Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – #Reviews – S.A. Harris, Geoff Le Pard, John W. Howell and Gwen Plano


Welcome to the second of the cafe updates this week with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.. the first author is Sally Harris who has recently joined the bookstore with her book Haverscroft.

About the Book

Kate Keeling leaves all she knows and moves to Haverscroft House in an attempt to salvage her marriage. Little does she realise, Haverscroft’s dark secrets will drive her to question her sanity, her husband and fatally engulf her family unless she can stop the past repeating itself. Can Kate keep her children safe and escape Haverscroft in time, even if it will end her marriage?

Haverscroft is a gripping and chilling dark tale, a modern ghost story that will keep you turning its pages late into the night.

One of the early reviews for the book

I read this book at one sitting. It is beautifully constructed with what turns out to be a complex multi layered story. It is told through the eyes of the main protagonist Kate Keeling the mother of two young children and trapped in a difficult marriage. The family’s move to a haunted house is the catalyst for several fascinating marital and family developments. The, at times painful, relationship with her husband is etched with great insight into the minds of a couple whose troubles spill onto the pages often triggered by what may appear to be trivial incidents but are underpinned by a fear of communication that I suspect afflicts many of us. That aspect is one of the reasons why this ghost story has such a deep level of powerful realism.

Great care is taken with the drawing of the characters no matter how minor they are.
It is a vivid novel that moves at pace but never rushes. Very enjoyable and I look forward to the author’s second book.

Head over and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/S.-A.-Harris/e/B07MYMTNWN

and on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/S.-A.-Harris/e/B07MYMTNWN

Follow S.A. Harris on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1375010.S_A_Harris

Connect to Sally Harris via her website:https://www.saharrisauthor.com

The next author with a recent review is Geoff Le Pard for his short story story collection Life in a Conversation

About Life in a Conversation

Following the success of Life In A Grain of Sand and Life In A Flash, here comes Life In A Conversation, an anthology of short and super short fiction. These pieces are mostly 500 words or less (with a few longer pieces thrown in, if you like to get your teeth into a story) and cover pretty much every major genre apart from YA, MA or children’s fiction. Dip in and enjoy them; better still let them inspire you to write your own.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

When life gives you lemons, go find Geoff Le Pard’s short stories and you’ll forget to suck on the lemons, but instead, cut them up and pop a slice into a G & T, sit back and enjoy the ride through Le Pard’s fantastical mind!
Small snippets of stories that range from emotional to hysterical to pure silliness.
Go read.  Enjoy!

Head over and buy the book : https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07MYMSDQS/

and on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MYMSDQS/

A selection of other books by Geoff Le Pard

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Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Geoff-Le-Pard/e/B00OSI7XA0

And Amazon US:https://www.amazon.com/Geoff-Le-Pard/e/B00OSI7XA0

Read more reviews and follow Geoff on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9791177.Geoff_Le_Pard

Connect to Geoff via his blog: http://geofflepard.com/

The next authors with good news are John W. Howell and Gwen Plano for their co-written paranormal thriller.. The Contract.

About The Contract

The earth is threatened with a catastrophic political event which could result in international warfare and destroy all life on the planet. In heaven, a divine council decides that extraordinary measures are essential. They call for an intervention that involves two souls returning to earth. The chosen two sign a contract that they will work to avert the disaster.

Brad Channing, a Navy SEAL, and Sarah O’Brien, a teacher, become heaven’s representatives on earth. The story follows them as they individually and then together face overwhelming obstacles and eventually end up on a strategic Air Force base in California. It is there that they discover a conspiracy to assassinate the President of the United States. The terrorists have a plan for global dominance and they are determined to complete their mission. Although military leadership appears to have the President’s best interests at heart, it is not clear who can be trusted and who should be feared. The action is rough and tumble as Brad and Sarah try to figure out the culprits for the plot that will turn into a worldwide conflagration unless stopped.

If you enjoy thrillers, this is one with enough twists and adventure to keep you riveted and guessing. If you like your thriller along with a good romance, Brad and Sarah’s initial attraction and eventual love will sustain you as they live out their heavenly and earthly desires.

One of the recent reviews for the book.

Many of us have known that the first few paragraphs of the first chapter are what shed light upon the tone of a book and whether it will grab a reader’s interest to move forward reading. With that being said, this book, The Contract Between Heaven and Earth, has done a phenomenal job! I was drawn into it instantly.

It begins with a devastating horror event on Earth due to a natural catastrophe. Then, in the next few lines, the author(s) proficiently transforms the children’s grievous crying into a beautiful, angelic, divine scene in heaven. Without filibuster, the story flows to the heart and bone of the book: The Contract.

The writing style is adept and efficient. The plot is well thought out and tight. The intense actions interwoven with tender, loving scenes bring out endless suspense. There are a couple of hiccups in dialog; however, they did not affect the outstanding work of this manuscript.

I strongly recommend this book to anyone who looks for a multi-genre read blending with inspirational and unimposing spirituality.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Contract-between-heaven-earth/dp/0996911588/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Contract-between-heaven-earth-ebook/dp/B07CZQ8WKH/

 Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/John-W.-Howell/e/B00HMRWO6C

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/John-W.-Howell/e/B00HMRWO6C

Read more reviews and follow John on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7751796.John_W_Howell

You can connect to John on his website: https://johnwhowell.com/

Also by Gwen Plano

Read some of the reviews for the book: https://www.amazon.com/Letting-into-Perfect-Love-Extraordinary-ebook/dp/B00K7WYTW6/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Letting-into-Perfect-Love-Extraordinary-ebook/dp/B00K7WYTW6/

Read more reviews and follow Gwen on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7341478.Gwendolyn_M_Plano

You can find out more about Gwen on her website: http://www.gwenplano.com/

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books under your arms.. thanks Sally.

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Smorgasbord Easter Parade Blog Party – Part One – Eggellent time to add your links!! – Music, Dancing, Food, and Behatted Guests..


Welcome to the Smorgasbord Easter Parade with some behatted guests, music, humour and food. And since you have dropped in today.. please don’t leave without leaving the link to your latest post…. or your Amazon link and a little bit about yourself.

While you are all standing around waiting for the parade to begin.. here is the first of the entertainers…

Here we have Laura Ganley of the Ganley Sisters,  http://www.theganleysisters.com/ performing a Sean-Nos Barrel dance! All on a Wild West Irish Tour!

We have quite a few special guests today who have joined us from all over the world, wearing a hat of their choice or have brought a guest wearing one….and the first to join the parade is children’s author Darlene Foster who has travelled all the way from Spain to take part.

About Darlene Foster

Darlene Foster is a writer, an employment counsellor, an ESL tutor for children, a wife, mother and grandmother. She loves travel, shoes, cooking, reading, sewing, chocolate, music, the beach and making new friends. Her 13-year-old grandson called her “super-mega-woman-supreme”.

“Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask” was her first published novel. Once bitten by the travel bug, Amanda travels to other interesting places, sticking her nose in other people’s problems and getting herself in trouble. Read “Amanda in Spain – The Girl in the Painting”, “Amanda in England – The Missing Novel”, “Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone”, and “Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music” and “Amanda in New Mexico – Ghosts in the Wind” to find out the adventures Amanda has as she travels the world.

A small selection of books by Darlene.

