Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Christmas – The Sixth Day of Christmas with Guests William Price King, Annette Rochelle Aben and Jan Sikes


Welcome to the sixth party in this series and today my guests are the amazing William Price King, American Jazz singer, crooner and composer who has been providing the music content for Smorgasbord for over four years. Joining him today is friend but also new and very welcome collaborator, who has a background in broadcasting and music, Annette Rochelle Aben who will be writing her own Numerology column from the New Year. Also with a wonderful career in both publishing and the music industry, is my third guest, Jan Sikes.

All will be sharing their most cherished Christmas memories throughout today’s post.

My Christmas memories…

In early 1965 a film was released in the UK that was to be a turning point for me and the start of a lifelong crush on the lead actor. Christopher Plummer was 36 at the time that The Sound of Music became available to the general public and not just musical theatre goers. I was just twelve but I saw myself as Maria from that moment on. I saw that film three times in the next 18 months and I could rattle all the songs off at a drop of hat including The Lonely Goatherd with requisite yodelling.

My ardour did not diminish, and when we returned to Portsmouth in 1967, I managed to coerce a school friend into forming a double act. At age 14 we were encouraged to reach out to the community at Christmas, and undaunted by the prospect of performing publicly, my friend and I dressed ourselves in replicas of the film costumes. Actually my mother was missing a pair of old curtains, so we did not stray too far from the script…and we offered our services to three old people’s homes in the local area.

We would turn up after school in the weeks before Christmas and join the residents for a cup of tea and a piece of cake before performing our repertoire of songs from The Sound of Music. I must admit that a couple of songs in and there was a fair bit of nodding off…not to be outdone I would burst into The Lonely Goatherd and it served to enliven the audience who would look around bemusedly at the sound of a strangled cat in between the verses.

I did however have a ‘moment’ in my early 40’s. We were on holiday in the French Alps one summer and had hiked up one of the surrounding mountains. We reached a plateau that was dotted with alpine flowers and after we had consumed our packed lunch and with no one else in sight, I took my chance. I stood in the middle of the meadow and gave the title song as loud a rendition as I possibly could. I threw my arms wide as I finished and turned in a slow circle to receive the applause of my husband, only to find that a large group of Japanese tourists had just reached the edge of the plateau and were snapping photographs and clapping madly…I think they thought that it was especially laid on for their lunchtime entertainment. A quick descent was called for in the opposite direction.

As my first guest is William Price King it seems more than appropriate to get the party started with one of his own performances. We will meet him in person a little later.

My thanks again to Why Christmas for their detailed information on the traditions around the world. The Falkland Islands are in the South Atlantic Ocean about 300 miles from the east coast at the bottom of South America. They are a British Overseas Territory even though they’re about 8,000 miles away from the rest of the UK. There are only around 3,000 residents of the Islands with most living in the capital Stanley, and considering the land mass occupies around 4,700 square miles, it is hardly over populated.. But there 150,000 sheep.

It is summer in the Southern Hemisphere and being British the Islanders share many of the traditions with the UK. It is very windy which means few trees, but artificial ones are on display. As you might guess roast lamb is the most likely Christmas dinner and it is very expensive to fly turkeys in from South America.

As at home, pantomime is very popular and children on the more remote parts of the islands get their presents flown in from the capital. Carol singing takes place under a ‘Whale Bone Arch’  constructed from the jaw bones of two blue whales… and on Boxing Day the horse races attract punters and spectators from all over The Falklands.

Time now to meet William Price King and find out about his most favourite Christmas gift ever..His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour. You can find out more about William and his career in his latest Music Column

William shares his most treasured Christmas memory...

It was Christmas Eve. Before starting the day I called our youngest daughter who lives in Germany to wish her good luck for her performance as Rosina in “The Barber of Seville” that evening and to get confirmation that she and her boyfriend were still planning to celebrate Christmas at his parents’ home in Düsseldorf. She answered affirmatively and said that they were looking forward to it as they had done in the previous years. We spoke for a moment and then I wished her a good show and said we would call them on Christmas.

I finished decorating the tree and put the presents in place. Wakanda, our cat, took quick possession of her Christmas box and happily installed herself under the tree. In the meanwhile my wife and I continued preparing for the big day and began making the final touches, reminiscing over the good old days when we had the entire family at home for Christmas. Those days were gone.

Around midnight we went to bed happy that everything was ready for our Christmas celebration in anticipation of seeing the grand kids frantically open their gifts. Around 6 a.m. my wife woke me up and said that she heard someone walking in the house. I told her it must have been a dream, as we live alone. Plus, why would Santa be walking around in our house at 6 a.m. on Christmas day, right? My wife insisted it wasn’t a dream. She really was frightened and believed that someone had broken into the house. A bit annoyed I lurched downstairs, opened the living room door and there stood our opera singer with her boyfriend. “Merry Christmas!” they shouted gleefully. My mouth dropped in disbelief. I pinched myself to make sure it wasn’t I who was dreaming this time around. I knew that life could yield unexpected surprises but this one beat them all. It was the first time that she had come home for Christmas in 10 years, a gift from the stars, and the best Christmas gift I ever had.

Definitely a wonderful Christmas memory and I can imagine that the celebrations were fantastic.

I spent some time wondering what William might enjoy for his Christmas gift… and I hope that he will enjoy something from his home town. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra with O Come O Come Emmanuel. Courtesy of Thomas Trimborn

The Sixth day (30th December) is dedicated to St Egwin of Worcester. Egwin was of noble if not royal blood and was born in the late 600’s and became a monk. Because of his lineage the royal court and hierarchy in the church pushed for his elevation to Bishop in in 693. He had strict moral code and was a benefactor for the poor and orphans. He was also very strict with worshippers and clergy alike and became increasingly unpopular when he began insisting that marriage vows should be taken seriously and that the clergy should be celibate… In the end tired of the resistance to his firm stance on these issues he took himself off to Rome to get the blessing of the Pope.

A number of ‘miracles’ occurred on the route and having received vindication from the Holy Father he returned to Evesham. He lived until between 917 and 920 bringing about many changes including founding Evesham Abbey which was one of the most important Benedictine Monasteries of medieval times. He died and was buried there but all was destroyed in the purges in the 16th century.

 

Six geese a laying – some say this symbolises the six days of creation but most assume it was a continuation in the bird theme from the Four Colley Birds, Three French Hens, Two Turtle Doves and a Partridge in a Pear Tree…..

Time to meet my next guest, the delightful Annette Rochelle Aben – Annette has an attitude of gratitude that she spreads around on a daily basis… Annette’s Blog and also by interviewing authors on radio Tell Me A Story with Annette Rochelle Aben | The Magic Happens (TMH)

Over the years, Annette has been blessed with having both hobbies and jobs that required her to write. This resulted in her winning the admiration of peers and industry professionals alike. Publication lead to awards, which provided even more encouragement and now, Annette Rochelle Aben is a #1 Best Selling Author! These days, Annette writes poetry books, coaches others through the writing of their books, and edits articles for the digital magazine The Magic Happens.

In the New Year Annette will be joining the team here with her own column Universal energy – Numerology and I am delighted to welcome her to the blog.

Annette shares her most treasured Christmas Gift

Seventeen years ago, at our Christmas gift exchange, I opened the lovingly wrapped package from my nephew Danny, to find a statue of a black cherub sitting on a cloud. I choked back tears because I knew he originally planned to give it to my mother, but she rejected the gift because Angels couldn’t possibly be anything other than white you know.

As I drove home, I hit an ice storm and what would have taken me 45 minutes, took me over 5 hours. The whole way, that Angel sat on my dashboard. I made it home safely.

Very difficult after that very special memory to find a gift that compares for Annette, but knowing her love of angels and music.. I hope that she enjoys one of my favourite tracks In the Arms of an Angel by Sarah McLachlan

You can find all of Annette Rochelle Aben’s books: http://www.amazon.com/Annette-Rochelle-Aben/e/B00MSQTGUY
Blog: www.annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com

Here is a selection of Annette’s books

booku_cover_for_kindle

A recent review for A Tanka Picture Book

Annette Rochelle Aben writes the most beautiful and heartfelt poetry, most frequently in the form of tanka and haiku verse. Annette bares her thoughts, feelings and soul to the world with her writing and enables you to experience her joy and delight at living with her. One identifying feature of Annette’s poetry is that she appeals to all five of the senses. I frequently find that poems focus on the visual, what the writer sees, but not that many poets manage to capture the smell, sound and touch of life in quite the way Annette does. One of the poems in this book that filled me with delight is this one: We found paradise Filled with rolling hills of green Houses so cozy Paths strewn with flowers fragrant Watercolor painted skies

Over the next few days I will be sharing some of the wonderful Christmas delicacies  that appeared on Carol Taylor’s Vegetarian Christmas Menu 

Ricotta, Blackberry and Walnut Toasts.

• 2 tbsp of maple syrup
• 150 gm blackberries
• 4 slices of your favorite bread I used sourdough
• 100 gm soft ricotta
• 1 tbsp toasted walnuts
• A few mint leaves

To Prepare

  1. Warm the maple syrup in a small pan and add the blackberries cook for 3-4 mins gently squashing a few blackberries with the back of your wooden spoon.
  2. Toast the bread.
  3. To serve spread some ricotta over the toast then spoon over the warm syrup and fruit, top with your toasted walnuts and a few mint leaves.

Enjoy!

