Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! – Guest Round Up – Part One – Claire Fullerton, Noelle Granger, Pete Johnson, Sharon Marchisello, Jane Risdon, Balroop Singh, Pete Springer, Carol Taylor D.Wallace Peach, Sue Wickstead


Over the last three months, I have been privileged to share the thoughts and wisdom of friends within the writing community in response to the prompt ‘I Wish I Knew Now What I Knew Then!’.  In case you have missed any of these guest posts I will be sharing their links in this catch up series.

Author Claire Fullerton shares her treasured memories of the home that her mother grew up in and returned to with her own family when Claire was ten years old.

I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! ‘Home’ by Claire Fullerton

Author Noelle Granger shares the challenges facing the inequality in the academic field as a young professor.

I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! #Equality by Noelle Granger

Blogger and storyteller Pete Johnson (Beetley Pete) shares his wisdom obtained with his experience of marriage.

#Marriage – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Pete Johnson (Beetley Pete)

Author Sharon Marchisello looks back to her teens and shares her thoughts on how she might have made different choices.

#Life – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Sharon Marchisello

Author Jane Risdon shares her nomadic childhood and dreams of becoming a war correspondent and reflects on the message she might have offered to her younger self to reassure her that one day, she would be a writer..

I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! #Writing by Jane Risdon

#Life #Poetry – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Balroop Singh

 

Pete Springer shares his experiences in high school following a move to California in response to the prompt and finding his true self in college, leading to many happy years as a teacher.

#Life – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Pete Springer

Blogger and food and advocate for sustainability Carol Taylor shares her passion for the environment and ambitions to become a scientist, and how with her blog and writing she has created a platform for both.

#Life – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Carol Taylor

Author Diana Wallace Peach shares her thoughts on the prompt and how low moments and the high points in our lives are all part of the journey.

#Life – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Diana Peach

A poignant post from teacher and children’s author Sue Wickstead who shares her thoughts about her dad who she lost at an early age and her pride in her family name.

Life – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! ‘Dad’ by Sue Wickstead

 

 

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope that you have caught up with any of these guest posts you might have missed.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Christmas Party 2020 – Invite a pet with guests Diana Wallace Peach, Patty Fletcher, Mary Anne Edwards and Claire Fullerton.


Welcome to the Smorgasbord Christmas Party, with the focus on the fur members of the family who also love this time of year, over this weekend and next I will be sharing the photographs of some much loved pets, and of course a little promo for their human companions.

Obviously with all these honoured guests expected, I have been busy in the kitchen preparing some treats that hopefully my guests both two-legged and four-legged will enjoy.. Joining last Sunday’s guests are some delightful felines and canines and their humans

My first guest today is  Diana Wallace Peach who has brought with her two delightful guests who were beloved family pets. Even when we lose them, they stay firmly in our hearts.

“Lulu and Honey were sisters who came into our lives in 2004 from a rescue shelter. They were our precious snuggle mutts and sources of endless laughter for their whole lives. Best Christmas presents ever. Happy Holidays!

A selection of books by Diana Wallace Peach.

61abvx-feql-_uy250_

About Diana Wallace Peach

I didn’t care for reading as a child – I preferred Bonanza and Beverly Hillbillies reruns, Saturday morning cartoons and the Ed Sullivan show. Then one day, I opened a book titled The Hobbit. Tolkien … literally changed my life.

I love writing, and have the privilege to pursue my passion full time. I’m still exploring the fantasy genre, trying out new points of view, creating optimistic works with light-hearted endings, and delving into the grim and gritty what-ifs of a post-apocalyptic world. Forgive me if I seem untethered in my offering of reads. Perhaps one day, I’ll settle into something more reliable. For now, it’s simply an uncharted journey, and I hope you enjoy the adventure as much as I.

Read the reviews and buy the books:  Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Diana: Goodreadsblog: Myths of the Mirror – Twitter: @Dwallacepeach

I thought that you might like to try this with your pets this Christmas as a party game.. I am sure there will be equally amusing results.. thanks to Pets Add Life

My next author is Patty Fletcher who sadly could not bring her Seeing Eye dog Campbell with her but is sharing a favourite photograph of this beloved companion, who is the subject of her new memoir.

