Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – Bette A. Stevens, Phillip T. Stephens, Julie Lawford, John Maberry and Annette Rochelle Aben


Welcome to the first of the Christmas Book Fairs and books that would make wonderful gifts for readers across the genres.. It is also my way of saying thank you to the authors in the bookstore who have been in and out of the blog and so supportive over the year.

The first author to showcase is children’s author Bette A. Stevens whose books received wonderful reviews. Here is Dog Bone Soup with one of its recent reviews.

About the book

Whether or not You Grew Up in the 1950s and 60s, you’ll find DOG BONE SOUP (Historical Fiction) to be soup for the soul. In this coming-of-age novel, Shawn Daniels’s father is the town drunk. Shawn and his brother Willie are in charge of handling everything that needs to be done around the ramshackle place they call home—lugging in water for cooking and cleaning, splitting and stacking firewood…But when chores are done, these resourceful kids strike out on boundless adventures that don’t cost a dime. DOG BONE SOUP is the poignant tale of a dysfunctional family struggling to survive in America in the 50s and 60s, when others were living The American Dream.

One of the recent reviews for the book.

A delightful story on October 1, 2017

In preparing to write this review, I read a couple of other reviews of this book on Amazon and Goodreads. I was interested to note one comment that likened this book to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. I can see why this comparison has been drawn as Bette A. Stevens main character, Shawn Daniels, and Huckleberry Finn are both boys dogged by poverty and abusive and alcoholic fathers. Both boys are also fairly resourceful and have survival skills.

For me, however, that was where the comparison ended. Stevens depicts the Daniels family as being tight knit despite their unfortunate father. The children and their Mother work together to salvage their situation to the best extent they can. I really felt sad for the Mother as she was a victim of her own hormones and emotions and could not find the strength to break away from her selfish and abusive husband. She remained in a downward spiralling situation and ended up having a fourth child which was really unwise.

Shawn, the eldest child, does his best to be hard working, industrious and do well at school. He is a role model for his younger brother, Willie, and two younger sisters. Shawn tries to make the best of his situation and grasp opportunities that come his way.

I found this story to be very poignant and moving and Stevens’ writing is captivating. Despite some disturbing descriptions in the book I still found it to be a very uplifting book. Highly recommended.

Read all the reviews and buy the book at this universal link : http://bit.ly/1HGpCsZ

Also by Bette A. Stevens

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Bette-A.-Stevens/e/B009GOYT1M

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bette-A.-Stevens/e/B009GOYT1M

Read more reviews and follow Bette on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6037707.Bette_A_Stevens

Connect to Bette via her website: https://4writersandreaders.com/

The next author that I would like to feature and who provided us with some wonderful lifestyle posts during the summer is Julie Lawford with her book Singled Out.

About the Book

‘There’s something delicious about not being known, don’t you think?’

Brenda Bouverie has come on a singles holiday to Turkey to escape. Intent on indulgence, she’s looking for sun, sea and … distraction from a past she would give anything to change.

But on this singles holiday no one is quite who they seem. First impressions are unreliable and when the sun goes down, danger lies in wait. As someone targets the unwary group of strangers, one guest is alone in sensing the threat.

But who would get involved, when getting involved only ever leads to trouble?

Singled Out subverts the sunshine holiday romance, taking readers to a darker place where horrific exploits come to light, past mistakes must be accounted for and there are few happily-ever-afters.

A simmering psychological suspense laced with moral ambiguities, for fans of Louise Doughty, Sabine Durrant, Gillian Flynn, Elizabeth Haynes, S.J. Watson and Lucie Whitehouse.

One of the excellent reviews for Singled Out.

Wilma Lettings 5.0 out of 5 stars Very good 18 June 2017

A very well written thriller set during a holiday trip to Turkey, organised for singles. You might assume that this could be chick lit, but that would do the character depth and writing style grave injustice. While certainly appealing to female audiences this novel doesn’t limit itself to pure light-hearted romantic interests but visits darker sides of the dating game and crime.

Using alternate narrative strands and voices we get insight into the characters, but we’re shown enough to be drawn deep into these characters.
Things are not as they seem and while you have an incling what is about to happen, be assured that there are always surprises waiting for you.

Not the kind of book I had originally expected but in fact, a much better one. Very good!

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Singled-Out-Julie-Lawford-ebook/dp/B00RO1GH28/

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Singled-Out-Julie-Lawford-ebook/dp/B00RO1GH28/

Read more reviews and follow Julie on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13411991.Julie_Lawford

Connect to Julie Lawford at her website: http://julielawford.com

Another author who is extremely supportive on Twitter is Phillip T. Stephens and here is his book Cigerets, Guns & Beer.

About the book

Dodd breaks up a convenience store robbery when his car breaks down in Sweet Water Falls, Texas. What’s the thanks he gets? The sheriff won’t let him leave, the car lot can’t find the parts and everybody wants him for something—sales pitch, church membership, and even stud pony.

But most of all, it seems a family named Dodd were shot down robbing the bank in 1949 and the half million they stole remains missing. Everyone thinks Dodd returned to dig up the loot and no one intends to let him leave until he finds it—along with (or so the legends go) a long lost flying saucer.

Here is one of the most recent reviews.

The cover of Cigerets, Guns & Beer by Phillip T. Stevens catches the eye immediately. Beer and cigarettes are present, necessary for any good breakfast. While a gun is not displayed, bullet holes are, perhaps from the night before. A reader might predict that this will be a “good ol’ boy” novel replete with rednecks. The reader would be correct.

