Smorgasbord Review 2017 Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore- New Author on the Shelves – Ruby Slips and Poker Chips by Heather Kindt #WordWeaverContest winner


The top viewed, New Book on the Shelves for 2017 was the debut novel of Heather Kindt and I have updated with one of the recent reviews.

Earlier this year Moyhill was delighted to sponsor the first prize in Dan Alatorre’s renowned Word Weaving Writing Contest.

Word Weaver logi FINAL trimmed 2

The winner was Heather Kindt with a story that impressed the judges and we are now very pleased to showcase her debut novel, Ruby Slips and Poker Chips. Heather selected her own cover, it was edited as part of her prize by Russell J. Fellows and David Cronin formatted the book for publication for Moyhill.

You can read more about the contest here:

About Ruby Slips and Poker Chips

Second-grade teacher Dottie Gale lives in the tiny town of Quandary, Kansas, which is pretty much smack dab in the middle of nowhere. No mountains. No ocean. No life. Her ex-boyfriend and current school board member, Corbin Lane, cheated on her, making school functions more than a little awkward. But worst of all, a tornado named Maxine Westward rips through Dottie’s school as the new principal and has made her life at work a living hell.
When Dottie is chosen to go to a teacher’s conference in Las Vegas, she knows her life is going to change.

Driving from Quandary to Vegas, three strangers enter her life. Through a string of situations involving poppies, flying monkeys, and a life-size sculpture of an iconic rock star the four soon become inseparable. So, when Westward arrives on her broom in Vegas, Dottie is ready for battle. Her boss black mails her with stories of incarceration, thievery, and a steamy relationship with her travel companion, but Dottie knows that those who hurl insults shouldn’t hold secrets of their own.

An extract from Chapter One of Ruby Slips and Poker Chips

A tornado blew through the small town of Quandary the night before Westward arrived. The slim, rope-like twister was a two on the Fujita scale, but the damage it caused seemed more like a five. I wondered later if the storm came to drop her off before moving further east. The very next day, the school board voted and named Maxine Westward the new principal of Quandary Elementary. That day changed my life.

Now you may be wondering what I have against a woman who gives her life to shaping young minds. It just so happens that I was born with a sixth sense called woman’s intuition. When Maxine first walked into the school for her interview with her briefcase and painted-on smile, it was easy to size her up.

As I raced around the corner to copy my students’ homework in the last minute of music class, Maxine and I nearly had a head-on collision. She wore a navy blue power suit, six-inch heels, and her hair short and red. I wondered if the state sent her to inspect the school’s records again. The Kansas Department of Education has a nasty habit of sending their cronies in at the most inconvenient times.

I held up a homework sheet and extended my free hand. “I’m sorry, trying to get this done before I have to pick up the kiddos. I’m Dottie Gale.”

The phony looked me up and down, frowned, and brushed past me into the office. Glancing down, I searched for the coffee stain on my satin shirt. She painted her smile on again for Miggy Samuels, the school secretary, while I made my way to the printer. Before I even knew why she was there, my intuition kicked in, telling me she was no good for my school.

“I’m here for an appointment,” she said, looking around the office like she was too important to set foot in it. I wanted to tell her to take her heels, and get back to where she came from, but instead, I bit my lip and continued my copying. I kept my ears tuned in, pretending to mind my own business. I wondered why the school board was all there, getting the royal breakfast treatment from Wanda Jo in the lunchroom. A day of interviews to find the new principal would have to start with bacon and a short stack.


After school, I carried my stepladder out to the hallway to hang up my end of the school year bulletin board. The large, yellow butcher paper curled around me as I struggled to staple the first corner. One of the magazines my Uncle Embry subscribed to ran an article last year about the ten most hazardous jobs. I wanted to call the editor and give him a piece of my mind, because coal miners and structural construction workers have nothing on teachers. I could fall backwards and break my neck on the linoleum while hanging this stupid paper, not to mention the number of germs that attacked my body from the petri dishes on feet called second graders.

Just as I ruined my fifth staple, I felt a hand lift the paper. Corbin Lane stretched it across the board, holding while I attached the students’ papers.

“So did you hire the witch?” I watched him out of the corner of my eye. Corbin was the youngest member of the school board, as well as my ex-boyfriend. His black hair hung adorably in his eyes in a wistful fashion that reminded me of one of the characters in a comic book.

“And which one would that be, dear?” I hated when he called me that. I slammed another staple into the wall, intent on taking my aggressions out on the bulletin board instead of Corbin.

“Which one? The red head, of course! She marches in here with her superior attitude and expects we can’t see through it.” I hopped down from the ladder, moving it to the center of the board. Climbing back up, I pounded my fist into the stapler, again concealing my emotions in a way that I’m sure the stapler didn’t appreciate.

“We haven’t made a decision, yet.” He smirked. “But I guess I know where you stand.” Corbin moved the ladder this time and applied the next staple.

I froze realizing my mistake. Ever since he cheated on me in high school, he was constantly trying to please me – to the point of being highly annoying.

I snatched the stapler from Corbin’s hand, but found it empty. “Damn stapler.”

“Here, let me take it.” He took my abused weapon and went to my desk to rummage for more ammo while I thought about how I’d now become the sixth person on the interview committee.

I knew my comments would definitely influence Corbin’s decision. Looking back, I wished I had the sexual prowess to influence the other three men on the board. I guess I need a little more Ginger and a little less Mary Anne.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Cynthia Tatum 5.0 out of 5 stars It’s a fun read! December 2, 2017

Dottie Gale is a snappy second grade teacher in a small town in Kansas who is about to get swept up into a whirlwind cross-country road trip on the way to a teacher conference. She makes some new quirky friends on her trip and finds herself in the most bizarre of situations by no fault of her own. Add to the mix a new principal with higher aspirations than staying at a small school in Kansas and an old cheating high school boyfriend and the adventure begins!

