Smorgasbord Blogger Weekly – January 2nd 2022 – #Pinenuts Carol Taylor, #Reviews Gwen Plano, Colleen Chesebro, Jan Sikes, #Spotlight C.S. Boyack


A small selection of the wonderful posts I have enjoyed and I hope you will head over to read in full.. thanks Sally.

A new series from Carol TaylorFriday Food Review and this week the expensive but versatile Pine Nut.. apart from detailed information about the pine nut there are some fabulous recipes to try out, including enhancing dishes you already prepare for some extra flavour.

Welcome to Friday Food reviews where I will be covering a different food or product each week and looking at… what are they? where do they grow, what can we substitute them for in a recipe, are they safe to eat, how to store them, how to use them, cook them, anything connected to that food. or product..all the why’s and the wherefores…it will, of course, be mainly my own opinion or a known fact…good or bad…there may even be a tried and tested recipe…or three…

This week it’s…The Pine Nut. 

Head over to discover how to use this small nut to enhance the flavour of your dishes: Carol’s Friday Food Review – Pine Nuts

The next post is from Gwen Plano who reflects on the 70 books she has read during 2021.. some of which I have read but many that I will add to my TBR…

Hello dear blog friends! It’s been quite the year, hasn’t it? If nothing else, 2021 prompted many of us to read more. I’m not a prolific reader, but this past year I enjoyed almost seventy books – non fiction and fiction. Today I’d like to share a few of these blessings with you.

The first four books are ones that deeply touched my soul. Each involves choices, each deals with threat and fear, and importantly, each underscores the resilience of the human spirit.

The Choice by Dr. Edith Eva Eger is a memoir of surviving Auschwitz. The circumstances are horrifying, but they bear relevance to today’s embattled world and that is what grabbed my heart and wouldn’t let go. This is a powerful and transformative book, one you will not forget.  

Head over to read more about Gwen’s reflections on her reading in 2021: Blessings from 2021

The next post is from Colleen Chesebro with her review for the poetry collection – Think Tanka by Annette Rochelle Aben.

Significant Poetry Reads: “Think Tanka – Vision in Verse,” by Annette Rochelle Aben, 

Head over to discover Colleen’s thoughts about Think Tanka: Colleen’s Review for Annette Rochelle Aben

The next post is from Craig Boyack and is a spotlight for a fellow RRBC author Marlena Smith.

One of the benefits of membership in the Rave Reviews Book Club is the ability to host other authors. Today it’s my turn to bring you Marlena Smith, one of the hardest working members in the club. Please give her a warm welcome in the comments and with the sharing buttons.

To kick this tour off, I thought some Q&A would be fun, your chance to get to know the author!

1. You have been writing for a long time now, since you were a child. What were some of your first story ideas?

Head over to discover the answer to that question and more about Marlena Smith: Craig Boyack welcomes Marlena Smith #RRBC

Some more books for your TBR (there is a mute button if it is groaning too much!). This time from Jan Sikes with a round up of her December reads, including for C.S. Boyack, Yvette Calleiro, Jacquie Biggar and Teagan Geneviene.

Head over to enjoy Jan’s reviews for these books: December reviews by Jan Sikes

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to enjoy the posts in full.. .Sally.

 

 

Smorgasbord Christmas Celebrations Rewind – The Sixth Day of Christmas with guests William Price King, Annette Rochelle Aben, Jan Sikes, #Food Carol Taylor, Ricotta, Blackberry and Walnut Toasts and Cranberry Cocktail


Welcome to the rewind of the series from 2018 which features not only the food and traditions of Christmas but also some special guests who it would be lovely to share Christmas dinner with in person. In the series my guests shared their best Christmas gift ever…and there will be food including from our resident foodie Carol Taylor, my favourite drinks for the holidays, and of course music to get you into the spirit of the season..

Welcome to the sixth party in this series and today my guests are the amazing William Price King, American Jazz singer, crooner and composer who has been providing the music content for Smorgasbord for over seven years. Joining him today is friend but also a wonderful contributor to the blog, Annette Rochelle Aben who wrote a fascinating Numerology column throughout 2019. Also with a wonderful career in both publishing and the music industry, is my third guest, author Jan Sikes.

All will be sharing their most cherished Christmas memories throughout today’s post.

My Christmas memories…

In early 1965 a film was released in the UK that was to be a turning point for me and the start of a lifelong crush on the lead actor. Christopher Plummer was 36 at the time that The Sound of Music became available to the general public and not just musical theatre goers. I was just twelve but I saw myself as Maria from that moment on. I saw that film three times in the next 18 months and I could rattle all the songs off at a drop of hat including The Lonely Goatherd with requisite yodelling.

My ardour did not diminish, and when we returned to Portsmouth in 1967, I managed to coerce a school friend into forming a double act. At age 14 we were encouraged to reach out to the community at Christmas, and undaunted by the prospect of performing publicly, my friend and I dressed ourselves in replicas of the film costumes. Actually my mother was missing a pair of old curtains, so we did not stray too far from the script…and we offered our services to three old people’s homes in the local area.

We would turn up after school in the weeks before Christmas and join the residents for a cup of tea and a piece of cake before performing our repertoire of songs from The Sound of Music. I must admit that a couple of songs in and there was a fair bit of nodding off…not to be outdone I would burst into The Lonely Goatherd and it served to enliven the audience who would look around bemusedly at the sound of a strangled cat in between the verses.

I did however have a ‘moment’ in my early 40’s. We were on holiday in the French Alps one summer and had hiked up one of the surrounding mountains. We reached a plateau that was dotted with alpine flowers and after we had consumed our packed lunch and with no one else in sight, I took my chance. I stood in the middle of the meadow and gave the title song as loud a rendition as I possibly could. I threw my arms wide as I finished and turned in a slow circle to receive the applause of my husband, only to find that a large group of Japanese tourists had just reached the edge of the plateau and were snapping photographs and clapping madly…I think they thought that it was especially laid on for their lunchtime entertainment. A quick descent was called for in the opposite direction.

As my first guest is William Price King it seems more than appropriate to get the party started with one of his own performances.

William Price King is an American jazz singer, crooner, and composer.

His interest in music began at an early age when he studied piano and clarinet in high school. At Morehouse College in Atlanta where he grew up, he sang in the Glee Club and studied classical music. After graduation he went off to the Yale School of Music where he earned a Masters degree. From there he journeyed to New York where he created a jazz trio ‘Au Naturel’ which performed in some of the hottest venues in Manhattan including gigs on Broadway and the famous ‘Rainbow Room.’ These gigs opened doors for performances in Montreal and a European tour.

While touring Europe he met a lovely French lady, Jeanne Maïstre, who, a year later became his wife. King left the group ‘Au Naturel’ and settled in the south of France where he started a new life on the French Riviera, opening his own music school – the “Price King Ecole Internationale de Chant.” He has had the pleasure over the years of seeing many of his students excel as singers on a professional level, and some going on to become national celebrities. He continues to coach young singers today, in his spare time.

William shares his most treasured Christmas memory...

It was Christmas Eve. Before starting the day I called our youngest daughter who lives in Germany to wish her good luck for her performance as Rosina in “The Barber of Seville” that evening and to get confirmation that she and her boyfriend were still planning to celebrate Christmas at his parents’ home in Düsseldorf. She answered affirmatively and said that they were looking forward to it as they had done in the previous years. We spoke for a moment and then I wished her a good show and said we would call them on Christmas.

I finished decorating the tree and put the presents in place. Wakanda, our cat, took quick possession of her Christmas box and happily installed herself under the tree. In the meanwhile my wife and I continued preparing for the big day and began making the final touches, reminiscing over the good old days when we had the entire family at home for Christmas. Those days were gone.

Around midnight we went to bed happy that everything was ready for our Christmas celebration in anticipation of seeing the grand kids frantically open their gifts. Around 6 a.m. my wife woke me up and said that she heard someone walking in the house. I told her it must have been a dream, as we live alone. Plus, why would Santa be walking around in our house at 6 a.m. on Christmas day, right? My wife insisted it wasn’t a dream. She really was frightened and believed that someone had broken into the house. A bit annoyed I lurched downstairs, opened the living room door and there stood our opera singer with her boyfriend. “Merry Christmas!” they shouted gleefully. My mouth dropped in disbelief. I pinched myself to make sure it wasn’t I who was dreaming this time around. I knew that life could yield unexpected surprises but this one beat them all. It was the first time that she had come home for Christmas in 10 years, a gift from the stars, and the best Christmas gift I ever had.

Definitely a wonderful Christmas memory and I can imagine that the celebrations were fantastic.

