Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – #Memoir – Mennonite Daughter: The Story of a Plain Girl by Marian Longenecker Beaman


Delighted to showcase the debut book by Marian Beaman.. a memoir – Mennonite Daughter: The Story of a Plain Girl released last week in both print and Kindle.

About the book

What if the Mennonite life young Marian Longenecker chafed against offered the chance for a new beginning? What if her two Lancaster County homes with three generations of family were the perfect launch pad for a brighter future? Readers who long for a simpler life can smell the aroma of saffron-infused potpie in Grandma’s kitchen, hear the strains of four-part a capella music at church, and see the miracle of a divine healing.

Follow the author in pigtails as a child and later with a prayer cap, bucking a heavy-handed father and challenging church rules. Feel the terror of being locked behind a cellar door. Observe the horror of feeling defenseless before a conclave of bishops, an event propelling her into a different world.

Fans of coming-of-age stories will delight in one woman’s surprising path toward self-discovery, a self that lets her revel in shiny red shoes.

One of the early reviews for the memoir

What do you think when you see a woman wearing a Mennonite prayer covering? “Though light as air, the prayer covering carried the weight of tradition,” says author Marian Beaman, summarizing beautifully one of the most elusive symbols of female religious submission.

If you think you understand that symbol, you need to read this book. Author Marian Beaman complicates stereotypes, exposes double standards, and probes paradoxes of what it means to grow up Mennonite–especially if you are a whip-smart oldest daughter in lifelong conflict with a strict, fearful, and parsimonious father.

I have so much in common with the author that I can’t list all we share — Lancaster County Mennonite childhood in the 1950s, strict father, oldest child, public school, Eastern Mennonite College. I wrote my own memoir about many of the same struggles with pride and humility, plainness and worldliness, that Marian and I share with many Mennonites of that place and time. So, it seems, I understand this book from the inside out.

And yet, even with so many commonalities, all human stories are unique. Which is why we must read each other’s stories. Under the numerous conflicts with the patriarchal family and religion around her, the author shares the kind of spunk, joy, humor, and loving rebelliousness that many of literature’s most loved heroines display. Think of Jo March, Anne Shirley, and Pippi Longstocking rolled into one character wearing an organza veiling on her head and you will come close to young Marian.

The stories in this book will introduce you to a variety of other characters showing that Mennonite life contains as much variety as any other. Aunt Ruthie and Grandma Longenecker are my two favorites, both of them serving to widen the options and soften the conflicts between Marian and her father.

The illustrations in the book, provided by the author’s husband, Cliff Beaman, deserve special mention. Not only does Cliff play the role of hero in the story, he also enlivens all the stories with his sensitive, whimsical, yet profound, drawings, starting with the one he drew of his future wife still wearing a head covering in 1965.

Through the story of this Mennonite Daughter flows a deep affection for the faith that surrounded her in childhood. She had to leave it in order to claim it. She was not the first. Nor will she be the last. But she is the one and only Marian Longenecker Beaman.

Read the early reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07XL5FPW6

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07XL5FPW6

Read more reviews and follow Marian on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19169570.Marian_Longenecker_Beaman

About Marian Longenecker Beaman

Marian Longenecker Beaman is a former professor at Florida State College in Jacksonville, Florida. Her memoir records the charms and challenges of growing up in the strict culture of the Lancaster Mennonite Conference in the 1950s. Marian shares her story to preserve these memories and to leave a legacy for future generations.

She lives with her husband Cliff in Florida, where her grown children and grandchildren also reside

Connect to Marian

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Marian-Longenecker-Beaman/e/B07X7JK2S3
Blog: https://marianbeaman.com.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marian.beaman
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marian-beaman-6603a273/

Congratulations to Marian and it would be great if you could spread the news of her memoir .. thanks Sally.

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Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer – Sherri Matthews #Memoir – Holiday Reading, Ghosts And The Norfolk Broads


Delighted to welcome back memoir author Sherri Matthews with four posts sharing her experiences of childhood and teens and living in the UK after many years in California. In the final post this series Sherri takes us on a holiday to the Norfolk Broads, a fabulous boating holiday, and an introduction to the more ghostly side of this idyllic part of the country.

Holiday Reading, Ghosts And The Norfolk Broads

Holiday reading. What beats a book crammed full of twists and turn, thrills and spills to keep us occupied while lazing on the beach or reclining on a deck chair by the side of a pool somewhere hot and Mediterranean? What indeed!

When Lisa set her prompt for this week’s Bite Size Memoir challenge as ‘Holiday Reads’ my memories took me not to the beach or the pool but back to the annual holidays we took as a family when I was a girl to the tranquility of the Norfolk Broads

A boating holiday is certainly not relaxing in the usual sense, particularly if sailing. In fact, it is quite physical with all the leaping on and off boats, mooring up, gathering in the sails and generally messing about on the river. Not to mention all those misadventures that seem to go hand-in-hand when on the water, and I’m not just talking about losing one’s sunglasses.

Yet, nothing beats that feeling at the end of a boating day when you are moored up and hunkered down for the night, huddled in your bunk and settling in to your summer read.

Our holidays began with a several hour’s-long drive from Surrey to Norfolk, this being the 1970’s and motorways not what they are today, but oh the joy as we pulled in at last to the narrow roads of the delightfully historic Norfolk village of Horning and headed straight to the boatyard.

There we would set eyes on what would be our holiday home for the next two weeks and so the exodus began of transferring all our luggage, equipment and food from the overflowing car to our boat. Then finding a home for everything, which on a boat is often far from easy.

One year, when I was about twelve, as we took a walk down to the local shops of Horning to gather up some last-minute necessities before heading out, I treated myself to my summer book: it was called Ghosts of the Broads by Charles Sampson

What captured my attention was that there was a ghost story for most of the places we would be visiting so I could time my stories when we were at the actual location. I couldn’t wait!

Some of the stories went on a bit, but there I would be, in the dead of the night, lulled by the gentle motion of our boat to the passing current of the waters surrounding us, my little overhead lamp burning the midnight oil, scaring myself witless.

What filled my imagination like no other was the story about St. Benet’s Abbey

Approaching from the narrow and meandering River Ant as it merges into the strong currents of the River Bure, the sight of St. Benet’s Abbey looming up at the river’s edge of this convergence always struck a sense of foreboding into my heart as a child.

St Benet's Abbey, Norfolk Broads (c) Sherri Matthews 2013

St Benet’s Abbey, Norfolk Broads (c) Sherri Matthews 2013

I came to learn that it was a monastery founded in Anglo-Saxon times and the only one which went on to function well into the medieval ages. A wind pump was built into the gate of the ruins left behind. Hence the unusual structure.

Visiting the ruins today, my imagination still runs riot but I will write about this at another time, taking up a post of its own as it merits!

The ghosts of the Norfolk Broads and I go back a long way. They have fascinated and enthralled me for as long as I can remember. So it was, that fifteen years ago and after a gap of many years, I was fortunate enough to take my three children on a Norfolk Broad’s holiday, together with my mum, brother and his family. Eleven of us on two boats!

