Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Spring Showcase – Cynthia Reyes, Tony Riches, Jane Risdon, Carol Roberts, Hugh W. Roberts, Annette Rochelle Aben, Alexis Rose, Nicholas Rossis, Debra Russell and Patricia Salamone.

Welcome to spring….. and there might be a hint of colour in the garden, as daffodils push their way to the surface, but there is plenty of colour on the shelves of the bookstore that I thought I would share with you over the next week.

If you are looking for you next book to read then look no further than these talented authors and over 600 books currently on the shelves.

Instead of the usual Cafe and Bookstore updates on Friday and Monday.. I will be featuring a number of authors each day with their updated reviews.

I will give you their entry which also includes a link to buy the books but also to discover others that they have written but are not listed. You will also find a link to their website or blog to find out more information, and as you can imagine… they write great posts too.

Here is the next ten featured authors from the Cafe and Bookstore with their recent reviews.

Cynthia Reyes, Buy:


An extract for one of the recent reviews for Myrtle the Purple Turtle

Mar 02, 2018 V on March 02 2018

When I was in grade school, I had to do a project on turtles. For a visual aid, my dad carved a soap turtle that we name Myrtle the Turtle. So, the title of this book caught my eye, and the description of a character accepting her difference appealed. The author offered us a copy of the book in exchange for a review. V’s Review

A talking purple turtle becomes self-conscious before accepting her coloring.

At the beginning of the book, Myrtle thinks nothing of her purple color. When another turtle teases her, however, she tries to dye herself green. Her thought-sequence is clearly explained, which could help a young audience process similar feelings. Mytle’s friends respond to her identity crisis with love, she accepts herself, but there is no resolution with the teasing turtle.

Although T is not old enough to have experienced teasing, he understands that our actions can affect others’ feelings; Myrtle the Purple Turtle was a good springboard for such a dialogue. In asking T questions for his portion of the review, I found that he didn’t understand why one turtle would be mean. We then discussed why someone might be mean, and how we can respond to mean behavior, and how we should try to act even when we feel like being mean. Although T doesn’t identify with the turtles, this was useful in discussing compassionate actions and reactions.

Tony Riches, Buy:

To view all Tony’s books please visit his Website or Amazon

Here is an extract from one of the recent reviews for Mary: Tudor Princess

Writing historical fiction that doesn’t lose its authenticity while also remaining enjoyable to read requires great skill. As the writer creates the story he or she is drawing on a vast reservoir of knowledge and choosing which pieces will serve the story well is a challenge.
Tony Riches manages this juggle exceedingly well.

He keeps enough information in the story line so we understand the period and the political tensions of the time. Historical fiction is a wonderful way to learn more about a period without labouring through text books and I felt better informed about Mary Tudor after reading MARY. It was easy to read and thoroughly enjoyable.

I did not feel at any time that the author slipped into giving me information he felt I needed to know. For example, he brought Mary’s sister, Margaret, into the story and by contrasting hers and Mary’s lives we gained a deep understanding of how life was for aristocratic women and particularly these two key historic figures. This was cleverly done. With the writer making no judgement on their situations the reader was freed to reach his or her own conclusions.

Jane Risdon, Buy:

An extract from a recent review of Only One Woman

on 23 February 2018

Youth, love, and a beautiful rock God could only mean one thing . . . and the reader will ache for both heroines as the novel pulls them into love, travel, good music, and wrenching heartache.

Only One Woman grabbed my attention from the first diary entry of love-stricken Renza and held my fascination to the very last page. Though I grew up post-sixties, I’ve always been fascinated by the music of this era. The author’s extensive knowledge and repertoire of 60’s music had me singing favorite lyrics as I delved into Renza and Stella’s worlds. Ingeniously crafted, we experience the two heroine’s lives, loves, and heartache through their diaries. And through their personal experiences, we meet Scott and his fabulous Rock Band, Narnia’s Children.

Inherently different, the two heroines are raised by parents with a different set of standards and values. Sweet and prudently innocent, Renza lives with her authoritarian mother who wields control like a prison guard. Edgy and stylishly bold, Stella, recovering from a debilitating illness, lives with her liberal, easy-going, and loving parents who allow her many freedoms as an only child. Though Renza and Stella have different upbringings, they have four things in common, their love for Scott, music, reading, and writing.

Carol Roberts, Buy:

One of the recent reviews for Atlantis.

The Great Lost City  on February 21, 2018

Atlantis is the story of the people who lived in the great mythological city that sunk beneath the sea. There are several well-developed characters that the story follows and we learn about the every day lives of many people. I liked that the author made them regular people who believed in magic and gods. Alanthea is desperately searching to find out who was this woman Andromeda who also bore the high priestess mark and was gifted but never was trained. She first stumbles across the name by accident when reading some scrolls and builds a connection to her while searching through this mystery.

The story pace is slow at first but picks up as Arakon finds out about his past and Alanthea receives a message of the flood. It sometimes felt a little disjointed when jumping from character viewpoints but I think the author brings it all together nicely towards the end. Each character had their own back story that made them relatable. I am hoping the author will write a sequel so that I can find out why Alanthea looked so much like Andromeda. Did Mira and Beren’s family survive? Does Magnus allow the people to use the fleet? Overall, good read for anyone who likes fantasy mixed with mythology.

Hugh W. Roberts, Buy:


A recent review for Glimpses on Goodreads

I can’t wait for Roberts’s next book. The sequence of shorts that reveals so much beyond the wedding … secrets that piece together in surprising installments. Other stories in multiple genres (SyFy, futuristic, historical, contemporary) all with attention to detail, smooth flow and well-paced reading that leaves you wanting more, more, more! Don’t miss this anthology that takes you to great heights and depths of enjoyment!