I spent some time wondering what William might enjoy for his Christmas gift… and I hope that he will enjoy something from his home town. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra with O Come O Come Emmanuel. Courtesy of Thomas Trimborn

My thanks again to Why Christmas for their detailed information on the traditions around the world. The Falkland Islands are in the South Atlantic Ocean about 300 miles from the east coast at the bottom of South America. They are a British Overseas Territory even though they’re about 8,000 miles away from the rest of the UK. There are only around 3,000 residents of the Islands with most living in the capital Stanley, and considering the land mass occupies around 4,700 square miles, it is hardly over populated.. But there 150,000 sheep.

It is summer in the Southern Hemisphere and being British the Islanders share many of the traditions with the UK. It is very windy which means few trees, but artificial ones are on display. As you might guess roast lamb is the most likely Christmas dinner and it is very expensive to fly turkeys in from South America.

As at home, pantomime is very popular and children on the more remote parts of the islands get their presents flown in from the capital. Carol singing takes place under a ‘Whale Bone Arch’ constructed from the jaw bones of two blue whales… and on Boxing Day the horse races attract punters and spectators from all over The Falklands.

The Sixth day (30th December) is dedicated to St Egwin of Worcester. Egwin was of noble if not royal blood and was born in the late 600’s and became a monk. Because of his lineage the royal court and hierarchy in the church pushed for his elevation to Bishop in in 693. He had strict moral code and was a benefactor for the poor and orphans. He was also very strict with worshippers and clergy alike and became increasingly unpopular when he began insisting that marriage vows should be taken seriously and that the clergy should be celibate… In the end tired of the resistance to his firm stance on these issues he took himself off to Rome to get the blessing of the Pope.

A number of ‘miracles’ occurred on the route and having received vindication from the Holy Father he returned to Evesham. He lived until between 917 and 920 bringing about many changes including founding Evesham Abbey which was one of the most important Benedictine Monasteries of medieval times. He died and was buried there but all was destroyed in the purges in the 16th century.

Six geese a laying – some say this symbolises the six days of creation but most assume it was a continuation in the bird theme from the Four Colley Birds, Three French Hens, Two Turtle Doves and a Partridge in a Pear Tree….

.

Annette has an attitude of gratitude that she spreads around on a daily basis… Annette’s Blog and also by interviewing authors on radio Tell Me A Story with Annette Rochelle Aben | The Magic Happens (TMH)

A love of writing, began for Annette when she was but a small child. Of course, she gives all the credit to her parents, who read to her and her siblings from the moment they were born. Once in school, teachers took over the roles of main influencers, as they required the students to do a lot of (wait for it… wait for it…) WRITING!

Over the years, Annette has been blessed with having both hobbies and jobs that required her to write. This resulted in her winning the admiration of peers and industry professionals alike. Publication lead to awards, which provided even more encouragement and now, Annette Rochelle Aben is a #1 Best Selling Author!

These days, Annette writes poetry books, coaches others through the writing of their books, and edits articles for the digital magazine The Magic Happens.

Along the way, Annette found time to explore the worlds of Aroma Therapy, Astrology, Bach Flower Essences, Crystal Therapy, Feng Shui, Hypnotherapy, Music Therapy, Numerology, Reiki, and Tarot. Guided by her Angels as to what to study and with whom, Annette turned many of her studies into sideline businesses.

Annette shares her most treasured Christmas Gift

Seventeen years ago, at our Christmas gift exchange, I opened the lovingly wrapped package from my nephew Danny, to find a statue of a black cherub sitting on a cloud. I choked back tears because I knew he originally planned to give it to my mother, but she rejected the gift because Angels couldn’t possibly be anything other than white you know.

As I drove home, I hit an ice storm and what would have taken me 45 minutes, took me over 5 hours. The whole way, that Angel sat on my dashboard. I made it home safely.

Very difficult after that very special memory to find a gift that compares for Annette, but knowing her love of angels and music.. I hope that she enjoys one of my favourite tracks In the Arms of an Angel by Sarah McLachlan

A selection of books by Annette Rochelle Aben

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Annette: Goodreads – Blog: Annette Rochelle Aben WordPress – Twitter:@YouAreTheExpert

Carol Taylor has created a wonderful Vegetarian Christmas Menu and I am sharing just one of the delicious elements there to day.. If you head over to her blog you can find a great deal more options to share over Christmas Cheese and Chard Pie with preserved lemons

Today one of my favourites from Carol’s menu….Ricotta, Blackberry and Walnut Toasts.

Ingredients

• 2 tbsp of maple syrup
• 150 gm blackberries
• 4 slices of your favorite bread I used sourdough
• 100 gm soft ricotta
• 1 tbsp toasted walnuts
• A few mint leaves

To Prepare

  1. Warm the maple syrup in a small pan and add the blackberries cook for 3-4 mins gently squashing a few blackberries with the back of your wooden spoon.
  2. Toast the bread.
  3. To serve spread some ricotta over the toast then spoon over the warm syrup and fruit, top with your toasted walnuts and a few mint leaves.

You can find some great recipes for Christmas starters, mains and desserts with vegetarian options over at Carol’s Blog: Carol Cooks 2

And now my final guest today who also has a wonderful life of music and love. Jan Sikes is an Award Winning Author, screenwriter and songwriter.

Jan Sikes is an award-winning Texas author who has been called a wordsmith by her peers. She openly admits that she never set out in life to be an author. But she had a story to tell. Not just any story, but a true story that rivals any fiction creation. You simply can’t make this stuff up. It all happened. She chose to create fictitious characters to tell the story through, and they bring the intricately woven tale to life in an entertaining way. She released a series of music CDs to accompany the four biographical fiction books and then published a book of poetry and art to complete the story circle.

And now that the story is told, this author can’t find a way to put down the pen. She continues to write fiction and has published many short stories with a series of novels waiting in the wings. Jan is a member of the Author’s Marketing Guild, The Writer’s League of Texas, Romance Writers of America, and the Paranormal Writer’s Guild. I am an avid fan of Texas music and grandmother of five beautiful souls. I reside in North Texas.

And here is Jan’s most favourite Christmas gift of all time

The best Christmas I can remember is 2003. Rick was just finishing the recording of his new music CD and he had a jacket monogrammed for me with the album cover on the back and my name in the front. I couldn’t have been more surprised or proud! That year all of our children, my mom and aunt came to our house for the celebration. There was an abundance of food, laughs and love. It is a sweet memory.

Another tough challenge to find a gift for Jan following that heartfelt memory… but I hope that this will make her smile and remind her of the first song that she wrote for her uncle. A wonderful Gospel Christmas.

Featuring the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra again with The Pointer Sisters and Adam L. McKnight..- Amen courtesy of Adam L. McKnight

A small selection of other books by Jan Sikes

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Website: Jan SikesGoodreads: Jan on Goodreads – Twitter: @rijanjks

Now time for something to drink…..Whilst it is customary to see cranberries in a sauce on the Christmas Dinner Table, you can also enjoy in a cocktail during the holiday period. Cranberries have a great many health benefits…. which might be slightly diluted when adding alcohol.. but here is a video that will give you a recipe to try.

Thank you for dropping in today and tomorrow my guests are Jessica Norrie and Marjorie Mallon… I hope you will join us.. thanks Sally

If you would like to share your best Christmas present ever.. then please share in the comments..

 

Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair – Recent Reviews for New Books on the Shelves – #Romance Staci Troilo, Jacquie Biggar, Jan Sikes, #Shortstories Mae Clair, #Family #LGBTQ Stevie Turner


Today some recent reviews for new books added to the Cafe and Bookstore in the last few weeks.

The first author with a recent review is Staci Troilo – No Such Luck (Keystone Couples)

About the Book

Seeds of luck usually wither. The rare one grows and blooms.

Piper Seidel has one thing going for her—a red carnation given to her by Tommy Burnett in the tenth grade. It might have dried over the years, but it’s still her good luck charm. Losing it sets her life in a downward spiral, forcing her to return to her hometown where she comes face to face with her high school crush.

The years have been kind to Tommy, who looks better than ever. Unfortunately, Piper is at her worst, continually embarrassing herself whenever he’s around. The only plus? Her long-time friend, Jack Rhodes, still lives in town. Since she last saw him, his legs have grown longer, his biceps thicker, and his shoulders broader. He was always the brother she never had, but now she can’t help noticing him in an unsisterly way. Jack is every bit as caring as he’s ever been—until her bad luck drives him away, maybe forever.

Piper needs a new good luck charm, and fast, before she loses her final chance at happiness.

One of the recent  reviews for the book 

JanS 5.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes the obvious is right under your nose!  Reviewed in the United States on November 8, 2021

In this short story, Piper has been fired from yet another job. And on top of being fired, she lost her good luck charm, a dried red chrysanthemum. Now she’s sure her luck is forever going to be bad. She returns to her father’s home early for the Christmas holidays and immediately bumps into an old crush from high school. And she struggles to form words, which is ironic considering she writes words for a living. But Tommy Burnett affects her that way. He’s handsome, a great catch, and everything she’s dreamed of. I won’t give any spoilers here, but Jack Rhodes, her best friend since grade school is her steady influence. When she needs help, he’s always there and never asks for anything in return. I love how Piper grew in the pages of this short read. Sometimes the obvious is right under our noses and we fail to see it. This is an entertaining holiday read that is short and sweet with a satisfying ending. The writing is flawless and I highly recommend it.  

