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


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

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

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

About the book

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

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

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

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

A recent review for the book

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

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

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

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

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

Other books by John Howell

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

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

About the book

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

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

A recent review for the book

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A small selection of books by Jan Sikes

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

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

About the book

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

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

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

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

A recent review for the book

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

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

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

Also by JP McLean

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

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

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

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

A recent review for the book

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Thursday 6th May 2021 – Books and Reviews from D.Wallace Peach, John W. Howell and Robbie Cheadle


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

The first post is from Diana Wallace Peach with some of her book reviews from April.. so if you are looking for your next book…head over.

Happy May! Time for some reading!

April was a month of catch up on my to-do list, which included resuming my Jane Fonda workouts from 1985 (before some of you were born!) That means I’m not reading on the treadmill anymore, but I still made time for some great books!

April book reviews include my 4 and 5 star reads of a western romance, a military romance, an afterlife time travel fantasy, a serial fantasy, and a horror anthology.

Head over to read Diana’s reviews for Jacquie Biggar, Sandra Cox, Teagan Geneviene, John Howell and Dan Alatorre: Myths of the Mirror April Book Reviews part two

Another book post, this time from John Howell who introduces us to Robert Hookey and his new book.

Into The Dark by Robert Hookey #newbook

Today I am delighted to welcome Robert Hookey (known in some circles as The Hook) to Fiction Favorites. I am happy for a couple of reasons. The first is I’ve been following Robert on his blog, and he has given me many hours of enjoyment with his humor. Second, Robert has a new book, and I’m excited to have him here to talk about it.

So, with that, welcome Robert. I hope you are comfortable. I would offer you a margarita, but I know that drinking alcohol is not one of your vices. I don’t do virgin drinks very well either. How about a cup of tea, eh?

First off, thank you for making this Canadian boy feel at home with the “eh?”, John. I’m currently enjoying some milk from a bag that I‘m using to wash down my Canadian back bacon. (It’s tastier than it sounds.)

Thank you, Robert. The bacon smells delicious. Now let’s get to the first question. I know you have written another book about your life in the service industry, but I’m curious about what caused you to venture into fiction?

Head over to discover more about The Hook and his book: Robert Hookey interviewed by John Howell

The final post today is from Robbie Cheadle who is combining her usual excellent reviews with an audio version to enjoy as well.

#Bookreview #Audioreview – The Seal’s Temptation by Jacquie Biggar – The SEAL’s Temptation: Wounded Hearts- Book 7 Kindle Edition

What Amazon says

DEA Agent Maggie Holt knows about Hell…

After eighteen months undercover in a Mexican cartel, Maggie is broken. The kickass agent she once was, is gone, leaving her riddled with guilt and nightmares. Forced to take paid leave, Maggie accepts the offer of a vacation on the ranch of the man who’d rescued her from an almost certain death.

Frank Stein knows the signs of PTSD, he’d suffered the symptoms himself as Chief Petty Officer of SEAL Team Five. Honorably retired from duty, Frank has found peace at the family ranch and hopes it will do the same for Magdalena. Ever since he’d first met her when she was interrogating his buddy, Jared, Frank has been fascinated by the raven-haired beauty and wants the chance to see where their relationship could go.

Head over to read and listen to Robbie’s review for Jacquie’s book:Audio review – The Seal’s Temptation by Jacquie Biggar

 

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

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – D.G. Kaye, Carol Taylor, John W. Howell, Jim Borden and Pete Springer


In the New Year the Blogger Daily will be back.. and here is a taste of some of the posts this week from friends around the community.

Debby Gies..shared her Christmas wishes which brightened up the gloomy global outlook…

Happy holidays

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a safe and joyous season. I know this Christmas is like no other for everyone. We are living in historic times. I don’t need to go on about what so many of us have been enduring in each of our own personal lives and how holiday plans have been affected for us all. But it’s a good time to remember gratitude for the many things we do have, and for the fact that we are still here and waking up every day for another taste of living. 

Enjoy the rest of the post: D.G. Kaye – Christmas Holiday Wishes

Carol Taylor has been delighting us all year with her A-Z of food, but you may not have seen her parallel series where she features foods that share a common last letter.. Quirky but very informative and as always some great food..

Good morning everyone and Pete… time for another post which is this crazy idea from one of my fellow scribes …but food fun…this week the letter NEnjoy!

