Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Weekly Round Up – Social Media Shenanigans, Spring Flowers, Mexican Getaways, Italian Food, music, humour and Fabulous Guests


Welcome to the weekly round up of posts that you might have missed.

Firstly, an update on the Facebook debacle which only gets worse I am afraid. I know that several of you have been hit by blocked posts that contain links and are still having issues. I can comment, and share posts internally on Facebook but post links are still being blocked.

Disturbingly today that included the link to Debby Gies Sunday Interview which I sent to her in a Direct Message… supposedly private! It was blocked and in bold red told me that it did not meet community standards. I have appealed of course but it does have a warning for us all. Do not disclose private information in a direct message. For example if as they say Facebook is selling our data to health insurance companies, and we mention in a private message about a health issue we have to a friend, and then apply for insurance! Does that sound paranoid? Probably. What about your email address that you send in a message, or your postal address and the dates you will be away on vacation.

I had no illusions about Facebook but they have now embarked on a wholesale censorship programme that is unacceptable. They want you to have a page where they can bombard you with messages to boost your post to thousands of others at a cost. And they want to encourage you to buy from one of their advertisers and when you do, by all accounts you never hear the last of them.

I have friends and family on Facebook and I can at least for the time being share your posts from there. But over the next few weeks as MeWe grows and develops mewe.com/i/sallycronin and the author’s group which now has nearly 50 members https://mewe.com/join/theliterarydivashangout – I will be only using Facebook sparingly to stay in touch and to share others work internally. Eventually, I will be closing my account as I won’t be blackmailed or have any more of my private messages intercepted.

On a brighter note.. I have done the sums and the statistics show that the referrals to the blog is approximately 10%…thankfully most of those who share from Facebook are also contacts on Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or other sites that I am a member of such as MeWe. My main concern was for the book promotions that I post for other authors but after two weeks there has been no change to the response which is a relief.

Thank you for all your support and I appreciate all the shares to FB from here in the past, but I have now permanently removed the share button, as I don’t want you to be faced with messages from FB telling you that it is not allowed. They are intimidating and offer not recourse so I am done.

And as an aside.. new users are asked for a photograph before they are allowed to sign up for an account. It can take several days to get back to you. But in the meantime with facial recognition they can have mined a great deal of information about who you are and your history online. Whilst this does mean that the fake generals and other trolls will not be accepted, it also means that they can pick and choose who they admit to the site and if you do not fit their profile as a potential buyer of the advertising that they send your way… who knows where it will lead!

It is now affecting millions of users and you might find this post interesting sourced by Carol Taylor: https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/135476927/posts/1232

On with the posts from the week, and as always I am very grateful to the contributors who spend time and a great deal of effort to write columns and guest articles.

Welcome to Debby Gies March edition of her Travel Column where she shares the first part of her trip and two month vacation in Puerto Vallarta in Mexico.. and the flight did not go as planned!

 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/11/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-travel-column-with-d-g-kaye-puerto-vallarta-mexico-part-one/

This week Paul Andruss shares the bulbs that will make your late spring garden abundant with colour.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/16/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-gardening-column-with-paul-andruss-light-up-your-life-with-brilliant-late-spring-bulbs-3/

This week my guest is regular contributor non-fiction author D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies who reveals her contents of her purse, fashion sense, strangest dream and her love (hate) of the vacuum!

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/17/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-sunday-interview-getting-to-know-author-d-g-kaye

This week Silvia Todesco shares a fabulous recipe for oven baked, bacon wrapped cod which has to be a family favourite..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/17/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-silvia-todesco-italian-cookery-oven-baked-bacon-wrapped-cod-fish-light-crunchy-and-so-good/

This week we look at the health benefits of honey… and Carol Taylor uses this as an ingredient in some stunning dishes.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/13/smorgasbord-health-rewind-cook-from-scratch-with-sally-cronin-and-carol-taylor-honey-nectar-of-the-gods/

A new series looking at ‘One Hit Wonders‘ from the 1950s onwards….this week ‘Lollipop’ by Ronald and Ruby…who were they, were are they now?

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/12/smorgasbord-music-column-new-series-one-hit-wonders-lollipop-ronald-ruby-1958/

My response to Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 127 and this week the prompt words are ‘Follow and Lead’…. I have chosen ‘Succeed and Hint’ as my synonyms.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/13/smorgasbord-poetry-colleen-chesebros-weekly-poetry-challenge-etheree-how-to-succeed-in-life-by-sally-cronin/

A further look at the rights as laid down by the United Nation that we should all be entitled to, but have an obligation to protect.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/13/something-to-think-about-the-rs-of-life-survival-in-a-modern-world-our-rights-to-personal-freedom/

It is March 1986 and we drive back from Atlanta in one day.. and attend a BBQ cookout in Conroe Texas, this is my letter home to my parents in the UK.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/14/smorgasbord-letters-from-america-1985-1987-road-trip-atlanta-houston-and-bbq-cookout-1986/

This week’s Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills involves a chisel…as a noun or a verb… you will also enjoy Charli’s description of the thaw that is occurring on her finger (or thumb) that reaches out in to Lake Superior- here is my response – The Dancer.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/16/smorgasbord-short-stories-carrot-ranch-flash-fiction-the-dancer-by-sally-cronin/

Before you Get Started on your weight loss programme– Managing People, Environment and your expectations

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/16/smorgasbord-health-column-size-matters-the-sequel-before-you-get-started-managing-people-environment/

This week Balroop Singh shares her experience of arranged marriages and her own happy relationship.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/11/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-why-i-married-at-23sometimes-we-do-make-wrong-decisions-by-balroop-singh/

This week Darlene Foster finds and visits the grave of her great-great-grandmother.

DSCN0188

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/12/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-a-special-resting-place-by-darlene-foster/

In this post Jennie Fitzkee shares the connections that she was able to make between reading Little House on the Prairie and her own grandfather from a similar era and his experiences of mining.

image

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/13/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-one-picture-for-a-thousand-words-by-jennie-fitzkee/

This week Robbie Cheadle shares a wonderful poem that she wrote on 9th of February 2017 which was her sixteenth Wedding Anniversary…

wedding-photo-1

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/14/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-contrasting-colours-a-poem-for-my-wedding-anniversary-by-robbie-cheadle/

Sharon Marchisello shares the strategies that her mother employed to make the most of every penny.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/15/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-remembering-my-frugal-mother-by-sharon-marchisello/

Bette Stevens shares a moving poem in tribute to her mother.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/16/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-poetry-thank-you-mama-by-bette-a-stevens/

New book on the shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/12/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-how-dare-the-birds-sing-book-one-in-the-love-and-fate-series-1-by-marina-osipova/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/14/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-a-very-special-house-by-thea-ramsay/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/15/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-pre-order-special-price-the-princes-protege-the-five-kingdoms-book-three-by-deborah-jay/

Author Updates – Reviews

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/11/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-updates-reviews-john-w-howell-jane-risdon-and-christina-jones-and-sue-coletta/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/15/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-offers-joy-lennick-olga-nunez-miret-diana-j-febry-and-richard-dee/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/12/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-and-a-joke-from-my-archives-6/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/14/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-and-a-joke-from-my-archives-7/

Thank you very much for all your support and I would love to hear from you about any of the posts or if you would like some book promotion. .Have a great week.. thanks Sally.