This novel will make those who grew up in a small town nostalgic; a place where there might be only one law enforcement officer who also read water and electric meters, sold alcohol in defiance of Sunday “blue laws,” was a source of under-the-table porn, and served as a de facto judge deciding what town residents could and could not get away with.

This was the case with Sweet Water Falls, Texas. Joe Bob Meeker was the law. Brother Ralph Meeker was the mayor and JP (Justice of the Peace). Ralph also owned a general store, a car dealership, an insurance agency, and a hotel. Both men along with banker Mal Rafferty completely controlled the town. All served on the town council and exercised rezoning authority to force businesses to relocate or cease operations. The three would then buy the pieces left of the defunct property and open the businesses again under a new name and ownership.

The three men had gotten greedy, some of their business dealings were fraudulent. Up to now, geographic isolation had blocked an investigation. A series of robberies and shootings had never been thoroughly investigated by anyone other than Sheriff Joe Bob. An impartial investigation would have placed the sheriff in the category of a suspect. Any small business owners left in Sweet Water were under control of one of the three powerful men; they were forced to follow any rules formulated by the trio. There was resentment but no organized opposition had surfaced. That was about to change.

Dodd was just passing through town on the way to his new job as a partner in a law firm. The township that employed him as an intern lawyer didn’t want him to continue after his parole was up. The idea of a lawyer who obtained his education in prison was bad for publicity. Dodd was moving on to join a firm at the invitation of a former colleague. He hadn’t planned the gas leak that necessitated car repair and a stop in Sweet Water. It was just coincidence that more than decades previously Sweet Water was a town with history for a family named Dodd. Three brothers named Dodd had robbed a bank of USD 500 000. Two of the brothers were shot and killed and the third got away to hide the money before being shot and killed days later. Sheriff Joe Bob, possibly with the collusion of Ralph, had shot the first two Dodd brothers. The money was never found.

Dodd entered the town to repair his car. He entered Ralph’s store to buy supplies as he continued his trip. The store was being robbed by a nervous 17-year-old and Dodd, an ex-convict, decided to defuse the situation by recounting to the teenager the joys of prison life while attempting to convince him to surrender. Successful in foiling the robbery, Dodd was now stuck in the town until a statement could be prepared for Sheriff Joe Bob for adjudication by brother Ralph. This would take a few days. Meanwhile, town residents would speculate on the coincidence of a Dodd reappearing in the town. Was he there to find the money? Or was he there to find the UFO?

After the initial set-up for the story, all eyes are on Dodd. Especially female eyes. He either has sex with every female or is invited to but turns them down. It seems there is little else to do in a small town. They seem to be the frontline agents for finding out if he is related to the Dodd robber family, a claim Dodd will deny throughout the book. Dodd (first name) Dodd (last name) middle initial D. will apply home style wisdom combined with prison savvy in an attempt to right wrongs in this thoroughly corrupt community. He might even look for the missing money as he tries to find the UFO.

This book has laugh-out-loud understated humor in its description of small town insular life. There are several surprises to keep the reader from putting the book down. Although there seems to be a lot of sexual activity going on, offensive language is MOSTLY absent. Readers will only have to shield their sensibilities for approximately six pages of the 376-page novel.

Read the other reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Cigerets-Guns-Beer-Phillip-Stephens-ebook/dp/B00QLI1Q3K

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cigerets-Guns-Beer-Phillip-Stephens-ebook/dp/B00QLI1Q3K

A selection of books also by Phillip T. Stephens

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Phillip-Stephens/e/B0091XK7HS

Read more reviews and follow Phillip on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/583139.Phillip_T_Stephens

Connect with Phillip via his website: https://ptstephens.com/

The next author with news is John Maberry with his 10th Anniversary edition of his book Waiting for Westmoreland.

About the book

Surviving poverty and the deaths of loved ones, the author remains hopeful as he exits childhood. then comes the draft that sends him to Vietnam. With innocence lost and illusions shattered, he seeks answers. College courses are intriguing but offer no solutions. Eventually, hope returns in the form of a life philosophy that comes from a chance encounter at a party. It’s all about cause and effect. Events happen not by chance but as a result of karma. Unseen connections have surprising consequences. This knowledge comes in the nick of time, as he faces his most serious situation since the perils of Vietnam, the threat of death from a prospective father-in-law. He must take responsibility for the matter, despite being unaware of the underlying reason for it, reform himself and seek only her father’s happiness.

One of the recent reviews for the book.

One man’s journey from chaos to inner peace. on November 4, 2017

Here we have a book that is much more than memoir, and more life journey told (and written) exceedingly well and with great courage. If the writer’s mandate is to ‘open a vein’, Maberry has opened that vein and allowed whatever flowed to fill this work. From his background in hardscrabble Minnesota, enduring the loss of a parent, then for all intents and purposes the loss of the other, the author describes his various efforts to carve a niche for himself. Just as his efforts appear to be paying off, he’s found a companion, started school, navigated his way through the shoals of early adulthood, when the Selective Service System came calling and he was drafted.

Change scenes to Vietnam in 1967-68, and Maberry begins again to sort out the fictions of America’s involvement in South Asia Vs the realities of war: No clear purpose for being there; chauvinistic treatment of Vietnamese people, especially the abuse of women; and a lifer sergeant who embodied everything wrong with the American military. Maberry returns from Vietnam disillusioned, cynical and without real purpose. Indeed, it’s a mistake to refer to Waiting for Westmoreland as simply a war memoir. It’s much more one man’s journey from chaos and the vicissitudes of life, to finding inner peace through Buddhism, something that surprised even the author, until he saw how the practice worked in his own life.