I have left some easy ones for Pete who sometimes is a little minx… he sort of mentioned that he was thinking about palindromes…words which say the same frontwards and backwards example Naan Bread or Minim which is a measurement used to describe a single drop of liquid…I think I will pass on that one …DOES anyone want to take up that mantle?

Bambangan:

A fruit found only in Borneo. The fruit is known in Borneo with its native name, Bambangan. It is a species of plant in the Anacardiaceae family. Some of the popular common names of the fruit are Bambangan, Pajang, Membangan and Wild Mango. This fruit is used locally as food, the kernel sometimes being used to make pickle.

Head over to find out more about more exotic foods and some you are more familiar with: The Culinary Alphabet with a little twist…(cinnamoN)…

If you are missing the Christmas Spirit in your neighbourhood then John Howell comes to the rescue with some stunning photographs from his neck of the woods..

Head over to enjoy all the festivities in John’s Neighbourhood: Tuesday – Anything Possible – More Lights of the Season

Now for an interesting post from Jim Borden on the subject of showering.. something that apparently apart from teenage boys (sorry lads) we are doing a bit too much of…I am sure you will enjoy.

First, It Was Cutting Out Soap. Now, It’s Cutting Back On Showering?

Back in September, I wrote a post about a small but seemingly growing number of people who have stopped using soap and other such detergents, believing that such products have harmed our skin microbiome. Such harm could lead to an increase in inflammatory skin diseases such as eczema and acne. Sandy Skotnicki, a Toronto-based dermatologist and the author of the 2018 book Beyond Soap, noted that “there’s nothing wrong with just rinsing. I’ve talked to people who haven’t used any kind of detergent in years and they’re perfectly fine.”

Skotnicki also points out that since 1950 we have gone from bathing once a week to every day. That behavior is the topic of today’s post.

Find out more about the pros and cons of washing: Cutting Back on Showering by Jim Borden

And now for an inspiring story from Pete Springer, and a few more role models such as this amazing Dad, would go a long way to making a difference to all of us.

What Makes a Hero? Meet Rob Kenney

From an early age, we learn that heroes are superheroes, save lives, rescue folks, keep us safe, or serve in the military. These are noble pursuits, but how can a regular person like you or me do something heroic?

If you have never heard of Rob Kenney before, please take a lesson from him because he is the definition of heroism. When Kenney launched his YouTube Channel on April 1, 2020, Rob had no idea he was about to become an Internet sensation. What started as a gesture to do something good has blown up to nearly three million followers on his “Dad, How Do I” YouTube channel. As soon as I heard about his story, I felt inspired and wanted to bring it to others’ attention.

To most appreciate this story, you need to learn more about Kenney’s tale. Rob grew up in a large dysfunctional family. His mom was an alcoholic and lost custody of the children. At age fourteen, his dad exited the picture, abandoning the children. At one point, Rob moved in with an older brother in his mobile home. He credits his brother, Rick, for becoming the male role model that he needed at the time.

Read the rest of this inspiring story and watch some of Rob Kenney’s videos: What Makes A Hero – by Pete Springer

 

Thanks for dropping by and wishing you a wonderful Christmas and New Year..Sally

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – Past Book Reviews – #ParanormalThriller John W. Howell and Gwen Plano, #Thriller Toni Pike.


Welcome to the series where I will be sharing a selection of book reviews I have posted in the last few years. I would like to take the opportunity to showcase books that I have enjoyed and their authors and if you have not read the books, I hope it will encourage you to check them out.

My first review is from 2018 for The Contract: Between Heaven and Earth by John W. Howell and Gwen Plano.

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.

My review for the book

The Contract is a fusion of fantasy, thriller and romance and is the debut novel of the new collaboration between John. W. Howell and Gwen Plano.

I have read all of John Howell’s books and enjoyed, so I was eager to find out how these two popular writers would rise to the challenge of collaborating.

The concept is intriguing, and the opening chapter sets out this well, with the introduction to two souls, who had little time on earth to enjoy their love of each other. They are tasked by the divine council with preventing a major catastrophe on earth that could threaten mankind, but it will mean that they will be separated and have no memory of their task. Their hosts are two people with the knowledge and skill set to overcome the threat, but they are thousands of miles apart and both in mortal danger.

The writers do a good job of bringing these two characters together; now infused with the souls who have been contracted to neutralise the upcoming disaster. Watched and abetted  by guardian angels, their relationship begins with subterfuge, but quickly becomes attraction, and then love strong enough to take them through to the end of their endeavour.