Head over to read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

A small selection of books written by Staci Troilo

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK –Follow Staci: GoodreadsBlog: Staci Troilo WordPress – Website: Staci TroiloTwitter@stacitroilo –

The next recent release which has been receiving excellent reviews is – Love, Me: A Christmas Wish Novel by Jacquie Biggar

About the book

Will a Christmas wish bring two lonely hearts together and give a little girl the family she’s always wanted?

Single parent, Grace Donovan arrives in the small town of Emerson with the hope a trial program at the local cancer clinic will be the answer to prolonging her young daughter’s life. She doesn’t expect to fall for her handsome boss.

As principal of Emerson Elementary, Kyle Roberts is aware of the students’ medical issues and his heart goes out to little Cassie Donovan and her mother. When he learns Grace needs a job, he fabricates a childcare program, and is pleasantly surprised by its success. Now, if only he could help Cassie’s recovery and get Grace to give him a chance before she learns of his duplicity.

Cassie Donovan barely remembers the father who died when she was just a toddler, but she does know her mother is sad. Even though Cassie wants a puppy more than anything, she gives up her wish to ask for a daddy from Santa Claus, that way if she gets sick again, Mommy won’t be alone.

This Christmas, two families are brought together by a Christmas wish and a child’s need for a miracle.

A recent review for the book

“Love Me” is a wonderful holiday read about a mother and her daughter fighting cancer. Grace and Cassie move to a new town to try an experimental treatment, and luckily an anonymous donor covers the expenses. Grace finds a job at Cassie’s school while Cassie finds a new best friend. I love how the story is told from both the mother and daughter’s POV. Cassie wants a puppy for Christmas, but she decides her mother needs a companion if something happens to her. It’s a story that tugged on my heart, thinking about a little girl battling for her life when she should be playing and having fun. Her strength and caring shine throughout the story as a powerful symbol of love, and the mother, having lived through so much loss and heartache, keeps going for her daughter. I could feel the emotion behind Cassie because her character is based on an amazing young girl on social media who is fighting this battle. This was a heartwarming romantic story that didn’t back down from the reality of childhood leukemia. I highly recommend this!  

A small selection of Jacquie’s books

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Jacquie : Goodreads – website: Jacquie Biggar – Twitter: @jacqbiggar

Delighted to share the news of the latest book by Jan Sikes…a novelette Mountain Laurel Christmas on Pre-order for November 15th.

About the Book

Orphaned, his family torn apart by tragedy, Cole Knight has come a long way from a ramshackle miner’s cabin on the side of the Cumberland Mountain.

Daring to follow an impossible dream, he’s made it big in the music business. Now, he’s a country music sensation with a huge house, fancy cars, plenty of willing women, money, and adoring fans. He should be on top of the world. Instead, he’s drowning in a swirling pool of self-contempt and relentless guilt.

It’s easier to lose himself in a bottle than face the hard truth…he hasn’t delivered on a promise he made to his father

It’s almost Christmas, and the sting of failure drives him back to that tiny cabin in the mountains. But has he waited too late to put the shattered pieces back together—to find himself and restore a lost family?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Mae Clair 5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a story!  Reviewed in the United States on November 18, 2021

If you want a feel-good Christmas story, look no further. Cole Knight is a music superstar with the world at his feet. He has everything he could possibly ever want or need but his heart is hollow. With Christmas around the corner, he finds himself thinking back to his poverty-stricken childhood when times were hard but love of family made life worth living. In the decades since, he’s lost touch with his sister and has no idea what’s become of his younger brother. Circumstances conspire in such a way to give him a second chance and help him rediscover the connections he’s lost.

Told with heart, this is a story that shines a light on what matters most in life. It’s rife with emotion, memories, and the idea of recapturing lost chances. I love how the author brought her characters to life while painting a picture that spans from backwoods squalor to the glitz of the celebrity spotlight. A quick read, this enchanting novella is polished, heartwarming, and all-around entertaining. A beautiful holiday gem!  

A small selection of other books by Jan Sikes

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Website: Jan SikesGoodreads: Jan on Goodreads – Twitter: @rijanjks

Now a recent review for latest release by Mae Clair – Things Old and Forgotten

About the book

A man keeping King Arthur’s dream of Camelot alive.
A Robin Hood battling in a drastically different Sherwood.
A young man facing eternity in the desert.
A genteel southern lady besting a powerful order of genies.
A woman meeting her father decades after his death.

These are but a few of the intriguing tales waiting to be discovered in Things Old and Forgotten. Prepare to be transported to realms of folklore and legend, where magic and wonder linger around every corner, and fantastic possibilities are limited only by imagination.

A recent review for the stories

Reviewed in the United States on November 20, 2021

Things Old and Forgotten is a brilliantly crafted collection of some of the best short stories I’ve been fortunate enough to discover. Author Mae Clair proves she is more than a simple writer of tales. What she possesses is an impressive ability to sculpt scenes and characters that are both vivid and brimming with life.

Clair’s narrative voices reveal their stories in poetic tones. Each tale contains a balanced texture of dark and light embedded within. What you think might happen, often doesn’t. And that’s the genius of so many of these short works.

Remembering Sadie is perhaps my favorite of the collection. This piece tells the story of a man left behind to grieve the loss of a loved one. The twist at the end is a wonderful reminder that love comes from the heart—regardless of the recipient.

Another standout is the dark tone of Desert White. A man attempts to take his own life in the desert, only to be met by a stranger. But is this stranger man or angel? Redemption versus forgiveness in the underlying theme here.

Kin-Slayer runs a close second as my favorite. This one is a bit dark with fantasy, folklore, and dystopian elements. There’s only one way to appease the beastly Leviathan, and that is with three of the choicest First Daughters in a quaint fishing village. But not all is as it seems—especially where Leviathan is concerned.

No matter the genre, Mae Clair excels as a master artist of short fiction. Each story remains with the reader—even after you’ve moved on to the next one. If you’re a fan of fully formed short fiction, Things Old and Forgotten by Mae Clair is a collection that belongs on your Kindle.  

A selection of other books by Mae Clair

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Mae on: Goodreads Website: Mae Clair – Twitter: @MaeClair1

The final recent review today is for latest release by Stevie Turner…#Family #LGBTQ His Ladyship

About the book

Norman Wicks is 57, overweight, and has diabetes. He is sick of his life. He has never left home, had a girlfriend, or held down any kind of job. The only friends he has are online, as he prefers to stay in the comfort zone of his bedroom. His devoted 92 year old mother Agnes waits on him hand and foot.

Norman has a secret he has kept hidden from the world for the majority of his life, but now he is desperate to bring it out into the open. He is terrified of how his family will react. However, for his own happiness and peace of mind, Norman must find a way to tell his mother and siblings exactly what they do not want to hear.

HIS LADYSHIP reached the finals and the Longlist of the 2021 Page Turner Awards

One of the recent reviews for the book

Anita Dawes 4.0 out of 5 stars Such an amazing journey…  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 24 November 2021

This story opens when Norman was just four years old, bitterly unhappy with his birthday presents. He was already raising eyebrows at his choice of friends and the toys he preferred to play with. Even at the age of four, he knew he was different.

As he grows up, he becomes increasingly confused and unhappy, hiding away from the world. Eventually becoming something he likes even less, overweight, uncaring of anything or anybody, and obsessed with his fantasies.

Normans struggle was like watching a butterfly appearing from a chrysalis. Not immediately beautiful, but the signs were there.

His journey was long, painful and frustrating, but finally ending with him achieving happiness.

Although I rooted for him throughout, I couldn’t help wishing he hadn’t wasted so much time…  

A small selection of books by Stevie Turner

Read the reviews and buy the books : Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Stevie : Goodreads blog: Stevie Turner on WordPress – Twitter: @StevieTurner6

 

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

 

 

Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair – #Paranormal – John W. Howell, Jan Sikes, JP McLean, Roberta Eaton Cheadle


Welcome to the Christmas Book Fair and today some stories that come with a paranormal element for readers who love a little ghostly influence in their books.

They are all books that I have read and can recommend too.

The writer today is John W. Howell with a review for his paranormal thriller Eternal Road

About the book

James Wainwright picks up a hitchhiker and discovers two things 1. The woman he picks up is his childhood sweetheart, only Seventeen years older. 2. He is no longer of this world.

