Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck – #Shortstory: The Old Man of Snow and The Snow Snake by M. J. Mallon


Welcome to the series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

This is the second post from author Marjorie Mallon (M.J Mallon) and this week I have selected a wonderful short story that Marjorie wrote in response to one of D.Wallace Peach’s monthly speculative fiction prompts which I enjoy participating in too.

 The Old Man of Snow and The Snow Snake by M. J. Mallon

Image Stefan Keller

Today, the moon is full and high in the sky and a group of nineteen men travel with brave hearts to the mouth of the Snow Snake Cave.

The wind is biting cold. Each man carries a pack of provisions on his back and thoughts of his loved ones in his heart. They know that this journey might be one to their deaths and yet they trudge on.

At last after many exhausted steps they arrive at the forbidding entrance of the cave. It is no ordinary grotto. This cave is fashioned out of layer upon layer of snow. The mouth of which is an ice sculpture of a snake’s jaw gaping, its eyes furious and wide. The old man above is exquisite, his hair and snow beard fall in intricate icicles. He is leaning to one side, his hand of snow pushing down on the snake as if it coax it to move.

The Old Man of Snow startles the men, he stirs, his snow encrusted eyes open wide as he bellows,

‘Dare you approach us? I think not little men. I will crush you like ants and feed you to my friend the Snow Snake.’

The men stop so suddenly that they almost fall over with exhaustion. Several of them stagger backwards frightened by the sheer size and forbidding nature of the Old Man of Snow. But, one amongst them stays still, resolute and strong.

He squares his shoulders, takes a deep breath and replies. ’I have come to meet with the Old Man of Snow and the legendary Snow Snake. I wish to discuss what you’ve done with the countless others who have ventured here. That is all that I and this brave group of men want – my old friends back. We are not greedy men. We don’t desire wealth, or gold, we only want happiness.’

‘Happiness?’ the Old Man lifts his hand and pulls at his beard. The Snow Snake begins to wind his tail back and forth causing a volley of tiny snowballs to fall.

‘They are lying Old Man,’ said the Snow Snake, hissing. ‘They mean to trick us. Don’t allow them passage. If you do, I will swish my furious tail even more and they will be crushed under an avalanche of snow.’

‘Silence, Snow Snake! I am sick of your reptilian attitude. Let them speak. I have never heard a human ask for so little before and I am curious if indeed they speak the truth.’

The humble man bowed before the Old Man of Snow and then kneeled on the cold earth. ‘I swear by the almighty that I tell the truth. I, and my men are simple farmers, we tend the earth, eat our crops, and milk our herd. We don’t need riches and fame.’

‘You are a wise man. Unfortunately, your friends who came before you were foolish and greedy. They tried to steal from the Snow Snake and he and I were very angry.’

‘They were wrong to do so and I apologise on their behalf. Please forgive me for asking but what happened to their foolish souls?’

‘Within the cave there are a multitude of tiny snow snakes who wriggle free when they smell greed. These tiny snakes are lethal, one bite of their venom stilled these greedy mens’ hearts and froze them for all eternity. Here, come. I grant you entry to see the power we possess so you will not dare to steal from us. The ice sculptures of your friends are very beautiful.’

The men muttered. Some made as if to turn back but the leader spoke again.

‘Men come with me, we must pay our respects to our old friends.’

One replied, ‘Are you mad? They may do the same to us. How can you trust the Old Man of Snow, the Snow Snake and his allies the tiny venomous snakes?’

‘I only know what is right and good,’ replied the humble man.

‘So will it be,’ said several of his followers, but many turned away, retracing their steps back from where they had come.

The few that remained were granted a passage into the mouth of the Snow Snake’s cave. But the snake hissed and rattled his snow tail in a show of extreme displeasure.

The Old Man of snow stamped his snowy boots, and the snake stopped.

Once inside the cave, the humble man and his band of followers saw nothing but ice and snow. They heard no sign of life, no trickle of water, but still they walked on.

As they turned a corner, the cave widened, and they entered a room which was ablaze with a colourful array of magical stones. For a moment even the humble man was tempted to pop one of these magnificent stones in his pocket but then he remembered the Old Man’s warning.

The men began to question their desires. ‘Surely one small stone for each of us wouldn’t be a wicked thing to do?’ they clamoured.

The humble man turned to them in turn and spoke. ‘We are here to save our friends, not to steal. We must save them, or bid them farewell. Follow me.’

With much grumbling and moaning the men finally did as they were told and were rewarded with the sight of the ice sculptures.

How beautiful they were. Each of the trapped men had been saved for all eternity in a moment of rugged, albeit, frozen handsomeness. None of these men would ever age, hunger, or cry, ever again.

The humble man touched each sculpture and openly wept, greeting each by name. His tears fell on the sculptures and caused them to melt, little by little. His followers did the same. Soon the tears flowed so freely that each and every sculpture broke apart to reveal their living friends within.

All were reunited in the most beautiful moment. Hugs and words of regret were shared. They were no longer as rugged, or as handsome as they had been whilst enclosed in ice, but they wept true tears of joy that they lived. They could now go home to their beloved family and friends.

The Old Man bellowed so loudly that he could be heard. ‘Humble man, you are blessed by a natural inclination to fortune and good sense. Your heart is kind. Take one stone – a magical Sphene – back to your village. You are worthy. It will make your harvest plentiful forever more.’

The humble man wept, glad that he had not succumbed to greed’s desire but had been rewarded for his earnestness. He paused for a moment unsure how to proceed. Which stone was a Sphene? His fingers trailed the masses of crystals and alighted on a single one. It was plain in comparison to the rest, a clump of layered plates and flattened wedge-shaped crystals. But when he placed it in his hands it glowed in a dazzling array of colours.

He cried, his friends cried too, and they hugged each other. They started to move back towards the mouth of the cave.

The snow snake hissed. ‘How dare you, Old Man? I thought you were joking! That Sphene is our treasure. My treasure! Stop this immediately, or I will kill them all.’

Inside the cave, there was a rustling noise as a billion tiny snow snakes appeared, hissing in fury they slithered menacingly towards the men. The men clutched their hearts in fear, their eyes wide with panic.

The Old Man didn’t reply. Not one word slipped from his lips. Instead, he blew from his mouth, and continued to blow. The tiny snakes were blown back, tumbling and rolling into snowballs whence they had come. The wind picked up as a flurry of snow began to trickle from the Snow Snake’s body. The men ran as the Snow Snake’s body started to break apart, as small pieces of the entrance of the cave were thrown to the wind.

‘Hurry!’ shouted the Old Man. ‘If you don’t run, you will be crushed under the Snow Snake’s broken cave body.’

The men ran as fast as they could. Just as they exited the mouth of the cave the roof of the snow snake cave began to crumble.

The Snow Snake’s mouth blew apart in a final raging hiss before it crushed back together, closing the entrance to the cave forever more.

The men collapsed to the ground, safe but breathing heavily.

Once the humble man had recovered his breath he spoke. ‘Why did you protect and save us, mere strangers to you, above your companion the snow snake?’

The Old Man of Snow lifted his hand and cupped the area around where his heart would have rested. ‘There is no room for a greedy heart. It is lonely to live alone but it better to live alone than to blight the gift of true magic with greed.’

©M J Mallon

I think you will agree that this a wonderful story and showcases Marjories writing stunningly.

About Marjorie Mallon

I am a debut author who has been blogging for many moons: https://mjmallon.com. My interests include writing, photography, poetry, and alternative therapies. I write Fantasy YA, and middle grade fiction as well as micropoetry – haiku and tanka. I love to read and have written over 100 Book Reviews

My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheros! I was born on the 17th of November in Lion City: Singapore, (a passionate Scorpio, with the Chinese Zodiac sign a lucky rabbit. I grew up in a mountainous court in the Peak District in Hong Kong.

As a teenager I travelled to many far-flung destinations. It’s rumoured that I now live in the Venice of Cambridge, with my six foot hunk of a Rock God husband, and my two enchanted daughters.

When I’m not writing, I eat exotic delicacies while belly dancing, or surf to the far reaches of the moon. To chill out, I practise Tai Chi. If the mood takes me I snorkel with mermaids, or sign up for idyllic holidays with the Chinese Unicorn, whose magnificent voice sings like a thousand wind chimes.