I found this to be a fun read with many chuckles throughout as Dottie was a wise-cracking main character that kept the pace moving quickly. I enjoyed the parallels between Dottie and Dorothy of The Wizard of Oz and found the author to give just the right balance between references to the old classic and this story. I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a not-so serious, yet very enjoyable, read curled up in front of a fireplace with a warm blanket and a mug of tea on a cozy evening.

Where to buy the book:

and Amazon UK:

Smashwords for other Ebook versions:

About Heather Kindt

Heather Kindt grew up in Derry, New Hampshire, but now resides in the mountains of Colorado with her husband and two children. She loves writing YA fantasy and humorous fiction. Her debut novel, Ruby Slips and Poker Chips, won the Dan Alatorre Word Weaver Writing Contest. To learn more about her and the great things that are coming in her writing world, visit her website at

Connect to Heather Kindt

Amazon Author Page:

Social Media

Facebook author page:

Thank you for dropping in today and it would be wonderful if you could head over and buy Heather’s book and also follow her on social media. As you all of you who are authors know, making contacts is so important as a new writer. Thanks Sally.


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Dan Alatorre and various authors, John Nicholl and Lucinda E. Clarke

News of a great collection of scary stories from several authors in the Cafe and Bookstore which has been compiled and edited by bestselling Amazon author Dan Alatorre. 

The Box Under the Bed is on pre-order for October 1st at 99c

There is also the prospect of a pre-order bonus story from Dan Alatorre and all the details can be found in the link to the promotional post:

These are the 27 stories contributed by 20 authors at a fantastic pre-order price of 99c.

Prologue, The Box Under The Bed part one

  1. Passion – Jenifer Ruff
  2. The Clearer – Allison Maruska
  3. The Death of Mrs. Billen – Dan Alatorre
  4. Windows of the Soul – Lucy Brazier
  5. Cassie – J. A. Allen
  6. The Next One – Allison Maruska
  7. Lovingly He Held Her Head Underwater – Juliet Nubel
  8. LabStor – T.A. Henry
  9. Cobalt Point – Anne Marie Andrus
  10. Mind Games – Heather Hackett
  11. Interlock – Barbaba Anne Helberg
  12. Hunter – Allison Maruska
  13. The Stainless Steel Coffin – Scott Skipper
  14. Repercussions – Joanne Larner
  15. Jack and Mary – Christine Valentor
  16. Genetic Aberrations – Adele Marie Park
  17. The Right Place – Curtis Bausse
  18. Fireflies – Allison Maruska
  19. Betrayal – Annette Robinson
  20. The Fateful Voyage of Patrick O’Brien – Frank Parker
  21. Destination Reached – Eric Daniel Clarke
  22. Diamond’s Promise – Allison Maruska
  23. The Last Time She Saw Her Brother – Maribel C. Pagan
  24. The Blind Tattooist – Allison Maruska
  25. Three Seconds of Grace – Anne Marie Andrus
  26. Hair Razor – Carrie Ann Alexis
  27. Mondays Are Who You Really Are – Lucy Brazier

Epilogue, The Box Under The Bed, part two

BONUS STORY: The Water Castle – Dan Alatorre

The pre-order link at 99c:

and Amazon UK at 99p:

The next author with great reviews for his latest book is John Nicholl with A Mind to Kill released in August 2017.

About A Mind to Kill

The hunters become the hunted…

‘I’m in here. Come on. I’m in here. Come and play with me. I’ve been waiting for you…’

When Rebecca’s childhood abuser avoids prosecution, it sets her on a path to revenge, revenge on any man who preys on the innocent. Twenty-three-year-old Rebecca poses as a child online and sets her trap, luring one predatory paedophile after another to their deaths. When a man’s severed head is found washed up on a windswept estuary beach, the police begin their investigation.

The internationally bestselling author of White is the Coldest Colour is back with an electrifying psychological thriller packed with suspense.
One of the recent reviews for the book

Brilliant!!!!  on 30 August 2017

Well this is exactly how I like my murder/serial killer books to be – grisly, gritty and gruesome – mixed with a brilliant cast in a superb police procedural. “A Mind To Kill” by John Nicholl fits this perfectly.

Rebecca Smith is abused when she is six years old by her ballet instructor. Unable to secure a conviction the police are forced to let him go but Rebecca never forgets and exacts her own brutal revenge on men like him who prey on young children.

Although we know from the start who the murderer is this doesn’t spoil the story, as it is about the reasons why she feels compelled to kill and how it affected her and her family when the abuser wasn’t brought to justice. At times this book is quite gruesome so if you’re offended or dislike that sort of thing then maybe this isn’t for you but since the nature of the book is about revenge then it is wholly appropriate to the story and the author has portrayed it all brilliantly.

The Detective Sergeant – Gareth Gravel – at the time of Rebecca’s abuse case, is still on the force when she takes a job with the police as a computer expert. Now an Inspector, he is brought back from holiday to investigate the macabre discovery of body parts. I really liked ‘Grav’ and found myself relating him to one of my favourite Detectives – Inspector Jack Frost, as he had that same attitude and temperament.

With wonderfully likeable characters who fit their parts perfectly and with a well thought out plot line this makes up a fabulous book that I absolutely loved and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it or the author John Nicholl to crime readers of all ages. I do hope in the future to read all his previous novels that have also been hugely successful.

