Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Meet the Authors 2021 – #Memoir Mary Clark, #Western Sandra Cox, #Memoir Liesbet Collaert


Since the last series of meet the authors in June last year another 25 authors have joined the Cafe and Bookstore. This is an opportunity to get to know them and their books a little better. I will also include their blog social media links and it would be great if you could follow them there too.

Meet Mary Clark

Mary Clark was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, in 1949, to parents who lived on the Rutgers University campus. Her family moved to Florida, where she spent her formative years, and was infused with a deep awe and respect for the natural world. She was also aware of the lives of migrant workers, segregation, and the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. Her book, Covenant, a coming-of-age, historical fiction novella, is set in Florida (Kindle only). Children of Light (Ten Penny Players’ BardPress) is a modern mythical chain of poems also set in Florida.

She graduated from Rutgers-Newark College of Arts and Sciences in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She had a strong sense of being a misfit, which propelled her to find her own place and occupation.

Mary moved to New York City in 1975 and worked at the Poetry Festival at St. Clement’s Church in the then outcast wilds of the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. For many years she worked for community organizations. In 1993 she started a monthly community newspaper, combining her two loves: the neighborhood and writing. Her memoir, Community: Power Politics and Democracy in Hell’s Kitchen, tells that story. A creative memoir, Tally: An Intuitive Life (All Things That Matter Press), is the story of a Bohemian artist she knew in NYC’s Greenwich Village.

Books by Mary Clark

One of the reviews for Tally; An Intuitive Life

When a young poet stumbles into the life of a Greenwich Village recluse, she meets a bearded old man living in a garret. Surrounded by manuscripts in which he has attempted to comprehend the meaning of life, PJ has entered a time of failing eyesight, physical frailty, and economic uncertainty. Quiet and observant, the young poet Erin, or “Eyes” as PJ soon calls her, begins to help him put his life in order.

“No one is ever conscious of what he is doing or why he is doing it,” PJ said, “even a person who is aware of everything he is doing and after pondering it, can perceive the reason or motivation for it.”

The above is just one of many sentences I underlined last February while I was doing a writing residency at the Vermont Studio Center for the Arts. Anyone who makes her or his life in the arts risks winding up like PJ, which is to say not wealthy, except in matters of the spirit.

“PJ’s long bony fingers swept over drifting stacks of books, papers, paintings, typewriter ribbons, photographs and found objets, all jumbled together, everything melting into some other form…’Dali would have had an idea of the melodramatic squalor in which I live,’” PJ told her.

PJ’s intellect and humor makes him an utterly fascinating subject. Some of his musings are brilliant; others, wildly off-the-wall. Genuinely curious, Erin plays along, but occasionally she says, Hey, wait a minute. Her doubts often mirrored questions that came up for me.
As Erin pitches in and begins to go through boxes of PJs manuscripts, she learns about his intuitive approach to life, thus the subtitle. Several chapters develop his idea of the “perceptive intellect.” In others, PJ talks about one of his personas, The Professor of Love.

The book exposes the layers and contradictions.

I’ve reread this book twice since I purchased it, underlining or drawing new smiley faces. If you have ever had an elderly packrat-of-a-relative whose care fell to you, then you will surely love this book and understand the pull-and-tug that confronted Erin on almost every visit to PJ’s garret. It’s not a book you can race through, but one that will make you think a lot about how anyone assembles the flotsam of life into a coherent story.

Lest you think PJ was some kind of eccentric and amusing kook, a chapter near the end will prove you wrong. The book also made me wonder how any of us could explain the principles and assumptions by which we’ve lived our lives. I’m not sure I could do what PJ managed to do, and what Mary Clark has so lovingly presented in this biography/memoir.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow Mary: Goodreads – Website: Literary Eyes – Facebook: Mary Clark Books Twitter: @mceyes

Meet Sandra Cox

About Sandra Cox

Multi-published author Sandra Cox writes YA Fantasy, Romance, and Metaphysical Nonfiction. She lives in sunny North Carolina with her husband, a brood of critters and an occasional foster cat. Although shopping is high on the list, her greatest pleasure is sitting on her screened in porch, listening to the birds, sipping coffee or an iced latte and enjoying a good book. She’s a vegetarian, a Muay Thai enthusiast and has a weakness for peanut M and Ms.

