Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors – #BritishHistory Mike Biles, #Thriller Suzanne Burke, #Doglovers Patty Fletcher


There are over 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I wanted to keep it to key pieces of information such as buying links, recent review, website and covers. However, I know that readers also like to know more about the background of authors.

In this series during June and July I will share the bios of all the authors in the cafe in a random selection. I hope that this will introduce you to the authors in more depth and encourage you to check out their books and follow them on their blog and Twitter.

Meet MIke Biles

Mike has lived in Britain all his life and generally loves the place, warts and all. He first learned history on his dad’s knee and went on to study medieval and modern British and European history at university. He was planning on teaching it, but then drifted into a career running his own business. Despite having worked with some of the UK’s most prestigious firms, he is often at his happiest with his nose in a history book, or exploring a historic site where the past is close. Several years ago, Mike began a blog – now an increasingly authoritative website – ‘A Bit About Britain’. He had to write a bit about Britain’s history for the website, and it seemed only sensible to put the material into his first book, ‘A Bit About Britain’s History’.

A recent review for the book

Denise G. McGee 5.0 out of 5 stars A great way to learn more about the history of Britain  Reviewed in the United States on May 22, 2020

I thoroughly enjoyed reading “A Bit About Britain’s History.” While history has always fascinated me, too many non-fiction books about history tend to be exceedingly dry. This book was very informative and entertaining and didn’t put me to sleep. I’m American, and more than a bit of an Anglophile, so this book was right up my alley. I’ve been following Mike’s blog for several years now, and am delighted that he has a published book. I’m very much looking forward to the second installment!

Mike Biles, Buy: Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Follow Mike on : Goodreads – Website: A Bit About Britain – Twitter@bitaboutbritain

Meet Suzanne Burke

Suzanne Burke resides with her daughter and grandson in a small country town located hundreds- of-miles to the west of her previous home in Sydney Australia.

Suzanne had long wanted to write, life interrupted and she didn’t begin her journey into the world of writing until she was in her early fifties.

Suzanne has written her memoirs under the author name of Stacey Danson, both her non-fiction books have ranked in the top 100 paid in kindle on Amazon. “Empty Chairs” and “Faint Echoes of Laughter” continue to earn wonderful reviews.

Suzanne writes her powerful Thrillers “Acts Beyond Redemption” and “Acts of Betrayal” and her Paranormal anthology “Mind-Shaft” as S. Burke.

A selection of books by Suzanne Burke

One of the recent reviews for The Reckoning Squad

tee gee 5.0 out of 5 stars Fast paced psychological thriller  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 16 May 2020

This author never ceases to amaze me with her clever writing skills. Psychological thrillers are her forte.

The members of the Reckoning Squad become the elite of the FBI but their security is infiltrated and it’s an inside job, but how far up the chain of command does it go.

This a fast paced psychological thriller that will have you biting your nails to the end.

Highly recommended.

Suzanne Burke, Buy: Amazon US – And:Amazon UK –   Follow Suzanne: Goodreads –   Website: Soooz Burke AuthorTwitter: @pursoot

Meet Patty Fletcher

I’m a single mother with a beautiful daughter, of whom I am very proud. I have a great son-in-law and five beautiful grandchildren. Three girls, and two boys. I hope to be able to write more about them later. I own and handle a Black Labrador from The Seeing Eye™ named Campbell Lee–a.k.a. Bubba Lee or King Campbell, to give just a couple of his nicknames. King Campbell is now retired and I hope to return to The Seeing Eye in spring of 2020 to obtain a successor guide.

I was born in Kingsport, Tenn., where I also grew up and now live and work.

About my blindness: I was born one and a half months premature. My blindness was caused by my being given too much oxygen in the incubator. I was partially sighted until 1991, at which time I lost my sight due to an infection after cataract surgery and high eye pressure. I used a cane for 31 years before making the change to a guide dog.

One of the recent reviews for Bubba Tails

Robbie Cheadle 5.0 out of 5 stars  A lovely book that all ages can read and enjoy  Reviewed in the United States on February 23, 2020

Bubba Tails: From the Puppy Nursery at the Seeing Eye is a delightful story for all ages, told from the perspective of King Campbell, an older and more experienced Seeing Eye dog (trained to guide the blind). King Campbell appears at night to the puppies at the Seeing Eye School, and their mothers, and tells them stories about how he came to be selected for the school, his training process and meeting his forever mother. His stories help to allay some of the puppies own concerns and anxieties about the future when they undergo their training to be Seeing Dogs and eventually become companions to a blind person.

This is a most insightful book about how Seeing Dogs are selected, including the qualities they need to have to do this job, as well as the training process they go through before they are matched with a blind person. I say matched because that is exactly what happens, the person is paired with a suitable canine companion. I thought this was very interesting as I had never really thought about how close the relationship between a blind human and their Seeing Dog is prior to reading this book.