This love story runs parallel to the fast escalation of violence and intrigue that reveals hidden agendas and treason in high places. The story has a good pace and there is plenty of action to keep the thriller lovers engaged with a number of surprising twists and turns in the plot along the way.

The final confrontation is a fitting climax to the story, bringing together all the players and their roles in the conspiracy, in an action packed battle of good against evil.

I am sure that this writing duo will go from strength to strength following this creative and exciting debut.

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

Other books by John Howell

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

Other books by Gwen Plano

Gwen Plano, Buy: Amazon US – and  : Amazon UK – follow Gwen : Goodreads – website:Gwen PlanoTwitter: @gmplano

The next review today is from 2019 and is for the psychological thriller by Toni Pike…..Desolation Bluff

About the book

Blind romance author Oliver Cameron uses the pen name of Fidel Amore and thinks he has the perfect life at his country estate near Desolation Bluff. After a honeymoon in Paris, his wife Vanessa continues her work as his assistant. His friend Ray is the business manager who lives in the gatehouse and also acts as the public face of Fidel Amore, doing all those book-signing trips that Oliver never wanted to attend. Helen Dunkley is the housekeeper devoted to him since childhood – but she detests the two newcomers.

Complications set in when Ray, working on his old car, accidentally backs into Oliver. His injuries appear minor but the next day he suddenly regains his sight. Oliver wants Ray and Rachel to be the first to hear his good news, but when he finds them he uncovers a shocking betrayal.

A game of cat and mouse begins – and with the arrival of a mysterious stranger, it turns deadly.

A short suspense novel that will keep you guessing right to the very end.

My review for Desolation Bluff

Desolation Bluff is packed with suspense and action.

Life is challenging enough for those with a sight impairment, when trust of those around you is essential. Oliver Cameron feels blessed to have a highly successful writing career, loyal housekeeper, a wonderfully supportive wife and best friend and back from honeymoon, he couldn’t be happier.

As we become involved in the story, and are party to events that Oliver is not aware of, it is easy to become angry on his behalf as the depths of betrayal are exposed. How will he deal with the revelations that unfold? Seeking revenge requires careful planning but people will go to great lengths to protect their secrets. For some of those who are looking out for Oliver’s best interests, this can be dangerous. Especially when an unexpected ally turns up on the scene who might be less likely to be intimidated.

The characters are well drawn and the plot moves along at a good pace. It is easy to take sides as the story develops and the climax leaves you on the edge of your seat…. and Desolation Bluff.

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

Other books by Toni Pike

Toni Pike, Buy: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK –  Follow Toni:Goodreads – Website: Toni PikeTwitter: @piketoni1

 

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

 

 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

John W. Howell.

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

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

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

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

Katharine Everson

m-and-me

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

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

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

Janet Gogerty

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

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

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

Balroop Singh…

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

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

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

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Darlene Foster

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Valentina Cirasola

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

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

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

Diana Wallace Peach

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

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

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

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Robbie Cheadle..

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

The best gift of all

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

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

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

©Robbie Cheadle

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

Jemima Pett

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

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

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

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

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

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Audrey Driscoll

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

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

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

A.J. Alexander

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

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

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

Jan Sikes

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

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

Marjorie Mallon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of Marcelo Reis Couto Fernandes

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

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

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

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

I will leave you with Michael Buble – Courtesy of MusicFluxer

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

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

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

Happy Christmas and healthy, wealthy New Year.

 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Christmas Book Fair – #Thriller John W. Howell – #Shortstories Hugh W. Roberts – #ParanormalRomance Linda G. Hill – #Poetry Ritu Bhathal


Welcome to this year’s Christmas book fair where I will be sharing the books of all the authors on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore with their most recent review in the last six months. I will be selecting authors at random so that there is something for everyone in the post.

To make it easier for you to buy I will provide the US and UK Amazon Author Pages and Goodreads Page for the author where you will find the featured book and also the others by the author.

The first author is John W. Howell with a stand alone novel – Circumstances of Childhood.. I have read all of John’s book and enjoy his style of writing and this this novel was not exception. They would make great gifts to friends and family.

About Circumstances of Childhood.

When a former pro football star and broadcaster, now a Wall Street maven is accused of insider trading, will he be able to prove his innocence and expose those who are guilty?

Greg and his boyhood pal dreamed of big success in professional football and then later in business. Greg was the only one to live the dream. Now the founder of an investment fund Greg is faced with a routine audit finding by the SEC. The audit points to irregularities and all the tracks lead to Greg. The justice department hits him with an indictment of 23 counts of fraud, money laundering, and insider trading. His firm goes bust, and Greg is on his own.