The book does have a tendency to be dismissive of various U.S. institutions and traditions, certain presidents, and other public servants, and often with good reason. By way of disclosure, this reader too is a Vietnam Vet, and I, too, was astonished, as Maberry asserts, that the American people reelected Richard Nixon. Looking past this judgmental assessment, and reading this book with an open mind, and an open heart, reveals a path that perhaps many veterans of America’s ill advised war in Vietnam might take.

Five stars, and I don’t do that often. Byron Edgington, author of A Vietnam Anthem. A Vietnam Anthem: What The War Gave Me

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Waiting-Westmoreland-John-Maberry-ebook/dp/B00VTYJE3U

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Waiting-Westmoreland-John-Maberry-ebook/dp/B00VTYJE3U

Also by John Maberry

Read all the reviews and buy both books: https://www.amazon.com/John-Maberry/e/B002BM82FU

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/John-Maberry/e/B002BM82FU

Follow John Maberry on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1210538.John_Maberry

Connect to John via his website: http://waitforwest.eaglepeakpress.com/

Annette Rochelle Aben has been very busy in the run up to Christmas with two new books on the shelves. Annette has been a part of this blog for almost four years and a more supportive and generous person you could not connect to.  Here is her newest book which is Angel Messages Two: Songs of the Heart

About Angel Messages Two

The songs of the hearts of Angels guide us, lift us and fill our lives with hope and love.

They harmonize with our heartbeats, ask us to trust and remind us that we are precious.

They call to us tenderly, helping us find comfort. Encouragement is but a request away.

How is this (and more) all possible? Because the songs of the heart are pure love. When our hearts are singing the songs of love, we connect with Angels. Open your heart to connection with Angels, with Angel Messages Two – songs of the heart.
Unlike a book that takes a story and divides it into chapters, Angel Messages Two – songs of the heart, is a book of messages (songs) that can be read one right after another or one at a time. From day to day, a different message may speak to you. Open this book to find what is perfect for you (or someone else) at that moment.

The pictures in this book, remind you that Angels appear in a variety of forms while the Tanka brings to life, the deeper message each of the photographs.

Angel Messages Two – songs of the heart, is perfect for anyone who has ever wanted to connect with Angels as much as it is perfect for anyone who already has a relationship with Angels.

The messages are presented in poetry that we call Tanka. Tanka is a form of traditional Japanese lyric poetry that uses 31 syllables spread out over 5 lines, to convey its message. The word “tanka” translates to “short song.” The short songs of this book help us to be aware of our deep, abiding connection to energies we might not be able to see but can feel in our hearts.

To be in the presence of Angels is soothing, warm; reminiscent of being around the most supportive energy you can imagine. It can also be energizing, electric and indescribably emotional. When an Angel makes its presence known, it will be when you most need the confirmation that you are not alone. You always have a home in an Angel’s heart and they are excited to be at home in your heart.

Buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Angel-Messages-Two-songs-heart-ebook/dp/B077ZCF2ZX

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Angel-Messages-Two-songs-heart-ebook/dp/B077ZCF2ZX

And another perfect gift for poetry lovers for Christmas; the other new collection from Annette Rochelle AbenA Tanka Picture Book.

An early review for the collection

This beautiful little book will warm your heart and stir your soul. A Tanka Picture Book by Annette Rochelle Aben is a treasure trove of inspiration, filled with picturesque images overlaid by touching verse. The author explains that Tanka means “short song.” I find this the perfect description, considering I felt my heart singing while I read. Compassion, encouragement, and gratitude create a texture and mood that will leave you feeling both peaceful and exhilarated. Whether your spirit needs fortifying or you’re simply looking for a splendid gift, this book is sure to deliver.

Also by Annette Rochelle Aben

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Annette-Rochelle-Aben/e/B00MSQTGUY

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Annette-Rochelle-Aben/e/B00MSQTGUY

Find more reviews and follow Annette at Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8262554.Annette_Rochelle_Aben

 

Connect to Annette via her blog/website: https://annetterochelleaben.wordpress.com/

Thank you very much for dropping in today and I am sure that you will find plenty here for gifts for yourself and for family and friends. Thanks Sally

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Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Susan Toy, John Maberry and Jack Eason


The first author with news Susan M. Toy and her book One Woman’s Island which is now in print. I can personally recommend One Woman’s Island as I enjoyed and reviewed last year.

About the book

Running away from Canada, Mariana hopes to forget a failed marriage and the death of her husband by embarking on a whole new life. She moves lock, stock, and two cats to the small Caribbean island of Bequia. But the move brings more than she could have imagined. New friends ask her to help solve a recent murder in the expat community. And then there’s the problem of her neighbours, a young woman and her children. Seemingly abandoned by family and friends, Mariana believes they need her help! By becoming involved, Mariana is carried along from wanting to simply “live with the locals” to being overwhelmed by their culture, one so vastly different to what she had left behind in Canada that she doesn’t know who among her expat friends she can turn to for advice. So she carries on regardless and discovers that Bequia isn’t exactly the tropical paradise it had promised to be.

One Woman’s Island is the second novel in the Bequia Perspectives series that picks up again a few months in time after the first novel, Island in the Clouds.

