Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Wednesday October 3rd, 2018 – Sue Vincent, D.G. Kaye and Annette Rochelle Aben

Welcome to today’s small selection of posts I have enjoyed over the last couple of days. The first takes us far back in time, when Britain was a land of many kingdoms. Sue Vincent writing for The Silent Eye looks at the Arthurian Legends.

North-easterly: Legends

There are many stories associated with the castles of the Northumbrian coastline, some historical, others apocryphal, but it is often buried within the myths and legends that some fragment of truth may be found. Few tales will pique the interest as much as when dragons or the name of King Arthur are mentioned. Stuart has told the story of the Laidly Wyrm of Bamburgh, in which a princess becomes a dragon, and were that the only tale the castle had to tell, it would be enough. But the castle has not always been known by its present name. It was once at the heart of the ancient realm of Bryneich, or Bernicia, and the castle was known as Din Guarie, a name that comes down to us through the Arthurian legends as Dolorous Guard….

The Dream of Lancelot~ Study by Edward Burne-Jones

The Castle of Dolorous Guard was the home of Sir Brian of the Isles, who some call King Bran Hen… Bran the Old… a cruel and evil knight and the sworn enemy of King Arthur. Sir Brian had learned enchantments from the Lady of the Lake and turned them to sate his own vicious pleasures. He took great delight, so the story goes, in imprisoning and torturing both men and women alike.

Head over and find out more about the legends of King Arthur and his knights:

Sue Vincent is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore.

Sue Vincent and Stuart France, Buy:

Please visit Amazon or Sue’s blog to view all her books and those written with Stuart France.


Now a follow up to D.G. Kaye’s post last week on the #MeToo movement. This week she bravely describes one of her own experiences, and illustrates how a few minutes can impact you for life.

Memoir Bytes: Escaping a Sexual Predator and the #WhyIDidntReport Movement

Last week I posted an article about the #MeToo Movement. This courageous coming out of women all over the world got me thinking about my own encounters with sexual harassment and sexual abuse.

As a memoir writer I’ve questioned myself many times, wondering if I would ever become brave enough to talk about my own experiences on this topic. And if you’ve read any of my books, you won’t find any of those stories I’ve shared in them because, I, like many women, chose to keep my silence and those memories far away from myself. I’ve kept those secrets buried for decades and only a few select people know about their existence.

Perhaps I’m still not ready to talk about them because some of the characters were too close to home and in one situation, out of the goodness of my heart I voluntarily allowed a male co-worker to come to my place for a cup of coffee one blizzardy winter night to wait off the storm before he could drive his long journey home, eventually offering him the couch to stay over on because of the treacherous road conditions. I was young and naïve to think that would be the end of the story. It wasn’t. But I’m still not ready to share what happened.

If I were to share what happened back then on that blizzardy night almost 30 years ago, I was sure I would have been accused of ‘getting what I deserved’ because I openly invited it in. And so, only my best friend knew.

Please head over to read the rest of this compelling post:

D.G. Kaye is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore.

Please head over to Amazon to discover all her books

D. G. Kaye – Buy:
Blog: – Goodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads

Now a post by Annette Rochelle Aben as part of the team on Sisters of the Fey. It is on the subject of numerology, which is the ancient practice of prediction.  There was a part one that you can link to, but in this post Annette shows us how to determine our personal number for 2019…. I am hoping mine has a few 00000000 attached.. are no that is the lottery.. sorry Annette I drifted for a minute.

Anyway mine is Personal Year 9 which according to Annette means I need to clear out what is unnecessary and live life to the full……

Here is a snippet from the post and I suggest that you pop over and find out what your personal number is for 2019… you never know where it might lead

In yesterday’s post, we established what MY Personal Year is for 2019 and that I begin the New Year (in Numerology speak) at the beginning of October every year. What we need to do now, is to address ALL NINE options for Personal Years.

To discover the Personal Year, you add your birth month and day together and reduce it to the smallest number between 1 & 9. Mine was 8. Then you add that number to the number of the year in question. Add all the numbers of 2019 together, reduce and you will have a 3. I added my 8 to the 3 and came up with a 2.

So, add your numbers together… go ahead, I will wait.

Personal Year 1 – This is energy of your thoughts. You could find yourself worrying about what you don’t think you see happening. Remember that thoughts are powerful things, so use them to your advantage and you will have a bonzer year!

 Personal Year 2 – This is energy of your emotions. If you become blue over what the world is doing to you, taking a deep breath and relaxing will do you some good. Allow patience to be the order of the day and you’ll see life going your way!

Here is the link to the post… check it out:

Annette is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore.

Annette Rochelle Aben, Buy:

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


Thank you for dropping in and I hope you will enjoy reading the entire posts as much as I have.. thanks Sally


Smorgasbord End of Summer Party – Sunday Lunch with guests Annette Rochelle Aben, Stevie Turner, Jaye Marie, Balroop Singh, Lisa Thomson, Janice Spina, Dolly Aizenman, Ritu Bhathal, Jacquie Biggar and Sharon Marchisello.

Welcome to the last of the meals to celebrate the end of summer. Sunday Lunch is a meal that brings family and friends together and I hope you enjoy the food and company here today.

I asked my guests if there was one particular food that they could not live without and hopefully I have catered for all of their tastes. I have also asked for their music requests and I have drawn four of the choices out of a hat to play today.

Those tracks that there is not time for will be shared during next week in special editions of the Blogger Daily.

With that out of the way I hope you will enjoy this opportunity to meet blogger friends in a slightly different setting, and also new contacts that will increase your blogging pleasure.

This is a party and if you are popping in then please do not leave without leaving you name, a little bit about yourself and the link to your blog and to Amazon if you are an author.