Read all the reviews and buy the book:

Also by John Nicholl

Find out more about John Nicholl, read all the reviews and buy the books:

and Amazon UK:

Find more reviews and follow John on Goodreads:

Connect to John via his website:

Last but not least is the new release from Lucinda E. Clarke, Amie: Cut for Life which is on pre-order for September 30th.

About the book

They told Amie it was a simple look, listen and report back mission, but from the beginning everything went wrong. She is stalked across borders, the aid workers act suspiciously, she’s assaulted, and abandoned in a rural African hut miles from anywhere. What has happened to her partner Simon and can she trust the charismatic Frenchman who befriends her? The discovery of an ancient tribal tradition and a group of young children to rescue, test her skills to the limit. For the first time, she is prepared to kill to protect the innocent caught up in an international sex trade with an extra horrifying twist.

Here is the International pre-order link at 99c or 99p for delivery on September 30th:

Also by Lucinda E. Clarke

One of the latest reviews for Amie: Stolen Future

Amie is always observed by the “watchers” who have plans for her. Who are the “watchers”? What are their plans? Third in the series, this is more exciting and thrilling than the first two. Some series tend to fall flat as they continue, the Amie series gets better with each installment. Amie loses someone close, as predicted. She helps to save Africa, as predicted. As with books 1 & 2, this story is complete, but leaves you knowing that more is coming. I don’t believe in giving spoilers, just know you’ll never get bored and won’t be able to turn pages fast enough.

Read the reviews and buy all the books:

Read more reviews and follow Lucinda on Goodreads:

Connect to Lucinda via her website:

If you are in the Cafe and Bookstore and have a new release, great review or offer to share please let me know..

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Dan Alatorre, Pamela D. Beverly and Jacquie Biggar

Welcome to the author update and news from the authors in the Cafe and Bookstore. Delighted to begin the post with a new book by International best selling author Dan Alatorre and An Angel on her Shoulder.

About An Angel on her Shoulder

A series of unexplainable tragedies surround a family and their young daughter as they seek to determine whether they are possessed, paranoid or collectively going insane. Meanwhile, forgotten clues from the father’s past may indicate forces are at work in ways more ominous than any of them could have imagined.

Two of the early reviews

An excellent read. What I like most is the slow build-up of tension through the occasional killer punch. This is woven into a story of everyday life that gives it a ring of authenticity through the childhood memories, the couple’s relationship and their interaction with their daughter, Sophie. Though the book can indeed be called a paranormal thriller, the pace isn’t relentless, which personally suits me fine – I don’t go a bundle on the breathless type of thriller (or at least, I tend to forget them pretty quickly). Here there’s more reasoning, subtlety, and depth in the background context, and that to me is what gives the story its appeal. In short, what we have here is a thriller that isn’t formatted to fit neatly into a genre template, but instead goes its own way. And that’s all to its credit.

A Gripping Tale!!  on July 31, 2017

There is so much to this story, a topic we all grapple with when faced with tragedy…Why is this happening? I think this story just might have the answers. As always, Dan Alatorre’s writing strikes such a good balance, with action, suspense, and humor. All laid out with vivid detail, emotion, and likable characters. The main character is in search of answers for his family, and will stop at nothing until he finds them. His open mind leads him to places one would normally not go, and he does it without hesitation. A very thought-provoking story, so much so, it had me rethink my beliefs and open my mind to other possibilities. This story grabbed me from the beginning, and kept me turning each page in anticipation to see where it was going to take me next, and did not disappoint. And the ending? The ending wrapped up this whole package and topped it with a nice shiny bow. Such a good read!! This book would be an excellent choice for a Book Club. This is a story that doesn’t need to be just read, it needs to be discussed.

Read all the reviews and buy the book:

A selection of other books by Dan Alatorre

Discover all of Dan’s books, read the reviews and buy:

Read more reviews and follow Dan on Goodreads:

Connect to Dan via his website:

The next author is Pamela D. Beverly with a recent review for her book The Love Labryrinth.

About The Love Labyrinth

Noelle Harrison is a hard-working wife and loving mother to two young sons. Although supportive of her husband Wayne’s professional pursuits, she rails at his constant out-of-town travel to conferences and seminars. What about her needs and wants?

Then one day on her way home from church…

There are two sides to every story. Or maybe three.

A recent review for the book

Love Triangle  on June 8, 2017

When Noelle Harrison meets Clark Johnson on her way out the church doors, she immediately discerns that his kindness is not appropriate for a married woman. Already we can see Noelle struggling. Should she go out to lunch with the young, fine, Clark? He claims he just wants to be friends, is that possible? Can a married woman be friends with another man without romance being involved? This is the question I asked myself as Clark and Noelle made plans for lunch.

The plot thickens as we discover that Mr. Wayne Harrison is a workaholic who is always away on business. In fact, he is so busy that he practically ignores Noelle’s cries for attention and is not as helpful with their two sons as he should be. Frustrated with being ignored, Noelle continues to go on lunch dates with Clark while struggling to hold onto her integrity. Clark wants Noelle and he wants her bad. She has taken over his mind and is now all he thinks about. Noelle has no idea the kind of life altering decision a simple lunch date can be.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. For me, it has a mixture of everything. Of course, there’s the serious question of fidelity and married life but there’s also drama and laughs (Clark’s a bit of a crybaby. I am sure that’s him smiling on the cover.) When things got deep my heart broke for each of the main characters (Noelle, Wayne, Clark) at different points in the story. It reminded me of how precious marriage is but also how important it is not to play around with someone’s heart. The Love Labyrinth is a smooth read, not too fast and not too slow with some well-developed characters.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

Also by Pamela D. Beverly

Read the reviews and buy both books:

Read more reviews and follow Pamela via Goodreads:

Connect to Pamela via her website:

And the last update today is for USA Today bestselling romance author Jacquie Biggar with new reviews for her book My Baby Wrote me a Letter which was published in July.