Annette Rochelle Aben, Buy:

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


A recent review for A Haiku Perspective 2018

Andrew Joyce 5.0 out of 5 stars A Feast of Words March 31, 2018
I found this book to be both funny and profound. A feast of words. It’s a book that you’ll pick up when you want to be inspired or if you just need a smile to come to your face. The author’s play on words is amazing. Every poem is a gem. A few of my favorites: Gruel World, Dunno, and Holy Spirit. I could go on, but there are just too many.

Alexis Rose, Buy


One of the recent reviews for If I Could Tell you How it Feels

This is a beautifully written, heart-felt, in depth account of living with PTSD. The author exudes warmth and caring in her written words to those suffering from this complex disorder. The insights into the everyday trials she must deal with on physical and emotional levels are compelling. I am in awe of the courage and persistence she exhibits to forge ahead on a daily basis no matter how exhausting it must be. A unique aspect to the book was the addition of her poetry coupled with beautiful photography. I loved how it supplemented her descriptions of dealing with PTSD. I do not suffer from PTSD, but much of her poetry could apply or speak to me in other ways. She has such insight into the human spirit and a gift for putting it into words. This is a remarkable read for anyone. Thank you, Alexis, for your openness and honesty in sharing “how it feels”.

Nicholas Rossis, Buy:

Please visit Amazon or Nicholas’s website to view all his books.


A recent review for Emotional Beats

After reading this book, I went back to all my workshop writing notes and pitched them (maybe not all, but most) This book has so much reference material needed to perfect the craft of writing, I don’t have to plow through 10 year old notes and five and six books taken off my shelves to keep by my PC.

This can help you achieve a depth of character and create a visual description of place and action. I intend to put this one to good use. I know this had to take a while to put this together. Great job.

Debra Russell, Buy:

A recent review for the book

Wendy Shirley Howard 5.0 out of 5 stars FACTS December 14, 2017

This little gem is a wealth of information for all of us who are looking for easy to find answers or just to peruse to gain and retain more knowledge about a broad range of topics.

Patricia Salamone, Buy:


One of the recent reviews for The Italian Thing

I read this to get to know the author better. And I did! I enjoyed the trip and though I’m not Italian, I want to be 🙂

Thank you for dropping in today and if you could share around that would be great. 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:

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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

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and Amazon UK:

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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:

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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:

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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.

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

Also by Bette A. Stevens

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And on Amazon UK:

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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:

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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:

And Amazon UK:

A selection of books also by Phillip T. Stephens

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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:

And Amazon UK:

Also by John Maberry

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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:

And on Amazon UK:

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:

And Amazon UK:

Find more reviews and follow Annette at Goodreads:


Connect to Annette via her blog/website:

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

Smorgasbord New Book for Christmas – A Tanka Picture Book by Annette Rochelle Aben

A perfect gift for poetry lovers for Christmas, this is the latest collection from Annette Rochelle Aben with 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.

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.

Buy the collection:

And on Amazon UK:

 Also by Annette Rochelle Aben

The most recent review from Colleen Chesebro for Perspective

Perspective is an uplifting collection of poems, meditations, stream of consciousness prayers, daily affirmations, and photos compiled by an author who possesses the soul of a true spiritualist.

Each selection is loving written, encouraging readers to get in touch with their feelings and to embrace the positive. The message is clear, we define our own reality by the thoughts we choose. When we shift our perceptions our vision clears and we find truth and wisdom.

I’ve read this book twice as it is a short read. Yet, each reading has given me insight into something I didn’t catch the first time around. At times, I felt the author’s words were written primarily for me. What a fantastic connection to experience.

Annette is a prolific author and has published many books of poetry and inspirational books. If you are looking for a bit of magic to help you through some tough days, this book will wrap you in a warm glow.

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And Amazon UK:

Find more reviews and follow Annette at Goodreads:

About Annette Rochelle Aben

Allow me to introduce myself, I am a writer, an author, a wordsmith and perhaps find myself to be more interesting than is necessary. So I shall NOT go into grand detail as to what I have done in my 40 + career of writing and instead shall use various pages of this blog site to reveal this energy. As with most writing it may take some time, so please bear with me.

In addition to writing I am also a guide, a muse and a mentor and to that end I am available to work with YOU! So please reach out when you are in need of my services and allow me to use my talents, skills and above all compassion to help you in your personal or professional life.

For years I have enjoyed being part of the “traditional” broadcasting industry, you know, the kind where one simply turns on a radio or television and there you are! Many people I would interact with would tell me how much THEY wanted the chance to be a part of that world and yet there were only so many jobs, so many chances to work in their own home towns doing something they really wanted to do with their lives. So when I found the world of INTERNET RADIO I was thrilled because here was something people could DO to fulfill their dreams and do it in a way that allowed them to have CONTROL over the broadcasting process. Naturally I started doing my own internet radio program and fell in LOVE with the FREEDOM and EASE of it all and was eventually hired by a company to TRAIN others how to do their own shows and I did this for years with wonderful results. (I will add testimonials soon) and when that company and I parted ways, I decided to continue offering the TRAINING and SUPPORT to those who also wish to CREATE and HOST their own internet radio programs.

You can find out more about Annette’s radio programmes here:

Connect to Annette via her blog:

Google +

Thank you for dropping by and it would be great if you could spread the news about Annette’s latest release.

If you would like to be included in the various book promotions in the run up to Christmas then please check out this post and get in touch. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Sunday Interview – The Ultimate Bucket List – Ukuleles and Children’s books by Annette Rochelle Aben

Welcome to this week’s Sunday Interview and this week it is author and poet Annette Rochelle Aben who is going to share her top two Ultimate Bucket list items.

I never thought much about having a bucket list. Yet, I recall, a couple years ago, I spent the better part of New Year’s Eve writing down things I wanted to achieve over the coming year.

Feeling rather accomplished, I put the list away and didn’t see it again until I found it quite by accident and was most surprised to realize that there were 3 items I could cross off with flourish and fanfare. So, yeah, I guess I can share a couple of the items that have yet to come to fruition.