And now my final guest today who also has a wonderful life of music and love. Jan Sikes is an Award Winning Author, screenwriter and songwriter. She began her writing career as a young girl. Her first work was a gospel song. She had an uncle whom she loved dearly, but he was an alcoholic and his drinking caused such family discord that at times, resulted in him being banished from their home. So, she wrote a song about Uncle Luke finding Jesus. That is her first memory of feeling the passion deep down to her toes for writing and for music.

And here is Jan’s most favourite Christmas gift of all time

The best Christmas I can remember is 2003. Rick was just finishing the recording of his new music CD and he had a jacket monogrammed for me with the album cover on the back and my name in the front. I couldn’t have been more surprised or proud! That year all of our children, my mom and aunt came to our house for the celebration. There was an abundance of food, laughs and love. It is a sweet memory.

Another tough challenge to find a gift for Jan following that heartfelt memory… but I hope that this will make her smile and remind her of the first song that she wrote for her uncle. A wonderful Gospel Christmas.

Featuring the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra again with The Pointer Sisters and  Adam L. McKnight..- Amen courtesy of Adam L. McKnight

You can find all of Jan’s books here: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK
Website: https://www.jansikes.com/

One of the reviews for Home at Last

Almost Home is the third book in this series and every bit as exciting as the first two books! Mrs. Sikes lets us into their lives, finally lived together, and their love that continues to grow! Ms. Sikes has written each novel with such depth of emotion that I felt virtually every feeling along with Darlina as I was reading! I spent plenty of time with tissues in hand! The pace was very steady and my attention never wavered. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t reach the end of each book fast enough to move on to the next!

It was a mesmerizing story from beginning to end! The story of Darlina (Jan Sikes) and Luke (Rick Sikes) is a love story for the ages and fraught with challenges seemingly every step of the way. This series is made more poignant for me by the fact that it is the true account of two people, fictionalized for the benefit of the author! I give Almost Home by Jan Sikes five cups of steaming hot Room With Books coffee and I highly recommend you read it!

Now time for something to drink…..Whilst it is customary to see cranberries in a sauce on the Christmas Dinner Table, you can also enjoy in a cocktail during the holiday period. Cranberries have a great many health benefits…. which might be slightly diluted when adding alcohol.. but here is a video that will give you a recipe to try.

Thank you for dropping in today and tomorrow my guests are Jessica Norrie and Marjorie Mallon… I hope you will join us.. thanks Sally

 

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Music Column – 1993 – Toyota MR2 MK1 – M People and Elton John


It is 1993 and in the February I hit the big 40. At the beginning of the year, I looked at my wish list as most of us do before hitting a milestone birthday. One of my top ‘things to do before I am 40’ was to own a racy little number.

As a teenager I had a number of boyfriends who owned sports cars. Whilst they may have anticipated something a little different when I suggested that we adjourn to the car park at Clarence Parade after a date, they were disappointed. I only wanted their car keys! I had spent many a happy hour in a Triumph Spitfire or a later model TR4 doing circuits of the car park.

I did not get my official driving licence until 1980 and had driven for both work and pleasure in the intervening years. We had enjoyed many road trips when living in Texas including across from Houston to New Mexico, a distance of 650 miles without stopping except for gas.

I have returned from Houston with one of my most prized souvenir; a 1985 dark grey metallic Mercury Topaz. Despite initial problems finding unleaded petrol when we returned to the UK with it 1987, I had driven happily for the last six years. I was lucky to find a mechanic who was an American car fan who would come and pick it up from my office in the Docklands, service and deliver back to me by the end of the day.

As I approached the big day in February, I happened to mention to him that I was thinking of selling the Topaz and buying a sports car so wanted mine in tip top condition. He looked off into the distance for a moment before suggesting that we do a swap. Turned out that he had a MR2 Mk1 that he drove and he had recently had a baby and wanted a family car. He loved my Topaz and the price was around the same. Bingo… Two days before my 40th I was a proud owner of the small but perfectly formed MR2 in black with a T-bar sunroof. I was in heaven.

There was not much room in that little car but I loved driving it and although I have had a MK 2 since then, one day, provided I can get in and out of it; I will be looking for a reconditioned MK1 to drive into the sunset in.

Music in 1993

Both of us were working flat out but I would listen to the radio and tapes on the drive from our home in South Woodford to the Docklands. That year the charts seemed to be all about love. Whitney Houston had three hits that year in the charts; I Will Always Love You, I’m Every Woman and I Have Nothing. Meat LoafI’d Do Anything For Love, UB40 I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You, HaddawayWhat is Love, Elton John and Kiki Dee with True Love and to counteract all the lovin’ was Gloria Gaynor and I Will Survive! Others songs were about travelling including Billy JoelRiver of Dreams, Pet Shop BoysGo West, Lenny Kravitz – Are You Gonna Go My Way. I am an M People fan so I have chosen One Night in Heaven which combines both love and travel!

Buy music my M People: Amazon

And this week my guest is Annette Rochelle Aben who has requested something from Elton John.. and since Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road is one of my favourite albums here is Bennie and the Jets

Buy Elton John Music: Amazon

Annette Rochelle Aben has an attitude of gratitude that she spreads around on a daily basis… Annette’s Blog and also by interviewing authors on radio Where the Magic Happens

Any of her books would make great gifts and she has some that are also filled with inspiring images, including A Tanka Picture Book.

About A Tanka Picture Book

Life is alive with poetry; all the sights, sounds and smells. Blend it all together in your mind and you will begin to sing songs in your heart. You deserve a reason to smile, to feel good while pondering the magic of your world. You are closer than you think.

Open, A Tanka Picture Book! Consider the story each picture shares through its visual. Enjoy how each is enhanced with a tanka poem. Engage your senses while on a journey of passionate creativity. To feel the excitement found in even the simplest of sights is why A Tanka Picture Book was created.

Tanka is a form of traditional Japanese lyric poetry that uses 31 syllables spread out over 5 lines, to convey its message. The word “tanka” translates to “short song.” The short songs of this book elevate what may be considered average, to a new level of appreciation by connecting imagination and emotion.

Those wishing to be inspired, those seeking an uplifting read and those who are simply curious to see if they might enjoy poetry will love A Tanka Picture Book. You can add this happy, little book to your print or electronic libraries. Be sure to pick-up an extra copy for someone who can use a thoughtful gift.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Annette Rochelle Aben writes the most beautiful and heartfelt poetry, most frequently in the form of tanka and haiku verse. Annette bares her thoughts, feelings and soul to the world with her writing and enables you to experience her joy and delight at living with her. One identifying feature of Annette’s poetry is that she appeals to all five of the senses. I frequently find that poems focus on the visual, what the writer sees, but not that many poets manage to capture the smell, sound and touch of life in quite the way Annette does. One of the poems in this book that filled me with delight is this one: We found paradise Filled with rolling hills of green Houses so cozy Paths strewn with flowers fragrant Watercolor painted skies

Read the reviews and buy the collection: https://www.amazon.com/Tanka-Picture-Book-Annette-Rochelle-ebook/dp/B077MWZXVQ

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tanka-Picture-Book-Annette-Rochelle-ebook/dp/B077MWZXVQ

Other books by Annette Rochelle Aben

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Annette-Rochelle-Aben/e/B00MSQTGUY

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Annette-Rochelle-Aben/e/B00MSQTGUY

Find more reviews and follow Annette at Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8262554.Annette_Rochelle_Aben

 

Connect to Annette via her blog: https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed the music.. more next week… thanks Sally

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Buy a Book for Christmas – #Poetry – Agnes Mae Graham, Annette Rochelle Aben and Balroop Singh


Time for some more poetry collections which make great gifts for Christmas for all age groups. They can inspire, provide us with hope and entertain with a range of emotions brought together in just a few lines.

The first collection was published by Christopher Graham (the hugely supportive friend to us all) at The Story Reading Ape and his sister, who brought together the wonderful poetry of their mother Agnes Mae Graham….Chris can also be found on Twitter @StoryReadingape

About My Vibrating Vertebrae

We all have dreams, loves and hopes; but what if you are a girl growing up in 20th century Northern Ireland before, during and after the ‘Troubles’?
From the poetic thoughts of our Mother, we get a sense of what it was like, ranging from humour, sadness, wistful thinking and sometimes just downright nonsensical, these are the words of one such girl.

One of the reviews for the collection on Goodreads

Frank Hubeny rated it it was amazing

These are stories or narrative poetry centered in Ireland written metrically with rhyme. The language flows well. Even when the stories seem dark the author’s heart shines through to light the way. For example, in “Ulter’s Shame”, a dark narrative with “blood stained footpaths and bullet spattered walls” we are not left with “screams” and “terror” but a resolution: “What matters is the depth of God’s sighs.”

She describes the people around her with kind brevity. The ending of “The Brownie Pack” states her love and humbly leaves it to God whether it is returned.

She describes the joyful and sorrowful mysteries of life. In “Tender to Touch” an old man buys a medicine from her. In his confusion he rubs it on his pained stomach rather than drinking it. Nonetheless, he’s cured and returns to thank her. In sadness, such as “Life!!”, she prays to God not to let the Devil win.

In the “The Lover” and “Kitty and Joe” we see death and love tied closely together and even though death wins in its ever objective way, I sense love redeeming each such victory as its own.