About The Curse of Time

On Amelina Scott’s thirteenth birthday, her father disappears under mysterious circumstances. Saddened by this traumatic event, she pieces together details of a curse that has stricken the heart and soul of her family.

Amelina longs for someone to confide in. Her once carefree mother has become angry and despondent. One day a strange black cat and a young girl, named Esme appear. Immediately, Esme becomes the sister Amelina never had. The only catch is that Esme must remain a prisoner, living within the mirrors of Amelina’s house.

Dreams and a puzzling invitation convince Amelina the answer to her family’s troubles lies within the walls of the illusive Crystal Cottage. Undaunted by her mother’s warnings, Amelina searches for the cottage on an isolated Cambridgeshire pathway where she encounters a charismatic young man, named Ryder. At the right moment, he steps out of the shadows, rescuing her from the unwanted attention of two male troublemakers.

With the help of an enchanted paint set, Amelina meets the eccentric owner of the cottage, Leanne, who instructs her in the art of crystal magic. In time, she earns the right to use three wizard stones. The first awakens her spirit to discover a time of legends, and later, leads her to the Bloodstone, the supreme cleansing crystal which has the power to restore the balance of time. Will Amelina find the power to set her family free?

A YA/middle grade fantasy set in Cambridge, England exploring various themes/aspects: Light, darkness, time, shadows, a curse, magic, deception, crystals, art, poetry, friendships, teen relationships, eating disorders, self-harm, anxiety, depression, family, puzzles, mystery, a black cat, music, a mix of sadness, counterbalanced by a touch of humour.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Forget your vampires and the dystopian future worlds, where you have to do some strange stuff for an undisclosed reason, I prefer a story that starts from a known place. You can get as weird as you like but please, make it a logical progression, not just the lazy ‘we’re in the future; civilisation as we know it is dead, this (insert some random game or test) is what happens these days, for no apparent reason’, sort of premise.

So, we meet Amelina, she’s just your standard teenage girl, I had three daughters; I get the comparison. And she’s a very well written character, as they all are. A little family weirdness, parents who have changed, from her perspective at the start it’s hard to see why. There’s a black cat who appears and a girl trapped in the mirrors in the house. And the obligatory interesting relative.

Then we come to her peers, a wannabee rock band and the strange guy called Ryder, who saves her from a couple of potentially dangerous boys. As the story develops, we see him in different shades, is he a good guy or not?

It turns out that Amelina may have the solution to all the problems that seem to beset her family. It’s all to do with crystals and gaining the knowledge to use them.

The story never falters, set around Cambridge and its landmarks, we follow Amelina’s journey as she seeks to uncover the reason for her father’s disappearance, why is he so different now that he’s back? Surely, this must also hold the key to her mother’s behaviour, explain why she’s so uptight and unwilling to talk about anything.

She must learn to use the power that she discovers she has; while dealing with all the other things that your average teenager has going on. The narrative is well thought out and we can see the development of Amelina as we are pulled by the strength of the writing towards the final pages.

All the characters are all well drawn and fit together perfectly. The things that Amelina finds and uses, from her paints to her drums are well thought out and well described. There’s a bit of fantasy, as well as some beautifully written dream sequences.

The overall world-building creates a wonderful, spiritual atmosphere. There’s a bit of poetry at the start of every chapter, a nice touch which leads us into the action. The story bravely tackles issues of mental health and self-harm, but in such a sensitive way that it can only help improve understanding.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, it resonated on so many levels, I understand a sequel is in progress, that will be on my list.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L

Find more reviews and follow M.J. Mallon on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon

Connect to Marjorie

Website/Blog: https://mjmallon.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marjorie.mallon
Facebook: Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Marjorie_Mallon

My thanks to Marjorie for allowing me access to her wonderful archives and I hope you will head over and explore more for yourself. Thanks Sally.

 

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Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck – Health – My Gallbladder Operation by M.J. Mallon 2014


Welcome to the series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

Delighted to welcome author Marjorie Mallon (M.J Mallon) to the series with her first post from the archives. I have chosen a health post this week from 2014 as I know that facing any operation is daunting, and if you are waiting for a gallbladder procedure.. this might reassure you. Especially as today the majority are carried out with key hole surgery.

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My Gallbladder Operation by Marjorie Mallon

I was a bit apprehensive when I received my appointment letter for my Gallbladder operation. The date was set as Monday 13th of October, being a bit superstitious the number 13 just didn’t do much to alleviate my fears. On the day of the operation my husband was driving me to Addenbrookes in the early hours of the morning when he suddenly said, “Oh No.” I thought his outburst was most probably due to an announcement about bad traffic ahead, but no of course it couldn’t be that, the NHS were on strike! So as we drove to the hospital I had no idea whether my operation would go ahead as planned. The superstitious no 13, lifted his ugly head and smirked.

I was admitted, given a bed, and everything seemed to be going as planned. The doctors and nurses checked me for everything under the sun, diabetes, high blood pressure, and my medical record was clarified and re-checked over and over again. One thing surprised me, the check for nail polish and makeup, whatever was that in aid of? This one might seem irrelevant but believe me it is not. Your nails and skin are a means to verify that enough oxygen is reaching you whilst you are under. So leave the make up and nail polish at home ladies, oh and any gents too who are so inclined! I met my anaesthetist and was somewhat perturbed when I saw that she was very heavily pregnant. She made a comment about coming in as a patient herself in the next two weeks. Please don’t have your baby today, I silently prayed.

I hadn’t eaten or had any fluid since the night before and my operation wasn’t scheduled until around 3 o’clock. A very chatty member of the hospital staff waited with me while I perspired anxiously. I told him all about my writing journey and my completed book. Then I was called in. No going back. I woke up around 4.20pm and just before I stirred I could have sworn that I was on my computer writing my latest blog post about my experience at the hospital! Trust me to think about writing whilst I was under the surgeon’s knife. Fortunately I didn’t embarrass myself too much, I was a quiet patient, but the guy in the bed next to me was a challenge to say the least. He just wouldn’t stay still when he awoke. The nurses had a difficult job restraining him. I suppose even the quietest of guys may react badly to a general anaesthetic.

I didn’t stay in recovery for long and was quickly transferred back to the original ward. It was a bit of a lonely night as I was all by myself on the ward. Mind you it wasn’t as if I was up to much socialising I had enough trouble going to the toilet! The next morning one of the nurses casually suggested that I might like to wash my face and freshen up a bit. I must have smelt pretty bad and this was her polite way of saying I needed to wash. I really wished that I’d packed some nicely smelling deodorant but all I had was a functional roll on. Still, I was so glad I had packed a dressing gown, a must if you are going in for an operation.

Then a new batch of patients arrived waiting for their operations. I was struck by their positivity and cheerfulness. I felt guilty eating and drinking as they were unable to indulge in either of these pursuits. The aroma of my food must have been distressing. Nevertheless, we were drawn together by this strange experience, it was a club of sorts but not one you would normally want to join. An elderly Italian lady made a big impression upon me. She had been for countless operations before but she just smiled, and talked endlessly. I have never heard anyone talk so much! Even though everything must have been a bit of a challenge for her, she had a walking stick, suffered from dizzy spells, yet she didn’t complain. Even after she returned from her operation she still had so much to say! She gave me a lovely wave and wished me well when she left to go home. I just hope she will be fine too, her arm was limp after the operation and I wonder whether it is fine now? She made light of it, joking that she didn’t think the alien arm belonged to her. I couldn’t believe she was released within a day, what a tough old cookie! Not like me, I stayed overnight, was hardly able to walk after the operation, and had a raised temperature for the first night. An eighty three year old with a walking stick, definitely put me to shame!

Overall surgery is not an experience I would like to repeat in a hurry, but the nurses and doctors did a sterling job. NHS staff shouldn’t need to strike to get a 1% pay rise, they deserve every single penny. I’m relieved that my short stay at Addenbrookes is all over. Hopefully now I’ll be able to eat normally again, a favourite pastime of mine. I can’t wait to tuck into a long awaited Chinese Buffet!

©Marjorie Mallon 2014

I hope that has given you some reassurance about this procedure…

About Marjorie Mallon

I am a debut author who has been blogging for many moons: https://mjmallon.com. My interests include writing, photography, poetry, and alternative therapies. I write Fantasy YA, and middle grade fiction as well as micropoetry – haiku and tanka. I love to read and have written over 100 Book Reviews

My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheros! I was born on the 17th of November in Lion City: Singapore, (a passionate Scorpio, with the Chinese Zodiac sign a lucky rabbit. I grew up in a mountainous court in the Peak District in Hong Kong.

