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


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 – Wednesday October 9th – Sue Vincent, Natalie Ducey and John W. Howell.

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.

Many of us offer guest writing opportunities and it is a very useful way to not only showcase your writing skills but to also promote your books or blog. Here is a reminder from Sue Vincent that she welcomes guests and having been a recipient of her hospitality, I can highly recommend the experience.

Artists, Writers, Photographers… lend me your ears…

…and your words and pictures…

BmG logo

If you would like to be my guest, please read the guidelines and get in touch!

What drives you to do what you do? Why do you write? When did you take your first photograph… and why? Do you have a new book coming out? News of an exhibition? What have you learned that you can share? Do you have a story to tell… inspiration to offer… Or advice on writing, publishing, or promoting? Can you share tips on photography or art?

Head over and sign up:

Sue Vincent  Buy: –  Goodreads:

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

The next post is from Natalie Ducey and is all about making it easy for your readers to share your blog on social media.. you don’t write your blog to talk to yourself, and if someone enjoys it enough to share, you need to enable them to do that.

Cheers, fellow bloggers! ♥

Today’s post is all about sharing. Yup, because that’s what blogging is all about, isn’t it? Connecting and sharing lessons learned with tips and techniques to help make this blogging journey an awesome one. It’s why I started blogging and the very reason I remain so passionate about it.

Increase blog traffic and maximize reach by adding and customizing social media sharing options in WordPress!

Increase blog traffic and maximize reach by adding and customizing social media sharing options in WordPress!Increase blog traffic and maximize reach by adding and customizing social media sharing options in WordPress!

We all know how much time and effort goes into crafting an engaging blog post. It’s not a simple task.

But… sharing it is. And it’s a win-win for all. Yet it’s not always an option.

I’ll set the scene. 🙂

I arrive at the end of an amazing post, eager to share …. and facepalm. No share options!

Say it ain’t so. I know, right? Missed opportunities.

Head over to read the rest of this guide to sharing your blog:

Natalie Ducey, Buy:
Blog: Goodreads:

The final post today is from John Howell who does a wonderful series — Top Ten Things Not To Do.. and this week intriguingly …it is when at the first live radio broadcast of a football game in 1921…

Ten things not to do

This week marks the anniversary of the first live radio broadcast of a football game in 1921. The game was played at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. The announcer was Harold W. Arlin of radio station KDKA. The University of Pittsburgh Panthers beat the West Virginia University Mountaineers by a score of 21 to 13. (Not much has changed there. This rivalry began in 1895, and so far, the University of Pittsburgh has won the meeting more times than West Virginia University. It is called the Back Yard Brawl since the two schools are only 70 miles from each other.) I think we ought to go to the game rater than listen on the radio. Well, bring the radio along too. It might be fun to see how close the announcer describes the real action. As usual, there are rules to follow, so we don’t create a tear in the time continuum. Take this list with you.

Top Ten Things Not to Do at the First Live Radio Broadcast of a Football Game.

10. If you are at the game, do not think you can listen to the broadcast on streaming audio via iHeart Radio. If you do, at best those around you will be too interested in the game to notice your cell phone. At worst, the usher will spot your phone and ask you to follow him. (For heaven sakes, Jacquez don’t go. You really want to explain that you are from the year 2019? There will be a padded room reserved for you.)

Head over to find out the other nine things not to do :

John Howell, Buy: John Howell Goodreads Blog:

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



Smorgasbord Easter Parade Blog Party – Part Two – Music, dancing, food, Behatted guests and time to drop you links.

Welcome to the Smorgasbord Easter Parade part two with more behatted guests, music, dancing, 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.

It is a beautiful day here and whilst you are waiting for the parade to begin here is something spectacular for you to join in with…

The first guest in the parade today has been providing the funnies for the blog over the last few months, even when she was basking in the sun in Mexico…most of you will already be enjoying her monthly D.G. Kaye Travel Column Debby Gies has gone all out with not just her hat today but her entire outfit….Debby has jetted in overnight from Canada to be with us.

About D.G. Kaye – Debby Gies

Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.

When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.
I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.

“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”

                 “For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”

When I’m not writing, I’m reading or quite possibly looking after some mundane thing in life. It’s also possible I may be on a secret getaway trip, as that is my passion—traveling.

Books by D.G. Kaye

Read the reviews and buy the books: – Read more reviews and follow Debby: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads
Follow Debby on her blog:

Debby has also supplied the funnies for the parade…

The next guest in the parade has flown in from Texas to join the party. Thriller/Paranormal author John W. Howell delights the readers of his blog with short stories and also personal musings by his two dogs.. who seem to have him wrapped around their little paws!

About John Howell

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the tension. The final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016 concludes the thriller series. John’s fourth book Circumstances of Childhood, launched in October of 2017 tells a different thriller story of riches to rags, football, Wall Street, brotherly love, redemption, and inspiration with a touch of paranormal to keep you riveted. The fifth book is a collaboration with the ​award-winning author, Gwen Plano titled The Contract. Heavenly bodies become concerned about the stability of the Earth and send two of their own to risk eternal salvation in order to save the planet. The Contract achieved number one status in its genre. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

A selection of books by John W. Howell

Discover all the books and read the reviews: Read more reviews and follow John: John Howell Goodreads
Connect to John via his blog:

Please help yourselves to coffee and macaroons...