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Smorgasbord Blog Sitting Special – Jacqui Murray on a subject we are all invested in – Blogging


A welcome to Jacqui Murray to the blog sitting series with her first post for Smorgasbord. Most of us are on a learning curve when it comes to blogging, however long we might have been at the task. Jacqui shares some very important elements that are important to remember when posting.

A big thank-you to Sally for hosting me this week. This is my first time as a guest on her blog, Smorgasbord: Variety is the Spice of Life, and I’m so darn excited. I feel like I’ve made the big time! She asked me to blog on anything I wanted–what could be easier? Well, honestly, that isn’t as easy as it sounds for me. I wanted to pick something I’m passionate about but also would appeal to readers and maybe offer something I’ve learned over time.

Blogging. It had to be that.

When I started blogging, I thought it was journaling–writing about my life and times. It can be, and for some it is, but that didn’t work for me. I’m pretty boring. My life has all the charm of a car alarm. There is no hyperbole in my life and the posts reflected that. I sought insight by reading the blogs of other writers and realized I don’t have to talk about myself (big big sigh of happiness). What works better for me is sometimes sharing my experiences but more often sharing those of virtual friends who are working through the tedious process of writing/editing/publishing/marketing.

Then the next epiphany hit me: I couldn’t simply show up online, spout off, and slink away. It’s complicated (I see you-all nodding). I could have quit–it was getting to be a lot like work–but I enjoyed the blogging and the like-minded souls I met online. I learned a lot about writing by doing it often (writing novels takes years. Blogging is weekly. What a difference). So I honed my skill.

Now, years later, there are a few items I wished I’d known early rather than late. Let me share them with you:

  • Only reblog 10% of someone else’s post. If you’re on WordPress and push the ‘reblog’ button, they take care of that for you. But if you copy someone’s post and give them attribution, you blew it. You have to get permission if you are reposting more than 10% of someone else’s work. I learned that the hard way.
  • Hot links are bad. What’s a ‘hot link’ you say? That’s when you use a picture on your blog that’s posted on some other server. I don’t do that–I don’t even know how to do it. Let me posit a scenario. You find an image (in the public domain–you’re careful and always legal) that you like. You drag it to your blog post and drop it. It looks great. What a wonderful shortcut to save-insert-find media you usually have to do. But that’s hotlinking. Your picture is hosted on someone else’s site, using their internet resources. At some point in the future, you’ll bring up that beautiful picture and it will have disappeared because the people hosting it deleted it from their servers. This, like ‘reblog 10%’, I learned the hard way (thank you, Jack Reacher, for that term).
  • It takes a long time to write a post. Most bloggers start out journaling–chatting about their life. When they get few readers, less comments, and realize they’re talking to an empty room, they give up blogging as another failed experiment on the pathway to success. Blogging is no longer journaling. These days, successful blogs (and I want the blog that promotes my books to be successful) focus on a theme, their popularity closely tied to the author’s voice and/or resources provided. Readers don’t want to see typos or grammar errors, or waste their time. When your brain starts throbbing like a hand slammed in a car door–that’s when you realize blogging is a lot like work.

  • Be myself. Let my voice take over. Like with any author you love, it’s not so much the plot they choose (there really are only so many plots) as how the author delivers it. That’s voice and that’s why readers keep coming back to your blog.
  • It’s easier than it sounds. So many of my fellow writers think blogging takes hours a day. It does, but only as you’re getting settled. Then, you get into a rhythm:
  1. Jot an idea down as a ‘draft post’
  2. Flesh it out when the muse hits. That’s the problem, you say. You don’t have       time to let ‘the muse hit’. I’m going to respectfully disagree, even though I don’t know you that well. You are a writer. The muse always lurks in your subconscious, ready with her opinions, attitudes, annoyances. You have trained yourself to ignore her, but now it’s time for a new habit. Write when you want–whatever comes out. In this case, flesh out the blog post.
  3. Review and schedule the post.
  • It’s harder than it sounds. You have to pay attention to proper writing skills, be careful to not plagiarize content, be a friend to ebuddies, be constantly and brilliantly inspired, and be a tech genius who can fix all those geeky things that make social media work. Yikes!

 

When I first posted this, readers shared their blogging experiences. Which ones resonate with you:

  1. I agonize over pushing the “publish” button.
  2. I needed more tools on how to blog. I wish I’d researched more.
  3. It’s a learning experience.
  4. Keep up a regular schedule of posts (at least one a week). This is the difference between 10 views and 100. Once a week minimally.
  5. I schedule my posts a week in advance, so it fits better with my life.
  6. The first time I blogged, I gave up because I did not know it took time to build a readership.This time, I’m ready.
  7. I like to think of blogging as using your non-dominant hand – it sharpens all facets of my writing brain.
  8. It is hard work, but anything worthwhile is.
  9. I wish I’d set up an email address just for my blog.
  10. Keep personal information private. It’s tempting to hang it all out there but don’t.
  11. Respond to comments. Read readers blogs. Engage with your community. I had no idea how much time I would spend connecting with other bloggers.
  12. Blogs cost money if done right. If you don’t use one of the all-in-one-free packages (like WordPress), you need hosting, a domain, problem-solving, maintenance help, not to mention SEO guidance.
  13. Your voice is your blog. Don’t be afraid to let it out.
  14. Give lots of credit to others in your posts–especially if you use their material. Linkbacks are easy. Trackbacks bring your blog to the attention of others who might come visit.
  15. Blogging is fun. Make time for it.
  16. Push your blog posts out to your social networks.
  17. Be careful with pictures. If they aren’t in the public domain, you can’t use them without permission. A linkback isn’t sufficient!
  18. Don’t compare yourself to other bloggers.
  19. You’ll want to quit a hundred times as you wait to build readers, gain traction, accomplish your goals. Remind yourself why you started. If that reason hasn’t changed, continue blogging.
  20. Don’t expect to make money blogging. It rarely happens. Do it for other reasons.
  21. Work smarter by using tools that are available: editorial calendars, Hootsuite, Twitterdeck, Google Analytics.
  22. I wish I would have done my homework upfront to research the different blogging platforms and educated myself on the pros and cons.
  23. I had no idea about the communities, linkups, sharing and connecting available to help new and experienced bloggers.
  24. Be proud of what you blog about. If you aren’t, change it.

