggy Dog Story – for dog lovers

Millions of families around the World believe that their pet, dog or cat is the most intelligent, beautiful and loyal friend that anyone could have. And they are absolutely right.

If only our pets could talk how much richer the world would be, and funnier.

One of the recent reviews for Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story

Brigid Gallagher rated it 5 stars on Goodreads.

Sally Cronin fell in love at first sight with Sam, a collie puppy. I must admit I too fell in love with Sam from the moment I saw his photograph on the cover of Sally’s book!

“Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story” is a delight from start to finish. Sam recounts meeting Sally and her husband David for the first time, finding his forever home with them, and settling into life as an “only child”.

He meets Henry a feral cat, who fathers three fine kittens with his lovely partner, and Sam tells us many tales of their friendship in his own doggy style. He enjoys long beach walks where he befriends Abby a white terrier, plays in deep snow on his second winter ” like young puppies getting soaked and exhausted in the process,” and enjoys road trips with Sally in her sporty car.

Sam eventually moves to Spain, where he enjoys chasing water hoses and amusing guests with his party piece of asking for more or “mawgh.” One day Sally is busy with work and tells Sam “You are beginning to sound like Oliver Twist, and if you don’t stop pestering me I will call you Oliver in future.” Sam replies! “Oh, Ee, Va” which becomes more emphasised as “ORH,EE,VA.” He earns a favourite food reward.

Sally’s writing style is gentle, warm and full of humour. Sam’s photographs will delight you, and his words will leave you feeling blessed that you bought Sally’s book

Amazon US Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Size Matters – Especially when you weigh 330lbs

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If I could communicate just a single message to you it is that
obesity, and the misery attached to it, need not be for life.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Tina rated it 5 stars

Size Matters is Sally Georgina Cronin’s no-holds-barred, true-life story of her journey from near-death obesity to vibrant health.

I first was struck by the author’s willingness to share so many personal things most of us would hold to dearly as private; things that would humiliate; things we’d be hard-pressed to look in the mirror and admit even to ourselves. I knew anyone willing to bridge this gap must be someone with integrity and a deep concern for her fellow human beings.

I wasn’t far into the book before finding the encouragement I needed. The last paragraph of chapter one said it all: “What began as a painful journey into my past became an exciting adventure in the present with expectations of a much brighter future.” Above all else, I wanted a bright future. And Ms. Cronin’s approach proffered that hope.

I’m not going to detail the specifics of this book, because a peek inside on Amazon will show you the table of contents and highlight the details of the program she developed. What I want to shine a light on is the inspiration she exemplifies and offers to all those battling a weight problem.

She knew almost any help given by the medical/scientific/etc. communities would offer template approaches to weight reduction, approaches she and many others have tried and failed at miserably. Because her health was in such jeopardy, she needed not only to urgently change her eating habits, but also to have the results be permanent. Thus began her journey within and her search for a sustainable healthy future.

It’s difficult enough to put one foot in front of the other on a daily basis in this fast-paced technological age. Everyone is multi-tasking and running fast to stand still. So when we find ourselves faced with a life-threatening condition, fear leads us to seek a quick fix. But quick fixes are almost never permanent and almost always detrimental. The author recognized this and strove instead to find her own way back home to herself.

Although despairing and contemplating suicide, she reached deep inside and found a way to kindle her common sense, which provided the ladder needed to climb out of the pit into which she’d dug herself. Admitting her weaknesses and acknowledging her strengths, she put the totality of herself into turning her life around. Plying patience and dogged determination, she climbed out of the suffocating abyss and surfaced into the fresh air of a promising and vibrant life.

I have never been obese, but I have carried extra weight at different times throughout my life. Taking off 10 or 15 pounds is hard enough. I can only imagine the devastation one must feel when facing the necessity of a 150-pound weight reduction. And I use the word “reduction” rather than “loss,” because I think the mind always seeks to find that which has been lost.