My next guest has crossed the Irish Sea which was thankfully calm last night, to be part of the parade.. author Stevie Turner recently compiled and contributed to an amazing anthology with articles for 19 authors (including me) on significant aspects of life Proceeds to Cancer Research – you can find out more here Understanding – Significant Aspects of Life

As you can see Stevie loves a bit of rock ‘n’ roll….

About Stevie Turner

Stevie Turner works part time as a medical secretary in a busy NHS hospital and writes suspense, women’s fiction, and darkly humorous novels in her spare time. She won a New Apple Book Award in 2014 and a Readers’ Favorite Gold Award in 2015 for her book ‘A House Without Windows’, and one of her short stories, ‘Checking Out’, was published in the Creative Writing Institute’s 2016 anthology ‘Explain!’ Her psychological thriller ‘Repent at Leisure’ won third place in the 2016 Drunken Druid Book Award contest.

Stevie lives in the East of England, and is married with two sons and four grandchildren. She has also branched out into the world of audio books, screenplays, and translations. Most of her novels are now available as audio books, and one screenplay, ‘For the Sake of a Child’, won a silver award in the Spring 2017 Depth of Field International Film Festival. ‘A House Without Windows’ gained the attention of a New York media production company in December 2017. Some of Stevie’s books are currently being translated into German, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.

A very small selection of books by Stevie Turner

Discover all the books and read the reviews: more reviews and follow Stevie on Goodreads: Stevie Turner
Connect to Stevie via her website:

Now time for a little more entertainment…the Easter parade is a place for all to gather, even those who have passed away and who hopefully are still dancing somewhere… including my parents. This is for all of them and our enjoyment.

My next guest is the lovely Robbie Cheadle who has sent representatives all the way from South Africa to the parade.. Her two sons Michael, who co-writes the Sir Chocolate series of stories and cookbooks.. and Gregory who keeps them both in order and provides much needed social media support.

This was taken when they were a little bit younger wearing stunning top hats.

About Robbie Cheadle

Robbie Cheadle was born in London in the United Kingdom. Her father died when she was three months old and her mother immigrated to South Africa with her tiny baby girl. Robbie has lived in Johannesburg, George and Cape Town in South Africa and attended fourteen different schools. This gave her lots of opportunities to meet new people and learn lots of social skills as she was frequently “the new girl”.

Robbie is a qualified Chartered Accountant and specialises in corporate finance with a specific interest in listed entities and stock markets. Robbie has written a number of publications on listing equities and debt instruments in Africa and foreign direct investment into Africa.

Robbie is married to Terence Cheadle and they have two lovely boys, Gregory and Michael. Michael (aged 11) is the co-author of the Sir Chocolate series of books and attends school in Johannesburg. Gregory (aged 14) is an avid reader and assists Robbie and Michael with filming and editing their YouTube videos and editing their books.

A small selection of books by Robbie Cheadle

Discover all the books and read the reviews: Find more reviews and follow Robbie on Goodreads: Robbie Cheadle Connect to Robbie via her blog:

Please help yourself to some sandwiches as you walk passed the stands..

My next guest, Sue Vincent, has also sent a representative as she is busy this weekend. I have a sneaky suspicion that her beloved small black dog Ani, is not quite sure about getting the ferry across on her own and being billeted in our house for the weekend… but I am sure a little Irish Cheddar will do the trick.. Ani is an author in her own right…with proceeds going towards a tennis ball launcher…About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire born writer currently living in the south of England, largely due to an unfortunate incident with a map, a pin and a blindfold. Raised in a spiritually eclectic family she has always had an unorthodox view on life, particularly the inner life, which is often reflected in her writing, poetry and paintings.

Sue lived in France for several years, sharing a Bohemian lifestyle and writing songs before returning to England where the youngest of her two sons was born. She began writing and teaching online several years ago, and was invited to collaborate with Dr G Michael Vasey on their book, “The Mystical Hexagram: The Seven Inner Stars of Power” (Datura Press).

Since then she has published a number of books, beginning with “Sword of Destiny”, a magical tale set in the ancient landscape of Yorkshire. Her retelling of the Egyptian myths, “The Osiriad”, came shortly afterwards along with the Triad of Albion – “The Initiate”, “Heart of Albion” and “Giants Dance” in collaboration with Stuart France. These books tell a factual tale in a fictional manner, that is at once a journey into the landscape, myth and iconography of Albion and the story of a growing and rather oddball friendship.

Sue, along with Steve Tanham and Stuart France, is a Director of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness, an international modern Mystery School that seeks to allow its students to find the inherent magic in living and being.

