Smorgasbord Bookshelf – Meet the Authors 2022 – Personal Recommendations -#Paranormal #Thriller JP Mclean, #WWII Marina Osipova, #Crime Jane Risdon


In this first feature for the Smorgasbord Bookshelf I am sharing authors whose books I have read and can personally recommend along with one of my reviews for their books.

The first author, JP Mclean released a heart stopping thriller in 2021 that I thoroughly enjoyed and can recommend.

Meet JP Mclean

JP (Jo-Anne) McLean writes urban fantasy and supernatural thrillers which have received honourable mentions from the Whistler Independent Book Awards and the Victoria Writers Society. Reviewers call her books addictive, smart, and fun. Her work includes endorsements from award-winning and best-selling authors, E.E. Holmes, Jennifer Manuel, Elinor Florence, Jennifer Anne Gordon, and Eileen Cook.

JP is a graduate of the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business. She is a certified scuba diver, an avid gardener, and a voracious reader. Raised in Toronto, Ontario, JP lived in various parts of North America before settling on Denman Island on Canada’s west coast, where she now lives with her husband. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her cooking dishes that look nothing like the recipe photos or arguing with weeds in the garden

Books by JP McLean

My review for Blood Mark October 2021

This is an excellent psychological, paranormal thriller that will keep you turning the pages to discover more of the story as it unravels.

The present day and the past are entwined in the intricate pattern that has wound itself around the body of a girl who believes that she was abandoned and been cursed all her life.

Her interactions with even her closest friend is impacted by her reticence to allow anyone to see her markings as she tries to make sense of dreams that vividly involve her night after night. The reader becomes totally engaged with the daily struggle to maintain some form of normality within a world that is judgemental of those who are different.

It is fast paced wth little padding to distract from the story which maintains the tension right to the last page.

The characters are very well portrayed and easy to take an instant dislike or liking too. As the mystery of the markings is unravelled, the pace of the story heats up bringing all the strands of the past and present together in a final heartstopping finale.

The author has done a great job in creating both the concept for this thriller and its execution and I can highly recommend.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow JP Mclean on : Goodreads – Website: J.P. Mclean Author – Twitter: @jpmcleanauthorFacebook: JP Mclean

The next author, Marina Osipova, writes novels that capture the stark reality of WWII and its aftermath in Russia but also the relationships that offer some light in the darkness.

Meet Marina Osipova

Marina Osipova was born in East Germany into a military family and grew up in Russia where she graduated from the Moscow State Institute of History and Archives. She also has a diploma as a German language translator from the Moscow State Institute of Foreign Languages. In Russia, she worked first in a scientific-technical institute as a translator then in a Government Ministry in the office of international relations, later for some Austrian firms. For seventeen years, she lived in the United States where she worked in a law firm. Eventually, she found her home in Austria. She is an award-winning author and a member of the Historical Novel Society.

Books by Marina Osipova

My review for The Cruel Romance

A well written novel with central characters and events that will stay with you long after the book is finished.

The story is told with stark realism of life in a small village near Moscow and of the conflict on the Eastern Front, at a time when Russia and Germany were back and forth across each other’s border with devastating consequences. For all the horror, suffering and death of the men fighting on the front line, it was the women and children who ended up being brutalised, starved and reviled by their own.

There is already poverty in the village where Serafima lives with her single mother in a small house that catches the eye of the commander of the invading German forces as his billet.

Despite the forced labour and the harsh Russian winter, Serafima keeps her dreams alive by thinking of Vitya who she loves and is now on the front. Then one day there is a devastating event that would not only change her life for ever, but that of a young German soldier whose gentleness has been twisted by the military code of domination.

Threaded through the inhumanity of war, is the beauty of music, kindness from unexpected sources, compassion, rekindling of maternal love and forgiveness.

All the characters are strongly drawn and evolve through the story as events bring about fundamental changes to their personalities and behaviour. Some become dehumanised whilst others seek redemption. We follow their lives during the conflict and in the uneasy peace that follows, discovering their inner thoughts in letters written to family and loved ones.

With the war ended, the race to grab power in the resulting vacuum is lethal in its unbending drive to annihilate any resistance. Even from those who have fought for their country or worked as slaves in the factories to support the war effort. For a population already starved of food, freedom and rights during war, there is little difference in peace time.