James began a road trip alone in his 1956 Oldsmobile. He stops for a hitchhiker only to discover she is his childhood sweetheart, Sam, who disappeared seventeen years before. James learns from Sam falling asleep miles back caused him to perish in a one-car accident. He also comes to understand that Sam was taken and murdered all those years ago, and now she has come back to help him find his eternal home.

The pair visit a number of times and places and are witness to a number of historical events. The rules dictate that they do no harm to the time continuum. Trying to be careful, they inadvertently come to the attention of Lucifer who would love to have their souls as his subjects. They also find a threat to human survival and desperately need to put in place the fix necessary to save mankind.

The question becomes, will James find his eternal home in grace or lose the battle with Satan for his immortal soul and the future of human life with it? If you like time-travel, adventure, mystery, justice, and the supernatural, this story is for you.

A recent review for the book

Elizabeth Gauffreau 5.0 out of 5 stars A Highly Original Novel!  Reviewed in the United States on October 6, 2021

I don’t normally read books about the paranormal, but I found John Howell’s Eternal Road to be an irresistible read for the way it addresses the question of life after death. The premise of the novel is that there is life after death, but our eternal home is not predetermined at the moment of death. We need a guide to find it.

Setting out on the eternal road is James, a young man who has just died in a car accident. He is still driving his prized 1956 Oldsmobile when he unwittingly crosses over and meets his spirit guide hitchhiking on the side of the road. He doesn’t recognize her as the classmate who disappeared without a trace at age seven. Sam, short for Samantha, is the first inversion of expectations in this highly original novel: she is older than she was in life.

Sam leads James on a quest for his eternal home. The quest includes time travel to both the past and the future, interaction of the dead with the living, and the solution to the mystery of Sam’s disappearance all those years ago. Along the way are plenty of plot twists that kept me turning the pages. As well, Lucifer and various emissaries put in their appearance at the most inopportune times for James and Sam.

I particularly enjoyed the world-building in the novel, which took the form of the “rules” for being dead. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything that addresses the large questions of life and death in such an engaging and entertaining fashion. I highly recommend Eternal Road: The Final Stop. Your wheels will be turning from the first page to the last!

Other books by John Howell

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon USand :Amazon UK – Goodreads:John Howell Goodreads Blog: John W. Howell. com – Twitter@HowellWave

The next book with a paranormal element is Ghostly Interference (The White Rune Series) by Jan Sikes

About the book

Jag Peters has one goal in his quiet comfortable life—to keep his karma slate wiped clean. A near-miss crash with a candy apple red Harley threatens to upend his safe world. He tracks down the rider to apologize properly. Slipping into a seedy biker bar, he discovers the rider isn’t a “he”, it’s a “she”, a dark-haired beauty.

Rena Jett is a troubled soul, who lives in a rough world. She wants no part of Jag’s apology, but even while she pushes him away, she is attracted to him. When he claims to see a ghost—her brother—can she trust him? And could her brother’s final gift, a magical rune stone with the symbol for “happily ever after” have the power to heal her wounds and allow opposites to find common ground—perhaps even love?

A recent review for the book

John 4.0 out of 5 stars One wild ride Reviewed in the United States on October 18, 2021

I don’t read love stories and took a chance on Ghostly Interference because the story included bikers and a ghost. The story flowed smoothly and I was hooked before reaching the end of the first chapter.

It begins when Jag, an IT nerd, nearly hits a biker with his car. He is a strict believer of Karma and wants to keep things on the straight and narrow. Jag chases after the rider and finally locates the Harley parked outside of a biker bar; the rider, Rena Jett, turned out to be a ‘drop dead, gorgeous, biker babe’ with an attitude. It was clear right from the start that they were from different worlds, yet, something attracted them to one another.

Shortly after this encounter, Jag sees a ghost – he’s seen others in the past. Turns out this ghost is Rena’s deceased brother who was recently killed in Afghanistan. It soon becomes clear that “Sam” wants Jag to help Rena get through her nightmares and trust issues of her abused and tormented upbringing while raised in the Foster Care system. But there was something else Sam needed to say to her…

As readers meet other characters, the love between Jag and Rena grows. There are several ‘hot’ sex scenes in the story but the author doesn’t turn it into a pornographic exhibition, and it is nicely done.

There are many surprises uncovered in the story as well as some ‘sit on the edge of your seat’ suspense. In Ghostly Interference, everyone gets their wish – except for Rena’s boss – and lives happily ever after. Well worth a chance and highly recommended for those who want to see what real love is like.

Head over to buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

A small selection of books by Jan Sikes

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Website: Jan SikesGoodreads: Jan on Goodreads – Twitter: @rijanjks

And the third book is a paranormal thriller by JP McleanBlood Mark.

About the book

What if your lifelong curse is the only thing keeping you alive? Abandoned at birth, life has always been a battle for Jane Walker. She and her best friend, Sadie, spent years fighting to survive Vancouver’s cutthroat underbelly. That would have been tough enough without Jane’s mysterious afflictions: an intricate pattern of blood-red birthmarks that snake around her body and vivid, heart-wrenching nightmares that feel so real she wakes up screaming.

After she meets the first man who isn’t repulsed by her birthmarks, Jane thinks she might finally have a chance at happiness. Her belief seems confirmed as the birthmarks she’s spent her life so ashamed of magically begin to disappear. Yet, the quicker her scarlet marks vanish, the more lucid and disturbing Jane’s nightmares become—until it’s impossible to discern her dreams from reality, and Jane comes to a horrifying realization:

The nightmares that have plagued her since childhood are actually visions of real people being stalked by a deadly killer. And all this time, her birthmarks have been the only things protecting her from becoming his next victim.

Blood Mark is the first in a brand-new paranormal thriller series by JP McLean, author of The Gift Legacy series and whose writing has been described as “. . . deftly crafted, impressively original, and inherently compelling from first page to last.”

A recent review for the book

Pat McDonald 5.0 out of 5 stars An exceptional psychological thriller with a paranormal twist  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 8 November 2021

What an exceptional psychological thriller with a paranormal twist from the author of The Gift Legacies! J P McLean is an amazing writer and story teller who has moved from a quality series to this extraordinary new book that has kept me awake at night. New readers should be allowed to discover the fate of Jane Walker and her birth marks for themselves, so no spoiler alerts here, just the knowledge that they will not be disappointed. I have read all of the author’s books and to be honest she just gets better and better – where do you go from perfection? Wherever that is I’ll be there. (Pat McDonald British Crime Author)

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – And:Amazon UK

Also by JP McLean

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow JP Mclean on : Goodreads – Website: J.P. Mclean Author – Twitter: @jpmcleanauthorFacebook: JP Mclean

The final book today which is set during the Second Anglo Boer War A Ghost and His Gold by Roberta Eaton Cheadle .robbie a ghost and his goldAbout the book

After Tom and Michelle Cleveland move into their recently built, modern townhouse, their housewarming party is disrupted when a drunken game with an Ouija board goes wrong and summonses a sinister poltergeist, Estelle, who died in 1904. Estelle makes her presence known in a series of terrifying events, culminating in her attacking Tom in his sleep with a knife. But, Estelle isn’t alone. Who are the shadows lurking in the background – one in an old-fashioned slouch hat and the other, a soldier, carrying a rifle?

After discovering their house has been built on the site of one of the original farms in Irene, Michelle becomes convinced that the answer to her horrifying visions lie in the past. She must unravel the stories of the three phantoms’ lives, and the circumstances surrounding their untimely deaths during the Second Anglo Boer War, in order to understand how they are tied together and why they are trapped in the world of ghosts between life and death. As the reasons behind Estelle’s malevolent behaviour towards Tom unfold, Michelle’s marriage comes under severe pressure and both their lives are threatened.

A recent review for the book

Pete Springer4.0 out of 5 stars Well-Researched Historical Fiction Read  Reviewed in the United States on November 4, 2021

A Ghost and His Gold is a complex read with dual timelines more than a hundred years apart. Author Roberta Eaton Cheadle initially starts in modern times with Michelle and Tom, who host a dinner party in their home with work acquaintances and friends. The events connecting the timelines are the Second Anglo Boer War in South Africa between the Boers and the British. During the party, they begin playing around with a Ouija board. That’s when things start to go off the rails as they discover they are sharing their house with ghosts.

Two ghosts, Pieter and Robert, encounter each other on opposing sides during the war. Pieter, a Boer farmer by trade, and Robert, a British soldier, make brief appearances in the home. Michelle is the only one who can see them. Haunting the house as well is a poltergeist named Estelle. She is Pieter’s daughter from his first marriage, a secret unknown to her until much later on. She harbors resentment and anger for men, in particular. Despite having evil intentions, I found myself empathetic toward Estelle for all of the horrible things that happened while she was still a girl. While her father is at war, Estelle lives with her stepmother, Marta, and her two stepsisters. Marta is easily the least likable character in the book because she shows no love toward Estelle and blames her as the victim of a sexual assault.
Estelle plots her revenge toward Tom, as he has a dark past.