Discover all of Darlene Foster’s books and reviews: http://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Foster/e/B003XGQPHA Find more reviews on Goodreads: Darlene Foster Visit her website: www.darlenefoster.ca

Please help yourself to a free coffee as you pass by.

The next guest is Science Fiction/Thriller author Richard Dee who has popped over from the South Coast of England..wearing his own version of an Easter bonnet…..

About Richard Dee

Richard Dee is a native of Brixham in Devon, England He left Devon when he was in his teens and settled in Kent. Leaving school at 16 he briefly worked in a supermarket, then went to sea and travelled the world in the Merchant Navy, qualifying as a Master Mariner in 1986.

Coming ashore to be with his growing family, he used his sea-going knowledge in several jobs, including Marine Insurance Surveyor and Dockmaster at Tilbury, before becoming a Port Control Officer in Sheerness and then at the Thames Barrier in Woolwich.

His first science-fiction novel Freefall was published in 2013, followed by Ribbonworld in 2015. September 2016 saw the publication of his Steampunk adventure The Rocks of Aserol and of Flash Fiction, a collection of Short Stories. Myra, the prequel to Freefall was published in 2017, along with Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Café, a murder mystery set in space and the start of a series featuring Andorra Pett, an amateur detective. He contributed a story to the 1066 Turned Upside Down collection and is currently working on prequels, sequels, and new projects.

A small selection of books by Richard Dee

Discover all the books and read the reviews: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Richard-Dee/e/B00CN4TTCG/ Read more reviews and follow Richard on Goodreads: Richard Dee – http://richarddeescifi.co.uk/ Connect to Richard via his website: http://richarddeescifi.co.uk/

Debby Gies will be joining the Monday Parade but in the meantime she has found all the funnies shared today. ..D.G. Kaye Writer Blog

Time for another guest and joining the parade is master storyteller Hugh Roberts who looks very Dapper in his boater and who has ferried it across from Wales this morning. Clearly prepared for the vagaries of the Irish weather!

About Hugh Roberts

My name is Hugh. I live in the city of Swansea, South Wales, in the United Kingdom.

My blog covers a wide range of subjects, the most popular of which are my posts on blogging tips. I’ve learned a lot about the world of blogging since I first discovered it in February 2014. All of the tips and advice I give are free of charge and will cost you nothing apart from, maybe, your time. To see all my posts that include blogging tips, click on the ‘Blogging Tips’ button on the menu bar.

I’m a member of the committee of the Bloggers Bash, a group set up to organise annual get-togethers for all bloggers. The next event is 15th June in London and full details can be found on the website about tickets and the awards: https://annualbloggersbash.com/about-the-bash/

Hugh is the author of two multi-genre short story collections and I can recommend both.

Books by Hugh Roberts

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hugh-W.-Roberts/e/B01N40ZABP – Read more reviews and follow Hugh on Goodreads:Hugh W. Roberts Connect to Hugh via his blog: https://hughsviewsandnews.com/

Time for a little more entertainment in the parade and still in Ireland… some music…Celtic dueling violins Smith & Nesbitt. Live from Hyde Park London. Uploaded by AdriFlaherty

If you are now feeling a little peckish.. here are some fresh Hot Cross Buns..please help yourself…

My next guest is Children’s author Victoria Zigler whose delightful books on family pets are very popular. She lives in South East England and has sent over a representative her much loved Kero.

About Victoria Zigler

My name is Victoria, but most of my friends and family call me Tori. Feel free to do the same.

Born in the shadow of the black mountains in Wales, I now live by the sea in the south-east of England with my husband, Kelly, a degu named Joshua, a pair of chinchillas named Mollie and Maizie, and a West Highland White Terrier named Lilie.

Having battled with glaucoma since birth, I now find myself completely blind. But I didn’t let that stop me from chasing the dream I’ve had since I was a young child: the dream of being a published author. I’ve loved to read and write since I learned how, and always wanted to get my work published. Finally, in 2012, I made that dream come true by self-publishing eBooks via Smashwords. Three years later, I began using CreateSpace to make my books available in print. So now I’m a published author of children’s fiction, as well as a couple of poetry collections; all of which are available in multiple eBook formats, and as paperback books.

A small selection of books by Victoria.

You can read reviews and buy the books from Amazon in print and audio: https://www.amazon.com/Victoria-Zigler/e/B00BHS9DQ6 Victoria has many more reviews on Goodreads: Victoria Zigler Connect to Tori via her website: http://www.zigler.co.uk/

My next guest  is the entertaining author Geoff Le Pard whose humour overflows onto social media as well.. I hear that he had the flight crew from Gatwick in stitches on his way over for the parade. I have substituted Geoff’s original hat for this photograph which I think is far more Easter orientated…..and funny.

 

About Geoff Le Pard

I have been writing creatively since 2006 when at a summer school with my family I wrote a short radio play. That led to a novel, some more courses, more novels, each better than the last until I took an MA at Sheffield Hallam. I published my first novel in 2014 – Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle. In 2015 a second followed – My Father and Other Liars. In 2016 I have an anthology of short stories out, Life, in a Grain of Sand. I have now added ‘memoir’ to my list of genres with the launch of Apprenticed To My Mother. Other novels can be found here. I write in a range of genres so there is something for everyone..

Before writing, I was a lawyer, ending up at the London Olympics. Now I mix writing with a range of activities, often walking to find inspiration or taking in a variety of sports events.

A selection of books by Geoff

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Geoff-Le-Pard/e/B00OSI7XA0 – Read more reviews and follow Geoff on Goodreads: Geoff Le Pard  Connect to Geoff via his website: http://geofflepard.com/

Time to join in with the West Coast Swing dancers from Sydney just mind the puddles… thanks to Swing Skool

Following on behind the Easter Bunny we have our next guest in today’s paradeRitu Bhathal lives in London and has joined us with her feline companion today.. As you can see Ritu wears many hats.. including being a published poet.

About Ritu Bhathal

Ritu Bhathal was born in Birmingham in the mid-1970’s to migrant parents, hailing from Kenya but with Indian origin. This colourful background has been a constant source of inspiration to her.

From childhood, she always enjoyed reading. This love of books is mostly credited to her mother. The joy of reading spurred her on to become creative in her own writing, from fiction to poetry. Winning little writing competitions at school and locally gave her the encouragement to continue writing.

As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and teacher, she has drawn on inspiration from many avenues to create the poems that she writes. A qualified teacher, having studied at Kingston University, she now deals with classes of children as a sideline to her writing!

Ritu also writes a blog, a mixture of life and creativity, thoughts and opinions, which was awarded The Best Overall Blog Award at the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards in 2017.

The poetry collection by Ritu Bhathal

Read the reviews and buy:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Poetic-RITUals-Ritu-Bhathal-ebook/dp/B01H46DN5Q Read more reviews and follow Ritu on Goodreads: Ritu Bhathal Connect to Ritu via her blog: https://butismileanyway.com/

My next guest is one who is very familiar to most of you.. Chris Graham, The Story Reading Ape who has gone the extra mile with his Easter photograph… thankfully his Cites wildlife permit was up to date to enable him to join us in Ireland today.

About the Story Reading Ape.

My literature Hero is Terry Pratchett who, in one of his Science of Discworld books, postulated that Homo Sapiens Sapiens survived all the pitfalls that made other Homo Sapiens species become extinct, by being story telling apes.

If this is the case, then in order to be effective, for every story telling ape there had to be a story listening ape.

