Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Updates #Reviews – Miriam Hurdle, Jessica Norrie, Cynthia Reyes and Gwendolyn Plano


The first book today to receive a recent review is Miriam Hurdle for her collection Songs of the Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude

About  Songs of Heartstrings

Human being has the willpower to travel through an exhausting journey, win a tough battle, and heal a deep wound. Strength from hope keeps us going until the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight and striving until the storm is over.

This poetic memoir comprises themes ranging from the suffering through an undesirable relationship, surviving an aggressive cancer, to the happiness in true love, the joy of parenthood, and gratefulness toward the Maker. Hurdle reveals the honest self-talk and reflects a heart filled with optimism, faith and trust. She illustrates the poems with her beautiful photos and paintings.

A recent review for the collection on Goodreads

Sep 14, 2019 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude is the first book of poems I’ve read by Miriam Hurdle. This collection was published in 2018 after the poet found hope through the many lessons she’d experienced in the previous years of her life. Nature inspired her, pushed her to conquer all the obstacles thrown in her path. Though not a frequent reader in this genre, I do review these works a few times each year, as I studied poetry in college and find myself interested in reading it on occasion. I am glad I chose this one and encourage others to give the author a chance too.

The collection is organized in a few manners: by type of poem and by category. In fact, to me, some were mini stories and not necessarily a poem. That said, the author clearly shows us that poetry comes in all forms. It’s not just about rhyming or repetition. Nature is the first focus, aptly titled Songs of Nature. I feel like Ms. Hurdle wrote her poems while sitting in nature, witnessing the great beauty of animals, insects, weather, trees, and other naturalistic parts of our world. Frequent photographs, some the author took herself, accompany the sections, showing us the inspiration of what led to the poem.

Rooted with some religious beliefs, the author connects with God to openly ask for help and thank the Creator for all that she’s been given. There is raw pain and innate fear in the words, but there is also hope and promise. At just the right moments, Ms. Hurdles takes a swift turn to share something more light and funny, almost poking a bit of amusement at something that tickles her in nature. It fits, almost matching the surprises in store for all of us throughout the day.

One of my favorites, A Tiny Spider, is simple but deep:

A tiny spider labors
every night to
spin his web in
perfect symmetry.
What an innate architect is he!
patiently watches for
his prey to volunteer.
Meal for the night and
reward for the
labor and wait.
Before dawn, down
his trap and hides away.
When the night is nigh
he starts his day.
Spins his web
again, again.
Again!

Covering other basic human emotions and complex dreams, we experience dissonance, physical healing, marriage, parenthood, tribute, reflection, challenge, and inspiration. I personally enjoyed the conversations with her parents, learning about how she connected with them from two continents so far apart. Kudos to the author for a wonderful opportunity to express herself and wade through the pain and sacrifice we encounter in life, only to find the ray of light through words and expressions. 4.5 stars for the full collection.

Read the reviews and buy the collection: https://www.amazon.com/Songs-Heartstrings-Poems-Gratitude-Beatitude-ebook/dp/B07K1S47W9

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Songs-Heartstrings-Poems-Gratitude-Beatitude-ebook/dp/B07K1S47W9

Read reviews and follow Miriam on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17252131.Miriam_Hurdle

Connect to Miriam via her website: https://theshowersofblessings.com/

The second author with a review is Jessica Norrie for her recently released book The Magic Carpet.

About The Magic Carpet

Outer London, September 2016, and neighbouring eight-year-olds have homework: prepare a traditional story to perform with their families at a school festival. But Nathan’s father thinks his son would be better off doing sums; Sky’s mother’s enthusiasm is as fleeting as her bank balance, and there’s a threatening shadow hanging over poor Alka’s family. Only Mandeep’s fragile grandmother and new girl Xoriyo really understand the magical powers of storytelling. As national events and individual challenges jostle for the adults’ attention, can these two bring everyone together to ensure the show will go on?

One of the recent reviews for the book on Goodreads

I must admit that I got an expected but completely welcome surprise when I read this book. The magic carpet is an intricate and beautifully told tale of a school project and several families involved. Each child in the class has been allocated a fairy story to take home and make their own any way they wish.

The narratives switches between each family and each chapter is dedicated to a different class member. Diverse, intriguing and almost voyeuristic, we are allowed to peep into the lives of each family as they tackle the homework project in very different ways. All the adults in the story are increasingly distracted by events in their own lives and it’s up to the children to bring everyone together.

I adore that Jessica Norrie has given each family a very unique identity through circumstances. culture and race. Each relationship and situation is delicately written and issues are tackled with sensitivity but bring he characters to life. I became invested in every single child in this novel.

This is a breathtaking and addictive story about stories, families and children.

Head over and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Magic-Carpet-Jessica-Norrie-ebook/dp/B07TXZP2S2

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Magic-Carpet-Jessica-Norrie-ebook/dp/B07TXZP2S2

Also by Jessica Norrie in English and German

Read the reviews buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jessica-Norrie/e/B01CEUZF26

and on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Infinity-Pool-Jessica-Norrie-ebook/dp/B011RA8QZW

Find more reviews on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3270629.Jessica_Norrie

Connect to Jessica via her blog: https://jessicanorrie.wordpress.com/

The next author with reviews for her latest release is Cynthia Reyes, a gardening memoir – Twigs in my Hair.

About Twigs in my Hair

Author Cynthia Reyes returns with Twigs in My Hair, a book about her lifelong passion for gardens and nature and the surprising relationships and events involved. Gorgeous photographs by Hamlin Grange complement a humorous and profound story. A beautiful gift for gardeners and non-gardeners. Readers will meet a variety of interesting creatures, both human and animal, some of whom compete for gardening produce or gardening glory. You may conclude, after reading Twigs in My Hair, that the gardener’s love for growing things swings from reverence to mania. But there is also a deeply emotional side to this story about what happens when a passionate gardener can no longer do what she loves.

One of the recent reviews for the book

K. Pickering 5.0 out of 5 stars A Book to Savor September 7, 2019

I intended to take my time with this book… To read a few pages every day…make it last. I did not succeed. Every time it caught my eye it beckoned me back and just under 4 days later I was finished.

I would highly recommend “Twigs in my Hair” by Cynthia Reyes. She invites us into her world through her gardens, past and present. Her beautiful stories are accentuated by her husband’s (Hamlin Grange) striking photographs. Photographs that give us a glimpse into their gardens and their lives.

Thank you for allowing us to sit awhile in your gardens. Thank you for introducing us to your neighbors and friends. Thank you for sharing part of yourself, warts and all. We are richer for it. – Karen Pickering

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Twigs-my-Hair-Gardening-Memoir/dp/0991837924/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Twigs-my-Hair-Gardening-Memoir/dp/0991837924/

Also by Cynthia Reyes

And co-written with Lauren Reyes-Grange – Illustrated by Jo Robinson

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Cynthia-Reyes/e/B00F1HTQQ6

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cynthia-Reyes/e/B00F1HTQQ6

Read more reviews and follow Cynthia on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7072186.Cynthia_Reyes

Connect to Cynthia via her website: https://cynthiasreyes.com/

And the final author today with a recent review is Gwendolyn M. Plano for her memoir Letting To into Perfect Love.

About the book

Inspiring and unforgettable, Letting Go into Perfect Love is a riveting account of a journey through the terror of domestic violence to a faith that transforms all. As a college administrator, Gwendolyn M. Plano lived her professional life in a highly visible and accountable space–but as a wife and mother, behind closed doors, she and her family experienced unpredictable threat. The statistics are staggering–every 9 seconds in the United States, a woman is assaulted or beaten–but to Gwen, this was her secret; it was her shame. When her husband eventually turned his brutality on her son, she knew she could no longer remain silent.

Alternately heart-wrenching and joyful, this is a story of triumph over adversity–one woman’s uplifting account of learning how to forgive the unforgiveable, recover her sense of self, bring healing into her family, and honor the journey home. Accompanied by glimpses of celestial beings, Gwen charts a path through sorrow to joy–and ultimately, writes of the one perfect love we all seek.

The story that unfolds is not a blow-by-blow account of savagery hidden within a twenty-five-year marriage; rather, it is a walk through innocent dreams betrayed–to courage found. “Tragedy spares no one;” Gwen points out, “it just courts each of us differently. One way or another, it finds a path into our hearts, and there we do battle with the intruder.” As a survivor who came out of her unhealthy relationship determined to start over, Gwen artfully depicts the challenges of balancing the obligations of motherhood and career with her family’s healing process, while offering hope to anyone facing monumental challenges.

Integral to Gwen’s journey is her faith. Because of her Catholic upbringing, she struggles with the scandal of divorce, but finally makes her peace. When her daughter reveals her molestation by clergy, however, her fragile sense of serenity dissolves. We walk with Gwen as she tries to make sense of this horror. The agony experienced by the entire family is devastatingly palpable. Against all odds, Gwen emerges confident of her faith and begins to see the threads of meaning in even the darkest moments.

This is a book for all. But, for those who have been in a destructive relationship, Gwen’s story will be heartbreakingly familiar. For those who have been spared such diminishment, it will provide insight into the often misunderstood phenomenon of domestic violence. Since one in every four women will experience such threat in her lifetime, understanding that murky world may provide the reader with the skills needed to help his or her sister or friend or neighbor. Whether victim or friend, though, readers will be inspired by the author’s courage and ultimate resolution of her predicament. And, you may see your own challenges a little differently.

One of the recent reviews for the book

In her book Letting Go, Gwen Plano recounted her two abusive marriages in honesty and courage. She married the first husband after he had a mental breakdown. The psychiatrist gave her hope that Bruce could recover. She married him intending to help him and saved him from being admitted. She couldn’t handle his outrage and filed a divorce. She married Ron six months after they met. There were signs of Ron’s disturbed behavior, but Gwen stated that she was in a fantasy world of young love. In the years to come, Ron uprooted the family on minutes of notice and moved across the country and even to Japan. After they came back to the US, he was getting more violent, demeaning and controlling. He physically abused young son when the baby was seven months old. When the daughter was sexually abused at age five by clergies and complained about that years later, Ron didn’t want to deal with it.

During the twenty-five years of abuse, Gwen studied and taught. The workplace was her escape. The busyness kept them going for twenty-five years. At one point, she realized Ron made her feel “small.” In an abusive relationship, women kept the abuse in secret, fear the reporting results in more abuse. These women may fear of not being able to stand on their own feet.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Letting-into-Perfect-Love-Extraordinary-ebook/dp/B00K7WYTW6/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Letting-into-Perfect-Love-Extraordinary-ebook/dp/B00K7WYTW6/

Also by Gwendolyn Plano and co-written with John W. Howell.

