Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Tuesday May 4th 2021 – #Progress Mary Smith, #Family Claire Fullerton, #Writing Richard Dee


A small selection of posts I have enjoyed in the last few days and I hope you will head over to enjoy them in full.. thanks Sally.

It is two week’s since Mary Smith’s last cancer update, and that is partly because she has been so busy with walks and visitors..Wonderful after months of cocooning because of Covid and treatments. However, a little too much activity which is tiring. However, Mary also shares some wonderful photographs taken whilst she has been out and about.

Well, it’s been a couple of weeks since I posted a cancer diary update. I was feeling a lot better thanks to the steroids and the weather was good (bright and sunny, if still cold) so I was able to go out most days for walks.

The walks became longer until I was managing two to three miles on the level and my step count, adding in time working in the garden, was reaching 10,000 a day. I even managed a couple of walks round Doach Woods which is a bit steeper. Yes, I was out of breath on anything steeper than flat but my pulse rate soon dropped down again, I was hardly coughing and really thought the pneumonitis was on its way out.  

Head over to enjoy the photographs and give Mary a bit of a boost: Cancer Diary #33 – A bit of a blip.

The next post is from author Claire Fullerton writing on The Dead Mule School website, and she shares the story behind an antique cabinet inherited from her mother and how it has settled into her very modern home.

Claire Fullerton: Essay: Memoir May 2021 

Southern Legitimacy Statement: There’s nothing that steeps a Southerner in their own Southerness quite like living outside of the South. Having grown up in Memphis, I now live in Southern California, where, every day, it seems, I have to explain my Delta accent. I hold fiercely to my Southerness as a way of being in the world and am peacock proud to do so.

My Mother’s Cabinet

There’s a saying you hear bantered about the South: “The past is never,” the reference pertaining to the South’s storied history. I’ll add an amendment and take it a step further by including what’s implied: A Southerner never forgets.

We Southerners have deep roots and oral traditions that make us gifted story tellers. We’re big on family connections and boast pride of lineage, which we wear as a badge of honor. It’s touching, really.

Head over to read this wonderfully nostalgic post about how important a piece of furniture can be as it passes through generations: Memoir – Claire Fullerton – Essay

The final post today is from Sci-fi author Richard Dee who shares his thoughts on the importance of animals in our writing..

Creating your own Menagerie. Writing About Animals.

Welcome back to another blog hop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.

Do pets (or other animals) play an important part in your books? Tell us about them.

Writing Science Fiction gives you the license to create entire worlds and their contents. Although my main focus in many of them is on the people and places, I have included animal life in several of my novels and used it to add another dimension to the plots.

In my Sci-fi adventure, Survive, I crash-landed a group of explorers on an unknown planet. When they started to explore, they found that it was in the early stages of evolution. I gave them plenty of wild animals to keep them on their toes as they tried to stay alive until they could be rescued. To add to their plight and sense of disorientation and helplessness, I kept the species close to things that we (and they) would recognise.

Head over to read the rest of this post and leave your thoughts on the question there: Animals in our writing with Richard Dee.. Fur and Feather

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to read these posts in full.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates – #Reviews – #Flash Sarah Brentyn, #Family Claire Fullerton, #1920s Elizabeth Gauffreau


Welcome to the first of the Cafe and Bookstore updates for the week with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author Sarah Brentyn with a recent review for her collection of short fiction Hinting at Shadows

About Hinting at Shadows

No One Escapes Life Unscathed

Delve into the deeper reaches of the human condition and the darkness that lives there.A girl haunted by her sister’s drowning. A boy desperate for his father’s affection. A woman forced to make a devastating decision. A man trapped by his obsessions.

Experience tales of love, loss, murder, and madness through this collection of flash and micro fiction.Take a peek behind the smile of a stranger. Get a glimpse inside the heart of a friend. Scratch the surface and discover what is hidden beneath.

These stories will open your mind, tug at your thoughts, and allow you to explore the possibility that, even in the brightest moments, something is Hinting at Shadows.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Harmony Kent 5.0 out of 5 stars Short and Brilliant   on November 13, 2019

This is a collection of flash fiction broken up into four sections, and it is an easy and quick read.