Before we get seated for lunch, please help yourself to some canapes there are some roasted cashews on the platter, especially for my first guest who cannot live without nuts!

Meet Annette Rochelle Aben who is a shining light of kindness and someone who daily encourages to be grateful. A talented poet, Annette has published several collections that reflect life around us and usually accompanied by beautiful images.

Annette spent many years in the broadcast industry and has used her expertise to create an online platform for authors and artists to showcase their talents. You can find out more about how to join Annette on the air Where the Magic Happens

She is a very generous supporter of everyone that she connects to and her daily affirmations on social media bring a spark of inspiration to all who follow her. You can find more posts and poetry on Annette’s Blog

Here is a selection of Annette’s books and them all and read the reviews on Amazon


One of the reviews for A Tanka Picture Book by Tina Frisco 5.0 out of 5 stars A Song for the Heart

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. 

Annette has requested Let it Be by The Beatles and she has a fascinating story to tell.

I actually made a recording of this song at a Beatle Convention in Detroit, in the 90’s The song had always touched me emotionally but that day a very special person heard me sing it, approached me and offered to change my life forever. Mike McCartney was there (Paul’s brother) asked for the tape and the person who paid for the tape refused to turn it over. True Story…

Here are the lads singing live in Spain…You can buy The Beatles on Amazon

Time for the guests to take their seats and enjoy a selection of starters including these wholemeal bruschetta with ham and mozzarella especially for my next guest who would never give up eating bread.

Time to meet author Stevie Turner who works part time as a medical secretary in a busy NHS hospital and writes suspense, women’s fiction, and darkly humorous novels in her spare time. Her award winning books are also in audio and For the Sake of a Child has also been adapted into a screenplay and won a silver award in the Spring 2017 Depth of Field International Film Festival. ‘A House Without Windows’ gained the attention of a New York media production company in December 2017. You can read more at Stevie Turner

Stevie has a wonderful blog and you will find short stories, interviews, posts on writing and also ones that give you something to think about such as this one on education: Exams fiasco

Here is a selection of Stevie’s books, find them all and the reviews Amazon

Here is an extract from a recent review for A House Without Windows which has achieved over 500 reviews on Goodreads. Jul 31, 2018 Frank Parker reviewed the book

Inevitably this book invites comparison with the award winning Room. Both were suggested by real life situations in which a woman was abducted and held captive for a number of years during which she gave birth to one or more children.

I have to say that Turner’s imagining of such a scenario is very different – and none the worse for that. This is true both in the way the child’s behaviour in captivity is portrayed and in events subsequent to the escape. Rather cleverly Turner allows the child, Amy, to acquire an Enid Blyton story book and her understanding of life outside the ‘house without windows’ is framed by the adventures of the fictional children.

Stevie mentioned Rimsky-Korsakov’sScheherazade’ as her favourite piece of music and I will be playing part of the 2nd movement of the suite during the week in the Blogger Daily.

The guests today have been offered a choice of two roasts and a vegetarian option for the main course and here roast beef with all the trimmings along with some seasonal vegetables.

I hope that my next guest author Jaye Marie will enjoy the roast beef as her go to food is steak… there is some mustard available is she enjoys that too. Jaye will often be found around the blogging community and social media and is very generous about sharing all our posts.

Jaye is one-half of the writing partnership, Anita & Jaye Dawes, and you met Jaye’s sister-in-law yesterday at Brunch. Since Jaye’s retirement she has been enjoying reading books, developing an online platform and getting to grips with publishing Anita’s books. With all of that under her belt, she discovered that she too had a story that needed to be told which was her first book, a mystery thriller The Ninth Life. You can find out more about Jaye and enjoy posts and book reviews on her blog

Jaye’s books and reviews can be found on Amazon


An extract from a review for The Ninth Life by Louise Wyatt  An addictive and rollercoaster of a read

If you like the thriller genre that keeps up the momentum then this would be a good read for you. The pace never falters, building up the plot and characters with timely intervention. The author cleverly keeps the story centred around the main character, with the other players coming into the story and yet there are no plot holes or false timings.

Not once did I get bored reading it or find the story faltering at all – definitely one of those where ‘you need to know what happens next’ but I think the author’s gift when writing this is to keep the protagonist centre whilst keeping the reader constantly hooked. The antagonist is typically a nasty character, one whom the reader takes an instant dislike to and the edge he adds to the story is almost palpable.

Jaye requested something from the 1980s and I will be searching through my favourites to play during the week on the Blogger Daily

For the vegetarian option I have prepared tortellini stuffed with mushrooms, in a tomato and basil sauce.

Although my next guest said that she enjoys salads and desserts the most, I am hoping that she might enjoy eating a little tortellini as well.

Balroop Singh is another supportive blogger and also inspires by sharing her poetry on social media. She is a former teacher, an educationalist, a blogger, a poet and an author always had a passion for writing. The world of her imagination has a queer connection with realism. She could envision the images of her own poetry while teaching the poems. Her dreams saw the light of the day when she published her first book: ‘Sublime Shadows Of Life.’ She has always lived through her heart and you can find out a great deal more, including wonderful book reviews and heartwarming posts on Balroop’s Blog

You can find all of Balroop’s books and reviews on Amazon


Here is an extract from an early review for Balroop’s latest collection Timeless Echoes by Jacqui Murray VINE VOICE 5.0 out of 5 stars Deep emotions uniquely revealed in Balroop’s poetry July 7, 2018

When Balroop Singh’s latest poetry book, Timeless Echoes (2018), published, I planned to savor it slowly, bring it out for those moments when I needed a boost or a cheer up. That didn’t happen. I ended up devouring it. I know from her blog that Balroop has incredible insights into the human condition. When she puts these in context with the flow and rhythm of poetry and the connotative depth only a poet can pack into a few words, this becomes a truly important book of poetry:

“It seemed so fascinating
To tread the unknown trail
How could I forget the elation?
The warm words of assurance!