This book is not a Mills and Boon romance, it is stark, realistic and emotive with a surprising ending that does at least bring all the threads together with a feeling of closure. Whilst a little more justice was deserved by one or two, in the real world that does not always happen, especially when the people concerned are shielded by the uniform that they wear.

It is a reminder that whilst there is bravery on an individual basis in war, there is also inhumanity, cruelty and dishonour, tragically aimed at those least able to defend themselves. Recommended.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And on: Amazon UK – follow Marina : Goodreads – website:Marina OsipovaTwitter: @marosikok

The final author today, Jane Risdon, enjoyed great success with her co-written novel ‘Only One Women’ and has also published a crime themed short story collection which I enjoyed.

Meet Jane Risdon

Jane Risdon began writing following her successful career in the International Music Industry which has taken her all over the world working, including North America, Europe, Singapore, and Taiwan. She and her musician husband have worked with everything from Rock, Thrash Metal, and R&B/Pop to Chinese Opera.

She’s been involved in Artiste Management, Music Production, Music Publishing, and the facilitation of music for TV and Movie Soundtracks.

In December 2020 Jane signed with Linda Langton of Langtons International Literary Agency, based in New York, NY.

In 2014 Jane signed a publishing contract with Headline Accent part of the Hachette group.

Her co-written novel with best-selling, award-winning author Christina Jones is entitled ‘Only One Woman,’ and is published by Headline Accent. Christina and Jane enjoy a life-long friendship, and their shared experiences and love of the 1960s and the music scene, are the inspiration for their fictional novel about two girls and a lead guitarist whose band is touring and recording in England and Europe when they all meet. It is garnering rave 5* reviews from men and women. It is more than a love story, it is a social comment about the lives of those living through an era of social upheaval and huge world events.

Books by Jane Risdon

My review for Undercover Crime Shorts March 2021

This is an interesting mix of short stories all with a criminal theme…We open with a story of intrique and double dealing that follows a charasmatic redhead with her sights on the big prize and willing to use anyone she can to achieve it. The other stories reveal the darker side of people’s nature, including a writer caught up in her neighbour’s terrifying drama, a woman who leaves a will to heirs who have to complete certain tasks to inherit her money, a stalker who gets more than he bargained for and a woman with justice on her mind.

The author has created some complex characters and a number of inventive schemes and deadly plots to keep you entertained and wondering just who will get away with murder. A short read packed with intrigue and surprises.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon USBlog:Jane Risdon WordPressGoodreads:Jane Risdon Goodread – Twitter: @Jane_Risdon

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you are leaving with some books.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair – #Shortstories – #Canada M. L. Holton, #Crime Jane Risdon, #Multigenre Jean Wilson and Joy Lennick, #Flash Sarah Brentyn, #Suspense Audrey Driscoll


Welcome to the Christmas Book Fair and today short stories.. collections across the genresto dip into.

The first collection that would make a great gift is by M.L. Holton…Sticks and Stones: Ten Canadian Short Stories

About the collection

Ten Canadian Short Stories from Canadian artist and author, Margaret Lindsay Holton
Eclectic & Electric. Satisfying & Satiating. Delightful literary morsels to feed the mind …

From the INTRODUCTION: “… I am offering these stories to a wide range of readers because sharing well-chosen words expands our minds. New synaptic connections are made. We learn. We become more than we are. And, in these challenging times of reflection and crisis, reading really is a supportive and reassuring Gift that we can offer each other.” – mlholton

“Beautiful. A fine collection of memorable moments.” – “Cinematic.”
“Details described impeccably.” – “I loved these stories immensely.”

Experience isolated island life in the North, inner-city dilemmas, a heart-felt funeral, star-crossed lovers, untidy father-daughter dynamics, stories filled with razor-sharp elders and ever-constant rebellious youth – this collection is about life and the living.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Sticks and Stones, the new collection of previously unpublished short stories by prominent Burlington, Ontario-born artist/writer/filmmaker Margaret Lindsay Holton, is surprisingly unsettling.

That it would be unsettling is no surprise: the author clearly articulates in the introduction her objective to entice readers away from their settled beliefs and ideological certainties into unfamiliar cognitive spaces in the hope that more empathetic communication might develop across today’s social and political divides.