This is a beautiful collection of very short stories or narrative poems that, perhaps because of their brevity, will linger in my mind enriching it.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Agnes-Mae-Graham/e/B01HAJF4JK

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Vibrating-Vertebrae-other-poems-ebook/dp/B01HA8Q116

Read more reviews on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/15428253.Agnes_Mae_Graham

Do connect to Chris on his blog, particularly if you are an author or would like to guest post: https://thestoryreadingapeblog.com

The next poet probably needs no introduction as she is such a popular and generous sharer of our work across social media. Annette Rochelle Aben has an attitude of gratitude that she spreads around on a daily basis… Annette’s Blog and also by interviewing authors on radio Where the Magic Happens

Any of her books would make great gifts and she has some that are also filled with inspiring images, including A Tanka Picture Book.

About A Tanka Picture Book

Life is alive with poetry; all the sights, sounds and smells. Blend it all together in your mind and you will begin to sing songs in your heart. You deserve a reason to smile, to feel good while pondering the magic of your world. You are closer than you think.

Open, A Tanka Picture Book! Consider the story each picture shares through its visual. Enjoy how each is enhanced with a tanka poem. Engage your senses while on a journey of passionate creativity. To feel the excitement found in even the simplest of sights is why A Tanka Picture Book was created.

Tanka is a form of traditional Japanese lyric poetry that uses 31 syllables spread out over 5 lines, to convey its message. The word “tanka” translates to “short song.” The short songs of this book elevate what may be considered average, to a new level of appreciation by connecting imagination and emotion.

Those wishing to be inspired, those seeking an uplifting read and those who are simply curious to see if they might enjoy poetry will love A Tanka Picture Book. You can add this happy, little book to your print or electronic libraries. Be sure to pick-up an extra copy for someone who can use a thoughtful gift.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Annette Rochelle Aben writes the most beautiful and heartfelt poetry, most frequently in the form of tanka and haiku verse. Annette bares her thoughts, feelings and soul to the world with her writing and enables you to experience her joy and delight at living with her. One identifying feature of Annette’s poetry is that she appeals to all five of the senses. I frequently find that poems focus on the visual, what the writer sees, but not that many poets manage to capture the smell, sound and touch of life in quite the way Annette does. One of the poems in this book that filled me with delight is this one: We found paradise Filled with rolling hills of green Houses so cozy Paths strewn with flowers fragrant Watercolor painted skies

Read the reviews and buy the collection: https://www.amazon.com/Tanka-Picture-Book-Annette-Rochelle-ebook/dp/B077MWZXVQ

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tanka-Picture-Book-Annette-Rochelle-ebook/dp/B077MWZXVQ

Other books by Annette Rochelle Aben

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Annette-Rochelle-Aben/e/B00MSQTGUY

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Annette-Rochelle-Aben/e/B00MSQTGUY

Find more reviews and follow Annette at Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8262554.Annette_Rochelle_Aben

Connect to Annette via her blog: https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/

It can sometimes be a challenge to encourage younger readers to read and also to write poetry… Balroop Singh’s latest poetry collection might just spark their creativity. Timeless Echoes, Poetry for young adults and teens.You can read more of Balroop’s poetry and posts on her blog Emotional Shadows and follow her on Twitter at  @BalroopShado

About Timeless Echoes

Certain desires and thoughts remain within our heart, we can’t express them, we wait for the right time, which never comes till they make inroads out of our most guarded fortresses to spill on to the pages of our choice. This collection is an echo of that love, which remained obscure, those yearnings that were suppressed, the regrets that we refuse to acknowledge. Many poems seem personal because they are written in first person but they have been inspired from the people around me – friends and acquaintances who shared their stories with me.

Some secrets have to remain buried because they are ours
We do share them but only with the stars
The tears that guarded them were as precious as flowers
Soothing like balm on festering scars.

While there are no boxes for grief and joy, some persons in our life are more closely associated with these emotions. Their separation shatters us, their memories echo, we grieve but life does not stagnate for anyone…it is more like a river that flows despite the boulders. When imagination and inspiration try to offer solace, poetry that you are about to read springs forth.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

In “Timeless Echoes,” the author searches within to share the trials and tribulations of life in unique poetic imagery that delves deeply into the human spirit echoing within each of us. Love of nature, love of family, grace and forgiveness are among the themes encompassed in Singh’s timeless collection.

Head over and buy the collection: https://www.amazon.com/Timeless-Echoes-Balroop-Singh-ebook/dp/B07F1VVJK7/

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Timeless-Echoes-Balroop-Singh-ebook/dp/B07F1VVJK7/

Also by Balroop Singh

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Balroop-Singh/e/B00N5QLW8U

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Balroop-Singh/e/B00N5QLW8U

Read more reviews and follow Balroop on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7340810.Balroop_Singh

Connect to Balroop via her blog: ttp://balroop2013.wordpress.com

Thanks for joining me today and I hope you have enjoyed the selection of poetry collections that would make great gifts for Christmas. Thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – #RecentReviews Chuck Jackson, Annette Rochelle Aben and D.Wallace Peach


Welcome to Friday’s Cafe and Bookstore update and the first author with a review is Chuck Jackson for his memoir What Did I Do?

About What Did I Do?

What Did I Do?  is Chuck Jackson’s true recollection of the abuse he received from both his parents. It is a story where he spent years struggling to please them without succeeding. It is a story where they told him he was irredeemable and unworthy of being their son. When he saw love and happiness in other families, he wondered why not his.

Chuck came out of the darkness to expound on the stigma attached to child abuse. He admitted to the affects of shame, anger, guilt, and depression that he and so many experience. He tells the story of survival where he felt invisible. Follow him where he sought a warm touch and a kind word of praise. Follow his desperation for love from anyone. Follow Chuck’s story and help answer his question, What Did I Do?

A recent review for the book

Jackson takes us back in time into his childhood where he was adopted by his parents at 14 months old. Where one would think adoptive parents would feel so blessed to have a child, this story isn’t one of them. The author opens his heart in his telling without whining or complaining of what he endured, but instead questions – What Did I Do? As we learn about the emotional neglect he suffered along with the physical attacks from his father, the author steals our heart and has us wanting to reach out and just hug the boy.

We get a good look at emotionally bankrupt parents who carry their own demons, which gives us a hint at how they project their own unhappiness in their lives on to poor Bobby (author’ name in the book). This void of love Bobby exists in doesn’t sour his desire to want his parents to love and appreciate him, but rather, disturbs him through life as to why they couldn’t give him any affection. Eventually, Bobby runs away from home with fears that the beatings won’t stop despite the apologies that sometimes come after a consequent attack.

The story gives us insight into not only what the child had to live with growing up and into adulthood, but has us shaking our heads at what on earth went wrong in his parents’ life to make them so self-absorbed and uncaring.

I would highly recommend this book to parents to have a look at what abuse can do to a child through Jackson’s eyes and words, as well as for anyone who has been abused to be inspired by how Jackson handled his life and still came out as a compassionate good person without falling victim to his upbringing and continuing the trend of abuse. #Recommended

Read the other reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/What-Did-I-Do-Memoir-ebook/dp/B073R2B3RK

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/What-Did-Do-Chuck-Jackson/dp/1548327166

Also by Chuck Jackson

Read all the reviews and buy both books: https://www.amazon.com/Chuck-Jackson/e/B01IX2PBEG

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chuck-Jackson/e/B01IX2PBEG

Connect to Chuck via his website and blog: http://www.chuckjacksonknowme.com/

The next author with a review is Annette Rochelle Aben for A Tanka Picture Book.

About A Tanka Picture Book

Life is alive with poetry; all the sights, sounds and smells. Blend it all together in your mind and you will begin to sing songs in your heart. You deserve a reason to smile, to feel good while pondering the magic of your world. You are closer than you think.

Open, A Tanka Picture Book! Consider the story each picture shares through its visual. Enjoy how each is enhanced with a tanka poem. Engage your senses while on a journey of passionate creativity. To feel the excitement found in even the simplest of sights is why A Tanka Picture Book was created.

Tanka is a form of traditional Japanese lyric poetry that uses 31 syllables spread out over 5 lines, to convey its message. The word “tanka” translates to “short song.” The short songs of this book elevate what may be considered average, to a new level of appreciation by connecting imagination and emotion.

Those wishing to be inspired, those seeking an uplifting read and those who are simply curious to see if they might enjoy poetry will love A Tanka Picture Book. You can add this happy, little book to your print or electronic libraries. Be sure to pick-up an extra copy for someone who can use a thoughtful gift.

A recent review for the collection

Annette Rochelle Aben writes the most beautiful and heartfelt poetry, most frequently in the form of tanka and haiku verse. Annette bares her thoughts, feelings and soul to the world with her writing and enables you to experience her joy and delight at living with her. One identifying feature of Annette’s poetry is that she appeals to all five of the senses. I frequently find that poems focus on the visual, what the writer sees, but not that many poets manage to capture the smell, sound and touch of life in quite the way Annette does. One of the poems in this book that filled me with delight is this one: We found paradise Filled with rolling hills of green Houses so cozy Paths strewn with flowers fragrant Watercolor painted skies

Buy the collection: https://www.amazon.com/Tanka-Picture-Book-Annette-Rochelle-ebook/dp/B077MWZXVQ

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tanka-Picture-Book-Annette-Rochelle-ebook/dp/B077MWZXVQ

Also by Annette Rochelle Aben

Connect to Annette via her blog: https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/

The next author with a recent review is D.Wallace Peach for Legacy of Souls (The Shattered Sea Book 2)

About the book

Peace descends on the Ravenwood freehold, and Raze Anvrell trusts that as love lays open his life, the turmoil of his past will loosen its grip. But in the halls of Avanoe and catacombs of Ezar, political intrigues thicken. Deflection and secrets manipulate the truth, assassins whet their blades, and more than one ruler stakes a claim in the quest for power.