Ultimate Bucket List One -Learn to Play the Ukulele

Not that I want to be famous for this ability (I’m no Grace Vanderwaal wannabe)I just find the instrument fascinating. Of course, I find harps fascinating, however ukuleles have captured my heart. I love the sounds they make (when strummed properly) and I believe it might be easy to write songs using a ukulele. Now, I can sing, so I also think it would be fun to learn songs I enjoy singing while being my own accompaniment. Wouldn’t it be great to visit shut ins and play music with my little ukulele?

Yes, there is the fact that they really can’t up and leave… #CaptiveAudience

So first, I need a ukulele and I was gifted one recently. A friend of my sister’s, decided to offer me the use of her son’s ukulele, as he hadn’t touched it in years. I was given the Cinderella admonishment that I would have limited time with it because once he discovered it was missing, I would have to give it back. Oh, and it is missing a string. Still, I would have it to use until I got one of my own.

News Flash!

The son is glad the ukulele found a new home, and I have asked for a new string for my birthday. Considering my birthday is exactly 2 months before Christmas, it is totally possible that by Christmas, I will be serenading kith and kin (and cats) with my stellar ukulele skills! I shall keep you in the loop.

Here you go Annette… my favourite Ukulele artists Jake Shimabukuro – with While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

Perhaps now I need a Go Fund Me campaign to get the dough to record a CD…

Ultimate Bucket List Two – Get My Children’s Book Illustrated

Ages ago, I wrote a short story about an elephant named Ellis, who was bullied and a cat named Claudius who was a bully. Because the story had so much personal meaning, I found it difficult to let anyone else read it, then they might know my personal shame. So, my little rhyming tale, was tucked away in my “I’ll get to it one day” files.

That was until I was coaxed, by another blogger, to share the story, privately, with him and he would offer critique. I swallowed hard, submitted the story, and was met with the offer to post it on his blog. I thought, well, it can’t be illustrated if I never let anyone see it, so why not. The response was overwhelmingly supportive. (doing my best Sally Field) People liked it, they really, really liked it!

Next, I shared it with some close friends and my sister. I mention my sister, specifically, because she is an artist of remarkable talent and yet, only creates when the muse strikes. Within minutes of walking away with my story, she came to me with eyes on fire and stated that she wanted to illustrate the tale of Ellis and Claudius. I was thunderstruck and kept shaking my head YES!

Of course, as I said, she works when the muse strikes. It has been over a year since that moment of excitement. Casually, I have brought the topic up again and have been summarily dismissed. I have even attempted to draw the characters myself (no one needs to see that).

Yes, I have considered having other illustrators take a whack at it but I would LOVE to have my sister do the artwork. Believe me, you would enjoy it as well.

Thank you, Sally, for offering this opportunity to share some of my dreams. I believe that before you know it, I’ll be writing a song about Ellis and Claudius and playing it for captive audiences everywhere on my little ukulele!

My thanks to Annette for sharing her two top Ultimate Bucket list wishes and I do hope that both come true. It would be lovely to see Annette’s children’s books join her others on the shelves.

Annette has been receiving great reviews for her book Perspective including one by Colleen Chesebro this week.

About the book

Everything in this book is designed to lighten the load, uplift the spirit or otherwise aid in shifting one’s perspective on life. Because the only thing we have going for us sometimes is our outlook. May you always believe that something wonderful is about to happen and that something good will come out of every situation you are experiencing. It really IS all about replacing one thought with another!

The most recent review from Colleen Chesebro

Perspective is an uplifting collection of poems, meditations, stream of consciousness prayers, daily affirmations, and photos compiled by an author who possesses the soul of a true spiritualist.

Each selection is loving written, encouraging readers to get in touch with their feelings and to embrace the positive. The message is clear, we define our own reality by the thoughts we choose. When we shift our perceptions our vision clears and we find truth and wisdom.

I’ve read this book twice as it is a short read. Yet, each reading has given me insight into something I didn’t catch the first time around. At times, I felt the author’s words were written primarily for me. What a fantastic connection to experience.

Annette is a prolific author and has published many books of poetry and inspirational books. If you are looking for a bit of magic to help you through some tough days, this book will wrap you in a warm glow.

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 at Goodreads:

Connect to Annette via her blog:


My thanks to Annette for sharing her two top wishes and please help put it out there and perhaps pave the way for them to come true.

If you would like to participate in this series or any other of the book promotions, you will find everything in this link:




Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air Your Reviews – Annette Rochelle Aben, Gigi Sedlmayer, Sally Cronin

Welcome to the second of the review posts this week and the first author with a brand new review is Annette Rochelle Aben for her book Angel Messages: A Wing and a Prayer.

About the book

This book is a terrific way to share some Angel love with someone who needs a lift, a hug, a smile or that person who loves Angels. It is filled with pictures, prayers and poems that bring the Angel Messages to you.

From the Author…

Angels are real! Some say Angels have saved their lives, comforted them in their darkest moments and even appeared before them in physical form. I am one of those who believes in Angels. My personal testimony is here in Angel Messages, along with prayers that I have used to thank, summon and to send Angels to others when asked. The beautiful photographs of Angels inside, are designed to evoke deep personal connections.

Allow yourself to be inspired with a wing and a prayer by the love of the Angels. Share this book with others. Keep a copy close to you so you will always have an Angel at the ready. Let it refresh your body, mind and spirit Believe that Angels and Spirit guides are always there for you whenever you call, and so they shall. Love and Angelic blessings, I am Annette Rochelle Aben, a.k.a. Sister Angel.

One of the recent reviews for the book

You Are Not Alone on October 16, 2017

I have always believed in Angels and have read several books about them. What strikes me most about Annette Rochelle Aben’s book, Angel Messages: A Wing and a Prayer, is the open heart from which she writes.

Ms. Aben shares her personal experiences by sprinkling the Angel messages she has received, between passages of her own lovely poetry.