His best friend knows he is innocent but has been ordered under penalty of eternal damnation not to help.

If you enjoy stories of riches to rags, redemption, brotherly love, and a little of the paranormal, Circumstance of Childhood will keep you riveted.

A recent review for the book.

I truly enjoyed this novel and I hope John W. Howell keeps writing for a very long time. One thing that really impresses me is the care he takes in his writing…his dialogue skills and the way he creates believable but awesome characters (in this case – Greg and Keith Petros). This book hit all the marks for what I love a great story: fast-paced, surprising twists, characters I could root for, characters to hate/despise/feel pity/willing to save, and of course an ending that had me snapping my Kindle shut and thinking – noooo way, I’d like to read more..! If you want a good book that keeps you glued to the page, read this one or better all of the books by this author!

Three last words: exceptional, suspenseful and smart! Go, grab it!

Also by John W. Howell.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US author page

and on: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow John: John Howell Goodreads

Connect to John: John W. Howell

The next author enjoying a recent review is Hugh W. Roberts for his second collection of short stories, More Glimpses I have read and can recommend as a great gift for someone who enjoys reading some edgy short stories.. expect the unexpected.

About More Glimpses

Do you believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden? Or know the real truth about what lurks inside every mobile phone? Would you steal items from a blind person, or send your neighbours on a time travelling adventure fraught with danger and menace to save the human race from a bug? How about staying in a sleepy village where many murders have taken place or coming to the aid of royalty while out shopping?

‘More Glimpses’ gives the reader an opportunity to take a peek into the lives of normal, everyday people whose lives are all on a path full of twists, turns and unexpected endings. However, it’s not only about the humans; nothing escapes the extraordinary journeys Hugh has planned for you. If you are a lover of shows such as ‘Black Mirror’ or ‘The Twilight Zone’ then you’re in for another exciting trip in this second collection from Hugh. Come and meet the characters who had no idea their lives were about to be turned upside-down. Enjoy the ride!

One of the recent reviews for the collection

After reading Glimpses, Hugh Roberts’ first anthology of short stories, I was enthused to see his second book out for sale. More Glimpses fulfils its title by giving the reader a snapshot view into the lives of the characters colouring the pages, sharing moments of conflict, grandeur and horror before the shutter closes and the next story begins. Some dwell in the macabre; others are downright delightful in their telling. Hugh weaves his storytelling web over these bite-size stories, bringing to life the colourful characters, warts and all. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was lucky enough to receive my copy from the author himself. I look forward to his next anthology as I’m sure it will be just as thrilling as Glimpses and More Glimpses.

Also by Hugh W. Roberts

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon UK

And on: Amazon US

Read more reviews and follow Hugh :Hugh Roberts Goodreads

Hugh W. Roberts

Connect to Hugh via his blog: Hugh’s Views and News

A now something for those who enjoy some romance/paranormal in their reading. Linda G. Hill with the most recent review for her book The Magician’s Curse: A Paranormal Romance – The Great Dagmaru Book 1.

About the book

When Herman Anderson leaves home to make a better life for herself, she doesn’t expect to meet a tall, dark stranger with whom she’ll fall hopelessly in love.

Charming and mysterious, Stephen Dagmar is a stage magician seeking an assistant. The moment he sets eyes on Herman, he knows she’s the one. He brings her home to his Victorian mansion where they embark upon an extravagant romance. Yet a shadow hangs over their love. Will the curse on his family end Stephen and Herman’s happily ever after, before it really begins?

Amidst lace and leather, innocence and debauchery, The Magician’s Curse begins the Gothic tale of The Great Dagmaru. Magic and romance await.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Robbie Cheadle 4.0 out of 5 starsAn intriguing read May 13, 2019

Herman has a most unusual name which has been a burden to her all her school life. Why on earth would her parents saddle her with a boy’s name? As this interesting book, filled with magic and mystery progresses, Herman finds out that it is not only her name that is unusual about her, or her parents choice that is unusual about them.