Balroop has a preference for soft and sentimental music which had me scouring my playlists and I hope that she and the other guests enjoy this visually stunning piece from Gloria Franchi

Time for another of the roast dishes which is roast pork with crackling, served with roast potatoes, seasonal vegetables already on the table and apple sauce..

Lisa Thomson is a recent and welcome addition to the Cafe and Bookstore and was born and raised in B.C., and eventually moved to Edmonton, Alberta. As a graduate of University of Alberta, with a BA, she worked in Recreation Administration for several years. Lisa’s passion for writing began during her divorce and has blossomed into more creative pursuit without losing that drive to help others. Her two self-help books, “The great Escape; A Girl’s Guide To Leaving a Marriage” and “A divorce Companion”, help economically-dependent women going through divorce. “Hearts Unbroken-short stories”, is her first published fiction. Lisa now resides in Vancouver, British Columbia. You can find out more about Lisa on her website

You will find self-help articles on divorce but also on other topics such as social media including this post on Instagram

You can find and read the reviews for Lisa’s books on Amazon

Here is an extract from one of the early reviews for Hearts Unbroken from the guest sitting next to her at the table. Balroop Singh 5.0 out of 5 stars Realistic and Engrossing  July 14, 2018

Hearts Unbroken’ by Lisa Thomson is an anthology of short stories that tug at reader’s heart, as they talk about human emotions and relationships, some of them so fragile that they need a solo long drive to figure them out. Sarah’s marriage is a façade and she discovers it the day she decides to attend her family reunion without her husband who has no respect for her emotions and desires. He shrugs her off with an insensitive remark. No less poignant are the questions of Samantha who is too little to understand why her mommy is not coming home to tuck her in her bed. Lisa excels in bringing out raw emotions without letting them melt into a melodrama. Her characters move on with their life despite heavy baggage of betrayal and internal strife.

Lisa loves chocolate and I have made sure that the dessert selection contains plenty of it…

She also requested American Pie by Don McLean and I will be playing that during the week in the Blogger Daily.

I have chosen a medium dry white wine to accompany lunch today and there is also some very robust red to accompany the roast beef.

Meet award winning and prolific author Janice Spina who did request lobster which are a bit difficult to find here, but she also mentioned wine… so hope she will indulge in a glass or two of the above.

Janice has written 17 children’s books including her latest, illustrated as always by her husband John –  Abby & Holly School Dance, book one of a brand new series, a spin off from Davey and Derek Junior Detectives. Janice has published three novels under J. E. Spina, a paranormal/mystery/romance novel,  and a short story collection. You can find out more about Janice and her books, as well as enjoy guest posts and interviews with the authors that she supports so generously on her Blog

Here is just a small selection of Janice’s books and you can find them all and reviews on Amazon

One of the recent reviews for Abbey & Holly by Deanie Humphrys-Dunne 5.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining book with a valuable lesson!  July 19, 2018

I loved Janice Spina’s new book “Abby and Holly, School Dance.” The writing style made you feel like you were enjoying the adventures of Abby, Holly and their friends. You’re sure to smile at the twins Derek and Davey’s shyness around Abby and Holly. It’s a delightful story. Trouble comes when one of their classmates, Justine, mysteriously becomes sick. How is the mystery solved? When Justine is bullied, how does the group of friends encourage the bullies to change their behavior. This is an enjoyable book teaches, families, and teens are sure to love and they are likely to remember not only the entertaining adventures, but the important message the story shares. Another wonderful book by Janice Spina.

Janice has requested Whitney Houston I Will Always Love You and explains why – my husband and I danced to that song at our wedding. It said everything that we felt for each other.

Time for the first of the desserts and perhaps some water to cleanse the palate, infused with fruit. Who does not love Tiramisu …. there are certainly a few chocolate lovers dining here today.

Time to meet Dolly Aizenman of Kool Kosher Kitchen blog and cookery book who loves anything chocolate so I hope she is tucking into the dessert..

Here is a little bit about Dolly in her own words. It wasn’t easy to keep kosher in communist Russia, where I was born and lived for 27 years, until I was allowed to leave. You couldn’t go to a kosher store and buy anything, from soup to nuts, with a Hecksher (kosher certification), the way it is in the US. Here, chicken is already shechted (slaughtered) for you, and cows conveniently label their own parts as “beef for stew.” As Yakov Smirnov used to say in the eponymous TV sitcom, “What a country!” After teaching for almost 40 years, I am now semi-retired, I love to cook, and I have time on my hands to share recipes and exchange new food ideas. Find out more, including the fabulous recipes from around the world on Dolly’s website

You can find Kool Kosher Kitchen and reviews on Amazon

One of the recent reviews for the book Linda H. Gershater5.0 out of 5 stars MORE THAN A COOKBOOK, FOOD FOR YOUR SOUL!  June 10, 2018

So much more than a cookbook. This is a book to warm your heart and soul! I have been privileged to know Mrs. Aizenman for a number of years. Her stories are so warm, heartfelt and sincere. I sat down to look it over, and ended up reading it from cover to cover, enjoying her wonderful stories and anecdotes. I hope that you will add this very special book to your collection of cookbooks, but remember to sit, make a cup of tea (or two, or three) and just enjoy the read. Her recipes are terrific and very true to the way that she cooks. You won’t be disappointed. 

Dolly requested Yesterday by The Beatles and I will be playing that later in the week in The Blogger Daily.

Since there are so many chocolate lovers here today I have included this rich chocolate cake served with strawberries and someone better pass my next guest some whipped cream to go with it. She is off this particular treat at the moment, so let’s see if we can tempt her.