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Gwendolyn-M-Plano/e/B00I5TAJ04

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gwendolyn-M-Plano/e/B00I5TAJ04

Read more reviews and follow Gwen on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7341478.Gwendolyn_M_Plano

You can find out more about Gwen on her website: http://www.gwenplano.com/

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

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Smorgasbord Blogger Daily Tuesday 24th September 2019 – Miriam Hurdle, Norah Colvin and Cynthia Reyes


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

The first blog today is from Miriam Hurdle and shares the gifts that she gave herself in celebration of a great achievement.

The Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday from Linda is “wrap/rap.” I used unwrapped.

I gave two unwrapped gifts to myself when I graduated with the Doctor of Education in year 2000.

The first gift was two season tickets to six operas in 2001. When I was a kid, we didn’t have a radio. I listened to the news, ghost stories and other broadcast on my neighbor’s radio. There was a theme music playing before the news. After thirty seconds, the music faded as a female announcer came in to report the news of the day. That was the beginning of my classical music appreciation and I later identified the theme music for the news broadcast as the Overture of Bizet’s Carmen. I started taking voice lessons at nineteen years old and sang pieces of operatic music.

Image result for bizet's carmen

I hoped to see operas such as Carmen, La Bohème and La Traviata, and learn about less popular ones. Hubby likes mostly country western music, but he would go with me to see the operas. Part of the attraction to me was to dress up and be with other people who had the same interest. At the opera house, people could rent small binoculars at $7 each. We brought two binoculars with greater strength. I not only wanted to see the details of costumes but also the singers’ expressions.

Find out more about the opera that Miriam enjoyed and what the other gift that she gave herself: https://theshowersofblessings.com/2019/09/20/socs-2019-09-20-two-unwrapped-gifts/

Miriam Hurdle, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Miriam-Hurdle/e/B07K2MCSVW
Website and blog: https://theshowersofblessings.com/  Goodreads: Miriam Hurdle

The next post is from educator and storyteller Norah Colvin, and follows on from a series of interviews with a number of us about our school days. Norah has collated the answers to discover common threads and suggestions on how education might be improved. In this post she shares our answers to the question – How can schools be improved?

In the recent School Days series which featured reminiscences of twenty-five authors and bloggers, each was asked for suggestions of improvements that could be made to schools.

In this post, I share those suggestions. If you wish to read more of the authors and bloggers’ works, please click on their names to follow the links. If you would like to read their reminiscences, follow this link.

This post concludes the series for now. I thank you all for joining in the conversation. I thoroughly enjoyed the discussion. There are still some who would like to share their reminiscences which I will post as they come in on a Sunday evening. For now, I’ll leave you with these wonderful suggestions of how school could be improved. (Note: I have arranged the bloggers in alphabetical order of first name.)

Anne Goodwin, How do you think school could be improved?

  • Reinvest in SureStart (it was a UK New Labour thing for at-risk preschoolers) so that all kids have the skills they need for school.
  • Scrap private schools’ charitable status and put the taxes raised into state education.
  • Abolish all religious schools, and schools established to follow a particular fad.
  • Provide every child with a light breakfast and a three-course vegan lunch (to avoid the expense of catering for different diets) for free. Kids can’t learn if they’re hungry, and we desperately need to give the adults of tomorrow the skills to pursue a healthy diet. (So cooking and gardening lessons too.)
  • Halve class sizes, and give teachers more support, including optional counselling / short-term therapy for anyone working with kids.
  • Foreign language and music classes from the early(ish) years and (although I hated it) compulsory exercise through a diversity of sports. (Why should these life-long benefits be restricted to those whose parents can cough up the dosh?)
  • Prevent (religious) parents from withdrawing their children from certain lessons, such as sex and relationships, including same-sex couples.

Idealistic? Too expensive? Not if we care about the future society we build.

Balroop Singh, How do you think schools could be improved?

First, recruitment of qualified teachers who feel inspired to take the responsibility of teaching the next generation is essential. Second, they have to be paid at par with others to attract intellect and talent to this profession. Number of students in a class needs to be reduced and value-based education with flexible curriculum could be helpful for those students who want to pursue higher studies.

Find more opinions on this question from Barbara Vitelli, Carol Taylor, Charli Mills, Chelsea Owens, Christy Birmingham, Darlene Foster, Debby Gies, D.Avery, Geoff Le Pard, Hugh Roberts, Joy Lennick, Jules Paige, Mabel Kwong, Marsha Ingrao, Miriam Hurdle, Pamela Wight, Pauline King, Pete Springer, Ritu Bhathal, Robbie Cheadle, Sherri Matthews, Susan Scott and yours truly: https://norahcolvin.com/2019/09/22/how-schools-could-be-improved/

Connect to Norah via her websites

Website: www.NorahColvin.com
Website: www.readilearn.com.au

The final post today is from author Cynthia Reyes and is a lovely interview with her daughter and co-author of the Myrtle the Turtle series, Lauren Reyes-Grange.. They are joined by the next generation, a granddaughter who is joining the family very soon. Please head over and enjoy this wonderful family affair.

I’ve been wanting to interview my co-author, Lauren Reyes-Grange.

But how do you do that when she is your daughter, as well as the person who inspired the first Myrtle the Purple Turtle book?

I decided to put on my professional interviewer’s hat — after all, I’d done thousands of interviews in my journalistic work. Here goes:

When did you first realize you loved to tell stories?

LRG: I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love to read stories, write stories or tell stories. I am fairly certain I was born with a wild imagination. Pair that with two parents who were superstar journalists (and naturally fantastic storytellers), and I think I was bound to catch the bug, too.

Blog Photo - Lauren headshot

What was it like growing up in a house of storytellers and writers?

LRG: It was wonderful. I loved hearing stories about my parents’ work, about their day. My parents also encouraged my sister and me to read, be curious, stand up to injustice, and look for the humour in everyday things which I believe makes for great storytelling.

Head over and read the rest of this heartwarming interview between mother and daughter: https://cynthiasreyes.com/2019/09/22/interview-with-lauren-reyes-grange

Cynthia Reyes, Buy: http://www.amazon.com/Cynthia-Reyes/e/B00F1HTQQ6
Blog: https://cynthiasreyes.com/Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7072186.Cynthia_Reyes

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Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will head over to read the posts in their entirety … thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Easter Parade Blog Party – Part Two – Music, dancing, food, Behatted guests and time to drop you links.


Welcome to the Smorgasbord Easter Parade part two with more behatted guests, music, dancing, humour and food. And since you have dropped in today.. please don’t leave without leaving the link to your latest post…. or your Amazon link and a little bit about yourself.

It is a beautiful day here and whilst you are waiting for the parade to begin here is something spectacular for you to join in with…

The first guest in the parade today has been providing the funnies for the blog over the last few months, even when she was basking in the sun in Mexico…most of you will already be enjoying her monthly D.G. Kaye Travel Column Debby Gies has gone all out with not just her hat today but her entire outfit….Debby has jetted in overnight from Canada to be with us.

About D.G. Kaye – Debby Gies

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.

Books by D.G. Kaye

Read the reviews and buy the books: http://www.amazon.com/D.G.-Kaye/e/B00HE028FO – Read more reviews and follow Debby: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads
Follow Debby on her blog: http://www.dgkayewriter.com

Debby has also supplied the funnies for the parade…

The next guest in the parade has flown in from Texas to join the party. Thriller/Paranormal author John W. Howell delights the readers of his blog with short stories and also personal musings by his two dogs.. who seem to have him wrapped around their little paws!

About John Howell

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the tension. The final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016 concludes the thriller series. John’s fourth book Circumstances of Childhood, launched in October of 2017 tells a different thriller story of riches to rags, football, Wall Street, brotherly love, redemption, and inspiration with a touch of paranormal to keep you riveted. The fifth book is a collaboration with the ​award-winning author, Gwen Plano titled The Contract. Heavenly bodies become concerned about the stability of the Earth and send two of their own to risk eternal salvation in order to save the planet. The Contract achieved number one status in its genre. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

A selection of books by John W. Howell


Discover all the books and read the reviews: http://www.amazon.com/John-W.-Howell/e/B00HMRWO6C Read more reviews and follow John: John Howell Goodreads
Connect to John via his blog: https://johnwhowell.com/

Please help yourselves to coffee and macaroons...

My next guest has crossed the Irish Sea which was thankfully calm last night, to be part of the parade.. author Stevie Turner recently compiled and contributed to an amazing anthology with articles for 19 authors (including me) on significant aspects of life Proceeds to Cancer Research – you can find out more here Understanding – Significant Aspects of Life

As you can see Stevie loves a bit of rock ‘n’ roll….

About Stevie Turner

Stevie Turner works part time as a medical secretary in a busy NHS hospital and writes suspense, women’s fiction, and darkly humorous novels in her spare time. She won a New Apple Book Award in 2014 and a Readers’ Favorite Gold Award in 2015 for her book ‘A House Without Windows’, and one of her short stories, ‘Checking Out’, was published in the Creative Writing Institute’s 2016 anthology ‘Explain!’ Her psychological thriller ‘Repent at Leisure’ won third place in the 2016 Drunken Druid Book Award contest.

Stevie lives in the East of England, and is married with two sons and four grandchildren. She has also branched out into the world of audio books, screenplays, and translations. Most of her novels are now available as audio books, and one screenplay, ‘For the Sake of a Child’, won a silver award in the Spring 2017 Depth of Field International Film Festival. ‘A House Without Windows’ gained the attention of a New York media production company in December 2017. Some of Stevie’s books are currently being translated into German, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese.

A very small selection of books by Stevie Turner

Discover all the books and read the reviews: http://www.amazon.com/Stevie-Turner/e/B00AV7YOTURead more reviews and follow Stevie on Goodreads: Stevie Turner
Connect to Stevie via her website:http://www.stevie-turner-author.co.uk/

Now time for a little more entertainment…the Easter parade is a place for all to gather, even those who have passed away and who hopefully are still dancing somewhere… including my parents. This is for all of them and our enjoyment.

My next guest is the lovely Robbie Cheadle who has sent representatives all the way from South Africa to the parade.. Her two sons Michael, who co-writes the Sir Chocolate series of stories and cookbooks.. and Gregory who keeps them both in order and provides much needed social media support.

This was taken when they were a little bit younger wearing stunning top hats.