Two of my favorite messages are: 1. Be in love with the gift of your life. Your joy colors your world; 2. Choosing love will always bless you. The answers are in your heart.

Ms. Aben states that Angels may materialize in the guise of ‘just plain folks.’ I think we all experience this yet often overlook, for example, the woman who gives us the extra change we need to make a purchase, or the man who extends a hand to help us onto the bus.

Whether you believe in Angels as heavenly beings, visitors from the cosmos, or just plain folks, this book will touch that place in you that searches for comfort, assurance, and a positive outlook on life.

Read the other reviews and buy the book:

and on Amazon UK:

Also by Annette Rochelle Aben

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And Amazon UK:

Find more reviews at Goodreads:

Connect to Annette via her blog:

Time to check out the children’s books in the bookstore and an author who gets consistently excellent reviews for her Talon Series is Gigi Sedlmayer. And here is recent feedback for book five in the series

About the book

The poachers are back – and they are looking for Talon! They are doing everything in their power to capture him, and if they can’t get him alive, will kill him. Determined to get him at all costs the poachers run up against the might and will of Tamo, Tima and Talon.
It is war. The poachers against the condors, Matica and the Indians – with the poachers even taking hostages to win the war.

With the help of Tamo and Tima, Talon and Matica do the impossible knowing they have to capture and stop the poachers or they will be back.

Between the poachers shooting at the condors, the crows playing their part, and Tamo being shot and injured, Matica goes above and beyond to help her beloved condors.

Action-packed from beginning to end, Talon Encounter will keep you on the edge of your seat.

One of the recent reviews

Encounter is the fifth and final book in the Talon series. Talon, Tima, and Tamo are in danger as the poachers, Zed and Pete want to capture these birds and kill them. Matica is distraught and seeks the help of the Indian village leader. Things have changed from the first book. Matica used to be an outcast and now that she can fly with Talon, the Indians find her interesting and have accepted her.

Pete and Zed dominate the story with their vicious plot and agenda towards these birds. The story is filled with action and drama as Matica sets her heart in, once again, protecting these birds.

I found the novel to have a faster pace and more suspenseful feel to it, compared to the first book. I enjoyed the love spent for these animals and the way Matica had grown and matured. I admired the fact that even though she was psychically restricted, her determination was stronger than ever. The story had a small hidden reveal to it and the ending made you feel satisfied with the outcome.

I believe the author has great potential in writing about similar genre stories. I recommend this book to bird lovers and anyone that enjoys a well-written story.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

Also by Gigi Sedlmayer

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

And Amazon UK:

And read more reviews and follow Gigi on Goodreads:

I am so delighted to have received some great reviews in the last few weeks and would like to share a recent one for Just an Odd Job Girl.

About the book

At 50 Imogen had been married for over 20 years, and was living in a big house, with money to spare. Suddenly she is traded-in for a younger model, a Fast-Tracker.
Devastated, she hides away and indulges in binge eating. But then, when hope is almost gone, she meets a new friend and makes a journey to her past that helps her move on to her future.

The most recent review for the book

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

Not only does Imogen lose her husband, she is left with no choice but to move from the family home and re-jig her life completely. It’s a daunting task; the children have flown the nest and she hasn’t worked in years.

Alone in her new little home on the edge of Epping Forest Imogen browses the local newspaper and comes across an ad from an employment agency. She telephones, makes an appointment, cobbles together something to wear and, for the first time in a very long time, compiles a CV.

The adventure begins.

From here the story takes Imogen to her interview, where Mr Jenkins ( call me Andrew) invites her to talk him through all the jobs, and there are quite a few, that she has previously undertaken.

Each chapter then describes unlikely and varied forms of employment. There is a lot of humour in the writing, but also some pathos too.

I won’t reveal the ending but, though it came as no surprise, it was just what was needed for this story, with a little comeuppance for the dastardly husband thrown in.

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

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon US:

A selection of other books by Sally Cronin

To read all the reviews and buy the books:

And Amazon US:

Read more reviews and follow me on Goodreads:

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you explore these books and their authors further. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Monday 11th September 2017 – Patrick Dykie, Terri Webster Schrandt, Van by the River, Annette Rochelle Aben, Robbie Cheadle and Traci Kenworth

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Welcome to Monday’s look at some of the posts I visited over the weekend… I was going to share one of Patrick Dykie’s posts from earlier but then got to reading this one that had me in stitches.. I do recommend that you head over and read in full as you will find it as entertaining as I did.

For the purpose of full disclosure, and in the presence of my fellow bloggers; I am stating for the record, that in a little over a week, I will be celebrating twenty-three years of wedded bliss, to the most wonderful woman in the world. I also, hereby swear, that I will not now, or at any time in the future, procure the services of any business dealing with online dating. “Honey, I said it. Can I take my hand off the Bible, now?

I was watching TV last night, and it seems like every week there’s a new dating service being advertised. Some sites claim they base finding a partner for you, on specific compatibility matrixes, while others help you find your soul mate through lengthy personality testing or behavioral matchmaking systems. I remember when things were so much simpler.

Please head over and read about some of the online dating sites that Patrick visited:

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

The next blog that I encourage you to head over and enjoy is Second Wind Leisure with Terri Webster Schrandt.. She has some amazing photography on her site and her latest post features some of her photos in response to a challenge What Does Waiting

Each week, I eagerly await the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge that asks bloggers to share appropriate images based on that week’s theme.

As I anticipate my last weekend at the Sacramento River delta, I keenly recall animated conversations during the late winter and early spring of how we were going to spend every weekend windsurfing. “Best laid plans” and how quickly time flies!

While we anxiously waited and dreamed of our new season, I am sharing some older photos that have been waiting to see the light of day and work for the theme of windsurfing and Waiting.

