Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – #Reviews – Frank Prem, C. S. Boyack, Stevie Turner and Judith Barrow.


Welcome to the first of the Cafe and Bookstore Updates this week with more reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author is Frank Prem whose latest collection Devil in the Wind: Voices from the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires is receiving wonderful reviews.

About Devil in the Wind

Devil In The Wind is an account of catastrophic fire and its immediate aftermath.

In this 21st century, the whole world seems to be on fire. America burns. Europe burns. Greece is reeling after its own tragedy of fire.

And Australia burns, as it has always done, but now so much more fiercely.

In February 2009, wildfires burnt through entire communities, taking 173 lives and injuring hundreds, while destroying thousands of houses and other buildings. Up to 400 fires destroyed 450,000 hectares of forest, native fauna and habitat, livestock and farmland.

In the aftermath of the fires, the voices of people who had lived through the experience — victims, rescuers, and observers — were spoken and were heard.

Devil In The Wind is Frank Prem’s poetic anthology of the personal, and very human, accounts of those who themselves experienced and survived Black Saturday. Poetry writing that interacts directly with readers emotions.

One of the recent reviews for the book

I’m not a poetry person, at least not normally, but I cried when I read ‘Devil in the Wind’ by Frank Prem. It’s about the Black Saturday fires that claimed 173 lives here in Victoria.
I was at home in Warrandyte that day. I’d sent the Offspring away, but I was at home with Dad and the animals because Dad had mild dementia and…I don’t think any of us really believed. I listened to 774 radio all day and some horrific reports were being phoned in, but we had the best roof sprinklers money could buy, and fire-resistant shutters. I was sure we’d be fine. And we didn’t really believe.

The next day, the reports started coming in and finally, we believed.

It was ‘all in together’ for a while after Black Saturday. We grieved, and donated food, and money, and hay because the animals were starving, and because we were alive and so many were not.

The togetherness has disappeared now, but we had it for a while, and I thank Frank Prem for helping me remember.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Devil-Wind-anthology-Saturday-bushfires-ebook/dp/B07Q9YLD8V

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Devil-Wind-anthology-Saturday-bushfires-ebook/dp/B07Q9YLD8V

Also by Frank Prem

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Frank-Prem/e/B07L61HNZ4

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Frank-Prem/e/B07L61HNZ4

Read more reviews for both books and follow Frank on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18679262.Frank_Prem

Connect to Frank via his blog: https://frankprem.wordpress.com/

And the next author with a recent review is C.S. Boyack for his Sci-fi/Fantasy the novella The Hat

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 book 

This book is not in my usual reading genre, but nonetheless, a delight to read. The Hat is a whimsical tale of a dynamic team – Lizzie, a 21 year old girl with troubles it seems at every corner, who manages to team up with the talking hat.

Lizzie manages to scoop a box off the moving truck taking away what’s left of her recently passed grandmother’s estate. Completely unaware what’s in the box, Lizzie strikes a real gem when she discovers in that box is a hat, but not just any hat.

As Lizzie and the talking hat get acquainted, finally becoming friends, the hat teaches her more about her family background, and ultimately becomes her cohort in her quest to save the kidnapped babies she learns about after her friend’s baby is kidnapped.

The story progresses through the quest to solve the crime, all the while experiencing magical situations and escapes when she puts on the hat and it empowers her with its magical properties, even being able to transport her to safety when the goings get rough.
A fun escape with lots of laughs and a perfect short read and entertaining read for a rainy afternoon.

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

Now for a recent review for Stevie Turner and The Daughter-in-law Syndrome

About The Daughter-in-Law Syndrome.

The Daughter-in-law Syndrome delves into the complicated relationship that is causing much friction between Grandmother Edna Deane and her daughter-in-law Arla. In addition it focuses on the sometimes tumultuous partnership between Arla and her husband Ric. Arla Deane sometimes likens her marriage to undergoing daily psychological warfare. Husband Ric will never voice an opinion, and puts his mother Edna up high on a pedestal. Arla is sick of always feeling that she comes in at only second best to her mother-in-law, who much to Arla’s fury is never told anything by Ric or his sisters that she would not want to hear.

This novel explores the husband/wife, mother/son, and mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationships. After twenty eight years of marriage, Arla, the daughter-in-law, is at the end of her tether and persuades a reluctant Ric to accompany her for marriage guidance. As they look back over their lives with Counsellor Toni Beecher, Arla slowly comes to realise her own failings, and eventually discovers the long-hidden reason why Ric will never utter a cross word to his mother. Also, adding to Arla’s stress is the fact that her son Stuart will soon be marrying Ria, a girl whom Arla feels is just looking for a free ride. Arla is convinced that Ria will be no asset to Stuart at all; her new daughter-in-law just wants to be a mother and has no intention of ever working again once the babies start to arrive. After visiting Stuart and Ria for Sunday lunch, Arla is convinced that her son is making the biggest mistake of his life…

A recent review for the book

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck – #Poetry – trenchman #1: the trench man’s tools by Frank Prem


Welcome to the series  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/

Frank Prem is an Australian author with two collections of poetry that describe his childhood growing in a small town… and the second, the dreadful wildfire that rapidly engulfed communities and took many lives. Both of which I have read and can recommend. I am delighted to be allowed to sample his archives to share with you.

In June 2017, Frank posted a poem a day.. and so I have chosen the poems he posted on this day and then the subsequent poems that correspond to his posts here…

#Poetry – trenchman #1: the trench man’s tools by Frank Prem 4th June 2017.