The surprise is in just how many different and unexpected ways Holton finds to destabilize the inherent cognitive bias of the reader. Poetic word choices, plot twists, and shifts in perspective are to be expected in the short story format, but Holton combines and recombines these with familiar settings and seemingly familiar characters to the point that even the most ordinary scenes can become hallucinatory experiences.
Holton’s sensibility as a visual artist is evident in the extraordinary number of indelible images that these stories evoke. However, I feel I must refrain from describing in too much detail any of these striking moments lest their impact within the reading be diluted.

The collection includes ten stories, mostly set in the Golden Horseshoe region. Some are simple and touching sketches, some involve fantasy and romance, and some are disturbingly puzzling, while others are puzzlingly disturbing. To reveal more would just spoil the fun.

Although these stories are all newly completed, Holton explains in the introduction how their original drafts were written at various stages over the past forty years, and how the experience of the 2020/21 pandemic inspired her to revisit these works. These reworked stories resonate deeply in this period of isolation and uncertainty. They evolve with a kind of organic accuracy that amplifies an on-going contemplation of the grandeur and significance of the passage of time. (Worth noting, this ability to ‘mark time’ parallel’s her deft handling of multiple generations throughout her 2019 novel, TRILLIUM, a 250-year epic saga set in the Niagara Peninsula.)

Sticks and Stones offers the reader an insightful glimpse of the aesthetic voice of Margaret Lindsay Holton. It rewards the reader with several enduring images and provokes profound questions as it subtly reflects on the beauty, horror, heroism, and hubris of our shared experience, especially during this unprecedented pandemic. It is a good read. I highly recommend it.

Buy the book: Amazon CA – And: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

A selection of books by Margaret Lindsay Holton

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Read more reviews and follow Margaret: Goodreads – Facebook Author/Artist fan pageMargaret Lindsay Holton FacebookTrillium NovelTwitter@TrillLINDSAY

The next author is Jane Risdon with her short story collection Undercover: Crime Shorts.

About the book

Under one cover for the first time a collection of Crime Shorts from Jane Risdon featuring previously unpublished stories which will have you on the edge of your seat. There is an extract from Jane’s forthcoming novel (series) Ms Birdsong Investigates Murder at Ampney Parva: Operation Matryoshka – with the title of Undercover – for those who’ve been awaiting this series about a former MI5 Intelligence Office, Lavinia Birdsong. There’s something for everyone who enjoys a good yarn and more twists and turns than Spaghetti Junction.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Apr 02, 2021 Jennifer Shepard rated it five stars it was amazing

This is the first book I read from this author and let me tell you that I loved it! Such a good book with great characters that keeps you obsessed with every page since the first one. The ending of this book.. come on! I just didn´t expect it! Can´t wait to read other books from this great writer! Amazing job! a must-read! A fantastic book that has it all! I happily endorse this story to any and all who are looking for a mystery enjoyable read and a completely different experience than anyone could imagine on their own. ¡Great book!

Read the reviews and buy the collection: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US

Also by Jane Risdon

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And: Amazon USBlog:Jane Risdon WordPressGoodreads:Jane Risdon Goodread – Twitter: @Jane_Risdon

The next cross genre collection is by Joy Lennick and Jean WilsonWhere Angels Fear to Tread

About the collection

The joint ages of friends Jean Wilson and Joy Lennick may add up to one hundred and seventy one years, but there’s nothing “old lace” about these two women writers; while the “arsenic” connection is questionable…

Both adept at delving into the messy, murky world of murder, it is enlightening, and sometimes, a relief… to discover their added light, humorous touch. This makes for a diverse selection of highly entertaining short stories to tickle the fancy of readers of all ages and genres.

These varied short stories are ideal to read on a long journey, or when enjoying a quick mid-morning or afternoon cup of coffee.

A recent review for Where Angel & Devils Tread

The charm of this collection of short stories written by Joy lennick and Jean Wilson, is that all of them are driven by interesting and authentic characters in a manner reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s novels. The superstitions, petty prejudices, and pleasures of these very English characters allow for thoroughly engaging stories with plenty of tongue-in-cheek British humour when circumstances and planned actions bring calamity down on their heads. I enjoyed the plots of the various stories but it is the style of the writing that made this a five star read for me.

A few examples of the humour which had me laughing as I visualized the characters are as follows:

“When I managed to get in I could see that Manny had left his mortal coil and wouldn’t be needing any more injections. I have to say the wife beater was very useful and I have developed a philosophy rather like the Ying and Yang that even dead losses have their uses on occasion.” This extract is from Aldgate’s Angel by Jean Wilson which tells the story of a queen’s nurse in 1950s London. In those days the nurses used to make house visits to attend to certain chronic patients. The conditions in which many of these patients lived were eye opening for me and the wry humour pulled at my heartstrings even as I chuckled.