In my opinion, this book is not only a comprehensive text for permanent weight reduction, but also a “how to” guide for breaking the shackles of destructive behavior and tenaciously moving forward.

When asked in grade school to name five people who inspire us, most children look to either their families or noted figures in the world. And yet there are so many working humbly behind the global scenes who seek neither notoriety nor acclaim. I believe they’re referred to as unsung heroes.

This review is as much an acknowledgement of the author’s positive contribution to the world as it is of her all-inclusive approach to weight reduction in this outstanding book, which I highly recommend. Shed an ounce of weight, gain a pound of self-confidence. Sally Cronin is an inspirational example for all

 Turning back the clockAn anti-aging programme.
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Living forever is not an option!

However, feeling younger and looking younger is an option available to all!

The maximum lifespan a human being can currently expect today is around 120 years. However, not many of us really want to be even 90 or 100 years old, if it means that we are going to end up filled with medication and tucked away in a corner in some nursing home, unaware of our surroundings.

Making healthy diet and lifestyle choices as early as possible will help you get as near as possible to your maximum age whilst enjoying good physical and mental vitality. In my latest book I not only take a look at the physical aspects of aging but also the mental and emotional issues that we should address earlier rather than later.

Amazon US Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Flights of Fancy – Short Story Collection

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A few years ago I produced an audio CD of 6 short stories and today these stories and another five stories plus my novella The Sewing Circle are published in Flights of Fancy.

Ghosts hint at a chance of coming back to say goodbye, exact a little payback, or simply to help someone else carry on living. Romance is not just for the young and nor are second chances. As for revenge, well … never underestimate a group of elderly ladies with contacts from the past!

One of the reviews for the collection

Sally’s lovely little collection of short stories and even a novella offers a variety of everyday life situations and then some. From romance to insecurities (body issues, anyone else?) and even a psychic bird, Cronin’s writing is sharp and edited to perfection. Perfect for a quick read or a great way to pass a few afternoons. This is the first I’ve read of hers, it won’t be the last.

Amazon US Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Just an Odd Job Girl

 Imogen was fifty!

 

Life is unpredictable and will often throw you a curve ball that knocks you out of the park.

For Imogen this curve ball knocked her out of a twenty five year marriage and a lovingly renovated home into a single life at age 50. She had been a very contented wife and mother of two children, who for every one of those 25 years had thought her husband had been equally as happy. It was a shock to find out that she had been delusional and replaced so easily.

Her confidence was non-existent. She had forgotten any skills she possessed and was totally unprepared to enter the modern job market. Or so she thought.

One of the recent reviews for the book

on 11 October 2017

Her husband of over twenty-five years announces he has found himself a new and younger woman; a fast-tracker, as Imogen dubs her. This is a girl who is out to get man who has already established himself and made money, rather than marry someone of her own age and have to struggle their way to the top together.

Not only does Imogen lose her husband, she is left with no choice but to move from the family home and re-jig her life completely. It’s a daunting task; the children have flown the nest and she hasn’t worked in years.
Alone in her new little home on the edge of Epping Forest Imogen browses the local newspaper and comes across an ad from an employment agency. She telephones, makes an appointment, cobbles together something to wear and, for the first time in a very long time, compiles a CV.
The adventure begins.
From here the story takes Imogen to her interview, where Mr Jenkins ( call me Andrew) invites her to talk him through all the jobs, and there are quite a few, that she has previously undertaken.
Each chapter then describes unlikely and varied forms of employment. There is a lot of humour in the writing, but also some pathos too.
I won’t reveal the ending but, though it came as no surprise, it was just what was needed for this story, with a little comeuppance for the dastardly husband thrown in.

Reading a book like Just an Odd Job Girl by Sally Cronin reminds me that I should do this more often -I love thrillers and dark stories but a little lightheartedness, occasionally, goes a very long way.