Time to meet Ritu Bhathal who is a poet, who fits in writing somehow into a busy life as a full-time teacher and mum. She is also a very active member of our blogging and social media community and she generously shares a great many of our blog posts each day. I loved meeting her in person at last year’s Blogger’s Bash and I am sure she will be adding some laughter to today’s lunch.

Ritu was born in Birmingham in the mid-1970’s to migrant parents, hailing from Kenya but with Indian origin. This colourful background has been a constant source of inspiration to her. From childhood, she always enjoyed reading. This love of books is mostly credited to her mother. The joy of reading spurred her on to become creative in her own writing, from fiction to poetry. Winning little writing competitions at school and locally gave her the encouragement to continue writing.

Ritu also writes a blog, But I Smile Anyway, a mixture of life and creativity, thoughts and opinions, which was recently awarded The Best Overall Blog Award at the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards in 2017.

Ritu’s collection of poetry and its reviews can be found on Amazon

One of the reviews for Poetic Rituals A delightful book of metrical poetry with some haiku celebrating the family 

This book contains about 120 pages of poems celebrating family and its joyfulness. Most of the poems are metrical and many of these rhyme. This book, for the most part, provides the reader with a traditional poetic, sound experience. The book also contains haiku and other such forms. These are also witty and enjoyable.

Although this is a book of poetry, you should be able to understand every page and find lines and stanzas that make you smile–or at least make you want to highlight them so you can find them again quickly.

Ritu has requested Dhule Ka Sehra and she explains why: It was a song my Pops wanted played at my wedding. It is filled with the feelings of a father upon seeing his daughter getting married. It is beautiful and makes me cry even today!

Here it is performed by Sufi Soul Sangeet

And for the final dessert today I have a fresh fruit salad that you can eat with cream, fresh yogurt or add to your chocolate cake. The fruit was a special request by the next guest at the table.

I have been connected to Jacquie Biggar for a couple of years now and she is a delightful person with a great sense of humour. I recommend that you follow her on her website and also on the main social media platforms as you will find her to be generous with her likes and sharing.

Jacquie is a USA TODAY bestselling author of Romantic Suspense who loves to write about tough, alpha males who know what they want. That is until they’re gob-smacked by heroines who are strong, contemporary women willing to show them what they really need is love. She is the author of the popular Wounded Hearts series and has just started a new series in paranormal suspense, Mended Souls. She has also contributed to several successful anthologies. Jacquie lives in paradise along the west coast of Canada with her family and loves reading, writing, and flower gardening. You can find out more by visiting Jacquie’s website

You will find guest posts and also book reviews on Jacquie’s blog which is part of her website.. such as this review on Friday Desperate Girls

This is just a very small selection of Jacquie’s books and you will find the rest and reviews on Amazon


Here is one of the recent reviews for Jacquie’s latest release Sweetheart Cove by Colorado Cowgirl 5.0 out of 5 stars A heartwarming and lovely story about the power of love to heal hearts and bodies July 24, 2018

Sweetheart Cove is where wounded hearts get a second chance at love. This is such a heartwarming, lovely story, complete with a moody widower, his disabled sweetie of a young daughter, a cute puppy and a “jilted at the altar” heroine. The setting is an endearing small town in British Columbia, full of noisy and wonderful characters that fill-out the story nicely. There is even a wicked developer lady. Josie’s fiancé cheated on her and her wedding and honeymoon plans crash around her. She decides to retreat to the end of the earth and lick her wounds, while she works as a physiotherapist for a girl in a wheelchair. But she is too young and attractive and threatens to chip away at the ice protecting Jacob’s heart since his wife died in the accident that disabled his daughter. The book is full of charm, romance, humor and heartwarming situations. But the grief and pain is very real too. This is a short “beach read” that you won’t want to put down (watch for sunburn). And the little girl and her puppy steal the show, of course!

Jacquie requested Dance by Garth Brooks and I will be playing the track during the week in the Blogger Daily.

I had some cheese left over from dinner last night which is a good thing since my next guest adores it.

My final guest for Sunday Lunch is Sharon Marchisello who is a travel writer, author of non-fiction personal finance guides, and a murder mystery. Going Home is her first published novel. The concept was inspired by her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s, which prompted her to wonder what it would be like to interview a witness or a suspect who could not rely on her memory.

Sharon grew up in Tyler, Texas, and earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Houston in French and English. She studied for a year in Tours, France, on a Rotary scholarship and then moved to Los Angeles to pursue her Masters in Professional Writing at the University of Southern California. Now she lives in Peachtree City, Georgia, with her husband and cat. Retired from a 27-year career with Delta Air Lines, she does volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society. You can find out more on Sharon’s Blog

Sharon has contributed a number of very informative and interesting posts to Smorgasbord including her latest for those of you planning a trip to Cuba Navigating Cuban Currency

You can find Sharon’s books and reviews on Amazon

One of the reviews for Going Home Very Good By Don S and TeamGolfwell

I really liked “Going Home” by Sharon Marchisello, and found it to be an excellent and exciting mystery. I am familiar with the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s Disease and the author wrote an excellent mystery with many interesting characters. Ms. Marchisello has a lot of talent as a writer and I enjoyed it very much.

Sharon has requested one of my favourite songs from The EaglesDesperado and she explains it is because it took her so long to settle down…..

Here is the track from a live performance of The Eagles in New Zealand

Thank you for dropping and hope you have enjoyed the last meal in this celebration of the End of the Summer and some of the wonderful bloggers and authors in our community.

As with any of these parties, it is an opportunity to introduce yourself and leave your link to your blog and your Amazon author page. It would also be great if you would share the post as far as possible through the web…

My thanks to for providing the food that I could not make myself.