A swallower of multiple souls, Sajem files his teeth and inks his eyes. Tentacles of madness slither deeper into the slaver’s afflicted mind. His raids grow brazen, tactics harsh, and conscience stripped bare. Alliances fracture and form, and no one is too old or young, too wealthy or beautiful to spare.

As his father’s health fails, Raze accompanies his brother to Ezar to plead before the Empress for slavery’s end. When death strikes, he and those who stand in the way of ruthless ambition must battle for those they love, the principles they hold dear, and the world they desire.

While heirs compete for the Ezari throne, slavers plot each other’s demise. The future of the Vales depends on the outcome. And if Raze wishes to save his family, his freehold, his chance at love, and his life, he must swallow one more soul.

A recent review for the book

“Legacy of Souls,” begins where “Soul Swallowers,” left off with Raze fully immersed in the expansion of his freehold into a larger operation for farming and raising horses. His heart is full as he pursues the lovely Bel who has miraculously healed his broken heart.

Because of Bel’s love, Raze finds the courage to move past the differences that controlled his relationship with his father. Even so, he keeps a careful distance as he retreats back into his life avoiding the political overtures that normally occur from a noble birth.

However, when his father begs him to attend a royal wedding with him, Raze stalls filled with guilt, not willing to give up either his lifestyle or his newfound reconciliation with his father.

Finally, Raze agrees to accompany his father and brother to the wedding when a horrible crime is committed, leaving his family accused of the murder while the royal family hunts them down.

By the time Raze escapes to the freehold, he finds most of his beloved family killed, and Bel kidnapped by the slavers. It is the death of his friend, Samoth, that changes the man forever. Raze chooses to swallow his soul which adds the necessary soldier’s skills he needs to survive and to save his family.

Once again, this author has waved her magic wand and created a world like no other. Here, life is filled with danger where human souls are bought and sold by the rich to increase their power. Political motivations and shifting loyalties explode within the schemes of the governing family, while the slavers do their bidding.

The characters and situations within these pages are unforgettable. For me, it was the philosophical dilemma of absorbing another person’s soul that I found so intriguing. Think about the possibility of accepting the soul essence of someone else into your existence. New skills and knowledge would have to integrate, for better or worse. If you swallowed too many souls, disaster would ensue as the personalities clash for control with possible madness being the end result. Would you swallow a soul?

This is a brilliant two book series that will keep you guessing until the end. As with most literature penned by this author, I could not put the story down. I read into the wee hours until the last closing chapter came to a satisfactory end. Now, I can’t wait to see what D. Wallace Peach conjures up next for me to read.

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

Read the reviews and download the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07F6HYFQK

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Legacy-Souls-Shattered-Sea-Book-ebook/dp/B07F6HYFQK

A selection of other books by D. Wallace Peach

Read the reviews and buy: https://www.amazon.com/D.-Wallace-Peach/e/B00CLKLXP8

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/D.-Wallace-Peach/e/B00CLKLXP8

Read more reviews and follow Diana on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7068749.D_Wallace_Peach

Connect to D. Wallace Peach via her website/blog: http://www.mythsofthemirror.com

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will head over and explore these authors and their books further.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – Short Stories – #Fantasy -The Time Capsule by Sally Cronin


Over the last few weeks I have been conducting a house-keeping exercise on the blog and going through all the posts dating back to 2013. Some I have rescued and others were reblogs or now out of date. However, I have found some that you might enjoy again especially those of you who have only connected with me in the last couple of years.

This story was a part of a personalised contest that I did in December 2015 when I had just published Tales from the Garden. Three names were drawn out of a hat and I wrote a personalised story for them.  This was the one that I wrote for Annette Rochelle Aben and I hope that you enjoy.. and if you are not connected to this lovely supportive poet, author and blogger then I do suggest you remedy that.  I realise that some of us are sweltering in a heatwave but friends on the other side of the world are in the middle of their winter…

Wordsmith, author and broadcaster Annette Rochelle Aben was one of the winners of the personalised story and has sent me some photographs and the names of her brother and sister to be included in the tale. It is a fairy story so I have of course taken the full licence that this gives me to make stuff up!

 The Time Capsule by Sally Cronin

The three children sat on the green swing seat that was tucked in beside the newly planted tree just as the sun was setting behind the wooden fence. Mitchell sat between his two sisters as he pushed them back and forth with the heel of his sneakers. On his lap was a slightly rusty metal box. They had removed it from the garage where it had been stored on a shelf after their move into the house; being empty it seemed safe to assume that it was not needed by their mother for anything important.

The lid was open and they examined the contents with great care. After all this was going to be buried with some ceremony beside the sapling. It was their very special time capsule; to be discovered it was hoped by other children in some far off distant century. Lorraine and Annette had contributed most of the items although it had required much deliberation. Despite missing a leg, both girls would miss Barbie, but you hardly noticed as they had dressed her in a red maxi dress that covered that little defect quite well. There was a miniature china horse with a small chip out of one ear and a pack of silly putty. Mitchell had been slightly dismissive of his sisters’ contributions and had decided on the ultimate sacrifice. He gently smoothed over the space suit of GI Joe Astronaut and worried about the vacant spot in his collection on the shelf in his bedroom.

Apart from the toys there were some baseball cards and three foreign postage stamps;  rescued from the envelopes of last year’s Christmas cards. They had also felt that they should each put in a bar of their favourite candy which had been a great sacrifice for Annette; she was a fiend around chocolate. Mitchell had carefully written out all their names and birthdays on a postcard and placed it on top of the items. Satisfied that they had represented the year 1974 in style they continued to swing back and forth in the fading sunlight for a little while longer admiring their handiwork.

Little did they know that they were being watched. In the shade of the hedge hidden from view were some figures that were highly interested in the proceedings. A small garden gnome and stone puppy dog that had been overlooked when the previous owners had packed up and left the house.

‘Did you see what I see,’ the gnome nudged his canine companion. ‘Chocolate and lots of it, when was the last time we saw any of that?’

The puppy turned his head and licked his lips. ‘It’s been a while Fred, I wouldn’t mind getting my teeth into one of those bars.’

The gnome hopped up and sat on the plastic toadstool that had been abandoned along with them and rested his chin in his stubby little fingers. They watched as the three children slid off the swing seat and headed towards them. Just as it seemed that they would be discovered, Mitchell stopped and knelt down on the soft grass. He closed the lid with a satisfying click and the two girls placed their hands on his shoulders as he popped the box into the freshly dug hole. The children were not sure if you should say anything special at this point but after Mitchell had covered the box with the dark soil, they stood in silence for a moment or two. There was an old iron lamp stand in the shape of a shepherd’s crook and with the help of the girls; Mitchell pushed it into the ground to mark the spot

As the children walked hand in hand back to the house, the gnome and the puppy looked at each other in delight.

‘Go on then,’ the gnome nudged the little dog. ‘Do what you do best.’

Over forty years later and Mitchell, Lorraine and Annette stood in the kitchen of the house and contemplated the garden. They had been planning on a special expedition today but had woken to find that the first snow of the winter had covered everything with a fine blanket of white.

They had spent all last night discussing the time capsule and whether or not it was still safely buried in the spot under the now mature tree. They had completely forgotten about it since their return to the family home. Then a discussion over supper one night had brought memories flooding back of their childhood including the escapades they had got up to. Since they were all fired up and determined to find out if their box had survived the various garden makeovers, they donned warm coats and gloves and headed out of the kitchen door. Mitchell went off and gathered up some tools from the garage to tackle the frozen ground and then joined his sisters at the archaeological site.

The wrought iron lamp holder was still in the same place.  They remembered  how a lantern would be hung from it when they had cookouts in the summer months as they grew to adulthood. Slightly rusty; it still guarded the special spot where they had buried their almost forgotten treasure.

It took twenty minutes of concentrated digging in the hard earth but eventually Mitchell heard a clang as his shovel hit metal. In a few minutes the box was revealed, darkened with age but still intact. The three of them worked the soil away from the edges and pried it loose. Shivering the three returned to the house and into the warmth of the kitchen and Mitchell placed the box on layers of newspaper on the table.

Cupping hands around mugs of tea and coffee, they stared at this physical reminder of their childhood and the years spent here before they dispersed into their adult lives. Gingerly Annette prised open the reluctant lid with a screwdriver and they all leant forward to look at the contents.

Lorraine took the postcard and the items out one by one and laid them on the newspaper; astonishingly the precious momentos were in the same condition as when they were buried. However, when they reached the bottom of the box it was to find three empty candy wrappers flattened and placed side by side neatly. Immediately Mitchell and Lorraine turned and looked at Annette as the most likely culprit.

‘What are you looking at me for?’ she stared back at them defiantly. ‘I swear I didn’t take the candy, I haven’t seen the inside of that box since we buried it in 1974.’

The three of them spent most of the day trying to come up with a reasonable explanation. In the end they gave up and decided that perhaps their mother Nancy had discovered the box when gardening; eaten the candy bars and reburied the box as a practical joke on them all.

Outside in the snow the gnome and the puppy sat in the same gloomy spot they had occupied for half a century; frankly bored daft for most of the time. The gnome patted the puppy’s head and grinned delightedly.

‘I’d have paid my best magic mushrooms to have seen the look on their faces when they found those empty wrappers.’ He turned to look at the light shining into the wintery garden from the kitchen window. ‘Now that they are back for good, we need to think up some more tricks to keep them busy.’