About Robbie Cheadle

Robbie Cheadle was born in London in the United Kingdom. Her father died when she was three months old and her mother immigrated to South Africa with her tiny baby girl. Robbie has lived in Johannesburg, George and Cape Town in South Africa and attended fourteen different schools. This gave her lots of opportunities to meet new people and learn lots of social skills as she was frequently “the new girl”.

Robbie is a qualified Chartered Accountant and specialises in corporate finance with a specific interest in listed entities and stock markets. Robbie has written a number of publications on listing equities and debt instruments in Africa and foreign direct investment into Africa.

Robbie is married to Terence Cheadle and they have two lovely boys, Gregory and Michael. Michael (aged 11) is the co-author of the Sir Chocolate series of books and attends school in Johannesburg. Gregory (aged 14) is an avid reader and assists Robbie and Michael with filming and editing their YouTube videos and editing their books.

A small selection of books by Robbie Cheadle

Discover all the books and read the reviews:https://www.amazon.com/Robbie-Cheadle/e/B01N9J62GQ Find more reviews and follow Robbie on Goodreads: Robbie Cheadle Connect to Robbie via her blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/

Please help yourself to some sandwiches as you walk passed the stands..

My next guest, Sue Vincent, has also sent a representative as she is busy this weekend. I have a sneaky suspicion that her beloved small black dog Ani, is not quite sure about getting the ferry across on her own and being billeted in our house for the weekend… but I am sure a little Irish Cheddar will do the trick.. Ani is an author in her own right…with proceeds going towards a tennis ball launcher…About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire born writer currently living in the south of England, largely due to an unfortunate incident with a map, a pin and a blindfold. Raised in a spiritually eclectic family she has always had an unorthodox view on life, particularly the inner life, which is often reflected in her writing, poetry and paintings.

Sue lived in France for several years, sharing a Bohemian lifestyle and writing songs before returning to England where the youngest of her two sons was born. She began writing and teaching online several years ago, and was invited to collaborate with Dr G Michael Vasey on their book, “The Mystical Hexagram: The Seven Inner Stars of Power” (Datura Press).

Since then she has published a number of books, beginning with “Sword of Destiny”, a magical tale set in the ancient landscape of Yorkshire. Her retelling of the Egyptian myths, “The Osiriad”, came shortly afterwards along with the Triad of Albion – “The Initiate”, “Heart of Albion” and “Giants Dance” in collaboration with Stuart France. These books tell a factual tale in a fictional manner, that is at once a journey into the landscape, myth and iconography of Albion and the story of a growing and rather oddball friendship.

Sue, along with Steve Tanham and Stuart France, is a Director of the Silent Eye School of Consciousness, an international modern Mystery School that seeks to allow its students to find the inherent magic in living and being. http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk

A very small selection of books by Sue Vincent (and Ani)

Discover all of Sue Vincent’s books and read the reviews: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sue-Vincent/e/B00F2L730W Read more reviews and follow Sue on Goodreads: Sue Vincent Connect to Sue via her blog: http://scvincent.com/

Time for a little more entertainment.and something I am sure Ani would be keen to join in with…courtesy of the amazing partnership – FCI Dog dance World Championship 2016 – Winner freestyle – Yvonne Belin and Alice (Switzerland):  Videos from Freestyle&HTM World Championship 2016 Mos

My next guest is crime fiction/children’s author Eloise de Sousa who has brought company along with he. Eloise says she sits at her computer some days, contemplating murder.. and passion and adventure.. when she is not in her bat cave she is mum to four children, four cats and a dog called Henry…

About Eloise de Sousa

Finding heroes and villains is easy – capturing their essence in a story is harder.
Eloise thrives on creating characters that make you want to reach into the book and shake them, hug them or arrest them. Her children’s books follow real life trends told through easy stories that face bullying or social issues which open children’s minds to the opportunity to question the world around them.

With the few books written thus far, Eloise plans to capture more villains and weave more tales to inspire or frighten her readers (whichever is appropriate!). She will be publishing a few more stories in the coming months.

A small selection of books by Eloise

Discover all the books and read the reviews: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eloise-De-Sousa/e/B00JKTFVXIFind more reviews and follow Eloise on Goodreads: Eloise De Sousa – Follow Eloise on her blog: http://eloisedesousa.wordpress.com

My next guest is poet Willow Willers who is sporting a dashing flat cap. Willow has been nominated for the best lifestyle blog in the Bloggers Bash Awards this year and you can find out more at this LINK

About Willow Willers

I am the mum of three boys all now grown and flown to live their own lives. Luckily they do keep in touch and visit often. I now have two beautiful grandsons.

When I started this blog I had not long come home from hospital after an accident in which I broke my back. I was in hospital for a month and had three operations.

It has taken me a long time to recover, I am still recovering but every day my body is getting stronger.It has taken a huge toll on me mentally I had to retire early on health grounds, I had to come to terms with finding out people I thought were friends were not. I had to make a new life for myself. Things I could do easily have become difficult.

Writing poetry and prose has helped me a great deal, in fact I think it has saved my life.

You can find one of Willow’s stories here: Vlad

and you can follow Willow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/willow.willers.7

Time for another Flash Mob on your feet.. this time Pharrell Williams with Happy from Italy. Marco Squeglia

We are nearly at the end of the parade with just three more guests, the first of which is Marian Beaman..who is looking very swish as she arrives from the USA. Since beginning her blog in 2013, she has uncovered nostalgic photos, letters, and artifacts from her two Longenecker homes in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, many of which are featured on blog on Wednesdays such as her latest: http://marianbeaman.com/2019/04/17/easter-2019-memories-mother/

About Marian Beaman

My love of books, along with a connection to students and colleagues, has made my years in education pure joy. I have spent more than 40 years teaching, finishing my career with 21 years at Florida State College in Jacksonville.

Writing dovetails with reading and teaching. My academic writing includes a multi-colored array of topics, ranging from “A Thousand Acres: Not King Lear in a Cornfield” for the American Popular Culture Association and “It’s Not Easy Being Green, Wal-Mart and Me,” recounting my neighborhood struggle to keep large oaks and tall pines from biting the dust.

Former Mennonite with a Writing Habit

A dream came true when I presented and published “God: Myth and Mystery from the Romantics through the Twentieth Century: Informing Global Religious Conflict” in magical Oxford, England. In 2011 Bedford St. Martin’s textbooks published “Facilitating Cooperative Learning,” the mantra of my most effective teaching techniques.

Now in my Third Act, I’ve embraced creative non-fiction with “Gutsy In Ukraine,” published in Sonia Marsh’s My Gutsy Story Anthology (2014), Volume 2. In September 2016, my story “Making Love Edible: Lessons from Fanny Martin Longenecker” was published in The Mennonite magazine. In the fall 2018 issue, The Arts & Antiques show magazine published my article in Patient Profiles.

My work in progress is tentatively titled A Mennonite Daughter: Thorns and Roses, a memoir that reveals family secrets.

You can discover more of Marian’s posts via her blog: http://marianbeaman.com/ You can also follow Marian on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marian.beaman

My next guest has taken the request for fancy headgear to heart and please welcome poet Miriam Hurdle who is looking very fetching in Easter Bunny Ears.. Miriam is one of the contributors to the Posts from Your Archives series including her latest inspiring story about her brother-in-law’s kidney transplant: Kidney Transplant: A Good Match

About Miriam Hurdle.

Miriam Hurdle is a multi-genre writer. She writes poetry, flash fiction, and short stories. Her poems are included in Letters to Gaia, Whispers and Echoes Issue 2, Whispers and Echoes Issue 3, and Outcast and More Words.

Music has rooted in her life. Being a soloist as a teenager led her to taking voice lessons and to have ongoing singing engagements. She continues to sing soprano in choral groups. Lyrics have a major influence in the natural flow of her melodic writing. She writes memoir in the form of poetry.

Along with her brother, she took photos when the films were black and white. Photography is still her enjoyable hobby. Drawing and painting were fun activities as a child. Her favorite was to draw a Japanese girl with big eyes, long hair, small lips and chin. She resumed drawing and watercolor painting several years ago. In her poetry collection, photos and paintings are included to illustrate the poems.

She earned a Doctorate of Education from the University of La Verne in California. After two years of rehabilitation counseling, fifteen years of public school teaching and ten years in school district administration, she retired and enjoys life with her husband in southern California.

Read the reviews for Songs of the Heartstrings: https://www.amazon.com/Songs-Heartstrings-Poems-Gratitude-Beatitude-ebook/dp/B07K1S47W9 Read more reviews on Goodreads: Miriam Hurdle  Follow Miriam on her blog: https://theshowersofblessings.com/

As it is still very warm… please grab a glass of water on your way passed the stand….

My final guest is poet and fantasy author  M. J. Mallon (Marjorie) who joins us from the UK and looks like she is making the most of the wonderful weather on the crossing to Ireland….Not only an author but a prolific book reviewer with over 100 for you to read on her blog : : https://mjmallon.com/2015/09/28/a-z-of-my-book-reviews/

About Marjorie Mallon

I am a debut author who has been blogging for three years: https://mjmallon.com. My interests include writing, photography, poetry, and alternative therapies. I write Fantasy YA, and middle grade fiction as well as micropoetry – haiku and tanka.

My alter ego is MJ – Mary Jane from Spiderman. I love superheros! I was born on the 17th of November in Lion City: Singapore, (a passionate Scorpio, with the Chinese Zodiac sign a lucky rabbit,) second child and only daughter to my proud parents Paula and Ronald. I grew up in a mountainous court in the Peak District in Hong Kong with my elder brother Donald. My parents dragged me away from my exotic childhood and my much loved dog Topsy to the frozen wastelands of Scotland. In bonnie Edinburgh I mastered Scottish country dancing, and a whole new Och Aye lingo.

As a teenager I travelled to many far-flung destinations to visit my abacus wielding wayfarer dad. It’s rumoured that I now live in the Venice of Cambridge, with my six foot hunk of a Rock God husband, and my two enchanted daughters.

You can read the reviews for The Curse of Time : https://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L/There are more reviews and you can follow Marjorie on Goodreads: M. J. Mallon  Follow Marjorie on her website/blog: https://mjmallon.com/about/

And not just time to thank you for dropping in today and pleased don’t forget to add the links to your latest posts and to Amazon for your books… Thanks and Happy Easter… Sally.

I thought we would end with another ABBA track…one to get everyone on their feet to follow the parade. 