What would you add to this list? 

©Jacqui Murray 2018

My thanks to Jacqui for this reminder to us all that we need to treat our blogs and those within our community with care and respect.

About Jacqui Murray

Jacqui Murray is the webmaster for Worddreams, her blog about all things writing. She is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the upcoming prehistoric fiction, Born in a Treacherous Time. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for Ask a Tech Teacher an Amazon Vine Voice  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics.

A selection of books by Jacqui Murray

About To Hunt a Sub – Rowe-Delamagnente Thrillers

The USS Hampton SSN 767 quietly floated unseen one hundred fifty-two feet below the ocean’s surface. Its task for the past six months has been reconnaissance and surveillance. The biggest danger the crew faced was running out of olives for their pizza. That all changed one morning, four days before the end of the Hampton’s tour. Halfway through the Captain’s first morning coffee, every system on the submarine shut down. No navigation, no communication, and no defensive measures. Within minutes, the sub began a terrifying descent through the murky greys and blacks of the deep Atlantic and settled to the ocean floor off the coast of Cuba and perilously close to the sub’s crush depth. When it missed its mandated contact, an emergency call went out to retired Navy intel officer, Zeke Rowe, top of his field before a botched mission left him physically crippled and psychologically shaken. Rowe quickly determined that the sub was the victim of a cybervirus secreted inside the sub’s top secret operating systems. What Rowe couldn’t figure out was who did it or how to stop it sinking every other submarine in the American fleet.

Kali Delamagente is a struggling over-the-hill grad student who entered a DARPA cybersecurity competition as a desperate last hope to fund a sophisticated artificial intelligence she called Otto. Though her presentation imploded, she caught the attention of two people: a terrorist intent on destroying America and a rapt Dr. Zeke Rowe. An anonymous blank check to finish her research is quickly followed by multiple break-ins to her lab, a hack of her computer, the disappearance of her three-legged dog, and finally the kidnapping of her only son.

By all measures, Rowe and Delamagente are an unlikely duo. Rowe believes in brawn and Delamagente brains. To save the America they both love, they find a middle ground, guided with the wisdom of a formidable female who died two million years ago.

One of the recent reviews for the book

A fast-paced thriller steeped in intrigue and palaeoanthropology. on December 13, 2017

To hunt a sub by J. Murray mixes military intrigue, the world of academia and a burgeoning romance between an ex-SEAL come professor and an upcoming academic who developed an AI to track the evolution of humans. Oh, and there is a terrorist plot as well.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading this book. From the cover of the book one would expect it would be solely based on the navy, but on reading the blurb, there was much more to this story. For me, I particularly enjoyed the scenes where the AI—Otto, a software program that was developed to locate and identify the evolution and migration of humans from Africa—I found interesting and captivating. The author has clearly done a lot of research into palaeoanthropology, which is evident in the story, as well as into the machinery and workings of US Defence.

The main plot was about a jihadi terrorist intent on destroying US submarines and in turn, the US Defence force. The intertwining sub-plots helped move the story at a brisk pace, there was always something happening, and I learnt a lot about submarines!

Overall, I really enjoyed this story and am about to start book 2 of the Rowe and Delamagente series. Readers who have taste for intrigue and military style stories, will be sweetly surprised by this book.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon Author Page UK

And:  Amazon Author Page US

Connect to Jacqui Murray

Blog: Worddreams,
Twitter: @WordDreams
Goodreads: Jacqui Murray
Pinterest: Ask a Tech Teacher
Amazon author page: Jacqui Murray
My writing website: JacquiMurray.net

Thank you for dropping in and Jacqui would love your feedback. I will catch up with comments on my return in a couple of days.  Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Shout Outs and Sharing by D.G. Kaye


D.G. Kaye – Debby Gies is going to kick the week off with one of her archive posts this morning. Today more of her commonsense guide to working with social media. There is nothing more pleasing, having composed a blog post than to receive feedback in the form of likes and shares.

Shout Outs and Sharing by D.G. Kaye

share me

I’ve been thinking about the share buttons on our blogs. When I first started blogging I wasn’t aware of the importance of these buttons—other than the fact that most of us have them at the bottom of our posts, I felt like they are there merely for someone to click if they wanted to ‘like’ what they had read.

like me

In my earlier blogging days, if I enjoyed a post I always felt that I was letting the writer know so by hitting ‘like’. I didn’t realize the importance of the other ‘share’ buttons until I became a published author. Now, I’m not saying we have to be published authors in order to have our writing appreciated and shared, but this was when I learned to understand the concept of social sharing and the importance of using these buttons.

When writers spend the time writing articles and posting helpful information that can benefit others, isn’t that worth sharing? It’s especially nice for the newcomers to blogging who are always eager to learn new things about their trade. On the same token, those buttons are very precious to help promote the writer’s website. After all, if we didn’t share things, many writers miss out on the chance of having their writing exposed to more readers and followers, not to mention, potential sales for their books.

These buttons offer a chance for someone else to discover the writer’s page, and by sharing on all the various sites, it creates a chain reaction of other readers to enjoy the posts and continue to have these posts ‘shared’ again from the new pages and blogs the original shares are posted in. It’s essentially cyber advertising, FREE advertising.

When I realized how important all the sharing was, I made it a part of my blogging to hit ‘like’ if I enjoyed a post and click share on all the other social media buttons that I have accounts with if I felt a post was newsworthy and especially if I read about a promotion a fellow author was offering at the time to help spread the word for them. It doesn’t cost me anything to do those things and gives my followers who read my tweets, google page, linkedin or facebook, a chance to read something they may not have discovered or a book they may be interested in.

share

I think there may be a lot of bloggers who may be prolific writers but not so well-versed in the techniques of social media; I know I sure was at the beginning of my writing journey. I didn’t realize that when we click on share with twitter etc., that the post I had just read gets posted to my own accounts for others to view, enjoy and pass along. And so I wanted to share what I have learned along this path and perhaps make others aware of the importance of using the social share buttons at the end of our posts.

Now, don’t forget to share! 🙂

©D.G. Kaye 2014

I would second that.. thanks Debby for another reminder that a simple click or two can make someone’s day…. and is usually reciprocated.

This is D.G. Kaye’s latest release in December 2017.

About Twenty Years: After “I Do”.

May/December memoirs.

In this personal accounting, D.G. Kaye shares the insights and wisdom she has accrued through twenty years of keeping her marriage strong and thriving despite the everyday changes and challenges of aging. Kaye reveals how a little creative planning, acceptance, and unconditional love can create a bond no obstacle will break. Kaye’s stories are informative, inspiring, and a testament to love eclipsing all when two people understand, respect, and honor their vows. She adds that a daily sprinkling of laughter is a staple in nourishing a healthy marriage.