As a teenager I travelled to many far-flung destinations. It’s rumoured that I now live in the Venice of Cambridge, with my six foot hunk of a Rock God husband, and my two enchanted daughters.

When I’m not writing, I eat exotic delicacies while belly dancing, or surf to the far reaches of the moon. To chill out, I practise Tai Chi. If the mood takes me I snorkel with mermaids, or sign up for idyllic holidays with the Chinese Unicorn, whose magnificent voice sings like a thousand wind chimes.

About The Curse of Time

On Amelina Scott’s thirteenth birthday, her father disappears under mysterious circumstances. Saddened by this traumatic event, she pieces together details of a curse that has stricken the heart and soul of her family.

Amelina longs for someone to confide in. Her once carefree mother has become angry and despondent. One day a strange black cat and a young girl, named Esme appear. Immediately, Esme becomes the sister Amelina never had. The only catch is that Esme must remain a prisoner, living within the mirrors of Amelina’s house.

Dreams and a puzzling invitation convince Amelina the answer to her family’s troubles lies within the walls of the illusive Crystal Cottage. Undaunted by her mother’s warnings, Amelina searches for the cottage on an isolated Cambridgeshire pathway where she encounters a charismatic young man, named Ryder. At the right moment, he steps out of the shadows, rescuing her from the unwanted attention of two male troublemakers.

With the help of an enchanted paint set, Amelina meets the eccentric owner of the cottage, Leanne, who instructs her in the art of crystal magic. In time, she earns the right to use three wizard stones. The first awakens her spirit to discover a time of legends, and later, leads her to the Bloodstone, the supreme cleansing crystal which has the power to restore the balance of time. Will Amelina find the power to set her family free?

A YA/middle grade fantasy set in Cambridge, England exploring various themes/aspects: Light, darkness, time, shadows, a curse, magic, deception, crystals, art, poetry, friendships, teen relationships, eating disorders, self-harm, anxiety, depression, family, puzzles, mystery, a black cat, music, a mix of sadness, counterbalanced by a touch of humour.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Forget your vampires and the dystopian future worlds, where you have to do some strange stuff for an undisclosed reason, I prefer a story that starts from a known place. You can get as weird as you like but please, make it a logical progression, not just the lazy ‘we’re in the future; civilisation as we know it is dead, this (insert some random game or test) is what happens these days, for no apparent reason’, sort of premise.

So, we meet Amelina, she’s just your standard teenage girl, I had three daughters; I get the comparison. And she’s a very well written character, as they all are. A little family weirdness, parents who have changed, from her perspective at the start it’s hard to see why. There’s a black cat who appears and a girl trapped in the mirrors in the house. And the obligatory interesting relative.

Then we come to her peers, a wannabee rock band and the strange guy called Ryder, who saves her from a couple of potentially dangerous boys. As the story develops, we see him in different shades, is he a good guy or not?

It turns out that Amelina may have the solution to all the problems that seem to beset her family. It’s all to do with crystals and gaining the knowledge to use them.

The story never falters, set around Cambridge and its landmarks, we follow Amelina’s journey as she seeks to uncover the reason for her father’s disappearance, why is he so different now that he’s back? Surely, this must also hold the key to her mother’s behaviour, explain why she’s so uptight and unwilling to talk about anything.

She must learn to use the power that she discovers she has; while dealing with all the other things that your average teenager has going on. The narrative is well thought out and we can see the development of Amelina as we are pulled by the strength of the writing towards the final pages.

All the characters are all well drawn and fit together perfectly. The things that Amelina finds and uses, from her paints to her drums are well thought out and well described. There’s a bit of fantasy, as well as some beautifully written dream sequences.

The overall world-building creates a wonderful, spiritual atmosphere. There’s a bit of poetry at the start of every chapter, a nice touch which leads us into the action. The story bravely tackles issues of mental health and self-harm, but in such a sensitive way that it can only help improve understanding.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, it resonated on so many levels, I understand a sequel is in progress, that will be on my list.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L

Find more reviews and follow M.J. Mallon on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon

Connect to Marjorie

Website/Blog: https://mjmallon.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marjorie.mallon
Facebook: Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Marjorie_Mallon

My thanks to Marjorie for allowing me access to her wonderful archives and I hope you will head over and explore more for yourself. Thanks Sally.

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Buy a book for Christmas – #DogLovers, #Romance #Fantasy #Poetry – Patty Fletcher, Miriam Hurdle, Sandra J. Jackson and Deborah Jay.


Welcome to more Christmas gift ideas from the Cafe and Bookstore and the first writer is Patty Fletcher who despite being sight impaired has not let this stand in the way of becoming a published author. Patty’s companion and Seeing Eye Dog, King Campbell comes into his own with Bubba Tales that would delight any dog owner.

About Bubba’s Tails

In this magical and love filled tail, King Campbell AKA Bubba travels to the puppy nursery at The Seeing Eye to help ready a group of puppies who are just about to embark on the fabulous journey of learning to become Seeing Eye dogs. Just as he is about to finish his tail, a wee pup becomes very frightened of all that lies ahead, and one frightfully stormy night she runs away! Will King Campbell hear the urgent call from the puppy nursery in time? Will they find her and save her so she can fulfill her destiny?

The use of Tail instead of Tale for story and Magik instead of Magic is intended for these short stories. A great play on words from King Campbell

One of the reviews for Bubba’s Tails

Wow! I loved reading this! What an amazing story about an incredible journey. This is about a journey from The Seeing Eye, Inc. in New Jersey to Kingsport Tennessee, but is also about the journey of a loving owner, and her special canine companion. I loved reading the story through King Campbell’s point of view, and how he is talking to the next litter of pups about to train as Seeing Eye Dogs. This is something the has always fascinated me and was the first time I was really allowed a look at some of what goes into training these special dogs. The book is made all the more exciting because the author and her dog Campbell went through this journey years ago. Such a creative way to share their story, and I can’t wait to read more of King Campbell’s Bubba Tails!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Bubba-Tails-Nursery-Seeing-Campbell-ebook/dp/B0765BWDJF

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bubba-Tails-Nursery-Seeing-Campbell-ebook/dp/B0765BWDJF/

Also by Patty Fletcher

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B00Q9I7RWG/

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Patty-L.-Fletcher/e/B00Q9I7RWG/

Patty has also contribute to two anthologies

December Awethology Light  https://www.books2read.com/u/3yPZvB

A Treasure Chest of Children’s Tales  https://www.books2read.com/u/bzaAML

Connect to Patty via her blog: http://www.campbellsworld.wordpress.com

A recent edition to the Cafe and Bookstore is Miriam Hurdle with Songs of the Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude. A gift to keep close to hand to dip into for inspiration.

About  Songs of Heartstrings

Human being has the willpower to travel through an exhausting journey, win a tough battle, and heal a deep wound. Strength from hope keeps us going until the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight and striving until the storm is over.

This poetic memoir comprises themes ranging from the suffering through an undesirable relationship, surviving an aggressive cancer, to the happiness in true love, the joy of parenthood, and gratefulness toward the Maker. Hurdle reveals the honest self-talk and reflects a heart filled with optimism, faith and trust. She illustrates the poems with her beautiful photos and paintings.

A recent review for the collection

Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude,” is a journey into the mind of a woman who has found her voice in this world through her poetry. Hurdle splits the book into poetic songs categorized by Nature, Dissonance, Physical Healing, Marriage, Parenthood, Tribute, Reflection, Challenge, and Inspiration. These categories lead the reader on a path to understanding her life through times of joy and sorrow. Her photos and artwork are stunning and compliment her poetry. For me, reading poetry is like walking beside the poet and stepping into their footsteps, connecting with their experiences in a deeper realm of being. Reading poetry is subjective, so I judge most poetry by how it invokes emotions within me and how it makes me reflect on my own human condition. The poem, “Healing,” touched a deep chord within me. Yet, there were so many more connections I experienced. I received this book as a gift from a dear friend. That’s the kind of book this is, one to be shared with others, and to be reread many times. MY RATING: Character Believability: 5 Flow and Pace: 5 Reader Engagement: 5 Reader Enrichment: 5 Reader Enjoyment: 5 Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 Stars 

The collection is available in Ebook and print: https://www.amazon.com/Songs-Heartstrings-Poems-Gratitude-Beatitude-ebook/dp/B07K1S47W9

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Songs-Heartstrings-Poems-Gratitude-Beatitude-ebook/dp/B07K1S47W9

Read reviews and follow Miriam on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17252131.Miriam_Hurdle

Connect to Miriam via her website: https://theshowersofblessings.com/

Time for a metaphysical romantic fiction from Sandra J. Jackson and her book Promised Soul. Especially for those who experience déjà vu on a regular basis.