Smorgasbord Special Feature – Understanding: An Anthology of True and Significant Life Events- Contributors – Lucy V. Hay, Miriam Hurdle, Phil Huston


Over the last two weeks I have been featuring the contributors to this anthology of true and significant events. Writers share intimate and life changing events in their lives with courage and honesty whilst inspiring others.

Compiled by author Stevie Turner – the proceeds from this anthology will be going to Cancer Research and it is a very worthy cause.

Here is the link to the previous post where you can also find the link to the first posts in the series: Contributors Part Three

About the anthology

The following authors and bloggers answered questions posed by Stevie Turner regarding significant life experiences they had undergone. These events include sexual abuse, a near death experience, alcoholism, being diagnosed with cancer, depression, losing weight, getting married, being a mother to many children, being the daughter of a narcissistic mother, and many more!

All proceeds will be donated to Cancer Research:

You can buy the anthology for only 99c: https://www.amazon.com/UNDERSTANDING-Anthology-True-Significant-Events-ebook/dp/B07Q5NLHRZ

And on Amazon UK for 99p: https://www.amazon.co.uk/UNDERSTANDING-Anthology-True-Significant-Events-ebook/dp/B07Q5NLHRZ

More of the contributors.

Lucy V. Hay shares her experience of teenage pregnancy with Stevie and also the choices facing a teenager today, the difficulties of continuing to study without adequate support. A motivating article that looks at the issue positively and provides common sense advice to a young person finding themselves in the same position today.

About Lucy V. Hay

Lucy V. Hay script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. She is the associate producer of Brit Thrillers DEVIATION (2012) and ASSASSIN (2015), both starring Danny Dyer. Lucy is also head reader for The London Screenwriters’ Festival. Lucy is also an author, writing both screenwriting books and crime fiction. You can connect to Lucy via her website http://bang2write.com/

A selection of books by Lucy V. Hay and you can find reviews and links to buy on https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7306291.Lucy_V_Hay

The next contributor is author Miriam Hurdle who writes about her experience with melanoma from its detection through to surgery and chemotherapy. Despite Miriam writing about this very challenging life changing event in a very matter of fact manner, it only makes her story the more inspiring. Apart from overcoming this disease in more advanced stages, there was also a need to manage the bureaucracy of some medical  practitioners that must have added to the stress.

About Miriam

Miriam Hurdle is a multi-genre writer. She writes poetry, flash fiction, and short stories. Her poems are included in Letters to Gaia, Whispers and Echoes Issue 2, Whispers and Echoes Issue 3, and Outcast and More Words.

Music has rooted in her life. Being a soloist as a teenager led her to taking voice lessons and to have ongoing singing engagements. She continues to sing soprano in choral groups. Lyrics have a major influence in the natural flow of her melodic writing. She writes memoir in the form of poetry.

Along with her brother, she took photos when the films were black and white. Photography is still her enjoyable hobby. Drawing and painting were fun activities as a child. Her favorite was to draw a Japanese girl with big eyes, long hair, small lips and chin. She resumed drawing and watercolor painting several years ago. In her poetry collection, photos and paintings are included to illustrate the poems.

She earned a Doctorate of Education from the University of La Verne in California. After two years of rehabilitation counseling, fifteen years of public school teaching and ten years in school district administration, she retired and enjoys life with her husband in southern California.

Read the reviews and buy the collection: https://www.amazon.com/Songs-Heartstrings-Poems-Gratitude-Beatitude-ebook/dp/B07K1S47W9

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Songs-Heartstrings-Poems-Gratitude-Beatitude-ebook/dp/B07K1S47W9

Read reviews and follow Miriam on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17252131.Miriam_Hurdle

The next contributor is Phil Huston who talks about smoking and hypertension – As a heavy smoker until 27 years ago I found Phil’s interview very familiar. Particularly the giving up cold turkey. There are definitely links to hypertension and clearly Phil has done a great job in kicking the habit and regaining his health.. If you still smoke.. you should read.

You will also find some excellent short stories on Phil’s blog and he is the recipient of a number of Stevie Turner Short Story Contest awards. https://philh52.wordpress.com/

PH HEadsot 1

About Phil Huston via his Blog

Let’s get the this out of the way. First, I’ve been in or around the music business since I was a teenager. As a sound designer, keyboard player, synthesizer programmer, artist relations manager, demo clinician, rep, electronic musical instrument product manager…blah, blah, blah. Does that matter? In this context, probably not. Aside from those things I PH HEadsot 1don’t know much. What I do know is that we all collect experiences and memories through our unique histories, and that’s what I’m interested in these days. Because music and words are always best served in the telling of stories.

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope that you have enjoyed meeting some of the contributors to this anthology…I will be featuring more of the contributors in the  next week.

 I hope you will purchase a copy and contribute to a great cause… thanks Sally.

 

 

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives #Family – Letters between a mother and daughter – by Miriam Hurdle


Miriam Hurdle shares two post in one with a letter that she wrote to her daughter and then she shares a very special post where Mercy shares the words that she associates with her mother, and the strengths she has inherited from her.

A Love Letter by Miriam Hurdle

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Dear Mercy,

I’m so proud to have you as my daughter. You gave meaning to my life! For over ten years when you were young, I overlooked my disappointments and emotional turmoil. All I could see was your beautiful smile. It gave me strength to move my feet, one step at a time.

You delighted me with your intelligence and made your learning fun. You were like a sponge, soaked in every new learning as fast as it came. I described you as book gobbler as you read books after books in such a fast pace. You were placed in GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) program at third grade. You had great confidence in yourself thanks to your second grade teacher Mrs. Uken. You told me she wrote “You can do it!” on the chalkboard and left it on. When we learned new things together, I said, “I can’t do it!” You said, “Mom, you can do it if you believe you can!” I had to agree with you.

You were so kind and generous with your friends. When you had friends coming for “sleep over,” you sent them off the next day with a bunch of your toys.

I was sad when you were taken away from me and moved to Oregon, 750 miles from my home. We were isolated from each other for five long years. I couldn’t call you because all the phone numbers were disconnected. The only contact I had was an email address. You couldn’t write to me because your emails were monitored by your dad. I only visited you once when you were sixteen years old. It was during the time you took driving lessons. You practiced driving with my rental car when I was there. Part of your practice was driving on the freeway and you had a log to keep track of the activities. I was so nervous and gripped both side of the seat but pretended to be calm. There was a big truck moving slow in front of us and you wanted to maintain the speed so you passed over the truck. The truck driver was pissed off, sped up and passed over you. I was relieved when we exited the freeway.

The day we were reunited after you turned eighteen, was the most joyous day in my life. I visited you when you roomed with several housemates. I wanted to be with you so much, even just sitting in the living room while you did your college work or did things with your friends. I was content with being in each other’s life.

It touched my heart seeing you grew into a kind, sensitive, considerate, helpful, tenderhearted, and compassionate young lady.

In the years followed, I enjoyed our hour-long conversation on the phone. I appreciated your trust and shared your feelings, concerns, and everyday life with me. You were not a little girl anymore. I shared my experience, my suggestions, but always encouraged you to make your own choices. My saying to you was always, “Don’t rush, listen and follow your heart!” In that, I believed that God would speak to your heart and helped you make right choices.

On one visit, we went to a shop to do ceramic painting together. I had so much fun doing it like we took ceramic painting class when you were young. You enjoyed playing board games, so did I. We were compatible also, so we always made time for games during my visits to you.

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I was thankful for your desire to serve the community and found a job that allowed you to help people in need. You could have worked for big financial firms and made good money. but your heart was, and is, with people. I’m so proud of you.

It was God’s guidance in your life and brought a loving husband to you and got married in May 2011, I’m grateful for that. You both have a desire to learn and to grow as a couple. Most of all, you want to learn to be a sensitive spouse to each other and let your love and bonding grow. You also want to grow individually by spending separate time with the gal and guy friends. Your journey may have ups and downs but it is beautiful.

It’s a privilege to have both you and Will in our life. I thank God to keep us as a loving family. I always look forward to spending time with you both, either have you come to visit, or going to visit you. We’ll see you next month.

I love you so very much!

Mom

p.s. during our visit in March 2017, Mercy and Will shared with us that they were expecting their first baby.

Here is post that demonstrates the love that Mercy has for her mother….with words that she feels represents the person she is and what she feels she has inherited from her.

November 22 is my birthday. Some years, my birthday falls on Thanksgiving Day. This year, it was the day before Thanksgiving. My daughter Mercy, her husband Will, and baby Autumn came on Sunday, November 19 and stayed until the day after Thanksgiving.

On my birthday, we went to the mall to do window shopping. We then had some photos taken in front of the only Christmas tree. Santa was there for kids’ visit and photos. We were going to have photos taken with different decorations, but it seemed like the decorations were down to minimal. Perhaps I hadn’t been to the mall during Christmas for many years and didn’t realize the shrinkage.

We had dinner at a restaurant. Mercy gave me a booklet for my birthday present. It entitled “I Love You, Mom. And Here’s Why!” Each page has a prompt for her to share her thoughts with me. When we got home, I couldn’t wait but read through the twenty-one pages. My eyes were filled with tears from the first line of Mercy’s writing, and the smile mixed with tears for the remaining pages.

Here are two examples of the pages.

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I love you very much Mercy….

©Miriam Hurdle 2017

About Miriam Hurdle

Miriam Hurdle is a multi-genre writer. She writes poetry, flash fiction, and short stories. Her poems are included in Letters to Gaia, Whispers and Echoes Issue 2, Whispers and Echoes Issue 3, and Outcast and More Words.

Music has rooted in her life. Being a soloist as a teenager led her to taking voice lessons and to have ongoing singing engagements. She continues to sing soprano in choral groups. Lyrics have a major influence in the natural flow of her melodic writing. She writes memoir in the form of poetry.

Along with her brother, she took photos when the films were black and white. Photography is still her enjoyable hobby. Drawing and painting were fun activities as a child. Her favorite was to draw a Japanese girl with big eyes, long hair, small lips and chin. She resumed drawing and watercolor painting several years ago. In her poetry collection, photos and paintings are included to illustrate the poems.

She earned a Doctorate of Education from the University of La Verne in California. After two years of rehabilitation counseling, fifteen years of public school teaching and ten years in school district administration, she retired and enjoys life with her husband in southern California.

About  Songs of Heartstrings

Human being has the willpower to travel through an exhausting journey, win a tough battle, and heal a deep wound. Strength from hope keeps us going until the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight and striving until the storm is over.