Tom is another villainous character who seeks redemption for a sexual assault and murder that he commits. Estelle hates Tom and haunts him in his dreams, and attempts to harm him physically.

The history of the war was somewhat complicated to follow, but Cheadle has done her research in writing this book. She includes many footnotes and sources for her information.

One of the more intriguing elements of the book was that Robert, Pieter, and Estelle couldn’t move on to the other side until they showed forgiveness and understanding of each other’s positions and points of view. This is not a light read by any means, but it kept my attention throughout. Readers gain a sense of how horrific life was in the concentration camps.  

A small selection of other books by Robbie and Michael Cheadle and as Roberta Eaton Cheadle.

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Read the reviews and Buy the books : Amazon US And: Amazon UK – Follow Robbie : Goodreads – blog: Robbie’s Inspiration- Twitter: @bakeandwrite

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books for a gift for yourself or someone else at Christmas… thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Tuesday September 21st 2021 – Jacqui Murray, Jan Sikes, Robbie Cheadle and Harmony Kent, John Howell, D.G. Kaye with Frank Prem


A small selection of posts I have enjoyed over the last few days and I hope you will head over to enjoy in full.

Jacquie Murray shares a post on a useful project management tool for writers.. Planning a book or Marketing..

Google Drawings for Planning and Marketing Your Story

Google Drawings is a free Google Drive-based drawing tool that allows writers to create drawings, devise marketing pieces, brainstorm stories with concept maps, and more. Here’s how you use it:

  • Open your Google Drive account; go to New and select Google Drawings (it may be located under ‘More’).
  • Insert shapes, lines, an image, or text with the editing tools.
  • When finished, publish the drawing as a stand-alone or add it to a Google Doc, slideshow, or spreadsheet. As will all Google tools, it can be shared with others in a wide variety of methods.

There are a lot of drawing programs. SumoPaint, GIMP, and Photoshop are some of my favorites. All are wonderful in their own right and many more powerful than Google Drawings. So why use Drawings?

Head over to find out the eight reasons you should explore this Google tool further: Jacqui Murray – Author Tool Box Blog Hop

The next post is from Jan Sikes who will be sharing some of her passions over coming weeks including the stones she has collected over the years. Last week it was the Amethyst  which happens to be my birthstone. Jan provides a detailed background to the stone and its legendary properties.

#WednesdayWonders – #Gemstones – #Amethyst

Photo by Jan Sikes – A tiny portion of my gemstone collection

I love rocks!

Since I can remember, I’ve been a collector. When we’d go on family vacations, I always came home with a pile of rocks, much to my parent’s dismay.

But for me, that love tripled shortly after Rick passed away.

After his death, and my decision to leave our home, I started the process of packing. Then about six months later, I moved into a new house and started the unpacking process.

I had (have) lots of Rick’s paintings. As I was deciding which ones I wanted to hang in my new house, I opened all of the boxes and pulled them out. Then as I made my choices and returned them to their packing boxes, there was one box that the painting wouldn’t fit back into. Puzzled, I turned the box upside down, and lo and behold, this fell out.

Head over to find what fell out of the box: Wednesday Wonders – Gemstones with Jan Sikes.

The next post is by Robbie Cheadle and is part of her Treasuring Poetry series and this week she interviews Harmony Kent and also reviews Harmony’s Slices of Soul collection

Treasuring Poetry with Robbie Cheadle – Meet poet and author Harmony Kent

Today, I am delighted to feature poet and author Harmony Kent as my guest for Treasuring Poetry. I have read one of Harmony’s fictional books and her non-fiction book, Creative Solutions for the Modern Writer: Inspirational Tools to Fire Your Imagination, and they are both excellent. I have read and reviewed her poetry book, Slices of Soul: A Collection of Contemporary Poetry.

Welcome Harmony! Which of your own poems is your favourite? 

Head over to find out which of her own poems Harmony considers her favourite and read Robbie’s review for Slices of Soul: Robbie Cheadle interviews Harmony Kent

Over the last 18 months I am sure that like me you may have bought more items online.. I have been very lucky but as John Howell points out.. ‘Buyer Beware’ with Ten Things Not To Buy Online!

Top Ten Thngs Not to Buy Online

onlineshopping

This list is inspired by having some unpleasant experiences with items purchased without having the luxury of trying them out first. Although extreme, this list represents some of the potential disappointments a buyer can experience in shopping online.

Top Ten Things Not to Buy Onlne

10 If you are shopping online, do not buy that cosmetic kit that promises an instant youthful appearance. If you do, at best, you’ll learn that what seems too good to be true is too good. At worst, you will need an intervention by an expensive dermatologist just to remove the facial mask. (And don’t you look good with a Jim Carrey green mask?)

Head over to discover the nine other items to avoid buying online: Buying online guide by John Howell.

The final post today is a book review from D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies for the poetry collection Voices in the Trash by Frank Prem.

Bitmo Sunday book review

Sunday Book Review – Voices in the Trash by Frank Prem – #Poetry

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today my review is for a short but lovely poetry book by Frank Prem – Voices in the Trash. For those who are familiar with Frank’s inventive poetry, you will enjoy this imagery plus poetry together as the author depicts what the images speak to him.

Head over to read Debby’s review for Voices in the Trash: Book review D.G. Kaye for Frank Prem

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to read the posts in full.. more on Thursday.. thanks Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – 29th December 2020 – D.L.Finn, Elizabeth Merry, Jan Sikes


Denise Finn hosts the book launch and excerpt of the latest Western Romance from Sandra Cox that is waiting for me on my  TBR.. Denise also shares her review of the book at the end of the post so head over to enjoy.

I’m VERY excited to have Sandra Cox here today to share the release of her exciting new book, “Gwen Slade Bounty Hunter”!  My review is at the end of the post.

Thanks so much for having me today, Denise.

Old West Factoid:

There were bounties in the thousands for some outlaws, i.e. Jesse James. But the majority of the bounties were in the low hundreds or less.

Bounty hunter Gwen Slade always gets her man. Until she meets charming outlaw Jordie Kidd.

After Jordie saves her family, she finds she can’t in good conscience turn him in, even if he is worth a thousand dollars dead or alive. Instead she sets her sights on the meanest, most-wanted gang in Kansas. Gwen always works alone until she goes after the gang then finds herself partnering with an unlikely source.

This time around, not only her life, but her heart is on the line.

Head over to read the excerpt and Denise’s review: New Release Gwen Slade Bounty Hunter by Sandra Cox.. hosted by D.L. Finn

Elizabeth Merry shares her five favourite book endings..  a tough challenge.. I am sure you have your own..

I got the idea for this post from Top Five Memorable Endings I Read In 2020 – Stephen Writes (wordpress.com)  and he kindly allowed me to use his idea. For me the ending of a book, the last sentence, indeed the last paragraph, is very important. Often, especially in thrillers, the last few pages are long-drawn out and boring. So when you love a book, and are approaching the end, it’s great when the last words are just as good – and just as important – as the beginning.

No. 1. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick de Witt

The story is about two brothers, Eli and Charlie Sisters, who are sent by their boss to kill someone. They have various adventures on their journey. The younger of the two is tired of the harsh life they lead and wants to go home. Here’s the wonderful last paragraph:

“I dropped into sleep but awoke with a start some minutes later. I could hear Charlie in the next room, washing himself in the bath tub. He was saying nothing and would say nothing, I knew, but the sound the water made was like a voice, the way it hurried and splashed, chattering, then falling quiet but for the rare drip, as if in humble contemplation. It seemed to me I could gauge from these sounds the sorrow or gladness of their creator; I listened intently and decided that my brother and I were, for the present at least, removed from all earthly dangers and horrors.

And might I say what a pleasing conclusion this was for me.”

No. 2. The Shipping News by Annie Proulx

Check out the other four book endings and it might inspire you to write your own post: Five Best Endings – Elizabeth Merry..

And the last blog today is from Jan Sikes with her top ten books of the year…always great to have recommended reads.

Discover the other nine books that Jan has selected: Jan’s 2020 top ten list

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to read these posts in full.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Christmas Party – Just One Wish – Guests, Food, Music and laughter


The theme for this year’s party is ‘Just One Wish’. We are all familiar with the story of Cinderella and her Fairy Godmother, who was pretty liberal with that magic wand of hers and managed to turn a pumpkin into a golden carriage.

Unfortunately, she has long since retired and hung up her wand, but because I asked nicely (and she would like me to promote her memoir – The Prince Charmings I have Known!) she has agreed to allow my guests, just one wish…

My thanks to everyone who sent in their special wish and with a great deal of positive thought from us all, and of course a little assistance from the magic wand of the Fairy Godmother, they might just come true…

Please help yourself to food and drink and if you would like to dance on the tables… that is great. You will find links to authors author pages and a selection of their books and their social media so please head over and discover more.