Friends 1

see them at rest
they are embracing
like weary comrades

they have dug
straight
and dug deep
they are weary now

can you see
in the lost space
the shape
of an absent digger
moving clay around

one leg knee buried deep
the other bent
underneath him

first
the mattock
wielded
then trenching
with the small spade

begun in the morning
as just an idea

pushed through
to lunchtime
it is a line

deep
into evening
the trench
has been opened

trench-man
can rest
and his tools
embrace

Friends 3

©Frank Prem 2017

About Frank Prem

I’ve been a storytelling poet for about forty years. Longer in fact, as I remember the first poem I wrote while at secondary school was about 150 – 200 words long and was accepted in lieu of a 500 word essay. I think that may have been the start.

I love to read my work to a live audience, and have audio recorded some recent recordings and popped them on my author page. I have also done some studio- recorded work under the direction and accompaniment of my wife Leanne Murphy that can be listened to there. These poems are on mythological themes and the accompaniment by Leanne makes them a little bit extraordinary.

By profession, I am a psychiatric nurse and have worked across most facets of public psychiatry and the mental health/mental illness spectrum. My experiences and reflections on what I have seen and done are the subject of a forthcoming memoir – scheduled for late 2019, or perhaps more likely, 2020.

I’ve been published in magazines, zines and anthologies, in Australia and in a number of other countries, but for a long time I haven’t sought much publication. The whims of editors are a little too capricious and unknowable, so I have preferred to hone my craft and self-publish on my poetry blogs

Leanne and I reside in the beautiful township of Beechworth in the North-East of Victoria (Australia).

Books by Frank Prem

One of the recent reviews for Small Town Kid

Brenda Telford 5.0 out of 5 stars Magic! May 24, 2019

Magic! Aussie author Frank Prem’s Small Town Kid is written in verse, but it’s poetry as I’ve never read before (and I’ve never been a poetry person!) It brought back memories for me – the cracker night; the bonfires all around town; blowing up the teacher’s letterbox with a penny banger. I’m sure I got up to all the mischief Frank and his friends did!

Easter and the fete, with the ducks which went too fast and avoided the pellets to win a prize; the clowns which invited the balls into their mouths, again for a prize. And fairy floss and its sugary delight. The author tells it from his young age right through to adult and fatherhood; the fun, the mischief and the tragedies.

Frank Prem writes in a fascinating and intriguing style, capturing memories with ease. Small Town Kid is one I highly recommend.

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Frank-Prem/e/B07L61HNZ4

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Frank-Prem/e/B07L61HNZ4

Read more reviews for both books and follow Frank on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18679262.Frank_Prem

Connect to Frank

Website: www.frankprem.com
Website Audio: https://frankprem.com/audio-recordings-spoken-word/
Seventeen Syllable Poetry: https://seventeensyllablepoetry.wordpress.com/
Blog: https://frankprem.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Frank.Prem.Poet.Author

My thanks to Frank for allowing me access to his archives and I suggest that you head over and enjoy for yourselves..thanks Sally.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves #Pre-Order – Devil in the Wind Voices from the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires (Poetry Anthology Book 2) by Frank Prem


Delighted to promote the latest release of Frank Prem, Devil in the Wind: Voices from the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, which is available on pre-order for delivery on May 31st.

About Devil in the Wind

Devil In The Wind is an account of catastrophic fire and its immediate aftermath.

In this 21st century, the whole world seems to be on fire. America burns. Europe burns. Greece is reeling after its own tragedy of fire.

And Australia burns, as it has always done, but now so much more fiercely.

In February 2009, wildfires burnt through entire communities, taking 173 lives and injuring hundreds, while destroying thousands of houses and other buildings. Up to 400 fires destroyed 450,000 hectares of forest, native fauna and habitat, livestock and farmland.

In the aftermath of the fires, the voices of people who had lived through the experience — victims, rescuers, and observers — were spoken and were heard.

Devil In The Wind is Frank Prem’s poetic anthology of the personal, and very human, accounts of those who themselves experienced and survived Black Saturday. Poetry writing that interacts directly with readers emotions.

Buy the book for delivery on May 31st: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/097514426X

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Devil-Wind-Saturday-bushfires-Anthology-ebook/dp/B07Q9YLD8V

Also by Frank Prem

My review for the collection on April 5th 2019.

I have read many poetry collections over the years, but Small Town Kid is unusual and intriguingly different. It flows through the different ages of the author from a very small boy to fatherhood, sharing the highs and lows of childhood and the coming of age years.

You are invited in by ‘I can Hardly Wait to Show You‘… that sets the scene of this town where singing waters and scrubby creeks beckon and land supported sheep and gold prospectors tried their luck.

Having accepted that invitation you become a spectator as Oma rocks the cradle of the young child whilst his mother works and makes poppy cakes, and Opa comforts a crying toddler as he contemplates the labour that has gone into cultivating the land around them. We are introduced to other members of this extended family and share in their celebrations, including a wedding in the fire house. This background is important as it highlights the sense of disconnection felt by many immigrant families who settle in a new land and are torn between adapting and still holding on to their old traditions and customs.

We enjoy picnics, and a detailed description of the view from the inside of the outhouse, and its maintenance by the stoic Nightman, and the profitable recycling of newspapers to the butcher. We join in rabbit hunts, school days, drag races, anti-tourist activities, and miscalculations when dispatching rubbish. Easter and the annual fete offer entertainment as does a rather interesting firework distribution method. The teen years bring jostling for status and the discovery that girls have some interesting attributes.