Having said that, brief as these snippets are, they go deep. I reckon I shall be re-reading this one over and over again. Here are a couple of lines that stood out for me:

‘Till the earth of who I was. From this mangled mass of roots, let something whole and healthy break through. Let something beautiful grow.’ and …

‘My life ebbs away, sailing from the shifting shore of my body like a piece of driftwood floating out to sea.’

And another one, which made me chuckle–I could relate to this one! … ‘The doctors say “insomnia” and prescribe pills. I say “writer” and pick up a pen.’

The writing was that good that I wanted each story to continue, but this is flash and micro fiction, so they don’t. Some of the stories are more like teasers and slice-of-life but brilliant nonetheless.

I read this in one go and couldn’t put it down. It gets a solid five stars from me.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

Also by Sarah Brentyn

Read the reviews and buy the Collections: Amazon US

And on: Amazon UK

Read other reviews and follow Sarah: Goodreads

Connect to Sarah via her: Blog

The next author with a recent review for her family saga is Claire Fullerton with Mourning Dove.

About Mourning Dove

The heart has a home when it has an ally.

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

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

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

One of the recent reviews for the book

As a Christian, and as a southern woman, I found this book compelling, engrosing and poignant. Her dialogue is as smooth as silk and reminds me of Pat Conroy in Prince of Tides. . I was simply carried away in her story about a family in peril.

Her characters are believable her dialogue sharp as a tack and her humor reminds me a lot of Barbara Kingsolver in the Poisionwood Bible. This is the first book of Claire Fullerton’s I have read and believe me it will not be the last! Thank you for a lovely read and by reading this book I was momentarily able to relax and get away from today’s world where we are so rushed and harried and so caught up In the News of the day, we fail to notice the subtle beauty all around us and she pointed that out.

Also by Claire Fullerton

Read the reviews and buy the books : Amazon US

and: Amazon UK

Read other reviews and follow Claire on : Goodreads

Connect to Claire via her website: Claire Fullerton

And for the final review today as we step back in time to the 1920’s and American Vaudeville courtesy of Telling Sonny by Elizabeth Gauffreau.

About Telling Sonny

Forty-six-year-old FABY GAUTHIER keeps an abandoned family photograph album in her bottom bureau drawer. Also abandoned is a composition book of vaudeville show reviews, which she wrote when she was nineteen and Slim White, America’s self-proclaimed Favorite Hoofer (given name, LOUIS KITTELL), decided to take her along when he played the Small Time before thinking better of it four months later and sending her back home to Vermont on the train.

Two weeks before the son she had with Louis is to be married, Faby learns that Louis has been killed in a single-car accident, an apparent suicide. Her first thought is that here is one more broken promise: Louis accepted SONNY’s invitation to the wedding readily, even enthusiastically, giving every assurance that he would be there, and now he wouldn’t be coming. An even greater indignity than the broken promise is that Louis’s family did not bother to notify Faby of his death until a week after the funeral took place. She doesn’t know how she can bring herself to tell Sonny he mattered so little in his father’s life he wasn’t even asked to his funeral…

One of the recent reviews for the book

D. W. Peach 5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written  December 10, 2019

This is a beautifully told story. Until the last few chapters of the book, the story belongs to the teenage Faby Gauthier who becomes pregnant in the 1920s and hastily marries the future baby’s father, a hoofer on the vaudeville circuit. For four months, she goes on the road with Louis Kittel aka Slim White. There are moments of kindness, but she is often left alone to rue her choices, and eventually returns home to Vermont to have her baby, Sonny.

Telling Sonny is a biography that reads like fiction with the perfect details to bring Faby’s world – settings, experiences, and emotions – to life. She’s a well-rounded and sympathetic character, and I found her narration engrossing. Secondary characters are equally strong, and though in many ways a sad tale, this is also a story about the strength of family. The book moves along at a moderate pace, and yet I was unable to put it down.

The title and blurb are a little misleading as they refer to the bookends of the story, not the longer tale between. The story begins and ends with Faby as a middle-aged woman fretting over telling Sonny about his father’s death. The meat of the story covers Faby’s short relationship with Louis. The structure makes sense in the end, giving a sense of closure to Faby (and the reader). A highly recommended book for anyone who enjoys biographies, literary fiction, women’s fiction, and well-told tales in general.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And : Amazon UK

Read the reviews and follow Elizabeth: Goodreads

Connect to Elizabeth via her blog: Liz Gauffreau

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