And to get the party started on a high … something that will definitely work off the mince pies and Christmas Cake (please don’t try this at home unless you have consulted your doctor first!).. courtesy of Riverdance

You can find all the Riverdance tour dates for USA, Canada, UK and Europe: Riverdance tour schedule

John W. Howell.

Thank you, Sally, for this beautiful party and for the opportunity to submit a wish to the Fairy Godmother. My one wish is that the entire population of the Earth pause for a moment and reflect on the beauty of our precious home.

It seems to me that if we all paused for just one moment, we would realize that this Earth is what we each have in common. Our petty squabbles and desire to dominate one another, would I believe, diminish in the presence of the awe inspired by this beautiful blue marble.

Fairy Godmother here: A wonderful wish John and I hope that these images will encourage others to share your dream.This is the live stream from NASA where you can watch as the world turns throughout the day and marvel at its wonders: courtesy of Space Videos

John Howell, Buy: Amazon USGoodreads: John Howell Goodreads – Blog: John Howell

Katharine Everson

m-and-me

Dearest Fairy Godmother, I am desperate for snow. What a delight it would be to celebrate a white Christmas! Also, while I have you, please use your special wand to eliminate the snow-and-ice ‘sandwich’ effect which we’ve had too many times. I’ll make you a special snow woman as a thank you! Katharine

Fairy Godmother here: Thank you for your wish Katharine, unfortunately the Winter Fairy has a mind of her own and does not always stick to the rules… I get this wish a lot at this time of year and not just from humans…I hope this will keep you smiling until your own smile arrives. Courtesy of Epic Laughs

Katharine EversonTeachez Well Blog – Twitter: @Teachezwell – Facebook: Teachezwell

Janet Gogerty

It’s about time this was invented, but then I doubt I could afford it; the modern version of a magic carpet… a solar powered airship. It need not be big, just like a camper van in the clouds that floats gently, but fairly fast, to visit family on three continents for Christmas. Starting with Western Australia as they are 8 hours ahead of us and finishing in Nevada as they are 8 hours behind us. I expect it to be fully equipped with food and comforts for a luxury holiday and entertaining those we visit.

Fairy Godmother here: I had a word with Goodyear and they have built an airship for you but you will need an intensive pilot training course.. I hope that you enjoy your flights…Courtesy of YOUCAR

Janet Gogerty books: Amazon UK – Blog: Tidal Scribe WordPress – Twitter: @ytregog

Balroop Singh…

Hi Fairy grandmother, my only wish this Christmas is to take me around the world in a golden chariot, decked with Christmas lights. I want to keep the reins in my hand so that I could stop wherever I want and I would surely stop at Sally’s home to hug her, dance with her and wish her Merry Christmas. I wont be alone, so keep the size of the chariot a little bigger with at least six seats. I hope there would be enough space to carry some gifts and cakes too. Thank you for granting this tiny wish. Love you.

Fairy Godmother here: What a lovely wish Balroop. I don’t think I have time to create a gold chariot in time, but I have had a word with the Christmas Train and they have agreed to put Wexford in Ireland on the schedule and Sally will be waiting for you on Christmas Eve for a hug and a dance….Courtesy of LoyaltyDynamics

Balroop Singh, Buy: Amazon US – Blog: Balroop Singh on WordPress Goodreads: Balroop Singh

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Darlene Foster

My biggest wish for the Fairy Godmother is that all children be safe and happy. I know it is a big wish, but perhaps the Fairy Godmother will sprinkle some of her fairy dust over all the little children and take their troubles away. Thanks for putting in a good word, Sally.

Fairy Godmother here: That is an amazing wish Darlene and you already do a great deal to bring happiness to children with your books and encouragement to read, develop an imagination and dream.

I wish would be that I had the power to wave my magic wand and make all children happy but sometimes it takes humans to make the difference and whilst some governments do make every effort to support children, sometimes the people have to step in. In most countries there are fundraisers that do a great deal of good and millions of good people support these every year.. Such as Children in Need

This video revisits stories of children whose lives have been made better and happier because of ordinary people. Courtesy of BBC Children in Need

Many countries have something similar but if you live in the UK here is the link to find out more: BBC Children in Need

Darlene Foster, Buy: Amazon US – Website/Blog: Darlene Foster WordPress – Goodreads: Goodreads

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Valentina Cirasola

My wish is to open an art school community where experts, teachers, speakers, and inspirational people share their knowledge, train new minds and leave their legacy. A community for the young and young at heart, who want to create and live surrounded by beauty. I envision theatre art, visual art, painting, music, fabric art, glasswork, sculpting, writing, fashion design, interior design, the list is infinite. The building I need to host all the activities is a large antique home or an industrial building, with many floors, a courtyard with fountains for relaxation, for private reflection, or for meeting people surrounded by fragrant plants and flowers.

Fairy Godmother here: What a wonderful vision Valentina and with your love of colour and design you are bringing art into all our lives. I wish that I could wave my wand and bring you the building of your dreams but I am sure that one day it will be a reality. In the meantime, on a small scale but still supporting artists is this artist co-op in South Carolina which is doing so much for creative artists in the community…Courtesy of GreenGiantMedia

Valentina Cirasola, Buy:Amazon US Website: Valentina DesignsGoodreads: Valentina Cirasola Goodreads

Diana Wallace Peach

Since Peace on Earth is a given, I’m going for something a little closer to home… as a writer, I have no time for housework. My cobwebs are so dusty that the spiders have moved out, and I could knit a sweater with the dog hair collected under the couch. The refrigerator is a terrarium of exotic spores, and the laundry pile requires a haz-mat suit and gas mask. Anyway, my wish is for Santa to bring a gaggle of industrious elves with mops, sponges, brooms, dusters, and toxic-free cleaning products to get this place in shape. And sunglasses for the whole family to deal with the sparkle.

Fairy Godmother here: Diana I am completely with you on the subject of housework and I am most lucky in that I have an excellent daily cleaner who relieves me of the burden. I am sure you will be very happy with them and they are cost effective as they work for sausages and cheese. Here is an example of their services courtesy of jbiniok

D. Wallace Peach, Buy: Amazon US – Website/Blog: Myths of the Mirror –  GoodreadsD. Wallace Peach

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Robbie Cheadle..

I wondered if this poem was suitable for your Christmas wish posts? I wrote this a few years ago when we were having a drought. It broke on Christmas morning and the rain bucketed down. It was really amazing and such a relief after weeks of dry heat.

The best gift of all

I woke up this Christmas morning;
and what miracle did I hear?
The splatter of heavy rainfall;
It’s sound so distinctive and clear.

Santa, I’m glad you got my wish list;
and thought my request worthwhile;
The downpour has revived the earth;
The flowers are sparkling in style.

You brought us the gift of water;
I wonder, were the clouds in your sack?
Did you set them free this morning?
To help alleviate a very serious lack.

©Robbie Cheadle

Fairy Godmother here: That really was a wonderful gift Robbie and I would love to help that happen again this year…. here is a rain dance but do expect a little more than water.. It is Raining Men….courtesy of Stockholms Studentsångare

Jemima Pett

Dear Fairy Godmother My wish is for the fairies at the bottom of the garden to be more diligent with their attention to the weeds and the slugs.

In particular: remove the daisies and the buttercups in the lawn. The guinea pigs love the clover and dandelions, but daisies and buttercups are poisonous.

As for the slugs – they ate all my young bean plants last year. This year I have promised to raise some so the Heritage Seed Library can increase their stock. You wouldn’t want this type to be delisted, would you? Please explain to the fairies. I’m sure they’ll understand.

Fairy Godmother Here: Sorry some of my fellow fairies have been a little lax in their duties Jemima and I have had words. They assure me that they will pay better attention particularly to the slugs and as you can see they are busy at work in the area….courtesy of LIONATE

Jemima Pett, Buy: Amazon US – Blog http://jemimapett.com –  Goodreads: Jemima Pett

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Audrey Driscoll

My wish: that people all over the world will be visited by the Indie Book Elves, and wake up on Christmas Day with an insatiable desire to read books rather than watch TV or movies. (Especially books by a certain group of authors.)

Fairy Godmother here: I have waved my magic wand as this is wish close to my heart as my own book The Prince Charmings I have Known is only in Eversion… we have to encourage them to start reading as young as possible. They are currently undergoing computer training to enable them to download the books at Christmas.

Audrey Driscoll, Buy:Amazon US – Blog: Audrey Driscoll –  Goodreads: Audrey on Goodreads

A.J. Alexander

Dear Fairy Godmother- My wish for this Christmas, 2019, is that I would like to meet my future partner. I’d like to meet the man of my life, who has everything I’m looking for and really, one last time in my life, fall in love – head over heels. I’m talking about that kind of falling in love, that we never think is still possible at our age. The kind of love that is electrifying with every touch and every single kiss – that kind of love that makes my life richer and complete. Thank you.