We cruised and sailed for two glorious weeks in August and it was steaming hot every day. Sometimes things work out better than planned and this was no exception.

As ever, I took my ‘Ghosts of the Broads’ book with me. To my amazement, I soon discovered that the very night we found ourselves mooring up for the night on Barton Broad (a huge expanse of water which, you might be interested to know, Admiral Horatio Nelson himself learnt to sail on as a boy) happened to be the same night that one of these ghostly apparitions was to appear.

If the conditions are perfect, the face of a woman appears in the lake, so the story goes. You can imagine, out there alone on the water with nothing but our ghost stories and hyped up children to tell them to, just what the atmosphere must have been like!

In all my years of ‘ghost hunting’ on the Norfolk Broads, I never did see a ghost, which disappointed me greatly and caused me great relief all at the same time. Quite what I would have done if I had found one of ‘my’ ghosts, I will never know.

However, on this particular night something extraordinary did happen, something that neither I nor my family can explain to this day.

South Walsham Broad at dusk – Norfolk Broads
(Not having one handy of Barton Broad, but it sets the scene!) (c) Sherri Matthews 2013

Here then is my ‘bite’ for this week, in 150 words exactly:

Moored up in a cosy inlet, the winds that earlier had provided a full day’s sailing had died to a breath and Barton Broad lay as smooth as glass.

Orange skies darkened and a light mist danced across the waters. Conversation and laughter echoed beyond the riverbanks, then silence.

I don’t know who saw it first, but in seconds we were all standing on the gunwale, watching.

It was almost dark now, no wind and boating after sunset was forbidden, if not impossible without navigation lights.

A yacht, in full sail as the waters lapped at its bow, forged ahead in the darkness, the moon giving the merest hint of reflection in the water. No helmsman in sight, yet the sails billowed.

We gaped in hushed disbelief, not comprehending this eerie encounter. Then, as suddenly as it had appeared, the yacht vanished, swallowed up by the mist.

Just like that.

A very eerie note to end on… my thanks to Sherri for sharing another wonderful post with us… I have been on the broads and it is a great holiday… spooky apparitions aside…

©Sherri Matthews 2014 

About Sherri Matthews

While bringing her memoir, Stranger in a White Dress, to publication, Sherri is published in magazines and anthologies. Blogging at her summerhouse, Sherri writes from her life as a Brit mum of three twenty years in California, her misadventures with her jailbird dad, and as Mum and carer to her adult, Aspie youngest. As in life, telling the story one word, one day at a time, Sherri believes that memoir brings alive the past, makes sense of the present and gives hope for the future. Today, Sherri lives in England with her hubby, Aspie and menagerie of pets fondly called, ‘Animal Farm’ and advocates that laughter is indeed the best medicine

Memoir Book Blurb

Stranger In A White Dress

‘We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned,
so as to have the life that is waiting for us.’
~E. M. Forster~

Set against the backdrop of the late 1970s, the story of a chance meeting one summer’s night between two eighteen year olds unfolds: Sherri, an English girl living in rural Suffolk, and Jonathan (Jon), an American G. I. from California newly posted to a USAF base nearby.

They fall in love fast, but Sherri, delighted to show off her homeland to this “new boy”, soon discovers that although growing up thousands of miles apart, they share dark similarities, which quickly threaten to unravel their relationship.

Their mothers divorced from alcoholic fathers, both were raised by abusive step-fathers. Jon’s increasing drug use and resulting paranoia clash with Sherri’s insecurities as hopes of “fixing” him and of the stable family life she dreams of slip away.

Los Angeles and lust; obsession and rage; passion and the power of love: theirs is a love affair defined by break-ups and make-ups, and then a shattering revelation explodes into this already volatile mix, altering the course of both their lives profoundly and forever.

A tale of darkest tragedy, yet dotted with moments of hilarity and at times the utterly absurd, this is a story of two young people who refuse to give up, believing their love will overcome all.

Not until decades after their chance meeting, and during a return trip to Los Angeles in 2013, does Sherri discover that Jon’s last wish has been granted.

It’s then that she knows the time has come to tell her story.

Sherri’s Memoir is in the final stages of editing and will be available later this year.

Here are the anthologies that Sherri has contributed to. Click the covers to buy.

Connect to Sherri.

Blog A View from my Summerhouse: sherrimatthewsblog.com
Facebook Author Page:  https://www.facebook.com/aviewfrommysummerhouse
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WriterSherri
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/sherri-matthews/60/798/aa3

I know that Sherri would love your feedback and thanks for dropping by… Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives -#Potluck – #memoir – Grandad Dunham’s Flight Simulator by Tasker Dunham


Welcome to the  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

This is the second post from the archives of Tasker Dunham. The blog is a personal memoir about growing up in Yorkshire in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and later. It is not always about Yorkshire, nor is it entirely memoir, but most of it is. I have selected this post as I remember my father building a replica biplane for my brother when he was four, along with a headset borrowed from the station we were based on. I use to hijack from time to time and practice my dive bombing…there is also a poignant aspect to this post that touched me.

Grandad Dunham’s Flight Simulator by Tasker Dunham

Like something from the future, it was the most amazing colour graphics workstation I had ever seen. I had got a job in a university where it was being used to understand complex proteins by constructing and manipulating computer-generated images of the kind of ball and stick molecular models photographed with Watson and Crick in the nineteen-fifties. These models give insights into life at the sub-microscopic level: such as how molecules of oxygen displace molecules of carbon dioxide in haemoglobin. The details are so magically implausible you could come to believe in creationism. One researcher was moved to tears on seeing for the first time an image of part of the antibody she had been working on for the past three years.

Flight Simulators: Elite, Aviator and SGI DogfightFlight simulators: Elite and Aviator for the BBC computer,
and SGI Dogfight for the IRIS workstation

It was the nineteen-eighties. The workstation (a Unix-based Silicon Graphics IRIS 2000 if you must know) came with a set of demonstration programs, among them a flight simulator called ‘SGI Dogfight’. Again, it was well in advance of anything any of us had seen before. The best you could have at home at that time, which replicated the dynamics of flight and motion with any reasonable accuracy, were black-and-white wire-frame simulations such as ‘Aviator’ and the space trading game ‘Elite’ published by Acornsoft for the BBC Computer. The IRIS 2000 simulator had coloured graphics and a choice of aircraft including a tiny Cessna, an enormous Boeing-747 Jumbo Jet and a super fast F16 jet fighter. It came nowhere near the lifelike realism of simulators you can buy today, but for the ordinary home user there would be nothing like it for quite a few years. You may now pause for a moment to speculate about the relative amounts of time we spent flying aeroplanes and modelling proteins.

BBC computer game Elite badgeFor the first few weeks, I was the only one who could land the Jumbo Jet without crashing. I had not wasted hundreds of hours flying under the ‘Aviator’ suspension bridge and dodging ‘Elite’ police ships for nothing. I was one of the glorious few to have fought my way through to the secret code for my ‘Elite’ badge. What the others did not seem able to grasp – and some of them are now eminent professors – is that the pilot of a Jumbo-Jet sits the equivalent of three storeys up from the ground, so that when you come in to land, assuming you have managed to line up the aircraft with the runway at the right height, distance and speed, which is no easy feat in itself, you are still thirty feet up in the air as you touch down. If you try to land with your seat at ground-level you will be too low, and smash into the runway with terrific force and die.