“Mr Lawson, an ex-banker had been caught stealing some cigars from the newsagent along the road. The fool hadn’t remembered that they had security cameras and his antics were well and truly viewed, although a little mistily, and he was arrested without ceremony and taken to the local police station. Angie Roberts had given a hyena-type short laugh. It was typical of bank managers to help themselves to whatever they wanted. She held them responsible for the state the country was in.” This extract is from Death By Design by Jean Wilson in which the residents of a retirement home decide to take the righting of certain wrongs into their own hands.

“Kosher his mother’s home was not. He smiled as she flitted across his consciousness. Having decided while he was still in the womb that he should be a lawyer, she was disappointed when he became a detective, calling him a “Klutz!” adding “You could be killed!”

However, the fact that his younger brother, -“My son, Joseph, the doctor!” – fulfilled a birth wish, left her happy.” from Freeze by Joy Lennick, a murder investigation into the death of a small time crook and drug addict. The investigation grows legs and leads to some interesting findings.

“Adam was fortunate in the fact he had a head for figures and was ambitious. Very! The fact that he worked out and possessed a certain, while to some, oily, charm; had an enviable head of dark head, and expressive eyes the shade of malt whisky, helped his cause – social climbing. But, the years had thinned his hair somewhat and peppered it with several grey strands which persisted in battling against the dyes he tried.” from The Menu/Shopping List by Joy Lennick. When Piers, formerly Adam, Smythe finds a shoping list/menu in a second hand book, he decides the imagined available, attractive, likely well-heeled author of the letter is perfect for someone like him. He is in for his comeuppance.  

Other books by Joy Lennick

Read the reviews and by the books : Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Follow Joy : Goodreads – Blog: Joy Lennick at WordPressTwitter: @LennickJoy

The next review is for the anthology The Shadows We Breathe, edited by Sarah Brentyn and featuring several contributing authors who are on the shelves of the Cafe including Sarah, Mary Smith and Diana Wallace Peach.

About the Anthology

WE ARE ALL PART SHADOW

Life promises joy and sorrow. Alongside the light, there will always be traces of darkness. It is the nature of being human.

In this anthology of short fiction, we explore relationships—how they sculpt us, hurt us, help us, and reveal our deepest desires.

Eight artists, whose words paint worlds, bring you stories of heartache, loss, hope, and forgiveness. They unveil the intimacy and complexity of relationships.

Whether family, friend, or lover, connections to others can hold us up or break us down.

Within these pages, beautiful words are spun into tales threaded with darkness.

Discover the shadows we breathe.

A recent review for the anthology

MacTrish 5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning achievement!  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 19 October 2021

This remarkable collection of fiction has taken me completely by surprise. I expected it to be good because a couple of friends told me it was. I didn’t expect it to have such an impact.

The book is divided into three ‘volumes’. The first, Flash, has the theme of relationships – but each story is confined to 500 words. There wasn’t one amongst them that didn’t move me. The word limit means that the writers have condensed the usual more rambling narrative of a novel into something that has captured the crucial essence of the tale. All of them ended on a powerful note, often with a twist I didn’t see coming.

The second volume is called Micro and the word count has reduced to a ostensibly unworkable 50 words. These were just as moving, just as powerful and beautifully written.

The third volume is Microburst and the wordcount has plummeted to a mere 10 words. These same authors managed to condense entire tales into these few words. Like I said, remarkable!  

Buy the anthology: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

Contributing Authors

Sarah Brentyn Author Page – Twitter – Georgia Bell – Author Page | Twitter – Maria Carvalho Author Page | Twitter – Reena Dobson Author Page | Twitter – Ali IsaacAuthor Page | Twitter – D.Wallace Peach: – Author Page | Twitter – Mary SmithAuthor Page | Twitter

The next review today is for Tales from the Annexe: seven stories from the Herbert West Series and seven other tales by Audrey Driscoll.