About My Baby Wrote me a Letter

A family’s brush with the past will threaten the foundation of their lives.

Grace Freeman is eight months pregnant. With her Navy husband away on a mission, she craves the security of her childhood home in Canada.

When a letter, written by her long-lost mother, is found it creates a tear in the fabric of the lives of those she loves.

Can Grace find a way to bring her family peace, or will a message from the past destroy their future?

One of the recent reviews for the book

What a beautiful short story from Jacquie Biggar. Grace Freeman is getting ready to return to her home country of Canada while she waits for the birth of her first child. Her husband is in the Navy and may not make it home in time for the birth and so Grace’s father is helping her with the move. Grace finds a letter written by her mother, but never mailed, stuck behind a drawer in an old desk that has been in the family for years. Grace’s mother abandoned her four children when Grace was little and they have no idea what happened to her.

The letter will either bring closure to Grace, her father and her three brothers or leave more questions unanswered, but you will need to read the book to find out. I so enjoyed this book, as I have all of the books by Ms. Biggar. I received a free copy of this book in order to provide an honest review and I have done so. This is the kind of story that makes me sigh when I am finished and wishing I could (and probably will) read it all over again. (by paytonpuppy)

Read the reviews and buy the book:

A selection of books by Jacquie Biggar


Read all the reviews and buy the books:

Discover more reviews and follow Jacquie on Goodreads:

Connect to Jacquie Biggar via her webstite:

Please let me know if you have a new release available or on pre-order so that I can feature in the Cafe and Bookstore Updates.. email me on  Thanks.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book Reading and Interview with Dan Alatorre

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore

Welcome to the Wednesday edition of the Book Reading and Interview at the cafe and my guest today is the award winning author Dan Alatorre, who has delighted readers with his stories inspired by his young daughter, wowed in the kitchen with his recipes and provided a slice of Italy with his latest book.

More about that and his other work a little later. First the official background to my guest.

About Dan Alatorre

International bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 17 titles published in over a dozen languages.

From Romance in Poggibonsi to action and adventure in the sci-fi thriller The Navigators, to comedies like Night Of The Colonoscopy: A Horror Story (Sort Of) and the heartwarming and humorous anecdotes about parenting in the popular Savvy Stories series, his knack for surprising audiences and making you laugh or cry – or hang onto the edge of your seat – has been enjoyed by audiences around the world.

And you are guaranteed to get a page turner every time.

“That’s my style,” Dan says. “Grab you on page one and then send you on a roller coaster ride, regardless of the story or genre.”

Readers agree, making his string of #1 bestsellers popular across the globe.

He will make you chuckle or shed tears, sometimes on the same page. His novels always contain twists and turns, and his nonfiction will stay in your heart forever.

Dan resides in the Tampa area with his wife and daughter. You can find him blogging away almost every day on or watch his hilarious YouTube show every week Writers Off Task With Friends.

Dan’s marketing book 25 eBook Marketing Tips You Wish You Knew has been a valuable tool for new authors (it’s free if you subscribe to his newsletter) and his dedication to helping other authors is evident in his helpful blog.

The latest release by Dan Alatorre and Dan has chosen and extract from Poggibonsi for his book reading.

About the Poggibonsi – An Italian misadventure

When family man Mike Torino lands a project in Italy, home of naked art, Valentino, and taxi-crashing yoga pants, he brings along his wife, hoping to rekindle their marriage. But romance gets derailed by head colds, constant bickering, and assaults from ankle-breaking cobblestone streets. Their daughter develops a gelato addiction. Mike’s Italian partner has a coronary. And as for amore . . . Mattie tells Mike to handle things himself—and storms back to America.

Mike is trapped. Leaving Italy will blow a promotion; staying might cost him his wife and family.

While reeling from Mattie’s frantic departure, a replacement liaison is assigned—a top-notch, beautiful young Italian woman who is instantly smitten with Mike and determined to reveal the passions of her homeland—whether he wants to see them or not! Normally immune, Mike is tempted—but is headstrong, voluptuous Julietta worth the risk?

One of the latest reviews

I have always loved the idea of Italy, and intend to go there one of these days, so this romantic comedy really appealed to me, and from the very first page, I was laughing.
The writing style, wit and humour sparkles like champagne, and although you can guess what the protagonist Mike Torrino will get up to, the effervescent way he stumbles through life is hilarious.

This story is all about relationships and love, all the different kinds of love, including a hilarious depiction of extra-marital sex. But Poggibonsi is a beautifully written romance too. It has the classic ‘lost everything’ scenario, but the emotions are real. The cast of characters could be people you have known for years, and I laughed a lot and cried in equal measure but cannot remember when I have enjoyed a book so much.

The scene in the restaurant between Mattie (the wife) and Sam, the woman Mike works with, literally brought the house down and was promptly outdone by Mike’s conversation with the priest.

Poggibonsi, (yes, it really is a place in Italy, a small Tuscan hamlet in Chianti) should be made into a film, it would break box office records!

Read all the reviews and buy the book:

Here is an extract from Poggibonsi – An Italian Misadventure.