Herman’s mother has been very ill for a long time and her father is never there to offer any support to his family. Herman assumed the role of mother to her younger brother, Chad, when she was very young and now she is breaking free to establish a life for herself. She plans to bring her brother to live with her once she is settled and earning an income. On the train to her new job, Herman meets a riveting young man who introduces himself as Stephen. Much to Herman’s surprise, Stephen professes to be as taken with her as she is with him, so when he asks her to work for him as his assistant she doesn’t put up much of a fight. Fortunately for Herman, Stephen, who is a magician, is genuine in his offer for her to become his assistant and she quickly discovers that there is more to his magic than meets the eye. In fact, Herman soon comes to realise that the household staff and Stephen’s entire lifestyle is fairly unorthodox.

The attraction between Herman and Stephen is incredibly strong but Herman can sense there is something not quite right with their relationship and this causes her to hold back from committing herself completely to him. What is Stephen’s secret and will Herman be able to accept it when she eventually discovers what it is? I did like the fact that the character of Stephen illustrated respect for Herman and gave her the opportunity to make her own choice about his unusual situation.

This book is for adults and, although not graphic, it does contain descriptions of sex and suggestions of sexual freedoms. The romantic aspect of this book is the overriding genre with the supernatural element playing a lessor role.

Also by Linda G. Hill

Read all the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US

And : Amazon UK

Read other reviews and follow Linda on: Goodreads

Connect to Linda via her website: Linda G. Hill

And the final book today is the poetry collection from Ritu Bhathal which has received wonderful review and would make a lovely gift for poetry lovers- Poetry Rituals

About Poetic Rituals.

Delve into a book of verse exploring different topics and different genres, all with a RITUal twist.

A collection of poetry drawing on the experiences of the writer, ranging from matters of the heart, love for the family, situations in life and some verses written with a humorous twist.

One of the recent reviews for the collection

 Read all the reviews and buy the collection: Amazon US

and other reviews: Amazon UK

Read more reviews and follow Ritu: Goodreads

Connect to Ritu:But I smile anyway

Thank you for dropping in today and there will be more Christmas Book recommendations over the weekend. Sally

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


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

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

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

White House

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Third Marriages, Yeah or Nay?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Tale of Two Music Cities Divided

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – Odd Jobs and Characters – The Steak House


This series shares some of the jobs I have turned my hand to over that fifty years, and some were very odd. Not many have sat at a table between two teams of champion dairy cows, selling bull semen!  Over the years I have accumulated a massive dossier of characters and events that now take centre stage in my short stories.

If you have read my novel Just an Odd Job Girl you will have met some of them but over the next few weeks I hope to bring you some of the others that inspired and stimulated my imagination.

Not all these posts appeared on Smorgasbord as some fantastic blogging friends allowed me to guest post. If that is the case of course I will include their books and links.

You can find the previous odd jobs here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/short-stories-odd-jobs-and-characters-2018/

This episode was kindly hosted by John W. Howell and you can find out more about John and his books later in the post.

I began my training as an assistant manager in a steak house in Kent in 1974. For the six months, I would rotate around through the two bars and two restaurants that served a simple menu of steak, chicken, and fish. Most dishes came with either French fries (chips) and peas. For the more health conscious there was a jacket potato option, but by the time several pats of butter had been added, it was as fattening as the fries. Dessert options were ice cream with chocolate sauce and sprinkled nuts, or apple pie and cream. The wine menu was short and featured the German white wines so popular at the time, with much touting of the young French red wines with alleged body and clarity.

However, despite not being a Michelin starred establishment, the training was considered to be one of the best in that particular area of the hospitality industry. It was certainly intensive, and when you consider the hours we worked daily, six days a week, the six months training was actually something you would normally complete in twelve months.

The building itself had been built in 1812 and sported the red flocked wallpaper so fashionable in the 1960s and 1970s. Smoking was still in its hey day and the ceiling was a curious shade of tobacco after 150 years of nicotine exhalation. The smell that greeted you in the morning was ‘eau de tabac’ laced with beer overtones. When you had been working until after midnight, had barely six hours sleep, you found yourself declining anything but black coffee until lunchtime.

I have to say that I loved it, despite the hard work and long hours. We had some very interesting regulars, and the locals embraced the concept of the steak house with gusto. It was cheap and cheerful, and as music blared out on a Friday and Saturday night, both downstairs and upstairs bars and restaurants were packed. The waiting list for a table could be an hour or more, but beer and schooners of sherry (lethal), dulled the senses sufficiently for the wait to be quite jovial.

During the day, only the downstairs restaurant was in use and was consistently busy. This offered the assistant managers time to do the usual administrative work needed to run the steak house, such as ordering food and spirits and cleaning the bars after the night before.