We also share in the lives of members of the group that the author grew up with, including its tragedies. It serves to remind us that however idyllic it might seem to be part of a small town community, it cannot protect you from all of life’s dangers.

I enjoyed all the memories and felt engaged with the young Frank as he navigated through these years. It was brought to life by the storytelling and there was a smooth flow from one story to the next.  One of the many personal favourites is ‘Mcalpine’s Cherries’ which mirrored my experience with picking strawberries.

Overall a delightful read that will resonate with readers whose childhood and teen years were considerably simpler than today. I can highly recommend.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Small-Town-Frank-Prem-Memoir-ebook/dp/B07L6114KS

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Small-Town-Frank-Prem-Memoir-ebook/dp/B07L63WS2D

About Frank Prem

I’ve been a storytelling poet for about forty years. Longer in fact, as I remember the first poem I wrote while at secondary school was about 150 – 200 words long and was accepted in lieu of a 500 word essay. I think that may have been the start.

I love to read my work to a live audience, and have audio recorded some recent recordings and popped them on my author page. I have also done some studio- recorded work under the direction and accompaniment of my wife Leanne Murphy that can be listened to there. These poems are on mythological themes and the accompaniment by Leanne makes them a little bit extraordinary.

By profession, I am a psychiatric nurse and have worked across most facets of public psychiatry and the mental health/mental illness spectrum. My experiences and reflections on what I have seen and done are the subject of a forthcoming memoir – scheduled for late 2019, or perhaps more likely, 2020.

I’ve been published in magazines, zines and anthologies, in Australia and in a number of other countries, but for a long time I haven’t sought much publication. The whims of editors are a little too capricious and unknowable, so I have preferred to hone my craft and self-publish on my poetry blogs

Leanne and I reside in the beautiful township of Beechworth in the North-East of Victoria (Australia).

Connect to Frank

Website: www.frankprem.com
Website Audio: https://frankprem.com/audio-recordings-spoken-word/
Seventeen Syllable Poetry: https://seventeensyllablepoetry.wordpress.com/
Blog: https://frankprem.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Frank.Prem.Poet.Author

Thank you for dropping in today and it would be great if you could spread the news of Frank’s new poetry collection.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Book Reviews – Small Town Kid by Frank Prem


This week I am reviewing an memoir that is a collection of poems and stories about growing up in a small town in Australia, Small Town Kid by Frank Prem.

About Small Town Kid

Small Town Kid is the experience of regional life as a child, in an insular town during the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, remote from the more worldly places where life really happens, in a time before the internet and the online existence of social media.

It is a time when a small town boy can walk a mile to school and back every day, and hunt rabbits with his dog in the hours of freedom before sundown. He can hoard crackers for bonfire night and blow up the deputy school master’s mailbox in an act of joyous rebellion.

A time when a small town teenager will ride fourteen miles on a bicycle for his first experience of girls, and of love. A time when migrating from a foreign country to a small town means his family will always feel that they are strangers, while visitors to the town are treated like an invading host.

It is also the remembrance of tragedy for inexperienced friends driving on narrow country roads.

This collection of poems and stories shares the type of childhood that has mostly disappeared in contemporary times. Come and revisit it here, in the pages of a Small Town Kid.

My review for the collection

I have read many poetry collections over the years, but Small Town Kid is unusual and intriguingly different. It flows through the different ages of the author from a very small boy to fatherhood, sharing the highs and lows of childhood and the coming of age years.

You are invited in by ‘I can Hardly Wait to Show You‘… that sets the scene of this town where singing waters and scrubby creeks beckon and land supported sheep and gold prospectors tried their luck.

Having accepted that invitation you become a spectator as Oma rocks the cradle of the young child whilst his mother works and makes poppy cakes, and Opa comforts a crying toddler as he contemplates the labour that has gone into cultivating the land around them. We are introduced to other members of this extended family and share in their celebrations, including a wedding in the fire house. This background is important as it highlights the sense of disconnection felt by many immigrant families who settle in a new land and are torn between adapting and still holding on to their old traditions and customs.

We enjoy picnics, and a detailed description of the view from the inside of the outhouse, and its maintenance by the stoic Nightman, and the profitable recycling of newspapers to the butcher. We join in rabbit hunts, school days, drag races, anti-tourist activities, and miscalculations when dispatching rubbish. Easter and the annual fete offer entertainment as does a rather interesting firework distribution method. The teen years bring jostling for status and the discovery that girls have some interesting attributes.

We also share in the lives of members of the group that the author grew up with, including its tragedies. It serves to remind us that however idyllic it might seem to be part of a small town community, it cannot protect you from all of life’s dangers.

I enjoyed all the memories and felt engaged with the young Frank as he navigated through these years. It was brought to life by the storytelling and there was a smooth flow from one story to the next.  One of the many personal favourites is ‘Mcalpine’s Cherries’ which mirrored my experience with picking strawberries.

Overall a delightful read that will resonate with readers whose childhood and teen years were considerably simpler than today. I can highly recommend.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Small-Town-Frank-Prem-Memoir-ebook/dp/B07L6114KS

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Small-Town-Frank-Prem-Memoir-ebook/dp/B07L63WS2D

About Frank Prem

I’ve been a storytelling poet for about forty years. Longer in fact, as I remember the first poem I wrote while at secondary school was about 150 – 200 words long and was accepted in lieu of a 500 word essay. I think that may have been the start.