©sallycronin 2015 ©images Annette Rochelle Aben

Annette is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore.

Annette Rochelle Aben, Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Annette-Rochelle-Aben/e/B00MSQTGUY
Blog: www.annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com

Please visit Amazon or Annette’s blog to view all her books.

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I hope you have enjoyed the story and since Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story is now finished, I am going to start sharing What’s in a Name – Volume One from next weekend. It was recently offered free during the sale but I would love to share the stories with you again as it is three years since they were featured. I hope you will pop in.

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Summer #Sale – 99p/99c – #children #YA #Poetry #African Adventure Lucinda E.Clarke, Darlene Foster, Natalie Ducey and Annette Rochelle Aben


Welcome to the second of the Summer Sale posts with discounted books by authors on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore. There are two more sale posts scheduled for the  16th and 20th of July.

Some of the books from Monday 9th may still be on sale so worth checking: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/07/09/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-summer-sale-brigid-p-gallagher-hugh-w-roberts-jacquie-biggar-and-victoria-zigler/

The books will be on sale for just a few days around those dates so pick up your copies quickly!

All the spaces have now been filled but if you have any of your books that are FREE in July there is still some room on those posts.

Wednesday July 18th and Saturday July 21st – Spaces filling up quickly

Just let me have the link to the book on Amazon or Smashwords and the dates the book is free … I will have all your other details on file.. sally.cronin@moyhill.com

The first author with a discounted book today is Lucinda E. Clarke for Amie:African Adventureon offer at .99p on UK – 99c (+tax) US.

About the Book

Amie was just an average girl, living in her home town close to friends and family. She was happily married and she had her future all planned out. They would have two adorable children, while she made award winning programmes for television. Until the day her husband announced he was being sent to live and work in an African country she had never heard of. When she came to the notice of a Colonel in the Government, it made life very complicated, and from there things started to escalate from bad to worse. If Amie could have seen that one day she would be totally lost, fighting for her life, and enduring untold horrors, she would never have stepped foot on that plane

One of the recent reviews for the book

I was slightly apprehensive about reading this book as I have traveled to a number of African countries for leisure and work purposes. I have also written a series of non-fiction publications about investment in Africa. I was worried that this book would not jell with my knowledge and experience of Africa. That turned out to be an unnecessary concern. Lucinda E Clarke has a sound knowledge of life for expatriates and the locals in certain war-torn, “least developed” African countries and does an excellent job of setting the scene for this story.

I enjoyed her balanced approach to describing the life styles of both the expatriate community and the locals and the detail that was provided about the schooling, hospitalisation, politics, corruption and difficulties with business dealings in this fictional country of Togodo. The descriptions of Aime and her husband’s visit to a game farm and the African countryside are beautiful and the author shares some interesting facts about survival in the bush.

The story of Aime’s adventure is fast paced and entertaining. My only criticism is that there were to many fortunate coincident and lucky breaks for Aime and her husband that were a bit unbelievable but this did not detract overly from a jolly good story.

I would recommend this book for people who like the idea of an entertaining adventure in a realistic African setting.

Read the reviews and buy the book at 99c : https://www.amazon.com/Amie-African-Adventure-Lucinda-Clarke/dp/1500546992

And Amazon UK 99p: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Amie-African-Adventure-Lucinda-Clarke-ebook/dp/B00LWFIO5K/

Also by Lucinda E. Clarke

Read the reviews and buy all the books: https://www.amazon.com/Lucinda-E-Clarke/e/B00FDWB914

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lucinda-E-Clarke/e/B00FDWB914

Read more reviews and follow Lucinda on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7996778.Lucinda_E_Clarke

Connect to Lucinda via her website: http://lucindaeclarkeauthor.com

The next book that has been reduced for the summer sale, is Amanda In New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind by Darlene Foster. On offer at .99p on UK – 99c (+tax) US until 20th July.

About the book

Amanda Ross is on a school trip to Taos, New Mexico with several of her fellow creative students. Join Amanda, Cleo and their funny friend, Caleb, as they visit an ancient and beautiful landscape where a traditional hacienda, an ancient pueblo, and a haunted and spooky hotel all hold secrets to a wild and violent past. Does Cleo really see ghosts? Can Amanda escape the eerie wind that follows her everywhere? Perhaps the Day of the Dead will reveal the mysteries of Taos in this latest adventure of Amanda’s travels.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Amanda in New Mexico: Ghosts in the Wind finds student Amanda Ross on a school trip in Taos, New Mexico. While there, her classmate Cleo thinks she sees ghosts. Amanda feels anxious too, sensing that something or someone is watching her. An engaging adventure ensues during their visit to the Land of Enchantment in this sixth book in the fun and educational series for early middle grade readers. 5/5

Read the reviews and buy the book at 99c: https://www.amazon.com/Amanda-New-Mexico-Ghosts-Travels-ebook/dp/B01MT8LXAR/

and Amazon UK 99p: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Amanda-New-Mexico-Ghosts-Travels-ebook/dp/B01MT8LXAR/

A selection of other books by Darlene Foster

Read the reviews and buy all of Darlene’s books: https://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Foster/e/B003XGQPHA

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Darlene-Foster/e/B003XGQPHA

Read more reviews and follow Darlene on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3156908.Darlene_Foster

Connect to Darlene via her blog: https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/

The next book on offer for the summer sale is by poet  Natalie Ducey for her latest collection of poetry The Heart’s Lullaby – on offer at .99p on UK – 99c (+tax) US.

About The Heart’s Lullaby

The Heart’s Lullaby is a candid portrayal of love in all its splendor and pain. Love, in its purest form, is tranquil and soothes the soul. But love, as is life, can sometimes be cruel and unjust with its paths of uncertainty and forced goodbyes. In essence, it is a journey of self-discovery. A continuous journey of becoming. Often, it becomes a delicate dance of holding on and letting go.

We linger in memories of ill-fated love; our minds can easily soil them, and our hearts can effortlessly polish them to perfection, altering their resemblance entirely. We can anchor ourselves to yesterday by zealous choice or solemn grief. So easily, we can become obsessed with what “might have been” and miss the beauty that lies before us. Our minds craft spectacular moments that will never be realized. Why? Is it self-indulgence, or are they necessary companions for our soul’s survival?

Love, its force so formidable, transcends time, distance, and even death. Eternal love is the epitome of its grandeur.

To feel the exquisite, majestic splendor of love is the greatest gift we can give or receive. To have another see the unique beauty in our imperfections, that will protect us and elevate us without greed or envy, a soul willing and proud to walk this journey of life with us and share in its joys and sorrows … this is love, a gift unmeasurable and unmatched by earthly possessions.

But two souls must be willing. Therein lies the intricate complexities of the heart. And in the end, we must never forget … love, as is life, is a continuous journey of becoming.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Mar 09, 2018 Robin Goodfellow rated it Five Stars

The Heart’s Lullaby by Natalie Ducey is a beautiful book of poetry that describes the fragility as well as the strength of the human heart. The book is separated into four parts. Embers of Love focuses on the bittersweet aspect of heartbreak, the pain of saying goodbye to someone you care about. Eternal Love illustrates the beauty of love lasting forever, even after death. The Agony of Holding On & The Angst of Letting Go is about falling out of love, and that despite everything you do to hold onto that person, sometimes it’s better to let go. Finally, The Journey of Becoming is about being comfortable with yourself, and knowing that both the heart and the mind need to work together to bring peace and comfort. Whether it be through pain, loss, or peace, Ducey shows us that love can comfort us in our time of need, and show us how human we really are.

The world is a funny place. Sometimes, we do so much to protect ourselves to the point where we simply forget what it means to laugh or cry, or to even love our own selves again. This collection does, in fact, remind me of a lullaby you would sing to a small child at night, or even to a grown-up in need for comforting. For example, one of my most favorite poems in this collection comes from Eternal Love, where the narrator promises to love their beloved for all time in the memories of their past, even if they’re gone. It’s wonderful, because oftentimes we worry about if we’re missed, if we’re better off gone. It’s a question that’s haunted many people, but this poem answers it easily. In my mind, it shouldn’t be an easy question, but nevertheless, I’m shocked at how easy it is. It’s nostalgically iridescent, to say the least.

Ducey provides a soothing, comforting atmosphere interlaced within her poetry. From the pain of losing a loved one, to the relief of finally finding yourself in the end, this book encourages those suffering from heartbreak, and mesmerizes others just by its messages of hope alone. As such, I would recommend it to fans of Feathers, Shades, Shadows and a Few Raindrops by Mandar Naik, and Catching a Dream by J.R. McRae.

Read the other reviews and buy the collection at 99c: https://www.amazon.com/Hearts-Lullaby-candid-portrayal-splendor-ebook/dp/B072TMDGRB

and on Amazon UK at 99p: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hearts-Lullaby-candid-portrayal-splendor-ebook/dp/B072TMDGRB

Also by Natalie Ducey

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Natalie-Ducey/e/B014XNEG8G

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Natalie-Ducey/e/B014XNEG8

Read all the reviews and follow Natalie on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13534715.Natalie_Ducey

Connect to Natalie via her blog: https://natalieducey.com/

Another poetry collection for you now and Annette Rochelle Aben has reduced A Tanka Picture Book. On offer at .99p on UK – 99c (+tax) US until July 19th.

About A Tanka Picture Book

Life is alive with poetry; all the sights, sounds and smells. Blend it all together in your mind and you will begin to sing songs in your heart. You deserve a reason to smile, to feel good while pondering the magic of your world. You are closer than you think.

