Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Tuesday 15th August 2017 – #Ireland, Bit of Irish Sparkle, Ali Isaac, Brigid Gallagher and Sheila Kiely

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Time to shared a few of the outstanding posts that I have read today. If you would like to highlight one of your own posts then please send me a link to

I thought today I would share some Irish themed blogs with you since there are some amazing ones around. Ireland is known for its wonderful scenery (suspiciously green) its coastline and wildlife, music and food and drink.. I hope I have managed to get a little of everything in today.

And to begin with a bit of music and a new blog to me.. which offers a Bit of Irish Sparkle.. count me in. Meet Dawn who is showcasing some recent Irish Country releases.

There have been a few new releases on the Irish Country music scene in the past couple of weeks so I though I would share some of my favourites with you.

Firstly a wonderful singer, Patrick Feeney and “Step it out Mary”, I love the girl Irish dancing on the beach and throughout the video. Patrick Feeney is known for his humour and often dresses up as characters for his video’s. For me, I’m not sure it works so well in this video but I love the song and the video all the same.

Head over and watch the wonderful selection of videos and the first one in particular is very catchy:

Now a familiar face… Ali Isaac with her new series for anyone planning a visit to Ireland. Ali is sharing some of the places that she and her family enjoy and thinks you will too. Even for us already living here will get some useful day trip ideas from this series too. First on her list is Deerpark, County Cavan and Ali not only describes how you can get the most from this beautiful place but includes some great photographs.

I‘ve been coming here for years with my family, and love it just as much now as when I first ventured in among the trees. The Slí na Sláinte is a 5.5km circular walk through the forest, which passes the Virginia Golf Course, and follows the edge of Lough Ramor, but there is also a shorter 3km route, too.

The forest was established by the second Lord Headfort, Thomas Taylor, in the early nineteenth century; he planted ash, elm, oak, larch, spruce and Scots pine and some are still standing today. Now, the forest is managed by Coillte, but there is little interference with nature’s gardening plans.

The crumbling old boat house is all that remains of a once thriving ferry system which connected the small town of Virginia with Munterconnaught, dating as far back as the seventeenth century, when Virginia was established as a strategic staging and resting place for coaches travelling between Enniskillen and Dublin.

Head over and read the rest of the post and see the stunning surroundings for yourself:

Another blog which showcases all that is great about this island is by Brigid Gallagher.. She is on a blog break but she left this for us last week.. We have a seal sanctuary close to us at the harbour where they rescue and rehabilitate baby seals, but around Ireland there are opportunities to see these slippery creatures in their natural environment.. up close and personal.

The 41st Burtonport Summer Festival programme included “Seal Watching Trips” to see one of Ireland’s largest seal populations, with Jim Muldowney of Dive Arranmore.

“The islands and rocks of Dungloe Bay are home to around 300 seals including pups at this time of year”, the programme suggested. I felt compelled to book a place.

The weather was a little windy and clouds filled the sky, as we set off from Burtonport Harbour. “Elsie Jayne,” a purpose built dive boat, provided a choice of seating both indoors and out; I chose to embrace the ocean breeze in the outer seating area.

Jim provided a very interesting commentary throughout the trip. Passing Rutland Island, we learned that more than 600 people worked for Rutland Fisheries in the 1780’s, when herring fishing was at its peak.

Sadly, the fishing industry went into decline and the island is no longer inhabited, except for seasonal visitors to a number of holiday homes.

Head over and make sure you have taken your seasick pills… and go seal watching:

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

We have had music, somewhere to visit to enjoy the Irish countryside and to enjoy Irish wildlife in the coastal waters. You must all be famished by now and so here is a recipe from an Irish food blog for Vegetarian Curry (yes we do enjoy international cuisine here and the ingredients are Irish). Sheila Kiely shares a recipe from one her cookbooks.

What I’m looking for when I cook is simplicity, accessible ingredients and taste. I will do anything to avoid chop, chop, chopping and keep the prep. simple. I love all vegetables but I hate prep. especially awkward peeling and then hard chopping. Case in point turnips. To my shame I probably only cook turnip a couple of times a year. It is delicious when cubed, tenderly cooked and smothered in butter or mashed with white pepper. I am sorry turnip, you’ve been neglected because you are such flipping hard work. But you are delicious and you are worth it. Turnip I shall revisit you anon. But there is no turnip in this recipe.

Read the rest of the post and make note of the recipe for this simple to make Vegetarian curry, also browse Sheila’s archives.. I am sure you will find plenty of easy and delicious recipes to enjoy:

And now you will be wanting a drink to go with your meal. There are a few other things we are known for in Ireland and Guinness is one of them… some people go that extra mile on a Saturday to get their pint..

I hope you have enjoyed today’s selection and that you have a good evening.. see you again soon.. Sally


Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Tony Bennett, Houdini and Doyle, Bad Habits, Childhood and Greece

Welcome to this week’s round up of posts that you might have missed. As you know I recommend that you do not sign up for notifications about my posts.. it would drive you crazy.. but you might like to put Sunday in your diary for a pop in.

As always I am very grateful for those who have shared their thoughts, words and wisdom with us this week. William Price King, Paul Andruss, Julie Lawford, Kevin Morris and Ali Isaac

I have had some adventures of the dental kind this week having fractured a molar.. We had not signed up with a dentist as yet but were recommended to go to one in nearby Arklow.. You can always tell how good a dentist is by sitting in a waiting room. If people have their head in their hands are sweating it is not a good sign.. In this case everyone was enjoying a banter and talking about the weather.. I was reassured. Having been on the other side of the dentist chair over 40 years ago and witnessed some of the treatments then available you might understand why I am still nervous of going for an appointment.

I need not have been worried. Despite barely any of the tooth left, the dentist fitted me in for an appointment within two days because she did not want to leave me with a loose filling whilst she went on holiday. She took out the old filling painlessly and rebuilt it painstakingly… with composite. I am delighted to have found such a great practice and will be returning when needed.

The weather has turned autumnal and conkers are already on the trees. We have had a dry if cloudy summer and I take heart knowing that here in Ireland September can be a glorious month. In the meantime I may be getting the boots back out of their summer hibernation.. they have only been in there for six weeks…

Anyway on with the round up and thank you very much for your continued support.. It means the world to me.