The most recent review for the book

Did you ever wonder what it would be like to move to an exotic island and begin a whole new life? Author Susan M. Toy has brought that dream to life for the reader. Mariana, the main character in the book, is grieving for so many things. Her life in Canada had been one of loss and longing. She’s looking for a fresh start in the Caribbean island of Bequia. Once she gets there she is met with more than she bargained for. She becomes an unwilling bystander in a local murder mystery.

The expat community that she becomes a part of is not exactly the emotional balm that she hoped it would be with its strange and colorful characters who are living with secrets and emotional turmoil of their own. The local culture of the island is something of a culture shock for a woman finding her way solely on her own in a strange new place. This little island with so much natural beauty reveals itself as a character with a personality all of its own that winds itself hauntingly throughout the story. This book is moving, engrossing, and leaves you wishing for more of Susan M. Toy’s writing.

Read the reviews and buy the book:https://www.amazon.com/One-Womans-Island-Bequia-Perspectives/dp/1927950112

And Amazon UK:https://www.amazon.co.uk/One-Womans-Island-Bequia-Perspectives/dp/1927950112

Also by Susan M. Toy

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Susan-Toy/e/B008WXIJ46

Read more reviews and follow Susan on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1316805.Susan_M_Toy

Connect to Susan via her website: https://islandeditions.wordpress.com/

The next author with new reviews for one of his books is John Maberry for Waiting for Westmoreland.

About the book

Surviving poverty and the deaths of loved ones, the author remains hopeful as he exits childhood. then comes the draft that sends him to Vietnam. With innocence lost and illusions shattered, he seeks answers. College courses are intriguing but offer no solutions. Eventually, hope returns in the form of a life philosophy that comes from a chance encounter at a party. It’s all about cause and effect. Events happen not by chance but as a result of karma. Unseen connections have surprising consequences. This knowledge comes in the nick of time, as he faces his most serious situation since the perils of Vietnam, the threat of death from a prospective father-in-law. He must take responsibility for the matter, despite being unaware of the underlying reason for it, reform himself and seek only her father’s happiness.

One of the recent reviews for the book.

One man’s journey from chaos to inner peace. on November 4, 2017

Here we have a book that is much more than memoir, and more life journey told (and written) exceedingly well and with great courage. If the writer’s mandate is to ‘open a vein’, Maberry has opened that vein and allowed whatever flowed to fill this work. From his background in hardscrabble Minnesota, enduring the loss of a parent, then for all intents and purposes the loss of the other, the author describes his various efforts to carve a niche for himself. Just as his efforts appear to be paying off, he’s found a companion, started school, navigated his way through the shoals of early adulthood, when the Selective Service System came calling and he was drafted.

Change scenes to Vietnam in 1967-68, and Maberry begins again to sort out the fictions of America’s involvement in South Asia Vs the realities of war: No clear purpose for being there; chauvinistic treatment of Vietnamese people, especially the abuse of women; and a lifer sergeant who embodied everything wrong with the American military. Maberry returns from Vietnam disillusioned, cynical and without real purpose. Indeed, it’s a mistake to refer to Waiting for Westmoreland as simply a war memoir. It’s much more one man’s journey from chaos and the vicissitudes of life, to finding inner peace through Buddhism, something that surprised even the author, until he saw how the practice worked in his own life.

The book does have a tendency to be dismissive of various U.S. institutions and traditions, certain presidents, and other public servants, and often with good reason. By way of disclosure, this reader too is a Vietnam Vet, and I, too, was astonished, as Maberry asserts, that the American people reelected Richard Nixon. Looking past this judgmental assessment, and reading this book with an open mind, and an open heart, reveals a path that perhaps many veterans of America’s ill advised war in Vietnam might take.

Five stars, and I don’t do that often. Byron Edgington, author of A Vietnam Anthem. A Vietnam Anthem: What The War Gave Me

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Waiting-Westmoreland-John-Maberry-ebook/dp/B00VTYJE3

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Waiting-Westmoreland-John-Maberry-ebook/dp/B00VTYJE3U

Also by John Maberry

Read all the reviews and buy both books: https://www.amazon.com/John-Maberry/e/B002BM82FU

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/John-Maberry/e/B002BM82FU

Follow John Maberry on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1210538.John_Maberry

Connect to John via his website: http://waitforwest.eaglepeakpress.com/

Another author with a new book on the shelves is Jack Eason with a new edition of Globular VanDerGraff’s Goblin Tales released at the end of October.

About Goblin Tales.

A very long time ago, there once was a land called Goblindom hidden behind a magic barrier to protect its inhabitants from mankind. Man’s ancestors the humins lived there quietly alongside wyverns, griffins, trolls, witches and wizards as well as woods, mountain and plains goblins, ravens, eagles and many more creatures. This anthology is a collection of thirty tales, which I have translated from goblin into English thanks to Globular Van der Graff, a friendly southern woods goblin who told them to me not long ago…

Two of the early reviews for the new edition

Recommended! on 31 October 2017

This book has been updated and improved by the author, who, since I had already bought, read, and reviewed the previous version, kindly, let me read the new version prior to publishing.

The book still contains 30 short but immensely enjoyable stories about five Goblin brothers and their ‘Humin’ friend.

Unlike many fantasy tales involving Humans and Goblins, this book contains no gory bits, spurious violence or endless wars, nevertheless, it is very entertaining.

Be careful though, especially if you tend to read out loud to yourself, the temptation to utter the words spoken by the Goblins is overwhelming and if you are in a packed commuter train or bus, you may get funny looks from your fellow travellers.