Julietta set her computer on the table. “Signor Bellesandro—Franco—was responsible for a large project here. A spa, with a swimming pool. It made a lot of money for the bank, and he is very proud of it. Be sure to mention it so he can boast a little.”

“Got it.” I flipped through one of the files in the stack Franco had left on the table. “On the plus side, it looks like he did a pretty good job of assembling the information we’ll be needing. Check this out. Spreadsheets, summaries . . . It’s like I—”
It was just like I had done it myself.

I looked at Julietta. “Were you responsible for this?”

She nodded. “I called and told them how to prepare.”

Her initiative impressed me. Again. “Then why did he not know you when we came in?”

She shrugged. “I used Alberto’s name. Nobody pays attention to the assistant.”

That could not have been less true. Anybody who set eyes on her, man or woman, paid attention to Julietta.

I set the file aside. “They just didn’t know who he was dealing with. When we’re finished here, they’ll all know you.” Picking up another thick folder, I thumbed through it, shaking my head. “This type of work, it’s amazing. Now all I need to do is check these over and see what I’m interested in.”

She moved closer to me, the way she’d done on the train, sliding her hand up and down the lapel of her suitcoat. “What you’re interested in?”

I just watched, trying to stay focused. “Well, there’s a lot to look at.”

“I understand.” She rested her hand on her thigh. “We should get started.”

My face felt flush. “We really should. I—I should probably sit down. Over here. On a chair.”
She watched me, purring. “Mm hmm.”

“And you should probably come—I mean, you should probably go down. Sit down. Sit—”


My breath left me. “Anywhere you want.”

She leaned on the table, right next to me. Her legs brushed up against mine. “Here?”

“Um, okay that . . . that’s gonna get in the way of the . . . Julietta.”


“We have a lot of . . . work to get to.”

“Hard work?”

“So hard.” I swallowed. “And, uh, I think it’s best if we fuckus—focus. Focus on—on . . . um . . . work! Focus on work.”

She batted her big green eyes at me, whispering. “Mike?”

A tiny jolt of electricity ran through me when she spoke my name. “Yes?”

She put her fingers to my shoulder. “Do you think I’m pretty?”
“God, yes.” I cleared my throat. Her fingers toyed with the edge of my collar. “I mean, you’re very professional. That’s what I meant.” I watched her out of the corner of my eye. “And attractive. You have a great ass. Assistant. Great assistant. You’re a . . . great one. Of those.”

She slid her hand down my arm “Do you like me?”

I nodded. “I like you soooooo much.” I could barely get the words out. My voice didn’t remember how to work.

She cocked her head, letting her hair fall over her shoulder. “Would you like to kiss me?”

“Would I!” My mouth fell open. “Would I?” My breath caught in my throat. “Is that what you’re asking? I’ve got wood. I mean, I would. Wouldn’t.” She was inches from my face. “I mean, I wouldn’t want to break, uh, any rules. Of business. That we have. Our companies. Both here in America or back in, um, in . . . back where you live.”

She slipped off her jacket, a black lace bra shining right through the red blouse.


“Now, Julietta, there are a lot of reasons why we shouldn’t, you know, do that. If you give me a minute, I’ll think of some.” I took a deep breath, letting it out slowly. “There are, um . . . uh, um . . . rules. About this sort of stuff. I could get fired.”

She leaned over, putting her face close to mine. “What if I kiss you?”

I leaned back. “Uh, the on-the-cheek Italian greeting thing? A little peck of gratitude? I think that’s okay . . . local customs.”


“No . . .” I swallowed. “No?”

She shook her head slowly, never breaking eye contact. “No.” She slid her finger under my chin. “What if I kiss you, not on the cheek?”

I blinked. If I had been wearing glasses, they would have been steamed up by now. “Oh, not on the cheek? That—that—that would depend on um, which country—”

She pressed her lips to mine.

She held me there, moving slowly, tasting me, her lips warm and soft, electrifying me to my very soul before pulling back and looking at me with those big beautiful green eyes.
I managed a hoarse whisper. “That, I’m pretty sure, would be against the rules.”

“Pretty sure? But not positive?” She kissed me again, deeper, sliding her hands up my arms, pressing her body into mine.

I gasped. “That was definitely over the line.”

She smiled, her beautiful face practically touching mine. She nuzzled my ear, whispering.

“So you are in trouble now?”

“You have no idea.” I nodded. “Well, maybe one more. To be absolutely sure.”

Si, we must be thorough.”

A selection of other books by Dan Alatorre


Discover all of Dan Alatorre’s books and read the reviews:

Read more reviews for Dan’s books and follow him on Goodreads:

It is time to meet Dan in person and just a reminder that you are very welcome to put your questions in the comments section and Dan will respond in the next couple of days.

Welcome Dan and perhaps you could start by telling us about your chosen genre of books that you write and why?

I joke that I’m going to write a book in every genre until I find one I’m good at, but I really like – shh! It’s kinda bad to say this out loud – is Romantic Comedy. Look at your readers roll their eyes. I have a blast writing funny stuff and inserting it into a really good romance, so there’s something for everyone. Lots of readers don’t take rom-com seriously, but my romances are DEEP and passionate and real, while maintaining a character or two on the perimeter that are making you laugh.

I love strong characters that we get to know quickly and then something goes wrong and it’s just a roller coaster ride. Poggibonsi is a great example. The MC is pretty straightforward but a lot of characters around him will have you rolling on the floor. Meanwhile, the romance he pursues, fans are swooning everywhere reading it.

If one of your books was selected to be made into a film; who would you like to play your main character and why?