Head over and enjoy:

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Van shares her memories of buying her first pair of jeans.. My mother hated them with a vengeance and even when we were in our 60s and would be taking her out… even just for a drive she would turn her very carefully aimed disapproving look at you and them.. and begin to mutter.

We had to fight for our first pair of blue jeans. In the opinion of many 1960’s mothers, including mine, they were still “dungarees” and not appropriate attire for young ladies.

They were meant for farmers, cowboys, factory workers, men.

So I saved my babysitting money, and bought my first pair of Levi’s at an Army Navy Store. One problem… they were far too blue.

Do your remember your first pair of jeans? Head over and let Van know:

Want to know about fellow authors and their reading habits?  Then join in the Book Lover’s Tag tour.. and don’t forget that it does help you share your books. This week I tagged Robbie Cheadle and Annette Rochelle Aben who both responded with elegance and with some great book choices. I hope you will head over to check both of their posts out.

Ah, thank you, Sally Cronin for inviting me to participate in this page turning discussion!  Yes, I do enjoy reading.  It was the very thing that kept me company while I grew up and friends were busy off doing other things. Wait, perhaps it was me who was off doing other things.. such as reading.  Regardless, here are the Questions and my Answers!

Do you have a specific place for writing? – Yes, I have a section  of my sitting room, all carved out with desk, computer, dictionaries and b-o-o-k-s!

Bookmark or random pieces of paper?  Trick question, eh..  Random pieces of paper ARE bookmarks!  (silly people)

Can you stop anywhere or must it be at the end of a chapter?  Depending on what is distracting me, it can be in mid-word…

Do you eat or drink while reading? Maybe the better question for me, would be… do you read while eating or drinking???  yes

Head over and check out all of Annette’s response:

And here is part of Robbie Cheadle’s response and she has some wonderful books in her recently read (very honoured to have two in there..just saying).. Find out what else Robbie likes to read.

Do you have a specific place for writing?

I write anyhow, any place and any time which means that I write when a passenger travelling in a car, on a bus or by aeroplane. I write while waiting for my boys to do their activities and early in the morning. Often something pops into my head while driving and then I scribble it down when I arrive at my destination. Who needs a specific place when one has a laptop and a notebook.

Book mark or random pieces of paper?

I must hide my head in shame here and admit that I am a page bender. My saving grace is that now I am reading ebooks, my ipad saves my place so I don’t have to bend it [wink!]

Can you stop anywhere or must it be at the end of a chapter?

I try to stop at the end of a chapter so that I don’t have to back track to pick up the feel of the story again. Life tends to happen though so it often doesn’t work out this way for me. I read a couple of books at a time because I am hyperactive and have a limited concentration span for one thought line. I also usually have a book or two on the go with Michael too.

Head over and check out Robbie’s choices and the rest of her answers:


Finally a shout out for Traci Kenworth who works tirelessly to share all of us who blog. At least once and more often twice a week she compiles a list of blog posts across several genres.. I am so grateful for the times she includes one of mine.  Anyway here is just a smattering and I do suggest you get on Traci’s radar and avail yourself of her generosity.


  1. Need help with a character from Lebanon?
  2. Time to say goodbye.
  3. Using words as proper nouns when they’re not.
  4. What monsters will you choose? I like those I’ve never heard of, it makes it fresh and interesting.
  5. What books hooked you to fantasy? I started with Marrion Zimmer Bradley, Mercedes Lackey, and Robert Jordan.
  6. Tolkien’s villains and how they were dispatched.
  7. Steampunk and its blur of genres.

Head over and discover the other 77 links that Traci has pulled together for us:

Thanks for dropping in and how about putting the link to your most recent post in the comments — Sally



Smorgasbord End of Summer Party – One last fling with Fantastic Writers, Music and more FREE books from Susan Toy.

For some of you it is the last bank holiday of the summer and this is the last post in this three day festival. Yesterday my guests included D.G. Kaye, Tina Frisco, Janice Spina, Marjorie Mallon, Teagan Geneviene, The Story Reading Ape, Ali Isaac,Tess Karlinski and Brigid Gallagher.

Here is the link to the previous two days of posts

And I filmed the proceedings yesterday and lovely to see so many up there on the dance floor.. thanks Nerd Fest UK for their speedy editing services

To start off us today is a request from Judith Barrow for a track from The Travelling Wilbury’s from their official Youtube channel… Judith has been a wonderful friend and motivator for both my blog and books and as the organiser of the  Narbeth Book Festival she is taking that support to a new level.

Head off and check out all of Judith’s fantastic books and reviews here:

Time to get up and tap your feet to this catchy number from the Traveling Wilburys

Buy The Travelling Wilbury’s Music:

I have more headliners for you today, but first a reminder of the FREE book offer and how you can mingle in the comments section with other guests.

My novel Just an Odd Job Girl is available in eBook – Mobi for Kindle and epub for all other devices. You just have to email and tell me which version –

I would love you to participate and if you have not already taken this short quiz and left your answers and links in the comments then now is your chance.

My experience with most of you reading this, is that you are very modest, and have trouble blowing your own trumpet. So to help you with that, here is a short quiz with one word answers to put in the comments alongside your links. The answers I receive may be used against you in the posts on Monday


  • Which is your favourite recording artist or band
  • Pizza or Pasta
  • Favourite Film
  • Person you would most like to meet Dead or Alive.

Then please leave your blog or website, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter Links.

Here is the link to yesterday’s party post:

Recently I have been delighted to welcome two new lifestyle guest writers.

Carol Taylor is my co-conspirator on this project. Most of you are familiar with my Medicine Woman’s larder and Carol and I have teamed up to provide you with recipes to make the most of these amazing foods. I am providing the ingredients and sharing their nutritional and medicinal properties and Carol is taking them to a whole new level with her delicious recipes.

Carol began this party wearing her dancing shoes and wanted to share them with us.