Twenty years began with a promise. As Kaye recounts what transpired within that time, she shows that true love has no limits, even when one spouse ages ahead of the other.

Here is one of the recent reviews for the book

“Twenty Years After I Do” is a love story, all the more compelling because it is true. Kaye shines a light under the table, exposing those things many of us prefer to keep out of sight. For all of the unpleasant topics in the book, this is not a depressing journey. She doesn’t say that love concours all, but she shows us, through her own life, that it so often does. More accurately, she explains that love will help us face whatever outcome life gives us.

The author is one of the decreasing number of people who understand that marriage is “ti deathl do us part.” Staying together is not optional, it’s not a choice to be made. That choice was made with the speaking of the words, “I Do.” She shows us that love and humor are tools we can use to overcome obstacles we would have thought unsurmountable.

This is a good read. Reading it has made me feel like I’ve made a friend.
 

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077V386TL

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B077V386TL

Other books by D.G. Kaye

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Read all the reviews and buy the books: http://www.amazon.com/author/dgkaye7

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/D.G.-Kaye/e/B00HE028FO

More reviews and follow Debby on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/dgkaye

About D.G. Kaye

d-g-kayeDebby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.

When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.
I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.

Quotes:
“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”

                 “For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”

When I’m not writing, I’m reading or quite possibly looking after some mundane thing in life. It’s also possible I may be on a secret getaway trip, as that is my passion—traveling.

Connect to Debby Gies

Blog: http://www.dgkayewriter.com
Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/dgkaye7
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/dgkaye
About me: http://www.wiseintro.co/dgkaye7
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/@pokercubster (yes there’s a story)
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/dgkaye7
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dgkaye
Google: http://www.google.com/+DebbyDGKayeGies
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/dgkaye
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/dgkaye7

My thanks to Debby and if you would like to participate in this series of posts from Your archives then here are the details.https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/01/01/happy-new-year-and-the-start-of-the-2018-series-of-smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives/

The Creative Artist Interview – Blogger and Storyteller – Raili Tanska of Soul Gifts


My guest today is blogger and storyteller Raili Tanska of Soul Gifts. Raili is based in Australia and you will find a wide range of topics on her blog to interest everyone including poetry, short stories and articles on health and well-being. Before we get into the interview I asked Raili if she would tell us something more about herself.

This is an interactive interview and Raili will be delighted to answer any of your questions in the comment section of the post.. She will be popping in from time to time over the next couple of days.

Welcome Raili.. and over to you.

The youngest of three, I was born in Jyväskylä, central Finland, in 1952. I have an older sister and brother. My parents decided to emigrate to Australia at a time when things were pretty tough workwise. Dad was a carpenter and work was sporadic. Winter was tough. He travelled to Australia first to check and see if it was worth all of us moving all the way to the other side of the world. To a country far from everyone we knew. Where they a spoke a language we would all have to learn. He decided it was worth it. So Mum and us kids joined him in 1960.

I completed high school with a view to a career in nursing. Well meaning family and friends derailed my plans for a few years. However, I had always dreamed of being a nurse. And that’s exactly what I ended up doing after I had completed some university studies. Having completed my hospital based training in Adelaide, South Australia, I was accepted into the specialty of mental health nursing. I loved it. And that’s where I stayed until my retirement in 2012.

My family moved around a lot when I was growing up, following Dad’s work as a Minister of Religion with the Lutheran Church of Australia working in partnership with the Lutheran Church of Finland. He was ordained into the Church here in Australia having been closely involved with the Church and the Finnish migrants for many years.

I met my husband, also a Finn, in the mining town of Mt Isa, North Queensland. We married young and settled in Adelaide where we have stayed ever since. After fifteen years of unsuccessful attempts to start a family, we took the path of overseas adoption. We are blessed to have two sons. They joined our family from India and the Philippines, Marc as a 5 month old and Christopher as a two year old.

Time to put Raili into the hot seat.

What would you like the visitors to your blog go away with ?

A chuckle, a warm glow in the heart, something to think about, new and interesting information – and a desire to return because they enjoyed their visit

Which four famous guests would you ask to a dinner party and why?

Heston Blumenthal – I would like him to host and cater one of his famous themed feasts. I don’t much care which one. Any will do !
Victor Borge – to entertain us with his musical talent
David Attenborough – to spin many a fascinating yarn and conversation about his vast travels and experiences
Neil Armstrong – to tell us of stardust

If you were offered three wishes to change the world, what would they be?

For all of us to live with each other in

Peace
Harmony
Love

You clearly have a wonderful life in Australia with a multi-cultural extended family. What are the key elements of Australian society you love?

Australia is a BIG continent stretching . Its width is 2,500 miles (4.8 million square miles) with a population of over 23 million. Its landscapes are stunning – oceans, beautiful beaches, islands, awesome coastal views and roads ideal for touristing, snow, mountains, tropical rainforests, deserts, big timber country …. That means there is no end of exciting places to explore.

Our society here is a delightful mix of cultures. Which means that this diversity lends itself so well to learning and enjoying a rich mix of religions, cultures, traditions, heritages, cuisines.

Australia is still a young country in comparison to most with a dark history from its penal settlement beginnings as a nation. There are tensions yet to be resolved between the newcomers and those who preceded us – our Aboriginal population. It has yet to find its niche as a personality, character as a country. It is interesting to live here and see that emerging.

You enjoyed a long career in nursing working within mental health – challenging but also rewarding. You mention that you learned a great deal about life and the universe.. What three key points would you like us to understand about mental health?

Mental health is just another health condition like any other. Just because there are no visible signs of illness does not make it any less worthy of attention and treatment
Those who have been diagnosed with mental health issues find they need to contend with more than just the illness. They are amongst the most disenfranchised of our citizens, often denied access to the most basic of rights, respect and dignity. Yet anyone of us could find ourselves in the same position – in this mental illness does not discriminate

Not everyone who behaves ‘like a madman’ is ‘mad’. There are those who are bad, those who are mad, and those who are mad and bad. Those under the influence of drugs and alcohol are often mistaken as having a mental health condition. More often than not they don’t.

Do you have a wish list of activities you would like to take part in now that you are retired and if so what are the top three?

Oh yes, I have a bucket list!

The top of the tree would have to be to enjoy a White Christmas. Preferably in Finnish Lapland. Whilst there I would like to spend at least one night in one of those stunning glass igloos and skywatch the Aurora Borealis in the warmth and comfort of a cosy bed

And of course whilst up in the Northern Hemisphere I have a list a mile long of places and people I want to visit.

A must do is to enjoy a degustation meal at Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck Restaurant in England. I better start saving !

I asked Raili if there was an extract of a blog post that she would particularly like to share and she chose this very poignant story.

