Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Wednesday 11th September 2019 – M.J. Mallon with Frank Prem, Bette A. Stevens, Amy Reade with Andi Cumbo-Floyd


This series is an opportunity to showcase posts from around our community and the brilliant bloggers who share with us. It would be amazing if you would follow the links to the post I have highlighted and whilst visiting follow and support the blogger.

The first post is from author Marjorie Mallon who invited poet Frank Prem over for a chat.

About Frank Prem

Frank Prem has been a storytelling poet for forty years. When not writing or reading his poetry to an audience, he fills his time by working as a psychiatric nurse.

He has been published in magazines, e-zines and anthologies, in Australia and in a number of other countries, and has both performed and recorded his work as ‘spoken word’.

Frank has published two collections of free verse poetry – Small Town Kid (2018) and Devil In The Wind (2019).

He and his wife live in the beautiful township of Beechworth in northeast Victoria (Australia).

Good morning Marje, (at least it’s morning over here in Beechworth, the little town where I live in Australia).

Good morning Frank. So lovely to welcome you to my blog…

Your tagline ‘There are stories all around me’ really appeals to me. I agree with this one hundred percent! With so much inspiration everywhere how do you decide what to write about?

I suspect I may end up being a little indirect in my answer to this, Marje.

I decided a long time ago in my writing development that I should adopt a philosophy along the lines of – no single thing, however great or small, should be discarded from acting as the source of a poem. A story.

As a result, I’ve found myself writing about a snail crawling across the inner forest of a head of broccoli from my garden, about the king of the lizards running around in pursuit of life and death matters on my back veranda. The clouds and the sky.

Literally everything I encounter feels as though it has the potential to captivate, and there are days when I can’t switch that sense off. I see these stories everywhere.

One of the reasons I developed such an affinity for the small, I think, comes from my childhood and adolescence, where I was very conscious of coming from a small town, being a small fish, and yet feeling (of course) as though I was in the very centre of the functioning universe.

I decided that small needed to be celebrated, and I started by purposefully incorporating local place names in my poetry. Little locales of only a handful of people, but a name made real by being included in a poem.

Sometimes that seems enough.

The link below will take you to a poem I wrote about a possible World Tour I might undertake if ever I had a poetry ‘hit’. The idea of appearing and performing to sell-out crowds in these little places that sometimes consisted of nothing more than a hall and some scattered farms amused me enormously at the time. I’m a little gobsmacked, now, by the cheekiness of my then self, given that I’ve begun actively seeking out exactly such places as these to host readings and performances. . .

Please head over to check out the poem on the possible world tour and read the entire interview: https://mjmallon.com/2019/09/07/author-interview-frank-prem-storytelling-poet

Read the other reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B074CDJPY9   Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon 

Books by Frank Prem

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Frank-Prem/e/B07L61HNZ4 Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Frank-Prem/e/B07L61HNZ4  Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18679262.Frank_Prem blog: https://frankprem.wordpress.com/

Maine’s Mooshead Lake, Hiking, Haiku, here, there and everywhere –

As a nature lover, teacher, reader and writer I often took my class on nature walks with clipboards, pencils and plenty of paper in hand. A great, creative writing project to do with the grandkids! Goal: each person finds something interesting and inspiring. It might be a flower, a tree, an insect. Subjects in the great outdoors are unlimited. Take notes, usually a list, word web or other diagram about one or two of the most interesting things you’ve observed.
The next post is from children’s author Bette A. Stevens who shares a magical field trip that brought children and nature together in a wonderful way.

Head over and read the rest of the post: https://4writersandreaders.com/2012/07/30/maines-moosehead-lake-hiking-haiku-here-there-and-everywhere

Books by Bette A. Stevens.

Pure Trash Bette Stevens

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Bette-A.-Stevens/e/B009GOYT1M Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bette-A.-Stevens/e/B009GOYT1M  Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6037707.Bette_A_Stevens

The next post is from author Amy Reade and her guest is fellow writer Andi Cumbo-Floyd

Today I welcome author Andi Cumbo-Floyd to Reade and Write. Andi’s books are not like the ones I typically have on my blog, but I have a feeling you’re going to find her work really compelling. She is the author of the new release, The Boy Who Could See Stars, and I’ll let her tell you a little more about it and her other books.

Congratulations on your latest release! Tell us a little about the book, The Boy Who Could See Secrets.

The book tells the story of 12-year-old Jedidiah Wilson and his imaginary friend Mavis, who is 63. Jed has always been able to see things people wanted to keep hidden, and one day, he sees a figure in the woods and follows her. He then takes his first journey through time. When he returns, he fills Mavis in, and they begin a great adventure to save their new friends.

This is my first middle grade book, and I find that very exciting. I have a son who is a toddler, so I enjoyed imagining him as a 12-year-old – who is much like his dad – and thinking about reading this book with him when’s he’s older. Plus, Mavis is modeled after my mother, Ruth, who died when she was 63. I love to have the opportunity to imagine how she might be with her grandson.