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:

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


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 – Author Update = #Reviews – Annette Rochelle Aben, Janice Spina, N.A. Granger and Claire Fullerton

Welcome to the Friday edition of cafe and bookstore update with more recent reviews for authors on the shelves. The first is for Annette Rochelle Aben and her photo and haiku collection – PhoKu


About PhoKu

This book is the marriage of photography and Haiku, hence the title: PhoKu. Traditional Japanese Haiku is based in nature. The photographs in this book were taken during my visits to parks, lakes and of the flora and fauna in my neighborhood, here in Michigan. To honor the peace, serenity and joy I find in communing with nature using my PhoKu, brings a smile to my heart. May this book inspire you take the time to enjoy the beauty of the world around you.

A recent review for the collection

Phoku by Annette Rochelle is an exquisite tribute to Mother Nature and its various hues and moods that have been captured along with poet’s reflections about sun and seasons. It is amazing to note that she could hear the call of geese to share their fun and peace in their natural surroundings. Images of Spring and Fall inspire magnificent poetry and Annette’s haiku are brilliant. I have read this pictorial haiku book on my Kindle Cloud reader but a paperback must be fantastic to hold and read.

Read the reviews and buy the collection:

And Amazon UK:

Also by Annette Rochelle Aben

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And Amazon UK:

Find more reviews and follow Annette at Goodreads:

Connect to Annette via her blog:

Balroop Singh is an author in the Cafe.

Balroop Singh, Buy:


The next book with a new review is by children’s author Janice Spina for Abby & Holly School Dance, book one of a brand new series, a spin off from Davey and Derek Junior Detectives.

About Abby & Holly School Dance

This is Book 1 of a series of Abby & Holly books. These two girls were first introduced in Book 5 of the Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Series.

The girls are first cousins on their mothers’ side. They moved to the quiet town of Lindon, New Hampshire and live in a grand old Victorian which is haunted.

The cousins are excited about attending the 6th grade dance. When their friend, Justine, is bullied, Abby and Holly, along with the help of a ghost and Davey & Derek, work together to formalize a plan to put a stop to the bullying.

One of the recent reviews for the book

I loved Janice Spina’s new book “Abby and Holly, School Dance.” The writing style made you feel like you were enjoying the adventures of Abby, Holly and their friends. You’re sure to smile at the twins Derek and Davey’s shyness around Abby and Holly. It’s a delightful story. Trouble comes when one of their classmates, Justine, mysteriously becomes sick. How is the mystery solved? When Justine is bullied, how does the group of friends encourage the bullies to change their behavior. This is an enjoyable book teaches, families, and teens are sure to love and they are likely to remember not only the entertaining adventures, but the important message the story shares. Another wonderful book by Janice Spina.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

and on Amazon UK:

A small selection of children’s books by Janice Spina

Also as J.E. Spina

Discover all of Janice Spina’s books, read the reviews and buy

and on Amazon UK:

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Deanie Humphrys-Dunne is an author in the Cafe.

Deanie Humphrys-Dunne, Buy :

Please visit Amazon or Deanie’s website to view all her books.


The next book to receive recent reviews is Rhe Brewster Mystery, Death in a Mudflat by N.A. Granger.

About Death In A Mudflat

Fearless detective, ER nurse, devoted mother, and Pequod, Maine’s, answer to Kinsey Milhone, Rhe Brewster is back on the case. When an idyllic seaside wedding is suddenly interrupted by the grotesque sight of a decaying human arm poking out of the tidal mud, Rhe is thrown head first into a treacherous world of duplicity, drugs, and murder.

With her best friend Paulette and her main man Sam, the Chief of Police, Rhe seeks to solve the puzzle of the body found in the muck while also working with the FBI to identify the source of shipments of tainted heroin flooding the local campus and community. Maine’s opioid crisis has hit the town hard, with an escalating number of overdoses. More murders are uncovered, testing Rhe’s detective skills and steely resolve. While she follows the clues, Rhe encounters some sinister inhabitants of Pequod’s underbelly, including a practitioner of the Dark Arts, a hydra-headed crime gang, and an embittered, unhinged lobsterman with an axe to grind and nothing to lose. In her relentless drive to solve the crimes, Rhe narrowly escapes a watery grave, trades blows with Russian goons, and unknowingly prompts Paulette to put her life on the line in an attempt to catch a murderer in the act.

One of the recent reviews for the book

When a dead woman’s body emerges from a mudflat in Pequod, Maine, it doesn’t matter that part-time detective Rhe Brewster and the chief of police are at a wedding across the way. Rhe and her former brother-in-law (and new love interest), Sam Brewster, are more than willing to run over, don a set of hazmat suits and secure the scene.

Sam and Rhe can only initially guess at the whys and hows, but their expert team’s careful attention to detail and Rhe’s nose for making connections take the reader on an investigation that is both cozy and challenging and in which Rhe places herself in many dangerous situations. Is she reckless or is she just an ace detective? Now that they’re a couple, Sam may have trouble working this out.

Death in a Mudflat is Granger’s fourth Rhe Brewster mystery, a fun series set in the fictional coastal town of Pequod. In this small-town setting, Granger has developed a cast of characters and community that reflect New England values and personalities. But just like other small towns and larger communities across the country, Pequod struggles with modern problems, including the east coast’s growing heroin crisis.

As the investigation continues, Rhe and Sam discover possible connections to other deaths, casting doubt on several shady characters. And when a student from Pequod College turns up dead, they must consider an even larger case. Granger does a great job introducing the second case into the story and readers won’t know if they are connected until the story’s exciting end.

These investigations consume a lot of time, while Rhe continues to work as an Emergency Room nurse at Sturtevant Hospital and also raise her son, Jack, an active eight-year-old. But Rhe, Sam and their friends manage to keep the fun going in their own lives. A little romance and a couple fights over Rhe’s risk-taking make the story both realistic and entertaining. In addition, Rhe’s close friendship with Paulette McGillivray adds another dimension to the story when Paulette joins a mystery group dedicated to solving cold cases.