I kind of live in fear of that happening, not because I hate movies but because who they’d put in the roles. Right now, readers everywhere are saying they can totally see Poggibonsi being made into a movie. I love that. It’s set in Tuscany and has a ton of romance, just right for some big Hollywood names. The problem is who they’d put in the male lead. It requires a good looking guy who can be funny. I just know they’d cast Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool), and I hate him. For the female lead I could see Yvonne Strahovski, who I love, or somebody like Brianna Brown or Dianna Agron; but I know they’d cast Brittany Spears, you know? Ugh.

Which book in your opinion is the best you have ever read and why?

That’s a tough one, because there are so many. I loved the book Jaws and The Amityville Horror, because they scared the heck out of me when I was reading them. Catch-22 was a lesson in amazing writing, comedy, and writing to a smart audience. The Other by Thomas Tryon has layers and layers of mystery; it’s brilliant.

I love the essays of Mark Twain; they are the building blocks for gripping, long-form comedic storytelling like Bill Cosby did in the late 1960’s and probably every comedy writer since.

But the absolute best book ever? Green Eggs And Ham.

Seriously. No one can read that book, child or adult, and not smile. Bringing joy to people is quite a feat, and that book does it every time. We can all probably thank Dr. Seuss for instilling in us our first moment of joy in reading. That’ll always make it #1.

You have had several of your books translated into Spanish, Italian and Chinese. Do you have any guidelines about what genres are the most likely to cross cultures successfully, for example children’s books and based on your experience would you recommend it?

I’m pretty fortunate. I have over 17 titles and many are available in 12 different languages. The key is to write about extremely personal issues in the story. The more personal, the more universal. A broken heart is universal. Parents being amazed by their young children, that’s universal. So telling your deepest, most personal story connects universally. You’d think it’s the opposite, but it’s not.

I totally recommend getting your books translated if you can. Poggibonsi has been embraced by the people of Italy. Readers there tell me love they way I portray their people and their country – and with good reason. The country plays a huge role in the book. I loved being there, and it shows in the story.

Any well-written story will translate well. Look at Hemingway, Shakespeare, King, Rowling – the whole world knows their work because it’s always a well-told story with characters we care about.

Food plays a large part in your life and with the cookbooks behind you is there any chance of us seeing a restaurant in your future?

Oh, god no. Everyone who likes to cook loves the idea of opening a restaurant.  Not me.

I envision lots and lots of dirty pots and pans – I hate doing the dishes – and mobs of angry people who are hungry. Forget that. Hungry people get crazy. Add cocktails and I’m amazed there aren’t mass murders every night at dinner time, people just getting “hangry” and losing it over their sautéed grouper taking too long to get to the table.

I’ll stick to making homemade pizza with my family and a few friends. (I make my dough and sauce from scratch. It’s awesome. Ask anyone.)

Now, a few of my cookbooks are bestsellers, and my first #1 bestseller was a cookbook, but running a restaurant isn’t for me. I’d be hiding in the back waiting for everyone to go home. Probably can’t do that and have a successful restaurant.

In many ways publishing has been going through a renaissance in the last twenty years with differing opinions on the future as far as print, ebooks and audio are concerned. What do you feel is going to be the next major shift?

The book industry will keep going the same way as movies and TV and everything else that’s entertainment-based: digital. Ebooks will continue to dominate market growth.

Most traditionally published books don’t earn back their advances. Few sell 20,000 copies. But indie authors can do that and not even have a marketing department. If a fan likes the book, they can join the author’s mailing list and get the sequel as a PDF that loads directly into the reader’s Kindle. The author charges a dollar less and keeps 100% of the revenue.

The experience to the reader is the same, but the author earns $60,000 instead of only $9,000 – and delivers a better product in less time to a happier audience. That author would have had to sell $400,000 worth of books to get that same royalty from a trad publisher.

Indie authors can pursue more narrowly defined slices of the spectrum, where readers decide what they want to read, not some stuffy old geezers in New York.

Traditional book publishers won’t be able to keep up with that, and authors will be able to cut out the middle men.

I’d say that’s pretty major.

My thanks to Dan for taking time out before his trip to the UK to join us in the Cafe and if you are in the Cambridge area on June 10th, Dan and Lucy Brazier of Porter Girl fame are having a get together and you can find the details in this post.

In the meantime you can connect with Dan on his website and social media.


If you have any questions for Dan please leave them in the comments section and he will respond in the next couple of days.

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore

You will find the other interviews in this series in the directory:

Thanks for dropping in and please feel free to share.. thank you Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Dan Alatorre and Angie Dokos

Welcome to the first of the updates this week. If you would like to become part of the Cafe and Bookstore and enjoy regular updates for your books, such as new releases, recent reviews or offers then please check out this directory.

The first author update is for Dan Alattore and his new release at the end of April,  Poggibonsi – An Italian Misadventure.

About the book

When family man Mike Torino lands a project in Italy, home of naked art, Valentino, and taxi-crashing yoga pants, he brings along his wife, hoping to rekindle their marriage. But romance gets derailed by head colds, constant bickering, and assaults from ankle-breaking cobblestone streets. Their daughter develops a gelato addiction. Mike’s Italian partner has a coronary. And as for amore . . . Mattie tells Mike to handle things himself—and storms back to America.

Mike is trapped. Leaving Italy will blow a promotion; staying might cost him his wife and family.

While reeling from Mattie’s frantic departure, a replacement liaison is assigned—a top-notch, beautiful young Italian woman who is instantly smitten with Mike and determined to reveal the passions of her homeland—whether he wants to see them or not! Normally immune, Mike is tempted—but is headstrong, voluptuous Julietta worth the risk?