A very small selection of books by Sue Vincent (and Ani)

Discover all of Sue Vincent’s books and read the reviews: Read more reviews and follow Sue on Goodreads: Sue Vincent Connect to Sue via her blog:

Time for a little more entertainment.and something I am sure Ani would be keen to join in with…courtesy of the amazing partnership – FCI Dog dance World Championship 2016 – Winner freestyle – Yvonne Belin and Alice (Switzerland):  Videos from Freestyle&HTM World Championship 2016 Mos

My next guest is crime fiction/children’s author Eloise de Sousa who has brought company along with he. Eloise says she sits at her computer some days, contemplating murder.. and passion and adventure.. when she is not in her bat cave she is mum to four children, four cats and a dog called Henry…

About Eloise de Sousa

Finding heroes and villains is easy – capturing their essence in a story is harder.
Eloise thrives on creating characters that make you want to reach into the book and shake them, hug them or arrest them. Her children’s books follow real life trends told through easy stories that face bullying or social issues which open children’s minds to the opportunity to question the world around them.

With the few books written thus far, Eloise plans to capture more villains and weave more tales to inspire or frighten her readers (whichever is appropriate!). She will be publishing a few more stories in the coming months.

A small selection of books by Eloise

Discover all the books and read the reviews: more reviews and follow Eloise on Goodreads: Eloise De Sousa – Follow Eloise on her blog:

My next guest is poet Willow Willers who is sporting a dashing flat cap. Willow has been nominated for the best lifestyle blog in the Bloggers Bash Awards this year and you can find out more at this LINK

About Willow Willers

I am the mum of three boys all now grown and flown to live their own lives. Luckily they do keep in touch and visit often. I now have two beautiful grandsons.

When I started this blog I had not long come home from hospital after an accident in which I broke my back. I was in hospital for a month and had three operations.

It has taken me a long time to recover, I am still recovering but every day my body is getting stronger.It has taken a huge toll on me mentally I had to retire early on health grounds, I had to come to terms with finding out people I thought were friends were not. I had to make a new life for myself. Things I could do easily have become difficult.

Writing poetry and prose has helped me a great deal, in fact I think it has saved my life.

You can find one of Willow’s stories here: Vlad

and you can follow Willow on Facebook:

Time for another Flash Mob on your feet.. this time Pharrell Williams with Happy from Italy. Marco Squeglia

We are nearly at the end of the parade with just three more guests, the first of which is Marian Beaman..who is looking very swish as she arrives from the USA. Since beginning her blog in 2013, she has uncovered nostalgic photos, letters, and artifacts from her two Longenecker homes in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, many of which are featured on blog on Wednesdays such as her latest:

About Marian Beaman

My love of books, along with a connection to students and colleagues, has made my years in education pure joy. I have spent more than 40 years teaching, finishing my career with 21 years at Florida State College in Jacksonville.

Writing dovetails with reading and teaching. My academic writing includes a multi-colored array of topics, ranging from “A Thousand Acres: Not King Lear in a Cornfield” for the American Popular Culture Association and “It’s Not Easy Being Green, Wal-Mart and Me,” recounting my neighborhood struggle to keep large oaks and tall pines from biting the dust.

Former Mennonite with a Writing Habit

A dream came true when I presented and published “God: Myth and Mystery from the Romantics through the Twentieth Century: Informing Global Religious Conflict” in magical Oxford, England. In 2011 Bedford St. Martin’s textbooks published “Facilitating Cooperative Learning,” the mantra of my most effective teaching techniques.

Now in my Third Act, I’ve embraced creative non-fiction with “Gutsy In Ukraine,” published in Sonia Marsh’s My Gutsy Story Anthology (2014), Volume 2. In September 2016, my story “Making Love Edible: Lessons from Fanny Martin Longenecker” was published in The Mennonite magazine. In the fall 2018 issue, The Arts & Antiques show magazine published my article in Patient Profiles.

My work in progress is tentatively titled A Mennonite Daughter: Thorns and Roses, a memoir that reveals family secrets.

You can discover more of Marian’s posts via her blog: You can also follow Marian on Facebook:

My next guest has taken the request for fancy headgear to heart and please welcome poet Miriam Hurdle who is looking very fetching in Easter Bunny Ears.. Miriam is one of the contributors to the Posts from Your Archives series including her latest inspiring story about her brother-in-law’s kidney transplant: Kidney Transplant: A Good Match

About Miriam Hurdle.

Miriam Hurdle is a multi-genre writer. She writes poetry, flash fiction, and short stories. Her poems are included in Letters to Gaia, Whispers and Echoes Issue 2, Whispers and Echoes Issue 3, and Outcast and More Words.

Music has rooted in her life. Being a soloist as a teenager led her to taking voice lessons and to have ongoing singing engagements. She continues to sing soprano in choral groups. Lyrics have a major influence in the natural flow of her melodic writing. She writes memoir in the form of poetry.

Along with her brother, she took photos when the films were black and white. Photography is still her enjoyable hobby. Drawing and painting were fun activities as a child. Her favorite was to draw a Japanese girl with big eyes, long hair, small lips and chin. She resumed drawing and watercolor painting several years ago. In her poetry collection, photos and paintings are included to illustrate the poems.