It all seemed terrifically futuristic. Yet my brother had a flight simulator twenty years earlier in the early nineteen-sixties. You might call it Grandad Dunham’s flight simulator. How could that be possible? That Grandad Dunham was our dad’s grandfather, our great-grandfather, who had died in 1941. He spent the last two years of his life living with his daughter’s family after he woke up one morning to find his second wife dead in bed beside him. When he moved in, his son-in-law carried his chair through the streets of the town on his back.

Grandad Dunham's Chair - Flight Simulator

Here is that very same chair, at least twice refurbished, and exceptionally comfortable it is too. Turned on its back and covered with an eiderdown it makes a wonderful aeroplane cockpit. My brother played in it happily for hours. Sometimes he would let me be his co-pilot. He chalked some controls and instruments underneath the seat. They are still there after more than fifty years.

What makes it particularly poignant is that my brother died at thirty six. The grandchildren he never saw will very soon be the same age he was when he drew those simple chalk marks. They will be able to have all the latest tablets and smart phones, and flight simulators so immersive and realistic they will not be able to tell whether or not they are in a real aeroplane. Who knows how things will be? But one thing I do know. No matter how advanced the technology, even in a hundred years, it will never be one half as much fun as Grandad Dunham’s eiderdown-covered chair with the chalk marks on its upturned seat.

©Tasker Dunham 2015

I am sure that brought memories back for many of you.. have you a video game that you played or still play?

About Tasker Dunham

I grew up in Yorkshire and worked in Leeds before going to university late, and then lived in various places around the U.K. before moving back to Yorkshire where I now live with my wife and family. I have worked in accountancy, computing and higher education, as well as in temporary jobs in factories. This memoir is based on people, places, things and events I knew, with some names and details altered to avoid difficulties. I tend to post two or three times each month.

Some items recall people and experiences, others try to give things a humorous slant, and some are of the “look how the world has changed” kind.

Connect to Tasker

Blog and post links: https://www.taskerdunham.com/p/blog-page_10.html
WordPress: https://taskerdunham.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/people/Tasker-Dunham/100008418042071
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TaskerDunham
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/taskerdunham/

Thank you for dropping by and I hope you will head over and check out the rest of Tasker’s archives … and as always love to get your feedback.. Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer Sherri Matthews -#Memoir – The Great British Staycation and A Brew Up – California Style


Delighted to welcome back memoir author Sherri Matthews with four posts sharing her experiences of childhood and teens and living in the UK after many years in California. This week Sherri shares childhood summers and those spent at the coast in California…and tea…

The Great British Staycation and A Brew Up – California Style

A news report stated that due to the Great British Summer we recently enjoyed (all three weeks of it, now, sadly, just a distant memory…), travel agents were reporting a 20 percent drop in holiday-makers booking last-minute getaways to the sun.

To me, this just shows that an awful lot of families, particularly those with young children, would prefer a British ‘staycation’ over all the hassle and stress that a holiday abroad brings, if only there could be a guarantee of plenty of sunshine.

The type of holiday that we of a certain generation took without so much as a backward glance, sunshine or not.

Who can forget those lazy, hazy days of summer spent at the seaside (in our case Brighton Beach) with our buckets and spades, old blankets spread out on a nice, sheltered (if we were lucky) not-too-rocky spot, wicker picnic basket crammed full of sandwiches and cakes and lemonade kept fresh in Mum’s well-used Tupperware drink’s holder?

Now, I realise that by using the word ‘hazy’, I am perhaps giving the impression of it being balmy and warm, but in reality it was usually pretty damn cold with us kids shivering and turning blue, having come out of the sea after a swim paddle, but that was half the fun of it!

(c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

Me at the Seaside enjoying a true Great British Staycation – notice the bucket, spade and sandcastle.  1960 something….oh, and the swimming costume (sorry, swimsuit) is red. (c)  Sherri Matthews 2013

Me at the Seaside enjoying a true Great British Staycation – notice the bucket, spade and sandcastle. 1960 something….oh, and the swimming costume (sorry, swimsuit) is red.

After being wrapped up and cuddled in a towel by Mum or Dad until we were warm enough to feel our no-longer-numb limbs again, we would then be given money to rush off and buy an ice cream. Go figure! Sitting on the blanket, ice cream leaking out of the bottom of the wafer and dripping all the way down our arms in a right sticky mess, the sharp wind whipping up the sand as it smarted across our freckled faces, we would proudly admire our sandcastles before the tide closed in to wash them all away.

Then it would be home for tea, and that always meant Fish & Chips! Out of newspaper!

My own children were raised in California, and as much as I loved, and indeed embraced, what many long summers spent in America gave us, I was intent on sharing as much of my very British childhood with them as possible. Of course, living in California, the beach was never far away and many a happy day was spent loading the kids up in the car with the cool box, beach umbrella, chairs and yes, the buckets and spades (pales and shovels!) to hand.

But there was something missing.

The wicker picnic basket! I had to have one of my own. No picnic, trip to the beach was complete without one. I was on a mission and when I’m on a mission I am very, very determined. Unfortunately, the only wicker picnic baskets I could find at the time (it being the 90s and before picnic baskets were ‘in vogue’) were very, very expensive and rather exclusive. Way out of my league, in other words.

However, the merest mention of this to my mother during one of our regular transatlantic telephone calls, and she knew what she had to do. If you want to know where I get my tenacity from, you only have to know my mother.

The next thing I know, Mum is calling me to tell me that she has not only found the perfect wicker picnic basket (in a charity shop!!), but she has kitted it out with a brand new blue and white check gingham lining, matching napkins, a blue melamine plate and bowl set for six and matching cutlery. She would bring the hamper with her when she next came to visit.

The Wicker Picner Hamper (c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

This is the original picnic basket from all those years ago, notice the leather straps! The inside isn’t so pretty now unfortunately, a job for Mum to re-line it perhaps? (c)  Sherri Matthews 2013

For her, this was no problem. My Mum was, and still is, like Mary Poppins. What she hasn’t packed in her suitcases in her time you don’t want to know about!

Remember those days when you were allowed two large suitcases on a long haul flight without the fear of excess charges? What a mercy for that! Mum packed the basket inside one of her suitcases, alongside all the usual goodies that we craved: Tea, Marmite, Crunchies, tubes of Smarties, Bird’s Eye Custard, serval McVities Ginger Cakes, you know, all the good stuff.

After that, for year’s to come, no picnic was complete without the basket. Of course, we also had the cool bag, it being too hot in California not to keep food in one, but the basket always came. However, I had one more thing that I insisted upon to make our British style picnics in California complete. I wanted to be able to have a ‘brew up’.

Now I’m not talking about making homemade beer or wine here. No, I’m talking about make what we British drink no matter what the weather, no matter where we are and especially when in crisis…we have a cup of tea! Except that I wanted to be able to actually make the tea, in a teapot.