Carol lives in Thailand and enjoys sharing authentic Thai recipes made with the wonderfully fresh local ingredients she sources in the markets.  You can find these and so much more on her blog: and you can connect on Twitter:

You can find our posts in the new series – Cook From Scratch with Sally and Carol.

Carol has requested something by Sir Rod Stewart and I have selected something from my misspent youth when we pranced around to this thinking we were the bees knees. Buy Sir Rod’s music:

I expect after dancing around to Sir Rod  that you might be a little peckish so it is just as well that Carol has sent over some of her delicious party food.

And after dancing since yesterday, Carol has now changed into some more comfortable shoes and is hitting the margeritas….

Before we meet Julie Lawford it is time for some more music and this was requested by Jennie Fitzkee who loves The Beatles.

Jenny has a wonderful blog where she shares stories of her 30 years as a preschool teacher. I do recommend that you head over and read her posts because you too will come away with a renewed love of books and readings. Something that she has instilled in these young pupils who adore her. Here is the link to her latest post:

I have chosen this Beatles track for Jennie today which happens to be one of my favourites.

Now it is time to meet Julie Lawford who has been contributing some great posts on weight loss and lifestyle for the summer.

Julie and I met at the Blogger’s Bash in June and we discovered a connection through our weight loss journeys and our love of a healthier lifestyle.. I asked for access to your archives and have been sharing her very informative and helpful posts for the last few weeks.

Always engaged with the written word, Julie Lawford came to fiction late in the day. Following a career in technology marketing she has been freelance since 2002 and has written copy for just about every kind of business collateral you can imagine. By 2010, she was on the hunt for a new writing challenge and Singled Out – her debut psychological suspense novel – is the result.

Julie is based in London in the UK. Whilst penning her second novel, she still writes – and blogs – for marketing clients.

Read the reviews and buy the book here:

You can find all of Julie’s posts here on Smorgasbord in this file:

There has been some amazing food contributed to the party and I have to share this dish in particular that Noelle Granger has provided. It is one of those dishes that is always one of the most expensive on the menus in the UK and Ireland but it is the most delicious. Just look at this Lobster Thermidor.. Noelle has been most generous with the portions so forks at the ready.

Noelle is another author of the Rhe Brewster Mystery Series and she has been a treasured participant in the last four years of blogging. I was delighted to meet her in person for a huge hug (several actually) at the Blogger’s Bash along with her delightful husband.

You can read the reviews and buy the books:

Time for some music and some dancing to work off the Lobster before dessert.

Mary Smith have been connected here since the beginning but we only met face to face a the Blogger’s Bash in June.. and she was everything that I expected and it was lovely to meet her face to face.

Here are her books and the link to check them out and buy of course:

Mary has requested something by Queen and I hope she likes the track I have selected. Should be an Indie author’s anthem…Buy Queen’s music:

Most of you will know Susan Toy and how must time and effort she puts into her promotion of authors and I am very lucky to have featured several times in her Reading Recommendations.

Susan has written some wonderful books that I have read and reviewed and she has brought a very special dessert to the party and an offer for three lucky readers to win a copy of one of her books.

You can check the Bequia books out on Amazon;

A Bequia Lime Pie, and I hope it helps you to further celebrate this great Smorgasbord End of Summer Party you’ve been hosting all weekend, Sally!

I have felt so privileged to have been promoted many times on this blog, and have in turn hosted Sally Cronin and her books on my own blog, Reading Recommendations, where she is one of my All-Star Authors!

Aside from providing the pie (Keep your fork, Prince! – an old Western Canadian joke …), I am also offering a giveaway of all three of my publications (in mobi, ePub or PDF editions).

To enter, all you need do is head over to my blog where I will have reblogged this very post of Sally’s, and comment there, telling me which book you would like to read.

And here is Susan’s music choice which is appropriate for most of us here today. Paperback Writer.

Buy The Beatles Music:

I will select three lucky winners from those comments – one for each title on September 1st.


I will never in this world be able to feature all those that kept me motivated those first few months of blogging but here are one or two more that I would like to say a special thank you to.

Olga Núñez Miret Author/Translator Autora/Traductora began following me in May 2014 and has been a source of wonderful information, book reviews and is now working with me as she translates my book Tales from the Garden into Spanish.

Olga trained in Medicine in Barcelona, Spain, and came to the UK in 1992 (shortly after the Olympics) with the plan of training in psychiatry. She spent quite a few years working in psychiatry (most recently forensic psychiatry), but on the way she studied a few other things (American Literature, Criminology). Early in 2014 she left psychiatry as a full time occupation to explore other avenues, carry on writing and also translate other authors’ books.

In her blog she post about things that interest jer, random thoughts, advice, book reviews, with guests, both alive and classics…

Olga is a prolific author with most of her books available in both English and Spanish and with several in audio.

Here is a selection and you can find all the books, read the reviews and buy t:

Olga has two of her books as FREE downloads and you will find the links to download:








And another that I would like to mention is the lovely Kim Gosselin who has been absent from blogging for a couple of months but who was hugely supportive from the early days onwards.

Kim Gosselin is the oldest of five children, born and raised in the small town of Bay City, Michigan, near the murky blue waters of a bay. She fell in love with reading as a young girl, spending hours in a historic three story library painted in cream.

A multi-award winning author, Kim has written 17 children’s books including Babies of Two, the first in a series for children, mothers and families to share. She is a member of The Author’s Guild and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Find out more at Kim’s Blog:

Here is a small selection of Kim’s books which you can find at this link:

Someone who sends Angel messages and inspiring Haikus our way on a daily basis is Annette Rochelle Aben who has the most infectious smile I have ever seen. Annette pays daily visits to many of us and generously shares on her social media and also by interviewing authors on her radio podcast The Magic Happens.

Most of my life, like since I have been old enough to hold a writing implement, I have loved writing. Other than school assignments, I chose poetry as my favorite way of expressing myself.