Open, A Tanka Picture Book! Consider the story each picture shares through its visual. Enjoy how each is enhanced with a tanka poem. Engage your senses while on a journey of passionate creativity. To feel the excitement found in even the simplest of sights is why A Tanka Picture Book was created.

Tanka is a form of traditional Japanese lyric poetry that uses 31 syllables spread out over 5 lines, to convey its message. The word “tanka” translates to “short song.” The short songs of this book elevate what may be considered average, to a new level of appreciation by connecting imagination and emotion.

Those wishing to be inspired, those seeking an uplifting read and those who are simply curious to see if they might enjoy poetry will love A Tanka Picture Book. You can add this happy, little book to your print or electronic libraries. Be sure to pick-up an extra copy for someone who can use a thoughtful gift.

One of the reviews for the collection

The Tanka poetry form is one of my all time favorites because it uses simile, metaphor, and personification. Similar to a Haiku, a Tanka also has the luxury of a few more syllables in which the poet can use to tell their stories. I’ve followed, read, and reviewed this author’s poetry for a long while. I know her favorite poetry form of choice was always Haiku. I am pleased to see her spread her wings into new writing territory.

Annette Rochelle Aben’s stories or songs bring inspiration and compassion to a weary heart. I always say if you want to get into the soul of a writer or a poet you must read their material and you’ll know everything there is to know about them. The best part is, you can’t help loving everything about this author.

When Annette Aben writes poetry, she bares her soul to the world sharing her most intimate beliefs and thoughts. I read these Tanka poems as songs of gratitude to a life well lived. I felt like part of her world and felt touched by the magic of her photos and meaningful words.

A Tanka Picture Book is a gift that will fill your soul with thankfulness and love. The photos are visually stunning. On those days when I perceive things are not as I had dreamed, I will re-read this book to reinforce my own beliefs in gratitude, magic, and most of all friendship.

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

Buy the collection at 99c: https://www.amazon.com/Tanka-Picture-Book-Annette-Rochelle-ebook/dp/B077MWZXVQ

And on Amazon UK at 99p: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tanka-Picture-Book-Annette-Rochelle-ebook/dp/B077MWZXVQ

Also by Annette Rochelle Aben

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Annette-Rochelle-Aben/e/B00MSQTGUY

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Annette-Rochelle-Aben/e/B00MSQTGUY

Find more reviews and follow Annette at Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8262554.Annette_Rochelle_Aben

Connect to Annette via her blog: https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/

 

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Book Reviewers – Barb Taub for Judith Barrow, M.J. Mallon for Annette Rochelle Aben, Linda Hill for Katherine Clements and Liz LLoyd #RBRT for Rachel Walkley


Welcome to this week’s Meet the Reviewers…

This series is aimed at promoting and celebrating those that review books regularly. Especially those who do so via their blogs, as it would be great to create more traffic to their sites. I am happy to also showcase those that are put directly on Amazon. The details are here in this first post with an example.. https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/04/25/smorgasbord-new-series-starting-this-saturday-meet-the-book-reviewers/

And here is last week’s post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/05/19/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-meet-the-reviewers-judith-barrow-for-thorne-moore-balroop-singh-for-deborah-a-bowman-robbie-cheadle-for-john-w-howell-and-cathy-ryan-for-abigail-osborne/

  • If you click the images of the books you will be taken directly to Amazon.
  • Where an author or reviewer is in the Cafe and Bookstore I will include their entry.
  • If a review has been posted to Amazon directly without a blog post, I will share the entire review with a link to the reviewers blog.

The first reviewer today is Barb Taub with her views on the wonderful Howarth Family Saga by Judith Barrow. A series that I have read and enjoyed very much. Here is the start of Barb’s post and I hope you will head over and read the entire review for the whole series.

We’ve all read epic family sagas—sweeping multi-generational tales like The Thorn Birds, The Godfather, Roots, the Star Wars franchise, and anything remotely connected to the British Monarchy. So as I read Judith Barrow’s Howarth Family trilogy, I kept trying to slot them into those multigenerational tropes:

  • First generation, we were supposed to see the young protagonist starting a new life with a clean slate, perhaps in a new country.
  • The next generation(s) are all about owning their position, fully assimilated and at home in their world.
  • And the last generation is both rebel and synthesis, with more similarities to the first generation made possible by the confidence of belonging from the second one.

But the complex, three-dimensional miniatures I met in the first three books of the trilogy stubbornly refused to align with those tropes. First of all, there’s Mary Howarth—the child of parents born while Queen Victoria was still on the throne—who is poised between her parents’ Victorian constraints, adjustment to a world fighting a war, and their own human failures including abuse, alcoholism, and ignorance.When Pattern of Shadows begins in 1944, war-fueled anti-German sentiment is so strong, even the King has changed the British monarchy’s last name from Germanic Saxe-Coburg to Windsor. Mary’s beloved brother Tom is imprisoned because of his conscientious objector status, leaving their father to express his humiliation in physical and emotional abuse of his wife and daughters. Her brother Patrick rages at being forced to work in the mines instead of joining the army, while Mary herself works as a nurse treating German prisoners of war in an old mill now converted to a military prison hospital.

Mary’s family and friends are all struggling to survive the bombs, the deaths, the earthshaking changes to virtually every aspect of their world. We’ve all seen the stories about the war—plucky British going about their lives in cheerful defiance of the bombs, going to theaters, sipping tea perched on the wreckage, chins up and upper lips stiff in what Churchill called “their finest hour”. That wasn’t Mary’s war.

Read the rest of the post and review at Barb’s blog: https://barbtaub.com/2018/05/22/hundreds-of-tiny-threads-bookreview-of-the-howarth-family-trilogy-by-judithbarrow77-family-histfic-tuesdaybookblog/

Judith Barrow is in the Cafe Bookstore.

Judith Barrow – Buy: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Judith-Barrow/e/B0043RZJV6
Blog: judithbarrowblog.com/

Barb Taub is also in the Cafe and Bookstore.

Barb Taub, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Barb-Taub/e/B00EZP9BS8/
Website: https://barbtaub.com

Next we have Marjorie Mallon reviewing the latest poetry collection by Annette Rochelle Aben, A Haiku Perspective 2018.

An extract from Marjorie’s

This is an enchanting book of poetry. So many wonderful haiku! I love short form poetry and Annette Rochelle Aben’s book covers a multitude of poetic topics in a warm and inviting way.

The first poem Strings is a poignant haiku love story. I read this particular poem several times and seemed to take more from it on each reading. I read it down and then from the bottom up! The family dynamic in this poem changes when a new baby is welcomed and Annette Rochelle Aben captures this to perfection in this thought-provoking poem. The message within will no doubt resonate with many. Love can be the most exquisite emotion. But, there are many loves. Can the love of a child be so consuming that your partner, wife, or husband feels neglected? I loved how this was expressed in a musical way.

Read the rest of Marjorie’s review: https://mjmallon.com/2018/05/24/book-review-a-haiku-perspective-2018-annette-rochelle-aben/

Marjorie Mallon is an author in the cafe and bookstore

M.J.Mallon, Buy: https://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L/
Website: https://mjmallon.com/

As is Annette Rochelle Aben

Annette Rochelle Aben, Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Annette-Rochelle-Aben/e/B00MSQTGUY
Blog: www.annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com

Please visit Amazon or Annette’s blog to view all her books.

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The next reviewer is Linda Hill... proprietor of Linda’s Book Bag, and congratulations are in order for winning Best Overall Blog at this year’s Blogger’s Bash in London.

In this post Linda reviews The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements. You can read all of the review by clicking the link at the bottom of the extract… and to buy the book click the cover.

The Coffin PathMaybe you’ve heard tales about Scarcross Hall, the house on the old coffin path that winds from village to moor top. They say there’s something up here, something evil.

Mercy Booth isn’t afraid. The moors and Scarcross are her home and lifeblood. But, beneath her certainty, small things are beginning to trouble her. Three ancient coins missing from her father’s study, the shadowy figure out by the gatepost, an unshakeable sense that someone is watching.

When a stranger appears seeking work, Mercy reluctantly takes him in. As their stories entwine, this man will change everything. She just can’t see it yet.
My Review of The Coffin Path

Living at Scarcross has never been easy for Mercy, but it is about to get considerably harder.

Now, I must confess that I don’t usually read books marketed in the ghost or horror genre as I find them too unsettling, but The Coffin Path was a perfect read for me with just the right amount of creepiness and supernatural to disturb and entertain me. Hardcore horror readers might find it wasn’t horrific enough, but I loved it.

The quality of writing is outstanding. There’s a sophistication to Katherine Clements’s prose style that draws in the reader and that is completely convincing so that I felt I was really able to understand the 1600s when the book is set, and to comprehend its superstitions and practices making for a realistic and powerful reading experience. There’s such realism alongside the more supernatural elements so that this narrative is finely balanced and nuanced.