The book has already received rave reviews

Author and humorist Dan Alatorre became a first-time dad at the age of 47 – a daughter by the name of Savvy. His comedic debut book “Savvy Stories” tells humorous tales about a loving dad who sees the magic in children, and isn’t a bumbling stooge about changing diapers like some TV sitcom. Dan was born in Ohio, and graduated from the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida before earning an MBA from Tampa College and served with honors in two Fortune 500 companies. Dan, Michele and Savvy live in the Tampa area.

Beware! There is a problem with reading Dan Alatorre’s books – they are addicting. Few writers today have that keen gift for finding the humor in challenging situations and Dan has a secure place at the top of the heap for comedic writing. He knows how people think, and better yet he knows how to appreciate their joyful outlook …and wisdom. But alert! – Dan has other aspects to his writing talent, from the very tender book of insights and of course humor about a cardiac condition, the long QT syndrome in THE LONG CUTIE, to THE TERRIBLE TWOS (lessons learned from his daughter) to children’s books and marketing books, to cookbooks, first in conjunction with others (35 MORE AMAZING RECIPES YOUR MOTHER WOULD BE PROUD OF, etc) and then his solo cookbook ALL AMERICAN FAVORITES. The binding element is his easy going lighthearted manner of writing while at the same time offering fine advice and some really delicious adventures in the kitchen.

But beware! Yet another genre Dan is exploring is present in this romance travel adventure that bears that indelible stamp of Alatorre ingenuity. He maintains his inimitable humor and everything is wrapped in this gifted writer’s accomplished prose.

The synopsis offered suffices to summarize the tale: ‘’When family man Mike Torino lands a project in Italy, home of naked art, Valentino, and taxi-crashing yoga pants, he brings along his wife, hoping to rekindle their marriage. But romance gets derailed by head colds, constant bickering, and assaults from ankle-breaking cobblestone streets. Their daughter develops a gelato addiction. Mike’s Italian partner has a coronary. And as for amore . . . Mattie tells Mike to handle things himself—and storms back to America. Mike is trapped. Leaving Italy will blow a promotion; staying might cost him his wife and family. While reeling from Mattie’s frantic departure, a replacement liaison is assigned—a top-notch, beautiful young Italian woman who is instantly smitten with Mike and determined to reveal the passions of her homeland—whether he wants to see them or not! Normally immune, Mike is tempted—but is headstrong, voluptuous Julietta worth the risk?’

Unexpected other aspects of a talented craftsman surface here – and they are solid enough to push Dan into even more serious novels. Grady Harp, April 17

Read all the reviews and buy the book:

Also recently released on May 2nd with Dan as a contributing author.

A small selection of books by Dan Alatorre – Some of Dan’s books have also been translated into Italian, Chinese and Spanish

Discover all about Dan, his books and read the reviews:

Connect to Dan via his blog:

My next update is for Angie Dokos who is celebrating the release of her latest book a contemporary romance – Roadside

About the book

Zayne finds Serena’s lifeless body off the side of the road one morning. She has been beaten and left for dead. As she recovers, they become the best of friends. It doesn’t take long for Zayne’s feelings to grow stronger. Will the fear of ruining their friendship keep them from taking a chance on love?

Buy the book:

Also by Angie Dokos

A recent review

on February 10, 2017

A tragic family accident suddenly turns Mackenzie’s world upside down. But then a long-held family secret is exposed, ripping open old wounds with heart wrenching results. Fighting her own demons from an uncertain past, Mackenzie, with the help of her family, desperately fights to turn a negative past into a positive future. But that emotional roller coaster has its own challenges, ending up with her pushing away and hurting some people that love her and want to help her, especially Trevor, an unexpected love interest she wasn’t prepared to deal with.

Emotions run deep as a family struggling to deal, not only with a tragic accident, but must handle a highly charged secret that threatens the very fabric of their family. Will old wounds heal? Can Mackenzie let her past dictate her future, or can she come to terms with the past and accept it? This story conveys a positive message regarding the importance of family, accepting the past, healing, turning your life around, and looking forward to a future Mackenzie dared not to hope for: a promising future with those she loves.

Breaking News.

Mackenzie’s distraction is one of ten novels that will be released on May 24th as a boxed set written by these authors.  E.G. FOX, Elaine Raco Chase, Donna Fasano, Ashley Fontainne, Dee Dee Covas, Angie Dokos, Diane Nelson, Lorne Oliver, Michael Cody, Ashley Goss

The box set will be at the amazing price of 99c:

Read more about Angie, her books and reviews:

Connect to Angie via her blog:

Thank you for dropping by today and please help spread the news of these terrific writers. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord book Promotion – Air your Reviews – Dan Alatorre and Carol Balawyder

I have been checking on the authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and their reviews particularly for previous books. It is very important to keep older books in the spotlight as there is a new and growing audience every day who need to be introduced to them.  It is also useful if you are bringing out a new book in the next few months to keep work in front of your previous readers.

That being the case take a look at some of your other work and let me have the link to its most recent great review and I will showcase here.

Here is a perfect example. Savvy Stories – Funny things I learned from my daughter by Dan Alatorre was published in paperback and has received over 50 great reviews.