She earned a Doctorate of Education from the University of La Verne in California. After two years of rehabilitation counseling, fifteen years of public school teaching and ten years in school district administration, she retired and enjoys life with her husband in southern California.

Read the reviews for Songs of the Heartstrings: Read more reviews on Goodreads: Miriam Hurdle  Follow Miriam on her blog:

As it is still very warm… please grab a glass of water on your way passed the stand….

My final guest is poet and fantasy author  M. J. Mallon (Marjorie) who joins us from the UK and looks like she is making the most of the wonderful weather on the crossing to Ireland….Not only an author but a prolific book reviewer with over 100 for you to read on her blog : :

About Marjorie Mallon

I am a debut author who has been blogging for three years: My interests include writing, photography, poetry, and alternative therapies. I write Fantasy YA, and middle grade fiction as well as micropoetry – haiku and tanka.

My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheros! I was born on the 17th of November in Lion City: Singapore, (a passionate Scorpio, with the Chinese Zodiac sign a lucky rabbit,) second child and only daughter to my proud parents Paula and Ronald. I grew up in a mountainous court in the Peak District in Hong Kong with my elder brother Donald. My parents dragged me away from my exotic childhood and my much loved dog Topsy to the frozen wastelands of Scotland. In bonnie Edinburgh I mastered Scottish country dancing, and a whole new Och Aye lingo.

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

You can read the reviews for The Curse of Time : are more reviews and you can follow Marjorie on Goodreads: M. J. Mallon  Follow Marjorie on her website/blog:

And not just time to thank you for dropping in today and pleased don’t forget to add the links to your latest posts and to Amazon for your books… Thanks and Happy Easter… Sally.

I thought we would end with another ABBA track…one to get everyone on their feet to follow the parade. 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Getting to Know You #Interview with John W. Howell.

Welcome to this week’s interview and today my guest is John W. Howell, author of the thrilling John J. Cannon Trilogy, which I read and enjoyed, as well as Circumstances of Childhood which took us into the world of football and high finance. Just released is The Contract which is a collaboration with author Gwen Plano, and is already receiving great reviews. More about John’s books later, but first the official word about this charming author and blogger.

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon.

The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016. John’s fourth book Circumstances of Childhood, launched in October of 2017 tells a thriller story of riches to rags, football, Wall Street, brotherly love, redemption, and inspiration with a touch of paranormal to keep you riveted. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets. And if you click the photos it will take you to John’s latest post about Lucy, Bailey and Twiggy.

.Twiggy, Lucy, Bailey

Time to find out which of the questions John has selected to answer and a look at his wonderful selection of books.

Welcome John and can you describe one most embarrassing moments of your life?

When I was in College I loved to, play practical jokes on my fraternity brothers. One night while they were all having dinner in the lowest level of the house, I took out all the light bulbs of every lamp in every room on the three floors above. Of course, I kept the blubs in a pillow case since I knew I would be returning them. After dinner, they all came up to the upper floors, and it was pitch black. Everyone was yelling and couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I was sneaking up the back stair with the bulbs and was caught. The brothers stripped off my clothes and wrapped me in masking tape. They then carried me across the street and chained and locked me to a sorority house porch pillar. Long story short the police and fire department were called since it required a bolt cutter to undo the chain. My tape was beginning to show places that should not be seen. I was given a warning and had to take a walk of shame back across the street. I never checked to see if the story made the nightly news.

How would you describe your fashion sense?

For forty plus years I dressed in the classic business style. I wore subtle color suits of deep blue, black, or grey with maybe a barely noticeable pinstripe. Summers and winters called for different weights of wool but still wool. Shirts were usually white or blue with white cuffs and collar and always a silk tie. Shoes varied in color from black to black and included cap-toed oxfords, wing-tipped oxfords, and plain toed oxfords. It was easy to dress. I merely pulled out a suit from the left and put it back on the right.

Very dapper suited John.

So if you saw me today, you might ask, “What happened?” You see I never wear dress shoes or socks. In fact, the only shoes I wear are boat shoes with no socks, and I only do that when I dress up. I am usually in board shorts and a t-shirt. I do have some nice fishing shirts that I occasionally wear to the doctors but typically am pretty casual. Flip flops, cotton baseball cap, shorts and a t-shirt are du rigor today.

Sally here: I found this very dapper beach photo of John to show you too.

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

I love to cook and have some favorite dishes. The one that stands out regarding consistency and praise is my pasta Amatriciana. It has an authentic flavor with just a hint of heat and a creamy texture which can be described as melt in your mouth. I have the recipe.

Image Pinterest


  • I pound penne pasta
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 5 strips of bacon chopped
  • 2oz Pancetta chopped
  • Diced 3/4 cup onion
  • Diced 1 TLBS garlic
  • Diced, I x 28 oz can whole plum tomatoes, drained, chopped with juice reserved,
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 TLBS freshly ground black pepper (very important)
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese.