Mind you, you may also get more space to stretch out and get comfortable as they sidle away from you….

Tales for Everyone on 1 November 2017

Goblin Tales is a delightful return to old-time fantasy story-telling. This collection of short vignettes is a wonderful tale of five goblin brothers and a lisping raven who live in an old oak tree on the edge of the Goblindom. The antics and adventures are humorous, intriguing and, at times, epic in the scale of what is happening. The relationship is intricate between the goblins and the rest of residents of the magical kingdom of Goblindom. There are other goblins, wyverns, dragons, fairies, elves, witches, sorcerers and sorceresses, and humins – a form of human. Most of the short tales are quick reads so you can enjoy a story while you sip your tea or coffee. These are stories for both the young and the young at heart, in other words, from age 8 to 88.

Head over and buy the new version of Goblin Tales: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0764GNLXT

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0764GNLXT

A selection of books by Jack Eason

Discover all of Jack Eason’s books and read the reviews: https://www.amazon.com/Jack-Eason/e/B003MEA7AY/

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jack-Eason/e/B003MEA7AY

Follow Jack and read other reviews on Goodread: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4026249.Jack_Eason

Connect to Jack Eason via his bloghttps://havewehadhelp.wordpress.com/

Thank you for dropping by today and please feel free to share the news from these authors.. Thanks Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – John Maberry, Colin Chappell, Robbie and Michael Cheadle


First author today with an update is John Maberry who is offering his latest short story collection The Fountain FREE from today until Sunday 27th August. Here is a reminder of what you can enjoy.

The Fountain and six more fantasy & Scifi stories.

Humor, twists and more in this collection of seven fantasy and sci-fi short stories. Karma can be painful in “The Fountain”–when a plunderer meets a long-dead shaman. A family adopts a retriever with special talents in “Lily, an Amazing Dog.” A vampire has a strange problem, in “Alfred’s Strange Blood Disorder.” A perennial favorite, dimensional travel, with a strange twist in “The Closet Door.” What could that column of fire be, rising from the Atlantic off the Outer Banks? Read “The Flame” to find out what it meant to troubled writer Carson. A wizard casts a spell that works well for a princess, but will it be as good for him? Check out “The Wizard.” Finally, “The Fribble” offers an alien encounter of an odd sort, to a pharmaceutical company rep searching for new drugs in the Amazon Rain forest.

One of the most recent reviews for the collection

I wonder if The Fountain’s stories should be labeled speculative or science fiction, as they remind me more of Twilight Zone and less of Philip K. Dick. Maybe that’s the best definition of them; the common ground between these works. Whichever it is, I enjoyed them and their twists. Maberry writes in a clear way that immerses the reader into the story. He has a gift for creating easily identifiable characters who feel familiar after just a few lines. All in all, a fine collection for those who enjoy their short stories with a twist.

Read the other reviews and download the book: http://smarturl.it/6mp9z7

Also by John Maberry

Read all the reviews and buy both books: https://www.amazon.com/John-Maberry/e/B002BM82FU

Follow John Maberry on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1210538.John_Maberry

Connect to John via his website: http://waitforwest.eaglepeakpress.com/

It is National Dog Day tomorrow in the United States so delighted to share a recent review for Who Said I Was Up For Adoption by Colin Chappell. A wonderfully personal and inspiring story of a man meeting a dog that stole his heart.

About the book

Is there any expression of FRIENDSHIP as endearing as a dog voluntarily touching its nose to yours?

When Colin Chappell contemplated the idea of adopting a dog, he did so warily, for he had seldom spent time with dogs and one of his primary canine experiences came when he was bitten by a German Shepherd at age fourteen. He certainly was unprepared for the complexities of caring for the seventy-five pounds of rescued, furry attitude he encountered in Ray. But perhaps what he was even more unprepared for were the emotions he would feel once Ray invited him to be his friend.

Who Said I Was Up For Adoption? tells the evolving story of this adoption (though it remains unclear just who did the adopting). Funny, heartwarming, and emotional, Colin and Ray’s story is really two stories, for part of learning to let an adopted dog into one’s life is learning to see from a perspective other than your own. True to that knowledge the book is narrated from parallel, alternating viewpoints—Colin’s and … Ray’s!

All net profits from sales of Who Said I Was Up For Adoption? will be donated to the Oakville and Milton Humane Society, a remarkable organization that rescues and rehabilitates dogs (and many other creatures) and matches them with suitable, loving humans.

The most recent review for the book

What a wonderful story about a man and a dog ‘finding’ each other and, yes, rescuing each other in different ways. Being a dog lover myself, I immediately melted into this book of a man who was once afraid of dogs, yet agreed to rescue a dog who’d been neglected and probably mistreated before taken to an adoption center. This story of how a man and dog learn to read each other’s signals, to understand each other, and then love each other, is heart-warming and sincere.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FIT5PAM

Connect to Colin via his blog: https://meandray.com

And finally today the most recent review for Robbie and Michael Cheadle, the mother and son creators of Sir Chocolate and his adventures. Here is Sir Chocolate and the sugar dough bees story and cookbook.

About the book

A greedy snail damages the flower fields and the fondant bees are in danger of starving. Join Sir Chocolate on an adventure to find the fruit drop fairies who have magic healing powers and discover how to make some of his favourite foods on the way.

The most recent review for the book:

This is a children’s story and activity book about food.