Call me tea-mad, call me sentimental, call my anything you like (barking?) but, once again, I was on yet another mission. So, my dear Mum then acquired for me a delightful (and blue!) camping tea kettle. It even had a whistle! Not only that, she also produced a camping teapot! I found a single-burner calor gas stove at a camping shop and we were in business. Packing the tea bags, a container (Tupperware, of course) of milk and some sugar, our picnic was complete and I was in tea heaven!

So there we would be, sitting on the beach overlooking the wild Pacific vista, eating our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, potato chips, ice-cold watermelon and Jello, and all the while my heart would be filled with joy at the sound of the calor gas gently hissing with my little camping tea kettle happily whistling away.

Oh, and just in case you are wondering, yes, we did get some very strange looks over the years. You can just imagine it, I’m sure, and what they must have thought. I can assure you that I never did see anybody else doing this in all the 17 years I lived in California!

Perhaps I might be surprised to learn that I have started a new trend, you never know. My children thought I was crazy and were, of course, embarrassed but isn’t that a parent’s job, to embarrass their children?

But it was mission accomplished!

After all, what could be more evocative of the Great British Staycation than sipping a cup of lovely tea while sitting on a beach on a hot, summer’s day, watching the wild waves of the Pacific Ocean come crashing down on the golden sands of a beach in sunny California?

View of the Pacific Ocean, California Central Coast (c) Sherri Matthews 2013

The enduring image of the Californian Coastline where I spent so many happy years with my young family.  A Perfect spot for a lovely brew-up! (c)  Sherri Matthews 2013

“How can you drink tea when it’s so hot?” Question asked of me by my ex-husband even after 22 years of marriage.

My thanks to Sherri for sharing the joys of Summer… whether at home in the UK or the California coast.. with a cuppa.

©Sherri Matthews 2013

 

About Sherri Matthews

While bringing her memoir, Stranger in a White Dress, to publication, Sherri is published in magazines and anthologies. Blogging at her summerhouse, Sherri writes from her life as a Brit mum of three twenty years in California, her misadventures with her jailbird dad, and as Mum and carer to her adult, Aspie youngest. As in life, telling the story one word, one day at a time, Sherri believes that memoir brings alive the past, makes sense of the present and gives hope for the future. Today, Sherri lives in England with her hubby, Aspie and menagerie of pets fondly called, ‘Animal Farm’ and advocates that laughter is indeed the best medicine

Memoir Book Blurb

Stranger In A White Dress

‘We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned,
so as to have the life that is waiting for us.’
~E. M. Forster~

Set against the backdrop of the late 1970s, the story of a chance meeting one summer’s night between two eighteen year olds unfolds: Sherri, an English girl living in rural Suffolk, and Jonathan (Jon), an American G. I. from California newly posted to a USAF base nearby.

They fall in love fast, but Sherri, delighted to show off her homeland to this “new boy”, soon discovers that although growing up thousands of miles apart, they share dark similarities, which quickly threaten to unravel their relationship.

Their mothers divorced from alcoholic fathers, both were raised by abusive step-fathers. Jon’s increasing drug use and resulting paranoia clash with Sherri’s insecurities as hopes of “fixing” him and of the stable family life she dreams of slip away.

Los Angeles and lust; obsession and rage; passion and the power of love: theirs is a love affair defined by break-ups and make-ups, and then a shattering revelation explodes into this already volatile mix, altering the course of both their lives profoundly and forever.

A tale of darkest tragedy, yet dotted with moments of hilarity and at times the utterly absurd, this is a story of two young people who refuse to give up, believing their love will overcome all.

Not until decades after their chance meeting, and during a return trip to Los Angeles in 2013, does Sherri discover that Jon’s last wish has been granted.

It’s then that she knows the time has come to tell her story.

Sherri’s Memoir is in the final stages of editing and will be available later this year.

Here are the anthologies that Sherri has contributed to. Click the covers to buy.

Connect to Sherri.

Blog A View from my Summerhouse: sherrimatthewsblog.com
Facebook Author Page:  https://www.facebook.com/aviewfrommysummerhouse
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WriterSherri
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/sherri-matthews/60/798/aa3

I know that Sherri would love your feedback and thanks for dropping by… Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Writer Sherri Matthews – #Memoir – Times Past Challenge: Chinese Spoons And Eating Out


Delighted to welcome back memoir author Sherri Matthews with four posts sharing her experiences of childhood and teens and living in the UK after many years in California. In her first post.. a little nostalgia and for those of us who enjoyed our first dining experiences in a Chinese restaurant of one of the steak houses such as Berni Inn.. it will bring back memories.

Times Past Challenge: Chinese Spoons And Eating Out

Dressed to impress in my purple and white midi dress my mother had made for me and patent leather, navy-blue sling back shoes with block heels, I walked into the dimly lit Chinese restaurant, mesmerised by the brightly coloured lanterns hanging from the ceiling and the soft, almost hypnotic music filling the room.

It was the mid 70’s, I was twelve and staying with my dad for the school holidays in Brighton, and he was taking me and my brother out for dinner. My first time eating out at a restaurant for an evening meal and, as it turned out, the last time with my dad.

I didn’t know what to order, so Dad ordered what he was having: a bowl of crab and sweetcorn soup. When the waiter placed the small, deep bowl in front of me, I wasn’t sure at first what to make of the strange, thick-looking soup with the white streaks floating amongst the sweetcorn.

Dad urged me to try it, warning me to be careful as it was very hot, a fact borne out by his steamed up glasses. And then I noticed the white, ladle-like Chinese style spoon placed next to my bowl. I had never seen such a spoon; its shape and also the unusual design on its base fascinated me.

As a tail-end ‘Baby Boomer’ growing up in 60s and 70s southern England, eating out at a restaurant for an evening meal just wasn’t done. The cost was out of reach for my parents and even if cost wasn’t a factor, restaurants were not family-friendly.

The only ‘fast food’ we had, and then as a rare treat, was when my mother left me and my brother in the care of my dad for the day when she took her prized Siamese cats to London for a cat show. Dad always, I say always, got us fish and chips wrapped in newspaper for lunch, which we ate at home with plenty of salt, vinegar, fat pickled onions and lashings of tomato ketchup.

We didn't eat out as kids, but we did enjoy family gatherings, such as this tea party for a cousin. Me on the right. Always the kid with chocolate on my face. Nothing's changed... (c) Sherri Matthews

We didn’t eat out as kids, but we did enjoy family gatherings, such as this tea party for a cousin’s birthday. Me on the right. Always the kid with chocolate on her face. Nothing’s changed…(c) Sherri Matthews

Pubs, if you were lucky, offered crisps, peanuts and sometimes a cold sausage roll or curled up ham sandwich on dry, white bread spread with margarine. Pub meals were not the thing and children weren’t allowed inside. By the time I was old enough to go with my friends, the only meals on offer, at least in the pubs where I hung out in Ipswich, were scampi, chicken or sausages and chips served in red, plastic-weaved baskets.