I am descended from them, except I read stories instead of listening to them; and author’s are the tellers of the stories I read. I don’t so much read books as devour them, (sometimes re-devouring them several times), so I’ve set myself a long term task, to list all the books I’ve ever read on Goodreads – trouble is I’ve got the memory of a sieve and I must have read thousands of them!

The Indie author supporter.

Part of Chris’s immense enclosure is given over to The Great Hall of Fame… This is where Indies can exhibit their work by penning an article talking about themselves and their work. (Talk about a writers dream!) Once posted the author is then elevated to the Hall of Fame to reside with hundreds of other authors from around the world, who have taken that exciting but challenging step of being a published author. http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/halls-of-fame/tsras-hall-of-fame/

Chris and his sister compiled his late mother’s wonderful poems written about growing up in Northern Ireland before, during and after the ‘Troubles’? My Vibrating Vertebrae and other Poems by Agnes Mae Graham

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/My-Vibrating-Vertebrae-other-poems-ebook/dp/B01HA8Q116   Read more reviews on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30845724-my-vibrating-vertebrae Connect to Chris, The Story Reading Ape: http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com

And last but not least in the parade today is Carol Taylor who is the resident foodie here on Smorgasbord. I mentioned the word ‘Partee’ and the she whipped up a bunch of friends, chartered a flight from Thailand and landed this morning…..

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology:  https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS You can find out more about Carol and catch up with her Food and Cookery Column HERE Connect to Carol via her blog: https://carolcooks2.com/

Please help yourself to a chocolate bunny before you join in the dancing of the incredible Indlondlo Traditional Zulu dance group who have featured as guest here on the blog several times in the last six years. You can find more amazing videos via their YouTube Channel. Indlondlo Zulu Dancers

Thank you for joining us today for part one of the Easter Parade.. Part Two on Monday with more guests and entertainment.

Please drop your links to your latest blog post that you would like to share.. and your Amazon Author Page if you have one… Thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Christmas – Weekly Update – Christmas parties, guest posts, books, Traditional Christmas menu and music.


Welcome to the weekly round up and I am sure that you are all in the middle of getting your own Christmas or holidays sorted. We have family staying this week and a dinner planned with visitors which we are looking forward to.

We actually tend to hibernate from Christmas Eve until New Year’s Day and it has become a tradition to drop whatever we are doing online (except for an hour a day – otherwise I get cranky)… and spend time together enjoying movies, meals out and laughing. Christmas is for family and we will be Skyping my sisters on the day, as they will be together for dinner in Portsmouth.

With just the two of us, we tend to not get a turkey and will be having aged sirloin steaks, chips, onion rings and ice-cream for our dinner. We might start with some scallops and prawns if I can find some fresh ones and any other of our favourite foods I can locate. A glass or two of good Spanish red and then a power nap I think before Quality Street and a rerun of one of the classic Christmas movies.

It has been a busy week with the Christmas book promotions and parties so I will stop chatting and get on with it.

As always very grateful to my regular contributors and you will find a couple of your favourites popping in over Christmas to entertain you. Including a four part story set in Japan by Writer in Residence Paul Andruss, who has taken time out from his writing sabbatical to share.

And thank you too for visiting, liking, commenting and sharing the post, it is much appreciated.

This week William Price King introduces us to the magical Alice Coltrane pianist and harpist.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/11/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-with-william-price-king-alice-coltrane-pianist-harpist/

Last week Carol Taylor delighted with her Vegetarian Christmas Menu.. and this week she created a feast for those of us who like some turkey for our dinner… with all the trimmings. An amazing amount of work and I am so grateful for all her efforts in the last 18 months.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/12/smorgasbord-christmas-celebrations-the-food-column-carol-taylor-traditional-christmas-menu/

Geoff Le Pard entertains with the second of his guest posts this Christmas…Traditions Le Pard Family Style

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/15/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-christmas-guest-post-hristmas-traditions-le-pard-family-style-by-geoff-le-pard/

Delighted to announce that from January Annette Rochelle Aben will be writing a new column for the blog.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/13/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-coming-in-january-2019-your-monthly-universal-energy-numerology-with-annette-rochelle-aben/

This week there are three prompts as part of Colleen Chesebro Poetry Challenge no. 114, 115, 116 as Colleen is going to be taking a well earned break.. So no recaps until early January. But Colleen has left you the prompts for those three weeks if you would like to continue with the series. I felt like going off piste this week.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/12/smorgasbord-poetry-colleen-chesebros-tuesday-poetry-challenge-off-piste-with-season-of-goodwill/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/10/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-for-christmas-fascinating-new-yorkers-power-freaks-mobsters-liberated-women-creators-queers-and-crazies-by-clifford-browder/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/11/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-for-christmas-alchemist-gift-alchemist-series-book-1-by-mark-d-giglio/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/12/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-for-christmas-romance-forgetting-my-way-back-to-you-by-karina-bartlow/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/10/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-buy-a-book-for-christmas-collaborations-kim-blades-and-robbie-cheadle-john-w-howell-and-gwen-plano-jane-risdon-and-christina-jones/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/11/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-buy-a-book-for-christmas-thrillers-short-stories-luna-saint-claire-jan-sikes-and-kristina-stanley/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/12/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-buy-a-book-for-christmas-mystery-adventure-fantasy-andrew-joyce-daniel-kemp-teagan-riordain-geneviene-and-linda-g-hill/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/13/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-buy-a-book-for-christmas-mysteries-and-satire-anita-dawes-christoph-fischer-sue-hampton-allan-hudson-and-ian-hutson/

Jessica Norrie

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/14/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-buy-a-book-for-christmas-relationships-italy-scotland-mystery-with-leslie-tate-patricia-salamone-john-quinn-and-jessica-norrie/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/15/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-buy-a-book-for-christmas-doglovers-romance-fantasy-poetry-patty-fletcher-miriam-hurdle-sandra-j-jackson-and-deborah-jay/

The First Day of Christmas with guests Mary Smith, Jacquie Biggar and John Howell sharing their most memorable Christmas gifts, with music, food and traditions from around the world.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/13/smorgasbord-christmas-celebrations-the-first-day-of-christmas-with-guests-mary-smith-jacquie-biggar-and-john-w-howell/

The Second Day of Christmas with special memories from Darlene Foster and Miriam Hurdle.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/14/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-christmas-the-second-day-of-christmas-with-guests-darlene-foster-and-miriam-hurdle/

The Third Day of Christmas with their most favourite Christmas gifts Jennie Fitzkee and Lisa Thomson

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/15/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-christmas-the-third-day-of-christmas-with-guests-jennie-fitzkee-and-lisa-thomson/

The Fourth Day of Christmas with guests Norah Colvin and Amy Reade sharing their most favourite gifts ever.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/16/smorgasbord-christmas-celebrations-the-fourth-day-of-christmas-with-guests-norah-colvin-and-amy-reade/

It is the season for Christmas parties and family gatherings and at this time of year there is the additional pleasure of getting kissed under the mistletoe – of course it all depends on who is doing the kissing, but having fresh breath before embarking on this lovely activity is essential.  Reach for the Peppermint

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/14/smorgasbord-health-column-heading-under-the-mistletoe-indigestion-reach-for-the-peppermint/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/11/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-time-to-get-the-party-started-christmas-funnies/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/12/13/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-christmas-fun-from-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-and-a-festive-joke-from-the-archives/

Thank you very much for visiting and hope you have enjoyed the Christmas celebrations.. more to come next week.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Christmas Guest Post – Christmas Traditions Le Pard Family Style by Geoff Le Pard


Welcome to the second Christmas guest post from Geoff Le Pard and this week Geoff shares some of the traditions that were observed at Christmas in his family.