I love to read my work to a live audience, and have audio recorded some recent recordings and popped them on my author page. I have also done some studio- recorded work under the direction and accompaniment of my wife Leanne Murphy that can be listened to there. These poems are on mythological themes and the accompaniment by Leanne makes them a little bit extraordinary.

By profession, I am a psychiatric nurse and have worked across most facets of public psychiatry and the mental health/mental illness spectrum. My experiences and reflections on what I have seen and done are the subject of a forthcoming memoir – scheduled for late 2019, or perhaps more likely, 2020.

I’ve been published in magazines, zines and anthologies, in Australia and in a number of other countries, but for a long time I haven’t sought much publication. The whims of editors are a little too capricious and unknowable, so I have preferred to hone my craft and self-publish on my poetry blogs

Leanne and I reside in the beautiful township of Beechworth in the North-East of Victoria (Australia).

Connect to Frank

Website: www.frankprem.com
Website Audio: https://frankprem.com/audio-recordings-spoken-word/
Seventeen Syllable Poetry: https://seventeensyllablepoetry.wordpress.com/
Blog: https://frankprem.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Frank.Prem.Poet.Author

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed my review of this lovely collection.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer – Frank Prem – Welcome to Beechworth, Victoria, #Australia


Today Australian author Frank Prem shares his love of his hometown, and the inspiration behind his recently released collection of poems and stories.. Small Town Kid.

Hello and welcome to my hometown of Beechworth in north-east Victoria, where we nestle in the foothills of the Victorian Alps within easy reach of snow and skiing.

The north-east is awash with pretty and charming small towns and interesting villages, but Beechworth is a special place. It sits in the centre of an historical golden triangle of interest to visitors and tourists alike. The beauty of the scenery through the seasons has to be seen to be believed and won’t be easily forgotten (particularly the gorgeous foliage on display in the autumn), and immaculately preserved honey-granite-constructed buildings of historical significance occur all through the town.

Beechworth traces its roots to the late 1850’s, when it rapidly became one of the richest goldfields in Victoria, and was recognised as a centre of some influence in colonial Victoria. In total, some 212,500 ounces of gold were produced.

Relating directly to the gold rush period, you might like to look out for a few of the significant buildings, such as the original prison and telegraph office on Ford Street (where you can send an old-fashioned telegram), the post office located on the main intersection in town, and the old Gunpowder Magazine located in the bounds of the Gorge that looks across at the town and was the source of the granite hewn to make these buildings. Guided walking tours of Beechworth cover many of the points of interest mentioned so far.

A consequence of the early success of the town was the advent of bushrangers in the district, the most famous being the notorious Kelly Gang comprising Ned Kelly, Dan Kelly, Steve Hart and Joe Byrne, who pillaged in and around the district during the late 1800s. Kelly himself was held in a cell in Beechworth, while his mother, Ellen Kelly (née Quinn), was imprisoned at one time in the local gaol, and former friend turned police informer Aaron Sherritt was murdered by the gang member Byrne at the locality of Woolshed, just outside Beechworth.

I and all of my childhood mates were of course, at one time or another, the one and only ‘real’ Ned Kelly – marauders through the wild bush around the township, growers of voluminous amounts of imaginary facial hair, holders-up of tourist vehicle traffic trying to circumnavigate the Gorge on the tourist road.

More contemporary points of interest would have to include the Beechworth Bakery , which is now well-known in many parts of Australia, the Beechworth Brewery, a multi-award-winning local microbrewery, and the Beechworth Sweet Shop Company. These are particular favorites for me in my life around the town – the bakery for early morning coffee before I start work, the brewery for gourmet pizza lunch when my wife and I want an informal lunch out, and the sweet shop… well, whenever the yearning for hand-crafted dark chocolate calls.

The town holds more festivals and gatherings than I can recount in full, but a few of them come to mind. The The Golden Horseshoes Festival is perhaps the main draw card for visitors and takes place every Easter. The story goes that a horse was shod with golden horseshoes by an election candidate in 1855 and ridden through the town.

Goodness knows what that would have done to the horseshoes, but it suggests there was a lot of wealth about the place. This festival culminates on Easter Saturday morning with a massed parade of exhibits on floats that often seems to go on forever.

Other festivals include the Harvest Festival, the Celtic Festival, the Kelly Country Pick  and of course the Ned Kelly Festival. There are definitely plenty to choose from, and the town fairly bursts at the seams with tourists whenever a festival weekend arrives on the calendar.

But why am I living here? What does this town mean to me?

I grew up in Beechworth, the son of an immigrant family that settled here in the migration wave that took place in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. I have memories that curl around my mind rising from every street corner, particularly from the schools, the state and catholic primary schools as well as the local high school. But the wilderness calls me too, recalling my youthful solitary adventures whenever I glimpse the forested Gorge that surrounds the town.

And the old Mayday Hills Psychiatric Hospital reminds that it gave me my career as a psychiatric nurse, each time I step onto the grounds to wander the wooded parkland surrounding the old buildings. It amazes me to see the ‘For Sale’ signs on dilapidated wards where I and my family before me used to work. Privatisation is an amazing thing when places like an old lunatic asylum, as it once was, can be repurposed into hotels, accommodation and private housing. Who would have thought?

This is my home town, I wrote my first poems here, and I bid you….
…welcome to Beechworth.

About Frank Prem

I’ve been a storytelling poet for about forty years. Longer in fact, as I remember the first poem I wrote while at secondary school was about 150 – 200 words long and was accepted in lieu of a 500 word essay. I think that may have been the start.