About the collection

Seven stories from the world of Audrey Driscoll’s Herbert West Series, followed by seven other tales of illusions, delusions, and mysteries on the edges of logic. Discover Herbert West’s connections to Egypt, and how a dead man can help solve a mystery. Share Charles Milburn’s ruminations as he explores another dimension of his friendship with Herbert. Sample the treats on offer from an ice cream truck from Hell. Ride along with a dad who abandoned his ten-year-old son in the woods where something howls. Find out why a woman paints her bedroom a very special colour. Watch fifteen-year-old Ann as she tries to prove she belongs to the glamorous family on the other side of town. These and seven other curious encounters may be found in this annexe to the ordinary.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

JC Gatlin 5.0 out of 5 stars 14 Short Creepy Tales of Horror & Suspense Reviewed in the United States on September 11, 2021

Tales from the Annexe is an anthology divided into two parts. The first part features seven short stories based on characters and settings from the author’s Herbert West series. The second part consists of seven unrelated short stories, all with an H.P. Lovecraft vibe of a dangerous, paranormal world lurking in the shadows.

I really enjoyed all fourteen stories, though I think I liked the last seven better. These stories are filled with interesting, off-beat characters and the author excels at setting a spooky atmosphere. Each story has a current of suspense that keeps the plot moving forward. You just know something bad is about to happen.

“The Ice Cream Truck from Hell” is absolutely my favorite story in the book. In fact, I read it twice because I was surprisingly blown away after the first read. The two misfit teenagers are so well drawn and have such depth that it makes the fate they’re headed toward become increasingly, nail-bitingly tragic. This is one of those stories that can be analyzed for deeper meanings. The ice cream truck that shows up mysteriously in the middle of the night could be a metaphor for so many things.

“A Howling in the Woods” is another stand out. It’s atmospheric and frightening, following a father and son hunting trip into the dark woods. They shot and wounded an elk and are searching for it as the blood-curdling cries of an animal—the dying elk or something else?—echoes through the trees.
The author has an affinity for writing troubled kids and abusive parents, and the world she’s created is twisted and dark in the most intriguing ways imaginable.

As much as I enjoyed this collection of stories, I do feel that the first seven tied to the Herbert West series are weaker than the final seven. Though I enjoyed them, I’m not sure they’re a good introduction to the series. I felt I was missing some crucial information, since I haven’t read the series. Because they are grouped together, it makes the first half of the book feel less rewarding. I think mixing the original stories with the Herbert West collection would allow each tale to stand on its own merits.

Still, I highly recommend this anthology to fans of horror and suspense. It’s a great read.

A selection of books by Audrey Driscoll

Read the reviews and buy the books :Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – follow Audrey: Goodreads – Website:Audrey Driscoll – LinkedIn: Audrey Driscoll

 

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you are leaving with some books… Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – Shortstories – #ScienceFiction A.C. Flory, #Crime Jane Risdon, #Life Sally Cronin, #Fairies Colleen M. Chesebro


Welcome to the Christmas Book Fair where I will be featuring all the authors currently on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore.

Today I will be sharing some collections of short stories which are always welcome gifts any time of the year

The first book is by A.C. Flory… The Vintage Egg – a collection of science fiction stories.

About the collection

The book takes its name from the first story in a collection of six, science fiction stories set at the end of the 21st century.

The first story, The Vintage Egg, is about a ruined sand racer, and one man’s dream of restoring it. The last story, The Egg Run, is about that man’s grandson, Tim. Tim has shared his grandfather’s dream since childhood, and now the dream is about to become reality. But what will he do when the one, great challenge of his life is over?

The Gamer and Brehak are two stories about full immersion online gaming, and the need to retain a sense of self.

The To-Do List is about family, and robots. The Christmas Roast is about family, and synthetic life chickens called SL’ick. In a world where traditional forms of meat are hideously expensive, owning your own SL’ick is a privilege. Eating them can be tricky though, especially when one of your children thinks of them as pets.

A recent review for the collection

Robbie Cheadle 5.0 out of 5 stars Original and unique  Reviewed in the United States on November 24, 2020

This is the first book by A.C. Flory I have read and I will definitely be reading more. Originality and uniqueness rate highly on my rating list for a book, and these six science fiction stories certainly meet that criteria. The stories are all well written and easy to read, which makes this book a great choice for most readers.

All of the stories assume a futurist world after an undisclosed event or series of events which turn Earth into a hot and arid desert. The surviving people of the world are forced to live in underground cities. Food sources have changed and meat is scarce and expensive. The population, forced to live this unnatural life, are kept entertained with digital games which are so realistic they are almost life experiences. There is, however, a limit on gaming time to prevent people from starving to death while playing. These are indications of how the unnatural lifestyle is impacting on people.