Granger’s extensive medical knowledge shows, as Rhe’s hospital and police life forever overlap. The author also includes details about modern police procedures and technology which greatly enhance the story. Readers will also enjoy how Granger incorporates hot coffee and many tasty foods into her characters’ days, often from the Pie and Pickle, Pequod’s local café.

Themes about love, friendship, helping others and justice over the bad guys make Death in a Mudflat and the whole series great reads and I recommend these stories to mystery readers who like a good puzzle as well as others who enjoy reading about modern life in a small town. 

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

Also by N.A. Granger

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Read all the reviews and buy the books:

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The final author today is Claire Fullerton, whose book Mourning Dove, has been receiving terrific reviews.

About Mourning Dove

“An accurate and heart-wrenching picture of the sensibilities of the American South.” Kirkus Book Reviews

The heart has a home when it has an ally.

If Millie Crossan doesn’t know anything else, she knows this one truth simply because her brother Finley grew up beside her. Charismatic Finley, eighteen months her senior, becomes Millie’s guide when their mother Posey leaves their father and moves her children from Minnesota to Memphis shortly after Millie’s tenth birthday.

Memphis is a world foreign to Millie and Finley. This is the 1970s Memphis, the genteel world of their mother’s upbringing and vastly different from anything they’ve ever known. Here they are the outsiders. Here, they only have each other. And here, as the years fold over themselves, they mature in a manicured Southern culture where they learn firsthand that much of what glitters isn’t gold. Nuance, tradition, and Southern eccentrics flavor Millie and Finley’s world as they find their way to belonging.

But what hidden variables take their shared history to leave both brother and sister at such disparate ends?

One of the recent reviews for the book.

In Claire Fullerton’s MOURNING DOVE, Millie is the intrepid, resilient narrator whose tells us her story and that of her spectacular brother, Finley. Other unforgettable characters spin in and out of their story, but it is this brother-sister team for the ages that drives the novel. Their loyalty and devotion to each other underscores their mission as conspirators out to protect their shared past. Uprooted from an idyllic life in the Midwestern woods of Minnesota as their father is losing his struggle with alcoholism, they are deposited by their southerm-to-the-bone mother at the other end of the Mississippi River in Memphis. Two children grieving the absence of their adored if flawed father must begin the adjustment to southern life which for them represents a tectonic shift. That they navigate the shift and thrive comes as no surprise as we get to know them, but heartbreak becomes ours as we see that nothing can protect some of the gentlest souls from the world or themselves.

For those familiar with Ms. Fullerton’s prior work, they will recognize her tremendous strength in describing place. She brings the Carmel of different eras to life A PORTAL IN TIME, and Ireland sparkles in DANCING AN IRISH REEL. But she outdoes herself here as the disparate ends of the Mississippi River are beautifully realized, from the snow-covered beauty of the Minnesota woods to the balm in the delta air of Memphis. Wit meets wisdom and laugh out loud humor meets deep sadness in Millie’s southern tale, a tale told with the authentic voice of a sensible northern girl transported and transformed to a southerner through and through. MOURNING DOVE represents a quantum leap in Ms. Fullerton’s writing chops, and it shouldn’t be missed.

Read the other reviews and buy the book :

and Amazon UK:

Also by Claire Fullerton

Buy the books :

and Amazon UK:

Read other reviews and follow Claire on Goodreads:

Connect to Claire via her website:

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope that you have found the selection interesting.. Enjoy your weekend.. thanks Sally

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:

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..

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 :

And Amazon UK 99p:

Also by Lucinda E. Clarke

Read the reviews and buy all the books:

And on Amazon UK:

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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:

and Amazon UK 99p:

A selection of other books by Darlene Foster

Read the reviews and buy all of Darlene’s books:

and Amazon UK:

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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:

and on Amazon UK at 99p:

Also by Natalie Ducey

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

and on Amazon UK:

Read all the reviews and follow Natalie on Goodreads:

Connect to Natalie via her blog:

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:

And on Amazon UK at 99p:

Also by Annette Rochelle Aben

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And Amazon UK:

Find more reviews and follow Annette at Goodreads:

Connect to Annette via her blog:



Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – #Music, Nessie, #Thai Curry Pastes, New Books, #Reviews, #Health and #Humour

Welcome to the round up of the week’s posts. It only seems a couple of days since I posted the last one! However, we have had a busy week with plenty going on off screen including the renovation of the front garden. All the tree stumps are now all dug up and David survived the process. I have been supervising…. and providing sustenance of course in a timely fashion. He has also dug over all the ground, removed smaller roots and raked it over.

Hopefully the lawn man who promised to come in a couple of weeks a month ago will appreciate that 75% of the job he quoted for is now done and he only has to lay the lawn.

We are also waiting on the guy to come and fix our electronic gate.. He said Wednesday but neglected to tell us which Wednesday. It is frustrating when people say that they will turn up and then do not bother. We have stayed in three times now in the last couple of weeks in anticipation and it is disappointing and frankly unprofessional. The papers are full of how business is not as good as it should be…. I wonder why!

Anyway.. sorry for the little rant!  One thing I can never complain about, is the consistency and commitment by those who contribute to the blog each week with columns and to those of you who tune in regularly to like, comment and share. I really am very grateful.

Time to share the posts from the week that you might have missed…..

The Music Column with William Price King – Josh Groban Part Four.

More hits from this exceptional artist with some of his most recognisable hits that William has provided background to.

Paul Andruss – Writer in Residence.

No post from Paul this week but I always like to reblog from his own site as it is always interesting.. this week.. Nessie… the Loch Ness Monster has been the subject of many scientific studies.. but it is it a myth or a reality?