The post that immediately comes to mind is one that I wrote about my father and his wartime experiences. It was an emotional and time consuming journey for me requiring much research. It gave me a whole new understanding of what he experienced and why it affected him as strongly as it did. I called it Too Young For War.

A true story.
Dedicated to my father – Voitto Olavi Pokela
Father’s Day – 4th September 2016

Just 16. They were calling for volunteers. He was eager. He wanted to defend his fatherland. Only to be told he was too young. So he lied about his age and at age 17 was accepted. Like so many others. The consequences of that decision were to haunt him for life. He lived through the horror that was war in Finland between 1939 – 1945. That man was my father.

A machine gunner, he also dug trenches, trudged through freezing winters, battled starvation. Amazingly, given his role and function, he survived. It was in these harsh conditions and limited food supplies that he learnt to eat blue vein cheese. It came supplied with the army rations. Others thought it was cheese gone bad and refused to eat it. He gladly took all of it. It staved the hunger. And he developed a lifelong love for it. He saw action across many parts of Finland from the south to the north in Finnish Lapland.

He called it a dirty war, the one he was in. It was well known that the Russian army did not like to take prisoners. If caught there was a high risk they would be shot just as they did their own troops if they were caught retreating. It made the Finnish soldiers fight all the harder to avoid capture and almost certain death.

Read the rest of this fascinatingly detailed post of historical interest as well as the personal story of Raili’s father: https://soulgifts.com.au/2016/09/03/too-young-for-war/

Connect to Raili

Blog – https://soulgifts.com.au
Facebook –  https://www.facebook.com/SoulGifts
LinkedIn – https://au.linkedin.com/pub/raili-tanska/72/a46/651

My thanks to Raili for joining me today and I hope you will head over and follow her blog if you are not already doing so. Here are details about the Creative Artist Interviews.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/02/05/new-series-smorgasbord-creative-artist-interview-musicians-bloggers-artists-photographers/

If you are an author then you can find details of the Book Reading at the Cafe and Bookstore in this directory.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore/

Thank you for dropping in and please spread the news about Raili’s blog as far and wide as possible.

Please leave any questions that you have for Raili in the comments.. thanks Sally

Welcome to the party – Meet and Greet – Nashville sights and sounds, authors and life’s challenges


Welcome to this week’s selection of bloggers that I have crossed paths with this week.

meet and greet

Hangout Nashville will be a one-stop-shop for specific events in the Nashville, Brentwood, and Franklin area. This website will track events from music festivals, car shows, food events to much, much more. The purpose of this is to provide an array of activities that will appeal to both tourists in the Nashville area as well as locals looking for a fun thing to do. When tourists come to Nashville, many have always asked me one simple question: “Where do all the locals go?” After one or two days spending downtown, most tourists want to experience a different aspect to Nashville, one that is off the beaten path. This website will provide all the details and a brief synopsis of these events that can allow tourists to experience the “non-touristy” side to middle Tennessee.

Here is an example of what you can expect – The Tomato Art Fest – https://hangoutnashville.wordpress.com/2016/07/28/tomato-art-fest-2016/

Meet Aiden J. Reid is 33-year-old Irish author of Sci-fi and thrillers as well as being a freelance blogger. He is currently based in Dublin. He offers a number of services to businesses on the SEO front. https://aidanjreid.com/services/

Aiden has written three books – Pathfinders, Sigil and Spectrum… here is a brief look at one of them. Sigil – A Tom Regan Thriller.

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The sleepy Irish village of Ballygorm is shocked one bright summer morning by the tragic news that one of their own, a successful young builder and devoted family man has been found dead, hanging in an apparent suicide.

But Parish Priest, Father Tom Regan is sceptical. Inspired by his TV detective hero, Fr Regan uses his twin role as confessional confidante and the village’s religious figurehead to investigate the mysterious death and he suspects foul play.

Piecing the clues together, he finds that his outwardly pious and tight-knit community has been harbouring a murderer in a village where everyone is a suspect.

View all the books and buyhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/Aidan-J.-Reid/e/B01BS8XUYU

Meet Christopher Scotthttps://christopherscottauthor.wordpress.com/about-me/ – who after a change of direction now spends his free time writing and mentoring his local robotic team. You find reviews and short stories on his blog – https://christopherscottauthor.wordpress.com/short-stories-and-random-musings/.  He is also the author of The Nightshadow Chronicles.

 

Meet Anna of Anonymously Autistichttps://anonymouslyautistic.net/about/ who post about all aspects of autism from a personal perspective and also with information for those who would like to know more about the condition. Here is an example that I found very helpful – https://anonymouslyautistic.net/2016/07/27/what-does-autism-feel-like/

 

Meet Melissa Faye Andrews who has the cutest best friend ever called Harvey.. Melissa echoes many of our sentiments with the title of her blog – So Many Books, So Little Time.. find out more about here – https://wanttoreadthat.wordpress.com/about/

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Melissa reviews books and here is her latest for A Girl on the Trainhttps://wanttoreadthat.wordpress.com/2016/07/28/the-girl-on-the-train-review/

 

Meet Anabela of https://mywordzblog.wordpress.com/ who has only recently started her blog and here is her first post on the subject.

So I decided to start my blog today, this is something I have been thinking about for some time now, but there’s always something in the way…

However, today is as good a day as any other. What am I going to blog about? You might ask. I have started studying English and Creative Writing two years ago and a passion for poetry has reignited in me, quite surprisingly to be honest. I thought my time as a poet was confined to my teen years when hormones were running confused all over my being. I was wrong, there has always been a poet in me and I had no idea.  Continue reading….https://mywordzblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/25/sharing-my-poetry/

 

Meet UC of Sparkle with UC – a young mother with two children who is also studying for a master’s degree.  She suffers from autoimmune disease which make living such a busy life challenging but it is clear from her posts that this is not going to take the sparkle off life. https://sparklewithuc.com/about/

This post is about attitude.. and that is one of the key ingredients to living a full life whatever it throws at you. https://sparklewithuc.com/2016/07/26/attitude/

Thank you for dropping by and I am sure that you will enjoy visiting and following these bloggers.. Enjoy the weekend.. Sally

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet and Greet – A welcome to new bloggers – Makeovers, Music and Reviews


meet and greetI have met some terrific bloggers this week who cover a very wide range of topics from makeovers to house and gardens, latest in fashions and music and of course writers and poets. I think you will find something for everyone so without any further delay… let’s meet them.