  1. Cook penne to el dente (9-10 min).
  2. In large pan heat olive oil on medium, add bacon and Pancetta and cook till light brown stirring often.
  3. Add onion and cook until tender.
  4. Add garlic and cook until soften (do not burn).
  5. Add chopped tomatoes (I usually put them in the pan whole and use kitchen shears to cut them up)
  6. Simmer for 10 minutes on low heat.
  7. Add basil, pepper and Parmesan cheese and stir.
  8. As the sauce thickens, add the reserved tomato juice until the desired thickness is achieved.
  9. Add the sauce to the pasta and serve with parmesan cheese.

 If you could get rid of one household chore, what would it be?

I would love to get rid of Vacuum cleaning. (Hoovering in the UK). Our house is all wood and tile flooring, and with three dogs you can imagine the tumbling tumbleweeds that build up if the floor isn’t swept regularly. Although we have a central vacuum system, it is still a chore to do each room. If you try to skip a place for a while, then the tell-tale dust bunnies roll through the door. When we had the house built, we were supposed to have kick plate suction outlets strategically placed throughout the house. This would allow attacking the dust periodically with a broom and merely sweeping into the kick suction place. The contractor thought we were crazy and installed the kind of ports where you have to plug in a hose. By the time we discovered the mistake, it was too late to go back. So now we have this long hose which is a pain to get out and put away. If we had the kick plates, the room would take maybe three minutes to sweep. Also, when my wife and I divided up chores, it was my luck to get the vacuum duty now that the kickplate idea was dead.

Sally here: If I could offer some advice John, use your vacuum chore as an opportunity to entertain and obtain some exercise.

Knowing now, what you didn’t know then, what would you have done differently?

If I knew then that getting a book published need not be a hurried process, I would have taken more time on the first. Once I finished the first manuscript I was hell-bent on getting it published. I sent out queries and lo and behold a publisher wanted my book. I was so thrilled and barely read the contract. Of course, I signed and then came to understand that it would be three long years before I could finally be on my own to continue publishing. You see the publisher had the rights to all my characters. Yes, that’s right. When I wrote to find out when the second book in the Trilogy was going to be published, there was an extended period of no answer followed by information to the point that no one knew when the next book would come out. Now I was in a pickle since I used this time to finish the other two books. I finally asked for and got a waiver on the character question and then published the second book. I allowed the contract to expire without a renewal. Had I not been in such a hurry I think I could have taken my time to find a different publisher with probably less stress.

Now it is time to take a look at the new book written in collaboration with Gwen Plano. The Contract: Between Heaven and Earth

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. A Great summer read.

One of the recent reviews for the book

This story grabbed me from the first word on the first page. Imagine that humans make contracts before returning to Earth to complete lessons or missions? While this book is fiction, many of us believe this is exactly the case. When Teresa and Peter are summoned to an emergency gathering of the Elder Council (in heaven), they have no idea they are about to be chosen for an Earth mission that will not only save lives, but the entire Planet Earth itself.

Enter Brad and Sarah. Both come into bodies and situations that are traumatic and frightening. AND, they have no memory of what they agreed to do in heaven. Sarah is in a dangerously abusive marriage and Brad is a Navy Seal in active battle. As this story unfolds, it is fascinating how the authors brought these two together on Earth and how aptly they depicted their instant attraction to each other. I’m not going to post a spoiler and tell you the outcome of this story. I will only tell you that is the perfect blend of thriller and spiritual – between the yin and yang. It is a fast-paced, riveting and rewarding read. I hope we will see more collaborations from these two authors If you love a good thriller with the stakes so high it makes your pulse pound, while gaining spiritual insights, you will love this book!

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

Other Books by John Howell

 Read the reviews and buy the books:

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Connect with John.

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About Gwen Plano

Gwen M. Plano, aka Gwendolyn M. Plano, grew up in Southern California and spent most of her professional life in higher education. She taught and served as an administrator in colleges in Japan, New York, Connecticut, and California. Gwen’s academic background is in theology and counseling. Recently retired, she now lives in the Midwest with her husband and enjoys writing and travel.

Gwen’s first book is an acclaimed memoir, Letting Go into Perfect Love. Her second book, The Contract between heaven and earth, is a thriller fiction novel, co-authored by John W. Howell. It is available now for pre-order. Author Jan Sikes read the manuscript and wrote that “The Contract is the perfect blending between the physical and unseen world with unbreakable bonds between human and spirit.”

You can find out more about Gwen on her website:

Also by Gwen Plano

Read some of the reviews for the book:

And Amazon UK:

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Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you enjoyed seeing another side to John Howell as I did… please feel free to share.. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air Your Reviews – Jaye Marie, Alyssa Drake, John Howell and Andrew Joyce

Welcome to the first of the review posts this week and we have four authors celebrating receiving recent reviews. The first is for Jaye Marie for The Ninth Life.

About The Ninth Life

Nine Lives is the story of struggling and ageing artist Kate Devereau’s life as she tries to make sense of her often confusing existence. She needs to understand what has been happening to her, and why she seems to have cheated death on so many occasions.
To understand why she has been plagued by the mysterious, tormenting voice in her head before it might be too late to do anything about it
The most recent review for The Ninth Life.