A small selection of Sandra’s books

A recent review for Glen Slade: Bounty Hunter

Joseph A Congel VINE VOICE  5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly written and terrific on so many levels!  Reviewed in the United States on February 12, 2021

Author, Sandra Cox knows her craft. I have read several of her novels and all of them have been well-written and edited, and because of her attention to detail, all have been extremely engaging reading experiences. She is a highly talented writer who is in top form in this, her newest offering, Gwen Slade Bounty Hunter.

Gwen Slade is smart. And she’s tough. She can fight, and she knows her way around the barrel of a shotgun. She also has the responsibility of taking care of her younger brother. So to put food on the table, and hopefully one day provide a better life for her family, she puts her skills to work as a bounty hunter. Not an easy task, to say the least, especially for a female living in the west in the late 1800’s. But her ability to take down the bad guy and collect the bounty has gained her the respect few have in her profession.

Gwen has always worked alone, and she prefers it that way. And then in walks Jordie Kidd. A charismatic outlaw with a twinkle in his eye who helps save her family from harm. And although his charms are not completely lost on Gwen, she has no time for that kind of thing. But she doesn’t turn him in, instead letting him go as a gesture for saving her family. And besides, she is gearing up to take down a ruthless gang with a huge bounty on their heads. A bounty large enough to let her and her family finally cash in on the life they’ve always dreamed of.

As Gwen sets out on what she hopes will be her final bounty hunt, she finds herself forced into a questionable partnership. A partnership that she doesn’t want to be in, but turns out to be one she can’t live without.

All I kept thinking throughout this story was what a great movie it would be. It’s a captivating storyline with richly developed characters whose interaction with one another helps draw you into their world. If you are a fan of Western-Romance stories that feature a strong female lead, then you are going to love this book. If you’ve never read a book in this genre, give this one a try. I guarantee you will be a fan by the time you get to the end. I really enjoyed this book. Truly a 5 STAR read.  

Read the reviews and buy the books : Amazon UK –And: Amazon US- follow Sandra Cox: Goodreads – Blog: Sandra Cox Blogspot – Twitter:@Sandra_Cox

Meet Liesbet Collaert

Liesbet Collaert is a bilingual freelance writer, translator, editor, and photographer from Belgium who has been writing and traveling her entire life. Her work has been published internationally in anthologies and magazines, including Cruising World, Blue Water Sailing, Ocean Navigator, Eldridge Tide and Pilot Book, Islands, Yachting World, Sailing Today, All At Sea, Caribbean Compass, and Zeilen. She also created walking tours for Marigot and Philipsburg in St. Martin.

The author has been interviewed about her alternative lifestyle by Multihull Sailor, Modern Day Nomads, Ocean Navigator, The Wayward Home, The Professional Hobo, and Grey Globetrotters among others. She contributed to extensive cruising surveys for All At Sea and Caribbean Compass and became an assistant-editor for Caribbean Compass in January 2019.

Liesbet loves animals, nature, and the promise of adventure. A nomad since 2003, she calls herself a world citizen and currently lives “on the road” in North America with her husband and rescue dog

Books by Liesbet Collaert

One of the recent reviews for Plunge

The author, Liesbet, and her husband Mark, have chosen a life of travel and discovery over a settled and secure life. This is Liesbet’s account of the consequences of their choices, the inner and outer adventures they had, as well as the inner and outer challenges they faced.

Anyone who has made similar sacrifices to live the life they’ve chosen will relate to this narrative, half travelog and half diary, as this couple’s dream of cruising becomes their daily lives, with everything daily life entails; wonderful encounters with nature in pristine settings, human encounters both helpful and difficult, mechanical failures, business and financial struggles, and, the thread running through it all, the love Liesbet and Mark have for each other in spite of their very real differences, and the relationship challenges they face living together 24/7.