But when I was seventeen, my Radio Caroline listening boyfriend took me out for a meal for my birthday to a Berni Inn

These ‘inns’ were all the rage across the country in the 70’s because they offered all and sundry an affordable, three course meal consisting of prawn cocktail, steak with all the trimmings (in Britain this means mushrooms, peas, grilled tomatoes and chips) and Black Forest Gateau. Also included was a glass of wine and coffee to follow. Very swish, we thought.

I remember that night for two things: the black maxi dress I wore, thinking how grown up I must have looked, and the horrendous stomach ache I had later on. I blamed it on the coffee which never did agree with me. It was a great night out other than that.

But it is the memory of a Chinese meal one night in Brighton that endures: the soup was delicious, the spoons fascinating and the time with my dad priceless.

*******

This post is written in response to an intriguing monthly challenge set by memoir writer Irene  in 2016 over at Reflections and Nightmares

I’d like to invite you to join with me in a prompt challenge that will give us social insights into the way the world has changed between not only generations but also between geographical location. The prompt can be responded to in any form you enjoy – prose, poetry, flash, photographs, sketches or any other form you choose. You may like to use a combination of the two. I will also add a series of questions for those that would like to join in but don’t know where to start.’

©Sherri Matthews 2016

My thanks to Sherri for sharing her eating out experiences in the 70s and having worked in a Schooner Inn (Berni Inn rival) in the mid 70s… it brought back a lot of memories..

About Sherri Matthews

While bringing her memoir, Stranger in a White Dress, to publication, Sherri is published in magazines and anthologies. Blogging at her summerhouse, Sherri writes from her life as a Brit mum of three twenty years in California, her misadventures with her jailbird dad, and as Mum and carer to her adult, Aspie youngest. As in life, telling the story one word, one day at a time, Sherri believes that memoir brings alive the past, makes sense of the present and gives hope for the future. Today, Sherri lives in England with her hubby, Aspie and menagerie of pets fondly called, ‘Animal Farm’ and advocates that laughter is indeed the best medicine

Memoir Book Blurb

Stranger In A White Dress

‘We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned,
so as to have the life that is waiting for us.’
~E. M. Forster~

Set against the backdrop of the late 1970s, the story of a chance meeting one summer’s night between two eighteen year olds unfolds: Sherri, an English girl living in rural Suffolk, and Jonathan (Jon), an American G. I. from California newly posted to a USAF base nearby.

They fall in love fast, but Sherri, delighted to show off her homeland to this “new boy”, soon discovers that although growing up thousands of miles apart, they share dark similarities, which quickly threaten to unravel their relationship.

Their mothers divorced from alcoholic fathers, both were raised by abusive step-fathers. Jon’s increasing drug use and resulting paranoia clash with Sherri’s insecurities as hopes of “fixing” him and of the stable family life she dreams of slip away.

Los Angeles and lust; obsession and rage; passion and the power of love: theirs is a love affair defined by break-ups and make-ups, and then a shattering revelation explodes into this already volatile mix, altering the course of both their lives profoundly and forever.

A tale of darkest tragedy, yet dotted with moments of hilarity and at times the utterly absurd, this is a story of two young people who refuse to give up, believing their love will overcome all.

Not until decades after their chance meeting, and during a return trip to Los Angeles in 2013, does Sherri discover that Jon’s last wish has been granted.

It’s then that she knows the time has come to tell her story.

Sherri’s Memoir is in the final stages of editing and will be available later this year.

Here are the anthologies that Sherri has contributed to. Click the covers to buy.

Connect to Sherri.

Blog A View from my Summerhouse: sherrimatthewsblog.com
Facebook Author Page:  https://www.facebook.com/aviewfrommysummerhouse
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WriterSherri
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/sherri-matthews/60/798/aa3

My thanks to Sherri for sharing this glimpse into her teens and I know she would love your feedback.. thanks Sally.

 

 

Smorgasbord Book Reviews – Small Town Kid by Frank Prem


This week I am reviewing an memoir that is a collection of poems and stories about growing up in a small town in Australia, Small Town Kid by Frank Prem.

About Small Town Kid

Small Town Kid is the experience of regional life as a child, in an insular town during the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, remote from the more worldly places where life really happens, in a time before the internet and the online existence of social media.

It is a time when a small town boy can walk a mile to school and back every day, and hunt rabbits with his dog in the hours of freedom before sundown. He can hoard crackers for bonfire night and blow up the deputy school master’s mailbox in an act of joyous rebellion.

A time when a small town teenager will ride fourteen miles on a bicycle for his first experience of girls, and of love. A time when migrating from a foreign country to a small town means his family will always feel that they are strangers, while visitors to the town are treated like an invading host.

It is also the remembrance of tragedy for inexperienced friends driving on narrow country roads.

This collection of poems and stories shares the type of childhood that has mostly disappeared in contemporary times. Come and revisit it here, in the pages of a Small Town Kid.

My review for the collection

I have read many poetry collections over the years, but Small Town Kid is unusual and intriguingly different. It flows through the different ages of the author from a very small boy to fatherhood, sharing the highs and lows of childhood and the coming of age years.

You are invited in by ‘I can Hardly Wait to Show You‘… that sets the scene of this town where singing waters and scrubby creeks beckon and land supported sheep and gold prospectors tried their luck.

Having accepted that invitation you become a spectator as Oma rocks the cradle of the young child whilst his mother works and makes poppy cakes, and Opa comforts a crying toddler as he contemplates the labour that has gone into cultivating the land around them. We are introduced to other members of this extended family and share in their celebrations, including a wedding in the fire house. This background is important as it highlights the sense of disconnection felt by many immigrant families who settle in a new land and are torn between adapting and still holding on to their old traditions and customs.

We enjoy picnics, and a detailed description of the view from the inside of the outhouse, and its maintenance by the stoic Nightman, and the profitable recycling of newspapers to the butcher. We join in rabbit hunts, school days, drag races, anti-tourist activities, and miscalculations when dispatching rubbish. Easter and the annual fete offer entertainment as does a rather interesting firework distribution method. The teen years bring jostling for status and the discovery that girls have some interesting attributes.

We also share in the lives of members of the group that the author grew up with, including its tragedies. It serves to remind us that however idyllic it might seem to be part of a small town community, it cannot protect you from all of life’s dangers.

I enjoyed all the memories and felt engaged with the young Frank as he navigated through these years. It was brought to life by the storytelling and there was a smooth flow from one story to the next.  One of the many personal favourites is ‘Mcalpine’s Cherries’ which mirrored my experience with picking strawberries.

Overall a delightful read that will resonate with readers whose childhood and teen years were considerably simpler than today. I can highly recommend.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Small-Town-Frank-Prem-Memoir-ebook/dp/B07L6114KS

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Small-Town-Frank-Prem-Memoir-ebook/dp/B07L63WS2D

About Frank Prem

I’ve been a storytelling poet for about forty years. Longer in fact, as I remember the first poem I wrote while at secondary school was about 150 – 200 words long and was accepted in lieu of a 500 word essay. I think that may have been the start.