My Christmases as a child were what we called traditional but everyone’s Christmas traditions have their own quirks, imposed by the characteristics of the participants. These are mine.

1. My father enjoyed a pint. Or several. He was an active member of the local rugby club and Christmas eve would often involve a social element. Mum wasn’t any less inclined to join in and since my grandmother (mum’s mum) would be staying there was baby sitting… The inevitable aftermath, however meant my mother had to get Dad to bed without waking us; my grandmother had plenty of fuel for folded-arm-tutting the next day; and woe betide we two boys if we woke the original bear with a sore bonce too early or the Christmas spirit would rapidly drain away down the plughole marked ‘hangover’;

2. Consequently there was never any sherry left for Santa – Gran didn’t think it prudent to intoxicate a man in charge of a sleigh, nor it later emerged, add to my father’s already considerable quantity of ingested Christmas spirit;

3. Christmas mornings were quiet affairs; after we emptied our stockings – dad’s rugby socks which had the unfortunate habit when stretched of covering our beds in the embedded grit that mum’s careful washing didn’t remove – we would repair to the living room to open our presents that had been carefully positioned under the tree. At this point the Archaeologist came into his didactic own – he would organize the presents into piles each gift having already undergone a fairly severe forensic analysis; back then no one x-rayed parcels or hand luggage but had they thought about doing so they might have first investigated my brother’s uncanny ability to ascertain the nature and cost of the wrapped present merely from judicious poking, prodding and shaking. As he handed the gift to the recipient he would tell them what they were getting which amused the adults and pissed me off no end;

4. For reasons I thought odd, but later realised were down to the alcoholic content of my father’s blood, we had breakfast after we had opened the presents; Christmas breakfast usually comprised a soft boiled egg and soldiers which again was portrayed to this gullible child as a simple fayre prior to the monstrosity that would later be served, but was also, and this was an incidental by product naturally, effectively hospital food;

5. Mum would now be tied to the kitchen with gran in tow while my brother and I would be dispatched to either play with our new presents, set up the model railway (there would often be a new train or coach or something) or start watching the marathon amount of Christmas TV. In the sixties the only days of the year, pretty much, when you could see programmes that might interest a pre teen were Christmas Day, Boxing Day (before the sport kicked in) and New Year’s Day. And unusually, given my father’s fixation with ‘no day time TV’ we were allowed to watch some of these shows. Later, as I developed a taste for pop music and culture I wanted the Top of The Pops Christmas special. The Archaeologist did not. Ever. And the duplicitous cad that he was, he would play a winning card with my parents: the educational card. Since the Beeb only had two channels they would try and alternate something fluffy and young on one with something drear and uplifting on the other and, if put to the Judgement of Solomon my parents would come down on the side of the improving. Grrrr

6. Sometimes people would come round. Usually that included my other grandmother – my nana. To a naïve and shallow and eternally optimistic (save when it came to TV programme selection, of course) child, that meant everyone in the family must love everyone else as I did. And to be fair they maintained that charade pretty well… until the two women had had enough sherry, port and lemon and gin and tonic to found a distillery and the dentured smiles slipped (often with the dentures) into barbed asides. My mother would play eternal peace keeper, my father would find ‘something’ to do somewhere else and my grandmothers would use my brother and I as surrogate battle grounds, one supporting one again the other until my brother lost and went and found Mum. If the guests included either or both my uncles my father saw it as his bounden duty to get them out of my mother’s hair, and away from their mother, by dint of a trip to the pub (pubs back then opened on Christmas lunch time but not in the evening). These hairs of a not so much the dog as of whole slavering pack of hounds would have the desired emollient effect on the male branch so that, by the time they returned for lunch, they would be unhung, mellow and ready for some serious grease and carbs to be delivered via an enormous roast turkey, heaps of roast potatoes and all the usual trimmings.

7. The aftermath was both narcotic and fissile: narcotic in the speed with which the grandmothers and the men folk were rendered insensible – British Christmas afternoon TV which generally involved a rerun of some well trodden film (What a Wonderful Life, The Sound of Music or The Great Escape, discern a theme if you can) aided this process; and fissile in the quantity of global warming components being released into the contained atmosphere of our living room: given we had an open fire back then you have to wonder that there was never an explosion.

8. At some point in the early evening, people would stir and hunger pangs, brought on I guess as much by the amount of alcohol that needed to be processed as by lack of food, meant the introduction of one of the best bits of Christmas: the turkey and stuffing sandwich. Why were these so great? Maybe it was the setting. By then my father, uncles, grandmas and mother were beyond moving very far. They were happy to watch any TV put in front of them and my brother and I were by now in agreement over the latest comedy special, be it Morecombe and Wise, It Ain’t ‘Alf ‘Ot Mum, The Good :Life or whatever; or they were up for some Christmas games like monopoly or charades. Or sometimes they might stir enough to rebuild the trainset, this time on a board on the dining room table and we would play with this for hours, imagining scenarios that could sway from the mundane commute to some war time escape. The men would do the washing up, to much hilarity and we boys were banned from joining in, possibly due to the ribald nature of the story telling that went on.

9. And so, too early for our liking but because we were deemed ‘tired’ by omniscient parents we were dispatched to bed leaving the adults to their interminable games of cards and snifters of scotch and assertions that this had to be the best Christmas ever.

PS I should perhaps add that the Archaeologist sussed the implausible non-Newtonian nature of Santa at about three but entered a pact with my parents that he would still benefit from the gifts if he didn’t break the spell for me. It was a treaty that involved a domestic balance of terror, uneasily kept each year: on the one hand he so wanted to be the one to break the bad news to me; yet on the other he saw little merit in risking sanctions. I have no idea why he didn’t end up in politics.

©Geoff Le Pard

About Geoff Le Pard

I have been writing creatively since 2006 when at a summer school with my family I wrote a short radio play. That led to a novel, some more courses, more novels, each better than the last until I took an MA at Sheffield Hallam. I published my first novel in 2014 – Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle. In 2015 a second followed – My Father and Other Liars. In 2016 I have an anthology of short stories out, Life, in a Grain of Sand. I have now added ‘memoir’ to my list of genres with the launch of Apprenticed To My Mother. Other novels can be found here. I write in a range of genres so there is something for everyone..

Before writing, I was a lawyer, ending up at the London Olympics. Now I mix writing with a range of activities, often walking to find inspiration or taking in a variety of sports events.

Good news for Geoff Le Pard Fans…..Coming in the New Year.

About Life In A Conversation

Over the last few years, I have written a lot of flash fiction, often in response to a prompt. These pieces are mostly 500 words or less (with a few longer pieces thrown in) and cover pretty much every major genre apart from YA, MA or children’s fiction. A lot are purely dialogue, or contain a lot of dialogue – hence the conversation.

Now a look at Geoff’s other books

Apprenticed to My Mother: A Memoir Of Barbara Le Pard 2005 to 2010  is a memoir about an extraordinary woman.