As one reviewer has done, it’s always easy to find fault with someone who bears their soul as much as Ms. Collaert has in this book. Self-doubt is never flattering and takes courage to admit publicly, though we all carry our fair share. For me, the author’s sharing of her most intimate feelings and the dynamics of their relationship is equally, if not more compelling than their experiences cruising the Caribbean and the Pacific Islands.

This is not just an adventure book, this is a book about what it really takes to live an adventurous life.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK  –   Blogs: Roaming About Cruising the World the way it is – Facebook pages: Personal Liesbet CollaertRoamingsaboutItsIrie – Twitter: @LiesbetCollaert – Follow Liesbet: Goodreads

 

Thank you very much for visiting today and I hope you have enjoyed meeting some of the more recent authors to join the Cafe… thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – Reviews – #YAMystery D.L.Finn, #Memoir Liesbet Collaert, #Family Judith Barrow.


Welcome to the Wednesday Cafe and Bookstore update with recent reviews for authors on the shelves.

The first author today is D.L. Finn with one of the early reviews for her YA  mystery Dolphin’s Cave.

About the book

The dream always begins the same way for fifteen-year-old Coral Dover. She enters the ocean alone and ends up in a cave on the back of a dolphin. It’s happened every night for the last eight years since her parents disappeared. Coral longs to visit the place where her parents’ plane went down, and she finally gets her wish when her aunt takes her on a working vacation to Hawaii. When Coral notices unusual things happening around her, only one other person believes her. Will they discover the secret that could change everyone’s lives? Can Coral keep her family safe as she pursues her dream?

One of the early reviews for the book

D. W. Peach 5.0 out of 5 stars Magical tale for tweens and young teens  Reviewed in the United States on December 14, 2020

Coral is a teenager who’s lived with her aunt since her parents died in a mysterious plane crash in Hawaii. She has repeating dreams of riding dolphins to a golden city, but she always wakes up before the dream’s secrets are revealed. With another family, including their teenage kids, Ben and Beth, Coral and her aunt head to Hawaii for a vacation. Coral is determined to find out what happened to her parents and learn the meaning of her dreams.

The story is told from Coral’s POV. She’s a believable character and true to her age. There’s an appropriate focus on things teens enjoy, and her experiences with young love are sweet. She and her group enjoy some of the tourist-based highlights of Oahu and Maui, while in the background there are darker forces at work – several nefarious characters are spying on Coral and targeting her aunt.

The pace is moderate and the setting well researched. As the plot ramps up, the magical world of the golden city bursts in on an otherwise real-life narrative with all kinds of fantastical creatures like unicorns and dragons, healing powers and royalty. The murderous goals of the bad guys become clear as Coral learns the secrets of her dream and magical heritage. I was too “old” for this read, but do recommend it to tweens and young teenagers, especially girls

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

A selection of other books by D.L. Finn

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow D.L. Finn: Goodreads – Website: D.L. Finn Author –  Facebook: D.L. Finn Author – Twitter: @dlfinnauthor

The next review today is for Liesbet Collaert and her memoir Plunge: One Woman’s Pursuit of a Life Less Ordinary. 

About the book

Tropical waters turn tumultuous in this travel memoir, as a free-spirited woman jumps headfirst into a sailing adventure with a new man and his two dogs.

Join Liesbet as she faces a decision that sends her into a whirlwind of love, loss, and living in the moment. When she swaps life as she knows it for an uncertain future on a sailboat, she succumbs to seasickness and a growing desire to be alone.

Guided by impulsiveness and the joys of an alternative lifestyle, she must navigate personal storms, trouble with US immigration, adverse weather conditions, and doubts about her newfound love.

Does Liesbet find happiness? Will the dogs outlast the man? Or is this just another reality check on a dream to live at sea?

###

Have you ever wondered how life could be if you had made different choices? If you didn’t marry early, commit to a large loan for the house, focus on your career, start a family?

Maybe you’re just curious about how a person thinking outside the box manages? A person without boundaries, striving to be flexible, happy, and free. What you are about to read is how one such person follows her dreams, no, her intuition, and how she survives her naivety, life altering twists, and a relationship in close quarters.

