Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2022- ‘Lucky Dip – A Valentine Gift by Gwen Plano

Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine.

The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics. This series is along the same lines… but is a ‘Lucky Dip’. I have posts scheduled for another few weeks but that will bring this current series to an end. Another series will begin in the new year.

In this series I will be sharing posts from the half of 2022

Today author and poet Gwen Plano shares a tribute to her grandfather that she posted in February in celebreation of Valentine’s Day.

A Valentine Gift  

Amidst the demands of the times, we pause and celebrate those we love. How wonderful is that! Stores are filled with bouquets of flowers, boxes of chocolate, and rows of cards. Today LOVE is getting needed attention.

With Valentine greetings spread across the blogosphere, there’s one special Valentine I’d like to share with you today – my grandfather Valentine F Butters.

Born February 14th, Val (as he was called), quickly became beloved by all who knew him.

For most of his life, he didn’t have much, and he didn’t care. He loved life – the challenges, the joys, and all the moments in-between.

What I remember most about my grandfather is his laugh. No matter the circumstance, peeling potatoes or reading me a book, he’d offer a heartfelt chuckle.

​My mom was a twin, and when she arrived, the whole community responded. They were the first twins in the farming community and quickly lost their names to be called “The Twins”.

​For Val, they were a miracle. He spent long hours in the fields caring for this miracle, and each year another arrived.

I never heard my grandfather say anything unkind or thoughtless. If he spotted one of his grandkids in tears, he’d pick them up and listen to their story, then he’d offer hugs and say, “It’s not so bad, now is it?” I heard this expression more than once, and it always made everything better.

Much like the Twins, my grandfather saw his grandchildren as miracles. But Papo (as we called him) was our miracle.

Thinking back over the years, there are many Valentines I cherish, but my grandfather tops the list. In his memory, I offer a simple Tanka poem and wish you a very happy Valentine’s Day.

©Gwen Plano 2022

My thanks to Gwen for allowing me to share the posts from her archives and I know she would love to hear from you.. hugsx

About Gwen M. Plano

Growing up in Southern California, Gwen M. Plano loved learning, and she loved imagining stories, some grandly epic, all personal and heartfelt. She taught and served in universities across the United States and in Japan, then retired and focused again on her stories.

Her first book, Letting To Into Perfect Love, is an award-winning memoir recounting some of her struggles in life while providing insight into the healing process.

Gwen shifted to fiction after this first book and joined forces with acclaimed author John W. Howell in writing a thriller, The Contract: between heaven and earth. Its sequel, The Choice: the unexpected heroes, soon followed – this time a solo effort. The Culmination, a new beginning, is the third book of the series.

Gwen lives in the Midwest with her husband, traveling and writing, sharing those stories only she can imagine.

Books by Gwen M. Plano

One of the reviews for Culmination

Mae Clair 5.0 out of 5 stars A Political Thriller with Strong Characters  Reviewed in the United States on January 16, 2021

Book three in a series, The Culmination reads easily as a standalone novel. A political thriller, that addresses denuclearization, tensions in the Middle East, and the fate of refugees, much of the story echoes current headlines. The plot is complex involving multiple heads of state, along with the strategical give and take of political maneuvering on a global level. The author clearly put an extensive amount of research into this book, and it shows. Adrenalin-fueled scenes alter with more cerebral moments, and even a few romantic interludes.

I especially loved the evolution of the relationship between the two central characters, Margaret Adler, VP of the United States and Ivan Smirnov, acting President of Russia. During the course of the novel those titles change, and we learn more about each, including richly developed backgrounds. I was thoroughly invested in the difficulties Margaret and Ivan faced, both on personal and political levels. Their scenes together were among my favorites of the book. There’s also a young refugee child who factors into the story and who stole my heart.

A unique combination of character-driven and plot-driven fiction, I recommend this compelling tale to readers who enjoy strong character development and complexly-plotted intrigue. 

Read the reviews and buy the books: : Amazon UKand : Amazon USAs Gwendolyn M. Plano: Amazon US follow Gwen : Goodreads –website:Gwen PlanoTwitter: @gmplano


Smorgasbord Bookshelf 2022- Share an Extract from your latest book – #Family, #Dementia, Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me by Abbie Johnson Taylor

In this series you are invited to share an extract of 500 words from your most recent book published within the last 12 months. Details at the end of the post.

The aim of the series

  1. To showcase your latest book and sell some more copies.
  2. Gain more reviews for the book.
  3. Promote a selection of your other books that are available.