I love to read my work to a live audience, and have audio recorded some recent recordings and popped them on my author page. I have also done some studio- recorded work under the direction and accompaniment of my wife Leanne Murphy that can be listened to there. These poems are on mythological themes and the accompaniment by Leanne makes them a little bit extraordinary.

By profession, I am a psychiatric nurse and have worked across most facets of public psychiatry and the mental health/mental illness spectrum. My experiences and reflections on what I have seen and done are the subject of a forthcoming memoir – scheduled for late 2019, or perhaps more likely, 2020.

I’ve been published in magazines, zines and anthologies, in Australia and in a number of other countries, but for a long time I haven’t sought much publication. The whims of editors are a little too capricious and unknowable, so I have preferred to hone my craft and self-publish on my poetry blogs

Leanne and I reside in the beautiful township of Beechworth in the North-East of Victoria (Australia).

Connect to Frank

Website: www.frankprem.com
Website Audio: https://frankprem.com/audio-recordings-spoken-word/
Seventeen Syllable Poetry: https://seventeensyllablepoetry.wordpress.com/
Blog: https://frankprem.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Frank.Prem.Poet.Author

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed my review of this lovely collection.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Sunday Interview – Getting to Know You with author Frank Prem #Australia


Welcome to the first of a new season of Getting to Know You and my first guest for 2019 is Australian author Frank Prem who has recently released a collection of poems and short stories about his childhood – Small Town Kid.

Hello Sally, and readers.

I’ve been a storytelling poet for about forty years. Longer in fact, as I remember the first poem I wrote while at secondary school was about 150 – 200 words long and was accepted in lieu of a 500 word essay. I think that may have been the start.

I love to read my work to a live audience, and have audio recorded some recent recordings and popped them on my author page. I have also done some studio- recorded work under the direction and accompaniment of my wife Leanne Murphy that can be listened to there. These poems are on mythological themes and the accompaniment by Leanne makes them a little bit extraordinary.

By profession, I am a psychiatric nurse and have worked across most facets of public psychiatry and the mental health/mental illness spectrum. My experiences and reflections on what I have seen and done are the subject of a forthcoming memoir – scheduled for late 2019, or perhaps more likely, 2020.

I’ve been published in magazines, zines and anthologies, in Australia and in a number of other countries, but for a long time I haven’t sought much publication. The whims of editors are a little too capricious and unknowable, so I have preferred to hone my craft and self-publish on my poetry blogs

Leanne and I reside in the beautiful township of Beechworth in the North-East of Victoria (Australia).

We will find out more about Frank’s new release a little later in the post… but first let’s find out which of the questions he has responded to.

What do you consider to be the best dish that you prepare – and have you the recipe?

I’m not really much of a cook, and what I do tends to be done in the oven – baked potatoes, spare rib casserole with a lot of produce from the garden in the marinade (savory tomato sauce from our own tomatoes, when possible). It always comes out well, and we do a lot of leftovers.

Probably my best dish, though, is a no knead bread recipe that I’ve adapted for my own use.

This recipe has travelled around a bit, but I think it originated with the New York Times Cooking Department and made famous in a video that is still the primo reference, I believe.

I had started out thinking that I might like to learn how to make bread when I retired from work, and I had sourdough in mind as the thing to do. I reminded myself, though of a couple of things:

  1.  I have always felt a little sad to see folk (aspiring writers in particular) who have left a passion to be attended to after they finish their working life, only to find that they need years to develop the most basic skills they will need. For instance, wanting to write, and knowing you have a story to tell is not enough to make you a writer or a storyteller. It takes practice and craft development.
  2.  I am fundamentally lazy, and the babysitting of sourdough yeast, and the need to get my hands mucky with dough were very unappealing prospects.

I could hardly believe the recipe for no knead bread when I came across it. Basically it is as follows:

• 1/8th of a teaspoon of dry yeast
• 13oz of cold water
• 1 teaspoon of salt
• 430-450gm of flour.

Check for an actual published recipe online (there are many variations), but that’s the basics.

Method

The ingredients are popped into your preferred cauldron and stirred – muttering a spell of binding is optional – and mixed without ever getting hands into the dough, on a good day, into the oven and there’s your loaf.

I use more yeast these days to get the rise I want in 2 hours, and add a considerable quantity of dried fruit (figs, apricots, cranberries, dates) and also nuts and seeds to make it a fruit and nut loaf for breakfast toast.

Yummo!

What is your favourite holiday and why?

My favourite holiday was Leanne and my honeymoon when we spent a week in tropical North Queensland (Cairns, The Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree Rainforest). Part of the time was on a Reef cruise and part in the rainforest.

It was a wonderful time, with the chance to see the colourful coral, listen to the parrotfish eating the coral, and check out islands and atolls. Not forgetting the turtles!

That was on the cruise. On land we had Cassowaries outside our hut, gecko’s inside it and crocodiles sunning themselves on the river not very far away.

Whenever the subject of holidays arises, both of us think back to that holiday as our benchmark for what a holiday means.

Sally here:  It is an amazing spectacle and I can understand why this holiday was so special.

Do you prefer the big city or country life?

I grew up in the country, in the little town of Beechworth, until the age of around 22 years. I then spent around 20 years living in a beachside suburb in Melbourne.

I’ve been back in Beechworth for around a dozen years or so, now, and I like it. I believe I will see out my time in this spot just below the Victorian Alps. I find I get nervous in the city. It is all agitation and bustle. It is only out of the city that I feel I can properly be myself.

Sally here: It looks like a fabulous place to live and I found this short film about the town.

Have you ever played a musical instrument or sang in public?

I grew thinking I should be a rock star. Screeching songs in my bedroom. The more tortured, the better. My only problem was that I couldn’t play an instrument, and I sounded like rubbish.

As a young fellow, my parents acquired a guitar for me that stood, as I recall, taller than me. Mum and dad took me along to a renowned local teacher, who must have been in his late seventies at the time and I had a lesson. One dreadful lesson.

Less than a week later the man had passed away. I always assumed the two events – my lesson and his passing – were related, and that was grounds to never go near an instrument again.

That has changed now. My wife Leanne is a talented music teacher and singer/songwriter among her other talents and gifts and she has worked magic enough to allow me to play the ukulele well enough to sing to, either as my own accompaniment or as part of a singing group.

So yes, I have sung in public, both unaccompanied and in a group. As proof, I offer a Facebook upload of the 2018 Spring Sing Choral group performing to friends and family at out break-up in November 2018. The song is an original composition by Leanne and myself and the group had a lovely time performing it.

How many different languages can you speak and what are they?

My family were of Croatian origin, and I grew up with Croatian as my first language until I went to school. I was actually quite embarrassed by having to use the language in any way or place that might be overheard by others. The embarrassment of a child who felt different enough already, as the son of immigrants, I suppose.

I don’t claim proficiency in that tongue, at all, but occasionally I have used the language, or some of its words in my poetry, to illustrate a point or to attempt to write in another language.

I recommend it as an exercise to anyone who has a second language, but caution that the need to think and to express yourself in another language presents some serious poetic challenges.

My thanks to Frank for sharing something about his life in Beechworth, the stunning Barrier Reef and his passions. One of those is obviously writing and here is his recent release.