I love to read my work to a live audience, and have audio recorded some recent recordings and popped them on my author page. I have also done some studio- recorded work under the direction and accompaniment of my wife Leanne Murphy that can be listened to there. These poems are on mythological themes and the accompaniment by Leanne makes them a little bit extraordinary.

By profession, I am a psychiatric nurse and have worked across most facets of public psychiatry and the mental health/mental illness spectrum. My experiences and reflections on what I have seen and done are the subject of a forthcoming memoir – scheduled for late 2019, or perhaps more likely, 2020.

I’ve been published in magazines, zines and anthologies, in Australia and in a number of other countries, but for a long time I haven’t sought much publication. The whims of editors are a little too capricious and unknowable, so I have preferred to hone my craft and self-publish on my poetry blogs

Leanne and I reside in the beautiful township of Beechworth in the North-East of Victoria (Australia).

About Small Town Kid

Small Town Kid is the experience of regional life as a child, in an insular town during the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, remote from the more worldly places where life really happens, in a time before the internet and the online existence of social media.

It is a time when a small town boy can walk a mile to school and back every day, and hunt rabbits with his dog in the hours of freedom before sundown. He can hoard crackers for bonfire night and blow up the deputy school master’s mailbox in an act of joyous rebellion.

A time when a small town teenager will ride fourteen miles on a bicycle for his first experience of girls, and of love. A time when migrating from a foreign country to a small town means his family will always feel that they are strangers, while visitors to the town are treated like an invading host.

It is also the remembrance of tragedy for inexperienced friends driving on narrow country roads.

This collection of poems and stories shares the type of childhood that has mostly disappeared in contemporary times. Come and revisit it here, in the pages of a Small Town Kid.

An extract from one of the recent reviews for the book

This delightful book of poems by Frank Prem is packed with interesting poems about his childhood, growing up in a small town in Australia. I love history and also enjoy learning about people and how they live so this book appealed to both of these interests of mine.

There are poems about a small child being cared for by both of his grandparents while his own parents work and the little pleasures such as eating home made poppy cakes, and peeks into the lives of close relatives such as an aunt who had a very lively spirit that showed through at certain times in her live belying the prim and proper exterior she was expected to display as a married matron.

The author clearly grew up in an old fashioned society where people were careful with things and tried to stretch a penny:

“sixpence
for a couple of pounds of paper
and the news
becomes the wrapping
for another feed
of tender young chops.”

My favourite of all Frank’s poems, a tricky place (the annual fete) was a superb insight into small town life at the time. I am not going to give you a peep into that poem, you will have to purchase the book and read it for yourself.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Small-Town-Frank-Prem-Memoir-ebook/dp/B07L6114KS

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Small-Town-Frank-Prem-Memoir-ebook/dp/B07L63WS2D

Find more reviews and follow Frank on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18679262.Frank_Prem

Connect to Frank

Website: www.frankprem.com
Website Audio: https://frankprem.com/audio-recordings-spoken-word/
Seventeen Syllable Poetry: https://seventeensyllablepoetry.wordpress.com/
Blog: https://frankprem.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Frank.Prem.Poet.Author

Thank you for dropping in today and I am sure you have enjoyed this lovely nostalgic post from Frank about his home town… he would love to receive your questions and feedback. Thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – #Reviews – Cynthia Reyes, Frank Prem and Annika Perry


Welcome to Friday’s edition of the Cafe and Bookstore Update where I share reviews and news from authors on the shelves.

The first recent review is for Cynthia Reyes and her daughter Lauren Reyes-Grange with illustrations by Jo Robinson, which is a sequel to the lovely children’s book Myrtle the Purple Turtle.

About Myrtle’s Game

Myrtle the Purple Turtle returns with another great adventure! Myrtle and her friends are turned away when they try to join in a game with others. The friends walk away, feeling hurt, but that’s just the start of the story. Find out how Myrtle, Gertie, Hurtle and Snapper solve the problem, in this second picture book about Myrtle the Purple Turtle. A perfect book for children ages 3 to 8 (and adults who like turtles), it follows Myrtle the Purple Turtle — a bestseller, praised by thousands of children and adults, teachers and librarians around the world.

One of the recent reviews for Myrtle’s Game on Goodreads

Dec 20, 2018 Andrea Stephenson rated it Five Stars.
A beautifully illustrated picture book with a wonderful message, that continues the journey of Myrtle the Purple Turtle. The first book talked about what it was like to be different and how to ‘love the shell you’re in’. This book continues that theme of difference and belonging – it is about other’s perceptions of what we can do just because of the way we look or who they think we are. It is about not being defined by those prejudices and about being who you are and excelling at it. This is a great book to read with a child to prepare them for their first visit to nursery school or their first group situation where they are trying to find their place. Many children have been in the position of standing on the side-lines, wanting to play but not being accepted, until they find the friends who truly support them and want the best for them. This story is about friendship, supporting one another and showing that we should never let what others’ think stop us from doing what we love. A lovely story that will really appeal to children and would make a great gift

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Myrtles-Favourite-Myrtle-Purple-Turtle-ebook/dp/B07L1W7NQJ

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Myrtles-Favourite-Myrtle-Purple-Turtle-ebook/dp/B07L1W7NQJ

The first book in the series

Also by Cynthia Reyes

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Cynthia-Reyes/e/B00F1HTQQ6

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cynthia-Reyes/e/B00F1HTQQ6

Read more reviews and follow Cynthia on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7072186.Cynthia_Reyes

Connect to Cynthia via her website: https://cynthiasreyes.com/

Another terrific review for the collection of poetry and short stories Small Town Kid from Australian author Frank Prem

About Small Town Kid

Small Town Kid is the experience of regional life as a child, in an insular town during the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, remote from the more worldly places where life really happens, in a time before the internet and the online existence of social media.