From the film ‘The Water Horse- Legend of the Deep’

The Cookery and Food Column with Carol Taylor – Thai curry pastes from scratch.

The Literary Column with Jessica Norrie – Blast Off! – Memorable first lines of books.

Getting to Know You Sunday Interview with Annette Rochelle Aben

Welcome to Getting to Know You where guests pick five questions that reveal a little more about their personality and background. This week my guest is Miss Personality as far as I am concerned. You don’t have to be in the same room with Annette Rochelle Aben to know that she is funny, compassionate, empathetic and generous. That all shines through in her blog posts, social media comments and radio podcasts. And as you will find out… it also shines bright as day in her interview.

Personal Stuff – Odd Jobs and Characters

I leave my job as housekeeper/cook of the boarding school and hop a train all the way to North Wales where I start a new position at a swanky hotel. Arriving late at night at this gothic mansion was not the best start to a new job I have had!

Letters from America – 100 degrees, Key Lime Pie and Adverts

Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story – Serialisation

Chapter One – In the Beginning

Chapter Two – My New Home.

A new story written as a guest post for Noelle Granger’s blog – Charlie the Junkyard Dog.

Charlie was a junkyard dog and had the scars to prove it. He was head of security of this fenced off mass of scrap metal, dotted with mounds of old tyres he called home, and he took his job very seriously. During the day, he was chained up next to the beat-up old trailer, where his human would shout loudly at other humans; sometimes throwing things at the thin metal walls. In bad weather Charlie would retreat into a rough scrap wood shelter; resting his bony body on a ragged old corn sack on the hard concrete floor as the water dripped in through the roof.

Poetry – Haiku

Sally’s Drive Time Playlist – 1974

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves

Cafe and Bookstore Author Updates

Meet the Reviewers

Smorgasbord Health Column – The Summer Fruit Salad

fruit and veg banner

The Candida Albicans Shopping List

Alternative Therapies – The Alexander Technique

Humour and Afternoon Videos


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..

And here is last week’s post:

  • 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:

Judith Barrow is in the Cafe Bookstore.

Judith Barrow – Buy:

Barb Taub is also in the Cafe and Bookstore.

Barb Taub, Buy:

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:

Marjorie Mallon is an author in the cafe and bookstore

M.J.Mallon, Buy:

As is Annette Rochelle Aben

Annette Rochelle Aben, Buy:

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



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:

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:

If you review books then if you would like to become one of Rosie’s respected Book Review Team, here are the details:

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 Update – Jack Eason, Bette A. Stevens, Vashti Quiroz-Vega, Annette Rochelle Aben and Paulette Mahurin

Welcome to Monday’s Edition of my Cafe and Bookstore Update, with news from authors on the shelves. The first author with a new review is Jack Eason with his historical novella Autumn 1066.

About the book

Down the centuries the British Isles has always been seen by invaders as a legitimate target for exploitation. This novella concerns the last few weeks of Anglo-Saxon occupation, ending on the 14th of October, 1066. In Autumn 1066, author Jack Eason gives a great sense of ‘place’, of detail. The reader is right ‘there’ in that poignant year, marching, shivering with September cold (as ‘…no warming fires were allowed lest ‘enemy spies would soon spot their approach.’) From the very first few lines, Eason, practising his unique drycraft, begins to weave his particular brand of magic on his reader.

Eason glamour’s with well-crafted dialogue, drawing his reader into the time and into the action. To accomplish this, the author proffers a gentle blend of informative nomenclature coupled with familiar speech, to ease the reader into his story without distancing with words too unfamiliar, which is a criticism frequently made of Bernard Cornwell’s epics. I long to read more Martin Bradley

The latest review for the book 

Deborah A. Bowman, author  5.0 out of 5 stars Very Well Done! March 4, 2018

Eason’s authenticity and realism in the end of days for the Anglo-Saxons in what was to become England or Great Britain is a must-read for anyone who cares about the history of this developing country which ruled the world for centuries. The ancient spelling and punctuation of names long buried in antiquity, as well as the proper names of weapons, battle strategies, and language show much research, checked and rechecked, by Mr. Eason in a time when history has been all but forgotten. I highly recommend this novella to the historian, history buff, and the curious, concerned reader for this is all of our heritage in one way or another … all countries, all peoples, all evolutionary ethnicities. This turning point, “Autumn 1066” , shaped the world. The ending, the last line, captured my heart. (No spoilers here.)

Read the reviews and buy the book – Amazon US –

Amazon UK

A small selection of other books by Jack Eason

Discover all of Jack Eason’s books and read the reviews:

And Amazon UK:

Follow Jack and read other reviews on Goodreads:

Connect to Jack via his website:

The next author is award winning children’s author Bette A. Stevens and her delightful book Amazing Matilda: A Monarch’s Tale.

About Amazing Matilda

Inspire the Kids with an Award-winning (Excellence in Children’s Literature) Monarch Butterfly Tale.
In this age of instant gratification, there’s an award-winning children’s picture book out that teaches kids that patience and hard work really do pay off.

‘AMAZING MATILDA: A Monarch’s Tale’ is a timely tale that follows MATILDA, a tiny monarch caterpillar, from the time she hatches from her egg on a giant milkweed leaf until she realizes her dream to fly. The story provides challenges and adventure at every turn.

Grandparents, parents and teachers will find that AMAZING MATILDA is a book that kids will want to read themselves and hear read to them again and again.

A recent review for the book

D.L. Finn  5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful Tale! January 2, 2018

This is a sweet story about a caterpillar named Matilda and her friends. She immediately wants to fly, but is given the advice to be patient and keep trying– when she can’t. The book is illustrated by the author and that adds another level of depth to the book. The story has a lesson that not only kids can learn from, but also the adults who read the book with them. I can’t wait to give this to my grandchildren and will enjoy our reading time together with this delightful tale!