Read the rest of Linda Hill’s review of the book: https://lindasbookbag.com/2018/05/23/the-coffin-path-by-katherine-clements/

The next reviewer is Elizabeth (Liz) Lloyd, who as well as reviewing books on her own blog Lizanne Lloyd, is a member of the Rosie Amber Book Review Team #RBRT.  This review was featured on Rosie Amber’s site earlier in the week. It is for The Women of Heachley Hall by Rachel Walkley

38910952When book illustrator, Miriam Chambers, inherits Great Aunt Felicity’s Victorian mansion in the Norfolk countryside, she discovers it is a poisoned chalice. Either she must live in the run-down cold building for a year and a day or it will be auctioned for charity. Since she is able to work at home she decides to accept the challenge and she employs some local tradesmen to improve the facilities a little. But it is a lonely house set in overgrown woodland and Miriam is grateful when a strange-looking young man comes to the door offering to chop wood and do odd jobs. As the creaks and bangs around the house alarm her, she is pleased when Charles, the reticent young man, provides company.

Increasingly Miriam tries to find the reason for the conditions imposed in her Great Aunt’s will. Was there foul play when she had her accident and what happened years before when part of the house burnt down? This beautifully written mystery weaves a spell around the house and the people connected to it. It is easy to empathise with Miriam but there is a surprising conclusion which you are unlikely to predict. Reminding me of the books of Kate Morton, this is a story for lovers of ghost stories, history and romance. The introductory quote.

“One lives in hope of becoming a memory”

Is an apt description of this haunting story, about the nature of love.

Head over and read the rest of the review: https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/2018/05/19/rosies-bookreview-team-rbrt-womensfiction-the-women-of-heachley-hall-by-racheljwalkley-3/

If you review books then if you would like to become one of Rosie’s respected Book Review Team, here are the details: https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/join-rosies-book-review-team/

Thank you for popping in today and if you have written a book review on your blog or for Amazon in the last month then please let me know. Thanks Sally

 

Sally’s Drive Time Playlist #Music to get the Weekend Started – Requests from Annette Rochelle Aben, N.A. Granger, Jan Sikes, Judith Barrow and Darlene Foster


Since the beginning of this series, I have asked you to share your favourite music with links in the comments. I thought I would create a special playlist, sharing the track and link to the latest post of those requesting the song.

Annette Rochelle Aben has a music background and I would love to do a road trip with her… I am sure we would have a few laughs and plenty of sing-alongs. Her request was for Michael Franti and Spearhead. Michael Franti and Spearhead Amazon

The next request is from author N.A. (Noelle) Granger who has just posted details of her new historical novel…a departure from her murder mysteries. She has requested Private Dancer by Tina Turner – Buy the music here: Tina Turner Amazon

Next it is Jan Sikes, who too has a music background.. this song was new to me.. “So This is Life” by Courtney Patton and you can buy her music here. Courtney Patton Amazon

The next request comes from author Judith Barrow and is for Willie Nelson and The Traveling Wilburys. End of the Line from the album Roy Orbison Collected

 

The last track today is from children’s author and travel writer Darlene Foster with a wedding song that brings a tear to her eye.. Anne Murray  – Can I have this Dance for the Rest of My Life  — one of my music idols.. and you can buy her music here: Anne Murray Amazon

 

My thanks to all those who requested their favourite tracks.. one more post next week and then back to the normal Friday posts. Thanks Sally.. keep singing and dancing...

Sally’s Drive Time – #Playlist #Music The Requests Part Two – John Howell, Annette Rochelle Aben, D.G. Kaye and Judy E. Martin


Since the beginning of this series, I have asked you to share your favourite music with links in the comments. I thought I would create a special playlist, sharing the track and link to the latest post of those requesting the song.

The first request from the first post in the series is from John W. Howell who also mentioned Whisky for my Men and Beer for my Horses.. I think we can see where this is going! Here is Willie Nelson with ‘On The Road Again’.

‘Late in the Evening’ by Paul Simon was Annette Rochelle Aben  And you can find a Tanka by Annette in response to Colleen Chesebro’s weekly challenge if you click the  link.

The next track to be requested was by D.G. Kaye.. Debby Gies and is Cheryl Lynn with ‘Got To Be Real’

The next favourite is one of mine too.. Neil Diamond with ‘Song Sung Blue’ requested by Judy E. Martin

I hope you have enjoyed this selection chosen by John, Debby, Annette and Judy… more next week.. Have a good weekend.. thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – Bette A. Stevens, Phillip T. Stephens, Julie Lawford, John Maberry and Annette Rochelle Aben


Welcome to the first of the Christmas Book Fairs and books that would make wonderful gifts for readers across the genres.. It is also my way of saying thank you to the authors in the bookstore who have been in and out of the blog and so supportive over the year.

The first author to showcase is children’s author Bette A. Stevens whose books received wonderful reviews. Here is Dog Bone Soup with one of its recent reviews.

About the book

Whether or not You Grew Up in the 1950s and 60s, you’ll find DOG BONE SOUP (Historical Fiction) to be soup for the soul. In this coming-of-age novel, Shawn Daniels’s father is the town drunk. Shawn and his brother Willie are in charge of handling everything that needs to be done around the ramshackle place they call home—lugging in water for cooking and cleaning, splitting and stacking firewood…But when chores are done, these resourceful kids strike out on boundless adventures that don’t cost a dime. DOG BONE SOUP is the poignant tale of a dysfunctional family struggling to survive in America in the 50s and 60s, when others were living The American Dream.

One of the recent reviews for the book.

A delightful story on October 1, 2017

In preparing to write this review, I read a couple of other reviews of this book on Amazon and Goodreads. I was interested to note one comment that likened this book to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. I can see why this comparison has been drawn as Bette A. Stevens main character, Shawn Daniels, and Huckleberry Finn are both boys dogged by poverty and abusive and alcoholic fathers. Both boys are also fairly resourceful and have survival skills.

For me, however, that was where the comparison ended. Stevens depicts the Daniels family as being tight knit despite their unfortunate father. The children and their Mother work together to salvage their situation to the best extent they can. I really felt sad for the Mother as she was a victim of her own hormones and emotions and could not find the strength to break away from her selfish and abusive husband. She remained in a downward spiralling situation and ended up having a fourth child which was really unwise.

Shawn, the eldest child, does his best to be hard working, industrious and do well at school. He is a role model for his younger brother, Willie, and two younger sisters. Shawn tries to make the best of his situation and grasp opportunities that come his way.

I found this story to be very poignant and moving and Stevens’ writing is captivating. Despite some disturbing descriptions in the book I still found it to be a very uplifting book. Highly recommended.

Read all the reviews and buy the book at this universal link : http://bit.ly/1HGpCsZ

Also by Bette A. Stevens

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Bette-A.-Stevens/e/B009GOYT1M

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bette-A.-Stevens/e/B009GOYT1M

Read more reviews and follow Bette on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6037707.Bette_A_Stevens

Connect to Bette via her website: https://4writersandreaders.com/

The next author that I would like to feature and who provided us with some wonderful lifestyle posts during the summer is Julie Lawford with her book Singled Out.

About the Book

‘There’s something delicious about not being known, don’t you think?’

Brenda Bouverie has come on a singles holiday to Turkey to escape. Intent on indulgence, she’s looking for sun, sea and … distraction from a past she would give anything to change.

But on this singles holiday no one is quite who they seem. First impressions are unreliable and when the sun goes down, danger lies in wait. As someone targets the unwary group of strangers, one guest is alone in sensing the threat.

But who would get involved, when getting involved only ever leads to trouble?

Singled Out subverts the sunshine holiday romance, taking readers to a darker place where horrific exploits come to light, past mistakes must be accounted for and there are few happily-ever-afters.

A simmering psychological suspense laced with moral ambiguities, for fans of Louise Doughty, Sabine Durrant, Gillian Flynn, Elizabeth Haynes, S.J. Watson and Lucie Whitehouse.

One of the excellent reviews for Singled Out.

Wilma Lettings 5.0 out of 5 stars Very good 18 June 2017

A very well written thriller set during a holiday trip to Turkey, organised for singles. You might assume that this could be chick lit, but that would do the character depth and writing style grave injustice. While certainly appealing to female audiences this novel doesn’t limit itself to pure light-hearted romantic interests but visits darker sides of the dating game and crime.

Using alternate narrative strands and voices we get insight into the characters, but we’re shown enough to be drawn deep into these characters.
Things are not as they seem and while you have an incling what is about to happen, be assured that there are always surprises waiting for you.

Not the kind of book I had originally expected but in fact, a much better one. Very good!

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Singled-Out-Julie-Lawford-ebook/dp/B00RO1GH28/

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Singled-Out-Julie-Lawford-ebook/dp/B00RO1GH28/

Read more reviews and follow Julie on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13411991.Julie_Lawford

Connect to Julie Lawford at her website: http://julielawford.com

Another author who is extremely supportive on Twitter is Phillip T. Stephens and here is his book Cigerets, Guns & Beer.

About the book

Dodd breaks up a convenience store robbery when his car breaks down in Sweet Water Falls, Texas. What’s the thanks he gets? The sheriff won’t let him leave, the car lot can’t find the parts and everybody wants him for something—sales pitch, church membership, and even stud pony.

But most of all, it seems a family named Dodd were shot down robbing the bank in 1949 and the half million they stole remains missing. Everyone thinks Dodd returned to dig up the loot and no one intends to let him leave until he finds it—along with (or so the legends go) a long lost flying saucer.

Here is one of the most recent reviews.

The cover of Cigerets, Guns & Beer by Phillip T. Stevens catches the eye immediately. Beer and cigarettes are present, necessary for any good breakfast. While a gun is not displayed, bullet holes are, perhaps from the night before. A reader might predict that this will be a “good ol’ boy” novel replete with rednecks. The reader would be correct.

This novel will make those who grew up in a small town nostalgic; a place where there might be only one law enforcement officer who also read water and electric meters, sold alcohol in defiance of Sunday “blue laws,” was a source of under-the-table porn, and served as a de facto judge deciding what town residents could and could not get away with.