Plunge is a story of what happens when you go with the flow, when you have a bright idea – or thought you had one – and ride the waves of the unknown. Ready to hop aboard and delve in?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Jill Weatherholt 5.0 out of 5 stars Take the plunge, we only live once!  Reviewed in the United States on December 17, 2020

For several years, I’ve been a follower of Liesbet Collaert’s blog “Roaming About” where she shares the nomadic lifestyle she lives with her husband Mark. When I learned she was writing a memoir, I waited patiently, knowing it would be fantastic. Liesbet did not disappoint. From the first page of PLUNGE – One Woman’s Pursuit of a Life Less Ordinary, I was immediately drawn into their unique way of living.

Most people would think they’d hit the lottery if they were able to do whatever they wanted, or go anywhere they desired. Life on a catamaran or traveling the US by RV would be a dream come true for many. But despite the beautiful surroundings, life as a nomad comes with challenges and stress those living a routine 9 to 5 lifestyle could never imagine. Liesbet’s honesty and openness throughout the book is to be commended. She reveals her heart to the reader, making her story so much more than a travel memoir. It’s about questioning the choices we’ve made in life and what’s truly important to us.

This inspiring memoir is one you won’t be able to put down until you’ve reached the end. Of course, if you follow her blog, the story doesn’t end as she and Mark continue to share their adventures.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Find more reviews on: Goodreads

Also by Liesbet Collaert

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK –  Follow Liesbet: GoodreadsBlogs: Roaming About Cruising the World the way it is – Facebook pages: Personal Liesbet CollaertRoamingsabout – ItsIrie – Twitter: @LiesbetCollaert

The final author today is Judith Barrow with a review her latest book – The Memory.

About the book

Mother and daughter tied together by shame and secrecy, love and hate.

I wait by the bed. I move into her line of vision and it’s as though we’re watching one another, my mother and me; two women – trapped.

Today has been a long time coming. Irene sits at her mother’s side waiting for the right moment, for the point at which she will know she is doing the right thing by Rose.

Rose was Irene’s little sister, an unwanted embarrassment to their mother Lilian but a treasure to Irene. Rose died thirty years ago, when she was eight, and nobody has talked about the circumstances of her death since. But Irene knows what she saw. Over the course of 24 hours their moving and tragic story is revealed – a story of love and duty, betrayal and loss – as Irene rediscovers the past and finds hope for the future.

The new novel from the bestselling author of the Howarth family saga

One of the recent reviews for the book

Lizanne Lloyd 4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling story of 20th century women  Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 29 November 2020

Irene tells her story in dual time. Now in 2002 she has reached the end of her tether. Exhausted with taking care of her mother who suffers from dementia and incontinence and only sleeps fitfully, she relives a memory that her mother never mentions and she feels she must do something for her sister Rose, who died so many years before.

Irene had been offered the opportunity of a rewarding career as a teacher, as well as the love of Sam whom she had known all her life, but she has given up her happiness for the sake of her devotion to those she loves. First, she took care of Rose, who had Down’s syndrome, then when her Nanna became gravely ill, she nursed her. When faithful Sam gave her love and companionship she ended up providing care for his sick father and finally she was drawn back to her wayward mother, feeling compelled to live in the house which still seems to be haunted by Rose.

Seeing events through Irene’s eyes doesn’t prevent the reader from realising how badly she treats Sam. His patience is almost unbelievable until he takes time out, working away from home. When their long-awaited child fails to come, even the kindness of friends who give them a temporary home does not prevent Irene trapping herself with the mother she once loved before Rose was born.

This 20th century story addresses many problems of women in a time of great change. The urge to be a mother, carer and homemaker contrasts with the ambition to achieve and to make a difference. Society’s approval and understanding easily turns to disapproval and misunderstanding. At times tremendously sad, the novel also shows social features and friendship in a world before mobile phones, the internet and Netflix. In a tale full of “What ifs” it is good to see Irene finally moving forward in the new century.

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

Also by Judith Barrow

   

Read the reviews and buy the books:Amazon US – and:Amazon UK – Follow Judith:Goodreads – blog: Judith Barrow – Twitter: @judithbarrow77

 

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