Fairy Godmother here: Over my long life I have been a bit of a matchmaker, and I know that finding the right man can be a rocky road. I will do my best Aurora Jean and I wish you romance and love in 2020… In the meantime a song that has been danced to by millions of men and women seeking that perfect connection, from one of the most romantic films – Roman Holiday and don’t believe the ending of the film…they lived happily ever after. Courtesy of Muse of Music Olga Vels

A.J. Alexander, Buy: Amazon US – Website: Aurora Jean Alexander

Jan Sikes

If I could be granted just one wish, it would be to take a Holiday trip to the Spirit World to spend one more day with my husband. There is so much I need to tell him and show him. He has grandchildren he’s never seen, and I’d love to show him the books I wrote telling our story. Then, I’d want to know everything about the afterlife. Just to feel his arms around me one more time would be the most amazing thing I can think of! And that would be my One Christmas Wish!

Sally here: A beautiful wish Jan and if I could wave a magic wand and bring it true, I would in a heartbeat. I do believe that those we love never truly leave us and remind us of their presence daily, in the faces of our children and grandchildren and generation after generation to come. I also sense that they are watching over us and we will meet again one day.  One of my favourite songs is from Billie Holiday – ♥

Marjorie Mallon

It’s been a tough year. We’ve had injuries, some minor but two ended up with a trip to hospital: my husband with an injured ankle whilst on his golfing holiday and my eldest daughter with a 2cm bleeding gash to her head after an accident on a night out. My youngest daughter was with her boyfriend in Birmingham when a hooded gang mugged, attacked and threatened him. He sustained injuries and ended up in hospital.

So, please Fairy Godmother grant: no hospital visits, success in all our future endeavours and compassion, love and kindness to prevail. Here’s hoping for a better 2020 for all.

Fairy Goodmother here: Well Marjorie, that has been a very tough year and I am sorry you and your family have had to go through it. I am not sure my magic is strong enough to ensure that it does not happen again, all I can do is send you positive energy and hugs and wishes for a carefree 2020. And perhaps this might help give you a boost..The Beatles courtesy of Christmas Songs

M.J.Mallon, Buy:Amazon UK Website: M.J. Mallon –  Goodreads: Goodreads

And last and of course never least…D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies

It’s easy to say that one wish for world peace could save the whole world, but if that isn’t a realistic wish, how about – I wish the whole world had freer access to health care. I think that is a reasonable wish because it is possible if all governments would put their greed aside. I always say that nothing else on a wish list could possibly be put ahead of a wish for good health – because without it, nothing else would matter. Healthcare is a human right, not something to be treated as an option.

Sally here: I am with you one hundred percent Debby as I am sure everyone reading this is too. I join you in this excellent wish and let’s hope that all our governments put politics aside in the coming year and focus on the essential well being on those who matter.

We as writers are privileged to be in a position to help facilitate change for the better. And perhaps this song reminds us that we can all make a difference starting in our small part of the world and sending out our wishes into the world.

Courtesy of Marcelo Reis Couto Fernandes

D. G. Kaye – Buy: Amazon USBlog: D.G. Writes Goodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads

And perhaps a thank you to all the doctors, nurses and other medical staff who will be working this Christmas and New Year and who keep our health services running in our various homelands. Here is the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir with ‘Something inside so Strong’  courtesy of NHSChoirVEVO

Thank you to my guests who shared their wishes, to the Fairy Godmother who has taken off to join Santa’s elves at their staff Christmas party and there will be shenanigans… and to you for dropping in today.

Please leave your own wishes in the comments and it would be wonderful if you could share the post far and wide. Thanks Sally.

I will leave you with Michael Buble – Courtesy of MusicFluxer

You can find out where Michael will be touring in 2020: Michael Buble – Tour Dates.

And here is a lovely poem from Anita Dawes Amazon UK and Christmas best wishes from Jaye Marie Amazon UK – You can find both of them: WordPress Blog

And now my wish. I would love to share 2020 with you all and continue to experience the friendship, generosity and love that this writing community shares with each other. And I wish you all peace, health and success for the coming year and hope you will raise a glass of your preferred tipple with me.

Happy Christmas and healthy, wealthy New Year.

 

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily Thursday 14th November 2019 – #Review Noelle A. Granger, #Dawn Sue Vincent and #Tarot Jan Sikes


This series is an opportunity to showcase posts from around our community and the brilliant bloggers who share with us. It would be amazing if you would follow the links to the post I have highlighted and whilst visiting follow and support the blogger.

Even if you are not British there is a good chance that you have heard of the legendary Robin Hood.. and the first post is from author Noelle A. Granger who reviews a book on the subject of this English Outlaw by Richard Denham.

Robin Hood: English Outlaw (the origins of the legend and the search for a historical Robin Hood) by [Denham, Richard]

Richard Denham’s latest book, Robin Hood, English Outlaw, follows the investigative procedures he laid down in his previous publication, Arthur: Shadow of a God. Robin Hood is a later, but equally shadowy historical figure, based on medieval rhymes and gests (tales of adventures). Robin Hood’s existence was common knowledge by the 14th century, figuring in The Vision of Piers Plowman, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and The Gest of Robyn Hode, lengthy at 14,000 words, all from around the same time.

I grew up with Robin Hood on TV and in the movies and love this character, so reading this historical research book was fun! The author begins with placing Robin in England in ‘the greenwood.’ Where was this greenwood? In the late 11th century, about fifteen percent of the country was covered in dense forest – so where did Robin live? The author gives us a romp through the various places he might have existed.

Please head over to read the post in full : Noelle Granger reviews Robin Hood by Richard Denham

Noelle A. Granger Books: Amazon US – Blog: Sayling Away – Goodreads: Noelle A. Granger

For those of you, who like me, hunker down into the duvet until way passed dawn….Sue Vincent graciously shares images of her early morning photo shoot… and beautiful it is too. I really must get out more and earlier!

dawn-dog-001Every morning, the first thing I do is open my bedroom curtains to take a glance at the day. I rise early, usually before dawn at this time of year. When clouds obscure the horizon, all I can see is the darkness and I do not know how the day will begin. The view is not particularly inspiring… a tiny, fenced lawn gives on to flat fields bounded by hedgerows and young thorn trees. And yet, my room looks east, and whatever the day may offer, in that first moment I greet the light; a new day is beginning and the seasons are moving, slowly but inexorably in an eternal dance.

dawns-001

Head over and enjoy all the wonderful images and Sue’s commentary which is not to be missed either: Land of Living Light

Sue Vincent  Buy: Amazon UKBlog: S.C. VincentGoodreads: Sue Vincent

Please visit Amazon or Sue’s blog to view all her books and those written with Stuart France.

And finally today author Jan Sikes introduces us to another Tarot card as part of her weekly series. Find out how the Ten of Wands might impact you this week.

Welcome to another Tarot Tuesday!

If you are just joining me, let me explain the inspiration to begin these posts. In Texas, and all across the country, Taco Tuesday is a popular day when Tacos are usually 99 cents. So, I had the inspiration, or Angel nudge as I like to think of it, to create a Tarot Tuesday. Each Tuesday I will post a different Tarot card and give its meaning. I pray and ask for the right card that will bring a universal message.

I created a short video to demonstrate how I pull the card for the posts. If you’re interested, here’s a LINK.

I was hoping for a lighter card this week, but the cards can only tell us the truth. So today, I’ll talk about the Ten of Wands.

Head over to discover more: Tarot Tuesday – The Ten of Wands

Jan Sikes, Buy: Amazon US Website: Jan SikesGoodreads: Jan on Goodreads

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope that you will head over to enjoy these posts in full.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Wednesday October 23rd – John W. Howell #WhiteHouse -Lisa Thomson #Divorce – Jan Sikes #Nashville


This series is an opportunity to showcase posts from around our community and the brilliant bloggers who share with us. It would be amazing if you would follow the links to the post I have highlighted and whilst visiting follow and support the blogger.

I missed some great posts last week and so I am doing some catch up today… and starting from this entertaining piece which is part of Top Ten Things Not to Do from John Howell.. and this week the most famous house in the USA…

Top Ten Things Not to Do at the Laying of the White House Cornerstone in 1792

White House

Yes, this week marks the anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone of the White House by George Washington in 1792. I’m sure you want to be there, but before you go, take this list and maybe avoid making social or time travel mistakes.

Top Ten Things Not to Do at the Laying of the Cornerstone of the White House in 1792

10 If you go to the cornerstone laying, do not think the silver trowel is a souvenir. If you do, at best, a kindly George Washington will ask you to put it back. At worst, the Navy men in attendance who are also celebrating the founding of the Navy will help you put it back. (It seems as if those Navy boys have had a little too much rum, Jakome. They are serious about your yardarm swing.)