About Promised Soul

Just as Krista’s summer plans are almost ready, she is suddenly plagued by strange dreams and intense feelings of déjà vu.

Feeling like she’s losing her mind, Krista visits a psychic, only to feel more confused. When she arrives in England, her dreams persist, and she finds herself at the doorstep of another psychic. She needs clarity.

Finally, the words Krista was afraid to say out loud are spoken. Now, she has to figure out what it all means.

Promised Soul is a story of the past, present and future of two souls, bound together by eternal and transcending love.

One of the recent reviews for Promised Soul

Romance ficton on October 23, 2018

The book for review is “Promised Soul” by Sandra J. Jackson. This novel falls in the genre of romance fantasy and fiction.

Meet our main character Krista who has decided to take a chance and made summer plans to go away on a vacation on her own. Something her mother most definitely doesn’t approve of.

While she is entertaining her friends prior to leaving she starts getting strange dreams that feel so very real to her. Not knowing what to make out of them she visits someone a friend knows to help dive into the mystery of what is going on.

It however does not stop her from traveling or interrupting her summer plans to England. There the travel agent Aaron, who has arranged every detail, Krista is ready to embark on her adventure.

Between Aaron and his friend who has been very helpful Krista learns and loves the surrounding area as the landscape and people make her feel so welcomed.

But the dreams won’t stop. In fact they are getting stronger as the days go by. The couple in her dreams are vivid and won’t stop until Krista figures out what they mean and how it will impact her immediate future.

Will she figure it out before she loses her mind?

I enjoyed this book. The pace and characters were really nice. It’s a good romance novel that doesn’t get all gooey eye which is how I like it. A good pickup and a quick read.

Read the other reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Promised-Soul-Sandra-J-Jackson-ebook/dp/B07BZDK2SR/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Promised-Soul-Sandra-J-Jackson-ebook/dp/B07BZDK2SR/

Also by Sandra J. Jackson

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Sandra-J.-Jackson/e/B00UZJO5DY

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sandra-J.-Jackson/e/B00UZJO5DY

Read other reviews and follow Sandra on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13681910.Sandra_J_Jackson

Connect to Sandra via her website: www.sandrajjackson.com

And the last author today but certainly not least  Deborah Jay with The Prince’s Man which is Book One in The Five Kingdoms Series.

About The Prince’s Man

Think ‘James Bond meets Lord of the Rings’

Rustam Chalice, dance tutor, gigolo and spy, loves his life just the way it is. So when the kingdom he serves is threatened from within, he leaps into action. Only trouble is, the spy master, Prince Hal, teams him up with an untouchable aristocratic assassin who despises him.

And to make matters worse, she’s the most beautiful woman in the Five Kingdoms.

Plunged into a desperate journey over the mountains, the mismatched pair struggle to survive deadly wildlife, the machinations of a spiteful god – and each other.

They must also keep alive a sickly elf they need as a political pawn. But when the elf reveals that Rustam has magic of his own, he is forced to question his identity, his sanity and worst, his loyalty to his prince.

For in Tyr-en, all magic users are put to death.

Award winning novel, THE PRINCE’S MAN is a sweeping tale of spies and deadly politics, inter-species mistrust and magic phobia, with an underlying thread of romance.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Oct 05, 2018 Erth rated it really liked it  · 

Erth rated it really liked it · review of another edition now I am hooked. This was such a great, easy and creative book. I was hooked after the first page.

The characters were easy to fall in love with and follow, along with the story. the author made the mental visions so easy and vivid of the surroundings and the characters actions felt so real.  I would highly recommend this author and this book.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Princes-Man-Five-Kingdoms-Book-ebook/dp/B00I9N2Q20

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Princes-Man-Five-Kingdoms-Book-ebook/dp/B00I9N2Q20

Other books in the Five Kingdoms series and other books by Deborah Jay

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Deborah-Jay/e/B00E4X3UHY

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deborah-Jay/e/B00E4X3UHY

Read more reviews and follow Deborah on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7172608.Deborah_Jay

Connect with Deborah via her website: http://deborahjayauthor.com/

Thank you very much for dropping in and I hope that you will leave with a book or two.. thanks Sally.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Buy a Book for Christmas -#Doghealth, #Family #fantasy #Romantic Thriller with Rachele Baker DVM, Judith Barrow, C.S. Boyack and Pamela S. Wight


Over the week I have shared some of the children’s and YA books in the Cafe and Bookstore, and I will come back to those in the next week. However, today I wanted to give you a mixed genre posts, with something for everyone.

Something for Dog Lovers.

Keeping our pets healthy is as important as our own health.. If you or someone you know has a dog as a pet, this guide would be an invaluable gift for Christmas. Dog Health Care: 7 Simple Ways to Keep Your Dog Healthy by Rachele Baker, DVM.

About Dog Health Care: 7 Simple Ways to Keep Your Dog Healthy

Did you know? That if you feed large breed puppies diets other than those formulated and labeled specifically for “Large Breed” puppies that they can develop bone and joint problems? Learn more in Chapter 1: The Best Nutrition For Dogs and Puppies.

Do you know the proper way to clean your dog’s ears? Keeping your dog’s ears clean can help to prevent recurrent ear infections. Chapter 6: Keeping Your Dog’s Ears Clean walks you through the steps to properly clean your dog’s ears and gives recommendations for high quality ear cleaners for dogs.

Buyer Beware. The term “Holistic” on dog food labels is not legally defined or regulated by the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials). Read more in Chapter 1.

Does your dog constantly pull on the leash on walks? You will appreciate the tips in Chapter 2 – Part 2: Fun Exercise Options For Your Dog.

Do you know how to determine if your dog is overweight?  Learn more in Chapter 2 – Part 1: Keeping Your Dog At A Healthy Weight.

Even people who have had dogs for years will be sure to learn something new in this fabulous book by veterinarian Dr. Rachele Baker. Get yours today!

One of the excellent reviews for the book

I found the information to be very easy to understand and well organized. It is the very essentials that must be learned by any dog owner, hopefully BEFORE they find their furever puppy!

With all the information on the market (i.e, television) about dog food, I found the chapter on nutrition to be the most beneficial information! I am, however, a very strong opponent to feeding dogs people food of any type, not just those that are known to be harmful.

Another very important chapter is the one on vaccinations. There is a lot of debate these days on the need for booster shots of vaccines given to dogs as puppies. I am so glad that Dr. Baker made clear that the booster shots are absolutely necessary to keep your dog(s) protected!

I strongly encourage all dog owners to pick up a copy of Dog Health Care: 7 Simple Ways to Keep Your Dog Healthy by Rachele Baker, DVM. Whether your furever friend is young or old, Dr. Baker has excellent advice to assist you in the care of your dog!

I give Dog Health Care: 7 Simple Ways to Keep Your Dog Healthy by Rachele Baker, DVM five juicy dog bones, umm, I mean Room With Books cups of coffee!

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And on Amazon UK

Also by Rachele Baker, DVM.

One of the recent reviews for Eighteen Months to Live.

A must read  on 22 September 2018

An amazingly inspiring story of one woman’s journey throughout her time living with cancer. Certainly made me view the world differently. Could certainly make a difference to oncologists and patients and their families of this particular cancer. I felt like I walked her journey with her.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US

And on Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Rachele Baker, DVM on Goodreads

Connect to Rachele via her website: http://rachelebaker.com

Something for lovers of family sagas….Judith Barrow and the sequel to her trilogy about the Howarth family – A Hundred Tiny Threads which I can also personally recommend.  Also if you go to Honno which publish Judith’s books you will find her print copies on sale: https://www.honno.co.uk/honno-gift-guide

About A Hundred Tiny Threads

It’s 1911 and Winifred Duffy is a determined young woman eager for new experiences, for a life beyond the grocer’s shop counter ruled over by her domineering mother.