This poetic memoir comprises themes ranging from the suffering through an undesirable relationship, surviving an aggressive cancer, to the happiness in true love, the joy of parenthood, and gratefulness toward the Maker. Hurdle reveals the honest self-talk and reflects a heart filled with optimism, faith and trust. She illustrates the poems with her beautiful photos and paintings.

One of the recent reviews

This is a collection of poems, photographs, and drawings that tell stories from Ms. Hurdle’s life. They include sitting in nature, giving birth, death, illness, and loss. Faith and being a survivor are strong themes throughout “Songs of Heartstring.” My favorite part was when the poetry connected to nature, but all the poems were heartfelt and lyrical. The tribute to the author’s parents was touching, along with the loss of a friend. The glimpse into dealing with cancer was inspiring. Although this was a quick read, it’s full of depth and can be enjoyed more than once. This is a book that poetry lovers will enjoy.

Read the reviews and buy the collection: https://www.amazon.com/Songs-Heartstrings-Poems-Gratitude-Beatitude-ebook/dp/B07K1S47W9

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Songs-Heartstrings-Poems-Gratitude-Beatitude-ebook/dp/B07K1S47W9

Read reviews and follow Miriam on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17252131.Miriam_Hurdle

Connect to Miriam

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Miriam-Hurdle/e/B07K2MCSVW
Website and blog: https://theshowersofblessings.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/miriam.hurdle.1
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mhurdle112

Thank you very much for dropping in today and I know that Miriam would love your feedback. Thanks Sally.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update – #Reviews – Annika Perry, Miriam Hurdle, Anita Dawes and Jaye Marie


Welcome to the first of the Cafe and Bookstore updates this week sharing recent reviews received by author on the shelves.

The first author with a recent review is Annika Perry for her collection of stories – The Storyteller Speaks.

About The Story Teller Speaks
It only takes one event to change a life. What is that action, decision, occurrence? Whose life is affected? Changed forever?In this eclectic mix of 21 short stories, flash fiction and poetry the pendulum swings between first love and murder, from soul-destroying grief to reconciliation. The tales veer from the sweet satisfaction of revenge to new beginnings, from heart-breaking miscarriages of justice to heart-warming Christmas misadventure.One common thread binds them all; the belief that there is no such thing as an ordinary life; they’re all extraordinary. Open your hearts and minds as The Storyteller Speaks.

An extract from recent review for the collection to read the full review –

Sharon L. Pratt 5.0 out of 5 stars This Storyteller Purrs February 28, 2019

This is not about the war between lovers of dogs or cats. It’s about Annika Perry, a talented writer who works like a cat.

A dog is all blubbery love smeared across your cheeks, a loyal paladin stationed stalwart by your side. Tongue lollygagging out of its jaw, tail flailing around like a pig in a muddy pit – you’re gonna be drowning in slobbery canine love in about five seconds. Or maybe a fangy foreign agent hired to attack: a German shepherd or English pit bull. Teeth bared and muzzle lowered –you better run. You always know where you stand with Rover.

But a cat – you can’t tell anything by looking at a cat. There it sits on the windowsill, licking its paw, indifferent to all things human – the tasty treats, the dangling mouse toy, the arms ready to cuddle it. Suddenly it pounces, its claws deep in your bicep leaving parallel bloody tracks or a snip of your skin flapping loosely as it samples your nose. And then sashays back to the windowsill to await its next victim.

At first glance, The Storyteller Speaks appears to be gentle family fare, tales written by a sweet faced, blue eyed lady who spends her time between Great Britain and Sweden, bearing candles and roses, taking photos, penning notes. It’s how she entices you to her book. I’ve read The Storyteller Speaks twice, the first time in order of presentation, the second in a meandering stroll through her poems and short stories.

If I attempt to review each of the twenty-one entries, I’ll over-report and do the book no justice. So I’m going to focus on a few tales that blew me away, as if driven by a sirocco out of the Sahara. This is important to remember, because like a cat, Perry sneaks up on you to lunge for your emotional jugular while you’re unaware she’s even in the room. She’s a keen observer of people, absorbing cultural details and body language.

Sofia! is about a little girl and her stuffed toy whose uncle takes her to visit the local zoo. It’s told through eyewitness accounts of zoo visitors and officials who answer Inspector Nunn’s questions. Apparently the child, Sofia, has been kidnapped or gotten lost as the focus of each interrogation appears to be what has happened to the child. Perry escalates suspense as we wait to find out if Sofia is safe or remains lost or even perhaps is dead, our suspicion and concern for the little girl mounting with each witness. The final person interviewed is Marija, Sofia’s mother, to whom Nunn relates the awful conclusion of the story. A shred of flesh hangs from Perry’s claws.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0789KZVF8/

and Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0789KZVF8

Read other reviews and follow Annika on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17498437.Annika_Perry

Connect to Annika via her blog:   https://annikaperry.com

The next book today to receive a recent review is Miriam Hurdle for her collection Songs of the Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude.  Miriam is also celebrating the collection becoming an Amazon bestseller in her genre.

About  Songs of Heartstrings

Human being has the willpower to travel through an exhausting journey, win a tough battle, and heal a deep wound. Strength from hope keeps us going until the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight and striving until the storm is over.

This poetic memoir comprises themes ranging from the suffering through an undesirable relationship, surviving an aggressive cancer, to the happiness in true love, the joy of parenthood, and gratefulness toward the Maker. Hurdle reveals the honest self-talk and reflects a heart filled with optimism, faith and trust. She illustrates the poems with her beautiful photos and paintings.

A recent review for the collection

D. W. Peach 5.0 out of 5 stars Personal poems March 13, 2019

In some ways, Hurdle’s collection of poems reminded me of a memoir. The book is divided into “Songs” (sections) that cover different aspects of her life’s journey. Among them, the author touches on her love of nature; her reflections on relationships, marriage, parenting, cancer treatment; and her remembrances of the people who were meaningful in her past. The poetry is complemented by Hurdle’s photos and artwork. This gentle book provides an afternoon of peacefulness as all of the poems reflect the author’s innermost heart. One of my favorites is a villanelle entitled “I Sat in my Garden.” I highly recommend this collection for readers who enjoy a glimpse into a poet’s life through her words.

Read the reviews and buy the collection: https://www.amazon.com/Songs-Heartstrings-Poems-Gratitude-Beatitude-ebook/dp/B07K1S47W9

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Songs-Heartstrings-Poems-Gratitude-Beatitude-ebook/dp/B07K1S47W9

Read reviews and follow Miriam on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17252131.Miriam_Hurdle

Connect to Miriam via her website: https://theshowersofblessings.com/

Two authors next who have co-written Lazy Days: The Holiday of a Lifetime by Anita Dawes and Jaye Marie

About Lazy Days

This was our very first holiday. Two women, four kids and two small dogs afloat on a rented boat, 40 years ago. Miles of rivers and waterways to explore. Could we survive for two weeks, or would we end up in a watery grave?
Find out how we survived the holiday and each other in Lazy Days!

A recent review for the book

This truly was a getaway holiday. The family left a busy part of London for the peace and slow pace of life on the Norfolk Broads. It was also an adventure as they had not handled a boat before. Two sisters, four children and two dogs had to adapt to life in the confines of a boat. Fortunately the weather was good and the sun and fresh air come across in this warm story. There were plenty of places to visit along the way and the family enjoyed everything from the beach at Great Yarmouth to the castle at Norwich. If you have been on boating holidays or are contemplating one do read this book. Lots of us will know the experience of planning a holiday, then worrying if everyone will enjoy it, trying to please all ages etc. The two sisters were’t sure if all the children had enjoyed themselves, but it turned out that they talked about it for weeks after and years later enjoyed reading this book and recapturing memories.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lazy-Days-lifetime-Anita-Dawes-ebook/dp/B077XX2TH1

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Lazy-Days-lifetime-Anita-Dawes-ebook/dp/B077XX2TH1

Books by Jaye Marie

Read the reviews and and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jaye-Marie/e/B00O2ZUFOK

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jaye-Marie/e/B00O2ZUFOK

Read more reviews and follow Jaye Marie on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8638857.Jaye_Marie

Books by Anita Dawes

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Anita-Dawes/e/B0034NUE10/

And Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Anita-Dawes/e/B0034NUE10

Read more reviews and follow Anita on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6586480.Anita_Dawes

Connect to Anita and Jaye

WordPress:  http://jenanita01.wordpress.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jayemarie44
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anita.dawes.37
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jaydawes2

Thank you for popping in today and I hope you will be leaving with a book or two.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Family – Thanksgiving 2017 by Miriam Hurdle.


Time for a new series of Posts from Your Archives and the theme this time is all about family. We have all written posts that are now languishing in our archives and this is an opportunity to share them again to a new audience…mine. At the end of the post you will find out more on how to submit your favourites. It is also an opportunity to promote your work.

My guest today is poet Miriam Hurdle who wrote a post in 2017 at Thanksgiving. It was an eventful time with Miriam in recovery from an operation for cancer and her daughter about to give birth.

Thanksgiving 2017 by Miriam Hurdle.

Thanksgiving 2017 had come and gone. This is a little recap of the detail. It has something to do with decorating the Christmas tree. I’ll get to it toward the end of the post.

I was hosting the Thanksgiving dinner this year. The previous time I hosted it was in 2009. That was the year I received the chemotherapy and radiation for my melanoma cancer from January to July. I know, I was so brave to host the dinner for 28 people four months after the cancer treatment. With the limited energy, I took two months to get the house ready, cleaning the house one room at a time. On the day of Thanksgiving, my daughter Mercy helped me do most of the cooking, I had written the schedule of the day from 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. when the family would arrive. She followed the schedule to put the turkey in the over, cook other dishes and set up the hors d’oeuvre and dessert tables. She did such a good job that all I did was get myself ready for the family dinner.

Well, for this year, I couldn’t plan too far in advance. I went to Portland, Oregon on two different trips when Mercy gave birth to her first baby. I went on the first trip in mid-September by myself when Mercy was due. Her baby was overdue, and I had to come back to California to take care of my After-school Care business.

My husband went with me on the second trip scheduled on September 28. The night before the trip, my son-in-law, Will called, and said Mercy was in labored and admitted to the hospital. I prayed every minute from the time he called to the time we arrived Portland the next day afternoon. We took a taxi from the airport straight to the hospital. Mercy was in pain but was not ready to deliver. By 10:00 p.m., Will asked us to go back to the house and will call to give us the update.