Amazon US Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Forget the Viagra – Pass me a Carrot… Men’s Health Manual –

51X6tXcHZRL._UY250_The latest headlines in the Media recently are constantly highlighting the fact that men are at risk as they ignore early symptoms of life threatening disease. Cardiovascular and Prostate disease if caught in the early stages can be treated and managed but surveys indicate that men do not know what symptoms they should be looking for.

Despite the title, Forget the Viagra, Pass me a Carrot! is not just about the physical causes of sexual dysfunction and the dangers of taking a drug that is bought without medical consultation, but about men’s health in general. A workshop manual takes the working parts, describes how they function, what can go wrong and how to prevent problems in the future. This men’s health manual – does just that – takes all the major organs, illustrates how they work, the symptoms to look for and also how to avoid the problems in the first place.

It is never too late to make changes that can give your body a great chance at a long and vital life.

Review – J.E. Spina September 2016.

This book was chock full of information on the workings and processing of the human body. Sally Cronin, the author, has produced an incredible resource for all. Everything you ever needed to know about diet, exercise, super foods, vitamins, what’s good and bad for your body and even how to breathe more effectively to keep your body working better.

There is a lot to take in but I felt that I gained an enormous amount of essential information that I always wanted to know.

Sally is a wonderful nutritionist who takes her profession seriously and is always available to answer questions or lend a hand to her clients. She also has a fabulous blog which I follow religiously. I love her books and look forward to more from this talented and articulate author.

Amazon US Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

 Tales from the Garden

Newsflash: Tales from the Garden will be available in Spanish in the next few days!

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Fairy Stories for children of all ages, from five to ninety-five that will change the way you look at your garden, forever.

With over 80 photos/illustrations, “Tales from the Garden” by Sally Cronin,reveals the secrets that are hidden beneath hedges and trees.

You will discover what really happens at night as you sleep unaware in your bed. Stone statues and those hidden worlds within the earth are about to share their stories.

The guardians who have kept the sanctuary safe for over fifty years will allow you to peek behind the scenes of this magical place. They will take you on a journey through time and expand your horizons as they transport you to the land of fairies, butterflies and lost souls who have found a home here.

One of the reviews

Magical!  on April 1, 2017

Author Sally Cronin mixes imagination, whimsy and magic to create this charming collection of short stories. Each tale takes place in the garden and lovely photos contribute to the enchantment.

First, we meet the Head Guardians of the Magic Garden. These powerful stone creatures introduce us to the fairy kingdom that lies under the old magnolia tree. According to the Guardians, which look like magnificent Lions to me, once every 500 years some very special people are allowed a glimpse into the magical world of fairies.

The Guardians let us peak at the inhabitants and learn more about their lives, which are quite entertaining. We meet the Dwarves Stoned Band, the King and Queen of the Fairies, the one-eyed pig, and other friendly creatures, and we watch them all cavort and celebrate birthdays and hold summer balls.

My favorite fairy tale story told how the garden folk fought against the Winter Fairy, thanks to the help of the Dragon, who has his own internal combustion system. But, the story that I loved the most is about Mollie (The Duchess) Coleman. Author Cronin’s mother tells about her favorite gardens through the years. Mrs. Coleman liked pink flowers, and believed in being dressed and ready for her say by 9:00 each morning. She closes her recap by saying, “If you catch sight of me perhaps you could do me a great favour and pop a large cut-glass tumbler of whisky and water, no ice thank you, on the table beside me.”

My pleasure, Mrs. Coleman. I would have loved to chat with you and savor a whisky in your lovely garden.

Sally Cronin writes with a warm, friendly voice and creates fairy tales with a modern feel to them. I highly recommend this delightful collection. Readers will enjoy relaxing in their own gardens, as they read these pleasant tales and gaze at the photos. This would also be a wonderful book to read to the youngsters in your life.

My mother read fairy tales to me and I believed in the wee folk. I did look for them under flowers and under the forsythia branches. Tales from the Garden continues the delight!