When my father died in 2005, I assumed my mother would need more support and someone to help with decisions she previously shared with her husband. What I didn’t realise was the role she had in mind for me: a sort of Desmond 2.0. Over the five years until her death, I played the role of apprentice, learning more about her and her relationship with my father than I had gleaned in my previous 50 years. We laughed, we cried and, occasionally we disagreed, and throughout she manipulated me as, I learnt, she had my father. Neither of us minded much; we were both her so willing fools, for she was an extraordinary woman and we both knew we were in the presence of someone very special.

One of the reviews for the book

Jul 27, 2018 Darlene Foster rated it Five Stars

A wonderful heartwarming book that will leave you laughing and crying, sometimes on the same page. Mr. Le Pard has a great way with words and gives us a delightful glimpse into the lives of his parents. Sprinkled in between amusing episodes of his life as the youngest of two sons, are poems brilliantly composed by his father, most written for his wife, the love of his life. The stories paint a picture of past times in a lovely part of England, where issues are resolved with a cup of tea and a piece of homemade cake. Barbara Le Pard is a delightful character, strong-willed, tough and with a huge heart. This book is well written, entertaining and most important, it is written with love.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Apprenticed-My-Mother-Memoir-Barbara-ebook/dp/B07DGZZYBW/

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Apprenticed-My-Mother-Memoir-Barbara-ebook/dp/B07DGZZYBW/

Other Books by Geoff Le Pard

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Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Geoff-Le-Pard/e/B00OSI7XA0

And Amazon US:https://www.amazon.com/Geoff-Le-Pard/e/B00OSI7XA0

Read more reviews and follow Geoff on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9791177.Geoff_Le_Pard

My thanks to Geoff for his lovely tribute to Christmas and also to his family who sound like a wonderful clan…

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Christmas Guest Post – #Poetry ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Geoff Le Pard


Welcome to the first of two guest posts from Geoff Le Pard today.. we all know that Geoff has a way with words….. and this poem is no exception.

‘Twas the night before Christmas by Geoff Le Pard

‘Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house
The only sound to be heard
Was the old man, who’d grouse

‘Why is it my job
To play Santa each year
And eat the raw carrot
That’s left out for his deer?

While you get the sherry
And another mince tart
Knowing they’ll wake me
Before a sparrow can fart.’

‘You are such a whinge,’
Said the lady in charge,
‘For tomorrow we know
You’ll give it so large.

And over indulge
On turkey and stuffing
And after the Queen
You’ll be good for nuffing.’

‘That isn’t quite fair
Oh light of my life
Since I will shoulder
My share of the strife

That having your mother
To lunch will entail
As we all know that
By five and without fail

She will surely hold court
In front of the fire
Airing complaints
Of which she’ll not tire.’

‘Now hang on a mo,
Your dad ain’t much better.’
‘At least his moaning
Is confined to a letter.’

‘Oh husband, my love
Let’s us try and stay calm
And ride out the worst
Of these Christmas storms.

It’s only one day
Out of three sixty five
That one way or another
We just have to survive

And then we’ll go back
To life as before….’
‘And before we know it
It’s Christmas once more.’

©Geoff Le Pard

About Geoff Le Pard

I have been writing creatively since 2006 when at a summer school with my family I wrote a short radio play. That led to a novel, some more courses, more novels, each better than the last until I took an MA at Sheffield Hallam. I published my first novel in 2014 – Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle. In 2015 a second followed – My Father and Other Liars. In 2016 I have an anthology of short stories out, Life, in a Grain of Sand. I have now added ‘memoir’ to my list of genres with the launch of Apprenticed To My Mother. Other novels can be found here. I write in a range of genres so there is something for everyone..

Before writing, I was a lawyer, ending up at the London Olympics. Now I mix writing with a range of activities, often walking to find inspiration or taking in a variety of sports events.

Good news for Geoff Le Pard Fans…..Coming in the New Year.

About Life In A Conversation

Over the last few years, I have written a lot of flash fiction, often in response to a prompt. These pieces are mostly 500 words or less (with a few longer pieces thrown in) and cover pretty much every major genre apart from YA, MA or children’s fiction. A lot are purely dialogue, or contain a lot of dialogue – hence the conversation.

Now a look at Geoff’s other books

Apprenticed to My Mother: A Memoir Of Barbara Le Pard 2005 to 2010  is a memoir about an extraordinary woman.

When my father died in 2005, I assumed my mother would need more support and someone to help with decisions she previously shared with her husband. What I didn’t realise was the role she had in mind for me: a sort of Desmond 2.0. Over the five years until her death, I played the role of apprentice, learning more about her and her relationship with my father than I had gleaned in my previous 50 years. We laughed, we cried and, occasionally we disagreed, and throughout she manipulated me as, I learnt, she had my father. Neither of us minded much; we were both her so willing fools, for she was an extraordinary woman and we both knew we were in the presence of someone very special.

One of the reviews for the book

Jul 27, 2018 Darlene Foster rated it Five Stars

A wonderful heartwarming book that will leave you laughing and crying, sometimes on the same page. Mr. Le Pard has a great way with words and gives us a delightful glimpse into the lives of his parents. Sprinkled in between amusing episodes of his life as the youngest of two sons, are poems brilliantly composed by his father, most written for his wife, the love of his life. The stories paint a picture of past times in a lovely part of England, where issues are resolved with a cup of tea and a piece of homemade cake. Barbara Le Pard is a delightful character, strong-willed, tough and with a huge heart. This book is well written, entertaining and most important, it is written with love.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Apprenticed-My-Mother-Memoir-Barbara-ebook/dp/B07DGZZYBW/

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Apprenticed-My-Mother-Memoir-Barbara-ebook/dp/B07DGZZYBW/

Other Books by Geoff Le Pard

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Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Geoff-Le-Pard/e/B00OSI7XA0

And Amazon US:https://www.amazon.com/Geoff-Le-Pard/e/B00OSI7XA0

Read more reviews and follow Geoff on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9791177.Geoff_Le_Pard

My thanks to Geoff for his contribution to party week… starting Thursday with the First Day of Christmas….

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – Apprenticed to My Mother: A Memoir Of Barbara Le Pard 2005 to 2010 by Geoff Le Pard


Delighted to share the latest release by Geoff Le Pard.. Apprenticed to My Mother: A Memoir Of Barbara Le Pard 2005 to 2010  is a memoir about an extraordinary woman.

About Apprenticed to My Mother: A Memoir Of Barbara Le Pard 2005 to 2010

When my father died in 2005, I assumed my mother would need more support and someone to help with decisions she previously shared with her husband. What I didn’t realise was the role she had in mind for me: a sort of Desmond 2.0. Over the five years until her death, I played the role of apprentice, learning more about her and her relationship with my father than I had gleaned in my previous 50 years. We laughed, we cried and, occasionally we disagreed, and throughout she manipulated me as, I learnt, she had my father. Neither of us minded much; we were both her so willing fools, for she was an extraordinary woman and we both knew we were in the presence of someone very special.

Head over and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Apprenticed-My-Mother-Memoir-Barbara-ebook/dp/B07DGZZYBW/

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Apprenticed-My-Mother-Memoir-Barbara-ebook/dp/B07DGZZYBW/

Other Books by Geoff Le Pard

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A recent review for Life in a Flash

Colleen M. Chesebro 5.0 out of 5 stars Le Pard is a British author who weaves delightfully descriptive details into his stories that set him apart from other authors.  April 10, 2018

Life in a Flash is just that – a collection of flash fiction stories written in 500 words or less which transport the reader through a fun array of genres. Believe me, there is something here for everyone.