The Vintage Egg and The Egg Run are interlinked stories, with the former presenting the beginning and the later the ending, of one story idea. Both stories are complete and can be enjoyed as standalone reads. This is the tale of an elderly man’s dream of finding a way of exploring the ruined Earth above ground through the restoration of a vintage machine he acquires. He involves and interests his young grandson in his project and it becomes something they do together. The Egg Run depicts stage 2 of the project through the eyes of the grandson.

The Gamer and Brehak are another pair of stories, each told from a different characters point of view. This story is fascinating as it explores the lack of reality and truth presented in digital worlds and how both of the participants in this ‘life like’ game are totally deceived by the other’s digital avatar and how this lack of truth impacts on their lives.

The To-Do-List is an interesting peak into the differences between older and younger people when it comes to adapting to fast changing technologies. It is an entertaining, but frighteningly realistic, look, at the older generations determination to hold on to the past and they world they knew when they were younger, versus the younger generations easy ability to adapt to change.

The Christmas Roast was truly horrifying for me. The concepts explored in this short story about a world where food is short and improvisations have become the normal, was quite overwhelming for someone like me who has always bought milk in a bottle [does it really come from a cow?] and meat neatly packaged with few reminder that it was one a living, breathing creature.

A great book of short stories and one I have unhesitatingly given a 5-star rating.

Read the reviews and buy the collection: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by A.C. Flory

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US  –  And: Amazon UK – Follow A.C. Flory: Goodreads Blog : A.C Flory Twitter: @ACFlory

The next author is Jane Risdon for her short story collection Undercover: Crime Shorts.

About the book

Under one cover for the first time a collection of Crime Shorts from Jane Risdon featuring previously unpublished stories which will have you on the edge of your seat. There is an extract from Jane’s forthcoming novel (series) Ms Birdsong Investigates Murder at Ampney Parva: Operation Matryoshka – with the title of Undercover – for those who’ve been awaiting this series about a former MI5 Intelligence Office, Lavinia Birdsong. There’s something for everyone who enjoys a good yarn and more twists and turns than Spaghetti Junction.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

Pamela Allegretto 5.0 out of 5 stars easy 5 stars  Reviewed in the United States on September 11, 2020

Jane Risdon treats the reader to her rare talent for spinning well-written, unique, and memorable yarns. Her writing is uncluttered, with each carefully chosen word packing a maximum punch. I thoroughly enjoyed this imaginative compilation.

Read the reviews and buy the collection: Amazon UK  – And: Amazon US

Also by Jane Risdon

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And:  Amazon US–   Blog:Jane Risdon WordPressGoodreads:Jane Risdon Goodread –  Twitter: @Jane_Risdon

I am going to sneak my collection Life’s Rich Tapestry: Woven in Words in here …Short stories and poetry…

About Life’s RichTapestry: Woven in Words.

Life’s Rich Tapestry is a collection of verse, microfiction and short stories that explore many aspects of our human nature and the wonders of the natural world. Reflections on our earliest beginnings and what is yet to come, with characters as diverse as a French speaking elephant and a cyborg warrior.

Finding the right number of syllables for a Haiku, Tanka, Etheree or Cinquain focuses the mind; as does 99 word microfiction, bringing a different level of intensity to storytelling. You will find stories about the past, the present and the future told in 17 syllables to 2,000 words, all celebrating life.

This book is also recognition of the value to a writer, of being part of a generous and inspiring blogging community, where writing challenges encourage us to explore new styles and genres.

One of the recent reviews for the collection by John Maberry – 31st October 2020Reviews of five books we recommend.

My review of Sally Cronin’s Life’s Rich Tapestry: Woven in Words, is short. We will add a few lines from the book after the review, for your consideration.

The book lives up to its title–indeed, Sally Cronin has woven a rich tapestry of life in words of many kinds. A variety of poetry–in forms unfamiliar in name to me, microfiction and short stories. What’s more, the graphic imagery of the short poems is inspiring to a person like me who has never really found poetry either appealing or easily understood. This time, for a change, the words grabbed me. I found meaningful passages that could be useful as well in prose writing as in poetry. Examples I must return to in settings or other places where showing and not telling is essential.

The microfiction and short stories were equally compelling. [As noted in the promo for the book coming up next from Eagle Peak Press, we will consider a combination of ingredients as Sally Cronin did—and more in this book]. She is a writer worth reading.