We went back to Mercy’s house, but I wasn’t able to sleep. I set the phone to the lowest ringtone because my husband went to sleep. I looked at the phone every five minutes, making sure I didn’t miss a call. By 4:00 a.m., Will called and said Mercy had delivered the baby through C-section. It was too much to coordinate by the time the doctor decided to have C-section, so he didn’t call earlier. After the delivery the doctor said Mercy could have visitors and that was when Will called me. We rushed to the hospital and were so happy to see our first granddaughter.

9

My husband went back to California after a week and I stayed for six weeks. I helped to take care of the cooking, doing laundry and other chores. I took the first “shift” at night to watch Autumn so Mercy and Will could rest a little. Mercy had to feed Autumn every two hours and Will tried to help. Being new parents were quite a learning experience to Mercy and Will. Mercy tried holding Autumn in different positions for feeding but there was a latching problem. Will went back to work after two weeks of paternity leave. He continues to help when Autumn wakes up during the night for feeding.

When I came home a week before Thanksgiving, I rushed to the stores to get fall season decoration. I stopped by many stores, all I saw was Christmas items. So, I had to use Christmas decoration. Why not? Mercy, Will, and Autumn came to spend Thanksgiving with us this year. We had a houseful of family again this year and had a great gathering.

1

Our old, artificial Christmas tree was all worn out, and we bought a new one – white color. Throughout the years when I decorated the Christmas tree, I cramped the tree with several strings of lights, many strands of garlands, and years of collections of ornaments. This year, after I assembled the tree, Mercy helped to decorate it. She only used two strings of lights, one strand of the garland, and twenty ornaments. She liked the simple look. You know what? I like it. I like the peaceful and quiet look of a simple tree.

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By the way, Autumn is two months and four days old. She had her first immunization. Mercy said Autumn handled the shots well. “Good girl, Autumn!”

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©Miriam Hurdle 2017

About Miriam Hurdle

Miriam Hurdle is a multi-genre writer. She writes poetry, flash fiction, and short stories. Her poems are included in Letters to Gaia, Whispers and Echoes Issue 2, Whispers and Echoes Issue 3, and Outcast and More Words.

Music has rooted in her life. Being a soloist as a teenager led her to taking voice lessons and to have ongoing singing engagements. She continues to sing soprano in choral groups. Lyrics have a major influence in the natural flow of her melodic writing. She writes memoir in the form of poetry.

Along with her brother, she took photos when the films were black and white. Photography is still her enjoyable hobby. Drawing and painting were fun activities as a child. Her favorite was to draw a Japanese girl with big eyes, long hair, small lips and chin. She resumed drawing and watercolor painting several years ago. In her poetry collection, photos and paintings are included to illustrate the poems.

She earned a Doctorate of Education from the University of La Verne in California. After two years of rehabilitation counseling, fifteen years of public school teaching and ten years in school district administration, she retired and enjoys life with her husband in southern California.

About  Songs of Heartstrings

Human being has the willpower to travel through an exhausting journey, win a tough battle, and heal a deep wound. Strength from hope keeps us going until the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight and striving until the storm is over.

This poetic memoir comprises themes ranging from the suffering through an undesirable relationship, surviving an aggressive cancer, to the happiness in true love, the joy of parenthood, and gratefulness toward the Maker. Hurdle reveals the honest self-talk and reflects a heart filled with optimism, faith and trust. She illustrates the poems with her beautiful photos and paintings.

One of the recent reviews

“Songs of Heartstrings – Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude” is a most enjoyable book of poetry. Told in the first person, Miriam Hurdle takes you along on her many journeys, in the ups and downs, of life. I particularly enjoyed the photos, placed before many of the poems. It brought me closer to what Miriam was relaying in her words.

My favorite poem is “Life’s Currents”. Here, the author reminds us we are never alone, no matter the hardships we might face in our time here on Earth. There is no doubt Miriam has a strong faith and relies on it for many of life’s obstacles.

The book is broken up into eight different sections, making it a very pleasant read. Miriam uses different styles of poetry, so you’re never just reading. She easily gets and keeps your attention throughout. If you are looking for a poetry book filled with inspiration, and thought provoking passages, this is the book for you. I highly recommend this to any and every one, as I thoroughly enjoyed reading “Songs of Heartstrings – Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude”.

Connect to Miriam

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Miriam-Hurdle/e/B07K2MCSVW
Website and blog: https://theshowersofblessings.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/miriam.hurdle.1
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mhurdle112

Posts from your Archives – All about the family.

  1. Personal memories of childhood or teens that are still fresh in your mind.
  2. Family history, stories of your parents, grandparents and further back if you can.
  3. Fur family past and present.
  4. Favourite recipes.
  5. Memorable holidays.
  6. Places you have lived.
  7. Memorable homes you have lived in.
  8. Grandchildren tales.
  9. Any family related post – education, health, teen years, elderly care, lifestyle.
  10. Please remember that there are some younger readers who visit.

I think you get the idea.

The aim of this series is to showcase your blog and any creative work that you do from books, art, photography and crafts. You pick between one and four links to posts that you have written for your own blog from the day you started up to December 2018, and you simply send the link to those blogs to sally.cronin@moyhill.com

You have to do nothing more as I will capture the post and images from your blog and I will then post with full copyright to you.. with your creative work and your links to buy and to connect. I might sometimes need a little more information but I am quite resourceful in finding out everything I need.

So far in the Posts from Your Archives from September 2017, there have been over 700 posts from 200 + bloggers that have reached a different audience and encouraged more readers for their own blogs and current posts.

The only issue is the number of photographs and if there are more than five photographs in the post I will do a reblog rather than a separate post. (Media space)

Previous participants are more than welcome

Thanks for dropping in today and I am sure Miriam would love your feedback. thanks Sally.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Miriam Hurdle, Linda G. Hill and Mark D. Giglio


Welcome to the Friday author update for books on the shelves of the Cafe. The first book today to receive a recent review is Miriam Hurdle for her collection Songs of the Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude.

About  Songs of Heartstrings

Human being has the willpower to travel through an exhausting journey, win a tough battle, and heal a deep wound. Strength from hope keeps us going until the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight and striving until the storm is over.

This poetic memoir comprises themes ranging from the suffering through an undesirable relationship, surviving an aggressive cancer, to the happiness in true love, the joy of parenthood, and gratefulness toward the Maker. Hurdle reveals the honest self-talk and reflects a heart filled with optimism, faith and trust. She illustrates the poems with her beautiful photos and paintings.

A recent review for the collection

“Songs of Heartstrings – Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude” is a most enjoyable book of poetry. Told in the first person, Miriam Hurdle takes you along on her many journeys, in the ups and downs, of life. I particularly enjoyed the photos, placed before many of the poems. It brought me closer to what Miriam was relaying in her words.

My favorite poem is “Life’s Currents”. Here, the author reminds us we are never alone, no matter the hardships we might face in our time here on Earth. There is no doubt Miriam has a strong faith and relies on it for many of life’s obstacles.

The book is broken up into eight different sections, making it a very pleasant read. Miriam uses different styles of poetry, so you’re never just reading. She easily gets and keeps your attention throughout. If you are looking for a poetry book filled with inspiration, and thought provoking passages, this is the book for you. I highly recommend this to any and every one, as I thoroughly enjoyed reading “Songs of Heartstrings – Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude”.

Read the reviews and buy the collection: https://www.amazon.com/Songs-Heartstrings-Poems-Gratitude-Beatitude-ebook/dp/B07K1S47W9

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Songs-Heartstrings-Poems-Gratitude-Beatitude-ebook/dp/B07K1S47W9

Read reviews and follow Miriam on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17252131.Miriam_Hurdle

Connect to Miriam via her website: https://theshowersofblessings.com/

The next recent review is for award- winning author Linda G. Hill, and her modern-day Gothic romance series, The Magician’s Blood: A Paranormal Romance- The Great Dagmaru Book Two.

About the Magician’s Blood

Herman Anderson is in love. Thrilled to travel across Canada with her boyfriend as his assistant onstage, she returns to her hometown—the first stop on the Great Dagmaru magic tour. Anticipating a reunion with her brother, instead she finds her family has moved without a trace.

Stephen Dagmar’s career as a stage magician is taking off. With Herman by his side, his only concern is her father’s dislike for him. But as Herman’s father makes a prediction and resolves to come between them, Stephen’s family curse returns to haunt him.

Darkness descends as the reality of the Dagmar’s incubus bloodline surfaces for the first time in over a generation. Can Herman and Stephen’s relationship survive this new trial? Will Herman survive at all?

A sinful tale of beauty and romance, love and determination, The Magician’s Blood will chill you and leave you breathless for more. *18+ Contains explicit scenes.

One of the reviews for the book

Linda Hill has a way with words! I was consumed by the plot and the story-telling, and enjoyed its pace so much that I had trouble putting it down when it was time to sleep. Linda Hill has set very high standards for herself, and I look forward to reading more from this author! Highly entertaining!!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FKZMVLS/

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Magicians-Blood-Paranormal-Romance-Dagmaru-ebook/dp/B07FKZMVLS/

Also by Linda G. Hill

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Linda-G.-Hill/e/B01K2LICL0/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Linda-G.-Hill/e/B01K2LICL0/

Read more reviews and follow Linda on Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15577348.Linda_G_Hill

Connect to Linda via her blog: https://lindaghill.com

The final author today with a recent review is Mark D. Giglio for Alchemist Gift (Alchemist Series Book 1)

About The Alchemist Gift.

Time travel to the age of alchemy.

The life of grad student Roland Hughes changes when he cheats on his long-term girlfriend Liz. Soon after, specters of Renaissance men and women pull him back to a time of witchcraft, magic and curses.

Roland pays dearly for his fling, and desperately wishes for another chance. The cosmos hears and delivers him – with the help of the enchanted Alchemist Cabinet – to a new life and time.

But will he redeem himself, or chase the same temptations?