It is a time when a small town boy can walk a mile to school and back every day, and hunt rabbits with his dog in the hours of freedom before sundown. He can hoard crackers for bonfire night and blow up the deputy school master’s mailbox in an act of joyous rebellion.

A time when a small town teenager will ride fourteen miles on a bicycle for his first experience of girls, and of love. A time when migrating from a foreign country to a small town means his family will always feel that they are strangers, while visitors to the town are treated like an invading host.

It is also the remembrance of tragedy for inexperienced friends driving on narrow country roads.

This collection of poems and stories shares the type of childhood that has mostly disappeared in contemporary times. Come and revisit it here, in the pages of a Small Town Kid.

One of the recent reviews for Small Town Kid on Goodreads

Jan 02, 2019 Martii Maclean rated it it was amazing

Small Town Kid is filled with rich memories of childhood and family. Frank’s poems paint vivid pictures of a time when the rhythms of life were less hurried. This poetry collection comes together into a joyous, warm quilt of memories.

‘Poppy Cakes’ took me back to my granny’s kitchen, tasting the delicious mysteries of her secret recipes. ‘From inside the outhouse’ made me shudder, as I remembered fears of falling in and being lost for good, but these humorous recollections of a pre-flush generation brought a smile to my face.

‘Crackers’ took me back to amazing cracker-nights and the thrill of those pocket-money explosions.

I very much enjoyed spending some time in Frank’s home town. It reminded me of those simple pleasures and people that make us who we are. It was delightful to shar

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Small-Town-Frank-Prem-Memoir-ebook/dp/B07L6114KS

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Small-Town-Frank-Prem-Memoir-ebook/dp/B07L63WS2D

Find more reviews and follow Frank on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18679262.Frank_Prem

Connect to Frank via his website: www.frankprem.com

The next author with a a popular short story collection is Annika Perry with The Storyteller Speaks.

About The Story Teller Speaks

It only takes one event to change a life. What is that action, decision, occurrence? Whose life is affected? Changed forever?

In this eclectic mix of 21 short stories, flash fiction and poetry the pendulum swings between first love and murder, from soul-destroying grief to reconciliation. The tales veer from the sweet satisfaction of revenge to new beginnings, from heart-breaking miscarriages of justice to heart-warming Christmas misadventure.

One common thread binds them all; the belief that there is no such thing as an ordinary life; they’re all extraordinary.

Open your hearts and minds as The Storyteller Speaks.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

The Storyteller Speaks is a wonderful collection of short stories, flash fiction and poems that depict a wide range of events, characters and viewpoints. At the centre of each is human relationships and the effect that a single event can often have on the course of a life. A full gamut of emotions is here, including love, grief, anger and redemption. The stories are moving, uplifting, sometimes dark, sometimes amusing. My favourites include: The Whiteout Years which is a heart-breaking and touching depiction of grief and hope; and Loss of a Patriarch, a moving story about saying goodbye to the author’s grandfather. I also enjoyed the influences of the author’s Swedish heritage. This is a collection to savour and a book that fulfils its promise to win your heart.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0789KZVF8/

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0789KZVF8

Read other reviews and follow Annika on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17498437.Annika_Perry

Connect to Annika via her blog:   https://annikaperry.com

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with a book or two.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – Who is referring others to your blog? Guests, music and laughter


Welcome to the weekly round up of posts you might have missed.

This week I got back into the swing of things and began the 2019 book promotions and the first of the Sunday Interviews. It was a terrific break but very happy being back to normal.

As always a huge thank you to my regular contributors and guests as well as the support on social media. Whilst managing the various platforms is time consuming and sometimes distracting, it was interesting to see, when I looked at the year’s analytic data, where the most referrals were generated from.

At the top end of the list and accounting for approximately 50% of the referrals out of 221,000 views:

  1. WordPress Reader.
  2. Facebook
  3. Twitter
  4. Yahoo.com
  5. Other search engines.

The other 50% were referrals from individual bloggers.

This confirms a few things to me:

  1. That WordPress Reader is a very powerful promotional tool for promoting not just our own posts but also when we reblog and ‘press’ posts we enjoy by other bloggers. Since people browse the Reader looking for posts that are interesting, it is well worth making sure you titles and the short summary at the top of your post catch their eye.
  2. That my time spent on Twitter and Facebook is not wasted!
  3. That using key words and tags on blog posts gets results from search engines. (but need to do better)
  4. That connecting and becoming part of a supportive community is essential to the success of a blog.

A huge thank you to everyone who took the time to share the posts this year directly to their own blogs which resulted in referrals and to all of you who took the time to like, share on social media and comment.