Sep 06, 2017 Rosie Amber rated it Four Stars.

The Ninth Life is a psychological thriller set mainly in Guildford, Surrey.

Kate is a fifty-nine year old artist. She has an unusual voice in her head that provides commentary on her life; however, she has always tried to ignore what it says. Kate is currently working on a series of seascape pieces for Sam, a gallery owner and best friend, who is opening a new gallery in London.

We learn about Kate’s earlier life in a series of memories; her hardships, relationships and her current desire for solitude are all fed to us in easy-to-absorb chunks. Early on we are introduced to a sinister character who is besotted with her. As the story develops there is a slow build-up of tension, with a net of mishaps and murder that draw closer.

I liked Kate, with her artistic flair and disregard for most responsibility unless it was connected to her paintings. It became her coping mechanism in the face of underlying fears. Her passion for art shone through and I could almost see the paintings she so lovingly produced. Her back story was interesting and filled out her character, but the method of introducing it got a little repetitive towards the end. I did want to know a little more about those who loved Kate and, perhaps, what drew them to her. For me, there were so many unanswered questions about many of them, I would have enjoyed a little more to flesh out the characters.

Overall a good debut novel. If you like art and enjoy the thriller genre, then give this a go.

Read other reviews and buy the book on Amazon:

and on Amazon UK:

Also by Jaye Marie

Find out more about Jaye Marie and buy her books:

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The next featured author is Alyssa Drake whose debut novel A Perfect Plan –(Wiltshire Chronicles Book 1) was published last year and has already received over 70 reviews.

About the book

Samantha Hastings lived a quiet, peaceful life on her family’s country estate. With no man to order her around and no stifling society rules to follow, she considered herself blessed. However, when her brother’s ship sinks during a short trip to France, Samantha receives a request from her sister-in-law to return to town and manage the late Earl’s finances. Suddenly thrust into society, Samantha faces an unfamiliar world and a pair of very familiar green eyes.

Lord Benjamin Westwood never intended on following through with his rash promise to his best friend. Now, with Edward’s death, Benjamin becomes the unwilling guardian to Edward’s bratty little sister, who has grown up considerably since the last time they met. His intention to marry her off to the first available suitor is thwarted when he finds himself falling for Samantha’s unique demeanor. He lights upon the perfect plan; a marriage of convenience, giving him the opportunity to romance Samantha without distraction.

However, when they discover Edward’s disappearance was due to foul play, Benjamin’s perfect plan begins to quickly unravel. Now, Samantha is in more danger than either of them realized and Benjamin is running out of time.

The most recent review for the book

A Perfect Plan is Sexy, intense, dark, N dangerously delicious! Had me turning pages like mad. Full of Spine tingling mystery, cheeky humor N scorching romance! I love the Hero Benjamin & Heroine Samantha they keep things fun N sassy! 😉

Alyssa Drake is definitely on my list of go to authors! 5 Stars all the way! I need book 2 NOW that ending gave me chills!!!!

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Connect to Alyssa via her website

The next author with a great review for his latest book, Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups is Andrew Joyce.

Bedtime Stories for Grown Ups

About Bedtime Stories for Grown Ups.

Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups is a jumble of genres—seven hundred pages of fiction and non-fiction … some stories included against the author’s better judgment. If he had known that one day they’d be published, he might not have been as honest when describing his past. Here is a tome of true stories about the author’s criminal and misspent youth, historical accounts of the United States when She was young, and tales of imagination encompassing every conceivable variety—all presented as though the author is sitting next to you at a bar and you’re buying the drinks as long as he keeps coming up with captivating stories to hold your interest.

Comprised of 218,000 words, you’ll have plenty to read for the foreseeable future. This is a book to have on your night table, to sample a story each night before extinguishing the lights and drifting off to a restful sleep.

Mr. Joyce sincerely hopes that you will enjoy his stories because, as he has stated, “It took a lot of living to come up with the material for some of them.”

Andrew Joyce is the recipient of the 2013 Editor’s Choice Award for Best Western for his novel, Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer.

His book Yellow Hair was awarded Book of the Year by Just Reviews and Best Historical Fiction of 2016 by Colleen’s Book Reviews.

One of the recent reviews for the stories

I have read all of Andrew Joyce’s previous books, and they have all been very good. BEDTIME STORIES FOR GROWNUPS is different. It is a blend of his hitching days , and some other short stories, and even some stories written by his best friend, who was not a human, but Danny the Dog.. when he writes about his hitching days, I am not sure if he was completely CRAZY, or extremely Lucky, or maybe a combination of both. His hitching stories and all of his adventures along the way are very entertaining.

He has already proved to be a good writer in his other books. In this one, he is a goodtoryteller, as his hitching stories (his word for hitch hiker)take him on many adventures in many different places, where he meets many different people. They are all true, he has obviously led a very exciting life. There has never been a dull moment, that is for sure. I totally enjoyed reading this, and am looking forward to his next book.