The scars of Bill Howarth’s troubled childhood linger. The only light in his life comes from a chance encounter with Winifred, the girl he determines to make his wife.

Meeting her friend Honora’s silver-tongued brother turns Winifred’s heart upside down. But Honora and Conal disappear, after a suffrage rally turns into a riot, and abandoned Winifred has nowhere to turn but home.

The Great War intervenes, sending Bill abroad to be hardened in a furnace of carnage and loss. When he returns his dream is still of Winifred and the life they might have had… Back in Lancashire, worn down by work and the barbed comments of narrow-minded townsfolk, Winifred faces difficult choices in love and life.

One of the recent reviews for the book

A Hundred Tiny Threads, Judith Barrow’s prequel to her great saga about the Howarth family, is a brilliant read!

The characters are well-rounded and credible, the period detail first-class but unobtrusive, the prose masterful and compelling.

The central character is Winifred and she is so well-drawn we feel all her emotions as if they’re our own. She suffers under the spiteful control of her bitter mother but has the courage to make a stand for the things she believes are right. As in life, some of the people who impact on her are positive forces such as her father and grandmother, others are more destructive and malevolent. Winifred experiences hardship, tragedy, happiness and love and what happens to her matters because we know her so well.

The novel focuses on the decade that includes the fight for women to have the vote and some control over their own lives, the Second World War, the troubles in Ireland and the outbreak of Spanish Flu. These form the backdrop to the more personal story of a young woman and her struggles to cope with life in such tempestuous times.

I loved it and am surprised there aren’t more reviews here. I recommend you buy a copy now!

Head over read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/100-Tiny-Threads-Judith-Barrow-ebook/dp/B073W1LTSR

and at Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/100-Tiny-Threads-Judith-Barrow-ebook/dp/B073W1LTSR

Also by Judith Barrow

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Judith-Barrow/e/B0043RZJV6

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Judith-Barrow/e/B0043RZJV6

Read more reviews and follow Judith on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3295663.Judith_Barrow

Connect to Judith via her blog: judithbarrowblog.com/

For Sci-fi/Fantasy lovers…the novella The Hat by C.S. Boyack.

About The Hat

Lizzie St. Laurent is dealing with many of the struggles of young life. She lost her grandmother, and her living arrangements. Her new roommate abandoned her, and she’s working multiple jobs just to keep her head above water.

She inherits an old hat from her grandmother’s estate, but it belonged to her grandfather. This is no ordinary hat, but a being from an alternate dimension. One with special powers.

Lizzie and the hat don’t exactly hit it off right away, but when her best friend’s newborn is kidnapped by a ring of baby traffickers, Lizzie turns to the hat for help. This leads her deep into her family history and a world she’s never known.

Lizzie gives up everything to rescue the babies. She loses her jobs, and may wind up in jail before it’s over. Along the way, she and the hat may have a new way of making ends meet.

Humorous and fun, The Hat is novella length. Wonderful escapism for an afternoon.

One of the recent reviews for the bookFun read!  on July 5, 2018

The Hat by C. S. Boyack is a novella written in the speculative fiction genre with elements of supernatural, fantasy, and horror. It is a fun, fast pace read.

Lizzie’s grandmother died leaving her alone with the responsibility of paying their apartment’s rent among other debts. Lizzie worked two jobs to pay the bills, but it was not enough. She loved her grandmother and wanted something to remember her by, so she went to her grandma’s antique shop to find a keepsake. Her greedy uncle refused to give her anything, so when she left the shop she grabbed a random box from a van, parked outside, loaded with her grandmother’s things.

When she returned home, she opened the box and found a hat, but this was no ordinary hat. The hat talked and had magic powers. The adventure began when Lizzie donned the hat.

I enjoyed this book, especially the interaction between Lizzie and the hat. I recommend this novella to anyone who enjoys reading speculative fiction, sprinkled with fantasy, supernatural, and horror. 

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078YYCNSF/

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hat-C-S-Boyack-ebook/dp/B078YYCNSF/

A selection of other books by C.S. Boyack

 Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/C.-S.-Boyack/e/B00ILXBXUY

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/C.-S.-Boyack/e/B00ILXBXUY

Read more reviews and follow C.S. Boyack on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9841203.C_S_Boyack

Connect with Craig via his blog: http://coldhandboyack.wordpress.com

For those who love a fast paced romantic thriller…look no further than  Pamela S. Wight with her fast-paced The Right Wrong Man.

About The Right Wrong Man

Meredith Powers’ career as a medical editor seems safe enough as she searches for love with the right man. But she is pulled suddenly from her serene world in Boston to one of intrigue, kidnapping, and murder in the Caribbean.

Meredith’s simple life becomes terribly complicated when she works with an author who drags her into a drug heist. The reappearance of her ex-boyfriend, the D.E.A. agent, and the stunning response from her current accountant boyfriend all lead to complications, danger, and more than a few questions.

Meredith wonders if she really knows the people who surround her in her daily life. Her parents, her best friends, her boss, even her lover. She discovers that almost everyone holds secrets, and the unearthing of those cover-ups lead to mystery and danger that changes everything, and everyone, she thought she knew.

One of the recent reviews for the book

In Pamela Wight’s The Right Wrong Man (2013), Meredith Powers is accustomed to spending her days helping authors turn out polished manuscripts. She’s good at it, one of the best, but not so much at running her love life. She falls body and spirit for a man named Parker Webb who disappears frequently for job-related work that takes him to dangerous parts of the world doing dangerous things. Finally, she can’t stand the idea that she might lose him, that he would disappear in some foreign country and she’d never again hear from him, so she dumps.

To recover from his unpredictability, she moves in with a handsome and dependable accountant. Parker reappears, filled with warnings of her safety telling her not to trust anyone, telling her his cover was blown and he isn now running for his life, and within days, she is kidnapped. The handsome FBI agent who holds her captive tells her a different story about Parker, of a rogue agent who fell to the dark side and that the US government needs her help capturing him. It is at this point she realizes she really does love Parker, doesn’t believe this man who claims to be FBI, and commits herself to discovering the truth and saving Parker.

Highly recommended for those who need to escape their lives for at least a few hours.

Read more of the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Right-Wrong-Man-Pamela-Wight-ebook/dp/B00AYNQ7EG

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Right-Wrong-Man-Pamela-Wight-ebook/dp/B00AYNQ7EG/

Also by Pamela S.Wight

Read the reviews and buy all the books: https://www.amazon.com/Pamela-S.-Wight/e/B00AYXT6R6

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pamela-S.-Wight/e/B00AYXT6R6

Read more reviews and follow Pamela on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7042822.Pamela_Wight

Connect to Pamela via her website: https://roughwighting.net/

Thank you for dropping in today and there will be more Christmas book gift suggestions on Monday.. thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – #Fantasy #Magic – The Labyrinth (Warriors of Light Book 1) by Alethea Kehas


Very pleased to share the new release of Alethea Kehas – The Labyrinth (Warriors of Light Book 1)

About The Labyrinth

Within the realm of night, six teens are brought into a mysterious labyrinth that is plagued by darkness. They have been told they are the chosen warriors who have been tasked to repair the network of light within Earth. An impossible mission that only becomes possible after they discover the gifts that reside within their shadow selves. Gifts that can only be unlocked by traveling the maze of light that is as much outside of them as it is inside of them.

Head over and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FP3GYBH/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Labyrinth-Warriors-Light-Book-ebook/dp/B07FP3GYBH/

Also by Alethea Kehas

One of the recent reviews for A Girl Named Truth.

I find that often very interesting people (actors, comedians, artists, etc.) have had unorthodox childhoods, and creativity flows because of it. Alethea is no exception. The life that was imposed upon her as a child made her uniquely able to write in the way she does. This book was hard to put down, and I found so many parallels in her childhood story and mine, especially in the little nuances of uncertainty and yearning for friendship, love, and acceptance. This is an excellent book and a story that leaves you thinking long after you’ve read it.

You can find all Alethea’s books and anthologies on her Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Alethea-Kehas/e/B00NO1SB9O

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Alethea-Kehas/e/B00NO1SB9O/

Read more reviews and follow Alethea on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17149309.Alethea_Kehas

 

About Alethea Kehas

Alethea Kehas has been obsessed with the origin of her name for as long as she can remember.

