Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Tony Bennett, Houdini and Doyle, Bad Habits, Childhood and Greece

Welcome to this week’s round up of posts that you might have missed. As you know I recommend that you do not sign up for notifications about my posts.. it would drive you crazy.. but you might like to put Sunday in your diary for a pop in.

As always I am very grateful for those who have shared their thoughts, words and wisdom with us this week. William Price King, Paul Andruss, Julie Lawford, Kevin Morris and Ali Isaac

I have had some adventures of the dental kind this week having fractured a molar.. We had not signed up with a dentist as yet but were recommended to go to one in nearby Arklow.. You can always tell how good a dentist is by sitting in a waiting room. If people have their head in their hands are sweating it is not a good sign.. In this case everyone was enjoying a banter and talking about the weather.. I was reassured. Having been on the other side of the dentist chair over 40 years ago and witnessed some of the treatments then available you might understand why I am still nervous of going for an appointment.

I need not have been worried. Despite barely any of the tooth left, the dentist fitted me in for an appointment within two days because she did not want to leave me with a loose filling whilst she went on holiday. She took out the old filling painlessly and rebuilt it painstakingly… with composite. I am delighted to have found such a great practice and will be returning when needed.

The weather has turned autumnal and conkers are already on the trees. We have had a dry if cloudy summer and I take heart knowing that here in Ireland September can be a glorious month. In the meantime I may be getting the boots back out of their summer hibernation.. they have only been in there for six weeks…

Anyway on with the round up and thank you very much for your continued support.. It means the world to me.

Summer Jazz with William Price King

Whilst William is away on his summer break I will be reposting the series featuring the amazing Tony Bennett who is still performing in his 90s.

Here he is with The Way You Look Tonight by Jerome Kern

Writer in Residence

Thomas the Rhymer

This week Paul Andruss takes us behind the scenes of the real life relationship between two megastars of their day.. Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini.. Expect the unexpected with The Dream Team.

A reminder that you can enjoy the full book of essays by Horatio Grin (AKA Paul Andruss) with bonus features FREE by emailing me.. Details in the post.

Guest writer Julie Lawford Summer of Lifestyle posts

We all develop bad habits over time and this includes with our diet. Julie Lawford takes us through some strategies to make changes that benefit us.

Guest post Kevin Morris

Kevin  Morris is celebrating the release of his latest poetry collection, My Old Clock I Wind with a guest post on his childhood.

Milestones along the Way by Goeff Cronin

I new serialisation of Geoff Cronin’s books with Milestones along the Way.

Smorgasbord Short Stories – Guest Ali Isaac

Ali takes us to the heat of Greece in this heart warming story of a mother and daughter preparing for the future and letting go of the past.

Book Promotion

Over the next three months I will be posting a new series Odd Jobs and Characters to celebrate my latest short story collection in ebook and a printed edition containing both volumes of What’s in a Name? The first three posts are on my blog and then the other twelve are being featured on some wonderful writer’s blogs..

Smorgasbord Reblogs

These are stand alone reblogs for certain bloggers who have something a little extra that I would like to share.

Finn Mac Cool

Jessica Norrie

Just a reminder that all promotions for bloggers and authors on Smorgasbord are FREE… I can offer to showcase your work in front of nearly 30,000 across the blog and social media and give you regular updates every few weeks.

The only thing that I ask is that you participate by responding to comments of those who have taken the time to make them, and to share across your own blog and networks. This also involves responding to those who share on Twitter as I tag you in any retweets. Most who share on Twitter are authors themselves and are part of a very supportive community who welcome new members.

It does make a huge difference to the response. Not just for the initial promotion but those that follow. People buy people first..

A great example of participation this week was Vashti Quiroz-Vega whose enthusiasm for promoting her New on the Shelves post resulted in over 150 views and 50 retweets.. I did a quick count up of the number of followers who retweeted the post or the original tweet. Vashti’s book had the potential to be seen by half a million readers. Of course this does not necessarily correspond with books sold or downloaded but those people now firmly have Vashti on their radar.

As an author I love providing this promotional opportunity but it is a collaboration.

Here is how you can join over 200 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore…

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore New on the Shelves

A warm welcome to two new authors to the bookstore this week.

Author Update

Some new releases and great reviews for those already on the shelves of the bookstore.

Air Your Reviews

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Some of the wonderful blog posts I have read this week.. Sorry not to be able to showcase everyone.. but you can always send me a link for your most recent post for me to share.

Smorgasbord Short Stories

A wonderful story from Ali Isaac which takes to a Greek Island and sunshine.


Weekly image and Haiku

Thank you again for joining me here on Smorgasbord.. Keep an eye open during the week for a new interview series beginning in September in the Sunday Morning slot.


Smorgasbord Guest Post – My School Days by Poet and Author Kevin Morris

As part of the celebration of the release of his latest book, My Old Clock I Wind, poet and author Kevin Morris is sharing a series of memories about his childhood. In this post he takes us back to his time at school in Liverpool at the Royal School for the Blind.

I lost the majority of my eyesight at approximately 18-months-old, as a result of a blood clot on the brain. As a consequence I attended several schools for the visually impaired (the Royal School for the Blind and Saint Vincents school for the Blind), both of which are located in the city of my birth, Liverpool.

My first love of literature undoubtedly stemmed from my grandfather who would spend hours reading to me, (I still recall the glass bookcase filled with paperbacks which stood in the spare room of my grandfather’s house). It was, however during my time at school that the world of independent reading (in the form of braille books) first opened up to me.
I recall the library in the Royal School of the Blind as being a dark room filled with tall bookcases. In contrast the library in Saint Vincents was a much lighter room and (unlike the Royal School) the floors where carpeted. I must confess to having a liking for traditional libraries (with dark furnishings and high shelving which does, in part at least eminate from my time at the Royal School).

I vividly recall taking down Edgar Alan Poe’s “Tales of Mystery and Imagination”, while at the Royal School and becoming lost in it. Apart from being a place where one could read, the school library doubled as a spot where I could (when tired of playing with my peers) retire to. Indeed I still recall being chased out of my sanctuary by a teacher and admonished to “go and play with your peers!”

The library at Saint Vincents contained (in addition to many braille books) several braille magazines. I remember reading “The National Braille Mail” which was produced by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and consisted of a weekly digest of the weeks news and leading articles drawn from the UK’s press. The National Braille Mail and other similar braille magazines no longer exist, having been replaced by easy access to newspapers online, which can be accessed by blind people using software such as Job Access with Speech or (JAWs), which converts text into speech and braille enabling visually impaired computer users to have the contents of their screen relaid to them.

It was while attending school that my love of poetry developed. I’ve happy memories of leafing through “The Oxford Book of English Verse”, an anthology of Kipling’s verse and many other poetry books.

I boarded at both the Royal School and Saint Vincents. We boys lived in dormatories and would often talk long after our official bedtime (once the lights where turned out talking was prohibited). I still recall having to stand outside in the corridor, in my dressing gown and slippers as a punishment for talking after the lights had been switched off!

We children would often make up stories about ghosts, ghouls and other things that go bump in the night. All this was tremendous fun until I had to leave the dormitory to use the toilet. My mind would go into overdrive imagining all kinds of unearthly horrors waiting to grab me once I left the comfort of my dormitory!

Even while in the comparative safety of the dormitory the noises made by the big old-fashioned radiators as they cooled down could frighten one half to death. Was that strange sound merely a pipe cooling or something more sinister? Why did that floor board just creak?

My time at school was, on the whole a happy one and I look back with nostalgia to the time spent in the library and the story telling after the lights went out and ghosts and ghouls roamed along the empty corridors, waiting to grab the unwary child …!

My Old Clock I Wind and other Poems

A collection of 74 new and original poems. It contains both melancholy and more cheerful pieces contrasting the fact that We can enjoy life but at the same time cannot escape its inevitable end.

We laugh
As we pass
Along life’s path.
There are tears too
Its true,
For me and you
My friend,
For every year
Must have it’s end.

An early review from Annette Rochelle Aben

If you have yet to find yourself lost in a book of poetry by English poet, Kevin Morris, then lose yourself in My Old Clock I Wind and Other Poems. Allow yourself to wander through the changing seasons, to experience the magic of limericks, and to be entertained by the musings of a man who sees this world through different eyes.

You’ll learn about girls with unsuitable shoes, what having dinner with Dracula might be like and wonder if a garden log might be an alligator or perhaps a crocodile. Be thought provoked, by a magpie and perhaps find yourself shaking your head in agreement with the last line of Kevin’s Melting Ice. “and now the call, of the bird, goes unheard, by those drunk on their own words.”

For Kevin Morris, another notch on the belt of his writing career. For us, the readers, yet another opportunity to experience the world through the poetic eyes of a multi-faceted English poet. My Old Clock I Wind and Other Poems belongs in your collection.

“My Old Clock” is available in paperback and ebook formats from Moyhill Publishing,

It can also be found in the Amazon Kindle store, and Amazon UK.

Also by Kevin Morris

Read all the reviews and buy the books :

Find out more about Kevin and connect to him on his blog and social media.


Thank you for dropping by today and it would be great if you could share this childhood memory of Kevin’s far and wide. thanks Sally


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Jacquie Biggar, Kevin Morris and Lucinda E. Clarke

USA Today Best Selling romance author Jacquie Biggar released her latest book, a novella… My Baby Wrote me a Letter.. Here is a note from the author about the inspiration behind the story.

“2017 is the one hundred fiftieth birthday of Canada’s Confederation and our local writing/critiquing group decided it would be fun to do an anthology to celebrate.

My contribution, My Baby Wrote Me A Letter, stems from a news segment I watched. A woman bought an old desk at a yard sale. After bringing it home she began the process of refinishing the wood and happened to find a letter taped to the back of a drawer.
When she read the message, she realized the note could be important to someone, and with little more than a faded name to go on, began a search for the writer of the mysterious letter.

It was placing a picture on Facebook that led to the son of the man who had written that long ago message to his family. He had recently been diagnosed with cancer and feared he would never survive to see his children grow, so he wrote them a letter from the heart.

The news story had a happy ending; the man survived the cancer and lived not only to see his children to adulthood, but several of his grandchildren as well.

His story was an inspiration to me,

About My Baby Wrote me a Letter

A family’s brush with the past will threaten the foundation of their lives.

Grace Freeman is eight months pregnant. With her Navy husband away on a mission, she craves the security of her childhood home in Canada.

When a letter, written by her long-lost mother, is found it creates a tear in the fabric of the lives of those she loves.

Can Grace find a way to bring her family peace, or will a message from the past destroy their future?

An early review for My Baby Wrote me a Letter

My Baby Wrote me A Letter  on July 1, 2017

Don’t let the fact that this is a short story fool you. It is so well written and filled with so much emotion.

A beautiful, heartwarming, emotional story of coming home and clearing up misunderstandings . It had moments of sadness and dealing with difficulties of loved ones away at war , sibling squabbles and joking around but also showed the tenderness of closeness. This is truly, a beautiful love story that moved me to tears and warmed my heart. It is very true to life that many have experienced.

I also enjoyed the description of parts of Canada that I’ve had the pleasure of visiting.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

A selection of other books by Jacquie Biggar

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

Discover more reviews and follow Jacquie on Goodreads:

Connect to Jacquie Biggar via her webstite:

Moyhill is delighted to have worked with Kevin Morris on his latest poetry collection – My Old Clock I Wind – the book is currently available in print and all ebook formats on the publishing site and is in the Kindle store. The print version has been uploaded to Amazon too and will be available in the next few days too.

Here is the title poem from the book

My Old Clock I Wind

My old clock I wind
And much philosophy therein find.
I can bring
The pendulum’s swing
To a stop With my hand,
Yet I can not command
Time to default
On his duty and halt
The passing of the years.
He has no ears
For our laughter and tears
And his sickle will swing on
Long after we are gone.

An early review from Annette Rochelle Aben

If you have yet to find yourself lost in a book of poetry by English poet, Kevin Morris, then lose yourself in My Old Clock I Wind and Other Poems. Allow yourself to wander through the changing seasons, to experience the magic of limericks, and to be entertained by the musings of a man who sees this world through different eyes.

You’ll learn about girls with unsuitable shoes, what having dinner with Dracula might be like and wonder if a garden log might be an alligator or perhaps a crocodile. Be thought provoked, by a magpie and perhaps find yourself shaking your head in agreement with the last line of Kevin’s Melting Ice. “and now the call, of the bird, goes unheard, by those drunk on their own words.”

For Kevin Morris, another notch on the belt of his writing career. For us, the readers, yet another opportunity to experience the world through the poetic eyes of a multi-faceted English poet. My Old Clock I Wind and Other Poems belongs in your collection.

“My Old Clock” is available in paperback and ebook formats from Moyhill Publishing,

It can also be found in the Amazon Kindle store, and Amazon UK.

A selection of other books by Kevin Morris

Read all the reviews and buy the books :

Connect to Kevin via his blog:

Another author in the Cafe with a new book is Lucinda E. Clarke with The Very Worst Riding School in the World Book 1.

About the book

Who would be stupid enough to open and run a riding school when they are terrified of horses, can’t ride, without insurance or capital, and with not the faintest idea of how to care for horses. Add to that, two of the four horses are not fit for the knacker’s yard. Yes, that’s exactly what I did – like so many of my adventures I ‘fell’ into this one as well with hilarious results.

An early review by T.R. Robinson –

Describing the family background and her own lack of knowledge and experience Lucinda Clarke draws out the funny and serious sides of this escapade. Her sense of humour and self-depreciation are constantly in evidence as are her descriptive abilities.

Though the book stands upon its own feet, readers would benefit from reading the authors memoir ‘Walking Over Eggshells’ beforehand. Not a necessity but it would put some of the backstory issues into perspective. Besides which, it is a good read.

Bearing in mind this is a short book (36 pages in total), it would be unfair to author and potential reader, to say much more.

Readers will find this an entertaining read that wets the appetite for the next instalment (The book is an introduction to the overall tale.) Those who wish to have access to part 2 need to be aware it will only be available to those who have signed-up for Lucinda’s newsletter.

Buy the book:

Link to sign up for Lucinda’s Newsletter can be found on her blog:

Also by Lucinda E. Clarke

Read the reviews and buy all the books:

Read more reviews and follow Lucinda on Goodreads:

If you are in the Cafe and Bookstore and have a new release, great review or offer to share please let me know..

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air your Reviews – Shehanne Moore and Kevin Morris

Welcome to the second of this week’s review posts and this week Paul Andruss wrote a fantastic review for The Writer and the Rake by Shehanne Moore on his website.

About the book

He saw her coming. If he’d known her effect he’d have walked away.

When it comes to doing it all, ‘wild child’ writer Brittany Carter ticks every box. Having it all is a different thing though, what with her need to thwart an ex fiancé and her being transported from the present to Georgian times. But then, so long as she can find her way back to her world of fame and promised fortune, what’s there to worry about?

Georgian bad boy Mitchell Killgower is at the center of an inheritance dispute. He needs Brittany as his obedient, country-mouse wife. Or, rather, he needs her like a hole in the head. In and out of his bed, he’s never known a woman like her. Nor a woman who can disappear and reappear like her either.

And when his coolly contained anarchist, who is anything but, learns how to return to her world and remain, will having it all be enough, or does she underestimate him, and herself?

Paul Andruss with his review:

I can confirm Shehanne Moore is no Miss Barbara Cartland.

Now there is two ways you can take this news. If you are anything like me it will be with a lusty huzzah and an air punch. I was never one for simpering virgins and sex scenes discretely ending outside the bedroom door.

Shehanne Moore writes historical romance with a sci-fi twist that’s unapologetically smexy. For those who don’t know, smexy (her word, not mine) is a cross between smutty and sexy… raunchy romance in the raw… or is that with a roar? Cos, boy, does the gal deliver!

If you want a complex heroine, so feisty she could bitch slap you in a stand-up row, meet tough but vulnerable Brittany Carter – ‘brittle as porcelain and deadlier than shattered glass. An irresistible combination.’

If you like a ruggedly handsome man, oozing animal magnetism, you can’t go far wrong with Mitchell Killgower. He’s not so tough. Underneath them smouldering looks and icy demeanour beats a heart to make you melt. At least something will be wet by the end of the novel.

By that I mean if a ‘good man who needs saving from himself’ don’t bring a tear to your eye then you are no Brittany Carter – not matter how smexy and gorgeous you are – ‘darling!’

Brittany is a struggling historical romance writer and no simpering virgin. Like most good-looking modern women in their mid-twenties, she’s had her fair share of men; all of them disappointments.

The book opens when a stranger called Morte stops Brittany for her autograph. Or so she thinks.

To be honest she’s not taking much notice. The girl’s got a lot on her mind. Off to straighten out her finances with some crap-head she used to date – he took everything but somehow managed to leave her name on a mortgage he’s not paying.

Morte’s weird, more stalker than fan. As his ominous warning about making the right choice rings in her ears, lightning strikes him. Brittany does the decent thing: calls an ambulance; helps Morte live.

Wrong choice!

Next thing Brittany wakes up in a sixteen year boy’s dusty bed. Wound tight as a cheese wire garrotte, she desperately plays it cool, frantically struggling to keep herself together while figuring out what the hell happened?

The boy’s furious. Handsome dad’s furious too. Not with her; with each other.

All the while she’s praying it’s a nightmare and she’ll wake up. Gradually it dawns. She’s somehow travelled through time, back to 1765 to be precise. To a crumbling stately home in Georgian England and the middle of a bitter inheritance feud between handsome rakish father and puritan unloved son, and with a cow of a sister-in-law holding the purse strings and fuelling the whole debacle.

The Writer and the Rake starts at 100 miles an hour and never flags. It is an unrelenting tour de force; a dazzling pas-de-deux of searing wit and laugh out loud moments between Brittany and Mitchell. The frisson between them is tangible, popping and fizzing across the pages as they slog it out to gain the upper hand, only to have the other snatch it back.

Despite wanting to return to her own time Brittany can’t take her eyes off Mitchell; while he can’t keep his hands off her behind. So, what about Morte? Don’t worry, he’s there too. Intent on sealing his Faustian bargain.

When Mitchell sees Morte with Brittany, he’s jealous as hell of her secret lover. It’s just the spark they need for scorching emotions to boil over into reckless sex. Even if you don’t smoke, you’ll be reaching for that post-coital cigarette Brittany can never have because she ran out in the first few days.

Casual sex has consequences. Hell, Brittany knows that. But she’s not prepared for what they are. Ok it’s not the first time she’s woken in a strange bed. But this one’s oddly familiar. She’s leapfrogged forward to her own time to find she’s been missing for weeks, presumed kidnapped, and her books are now best sellers.


Morte picks his moment to explain it all; a drunken night out with the girls. Apparently she’s a time mutant – the mother of a dynasty. Shame she’s too pissed to take it in.

Talk about sealed with a kiss. One drunken snog with some bloke in the club and Brittany’s back to Mitchell’s crumbling house. Only one thing for it, seduce Mitchell and use the ride of her life to hitchhike through the centuries back to her duly deserved fame and fortune.

Here lies the rub.

Mitchell’s the man she wants, the one she’s been waiting for all her life. She knows it from the moment he sweeps her up in his strong arms and drops her on his big old bed. From the second he unbuttons her bodice, and she his breeches. If only he was from her time. If, if, if…

If this is her last kiss; the last time she can make love for fear of ricocheting through the ages with every orgasm, then there is no one she would rather do it with.

Life’s never that simple, is it Brittany? Not with destiny calling… loud and clear.

The Writer and the Rake is a genre-bending adventure. It confirms Shehanne Moore as an author who know today’s woman is as likely to be into science fiction, playing computer games or watching light porn as reading heavy romance. And Moore’s not afraid to give her readers what they want … without ifs, buts or apologies.

The dialogue is racy, witty and thoroughly modern. This is no cod 18th century comedy of manners. That would get in the way of the lust and punishing pace. Her characters are real: gritty, decent and flawed as the rest of us. And ultimately, as redeemable by love we all are. Though it’s bloody hard work for them sometimes!

And in case you are thinking this is just for the girls, I’d advise you to give it a shot, lads. Cos let’s face it… it does no harm knowing what your woman wants.

Read all the reviews and buy the book:

Also by Shehanne Moore

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

Read more reviews and follow Shehanne on Goodreads:

The second review today is for the soon to be released collection of poetry My Old Clock I Wind and Other Poems by Kevin Morris. Reviewed by poet Annette Rochelle Aben

The book will be available on Amazon and other online bookstores by the end of June.

Annette Rochelle Aben’s review for “My Old Clock I Wind and Other Poems” by Kevin Morris

If you have yet to find yourself lost in a book of poetry by English poet, Kevin Morris, then lose yourself in My Old Clock I Wind and Other Poems. Allow yourself to wander through the changing seasons, to experience the magic of limericks, and to be entertained by the musings of a man who sees this world through different eyes.

You’ll learn about girls with unsuitable shoes, what having dinner with Dracula might be like and wonder if a garden log might be an alligator or perhaps a crocodile. Be thought provoked, by a magpie and perhaps find yourself shaking your head in agreement with the last line of Kevin’s Melting Ice. “and now the call, of the bird, goes unheard, by those drunk on their own words.”

For Kevin Morris, another notch on the belt of his writing career. For us, the readers, yet another opportunity to experience the world through the poetic eyes of a multi-faceted English poet. My Old Clock I Wind and Other Poems belongs in your collection.

A selection of other books by Kevin Morris

A review for Kevin’s collection Dalliance

Question: How can one line – one simple sentence – provoke such meaning, hold such depth, contain such raw emotion? You’re lost for answers if you’re asking me, for nor do I know or can fathom the talent Morris must have to accomplish such a thing.

Dalliance is a collection of poetry and prose, crafted by the wonderful talent of K. Morris, containing a mixture of short poems, long poems, and flash fiction, concluded with an essay at the end, which will dazzle and define you simultaneously; each poem we can relate to, each short story provokes personal emotion, and even the essay causes one to be contemplative. In a nut shell, with each page turn comes a new story, a new poignant perspective, with a bundle of more emotions, more passion, and more soul.

Personally, I favoured the short stories the most, for – of course – they’re all beautifully written, and in the perspective of a rhythmic voice, yet many of them contain sly humour, which catches you at the end. In particular, I noticed how Morris tends to begin on one topic, and right at the end switches it to another; the topic that had been discussed by the character is not irrelevant, but is instead the cause of the final paragraph, or final line. I really enjoyed this method of storytelling, because it’s very unique, and definitely something I’ve never seen before.

Furthermore, much of the poetry included in this collection is short, but this is not to say it is too short. On the contrary, in fact, the short poems are probably the most thought provoking. They are the ones that offer a quick insight into the mind of another, and are so ambiguous, you can interpret it in whichever fashion you desire.

Likewise, dissimilar to many poetry/prose collections, this collection isn’t structured around one theme or emotion. Quite frankly, reading of the same emotion or theme continuously is terribly boring, and so when reading Dalliance, you’re faced with differing emotions with each page, which I definitely prefer. Happy, funny, and joyous pages are juxtaposed with melancholic, serious, and abhorrent pages, all of which being victim to Morris’ underlying dark humour.

In a nut shell, Morris writes originally, beautifully, and true. The emotions described are raw, and lacking gimmicks, causing this collection to be a beautiful, contemplative read.

Read all the reviews and buy the books :

Connect to Kevin via his blog:

Thanks for dropping in today and don’t forget to let me know if you have received a great review you would like to share. Sally

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Author Update – Kevin Morris, Jane Dougherty and Judy E. Martin

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore Update

DallianceWelcome to the Cafe and Bookstore author update and delighted to bring news of author and poet Kevin Morris’s latest project.  He has recorded a CD of thirteen of his poems from his collections which include the following:

 Fire  –   My Old Clock I Wind  –   Leaf  –  Leaves Blown At Night  –   Lost  –  Ethereal –  Waltz – The Poet and the Workman  – There Was A Young Man Called Rory – There Was A Young Lady Called Flair – There Was A Young Lady Called Anna – When  –  Dalliance.

This CD is available currently exclusively from Kevin Morris and he has set aside a number of copies for anyone who feels they can offer an honest review of his work and you can contact him on the following email.

newauthoronline (at) gmail dot com

Two reviews for Kevin’s Poetry

Kevin Morris shares his serious inner life in “Dalliance” in simple but often powerful poems and short, gritty vignettes full of honest feeling and meaning. He shares his acute sense of hearing and touch and his connectedness with Nature and the elements. He feels rain and wind on his face, either warm like a lover, or piercing and chill. His communion with birdsong reminds us that we are trapped in an over-stimulated electronic world out of earshot of the call of the wild. Kevin clearly hears these sounds through and above our babble even in the pub, and may transfer his feelings onto them, sometimes his sense of isolation.
The pearl of this collection is a poem about the “eternal” wind, which has no regard for our petty civilisation: it is the ultimate renewable power. The wind is from everlasting to everlasting. He hears the hoot of the deadly swooping owl intent in its prey. He feels and describes the touch of the acorn, something he has loved since gathering acorns with his grandfather. His short stories are deeply felt and based on newstories told with compassion. In sharing his gift, he opens up our own senses to the music of nature, the wind and birdsong, which is balm to the bruised soul. Highly enjoyable!

I loved the sheer variety of the pieces in this book – and the lyrical nature of the writing. Most beautiful. Two, in particular, stood out for me: ‘Dark Angel’ and ‘The Great Cycle’. Both evoked the connection we have with the world – though in very different ways, one being a physical bond with the natural world, the other a more inanimate ‘friend’!
I thoroughly recommend this exquisite little collection.

To buy the CD recorded by Kevin Morris please contact him direct on newauthoronline (at) gmail dot com, (the address is rendered to avoid spammers)

Also by Kevin Morris

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Read all the reviews for Kevin’s work and buy the books:


Connect to Kevin via his website or email as above:

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore Update

The next author today has also a brand new release as of January 30th.. Jane Dougherty with Tales from the Northlands.  A historical collection of fantasy short stories about the legendary Vikings linked to a child from another time.

51kos0ukxl-_uy250_About Tales from the Northlands

A rickety wooden escalator carries a child from his safe, comfortable world of department store Christmas glitter to the midnight zone inhabited by legendary nightmares.
On the windswept east coast of Northumbria, a Saxon thegn avenges his murdered chief by selling his village to the sea wolves, and a ruthless war leader prepares for battle, gloating over the blood dream sent him by the wicce.

In Viking Sverige, Jussi and Solveig plan a future juggling bride price, parental expectations and the knarr they have yet to acquire, but their future falls beneath the shadow of the mountain.

Antar seems like the answer to Inna’s dream of escaping the bleak steading on the fjord, but her father and his chosen son-in-law have other ideas.

What links these tales is the North Sea that beats the coast, brings the cold and the long ships, laps the winter nights in snow, when the wind howls stories of trolls and giants. It brings the herring, the sea mews and the grey seals, and it joins a people with the same vision of the world—harsh, vivid and full of magic.

Buy the book:

A selection of other books by Jane Dougherty

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A review for Abomination (The Pathfinders Series Book 1) released in 2016.

Carla and Tully are there to witness the beginning of the world’s end. When they are sucked into a wormhole that transports them five years into the future, they are stunned to discover a new and horrible version of the world they once knew. A world where violence is a way of life, where strange and terrifying creatures stalk the surviving humans, and where women are treated as lesser beings. They are forced to join a brutal tribe and shoved into the roles befitting their genders. As the story progresses, we learn more about the last five years and how the world they now inhabit came to be. We also learn the worst is yet to come.

Fast-paced and well-written, Abomination is a very strong start to the Pathfinders series. Jane Dougherty has created a desolate, post-apocalyptic world where the worst of human behavior thrives. We meet characters who are courageous, who love and care for others in spite of starvation, fear, and the daily threat of violence. These characters are beautifully drawn and complex. The story also has its share of twists and surprises.

I would recommend this book to teens age 13 and up. Adults will also enjoy the story. I sure did! Fans of dystopian tales and those who enjoy a thought-provoking adventure will love this book. I’m looking forward to book 2. 

To view and buy all of Jane Dougherty’s books please go to Amazon Author Page:


Connect to Jane via her website:

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore Update

Now an update on poet Judy E. Martin who published her very entertaining poetry collection Rhymes of the Times last March.. When her book was promoted here at the time it was a little early for reviews.. Time to rectify that.


About the collection

Are you one of those people that barge through life, trying to get through it as best as you can, swimming against the everyday worries and stresses of life? Well, I have found a way to make it much more enjoyable.

Don’t you think everything sounds better when it rhymes? I certainly do. In fact, I have found that everything from doing the housework to growing older, can sound more positive and less daunting when made into a little ditty.

This book is about finding the humour, or raising a smile from the everyday things that we can all relate to in life, and looking at them from a different perspective. Nothing escapes versification; there is even a subject on sex! After all, that is one subject where there is plenty of room for laughter, even if it may not be the right moment!

Two of the reviews for Rhymes of the Times

If you love rhyming poetry, and a bloody good laugh, this book is for you. Short at just 61 pages, you could get through it during a cuppa and I promise you will laugh the whole way through. Martin is a master at rhyme, and also with twists, there were a few poems with unexpected endings, one particular line caught my eye for its clever analogy:

“Then autumn comes a-calling
And it starts a slow striptease”


The book has a variety of themed sections, my favourite being the women’s section which had some outrageous and utterly brilliant poems. My other fave was called Sexting, which made me spit my cuppa everywhere!

Brilliant, a must read for any poetry fan.

Poetically Perfect! By Ritu on 9 Mar. 2016

A fantastic collection of humerous poems, that span many facets of life. Judy Martin is a great poet, with that knack of getting her rhyming just right.

There were many poems that made me giggle out loud, and some that made me say “Aw!” Some I felt may have been written with me in mind!

So go on, treat yourself! Dip into this lovely collection of verse, you won’t regret it!

Find out more about Judy, read all the reviews and buy the book:


Connect to Judy via her website:

I hope you have found this author update interesting and if you are in the Cafe and Bookstore please let me know if you have a new release available or a recent terrific review..

If you are not in the Bookstore yet then please take a look at the promotion that you can enjoy for your work before joining the other 130 authors on the shelves.

As always your feedback is very welcome.

New Book Fanfare – The Girl Who Wasn’t There – Poetry Collection by K. Morris


Today’s featured book, The Girl Who Wasn’t There, by writer and blogger Kevin Morris, is a collection of poetry about those, who have for one reason or another, have found themselves in the darker places in life.

About the book

the GirlThe great Oscar Wilde remarked, “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”.

Many of the poems in this collection portray people struggling in life’s gutter.

“Lonely men of a certain age” hear the voices of young women and yearn for something beyond “sterile sitting rooms”, while to the prostitute, it’s all about “handbags and shoes”, even if her “choice” leads to the woman “drowning in booze”.

Anyone who likes dark poetry will, it is hoped, gain something from this collection.

Buy the Book

Other books by K. Morris



And the anthology to raise funds for the Guide Dogs for the Blind


About Kevin Morris


Kevin comes from Liverpool and attended a number of schools for the sight impaired and following his A-levels went onto study for his BA in History and Politics and then his MA in Political Theory at Swansea University. Since 1994 he has lived and worked in London where he works full-time and since 2012 has found the time to write and publish books and post interesting articles on his blog New Author Online. The added twist to this is that Kevin uses software that most of you reading this will never have to utilise.

Kevin has been blind since a blood clot caused severe damage when he was just 18 months old. Whilst he possesses enough vision to distinguish between light and dark and can see the outlines of objects he requires the assistance of Jaws (Job access with speech) and braille to use his computer.

However, you will find as you enjoy conversations via the web that this does not cramp his style in anyway and he is a prolific author with several published collections of his short stories.

Here are the links to Kevin’s blog, book buying sites and social media.

Connect with Kevin online
Kevin’s blog –
Kevin’s Amazon US author page
Kevin’s Amazon UK author page
Twitter –

Book Promotion on Smorgasbord.

There are now two ways to promote your previous and new books on Smorgasbord and here are the links with how to do so very easily.

If you have a new release within the last month or being published shortly then please take a look at the straightforward submission guidelines.

If you have books that have been for sale for some time and have gathered some good reviews then you can feature them in the Five Star Treatment.

Please feel free to comment and share this new collection of poetry by Kevin Morris.. all contributions gratefully accepted.. thanks Sally

The Sunday Show – Defining Moments with Kevin Morris

Welcome to Defining moments and my guest this week is not a stranger to us here in blog world. Most of us have a tough time being consistent with our posting and find juggling full-time jobs and other commitments a bit of a stretch at times. However, Kevin manages to work full-time in London, write and publish books and post interesting articles on his blog New Author Online. The added twist to this is that Kevin uses software that most of you reading this will never have to utilise.

Kevin has been blind since a blood clot caused severe damage when he was just 18 months old. Whilst he possesses enough vision to distinguish between light and dark and can see the outlines of objects he requires the assistance of Jaws (Job access with speech) and braille to use his computer.

However, you will find as you enjoy conversations via the web that this does not cramp his style in anyway and he is a prolific author with several published collections of his short stories.


Recently, Kevin put out a call to other writers to collaborate in an anthology of dog stories for the charity Guide Dogs for the Blind and in tribute to the other major influence in his life.. The lovely companion and guide dog Trigger. The Anthology is doing very well but perhaps you could give it a boost by sharing the link in the posts.

Kevin comes from Liverpool and although we only spent a couple of years in that amazing city in the early 80’s, I can understand why anyone would be proud of being born there. Kevin went to a number of schools for the sight impaired and following his A-levels went onto study for his BA in History and Politics and then his MA in Political Theory at Swansea University. Since 1994 he has lived and worked in London and since 2012 has combined his full-time job with writing.

He was inspired to write his first stories by the articles in the press on how students and graduates in the UK were turning to the sex trade. Often as a means of paying back educational loans and also facing the challenging prospect of finding jobs in a worsening economy after graduation. It is a recurring theme in the four collections of short stories that Kevin has written and his longer work Samantha

This is obviously a dark subject matter. Surprisingly, despite the number of young people who are employed in the sex industry there is relatively little media coverage. It is however been suggested that 6% of adult students are actively engaged in some aspect of the sex trade. With an approximate 3 million students in the UK that means that nearly 200,000 may be involved in this dangerous and unpredictable business.


In “The First Time”, the first story in this collection, we meet Becky a young graduate who enters the world of prostitution in order to clear her debts. The story looks at the effects of prostitution on Becky and her fellow escort and friend Julie. In “The Pain Behind the Smile” Issie presents her friend, Peter with a birthday cake, however things are not what they seem. In “Lucy” the acquaintances of a crusty old bachelor speculate how he could attract and retain the affections of a beautiful young woman. As with “The Pain Behind the Smile” things are far from what they seem. “Hemlock” explores what happens when machines attain the capacity to appreciate high culture. The story is both humorous and deeply serious.

It is clear that reading the few reports in the media that the involvement of our young in this trade is not being discussed as openly as it should be. Whilst I shall be asking Kevin about students in this context, it is clear that their involvement is the tip of the iceberg. His stories do explore this subject and I thought it would be interesting to explore the reasons behind this increase in young people putting themselves at risk and what he considers we should be doing to prevent it. It is a complex and disturbing subject for an interview but I hope that you will find it interesting. Even if we do not have children of our own of this age their safety and futures should be all our concerns.


Thanks Kevin for taking the time out to be interviewed and I would really like to start by taking advantage of your research into this topic and your insights into this troubling trend. I would imagine that it would be a concern for parents of students across the board but particularly those moving away to study.

First, clearly in recent years the rise in student fees and the cost of living is going to be a major reason behind the involvement in the trade. But, what do you consider to be the key factors involved?

For many young people going away to study at university will be their first experience of living (and budgeting) independently. The realisation of just how expensive the cost of living is comes as a shock to many young people, particularly those whose parents have paid for everything while their child was living at home. Many students who find themselves financially stretched will seek help from student unions; obtain part time work such as bar tenders or turn to their families for help. However a minority will see sex work, in its various forms as offering a quick and easy means of making money.

Those who turn to prostitution may convince themselves that “its only sex. I’ll switch off my emotions during intercourse avoiding getting emotionally harmed and make a lot of money”. Once engaged in prostitution students may dislike the activity of selling sex to random strangers but come to rely on the money to meet living expenses. Indeed some young people may enjoy the luxuries (for example expensive shoes) which escorting can pay for while, at the same time disliking the work. In effect they become trapped in a vicious circle from which it is hard to break free.

I read a number of articles on the subject and interviews with some students that were typically female. Are male students also entering the trade or are there more part-time jobs that are available to them in other businesses local to major study centres?

From my research it is clear that men are engaging in prostitution but (seemingly) not to the same extent as women. I don’t know why this should be the case. I have heard it postulated that it is easier for women to obtain casual sex than it is for men and that this explains why there are more female sex workers than male ones. (I am somewhat sceptical of this argument as there are many women who find it difficult to find partners, it’s not just men). Perhaps (for whatever reason) men are less inclined to admit their involvement in sex work than are women and this helps to explain why there are (apparently) less men than women in the industry. The truth is, I don’t have a clear answer.

What could the universities and colleges be doing to help students find jobs to subsidise their studies to prevent this and is there enough advice available for students on this and financial issues?

I think the National Union of Students already offers advice to students on debt and other issues. If it isn’t already happening) and I suspect it is, universities should ensure that leaflets providing advice on budgeting, debt management etc are available. Perhaps the student bodies could hold a debate on sex work allowing a free and open discussion on the subject.

Are there enough incentives for parents and young people to save into some form of college fund? If not what would you propose both on a personal and governmental level?

Many parents already sacrifice a lot to pay for their child to attend university. Perhaps accounts specifically designed to enable parents to save for their child’s higher education could be set up, the accounts not being subject to tax so all the money saved would go to pay for their child’s studies.

The sex trade is allegedly the oldest profession and is not going to end overnight. What are your views on legalising prostitution?

Prostitution is legal in the UK, however many of the activities associated with it are illegal. It is legal for a person aged 18-years-of-age or over to sell sex and a person buying sex from such a sex worker is not breaking the law. It is illegal to run a brothel which is defined as a place where 2 or more sex workers are working. So a sex worker working alone from a flat or other premises is not breaking the law as regards brothels. She (or he) may well be breaking other rules and/or regulations, (For example many housing associations and landlords would consider it to be against the terms of a lease for a sex worker to ply their trade in residential or other premises). Under UK law a person is guilty of an offense if he pays to have sex with a person who has been forced into prostitution irrespective of whether he knowingly does so, (I.E. genuine ignorance by the sex buyer that the prostitute was coerced is not a defense in UK law).

The state and society needs to ensure that people are not forced into prostitution. There need to be well funded programmes to assist those who wish to exit the sex trade. However there are adults who make a conscious choice to engage in prostitution and provided this is genuinely a freely entered into decision I don’t think the state should become involved. People (quite understandably) may dislike prostitution but do they really want the authorities involved in the bedrooms of consenting adults? My instincts are liberal and I feel uncomfortable at the thought of the authorities poking into the private lives of citizens.

There are actions which could make the lives of sex workers safer. For example allowing brothels in designated areas. Women working alone are vulnerable and the old adage about there being safety in numbers holds water. A sex worker working alone is more vulnerable to attack than one who works with others.

In short I think resources should be concentrated on tackling forced prostitution. Assistance should be offered to those wishing to exit the industry. There are, however men and women who freely choose sex work and we should recognise this fact and make their lives as safe as is humanly possible.

It is a fascinating subject that must concern millions of parents who have children heading off to college and I am sure that they will be interested in your comments. Perhaps now we could look at your current projects.

Trigger you guide dog is almost, but not quite as well- known as you are Kevin. How long have you been together and what is extra special about the way he takes care of you?

Trigger is indeed well known. He even signs Christmas and other greetings cards along with me! Trigger and I have been together since 4 July 2011. The date sticks in my mind because it is, of course American Independence Day!

Trigger is a wonderful guide dog and has, on several occasions prevented me from walking in front of cars. To me Trigger is far more than a mobility aid. His friendly personality has captured the hearts of all who know him, not just me. It’s very therapeutic having a dog around. If I’m ever feeling stressed a few minutes stroking Trigger has me feeling much better. He really is a wonderful companion.

Kevin is author of several collections of short stories and poetry and here is a small selection.


Can you tell us more about your longer story ‘Samantha’ set in Liverpool?

Certainly. Samantha tells the story of a young girl forced into prostitution in the city of Liverpool. Can Sam survive or will she end her miserable existence in the murky waters of Liverpool’s Albert Docks?

Samantha takes a no-holes-barred look at forced prostitution. Sam’s pimp, Barry is a nasty piece of work. While few (if any) of my readers will feel any sympathy for Barry, the story does provide an insight into why Barry is as he is. None of the characters in Samantha bare any resemblance to living or dead persons. My story does however hopefully constitute a faithful portrayal of forced prostitution.

I was born and brought up in the city of Liverpool and many of the landmarks featured in the story are known to me. I have, for example, visited the Albert Docks on Numerous occasions. Anyone familiar with this great city will, I feel sure recognise many of the places portrayed in Samantha.

What about your next projects, what can we look forward to in 2015?


I love poetry. Recently I have been writing a lot of verse. I would like to expand my collection of poetry and prose, “Dalliance” adding some of my more recent poems. I will also be writing more short stories.

I know from reading your other interviews that you have some favourite authors including Emily Bronte but as you write science fiction too, who would be your choice in that genre?

I enjoy H. G Wells and have recently been rereading his “The Time Machine”. Wells is in many ways an optimistic writer. However in “The Time Machine” he portrays a decaying world in which the once privileged class has degenerated and is preyed upon by their former servants, the Morlocks.

I also like Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 which tells of a society in which firemen burn books rather than putting out fires. It is a chilling world in which entertainment has almost completely subsumed serious culture and the authorities brainwash people with pap on television.

Perhaps you could share with us what you consider to be a key defining moment in your life that has inspired you in any way.

I don’t know whether I have experienced any defining moments. I have for a long time though felt a burning desire to express myself. I find writing wonderfully therapeutic. There is so much going on in my head which I need to get down on paper (albeit of the virtual kind)!

My thanks to Kevin for being so forthcoming about the subjects discussed today and please feel free to share with other bloggers or on social media.

Here are the links to Kevin’s blog, book buying sites and social media.

Connect with Kevin online
Kevin’s blog –
Kevin’s Amazon US author page
Kevin’s Amazon UK author page
Twitter –

Please pop in and meet other guests in the this series.



More Than Best Friends – Anthology in aid of Guide Dogs For the Blind

More Than Best Friends – Anthology in aid of Guide Dogs For the Blind.

More Than Best Friends – Anthology in aid of Guide Dogs For the Blind


I am delighted today to showcase an anthology of stories for dog lovers that is also released to support one of the most incredible charities. We all know that dogs are loving, loyal and intelligent but for millions around the world they are also a life-line. The Guide Dogs for the Blind has made a life changing difference to both those completely blind and those who are partially sighted. Not only do they train companion dogs but they also fund ophthalmic research and campaign for Equal Rights within our community for those who have impaired sight.

‘The Guide Dogs story started in 1931 with two amazing British pioneers, Muriel Crooke and Rosamund Bond. These remarkable women organised the training of the first four British guide dogs from a humble lock up garage in Wallasey, Merseyside.’

Today this charity, that does not receive any government funding, supports nearly 5,000 blind people or those with partial sight and their guide dogs. They have overall responsibility for 8,000 dogs and have a breeding programme that provides 1,300 puppies a year ready to be trained. The lifetime cost of one guide dog is £50,000 and by buying this anthology you are contributing to the independence of a person who might otherwise be housebound or reliant on full time care.


Author and blogger Kevin Morris and his guide dog Trigger spearheaded this fund raising project by approaching writers and bloggers and asking for their dog stories. To ensure that all the proceeds went to the charity, Kevin decided to offer free download with any donations going direct to Guide Dogs for the Blind. If on Amazon or other book sites this would not have been possible.

You will find eighteen stories in the anthology written by those that love and appreciate the loyalty and kindness of dogs. None of them would have seen the light of day without the tireless efforts of Kevin and also the editor, David Higgins, who certainly gave my story an added gloss. You can find David on WordPress at and I can recommend his services.

The cover was designed by Chris Graham, AKA The Story Reading Ape, who donated his services as part of the project. If you are looking for a cover for your next project you can see other designs by Chris on his blog.

The eighteen stories were contributed by Valerie Ormond, Meredith Dixon Hayes, Sue Vincent, Alienora Taylor, Kevin Cooper, Kevin Morris, Gary S. Watkins, Anju Lavina, Shaun Dickinson, Denise Buckley, Robin Leigh Morgan, Tim Baker and myself.

This wonderful collection is free but we would ask that you might donate to the charity itself.. Really straightforward and safe with Virgin Giving.

Here is the link to Kevin’s post that has all the details of how to download your free copy and to donate to the charity.

The link for the free download is on the Virgin page but if you have difficulty then here is the direct link. Do please however consider donating as well.. many thanks.

Here is my story Trust that I hope you will enjoy. Please download the entire anthology of eighteen stories by terrific writers for free and donate if you can to help the Guide Dog for the Blind continue their amazing and essential work.

TRUST by Sally Georgina Cronin.

The house was quiet. The men had left a few minutes ago and already she felt alone. The ticking of the grandfather clock in the hall intruded into the silence. Time was passing slowly and each minute felt like an hour.

Sarah stared out of the kitchen window at the gathering gloom. It would soon be dark, and she would be unable to see the mountain rising above the house, harsh but fiercely beautiful. It was this mountain that had attracted them last spring, the lower slopes covered in lush grass dotted with the cotton wool white of the ewes and their lambs. The craggy rocks of the mountaintop jutted up into a cloudless, blue sky, like sentries protecting the house beneath them. The building nestled into the hillside. A run-down farm that needed a great deal of work, but it had taken their breath away. The pleasure of the surroundings and the potential of this house, made them smile at each other in shared delight.

Tom’s first novel had been a runaway best seller. At last they could afford to move from their cramped, damp London flat and come back to these Welsh mountains where Tom had been born. He knew that he could write here, creating stories inspired by this stark splendour, and he felt Sarah would come to love living here too, as much as he would. Once they had put an offer in on the property, they contacted a local builder. He spent hours with them in the house, discussing the renovations, planning the schedule, so they could move in as soon as possible. They had returned to London, full of excitement and anticipation for what their wonderful future was about to reveal.

Sarah turned from the kitchen window and wandered through the now-completed house. They had kept rigidly to the plans. Used the colour schemes that had caused such argument and honoured the compromises they had reached, often after a bottle of rich, red wine. Spent hours moving furniture around, until it sat in just the perfect place. Painted patches on the walls, until they found just the perfect colour.

Tom’s study and the design he chose, was his alone. He had revelled in the planning of where to place his desk for the best light, the muted colour scheme, the lighting and the placement of all the new bookshelves. He would sit for hours in their noisy, cluttered flat, staring out of the tiny window onto the street, and Sarah knew that he was hundreds of miles away, looking at a mountain, through his study window.

Sarah stood in that study and surveyed the completed picture. The bookcases lining the walls, the solid old desk and its comfortable, leather chair. The pictures of the sea that hung around the room, favourite scenes from early childhood trips to the Welsh coast with his family. The colour he had chosen for the walls was warm, clean buttermilk. Dark blue curtains at the large window and upholstery on the sofa at the far end of the room complimented the rich, stained wood flooring. It was exactly as he had planned it, down to the last detail. Tom had simple tastes and this was reflected in the room. Sarah had to be content with planning the rest of the house to fit her more flamboyant tastes. How he had loved working in his study for the last two months, preparing his latest novel for publication. How she, in turn, had loved knowing that he was in that room, a touch or gentle call away.   Despite their shared anticipation of the completed project, they had not thought they could be this delighted with their new home.

She picked up the blue crystal paperweight she had given him last Christmas. As she felt the cold heaviness in her hand, the tears started to fall, unchecked down her cheeks. Tom would never be in this room again. He would never read those books that lined the walls, and never walk the mountain slopes again he loved so much. All it had taken was one mistake on a wet road. He had been late and in a hurry to get home. Had known she was waiting for him to take her out for their anniversary dinner. One mistake, one hour late, one tentative knock on the front door. She had opened it full of anticipation, to find a pair of young and concerned policemen standing quietly on her doorstep. Now she sat in Tom’s chair, crying softly and alone.

The dog lay behind the broken, stone wall on the slope above the house. Nose resting on front paws, he watched the open back door, waiting. Every evening for the last week, the woman had put down a bowl of food for him and returned inside. She knew that the stray, neglected collie would come no further than the wall, and would not come at all if she stayed, waiting for him. He sniffed the air, trying to catch the scents which normally came from the house. Tonight there was no warm smell of cooking, no gentle tap of heels on the stone floor of the kitchen.

The light began to fade; he was hungry and had become used to this welcome food each evening. He had ceased to scavenge from dustbins in the local town, much more interested in the woman’s food. But now he was puzzled. He had grown accustomed to her gentle voice calling to him, a voice that stirred memories of another time, another woman. Memories of a warm fireplace with food and companionship as gentle fingers ruffled his shiny coat. As the dark closed around him, he at last stood and moved from behind the wall.

No lights shone in the house, but the open door and the food he knew to be inside, beckoned him. Nervously, he approached the building. He was used to people who lived in houses. He had been kicked and shouted at more than once in the early days of his lonely existence, before he learned fear and distrust. But, with an instinct buried deep inside his matted chest, he knew this house was different, perhaps it was the similarity to his old home, or the gentle presence of the woman inside.

There was still no sign of the woman as the dog entered the kitchen. He stood, nose in the air, seeking for his familiar bowl of food.   Then he heard a soft sound coming from deeper in the dark house. Something in the sound drew him across the stone floor and out into the hallway. Ears pricked, he turned towards the noise and padded down the passage. He peered through an open doorway, alert to any danger, poised for flight. The woman sat by the window holding a stone-like object in her hands He tensed, remembering past pain. She stared into the night, making soft sobbing noises, noises he had remembered his mistress making when she was sad, needing him, needing to place a soft arm around his neck and hold him close. He moved towards the woman and stood for a moment as if making a decision.

His tail wagged slightly in a long forgotten attempt at communication, and slowly he inched forward until he was standing at Sarah’s side. He gently pushed his long nose under her arm and rested his head on her lap. A hand moved, creeping upwards to gently fondle the soft ears. An arm slipped around his neck and he looked up into her face.

Through her tears, Sarah smiled down at the shaggy head. She felt the warmth of his coat spread slowly upward from her hand to the rest of her body. Her grief was there like a sharp pain in her chest, but she was no longer alone. Soon she would feed him and groom his matted coat, but for now this was enough.

Thank you for reading and please share as far and as wide as possible.