Read the reviews and buy the book :

and Amazon UK

Also by Andrew Joyce

51jymdwgckl-_uy250_ 51wekgjv4l-_uy250_ 511xzy2h0cl-_uy250_Read the reviews and buy all the books:


61uytgjxb0l-_ux250_Connect to Andrew:


The last author today with a recent review of 78 reviews, is John Howell for his first book in the John Cannon series – My GRL – Having read all the series I can highly recommend.

About My GRL

John J. Cannon, a successful San Francisco lawyer, takes a leave of absence from the firm and buys a boat he names My GRL. John is unaware his boat has been targeted by a terrorist group to be used to destroy a symbol of America’s greatness. John’s first inkling of trouble is when he wakes up in the hospital and learns he was found unconscious next to the body of the young woman who sold him the boat in the first place. John now is the only one standing between the terrorists and the success of their mission.

One of the most recent reviews for the book

Howell created a page-turning thriller. In the midst of the suspense, the most charming aspect of the story is that the protagonist John J. Cannon is an anti-hero. He’s a lawyer who has taken time off to move to a coastal Texas town and, although he knows very little about boating, buys himself a pretty good sized vessel he names My GRL. John is not necessarily the sharpest, most experienced, or courageous hero. But he’s likeable, the sort of guy you’d like to visit on his boat with a six-pack in your hand—if only it were a safe place.

But from the getgo, John and his boat are involved in a dangerous situation with some very shady characters. It’s great fun to follow along for the ride. John gets himself into one hot spot after another, but eventually he’s gotten himself in so deep it doesn’t seem possible that he can escape. Has John become canny enough to vanquish such a mighty opponent? Once I hit the last third of the book, where suspense leads to fast-paced action, I couldn’t put it down.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

and Amazon UK:

Also by John W.Howell

Buy all of the John Cannon Series and find our more about John W. Howell:

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Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will explore these authors and their books further. Thanks Sally


Smorgasbord Short Story Festival – 9th – 12th June – The World Darkly by John W. Howell.

I am delighted to welcome John Howell to the festival with his short story The World Darkly.

The World Darkly
By John W. Howell © 2017

Frank is cycling on the beach and sees something shining in the sand. He hopes it might be of value, but is disappointed since it is only a pair of sunglasses. He gets off the bike and picks them up. He turns them over and notices they are finely made not like the usual junk people throw away. He finally opens them and on the inside of one of the ear pieces are the words The World Darkly in gold. Must be the slogan, he thinks. Frank looks around to see if anyone has noticed him pick them off the beach. There is only an old couple pretty far away walking in his direction. He wonders if they are coming back to get them. Frank is worried. He stuffs them into his parka pocket and continues the ride. Before he gets home; he is having second thoughts, and maybe he should turn the glasses into the police. He decides against it. “Finder’s keeper’s loser’s weepers;” he tells himself.

After a hot dog dinner, Frank suddenly remembers the glasses in the pocket of his parka in the closet. He gets them and puts them on in front of his mirror in his bedroom. To his surprise, he cannot see himself through the lenses and whips them off to make sure it is not he who has disappeared. This is strange; he thinks and puts the glasses on again. Although he cannot see himself, he is able to see some unusual symbols crawling around the inside of the lens. They are moving quickly, and Frank touches the top of the frame since he thinks it might be a good idea to take these things off.

As his finger meets the frame, the symbols stop moving. Removing his finger causes the symbols to begin crawling again. “I can control them,” he says. Then he repeatedly touches the frame and then not. He is convinced this is the movement that controls the movement of the symbols. He also experiments and sees that a light touch slows the symbols and a heavy touch stops them. Frank does not know what the symbols mean, but he is glad that they are under his control.

Frank takes the glasses off and reaches for his phone. His parents gave him an iPhone, so he decides he is going to look up one of the symbols on Google to see if there is an answer. He touches Safari and types in the symbol that he remembers which is a T. The answer comes back quickly that T stands for AT&T and it is the symbol for the New York Stock exchange information on the company. He sees that the stock is priced at thirty-three dollars and twenty-one cents. He does not understand any more of the information but is satisfied that the found out what the symbols mean. He will test others later, but for now, he is satisfied he has broken the code.

Frank puts the glasses back on and sees that the symbols are crawling past again. He slows them down until he comes to T once more and stops. Underneath T, there is what looks like a price and a fraction. The price below T is thirty-five and seven eights. In high school, he learned that seven eights are almost one so he is assuming the stock is priced at almost thirty-six dollars. That can’t be right, he thinks. I just looked on Google, and the price was Thirty-three dollars and twenty-one cents. Maybe these numbers on the glasses aren’t prices.

He sees a day and date in the upper right-hand corner. The day is Thursday, and the date is February fourteenth, twenty-seventeen. Frank quickly removes the glasses. Today is Wednesday, February thirteenth and he suddenly realizes these glasses are telling him information about tomorrow. He puts them back on and finds T again. “Sure enough,” he says. “This number is the price tomorrow.” He scans for more information, and in addition to stock prices, he also sees there are news headlines.