Who is the audience for the book? – find out more and about Andi: https://amreade.wordpress.com/2019/09/10/author-spotlight-andi-cumbo-floyd/

A selection of books by Amy Reade

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Amy-M.-Reade/e/B00LX6ASF2 – Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Amy-M.-Reade/e/B00LX6ASF2  Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8189243.Amy_M_Reade

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will head over and enjoy these posts as much as I did.. thanks Sally.

 

 

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Mary Smith and Bette A. Stevens


Welcome to the first of the cafe and bookstore updates this week with reviews for some of the authors on the shelves.

And the first author today is Mary Smith and a recent review for a wonderful novel No More Mulberries that I can also highly recommend..

About the book

No More Mulberries is a story of commitment and divided loyalties, of love and loss, set against a country struggling through transition.

British-born Miriam’s marriage to her Afghan doctor husband is heading towards crisis. Despite his opposition, she goes to work as a translator at a medical teaching camp in a remote area of rural Afghanistan hoping time apart will help are see where their problems lie. She comes to realise how unresolved issues from when her first husband was killed by a mujahideen group are damaging her relationship with her husband and her son – but is it already too late to save her marriage?

A recent review for the book on Goodreads.

Jul 09, 2019 James rated it it was amazing Five Stars

No More Mulberries is an international contemporary drama written by Mary Smith and published in 2009. The story focuses on Miriam, a Scottish midwife, who has married two men from Afghanistan during her lifetime. The tale unfolds by jumping time frames across different chapters to share the reasons why Miriam’s life has become what it is today. At times, her days have been heartbreaking, and at others, they have been an admirable source of strength. I chose this book because I’d seen many positive reviews and it fit the parameters for my month of international and/or autobiographical reads. Let’s chat more about this complex and wonderful story…

Miriam had a wonderful husband and life, but he passed away. She had a young son to raise in Afghanistan during a difficult period in the country’s history, especially for a red-haired Scottish woman with strong beliefs about how things should be. Knowledgeable in medicine, she won over some of the village, yet she always knew she was viewed differently. Then, she remarried and had another child with the second husband. At first, they had a strong love. Although she’d converted to Muslim, her husband, Iqbal was careful to find a balance between his beliefs and her beliefs. While he could be strict, he was by no means radical or excessively controlling of his wife. As tension rises between them, Miriam revisits her past to understand why her first husband died. Through the process, her eyes are opened about her own blame in the new marriage as well as as what truly happened to her first beloved.

The story is rich with a supporting cast who provide laughter, love, fear, and pain. Smith eloquently shares a culture and a lifestyle with her audience, some who may know little about the Muslim faith or Afghani culture. While I’ve read a few other books focusing on this part of the world, they tended to stick to the religious aspects of the Middle East rather than the social aspects. I was glad to experience a different side of the life through this story and the author’s wonderful ability to showcase both the good and the bad.

Questions of parenting, forgiveness, pain, tolerance, and curiosity quickly enter a reader’s mind. What will become of someone who defies her husband? Who will stand by you when you have no one else to trust? How do you ensure the village listens to your advice on bearing a child when the culture dictates the complete opposite solution? This novel helped me understand a different mindset, and while it wasn’t necessarily one I agree with or support, I found a balance of alternative ideas and options to push me to think more critically. It’s a great experience, and one we should all have when reading a book about something different than our own knowledge.

A great find, and something that would be a benefit for all readers with an open mind, a curiosity about life outside their own culture, and a small glimpse into the world that many know from the outside but little know from the inside.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/No-More-Mulberries-Mary-Smith-ebook/dp/B005RRDZ12

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/No-More-Mulberries-Mary-Smith/dp/1849234205

A selection of other books by Mary Smith

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Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mary-Smith/e/B001KCD4P0

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Smith/e/B001KCD4P0

Read more reviews and follow Mary on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5239367.Mary_Smith

Connect to Mary via her blog: https://marysmithsplace.wordpress.com/

And finally an early review for the latest release by Bette A. Stevens…A poetry and photographic collection… My Maine.

About My Maine

Inspired by The Pine Tree State—Maine’s diverse landscape, natural beauty, rural communities, and independent people—the author’s 150 haiku poems, along with her photographs, reflect the Maine she knows and loves. Bette A. Stevens’s imagery draws the reader into her world of wonder and delight. My Maine takes readers on a poetic journey through Maine’s four seasons. Whether you’re a native Mainer or from away, Stevens’s short story poems and photographs will resonate.

The collection opens with a haiku tribute, “Maine Pines and People.” The journey continues with the rejuvenating spirit of “Spring Awakenings” and “Summer Songs”; then on to more of the magic and majesty of the places and people of Maine in “Autumn Leaves” and “Winter Tales.” This is a poetry collection to be slowly savored, made even more delectable with the author’s original drawings and photographs. In addition to its poems and photographs, My Maine includes state symbols and interesting facts about The Pine Tree State.