This was the case with Sweet Water Falls, Texas. Joe Bob Meeker was the law. Brother Ralph Meeker was the mayor and JP (Justice of the Peace). Ralph also owned a general store, a car dealership, an insurance agency, and a hotel. Both men along with banker Mal Rafferty completely controlled the town. All served on the town council and exercised rezoning authority to force businesses to relocate or cease operations. The three would then buy the pieces left of the defunct property and open the businesses again under a new name and ownership.

The three men had gotten greedy, some of their business dealings were fraudulent. Up to now, geographic isolation had blocked an investigation. A series of robberies and shootings had never been thoroughly investigated by anyone other than Sheriff Joe Bob. An impartial investigation would have placed the sheriff in the category of a suspect. Any small business owners left in Sweet Water were under control of one of the three powerful men; they were forced to follow any rules formulated by the trio. There was resentment but no organized opposition had surfaced. That was about to change.

Dodd was just passing through town on the way to his new job as a partner in a law firm. The township that employed him as an intern lawyer didn’t want him to continue after his parole was up. The idea of a lawyer who obtained his education in prison was bad for publicity. Dodd was moving on to join a firm at the invitation of a former colleague. He hadn’t planned the gas leak that necessitated car repair and a stop in Sweet Water. It was just coincidence that more than decades previously Sweet Water was a town with history for a family named Dodd. Three brothers named Dodd had robbed a bank of USD 500 000. Two of the brothers were shot and killed and the third got away to hide the money before being shot and killed days later. Sheriff Joe Bob, possibly with the collusion of Ralph, had shot the first two Dodd brothers. The money was never found.

Dodd entered the town to repair his car. He entered Ralph’s store to buy supplies as he continued his trip. The store was being robbed by a nervous 17-year-old and Dodd, an ex-convict, decided to defuse the situation by recounting to the teenager the joys of prison life while attempting to convince him to surrender. Successful in foiling the robbery, Dodd was now stuck in the town until a statement could be prepared for Sheriff Joe Bob for adjudication by brother Ralph. This would take a few days. Meanwhile, town residents would speculate on the coincidence of a Dodd reappearing in the town. Was he there to find the money? Or was he there to find the UFO?

After the initial set-up for the story, all eyes are on Dodd. Especially female eyes. He either has sex with every female or is invited to but turns them down. It seems there is little else to do in a small town. They seem to be the frontline agents for finding out if he is related to the Dodd robber family, a claim Dodd will deny throughout the book. Dodd (first name) Dodd (last name) middle initial D. will apply home style wisdom combined with prison savvy in an attempt to right wrongs in this thoroughly corrupt community. He might even look for the missing money as he tries to find the UFO.

This book has laugh-out-loud understated humor in its description of small town insular life. There are several surprises to keep the reader from putting the book down. Although there seems to be a lot of sexual activity going on, offensive language is MOSTLY absent. Readers will only have to shield their sensibilities for approximately six pages of the 376-page novel.

Read the other reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Cigerets-Guns-Beer-Phillip-Stephens-ebook/dp/B00QLI1Q3K

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cigerets-Guns-Beer-Phillip-Stephens-ebook/dp/B00QLI1Q3K

A selection of books also by Phillip T. Stephens

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Phillip-Stephens/e/B0091XK7HS

Read more reviews and follow Phillip on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/583139.Phillip_T_Stephens

Connect with Phillip via his website: https://ptstephens.com/

The next author with news is John Maberry with his 10th Anniversary edition of his book Waiting for Westmoreland.

About the book

Surviving poverty and the deaths of loved ones, the author remains hopeful as he exits childhood. then comes the draft that sends him to Vietnam. With innocence lost and illusions shattered, he seeks answers. College courses are intriguing but offer no solutions. Eventually, hope returns in the form of a life philosophy that comes from a chance encounter at a party. It’s all about cause and effect. Events happen not by chance but as a result of karma. Unseen connections have surprising consequences. This knowledge comes in the nick of time, as he faces his most serious situation since the perils of Vietnam, the threat of death from a prospective father-in-law. He must take responsibility for the matter, despite being unaware of the underlying reason for it, reform himself and seek only her father’s happiness.

One of the recent reviews for the book.

One man’s journey from chaos to inner peace. on November 4, 2017

Here we have a book that is much more than memoir, and more life journey told (and written) exceedingly well and with great courage. If the writer’s mandate is to ‘open a vein’, Maberry has opened that vein and allowed whatever flowed to fill this work. From his background in hardscrabble Minnesota, enduring the loss of a parent, then for all intents and purposes the loss of the other, the author describes his various efforts to carve a niche for himself. Just as his efforts appear to be paying off, he’s found a companion, started school, navigated his way through the shoals of early adulthood, when the Selective Service System came calling and he was drafted.

Change scenes to Vietnam in 1967-68, and Maberry begins again to sort out the fictions of America’s involvement in South Asia Vs the realities of war: No clear purpose for being there; chauvinistic treatment of Vietnamese people, especially the abuse of women; and a lifer sergeant who embodied everything wrong with the American military. Maberry returns from Vietnam disillusioned, cynical and without real purpose. Indeed, it’s a mistake to refer to Waiting for Westmoreland as simply a war memoir. It’s much more one man’s journey from chaos and the vicissitudes of life, to finding inner peace through Buddhism, something that surprised even the author, until he saw how the practice worked in his own life.

The book does have a tendency to be dismissive of various U.S. institutions and traditions, certain presidents, and other public servants, and often with good reason. By way of disclosure, this reader too is a Vietnam Vet, and I, too, was astonished, as Maberry asserts, that the American people reelected Richard Nixon. Looking past this judgmental assessment, and reading this book with an open mind, and an open heart, reveals a path that perhaps many veterans of America’s ill advised war in Vietnam might take.

Five stars, and I don’t do that often. Byron Edgington, author of A Vietnam Anthem. A Vietnam Anthem: What The War Gave Me

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Waiting-Westmoreland-John-Maberry-ebook/dp/B00VTYJE3U

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Waiting-Westmoreland-John-Maberry-ebook/dp/B00VTYJE3U

Also by John Maberry

Read all the reviews and buy both books: https://www.amazon.com/John-Maberry/e/B002BM82FU

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/John-Maberry/e/B002BM82FU

Follow John Maberry on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1210538.John_Maberry

Connect to John via his website: http://waitforwest.eaglepeakpress.com/

Annette Rochelle Aben has been very busy in the run up to Christmas with two new books on the shelves. Annette has been a part of this blog for almost four years and a more supportive and generous person you could not connect to.  Here is her newest book which is Angel Messages Two: Songs of the Heart

About Angel Messages Two

The songs of the hearts of Angels guide us, lift us and fill our lives with hope and love.

They harmonize with our heartbeats, ask us to trust and remind us that we are precious.

They call to us tenderly, helping us find comfort. Encouragement is but a request away.

How is this (and more) all possible? Because the songs of the heart are pure love. When our hearts are singing the songs of love, we connect with Angels. Open your heart to connection with Angels, with Angel Messages Two – songs of the heart.
Unlike a book that takes a story and divides it into chapters, Angel Messages Two – songs of the heart, is a book of messages (songs) that can be read one right after another or one at a time. From day to day, a different message may speak to you. Open this book to find what is perfect for you (or someone else) at that moment.

The pictures in this book, remind you that Angels appear in a variety of forms while the Tanka brings to life, the deeper message each of the photographs.

Angel Messages Two – songs of the heart, is perfect for anyone who has ever wanted to connect with Angels as much as it is perfect for anyone who already has a relationship with Angels.

The messages are presented in poetry that we call Tanka. Tanka is a form of traditional Japanese lyric poetry that uses 31 syllables spread out over 5 lines, to convey its message. The word “tanka” translates to “short song.” The short songs of this book help us to be aware of our deep, abiding connection to energies we might not be able to see but can feel in our hearts.

To be in the presence of Angels is soothing, warm; reminiscent of being around the most supportive energy you can imagine. It can also be energizing, electric and indescribably emotional. When an Angel makes its presence known, it will be when you most need the confirmation that you are not alone. You always have a home in an Angel’s heart and they are excited to be at home in your heart.

Buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Angel-Messages-Two-songs-heart-ebook/dp/B077ZCF2ZX

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Angel-Messages-Two-songs-heart-ebook/dp/B077ZCF2ZX

And another perfect gift for poetry lovers for Christmas; the other new collection from Annette Rochelle AbenA Tanka Picture Book.

An early review for the collection

This beautiful little book will warm your heart and stir your soul. A Tanka Picture Book by Annette Rochelle Aben is a treasure trove of inspiration, filled with picturesque images overlaid by touching verse. The author explains that Tanka means “short song.” I find this the perfect description, considering I felt my heart singing while I read. Compassion, encouragement, and gratitude create a texture and mood that will leave you feeling both peaceful and exhilarated. Whether your spirit needs fortifying or you’re simply looking for a splendid gift, this book is sure to deliver.

Also by Annette Rochelle Aben

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Annette-Rochelle-Aben/e/B00MSQTGUY

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Annette-Rochelle-Aben/e/B00MSQTGUY

Find more reviews and follow Annette at Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8262554.Annette_Rochelle_Aben

 

Connect to Annette via her blog/website: https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/

Thank you very much for dropping in today and I am sure that you will find plenty here for gifts for yourself and for family and friends. Thanks Sally