Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Recent Authors in the Cafe -#Dark Humour Carol La Hines, #History Joyce Hampton, #Fantasy Paul Andruss


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.

There have been some new editions to the Cafe over the last few weeks and in the last two posts of the series I would like to remind you of their books.

Meet Carol LaHines

I am a life-long New Yorker. I went to New York University and St. John’s School of Law and now live in Tudor City, a charming neighborhood near the United Nations. I was a practicing musician and a lawyer before becoming a published author. While practicing law at a big law firm in New York City, I began writing fiction. I published short stories over a period of years, in journals like Fence, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Denver Quarterly, The Literary Review, Cimarron Review, redivider, Sycamore Review, and others.

Someday Everything All Makes Sense is my first published novel. I was able to mine my knowledge of the law and music theory in telling the story of Luther van der Loon, an eccentric harpsichord who has recently suffered the trauma of losing his mother. Luther is preoccupied with existential questions and questions concerning temperament, the mathematical ratios that govern how we hear music.

Like most of my writing, the novel might be characterized as tragic-comic. I believe, like the great Italo Calvino, that “lightness” — by which I mean to say a sense of playfulness leavening the serious — is a cardinal virtue of writing. (I love Calvino, Joyce, Nabokov, Woolf, Borges, Melville, Chekhov, Gogol, Pynchon, Cormac McCarthy, Sebald…

One of the recent reviews for the book

DJ Stram 5.0 out of 5 stars Great writing and a memorable main character!  Reviewed in the United States on June 4, 2020

Carol LaHines has created a unique and realistic character, and I hope this book becomes a film so I can see Luther van der Loon on screen! Luther is a lovably neurotic medieval music professor whose mother dies eating takeout from their favorite Chinese restaurant when a rubbery won-ton becomes trapped in her throat. There were many surprises, and I found myself suddenly laughing loudly along the way as I turned the pages, wondering what would become of Luther without his dear mother.

Luther is not unlike those of us who have lost loved ones, but he is unlike anyone I know in his obsessive observations as he moves through his grief–very slowly.

If you love quirky characters and humor, this book will not disappoint. In addition to Luther, there are sub-characters who contribute to the dark humor. Piccolo Fabrizzi, a visiting music professor deserves his own book–plenty of rich character and so aptly described by the author.

If you are looking for intelligent writing, highly amusing characters, and ample humor, Someday Everything Will All Makes sense is a great fit!

Carol LaHines, Buy: Amazon US – And:Amazon UK –  follow Carol: Goodreads – Website: Carol LaHines – Twitter: @CLahines

Meet Joyce Hampton

I was born in Stratford E15 and moved around various areas of London before finally settling in Surrey with my husband John and our two cairn terriers.

I began writing in 2012 and my first book was: Looking back – A century of life in Bethnal Green, this book evolved from tracking other people’s recollections as the primary source material, partly family anecdotes, of the amusing, sad or serious into a written record. This research was supplemented by cross-checking documented events, in London libraries and archives to ensure that the book is both easy to read as well as being factually correct. I gradually found that I had created a walk through time account of the Bethnal Green area of the 19th and 20th centuries, which includes the Bethnal Green tube disaster of 1943.

My newest book is The Story of the Huguenots: A unique Legacy. It is a 500 page book but with a difference as it is a FACTUAL NOVEL in other words it has the factual history of the Huguenots but written in the expected format of a novel in the belief that the reader will find it more engaging and will want to discover more about this amazing group of people. The book is divided into four parts (all within the one book). I also take bookings for talks and lectures on the subject, including, as an example, a slot at the annual Write Idea Festival in London (November 18) which was to a very appreciative audience of over 100 people.

Books by Joyce Hampton

One of the reviews for the previous edition of The Story of the Huguenots: A Unique Legacy

What I had been searching for some time was a concise yet comprehensive history of the origins, sufferings and contributions of these brave and industrious people. The author does not fail to deliver on any of these, and the writing style Joyce Hampton employs makes the entire story so easy to read that even if you knew very little about the subject beforehand, you will gain so much learning and enjoyment from reading this. I particularly enjoyed the way In which the major events, such as the Edict of Nantes, as well as the Revocation, are described and evaluated whilst simultaneously the reader is provided with personal accounts of people’s often horrific experiences of such religious intolerance. You’ll be able to feel what they went through, and of course, many of these lessons still resonate with us today. Sometimes neighbour helped neighbour; sometimes, they didn’t. The story is as up to date as any such story can be – twentieth century events are narrated, and you’ll learn of events that took place even in 2017 too. I do not hesitate to recommend this book to all.

Joyce Hampton, Buy: Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Follow Joyce  : Goodreads – Website:Not Just Another Book Twitter: @NJABOfficial

Meet Paul Andruss

Paul Andruss returns to the limelight with a brand new edition of Jack Hughes & Thomas the Rhymer (Book 1). It has been published by Black Wolf Books

Born and reared in Liverpool, the city’s legendary Scouse wit and dogged stoicism left its mark on the young Paul Andruss. After dropping out of sixth-form, because he was keen to get out into the world, Paul took his A-levels at Bootle Tech Night School, while working for the local Tax Office. He applied to study Psychology at Liverpool University on the grounds that anything was better than work. Considering his grades (just plumb lazy) no one was more surprised than he when his application was accepted.

After graduation Paul worked in rugged Cumbria, Manchester and London before moving to Turkey. To finance his passion for exploring the heartland of the Ancient Greek Empire, Paul wrote short travel articles focusing on the history and myths of the ruined cities and temples he visited. He began illustrating the pieces, using Photoshop to remove power lines and the odd Esso sign.

Returning to the U.K. to focus on writing and illustration, he settled in rural South Wales in the foothills of the Brecon Beacons. Paul is the author of the Young Adult, magical realism, Jack Hughes trilogy and the forthcoming (very adult) Finn Mac Cool, a gritty, raunchy mythological saga. He has also written a number of short stories and novellas. All works are scheduled for release with Black Wolf Books, an exciting new, independent Scottish publisher.

One of the reviews for the previous edition

Robbie Cheadle 5.0 out of 5 stars A magical read  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 11 November 2017

Just about the worst thing that can happen to any family is the disappearance of a child. This is exactly what happens in Jack’s family and, worse still, Jack is a witness to his older brother’s sudden and troubling disappearance.

The facts of the disappearance are very peculiar and, subsequent to his disappearance, Jack receives strange telephone calls from his brother, Dan, on his cell phone. When he answers, Dan says nothing and the line goes dead. Jack finds himself unable to tell anyone about what his saw that day, as soon as he tries he starts to choke and can’t utter a word. Then a strange tramp appears who speaks only in rhymes. The tramp, whom only Jack can see, seems to be able to pass through walls and disappear at will. All of this is against a background of stress at home due to Jack’s mother suffering from a chronic illness.

Jack finds himself embroiled in the magical kingdom of the fairies and soon discovers that their failing world is tinged with evil. Jack and his friends experience an array of mystical and strange happenings including travelling by fairy ley lines and disappearing into a living tapestry.

Author Paul Andruss has an expert knowledge of mythical creatures and the world of the fairies which he shares with the reader using the most beautiful and expressive language. He pulls you into this fairy world, which exists in parallel to our own and which is fraught with difficulties due to human technology and progress. This book also shares valuable lessons about everything not being as it appears to be and the value of strong friendships.

Who is the strange tramp and what does he want from Jack? Can he help Jack to find his brother and bring him back before it is too late?

A few beautiful quotes from this book are as follows:

“Beautiful,” she signed, mesmerized by the shifting hues washing over the weave like skeins of mist.”

“Drifts of heady perfume left Jack heavy-eyed, yet giddy with recklessness.”

“The tramp was back on Mr Gibson’s wall. All he could think about was the poem. Yesterday upon the stair, I met a man who wasn’t there… He wasn’t there again today… I wish that man would GO AWAY!”

This book is suitable for readers aged from 11 years and older. Adult readers will also appreciate the delightful prose, beautiful imagery and clever story line.

Paul Andruss, Buy: Amazon UK – And: Amazon USWebsite: Jack Hughes Books  –  follow Paul: GoodreadsTwitter: @Paul_JHBooks

Thanks for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share…one more post to go in the series tomorrow with more recent authors in the Cafe and Bookstore.