One of the recent reviews for the book

Marilyn J. Collier 5.0 out of 5 starsTime Travel February 2, 2019

You start in the 14th century, then pop to the 21st century with Roland and Liz. Their romance is on hold while Roland tries to get his studies in order. Liz has the high powered job and an attentive married boss. Then you’re back in the 14th century with witchcraft and miracles and, of course, the bad apples in the Catholic church hunting for the witches, a tad futile with the first group miraculously rescued by the wood from an old apple orchard. The wood is as much a part of the unfolding drama as the characters involved for it becomes the Alchemists chest that transcends time. Roland stumbles onto the chest and looks in one of the drawers. There is a folded paper with his name and several thousand dollars. This gives him the wherewithal to purchase said chest. His romance with Liz seems nowhere and he examines the chest in his rented, dingy rooms. Something explodes and he winds up in the 14th century almost in the arms of Sofia, the daughter of the cabinet maker. She has been raised by the man known to have dabbled in the art of alchemy while at this studies. He is now mostly bedridden. Roland is not able to remember his past life and develops a strong attachment to the two. The countryside is besieged by the Protestant forces from the North. The local duke is allied with the Catholics and he too has an adopted daughter. His abuse of her has stirred her into a plot or revenge. A chance meeting of Roland while the Duke’s soldiers make off with a number of orphans to sell to a slave market, causes her and Roland to strike a deal for gold through the process of alchemy. Will the scheme work? How will Roland, Sofia, and Liz all resolve the missing parts of their lives will be found within the tale.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00O4C5230

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Alchemist-Gift-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00O4C5230

Also by Mark D. Giglio

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Mark-D.-Giglio/e/B00NID9AAW

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mark-D.-Giglio/e/B00NID9AAW

Read more reviews and follow Mark on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7936157.Mark_Giglio

You can also find other books and Mark’s short stories individually on Smashwords and here is a selection

Discover all the books and buy: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/MarkGiglio

Connect to Mark via his website: http://www.alchemistgift.com

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with a book or two…thanks Sally.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Buy a book for Christmas – #DogLovers, #Romance #Fantasy #Poetry – Patty Fletcher, Miriam Hurdle, Sandra J. Jackson and Deborah Jay.


Welcome to more Christmas gift ideas from the Cafe and Bookstore and the first writer is Patty Fletcher who despite being sight impaired has not let this stand in the way of becoming a published author. Patty’s companion and Seeing Eye Dog, King Campbell comes into his own with Bubba Tales that would delight any dog owner.

About Bubba’s Tails

In this magical and love filled tail, King Campbell AKA Bubba travels to the puppy nursery at The Seeing Eye to help ready a group of puppies who are just about to embark on the fabulous journey of learning to become Seeing Eye dogs. Just as he is about to finish his tail, a wee pup becomes very frightened of all that lies ahead, and one frightfully stormy night she runs away! Will King Campbell hear the urgent call from the puppy nursery in time? Will they find her and save her so she can fulfill her destiny?

The use of Tail instead of Tale for story and Magik instead of Magic is intended for these short stories. A great play on words from King Campbell

One of the reviews for Bubba’s Tails

Wow! I loved reading this! What an amazing story about an incredible journey. This is about a journey from The Seeing Eye, Inc. in New Jersey to Kingsport Tennessee, but is also about the journey of a loving owner, and her special canine companion. I loved reading the story through King Campbell’s point of view, and how he is talking to the next litter of pups about to train as Seeing Eye Dogs. This is something the has always fascinated me and was the first time I was really allowed a look at some of what goes into training these special dogs. The book is made all the more exciting because the author and her dog Campbell went through this journey years ago. Such a creative way to share their story, and I can’t wait to read more of King Campbell’s Bubba Tails!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Bubba-Tails-Nursery-Seeing-Campbell-ebook/dp/B0765BWDJF

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bubba-Tails-Nursery-Seeing-Campbell-ebook/dp/B0765BWDJF/

Also by Patty Fletcher

Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/default/e/B00Q9I7RWG/

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Patty-L.-Fletcher/e/B00Q9I7RWG/

Patty has also contribute to two anthologies

December Awethology Light  https://www.books2read.com/u/3yPZvB

A Treasure Chest of Children’s Tales  https://www.books2read.com/u/bzaAML

Connect to Patty via her blog: http://www.campbellsworld.wordpress.com

A recent edition to the Cafe and Bookstore is Miriam Hurdle with Songs of the Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude. A gift to keep close to hand to dip into for inspiration.

About  Songs of Heartstrings

Human being has the willpower to travel through an exhausting journey, win a tough battle, and heal a deep wound. Strength from hope keeps us going until the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight and striving until the storm is over.

This poetic memoir comprises themes ranging from the suffering through an undesirable relationship, surviving an aggressive cancer, to the happiness in true love, the joy of parenthood, and gratefulness toward the Maker. Hurdle reveals the honest self-talk and reflects a heart filled with optimism, faith and trust. She illustrates the poems with her beautiful photos and paintings.

A recent review for the collection

Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude,” is a journey into the mind of a woman who has found her voice in this world through her poetry. Hurdle splits the book into poetic songs categorized by Nature, Dissonance, Physical Healing, Marriage, Parenthood, Tribute, Reflection, Challenge, and Inspiration. These categories lead the reader on a path to understanding her life through times of joy and sorrow. Her photos and artwork are stunning and compliment her poetry. For me, reading poetry is like walking beside the poet and stepping into their footsteps, connecting with their experiences in a deeper realm of being. Reading poetry is subjective, so I judge most poetry by how it invokes emotions within me and how it makes me reflect on my own human condition. The poem, “Healing,” touched a deep chord within me. Yet, there were so many more connections I experienced. I received this book as a gift from a dear friend. That’s the kind of book this is, one to be shared with others, and to be reread many times. 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 

The collection is available in Ebook and print: https://www.amazon.com/Songs-Heartstrings-Poems-Gratitude-Beatitude-ebook/dp/B07K1S47W9

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Songs-Heartstrings-Poems-Gratitude-Beatitude-ebook/dp/B07K1S47W9

Read reviews and follow Miriam on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17252131.Miriam_Hurdle

Connect to Miriam via her website: https://theshowersofblessings.com/

Time for a metaphysical romantic fiction from Sandra J. Jackson and her book Promised Soul. Especially for those who experience déjà vu on a regular basis.

About Promised Soul

Just as Krista’s summer plans are almost ready, she is suddenly plagued by strange dreams and intense feelings of déjà vu.

Feeling like she’s losing her mind, Krista visits a psychic, only to feel more confused. When she arrives in England, her dreams persist, and she finds herself at the doorstep of another psychic. She needs clarity.

Finally, the words Krista was afraid to say out loud are spoken. Now, she has to figure out what it all means.

Promised Soul is a story of the past, present and future of two souls, bound together by eternal and transcending love.

One of the recent reviews for Promised Soul

Romance ficton on October 23, 2018

The book for review is “Promised Soul” by Sandra J. Jackson. This novel falls in the genre of romance fantasy and fiction.

Meet our main character Krista who has decided to take a chance and made summer plans to go away on a vacation on her own. Something her mother most definitely doesn’t approve of.

While she is entertaining her friends prior to leaving she starts getting strange dreams that feel so very real to her. Not knowing what to make out of them she visits someone a friend knows to help dive into the mystery of what is going on.

It however does not stop her from traveling or interrupting her summer plans to England. There the travel agent Aaron, who has arranged every detail, Krista is ready to embark on her adventure.

Between Aaron and his friend who has been very helpful Krista learns and loves the surrounding area as the landscape and people make her feel so welcomed.

But the dreams won’t stop. In fact they are getting stronger as the days go by. The couple in her dreams are vivid and won’t stop until Krista figures out what they mean and how it will impact her immediate future.

Will she figure it out before she loses her mind?

I enjoyed this book. The pace and characters were really nice. It’s a good romance novel that doesn’t get all gooey eye which is how I like it. A good pickup and a quick read.

Read the other reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Promised-Soul-Sandra-J-Jackson-ebook/dp/B07BZDK2SR/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Promised-Soul-Sandra-J-Jackson-ebook/dp/B07BZDK2SR/

Also by Sandra J. Jackson

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Sandra-J.-Jackson/e/B00UZJO5DY

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sandra-J.-Jackson/e/B00UZJO5DY

Read other reviews and follow Sandra on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13681910.Sandra_J_Jackson

Connect to Sandra via her website: www.sandrajjackson.com

And the last author today but certainly not least  Deborah Jay with The Prince’s Man which is Book One in The Five Kingdoms Series.

About The Prince’s Man

Think ‘James Bond meets Lord of the Rings’

Rustam Chalice, dance tutor, gigolo and spy, loves his life just the way it is. So when the kingdom he serves is threatened from within, he leaps into action. Only trouble is, the spy master, Prince Hal, teams him up with an untouchable aristocratic assassin who despises him.

And to make matters worse, she’s the most beautiful woman in the Five Kingdoms.

Plunged into a desperate journey over the mountains, the mismatched pair struggle to survive deadly wildlife, the machinations of a spiteful god – and each other.

They must also keep alive a sickly elf they need as a political pawn. But when the elf reveals that Rustam has magic of his own, he is forced to question his identity, his sanity and worst, his loyalty to his prince.

For in Tyr-en, all magic users are put to death.

Award winning novel, THE PRINCE’S MAN is a sweeping tale of spies and deadly politics, inter-species mistrust and magic phobia, with an underlying thread of romance.

One of the recent reviews for the book

Oct 05, 2018 Erth rated it really liked it  · 

Erth rated it really liked it · review of another edition now I am hooked. This was such a great, easy and creative book. I was hooked after the first page.

The characters were easy to fall in love with and follow, along with the story. the author made the mental visions so easy and vivid of the surroundings and the characters actions felt so real.  I would highly recommend this author and this book.

Read all the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Princes-Man-Five-Kingdoms-Book-ebook/dp/B00I9N2Q20

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Princes-Man-Five-Kingdoms-Book-ebook/dp/B00I9N2Q20

Other books in the Five Kingdoms series and other books by Deborah Jay

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Deborah-Jay/e/B00E4X3UHY

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Deborah-Jay/e/B00E4X3UHY

Read more reviews and follow Deborah on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7172608.Deborah_Jay

Connect with Deborah via her website: http://deborahjayauthor.com/

Thank you very much for dropping in and I hope that you will leave with a book or two.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Christmas – The Second Day of Christmas with guests Darlene Foster and Miriam Hurdle


Welcome to the Second Day of Christmas with some guests, music, and not to forget food… My guests today are children’s author and travel writer Darlene Foster, and poet Miriam Hurdle…sharing their most favourite Christmas gift ever…

Before we find out more about the second day of Christmas and meet the guests I would like to get you in the mood with music, and one of my favourite groups has always been Status Quo -‘It’s Christmas Time’ was recorded in 2008. You can buy Status Quo Music Amazon

I thought it would be interesting to take a look at how other countries celebrate their Christmas festivities. In China for example, only about 1% of the population is Christian and Christmas is really only celebrated in the big cities for its commercial value. But there are grottos set up in the shops and Santa Claus is called ‘Shen Dan Lao Ren’. According to Why Christmas the younger generation give gifts to each other but more in line with St. Valentines’ Day.