Meet Kirsty of Embracing Authenticity is 17 year’s old and has already experienced harsh reality in the form of Anorexia Nervosa. In her blog she shares her experiences in a very mature way as she faces the challenge of moving through what is a devastating eating disorder.

https://embracingauthenticityblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/29/discharge-is-only-one-step-closer-to-the-finish-line-and-im-racing-towards-it/

John Willingham of Dreamy Home has some great ideas for makeovers. Since we are in full makeover mode it is great to see some examples, particularly of colour matching.  This blog is very helpful..

https://dreamyhome.wordpress.com/2016/07/20/window-treatment-ideas/

Those of you who pop in regularly know that I am not a fan of diet or full leaded fizzy drinks or most of the industrially produced fluids sold at an exhorbitant price. Great to see Millennial Survival Blog by Britt Berner giving such excellent fitness and nutritional advice..

https://millennialsurvivalblog.wordpress.com/category/food/

Meet Drew Avera who is an active duty navy veteran and science fiction author.
Drew currently has book one of his series The Alorian Wars on the waiting list for Kindle Scout and would love your help..

https://drewavera.wordpress.com/2016/07/20/the-alorian-wars-is-coming/

Meet Sharon Cosgrove of Ask Riverbed who devotes her blog to helping others strengthen their writing and marketing skills. Search her inventory in the How to Write Killer Blogs series. Here is an example.

https://askriverbed.wordpress.com/2016/07/19/the-girl-from-ipanema/

Meet Maddi of Passive Funderingar who has created her blog to inspire herself to write more consistently and to experiment with different styles. Here is a post on War… very thought provoking.

https://passivafunderingar.wordpress.com/2016/01/17/krig/

Meet Tim Keen who is a life long writer of fiction – mostly short stories. Tim has recently published on Amazon with a collection of short stories – After Hours. Tim is also an ardent advocate of the Westerns.. me too.

https://timkeen40.wordpress.com/2016/07/10/deadwood/

About Ordinary Madness Blog – This site uses philosophy, the arts, psychology and psychoanalysis to discuss the significant and unique suffering experienced by humanity without using language based on the medical model. Here is a post that asks Is Mental Illness Glamorous?

https://ordinarymadnessblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/is-mental-illness-glamorous/

Talent Castle is a platform with various talented Nigerians that want to be heard. Our goal is to put them out there, give them a voice and give them a stage to show the gift they have within. Here is a post on success……
Success demands a gradual everyday progress 

Meet Candace of Literary Dust who is a crazy reader of books.She reads pretty much anything that looks appealing and she is a sucker for a beautiful cover. Here is a great post for a new book Breathe Again by Sydney Logan

https://literarydust.wordpress.com/2016/07/22/breathe-again-release-day-giveaway-excerpt/

Meet Stephanie M. Hopkins of Layered Pages who conducts author interviews and helps promote the B.R.A.G. Medallion.  She is a short-list judge for the 2016 Historical Novel Society indie Award and participates in the Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.  Read more about her interests and work on her blog.  Here is one of her posts.

Cover Crush: My Sister’s Secret by Tracy Buchanan

An Eco friendly blog from Stella Madison about several lifestyle topics and liked this one for nervous drivers.

https://liveinformationblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/04/driving-tips-for-nervous-learners/

Meet ‘C’ the Meerkat who has a very varied blog with posts on health, entertainment, clothes and books.. ‘C’ offers both product and book reviews and here is one for a children’s book.. Where do Clothes Come From?…. my husband keeps asking me that!

https://happymeerkatreviews.wordpress.com/2016/07/21/fun-and-informative-childrens-book-where-do-clothes-come-from/

Sharon Ross has Epilepsy and in her blog she highlights the challenges this presents and also the difficulties with getting the right treatment.

https://sharonrossblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/18/18th-july-2016-mothering-whilst-ill/

Meet T. Wayne of Joyful Process Blog where you will find music, articles and poetry. Here is an example.

Take A Look At Yourself

Meet M. Zane McClellan of The Poetry Channel… https://thepoetrychannel.wordpress.com/2016/07/22/midnight-mote-2/

Music news 2day blog is for anyone who wants to keep up to date with news in the music industry and reviews.
https://musicnews2dayblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/19/legacy-recordings-set-to-release-lou-reed-the-rca-arista-album-collection/

Jan of Witness to Fitness Music is a big fan of new independent music, and also a fan of keeping fit. I like to mix these up by listening to new music while I work out, and this site is designed to allow me to recommend music for those of a similar persuasion.

https://witnesstofitnessmusic.wordpress.com/2016/07/18/hailee-steinfeld-releases-new-single-starving-with-grey-featuring-zedd/

Meet ‘K’ of Counting Pennies and Sheep where you will find challenges for flash fiction and photo prompts. You will also find posts on mental health issues, in particular depression.

https://theblackwallblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/17/think-positive-and-caption-the-pic-challenge/

I hope this has introduced you to some new blogs to follow and also perhaps some new interests. Thanks for stopping by.. Sally

How you can help me share your blog and promote your books, art, music for FREE


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As a writer I am delighted when a fellow blogger or contact on social media shares my work or my posts. In turn it gives me great pleasure to reciprocate but it helps when people come to me or make it easy for me to share their books, posts, tweets etc.

On WordPress there are a number of buttons that you can install that enables others to follow and share. I notice that some bloggers choose not to display the Reblog button which is quite useful as a sharing method… If a post is special, relevant, contains important information or is entertaining reblogging helps bring traffic to your blog and also gets your post to a wider audience. When it is reblogged only the first paragraph or sentences are shown and then you have to click a link to be taken to the original. It is also best if the person who reblogs puts in a note about who the blogger is and the nature of the post.

By setting up the Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc buttons you enable readers of the post to share the link to your post on their sites. This means that if 10 people read your post and share via all of these sites you could be reaching thousands of potential readers.

If you are on Twitter then I do suggest that you put in a profile indicating your interests and also a link to your blog. A photo or an image of some sort is a good thing. I tend not to follow an egg image with just a name and no details. You have 160 characters and if you want like-minded people to be interested enough to follow you, use to its best advantage.

I also go into the twitter accounts of my main list of contacts that I regularly interact with. It is very useful to if there is a pinned tweet with a specific message about some important aspect of your work. Use it as an extension of your profile to put the link to your book promo video or to your author’s page on Amazon… Change your pinned tweet every few weeks to promote another aspect of your work.

If you are not familiar with this facility it is really easy.  When you have posted a tweet.. go into your tweets directory under your profile and you will then see your latest tweet at the top.  Click on the three little dots and you will be given an option to pin the tweet. Click this and it will tell you that by doing so any previous pinned tweet will be deleted.. click that you agree and at the top of the stream you will see a button which invites you to view the tweet in the pinned position.. very easy and an important promotional tool.

So please make it easy for me to share your talent.

I am on social media and tend to work mainly with the following sites.