Books by Patty Fletcher

About Patty Fletcher

I’m a single mother with a beautiful daughter, of whom I am enormously proud. I have a great son-in-law and six beautiful grandchildren. From April, 2011 through September, 2020 I owned and handled a black Labrador from The Seeing Eye® named King Campbell Lee Fletcher A.K.A. Bubba. Sadly, after a long battle with illness on September 24, 2020 King Campbell went to the Rainbow Bridge where all is peace and love. It is my hope to one day return to The Seeing Eye® for a successor guide.

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.

Read the reviews and buy the books:  Amazon USAnd : Amazon UK – blog: Campbell’s WorldTwitter: @Bubbalee04

I am sure your pets will have just as elegant manners as these smartly turned out guests…thanks to Anton Tamin

My next guest is Mary Anne Edwards who has brought Gertrude along to meet us.

This is Gertrude. We rescued her in January 2015. We think she was 7-years old when she came to live with us. This picture is her first Christmas with us. She is a curious kitty but a good girl who rarely gets into trouble. Gertrude is mama’s girl, but if I’m not available, her father figure will do.  Her favorite hobbies are eating, sleeping, and chasing a red dot. Her favorite toy is a paper towel cardboard tube because treats are hidden in it twice a day. Gertrude’s dislikes are the vet, anything the vet does to her, and any medicine the vet prescribes.

Books by Mary Anne Edwards

About Mary Jane Edwards

Born in Mercedes, Texas, Mary Anne has lived in Georgia for most of her life. A life-long fan of authors such as Agatha Christie, Anne Perry, Caroline Graham, and Elizabeth Peters, it wasn’t until a few years ago that Mary Anne listened to the voices in her head and began writing her own series of traditional mysteries featuring Detective Charlie McClung.

The first book in the series, Brilliant Disguise, was released to critical acclaim in January 2014. She released the next three in the series, A Good Girl, Criminal Kind, and Sins of my Youth, soon afterward. The fifth book in the series, Flirting with Time, was released on June 30, 2017. Mary Anne released the sixth book, How Deep is the Darkness, on December 2, 2019, and is working on book seven, Complex Kid, with at least three more to follow.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – andAmazon UK – Follow Mary Anne on: Goodreads – Website: Mary Anne Edwards Twitter: @maedwards58

My final guests today are Claire Fullerton with her three beautiful German Shepherds.

Left to right: Ceili, Ronin, and Sorcha, our 3 German shepherds with Irish names! They are a joy, the center of our activity here in Malibu, and they have a lot of secure room to run around.

Books by Claire Fullerton

About Claire Fullerton

Claire is the author of Little Tea, set in the Deep South. It is the story of the bonds of female friendship, healing the past, and outdated racial relations. Little Tea is the August selection of the Pulpwood Queens, a Faulkner Society finalist in the William Wisdom international competition, 1st place winner in the Chanticleer Review’s Somerset award, a finalist in the International Book Awards, and the Independent Authors Network 1st place in Literary Fiction winner and 2nd place winner for 2020 Book of the year. Claire is also the author of 12 X award winning Mourning Dove, a coming of age, Southern family saga set in 1970’s Memphis. Claire is also the author of 3X award winning, Dancing to an Irish Reel, set on the west coast of Ireland, where she once lived. Claire’s first novel is a paranormal mystery set in two time periods titled, A Portal in Time, set in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. She is a contributor to the book, A Southern Season with her novella, Through an Autumn Window, set at a Memphis funeral. Claire is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Literary

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – Follow Claire : Goodreads – website: Claire Fullerton – Twitter: @Cfullerton3

Thanks to my guests today for traveling such great distances to be with us.. Please check out their humans’ books so that their houses will be filled with sausages, cheese and other treats this Christmas...Thanks Sally.