The headline jumping out at him contains the information about one winning ticket sold for the Mega Millions jackpot. Further, the story identifies the prize as five hundred million dollars. He is able to scroll down like he did with the stock symbols and comes to the winning numbers. He picks up a pencil and writes the numbers on the back of a paper bag found on his dresser; 3-4-5-18-22-31. Frank is about ready to bust knowing these are the winning numbers for tonight’s drawing. Although he doesn’t know how he has the winning numbers. He looks at his watch and knows he must hurry in order to get to the convenience store to enter the drawing. He curses taking so long to look at the glasses until so late.

He jumps into his car and heads to the convenience store cursing the whole way at the slowness of other drivers. He finally slides to a stop at the store, rushes in and grabs a ticket to fill out. “Where’s a pencil?” he says. The girl behind the counter points to one on a chain. He writes the numbers and hands the slip and a dollar to the girl.

“It is after eight o’clock. Drawings close at eight.”

“Damn. Can’t you make an exception? I will make it worth your while.”

“I’m sorry the machine locks up at eight, and no more tickets can be issued.”

“Wait,” he thinks. I can still use the glasses to score some cheap stocks next week and the Texas Lotto on Tuesday. Frank tells the girl she will be sorry when she reads about him in the newspaper. She gives him a puzzled look, and he leaves the store deep in thought. Frank is not paying attention and steps in front of a car whose driver does not see him in the glare of the lights. He is hit and rolls into the bushes in front of the store and smashes his head on the brick facade. Frank is no longer of this world

After the police and EMS leave, a car pulls up to the front of the store. The driver gets out and sees something shining in the bushes. He goes to investigate and picks up a pair of sunglasses. He looks at them and runs his finger on the gold embossed words The World Darkly on the earpiece. He looks around to see if anyone is watching and then stuffs them into his jacket pocket. He wonders if he should turn them in, but decides he should not.

“Finder’s keepers, loser’s weepers,” he says. He thinks no one heard him.

©Johnwhowell 2017

About John W. Howell.

John’s main interests are reading and writing. He turned to writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive career in business. John writes thriller fiction novels and has a number of short stories published in various on-line magazines. One of his short stories has been recognized by Writers Digest in the Popular Fiction Writing contest.

His novel, My GRL published by Martin Sisters Publishing and is the first of many exciting adventures of the book’s central character John J. Cannon. The second, His Revenge published by Keewaydin Lane Books is now available in Paperback and Kindle formats. He has recently published the third book in the series, Our Justice.

John has a wonderful blog where he entertains with short stories and also shares the changing face of his world along the coast of Texas.

John’s books

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

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My thanks to John for contributing this great story to keep you entertained while I am away.

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I would be grateful if you would share John’s short story on your own networks and thank you for dropping in today. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Short Stories Festival – 9th to 12th June – The programme of events.

As you may have already heard there is a #BloggersBash going on in London this weekend and having been unable to go the last two years, I am delighted to be heading off tomorrow.

As usual when taking a break I invited some guest writers to contribute their fiction short stories to keep you entertained while I was offline. And I am very grateful to Sheila Williams, John Howell, Phillip T. Stephens, Wendy Janes, Mary Smith and Robbie and Michael Cheadle for their wonderful tales.

There will  also be the regular posts from Paul Andruss and the start of the serialisation of Geoff Cronin’s second book written when he was 84 years old with more stories of life in Ireland in the 1920s onwards.

On Monday morning I have also scheduled a health post and an introduction to a new series.. The health benefits of laughter and the Smorgasbord Laughter Academy.

The Programme – Friday 9th June

Thomas the Rhymer


Paul Andruss with the background to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Boy with a Harmonica

Sheila Williams with a story set in France during World War II with a supernatural twist.


Sally Cronin –  Meet a man who was the perfect candidate for the job set in the near future.

Saturday 10th June.

The Matmakers

Geoff Cronin – As a boy Geoff befriends the travellers who come to the beach near his home every summer.

The World Darkly

John Howell with a story that makes you rethink your approach to finding lost property!

The Last Emperor

Sally Cronin with a story of redemption and loyalty in the Magic Garden.

Sunday 11th June


Geoff Cronin explains the old country ways of bird catching.

Search and Seizure

Phillip T. Stephens with a futuristic look at border and customs control.

From Hackney to Hollywood

Wendy Janes takes us on the trail to stardom from Shakespeare in Hackney to the chat show sofa in Hollywood.

Monday 12th June

The health benefits of laughter and an invitation to join the academy with your favourite jokes, videos or images.

Sir Chocolate and the Stolen Moon and Stars

Robbie and Michael Cheadle bring us another adventure story starring Sir Chocolate in verse and also Michael’s original concept for the tale.

Trouble with Socks

Mary Smith with a story of how simple things can become very important to us.


Sally Cronin with the story of a woman planning to surprise her husband on his birthday.

I am sure you will enjoy the stories from my guest authors, and as I shall be offline completely for the weekend from tomorrow, I will catch up with you on Monday evening. 

As I will not be here to click the share buttons.. I would be very grateful if you would do so for me.  Thanks Sally.