Amazon US Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Thank you for dropping and if you have any questions about the books please do not hesitate to contact me..If you live outside of Ireland and the UK and would like a copy of the print edition of What’s In a Name with both volumes then we can make arrangements.. sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Merry Christmas.

Smorgasbord Pet Health – Christmas dinner for four legged Family and a FREE book from Sam, A Shaggy Dog


My usual Christmas post with some recipes for the fur family but this time Sam would like to share his story with you. If you would like a FREE Ebook of Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story, then please email me and let me know if you would like a Mobi for Kindle or Epub for all other devices.

If you have already read Sam’s autobiography then perhaps you might like to send a gift to another member of your family who might love dogs.  Offer is available from today through to midnight December 24th. Please email sally.cronin@moyhill.com.

Here is one of the recent reviews for the book.

Do You Speak Dog? on October 2, 2017

Sam: A Shaggy Dog Story is one of the most delightful books I have ever read. Sally Cronin gives her Rough Collie a voice, allowing him to narrate his own tale.

A few of the things Sam tells us about are his friends (cat, dog, and human alike), his favorite things (sausages, cheese, ice cream, snow), his job as security consultant, car rides while singing along with Sally, and walks along the beach.

Sam is very observant and intelligent. He learns to understand both cat and human vocal sounds. He also learns to speak a few human words! Mawgh is more; heyoo is hello; and Orh, Ee, Va is Oliver. ‘More’ and ‘Oliver’ are interchangeable, as they both indicate he would like ‘mawgh’ of a delicious treat he had just enjoyed.

Sam’s introduction to cats is very positive. When he is still a puppy, Sally and her husband David – the alpha humans in Sam’s pack – adopt a feral cat whom they dub ‘Henry.’ Henry teaches Sam many worthy things about life, and they become great friends. Also, a feral mama cat has kittens on Sam’s property, and he dubs himself their guardian. These experiences prepare Sam for when Sally brings home two kittens. He readily steps up to the plate, nurturing and protecting them.

Sam’s story is heartwarming and humorous, sure to amuse and delight adults as well as children. I read this book in one sitting and was disappointed when it ended. I wanted more, and so will you.

What I appreciated most about Sam’s story is that it leaves the reader with a heightened respect for nonhuman animals. They think and feel as we do; and anyone who thinks otherwise will be hard-pressed to hold on to that opinion after meeting Sam. I would like to see this book offered for sale through animal rights and humane organizations around the world. And for me, that is the highest praise…

You can read more reviews by clicking the cover.

I thought that we could not talk about Christmas without preparing something for the pets in the family. In the old days, and that was in fact only about 30 years ago, pets were fed on scraps as they had been for the thousands of years as our companions.  I appreciate that most of the animal foods available today may be rich in nutrients and full of vitality but I am afraid that I steer clear of dried food and prefer to go the natural route.

Sam our Collie established as soon as he came through the front door at 8 weeks old that the pellets that had been supplied by his breeder were inferior and he was now prepared for the good stuff.

He was not motivated by food in general, just specifically.  Mature cheddar (only the best), chicken giblets (crunchy and with a hint of corn) Ham (unsalted but roasted) and of course sausages (any variety, any temperature, any time)  I still find the occasional desiccated remains of a sausage tucked down deep in a sofa which probably says more about my housekeeping than his food storage habits.  He also in his last couple of years developed a taste for warm, peeled hard boiled eggs and would stand for minutes holding it in his mouth, whining lightly. He would make for the door to the hall in preparation for stashing for later but then he would return and sit with the egg between his paws.  He would nibble off the top of the egg and then suck the yolk out.  The look of bliss on his face remains in my mind today and I miss the old codger.

He never did take to dried food – he would deign to eat the very best of it in a small bowl beside his water.  He finally settled on Basmati rice (any other variety of rice that did not have that distinctive aroma was rejected) chopped cooked chicken and giblets, some carrots and green veg with a little salt free juice from the chicken.  I know some may say he was spoilt rotten but he was bright, intelligent and healthy his entire life and he always politely waited until we had started our meals before beginning his.  A perfect dinner guest.
Here are a couple of favourites that we prepared for Christmas – we fostered some cats in our time and had a small feral family in our garden in Ireland that also partook during the festivities as payment for the rats caught and left on my doorstep!

It is tempting to give pets the same treats that we enjoy but I am afraid that at Christmas treats like human chocolate are extremely dangerous. Chocolate is poison to dogs and can cause them to fit.  You can buy pet friendly chocolate treats at the pet store although I have never found cats too interested in it.

Too many high fat and sugary tit bits can also have a detrimental effect on a dog and cat’s digestion – and their first instinct is to vomit before producing rather evil smelling poop. To be on the safe side, only give your dog different foods infrequently. Having said that, most dogs and cats are used to turkey and chicken so the following recipes should be fine.

Spread the food over a couple of days, as you can store cooked turkey for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Give your pets a small amount on day one; say Christmas Eve, a little more on Christmas day and Boxing Day.  This is particularly important if your dog is only used to dried food as their digestion may not be able to cope with too much of this richer dish.

These days there are a number of ways to buy turkey all year round, not just at Christmas. You will need minced turkey for your dog’s treat and turkey breast for the cat (nothing but the best). In case you are wondering about the addition of a little seasoning to taste, both these recipes are perfectly good for humans with a little tarting up!

sam-and-babies

Christmas Turkey Loaf for the Dog (and his guests)
Enough for 6 servings for a small dog and 4 servings for a large dog.
2 lbs. of minced turkey.
4 oz. of cooked and minced mixed vegetables (left-overs)
1 teaspoon of garlic powder (anti- worms and fleas – and good for humans too)
1 egg
8 oz. of oats
3 oz. of cooked rice
Mix the turkey, vegetables, garlic powder, egg, rice and oats together thoroughly. Put into a greased pan (use a little butter) and pat down the mixture until level. Stand in a roasting dish of water in an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cook for around 1 to 1½ hours and then cool. Cut into portions and serve with a little salt free gravy. You will probably be asked for second helpings and third with a small piece of cheese to finish off!

three cats
Turkey Surprise – For the Cat  (The cat is likely to be very surprised if it is not out of a tin!)  This is my Irish lot queuing up for lunch……

Should provide 4 servings if you can hide from the cat. If not it will probably disappear very quickly.
1 turkey breast cooked and finely chopped.
3 oz. of cooked carrots finely diced.
2 oz. of finely chopped cooked spinach
3 oz. of finely chopped green beans
3 oz. cooked rice
Unsalted chicken broth.
Mix everything together with enough chicken broth to bind the ingredients. Serve when lukewarm and watch your fingers.

sam photographs 239

Happy Christmas to all my furry blogging friends out there.. look forward to you dropping in to see me in 2018

A strange encounter this morning that brought a smile to my face. #Cats


I woke up early this morning and decided to get on with some writing. I got to the bottom of the stairs, and thought I was seeing double.

Some years ago I bought a rather regal black cat figure for my mother, which resided on the fire surround, and seemed to watch us wherever we were in the room.

When my mother died we took the cat back to Madrid with us where he went on to star in Tales from the Garden. When we returned to Ireland he came with us, and is now inside our hall, by the front door, as a welcome to visitors. He is tucked into a corner, with just his face visible through the glass surround.

However, this morning, he had company.

 

When we first moved in to the house last June, and were decorating, we would leave the front door open to air the place out. One day a black cat walked in, and as we stood watching carefully, he or she, inspected the downstairs of the house, and then left again. As it left, it looked at us both as if to say ‘You’ll do’!  Since then I have seen him (he is quite big and beefy) a few times, but he has run off into the bushes if I have approached him. However, from time to time I catch him checking us out.  A few weeks ago I looked out of my office window to see him sitting watching me through the glass for several minutes before wandering off. He looks well fed but my guess is that he has been feral for a long time, and well able to catch his own dinner in the farmland around us.

Clearly he had caught sight of my stone cat and was checking it out, probably for gender! I slowly moved my boy around to face the window, and went off and collected my camera from the office. I returned and sat on the bottom step of the stairs and watched to see what would happen.

I took several snaps of the two of them and then decided to try my own luck with our visitor. I went and got a saucer of warm milk, opening the front door carefully, only to see him darting under the car. However, once I was back inside and had resumed my seat he crept back out, and emboldened by his new friend, finished the offering with much relish and licking of whiskers. I think it has been a long time since he had enjoyed that delicacy.

 

 

I believe black cats are lucky, and in fact I like all cats. David is allergic to them so we have not enjoyed the company of a house feline. However, over the years, a number of feral cats have seemed to find me, and in our last house in Ireland, I discovered a dying cat under a bush in my garden. He was Henry who starred in Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story, and went on to father two kittens with a young floozy who turned up in the garden one day.

Henry and Sam were great pals but the cat would never come into the house, preferring to sit on my lap in the sunshine having a brush or lying on the sunbed with me. He was completely feral and would disappear when strangers arrived and bless him, he did have a particularly pungent aroma.

Sam checking out Henry’s grooming (or lack of) habits.. ‘Mate, you need a bath’

Sam and Henry taking advantage of the Irish sunshine

The black and white Floozy and Henry’s offspring.

The Floozy would not let me touch her, but when I arrived home one day from work, I found her two kittens, who were a few weeks old at the time, on the front door mat. They both had their eyes caked shut with infection, and I looked around to find their mother under a bush watching carefully. I picked both the kittens up (with strong gardening gloves as they were spitting and scratching hellions) and with Sam overseeing the operation, I gently washed their eyes with warm, lightly salty water. I then put them back out on the mat and she collected them.  This went on for a week until one day there was just one kitten who still had a minor infection. His mother and sister watched from under the bush until I put him back down again and he was collected. The next day there was no kitten for me to tend to but they would follow me around the garden at a distance as my guard of honour.

As you can see from the photograph they lived to grow into strapping and healthy cats. We lived on a couple of acres down a farm lane and there was an abundance of rats which provided them with plenty to eat. I did however supplement with scraps and also popped in some anti-parasitic herbs and worming tablets regularly. They would often leave me a gift on the doormat. Usually a very dead and large rat and I was not sure if I was supposed to cook it for them or for me!

I usually rewarded this gift with their favourite treat which was raw liver…

Anyway, I will be interested to see where my relationship with the black cat develops, but I will keep our stone cat facing outwards, and I suspect that he might be back to visit his new friend, and for a saucer of milk again tomorrow.

©images sallycronin

 

E-books – writing, publishing and marketing. Creating a presence in the market place.


E-books – writing, publishing and marketing. Creating a presence in the market place..

via E-books – writing, publishing and marketing. Creating a presence in the market place..

E-books – writing, publishing and marketing. Creating a presence in the market place.


At the end of the blog – could I ask your help please.  I am using my other book that has been published recently as an experiment in marketing for the blog on E-books.  Details at the end.  Don’t worry no money involved!!

Marketing started with your Title – now time to get ready for the launch.

So now you have a incredible title, that is also your headline for your advertising (marketing) – you have had your book edited, formatted, it has an ISBN and it is either in print or E-versions or both.

In my experience, if this is a first or second book, whatever the genre, it is a good idea to begin your marketing locally.

The first step is to create a presence.  Some people love social media websites and others cannot see the point.  Fair enough, but if you are an author or blogger you will find it difficult to get your work noticed if you have not created some form of footprint.

People tend to over estimate how many copies of their first book (and 2nd, 3rd etc) they are going to sell.  Realistically, depending on the subject matter – 100 to 150 copies of your first self-published print or E-book is about the norm unless it really catches the attention of influencers locally and in the media.

Friends, family and your social networking contacts will make up the majority of that number and therefore the more contacts you have and your family and friends have the better.  There also may be local events where your book could be promoted and sold.  One of our authors was able to market his book on Pop culture at rock and roll events around the city.

You need to tailor your profile to reflect your work.  Do not be shy about commenting on your progress throughout the writing and formatting process.  In fact why not write a blog about the journey?

You cannot come straight out of the gate – with your book, and start from scratch.  Part of your marketing process is to have already created an expectation.

I am on my seventh book and so when you google me – Sally Georgina, or G Cronin quite a few references come up (not a tenth of the references to Wilbur Smith unfortunately!)

I have spent the last 15 years developing my brand and promoting it.  My first book back in 2002 got local and national press interest and I have built on that.

The place to start is your local marketing – many national stories are picked up from local press and that includes local radio.  I began my broadcasting work in Spain because I went in with a copy of Size Matters to the local station in Marbella.  I intended leaving a copy and a letter asking for an interview, but a guest had failed to turn up.  The presenter was fuming and came into reception during a music break.  I was there and prepared so I took that guest’s place.  That turned into a weekly health slot and in time to my own radio programmes in the UK.

This also refers back to my blog on print v E-version.  I always print around 50 copies for review and marketing – competing with the thousands of new titles that have been published at the same time is tough enough – these days a book in hard copy is actually the exception and more likely to get somebody’s attention.  Just because E-books may be the medium of the future do not write off print just yet.

Before you start your promotion – spend some time online.

Google yourself. Have you a presence already that could be exploited and built on?

Google your subject matter. Has there been any topical news stories that might give you a handle to use?  For example the week before I launched Forget the Viagra – Pfizer lost its patent for Viagra in 19 European countries!

Update your Facebook and LinkedIn or any other social media website you use.  Start creating an expectation about the launch of your book.

Make an email address list of your local media – newspapers – websites – free listings – radio stations (including Internet and Community) – identify key journalists who would be appropriate – book column – health – history etc.

Make a list of postal addresses to send print copies to.  Personally when local, be prepared to walk in the door and leave at reception with a note or card with your contact details.  The personal approach is always more effective.  Even if your book is an E-version you can still hand deliver your press release.

Make an email list of national press and magazines that might be interested in your book – you may not use until after your local launch but it will be prepared.

Ask your contacts if they have any connections who might be able to help promote your book.  Remember that someone with 500 contacts on LinkedIn could have 25,000 2nd and 3rd level contacts and a note on their webpage could open doors for you.

Find out if there are appropriate local events where you might be able to take a stand to promote your print copies.

Prepare or get some help to prepare a webpage or website that you can sell through – particularly if in E-version where the margins are small.

PRESS RELEASES

You need to craft your press release as carefully as your book.  Take your time with it so that when you have either your e-versions ready on Amazon or your own webpage or you have the print book actually in your hand (always a good idea) you are ready to send to your prepared media lists.  Remember whenever possible hand deliver.

Next time – grabbing attention with your headline and press release.

Your help would be appreciated.

I originally wrote Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story as a tribute to a beloved family pet.  It was written from his perspective and as true to his life and experiences as I could remember. I sent copies to all the people who knew him but word got around that it was a fun read so the book became an E-book as well and is now on Amazon as well as my webpage.

As an example of creating a presence please  Google – Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story Sally Cronin – You will find a couple of pages of references already and then they change to my other books.

Then if you could go to Facebook if you are a member and like Sam’s page – that would be very helpful – and perhaps you might ask your contacts to do the same.  My aim to get 100 likes by Christmas.  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sam-A-Shaggy-Dog-Story/161113280764957

Also if you would like to connect either on my Facebook – Sally Cronin or on LinkedIn that would be great.

I have already sent some press releases out for the book – and it will be interesting how this experiment in E-book marketing goes.

Thank you very much for reading and also for any help you can give to push Sam’s book.