Le Pard is a British author who weaves delightfully descriptive details into his stories that I believe set him apart from other flash fiction authors. His humor is contagious. I often found myself chuckling at his cleverness and creativity.

I enjoyed each story in the collection but two shining stars stood out from the rest. The first story is called, “Time Out.” This was the comical story of a man who after retiring, becomes an extra on a movie set. The story played out in my mind just like a weekly sitcom. The ending left me convulsing with laughter.

The second tale is called, “Fog.” This was the story of a house recently purchased by a young couple. The melancholy essence of the original owner, ninety-five-year-old Adele Johnson still lingers. There is an eerie mystery wrapped up in this story that finishes with a haunting ending.

From humor to mystery, comic silliness to serious irony, Le Pard zigzags the reader through an abyss of absorbing stories. If you love short stories filled with twists and turns you won’t want to miss this collection. It’s a fabulous read!

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

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Geoff-Le-Pard/e/B00OSI7XA0

And Amazon US:https://www.amazon.com/Geoff-Le-Pard/e/B00OSI7XA0

Read more reviews and follow Geoff on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9791177.Geoff_Le_Pard

About Geoff Le Pard

I have been writing creatively since 2006 when at a summer school with my family I wrote a short radio play. That led to a novel, some more courses, more novels, each better than the last until I took an MA at Sheffield Hallam. I published my first novel in 2014 – Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle. In 2015 a second followed – My Father and Other Liars. In 2016 I have an anthology of short stories out, Life, in a Grain of Sand. I have now added ‘memoir’ to my list of genres with the launch of Apprenticed To My Mother. Other novels can be found here. I write in a range of genres so there is something for everyone..

Before writing, I was a lawyer, ending up at the London Olympics. Now I mix writing with a range of activities, often walking to find inspiration or taking in a variety of sports events.

Connect to Geoff

Blog: http://geofflepard.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/geofflepard
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/geoff.lepard
Google+ : https://plus.google.com/+GeoffLepard01/posts

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Another Time, Another Place by Geoff Le Pard


Another Time, Another Place by Geoff Le Pard

People know the Angel of the North, that scary be-winged man that startles the unsuspecting motorist on his way north, but I’m not sure how many people have made it around Liverpool to Crosby Beach and three kilometres of sculpture.

We took time out on our way to Glasgow to visit the sandy sculpture park – Another Place  – and were totally absorbed by it. At first you wonder how they stay in place against the North Sea’s winds and currents. Then you wonder at the corrosion from the saltwater, the surfaces unexpectedly smooth and unflaky – well those that aren’t barnacle encrusted.

And then you see the stylised penises – the sculpture is modelled in Gormley himself – and no longer wonder why they were controversial. I mean, such a lot of fuss about such a tiny thing

Stopping to see these sculptures wasn’t originally on our itinerary but we were given this lovely book for our 30th – Sculpture Parks and Trails of Britain and Ireland – and our route north became more, well, convex and complex. Here’s another.

If you look closely… if you want to that is.

Neither the Textiliste and I are great drivers – we’d use Floo Powder by preference – so breaking the journey wasn’t a difficult decision.

Here we are therefore in Chester, that most unusual of Roman-cum-Medieval towns. The main streets, Eastgate and Northgate, have what I believe is a unique set up, stemming from its medieval roots with the shops at street level being set a few steps down and with the shops at upper level a few steps up and back (The Rows‘). I could become a nerdy property lawyer and tell you about the Chester Improvement Act 1845 and why this should be extended to the whole of England and Wales and how this would remove the farce that is the 99 year lease at a stroke – but I won’t (and it probably wouldn’t).

I’ll end with a poem. When I was studying these sculptures my mind turned to some other men and women, trapped in the sand on a North-West beach – the Morcombe Bay Cockle Pickers. This awful tragedy occurred some seven years after Gormley’s statues were erected which I only found out later.

This is my little tribute to those poor souls.

Iron Men

Sharp shapes stand sentinel

Guards of the horizon

Canutes in iron

Broody? Or dreaming?

No feature reveals their mood.

Just an illusion of calm

As the tides approaches

and laps at their feet.

Inexorable, the flood covers

all, slowly, powerfully

Obliterating.

A cry is heard

from Morecombe Bay

floating along the Mersey coast.

Another time, another group

trapped by the self same tides.

Brooding? Thoughtful?

Hardly. Frozen by panic, concreted

into their glutinous prison.

The sea is not a muse

but a curse, death, a cruel deceiver.

Finally the surface is still.

Nothing disturbs the calm,

reflective pacific sea,

lapping my shoes.

I still hear cries, now seagulls

and untamed children.

I turn for my car, carefully freeing my feet

with each step.

© Geoff Le Pard 2014

Thanks to Geoff for sharing these images and his trip to Morecombe and Chester.. I lived near Chester and it is a great place..

About Geoff Le Pard

71oyplm6zdl-_ux250_Geoff Le Pard (not Geoffrey, except to his mother) was born in 1956 and is a lawyer who saw the light. He started writing (creatively) in 2006 following a summer school course. Being a course junkie he had spells at Birkbeck College, twice at Arvon and most recently at Sheffield Hallam where he achieved an MA in Creative Writing.

And what did he learn?

That they are great fun, you meet wonderful people but the best lessons come from the unexpected places. He has a line of books waiting to be published but it has taken until now to find the courage to go live.

He blogs at http://geofflepard.com/ on anything and everything. His aim is for each novel to be in a different style and genre. Most people have been nice about his writing (though when his brother’s dog peed on the manuscript he was editing, he did wonder) but he knows the skill is in seeking and accepting criticism. His career in the law has helped prepare him.

Geoff’s Latest Book

About Life in a Flash

Life is fast, life is short. In a series of short fiction pieces, most under 500 words, we explore the world, its inhabitants and their trials and tribulations, their ups and downs and sideways shifts, all with humour and decent grammar. You’ll find something to amuse and intrigue here and if, unlikely as it is, one piece isn’t for you, well, turn the page and start again.

A recent review for the collection

Geoff Le Pard’s book is a collection of 157 pages filled with short stories. Each one has 500 words or less. Geoff Le Pard is a master in bringing out the irony of life in his special way. He has this dark British humor, adds twists, and always leaves something to ponder. What I loved most are the stories in which he combines Greek Mythology with the modern world.

This is a book made for those who like to be into the story quickly… but you won’t stop with one story because it makes you want more!

The book is available here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Life-Flash-Geoff-Pard-ebook/dp/B076T96M2Y

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Life-Flash-Geoff-Pard-ebook/dp/B076T96M2Y

Other Books by Geoff Le Pard

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Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Geoff-Le-Pard/e/B00OSI7XA0

And Amazon US:https://www.amazon.com/Geoff-Le-Pard/e/B00OSI7XA0

Read more reviews and follow Geoff on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9791177.Geoff_Le_Pard

Connect to Geoff

Blog: http://geofflepard.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/geofflepard
Google+ : https://plus.google.com/+GeoffLepard01/posts

Thanks for dropping in and there will be more from Geoff next week.  Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – It’s the phrase he’s going through by Geoff Le Pard


Welcome to Geoff Le Pard who joins us with his four posts from his archives. This week catchphrases, particular from our youth on television or the odd phrase that somehow does not come out as intended…Malapropisms ran rife in our family as my mother was very creative…. known as molliepropisms..