Summer Jazz with William Price King

Whilst William is away on his summer break I will be reposting the series featuring the amazing Tony Bennett who is still performing in his 90s.

Here he is with The Way You Look Tonight by Jerome Kern

Writer in Residence

Thomas the Rhymer

This week Paul Andruss takes us behind the scenes of the real life relationship between two megastars of their day.. Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini.. Expect the unexpected with The Dream Team.

A reminder that you can enjoy the full book of essays by Horatio Grin (AKA Paul Andruss) with bonus features FREE by emailing me.. Details in the post.

Guest writer Julie Lawford Summer of Lifestyle posts

We all develop bad habits over time and this includes with our diet. Julie Lawford takes us through some strategies to make changes that benefit us.

Guest post Kevin Morris

Kevin  Morris is celebrating the release of his latest poetry collection, My Old Clock I Wind with a guest post on his childhood.

Milestones along the Way by Goeff Cronin

I new serialisation of Geoff Cronin’s books with Milestones along the Way.

Smorgasbord Short Stories – Guest Ali Isaac

Ali takes us to the heat of Greece in this heart warming story of a mother and daughter preparing for the future and letting go of the past.

Book Promotion

Over the next three months I will be posting a new series Odd Jobs and Characters to celebrate my latest short story collection in ebook and a printed edition containing both volumes of What’s in a Name? The first three posts are on my blog and then the other twelve are being featured on some wonderful writer’s blogs..

Smorgasbord Reblogs

These are stand alone reblogs for certain bloggers who have something a little extra that I would like to share.

Finn Mac Cool

Jessica Norrie

Just a reminder that all promotions for bloggers and authors on Smorgasbord are FREE… I can offer to showcase your work in front of nearly 30,000 across the blog and social media and give you regular updates every few weeks.

The only thing that I ask is that you participate by responding to comments of those who have taken the time to make them, and to share across your own blog and networks. This also involves responding to those who share on Twitter as I tag you in any retweets. Most who share on Twitter are authors themselves and are part of a very supportive community who welcome new members.

It does make a huge difference to the response. Not just for the initial promotion but those that follow. People buy people first..

A great example of participation this week was Vashti Quiroz-Vega whose enthusiasm for promoting her New on the Shelves post resulted in over 150 views and 50 retweets.. I did a quick count up of the number of followers who retweeted the post or the original tweet. Vashti’s book had the potential to be seen by half a million readers. Of course this does not necessarily correspond with books sold or downloaded but those people now firmly have Vashti on their radar.

As an author I love providing this promotional opportunity but it is a collaboration.

Here is how you can join over 200 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore…

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore New on the Shelves

A warm welcome to two new authors to the bookstore this week.

Author Update

Some new releases and great reviews for those already on the shelves of the bookstore.

Air Your Reviews

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Some of the wonderful blog posts I have read this week.. Sorry not to be able to showcase everyone.. but you can always send me a link for your most recent post for me to share.

Smorgasbord Short Stories

A wonderful story from Ali Isaac which takes to a Greek Island and sunshine.


Weekly image and Haiku

Thank you again for joining me here on Smorgasbord.. Keep an eye open during the week for a new interview series beginning in September in the Sunday Morning slot.

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Wednesday August 2nd – Balroop Singh, Marcia Meara, Ali Isaac and Christy Birmingham

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Welcome to the daily selection of posts that I have read today and enjoyed.. unfortunately space only allows for that selecetion to be brief but I hope you will visit and enjoy for yourselves.

Balroop Singh reminds us of the power of poetry to change our emotional state for the better. It can bring comfort, whisper words of love or simply lighten the load. As an example Balroop quotes one of  my favourite poems by Mary Elizabeth Frye.

If you are a poetry lover, you must be familiar with the positive power that a poem can provide us. I have quoted many inspiring lines from the famous poets in one of my earlier posts. ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling being my favorite.

Poetry soothes the writer as well as the reader.

Recently I stumbled across this gem, an outstanding poem written in 1932. It demonstrates an incredible power to assuage loss and anguish. Though the poet had written it for her friend who could not visit her mother’s grave due to disturbing times, its popular appeal can be judged from the fact that it was read by the father of a young soldier, who had been killed by a bomb in Northen Ireland.

Read this uplifting poem and the rest of the post:

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Marcia Meara is offering authors to share excerpts from their own work and others on her blog throughout the week. This is a wonderful opportunity to promote your latest work and you can post several times if you wish. Full details are in the post but if you have not participated previously in one of these promotions you will need to email Marcia at the links she provides.

It’s here again! Yep, starting Monday, 7/31 and running through Sunday, August 6, it will be #ExcerptWeek here on The Write Stuff. A lot of you know how this goes, but for those who don’t, this is your chance to share an excerpt from one of your published books or a work in progress, with your Book Blurb, Author Bio, Buy Links, and Social Media Links. It’s a great chance to tell everyone why they should buy your book, so don’t miss out!

If you are already a contributing author on this site, feel free to post at will, on any day that works for you. And you may post more than once during the week, though only once a day, please. If you are not already a contributing author, you will have to email me to find out how to take part. My contact info is in the Menu at the top of the page under About/Contact Me.

Find out all the details of how you can participate in this great opportunity:

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

The Irish have always known how to throw a party and in our family we also have a celebration of the long goodbye.  We start making for the door two hours before we actually leave and it can be as much fun as the do itself.  Anyway Ali Isaac who is the go to person for all things Irish Legend…. shares the history behind one of the four main Irish celebrations from ancient times… get ready to party.

A celebration of life

Today, the Irish are well known for their love of partying and enjoying the craic; whilst this may seem like stereotyping, it’s no exaggeration. Nor is it a new phenomenon… I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it was one day discovered to be a trait handed down through the centuries in Irish DNA. 😀

Historically and mythologically, Lughnasadh was pretty much the biggest party of them all. One of the four ancient Irish pre-Christian festivals (the others being Imbolc, Bealtaine and Samhain), Lughnasadh was celebrated midway between the summer solstice and autumn equinox, around August 1st.

As Christianity spread across Ireland, the event was adapted as a festival of thanksgiving for the harvest, and moved to the nearest Sunday.