My spiritual and healing journey led me to write my memoir, A Girl Named Truth, and to delve into the study of metaphysics. My business, Inner Truth Healing, evolved after I became a Master/Teacher of Shamballa Multidimensional Healing.

Now I devote my non-writing and motherhood time to helping others heal and discover the deeper Truth within.

My current writing project involves a series of books for young adults that contains metaphysical teachings in a fantasy setting. As a life-student of the mysteries, I am in my third year of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness and am studying yoga with the intention of integrating it into my healing practice.

Connect to Alethea via her website and social media.

Website: www.aletheakehas.com
Blog: https://nottomatoes.wordpress.com
Facebook: facebook.com/InnerTruthHealing
Facebook author page: facebook.com/AletheaKehasAuthor/
Twitter: twitter.com/@AletheaKehas

Thank you for visiting today and please help spread the news of Alethea’s new book as far as possible. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – Short Stories – #Fantasy -The Time Capsule by Sally Cronin


Over the last few weeks I have been conducting a house-keeping exercise on the blog and going through all the posts dating back to 2013. Some I have rescued and others were reblogs or now out of date. However, I have found some that you might enjoy again especially those of you who have only connected with me in the last couple of years.

This story was a part of a personalised contest that I did in December 2015 when I had just published Tales from the Garden. Three names were drawn out of a hat and I wrote a personalised story for them.  This was the one that I wrote for Annette Rochelle Aben and I hope that you enjoy.. and if you are not connected to this lovely supportive poet, author and blogger then I do suggest you remedy that.  I realise that some of us are sweltering in a heatwave but friends on the other side of the world are in the middle of their winter…

Wordsmith, author and broadcaster Annette Rochelle Aben was one of the winners of the personalised story and has sent me some photographs and the names of her brother and sister to be included in the tale. It is a fairy story so I have of course taken the full licence that this gives me to make stuff up!

 The Time Capsule by Sally Cronin

The three children sat on the green swing seat that was tucked in beside the newly planted tree just as the sun was setting behind the wooden fence. Mitchell sat between his two sisters as he pushed them back and forth with the heel of his sneakers. On his lap was a slightly rusty metal box. They had removed it from the garage where it had been stored on a shelf after their move into the house; being empty it seemed safe to assume that it was not needed by their mother for anything important.

The lid was open and they examined the contents with great care. After all this was going to be buried with some ceremony beside the sapling. It was their very special time capsule; to be discovered it was hoped by other children in some far off distant century. Lorraine and Annette had contributed most of the items although it had required much deliberation. Despite missing a leg, both girls would miss Barbie, but you hardly noticed as they had dressed her in a red maxi dress that covered that little defect quite well. There was a miniature china horse with a small chip out of one ear and a pack of silly putty. Mitchell had been slightly dismissive of his sisters’ contributions and had decided on the ultimate sacrifice. He gently smoothed over the space suit of GI Joe Astronaut and worried about the vacant spot in his collection on the shelf in his bedroom.

Apart from the toys there were some baseball cards and three foreign postage stamps;  rescued from the envelopes of last year’s Christmas cards. They had also felt that they should each put in a bar of their favourite candy which had been a great sacrifice for Annette; she was a fiend around chocolate. Mitchell had carefully written out all their names and birthdays on a postcard and placed it on top of the items. Satisfied that they had represented the year 1974 in style they continued to swing back and forth in the fading sunlight for a little while longer admiring their handiwork.

Little did they know that they were being watched. In the shade of the hedge hidden from view were some figures that were highly interested in the proceedings. A small garden gnome and stone puppy dog that had been overlooked when the previous owners had packed up and left the house.

‘Did you see what I see,’ the gnome nudged his canine companion. ‘Chocolate and lots of it, when was the last time we saw any of that?’

The puppy turned his head and licked his lips. ‘It’s been a while Fred, I wouldn’t mind getting my teeth into one of those bars.’

The gnome hopped up and sat on the plastic toadstool that had been abandoned along with them and rested his chin in his stubby little fingers. They watched as the three children slid off the swing seat and headed towards them. Just as it seemed that they would be discovered, Mitchell stopped and knelt down on the soft grass. He closed the lid with a satisfying click and the two girls placed their hands on his shoulders as he popped the box into the freshly dug hole. The children were not sure if you should say anything special at this point but after Mitchell had covered the box with the dark soil, they stood in silence for a moment or two. There was an old iron lamp stand in the shape of a shepherd’s crook and with the help of the girls; Mitchell pushed it into the ground to mark the spot

As the children walked hand in hand back to the house, the gnome and the puppy looked at each other in delight.

‘Go on then,’ the gnome nudged the little dog. ‘Do what you do best.’

Over forty years later and Mitchell, Lorraine and Annette stood in the kitchen of the house and contemplated the garden. They had been planning on a special expedition today but had woken to find that the first snow of the winter had covered everything with a fine blanket of white.

They had spent all last night discussing the time capsule and whether or not it was still safely buried in the spot under the now mature tree. They had completely forgotten about it since their return to the family home. Then a discussion over supper one night had brought memories flooding back of their childhood including the escapades they had got up to. Since they were all fired up and determined to find out if their box had survived the various garden makeovers, they donned warm coats and gloves and headed out of the kitchen door. Mitchell went off and gathered up some tools from the garage to tackle the frozen ground and then joined his sisters at the archaeological site.

The wrought iron lamp holder was still in the same place.  They remembered  how a lantern would be hung from it when they had cookouts in the summer months as they grew to adulthood. Slightly rusty; it still guarded the special spot where they had buried their almost forgotten treasure.

It took twenty minutes of concentrated digging in the hard earth but eventually Mitchell heard a clang as his shovel hit metal. In a few minutes the box was revealed, darkened with age but still intact. The three of them worked the soil away from the edges and pried it loose. Shivering the three returned to the house and into the warmth of the kitchen and Mitchell placed the box on layers of newspaper on the table.

Cupping hands around mugs of tea and coffee, they stared at this physical reminder of their childhood and the years spent here before they dispersed into their adult lives. Gingerly Annette prised open the reluctant lid with a screwdriver and they all leant forward to look at the contents.

Lorraine took the postcard and the items out one by one and laid them on the newspaper; astonishingly the precious momentos were in the same condition as when they were buried. However, when they reached the bottom of the box it was to find three empty candy wrappers flattened and placed side by side neatly. Immediately Mitchell and Lorraine turned and looked at Annette as the most likely culprit.

‘What are you looking at me for?’ she stared back at them defiantly. ‘I swear I didn’t take the candy, I haven’t seen the inside of that box since we buried it in 1974.’

The three of them spent most of the day trying to come up with a reasonable explanation. In the end they gave up and decided that perhaps their mother Nancy had discovered the box when gardening; eaten the candy bars and reburied the box as a practical joke on them all.

Outside in the snow the gnome and the puppy sat in the same gloomy spot they had occupied for half a century; frankly bored daft for most of the time. The gnome patted the puppy’s head and grinned delightedly.

‘I’d have paid my best magic mushrooms to have seen the look on their faces when they found those empty wrappers.’ He turned to look at the light shining into the wintery garden from the kitchen window. ‘Now that they are back for good, we need to think up some more tricks to keep them busy.’

©sallycronin 2015 ©images Annette Rochelle Aben

Annette is an author in the Cafe and Bookstore.

Annette Rochelle Aben, Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Annette-Rochelle-Aben/e/B00MSQTGUY
Blog: www.annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com

Please visit Amazon or Annette’s blog to view all her books.

annettebooku_cover_for_kindle6124zpvlnhl-_uy250_

I hope you have enjoyed the story and since Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story is now finished, I am going to start sharing What’s in a Name – Volume One from next weekend. It was recently offered free during the sale but I would love to share the stories with you again as it is three years since they were featured. I hope you will pop in.

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – The Jericho Prophesy- Book One of The Eternal Realm by Fiona Tarr


Delighted to showcase the new release of Fiona Tarr. The Jericho Prophesy is the first book of The Eternal Realm.

About the Book

The battle for divine power rages within the Eternal Realm.

As the conflict escalates a prophecy is born that will set god against god amidst the mortal world below.