A selection of Annette’s books that you can find at:

Fast forward to and through my adulthood, I have done a lot of writing for work in radio, television and newspapers. In addition to writing, I am completely in love with Angels, cooking, making jewelry, photography, cats, listening to music and laughing! Perhaps we have something in common, if so, leave me a comment and let’s connect.
With Love & Gratitude :

I could go on and on featuring the wonderful bloggers who have extended the hand of friendship over the last four years but there is simply not enough time.. And you can bet that I would have missed out one or two of your names in this world…

And time for some music – Annette and Steve Costello both mentioned that they enjoyed Dire Straits so I have selected this track that I hope they and you will enjoy..Details of Steve’s book after the music.

Sultans of Swing:

Steve Costello is the author of the recently published Beyond the Pyre:

About the book

When Catharine and Ben go to their French home in Carcassonne, they meet a woman who looks just like Catharine, with whom she shares an instant affinity. Catharine’s spirit guide, Michael, connects her to ancient Carcassonne and the spirit of Elionor, whose thirteenth-century life entwines with Catharine’s modern one.

Ben is concerned, but a journey of his own leads him to realise that not only Elionor’s and Catharine’s lives are interlinked, but his own and those of a whole group of people they know in the present world.

A terrifying encounter with two false friends from the past – centuries past – and meetings with their age-old selves pull Ben and Catharine into the ancient crusades against the Cathar faith, to unearth a long-hidden secret. Can they defeat the evil twins, Les Deux, rewrite history and save their present, or will history repeat itself, 800 years in the future?

Find out more about Steve and his books and buy :

I am afraid that there is simply not enough time or space to mention everyone who has been with me for the last four years. However, you all mean the world to me and I would not be so inspired to keep on writing without you.  Thank you a million times over and I hope I have not left anyone out.

Thank you so much to everyone who has dropping in over the last three days. There have been so many music requests that I will be putting a couple of posts together later in the week to feature as many as possible along with your links.

To finish off the show today another one of my favourites and sums up how I feel after three days of partying with you.. I think it says it all.  Join the rest of these guys by getting up and clapping along..

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Wednesday 9th August 2017 – Susan Toy, Annette Rochelle Aben, D.G. Kaye with Tina Frisco, Sue Vincent with Judith Barrow

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Welcome to a handful of blog posts that I have enjoyed over the last couple of days. I hope you will head over and read all the post and also follow the blogger in question.

Susan Toy​ is turning her wisdom about the world of books towards a fundamental ability we all should be thankful we have been taught. Being able to read is a gift that millions around the world do not have. But learning how words are put together to make a sentence is one thing.. understanding that sentence is another.

Here is an extract from the post

READING will now become the focus, and I plan to write a series of posts on various aspects of the subject, both from my own perspective and that of other readers. My recent blog post, How to Help an Author received an incredible number (for me) of views, likes, shares, and reblogs – plus many comments, so I can see I’m heading in the right direction with this idea. (I’ve been trying to get this series going for a long time now … This time for sure, Rocky!)

I won’t be discussing any longer the issues of how to write, edit, get published, or promote books. I believe I’ve written myself out on those topics and there are plenty of old posts in the archives of this blog, in case anyone is still interested in reading what I’ve had to say. Besides, many other bloggers and websites continue to offer great advice. I’ll leave it up to them to tell you how it’s all done.

Read the complete post and find out more about what is to come:

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

This week there have been a number of posts that will touch the hearts and minds of all of us. They are stories of people’s lives and how they now look back on times when they felt powerless or treated badly. But they are also inspiring.

The first is from poet, author and broadcaster Annette Rochelle Aben who is writing an open letter to her former husband.

Dear Dan,

Got the call last night, that they put you in the hospital again. This time, they found you lying in bed with a knife by your side. When asked what your intentions were, you told them that you were thinking of hurting yourself. Naturally, the Doctors said to bring you in at once.

They counted your meds and found that it had been over a month since you took them regularly. The hallucinations became your reality and there was no amount of logic that could convince you otherwise. You’ve allowed yourself to shrivel into a caricature of a human being, looking and acting decades older than your 67 years. Your guardians said that we wouldn’t even recognize you. But remember, we saw you at Christmas and while you did look a little worse for the wear, your mind was clearer than it had been in years and you were having a grand time.

You are in the best place possible for where you are mentally and emotionally. They will take care of you, see that you take your medications and that you will connect with people. This may not cure you but it is designed to help you regain your strength so you can live on your own, in your own home.

Read the rest of this letter which whilst very personal to Annette and her ex-husband could well apply to so many battling mental illness :

The next post is from Tina Frisco on the subject of forgiveness and was posted on D.G. Kaye.. Debby Gies blog.

As many of you know, I enjoy sharing posts here by Tina Frisco. And I was elated at Tina’s agreement to write a guest post to feature here today while I’m knee-deep in re-writes on my newest book.

Tina has an inner wisdom, which opens our eyes to simple things we often take for granted, or sometimes hold a place within us that we sometimes struggle with but may not be able to come to terms with. In this post, Tina shares her experience with finding forgiveness and methods she utilizes to delve deep within her soul to find resolution.

We tend to think of the rational as a higher order, but it is the emotional that marks our lives. One often learns more from ten days of agony than from ten years of contentment.” –Merle Shain, Canadian journalist and author, 1935-1989

Forgiveness is the highest form of virtue. It requires a strong and open heart. It challenges faith, trust, and understanding. It demands a willingness to let go of judgment. It moves us into compassion and elevates our consciousness. It fashions a deeper awareness of ourselves and others. Its gift is a more peaceful and fruitful life lived here on Mother Earth.

Forgiving someone a deep hurt is one of the most difficult challenges I have had to face.