Please join us again for more guests tomorrow…

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – My #Review for A Southern Season: Stories from a Front Porch Swing – Eva Marie Everson, Linda W. Yezak, Claire Fullerton, Ane Mulligan –


I was given a gift of this lovely anthology and over the last few days I have enjoyed the stories, imagining myself on a front porch swing enjoying balmy breezes somewhere in the southern states of America.. having lived in Texas and visited Tennessee and Mississippi frequently, it did not take much imagination.

About A Southern Season; Four Stories from a Front Porch Swing

Four seasons. Four stories. Each one set in the enchanting world of the South. These are the kinds of stories your grandmother told you from a front porch swing.

Ice Melts in Spring by Linda W. Yezak

When Kerry Graham’s boss forces her to return to the Gulf of Mexico where her husband drowned years ago, she feels only spring’s chill and not the warmth of the Texas sun. Can the joy of a reclusive author and the compassion of a shrimp-boat preacher thaw Kerry’s frigid heart?

Lillie Beth in Summer by Eva Marie Everson

With the untimely death of his wife, Dr. James Gillespie believes God has abandoned him. He also believes he’s never met anyone like the young widow Lillie Beth, whose beloved Granny lies dying at home, and who sees a God who sweeps hope through a farmhouse window. Can a young woman whose husband died in Vietnam restore a faith that is all but dead?

Through an Autumn Window by Claire Fullerton

Because her larger than life mother Daphne Goodwyn is dead, forty-year-old Cate returns to Memphis with one thought in mind: something always goes wrong at a Southern funeral. But surrounded by the well-mannered society that raised her, the nostalgic rites of a three-day, autumn mourning bring the unexpected gift of the end of sibling rivalry.

A Magnolia Blooms in Winter by Ane Mulligan

With Broadway stardom within her reach, Morgan James returns home in winter to help an old friend. Maybe it s just nostalgia, but when she sees him again, an old flame rekindles. When she s called back to NYC to take the lead in a new musical, will fame be worth losing the man she loves?

My review for the collection.

When we lived in Texas in the 1980s, it was evident that faith played a much more integral role in the lives of our new friends than we had experienced before. It was present in daily life and talked about much more openly. We were from protestant and catholic backgrounds in the UK and Ireland, and frankly were used to not talking about our faith so freely. We were embraced into the community completely, and included in all aspects of their family and faith. It was not a hard sell but a gentle reminder that in their eyes God welcomed everyone.

When that all encompassing faith is lost, it can be devastating and tough to regain without some kind of evidence that God is still there for you.

Three of the stories in particular explore this concept and as someone who is looking in from an agnostic, but spiritual perspective, it was heartwarming. It reminded me of a time when the goodness of people and their openhearted attitude towards strangers was prompted by their beliefs. Something that is not emphasized today in a great deal of literature, which focuses on the differences between us all.

I enjoyed all the stories, the writing is wonderful, as are the characters. In each there is a nugget to be taken away and considered in respect of our own faith and struggles with life. Whether it is grief, loss of faith, finding the right path in life, letting go the past, or resolving decades of family conflict, there is something for everyone who enjoys excellent storytelling.

The four authors, including Claire Fullerton whose writing I enjoy very much, deliver a beautiful collection of stories.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

More reviews on: Goodreads

The authors with a selection of their books and a link to their author pages

Eva Marie Everson, Buy: Amazon US

Linda W. Yezak, Buy: Amazon US

Claire Fullerton, Buy: Amazon US

Ane Mulligan, Buy: Amazon US

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will head over and enjoy discovering more about the collection of short stories and the authors. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Sally’s Book Reviews – Mourning Dove by Claire Fullerton


 

My review today is for Mourning Dove by Claire Fullerton, a family saga set in Memphis in the 1970s and 1980s, with a coming of age for a brother and sister dropped into the opulence and charm of Southern culture.

About the book

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

The heart has a home when it has an ally.

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

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

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

My review for the book.