Today an extract from the latest release by Abbie Johnson Taylor…Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

About the book

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?

An extract from Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

1: Natalie

I hated walking with my mom and sister down that long, bright hallway in the nursing home where my grandma lived. The white tile floor and the ceiling covered with fluorescent lights reminded me of school. The only difference was that there were handrails on either side that old people could hold onto while they walked, so they wouldn’t fall.

The blare of television sets from just about every room we passed, laughter and chatter from the nurses’ station, and announcements over the PA system made me wonder why Dad called this place a rest home. The sharp aroma of disinfectant reminded me of the monthly trips I’d made to the dentist years before to have my braces adjusted. I nearly gagged as I remembered the goop they put in my mouth so they could take impressions of my teeth before the braces were put on. The stench of poop and piss from some of the rooms was overpowering.

We finally reached Grandma’s room, and for once, there was silence and only the smell of her perfume. Her bed was next to the window, and she sat in her wheelchair, wearing white pants and a blue, checked blouse. Her curly gray hair was cut short and pushed away from her face. She had a roommate, but the other lady wasn’t there. It was just us.

When we walked into the room, her head was hanging down, but she raised it and gave us a blank look. My mother, as she did every Sunday when we came to visit, went up to her with a smile, kissed her cheek, took her hand, and said, “Hi, Mom.” Then she said, “Oh, I see you’re wearing that lovely blouse I got you for your birthday. It looks nice on you.”

Mom always complimented Grandma on the clothes she wore, most of which she had bought for her. It made me want to throw up.

She sat on the bed next to Grandma’s wheelchair and smiled as she said, “I’ve brought Natalie and Sarah to see you today.”

My younger sister walked up to Grandma without hesitating and took her other hand, as she always did when we visited her. “Hi, Grandma,” she said with a smile.

Grandma’s face broke into a big grin. “Sarah, how lovely you look today. How old are you now?”

“I’m ten,” answered Sarah with a grin of her own. “And my sister, Natalie, is here, too.”

She turned to me, but I stood where I was. I knew what would happen.

Grandma gave me one of her blank looks. “Who?”

“Mom, you remember Natalie,” my mother said. “She just turned sixteen last week. Natalie, don’t just stand there staring. Come say hello to your grandma.”

As I did each week, I walked up to her and said, “Hi, Grandma.”

She smiled, but I could tell she still didn’t recognize me. She said, “Martha, she doesn’t look a bit like you. Was she adopted?”

©Abbie Taylor 2022

A review for the book

Patricia Hubschman rated the book Five Stars

I just finished reading Abbie Johnson Taylor’s new book, Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me. I really enjoyed it. It’s excellent. I highly recommend it. I can’t even remember when I last sat down to a book that held my attention like this one did. It’s a family story. It has conflict, suspense. I felt happiness, sadness, excitement. It triggered all my emotions. The book is in first person. Each scene is narrated by a different character and the dialogue flows beautifully and is right on target. It brought back memories from when I was a kid and made me smile.

Head over to buy the book: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

Other books by Abbie Johnson Taylor

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US: Blog: Abbie’s Corner WordPress Goodreads: Abbie Johnson Taylor

About Abbie Johnson Taylor

Abbie Johnson Taylor is the author of three novels, two poetry collections, and a memoir. Her short stories and poems have appeared in various journals and anthologies. She is visually impaired and lives in Sheridan, Wyoming, where for six years, she cared for her late husband, who was totally blind and partially paralyzed by two strokes soon after they were married.

Before that, she spent fifteen years as a registered music therapist, working in nursing homes and other facilities that serve senior citizens. She also taught Braille, facilitated a support group for the visually impaired, and served on the advisory board to a trust fund that allows people with blindness or low vision to purchase adaptive equipment.

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books.. Sally

What will be in the post and how to get in touch

      • I will top and tail in the usual way with your other books and links, bio, photo and social media.
      • I will also select a review from Amazon or Goodreads that I feel has the best selling pitch for the book.
      • If your book is very recent and as yet has not received a review then I will share one from a previous book.
      • This series is open to all authors both those on the Bookshelf or new to the blog
      • I suggest an extract of approximately 500 words or a poem that you feel best reflects the theme of your collection.
      • If you have an illustration or images you can attach to the email for me to include. No need to send the cover as I will have that or will access from Amazon.
      • If you have not featured on the blog before then I will need Amazon link, Goodreads, blog or website plus your social media links (main three you use)
      • Please send your extract and any accompanying images to