About Small Town Kid

Small Town Kid is the experience of regional life as a child, in an insular town during the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, remote from the more worldly places where life really happens, in a time before the internet and the online existence of social media.

It is a time when a small town boy can walk a mile to school and back every day, and hunt rabbits with his dog in the hours of freedom before sundown. He can hoard crackers for bonfire night and blow up the deputy school master’s mailbox in an act of joyous rebellion.

A time when a small town teenager will ride fourteen miles on a bicycle for his first experience of girls, and of love. A time when migrating from a foreign country to a small town means his family will always feel that they are strangers, while visitors to the town are treated like an invading host.

It is also the remembrance of tragedy for inexperienced friends driving on narrow country roads.

This collection of poems and stories shares the type of childhood that has mostly disappeared in contemporary times. Come and revisit it here, in the pages of a Small Town Kid.

One of the early reviews for the book

From the dedication poem, “I Can Hardly Wait to Show You”, to “Circular Square Town”, Frank Prem’s chronological journey from infancy to the present has a familiar feel to it; almost as if you were take a walk through your own memory lane to recall the innumerable small, but unforgettable moments that make up a life. Frank’s style is minimalist, with plenty of room to fill in the blanks with your own conjecture or possible parallel memories. Written about an Australian town that was a gold-rush town in its day, it touches on those times as well as describes the landscapes there. Frank’s work is approachable, understandable, and sensitive in its handling of the most delicate of subjects.

My favorite poems, in a book of favorites – they’re all good! – are: “poppy cakes”, “frenki boy”, “the exuberance of my aunt”, “loss of faith”, “picnic story”, “the dawn of civilisation”, “the hallways of st. joseph’s”, “pumpkin rock terrorists”, “a tricky place (the annual fete)”, “fight”, “sweet maureen”, “libby’s puzzle”, “vale”, “palmer’s not”.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Small-Town-Frank-Prem-Memoir-ebook/dp/B07L6114KS

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Small-Town-Frank-Prem-Memoir-ebook/dp/B07L63WS2D

Connect to Frank

Website: www.frankprem.com
Website Audio: https://frankprem.com/audio-recordings-spoken-word/
Seventeen Syllable Poetry: https://seventeensyllablepoetry.wordpress.com/
Blog: https://frankprem.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Frank.Prem.Poet.Author

I am sure that you have enjoyed meeting Frank as much as I have and I know he would be delighted to hear from your.. thanks Sally.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New Book on the Shelves – Apprenticed to My Mother: A Memoir Of Barbara Le Pard 2005 to 2010 by Geoff Le Pard


Delighted to share the latest release by Geoff Le Pard.. Apprenticed to My Mother: A Memoir Of Barbara Le Pard 2005 to 2010  is a memoir about an extraordinary woman.

About Apprenticed to My Mother: A Memoir Of Barbara Le Pard 2005 to 2010

When my father died in 2005, I assumed my mother would need more support and someone to help with decisions she previously shared with her husband. What I didn’t realise was the role she had in mind for me: a sort of Desmond 2.0. Over the five years until her death, I played the role of apprentice, learning more about her and her relationship with my father than I had gleaned in my previous 50 years. We laughed, we cried and, occasionally we disagreed, and throughout she manipulated me as, I learnt, she had my father. Neither of us minded much; we were both her so willing fools, for she was an extraordinary woman and we both knew we were in the presence of someone very special.

Head over and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Apprenticed-My-Mother-Memoir-Barbara-ebook/dp/B07DGZZYBW/

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Apprenticed-My-Mother-Memoir-Barbara-ebook/dp/B07DGZZYBW/

Other Books by Geoff Le Pard

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A recent review for Life in a Flash

Colleen M. Chesebro 5.0 out of 5 stars Le Pard is a British author who weaves delightfully descriptive details into his stories that set him apart from other authors.  April 10, 2018

Life in a Flash is just that – a collection of flash fiction stories written in 500 words or less which transport the reader through a fun array of genres. Believe me, there is something here for everyone.

Le Pard is a British author who weaves delightfully descriptive details into his stories that I believe set him apart from other flash fiction authors. His humor is contagious. I often found myself chuckling at his cleverness and creativity.

I enjoyed each story in the collection but two shining stars stood out from the rest. The first story is called, “Time Out.” This was the comical story of a man who after retiring, becomes an extra on a movie set. The story played out in my mind just like a weekly sitcom. The ending left me convulsing with laughter.

The second tale is called, “Fog.” This was the story of a house recently purchased by a young couple. The melancholy essence of the original owner, ninety-five-year-old Adele Johnson still lingers. There is an eerie mystery wrapped up in this story that finishes with a haunting ending.

From humor to mystery, comic silliness to serious irony, Le Pard zigzags the reader through an abyss of absorbing stories. If you love short stories filled with twists and turns you won’t want to miss this collection. It’s a fabulous read!

My Rating: Character Believability: 5  Flow and Pace: 5 Reader Engagement: 5  Reader Enrichment: 5  Reader Enjoyment: 5 Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 Stars

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Geoff-Le-Pard/e/B00OSI7XA0

And Amazon US:https://www.amazon.com/Geoff-Le-Pard/e/B00OSI7XA0

Read more reviews and follow Geoff on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9791177.Geoff_Le_Pard

About Geoff Le Pard

I have been writing creatively since 2006 when at a summer school with my family I wrote a short radio play. That led to a novel, some more courses, more novels, each better than the last until I took an MA at Sheffield Hallam. I published my first novel in 2014 – Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle. In 2015 a second followed – My Father and Other Liars. In 2016 I have an anthology of short stories out, Life, in a Grain of Sand. I have now added ‘memoir’ to my list of genres with the launch of Apprenticed To My Mother. Other novels can be found here. I write in a range of genres so there is something for everyone..

Before writing, I was a lawyer, ending up at the London Olympics. Now I mix writing with a range of activities, often walking to find inspiration or taking in a variety of sports events.

Connect to Geoff

Blog: http://geofflepard.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/geofflepard
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/geoff.lepard
Google+ : https://plus.google.com/+GeoffLepard01/posts

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Coming Soon – The Travel Column by Debby Gies – And #Happy Birthday


Very excited to welcome D.G.Kaye.. Debby Gies as a new columnist for Smorgasbord. I know how much everyone has enjoyed Debby’s travel posts from her archives and was delighted when she accepted my invitation to write a column on a regular basis.

To get the ball rolling, she will be giving us the low down on how to plan and prepare for a cruise to ensure no hassle and plenty of enjoyment.

In three parts every fortnight from Monday 18th June, she will then move to a permanent monthly spot.

Debby has become been such an amazing supporter of the blog and contributor since early 2015 and apart from sharing my posts all over social media, her guest posts have always delighted and informed.

Apart from promoting her new role here on the blog.. I also wanted to wish her Happy Birthday. According to her Facebook profile she is 113!  She looks amazing for her age and is clearly a testament to her attitude to life……

Debby likes her cakes gluten free.. so we can all enjoy a slice or two of this one. Could not fit 113 candles on.. we don’t want a fire hazard.