It contains two rhyming poems. The first and longest is mainly for the children. It is about Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet’s adventure to find the fruit drop fairies who have the magic sugar dust that can save the wilting flowers. The second is mainly for the parents reminding them that the moments spent with their children are wonderful and go by quickly.

These poems are illustrated with photographs of fondant artfully shaped like the characters in the poems.

The book ends with five recipes children can make with help from their parents: cheese bread, butter biscuits, jammy scones, rainbow cupcakes and banana bread.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Chocolate-Sugar-Dough-Story-Cookbook-ebook/dp/B06XXR7JGY/

 Also by Robbie and Michael Cheadle

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ

That is it for today and thank you for dropping in.. I hope you enjoy the reviews and will head over and buy the books. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Top to Toe – Prostate problems and Guest Post – PSA Tests – Yes or No by John Maberry


men's health

Welcome to the next part of the male reproductive system and today an overview of the prostate and health issues to be aware of.  Also a repeat of the guest post by John Maberry on Prostate cancer and the treatments available.

Prostate problems

As women face problems with their uterus, and possible hysterectomies, so men are faced with problems with their prostates. The good news is that in the majority of cases the conditions are benign, and are not going to lead to cancer, but symptoms should always be checked out.

In a young man the prostate is about the size of a walnut and it slowly gets larger as a man matures. If it gets too large, however, it can begin to cause problems with the urinary tract resulting in frequent urination and in some cases discomfort. This is called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and is very common in men over 60 years old. If problems with urination occur especially at night then a doctor should be consulted. Usually a rectal examination or scans will detect the enlarged prostate and appropriate treatment prescribed. If the enlargement of the prostate and the urination problems are relatively mild then it is usually left for a period of time to see if the normal reduction in testosterone will result in a decrease in the size of the prostate.

If the enlargement of the prostate or the symptoms warrant medical intervention it is usual to prescribe either alpha-blockers (can have some nasty side effects) or a testosterone lowering drug. As the testosterone levels decrease the prostate shrinks and the urination problems are solved. However there can be side effects such as loss of sex drive and possible erectile problems.

There is a herb called Saw Palmetto that is taken by many men, who have been diagnosed with an enlarged prostate. As always, I prefer the natural approach but it is important that you consult your doctor before taking any herb in preference to medication to ensure that your progress is monitored carefully.

In extreme cases surgery may be advised if the urination problem does not improve. It can however result in other problems and should be considered carefully beforehand.

Now for the guest post by  John Maberry author of Waiting for Westmoreland and please feel free to comment and share his post.

PSA Tests—Yes or No by John Maberry

You know about PSA tests, right? A simple blood test that measures the level of prostate specific antigens in the bloodstream. The purpose is to detect the likelihood of cancer. This article is about whether to have one or not. First some background.

The prostate is a walnut sized gland that’s wrapped like a horseshoe around a man’s urethra. It’s primary function is to produce semen. Unfortunately, it can also become cancerous. In the U.S. 1 in 7 men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime. It’s the second leading cause of cancer death among American men, behind only (surprisingly) skin cancer. [American Cancer Society] Sounds scary, but only 1 in 38 men will die of it—a statistical disconnect between cancer-caused and other deaths. How so? Most prostate cancer progresses very slowly and starts after age 50, consequently most men die of something else in their senior years—heart attack, stroke, etc. But if it is cancer that kills them, prostate cancer is #2 on the list.

What about elsewhere in the world? According to 2012 statistics from World Health Organization, the incidence is similarly high in the rest of North America, Australia/New Zealand, Northern and Western Europe—probably because of the high level of PSA testing. Mortality is similar in those developed areas but higher in the Caribbean and most regions of Africa, probably as a result of medical treatment not being as available or affordable.

So, you’re a guy or you have one you care about, what about a PSA test? What follows is a whole lot of discussion of what it is and things for you to consider. But before we get to that, let me give you the bottom line—if you’re like me and have a family history of prostate cancer, ignore generic pros and cons and get the test every year or two.

The test entails drawing a small blood sample from a vein (usually in the arm) and sending it to a lab. What happens after that depends on the PSA level detected. Recently the PSA test has come under scrutiny, with one group in America recommending against routine screening. Others still recommend it. See this website for the pro position. Most other groups focused on men’s health or cancer disagree with the con position and have varying qualifiers related to age and family history—with the final decision to be an agreement between the man and his primary care physician. Medicare, and many private insurers still pay for it. Medicaid may or may not. Why the controversy? It relates in part to the limitations of the test itself and in part to what happens after the results come in. See more on the test at the Mayo Clinic site.

Limitations of the test include:

  • False positive results due to prostatitis, BPH, urinary tract infection or other conditions
  • False negatives due to taking certain drugs such as statins, obesity or low PSA despite a tumor
  • Age—PSA rises with age
  • The test by itself doesn’t correlate highly with the age-related risk of death from cancer
  • The risks of side effects from further testing
  • Side effects from treatment that may not be necessary (see more below on what happens after the test

What happens after the test: If the level is high, a retest may be done. A digital rectal exam (a doctor inserts a gloved in finger in the rectum to feel for hardened lumps on the prostate—which may be done in conjunction with or instead of the PSA test as a routine screening test for BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia—enlargement of the prostate that is very common as a man grows older; it causes more frequent urination as the gland squeezes the urethra). Beyond that, a whole host of potentially more costly and invasive (not to mention worrisome) procedures may be done:

  • A test for a urinary tract infection that might inflame the prostate (raising the PSA) as well
  • A transrectal ultrasound to look for tumors
  • A biopsy of the prostate (accessed through the rectum, the perineum or up the penis); this procedure itself can have side effects such as bleeding, infection and irritation

If the follow up tests confirm the presence of cancer this is where things get complicated

  • Is it the typical slow-growing cancer that will cause no problems before you die or the faster growing kind that requires action?

o Newer PSA velocity tests will note whether your PSA level is climbing quickly—a sign of a fast growing cancer

o The Gleason score measures how fast a cancer is growing—it ranges from 2-10, with 10 being quickest and most likely to spread. [My father died of prostate cancer in 1954 at age 48 and it had metastasized widely; my brother had his prostate removed in 1999 at age 68 when an ultrasound confirmed tumors after a high PSA score of 9.9 and a medium Gleason score—he is still alive and kicking at 84] See more on Gleason score here.