One of the early reviews for the collection

Reading My Maine: Haiku through the Seasons makes you feel as if you are taking a delightful stroll through the state of Maine in the USA. The poet takes the reader on a picturesque tour of this region using the medium of interconnected haiku’s to vividly describe the landscape and seasonal changes.

The book is divided into sections with the first section, The Pine Tree State, setting the environmental scene. My favourite verse in this small section described the majestic pine trees as:
“Pragmatic figures
Independence their calling
Rugged yet limber”

Spring Awakenings, the second section, describes the beauty of the countryside during spring and the poet’s amazement at the natural delights that she discovers daily. This series of haiku’s ends on a spectacular note as follows:
“Standing ovation
Awaiting next performance
Tulip petals bow”

Summer songs builds on the joy of spring and also introduces the reader to the power of American patriotism, a feature of American life that always pleases me greatly and is described by the poet in these words:
“American flags
Wave – God Bless America
Homage to the land.”

Autumn Leaves depicts the bright colours and splendor of the autumn season with this particular haiku presenting it perfectly for my mind’s eye:
“Splashed across woodlands
Blazing brush transforms the world
Into a canvas”

Winter Tales rounds the reader’s journey off with its appealing depictions of winter life in Maine, with its copious snow and the pleasures of Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, indulged in by the community as a whole. The following haiku perfectly captured the spirit of community present in this region:
“Neighbors, helping hands
Compassion – love in action
As storm clouds gather”

This book is embellished with some lovely photographs and some interesting facts about the state of Maine.

A truly delightful book and one I highly recommend to lovers of poetry and, in particular, well written haiku.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07SSNDL5L

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Maine-Haiku-through-Seasons-ebook/dp/B07SSNDL5L

Books by Bette A. Stevens

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

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

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

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

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books under your arm… Sally.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New book on the Shelves #Poetry #Photography – My Maine by Bette A. Stevens


Delighted to share the news of the latest release by Bette A. Stevens…A poetry and photographic collection… My Maine.

About My Maine

Inspired by The Pine Tree State—Maine’s diverse landscape, natural beauty, rural communities, and independent people—the author’s 150 haiku poems, along with her photographs, reflect the Maine she knows and loves. Bette A. Stevens’s imagery draws the reader into her world of wonder and delight. My Maine takes readers on a poetic journey through Maine’s four seasons. Whether you’re a native Mainer or from away, Stevens’s short story poems and photographs will resonate.

The collection opens with a haiku tribute, “Maine Pines and People.” The journey continues with the rejuvenating spirit of “Spring Awakenings” and “Summer Songs”; then on to more of the magic and majesty of the places and people of Maine in “Autumn Leaves” and “Winter Tales.” This is a poetry collection to be slowly savored, made even more delectable with the author’s original drawings and photographs. In addition to its poems and photographs, My Maine includes state symbols and interesting facts about The Pine Tree State.

Head over and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07SSNDL5L

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Maine-Haiku-through-Seasons-ebook/dp/B07SSNDL5L

About Bette A. Stevens

Inspired by nature and human nature, Bette A. Stevens is an author, retired teacher, wife, mother of two and grandmother of five. Stevens lives in Central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys writing, reading, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature.

She advocates for children and childhood literacy and for monarch butterflies, an endangered species. Stevens’s children’s activity book, THE TANGRAM ZOO and WORD PUZZLES TOO!, was first published in 1997 by Windswept House Publishing, Mt. Desert, ME; a second edition was self-published by the author in 2012. AMAZING MATILDA, Stevens’s second children’s book, self-published in 2012 won a 2013 Purple Dragonfly Book Award (Honorable Mention for Excellence in Children’s Literature – Ages 6 and older category) and also placed #9 on The 2013 Gittle List for Self-published Children’s Picture Books.

Stevens has written articles for ECHOES, The Northern Maine Journal of Rural Culture based in Caribou, Maine. In 2013, the author published her first book for the YA/Adult audience: PURE TRASH: The story, a short story of a boy growing up in rural New England and prequel to DOG BONE SOUP, debut novel released January 2015.

Books by Bette A. Stevens

One of the recent reviews for Amazing Matilda

Lisa Kradjian 5.0 out of 5 stars What a lovely story! April 30, 2019

“Amazing Matilda” is a simple story about a caterpillar who wants to fly, but is told — and illustrated — so beautifully. Flowers, insects, animals and more are described in caring detail. We root for Matilda but cherish the advice her friends give her “Be patient and trust your instincts.” Advice for us all! Bravo.

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

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

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

Connect to Bette A. Stevens.

Website: https://4writersandreaders.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorBetteAStevens
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BetteAStevens

Thank you for dropping in today and it would be wonderful if you could share the news of her new book.. thanks Sally.