The second part of the story when Campbell meets his new forever owner was the most meaningful for me. It was a wonderful experience for me to learn about how the Seeing Dog and their new owner must adapt to working together. The Seeing Dog needs to learn to read their human owner’s body language and respond to subtle signals. The human must also learn to trust their dog and this is quite a difficult thing to do. I can understand that putting your faith in a dog, no matter how much you love it, must initially be difficult when you are unable to see and protect yourself. I loved reading about how this amazing trust developed between Campbell and his owner.

This is a book that everyone can read and enjoy for the story and also appreciate for its detailed insight into the relationship between Seeing Dogs and their owners, and also the world at large.

Patty Fletcher, Buy: Amazon USAnd : Amazon UK – blog: Campbell’s WorldTwitter: @Bubbalee04

Thank you for joining me today for this series and I will be sharing another three authors and their work every weekday during June and July. It would be great if you could share. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews – #Poetry Miriam Hurdle, #BritishHistory Mike Biles, #Fantasy Vashti Quiroz Vega


The first book is an award winning poetry collection Songs of the Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude written by Miriam Hurdle.

About  Songs of Heartstrings

Human being has the willpower to travel through an exhausting journey, win a tough battle, and heal a deep wound. Strength from hope keeps us going until the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight and striving until the storm is over.

This poetic memoir comprises themes ranging from the suffering through an undesirable relationship, surviving an aggressive cancer, to the happiness in true love, the joy of parenthood, and gratefulness toward the Maker. Hurdle reveals the honest self-talk and reflects a heart filled with optimism, faith and trust. She illustrates the poems with her beautiful photos and paintings.

A recent review for the collection

Pete Springer 5.0 out of 5 stars Retelling a Life Story Through Poetry   Reviewed in the United States on February 7, 2020

I’ve never had much aptitude for writing poetry, and it is not something that I usually read, but Miriam Hurdle’s Songs of Heartstrings touched me. Hurdle shares significant moments in her life through this collection of works. She divides her book into eight songs (sections). It was as if I were a part of Hurdle’s life as she shared powerful pieces demonstrating her faith, rocky first marriage, battles with melanoma cancer, finding her soulmate, and the premature birth of her daughter.

The group of songs that moved me the most were her songs of tribute. This section was more like short stories instead of poems, but they were so moving. She pays homage to her mother and father, who battled separate health issues. Miriam’s recollections of her husband’s best friend, Randy, were so touching, and I felt empathy when her husband, who never cries, sheds tears of pain for his friend’s passing.

Not only did I enjoy this varied collection of poetic styles, but I also enjoyed Hurdle’s photography and quotes from other poets/writers that introduced each group of songs. After reading Songs of Heartstrings, I will be more open-minded to other works of poetry.

Read the reviews and buy the collection also in Spanish and Portuguese: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Read reviews and follow Miriam: Goodreads

Connect to Miriam via her website: The Showers of Blessings

The next author with a recent review is Mike Biles for his history of Britain that I can highly recommend.. A Bit About Britain’s History.

About A Bit about Britain’s History: From a long time ago to quite recently.

Could this short, elegant, volume be the only book on British history you’ll ever need?

A Bit About Britain’s History is for anyone who wants a serious, yet light, introduction to Britain’s amazing story. If you don’t know the basics, or would like a reminder, this book is for you. It is also perfect for those that didn’t enjoy history at school, but who have suddenly realised they’d like to understand it a bit better now.

What did the Romans achieve? How did Christianity arrive? Who are the English and why did they fight the French so often? What is Henry VIII’s greatest legacy? When did democracy start and people get the vote? Why on earth did Britain get involved in WW1?

Organised clearly and chronologically, A Bit About Britain’s History covers every period from a long time ago until quite recently. It begins by briefly mentioning that the place was once inhabited by extremely large lizards, and ends up with a post-war 20th century consumer society. Brief articles explain the essential aspects of Britain’s past, including how the ancestors of its current inhabitants arrived, how they fought each other, formed nations, fell out over religion, acquired a large empire, became gradually more democratic, helped win a couple of world wars and were left wondering what to do next. At the end of the book are detailed timelines for each period, which provide useful reference and make fascinating reading in their own right.

A Bit About Britain’s History might be the only book on British history you’ll ever need; or it might be your stepping stone to more in-depth academic reading

One of the recent reviews for the book

Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 5 February 2020

Here is a book it is easy to dip into; I love history told in an amusing way and this book does that whilst it is also very informative. In many ways it is an eye opener and well worth the time spent.

Read the reviews and buy the book : Amazon UK

And on Amazon US: Amazon US

Follow Mike on : Goodreads

Connect to Mike via his blog: Bit About Britain

The next author with a recent review, is Vashti Quiroz-Vega for the first book in the Fantasy Angels Series – The Fall of Lilith.

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

Brett 5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing world building Reviewed in the United States on February 13, 2020

Vashti Quiroz-Vega has created an amazing world and has a blended tale of fantasy and mythology. Her characters are engaging and you can trace their fall from grace and the steps each character took to get them into trouble. The main character Lilith is manipulative, self-serving and yet likable.

If you enjoy reading stories with great character development and fantastical worlds, you will want to read this book.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Also by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

and : Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Vashti : Goodreads

Connect to Vashti via her website: Vashti – WordPress

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