It’s the phrase he’s going through by Geoff Le Pard

The Textiliste has no sense of smell. Not really. So it wasn’t unusual to have a sack pushed at my face and asked to sniff. Dried lavender, you see.

Collected last year from the garden and used to fill small cushions for sale. I had to check it still had oomph.

I moaned about the imposition (I was pretending to be asleep – I was never good at that – when the Lawyer was a babe and cried in the night, I would fain sleep while the Textiliste fained death) but she wasn’t to be denied. So I resorted to throwing a stalk at her, spear-like, crying ‘Banzai – Stabu the Elephant Boy!’

“Stab You?”

That’s what Dad said when he flung a grass stalk at us on a long walk (boy, were our entertainments sophisticated back then).

I thought I’d better check if there was such a character and it turned out he was talking about Sabu, the Elephant Boy, a star of 1930s Indian cinema. This young man had quite a history and it set had me thinking about whether I had just misheard Dad or that’s what he actually said.

By that tortuous route I alighted on a link to a wartime radio show called ‘ITMA’ (It’s That Man Again – which I’m informed, was a reference to a moustachioed German causing a stir across the channel). It seems ‘Stabu the elephant boy’ might have been a creation of that show. ITMA, I found, was the source of a number of catchphrases of the time: ‘Can I do you now, sir’ ‘TTFN’ (tata for now) and ‘After you Cyril; no after you Claude’. All of which peppered my childhood a couple of decades after the end of the war, proving the longevity of such silly expressions; they certainly wiggle their way into the subconscious like one of those cheap music ear-worms.

Catchphrases have an odd way of framing a period of my life. Mid 60’s TV and there was ‘Oh you are awful, but I like you’ (Dick Emery Show). Later, in the 70s and teen age years it was ‘They don’t like it up ’em, sir’ (Clive Dunn – Dad’s Army), ‘I’m Free’ (John Inman – Are You Being Served) and even ‘Bernie the Bolt’ (Bob Monkhouse). Partly I suppose it was because we only had two, three or four channels back then and we all watched TV together, all the generations, so these things infected every walk of life.

Do catchphrases still have the same resonance today? I had to think hard and came up with comedian Catherine Tate’s ‘Am I bovvered’. This entered the household lexicon at some time in the last ten years or so, but I can’t honestly say many others have. Which I think is a shame. Having Brucie (Forsyth) continue to roll out ‘Give us a Twirl’ is a sad indictment of the stickability of today’s TV, frankly. They seemed to be neat shorthand for shared experiences, albeit rather trite and superficial and I suppose I miss them.

And then, pondering their loss, I realised the BBC spoof of the Olympics, 2012 (which believe me, from someone who worked for both the ODA and LOCOG over four years up to the Games, was far too near the mark to be really funny) has given me the Ian Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville) ‘Well, that’s all good then’. I don’t suppose it has stuck with as many as the older ones did but it’s still out there, struggling to survive in this harsh competitive world of ours.

I wonder what others think? Do you have family favourites?

I started this piece wondering about the misheard phrase or saying: maybe I can share our family favourite which was when the Vet, aged about 7, came home to tell us, sadly, of her friend who was Black Toast Intolerant. She always feared I’d cook a lactose based breakfast at the next sleepover and kill the poor soul.

©Geoff Le Pard 2014

About Geoff Le Pard

71oyplm6zdl-_ux250_Geoff Le Pard (not Geoffrey, except to his mother) was born in 1956 and is a lawyer who saw the light. He started writing (creatively) in 2006 following a summer school course. Being a course junkie he had spells at Birkbeck College, twice at Arvon and most recently at Sheffield Hallam where he achieved an MA in Creative Writing.

And what did he learn?

That they are great fun, you meet wonderful people but the best lessons come from the unexpected places. He has a line of books waiting to be published but it has taken until now to find the courage to go live.

He blogs at http://geofflepard.com/ on anything and everything. His aim is for each novel to be in a different style and genre. Most people have been nice about his writing (though when his brother’s dog peed on the manuscript he was editing, he did wonder) but he knows the skill is in seeking and accepting criticism. His career in the law has helped prepare him.

Geoff’s Latest Book

About Life in a Flash

Life is fast, life is short. In a series of short fiction pieces, most under 500 words, we explore the world, its inhabitants and their trials and tribulations, their ups and downs and sideways shifts, all with humour and decent grammar. You’ll find something to amuse and intrigue here and if, unlikely as it is, one piece isn’t for you, well, turn the page and start again.

A recent review for the collection

Geoff Le Pard’s book is a collection of 157 pages filled with short stories. Each one has 500 words or less. Geoff Le Pard is a master in bringing out the irony of life in his special way. He has this dark British humor, adds twists, and always leaves something to ponder. What I loved most are the stories in which he combines Greek Mythology with the modern world.

This is a book made for those who like to be into the story quickly… but you won’t stop with one story because it makes you want more!

The book is available here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Life-Flash-Geoff-Pard-ebook/dp/B076T96M2Y

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Life-Flash-Geoff-Pard-ebook/dp/B076T96M2Y

Other Books by Geoff Le Pard

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Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Geoff-Le-Pard/e/B00OSI7XA0

And Amazon US:https://www.amazon.com/Geoff-Le-Pard/e/B00OSI7XA0

Read more reviews and follow Geoff on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9791177.Geoff_Le_Pard

Connect to Geoff

Blog: http://geofflepard.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/geofflepard
Google+ : https://plus.google.com/+GeoffLepard01/posts

Thanks for dropping in and there will be more from Geoff over the next three weeks. Don’t forget to share your favourite TV phrase in the comments. Thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Book for Christmas – Life in a Flash by Geoff Le Pard


Just in time for the Christmas rush, is a new Flash Fiction collection from Geoff Le Pard, appropriately entitled.. Life in a Flash.

About Life in a Flash

Life is fast, life is short. In a series of short fiction pieces, most under 500 words, we explore the world, its inhabitants and their trials and tribulations, their ups and downs and sideways shifts, all with humour and decent grammar. You’ll find something to amuse and intrigue here and if, unlikely as it is, one piece isn’t for you, well, turn the page and start again.

One of the early reviews for the collection

I’m a huge fan of flash fiction so was looking forward to reading this. I was not disappointed. The stories and this author’s writing style are fabulous.

Le Pard has a talent for injecting humor into wildly different situations. This book provides readers with lots of laughs. There are a few comical retellings of myths and legends, a couple chuckle-worthy ‘real life’ scenarios, and some random silliness.

I’d be remiss not to mention there are a handful of more serious flashes sprinkled throughout—unexpected but excellent.

Overall, amusing and well-written. An entertaining and fun read.