 

Here is Kool & The Gang with A Celebration…Enjoy the day Debby and sorry not to be there to celebrate with you G… everybody on your feet.

Here is one of Debby’s latest guest posts on the aging issue… she is married to a toy boy of 80.. and G recently had to renew his driving license and required eye surgery to get it!  Debby moved heaven and earth and probably a few civil servants to tears (of laughter of course) in her campaign to get her love back on the road.

Read about the hoops D.G. was willing to jump through: https://scvincent.com/2018/06/05/guest-author-d-g-kaye-aging-and-changes-maintaining-the-privilege-to-drive/

And here is her latest post on her own blog: https://dgkayewriter.com/day-life-sunshine-deaf-ears-chat/

Debby has written a book about some of her travel adventures and with plenty of tips from packing to dealing with zealous customs officers, it is amusing and helpful to any traveler, particularly those unused to the airport ‘shenanigans’.

I know that her column is going to be very popular and I hope you will join us on June 18th.

About D.G. Kaye

Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.

When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.
I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.

Quotes:
“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”

                 “For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”

When I’m not writing, I’m reading or quite possibly looking after some mundane thing in life. It’s also possible I may be on a secret getaway trip, as that is my passion—traveling.

Have Bags Will Travel

About the book

D.G. Kaye is back, and as she reflects on some of her more memorable vacations and travel snags, she finds herself constantly struggling to keep one step ahead of the ever-changing guidelines of the airlines–with her overweight luggage in tow. Her stories alert us to some of the pitfalls of being an obsessive shopper, especially when it comes time for D.G. to bring her treasures home, and remind us of the simpler days when traveling was a breeze.

In her quest to keep from tipping the scales, D.G. strives to devise new tricks to fit everything in her suitcases on each trip. Why is she consistently a target for Canada customs on her return journeys?

D.G.’s witty tales take us from airports, to travel escapades with best friends, to reflections on how time can change the places we hold dear in our hearts. Her memories will entertain and have you reminiscing about some of your own most treasured journeys–and perhaps make you contemplate revamping your packing strategies.

A recent review for Have Bags Will Travel

Super fun travel reading on April 20, 2018

“Have Bags, Will Travel” is a delightful read on the experiences of travel, fashion, the art of packing suitcases with the emphasis on having a good time. Author, D.G. Kaye details her days on board planes to many popular destinations and her vivacious antics with friends. She also relates her solo travels to exotic destinations with steep cliffs and too much baggage. I particularly enjoyed the details of the by-gone, romantic days aboard Wardair, and the exquisite details of vintage Las Vegas.

A consummate shopper, D.G. Kaye relates her rather humorous run-ins with customs officials. How does it feel to be singled out routinely by airline officials? A read through this humorous pages will give you the insight to these first-hand conflicts.

I would say this might be required reading for shoe connoisseurs and fashion mavens especially if they have a plane ticket in hand. Germ avoidance theory is also discussed, and it may never be possible to look at airplane bathrooms the same.

D.G. Kaye brings back the memories of best friends and blazing trips through the desert. Many readers will identify with the struggles of this stylish lady attempting to blend in to avoid a custom’s mishap. A short and super fun read, “Have Bags, Will Travel” is perfect for your next airplane ride.

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Have-Bags-Will-Travel-Over-Packer-ebook/dp/B015HP1R6S

Other books by D.G. Kaye

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Read all the reviews and buy the books: http://www.amazon.com/author/dgkaye7

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/D.G.-Kaye/e/B00HE028FO

More reviews and follow Debby on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/dgkaye

Connect to Debby Gies

Blog: http://www.dgkayewriter.com
About me: http://www.wiseintro.co/dgkaye7
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/@pokercubster (yes there’s a story)
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/dgkaye7
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dgkaye
Google: http://www.google.com/+DebbyDGKayeGies
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/dgkaye
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/dgkaye7

I am sure that you join me in wishing Debby a very Happy Birthday and I hope you will drop in on Monday 18th of June for the first post for her new travel column. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Sally’s Book Reviews – Twenty Years After ‘I Do’ by D.G. Kaye


smorgasbord book reviews

If you are a frequent visitor to the blog you will have seen D.G. Kaye… Debby Gies here many times as a contributor, commenter and supporter. It is no secret that we are friends. This however, does not influence my views on her books, and this applies to her most recent release. Twenty Years: After “I Do” : Reflections on Love and Changes Through Aging.

 

About Twenty Years: After “I Do”.

May/December memoirs.

In this personal accounting, D.G. Kaye shares the insights and wisdom she has accrued through twenty years of keeping her marriage strong and thriving despite the everyday changes and challenges of aging. Kaye reveals how a little creative planning, acceptance, and unconditional love can create a bond no obstacle will break. Kaye’s stories are informative, inspiring, and a testament to love eclipsing all when two people understand, respect, and honor their vows. She adds that a daily sprinkling of laughter is a staple in nourishing a healthy marriage.

Twenty years began with a promise. As Kaye recounts what transpired within that time, she shows that true love has no limits, even when one spouse ages ahead of the other.

My review for Twenty Years After “I Do”

The emphasis on partnership is present throughout D.G. Kaye’s story of her 20 year marriage to Gordon. Whilst it is clear, that theirs was a wonderful love affair from the beginning, she does not flinch from describing the various aspects of their relationship in a very forthright and honest way.

Their relationship is a May/September love affair that was put to the test from very shortly after their marriage. Despite the nearly 20 years age difference, it was Kaye who suffered a near fatal medical emergency, which brought home the fact, it is not necessarily the older partner, who will be the first to suffer ill health.

The book does highlight that in a relationship where there is a significant age difference, issues arise that might not for a couple the same age. Having children for example, or the dynamics in a relationship after retirement  and natural aging; reversing the traditional roles, as one becomes more dependent on the other.

D.G. Kaye allows us an intimate view into her marriage, encouraging us to look at our own relationships, appreciate how they have triumphed over challenges over the years, and to celebrate the love that endures.

I certainly recommend the book for those who are about to embark on a relationship, whatever the age difference. In this modern day and age, when the pressures on couples and families are ever present, it is very useful to be offered the experience and guidance from someone who has successfully navigated their way through those same obstacles.

Read the other reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077V386TL

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B077V386TL

Other books by D.G. Kaye

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Read all the reviews and buy the books: http://www.amazon.com/author/dgkaye7

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/D.G.-Kaye/e/B00HE028FO

More reviews and follow Debby on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/dgkaye

About D.G. Kaye

Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.

When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.
I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.

Quotes:
“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”

                 “For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”

When I’m not writing, I’m reading or quite possibly looking after some mundane thing in life. It’s also possible I may be on a secret getaway trip, as that is my passion—traveling.

Connect to Debby Gies

Blog: http://www.dgkayewriter.com
About me: http://www.wiseintro.co/dgkaye7
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/@pokercubster (yes there’s a story)
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/dgkaye7
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dgkaye
Google: http://www.google.com/+DebbyDGKayeGies
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/dgkaye
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/dgkaye7

Thank you for dropping in today and as always your feedback is gratefully received.. thanks Sally