Here a poetry excerpt (not necessarily representative of the content of the whole):

Memories

“Memories are sharp

and as clear as the blue sky

smiles etched on my heart.”

Or consider this brief excerpt from the intro to a short story titled, “The Junkyard Dog.”

“Charlie was a junkyard dog and had the scars to prove it. He was head of security of this fenced off mass of scrap metal, dotted with mounds of old tyres he called home, and he took his job very seriously.”

Read the reviews and buy the collection :Amazon UK – And: Amazon US

A selection of other fiction books

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Read the reviews and buy the books :Amazon US – and:Amazon UK – Follow Sally:Goodreads – Blog: Smorgasbord InvitationTwitter: @sgc58

The first featured book this week with my review from 2019 (and I thought I should get it posted whilst we still have some summmer) is by Colleen M. Chesebro, Fairies, Myths & Magic: A Summer Celebration.

About the collection.

Step into a world where fairies, dragons, and other magical beings converge in a collection of poetry and short stories inspired by the celebration of Litha, the Summer Solstice.

Meet Drac, a dragon cursed by his own poisonous deeds, and two pixies who help an old man remember a lost love. You’ll meet a pair of fairies with a sense of humor, and a young girl who fulfills her destiny after being struck by lightning. Learn what happens when a modern witch’s spell goes terribly wrong. Meet the Sisters of the Fey, a group of Slavic Witches who sign a pact with the Rusalki Fey to preserve their magic for the good of all.

Atmospheric and haunting, the prose and poetry, will rewrite the mythologies of the past bringing them into the future.

A recent review for the collection on Goodreads

Jul 01, 2020 Brenda rated it Five Stars

This is an amazing read for anyone who loves magic, myths and folklore. It combines knowledge and wisdom with an array of stories and poetry that will take you to another realm. This book is a must have and a great summer read. You will not be able to put it down and you will want to read it over and over again. A great book for all ages.

Read the reviews and buy the collection: Amazon US – And Amazon UK:

Also by Colleen M. Chesebro

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US –  And:Amazon UK   –   Goodreads: Colleen at Goodreads –  Website:Colleen Chesebro – Twitter: @ColleenChesebro

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some great gifts to share.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors -#Paranormal Don Massenzio, #Crime Jane Risdon, #Fantasy Jan Sikes


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 Don Massenzio

51w8ilqqnkl-_ux250_Like his character, Frank Rozzani, Don was born in Syracuse, New York to first generation Italian American parents. He’s an avid reader. Some of my favorite authors are Harlan Coben, David Morrell, Stephen King, Jonathan Kellerman, John Grisham, and Hugh Howey. His favorite book of all time is To Kill a Mockingbird.

He started writing as a way to combat the long hours of travel and numerous hotel stays that are part of the ‘glamorous’ world of corporate life. He use writing as a therapeutic outlet to combat his homesickness.

His first published book, Frankly Speaking, rose to the top of the Amazon charts. It was the first in a series of books focused on the character, Frank Rozzani, a Florida private detective. The series is a throwback to the days of pulp detective novels with a tip of the hat to Jim Rockford from the 70’s television show, The Rockford Files. He’s also released a collection of short stories called Random Tales that is available for your Kindle or in paperback.

Also, look for his non-fiction book, The Ultimate Guide For Independently Published Authors: Tips for improving quality and selling your work, now available on Amazon.com as an eBook or in paperback

He moved to Jacksonville, Florida 22 years ago where he currently lives with his wife, daughter, and three dogs.

A selection of books by Don Massenzio

One of the recent reviews for Extra Innings

Apr 02, 2020 Pete Springer rated it Four Stars on Goodreads

Extra Innings by Don Massenzio is one man’s search to find more meaning in his simple life. The Langerton Chiefs, a AAA baseball team for the New York Yankees, have always been a significant part of Joe McLean’s life. He and his brother Mike have been lifelong fans. When the city council decides to tear down Maxwell Stadium to build a more modern facility, Joe decides that he wants a piece of the old stadium as a means of remembering his beloved Chiefs.

This meat of this story is not about baseball, however. When McLean purchases an old wooden stadium seat, he finds that he can travel in time when he goes to sleep in it. He understands that he is moving in time and recognizes the critical people in his life from days gone by, but each time Joe ends in a new period, he discovers positives and negatives. The problem is that no timeline seems to be perfect and continually finds things that are imperfect about his life that he goes about trying to fix before moving to another timeline.