The book is available here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Life-Flash-Geoff-Pard-ebook/dp/B076T96M2Y

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Life-Flash-Geoff-Pard-ebook/dp/B076T96M2Y

Also by Geoff Le Pard

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Geoff-Le-Pard/e/B00OSI7XA0

And Amazon US:https://www.amazon.com/Geoff-Le-Pard/e/B00OSI7XA0

Read more reviews and follow Geoff on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9791177.Geoff_Le_Pard

About Geoff Le Pard

Geoff Le Pard (not Geoffrey, except to his mother) was born in 1956 and is a lawyer who saw the light. He started writing (creatively) in 2006 following a summer school course. Being a course junkie he had spells at Birkbeck College, twice at Arvon and most recently at Sheffield Hallam where he achieved an MA in Creative Writing. And what did he learn? That they are great fun, you meet wonderful people but the best lessons come from the unexpected places. He has a line of books waiting to be published but it has taken until now to find the courage to go live. He blogs at https://geofflepard.com/ on anything and everything. His aim is for each novel to be in a different style and genre. Most people have been nice about his writing (though when his brother’s dog peed on the manuscript he was editing, he did wonder) but he knows the skill is in seeking and accepting criticism. His career in the law has helped prepare him.

Connect with Geoff 

Bloghttp://geofflepard.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/geofflepard
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/geoff.lepard

I am sure that you join me in wishing Geoff every success with the new book and it would be great if you could share around the usual haunts.. Thank you….

If you have released a new book since November 1st then please get in touch so that I can share in a post here..sally.cronin@moyhill.com

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Malia Ann Haberman, David Lawlor and Geoff Le Pard


Welcome to the Friday edition of the Cafe and Bookstore Update. The first author with a recent review is Malia Ann Haberman for her book Letters from an American Soldier: A True Love Story told through real Love Letters. The letters were written by Malia Ann’s father who was fighting in the Korean War to her mother..

About the book

These AMAZING love letters will take you inside the mind, heart, and soul of an American Soldier while he’s training then fighting overseas in the Korean War. They’re real, and personal, and heartbreaking, and heartwarming. They’re filled with deep, raw emotions that are hard to replicate in fiction. They show how war can change a person.
These letters really are incredibly awesome. Grab a copy and give it a read. I promise, you won’t be sorry.

One of the recent reviews for the book

A very sweet story. on October 22, 2017

A real life love story through the eyes of a soldier during the Korean war. Letter by letter, the reader can imagine what life must have been like for those stationed far away from loved ones in a time when communication took days or weeks. Bill’s love and desire to be with his darling Nita is so sweetly and authentically expressed. It makes you want to read “just one more letter,” and before you know it, the book is as hard to put down as any fictional romance novel.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Letters-American-Soldier-Story-Through-ebook/dp/B072WM24Q3

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Letters-American-Soldier-Story-Through-ebook/dp/B072WM24Q3

Also by Malia Ann Haberman

Read the reviews and buy the  books: https://www.amazon.com/Malia-Ann-Haberman/e/B009CJ0DNE

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Malia-Ann-Haberman/e/B009CJ0DNE

Read more reviews and follow Malia Ann Haberman on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5769159.Malia_Ann_Haberman

Connect to Malia Ann Haberman via her blog: https://maliaannhaberman.wordpress.com

Time to catch up with another author David Lawlor with a review for his latest book Patriot’s Blood (A Liam Mannion Book Four)

About the book

It’s 1922 and Liam Mannion is in despair as Ireland tears itself apart in a bloody civil war.
Friends and families split over the terms of the treaty that ended the battle with the British. Unwilling to fight old comrades, Liam refuses to take sides.

His fiancée Kate has thrown herself into the new conflict. She can’t accept Liam’s decision to remain neutral and their relationship falters.

Meanwhile, The Watchman – an assassin whose mission Liam previously foiled – is back in Ireland on a murder spree, targeting the couple’s closest friends and allies, including the new state’s Commander-in-Chief, Michael Collins.

Liam is soon drawn further into the war as he finds himself in a desperate race to protect those he loves from a psychopath intent on killing them all.

A recent review for the book

Excellent on September 28, 2017

I was delighted to find the Liam Mannion series continued.

After the peace treaty of Michael Collins with the English, some Irish feel that he sold them out and so the Irish conflict continues and again ‘brothers’ are fighting each other, although it is a less open civil war.

Liam won’t fight his former comrades, he’d only fight the English. But his girlfriend Kate fights on Michael Collins side, while at the same time there’s a lone killer, Branwen, taking out ‘traitors’.

He’s coming after Kate and Liam, so Liam can’t avoid getting involved.

Lawlor writes great dialogue, authentic settings and excellent suspense. Scene setting seems to come to him effortlessly. The novel is skillfully written and full of accurate historical details. The characters are well chosen with their individual backgrounds to illustrate the conflict, the various viewpoints taken and the intense tragedy of a civil war.

I found it very moving to see the conflict and its unfolding. The story is gripping, chilling with its depiction of violence, especially as it’s between people sharing so much of the same goals. This truly is an excellent series that I can’t recommend highly enough.

Buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Patriots-Blood-Liam-Mannion-novel-ebook/dp/B073TD5CCW

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Patriots-Blood-Liam-Mannion-novel-ebook/dp/B073TD5CCW

Also by David Lawlor

Read all the reviews for the series: https://www.amazon.com/David-Lawlor/e/B00E3T1EWW

and Amazon UK : https://www.amazon.co.uk/David-Lawlor/e/B00E3T1EWW

Read more reviews and follow David Lawlor on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7059828.David_Lawlor

Connect to David Lawlor via his website/blog: https://historywithatwist.wordpress.com/

A couple of updates for Geoff Le Pard.. Another new cover for one of his books and a new book due on November 30th available for pre-order.

First a brand new cover for Life in a Grain Of Sand.

About the book

These 30 short stories are a mixture of genres and points of view: they cover horror, espionage, through thrillers, humour, romance and MG. There is something for everyone. They were written in a month, one a day, approximately 1667 words each. They can be read over breakfast and will have you laughing and crying, thinking and cringing.

One of the reviews for the book

An entertaining read on September 8, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition

Life in a grain of sand, a collection of short stories, is the result of an amusing project: the author, Goeff Le Pard, set himself the target of producing one story a day for a month. The anthology makes for an entertaining read, including something for every taste.
Some of the characters such as members of the Dongle family and the picturesque Mrs. Pickwick show up more than once, so that I became quite fond of them.
A murderer, a grandmotherly ghost, a man living in a blackboard, a secret agent, assorted allotment-holders and children. A war story. A little fantasy and sci-if. One of my literary heroes, Samuel Pepys, even makes an appearance – what more could I ask?

I gave it five stars because it achieves exactly what it sets out to do. Well-written, amusing, varied.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Life-Grain-Sand-Geoff-Pard-ebook/dp/B01G7RXG

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Life-Grain-Sand-Geoff-Pard-ebook/dp/B01G7RXG78

And due on November 30th and available for pre-order...Life in a Flash

About the book

Life is fast, life is short. In a series of short fiction pieces, most under 500 words, we explore the world, its inhabitants and their trials and tribulations, their ups and downs and sideways shifts, all with humour and decent grammar. You’ll find something to amuse and intrigue here and if, unlikely as it is, one piece isn’t for you, well, turn the page and start again.

Pre-order the book here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Life-Flash-Geoff-Pard-ebook/dp/B076T96M2Y

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Life-Flash-Geoff-Pard-ebook/dp/B076T96M2Y

Also by Geoff Le Pard

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Geoff-Le-Pard/e/B00OSI7XA0

And Amazon US:https://www.amazon.com/Geoff-Le-Pard/e/B00OSI7XA0

Read more reviews and follow Geoff on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9791177.Geoff_Le_Pard

Connect with Geoff on his blog:  http://geofflepard.com/

Thank you for dropping in today and please go and explore these books and their authors further.. Thanks Sally