When the young priestess Rahab saves two foreigners from execution, she sets in motion a sequence of events that could see the death of everyone she knows and loves.

The future of humanity hangs in the balance as two bloodlines converge to battle over the city of Jericho. Now the Goddess Asherah must protect the prophecy and ensure both ancestral lines survive.

If either bloodline dies, the Host of Heaven will continue to battle for eternity…..

A truly wonderful read with the plot very skillfully woven throughout the book. Claire Simpson

“Great book by a great author!! Definitely a Must Read!!! Ellen Engelbrecht

Head over and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CNBWX9F

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07CNBWX9F

Universal Book Link: https://www.books2read.com/u/mBMjrp

Also by Fiona Tarr

A recent review for Destiny of Kings – Covenant of Grace Book 1

A mad king bewitched by dark magic!

This story is based on the bible’s story Saul and David. I am not a religious person but loved the way the author told this tale. It was an enjoyable read infused with magic and fantasy.

An intriguing tale told in a different light that kept my interest to the end. The descriptions and overall writing is brilliant with witchcraft’ sins and good vs evil the story is a great fantasy read!

Read all the reviews and buy the books including a box set: https://www.amazon.com/Fiona-Tarr/e/B00KOL7XI2

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fiona-Tarr/e/B00KOL7XI2

Read more reviews and follow Fiona on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8423164.Fiona_Tarr

About Fiona Tarr

My fantasy novels are fast paced, character driven historical stories with strong mystical, spiritual and theological themes mixed with elements of the classic heroic/epic fantasy genre. My writing was first inspired by the heroic fantasy style of David Gemmell, but I have most recently been compared to Traci Harding & Robin Hobb.

I always appreciate legitimate feedback so please don’t forget to review my work when you have read it.

It turns out writing is in the blood. My Great Uncle was George Johnston (My Brother Jack) and although I don’t claim to have his renowned literary style, I do write a mean fantasy novel.

I find culture, faith, philosophy and sociology intriguing and these topics are at the heart of my fantasy.

I live in Noosa, Australia with my husband and two sons and I run a small business involving tourism and watersports. Occasionally I dabble in advocacy, mentoring and spend time on my personal entrepreneurial pursuits. When I am not writing I am either kitesurfing, stand up paddle surfing, travelling or volunteering in some capacity. I love cheese, chocolate and living a creative life.

Connect to Fiona on her website and social media.

Website: http://atime2write.com.au
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/fionatarr.atime2write/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FionaTarr

Thank you for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share the news of Fiona’s new release everywhere.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Christmas Posts from Your Archives – Priceless Treasures by Jacquie Biggar


Delighted to share a post from the Christmas archives of Jacquie Biggar. In this post Jacquie shares some homemade treasures that hold a special place in her heart.

Priceless Treasures by Jacquie Biggar.

Do you have homemade crafts passed down from generation to generation that you can’t bear to part with?

I’m probably one of the least sentimental people you’re likely to meet, but there are some items from my childhood that I coveted. Special bowls and vases tucked away in glass cabinets so sticky little fingers couldn’t break them.

My mom had an English cottage set; cookie jar, creamer/sugar, egg cups, and tea pot. I used to make up stories of imaginary people living in that village. 🙂

Another cool thing she had was a little hollowed out shell, smaller than a fingernail, with a carved ivory queen head for a stopper. Inside was an amazing menagerie of African animals in ivory; giraffe, lion, zebra, monkey, eight in all.

Along with these beautiful collectibles, my mom and grandma were busy crafters; crocheted doilies and tablecloths, handmade quilts, paper toile pictures, and eggery.

Eggery? you say. Eggery is the fine art of decorating hollowed eggs inside and out. The most famous, of course, being Fabergé, but I think my mom did pretty good work herself.

I guess with all the commercialism of the holidays it’s made me think about the things I’ve found have everlasting value. There is no price on memories.  Happy holidays,

A lovely post from Jacquie and like me I am sure that you have some precious items that you keep because of the love that went into making them.. Please share yours in the comments.

©Jacquie Biggar

About Jacquie Biggar

JACQUIE BIGGAR is a USA Today bestselling author of Romantic Suspense who loves to write about tough, alpha males and strong, contemporary women willing to show their men that true power comes from love.

And in her own words

My name is Jacquie Biggar and I’m a total dork.
I am a wife, mother of one, grandmother, and a total sucker for my dog and cat.
I’m also a hopeless romantic. I am the biggest The Voice fan ever, and can be found every Monday night with my nose plastered to the television laughing at Blake and Adam’s shenanigans. I enjoy going to my grandson’s hockey and lacrosse games, hanging at the beach with DH (darling hubby), taking pictures, and reading romance novels.
I have a slight Tim Hortons obsession.

I love gardening. I love the color pink… and did I mention I love my husband?

I thought I would feature one of Jacquie’s Christmas stories today.

About Silver Bells

Will a Christmas wish give a lonely author a family? A heartwarming, passionate story of true love.

Mystery writer, Joel Carpenter, has no time for romance. He has a deadline to meet, and too many skeletons in his closet to trust the slightly spinny artist renting his house.

Christy Taylor has her hands full dealing with an ailing business and a diabetic daughter, she doesn’t need the temptation that is her landlord, Joel Carpenter.

Can a Christmas wish bring two stubborn souls together and give a little girl the gift she wants most? A delightful mixture of women’s fiction, chick-lit, and romantic comedy, Silver Bells has something for every reader.

One of the excellent reviews for the book

SILVER BELLS: A Holiday Romance by Jacquie Biggar is a holiday novella that was sweet and easily read in one sitting curled up on the couch while the weather outside is frightful.
Joel Campbell, award winning mystery writer, has moved from Scotland to Vancover Island. He wants to be closer to his grandmother and hopes the change will get him over his writers’ block. Hating his fame, he has walled off his heart, become gruff and hates anyone interrupting him and yet, he is lonely.

Christy Taylor is an artist who has started her own shop attached to her rented home. Her life cannot be more hectic. She is attempting to grow her clientele, while caring for her small daughter, Jill, who has been diagnosed with Type 1, Juvenile diabetes. Christy is a great mother, but her divorce and her exes attitude toward their daughter has made her distrustful of any help from any man.

These two need to open up their hearts and learn to trust again before it is too late.
This novella is an enjoyable and quick read. I loved the characters in this short read, but being short, I felt some of the character development was lost. Jill was adorable and her disease was handle extremely well. I also feel this novella was not really a Christmas story, just a winter setting. That said, still a good heartfelt novella for a cold winter day.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Silver-Bells-Holiday-Augustus-Mystery-Prequel-ebook/dp/B01N58D23M

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Silver-Bells-Holiday-Augustus-Mystery-Prequel-ebook/dp/B01N58D23M/

A selection of of other books by Jacquie Biggar

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jacquie-Biggar/e/B00MSIJQBG

And at Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jacquie-Biggar/e/B00MSIJQBG/

Read more reviews and follow Jacquie Biggar on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8445812.Jacquie_Biggar

Connect to Jacquie

Website: http://jacqbiggar.com
Facebook: http://Facebook.com/jacqbiggar,
Twitter: http://Twitter.com/jacqbiggar

If you would like to share a Christmas Post from your archives, all the information you need in in this post.. Look forward to hearing from you. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air Your Reviews – Teagan Riordain Geneviene and M.C.V. Egan


The first author to have received a great review recently is Teagan Riordain Geneviene with her Three Things Serial Novella.

About the Three Things Serial Novella

Everything about this story was determined by the random “things” readers sent. Absolutely nothing was pre-planned. First came the narrator, Pip, aka Paisley Idelle Peabody. I imagined the voice of Lucille Ball as Pip, telling a story of her youth. Then came the 1920s setting, inspired by oscillating fan. Next the “things” brought characters, particularly Andy who came back for another serial. Eventually a thing gave me the Florida setting. I think you get the idea of how this worked.

Pip, a modern woman — a flapper, begins the first of several adventures. In this story a mysterious white-haired woman is kidnapped. Pip finds a bent key, a scrap from a special quilt, strange tattoos and other “things.” Later, Pip and her friends find themselves on a luxurious yacht where they encounter figures from history and celebrities of the era. The mystery comes to the forefront when they reach the destination, the gilded mansion, Ca d’Zan.