I am not sure that anyone who is not born into the opulent, and long cultivated upper echelons of Southern culture, would be able to slip into its charming, but strictly adhered to rules of engagement easily. Especially when you are on the cusp of your teen years and  brought up in the very different environment. As are Millie aged ten and her brother Finlay, who is eighteen months older.

“We had Minnesota accents, we were white as the driven snow, and we both had a painfully difficult time deciphering the Southern accent, which operates at lightening speed, and doesn’t feel the need for enunciation. Instead, it trips along the lines of implication.”

Posey comes from an affluent Southern family and was brought up in a sprawling stucco French Chateau which she left having met a charismatic and rich Yankee. Her marriage is over, and the wealth that she is accustomed to is gone; and she has little choice but to return to her family home in Memphis. She slips right back into society where she left off, as she takes over the running of the house, and with four years until an income will be available from her inherited trust fund, other means must be found.

The intricacies of the society that the two children find themselves inserted into, has little relation to the outside world. Steeped in tradition, long forged alliances, eccentricities and acceptable behaviour, stretching back through many generations. Little has changed, and that is the way it is orchestrated to remain. Clearly defined roles for males and females are perpetuated in the schooling that prepares the young to continue the status quo into the future, and non-conformity is frowned upon.  You will fit in or face exclusion.

This novel is about the relationship between a brother and sister and is written from Millie’s perspective, now 36 years old, as she revisits their childhood and teenage years. She is looking for answers and clues as to where her relationship with Finlay, which had been so solid and close, began to disconnect. Without a doubt for me one of elements that is crucial to this, is their mother, and Claire Fullerton has done a masterful job in creating her self-absorbed but somehow vulnerable character.

My mother did not walk into a room, she sashayed, borne from the swivel of her twenty-four inch waist. Her name was Posey, and although there was a lot more to her that she ever let on, to all appearances, the name suited her perfectly.

The story is not fast paced, flowing smoothly as it meanders through the lives of Posey, Millie and Finlay. You are drawn into their experiences, and you find yourself mentally bookmarking certain events and revelations, that explain how such a close bond became disconnected. I found myself engaging with the main characters early on, and I became emotionally attached to them all. Those of us with brothers and sisters can find parallels in our own relationships, especially those that might not be as close as they were when growing up.

Mourning Dove is elegantly written with a brilliantly descriptive language that has you immersed in this very exclusive and opulent society. I dare you not to read, and not come away with a distinctive drawl of lightening speed, without the need of enunciation!

Head over and buy the book in Kindle, print and audio: https://www.amazon.com/Mourning-Dove-Claire-Fullerton/dp/1946016527

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mourning-Dove-Claire-Fullerton-ebook/dp/B07CP93RTQ

Also by Claire Fullerton

Buy the books and audio editions: https://www.amazon.com/Claire-Fullerton/e/B00HRJEUJ4

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Claire-Fullerton/e/B00HRJEUJ4

Read other reviews and follow Claire on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7388895.Claire_Fullerton

About Claire Fullerton

Claire Fullerton grew up in Memphis, TN and now lives in Malibu, CA. She is the author of contemporary fiction, “Dancing to an Irish Reel,” set in Connemara, Ireland, where she once lived. Dancing to an Irish Reel is a finalist in the 2016 Kindle Book Review Awards, and a 2016 Readers’ Favorite. Claire is the author of “A Portal in Time,” a paranormal mystery that unfolds in two time periods, set on California’s hauntingly beautiful Monterey Peninsula, in a village called Carmel-by-the-Sea. Both of Claire’s novels are published by Vinspire Publishing.

Her third novel, Mourning Dove, is a Southern family saga, published in June, 2018 by Firefly Southern Fiction. She is one of four contributors to the book, Southern Seasons, with her novella, Through an Autumn Window, to be published in November 2018 by Firefly Southern Fiction. Claire is represented by Julie Gwinn, of The Seymour Literary Agency.

Connect to Claire

Website: https://www.clairefullerton.com/
Blog: https://cffullerton.wordpress.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfullerton3
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/claire.fullerton.79