  • You have two basic options—watchful waiting or active surveillance with periodic retests (depends on your age) or treatment to remove the cancer
  • Treatments include [See more at Mayo]:

o Radiation—external beamed into the body or brachytherapy (rice grain sized pellets inserted in your body)

o Hormone therapy that reduces testosterone (the hormone helps the cancer grow)

o Cryotherapy (freezing prostate tissue)

o Biological therapy, also known as immunotherapy

o Surgery to remove the prostate

  • The bad news: all of the treatments, except possibly the hormone therapy, have a significant risk of urinary incontinence or erectile dysfunction. This is where the issue of overtreatment becomes real and is a core part of the argument against screening—the doctor finds a cancer and the man gets treatment with side effects when if the prostate were left alone the cancer wouldn’t kill him.

So, as noted before, if you’re like me with a family history of prostate cancer the answer is clear—get the test. If you are of African descent, probably should get the test too. In any case, ask your doctor. Don’t stick your head in the sand and hope for the best.

About John Maberry.

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John Maberry dreamed of being a writer from second grade. Life got in his way. Like what, you may ask. Find out the details in Waiting for Westmoreland, the memoir he wrote about how he came to have a happy and successful life. That, after surviving a hard childhood, failed marriages, an eye opening year in Vietnam and more. He finished the memoir five years after retiring from a local government job in busy Northern Virginia.

That’s John in the photo, relaxing with his friend Larry the Lizard. He met Larry in Mimbres,
New Mexico. John and his wife relocated to scenic New Mexico six years ago. That move and other priorities, stalled the transition to speculative fiction, mysteries and writing genres. Finally, The Fountain, a collection of speculative fiction stories, is coming out in July, 2017. He’s also working on a few novels, planning for one every one to two years. No more delays, time is fleeting.

When not working on the novels or the websites, the family enjoys life in their dream home high atop a hill. His wife of 35+ years has her quilting/craft room. He has an office shared with an energetic dog who lounges on a loveseat behind him when not out chasing rabbits. He’s a happy man and a funny guy (strange/weird his wife says).

Books by John Maberry

About John’s latest release – The Fountain and six more fantasy & Scifi stories.

Humor, twists and more in this collection of seven fantasy and sci-fi short stories. Karma can be painful in “The Fountain”–when a plunderer meets a long-dead shaman. A family adopts a retriever with special talents in “Lily, an Amazing Dog.” A vampire has a strange problem, in “Alfred’s Strange Blood Disorder.” A perennial favorite, dimensional travel, with a strange twist in “The Closet Door.” What could that column of fire be, rising from the Atlantic off the Outer Banks? Read “The Flame” to find out what it meant to troubled writer Carson. A wizard casts a spell that works well for a princess, but will it be as good for him? Check out “The Wizard.” Finally, “The Fribble” offers an alien encounter of an odd sort, to a pharmaceutical company rep searching for new drugs in the Amazon Rain forest.

One of the early reviews for the book

If you enjoy short stories in fantasy/sci-fi genres, and stories that make you think then look no further than Maberry’s tales which will engross you with stories about karma, greed, time travel, aliens and muses.

In this book you will read stories about: a dog with extra sensory perception, a writer battling his own sub-conscience, a wizard who wonders if the spells he casts for others will work for himself, a man who experiences 2 lifetimes by opening a closet door. These are just a few of the stories to stimulate your reading appetite.

Maberry is a prolific writer who knows how to keep a reader captivated till the end and finishes his stories with an unexpected twist. This book also offers an excerpt to the author’s next upcoming novel. As in true Maberry style, he leaves us hanging in anticipation with more to come. A great read!

Read the reviews and buy the collection: https://www.amazon.com/Fountain-more-fantasy-sci-fi-stories-ebook/dp/B071KLTTJR

Read all the reviews and buy both books: https://www.amazon.com/John-Maberry/e/B002BM82FU

Connect with John.

My quarterly webzine on my Eagle Peak Press site
My book website, Waiting for Westmoreland
Writing blog, John Maberry’s Writing
Eclectic blog, Views from Eagle Peak

Social Media:

My thanks again to John for sharing this post and it is worth sharing as the message needs to be driven home…. #Get Checked

All the top to toe posts can be found in this directory: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/smorgasbord-health-2017-top-to-toe/

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – The Fountain Short Story Collection by John Maberry


Welcome to John Maberry who is joining the authors on the shelves in the bookstore with two books.. One is his memoir Waiting for Westmoreland and the second, The Fountain, his recently released short story collection.