LinkedIn. I have been on LinkedIn for many years and used primarily for my work related posts. In the last year more and more Indie Authors are using the site to promote their own work and others and it is also a great place to lay out your shop front in more detail. I do believe that people buy people first and sharing your career background can build credibility and illustrate that you have gained some life experience. As with most sites you can like, comment and share posts so it is another opportunity to build up a circle of like-minded people who support each other and their work.

LinkedIn has an invitation system in place. You will be asked how you know a person and if you do not click one of the boxes then you need to enter an email address. If you would like to connect to me then click that we have done business together as blogger at Smorgasbord, my job at Moyhill publishing or put in my work email address which is sally.cronin@moyhill.com.

Facebook. You will see two Facebook addresses and one is for my personal account and the other is my book site and where I also post my blog articles. I would be happy to connect with you on either or both.

Twitter is a bit like marmite and some people do not get it at all. I set up my account to help build a presence on social media that I could use not only for my books but also as I intend to return to radio presenting as some point, pick up my nutritional therapy practice and also my training consultancy.. A strong web presence including LinkedIn and FB will be useful when I do as well as giving me an opportunity to keep up with new trends in health, music and books.

What I did not expect was that Twitter would become my second largest referrer to my blog in the last year which for me is a good indicator that it works. I have found some amazing guests for the Sunday Show including William Price King who is now such a key contributor to the blog.

I am very happy to retweet your important news about your work so if you tag me on @sgc58 when you are releasing a book, had a rave review, a new promo video etc then I will share it.

All my links are here and look forward to hearing from you

http://uk.linkedin.com/in/sallycronin1
https://twitter.com/sgc58
https://www.facebook.com/sally.cronin
https://www.facebook.com/sallygeorginacronin
https://plus.google.com/+SallyCronin/about

Guest posts and interview opportunities.

Even if you have lots of followers you still might like to reach a few more by guest posting on various subjects. My blog covers a number of topics and I would love to hear from you if you have an interest, hobby, skill, film review, recipe etc that you would like to share with my readers. You get to have a bio and a promotion of your own work too. Apart from being promoted on my social media sites you can reblog on your own site and also post again a little later for those who missed the first time around.

The Sunday Show New Format October 2015

This is open to all creative writers, artists, musicians and bloggers

The new show is in the format of a Sunday Lunch where guests bring a virtual guest who has inspired them and either a main course or a dessert that means something to them.  Send me a note to sally.cronin@moyhill.com and I will put you on my list.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/09/01/an-invitation-to-sunday-lunch-the-new-sunday-show-format/

Sally’s Christmas Grotto

This series was very successful last year and this year is proving to be no exception. If you would like to feature your books, artwork, design, jewellery, clothing, music or any creative gifts then let me know.  Here is an example.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/christmas-grotto-2015-books/

Five Star Treatment.

If you have had a great review for you work and would like to share that then please get in touch. Whilst nobody responds to people who feel the necessity to talk about themselves and their work continually there is also no place for false modesty when you are a writer. You write for others to read. If you have a great review for your books, art, poetry, photography or music then let me know. This also means that previous books can get another boost particularly if you are about to publish new work.

If you have converted your print versions into Ebook it is a chance to use reviews from that edition to promote the fact that you are now available to download.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/five-star-treatment-a-place-to-celebrate-your-latest-review-or-award/

New Book Fanfare

If you have had a book released in the last month and would like to add further promotion to your launch then please consider a New Book Fanfare which reaches out across social media to 20,000 of my contacts and thousands more when reblogged and retweeted.  Details and previous posts here.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/new-book-fanfare/

All these promotions are completely FREE and you have nothing to lose but a little time submitting your details.

Look forward to hearing from you. best wishes Sally Cronin

So that is just some of the ways that I can share your creativity.. Thank  you as always for dropping by and I am very grateful that you have done so.. Please leave a comment so that I know who you are..

The Sunday Show – Tess (Teresa) Karlinski – What Does The World Need Now?


Welcome to What does the world need now? My guest this week is a mother and grandmother who has experienced single parenting, hosted foreign students while they studied English and has shared her travels to China in a fascinating series that has taken us all along for the ride.

Tess (Teresa) Karlinski is a wonderful support to other bloggers and although we have never met I feel that one could enjoy discussions on many topics and also find an attentive and helpful ear for one’s problems.

Apart from a love of writing that we share, it is also great to meet a fellow music lover and I was delighted to find out in my research that Tess intends to keep dancing and singing as long as she has breath.

Apart from the absorbing posts about her trip to China, Tess also is an aficionado of ‘Flash Fiction’ and on Tuesdays and Fridays if you head over to How the Cookie Crumbles with a cup of coffee, you will find plenty to keep you entertained.

I also found a very interesting article on shared home ownership with her daughter and her family which I am sure will open up discussion on extended families living together and how that works for all concerned.

Tess lives in Ontario, Canada with her family which includes an interestingly named cat, Lady Gaga…. I am sure all will be revealed about that choice.

Teresa

Hi Tess and welcome to the hot seat. Perhaps you could fill us in a little on your background and childhood, who you consider to have had the most influence on you growing up?

My mom and I came to Canada from Germany when I was four. My father had arrived months earlier to prepare our way in a village in north-eastern Ontario. None of us spoke English like a lot of the immigrants in town. We had varied nationalities in this French community: Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Italian, Swedish and English. Despite language barriers, everyone pulled together, helped each other, and looked out for each other’s children. Another thread holding the town together, an invisible one with the strength of silk, was the gold mine. Except for the shop-keepers, all the men laboured underground extracting gold. A blast gone wrong, a scramble too slow, a spray of rock in your eyes, and anything was possible: broken bones or death. The town lived by the clock. Husbands home late by a minute and the women stopped breathing. The atmosphere thickened with paralyzing fear even I sensed as a young child. We were a lucky family; many others were not.

Two years of English school, my tongue and the new language battled each other, but English won. I soon discovered the library. In those days these were sacred halls of book worship which demanded silence. Agog with wonder, “Wow,” I said out loud. The librarian laughed and didn’t hold back. I visited every Saturday till we moved years later.

Over the years, four more siblings came along—all girls. The family moved farther south a couple of times. I worked in an office as I’d always imagined. Forty-two years later, I retired to my books, which I don’t have enough time to read. I see you want to ask what I do all day. Too much of everything else it appears.

My mother, who began life as a puny, sickly child, has had the most influence on my life. She had almost no education, had been ripped from her home in Poland at fourteen, pressed into forced (farm) labor during the war, met my father (also in forced labor), taught herself to cook, knit, sew and read the newspaper in English. She had no mother to help her. She accepted the move to a foreign country, had no concept of the language, but made a solid and loving home. She continued to amaze me with her adventurous spirit her whole life.

Now the 64,000 dollar question – why is your cat called Lady Gaga?

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All my pets have come from the SPCA (animal shelter). A couple of years ago after my previous cat had been gone for some time; my daughter tricked me into going to the shelter with her children: a Saturday morning diversion for the youngsters, she said. She knew me so well. I fell in love with a cat with unusual fur. On the way home we joked about her coloring and tried out names. One of my granddaughters said, “Don’t make fun. She can’t help she was born this way.” My daughter and I bellowed the song in unison, Born This Way. We had a new Lady Gaga.

Who’s your favourite author and book that you read again and again?

I have many authors I’ve re-read. I cut my teeth on Hemingway when our next-door neighbour (also my Latin teacher in high-school) gave me three of his books: The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, and For Whom the Bell Tolls. I’d given her some of my scribbled stories and I suppose she thought I could use lots of help. At fifteen, with little life experience, what did I understand about his books? Not a lot but I re-read them and enjoyed them every time. To this day I thank Anna, who I never called by first name, for this introduction.

You are also a music lover so who in your mind is the greatest band or musician and the song that you feel is your signature tune?

My signature song used to be Autumn Leaves, but I’ve listened to classical music for many years while I read or worked. Chopin felt familiar; Rachmaninoff too loud and Tchaikovsky too energetic. I enjoyed Handel’s water music, but on the opposite end of the sphere, I have enjoyed easy listening and old jazz. One of my long–time favorites are piano versions of The Shadow of Your Smile—I know, I’m an old fashioned kind of girl. The last few years, I don’t like the distraction of music no matter how low, because my brain won’t co-operate. I’m not familiar with the new musicians and artists but I do remember the oldies.

The family unit today has changed very much in certain cultures to where it was 30 or 40 years ago. You have experience of being a single parent and understand the challenges that presents. You have also taken young students into your home and been a foster parent to them. What advice would you give a mother or a father faced with bringing up a child or children alone?

What I learned as a parent is never play one parent against the other. This is true whether you are as single parent or not. The child should never be placed in the middle between you. Never compete with the other parent even as your child or children try to force the issue. You are the responsible adult; you cannot fall apart nor cave in to their wishes. Your deck of cards may be missing a king, but you have to play out your hand. No spouse to back me up, during the rebellious teenage years, was tough and my daughter gave me all the grief she could muster. Although her father is still around and comes to family gatherings on occasion, my daughter celebrates Father’s Day with him, but also a separate one with me.

I had only one child. When she left home my house felt like a tomb. An ad in the newspaper sparked the idea to host international students. I felt needed again and know I was a good mentor, especially to the girls (average ages 18 to 23) who were miserable in a strange country, where they needed to absorb so much culture shock. This time was a Win-Win for everyone. I am still in touch with a number of them, but after ten years I needed a breather.

Now to the core theme of the post. What do you believe is the greatest lesson you have learned in life and what impact has it had on you today?

The greatest lesson I have learned is hard work. If you have work you enjoy, what a bonus! Life is never that simple though. I’ve never shunned work because that’s all I’ve known from the start. My siblings had errands now and again, but being the oldest, I bore the brunt of the chores. Hard work is the best foundation I can think of for learning to face what life throws at you. If you’ve never had to make-do, or pick up the slack even when it’s a little tough, how will you survive when the unexpected stomps into your path? Life is not becoming any easier. You must be willing to show up, work hard, and know how to come up with new answers. This competitive world we live in is not for wusses.

I learned to stick to my guns and grit my teeth to get what I needed to raise my daughter in a loving environment. I had to pull myself up by the bootstraps many times, like it or not, and I always managed.

There are many issues that are very concerning about the present and the future of the world. I get the sense that family is very important to you and also the welfare of others. What three key issues do you believe are in need of addressing and how can we as ordinary people help bring about change and improvement for future generations. (please feel free to write as much as you need to)

Global warming is worrisome. On the one hand we’re told we are the cause and on the other, it’s all bunk. Who to believe? Let’s get our priorities straight and come clean. Which is it to be? Our children’s future is at stake as it is everyone’s on this planet. What can we do as individuals? We must take an interest. We must care. We cannot keep doing the same old. How long before all those buried containers of pollutants poison the earth and seep into the oceans? We have to stop burying more. We cannot just pillage and rape the earth and move on. Soon there will be no place to move on to. You’ve heard the stories about exploration for man’s inhabiting of other planets. What a perfect solution. Right. Pillage, rape and move on some more. We must stand together and force the changes required to benefit mankind. It’s time to put our heads together, to push for resolution. The clock is ticking.

Poverty: I cannot close my eyes to the poor and hungry of the world, but we have our own poor at home who need help as well. Is it insensitive to worry about our poor first? This is a conundrum I have wrestled with for some time but haven’t settled on a positive answer. Some will say poverty will never disappear. Well, I don’t want to give up on it yet.

War: Will there ever be peace everywhere? The 100th anniversary of the war that would end all wars has brought little change. So many skirmishes over land here and there, on and on and on. Innocent women and children continue to starve, are shot and live in constant fear. Our men are dying on foreign soil or come home maimed and shattered in mind and body. They aren’t even paid their due properly as governments cut corners. I say bring our boys home. Let those who want war resolve their own hostilities.

As a final word do you have a piece of advice or perhaps a quotation that you would like to share? I am not a complicated person. I like to keep life simple. My roots have stood me well my whole life. One quote, which keeps coming back to me time and again, “To thine own self be true.” (Thank you Shakespeare.) Be honourable, kind and thoughtful. Follow your dreams and cause no harm along the way.

Thanks so much, Sally for this exciting invitation. It has been an honor and a pleasure to chat with you today. I love the title of your blog because I agree wholeheartedly, “Variety is the spice of life.” You sure have spiced mine up today.

It was certainly my pleasure Tess and look forward to seeing you here again soon.

LINKS for Tess.

Teresa Karlinski writes and blogs from Canada.
Read her blog at how the cookie crumbles
http://1perspectives.webs.com/pmjuly2012.htm (read: Friends – page 6)
http://twistedendings.webs.com/sept2013         (read: Slammed – page 11)
http://redmundpro.com/book-store/paperbacks/
http://retirementandgoodliving.com/a-perfect-solution/
http://retirementandgoodliving.com/homesharing-what-happens-next/

Slices of Life

These came out this summer of 2014
“Russ Towne of A Grateful Man blog, compiled the stories for Palpable Imaginings and Slices of Life. I’m thrilled he chose to include my stories in his anthologies. Thank you, Russ.”
http://www.amazon.com/Slices-Life-Anthology-Selected-Non-Fiction/dp/1500314447/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1411923074&sr=8-8&keywords=Russ+Towne

Palpable Imaginings2
http://www.amazon.com/Palpable-Imaginings-Anthology-Selected-Fiction/dp/1500314390/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1405116570&sr=8-2&keywords=russ+towne