This week William Price King shared the life and music of the legendary Duke Ellington.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/08/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-with-william-price-king-jazz-duke-ellington/

This week Carol Taylor shares her favourite recipes of 2018… and they look delicious.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/09/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-food-column-with-carol-taylor-favourite-dishes-of-2018/

D. G. Kaye – Debby Gies shares a recap of her 2018 travel column with a reminder of the places you might like to visit on vacation.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/07/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-travel-column-recap-take-a-look-before-you-book-your-summer-holiday-with-d-g-kaye/

Welcome to the first of a new season of Getting to Know You and my first guest for 2019 is Australian author Frank Prem who has recently released a collection of poems and short stories about his childhood – Small Town Kid.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/13/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-sunday-interview-getting-to-know-you-with-author-frank-prem/

I was delighted to review Fairies, Myths & Magic: A Summer Celebration by Colleen M. Chesebro.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/12/smorgasbord-book-reviews-fairies-myths-and-magic-a-summer-celebration-by-colleen-m-chesebro/

I wrote the original Size Matters in 1998 about my 150lb weight loss… I did update when the book went digital but that was several years ago. After working as a nutritional therapist for the last 20 years, and having continued to research and study food and its role in our health, I decided that it was time to write the sequel. 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/11/smorgasbord-health-size-matters-the-sequel-after-20-years-by-sally-cronin-introduction/

It is 1996 and it is a year of change with a move to Brussels and Anthony Robbins Life Mastery.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/10/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-1996-a-year-of-change-and-celine-dion/

I am had fun with Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 118 with the synonyms this week of ‘Begin’ and ‘Fresh’

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/09/smorgasbord-poetry-colleen-chesebro-tuesday-poetry-challenge-week-118-etheree-initiate-and-crisp/

It is now 1986 and both David and my father have their birthdays back to back. We are also making plans for a day trip and a much longer road trip over to New Mexico.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/12/smorgasbord-letters-from-america-houston-1986-birthdays-and-plans/

New on the shelves this week.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/10/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-sciencefiction-fantasty-voyage-of-the-lanternfish-by-c-s-boyack/

Author update with recent reviews

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/07/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-don-massenzio-marcia-meara-and-teri-polen/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/11/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-bette-a-stevens-jane-risdon-and-christina-jones-sally-cronin/

The Gentle Detox

As part of a gentle detox it is useful to employ the power of nature as a cleanser for your liver and kidneys. Dandelion is powerful and has many health benefits.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/07/smorgasbord-health-column-the-gentle-detox-tool-box-water-retention-dandelion-by-sally-cronin/

It is a good idea to complete a gentle detox to find out what food triggers or environmental contaminants might be causing you to suffer from allergies or health issues.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/08/smorgasbord-health-column-the-gentle-detox-food-intolerances-nightshade-family-and-environmental-toxins-by-sally-cronin/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/08/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-and-a-joke-from-my-archives-2/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/01/10/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-snitching-cheating-failing-and-a-change-of-career/

Thank you very much for dropping in today and for your continued support. It keeps me motivated to keep writing.. thanks Sally.

 

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Sunday Interview – Getting to Know You with author Frank Prem #Australia


Welcome to the first of a new season of Getting to Know You and my first guest for 2019 is Australian author Frank Prem who has recently released a collection of poems and short stories about his childhood – Small Town Kid.

Hello Sally, and readers.

I’ve been a storytelling poet for about forty years. Longer in fact, as I remember the first poem I wrote while at secondary school was about 150 – 200 words long and was accepted in lieu of a 500 word essay. I think that may have been the start.

I love to read my work to a live audience, and have audio recorded some recent recordings and popped them on my author page. I have also done some studio- recorded work under the direction and accompaniment of my wife Leanne Murphy that can be listened to there. These poems are on mythological themes and the accompaniment by Leanne makes them a little bit extraordinary.

By profession, I am a psychiatric nurse and have worked across most facets of public psychiatry and the mental health/mental illness spectrum. My experiences and reflections on what I have seen and done are the subject of a forthcoming memoir – scheduled for late 2019, or perhaps more likely, 2020.

I’ve been published in magazines, zines and anthologies, in Australia and in a number of other countries, but for a long time I haven’t sought much publication. The whims of editors are a little too capricious and unknowable, so I have preferred to hone my craft and self-publish on my poetry blogs

Leanne and I reside in the beautiful township of Beechworth in the North-East of Victoria (Australia).

We will find out more about Frank’s new release a little later in the post… but first let’s find out which of the questions he has responded to.

What do you consider to be the best dish that you prepare – and have you the recipe?

I’m not really much of a cook, and what I do tends to be done in the oven – baked potatoes, spare rib casserole with a lot of produce from the garden in the marinade (savory tomato sauce from our own tomatoes, when possible). It always comes out well, and we do a lot of leftovers.

Probably my best dish, though, is a no knead bread recipe that I’ve adapted for my own use.

This recipe has travelled around a bit, but I think it originated with the New York Times Cooking Department and made famous in a video that is still the primo reference, I believe.

I had started out thinking that I might like to learn how to make bread when I retired from work, and I had sourdough in mind as the thing to do. I reminded myself, though of a couple of things:

  1.  I have always felt a little sad to see folk (aspiring writers in particular) who have left a passion to be attended to after they finish their working life, only to find that they need years to develop the most basic skills they will need. For instance, wanting to write, and knowing you have a story to tell is not enough to make you a writer or a storyteller. It takes practice and craft development.
  2.  I am fundamentally lazy, and the babysitting of sourdough yeast, and the need to get my hands mucky with dough were very unappealing prospects.

I could hardly believe the recipe for no knead bread when I came across it. Basically it is as follows:

• 1/8th of a teaspoon of dry yeast
• 13oz of cold water
• 1 teaspoon of salt
• 430-450gm of flour.

Check for an actual published recipe online (there are many variations), but that’s the basics.

Method

The ingredients are popped into your preferred cauldron and stirred – muttering a spell of binding is optional – and mixed without ever getting hands into the dough, on a good day, into the oven and there’s your loaf.