Read the rest of Tina’s post on the need to forgive:

Excerpt Week is going very well with many authors in our community sharing excerpts from their latest books. Sue Vincent is hosting Judith Barrow with an excerpt from her upcoming

This morning, I’d like to welcome Judith Barrow, who is sharing an excerpt from her latest book, A Hundred Tiny Threads, which is now available for pre-order. I know you’ll enjoy this one, and will remember to share hither and yon, as you can. Thanks so much, and thanks, Judith, for taking part in #ExcerptWeek. Welcome!


Gritty family saga set in Lancashire in the 1900s and Ireland at the time of the Black and Tans.

Winifred is a determined young woman eager for new experiences, for a life beyond the grocer’s shop counter ruled over by her domineering mother. When her friend Honora – an Irish girl, with the freedom to do as she pleases – drags Winifred along to a suffragette rally, she realises that there is more to life than the shop and her parents’ humdrum lives of work and grumbling.

Bill Howarth’s troubled childhood echoes through his early adult life and the scars linger, affecting his work, his relationships and his health. The only light in his life comes from a chance meeting with Winifred, the daughter of a Lancashire grocer. The girl he determines to make his wife.

Meeting Honora’s intelligent and silver-tongued medical student brother turns Winifred’s heart upside down and she finds herself pregnant. Bill Howarth reappears on the scene offering her a way out.

Read the Excerpt from A Hundred Tiny Threads by Judith Barrow:

Thank you for dropping in and I hope you will follow the links to read the complete posts and leave your feedback.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air Your Reviews – Annette Rochelle Aben and Hugh W. Roberts

Welcome to the review post and the first author celebrating some great feedback is Annette Rochelle Aben. Her book Angel Messages: A Wing and a Prayer was reviewed this week by Robbie Cheadle on her blog.

About the book

This book is a terrific way to share some Angel love with someone who needs a lift, a hug, a smile or that person who loves Angels. It is filled with pictures, prayers and poems that bring the Angel Messages to you.

From the Author…

Angels are real! Some say Angels have saved their lives, comforted them in their darkest moments and even appeared before them in physical form. I am one of those who believes in Angels. My personal testimony is here in Angel Messages, along with prayers that I have used to thank, summon and to send Angels to others when asked.

The beautiful photographs of Angels inside, are designed to evoke deep personal connections. Allow yourself to be inspired with a wing and a prayer by the love of the Angels. Share this book with others. Keep a copy close to you so you will always have an Angel at the ready. Let it refresh your body, mind and spirit Believe that Angels and Spirit guides are always there for you whenever you call, and so they shall.

Robbie Cheadles Review:

Have you ever felt sad and alone? Do you ever feel as if life is overwhelming you and you need someone or something to lift you up and help you conquer adversity? Do you believe in the inherent goodness of humans and life?

We are all people living in a very fast paced world and we all have times when we feel sad and alone, stressed and anxious and as if everything we touch turns out negatively. It is at these times that you most need a wonderful book like Angel Messages: a wing and a prayer to lift you up and restore your faith in life. I can remember my oldest son telling me one Christmas time that Santa Claus is the milk of human kindness and that is why he is so magical. Angel Messages reminds me of that comment.

Whether your faith in the milk of human kindness is in desperate need of restoration or you just want a happy and uplifting start to your day, Angel Messages is a superb read. Filled with Annette Rochelle Aben’s beautifully crafted haiku’s, poems and messages of encouragement, it is a book to treasure. I am using it as a book of meditations.

One of my favourite haiku’s in the book is:

“Angels blend right in,

Awaiting your call for help,

With wings to lift you.”

Also by Annette Rochelle Aben

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

Connect to Annette via her blog:

The next author to receive a terrific review is Hugh W. Roberts for his short story collection Glimpses.

About the collection

After publishing some of his short stories on his blog, Hugh W. Roberts, who suffers from dyslexia, received numerous requests to publish his short stories in a book.

Here, at last, are 28 short stories that will take your mind on a rollercoaster of a ride into worlds that conceal unexpected twists and turns.

‘Glimpses’ allows the reader a peek into the lives of everyday people who are about to have life lead them on an unpredicted path. From a mysterious deadly iPad app, to a hole in the fence that is not all it seems, to a strange lipstick that appears to have a life of its own, you will encounter terror, laughter, sadness, shock and many other emotions on journeys which promise a thrilling and gripping climax.

If you are a lover of shows such as ‘The Twilight Zone’ and ‘Tales Of The Unexpected’, then you’re in for a real treat with this first collection of short stories from Hugh.

Dare you take a glimpse into the lives of these unsuspecting characters?

Colleen M. Chesebro rated Five Stars on Goodreads.

I was excited to begin reading Glimpses because recently, I have found a new love for short stories – especially written by a British author. I lived in England for a few years back in the early 1980’s, and I think my love of the country and people is rekindled by these stories. I could quickly read a few stories each night which fit my schedule perfectly. The author writes in numerous genres which I also found to be a pleasant surprise.

Glimpses literally gives the reader a brief look into the lives of everyday individuals who experience anything but the ordinary. Each story leads you into a different situation with different characters. Although, there is a four-part murder mystery included that I found to be an extraordinary read. I almost fell out of bed with the final reveal in the serial!

One of my favorite stories was The Last Train to Aldwych, where Grace Simmons meets the same ghost every year on the same date on the London Underground. I shivered in delight anticipating how the story would be told. Instead, I found a surprise ending that left me excited to read more. In fact, each tale had a twist or surprise which made for a satisfying read.

A couple of the stories evoked scary memories of Rod Serling and the Twilight Zone, a show I had watched as a teenager. Don’t be surprised if you don’t hear the haunting melody of the introduction music playing in your mind as you read. I know, I did!

I enjoyed this collection of short stories and if you love your fiction filled with a hint of suspense along with some “shock and awe,” Glimpses is the book for you.


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

 Read all the reviews on Goodreads:

Read other reviews and buy the book:

Hugh W. Roberts

Connect to Hugh via his blog:

Thank you for dropping by and if you have just received a great review, don’t keep it to yourself.. share it with me and my readers. Send me a note with a link to