Here are two recent reviews for Three Things Serial: Ballerina, Fireman, Movie Star.

By Vashi Quiroz-Vega: Author Spotlight

The Three Things Serial Story is a spontaneously written (“pantser”) story. Everything in it — characters, setting, plot, was driven by “things” left by readers of the blog Teagan’s Books, episode by episode. Each week readers left three more things. The story evolved according to what those random things inspired. The serial began with oscillating fan, which brought me the vision of the 1920s setting. The era and narrator continued in two more serials that followed. While it was not great literature, it sure was a fun ride! Here’s a trailer to put you in a Roaring Twenties mood.

Author Teagan Geneviene has spun a delightful little mystery. “The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story” takes the reader back in time with characters and dialog that ring true. The story not only kept me guessing right from the start, it offered a charming tale with lots of surprises along the way. Well done!

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Three-Things-Serial-Story-Little-ebook/dp/B01MRRC0B2

and at Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Three-Things-Serial-Story-Little-ebook/dp/B01MRRC0B2

Also by Teagan Geneviene

Read the reviews, buy the books and find out more about Teagan Geneviene: https://www.amazon.com/Teagan-Riordain-Geneviene/e/B00HHDXHVM

Connect to Teagan via her blog: https://teagansbooks.com/

For the second update today new reviews for M.C.V. Egan’s book published in January 2017; Death of a Sculptor in Hue, Shape and Color

M.C.V EganAbout the book

Color coded love stories and revealing female anatomies lead to the murder of world renowned sculptor, Bruce Jones.

In life, the artist loved women, almost as much as women loved him. Adored for his art and colorful personality, Bruce is mourned by the world at large. The tale is launched with the multifaceted perspectives of four ex-wives, the current wife, and his new love interest and their children.

Mary , Bruce’s wealthy first love, is always in perfect pink; the color of love. Mother of Clair the famous actress and Aaron the corporate lawyer.

Leslie The Second’s color is yellow for her sunny nature as much as for her fears and insecurities. Her only son Bobby is vulnerable and lost. Mourning his father’s death, he finds himself.

Petra The Third, is outstanding in orange, representing not only her native Holland but also her love of the fruit. Cherished her freedom and had no children of her own.

Toni The Fourth is a vibrant passionate Italian red and part of the eventual glue that creates and solidifies this dysfunctional Jones family. Her teenage daughters Tina and Isa are as different as night and day.

Brooke The Fifth a gold-digger. Green, her color, reflects the color of money and envy. Her young son’s Kyle and Caleb are too young to understand why their world has been turned upside-down.

Mara, as blue as the ocean was the last woman to steal Bruce’s heart. Mother to newborn Baby Peter is the unexpected gift and surprise.

Bruce Jones’ eight children speak out, too. They are as distinctive as the women he loved, their mothers.

Loose ends are tied up by the insights of Sylvia, Aaron’s wife and a trusted keeper of secrets; Scott, the private investigator and family friend; Nona, the quintessential grandmother everyone loves but to whom few are truly related; and Detective Jim Miller who will not rest until he discovers Bruce Jones’ murderer.

The most recent review for the book

Seriously, how is it that I thoroughly enjoyed this color coded story of the death of a loved one? I SURE DID! Not that I wanted a character to die, it was the crafting of this story by the author that was fantastic.

This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I feel that M.C.V. Egan did a remarkable job at telling a beautiful story of Bruce, the Sculptor, his loves which were his ex-wives, his current wife, his current love and his children.

WOW…I had never read a story before where each chapter was devoted to an individual character in the story. I was given unique insight into each character by the author doing this and the story flowed beautifully!

This was not a somber read at all. Actually, quite enlightening and even some chuckles. Although the total number of pages in this story are short, I didn’t feel it was a short story at all.

This author wrote this story very artistically in a manner perfect so that even those not familiar with the “art world” could very easily envision and understand. Well done M.C V. Egan, a highly recommended read by me!

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Death-Sculptor-Hue-Shape-Color-ebook/dp/B01MZ3Z8TC

Also by M.C.V. Egan

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Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/M.C.V.-Egan/e/B0069W9NY2

61axflh-oml-_ux250_ Connect to Catalina Egan via her website: http://thebridgeofdeaths.com/

If you are in the Cafe and Bookstore and have a new release or a great new review you would like to share contact me sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Smorgasbord Entertainment Movie Review – King Arthur: Legend of the Sword by Sally Cronin


Because I didn’t get this series started until recently, I am catching up on reviews for films that I have seen in the last few months and that includes Kind Arthur: Legend of the Sword which was released in Ireland in May.

For those who are experts on the subject of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table….. please look away now. This film is a combination of fact and fiction but veering towards pure fabrication.

Here is a trailer first which gives you a brief glimpse of Arthur as Guy Ritchie saw him. Courtesy of

As you may gather from the trailer the script for this film is written in common parlance  without so much of a whisper of Early Modern English or Anglo-Saxon (except for some of the more pithy Anglo-Saxon words)

Through circumstances beyond his control, Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) has been brought up in less than salubrious surroundings in a city far from his home. He finds himself swept up in a national conscription of young men of a specific age who must all undertake the same task. This brings him to the attention of Vortigern (Jude Law), who wants to find and destroy anyone who might have more right to the throne than he has.

That’s when the fight started.

Being a film about King Arthur you will find the basic requirements to tell the story. A sword, evil uncle, beautiful woman (or two) wizards and witches with special powers, strange creatures and death and destruction.

The cast also includes Djimon Hounsou (Bedivere), Aiden Gillan (Bill) Little Finger for GOT fans… Rob Knighton (Mordred) and an all too brief appearance by one of my favourite actors Eric Bana (Uther who is Arthur’s father). There is a cast of thousands, and to those who are sharp-eyed enough David Beckham, in a very tiny cameo role. To be honest if you blink you miss it and yet the critics gave poor David and Guy Ritchie stick for his acting. (He did awright)

We went into this film with little expectation except for the fact that we like Guy Ritchie’s gritty approach to film-making (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, The Sherlock Holmes Movies 1 and 2 and The Man from Uncle)

We had just seen Charlie Hunnam deal with mayhem and murder in seven seasons of Sons of Anarchy.  A despicably graphic, murder, drug and gun laden series that was compelling viewing. Written to shock anyone who thinks civilisation was more than skin deep into a reality check.

Anyway we had become rather fond of Jax Teller, despite his descent into anarchy, and as loyal fans felt compelled to see him as the legendary Arthur.

The film starts with an intricate, visually stunning and breathtakingly violent twenty minutes or so, as the battle for the crown takes place and the scene is set for the rest of the film.

Then things settle down a little as we watch Arthur growing up in the city in the alleys and dodgy clubs and pubs, learning how to fight and thieve.  After this brief respite we are thrown right back into the action and it doesn’t stop until the last minute.

The critics and some of those who have seen the film have been less than flattering and for a while its rating on IMDB was pretty dismal. I am happy to say that it has improved considerably in recent weeks, largely I think because of the release in the UK and Ireland where it was met with a different level of appreciation.

After all the film is British made and depicts one of our legends with a cast of familiar faces. We also probably understood the colloquial language used by the actors more. This film did not let the facts get in the way of a good story, which will have upset those who preferred Sean Connery as Arthur and Richard Gere as one of his dashing knights.

However, we live in a different world of video games, fantasy and special effects that allow you to explore legends in a different way. And this film’s non-stop action keeps you on the edge of your seat for the whole two hours.

The production was excellent with the fantasy scenes, particularly of other worldly monsters, stunningly put together. The script had enough humour to allow for some serious hamming by the actors. I did wonder on occasions if there was not some ad libbing going on!

Overall this film was not intended to be a high-brow representation of the life and times of King Arthur.. It was an abstract artists impression and if you have watched The Sons of Anarchy it was a perfect vehicle for Jax Teller.. I mean Charlie Hunnam!

If you like an action film with an element of fantasy, incredible special effects and a director and cast that do it justice then I think you will enjoy.

I give the film 7 out of 10 and recommend that the critics lighten up a bit.

You can find a pre-order link for download and DVD on Amazon UK : https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01MTY0C57

It is already available in the USA: https://www.amazon.com/King-Arthur-Legend-Charlie-Hunnam/dp/B0722SBT7X

I hope you have enjoyed today’s review and look forward to sharing more soon.  Thanks Sally