About the book

A funny look at childhood’s lost, magical moments, viewed through the heart of a father Every kid does funny stuff, whether it’s asking innocent questions out loud to strangers (“Is that his butt?”) or a toddler attempting to play hopscotch on the paver stones of the mall sidewalk while you’re trying to rush to a store, a baby wanting to see how many toys will float in the dog’s water dish, or a kid constantly asking to play with the “pad” – until you realize you’ve been saying “We’ll play with my iPad later” translates as “We’ll play with my pad later” to a kid…

We’ve all been there. These are the many funny little moments that happen between me and my child – or between you and your child – that happen a thousand times a day, and we laugh and move on, too busy to really take note and too small to remember, but if we could only write them down what a funny little basket of memories we would have. My kid is probably no funnier than yours. It just all happens so fast that we wonder where the time went, so I tried my best to write some of it down. I hope you enjoy it, and that it brings back some sweet memories for you that you had forgotten about.

I loved this book! It is perfect for any parent out there! I found it easy to follow and interesting to read, although the little girl is my son’s best friend so this also makes it more exciting to read! I was hooked from the first page and was reading it every moment I got free! It’s always nice to know the things you think about or experience, other parents think about or experience as well. This is about a father’s view on his little girl’s birth and beyond. The troubles and experiences and the love for his daughter and wife. It is better then a chick flick movie, as it’s a real experience and real love! It brought smiles and some parts tears!

Don’t want to give away anything, but I found it addicting to read and could relate to things and others put me in WOW what a scary moment! Having six children myself, I love reading about other’s stories and things, but having a guy’s side of view was really cool. Also made me wish I had recorded more of my children then I did! Michele is a very blessed woman to have such a wonderful daughter and husband and to have everything recorded/journal of the moments you never want to forget!!

I found this book very addicting and very well written. I am in the process of reading more books by Dan Alatorre! Great author and Beyond Awesome book!!

Highly recommend this book to any parent or parent to be! Especially first time mom’s and dad’s would really enjoy this.

Read all the reviews and buy the book:

A selection of books by Dan Alatorre

Find out about Dan Alattore, read the reviews and buy all his books:

Next is the book released by Carol Balawyder in January 2016 –  Not By Design: A Getting to Mr. Right Series

About the book

In a life turned upside down, Felicity finds joy is sometimes just around the corner.

Ever since she first appeared in Getting To Mr. Right, Felicity Starr has been struggling to find her own kind of contentment. Now, at thirty-five and living in Rome, Felicity is about to break into the world of fashion design, and caught in a flurry of plans for her wedding when calamity strikes.
Her father’s sudden death brings into question the whole meaning of success. Then Marco, the man she’s about to marry, leaves her when he learns of her Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis.
Forced to return to Montreal, Felicity finds her life thrust into unexpected turns. As she confronts the on-going challenges presented by her disease, she gains the strength to let go of old beliefs and face her inner truths.

Love, friendship and rewarding work come in different forms and Felicity finds it all in way

Not by Design Works on September 2, 2016

“Not by Design” is the latest offering from multi-published women’s fiction author Carol Balawyder. It is a sequel to “Getting to Mr. Right,” which you should read if you haven’t. “Getting to Mr. Right” is the story of four women who meet at a support group (the focus of which is women who have men/father issues) and form lasting, sincere friendships.

“Not by Design” is Felicity Starr’s story. She is one of the women in the support group, and she has it all—looks, youth, a rich father, talent, true-heart friends and the love of a handsome, successful man. She is living a fairy tale life in France, studying art and pursuing a career in art, while enjoying an active social/love life. But even fairy tales are wrought with obstacles and that’s exactly what our heroine encounters—one setback after another. There’s the death of her father, a dwindling bank account which brings on financial woes, an art career that has stalled, and the painful decision to end her relationship with her fiancé and call off the wedding. But that’s not all. The biggest blow of all—a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). With all this dumped on her, Felicity makes the hard decision to release her dream of being an artist and living in France. She returns home to Canada to try and piece a life together.

The move back home is met with more bitterness. She fights to recover her reputation in the work world. She has disagreements with her mother and step-mother. She gambles on several romantic interests and loses. And, she must make a slew of difficult choices in regard to her living arrangements and medical treatment, decisions made more difficult because of her limited funds. One wonders if Felicity will ever catch a break when…help arrives. At the strong suggestion of her doctor, she attends a MS support group meeting and finds the support and acceptance she so desperately needs. With the encouragement of the group, she shares her medical condition with her friends, who surround her with love, care and acceptance. The end of the story details the good life Felicity has finally secured. No, it’s not the one she would have designed for herself, but it works. She’s happy.

This is a story that will take you low on the scale of human emotions and then pick you up. You will feel despair, then happiness; fear, then joy. This emotional seesaw is achieved in part by the story’s conflict—dreams and desire versus medical and financial worries, a situation many readers may relate to. I certainly did. And then there’s the overall story question: are we willing to release our version of our dream or life in exchange for an uncertain version? This is the question Felicity struggles with throughout the story but I dare say it is one many readers struggle with as well.

There are many things to appreciate about this story. It is inspiring, well written and has relatable characters. But the one aspect I appreciated the most was the focus on MS. Reading about the symptoms, the various treatments, the expense, and how it requires life adjustments was a real education. Thank you Carol for that.

I finished reading the book and shut down my e-reader thinking, I can’t wait to read the remaining sequel. The other three—“Café Paradise,” “Missi’s Dating Adventures” and “Not by Design”—have been purely enjoyable. Check ‘em out and see for yourself.

Read all the reviews and buy the book:

Also by Carol Balawyder

Find about more about Carol Balawyder, read the reviews and buy the books:

You will find over 160 authors and their books in the Cafe and Bookstore.

Air your Reviews is open to authors and book reviewers in the bookstore or not.  But if you would like to be in the bookstore then take a look at the post above for details and I will do a full promotion for your first post.