It was a bit tedious trying to keep track of all of the timelines, but I found this to be an enjoyable read overall.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon USand: Amazon UK Follow Don Massenzio: Goodreads Blog: Don Massenzio – Twitter: @dmassenzio

Meet Jane Risdon

About Jane Risdon

Jane Risdon has spent most of her life working in the International Music Business rubbing shoulders with the powerful and famous, especially in Hollywood.

Married to a musician and later working alongside him managing singers, musicians, songwriters, and record producers, she’s also facilitated the placement of music on successful television series and movie soundtracks.

With long-term friend, award-winning, best-selling author, Christina Jones – one-time fan-club secretary for Jane’s husband’s band – Jane has co-authored Only One Woman (Headline Accent) which is set in the UK music scene of 1968/69.
Recently Jane completed her first collection of short crime stories for publication – Undercover: Crime Shorts – published in both eBook and Paperback 2019 (Plaisted Publishing House Ltd).

Jane writes for online and print magazines and has contributed to 16 anthologies. She also has a blog and often hosts guest authors.

She is working on the sequel to Only One Woman as yet untitled, as well as a series of crime novels – Ms Birdsong Investigates – featuring former MI5 Intelligence Officer Lavinia Birdsong which she plans to complete in 2020. Her experience of working at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in her pre-music days has given her plenty of material for her crime/thrillers.

Her books are available in Waterstones and all good book stores as well as via various digital platforms.

One of the recent reviews for Undercover Crime Shorts on Goodreads

Feb 14, 2020 J.P. Willson rated it Four Stars

An eclectic collection of sinister scenarios…
See what I did there?
Seriously though, albeit short, a very good collection of stories that will leave you guessing through till the end.
Well worth a look.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK – And:  Amazon US–   Blog:Jane Risdon WordPress Goodreads:Jane Risdon Goodread –  Twitter: @Jane_Risdon

Meet Jan Sikes

Multi-Award winning author, Jan Sikes, began her writing career as a young girl. Her first work was a gospel song. She had an uncle whom she loved dearly, but he was an alcoholic and his drinking caused such family discord that at times, resulted in him being banished from their home. So, she wrote a song about Uncle Luke finding Jesus. That is her first memory of feeling the passion deep down to her toes for writing and for music.

When her husband passed away in 2009, she thought someone would come along and write the story of his unique and inspiring life. She awoke one morning to realize she was the only one who could write it, since she was the only one there with him through it all. So, she took several Creative Writing courses at local community colleges and went to work.

Her books are true stories about the journey of two people moving through adversity in order to grow and learn to become better humans. She believes with all her heart there is something worthy of sharing in these stories. Bits and pieces of wisdom, hard-learned lessons and above and beyond all, love…True love that you read about in fiction stories and yet this is truth. The old saying that truth is stranger than fiction fits these stories.

She also releases a music CD of original songs along with each book that fits the time period of the story. Why? Because the stories revolve and evolve around a passion for music.

Jan has also developed several writing workshops that you can get more information about on her website.

She is widowed, lives in North Texas, volunteers at music festivals, has five incredible grandchildren and serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas Authors Institute of History, The North Texas Book Festival and the Texas Musicians Museum.

A selection of books by Jan Sikes

One of the recent reviews for Jonah.

I really enjoyed this story. Jonah is a convict who was given a choice about how to serve his sentence and chose to be deserted on an island where the elements and environment were difficult to endure. The story focuses on his journey to inner redemption, and I love stories that focus on that internal struggle. I loved that Jonah’s isolation stripped away his need to appear tough and feared, the way he was in his home turf. I also loved that he innately protected Titus without even realizing he was doing so at first.

I just wished the story was longer. I know that it was meant to be a short story, but I would have loved more depth and more details. I would have loved more memory scenes that showed Jonah’s past life. I would have enjoyed more interaction with Titus as he grappled with his inner growth. And I would have enjoyed more of a lead into meeting the adults. I wanted to learn about his lessons and the trials and tribulations he would need to go through before being ready to fulfill his purpose. I honestly think this could be developed into a great novel if the author ever chooses to do so. All in all, it’s a great short story that will leave you wanting more. 🙂

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Website: Jan SikesGoodreads: Jan on Goodreads – Twitter: @rijanjks

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.