About Waiting for Westmoreland

Surviving poverty and the deaths of loved ones, the author remains hopeful as he exits childhood. then comes the draft that sends him to Vietnam. With innocence lost and illusions shattered, he seeks answers. College courses are intriguing but offer no solutions. Eventually, hope returns in the form of a life philosophy that comes from a chance encounter at a party. It’s all about cause and effect. Events happen not by chance but as a result of karma. Unseen connections have surprising consequences.

This knowledge comes in the nick of time, as he faces his most serious situation since the perils of Vietnam, the threat of death from a prospective father-in-law. He must take responsibility for the matter, despite being unaware of the underlying reason for it, reform himself and seek only her father’s happiness.

One of the reviews for the Paperback book

I’m apparently about the same age as the author and am always curious to hear someone else’s experience of the times I’ve lived in. In this case, Mr. Maberry and I couldn’t have lived more disparate lives if we’d tried. I don’t think I could have survived Mr. Maberry’s life and I appreciate his sharing the way his inner life as well as his circumstances have unfolded to this point. He survived things that have only scared me from a distance and he has achieved things I’ve only dreamt about from a distance. I’m so impressed with the way he has developed his life. I’m especially delighted to have read his account of his experience of the ’60s and ’70s, two decades I didn’t fit into very well.

Like Forrest Gump, Mr. Maberry made me re-evaluate that era in a more favorable light. In fact, this book made me re-evaluate a lot of things. Even if this were a big book, I would highly recommend it. It would be worth your time. But it’s a small book and reads very fast. No matter what your own experience in life, I think you will find this book interesting and impressive, and it may just lead to a whole new life for you, a new awakening.

A review for the Kindle version

Waiting for Westmoreland is an excellent memoir of John Maberry’s life as a kid growing up in the Midwest, Vietnam War vet, ant-war protestor, law student, pot smoker, and devout Buddhist. The author offers a poignant and eloquent account of the events that shaped his life leading to his enlightenment through Buddhism. I was particularly moved and educated by his observations about the politics involved in the unpopular, yet long-lasting Vietnam War.

The quality of the author’s writing is excellent – it is descriptive and clear. This independently-published work rivals the quality of work produced by the professional publishing houses. I found the story fascinating and it held my interest throughout.
NOTE: I’m posting this review on the Kindle edition because that is what I purchased although I noticed that the paperback has several other reviews.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/John-Maberry/e/B002BM82FU

Also by John Maberry released on 10th July

The Fountain and six more fantasy & Scifi stories.

Humor, twists and more in this collection of seven fantasy and sci-fi short stories. Karma can be painful in “The Fountain”–when a plunderer meets a long-dead shaman. A family adopts a retriever with special talents in “Lily, an Amazing Dog.” A vampire has a strange problem, in “Alfred’s Strange Blood Disorder.” A perennial favorite, dimensional travel, with a strange twist in “The Closet Door.” What could that column of fire be, rising from the Atlantic off the Outer Banks? Read “The Flame” to find out what it meant to troubled writer Carson. A wizard casts a spell that works well for a princess, but will it be as good for him? Check out “The Wizard.” Finally, “The Fribble” offers an alien encounter of an odd sort, to a pharmaceutical company rep searching for new drugs in the Amazon Rain forest.

One of the early reviews for the book

If you enjoy short stories in fantasy/sci-fi genres, and stories that make you think then look no further than Maberry’s tales which will engross you with stories about karma, greed, time travel, aliens and muses.

In this book you will read stories about: a dog with extra sensory perception, a writer battling his own sub-conscience, a wizard who wonders if the spells he casts for others will work for himself, a man who experiences 2 lifetimes by opening a closet door. These are just a few of the stories to stimulate your reading appetite.

Maberry is a prolific writer who knows how to keep a reader captivated till the end and finishes his stories with an unexpected twist. This book also offers an excerpt to the author’s next upcoming novel. As in true Maberry style, he leaves us hanging in anticipation with more to come. A great read!

Read the reviews and buy the collection: https://www.amazon.com/Fountain-more-fantasy-sci-fi-stories-ebook/dp/B071KLTTJR

Read all the reviews and buy both books: https://www.amazon.com/John-Maberry/e/B002BM82FU

Follow John Maberry on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1210538.John_Maberry

About John Maberry

John Maberry dreamed of being a writer from second grade. Life got in his way. Like what, you may ask. Find out the details in Waiting for Westmoreland, the memoir he wrote about how he came to have a happy and successful life. That, after surviving a hard childhood, failed marriages, an eye opening year in Vietnam and more. He finished the memoir five years after retiring from a local government job in busy Northern Virginia.

That’s John in the photo, relaxing with his friend Larry the Lizard. He met Larry in Mimbres,
New Mexico. John and his wife relocated to scenic New Mexico six years ago. That move and other priorities, stalled the transition to speculative fiction, mysteries and writing genres. Finally, The Fountain, a collection of speculative fiction stories, is coming out in July, 2017. He’s also working on a few novels, planning for one every one to two years. No more delays, time is fleeting.

When not working on the novels or the websites, the family enjoys life in their dream home high atop a hill. His wife of 35+ years has her quilting/craft room. He has an office shared with an energetic dog who lounges on a loveseat behind him when not out chasing rabbits. He’s a happy man and a funny guy (strange/weird his wife says).

Connect with John.

My quarterly webzine on my Eagle Peak Press site
My book website, Waiting for Westmoreland
Writing blog, John Maberry’s Writing
Eclectic blog, Views from Eagle Peak

Social Media:

Thank you for dropping by today and if you would like to join John and the other authors on the shelves of the bookstore then here are the details: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore/