Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Mary Smith, Steve Boseley and D. Wallace Peach


Welcome to the Cafe and Bookstore update and hot off the press we have a new book by Mary Smith written with Allan Devlin. Castle Douglas Through Time records the town’s history in a series of old and new photographs. The gathering place for tourists exploring this beautiful part of Scotland.

NEWSFLASH – Mary was my guest on Saturday in the interactive interview series Book Reading at the Cafe.  After reading this I am sure that you will have even more questions for Mary and she would love to receive them.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/03/18/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-book-reading-at-the-cafe-and-interview-with-mary-smith/

About the book

The market town of Castle Douglas, beside Carlingwark Loch in the southern Scottish region of Dumfries and Galloway, is relatively new, though the area has been inhabited from prehistoric times and the Romans had a military base close by. In the fourteenth century, Archibald the Grim, the 3rd Earl of Douglas, built Threave Castle nearby.

The town came into being thanks to fertiliser found in the loch and wealthy merchant William Douglas, who laid out the present town in 1792. Though his dream of creating a cotton industry failed, Castle Douglas became a flourishing market town. The opening of the rail line to Dumfries in 1859 improved the town’s connections.

Though the railway closed in 1965, the A75 trunk road ensured the town’s survival as a major stopping point for travellers. Today, it is a major tourist destination, with many visitors using it as a base for exploring this beautiful part of Scotland. All these changes are recorded in this unique and fascinating series of new and old photographs, making this book essential reading for anyone interested in the history of Castle Douglas.

Buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Castle-Douglas-Through-Time-Smith/dp/1445659697

Also in the local history series

One of the reviews for the book

This is a lovely and very absorbing book and one that I’ll keep going back to. Mary Smith does a superb job with her succinct commentaries on the photos, written with a deft and light touch, while Allan Devlin’s present day shots are vivid and arresting, contrasting with the sepia tones of the older photographs, many of which were taken in Victorian and Edwardian times. I feel I have learned a lot more about Dumfries and its surrounding areas from reading the book and it has whetted my appetite to explore the town more than I already have. You don’t have to live in Dumfries and Galloway or know the town of Dumfries to enjoy this book. It is fascinating in itself and hopefully will prove an enticement for people who have never visited Dumfries to do so.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dumfries-Through-Time-Allan-Devlin/dp/1445637677

Also by Mary Smith

 

 Read the reviews and buy all the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mary-Smith/e/B001KCD4P0

Connect to Mary via her website: http://www.marysmith.co.uk/

Steve Boseley has re-issued his mystery thriller, Die, Blossom, Bloom with a brand new cover.

 A pensioner with a newfound love of gardening, TED HARRIS is haunted by the memories of his wife’s death. A regular competitor in the village ‘In Bloom’ competition, GERALDINE BUTLER-THOMPSON is keen to put Ted down at any opportunity, and is more than happy to share her thoughts on his garden. As Ted’s life with his wife is revealed, we get a glimpse into the love that they shared, before things started to go wrong.

The choices that he made haunt him still, and Butler-Thompson pushes him to reveal more than he is willing to, leading to a showdown with JORDAN, Butler-Thompson’s grandson. This confrontation pushes Ted towards what he sees as an inevitable conclusion, and a final showdown with Butler-Thompson. The annual ‘Haverly in Bloom’ competition is the backdrop for this thrilling tale of love, murder and suspicion that is sure to leave you horrified.

The latest review for the book

A gripping look at the flowery passions and life in an idyllic English village that seems like it’s straight out of Midsomer Murders. When I read the first few chapters, I had to look up Boseley – and specifically his age, as his portrayal of the elderly hero’s daily struggles were so convincing that I felt certain Boseley himself would be in his 70s, or even older.

Even though the story starts with a killing, its true meaning only gradually appears in a masterful narration that soon turns surprisingly dark. Too dark, perhaps, for some readers, as this is not a novella for the squeamish. The pace picks up and soon readers find themselves in the uncomfortable position of rooting not for the “good” guys but for the murderer. I won’t spoil the ending, but I will say I wish it were different.

Based on Die Blossom Bloom, I’ll be reading Boseley’s second book soon.

Buy the new edition: https://www.amazon.com/Die-Blossom-Bloom-Steve-Boseley-ebook/dp/B01DFNN35C

 Also by Steve Boseley

 

Buy all the books: https://www.amazon.com/Steve-Boseley/e/B01DHXE01G

Connect to Steve via his website:  http://www.authorsteveboseley.com

Then next featured author is D. Wallace Peach with her latest release which is Catling’s Bane Book 1 of the Rose Shield Tetralogy… a blend of science fiction and fantasy.

About the Rose Shield Tetralogy

Welcome to a world of three moons, a sentient landscape, rivers of light, and tier cities that rise from the swamps like otherworld flowers. A planet of waterdragons, where humans are the aliens living among three-fingered natives with spotted skin. Where a half-blood converses with the fog and the goddess plans her final reckoning.

Follow Catling’s journey as she grows from childhood into the deadly force that shapes the future. She is the realm’s shield, an influencer, assassin, healer, mother, and avenger. And all she wants is to go home.

The books of The Rose Shield Tetralogy – Catling’s Bane – Oathbreakers’ Guild –
Farlanders’ Law – Kari’s Reckoning –

Books 2,3 and 4 are available on Pre- Order and you can read more about the series and follow the links to Amazon from here: https://mythsofthemirror.com/2017/03/17/the-rose-shield-catlings-bane-is-live/

About Book 1 – Catling’s Bane

In the tiers of Ellegeance, the elite Influencers’ Guild holds the power to manipulate emotions. Love and fear, pain and pleasure, healing and death mark the extremes of their sway, but it’s the subtle blends that hook their victims’ hearts. They hide behind oaths of loyalty and rule the world.

A child born in the grim warrens beneath the city, Catling rues the rose birthmark encircling her eye. Yet, it grants her the ability to disrupt the influencers’ sway. Established methods of civil control disintegrate before her. She’s a weapon desired by those who reign and those who rebel.

To the Influencer’s Guild, she’s an aberration, a threat. They order her death and thus the betrayals begin. One woman protects and trains her, plotting to use her shield to further imperial goals. No longer a helpless child, Catling has other plans. As chaos shakes the foundations of order and rule, will she become the realm’s savior? Or its executioner?

One of the early reviews

D. Wallace Peach creates an utterly original, lush and cohesive world inhabited by well-developed and multi-dimensional characters we instantly care about (even the minor ones), all the more so as the plot unfolds. And what a plot it is — no copycat fiction or cliche devices here. The concept of “influence” as an accepted part of life is not only entertaining but thought provoking; and the author’s attention to detail on how influence works grabs hold and will thrill true high fantasy readers who value intelligent rationale for magic. All I can say is … prepare to lose some sleep over this one. And the final chapter leads to a cliffhanger that will leave readers desperate for Book II.

I am a lifelong reader of fantasy, and out of what I’d guess to be nearly 1,000 books read to date, this book series is in my top five. Catling’s Bane is easily on par with the likes of Patrick Rothfuss (The Kingkiller Chronicle series), Karen Miller (the “Mage” series) and Glenda Larke (Stormlord series). I’m confident that many readers will, like me, add this one to their top shelf.

Buy Book 1 – Catling’s Bane: https://www.amazon.com/Catlings-Bane-Rose-Shield-Book-ebook/dp/B06XK3PCRZ

Also by D. Wallace Peach

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/D.-Wallace-Peach/e/B00CLKLXP8

Connect to Diana through her website: https://mythsofthemirror.com/

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Book Reading at the Cafe and interview with Mary Smith


Sally's Cafe and Bookstore

Very excited to have author, blogger and friend Mary Smith here today for a book reading and interview. This has been a special week for Mary with the release on Thursday of her latest local history book, Castle Douglas Through Time. The second in the series with her first Dumfries Through Time, both co-written with Allan Devlin. The book will be featured in the Cafe and Bookstore update on Monday 20th March

Mary spent over ten years living and working in Afghanistan and Pakistan and her highly acclaimed book No More Mulberries has received 90 reviews.

Please remember that this is an interactive interview and Mary is welcoming questions about her life and work in the comments section. Mary is busy promoting her new book but will be available later over the weekend to answer them.

But first a little bit about Mary Smith.

Mary Smith has always loved writing. As a child she wrote stories in homemade books made from wallpaper trimmings – but she never thought people could grow up and become real writers. She spent a year working in a bank, which she hated – all numbers, very few words – ten years with Oxfam in the UK, followed by ten years working in Pakistan and Afghanistan. She longed to allow others to share her amazing, life-changing experiences so she wrote about them – fiction, non-fiction, poetry and journalism. And she discovered the little girl who wrote stories had become a real writer after all.

Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: Real Stories of Afghan Women is an account of her time in Afghanistan and her debut novel No More Mulberries is also set in Afghanistan.

About No More Mulberries

Scottish-born midwife, Miriam loves her work at a health clinic in rural Afghanistan and the warmth and humour of her women friends in the village, but she can no longer ignore the cracks appearing in her marriage. Her doctor husband has changed from the loving, easy-going man she married and she fears he regrets taking on a widow with a young son, who seems determined to remain distant from his stepfather.

When Miriam acts as translator at a medical teaching camp she hopes time apart might help her understand the cause of their problems. Instead, she must focus on helping women desperate for medical care and has little time to think about her failing marriage. When an old friend appears, urging her to visit the village where she and her first husband had been so happy. Miriam finds herself travelling on a journey into her past, searching for answers to why her marriage is going so horribly wrong.

Her husband, too, has a past of his own – from being shunned as a child to the loss of his first love.

The latest review for the book

Having travelled through villages in Iran in the 1960’s and visited villages in the North of India, I have some idea of what cultural differences Miriam, the protagonist of this novel, is facing.

The book opens in a village in Afghanistan, with her sharing a lifestyle of limited freedom with her doctor husband, Iqbal. Being a qualified midwife from Scotland, she helps him in the clinic they work in. Slowly, through flashbacks, Mary Smith reveals that her first love was Jawad whom she met in Scotland where he was a student, whom she wanted to marry and was given a year’s separation by his family before they were allowed to marry. In this time she became a Muslim by choice. Later on a visit to Scotland with her son Farid, she is notified that Jawadhad been killed by locals. She is devastated, wants to return to Afghanistan and finally marries Iqbal without love.

All mayhem breaks out when Jeanine, their boss demands that Miriam comes to a month’s clinic at Charkoh. Iqbal is threatened by the loss of his wife for a month as Charkoh is where Jawad was killed and because he loses status in the local community by allowing his wife the freedom to attend.

The interplay of Western and Eastern values is sensitively handled by the author and makes for fascinating reading. The background of local politics and the Taliban cruelty is sufficiently introduced with overtaking the story of Miriam’s personal growth.The reader learns about local customs regarding rights of women and contraception.

What I enjoyed most of all was the conflicts between Eastern and Western values which unravel to reveal the essential humanity of all the characters.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/No-More-Mulberries-Mary-Smith-ebook/dp/B005RRDZ12

Also by Mary Smith

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mary-Smith/e/B001KCD4P0

Now it is time to turn the post over to Mary with and I am sure that you will have many more questions that you would like to ask her.  Please leave them in the comments.

Welcome Mary and congratulations on the new book…

Tell us about your chosen genre of books that you write and why?

Hah! Good question, Sally. I write contemporary women’s fiction, memoir, poetry and local history. One day, I may finally settle for one genre over another but I am enjoying doing different things and not being pinned down.

What genre do you read and who are your favourite authors?

As with my writing, I’m not pinned down to any reading only one genre. I’ve loved all Kate Atkinson’s books and wish she’d do another featuring Jackson Brodie because I’m totally in love with him. I’ve just finished A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart and When Breath becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (a neurosurgeon who died of lung cancer, aged 37 and whose wife completed the book). I’ve enjoyed everything Terry Tyler has written – she has such a distinctive style. The book I’m reading now is Being Mortal by Atul Gawande.

What are your plans for 2017 for your books and blog?

This month, Amberley Publishing has published my second local history book, Castle Douglas Through Time. This is a picture-led book done in collaboration with photographer Allan Devlin with old images of places in and around the town paired with ‘today’ photos and accompanying captions.

I have a very slim collection of short stories currently with an editor and I hope to have that out in the not too distant future.

My main project for 2017 is to convert my blog, My Dad is a Goldfish, into a memoir. I started writing the blog when I moved in with dad who had dementia. Many people have said they enjoy it, find it helpful, especially as I tell it like it is, and have asked about a book. It’s proving more difficult to restructure the blog material into book material than I expected but I’ll get there. I hope it will come out this year.

Oh, and I also want to start a new blog. I share a blog with four other writers and I have my Goldfish one but I can’t really re-blog other bloggers’ posts on those. I’d like a blog in which I can part in some of the things that go on in the blogging community – flash fiction or poetry prompts, interviews, what I see on walks and, as Sue Vincent put it, “somewhere we can blether.” So, watch this space!

Your life was anything but ordinary Mary. Did you find it difficult to adjust when you returned to Scotland after ten years in Pakistan and Afghanistan and what stands out in your mind as being particular daunting?

I found it incredibly difficult to adjust to life back in Scotland. I never experienced culture shock when I went to Pakistan – I suppose because I expected everything to be different. Coming home was when culture shock hit. I was so giddy in the supermarket, so seduced by all the wonderful array of ready meals that I piled my trolley. I can’t remember what I ‘cooked’ the first time but my son (who was five) and I each took a bite, screwed up our faces and declared it disgusting. I missed colour – everything seemed so dull and grey here.

Have you done travelling or is there still somewhere you feel you should visit and why?

Oh, I hope I’ve not done travelling. I was truly privileged to spend ten years in Pakistan and Afghanistan and I’m never going to be able to spend so long in a country again. I’ve been to India a couple of times and would like to explore more of it – and Vietnam. Must remember to buy a lottery ticket!

You have interviewed some interesting people as a journalist. Who did you enjoy talking to the most and why?

That’s a difficult question to answer as I’ve interviewed many people, some famous, some not at all well-known. I suppose at the top must be Barbara Dickson who was coming to perform in Dumfries. I was so nervous because people said she could be difficult but she absolutely lovely and we chatted for ages, much monger than I expected to have.

I enjoyed interviewing author Margaret Elphinstone shortly after The Gathering Night, came out. It’s set in Mesolithic Scotland and I was amazed at how much research she does – even to making a coracle so she knew how it would be to use one.

You can read some of the interviews on Mary’s website: http://www.marysmith.co.uk/articles.asp

I asked Mary for an extract from one of her books for the reading today.

The extract I’ve chosen is from Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni. It’s part of what I read when I recently gave a lecture to Sexpression, a university-based charity which teaches young people about sex and relationships.

This is from the chapter on a birth spacing class with village women in Afghanistan:

Someone declared that a woman could not become pregnant unless she was sexually satisfied.

Nichbacht, the wool spinner, snorted. ‘If that was true, how come there are so many children running around.’ This smart rejoinder provoking much laughter from the women made Iqbal [translator] blush furiously.

Poor Iqbal often had cause to blush as the women teased hi unmercifully, telling him that as an unmarried man he wouldn’t know about these things yet. When condoms were handed round during class, the women promptly blew them up like balloons, laughing and making jokes that he refused to translate for me.

On one occasion he was so embarrassed he left the room, leaving me to demonstrate – with an inadequate vocabulary and the help of a broom handle – that a condom cannot be fitted correctly if it has been stretched to its full extent and snapped like a rubber band.

I suspected what really did for him, was the sight of his mother, Aquila, dangling an unrolled condom from her forefinger, asking laconically if her classmates knew anyone with anything large enough to fill it.

My thanks to Mary for an interesting and entertaining interview and here is a reminder about where you can buy Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni and her other books.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mary-Smith/e/B001KCD4P0

Connect to Mary on her blogs and social media.

Facebook addresshttps://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000934032543
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/marysmithwriter
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5239367.Mary_Smith
Website:www.marysmith.co.uk http://enovelauthorsatwork.com/mary-smith/
Blogs:http://novelpointsofview.blogspot.co.uk/ and   https://marysmith57.wordpress.com/2014/07/

I am now throwing open the interview to you and I am sure having read about the interesting and adventurous life that Mary has led that you have plenty of questions to ask her. Because of the launch of her new book, Mary will come back to you later today and over the rest of the weekend.

 

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – 7th March 2017 – Mary Smith, John Fioravanti, Ana’s Lair, Fiona McVie, Linda Bethea


Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Welcome to today’s selection of blog posts. We kick off with one from author Mary Smith who writes for the blog Take Five Authors and her post over the weekend was on the subject of a state of mind that seems to grasp hold of us and not let go without some lengthy and protracted negotiation and often bribery!

Procrastination

My name is Mary and I am a procrastinator.

Procrastinate: vi to defer action; to put off what should be done immediately. n procrastination.

The way it goes is as follows. I sit at my desk to write. I check my emails, reply to anything urgent. I take a quick look at some of the blogs I follow. I leave a comment, like and share. It seems rude not to like and share and it only adds a few seconds to the time already spent reading and commenting. After another quick check of my emails I resolutely close down the programme.

I open the WIP file, realise I’ve finished my coffee and nip downstairs to make a fresh one. I notice the kitchen floor needs sweeping so do that while waiting for the kettle to boil – then realise it really needs to be properly mopped. And the load of washing is finished, which I should hang out.

 Read the rest of the post and offer your opinions : https://takefiveauthors.wordpress.com/2017/03/04/procrastination/

John Fioravanti shares some of the events of this day across the centuries.. Tuesday’s sound quite benign but if you are superstitious about Friday the thirteenth…in Spain it is Tuesday 13th!  After that little piece of trivia I will hand you over to John and his far more interesting historical update.

It’s Tantalising Tuesday! Did you know…

* 1719 – Michel-Philippe Isabeau starts to build the Fortress of Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island. (Philippe Isabeau starts to build Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island to protect the entrance to the Gulf of St. Lawrence River; under director of fortifications Jean-François de Verville, who recommended the site in 1716; will have five troop garrisons, over one hundred artillery pieces, a 4 km protective wall and a 15 km barrier reef outside the harbour; takes 25 years to build at a cost of 30 million livres [$3+ Billion USD today]. Destroyed by the British in 1760, Louisbourg will be rebuilt as a National Historical Site in the 1950s. Louisbourg, Nova Scotia. 

Find out what else happened on this date across the centuries: https://wordpress585519.wordpress.com/2017/03/07/johns-believe-it-or-not-march-7th/

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

I actually have the film Fences on my list to watch when I can get to the cinema to see it. I have been looking out for some reviews and here is one that finds the film a little average. Ana from Ana’s Lair reviews both books and movies.. A useful blog to follow.

Rating: 3/5 – Blurb IMDB:
A working-class African-American father tries to raise his family in the 1950s, while coming to terms with the events of his life.

Review:

I actually watched this movie a couple weeks ago but I have had trouble putting my thoughts about it on ‘paper’.

It’s not that I think the movie was bad… It actually surprised me quite a lot on more than one occasion.

However, even the performances were not very satisfying and I can’t even say why. Everyone was amazing, as was expected. But it’s almost as if some scenes were made to make the authors shine, especially Washington and Davis. 

Read the rest of the interesting review: https://anaslair.wordpress.com/2017/03/07/fences/

Fiona McVie has an impressive list of author interviews and as I catch up from my week offline I have found an interview that she posted with Angie Dokos.  Angie is author of MacKenzies Distraction and has another book in the pipeline.

Name: Angie Dokos

Age: Hmm, should I tell my true age, or the age I wish I still was? Nah, I’m thankful for all my years. I am 36 years old.

Where are you from? I am from a small town in the North Georgia mountains. I now live in the Atlanta area.

A little about yourself, your education, family life, etc

I am married. We have five children. I work full time in an office of a manufacturing company.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

I have finished my first draft of my second book. It is with the beta readers now. I’ll make some changes from their reports, then send it off to the editor. After I make the changes from the editor, I’ll publish. My goal is to have it published sometime in the Spring. 

Read the rest of Angie’s interview: https://authorsinterviews.wordpress.com/2017/02/24/here-is-my-interview-with-angie-dokos/

And to end on a high note.. Linda Bethea has been entertaining her regulars with her long running serial. A tale of ordinary folk who have to make ends meet creatively in a time when everyone had so little. Here is the finale of Just Folks Getting By.

Ben brought Uncle Amos home to supper that night, just like he always did on Thursdays. Lucille did herself proud with fried chicken. Jenny made mashed potatoes, English Pea Salad, and sliced fresh garden tomatoes.

“Ladies, I haven’t had a meal this good since I don’t know when. Lucille, I been thinking about asking you to marry me, and your fried chicken just made up my mind.” He said.

“Well, I hope it don’t break yore heart, but I already been married plenty. I like to do things my way. I don’t want to have to take care of nobody no more. I don’t mind cooking you up some fried chicken once in a while, though.” She laughed.

“Well, that’s a relief. I really ain’t partial to gittin’ married again either, but I sure admire your fried chicken.” Everybody got a laugh out of that.

Read the rest of the story and if you missed the previous episodes follow the link: https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/2017/03/06/just-folks-getting-by-finale/

If I have missed your most recent post I am sorry.. but please feel free to leave a link to it in the comments. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Sitting Special – Afghan Ceilidh by Mary Smith


blog-sitting

It is lovely to welcome Mary Smith as a Blog Sitter today, whilst I am probably recovering from a hectic schedule here in Portsmouth.. I know that the blog is in very capable hands. Today Mary is sharing a photograph from her time in Afghanistan and which holds great meaning for her.

Mary Smith - web ready

About Mary Smith

Mary Smith has always loved writing. As a child she wrote stories in homemade books made from wallpaper trimmings – but she never thought people could grow up and become real writers. She spent a year working in a bank, which she hated – all numbers, very few words – ten years with Oxfam in the UK, followed by ten years working in Pakistan and Afghanistan. She longed to allow others to share her amazing, life-changing experiences so she wrote about them – fiction, non-fiction, poetry and journalism. And she discovered the little girl who wrote stories had become a real writer after all.
Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: Real Stories of Afghan Women is an account of her time in Afghanistan and her debut novel No More Mulberries is also set in Afghanistan.

Afghan Ceilidh by Mary Smith

an-afghan-ceilidh

Of all the many photos I brought home from my years working in Afghanistan, this is one of my favourites. I call it Afghan Ceilidh.

Though nowadays a ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee) is often a night of (sometimes wild) Scottish dancing, traditionally, it was an informal social gathering in someone’s house. Whenever and wherever a group of Scots folk came together in an evening, songs and storytelling, especially after a few drams had been taken was inevitable. An Afghan ceilidh is exactly the same, though instead of whisky, tea is drunk.

This photo was taken on one such occasion and when I look at it, memories flood back. On the left of the photo, Tajwar’s sewing machine has pride of place on top of the family’s tin storage trunks. When she sewed, she placed it on the floor and complained loudly about how much her back ached. We sit on toshak (mattress) arranged around the room on the Afghan rug. On the right of the photo I’m leaning on a bundle containing bedding. At bedtime, the mattresses are re-arranged and blankets – imported, colourful blankets emblazoned with peacocks – are distributed. The thermos, one of many, contains black tea.

The children love these occasions and have a wide range of games they play. The littler girls dance and sing songs. The bigger ones, like the one with the gleaming smile in the centre, might start to dance but then be overcome by shyness, giggle and sit down. A favourite game of the boys is cor-jangi (blind fighting). Two boys are each blindfolded and kneel facing each other. Each is provided with a rolled up patou (a man’s heavy wool shawl) with which each tries to wallop the other, but must, all the time, keep hold of a cushion in one hand.

If you think the woman sitting below the sewing machine and the other to the right of her don’t look happy you’d be right. They are terrified of the ‘devil’ wearing the mask – with a cushion stuffed up his jumper. I was always astonished at how fearful they became during this game even though the boy was a family member. He comes in, usually when the lamps are burning low, and adopting a hoarse voice ask if anyone has seen ‘Deyo’. The bigger children give cheeky replies but the smaller ones and some of the women pull back in fear. Later, they laugh – shamefaced – but still not wholly convinced there was nothing to fear out there in the dark.

I look at this photo and remember stories and songs, silly games and so much laughter – and so much black tea. We drank gallons of it so I always had to make a couple of trips out in the dark to the latrine later in the night. I look at my son – my filthy son – sitting on my lap and think of the freedom he had as a small child roaming the mountain with the boys herding the sheep and goats, coming home when hungry. I remember friendship and the joy of being accepted.

Afghan ceilidh

At an Afghan ceilidh
instead of whisky
we drink tea, black, no sugar
from small Russian glasses,
eat dry roasted ‘baqale’ –
spit their slipped-off skins
on the floor ‘til the rug’s
rich reds are covered
by a new carpet of greenish grey.

A hurricane lamp’s pool of light
projects small girls’ dancing shadows
on bare mud walls.
Songs, stories, laughter ripples
while outside is black dark silent.

(baqale – broad beans)

©MarySmith 2017

About No More Mulberries

51n0hsdxdll-_uy250_

Scottish-born midwife, Miriam loves her work at a health clinic in rural Afghanistan and the warmth and humour of her women friends in the village, but she can no longer ignore the cracks appearing in her marriage. Her doctor husband has changed from the loving, easy-going man she married and she fears he regrets taking on a widow with a young son, who seems determined to remain distant from his stepfather.

When Miriam acts as translator at a medical teaching camp she hopes time apart might help her understand the cause of their problems. Instead, she must focus on helping women desperate for medical care and has little time to think about her failing marriage. When an old friend appears, urging her to visit the village where she and her first husband had been so happy. Miriam finds herself travelling on a journey into her past, searching for answers to why her marriage is going so horribly wrong.

Her husband, too, has a past of his own – from being shunned as a child to the loss of his first love.

Just one of 132 reviews for the book

At first, what struck me most about this highly descriptive, lyrically written, “No More Mulberries,” was the author’s ability to completely transport me back to the faraway country of 1990s Afghanistan, not only geographically, but also culturally, and ideologically. It’s a country where ‘saving face’ is the order of the day, where its population is rapidly falling victim to the Taliban, and where primitive beliefs are so pervasive, that a child with leprosy is almost drowned by his father, in order to ‘kill’ the disease. In addition, Smith shows us––through the eyes of the ‘outsider’ widow Miriam from Scotland, her second Afghani husband, and their children––that there’s another side to this land; how the people are so gracious and hospitable that offering one’s home and food to strangers is a given, and not accepting a dinner invitation is tantamount to receiving a slap in the face.

But ultimately, what held me captive was the slow, unwinding mystery being played out of how Miriam’s first husband died, and what brought her to her second husband. Although the clash of cultures is often painful, confusing, and palpable, Smith confirms that in the end, no matter where we’re from, no matter the hardships in where we’ve landed, if we are truly willing to be honest with ourselves, the rest will undoubtedly fall into place. Definitely recommend!

Also by Mary Smith

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Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Smith/e/B001KCD4P0

Connect to Mary via her website: http://www.marysmith.co.uk/

My thanks to Mary for sharing this very special time spent with her friends that she made when working in Afghanistan.. Please show your appreiciation by sharing far and wide. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Sitting Special 21st – 28th February – Programme of Events


blog-sittingNormally when I go away for a week I will leave a few regular posts scheduled and pop in from time to time. However, this time it struck me that an empty blog might be put to better use by sharing book and blog promotions.

When I advertised the part-time position of blog sitter, I had no idea that I would get such an amazing response, since I know how busy everybody is with their own blogs.  A special thanks to Paul Andruss for opening up his archives and providing seven posts for the Blog Sitting at Midnight slot all week.

There will be some regulars for you on Monday including the the second of the Top to Toe look at our major organs..The Brain part two… a Bookstore New on the Shelves and a Cafe and Bookstore Update.. Then from Tuesday it is over to you!

For your delectation… here is the programme of events for the week 21st – 28th February – Blog Sitting Specials

Tuesday 21st

Paul Andruss – The Conquerors

Tina Frisco – Time is an Illusion

Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves – Lucy Brazier – First Lady of the Keys

Colin Chappell – Time for some Laffs – Thermodynamics of Hell and Cats vs. Pills.

Wednesday 22nd

Paul Andruss – Raft of the Meduse

William Price King – Finale of the Leontyne Price Series.

D.G.Kaye (Debby Gies) – I Spy

Afternoon Video.

Thursday 23rd

Paul Andruss – Walk on the Wild Side

Cafe and Bookstore Collaborative Anthology – Love in Times of War

Geoff Le Pard – A Wartime Romance

Tina Frisco – Time for some Laffs – Some Lessons in Management.

Friday 24th

Paul Andruss – Of Cabbages and Kings

Top to Toe – The Brain Part Three

N.A. Granger (Noelle Granger) – Maine is a Happy State.

Afternoon Video

Saturday 25th.

Paul Andruss – Cottingley Fairies

Weekly Image and Haiku – Midday Sun

Susan M. Toy – Sisters

Sunday 26th

Paul Andruss – Rosabelle: B.E.L.I.E.V.E

Mary Smith – Afghan Ceilidh

Monday 27th

Paul Andruss – Devil in Devon

Top to Toe – The Heart

Robbie Cheadle – Seven Ice-Cream Rainbow Fairies and Seven Fantasy Books.

Tuesday 28th

John Howell – My Sister

Linda Bethea – The Sinful Suitcase and the Common-Law Cows.

Afternoon video.

My thanks for the terrific posts that everyone has contributed and I hope those of you who drop in during the week will enjoy as much as I have when reading them.

I will be popping from time to time to make sure that everything has been scheduled okay.. hope to see you here. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily – Monday January 16th – Albatross, Window Cleaning, Blog stars, Holiday lets and dementia


Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

The first of the Blogger Daily posts this week and some of the blogs that I visited over the weekend.

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Sue Vincent hosted author Jeff B. Grant on Saturday, talking about his book Albatross and his life as a writer.

41xgt0old8l-_sy346_‘When I was about ten, I confided in a boy at school that, “When I grow up, I’m going to write.” “Ugh!” he replied, pulling a face. “Why d’you want to do that? Writing’s just so boring!” But like many embryonic writers I’d been scribbling things down as far back as I could remember even in those early days. A year or two prior to that, I’d taken to school a poem I’d written. I was really pleased it and wanted to show it to our teacher, a lady with rather grandiose pretensions by the name of Miss Marks – quite a name for a teacher. I remember that poem well.’

Read on...https://scvincent.com/2017/01/14/guest-author-jeff-b-grant/

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Marian Beaman sums herself up very succinctly on her blog.. Pennsylvania Mennonite tomato girl becomes traveling artist’s wife in Florida, then English professor, community activist, writer, and Nana/Granny.  Recently she obtained the services of a window cleaning contractor who turned out to share Marian’s ancestory and work ethic.

‘Last Week Joe Schrock of TIP TOP Window Cleaning announced his arrival by knocking lightly on my door. I spotted his truck on my driveway.

I had contacted Joe about cleaning the windows at our new house. They were dirty when we moved in and got even worse when wind-whipped rain lashed the panes during October’s hurricane Matthew.

The name Schrock sounded Mennonite to me, or at least Pennsylvania Dutch.
When I inquired, Joe told me,

“Yeah, my Amish ancestors came to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in the 1730s. Then they moved to Ohio. My dad’s from Sugarcreek, and my mom from Kent. You’ve heard of Kent State, haven’t you?”

Read on….https://plainandfancygirl.com/2017/01/11/clear-vision-7-tips-from-a-window-washer/

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Hugh Roberts continues with his new series to introduce us to recommended bloggers in 39 weeks.. This week his chosen blog is Image & Word by Ruth.

39 Weeks: 39 Blogs Everyone Should Follow in 2017 is a new feature here on Hugh’s Views and News, and this week I’d like to introduce you to Ruth, a keen photographer and somebody who I had the pleasure of meeting at the Bloggers Bash in June 2016.

Ruth blogs at Image & Word. Her ‘about me’ page can be found here. However, her blog isn’t all about photography. She also writes poetry and the occasional blog post in response to the WordPress daily prompt.

Read on.https://hughsviewsandnews.com/2017/01/15/39-weeks-39-blogs-everyone-should-follow-in-2017-week-2-ruth-image-word/

Pattern of Shadows by [Barrow, Judith]

Having just taken over a former B& B and heard the tales from the previous owners, it would seem to be an occupation with its joys and sorrows!  Judith Barrow shares some entertaining stories of her experiences with their holiday let. Meet the Tai Chi naturists

‘Well, yes.looking back down the years and now we no longer let the holiday apartment attached to our house, I know it was worth it. We loved letting, despite the unexpected. It brought us many friends; visitors who returned year after year in the summer to enjoy the lovely Pembrokeshire coastline and all the other attractions this part of West Wales offers. We loved seeing them again. And we were fortunate to meet many new people as well. But there were downsides. Or should I say, occasions that made us think again about sharing our home.’

Read on....https://judithbarrowblog.com/2017/01/15/tales-of-our-holiday-lets-or-is-it-really-worth-it-or-tales-of-the-unexpectedmondayblogs/

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My mother has dementia for the last two years of her life and we were fortunate that we were able to manage at home.  However, there are various stages in the progression in the disease and one reflex that is something we do automatically can decrease as the mind loses its function.. A really important post by author Mary Smith.. on the simple response to food we take for granted.. swallowing.

‘After the Goldfish started attending the new sensory day centre I attended several training sessions for carers. These included how to deal with dental hygiene, problems with swallowing and loss of appetite. The latter has never been a problem for the Goldfish, whose appetite remains, mostly, undiminished.

I was keen to learn what to do when the Goldfish couldn’t swallow. This problem – dysphagia is its medical term – comes and goes and I could never work out why some days he could swallow and other days he couldn’t. It’s both frustrating and scary. The speech and language person had been to see him and I was aware of what foods to avoid but that doesn’t help when something which went down wonderfully one day, is stored in his mouth another.’

Read on...https://marysmith57.wordpress.com/2017/01/15/my-dads-a-goldfish-to-swallow-or-not-to-swallow/
 

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Christmas Update – Olga Núñez Miret and Mary Smith


Sally's cafe and bookstore

The first book in today’s update is for Escaping Psychiatry. Beginnings: Escaping Psychiatry Prequel – by Olga Núñez Miret.  The novella is FREE and the links are after the reviews.

It is timely as Olga’s next book, Escaping Psychiatry II – The Case of the Swapped Bodies is on pre-order for December 29th.

51apmeaewhl-_uy250_About the book

How far would a writer go for a killer story? This is the question psychiatrist Mary Miller must answer to solve the first mystery/thriller of her career. You can get to know the main characters of this psychological thriller series for FREE and test your own acumen and intuition in this novella about the price of ambition.

Dr Mary Miller is a young psychiatrist suffering a crisis of vocation. Her friend Phil, a criminalist lawyer working in New York, invites her to visit him and consult on the case of a writer accused of a serious assault. His victim had been harassing him and accusing him of stealing his story, which he’d transformed into a best-selling book. The author denies the allegation and claims it was self-defence. When the victim dies, things get complicated. The threshold between truth and fiction becomes blurred and secrets and lies unfold.

Escaping Psychiatry. Beginnings is the prequel to Escaping Psychiatry a volume collecting three stories where Mary and her psychiatric expertise are called to help in a variety of cases, from religious and race affairs, to the murder of a policeman, and in the last case she gets closer than ever to a serial killer.

If you enjoy this novella, don’t forget to check Mary’s further adventures. And there are more to come.

One of the latest reviews for the book.

This short story is titled ‘beginnings’ and introduces Mary Miller, a psychiatrist who has been indulging in a little self analysis and having some doubts about her own profession or at least her place in it. She needs a break and Phil, a lawyer friend, comes to the rescue, inviting her to come and stay.

The offer is tempting for Mary, even though Phil is open about her possibly accompanying to his office to meet with a client on a consultancy basis, she is not put off. Indeed, she is rather intrigued by the prospect.

The client turns out to be Oliver Fenton, a famous author who is accused of using unnecessary force when fending off a stalker who has been harassing him for some time. Of course all not what it seems.

If there is such a thing as a cosy, medical mystery maybe this is where this story would lie. Mary is a thoroughly likeable character but also intriguing. There is obviously more to her than meets the eye, as you would expect from someone of her profession. She is clever and discerning and possibly a little unaware of her true talents. Perhaps here we have a Miss Marple of the psychiatric world, though I imagine her a lot younger and quite attractive! (No offence meant, Miss Marple)

As mentioned, this is the ‘beginning’ of cases for Mary Miller. I look forward to reading more, an ideal and enjoyable read between lengthier books.

Read  Escaping Psychiatry. Beginnings.  FREE
Amazon:  relinks.me/B01BDG102Q
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/escaping-psychiatry-beginnings-prequel

A selection of books by Olga Núñez Miret.

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Read the reviews and BUY all of Olga’s Books: http://www.amazon.com/Olga-Núñez-Miret/e/B009UC58G0

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Available on Pre-Order for December 29th 2016: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Escaping-Psychiatry-Case-Swapped-Bodies-ebook/dp/B01NBGH9G1

Olga Nuñez Miret-amazon-author-The Writer Next Door

Connect to Olga via her blog: http://www.authortranslatorolga.com

Sally's cafe and bookstore

My second update is for Mary Smith whose book No More Mulberries has achieved over 130 reviews.. I first promoted the book earlier in the year and it is time to update with one or two of its most recent reviews.

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About the book

Scottish-born midwife, Miriam loves her work at a health clinic in rural Afghanistan and the warmth and humour of her women friends in the village, but she can no longer ignore the cracks appearing in her marriage. Her doctor husband has changed from the loving, easy-going man she married and she fears he regrets taking on a widow with a young son, who seems determined to remain distant from his stepfather.

When Miriam acts as translator at a medical teaching camp she hopes time apart might help her understand the cause of their problems. Instead, she must focus on helping women desperate for medical care and has little time to think about her failing marriage. When an old friend appears, urging her to visit the village where she and her first husband had been so happy. Miriam finds herself travelling on a journey into her past, searching for answers to why her marriage is going so horribly wrong.

Her husband, too, has a past of his own – from being shunned as a child to the loss of his first love.

Two of the many reviews for the book

Mary Smith’s No More Mulberries drew me into the lives of people living in a distant country amidst a totally different culture. This book opened up a world to me that I would never experience in my life time. I came to know and love the main character, Miriam; her life, her past and her hopes for a future. She is a compassionate woman placed in a land that should be alien to her, but is not – mainly because she has made it a part of her own being by giving it a cherished place deep within her heart.

As I read her story, I became invested in the world inhabited by those who would make Afghanistan a better place by their hard work and their caring. I reluctantly finished this beautifully written book with a better understanding of life in this complicated area of our planet.

No More Mulberries on September 8, 2016

What an eye opening look at the lives of the rural Afghan people. Two people, Scottish born Miriam and her husband Iqbal came to his home village to serve as the Doctor and midwife in a small health clinic in Afghanistan. As Miriam struggles to find her place in this life she has chosen, her husband Iqbal is also struggling to make a life for himself in the community that has always looked down on him because of his disfigurement.

Iqbal had leprosy as a child which caused him to lose his eyebrows and he feels that he will always be judged because of it. Bowing to the village customs both find themselves becoming dissatisfied with their lives, but do not know how to reach out to the other. Miriam goes against her husband’s wishes and accepts the training being offered in another town.

While there she is asked to travel to the village she shared with her first husband who had been killed by militants. This story is excellent and worth while reading. Judge not for you shall be judged.

Read all the reviews and BUY the book: https://www.amazon.com/No-More-Mulberries-Mary-Smith-ebook/dp/B005RRDZ12

Also by Mary Smith

51arfsi2ffl-_uy250_51pqvltyial-_uy250_51ujjsusehl-_uy250_51yks9fxhfl-_uy250_Read all the reviews and BUY the books: https://www.amazon.com/Mary-Smith/e/B001KCD4P0

Mary Smith - web ready

Connect to Mary via her website: http://www.marysmith.co.uk/

Sally's cafe and bookstore

Thank you for dropping in and I would be grateful if you could share around the web… both these books would make great gifts. Thanks Sally

Happy Thanksgiving – Now a global party that we can all join in with.

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The original concept of Thanksgiving was one of giving thanks for a new life, new home and new friends and that tradition is celebrated around the world in one form or another by different cultures on various days throughout the year.

Today the world is so much smaller as the Internet has enabled us to find friendship, love and common ground in virtually every country that has electricity. But however global our outlook, it is always great to reflect on the people in our lives and those basic needs for our well-being such as a roof over our heads and food on our table.

There are so many who still do not have these simple but essential requirements and that makes me very thankful indeed for the fact that I do.

More than anything else it is the people in my life that have brought the greatest happiness. Some only fleetingly and others who have gone too soon. Some I have been able to physically hug or hold hands with and others I can only do so virtually. So today I thought I would share some of those who I am thankful for.  Whatever our circumstances it is love and friendship that sustains us through good times and the worst.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you celebrating today and here are some of those who will be by my side or in my thoughts.

Our families

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sally wedding day 1980

Love

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sally wedding day 1980

Old friends

sally wedding day 1980New Friends

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A small selection of the global Friends who have supported me and this blog over the last two years and certainly does not include everyone. Thank you so much and if your photograph is not here it is more about time and space than lack of thought!

Jo RobinsonpricestudioAuthor Janice Spinetesschris_the_story_reading_ape.jpgD.G. Kaye Author

Gigi SedlmayerPatrick and Sandylinda-photo-adjustedLord David ProsserSue Vincent

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Author Nicholas RossisFrom the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksAuthor Judith Barrownoelle-2

mary-smith-web-readyviv-drewaWendy JanesDiana Peach

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61Uvgal51JL._UX250_John W Howell

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Sherri

Happy Thanksgiving and hugs to everyone.  ♥♥♥ Sally

The Saturday Round Up – Poetry, Music, outstanding talent and a sprig of mint..


The end of another week and one that has been very enjoyable for me. Whilst it may still be early to celebrate Christmas there is a definite sparkle in the air… perhaps it is the talent that has passed through the blog in the last seven days. Also I know that I am already thinking of what I am going to buy for Christmas and since most people do not really need more ornaments to dust… books are the perfect answer.. and perhaps a little jewellery. The Grotto is updated and there is something for everyone whatever their age.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/christmas-grotto-2015-books-and-gifts/

We have had torrential rain and grey skies all week but the sun came out yesterday and is going to be here for the next ten days. Despite being November I have just sat outside for two hours and topped up my Vitamin D whilst reading. It does not get much better than that.

While I am writing this I am listening to David Garrett the violinist who has to be one of the most stunning artists on the worldwide stage today.. Here is Vivaldi – Four Seasons – Winter.

He plays some wonderful crossover pieces on his albums and I can recommend his latest. Explosive.

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http://www.amazon.com/Explosive-DAVID-GARRETT/dp/B013XTXM5O/ref=ntt_mus_ep_dpi_1

Time to catch up on the week and meet some of my lovely guests.. 

Saturday Morning Coffee with Linda Bethea, Christoph Fischer and Diana Wallace Peach.

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/11/07/saturday-morning-coffee-with-linda-bethea-christoph-fischer-and-d-wallace-peach/

William Price King with the finale of the Quincy Jones Story

William will be back in the New Year with a new series but we have his new album to look forward to and on Wednesdays up to Christmas; he will be selecting his favourite seasonal music to share with us.

pricestudio

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/11/04/a-man-and-his-music-william-price-king-meets-quincy-jones-finale/

 New Series – The War Poets

For the next week I will be posting a series on some of the exceptional young men and women who not only experienced the horrors of war but who recorded it in their poetry.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/11/02/in-remembrance-war-poets-isaac-rosenberg-1890-1918/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/11/04/in-remembrance-the-war-poets-rupert-brooke-1897-1915/

Christmas Grotto 2015.

There are just 20 official slots left so if you would like to showcase your books, design or music then please get in touch.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/christmas-grotto-2015-books-and-gifts/

This weeks entries.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/11/01/christmas-grotto-2015-books-disappearing-in-plain-sight-by-francis-guenette/DPS - BoxCover & E-Book - Francis Guenettehttps://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/11/01/christmas-grotto-2015-books-disappearing-in-plain-sight-by-francis-guenette/

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/11/01/christmas-grotto-2015-talon-encounter-book-five-the-talon-series-by-gigi-sedlmayer/

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/11/02/christmas-grotto-2015-jewellery-by-irene-design/

Cover Final Babies of Two

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/11/03/christmas-grotto-2015-babies-of-two-by-kim-gosselin-and-illustrated-by-alisa-belzil/

Marred_by_Sue_Coletta-500

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/11/04/christmas-grotto-2015-marred-by-sue-coletta/

 no-more-mulberries-web-ready

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/11/05/christmas-grotto-2015-no-more-mulberries-by-mary-smith/

510ham1fhhl-_sx311_bo1204203200_https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/11/06/christmas-grotto-2015-childrens-books-davey-derek-junior-detectives-by-janice-spina/

The Last Life(promo)

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/11/07/christmas-grotto-2015-the-last-life-by-jaye-marie/

What’s in a name short stories – D for David – Beloved

This week David attends the 50th anniversary of the end of World War I. He and his comrades are there to honour their lost friends but for David it will be a very special year.

poppy

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/11/05/whats-in-a-name-d-for-david-beloved/

Memories are made of this….

My divorce is finalised and I pass my driving test… and I get swept off my feet by a good looking Irishman in 1980

sally wedding day 1980

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/11/06/memories-are-made-of-this-1980-divorce-driving-test-and-room-40/

Humour

Funny-Dogs-Pictures-Birthday

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/11/05/laughter-the-best-medicine-my-new-kitchen-timer-has-arrived-from-china-with-interesting-instructions/

Size Matters Serialisation.

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Part Fourteen of my book on my weight loss journey nearly twenty years ago when I lost 150lbs.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/11/02/size-matters-serialisation-chapter-fourteen-the-foods-you-can-eat/

 The Medicine Woman’s Treasure Chest.

index

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/11/03/medicine-womans-treasure-chest-peppermint-for-health-and-cooking/

Please join me tomorrow for lunch with D.G. Kaye (Debby) and Nicholas Rossis.. the food is going to be amazing as is the company.

Thanks for joining me this week and enjoy the rest of the weekend…

Hugs Sally

Christmas Grotto 2015 – No More Mulberries by Mary Smith


Christmas GrottoThe featured book today is a perfect gift for those of us who enjoy travelling but perhaps might be reluctant to explore the more isolated regions of the world. Whilst we might be hesitant about visiting Afghanistan, can you imagine living there? We rarely see beyond the headlines and the stories of conflict in the country and that is such a pity as we miss out on all the vibrant culture and traditions behind the scenes. Judging by the many glowing reviews for No More Mulberries this book is a must read.

no-more-mulberries-web-ready

About the Book

Scottish-born midwife, Miriam loves her work at a health clinic in rural Afghanistan and the warmth and humour of her women friends in the village, but she can no longer ignore the cracks appearing in her marriage. Her doctor husband has changed from the loving, easy-going man she married and she fears he regrets taking on a widow with a young son, who seems determined to remain distant from his stepfather.

When Miriam acts as translator at a medical teaching camp she hopes time apart might help her understand the cause of their problems. Instead, she must focus on helping women desperate for medical care and has little time to think about her failing marriage. When an old friend appears, urging her to visit the village where once she was and her first husband had been so happy, Miriam finds herself travelling on a journey into her past, searching for answers to why her marriage is going so horribly wrong.

Her husband, too, must deal with issues from his own past – from being shunned by childhood friends when he contracted leprosy to the loss of his first love.

One of many great reviews for No More Mulberries

Engaging, gripping, emotional By Lornwal on October 16, 2014 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

A fascinating, fiercely emotional novel written with vivid detail and immense feeling and insight, NO MORE MULBERRIES, by gifted Scottish author Mary Smith, is the story of Miriam, an ex-pat Scot making a new life as a midwife in Afghanistan. Set in the mid-90s, shortly before the Taliban established its brutal regime, the story follows Miriam as she struggles not only with cultural challenges and the loss of personal freedom, but also with the challenges of motherhood, widowhood, and a disappointing second marriage.

Despite Miriam’s affinity for the Afghan people and the religion of Islam, she has a great deal of trouble accepting the loss of her freedom and value, both physical and intellectual. Ignorance, oppression of women, and superstition endemic to small rural villages like Miriam’s are frustrating and disheartening. She knows change cannot come quickly, but that understanding does little to help her cope with resistance to science, education, and the value of women. When Miriam becomes so unhappy that she cannot see the struggles of others in her family, especially her conflicted and secretive second husband, her marriage and livelihood are put at great risk.

NO MORE MULBERRIES is so gripping, and the story and characters so interesting and relatable, that I was immediately drawn in. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough as the drama and emotion escalated. Ms. Smith gives readers clear-eyed insight into what Afghans love about their country, but also into the extreme and frightening aspects of Afghanistan’s culture, politics, and unrest. Miriam is not the only character who chafes under the oppression of entrenched tradition; her husband, a native Afghan, is desperate to keep his fear and heartache from showing.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I learned a lot as well, as it’s a wholly engaging glimpse into an alien culture that is nonetheless always recognizably human. My only quibble is that the book’s ending seemed disconcertingly abrupt. I turned the page, expecting the story to continue, but it simply stopped. Despite that small disappointment, I highly recommend NO MORE MULBERRIES.

Other books by Mary Smith.

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About Mary Smith.

mary-smith-web-ready

Mary Smith has always loved writing. As a child she wrote stories in homemade books made from wallpaper trimmings – but she never thought people could grow up and become real writers. She spent a year working in a bank, which she hated – all numbers, very few words – ten years with Oxfam in the UK, followed by ten years working in Pakistan and Afghanistan. She longed to allow others to share her amazing, life-changing experiences so she wrote about them – fiction, non-fiction, poetry and journalism. And she discovered the little girl who wrote stories had become a real writer after all.

If you do not already follow Mary’s blog on WordPress then do head over and read some of her fascinating articles she has written.

Buy Mary’s books

Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Mary-Smith/e/B001KCD4P0/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Connect to Mary
Facebook address: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000934032543
Twitter: https://twitter.com/marysmithwriter
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5239367.Mary_Smith
Website:www.marysmith.co.uk http://enovelauthorsatwork.com/mary-smith/
Blogs:http://novelpointsofview.blogspot.co.uk/ and            https://marysmith57.wordpress.com/2014/07/

Please leave your feedback and hit a few share buttons as this will help spread the news of this amazing book far and wide.

Do not be shy and if you would like your book, designs, crafts, music and art showcased in the Christmas Grotto please contact me after looking at the format below. The shelves are filling up fast and there are only as many spaces as days to Christmas.

For details about how to submit your book, gifts and music please take a look at both the format of the post today and also in the link below.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/10/07/omg-the-c-word-sallys-christmas-grotto-open-again-for-business/

For the books and gifts currently in the emporium please pop into the shop.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/christmas-grotto-2015-books-and-gifts/