I use more yeast these days to get the rise I want in 2 hours, and add a considerable quantity of dried fruit (figs, apricots, cranberries, dates) and also nuts and seeds to make it a fruit and nut loaf for breakfast toast.

Yummo!

What is your favourite holiday and why?

My favourite holiday was Leanne and my honeymoon when we spent a week in tropical North Queensland (Cairns, The Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree Rainforest). Part of the time was on a Reef cruise and part in the rainforest.

It was a wonderful time, with the chance to see the colourful coral, listen to the parrotfish eating the coral, and check out islands and atolls. Not forgetting the turtles!

That was on the cruise. On land we had Cassowaries outside our hut, gecko’s inside it and crocodiles sunning themselves on the river not very far away.

Whenever the subject of holidays arises, both of us think back to that holiday as our benchmark for what a holiday means.

Sally here:  It is an amazing spectacle and I can understand why this holiday was so special.

Do you prefer the big city or country life?

I grew up in the country, in the little town of Beechworth, until the age of around 22 years. I then spent around 20 years living in a beachside suburb in Melbourne.

I’ve been back in Beechworth for around a dozen years or so, now, and I like it. I believe I will see out my time in this spot just below the Victorian Alps. I find I get nervous in the city. It is all agitation and bustle. It is only out of the city that I feel I can properly be myself.

Sally here: It looks like a fabulous place to live and I found this short film about the town.

Have you ever played a musical instrument or sang in public?

I grew thinking I should be a rock star. Screeching songs in my bedroom. The more tortured, the better. My only problem was that I couldn’t play an instrument, and I sounded like rubbish.

As a young fellow, my parents acquired a guitar for me that stood, as I recall, taller than me. Mum and dad took me along to a renowned local teacher, who must have been in his late seventies at the time and I had a lesson. One dreadful lesson.

Less than a week later the man had passed away. I always assumed the two events – my lesson and his passing – were related, and that was grounds to never go near an instrument again.

That has changed now. My wife Leanne is a talented music teacher and singer/songwriter among her other talents and gifts and she has worked magic enough to allow me to play the ukulele well enough to sing to, either as my own accompaniment or as part of a singing group.

So yes, I have sung in public, both unaccompanied and in a group. As proof, I offer a Facebook upload of the 2018 Spring Sing Choral group performing to friends and family at out break-up in November 2018. The song is an original composition by Leanne and myself and the group had a lovely time performing it.

How many different languages can you speak and what are they?

My family were of Croatian origin, and I grew up with Croatian as my first language until I went to school. I was actually quite embarrassed by having to use the language in any way or place that might be overheard by others. The embarrassment of a child who felt different enough already, as the son of immigrants, I suppose.

I don’t claim proficiency in that tongue, at all, but occasionally I have used the language, or some of its words in my poetry, to illustrate a point or to attempt to write in another language.

I recommend it as an exercise to anyone who has a second language, but caution that the need to think and to express yourself in another language presents some serious poetic challenges.

My thanks to Frank for sharing something about his life in Beechworth, the stunning Barrier Reef and his passions. One of those is obviously writing and here is his recent release.

About Small Town Kid

Small Town Kid is the experience of regional life as a child, in an insular town during the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, remote from the more worldly places where life really happens, in a time before the internet and the online existence of social media.

It is a time when a small town boy can walk a mile to school and back every day, and hunt rabbits with his dog in the hours of freedom before sundown. He can hoard crackers for bonfire night and blow up the deputy school master’s mailbox in an act of joyous rebellion.

A time when a small town teenager will ride fourteen miles on a bicycle for his first experience of girls, and of love. A time when migrating from a foreign country to a small town means his family will always feel that they are strangers, while visitors to the town are treated like an invading host.

It is also the remembrance of tragedy for inexperienced friends driving on narrow country roads.

This collection of poems and stories shares the type of childhood that has mostly disappeared in contemporary times. Come and revisit it here, in the pages of a Small Town Kid.

One of the early reviews for the book

From the dedication poem, “I Can Hardly Wait to Show You”, to “Circular Square Town”, Frank Prem’s chronological journey from infancy to the present has a familiar feel to it; almost as if you were take a walk through your own memory lane to recall the innumerable small, but unforgettable moments that make up a life. Frank’s style is minimalist, with plenty of room to fill in the blanks with your own conjecture or possible parallel memories. Written about an Australian town that was a gold-rush town in its day, it touches on those times as well as describes the landscapes there. Frank’s work is approachable, understandable, and sensitive in its handling of the most delicate of subjects.

My favorite poems, in a book of favorites – they’re all good! – are: “poppy cakes”, “frenki boy”, “the exuberance of my aunt”, “loss of faith”, “picnic story”, “the dawn of civilisation”, “the hallways of st. joseph’s”, “pumpkin rock terrorists”, “a tricky place (the annual fete)”, “fight”, “sweet maureen”, “libby’s puzzle”, “vale”, “palmer’s not”.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Small-Town-Frank-Prem-Memoir-ebook/dp/B07L6114KS

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Small-Town-Frank-Prem-Memoir-ebook/dp/B07L63WS2D

Connect to Frank

Website: www.frankprem.com
Website Audio: https://frankprem.com/audio-recordings-spoken-word/
Seventeen Syllable Poetry: https://seventeensyllablepoetry.wordpress.com/
Blog: https://frankprem.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Frank.Prem.Poet.Author

I am sure that you have enjoyed meeting Frank as much as I have and I know he would be delighted to hear from your.. thanks Sally.