Very few people have a tree and if so it is plastic and hung with paper ornaments. The irony is that the majority of Christmas tree ornaments we use are made in China!

The Second Day of Christmas is also called Boxing Day in the UK and St. Stephen’s Day. St. Stephen was the first martyr who died for his faith.

Stephen was a deacon in the early Christian Church appointed by the apostles when they found that there was simply not enough of them to cope with many poor, widows and orphans that were so numerous in those times. They ordained seven assistants or deacons of which Stephen was one. He was very devout and well liked. He spoke eloquently and converted many to Christianity. Of course this did not sit very well with those outside the religion and they did their best to discredit him. He did not help his cause by giving his enemies some home truths about their behaviour I am afraid that they reacted by having him put to death. He is therefore the first martyr of the Christian faith and was awarded sainthood.

The carol most sung on St. Stephen’s Day is ‘Good King Wenceslas’ and here is an amazing version from Michala Petri, recorder and Danish National Vocal Ensemble conducted by Michael Bojesen from their own Recordings

Time to meet my first guest who is children’s author and travel writer Darlene Foster. Darlene moved to Spain from Canada in the last few years and shares her new found love of the Spanish culture with her photographic posts, and also the new addition to the family of a little rescue dog called Dot. Here is one of her recent travel posts Notre Dame

This is Darlene’s very best Christmas present ever….

My best Christmas gift, believe it or not, was a stamp album. I wanted one so badly and was disappointed that there wasn’t one under the tree. Dad looked under the couch and found a flat gift had slid under, addressed to me from my grandmother. To my delight, it was a stamp album and some stamps to get me started. I loved putting stamps from all over the world in that book, dreaming of eventually visiting those places. I recall the stamps for Espanola at the time, had General Franco on them.

I did not have to think too long for the perfect gift for Darlene and I have decided that perhaps a series of Flamenco Dance lessons might be just the ticket and I am sure with a little practice this is what we might see next Christmas..courtesy of ‘Youtube’

Discover all the books by Darlene Foster: http://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Foster/e/B003XGQPHA
Find out more about Darlene via her blog: https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/

978192676055151pisqlz-zl-_sx309_bo1204203200_

One of the recent reviews for Amanda in New Mexico

Even though I am way beyond the age bracket market this series is intended to, the child in me truly enjoyed Amanda and her class mates’ adventures on their school trip to New Mexico, discovering enchanting villages and people along the way and getting into all kinds of scraps that may or may not involve spirits and otherworldly phenomena. I especially enjoyed learning about a part of the world I have never been to, in particular the town of Taos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its History, as well as the Day of the Dead celebrations and Doña Sebastiana, the female saint of death. Darlene Foster takes the young reader into a whole new world, which might just make them travel and explore for themselves. A lot of fun!

We have been so lucky this year to have Carol Taylor writing the Food Column.. she will of course be a guest later in this party series, but she has shared several wonderful festive dishes in the last few weeks and I am going to select some that immediately bring back Christmas memories for me. Although you would usually cook the Christmas pudding in advance, there is still time to make this home-made recipe and enjoy on the day.

Ingredients:

• 300gm fresh white breadcrumbs (I use brown)
• 100gm self-raising flour
• 1 tsp mixed spice
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• ½ whole nutmeg, very finely grated
• 350gm raisins
• 100g mixed peel
• 50 gm flaked almonds
• 250 gm suet
• 225 gm Demerara sugar
• 225 gm sultanas
• 225 gm currants
• 2 carrots, peeled and very finely grated
• 2 cooking apples, peeled and very finely grated
• (shhhh)Wet ingredients
• Zest and juice of 1 orange
• Zest and juice of 1 lemon
• 1 small wine glass of brandy shhhhh and a tad more..ha ha
• 2 tbsp black treacle
• 4 eggs, lightly beaten

Let’s Cook!

  1. Put the breadcrumbs in the biggest mixing bowl you can find.
  2. Sieve the flour into the bowl with the mixed spice, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  3. Then add the remaining dry ingredients, up to and including the grated apples.
  4. Combine all the wet ingredients in a jug.
  5. Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients and mix together, with a big wooden spoon.
  6. Take it in turns to give it a stir, closing your eyes and making a wish.
  7. Cover the bowl with a clean, damp cloth and leave overnight.
  8. Butter 2 x 1.2-litre pudding basins and spoon the mix into them. Place a disc of baking paper on top of the puddings, then seal with a big sheet of baking paper with a central pleat, to allow expansion. Cover with a cotton or muslin cloth and tie with string or foil.
  9. Steam for 6 hours in steamers, or in pans with simmering water that reaches two-thirds up the sides of the basins – be sure to keep the water topped up. Remove and allow to cool.
  10. When cool, re-cover the basins and store in a cool, dry place. On Christmas day, or the day you’re going to eat the puddings, steam for another 1-2 hours. Turn the pudding onto a plate, then pour 75ml of brandy into a ladle and carefully warm over a low heat for 1 minute or so. Light the match and voila a flaming pud

You can find all of Carol’s recipes, including her full Vegetarian and Traditional Christmas menus in the directory: Carol Taylor Food Column

Time now for my second guest today who is poet Miriam Hurdle, who has recently published her debut collection of poetry. Miriam Hurdle is a multi-genre writer. She writes poetry, flash fiction, and short stories. Her poems are included in Letters to Gaia, Whispers and Echoes Issue 2, Whispers and Echoes Issue 3, and Outcast and More Words.

Miriam shares her most favourite Christmas gift ever.

The favorite Christmas gift I received ten years ago from my husband was a GPS. Using Google map in a cellphone was not my regular practice then.

I have no sense of direction in any given new location. When visiting a friend for the first time, I somehow turned to an opposite direction to go home. Before receiving the GPS, I got lost many times and found myself in a parking lot, calling my husband to direct me home. He gave me a GPS for a Christmas gift in 2009.

My daughter got married in May 2010 in Portland, Oregon. My brother-in-law did videotape using my camcorder. He recorded the wedding ceremony in the afternoon and the wedding reception in the evening. In the middle of the wedding reception, he told me the battery was running low. My panicky antenna went up. It would disappoint my daughter and the family not to record entirely such an important event in life.

I left the battery charger in my daughter’s house. My only option was to go get it and come back to charge the camcorder without missing too much of the memorable moments. The reception was in Columbia Edgewater Country Club. With no street lighting, I had no clue how to get out of the golf course to find my way to my daughter’s house. After I turned on the GPS, it kept saying in a robotic voice, “Calculating, calculating…” Finally, the little gadget figured out my position, directed my way to get the battery charger and come back to the reception. The GPS served me well for many years.

My virtual Christmas present for Miriam ….

Clearly Miriam already has a SatNav.. but I searched around and found this that she might find this next generation Car upgrade an interesting ride… the Tesla autopilot test drive..you can mute the Rolling Stones if you wish.. personally I quite like it…even more scary!!!

You can buy Miriam’s debut poetry collection from https://www.amazon.com/Miriam-Hurdle/e/B07K2MCSVW
Find out more about Miriam via her website and blog: https://theshowersofblessings.com/ 

A recent review for the collection

Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude,” is a journey into the mind of a woman who has found her voice in this world through her poetry. Hurdle splits the book into poetic songs categorized by Nature, Dissonance, Physical Healing, Marriage, Parenthood, Tribute, Reflection, Challenge, and Inspiration. These categories lead the reader on a path to understanding her life through times of joy and sorrow. Her photos and artwork are stunning and compliment her poetry. For me, reading poetry is like walking beside the poet and stepping into their footsteps, connecting with their experiences in a deeper realm of being.

Reading poetry is subjective, so I judge most poetry by how it invokes emotions within me and how it makes me reflect on my own human condition. The poem, “Healing,” touched a deep chord within me. Yet, there were so many more connections I experienced. I received this book as a gift from a dear friend. That’s the kind of book this is, one to be shared with others, and to be reread many times. 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 

And I cannot let you go without offering you a drink for the road (provided you are the passenger)..

Now whilst this is not a traditional Christmas drink… it is a cocktail that goes down well at any time of the year and I have a fail save recipe for you for the simple but highly effecting Margarita.

I suggest making in a large jug and I will give you the proportions per person and then I will give you the overall health benefits.

As many of you will know this is made with tequila and it is my advice that you use the top of the range Cuervo Gold as tastes much better, certainly for the first one and then you don’t really taste anything anyway. Tequila like most of my favourite food pharmacy subjects has been used for thousands of years by the Native American Indians for both medicinal and recreational purposes. It was used as a hallucinogenic and apparently improves all aspects of stamina and enabled the imbiber to achieve the Dream State. You can see this effect for your self after your guests have sampled two or three of your concoction.

Add 1oz per person.

You will also need some Cointreau or Cuarenta y tres or triple sec, which are all orange liqueurs. I have covered the benefits of oranges in several of my healthy eating posts, but obviously in alcoholic form its antioxidant properties are a little subdued. Of course there is still the antiseptic nature of alcohol to compensate.

You will need 1oz per person.

Finally you will need 1oz of fresh squeezed lime juice per person. Now as everyone knows limes are full of Vitamin C and limes in particular have some special properties. They prevent scurvy, if taken every day they can prevent cholera and the vitamin C in the fruit is anti-ageing as it forms collagen that fills in wrinkles and frown lines.

I have looked on a worldwide basis for the health benefits of margaritas and this is a summary of the best I could find.

  1. Apart from the obvious antiseptic, antioxidant and anti-ageing effects of the cocktail there are some other side effects that can be life changing.
  2. If you have feelings of inadequacy or suffer from shyness and lack of assertiveness then drinking just one margarita may be the answer.
  3. It makes you feel more confidant about yourself and your actions and encourages you to tell the world that you are willing and able to do just about anything. You will notice the effects of the margarita almost immediately. You will find that you are able to dance at a higher intensity (particularly on a table), you will be able to sing and give renditions of everyone’s favourite hits from the forties and fifties. You will also find that the dress code does not apply to you because you are not wearing one.
  4. Drinking margaritas may not be right for everyone as there are some side effects including dizziness, nausea, incarceration, lustfulness, loss of motor control, loss of clothing and money, delusions of grandeur, lap dancing, headache, dehydration and an increase in appetite for snakes and lizards. 

My guests tomorrow are Jennie Fitzkee and Lisa Thomson and I hope you will join us.

Thank you very much for visiting today.. Please tell us about your most memorable Christmas gift in the comments section.  I hope you have enjoyed yourself and please be careful if you have tried one of the above Margaritas… Thanks Sally.