Read all the wonderful reviews for the book:

And on Amazon UK:

Also by Bette A. Stevens

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

and Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Bette on Goodreads:

Connect to Bette A. Stevens via her website:

The next author who has received a recent review is Vashti Quiroz-Vega for The Fall of Lillith.

About The Fall of Lilith:

So says Lilith, the most exquisite of the angels. The two most important pledges an angel makes to God are those of obedience and celibacy, and dire consequences await any who break their oaths.

At first, the angels are happy in their celestial home, learning and exploring together. As they grow older, though, Lilith begins to question these pledges, which now seem arbitrary and stifling. Her challenge of the status quo leads to disagreement, jealousy, and strife among her peers. As the arguing and acrimony grow, lines are drawn and sides are chosen. Is war inevitable?

Filled with robust characters, incredible landscapes, and exciting action, The Fall of Lilith is an epic tale of seduction, betrayal, and revenge.

Free Will involves asking difficult questions and making hard choices, choices that require strength and sacrifice. These decisions can tear apart friendships and cause rifts between allies.

They can even threaten the foundations of Heaven.

One of the recent reviews for the book.

Most people have heard the biblical story of the fallen angels who rebelled against God and were cast out of Heaven. Vashti Quiroz Vega takes up from there with a fanciful and imaginative saga of how the rebellion came about, and what happened after the fall of Lucifer and his allies.

While in the biblical version, Lucifer is the leader of the rebellion, in Vega’s absorbing story, a beautiful female angel named Lilith is the driving force behind the rebellion. She seduces Lucifer and a group of other angels into rebelling against God. Once defeated by the angelic hosts that remain loyal to God, Lilith, Lucifer, and the rest of the fallen angels are expelled from Heaven and cast to earth.

Far from feeling remorseful for her treachery, after the fall, Lilith remains stubbornly rebellious against God and determined to gain a measure of revenge. Lilith is a dark protagonist that the reader quickly learns to love to hate. Rather than eliciting any reader sympathy, the reader feels compelled to keep turning the pages desperately hoping that Lilith will, in the end, get her just comeuppance.

I was truly in awe of how imaginative Vega must be to create a story like this. She supplies abundant details which make this book not only enjoyable and interesting to read, but that makes the story itself so believable that the reader easily imagines how things could have happened just the way she describes it.

The Fall of Lilith is perhaps one of the most unique novels I’ve ever read. It’s very well written. In many ways, the style of the book was reminiscent of the writings of C. S. Lewis. That said, you needn’t have any religious convictions to enjoy this book. The Fall of Lilith stands on its own as a gripping angelic fantasy novel.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And on Amazon UK:

Also by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

Read the reviews and buy both books:

and on Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Vashti on Goodreads:

Connect to Vashti via her website:

Annette Rochelle Aben is celebrating her latest release with cover art by her sister Lorraine Parent. Fresh off the press…. A Haiku Perspective 2018.

About the book

Take a look at life and it’s miraculous energy presented using the format of traditional Japanese Haiku. You’ll smile, laugh out loud and may even find yourself getting a little teary eyed as you journey through a year in the life of a poet. Her observations are woven together with wit, wisdom and will leave you wanting more. A Haiku Perspective 2018 is a book of inspiring, relatable poetry for people ages 12 and better.

Head over and buy your copy in paperback:

Also by Annette Rochelle Aben

A review for A Tanka Picture Book

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.

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And Amazon UK:

Find more reviews and follow Annette at Goodreads:


Connect to Annette via her blog/website:

The final author that has some wonderful recent reviews is Paulette Mahurin with her recent release The Day I Saw The Hummingbird.

About the book

On the eve of his tenth birthday, a young slave’s life is turned upside down. The unthinkable events that led up to the day Oscar Mercer saw a hummingbird test the limits of this young boy’s body, mind and soul. Gripped with fear and filled with anger, Oscar faces raw, crushing hatred aimed at him and everyone he loves. In a time when a nation was ripped apart geographically, economically, politically and morally, comes a story of a courageous boy who began life as a slave on a sugarcane plantation in Louisiana and escapes via The Underground Railroad.

Through the efforts and good will of kind, brave people determined to free slaves, Oscar faces devastating obstacles and dangers. Struggling with his inner impulse to seek revenge for the injustices and violence levied on his family and friends, he discovers that in bondage you pray to God, but in freedom, you meet Him.

From the award-winning, best-selling author of The Seven Year Dress comes a story that brings another cadre of memorable characters alive on pages that pulse with hatred and kindness, cruelty and compassion, despair and hope. Oscar’s journey on the Underground Railroad is a heart-pounding ride that the reader will remember long after this story ends.

One of the recent reviews for the book.

Although I usually don’t like to read books that have a lot of violence and hardship in them, I had a feeling that this book would have a strong core, and wanted to give it a try. It does have a positive core, despite the tragic events. It was a moving story, although definitely very hard to read at times. However, sometimes violence serves its purpose, as it did in this case. This is a story of human strength and power of soul, which is hauntingly real. I suppose the only reason I don’t give it the full five stars is because it was so hard to read at times that it made me want to skip pages, but that is my problem, as I am quite sensitive.


Read all of the reviews and buy the book:

Also by Paulette Mahurin

51i68gzmu9l-_uy250_51kctenodfl-_uy250_51q0487ggfl-_uy250_Read all the reviews and BUY the books

And Amazon UK:

Profits from Paulette’s books go to help rescue dogs from kill shelters.

Read more reviews and follow Paulette on Goodreads:


Connect to Paulette:

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope that you will find a book or two to read. Thanks Sally