9 If you go to the cornerstone laying, do not sit in Tiny the WWF champ’s seat. If you do, at best, he will find another. At worst, Tiny, who missed his Anger Management support group that morning, will not be able to control himself. (If you can hold on for another minute, Jalen, Tiny will grow tired of spinning you around above his head. Of course, your landing after that helicopter experience might be a little rough.)

Head over and check out what else you shouldn’t do: https://johnwhowell.com/2019/10/14/top-ten-things-not-to-do-at-the-laying-of-the-white-house-cornerstone-in-1792/

John Howell, Buy: http://www.amazon.com/John-W.-Howell/e/B00HMRWO6CGoodread: John Howell Goodreads Blog: https://johnwhowell.com/

The next post is from Lisa Thomson who shares the ins and outs of marriage..i.e. divorce on her blog. This is my second marriage, the first lasted 7 years in total (I must have broken a mirror) but this time around 39 years. Many of my friends are also enjoying their second permanent relationships, but Lisa explores the option of getting married for the third time!

Third Marriages, Yeah or Nay?

A second marriage is a gimme while a third marriage is akin to a Mulligan.

You’ll notice I didn’t ask about a second marriage because that’s practically a Gimme. It’s expected, even. It’s considered a sign of moving on. A third marriage? That’s more like a Mulligan (you will use it judicially and with caution). Why the golf analogy, you may be wondering. I don’t even know, it just popped into my head. Maybe because my ex was an avid golfer.

But back to third marriages, some say “third time lucky” but I’m more skeptical. If you’ve shanked your first two attempts at this institution, should you really keep trying and furthermore continue to drag a second person into your sub-par game of marital woes?
Third Marriages, Yeah or Nay?

What are your thoughts on this over optimistic choice to marry a third time when the first two ended in divorce? Head over and let Lisa know: https://www.lisathomsonlive.com/third-marriages-yeah-or-nay/

Lisa Thomson buy: https://www.amazon.com/Lisa-Thomson/e/B007HNG4CQ/ Blog: https://www.lisathomsonlive.com/Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6692957.Lisa_Thomson

The third post is from award winning author Jan Sikes who shares an article that she wrote for the Buddy Magazine.. and I am sure you will enjoy Taking Texas to Tennessee. As a long time Country music fan, I had no idea about the rift within the industry and was fascinated to find out the background. And delighted to see that the rift has been healed..

Since not everyone gets to see the Buddy Magazine publication I decided to post a recent article I wrote after my trip to Nashville. So far, it’s getting some good attention and feedback!

A Tale of Two Music Cities Divided

On the heels of the Ken Burns sensational documentary about the evolution of country music on PBS, the one undisputable fact is that country music has been and is a large part of American history.

At one time during that history, Nashville was the only place to go if an artist wanted to break into the business. However, over the years, that changed and Texas played a large part in that change.

It is no secret that there has been a complicated rift between Nashville and Texas music artists ever since Waylon bucked the establishment, insisting on making music his own way and Willie took his music home to Texas.

I compare it to the famous stand-off between the Hatfields and McCoys. Shots were fired, and many folks threatened, but now the dust has cleared, and hands shaken. Judging by the recent spate of Texas Musicians who’ve made the trek to the famous city to perform on the Grand Ole Opry, I’d say there is at the least, a truce.

Could it be that the Nashville heads are watching the flourishing Texas music industry with some envy? Or perhaps they are only seeing dollar signs.

Head over to enjoy this post in full: https://rijanjks.wordpress.com/2019/10/20/taking-texas-to-tennessee-buddy-magazine/

Jan Sikes, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK
Website: https://www.jansikes.com/Goodreads: Jan on Goodreads

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will head over and enjoy the posts in full.. thanks Sally.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Jan Sikes, M.J. Mallon and Marina Osipova


Welcome to the first of the author updates this week and the first author with a recent review is Jan Sikes for one of her recent short story releases Voodoo or Destiny: You Decide.

About Voodoo or Destiny

Claire Winters is heartbroken when her husband of many years says he’s found a new love and wants a divorce. While having a pity party with her best friend, Jade, they come up with a daring idea. Together, they construct a Voodoo doll and with the help of several bottles of wine, create a ceremony to bring the same heartbreak to Daniel Winters as he brought to Claire. But do they go too far? You decide!

One of the recent reviews

M. Smith 5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Short Story July 23, 2019

This was a fantastic short story! It made me want more after that last page, but it also left it open for the reader to create their own outcome. There was suspense and even a little humor. Personally, I’ve always been fascinated by Voodoo, so I was excited to read this story, wondering how involved it would get. It was better than I imagined! A lot of research and time went into this story. The author even mentioned one of the well-known Voodoo Queens of New Orleans, Marie Laveau. This earned major brownie points because she was always one of the main reasons I wanted to visit NOLA.

Overall, the writing was flawless, and the story flowed as it should. I have other works by this author on my Kindle and can’t wait to dive into the next!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07TMQJKSS

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Voodoo-Destiny-Decide-Jan-Sikes-ebook/dp/B07TMQJKSS

A selection of other books by Jan Sikes

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK

And find more reviews and follow Jan on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7095856.Jan_Sikes

Connect to Jan via her website: http://www.jansikes.com

The next author with a review to showcase is M.J. Mallon for The Curse of Time : Book One – Bloodstone a YA fantasy and science fiction adventure.

About The Curse of Time

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

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

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

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

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

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

For lovers of fantasy with supernatural characters, in surprising settings.

A fantastic encounter with a strong character, teenager Amelina, a character that draws you into the story. She is courageous and resourceful and proves herself able to see past the obvious to find answers and solutions to the problems those dear to her heart are suddenly facing. And does this in a supernatural way.

I enjoyed the poetry that opens each chapter.

Young adults who enjoy fantasy stories with supernatural characters, in surprising settings will love this book.

Read the other reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B074CDJPY9

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

Follow M.J. Mallon on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon

Connect to Marjorie Mallon via her website: https://mjmallon.com/

The final author today with a recent review is Marina Osipova for How Dare the Birds Sing.

About the book

Are Lyuba and Günter star-crossed lovers? When they first meet in 1933 Soviet Russia, their young love is filled with hope and naiveté until Günter disappears. Her fleeting relationship with him has devastating consequences, forcing her to take a humiliating way out to save herself and her family. This choice unleashes a sequence of fatal events that shatter her life, affecting everyone involved.

In June 1941, World War II comes to Russian soil, hurling Lyuba, along with millions of others, into the inhuman grinder, testing the limits of her strength and resilience of her heart. Will it be strong enough years later to allow her to reveal the ugly secret she has buried from the only person the war has left for her to love?

One of the recent reviews for the book

How Dare the Birds Sing – indeed, how dare they? The extent to which man can be cruel to his fellow man never ceases to amaze me, as does the distance people will go to survive in the face of unspeakable cruelty. As a teenager, Lyuba and her best friend Natasha meet two student pilots. Stepan is Russian while Günter is German, studying in the Soviet school. It’s 1933 and Germany and the Soviet Union are on good terms, after all. Long story short, Günter has to return to Germany and everyone who has known him is under a cloud of potential espionage. Stepan, by then a Hero of the Soviet Union, has a privileged status. Turning his back on Natasha, he forces Lyuba into marriage, in significant part to protect Lyuba and her mother.

Then Germany and the Soviet Union have a falling-out and war comes. Lyuba, her mother and adopted daughter are on their way to join Stepan when the Germans attack. Lyuba is spared by a fluke. From there, the war takes charge of her life. Brief instances of happiness punctuate major periods of horrible danger, misery and even virtual torture.

Still the birds sing.

When the war finally ends and Lyuba is free to return home, her first objective is to find Natasha. Suffice it to say that Natasha’s war wasn’t Lyuba’s, and when Lyuba leaves the town where Natasha had lived, she sets out with Natasha’s daughter. Arriving in her home town, she finds her home still untouched and with several years’ accumulation of mail. Stepan’s letters are a cruel punctuation to her own journey, but she has the little girl, who finally calls Lyuba ‘Mama.’

Fifteen years later … you’ll have to read it to find out what happens then and has happened in the interim. It’s a compelling read, although it’s emotionally difficult. A fabulous book, overall. 

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07N2BDF9

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dare-Birds-Sing-Book-Love-ebook/dp/B07N2BDF91

Also by Marina Osipova

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Marina-Osipova/e/B0778W8MHS

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Marina-Osipova/e/B0778W8MHS

Read other reviews on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29457862-the-cruel-romance

Connect to Marina via her website: http://www.marina-osipova.com/

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you are leaving with a book or two under your arm.. .thanks Sally.