In the evenings it was my job to run the upstairs restaurant, with a team of waitresses waiting on the tables, and two bar staff, who alternated between serving pre-dinner drinks and after dinner liqueur coffees with assorted spirits (this is pre-drink-driving laws!).

The waitresses were rushed off their feet as they juggled three or four large plates laden with steak, chicken, and sides. My job to help in reducing the waiting list was to clear the tables as soon as the diners had paid, and re-equip with cutlery, glasses, and napkins as rapidly as possible. I would then dash back to the bar and announce the name of the lucky party over the tannoy system, who could now stagger after me into the restaurant.

One Saturday night in the middle of a very busy service, I had to handle a potentially difficult situation that could have ended up in the papers (thank goodness there were no mobile phones in those days). As you will remember this building was old, and there were dark recesses within the walls and ceilings, that you would have been wise to avoid for what might reside there.

I was checking the state of play on progress at a number of tables where the patrons were wiping away the evidence of their chocolate sundae. I noticed a man at a table with a party of six, bend down to retrieve his napkin. Instead, he came up with something smaller and definitely furrier than the paper serviette. I suspect that as a natural reflex, he stood with his arm held straight out from his body, clearly amazed at his catch. From my vantage point at the entrance to the restaurant, I identified the rotating body of a dead mouse.

There is a split second between shocked discovery and the public announcement of the find. Although never great at school at the 100 metre dash, I now excelled myself. Dropping the waiting list on the bar, I rushed through the restaurant and snatched the unfortunate deceased rodent from its captor, continuing on to the kitchen at warp speed. I deposited the mouse in the bin and turned and raced back the other way to find the patron staring at his hand and looking around in confusion.

Lighting in the restaurants was provided by dim wall lights in order to provide a romantic and intimate feel to the experience. It also served to conceal the tobacco infused ceiling and rather dodgy carpet. It also thankfully managed to befuddle the diner, who thankfully had not only consumed four pints of beer in the bar beforehand, but also a bottle of our best Liebfraumilch. I added to the befuddlement, by handing him his fallen napkin, and asking if the party would be interested in some liqueur coffees on the house, to compensate them for their long wait before dining.

An exterminator was called the next day and traps were hidden in all the usual haunts. But there was a postscript to this story.

One of the waitresses was a bit of a madam and was always giving the chef grief. As part of the staff’s pay, supper was included before the restaurants opened in the evening. The day after the incident, this particular waitress retrieved her indicated supper from the hot plate, and on sitting down, removed the cover. She issued a piercing scream that probably cleared the rodents from the building far more effectively than the traps. I came over to find out what the problem was, to discover her staring at her plate of battered mouse, French fries, and peas.

©Sally Cronin – 2017

 Next week – The Steak House Part Two – originally hosted by Sue Vincent.

Short story anthologies.

You can find all my books at these links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Smashwords for Epub: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SallyGCronin

More reviews can be found on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin

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 adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016. 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.

Books by John W. Howell.

One of the recent reviews for the first book in the series – My GRL.

My GRL pulled me in from abrupt murder at the start of the story and didn’t let go until the spectacular unexpected ending.

I enjoyed the writing style and humor. The plot had enough twists to keep me guessing and engaged in the story.

If you are looking for an unpredictable thriller to get lost in for a day or two, I’d recommend you giving this book a try. I’ll be picking up the other books in the series

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

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

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

Connect to John.

Blog: http://www.johnhowell.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HowellWave
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed finding out about the background to some of my characters.

Sally’s Drive Time – #Playlist #Music The Requests Part Two – John Howell, Annette Rochelle Aben, D.G. Kaye and Judy E. Martin


Since the beginning of this series, I have asked you to share your favourite music with links in the comments. I thought I would create a special playlist, sharing the track and link to the latest post of those requesting the song.

The first request from the first post in the series is from John W. Howell who also mentioned Whisky for my Men and Beer for my Horses.. I think we can see where this is going! Here is Willie Nelson with ‘On The Road Again’.

‘Late in the Evening’ by Paul Simon was Annette Rochelle Aben  And you can find a Tanka by Annette in response to Colleen Chesebro’s weekly challenge if you click the  link.

The next track to be requested was by D.G. Kaye.. Debby Gies and is Cheryl Lynn with ‘Got To Be Real’

The next favourite is one of mine too.. Neil Diamond with ‘Song Sung Blue’ requested by Judy E. Martin

I hope you have enjoyed this selection chosen by John, Debby, Annette and Judy… more next week.. Have a good weekend.. thanks Sally