In a way, this feels very appropriate to me, for Lughnasadh originated way back in the era of the Tuatha de Danann, not so much in thanks for the harvest, but in thanks for a life… the life of a very special woman, or Goddess, named Tailtiu.

Life, whether in the form of crops which sustain us physically, or our loved ones who sustain us emotionally, is something worth celebrating. The fact that this particular festival grew out of a love so strong and so enduring makes it feel special to me, and yet nowadays, its significance pales in contrast with the more popular Samhain and Bealtaine.

Read the rest of this fabulous post and join the party:

Smorgasbord Short Stories – Aphrodite’s Rock by Ali Isaac

Good stories are always worth repeating and so delighted to repeat  this one by author Ali Isaac and her short story Aphrodite’s Rock that she wrote for Authors in the Sun in 2015. You can find out more about Ali and her books and blog at the end of the story. Enjoy the sunshine……


Aphrodite’s Rock

“It’s just as splendid as I remember,” she says with a sigh, a rare smile playing on her lips. “Thank you. I never thought I’d see it again.”

I gaze at the rock; although the sea is calm, water foams and gnaws at its base. Here, they say, Aphrodite, Goddess of Love was born, and the magic of the moment is so intense, I half believe it.

The evening sun bathes the scene in soft gold, and we hang there between sea and sky, crying gulls and the ocean’s soft murmur filling our ears as we rock in our cradle-like boat, and drift with our memories.

Her voice is little more than a whisper. “Do you remember the last time we were here?”

I nod, and think back to that day; we stood hand in hand on the headland, eyes fixed on the rock, mum with tears in hers, and acknowledged there was more to life than love.

“You’ll know love one day,” she had said to me.

“Not me,” I had declared emphatically. “Love is for wimps.”

Mum had turned her face away at that. “You’re too young to be so angry.”

“Anyway, I’ll be much too busy digging treasure out of the ground,” I had added. And that, at last, had made her smile.

“Just you and me from now on,” she’d said, turning her back on Aphrodite, and I had done the same. We had never gone back. Until now.

A male voice breaks into our reverie. “Is Aphrodite… she is Goddess of love. You swim all way round her rock, you blessed with beauty all your life.”

I frown at his intrusion, and look up into disconcertingly deep brown eyes. “We know the legends,” I say in perfect Greek.

His eyes widen in surprise.

“We lived here for many years,” mum explains.

“Ah… with British Air Force.”

“No,” I snap, feeling inexplicably annoyed. “Not with British Air Force.” I don’t elaborate, and ignore his enquiring glance at my mother.

She shrugs. “My husband and I… we were free spirits, in those days. We met in Paphos, we loved Cyprus, we stayed…”

“Ah, love…” He nods vigorously, looks at the rock, then says to me, “You very beautiful lady. You swim here before?”

Mum stifles a grin, and I shoot her a murderous glare.

“Take us back to Paphos,” I tell him. “The wind’s getting up. I don’t want this bucket to capsize.”

Without a word, he revs up the engine, and turns the boat for the harbour.

“Do you have to be so rude? He was only complimenting you,” says mum. “And he’s very handsome.”

“Please don’t start match-making again,” I groan. “Anyway, the good-looking ones are the worst. Look at Dad.”

Her face hardens. “Not all men are like your father.”

The little boat bounces over the top of the waves, and we cling on in silence. Our boatman expertly guides his little craft into its mooring, and helps us alight onto the jetty. He presses something into my hand. I hurriedly snatch it from his grasp.

“A boatman with a business card?” I say in surprise.

His eyes meet mine, and for a moment, I feel my knees turn to water. “My family own many business in Paphos. Boat, Taxi, hotel, taverna, whatever you want. You want go in boat tomorrow, I know nice beach, no one else there, I take you.”

“No thank you.” I laugh. “No more boat trips for us. Once in that thing was quite enough.”

Mum tucks her arm in mine, as we make our way down the jetty. She stops at the first taverna. It’s early, and there are lots of empty tables. “Let’s eat here. I’m too exhausted to cruise the promenade tonight.”

We sit at a tiny table by the water’s edge and order calamari, Greek salad, and two bottles of Mythos. The sun descends rapidly into the sea, a huge ball of red fire, leaving little transition between day and night. The notes of a bazouki trail through the air, and a cool breeze blows in off the sea.

Mum shivers, and sets down her beer. “I’m not going back.”

“It’s ok, Mum. We can stay as long as you like.”

“That’s not what I mean.”

“I know what you mean.”

She sits back with a sigh. “Some of the happiest days of my life were lived here.”

“And some of the worst,” I remind her sourly, but she will not be goaded.

“I don’t have many left. I’m glad I could spend them here, with you.”

I force a smile. “Me too.”

She stares out to sea. I know she doesn’t see the empty darkness, for that belongs to me. She dusts off only the bright years of her life, those filled with youth, freedom, joy, before sorrow stole them from her.

“You know, you could look for your father after I’m gone… he might still be here.”

I snort laughter. “After all these years, he’s probably moved on to some other poor victim. Anyway, I don’t need him.”

Mum sighs. “Still so angry. You need to forgive, and enjoy your life. I just don’t want you being on your own when I’m gone.”

“Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine.”

“You could stay here, there’s plenty of good archaeology.”

“Enough to occupy a lifetime,” I say, quite tempted. “But I don’t think so; too many sad memories.”

But mom isn’t listening; her attention is captivated by someone sitting at the bar. He waves at her and smiles. It is our boatman, cleaned up and wearing jeans and a white shirt. I look away crossly.

“He’s stalking us,” I mutter, but mum laughs.

The waiter brings us two more beers. “From Yanni,” he says, placing them on the table.


“My cousin, at the bar.”

Mum giggles. “His family really do own all the businesses in Paphos.”

I scowl at her.

“Come on, he’s nice. And you’re going to need a friend when I’m gone.”

“Stop talking like that. I don’t want to think about it.”

“Ok, let’s go back to our room. I’m tired, and I want to get lots of rest for tomorrow.”

“Why, what’s happening tomorrow?”

“Well, I’ve got quite a fancy for a nice little boat trip…”

©Ali Isaac Aphrodite’s Rock 2015

About Ali Isaac


Who is Ali? I’ll tell you who I’m not. I’m not an archaeologist, or a historian. I’m not a scientist, or a scholar. I’m not an expert in anything, and don’t claim to be. The more I learn, the more I realise how little I know.

I’m just me, and I’m inexplicably drawn to the places of the past, the really ancient places of Ireland, where the ghosts of those who lived there once still cling, their voices sighing on the breeze. They are legend. They are myth. They want their stories known. So that is what I do.

Who is Ali? I am a conduit between past and present, a writer, a storyteller. I am the Guardian of Irish Mythology.

Books by Ali Isaac

One of the reviews on Goodreads for The Four Treasures of Eirean

Aug 06, 2012 Jay Howard rated it amazing  ·

Do you remember, with nostalgia, reading adventure stories full of youthful courage, heroes and villains, humans and fantastical creatures? Did you enjoy Narnia? If so, this book will have you doing everything in your power to read it in one sitting.

It’s firmly grounded in well researched Irish folklore and history, a sophisticated fairy tale of epic proportions that will appeal to children and adults alike. Ali Isaac cleverly leads us between the present and events of 4,000 years ago. Fourteen year old Conor, confined in his wheelchair, is fated to be the saviour of his ancestors, the Sidhe, and is led back to his kin by the intermediary, Annalee, through the Cloak of Concealment. When he learns of their plight he agrees to seek their lost four treasures, stolen from them by a power hungry traitor. Naturally, the treasures have magical powers of which mere humans are unaware.

Annalee returns with Conor from Tir na Nog to the present to help in the quest. But is she all she seems? Many trials and dangers are overcome together. In the best traditions of fairy stories, in helping the Sidhe, Conor finds his own power, and the final battle is very satisfying.

Don’t be put off by the plethora of Irish names. There is a pronunciation guide if you want to enter the spirit of it. It’s too awkward to flick back and forth on a Kindle but a print of those few pages does the job nicely. Alternatively, you can invent your own pronunciations – say it as you see it. Personally, I think a bit of work at the beginning is well worth it.

I am so looking forward to books 2 and 3.

She has also co-written a book of love stories with author Jane Dougherty, called “Gra mo Chroí, Love of my Heart, Love Stories from Irish Myth”.


Read all the reviews and buy the books:

Read more reviews and follow Ali on Goodreads:

Ali regularly posts on topics of Irish interest on her blog:

Find out more about Ali’s fascinating interests.

Social Media
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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Author Update – Ali Isaac, N.A. Granger and Sally Cronin

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore Update

Welcome to the first Cafe and Bookstore author update for the week.. My aim is to share updates for all the authors in the bookstore every four to six weeks but it is very useful if you will let me know if you have a new release or an amazing review for one of your existing books.  This does not have to be a review on Amazon or Goodreads but perhaps a review in a blog.

  Just email me... new address for you

51erbryflwl-_uy250_The first author today is Ali Isaac whose blog and books take us all back in time when Ireland was a wild place, governed by many kings and faeries.. Myths and Legends abound about the Emerald Isle and Ali has an amazing talent in bringing them to life for us. The book I am featuring today – Conor Kelly’s Legends of Ireland: A Collection of Irish Myths as Told in the Tir na Nog Trilogy takes us back thousands of years and introduces us to some of the magnificent characters that populated the Irish landscape.

About the book

Come with me on an epic journey four thousand years back in time to the shadowy past of Ireland’s long-lost legend, where fairy kings and Goddesses walked amongst mortals, where love and passion held sway, and where feats of magic, swordsmanship and courage were customary. The Sidhe are waiting to tell you their stories, and you are very welcome..

Two of the reviews for the stories.

I’ve already read two of the ‘Conor Kelly’ trilogy books that mix ancient legends with the adventures and trials of a modern day descendant of the heroes mentioned; and eagerly waiting for the third / final book to become available.
Meanwhile, it was nice to be able to revisit some of the legends by themselves, told in author Ali Isaac’s distinctive and easy to read style and also to find some new stories to enjoy.

I especially appreciate the Glossary of People, Places and Pronunciation at the back of the books. I’d like to see more of Ireland’s legends retold in this way, by this author.

I’m relatively new to Irish mythology and having read several posts on Ali’s blog I became rather intrigued and just had to read this… I’m glad I did. This short work is full of intrigue.

I found myself drawn in and quickly became engrossed as the fantasy world engulfed me. Ali Isaac is a truly gifted story-teller.

The entire work is very well constructed. I especially enjoyed looking through the pronunciations at the end and chuckled at my own which were rather amiss. The work is also grammatically sound.

Buy the book:

Also by Ali Isaac

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Read all the reviews for the series and buy the books:


Connect to Ali via her website:

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore Update

My next update is for N.A. Granger (Noelle) and her book  Death by Pumpkin: A Rhe Brewster Mystery (Rhe Brewster Mysteries Book 3) –  E.R. nurse and Police consultant Rhe Brewster is enjoying one of the local events when screams alert her to a tragedy. Noelle has just received another terrific review for the book.

5122bdbz7ql-_uy250_About the book

At the annual Pumpkin Festival in the coastal town of Pequod, Maine, Rhe Brewster, an ER nurse and Police Department consultant, responds to screams at the site of the Pumpkin Drop. Racing to the scene, where a one-ton pumpkin was dropped from a crane to crush an old car, Rhe and her brother-in-law, Sam, Pequod’s Chief of Police, discover the car contains the smashed remains of a man’s body.

After the police confirm the death as a homicide, Rhe embarks on a statewide search to identify the victim and find the killer. During the course of the emotional investigation, she survives an attempt on her life at 10,000 feet, endures the trauma of witnessing the murder of an old flame, and escapes an arson attack on her family’s home. There is clearly a sociopath on the loose who is gunning for Rhe and leaving bodies behind. With Sam unable to offer his usual support due to an election recall and a needy new girlfriend, Rhe realizes that the only way to stop the insanity is to risk it all and play the killer’s game.

Maine’s most tenacious sleuth is back, this time to confront a menace that threatens to destroy her life and those closest to her. The latest installment of the Rhe Brewster Mystery Series, Death by Pumpkin, is a murder mystery and thriller that tests the limits of Rhe’s strength and resolve like never before.

The latest review for the book

Crime fiction with engaging characters and a great plot, set in Maine. By Luccia Gray on January 27, 2017

Death by Pumpkin is the third novel in the Rhe Brewster Mysteries, set in Pequod, a fictional town located in the coast of Maine. It can be read as a standalone, but the main characters are so engaging you’ll enjoy the series more if you start reading from book one, Death on a Red Canvas Chair, I loved them all!In book three, Death by Pumpkin, Rhe is recovering emotionally from her husband, Will’s unfaithfulness and murder, while she’s coping with two jobs, as a nurse at the local hospital and as a police department consultant, where her brother-in-law, Sam is the police chief.

She also has a son, Jack, with ADHD, who is her priority.However, Rhe doesn’t wait for life to happen, she is a Rhe is intelligent, resourceful, brave, adventurous, determined, resilient and very loving and generous. In fact, she only has one negative quality is that she’s a terrible cook, although she’s learning!There’s lots of adventure in this instalment, too. A near plane crash, kidnapping, murder, being stalked by a deranged childhood friend.

Rhe will also have to cope with Sam’s unusual emotional coolness due to his new girlfriend, as well as student protests leading to a recall of his job as chief of police, which he’ll have to reapply for, with uncertain results.The plot is neatly wrapped up at the end, but how will Rhe’s emotional life move forward? And which new crimes will she have to solve? Looking forward to book four, Death in Mudfat.Anyone who likes crime fiction set in an American town with engaging characters and a great plot will enjoy this novel.

Read all the reviews and Buy the book:

Also by N.A. Granger

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Read all the reviews and buy the books:


Connect to Noelle via her website:

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore Update

As I prepare for the release of my latest short story collection in a few weeks, it was lovely to receive this review of my last baby.. Tales from the Garden. We all get wrapped up in our latest project and it is easy to forget that there is an ever evolving audience online who may not have heard of your book yet..It is important to remind people from time to time about these older books and give them a chance to shine again. If you have more than one then it is quite useful to put them all together in a composite image..


About the book

Tales from the Garden 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.

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

The latest review from Paul Andruss – January 31st 2017 –

Sally Cronin is a superb short story writer. Her work effortlessly uses an uncluttered economical style to create charming classic narratives; rich in description and punctuated by subtle humour.

Tales from The Garden is a book of 9 short but delightful modern fairy stories and concludes with her mother’s reminiscences of a lifetime of gardens. It is fitting Sally finishes her book with the tale of her mother’s life because the stories contained in Tales from the Garden are meant to be passed down the generations.

While reading I kept falling into reverie. Sometimes I felt like a youngster. Then I could hear my grandmother’s voice reading the stories to me at bedtime.

At other times, my point of view abruptly shifted; often prompted by Sally’s gentle unobtrusive humour, unashamedly aimed at adults. Now I was a parent or even a grandparent reading the story in a cosy lamp lit bedroom on a long winter evening, breaking only to steal swift affectionate glances over the top of the book, watching the new generation, wide–eyed with wonder, fighting not to fall asleep.

At such times, it felt like I was not reading a story at all. Rather, it was though I knew it by heart and was now passing down some precious whispered secret as it had once been passed to me.

So what is it about this book that casts such a spell?

As the title says the individual but thematically related stories centre round a verdant summer garden with stone statuary, old and new. This magical place has a life its own, hidden from the mortal owners, except for once every 500 years when the two worlds collide – no doubt precipitated by the long anticipated return of the Emperor. And just who that is, you will have to find out for yourself.

Guarded for centuries by two stone lions the garden is not only a place of sanctuary for wild creatures, but also shelters a bona-fide fairy kingdom within an old magnolia tree. Comic elements are introduced into the stories in the form of a rock band, who hang out with a totally unexpected hippy. The rock band was banned from playing at fairy balls because… And now perhaps I am giving too much away.

Queen Filigree, who rules Magia, told me in no uncertain terms she would much prefer you to discover the adventures of her subjects and the garden’s motley denizens for yourself, rather than learn them second-hand from an old gas-bag who should know better.

As ever your majesty, you wish is my command.

But being an old gas-bag, as you so kindly pointed out, let me just have one final word on the last chapter.

In my heart, I felt the book is really all about Mollie Coleman. An ordinary woman of extraordinary life and beloved mother who just like a fairy queen, once upon a time, and long, long ago, spun a spell on a little girl who grew up to write…

Read the other reviews and buy the book:

Also by Sally Cronin


Read all the reviews and buy the books:

I have a space left in Friday’s Cafe and Bookstore update if you have news about your books.. Please check your entry in the directory to make sure it is still correct and then email me on

If you are new to the blog and would like to join the other authors in the bookstore which leads to regular promotional updates then please look at this post.

Thank you for dropping by today and I hope you have enjoyed the updates for us all.

Thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book of the Week – Grá mo Chroí: Love Stories from Irish Myths by Ali Isaac and Jane Dougherty

sally's cafe and bookstore

Today a book about love.. Ancient Irish style with passion and more than a little magic.  Grá mo Chroí: Love Stories from Irish Myths is a collaboration between two authors Ali Isaac and Jane Dougherty, each bringing their own writing magic to the collection.

51z5skuc3xl-_uy250_About the Book

Long ago in a green island surrounded by protective mists, a people lived among the relics of a bygone age of which they knew nothing, not being archaeologists, but around whom they created a mythology. They were a volatile people, easily moved to love or war, and motivated by a strict sense of honour. They had women warriors and handsome lovers, wicked queens and cruel kings, precious heroines and flawed heroes. Magic was in the air, beneath the ground, and in the waves of the sea, and hyperbole was the stuff of stories. They were the Irish, and these are a few retellings of some of their beautiful stories.

A selection of the reviews including my own from last year.

This collection includes three tales by Ali Isaac and two tales and a poem by Jane Dougherty, all of which retell Irish mythical love stories. The retelling of myths is one of my favorite themes in fiction, and these tales do not disappoint. I haven’t read the source materials that the authors draw upon, so I can’t verify their accuracy to the original, but I found them to be a moving blend of the dreamy atmosphere of fantasy and the harsh realities of lost loves. In places I was reminded of the style of one of my favorite authors, Evangeline Walton, in her wonderful adaptations of Welsh myth. Also, I found Jane Dougherty’s poem “Deirdre Wishes for Death” to be excellent, and I’m very fussy about the quality of poetry. I recommend this collection as a satisfying quick read for anyone.

There are many millions of people around the world who proudly claim Irish ancestory. With its rich Celtic history, myths and legends, Ireland has given the gift of literature to the world for hundreds of years. Grá mo Chroí: Love Stories from Irish Myths continues that tradition in this short collection of stories adapted from ancient tales and crafted beautifully by Ali Isaac and Jane Dougherty, both accomplished writers. Even in ancient days romances did not run smoothly or necessarily end happily, but they were full of daring men and women who fought for their love and sometimes died in the attempt to be together.. In the stories of Grá mo Chroí there is the added element of the mystical, other world influences that set them apart from our modern day love stories. I hope that the authors will consider publishing volume two now that they have worked so well together to such good effect.

I ended up reading this before bedtime last night after opening it up for a quick peek and then reading it to the end. I do like this sort of medieval story; the romance, the heroes and heroines and the style of the writing. This is a short collection and I would have loved more of it.

These stories reminded me of a Kate Rusby song: so moving and lyrical. I couldn’t stop reading. Jane Dougherty and Ali Issac give you a taste of Irish tales that is sure to be pleasing. If you like Irish lore, handsome heroes, and tragic love stories, I recommend this collection.

Buy the book;



Also by Ali Isaac


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Find out about Ali Isaac, read the reviews and buy the books:

Follow Ali on her blog:

A selection of books by Jane Dougherty



Find out about Jane, view her books and read the reviews:

Follow Jane on her blog:

There are a number of ways to promote your books, blog, art, music, poetry and photography and you can find out more here:

Thank you for dropping by and we would love your feedback.  Sally

The Annual Bloggers Bash Awards – #ABBAs are back and you are invited to vote.


Absolutely thrilled to have been nominated in some categories in this year’s Bloggers Bash Awards and delighted that Smorgasbord Invitation has been placed in the Best Overall Blog category.  I am very grateful to everyone who nominated me and to be in such great company in this award.

best-overallThere are some incredibly talented bloggers in all the categories and I had a really tough time voting for just one in each.  I am sure you will also have the same problem.

Head over and vote for your favourite, Funniest, Best Book Review, Best Dressed, Best Newcomer, Most Inspirational, Hidden Gem, Service to Bloggers, Most Informative Original Content Blogger, Best Pal and Best Overall Blog… Vote at the ABBAs

It is a huge shame that the organisers of the event have excluded themselves from the nominations and therefore the awards

Sacha Black

Ali Isaac

Hugh Roberts

Geoff Le Pard

Whilst you are working your way through the categories here is some music in tribute to the four dedicated followers of fashion blogging. Thanks for the hard work guys.. You are Simply The Best.

Thanks for dropping by and I hope that you will head over and show your support to the work of Sacha, Ali, Hugh and Geoff as well as the bloggers who have kept us all entertained this year.   Sally








Sunday Lunch Invitation – Guests: Ali Isaac, Geoff Le Pard and Sacha Black

sunday lunch logo

Today begins a new series of Sunday Shows and the format is Invitation to Sunday Lunch. The format is that an invited guest brings a virtual plus one from the past or present who has inspired them in some way. They are also asked to bring a course for lunch either a starter, main course or dessert and why that particular dish is important to them.

Of course formats are flexible and to begin this series one of those elements has been suspended so that I can fit my three guests around the table.

This year the highly successful Bloggers Bash Awards was debuted and London never knew what hit it. The city where celebrities and high level government officials roam the streets and corridors of power, was paralysed by the influx of excited and enthusiastic writers from the Land Of Blog. Such was the overwhelming hilarity that certain members of the committee have written fantastical, thrilling and downright scary stories about the event. Mr. Hugh Roberts, upstanding member of said committee cannot be with us today but his excellent story of the aftermath can be found here:

With three guests around the table all with a delicious contribution to the meal, and of course some beverages there will be quite a bit of chat. So loosen your waistband and off we go.

Today’s guests in order of our meal. Ali Isaac, Geoff Le Pard and Sacha Black.

To give you a little background and the links to find out more I have prepared some place mats. Please connect to these incredibly talented and generous people.


Ali Isaac has adventure in her genes and spent her early childhood in a Landrover travelling across the UK to Kuwait where the Landrover expired. This resulted in a short stop on a farm in the desert and then a move to Greece with her father’s job for the next seven years. Ali is a linguistic sponge and has absorbed several languages in her travels including French, Greek, Italian and Arabic.

Fast forward to the present and Ali now lives in rural Ireland with her husband, three children and the family dog.

Ali regularly posts on topics of Irish interest on her blog,


Buy Ali’s books and find out more about her fascinating interests.
Social Media
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Ali has brought the starter for our lunch today… delicious……

Ultimate Guide To Greek Food

I’m kicking it all off today with my starter. I’ve brought a selection of Greek nibbles to tantalise our taste buds in readiness for Geoff’s main event; a Greek salad complete with slab of creamy, salty feta cheese, a fresh tzatziki and houmus to dip your crusty bread into, and a dish of tangy black olives.

Why Greek food? Well, I spent part of my childhood on a Greek island called Cyprus, and many years later, married my Irish husband on another Greek island called Kalymnos. It was this immersion into Greek culture, language and archaeology as a child which sparked my enthusiasm for mythology in general (and Irish mythology in particular, now), something you might happen to notice if you visit my blog or read any of my stories!

As a child, I was addicted to Horiatiki salad… I know, a strange confession, but I suppose I was a bit of a strange child! Horiatiki salad is much like a Greek salad, but with the addition of lettuce, and I used to eat buckets of the stuff. I guess there are more harmful substances to be addicted to!

My time in Greece was bittersweet. It was a fabulous place for a child to grow up in; safe, always sunny, lots of swimming and watersports, school finished at lunchtime, and we had so much freedom. We had dogs, cats, guinea pigs, a canary, even a donkey. We rode chopper bikes and skateboards, rarely watched TV. My sister and I never wore shoes at all until the winter came, when my mother would force our feet into boots. Which we promptly lost ‘accidentally on purpose’ at the first opportunity, and then sulked when instructed to retrieve them.

But underlying this utopia was the dark shadow of my parents growing marital problems. My dad was often away from home for such long periods of time, that when he returned, I didn’t know who he was. Eventually, and quite suddenly, my mother, sister and I found ourselves living in the UK. It was not an easy adjustment to make. I never lost my love for Greece, though, or for Greek food!

To liven things up a bit, (not that any livening up is really needed with Geoffle and Sacha for company!), I have taken the liberty of bringing along a round of drinks. These are Irish, though.

‘For you, Geoff, a bit of the black stuff, a genuine pint o’ Guinness all the way from Dublin; for you, Sacha, a little Poitín… it’s made from potatoes, and will blow your socks off! For you, Sally, a bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream, because one glass of Baileys is never enough, and for me, a glass of Bulmer’s cider’.

I drank a couple of these at the Bloggers Bash. Well, we did end up in an Irish bar after dinner. The Bloggers Bash was such great fun; I really can’t wait till next year’s.

My most abiding memory of BB2015 is how few of us had ever met, and yet, after the first couple of minutes of awkwardness had dissolved, we were all getting on like old friends! It was most extraordinary.

What also struck me, was how true everyone was to the persona they portrayed on their blogs. A lot was riding on this event; the pressure was on. There were people going from blogs I had followed and grown to know and love… what if in real life I didn’t actually like the bloggers behind them? I was quite nervous about that.

But happily, these worries were unfounded. I think bloggers tend to unleash their real selves on their blogs, and that’s something which can’t be hidden when you finally meet in person.

Oh, and I’ve got a secret chocolate torte hidden in my handbag for the chocolate lovers, just don’t tell Sacha!

Time to move onto the main course provided by Geoff.


Geoff Le Pard began his creative writing in 2006 following a career as a lawyer (perfect background for storytelling!). It began with a short radio play and ended up with two novels sitting on Amazon waiting for you to buy. Between the radio play and today there was an MA which highlighted the need to edit, edit and edit some more. I have a feeling though that his sense of humour has been percolating away since the moment he learned to talk.

Now Geoff is a writer and if you stand still he will probably use you as a blackboard. ‘When I’m not writing and thinking about writing, I’m blogging (which is a sort of writing); I cook, I walk, I read (but not enough) and I walk some more. The dog approves of my career choices’.


Buy Geoff’s books :

Connect with Geoff:

Google+ :

Geoff has brought the main course for our lunch today which I am serving with some fabulous Reserva Rioja.

roast lamb

At Sunday lunch with Sally, I’m bringing the main course which is roast leg of lamb, roast potatoes, carrots, runner beans and a ratatouille. This was easily the most popular meal when I was child though, being honest ratatouille wasn’t part of mum’s culinary repertoire in the 1960s; that’s a 1970s addition as she developed her international cuisine range.

Dad loved lamb over all other roast meats. If anyone remembers the galloping gourmet, Graham Kerr, a somewhat up himself Canadian food lover, they will remember, above all his ticks and peccadillos, those ruby red (I’m guessing, this was black and white TV) succulent lips on which the close up camera lingered. These awful soggy smackers represented the height of food enjoyment and my father could have been the lip model once he smelt lamb a’roasting come midday on a Sunday.

Mum pandered to dad, allowing him to take centre stage, boasting about the crops we were eating (all the vegetables were home grown). The one thing she wouldn’t allow, neutering him somewhat, was to carve. At some point before I was old enough to recall, probably before I was born, she allowed him that very domestic of male roles which, alongside the barbecue was the sole preserve of the domestic male chef pre 1990. It must have been a disaster because he never once carved. Did he feel the lack? I think so, but when it came to the domestic budget, in fact anything involving the household accounts Mum ruled.

I can well recall that dining room table laden with food, dad beaming regaling us with some silly story, some tall story while mum would busy herself, interjecting occasionally but mostly working hard to ensure everyone else was happy before she sat down and allowed herself a few minutes peace before pudding.

Had you stumbled on our lunch and watched for twenty minutes or so you’d have guessed I was the shy child (true, things change – what can I say), the Archaeologist some sort of Venusian-sized mega brain (a Dan Dare allusion, for those not sure what I’m going on about) of a youngster (also true, still true) and Dad the centre of our little universe (sort of so). Mum’s smile and quiet demeanour might have led the watcher to suspect she was a typical wifely drudge, the downtrodden hausfrau. How wrong they would be. Remembering this meal, bringing it back to the table is a reminder that she was the gravity (or was that the gravy?) in our family, the glue that stuck it together, the utterly consistent, utterly dependable backroom Barbara without whom the rest of us would have spun out of our orbit.

Having lunch with Ali, Sacha and Sally in the week when we announce the date for the Second Annual Bloggers Bash is a lovely opportunity to recall that warm sunny day on 1st August when Year One happened.

My memories of the day are both vivid and blurred. Vivid in the moments – when Ali and Sacha jumped me as I waited for them by Caravan for breakfast and our pre briefing; when, having joined up with everyone else outside the British library, we stood in a circle like year ones waiting to be picked for the school team, all rather shy and retiring until Hugh told us to line up so we could do a piece to camera; looking down our table in Pizza Express and realising everyone was engaged in an animated discussion with their near neighbours; sharing a grin with Dylan Hearn as Sherri Matthews joined us in a whirlwind of hellos. Blurred in how the time went; in what was said in the speeches that made people laugh; in the final goodbyes.

The best bit was easy; the sheer exuberance of these bloggers. You’d think we were a desk bound bunch of sociophobes, hiding behind our screens but we all said how much like our screen personas we were. I think the truth is that bloggers are actually outgoing people who don’t always have the chance to show it. And when they’ve already given of themselves on their blog to these self-same people, then the usual inhibitions of new meetings seem rather irrelevant. That was splendid and we three (and Hugh) cannot wait for the whole thing to start again.

And last but not least Sacha Black who has brought dessert to finish off our lunch today.


You need to head over to Sacha’s blog to get the full lowdown about her life and will not spoil that experience for you. In a nutshell; (not on the menu I promise), Sacha is a wonderer at heart. A thinker, and ponderer on anything unusual or controversial which you can see in her Weekend Wonders series. She finds inspiration in the beauty of imperfection and is enthralled by evocative questions. She has sought answers to those questions by travelling the world including in the Himalayas but has also journeyed through the writings of others in books and songs.

Her blog is a mine of information, particularly for those who are just starting out and those (like me) who have developed bad habits. She has a couple of intriguing WIPs Adultland and The Keepers and details of those can be found here.


Head over and find out all about Sacha:

Connect to Sacha.

Sacha has brought dessert and having enjoyed a brief breather after the delicious roast lamb dinner we now dive in again.


I have the sweetest tooth of anyone I know. There was a time, I would have demanded to serve a chocolate fudge cake – or like I demanded of the chef at our wedding venue – a milk chocolate torte. You see, I am an addict. I know lots of people say that, but seriously. I don’t do anything by halves, just ask Ali! I am a full blown chocolate addict. Before I gave up I could eat a family bar to myself, and not even break a sweat. I have a nose that would put a hound to shame, if it’s in the house, even if it’s wrapped and sealed in cellophane, I could still find it. I am so severely addicted; I talk about chocolate like it’s an addiction. I am unable to eat just a tiny bit, unfortunately I had to give it up completely, save for that teeny tiny bite would spiral me into a pit of 6 months of squirreling it away and 2 stone in weight… yeah seriously… chocolate did that to me!

So instead of the mouth-watering chocolate scruminess, I bring you my second favourite food in life, and a very British pudding. Scones. And that’s SK-OHHHNES darling, not skonnns.

Scones are close to my heart, because they remind me of my dear old great great aunt. Yes, two greats! She lived in a rather large house, and sat at the head of the table observing her minions!

She would snaffle curls of butter from the butter tray and pass them to me under the table. I would toddle up to her, doe eyed and beg for more! …Just one more curl of butter, perweaase. Whilst we did eat the scones eventually, we spent most of our time preoccupied with slathering our arteries with butter-induced cholesterol.

Oh and if you want to know which order the clotted cream and jam goes on. Its cream first Jam on top!

Perhaps sweeter than even scones smothered in cream and jam is the very exciting news that The Annual Bloggers Bash is Back.

You heard me…. THE BASH IS BACK

If you couldn’t make it last time, then now’s your chance. We are giving you plenty of notice so no excuses. The second Annual Bloggers Bash will be held on:

11th June 2016

It will be in London again, primarily because of the ease of access, it is after all the capital city.

In line with the bash, we will have another round of annual awards, which you will be able to nominate and vote for closer to the time. If you would like to register an interest in coming to the bash then drop us a line at the following address:

We will of course be releasing all the information about what we will be getting up to as we get closer to the date. But for now, save that date.


The Three Bashateers.

My thanks to my wonderful guests today and I will be making every effort to attend the Bloggers Annual Bash next June.. Look forward to seeing you there.

If you would like to be a guest on the Sunday Lunch then please contact via the email in this post.

Hope you have enjoyed the first in the series.

Next week my guests are Sue Vincent and Chris Graham AKA The Story Reading Ape.

Thanks for dropping by and see you soon.





A Freestyle Writing Challenge – 10 minutes on the clock….


I was tagged by Ali Isaac – -who writes about Ancient Ireland and its myths and legends in such an entertaining way that we all fancy a trip back in time. She has nominated me to take part in a writing challenge and since I was still debating on which post to put up this morning it was timely. In a moment you will be able to read my offering and here is what those I have tagged have in store.

This is what you have to do…

1 Open an MS Word Document

2 Set a stop watch or your mobile phone timer to 5 or 10 minutes, whichever challenge you think you can beat

3 Your topic is at the foot of this post BUT DO NOT SCROLL DOWN TO SEE IT UNTIL YOU ARE READY WITH YOUR TIMER!!!

4 Fill the word doc with as much words as you want. Once you start writing do not stop.

5 Do not cheat by going back and correcting spelling and grammar using spell check (its only meant for you to reflect on your own control of sensible thought flow and for you to reflect on your ability to write the right spelling and stick to grammar rules)

6 You may or may not pay attention to punctuation or capitals. However, if you do, it would be best

7 At the end of your post write down ‘No. of words = ____” so that we would have an idea of how much you can write within the time frame.

8 Do not forget to copy paste the entire passage on your blog post with a new topic for your nominees and copy paste these rules with your nomination (at least five (5) bloggers)

My challenge was: If you could go back in time to any period in history, when would it be, and why?

I set my kitchen timer to 10 minutes and here is my challenge warts and all.

I am more of a future kind of girl but if I was to go back in time it would not be far. I would like to have been part of the roaring 1920s. Not just because of the wonderful flapper dresses or the Charleston dance but because it was a time of renewal after the horrors of the First World War. Women were coming into their own and whilst I am not a feminist I would have loved to have been part of the equality movement.

I also would have liked to have been there to support people like my grandmother Georgina who was left a widow when my grandfather was killed on November 2nd 1918 as one of the last casualties of the war. He had been wounded three times and returned to the front after recovery. They only had my mother in 1917 because they thought he would never have to go back. She only found out he was dead weeks after the end of the conflict as parades and street parties went on around her.

For her and millions of women who were mothers, wives, daughter and sweethearts the world would never be the same. Hundreds of thousands of women never married because the ratio of women to men was skewed as it was in all the countries that were involved in the war. It was a time of resilience and the need to survive. I believe that this more than anything else pushed women into having to fend for themselves and demanding their right to a good education for their children, proper health care and the right to work to feed their families.

Little did they know that only 20 years later the world would again be plunged into war and that those children that they fought so hard to bring up would again be put at risk.

So I would have definitely wanted to be their to show my support and my chosen profession would have been medicine working as a doctor to bring health reforms and medication to help them in their almost impossible task. I would love to have been in on the beginning of socialised medicine that was to finally be put in place in the late 1940s.

But yes, I would have loved a flapper dress, I can do the Charleston and I would have been there with my bobbed haircut and a stethoscope around my neck.. You says you cannot do it all.

I have about 30 seconds left so would just like to say….bye bye……

I would like to tag the following people to take part in this challenge, and whilst it would be great if they have the time to join in they are under no pressure..this is just a little writing fun.

Olga Nunez Miret –

HughRoberts –

Judith Barrow –

Tess Karlinski –

And your challenge is… Please don’t scroll down to find out what it is until you’re ready to start! Thanks!








If you had your time over what profession would you choose and why?